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US fight night: Top moments from first Republican debate

By Compiled by Roshneesh K'maneck
August 07, 2015 11:14 IST
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On Thursday, the top 10 Republican candidates in the race to be come the president of the United States gathered in Cleveland for the first primetime Republican Presidential Primary Debate of the 2016 campaign. 

The candidates participating in the two-hour debate were:

>> Real estate mogul Donald Trump
>> Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
>> Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
>> Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
>> Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson
>> Texas Senator Ted Cruz
>> Florida Senator Marco Rubio
>> Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
>> New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
>> Ohio Governor John Kasich

The debate packed in several punches. In case you missed any of them, here are seven of the buzziest moments from the GOP’s big night. 

1) Donald Trump refuses to pledge his allegiance to the Republican Party

Donald Trump pauses at his podium during the debate in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Everyone knew that the real estate tycoon known to make controversial comments, would be bombastic during the debate. And Trump did not disappoint. He took centre stage at the debate when he refused to pledge to support the GOP nominee, and said he would run as a third party candidate, drawing a combination of cheers and boos.

His decision was quickly criticised by Senator Rand Paul saying that “he’s used to buying politicians on both sides of the aisle!” Trump responded by noting that he’s “given [Paul] plenty of money.”

2) The immigration debate

Donald Trump  talks with fellow candidate and former Jeb Bush. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

"If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration,” Trump said. “This was not a subject that was on anybody’s mind until I brought it up.”

Since his controversial comments about immigration at the launch of his campaign, Trump said there have been “many killings, murders, crime, drugs pouring across the border, our money going out and the drugs coming in. And I said we need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly.”

“I don’t mind having a big, beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally,” he added. “But we need, Jeb, to build a wall. We need to keep illegals out.”

3) Christie and Paul get in yelling match

Republican 2016 US presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul answers a question on the surveillance issue. Photograph: Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got into a yelling match over the issue of government surveillance.

“I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,” said Paul. “I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to,” said Paul.

Christie shot back that Paul’s answer was completely ridicules. “How are you supposed to know,” questions Christie. “When you’re sitting in a subcommittee blowing hot air, then you can say things like that.”

Paul accused Christie of fundamentally misunderstanding the Bill of Rights. “I don’t trust President Obama with our records, I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.” 

4) Kasich gets applause for saying he’d love his daughters if they were gay


Ohio Governor John Kasich received a huge applause on his feelings about same-sex marriage. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Ohio Governor took a tone of compassion during the debate. When asked about the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, he said that while he himself was “traditional,” he had recently attended a gay friend’s wedding. And asked how he would explain his position if a children came out to him, he said, “I’m going to love my daughters no matter what they do. Because you know what? God gives me unconditional love.” It drew loud applause in the audience.

5) Trump and his ‘war on women’

Fox News Channel debate moderators Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly. Kelly got into an argument with Trump over his comments about women. Photograph: Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters

You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,’” co-moderator Megyn Kelly said. “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump interjected, drawing applause. “Thank you.”

That started an extended back and forth in which Trump attacked political correctness and Kelly herself.

“Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ve been very nice to you although I probably could maybe not be based on the way you’ve been to me.”

6) Ben Carson’s tax-church statement

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson participates in the first prime-time presidential debate. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

He was all but ignored for the first half hour of the debate. However, on the issue of taxes, Carson said, “I think God’s a pretty fair guy.” Carson said if 10 per cent is good enough for god, it should be more than enough for the government, proposing a flat rate with no loop-holes.

7) Mike Huckabee compares baby parts to car parts

Mike Huckabee fields a question during the debate on the position of pro-life and abortion. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took a strong position on pro-life when asked about person-hood. We should “protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they’re parts to a Buick,” said.

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Compiled by Roshneesh K'maneck
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