ABC Republican Debate: North Korea, Immigration and Healthcare
The only debate before the New Hampshire primary election was tonight and the candidates pitched to the state and the nation why they deserve our votes. The debate, hosted by ABC News, came shortly after breaking news from North Korea, where it was announced that the country had launched a long-range missile.
The first few questions of the debate focused on temperament, comments made by candidates about other candidates, and experience to serve as President.
Donald Trump was asked to respond to comments Ted Cruz had made on Trump’s temperament. Senator Cruz, who was asked to respond to Donald’s answer, avoided answering whether he still believed Trump lacked the appropriate temperament to be President, even when pushed on it further. Donald Trump, in a final response, pointed out that Cruz didn’t answer the question.
The moderators moved on to Ben Carson and asked about the state of his campaign. Ted Cruz’s campaign, on the day of the Iowa Caucuses, spread a rumor that Carson was dropping out of campaign. This likely prompted Carson supporters to instead vote for Cruz and give him a victory in Iowa. Ben Carson refused to speak ill of Senator Cruz or to speculate on what may have been said or thought on Monday. In his response, Ted Cruz blamed CNN for spreading misinformation about the Carson campaign.Marco Rubio was asked about his experience in the Senate and whether or not he was prepared to become President as a first term Senator, similar to President Obama in 2008. Chris Christie, in comments that he has made in the past, expressed doubts over Rubio’s ability to serve and whether he is ready. Rubio pointed out that he did have the experience and that, if experience was a sole indicator of ability to serve, then Joe Biden would be President.
Chris Christie, in his response to Rubio, restated his doubts. He also accused Rubio of being polished and having been changed by Washington, D.C. Senator Rubio pushed back by saying that Christie didn’t want to leave the presidential campaign trail after New Jersey was hit by a severe snow storm two weeks ago, indicating misplaced priorities.
The debate turned to the news coming from North Korea. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich all gave their take on the situation. Cruz refused to speculate on developing news and Rubio stated that the United States has procedures in place to prevent any missiles from hitting assets of the United States or harming innocent civilians. Jeb Bush jumped in and said a preemptive strike against North Korea should be taken if deemed necessary. Donald Trump focused on China’s influence over the North Korean state and its resources.
Governor John Kasich was asked about his stance on immigration and expressed the importance of a pass to legalization. He said that the Republican Party should not focus on deporting 11.5 million people, as it is not where the rest of the nation stands on this issue. Ted Cruz laid out a plan to strengthen border security, update technology which tracks immigrants and their status, eliminate sanctuary cities in the United States and not allow immigrants access to welfare services. Senator Rubio, as a former member of the Senate’s Gang of 8, was forces to defend his stance on immigration, which is seen by some as being out of step with the other candidates.The conversation turned to healthcare. Trump was confronted on his position to repeal Obamacare, but to replace it with something that would provide healthcare to all those who need it. In previous debates, Trump has lauded the healthcare systems of nations like Canada and Scotland. Trump expressed a compassionate approach to healthcare, especially for those with the most need, and that all people should be taken care of. Cruz denounced Obamacare and equated it with socialized healthcare systems. He promised to, “repeal every word,” of Obamacare.