In a bid to bag the party’s presidential nomination, Republican candidates took pot shots at each other in a bitterly-contested debate but were united in slamming President Barack Obama’s policies in tackling the threat posed by Islamic State and Iran’s nuclear programme.
Ten of the 17 Republican presidential candidates appeared yesterday at the Fox News’s first primary debate in Cleveland, Ohio, where they spoke about issues like Iran, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), immigration and economy.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump immediately set himself apart when he was the only candidate on stage to refuse to pledge that he would back the Republican nominee.
Trump, during the debate, called US leaders “stupid” and claimed he had given money to most of the candidates on stage as well as to top Democrat Hillary Clinton.
He also bickered with Senator Rand Paul and moderators, and said he had no time for “political correctness”.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush accused Trump of using “divisive” language. Bush warned that such verbal sparring will not help Republicans win the White House.
While they bitterly fought among themselves in front of television cameras watched lived by millions of people, they were unanimous on withdrawing the Iranian nuclear deal, if elected to power in the 2016 presidential elections.
“We need to stop the Iran agreement, for sure, because the Iranian mullahs have blood on their hands, and we need to take out ISIS with every tool at our disposal,” Bush said.
Business tycoon Trump alleged, “We have a president who doesn’t have a clue. I would say he’s incompetent, but I don’t want to do that because that’s not nice.”
“Now, with Iran, we’re making a deal, you would say, we want him. We want out our prisoners. We want all these things, and we don’t get anything. We’re giving them USD 150 billion dollars plus…If Iran was a stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now because you’ll quadruple — this, what’s happening in Iran, is a disgrace, and it’s going to lead to destruction in large portions of the world,” Trump said.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said, “We are leading from behind under the Obama-Clinton doctrine. America is a great country. We need to stand up and start leading again, and we need to have allies, not just in Israel, but throughout the Persian Gulf.”
Earlier, seven of the 17 Republican presidential candidates appeared at Fox News’s second-tier debate.
Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who could not make the cut for the prime time debate, said he will provide “real leadership” to America if elected president in the November 2016 elections.
“We’ve got a President who cannot bring himself to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism’. He loves to criticise America, apologise for us, criticise medieval Christians,” Jindal said.