Eleven of the Presidential candidates for the Republican Party took the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Semi Valley, California for a debate that lasted just over three hours on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
For the course of summer, the rest of the GOP candidates have been trying to catch up to political outsider and billionaire real estate and businessman Donald Trump.
In late June, Trump formally announced his candidacy for the President of the United States seeking the Republican nomination. During Trump’s opening announcement, he drew criticism from the media and from members within his own party, as well as Democratic candidates for remarks he made about Mexican immigrants.
Since then, Trump has continued to make several statements and remarks, with some directed at those within his own party.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who recently dropped from the 2016 race, made this statement after Trump criticized Senator John McCain of Arizona as not being an American war hero after being held for six years in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp after McCain’s fighter jet was shot down: “Donald Trump should apologize immediately for attacking Senator McCain and all veterans who have protected and served our country. As a veteran and an American, I respect Sen. McCain because he volunteered to serve his country. I cannot say the same of Mr. Trump. His comments have reached a new low in American politics. His attack on veterans make him unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for President.”
Many of the highlights and standout moments were when fellow candidates took jabs at their opponents.
Carly Fiorina, another political outsider and former CEO for Hewlett Packard who recently has been gaining momentum and favorability among Republicans, delivered a memorable moment during the debate when she responded back to Trump’s criticism regarding her facial appearance.
When CNN moderators asked Fiorina to respond to Trump’s remarks, she said, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” which elicited cheers from the audience.
After the debate, Fiorina earned an increased four percent support in this week’s CBS News poll of Republican primary voters.
Fiorina made comments on issues like defunding Planned Parenthood and marijuana legalization. She offered a personal moment with the audience and viewers at home by talking about her daughter’s drug addiction.
“We are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer,” said Fiorina. “It’s not.”
Trump and Fiorina continued to exchange punches later on in the night in regards to both of their professional business records.
Trump pointed out that Fiorina was fired from Hewlett Packard as CEO in February of 2005 after declining stock values.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who many predict will be the Republican nominee, also had his fair share of highlights. Bush asked Trump to apologize to his wife, Columba Bush.
“To subject my wife into the middle of a raucous political conversation was completely inappropriate, and I hope you apologize for that,” said Bush.
In response, Trump said, “I won’t do that because I said nothing wrong, but I hear she’s a lovely woman.”
In addition, Bush admitted that he smoked marijuana 40 years ago. He also claimed that others on this stage with him probably have as well. The other 10 candidates didn’t offer a response to this.
The three-hour debate wrapped up with one final question to all candidates on the stage regarding the recent treasury department announcement that a woman would be placed on the $10 bill.
Some candidates suggested adding their wife or daughter, while others mentioned Rosa Parks, Margaret Thatcher, and Mother Teresa.
Fiorina, however, said, “I wouldn’t change the $10 bill or the $20 bill. I think honestly it’s a gesture. I don’t think it helps to change our history… What I would think is that we ought to recognize women aren’t a special interest group. Women are the majority of this nation. We are half the potential of this nation. And this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she chooses.”
Economic issues will be the focus of the next televised GOP presidential debate, which will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.
Kevin Harper is a student majoring in professional studies with a minor in political science and a minor in journalism. He can be reached at KH818254@wcupa.edu.