Election News

Key takeaways from the GOP’s undercard presidential debate

PROXY PARTY FIGHT ON IMMIGRATION

Graham and Santorum rumbled on immigration policy, an exchange representative of the dispute inside the Republican Party over how to approach an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system.

Santorum, who finished second to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, said Americans are hurt by immigration and he accused much of the GOP field as being for “amnesty.”

Graham and Pataki said it’s impractical to deport all estimated 11 million people who are in the country illegally. Graham also argued that Hispanic voters are an untapped source of voters for Republicans.

“We need to win fighting for Americans. We need to win fighting for the workers in this country who are hurting,” Santorum said, leading Graham to rebuke him: “Hispanics are Americans”

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A PROGRESSIVE PATAKI?

Along with his comments on immigration, Pataki sounded like a Democrat in one other way: He forcefully said that Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, should have lost her job.

“If she worked for me, I would have fired her,” he said, drawing applause from the crowd at the debate. “When you’re an elected official and you take an oath of office to uphold the law, all the laws, you cannot pick and choose or you no longer have a society that depends on the rule of law.”

He closed by arguing that he is a pragmatist who can get elected in a general election and work in a bipartisan way.

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OUTSIDERS RULE

Jindal allowed that he had one thing in common with Trump: They both dislike Washington “insiders.”

“It’s time to fire all of them,” he said. He later gave credit to Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for fighting for what they believe in, something he said Republican leaders in Washington no longer do.

In his closing remarks, Jindal tried to emphasize his “outsider” credentials. He said he’d “take on the D.C. permanent governing class.” It was a nod to Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who have never held political office and stand atop the latest GOP preference polls.

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