Election News

Fight night: Personal attacks, court debate for GOP hopefuls

The governor’s warnings did little to deter his feisty colleagues.

Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio also revived their fight over immigration, with the Texas senator haranguing his Florida counterpart for sponsoring failed legislation that would have created a pathway to citizenship for many of those in the United States illegally. Cruz also accused Rubio of taking a more moderate approach when speaking to Spanish-language media in an attempt to appeal to Hispanics.

“I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision — he doesn’t speak Spanish,” Rubio shot back.

Rubio entered the debate under immense pressure following his disappointing fifth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary. He stumbled badly in a debate days before that vote when he relied heavily on well-rehearsed talking points, even after being called out for it during the contest.

Rubio appeared more fluid in Saturday’s contest, including during a robust defense of his proposed 25 percent corporate tax rate — which is not as much of a tax cut as many of his rivals are pitching. Rubio said his idea would leave enough revenue in the federal budget to triple the child tax credit for working families with children.

Just six contenders took the debate stage, far from the long line of candidates who participated in earlier GOP events. Yet the Republican race remains deeply uncertain, with party elites still hoping that one of the more mainstream candidates will rise up to challenge Trump and Cruz. Many GOP leaders believe both would be unelectable in November.

Scalia’s sudden death could serve as a reminder of the consequences of elections.

Cruz cast the moment in stark terms, saying allowing another Obama nominee to be approved would amount to Republicans giving up control of the Supreme Court for a generation. An uncompromising conservative, Cruz urged voters to consider who among the GOP candidates would nominate the most ideologically pure justices.

“One of the most important judgments for the men and women of South Carolina to make is who on this stage has the background, the principle, the character, the judgment and the strength of resolve to nominate and confirm principled constitutionalists to the court,” Cruz said.

Saturday’s debate came one week before South Carolina’s primary. Cruz and Trump emerged from the first two voting contests with a victory apiece and appear positioned to compete for a win in the first Southern primary.

Kasich defended himself against attacks on his conservative credentials, particularly his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio despite resistance from his GOP-led Legislature. Kasich argued that his decision was a good deal for the state in the long run.

“We want everyone to rise and we will make them personally responsible for the help they get,” said Kasich, whose fledgling campaign gained new life after a second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary.

Bush played the aggressor again, saying that Kasich’s actions amounted to “expanding Obamacare” — a deeply unpopular concept among Republicans.

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dead at 79

Previous article

Virginia state Senate passes protections for same-sex marriage opponents

Next article