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Tags: Republicans | Donald Trump | Kiddie Table Debate

Republican Candidates Attack Trump at 'Happy Hour' Debate

Republican Candidates Attack Trump at 'Happy Hour' Debate
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By    |   Thursday, 06 August 2015 07:34 PM EDT

Seven Republican presidential candidates squared off Thursday in a one-hour debate in Cleveland that focused on such issues as illegal immigration, the Islamic State — and what Fox News co-moderator Martha MacCallum described as "the big elephant that is not in the room, Donald Trump."

"I've had my issues with Donald Trump," said former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has attacked the billionaire businessman on several issues. "I talked about Donald Trump from the standpoint of being an individual who was using his celebrity rather than his conservatism."

Perry then championed his efforts to secure the South Texas border, which included calling out the National Guard last year.

"We need a president that doesn't just talk a game, but a president that's got real results," Perry said.

Former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina — who asked fellow debaters at the outset of her response, "Did any of you get a call from Bill Clinton?" — said that she would commend Trump for tapping "into an anger that people feel," but noted that the businessman has reversed his positions on amnesty, healthcare and abortion.

"I would just ask, 'What are the principles by which he will govern?'" Fiorina said.

In a debate that led other Fox News moderator Bill Hemmer to say "you have all been polite," the candidates sparred collegially over illegal immigration, leadership, Planned Parenthood — as well as the nation's struggling economy, the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic State.

Besides Trump, they also attacked President Barack Obama — vowing to revoke all of his executive orders, Obamacare and other major programs — and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

"To all the Americans who want a better life, don't vote for Hillary Clinton," said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, the first to attack the former secretary of state, in response to a question on how to put more unemployed people back to work. "You're not going to get it.

"She's not going to repeal Obamacare and replace it. I will," he said. "She's not going to build the Keystone pipeline. I will. … She represents a third term of a failed presidency."

Graham also brought up former President Bill Clinton's testimony during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, as well as the scandal over Hillary Clinton's use of her private emails as the nation's top diplomat.

"So the people who are dying for a better America, you'd better change course," the senator said. "And she doesn't represent the change that we need."

Others at what some candidates described as the "kiddie table" or "happy hour debate" were Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

The debate, held at the Quicken Loans Arena, in Cleveland, provided the contenders with their first opportunity for a national stage.

Trump and the remaining nine Republicans will appear at a 9 p.m. debate, also to be televised by Fox. They made the cut based on national surveys averaged together by Fox.
Candidates also were asked about the decision by Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is participating in the later debate, to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

Both Jindal and Pataki said it was wrong.

“I don’t think that anyone should be expanding Medicaid,” Jindal said.

In identifying which of Obama's executive orders they would repeal on their first day in office, Perry said that "it's going to be a pretty busy day," since he would be doing away with all of them. "It will be a real long day."

Pataki said that he undid many of the executive orders of Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo when he took over in Albany. "I would do this to Barack Obama's executive orders."

Fiorina said simply, "I would begin by undoing a whole set of things Barack Obama has done."

Among Obama's most unpopular executive orders among Republicans are his directives to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the orders that granted work permits and deferred deportations to as many as 15 million illegal immigrants.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Donald Trump wasn't in the room for the first of two debates in Cleveland, but Republican presidential hopefuls criticized the frontrunner as a celebrity not ready to lead.
Republicans, Donald Trump, Kiddie Table Debate
Thursday, 06 August 2015 07:34 PM
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