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Tags: attacks | republican | debate | trump | cruz | rubio

11 Attacks You're Likely to See at Thursday's Republican Debate

11 Attacks You're Likely to See at Thursday's Republican Debate
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (L) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) participate in the CNN republican presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 14 January 2016 11:15 AM

The sixth Republican presidential debate kicks off Thursday night in South Carolina and, with the first state primaries starting Feb. 1, the competition is heating up.

Christmas, New Years, and a full month have gone by since the last debate, and in that time Sen. Ted Cruz has surged to first place in the Iowa polls, Ben Carson has taken a nosedive across the board, and Sen. Marco Rubio has solidified his third-place position. Donald Trump, however, remains dominant in the national polls.

Gathered below are 11 attacks viewers are likely to see at Thursday's GOP debate.

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1. Trump attacking Cruz's Canadian birth — The real estate mogul has for weeks suggested that Cruz, born to an American mother on Canadian soil, might not be eligible to run for president. He pointed to Article II, Section One, Clause 5 of the Constitution, which stipulates that candidates be "natural born citizens" of the U.S. According to The Washington Post, that has typically been interpreted to mean anyone who did not have to go through a naturalization process, making Cruz eligible. The issue is likely to remain, however, so long as Trump continues to mention it.

2. Cruz going after Trump's "New York values" — On Tuesday, the senator from Texas accused the billionaire businessman of having "New York values" during a radio interview. Cruz didn't elaborate on what he meant, but perhaps he was trying to associate Trump with crony capitalism, urban vice, lack of manners, or other stereotypes commonly applied to the Empire State.

3. Donald Trump using "New York values" counterattack — On Wednesday, the GOP front-runner responded to Cruz's attack on his so-called "New York values" by agreeing with him. "You know, when the World Trade Center got hit, we rebuilt that World Trade Center and we got through," Trump said. "Very few places in this world could have gotten through what we went through. I was so proud of New York."

4. Bickering over ethanol subsidies — Trump is in favor of a federal mandate setting ethanol levels in gasoline, while Cruz opposes such a mandate based on small-government principles. "Ted is completely against ethanol, please remember that," Trump said Tuesday, according to The Hill. "I’m for ethanol and I think it’s an important thing, so please remember that . . . I think it’s fantastic. Anything we can do to create fuel is good because we stay away from the Middle East."

5. Trump vs. Cruz on big-money campaign donors — "I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m not having people give me checks for millions of dollars," Trump said Tuesday, according to The Hill. "These guys are all controlled, including Ted. He’s got millions of dollars from these three or four characters that I don’t even know. I mean, they’re wealthy guys giving him millions of dollars. You think they’re doing it for their health? I don’t think so."

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6. Trump rivals attacking over family inheritance — While Trump has seen success in attacking his rivals' biggest campaign donors, some have pointed to his large family inheritance as a similar weakness. In October, Trump gaffed by saying, "It has not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars," Politico reported. Rivals might choose to use Trump's inheritance against him, and paint themselves as the embodiment of the American Dream — especially Rubio, the son of a bartender.

7. Christie battling Rubio for New Hampshire winAccording to Politico, Rubio's "hardest hits could well come from Chris Christie," who said in a recent interview that Hillary Clinton would "pat him on the head and then cut his heart out" in the general election. Both Rubio and Christie need to make a strong showing in New Hampshire, where Rubio is currently second in the polls and Christie is fourth. 

8. Bush going toe-to-toe with Trump
— Brett O’Donnell, Mitt Romney's debate coach and Lindsey Graham's one-time adviser, told Politico that "more than any other candidate, Jeb has to show he can successfully attack Trump to convince voters that he’s both ready to be president, and that Trump is not." It's not clear what line of attack Bush will take, but he did call Trump a "jerk" at a campaign stop last month.

9. Carson taking aim at women and gays in the military
— The famed neurosurgeon saw a holiday shakeup when much of his core campaign staff quit last month. Last week, his new campaign chairman, retired Major Gen. Robert F. Dees, said the U.S. should re-evaluate policies that allow women to serve in combat roles and allow gays to serve openly. "One of the things that I learned in a long medical career is that you make decisions based on evidence, and not on ideology," Carson said in regard to Dees' suggestions, CNN reported. "So yes, I would be willing to sit down with people from both sides and examine the evidence and make decisions based on what the evidence shows."

10. Huckabee criticizing organizations that don't endorse him
— Last week, the former Arkansas governor said that evangelical leaders and organizations that have taken a liking to Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio instead of him are "scared." He explained, "A lot of them, quite frankly, I think they’re scared to death that if a guy like me got elected, I would actually do what I said I would do . . . A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight?" Perhaps Huckabee, currently eighth in the national polls, will continue this line of reasoning during the undercard debate on Thursday.

11. Paul attacking the RNCAccording to The Associated Press, "Paul did not qualify for the prime-time debate on the Fox Business Network because an average of recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire did not have him among the top five candidates." In response, Paul lashed out at the Republican National Committee, saying, "I think the establishment wants fewer voices. They want an artificial designation saying that all of a sudden, we’re going to change the amount of voices on the stage. But I think it’s a mistake. There are a lot of libertarian or liberty voters out there that could be the deciding vote and if you want to keep them in the Republican Party it would make sense for the party to treat liberty-leaning candidates with more respect." Real Clear Politics reported that Paul said this week he won't participate in the undercard debate, meaning he'll likely either dish out his blows live on Twitter or decide to make a surprise appearance.  

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The sixth Republican presidential debate kicks off Thursday night in South Carolina and, with the first state primaries starting Feb. 1, the competition is heating up. Here are 11 attacks viewers are likely to see at tonight's GOP debate.
attacks, republican, debate, trump, cruz, rubio
Thursday, 14 January 2016 11:15 AM
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