Republicans square off in fourth debate

Alex Hanson

Republican candidates for president were back together for another debate — the fourth of the 2016 cycle — to talk about the economy.

On stage were Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich.

The debate was hosted by FOX Business and the Wall Street Journal in Milwaukee, Wis. 

Kasich looked most prepared to come out swining against his opponents, calling out Trump on his plan to deport illegal immigrants and Cruz’s plan to not bail out big banks under another financial crisis. 

Cruz and Kasich had a back and forth, with Kasich appealing to business conservatives and Cruz appealing to a populist wing in the Republican party. 

Trump and Carson, the frontrunners in the race, were not center stage, but Trump was interrupted at one point by Paul during an answer on trade. While Trump was criticizing the TPP trade deal, he mentioned that nothing about China’s currency manipulation is in the deal, to which Paul reminded the audience that China is not apart of the deal at all.

Paul and Rubio got into a heated debate over military spending, with Rubio calling for a larger military role abroad. Paul called Rubio’s plan on military spending “liberal,” adding you cannot be a fiscal conservative but call for increased military spending.

Many were watching Bush, who’s poll numbers have declined recently. Throughout the debate, Bush got into several arguments about his record in Florida and what he would accomplish as president. 

Fiorina also called on Trump during a discussion on foreign policy, saying the United States should not negotiate with Russia while arguing for a stronger military presence abroad.

The undercard debate featured four candidates — Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and Rick Santorum — who mostly went after Hillary Clinton and President Obama, but also took jabs at each other.

Jindal came prepared to attack his Republican colleagues on stage, repeatedly going after Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee’s records as governor. In response, Christie, instead of defending his record, said Clinton would be worse for America than anyone on stage.

Candidates also went after the debate moderators, refusing to answer a lightning round question about which Democratic congressman they have respect for. Instead, the candidates all pivoted to a random topic of their choosing for the 30-seconds they had to answer.

Notably absent from the undercard debate were U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and former New York Gov. George Pataki, both who did not meet the criteria to appear in even the lower-tier debate.