Eleven Republican candidates competed Wednesday night to show how strong they would be if elected president of the United States in 2016.
Each one wore a shade of blue, and most of the men wore a red tie, to reflect the colors of the American flag.
Businessman Donald Trump, who is leading in the polls, was a target early in the debate. Former Governor Jeb Bush accused Trump of using money to lobby for casino gambling in Florida. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin said, “we don’t need an apprentice in the White House.” Senator Rand Paul said Trump’s comments belonged in “junior high,” and would not trust him to be responsible for the country’s nuclear weapons.
When asked about how Trump described her in a magazine interview, Carly Fiorina, the only woman in the race, said, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
The exchange drew some of the loudest applause of the evening.
The candidates talked more about their history and personalities than issues in the three-hour long debate.
The debate was held at Ronald Reagan’s presidential library in California. In America, Republicans view the late President Reagan as a symbol of strength. With Reagan’s old Air Force One airplane behind them, the candidates talked about America’s strength and dominance around the world.
The debate became lively on issues of abortion and the Iran nuclear agreement.
Most of the candidates said they disagreed with the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. Senator Ted Cruz promised he would rip the Iran deal "to shreds" on his first day in office.
Mr. Bush said "It's not a strategy to tear up an agreement.” He called for better relations with Israel, an enemy of Iran, instead.
When asked about the fighting in Syria, Donald Trump said, "Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants." With little experience in foreign policy, the businessman added, “I will know more about the problems of this world by the time I sit [in the White House].”
On abortion, most candidates said they would cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a non-profit health organization, immediately after taking office. Planned Parenthood receives funding from the U.S. government for women's and children's health care. Abortion is legal in the U.S., but it remains controversial.
Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich provided more details about issues than others during the debate on issues. Their answers received more applause from the audience.
Many Republican candidates also targeted Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate. Ms. Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said Ms. Clinton "does not have a record of accomplishment."
I'm Jim Tedder.
Hai Do and Kathleen Struck wrote this story.
Words in This Story
lobby - v. try to influence government officials to make decision for or against something
apprentice - n. a person who learns a job
rip - v. to tear, to split open
accomplishment - n. something done or achieved