Alabama’s GOP presidential debate draws headlines

On Wednesday night, four Republican presidential candidates faced off in Tuscaloosa for the Fourth Republican Presidential Debate. This is the first presidential debate held in Alabama and the first-ever hosted by NewsNation.

Frontrunner former President Donald Trump again chose not to participate in the debate.

Recent polling has former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in second place, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy rounded out the stage for what could be the last of the GOP presidential debates in this election.

Haley continued her crusade to ban the Chinese government-controlled social media platform TikTok “once and for all.” Haley alleged that the site is fueling antisemitism.

Haley also called for an end to anonymous social media identities.

“Every person on social media should be verified by their name,” Haley said. “That’s, first of all, it’s a national security threat. When you do that, all of a sudden, people have to stand by what they say.”

“That is not freedom; that is fascism, and she should come nowhere near the levers of power, let alone the White House,” Ramaswamy said of Haley and her proposal.

Christie predicted that Trump would be convicted of one of the 140 plus charges he faces in four separate felony trials, so he won’t be able to even vote in 2024.

“You’ll all be heading to the polls to vote, and that’s something Donald Trump will not be able to do,” Christie said. “Because he will be convicted of felonies before then, and his right to vote will be taken away. If we deny reality as a party, we’re going to have four more years of Joe Biden.”

Christie also criticized Trump’s trade policy, which Haley supported. “All he did was impose tariffs, which raised the prices for every American,” said Christie.

“Nikki Haley’s campaign launch video sounded like a woke Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light ad talking about how she would kick in heels,” Ramaswamy said.

Haley said that Ramaswamy was not even worth responding to.

“No, it’s not worth my time to respond to him,” Haley said when asked to respond.

Christie opposes the Alabama Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which bans gender transitioning of children. Christie said that parents and not governments should make those decisions.

“Republicans believe in less government, not more,” Christie said. “I trust parents.”

“This is an angry, bitter man who now wants to be back as president because he wants to exact retribution on anyone who has disagreed with him,” Christie said of Trump.

DeSantis said Trump is too old to be President. “Father time is undefeated,” Desantis said.

“Right now, the average homeowner in America is 49 years old,” Haley said. “You’ve got young people everywhere. That used to be the American dream, and now it’s out of reach.”

DeSantis said inflation and housing market prices are ‘taking the American dream away.’

“We’re gonna get the interest rates down,” DeSantis said. “We’ll reduce spending, and I believe we’re going to have to veto.”

DeSantis said that student loans should be backed by colleges and universities instead of the federal government.

“Another thing that’s burdening young people are these student loans,” DeSantis said. “These student loans are going to be backed by the universities because they need to have an incentive to produce gainful employment for people.”

Haley promised that if elected, she would be “a no-drama president.” That would be a marked change from the Biden and Trump administrations, both of which have been noted for their scandals and investigations. “My approach is different: no drama, no vendettas, no whining.”

Trump has called for the RNC to stop holding these debates. A fifth has not been scheduled.

The Iowa presidential caucuses are just six weeks away. The Alabama presidential primary will be held on March 5.

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