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Republican Candidates Spar Over the Military and Immigration at the Fourth Debate

During the fourth Republican presidential debate, candidates sparred over the military and immigration. Hosted by the Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal, issues came to a head as candidates were divided on how to handle American military power and immigration issues dividing the country.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul kept his stance on reining in the military budget and avoiding foreign military interventions. Although Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina stood on the other side of the issue.

Rubio said, "I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I’m not." Paul argued, "I want a strong national defense, but I don’t want us to be bankrupt." Trump said that the U.S. cannot be the world's policeman, and Bush said “he is absolutely wrong on this” and the U.S. needs to be the “world’s leader.”

Fiorina added that both Trump and Paul should know that “we should not speak to people from a position of weakness.” She went on to say the U.S. needs to have the “strongest military on the planet and everyone has to know it."

At one point, Trump chastised her by saying “Why does she keep interrupting everybody?” His comment was booed by the audience. Rubio also stated that Putin is a “gangster” who understands “only geopolitical strength.” This is the last debate until mid-December, so many of the candidates felt the pressure of conveying a breakout moment. The good news is candidates mostly stuck to policy issues.

In addition, immigration was a hot topic. Trump was asked if he would deport millions of illegal immigrants, and he said, "We have no choice. We either have a country or we don’t have a country." Ohio Gov. John Kasich quickly interjected by saying “Think about the families.” He said illegal immigrants should pay a penalty, but called Trump’s plan a “silly argument” and “not an adult argument.”

Trump then talked about his business success and stated, “I don’t have to hear from his man.” Bush agreed with Kasich and said that Trump's plan would “tear communities apart.” Yet, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz supported Trump by saying “If a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down wages in the press, then we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation.”

Furthermore, much of the focus was on economic and fiscal issues. Bush argued that "every rule" the administration has in progress should be repealed. Cruz said, “the Obama economy is a disaster” but the economy could improve with tax and regulatory reform. He said the country should start “pulling back the armies of regulators that have descended like locusts on small businesses.”

Both Trump and Carson said they would not raise the minimum wage, as they believe it would hurt the economy in the long run. Trump said while he hates to say it, “We have to leave it the way it is.” Carson posed the question “How do we allow people to ascend the ladder of opportunity rather than how do we give them everything and keep them dependent?” Rubio added that raising the wage would “make people more expensive than a machine.”

Over the past week, Carson has been sparring with the media over reports questioning his personal story. He was asked about the coverage, and he said, "I have no problem with being vetted … What I do have a problem with is being lied about." He implied that Democrats don't receive the same treatment. The prime-time event aired after an earlier debate with lower-polling candidates.

Photo: IB Times

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