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September 26, 2023

Five takeaways from the fourth GOP presidential debate

The audience gathers at The Social House for the Republican Debate. Photo credit: Christen Limbaugh
The audience gathers at The Social House for the Republican Debate. Photo credit: Christen Limbaugh

SMU College Republicans and Dallas Young Republicans gathered at The Social House Tuesday night to watch eight candidates take the main stage at the Fox Business GOP debate. This marked the fourth GOP primary debate, but the first where the main takeaways had nothing to do with the moderators or the nature of their questions.

So what was the story then? Here are 5 biggies:

1) Immigration – This issue evoked an array of responses across the stage. Two of the most notably juxtaposed comments were from Donald Trump and Governor John Kasich. While Trump has infamously promised to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport all illegal immigrants, Governor Kasich asked the audience to think about the families and the children that these actions would affect.

2) Taxes – Dr. Ben Carson defended his flat tax plan which is based on the Biblical principle of tithing, claiming, “I believe if you put more money in people’s pockets that they will actually be more generous.”

3) Foreign relations – Marco Rubio had probably the most memorable comments about foreign relations, saying “We have a president that treats the prime minister of Israel with less respect than what he gives the ayatollah in Iran.”

4) National defense – Sen. Ted Cruz received immense applause for his response to Rand Paul’s criticism of excessive spending on national defense.

“If you think defending this nation is expensive, try not defending it,” Cruz said.

5) Competition – Finally, the vast majority of the candidates addressed the threat of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency and the harm that will come to the nation if that happens.

SMU senior Nick Spain thought Cruz, Rubio, and Trump were the winners of the debate, but more importantly that John Kasich was the biggest loser.

“Fox Business clearly exposed CNBC and that they were out to get republicans,” Spain said.

Neil Cato said the biggest takeaway from this debate was the clear separation of the real candidates from those who need to drop out of the race. He too thought John Kasich had a bad performance.

“He came out trying too hard to legitimize his position and achieved the opposite,” Cato said.

Hunter Pyle, president of SMU College Republicans, said the most notable aspect of the debate was the clear difference between Fox Business’s moderators and those in the CNBC debate.

“I liked how they kept control,” Pyle said. “In the CNBC debate you couldn’t even hear what the candidates were saying because they all talked over each other.”

Regardless of who you think won the debate, the candidates without a doubt got more in-depth about their specific plans than in any of the three previous debates, which empowers American citizens.

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