Sparks fly at GOP debate, as Vivek Ramaswamy spars with field


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came roaring out of the gate as the first speaker during the first Republican presidential debate, held in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The crowd loved him.

“Our country is in decline. This decline is not inevitable. It’s a choice,” DeSantis said, saying that the country needs to send President Joe Biden back to the basement, reverse Bidenomics, and “We cannot succeed as a country if you are working hard, while Hunter Biden is making hundreds of thousands of dollars on lousy paintings.”

Both DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy landed some of the most powerful and well-received lines of the night, attacking Joe Biden and his economic policies that have harmed the American economy, and refraining from attacking former President Donald Trump.

In fact, it was Ramaswamy who launched the most vociferous defense of Trump, saying that under Joe Biden, the justice system has been weaponized. His statement drew a huge round of cheers from the crowd in Milwaukee.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie drew repeated boos from the Republican audience at various points that started from the moment he was introduced. He attacked Ramaswamy as a “Chat GPT” candidate and swiped at Trump repeatedly. He also delivered a strong law-and-order message, saying he would demand U.S. Attorneys pursue criminals more aggressively than Biden has.

The candidates were asked if they’d support a convicted Trump as the Republican Party’s choice. Ramaswamy immediately put his hand up, with Nikki Haley and Tim Scott following him. DeSantis hesitated before raising a hand, and Mike Pence then raised his followed by a reluctant hand from Christie.

Former Vice President Mike Pence surprised many with his strong commitment to conservative principles, including the right to life. The audience gave him a lukewarm response, although there was no outright disrespect.

As the two-hour debate continued, the leading candidates piled on Ramaswamy, who has climbed the polls recently, to the point where he is surpassing DeSantis.

“You have no foreign policy experience and it shows!” said Haley, referring to the 38-year-old candidate’s stance on Ukraine, as she and Ramaswamy talked over each other and pointed. At another point, Pence insulted Ramaswamy by saying he would repeat something for him, but more slowly.

When the eight were asked if they would support Ukraine, Ramaswamy was the only candidate to to say no.

“I think this is disastrous that we are protecting an invasion across somebody else’s border when we should use those same military resources to prevent the invasion of our own southern border,” he said. “I find it offensive that we have professional politicians on this stage that will make a pilgrimage to Kyiv to their pope Zelensky without doing the same think for people in Maui or the south side of Chicago…”

Although the topic of former President Trump came up time and again, it didn’t dominate the debate.

“We have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can’t win a general election that way,” Haley said. She also attacked the Republican Party, saying Republicans drove up spending during the Trump Administration.

Christie bashed Trump and said that the former president said he would suspend the Constitution. Moderator Brett Baier had to scold the audience to stop booing.

“If folks at home want to watch a bunch of people blindly bash Trump, they can just flip the channel and watch MSNBC right now. But I’m not running for President of MSNBC, I’m running for President of the United States,” Ramaswamy said.

One unusual aspect of the debate was that perhaps for the first time in history, the candidates were asked about UFOs.

Over on Twitter, Trump held forth with Tucker Carlson in a 45-minute interview that drew more than 74 million viewers in the first hour alone.

The closing arguments of the debate itself were not just about style, but substance. Pence emphasized themes of faith in God and faith in the American people.

Ramaswamy gave the most powerful close of the eight: ” This is our moment to revive those common ideals [of the 1776 revolution]. God is real. There are two genders. Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity. Reverse racism is racism. An open border is not a border. Parents determine the education of their children. The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to man. Capitalism lifts us up from poverty. There are three branches of government, not four. And the U.S. Constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedom in human history. That is what won us the American revolution. That is what will win us the revolution of 2024.”


  1. Suzanne: it is 45 minute interview, if you haven’t changed it yet.
    “Over on Twitter, Trump held forth with Tucker Carlson in a 45-hour interview”
    no need to post this.

  2. I really don’t understand why Christie and Pence are running.

    They have zero chance of winning. They have zero chance of gaining a position in the winner’s administration Trump or other.

    So why?

    • The guy who has a zero chance of winning is the one who said “global warming is a hoax” and that “we should be burning more coal”, all the while he pretends to be the one who wants to represent the younger generation.

    • I believe they are in it an attempt to try and drive some of the conversation about what the GOP should be and look like over the coming years. The party is clearly not the one they aligned themselves with for so many years, so they either 1) stay out of politics and hope (and pray) the party shifts from its current trend; 2) give up their values and jump on the MAGA wagon; or 3) run vigorously and hope they can convince the electorate that it’s time to change course.

  3. I watched the candidates and I really enjoyed the sparring from most of them. This will be an interesting year !

    • LJ;
      I listened to the debate and one thing that came out very clear, the entire field is afraid of Vivek Ramaswamy.

      • He’s a scary guy. Almost as scary as Trump. He wants to burn more coal. He’s afraid of Russia. Never trust the fastest talking guy on the stage. He’s the darling of hedge fund managers. Never trust the richest guy on a stage.

        • Hmmm, Vivek has written a couple of books, started and run huge companies and sold them, has convictions, is eloquent, thinks we should be concerned for America first, made loads of money by developing and selling cancer curing drugs. Yup, can’t trust that guy. Never, right, Marky?
          This means, you’d rather have the guy who doesn’t know how to make money, handle money, never wrote a book, and says, “uh” a lot?

          • He is definitely the darling of Hedge Fund managers. Roivant Sciences is an investment holding company. There’s no need or desire to hire a billionaire self servant to head America. “Woke, Inc.” . . . I can’t stop laughing.

          • We have the chance to elect the first Indian American president in history. We must not let this chance to make history pass.

          • Jay, your comment is fundamentally racist, and therefore morally and intellectually repellent.

            There may be many reasons to vote for, or to not vote for, Vivek Ramaswamy, but his ethnicity is not and should not be one of them.

          • Jefferson, look, up in the air, what is it? Why it’s –
            A cutting, often ironic remark intended to express contempt or ridicule.
            A form of wit characterized by the use of such remarks.
            A biting taunt or gibe, or the use of such a taunt; a bitter, cutting expression; a satirical remark or expression, uttered with scorn or contempt; in rhetoric, a form of irony; bitter irony.

            It’s Suzi’s fault, she’s the gatekeeper!

          • Sorry, Jay.

            But in this sad and degenerate day and age, what SHOULD pass for obvious sarcasm and over-the-top absurdity is very often the professed political opinions of a sizeable percentage of the population.

      • I agree. He’s intelligent, well-spoken, has a clear vision, understands the Constitution, and is very bold and self-confident. I do, however, wonder about his foreign policy skills and would like to hear more on that.

  4. This is a gameshow folks! Always has been. These people are all actors. Politicians are just little puppets that dance to entertain you. Your only payment for the performance is for you to believe the clown show and give your consent to be fooled, through your vote.

    Don’t be fooled by the tailored suits and the hollywood glitz and glamor. They don’t have our best interests in mind.

  5. This could have been a debate, but Fox and their wholly owned Republican audience and most of the candidates made sure it was extremely debased. Never trust the fastest talking guy on a stage.

  6. The funny thing about debates is that AIPAC has already decided the outcome months before this embarrassing cluster function happened. Your political choices are pre-decided, political conventions are pre-decided, elections are hedged by buying both candidates.
    Charles Lindbergh was right, Henry Ford was right, Martin Luther was right, and Hadrian was right.
    Don’t believe me? Why has every candidate made a fundraising journey to Israel and “prayed” to the wall of an ancient Roman fort in Jerusalem?
    Enjoy your mask mandates and additional Pfizer vaccines.

    • Don’t tiptoe around antisemitism. If you’re gonna make a bigoted fool of yourself, dive in.

      You a Turner Diaries guy, or is Protocols of the Elders of Zion more your speed?

      Or is it something a bit more simple? A pretty Jewish girl turn you down for a date? You lose a job to a better qualified person you decided was Jewish?

      • What The Noticer had mentioned is the fundraising candidates making a pilgrimage to a specific location. It was actually you who brought up “antisemitism” for some reason. As if they were blowing some dog whistle that only you seem to hear. Interesting that you went there.

        • Wisely said I notice too.

          Antisemitism is a word they use when they are directly confronted with the consequences of their actions. They then start using terms that are easily debunked by watching just a few videos by The Leather Apron Club on YouTube.

          Btw Masked Avenger, a consistent pattern of behavior throughout history brought us together in this comment section. If you want to throw out the Anti-Antisemetic canard please explain how thousands of different groups over thousands of years of history are wrong about “Rachel Levin” and all of the other things AIPAC forces on the West to accept but denounces inside Israel.
          If you were really clever you would denounce HIIAS demanding unlimited immigration to America while denouncing it in Israel.

          • I don’t waste my time with antisemitism bigots.

            You’re nowhere as clever as you think you are.

        • The four people he all mentioned made notorious anti-semetic quites long before the modern nation of Israel was founded in 1948. Its not that difficult to parse what he was saying. Its cute that you are so stupid you didn’t get it, but we did. Suzanne is allowing Nazis to hang out in the comment section. You may be familiar with the saying—if you let Nazis drink at your bar, then you own the Nazi hangout. Its not surprising that eventually itwould be out in the open. MRA’s comment section is now a safe place for antisemitism. Its the owner’s right to allow stupid comments, but now its also her brand.

          • AJP, it is illogical and disingenuous to claim that being rightfully opposed to the inordinate influence that the state of Israel has on American political policy is somehow a manifestation of “anti-semitism”. Your despicable attempts to slur any such opposition to the Israeli lobby as such is akin to the shrill and idiotic cries that anyone who levels any criticism whatsoever against any black politician is automatically guilty of “racism”.

    • BTW: where you give yourself away is simple.

      -“praying” to a Roman fort in Jerusalem

      -listing some virulent anti semites as your sources.

      Again, you’re nowhere as clever as you think you are.

      • Yes yes, everyone is an antisemite, deplorable, racist, nationalist, white supremacy. I have heard it all before.

        Got any evidence disproving his claim, or you just gonna resort to Trump style name calling and tantrum throwing?

  7. Contrary to the pandering DeSantis and other males on the stage were intent on making last night, abortions at or after 24 weeks are rare. They represent less than 1% of all abortions in the US. They require treatment over multiple days, and are only performed by a subset of all abortion providers. Reasons females seek abortions later in pregnancy include medical concerns such as fetal anomalies or maternal life endangerment, as well as barriers to care that cause delays in obtaining an abortion. Public support for abortion after 24 weeks is low, but still, it should never be up to politicians to tell a doctor what is best for their patient. On the other hand, the number of children killed in the U.S. by firearms in 2021, was about 2600. Halley sounded like the most reasonable on the chaotic stage last night. For the simple reason she seems to be the most logical one regarding the Republicans’ Achilles heel, abortion. But I doubt most women can trust her. The Republican Supreme Court has sealed her fate to losing the general election, as it has with the rest of the Republican field.

    • These issues they are debating are not any you should be concerned about. These are issues they have selected for you to be concerned about.

      There are real problems in our world to deal with. Everything the establishment presents to you is but a distraction from reality.

  8. So 6 of 8 will vote for a convicted felon. Shows just how debased the Republican cult has become. I wonder how they explain their sick decision to their children…

    Law and Order! Law and Order!

    And Ramaswamy is a true charlatan – he spews forth his rapid-fire BS, then stands back and flashes a big white smile, so proud of himself that he’s remembered his lines.

    • Pin a teensy little label on, eh, dunkey? What does anyone care about the actual substance of the man as long as you can pin 92 false labels on an any innocent American man he MUST, per your personal ultra vires order, immediately and forthwith transmute into the thing he is falsely labeled; right? Madam? NEIN! go Heil yourself.

    • Politics has only every been a spectacle. One to draw your attention and extract your vote (consent to be ruled).

      You all have been playing a very rigged game. Guess what? You don’t get to win.

  9. Vivek and DeSantis seem the best choices. DeSantis cited focusing on his mission of regime changing Iraq, which we know for sure was reverse-Christian immoral. Why won’t he admit that, instead of running on it?

  10. 24 million viewers on Fox of the establishment debate, Trump had 90 million in a few hours. Who do you think won the debate?

    • All it takes to count as a view is three seconds, sound not required, can occur while scrolling for other things.

      I seriously doubt 1/3 of those “viewers” lasted more than 10 min.

      Hold whatever opinion you wish, but understand the mechanics of the process.

    • To be fair, Trump lives rent free in a lot of heads.
      I’d be willing to bet a significant number of the 90M viewers were raging left-tard NeverTrumpers that need their hit. Also funny how the execs at Fox have instructed their TV hosts not to give air-time to Trump – yet they whine when he doesn’t show up to boost their dismal debate ratings. Face it, Fox News died with Roger Ailes seven years ago.

      After witnessing the 15 minutes of the Fox clown show, its clear that Trump won the debate by not participating.

  11. Truth is, I’m rapidly getting over this clown show. 7, 8, 376 conservative years of everybody bickering over Trump does us no good.

    Some think he’s the Messiah. Some Satan. Neither side can or will listen to the other if they happen to make a valid point. Neither can or will take a moment to consider issues and consequences.

    Those who inhabit the middle and actually want to hear thoughtful discussion are left out. There is no thoughtful discussion. Just clapping seals.

    Last nights “show” had the dignity and effectiveness of a bunch of carnival barkers. Nothing happened to move this mess forward.

    All this cult of personality around both Trump and Biden is a bit too Maoist. But that’s modern America. We’ve become the thing we used to criticize.

  12. I am troubled that of the 8 it was only Ramaswamy on this debate stage who understands the abject failure the U.S. has perpetrated in the Ukraine. 7 bought and paid for stooges advocating for our involvement in this insanity goes along way to prove the continuing power of the Military Industrial Complex that Ike warned us about a generation or two ago.

    And here I thought that DeSantis was more enlightened on this subject? Oh boy… we are so screwed.

      • Wayne, Including the “Operation Warp Speed Turnpike”? You on that road Wayne? I mean it’s not like the forced medicalization of this nations citizens with an experimental treatment that didn’t even work and apparently has deadly side effects is a road that I’d want to travel on.

        Last I checked T is still bragging about the success of his Warp Speed project, acting like a Gorilla beating his chest bellowing about the millions of lives he saved. You expect me to get over this? Sorry pally, I can’t.

  13. Haley may be the only fiscal conservative in the bunch. She spoke the truth:

    ““We have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can’t win a general election that way,” Haley said. She also attacked the Republican Party, saying Republicans drove up spending during the Trump Administration.”

    Yes, $7 trillion was added to the debt under Trump. Haley is also spot on that Trump could win the Republican primary, but is so hated that we’d get four more years of the Biden Crime Family in the general election.

    The biggest kook on the stage is the Ramaswammamamamy guy. He’s too young, doesn’t know history, or science. He should look up how WW2 started when Hitler was appeased. Putin is the modern Hitler and felt emboldened to attack Ukraine after Obama and Biden ignored Putin’s invading Crimea.

    • M, I suggest you become better educated about what your CIA and Dept. of State and a certain charming young lady named Vicky Nuland have been up to in the Ukraine since about 2014. The plot thickens when you consider regime changes, BIO-LABS and tons and tons of $$$ , oh and politico’s kids all landing huge $ money making deals in the Ukraine. Your Government has lied to you, sold you out and is currently on the brink of the destruction of our currency, all because of moronic sanctions that your President has levied upon the evil Putin. Putin isn’t Hitler, a fellow named Xi who lives in China is. And yet your Sec. of State travels to China and Kowtows to Xi. Consider that please.

      Ramaswamy maybe wrong on some things, but here he is right on the Money!

    • I don’t trust Hailey as far as I could throw her, but she is correct. Trump is easily the most vilified politician of the last 100 years. Including Nixon and Johnson.

      The left knows Trump isn’t likely to find more support than he has now. They also know by just letting him be himself, he’s very likely to bleed voters-not gain them. That’s why they are pushing Trump into the news so hard. The more America sees of Trump the politician, the less America likes him.

      If he could only shut his mouth. His mouth got him here more than anything else.

      I’m very much afraid nominee Trump loses to Biden or Newsom or whoever Biden gets replaced with. And in the process brings the GOP house down with him.

  14. Leaders (including Trump and Tucker I doubt they really read except for what’s important to them) debating has lost its appeal. I think its become the men’s version watching a soap opera. Soap Operas were always insignificant. Our American leaders they just don’t read, nor read well, as much as this nation’s past leaders whom they knew how to talk. Our leaders aren’t supposed to talk like us talking like how employees.

  15. The only winner in last nights “debate” was Vivek hands down. Chris “Krispy Creme” was absolutely humiliated. Haley did not do her campaign any favors by showing her war mongering neo-con roots. Pence only bolstered his image as Swamp dwelling empty suit. Ron Desantis solidified his downward trajectory & should throw his support to Trump & preserve his political career for 2028!

  16. Vivek Ramaswamy is the only proven non-neocon in that stage. Asa, Nikki, Christie, and Pence are all completely out of touch with the reality of todays Republican base.

    • What you are seeing is theatre. The system selects all these “candidates” for your review. I didn’t choose them. You didn’t choose them.

      Nope, the system places all these losers in front of us and use their Manchurian Candidate to “wow” you in comparison to the rest of the clowns, leaving you a “clear choice” on who you (not you) want as your next president.

      They are ALL actors.

      I can tell you one thing, none of the people on this debate stage actually qualify for the caretaking of humanity. They can barely keep the roads paved smooth.

    • Did you know VR has been on every possible side of every issue since he announced?

      Global warming? Both sides.
      Support of Israel? Both sides.

      Just a couple, more are easily available.

      Did you know George Soros helped fund his education?

      He plagiarized Barak Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention?

      If Trump is the greatest POTUS this century, why is VR running against him?

      He is Trumps stalking horse. He allows Trump to pretend to not care about debates while proxy participating.

      After the debate, the oppo research is gonna come hard and fast.

    • That’s like saying that if Britney Spears sells more records than the Beatles, that her music is the superior art. Surely you’re not saying that greater numbers equal greater substance are you? Granted, the debate was mostly lacking substance as well, but Tuckers interview was not exactly hard hitting journalism with tough questions being asked.

  17. “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

    The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance” – Carl Sagan

    This quote from the great Carl Sagan perfectly captures the modern Republican party and much of America in general, and was one of the last things he wrote before his death in the mid 90s. Very prophetic. Just remember every time you hear someone downplaying or mocking science, that they’re dismissing the very thing that gives us our modern standard of living. Science is based on the belief that doubt is the great engine that moves societies forward.

    • I downplay and mock $cience.

      Science however, is a great tool for exploring all of God’s creation

    • I agree with Carl, but not your equating to Republicans. I am talking people, not a “party”.
      As to “science”, I grew up on science, learned what was factual and what was theory. Up until the say last 20-30 years, theory has been replaced as “fact”. We have pseudo science that has been fed to the public as “fact”, i.e. “Global Warming, Global Cooling, Climate Change”, that a shot that is called a vaccine is not a vaccine in the true real science aspect.

  18. Good analysis. I watched both, debate and Trump interview. As things stand now, I have not decided whom to vote for in the primary. Trumps interview was looking back, again. The debate was a pile on against Vivek. Ron didn’t really get much time to speak since the bullies and wanna-be’s Christie, Asa, Pence and Haley were tag teaming on Vivek. What he did say I liked. Best one was how he would be no holds bar on the drug and human trafficking’s cartels, have not seen that in any discussion on the debate! Although I have serious concerns about Ukraine, Ron’s answer was measured and reasonable, Vivek’s was good as well. Very Trump like so the actors know where he stands and like Trump would be more likely to back down in the face of a strong USA.
    What I didn’t hear was a question I would like the hear. What will the first week of your Presidency look like? Answers I want to see is
    1. revoking each and every EO that Biden and I would say even Obama, did. Can we say hand cramp!
    2. The immediate firing of the 7th floor of the FBI and whatever floor of the Justice Department. Replacement by outstanding Constitutional Sheriffs from across the nation.
    3. On the phone with Putin, Xe, Iran, North Korea, laying down the law.
    Lastly. I hear many saying the debate was more for whom will be VP. As things stand now, I would be happy with Vivek vs Ron. Ron needs to continue with being Governor of Florida and all the good he is doing.

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