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Fox holds first GOP primary presidential debate

The first primary Republican presidential debate was set in Milwaukee, Aug. 23, 2023, as eight GOP candidates took the stage.

According to abc news, former president Donald Trump, currently leads the polls by roughly 37% over any other candidate despite currently being involved in four separate indictment cases, missed the debate. He instead headed to Fulton County Jail where he was charged on 13 counts of illegal schemes to overturn the 2020 Georgia election. He posted a $200,000 bond and was last seen boarding a plane to New Jersey where he briefly spoke to the press and was quoted saying “I did nothing wrong,” according to AP

The debate was a cat and dog fight as the candidates fought to be noticed amidst Trump’s absence. Live-streamed on all Fox channel sites the debate left much to be desired. Ron DeSantis, second in the polls with a 14.8% as of Aug. 20, 2023 was expected to be the the star of the debate. However, not only did he fail to lead the discussion he avoided answering many of the moderators questions by skirting around it or refering to the moderators as “treating the candidates like schoolchildren” when asked to raise his hand. Though his 2022 year in terms of polling was stellar, it’s safe to say this debate did not help his declining chances. 

Leading the discussion, surprisingly, was businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. He took a strong right stance, defending Trump, going as far to call the climate change agenda “a hoax” and appealing to the American Dream ideal using his background as the son of immigrants. His controversial opinions took the center stage of the debate, as did his constant arguing with former Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence felt entitled to a 30 second rebuttal after every candidate spoke, so he spent much of the debate butting heads with the moderators and Ramaswamy. He defended the policies of the Trump-Pence administration and then backtracked his talking points two questions later.

Chris Christie was underwhelming. He was one of the most adamant about punishing Trump for his crimes on the talking point of whether or not he should be pardoned which led him to be booed more than one time. 

Nikki Haley took a more moderate approach. It was clear she was hoping her talking points on abortion/women’s rights and climate change would reach not only the right, but also the middle. She took the unexpected strategy of being honest with the public about the realisticness of a federal abortion ban.

Tim Scott, Doug Burgum and Asa Hutchinson stuck to the appeal of a small town guy with a kind smile. They didn’t stick out.

The next primary debate will take place on Sept. 27, 2023, in California, according to USA Today.

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