GOP Candidates Spar Over Issues That Surface After Paris Attacks

GOP Rand PaulGOP candidates sparred over numerous issues last week in the Milwaukee debate hosted by the Fox Business Channel and hosted by the Wall Street Journal. Do to new debate rules, two candidates– Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, and Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie– did not make the cut for the main stage debate.

Governor Christie seems to be frustrated with his lack of progress in the polls. A week before the debate, he referred to the Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, Patrick Murray, as a “political weatherman” in an interview with NJ 101.5. According to an editorial in the Asbury Park Press, this is the second time the Governor has taken shots at the pollster since July when he said of Murray and his poll, “there couldn’t be a less objective pollster about Chris Christie in America” and that the poll was created just to “aggravate me.”

Chair the Political Science Department, Dr. Joseph Patten, said about Christie, “He is being upstaged by Trump and he doesn’t have a lane.” Patten referring to Trump because Christie is known for his straight forward and brutally honest ways discussing issues is hidden beneath the flash of the billionaire celebrity real estate mogul and television personality, Donald Trump.

Assistant Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, Stephen Chapman said, “Context is everything. In 2012 ,people were begging him to get into the race but after Bridgegate, he really sunk his chances.”

However, the absence of Governors Christie and Huckabee led to more time for the remaining eight candidates to get their names out. Some of the notable topics that were debated by the candidates were immigration and Middle East Strategy. This would prove to be significant given the terrorist attacks that have sparked the debate on the handling of ISIS and immigration.

GOP John KasichThe first policy disagreement came when Ohio Governor, John Kasich, and former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, attacked Donald Trump’s immigration plan of building a wall to keep illegal immigrants out and supporting mass deportations. John Kasich said, “For the 11 million people…Come on folks we all know you can’t pick them all up and ship them back across the border. It’s a silly argument.” Jeb Bush joined in the argument in defense of Kasich saying, “They are doing high fives right now in the Clinton camp when they hear this.”

After the terrorist attack in Paris by ISIS, there has been controversy over immigration and whether or not the United States should allow the relocation of Syrian refugees into the country. According to Mary Troyan of USA Today, at least 23 governors have shut the door to Syrian refugees relocating in their states do to fears of terrorism.

Governor of Wisconsin and former presidential candidate, Scott Walker said, “There may be those who will try to take advantage of the generosity of our country and the ability to move freely within our borders through this federal resettlement program, and we must ensure we are doing all we can to safeguard the security of Americans”

GOP Marco RubioChapman said, “The attacks will strengthen misstatements about immigration.” He continued that the attacks can influence the voters when he said, “A large portion of voters are ‘nature of the times’ voters” – meaning they are influenced by what is currently going on around them.

Recent graduate of Monmouth University, Tyler Vandegrift said, “I’m not against letting in refugees, but there needs to be a serious check on their travel, background, etc.” However, according to Gavin Hewitt of BBC, France has closed its borders and numerous other European countries are closing theirs.

The second back and forth was between Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, and Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul, over foreign policy and military spending. Rand Paul asked, “How is it conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures?” Rubio jabbed back by saying, “Rand is a committed Isolationist. I know that the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power in the world.”

GOP Jeb BushThe issue of military spending and policy will become more important after the attacks. According to Ben Brumfield of CNN, French President Francois Holland referred to the attacks as an “act of war” and has authorized air raids over the key city occupied by ISIS, Raqqa in Syria.

According to Chapman, “The candidates that continue to strengthen their campaigns are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.” Before the last debate, Murray said, “Marco Rubio’s standout performance in the last debate seems to have paid dividends in a contest that was supposed to be dominated by his former mentor Jeb Bush.” He has continued to impress boosting his campaign into third place, according to the latest Monmouth University poll. Patten said of Jeb Bush, “Because he has so much money, it’s hard to say he’s toast but he is fading quickly.”

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