Republican debate reveals how the winning candidate would attack Hillary Clinton in the general election
The Democratic candidate for president was mentioned 25 times, accused of incompetence and the downgrading of America
Whoever may have been the winner of the fourth Republican primary debate, all the candidates on stage were clearly focused on their one common enemy: Hillary Clinton, whose name was mentioned more than 25 times.
John Kasich was the first to stick the boot into the presumptive Democratic frontrunner, slamming the former secretary of state for promising “everything” on the spending side.
Then Jeb Bush attacked her for saying Barack Obama’s policies “get an A”.
“Really?” the former governor of Florida continued. “One in 10 people right now aren’t working, or have given up altogether. That is not an A. One in seven people are living in poverty. That’s not an A. One in five children are on food stamps. That is not an A. [That] may be the best that Hillary Clinton can do but it is not the best America can do.”
The favoured Republican bugbear against Clinton, the attack on the US consular station in Benghazi in 2012, was notable by its comparative absence, though Ben Carson got some early applause for the line, “When I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton, who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that this was a terrorist attack and then everybody else that it was a video, where I come from they call that a lie.”
In fact, it was mainly Clinton’s economic policies that came under fire. Bush, especially, targeted the former secretary of state, saying twice in quick succession that Clinton “wants to double down” on Dodd-Frank and banking regulation, and later said she wanted to suppress the energy sector.
Ted Cruz said Clinton “embodies the cronyism of Washington,” and Carly Fiorina invited viewers to “imagine a Clinton presidency,” where “our military will continue to deteriorate, our veterans will not be cared for”.
“What’s worse is a Clinton presidency will corrode the character of this nation, because of the Clinton way,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO continued, switching to the third-person to promise that “Carly Fiorina can beat Hillary Clinton … and under a President Fiorina we will restore the character of this nation.”
Clinton’s record at the state department also came under fire. Donald Trump called her “the worst secretary of state in the history of our country”. Cruz said “She’s got a lot of experience but her policy has proven disastrous.”
The Florida senator Marco Rubio said: “Around the world every day brings news of a new humiliation for America, many the direct consequence of decisions made when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.” Moderator Neil Cavuto remarked at one point: “I think it’s fair to say that you’re not fans of Hillary Clinton’s resumé.”
Clinton, for her part, had a succinct Twitter response for her Republican detractors:
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