Rubio, Cruz face barrage of attacks in GOP debate

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Marco Rubio, a first-term senator on the rise in the U.S. presidential race, faced a barrage of attacks in Saturday night's Republican debate, with rivals vigorously challenging his readiness to be president and the depth of his expertise as they sought to salvage their own White House hopes.

See Full Article

Sen. Ted Cruz, fresh off his victory in the Iowa caucuses, also came under withering criticism for controversial political tactics, with one candidate disparaging him for having "Washington ethics" and being willing to test the campaign's legal limits.

The focus on the two senators allowed Republican front-runner Donald Trump to go largely untouched in his return to the debate stage. His grip on the Republican lead has been shaken by his second-place finish in Iowa, though the next contest Tuesday in New Hampshire is still his to lose.

In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is facing a strong challenge from liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders.

New Hampshire's primary could further winnow an already shrinking Republican field. Hard-fought, expensive and far-ranging, the campaign has become a fight for the future of the Republican Party, though the direction it will ultimately take remains deeply uncertain.

Florida's Sen. Rubio has sought to appeal both to mainstream Republicans and those eager to upend the status quo. But his rivals, particularly New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have been blistering in their criticism of what they see as his slim qualifications to serve as commander in chief.

"You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable," Christie said. "You just simply haven't."

Christie, as well as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has staked his campaign on New Hampshire, pouring most of his resources into the state in recent weeks. All three played a more substantial role in this debate than in earlier contests, though each is still likely to face intense pressure to end his campaigns if he's unable to pull off a strong finish in New Hampshire.

Gov. Christie has built his closing argument around his criticism of Rubio, and he kept up that approach on the debate stage. He accused the senator of being a candidate governed by talking points -- then pounced when the senator played into his hands by repeating multiple times what appeared to be a planned response to criticisms about his qualifications.

"That's what Washington, D.C., does," Christie said. "The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him."

Rubio has sought to deflect criticism of his relative inexperience and the comparisons it draws to President Barack Obama by arguing the problem with the president isn't that he's naive, but that he's pushing an ideology that hurts the country. He made that point repeatedly throughout the debate.

Rubio wavered in defending his decision to walk away from the sweeping immigration bill he originally backed in the Senate -- perhaps the legislation he's most closely associated with -- and said he wouldn't pursue similar legislation as president.

"We can't get that legislation passed," Rubio said of the bill that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in the United States illegally. The senator found his footing later in the debate when outlining his call for more aggressive action to fight the Islamic State and emphasizing his anti-abortion stance.

Cruz was the victor in Iowa, triumphing over billionaire Trump by drawing heavily on the support of evangelical voters. But he's faced criticism for messages his campaign sent to voters ahead of the caucuses saying rival Ben Carson -- another favourite of religious conservatives -- was dropping out and urging the retired neurosurgeon's supporters to back him instead.

Cruz apologized for his campaign's actions Saturday, but not before Carson jabbed him for having "Washington ethics."

Those ethics, he said, "say if it's legal, you do what you do to win."

Trump was back on the debate stage after skipping the last contest before the Iowa caucuses. After spending the past several days disputing his second-place finish in Iowa, he sought to refocus on the core messages of his campaign, including blocking Muslims from coming to the U.S. and deporting all people in the country illegally, all while maintaining his has the temperament to serve as president.

"When I came out, I hit immigration, I hit it very hard," Trump said. "Everybody said, 'Oh, the temperament,' because I talked about illegal immigration."

AP writer Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Calgary police union head to be criminally charged with perjury

    Canada News CBC News
    Calgary Police Association president Les Kaminski will be criminally charged with perjury, CBC News has learned. The charge relates to a 2008 case involving a man who was acquitted in part because a judge did not believe Kaminski was a credible or reliable witness. Source
  • Child dies after being attacked by two pit bulls

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA — Police say they have arrested the owner of two pit bulls that killed one child and injured another in southwest Atlanta. Atlanta Police Sgt. Warren Pickard says Cameron Tucker was arrested after the children were attacked while walking to a bus stop about 7:30 a.m. Source
  • Ex-Philadelphia mob boss 'Little Nicky' dies in prison

    World News Toronto Sun
    PHILADELPHIA — Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, whose reign over the Philadelphia Mafia in the 1980s was one of the bloodiest in its history, has died at a federal medical centre in North Carolina. He was 87. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Nancy Ayers says Scarfo died Saturday. Source
  • Confirmation hearing for Trump's interior nominee LIVE

    World News CBC News
    Updated Man charged after Milltown school, town hall, RCMP station torched Source
  • Police: Sisters taken 30 years ago found, mother arrested

    World News CTV News
    SCITUATE, R.I. -- Two sisters who disappeared from Rhode Island with their mother in 1985 have been located in the Houston area, and their mother was charged with snatching them, police announced on Tuesday. An anonymous tip two days before Christmas led police to Kimberly and Kelly Yates and their 69-year-old mother, Elaine, said Rhode Island State Police Lt. Source
  • Istanbul gunman confesses to attack: Turkish officials [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ISTANBUL — A gunman suspected of killing 39 people during a New Year’s attack on an Istanbul nightclub has been caught in a police operation, Turkish media reports said early Tuesday. The suspect was captured in a special operations police raid on a house in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district, private NTV television reported. Source
  • LIVE: Garland's mother takes the stand

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Relatives of Douglas Garland, charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the disappearances of a five-year-old boy and his grandparents, are taking the stand on the second day of his trial. Crown lawyer Vicki Faulkner told the court Monday, that four days after the disappearance of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and Nathan O’Brien, police found a smouldering burn barrel on Douglas Garland's parents' farm. Source
  • Naloxone kit saved possible overdose victim's life: Man. RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG - Mounties in Manitoba have administered the opioid antidote naloxone for the first time to help a young man suffering from a suspected fentanyl overdose. Police say they were called last Friday evening to a home in the southeast corner of the province, where they found the unconscious 20-year-old victim with a low pulse and breathing problems. Source
  • 'Mommy loves you, my angel': Woman posted to Facebook after killing daughter

    World News Toronto Sun
    PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh-area woman who wrote on Facebook that “Mommy loves you, my angel” after her 3-year-old daughter was found dead in a ravine was sentenced Tuesday to 20 to 40 years behind bars for killing her. Source
  • Corriveau sentencing on fraud conviction set for Jan. 25

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - An ex-Liberal organizer convicted of fraud related to the federal sponsorship scandal will be sentenced Jan. 25. Jacques Corriveau wasn't present in a Montreal courtroom today as lawyers finalized a division of his assets to repay the amount he owes the federal government. Source