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Greenville hosts GOP debate: presidential candidates spar over healthcare, immigration, future of Supreme Court

The ninth GOP Debate was hosted in TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC. 
Mark Ritterpusch, Contributor

The ninth GOP Debate was hosted in TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC. 

The Republican Party (GOP) presidential debate took place in Greenville this past Saturday night, one week before the South Carolina Republican primary. The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was appointed by President Reagan in 1986 and is known for his controversial statements, figured prominently in the debate, given that the appointment of a new justice is now a campaign issue. 
The Republican candidates all agreed that President Obama should not nominate a new justice in the remainder of the presidency so that the next president has the opportunity to do so. 
“Delay. Delay. Delay.” said Donald Trump. 
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that Obama will likely make an appointment, which the Republican-controlled Congress will block until the new president takes office in January.
The one exception was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished fourth in the New Hampshire primaries with 11 percent of the vote. Bush called on Obama to appoint a “consensus” pick. 
Foreign policy and Trump’s first attack on Bush followed the Scalia discussion.. Trump used U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) endorsement of Bush as a criticism. Graham was polling at one percent just before he dropped out of the race last December.
“The war in Iraq was a big fat mistake,” said Trump, commenting on former president George W. Bush’s foreign policy decisions. “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign,” said Trump to Bush. 
“This is just nuts,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who said the candidates should be attacking Democrats and not each other.
Bush attacked Kasich for expanding Medicaid, which was made possible by the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.  Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who finished eighth in the New Hampshire primarieswith 2.3 percent of the vote,  said, “My goal is to get rid of ObamaCare and put the care and emphasis back on the patients.”
The conversation then shifted to illegal immigration policy, about which U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio and U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz debated.
“Marco went on Univision, in Spanish, and said he would not rescind President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty on his first day in office,” said Cruz. Rubio rebutted with a chuckle and said, “I don’t know how Cruz knows what I said on Univision, he doesn’t speak Spanish!” Before Rubio was able to finish the comment, Cruz began speaking fluently in Spanish directly to Rubio, who pretended to ignore it. Cruz told Rubio that he could speak Spanish if Rubio would like him to do so.
Though Trump attacked Bush repeatedly, he also went after Cruz.
“Ted Cruz is the single biggest liar on this stage!” said Trump.
Carson said that he refuses to be part of the screaming. 
“People tell me I need to scream like everyone else, but is that what you really want?” Carson asked the audience. “A candidate who is yelling at youCarson had eight and a half minutes of speaking time, compared to Trump’s 16 minutes and Cruz’ 13 minutes.. 
After the debate, The Tiger had the opportunity to interview Candy Carson, Dr. 
Carson’s wife.
“I believe the people had a chance to see more about what Dr. Carson really had to say when he had a chance to talk …” she said. He doesn’t need a job. He’s not running for a job. He wants to help this country.”
Clemson political science major and Chief Representative in South Carolina Collegians for Carson ‘16 Andrew Hethington said, “I too believe it was a victory for Dr. Carson despite the lack of time in the debate. 
Hethington said that Carson made his arguments without attacking the other candidates, noting that Carson received “significantly more traffic to his website than is usually seen.” 
After the Feb. 20 Republican South Carolina primary, the next GOP debate will take place in Houston on Feb. 25.

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