The only woman in the Republican presidential field, a forceful and poised Carly Fiorina lobbed the first grenade at Donald Trump here tonight noting reports that he discussed his possible candidacy with former President Bill Clinton before finally declaring he was getting into the race in June.
“I didn’t get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn’t,” Ms Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett Packard, quipped, attacking the mogul and TV presenter, even though he wasn’t due on stage until the main debate later in the evening that had been reserved for the candidates who made the top ten in recent national polling numbers.
Among the seven who were relegated to the early-evening forum that started outside prime time, Ms Fiorina seemed often to stand out. And she kept on Trump and Clinton.
“Maybe it’s because I hadn’t given money to the (Clinton) foundation, or donated to his wife’s Senate campaign.”
It was unlikely to be last time inconsistencies in the record of Mr Trump, who has opened a wide lead in the polls over his rival, would be raised.
With just one quick-fire hour and a half of taking questions put by moderators from Fox News, all seven strained to show energy and punch discussing topics from immigration, the fight against Islamic State, the economy and, indeed, the conundrum created by the wide lead in the polls opened by Mr Trump.
Senator Lindsey Graham, addressing the economy, aimed his guns at Hillary Clinton, the putative Democrat nominee, asserting that she would represent “a third term of an Obama presidency”.
“Until you change the policies of Barack Obama, you are never going to grow this country, until you change the policies of Barack Obama this is country is never going to be safe…She has empowered a failed agenda, she is going to empower a failed solution to let America grow.”
On Mr Obama’s deeply controversial recent nuclear deal with Iran, Rick Perry, the former Texas Governor, who is making his second run at getting on the ticket, paid the first complement of the night.
“I would whole lot rather have had Carly Fiorina doing the negotiation over than John Kerry,” he declared, warning that by lifting sanctions would give Iran money “they are going to use it for terrorism”.
Mr Graham, who seemed off his usual humorous form used his moments on foreign policy to declare his support for putting American troops on the ground to fight Isis.
“This air campaign will not destroy ISIL,” he said, using an alternative acronym for the self-declared state. He vowed to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to defeat them”. He added: “I can’t tell you how much this nation threatened.”
Leading calls to end all federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the network of women’s health and abortion, was Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. One after another, candidates in the first forum vowed on their first days in office to undo executive orders signed by President Obama for instance on immigrationReuse content