As it happenedended1702057204

Republican debate: Ratings plunge to lowest yet in 2024 presidential cycle

Winners and losers picked among NewsNation debaters Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie after 4 million viewers tune in

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 08 December 2023 17:40 GMT
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Best moments from the 2023 GOP presidential debates

The fourth Republican debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this week pulled in the lowest ratings yet of all GOP primary debates during the 2024 presidential race.

Over 4 million people tuned in to NewsNation and The CW to watch Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie go head-to-head on stage on Wednesday night.

This is down from 7 million viewers of the third debate, which was down from 9 million and 12.8 million from the second and first.

Wednesday’s debate frequently veered out of control as most of the attacks focused on former UN Ambassador Ms Haley who has been rising in the polls.

Entrepreneur Mr Ramaswamy was met with boos from the audience when he called her “corrupt” and a “fascist” before going on a screed about her foreign policy experience, saying experience isn’t “wisdom”.

Former New Jersey Governor Mr Christie finally had enough of Mr Ramaswamy calling him “the most obnoxious blowhard in America”.

On Thursday, CNN announced that they will host two debates in January – one on the 10th in Iowa, and another on the 21st in New Hampshire.

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Key takeaways from Republican debate: Ramaswamy branded a ‘blowhard’ and Haley under attack in GOP showdown

The fourth Republican debate is over, and what did we learn? Not much, beyond how little these people seem to like each other.

Wednesday night’s showdown in Alabama touched on issues which previous debates skipped over — most glaringly, the GOP’s culture war against transgender Americans. But the main feature of the last meetup of the four underdog Republican candidates seems to have been the animosity which spilled out into view at multiple points.

Obviously, the frontrunner, Donald Trump, was once again absent. So none of this really mattered in the grand scheme of the 2024 Republican primary; he is the wide favourite to win the nomination, and remains so after tonight. But what tonight’s debate really did was illustrate the greater state of the modern Republican Party, and what kind of candidate everyone who is not Donald Trump, the Republican insiders, believe their party wants to see — if not now, then in 2028.

John Bowden8 December 2023 13:30
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Best moments from the 2023 GOP presidential debates

The Independent has rounded up the funniest, messiest, and most outrageous GOP debate stage moments from 2023.

There were four Republican presidential primary debates this year, with the first taking place in August. At the first debate, there were eight candidates present. At the fourth one, only four candidates were invited to join. Donald Trump did not participate in any primary debates.

The main players were consistently Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis.

From yelling over each other about policy to poking fun at footwear, the Republican candidates showed their true colors on stage this year.

Best moments from the 2023 GOP presidential debates
Natalie Chinn8 December 2023 13:31
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Debate attacks on Trump decrease from first debate even has his polling lead widens

For each debate, the candidates have been more willing to attack each other rather than Donald Trump, the frontrunner who’s far ahead in the polling and whose lead has only increased since the debates began in August.

A Politico analysis revealed that on Wednesday night, the four candidates went after each other just four times while Mr Trump came under fire on just nine occasions, with only Chris Christie spending serious time attacking Mr Trump.

During the first debate several months ago, Mr Trump had 52 per cent in the national polls and he faced 10 attacks in the initial showdown. His support has now risen to 60 per cent, but the attacks against him have decreased.

Part of the reason is that the ex-governor from the Garden State is the only real Trump critic left in the race, with the other having either dropped out or been unable to qualify for the debate – former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson attacked Mr Trump twice in the first on-stage clash but has since been unable to qualify while Mr Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence attacked him in both of the first two debates but ended his campaign before the third.

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 14:00
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Ramaswamy slammed for being ‘one step away from Nazi propaganda'

Vivek Ramaswamy faced severe criticism from Van Jones on CNN after the debate for his pushing of the racist great replacement theory.

“I was shaking listening to him talk because a lot of people don’t know that is one step away from Nazi propaganda coming out of his mouth,” Mr Jones said of the entrepreneur.

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 14:30
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Rightwing commentator claims RNC chair is ‘colluding with CNN to make it easier for Joe Biden to win'

Far-right commentator Charlie Kirk went after RNC chair Ronn McDaniel on Thursday, claiming that she “is colluding with CNN to make it easier for Joe Biden to win another four years” after it was announced that the network would host two debates in January.

The rightwing broadcaster Real America’s Voice wrote on X that Mr Kirk criticised Ms McDaniel for “wasting energy on more debates instead of unifying the party and hiring ballot chasers”.

“They don’t want to win, they want to hold on to their power,” Mr Kirk said.

Ballot chasers check in with voters throughout the voting process to ensure that they submit their ballot.

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 15:00
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Ramaswamy yet again pushes racist conspiracy theory in post-debate CNN interview

Vivek Ramaswamy yet again pushed the racist conspiracy theory known as the great replacement theory during a post-debate interview on CNN.

Sharing a clip of the interview on X, the entrepreneur wrote: “It’s official - the Great Replacement Theory is not a ‘far-right conspiracy theory,’ but a legitimate policy debate we can actually have in the open.”

“Last night, after I shut down CNN’s insufferable lecture on why the Great Replacement Theory is ‘dangerous,’ a ‘dog whistle,’ & ‘helps to incite violence,’ they end up blurting the quiet part out loud: ‘Let’s just assume that was something that was happening. Is that so wrong?’” he added.

Mr Ramaswamy faced severe criticism from Van Jones after the debate for his pushing the baseless idea.

“I was shaking listening to him talk because a lot of people don’t know that is one step away from Nazi propaganda coming out of his mouth,” Mr Jones said of the entrepreneur.

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 15:30
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Hasan calls Haley’s TikTok antisemitism claim ‘one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard a candidate say'

During the debate, Nikki Haley claimed that “For every 30 minutes that someone watches TikTok every day, they become 17 per cent more antisemitic, more pro-Hamas”.

Progressive pundit Mehdi Hasan wrote on X: “This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard a candidate say on a debate stage (and I have watched a lot of Donald Trump debates.) Also: Haley’s daughter is on TikTok, as Ramaswamy has pointed out, so how much time does she spend on there and how antisemitic is she?”

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 16:00
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Lincoln Project posts mocking supercut of fourth GOP debate

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 16:30
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Megyn Kelly says she was admonished by ‘pissed off’ Christie during debate break

Debate moderator Megyn Kelly said on her SiriusXM programme that during the first break in Wednesday night’s debate, Chris Christie approached her and was “kinda getting up in my grill” after he became “pissed off” at not receiving questions.

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 17:00
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Newsom slams GOP debate for avoiding gun violence issue

Coming off his debate with Ron DeSantis on Fox News, California Governor Gavin Newsom criticised the GOP debate for avoiding the issue of gun violence.

“There were no questions, no acknowledgements on the debate stage last night about yet another mass shooting -- this time in Vegas. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have just BLOCKED an assault-style weapons ban. The GOP are refusing to acknowledge the truth -- that guns are the number one killer of our kids. They are hoping they can distract you with fake culture wars while they make it easier for people to get guns. Don’t let them,” he wrote on X on Thursday afternoon.

Gustaf Kilander8 December 2023 17:30

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