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The fourth Republican debate of the 2016 presidential election had the distinct feel of, well, a real debate.

After Republicans widely panned the moderators at the previous debate for creating a circus-like atmosphere, the candidates —eight, the smallest group yet — had far deeper discussions about their policy plans, particularly on taxes, military spending and immigration.

Taking the stage in Milwaukee were celebrity businessman Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, the leaders of most recent polls, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

As he has in other recent debates, Trump seemed to fade from the spotlight at times. He also seemed to embrace a role as a referee of sorts, complaining that Kasich was taking too much time from Bush and exclaiming about Fiorina: “Why does she keep interrupting?”

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Here are some other takeaways from the Milwaukee matchup.

A SPLIT ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT IMMIGRATION

This debate showcased a significant policy debate within the Republican Party when it comes to immigration. Trump and Cruz advocated vociferously for deporting an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the country illegally, while Kasich and Bush called that impractical.

Cruz said Republicans will lose the presidential race if they offer “amnesty” to illegal immigrants. “We can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law,” he said. Earlier Trump had reiterated his promise to build a secure wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. “We are a country of laws,” he said. “We need borders. We will build a wall.”

While a popular position with some of the most conservative Republican primary voters, Kasich and Bush argued that’s not a practical position for the GOP nominee to take into the general election next November.

“For the 11 million people, c’mon folks. We all know you can’t pick them up and ship them across the border,” Kasich said — a line that drew enthusiastic applause from the audience. Bush put it in more stark terms: “They’re doing high fives in the Clinton campaign when they’re hearing this.”

Indeed, Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s spokesman Brian Fallon wrote on Twitter about the exchange, “We actually are doing high-fives right now.”

One person who wasn’t asked to weigh in — and didn’t insert himself into the discussion — was Rubio, who has had to walk back his involvement in a failed Senate plan to dramatically overhaul the country’s immigration policies with a plan that included a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which some Republicans decried as unfair amnesty.

SPENDING DIFFERENCES

Rubio has been attacked by Bush and Trump in the past as an absentee lawmaker, yet it was Paul who hit the Florida senator the hardest during the debate.

Paul slammed Rubio’s plan to expand tax credits for families with children, which Paul said amounts to a new expensive welfare program. “We have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t,” Paul said.

And a Paul-Rubio exchange about military spending highlighted another policy divide within the party. “Can you be a conservative and be liberal in military spending?” Paul asked, pointing to Rubio’s plans to expand the military.

Rubio fired back: “I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I’m not.”

Cruz interjected that there’s a way to “split the difference.” He said, to audience applause, “you think defending this nation is expensive? Try not defending it.”

But Cruz said he would offset any increase in military spending by cutting in other areas, offering up the federal subsidy for the sugar industry as a specific example. Cruz didn’t say it on the debate stage, but Rubio has defended that subsidy — which greatly benefits the Florida-based industry.

KASICH AND BUSH TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LONGER FORMAT

Kasich elbowed his way into the debate again and again, saying at one point, “Look, I hate to crash the party.” Kasich and Cruz had a testy exchange late in the debate on whether big banks should be propped up with federal help as they fail. Cruz said flatly that he would not give the Bank of America, as an example, bailout money even if it were teetering on the brink.

Kasich took another approach, saying he wouldn’t ignore people who have their life savings in these banks. He said executive experience matters, arguing that “on- the-job training for president of the United States doesn’t work.”

Bush noted early on that he only had four minutes of speaking time in the last debate. Although he still wasn’t the chattiest candidate on stage, he did make use of the longer response times moderators allowed this time and called out Clinton as out of touch on the economy.

“Hillary Clinton has said that Barack Obama’s policies get an ‘A.’ Really?” Bush asked. “One in 10 people aren’t working or have given up looking for work, one in seven people live in poverty, and one in five are on food stamps. That is not an ‘A.’ It may be the best that Hillary Clinton can do, but it’s not the best America can do.”

CARSON BIO LARGELY UNQUESTIONED

Coming into the debate, Carson was expected to face tough questions about certain discrepancies in his life story, which has served as a point of inspiration long before he became a presidential candidate. Yet moderators touched only lightly on that topic.

“I have no problem with being vetted,” Carson said. “What I do have a problem with is being lied about and putting it out there as truth.”

He argued he’d been scrutinized more than Clinton, successfully pivoting the discussion from himself to the Democratic front-runner. “People who know me,” he said, “know that I’m an honest person.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is trying to show his international chops by taking the debate audience on a trip around the world during the fourth presidential debate.

The former congressman and member of the House Armed Services Committee is vowing offense versus China on cyber security.

Ukraine? Arm the independence movement.

Saudi Arabia? Cut off aid to radicals.

Jordan? “We want to the king to reign for 1,000 years.”

Israel? “We have no better ally in the world.”

And while Kasich says, “China does not own the South China Sea,” he credits President Barack Obama for moving U.S. naval forces into the region to keep them in check.

———

Donald Trump says he’s fine with Vladimir Putin playing a role in trying to “knock the hell” out of the Islamic State in Syria. But Jeb Bush says not so fast.

Bush says during the fourth GOP presidential debate, “Donald is wrong on this.” He adds that allowing Putin to collude with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against the Islamic State is “like a board game. That’s like playing Monopoly or something.”

Bush says the United States must be a leader in Syria, while Trump says it’s not the United States’ job to be the world’s policeman. He’s suggesting that arming rebels to fight Assad may create more problems in the region.

The exchange is the first combative moment between Bush and Trump on tonight’s debate stage.

———

Jeb Bush says American leadership is needed to combat Islamic terrorism.

The former Florida governor says during the main-stage Republican debate that the Islamic State group is the biggest threat facing the United States.

Bush says President Barack Obama “does not believe in American leadership.” Bush is calling for a no-fly zone in Syria and safe zones for refugees to stay in the region.

Bush argues that without “American leadership every other country in the neighborhood begins to change their priorities.”

———

Donald Trump says a new international trade deal is “horrible” and empowers China.

But Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has a quick reminder: the Trans-Pacific Partnership doesn’t include China.

The sharp response from Paul during the fourth Republican presidential debate Tuesday came after Trump called China the “number one abuser of this country.” He says the TPP deal makes the United States vulnerable and “we’re losing with everybody.”

Trump says: “I love trade. I’m a free trader 100 percent but we need smart people making the deal and we don’t have smart people making the deal.”

Paul says there’s an argument that China doesn’t like the TPP deal because it will increase U.S. trade with China’s competitors. Paul says the U.S. should be negotiating from a position of strength, but Congress has given up too much of its power to the president in making the deals, leaving the legislative branch as a bystander.

———

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is lobbing the first attack of the night at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio by questioning his conservative credentials on taxes and military spending.

Pointing to Rubio’s plans to expand the military, Paul says, “Can you be a conservative and be liberal in military spending?”

Rubio is firing right back: “I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I’m not.”

Despite Rubio’s campaign momentum, no other candidates have taken a chance to hit him in tonight’s debate. But Paul isn’t holding back, also slamming Rubio’s plan to expand the child tax credit, which Paul says amounts to a new expensive welfare program.

Paul says, “we have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t.”

———

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he is going to “fight as hard as I can to shift power away from Washington” to jump-start the economy if elected president.

Bush said during Tuesday’s fourth Republican presidential debate that his highest priority is simplifying the tax code to stimulate the economy and pay down the national deficit.

He says if that’s not done, “we’re stuck with the new normal of 2 percent growth.” He says that while jobs are being created, they are lower-paying than the ones that were lost during the recession.

Bush says Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton’s approach is “more top-down, more regulation, more government and it will destroy our economy.”

———

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stumbled in listing his plans to eliminate five federal agencies.

Talking about his economic plans during the main stage Republican debate, Cruz identified “five major agencies that I would eliminate: the IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce and HUD.”

Cruz listed the Department of Commerce twice. According to his website, the plan also includes the Department of Education.

The moment was reminiscent of a Republican debate in 2011, when former Texas Gov. Rick Perry failed to remember one of three federal agencies he pledged to eliminate, saying, “Oops.”

———

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are arguing for flat tax plans they argue would be fairer to Americans and would ignite growth in the U.S. economy.

Paul says he has several budget plans, all designed to shrink government spending. He seeks a 14.5 percent flat tax.

Paul says he wants a government that’s “really, really small, so small you can barely see it. I want more money in the private sector.”

Cruz seeks a 10 percent flat tax, so “no longer do you have hedge fund billionaires paying less than their secretaries.”

Cruz seeks to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service, as well as the estate tax and payroll taxes. Says Cruz, “The current system isn’t fair.”

———

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina says as a cancer survivor she knows better than anyone the importance of people with pre-existing conditions having access to health insurance.

Fiorina brought up her own battle with cancer when talking about her plans for health care reform during the fourth Republican presidential debate Tuesday in Milwaukee.

She says the health care overhaul law championed by President Barack Obama “is failing the very people it’s designed to help.”

Fiorina says the law needs to be repealed to let states manage high-risk pools while allowing the free market to work.

She says, “Let us try the one thing in health care we’ve never tried — the free market.”

———

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says Republicans will lose the presidential race if they offer amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Cruz says “we can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law.”

Framing this as an economic issue for many Americans, Cruz is asking how the press would feel if “people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages.”

———

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s prescription for economic growth and job creation includes reducing regulations and the corporate tax rate, repealing the president’s health care law and modernizing higher education.

He says during the fourth GOP presidential debate that high corporate tax rates force companies to take jobs out of the country, the health care law discourages businesses from hiring new workers and the existing higher education system doesn’t teach 21st century skills.

Rubio says the government must respond to the country’s ongoing “economic transformation.”

———

Donald Trump is celebrating a federal appeals court decision undercutting part of an executive order from President Barack Obama that would allow some people in the country illegally to stay.

Trump is also repeating his promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting the millions here illegally.

That’s prompting a sharp rebuke from Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Trump says: “We are a country of laws. We need borders. We will build a wall.”

Kasich supports a pathway to legal status. He says: “For the 11 million people, c’mon folks. We all know you can’t pick them up and ship them across the border.”

Bush also supports a pathway to legal status, and speaks more to the political dynamic of the divisive issue.

Bush says: “To send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not possible. … The way you win the presidency is you have practical plans.”

A feisty Jeb Bush sought to regain his footing in Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, challenging President Barack Obama’s economic record and criticizing Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton for pledging to build on his policies.

“It may be the best Hillary Clinton can do, but it’s not the best America can do,” said Bush, who is attempting a campaign reset after a sluggish start to his bid for the GOP nomination.

The debate opened with a narrow focus on economic policy, with moderators from Fox Business News allowing the candidates to deliver lengthy answers. There was little interaction among the candidates at first, and the moderators didn’t attempt to get them to engage each other, a notable shift after Republicans criticized the aggressiveness of the hosts in the last debate.

That didn’t last, though. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich went after each other aggressively when the subject of immigration came up — Trump insisting anew that 11 million or more immigrants in the country illegally be removed — and Florida Gov. Bush chimed in as well.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson entered the debate facing questions about the veracity of his celebrated biography, which has been at the center of his connection with voters. Carson pushed back on the questions and suggested the media were harder on him than Clinton.

“We should vet all candidates,” Carson said. “I have no problem with being vetted. What I do have a problem with is being lied about.”

———

While pieces of Carson’s background had been challenged earlier in the campaign, the questions ballooned last week after CNN reported it could not find friends or confidants to corroborate the story, told in his widely read autobiography, of his unsuccessfully trying to stab a close friend when he was a teenager.

The debate, the last for the GOP until mid-December, could help shape the course of the campaign into the winter as voters begin to pay more attention to the White House race.

Drawing a sharp contrast with Democrats, the candidates voiced opposition to raising the federal minimum wage, casting it as an impediment to job growth.

“If you raise the minimum you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said.

Trump concurred. “We cannot do this if we’re going to compete with the rest of the world,” he said.

Democratic front-runner Clinton has called for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12. Her chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has backed an increase to $15.

Trump has led the field for months, defying standard political logic, while experienced governors and senators have struggled to break through. Carson, another outsider, has begun challenging Trump’s hold on the GOP contest.

The debate could be crucial for Bush. The former Florida governor has sought to interject early, reminding moderators that he had limited time in the last contest two weeks ago.

“I got about four minutes in the last debate,” Bush said.

———

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says low interest rates are hurting poor families.

Asked about rising income inequality during the main-stage Republican debate, Paul says the Federal Reserve is partially to blame by keeping interest rates low. He says that “destroys the value of currency.”

Paul also argues that income inequality is worse in cities and states with Democratic leaders, saying “if you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor.”

———

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is attacking the Democrats’ stewardship of the economy.

Bush says: “Hillary Clinton has said that Barack Obama’s policies get an ‘A.’ Really?”

He adds at that one in 10 people aren’t working or have given up looking for work. Bush says one in seven people live in poverty and one in five are on food stamps.

Bush adds: “That is not an ‘A.’ It may be the best that Hillary Clinton can do, but it’s not the best America can do.”

———

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he wants to reduce the number of federal regulators, who he says descend “like locusts” and hurt economic growth.

Cruz is touting his plan for a 10 percent flat personal income tax and a 16 percent business tax during the fourth Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee. He calls his proposal “bold and simple.”

Cruz calls economic growth under President Barack Obama “a disaster” but says “it doesn’t have to be.”

He says the economy can be turned around, adding, “We have done it before and with leadership we can do it again.”

———

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is opening the Republican debate by reminding voters he’s the only acting executive on stage and telling them he’s the only candidate who knows how to balance the federal budget.

To get there again, he says he’d freeze discretionary spending and cut Medicare growth without eliminating benefits.

He often points to his experience balancing the federal budget while in Congress in the 1990s. He says he “stepped on every toe” in Washington to get to a balanced budget.

Kasich says it’s a moral imperative for politicians to create an environment that promotes job creation and helps lift people out of low-wage jobs.

———

Sen. Marco Rubio says he wants an America with more welders.

During the main-stage Republican debate, Rubio says people are working hard, but the economy is not providing jobs that pay enough. The answer, he says, is to reform taxes, ease the way for businesses and make higher education more accessible, particularly for vocational training.

Rubio says: “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

———

The two leaders in the race for the GOP nomination oppose raising the minimum wage.

Billionaire developer Donald Trump says during the prime-time Republican debate that he opposes a $15 minimum wage, enacted Tuesday in his home state, New York.

Trump says we can’t raise the wage “if we are going to compete with the rest of the world.” He says American wages are too high.

Retired surgeon Ben Carson agrees.

Carson says, “People need to be educated on the minimum wage.” He says that every time it is increased, unemployment goes up.

Carson says he appreciates having worked as a lab assistant early in life, and says the experience gave him more than was reflected in the wage.

He says, “I am interested in people being able to enter the job market.”

Drawing a sharp contrast with Democrats, Republican presidential candidates voiced opposition to raising the federal minimum wage in Tuesday’s primary debate, casting it as an impediment to national job growth.

“If you raise the minimum, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said.

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump concurred. “We cannot do this if we’re going to compete with the rest of the world,” he said.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12. Her chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has backed an increase to $15.

The economy-focused debate, the last for the GOP until mid-December, could help shape the course of the campaign into the winter as voters begin to pay more attention to the White House race.

Trump has led the field for months, defying standard political logic, while experienced governors and senators have struggled to break through. Another outsider, Ben Carson, the quiet retired neurosurgeon, began challenging Trump’s grip in recent weeks. As he’s risen in preference polls, however, Carson has faced a flurry of questions about his biography, which has been central to his connection with voters.

The debate could be crucial for the presidential hopes of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who has struggled mightily. Bush sought to interject early, reminding moderators that he had limited time in the last contest two weeks ago.

“I got about four minutes in the last debate,” Bush said.

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The fourth prime-time GOP presidential debate is underway, with the first question, about minimum wage, going to billionaire Donald Trump.

It’s the first time fewer than 10 top candidates are sharing the debate stage. At center are the two leaders of the pack, Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Arrayed around them are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The audience features prominent Republicans, including new House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The undercard

Relegated to the Republican undercard debate for the first time, Chris Christie focused on attacking Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton as he tried to use his performance as a springboard back into the field’s top tier.

“Hillary Clinton’s coming for your wallet everybody. Don’t worry about Huckabee or Jindal, worry about her,” he said early on in the hourlong debate.

“If you think Mike Huckabee won’t be the kind of president who will cut back spending, or Chris Christie, or John Kasich, wait till you see what Hillary Clinton will do to this country,” he added. “She will drown us in debt. She is the real adversary tonight.”

The approach couldn’t have been more different from that of an aggressive Bobby Jindal. The Louisiana governor repeatedly jabbed at Christie and his fellow Republicans, criticizing their states’ economic records and accusing them of being watered-down Democrats instead of true conservatives.

“Let’s not just beat Hillary,” Jindal said. “Let’s elect a conservative to the White House, not just any Republican.”

It was a crucial moment for the two sitting governors, each trying to remain relevant in a race for the Republican presidential nomination that has favored political novices who have never held public office. They appeared with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was also relegated from the prime-time debate to the earlier event.

Throughout the debate, Christie kept a tight focus on Clinton on issues ranging from taxes to crime to veterans’ care. He said the party’s primary focus should be choosing a candidate who can beat Clinton, and said that he is uniquely qualified for the job as a “pro-life Republican” governor from a Democratic state.

“That’s the person you want on the stage prosecuting the case against Hillary Clinton,” he said, one of several times Christie pointed to his history as a U.S. attorney.

Coming into the debate, Christie and his backers tried to put a positive spin on his downgrade from the main stage, arguing it would give him more airtime to make his case to viewers. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was able to use her position in the first undercard debate to catapult herself into the top-tier of candidates, and some hoped Christie might be able to bounce back.

Jindal has yet to make it onto the main debate stage, and he used his time to hammer home the argument that he was the only person on stage who had cut government spending in his state. He also took aim at Christie’s record in New Jersey and Huckabee’s in Arkansas.

“We’ve got four senators running, they’ve never cut anything,” Jindal said. “Records matter.”

Santorum, meanwhile, appeared outmaneuvered by his more aggressive rivals, despite notably raising his voice as he contrasted Republicans with Democrats.

“I respect them because they are willing to take it to us,” he said.

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Each of the four Republican candidates onstage is making a very different closing argument about why he is the best qualified candidate to be president.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he’s the only candidate in the crowded field with a record of cutting the size of government.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says he’s the candidate who will fight for working families.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he’ll never forget his humble upbringings and will re-energize belief in the American dream.

And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is making the case that he’s the best positioned to defeat Hillary Clinton and unite the country.

Those statements bring the undercard debate to a close.

———

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says someone needs to go to prison over scandals at Veterans Affairs hospitals.

He cited problems at the VA when asked during Tuesday’s undercard Republican presidential debate how to restore a sense of pride in the military. He says all veterans should get the health care they want, no matter what hospital they want to go to.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says the United States has broken its promises to veterans and “they’d sure appreciate a better paycheck.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the best way to reconnect the American people with those in the military is to “give them a commander-in-chief who respects the military and everyone who wears the uniform.”

And former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says President Barack Obama hasn’t stood behind the troops. Santorum says Obama gets in and out of military conflicts “based on what the polls are saying.”

Chris Christie and Rick Santorum have a shared distaste for the Federal Reserve.

The New Jersey governor and the former Pennsylvania senator both argued during the undercard Republican debate that federal interest rates have been kept low to support President Barack Obama.

Christie says the Fed should be audited and “should stop playing politics.” Santorum says low interest rates are “hurting seniors.”

Fellow candidate Donald Trump made similar claims recently. At the time, White House spokesman Josh Earnest insisted the Fed acts independently, saying the administration “goes to great lengths” to ensure the Fed can make decisions solely on the economy’s interests and to prevent those decisions from being influenced or even tainted by politics.

One thing the four Republican presidential candidates in the undercard debate can agree on is that none of them wants to name a Democrat in Washington they can work with.

All four dodged the question during Tuesday’s debate in Milwaukee.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declines to answer, saying it’s a silly question.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee uses his time to praise veterans.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says the federal government needs to get out of the infrastructure business.

And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says: “I’ll tell you the thing that disturbs me the most about the Democratic Party is they’re not standing behind our police officers in this country. They’re allowing lawlessness.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has turned his attacks to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But Christie just wants to go negative on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

An energized Jindal criticized Christie’s record in New Jersey during the undercard Republican debate, arguing he had grown social programs like Medicaid.

Jindal said he had the strongest conservative record on the stage, adding, “Records matter.”

During the exchange, Christie kept his focus on the Democratic front-runner. He said the Republicans need to field a candidate that can beat Clinton, noting that he has won as a conservative in a Democratic state. He also joked that while he gets called a lot of names in New Jersey, “liberal is not one of them.”

———

Chris Christie says if he’s president, China will have no doubt the United States “means business,” whether fighting cyber warfare or projecting military strength.

Speaking about China’s efforts to build islands in the South China Sea, Christie says, “the first thing I’ll do with the Chinese is I’ll fly Air Force One over those islands. They’ll know we mean business.”

Christie, continuing to turn attacks toward Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, says the Obama administration has a “weak and feckless” foreign policy toward China. He says he’d beef up the United States’ ability to fend off cyberattacks.

——

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says Wisconsin workers should ask Republican presidential candidates opposed to the Export-Import Bank “why we’re tying one hand behind their back and saying go out and compete.”

Santorum defended his opposition to the 2008 federal bailout for automakers when asked during Tuesday’s fourth Republican candidates’ debate whether he stood by that position. Santorum says “I’m a capitalist, not a corporatist.”

He says the auto industry and unions would have survived without Washington picking winners and losers.

Santorum’s defense of the Export-Import Bank comes after General Electric Co. announced in September it was shutting down a plant in Waukesha, not far from the site of Tuesday’s debate in Milwaukee, and blamed Congress’ refusal to fund the Export-Import Bank.

Santorum referenced GE shedding jobs in the U.S., but did not reference the nearby plant facing closure.

———

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has a message for his fellow Republicans on the debate stage: Stop the infighting — Hillary Clinton is the real enemy.

And to voters, he says: “Hillary Clinton’s coming for your wallet, everybody. Don’t worry about Huckabee or Jindal, worry about her.”

Christie’s jab at Clinton follows a back-and-forth between Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee over their records as governors. Jindal is accusing Huckabee of growing the size of Arkansas’ government during his tenure.

Christie’s comments on the exchange are reminiscent of an earlier debate during which he called out Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump for an extended exchange over each other’s records.

Looking into the camera, he says: “If you think Mike Huckabee won’t be the kind of president who will cut back spending, or Chris Christie, or John Kasich, wait till you see what Hillary Clinton will do to this country. She will drown us in debt. She is the real adversary tonight.”

———

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are bumping heads on budgets.

Jindal is declaring during the Republican undercard debate that “there’s only one of us that has actually cut government spending and you’re looking at him.”

But Huckabee is quick to push back. He is touting his own record and says, “it’s just not accurate to say nobody else up here has ever cut.”

Jindal responds that spending and taxes went up under Huckabee’s watch.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says the United States is “on the path to socialism.”

Jindal said Tuesday during the Republican undercard debate in Milwaukee that the most important question facing voters in the upcoming presidential election is whether people are willing to cut the size of the government to grow the economy.

He says, “It’s not enough just to beat Hillary Clinton, we have to change the direction of our country.” He says under President Obama there is “record dependence” on welfare programs.

Jindal is struggling to break through in the crowded Republican field, and has not been on the main stage in any of the four GOP debates.

———

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says better job training for people coming out of high school is key to strengthening the manufacturing industry.

Santorum says he visits a manufacturing company once a week and finds open jobs with no one to fill them. He says too many politicians, including his fellow Republicans, wrongly think every high school graduate needs to go on to college.

He says, “we need to provide opportunities for them to go to work out of high school.”

———

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is calling for more manufacturing in the United States.

Huckabee says that if we can’t “feed ourselves, fuel ourselves and fight for ourselves,” there is no freedom.

Huckabee continued his call to create a “Fair Tax” that would eliminate federal income and investment taxes and replace them with a 23 percent federal sales tax. He also says he would abolish the Internal Revenue Service.

Huckabee was on the main stage in the previous Republican debates, but was bumped to the early event tonight due to low polling numbers.

——

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says if he’s elected president, he’ll “fire a whole bunch of IRS agents.”

The line delivered Tuesday in response to the first question of the fourth Republican undercard debate drew applause from the audience in Milwaukee.

Christie is trying to have a breakout night after being taken off the main stage. He competed with the frontrunners in the first three debates.

Christie says he wants to make the tax code fairer by getting rid of all deductions except for home interest and charitable donations. He says his plan would make it so income taxes can be filed in 15 minutes.

The first question of the undercard debate goes to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. He is asked what concrete steps he would take to create jobs. He responds with a story about a woman who approached him in New Hampshire and said she is experiencing anxiety about paying her bills.

Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee were relegated to the undercard debate for the first time, because they failed to garner 2.5 percent in the four most recent national polls. Also onstage are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Not on the stage at all, for the first time: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki, because they failed to get 1 percent support in any one of those four polls.

A smaller cast of candidates faces off Tuesday night in the Republicans’ fourth presidential debate, with mild-mannered Ben Carson pledging to push back aggressively if challenged on the veracity of his celebrated personal story. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is expecting more confrontation, too, from rivals trying to block his momentum.

The debate, the last for the GOP until mid-December, could help shape the course of the campaign into the winter as voters begin to pay more attention to the White House race.

Billionaire Donald Trump has led the field for months, defying standard political logic, while experienced governors and senators have struggled to break through. Another outsider, Carson, the quiet retired neurosurgeon, began challenging Trump’s grip in recent weeks. As he’s risen in preference polls, however, Carson has faced a flurry of questions about his biography, which has been central to his connection with voters.

His campaign manager, Barry Bennett, said Carson is prepared to be far more aggressive in the prime-time debate and is “a lot more fired up” after facing days of questions about his past.

“He’s not going to attack anybody,” Bennett said. “But if somebody goes after him, they’re going to see a lot more ‘back at ‘em’ than they ever saw before.”

While pieces of Carson’s background had been challenged earlier in the campaign, the questions ballooned last week after CNN reported it could not find friends or confidants to corroborate the story, told in his widely read autobiography, of his unsuccessfully trying to stab a close friend when he was a teenager.

Later in the week, Politico examined Carson’s claim of having been offered a scholarship to attend the U.S. Military Academy, and The Wall Street Journal said it could not confirm anecdotes told by Carson about his high school and college years.

In a GOP primary where bashing the media is in vogue, Carson could come out ahead if the moderators of Tuesday’s debate on Fox Business Network are seen as unfairly piling on. Carson’s campaign was active in the effort to change how the party’s debates are run after several candidates expressed unhappiness with moderators from CNBC at an event two weeks ago.

Yet some Republicans say Carson must walk a fine line.

“Will viewers and voters see the unflappable surgeon they have been inclined to support or will a more combative Carson emerge?” said Matt Strawn, the former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. “If the latter, his standing may well suffer if he appears to be yet another politician trying to out-outrage the others on stage.”

Trump previewed a potential line of attack at a rally in Springfield, Illinois, on the eve of the debate.

“With what’s going on with this election, I’ve never seen anything like it. People are getting away with murder,” Trump said. “If you try and hit your mother over the head with a hammer, your poll numbers go up. I never saw anything like it!”

Rubio will walk onto the stage with some momentum following a strong performance in the most recent debate. The senator is widely seen as among the most talented politicians in the GOP field, and his rise appears to have worried some of his rivals.

That’s especially true of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who is a friend and political mentor for Rubio. Bush struggled in his attempts to challenge Rubio in the last debate, though he’s continued to needle him in campaign appearances, and his well-funded super PAC has signaled plans to aggressively go after the senator in the coming weeks.

Trump has also stepped up his criticism of Rubio, calling him a “total lightweight” and a “highly overrated politician” in tweets sent late Monday night.

Rubio’s campaign tried to get ahead of some expected challenges in the debate by releasing two more years of charge card statements from his time as a state lawmaker. He has faced questions about his use of an American Express card issued by the Republican Party of Florida for some personal spending.

Also in the main debate Tuesday night is Ted Cruz, who is enjoying new momentum following a strong performance in the last contest, and businesswoman Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Missing from the lineup are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Both were dropped from the top-tier debate with low poll numbers in national surveys, sparking criticism for the way networks hosting the debates have determined participation.

Christie and Huckabee will instead appear in an undercard debate, along with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

“We’re not whiners and moaners and complainers in the Christie campaign,” Christie said on Fox News. “Give me a podium, give me a stage, put the camera on, we’ll be just fine.”

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