Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz came under attack in the latest Republican debate on Saturday night. Rubio was attacked for being inexperienced and not ready to be president, while Cruz – who is still fresh from his success in the Iowa caucus − was savaged for unethical tactics, including sending emails to voters claiming that rival presidential candidate nominee Ben Carson had dropped out of the race.
Donald Trump, returning to the fold after refusing to be part of the previous debate, was left largely unscathed as a result of the focus on the two senators. Trump’s front-runner status has been shaken by Cruz’s unexpected victory in Iowa, but he is far from out of the running.
Trump refocused on the primary messages of his campaign, including the deportation of all undocumented immigrants and a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. “When I came out, I hit immigration, I hit it very hard,” Trump noted, while mocking those who attacked his temperament solely – he says – because he dared to bring up such a touchy subject.
Rubio defended his controversial decision to withdraw his support from the comprehensive immigration reform bill he helped to create, which passed the Senate in 2013, saying that he would not pursue legislation of a similar nature if he were to win the presidency as it is simply not possible to get such legislation passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.