Lower-tier Republican candidates face off in South Carolina debate
Carly Fiorina came out swinging during the “undercard” Republican debate in South Carolina on Thursday evening.
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO, who was recently bumped off the main stage due to low polling numbers, wasted no time denouncing both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
“Unlike another woman in this race, I actually was spending time with my husband,” Fiorina said, referring to Bill Clinton’s sexual history.
Fiorina then knocked two birds with one stone, comparing Clinton to Trump. She argued that Clinton works inside government to benefit her cronies in the private sector, while “Donald Trump sits outside government and rakes in billions buying people like Hillary Clinton.”
The Fox Business Network debate, moderated by Trish Regan and Sandra Smith, is the smallest undercard debate so far, with only three candidates taking part.
Florina was joined by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who didn’t make the cut for the main debate, was supposed to take part in the so-called kids’ table debate, but his campaign announced on Monday that he will not participate.
During a question about gun control, Fiorina also attacked President Obama, saying that he is violating the Constitution with executive actions to tighten restrictions on gun sales.
“We need to enforce the laws we have,” Fiorina argued.
She then offered Clinton a free lesson in Computers 101.
“Mrs. Clinton, you cannot wipe a server with a towel,” she said, taking a jab at Clinton’s attempt to deflect questions about her use of a private server during her time as secretary of state.
The line got a thunderous applause from the crowd.
But it was Huckabee who may have scored the biggest applause of the night during a discussion about visa requirements for some refugee groups.
“We have a president who seems to be more interested in protecting the reputation and image of Islam than he is in protecting us,” Huckabee said.
He had another big memorable line. Asked about the president’s executive actions on gun control, the former Arkansas governor called them “completely insane.”
“I purchase guns, and I can assure you that it is much more difficult to purchase a firearm than it is to get the ingredients for a salad at the supermarket,” he said.
Santorum managed to squeeze in one memorable moment during the hour-long debate, taking a small jab at Sen. Paul’s decision to boycott the event.
“I know I’m out of time, but I’m going to take some of Rand Paul’s time here for a sec!” he said.
The line got a forceful reaction from the crowd.
This is largely considered a make-or-break moment for all lower-tier candidates, as they head into the first nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire in just a few weeks.
All three candidates in the undercard debate are in need of a big debate win to show their supporters that they are still viable.