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republican debate 2016

Donald Trump has come under fire again at the latest Republican debate, after a day in which the GOP’s veteran politicians urged voters to desert him.

The front-runner in the Republican race was on the defensive in Detroit as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz piled in.

Donald Trump admitted he had changed his stance on issues but said flexibility was a strength.

Senior Republicans say Donald Trump is a liability who would lose the election.

The debate hosted by Fox News began with Donald Trump being asked about an attack earlier in the day by Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee, who accused the businessman of bullying, greed and misogyny.

Donald Trump dismissed Mitt Romney as a “failed candidate”, but he immediately found himself on the defensive from Marco Rubio.Donald Trump Republican debate March3

The Florida senator said he was “not going to turn over the conservative movement to someone who thinks the nuclear triad is a rock band from the 1980s”.

In one of the most bizarre moments, Donald Trump defended the size of his hands and then quipped about another part of his anatomy.

There were plenty of personal insults from Donald Trump, who labeled the Florida senator “little Rubio” and the senator from Texas as “liar Ted”.

Donald Trump was forced to explain a civil lawsuit involving the collapse of Trump University.

He said he would win the case but Marco Rubio said he was trying to “con people into giving him their vote, just like he conned people into giving him their money”.

Donald Trump was also challenged by the Fox News panel for changing his stance on Syrian refugees, the war in Afghanistan and President George W. Bush.

He replied: “I have a very strong core. But I’ve never seen a successful person who wasn’t flexible, who didn’t have a certain degree of flexibility.”

Hours earlier, Mitt Romney led growing calls by leading Republicans against a Donald Trump nomination.

Calling him a “phony” and a “fraud”, the former Republican presidential candidate said Donald Trump’s policies – like the deportation of undocumented migrants and banning Muslims from entering the US – would make the world less safe.

Others like Paul Ryan, John McCain and a host of national security committee members have also attacked Donald Trump since he cemented his front-runner status earlier in the week on Super Tuesday.

Republicans in four states – Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine – go to the polls on March 5 and Donald Trump is hoping to get a step closer to earning his party’s nomination.

Donald Trump, a billionaire with no experience of political office, has won 10 of the 15 states that have voted so far, with his promise to “make America great again”.

His supporters value his perceived authenticity and business acumen, and say he is the strong leader the country needs.

With the effective departure of Ben Carson this week, the field of Republican candidates – once 17-strong – has now been narrowed to four.

The debate, sponsored by Fox News, was the first time Donald Trump had faced his rivals since winning seven states on Super Tuesday.

It also brought him face to face with presenter Megyn Kelly, whom he dismissed as a “bimbo” after they clashed in the first primary debate.

This time Donald Trump was all smiles and he complimented her looks when he took her first question.

In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton has 10 states, five more than rival Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will take to the debate stage in Flint, Michigan, on March 6.

Republican presidential hopefuls traded sharp blows over foreign policy and the future of the Supreme Court in an often unruly and chaotic debate on CBS News.

After Iowa and New Hampshire, the race has now moved to South Carolina before the February 20 primary.

Front-runner Donald Trump repeatedly tangled with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in a series of tense exchanges.

The lively audience repeatedly jeered and booed the candidates.

As the candidates shouted down and interrupted each other, CBS moderator John Dickerson warned: “We’re in danger of driving this into the dirt.”

Donald Trump and Jeb Bush clashed over the war in Iraq and President George W. Bush’s role during the September 11attacks.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Jeb Bush responded robustly to Donald Trump’s attacks, a departure for the former governor who originally sought a “joyful” campaign.

“We should have never been in Iraq,” Donald Trump said.

“They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none and they knew that there were none.”

Jeb Bush pushed back, defending his brother who will soon join him on the campaign trail before the pivotal South Carolina primary.

“I’m sick and tired of Barack Obama blaming my brother for all the problems that he’s had and frankly I could care less about the insults Donald Trump gives against me,” Jeb Bush said.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was addressed early on in the debate most of the six candidates saying the next president should choose his replacement.

Ted Cruz said “we are one justice away” from the court reversing conservative legal gains.

Donald Trump said President Barack Obama would probably pick a replacement, but stressed that Republicans in the Senate should block him.

“Delay, delay, delay,” Donald Trump said.

Later, Ted Cruz contended that Donald Trump, who has supported Democrats in the past, would nominate liberal Supreme Court justices if elected president.

“You are the single biggest liar,” Donald Trump said to Ted Cruz.

“This guy will say anything.”

The next primary and caucus is in South Carolina next week. Other states will have their turn over the coming weeks and months.

Each party formally announces their presidential candidate at conventions in July, four months before the presidential election.

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio was attacked by several GOP rivals for the party’s nomination to run for the White House, in a fractious ABC debate.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie described Marco Rubio, a rising force in the polls, as inexperienced and scripted.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also assailed by Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, fought back by attacking President Barack Obama.

The New Hampshire debate comes four days before the state picks its presidential nominee in each party.

Several of the seven Republicans on stage have staked much on this state, and the pressure seemed to provoke several points of conflict.

One of the testiest moments at the debate in Manchester was when Chris Christie lambasted Marco Rubio.

“You have not been involved in a consequential decision, where you had to be held accountable, you just simply haven’t,” said Chris Christie.Marco Rubio GOP debate New Hampshire

The New Jersey governor accused Marco Rubio of “truancy” by missing Senate votes and said his eloquent speeches were ineffective in improving the lives of a single American.

However, Marco Rubio, who was a strong third in the Iowa vote on February 1, attacked him for not immediately returning to New Jersey from the campaign trail during the recent snowstorm.

The night got off to a bizarre start when Ben Carson missed his entrance to the debate and was left standing in the wings by debate hosts ABC News.

When it eventually got under way, the candidates sharpened their differences on issues like national security, immigration and abortion.

New Hampshire polls suggest Donald Trump, who has no political experience but finished second in the Iowa vote on February 1, is out in front.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who like Donald Trump is running on an anti-establishment platform, was the victor in Iowa.

However, a strong third by Marco Rubio has made him a target from the others.

One of Marco Rubio’s counter-attacks under pressure in the debate, that President Barack Obama is knowingly changing the nature of the US, was strongly rejected by Donald Trump.

“I think he [Barack Obama] has no idea what he’s doing. And our country is going to hell. So, I just want to say, we disagree on that.”

Jeb Bush also put the boot into his former Florida protégé, saying he was gifted but in a way that reminded him of Barack Obama.

After New Hampshire on February 9, the rest of the 50 states will have their turn over the coming weeks and months.

Each party formally announces their presidential candidate at conventions in July, four months before the presidential election.

Donald Trump’s absence the final Republican debate before the Iowa caucuses was mocked by his rivals, who tried to fill the space vacated by the frontrunner’s boycott by attacking each other on immigration and other issues.

The New York billionaire decided to withdraw after Fox News refused to drop debate host Megyn Kelly, whom he accused of bias.

Donald Trump held a rally nearby – in honor of war veterans – that threatened to overshadow the debate itself.

On February 1, voters in Iowa are due to pick their presidential nominee for each party.

Days ahead of that critical test, Donald Trump’s absence on the stage in Des Moines was keenly felt by his seven rivals in the race to be Republican presidential nominee.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz addressed it with humor in the opening minutes by throwing mock insults at his rivals.

“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben [Carson], you’re a terrible surgeon,” he said.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also poked fun at Donald Trump – his chief tormenter in previous debates – by saying how much he missed him.Fox News debate January 2016

Elsewhere in Des Moines at the same time, Donald Trump led a raucous rally in honor of the country’s war veterans.

“When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights,” he said, referring to his row with Fox.

Fox News released a statement saying that Donald Trump offered to appear at the debate if the broadcaster contributed $5 million to his charities, but they refused.

Data released by Google after the debate suggested that search interest in Donald Trump still far surpassed the other candidates.

Many observers on social media thought the event was duller without Donald Trump.

Some of the night’s most heated moments were provided during exchanges about immigration.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were both forced to explain video clips of previous statements that appeared to be at odds with their hard-line campaign pledges.

They then turned on each other, with Marco Rubio saying immigration was “the lie that Ted’s campaign is built upon”.

An Iraq war veteran who came to the US from Mexico as a child appeared via YouTube to tell the candidates that “some of the comments in this campaign make us question our place in this country”.

Jeb Bush applauded Dulce Candy and said “we should be a welcoming nation”.

The Iowa caucuses on February 1 are seen as the first real test of the election campaign, and the beginning of a series of state-by-state contests to choose delegates for both Republicans and Democrats.

Unlike a primary, which is a traditional election featuring secret ballots on polling day, the caucuses in Iowa are meetings of registered party voters and activists where they discuss the candidates and then vote.

Donald Trump has announced he will boycott the final Republican presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses.

The Republican presidential hopeful accused Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly, whom he has clashed with in the past, of being a “lightweight”.

The unexpected move prompted his closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to challenge him to a one-on-one debate.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager announced the decision on January 26, with just 48 hours to go before the debate.

Corey Lewandowski said immediately after the press conference: “He will not be participating in the Fox News debate Thursday.”

The announcement followed a press conference in which Donald Trump lashed out at Megyn Kelly, claiming she had been “toying” with him.

Donald Trump said he intended to hold a separate Iowa event at the same time as the debate to raise money for wounded veterans. Iowa hosts the nation’s opening presidential primary contest on February 1.Donald Trump boycotts final Republican debate

“With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different,” he said.

“They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. Let them have their debate and let’s see how they do with the ratings.”

On Tuesday night’s airing of her Fox News show, The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly said the debate would “go on with or without Mr. Trump”.

A Fox News spokesperson said Donald Trump was still welcome to participate in the debate but would not be allowed to “dictate the moderators or the questions”.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) said the decision was up to Donald Trump.

“Obviously we would love all of the candidates to participate, but each campaign ultimately makes their own decision what’s in their best interest,” said RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer.

Donald Trump had added an element of unpredictability to the Republican contest, and helped generate big ratings in the previous six Republican presidential debates.

His decision leaves seven other candidates in the debate: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Donald Trump, who is in a tight race with Ted Cruz, has garnered media attention with provocative actions and statements, including a call for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States.

Donald Trump has attacked Ted Cruz over his birth in Canada in the latest Republican debate for White House hopefuls.

The Republican front-runner said Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s birth in Canada raised questions about his presidential eligibility: “There’s a big question mark over your head.”

The constitution mandates the president be a “natural born citizen” of the US.

Issues of national security, the economy and foreign policy have also played heavily in the debate.

In the polls, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are leading the five other candidates who were also on the stage in North Charleston.

The debate came just two weeks before the first real test of the campaign, when voters in Iowa pick their Republican and Democratic choices for president.

The event hosted by Fox Business Network came after days of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump taking shots at each other, shattering a months-long period of goodwill between the two men.

The start of hostilities began a week ago when the billionaire businessman started raising questions about whether the Texas senator’s birth in Canada put his eligibility in doubt.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

However, on the debate stage on January 14, Ted Cruz said there was “zero chance” of a lawsuit succeeding, because the constitution’s definition of “natural born citizens” included people born to an American parent.

Ted Cruz was born in Calgary to an American mother and a Cuban father.

Donald Trump stood firm, noting that a Harvard law scholar had raised doubts and Ted Cruz could face lawsuits by Democrats wishing to challenge his qualification.

They also argued over the meaning of “New York values”, which Ted Cruz threw at the New York billionaire as a slur on his conservative credentials.

Donald Trump said that was an insult to the “great people” who pulled together after the 9/11 attacks.

After the debate, Donald Trump told reporters: “I guess the bromance is over.”

All the candidates targeted leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who was repeatedly attacked for her time as Secretary of State.

The primary contests, in which each party picks their nominee for president, begin in February and the presidential election is in November.