MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Republican presidential candidates are debating for the fourth time in the 2016 nomination contest, this time in Milwaukee, as they compete to narrow down the wide-open contest.
Here are the latest developments (all times local):
Closing statements in the main Republican debate focused on fiscal policy, the future and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Donald Trump said “we cannot let Hillary Clinton, who is the worst secretary of state in the history of our country, win this election.” Carly Fiorina said a “Clinton presidency will corrode the character of this nation.” And Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he worried about what would happen if Clinton or Bernie Sanders won the presidency.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul argued he was the “only fiscal conservative on stage.” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stressed his commitment to “free-market principles.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio repeated his forward-looking message, promising a “new American century.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pledged to be a commander-in-chief, not a “divider-in-chief.”
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson spoke of several issues, including drug overdoses, rising debt and abortion. He said it was time to change the “narrative,” adding, “there is something special about this nation and we must embrace it and be proud of it and never give it away for the sake of political correctness.”
Fox Business News moderator Maria Bartiromo ignited a chorus of boos from the Republican audience in Milwaukee by referring to Hillary Clinton’s resume as “impressive.”
But the veteran anchor plowed ahead with her question to Sen. Marco Rubio about how his experience makes him worthy of the presidency.
It’s an opening for Rubio to leap headlong into his regular campaign speech, and he makes the most of the opportunity.
He says, “This election is about the future, about what kind of nation we’re going to be in the 21st Century.”
It’s a line that serves as a subtle jab to his fellow Floridian, former Gov. Jeb Bush.
But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz can’t let an opportunity to strike at Clinton go unanswered.
Says Cruz, “Hillary Clinton embodies the cronyism of Washington.”
Moderator Neil Cavuto quietly notes, “All right, I think it’s fair to say you’re not fans of Hillary Clinton’s resume.”
Sen. Rand Paul says humans play a role in climate change, but President Barack Obama’s policies to curb carbon emissions aren’t the way to address it.
He says coal must continue to be a part of the country’s energy picture, alongside renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydropower.
He claims the president’s energy policies are “devastating” his home state of Kentucky’s economy — and the Democratic party’s fortunes there.
Jeb Bush agrees it’s important to diversify energy sources, but he says the way to do it is by creating a high-growth economy.
He says growth will spur investment in new energy technology and help reduce carbon emissions without too much government involvement.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says the federal government should not bail out failing banks.
Asked during the Republican debate if he would provide a bailout to Bank of America if it was about to fail, Cruz says he would not.
Still, he said there was a role for the Federal Reserve to play, noting: “What the Fed should be doing is number one, keeping our money tied to a stable level of gold and number two, being a lender of last resort. That’s what central banks do, so if you have a run on a bank, the Fed can serve as a lender of last resort, but it’s not a bailout, it is a loan at higher interest rates.”
Cruz’s comments drew criticism from Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who said 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.”
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.
Just where is the best place to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin?
Carly Fiorina is jabbing rival Donald Trump in the fourth Republican presidential debate, saying she met privately with Putin — “not in a green room for a show.”
Fiorina says Trump “fancies himself a very good negotiator” and he should know not to negotiate from a position of weakness.
Fiorina says she would not negotiate with Putin now because the U.S. is in a position of weakness, and should first bolster the military in the region to make sure “Putin understands the United States of America will stand with its allies.”
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.”
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson says he’s faced lies about his life story as part of what he suggests is unprecedented scrutiny.
Several aspects of Carson’s biography have recently come into question, including his statements that he was offered a scholarship to West Point.
Carson did not apply to the U.S. Military Academy, which does not offer scholarships. Instead, West Point does not charge tuition or fees to those who receive an appointment to attend the school.
Carson’s campaign has said he was a top ROTC student in high school, and his supervisors told him they could help him get an appointment.
He says: “I have no problem with being vetted. What I do have a problem with is being lied about and putting it out there as truth.”
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.”
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.
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.
GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson is trying to move on from scrutiny over his autobiography.
Just ahead of the debate Tuesday, Carson’s Twitter team posted a video filmed on his way to the venue in Milwaukee.
In it, Carson says: “It really is not about me, it’s about America. It’s about what are we going to do for the kids, for the next generations. And I think if we start working together and stop allowing the purveyors of division to prevail, we’re going to be just fine because we are the United States of America.”
Carson has generally avoided criticizing his rivals in previous debates.
But his rivals have not been shy about taking shots at Carson. Billionaire developer Donald Trump has pointedly listed the questions about Carson’s claims about what he has described as a violent past. Trump and Carson are the leaders in the wide-open contest for the Republican presidential nomination and will be standing next to each other at center stage Tuesday night.
GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio is getting debate night help from a new political group called “Baby Got PAC.”
That’s a super PAC funded by John Jordan, a wealthy California winery owner, and named after a popular 1990s song by rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot.
He and Rick Wilson, a Florida Republican admaker, put together a 60-second commercial that will air Tuesday on Fox News channels, including Fox Business News, which is co-hosting the GOP debate in Milwaukee.
The spot compliments other Republican presidential hopefuls but promotes Rubio as the strongest potential opponent to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton. The ad quotes media reports that Clinton supporters — including former President Bill Clinton — view the 44-year-old Florida senator as her toughest potential general election opponent in a field of 15 candidates.
Jordan formed his own super PAC to spend money on the presidential race, and is putting up roughly $100,000 of his own money. He said other donors have already expressed interest in helping out, and he has several other ads already prepared. Super political action committees can take unlimited amounts of money from contributors but cannot coordinate with the candidates they seek to help.
Asked about the PAC’s name, Jordan says: “You have to be different to stand out. Why not have a little fun with it?”