From the Left



Republicans Seek Strength in the GOP Debate After Donald Trump’s Indictments

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Vivek Ramaswamy got off to a great start in this primary season’s first Republican presidential debate, and then things slid rapidly downhill.

The 38-year-old entrepreneur and graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School is a new face in politics, national or otherwise, as his opening line suggested with an indirect reference to another once-rising new face from a campaign long ago.

“So, first, lemme just address a question that is on everybody’s mind at home tonight,” he said, cheerfully flashing a wall-to-wall smile that would prove to be as resilient as the national debt. “Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name, and what the heck is he doing in the middle of this debate stage?’”

That brought some welcoming chuckles, mixed with scattered groans from the crowd.

But things toughened up later in the debate, after Ramaswamy called the climate change agenda a “hoax,” chastised his fellow candidates for “memorized, pre-prepared slogans” and called himself “the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for.” His fellow candidates loudly objected, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was ready with a zinger.

“I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT standing up here,” Christie said to Fox News moderator Bret Baier. “And the last person in one of these debates, Bret, who stood in the middle of the stage and said, ‘What’s a skinny guy with an odd last name doing up here?’ was Barack Obama.”


As the crowd hooted like a pro wrestling audience after a decisive body slam, Christie added, “And I’m afraid we’re dealing with the same type of amateur.”

A double shot. But Ramaswamy was ready with a counter-zinger, however weak. “Give me a hug just like you did to Obama,” he said, “and you’ll help elect me just like you did to Obama.”

Not bad, although he sounded a bit rattled that his remark didn’t land as well as he might have hoped. Welcome to the big leagues, Vivek.

But all eight candidates onstage seemed at least a bit off their game as if they were filling in for the main event who didn’t show up, former President Donald Trump, who would be turning himself in to the Fulton County, Georgia, jail the next day after his fourth criminal indictment.


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