COLUMBIA — Sparks flew during Saturday’s Republican debate in Greenville, with several candidates taking turns throwing jabs.
The debate, moderated by CBS’s John Dickerson, had a number of notable moments. Here’s a few:
Real estate mogul Donald Trump drew loud boos from the crowd when he criticized former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Trump poked fun at Graham campaigning with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“Lindsey Graham had zero” percent in the polls, Trump said.
After getting loud boos from the audience, he retorted: “I only tell the truth, lobbyists.”
A repeat talking point for Donald Trump was that former President George W. Bush did not keep America safe on Sept. 11, 2001.
Jeb Bush shot back: “I could care less about him going after me. I’m getting sick and tired of him going after my family. My mom is the strongest person I know,” Bush said.
Trump answered: “She should be running.”
Marco Rubio took Donald Trump’s criticism of George W. Bush as an opportunity to praise the former president.
“I thank God all the time that it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore,” Rubio said.
The debate opened with a question about the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Sen. Ted Cruz’s assertion that a judge has not been approved in an election year in 80 years.
Dickerson jumped in, citing the appointment of Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1988.
“Just want to get the facts straight for the audience,” Dickerson said, causing Cruz to stay quiet and leaving room for loud boos from the crowd.
Republican strategist Frank Luntz said Cruz’s pause was a “smart tactic.”
Consistently saying he wants to run a positive campaign, Ohio Gov. John Kasich chastised the candidates’ bickering around him.
“These attacks will elect Hillary Clinton,” he said.
Reach Maya T. Prabhu at 843-509-8933.