The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Tense third Republican debate centers on foreign policy, inflation

Amid Trump’s absence, candidates hoped to get ahead two months before the Iowa caucuses.
Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY NET
(From left) Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott speak during the FOX Business Republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday Sept. 28.

Republican presidential candidates gathered in Miami for the third Republican primary debate, attempting to chip away at former President Donald Trump’s high polling numbers. The five hopefuls largely covered the Israel-Hamas war, the Ukraine-Russia war, and inflation in the two-hour-long debate. 

Many eyes were on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a mere two days after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gave him an early and unprecedented endorsement for his presidential bid. 

The debate was also held one day after the Nov. 7 election that brought victory to Democrats across the country, where Ohio voters supported the constitutional right to abortion, Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear won reelection, and Democrats flipped Virginia’s Legislature. 

The Democratic party is less enthused about sitting President Joe Biden, however. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, Biden’s approval rating was at a mere 37 percent, with a 56 percent disapproval rate. According to the poll, 54 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favor Trump.

Republican presidential hopefuls hope to gain ground during the debate amidst Trump’s absence and Biden’s low approval rating. 

Candidates make their cases to Iowans

The candidates addressed various issues impacting Iowans — such as farming, inflation, and abortion — two months ahead of the Jan. 15 caucus.

When asked about inflation, debate moderator Hugh Hewitt quoted an Iowa State University study that found inflation costs rural households about an extra $5,000 last year.

As a former “blue-collar worker,” DeSantis said it’s getting harder for the American worker to rise above and many are falling behind.

“I’ve met people in Iowa, New Hampshire, and all across the country who talked about all the burdens that they’re facing with the rising prices,” he said. “I’ve heard from multiple people when they go grocery shopping … they can’t afford the full cart of groceries anymore.”

When asked if he would raise the retirement age for social security, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said Iowa farmers are one reason why he would not. 

“All you have to do is go to a farm in Iowa and watch their hard work and dedication,” Scott said, emphasizing the physical toll farming has on Iowans. “I will protect social security.”

Nikki Haley talks antisemitism on college campuses

During the debate, candidates locked in their support for Israel amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Haley criticized college presidents who have not spoken up in support of Israel and Jewish students. 

“If the KKK were doing this, every college president would be up in arms,” Haley said. “This is now different.”

Haley said antisemitism is “just as awful as racism” and criticized every American protesting on college campuses who are “in favor of Hamas.”

The issue of Palestine and Israel has polarized U.S. colleges for decades. In light of the war, thousands of college students across the U.S. have held Free Palestine demonstrations that many Republican candidates dub “pro-Hamas.”

The University of Iowa campus has been the site of multiple protests in the last month, with over 100 demonstrators gathering on the Pentacrest in peaceful support of Palestinian people. UI President Barbara Wilson has yet to make a statement on behalf of the school, even after last week’s controversy surrounding the University Democrats at Iowa’s pro-Palestine statement. However, state Board of Regents President Mike Richards released a statement on Nov. 1 on behalf of the board in support of Israel. 

Iowa politicians react to the debate

In the middle of the debate, Reynolds tweeted out her support for DeSantis on X, writing, “It’s about delivering results and pushing the conservative movement forward again!”

Despite their close relationship, Reynolds and Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird do not agree on which candidate should get the bid. Weeks after endorsing Trump for his third presidential bid, Bird posted in support of the former president. 

“It’s time we unite behind President Trump to win this election and Make America Great Again,” Bird wrote. 

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About the Contributor
Grace Katzer
Grace Katzer, Politics Reporter
Grace Katzer is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications, Political Science, and a writing certificate. Previous to her position as a politics reporter, she has been a higher education news reporter at The Daily Iowan and interned with the Spencer Daily Reporter as a news reporter and Iowa Starting Line as a news media reporter.