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Highlights from the third Republican Debate: Ramaswamy, Haley and DeSantis spar over Trump, abortion and the economy

Donald Trump did not participate in the debate and was mentioned only a handful of times by the five GOP candidates who did.

The latest news and updates on the debate:

  • Five Republican presidential candidates faced off tonight in Miami in a debate hosted by NBC News and sanctioned by the Republican National Committee.
  • The debate was moderated by “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker and Hugh Hewitt, host of “The Hugh Hewitt Show” on Salem Radio Network.
  • The biggest clashes were between former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who split over foreign policy. Haley called Ramaswamy "scum" and he mocked her shoes.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came out swinging quickly, trying to criticize both former President Donald Trump, who is the GOP front-runner in the polls and didn't attend the debate, and the rest of the field.
  • The candidates sparred over abortion, trading barbs over how Republicans should be talking about the issue in the wake of Tuesday's election defeats pegged to the issue.
  • There was a heated exchange over China and the use of TikTok, during which Ramaswamy criticized Haley's adult daughter for using the app.
  • The two other debate participants were former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who struggled to have a moment.
32d ago / 4:11 AM UTC

Fact-check: Did the Sierra Club praise Ron DeSantis?

“It cracks me up that Ron continues to do this. He has opposed fracking. He’s opposed drilling,” Haley said today. “He was praised by the Sierra Club, and you’re trying to make up for it and act like you weren’t a liberal when it comes to the environment.”

This is mostly true. DeSantis's record as governor is more progressive than the records of the other candidates running for office. He has embraced protecting the Everglades and opposed fracking and drilling in Florida. In 2019, the Sierra Club they said it was “pleased” with one of his budgets. In more recent years, however, it has condemned his administration.

32d ago / 3:59 AM UTC

Scott confirms girlfriend was in the audience

Scott said his girlfriend was at the debate, saying they’ve been dating for several months and that she was at his campaign launch event.

NBC News: "Any special guests with you today?"

Scott: "All my guests are special."

NBC News: "You were seen on the stage after the debate taking a photo. Any insight on who that was?"

Scott: "Oh, my girlfriend."

His campaign said her first name is Mindy.

32d ago / 3:45 AM UTC

Biden campaign ties candidates to Trump

Biden’s campaign manager laid into the GOP candidates in a statement after the debate ended, tying the Republican candidates to Trump.

"Normally, after you lose, you take a moment to reflect and course correct," Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement. "But in Donald Trump’s MAGA Republican Party, apparently you double down on the same extreme agenda that was soundly rejected last night in elections across the country."

She said that in 2024, voters will choose between Biden and “MAGA Republicans, whose policy platform is to make things worse for you by taking away your freedoms.”

32d ago / 3:34 AM UTC

Trump isn't planning to attend 4th debate

Trump will not attend the fourth debate in December in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Trump senior adviser Chris LaCivita said. LaCivita added the caveat that he has used for previous debates: “Until he is.”

32d ago / 3:29 AM UTC

Notably, the RNC is not holding the Ramaswamy sign in the spin room. It’s his body man, Patrick. Ramaswamy went after the RNC and its chairwoman hard tonight.

32d ago / 3:29 AM UTC

DeSantis, on NBC News Now, says his view of the GOP primary electorate is: 25% are all in for Trump, 25% have moved on and want an alternative, and 50% are open. He indicated his focus is on the 50%.

32d ago / 3:28 AM UTC

Grappling with Trump and abortion losses: Six key takeaways from the Republican debate

On his home turf at the Republican presidential debate in Miami, DeSantis sharpened his case against Trump and tussled with Haley as she looked to build on her momentum.

Five candidates met on stage Wednesday night, just over two months before voting begins: DeSantis, Haley, Scott, Ramaswamy and Christie.

Absent for the third time was Trump, the former president who is dominating the GOP polls so far — and continued his debate counterprogramming tradition with a rally in nearby Hialeah.

While DeSantis and Haley are competing for second place and a shot at being the main GOP alternative to Trump, the other three are fighting to keep their candidacies alive.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.Shuran Huang for NBC News

Here are some key takeaways from the debate.

32d ago / 3:18 AM UTC

Fact check: Are wages flat and prices rising?

“Prices are going up,” Ramaswamy said. “But wages have remained flat.” 

This is half true. Americans made average hourly earnings of $34 per hour in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up 4.1% from $32.66 the year prior and up 19% from $28.55 in February 2020, just before the pandemic swept the U.S.

BLS data shows that consumer prices overall are indeed rising, though at a sharply slower pace than a year ago. They are up 3.7% over the last year, and up 19% since February 2020. But many price categories have fallen from earlier peaks. For example, the average price of a gallon of milk rose from $3.19 in November 2019 to $4.20 in May 2022, but settled back at $3.97 this fall.

32d ago / 3:16 AM UTC

Fact check: Is Canada a major source of fentanyl?

Ramaswamy said tonight that he would focus on both the southern and northern border in effort to combat the fentanyl crisis in America.

“There was enough fentanyl that was captured just on the northern border last year to kill 3 million Americans. So we got to just skate to where the puck is going, not just where the puck is. Don’t just build the wall, build both walls.”

This is largely false. The DEA reported 14 pounds of fentanyl seized on the Canadian border in 2022, out of 14,700 pounds seized throughout the U.S. The 3 million number is likely based on the DEA’s estimate that one kilogram of fentanyl could kill up to 500,000 people. So while it’s true that the amount of fentanyl seized from Canada could technically kill up to 3 million, the focus on Canada seems unwarranted given that it represents one-thousandth of 1 percent of seizures.

It is worth noting that, with his skating metaphor, he was referring to the great Canadian hockey star Wayne Gretzky’s best-known quote

32d ago / 3:15 AM UTC

Watch: The candidates delivered closing remarks.

32d ago / 3:07 AM UTC

Haley leads candidate questions; Scott speaking time

Haley got the most questions. Scott spoke the longest. Here's how it all broke down.

Question Count (Note this includes follow-ups if the candidate didn’t answer the initial question)

  • Haley — 14
  • DeSantis — 13
  • Ramaswamy — 10
  • Scott — 12
  • Christie — 10

Total Speaking Time (Note this includes questions, follow-ups, opening & closing statements and interruptions.)

  • Scott — 18:59 minutes
  • Haley — 18:26 minutes
  • Ramaswamy — 17:52 minutes
  • Christie — 16:12 minutes
  • DeSantis — 16:07 minutes
32d ago / 3:04 AM UTC

Ramaswamy's on-stage combativeness appears to have paid off, as he’s the top trending topic on X in the U.S. at the moment.

Note: Another trending hashtag, #TellUsNicki, refers to Nicki Minaj, not Nikki Haley.

32d ago / 3:03 AM UTC

After the debate ended, Ramaswamy walked right past Haley to shake Christie’s hand — and Ramaswamy appeared to greet all of his opponents but her before walking off. Haley didn't make eye contact with him either as both spoke to their opponents and then greeted family members.

32d ago / 3:02 AM UTC

Chart: Comparing attacks in the three debates

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Ramaswamy was not the target he was in the first two debates. See the debate attack tracker.

32d ago / 3:01 AM UTC

Fact check: Are abortions late in pregnancy, or infanticide, happening?

Scott said he would ban abortions from occurring “up until the day of birth” and "certainly wouldn't allow" the infanticide he said a Democratic governor had talked about.

Scott's claims are misleading. The vast majority of abortions occur in the first trimester. In 2020, just 0.9 percent of abortions occurred after 21 weeks of gestation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Abortions after the point of viability are often due to severe congenital abnormalities or maternal complications. Ninety-three percent of abortions in 2020 occurred before 13 weeks of gestation.

Infanticide is already illegal. Then-Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made controversial remarks about giving families choices on resuscitating dying infants. Trump made a similar false claim during his 2019 State of the Union, and NBC News debunked it then.

32d ago / 2:59 AM UTC

Ramaswamy also brought up a theory that’s been circulating through the GOP that Biden will not ultimately be the Democratic nominee. This unfounded theory has been big with Republicans lately.

32d ago / 2:58 AM UTC

Big applause in Iowa when Ramaswamy says Biden isn't president

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of caucusgoers at a bar in Altoona, Iowa. The debate watch party is being hosted by Americans For Prosperity.

Big applause at the Iowa watch party for Ramaswamy saying Biden isn’t really president, echoing conspiracy theories.

32d ago / 2:57 AM UTC

And one final glance from Haley to Christie during Ramaswamy’s closing remarks. That marks at least three from my watch in the debate hall.

32d ago / 2:55 AM UTC

DeSantis fan said he wasn't happy with governor's Ukraine answer

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of caucusgoers at a bar in Altoona, Iowa. The debate watch party is being hosted by Americans For Prosperity.

Kyle Claire, 20, is a college Young Republican from the University of Iowa. Claire is a DeSantis fan who was jazzed about Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recent endorsement of the Florida governor. He’s still considering Haley though, and feels like DeSantis waffled on his stance on Ukraine on the debate stage tonight.

“I think DeSantis needs to take a little bit stronger stance on Ukraine,” said Claire, a junior studying political science. "There’s nothing more 'America First' than ensuring our security, and that includes ensuring the security of our allies, too."

NBC News
32d ago / 2:53 AM UTC

From Texas: Abortions in Texas have dropped significantly since Roe vs. Wade was overturned last year. The state already had one of the strictest laws and now abortions hardly ever happen. According to this 2023 report from the Society of Family Planning, roughly 2,650 abortions were performed per month from April to June 2022 in the state. Then came Dobbs in June 2022. From then until December 2022, 10 abortions were performed per month. 

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

During the last commercial break, spouses & family of the candidates warmly greet one another and catch up as they gather to go to the spin room, a stark contrast to the awkward group photo the candidates seemingly didn’t want to engage in when they came on stage at the top of the program.

32d ago / 2:51 AM UTC

To clarify, Ramaswamy said that Issue 1 in Ohio will codify the right to an abortion all the way up to the time of birth, but actually the new amendment to the state constitution will prohibit abortion after fetal viability except when the mother’s life or health is at risk.

32d ago / 2:49 AM UTC

The candidates are all arguing over a national 15-week abortion ban. But just last night voters in Virginia rejected the same proposal in awarding control of the state’s two legislative chambers to Democrats.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin put the proposal — which included exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother — at the center of his effort to help Republicans gain control of state government.

Strategists had viewed the proposal as a test message for Republicans looking for a moderate reproductive rights policy and message to run on. And it failed.

32d ago / 2:49 AM UTC

Republican voter agrees with DeSantis on abortion

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of voters at a restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire. The debate watch party is being hosted by the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

Jonathan Liptak, from Keene, New Hampshire said, “Ron had a great abortion answer. Pro-life is a losing argument, as seen in the last 2 elections. Most abortions happen under 12 weeks, and most people would support a 16-week ban. Absolutely not until labor. That should be the message to GOP and voters.”

32d ago / 2:48 AM UTC

Jennifer Baier in Dallas County, Iowa, said she favored Haley’s abortion position best of the candidates and was frustrated by the hard stance of the others. “I feel like we’re trying to legislate morality, and that’s never been the business of the government,” she said.

32d ago / 2:48 AM UTC

Scott’s answer here highlights the gray area where a lot of Americans live on abortion: They oppose total bans, but the further along a pregnancy is, the fewer Americans support abortion, per Pew.

32d ago / 2:48 AM UTC

Abortion played a role in the heated and expensive race for an open seat on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court between Democrat Dan McCaffery and Republican Carolyn Carluccio. Democrat McCaffery won yesterday 53-47.

Lauren Mayk covers politics for NBC 10 (WCAU), reporting throughout the Philadelphia region. She also hosts the Battleground Politics podcast.

32d ago / 2:46 AM UTC

Scott has used his support for a 15-week federal abortion limit to differentiate himself from, and call out, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. At the last debate, he asked DeSantis on the stage if he’d sign a federal ban as president.

32d ago / 2:46 AM UTC

It is illegal to perform an abortion in Texas, including mailing an abortion-inducing pill like mifepristone in most cases. There is a very narrow exception — only to save the life of the mother or to stop a “substantial impairment of major bodily function.”

There’s an ongoing lawsuit over the latest law because abortion providers and women seeking abortions are confused about what is allowed under that very narrow exception. 

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 2:45 AM UTC

Iowa voter says Ramaswamy has 'same energy' as Trump

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of caucusgoers at a bar in Altoona, Iowa. The debate watch party is being hosted by Americans For Prosperity.

Gabe Conley, 30, came to the watch party unsure if he was going to caucus for Ramaswamy or DeSantis. After tonight’s performance, he’s leaning toward Ramaswamy.

“Everyone else on that stage is a neoconservative, traditional status quo moderate,” said Conley. Conley says he likes Ramaswamy’s fighting spirit. “He’s coming out with that same energy that Trump had in those debates, and any student of history knows that that went pretty well for Trump,” said Conley, a resident physician from Cherokee, Iowa.

Gabe Conway.
Gabe Conley.Alexander Tabet / NBC News
32d ago / 2:45 AM UTC

Chart: Who and what the candidates are attacking

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Biden's leading all the off-stage targets in attacks a little more than 90 minutes into the debate. Follow along with the NBC News attack tracker.

32d ago / 2:44 AM UTC

Natasha Korecki says: Haley stands out in this crowd for taking a more moderate approach on abortion, asking to find consensus on the issue. She said tonight what she’s said in the past: There will be no federal ban because there aren’t 60 votes for one.

Nikki Haley
Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images

Adds Dasha Burns: Haley is perhaps the most moderate candidate on the stage when it comes to abortion rights. Listening to her language might be an indication of how Republicans start to change their messaging after seeing losses like last night.

32d ago / 2:43 AM UTC

From Texas: Texas Republican voters want fewer people coming into the country period. Even when it comes to legal immigration, according to the Texas Politics Project, in 2022, 61% of Republican voters believe there are “too many” people coming to Texas legally.

A candidate cannot talk tough enough on immigration and border security to make inroads with Texas GOP primary voters. Even in the state government, 61% of Republican voters in August 2023 said the state was spending too little on border security. For context: Texas leaders have spent roughly $12 billion on border security and Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star in the last few years.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 2:43 AM UTC

Fact check: Are gas prices higher?

Sen. Tim Scott said gas prices are “40% higher right now than they were just a little over two years ago,” but government data shows prices are about the same now as they were in November 2021.

This is false. A gallon of regular gas costs about $3.40 per gallon on average this week, compared with $3.41 per gallon in November 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices did spike over the course of 2022 (to as high as $5 per gallon in June 2022), due in part to the war in Ukraine, but have since come down.

32d ago / 2:43 AM UTC

Haley’s most sustained applause in the room of the evening came on that abortion answer.

32d ago / 2:42 AM UTC

Philadelphia recorded more than 1,400 deaths to overdoses in 2022, an 11% jump from 2021, per the city’s health department.

The Kensington section of the city has become known for its visible drug use and open-air drug market — and political candidates including Mehmet Oz and Vivek Ramaswamy have documented trips there.  

Recently, Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker said the National Guard could be part of a “comprehensive approach” to address crime and drug issues there.

Lauren Mayk covers politics for NBC 10 (WCAU), reporting throughout the Philadelphia region. She also hosts the Battleground Politics podcast.

32d ago / 2:42 AM UTC

Pro-abortion rights advocates are trying to get a ballot initiative going in Florida in 2024, much like the one that passed in Ohio last night.

32d ago / 2:41 AM UTC

DeSantis often implies that abortion rights issues should remain with the states, but he has not been clear about what he would or would not do at the federal level.

32d ago / 2:40 AM UTC

The first question on abortion goes to DeSantis — who signed a 6-week abortion ban here in Florida.

32d ago / 2:40 AM UTC

Ramaswamy calling for a border wall along the U.S. border with Canada. Didn’t have that one on the bingo card.

32d ago / 2:39 AM UTC

Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador, says she doesn’t care what her friends at the U.N. would say if she sends in special operations into Mexico to target cartels. She has long said she would take a two-pronged approach to fentanyl, special operations in Mexico and suspending trade relations with China until they stop flooding the U.S. with it.

32d ago / 2:37 AM UTC


DeSantis’ “stone cold dead” line usually gets big applause on the trail in Iowa.

32d ago / 2:36 AM UTC

Fentanyl deaths are a big part of DeSantis’ stump speech, but the anecdotes he tells are usually like the one he just told: focused on people who accidentally take drugs laced with fentanyl, and not focused on addiction.

32d ago / 2:35 AM UTC

Big applause for Christie after his answer on fentanyl, noting that he thinks addiction should be treated like a disease.

32d ago / 2:30 AM UTC

Florida has about 542,000 residents receiving Social Security (about 229,000 age 65 and over). Pennsylvania has about 325,000 (82,000 age 65 and over), per federal data.

Lauren Mayk covers politics for NBC 10 (WCAU), reporting throughout the Philadelphia region. She also hosts the Battleground Politics podcast.

32d ago / 2:30 AM UTC

Google Trends offers a sense of who is generating interest during the debate, and so far it's Haley and Ramawamy, followed by DeSantis, Christie and Scott.

DeSantis had the single biggest spike, while Haley has had at least six distinct bumps.

32d ago / 2:29 AM UTC

To sum up this debate so far: A bunch of candidates who significantly trail Trump — and are running out of time to make up the deficit — are offering shortened versions of their campaign stump speech, attacking each other and, aside from the first question, almost entirely ignoring the man they have to beat to win.

One way to measure how little Trump has come up in tonight’s debate: The fact Christie has yet to get booed during an answer.

32d ago / 2:28 AM UTC

TeamTrump hitting Ron DeSantis on Medicare and Social Security, as they have throughout the campaign, even before DeSantis announced. This and disloyalty to Trump have been their main points of attack throughout the campaign, as they try to draw older Florida voters to their camp.

32d ago / 2:26 AM UTC

More on energy in Texas: While many see the state as just an oil and gas state, it’s way more interesting and complex.

Because of then-Gov. Rick Perry’s policies from years ago, solar and wind power are pretty common in the state. Just look at today, according to the largest Texas power grid — ERCOT, 29.4 percent of the power generated in Texas today was from wind power. Natural gas is still the leader with 47.7%. Coal comes in at 15.4% and nuclear comes in at 7.4%.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 2:25 AM UTC


DeSantis actually got some laughs in the debate hall with that Social Security joke, a subtle nod to the masses of retirees living out their golden years in his home state.

That lighter moment is straight out of DeSantis’ stump speech. His joke about knowing a few Social Security recipients usually gets laughs on the campaign trail, too.

32d ago / 2:24 AM UTC

Laffer Curve reference! The economics wonks must be buzzing.

32d ago / 2:23 AM UTC

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of voters at a restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire. The debate watch party is being hosted by the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

Rita Mattson, 67, is an undecided voter from Dublin, New Hampshire.

“Social Security is NOT an entitlement," she said. "Stop giving it to people who don’t deserve it."

32d ago / 2:22 AM UTC

Fact check: Are there sleeper terrorist cells in America?

"I believe that we have sleeper terrorist cells in America. Thousands of people have come from Yemen, Iran, Syria and Iraq," Scott said Wednesday.

This is not supported by evidence. While Scott said he “believes” there are sleeper cells, he did not cite any evidence, and there is scant proof of any such sleeper cells. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda have called for the establishment of sleeper cells, but they have largely been debunked. After a U.S. airstrike killed Iran’s military leader Qassem Soleimani, there were fears that Hezbollah sleeper cells might be activated, but there is no evidence of any such activity.

32d ago / 2:22 AM UTC

Ramaswamy and Scott seemed to be laughing and fist-bumping each other through Haley’s last answer.

The two haven’t exchanged attacks on the stage; it's a surprising show of camaraderie between the two.

32d ago / 2:22 AM UTC

From Texas: When the candidates talk about energy, Texans listen intently — especially in the largest Texas county of Harris County. Harris County and the surrounding area are home to all three of the “big three” leaders in state government: Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dade Phelan. Sen. Ted Cruz is also from Harris County. Southeast Texas is the energy sector of the state, where the Houston ship channel is the main port in and out. According to the Texas Oil and Gas Association, there may be 1.4 million jobs in the energy sector.

While the jobs used to be concentrated solely in the oil industry — with special attention to the Permian basin around Midland and Odessa. However, now, Texas is also a natural gas state. Many gas companies are based in Houston, so the nods to fracking will be noticed in Southeast Texas.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 2:21 AM UTC

New Hampshire voter finds Ramaswamy 'annoying'

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of voters at a restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire. The debate watch party is being hosted by the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

Victoria Gulla, 50, from Spofford, New Hampshire, said, Ramaswamy "is the most annoying. Again.”

Gulla’s thoughts on the debate so far: “So far I think there is a clear dichotomy between the policies of the past and the now. Haley, Scott and Christie are living in the past with their wars everywhere. DeSantis on the right track with more peace through strength, let Europe lead on their front, and take care of business at home (border), while supporting our allies in ways that don’t involve our troops.”

She is supporting DeSantis.

32d ago / 2:20 AM UTC

Fact check: Is China buying up American farmland?

“My message to [Chinese President] Xi Jinping is this, you are done buying land in this country," said Ramaswamy.

“China is buying our farmland,” Scott said.

This is largely false. While state and federal lawmakers have been pushing to restrict Chinese purchases of land in America, a recent NBC News data analysis of real estate purchases filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed fewer than 1,400 acres were purchased by China in the past year and a half, out of 1.3 billion acres of agricultural land. A third of foreign-owned acres of U.S. land are held by Canadian interests, while Chinese interests hold just three-hundredths of 1%.

32d ago / 2:18 AM UTC

Warren Buffett is somehow catching strays.

32d ago / 2:18 AM UTC


Chuck Todd says: If it wasn’t for the first specific question asking about Trump, I’m struggling to think of too many other times where any of them have gone after Trump… only each other.

Garrett Haake responds: I’m reminded of our polling from over the summer that attacking Trump is the least popular action a candidate can take. They begrudgingly did it early and are clearly hoping they won’t have to again

32d ago / 2:18 AM UTC

The DeSantis war room X account has focused all of their posts during tonight’s debate on Nikki Haley attacks and no other candidates. Haley just caught up to DeSantis in Iowa according to our NBC/Des Moines Register poll.

32d ago / 2:17 AM UTC

Worth noting on the energy debate: The U.S. recently hit an all-time high in oil production.

32d ago / 2:16 AM UTC

Fact check: Did Ukraine ban Christians?

Criticizing American support for Ukraine’s war on Russia, Ramaswamy said U.S. dollars are funding “the banning of Christians,” mentioning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

This is misleading. Ukraine has taken steps to ban pro-Russia groups for months, taking steps to ban the activities of religious and political groups with ties to Russia. Last month the Ukrainian parliament took steps to ban the operations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has close ties to Moscow.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church split with the Russian Orthodox Church in May 2022, months after Russia invaded Ukraine.

32d ago / 2:16 AM UTC

TeamTrump's X account has been putting out Trump policy videos or opposition research on DeSantis that are following the topics of the debate: China, TikTok, antisemitism in colleges and trade.

32d ago / 2:16 AM UTC

From Texas: Despite some recent good economic numbers, many Texans don’t feel like the economy is doing well. What’s interesting in trends from UT’s Texas Politics Project — Republican voters in Texas view the economy through a partisan lens. In Feb. 2020, when Trump was in office, 84% of GOP Texas voters thought the economy was better than the year before. That number plummeted to 14% by Feb. 2021, when Biden was in office.

The numbers began to go down steeply during the Covid pandemic but then never recovered. Meanwhile, the number of Texas Republicans who believe the economy is worse than a year before is now at 75% despite the recent good numbers.

A lot of this may be their media diet but the result is clear: Texas Republicans believe the economy is in the tank

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 2:15 AM UTC

You can feel the difference of having less candidates on the stage this time. The punchiness of Ramaswamy and Haley has less lost moments with the struggling candidates interjecting.

32d ago / 2:15 AM UTC

Ukrainian refugees concerned about views of war

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of caucusgoers at a bar in Altoona, Iowa. The debate watch party is being hosted by Americans For Prosperity.

Angela Boelens came to the debate watch party with two Ukrainian refugees, Liana Avetisian and Alina Mirzoian, whom she helped resettle into their new lives in Dewitt, Iowa. Boelens and the refugees were visibly disgusted by how Vivek Ramaswamy characterized the Ukrainian government.

“It scares me knowing that there’s a lot of Americans out there who don’t know the facts and don’t know how to fact-check the man,” said Boelens of Ramaswamy’s depiction of Ukraine as a corrupt nation.

Boelens, who is supporting Nikki Haley in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, said she was impressed by the way her favorite candidate talked about Ukraine.

“I think that the smart, savvy candidates like Nikki Haley, and even Chris Christie, I think they understand the connection between how we’re perceived around the world in terms of backing up and supporting these democracies.”

32d ago / 2:14 AM UTC

On the question of Trump's and Biden's different policy approaches to the Maduro regime: DeSantis said that he would reinstate the Trump sanctions and not rely on Venezuelan oil. This is something that resonates with the South Florida community because there is a large Venezuelan community here. South Florida has the largest Venezuelan community in the country.

Jackie Nespral is the main anchor for NBC6 in Miami and the host of Impact, a politics and current events show.

32d ago / 2:13 AM UTC

A GOP operative texts me: “If Nikki goes over and punches Vivek in the face, her poll numbers would shoot up.”

32d ago / 2:11 AM UTC

Chart: The leading targets on stage tonight

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A little more than an hour in and Christie and Scott have yet to be attacked.

32d ago / 2:10 AM UTC

Tim Scott’s mother, Frances, who he referred to in this answer, is in the audience. She’s attended all three debates.

32d ago / 2:08 AM UTC

Someone in Trump-world is watching the debate.

Trump adviser Jason Miller tweets out Trump video “Avoiding World War III” with the caption: "The JV gang took the bait and is missing the point here. Only President Trump knows this about AVOIDING World War III, not pushing us headfirst into it!”

32d ago / 2:07 AM UTC

From Texas: Haley and Ramaswamy going back and forth here is a fight over a relatively small amount of Texans. Both candidates don’t have a major presence in Texas.

Last week, University of Houston and Texas Southern University: 58% of Texas 2024 GOP primary voters still intend to vote for Trump. Number two is DeSantis with 14% — according to Axios Houston.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 2:07 AM UTC

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of voters at a restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire. The debate watch party is being hosted by the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

Kristen Reynolds, 61, from Swanzey, New Hampshire, started the night thinking Ramaswamy was “funny and on point.”

Now, she says: “Vivek needs to stop attacking Nikki.”

32d ago / 2:06 AM UTC

There are a handful of possibilities, and while the timeline is unclear, there are some plausible paths forward, including congressional action, executive action and a push to sell the app.

Read more here.

32d ago / 2:05 AM UTC

Scott has long rejected the notion of banning TikTok, citing past attempts by the Trump administration that were shot down by the courts. He’s instead proposed requiring “country-of-origin” labeling on all apps and boosting parental controls.

32d ago / 2:03 AM UTC

, , and

Loud boos and mutters of “Oh, Jesus” from within the debate hall as Ramaswamy takes a swipe at Nikki Haley’s daughter for using TikTok.

He’s played the heel well up until now, with the room at best divided over his more controversial comments. He lost the room there.

Haley shoots back, calling him "scum" and warning him not to go after her daughter (who is an adult and currently in the audience.)

32d ago / 2:02 AM UTC

In Texas, the kids like TikTok a lot more than their parents or grandparents, according to April polling on the issue.

The poll found 43% of Texans get their news from local television stations, according to UT-Austin’s Texas Politics Project. And 42% of Texans get their news from social media including TikTok; 52% of GOP voters 30 years old or younger have a positive view of TikTok.

According to a poll from February, 64% of Texans 18-29 used TikTok in the last month.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:59 AM UTC

On stage in Hileah, Florida, Trump seemingly talking about Ramaswamy: “A lot of people say that. Why are you running? He said I’m a younger version. It’s OK to say but we want the older version, right?”

32d ago / 1:59 AM UTC

Critics have alleged that TikTok is using its influence to push content that is pro-Palestinian and contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests. The claims about TikTok’s promotion of pro-Palestinian content are anecdotal, and they have been bubbling up on the social media platform X, in statements to the media and on conservative media outlets such as Fox News

TikTok said the allegations of bias are baseless. 

Ultimately the perceived performance of pro-Palestinian content on the platform depends on how you parse TikTok’s data. Historic trends internationally show more interest in the popular hashtag #standwithpalestine than #standwithisrael. Looking at hashtag data only from the U.S. over the last 30 days, pro-Israel content has been performing at pace, if not better, than some popular pro-Palestinian content. 

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Read the full story here.

32d ago / 1:59 AM UTC

In the last 10 minutes, the Trump campaign has sent out three emails highlighting his record on immigration and his “plan to destroy the drug cartels.”

32d ago / 1:57 AM UTC

A Biden campaign official told me campaign folks are mostly watching Trump right now. The source said they are bored with the debate and watching Trump ramble about “the same insane things that got him voted out in 2020.”

32d ago / 1:57 AM UTC

During the commercial break, when candidates dispersed momentarily, DeSantis went to approach the edge of the stage and tripped/stumbled off the podium platform — catching himself before what honestly made me nervous could have been a face plant. He laughed it off before saying hello to his wife.

32d ago / 1:56 AM UTC

A question on TikTok comes as the popular video platform, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has re-entered the crosshairs of politicians and national security officials 

TikTok has been the subject of scrutiny for years because of concerns that people in China may access the personal data of American users. Most recently, members of Congress and people in the tech industry have criticized TikTok because of pro-Palestinian content on the platform.

TikTok has fended off attempts at a ban. Federal judges blocked a proposed ban by then-President Donald Trump in 2020, and TikTok has been negotiating an agreement with the Biden administration to try to allay data privacy concerns. This week, the Treasury Department declined to comment on the status of those negotiations.

32d ago / 1:56 AM UTC

Chart: DeSantis has made the most attacks so far

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At the 50-minute mark in the debate, DeSantis has made the most attacks.

32d ago / 1:55 AM UTC

Trump, on his own stage, said someone accused him of not having the courage to debate.

“Well, listen, I’m standing in front of tens of thousands of people right now and it’s on television. That’s a hell of a lot harder to do than a debate," he said.

32d ago / 1:53 AM UTC

At the first break, Christie and Haley shared a quick smile while Ramaswamy shook DeSantis’ hand and the two briefly chatted.

32d ago / 1:52 AM UTC

During an exchange about how the candidates would handle responding to Muslim Americans afraid for their safety in the current environment, Christie said he was one of the only persons on stage who “actually had experience in dealing with this” and pointed to his dealings as governor of the “most ethnically diverse state.”

Following 9/11, Christie said: “I personally went from mosque to mosque in New Jersey and met with the leaders of those mosques and with the members of the mosques. And I said to law enforcement is on your side to protect you regardless of your religion.”

“We developed fabulous relationships with Muslim Americans all across the state of New Jersey,” he said.

It’s true that Christie was applauded by the Muslim-American community during the first several years of his time in office. In particular, he was praised for slamming the New York Police Department’s program that spied on Muslim communities. 

But years later, in 2015, during his first presidential run, Muslim American communities widely criticized him for saying he wouldn’t re-settle Syrian refugees in New Jersey or in the U.S.

32d ago / 1:50 AM UTC

Haley is clearly the most comfortable on these foreign policy topics than any of her competitors on stage. And if major donors are watching that are deciding between DeSantis and Haley as their preferred Trump alternative, this has likely been a very strong opening 45 minutes for Haley.

This is not to say DeSantis has done poorly, he hasn’t. He’s been much stronger tonight than at any of the previous debates. Haley simply has more experience debating these topics thanks specifically to her experience at the U.N.

And on the showmanship front, the attention-seeking shenanigans of Ramaswamy that Haley has gleefully swatted away have also helped.

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.Shuran Huang for NBC News
32d ago / 1:50 AM UTC

Trump just referred to the debate for the first time on stage at his rally tonight:

“In the primary, we’re leading the field with an average of 61% for Trump, and you have about what seven or eight candidates left. I think they’re at a debate tonight. Nobody’s talking about it. Everybody’s watching."

He added, "One more quote on the debate from Trump: “You know, the last debate was the lowest-rated debate in the history of politics. So therefore, do you think we did the right thing by not participating?”

32d ago / 1:50 AM UTC

In 2015, Hewitt’s questions about the nuclear triad famously tripped up candidate Trump, who clearly had no idea what Hewitt was referring to. Here, as he asks candidates about building up the Navy, both Scott and DeSantis similarly whiff when asked about specific types of ships, size of the Navy, or when they could be built and deployed.

Christie then tried to call them out for not answering.

32d ago / 1:48 AM UTC

DeSantis hits Haley on giving China land when she was governor in South Carolina, she raised her hand, likely to talk about DeSantis’ own entanglements with China. The two were duking it out on the issue as a prelude to the debate.

His attacks echo ads that his SuperPAC has been running attacking Haley for how she handled China as governor.

32d ago / 1:47 AM UTC

As Ramaswamy continuously goes after the RNC on stage and while on the trail, last month during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, NBC News asked Ramaswamy if he’d ever consider running as an independent candidate for president.

He answered with: “I’m in this to win and be our next president, and not even just to be the next president, but to reunite and re-galvanize this country. January 2033, is my destination. So the path that runs through there is winning the Republican nomination, and then winning the general election, which I expect to do.”

Also, Ramaswamy often says “I’m using the Republican Party as a vehicle because we live in a two party system.”

32d ago / 1:46 AM UTC

Natasha Korecki notes: Haley hits DeSantis for the first time when she called for the United States to suspend all regular trade relations with China unless it stops sending fentanyl — she says DeSantis has yet to do this.

But Sarah Dean notes: Haley has gone after DeSantis less than expected based on her campaign’s pre-debate memos previewing strategy. Instead, most of her attacks have been hits back at Vivek Ramaswamy going after her — leaving DeSantis largely unscathed so far.

32d ago / 1:46 AM UTC

China is another issue likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers are paying attention to. Our latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll found that 50% of this group thinks that the issue of relations with China is “extremely important,” as they consider candidates.

32d ago / 1:44 AM UTC

Every debate the expectation has been DeSantis would attack or get attacked, but each time that doesn’t seem to materialize. The campaign has claimed it’s a good thing — he’s being “presidential” and “above the fray.” But critics argue it makes him seem like less of a threat.

32d ago / 1:43 AM UTC


Natasha Korecki observes: We’re about five questions in and the most fire right now is between Ramaswamy and Haley and not Haley and DeSantis as expected.

Garrett Haake responds: The coming DeSantis pile-on, now three debates in and yet to materialize

32d ago / 1:43 AM UTC

DeSantis appeared to pit a rise in antisemitism against a rise in Islamophobia, suggesting that one should be taken more seriously by the federal government than the other.

Biden, he said, “is launching an initiative to combat so-called Islamophobia.”

“No, it’s the antisemitism. It’s spiraling out of control. That is what we have to confront,” DeSantis said.

The truth is that both Islamophobic incidents and antisemitic incidents have increased in the weeks since the Hamas attack on Israel.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said last week it received 774 reports of bias incidents and requests for help from Muslims across the U.S. from Oct. 7 to Oct. 24, a 182% jump from the average 16-day period in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League said on Oct. 24 that there had been a “nearly 400% increase in preliminary antisemitic incidents reported year-over-year.”

32d ago / 1:43 AM UTC

Haley says antisemitism is as bad as racism — worth noting that the Southern Poverty Law Center says antisemitism is “a form of racism in itself.” 

Lauren Mayk covers politics for NBC 10 (WCAU), reporting throughout the Philadelphia region. She also hosts the Battleground Politics podcast.

32d ago / 1:42 AM UTC


Maura Barrett observes: Another borderline eye roll & glance toward Christie from Haley when Ramaswamy claimed “other people couldn’t name” the provinces of Ukraine that Russia has occupied

Garrett Haake responds: It's not hard to imagine Christie as a Haley surrogate somewhere down the line. They’re aligned on foreign policy in both style and substance.

32d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Despite his best efforts, Nikki Haley may have just had another moment by saying Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are salivating over the thought of Ramaswamy becoming president.

Ramaswamy only seems to help Haley as a loose cannon foil to her seriousness.

32d ago / 1:40 AM UTC

According to a September poll from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, 36% of Texas voters believe the country is doing too much in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That has gone up from 15% in 2022. 

Meanwhile, 21% say the U.S. is doing too little. Thirty percent say the country is responding appropriately.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:40 AM UTC

Ramaswamy is like having a drunk uncle show up in the middle of a sober debate.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.Shuran Huang for NBC News
32d ago / 1:40 AM UTC

Fact check: Did DeSantis evacuate Americans out of Israel?

“Biden’s neglect has been atrocious,” DeSantis said. “He left them stranded, they couldn’t get flights out. So I scrambled resources in Florida. I sent planes over to Israel and I brought back over 700 people to safety.”

This is half true. The Biden administration initially told Americans in Israel to take advantage of commercial flights on Oct. 9, but flights from Israel to the U.S. were scarce and prices were reportedly as high as $25,000. Some Americans in Israel at the time posted on social media that they were stranded.

Image: Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis at the Republican debate on Weds.Shuran Huang for NBC News

On Oct. 12, DeSantis signed an executive order that allowed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to pay for Americans in Israel to fly back to the U.S. The flights, however, were organized by Tampa-based nonprofit Project Dynamo, which specializes in rescuing Americans in distress, and DeSantis’ primary role was to fund the flights.

On the same day, the U.S. announced they would help Americans evacuate on charter flights. Some 1,500 Americans did leave Israel with help from the U.S. government. U.S. citizens were responsible for paying for the government flights, while DeSantis footed the bill for his flights.

32d ago / 1:39 AM UTC

This is a common talking point for Ramaswamy when it comes to Ukraine. He often says just because Putin is bad doesn’t mean Ukraine is good.

But Ramaswamy saying that other candidates are coming around to his thinking on Ukraine and tiptoeing around funding for it, but this seems unlikely for Haley who has been a hawk on the situation.

32d ago / 1:39 AM UTC

Scott has called on Biden to have a “single-minded” focus on Israel and opposed his efforts to tie Israel funding to aid for Ukraine. He was a co-sponsor of the Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act, which would provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel.

32d ago / 1:38 AM UTC

Chart: Ramaswamy's the only one attacking the on-stage candidates

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Thirty minutes into the third debate and most of the field is focusing their attacks on Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Follow along with the NBC News attack tracker here.

32d ago / 1:36 AM UTC

Just browsing social media, it seems the only line in this debate that’s taken off so far is Ramaswamy blasting “Dick Cheney in 3-inch heels.” He aimed that comment at both Haley and DeSantis.

32d ago / 1:36 AM UTC

With all this talk on national security and American funding for democratic allies fighting wars, Texas has a unique connection. Since 2001, many key decisions laying the groundwork for geopolitics in the Middle East were made by then-President and Texan George W. Bush — who sent American troops into a Mideast war. Expert on geopolitics, Ian Bremmer, argued the current crisis is partly a result of American power receding from the Middle East and pivoting toward Asia.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:35 AM UTC

Nikki Haley is talking about college campuses as mom of a college student in Pennsylvania. She announced her son’s choice of Villanova in the Philly burbs here in 2020.

Lauren Mayk covers politics for NBC 10 (WCAU), reporting throughout the Philadelphia region. She also hosts the Battleground Politics podcast.

32d ago / 1:34 AM UTC

Nikki Haley got a slightly different question on antisemitism, but she has also proposed going after universities by pulling their tax-exempt status if they allow hate speech on campus. She wants to change the official federal definition of antisemitism to include denying Israel’s right to exist.

32d ago / 1:34 AM UTC

I asked DeSantis at a campaign stop last month in South Carolina what his message would be to the family of Wadea Al-Fayoume in the days after his murder in Illinois.

He said the attack on the young boy was “barbaric” and “totally inappropriate,” but also stressed that “Jewish people have been under attack in many places in this country for a long time.”

32d ago / 1:33 AM UTC

For all the handwringing about Biden losing the support of Muslim and Arab-Americans due to his near-total embrace of Israel at this moment, some of the rhetoric here is telling in how unlikely it might be for those voters to find comfort in the GOP. DeSantis blasting “so-called Islamophobia” is a case in point.

32d ago / 1:32 AM UTC

Scott has introduced legislation that would rescind federal funding for colleges and universities “that peddle antisemitism or authorize, fund or facilitate events that promote violent antisemitism,” and often touts it on the campaign trail.

32d ago / 1:31 AM UTC

The Biden campaign has already started seizing on Republicans talking about election losses last night, including tweeting a video of Vivek saying “we’ve become a party of losers.”

32d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

DeSantis has used variations of the “I’m canceling your visa and I’m sending you home” line multiple times on the trail in Iowa when talking about antisemitism on college campuses lately.

32d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

Haley has been talking about using her heels as ammunition for a long time. She even mentioned them in her campaign launch video: “I don’t put up with bullies, and when you kick back, it hurts them more when you’re wearing heels” 

32d ago / 1:29 AM UTC

Context for DeSantis' comments about Cooper Union:

Jewish students at Cooper Union College in New York City said they feared violence by pro-Palestinian protesters and took refuge from demonstrators in a school library. New York police said protesters banged on the doors and glass windows of the building but contradicted the claim that the students were locked inside.

32d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

Texas has the third amount of active duty armed forces members, roughly around 115,000. Only California and Virginia have more.  

So, if we’re talking about more troops overseas — many of them will be Texans. Also, it’s a reason why there was a decent amount of support during the 2008 presidential election for anti-war candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

DeSantis has said that U.S. troops stationed in Syria and Iraq are "there in insufficient numbers to probably make a huge impact. But they’re there in sufficient numbers to be an inviting target,” and that “it’s not clear what their mission is.”

32d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

Ramaswamy has long said that “the right answer to bad speech or bad opinions, isn’t censorship, it’s more speech.”

On the trail recently, he has referenced the Brooklyn Bridge protests but has said he believes they don’t even know what is going on in the Middle East. He has defended the protesters as an act of free speech.

He often says on the trail: “And if you repeatedly ... tell people they cannot speak, that is when they scream. If you repeatedly tell people they cannot scream, that is when they tear things down."

32d ago / 1:26 AM UTC

When Ramaswamy named dropped his first book, Haley appears to roll her eyes and turns her head to share a knowing glance with Christie.

32d ago / 1:25 AM UTC

Context for Ramaswamy pivoting from an Israel question to attack his rivals: He has been getting hammered by his GOP opponents over being insufficiently supportive of Israel. So he took time out from answering a question about an issue that’s caused trouble for him to get to his own attacks before someone hits him first.

32d ago / 1:25 AM UTC

Speaking of high heels and Haley’s response — reminds me of a quote from Ann Richards, who later became governor of Texas, at the 1988 DNC Convention: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:23 AM UTC


In the first 15 minutes, Ramaswamy has gone after three different women: Ronna McDaniel, moderator Welker and opponent Haley.

And he keeps taking digs at the heels, including trying to jab — it seems — at DeSantis for wearing boots with heels. Rumors and memes abound about DeSantis’ allegedly wearing lifts in his boots to make him taller. And those make the boots’ toes curl up.

32d ago / 1:23 AM UTC

Nikki Haley is making a career out of punchy one-liner retorts to Vivek Ramaswamy’s attacks

“They’re 5-inch heels, and I don’t wear them unless I can run in them," she said. "They’re not fashion — they’re ammunition."

Nikki Haley making clear she’s not going to just take the dig without giving it back.

32d ago / 1:23 AM UTC

Some candidates are tapping into Republican frustration over Tuesday's election losses.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans lost a contest for an open Supreme Court seat that would have narrowed the margin in a Democratic-controlled court to one justice, plus they lost other court and county-level races.

The GOP frustration is going public in some cases: In a social media post earlier today, a former Pennsylvania Republican congressional candidate who co-founded a group called Win Again that embraces mail-in voting called the results for Republican candidates a “disaster” and said they demonstrate the complete failure of the leadership and institutions that conservative voters, activists and donors rely on.

Lauren Mayk covers politics for NBC 10 (WCAU), reporting throughout the Philadelphia region. She also hosts the Battleground Politics podcast.

32d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

Scott has been accusing both Obama and Biden of creating a market for American hostages on the campaign trail. He’s said Biden has blood on his hands due to the $6 billion Iran hostage deal, but it’s the first time he’s levied the attack toward Obama.

32d ago / 1:21 AM UTC

In the first debate it took 10 minutes for a candidate to attack another candidate on the stage. In the second debate it took more than 20 minutes. We’re more than 16 minutes into the third debate and Ramaswamy just took a swing at Haley over her business ties, the first attack on another on-stage candidate in the third debate. Follow along with the NBC News attack tracker.

32d ago / 1:21 AM UTC

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of voters at a restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire. The debate watch party is being hosted by the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

Jonathan Liptak from Keene voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 but does not like that he is not participating in the debates. He has not decided whom to support yet.

Ramaswamy, he said, "said what we are all thinking with regards to the mainstream media and the chairwoman of the RNC."

32d ago / 1:20 AM UTC

In Texas, there’s a relatively small number of Jewish people — around 1%, according to PEW Research. Many Texans view Israel through either a national security lens or through the evangelical Christian end-times prophecy beliefs. 

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:20 AM UTC

Right out of the gate, both DeSantis and Ramaswamy blasted their fellow Republicans for having lost so many contests on Tuesday night.

But they didn’t mention their party’s struggles with abortion rights — which was, perhaps, the biggest factor in Republicans losing those races.

“What we saw last night, I’m sick of Republicans losing,” DeSantis said.

Ramaswamy called the GOP a “party of losers” that got “trounced last night.”

Republican candidates suffered losses Tuesday night in the Virginia legislative elections and the Kentucky gubernatorial race. In those races, Democrats put abortion rights front and center. Meanwhile, a ballot measure in Ohio enshrining abortion rights in the state’s constitution also passed.

The results were just the latest examples in a still unbroken winning streak by candidates and ballot measures supporting abortion rights in the nearly 17 months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and further highlighted Republican struggles on the issue. 

32d ago / 1:19 AM UTC

Ramaswamy here is separating himself from DeSantis and Haley on Israel, saying he would concentrate on the U.S. southern border. He also hit Haley hard as he has been in the last several weeks on Israel, saying, “Do you want Dick Cheney in 3-inch heels?”

32d ago / 1:18 AM UTC

That DeSantis anecdote about the young evacuee from Israel is a staple on the campaign trail.

DeSantis has flexed his official government position to support his campaign message since the war broke out — tightening sanctions on Iran with the Florida legislature, evacuating Americans on Florida Division of Emergency Management flights and sending medical aid and supplies to Israel.

32d ago / 1:18 AM UTC

As the candidates answer questions about the Israel-Hamas war, likely Iowa caucusgoers are paying attention. In our latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll, 57% of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers said that the Israel-Hamas war is “extremely important” to them as they evaluate candidates.

32d ago / 1:17 AM UTC

Ramaswamy has long spread the conspiracy theory that we’re only in Ukraine because of Hunter Biden.

32d ago / 1:16 AM UTC

DeSantis has been working hard the last several weeks to take action on Israel from Florida and he makes sure to get that across just now.

32d ago / 1:15 AM UTC

Tim Scott leans into faith and religion in his answer on moving the GOP away from Trump. According to Pew Research, 77% of adults in Texas are Christian. The largest subset of Christians is Evangelical Protestants — with 31% of the state.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:14 AM UTC

Ramaswamy posted on X just now regarding his debate opening answer, calling on GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel to resign: “I’m sick and tired of this Republican Establishment that has made us a party of losers. Where is the accountability for years of losing: 2018, 2020, 2022 and now last night? I’m calling on @GOPChairwoman to resign tonight.”

32d ago / 1:13 AM UTC

Christie supporter: Christie called out Trump 'before it was cool'

NBC News is watching the debate with dozens of voters at a restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire. The debate watch party is being hosted by the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

Jacob Favolise, 20, is a Republican from Keene, supporting Gov. Chris Christie. His immediate reaction to the first debate question: “Just remember who was calling out Donald Trump before it was cool: Chris Christie”

32d ago / 1:13 AM UTC

The best thing the first question did was separate the candidates between those who are running to be the GOP nominee and those who are running for their own personal reasons or gain.

32d ago / 1:12 AM UTC

In her first response of the night, Haley mentioned needing an accountant in the White House, an appeal that might resonate especially well with Iowa Republicans, who say the economy is a top voting issue ahead of the Jan. 15 caucus, according to our most recent NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll.

32d ago / 1:12 AM UTC

Ramaswamy wasn’t joking about being “unconstrained.” He immediately picked two targets that many GOP voters love to jeer: RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and the media and decided to take his time to blast them rather than explain why he should be the nominee.

It's red meat for his online supporters.

32d ago / 1:12 AM UTC

Trump is by far the favorite of Texas Republicans so far

From an early September poll: 41% of Texas voters have a favorable view of Trump, while 51% had an unfavorable view. 79% of Republicans have a FAVORABLE view.

Trump is by far the choice of Texas Republicans so far. Their views on the recent criminal charges against him have not changed that. 85% of Texas GOP voters believe the charges against Trump are “mostly based on politics,” as opposed to “mostly based on the facts.” Only 5% of Texas GOP voters don’t know or are unsure.

Phil Prazan is the political reporter and anchor of the public affairs show Lone Star Politics on NBC DFW/KXAS.

32d ago / 1:11 AM UTC

Interesting to see Ramaswamy is in a fighting mood tonight — but so far not looking to pick a fight with his opponents like he did at the first debate. In the second debate he tried on the “uniter” brand. Now he’s trying out fighting with the moderators.

32d ago / 1:11 AM UTC

I am sitting in the audience with a clear view of Ronna McDaniels — when Ramaswamy called her out and offered to yield his spot on the stage to take ownership for Republican losses, she started to get out of her chair, clearly frustrated with the accusation, before she sat back down. She remains in her seat now.