Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spent his time during Tuesday’s Republican undercard debate attacking his GOP rivals as big government conservatives while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie repeatedly refused to respond to the attacks, pivoting to criticism of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
“Chris, look,” Jindal said in one of the more memorable moments of the debate, “I’ll give you a ribbon for participation and a juice box. But in the real world, it’s about results. It’s about actually cutting government spending, not just talking about cutting government spending.”
Fox Business hosted four Republicans who didn’t qualify for Tuesday’s primetime debate for a one-hour Fox Business undercard showdown in Milwaukee. Jindal, Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum participated.
“Mike, with all due respect,” Jindal replied, “I admire your social views, I share many of those views. Your record as governor tells a different story. During your time as governor, spending in Arkansas went up 65 percent. The number of state workers went up 20 percent. The taxes for the average citizen went up 47 percent. That’s not a record of cutting.”
Jindal added: “If we send another big government Republican to the White House, we will not do enough to fix what is wrong in this country.”
Huckabee took issue with Jindal’s point that he’s the only governor on stage with a record of cutting spending: “It’s just not accurate,” Huckabee replied.
The Louisiana governor, however, directed most of his fire at Christie.
“Chris, I think records matter,” Jindal said. “I think the way we govern matter. Under your leadership in New Jersey, your budget has gone up 15 percent, it’s gone down 26 percent in Louisiana. It has gone up 5 million dollars in New Jersey, it’s gone down 9 million dollars in Louisiana. And in New Jersey, you had nine credit downgrades setting the record, we had 8 credit upgrades in Louisiana. My point is this: if politicians say they’re going to be conservative, they say they’re going to cut spending but they don’t do it, why should we send them to DC?”
Christie, attempting to rise above the fray, replied to Jindal saying: “If you go to New Jersey, they’ll call me lots of different things. But liberal is not one of them.”
Christie added: “My point is this: the differences between me and Bobby Jindal, we can talk about those, and obviously Bobby Jindal wants to spend a lot of time talking about that. I’ll tell you what I want to talk about: I want to talk about what’s going to happen to this country if we have another four years of Barack Obama’s policies. And by the way, it’ll be even worse because Hillary Clinton is running so far to the left to try to catch up to her socialist opponent Bernie Sanders, it’s hard to even see her anymore.”
Another memorable part of the debate was when all four candidates refused to answer the question of which Democrat in Congress they admire. “I need one name from each of you,” the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib told the candidates.
“I think this is why people are so frustrated with the last debate, with these types of silly questions,” Jindal said, declining to list a Democrat. “We’ve only got a certain amount of time to talk about the economy. Let me use my time to say this: I want to fire everybody in D.C. in both parties.”
Huckabee opted to talk about veterans.
“Since we’re not going to answer the question,” Huckabee said, “let me just remind everybody, tomorrow is Veterans Day. And here’s what I want to remind everybody. The VA has been a disaster in large part because the people in Congress have never bothered to fix it and this president has certainly not.”
Christie turned the conversation toward policing.
“I’ll tell you the thing that disturbs me the most abut what’s going on with the Democratic Party in Washington — that they’re not standing behind our police officers across this country,” Christie said. “That they’re allowing lawlessness to reign in this country. I spent seven years of my life in law enforcement. Here’s what law enforcement, all 700,000 of them, should know tonight. When President Christie’s in the Oval Office, I’ll have your back.”
Santorum, arguing Republicans need to be fighters, raised his voice.
“You know who I respect in the Democratic Party? You know why I respect them? Because they FIGHT,” he screamed into the microphone. “Because they’re not willing to back down.”