LIVE UPDATES from GOP presidential debate

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 22:10:28-05

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Here is the latest from the GOP presidential debates, sponsored by Fox Business Network, in North Charleston, S.C. All times local.

9:44 p.m.

John Kasich says if Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee for president, "we're going to win every state."

He says the notion of Sanders as competition is "not even an issue."

The Ohio governor says he knows Sanders. He says he can promise Sanders won't be president.

Kasich is knocking Sanders' approach to economics. He says the U.S. must "fight like crazy" to ensure people still think the American dream exists.


9:43 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is mixing it up with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, saying he talks so much it's hard to keep track of whether he's telling the truth.

Christie's comments in Thursday's Republican debate came after Rubio first went after Christie, accusing him of backing Planned Parenthood, Common Core academic standards and gun control. Rubio says, "We can't have a president of the United States that supports gun control."

Christie says that two years ago Rubio called him a "conservative reformer" but now he is attacking him and misrepresenting his record. Christie says he has not supported Planned Parenthood and he has taken action as governor to protect 2nd Amendment gun rights.

Christie says, "When you're a senator what you get to do is talk and talk and talk and no one can keep up to see if what you're saying is accurate or not." He says governors are held accountable.


9:36 p.m.

Donald Trump says he'll gladly accept the "mantle of anger" from Nikki Haley and others.

Trump says he wasn't offended by the South Carolina governor's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Haley gave the Republican response and urged people not to follow angry voices. She later specified she was referring to Trump.

But Trump says it's true he's angry. He says he's "very angry" because the U.S. is being run horribly. He's pointing to health care, veterans, the military and the border.

Trump says he won't be angry once "we fix it." But he says until then, "I'm very, very angry."


9:35 p.m.

Marco Rubio isn't going to let Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have all the fun — or the attention.

Just as the feisty fight between Trump and Cruz over Cruz's citizenship and eligibility reached its peak, Rubio saw his way in: "I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV."

Rubio is casting himself as a serious candidate focused on the important issues. He successfully steered the conversation back to defeating a Democrat and stopping President Barack Obama's agenda.

He says, "I think we have to get back to what this election is about."


9:28 p.m.

Donald Trump didn't dispute that he's brought up the issue of Ted Cruz' citizenship because Cruz "is doing a little better. It's true."

And he says he doesn't necessarily believe Cruz isn't eligible. He says only that Democrats will challenge Cruz in court should he become the Republican nominee.

Trump says: "There's a big question mark on your head and you can't do that to the party. You have to have certainty." He is urging Cruz to ask courts for a declaratory judgment to settle the matter.

Cruz cites the widely accepted legal principle that anyone born to an American parent is a natural-born citizen, regardless of where the child is born. He says Trump is basically claiming that a natural-born citizen would have to be born in the United States to two parents who were also born in the United States.

That standard, Cruz says, would disqualify several candidates. Among them: Donald Trump, whose mother was born in Europe.

Cruz says to Trump: "You're an American, as is everybody else on this stage. I would suggest we focus on who is best prepared to be commander-in-chief."


9:26 p.m.

It's taken little time in the GOP presidential debate for front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to go head-to-head. The matter: Cruz's citizenship and eligibility to be president.

Moderators asked Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father, to respond to Trump's suggestion that he's not eligible to be president because he was not born on American soil.

Cruz notes that Trump previously said he didn't think Cruz has a problem.

Cruz says that in September, "my friend Donald had had his lawyers look at this from every which way ... and there was nothing to this birther issue."

He notes, "Since September, the Constitution hasn't changed, but the poll numbers have."


9:21 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is dismissing his failing to disclose a $1 million loan to his 2012 Senate campaign as a "paperwork error."

Cruz was asked about the issue during Thursday's presidential debate in South Carolina. The New York Times first reported Wednesday that Cruz failed to properly disclose the loan from Citibank and Goldman Sachs, where his wife works.

Cruz did not disclose the loans on one filing, but did disclose them in later financial reports.

Cruz says, "I made a paperwork error disclosing it on one piece of paper but not another." Cruz says he had to take out the loan because "I don't have masses of money in the bank, hundreds of millions of dollars."

He casts aside the questions about the loan as part of a "hit piece."


9:18 p.m.

Donald Trump is defending his opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.

He says "it's not fear and terror, it's reality."

Trump is rattling off a list of places recently struck by terror as evidence the U.S. needs to take a harder line against people who want to perpetrate "great destruction." He's citing attacks in Indonesia, California and Paris.

Trump says the U.S. must take a "good, strong look" at its policies. He says "the country's a mess."


9:16 p.m.

It took the moderators more than 15 minutes to get around to asking Ben Carson a question. He answered by thanking them for waking him up.

The neurosurgeon-turned-outsider candidate came prepared with the joke. He's made it before.

He also seemed prepared with an answer about President Barack Obama's foreign policy.

Carson says Obama "doesn't realize we now live in the 21st century." He says the president needs to be on alert for stateless terrorists and the threat of dirty bombs.

He says "war is very different."


9:12 p.m.

Republican Jeb Bush is attacking Democrat Hillary Clinton over the FBI investigation of her private email server.

The former Florida governor is seeking a breakout moment in an unsettled race in which he's faded from the front of the presidential pack.

He says Clinton would be a "national security disaster."

Bush is pointing out questions over the 2012 killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

But the larger point he's making in his first opportunity during the debate is that she would be distracted by personal matters during her first 100 days in the White House if she's elected.

He says she might be shuttling "between the White House and the courthouse."


9:09 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is casting the president's State of the Union address earlier this week as "story time with Barack Obama."

Christie described Obama's speech when asked when he would use military force if he were commander in chief. Christie says Obama gave a rosy picture of the current state of affairs, noting that earlier this week Iran captured 10 U.S. sailors.

Christie says Obama's speech "sounded like everything in the world was going amazing."

Christie adds that a Hillary Clinton presidency will be a "third term of Barack Obama's leadership." Christie says if he wins, Clinton "won't get within 10 miles of the White House."

Christie has said he will use military force as president only when absolutely necessary to protect American lives.


9: 07 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says familiar Republican ideas are the key to spurring economic growth: cut taxes, reduce regulations and balance the federal budget.

"When you do that ... the job creators begin to get very comfortable with the fact that they can invest," Kasich says.

Kasich says it's particualrly important to cut corporate income taxes. Regulations, he says, are "smothering people." He did not cite specifics.

He also reminded voters that he was budget chairman in the 1990s, the last time the federal budget was balanced. "We're nowhere near a balanced budget," he said.

The annual deficit actually has been cut by more than half during the seven years of the Obama administration. The 2015 deficit was equivalent to about 3 percent of nation's overall economic activity, about what it was in 2008, the last year of President George W. Bush's administration.


9:06 p.m.

Ted Cruz says millionaires and billionaires have done great under President Barack Obama but everyone else is suffering.

He's blaming what he calls the "Obama-Clinton economy." He says it's left behind working men and women.

Cruz says Obama tried to paint a rosy picture of jobs in his State of the Union address Tuesday. He says it's just in Washington that "things are doing great."

Unemployment under Obama recently fell to 5 percent.


9:05 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz got the first question at the Fox Business debate, but he didn't immediately answer it.

Rather than talk about his view of the U.S. economy, Cruz opens with a charging attack on President Barack Obama and his relationship with Iran.

Cruz says he was "horrified" to see images of the 10 U.S. sailors briefly held by Iran Tuesday night after crossing into Iranian waters. He slammed Obama for not even mentioning the incident in his State of the Union speech.

Cruz says Obama is too cozy with Tehran. He says if he were president, any nation that held U.S. sailors would feel "the full force and fury" of the United States of America.


9:02 p.m.

The first question of the prime-time GOP presidential debate is about jobs: President Barack Obama says the economy is durable and new jobs are being created. What do the Republican candidates see that he doesn't?


9 p.m.

The prime-time GOP presidential debate has begun, just over two weeks before the first votes are cast in the 2016 contest.

Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are at the center of a shrinking field of top-tier candidates. Trump and Cruz are locked in battle for first place in the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses.

Arrayed to the sides are five other rivals: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.


7:10 p.m.

The undercard debate between Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum has concluded.

As for Rand Paul? He skipped the forum after being barred from the prime-time debate beginning at 9 p.m.

Instead, he's inviting viewers to watch his national town hall online.

"The revolution will not be televised," he tweeted. "Turn off your tv, watch the real discussion."


6:04 p.m.

Carly Fiorina is blazing out of the gate in her opening statement, delivering backhanded compliments to her two male rivals and a not-subtle swipe at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for her husband's infidelities.

She first said she is "honored" to be onstage with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, "two former Iowa caucus winners." The clear implication: Neither man's presidential ambitions have survived the nomination process, leaving them on the 2016 undercard stage in the lower tier of candidates.

Then she took a shot at the only other woman in the race, Clinton, the former secretary of state and wife of former President Bill Clinton.

Fiorina sniped, "Unlike another woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband."


6:00 p.m.

The debate between three of the lowest-polling GOP presidential candidates is underway at the North Charleston Coliseum. Onstage are former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Not appearing: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was dropped from the prime-time lineup at 9 p.m. and refused to appear on the earlier forum.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.