Although many pundits predicted the last kiddie debate would be the last, here we are again. Bottom-tier candidates Jindal, Santorum, Pataki and Graham returned to the stage ahead of the top ten debate at 8 p.m. on CNBC. The economy was the theme of tonight’s questioning. Up first was the controversial (and not exactly conservative) budget deal that passed Wednesday afternoon, which increases spending $85 million over the next three years. Here’s where the candidates came down on the compromise, as well as other economic concerns.
Bobby Jindal came out the strongest against today’s budget deal. The Louisiana governor said Pelosi and Obama “forced socialism down our throats" and asked why "Republicans won't fight?" "This was a bad budget,” he said.
George Pataki agreed it was a “bad deal,” yet said he would have voted for it because Obama is “holding our military hostage.”
Lindsey Graham was the only candidate on stage to strongly support the agreement. “The threat to our homeland is real,” he said. The budget is necessary, he insisted, because it will put $40 billion back in the Defense Department.
“I would get rid of corporate tax," Jindal said. "I will make the CEOs pay the tax rates same as the rest.”
“We owe to every businessperson the best environment to create jobs,” Graham insisted. “We need to lower it so they don’t leave. The goal is to help the middle class.”
Rick Santorum boosted his “20/20 clear vision” plan, which he says includes repealing Obamacare and resulting in a 4 percent growth. He then directly attacked Jindal and Trump's economic plans: "We don’t add ten trillion to the deficit like Trump and Jindal. We are a revenue neutral plan." Santorum also pledged to make sure families are strong and healthy.
Jindal responded, saying reducing tax revenue 22 percent over 10 years is not too much. “We must become a cheaper version of the Democratic Party,” he said. He then pointed to his successful policies in Louisiana such as school choice. “We need zero-based budgeting,” he added.