Republican Presidential Candidates Debate In Greenville, South Carolina

Sparks are flying at the Republican debate in Greenville, South Carolina. After coming off a smashing victory in the New Hampshire primary Donald Trump has the center stage position at the debate.  The other candidates are Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson.

Early in the debate, Jeb Bush was outlining his national security priorities of handling ISIS and Iran when Donald Trump remarked that Bush was, "so wrong."  Trump accused Bush of saying that he was trying to fight two wars at one time, and that ISIS was the greater priority.  Bush said he was looking to build a coalition of Muslim countries to handle the fight against ISIS.  Trump fired back, saying that the U.S. is providing weapons to forces on the ground without fully knowing who they are.  Bush said Trump gets his foreign policy notes from TV shows. 

Trump called the Iraq war a "big fat mistake."  Trump criticized former President George W. Bush and saying  "they lied" about weapons of mass destruction. Bush jumped in and said he is "sick and tired" of Trump going after his family. 

Trump told the CBS debate that the World Trade Center came down during the Bush administration rejecting the notion that former President Bush kept the nation safe.  Ohio Governor John Kasich called the interplay "crazy" and "nuts." 

The candidates are laying out their financial plans at a debate in Greenville, South Carolina.  Donald Trump said the economy is suffering under the weight of taxation, and that several American firms are investing in other countries rather than the U.S.  He said he didn't want to touch entitlements, and would go after what he called the tremendous waste, fraud and abuse in government spending. Senator Ted Cruz said his plan for a flat tax would spur economic growth and lead to the creation of nearly five million jobs. John Kasich defended the health care plan in his state explaining that when people get vital health services, they don't become a greater burden on the government farther down the line. 

When it comes to immigration Trump repeated his vow that a huge border wall will be built and will be paid for by Mexico. Trump took aim at former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, saying he is the weakest person in the GOP field on immigration.  Bush fired back at Trump and accused him of making disparaging remarks about the disabled and Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.  

Ted Cruz criticized Florida Senator Marco Rubio for co-sponsoring a bipartisan Senate immigration bill that died in the House.  Rubio and Cruz accused each other of supporting amnesty and legalization. Rubio also accused Cruz of lying. 

Trump was pressed on flip-flopping on many issues over the years. He defended his changing of positions, calling it flexibility. Senator Ted Cruz responded saying that candidates should not be flexible with core principles and that Trump holds liberal views on many issues. 

Donald Trump was asked about how he'd make good on his promise to punish American companies that build plants in other countries.  He said he'd build consensus with Congress.  Trump remarked that he plans on making deals and "cajoling" legislators to make sure those companies pay the price for putting down roots across the border.  Florida Senator Marco Rubio said poverty is free enterprise not reaching people. 

Carson remarked that there's far too much government regulation, and that's hurting businesses. He said that if the goal is to raise people out of poverty, then the regulations have to go. Ted Cruz explained that people who are struggling financially have been hurt the most by the Obama administration. He said the economy will grow when burdens are lifted off of small businesses. 

Photo: Getty Images