Former Vice President Mike Pence and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy were involved in a heated exchange in the first GOP debate Wednesday night over what a president can and can’t get done in the White House.
“You’ve got people on this stage that won’t even talk about issues like Social Security and Medicare,” Pence said during the Milwaukee, Wisconsin debate before calling out Ramaswamy.
“Vivek, you recently said a president can’t do everything. Well, I got news for you, Vivek. I’ve been in the hallway. I’ve been in the West Wing. The President of the United States has to confront every crisis facing America. I will put our nation back on a path to growth and prosperity and restore fiscal responsibility, just as I did in Congress and as governor.”
“This isn’t complicated guys,” Ramaswamy responded. “This isn’t that complicated, guys. Unlock American energy, drill, frack, burn coal, embrace nuclear. Put people back to work by no longer paying them more to stay at home. Reform the US Fed, stabilize the US dollar and go to war.”
“The only war that I will declare as U.S. President will be the war on the federal administrative state that is the source of those toxic regulations, acting like a wet blanket on the economy. So I’m not sure exactly I understood Mike Pence’s comment, but I’ll let you all parse that out. For me. It’s pretty simple. That’s something the U.S. president can do with focus and I’ll deliver on.”
Pence then told Ramaswamy that he will explain what he said and go “slower this time” so that Ramaswamy can understand.
After going through several of his accomplishments as vice president, Pence took a shot at Ramaswamy’s lack of political experience.
“Now is not the time for on the job training,” Pence said. “We don’t need to bring in a rookie. We don’t need to bring in people without experience.”
Ramaswamy then accused Pence of reciting a “memorized, pre-prepared slogan.”
“The reality is you have a bunch of people, professional politicians, super-PAC puppets following slogans handed over to them by their 400-page super PACs last week.”
Pence and Ramaswamy sparred again later in the debate with Ramswamy accusing Pence of not acknowledging that America is facing a “dark time” and Pence saying that America needs a “government as good as our people.”
In a statement to Fox News Digital after the exchange, Ramaswamy’s campaign touted his position as an outsider.
Vivek is the outsider on this stage,” campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin said. “He’s not a politician–America doesn’t need another career politician beholden to the donor class sitting in the White House. The choice for GOP primary voters: do they want incremental reform or do they want revolution? Vivek is on the side of revolution.”
Pence spokesperson Devin O’Malley told Fox News Digital following the exchange that Ramaswamy “would need training wheels if he became president and America can’t afford that.”
“Mike Pence is ready to do the job on day one.”
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