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DeSantis slams Biden, stays out of on-stage spats during first debate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis and seven other Republicans vying for the Presidency duked it out on the debate stage Wednesday night.

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For DeSantis, the debate was seen by many political observers as a make it or break it moment.

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DeSantis attempted to hold President Joe Biden’s feet to the fire on a number of issues, including the President’s response to the Maui fires.

“Biden was on the beach while those people were suffering. He was asked about it and he said ‘no comment’. Are you kidding me?” DeSantis said.

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DeSantis also defended his own stance on abortion but deflected when asked whether he’d sign a national ban.

“I’m gonna stand on the side of life. Look, Wisconsin is gonna do it different than Texas,” DeSantis said.

The Governor leaned heavily on his record in Florida, highlighting the state’s crime rates as a contrast to the rest of the nation and discussing his removal of two state attorneys.

“I removed them from their post. They are gone,” DeSantis said.

Despite predictions, DeSantis would be the focus of attacks from other candidates on stage, the Florida Governor didn’t find himself in the middle of many on-stage spats.

He did field a subtle jab from Vivek Ramaswamy, who alluded to a debate prep memo recently released by a DeSantis-backing Super PAC.

“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,” Ramaswamy said.

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The closest DeSantis came to directly attacking frontrunner former President Donald Trump came in the form of a critique on the federal government’s handling of COVID.

“Why are we in this mess? Part of it and a major reason is because how this federal government handled COVID-19, by locking down this economy. It was a mistake,” DeSantis said.

When asked about whether Vice President Mike Pence carried out his duty on January 6th, DeSantis argued Republicans will lose if they continue rehashing the 2020 election.

“Mike did his duty. I got no beef with him. But here’s the thing, is this what we’re going to be focusing on going forward? The rehashing of this? I’ll tell you, the Democrats would love that,” DeSantis said.

Maybe more important than the debate itself, will be the post-debate coverage over the coming days.

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Whether DeSantis’ performance resonated with voters will be answered by polling over the next few weeks.

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