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November 11, 2015

Juice box, anyone? Christie deflects Jindal attack in undercard debate

N.J. governor and Santorum both fighting to keep campaigns alive

The quote of the night, for the undercard GOP debate held Tuesday on FOX Business, has to go to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who likened New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to a youth soccer player while attacking his record.

"I'll give you a ribbon for participation and a juice box," Jindal told Christie, claiming he held a more Republican-friendly record as the head of his state.

RELATED STORY: Live coverage of the Republican Presidential Debate

Held before the primetime debate featuring Donald Trump, Ben Carson and the other GOP frontrunners, four underdog presidential hopefuls were quizzed on their economic plans for the first portion of the debate in Milwaukee.

During the evening, Jindal and Christie were joined by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. 

Christie opened on a question about the economy by sharing a story of a woman in New Hampshire, the location of a key early primary, who told him she had anxiety over paying her bills.

He said that if the economy followed the current path under President Barack Obama, which he assured it would under Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, millions of Americans would continue to suffer.

The governor also said the tax code, "rigged for the rich," needed to be reformed, saying as president he would get to "fire a whole bunch of IRS agents."

That statement was hardly as radical as one made by Huckabee, who suggested getting rid of the IRS altogether.

Along with the aforementioned "juice box" jab, Jindal questioned Christie's record in New Jersey and the expansion of Medicaid and food stamps, as well as spending cuts.

Christie tried to deflect the attacks, saying that the differences between he and Jindal weren't important and tried to turn the attention on past cuts of the amount of state employees and reductions to Obamacare, stating for the second time that Clinton was the real enemy.

Santorum tried jumping in on the fray. 

He dismissed a suggestion from Jindal that the candidates who spent time in Congress didn't have accomplishments, citing his work on welfare reform in the 1990s under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

One particularly unsuccessful question from the moderators came when they asked all four candidates to name a Democratic lawmaker they respected.

Jindal called the question "silly." Huckabee stated his support for veterans and ranted on the state of the Veteran Affairs Office, and Christie took the opportunity to make a veiled reference to his previous shots at Obama over his support of police officers.

Santorum, for his part, did say he respected Democrats for their ability to "fight back and win" in elections.

Among the other topics discussed were China and cybersecurity, tax rates, and the Federal Reserve.

Christie railed against the president's foreign policy and the perceived lack of response to Chinese hackers accessing the personal data of federal employees, saying he would be tougher on that country and bring them "cyber warfare they've never seen before."

On taxes, Santorum discussed his flat, 20 percent rate for all businesses and individuals, while Christie said the richest Americans should pay 28 percent and the poorest should pay about 8 percent.

Both criticized the Federal Reserve's decision to not increase interest rates, saying that it was being done to support the economic image of Obama.

All four candidates hammered Obama and Clinton on the military. 

In closing, Santorum said we needed a president who supported working families while Christie criticized Clinton's answer in the first Democratic debate that Republicans were her biggest enemy, considering the threat of terrorist organizations, Iran and Vladimir Putin.