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Aug 25 – The first Republican primary debate lasted two hours. And it was Indian-American presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy who shone through, both on the offensive and on the receiving end. He exuded confidence and outperformed everyone else.
Vivek Ramaswamy sparred with all seven other contenders, including veteran Indian-origin politician Nikki Haley. In fact, there was a 30-second heated exchange between Haley and Ramaswamy that went unnoticed.
This is the first time in American history that two Indian-origin candidates shared the stage and sparred during a primary debate. Haley and Ramaswamy are among the three Indian-American politicians who have joined the crowded field of Republican candidates vying to become the US President in 2024.
All this in front of a rowdy Donald Trump-supporting crowd of 4,000 in Milwaukee that was liberal with its jeers and boos, mostly when it came to the former president. Trump was the giant who was present in his absence at the Milwaukee debate.
Asked why voters should choose him over others, Vivek Ramaswamy said: “I’m the outsider on this stage. I’m not a politician. My parents came to this country 40 years ago with no money, and I’ve gone on to found multibillion-dollar companies. I did it while getting married to my wife Apoorva and raising our two sons. That’s the American Dream.”
Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, was at the centre of the primary argument from the minute the starting pistol was fired. Despite having the top seat on the debate stage, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was overshadowed by Ramaswamy.
Ramaswamy challenged former US Vice President Mike Pence on “experience,” former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Trump’s indictment and pardon, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on foreign policy.
And it’s easy to see why Vivek Ramaswamy took it on the chin and poked fun at his main opponents. He is the Republican Party’s rising star, a “outsider” who vows to revolutionise, not reform, the administration.
Ramaswamy drew the first criticism from former Vice President Mike Pence, who remarked, “We are in the middle of a national identity crisis.”
“There is no identity dilemma here, Vivek. “We are not seeking a new national identity,” Pence said.
The bombardment persisted.“Vivek, you recently said a president can’t do everything. Well, I’ve 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,” Pence said.