By James Oliphant and Tim Reid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -4 U.S. presidential contenders – the smallest subject but – debated in Alabama on Wednesday, all making an attempt to outlive to battle former President Donald Trump subsequent yr for the Republican nomination.

Listed here are some takeaways from the fourth Republican presidential debate:

HALEY IN THE BARREL

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley isn’t main the Republican pack. That place belongs to Trump, who as soon as once more skipped the controversy.

However in a nod to the momentum Haley has been constructing during the last a number of weeks, she was instantly focused within the first moments of the controversy by her rivals on stage, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

With out being prompted, DeSantis accused Haley of not supporting a ban on gender-affirming medical take care of transgender youth, one thing she denied. Ramaswamy hit Haley on her help from Wall Road donors and her time on the board of Boeing Co. “It provides as much as the truth that you’re corrupt,” he mentioned.

Haley defended her work for Boeing after which mocked her rivals.

“By way of these donors which can be supporting me, they’re simply jealous,” Haley mentioned. “They want that they had been supporting them.” The gang contained in the auditorium roared.

After DeSantis and Ramaswamy continued to pile on, she smiled and mentioned, “I like all the eye fellas, thanks for that.”

DeSantis’ criticism, specifically, was a transparent signal that he views Haley as an rising risk to his aim to be the final candidate standing together with Trump after the Republican nominating contests start subsequent month. Haley now could be primarily tied with DeSantis in Iowa and forward of him in New Hampshire, the primary two voting states of the first race.

HITTING TRUMP ON CHINA

Haley, who at occasions has been criticized for not being powerful sufficient on Trump, knocked the previous president when she was requested about China.

Particularly, she mentioned Trump didn’t do sufficient to cease the move of fentanyl from China into the U.S. “That is the place Trump went mistaken,” Haley mentioned. “Trump was good on commerce, however that’s all he was with China.”

She additionally lashed out at Trump for not stopping Chinese language pursuits from buying U.S. land.

DeSantis used the problem to assault Haley and mentioned nothing abut Trump, blasting her for encouraging Chinese language funding when she was governor of South Carolina and once more suggesting that she was within the pocket of “Wall Road liberal donors.”

“They aren’t going to let her be powerful on China,” DeSantis mentioned.

“He’s simply mad as a result of these Wall Road donors used to help him and now they help me,” Haley retorted.

(Reporting by James Oliphant and Tim ReidEditing by Colleen Jenkins and Deepa Babington)

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