How Ramaswamy Became the RNC’s Top Target

( – In the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) first presidential debate, entrepreneur and 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy became a target for the other candidates to attack. Ramaswamy’s pitch to voters began with him addressing his lack of name recognition, “Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name?” He continued by attacking the other candidates for their campaign finance and policies he disagreed with them on, which made him subject to the brunt of attacks during the debate that night.

Former Vice President Mike Pence slammed Ramaswamy as a “rookie.” Pence attempted to levy his experience in elected office throughout the debate, talking about his experience in Congress, as Governor, and as Vice President. However, political outsiders can make headway against those with political careers, as seen with then-businessman Donald Trump’s campaign in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused Ramaswamy of attempting to imitate Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign since he was also a skinny guy with an odd last name. However, Ramaswamy rebutted the attack, bringing up Christie’s hug of Obama. Christie has attempted to distance himself from former President Obama since then, despite Republican critics attacking him for an alleged bipartisan boost Obama received ahead of the 2012 presidential election due to the hug.

According to FiveThirtyEight aggregate polls that day, former President Trump leads the rest of the pack by about 40 points with 52.1%. Only two attending the debate had over 5% support, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 15.2% and Ramaswamy with 9.7%. The other candidates included Pence with 4.3%, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott with 3.6%, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley with 3.4%, Christie with 3.3%, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson with 0.7%, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum with 0.4%. In recent weeks, Ramaswamy gained significant ground on DeSantis, which could signal that the attacks are because the other candidates see Ramaswamy as a political threat.

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