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Republican presidential candidates spar at second debate

Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, left, Ben Carson,

Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, left, Ben Carson, second from left, Donald Trump, second from right, and Jeb Bush appear during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. Credit: AP / Mark J. Terrill

The second debate for Republican presidential candidates is being held Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The participants are businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former business executive Carly Fiorina. The debate is hosted by CNN.

11:20 p.m.The Republican debate wrapped up after more than three hours on the air, with most of the candidates looking tired and overheated after that much time under the lights.

After offbeat questions about whom to put on the $10 bill (some said "my mother" or "my wife") and preferred Secret Service code names ("Humble," Trump said), the Republican hopefuls concluded with warm words about Ronald Reagan and a general overview of their ideas.

"A Christie presidency won't be about me. It will be about you," Christie told viewers.

Rubio talked of spreading democracy, Cruz of defeating ISIS and Obamacare, Bush promised economic growth and Huckabee said he pictured a time when "abortion is a scourge of our past like abortion."

Trump in his grandiose style offered: "We will have more of everything . . . when I am president."

10:45 p.m.Like the first GOP debate, Trump and Bush are getting the most air time. Through the first two segments of the CNN debate, multiple media outlets reported that Trump has had more than 16 minutes of face time -- far more than the next closest, Bush.

Here is the breakdown provided by National Public Radio:

Trump, 16:19; Bush, 12:04; Fiorina, 10:44; Carson, 9:48; Cruz, 8:35; Kasich, 8:06; Rubio, 7:51; Christie, 7:33; Huckabee, 7:13; Walker, 6:38 and Paul, 5:39

10:35 p.m. Paul sought to continue to stake out the libertarian position on many issues.

He said he opposed further military intervention in the Middle East.

"There will always be a Bush or Clinton for you if you to go back to war in Iraq," Paul said at one point.

Later, he criticized federal drug laws on marijuana.

"The people going to jail for this are often poor people yet the rich kids" aren't going to jail, Paul said.

He said he favors "less incarceration," and drug courts and more rehabilitation.

"I think the war on drugs has had a racial outcome," Paul continued, saying of blacks jailed on low-level drug charges: "We damage them by incarcerating them and preventing them" from becoming employed later.

10:28 p.m. Bush not only had to defend his brother's invasion of Iraq and Middle East policy, but his choice of John Roberts to become U.S. chief justice. Cruz and others criticized Roberts -- who was a conservative favorite when then-President George W. Bush picked him -- for casting the deciding vote to uphold Obamacare and said he would have selected someone other than Roberts to lead the court.

Bush noted Cruz voted to confirm Roberts and now was trying to "rewrite history."

Bush said Roberts had "made some really good decisions," but didn't "have the proven record" when he came to the bench.

The debate then segued to Huckabee, who said he would have a litmus test for court candidates.

"You bet I will because I'm tired of liberals having litmus tests and" conservatives aren't supposed to, Huckabee said. He said his choice would have to be anti-abortion and pro-gun rights.

10:08 p.m. Bush was pressed to differentiate himself from his father and brother, who both served as president, and whether he was using the same team of military and international advisers.

"I'm my own man," Bush said, but acknowledged it would be natural to have some overlap. "I have a team that will be following the doctrine I set up and it will be peace through strength."

Trump then was asked why he hasn't detailed a vision on international policy; he said he would soon and was putting together a team.

"I'm a very militaristic person, but you have to know when to use the military," Trump said.

But later he said, "I will know more about the problems of this world by the time I am sitting."

Bush pounced.

"The lack of judgment and lack of understanding about how the world really works is dangerous," Bush said.

"Your brother brought us Barack Obama," Trump fired back, saying that President George W. Bush left such a "mess" in 2008 that no Republican, even "Abraham Lincoln" could have beaten Obama.

That opened the door for Paul, who favors less foreign intervention.

"I was opposed to Iraq war. I was opposed to the Syrian war," Paul said, saying Iraq was more unstable because of the U.S. invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein. "We have to understand that interventions sometimes don't work."

9:45 p.m.Expressing frustration over the continued Fiorina-Trump exchange over who was a worse CEO, Christie said average workers didn't want to hear about corporate executives.

Christie said he wanted to speak to the "55-year-old construction worker" out there, and referring to Fiorina and Trump: "They could care less about your career."

When Fiorina jumped in, Christie said: "I'm not going to let you interrupt me."

Continuing on the economy, Carson suggested support for a flat tax rate -- and Trump said it would be unfair for a billionaire and a worker earning a $50,000 annual salary to pay the same tax rate.

"We've had a graduated tax system for years, so it's not socialist," Trump said, promising to unveil a tax plan in two weeks.

9:30 p.m. Moving on to immigration, Bush said he supported securing the border, but that Trump's approach was doom and gloom. Bush said he supported a "comprehensive, conservative approach to immigration reform." He said a wall, as Trump supports, would cost billions.

Prompted by moderators, Bush said he was offended by Trump saying he supported a "pathway" to citizenship because his wife is Hispanic. Trump wouldn't apologize -- "I did nothing wrong" -- but said he heard Bush's wife was a "phenomenal woman."

Cruz said he was the lone candidate to oppose amnesty for immigrants in the country illegally. Carson said the United States needs to stop providing "goodies" -- social services -- to undocumented workers.

Rubio, saying "my family is immigrants," said the issue can't be solved with one piece of legislation.

Trump said the United States was the only nation "stupid enough" to provide birthright citizenship and repeated his claim that not every legal scholar believes the 14th Amendment provides such.

Paul somewhat concurred, saying the U.S. Supreme Court has never heard a 14th Amendment case involving illegal immigrants.

9:15 p.m. CNN host Jake Tapper asked Carly Fiorina about her reaction to Trump's criticism of her looks. Trump had mocked her, according to recent news reports, saying, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?"

"I think the women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said," Fiorina said, to a big round of applause.

Trump responded: "I think she has a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman."

9:05 p.m. As the debate moved on to social issues, Kasich, continuing to present himself as the pragmatist, said government shouldn't be shut down over Planned Parenthood funding.

"There are ways to do this without shutting the government down," Kasich said.

Cruz, who has courted party conservatives, jumped in to remind voters of his anti-abortion stance.

Christie said he cut off funding to the abortion-rights group in New Jersey, but wouldn't say if he would shutter federal government over the issue.

Trying to outdo one another, Bush then said: "I'm the most pro-life candidate on this stage."

8:58 p.m. Kasich, responding to Cruz, essentially accused him of creating a straw man in regards to President Obama's proposed nuclear deal with Iran.

"Nobody's trusting Iran," Kasich said. He added that the United States is stronger when it builds coalitions -- such as when President George H.W. Bush initiated the First Gulf War.

Paul, who has support in the party's libertarian wing, said U.S. intervention in the Middle East too often makes things worse.

Trump danced somewhat around the question of intervention in Syria, saying he wouldn't have used military force but said that if Obama had "really gone in with force . . . you wouldn't have millions of people displaced" now.

He said senators at the debate bore some responsibility for Syria -- Rubio shot back they had "zero responsibility."

8:43 p.m. -- One complaint from Trump rivals about the first GOP debate last month was that moderators gave the developer more airtime than anyone else. And the first half-hour of tonight's event began much the same way.

CNN moderators focused most of the early questions at Trump, Bush and Carson with others vying to get into the mix.

Kasich and Rubio, in particular, got little attention from the CNN panel in the first half-hour of the forum. Rubio didn't one direct question and hadn't spoken since his opening statement.

8:37 p.m. -- Bush, the fundraising leader, then picked up the attack on Trump, the poll leader. Put on the spot about the influence of large donors, Bush said the only contributor who ever wanted anything was Trump, who he said wanted casino gambling in Florida.

"No, I didn't!" Trump countered.

"Yes, you did!" Bush replied.

"If I had wanted it, I would have gotten it," Trump said.

Bush then tried to make an issue of Trump's donations to Hillary Clinton and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Trump shrugged, nodded and said: "I get along with everybody."

8:35 p.m. -- After the back-and-forth, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said it was time to get to issues instead of insults.

New Jersey Gov. Christie pitched that he was a conservative in a Blue State who qualifies as a Washington outsider.

"I am a Republican in New Jersey. I wake up every morning as an outsider," Christie said.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson tried to appear above the fray, but ducked the question when asked if political experience wasn't important for a president.

8:28 p.m. -- "I wrote the 'Art of the Deal' and . . . I've made billions and billions of dollars making deals with people all over the world," Trump said in his opening statement. Later, when a moderator asked about his temperament, he added: "I have a great temperament. I built a wonderful business with tremendous assets."

But he also tried to single out Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for attack, saying he shouldn't be on stage because he is 11th in the GOP polls currently.

That triggered attacks not only from Paul but also Bush and Walker.

Walker criticized Trump for filing bankruptcy for some of his business.

8:22 p.m. -- Donald Trump plugged his book, stressed his wealth and promised to "get rid of Obamacare" as the second Republican presidential debate got underway Wednesday.

With 11 Republicans on stage before the CNN cameras, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush promised he was a "committed conservative" who was ready to lead. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) promised he would stand up to "career politicians of both parties" and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, known for battling public-sector unions, said: "America needs someone who will be big and bold again" like Ronald Reagan -- a reference to the debate site at the Reagan Library.

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