In New Hampshire, a Democratic congressman debates Ramaswamy | ET REALITY

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Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and Democratic House member Ro Khanna clashed Wednesday in New Hampshire in what was billed as a civil discussion between two Indian-Americans over the future of the United States.

But over the course of an hour at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, Ramaswamy repeatedly slipped into his speech about the “black hole” in America’s collective heart and his belief that the nation was not, as he once thought. , the Roman Empire in decline, as Khanna struggled to highlight President Biden’s record against his opponent’s storm of words.

“I think it’s unfortunate to carry Joe Biden’s water when the fact that ordinary Americans know that they are suffering at the hands of the policies that come from this administration,” Ramaswamy snapped.

The appearance by Khanna, a California Democrat, on stage in New Hampshire (the second time this year for him) was a testament to the frustrations he said he feels with how Biden and other Democrats have ceded ground to Republicans on the presentation of an economic vision. The meeting was initially going to be a conversation about race and identity at the University of Chicago, but when Ramaswamy backed out, Khanna challenged him on social media and pursued him into the state’s first Republican primary.

On November 30, Governor Gavin Newsom of California, who has tried to extend the White House message to audiences he does not believe it is reaching, will debate Governor Ron DeSantis from Florida on Fox News.

In the end, the St. Anselm meeting was largely a showcase for Ramaswamy to try to rescue a weakened campaign, which has fell to fourth place in state polling averages, behind DeSantis, Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, and Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina who moved into second place. All of them are far behind the favorite, Donald J. Trump.

Ramaswamy showed that his tenacious “America First” isolationism has not been shaken by the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas. At one point, he declared: “I don’t care at all about leading in the Middle East,” and referring to Israel: “Let’s go out and let our true ally defend itself.”

To that, Khanna asked, “Why do you have such an impoverished view of America that the only thing America is going to have is a parochial sense of self-interest?”

Mr. Ramaswamy also showed his propensity to not let facts get in the way of his opinions. When Khanna boasted about the 13 million jobs that have been created under the Biden administration, his opponent warned that the government was “the sector with by far the largest job growth.”

While it is true that in recent months the government sector has shown signs of recovery, Public employment, until last month, remained below its pre-pandemic level at 9,000 jobs, while the private sector has now recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic and then some.

Khanna has openly challenged his party and its president to be more aggressive in sharing a vision of more inclusive economic growth. He tried again Wednesday, talking about government investment to rebuild manufacturing: “For Republicans, and I see some of this in what you’ve embraced, they see any problem and say, let’s cut taxes, let’s deregulate,” Khanna said. saying. “What’s it like to build a steel plant in Johnstown, Pennsylvania?”

But he largely missed the opportunity to highlight Biden’s biggest legislative achievements on industrial policy, which received only cursory references: a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, a $280 billion measure to revive a domestic industry of semiconductors and the Inflation Reduction Act, with its spending to combat climate change.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ramaswamy’s hackneyed arguments, dismissing the threat of climate change, calling for eliminating three-quarters of the federal government and cutting spending on education, went largely unchallenged.

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