Donald Trump has dominated a second Republican debate between the top GOP presidential candidates in the 2016 election.
The front-runner has come under attack from all sides in a debate with an outsider candidate – former tech executive Carly Fiorina – challenging Donald Trump in a way few rivals have.
Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman with no political experience, refused to apologize over comments about the wife of Jeb Bush.
And he was on the receiving end when Carly Fiorina drew huge applause facing up to his recent jibe over her looks.
Fifteen Republicans are vying to be the party’s White House nominee in 2016.
Their most notable clash in the debate, hosted by CNN, came when former Florida Governor Jeb Bush demanded that the tycoon apologize to his wife for saying he was weak on immigration because she is Mexican. Donald Trump refused.
But the loudest audience response of the night came when Carly Fiorina was asked about an interview in which Donald Trump said she could not be president because: “Look at that face.”
Carly replied, to thunderous applause: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
Moderator Jake Tapper gives Carly Fiorina the chance to respond to Donald Trump’s comments about her in Rolling Stone magazine in which he said: “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that. Can you imagine that as the face of our next president?”
Donald Trump later said he was talking about her persona, not her appearance.
If Donald Trump predictably took plenty of punches, as the candidate who has held a commanding lead for much of the campaign, he gave as good he got throughout the debate in his trademark style.
Donald Trump returned fire on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul with an oblique personal insult about his appearance, mocked the fiscal record of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and introduced himself with the words: “I say, not in a braggadocios way, I’ve made billions and billions of dollars.”
A second-tier debate for the four other Republican candidates happened on the same stage earlier.
In a combative atmosphere, the four were split over the case of Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples due to her Christian faith.
The Democratic Party will hold its first debate in Nevada in October, also hosted by CNN.
By next summer, each party will have a presidential nominee who will do battle in the race for the White House.
Votes will finally be cast in November 2016.