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Mr. Brown took it a step further, saying that “on Social Security, you don’t raise the retirement age,” while Mr. Mandel said the age, which was set in the 1930s when life expectancies were much shorter, may have to be raised in order to preserve the program.

He also came out in favor of a position often seen as taboo within the Republican Party: trimming military spending.

“I don’t think we need all of these bases throughout Europe. We’re not fighting the Nazis anymore. We’re not fighting the Cold War anymore,” he said.