- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2015

Real estate businessman Donald Trump said Friday morning that he would have bumped Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul down to the earlier lower-tiered debate of GOP 2016 presidential candidates Thursday and brought up former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to the 9 p.m. debate.

Mr. Trump told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that Ms. Fiorina performed well at that debate, which featured the bottom seven candidates based on the latest national polls.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Trump didn’t have glowing remarks about Mr. Paul after the two men verbally tussled at the 9 p.m. debate featuring the top 10 candidates based on polls.

Mr. Trump told “Fox & Friends” that he has donated to Mr. Paul’s medical work and called him “a better doctor than senator.”

Thursday night, Mr. Trump seemed to say that he favored a single-payer system in health care, which drew fire from Mr. Paul.

“I have got a news flash, the Republican party has been fighting against a single-payer system for a decade. So I think you are on the wrong side of this,” the senator said.

Earlier in the night, moderator Bret Baier had asked who wouldn’t support the Republican nominee if not elected and Mr. Trump raised his hand as the crowd booed.

Mr. Paul then became incensed.

“He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent,” Mr. Paul said as Mr. Baier interrupted him. Yet the senator continued, “But I’d say that he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.”

• Maria Stainer can be reached at mstainer@washingtontimes.com.

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