Follow live: 2016 GOP debate with Rick Perry and undercard candidates

(Photo by Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)
(Photo by Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)

At 4 p.m., Fox News will host a debate for seven Republican presidential candidates who did not make the cut, based on their performance in recent polls, to be among the 10 candidates to participate in the prime time debate at 8 p.m.

The seven are former Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

The debate will be moderated by Fox’s Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.

Update 4:37 p.m.: Former Gov. Rick Perry stood at center stage Thursday in the debate of second-tier Republican candidates for their party’s nomination for president and spoke repeatedly about immigration.

Perry, who had more support than his fellow candidates on the stage at the Fox News debate, said for him, the past four years have included much preparation and reflection to get him ready for his second run at the presidency. He didn’t mention the “Opps” moment in 2011 that derailed his candidacy during the last presidential race, nor did he talk about the indictments on two charges related to his effort to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.

Perry was asked by a Fox News moderator about the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, businessman and television reality star Donald Trump.

The governor has been perhaps the most aggressive candidate in attacks on Trump, but one of the moderators told Perry that Trump “seems to be getting the better of you.”

Perry responded by mocking Trump for backing single-payer health care and using his celebrity — rather than his politics — to make a run for the presidency.

Perry also took a couple of opportunities to talk about the border and his experience trying to secure it.

He mentioned confronting President Barack Obama on a Texas tarmac in 2014 about the issue.

“The border is still porous,” he said in the debate.

No one else running for the GOP nomination has experience on the border, he said.

He called for more military personnel on the border in strategic  places, construction of some walls, installation of cameras and “quick response teams.”

Update 5:09 p.m.

Several of the candidates — including Perry — pledged to rescind all of Obama’s executive orders.

“I’m going to take a bottle of white out with me,” Perry said.

Update 5:18 p.m.

Perry touted a few times that he oversaw the 12th largest economy in the world in Texas.

He said from the stage that Texas saw 1.5 million jobs created, while the rest of U.S. lost 400,000 jobs, in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

“We can do it in America,” he said. “Our best days are ahead of us.”

Pounding on his experience as a governor, Perry promised to bring growth back the country.

“Nobody has done it like Rick Perry has done it,” Perry said.

Update 5:20 p.m.

At the early debate of the second-tier candidates, there were no major stumbles.

But none of the GOP candidates managed to stand out.

However, Fiorina is being discussed in the moments after the debate by Fox News commentators as an articulate and knowledgeable candidate.

And Graham is being discussed as having the guts to take a possibly controversial position on foreign policy by saying more than once that the U.S. needs to put more soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and send soldiers to Syria, to fight radical Islamic forces.

Updated 5:28 p.m.

Conservative Fox News commentator George Will gave Perry his props, especially compared with his failed run last time.

“He’s a much better candidate now,” Will said, noting that Perry had been recovering from back surgery during the last campaign.

Perry came off in a “decisive and informed way,” Will said.

Author: Eric Webb

Eric Webb is a web producer for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360. He blogs about Austin culture, pop culture and anything that lives on the Internet.

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