Russian President Vladimir Putin made the agenda early on in the second GOP Debate on Wednesday as several candidates were asked how they would deal with the man considered public enemy No. 1 to the United States.
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Putin, seemingly unfazed by global sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, has bolstered his support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent weeks by sending troops and tanks to the war-torn country. Even so, billionaire Donald Trump said he would take the high road.
“I will get along -- I think -- with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable world.” Trump said adding that the Obama administration has too many political and economic enemies. "We don't get along with China. We don't get along with the heads of Mexico. We don't get along with anybody, and yet, at the same time, they rip us [off] left and right. They take advantage of us economically and every other way. We get along with nobody."
Carly Fiorina, who has met Putin and described him as a bad actor, said she would take a much tougher approach. “I wouldn't talk to him at all. We've talked way too much to him.” Fiorina added that she would use military muscle. “What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I'd probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message.” she said.
As for Senator Marco Rubio, he fears Putin, who he likened to a gangster, is trying to turn the Middle East against the U.S. as he ramps up his support for Assad. “What he is doing is he is trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East, and this president is allowing it. That is what is happening in the Middle East. That's what's happening with Russia.”