GOP debate in South Carolina underway

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — John Kasich says the United States needs to build a “coalition of civilized people” to take out the Islamic State group and restore American leadership around the globe.

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Kasich says the world is “desperate” for American leadership in knocking out terrorist organizations and stopping Russian aggression.

He also says if elected president he would arm Ukrainian rebels fighting against Russia and make it clear to Russia that an attack on any NATO countries is an attack on the United States.

Donald Trump says that if he is elected president, his first national security decision he would make would be on how to attack the Islamic State, because “we are going to have to hit very, very hard.”

Trump also called the group “animals” and decried the war in Iraq and the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Sen. Marco Rubio named three foreign policy priorities: dealing with North Korea and China, limiting Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and rebuilding NATO in Europe.

Ted Cruz is using the latest Republican presidential debate in South Carolina to assure voters that he is the best candidate to pick a Supreme Court successor to Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday, hours before the debate.

A former Supreme Court clerk, Cruz argues he has the “background” and “judgment” and “resolve” to “nominated and confirm principled constitutionalists.”

Cruz and his fellow senator, Marco Rubio, agree that the Senate should not confirm whomever President Barack Obama nominates to succeed Scalia.

Cruz avoided a direct question about whether he would pledge as president not to try to fill judicial vacancies late in his term.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is deviating from some of his rivals. He says he wants “a strong executive” who is willing to make court nominations. But Bush says he doubts Obama will offer a “consensus” nominee the Senate

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