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  • Republican debate
    Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio discuss an issue during the debate held by Fox News in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016 Reuters

    Donald Trump was mocked by his Republican rivals at a televised debate in Iowa, after quitting the event in a row with Fox News.

  • Florida Senator Marco Rubio stood by previous pledge to shut down mosques where radicalisation is taking place.
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz said: "I will hunt down Isis [IS] wherever they are and completely destroy them".
  • Ex-Florida Governor Jeb Bush says the country's veterans deserve greater respect than they get in Obama's US
  • The debate also included retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Ohio Governor John Kasich; and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Republican debate
Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio discuss an issue during the debate held by Fox News in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016 Reuters

That's a wrap. A number of the candidates had a great run during the debate. Bush demonstrated why he should be taken seriously as a candidate, while Cruz and Rubio showed why they're among the top three candidates.

Closing statement:

  • Rand Paul: Thanks for having me back. He will work to balance the budget.
  • John Kasich: The US can create jobs and solve economic problems. "We can reassume our role in the world."
  • Chris Christie: Mentions his wife being a survivor of the 9/11 attacks and says no one will keep the US safer than him.
  • Jeb Bush: "We desperately need a conservative leader as president of the United States." Says he has a proven record. Restore the military and alliances. Asks for Iowa's support during the caucus.
  • Ben Carson: Thanks Iowa. Then reads the preamble to the Constitution.
  • Marco Rubio: Says light is dimming on the world thanks to Obama. Says he will defeat Clinton.
  • Ted Cruz: Notes that there's just 93 hours before the Iowa Caucus. Says he would be honoured if Iowans caucus for him on Monday.

We're minutes away from the end of the debate! Closing statements to come shortly...

Nabela Noor, a Muslim American, asks hate crimes against Muslims in the US and how candidates plan to address that issue. Bush calls out Trump for his negative language towards Muslims and how it will make it harder to fight Isis. "It's important for us to be careful about the way we use language," he says.

Rand Paul is asked about his comments regarding Bill Clinton and his past indiscretions. Paul says he doesn't blame Hillary Clinton for her husband's affairs but he does call her out for promoting women's rights while turning her back to the women her husband allegedly sexually attacked.

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz's website appears to be hacked. Screenshot

After a brief time spent on religion and abortion, the debate quickly turns to foreign relations. Carson is asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin. He responds: "Putin is a one-horse country: oil and energy."

Kasich turns a question on religion and the budget into an opportunity to talk about the mentally ill and drug addicts.

I think Bernie Sanders is a good candidate for president...for Sweden.

-Marco Rubio

Rubio says that Clinton is not qualified to be elected to president due to her role in Benghazi. "One of Hillary's first acts as president may be to pardon herself," he says.

The next YouTube question came from a naturalised citizen and US veteran Dulce Candy, who asked about immigration and the impacts they can make on business.

This is the lie that Ted's campaign is built on -- that he's the most conservative guy and everyone else is a RINO.

-Marco Rubio

We're back. Rubio faces the first question regarding his previous objection to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Kelly notes that two years into his time in the Senate, Rubio worked on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that granted a path to citizenship. Rubio defends his comments and says he never supported blanket amnesty for the 11M undocumented immigrants in the US.

The debate is moving quickly from one topic to another. Candidates were forced to jump from Obamacare to the Flint water crisis to climate change. Before the commercial break, Kelly teased the next issue: immigration.

John Kasich, one of two governor still in the race, is asked about the Flint water crisis and Governor Snyder's response. Kasich says issues must be addressed "quickly".

Cruz calls for the complete repeal of Obamacare and lays out his own plan for healthcare reform.

Christie is asked about entitlements and what type of funding he would cut as president. Without hesitating, the NJ governor says he would get rid of Planned Parenthood funding.

First YouTube question comes from Mark Watson for Rand Paul on police body cameras. Paul says that budget issues need to be addressed and that the war on drugs is disproportionately affecting African Americans. He's the first GOP candidate to mention the incarceration rates among Black Americans.

Bush is asked if he would police charities that aim to help veterans. The former governor said he would, but he would first focus on fixing the Department of Veterans Affairs to truly help US veterans.

Ben Carson is asked about a question made by a Muslim female veteran at the earlier Democratic town hall. The veteran asked whether the US was still the best place to raise her three Muslim children. In response, Carson said: "We need to stop allowing political correctness to dictate our policies b/c it's going to kill us if we don't."

The debate takes a turn to domestic terrorism, including racial profiling and the monitoring of Muslim Americans. Christie says that as president he will support the law enforcement community and that it isn't racial profiling if the facts lead to a stop of domestic terrorism by radicalised Muslims.

After a quick spat with moderator Chris Wallace over questions he deems to be attacks, Cruz threatens to leave the stage.

Rubio takes the opportunity to take a dig at Cruz, promising to remain on stage whatever question is thrown at him.

When asked if Cruz or Rubio are qualified to be president, Christie instead says that Hillary Rodham Clinton is the one who is not qualified. He discusses the Democratic Iowa town hall and attacks Clinton for her response to a question regarding her personal emails during her time as secretary of state.

First commercial break and each candidate has gotten a chance to speak up. As expected Cruz and Rubio—who are expected to land in the top three in Iowa—have dominated the debate.

Cruz defends his comments about carpet-bombing Syria to attack Isis and attacks the US-led coalition working to fight Daesh. However, Rubio attacks Cruz for voting for a bill that would decrease military spending.

First major issue tackled tonight: Isis and terrorism.

Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio discuss the NSA phone data collection programme. Rubio expresses his support for the programme to protect the US, while Paul said the programme was not needed to prevent terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, it appears Donald Trump is late to his own event:

Chris Christie is asked about his ability to work across the aisle and compromise versus the party's need to stick to its principals instead of compromising. He says that it is possible to stand by your principals and compromise to get things done.

Marco Rubio is up next, who says he will be a uniting factor in Washington. He calls out Trump as entertaining but not what the voters need.

First question, by Megyn Kelly, is for Ted Cruz and it's on Trump's decision to skip the debate. Cruz takes the time to pitch to Iowa voters before blasting Trump for his non-appearance. The Texas senator thanks all the candidates at the debate for showing the voters in Iowa the "respect" they deserve.

The seventh GOP debate beings! The debate will allow seven candidates a chance to woo voters just four days before the Iowa Caucus on 1 February.

Each candidate has 60 seconds to answer and 30 seconds to follow up.

Four candidates—Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and long-forgotten Jim Gilmore—participated in a Fox News undercard forum. Politico reported that Santorum's comments during the forum appeared to suggest that former senator may be wrapping up his second run at the White House.

"Over the last 5 years, I've done over 700 speeches and town hall meetings all throughout the state of Iowa and it's been an incredible ride," the 2012 Iowa Caucus winner said. He continued to call on Iowans to ignore polls and choose the candidate who is "best for the country."

Santorum, who has polled in the single digits, is set to join Huckabee at Trump's alternate Iowa event at Drake University. The event is billed as a charity benefit for Wounded Warriors.

Trump's decision to skip the latest debate has dominated the media. Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly blasted the candidate for attempting to "control the media."

"But the truth is he doesn't get to control the media," Kelly said, adding that not only would she be at the debate, it would "go on with or without Mr Trump."

The seventh GOP debate is set to begin airing at 9pm EST/2am GMT from Des Moines, Iowa. The latest poll by IBD/TIPP reveal the top eight candidates stand as follows among Republican voters:

  • Donald Trump: 31% *
  • Ted Cruz: 21%
  • Marco Rubio: 10%
  • Ben Carson: 9%
  • Chris Christie: 1%
  • Jeb Bush: 5%
  • John Kasich: 2%
  • Rand Paul: 4%

*Despite qualifying for the debate, Donald Trump will not be participating.