GOP candidates roast Nikki Haley over Big Corp bucks and social media plan.

The fourth Republican debate opened on Wednesday with rivals setting their sights on Nikki Haley, who has emerged as the leading alternative to front runner Donald Trump, who again was a no-show.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy each tried to cast Haley as a creature of the corporate elite, while chiding her remarks last month in which she said that “Every person on social media should be verified by their name. It’s a national security threat.” She later softened her stance, focusing instead on the need for platforms to curb bots as a way to fight back against foreign influence.

The remaining candidate on the stage, Chris Christie, criticized the candidates for ignoring Trump, comparing the situation to the Harry Potter franchise’s Voldemort, or “He Who Cannot Be Named.”

Trump, Christie said, “is a dictator, a bully, who has taken shots at everybody.” He suggested that the other candidates weren’t attacking him because “maybe they have future aspirations.”

“I am in this race because the truth has to be spoken,” Christie said.

The debate in Tuscaloosa, AL also has been a significant moment for host network NewsNation, Nexstar’s startup news network. Although it has a fraction of the cable news audience, the network has been able to attract a series of personalities who spent much of their careers at major cable and broadcast networks. Elizabeth Vargas, formerly of ABC News, was co-moderating, Although she is not a NewsNation staffer, Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox News and NBC News, also was a co-moderator, along with Eliana Johnson, the editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon.

The debate was with a much smaller field than the first: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who was in the debate last month, has since dropped out of the race, leaving just four candidates on the stage. And boy, was it a doozy!

The real fireworks began when DeSantis and Ramaswamy took aim at Haley, accusing her of being in the pocket of corporate-level donors. It was like a WWE smackdown, but with suits and ties instead of spandex and leotards.

Haley, for her part, didn’t back down. She stood by her call for social media verification and argued that it was a matter of national security. But let’s be real, it’s not really secure until everyone on Tinder is required to submit a government-issued ID.

And then there was the Chris Christie show. He lamented that the other candidates were ignoring Trump, comparing the situation to the Harry Potter franchise’s Voldemort, or “He Who Cannot Be Named.” Well, if Trump is Voldemort, I guess that makes Chris Christie Dumbledore? Maybe we need some magic to solve this political circus.

But let’s not forget about the real star of the show: the host network NewsNation. They may not have the same audience as the big dogs of cable news, but they sure know how to put on a show. With former ABC and Fox News personalities co-moderating, it was like a reunion of the news world’s biggest stars. I half-expected Brian Williams to pop up with a breaking news alert about a flock of flying pigs.

And just when you thought the debate couldn’t get any more entertaining, Sen. Tim Scott dropped out of the race, leaving just four candidates on the stage. It’s like the political version of musical chairs, and the music is about to stop for one of these candidates.

So, grab the popcorn and settle in, folks. The Republican debate is just getting started, and it’s shaping up to be a wild ride. Who knows what twists and turns await us as the candidates continue to duke it out for the ultimate prize: the chance to take on Voldemort…I mean, Trump.

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