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Tim Ryan Calls GOP Rival J.D. Vance A Trump ‘Ass Kisser’ In First Ohio Senate Debate

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Democrat Tim Ryan called his Republican opponent J.D. Vance a Donald Trump “ass kisser” in the primary debate Monday night between the 2 U.S. Senate candidates from Ohio while also emphasizing areas comparable to trade and immigration on which he and the previous president appear to agree.

“Ohio needs an ass kicker, not an ass kisser,” Ryan, a congressman from the Youngstown area, told Vance in what immediately became probably the most viral moment from the talk in Cleveland.

“It’s a well-rehearsed line, Tim,” Vance said under his breath after Ryan’s zinger.

Ryan’s line was referring to an almost exact quote from Trump during a September rally for Vance, a former “Never Trumper” who nonetheless won the GOP primary with Trump’s endorsement.

“Trump took J.D. Vance’s dignity from him on the stage in Youngstown. Then J.D. Vance got back up on stage and began shaking his hand. … I don’t know anybody I went to highschool with that may allow someone to take their dignity like that after which get back up on stage,” Ryan said.

“We want leaders who’ve the courage to tackle their very own party, and I’ve proven that. [Vance] was called an ass kisser by the previous president.”

Ryan and Vance, who’re locked in a closer-than-expected race to exchange retiring Republican Rob Portman in a red-leaning former swing state, spent the vast majority of the hourlong debate attempting to paint one another as extremists. Ryan has made that argument over the airwaves while Vance has attempted to tie Ryan to President Joe Biden, who lost Ohio by 8 percentage points within the 2020 presidential election.

“Tim Ryan, who runs all these TV commercials saying he desires to appeal to Trump voters, desires to appeal to Republicans, also says he desired to kill and confront … the MAGA movement. That’s not precisely the rhetoric of a unifier,” said Vance, who also accused Ryan of being “extremist” for supporting the Equality Act, a bill that bans discrimination based on gender and sexuality orientation.

Ryan said that Vance is “running around with Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida who desires to ban books; running around with Lindsey Graham, who wants a national abortion ban. You’re running around with Marjorie Taylor Greene, who’s absolutely the looniest politician in America. It is a dangerous group, and we do must confront it. That’s why I’m running to represent the exhausted majority — Democrats, Republicans and independents.”

The congressman, a former presidential candidate, is one in every of the few Democrats who try not only to distance themselves from Biden but in addition to win over Trump voters.

Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan talks to reporters after a debate in Wilberforce, Ohio. Ryan and Trump-endorsed Republican J.D. Vance met in a Cleveland debate Monday. Ryan highlighted areas during which he found common ground with Trump.

Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch/pool via AP

Several times, Ryan highlighted areas during which he and Trump share common ground, including support for trade tariffs on China and continuing to construct a few of Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border — issues that strike a nerve with conservative Midwestern voters concerned about manufacturing erosion and an illegal drug trade fueled by smuggling.

“I even have all the time supported strong investments into our defense, including President Trump’s defense budget, President Trump’s initiative with the Space Force,” Ryan said.

He said that Vice President Kamala Harris, who’s overseeing immigration strategy on the souther border for the Biden administration, was mistaken when she called the border “secure” last month.

“Kamala Harris is totally unsuitable on that. It’s not secure. We now have numerous work to do,” said Ryan, who also mentioned that Biden shouldn’t run for an additional term since it’s time for a recent generation to take over the Democratic Party.

Each Ryan and Vance accused one another of getting radical views on abortion, using as a post-Roe touchstone the case of a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who was forced to travel to neighboring Indiana to acquire an abortion.

“The thing they never mentioned is that poor girl was raped by an illegal alien, someone that ought to have never been on this state in the primary place,” Vance said, referring to the undocumented immigrant accused of raping the kid. “You voted so repeatedly against border wall funding, so repeatedly for amnesty. Tim, should you had done your job, she would have never been raped in the primary place.”

Vance downplayed a quote he gave to Spectrum News last yr, calling the circumstances around rape and incest “inconvenient” in relation to abortion rights.

JD Vance, the Republican nominee for U.S. senator for Ohio, speaks at a Sept. 17 campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio. At a debate Monday in Cleveland with rival Tim Ryan, questioned Ryan's commitment to fighting drug addiction.JD Vance, the Republican nominee for U.S. senator for Ohio, speaks at a Sept. 17 campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio. At a debate Monday in Cleveland with rival Tim Ryan, questioned Ryan’s commitment to fighting drug addiction.

Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press

“I’ve all the time believed in reasonable exceptions. It is a misrepresentation of my view,” he said.

Vance, a enterprise capitalist who chronicled his upbringing in Middletown, Ohio, within the memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” and now lives in Cincinnati, also defended his ties to Ohio and an addiction nonprofit he founded that reporting has shown did little during its few years in existence.

“My mom struggled with addiction for a giant chunk of my early childhood, and I’m very proud to say, by the way in which, she’s been clean and sober for seven years. I’m sure she’s watching straight away,” Vance said. “I really like you, Mom.”

“What have you truly done to scale back the flow of fentanyl so that individuals like my family aren’t as affected by this terrible addiction crisis?” he asked Ryan.

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