Top GOP candidates face off in debate

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CLEVELAND  — Billionaire real estate mogul and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is making no apologies for his past crude comments about women.

At the first GOP presidential debate Fox news host Megyn Kelly sharply questioned how Trump has described women in the past, criticizing their bodies and making sexually suggestive statements on his television show.

Trump tried to joke initially, saying the statements were only about liberal actor Rosie O'Donnell. But he said testily that he didn't have time for "total political correctness."

Trump also was the only one of 10 candidates in the Fox News debate to raise his hands when asked if anyone onstage would not pledge to support the eventual party nominee.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the winning presidential Republican nominee must take a broad, pro-growth stance if the party wants to beat Democrat Hillary Clinton. But he says economic prosperity is meant to be shared with the less fortunate.

Asked during Thursday's first presidential debate on Fox News, Kasich was asked how to answer Democratic criticism that Republicans favor the wealthy and do too little for the poor.

"Economic growth is the key to everything, but once you have economic growth you have to reach out to the people in the shadows," the former congressman said.

Describing himself as the son of a mailman, Kasich predicted Clinton would take a narrow line of arguments against the GOP and said Republicans' vision should be expansive.

"Restore the sense that the miracle will apply to you," he said. "Lift everybody. Unite everybody. And build a strong United States of America again.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush heard boos at Thursday's Republican presidential debate when the moderator said he is the lone candidate on stage who supports education standards known as Common Core.

Bush says he believes education should be a state responsibility and says education standards should be higher. If states don't want to take part in the Common Core standards, he says that's fine.

"I don't believe the federal government should be involved in the creation of standards directly or indirectly," he says.

But the former Florida governor is strongly defending the idea of standards created at the state level.

Bush says: "If we are going to compete in this world we're in today, there's no possible way we can do it with lowering expectations and dumbing down everything. Children are going to suffer and families' hearts are going to be broken that their kids won't be able to get a job in the 21st century."

Bush says that as governor he created the first statewide school voucher program in the country, emphasizing that he fought teachers' unions to do so. He says students and parents should have "real school choice."

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