IN the first Republican presidential debate held on Wednesday (23), Indian-American candidate Vivek Ramaswamy appeared to surpass his experienced competitors. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie likened him to a “novice” version of Barack Obama.
This comparison arose from Ramaswamy’s self-description as a ‘skinny guy with a funny last name’ a resemblance that drew parallels with the former US President. Ramaswamy faced social media backlash, with accusations of ‘copying Obama’.
Responding to Christie’s comment, Ramaswamy said, “Give me a hug like you did with Obama, and you’ll help me get elected just like you did with Obama. Come on, give me that hug, brother.”
This referred to an incident in 2012 when Christie was accused of ‘hugging’ Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which occurred shortly before the 2012 presidential election. Christie has consistently denied the allegation, stating, “I didn’t hug him.”
In reaction to the Obama comparisons, Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna expressed on X, previously known as Twitter, that the former resident Obama “must be smiling” somewhere.
“Somewhere @BarackObama must be smiling that a 38-year-old son of Hindu immigrants, positioning himself to the right of Trump, is borrowing from him! Obama’s vision for a multiracial democracy is permeating our politics despite the strong opposition. A gradual yet satisfying vindication,” Ro Khanna shared on X.
Jen Psaki, former White House press secretary under the Biden administration, also remarked on X, “The ‘skinny guy with a funny last name’ sounds quite… Obamaesque.”
Various X users, including the DeSantis campaign, also highlighted the similarity.
During the debate, Christie said, “Hold on, I’ve already had enough tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT.” This was in response to Ramaswamy’s assertion that the climate change agenda is a fabrication.
“He stands up here, and the last person in one of these debates, Brett, who stood in the middle of the stage and said, ‘What’s a slender guy with an unusual last name doing up here?’ was Barack Obama. And I’m concerned that we’re witnessing similar amateurish tendencies tonight,” he remarked.
Ramaswamy currently holds the second spot in rankings, trailing only behind former US president Donald Trump, who was not present at the recent debate but remained a central topic of discussion.
The Indian-American candidate has been consistently rising through the ranks over recent weeks, surpassing fellow contenders within his political party. However, he has also become a frequent target of critique, particularly from former vice president Mike Pence.