GOP Undercard Candidates Find Hillary Clinton a More Convenient Foe Than Each Other

The candidates largely avoided attacking Donald Trump.

Clinton, who Republicans have criticized for months for keeping a server with her email in her home, quickly became a target.

“Hillary Clinton put a server, an unsecure server, in her home as secretary of state,” Pataki said. “We have no doubt that that was hacked and that state secrets are out there to the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese and others. That alone should disqualify her from being president of the United States.”

Use of the server is under investigation. Clinton has admitted that using it was a mistake but denied doing anything illegal.

The four Republicans, who have all struggled to gain any momentum in the polls, argued that they would be better suited to handle foreign policy than the Democrats, including Clinton, who served as secretary of state for four years in the Obama administration.

Graham also slammed Clinton over a characterization she made of the Veterans Affairs hospital controversy last week, when she said the VA’s problems have “not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.”

“Without national security there is no economic security,” Graham said. “Without the sacrifice of the veteran, all of our hopes and dreams are at risk, just a few days ago, Hillary Clinton said that the problems with the VA are being exaggerated by Republicans. They are not. They are real.”

No candidate who has made a habit of criticizing Trump -- Jindal has repeatedly -- has met with success, though, and his absence during this round perhaps reflected a new approach from this opponents.

To qualify for the first debate, Republican candidates had to receive at least 1 percent in a national poll between Sept. 17 and Oct. 21. To qualify for the main stage, candidates had to get at least 2.5 percent in an average of national polls in that same time range.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who is also a candidate for the Republican nomination, did not qualify for either debate.

The CNBC moderators also fit in two light-hearted questions, asking which smartphone app the four used most often (Uber, Fox News and Twitter were cited) and whether the day after the Super Bowl should be made a national holiday.