Ramaswamy calls Ro Khanna ‘solid dude’, says ready to debate with him

New York, Oct 15 (IANS) Fresh out of the second Republican primary debate, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is set to debate with Democratic congressman and fellow Indian-American Ro Khanna on race, identity, and the American dream.

Khanna took up Ramaswamy’s offer of debate with “a smart Democrat who’s willing”, and wrote to him on X: “The University of Chicago Institute of Politics wants to have a civil discourse with the two of us on race, identity, and the American dream”.

“I accepted. I assume, as a speech advocate, you’re game @VivekGRamaswamy?” Khanna posted this week.

Calling the 47-year-old California congressman a “solid dude”, Ramaswamy, 38, responded by saying that he’d be glad to have a discussion.

“You’re a solid dude with whom I disagree on a lot, and I’d be glad to have a discussion at some point, just need to balance it in the context of campaign priorities. If you are willing to do it in New Hampshire, I’m game,” the anti-woke crusader wrote on X.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the debate has set a trend of GOP candidates debating Democratic politicians who aren’t currently running for the White House but are mulling a 2028 run.

The agreement between the two Indian-Americans came after Ramaswamy excoriated the Republican National Committee (RNC) on X for preventing “open debate” between him and fellow candidate Chris Christie in the September 27 debate.

When X owner Elon Musk suggested the two debate live on the platform, Ramaswamy said on October 4 that they would be unable to do so because of RNC rules, but would “go for it with a smart Democrat who’s willing”.

Ramaswamy said that the debate was supposed to be between himself and independent presidential candidate Cornel West, who pulled out.

Both Ramaswamy and Khanna hold different views on a number of key issues in the US — climate change, gun reforms, and abortion rights.

According to The New York Times, there is “a huge ideological gap” between the two Indian Americans.

Khanna is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Ramaswamy, “has espoused some of the most far-right positions in the Republican presidential field”, The Times noted.

In a display of bipartisan spirit last month, Ramaswamy backed Khanna’s five-point plan to reform the US Congress by agreeing to support the fight against corruption in government and removal of substantial financial influence from politics.

Khanna was quick to acknowledge the biotech entrepreneur’s support, saying that he hopes to build a “cohesive, just, and multiracial America” with a new generation in the field of politics.

In July this year, Khanna came out in support of Ramaswamy after a televangelist targeted his Hindu faith and asked citizens not to vote for him.

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