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Watch: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s showdown with Valley Congressman Tim Ryan

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Gabbard confronted Ryan after his statement that the U.S. needs to be 'engaged' to keep the Taliban at bay

Video courtesy of NBC News

(CNN via NBC News) – Valley Congressman Tim Ryan squabbled with Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard during the first round of the Democratic presidential debates.

Gabbard confronted Ryan after his statement that the United States needs to be “engaged” to keep the Taliban at bay.

“The reality is if the United States is not engaged, the Taliban will grow. They will have bigger, bolder terrorist acts. We have got to have some presence there,” he said.

“The Taliban was there long before we came in and will be there long before we leave,” Gabbard responded.

Gabbard later criticized Ryan for making reference to the terrorist attacks on September 11th.

“The Taliban didn’t attack us on 9/11. Al Qaeda did,” she said.

“The Taliban was protecting those people who were plotting against us,” Ryan later tried to explain.

Watch the video above to see their exchange.

Fox News is reporting that Gabbard was the most searched candidate on Google after Wednesday’s debate.

For his part, Ryan’s campaign released the following statement on Thursday:

“While making a point as to why America can’t cede its international leadership and retreat from around the world, Tim was interrupted by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. When he tried to answer her, she contorted a factual point Tim was making— about the Taliban being complicit in the 9/11 attacks by providing training, bases and refuge for Al Qaeda and its leaders. The characterization that Tim Ryan doesn’t know who is responsible for the attacks on 9/11 is simply unfair reporting. Further, we continue to reject Gabbard’s isolationism and her misguided beliefs on foreign policy. We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it’s ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people.”

— Michael Zetts, Communications Director.

The Democratic debates continue Thursday night with 10 other candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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