Republican presidential candidates criticized President Barack Obama instead of each other at a high-stakes debate on Thursday with searing attacks on the Democratic leader's foreign policy toward Iran and Islamic State.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who is leading some polls in Iowa, which holds the first presidential nominating contest on Feb. 1, faulted Obama for not mentioning Iran detaining 10 U.S. sailors earlier this week during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.
"It was heartbreaking," Cruz said, referring to images of the detained American service members with their hands on their heads.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said watching the president's address was like watching "story time with Barack Obama."
The president gave his final State of the Union address on Tuesday and offered an optimistic vision of America's future as a contrast to the Republican field of candidates trying to replace him.
Without naming him, he singled out Republican front-runner Donald Trump for calling on the United States to ban Muslims temporarily from entering the country.
Trump doubled down on that call during on Thursday.