Taking center stage and driving the most intense exchanges in the initial segment of the debate was Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old newcomer in politics and a technology entrepreneur. Despite trailing behind Trump, Ramaswamy has made steady progress in recent polls, resulting in his prominent position beside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the heart of the stage. He wasted no time in showcasing his media-ready image and sticking to his key message, recounting how his humble immigrant parents moved to the U.S. and how he, in turn, founded billion-dollar companies. However, Ramaswamy was determined to set himself apart from the typical politician, and he aggressively launched verbal attacks. At one moment, he boldly declared, "I'm the sole individual on this stage who cannot be influenced." He denounced his opponents as "puppets of super PACs" who relied on manufactured slogans to undermine him. It appeared that Ramaswamy was wagering on the notion that primary voters valued memorable statements over tangible accomplishments. Nevertheless, his rivals were not swayed by this approach.