Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy came out swinging at the Republican presidential primary debate, tangling with former Vice President Mike Pence, who touted his experience and credentials in opposition to Ramaswamy’s youth.
Ramaswamy answered the first question posed to him by debate moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum about the economy by calling for more oil drilling and unleashing energy production.
He also said that he knew what the crowd was wondering.
“Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name and what the heck is he doing in the middle of this debate stage,” Ramaswamy began his remarks for the evening.
The line appears cribbed directly from former President Barack Obama.
“Wow, Vivek just straight-up jacked #Obama’s line about a skinny guy with a funny last name,” the Fayetteville Observer editor Myron B. Pitts pointed out. “No reaction from the GOP crowd; either they didn’t get it or they DID.”
Obama got laughter and a round of applause in his breakout speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention when he called himself “a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.”
Pitts wasn’t the only one who got the reference.
“I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy that sounds like ChatGPT,” former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told Ramaswamy, pointing out that the last time somebody called themself a skinny guy with a funny last name it was Obama.
“I’m worried we’re dealing with the same type of amateur,” Christie said, criticizing Obama and Ramaswamy’s lack of experience.
“Gonna give me a hug?” Ramaswamy shot back, in reference to a much-discussed hug (which never happened) between Christie and Obama after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which some claim cost Mitt Romney the election.