Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested sexual assault could be prevented with fossil fuels.
The former Texas governor has pledged to renew America's nuclear weapons arsenal.
The move was seen as a bad sign for the campaign's future.
The 80-minute debate featured seven Republican candidates whose polling numbers were too low to qualify for the prime-time event on Fox News.
The second-tier Republican presidential candidates had trouble editing down their Hillary critiques.
A grand jury indicted Perry in August on two felony counts from 2013.
Military training exercise or Phase One of Obama's plan to subjugate Real America?
Current and former Republican governors, senators and congresspeople will ziz-zag across the nation this weekend to lay the groundwork for future presidential campaigns.
The Texas governor said that life experiences weigh more heavily than IQ for a presidential candidate.
“No place in the world has better professionals, a better ability to address this, than Texas,” he said.
In a statement, the governor called the charges against him “partisan political theatrics”
As the governor moves to deploy National Guard troops, Texas Democrats fear a “militarization” of the border
"Are folks more interested in politics or are they more interested in solving the problem," Obama said he told Perry.
The president's overture comes as he's requesting money to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the border
Republicans dominate the statehouse and have not lost a statewide race since 1994