One difference, the candidates were sitting instead of standing behind podiums. I thought that was interesting and made me wonder why they haven’t been sitting all along—looks much more comfy.
Since the candidates are doing something different, I’m going to do something different, too. I’m not writing anything any of the candidates have already said in every other debate. So far—12 minutes into it—it looks like this is going to be a short article. All I have so far is my first paragraph about the chairs…
Since Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are basically neck-to-neck, they went after each other right from the start.
Santorum was apologetic about voting for raising the debt ceiling 5 times (which Romney pointed right away). Other than that Santorum seemed extremely confident.
Next Ron Paul went after Santorum calling him “a fake”.
Santorum (who was sitting next to him) looked momentarily uncomfortable but he had a major zinger comeback for Paul.
“I was voted over a 90% Conservative voting record from the American Conservative Union,” Santorum said, adding, “By the way, Ron, you ranked 145th in the bottom half of Republicans this year…from that same organization.”
Newt Gingrich was the first to talk about Obama’s lack of support for Arizona.
“It is utterly stupid to say that the United States government can’t control the border. It’s a failure of will, it’s a failure of enforcement,” Gingrich said. “One example, let’s assume you could tomorrow morning have a president who wanted to work with your governor instead of suing Arizona helped Arizona, who actually worked with Arizona…I think it is possible to modernize the federal government and cut taxes and develop energy simultaneously.”
Romney reminded everyone (again) about the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and his business background. Ron Paul reminded everyone (again) he’s the most fiscally conservative candidate. Gingrich reminded everyone (again) that as Speaker he balanced the budget. Santorum reminded everyone (again) that he believes he’s the only Conservative candidate.
The candidates all agreed that the General Motors and Chrysler bailouts were wrong and that a managed bankruptcy would have been better for our economy.
“You had what I thought was an unprecedented violation of 200 years of bankruptcy law by Barack Obama to pay off the United Auto Workers at the expense of every bond holder,” Gingrich said to applause.
“The government is supposed to protect contracts, they’re not supposed to regulate contracts and they’re not supposed to undermine contracts,” Paul added.
One of the strongest audience responses happened when CNN posed the question, “Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidates believe in birth control and if not, why?”
The audience went nuts, booing the question.
“I want to make two quick points,” Gingrich said with the audience still vocalizing their disgust. “First, there is a legitimate question about the power of the government to impose on religion activities which any religion opposes. But I just want to point out, you didn’t not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anyone in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide.” Cheers, rightfully so. “If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is president Obama who as a state Senator voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion—it is not the Republicans.” Cheers and applause. Way to go, Gingrich.
Romney brought up the interesting point that in the last debate George Stephanopoulos brought up a question about contraception. At the time no one understood the relevance of his questioning.
“We thought, why’s he going there? Well we found out when Barack Obama continued his attack on religious conscience,” Romney said to applause.
“Most recently of course,” Romney added, “requiring the Catholic church to provide for its employees…healthcare insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning after pill.”
Santorum got briefly booed when he (again) compared Obamacare with Romneycare. Romney then reminded everyone that 4 years ago—after Romneycare was in place—Santorum went on the Laura Ingraham Show and endorsed Romney.
“You not only endorsed me,” Romney said, “You went on the Laura Ingraham Show and said ‘and this is the guy who is really conservative and we can trust him’—let’s not forget you said that.”
Santorum looked briefly uncomfortable.
Each of the candidates was asked to describe themselves using one word.
Ron Paul said, “Consistent.” Senator Santorum said, “Courage.” Governor Romney said, “Resolute.” Speaker Gingrich smiled and said, “Cheerful,” which garnered applause and laughter.
Regarding Iran, three of the four candidates agreed that Iran is definitely a threat and that we shouldn’t have turned out backs on Israel.
“We must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon; if they do the world changes, America will be at risk and someday nuclear weaponry will be used. If I’m president, that will not happen. If we reelect Barack Obama, it will happen,” Romney said to cheers.
Ron Paul was the lone holdout, and he looked visibly concerned when the other candidates were applauded for their strong comments condemning Iran.
“I disagree because we don’t’ know if they have a weapon, matter of fact there’s no evidence that they have it,” Paul said, with underlying boo’s already starting. “I don’t want them to have a weapon but what I think we’re doing is encouraging them to have a weapon because they feel threatened.”
Same basic thing Paul has said about 9/11…
My problem (and I think most people’s problem) with Paul’s stance on Iran/Islam is that he believes they’re a group of people who can be reasoned with. They are not, which has been proven since the early 1700’s with the Treaty of Tripoli and the resulting Barbary Wars. But I digress….
When asked if America should help Syria, Santorum said, “Syria is a puppet state of Iran…they are a threat to Israel,” Santorum said. “This president has obviously a very big problem in standing up to the Iranians in any form,” he added.
Gingrich said his solution to Iran is making America an energy-efficient country and lessening our dependence on the Middle East. “This is an administration which as long as you’re America’s enemy, you’re safe. The only people you’ve got to worry about is if you’re America’s ally!” Gingrich said to applause.
Overall, there was nothing ground-shaking in this debate but for the first time, I’m choosing Santorum as the winner of this one. My second runner up is Gingrich, who never ever lets me down in a debate. It was very cordial, especially compared to the last few debates, which were nothing short of creepy. Way to step up, candidates.
Time to re-block CNN again.