I caught the debate (taped, saw it tonight) on MS-NBC between the 10 presidential candidates on the GOP side. This was in my normal transcript shorthand format when I watch these things and can be difficult to read. Overall, I thought the winner was Mike Huckabee, although I did not care much for the format.
Mitt Romney – Former Mass. Governor
Sam Brownback – Kansas Senator
Jim Gilmore – Former Virginia Governor
Mike Huckabee – Former Arkansas Governor
Duncan Hunter – California Congressman (San Diego area)
Tommy Thompson – Former Wisconsin Governor
John McCain – Arizona Senator
Ron Paul – Texas Congressman (Surfside)
Rudy Giuliani – Former NYC mayor
Tom Tancredo – Colorado Congressman (Littleton)
Debate 90 minutes. Chris Matthews, John Harris – Questions
Some view questions
60 second answers to Matthews/Harris Q’s, 30 seconds for viewer Q’s
Rebuttals – 30 seconds
No open/closing statements or thank yous to hosts for time purposes.
Some Q’s A’s. I skipped most of the fluff. Some of the more interesting answers IMO (Whether I agree or disagree)
McCain – I need to show success in Iraq to people. He takes Congress to task over the Democrat’s bill, Harry Reid specific for his comment. “IF we lost, who won?” The house cheered surrender. We must win in Iraq. If we withdraw, genocide will happen and it will follow us home.
Thompson. First, we must support the troops. 3 things also need to happen.
1. Iraqi Government must vote if they want us there for legitimacy.
2. 18 territories. They need to elect governments there, prevent civil war
3. Split oil. 1/3 fed, 1/3 state, 1/3 every man, woman, child. Investing in their own country.
Duncan Hunter – Key to winning in Iraq is standing up 128 batallions in Iraqi army. They need to be ready and displace American units. Right way to leave Iraq.
Polls say 55% is unwinnable in Iraq:
Romney – If we want polls to win, we let TV run the country. That’s not want America wants. We need president of strength. We want troops home, in right way. If we leave wrong way, we could have more regional conflict. We may have to come back again.
Huckabee on Rumsfeld – “I would have fired him before the election. I certainly would not have said that I wouldn’t fire him, and then do so, but that’s the president’s call” Real error in judgment by listening to civilians in suits and silk ties and not listened to generals with real mud on boots and medals on chests. Those generals told us early on it would take 300,000 troops to stabilize Iraq. We gave limited troops/budget. That was mistake, but we need to finish the job, do it right, and not go back and do it over.
Ron Paul (asked about voting against war) – We need a non-intervention traditional foreign policy. That was Republican foreign policy in 20th Century. Eisenhower got us out of Korea, Nixon out of Nam. In 2000, we ran on no nation building and humble foreign policy. Declare war if we go, not for UN resolutions or political reasons.
McCain – We need to bring greater pressures to Iran. Diplomacy, economic, etc with Iran, which is very cultural. Greatest fear – Iran getting nuke and giving to terrorist. There are lots of options, but not war right now.
Constitution to allow foreign born candidates to run for president.
Romney – probably not
Brownback – no
Gilmore – no – don’t like to amend constitution
Huckabee – after 8 years, yes
Hunter – no
Thompson – no
McCain – consider it
Ron Paul – No, strong supporter of original intent
Rudy – yes
Tancredo – no
Ron Paul – Phase out IRS?
Absolutely! Immediately. If we want to lower taxes, change policy (Spending)
Okay Abortion first 8 weeks?
Gilmore – Yes. But I have a pro-life record. Waiting period. Partial Birth Abortion
Thompson – Leave abortion up to the states. I have a prolife record. Signed pro-life bills (listed them). States law.
Always personally pro-life, but question on government. I changed my mind 2 years ago.
States should make decision
Brownback asked if he can support GOP’er who is prochoice
I can – Reagan commandment. Agree with 80% But life is a central issue of our day.
Rudy – Asked Why support public funding for abortions? “I don’t” I support Hyde Amendment. State decision. I supported it in NY, other places can make decision.
Moral vs Libertarian with purpose
Paul – What is the goal of govt? Promote liberty – brings us together. Police weakens liberty. We’re fretting about 3rd war countries but stood up to Soviets.
Ok for private employee to fire gays
Thompson – Private decision
Hunter - We need to win the right way. Build the border fence, let people knock on the door.
Tancredo – Karl Rove wouldn’t be employed in my White House.
Thompson – Biggest problem in our party - We went to change Washington, and it changed us. I started Welfare Reform plan as governor. It would get democrats, independents to support.
McCain – We lost in 2006 – spending got out of control. I will veto a pork bill and make them famous.
What specific cuts:
McCain – Line item veto best tool. Start with defense aqusition. Stop pork spending, then go programs.
Fed funding of embryonic stem cell way.
Romney – None on farming embryos. Fine to be legal, not government. Support AlteredNuclear transfer.
Brownback – no
Gilmore – no Can’t create people to end life
Huckabee – no
Hunter – No, alternatives
Thompson – Not yes/no. A lot of research right now. Adult stem cell research right now.
McCain – We need to fund this.
Ron Paul – Not authorized on constitution. Market/states should deal with it.
Rudy –Yes if not cloning or created to destroy.
Tancredo – Not with tax money.
McCain – No provisions on Social Security or contingency. Make tax cuts permanent, else it’s a tax increase.
Romney – 0% Capital Gains tax on middle income
Brownback – Flat tax – choose between current or flat
Gilmore – I kept my word on taxes as governor. Cut Alternative minimum tax.
Huckabee – We need Fairtax! Get rid of IRS and all capital gians, individual/corporate
Hunter – Manufacuters getting killed with dumb trade deals with double tax. Eliminate manufacturing taxes.
Thompson –Vetoed 1990 items, reduced taxes. Alternative min tax – flat tax.
McCain – Line item veto on these. Alt min tax, 3000 tax credit for purchase health insueance. Flatter fair tax.
Ron Paul – Get rid of inflation tax and income tax. Printing too much money. Need sound money.
Rudy – AMT and death tax. Keep tax cuts. 2011 tax increase needs to be stopped.
Tancredo – Support fairtax. Repeal 16th Amendment or we’ll have both. We need to deal with mandatory structural problem.
What Govt does poorly:
Hunter – Secure border. People crossing Mexican border illegally – not just Mexicans. Communist China. Iran.
Romney asked - What cabinent would you keep? A: Entire new team.
Gilmore – I ran as conservative. I governed as conservative. I’m consistent and don’t flip and flop.
Ron Paul – We should NEVER interfere with internet. I always voted against regulating the internet. I trust the Internet a LOT more than mainstream media.
Mike Huckabee (Cronyism) – As president, we need to make it clear that we not going to continute to see jobs shipped overseas, and watch as CEO takes 100 million bonus to take jobs somewhere else and take pensions as well. We don’t stop it, we don’t deserve to win in 2008.
National ID Card
Rudy – support it, with immigration. Database, tamperproof. Foreigners
Romney – Agree with Rudy. Aliens, not citizens
Brownback – Don’t need to go this way. Secure borders and interior – Social Security number must mean something. Don’t need new system.
McCain – Support it if they want to work.
Paul – Absolutely opposed to national ID card. Contridiction to free society. Do not need it.
Tancredo – Do not need one for same reasons Dr Paul said.
Thompson – No national id.
Scooter libby pardon
Romney – don’t make decision until judiciary process. Fitzgerald.
Brownback – Let process go. (undecided) Not law that was violated
Huckabee – I was prosecutor. Law applies to discretion. Go to people and make case. Can’t make case, don’t do it.
Most others - no
Tancredo – Pardon him, and pardon Ramos and Camprien (Border Patrol)
Terri Schiavo Case:
Romney – Usually family decides. Courts decides. Florida did right thing, but Congress needed to stay out.
Brownback – Right decision. Life is sacred, stand for it in all circumstances.
McCain – We acted too hastily.
Rudy – Court decision. Family in dispute. Courts are for that.
Ron Paul - I voted to Impeach him
The format sucked. Some of the candidates had a lot more facetime than others. All candidates IMO should have had the same questions. That is my biggest problem with this. The other problem was some of the questions were BS and fluff. Why ask 10 republican candidates about the Clintons? Right now we have a primary. I don’t want to know what Jim Gilmore thinks about Clinton. I want to know what Jim Gilmore thinks about policy.
The candidates were mostly cautious and my opinion of most of them did not change based on this. One thing I DID like about this was the lesser known candidates being allowed to participate. Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, and Mike Huckabee all bring something to the table and are running as well. It was good to see some of the “choice c” candidates involved to some degree.
If I had to pick a “winner” based on the limited format, I’d have to go with Mike Huckabee. I am more open to his candidacy than I was beforehand. I still have a lot of fiscal concerns with him, particularly on his record on taxes, but I’m more open to supporting him than before.
I liked Tommy Thompson's answer on Iraq, Huckabee's on Rumsfeld and Scooter Libby, Ron Paul on the National ID, Internet, and nationbuilding, Tancredo on Fairtax and Karl Rove, McCain on Pork, Romney on Stem Cell, and Duncan Hunter on trade.
I’m still undecided however, and will be for the foreseeable future.