I watched the Fox News Republican Presidential Debate and I have the following thoughts and comments on the debate.:
Overall: I thought the quality of the questions were good, balanced, and presented fairly to the candidates. I did not feel any of the questions were “gotcha” questions or cheap shots. This allowed the candidates to talk about their policies, how they think, and what they want to do. I think one of the best questions of the night was if the candidates won the nomination, who would they choose among the remaining candidates as their running mate.
On the various topics of the debate I have the following:
Education: Universally everyone would like to see less involvement by the Federal government in the education system. Almost everyone blamed the involvement of the Federal government for declining education results.
Illegal Immigration: While a lot of the candidates favor a fence on the Mexican boarder. Rick Perry continues to perform the best on this topic. He articulates a good argument as to why a fence is not practical, after all he is the only one with experience patrolling the Mexican boarder.
Taxes: Everyone hates the current tax code and think the current tax rates are too high. Additionally everyone is in agreement that high taxes hurt our economy.
Foreign Relations: All favored strong ties with Isreal. Additionally they all favored a strong foreign policy, but some were mixed about keeping troops in the mid-east. I think comments on this topic will start to gel as the campaign continues.
Healthcare: Everyone wants Obamacare repealed. Herman Cain made good points about too many bureaucrats hurting the quality of care. Otherwise the comments were almost in unison.
Economy: Perhaps one of the most important topics, how to turn the economy around. John Huntsman said he would do 3 things; tax reform, regulatory reform and work towards energy independence. He cited the Picken’s Plan.
Herman Cain said he would focus on growth and leadership. Michelle Bauchman said she would repeal Obamacare. Mitt Romney said he would restore American patriotism. He somewhat evaded the question.
Rick Perry said he would repeal Obamacare, begin government deregulation, initiate tax reform, and work towards energy independence. I think he gave the best answer of the bunch. Ron Paul said that the government destroyed jobs and that the Federal Reserve was hurting the economy. He also said he would promote free markets.
Newt Gingrich said that the best thing to restore the economy would be to remove Obama from the White House. He quoted Ronald Reagan citing a campaign joke about Jimmy Carter being unemployed would be a recovery for the United States. Rick Santorun said the best thing would be to remove Obama, otherwise he didn’t say much. Gary Johnson said he would balance the budget and institute the Fair Tax.
My thoughts on the overall performance of the individual candidates:
Mitt Romney: Mitt seams more on the defensive than in command of the issues. On the Running Mate Question – Passed. Said all the candidates would be a better President than Obama.
Rick Perry: On education; he favors school choice, the voucher system, and charter schools. He attached Mitt Romney for favoring Obama’s Race to the Top. On the topic of his differences with former President George Bush, he very much downplayed any tensions. On the Running Mate Question – A combination of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.
Newt Gingrich: Next Thursday, in Iowa. he plans on announcing a 21st Century Contract for America. On education he favors a combination of vouchers and the Pell Grant system. On the Running Mate Question – No Idea, stated the running mate must be a capable person.
Rick Santorum: Not in favor of Federal Department of Education. I continue to think that Rick Santorum is running for Vice President. Favored keeping the troops in the Mid-East. Said Obama is a new King George III who believes in dictates from high above. On the Running Mate Question – Newt Gingrich.
Ron Paul: Doesn’t believe the Federal Government should be involved in education. On the Running Mate Question – Avoided the Question.
Herman Cain: Again Herman proves to be a very bright individual. His proposal to adopt the Chilean model for personal retirement account. I feel he scored big points on this topic concerning the fact that it has been a success for years in Chile and over 30 other countries have adopted. Very Strong Support for Isreal. Found out he was a survivor of stage four (4)cancer. On the Running Mate Question – Said he would pick Romney or Newt. Continues to perform well.
John Huntsman: Again scores points on Tax Reform. I continue to think that John Huntsman is being sold short by the press. Additionally it should be noted that in a recent poll he scored very well in head to head polling against Barrack Obama, better than several of the Republican front runners. On the Running Mate Question – Herman Cain.
Michelle Bauchman: A falling star at best. I am not sure who she plays to. When pressed about her attack on Gov. Perry for the HPV virus and her statements about the vaccine causing mental retardation. She ducked all responsibility for her statements. She then threw mud about campaign contributions. Governor Perry handled his response well. I think that Michelle Bauchman’s continuation of attacks on this topic is a looser for her. On the Running Mate Question – She avoided the question, but took the opportunity to forecast a further deterioration in the poll numbers of President Obama. I think she is a fringe candidate at best and doesn’t really belong in the nomination contest.
Gary Johnson: Would abolish the Federal Department of Education. Said his neighbors dogs created more shovel ready jobs than Obama. On the Running Mate Question – Ron Paul
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