Overall: I am so sick and tired of the fighting between Newt and Mitt! These two should focus their attacks on Obama, not each other. I said a long time ago, that thoughts were the best ticket would be a combination of Mitt and Newt.
On the various issues brought up during the debate I have the following:
Age & Medical Records: Ron Paul said that he would release them as they were very short. He made a joke about age discrimination. Everyone else would release theirs.
Foreign Policy: All criticized Obama’s foreign policy as being week. Mitt demonstrated very strong support for Isreal. Newt said that he would move the US embassy in Isreal to Jerusalem to send a message of support.
Foreign Trade & Democracy with Latin America: Ron Paul said that free trade was the answer. He believes that is solves many problems. Ron Paul basically came off the rails with his rebuttal of Rick Santorum, nobody could figure out what Ron Paul was responding to. Rick Santorum said that Obama’s policy is abysmal and attacked the Obama administration’s treatment of Hondoros. Said that we need to stand up for our friends in Columbia and Latin America. Attacked Obama’s friendship with Chavez and Castro. Said he would visit Latin America repeatedly.
Healthcare: Ron Paul said that medical costs where high because the government puts too much money into it. Said that insurance should be owned by the individuals and portable. Newt said the problem was lack of economic growth, and the need for insurance reform. Mitt Romney agreed with Ron Paul and Newt, and that it would be key to make insurance portable by allowing individuals to own their own insurance. I give him big applause for admitting there was a lot in Romneycare he would do differently if he could do it again. Rick Santorum also favors health savings accounts.
Housing Collapse: Did the Federal Government contribute to the collapse? How would you phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Mitt Romney started his answer with an attack on Newt. Said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were disasters, and creating another housing bubble. Said the solution was to get people back to work. Newt said Mitt Romney owned shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that he owned an investment in a Goldman Sachs’ investment that is foreclosing on Florida residents. This is a cheap shot since the Goldman Sachs’ investments are in a blind trust. Mitt countered very strongly with the statement that his investments where in blind trust, that his Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac investments were in bonds, not stocks, and not managed by him, that he only owned mutual funds; and that Newt also owned mutual funds that were involved in foreclosures. I think Newt clearly lost this round. In a rare moment of substance on this topic, Newt said he would break Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each into 5 separate entities and wean them all from Federal subsidies. Ron Paul said he doesn’t care who made what from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He thought they should liquidate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He opposed the Community Credit Reinvestment Act. Rick Santorum said that he authored a letter asking form major reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He actually got a huge applause from the crowd when he urged Newt and Mitt to quick the petty attacks on each other.
Illegal Aliens: Rick Santorum makes strong points about the fact that people who are here illegally are constantly breaking the law. But he does not believe that self-deportation will. Newt has a similar position, but favors residency for long term illegals. Mitt Romney (as well as Rick and Newt) believe that if illegals can’t work, then they will leave. He got rather upset when Newt called him the most anti-immigrant. He got big applause from the crowd. I think he won the point with Newt. Ron Paul favors putting the military on the border.
Space Program: Mitt Romney said he would bring in the top experts for commercialization. Wants a thriving manned program. Newt had previously said he would create a permanent manned base on the moon. He questioned if NASA was the best suited to manage the program. He seemed to know this topic very well. Rick Santorum said the budget needed to be balanced 1st. Ron Paul thought we should send some politicians to the moon. Mitt Romney doesn’t think a colony on the moon is a good idea. He thought it was a waste of money.
Tax Rates: Newt favors a flat tax rate of 15%. Rick Santorum wants a return to Regan tax rates, with a top rate of 28% and a bottom rate of 10%. Ron Paul said that he wants to get rid of the 16th Amendment. Said that raising taxes on the rich was not a solution.
Tax Returns and Transparency: Newt said the question of Mitt’s transparency was a silly question. Mitt said the Swiss bank account was the result the trustee’s management, not his. Said his taxes plus charitable contributions would be about 40% of income. Newt offered a truce.
Question of the Night:
On the individual candidates I have the following:
Mitt Romney: I think he opened a can of worms with his attacks on Newt and now they have gotten out of control. I really liked it when he compared Obama’s State of the Union speech to Groundhog Day.
Newt Gingrich: His attacks on Mitt are a looser in my book. He did finally offer a truce, unfortunately it wasn’t clear if Mitt actually accepted.
Ron Paul: Another steady performance.
Rick Santorum: I think he was at his best when he attacked Obama. Very much did not like it when he attacked the other candidates.
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