A Few Thoughts on the CNN/Las Vegas – Republican Presidential Debate

Overall:  I think Anderson Cooper was a fair to good moderator of the debate.  I did not like the personal attacks on each other by the candidates.  The bickering back and forth was not appreciated by the audience.  Newt attacked the format of the debate,  said that is maximized the bickering between the candidates.  Also, I didn’t like some of the questions; I felt someone them were designed to box in a couple of the candidates.

On the various topics in the debate I have the following:

Tax Code:  On whether we should replace the current income tax system with a national sales tax?  Michele Bachmann said that the government would be too tempted to raise taxes and that we should give the government a new tax.  Herman Cain on claims that 9-9-9 would actually raise taxes on low income, he directed people to the analysis on his web site at www.hermancain.com  He said that politicians were attacking his proposal because they wanted to continue to manipulate people through the tax code.  I tend to think he is right.  Rick Santorum said that an analysis 9-9-9 showed that 84% of the population would pay higher taxes.  He also attacked it for not being family friendly, he said it lacked deductions for children. Cain countered with discussion of opportunity zones. I remember Ronald Regan proposing these and they would provide tax incentives for economic development.  Rick Perry countered with a flatter and fairer tax system.  Said he would have a plan out for the public to review by the end of the week.  Perry also countered that 9-9-9 would be burdensome on top of state sales taxes.  Ron Paul said it was a regressive tax.  Again it would hurt low income individuals.  Also he said the real question was about replacing the US Income tax, which he would eliminate.  Ron Paul said he would cut $1 trillion in spending in his 1st year.  Mitt Romney said he wants to focus on bringing the tax burden down.  Newt Gingrich said he favored narrowed, focused tax cuts.

Replacing Obamacare:  Ron Paul,  favors allowing people to opt out of government run medical care, and he would implement tort reform.  He favored greater use of medical savings accounts.  Herman Cain, said we must repeal Obamacare.  He would start with implementing HR 3400 which would reform health insurance laws and allow for health insurance to be purchased across state lines.

Illegal Aliens:  Rick Perry,  said that it should be illegal to hire illegal aliens and attacked Mitt for doing so.  Got into it with Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney said that all of the candidates favored legal immigration.  Said that they needed to turn off the magnets for illegal aliens such as welfare and employers.

Border Fence:  Herman Cain,  would build a combination of a fence, high tech monitoring, and boots on the group.  He would enforce the existing laws.  He would empower the states to enforce the existing laws. Rick Perry,  said that building a fence wasn’t the best option. He argued that a virtual fence and strategic fencing along with boots on the ground was the best option.  I continue to think Rick has the best position on this topic. He knows this topic better than anyone else.  Said it wasn’t right for a congress person to lecture a border governor, a direct rebuke of Michele Bachman’s earlier comments.   Michele Bachmann attacked President Obama’s aunt and uncle for being illegal aliens.  She also wants a fence on the entire border.

Message to Latinos and Immigrants:  Newt emphasized that the U.S. has historically been the most open country in the world, that most Latinos in the US were born in the US and they wanted what we all want.  Ron Paul,  said that we should attack the incentives for illegals,  but that people should not be placed in groups and the need for a healthy economy would help solve the problem.  Herman Cain was asked about the 14th amendment,  he backtracked and said that growth was the key.  Rick Perry on the 14th amendment, talked about energy industry, mining, the administration killing jobs, and their desire for high energy prices to promote green jobs. He would not repeal the 14th amendment.  Bachmann would change the laws that create anchor babies but not amend the constitution. Rick Santorum said that Latino’s emphasize the family,  and then rambled.

Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository:  Newt thought it should be opened.  Ron Paul opposed, thought it was a state’s right issue.  Mitt opposed it, he too thought it was a state’s right issues.  Rick Perry agreed, brought up France and the need to reprocess.

Real Estate:  Rick Santorum, attacked the TARP and tried to tar everyone. This did not seem to go over well with the audience.  Michele Bachmann attacked Obama, but offerred no clear solution.

Occupy Wall Street:  Herman Cain said they should be protesting the White House, and the failed policies of the Federal government.  Ron Paul would blame the Fed.

Candidate’s Religion:  Rick Santorum said the focus should be on values.  Newt said that faith matters,  said that none of  the others should judge anyone else on how they approach God.  Said he would be worried if nothing in their faith affected their judgment.  Wants them to have some values and something to guide them.  Rick Perry,  said everyone was free to pursue their own faith.  Mitt Romney said that it was wrong to choose people for elected office based upon their religion.

Deficit Reduction/Defense Spending:  Bachmann cited the Iranian attempt to assassinate a Saudi diplomat, and the disrespect for the US by other countries. She rambled without answering the question.  Said that defense spending is on the table, but can’t cut by $500 billion.  Newt attacked the Super Committee.  Said it was incredibly stupid.  Ron Paul,  said he didn’t want to cut defense.  Attacked waste.  Said the debt bubble was a problem.

Prisoner Swap:  Herman Cain, we do not negotiate with terrorist.  Rick Santorum,  can’t negotiate with terrorist.  Said Iran sent a message to the US and Saudi Arabia.  Bachmann would not negotiate with terrorists.

Foreign Aid: Why do we continue to send aid to other countries when we need funds here?  Rick Perry said it should be reviewed and that it should be cut off to terrorists groups.  He would cut off the UN.  Mitt Romney said that humanitarium aid should be reviewed. Would cut everything.  Offered good points for budget cuts.  Ron Paul,  would cut everything and heavily cut foreign aid. He attacked Obama for not supporting Israel.   Herman Cain,  peace through strength and clarity;  only friends get aids.

On the individual candidates I have the following:

Rick Perry:  Said the focus is on job creation and that energy development is one of the keys.  Did not perform well by getting into arguments with Mitt Romney.  Does a good job of defending his track record.

Mitt Romney:  Continues to perform well.  Got attacked for Romneycare in Mass.  Stood strong and defended his plan on the points.

Herman Cain:  Strong in his defense of 9-9-9.

Newt Gingrich:  Performed well on many points.  Continues to emphasize solutions involving people and not beauracrats.

Ron Paul:  Wants to cut $1 trillion in spending his 1st year.  Had really good points on the Occupy Wall Street problems.

Rick Santorum:  Wants to focus changes in the tax code on being manufacturing friendly.  Didn’t like his interrupting of Mitt Romney on his Obamacare stance.  Thought it was very inappropriate.  Makes strong points about his ability to win elections in a Democratic state.

Michele Bachmann:  Early debate performance was better than the past couple of debates.  Good on the attack of Obama,  sometimes short on the details.

Previous Debates:

Our comments on the Bloomberg News – Republican Presidential Debate can be found here.

Our comments on the Fox News – Republican Presidential Debate can be found here.

Our comments on the Republican CNN/Tea Party Debate can be found here.

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