The CNN South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate

Overall:  I was about 30 minutes late tuning into the debate, so I missed the a couple of the early items.  Hats off to the crowd for showing their displeasure when Ron Paul was passed over on the Right to Life question.  They forced John King to back up and include Ron Paul on the issue.  I give the South Carolina crowds 5 Stars in these 2 debates.

On the various issues brought up during the debate I have the following:

Amnesty for Illegal Aliens:  Newt Gingrich said that 1st you need to control the border.   Would put half Homeland Security personnel on the border,  English as the official language, modernize immigration, make it easier to deport illegals, and modernize the visa system, greater penalties for hiring illegals, and provide amnesty for long term residents who have been here illegally based upon local board reviews giving them residency, but not citizenship.  Mitt Romney said he would build a fence, penalize employers who hire illegally,  and no preferential pathway for those here already.  Said that the Republicans were the party of legal immigration.  Rick Santorum said spent way to much time attacking other Republicans. Not sure what he was really trying to say.  Said that long term illegals break multiple laws by working.  Ron Paul said that the laws prosecuting individuals who employee illegal immigrants were misdirected.  Said he would eliminate Federal Mandates that provide benefits to illegal aliens,  that he would basically deploy the military to protect the border.

Obamacare:  I came into this a little late,  but everyone wants to repeal Obamacare.

Question of the Night:  “After months of campaigning, if you could do one thing over, what would it be?”  Newt Gingrich said he would skip the 1st 3 months of the campaign where he hired traditional candidates.  Mitt Romney said he would have worked to get 25 more votes in Iowa. He got very good applause for this.  On a serious side, he said that he would like to take every moment he spent talking about one of the other Republican candidates and instead talked about Barrack Obama.  That Obama was way in over his head.  Rick Santorum said that he would not change a thing. That it was incredible that he was one of the final four in the race.  Ron Paul said that he could not think of any one thing, but he would like to do more of what he has been doing.

Revitalizing American Manufacturing:  Rick Santorum would do it through the tax code.  I continue to dislike his plan to have a zero corporate income tax for corporations manufacturing in this country;  it is the government picking winners and looser. The Law of Unintended Consequences would create more problems from this than we could shake a stick at.  Ron Paul said he would tackle the Union Problem, create more Right to Work states, and reduce regulations on businesses.

Right to Life:  Newt questioned whether Mitt Romney was really pro-life.  Stated he promoted legislation to end partial birth abortion.  Mitt Romney did well in defending the criticism he received on this issue.  I found it to be very good.   Rick Santorum seemed to have selective hindsight in attacking Mitt Romney on this issue.  Did not like his attacks on Ron Paul.   Said he is definitely pro life.  Think he is a little over the top.  Ron Paul:  Said that when he practiced medicine he was taught when a woman was pregnant you had 2 patients.  Thinks that solves a lot of the problems.  Said that law will not correct the problem of morality of the people.  Said it was an indictment of government run medicine.    Said he saw abortion as a violent act that the Constitution required the States to deal with it, not the Federal government.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act):  Newt Gingrich said the bill was very badly written.  Said he favored freedom.  Said he did not believe in censorship.  Mitt Romney agreed with Newt.  Ron Paul  said he opposed SOPA and that we needed to watch out for the next attempt.  Rick Santorum said he did not support SOPA either.

Tax Returns:  Newt Gingrich released his tax returns at the start of the debate.  Ron Paul said he has no intention of releasing his tax returns.  He said the Congressional Financial Statements provided enough info.  Mitt Romney said he would release his tax returns when they were completed in April. Said he wants to release everything at once.  Rick Santorum said he does his own taxes and would release them when he gets home.

On the individual candidates I have the following:

Mitt Romney:  Performed very well again.  Shows his ability to debate well.  I still think he will be the Republican nominee for President.

Newt Gingrich: Was at his best during the debate when he was stressing the differences between all Republicans and the Obama administration.  He continues to demonstrate a good command of the facts and his quickness in a debate.  He was much more concillatory in the debate.

Ron Paul:  I really liked it when he called Rick Santorum overly sensitive.  He performed very well.  Think he would be a good President.  In fact every Republican would be better than Obama.

Rick Santorum:  Sounded petty and very un-Presidential in his criticism of the other candidates. Very much a turnoff to me.  I’ve said for a long time that I thought Rick Santorum was primarily running for the Vice-Presidential nomination.  Now I am beginning to wonder if he has forgotten why he is really there.  During a pause in the debate, the wife and I had a discussion about his anti-gay comments in Iowa.  We both agreed his comments make him unelectable as a Presidential nominee, and probably make him toxic as the VP on the ticket.  Sounds like he is willing to engage in scorched-earth politics with fellow Republicans in order to look good to the voters.  Of the 4 remaining Republican candidates I think he is the least qualified. His criticism of the “wall street bailout” is too populist for me.  He is starting to drink too much of his own kool-aid and should drop out of the race.

Previous Debates:

Our comments on the Fox News South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate

Our comments on the Republican Presidential Candidate National Security debate

Our comments on the CNBC – Republican Presidential Debate

Our comments on the CNN/Las Vegas – Republican Presidential Debate

Our comments on the Bloomberg News – Republican Presidential Debate

Our comments on the Fox News – Republican Presidential Debate

Our comments on the Republican CNN/Tea Party Debate

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