If there was any question that candidates in the 2012 GOP Presidential primary field are attempting to co-opt the message of Ron Paul — the man who has been largely ignored by mainstream media despite growing support — Rick Perry answered it during the Wednesday CNBC “Your Money, Your Vote” debate.
Perry’s notion that he wanted to cut three Federal agencies sounded like it was cut from the pages of Paul’s “Plan To Restore America” in which the Congressman from Texas calls for the elimination of not three, but five Federal bureaucracies. There was only one problem with Perry’s attempt: he couldn’t remember which three agencies he disliked.
“And I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone,” Perry said. “Commerce, education and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see. OK. Commerce, education and the…”
The baffled candidate looked toward Paul, the man whose ideas he was trying to emulate, for help.
“The EPA,” Mitt Romney chimed in.
But it wasn’t the Environmental Protection Agency, as Perry revealed nearly 15 minutes later after searching his notes, “By the way, it was the Department of Energy I was talking about.”
Another novel attempt to be Paul came from former Federal Reserve board member Herman Cain, who called for sound currency.
“A dollar must be a dollar when we wake up in the morning, just like 60 minutes is in an hour, a dollar must be a dollar,” he said.
Unfortunately, Cain offered viewers little information about how he, as President, would ensure that the dollar was sound beyond his repetitive mentions of the 9-9-9 tax plan.
The CNBC moderators attempted to bait Paul into appearing to be anti-education by playing a series of video clips showing college students decrying the massive increase in college expense and student loan debt in recent years. They then asked him how eliminating government involvement in education could possibly help the situation.
“I think you proved [with the video] that the policy of student loans is a total failure, I mean a trillion dollars of debt, and it’s going to be dumped on the taxpayer,” he said.
When asked how students could possibly pay for college if student loans were eliminated, Paul gave an answer that received heavy applause.
“The way you pay for cell phones and computers,” he said. “You have the marketplace there, there’s competition — quality goes up, price goes down. Can you imagine what it’d been like if the Department of Homeland Security were in charge of finding one person, or one company to make cell phones? It’d been a total disaster. So, when the government gets involved in the delivery of any service, whether it’s education, medical care or housing, they cause higher prices, lower quality, create bubbles and they give us this mess that we’re in.”
Paul led by a heavy margin in the post-debate poll on CNBC.com, but the poll was removed. The news organization said it removed the poll because it didn’t reflect the views of its audience, according to HuntingtonNews.net. This is the second time that CNBC has removed a poll from its website because Paul was leading. The first time occurred in October, when the candidate took a 75 percent lead in a post-debate poll.