Beyond Texas Governor Rick Perry’s stumbles when he tried to pin the image of a flip-flopper on Mitt Romney and called into the question the motives of anyone who opposes subsidies for illegal aliens, Thursday’s GOP Presidential debate did little to shake up the field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination.
Questions for the Fox News/Google 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate debate on Thursday were submitted by ordinary citizens via YouTube and then narrowed down by Internet voters, thereby giving synopsis of what real people care to know about the candidates.
The first question — how can it be made easier for small businesses to operate — gave Perry and Romney the opportunity to walk through their now-familiar rhetorical fencing match. Perry answered with his standard “just look at what I’ve done in Texas” approach and Romney mentioned that he has had a real job and has created a jobs plan.
Perry and Romney also clashed over things they had written in recently-released books and whether they were backing away from them. But Perry’s fumbled when he tried to point out issues Romney has flipped on.
“I think Americans just don’t know sometimes which Mitt Romney they’re dealing with,” Perry said. “Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of…against…the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment…was it was…before he was before these social programs, uh, from the standpoint he was standing, uh, for Roe vs. Wade before he was against Roe, uh, Roe vs. Wade…uh…he was…uh for Race To The Top…
“Uh…[pause]…he’s for Obamacare and now he’s against it…I mean, we’ll wait until tomorrow and, and, and wait to see which Mitt Romney we’re really talking to…”
Not until about 17 minutes into the debate was the question asked that co-anchor Chris Wallace of Fox said got the most votes by an overwhelming margin.It was directed to Congressman Ron Paul from Brandy and Michael in Spencer, Ind., and concerned the growing scope of the Federal government.
Paul said “By vetoing every single bill that violates the 10th amendment.”
Wallace told Paul he had a little more time to expand.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, that is the subject that is crucial because government is too big in Washington, D.C. It’s run away. We have no controls of spending, taxes, regulations, no control in the Federal Reserve printing money,” said Paul. “So if we want government, whether it is medical care or whatever, it is proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools. But there’s no authority in the Constitution to do so much what we’re doing. There’s no authority for them to run our schools, no authority to control our economy, and no authority to control us as individuals on what we do with our personal lives.”
The issue of border security brought heated discussion between Perry and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Perry contended that his plan of putting “boots on the ground” in his State has helped to alleviate the immigration problem, despite criticism from other candidates that he is soft on illegal aliens.
“I would say that he is soft on illegal immigration. I think the fact that he doesn’t want to build a fence — he gave a speech in 2001 where he talked about, bi-national health insurance between Mexico and Texas. I mean, I don’t even think Barack Obama would be for bi-national health insurance,” Santorum said.
All of the GOP candidates expressed a need to cut Federal ties in dealing with education. The idea of school choice and options of Federal money for charter schools and a non-public option seemed to be a unifying theme among the candidates on the issue.
Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who has been a favorite among many Tea Party supporters, got little airtime during the debate. When she did, she focused heavily on issues of smaller government.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich received acclaim from his colleagues on stage when a question asking who on the stage would make a good vice presidential nominee was delivered. Perry answered that he would like to “mate” Cain and Gingrich to create the ideal Vice President.
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was included for the first time in a 2012 GOP debate on Thursday, and the Libertarian candidate took a stab at Barack Obama’s job creation efforts with the best line of the night.
“My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current Administration,” he said, followed by laughter from other candidates and the audience. “Balance the Federal budget now, not 15 years from now, not 20 years from now, but now. And throw out the entire Federal tax system, replace it with a fair tax, a consumption tax, that by all measurements is just that. It’s fair. It does away with corporate income tax. If that doesn’t create tens of millions of jobs in this country, I don’t know what does.”