The CNN GOP Presidential national security debate on Nov. 22 gave the eight Republican candidates an opportunity to face off on issues including The Patriot Act, foreign policy, homeland security and the War on Terror.
Within the first minutes of the debate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Representative Ron Paul of Texas engaged in a quarrel over The Patriot Act.
Gingrich said that it was in the best interest of the American public to continue to expand The Patriot Act in an effort to keep mass-casualty events from happening in the United States. Paul likened the expansion of the act to requiring a police officer in every American home to curtail incidents of domestic violence, reminding the audience that the Founding Fathers warned against giving up freedoms for protection.
U.S. military aid to Israel, always a key foreign policy topic for the GOP candidates, came to the table as the Presidential hopefuls discussed issues abroad.
Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Gingrich and Michele Bachmann had very similar views on the Israeli issue. All contended that if Iran posed an imminent threat to the Israelis, they would use their Presidential power to intervene. Paul said the United States needs to get out of the way because Israel is capable of defending itself.
Perry said the government should stop writing “blank checks” to Pakistan and other countries that fail to protect American interests, but Bachmann called that proposal “naïve” because the country has nuclear weapons that must be protected from al-Qaida operatives.
In previous debates, Paul seemed to be given fewer questions and less speaking time than the other candidates. A debate-time tally issued by CNN shows that candidates were given more of a fair shake in the most recent debate. Gingrich was asked 11 questions and spoke for 11 minutes, 38 seconds; Romney: 12 questions, 11:3; Perry: 11 questions, 10:32, Paul: 9 questions; 9:40; Bachmann: 9 questions, 8:43; Huntsman: 8 questions, 8:14; Santorum: 6 questions, 7:41; Cain: 7 questions, 5:19.
An article in Forbes said that Paul, Gingrich and Romney performed most strongly in the debate.