Last night, CNN hosted the Tea Party Republican Debate, sponsored by the Tea Party Express. Here are some highlights:
The night began, once again, with Romney attacking Perry on Social Security. Perry held his own, and actually took Romney to task about his comments on Medicare. When other candidates were questioned, they wouldn’t agree to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme; however, they were quick to agree that it’s broken and needs to be reformed. The audience also was clearly with Perry on this one. Oddly, the questions were being framed in the sense of who backs Romney vs who backs Perry, which was probably insulting to the other candidates.
Gingrinch stayed focused, attacking Obama instead of the other candidates, and proposing personal account options for the younger generation, while leaving benefits for current recipients untouched. I loved Gingrich’s response as to whether Romney or Perry were scaring seniors. He said “I’m not particularly worried about Governor Perry or Governor Romney frightening people, when Obama scares them every single day.” Big applause for that comment.
Cain and Bachmann were strong in their answers as well. Bachmann stated that America needs to be an ownership society and embrace personal responsibility, in lieu of government giveaways.
Perry took Obama to task on jobs, saying we need to free up small business men and women, and allow them to run their businesses without so many burdensome regulations. He called for reforms in the tax code as well. When questioned further about tax cuts being balanced with spending cuts, he said “people are tired of spending money we don’t have on programs we don’t want”.
Romney said a lot of good things about Texas when asked, including oil, job creation and zero income tax, then basically
said Perry could take credit for little or none of it. He said “if you
draw 4 aces, that doesn’t necessarily make you a good poker player.”
Wow. Yet, Romney seemed to take credit for everything that happened in
MA when HE was governor. Interesting.
Herman Cain pushed his 9-9-9 plan….9% corporate tax, 9% income tax and 9% national sales tax. He said his critics told him he can’t do it, because he doesn’t know how Washington works. His response: “I know how Washington works…it doesn’t.” Enough said.
Everyone agreed on repealing Obamacare…very
strong response from Bachmann. Perry said he would use an executive order to repeal as much of Obamacare as possible, but Bachmann responded that an executive order wouldn’t be enough. Ron Paul also gave a very strong answer
on healthcare and personal responsibility.
The Gardisil issue came up again in this debate. Bachmann attacked Perry on this over and over. She even went as far as insinuating he was bought by Merck. Perry’s response: “Merck contributed $5,000 to my campaign. I raised about $30 million. If you think I can be bought by $5,000, I’m offended.” While I’m not crazy about the Gardisil debacle, Perry has not tried to defend his actions, and has willingly admitted he handled it badly. But Bachmann kept ramming him on mandate, despite Perry continuously saying there was an opt-out. After the debate, she said Perry can’t just say “I’m sorry”. I disagree. He admitted fault here, and that’s more than most do with their bad decisions….a.k.a. Romneycare. So I give Perry credit for that.
Perry was booed by the audience on in-state tuition for illegals. This issue will definitely haunt him throughout the campaign. I don’t agree with his decision, but I respect him for being willing to take the heat on it.
There was one thing that really bothered me
throughout the debate. I’m all for the candidates talking about their
records, but sometimes this becomes very tiring. Between the 3 former
governors, Bachmann and Santorum, I had my fill less than an hour into
the evening. Huntsman boasted more than all candidates combined, which was a huge turnoff. I can look at your record. Just tell me what you’re going to do now,
to fix Obama’s mess.
I was disappointed in Perry’s performance. I like Perry, but I still have some questions. I expected him to shake things up, but he was not on the offensive tonight. He had a few good jabs, but seemed to be spending too much time on defense.
Bachmann came on strong, and this was considered a crucial night for her, given her dip in the polls after Perry entered the race. Her responses were
strong and she’s very consistent on conservative principles. That said,
I didn’t like the way she pounded Perry relentlessly on Gardisil, and I
found it bothersome that she refused to look at Perry or Romney when
Gingrinch is a strong debater. Kudos to him for keeping the focus on Obama. Unfortunately, his overall campaign is not as impressive as his debating skills. Hopefully, Perry took some notes on Newt’s techniques, and will do better in the next debate.
Romney came out swinging, but he’s still not impressing tea party voters. He continues to defend Romneycare, which as noted by Perry, was touted as the model for Obamacare by Obama himself. Ouch.
The more I listen to Herman Cain, the more I like
him. He’s all about solutions, and he’s very frank. He doesn’t mince
words, and I like that about him. He’s strong on jobs and the economy,
which is the major focus right now. He’s still learning when it comes
to foreign policy, but look who’s in office now….in comparison, Cain’s
already ahead of the game.
I like Santorum personally, but he’s just not breaking through to voters. He has no chance in this race. Santorum’s best line of the night: Obama’s economy needs a drastic improvement just to be a disaster.
I agree with many of Ron Paul’s views on the Constitution, spending cuts and personal responsibility. However, when it comes to defense, he’s way out in left field. His indifference to Iran having a nuke and his claims that we brought 9/11 on ourselves are ludicrous. I’m not sure why he’s even running on the Republican ticket with such positions.
Huntsman is irrelevant. End of story.