CNN hosted the latest GOP Presidential debate for the 2012 primary election last Tuesday. The participants in this event were former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain, Minnesota Congress woman Michelle Bachmann, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former State Senator Rick Santorum and Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
There was one candidate who decided not to participate and that was former Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman. The moderator for the debate was Anderson Cooper, world renowned journalist and host of CNN’s “Anderson 360.” The debate took place at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the days leading up to the debate, most political polls had Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in a toss, tied for the top spot.
Topics on the agenda for the evening were the economy, foreign policy, and immigration. The first topic to come to light was Cain’s 999 plan to reform the tax code. One of the major challenges was the effect it would have on taxing the middle class.
According to CNN Money, 84 percent of American households would pay more than they do under current tax policies and this was his chance to defend the plan. Cain recommends that citizens check their facts with an independent study done which can be found on his website. Romney however, challenged Cain stating that his 999 plan would destroy the middle class.
According to a CNN poll released on October 18, 33 percent of those polled believe Cain would be most likely to get the economy moving again while Romney received 26 percent. Romney explained he has a 59pointplan to stimulate the economy and would add 1.2 million jobs. Perry’s plan for the economy includes making America energy independent. Santorum believes
America needs to be more manufacturing friendly to allow companies to make jobs in this country instead of going abroad.
While Cain was under attack for his plan, Romney was attacked on two fronts. When the candidates were asked by an audience mem ber whether they would repeal the federal health care bill commonly known as Obama Care, Romney was attacked for his implementation of a state health care system during his tenure as governor. Santorum went so far as to say, “You just don’t have credibility on Obama Care, Mitt. You have no track record that we can trust you, that you’re going to do that.”
Romney went on to say during the debate that health care is “crafted for the state level.”
One major positive of these exchanges against Romney was it gave him a chance to show passion which some experts believe he lacks.
Earlier in the week, Rick Perry’s introducer at a convention said that Mormonism, the faith of Romney, is a cult. Each candidate was asked if religion had a place in politics during the debate, mentioning how America was built on tolerance of different faiths and how freedom of religion must continue. Santorum took it a step further. He said, “Values are important not the religion.”
Rick Perry was under fire for his policy which allows illegal immigrants, who have been in Texas a period of time to attend a state school at instate tuition prices.
All candidates were asked about the issue of immigration and the answers varied from building fences to, as Perry said, “Boots on the ground.”
One of the most shocking moments of the debate was when Perry brought up the incident in which Romney was found hiring a lawn care company that consisted of illegal workers. This is ironic because one of Romney’s solutions was to penalize people who hire illegals.
During the debate Perry said, “Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is, on its face, the height of hypocrisy.”
Ron Paul’s belief is that troops need to be brought home and must defend our border. He argues for a defensive approach rather than offensive, which grew loud cheers from the audience.
Paul even went further to say America needs to cut foreign aid to other countries. Romney, when asked about foreign aid, stated he believes humanitarian efforts are important but thinks it is ludicrous for the United States to borrow money from countries like China to give to another country sticking America with the debt and interest. Bachmann’s plan was quite similar, not only should we cut aid down except to Israel, but we should demand reimbursement from countries we have helped. She claims the United States must gain respect in the international community.
Paul also said that if elected he would cut 15 percent of the defense budget and bring all troops home. Perry said, referring to the defense budget that everything must be reevaluated and a new focus must be put on necessary expenses.
One of the more quotable events of the evening was when newcomer and nonpolitician Herman Cain was asked if he would exchange Guantanamo prisoners for one American solider if they were captured by AlQaida.
Cain had conflicting statements regarding this matter first stating on an interview with CNN anchor Wolfe Blizter, “I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer but what I would do is I would make sure that I got all of the information, I got all of the input, considered all of the options and then, the
President has to make a judgment call.” Cain made a similar statement during the debate then claims he misspoke following the debate. Cain said the reason for the misspeaking was because of confusion in topics.
Newt Gingrich was relatively quiet during this debate while other candidates were arguing. He said, “Bickering is not the road to the White House.”
While polling students, it was discovered that those who were asked about the debates either have a hard time following the debates or simply just don’t care. Yet people will complain when a politician does not hold his or her word. It is the hope that every voter especially college students will be knowledgeable on political issues and who is running for what office.
The next debate will be held at Oakland University in Michigan on November 9.
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