Candidates sparred over economic and domestic issues and at times showing differences on the issue of trade and war.
CNBC fumbled on the debate allowing Giuliani and Romney much more time than the other candidates followed by Thompson and McCain, which was a disservice to the voters watching that actually were watching to hear what all of the candidates had to say.
It was most likely not the intent of the network, but the apparent favoritism with the amount of questions asked and the time allotted to certain candidates gave the impression that they were attempting to manipulate the results.
While the network seemed to reign in Chris Matthews since the last debate he is just way to partisan to be a debate moderator. It would be like having Pat Buchanan moderate a Democratic debate. The pundits serve a purpose but are not generally very good as moderators.
Most of the Republican’s failed to properly address the home mortgage crises which is the worst foreclosure crises since the great depression. Fred Thompson may have been an example of that when he answered his first question by saying, “There is no reason to believe we’re headed toward a recession’ and that the short term economic outlook is ‘rosy’ but that long term ‘we’re spending money we don’t have’.
Thompson said that with regards to Iraq, “the policy we’re now engaged in is a good one” saying that at first we weren’t prepared for the war effort. We are in a “fight by forces of civilization against the bad guys” Thompson emphasized at a latest point in the debate.
Thompson did not overly hurt his campaign but he may not have met the high expectations that had been created.
Ron Paul said tough economic times are ‘not the consequences of the free market but because of a monetary system of the Federal Reserve that benefits a transfer of wealth to the wealthy.’ Ron Paul called it a ‘counterfeit currency where money is created out of thin air’ that benefits the people that touch it first.
Paul also blasted the cost of the ‘military industrial complex’ and the cost of ‘financing foreign policy’ that is not in the interest of the nation.
Shortly thereafter moderators asked the audience not to applause because they wanted to give all of the candidates’ time to answer questions but didn’t follow up on that promise.
Later Paul said the ‘war was a mistake’ and ‘we’re going broke with huge deficits’ and it is ‘costing a trillion dollars to maintain empire’. He said the government is becoming a ‘threat to personal liberty’.
In a surreal moment in the debate Paul was one of the few voices saying that the president ‘absolutely needs a declaration of war from congress ‘it is absolutely necessary that the president get a declaration of war’ from congress before attacking another nation. He continued, “an imminent attack no” but cautioned that this was ‘just war propaganda and a road to disaster”.
Tom Tancredo said that mandatory spending on social security and Medicare needed to be addressed to curb government spending.
Tancredo pointed out that “every family of illegal immigrants costs Americans 20,000 dollars a year in infrastructure costs.” Tom Tancredo hit McCain hard for “support of illegal immigration” as a cause of the economic strains on the nation.
It looked as if moderators quickly stifled the discussion apparently to prevent debate between McCain and Tancredo on illegal immigration and seemed to punish Tancredo for the remark by not letting him speak for quite some time.
Later in the debate Tancredo said that his ‘worst vote was to give the president fast track’ because the administration continually sneaks in things that have nothing to do with trade like immigration.
Tancredo also said unions shouldn’t support illegal immigration just to boost membership.
Huckabee said that ‘unions will become more powerful’ because of wage deflation. Huckabee also promoted the ‘Fair Tax’ because it ‘untaxes productivity’ and ‘levels the playing field” he emphasized that the “The Fair Tax lifts everybody.”
The Fair Tax is a 23% consumption tax proposed to replace the income tax. Huckabee said it would ‘end the underground economy”.
Huckabee was on of many candidates complaining about over regulation saying “American companies have to pay high taxes on everything that they produce”.
In a later segment of the debate Huckabee even commented on the favoritism given to candidates other candidates time allotment.
Duncan Hunter pointed out that he was a sponsor of the Fair Tax but also said that “1.8 million jobs, 54 thousand from Michigan went to Communist China” and criticized Fred Thompson for voting in favor of Most Favored Nation Status (MFN) for China.
Hunter along with Tancredo said that they would not allow the country of Dubai to own 20% of the NASDAQ. Incredibly the other candidates said they would.
Giuliani pushed nuclear power as a way to become energy independent.
Giuliani and Romney went at it over line item vetoes and there records on tax cuts while in office. Giuliani said that while Romney was governor “spending went up 8%, I cut taxes, he didn’t”.
Romney responded saying that it was a “good line” but it was “baloney”.
Romney when speaking of the economic problems in Michigan said that “it is everybody’s problem” and what “Michigan is seeing the entire nation will see if we don’t take action.” He may have demonstrated a greater understanding of the potential impact of the economic crises.
Romney said that he believed in ‘domestic support for farmers’ and that he would ‘open up markets’ He said the problem is that ‘people that negotiate these trade deals are politicians’ and pointed out his success in the private sector.
John McCain, Ron Paul’s polar opposite on the war was also in a different camp when when it came to the Federal Reserve. While Paul supports abolishing the institution, McCain, when asked if the Federal Reserve cut rates enough said that he’d defer that to the people at the Federal Reserve yielding monetary policy to the institution.
McCain said that he would “stop internet child pornography by going after the money”.
He also said he would establish an organization like the OSS in WWII to get Bin Laden.
Brownback said he would not increase taxes and that “we are taxed to the maxed”. He promoted a flat tax and said that he’s end corporate welfare programs. When promoting bio fuels Brownback said ‘we are in a race for our life against people that want to kill us.
Overall nobody was really hurt by the debate. Thompson may not have met unreasonably high expectations but he didn’t get hurt by his performance. Romney and Paul probably improved their positions the most.
In the case of Brownback, Huckabee, and Tancredo, they just were not given enough time to be true participants in the debate. Paul fortunately speaks fast so he was able to get many points in with a short amount of time.
Both Paul and Tancredo would not commit to supporting the nominee without knowing who it was.
Source: USA Daily