Big names are no-shows in first GOP presidential debate
Only five presidential hopefuls showed up at the recently-held first Grand Old Party presidential debate, all of them ranking 2.5 percent or lower in the Winthrop Poll that was taken last month.
The candidates who showed up were businessman Herman Cain, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Texas congressman Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, according to Miami Herald.
All of those who showed up for the debate, except for Johnson, have already launched exploratory committees for their possible presidential run. Former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore has also formed an exploratory committee, but he did not attend the debate, the Presidential Prayer Team website said.
The better-known contenders, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann were no shows, according to the Miami Herald.
All the presidential hopefuls agreed on a number of things, including a desire to lower taxes, a need for a tougher foreign policy and a need to stop Obamacare, Miami Herald said.
Pawlenty, a former Roman Catholic turned Evangelical Christian, expressed support for lower taxes saying that having grown up working class, he understands its value, Miami Herald said.
He also spoke of visits he often made to the Middle East lending him an understanding of the terrorist mindset. He said that “under limited circumstances” he would support “enhanced” interrogation techniques, Miami Herald reported.
Pawlenty faced tough hurdles including questions about his handling of Minnesota’s budget, leaving it in the red after he borrowed six billion dollars from local school districts, the LA Times said.
His former support in 2007 for cap and trade, a stand which conservatives dislike, was also raised. Pawlenty said, “I made a mistake. Nobody’s perfect,” the LA Times reported.
U.S. foreign policy
Herman Cain, who once told The Christian Post that his faith interplays all his decisions in life, has tied with Pawlenty in the Winthrop poll for 11th place among potential GOP candidates, according to the Miami Herald.
Cain, a radio host and businessman, criticized U.S. foreign policy saying, “We need a real clear national security strategy with every nation on the planet, friend or foe,” noting in particular U.S. policy in Syria and Libya, Miami Herald said.
Ron Paul got big cheers when he criticized U.S. nation-building efforts in Afghanistan by “borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar,” adding, “To me, that is crazy,” LA Times reported.
The Texas congressman said, “Boy, it’s a wonderful time for this country now to reassess it and get the troops out of Afghanistan,” the LA Times reported. Paul is a libertarian who is on his second GOP presidential run, Miami Herald said.
Abolish corporate tax
Gary Johnson, former New Mexico governor, is a libertarian who had vigorously opposed the military policies of both the Bush and Obama administrations. He said during the debate that the corporate tax should be abolished, stating that this would provide “literally tens of millions of jobs overnight,” Miami Herald reported.
Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, attacked the health care overhaul of 2010 saying, “What Obamacare does is shift this fundamental belief of our founders that our country was created to make sure people are free,” because it will in due time compel almost everyone to get health care coverage, Miami Herald said.
Santorum said, “To me it’s a game changer. It has to be stopped,” according to the Miami Herald.