Friday, May 6, 2011

South Carolina Presidential Debate Recap

Last night, five Presidential hopefuls stood in front of the nation and made their case why they should be the Republican nominee for President in 2012.  The five hopefuls do not represent the complete Republican list of candidates looking to unseat current President Barack Obama.  The five hopefuls in round one were: Representartive Ron Paul (R-TX), entrepreneur Herman Cain, former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), and former Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM).

So who won this round?  Herman Cain clearly won and gave the best answers in a concise decisive response.

Despite Cain's strong performance, there were some other themes that came out in this debate.  All candidates believe that President Obama is a weak, and despite a victory in the capture and assassination of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, that was on small victory in the midst of a an ocean of failures.

Rick Santorum highlighted that Obama was only successful when continuing former President George W. Bush's policies (notably taking out Obama).

The strategy of when to use military force was widely debated and this generated a wide array of responses.  Cain emphasize using force only when you have an objective, a sense of how it benefits United States and roadmap to victory.  Gary Johnson is opposed to nation building.

Ron Paul stated he would cut all foreign aid to Middle Eastern countries, a sign that giving money to foreign countries is not a prudent way to be strong foreign policy.  Given our national debt, this is also why foreign aid should be limited, unless humanitarian.

The next big segment of the debate focused on the economy, jobs and rising (gasoline) prices.  Unilaterally they all criticized Obama for his failure on this front.  As you can imagine the candidates had differening opinions on how turn things around
  • Gary Johnson stated he would eliminate the federal corporate tax rate, elimintate the federal minimum wage and suspend the extension of unemployment benefits
  • Herman Cain stated he would establish a real energy independence plan to mine resources in the U.S.; and also eliminate the IRS and replace the tax code with a fair tax.
  • Tim Pawlenty criticized the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for telling a private firm (Boeing) where they can put a plant. 
  • Ron Paul stated that the union wage is tantamout to an artificial wage and should be eliminated.
The embattled health care reform bill passed last drew wide criticism.  Santorum stated the bill should be repealed.

On the federal deficit, Paul stated we should not raise the debt ceiling. 

Cain was very decisive on immigration.  He laid out a four-prong plan.  The plan is: secure the border, enforce the laws, define a path to citizenship and empower states to comply with the laws.  On this issue, Gary Johnson stated he would invoke a work visa, that would have a background check and must have work for work visa to be valid.

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