The Republican debate on CNN tonight showcased the seven top contenders for the GOP presidential nomination. There were no big surprises; all the candidates did a good job in introducing themselves to America. One thing though—why do they call this a debate? The candidates are asked a question, and each gives his or her answer. At no time are the candidates lobbing platitudes at one another. Only a few times in the evening were the candidates put on the spot by the CNN commentator.
Of the seven, Mitt Romney was the most presidential. He answered the questions with confidence and foresight. His main focus was on the economy and job creation. Romney, along with the other candidates didn’t hold back when expressing how passionate they were about preventing Obama from winning another term in office.
Newt Gingrich, with all eyes on him after losing sixteen campaign staffers last week, seemed to answer questions that felt real, rather than rehearsed. When asked if he would have a Muslim in his cabinet if elected, he answered, “I just want to go out on a limb here. I am in favor of saying to people if you’re not prepared to be loyal to the U.S. you will not serve in my administration.” Gingrich vowed, if elected to, “End the Obama depression.”
Rick Santorum, who was relatively quiet tonight, voiced his disdain that the Obama administration is stifling domestic jobs by limiting drilling and natural gas exploration in the Unites States. Santorum also expressed his support for the Tea party calling it, “A great back-stop for America.”
Along with Romney, Ron Paul also seemed very presidential. Paul is pro state’s rights and was quick to say he would leave legalizing gay marriage up to each state. Paul, throughout the evening brought up current problems with the Federal Reserve and monetary issues stating, “It’s a fallacy that the federal government can manage the economy.” Paul was the only standout when the candidates were questioned whether they would pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. All the other candidates stated that they would take the advice of the commanders. Paul’s answer was, “I’m the Commander in Chief. I wouldn't wait for the generals. I would tell the generals what to do [as president].I would bring the troops home as soon as possible.”
Herman Cain, the only one with no political experience, confidently answered questions. He describes himself as a problem solver who wants to get to the root of problems rather than “kick the same can down the road.” Cain says he will be a president that will "do what's right, not what's politically right." His experiences in the business world, he said, are the same skills that will make him an effective president.
Michele Bachmann made her official announcement that she is one step closer to officially running for president. She made it clear that her number one priority, if she was elected, was to repeal Obama care. A passionate chairman of the Tea Party, Bachmann claims that the Tea Party is comprised of disenfranchised democrats, libertarians, republicans-- a wide swath of America coming together. Bachmann was very impressive tonight.
Tim Pawlenty was the only person who was put on the spot by the commentator when asked what he meant by ‘Obamneycare.’ With Romney looking directly at him, Pawlenty stated that he was referencing Obama’s use of Romney’s Massachusetts plan as a blueprint for Obamacare. The commentator unsuccessfully tried to call Pawlenty out for an attack against Romney in an interview with Fox news over the weekend.
Debates are always a great way to gauge how the candidates feel about the issues, and how they would stand up to pressure and tough questions. As I stated earlier, it is not a true debate, but more of an evening of intelligent political discussion. Since there clearly are no winners or losers tonight--who were the most impressive candidates?