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Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday Florida Debate

What a night! I think three of them did really well; Santorum, Romney, and Paul; and I can't declare a winner other than either Santorum or Romney. Santorum played 'stick-to-the-issues' man and all three were down-right funny! Romney was kind, cool-tempered and always polite even when Santorum or Gingrich got testy. You should watch it if you missed it, the humor doesn't necessarily show up on the transcript. The other candidate did worse than usual though he didn't have the decency to squirm when confronted with contradictions between what he's said and done over the course of his life - that's Newt Gingrich for you. Slimy politician to the end. He dodged as many questions as he could get away with and didn't defend himself very well on the ones he couldn't skirt around, and Wolf Blitzer was able to call Gingrich out against one anti-media flare-up. The thing is, I know his supporters are so gung-ho that they have blinders on to his inconsistencies. If you missed it, you can watch the debate here or read the transcript here.

I love Santorum's foreign policy and his consistency in defending the values upon which America was founded. The man speaks sense! I love Romney's explanations of things related to the economy and business and jobs and turning America around, as well as those same values even though he doesn't articulate them in as direct a way as Santorum.

Memorable lines:

ROMNEY: (to Gingrich)  "Don’t use a term like that. You can say we disagree on certain policies, but to say that enforcing the U.S. law to protect our borders, to welcome people here legally, to expand legal immigration, as I have proved, that that’s somehow anti anti-immigrant is simply the kind of over-the-top rhetoric that has characterized American politics too long.
"And I’m glad that Marco Rubio called you out on it. I’m glad you withdrew it. I think you should apologize for it, and I think you should recognize that having differences of opinions on issues does not justify labeling people with highly charged epithets."

ROMNEY: (to Gingrich, later in the same dialogue) "You know, our problem is not 11 million grandmothers. Our problem is — all right.
"Our problem is 11 million people getting jobs that many Americans, legal immigrants, would like to have. It’s school kids in schools that districts are having a hard time paying for. It’s people getting free health care because we are required under the law to provide that health care.
And the real concern is the people who want to come here legally. Let’s let legal immigrants come here. Let’s stop illegal immigration."

SANTORUM: (about Paul wanting free trade with Cuba) "No, I’m not with Congressman Paul and I’m not with Barack Obama on this issue.
"Our policy in Central and South America under this administration has been abysmal. The way we have treated, in particular, countries like Honduras, Honduras, which stood up for the rule of law, which threw out a would-be dictator who was using the Chavez playbook from Venezuela in order to try to run for re-election in Honduras, and the United States government, instead of standing behind the — the people in the parliament, the people in the Supreme Court, who tried to enforce the constitution of Honduras — instead of siding with them, the Democrats, President Obama sided with two other people in South America — excuse me — Central America and South America. Chavez and Castro and Obama sided against the people of Honduras.
"This is a consistent policy of siding with the leftists, siding with the Marxists, siding with those who don’t support democracy, not standing up for our friends in Colombia, not standing up for our friends who want to engage and support America, who want to be great trading partners and great allies for our country, to be able to form that kind of bond that is so essential in our own hemisphere."

 SANTORUM: (about Paul later in the same dialogue)
"I don’t know what answer Congressman Paul was listening to. He obviously wasn’t listening to my answer. (APPLAUSE)
"What I talked about is building strong economic relationships, strong national security relationships. No one’s talking about force. Nobody’s talking about going into Cuba or going into Venezuela. It’s talking about the other countries in the region, which are being influenced greatly by those countries, that are tending and moving toward those militant socialists, instead of the United States.
"Why? Because we’ve ignored them. You’ve got a president of the United States that held a Colombian free trade agreement — Colombia, who’s out there on the front lines, working with us against the narco- terrorists, standing up to Chavez in South America. And what did we do?
"For political — domestic political purposes, the president of the United States sided with organized labor and the environmental groups and held Colombia hanging out to dry for three years. We cannot do that to our friends in South America."

ROMNEY: (defending against Gingrich again) "Just a — just a short clarification. I — I’ve never voted for a Democrat when there was a Republican on the ballot. And — and in my state of Massachusetts, you could register as an independent and go vote in which — either primary happens to be very interesting. And any chance I got to vote against Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, I took. And so I — I’m…
ROMNEY: …"I have voted — I have always voted for a Republican any time there was a Republican on the ballot. With regards to the Speaker’s involvement in the Reagan years, he can speak for himself. The Reagan Diaries and the other histories that were written at that time can lay that out as well. I — I — I think, I think what he said speaks for itself and I’m proud of the things I was able to accomplish."

ROMNEY: (to an upset Santorum about the nuances of Massachusetts health care) "First of all, it’s not worth getting angry about." 
We all had a good laugh at that one!

This next interchange was hilarious - it's long but worth the time: Wolf Blitzer had asked Gingrich to defend yet another inflammatory statement he has made against Romney.
"GINGRICH: Look, how about if the four of us agree for the rest of the evening, we’ll actually talk about issues that relate to governing America?
BLITZER: But, Mr. Speaker, you made an issue of this, this week, when you said that, “He lives in a world of Swiss bank and Cayman Island bank accounts.” I didn’t say that. You did.
GINGRICH: I did. And I’m perfectly happy to say that on an interview on some TV show. But this is a national debate, where you have a chance to get the four of us to talk about a whole range of issues.
BLITZER: But if you make a serious accusation against Governor Romney like that, you need to explain that.
GINGRICH: I simply suggested –
GINGRICH: You want to try again? I mean –
ROMNEY: Wouldn’t it be nice if people didn’t make accusations somewhere else that they weren’t willing to defend here?
GINGRICH: OK. All right.
Given that standard, Mitt, I did say I thought it was unusual. And I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account. I’d be glad for you to explain that sort of thing.
ROMNEY: "OK. I will. I will. I’ll say it again.
I have a trustee that manages my investments in a blind trust. That was so that I would avoid any conflicts of interest. That trustee indicated last week, when he was asked about this, he said that he wanted to diversify the investments that I had. And for awhile he had money in a Swiss account, reported in the U.S., full taxes paid on it, U.S. taxes.
There’s nothing wrong with that. And I know that there may be some who try to make a deal of that, as you have publicly. But look, I think it’s important for people to make sure that we don’t castigate individuals who have been successful and try and, by innuendo, suggest there’s something wrong with being successful and having investments and having a return on those investments.
Speaker, you’ve indicated that somehow I don’t earn that money. I have earned the money that I have. I didn’t inherit it.
I take risks. I make investments. Those investments lead to jobs being created in America.
I’m proud of being successful. I’m proud of being in the free enterprise system that creates jobs for other people. I’m not going to run from that.
I’m proud of the taxes I pay. My taxes, plus my charitable contributions, this year, 2011, will be about 40 percent.
So, look, let’s put behind this idea of attacking me because of my investments or my money, and let’s get Republicans to say, you know what? What you’ve accomplished in your life shouldn’t be seen as a detriment, it should be seen as an asset to help America."

Oh, this one was hilarious too! Romney on Gingrich's space plans, which Santorum and Paul had already dismissed as unwise in the face of our enormous federal deficit.

ROMNEY: "I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, “You’re fired.”
"The idea that corporate America wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there, it may be a big idea, but it’s not a good idea. And we have seen in politics — we’ve seen politicians — and Newt, you’ve been part of this — go from state to state and promise exactly what that state wants to hear. The Speaker comes here to Florida, wants to spend untold amount of money having a colony on the moon. I know it’s very exciting on the Space Coast.
"In South Carolina, it was a new interstate highway, and dredging the port in Charleston. In New Hampshire, it was burying a power line coming in from Canada and building a new VHA hospital in New Hampshire so that people don’t have to go to Boston.
"Look, this idea of going state to state and promising what people want to hear, promising billions, hundreds of billions of dollars to make people happy, that’s what got us into the trouble we’re in now. We’ve got to say no to this kind of spending."

Replying to Gingrich's 4-year balanced budget claims:
PAUL: "I want to make a quick comment, because Newt’s mentioned this quite a few times about balancing the budget for four times. I went back and looked at the record.
"The budget was — the national debt during those four years actually went up about a trillion dollars. What he’s talking about is, he doesn’t count the money he takes out of Social Security.
"So, Reagan nor you had a truly balanced budget because the national debt goes up, and that’s what we pay the interest on. So I think you’ve stretched that a little bit more than you should have."

On the State of the Union Address and regarding federal spending proposed by Gingrich:
SANTORUM: "Well, look, we just listened to the president of the United States the other night completely ignore the biggest problem facing this country when it comes to our financial health. We’ve been downgraded as a — as a — as a country and the president of the United States completely ignored any of the heavy work, the hard work in being honest with the American public about what we have to do to get our fiscal house in order."
"And I think that’s the point I would make here. Going around and promising a whole bunch of new ideas and new projects and big ideas — that was fine. And maybe we need it; we can do that. I supported the doubling of the National Institutes of Health. But we didn’t have a $1.2 trillion deficit. We didn’t — we weren’t at over — we are now going to reach $16 trillion, which is more than our whole GDP. We were not in that situation 20, 15 years ago.
We are in a different world. We need leaders who are going to be honest with the people of this country, of the problems we have, and have bold solutions to make that happen. I’ll do that."

ROMNEY: (on issues related to health insurance and employment) "...Secondly, getting people to work. This president has failed the American people.
"He got up there and gave a speech last night. It was like Groundhog Day all over again. He said the same things and the same results we’re seeing today. People are not working.
"And we know what it takes to put people back to work. He said some of those things last night — lowering corporate taxes, lowering regulations, opening up all of the above in energy, cracking down on China. He just doesn’t do any of those things, and if I’m president, I will do those things and I’ll get you back to work."

Oh, there is so much more but I'll stop quoting. There was great substance on the details of Israeli-Palestinian relations and lots more on foreign policy and illegal immigration and Hispanic-American issues. More rehashing of Romneycare versus Obamacare, things that Gingrich and/or Romney have said or done in their lives. Romney defended himself well, Gingrich not so much. I'm hoping people are learning to see through that career politician because future of their lives might very well depend on it! They were asked to say why their wives would be great first ladies; and among the classy, motherly and kind wives of Paul, Romney, and Santorum; childless Callista looked out of place with her fancy clothes and jewelry and her passion for the arts. Passion for the arts? Is that really the most endearing thing Newt could say about his wife? Something which would require more federal funding yet again?

By the way, did you see that Dole has come out against Gingrich now too? He said, "If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices. Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway."  He said that Gingrich would pick fights with Clinton to get media attention. He also blames him for his 1996 loss. "In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year."

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