Thursday, November 29, 2007


November 29, 2007

Last nights GOP CNN YouTube “Debate,” held in St. Petersburg, Florida could best be labeled a blend of Debate and verbal fisticuffs (boxing match) between the candidates.

CBS News headlines the debate as “They Came Out Swinging.” MSNBC gave us a milder “GOP rivals spar in YouTube debate.” The Chicago Tribune treats us to “GOP candidates slug it out in debate,” while the New York Sun informs us that candidates, Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney “Trade Jabs on Immigration.”

To be sure, it was a “testy” debate at times. Giuliani and Romney did exchange heated accusations between each other over illegal immigration. Fred Thompson’s “attack ad,” featuring Mitt Romney’s past words on abortion and Mike Huckabee’s past words on taxes, was shown and Thompson, when asked about it, replied, "I wanted to give my buddies here a little extra air time,” drawing laughter from the audience. Romney admitted he was “wrong on abortion in the past,” while Huckabee responded that he had cut 90 taxes during his 11-year reign as Governor of Arkansas.

John McCain, Viet Nam Veteran and former POW, in reply to a question on torture of detainees and terrorists in Guantánamo claimed ‘water boarding’ was “in violation of the Geneva Convention and in violation of existing law.” Romney said, “ I don't think it's wise for us to describe specifically which measures we would and would not use.”

McCain later confronted Ron Paul, who received much more airtime than he deserves for his whiney performance, over isolationalism. McCain said, I've heard him now in many debates talk about bringing our troops home, and about the war in Iraq and how it's failed. And I want to tell you that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II.” Paul chose the moment to inject his claim of, “The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel?” He continued with his usual contention that he is a “non-interventionist,” not an “isolationist.”

Questioned on Iraq, Paul was quick with his expected desire of just abandoning it, claiming as well that the President’s Troop Surge has “failed.” Comparing to Viet Nam, Paul said, “Just think of the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam,” disregarding that any “mess” happened after our Troops were forced to abandon the South Vietnamese people and allowed them to be overran and oppressed by the Communist North Vietnamese.

Largely staying out of the verbal donnybrook that erupted at times and receiving a disappointing amount of airtime, was California’s Duncan Hunter, reminding all that he was largely responsible for the fence that was built along the San Diego / Mexican border and greatly reduced illegal immigration and crime in that region.

Of all the candidates, Hunter answered straightforward about guns he owns and uses, as he always does when queried about his position.

In what looked eerily like a planted question, Hunter was asked by retired Brigadier Gen. Keith Kerr, who is openly gay, “..why [do] you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians?”

After thanking Kerr for his 43 years service, Hunter, who is also a Viet Nam Veteran of two tours, replied,

“I believe in what Colin Powell said when he said that having openly homosexual people serving in the ranks would be bad for unit cohesion.”

“The reason for that, even though people point to the Israelis and point to the Brits and point to other people as having homosexuals serve, is that most Americans, most kids who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives.”

“They have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values. To force those people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their principles, is I think a disservice to them. I agree with Colin Powell that it would be bad for unit cohesion.”

Romney, ducking the question somewhat, stated, “I'm going to listen to the people who run the military to see what the circumstances are like.” Huckabee, agreeing with Hunter, replied, “People have a right to have whatever feelings, whatever attitudes they wish, but when their conduct could put at risk the morale, or put at risk even the cohesion that Duncan Hunter spoke of, I think that's what is at issue.”

Dissatisfied with the answer, Kerr complained, “With all due respect, I did not get an answer from the candidates,” continuing on with his belief that former President Clinton’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy is wrong. John McCain chimed in with,
“[General Petraeus and General Odierno and others] …tell me that this present policy is working, that we have the best military in history, that we have the bravest, most professional, best prepared, and that this policy ought to be continued because it's working.”

General Kerr, it would later be revealed, is involved in the Hillary Clinton campaign and was flown if from California to Florida for this debate. He was also the only questioner who was allowed to basically make a speech from the floor after claiming he did not receive an adequate answer. CNN claimed they knew nothing of his being planted or involvement with the Clinton campaign.

As it turned out, several of the supposedly undecided questioners were in fact involved in campaigns for Democrat party candidates. CNN spent the day defending their debate and claiming they had no knowledge of the planted Democrat operatives.

In after debate interviews, both Romney and Giuliani claimed it was the other guy who initiated the heated encounter with each other. Tempers that became heated during the debate continued afterwards, leaving me wondering if it was tempers that lead to reporter Joe Shea, of The American Reporter online leftist newspaper, to be ejected by security from CNN’s ‘Spin Room,’ for knocking an aide to Mike Huckabee to the ground?

In all, it was a lively debate. Hopefully, next time some questions relevant to actual conservative Republican issues and values will be asked by real undecided questioners actually seeking to learn more from the GOP candidates.


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