While packing for my trip to film PolitiChicks, I turned on the GOP debates.  Happy they’re on Fox News instead of some of the liberal stations and other than Juan Williams, there were no liberals in sight!

Immediately Brett Baer asked Newt Gingrich about his Bain Capital ads.

“I raise questions that I think are legitimate questions,” Gingrich said.  “Some of those questions came straight out of Wall Street Journal articles.  The governor has every opportunity to answer those questions, to give us facts and data and I think that’s part of his responsibility as a candidate.  And I think that’s what campaigns are about, to raise questions and find out if your candidate can answer them effectively before you get to the general elections where you know those questions are going to be asked.”  The audience applauded.

Rick Perry again likened Bain Capital to ‘vultures’ and followed by saying Romney needed to release his income tax records (which he and Newt Gingrich are doing later this week).  The audience went nuts over that.

Romney responded by reminding people that the steel mills that failed under Bain Capital were caused because of China bringing in steel at cheaper prices.  So far he’s doing pretty good to explain his work in the private sector.   I personally applaud anyone who builds up their jobs and knows how to cut losses when necessary.

Rick Santorum did really well.  He addressed an ad in which Romney insinuated Santorum allowed felons to vote.  Santorum asked Romney if he would allow former felons who had served their time to vote and Romney said no.

That’s when Santorum delivered a MAJOR zinger to Romney by reminding him that not only were violent felons allowed to vote in Massachusetts, but they were also allowed to vote before even finishing their sentencing!  Romney looked a little befuddled.  And THAT, my friends, is why we should always do our homework!

Perry jumped in and said, “This is a great example of the ‘insiders’ that are having a conversation up here and the fact of the matter is this: Washington DC needs to leave the states alone and don’t do it from Washington DC!”  (applause)

Every time anyone said anything, Brett Baer asked Romney if he wanted to respond.  He didn’t seem to do that quite as much for anyone else, but maybe it’s just my imagination…

Regarding unemployment in which people are given 99 weeks of benefits, Gingrich said, “The fact is, 99 weeks is an Associate Degree!” Gingrich said to applause.

“I think it tells you everything you need to know about Barack Obama and the five of us–we actually think work is good.  We actually think saying to somebody ‘I’ll help you if you’re willing to help yourself’ is good and we think unconditional efforts by the best Food Stamp President in American history to maximize dependency is terrible for the future this country.”  (Major applause.)

Although I completely disagree with 90% of Ron Paul’s foreign policies, I do agree with him on the point he made about overseas embassies when he said, “Just ‘cos you spend a billion dollars on an embassy in Baghdad, bigger than the Vatican, you consider that defense spending.  I consider that waste.” Good point.

Next, each of the candidates were asked Herman Cain’s favorite question–what the highest amount of income tax Americans should have to pay would be.

Perry jumped in with, “20% flat tax.  Simple.  Keep it simple.”

Santorum said, “My plan has two rates, 10 and 28%.”

Romney said “I’d like to get it down to 25 but right now it’s 35 so people’d better pay what’s legally required.”

Gingrich said, “I’d like to see a flat tax of 15% and I’d like to see us reduce the government to meet the revenue, not raise revenue to meet the government.” (Cheers)

Paul said, “We should have the lowest tax we’ve ever had.  In 1913 it was 0%, what’s so bad about that?”  (Applause)

Romney was very strong against the Dream Act, which as a Californian I’m pretty happy about.

Juan Williams tried to get under Newt Gingrich’s skin when asking him about a recent interview.

“You said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps,” Williams said.  “You also said poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools.  Can’t you see that this is viewed at a minimum as insulting to all Americans but particularly to black Americans?”

In perfect Newt Gingrich-ness, he studied Juan a moment and then said, “No, I don’t see that.”  (laughter and applause)

“My daughter Jackie reminded me that her first job was at First Baptist Church in Carrolton, Georgia doing janitorial work at 13 and she liked earning the money; she liked learning that if she worked she got paid, she liked being in charge of her own money and she thought it was a good start…You could take 30 kids for the price of one janitor [in New York City] and those 30 kids would be a lot less likely to drop out, they would actually have money in their pocket, they’d learn to show up for work, they could do light janitorial duty, they could work in the cafeteria…they’d be getting money which is a good thing if you’re poor.  Only the elites despise earning money.”  (Applause)

Juan Williams didn’t let up and basically accused Gingrich of being racist and not respecting poor people.  The audience started booing so loudly it drowned out the rest of Williams’ sentence.  When they calmed down, Juan asked about  Newt’s ‘Food Stamp President’ comment, adding it was insulting.  (Boos…)

“First of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in history,” Newt said (more applause).  “Now I know among the politically correct you’re not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.  Second, you’re the one who earlier raised a key point–the area that ought to be I-33 was called by Barack Obama ‘a corridor of shame’ because of unemployment.  Has it improved in three years?  No.  They haven’t built the road, they haven’t helped the people, they haven’t done anything.”  Cheers.  “So here’s my point.  I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness and if that makes liberals unhappy, I’m going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a better job and then a better job and then to learn someday to own the job.”

And THERE is your next viral video!!  The audience went insane.  Way to go, Speaker Gingrich.

After Ron Paul suggested we weren’t “diplomatic” in the way we killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Gingrich again made an amazing point.

“Bin Laden plotted, deliberately, bombing American embassies, bombing the USS Cole, and killing 3100 Americans and his only regret was he didn’t kill more,” Gingrich said.  “Now, he’s not a Chinese dissident!  The analogy that Congressman Paul used is utterly irrational.  A Chinese dissident who comes in here seeking freedom is not the same as a terrorist who goes to Pakistan seeking asylum.”

“Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America’s enemies:  kill them,” Gingrich said to wild applause.

Paul came back with a comment that, for the first time in all the debates I’ve watched, garnered BOOS for him!

“Maybe we ought to consider a ‘golden rule’ in foreign policy,” Paul said.  “Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want to have them do to us.  We endlessly bomb these countries and we don’t know why they’re upset with us?”  People continued booing.  Loudly.

Romney then made some very strong statements in defense of our military and Rick Perry received applause when he said, “Our president has a foreign policy that makes our allies very nervous and emboldens our enemies.  And we have to have a president of the United States that clearly sends a message, whether it’s to Israel, our friend, and there should be no space between the United States and Israel, period.  We need a powerful message to countries like Iran and Syria and Turkey that the United States is serious and we’re going to have to be dealt with.”

Rick Perry also made me proud to be a Texan when he defended our Marines–in particular the recent urinating incident.  He acknowledged that the men “made a mistake and they need to be punished” but added, “When the Secretary of Defense calls that an ‘utterly despicable act’, let me tell you what’s despicable–cutting Danny Pearl’s head off and showing the video of it!  Hanging our contractors from bridges–that’s utterly despicable!”  The crowd again went wild.

All in all, really good debate.  Gingrich won this one by a landslide and I think just about everyone on earth–whether they like Gingrich or not–would love to see him debate Barack Obama.  He would WIPE THE FLOOR with him!  Romney came in second and been pretty much holding his own in the debates.  Looking forward to South Carolina!