To-do list: Unblock yet another banned channel from my TV (CNN), transcribe every word of the 5th GOP Debate, and spend the next 4-5 hours writing about them for Patriot Update. Take a few aspirins. Re-block CNN from my channel line-up.
Here we go again! The 5th GOP Debates were hosted by CNN and since liberals have no idea how to describe people without calling them names, CNN dramatically opened the show with catchphrases for each of the candidates: Mitt Romney, “The Early Frontrunner”; Rick Perry, “The Newcomer”; Michelle Bachmann, “The Firebrand”; Jon Huntsman, “The Diplomat”; Ron Paul, “The Libertarian”; Rick Santorum, “The Fighter”; Herman Cain, “The Businessman” and Newt Gingrich, “The Big Thinker”.
(I have a catchphrase for CNN’s debate moderator Wolf Blitzer, but I’ll hold back…)
A lot of time was devoted in the beginning on how the candidates proposed to change Social Security and Medicare without losing votes—resulting in a little back-and-forth debate among Texas Governor Perry and Mitt Romney.
Romney asked Governor Perry if he continued to believe (as Perry wrote in his book) “that Social Security should not be a federal program, that it’s unconstitutional and should be put in the hands of the states.”
Perry answered, “If what you’re trying to say is that back in the 30’s and 40’s that the federal government made all the right decisions, I’d disagree with you.” (applause) “It’s time to get back to the Constitution, and a program that’s been there 70 or 80 years, obviously we’re not gonna take that program away. But for people to stand up and support what they did in the 30’s or what they’re doing in 2010 is not appropriate for America.”
Romney came back again reiterating his point that calling Social Security a ponzi scheme is what frightens seniors.
Perry shot back, “Governor, you called it criminal, that if people did it in the private sector it would be called criminal—that’s in your book.” The audience went wild.
Romney tried to respond again but was drowned out by applause; the tepid answer he ultimately got out, correcting the quote slightly, generated a few polite claps. (Perry won that little round for sure.)
“What I would like to do is to allow all the young people to get out of Social Security and go on their own,” Ron Paul said, followed by applause.
When Wolf asked Herman Cain if he thought Social Security was a ponzi scheme, in perfect Cain style he said, “I don’t care what ya call it, it’s broken and here’s my solution.” (Laughter and applause)
“Start with optional personal retirement accounts. In 1981 the Galveston County employees opted out because that was a very short window of opportunity, they took it. Today when people retire in Galveston County, Texas, they retire making at least 50% more than they would ever have done with Social Security. (applause) Secondly, allow younger workers to have personal retirement accounts as an option…Current seniors will not be affected—it’s to give the option to the younger workers. The Galveston County model worked and it also worked in the small country of Chile. Instead of giving it to the states, let’s give it back to the workers—that’s what personal retirement accounts would do.” (applause)
Huntsman gave a smarmy answer when asked if anything should be off the table regarding Social Security.
“I don’t think anything should be off the table except maybe some of the drama that’s playing out on this floor today.” (Seriously, seems he was fishing for applause here—or maybe a sound bite in the media. He seemed genuinely surprised when no one made a peep…)
“I mean, to hear these two go at it over here it’s almost incredible,” Huntsman continued. “You’ve got Governor Romney who called it ‘a fraud’ in his book No Apology. I don’t know if that was written by Kurt Cobain or not.”
HUH?? Kurt Cobain? The grungy drug-addicted rock star from the 90’s who killed himself? HUH??? (Yep, definitely fishing for a sound bite…)
“And then you’ve got Perry who’s calling this a ponzi scheme. All I know, Wolf, is that we’re frightening the American people who just want solutions…”
Wolf Blitzer asked Newt Gingrich, “Speaker Gingrich, would you raise the retirement age for Social Security recipients?”
Gingrich PERFECTLY responded, “No, not necessarily but…I’m not particularly worried about Governor Perry and Governor Romney frightening the American people when President Obama scares them every single day.”
YES! Not only did this garner the biggest applause of the night, he also got the first standing ovation out of all the debates so far.
Once the applause died down, Gingrich added, “President Obama twice said recently he couldn’t guarantee delivering the checks to Social Security recipients. Now why should young people who are 16 to 25-years old have politicians who have the power for the rest of their life to threaten to take away their Social Security?” (applause)
Ron Paul ended almost all of his statements by saying something about reducing military.
“I’m not sure if I can get anybody to agree with me on here on this panel,” Paul said, “but we spend $1.5 trillion overseas in wars that we don’t need to be in and we need to cut there and then put this money back into our economy here….What we need to do is cut the Department of Education, the Department of Energy and get rid of them and then we can do it.” (applause)
Blitzer tried to praise Obama’s new jobs plan by asking Perry, “His new plan has a lot of tax cuts: payroll tax cuts, middle class tax cuts, tax credits for hiring veterans, tax credits for hiring long-term unemployed people. Are those things you would support?”
Perry dryly, perfectly said, “And he’s gonna pay for ‘em all with raising your taxes. That is the issue. At $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus, it created zero jobs. $400-plus billion dollars in this package, and I can do the math on that one, half of zero jobs is gonna be zero jobs.”
Blitzer again tried to do a “gotcha” with Perry, asking, “So just to be precise, Governor, whenever the president supports tax cuts that has to be balanced with spending cuts?”
“I would suggest to you that people are tired of spending money we don’t have on programs we don’t want,” Perry said, followed by loud applause.
Herman Cain said, “This economy is on life-support. We need a bold solution, not one that tinkers around the edges, not one that allows politicians to continue to pick winners and losers. I believe we throw out the entire tax code, put in my ‘999 Plan’…a 9% business flat tax; a 9% personal income tax and a 9% national sales tax. Now I’ve been told by some people, ‘well you can’t get that done’. I say, why? Well, because you don’t know how Washington works. Yes I do—it doesn’t!” (applause)
“The world has changed,” Romney said. “What’s happened over the last 20-30 years is we’ve gone from a pay phone world to a SmartPhone world, and President Obama keeps jamming quarters into the pay phone thinking things are going to get better. It’s not connected, Mr. President!” (applause)
Blitzer again tried to pit Romney and Perry against each other by asking if he believed Perry should get credit for the jobs creation in Texas.
“Oh sure,” Romney said, “but I think Governor Perry will agree if you get four aces that doesn’t necessarily make you a great poker player,” which garnered major groans. Trying to recover, he said, “And the four aces that are terrific aces are ones the nation should learn from…zero income tax, lower regulation, a right-to-work state, oil on the ground and a Republican legislature. Those things are terrific.”
Perry shot back, “Well Mitt, you were doing pretty good until you started talking poker.” (laughter) “Fact is the state of Texas has led the nation while the current resident of the White House has overseen the loss of 2.5 million jobs. Texas, during my period as governor, created over a million jobs and we did that during some pretty tough economic periods.” (applause)
Rick Santorum had a great response to the question on the economy when he said, “Some people say that Barack Obama’s economy is a disaster. My feeling is it would have to make a dramatic improvement just to be a disaster.” (laughter and applause)
When asked if Herman Cain believed the Federal Reserve should be audited, he said, “Yes it should be audited. Secondly I believe that its focus needs to be narrowed. I don’t believe in ending the Fed, I believe in fixing the Fed.”
Rep. Bachmann said, “The Federal Reserve has a lot to answer for, and that’s important that they’re not only audited but they have gotta be shrunk back down to such a tight leash that they’re going to squeak.” (applause)
Next, liberal Blitzer went after the liberal’s favorite nemesis, ‘Big Oil’—leading to my most FAVORITE zinger of the night!
“Speaker Gingrich,” said Wolf, “some of the biggest companies in the United States, the oil companies, they get what some would call government hand-outs in the form of tax breaks, tax exemptions, loop holes; they’re making billions and billions of dollars. Is that fair?”
Gingrich responded, “Well you know for a second you were going to refer to General Electric who paid no taxes.” The crowd went wild, onstage and off. “I was astonished the other night to have the president up there in the joint session with the head of G.E. sitting up there, the president talking about taking care of loopholes. And I thought to myself, doesn’t he realize that every ‘green’ tax credit is a loophole?” (applause) “Now why did we get breaks for ethanol, breaks for oil and gas etcetera? We got them because…if we make it possible for you to keep your own money, you will do more of it. We have a simple choice. We can depend on Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, or we can encourage development in the United States of manufacturing, as Rick Perry said, we can encourage development of oil and gas. We can do it by saying we’re going to let you keep more of your money if you create more of what we want. It’s time for an energy-independent America, and that means I favor people who create energy.” (Thunderous applause.)
“I think trying to raise the tax on working Americans in the middle of the Obama Depression is a destructive policy,” Gingrich added, “so I don’t want to have any tax increase at any level for anyone. I want to shrink government to fit income—not raise income to try to catch up with government.” (Applause)
I’ve gotta say, Governor Perry was doing really well—probably winning the debate—until Wolf Blitzer asked him about his executive order requiring young girls to get vaccines for sexually transmitted disease.
“Was that a mistake?” Blitzer asked.
Perry responded, “It was. Indeed. If I had it to do over again I would have done it differently. I would have gone to the legislature, worked with them. But what was driving me was making a difference with young people’s lives. Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die, and I happen to think that what we were trying to do was to clearly send the message that we’re going to give moms and dads the opportunity to make that decision, with parental opt-out… But on that particular issue, I will tell you that I made a mistake by not going to the legislature first.”
Bachmann’s response, directed at Gov. Perry, was very strong—and the biggest ‘gotcha’ moment of the entire debate.
“I’m the mom of three children, and to have innocent little 12-year old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong.” (applause) “That should never be done. That’s a violation of liberty interests. Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan—they don’t get a do-over.”
Then Bachmann dropped a major bombshell, leading Wolf to live up to his name saying, “Wow, wow…” several times. Basically, she was implying on national television that Perry took money from drug companies in exchange for the inoculations.
“We cannot forget that in the midst of this executive order,” Bachmann said, “there was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate. I’m saying it’s wrong for a drug company, because the governor’s former Chief of Staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company. The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor, and this is just flat-out wrong. The question is was it about life, or about millions and potentially billions for a drug company.”
Perry soundly responded, “The company was Merck, and it was a $5000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million and if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5000, I’m offended.” (applause)
“I’m offended for all the little girls that didn’t have a choice, that’s what I’m offended for,” snapped Bachmann. (applause)
Rick Santorum got into the mix by saying, “Unless Texas has a very progressive way of communicating diseases in their school by way of their curriculum, there is no government purpose served for having little girls inoculated at the force and compulsion of the government. This is big government run amuck, it is bad policy and it should not have been done.” (applause)
After that, Bachmann was on fire and she may have “won” the debate when she passionately talked about abolishing Obamacare—adding a major dig at Romney at the end.
“The only way to abolish Obamacare is to pull it up by the roots and branch. It’s the only way we’re going to get rid of it. That’s why I’m running for the presidency of the United States because 2012 is it—this is the election that’s going to decide if we’re going to have socialized medicine in this country or not. This is it. We are never going to get rid of it unless we have a president committed to getting rid of it. If you believe that states can have it and that it’s constitutional, you’re not committed. If you’ve implemented this in your state, you’re not committed. I’m committed to repealing Obamacare.” (applause)
Next, Santorum took another swipe at Perry regarding illegal immigration.
“What Governor Perry’s done is he provided in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Maybe that was an attempt to attract legal vote—I mean the Latino voters,” Santorum said.
Perry got some ‘boos’ when he responded, “No matter how you got into that state, from the standpoint if your parents brought you there or what have you, that’s what we’ve done in the state of Texas and I’m proud that we’re having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them ‘you’re gonna be on the government dough.’”
Blitzer said, “You heard some ‘boos’ there, but Congresswoman Bachmann isn’t that just the Dream Act that President Obama wants as well?”
Bachmann replied, “Yes, it’s very similar and I think that the American Way is not to give taxpayers subsidized benefits to people who’ve broken our laws here in the United States illegally.” (applause)
Perry responded, “I’m not for the Dream Act that they’re talking about in Washington, DC, that is amnesty. What we did in the state of Texas was clearly a state’s right issue and the legislature passed with only 4 descending votes in the House and the Senate for this to occur.”
Jon Huntsman then acted like a shark smelling blood in the water—trying to go for another sound bite, obviously—saying, “For Rick to say you can’t secure the border is pretty much a treasonous comment.”
Huntsman again looked surprised when his hopes for applause ended up being loud boos instead. Perry just shook his head incredulously.
Rick Santorum then made another of my personal favorite statements of the night when he challenged Ron Paul on his stance on 9/11.
“On your website on 9/11 you had a blog post that basically blamed the United States for 9/11. On your website, yesterday you said it was our actions that brought about the actions of 9/11. Congressman Paul that is irresponsible; somebody who’s running for the President of the United States should not be parroting what Osama bin Laden said on 9/11.” (applause) “We were not attacked because of our actions; we were attacked as Newt talked about because we have a civilization that is antithetical of the Jihadists and they want to kill us because of who we are and what we stand for and we stand for America Exceptionalism. We stand for freedom and opportunity for everybody around the world and I am not ashamed to do that.”
Paul responded, “As long as this country follows that idea we’re going to be in a lot of danger. This whole idea that the whole Muslim world is responsible for this and that they’re attacking us because we’re free and prosperous is just not true.” (Mixed applause and boos) “Osama and Al Qaeda have been explicit and they wrote and said that we attacked because you had bases on our Holy Land in Saudi Arabia.”
Rep. Paul was interrupted by loud boos when he said, “You do not give Palestinians a fair chance….”
“I didn’t say that,” he tried to explain. “I’m trying to get you to understand what the motive was behind the bombing. At the same time we had been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for 10 years. Would you be annoyed? If you’re not annoyed, then there’s some problem.”
I’ll end on a more positive note.
When asked his final question about what he would do his first few days in the White House, Herman Cain said, “I would bring a sense of humor because America’s too uptight.” (loud applause)
Amen, Mr. Cain. This is the first time out of all these debates that I really need to take a long bath…or take up drinking…soon as I take CNN off my channel line-up again.