Entries in GOP debate (45)


Palin Praises Gingrich's Debate Performance, Goes after Perry

Allison Shelley/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In one of Sarah Palin’s first appearances since announcing her decision not to enter the GOP primary, she praised Newt Gingrich, declaring him the winner of Tuesday night’s CNN debate in Las Vegas while also criticizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Palin said on Fox News’ On the Record with Greta van Susteren that Gingrich would “clobber Barack Obama in any debate,” but that he probably won’t end up being the nominee although “he’s seen it all” when it comes to politics.

“I think we [Republicans] are more interested in substance and that’s why like tonight Newt Gingrich again I think did the best because he seems to be above a lot of the bickering that goes on,” Palin told Susteren, comparing the fighting rivals to her bickering children.  “I don’t know if he’s going to be the one that surfaces as the fortunate candidate who gets to face Barack Obama because unfortunately, in this day and age, sometimes conventional wisdom would dictate that he who has the most money, the campaign dollars, wins.  I don’t want to believe that this is going to be the case this go-around.”

She also praised Michele Bachmann for pledging not to stop aid to Israel, but went hard after one time friend Rick Perry, saying he is seen as someone who is “incentivizing” illegal immigration.

“By providing in state tuition for those who are not residents of his state, because the illegal immigrants who are there -- they are not even obviously -- not residents of America legally much less the state of Texas,” Palin said.  “It sounds like Rick Perry is having a heck of a time trying to explain his position on illegal immigration when he has incentivized some to be able to really grasp a benefit that the majority of Americans would never be able to take an advantage of: in state tuition in the state of Texas.”

Palin told Susteren she was hoping the candidates would go into more detail about their economic plans, adding that even after the eighth debate “we are still looking for that candidate that will rise to the top and be the frontrunner.”

She also gave some advice to the debate moderators saying she hopes in future debates “they can press [the candidates] a little hard on detail” and “dig a little bit more.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan Gets Grilled at Nevada GOP Debate

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- GOP frontrunner Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan took a beating at Tuesday night’s debate in Las Vegas.  His fellow contenders took his proposal to the mat, using the first 20 minutes of the debate to zero in on the businessman’s so called “economic vision for growth and renewal”.

Since climbing to the top of the polls, Cain’s plan has come under attack across the board, from former Ronald Reagan economic advisors to Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform.  But on Tuesday night, it was the job of those vying for the Republican nomination to try and expose the plan that has helped catapult Cain forward.

Following the debate, Cain told reporters, “The higher up you are in the polls, the more they’re gonna target you and come after you.”

“I believe that the attacks I got tonight shows that they still don’t have a plan so their only strategy is to attack mine.  All of the attacks that were made were erroneous.  I’m not worried about it,” he said.

Michele Bachmann, a former tax lawyer, derided Cain’s plan for being a tax plan and not a jobs plan.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said, “Herman’s well-meaning, and I love his boldness, and it’s great.  But the fact of the matter is, I mean, reports are now out that 84 percent of Americans would pay more taxes under his plan.  That’s the analysis.”

A recent study from the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, said that Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would raise taxes on 84 percent of American households -- something Herman Cain denied on his bus tour across Tennessee.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry also took a soft approach saying, “Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something, you don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out.  Go to New Hampshire, where they don’t have a sales tax, and you’re fixing to give them one."

“... [R]ight here in Nevada you’ve got 8-plus percent.  You want nine cents on top of that, and nine cents on a new home -- or 9 percent on a new home, 9 percent on your Social Security, 9 percent more?  I don’t think so, Herman.  It’s not going to fly,” Perry added.

Cain has addressed this claim on the trail saying that his tax is a replacement tax not an added tax, saying his fellow candidates were mixing apples and oranges, something he reiterated at the debate over and over again.

“This is an example of mixing apples and oranges.  The state tax is an apple.  We are replacing the current tax code with oranges.  So it’s not correct to mix apples and oranges,” said Cain.  “What the 9 percent does is that we take out those five invisible taxes and replace it with one visible 9 percent.”

When Mitt Romney, went after the plan, Cain responded “Whether you throw out the existing code and you put in our plan, you’re still going to pay that.  That’s apples and oranges.”

Romney responded, “Fine.  And I’m going to be getting a bushel basket that has apples and oranges in it because I’ve got to pay both taxes and the people in Nevada don’t want to pay both taxes.”

Cain stood his ground under the intense scrutiny of his plan: “Once again, unfortunately, none of my distinguished colleagues who have attacked me up here tonight understand the plan.  They’re wrong about it being a value-added tax.  We simply remove the hidden taxes that are in goods and services with our plan and replace it with a single rate 9 percent.  I invite every family to do your own calculations with that arithmetic.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Explains Record of Hiring Illegal Immigrants as Lawn Workers

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- The Romney campaign dubbed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s accusations that the former Massachusetts governor employed illegal immigrants as a “personal, cheap shot,” that came from someone who came to Tuesday night’s debate “angry” and “out to get Mitt Romney.”

Perry accused Romney of hiring illegal immigrants at his Massachusetts home during Tuesday night’s CNN debate in Las Vegas, recalling a story first reported by The Boston Globe in 2007 when it discovered that lawn workers at the Romney’s Belmont home were not in the country legally.

“Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year,” said Perry.  “And the idea that you stand here before us and [say] that you’re strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy.”

The issue of illegal immigration has pitted Perry and Romney against one another again and again this campaign cycle.  While Perry has said he does not support a fence across the border between the U.S. and Mexico, Romney has advocated for one, arguing that employers in America are acting as “magnets” to illegal immigrants who are looking for work and whose legality is never properly checked.

At the Fox News debate in September, Perry accused Romney of “not having a heart,” after Romney said he opposed giving in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants.  Romney in turn responded by saying, “I think if you’re proposed to illegal immigration it doesn’t mean you don’t have a heart it means you have a heart and a brain.”

Tuesday night, the exchange over illegal immigration didn’t die down, with the duo going back and forth and interrupting each other repeatedly.  “Rick, I don’t think I’ve ever hired an illegal in my life,” said Romney, prompting an argument between him and Perry during which Romney asked, “I’ll tell you what, let me take my time, and then you can take your time.  All right?”

Romney later went on to explain what happened back in 2006, when the story was first reported.

“We hired a lawn company to mow our lawn, and they had illegal immigrants that were working there.  And when that was pointed out to us, we let them go,” said Romney, as Perry interrupted him again.  “I suggest if you want to become president you have to allow both people to speak.”

“So we went to the company and we said, look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property,” said Romney.  “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals.  It turns out that once questioned, they hired someone who had falsified their documents, had documents, and therefore we fired them.”

Romney then quickly turned the accusation into a talking point, reiterating his suggestion that an e-verify system be put in place to check the status of employees getting hired for work.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Huntsman Calls Las Vegas Debate a ‘Game Show’

LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images(HOPKINTON, N.H.) -- Jon Huntsman may have skipped out on CNN’s Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, but at his town hall event in Hopkinton, N.H., Tuesday night, he worked the stage like it was the Improv at Harrah’s.

“You see, I was offered an invitation to a game show tonight out in Las Vegas,” Huntsman joked to a packed house.  “It’s called a presidential debate.  There will be sound bites, and there will be talking points, and there will be buzzers."

“You’ll probably have some people wander around after the show is over,” Huntsman continued, walking across the floor.  “I know my friend Herman Cain will likely play the roulette wheel and he’ll be focusing on getting the ball on 9, 9, 9.  And Romney will likely be staying at Trump Tower because he’s already won the apprenticeship for the presidency. … I thought we’d come here together and talk about serious issues because I’ve also heard that what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Vegas.  And I say that what happens in New Hampshire impacts the world.”

Last week, Huntsman was the first GOP candidate to announce that he would boycott the Nevada caucus if it threatened New Hampshire’s position as the first primary in the nation, with five of the seven other major candidates announcing soon after that they would do the same.  However, Huntsman was the only one to take his threat one step further by rejecting his invitation to participate in CNN’s Las Vegas debate.

At an event Tuesday afternoon, Huntsman told a small group of reporters that his GOP rivals were making the wrong decision by appearing at the debate.

“All I can say is they’re missing out on a huge opportunity by not embracing a total boycott of the Nevada caucus and doing what the New Hampshire voters would expect,” Huntsman said.  “That’s to stand in a town hall meeting, delivering a vision for this country and taking questions from the average voters here.  That’s where the action is and that’s what ultimately is going to allow someone to win the New Hampshire primary.  And at a critical time when we need to be discussing our economy and how we’re going to create jobs, that’s how it’s done.  So I’m happy to be here.”

While Huntsman was able to pull a fairly large New Hampshire crowd away from the debate, it is unclear whether his strategy to boycott Nevada will lead to success in the Granite State.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Pushes Vegas Debate Donation ‘Game’

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- You don’t have to be in Las Vegas to gamble away some cash during Tuesday night's GOP presidential debate.

The Obama campaign has concocted an online debate watch game that charges supporters’ credit cards an incremental, predetermined amount each time the candidates say a selected phrase, like “Obamacare,” “9-9-9,” “socialism” and “fence.”

Matthew Barzun, Obama for America national finance committee chairman, says the novelty literally puts “money where their mouth is.”

“As the Republican candidates prattle on about defunding Social Security, ending Medicare as we know it, and everything else they support, they will literally be building this campaign,” Barzun wrote in an email blast to supporters.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “you can set a cap on how much you want to give, in case someone (not saying who) says '9-9-9' two dozen times,” a clear reference to GOP businessman Herman Cain.

So how much would you be on the line if you pulled the lever with $5 dollars down on “9-9-9″ in the last GOP debate?

You’d be on the line for $55, according to an analysis of the debate’s transcript. Cain’s economic plan was mentioned 11 times at the Dartmouth debate, including seven times by Cain himself.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Candidates Descend on Las Vegas for Debate

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Sin City is a gambler’s paradise, but this week there’s not just a lot at stake in the casinos: the Republican political elite will be wheeling and dealing at Tuesday’s GOP debate in Las Vegas.

When Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and company take the stage at the Venetian hotel for the CNN debate, Nevada’s issues are sure to be a hot topic, simply because the Silver State is plagued by many of the same issues that the nation as a whole faces: massive foreclosures, high unemployment, and the immigration question, to name a few.

And there’s that thorny issue of the GOP primary calendar, too.  Jon Huntsman, for one, will not be anywhere near Nevada this week, protesting the possibility of the state moving its caucus to an earlier date next January.

Nevada leads the nation in a few categories that no state wants to win: tops in foreclosures and tops in unemployment.  For an election that seems likely to turn on economic matters, expect the candidates to hone in on their plans to propel the country out of recession.  In fact, Romney last month chose to unveil his economic proposal in a speech just outside Las Vegas.

And then there’s immigration, an issue that has already reared its head in this campaign due to Perry’s background as governor of Texas.  Latinos make up over a quarter of all Nevadans, and the state’s governor, Brian Sandoval, is Latino -- and he has already endorsed Perry.

This time around, the GOP nod in Nevada’s January’s caucuses appears to be Romney’s to lose.  The state has a substantial Mormon population, an advantage for Romney.

In addition, as evidenced by last weekend’s financial reports, high-rollers have supported Romney and Perry in a big way when compared to their Republican rivals.  The two candidates now enjoy a wide money margin over their competitors.

But success on the debate stage -- as evidenced in part by Cain’s recent surge -- has little to do with money.

“The candidates are going to have to be able to impart their vision with voters,” said Alex Garza, a Hispanic activist and vice-chairman of the Latin Chamber of Commerce.  “We’ve heard the rhetoric in the past.  We know the rhetoric from Democrats and Republicans.  I think the winner of this debate is whoever can share their vision of improving our economy, lowering our unemployment, improving our education system, and helping small businesses grow.  I think that is what is going to be the catalyst.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney’s ‘Curious’ Off-Camera Exchange with Debate Host

James Devaney/WireImage(NASHUA, N.H.) -- Ann Romney recounted an exchange between her husband, Mitt Romney, and one of the Bloomberg-Washington Post debate hosts during a commercial break Tuesday night, saying she found it “quite curious” that her husband was asked off camera to explain how to fix the economic turmoil.

“Even in the break, I don’t know, I was watching and going, ‘What is going on?’” Ann Romney said, speaking Wednesday to a group of about 30 people dining at Martha’s Exchange Restaurant in Nashua.  “Charlie Rose was asking Mitt, ‘OK, how do you solve this problem with the deleveraging in Greece and the Euro and everything else that’s going on?’”

“Mitt was telling Charlie what you had to do … and was giving a five-minute little explanation,” Ann Romney said.  “It was quite interesting to me that Charlie was like, OK, we’re not having the debate right now but would you still tell me how this works and what’s going to happen.”

Ann Romney, 62, used the conversation between Rose and her husband to argue her point that she thinks “more and more people are figuring out that Mitt knows what he’s talking about.”

While admitting her bias, Ann Romney said she thought her husband won Tuesday night’s debate, even if one of his granddaughters could barely keep her eyes open during the two-hour event.  “It was maybe a little boring for her and a little late,” Ann Romney said, laughing.

The granddaughter, 16, had spent most of the evening “shaking like a leaf” because she was so “worried and nervous about her grandfather,” she said.

Ann Romney told several stories about her more than 42-year relationship with her husband, describing her “mistake” in taking a poetry class with him during college.  His responses were so detailed, she said, and he was such a standout student that she immediately regretted enrolling in the same class as him.

She also described how Romney had stood by her side after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, a disease that had her convinced her “life was over.”

Before leaving the restaurant, she promised that she and her husband will be “back often” to the Granite State.

“We all know Mitt is doing well here but we don’t take that for granted.  We know how hard you have to work for every vote in this state,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Analysis: Herman Cain, Mitt Romney Win GOP Economy Debate

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HANOVER, N.H.) -- You can usually tell who the frontrunners are at a debate because they are the guys who take all the incoming fire.  On Tuesday night, it was clear that Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are seen by their rivals as the men to beat.

In fact, when the candidates were allowed to ask one of their opponents a question, all picked Romney -- except for Ron Paul, who picked Cain.

Romney didn’t pick himself, but instead threw a nice fat softball to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, asking her, “And I’d like to ask you to expand on your other ideas.  What do you do to help the American people get back to work, be able to make ends meet?”

Why did Romney do this?  Because he needs Bachmann to stay in the race and continue to split the Tea Party vote with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Cain.

Moving on to the losers, Rick Perry wasn't as bad as he was in the last debate.  But, he was flat and tired, and generally uninspired.  The only silver lining for the Texas governor is that given that the only place to watch the debate was Bloomberg TV, it’s unlikely that many people actually saw it.

The other big loser was the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke.  They took the biggest beating in this debate, drawing fire from all sides table.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Mixes Up Dates of American Revolution

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HANOVER, N.H.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry energetically bounded into the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on Dartmouth College’s campus after Tuesday night’s debate, but when he was asked a question about states’ rights, he slipped up on the dates for when the American Revolution was fought.

“Our Founding Fathers never meant for Washington, D.C. to be the fount of all wisdom.  As a matter of fact they were very much afraid if that because they’d just had this experience with this far-away government that had centralized thought process and planning and what have you, and then it was actually the reason that we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown if you will,” Perry said.

But Perry’s version of American history doesn’t match the history books, which show the American Revolution was fought in the 18th century.

Ted Oberg, with ABC News' Houston affiliate KTRK-TV, caught up with Perry outside the debate watch party, and Perry admitted debates aren’t his strong suit.

“I just try to get up every day and do my job and you know debates are not my strong suit but you know, we get up and do them and we just try to let people see our passion and I think that’s what we did tonight,” he said.

Perry added that his energy policy roll out on Friday, which he touted in the debate, will be a focal point of his campaign.

“I think it’s probably going to be a key to the campaign because that’s what people really care about is getting American working again,” Perry said.  “We’re going to lay out a way to get 1.2 million Americans working.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What’d He Say? Debate Heckler on Booed Orlando Soldier

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(HANOVER, N.H.) -- Tempers flared on stage at Tuesday night’s Bloomberg/Washington Post debate, as GOP rivals bashed each other’s economic policies.  But it was Rick Santorum’s remark about fathers taking responsibility for their children that resulted in an outcry from a young man in the crowd.

A stage audience member told ABC News, “A guy stood up and he yelled, ‘Why didn’t you guys say anything when the gay soldier was booed.’  He was sitting about four rows back facing the stage.  Then he yelled the f-word.”

The commotion caused Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, who was next in line to answer a question, to say, “I’m sorry, Charlie.  A little distraction.”

The interruption was in reference to last month’s debate in Orlando, when a gay soldier was booed by audience members after posing a question about ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’

In the aftermath of the Florida incident, many of the candidates told ABC News that in retrospect, someone should have stood up for the member of the military.

So far, none of the candidates have addressed Tuesday night’s disruption.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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