Entries in GOP debate (45)


Rick Perry's Son Says Dad Will Be 'Well-Rested' for Debate

Alex Wong/Getty Images(PLYMOUTH, N.H.) -- While his father hunkered down in preparation for Tuesday night’s debate, 28-year-old Griffin Perry vouched for Rick Perry’s debate capabilities, saying his father will be “well-rested” and better prepared for the Republican Debate at Dartmouth College.

“I think he’s going to do very well in the debate tomorrow,” Griffin Perry told ABC News Monday evening before the Grafton County GOP Columbus Day Dinner in Plymouth, New Hampshire.  “He’s not here this evening because he’s resting up, you know.  He was very focused on raising money and did a very good job at that.  Now the focus will be the debates and when he gets focused he can do anything.”

Perry lost his front-runner status in the polls after his shaky debate performance in Orlando -- which Perry's camp blamed on his being tired -- and an unexpected loss in the Florida P5 straw poll over two weeks ago. He took off the two days prior to the New Hampshire debate to rest and prepare for the showdown. Griffin said his father will focus on one message -- “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Griffin Perry, the oldest of Perry’s two children, recently left his job with Deutsche Bank to start an independent consulting firm so he can focus more time campaigning for his father’s presidential bid.  Griffin will be on the trail in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida in the coming months and has already spoken at fundraisers on behalf of his father’s campaign.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney, Perry Wage War of Authenticity at Republican Debate

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- In their third debate in as many weeks, the two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination waged a war of authenticity, challenging each other on their records in government -- even on the words printed in their books.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has seen his lead in national and some early primary state polls evaporate, swiped at front-runner Rick Perry on the issue of Social Security.  Romney has been trying to make the case that the Texas governor’s stance on the entitlement program is too extreme.

“There’s a Rick Perry out there that’s saying that -- almost quoted it says that the federal government shouldn’t be in the pension business, that it’s unconstitutional, unconstitutional and to be returned to the states,” Romney said, referencing Perry’s book, Fed Up!  “So you better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that.”

Later in Thursday night's debate, showing that he too has been carefully studying Romney’s writings, Perry accused his opponent of changing his tune between printings of his book, No Apologies, on whether the health care plan he signed into law in Massachusetts should be a model for the rest of the country.

“You said that it was exactly what the American people needed to have,” Perry said.

Romney shot back, “I said no such thing.”

“It’s fine for you to retreat from your own words in your own book, but please don’t try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book,” Romney said.

The exchange at the debate in Orlando, sponsored by Fox News and Google, reflected the larger battle between the two campaigns, each trying to jockey for the top spot in the Republican field along with seven other candidates who shared the stage Thursday night, who were just hoping to get some attention and airtime.

Despite some lines he might wish he could take back -- “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me” -- Romney delivered a mostly solid performance displaying his command of issues and even some sharp-edged responses while under attack.

Perry landed some punches on Thursday night, but his performance was uneven at times.  He fumbled through an answer to a foreign policy question about what he would do if, as president, he received a middle-of-the-night phone call informing him that a Pakistani nuclear weapon had fallen into the hands of terrorists.  The Texas governor also appeared to lose his way while trying to portray Romney as a flip-flopper.

Other candidates had their blunders too.  When Michele Bachmann was asked to give a specific answer about how much out of every dollar earned, Americans deserve to keep, she said, “I think you should keep every dollar that you earn.”

A moment later, she added: “Obviously we have to give money back to the government so that we can run the government.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Book Changed to Remove Line about National Health Reform

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- After the Republican presidential debate Thursday night, a senior advisor to Mitt Romney acknowledged that a line about spreading health care reform throughout the country was changed in the paperback version of Romney’s book No Apology.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said during the Florida debate that Romney took out the single line that suggested the Massachusetts health reform law could be applied to the country.  The line that is removed in the paperback version reads, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.”

Romney has been dogged during the presidential campaign by the Massachusetts health reform law, which was a model for the national law Democrats enacted in 2010.  Republicans are united in their opposition to the national law.

During the debate Romney denied that his book had been changed.

“I actually -- I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing.  What I said -- actually, when I put my health care plan together -- and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post.  He said, is this a plan that if you were president you would put on the nation, have the whole nation adopt it?  I said, absolutely not.  I said, this is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan."

Perry and Romney spent a good amount of time at the debate sparring over their respective books.  Romney criticized Perry’s writings about Social Security.

“It’s fine for you to retreat from your own words in your own book, but please don’t try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book.  I stand by what I wrote.  I believe in what I did.  And I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what it is,” said Romney.

But Thursday night after the debate, Romney’s staffer Eric Fehrnstrom said that line was indeed removed because there was more information.

“Every time a book goes from hardcover to paperback there are updates that are made,” said Fehrnstrom after the debate.  “When Mitt Romney wrote his book No Apology it came out before the health reform law passed and the stimulus bill passed came so of course there were updates a year later when the paperback edition came out.  That’s not unusual in the publishing industry.”

“They were simple updates to reflect that we had more information at the time the paperback came out,” said Fehrnstrom.

The first edition of Romney’s book was published on March 2, 2010.  Obama’s Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010.  The paperback version of Romney’s book was first issued in February of 2011.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Debate Day: GOP Readies for Showdown in Sunshine State

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Nearly the entire Republican presidential field descends on Florida Thursday for their third debate in as many weeks, and a new poll in the pivotal primary state shows a familiar story line.

Rick Perry has pulled the rug out from under Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State, usurping his once first-place standing there.  According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 28 percent of Florida Republicans favor Perry compared to 22 percent who are supporting Romney.

In a state replete with retirees, it also appears that Perry's "Ponzi scheme" line plays well.  By a 60 percent to 14 percent margin, Florida Republicans say "Perry wants to fix Social Security."

It's a potentially distressing finding for the Romney campaign, which spent much of Wednesday hammering away at Perry on Social Security.

Paraphrasing Perry, Romney told a group of Miami residents who gathered at a town hall meeting, "He said, by any measure, Social Security is a failure.  I disagree. I  think by the measure of the tens of millions of people who rely on Social Security it's a success.''

Perry's communications director, Ray Sullivan, accused Romney of "sounding like a Democrat, distorting the truth and trying to scare senior citizens."

Look for Romney to offer up the electability argument again Thursday night on the debate stage in Orlando, Fla., where nine of the candidates, including the little-known former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, will square off.

Thursday's Quinnipiac poll found that in general election matchups with President Obama, Romney leads 47 percent to 40 percent.  By contrast, Perry comes up short against the president, 44 percent to 42 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Axelrod Post-Debate: No Real Difference Between Perry, Romney

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod told ABC’S George Stephanopoulos that Rick Perry is learning that “when you’re the frontrunner you become a target.”

The latest polls show that Republican primary voters now think that Perry is more electable than Mitt Romney, a view not shared by many top strategists in both parties.  But Axelrod said the Obama campaign doesn’t see much difference either way.

“They basically support the same economic theory that got us into the mess in the first place. Tax cuts for the wealthy, special interest tax breaks for corporation like oil companies and letting Wall Street essentially write its own rules,” he said. “I don’t think the American people believe there is greater security in that for them economically and a better future for this country. So either way the debate is going to be largely the same.”

Axelrod kept mum on Social Security and refused to say whether Perry has effectively distanced himself from those passages in Fed Up that Mitt Romney threw at Perry at the GOP debate. He did, however, tie all the candidates together on the issue of jobs:

“I think they should focus on the main problem which is how do we get people back to work and how in the long term do we create security for the middle class,” he said.

The White House laid out how the president plans to pay for his $447 billion jobs plan. And Axelrod said that Congress shouldn’t pick and choose from the Obama proposals.

“The president has a package. The package works together. We need to do many things to get this economy moving and people back to work. Not just one thing,” David Axelrod said.

“We want them to act now on this package. We are not in negotiation to break up the package. And it’s not an a la carte menu. It’s a strategy to get this country moving,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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