Posted by Curt on 28 November, 2007 at 8:17 pm. 9 comments already!

Just some quick thoughts on the debate…nothing too involved.

First off, would someone, anyone, PLEASE tell these networks to stop using the ignorant YouTube format for debates.  I mean come on.  This is a Presidential race not a friggin Survivor show.

As far as the debate goes the bickering between Rudy and Mitt didn’t do themselves any favors.  Ron Paul looked foolish as ever.  Huckabee looks quite polished and Fred looked real good also, with the limited time given him to answer a few questions.

Fred’s answers had real substance, no sound bite answers to hard questions.  He spoke on his many proposals and ideas he has for this country and really stood out of the crowd to me.  No silly bickering, just answering the questions, and answering them in a presidential manner.

As I said Huckabee looks polished but his policies and past history of leading turns me off of him quickly.  Hunter looked good also.  If I were to pick the top three from this debate it would be Fred, Hunter & Huck….

As for the Q&A involving Fred here they are:


Michael Weitz: Good evening. There are thousands of people
in Canada and Mexico waiting to come to America legally. They want to
become American citizens. They want to be part of the American dream.
Yet, there are those in the Senate that want to grant amnesty for those
that come here illegally.

Will you pledge tonight, if elected
president, to veto any immigration bill that involves amnesty for those
that have come here illegally?

Thank you.

Cooper: Senator Thompson?

(Applause)

Thompson:
Yes, I pledge that. A nation that cannot and will not defend its own
borders will not forever remain a sovereign nation. And it’s unfair…

(Applause)

We have — we have thousands of people standing in line at embassies
around the world to become United States American citizens, to come
here to get a green card, to come here and to assimilate and be a part
of our culture. They are part of what has made our country great. Some
of our better citizens. We all know them and love them.

Now,
it’s our country together — their’s and ours, now together. It’s our
home. And we now get to decide who comes into our home.

And to place somebody above them or in front of them in line is the wrong thing to do.

We’ve got to strengthen the border. We’ve got to enforce the border.
We’ve got to punish employers — employers who will not obey the law.
And we’ve got to eliminate sanctuary cities and say to sanctuary
cities, if you continue this, we’re going to cut off federal funding
for you, you’re not going to do it with federal money.

(Applause)

Now, there are parts of what both of these gentlemen have just said that I would like to associate myself with.

First of all, of course, Governor Romney supported the Bush immigration
plan until a short time ago. Now he’s taken another position,
surprisingly.

(Laughter)

As far as Mayor Giuliani is
concerned, I am a little surprised the mayor says, you know,
everybody’s responsible for everybody that they hire, but we’ll have to
address that a little bit further later. I think we’ve all had people
probably that we have hired that in retrospect probably is a bad
decision.

(Laughter)

He did have a sanctuary city. In
1996, I helped pass a bill outlawing sanctuary cities. The mayor went
to court to overturn it. So, if it wasn’t a sanctuary city, I’d call
that a frivolous lawsuit.

Some good stuff, especially eliminating sanctuary cities.  A zinger on Rudy that landed quite well.

Emily: Hi, I am Emily and I am from Los Angeles.

The
Republican Party once stood for limited government, which meant reduce
federal spending because it cost less and we spent less.

However, over the past decade, real discretionary federal spending has
in fact increased 40 percent, more than half of which has been
non-defense related.

So my question is: What are the names of the top three federal programs you would reduce in size in order to decrease…

(Applause)

Cooper: Senator Thompson?

Thompson:
Well, it’s a target-rich environment, there’s no question about it.
What most of these gentlemen have said absolutely correct. The
difficulty is, most of the programs that we talk about, most of the
ones get the headlines, would not begin to solve the problem.

Mitt’s right when he mentions entitlement. That’s why I have laid out a
program to not attack entitlements, but to save Social Security.
Everybody talks about wanting to do something about it. Social Security
and Medicare and Medicaid are the ones that we’re really going to have
to reform if we’re going to make any headway into spending.

Cooper: So of the top three you would say Social Security?

Thompson:
No. I didn’t say that. There is — the OMB has come out with a list of
over 100 programs. I would take all 100 of them, the ones that are full
of waste, fraud and duplication. I filed a report in 2001, when I was
chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and identified billions
of dollars that we should be saving.

But my point is that we’re
going to have to reform Social Security, we’re going to have to reform
Medicare. I’ve laid out a detailed plan that will give individual
retirement accounts for people, matched by the government, and also
re-index the way benefits are calculated initially when a person
retires. And together, that program has been said by the experts
already — to say that — have said that it would, after 75 years, make
Social Security actually sound.

I’ve got the only program out there that really addresses specifically one of the programs that’s going to have to be reformed.

Reform Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid….damn right and he
was able to get into just one of his detailed white papers on reforming
those programs.

Governor Norquist: President Bush made a commitment when he ran
for president in 2000 an 2004 that he would oppose and veto any tax
increase that Congress sent him. My question to each of the candidates
is: Would you promise to the people watching this right now, that you
will oppose and veto any efforts to raise taxes as long as you’re
president?

Thompson: Cut — tax cuts for eight years when I was in the
United States Senate. Never met a tax I liked. I’ve got a tax-cut bill
on the table. But I don’t do pledges to anybody but the American people.

Audience: Go, Fred, go.

That was a quick question to each candidate, liked his answer especially the last sentence.

Cooper: All right. We’re going to have three commercial
breaks throughout this entire debate. This is the first one. And as we
go to it, we go to another campaign-style video, this one from Senator
Fred Thompson.

(Begin videotape)

Romney: I believe
that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe that
since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain
and support it.

Huckabee: Others have suggested a
surcharge on the income tax. That’s acceptable. I’m fine with that.
Others have suggested, perhaps, a sales tax. That’s fine.

(End videotape)

Cooper: Actually, given the nature of that video, we’re not going to go to break right now.

(Laughter)

I think it’s something we should talk about.

Senator Thompson, what’s up with that?

(Laughter)

Thompson: I just wanted to give my buddies here a little extra airtime.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Listen, I mean, what do you mean what’s up with it? These are their words.

Somewhat poor choice of video on Fred’s part.  He may have chosen that one in response to the constant cries that he doesn’t attack as much as he should.  Not sure.

Here is the ad, it’s actually quite effective but may have not been right for the debate:

Cooper: Senator Thompson, last week you said that you don’t
think Mayor Giuliani’s ever been a supporter of the Second Amendment.
Why did you say that — 30 seconds.

Thompson: Well, the
mayor has supported a wide array of gun control laws. I’m not sure
there’s ever one that didn’t come up for consideration in terms of
legislation that he didn’t support — signing ceremonies with people
from President Clinton’s Cabinet and that sort of thing when they came
up.

The Second Amendment is not a choice thing. I mean, it’s in
the Constitution of the United States — that’s the protection that the
people have against…

(Applause)

The case that the mayor
refers to is the Washington D.C. case, and they were taking the same
position, basically, the mayor took, as far as the city of New York is
concerned.

They said, “You know, it will make a safer city if we
outlaw law- abiding citizens having the right to posses a firearm.” It
didn’t make them a safer city.

The D.C. Court of Appeals held
that it was a violation of their Second Amendment rights and,
hopefully, the Supreme Court will uphold the D.C. court.

As I stated in my post pledging my support to Fred his stance on the Second Amendment is an important one to me.


Eric Bentson: Hi there. I’m Eric Bentson from Phoenix, Arizona. Got a quick question for all you candidates.

Any of you all want to tell us about your gun collection, roughly how
many you own, what your favorite make, model and caliber is, if any of
them require a tax stamp?

Cooper: (Off-mike) if you have a machine gun or a silencer.

Senator Thompson?

Thompson: I own a couple of guns, but I’m not going to tell you what they are or where they are.

Zing!

Journey: Hi. My name is Journey. I’m from Texas. And this question is for all (inaudible) pro-life candidates.

In the event that abortion becomes illegal and a woman obtains an
abortion anyway, what should she be charged with, and what should her
punishment be? What about the doctor who performs the abortion?

Thompson: Yes. The young lady’s question is…

(Applause)

… the young lady’s question is premised on if abortion becomes
illegal. That presumes Roe v. Wade is overturned, which I think should
be our number one focus right now. And that has to do with the kind of
Supreme Court justices we put on the bench.

(Applause)

I’m getting there. I’m getting there.

That would mean that it goes back to the states, and then the states
would have to outlaw it at an earlier stage than they outlaw it now.
Then the question would be, who gets penalized and what should the
penalty be.

I think it should be fashioned along the same lines
it is now. Most states have abortion laws pertain and prohibit abortion
after viability. It goes to the doctor performing the abortion, not the
girl, or the young girl, or her parents, whoever it might be. I think
that same pattern needs to be followed. It could just be moved up
earlier, or much earlier in the process if the state so determined.

Nice!  Great answer and is right along the lines of his federalist ideals.

Buzz Brockway: Hello. My name is Buzz Brockway from
Lawrenceville, Georgia. All the talk about the war in Iraq centers
around how quickly we can get out. I think that’s the wrong question.
We need to make a permanent or long-term military commitment to the
region.

By staying in Iraq, we provide long-term stability to
the region, we provide support for our allies, and we act as a
deterrent to the trouble-makers in the region. Which presidential
candidate will make a permanent of long-term military commitment to the
people of Iraq?

Thank you.

Cooper: Senator Thompson?

Thompson:
We shouldn’t be in there longer than necessary, and we don’t know how
long that will be. But we should be there absolutely as long as it
takes to complete our mission there. It will make for a safer United
States of America.

We’re all focused, understandably, on Iraq
and Afghanistan right now, but it is part of a much bigger picture.
Islamic terrorism has declared war on us and Western civilization. They
would like nothing better than to kill millions of people as they bring
us down. They would like to be able to advertise to young radicals
around the world that, “You, too, could help bring down the United
States of America.”

Iran is waiting there to fill that vacuum. You think $90, $100 a barrel is high for oil now, wait until that happens.

But more importantly, it would make for a less secure United States of
America. We have to do what’s necessary. We have to take the
opportunity that we have now.

John’s absolutely right. What’s going on there is progress; it’s called progress.

Too many people in this country are vested in a scenario of defeat. I’m
vested in a scenario of victory and I see it happening there in Iraq
today.

Absolutely right on with his answer and one I have written about many times on this blog.  We stay until the job is done because this is one battle in the larger war we face.

Here is the question with the cartoon Cheney….what a farce but Fred did make people laugh::

Nick Anderson as Dick Cheney cartoon character: Yes. Will you grant your vice president as much power and influence as I’ve had?

And remember, before you answer, I’m watching you.

(Laughter)

Cooper: Funny video, serious question.

Senator Thompson, would you have a vice president …

Thompson: First of all, I’m greatly relieved. For a second there, I thought that was me.

(LAUGHTER)

Cooper: The power of the vice president.

Thompson:
I think that the vice president, of course, has a dual role. He has a
place in the executive branch of government. He also presides over the
Senate, so he has a place in the legislative branch also.

But a
vice president ought to be chosen, basically, on his ability to serve
as president of the United States, if that situation were called for.

Therefore, he needs to be brought into the administration. I think that
a vice president ought to have substantial authority; I think
especially on national security areas. Expertise in that area is
especially beneficial to a president who is having to deal with all the
issues a president has to deal with, but certainly some expertise
either in the domestic area or the national security area.

Some
legal training also might be helpful. I think one of the most important
things that we’re going to be facing for this next president is the
selection of United States judges to the Supreme Court. So I think that
all those are things that you have to take into consideration in
deciding what kind of authority the vice president should have.

Basically, he should have the authority that the president gives him, and he should adhere to that authority.

Kind of a senseless question in my opinion and doing it with a cartoon?  Only CNN

Adam Florzak: This is Adam Florzak of Illinois. The national
debt is now growing so quickly it will have increased by over half-
million dollars in just the time it takes to ask this question. Over
the years, politicians have borrowed just under $2 trillion from the
Social Security trust fund to cover these massive budget deficits, and
now the retirements of our generation are at risk. What will you do as
president to help repay this money and restore the trust?

Cooper: Senator Thompson, a lot of retirees here in Florida. Ninety seconds.

Thompson: One of the things I would do for his generation is protect him from our generation.

(Applause)

He’s absolutely right, we’re spending his money, we’re spending his
children’s money, and we’re spending the money of kids yet to be born.

In 2017, Social Security will be in the red. Pretty soon it’ll be out
of money, it’ll go bankrupt. In fact, our entitlement programs put
together will take over the entire budget by about 2040.

So
that’s why I get back to the point I made earlier. All these programs
that we talk about in the news every day are a thimbleful in ocean
compared to the entitlement tsunami that’s coming to hit us.

Now, we can do some things now, as I’ve proposed about Social Security,
without having to really hurt anybody, and give people to invest for
their future while they’re still working. Or we can wait and let our
grandkids or children, depending on how old they are, solve this
problem that we have left them. It’s not only a fiscal issue; it’s a
moral issue, as far as I’m concerned.

Got into this one earlier and he had the same good answer.  The entitlement programs need to fixed.

Leroy Brooks: Hello, my name is Leroy Brooks. I am from Houston, Texas and my question is for all the candidates.

Whether this flag right here represents the symbol of racism, a symbol
of political ideology, a symbol of Southern heritage — or, is it
something completely different?

Cooper: Governor Thompson? Excuse me, Senator Thompson? Maybe one day.

Thompson:
I know that everybody who hangs the flag up in their room like that is
not racist. I also know that for a great many Americans it’s a symbol
of racism.

So, therefore, as a public place — he’s free to do
whatever he wants to in his home. As far as a public place is
concerned, I am glad that people have made the decision not to display
it as a prominent flag, symbolic of something, at a state capitol. As a
part of a group of flags or something of that nature, you know,
honoring various servicepeople at different times in different parts of
the country, I think that’s different.

But, as a nation, we
don’t need to go out of our way to be bringing up things that to
certain people in our country that’s bad for them.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing in which they talk
about how Fred doesn’t look engaged, is too old, looks like he wants to
leave, blah blah blah….

My cheers went to a listless Fred Thompson who easily qualified himself to be
president in my book by looking all night like he would cheerfully trade his
left arm for an early exit off the stage to a waiting Scotch and good Cuban
cigar. The media will probably award a win to Mike Huckabee, the easy listening
music candidate at home in any crowd, fluent in simpleton speak and the one man
on the stage tonight who led the audience to roaring cheers by boasting that he
had a special qualification to be president that none of the second-raters on
the stage could match: A degree in Bible Studies from Ouachita Baptist
University of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

MKH thought Huck took the debate and Fred came in second:

Second, I’m gonna say Fred, oddly enough. He didn’t speak often
enough (he’s gotta jump in there more often) but I thought his answers were more
detailed than usual, and he had a laugh line almost every time he spoke. Those
stick with people. His answer on the Confederate flag was a particularly good
one that probably satisfied all constituencies. He’s, of course, practiced in
that kind of thing, but I’m sure the other candidates are glad they didn’t get
the same question. His answer about reforming entitlements was also good. And,
of course, he got a really harsh attack ad in as his 30-second spot, casting
himself as a true conservative against his rivals while taking almost no attacks
on himself.

Matt Lewis thought McCain, Huckabee and Fred took the debate:

… Fred Thompson benefited from low expectations.  Tonight, he
was “on.”  He was humorous, and had some great one-liners.  At a couple points,
he was even, “Reaganesque.”  There were glimmers of the Fred Thompson a lot of
people (not me) thought they were going to get from day one.  His controversial
YouTube attack commercial was tough but very good.  His opponents will say this
is “desperation,” but I say considering the position he’s in right now, and the
amount of time left, it’s smart.

Matt has some good points on the video.  Fred is coming in from behind and has to make the point that the frontrunners just don’t have the conservative bones he has.

Plenty of the pundits thought the YouTube format went just fine, I think it looks foolish but it may just be me.

Fred’s Communication Director:

“While Mitt Romney was running away from his record, and Mike Huckabee was
distorting his liberal tax and spend record, Fred Thompson talked about saving
and protecting Social Security, cutting taxes for all Americans, ending illegal
immigration, staying in Iraq until the job is done and protecting America’s
national security.

“Some of the other candidates may be louder than Fred Thompson, they may be
more slick, they may have more positions on any one issue and they certainly may
be more liberal, but only Fred Thompson showed himself tonight to be the one
conservative who can beat Hillary Clinton.”

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