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Huckabee Candidates Forum

Huckabee Candidates Forum

End Game Assessment:  Something different.  Not sure we learned much.  Not having everyone or at least multiple candidates together allowed for stock answers.  This was not a format in which one candidate clearly could be a winner or loser.

Clearly went after Newt with the most vigor, seemed loaded for bear from start to finish of his segment — but questions were appropriate.  Romney has a stock Romneycare answer, Newt and other have to be prepared to test him on it at debates.  Perry probably gained the most because he continues to improve, but wonder if it’s too late.  Santorum, Bachmann got softball questions.

Mitt Romney:

Assessment at the break:  Did fine, gave the usual Romneycare response which doesn’t really address the issue of a state mandate and what actually took place in Mass.

Re energy, he would put stop to EPA overseeing hydro-fracking.

Re Obama claim that Obamacare based on Romneycare.  Repeats line about “why didn’t you give me a call.”  What would do differently — some portions he vetoed but overridden.  He’s proud of the bill.

Didn’t what you did affect entire industry in Mass?  In a way, but for 92% nothing changed, still had private insurance.  (Isn’t that what Obama says?)

Campaigned in favor of No Child Left Behind, stands behind aspects of it, federal gov’t has role to stand up to federal teachers unions.  (huh?)

As to labor law, revampt NLRB, open question as to whether need federal labor law.

Ron Paul:

Assessment at the break – articulated his views well, as always does.  The problem is his view of terrorism as essentially a criminal law issue.

Patriot Act – lack of laws not our problem, don’t need comprehensive law at federal level to prevent terrorism, rely on state laws to punish violence.  Have laws to punish crimes.

What were attacks on Twin Towers — acts of violence, terrorism and have responsibility to check borders and find out who coming in, rather than just more federal policemen.  Have to understand motivation and why people want to come here to kill us.  Foolish to think that people come here to kill us because they hate our freedom.

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security unconstitutional, but hard to get rid of, can’t do overnight.  Cut $1 trillion now from other areas.

Any amendments to Constitution that were mistakes? Prohibition, repealed.  None other.

Michele Bachmann:

Assessment at the break – did fine.  Again questioners didn’t go after her.  Problem with federalism, keeps saying states rights but keeps insisting on federal solution.

As to Obamacare, this is last chance to stop it.

As to deporting all 11 million illegal aliens, how to pay and execute plan.  Says costs $113 billion per year (fact check, please) now.  Enforcement by ICE agents, do away with sanctuary cities.  Must be paid for by feds.

Supports federal tort reform for medical malpractice.  (How is this consistent with federalism?)

As to eliminating EPA, how to deal with national pollution issues? She says negotiate wtih states, Cuccinelli asks how that would work, and she completely talks around it.

Other than Roe v. Wade, what is worst in last 50 years, Kelo decision (ability of gov’t to take private property).  What do from federal gov’t to protect private property?  Legislation, and also follow constitution.

Why federal human life amendment not to states?  God given inalienable rights.

Rick Perry:

Assessment at the break – Perry did well, but wasn’t grilled like Newt.  No attempt to go over his policies, such as Gardasil.

Re executive order stopping Obamacare — what is your authority to block legislation.  Answer – has power to stop regulations.  What is your authority for blocking legislation?  Never really answered the question.  Cuccinelli says “we’re getting a little bit away from the question.”

Bunch of Q&A re border enforcement.  Same old same old.

Would block grant a lot of things to states.  Wants to do away with life term for judges via Constitutional Amendment.

Wants both to return abortion laws to the states pending constitutional amendment.

Leave labor law to the states.

Favorite founding father was Madison, Federalist Papers.


Assessment at the break — pretty boring, softball questions.  Non-event.  Would have liked to see a question about how he’s going to win the nation when he got clobbered in last Pennsylvania Senate race.

As to Patriot Act, doesn’t run over any of our civil rights.

Is it proper function of federal gov’t to strengthen the family? Yes.

Says supports constitutional amendment banning abortion, providing single definition of marriage.

Pretty boring questioning, mostly softballs.  Didn’t even try to go over his record.  Get the feeling the questioners don’t really care what he thinks because he’s not a contender.

Newt up first:

Assessment at the break — very tough questioning, but appropriate.  He handled his weak points well.

1st question is about local boards in immigration.  Says not contrary to the rule of law, similar to selective service boards and jury trials.  Says only applies to people who are here for a long time.

Health care mandate — developed initially as method to block Hillarycare, but came to conclusion that not the right path.  Testified against cap and trade, and history of conservative accomplishments.

Education largely returned to states, and Medicaid block granted.  Replace EPA with agency which collaborates with states.  Re abolishing federal courts, would have to have consent of House and Senate, a president can’t do it.

Re Race to the Top and charter schools, President can urge states to adopt program and to lead, that’s different than having fed government dictate.

As to Pelosi couch interview, dumb because sitting with her overwhelmed his conservative message.  Favorite founding father was George Washington.

Before the start:

It’s not a debate.  It’s a forum.   Mike Huckabee will interview each candidate separately, using questions from three Republican attorneys general, and they’ll have a chance to respond.

I’ve suggested that the time is now for Mitt Romney to start going after Newt in person or Mitt risks becoming Tim Pawlenty.

Tonight is not the perfect opportunity because they will not be on stage together, but they will be at the same forum and have a chance to reply to each other.  So this is Mitt’s first opportunity to prove that he is the not-Pawlenty.  (UPDATE — Just heard Huckabee say candidates are asked not to mention or attack other candidates, so not a chance for Mitt to go on offense).

I will not be “live blogging” but will provide commentary at the breaks.


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I don’t have anything against the three GOP attorneys general (or Huckabee) but there is a flaw in having people who are, in effect, rising Republican politicians question the candidates.

Why would they want to risk offending someone who might be their party’s President? Or ticking off this or that candidate’s supporters back in the questioners’ states where they vote.

There is a reason why at debates or a forum like this you want to have people who are independent enough to press hard. Journalists may be showboats but they generally ask tough questions.

@JEBurke ‘journalists’ tend to ask Leftist questions that are irrelevant to the voters in a Republican primary. They’re also far more interested in ‘gotcha’ questions that they think might destroy a candidate – they’d never dream of asking this type question at a Democratic debate.

    JEBurke in reply to Aarradin. | December 4, 2011 at 12:22 am

    That’s just a silly robotic response. There are conservative journalists, a category that includes dozens of well known columnists and writers. The forum was on Fox so Huckabee could easily have asked a few of his colleagues to do the show. What’s more, while there are plenty of liberal journalists eager to play gotcha with GOP candidates, there are those who would play it straight (they don’t get invited to do the CNN or NBC debates but Huckabee could ask whomever he wanted).

    Anyway, the three AGs did not ask any questions that have not been asked in debates or various interviews by all those dreaded journalists. It was all pretty pro forma — frankly boring.

    I stand by my point. Why would mid-level GOP pols who are looking to rise in the party want to tick off anyone? I think that showed clearly in such ways as the failure to press followups to weak answers.

Didn’t what you did affect entire industry in Mass? In a way, but for 92% nothing changed, still had private insurance.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG:

Do not let Romney get away with that claim.

I like that they all got a chance to explain why they believe what they believe. I like that they all got a chance to speak in complete sentences and thought, very democratic. I really liked this format. Kudos to Huckabee for this.

Ron Paul in all honesty came off as the best person, I’ll be checking out that book he recommended. However, I don’t think he can win, so I’m pretty sure I won’t vote for him.

As for who I’ll be voting for in the republican primaries, I’m still up in the air, who can kick out Barry next year is my #1. Any of them are better than the fool in chief currently occupying the WH.

    scottinwisconsin in reply to alex. | December 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Ron Paul IS the best person running. Vote for him. America is a speeding train heading for a brick wall. All the other nitwits want to slow the train down, slightly. Ron Paul wants to stop it, and back it up. Don’t waste you vote trying to delay our destruction. Actually vote for avoiding it.

federal gov’t has role to stand up to federal teachers unions. (huh?)



workingclass artist | December 3, 2011 at 11:44 pm

The forum format was a nice change of pace. Maybe Huck should get state comptrollers to grill them on budgets & program reforms.

Newt A
Perry A
Romney B
Bachmann B-
Santorum C-
Ron Paul (facepalm)

Thanks for liveblogging it Professor

    scottinwisconsin in reply to workingclass artist. | December 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Hey smartypants, did it ever occur to you that Jefferson and Madison would be voting for Ron Paul? And would take Newt out and hang him, for the big government fascist police state thug he is? Wake up.


Assessment at the break — pretty boring, softball questions. Non-event. Would have liked to see a question about how he’s going to win the nation when he got clobbered in last Pennsylvania Senate race.”

In all fairness to Santorum, he lost his senate seat because a man named Casey ran against him. Evidently, Casey is the magic name in Pennsylvania. This guy’s father was a big time politician and as usual name recognition was all and still is. Also, this Casey said he was pro life and probably lied.

OTOH, I have never understood why Santorum is running. Then again, I did not know why Newt was running since he had such low numbers until recently. The electorate is extremely fickle. It is chilling to read comments that bolster the lies the media puts out and to see republicans doing the left’s work for them. All they have to do is make a derogatory comment about one of our candidates and then sit back and watch us destroy our own. This is why all our candidates have 15 minutes on top and are ground in the mud he rest of the time.

    spartan in reply to BarbaraS. | December 4, 2011 at 8:08 am

    “In all fairness to Santorum, he lost his senate seat because a man named Casey ran against him. Evidently, Casey is the magic name in Pennsylvania. This guy’s father was a big time politician and as usual name recognition was all and still is. Also, this Casey said he was pro life and probably lied.”

    That did not help but PA Conservatives really cooled on Santorum after he endorsed Arlen Spector over Pat Toomey in the 2004 primary. I have heard that Rove threatened him with withholding reelection campaign money if he did not endorse Spector. Either way, Santorum has never done a public ‘mea culpa’ over the endorsement and I doubt one will be made. This is why he got clobbered in 2006.

I thought Bachmann was almost incoherent. Her response on immigration was absurd. She seems to think that we can just round up all 11 million of them and send them packing. If you really want to get rid of them, just enforce the employment laws really well, including e-verify or a better version of it. They’ll leave on their own; no need to round them up. I think Newt’s proposal is better and easier to defend in a general election.

Newt is best by far at explaining his policies. Paul is also very good, but his policies make less sense, especially foreign policy. Romney is OK, but the rest are terrible.

I’m for a Newt/Romney ticket, subject to change, of course.

Are you kidding JayDick? With Newts immigration boards there is the possibility that all of the 11 million can stay! If you support amnesty and Newt that’s your prerogative, but don’t pretend that Newts amnesty is anything but that. Enforcing the laws on the books will definitely help, but with Newts red cards those illegals can stay and work, so they would never go home. Newt “modifies” his answer depending on the response from the public, for example “it’s not amnesty, it’s a path to legality”. Yeah, sure, and I have some beachfront property in Arizona I’d like to sell ya!

    William A. Jacobson in reply to damocles. | December 4, 2011 at 10:42 am

    No, there is no possibility that 11 million could stay, because there would be standards and parameters, much like there was for the draft. I don’t like the idea of community boards, but don’t misstate what they would be.

    workingclass artist in reply to damocles. | December 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Newt’s immigration boards would cause chaos county to county. Totally impractical and BS professorial type gimmick.

Was really surprised by Perry’s performance.

Televised ‘Debates’ is just theater.

This is how a selection process should be structured. Just like a job interview by a board of inquiry.

    workingclass artist in reply to Aucturian. | December 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Texans are conversational…we also speak more slowly.

    Apparently this tends to annoy the hell out of east coasters. Jefferson was mortified speaking in the public arena and preferred private conversational debate.

workingclass artist | December 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Interesting review of last nights forum…

” The only two who seem to have given serious thought to the division of authority between the states and the federal government are Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Gov. Rick Perry, also of Texas. As for the rest, some show interest in federalism as a slogan, and a surprising number show no interest in it at all…”