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Hockey Night In Ames
August 12, 2011 - Mike Frank
I’m back from my summer recess!
So Thursday night was the second Republican presidential debate. Obviously the race is on the back burner for most Americans, especially with Obama and Congress taking turns seeing who can use the word “catastrophe” the most. Saturday is the annual straw poll in Ames, Iowa. All the candidates set up booths, address the crowd, and then everybody votes. It has caused a few candidates to fold their campaigns after poor showings.
My candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was on hand for the debate. Other podiums were occupied by Mitt Romney (former governor of Massachusetts), Tim Pawlenty (former governor of Minnesota), Rep. Michele Bachmann (also Minnesota), Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Newt Gingrich (former House speaker), Herman Cain (businessman) and Jon Huntsman (former governor of Utah/ambassador to China).
The moderators were Brett Baier and Chris Wallace of Fox News, and two reporters from the Washington Examiner. First, I think it’s hilarious that Mike Wallace’s son works for Fox. Second, the Washington what now? Post, sure. Times, OK. The Examiner is a free daily paper. It belongs to the same company as The Weekly Standard (a neoconservative mag). I watched the rebroadcast of the debate, which was two hours long.
A few thoughts and reflections:
Brett Baier introduces the candidates and asks them to avoid “talking points.” (Ever tell a little kid not to do something?) Bachmann (last names only for everybody from here on) promptly shouts out about making Obama a “ONE ... TERM ... PRESIDENT!” Inside voices, please! Romney rattles off seven points, and gets a couple questions since he’s the “frontrunner.” Yeah, and so was Gary Hart. Pushes cut, cap and balance. Asked about the debt ceiling, says he “won’t eat Barack Obama’s dog food.” Look there goes the soundbite, over everybody’s head! Paul, Cain, Huntsman and Gingrich each have a turn.
Pawlenty gets a long question about economic growth. Says Obama doesn’t have plan for Medicare and Social Security and if you find it “I’ll come and cook you dinner — or mow your lawn.” then takes shot at Romney “only one acre” (see, cause he’s RICH). Romney laughs it off. Santorum says U.S. has unbounded potential.
Chris Wallace takes over, asks Pawlenty about Bachmann. DING DING!
Pawlenty: Bachmann’s done wonderful things in life, record in Congress nonexistent
Bachmann: Pawlenty supported cap & trade, required purchase of health care, and said era of small gov is over — “Sounds more like Obama”
T-Paw: Bachman has record of misstatement, “She fought for less government spending, we got a lot more; she led the effort against Obamacare, we got Obamacare; she led the effort against TARP, we got TARP. If that’s your view of effective leadership with results, please stop because you’re killing us.”
Bachmann: I was #1 target of Pelosi.
Apparently, the pair from the land of 1,000 lakes would prefer each other go jump in one of them.
Romney gets a question about being the “jobs president” and says he invested in different companies “and they don’t always go well.” After a break, Wallace asks Gingrich about his campaign being a “mess.” Newt calls it a “gotcha” question (psst, Newt this is Chris, not Mike) and “Mickey Mouse” journalism.
Huntsman asked about his support for cap & trade, civil unions and serving under BO, says he’s proud of service. THUD! Hope you enjoyed your campaign!
Huntsman — secure the border then move on
Romney — welcome to “best and brightest” based on needs of economy (“staple a green card to the diploma”)
Cain — high fences (says “electric fence” was joke) and wide open doors
Gingrich — Obama is a failed leader (Newt’s doing more ducking than Donald)
Paul — bring troops home (?); clean up drug mess on border
Pawlenty says he regrets imposing tax on cigarettes. That leads to Round 2 with Bachmann. TP says “leading and failing is not the objective.” Bachmann “need to stand firm on convictions.” You’re stupid! You’re ugly! He’s on my side! (some of that may have been my imagination)
Santorum finally breaks in, and the moderators manage to shut the “Minnys” up. Regarding the debt committee, Santorum points to his work in Congress. Says got the “core of what we wanted” on welfare reform. Leadership, not showmanship. (Yeah, Santorum’s the voice of reason and moderation. Ain’t it cool?)
Gingrich then blasts the committee as “irrational”, and says everything should be done out in the open. A round on health care goes predictably, with Santorum noting the country is based on moral laws, quotes Lincoln “The states do not have the right to do wrong.”
After a break, Brett Baier asks if candidates are worried about Rick Perry (who’s joining the race this weekend) or Sarah Palin. Consensus: Of course not! (my bet — Palin’s gonna keep popping up but will NOT run.)
Pawlenty and Romney both say need to have drawdown in Afghanistan based on generals’ timetable not Obama’s. Gingrich gets a questions, whines some more.
Huntsman says cyber espionage is the new warfield and need to establish dialogue with China.
Asked about Iran, Paul says they’re surrounded by nukes, we should bring troops home and also talk to Cuba. (Super idea — if this were 1965.) Santorum goes after Ron “Snickers” Paul (full of nuts) and says Iran has killed more Americans than Iraqis or Afghanistanis and is a threat to Israel. Bachmann praises Gitmo for helping get significant info on terrorists. Santorum says Iran is “greatest supporter of terrorism.” Paul rants about the coup (in 1953).
Bachman asked about being “submissive” to her husband. Audience boos and she smartly lets them go for a bit. Says submission equals respect. Paul says fed gov’t shouldn’t be involved in marriage, “why do you need a license?” Santorum handles question on abortion easily, Pawlenty says he’s the “most pro-life.”
Back to the economy and debt ceiling for a while, then closings.
Highlight: Rockfight between T-Paw and Bachmann.
Winners: Romney (no major goofs), Santorum (stayed cool and clear), whichever Minny ninny does better in poll, and Perry (newest flavor).
Soon to be gone: Huntsman (too lib), Gin “grouch”, and Paul (insert Woody Woodpecker laugh here).
Back soon with more politics and football picks! ALOHA!
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