Huckabee GOP Presidential Forum – Candidates Respond to State Attorneys General

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and host of Huckabee on FOX News hosted a forum for six GOP Presidential hopefuls.  The forum gave candidates the opportunity to respond to questions from State Attorneys General Pam Bondi of Florida, Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia, and Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma.  The Attorneys General are challenging the “Individual Mandate” of the Affordable Health Act (Obamacare), which will be heard by the Supreme Court, with a ruling expected by mid 2012.

Each candidate appeared at the forum individually, allowing each to answer questions in detail.  The forum gave candidates equal time to answer questions, which were to the point.  Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney attended.  Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign early on Saturday, declined attendance.

While no one emerged as a clear winner, the questions were to the point and in most cases.  Newt Gingrich was challenged on his immigration policy.  During the CNN GOP Presidential debate he stated that he saw a path to legalization for illegals  with 25 or 30 years in the U.S.   In determining eligibility Gingrich proposed a jury of neighbours and friends to make that determination.  Pam Bondi expressed concerns that that approach would undermine the rule of law.

“That is what we do in a jury trial.  That’s the whole point. That’s why the founding fathers who distrusted judges insisted on juries. Because ultimately, in a free society, the citizens have to bear responsibility for their own culture and their own society. And ultimately, they are — I believe they are — more trustworthy. If you ask me would I trust a jury or a Washington bureaucrat, I would rather have my fate decided by a jury of my peers than have my fate decided by a Washington bureaucrat.”

Gingrich, who is seen by many as a Washington insider, tried to distinguish himself from the other candidates by stating that he knows how Congress works and that he was in the best position to carry on the fight with Congress, by building bipartisan consensus.   a Des Moines Register Poll out Saturday has taken the lead in Iowa at 25 percent support

Mitt Romney, who trails Gingrich in that poll with 16 percent support, tried to distinguish himself by quoting his private sector experience.  Conservatives have  not warmed to Romney.  He was asked to harmonizer his support for “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) and his argument that the federal government should get out of education.  Romney said that he still supports aspects of NLCB.
“President Bush recognized that the only way for us to determine which schools were succeeding and which were failing, which teachers were succeeding and which were failing was to test our kids,” he said. “And the only way that could happen was for the federal government to stand up to the huge federal teachers’ unions that have massive resources, huge number of members. He stood up to them. I look forward to the day when we don’t have to have that federal role because education should be held at the local level. It should be managed and controlled by states, by localities, by parents and families, and not by the federal government.”
Rick Perry was strong on the 10th amendment, however when asked how he would stop Obamacare as President, he initially said that he would do it by Executive Order.  When drilled on the legality and his authority to do it by executive order he walked it back slightly and said:
“I’m saying we can stop parts of it. The other parts of it obviously would have to be done from the rules standpoint, those rules are going to be implemented by the Health and Human Services, etc.”
In a dramatic instance, Rick Perry pulled a copy of the constitution from his pocket,  looked straight into the camera and said read it.
“Read it. Exactly what it says. That’s what we’re talking about. Don’t read anything into it, don’t add to it, don’t use these different clauses to try and change what our founding fathers were telling us.”
Michele Bachmann  stated that  she was “very proud” of the attorneys general for suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She commented on the Affordable Health Act by stating,  “It really is the new social engineering playground of the left, and it has to be stopped.  We have one chance to get rid of this bill and it’s in this election cycle.”

Ron Paul cited the Constitution in advocating his libertarian position that violent acts are not the federal government’s prerogative. Asked whether he considered the September 11th attacks to be terrorism, he said he did, but he argued that “more laws” and “federal policemen” are not the answer to fighting terrorism.

“We should be checking our borders and finding out who’s coming in, but we ought to understand that problem rather than saying what we need are more federal policemen.”

Rick Santorum presented himself as a strong defender of family values.  He said that federal laws had undermined family values.  He stated as a parent of seven children family was very important to him.  He said as president he would start a national dialogue on the divorce rate and out of wedlock birth.

While the forum provided no knock out punch, it was helpful in getting to know the candidates a little better.

About the Author

Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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  1. You may go to Real Clear Politics and find that most polls have a selected group that represents the electorate and most have (n) of under 500 voters.

    The issue really is, a fair poll is one that positively reflects your candidate.

    BTW the “fair poll” you reference is from a Political action committee. Probably wouldn’t PAC all my faith in it.

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