The Iowa Fox News GOP Presidential debate was touted as the final debate prior to the Iowa Caucuses on January 3rd. Much of the debate centered around who was the most conservative candidate and placed Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney on the defensive, while Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry had strong performances. Ron Paul, who now has front runner status in Iowa, differed the most from the remainder of the field with his Iran policy. While most of the other candidates said that everything would be on the table regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Ron Paul said that no one should be surprised that Iran desires nuclear weapons to defend its interests in the region.
Candidates were united in their conviction that Barrack Obama must be replaced in the Oval Office, the approval of the XL Keystone Pipeline and the defense of Israel. They chastised the reckless spending of the Obama Administration and the over regulation of the U.S. economy. Ron Paul set him self apart from the field on foreign policy, stating that the U.S. must stop all these wreckless wars.
“I think it’s fair to say that my commitment to disciplined, systematic work is fairly obvious,” Gingrich said. “You know, people just have to decide. I strive for very large changes, and I’m prepared to really try to lead the American people to get this country back on the right track.”
Mitt Romney is dealing with issues that haunt him from his time as MA Governor. The issues range from Romney Care to his stance on gays and abortion. Romney defended his record by pointing to the fact that he had to deal with a Democratic legislature, which at times required compromise. He made it clear that he was pro life and pro marriage. He acknowledged changing positions but said that he had remained consistent in supporting tolerance on gays while opposing same sex marriage.
“I’ve learned over time, like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and others, my experience in life over 17, 18, 19 years has told me that sometimes I was wrong, Romney sad. “Where I was wrong, I tried to correct myself.”
Michele Bachmann tackled Gingrich on the $1.6 Million he had received while consulting for Freddie Max and his support of candidates who favored late term abortions. Gingrich said that the Minnesota Congresswoman sometimes didn’t get her facts straight. Bachmann did not take it too kindly that Gingrich accused her and answered, “I think it’s outrageous to continue to say over and over through the debates that I don’t have my facts right when, as a matter of fact, I do. I am a serious candidate for president of the United States and my facts are accurate.”
Rick Perry had one of his best debates yet and drew laughter from the audience. He left no doubt where he stood on Iran and deficit reduction. He referred to his record as governor for job creation and said that an energy policy was vital in restoring the U.S. economy. He talked about tax breaks to the energy sector, which was not only directed to the gas and oil industry. He highlighted that the same tax breaks were provided to alternate energy providers, who rushed to Texas in droves. He noted that this is why Texas is the leader in wind energy in the nation.
Generally no one made any noticeable mistakes during the debate. Both Romney and Gingrich defended their positions well. Bachmann and Perry may get a boost from the debate. Ron Paul will be supported by his base, while Huntsman and Santorum will remain in their present positions.
While it was a good debate, the lesser candidates, especially Rick Santorum, were a little short changed, with the majority of questions being addressed to Romeny and Gingrich. More time could have been spend on Iran, Israel and Syria. Justice Anthony Kennedy is probably upset at not being mentioned among the Supreme Court trusted justices.
Hold on to your horses, there are bound to be some surprises when the voting finally gets under way.