Mike Huckabee, presidential candidate in 2008, held a presidential forum on Saturday, which was attended by five of the GOP presidential candidates. The forum, which had an audience of South Carolina undecided voters, had clear rules of not attacking their opponents. Newt Gingrich chose to break the rule and was reprimanded by host Mike Huckabee. Before Huckabee completed the reprimand the audience booed Newt Gingrich.
“Governor Romney ran saying he created 100,000 jobs in the private sector. … I believe it’s fair to ask that records be clear.”
The forum’s format was simple,
commencing with an opening statement by each candidate. Then the candidates to the stage individually, answering question posed by the audience. Final statements ended the forum.
The candidates, in every case, were forthright and the audience indicated by applause that the forum had aided in reaching a final decision on chosing a candidate.
While Newt Gingrich appears to be continuing his attacks on Mitt Romney, Rick Perry had his best performance yet. He was cheerful, funny and never stumbled. All of the candidates were well prepared to answer the question of the audience.
The other candidates did not mention their GOP rivals, but had to answer some difficult questions. Romney, not surprisingly, had to answer questions about his perceived “flip flopping”.
“I think you’ll find that I’ve served as a conservative governor,” Romney insisted. “I love this country, and I’m convinced that the principles of conservatism are what will keep America the shining city on a hill.”
Rick Santorum, who has given some controversial answers on his social conservative views, was asked how he could convince liberal and independent voters that he should win the nomination.
“Just go back and look at my record,” Santorum said. “I’ve run five races, four of them I was victorious, all in heavily Democratic areas. I was able to go out and attract folks who didn’t necessarily agree with me on issues and frankly some other issues as well.”
Rick Perry scored laughter when he answered the question of what kind of vice president he would chose, by turning to Mike Huckabee and asking “Mike, what you got going on next year?”
Polls released yesterday indicated that Mitt Romney had opened up a big lead in South Carolina. The constant attacks by Newt Gingrich seem to have hurt the Speaker’s campaign. He is currently running fourth in the polls.
The Gingrich campaign announced this morning that Newt would release his tax returns this coming Thursday and has challenged Mitt Romney to do the same. This seems to be a fool hearted move by the Speaker. Releasing tax returns never ends well and only provides fodder for the main stream media, which like to tear them apart.
FOX News and the Wall Street Journal will host a debate on Monday evening hosted by Bret Baier and Gerald Seib. The debate will be broadcast on FNC at 9 pm EST. Will it be a game changer?