Archive for November, 2011
Source: CNN The Situation Room
BLITZER: The Republican race for the White House may be on the verge of a major shake-up, with Herman Cain now reassessing his campaign in the wake of serious allegations of an extra-marital affair.
Joining us now to talk more about that, one of Herman Cain’s major Republican rivals, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Congresswoman, thanks very much for coming in.
MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wolf, always a pleasure to be with you.
BLITZER: Thank you very much.
Herman Cain flatly denied, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM yesterday, the allegations that he did have this 13 year affair with this woman in Atlanta.
Do you believe him?
BACHMANN: Well, that’s not for me to say. That’s — that’s for the voters to determine and he’ll have to make the determination about where he goes from here on his campaign.
BLITZER: Well, what do you think about all of these allegations?
Four other women accusing him of sexual harassment, now a fifth woman accusing him of having an extra-marital affair?
What — what does that say about his campaign?
Put on your political pundit hat for a second.
BACHMANN: Well, I’m not a political pundit. I’m running as a candidate for the presidency of the United States. And, clearly, it’s not helpful for his campaign. But he’ll make that determination going forward, about whether or not he sees himself as a viable candidate.
More importantly, it’s the voters that will make that decision.
BLITZER: Do you think he should drop out?
BACHMANN: That’s not for me to say. He’ll make that determination. I imagine it will be made fairly soon.
BLITZER: He suggested to me that maybe there’s some sort of conspiracy out there, elements working to derail what he called the Cain train.
Do you believe there’s some conspiracy out there to hurt him?
BACHMANN: You know, I — I don’t see a conspiracy on the horizon. But again, that will be for the voters to decide. And his campaign as he — as you said, is reassessing where he’s at. And I’m sure that they’ll make a decision before too long.
BLITZER: If, in fact, he does decide to drop — drop out — and he says now he’s reassessing his campaign. He told his supporters that, his staff that, earlier today, what would you say to those supporters of Herman Cain to — to — to leave Herman Cain, if he drops out, and come to Michele Bachmann?
BACHMANN: Well, I would tell them that I’ve been a consistent conservative from the beginning of this race. There’s been no surprises with me. We actually launched a Web site called NoSurprises2012.com. You can look at a lot of the other candidates. You see a lot of inconsistencies, a lot of flipping back and forth.
You don’t see that with me. I have a new book out. It’s called “Core of Conviction.” We just launched it this week. And what it tells people is that over the 55 years of my life, I’ve lived a consistent life with core principles. And I talk about who I am in an unfiltered way so that people can get a look at me in a 3D picture. It’s “Core of Conviction” and I’m going across the country now to let people know, without having to go through the barrier of the media, who I am, what I stand for and what my core convictions are.
BLITZER: You’re suggesting that other candidates may be flip-flopping, if you will. I think I know who you’re referring to.
But let me talk about Newt Gingrich for a minute. He denies he ever supported what’s called amnesty for illegal immigrants in the United States.
Let me play this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is an absolute falsehood to suggest that I favor amnesty for 11 million people period period. And anybody who says it from this point on has been served notice that they are something — saying something which is not true, which in itself should disqualify them as a candidate the be president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You put out a press release saying he does support — or at least he once supported amnesty.
BACHMANN: Well, his position would be inconsistent because he signed a letter that was published in “The Wall Street Journal” in 2004 saying that, in fact, he did support President Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform, which was commonly known as amnesty, because what it would do is make legal 11 million illegal workers in the United States.
And he was also in support of the federal DREAM Act, which would provide taxpayer subsidies for college tuition for the children of illegal aliens.
That’s just a fact. It’s just on record. He may have a different position today, but even as recently as the last debate, he said that he, in fact, favored making legal illegal workers. That’s — those are two different positions and he’ll have to reconcile those.
But again, those aren’t the only times where he’s had inconsistent positions. He came out in favor of entering into Libya in the no fly zone and he also came out later saying he was not in favor of Libya. He said he was not in favor of TARP and then he was in favor of TARP.
He was sitting on the couch with Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that we needed to do something about global warming. Now, he’s not so sure.
So he was also the father of the individual health care mandate and admitted as much on stage when he was questioned by Newt Gingrich. And it’s highly doubtful to think that our Republican nominee could — could have championed the individual health care mandate, have taken millions of dollars to advance that mandate and then think that they are going to actively work to repeal ObamaCare.
And he also took $1.8 million to offer influence in Washington, DC on behalf of Freddie Mac, all while I was fighting Freddie Mac and trying to put them into receivership, which is bankruptcy.
So there’s been a lot of inconsistencies and that’s, again, going back to my book, “Core of Conviction.” I’ve been — I’ve had, on the basis of my core of conviction, a very consistent walk and talk in Washington, DC standing up for conservative principles.
BLITZER: So who is a bigger, as they say, flip-flopper?
Would it be Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich?
BACHMANN: Well, I think both of them have a lot to talk — to answer for to the voter on being on both sides of the issues. Governor Romney has also advocated for mandating that every citizen in the state of Massachusetts also purchase health insurance, which is exactly the same as ObamaCare and was a pattern for ObamaCare.
He’s been on both sides of the abortion issue. He is — he was for abortion. He was against abortion. He we are for same-sex marriage and, in fact, I believe had signed 189 marriage licenses for same sex couples and then came out against it.
And so on issue after issue after issue, Governor Romney has been on both sides and Speaker Gingrich has to answer for that, as well. BLITZER: Let me ask you about an upcoming vote you probably are going to have to take in the House of Representatives that would effectively raise taxes on the middle class. If you don’t vote to extend the payroll — the payroll tax cut, the $1,000 for each family that would end at the end of the year unless you vote to continue it.
Where will you vote on this issue?
BACHMANN: Well, I won’t be voting to continue the — the current payroll tax rate at where it’s at right now. And I’ll tell you why. I was against this. The bill first came up last December. And I was against it because it blew a hole in the Social Security Trust Fund of $111 billion this year. That’s a massive hole at the worst possible time.
We have to continue to keep our promise with senior citizens. We have to continue to set out — send out the checks that they have been promised.
When we blow a hole in that account of $111 billion, we don’t have the money in the general revenue to make that up…
BLITZER: But let me interrupt for a second, Congresswoman…
BACHMANN: We also…
BLITZER: — you — you…
BACHMANN: — let me…
BLITZER: — you’ve pledged…
BACHMANN: Let me just mention one more…
BLITZER: Well, you — you mentioned this…
BACHMANN: Let me just mention one…
BLITZER: — let me just…
BACHMANN: — let me mention one…
BLITZER: — let me just — go ahead.
BACHMANN: — more thing about that, Wolf.
BACHMANN: I just want to mention one more thing. President Obama’s own economic adviser has said that not one job has been creating because of lowering that payroll tax deduction. That’s — that’s why President Obama — or the payroll rate.
That’s why President Obama wanted to put it in in the first place. That was his reasoning. He said it would create millions of jobs. Even his own adviser has said it hasn’t created jobs. Therefore, there is no basis to continue it at that rate.
BLITZER: All right. But doesn’t it help middle class families?
A thousand dollars a year?
That’s a lot of money for a lot of families. And — and wouldn’t this violate your pledge never to increase taxes because, in effect, what you would be doing by voting against a continuation of this, you would be increasing taxes on almost every family in America.
BACHMANN: Well, again, I didn’t vote for this measure in the first place. So I wouldn’t be inconsistent at all, because I was the one sounding the warning bell with my own Republican colleagues, saying, look, if you go along with this — and I urged them not to — I said if you go along with this, you will blow a hole in the Trust Fund of $111 billion. And I told them, you will also be accused of raising taxes on the middle class, which I don’t think any of you want to be in that position for doing. so I was the one sounding the trumpet about a year ago on this issue, saying don’t fall for what President Obama is putting forward, it’s not going to help the economy. It didn’t. And it’s also going to hurt senior citizens.
So I’m — I — I was right on this issue before. And as president of the United States, what I will do is abolish the tax code and lower people’s tax rates so that people are paying something much more fairer than what they’re paying now…
BLITZER: All right.
BACHMANN: — the tax code isn’t fair. It’s not flat. And I want to — I want to completely change the tax code. I’m a tax lawyer and that’s my area of expertise.
BLITZER: All right, we’re going to take a quick break and continue this conversation, Congresswoman.
I’ve got a lot more questions to ask.
Standing by for a moment.
BACHMANN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Much more with Michele Bachmann when we come back.
BLITZER: We’re continuing our conversation with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a Republican presidential candidate.
If you were president, Congresswoman, right now, given the state of U.S.-Pakistani relations in the aftermath of the killing of some 24 Pakistani soldiers over the weekend by NATO troops, what would you do to try to create a better climate between these two countries? BACHMANN: Well, it’s a very difficult relationship, at best, that we’ve had with Pakistan. It’s not a perfect actor nor a perfect partnership.
This — what we’re engaged in right now is the concern of Pakistan obtaining and having nuclear weapons, well over 100 of them. And we’re worried about those weapons either, A, being interdicted or obtained by radical jihadists. We know that al Qaeda is present in Pakistan. Other terrorist militia groups are, as well.
But we’re also concerned, Wolf, about nuclear weapons leaving Pakistan and coming into the United States as well as fissile material. That can never happen.
And so we have to work with the Pakistanis, as imperfect as they are, to make sure that we don’t have jihadists that can be successful in reaching their goal.
There are at least 15 different sites that have been identified — this is open source documents. You can find it in “The Atlantic” magazine, in the December issue. At least 15 different sites that are potentially penetrable by Islamic jihadists. And six attempts have already been made. This is not an existential threat. This is a real threat. And this is something that we have to continue to pay attention to, because as the article says, Pakistan is too nuclear to fail. We cannot allow nuclear weapons to travel into the hands of Islamic terrorists.
BLITZER: And when you say six attempts, who — who were behind those six attempts to penetrate those Pakistani nuclear arsenals?
BACHMANN: Well, according to the — to the article, it is elements of militia, jihadist groups and terrorist organizations.
BLITZER: Al Qaeda, Taliban, the Haqqani network?
Do you have — I mean I know you’re a member of the Intelligence Committee and you’re restricted in what you can say based on classified information.
But based on what you can tell us, can you give us some more information on that, because it really jumped out at me at the debate the other night?
BACHMANN: Oh, I think, again, I’d refer people to go to the article with — a very well written, very well researched article that is in this December’s issue of “The Atlantic.” And I think that it lays out the clear threats that we face. And it’s a challenge. It’s not an easy puzzle to solve.
We have to do a better job of holding the Pakistanis accountable. And we can do that, also, with the form of aid. And it’s really security assistance that we’re providing to Pakistan. We’re working on counter- terrorism tactics and we’re also dealing with intelligence gathering. And that’s something that we need to continue to do.
This benefits Pakistan as well as the United States. And it’s — it’s for their benefit, as well…
BLITZER: All right…
BACHMANN: — to be cooperative, to try to oppose al Qaeda in their midst.
BLITZER: One quick final question.
You — it’s caused a big uproar out there. When you were on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show the other night, you were introduced — I’ll play the clip — and a song with an awful name was played. I don’t even know if you knew what that song was when you walked out.
But let me just remind the viewers of the scene.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM “LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON,” COURTESY NBC)
JIMMY FALLON, HOST: Please welcome to the show, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Did you know what that song was?
BACHMANN: I had absolutely no idea. In fact, I didn’t even know until later in the day, just before I had come on CNN for the debate with you, Wolf, it was shortly before that that I even heard about what had happened and I was appalled that a group would do that to a serious Republican presidential candidate.
And what struck me is has it — had it been Michelle Obama that had walked out on the stage rather than Michele Bachmann, I think that there would have been a very different reaction from NBC. I think the president of NBC would have gone crawling and begged for forgiveness and they probably would have fired the band.
And the job situation is so bad, I’m not calling on anyone to be fired, but I think it would have been appropriate for the president of NBC to issue an apology.
It wasn’t Jimmy Fallon’s fault. He had called immediately and said that he was horrified when he heard about it and that he had no prior knowledge. And I believe him. He asked me to come back on a show. And, of course, I’d be delighted to. He’s a great late night host.
This is an error in judgment on — on the part of the band. And I think that, really, it’s NBC’s responsibility.
BLITZER: Michele Bachmann, as usual, thanks very much for coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.
BACHMANN: Thank you, Wolf.
Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is reportedly exploring a third-party bid for president. Asked if there is any situation in which he would run for president as an independent, Mr. Huntsman replied, “I’m a lifelong Republican. I’m running as a Republican, and I fully anticipate that that’s where we’re going to be.” the former Utah Republican Governor said.
The comment comes as Mr. Huntsman continues to face trouble in the polls. The latest polls show Mr. Huntsman trailing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — both of whom are widely viewed as Republican front-runners.
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman continues to focus his campaign efforts on courting New Hampshire voters this week, brushing aside the Herman Cain sex scandal as “the latest bimbo eruption.” Huntsman implied that the Georgia Republican’s checkered past is becoming a distraction to the Republican presidential field.
“We’ve got real issues to talk about not the latest bimbo eruption,” Huntsman said.
Regardless, Huntsman believes the constant media attention to Cain’s accusers is taking away from the candidates abilities to focus on the “real issues.”
“What about a (financial) downgrade that is being anticipated? What about Europe? What about so many other issues out there that we ought to be talking about and that people ought to understand where candidates come down on those issues?.”
“Given the bandwidth that has been taken out of the discussion of any other issues pertinent to this campaign, a reconsideration might be in order,” Huntsman added.
The former U.S. Ambassador to China has risen slightly in the latest polls of New Hampshire voters, as Cain continues to slide among Republican voters after trailing front runner Mitt Romney through October and early November.
“Every time another accusation comes up, it diminishes our ability to stay focused on the issues that really do matter for the American people. And I think that’s a disservice to the voters,” Huntsman said.
Cain has not publicly commented on Huntsman’s suggestion that he drop out the race, but his staff posted a statement to the Georgia businessman’s campaign website Monday regarding White’s alleged 13 year affair.
The news comes this evening that The Herman Cain campaign is “reassessing” its strategy following the allegation by Ginger White that she and Mr. Cain had been involved in a consensual relationship over a 13-year period.
Cain initially made the allegation public to Wolf Blitzer in an interview on CNN’s – The Situation Room. Shortly after the announcement, a statement from Cain’s lawyer said, “White’s claims of a consensual affair between two adults is not a legitimate news story.”
It should come as no surprise that Cain is reassessing his campaign as although the allegation does not involve sexual harassment like the previous claims, in many ways Cain’s lawyer’s statement is far from a complete denial or strong rebuttal.
Cain’s campaign team as I expressed in previous articles, totally mismanaged the original allegations from the three previous accusers. I do not believe it was the nature of the allegations that harmed Cain, but the fact, that his team got it so badly wrong in their crisis management of the affair which caused him damage.
Cain had just seemed to put his campaign back on a solid footing when he undertook a disastrous foreign policy question and answer session, which showed him all at sea when trying to answer a question on one of the year’s major foreign policy issues. This clip of his failed interview dominated an entire news cycle and only was also reinforced by his standard and sometimes weak replies during last week’s national security CNN debate.
I believe Cain has brought a considerable amount to this campaign. He has shown America that a black conservative politician can challenge for the GOP’s nomination. He has delivered the catch-phrase and intelligent 9-9-9 plan which had everyone talking on both sides of the political divide and his charisma, humour and common sense has made him a national figure. I believe that the opposition were gravely concerned about a Cain nomination and run off against President Obama, as it would have impacted a lot of their strategy for the 2012 campaign.
Cain would have been able to counter many of the messages which commentators expect the Obama machine to come forward with in the run up to next November’s election. Cain is very much the symbol of the American Dream experiencing southern state segregation, coming from a poor family and rising through hard work and studies to run some of America’s largest and most successful organisations.
Cain’s appeal was largely due to his business expertise and understanding of the economic challenges facing America. Next years election will see the eventual GOP nominee trying to make the election about the economy whereas, Team Obama will try and make it an election based on social and class warfare, as he can’t run on his domestic and economic record.
The revelation surrounding this alleged extramarital affair is sadly, I believe, one straw too many for the Herminator. It is hard to see many social conservatives being able to overlook the cloud hanging over Cain’s personal life and support him in time for Iowa and New Hampshire.
There is also the impact all these personal attacks and allegations are having on Cain’s own family, nobody deserves to be treated in such a fashion and again ability seems destined to be ignored in favour of rumour and innuendo. I feel for the whole Cain family, I really do.
Cain is due to spend tomorrow in Ohio before appearing on Fox News’s Neil Cavuto show for a one to one interview. It is believed a final decision will be made by Cain within a couple days about whether to go on.
A big factor in Cain’s decision will be money. Cain feels an obligation to those who have supported his campaign financially and it is believed he currently holds $9 million in his campaign war chest.
Personally, I would advise Cain to consider his family at this time. I don’t believe the allegations however; other supporters or admirers will prove much harder job to convince then I. Cain has had an excellent run and exceeded many people’s early expectations. Cain has seen what is involved being in the media spotlight of a national campaign. He should thank his supporter’s for all their support and bow out to focus on his family and proving all these allegations as being false. There is a remote chance should he prove the current allegations false, that he may be approached for a Vice President slot, if time and opportunity coincide.
I would like to see Cain respectfully drop out now and throw his support firmly behind one of the other candidates. I am sure Mr. Cain and his team know that after such a dreadful six weeks, winning the party nomination on this occasion is now firmly beyond him. He has raised his profile considerably and even if a V.P. role doesn’t come his way, he can spend the next four years becoming more involved in politics at a national level and prepare the way, all going well, for a stronger and less controversial run in 2016.
Manchester, NH – Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer today announced that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman would be his first choice for a Vice Presidential running mate. Governor Roemer issued the following statement:
“Senator Joe Lieberman’s reputation as a reformer and a man of integrity is unrivaled in American politics. He is unequivocally my first choice for a Vice Presidential running mate.”
“Ours are similar stories. We are both public servants who switched political parties. We both understand that we have to change the very nature of our political system, that campaign finance reform is sorely needed, and that corruption is a real problem in Washington, D.C. Joe and I both served our states in addition to being elected to federal office; he was a State Senator and an Attorney General; I was a Governor as well as a Congressman.”
“We both campaigned for John McCain throughout the country four years ago and witnessed first-hand the struggles of everyday Americans. But here is the most important point. Joe and I both have the capacity to transcend partisanship, to put America first, and to solve America’s problems. I am asking independent-minded voters to imagine what we could accomplish with this ticket. Americans are justifiably frustrated with their politicians and parties. Joe and I could change that. To me, it’s a dream team.”
Governor Roemer’s Campaign Manager, Carlos Sierra, clarified that Roemer’s statement is not meant to imply any decision on Senator Lieberman’s part as to whether he would run for Vice President, only that Governor Roemer thinks highly of the Senator and believes he would be the best person for the job. Sierra said that “the list of people who command the same type of universal respect in American politics as Senator Lieberman is quite short. Our purpose is to get people thinking about a different approach to politics, one based on unity, integrity and civility, not necessarily on party affiliation.”
Jon Huntsman said he is confident that he will be endorsed by other New Hampshire papers.
“It is a respected newspaper, but there are a whole lot of newspapers in this state, and we’re working every one of them. Huntsman added that he is “getting whiplash” from watching the changes in the race so far. Huntsman said he is meeting with editorial boards of all the state’s newspapers and “I suspect in time we’ll get a whole lot of endorsements as well.”
Huntsman has staked his campaign on doing well in New Hampshire. He is currently on a six-day swing through the state, where he is doing at least seven town hall meetings and additional public events.
The Union Leader, New Hampshire’s only state wide newspaper, has a long history of backing conservative candidates. Huntsman has a more moderate reputation, but he has insisted on the campaign trail that he can be a conservative voice.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday and asked whether it made sense to run as a centrist when the Republican base seems to be moving to the right, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman took a subtle dig at rival Mitt Romney, who is under near-constant criticism from opponents who claim he has switched positions to please the electorate.
“I’m not going to contort myself into a pretzel and become something I’m not,” Huntsman said.
Huntsman was pressed to clarify his stance on running as an independent, he said he hadn’t talked to America’s Elect, a group determined to put a third candidate on the presidential ballot.
“Chris, I am running as a Republican and I will support the Republican nominee. I’ve stated that before and I state it again for you,” the former Utah governor said.
Huntsman working to downplay expectations ahead of the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary where he’s placed all of his hopes, Huntsman said he didn’t have to place first, but had to impress by doing better than people predicted.
Nationally, Huntsman trails all Republican candidates at 2 percent in the polls. In New Hampshire, where he has focused his campaign, he currently sits in fourth place at 9 percent.
“More importantly, the people of New Hampshire, they love an underdog. And I am an underdog right now. If you can be an underdog and have a message that begins to connect with people on the ground, you can make things happen,” Huntsman said. “Do I believe we’re going to beat market expectations in New Hampshire? I absolutely believe we will. And that will translate down market to South Carolina and then ultimately to Florida.”
Libertarian Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is aiming to mount a serious challenge for the GOP’s nomination by winning over the more independent minded voters, it is Paul’s cross-over appeal that is becoming increasingly apparent. It is widely accepted that, it is rare for Republican to win a congressional primary, let alone a presidential contest, by alienating both social conservatives and national security conservatives. Mention of Paul’s name in the mainstream media often accompanies statement such as, too far outside mainstream, tea party, or born-again socially conservative Republicanism.
Nicknamed “Dr. No” in Congress, he’s known for rejecting almost every spending bill that comes his way. Paul has a clear track record of opposing government spending that is by far superior to that of the other candidates. He has an incredible support base and his army of loyal fans steadily increases daily and what makes Paul unique in the GOP field is the manner, in which, he pursues his own course on issues from immigration to Israel, speaking without pretence or political calculation at debates, while still managing to perform solidly in the polls.
A recent Bloomberg poll placed Paul in a statistical first-place tie with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in Iowa, which holds its momentum-setting caucuses on January 3. Paul is also a top-three threat in New Hampshire, polling ahead of both Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman.
Paul is considered to be the godfather of the Tea Party movement, his emergence as a credible voice began during George W. Bush’s presidency amid growing American fatigue with war and overspending. Paul advocates a non-interventionist/isolationist foreign policy which is increasingly appealing to voters seeing American unemployment levels at 9.0% and a bulging national debt stalling the economic recovery across America.
Paul is consistent in his beliefs and ideology and demonstrates a unique unwillingness to pander for votes. He is an incredible fund raiser with his online “money bomb” campaigns helping him to raise $8 million in the last quarter – enough to keep Paul in the race if he makes respectable showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.
I believe a caucus state like Iowa is tailor-made to for a candidate like Ron Paul whose band of loyal supporters and excellent organisation are recognised as among the most formidable in the race and who would bet against him topping the poll in Iowa come January 10.
Paul and his supporters have used the social media outlet to maximise their communications as receiving air time on national and cable television has been a struggle at times compared to other GOP candidates. In a recent CBS News debate, Paul received just 89 seconds of speaking time in a 90 minutes debate.
Paul’s main challenge will be electability as the media and GOP are currently obsessed with finding the candidate most likely to defeat incumbent President Obama. Paul’s views are unconventional on a range of issues but yet what I admire about Paul is his honesty, directness, consistency and above all, ability to say something unique which will grab anyone’s attention whether you agree with him or not on all the issues is not important, there is a certain practical common sense approach in his deliver that will enable anyone to find an issue he speaks about say, “Hey, that was a gutsy statement and actually, I have to completely agree with him on that.”
Paul’s “Plan to Restore America” includes a proposal to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget in the first year of his presidency. He would eliminate the departments of education, commerce, energy, interior and housing and urban development.
Paul has already stated he does not intend to run for Congress again and in many senses, this 2012 election could be his last, but with his clearly defined vision and outstanding support base don’t bet against Paul causing some upsets during the GOP race. There are clear indications despite the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss his challenge that Paul’s message and appeal, is beginning to resonate with voters.
Paul like Newt Gingrich has demonstrated a brilliant grasp on all issues and seems to understand the real problems facing the nation; it is this ability to make the ordinary person feel like he understands their woes and views which could hurtle Paul into the serious contender category. I have no doubt that Ron Paul will be in the top three candidates by the end of the GOP race, it is more a case of whether voters want his brand of politics as opposed to those being put forward by other GOP contenders.
Rick Santorum brought his campaign on Saturday evening to a town hall meeting held at the American Legion. While the turnout consisted of a group of about 30 or so people, it demonstrated Santorum’s commitment to shake as many hands as possible and respecting loyal whose support he is keen to win over. Santorum has undertaken the most extensive tour of any candidate in Iowa and retail politics has been the basis of his efforts up to now. Santorum fielded question on a range of issues such as dismantling the federal education department and eliminating government “czars” – the executive branch officials who oversee a particular policy.
But two of the first four questions that the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania fielded challenged Santorum. They weren’t only tough questions; the questioners pushed their point when they felt Santorum gave either an unsatisfactory answer, or no answer at all.
The first challenge came when Santorum said President Obama was either a brilliant politician or an inept leader for staying silent while the so-called bipartisan “supercommittee” collapsed.
Obama wanted the committee to agree on reducing federal spending so he could point fingers and win political points with his supporters, Santorum said. Meanwhile, his leadership was nonexistent, Santorum said.
“He did nothing to help it succeed,” Santorum said of the president.
Instead of speaking in support of the committee, Obama instead went on tour to criticize Republicans for not passing his jobs bill, Santorum said.
A middle-aged man in the American Legion post audience said Santorum had “misrepresented” Obama.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner had undercut the committee’s efforts, the man said.
Santorum pressed the man to say whether he would favour raising taxes, if it meant losing jobs in the process. But the resident wouldn’t bite.
“I disagree with your premise,” the resident said. “We had a much higher tax base in the ’90s, and we had spectacular growth.”
Two questions later, a woman about 30 years old asked Santorum why he favoured repeal of the president’s health care reform when that would mean perhaps a million people younger than 26 would lose health benefits they could have through their parents’ plan under the reform.
Santorum, in essence, said to let them eat cake. Parents don’t pay auto insurance for young drivers in their 20s, so why should they pay health insurance, Santorum asked, ignoring that health insurance costs much more than auto insurance and is available to most people only if their employer offers an affordable plan.
“Driving is very different than living,” the woman told Santorum.
Santorum’s conservatism includes questioning whether a right to privacy in sexual relations should extend to homosexuals. In the past, Santorum has said that states should have the right to regulate consensual homosexual acts as states do such behavior as polygamy, child molestation, incest, sodomy and bestiality.
During the event, Santorum criticised governors in his own party for expanding bureaucracy in the federal government by treating the executive branch as a federal governorship.
“I don’t want to be the governor of the United States,” Santorum said.