The Republican debate is on CNN tonight. It is being hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. John McCain, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee are participating. I missed a few minutes because of a black tie affair that I could not get out of.
The question is what about 100 year involvement in Iraq.
Ron Paul is giving a lecture on Republican history on war.
Huckabee, “We need to leave with victory and we need to leave with honor. We must not leave a vacuum, a destabilized Iraq, for Al Qaeda to gain a foothold.”
McCain take charge to give some straight talk on what need to happen in Iraq – with a history correction for Ron Paul. “I will stick to my principles no matter what and I will bring our troops home with honor.”
To Huckabee – what about Putin: “I can’t read people as well as George Bush. I have to look at their actions. We need to look at what people are doing, not just what they are saying. We must have a military that they won’t want to engage for any reason.”
Romney, “We see in Putin someone who wants to reestablish Russia as a Super Power and another oppressive regime. We have four strategies in play, Energy in Russia, communism in China, Al Qaeda who want to take everyone down, and then there is us. We must confront one by one each of these other strategies.”
McCain: “I know how to lead. I lead the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy and I did it out of patriotism – not for profit… I have been involved in every national security crisis in the past twenty years.”
Romney: “McCain is a fine man but is not a better leader on the Economy. Teh people don’t look to Senators, they look to Governors. Senators are fine legislators. We should not demean the people who are starting up small businesses. We have to have a strong economy. A Governor is a leader of the State Police and the entire State Government. This has honed my judgment.”
Ron Paul on leadership – “The constitution is clear about the President being the leader of the military. But the President is not supposed to be the leader of the economy. The people should manage the economy. The role of the President in the economy is to keep the taxes low.”
Huckabee on leadership, “I agree with Gov Romney that Governors are well prepared to be President. A Governor manages a microcosm of the federal government. Unfunded mandates from the federal government puts undue pressure on States. Real leadership recognizes what your decisions do to people at the bottom. Leadership is about seeing the whole field.” I like what Huckabee is saying.
Romney on Ronald Reagan endorsement. “Reagan would absolutely endorse me. lower taxes, support marriage, be an independent outsider, no amnesty, no 50 cent charge per gallon on energy.”
McCain, “Reagan would not approve of someone who changes their positions for convenience. Reagan stuck with his principles. I stick with my principles. I hope that he would be proud of me.”
Paul, “Reagan campaigned for me in 1978. I know he was sympathetic to the gold standard. I say look to Ronald Reagan’s ideas on money. ”
Huckabee, “It would be presumptuous and arrogant for any of us to presume he would endorse us. But I would endorse him. What made Reagan a great president was that he loved America and saw it as a good and great Nation. He brought this country back together and helped us believe in ourselves.”
This is the final Republican debate before Super Tuesday. Three are two clear front-runners.
Some highlights: McCain and Romney glared at each other and they addressed each other and cast each other as not prepared to lead.” During the debate Governor Schwarznegger endorsed McCain. McCain is trying to consolidate the Republican Party.
Romney’s challenge is to stop this momentum for McCain. The active social conservative candidate Huckabee, who is trailing in the process, drains support form Romney. The reason is that McCain is seen as being too cooperative with Democrats.
Personally, I would like to see more cooperation in the Congress. McCain has been a reasonable person who is able to find common ground. He is not a liberal wacko – he is a man of reason and common sense.