Republican Debate at the Reagan Library

In the first Republican presidential debate of the season, ten candidates gathered at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. The format didn’t allow any candidate a significant advantage in speaking and also was rapid-fire for some rounds, with 30-second responses.

Rudy Giuliani: Giuliani talked about his time in New York City and fighting terrorism, but appeared to stumble through the abortion questions. He said a repeal of Roe v. Wade would be “ok”, but also said it would be fine if a judge considered the decision precedent. Giuliani also said he’d support stem cell research as long as there is no human cloning or creating life just to destroy it. Overall, Giuliani didn’t commit any major blunders and remains a solid top-tier candidate.

John McCain: McCain reiterated his support for the Iraq war, but called it terribly mismanaged under the Bush administration. McCain mentioned his strong opposition to pork and unrestrained spending, supporting a line-item veto. On taxes, McCain said he would repeal the alternative minimum tax and give a $3,000 tax credit for people to buy health insurance.

Mitt Romney: Romney looked presidential and cracked a few jokes, but his abortion answer was problematic.  Romney said in the debate he has “always been personally pro-life, but for me, it was a great decision about whether or not government should intrude into that decision.”  This contradicts what he said in a Senate debate with Ted Kennedy in 1994, where he stated his “belief in abortion rights had been shaped by the death of a close family friend years before from an illegal abortion”.   That sounds like a pretty personal reason to be pro-choice.

More of the candidates’ statements and info are below:
McCain’s take on his age:

“I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I’m the most prepared.”

Tommy Thompson’s specific 3-point plan for Iraq:

1. The al-Maliki government should vote whether or not they wanted America in Iraq. If yes, there’s a legitimacy for us being there.

2. There are 18 territories in Iraq, just like the 50 U.S. states. I would require those territories to elect governments, just like we do in our states.

3. Split the oil reserves: one-third to the federal government, one-third to the state governments and one-third to every man, woman and child. If every man, woman and child is getting part of the oil proceeds, they’re going to have a vested interest in their country.

List of times each candidate mentioned President Reagan:

Giulani 5
McCain 3
Romney 3
Thompson 3
Hunter 2
Brownback 1
Gilmore 1
Huckabee 1
Paul 0
Tancredo 0

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