News

Republican US Presidential Contenders More Aggressive in Debate

After months of relatively gentle debate, the 10 Republicans running for president are getting more aggressive with each other in the 2008 campaign for the White House.  VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

In the latest debate held in South Carolina and televised by the Fox News Channel, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani may have helped himself with a statement on the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Giuliani responded to a comment from Texas Congressman Ron Paul about the roots of the 9/11 attacks.  Paul is the only Republican candidate who opposes the war in Iraq.

PAUL:  "They attack us because we have been over there.  We have been bombing Iraq for 10 years.  We have been in the Middle East.  I think [former President Ronald] Reagan was right.  We do not understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics."

GIULIANI:  "That is an extraordinary statement.  As someone who lived through the attack of September 11th, [to say that] we invited the attack, because we were attacking Iraq, I do not think I have ever heard that before.  And I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th."

There were other examples of a more aggressive tone among the Republican contenders.  Arizona Senator John McCain was asked about his opposition to torture in the questioning of terrorism suspects and his vow to close the terrorist detention camp at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"The use of torture, as much as we would gain from torture, we would lose in world opinion," said Senator McCain.  "We do not torture people."

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney also opposed the use of torture to obtain information about an impending terrorist attack.  But Romney said he would favor keeping the Guantanamo Bay prison open and doubling the number of terrorist suspects held there.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore said some of the frontrunners in the Republican field are trying to portray themselves as more conservative than they actually are.

Gilmore cited Giuliani's support for abortion rights and the fact that Romney was once a supporter of abortion, but now opposes it.  Gilmore also noted that McCain initially opposed President Bush's tax cut program.

Gilmore also repeated concerns about Iran that several of the Republican contenders expressed in their earlier debate in California.

"There is no choice at this point other than to join up with people across the world in order to put on serious, mandatory sanctions against Iran," he said.

Another of the lesser known Republican contenders, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, accused Giuliani, McCain and Romney of being weak on the issue of stopping illegal immigration into the U.S.

University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato said the second Republican debate demonstrated a new willingness on the part of several candidates to challenge each other.

"They have not been attacking one another until tonight, and this time they decided to unsheathe the short knives," he said.  "They went after each other, at least a bit and they drew some blood.  I think McCain was bleeding a bit, I think Romney was bleeding a bit.  Some of the minor candidates [as well], but they do not matter."

Public-opinion polls show Giuliani in the lead for the Republican nomination, followed by McCain and Romney, with the seven other active candidates trailing far behind.

But the polls also show support for two Republicans who are considering a White House run, but who have not declared their candidacies, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia.

Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly magazine says none of the Republican candidates has yet captured the imagination of the party's social conservative wing, a crucial constituency in the nominating process.

"I think one of the biggest reasons the Republican race is wide open is that no one has a claim on the conservative chair, the social conservative chair in the Republican Party," he explained.

Thompson is expected to decide whether to enter the race in the next few weeks while Gingrich says he will make a decision by September.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs