News / USA

US Republican Presidential Candidates Engage in Spirited Debate

Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, look toward moderator Wolf Blitzer of CNN as they participate in t
Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, look toward moderator Wolf Blitzer of CNN as they participate in t
Greg Flakus

The four remaining candidates for the U.S. Republican Party's presidential nomination met in a sometimes heated debate in Jacksonville, Florida, Thursday ahead of that state's January 31 primary.

The debate quickly produced fireworks on issues like immigration and foreign bank accounts. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney reacted angrily to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich calling him anti-immigrant.

“I think you should apologize for it and I think you should recognize that having differences of opinions on issues does not justify labeling people with highly charged epitaphs,” Romney said.

Romney noted that his father was born in Mexico and he defended his immigration plan as one that favors legal immigration, but strengthens the enforcement of laws designed to prevent illegal entrants from getting jobs.

Gingrich struck back by saying that he would not favor any policy that would force older people, many of them grandparents who have lived in the United States for many years, to leave the country.

Gingrich said “All I want to do is allow the grandmother to be here legally with some rights to have residency, but not citizenship, so that he or she can finish their life with dignity within the law.”   

Romney countered by saying “You know, there are not 11 million .. the problem is not 11 million grandmothers.”

The two front-runners also sparred over Gingrich's attacks on Romney's investments, including funds in foreign bank accounts, which Romney defended as being in a blind trust not directly under his control.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum chided both candidates for taking their focus off the more important issues facing the country.

“Can we set aside that Newt was a member of Congress and used the skills that he developed as a member of Congress to go out and advise companies and that is not the worst thing in the world and that Mitt is a wealthy man because he went out and worked hard and you guys should just leave that alone and focus on the issues” he said.

There were some questions from the audience about foreign policy issues, including the Middle East peace process, but the sharpest divide resulted from Texas Congressman Ron Paul's response to a question about U.S. relations with Latin America.

“I believe that with friendship and trade you can have a lot of influence and I strongly believe that, with time, we have friendship and trade with Cuba,”  he said.

The other three candidates expressed disagreement with Paul. In Florida the large Cuban exile community has traditionally supported strong measures against the communist government of Cuba. Many Cuban-Americans also call for more U.S. engagement in Latin America to offset both Cuba and the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Recent polls have shown a tight race between Romney and Gingrich, both of whom have been campaigning actively in Florida ever since Gingrich won the South Carolina primary on January 21, upsetting Romney's status as frontrunner. Voters in Florida go to the polls next Tuesday to decide which candidate they think should run against President Barack Obama in November's presidential election.

U.S Republican candidates Gallup poll

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid