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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid