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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid