News / USA

Republican Presidential Contenders Hold First Major Debate

Republican presidential hopefuls at the beginning of the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire June 13, 2011
Republican presidential hopefuls at the beginning of the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire June 13, 2011

Seven Republicans who would like the chance to defeat President Barack Obama in next year’s presidential election held their first major debate Monday in the early contest state of New Hampshire.

Coming into this first major debate of the 2012 campaign season, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is seen by many as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination and he continues to lead in public opinion polls.

Romney wasted little time in going after President Obama’s economic record.

“He didn’t create the recession, but he made it worse and longer," said Romney. "This president has failed and he has failed at a time when the American people counted on him to create jobs and get the economy going.”

One of Romney’s leading rivals is former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty who criticized President Obama as what he called an economic “declinist”.

“If China can have five percent growth and Brazil can have five percent growth, then the United States of America can have five percent growth and I don’t accept this notion that we are going to be average or anemic,” said Pawlenty.

Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich also hammered away at President Obama’s handling of the economy.

“The Obama administration is anti-jobs, anti-business, anti-American energy.  They [Congress] ought to start creating jobs right now for those 14 million Americans [out of work]," said Gingrich. "This is a depression now.”

Gingrich has vowed to remain in the campaign despite a mass walkout by his senior campaign staff last week.

Monday’s debate also featured an announcement from Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann that she is now an official candidate for president.

Bachmann vowed to repeal President Obama’s health care reform law, as did many of the other contenders, and urged Republicans to unite behind a nominee next year.

“We need everybody to come together because we are going to win, make no mistake about it," said Bachmann. "And, President Obama is a one term president!”

Although much of the debate focused on the domestic economy, foreign policy issues were discussed, including U.S. support for NATO efforts in Libya, which several of the candidates oppose.

“He has turned his back on American allies and he has embraced our enemies,” said former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

Georgia businessman Herman Cain also took part in the debate, as did Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the only Republican contender who favors the pullout of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

The candidates also discussed immigration, abortion and energy issues.

Throughout the evening, the seven Republicans kept up their attacks on President Obama’s economic record, especially the high unemployment rate that now stands at 9.1 percent.

Obama is well aware that improving the jobs picture is central to his re-election hopes next year and he made that clear again Monday during an economic speech in North Carolina.

“I will not be satisfied until everyone who wants a good job that offers some security has a good job that offers security,” he said.

Among those Republicans who were not at Monday’s debate but who could still join the presidential field are former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid