News / USA

Republicans Hold First Presidential Debate Ahead of 2012 Election

Representative Ron Paul of Texas speaks to a gathering of Tea Party supporters at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, South Carolina, May 5, 2011
Representative Ron Paul of Texas speaks to a gathering of Tea Party supporters at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, South Carolina, May 5, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Greg Flakus

A year-and-a-half ahead of the next US presidential election, five potential candidates from the Republican party came together in Greenville, South Carolina for a debate broadcast nationally on the Fox News Network. The topics ranged from the war in Afghanistan to high gasoline prices and the national debt.

The hour-and-a-half-long debate began with questions about the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden on Sunday and US policy in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa. Congressman Ron Paul, who opposes all US involvement abroad, including foreign aid, called for a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

"We went to Afghanistan to get him and he hasn't been there," said Paul.  "Now that he is killed, boy, this is a wonderful time for this country now to reassess and get the troops out of Afghanistan and end that war that has not helped us and has not helped anyone in the Middle East."

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said that the parts of President Obama's foreign policy that have worked the best are the ones from the Bush administration he has continued, including the hunt for bin Laden.

President Obama's policy on Libya was attacked from two angles in the debate. Former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain, the only black candidate and a tea party favorite, said the president had gone into Libya without a clear strategy and now risks having the situation escalate. But Governor Tim Pawlenty criticized President Obama for not acting decisively, in early March, when he said the removal of Moammar Gadhafi might have been achieved quickly.

"Had the president been decisive in that moment, the rebels had taken over most of the country geographically, they had the momentum, they had Gadhafi on the ropes, he was openly talking about leaving voluntarily, according to news reports, and we could shoved him out at that moment," said Pawlenty.  

On the question of enhanced interrogation, which some critics say amounts to torture, all the candidates said they supported its use in some circumstances except for Congressman Paul and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

On the issue of immigration, Herman Cain said he backed the right of states like Arizona to make their own laws because the federal government has failed to address the problem. But Gary Johnson, who served as governor in the border state of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, said immigration is a benefit to the nation and should be encouraged through an expansion of the legal process.

"I think we should make it as easy as possible to get a work visa," said Johnson.  "A work visa would not be citizenship or a green card, but it would be a background check and a Social Security card so that applicable taxes would be paid. Immigration needs to be about work, not welfare."

Johnson has strong support among some sectors of the conservative tea party movement, but his more liberal views on such issues as abortion and legalization of marijuana set him apart from social conservatives.

None of the five men who were on stage in South Carolina are considered top tier candidates, except for former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who currently trails other potential candidates in polls in key primary states like Iowa. Among the prominent Republicans who may take part in upcoming debates are former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, real estate tycoon and television star Donald Trump and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More