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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs