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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid