News / USA

Republican Candidates Square off in Iowa Debate

Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., during the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate at the CY Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011
Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., during the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate at the CY Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011

Republican presidential hopefuls have descended on the central U.S. state of Iowa to prepare for the first test of their popularity with voters.  The Iowa Straw Poll on August 13 could give the winning candidate momentum heading into the 2012 presidential campaign.  A televised debate ahead of the poll gave the eight participating candidates an opportunity to give voters insight into how they would lead the country.

Months of political debate over raising the U.S. debt ceiling, followed by a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard &  Poor's, and capped by a volatile week on Wall Street, all led to a theme throughout the Republican Presidential debate in Ames Iowa - how to fix the U.S. economy.

The debate was broadcast Thursday on the Fox News Channel.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination, blamed President Barack Obama for the country's economic crisis.

“The most important thing we are talking about tonight is making sure that President Obama is replaced by someone who knows how to get this economy going again.  That’s what this debate is really about and that is what Americans want to understand,” he said.

Romney shared the stage with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, businessman Herman Cain, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

“We just heard from Standard & Poor's.  When they dropped our credit rating what they said is we don’t have the ability to repay our debt.  That’s what the final word was from them.  I was proved right in my position.  We should have not raised the debt ceiling,” said Bachmann.

Some of the other topics discussed throughout the two-hour debate included the candidates' attitudes towards health care legislation, and the execution of the war on terrorism.

Questions about Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon led to a heated exchange between Santorum and Congressman Paul.

“Iran does not have an air force that can come here," said Paul.  They can’t even make enough gasoline for themselves, and here we are building up this case like - just like we did in Iraq!  Build up the war propaganda.  There was no al-Qaida in Iraq, and they had nuclear weapons and we had to go in, and I’m sure that you supported that war as well!  It’s time we quit this.  It’s trillions of dollars we are spending on these wars!"

About halfway through the debate, candidates were asked about someone not present, but widely expected to join the race in the coming days.

Texas Governor Rick Perry could be a formidable candidate who can potentially appeal to social and economic conservatives.  He also has a strong record growing jobs while governor.  Surveys found most Republican primary voters plan to support Romney, with Perry next in line.

Regardless of who emerges as the front-runner, retiree Bruce Woods from Urbandale Iowa wants a nominee who can bridge the current divide between the two political parties.

“I think what we’re going to have to do is somehow figure out a way to compromise on both sides and get things back in order,” he said.

Des Moines attorney and former candidate for Iowa state treasurer Joan Bolin agrees.  She supported John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, but has not decided who she will support in 2012.

“I think that one of the problem’s that we have is that we’ve basically lost middle ground.  We’ve lost too many of the moderates.  I’m a moderate, can you tell?  We have lost them and they actually were glue,” she said.

Politics runs in Bolin’s family.  Her grandfather, Ben Jensen, served as a congressman from Iowa for 26 years.

“And although he was a Republican and I was a Democrat as a young person, basically he worked very hard to keep people working together.  And that I think is something we ought to look for in anyone we elect,” said Jensen.

While many likely Republican voters are dissatisfied with the current list of candidates for president, Governor Rick Perry’s entrance into the race, and a potential second run at the White House by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, could give those dissatisfied voters other options heading into the primary election season.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid