On Sunday, Gingrich was cheered and booed when he ridiculed a long answer of Romney’s, saying, “I realize that the red light doesn’t matter to you because you’re the frontrunner.” He called Romney a “relatively timid Massachusetts moderate” whose state was near the bottom in job creation when he was governor. He predicted that Romney would have a “very hard time” defeating Obama. Gingrich later bashed Romney for not condemning attack ads run by a Super PAC supporting his candidacy.
The two butted heads again after Romney responded to Santorum’s question about why he didn’t run for re-election. Romney said it was because he didn’t want to be a career politician. Gingrich jumped in and called his answer “pious baloney” and said that he has been running for office since the 1990s. Gingrich also boasted that the Wall Street Journal supports his economic plan over Romney’s, which the paper said was more similar to Obama’s.
Ron Paul combated the blowback from the racism in his old newsletters by stating that Martin Luther King Jr. is his hero and claiming that the War on Drugs and overseas wars disproportionally affect minorities. He said he is not weak on foreign policy because he supported the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to attack Bin Laden and that he “doesn’t want” Iran to have nuclear weapons. However, he said that sanctions should not be placed on Iran and instead, the U.S. rescuing of Iranian seamen from pirates is the type of action that should be taken. Santorum said that under a Ron Paul presidency, the U.S. wouldn’t have had the fleet in the area to rescue the Iranians.
On Saturday, Ron Paul slammed Santorum, saying it is a “stretch” to call him a conservative because he allegedly is a big spender and proponent of big government. He criticized his voting to increase the debt ceiling, his support for the prescription drug program and No Child Left Behind. He also went after him for lobbying and called him corrupt. Santorum pointed out that Paul was citing an anti-conservative organization for his claims that he is corrupt, saying “you should know better than to cite George Soros-like organizations.”
Jon Huntsman, who has based his entire campaign on New Hampshire, won applauses for supporting term limits and condemning the “revolving door” where former members of Congress go into lobbying after retiring. He repeatedly accused his opponents of reciting “political spin.” On national security, he was the only candidate other than Ron Paul to support an immediate drawdown in Afghanistan. He wants to reduce U.S. forces there to 10,000 within one year and predicted civil war in the country. He also supports cutting defense, saying that spending needs to be brought down from 24% of GDP to 19%.
On Saturday, Huntsman locked horns with Romney over China, slamming the governor for wanting to confront the country over its unfair trade practices. Romney rebutted by saying that Huntsman implemented Obama’s China policy for two years as the U.S. ambassador. Huntsman responded by answering in Chinese.
On Sunday, Huntsman immediately returned to the argument and said that Romney shouldn’t criticize him for putting “his country first.” A big applause followed. Romney brought up letters Huntsman wrote calling Obama a “remarkable leader.” Huntsman replied, “Our nation is divided because of attitudes like that.”
Rick Perry accused his rivals of being big-spending Washington D.C. insiders and called for a Balanced Budget Amendment and part-time Congress. He made the audience laugh hysterically when he answered a question about cutting government by mentioning the three departments he’d cut, a joke referencing his earlier blunder when he forgot the third one he wanted to get rid of. On national security, he took a hawkish tone. He stood alone in calling for U.S. troops to return to Iraq.
On Tuesday, the first primary will be held in New Hampshire, deciding the fate of Jon Huntsman’s candidacy. From there, it is off to South Carolina, which has chosen the Republican nominee every time since 1980. If Romney wins, his momentum will probably be unstoppable and it will be very likely that he will be the one facing Obama in November.
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