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  • Morning Bell: The GOP Debate over Protecting America

    They came, they saw, and they debated. Last night in Washington, D.C.’s, Constitution Hall, eight Republican contenders for the presidency engaged in a debate on foreign policy and national security co-hosted by The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and CNN. When the dust had settled after the two-hour debate, Americans had a clearer picture of where each of the candidates stood on the seminal issue of how to best protect America.

    The candidates addressed questions ranging from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Africa to South America, and border security to terrorism. Critically, the candidates confronted the challenge of defense spending and whether our military has the funding it needs to carry out its mission. Heritage’s James Carafano says that it’s an issue that can’t be ignored:

    Regardless of what the candidates said tonight, the reality is that if one of them takes office, he or she will be commander in chief of a military that is under-funded and under-powered. President Obama has already put enough cuts on the table to leave the military smaller and less capable than when he took office.

    Changing the trajectory of the U.S. military will require investing in the military and dealing with our fiscal crisis. This debate gave each candidate an opportunity to make a case for being up to the job.

    The growing threat posed by Iran’s accelerating nuclear weapons program and support for terrorism surfaced as an issue at the top of nearly all the candidates’ concerns, though they disagreed on how to best confront the problem. Among the problems they identified were Iran’s growing ties with Venezuela and support for Hezbollah activity in Latin America, the need for increased sanctions, and President Obama’s lack of leadership on the issue.

    Border security and immigration, too, were hot topics, as was the growing threat of expanding socialism in South America, the relationship between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the ever-present menace of Mexican criminal cartels.

    For all the ground that was covered, unfortunately there was not enough time to discuss every issue of importance. Take Asia, for example, and concerns such as Chinese currency and exchange rate policies, the growing assertiveness of Chinese foreign policy toward its neighbors, and the impact of budget cuts on the U.S. military posture in Asia. North Korea, too, went unaddressed last night. Heritage’s Bruce Klingner says it should be a priority:

    North Korea already has six to eight nuclear weapons and 1,000 missiles that threaten South Korea, Japan, and U.S bases in Okinawa and Guam. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned in January 2011 that North Korea could hit the United States with a nuclear weapon by 2015.

    It would be worthwhile to discern whether the Republican candidates have a plan for dealing with Pyongyang before one of them potentially becomes commander in chief.

    There are other issues, too, that the presidential candidates should address, including how America maintains its enduring alliances in Europe, the expansion of free trade, and the maintenance of an effective missile defense system.

    One thing is clear from last night’s debate: the United States faces significant foreign policy and national security challenges, and even more attention should be focused on these issues in the 2012 presidential campaign. Heritage is proud to have had the opportunity to join with AEI and CNN in bringing these issues to light and fostering a thoughtful debate among the Republican candidates. Protecting our nation and amplifying American leadership globally is a critical issue — one that is fundamental to the role of the President and the federal government. Hopefully the debate continues.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    72 Responses to Morning Bell: The GOP Debate over Protecting America

    1. Ron Runyon says:

      Thank y0u, Heritage Foundation for helping to sponsor this debate. I think that this was by far the best format and best debate including all of the candidates into the debate that has been conducted this election cycle. God bless you and thank you once again for your good work.

      • viva la libert'e says:

        In this article is written; "the reality is that if one of them (candidates) takes office, he or she will be Commander in Chief of a military that is under-funded and under-powered. President Oboma has already put cuts on the table to leave the military smaller and less capable than when he took office."
        This is at minimum misleading and at most lie. The 1 trillion in cuts over 10 years to the military budget only slows the rate of spending. The military spending still increases every year with these cuts. You see when you and I cut our budget in an area of spending in our lives like say not buying lunch, we experience an actual cut in that area of our budget in order to use the monies in another area such as a car repair. But when Government makes a budget cut it's like saying I'll cut my lunch spending like this. Lunch averages $5 a day this month and I plan on spending $10 a day on lunch next year and $15 a day the ear after, so I will cut next years lunch expenses to $9.99 a day next year and further reduce my lunch spending to $14.98 the year after. Government math lies!

    2. toledofan says:

      Great questions, great forum, and a lot of great answers. In all of the debates, yesterdays was by far the most productive. I think that Newt, Rick Perry and Mitt, did a very good job, some of the others stumbled and just like anything else, it's not over until the fat lady sings.

      • caliconservative says:

        I agree the three did well, however, Michelle Bachmann showed strength, common sense, and she is true to our founders ideals. She is not a stumbler and has history, truth and common sense on her side. She is the one to stand up to Obama, she doesn't take any BS.

      • evermyrtle says:

        Newt, Perry and Mitt promise to finish off Obama's plan,s to finish off America.

    3. Angel Barron says:

      I am tired. I am tired of all the endless, two-hour, protracted GOP Presidential Candidates’ Debates. (By the way, this profuse vetting of Presidential candidates contrasts with the complete lack of vetting of Obama in the last Presidential campaign. I, too, was puzzled by that, just like Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw.)

      Of course, a discussion of foreign policy is important. But in last night’s debate, we spent a lot of time on future, possible, nuanced scenarios in dealing with the War on Terror, with future, possible, conditional U.S. support of a war waged by Israel on Iran.

      But the most important war for me right now is the one that our President is waging here in the U.S. against the U.S.: Class Warfare.
      This is a war, of course, fueled by class envy. All of Obama’s views on taxation, deficit spending, picking winners and losers, jobs programs, energy—all domestic programs, in fact, most of his positions on foreign policy—are driven by his obsession with a deep-seated ideological compulsion to make life “fair.”
      Heaven help us. Heaven help America.

    4. jweb says:

      Foreign Policy – do unto others as you would have them do to you. End the military industrial complex's occupation of America. The blood lust is sickening, and what America sows, that will she also reap. Whether is to good or bad.

      • Sam Moore says:

        Pssssssst What are you smoking or did You hit the wrong keys on the Computer obviously .

        This is the Heritage Foundation not CAIR , Hesballoh , The daily Kos . or Move. on,Org

    5. sdfultz says:

      Good morning Heritage,
      You guys and Gals did well last night, the debate was well executed.
      Good job!

    6. Fred DeSena says:

      This is my answer to these eight candidates " Astrong America at home, equals a strong America abroad!" End of story.

    7. Jayne Frank says:

      It is really becoming critical to narrow the field to those that have a chance of beating President Obama and restoring our Country. With this number of candidates, you just get 30-second confusing soundbits and I am afraid that unless Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Huntsman, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachman drop out, we will lose the interest of our young and independant voters. We need to have our most likely candidates get enough time to answer questions so that we can expose their strengths, weaknesses, and bias

      • Bobbie says:

        wow, exchange perry and put in cain and those are the most incorruptible candidates we have who stand on conviction and sound principle for the sake of the country and the strength of her people!
        the youth that have overcome publically educated, social, communist indoctrination find "cool" to be incorruptible! and the youth finds it "cool" to put the corrupt, corrupting and corruption in it's place!

      • Lynn Greene says:

        I agree Jayne. Time to narrow the field.

      • Caliconservative says:

        Its important for people to make informed decisions. The more we hear from the candidates the better equiped the young and old Americans can decide who is the right one. To encourage great people to drop out is unwise, because it is a process that allows much information. In the general election is the time for everyone else to step aside and back the victor to defeat Obama.

      • Jane Ann says:

        Perry stays Cain out

      • Josh says:

        So you would have one the potentially best candidates drop out for the sake of interest? This is why the GOP always ends up with the Doles, Bush's, and McCains. It is time we nominate a TRUE conservative who doesn't cave to the left for the sake of an election win – obviously these moderate RINOs don't win anyway.

      • viva la libert'e says:

        Mickey Mouse can crush Oboma at this point!

    8. Rafael MArtorell says:

      How it comes that there is not a single politician or a member of the military industrial complex who has had lost a family member in this long wars?
      Wars are a raquet serving special interest and the politicians and the miltary industrial complex will face a Blowback from the american people when they finaly wake up.
      Never a political class has mede more enemies outside and inside.

    9. Ginny Vanden Bosch says:

      On this eve of Thanksgiving, I am truly grateful for the efforts put forward by the Heritage Foundation that insure me that our Constitutional form of government will be preserved. You are real freedom fighters.

    10. potlady says:

      Perhaps people have already decided Perry's not the one, but you know what, folks? This should not be a craps shoot – the conservative candidate against Obama. Perry is holding four aces. 1. Like Obama is always claiming – Perry followed Bush into the governorship of Texas, yet he's successful. 2. Perry is functioning in real time, the same time as Obama and not the past as the other candidates have to keep saying (When I was governor, senator or the CEO of………..); yet Perry's state is successful and booming unlike Obama's. The others can only talk about what they did back when in a different time, economy and world. 3. Perry has to deal with the border problem and though he criticizes the Federal Government for not doing their job, he does what he can and spends the money it takes within the limits of the Texas budget and so that makes him the only one to truly understand how best to secure the border unlike the polyanna ideas the others have. 4. Perry is a good role model for this country, having worn the uniform of the air force; he is married and has a family; he is moral; he respects God and country.

    11. Cheryl says:

      Again I was proud to be a member of Heritage. The questions from the highly informed audience were thought-provoking and steered the debate into critical areas of our national defense. Well done and highly informative. Thanks

    12. Victor Barney says:

      America, wake-up! Nevermind! Too little too late! 6,000 years ago there was a first-born earthly blood covenant with death made between Lucifer, Eve(Hawah), and Cain! No? Watch! Next comes the two-witnesses of Revelation starting September 16th, 2012. I only wonder who are they that will be giving each other presents after Obama has them killed? We'll find out after the two-witnesses stand-up again, won't we?
      watch! I didn't even mention the "forbidden foreigner" of Deuteronomy 17:15 put over u.s. by our women, did I? Again, watch!

    13. Richard says:

      Protecting America???? Te Republicans have done more damage to America than any other organization or country in the history of out nation even before it became our nation. Simple solution, eliminate the Bush tax cuts. Problem solved.

    14. paul says:

      I saw the debate too. the majority of the candidates have ignored the economic reality of
      america. we have been fighting wars and granting tax reductions without addressing the
      spending side. On the national debt, at least one trillion and above were directly related
      to the two wars. At $2 billion weekly, we are borrowing from China and the Germans to
      fight it. We have not even plan for the ptsd costs after the veterans came home.
      Ron paul and Huntsman are wise about this aspects. The rest are in dream-land.
      The Roman declined rapidly after 250 a.d due to frequent wars. Mr. Blitzer did a great job
      as a moderator. However, I am not impress with none of these candidates. They talk good
      but offer no solutions to anything that the main street americans can relate to.

      • L3_Guy says:

        And our Socialistic Marxist BO (seems like an appropriate abbrev for a real "STINKER!") , just exactly what has he done except triple the debt in the 3 years he has been in office? He takes responsibility for nothing unless it boosts his ego. All he does is fly around spending 1/2 million dolllarsevery time he takes off for what is a taxpayer funded campaign trip.

      • bassboat says:

        You apparently were out of the room when Newt was giving his answers and he was not alone. You might have missed the topic for the evening which was on foreign policy, not spending excesses by congress.

    15. G Porter says:

      My favorite debate so far in the way it was presented overall. The moderator was the best in his overall handling of questions, issues, candidates and his control. The topic of national and international defense continues to loom heavy over our country and the current commander-in-chief's naivete is disappointing and distressing. This debate appeared to have more substance. Thanks to CNN for allowing the entire debate to be televised. I guess I will have to share my news viewing with FOX with CNN now. I look forward to the "Morning Bell" daily. Thank you.

    16. Iconoclast says:

      Evidently Mr. Brownfield wasn't paying much attention to last night's debate as most of what he is whining about was addressed; maybe not in simplistic enough terms for him to get the drift and nuances. Newt, whether you like or agree with him, had rational answers wile Romney gave us nothing but Beltway garbage in garbage out and I though he was pathetic which the grant-grabbing Economic Establishment attempts to cover up.

    17. Patrick Henry says:

      Millions of Illegal alien "Trespassers" and an Open Border are Directly related to National Security and our Economy. Newt Gingrich's comments about Amnesty for those here Illegally for long periods is completely wrong and basically says, "If you were in violation of our Laws for a long period of time, we will give you Amnesty, but if you were in violation of our Laws for a shorter period of time, you will be deported."
      The Illegals here for longer periods have been in violation longer and have taken more in unlawful benefits, so we should ignore them??? We had several "one-time" Amnesties, NO MORE! Amnesty after Amnesty = Open Borders and created the problems we have now.

      Just enforce our excisting Laws, Mandatory V-verify with stiff penalties for violaters, and a fully secure border!

      • ThomNJ says:

        Agreed. Newt said some good things, but I am sick of the old strawman argument of someone here for 25 years, etc, etc. Do they pay taxes? Maybe. Did they for the first X years they lived here? Not likely. Did they “appropriate” someone else’s social security number in order to work and pay taxes or did they use a fraudulent social security number (like the couple of dozen I saw the other day all using the very same social security number)? Pretty darn likely. Sorry, Newt, I just don’t agree that they have been “law abiding” for “25 years”. They have just been trying to keep under the radar. Did they break the law to get here and stay here? Yes. Did they continue to break the law by staying here? Yes. Did they take a job that prevented an American citizen from having it for 25 years? Quite likely. Did they buy houses and get financing from banks and special first-home buyer funds from the city or state or federal governments (courtesy of the tax-payer)? I KNOW for a fact that some did.

        Maybe there is a case for keeping some of them, but it seems that it ought to be a pretty strict criteria under his “selective service board” type of review.

      • Caliconservative says:

        Newt is looking for the latino vote, simple deal. Globalist???

      • Betty Weaver says:

        I say NO to amnesty. We must seal our borders against illegal entry. However, once this is done we must deal with the illegals that are already here — I want to learn more about the Heritage plan Newt referrred to — an evaluation of those already here by a board in their community with the prospect of some legal means to stay with their family if warrented. Also, a work program for non-citizens so employers can legally obtain the labor they need. Anyone not meeting the requirements would be deported. We must find solutions to these problems and not ignor the fact that we are partially to blame for leaving the door open for years.

    18. Casandra says:

      As a whole, this debate covered more topics with feasible solutions more so than Obama has in his whole phantom political career. Mr. Brownfield please re-watch the tapes and think about the ramifications of what has been said. Anyone of the Republican candidates will show better leadership than we have now but it is time for Santorum (Arlen Spector shill), Cain (dead meat with lack of vision)Bachman (capable, shrill and lacks leadership ability), Huntsman (Little boy lost RHINO) to pack it in ans save the money. This leaves Romney (money, Establishment RHINO, sane 0-same-0, money, attractive, sycophantic leadership), Paul (fun, provocative, guts, lievely to make people think), Perry (chameleon like Romney, money) and Newt (leadership, bold ideas, iconoclast, experienced, problem solver, bright, who would make a Obama the fool that he is in any debate and would realistic attack the nations problems).

      • David says:

        If you will go back 30 years and look at Newt, you will find he is a globalist progressive that would have no problem in side stepping the Constitution and selling us out to a global government!! Ron Paul is the only candidate that will follow and abide by the Constitution! The rest will continue the status quo and we will still march toward socialism, only not quite as quickly as with Obama! As for me, if Ron Paul doesn't win the nomination, I won't cast my vote at all in the presidential race! If we can't go back to the Constitution, we may as well leave Obama in office!!

    19. Carol M Kite says:

      I agree with Cheryl, Heritage does so much!
      I am furious with Obama, that he is willing to leave our military, our whole nation for that matter, so vulnerable! How dare he be so uncaring while he refuses to cut all the excesses, you know, the loopholes, cronyism, special interests, illegal immigrants' vast cost, big labor influence–I could go on, all the corruption no one will even attempt addressing! Shave the size of gov't & Congress' salaries-they're doing little to rein Obama's insanity, just adding to it. It is doable! It's fascinating, choosing a GOP answer.

    20. As a Heritage members, we felt some pride and dignity in last nights debate that was missing in previous debates. Thanks Heritage and AEI.

      But WOE IS US! Our Commander-in Chief’s failure to take the top priorities in his job has created one the most unstable world positions since WWII; and the weakest military since before WWII!
      His 3 year focus on social engineering, America bashing and class warfare while ignoring almost all America’s real priorities: Constitutional Government, National Defense, Strong Economy, Rule of Law, Property Rights Free Enterprise and Capitalism.

      It is very difficult to see President Obama’s Priorities in any light other than Anti-American.
      God Bless America; we need all the help we can get.

      Happy Thanks Giving all… from a Governor Bradford super fan.

    21. Al F/ says:

      ‎"the reality is that if one of them takes office, he or she will be commander in chief of a military that is under-funded and under-powered' — Is there no end to the absurdity? Are we talking about the same imperial military that is stretched to every corner of the globe and which is bankrupting the nation? Cause, you must be talking about the French military. The idea that the US military is underfunded and underpowered is about a stupid a thing as one can say.

    22. ancient guest says:

      This was the best debate yet. You can still tell that the only politician who hasn't gone to political polish school is Ron Paul and he is the one with the integrity to always be truthful and speak from the heart with the nation's best interest uppermost in his mind. He keeps in mind these things: Individual liberty, adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements.

    23. ancient guest says:

      Paul promotes a STRONG defense of our country rather than building an empire across the globe. Thomas Jefferson defined a noninterventionist foreign policy as "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none." and George Washington forewarned, the appropriate "…conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations and to have with them as little political connection as possible." We need to heed the words of these wise men.

      • Jane Ann says:

        Paul is for peace love dove drugs and non realistic approach to running the country, he still blames America for the 9/11 and will be just as bad at apologizing to countries for America as Obama, he needs to retire.

    24. ancient guest says:

      It does not mean the USA is not strong, fully aware of the world, and always designing and maintaining the best possible defense. It does mean we must take the golden rule to heart and put it into practice. And one must ask, why is it the business of the USA to spread democracy against the will of others…when she herself is a republic…I have not changed my mind. Intergrity wins with me. Restore America in 2012. Thank you for your support; this was a very good debate.

    25. Bettie Lorino says:

      Dear Heritage Foundation,

      I really enjoyed seeing this debate up close and personal. There are loads of ideas coming from these eight candidates. They challenge the current administration on all fronts. Mainly the candidates show leadership which has sadly been lacking for the past three years. I am especially pleased to hear the ideas of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

      Thank you for sponsoring this top-notch debate! I've watched them all and this was the best.

      Bettie Lorino

    26. Bobbie says:

      Thank you again, Heritage. It was an excellent debate!

    27. Michael says:

      You are a smart girl Casandra…wish all Americans could put 2+2 together!

    28. gitredy says:

      Fox comments that Newt "won" the debate. I agree he made some good points and I especially appreciate the Speaker's realistic perspective on issues, including immigration. His comment on the Republican party as the "party of the family", that will not tear apart families and treat residents humanely, while securing our borders and removing the magnets of healthcare and education for illegals, I think will resonate with most Americans. This gentleman has the understanding, the experience, the vision and the astuteness of a statesman. He may have personal baggage. None of these candidates are without fault if you dig hard enough. I think he would be the most effective against Obama, and ultimately, a good choice for America.

    29. Lynn Greene says:

      I have watched every debate thus far, and AEI and Heritage take the prize for the best questions and format. Thank you! Wolf surprised me as a fair moderator as well. I hope Americans can see that some of their favorite candidates are way too shallow on foreign policy and national security. It's time to narrow the field, and last night's debate clearly showed which candidates have the right stuff.

    30. bassboat says:

      I was particularly aggravated by the questions that the CNN reporters asked the candidates after the debate last night. It was left wing all the way. They had to be reading Dreams of my Father while the candidates were giving their answers with their skewed questions. It was really rather pitiful.

      • gitredy says:

        Bassboat…what do you expect from CNN?…I turned them off soon as the debate was over. We can make our own judgments and conclusions from what we saw and heard, thank you very much…

    31. Caliconservative says:

      Bachmann is strong, smart and I am impressed. I'm hoping for a true conservative to be the winner of this process. She has conviction, strength, truth and history on her side. She would take Obamas spin and lies and expose them in a debate. I pray she is the nominee. As always,Lord, Thy will be done.

    32. Robert DeBiase says:

      Our enemies are trying to bankrupt our nation . Once you get into that war mode it is hard to get out of it . Let us keep our country safe , but not spend billions of dollars on weapon systems that we are encouraged to try out on our next enemy . We should cut 10 to 15 percent on defense , just like we should do with every other department . A BALANCED BUDGET IS THE KEY TO VICTORY . THIS SHOWS THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT THERE IS AT LEAST ONE COUNTRY THAT HAS COMMON SENSE !

    33. Bunny Harrison says:

      Finally, a debate without childish back and forth! The questions coming from those involved in research and analysis were excellent, sharp, and to the point. The answers of the candidates revealed much re their thinking process and ideas. Personally, I might have preferred Brit Hume or Brett Baier as moderator, but in fairness, Wolf B. did a good job. Speaker Gingrich is amazing with his depth and breadth of knowledge, and suggested problem solving. So, too, was Congresswoman Bachman. Thank you Heritage Foundation (I'm proud to be a member) and to AEI, and, yeah, CNN.

    34. I know I'll get a lot of flak with this point of view, but I want to agree with Newt about offering a way to allow the illegal aliens a means to stay in the country if they have been in this country for many years and have a family, and continued throughout to pay their taxes and did abide by all the laws, then I believe something could be done to allow them to be able to say in the country. If it would put an extreme hardship by splitting up the family they could be given special consideration to put their name on the legal immigration list to work for citizenship in compliance with procedure and law. By allowing them to stay would not give them citizenship rights but may allow for special consideration. I don't think we have to be abusive to them and expel them for mistakes that can be rectified with compassion.
      Frank E. Vincent

    35. Candace Miller says:

      We were so grateful for the debate last night as we felt it brought out an immense amount of information that average Americans are not aware of, particularly the Hesbollah/South America connection. Gingrich's comment on the energy situation and how we should stop dismantling it and go full force into an "energy campaign" as we did during WW2 and act like the super power that we are. It would solve thousands if not millions of our problems: Jobs, Iran, etcetera. The debate provoked a great deal of helpful discussion so pertinent to this most important election in the history of the United States. Thank you.

    36. Peter Jesella says:

      Reading reviews, I understand that Governor Perry suggested that the new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta should resign in protest. I hope the Governor keeps that in mind as the next few months pass bye!_ Credits to Newt regarding the low probability but high catastrophe of an Electro Magnetic Pulse attack from a satellite or missile over the U.S.A. _ Still hoping Congresswoman Bachman or staff would respond to cover letter given to her staff, and I appreciate the photo-encounter with her, see my Facebook page._ Dear Congresswoman Bachman: _As a Vietnam-era medical veteran I have had an interest and concern about our nations decision-making process regarding the National {economic-individual} Security needs of the nation. On and off for 30-years I have shared my concerns, and policy solutions with leaders in both parties, with a few replies, but much indifference from both political parties towards this approach I call constructive citizenship, educational democracy.

    37. Peter Jesella says:

      2of3: Congresswoman Bachman, _One issue that you have deep reservations over is AmeriCorps, a program that is built on the history of the California Conservation Corps and its duplication by other states, counties, cities, and non-government programs like City Year on a much smaller scale, through the 1980’s. AmeriCorps members like military service members volunteer, but also sign an obligation of service requirements and expectations, just like any business or consultant that engages in “contracted service.” Regarding the possibility of a return to a “draft”, mandatory service is something both Conservative & Liberals can fully agree should never happen again. I was about to be drafted, so I joined the Air Force hoping to heal the wounded rather than help create the wounded! This existential reality of the call for service from the Federal Government did make me realize my desire to contribute some “sweat-equity” some skin towards the needs of our nation, and learn a job skill in the process._

    38. Peter Jesella says:

      3 of 3: Congresswoman Bachman; I hope and trust you reconsider your negative attitude towards AmeriCorps, it 80,000 contracted service jobs! Last month here in this Commonwealth Club room I asked Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to take back to Washington my request that AmeriCorps be expanded by next summer to 250,000 participants. You may have many reasons to say NO! I pray that you are willing to write them down, consider the pros and cons of such a surprise for the nation. Its possibility at uniting our differences, raising our spirits to the challenges of this decade. That the inspiration these young adults could provide to all us mature, wiser adults that control the priorities of the free market and its marriage with the governmental institutions as they exist today.

    39. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      I didn't see it but I think this country should be defended from our enemies.

    40. Jody says:

      How about the presidential candidates eliminating the automatic American citizenship of any baby that is born here without one of their parents being an American Citizen, in conjunction with securing the borders?

    41. Jerry Porter says:

      The first and foremost obligation of the federation established by the sovereign individual united states is to defend its citizens from internal and external threats. Today we have a handful of each type of threat. We are also broke. Flat busted. Taxing our way out of this conundrum is idiocy. There is nothing democratic about the Democrat Party today—it is, or at least its leadership at most levels of government, is irreparable. Inch by inch for over a 100 years the Republican Party has, for the most part, compromised to the fragile point of it struggling to find what, if anything, it stands for anymore that is anywhere closely allied to the United States Constitution. That's why compromise is impossible at this tipping point in history. Man is imperfect, the USA is imperfect, but nearest thing to a perfect form of government is about to be flushed down the toilet. Kaput! Do we have the resiliency to survive? Or, will we gradually decay the way of the Greeks, The Roman Empire, and all the other great World Civilizations? As that great philosopher from the comic strip Pogo once said, "We has met the enemy and he is us," or words to that effect.

      postmarked: The Wee City of Fredericksburg, Texas

    42. Lee says:

      Re: Newts comments on illegal immigrants. How many conservatives truly believe that every illegal in this country will be gathered up and sent back? Newts approach, as a talking point, is right on. Very few Americans are going to stand for such an action. The approach he outlines is a beginning and the details must be discussed. I am a conservative with Christian values who will not split up families. If some form of amnesty was good enough for Ronald Reagan, it should be for all of us. Newt is a strong candidate with ideas that should be considered. He did not cause the problem, but wants to work on the solution. Whatever his position is now is a starting point that will keep a good portion of the Hispanic base thinking Republican.

    43. Glen says:

      I think that the job of the Federal Gov't is to protect it's citizens. With the reduction of the amounts for the military and the plan to cut back in nuclear missiles overseas and the cut back on equipment designed here, the Gov't is ignoring it's primary job. Protecting our citizens is primary. Are you listening Washington?

    44. Jim Bills says:

      One thing that I found out from this debate Is that I would NEVER vote for Newt Gingrich ! Americans do NOT want any more AMNESTIES for Illegal aliens ! We already tried that once and now we have 30 or 40 million Illegals Inour country. They have been quoting the 11 million number for a decade. Heck,there are 5 million Illegals In Los Angeles alone !

    45. As a local observer of the big picture in our country, I have watched with grave concern the decimation of our education system, the plunderimg of our treasury, the frivolous extremes of our elected officials, and the decline of our leadership in the world. The most urgent need we have, as I see it, is to rebuild our own economy and promote our own prosperity. The idea embodied in our declaration and constitution that common people, acting in their own best interest, can be trusted to make good decisions about our national defense, internal policies, economic policies, education, health care, was stunningly revolutionary in 1776 and still is today. An inexorable process has been at work in the past fifty years to discredit government's role as caretaker of our god-given rights and turn it into our master. What drives a large segment of our society to return to the old worn-out ideologies of the past and scrap the very principles that have brought us and the rest of the world such great prosperity? Have we not had enough of tyranny, poverty, cruel injustice?_ Help me here. Where does this come from?

    46. rmgdonnow says:

      I see Foreign policy as the largest of about a dozen major potential crises (e.g. Immigration, energy, defense) which the 2013 administration must confront. It clearly is the most important. The S.W. Asia situation, the Mideast, China and the Western Pacific, Africa, Iran all will have to analyzed and dealt with, undoing the damage already done by Obama, plus whatever more he does before 2013. Of course, this assumes that in 2012 a Republican will be elected to the Presidency Obama and his lock-step Dems will pull out all the stops, use an "anything goes" strategy to win BHO a second term, in which he will have no worries about reelection and one can't imagine what radical schemes he will concoct.

    47. Jim Jackson says:

      E-verify everyone for current and future employment. I.D. everyone stopped for traffic citations. Fine employers steeply for hiring illegals. Eliminate anchor baby citizens status. "Entitlements" should be treated as income and taxed. End earned income tax credit. Dont give TAX returns larger than the federal taxes paid, most geiting earned income credit receive enough to compensate for Social Security, Medicare Taxes, and even enough extra refund to cover the sales taxes they paid in the year. EVERONE SHOULD HAVE A NET INCOME TAX OF AT LEAST $1.Unemployment checks are taxable, so should the freebies.

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