Aside from attacks between GOP candidates and insults lobbed at President Obama, Thursday's Republican debate was largely uneventful, leaving plenty of room for Texas Gov. Rick Perry to make an impression when he announces his candidacy on Saturday.
Mitt Romney managed to hold his ground during last night’s televised debate, somehow remaining unscathed from insults as his fellow contenders blasted the past policies of all the other potential candidates. Romney, a businessman and former governor of Massachusetts, has largely been considered the GOP frontrunner so far in the race for the Republican nomination, but will face perhaps his toughest opposition yet once long-rumored-to-be-running Texas Governor Rick Perry finally tosses his hat into the race this weekend.
Candidates at last night’s debate managed to field two hours of predictable questions with predictable answers, rarely allowing an opportune moment to raise any points outside of their already publicized agendas. With no news to discuss, a heated exchange between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann served as perhaps the only highlight in an otherwise mundane discussion between the eight candidates participating.
Lashing out at Congresswoman Bachmann, the former Minnesota governor said that "She has done some wonderful things in her life but it is an indisputable fact that her record of accomplishment and results is nonexistent.”
“She said she’s got a titanium spine,” barked Pawlenty. “It’s not her spine we’re worried about.It’s her record of results. If that’s your view of effective leadership with results, please stop because you’re killing us.”
For Bachmann’s part, she responded by comparing Pawlenty to President Barack Obama in an underhanded attack that was only one of several over the course of the evening that jabbed at the current commander in chief.
Attacking his past policies on health, energy and trade, Bachmann said Pawlenty’s accomplishments “sounds a lot more like Barack Obama's record.” From there she dragged Pawlenty’s stance on abortion into the debate, to which he rebutted that her own stance on the matter was “illogical.”
While most candidates appeared to invest themselves as just a viable opposite to President Obama and the mess he has left for America, Congressman Ron Paul repeatedly voiced his opposition to large military spending, making his anti-war stance stand out among the other Republican candidates.
“I do think we should deal with our borders,” said Paul, “but one way that I would suggest that we could do it is pay a lot less attention to the borders between Afghanistan and Iraq and bring — and Pakistan, and bring our troops home and deal with the border.” He returned to the subject of unjust war spending throughout the debate, at one point saying that the country should "mind our own business” in regards to confronting Iran over a rumored nuclear weapon program.
Once Gov. Perry formally enters the race, his intense pro-war stance will starkly contrast against Paul’s isolationism point of views, finally allowing for GOP voters to have a distinct difference in their choice of candidates.
While the other candidates have also spoken out against gay marriage, Paul stated last night that he was also personally not in favor of it, but also stressed for a decreased in regulation and said he did not think that the US government should be involved in matters.
President Barack Obama’s name appeared elsewhere throughout the debate, as GOP candidates each vied to distance themselves from the current president as much as possible.
"I'm not going to eat Barack Obama's dog food, all right? What he served up was not what I would have done if I'd had been president of the United States,” remarked Romney early in the debate. Pawlenty said the president should cancel his “Cape Cod vacation” and get Congress back to the Capitol to fix the economy.
John Huntsman, making his GOP debate debut, had especially harsh words for the president. "The people in this nation know that President Obama has had two-and-a-half years to get it right on the most important issue we face, expanding the economy and creating jobs," Huntsman said. "He's fundamentally failed us."
Huntsman recently served in Obama’s administration as the United States ambassador to China.
With so many candidates already vying for the nomination of the GOP, each took a distinct plan to separate themselves not just from current President Barack Obama, but from each other.
Jon Huntmans was called out by Fox News’ Chris Wallace for perhaps “running for president in the wrong party,” to which Huntsman played up the fact that his own ideologies are perhaps further leaning to the left than any other GOP candidate.
Both Romney and Herman Cain both harped on their past as businessman, expressing that America needs someone that can create jobs at a time when politicians without business experience has left the economy crumbled.
Thursday night's debate occurred two days before the Ames Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa. Gov. Perry is expected to announce his candidacy that same day from South Carolina.