The others neither distinguished themselves nor embarrassed themselves. Pizza businessman Michael Cain had the least to recommend him, but no one is taking him seriously.
With some slight differences among them, all of the Republicans would create jobs by cutting taxes – especially corporate and capital gains - and regulation, as well as repeal Dodd-Frank and the EPA. None would have supported the bail-out for the auto industry, which may have saved over a million jobs and which is being paid back.
All would repeal Obama-care and, in varying degrees, introduce more market dynamics into Medicare. Most preferred the old “don’t ask; don’t tell” approach to gays in the military but would listen to the military before going back to it. Gay marriage would be a no-no for all, with Pawlenty, Romney, Gingrich and Bachmann favoring a Constitutional ban on it.
The consensus was that Obama had failed in growing the economy, controlling the growth in government and, but for the demise of Osama bin Laden, failed in foreign policy. Former Ambassador John Huntsman, who did not participate in the debate, no doubt will have more light to shed on the latter. With Independents able to take either ballot in the New Hampshire primary and no contest to lure them into the Democratic side (Remember Obama v. Clinton in '08), they could play in the GOP arena and provide surprising support for Huntsman.
This debate was too much to cover with too many candidates. Future debates should focus on particular issue areas, e.g., the economy, energy and the environment, foreign policy and so on. For now, though, the Republicans are off to a decent start.
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