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BLITZER’S BLOG: GOP candidates throw punches
August 12th, 2011
02:43 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: GOP candidates throw punches

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) – The Republican presidential debate in Iowa was lively. It showed that the eight candidates on the stage can in fact throw punches not only at President Obama, but also at each other, and even at the debate moderators.

By and large, they ignored President Reagan’s old 11th Commandment: “Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

The exchanges between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann were intense.

Newt Gingrich’s blasting of the Fox News questioners was surprising given that he used to work with them.

Ron Paul showed that he’s not afraid to move away from the conventional Republican positions on Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rick Santorum minced no words lashing out against Paul, and Paul hit him right back.

Mitt Romney, arguably the front-runner, largely stayed above the fray – which, for a front-runner, is smart. But he has to start worrying big time about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who could pose a real challenge to the former Massachusetts governor.

All eight candidates raised their hands when asked if they would reject even a lopsided 10-to-1 proposal to reduce the nation’s deficit – meaning cutting $10 of government spending for every $1 of increased taxes. They obviously take their “No New Taxes” pledge to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform seriously. Even Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor, raised his hand even though he didn’t sign the pledge.

I’ll have my chance to question the GOP candidates when I moderate the presidential debate in Tampa on September 12.

RELATED STORY: Bachmann, Pawlenty tensions boil over in Iowa debate

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Filed under: 2012 election • Republicans • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Marilyn in Texas

    Herman Cain said the same thing as Paul about assassinating Awlaki. Why hasn't the media come down on him like they have Paul?

    October 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  2. Karl in California

    I saw Wolf Blitzer's interview of Ron Paul, and I found it one of the best interviews given Congressman Paul. Mr. Blitzer allowed him plenty of time to answer questions and didn't rush through. It allowed us to see just how humble a man Congressman Paul is and how clearly and well thought out his ideas are. I also appreciated Mr. Blitzer pointing out that it was odd that Gov Perry didn't know one of the most distinguished Congressmen (Ron Paul) especially considering he's from the same state.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  3. Barry McGee, Virginia

    I keep hearing this talk about raising taxes on large Corp. & the rich. It's misleading. I worked for the C&O railroad for 25 yrs. now CSX. I remember about 15 yrs ago CSX grossed 7,000,000,000 & paid NO taxes an recieved a $435 million tax credit as do other large Corp. What there rate is and what they pay are tottally seperate. Would you please explain what they pay not there rate. Who cares what the rate is if they get credits & pay nothing. Barry

    August 17, 2011 at 7:16 am |
  4. Brandy

    I know the Presidents hands are tied due to the officials in Congress, however, President Obama needs to tell the American people just how everything is, be honest with the American people and what is his plan to get the economy and jobs back on track. What would he do if he didnt have Congress to contend with.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  5. JL in North Carolina

    I'd be interested in how many people 'don't even pay taxes' and profit from the people who do. I know a few. I'd also want to know how it seems to be so easy to steal from the government, such as the scams from medicare, and cult leaders who get tax breaks and receive welfare to boot. How is it possible for a drug dealer to 'receive taxes' from his drug runner and not one of these criminals pay taxes, yet we supply them with services from tax payers? And stop people who go bankrupt with hardly any hardship, except for others.

    I know there are many people who retired people who would be more then willing to help stop people who abuse the system.....

    August 16, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  6. John Moser

    This will get me added to your "enemies list".

    The liberal press and politicians never allows facts to get in the way of a good sound bite. The "Tea Party Downgrade" of the U.S. debt rating is a good example. The press conveniently overlooks the fact that Obama wanted a "clean bill" to raise the debt ceiling with no tax cuts at all. How much further down would S&P have downgraded out debt if he'd gotten his wish?

    August 14, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  7. LeeM

    I could hardly believe how the Situation Room distorted the Ron Paul – Rick Santorum exchange about Iran. You played Santorum's assertion that "The U.S. has been at war with Iran since 1979." You then played Paul's rejoinder that Santorum ". . . doesn't know his history. We've been at war with Iran for a lot longer than 1979 . . ." But you cut out the key continuation of Paul's statement, ". . . We've been at war with Iran since 1952 when we sent in a coup to overthrow their government."

    The whole point of Paul's assertion was that the U.S. initiated the conflict by helping overthrow Iran's more or less democratically elected government because they wanted their oil resources to benefit the Iranian people and not British and American oil companies. The deletion not only weakened Paul's argument but actually made it look like Paul was strengthening Santorum's argument by suggesting Iran was "even more dangerous" than Santorum was claiming.

    What it really shows is that the corporate media has no hesitation to suppress historical facts when they expose troubling examples of U.S. malfeasance in the Third World.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  8. rem43fl

    Sorry for the sentence gaffe.... Post should have read: Ted: Does Perry sound like someone we're likely to be rid of soon? In general, There's the problem with politics; change your opinion or idea to suit the political climate of the moment.... Which changes from moment to moment! Some day we will have a candidate that is anti-politics-as-usual. I don't know if anyone alive today will see that time come. But it wouldn't hurt to try. Maybe many people dislike his demeanor, but Newt has hit the nail on the head in regards to what needs to be done. It is wise to listen to the voice of experience~!

    August 13, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  9. rem43fl

    Ted: Does Perry sound like someone we're likely to be rid of soon? In general, There's the problem with politics; change your opinion or idea to suit the political climate of the moment.... Which changes from moment to moment! Some day we will have a candidate that is anti-politics-as-usual. I dSometimes it is wise to listen to the voice of experience..on't know if anyone alive today will see that time come. But it wouldn't hurt to try. Maybe many people dislike his demeanor, but Newt has hit the nail on the head in regards to what needs to be done. It is wise to listen to the voice of experience~!

    August 13, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  10. Jeff in New England

    I find it amazing that they absolutely won't budge on taxes.

    All of these Norquist zealots completey misunderstand the concept of Laffer curve. What the Laffer curve tells us is if the taxes are extremely high, net tax revenue decreases. If they're extremely low, net tax revenue decreases. What they completely fail to understand it is a curve. Nobody on this planet knows the actual shape of the curve. The top of that curve near the "sweet spot" might darn well be pretty flat. But there's a second curve that is the trajectory of our national debt. And we had that much more under control before the Bush tax cuts.

    During Bush's term, some falsely claim that the decrease in tax rates caused an increase in net revenue and an increase in economic activity and an increase in jobs. They have it completely wrong. What caused the temporary increases in prosperity during the Bush years (before the crash) was due to spending in the home mortgage industry based on the premise that the loans and housing prices were a solid investment.

    Rather than commit to a proposition that sinks our government and the world economy, put your biases aside and do some research.

    August 13, 2011 at 8:37 am |
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