The Fox 5 Republicans debated on Fox news, excluding Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter. Fox calls this the Fox Presidential Forum of Sunday Jan 6, 2008. Last night we heard the ABC News Facebook Republican and then Democratic Debate.
This was more subdued. They sat closer together at a table. The ABC News debate started with pitting Ron Paul against the others over the Iraq War. This made that debate more fractious. The Fox debate is not a love fest, but at times it was.
Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney argued over whether Huckabee had raised taxes 500 million in Arkansas. Eventually, Huckabee admitted that he had. This took a lot of effort and back and forth for Mitt Romney to pry it out of Huckabee.
The others agreed that Fred Thompson’s plan to save social security by switching the indexing from wages to inflation to be a good proposal. Mitt Romney said he would keep the initial amount at retirement pegged to wage gains from now to the time of retirement for low wage earners.
One problem, is that men’s median wages are the same now as in 1973. Men and women’s median wages have fallen in the last 2 years. See p60-233.pdf census.gov graph page 16. If wages are not going up, we don’t get the effect Thompson is trying to get. To make the Thompson program work we have to end immigration including student visas so that men and women’s median wages can resume their upward march.
Fred’s plan requires wages to rise faster than inflation. If they move up with inflation then it doesn’t work and social security is still going to run into trouble. So does Medicare.
Mitt Romney says we have to make sure we don’t lose jobs to China. But he wants legal immigration from China and wants the technical Ph.D. programs of America to be for Indians and Chinese not Americans, as well as the tech jobs they lead to. Fred’s immigration program goes part way but not far enough to stop immigration to restart the upward rise in American median wages that stopped in 1973 for men and still leaves women where men were in 1960.
Fred Thompson emphasized that we have to face entitlement programs that are facing failure.
Rudi Giuliani at one point said he was a supply sider who cut tax rates and raised tax revenues and the economy.
Fox Forum Part II National Security
This starts with a Mitt Romney ad.
Q: Don’t we need a leader with national security experience?
Romney: Governors v. senators. Senators say they have national security but the public picks governors for executive leadership, i.e. judgement, wisdom, temperament, willingness to reach out to other people, deliberative decision making, etc. People choose leaders, a person with executive leadership.
(The Democrats have 3 senators.)
Romney: We face a challenge from China and India. (But Romney keeps saying give H-1B’s from China and India our technical education, and control of our universities and tech companies and the right to exclude Americans from Ph.D. programs in favor of undergrads from their prof mentors back in India and China. )
John McCain: I know Musharraf. (Mush is responsible for actions from Kargil to Bhutto’s slaying including support of al Qaeda from the August 1998 attacks on US embassies to today.)
Romney: There have been great governors (who became president.) Not a senator to be president, but a governor.
(Governors Bush, Clinton and Carter?)
Chris Wallace: Heckles Huckabee as a question. The old Pakistan not under martial law charge. (Bhutto was killed while there was, according to Wallace no martial law.)
Rudi Giuliani: 8 years had safety of people as his responsibility. (He put his command center at WTC 7, when WTC had been a target of the 1993 attack. WTC7 had to be abandoned in the 9-11-2001 attack early on.) The Check from the Saudi Prince that he returned. Why didn’t he give it to the people who worked at the Mill that was closed in North Carolina that John Edwards always talks about?
Fred Thompson: National security more important than ever before. Add my countries to the list, Pakistan of course. On intelligence committee. Met with CIA officers in far off places. Takes on Huckabee for saying US foreign policy arrogant and for wanting to close down the architectural classic Gitmo Hotel and Resort.
Mike Huckabee: Court says same law applies to Gitmo and to U.S. Conditions too good at Gitmo.
Fred Thompson: They get habeas corpus rights if in US than in Gitmo.
Huckabee: Courts deciding that now.
Fred: Situation different (legally) if they are at Leavenworth than if at Gitmo.
McCain: Hundred retired generals and admirals have endorsed him.
Chris Wallace: Illegals pay fine and get a path to citizenship without leaving the U.S. under McCain plan. Isn’t that amnesty?
McCain: Z visa is not amnesty. 2 million in US illegally and they would not get amnesty. Go through naturalization, pay a fine, have a job required. Touchback provision for some. I have never supported amnesty and never will. Borders are broken. Secure borders and have governors of border states certify those borders. Temporary worker program that works. Brings up his scenario of grandparent of soldier fighting in Iraq who has to be deported. (This could be a separate case.)
Mitt Romney: Rule of law. Millions of people waiting in line. People waiting to be reunified with family. Skills we need. McCain plan get to stay rest of life if pay 5000. This is unfair to the people outside the US waiting in line. (Legal immigration is unfair to us, in any form.) In any form, amnesty is wrong. (Just like legal immigration that he supports.) Get in line, no special pathway. (End the line with no one coming here on any visa even student.)
John McCain: Chertoff said 2 million had committed crimes. Earned ability. Many will be deported. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it. De facto amnesty since the 12 million still here illegally.
Wallace: Huckabee you wanted to give children in state tuition and said don’t punish children for parents. Then you proposed (a touchback plan) for all illegals to go home.
Huckabee: No person should live in shadows or fear. (There will always be people doing that and always illegals. Amnesties bring more illegals as the French government said recently.) Build the fence. Go back and get in the back of the line. Children in school here. They will go back with parents. Can’t solve by throwing flash words at each other. My job as governor was to educate children. Same with Rudi as mayor of New York.
Wallace: Will a high school student have to move back to Arkansas. Isn’t that punishing them?
Huckabee: They come here for their families. Rhetoric of amnesty is pure nonsense. Get system can live with, don’t make this mistake again.
(That is a fallacy. All Western countries will have illegals for the next century at least. We have to end amnesties in all of them to send a unified message of no amnesty.)
Rudi Giuliani: Let them go to school, report crime and go to ER to get treatment. Humane and decent thing to do. Turned over every criminal to immigration service. Immigration service couldn’t deport even a percentage of them. I have best plan to fix it now. Fence, technological and physical fence. Can only stop at border. Tamper proof id card. (No employer sanctions. It can’t work. Half of those who are here illegally are visa overstays. ) English. Read and write required. (Then no more government forms in Spanish, Arabic, or Chinese?)
Wallace: To Fred Thompson. My friends had policies that if you made it in you were home free. What are we saying to parents and children in Mexico now. Are we saying they should try to come here. Its not good for them. We can’t have another 12 million for the next generation. Our entitlement programs are already overburdened. Economic conditions. President of Mexico chide us for enforcing the border. Exportation of own citizens is an economic necessity.
Trade net benefit for both countries. Best interest of our country we need to look out for.
==Part 3 Romney Attack Ads and Negative Campaigning
Romney: My ads tell them their record. If they think that’s negative, then that says something.
Huckabee: I am not totally persuaded. Half truths. Commutations. 8700 applications denied 90 percent. 18 year hot check at age 35 couldn’t get a job without a pardon.
(Wayne Dumond raped and killed after Huckabee got him released. Huckabee was told by the victims including other cases he wasn’t tried for not to let him go. Huckabee treated prosecutors with disdain and contempt. An aide told a prosecutor that Huckabee said to say Huckabee was laughing at him the prosecutor to want to have input on pardons or commutations, as the law required.)
Wallace: Lays the Kerik bomb and girl friend stories.
Rudi: Both are answered. Second one answered by NY Times on page 37. Bernie Kerik was a mistake. Appointed thousands of people. US Attorney got results against crime. Brought down welfare.
Wallace: Will nothing come out at Kerik trial?
Rudi: Absolutely. Nothing to do with me.
Wallace: McCain will be 72 on election day. One termer?
McCain: Won’t pledge one term.
Wallace: Why best nominee for Republican Party (and Fox News)?
Rudi: I can achieve the impossible, getting re-elected while Bush is president. (Spoof stage has started now.) America is not moving in wrong direction. (Its moving in the Kerik direction under Bush Clinton Bush.)
Fred: I am the only one who has never lost an election. Carried Tennessee twice. Received largest number of votes of anyone in history of Tennessee. Conservative judges. 100 percent pro life. Courage to speak the truth. 99-1 vote in senate where he was the only one. Better days ahead if we do our duty, the American people.
Huckabee: Huck the common man. Lower taxes, less spending, sanctity of human life. Practical experience for long period of times and get re-elected.
Romney: I love my kids and grandkids and America they will inherit worried about. (So he educates Indians and Chinese in physics Ph.D. programs instead of America’s kids?) Overcome global Jihad. Protect jobs in our country (from him and John Edwards and H-1B? He is for those.)
McCain: America’s greatest days are ahead of us. (Men’s median wages were higher in 1973. See p60-233 at census.gov graph page 16. Women’s median is what men’s were in 1960.)
This was a subdued quiet debate. They were pleasant to each other at times, although they also took each other on briefly. But not like last night at the ABC debate. There they got fractious and didn’t simmer down.
Frank Luntz Focus Group:
They love Romney. Pro life. Huckabee didn’t have conviction, couldn’t come forward with truthful answer on first question. They all thought that, raised their hands.
Blonde woman in glasses. Said Romney would take on China as competitor. (By giving them the MIT engineering program.)
Many thought Fred Thompson the weakest. He is just good at acting. Didn’t touch issues. Rambling constantly. (He has the best position on issues.) Man said not articulate. But another woman disagreed. Or was she talking about Romney as articulate.
I’m not voting for a pastor. His religion turns me off, Huckabee. Several thought that.
Good debate? Yes. They think Obama will be nominee. Romney can beat Obama. Because Romney comes across on TV well, and speaks with conviction. Has such presence. Speaks off the cuff.
Frank Luntz. Sophisticated voters. Issue oriented. Good night for Mitt Romney.
Romney was often, if not always, glib. This is what the focus group was buying. But Fred is right on immigration.