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Bradley in DC
01-31-2008, 08:24 AM
http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/

Not Tough Enough

What were the final four GOPers selling at tonight's CNN debate?

McCain: Leadership. Experience. Reliability on national security issues (using the surge's success to make his point). Conservatism. His participation in the Reagan Revolution. His affection for tax cuts. And those newspaper endorsements (especially the two Massachusetts papers, which chose him over the homestate guv).

Romney: Leadership. Experience. Reliability on fiscal issues. Conservatism. Affection for strict constructionist judges. Washington outsiderism. Support for Iraq war (despite McCain's pointed references to Romney's statement in favor of a timetable for withdrawal).

Huckabee: The merits of including him in the debate. His modesty (ie I wouldn't presume to posit that RR would endorse me. Similarly dodged a question about appropriateness of Sandra Day O'Connor appointment to high court).

Paul: End to Iraq war. Less govt.

Ok, so this was a largely nicey nice debate, what gives? Bad questions (Would Reagan endorse you? Puleeze ...)? A leading challenger -- Romney -- who, as McCain collects high profile endorsements post Florida, is resigned to his fate?

Regardless of the reasons, the dynamic serves one candidate: McCain. The party seems to be coalescing around McCain; Gov. Charlie Crist pre Florida, Rudy Giuliani today, Cali Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tomorrow. Sure, these guys are moderates. They certainly don't represent the party's conservative base. But the conservative base seems to have lost its way this season. Maybe it was inevitable after eight years of losing its way with Mr. Compassionate Conservative himself in the White House.

Bottom line: "I do not think Mitt Romney got what he needed tonight." --David Gergen on CNN

(JENNIFER SKALKA)

Posted at 09:26 PM | Comments (2)

And Yet When They Speak ...

"How many men are you willing to let die for something that has nothing to do with our national security?"

-- Ron Paul chastising McCain and Romney for squabbling over the "technicalities" of an Iraq pullout when they both ultimately supported the policy

Bradley in DC
01-31-2008, 08:27 AM
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/01/30/republicans-are-unanimous-blame-china/

Republicans are Unanimous: Blame China
Alex Frangos reports from Simi Valley, Calif., on the Republican debate.

Here’s one for unanimity: All four Republican candidates took swipes at China on a host of issues at the debate tonight. Among their gripes, frontrunner Sen. John McCain dissed China for failures to control its pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are feeling here in California pollution from China. It is a global issue, and we have to address it globally,” said Mr. McCain. “And I would not agree to any global agreement without India and China being part of it,” he said.

Mitt Romney similarly knocked China for lax regulations on clear air. “What happens if you do that? You put a big burden on energy in this country as the energy-intensive industries say, ‘We’re going to move our new facilities from America to China, where they don’t have those agreements.’”

Romney also aligned foreign policy and the Chinese economic system. “Then there’s China, which is saying we’re going to use communism, plus sort of a Wild West form of a free enterprise.”

Mike Huckabee offered a separate criticism, connecting China with the upcoming tax rebates in the proposed economic stimulus package. “Well, if we end up with the rebates, we’re going to borrow the $150 billion from China. And when we turn it into rebates, most people are going to go out and buy some consumables like a pair of shoes that they probably don’t even need, but they’re going to buy them, and they’re most likely an import from China. My point is, whose economy are we stimulating when we do that?”

Rep. Ron Paul, who has made monetary policy a signature issue of his long-shot candidacy, warned of the dangers in allowing China to own so much of the national debt. “We have a $1 trillion foreign operation to operate our empire. That’s where the money is. You can’t keep borrowing from China. You can’t keep printing the money.”

In a rare moment of agreement between the two Republicans, McCain concurred. “One place where Ron Paul and I are in total agreement, spending is out of control. And I’m tired of borrowing money from China.”