Ron Paul Lands Punches in ABC Debate
Vaulting above the fray, Congressman Ron Paul emerges as the clear winner on substance.
by Jake Morphonios
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Republican presidential hopefuls squared off Saturday night in Des Moines, Iowa at the ABC News Republican Debate. All eyes were watching for a showdown between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker of the House rose quickly in national polls following the demise of the Herman Cain campaign, challenging the frontrunner status of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
ABC News moderators George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer successfully turned Gingrich and Romney against each other early in the debate, leading to hostile exchanges. One such exchange occurred as Romney accused Gingrich of being a career politician – to which Gingrich responded, “The only reason you didn't become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.”
As the moderators baited the other candidates to snipe at “Newt-Romney”, one candidate remained above the fray and stayed on message. It was Texas congressman Ron Paul who delivered the most substantive responses and drew the loudest applause.
Early in the debate Congressman Paul was asked to comment on Gingrich’s flip-flopping. "He's been on so many positions on so many issues," Paul responded, but drew attention to his own record, stating, "you might have a little bit of trouble competing with me on consistency."
On the subject of Gingrich’s earnings from Freddie Mac, Paul said, "He was earning a lot of money from Freddie Mac while I was fighting over a decade to try to explain to people where the housing bubble was coming from,” In a rebuke of the former Speaker, Paul added, "I think you probably got some of our taxpayers' money."
Earlier in the week, Gingrich sparked a strong rebuke from the Middle East when he stated his belief that “the Jewish people have the right to a state … Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire.” When asked to weigh in on the comment, Paul pointed out that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis had a state under the Ottoman Empire and that Gingrich’s comment was simply “stirring up trouble” by meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.
The debate moderators continued to keep the spotlight on Newt Gingrich. However, when asked about Gingrich’s multiple marital infidelities, Congressman Paul chose instead to emphasize the sacred duty of elected officials to uphold their oaths of office. Later, in a nod to the Texas congressman by the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry thanked Paul for helping him develop an interest in monetary policy and the Federal Reserve.
While many media pundits are content to ignore Paul’s message, the congressman is poised to pull off an upset in Iowa. Congressman Paul is currently polling in second place in most Iowa polls. As Paul himself pointed out, it’s hard to compete with him on the consistency of his message. And in Iowa, that message is catching fire.
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