First Republican Debate: Some Who Missed the “First Cut” Are Actually a “Cut Above”

[RELATED on OCR: First Republican Debate: Second Session or “Top Ten”]

Fox News moderated the first televised Republican “debate” of the 2016 Presidential campaign in two segments on August 6, 2015.   (Debate is in quotes because the number of contestants did not allow for a true debate venue, but more of a “group interview” as was pointed out to me.)  The earlier session was for those candidates not currently in the top ten of preference among likely Republican voters.  While they didn’t qualify for the main event, some in the first group displayed a strong grasp of what it will take to pull our nation out of the deepening decline which has been accelerating since January 20, 2009.

The following is a collection of key answers given to various issues presented by moderators Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.  Many quotes are inserted because, while the television ratings were excellent, millions of potential voters did not see the two events.

A reminder:  not every question was presented to all candidates.  Responses which were given at different times have been group under a topic, not chronological, heading.  An assessment of each candidate’s perceived ability to be our Chief Executive will be given in the conclusion along with government career alternatives where applicable!

The Economy and Federal Government Programs

Sen. Rick Santorum (former senator from Pennsylvania 1995-2007):  We need better paying jobs and the way to do this is to return the U.S. to the number one position in manufacturing.  His “2020 Perfect Vision for America” plan includes a 20% flat tax and “it will take a blow torch to the IRS.”  Also, as a Republican leader in the Senate, he helped pass welfare reforms with a veto-proof 70% vote in 1996.  As a next step, he proposes work requirements and time limits for food stamps, Medicaid and housing programs.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina):  To spur the U.S. economy, he declared three “I will’s” upon becoming President:  1) replace Obamacare  2) build the Keystone pipeline  3) change Dodd-Frank1,2.  He stressed that we must change Obama’s policies and that Hillary Clinton “represents a third term of a failed presidency.”

“When it comes to fossil fuels, we are going to find more here and use less.  Over time we’re going to become energy independent.  I’m tired of sending $300 billion overseas to people who hate our guts.  The choice between a weak economy and a strong environment is a false choice.”

Social Security:  We must cooperate or we will lose this and Medicare.  He knows what’s it’s like to depend on Social Security.  He was in his early 20’s when his parents died within two years of each other.  They lived in the back of the family’s restaurant business.

“Every penny we got from Social Security, because my sister was a minor, we needed.  Today I’m 60.  I’m not married, I don’t have any kids.  I would give up some Social Security to save the system that Americans are going to depend on now and in the future.  Half of American seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check.”

Gov. Jim Gilmore (former governor of Virginia 1998-2002):  The economy must grow so that dependency on welfare is not needed as much.  He proposes three tax brackets, 10/15/25%.  All commercial activity and businesses would be in the 15% bracket which will make us more globally competitive.  He would also eliminate the “death tax.”  Current drags on the economy caused by Obama and Hillary Clinton are “too big regulations, like the EPA and too much new taxes on businesses like we have seen and Obamacare.”

Gov. George Pataki (governor of New York 1995-2006):  He doesn’t believe we need a culture change to get people from expecting handouts to wanting jobs in the U.S.  He believes that most are trapped in dependency because federal and state governments “had made it in their economic interest not to take a job because the benefits, if they didn’t work, were better.  I changed that.  We put in place mandatory workfare, but we allowed people to keep health care.  We put in place child care support.”  Upon entering the office, he would enact a hard hiring freeze on all government employees except for those involved with defense.

Carly Fiorina (former CEO of Hewlett-Packard 1999-2005):  In the segment about what executive orders she would initiate first, she gave as part of her conservative philosophy:  “… because I believe that no one of us is any better than any one of us.  Every one of us is gifted by God, whether it’s those poor babies being picked over or it’s someone’s life who’s tangled up in a web of dependence.”

Later:  “We have arrived at a point in our nation’s history where the potential of this nation and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana):  expressed the popular belief that better paying jobs are required.  He stated that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton “are working hard to turn the American dream into the European nightmare.  They do celebrate more dependence on government.”

When asked about Ohio Governor Kasich agreeing to take the Medicare expansion in his state, Gov. Jindal said it was a mistake which is why he declined it in Louisiana.  He said the implementation of Obamacare in his state would have meant that for every uninsured person added to private insurance rolls; it would have resulted in one or more losing their existing health insurance or losing their opportunity to get private health insurance.  “We’re going to have too many people in the cart rather than pulling the cart.  This isn’t free money… We are borrowing money from China.”

Our situation has deteriorated to the extent that the President said just the day before that we “no longer have any leverage with China to get a better deal on Iran because we need them to lend us money to continue operating our government.  The President of the United States is admitting that he’s weakening our government’s position, our foreign policy standing, because he can’t control spending in D.C. ”3  In addition, the Oregon Study showed that “simply expanding Medicaid does not improve health care outcomes.”4  So, in Louisiana, better paying jobs are leading the way to better health care.

Meanwhile, his policies of reducing government have led his state to receiving eight credit upgrades and Louisiana is now in the top ten for private sector job creation.


Pataki:  “We need to build our military so we can stand up to radical Islam.”  Regarding the question of reconciling freedom of religion with what some have proposed- putting mosques under surveillance:  “Religious liberty does not include encouraging a fellow American to engage in violent jihad and killing American(s) here.  That is not protected free speech.  That is not protected religious belief… We have to shut down their internet capability.”  He reiterated that preaching radicalism is not protected whether it’s in a prison or in a mosque.  Reminding the audience that he was governor of New York at the time of the 9/11 attacks:  “I know that we are at greater risk today than at any time since then of another attack.  We have got to destroy their training camps over there, before they can attack us here.”
While he does not agree that we must occupy and spend another trillion dollars as we have in Arab countries, he left the door open for that possibility.  “I would not place one American life at risk unless it was absolutely necessary.  But to destroy ISIS, it is necessary.”

Fiorina:  She responded to the conflict between recognizing that terrorists can hide behind internet cyberwalls, yet we don’t want the privacy violations which Sen. Rand Paul predicts if these cyberwalls are brought down.  To Ms. Fiorina, it is disturbing that we continue to learn that we missed preventing some attacks (including the Boston Marathon bombers). “We had warning signals”, but “it turns out that some dot was not connected.”

“I certainly support that we need to tear down cyberwalls, not on a mass basis, but on a targeted basis.”  She also stressed that we need to be aware that “China and Russia are using technology to attack us just as ISIS is using technology to recruit those who would murder American citizens.  I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen’s privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are already a problem.”

Graham:  (taken from the question on executive orders)  “Restore the NSA which has been gutted.  We’re going dark when it comes to detecting the next attack.”

Gilmore:  He was chairman of the National Commission on Homeland Security, which gave warnings prior to the 9/11 attack.

“We need to use the benefit of our law enforcement people across this country, combined with our intelligence people across this country.  We need to use our technological advantages because what we have warned of is an international guerilla movement that threatens this country.  It’s going to happen in this country.  There are going to be further attacks.  We have to be prepared to defend the American people, prepare them for a long war, stand up for the defense of this country and stand up for the values of this country.”

Jindal:  (in response to how would he deal with the problem of terrorism differently)  “Well, to start with, unlike President Obama, I’ll actually name the enemy that we confront.  We’ve got a president who cannot bring himself to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’  Now, Bill (Hemmer), he loves to criticize America, apologize for us, criticize medieval Christians, how can we beat an enemy if our commander-in-chief doesn’t have the moral honesty and clarity to say that Islam has a problem and that problem is radical Islam… We’re going to take the political handcuffs off the military.  We will arm and train the Kurds.  We will work with our Sunni allies.  They (will) know we will be committed to victory.”

The Middle East

Gov. Rick Perry (Texas):   The recent deal with Iran puts the U.S. on the side with terrorists as well provides $150 billion to a country which has killed our Marines in Lebanon and troops in Iran.  He “would tear up the agreement” on his first day in office.  A coalition is needed to stop ISIS.

Graham:  In response to why should Americans, after two wars in Iraq, support a third war there:

“If we don’t stop them over there, they are coming here just as sure as I stand here in front of you.  One thing I want to be clear about tonight, if you are running for president of the United States and you don’t understand that we need more American ground forces in Iraq, and that America has to be part of a regional ground force that will go into Syria and destroy ISIL in Syria, then you’re not ready to be Commander-in-Chief, and you’re not serious about destroying ISIL.”

His discussions with generals have concluded that air strikes alone will not reach the objective.  “According to the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence,  Syria is becoming a perfect platform to strike our nation.  I’ve got a very simple strategy as your president against ISIL:  whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat them.”

Fiorina:  “Iran is at the heart of most of the evil in the Middle East… and when America does not lead, the world is a dangerous and a tragic place.”  Spurred by this belief, she would call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on her first day in office and assure him that the U.S. would stand by his nation.  On day #2, she would call the supreme leader of Iran and make sure he gets the message: “Until you open every nuclear and every military facility to full, open, anytime and anywhere for real inspections, we are going to make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system.”

Even if Congress says “no” to the current deal, realistically, the money will still be flowing.  “China and Russia have never been on our side of the table.  The Europeans have moved on, so we have to stop the money flow.”

She would also have a Camp David summit with our Arab allies to find out what they need to defeat ISIL.  King Abdullah of Jordan, whom she has known for a long time, has asked us for assistance, and since we have not been helpful, “he has gone to China.  The Kurds have been asking us to arm them for three years and we haven’t done so.  The Egyptians have asked us to share intelligence, we’re not doing it.  We have Arab allies.  They’re not perfect.  I know every one.  But they need to see leadership, support and resolve from the United States of America and we can help them defeat ISIS.”

Gilmore:  “It is Iran which is the expansionist power.  ISIL is trying to create themselves into a new state.  Our job has to be to recognize the conflict between the two.  I have proposed that there would be a Middle East NATO, so that we can combine our allies there, to stand up to Iranian expansion.  And at the same time, to join together to begin to stop in this ISIL thing before it becomes an actual state.”

The Supreme Court and Social Issues

This segment began with Bill Hemmer saying that since it had been forty-two years since the Roe v. Wade decision, is it time to simply accept it as the law of the land?  With the recent ruling on same-sex marriage, is that now settled law, too?

Santorum:  “Same-sex marriage is not settled law any more than Dred Scott5  was to Lincoln.”  That decision came from “a rogue Supreme Court” as was the recent marriage decision by our current Court. In a similar way, when the Court ruled that a law banning on partial-birth abortion was unconstitutional, he didn’t just say,”Oh well, we lost. It’s the law of the land.”  Instead, he led a bi-partisan effort to pass new legislation on this same issue and the Court eventually sided with them.  Later, on executive orders, he would sign one ensuring that “people of faith are not harassed and persecuted by the federal government for standing up for their religious beliefs.”

Gilmore:  He does not propose a litmus test for determining Court appointees, rather we need to “appoint Supreme Court justices who will follow the law, not try to make the law.”

Pataki:  He believes that human life begins at conception, but that it no longer makes sense to try to change the law.  He wants to make the practice of not using taxpayer money for abortions permanent.  Since the unborn child is viable at twenty weeks, he said we should protect life at that stage.  It is the other side led by Clinton and Biden which is ignoring science, not the Republicans, by allowing abortion beyond that stage.

Jindal:  “Planned Parenthood had better hope that Hillary Clinton wins” because at the very beginning of his administration, he would send the Dept. of Justice, the IRS and whatever other federal agency would be needed to investigate them.  Planned Parenthood must be defunded.  In his state, the FBI assisted in getting them kicked out of Medicaid even though they were not providing abortions.  Later, on the question about executive orders, he would sign an order protecting religious groups and businesses so that they are not discriminated against for having a traditional view of marriage.

Graham:  Stopping the harvesting of fetal organs is not a “war on women” – that war is going on in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where he has visited many times.  The money being given to Planned Parenthood should instead be used for women’s health care.  Later, in another question about executive orders, he said he would change the Mexico City Policy 6 and “not take one dime of taxpayer money to fund abortion organizations overseas.”


Santorum:  When asked what he would say to families who could be broken apart by his policy:  shortly after his father was born in Italy, his grandfather came to the U.S.  However, under the laws at that time, Santorum’s father was not allowed to see his father for seven years, but had to remain in Fascist Mussolini-led Italy.  Did his father resent not getting to see his father during those formative years?  His father replied, “America was worth the wait.”

The Senator went on to say:

“We are a country of laws, not of men, not of people who do what they want to do… The reason [America is a great country], is because our compassion is in our laws.  And when we live by those laws and we treat everybody equally under the law that’s when people feel good about being Americans.”
He claims to have proposed the strongest pro-immigration worker plan.

Gilmore:  [taken from the segment about executive orders]  “The President has done an executive order with respect to illegal immigration, that is illegal.  And it creates a contempt for law, for the rule of law.”

Jindal:  “Immigration without assimilation is invasion.”  Those who wish to come here, must do so legally, learn English, etc.  “I’m tired of the hyphenated Americans  and the division.”  Later, answering the question about executive orders, “I’d also go after these sanctuary cities.  Do everything we can to make sure we are actually prosecuting and cutting off funding for cities that are harboring illegal aliens.”

Perry:  Early:  “And nobody – nobody on either one of these stages has done more than I’ve done and the people of Texas to deal with securing that border.  We sent our Texas recon teams.  We sent our parks and wildlife wardens.  I’ve deployed the National Guard after I stood on the ramp in Dallas, Texas and looked at the President of the United States straight in the eye and said, ‘Mr. President, if you won’t secure the border, then Texas will.’”
Later:  Americans are not going to trust Washington D.C. when it comes to illegal immigration.  Thirty years after Reagan signed what amounted to an amnesty for four million people and the border is still not secure.

As governor of Texas and its 1,200 mile border for fourteen years, he knows that:

“We have to put the personnel on the border in the right places.  You have to put the strategic fencing in place.  And you have to have aviation assets that fly all the way from Tijuana to El Paso to Brownsville, Texas.  Nineteen hundred and thirty-three miles looking down 24/7 with the technology to be able to be able to identify what individuals are doing and I.D. when there are obviously illegal activities, or suspicious activities, and quick response teams that come at that particular point in time, then Americans will believe that Washington is up to a conversation to deal with the millions of people that are here illegally, but not until.”

The  Trump  Phenomenon

This segment actually occurred early in the session, but it was placed here so as not to give it an implied importance.  Donald Trump is someone that will have to be dealt with, at least for the short term, while voters are intrigued by his independent and brazen style.  Whether he becomes a candidate of real substance, and with the potential for winning, remains to be seen.

Fiorina:  “Well, I don’t know.  I didn’t get a phone call from Bill Clinton, before I jumped into the race.  Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton?  I didn’t, maybe it’s because I hadn’t given any money to the Foundation, donated to his wife’s senate campaign.  Here’s the thing that I would ask Donald Trump in all seriousness.  He is the party’s frontrunner right now and good for him.  I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel.  They’re sick of politics as usual.  You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would be resolved, the political class has failed you.  That’s just a fact and that’s what Donald Trump taps into.  I would also just say this, that since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion, I would just ask what are the principles by which he will govern?”

Perry:  “When you look at the celebrity of Donald Trump, then I think that says a lot about him… I’ve had my issues with Donald Trump.  I talked about Donald Trump from the standpoint of being an individual who was using his celebrity rather than his conservatism.  How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single-payer health care?  I mean I ask that with all due respect.”

Candidate  Evaluation [in alphabetical order]

Fiorina:  Carly is the ideal executive-type to be our nation’s Chief Executive.  Straight-forward, direct and credible approach.   She knows how business works, how world political power  works and has the conviction to solve problems.  As she stated in this debate, she has worked with more world leaders than anyone else in the race with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton.  Unlike our former Secretary of State, Fiorina gets things accomplished and in an ethical manner.

If another candidate were to choose her as Vice President, he would make good use of her talents only if she were allowed to be a strong VP.

Appropriate Cabinet and other positions:  Secretary of State (her strength of character and familiarity with many world leaders),  Secretary of Commerce or “Energy Czar” or Head of the EPA (she would eliminate frivolous barriers),  Head of NSA (appreciation for national security and citizens’ privacy)

Gilmore:  The former governor of Virginia retains his leadership presence.   Sadly, today’s society is enamored with glitz and its distorted definition of charisma, so it would be unlikely to appreciate his obvious ability to lead and be head of our nation.

Alternative positions:  Vice President (has the tools to handle the top spot in a crisis despite his unflashy image!), Secretary of State (his strength of presence would be valuable in dealings with the rest of the world fortunately), Secretary of Defense (realistic view of foreign dangers, knowledge and apparent willingness to take advice of other competents),  Head of FBI, CIA or NSA (valuable experience in these areas and maturity to act responsibly), DOJ or IRS (background as state attorney general and prosecutor, would eliminate widespread nonsense in these organizations).  He’s a “keeper” for any president

Graham:  Clearly a sincere, thoughtful and honorable man.  Reminiscent of former President Jimmy Carter, so you know where that leads.

Alternative positions:  “Energy czar” (seems to have the critical appreciation that a strong economy and environment are not mutually exclusive, wants us to be more energy dependent while reducing use of fossil fuels), Secretary of Defense (has a clear passion for protecting lives and the security of our nation, knows that the real “war on women” is occurring in the Middle East), Secretary of HHS (his respect for the dignity of human life is essential here), Head of VA (compassion, he would strive to be “worthy of their respect” if President),  SSA (understands that Social Security and Medicare don’t survive unless cooperation and compassion rule the day)

Jindal:  Solid leader, would be a fine President.  Has led Louisiana through the crisis of Katrina and failed education system.  Knows that assimilation is the key to a unified nation, not racial division or blanket amnesty for the sake of votes.  Could truly be a unifier on the basis of his mixed heritage and fair approach.

Appropriate positions:  Could be a strong VP like Carly Fiorina, Secretary of Education (would likely work himself out of this job because he understands that education works best at the local level, he’s done it, not to mention the fact that the Dept. of Education is unconstitutional 7), Secretary of HHS (proved that Obamacare is not the answer, but a major problem), Secretary of State (again, his heritage gives him a world view of society not restricted to U.S. goals which can impede dialogue)

Perry:  His Texas can-do style could lead the U.S. out of its self-incriminating and self-doubt perpetuated by President Obama which leads to national paralysis.  Unlike the larger, liberal and financially disastrous California, he has led the world’s 12th largest economy (Texas) to vast improvements in high school graduation (from 27th to 2nd) and business/jobs creation.  Only obstacle are those who superficial enough to be preoccupied with his style of glasses.

Appropriate positions:  Director of Homeland Security or NSA (he has dealt with Texas’ border problem despite Obama’s unwillingness to block future Democratic wannabees from coming over illegally), Secretary of Commerce or Agriculture or Energy (knows how to make a large economy thrive),  Secretary of Education (has the record to prove it)

Pataki:  Despite his ability to defeat an incumbent liberal governor in a liberal state, there’s “something missing” in addition to his less-than-dedicated pro-life position.

Alternative positions:  Secretary of HHS or HUD (his belief that most want to work to achieve a better life could bring balance to the Democratic-led dependency strategy of these departments), Secretary of Labor (again, his belief that most people want to work could lead to innovative solutions to the decades long battle with big business)

Santorum:  Finished #2 in 2012 and, like Sen. Graham. is “saddled” with a too-nice-a-guy image despite his bulldog record in the Senate.  Our nation would do well to have him as leader over all of the Democratic candidates, but sociology indicates we’re not smart enough as a whole to elect him.  His “flat tax” proposal hurts more than his true pro-life position helps.

Alternative positions:   VP (as president of the Senate, he might be able to infuse some common sense in that chamber), Attorney General (would work to restore constitutional protections to all people, including people of faith), Secretary of HHS (need another anti-Obamacare proponent in the Cabinet), Secretary of Commerce or other ancillary departments like Energy and Interior (his vision to restore the U.S. to its manufacturing lead with bi-partisan support)

Featured-Columnist---Tony-RubioOscar A. (Tony) Rubio is a writer who merges the lessons of history with current events to suggest a better path.  This Cincinnati native resides in Clermont county and believes that our national mood would be improved if we listened to more Big Band and Jazz.  He is certain that we must take action on the local and state levels now if we are to realize our hope that the White House will be occupied by the party which respects human life, the Constitution and Natural Law beginning on January 20, 2017.  Tony blogs at and

All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.

1 – “A compendium of federal regulations, primarily affecting financial institutions and their customers, that the Obama administration passed in 2010 in an attempt to prevent the recurrence of events that caused the 2008 financial crisis. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly referred to as simply “Dodd-Frank”, is supposed to lower risk in various parts of the U.S. financial system. It is named after U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd and U.S. Representative Barney Frank because of their significant involvement in the act’s creation and passage… Dodd-Frank established new government agencies such as the Financial Stability Oversight Council and Orderly Liquidation Authority, which monitors the performance of companies deemed “too big to fail” in order to prevent a widespread economic collapse… The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is tasked with preventing predatory mortgage lending, improving the clarity of mortgage paperwork for consumers and reducing incentives for mortgage brokers to push home buyers into more expensive loans. The CFPB has also changed the way credit card companies and other consumer lenders disclose their terms to consumers. It requires loan terms to be presented in a new, easy-to-read-and-understand format… The Volcker Rule, another key component of Dodd-Frank, restricts the ways banks can invest and regulates trading in derivatives.” Taken from terms/d/dodd-frank-financial- regulatory-reform-bill.asp
2 – The five best aspects of this Act according to “consumer and reform advocates” and the five worst aspects in the opinion of “financial firms and their allies” are described in “The 5 Best and 5 Worst Regulations in Dodd-Frank,” by Katherine Reynolds Lewis, The Fiscal Times, 7/19/2011, Articles/2011/07/19/The-5- Best-and-5-Worst-Regulations- in-Dodd-Frank.  Five best:  1) Mortgage market reform  2) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  3) Oversight of derivatives  4) Power to address systemic threats  5) Investor protections.  Five worst:  1) New capital standards and derivative rules  2) Interchange fees  3) The Volcker rule  4) Overlapping rules of the road  5) No housing reform.
3 – bringing to fruition what Dinesh D’Souza warned us in “Dinesh D’Souza on Obama’s Views of Israel, v/952722593001/dinesh-dsouza- on-obamas-views-of-israel/?# sp=show-clips, 5/20/2011, that Obama’s mission is to bring the United States down a few notches because we have more than we deserve.
4 — and 10.1056/NEJMsa1212321
5 – “Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri. From 1833 to 1843, he resided in Illinois (a free state) and in an area of the Louisiana Territory, where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. After returning to Missouri, Scott sued unsuccessfully in the Missouri courts for his freedom, claiming that his residence in free territory made him a free man. Scott then brought a new suit in federal court. Scott’s master maintained that no pure-blooded Negro of African descent and the descendant of slaves could be a citizen in the sense of Article III of the Constitution.” The Court ruled 7-2 that Scott was still a slave. From 1851-1900/1856/1856_0/
6 – “In 1984 President Reagan put in place an administration policy called the Mexico City Policy. It specified that federal funds for family planning are available only to foreign nongovernmental organizations that agree not to perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. This policy respected the rights and dignity of poor persons living in the Third World. The Mexico City Policy was rescinded by President Clinton in 1993, reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001, and again rescinded by President Obama in 2009. The rights of poor people around the world are again placed at risk, especially with the ever increasing amounts of federal funds being appropriated each year for international family planning.”
From datasource/ifactsheets/ 7mcpFS14b%2010.pdf
7 – see OCR article “Common Core: Slingshot to Progress or Spiderweb, Part 5 of 5”

U.S. to its manufacturing lead with bi-partisan support)