Texas Candidates Make Final Case to Iowa
Thursday night’s Fox News Republican debate in Sioux City was billed as a chance for the GOP presidential candidates to give their closing arguments to Iowans. They will hold the first nominating contest in the nation on January 3rd.
The debate came just a day after Governor Rick Perry kicked off his Iowa bus tour. He said Wednesday that he hoped the tour will get caucus-goers to give him a 2nd look and another chance to be the GOP nominee. He played up that narrative early in the debate, saying he was ready to make the kind of last minute comeback that current NFL Quarterback Tim Tebow has become famous for this year.
“And you know he won two national championships. We were the national champions in job creation back in Texas. So but am I ready for the next level, let me tell you – I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses,” Perry said.
He’s still quite a few yards short of a touchdown in Iowa. Some polls have Perry up to fourth place here. He didn’t have any missteps Thursday night that would set him back. Perry even had one of the night’s biggest applause lines, when he attacked Newt Gingrich for working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“And the idea that you can’t tell the difference between lobbying and consulting. The idea that we have Congress staying there as many days that they do with the salary they have,” Perry said, “that’s the reason I’ve called for a part-time Congress. Cut their pay in half. Cut their time in Washington in half. Cut their staff in half. Send them home. Let them get a job like everyone else back home has.”
For Congressman Ron Paul, the night highlighted how some of his views put him in direct opposition with many of the GOP candidates, and even with many conservative Iowa caucus-goers. After Newt Gingrich and others called for the elimination of what they perceive as liberal activist federal courts, Paul stepped in.
“O.k. there are 10 courts. Let’s get rid of three this year because they ruled in a way we didn’t like. That to me is I think opening up a can of worms for us and would lead to trouble. But I really, really question this idea that Congress could subpoena judges and bring them before the Congress. That’s a real affront to the separation of powers,” Paul said.
He also took issue with many of the other candidates’ ideas on how to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Paul was especially vocal after former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said Iran doesn’t hate the United States because we might attack them or issue sanctions, but “because of who we are and what we believe in.”
“To declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same. This is dangerous talk,” Paul responded, “yeah there are some radicals but they don’t come here to kill us because we’re free and prosperous. Do they go to Switzerland and Sweden? I mean that’s absurd.”
Now the candidates hit the road. Most polls put Ron Paul in third place in Iowa. He’ll try to capitalize on that base of support to pull off what would be a surprise win here. Meantime, Perry hops back on the bus, barnstorming around the state, in an attempt to beat what are now low caucus expectations.