This debate wasn’t televised, but was streamed on the internet. It was held by The Family Leader, a Chrisitian organization based in Iowa, and moderated by Frank Luntz. Perhaps because they are Mormon, Romney and Huntsman didn’t attend. The subjects addressed were family values, faith, and social issues. It lasted a bit over two hours, and can still be viewed at The Family Leader debate.
There were no time controls. Each speaker had sufficient time to answer the question, and face time was very fair. The longest answer may have lasted about 4 minutes. There were no “gotcha” questions, no rebuttals, and no criticisms by one candidate toward another. The atmosphere was extremely friendly. As such, it was very enjoyable as compared with past debates held by the news networks.
Every candidate was impressive. I came away feeling they (Paul, Bachmann, Santorum, Cain, Perry, and Gingrich) are all dedicated people of faith. All have conservative values. Each of them would do their best as president.
In my opinion, Gingrich probably won the debate, with more substance in each answer. But no one was particularly bad.
I’ll paraphrase a few impressions of what I thought was said (from very brief notes):
Each emphasized the importance of God in his/her life.
Paul: government should not attempt to control morality . . . Liberty means choices that must be responsible . . . States have a right to be wrong . . . Education is not a federal government function . . . would not nationalize enforcement of abortion ban . . . was born in Pennsylvania, raised as a Lutheran . . . his biggest accomplishment was going into medical practice . . . was a terrific athlete until injured . . . would not support an amendment that marriage is between a man and a woman, but would support DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) . . . No war should be fought without declaration, therefore all wars since World War II are illegal.
Santorum: Left has taken over education . . . the law is a teacher of how people should behave . . . Gay marriage is wrong, and he will speak out against it as president . . . consequences of adoption by same sex couples are very bad . . . he actually helped reverse a Supreme Court decision . . . Congress can also say what is constitutional . . . told a very poignant story about his baby daughter, born with a severe disorder, and how he and his wife have fought to keep her alive . . . he is for an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman . . . education is broken, not serving real customer which is the parents, who are ultimately responsible for educating their children . . . oil allows Islam to wage war against us.
Bachmann: Christian ethic is based on the 10 commandments . . . a law passed by LBJ limits pastors as to what they may say . . . God created every aspect of life . . . Obamacare can trump states . . . will fight taxpayer-subsidized abortion under Obamacare . . . Congress should limit subject matter federal courts can address . . . When she was a girl, her parents divorced, and her mother lost everything, Michelle had to work and learned the value of a dollar . . . she didn’t see her father for six years . . . she championed marriage amendment for years in Minnesota, and received death threats . . . Minnesota is just now about to bring it to a vote . . . very strong on marriage is one man, one woman . . . wants to decentralize education . . . before going to war, nation must have a clearly defined national interest.
Cain: Christians are too passive when others criticize them, should fight back . . . tax code intimidates, should be revised . . . freedom without responsibility is immoral, example is Occupy Wall Street . . . founders of the nation set the moral bar . . . states can say no to the federal government . . . will support a federal ban on abortion . . . became a Christian at 10 . . . was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and his wife gave terrific support . . . is now cancer free . . . when asked what he has failed at that made him stronger now, said it was a series of little failures . . . very strong on one man, one woman . . . purpose of government is to level the playing field, insure fairness and respect for all . . . should go to war only to defend our freedom and liberty.
Perry: Stand up for your values . . . we should not send aid to China, which has 35,000 abortions every day . . . wrote a book on the 10th amendment, (federal powers not specified in the constitution are reserved to the states) . . . there are limits on what a state can say no to . . . says faith-based adoption agencies are being regulated out of existence because they won’t place children in same-sex homes, and he would stop those regulations . . . grew up in a very small town, 13 in his graduating high school class, and he finished in the top 10 . . . “if you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans” . . . job of government is to insure safety, federal government failing on border control . . . in war, there should be no micromanagement by civilians . . . military should be allowed to win.
Gingrich: loss of values a major problem in American society . . . education without character is worthless . . . asked what he would tell Occupy Wall Street people, he responded: go get a job, right after you take a bath . . . asked if he would support an anti-abortion amendment, said the 14th amendment gives Congress power to define personhood, and they could pass effective laws based on that . . . the Left pushes intolerance of religion . . . he would abolish courts that give unconscionable decisions . . . was mostly raised by his grandmother, was in a military family that moved around a lot . . . supports Defense of Marriage Act . . . on war, said it’s especially tough on America because we care that we’re sending sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, brothers and sisters to war, other countries don’t seem to care . . . said war every effort should be made to avoid war, but if forced into it, should fight to win as quickly as possible, no matter what the rest of the world says and thinks.