And Other Quick Observations on Last Night's Debate in Orlando...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2007, 2:37pm PT  

During the ninety full minutes of last night's lively Republican Debate on Fox "News" from Orlando, the word "Bush" was used only twice by the candidates. One time each by Ron Paul and then Fred Thompson.

The Fox "News" anchors used the word five times.

Everyone else? Apparently never heard of him.

(On the other hand, as Arlen Parsa notes, Hillary was mentioned some 34 times.)

A few of our other quick, amusing and/or notable observations and video clips follow...

Best candidate moments...

McCain's comment on an earmark for a Woodstock museum:

MCCAIN: In case you missed it, a few days ago, Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock Concert Museum. Now, my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event.


I was tied up at the time.


But the fact is...


After others made jokes about Hillary Clinton, in response to the question of why they'd be the best one to take her on (it was noted that all of them are currently losing to her in the polls), Huckabee offered a sobering, serious take on the matter beginning with "There's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president...":

HUCKABEE: You know, it's interesting, the most, I guess, wonderful reaction we've had in this entire room is when Hillary's name is mentioned. It gets louder than an Aerosmith concert.


But I want to say this --- you've asked: What's the difference? No matter which one of us is on this stage --- and, look, I like to be funny, let me be real honest with you. There's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president. Let me tell you why.


If she's president, taxes go up, health care becomes the domain of the government, spending goes out of control, our military loses its morale, and I'm not sure we'll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country's ever faced in Islamofascism.


We've got an enemy that wants to kill every last one of us. We cannot be soft. We must be strong.

We'll sign crazy bills like the Law of the Sea Treaty and give away our sovereignty.

And that's why, with all of the fun we're going to have talking about it, there's nothing funny about Hillary being president.


Ron Paul's response to the question of whether "the Republican Party has left [him, or if his fellow candidates have] left the Republican Party?":

GOLER: Given your differences with the other gentlemen on the stage, has the Republican Party left you? Have these gentlemen left the Republican Party?

PAUL: I think in many ways they haven't followed our platform and they don't follow the Constitution. So they're really not following (inaudible). I think in many ways we have become big spenders. Republicans are the big spenders. Our big-government conservatives, they're part of the neo-conservative movement. They've lost their traditions about traditional conservatism and the Constitution.

We have benefited for so many years and decades by having a position of less use of force. Eisenhower won his election in 1952 by trying to clean up the mess that Democrats created in Korea. Nixon won in '68. We continuously won in taking this position of a more commonsensical foreign policy.

Like I said, even George Bush won criticizing this interventionism, and now all of a sudden, just in this short period of time, we have accepted the Democrats' position on foreign policy, on entitlements, on deficits. I mean, we have lost our way.

No, I think that the position of the Republican Party today has not fulfilled their traditions.

And that's why we lost last year. And if we don't go back to our traditions and believe in the Constitution, limited government, personal liberties, and a foreign policy that's noninterventionist, that won't bankrupt us, so that we can defend this country --- we can't even defend our own cities while we're prancing around the entire world.


Most Telling Moment...

Ron Paul gets booed by the Republican audience for saying that we need to bring out troops home:

PAUL: Well, there's a very big difference, and I think the American people, if we as a party realize this and understand it, 70- some percent of the people in America want the war over with. They're sick and tired of it and they want our troops to come home.


Now, Senator Clinton has nothing new to offer. She's endorsing the same policy. She said that the troops would be there for another five years, continue to build this embassy that's going to be bigger than the Vatican, continue to build 14 air bases as are going on there, these private bases going on there, and never change.

PAUL: We in this party have to realize the American people are sick and tired of big government, big government overseas, an empire we can't maintain, the bankruptcy of this country, and also the attack on our personal civil liberties. We don't have privacy left anymore, and Hillary Clinton offers no solution to that, and neither does any of the Democrats. And we are not doing a very good job either.

If we don't recognize that, we don't have a chance because we need to get back to the basics, believe in the Constitution, believe in the rule of law, and not allow our government to spend endlessly and bankrupt this country.


The booing is not noted in the New York Times transcript for that moment, so we've added it above. The Times did note the later moment, however, when Paul was again booed, that time during his response to the question of how to handle the growing tensions between Turkey and Kurdish elements in Northern Iraq and that the solution lies in "talking to people and trading with people.":

PAUL: This is a --- this is a result of a foreign policy of interventionism. The founders advised non-interventionism. And even our president won the election in the year 2000 to have a more humble foreign policy, not to go into nation-building, and not get involved in the internal affairs of other nations.

And we won an election on that.

But here we are. We're over there and we've invaded this country and this is just another unintended consequence. The war is spreading, the war is likely to go into Iran, nobody's willing to take anything off the table.

What would it be like if somebody came in here into Mexico and did some of these things --- say, like, putting missiles in Europe? We're just looking for trouble. It's so unnecessary. And we jeopardize ourselves. And, quite frankly, we're not able to afford this.

So we don't need to go looking for trouble. We don't need another Cold War. And all we have to do is start talking to people and trading with people.

We don't need to assume that the world is going to blow up. Just think of...


PAUL: When I was drafted into the military, and I served five years in the military, the Soviets had 40,000 nuclear weapons.

And here, we're now learning about agitating and putting missiles in Europe.

PAUL: It's the Turks' business. It's not our business.



Most Unfortunate Choice of Words...

During his response to a question about Iran, Rudy Giuliani used a phrase which you could tell, even he had wished he hand't...even as he was saying them:

GIULIANI: ...You've got to understand, in foreign affairs, just like in the affairs of... people,... self-interest is enormously important.

Most Not Noticed...

After African-American candidate Alan Keyes was pulled out of mothballs to appear at the debate sponsored by PBS and African-American host Tavis Smiley (which was not attended by the top four candidates), he has not appeared at any of the two debates since then.

Most Obvious Shill for Giuliani...

After the debate, a special episode of Hannity & Colmes kicked it over to a focus group led by Republican hatchet man Frank Luntz. After explaining that his group had seen no clear "winner" in the night's debate, he then asked how many thought Giuliani had won. About 5 or 6 of the thirty or so in the room raised their hand. He then kicked it back to Sean with (paraphrasing) "Well, there ya have it, a lot of support for Rudy tonight..."

Paul would go on to win the Fox "News'" phone poll, with 35%, followed by Huckabee, for who viewers had thought had won the debate. Hannity dismissed their own poll after the results came in.

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