Secondly, the candidate's answers to the housing questions underscored their dedicated adherence to the “jobs, jobs, jobs” mantra. Rick Perry in answer to a question on housing: “We have put policies into place that follow my plan to get America back working again.” Then he launched an attack on the regulatory system. Romney, too, sounded a similar approach, arguing that reducing government burdens on business would lead to housing recovery: “You have to let the market work and get people in homes again, and the best way for that to happen is to let the economy reboot.”
It’s obvious all the candidates want to repeal President Obama’s health care bill. So what do they want to replace it with?
Posed with that question, all eight candidates on stage responded similarly, saying they would introduce more market forces to the health care system and return many responsibilities to the state. They were standard talking GOP talking points, and no one offered anything new.
Romney joked that he would take a page out of Ron Paul’s book. “I don’t always say that; I’ll say it now,” he said, drawing laughs. “You have to let health care start working more for the market.”
The former Bay State governor said he wants to allow individuals to buy health insurance on their own, and enact sweeping medical malpractice reform – both standard GOP platforms.
On Medicare, Rick Perry said he would give people a “menu of options” to choose from – although he didn’t specify what those would be. Unlike Romney, who last week embraced partially privatizing Medicare, the Texas governor has yet to embrace any specific reform of the popular entitlement program.
Cain opted for a zinger instead of outlining a detailed health care plan. He said the House already has a bill that should replace “Obamacare,” but said “Princess Nancy,” a derisive reference to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, buried it in committee.
Newt v. the Press
Newt Gingrich’s strong debate performances have helped him creep back into the Republican presidential race. One exchange with the moderator Bartiromo exemplified why.
Given 30 seconds to outline what he would replace the Democratic health care bill with, the ex-House speaker mocked the question.
“Well, I just want point out, my colleagues have done a terrific job of answering an absurd question,” he said, delighting the crowd. “To say in 30 seconds ...”
Bartiromo, visibly perturbed, shot back, “You have said you want to repeal ‘Obama-care,’ correct?”
The two went back and forth for another minute, before Gingrich finally said he would strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. But among Republicans at least, Gingrich had already won. He’s thrilled GOP voters for mocking the question asked in the first place. His derision is seen as sticking it to a media most conservatives love to hate.
He speaks! Jon Huntsman, who skipped the last debate, gave his first response in a presidential forum in weeks – and it was a by-the-numbers conservative talking point. The former Utah governor, asked if he would bail out Italy’s deteriorating economy, pivoted to a criticism of America’s “too big to fail” banks.
“As long as we have banks ‘too big to fail’ in this country, we’re going to catch the contagion, and it’s going to hurt us,” he said.
The United States will soon look like Italy if it doesn’t cure its own debt problems, he added.
None of the candidates, Mitt Romney included, indicated any support for bailing out Italy.
Rebecca Kaplan contributed.