Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

High Stakes In Vegas Debate

The stakes were high for several candidates in last night's Las Vegas debate. As a result, the gloves came off quickly and the elbows were flying! Here is my analysis of the debate. As a friendly reminder, I have not endorsed any candidate, so please do not try to read between the lines.

The general consensus is that Mitt Romney came out on top -- again because no one knocked him down. I will be eagerly awaiting the first post-debate polling data, because I'm not sure anyone came out a winner last night. This race is still wide open, and we may well be surprised by the outcome in some of the early states.

For the first time the candidates seriously engaged Mitt Romney over RomneyCare. He took the hardest hit from Rick Santorum, who said, "You just don't have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing ObamaCare. Your plan was the basis for ObamaCare. Your consultants helped Obama craft ObamaCare. And to say that you're going to repeal it, you just have no track record that we can trust."

According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 64% of Republican primary voters said they were "much less likely" to vote for a candidate who supported a health insurance mandate. Another 12% said they were "somewhat less likely" to vote for such a candidate. No other issue polled generated such an intensely negative reaction.

But Romney wasn't the only candidate feeling the heat last night. The latest front-runner, Herman Cain, also had a bull's eye on his back, and his 9-9-9 plan took a beating.

Rep. Bachmann condemned it for including a "hidden" VAT tax. Governors Perry and Romney noted how the national sales tax would be piled on top of state sales taxes, which would in some states approach 20%. Rep. Paul called it "dangerous" and "regressive."

Cain pushed back, arguing that his opponents were comparing apples (state taxes) to oranges (federal taxes), and added, "We are replacing a bunch of oranges."

But there is a lot of apprehension among conservatives -- even those who support the concept -- of imposing a national sales tax in addition to the income tax. In fact, last November Herman Cain wrote, "A national retail sales tax on top of all the confusing and unfair taxes we have today is insane!"

Now one of the architects of 9-9-9, economist Stephen Moore, is recommending that Cain drop the sales tax portion. Moore said, "I've come to the conclusion that the American people and the voters do not want a national sales tax." Moore advocates replacing the 9% sales tax with a 9% payroll tax.

But Cain's biggest setback last night probably had nothing to do with 9-9-9. Moderator Anderson Cooper asked Cain to elaborate on an interview he had done earlier in the day when he suggested that as president he could see himself releasing all the Al Qaeda prisoners at GITMO in exchange for one U.S. soldier. Cain seemed to stumble through his answer and later said he misspoke.

It is undeniable that the economy is the top issue right now. But it is also undeniable that foreign policy is among the most important aspects of the presidency. In addition to electing a "CEO," we are choosing the next commander-in-chief. It is imperative that our nominee have a keen grasp of all the issues.

If there were an award for "Most Improved Debator" it would go to Gov. Rick Perry. Perry's performance last night was a reminder of how much can change in one debate. He aggressively challenged Romney and was spot on in his call for more domestic energy production. It was clear from last night's debate that Governor Perry can take his game up a notch or two. He remains a strong contender.

Again, I tip my hat to Senator Santorum for raising the importance of values during the debate. When asked what message he had for Latino voters, Santorum stressed that the GOP shares their values on issues of faith and family.

There was a very powerful moment during the debate when Michele Bachmann zeroed in on the anxiety felt by mothers and families going through foreclosures. It was a poignant reminder that the issues debated on that stage are not just abstract theories, but are of great impact to all Americans. I suspect she connected with many voters in a very personal way.

Newt Gingrich was the debate's ninth inning closer -- rightly reminding everyone watching that a circular firing squad was not a path to victory. Our ultimate goal must be defeating Barack Obama!

Making An Impact

As Obama and the Democrats continue to embrace the Occupy Wall Street Movement, the Republican National Committee is going on the attack. Yesterday the RNC issued a press release asking "Where's the outrage?" The release included a link to the ad produced by the Emergency Committee for Israel showing the disgusting anti-Semitism on display at the Occupy Wall Street protests.

As you may know, I am on the board of the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), along with my good friends Bill Kristol and Rachel Abrams. I am proud of the work ECI is doing. It is one more example of the ways in which we are making an impact!

All We Need To Know

In the past 24 hours Barack Obama and Harry Reid have told us all we need to know about their agenda. In an interview with ABC News, Obama had the audacity to tell Jake Tapper, "I believe all the choices we've made have been the right ones."

Really? The $800 billion stimulus bill that gave us a higher, not lower, unemployment rate was the right choice? An unconstitutional, trillion-dollar socialized medicine scheme that most Americans want to repeal was the right choice? In other words, he hasn't done anything wrong -- he just hasn't done enough of it yet! (That explains why he just proposed another massive stimulus bill.)

And, once again, Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid is rushing to defend Big Government largesse. First it was cowboy poetry. Now it's government bureaucrats. On the Senate floor this morning, Harry Reid said -- and I quote -- "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about."

So with 9.1% unemployment, Harry Reid thinks the private sector is "doing just fine"? Reid is so concerned with how much Big Government is suffering, and what we really need right now is a bailout of the public sector.

The Congressional Budget Office reported recently that federal expenditures are up -- not down. In fiscal year 2011, the government spent a record $3.6 trillion and posted its second highest deficit ever of $1.298 trillion.

As a reminder, the deficit in 2007 was $161 billion, just 1.2% of GDP. Obama's deficit this year is $1,298 billion, nearly 9% of GDP. And that's not enough for Harry Reid.

There is never enough of your money for the liberal Democrats. The best way to stop their taxing and spending is to stop them at the ballot box!

 

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