First Conservative 2012 Presidential Debate Held Last Night

05.06.11 | Sarah Harnisch

   The first G.O.P. debate for the presidency was held last night in Greenville, South Carolina. The killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the economy and healthcare grabbed the spotlight. Those taking part were Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  Santorum said "what President Obama has done on his watch-- the issues that have come up while he is President-- he has gotten it wrong strategically every single time." On the war in the Middle East, Ron Paul said "boy, it's a wonderful time for this country now to reassess and get the troops out of Afghanistan, and end that war that hasn't helped us and hasn't helped anybody in the Middle East." Herman Cain agreed: "it's not clear what the mission is. It's not clear to the American people what our interests are, and thirdly, it's not clear what the roadmap to victory is." Gary Johnson said "we have attacked and were attacked back. And after 6 months, I think we effectively took care of Al-Queda. But that was 10 years ago!"
    Tim Pawlenty hit on 2 big issues. First up, Osama Bin Laden. He had this to say: "if it turns out that many of the techniques he (President Obama) critisized during the campaign led to Osama Bin Laden's being identified or killed, he should be asked whether he does or does not support those techniques." And the second issue: healthcare. He couldn't get through his sentence before thunderous applause filled the house. He said "the answer to our healthcare problem is not to drag it into Washington D.C. and create a top-down government-run centralized, limited-choice, limited-option system."
    This was the first debate held by G.O.P. hopefuls for the 2012 presidential campaign. Many of the front runners, like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump, were not there, though.