In the first Republican presidential debate in nearly a month, one thing became clear: little has changed when it comes to the distance separating the GOP candidates from most Jews. The four candidates on stage in Arizona last night took their turns reminding most American Jews why they support the Democratic Party, in addition to wrongfully attacking President Barack Obama’s work to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) wrongly attacked Obama’s leadership of the international movement to sanction Iran. As NJDC has noted, the Obama Administration recently implemented more sanctions that have essentially cut off Iran’s central bank from the global economy—and they’ve already made an impact. In addition, the Iranian steel trade has grinded to a halt, and the Iranian oil flow has taken a massive hit. While Romney and others assert otherwise, the fact remains that the President and his Administration are keeping all options on the table when it comes to stopping Iran. As The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg wrote before the debate:
The Obama Administration, through its stalwart opposition to the Iranian nuclear program, has narrowed Iran’s maneuverability, and forced the regime to make some obvious errors ... It is precisely because the Obama Administration has constructed a sanctions program without precedent, and because the Obama Administration has funded and supported multinational cyber-sabotage efforts against the Iranian nuclear program, that Iran is panicking and lashing-out.
To get the facts on Obama’s work to stop Iran’s nuclear program, click here.
Besides smearing the President’s Iran record, the Republican candidates continued to prove why they are growing further and further way from mainstream America. Some of their more notable statements included:
Santorum on Planned Parenthood:
I would say that I’ve always been very public that, as president of the United States, I will defund Planned Parenthood; I will not sign any appropriation bill that funds Planned Parenthood.
Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) on education:
The Constitution is very, very clear. There is no authority for the federal government to be involved in education.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) on energy and the environment:
Well, the first thing I’d do, across the board for the entire region, is create a very dramatic American energy policy of opening up federal lands and opening up offshore drilling, replacing the EPA.
In addition to what was said, some candidates found it interesting what was not said. Specifically, after the debate, Santorum raised questions about Romney and Paul’s campaigns. Juana Summers of Politico wrote:
Santorum himself hinted at coordination between the Paul and Romney campaigns, both of which targeted him forcefully.
‘You have to ask Congressman Paul and Governor Romney what they’ve got going together,’ he said. ‘Their commercials look alike and so do their attacks.’
The strategic alliance between Romney and Paul is an issue that NJDC has been tracking regularly. You can read the latest update here.
All told, the one thing made clear in the debate was that none of the Republican candidates can be trusted to fight for many of the public policy positions supported by the majority of American Jews.
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