Last night, Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingirch (R-GA), Herman Cain, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman participated in the CNN/Heritage Foundation/American Enterprise Institute foreign policy debate. A number of the candidates made many statements that raise concerns about their readiness to become President of the United States. Some of the highlights from the debate included:
* Paul said that Israel should “suffer the consequences” of any potential military strike it conducts against Iran’s nuclear weapons site. Paul also attacked the close U.S.-Israel strategic relationship by saying:
We don’t even have a treaty with Israel. Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?
* In keeping with the Republican Party’s use of the Islamic faith as a straw man, Santorum expressed support for religious and ethnic profiling for Muslims at American airports. He said:
Obviously Muslims would be someone you’d look at, absolutely. ... Those are the folks who ... the radical Muslims are the people that are committing these crimes by and large, as well as younger males.
* Cain—who has a record offensive statements about Islam and Muslims—first said that Santorum’s position on profiling was “oversimplifying” the matter. He then said, “We can do targeted identification. ... If you take a look at the people who are trying to kill us, it would be easy to figure out exactly what that identification profile looks like.”
* Perry irresponsibly called for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to resign over the supercommittee’s failure. In doing so, Perry ignored that Panetta joined with President Barack Obama in urging Congress “to avoid an easy way out of [the debt] crisis.” Perry’s call for Panetta’s resignation would also remove a cabinet official who is deeply involved in strategic cooperation with Israel and widely regarded as a friend to the Jewish state.
* Perry reiterated his call for Congress to be “part-time.” When Perry initially proposed the idea, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) questioned whether Perry is seriously committed to solving America’s problems:
Is this a serious proposal he’s making for a country that has very high unemployment, who’s budget deficit is larger than it’s ever been in history, which has two wars that we’re confronting and trying to bring to a conclusion? ... If this is what he thinks is pandering to the Tea Party, it is not in my opinion speaking to the issues that the American public feels are very, very critical to them, jobs being the number one issue. ... So I don’t think it’s a very serious effort on his part.
* Paul called U.S. aid to Africa for fighting AIDS and malaria—and all other forms of aid—“worthless.”
* When discussing humanitarian aid to Africa, Santorum mistakenly referred to the continent of Africa as a country, asserting that it is a “country on the brink.”
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