June 14, 2011 live blogging debate part 4
9:42 Romney not for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, says defer to military. Paul says withdraw- “I wouldn’t wait for the generals, I’m the commander in chief” (another great line- its always easier to be coherent when don’t expect to win and don’t have to pander!). Paul lists a litany of wars he’s against, including bombing Yemen. Pawlenty throws in Sept. 11, strikes a hawkish tone. Says if there are people in Yemen “who are a threat to our security interests…they’ll hear from me.” (Makes it sound like he is sending emails- email@example.com, perhaps…)
9:46 Bachmann comes out against bombing Libya. Says Gates could not identify vital national interest- good hit! Notes “President deferred to France- that’s all we need to know.” Adds we don’t know who we’re helping; President “absolutely wrong.” Not my first choice exactly, but great answer!
9:47 Gingrich asked whether price tag a factor, admits “price tag’s always a factor.” Points out that ten years after 9/11 we don’t know what percent of Libyan rebels al-Qaeda. Not sure I know how you run an opinion poll of Libyan rebels. Says we need more intelligence. Can’t argue with that.
9:49 Cain adds mushy generalities. Says “more that we don’t know than what we do know.” “Learn from the commanders in the field.” (Translation: doesn’t know anything but willing to admit he doesn’t know anything).
9:50 When asked about closing bases, Santorum pivots to “failure of leadership.” Wouldn’t close any bases. Not sure how having a military base in Germany is likely to prevent Germans from engaging in terrorism- so I’m not sure how this makes sense. Says we’ve “embraced our enemies.” You mean like bin Laden?
Question I’d like to ask Santorum: you say we’ve shunned our allies (not direct quote, can’t remember exact line he sued). But we seem to be following the French on Libya. Do you consider France an ally?
9:56 says Iraq “one of the shining examples of success in the Middle East.” That seems a bit like overstating the case.
9:58 Bachmann and Paul asked who she likes among other candidates. Both deflect nicely, Paul more amusing.
My thoughts: Almost no differences. I thought Bachmann did better than I expected a couple of times, Cain was big loser (both because he didn’t have a good night and because Bachmann invaded his ideological turf pretty skillfully). Pawlenty and Romney (the two who I think of as “major candidates”) mostly performed as expected.
Come to think of it, why isn’t Gary Johnson at the debate?