Those who favor Mitt as the greatest thing since sliced bread, are saying he won, hands down. And, those who like Newt, give him kudos for last night.
Supporters of Dr. Paul were too busy adjusting their tin foil hats to comment.
However, it does appear that Rick Santorum, winner of the Hawkeye Cauci, made up a lot of ground last night.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparred Thursday with Mitt Romney over immigration policies race as tempers flared in the opening minutes of the CNN/Republican Party of Florida debate in Jacksonville.
Gingrich charged Romney’s immigration policy would result in the deportation of grandmothers who are in the country illegally. Romney has advocated for “self-deportation,” a policy that involves making economic conditions so difficult for undocumented workers that they choose to leave the country to find better opportunities.
The former House speaker said Romney was the most anti-immigrant candidate on the debate stage, which prompted outrage from Romney.
“I’m not going to go find grandmothers and take them out of them homes and deport them,” Romney said, accusing Gingrich of using “highly-charged epithets” irresponsibly. “Our problem is not 11 million grandmothers.”
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However, Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum did agree with Romney that at least some illegal immigrants would be likely to “self-deport” if the government were to crack down on employers who hired illegal immigrants. All three men advocated a system of identification for immigrants that would help employers verify an employee’s legal status.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul said some of the measures proposed by his opponents were difficult to implement, and called for American dollars to be used on the United States-Mexico border instead of in the Middle East.
The debate audience roared back to life on Thursday after a Monday matchup in which attendees were asked to hold their applause. Romney drew frequent applause early in the debate when he took on attacks by Gingrich over immigration.
…For his turn, Santorum launched into a screed against the personal turn the campaign has taken of late, asking that the debate shift back to the issues facing the country rather than the financial dealings of two candidates.
“The bigger issue here is, these two gentlemen, who are out distracting from the most important issues — we have been playing petty personal politics, can we set aside that Newt was a member of Congress and used the skills that he developed as a member of Congress to go out and advise companies — and that’s not the worst thing in the world — and that Mitt Romney is a wealthy guy because worked hard and he’s going out and working hard? And you guys should leave that alone and focus on the issues.”
The Florida Republican Primary is still anybody’s to win.
According to a CNN/Time/ORC International survey released Wednesday, 36% of people likely to vote in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Florida say they are backing Romney as the party’s nominee, with 34% supporting Gingrich. Romney’s 2-point margin over Gingrich is well within the survey’s sampling error.
All day Thursday, the Republican Establishment and its minions tried their darnedest to eliminate Newt Gingrich from the race. From Matt Drudge to Bob Dole, negative naysayers against Newt’s nomination (trying saying that real fast) turned up the heat, weaving a fascinating falsification (that’s two) of Newt’s relationship with President Ronald Reagan, that moved his sane son Michael to issue this statement:
I am deeply disturbed that supporters of Mitt Romney are claiming that Newt Gingrich is not a true Reaganite and are even claiming that Newt was a strong critic of my father.
Recently I endorsed Newt Gingrich for president because I believe that Newt is the only Republican candidate who has both consistently backed the conservative policies that my father championed and the only Republican that will continue to implement his vision.
It surprises me that Mitt Romney and his supporters would raise this issue, when Mitt by his own admission voted for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale who opposed my father, and later supported liberal Democrat Paul Tsongas for president.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney’s achievement was the most socialistic healthcare plan in the nation up until that time.
Say what you want about Newt Gingrich but when he was Speaker of the House he surrounded himself with Reagan conservatives and implemented a Ronald Reagan program of low taxes and restrained federal spending.
Newt’s conservative program created a huge economic boom and balanced the budget for the first time in more than a generation.
Mike Reagan concluded: I would take Newt Gingrich’s record any day over Mitt Romney’s.
In a 1995 speech at a dinner honoring Ronald Reagan, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said:
The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.
I predict that the interminable bashing of Newt Gingrich, by Republicans and Democrats alike, will continue until the citizens of Florida step into the voting booths on Tuesday, January 31, 2012.
It’s all about maintaining control.