Ron Paul points out, correctly, that Medicare is more of a "mandate" than the individual mandate in Obamacare. Again, this is an issue in which Paul can really challenge the others on the big picture. It would be better to be able to hear him engage the others than Williams's libertarian-trolling questions. He then commits the ultimate act of Republican courage by criticizing Reagan's record on spending and deficits -- something that none of the others would dare do.
John Harris of Politico gets Perry to call Social Security "a Ponzi scheme" and "a monstrous lie," and then Romney to engage him by saying we need to "save" the program for the senior citizens who live off of it. Herman Cain butts in with a reference to the "Chilean model" of personal accounts, which probably goes over the heads of the others.
When the moderators bring up the HPV vaccine mandate Perry implemented in Texas, all the others score points off him, except for Romney who segues into another discussion of Obama's jobs record. So his strategy for now is not to go after Perry all he can, apparently.
And then a FEMA question for Paul, trying to get him to trip over his libertarian principles. I would love to hear Brian Williams ask, for example, Romney about whether the Department of Education should exist, or what his thoughts on the 10th Amendment were. Why not get Paul involved, and see how the others respond?
An hour in, and no foreign policy questions. Why do debate moderators put off the foreign policy topics until the end? President Obama's experience is proof enough that they effectively take over the president's attention and time quickly. These candidates should have to debate the issues at length.
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