First part of review Values Voter Debate Review
The debate portion of the program was long and makes a concise review very difficult. I have not been able to locate video or audio of the entire debate, nor a transcript of the questions and answers. I did find a list of the questions in Janet Folger's article, Values Voters Move Into the Driver's Seat. With all that in mind, most of what I put forth here will be my observations and impressions, with a few nearly accurate responses from the candidates.
This was my first time seeing or hearing Alan Keyes. I've heard of him, of course, even read some about him and what he says. Never seen him or heard him speak. His oratory skills are quite powerful, but I think his performance last night was more suited for a revival meeting. Since this was the first time I've heard him speak, I don't know if he always uses the same rising crescendo and arm motions, or if he was being dramatic because of the audience. There is certainly no quibble with his position on the issues that are important to the values voters. He struck the same tenor as most of the other candidates.
I think it's important to note here, there was never a mention of his race by him or the questioners. Keyes is simply another conservative in the GOP field, with an impressive resume and a powerful speaking style. If he was a GOP front runner, would the media fawn over him as they have Obama?
There was very little separating the candidates on any of the issues important to the values voters, only methods and means in preserving them. All the candidates believe in the sanctity of life, the preservation of man and woman as the only legitimate marriage and preservation of family as a cornerstone of the foundation of our society.
There was some differentiation in the methods that should be employed to implement measures to protect those tenets.
One of the first questions asked was if the candidates support the Federal Marriage Amendment. All, except Paul, support this amendment. Paul adamantly stated 'no more amendments', marriage should be a state issue, to the extent government should be involved in sanctioning marriages. Sam pointed out he was the one who carried the amendment in the Senate. At least one pointed out that judges have eroded the sanctity of traditional marriage and the only way to protect against that is through a Constitutional amendment.
One of the first questions posed to the candidates was
"Can you tell us a little about your faith in God?" This question did not cause nearly the discomfort it caused the democrat candidates in a recent debate. They all, to me, they all looked very uncomfortable talking about that. All of these candidates were quite comfortable talking about this and even eager.
After the initial round of questions there was a speed round where each candidate illuminated a green or red light on their podium to indicate yes or no. I am conflicted on this method. On one hand I'm glad to see them forced into just saying yes or no. However, as much as I wish some things were as simple as yes or no, I know they aren't always that clear cut. Two or three of the candidates used their time bank to expand on their answers. Nevertheless, on almost every yes/no question posed, all the candidate's responses were nearly unanimous. The one candidate who often differed from the others was Paul, as would be expected. As his disagreeing response was registered, it was easy to see how it would be consistent with his stance on government and the Constitution.
One of the yes/no questions posed to the candidates was
"Recently a federal judge ordered the Indiana Legislature to censor their prayers. Specifically, the federal judge ordered the Indiana Legislature to never allow anyone to offer an invocation prayer in Jesus' name. Will you, as president, consider impeachment a possible remedy for this judicial activism?"All the candidates answered yes to this question, except Duncan Hunter. IMO, he's the only one who answered the question correctly. The President can't bring impeachment charges against anyone - only the House can do that. The President might encourage it, even endorse the action, but they cannot bring impeachment charges. Impeachment of federal judges is a corrective measure that has been utilized too little by Congress to reign in the courts and judges.
In the third round, some special questioners were brought in to ask specific questions to a certain candidate. During this round, each of the absent candidates was asked a question. It might seem a bit theatrical to some, but it did drive home the point that four of the GOP candidates elected not to participate.
The most poignant was the question asked to Rudy Giuliani by an abortion survivor.
Teresa Ippoliti, abortion survivor – RUDY GIULIANIRudy had nothing to say - he wasn't there.
My name is Teresa Ippoliti. Eighteen years ago, an abortionist was hired to kill me, but I survived. I was wrapped in newspaper and tossed on a shelf struggling for my life. Nuns came and rescued me, took me to a hospital where I stayed for two months. I was then adopted by my heroic mom and dad. Mayor Giuliani, your position on abortion would have left me dead. Now that you see me, Mr. Giuliani, do you honesty still believe an abortionist had a right to kill me?
One more debate review to cover the candidates individually.
Roundup of coverage:
A Values Voter Debate Review (Right Wing News)
Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll!
Second-tier GOP candidates vow to combat homosexual activism
'Unseen world' dominates GOP presidential debate
Values voters move into the driver's seat
Values Voters Hold Debate (AP)