Fox News Channel aired its first debate of the 2012 presidential campaign in Orlando, FL at the Orange County Convention Center on Thursday, Sept. 22. The event was sponsored by Google. The debate featured questions from citizens across the country who submitted their concerns via YouTube. Topics of job creation, immigration, education, and the economy dominated the debate between the nine candidates: Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, John Huntsman, and newcomer Gary Johnson. These hopefuls, in front of a packed house, hoped to win over more American votes along with getting people to see how they can change this country for the better.
One of the first questions asked was about which government department the candidates would get rid of if they were elected into office. Herman Cain, lifetime businessman, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He noted that the EPA has gone too far in putting regulations on everything and anything. FNC showed later that Americans polled online and said that education needs to leave the hands of government. 44 percent of those that voted in that poll think that education needs to be given to the states. John Huntsman said later that we need to localize, localize, localize in terms of education. Even congresswomen Bachman chimed in saying each state knows what is best.
Bachman, when asked how much of a dollar that Americans earn should go directly into their pockets, responded that they should get to keep almost all of it. She expressed to viewers that with the exception of limited taxing, Americans should be taking a good chunk home. She is a strong believer in taxing less and putting more money into Americans pockets.
Social security led to a heated, back and forth quarrel, between both current frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. Romney attacked Perry because Perry’s philosophy about giving social security to the state’s. Perry essentially, according to his newest book, wants to make 50 different social security programs. Romney feels as if this is impossible and would do this country a disservice. Clearly, Americans being reliant on social security as a part of their futures, agree with Romney and side with keeping it a national program.
Immigration was another topic that got a lot of attention. Being the governor of Texas, a large state and a state needing border control, Perry stood up saying that feet need to be on the ground protecting immigrants from coming into the country. Perry then was scrutinized by Bachman and Romney for allowing price cuts at colleges for illegal immigrant in Texas. Bachman said that the southern border needs to be protected and no taxpayer dollars will go toward benefiting illegals. According to Santorum, if he is elected, there will be no preferential treatment to illegal immigrants. Gingrich added that English is to be the official language of government.
Abortion discussion made its way to the stage briefly, and Paul is pro-life but said that he stands by the rape and morning after pill exceptions. Paul stated that the pill is not going to change what is happening in this country with young parents, but the moral character of people will have to change.
Afterward, during a televised meeting with 20 or so people that watched the debate, the majority of those viewers said that Romney won overall. Those particular viewers liked how specific his answers were and how he, unlike many others on the stage, did not beat around the bush. They say Romney seems decisive in decision making and speaks with great specificity.
The next national televised republican debate will be Oct. 18 on CNN. From now until then, candidates needs to make their rounds across the nation to ensure that their ideas and plans for America are being heard by all.