First Presidential Debate GOP
candidates debate in California - Friday, May 04 2007
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - Ten Republican presidential candidates wanting to succeed
President Bush embraced a more popular president, conservative
icon Ronald Reagan, at every turn in their first debate of
the 2008 race.
"Ronald Reagan was a president
of strength," Mitt Romney intoned. "Ronald Reagan used to say, we spend money like a drunken sailor," said John McCain (news, bio, voting record). And Rudy Giuliani praised "that Ronald Reagan optimism."
The world, however, is far
different today than it was some 25 years ago when the nation's 40th president relaxed at his retreat in the rolling hills
of southern California.
Iraq and terrorism now are top issues, support
for Bush is at a low point and Republican hopefuls find themselves trying to prove to the party's base that they're conservative
enough to be the GOP nominee — on social matters as well as the economic and security issues Reagan championed.
The three leading candidates
— Giuliani, McCain and Romney — and their seven lesser-known rivals attempted to do just that Thursday at the
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. They debated for 90 minutes in the shadow of the late president's Air Force One suspended
from above and before Reagan's widow, Nancy, who sat in the front row of the audience.
They stressed the importance
of persisting in Iraq and defeating terrorists,
called for lower taxes and a muscular defense, and supported spending restraint.
One by one, they invoked
Reagan 19 times. In contrast, Bush's name was barely uttered; the president's job approval rating languishes in the 30s.
"They went out of the their
way on multiple occasions, no matter the question, to associate themselves with Reagan," said Mitchell McKinney, a political
communication professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "They tried their best to not be explicitly bashing or attacking
Bush. Most of them tried, in some way, to take a pass on that."
Republican operatives agreed
that the debate did nothing to shake up the crowded GOP field.
They said Giuliani, the
former New York City mayor, McCain, a four-term Arizona senator, and Romney, the ex-Massachusetts governor, remained the strongest
contenders, with the most money and the best approval ratings in the polls more than eight months before the first 2008 national
convention delegates are selected.
"Clearly the top three looked
quite presidential," said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.
Scott Reed, who ran Bob
Dole's 1996 campaign, added: "McCain showed a little energy. Romney showed he's very polished. And Giuliani started to clear
up some of his issues with the base of the party."
Each largely stuck to their
talking points — and often reverted to their stump speeches — as they sought to present themselves as the most
conservative candidate in the pack, and a worthy heir to the political legacy of Reagan.
The former actor and California
governor took office in 1981 when the world was absorbed by the Cold War, and good versus evil was defined by countries that
aligned with the United States and those that stood with the Soviet Union — "the evil empire" in Reagan's lexicon. The
arms race and the ever-present threat of nuclear war overshadowed social issues like abortion. Stem cell research didn't exist.
There was no public debate about gay marriage or the so-called right to die.
Fast forward to the 2008
The candidates expressed
resolve in winning the war in Iraq and
defeating terrorists across the world. They also had to answer for their positions on a range of social issues, including
abortion, stem-cell research and evolution.
"Nobody wants to talk about
social issues for more than 11 seconds," said Rich Galen, a GOP strategist. "But they had to talk about what they were asked
McCain is the only top-tier
contender who has a career-long record of opposing abortion, a position that resonates with a wide swath of GOP political
activists who support the overturning of the 1973
With a record of supporting
abortion rights, Giuliani was the only candidate who said "it would be OK" if the Supreme Court upholds the landmark ruling.
"It would be OK to repeal it. It would be OK also if a strict constructionist viewed it as precedent," he said.
His rivals agreed that it
would be a great day if the court overturns the landmark ruling.
Romney, for his part, acknowledged
he had reversed course on the subject and said his position had once effectively been "pro-choice."
"I changed my mind," Romney
said, adding that Reagan did the same.
But Giuliani, who said he
personally hates abortion, hedged when asked about his current position.
"I think the court has to
make that decision and then the country can deal with it," he said. "We're a federalist system of government and states can
make their own decisions."
Most of the contenders said
they opposed legislation making federal funds available for a wider range of embryonic stem cell research. The technique necessarily
involves the destruction of a human embryo, and is opposed by many anti-abortion conservatives as a result.
There are exceptions, though,
including Reagan's widow, Nancy. Also, public opinion polls show overwhelming support for the research, which doctors say
holds promise for treatment or even cures of numerous diseases.
McCain was the only one
to unambiguously say he supports expanded federal research into embryonic stem cells.
Giuliani's response was
open to interpretation. He said he supports it "as long as we're not creating life in order to destroy it," then added he
would back funding for research along the lines of legislation pending in Congress. However, the bill he cited does not increase
federal support for research on embryonic stem cells. Rather, it deals with adult stem cells.
The field split on another
issue, with Sen. Sam Brownback (news, bio, voting record) of Kansas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo raising their hands when asked who did not
believe in evolution.
Other participants included
former Govs. Jim Gilmore of Virginia and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin; and Reps. Duncan Hunter (news, bio, voting record) of California and Ron Paul (news, bio, voting record) of Texas.
Missing were three Republicans
still weighing whether to run — Fred Thompson, the actor and former Tennessee senator; Newt Gingrich, the ex-House speaker
from Georgia, and Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record) of Nebraska.
Charleston GOP Favors Romney
April 14, 2007
The Post & Courier
BY ROBERT BEHRE
Charlston County Republicans heard from four presidential
hopefuls Friday and cast more straw ballots for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney than anyone else, but choosing their
new county party chairman proved a more difficult task.
In fact, three-and-a-half hours into the convention,
not a single winner had been announced.
Convention president Bobby Harrell, also the S.C.
Speaker of the House, said the convention had 241 delegates, but there were 251 votes cast in the first ballot. Candidates
Kay Long and Lin Bennett received 123 and 127 votes, respectively. One ballot was blank or cast for someone else.
Harrell later announced that 246 delegates were
identified, but that still was not enough to avert a second vote. Some grumbled about Harrell's ruling for a revote because
several delegates already had gone home. Bennett, who seemed to attract more support from the party's social conservatives,
won by a larger, 102-86 margin on second vote.
The confusion over the chairman's race marked an
anti-climactic end to a convention that drew three of the most powerful South Carolina office-holders, including Harrell, Senate
Pro Tem Glenn McConnell and Gov. Mark Sanford, as well as six-minute-long speeches from
four presidential candidates, including Romney,
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and Chicago GOP activist John Cox.
Romney received 86 straw votes, besting U.S. Sen.
John McCain of Arizona, who had 55 votes.
Brownback, who received 21 votes, put two volumes
of the current tax code on the dais and said, "This should be taken behind a barn and killed with a dull ax," while Cox said
he supports "the fair tax," based on consumption, not income.
Hunter noted his service on the House Armed Services
Committee and said Iraq and the Middle East
aren't American's only security problems. "China
is cheating on trade," he said. "They're using America's
billions to arm." He received 11 straw votes.
Romney, whose supporters broke into occasional chants
of "Let's go, Mitt!" said he would work to reduce America's
dependence on oil. "It doesn't make sense to send $1 billion to countries that hate us."
Other GOP candidates who didn't show up had representatives
speak on their behalf. Arthur Ravenel Jr., a former state representative and senator and a current Charleston County School
Board member, triggered one of the biggest laughs when he praised New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani by calling him "Elvis Presley,
Ronald Reagan and Stonewall Jackson all rolled into one." Giuliani placed third with 33 straw votes.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's wife Janet
said her husband achieved a lot as a Republican governor in a largely Democratic state. "Mike Huckabee passed more legislation
than Bill Clinton did," she said. Huckabee got nine straw votes.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North
Carolina spoke on behalf of McCain, calling him passionate, strong, stubborn, rational, visionary and real, while
former state Rep. John Graham Altman spoke for Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado,
who got two straw votes. "I'm not saying we're best friends. I've met him," Altman said, then joked, "He (Tancredo) will name
me attorney general."
Earlier, Sanford told delegates while the presidential race is shining a huge spotlight on the state,
they should continue to pay attention to state and local issues.
Lowcountry to see heavy presidential
politickingFriday, April 13, 2007
The Post & Courier
Today will mark the heaviest day of Republican
presidential hopefuls politicking in the Charleston area, largely because at least two plan to attend the countyGOP convention tonight.
And least two other candidates will send someone
to represent them.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will hold
a 3 p.m. press conference at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant after morning stops in West Columbia
and Lexington. He and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas also plan to attend the Charleston County Republican Convention at 7 p.m. at the
North Charleston Sheraton. Delegates there are expected to hold a straw poll to indicate whom they favor for president.
Brownback will begin his public events in Charleston at 9:45 a.m. today with a tour of the Medical University of South Carolina's HollingsCancerCenter
and will discuss a plan to end cancer deaths in 10 years. He also will hold an hourlong town-hall meeting at the College of Charleston's EducationCenter building on St. Philip Street at 1:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Burr of North
Carolina will attend the CharlestonCounty
convention on behalf of Sen. John McCain of Arizona, while
former Arkansas First Lady Janet Huckabee will visit on behalf of her husband, Mike Huckabee.
Burr and Janet Huckabee also plan to attend BerkeleyCounty's GOP convention at 10 a.m. Saturday at
South CarolinaCollege Republicans Organization Holds Annual Convention
March 26th, 2007
Charleston, S.C. – College Republicans
from around the state of South Carolina gathered on Saturday March 24, 2007 at Charleston Southern University to hold their
annual convention. Chapters from all over the state sent representatives to the convention to elect new officers and
discuss business for the upcoming year. Chapters represented included Charleston Southern University, Furman University,
College of Charleston, Clemson University, Presbyterian College, Wofford College, Bob Jones University, Winthrop University,
Coastal Carolina University, Converse College, and Lander University.
officers for the upcoming year are as follows:
– Kathryn Mangum, Presbyterian College
Director – Taylor Hall, Furman University
Coordinator – Stephanie Fontenot, Wofford College
Director – Matt Baker, Bob Jones University
Director – Patrick Garrison, Presbyterian College
Mangum, the newly elected Chairwoman, said that one of the biggest priorities is to expand the influence of the organization.
“We are very excited about the upcoming year and our first priority is to re-establish a College Republicans’
chapter at the University of South Carolina,” said Mangum. “We have already been in touch with students
at USC, and several other universities, and we plan on helping those students start successful chapters all over the state
in the near future.”
representatives also selected three delegates for the national convention in July. The three delegates are Kathryn Mangum,
Taylor Hall, and Stephanie Fontenot.