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August, 5th 2007

Liveblogging the GOP debate

– Liz Mair

So, I'm watching the GOP debate. Here are some initial thoughts:

1. I really thought John McCain's linkage of the abortion issue to national security was odd. Do people in the Congo, or Bangladesh, or Iraq think better or worse of us, to any significant degree depending on whether abortion remains legal in this country? I must say, having traveled in countries that are not huge fans of the United States (e.g., Syria, Lebanon, Vietnam), and having talked to people there quite a bit about what their issues are with the United States, no one has ever pointed to abortion. That being said, I do think if the real point McCain was trying to make is that the way we display our values-- for example, by allowing things like what happened at Abu Ghraib to occur without serious, serious condemnation from our leaders-- to the rest of the world has a major impact on how we are perceived, and our national security, then McCain is 100% correct.

2. I really hate Romney, but God, that line about Obama having gone from saying he'll have tea with our enemies to saying he'll bomb our allies in just one week (and the Jane Fonda/Dr. Strangelove bit) was extraordinarily good.

3. Ron Paul seems to have gotten a lot of his supporters into this debate. If he's capable of managing that, will he manage to get a lot of the Paul backers out to Ames itself?

4. Romney just keeps trying to jump in, to bash Ron Paul, but he doesn't seem to be getting far, does he? George Stephanopolous seems to (rightly) be recognizing that the debate on Iraq is principally between the big voices on the issue-- i.e., McCain and Paul, and where terrorism itself is brought in, Giuliani.

5. Huckabee just said something extraordinary on health care-- not that we need universal health care, something that is controversial enough, but rather that either Congress needs to quit having truly government-run health care, or we need everyone to have a truly government-run system, as opposed to a universal insurance system (or indeed what we have now). Is anyone really recognizing the significance of that statement?

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