The New York Times has posted a transcript of the big Republican candidates deabte. So, as promised, let’s have a look at some other items of interest.
Here’s Governor Huckabee trying desperately to avoid saying he believes global warming is a real problem:
MR. VANDEHEI: Governor Huckabee, this question comes from Curtis Waldman (sp) from Boca Raton, Florida. Thousands of reputable scientists have concluded with almost certainty that human activity is responsible for the warming of the Earth. Do you believe global warming exists?
GOV. HUCKABEE: The most important thing about global warming is this: Whether humans are responsible for the bulk of climate change is going to be left to the scientists, but it’s all of our responsibility to leave this planet in better shape for the future generations than we found it. It’s the old Boy Scout rule of the campsite; you leave the campsite in better shape than you found it.
I believe that even our responsibility to God means that we have to be good stewards of this Earth, be good caretakers of the natural resources that don’t belong to us; we just get to use them. We have no right to abuse them.
Of course, the premise of the question is that “the scientists” have resolved the issue. And you will search Huckabee’s answer in vain for any ghost of an answer to the question.
Next up was a bizarre question to, and even more bizarre answer from, Rep. Tancredo:
MR. VANDEHEI: Congressman Tancredo, David Diamond from Memphis writes in, “Do you have a plan to solve the shortage of organs donated for transplant?”
REP. TANCREDO: Well, I don’t believe that the government of the United — that the president of the United States should be putting forth in — a plan to do such a thing.
The reality is that technology and the advancement of technology in a variety of areas is going at a pace where I believe we can look forward to cures. We can look forward a variety of things that will allow us to cure diseases that today we do not have cures for.
But the idea that I think is inherent in this question — that somehow we should be growing these things, somehow we should be cloning people for the purpose of using these kinds of — of their attributes — is ridiculous.
Methinks the representative has seen too many movies.
Next came an amusing segment where the candidates were asked whether they felt the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned would be a good day in American history. Judging from the responses, it might as well have been Stephen Colbert asking, “Great day? Or, our greatest day?” Here were the responses:
MR. ROMNEY: Absolutely.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Be a glorious day of human liberty and freedom.
MR. GILMORE: Yes, it was wrongly decided.
MR. HUCKABEE: Most certainly.
REP. HUNTER: Yes.
MR. THOMPSON: Yes.
SEN. MCCAIN: Repeal.
I’ll take that last one as a yes. Representative Ron Paul was next in line, but no answer is recorded for him in the transcript. Then came an hilarious exchange with Rudy Giuliani:
MR. MATTHEWS: Mayor.
MR. GIULIANI: It would be okay.
MR. MATTHEWS: Okay to repeal?
MR. GIULIANI: It would be okay to repeal. Or it would be okay also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent, and I think a judge has to make that decision.
MR. MATTHEWS: Would it be okay if they didn’t repeal it?
MR. GIULIANI: I think that — I think the court has to make that decision, and then the country can deal with it. We’re a federalist system of government, and states could make their own decisions.
Translation: Can we please stop talking about abortion and talk instead about how heroic I was on 9/11?
Happily, after all seven votes for “great” and Giuliani’s squishiness, Rep. Tancredo was on hand to take the other prong of Colbert’s dichotomy:
REP. TANCREDO: After 40 million dead because we have aborted them in this country, I say that that would be the greatest day in this country’s history when that is in fact overturned.
They stayed on abortion a bit longer. Here’s Mitt Romney hilariously trying to explain away his blatant flip-flop on abortion:
MR. HARRIS: Governor Romney, in recent months you’ve said you were, quote, “always for life,” but we’ve also heard you say you were once, quote, “effectively pro-choice.” Which is it?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, I’ve always been personally pro-life, but for me there was a great question about whether or not government should intrude in that decision. And when I ran for office, I said I’d protect the law as it was, which is effectively a pro-choice position. About two years ago when we were studying cloning in our state, I said, look, we have gone too far; it’s a brave new world mentality that Roe v. Wade has given us; and I change my mind.
I took the same course that Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush and Henry Hyde took. And I said I was wrong and changed my mind and said I’m pro-life. And I’m proud of that and I won’t apologize to anybody for becoming pro-life.
MR. HARRIS: Governor, with respect, some people are going to see those changes of mind as awfully politically convenient.
MR. ROMNEY: You know, I told you that I studied at great length this issue. When I ran, I — for the very first time, I told you that I was personally pro-life but that I would protect a woman’s right to choose as the law existed. And that stayed the same until until two years ago, as I indicated, and at that time, as a result of the debate we had, the conclusion I reached was that we had gone too far, that cloning and that creating new embryos was wrong, and that we should therefore allow our state to become a pro-life state.
I believe states should have the right to make this decision, and that’s a position I indicated in an op-ed to the Boston Globe two years ago.
He used to think that women should have the right to choose an abortion without the government interfering. But then he heard some talk of cloning and “creating new embryos,” decided that a thirty-year old court decision was the cause of that talk, and consequently now believes that women should no longer have that right, or at least that states should be able to deny women that right.
Perhaps. Or maybe he was pro-choice when he was running for the governorship of a liberal state, but now has to appeal to conservative, Republican primary voters. You decided which scenario is more likely.
Giuliani was then made to squirm a bit more before the debate moved on to other issues.