— by Richard Chaitt and Scott Schley
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was among the thirteen Republican candidates speaking at the RJC Presidential Presidential Forum.
Ten Republican presidential candidates participated in Fox News’s primetime debate:
Walker said that if the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, negotiated by the Obama administration and pending congress review, is signed and he is elected president, he will cancel it immediately:
I still remember, as a kid, tying a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of my house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage. Iran is not a place we should be doing business with.
To me, you terminate the deal on day one, you reinstate the sanctions authorized by Congress, you go to Congress and put in place even more crippling sanctions in place, and then you convince our allies to do the same.
This is not just bad with Iran, this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together, and, once and for all, we need a leader who’s gonna stand up and do something about it.
Paul criticized the agreement as well, mentioning former President Ronald Reagan as an example for a better approach:
I’m a Reagan conservative. Reagan did negotiate with the Soviets. But you have to negotiate from a position of strength, and I think President Obama gave away too much, too early.
If there’s going to be a negotiation, you’re going to have to believe somehow that the Iranians are going to comply. I asked this question to John Kerry, I said “do you believe they’re trustworthy?” and he said “No.”
And I said, “well, how are we gonna get them to comply?” I would have never released the sanctions before there was consistent evidence of compliance.
Huckabee mentioned Reagan as well:
Ronald Reagan said “trust, but verify.” President Obama is “trust, but vilify.” He trusts our enemies and vilifies everyone who disagrees with him. And the reason we disagree with him has nothing to do with party. It has to do with the incredibly dangerous place that this world is gonna be as a result of a deal in which we got nothing.
We didn’t even get four hostages out. We got nothing, and Iran gets everything they want. We said we would have anywhere, anytime negotiations and inspections, we gave that up. We said that we would make sure that they didn’t have any nuclear capacity, we gave that up.
The president can’t tell you what we got. I’ll tell you what the world got. The world has a burgeoning nuclear power that didn’t, as the Soviets, say “we might defend ourselves in a war.” What the Iranians have said is, “we will wipe Israel off the face of the map, and we will bring death to America.”
When someone points a gun at your head and loads it, by God, you ought to take them seriously, and we need to take that seriously.
Slate’s David Weigel draws some interesting parallels between this Republican primary and the last one:
“I’m thinking of a Republican primary. It starts with a candidate (John McCain/Mitt Romney) who ran once before, came in second place, and won over the party’s elite class without winning over its base. Other candidates, understandably unwilling to accept this, line up: An under-funded social conservative (Mike Huckabee/Rick Santorum), an elder statesman who’s walked to the altar three times (Rudy Giuliani/Newt Gingrich), a libertarian who wants to bring back the gold standard (Ron Paul/Ron Paul). The conservative base is displeased. In the year before the primary, it pines for a perfect candidate. At the end of summer, on (September 5/August 13), it gets him: (Fred Thompson/Rick Perry). The dream candidate immediately rises to the top of national polls, but collapses after lazy, distaff debate performances… The Republican base looks at the wreckage and shudders. It can never allow this to happen ever again.”
However despite the parallels Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is now singing a different tune about Mitt Romney’s leadership at Bain Capital:
“These attacks on, quote, Bain Capital is really kind of anathema to everything that we believe in.”
— McCain on CBS News, January 12, 2012, about attacks on Mitt Romney’s track record in business.
“As head of his investment company he presided over the acquisition of companies that laid off thousands of workers.”
— McCain in the New York Times, January 28, 2008, taking a different view.