Primary Debates and Forums
Security and Foreign Policy
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC from
8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. ET. 1, 2
Sponsors: CNN, The Heritage
Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
Perry, former Gov.
Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Broadcast: CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International, CNN Radio and CNN.com.
Format: In addition to Blitzer, foreign policy experts from AEI and The Heritage Foundation posed questions to the candidates. CNN solicited questions and comments submitted in real-time from CNN.com, the CNN Politics fan page on Facebook and by using the #CNNDebate hashtag on Twitter.
debate on foreign policy and
national security to be held on Nov. 15. However, on Oct. 25 CBS
and National Journal
announced a debate on national security and
foreign policy to be held on Nov. 12. CNN then
moved its date back to Nov. 22 to allow more time between
question or two focused on the economy, given the congressional super
committee's announcement of its failure to reach an agreement the day
before, but moderator Blitzer and the questioners from Heritage and AEI
did a good job of keeping the national security focus from former
Attorney General Ed Meese's opening question about the Patriot Act to
the closing question on overlooked threats from AEI's Marc
Thiessen. In between there were questions on everything from Iran
to foreign aid to immigration. More than in past debates, Rep.
Ron Paul stood out with his forceful and consistent advocacy of
The issue which will likely have the most
post-debate repercussions was illegal immigration.1
expressed a fairly moderate view on the subject, which is
not new, but which stood out when contrasted directly with some of the
other candidates' views and which could cost him support among some
conservatives. "If you've been here 25 years and you got three
kids and two
grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to
church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family,
forcefully and kick you out," Gingrich stated. Rep. Michelle
Bachmann framed the issue differently, stating, "...I don't agree that
you would make
11 million workers legal, because that, in effect, is amnesty."
Former Gov. Mitt Romney said that, "[T]o say that we're going to say to
the people who have come
here illegally that now you're all going to get to stay or some large
are going to get to stay and become permanent residents of the United
that will only encourage more people to do the same thing."
Romney's view was sharply criticized by Democrats.
In contrast to past debates, there was an amazingly equal distribution of time.2
1. On Nov. 23, the DNC issued a video "Mitt Romney on Immigration. Dishonest. To the Extreme," and the accompanying press release characterized Romney as "the most extreme, right wing presidential candidate on the issue of immigration ever." Also on Nov. 23 the Obama campaign organized a conference call on "Mitt Romney’s attack on a humane immigration policy" with Congressman Silvestre Reyes (TX-16) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Charles Gonzalez (TX-20).
Meanwhile, the anti-illegal
immgration group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALI PAC) issued a
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is predicting that the Gingrich campaign will implode in reaction to Speaker Gingrich's support for Dream Act Amnesty during tonight's CNN debate. ALIPAC successfully predicted the implosion of Rick Perry's campaign immediately following Perry's debate support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
2. Wes Hemings analysis at "Dawn of the Weak" found 1:15:48 of total candidate talk time: Gingrich (11:59), Romney (11:29), Perry (10:55), Paul (9:57), Bachmann (9:16), Huntsman (8:45), Santorum (7:56) and Cain(5:31).