Primary Debates and Forums
Sponsors: Tea Party Express and CNN, with participation and involvement from co-host local tea party groups in every state across the country.
Candidates: Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Ron Paul, Gov. Rick Perry, former Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Moderator: CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer.
Audience: In part members from tea party groups in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
Broadcast: Broadcast live on CNN, CNN International, CNN.com, and CNN Radio. The debate will be available via live stream in the CNN Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.
tea party movement: limited government, free markets, and fiscal
Candidates gave brief introductions (Blitzer: "keep it very, very short.") "Each candidate will have about one minute to answer questions and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals."
"In addition to questions from Blitzer, audience members inside the debate hall, made up in part by members from tea party groups in 31 states and the District of Columbia, will be invited to ask questions directly to the candidates. Questions will also be taken live from tea party members at debate watch parties in Phoenix, Ariz.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portsmouth, Virginia. Online, CNN will solicit questions via comments on CNNPolitics.com, the CNN Politics Facebook page, and by using the #CNNTeaParty hashtag on Twitter."
thus far, marked by a number of direct
exchanges between candidates. Perry had a rough night, being
taken to task by Romney on Social Security, by Bachmann and Santorum on
his HPV vaccine executive order, and by just about everyone on in-state
tuition for illegal immigrants.
The debate was the
a week, and it pretty much picked up where the last one ended.
The first question, from a Tea Party activist, was "How will you
convince senior citizens that Social Security and Medicare need to be
changed and get their vote?" This led to a lengthy exchange
between Perry and Romney with Blitzer pretty much letting the two have
at it. Romney challenged Perry, "But the question is, do you
still believe that Social Security should
be ended as a federal program as you did six months ago when your book
came out and returned to the states or do you want to retreat from
that?" Perry responded, "I think we ought to have a conversation."
One moment that drew a fair bit of notice
occurred following Blitzer's hypothetical question to Paul on health
insurance. After Blitzer's follow up question, "Are you saying
that society should just let him die?" someone in the audience yelled
"yeah!" Paul gave a reasonable answer ("I practiced at Santa Rosa
Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches
took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the
hospitals."), but it was a discordant moment.
Blitzer closed out the debate on a lighter note, asking the candidates, for their "thoughts on something you would bring to the White House if you were the next president of the United States."
According to the Tea
Party Express website, "This date was chosen because it is such a
significant day in the
history of the tea party movement: the anniversary of the massive
'March on D.C.' which demonstrated the power and size of the tea
party." About one year from now the Republican National
Convention will take place in this city.
1. See also Tea Party Presidential Debate Presented by CNN