- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Paul digs in heels during GOP debate in N.H.
Question of the Day
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Rep. Ron Paul fought to protect his top-tier status in the Republican presidential race during Saturday night’s debate, ripping into the records of his closest rivals and putting up a feisty defense of his limited government philosophy.
By the time the night was over, the 12-term Texas Congressman had assailed former Sen. Rick Santorum as big spender and refused to back away from his characterization of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as a “chicken hawk” — all the while arguing that the nation’s drug laws unjustly affect blacks and telling the audience that he’d be reading an “economic textbook” if he wasn’t spending the night on the debate stage.
With three days left before New Hampshire’s first-in-the nation primary, the event was the first of back-to-back debates that are giving the candidates a late-innings opportunity to woo voters here and try to slow the momentum of Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor scraped out a thin victory over Mr. Santorum in the Iowa caucuses and holds a significant lead in Granite State polls.
But the debate here on Saturday quickly morphed into a battle for second place, largely due to the combative approach of Mr. Paul, who finished third in the Iowa caucuses and is running second here in a realclearpolitics.com average of polls.
The jury is still out on whether the Republican establishment would be willing to support Mr. Paul, thanks to his foreign policy views and libertarian philosophy.
Whatever the case, the 76-year-old came out firing Saturday night, charging Mr. Santorum with selling out basic conservative principles when, as a member of Congress, he supported five increases in the nation’s borrowing limit, the No Child Left Behind law that increased the size of the Department of Education and the Medicare Part D program, which has since cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
“You’re a big spender; that’s all there is to it. You’re a big-government conservative,” Mr. Paul told Mr. Santorum, later adding that “to say you’re a conservative, I think, is a stretch. But you’ve convinced a lot of people of it, so somebody has to point out your record.”
Mr. Santorum countered that he doesn’t share Mr. Paul’s brand of libertarianism, so he has supported spending bills and believes there is a role for the federal government to play in society. He also said that his record is “actually pretty darn good,” arguing that he’s advocated for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, carried the bill that led to welfare reform and fought to link spending cuts with debt limit increases.
“When the government runs up a tab and you don’t have the money no — no longer to pay, then you have to increase the debt ceiling. But every time we tried to — we tried to tie it with reducing spending,” Mr. Santorum said.
The exchanges between Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum have become commonplace on the campaign trail. The two Republicans have butted heads repeatedly over what the nation should do to ensure that Iran does not acquire the capability to develop a nuclear weapon — with Mr. Paul warning against military action and Mr. Santorum advocating military strikes against the nation’s nuclear development facilities.
Asked Saturday whether he stood by his assertion that Mr. Gingrich is a “chicken hawk” for avoiding military service as a young man and then pushing for military actions overseas, Mr. Paul answered: “Yes.”
“I think people who don’t serve when they could … they have no right to send our kids off to war, and not to even be against the wars we have,” he said
Mr. Gingrich said that as an “Army brat” and son of a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Army he understands what military families need. “Dr. Paul has a long history of saying things that are inaccurate and false,” the former House speaker said. “The fact is, I never asked for deferment. I was married with a child. It was never a question.”
Mr. Paul suggested the explanation didn’t add up. “When I was drafted, I was married and had two kids, and I went,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Perdue, Nunn square off in race for Georgia's open Senate seat
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- Alison Lundergan Grimes hits Mitch McConnell over jobs
- Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff locked in dead heat
- Georgia Senate race heats up as Kingston, Perdue ready for runoff
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized War College master's thesis: report
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Hezbollah warring in Syria could join fight against Israel
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- Pro-Russia rebel commander suggests passengers died days before Malaysian flight
- TYRRELL: The birth of a new alignment in the Middle East
- Despite rhetoric, gun prosecutions plummet under Obama
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq