In what may have been one of the most publicized debate in American history, eight presidential candidates, who hope to become the next leader of America, came together on Wednesday night to answer questions posed by YouTube members.
The first topic that was raised by the YouTube videos was the issue of immigration and how to solve the problem of illegal aliens. Congressman Hunter was the only candidate to respond to the question who was able to show that he is and has done something to combat the situation of illegal immigrants. He responded to the question by stating that he was a part of building a border fence in San Diego that “reduced the smuggling of people and drugs by more than 90 percent.” He also went on to state, ” Now, the administration has $800 million on hand right now, cash on hand. They haven’t built a linear inch of that fence in Texas. As president of the United States, I would bill the double-border fence, all 854 miles, in six months.” The other candidates who responded simply talked about the different things to take into consideration when dealing with this issue, but none had as strong a response or stance as Congressman Hunter.
When the issue of abortion rose, Congressman Paul fumbled horribly at the question. He first said that abortion is a crime, but that women should not be charged – only the doctors should be charged. Then he continued on to say, “Well, I think it’s up to the states. I’m not in the state — I’m not running for governor. And I think it’s different, and I don’t think it should be all 50 states the same way. So, I don’t think that should be up to the president to decide that.” In nice contrast to Paul’s blubbering reply, Senator Thompson responded along similar lines, but with much more distinguished and well-planned remarks than his counterpart. ” I think it should be fashioned along the same lines it is now,” said Thompson Most states have abortion laws pertain and prohibit abortion after viability. It goes to the doctor performing the abortion, not the girl, or the young girl, or her parents, whoever it might be. I think that same pattern needs to be followed. It could just be moved up earlier, or much earlier in the process if the state so determined.”
Another hot topic of the evening was gun control laws. YouTube member Jay Fox posed an important question to the candidates: “What is your opinion of gun control? And don’t worry, you can answer however you like.” Again, Congressman Hunter provided a satisfying answer when he said “From Bunker Hill to New Orleans to the rooftops of Fallujah, the right to keep and bear arms and use them effectively is an important part of America’s security. And I will strongly enforce the Second Amendment as president of the United States.” His opponent, Mayor Giuliani, had a less satisfying response. Giuliani stated that each state should have gun control laws, but that the strictness of those laws should vary. In states where crime was higher, he said, there should be harsher laws. Hunter believes that the law should be the same regardless of the state, which follows the constitution and not simply his own opinion.
One of the final topics of the evening was centered on the controversy surrounding the war in Iraq. There were several YouTube questions about this issue, and surprisingly, Congressman Paul provided a thoroughly thought out and well supported response to the problem of dealing with the war. Paul stated: “The best commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That’s the most important thing that we can do.” He continued on to declare that America needs to come home and take care of America, and let Iraq take care of Iraq. Paul provided information that shows how Iraq is slowly becoming independent when he said: “The British are leaving. The brigade of Al Sadr now is in charge, so they are getting their country back. They’re in charge up north — the Shia — the people in the north are in charge, as well, and there’s no violence up there or nearly as much.[…] So it’s time for us to take care of America first.”
Overall, the YouTube presidential debate was very interesting and exciting to view. For those who were unable to watch the debates live, the transcript is available here, and Video clips from the debate are available here.