RUSH: Let’s listen to some of the sound bites from the Republican presidential debate yesterday scheduled by ABC. It was moderated by George ‘Stephy’ Stephanopoulos, and took place someplace in Iowa. David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register was also on the panel. Nobody saw it. Nobody watches Stephanopoulos’ show anyway. It’s 10:30 on a Sunday morning. If you’re going to schedule a debate at 10:30 on a Sunday morning, don’t you think it would be best to schedule the Democrats then? If you’re ABC and you want an audience, don’t you know that the audience for this debate is going to be in church? The liberal audience wouldn’t be, separation of church and state. When you’ve got the Democrat candidates debating, can’t go to church, separation of church and state. But they also put this thing up there on Sunday morning precisely — a conflict here, because they want an audience but they weren’t going to get one and they know, and they can bury the debate, nobody saw it, not in any great numbers. First question from Stephanopoulos was on abortion. Is the first question in Democrat debates ever about abortion? Not lately. After going back and forth on Sam Brownback’s ad attacking Mitt Romney for his abortion position, Romney gets a little bit angry about this.
ROMNEY: I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. And I’m tired of a…
BROWNBACK: And it is a truthful position. Every piece of that is truthful. You can go to YouTube and look for the governor, what he says himself.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney —
ROMNEY: You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice. I’ve said that time and time again. I changed my position. When I was governor and when I faced an issue of life or death, when the first time a bill came to my desk that related to the life of an unborn child, I came down on the side of life. And I put that in The Boston Globe and explained why. And I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have.
RUSH: All right, now we’re debating here. We actually had a debate. That was Brownback and Romney that were arguing about supposedly the flip-flop position on abortion of Mitt Romney. Now, the Drive-Bys did like one aspect of this debate, and it was Ron Paul. (Laughing) Stephanopoulos said, ‘Congressman Ron Paul, what would be your strategy in Iraq, should you be elected president?’
PAUL: Just come home. We just marched in. We should just come home. We went in there illegally, we did not declare war. It’s lasting way too long. We didn’t declare war in Korea or Vietnam. The wars were never really ended. We lose those wars. We’re losing this one. We shouldn’t be there. We ought to just come home.
RUSH: I knew that was going to get the load of attention this morning from the Drive-Bys, and it did. This is primarily what they thought. They were having deep analysis and roundtable discussions about Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the Republican nomination. And they know that at the Drive-Bys. They were just wondering, what will this influence, because there was a lot of applause, will this influence the other Republican candidates and so forth. Here’s a great line. Romney, probably the line of the debate, asked people about Obama and his nuke strategy, Pakistan, you talk about flip-flopping, Obama’s all over the place on this. Here’s Mitt Romney.
ROMNEY: I agree the Brookings Institution report over the weekend was a very encouraging indication that we’re making progress. That’s great news. At the same time, you look at that Democratic debate, I had to laugh at what I saw Barack Obama do. I mean, in one week he went from saying he’s going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he’s going to bomb our allies. I mean, he’s gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week.
RUSH: (Laughing.) Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week. All right, now, David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register, says, ‘Mayor Giuliani, the Republican dogma against taxes now precluding the ability of you and your party to come up with the revenues that the country needs to fix its bridges?’ Now, this goes back to this piece for Robyn Blumner from the Columbus Dispatch that I shared with you the last hour. All of this, this bridge collapse, the libs can’t wait, gotta raise taxes, gotta raise taxes, never mind the fact more money is pouring into the treasury than ever before, here’s another Drive-Byer ignorant of real-world life, and now just simply takes the template that exists in the narrow minds of these Drive-Bys and then asks Giuliani about the Republican dogma, the dogma against taxes, is that precluding the ability of you and your party to come up with the revenues the country needs fix its bridges? The premise here is so flawed that it angers me. We’ve got more money than we know what to do with. Hell, folks, 55 or 57% of the federal budget is spent on entitlements. The highway bill is loaded with all kinds of money. This is a state operation anyway on this bridge. Here’s Rudy’s answer.
GIULIANI: David, there’s an assumption in your question that is not necessarily correct. It’s sort of the Democratic liberal assumption. I need money, I raise taxes.
YEPSEN: Then what are you going to cut sir, what do you cut?
GIULIANI: Wait, wait, wait. Let me explain it. The way to do it sometimes is to reduce taxes and raise more money. I ran a city with 759 bridges, probably the most used bridges in the nation, some of the most used in the world. I was able to acquire more money to fund capital programs. I reduced the number of poor bridges from 5% to 1.7%. I was able to raise more money to fix those bridges by lowering taxes. I lowered income taxes by 25%. I was collecting 40% more from the lower income tax than from the higher income tax. There is a liberal Democratic assumption that if you raise taxes, you raise money. We should put more money into infrastructure. We should have a good program for doing it, but the knee-jerk liberal Democratic reaction, raise taxes to get money, very often is a very big mistake.
RUSH: All right, right on, right on, right on, right on. I haven’t heard this much from the Republicans in this debate, but this is crucial. This idea has been disapproved so many times, it’s maddening to sit here and listen to this mantra, this little cliché continue from the left. I think the thing about Mayor Giuliani talking to David Yepsen, I’m not so sure that these guys like Yepsen actually think they’re going to raise more money. I think they’re into punishment. They’re into the punishment of people who unfairly have so much more than the rest of the little people, and they just have to be gotten even with. Of course, when you’re talking about the government, these guys in the Drive-Bys, they look at government with as much love and adoration as any Democrat candidate does, and of course government can never, never do with less. So if you are going to cut taxes, according to Yepsen and the libs, why, what spending are you going to cut? Because obviously if you cut taxes, you’re going to reduce revenue. No, it doesn’t work that way, and we’re living it right now. We lived it in the eighties. We are living it right now. And here are reporters who are charged with a responsibility to educate themselves, to be informed more than others. It’s their job and they live in a bubble and whatever doesn’t compute with their world view never finds its way inside their cranium to start circulating amongst the little gray cells in there, can’t stand the conflict. Next question from Stephanopoulos is another question the Democrat candidates are never asked. ‘What is your biggest mistake, Mayor Giuliani?’
GIULIANI: To have a description of my mistakes in 30 seconds? (Laughing.)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Defining mistake. Just one defining mistake.
GIULIANI: George, your father is a priest. I’m going to explain it to your father, not to you, okay? (Laughing.)
RUSH: All right, right on, right on, right on.
RUSH: Let me ask you a question, ladies and gentlemen, as the man who can read the stitches on the fast ball. You ever notice that all of these Drive-By reporters never say to the Democrats, ‘Well, you know, Senator Clinton, you’re always proposing raising taxes to fix that or to do this. Yet the problem is never solved. Why is that?’ We have had $11 trillion of wealth transferred, redistributed in this country since the inception of the Great Society, the war on poverty. Have we solved it? No. Even after, what, ’64 — 33 — 43 years — is that right? I don’t do math well in my head. 2007, 1964. Whatever it is, it’s a hell of a long time. And we still have a Democrat presidential candidate running for office on wiping out poverty, because we’re not doing enough. Do you think any reporter will ever say, ‘Breck Girl, your party has stood for the increase in taxes, and you have raised taxes every time you’ve been in the White House. Has it fixed the problem?’ They’ll never ask that question, will they?
Okay, back to the audio sound bites, from the debate. Now, we have one of these situations where you’re listening to sound bites and you think Giuliani is doing really well, and a lot of people that watched thought that Mitt Romney came out standing really well, too. But Frank Luntz had his focus group in there and the guy that shined in the focus group was Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas. Here’s a question from Stephanopoulos. ‘Governor Huckabee, what would you bring to the Oval Office?’
HUCKABEE: I would put the very same frame on my wall in the White House I did as governor for 10 and-a-half years. It’s a frame that has a photo, and underneath the photo it says, ‘Our boss.’ My picture was never in that frame in 10 and-a-half years. Every week or so, we’d put the picture of some ordinary Arkansas citizen. And I told our staff, let’s never forget who the real boss is. I hope every day I’d never forget I work for those people; they don’t work for me. I’d like to be the kind of president that’s more concerned about the people on Main Street, not just the folks on Wall Street. And we need that kind of Republican running, that kind of Republican winning. I’d never forget who the boss really, really is.
RUSH: Okay, you can understand how the viewers watching that, I mean, a guy running for president tells them they’re going to be the boss. (Doing Clinton impression) ‘I’m going to work so hard for you. I’m going to cut your taxes. I feel your pain. No attack ever fed a hungry child.’ So it doesn’t surprise me that that would have an impact on viewers. One more from Huckabee. We got a little interaction going on here. ‘Governor Huckabee, we got the polls of this debate. Congressman Paul says, ‘Come home.’ Congressman Hunter says, ‘We gotta stay.’ Is there a middle ground in this debate on Iraq?’
HUCKABEE: Certainly there’s a middle ground, George, and the middle ground is that we win this war and we do it with honor. We don’t just say indefinitely. We put some pressure, just like we have been the last week with Secretary Rice and Secretary Gates, on the Saudis. The second thing we’d do for our own national security is end our dependence on foreign oil, and let’s not play around and say 30 years, let’s get it done, let’s get it down now. And let’s make sure that we don’t have to depend upon their oil for our future energy needs. If we can feed ourselves, if we can fuel ourselves, if we can manufacture the weapons to fight for ourselves, we’re a free people. If we can’t do those three things, we’re not free.
RUSH: All right, so that’s Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas. By the way, speaking of the war, USA Today Susan Page is reporting President Bush is making headway in arguing that the increase in US troops in Iraq, the surge, is showing military progress. ‘In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, taken Friday through yesterday, the proportion of those who said the additional troops are making the situation better went to 31%, up from 22% a month ago. Those who said it was not making much difference dropped to 41% from 51%. About the same number said it was making things worse, 24% now, 25% a month ago.’ So progress out there in public opinion polls on whether or not the surge is working. One more sound bite, it’s actually from last Friday, WHO 1040 news talk, Des Moines, our affiliate, our EIB blowtorch there. Host Jan Mickelson is interviewing Romney, and they had this exchange about Romney being a Mormon.
ROMNEY: I mean, I don’t like coming on the air and having you go after me and my church and me.
MICKELSON: I’m not going after you. I agree with your church!
ROMNEY: I know. That’s right. But I’m not running as a Mormon. And I get tired of coming on a show like yours and having it all about Mormons.
MICKELSON: See, I don’t mind it being about that.
ROMNEY: Yeah, I do. I do.
MICKELSON: I agree with the ethics of your church, for Pete’s sake.
ROMNEY: So do I. So do I.
RUSH: We’re getting the tail end of this, but Romney had spent some minutes before giving a pretty nuanced and detailed explanation of things and I think he was frustrated. He thought the host didn’t understand him; didn’t understand the point that he was making.