Republican “Lower Tier” Second Debate, Then There Were Four, and One Stood Out

(Summaries of the first seven “main tier” debates are posted on

Slowly, but surely, the race for the Republican nomination next summer will include fewer candidates. Since the original two debates in August, the “lower tier” group shrunk to four for the CNN event on September 16, 2015. Carly Fiorina was “promoted” to the first group, Rick Perry had bowed out and Jim Gilmore was left out by the network.

Thus, the foursome of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (since 2003), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (since 2008), former New York Governor George Pataki (1995-2006) and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (1995-2007) met at the Ronald Reagan Library for their second meeting.

Comments are grouped by topic and not necessarily by chronological sequence. A commentary will be at the end. This session was moderated by Jake Tapper and assisted by Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash.

Reagan’s  “11th  Commandment”  and  Comments  Made  About  Trump

Jindal: He was asked to justify his comment that Donald Trump is “an unstable, narcissistic, egomaniac” in view of Reagan’s command “thou shall not speak ill of thy fellow Republican.” Jindal replied that he is in compliance by saying, “Let’s stop treating Donald Trump like a Republican… if he were really a conservative and thirty points ahead, I would endorse him… He’s not a liberal, he ‘s not a Democrat, he’s not a Republican, he’s not an independent. He believes in Donald Trump.”

After a description of how “the idea of America is slipping away” because of our President’s priorities, he concluded the Trump answer with, “Do we depend on proven conservative principles like Ronald Reagan did, OR do we turn it over to a narcissist who only believes in himself?”

Santorum: He was asked his opinion of Jindal’s comments. He disagreed with him by saying that: “I think personal attack please just one person – Hillary Clinton… There are plenty of policy differences between the candidates up here and the candidates later. Donald Trump has every right to run for president as a Republican as anybody else in this audience. And he may have positions which I disagree with, but he has the right to do that. ”

Jindal: “The reality is, Hillary Clinton is gift-wrapping this election to us. They are running their weakest candidate. They’ve got a socialist that is gaining on Hillary Clinton. Folks, you can’t make that up… The best way for us to give this election back would be to nominate a Donald Trump. He would either implode in the general election or, God forbid if he were in the White House, we have no idea of what he would do. You can’t just attack him on policy – he doesn’t care about policy. It’s not enough to say he was for socialized medicine or higher taxes. He’s not serious.”

Graham: Switching to the senator who has called Trump a “wrecking ball for the Republican Party,” yet voters in South Carolina support Trump 30% to Graham’s 4%. He’s not concerned with the polling at this stage. If it were a true indicator, then the polls of 2012 and 2008 would have said we’d have had President Perry and President Giuliani.

Pataki: He and Hugh Hewitt got into a battle of semantics. Hewitt claimed Pataki broke his pledge to support the Republican nominee by tweeting that he wouldn’t support Trump. Pataki countered that he did not break the pledge because he is certain that Trump will not win the nomination. When asked, he said he would not vote for Hillary Clinton and would vote for the Republican nominee.

“But let me say this flat out. Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States or the Republican party’s nominee. Look at what he did in Atlantic City. He says he’s going to make America great again. He invested (in) four casinos in Atlantic City and he said, essentially, ‘I’m going to make Atlantic great again.’ Every one of those casinos went bankrupt.”

While 5,000 lost their jobs, Pataki added Trump didn’t lose anything and the same type of thing will happen if we elect Trump president.

Which  is  Better, “Outsiders”  or  “Insiders”?

Graham: Jake Tapper asked him to explain why Trump, Carson and Fiorina, all who have never been elected to public office, are ahead of the four of them in the polls. The senator hopes that all voters will support someone who will take us in a different direction than the one our President is taking us. He believes his thirty-five trips to Iraq and Afghanistan will make him a better leader and that insulting one another won’t fix the situation. His thirty-three years in the military coupled with his 140 days on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan make him ready to take on the responsibilities of president immediately. Regarding whether experience matters, “ Let’s not replace one novice with another.


Santorum: He began by summarizing that most of the other Republicans support programs which involve various forms of amnesty. He believes that too much attention has been given to those illegals already here without sufficient concern for the plight of existing Americans who have had their income earning abilities harmed by the influx of illegal immigrants. Rather, a great leader will act on those issues which are in the best interest of America.

“Seventy to ninety per cent of the people who gave come into this country , thirty-five million over the last twenty years, are wage earners that are holding wages down, taking jobs away from America.”

Jindal: “I want to make clear (so) that everyone understands my position. We need to secure the border, period… We don’t need a comprehensive plan. We don’t need a thousand page plan like the Gang of Eight… As President, I’ll get it done in six months. It won’t be perfect, but we can get it done. I’m not for amnesty. We do need to secure the border. A smart immigration makes our country stronger… Immigration without assimilation is invasion. We need to insist that people come here legally, learn English, adopt our values, draw up their sleeves and get to work.”

Santorum: While some versions of immigration policy may not call themselves amnesty, they allow people who came here illegally or overstayed a visa to stay. He also said we currently have the highest number of immigrants, in a percentage basis, that we have had in 105 years.

“Wages are flat-lined. The reason you’re seeing the angst and the anger out there, and the reason this issue has taken off, is because workers in America know that their wages are being undermined. If you look at from the year 2000 and 2014, there are 5.7 million net new jobs created. What percentage of those jobs are held by people who weren’t born here? The answer is all of them. The fact is American workers are being hurt by immigration and that’s why they’re upset.”

Jindal: He was asked to clarify his position on amnesty, where Dana Bash said he’s not for amnesty but wants a path to citizenship. The governor said he is not for amnesty, but we must first secure the border then, “after that, deal with the folks who are here pragmatically and compassionately… I have never been for amnesty, will never be for amnesty.” He also believes we should not only defund sanctuary cities, but “criminalize, accuse and jail those mayors and councilmen as accessories for the crimes committed by people who shouldn’t be here in the first place.”

Pataki: He was asked to explain why he believes in keeping birthright citizenship while Sen. Graham wants it ended for those children whose parents entered the country illegally. He said that is just a small part of the immigration issue. First, we need to secure the border and ensure that people come here legally. Second, we need to imprison or deport any illegal immigrant who commits a crime.

“Of course, we should outlaw sanctuary cities and hold them responsible. But we can’t ignore eleven million people who are here… We’re not going to send them back despite what somebody says we’re going to drag kids out of classrooms and send them back. But we have to send a message that we are a nation that depends on the rule of law. When your first act is to break the law, there has to be a consequence.”

His idea is to have those illegals who want to have “legal status” (not citizenship) to come forward and acknowledge their breaking of the law and if they break another, they can be deported immediately. In addition, they would be required to perform 200 hours of community service in order to receive “legal status.” When pressed to answer Jack Tapper’s question, Pataki said he does not believe anyone born here should be deported and that we can avoid this situation by having “an intelligent immigration policy.”

(Immigration continues with a Graham vs. Santorum verbal boxing match, and no one really won)

Graham: Regarding ending birthright citizenship, he first said he did not remember the Santorum plan and that he, Sen. Graham has been trying to solve the immigration problem for a decade. We won’t deport the eleven Illegal immigrants, but the felons have to leave. For those who can stay here:

“As to the rest, you can stay, but you got to learn our language. I don’t speak it very well, but look how far I’ve come (alluding to his Southern accent, followed by some laughter from the audience). Speaking English is a good thing. You got to pay taxes, you got to pay a fine, you got to get back in line. You got to secure your border, they’ll keep coming. If you don’t control who gets the job, it will never end. We’ve got two borders, one with Canada and one with Mexico. I’ve never met an illegal Canadian.”

He views the problem as an economic issue which needs to be solved. On the subject of ending birthright citizenship, he is opposed to those who use their money and the system to buy a visa to go to a resort and have the child in America. “That to me is bastardizing citizenship. I’d like to stop that in the future.”

Santorum: He countered Graham’s claim that he didn’t have a plan in the Senate, it was named “The Comprehensive Border Security Bill” in 2006. It would have allocated resources to building a fence, deploying troops and implementing necessary technology.

Graham: “What did you do with the eleven million?”

Santorum: “As you know, 40-60% of the eleven million are here on visa overstays. We know exactly who they are, we should know where they are, but we have a government which doesn’t tell them to return home. You can solve half of the problem of the eleven million, (Graham: “What about the other half?”) by simply telling the eleven million that they have to return to their country of origin. So that’s half of your problem. So it’s not eleven million anymore.”

Graham: “How many Democrats did you have on your bill?”
Santorum: “I don’t know how many Democrats.”
Graham: “I can tell you – none.”
Santorum: “The point is that I had a bill –“
Graham: “It went nowhere.”
Santorum: “Well, you’re right, Lindsey, it went nowhere because we had a president back then who was, ah, for more comprehensive reform than I was.”
Graham:George W. Bush.”
Santorum: “That’s right.”
Graham: “Who won with Hispanics.”

Santorum: “You know what we need to do, Lindsey, (Graham: “Compared to what we’re doing.”) we need to win, we need to win fighting for Americans. We need to win fighting for the workers (Graham: “Hispanics.”) who are hurting (Graham: “Are Americans.”) in this country, including Hispanics, the people who are hurt the most by illegal immigration are Hispanics.” (crowd applause, for Graham, and also for the novelty of a verbal fight?)
Graham: “In my world, Hispanics are Americans.”

Santorum: “The folks who are hurt the worst are recent immigrants by illegal immigrants coming into this country, last year alone 700,000 illegal immigrants came into this country. Who do you think are most impacted? It’s the folks who came in this country, played by the rules, did what they were supposed to do, came here and went to work, and now they’re finding themselves out of work because someone came in illegally and is willing to work for less.”

Graham: “I have a little different take on where the country is going on this issue. Number one, in 1950, there were sixteen workers for every retiree. How many are there today? There’s three. In twenty years, there’s going to be two. And you’re going to have eighty million Baby Boomers like me retiring en mess [sic], wanting a Social Security check and their Medicare bills paid. We’re going to need more legal immigration. Let’s just make it logical. Let’s just pick people from all over the world on our terms, not just somebody from Mexico. Let’s create a rational legal immigration system because we have a declining work force. Strom Thurmond had four kids after he was sixty-seven. If you’re not willing to do that, we had better come up with a new legal immigration system.” (applause, for his answer or because Jake Topper was ending this segment?)
Santorum: “I just want to say I’ve had seven kids, so I’ve done my part.”
He reminded us that we can’t ignore the eleven illegal immigrants and that his policy of granting them legal status would work and “it would make them part of an economy that would grow.”

[New question on Immigration, with regard to admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. over the next year]

Jindal: He was asked whether the U.S. has a moral obligation, as Sen. Graham believes, to allow these refugees into our country. Gov. Jindal said that we are the most compassionate nation in the world, but that we should not put a Band-Aid on this refugee situation by allowing these refugees who are fleeing as a result of Obama’s failed famous “line in the sand” policy which created this flood of fleeing Syrians. This will not solve the problem. Rather, we “should not short-circuit… our normal refugee process.” The solution is “for us to be clear to our friends and allies that we are going to replace Assad, we’re going to hunt down and destroy ISIS. Our friends don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear and respect us.”

He then went back to the need for assimilation. His parents came to the U.S. legally almost forty-five years ago:

“They followed the rule of law, they knew English, they adopted the values. They didn’t come here to be hyphenated Americans. They’re not Indian-Americans. They’re not Asian-Americans.”

Graham: “I wonder how Obama sleeps at night… Your commanders told you ‘don’t withdraw from Iraq because we’ll lose all of our gains.’” Three years ago, Graham and Sen. McCain begged for a no-fly zone over Syria when it would still matter, but the President refused. He’s not blaming Sen. Santorum or others, just the President “for this mess.”

The Middle East

Graham: Saying to those who sacrificed in Iraq by doing their job, Obama wasted their efforts. He reiterated that those who do not understand that we 10,000 instead of the 3,500 troops currently on the ground to defeat ISIL are not ready to be President. And if we don’t destroy them soon, “then they’re coming here.” We spent $50 million to train fifty-four Syrians and only four or five are left after being killed. A regional army is needed. We should only be 10% of this fighting force as we have paid for the last two wars. “…and we’re going to pull the caliphate up by its roots and we’re going to kill every one of these bastards we can find, because if we don’t, they’re coming here.” (applause)

Santorum: He said he proposed 10,000 troops about six months ago to arm the Kurds, more if necessary. “The answer is this: once ISIS established a caliphate (1), the game changed. Because once you establish a caliphate, where you have an area of control, you have to  take ground from that caliphate; because if you don’t, then in the Islamic world it’s seen as a legitimate caliphate. (2) As long as they have territorial integrity, and even expand it, then they have a legitimacy in much of the Muslim world to call people to join their jihad here in America, as well as in Iraq and Syria. So, we must take their ground.”

Jindal: The President has added to the problem, not only by announcing the troop cutback, but said “we’re not going to win this through guns. It’s going to be through a change of hearts and minds. This will be a generational conflict. That is nonsense. These are barbarians. They are burning, crucifying people alive, Christians and other Muslims. We need to hunt them down and kill them.”
Earlier, the governor reminded us that our president won’t say “radical Islamic terrorism… He’s declared a war on trans-fats and signed a truce with Iran… he’s more worried about Twinkies than he is about the Ayatollah having a nuclear weapon.”

Graham: “Are all of you willing to commit to American ground forces going into Syria, as part of a regional army, to destroy the caliphate at its headquarters?”

Pataki: He’s even more convinced now than he was as governor leading the state of New York through 9/11 that we are at a greater risk on our own soil of a terrorist attack. While we need to destroy ISIS, he disagrees that the solution is a certain increase in troops over there. Rather: “directly arm those fighting ISIS on the ground now…” (Then he was cut-off by the “rules and timing” per Jake Tapper)

[“How do we strike a balance between vigilance and discrimination?” — prefaced with the story about the 14-year old Muslim in trouble for bringing a fake bomb to school when it turned out to be a clock]

Jindal: Americans do not discriminate against people for reasons of race or creed. It’s not enough for Muslim leaders to disapprove of generic violence, they need to speak out against specific atrocities by name. They need to say that “these aren’t martyrs. These terrorists are not martyrs, rather they’re going straight to hell. They’re not going to enjoy a reward in their afterlife. Secondly, they have to explicitly embrace the same freedoms for everybody else that they want for themselves. Look, I know it’s not politically correct to say this, but the President said Fort Hood was an issue of workplace violence. We are at war with radical Islam. Our president loves to apologize for America. He goes to the National Prayer Breakfast, brings up the Crusades, criticizes Christians. We are at war today with radical Islamic extremists.”

While he’s glad the police are being vigilant and concerned about safety issues, a 14-year old should not be arrested for bringing a clock to school. (3) When it comes to discrimination:

“Right now, the biggest discrimination going on is against Christian business owners and individuals who believe in traditional forms of marriage. They’re throwing this woman in jail in Kentucky. (4) Let’s talk about that.” (applause) “Let’s talk about the Christian florist, the caterer, the musician who simply want to say don’t arrest us or don’t discriminate us or don’t shut down our businesses, don’t fine us thousands of dollars for believing that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Graham: He’s not afraid of an attack by Kim Davis, but he is concerned about “radical Islamic terrorists who are already here.” He wants “a legal system that knows the difference between fighting a war and fighting a crime.”

Pataki: He stated that public officials don’t get to choose which laws they follow. If Kim Davis was his employee, he would have fired her.

Santorum: He was asked to respond to Gov. Pataki’s statement. The senator responded by recalling the heroism of a woman who was challenged for her faith at Columbine (5) and did not back down. Now, we have a woman who stands by her faith against an unconstitutional decision by the Court and is:

“ridiculed and criticized, chastised because she’ standing up and not denying God and her faith. That is a huge difference in sixteen years. People have a fundamental right, in the First Amendment. There’s no more important right. It is the right that is the trunk that all rights come from, and that’s the freedom of conscience. And when we say in America that we have no room — well, how many bakers, how many florist, how many pastors, how many clerks are we going to throw in jail, because they say “I cannot violate what my faith says is against its teachings?’ Is there not room in America? I believe there has to be room.”

He promoted the First Amendment Defense Act which allows government officials to not act against their faith. “Judicial supremacy is not in the Constitution” and Santorum said we need a President and Congress which will stand against such a Court. (applause)

— Then, more festivities (this time, Santorum vs. Pataki)

Pataki: He was astonished at the notion of a President “who would defy the Supreme Court, because – (Santorum: “I hope so!) they don’t agree (Santorum: “if they’re wrong.”) then you don’t have the rule of law. –“

Santorum: “What you have is judicial supremacy. You don’t have a rule of law, when the Court has the final say!”
Pataki: The elected — the elected representatives of the people always have the opportunity to change that law. The Supreme Court makes a determination, but it’s ultimately the elected who decide if that would be acceptable.”

He added that if he becomes President, he would appoint judges who interpret the law, not make it. Back to the conscientious objection issue, “But there’s a huge difference between an individual standing up and saying, ‘I am going to stand for my religious freedom and my religious rights.’ I applaud that. This is America. You should be able to engage in your religious belief in the way you see fit. But when you’re an elected official, and you take an oath to uphold the law, all the laws, you cannot pick and choose or you no longer have a society that depends on the rule of law.” (applause)

Santorum: “Martin Luther King wrote a letter from the Birmingham jail. And he said in that letter, that there are just laws and there are unjust laws. And we have no obligation to condone and accept unjust laws. And he followed up, ‘What is an unjust law?’ An unjust law is a law that goes against the moral code or God’s law or the natural law. I would argue, that what the Supreme Court did is against the natural law, is against God’s law, and we have every obligation to stand in opposition to it.” (applause)
Graham: (probably feeling left out of this discussion) “Jake –.“
Pataki: “I didn’t agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, but it is the law of this land. And I’m a great admirer of Martin Luther King, and he was prepared to break the law. But it wasn’t in an office of political power, it was civil disobedience, where what he was willing to do was voluntarily go to jail with his followers to send a message to the elected representatives that these laws were wrong and had to be changed. And because of his courage, we didn’t ignore the courts, we changed the laws and made America a better place, and that’s the way to do it.” (applause)

Jindal: “Jake, I’ve got a practical question. I’d like the Left to give us a list of jobs that Christians aren’t allowed to have. If we’re not allowed to be clerks, bakers, musicians, caterers – are we allowed to be pastors? (Tapper: “Governor Jindal,..”) We’re not allowed to be elected officials. I want to make – this is an important point: The First Amendments rights, the rights to religious freedom, is in the first amendment to the Constitution, it isn’t breaking the law to exercise our constitutional rights. America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United State of America. It is the reason we are here today.” (applause)

Graham: He reminded everyone that it’s the Supreme Court which determines the constitutionality of laws and they ruled that laws banning same-sex marriage at the state level are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

“I don’t agree with it, but that is the law of the land. But as President, what I want to make sure of is that everybody in this room, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whatever religion, that you can practice our faith without government interference. You can marry people consistent with the tenets of your faith. That’s the number one obligation of my presidency: is to protect religious people when they exercise their religious rights. But this decision is the law as it is right now. And here’s the one thing I want to tell you. (Tapper: “Thank you, Senator.”) Wait, wait a minute. Whether you are the wedding cake, or the gay couple, or the Baptist preacher, radical Islam would kill you all if they could. (Tapper: “Senator, –“) Let’s not lose sight of the big picture here!” (applause)

[Staying on the subject of Supreme Court Justices]

Jindal: He was asked whether Sen. Graham and Santorum voting to confirm Chief Justice Roberts, who has voted twice to uphold Obamacare was a mistake. Jindal said that putting Roberts, Kennedy and Souter on the Court was a mistake, but he preferred to focus on the reality that conservatives don’t fight consistently for their values as Democrats do. We never see a liberal judge suddenly decide to be conservative. While most presidents choose Supreme Court nominees with no record to judge them on, Jindal would have his own litmus test : are they conservative and pro-life, follow the Constitution and American law? “They’re not appointed to interpret international law.” Also, “if judges want to write law, they should run for the Senate or the House.”

Graham: The senator that Chief Justice Roberts was one of the most qualified candidates to come before the Senate. He did not agree with Roberts’ position on Obamacare, but that is a great rarity. The most important concern for Republicans should be winning the White House “to make we don’t lose the judiciary for decades to come.” (applause)

Santorum: He doesn’t regret his vote to confirm Chief Justice Roberts despite two bad decisions. He was among those opposing President Clinton’s appointees and was a supporter of President Bush’s, including the effort to end the filibuster against his candidate.
Jindal: “Look, it’s not a minor ruling, Justice Roberts twice re-wrote the law to save Obamacare, the biggest expansion of government, creating a new entitlement. We can’t afford the government we’ve got today, an expansion of socialism in our country. It’s not that he got a minor ruling wrong. This is twice he re-wrote the law. Look, I have a lot of respect for these senators that have big bladders . They give great speeches in the Senate and I respect that. I’ve actually signed the executive order, I’ve actually signed the law protecting religious liberty in the state of Louisiana. It’s not 99-1, the one that he got wrong was a big one. Twice, he bent over backwards to save Obamacare. If Republicans had voted the way they should have, we would still have our 10th Amendments rights and Obamacare would not be the law of the land.”

[from Hugh Hewitt: Can anyone win the Presidency after belonging to the Washington elite who have a habit of saying nice things about their political opponents before election campaigning starts, such as Sen. Graham said about Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State?]

Jindal: Despite his criticism of Donald Trump, the governor said “one of the things he was right about when he said nonsense to the D.C. establishment. It is a time to fire all of them. You’ve got a choice between honest socialist on the left, like Bernie Sanders, and lying conservatives on the right. We’ve got the majority, what good has it done us. You know, they said they were going to stop amnesty. They said they were going to repeal Obamacare. They didn’t do either. Now, they’re not willing to fight to defund Planned Parenthood. They’ve already, McConnell’s already waved the white flag of defeat. They’re not willing to stand up to fight for the issues that count.”

“I think it is time to have term limits. I think it is time to have part-time citizen legislators. Let’s pay them a per diem instead of a six-figured salary. Stop them from being seven-figured lobbyists. Let’s also pay them a per diem for every day they don’t go to D.C., let’s keep them out of D.C., work in the real world. Let’s make them live according to the rules and laws they apply to the rest of us.” Back to those in question, they shouldn’t be elected and let’s fire all of them. (applause)

Graham: “Only in America can you go from the back of a liquor store to being elite.” His calling Hillary Clinton a “national treasure” came at a conference discussing the problems of women in Africa and she had done a good job. He recalled the $40 billion which President Bush sent to Africa to wipe out AIDS and malaria in children, which Santorum supported. (applause) But his problem with Secretary Clinton was “Where the hell were you on the night of the Benghazi attack? (applause) How did you let it become a death trap to begin with? Why did you lie about what happened to these people? He claimed to have a good chance of beating her because he doesn’t “say bad things about her all of the time, just when she deserves it.”

Regarding his going back-and-forth with political opponents and expecting the American public to believe him, he reminded us that President Reagan met and talked with Tip O’Neill, one of the most liberal of Representatives. “They started drinking together. That’s the first thing I’m going to start doing as President, we’re going to drink more. (laughter) And what did these two great Irishmen do? They found a way to save Social Security from bankruptcy by adjusting the age of retirement from sixty-five to sixty-seven so – yes, sometimes I will say nice things about Democrats. Yes, I will work with them. I will put the country ahead of party.”


Pataki: (from Jake Tapper: Trump and Bush have proposed raising taxes on hedge fund managers. Does he agree?) “I would throw out the entire corrupt tax code. It’s a symbol of the corruption and the power of the lobbyists and special interests in Washington. It’s 74,000 pages of incomprehensible gobbledy-gook.” He proposes the elimination of $1.4 trillion in loopholes and lower tax rates. He would tax the aforementioned the same as ordinary income. He would also propose that anyone who serves in either the Senate or the House can never be a lobbyist. We currently have 400 former members of Congress registered as lobbyists.

Jindal: He’s also for a flatter tax code which also does not allow the loopholes results in “sweetheart” deals for lobbyists. But this would be part of an overall, comprehensive tax reform because he doesn’t want to make this a single item change which would give the already-too-big federal government more money. He has cut his state budget 26% : “everybody else talks about it, we have done it.” But he doesn’t want to raise the taxes for anyone, just lower it for the whole.

Santorum: (from Dana Bash: Jeb Bush has a plan which would eliminate the deduction for home mortgages.) The senator described his “20-20: Perfect Vision for America Plan, a 20% flat tax on income, capital gains and corporations. It would eliminate the deductions for special provisions. The net result is no preference for how one takes his income. It would make us competitive with almost every other country which aids his goal of making the U.S. #1 in manufacturing again.

Pataki: He is not in favor of eliminating the deduction for mortgages and would also keep the charitable deduction. While he agrees with Santorum about the importance of manufacturing, he would lower the tax on manufacturing to 12% — the lowest in the developed world. He would improve overall job skills and get rid of job-killing regulations.

[Tapper on the Federal Minimum Wage: only Santorum on this stage has proposed raising it]

Graham: Instead of artificially raising the minimum wage, he wants to create a thriving economy which will cause more businesses to open and which will have the need to pay more in order to compete for those workers. Money needs to be borrowed to start business, but “banking is locked down because of Dodd-Frank.6 The tax code is a complete mess, but nobody has talked about the elephant in the room – which is debt. Not one more penny to the federal government until we come up with a plan to get out of debt.” (applause)

Santorum: (According to Graham, Tapper said Santorum’s plan would not allow South Carolinians to hire more workers.) He asked Graham what per cent is making the minimum wage and he replied about one per cent. Santorum said he would not make the case to the American public that there should not be a floor minimum wage. The party which supported bail-outs (but not him) and special interest provisions can’t afford to do this. He’s not proposing a large increase, but 50 cents per hour over three years. The Republican Party has had a habit of talking about the problem of business owners, who are 10% of voters, while disregarding the workers. “How are we going to win when 90% of Americans think we don’t care at all about them and their chance to rise (talked over).”


Graham: (Tapper: Would you authorize a strike against Iran’s nuclear capabilities?) He would if they were heading toward having a (nuclear) bomb. But we can’t defend our country adequately unless we rebuild our military.

“We’re on track to have the smallest army since 1940, the smallest navy since 1915 and John Kasich says he wants to close more bases. I want to rebuild our military and I want the Iranians to know that if I had to, I would use it. The worst nightmare in the world is a radical Islamic regime with a weapon of mass destruction. The only 3,000 of us died on 9/11 and not three million is because they couldn’t get the weapons to kill us. They’re on track to get a bomb even if they don’t cheat. This deal is a nightmare for Israel. They’re coming here if we don’t watch it –terrorism with a nuclear capability sponsored by Iran, so yes, I would use military force to stop ‘em. I would set this deal aside and I would get you a better deal. If you give me $100 billion, I can get almost anybody out of jail. We couldn’t even get our hostages out of jail.” (applause)

[from Hugh Hewitt: Santorum has stated that any scientist who offers to help Iran get a nuclear bomb should not consider himself safe. Does that or any other message work?]

Pataki: We need a strong military and the Iranians need to know that we have the resolve to ensure that their facilities for making the bomb are at risk. Give Israel “mops” (“massive ordinance penetrators) and let Iran know that we’ll work with Israel to ensure that the Iranians never have a nuclear weapon. Our opponent is Hillary Clinton, former New York senator who saw what happened on 9/11 yet has allowed the Middle East to turn to flames and she supports this flawed deal with Iran. (applause)

Santorum: He authored and nearly passed a Senate bill which would have placed strong sanctions on the Iran nuclear program. It failed by four votes, including Biden, Kerry, H.Clinton and Obama. This particular form of radical Islam has 2/3 of Shiite Muslims in Iran and Iraq believing that “the end of the world will occur in their lifetime – because their regime preaches it… and we are in the process of giving them a nuclear weapon to do just that!” He would give the ultimatum that Iran opens all facilities to the U.S. and U.N. “or we will take out those facilities.” (applause)

[now for some lively Jindal vs. Graham exchanges]

Graham: [What about Putin recently sending six more tanks, four helicopters and more Russian ground troops to Syria to support Assad, an enemy of America? Trump says he can work deal with Putin. Your thoughts?] “Do you think Putin would be in the Ukraine or Syria if Ronald Reagan were President?” .. Putin helping Assad is bad because “he is the magnet for Sunni extremists.” He increases the odds that the next 9/11 attack will come from Syria. We need to establish a regional army “who doesn’t like ISIL and who won’t accept Assad because he’s a puppet of Iran.” Putin’s actions “are a slap in the face to Kerry and Obama. If Assad isn’t replaced, the war never ends which means that it comes here eventually.”

Jindal: Obama lets our enemies walk all over us and the only group he can out-negotiate is the Senate Republicans. The Corker Bill (7) was terrible because it switched the procedure from requiring 2/3 majority to pass the Iranian bill to needing 2/3 to reject it.
“Now is the time for the Republicans to stand up and fight. We’re tired of the Establishment saying there’s nothing we can do…(applause) We’ve heard Senate Republicans say things like, ‘Well, the Supreme Court’s ruled. There’s nothing I can do about religious liberty. You know, the President did this, there’s nothing we can do about it for two more years. There is something we can do about it. We won the Senate. We won the House. What was the point of winning those chambers if we’re not going to do anything with it? You’re (Sen. Graham) going back tonight. You still have time before the Thursday deadline. Will you all use the nuclear option to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power?”

Graham: “Bobby, you were in the Congress, and all I can tell you, to everybody here, if you want to repeal Obamacare, get a new President. If you want to defund Planned Parenthood, elect a pro-life President, because that’s the only way. If we pass the Corden Carter Graham Menendez Bill (8), it would go to the president, he would veto it. Sixty-seven votes are required to override the veto. (Jindal attempted to interrupt) Now, wait a minute, you asked me a question. So I don’t want to take off the table the ability to slow down Obama in his last thirteen or fourteen months, because I want sixty votes to stop what I think he’s going to do between now and January, 2017. If five Republicans deflect – leave, we’re in trouble. So, folks, the world really is the way it is. President Obama is President. The goal is to get him out of there and pick someone who will actually do something to repeal Obamacare, who would get you a better agreement. So, Bobby, he would veto the bill. We don’t have sixty-seven votes and you would have given away a defense against Obama for the rest of his presidency. No, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to tell you things I can’t do. I’m not going to tell that by shutting down the government we’re going to defund Obamacare as long as he’s president. All that does is hurt us. I’m trying to lead this party to winning.” (applause)

Jindal: “Now, Lindsey, that’s my frustration. Listen to what you’ve heard. (Graham: “Winning.”) You basically heard a Senate Republican say we can’t defund Planned Parenthood despite these barbaric videos (Graham: “Are you going to shut the government down?”) We can’t — (Graham: “Are you going to shut the government down?”) We can’t get rid of Obamacare. Lindsey, let me ask you this question now. I wish the Senate Republicans had half of the fight the Senate Democrats did. Look, President Obama didn’t give up on Obamacare when they lost the Senate election in Massachusetts. I want my side to follow the Constitution. They broke the Constitution. They broke the law. But they forced Obamacare down our throats even when they didn’t have sixty votes. I wish Republicans in D.C. had half the fight of Senate Democrats to get rid of Obamacare, to defund Planned Parenthood.”

“If we can’t defund Planned Parenthood now, if we can’t stand for innocent human life after these barbaric videos, it is time to be done with the Republican party. We defunded them in Louisiana, let’s defund them in D.C. If we can’t win on that issue, there’s no point for being cheaper Democrats, no point for having a second liberal party. It is time to get rid of the Republican party. Start over with a new one that is at least conservative. Give Harry Reid and Pelosi credit. At least they fight for what they believe in. I want senators and House members in D.C. to fight for what we believe in as well. It’s time to have Republicans with a backbone in D.C.” (applause)

Graham: “Can I just say something? You know, Bobby, we’re running to be President of the United States – the most important job in the free world. With it comes a certain amount of honesty. I‘m tired of telling people things they want to hear and I know we can’t do. He is not going to sign a bill that will defeat Obamacare. If I’m President of the United States, I wouldn’t put one penny in my budget for Planned Parenthood, not one penny. I’m as offended by these videos as you are. But he one thing I’m not going to do, going into 2016 is shut the government down and tank our ability to win. What you’re saying and what Senator Cruz is saying, I am really sick of hearing. Trying to get the Republican party in a position to win is what I’m trying to do! And that does matter to me, folks, it matters a lot.”

[FINAL QUESTION from Jake Tapper: “What is the one thing you can offer that no one in the eleven of the next debate can offer?]

Pataki: “I think there are two things, Jake, two things that we need as Republicans. First, we have to win the election. You’re going to heat a lot of great ideas, ‘I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that.’ None of it matters, unless you win the election. And the second, is once you win, you have to be able to govern successfully. We’ve heard a lot of fighting back and forth: ‘you didn’t get this done, you didn’t get that done.’ That’s the way Washington is today. You have to have a leader — a President will actually get a conservative agenda through. I’m running because I’ve done both those things. And I did them in one of the most liberal states in America. I got elected three times in the state of New York, twice by the largest pluralities ever for a Republican. I ran as a Republican conservative. If I get the nomination, I will be able to get broad support and win this election and take the White House back for our party. But more importantly, once I’ve won, I will put in place a sweeping conservative agenda. I did that in New York, over $143 billion in tax cuts, more than the other forty-nine states combined. Taking one million more people off welfare and putting them into jobs – in a state where the Democrats controlled the state assembly 103-47. I got them to support a conservative agenda. If I get elected, I will make things work in Washington, for the Republican party and for the United States.”

Santorum: “I came to Washington in the most unlikely way. I defeated a 14-year incumbent in a 60% Democratic district. I went to Washington thinking I was only going to be there for one term. And so, I just shook things up. We sent the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to jail. We ended forty years, forty years of Democratic control of the Congress. And I led that fight with reforms, substantive reforms, welfare reforms. I led the—I wrote the bill when I was in the House, I led the charge in the Senate. Partial-birth abortion bills, in fact, three pro-life bills, bi-partisan  pro-life bills. I mentioned the Iran bill, we also passed one on Syria, health savings accounts many of you know. I authored the original bill on health savings accounts, pushed that through the Congress for private health care reform. An outsider who came to Washington from the tough state of Pennsylvania, and got conservative things done. I made things happen in a town where things don’t happen very much. Now, after seeing ten years of the mess, the retreat we see in the Republican party in Washington, D.C. It’s time to get someone who’s an outsider , who can go to Washington, D.C. and who knows how to get things done. And you know what, you have a lot of folks who will tell you a lot of things. Look at their record. I went to Washington, as an outsider, shook things up, got things done and that’s why you can trust me to do it again.”

Jindal: “Jake, I’m a doer not a talker. The idea of America is slipping away from us. If you want somebody who will manage the slow decline of this country, make incremental changes, vote for somebody else. If you want to vote for somebody who understands what’s at stake, Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts across this country and the Senate Republicans have already given up, even without a fight. I’m tired of this surrender caucus. I’m angrier at the Republicans in D.C. than I am at the President. The President is a socialist, at least he fights for what he believes in. We don’t need to just any Republican to the White House. We need to send somebody it’s time to make big changes. It’s time to take on the Establishment, it’s time to take on the D.C. permanent governing class. Every Republican says they’ll shrink the size of the government, I’m the only one who’s done it, cut our budget 26%. If you want someone who’s going to make incremental change, vote for somebody else. It’s time to get the idea of America back. At some point we’ll be held accountable, we’ll be asked ‘What did you do when the idea of America was slipping away?’ I’ll promise you this: I’ll fight for you. I will give every ounce of blood, energy, sweat I’ve got to save the idea of America, the greatest country in the history of the world.”

Graham: “Well, number one, I will win a war we can’t afford to lose. I have a plan to destroy radical Islam, because it has to be. These are religious Nazis running wild. President Obama has made one mistake after another and it has caught up with us. What I have to offer that is different? I get my foreign policy from being, you know, on the ground. I’ve been to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East thirty-five times in the last decade trying to understand how we got into this mess. Our leading candidate gets his foreign policy from watching television. And what I heard last night is the Cartoon Network ‘Ooh, I’m big, I’m strong, I’m going to hit them on the head.’ (laughter) That’s not foreign policy. That’s a cartoon character. John Kasich, a good friend of mine, said in New Hampshire we’re going to close more bases on his watch. On my watch, we’re going to open  up more bases. The military is in decline, folks. We’re going to have the smallest military in modern times, spending half of what we would normally spend by the end of this decade. What do I offer, what do I offer? To make your family safe and our country strong again, a vision and a determination to win a war that we cannot afford to lose.”

Candidate Evaluation (in alphabetical order)

Graham: Continues to be sincere and thoughtful, a Jimmy Carter but with a little more fire. Unfortunately, that fire ignited with Rick Santorum and it brought both of them down.
Alternative positions: His talent for Secretary of Defense seems stronger. While not appearing to be a leader of the big picture, he seems to have a good grasp of military consequences which our current emperor intentionally ignores in his efforts to bring Israel down and the U.S. to what he perceives is its proper, humiliated place. (9) His appreciation for the right of religious liberty makes him a suitable head of Health and Human Services who work to get rid of the anti-First Amendment nonsense out of Obamacare if it is not repealed. His understanding that we need “a legal system that knows the difference between fighting a war and fighting a crime,” makes him a suitable Attorney General.

Jindal: There HAS to be a place for him in a Republican administration if he’s not President himself. He would perform admirably in a number of other positions such as Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Education (again, with the realization that he would fix the problem of education by returning it to the states with his guidance and removing this unconstitutional position from existence), Secretary of HHS (he knows why Obamacare is a practical and moral obamination), Attorney General (he would destroy the absurdity of sanctuary cities.

Pataki: Successfully repaired New York’s fiscal problem and helped with the problem of welfare. Yet, there’s just something missing from him to make him a winner among the 2016 candidates. Perhaps, it’s his lack of fire to challenge the Supreme Court’s bad decisions head-on, even though he wants a Court that interprets, not makes, the law.
Alternative positions: His success in New York would be very useful as Secretary of HHS or HUD, possibly Labor as he believes that most people want to work or Commerce to get U.S. industry rolling again.

Santorum: The unexpected verbal battle started by Graham hurt both. Whether or not his Senate record was exaggerated by him, he seemed to lack the force in the face of opposition. His flat tax (10) appears not to be as insensitive as those of others, but it may be difficult to gain enough support from those who wish to “punish” prosperity and think the federal government can find a way to give us everything “free.”.
Alternative positions: Attorney General (has respect for the dignity of human life and that inalienable rights are not given by the Constitution, but protected by it), Secretary of Commerce (while it’s not likely that the U.S. can return to #1 in manufacturing as long as foreign workers have a lower standard of living – therefore, lower wages, he has the drive to do something) or HHS (compassion for people) or the Veterans’ Administration.

1 – “A caliphate is a form of Islamic government led by a caliph – a person considered the political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim community… The Sunni branch of Islam stipulates that, as a head of state, a Caliph should be elected by Muslims or their representatives (in practice, however, this devolved into a hereditary monarchic system soon after the beginning of Islam) and from Quraysh (see footnote #2). Followers of Shia Islam, however, believe a Caliph should be an Imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt (the “Family of the House” , Muhammad’s direct descendants).” From

2 – “also spelled Kuraish, or Koreish, the ruling tribe of Mecca at the time of the birth of the Prophet Muḥammad. There were 10 main clans, the names of some of which gained great lustre through their members’ status in early Islam.” From

3 – “Ahmed Mohamed swept up, ‘hoax bomb’ charges swept away as Irving teen’s story floods social media,” by Avi Selk, updated 9/17/2015,

4 – ”Who is Kim Davis, Kentucky clerk jailed over same-sex marriage licenses?,” by Michael Martinez,, updated 9/8/2015

5 – “Columbine High Shootings,”

6 — The five best aspects of this Act according to “consumer and reform advocates” and the five worst aspects in the opinion of “financial firms and their allies” are described in “The 5 Best and 5 Worst Regulations in Dodd-Frank,” by Katherine Reynolds Lewis, The Fiscal Times, 7/19/2011, Five best: 1) Mortgage market reform 2) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 3) Oversight of derivatives 4) Power to address systemic threats 5) Investor protections. Five worst: 1) New capital standards and derivative rules 2) Interchange fees 3) The Volcker rule 4) Overlapping rules of the road 5) No housing reform.

7 —

8 – pages S2447-2451 of
Amends Bill: H.R.1191 — Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015

Sponsor: Sen. Corker, Bob [R-TN] (Submitted 04/28/2015, Proposed 04/28/2015)

9 – as Dinesh D’Souza warned us in “Dinesh D’Souza on Obama’s Views of Israel,, 5/20/2011.

10 — “A Flat Tax Is the Best Path to Prosperity,” by Rick Santorum, The Wall Street Journal, 10/12/2015


2 thoughts on “Republican “Lower Tier” Second Debate, Then There Were Four, and One Stood Out

  1. Uhh!
    After reading all this, it seems to me things can get really complicated out there. If only we could understand the true meaning of love and actually practice it, fifty percent of our problem could have been solve!

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