The Chase 2012

Romney gains most from Huckabee Forum in Ohio

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee held another one of his Huckabee Forums on Saturday night and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich again showed his mastery of policy. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum again showed his gritty, blue collar appeal, touting his economic plan targeted to revive manufacturing that the Wall Street Journal called “supply side economics for the working man.”

But it was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, criticized for being cold and distant, who won the night because the forum brought out a side of him that he has had trouble showing throughout the campaign season. Romney was empathetic and connected like he has not been able to before. In fairness, Romney received emotional questions that the other candidates did not receive, but, nonetheless, his interaction with the panelists revealed the person many say Romney is in private or when the cameras are not on him. 

The forum was held in Ohio and panelists included Charlie Gasparino, of FOX Business, and Elaine Chao, former Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush, in addition to panelists from Ohio. 

When one panelist described how his son came back from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Romney movingly spoke about how the country’s Veterans Affairs system has to be better and how his son has worked at VA hospitals as part of his medical residency training. Romney interacted with the panelist as if no cameras were in the room and showed a sense of humanity in this instance that could not be faked. 

Another panelist spoke movingly about how his son passed away in Iraq and asked Romney what he would do for those who have come back after serving. Romney movingly showed his compassion and empathy.

Romney said his son’s sacrifice was “no greater sacrifice for no greater country” and said it was something 

He then said he would not cut the military budget, saying “we have an obligation to repair their lives.” 

“One of the places I’m not willing to cut back is our military budget,” Romney said. “I do not want to see us reduce our number of ships or aircraft or our number of active-duty military personnel … I certainly do not want to see us reduce our commitment to caring for those who need our care.”

At the end of the program, Huckabee, who has been no fan of Romney in the past, noted how real Romney was in this moment. It is worth noting that the other candidates did not get these questions and were not afforded the chance to show a similar level of humanity.

Gingrich again detailed how he would increase the supply of gas — he detailed how natural gas prices were low — to lower the price, talked about how liberals want to punish people with higher taxes and regulations while “classic conservatism rewarded people” with incentives, and he would act like a classical conservative if elected President. He discussed how he wanted to retrain those getting unemployment benefits for new jobs and noted that in North Dakota there are about 16,000 jobs available in the oil industry but the state still has a 3.5% unemployment rate because those who are unemployed in the state do not have the training to get those jobs, which are therefore going to people who are coming in from out of state. 

“Bad government can lead to pain,” Gingrich said. “We need very profound change in Washington … we need a campaign that defines for America what a full employment economy is like.”

Gingrich also quoted Proverbs and noted that “without vision, people perish” and laid out his vision to jumpstart the country’s economy. 

Gingrich framed a potential general election matchup against Obama in simple terms. Gingrich said Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a person Gingrich has said needed to be fired despite noting that he has done his job of helping Obama allow gas prices to go up to force Americans into more environmentally friendly vehicles, would be or $9 gas prices while Gingrich would be for $2 gas prices. 

Santorum spoke of his manufacturing plan, discussed how he grew up in a steel town that was being decimated and how government should not be bailing out certain sectors of the economy while allowing others to die. Santorum mentioned he did his own taxes and said he would fight immediately for tax simplification.

“It is important to be in a place to see the economic devastation caused by a … changing economy,” Santorum said, noting that a lot of people feel like they are “paddling alone.”

Santorum’s economic message showed why he is resonating in the rust-belt regions such as Michigan and Ohio, where blue collar working class voters determine the primary and the general election. 

But the exchange that described the state of the Obama economy was when former Labor Sec. Elaine Chao asked Romney about the many recent cases in which local governments closed down lemonade stands. Chow asked Romney if he would allow his grandsons to risk opening up lemonade stands even if they faced being shut down by local government. 

Chao asked, “If your grandkids wanted to open a lemonade stand, would you make sure they followed all the regulatory rules or just take the risk and buy them the lemonade powder?”

Romney simply said, “Kids ought to be able to open up lemonade stands. You got to be able to have freedom in this country.” 

Romney then spoke about the extraordinay number of bureaucrats in Washington and said, “get them out of there.” 

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  • jagscl

    Nobody said Romney was a bad guy, he just shouldn’t be President.

  • vegasgator

    How would you evangelicals I react to a Romney/huckabee ticket? Huckabee is southerner evangelical who is personable and does not have the anger of a Santorum. I think this ticket could unite the party and energize the so called evangelical base.

  • ghostshirt

    The lemonade stand gag sounded like a question Barbara Walters would come up with.

    Mitt really hit it out of the park on the veteran’s Dad’s question. It’s the lack of that kind of authenticity that I’ve been beating up the Romulan over, along with his mud slinging.
    Because we all should know what the major issues in the general election will be, thanks to our media:
    1. The greedy rich are peeing on Mr. Obama’s utopia blueprints. Romney is a greedy rich guy.
    2. All Mormons are crazy, and Mitt Romney is a Mormon.

    He’s not going to overcome that by continuing to stumble around repeating “Successful business man, repeal Obamacare, I saved the Olympics.”

    He has to tell voters HOW he did things, with a human touch. That’s his only way to win.

    If Mitt’s clique will continue to focus group the Huckabee forum performance and keep that data in front of their boss, we might start seeing a Romney who can beat Obama.

  • Nick099

    I watched the forum and two things I would like to point out:

    Romney was vague on every answer. He spoke of goals….not plans. It is funny Romney uses high-school essay answer style on every question. He stalls by repeating the question in his own words and summing it up…then responds with a general platitude. “We should always care for our verterans. This Administration is cutting back the military, cutting back their benefits…why? I believe that we must always care for those who have defended our country”…..yada.yada…yada.

    That is not a plan. That means nothing. It only speaks to good intentions ( which I am sure he has) but not a plan of action.

    Contrast that with Gingrich: step by step with specific goals and plans on all questions asked.

    So Romney was not real. He was not emotional. He gave the same scripted, plastic, vague answers. Now either Mr. Lee loves Mr. Romney or he is that blind that he cannot see it. I do not care to speculate.

    By the way Mr. Lee….Huckabee has been favorable to Romney by speaking out against Gingrich when he ( Newt) questioned Romney’s record at Bain. He jumped on the bandwagon to attack Newt and refused to acknowledge he ( Huckabee) was targeted by Romney back in 2008 with personal attack ads when Gingrich’s PAC stated so in an ad. So where in the heck are you getting your information from…. the Romney Campaign???????

  • ghostshirt

    Yeah, I know. But the veteran’s Dad’s question, Mitt did well. Not in his answer, but in the human side he showed.

  • Telescoping You

    So, after 7482 debates, The Mittster finally got around to “feelings.”

    I have to say that this is a typical trap worthless liberals foist upon all American’s, all the time – the empathy factor.  Their view of an emasculated male and butched-up’ed female electorate that blames the Catholic Church and everyone with a job as interference to “progressivism” is exactly how they hope to frame every debate question.  And now even so-called conservative moderators are falling for this crap.  And the result is that this then leaves no room for gut wrenching substance that truly impacts Americans.

    To me, all of these debates have said essentially one thing: Newt Gingrich has the grasp, plan and guts to remove as much of the stain of the communist has left on America.  Sort of like cleaning toilets that haven’t been flushed for three years.

    Gingrich 2012

  • ghostshirt

    Eh, I think the South goes for Romney anyway, don’t you?

  • ghostshirt

    I still like Newt too, but he needs to win somewhere besides GA this week! Newt’s the only person on the political scene I’d describe as Churchillian.

    I mostly agree with Rush on the 2012 election. Establishment GOP has decided this ain’t their year for the WH, so run a moderate who won’t ‘scare the Independents’ and that’s best chance to hold House and gain in Senate.

    Many of us out here in America think Obama can be beat. If we end up having to beat Obama with Mitt, I’ve already given Romney the best advice I can offer.

    You’re right; a Presidential candidate shouldn’t have to display empathy and ‘aw shcucks I’m just like you and I feel your pain’ in a mature society. But this isn’t currently a mature society.

  • Steelchaser001

    It doesn’t appear that Tony Lee watched the same Forum that I did. I thought all three did well. I felt Romney handled the softball handed him by the Bakery owner very well, but unless you are heartless how could you not be empathetic. 
    I felt Santorum’s exchange with Charlie G. most enlightening. Not for what Santorum said (and I thought he was good), but for the disbelief offered by Charlie when it was suggested that his ox should have been gored. 
    If the casual observer out here in the hinterlands still remains confused let me help. So what if Citibank had gone under. Sure there are branches everywhere. There are lots of alternatives everywhere too. Unlike Bethlehem Steel which required huge capital investment to make steel, Citibank’s customers would have moved on quite quickly, and its management would have been economically punished for its lousy decision making.
    That is the way capitalism works. Unfortunately NY City and its banks do not operate as capitalists. If you have a chance to rematch that short segment, do so. That is the real problem we face in this country. All businesses will eventually fail. And its a good thing. New enterprises will always fill the vacuum. If we can keep government out of the way.

  • acat

    My Mittens was magnificent. Clearly, we need a solid top dog on the ticket. Do you see one in this collection of dog pound rejects? I’m looking for the fewest fleas, and concluding that’s Romney.

  • Victoria

    The people in this forum are close minded individuals.  No matter what Romney does, he will never be able to please anyone.  So be it but if he is the nominee, you have a choice of a impending disaster of 4 more yrs of Obama or you can vote for a non scary guy like Romney who will owe it to Conservatives and will govern as a Conservative to keep his promises.  The choice is yours!

  • Guest

    Great ! If so, Huckabee shouldn’t be involved in “assembling”  3 forums .
    Last night  Mittens was given on a gold plate the golden question .

    Someone used to say “The question is not the answer, the question is the question”.
    So I’m not impress by Mittens’ answer I am surprised by the way by which we “discovered” that Romney has another quality ………..
    Oh yes, Romney needed a such question to give us his “soul-based essay” that Mittens forgotten to hand to his high school teacher.
    Oh! Eureka ! Mittens has soul ! Huckabee must get an Oscar or a Nobel price !
    Congratulations Mittens! Now! You have …….soul ! Now you are [super]human , you are GOP’s Cesar ! We have to start shouting ….. “Ave Mittens moritori te salutant !
    [ "Hail, Mittens ...... ]

    All those forums were designed to help Huckabee  …… as for transparency it is already known that the establishment and its  associated/lacquey conservative  media  have worked hand in hand to promote their Manchurian Candidate ….. aka  Mittens Romney .

    No one in conservative media has analyzed  the relation of Mitt’s Daddy  to Alinsky ….
    Is Mittens “inoculated” with  some Alinsky principles as …… destroying your Republican opponents ?  .  Maybe they know but keep the lid closed  ……………….

    The American people are not as stupid as GOP Establishment/Elite thinks of them ……

    Maybe the American people know more than the GOP Establishment/Elite and their
    associates ………

    “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows that the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows

    Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied
    Everybody got this broken feeling
    Like their father or their dog just died

    Everybody talking to their pockets
    Everybody wants a box of chocolates
    And a long stem rose
    Everybody knows …….     L.Cohen”

  • terry1956

    What are you talking about if Romney is  the nominee we will vote for him in the general.
    I could not have if I found out for sure he was not a Natural Born Citizen but I’m satisfied his dad did not lose his citizenship when his parents moved to Mexico where George was born.

  • terry1956

    I think Alan West would be a good VP choice for him or the other two.
    Also both of West parents were US citizens when Alan was born unlike Obama and some talked about for the GOP VP post who like Obama are not Natural Born citizens because both parents must be US citizens.

  • terry1956

    good points except its not necessarily so that all busineseses will eventually fail.

  • terry1956

    Newt makes a good point on gas but I think it can go lower than 2.50

  • Patriot41

    Have to agree with you there Tele.  Every debate I have seen which was most of them, Newt out shined every candidate on the stage with his knowledge and wisdom.  He gave explicit explanations of what was needed in the form of solutions, while the other candidates hem and hawed about what they would or would not do.  We saw political rhetoric versus reality in it’s truest form and yet, Newt has been put down by every media mogul and so called GOP expert.  What more can the man do?  The die has been cast and the GOP establishment with the help of the media, have made their choice and it is for Romney.  Those gullible enough to believe that Romney is a better candidate to go up against Obama, deserve the defeat that will surely come.  What is truly sad, is that we have the candidate that could turn Obama inside out and on his head in any debate, when it comes to govt., and our Republic.  

  • Patriot41

    Victoria, the reason that conservatives are against Romney is because he has never been a conservative and never intends to be one.  Don’t give us that crap about him catering to conservatives if he should win.  He will treat them the same way McCain does out of anger that they refused to support someone who claims conservative beliefs only while running for office.  

  • Patriot41

    Romney will choose one of his own and the establishment will support him.  It will be another moderate like Christie.  The last thing he would want is a conservative on his back throughout a term in office.

  • Patriot41

    West would be great as Sec. of Defense, a no nonsense man.

  • Patriot41

    What thing for sure, the illegals will finally get their amnesty with either Obama or Romney.

  • Patriot41

    They are peas in a pod, no thanks.

  • Patriot41

    It already has and is about to get much worse!

  • Robert Dow

    Very touching and real. The liberal contrived narrative of Mitt Romney as uncaring and cold is dead wrong.

  • Steelchaser001

    I agree, however very few businesses survive a hundred years. That was my perspective. Almost none of what we today call big businesses survive. Small ones do better. 

  • acat

    Naturally, my Mittens man showed his brilliance in the Huckabee segment. What can you expect when all of the others are dog pound rejects. I’m calling on all feline lovers to get to the polls tomorrow and vote Romney. Me, I’m stuck at the scratching pole. The double catnip for me is that in Mittens we get not only a great candidate with charisma, but also a fantastic President in January!

  • Michael

     He did govern as a conservative in MA.  Go do your homework.  Did you check Santorum’s voting record?  Have you checked Newt’s philosophy?   It would be nice if you do your research before saying Romney is not a conservative.

  • Michael

     Romney was born in Detroit.

  • Michael

     or somewhere in Michigan.

  • Michael

     Yeah and Obama should be?

  • Patriot41

    Michael, it is you that should do some research.  Both Santorum and Gingrich had very good conservative ratings while serving in Congress.  I have seen no such thing on Romney’s voting records.  Romney has admitted before potential voters, that if they want a moderate he is there man.  I heard him say that, so don’t try to refute it.  Romney is a convenient conservative only when he is after the conservative vote!

  • Sisyphus2012

    Whole thing is a contrived mess – how do conservatives put up with this tripe? 
    A “moving” question by a small business owner who’s son has PTSD, who trumpets his son’s military service for every conservative campaign from here to St. Louis? 
    A touching moment brought by a charlatan who Fox calls on for every question about what small business owners think? 
    A guy who is friends with James O-Keefe?

    Nothing but a big fat sham.

  • Sisyphus2012

     It was a setup…David McArthur is called on by Fox and conservatives politicans who are campaigning all the time for his personal experiences…everyone in the midwest has heard some story about his son’s service.  What a fraud, using his son’s service to further his political agenda.

  • jagscl

    Of course not. If Romney’s the nominee, I’ll vote for him. Anybody in their right mind will.

  • Sisyphus2012

     Of course it was a softball – that baker practically works for Fox News.  Anytime they want a touching story from a small business owner or parent of a military member – he’s there.  What a scam.

  • Victoria

    Have you read Santorum in a PA Gazette Newspaper saying he was a Progressive non-Reagan Conservative who actually do not state he was a pro-life but said he was neutral on abortion?  Have you read about Newt long before he was a Congressman that he was running as a Progressive candidate in GA?  I guess not! 

  • Victoria

    Romney was the strongest proponent of anti illegal immigration, hence AZ Governor Brewer actually endorsed him.

  • Patriot41

    You just watch what happens if he gets elected.

  • lewis b

    Mitts ,”WIFE “has impressed me the Most as in being sincere and will make a Great First Lady, They also have enough Money that Taxpayers will not have to pay MILLIONS for Vacations. They also will not visit SPAIN on our Money !!!! Very Nice LADY .

  • Jennifer Carlton

    Yes.. and Newt was also chairman of Young Republicans for Nelson Rockefeller when he was in college.  Rockefeller!  One of the most liberal Republicans in the history of the United States.

  • Jennifer Carlton

    Romney is the only one of the four who has spoken AGAINST amnesty.  He says the illegals should be sent home, apply for citizenship like all other Mexicans and go to the back of the line!  I’m amazed at how little people actually know about Romney.  Don’t you ever watch the debates or do you just go watch MSNBC and take what they say as fact?

  • Jennifer Carlton

    I wish he would be able to get Marco Rubio to run as his VP.   Some are suggesting Huckabee, but when he was in Arkansas, he was not fiscally conservative and he is not a strong enough candidate in my opinion.