The Republican debate in Las Vegas just wrapped up. It was held at the Venetian hotel. As a side note, for anyone visiting Vegas, the Venetian is a great place to stay.
This debate was hosted by CNN. The moderator was Anderson Cooper. I never thought I'd say this, but watching CNN was great compared to the disaster that Bloomberg did last week. At least Cooper made an attempt to be somewhat fair with the time and he did not show his bias like the questioners at the last debate.
The audience seemed to favor Mitt Romney and disliked Rick Perry. I don't know if this was rigged at all, but it almost seemed that way. When the two were battling it out and talking over each other, the crowd clearly favored Romney and even booed Perry a few times.
The issue of illegal immigration came up and there is this strong opinion by most of the candidates that illegal immigration is such a horrible thing. They characterize these people as criminals (as if every law is just), when a lot of these immigrants are just trying to find work and provide for their families.
Perry attacked Romney for hiring illegal immigrants. This is absolutely ridiculous. Romney paid a lawn service company to work on his lawn and that company had illegal immigrants. Does this mean we are now responsible for knowing who the employees are for every company we do business with, according to Perry? If I go and buy an iPod at Best Buy, do I have to make sure the person selling it to me is here legally? If we find out that Perry did business with a firm that hired a child molester, then I guess we can say that Perry hires child molesters.
There was one funny thing in that exchange though. Romney had a slip of the tongue where he accidentally told the truth. He said he went to the lawn company and said they can't have illegal immigrants because he was planning on running for political office. So, in other words, he was taking what he saw as the morally correct stand because he was running for political office. If he hadn't been running for office, I guess he wouldn't have cared.
I enjoyed Rick Santorum again tonight. He is horrendous on foreign policy, civil liberties, social issues, and even some economic issues. However, he attacked some of the other candidates right where it hurt. He attacked Romney for Romneycare. He attacked Romney, Cain, and Perry for the bank bailouts. He was effective in taking them down a notch.
Michele Bachmann was ok in some areas and weak in others. Hey Michele, most people don't really care about you wanting to make English the official language. I am getting along just fine with others in my communications without a government law. I wonder if anybody out there thinks, "oh, if Michele Bachmann would only make English the official language in this country, then maybe more people would read my blog."
Perhaps I am biased here, but I thought Ron Paul did an excellent job tonight. He was quite effective on all of the questions and he is starting to hammer away on the fact that the other candidates do not have specific plans to significantly cut the federal budget. Romney made an attempt to offer a few specifics. I only wish that Paul had said that even if Romney's proposed cuts were enacted, it would not amount to much.
Overall, I think Rick Perry was the big loser tonight. I am still not counting him out because he has a lot of money. I think one of his problems is that he reminds people of George W. Bush with his Texas accent and his mannerisms.
Ron Paul keeps chipping away with his pro-liberty message. He isn't going to have a dramatic rise in the polls like Cain did. But he will gain a few more converts each day. We will see if he can get his national poll numbers up to about 15% in the next few weeks. Paul has a lot of money and there may be a lot more coming on October 19 (hours away as I write this) as there is a big money bomb happening.