NBC hosted this debate NBC and it aired on MSNBC on the night of September 7. Questions were edited to make sure that they could be asked of any candidate. Only personal questions towards specific candidates have been removed if they cannot be adapted to a general candidate question. Enjoy!
Is it a disqualification to have not been in government all your career?
No, people who spend their entire career working as a member of government elected machine have increasingly grown disconnected from the people they claim to represent. It was the design of our Founders that elected positions were a part time job so that the officials would be in their communities more than they are now, while in almost session for most of the year. They grow accustomed to living apart from the cares and needs of their constituents.
Is China a currency manipulator? If so, what will you do as President in response to China?
Yes! We have plenty of evidence to suggest they have manipulated their currency in trying to have a stronger trading position against the rest of the world and their main competitor in the world economy, the U.S.A. As President, I would make it a priority to sit down with the members Chinese government to try to convince them of error of their ways. That if they would stop manipulating their currency they would have a greater friend in the United States. If they choose to ignore the advice, I would ask Congress to pass a restrictive tariff on all Chinese goods until they stopped devaluing their currency.
Which current federal regulations have been prohibitive or damaging in terms of your own small business?
I am not sure, but to rid us of these regulations I would convene a council of businessmen from every sector of the economy and of every size to make suggestions for regulations that could be damage expansion of our economy and hindering the growth of our nation while still protecting the business, employee and consumer.
Where do you draw the line of the role the government plays in the lives of everyday Americans?
If an person or group does not break the leg or pick the pocket of another person, then government should stay out of it. The less government we have the more freedom people are free to enjoy. But we do need some government, constitutionally limited, to protect the people from those who would break their leg or pick their pockets.
Is Massachusetts the example was a great opportunity for the rest of the country on health care reform?
No. One problem is the individual mandate. Governments must be careful when they decide to force a free citizen to buy anything that is a personal responsibility. Car insurance is a necessary for everyone to buy for protection of people who might be a direct victim of another person’s action. Health insurance does not fulfill that need and is just a stimulus program for the benefit of the health insurance industry. Also it is not the job of government to tell any company what specific services the must provide to people who want to buy or how much they can charge. Both of these are examples of a planned economy that we would see in a socialist nation. Also it’s not the proper method to bring down prices. Open competition would bring down prices.
Is it ever appropriate for government at any level — federal or state — to force people to buy health insurance? Is the support of an individual mandate disqualify the candidate in the eyes of conservative voters?
Yes, but only at the state level and only when citizens need the service to protect others from their direct actions and choices. For example, all states mandate that drivers must have car insurance. The support of an individual mandate would indefinitely disqualify a candidate by conservative voters because it is a move towards a bigger government controlling the choices of the citizens.
Where do the poor come in? Where do they place in this party, on this stage, in your administration?
The poor are the reason this party exists. This party was created in an effort to free the poorest in our nations history, the black slaves owned by southern farmers. A system defended by the democrats. The polices of my administration would be to make sure that everyone is treated equally regardless of socioeconomic class. The polices of any administration must serve the common good, which is what is best for everyone not just a select class of citizen, either rich or poor.
How would you, as President, address the disparity in median income between black and white Americans?
The disparity that created between whites and blacks has to do with government interference. The best step to address this disparity is to get government out of trying to control the economy. Also we have to kick the people, white and black, off of the government plantation that have grown accustomed too. Poorer citizens have become to dependent on the government to give them things that they are capable of providing for themselves. Some members of both political parties have used the welfare system to buy the votes of classes of citizens by promising more payments from the largess of the government. This most stop so the government can help those who truly need it and not those who take advantage of the system.
Do you agree that a president realistically can do anything about gas prices in the free market?
Not really. The free market will decide the value of commodities like gasoline better than price setting practices of the 1970s. What the President and Congress can do is to remove the regulations and taxes that make gas prices higher than they need to be. Over thirty cents of every dollar we spend on gasoline goes to the various levels of government. There is so much controversy over the billions of dollars of profit that oil companies make, but no one talks about the billions made by the government due to gas taxes, which is exponentially more than the profits made by the companies risking the money to provide this product. Also by eliminating some of the onerous regulations on the industry the price would more than likely come down as well.
Should Republicans have voted in favor of creating the Department of Homeland Security?
No! The Department of Homeland Security is another big government solution to a problem created by a government that is too big.
Should the TSA be demolished? What would be put up in its place?
Yes, everything that the TSA does is a gross violation of the 4th Amendment. Every time a citizen is searched and their property seized by a TSA agent without probable cause they are violating the 4th Amendment. And I’ll tell you folks very few of those searches fit under the guises of probable cause. In its place I would require that the airlines be responsible for security of their airlines. They would be given complete access to the federal “Do Not Fly” and Terrorist watch lists. The airlines could ask air marshals for any and all flights, which the government would be required to provide.
If you object to federal aid for disasters, like FEMA, and how it’s run, and your position is to remove it, take it away, abolish it. What happens in its absence?
In its absence the local authorities would have control over the disaster areas while the federal government can aid when asked in accordance to Article IV of the Constitution. Private charity and the American people would replace the government intervention of natural disasters. Until the 20th Century that is how it was done. Local & state government dealt with the problem and the American people stepped up to take care of those who needed it, either privately or through charities.
How can you defend educational cuts if you consider education a top priority?
Education is always a top priority, but most of the funding for education must come from local sources of revenue so the people have a greater say in the decision made about their child’s education. The state should try and get its hands out of the system and allow for greater local control. If we can lower the burden citizens pay at the state level towards education then they have more money in their pocket to make their schools better at the local level or choose a different option for their children’s education.
What was wrong with Obama’s “Race to the Top” contest?
There is no legal authority in the U.S. Constitution to write or enforce ANY educational laws or policies.
What specifically, in your mind, would make the border secure?
More boots on the ground protecting our borders.
What do you do then with 11 million people many of whom have U.S.-born children here? What do you do?
We obey the laws. Period. We are a nation founded on the principle of the rule of law that everyone is accountable to the law even our elected leaders. For to long our elected leaders have ignored the law because it was politically expedient to let good people stay in our nation, in direct violation of our laws. Should the immigration laws be changed so that more people can join our melting pot? Yes, of course, but we have to enforce the laws we already have until we can change the laws that both protect the individual rights of the citizens while promoting the common good of our nation.
Are you member of the Tea Party?
Yes but the Tea Party that your television network has described is unfair and libelous. The Tea Party represents people who believe in two main principles: Constitutionally limited and fiscally sound government. Neither of which describes the government today or in the last 70-80 years.
Would you have accepted a debt deal that included $10 in spending cuts in exchange for every $1 in tax increases? Is it dangerous business to make a pledge to not raise taxes?
It is very dangerous to make a pledge to not raise taxes; George H.W. Bush found that out in the 1988 campaign when he could not follow through during his term. I would have accepted $10 in spending cut for every $1 in tax increases. As stated before though, I would have requested Congress to send to me the spending cuts in a separate bill. Then once signed into law, they could write the bill to raise taxes.
Are we safer 10 years after the events of September 11, 2001?
I don’t know. Looking at how many personal liberties and freedoms we had to give up for a little temporary security, I would argue that we are not necessarily safer, just more paranoid and scared.
Is the U.S. suffering from a crisis of confidence?
Yes! We are not confident that our government does what is in the best interest of everyone to protect our natural rights. We are not confident in the companies that have made us the world largest and most prosperous economy. We have lost confidence in ourselves and our abilities to solve the problems of this nation, relegating that power to the government, whom we have already lost confidence in.
Do you think President George W. Bush was too quick to launch military intervention without thinking through the risks? Do you advocating a shift away from the George W. Bush freedom agenda with its emphasis on removing dictators from power and promoting human rights?
I think the President was quick to launch a military invasion of two nations when we knew from the outset that the war against the enemies of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups would not be fought as a war that we have known in the past. I think as one of the freest nations on the earth, it is our responsibility to support nations that share our values and protect them from those who would threaten those values. But military invasion is the last choice and only when necessary to repel an invader from ourselves or our allies.
What role does the U.S. have, including militarily, to promote democracy and topple dictators?
The U.S. has a role to actively encourage republican governments and movements within the world. The military would only get involved when specifically asked by those fighting to assist them in toppling a tyrannical regime. But we would only get involved when we carefully examine that situation so that we don’t support one repressive government for another one.
Which of your fellow candidates do you think are crazy?
Rick Perry. I wish he would stand up for what he really believes. It is obvious that believes Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. And when questioned and challenged about it he back tracks and changes his answer. The American people deserve a candidate that can explain his beliefs, not hide them.
Is the Republican Party anti-science?
No, but science is built around the premises of constantly trying to the truth even when results might be counter to what we expect. We must continue to explore all scientific evidence and discovery instead of creating a zealous religious movement that cannot be questioned by anyone.
Do you want to drill for oil in the Florida Everglades or in any other fragile natural environment?
I want the oil companies to be allowed to drill wherever there is oil in an environmentally conscious way. But those decisions must be made at the state level. Its time to get the government out of the business of deciding which energy sources should be developed on land that the states are sovereign over.
Would you reappoint Ben Bernanke to the head of the Federal Reserve?
No, I would ask the Congress and other parts of the federal government to audit and dismantle the Federal Reserve System and replace it with a true Bank of the United States under the control of the President and accountable to the American people.
If 47% of American do not pay taxes, would any correct be considered a de facto tax increase?
In a way of speaking, yes it would be a de facto tax increase. People are always talking about how its not fair how much that the rich pay in taxes, but its not fair that 47% of American pay no taxes for the benefits they receive as citizens. But it’s about time that we create a tax system in which everyone is responsible for paying into the system for the benefits they receive from the federal government.
Where do you stand on the death penalty and capital punishment? Do you worry that you might execute an innocent person?
I believe the death penalty is a vital part of criminal justice, but only for the worst criminals Capital punishment is only acceptable as a form of punishment for the heinous of crimes, the most unrepentant of criminals, and the justice for the crimes where there is no doubt in the minds of jurors that they committed the crime. With those protections in place I don’t have very many worries that an innocent person would be executed.
Is it fair for a corporation to make huge profits but ultimately pay no taxes?
No! Every corporation that takes advantage of the immense benefits of operation in the U.S. should pay taxes. But we also have to realize that any taxes that a corporation pays are passed along to the consumer in the form of a higher cost for their good or services. So we must make sure the taxes are equal between all industries and types of companies and that they are low enough that the cost to consumers is negligent.
Does the federal government have any role in providing nutrition at schools for children ?
No. Local and state government has any and all of that authority.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Class dismissed!