Republican Presidential Debate Scorecard

So how did the GOP presidential candidates do on the EPA, climate and energy issues at the Reagan Library debate Wednesday night?


Below is our quick summary. We recommend watching the debate for yourself to see how the candidates actually responded.

The EPA/climate/energy discussion didn’t come up until more than 93 minutes into the 108-minute debate.

  • Jon Huntsman kicked off the topic (at about 93:10 into the debate) by reiterating his earlier comments that Rick Perry is essentially “crazy” for not believing in the climate consensus.
  • Perry then tried to defend himself. The good news is that Perry stuck to his guns by stating more than once that the science wasn’t settled and it would be foolish to risk the American economy on unsettled science. The bad news is that Perry’s delivery of this defense was stumbly and short on specifics when pressed for details as to what scientists and theories he found credible.
  • A question was then put to Michelle Bachmann about her comments from last week about drilling in the everglades. Sidestepping the question, Bachmann began to attack the notion of a climate consensus but then quickly veered off into an attack on “devastating” EPA rules that would shutter 20% of coal-fired plants. Though her heart was in the right place, her attack on the EPA came off as a talking point that she had memorized as opposed to something she really understood.
  • Newt Gingrich then closed off the EPA/climate/energy portion of the debate with a comment about how energy development could raise revenues for the government. But is that really why we should develop our natural resources? So the government can reap greater revenues?

As pointed out before, the GOP candidates generally either don’t understand or are afraid of the issues of EPA, climate and energy. They don’t raise those issues and never look comfortable talking about them. And you can bet that the MSNBC interviewers weren’t interested in having the GOP candidates talk about those issues except in an effort to embarrass them. BTW, why would GOP candidates agree to a debate moderated by the left-leaning MSNBC in the first place?

This debate was embarrassing — and not just because of the thinness and ineptitude of the candidates on the EPA/climate/energy issue.

If Obama is to be a one-termer, the GOP candidates need to dramatically step up their game.

7 thoughts on “Republican Presidential Debate Scorecard”

  1. And how about this: We have all heard that the debate is over. Not of course St. Agustine’s comment from the 4th century. But the comment made by anyone who has nothing of any real substance to say. Do any of you rember hearing tha debate? That’s because there never actually was one. If elected I am elected president we will actually have the debate.

    How is it that none of the candidates or their staff are smart enough to think of this?

  2. It takes all of two minutes to credibly question the AGW religion.
    1.Everyone is aware that the hockey stick graph has been discredited, right? Remember THE graph that was the basis for the 1st IPCC report?
    2 Is the climate warming? Compared with what.. the litle ice age. the medieval warm period, the Roman era or the end of the last ice age?
    3. Now Brian you know that the CO2 effect is logrithmic and not exponential or even algebraic? You do know what that means?
    4. Even the IPCC says we must reduce emmisions by 80% to have an effect. That means every litle bit does not help. 10, 20 or 30 % reduction does us no good. And since there is no possible way to reduce emissions by 80%…. Geeze, I’m sorry Brian, what was the question again?

  3. What “genius” at the RNC…
    Scheduled a “Presidential Debate” on a low rated, left leaning nutwork,
    Must be to get “hard questions” from the “intellectual left”.

  4. Palin comes closest to getting it and being able to speak convincingly about it. But no independent and not many GOP listen to her. Candidate Whoever looks a lot like McCain. Doesn’t get it. Doesn’t want to get it. Sad, because there are votes to be had on these issues and they can be further linked to an independent’s desre for – well – independence.

  5. I didn’t listen to the whole “debate,” but I expected you to mention in your scorecard that, when discussing developing more energy resources, Romney was sounding OK then threw in at the end of his bit a line about renewable energy. I think it is clear that Romney still doesn’t “get it.”

  6. You probably didn’t listen the MSNBC talking heads after the debate for their pundit spin. I don’t blame you I couldn’t either for very long. But the ‘anti-science’ meme is what they were jabbering about. IMO, Perry correctly ducked the ‘which climate scientists are your heros’ question. Silly questions deserve no answer

  7. Not for lack of trying on my part when it comes to leading all these horses to water….. I’ve sent emails to all but Romney & Paul (with suggestions to Gingrich & Huntsman on the wisdom of giving AGW mea culpas) about seizing the leadership opportunity to be had in asking hard-hitting questions about the need to regulate CO2 AND why so much effort has been out by enviro-activists to marginalize skeptic scientists.

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