I am live blogging from the 2008 GOP Presidential Candidate Debate and Straw Poll ---Michael Illions is speaking now----so far I have met Guy Gregg ----and there are several candidates here running in the 7th. Very interesting ----no Pledge of Allegience. Bill Spadea speaking for Rudy. Ron Paul is the big draw here to day. Guy Greg is here for Mitt Romney.
Mike Huckabee's speaker promises a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and to ban abortions. Now the supporter for Duncan Hunter is speaking on how he will be the strongest on border security. The room is hot for Ron Paul. Murray Sabrin is taking the podium, and lights up the room.
Sabrin declares that if Reagen were alive, he would endorse Ron Paul. Other issues: deregulate business, America should have no nation building, and is a "good Christian". I am certainly glad to hear that! Ron Paul does not believe in the income tax. Crowd is chanting "Murray, Murray!"
Speaker for Mitt Romney is now on.
I am in Woodbridge at The Forge. There are about 200 people here, mostly for Ron Paul. Rs are outnumbered by neo-cons, paleo-cons, and con-cons. Guy Greg is here, speaking for Fred Thompson.
Guy Gregg is saying how Fred was endorsed by National Right to Life.
Assembly David Ruzo, speaking on behalf of John McCain -----now he is dissing Jim McGreevey.
There is one guy who tried to stick a Ron Paul sticker on me---I declined. But the best quote this far came from him. "I hated Tom Keane. He hated accountants." Enough said.
"I lived through a Jim McGreevey. I lived through Jim Florio. I can't live through another 8 years of the Clintons". Very sparse applause for John McCain. More applause for Murray Sabrin.
Boos for Rudy's rep!
Spadea trying to handle the crowd's displeasure with is answer on Rudy. Not a Rudy friendly crowd at all. Actual boos.
The artful dodge: Romney's rep--"Look at his track record". To a softball question on the changing international economic scene. Sparse applause
This is a solid pro-life, pro-2nd amendment crowd. Very pro-Paul. Murray Sabrin now talking about being in favor national sovereignty, and now he is against nation building. Against open boarder free trade.
Spadea declaring that Rudy is a free -trader. "Boos' come from the crowd. Big boos on paths to citizenship legal immigrants. Cited a Texas study that said that the local impact on economy has been positive with the flow of illegal immigrants. Wave of LOUD boos from the crowd for Spadea on Rudy --sparse applause.
Huckabee's rep: get rid of the IRS, a supporter of the Fair Tax, base it on consumption. Sabrin: "There are two wings of the Rep Party. The Big Government wing. And the Ron Paul wing." Talking about elliminating Dept of Energy. Dept of Education. "Restore the principles of 1776, and these problems would go away in four years".
Romney will support a line item veto.
The Crowd is an interesting mixture of young people in business suits, Anne Coulter looking young blonde woman, some in jeans and workshirts. One older looking hippie with long hair, a beard, and a tie-dyed Tshirt. He is wearing a Ron Paul bumper sticker on his back. Ron paul certainly is the champ here.
The promoter of this event is Illions from Conservatives with An Attitude website.
Huckabee supporter just revealed that he was a survivor of 9/11 ---he was in the Twin Towers on that day. Sabrin answering a question about energy indepence ---saying that "17 of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, and we invade Iraq". "If the attackers were from Mexico, would we invade Cuba?". The crowd cheers, some yell , "Yeah we would."
Sabrin still the fav here! He has a table,
"We are saving the caribou at the expense of our national sovereignty. We should be drilling where the oil is". Cheers.
Lots of children here with parents.
Question: Should we be in The UN? "Sabrin: "Paul supports withdrawing from the UN, and making them condos on the east river. That will handle the homeless problem in NYC," We need to withdraw from Iraq. The president told us that the mission was accomplished, and it's time to bring them home"
Spadea for Rudy: "I have to respectfully disagree. When we have troops on the ground, we must support them. The surge is working."
Huckabee on UN withdrawal: "About the UN. It needs to reigned in, We pay too much. We need to make the oil rich nations to pay more. I work in midtown NYC. And I can't get to my office when the NYC police are escorting someone from an oil rich nation to the UN, who is going to criticize us. That has got to stop."
Question on the FDA control of food and drugs:
Huckabee's suppoter: "The Governor knows a little bit about food. Many of you know he had a weight problem. With the help of a higher power, and on his own he lost his weight, and he did not need the government to help him lose weight. He did it on his own".
Sabrin on Ron Paul: "Ron Paul is a doctor. He is the only one who believes that young people should be able to withdraw from Medicare, Social Security"
Sabrin on Iraq war question/immigratioon : Ron Paul has the Christian beliefs. He believes in a Christian belief of a just war. He believes in eliminating the citizeship birthrights.
This is truly amazing. I need to come to these more often. It is great theater.
Guy Gregg: "Senator Thompson is the only candidate right on all the issues." Sparse applause.
For Jay Lassiter: On McGreevey: " I could not stand McGreevey as Governor or as Mayor of my town of Woodbridge".
Spadea just got majorly booed on being against national ID cards. Won't let him speak. Booed left and right. Booed him off stage.
Sabrin on Ron Paul: "No candidate has ever won a presidency on a war platform".
" We cannot win on a war platform". Guess Dean was right from the beginning!
Very Young questioner: On whether Rudy has read the 9/11 report, and what is his stand on literacy. I did not get the connection, neither does Spadea. Why are the terrorists coming after us? Is it because we have democracy and literacy? ........Huh?
Spadea: He did read the report. Key point to have a strong military, and stop them over there, before they come here.
Romney: "Whether we believe that terrorists hate us because of who we are, or what we have, we need to confront the terror of global jihad." Sparse cheers.
Guy Gregg: "peace through strength" Reagan, Reagan. is his watchword, over and over again.
Spadea: Only 6% of the prisons are illegal aliens. We have created a red herring issue. He is booed.
Sabrin: Quotes Reagan "Ron Paul is opposed to birthright citizenship. Citizenship is earned, not a matter of geography. We are the only nation who does that".
Mitt Romney on immigration: Need to build a fence. Need to control employers that hire illegal immigrants. Crack down on "sanctuary cities". What a Rovian term!
Guy Gregg: Thompson supports English only, and as our official language.
Spadea: I guess we don't agree on everything. But Rudy is the only one who carry on the Reagan legacy of limited government. One opponent did not support the Bush tax cuts.
Ron paul and Reagen believed that if you subsidize something, you get more of it. The government has been subsidizing illegal immigration for years, and it must stop.
Spadea brought up Rudy's handling of getting rid of the homeless squeegee men as a proof of his ability to get things done ---the problem outside the Lincoln tunnel in New York. He was told by the police that they could not stop them from squeegeeing there was nothing illegal about that. So, Rudy directed the police to ticket and arrest them for jay walking. The problem was solved immediately.
Wow. Harrassing the homeless for jay walking is leadership. Get Rudy to the White House. I am sure he will start cleaning up Congress the same way.
Sidenote: Several of the speakers actually criticized the Dems for dropping out. "They know they can't win. They're dropping out like flies". I am sure that's it.
Great story by a former firefighter: Single most important issue: National security. I am not supporting Rudy G. I am supporting John McCain. It's not enough to have an academic understanding of war. That is why I am supporting McCain. Someone with the experience of blood on his uniform and mud on his shoes.
Sabrin: Ron Paul was called up in the military in the Cuban missle crisis. Ron Paul was there. Peace through strength. Russia went belly up because of Afganhistan. This war is no longer popular. The best candidate is Ron Paul. Outstanding applause.
Mitt Romney rep: The governor walks the walk of traditional values. The Clintons and Barack Obama desperately want back the keys to 1600 PA Avenue.
Guy Gregg: What's the difference between a Democrat and a Republican? We believe government is there to empower you. That's the simple answer. We have better candidates than they do. Any of our candidates can beat Hillary or Obama or Edwards. That candidate is Fred Thompson. Sanctity of life. School choice. 2nd amendment rights. The appointment of conservative, strict interpertation of the Con. Read the Constitiution as written. We need to stay unified. The goal is a Republican president.
They are about to vote on a candidate. I get to vote by the way!! I paid my money.
I am still deciding.....hmmm.
207 total votes
John McCain 2
Mike Huckabee 4
Rudy G 14
Fred Thompson 27
Ron Paul 128
I wrote in Barack Obama, but they did not announce that.
And we are done. It was an interesting event overall. Not too much open Democratic bashing. I had expected more Hillary bashing. My impression of these people is that they are tired of the Christie Whitman, Rudy G, Ahnold Republicans, that they view as RINOs. They wish to go back to the days of Ronnie and Nancy. They are solid pro-life, 2nd amendment conservartives, and would dismantle years of environmental, civil rights, social programs if given the chance. If Murray Sabrin is to be their candidate to run against Senator Lautenberg, I would welcome that. Although he seems to be a very articulate bright person, who is very clear on his views and values, those are not views and values that the majority of New Jersey would share.
Thanks and over and out.
Joey Novick, casting his vote at the conference for Barack Obama.
I received an email from the Straw Poll's organizer [Michael Illions] declaring that he was surprised that I wrote that there was no Pledge of Allegiance, and that the group of 200 did say the Pledge at about 10:33am. Now, I can honestly say that I was there from about 10:20 am or so, I checked in after waiting on a long line, met Michael Illions at the front table, and greeted him. During that time I heard no full room Pledge. After that, I milled around the room for about 15 minutes, got a bagel and cream cheese and OJ. I set up in the back of the room, and started blogging about 10:40 am. Just as the speakers began. However, I will take Mike's word for it that there was a Pledge, possibly before I arrived, when people were coming in --earlier in the morning.
Secondly, Mike said that all the votes were counted, and there were several counters---and no vote for Obama. Now, I don't mind that it may have been tossed, or not counted, as a 'joke' vote. Again, I take his word for it. I actually did not expect the vote to be counted. But, I paid my entry fee and spoke my mind.
I just wanted to follow-up for the record.