Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Rick Santorum wins Fox News Republican primary debate (with video)

Santorum wins, Gingrich came second.

Part 1 of 11:

All the parts:

Here’s a review from Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post.

Excerpt:

When the Republican presidential contenders debated in Orlando tonight, it was really two debates. In the first third of the evening, a series of disjointed questions without follow-ups, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seemed strong and well-prepared. But he faded over the rest of the debate, appearing to lose his steam just as he was trying to paint Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper.

The big winner of the night, however, was Rick Santorum.

Santorum has been waiting for the chance to supplant Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) as the third-ranking candidate in the race. Tonight he went a long way toward achieving that. Bachmann never managed to make a presence. Santorum, however, socked Perry on in-state tuition breaks for Texas college students who are illegal immigrants, making the point that Perry is subsidizing those people over non-Texan American citizens. On Afghanistan, he hit a home run, telling off Jon Huntsman Jr. over the latter’s suggestion to bug out of a war short of victory. He barked, “Just because our economy is sick doesn’t mean America is sick.” When asked about right-to-work laws, Santorum smartly steered the discussion to public employee unions. As the debate went on, he received more and more questions, a sure sign he was becoming a contender.

And another review:

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum breathed new life into his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday, issuing a string of critiques at his Republican counterparts

Speaking in a GOP debate hosted by Google and Fox News, the Pennsylvania Republican slammed critics of his campaign, calling for a renewed commitment in Iraq and Afghanistan, and condemning a repeal of the military’s controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Mr. Santorum on Thursday said the military has one responsibility: protecting the country. He says that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is a distraction to that role. The former U.S. senator made the statement in response to a video question from a gay soldier that yielded boos from the debate audience.

Mr. Santorum said that “sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military,” adding that the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which took effect this week, was injecting “social policy into the military.”

“What we’re doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now, and that’s tragic,” Mr. Santorum said.

The Pennsylvania Republican slammed former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, questioning his recent comments on on U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast. Mr. Santorum took issue with Mr. Huntsman’s suggestion that the U.S. should leave Afghanistan short of victory.

“Just because our economy is sick doesn’t mean America is sick,” Mr. Santorum said.

Mr. Santorum, who continues to trail former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Republican Rick Perry in the latest polls, had struggled to gain support in recent months. The Pennsylvania Republican has focused his campaign on Iowa, where recent polls seems to suggest Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Mr. Perry as the leading candidates. Still, the Pennsylvania Republican has repeatedly said he remains confident of his chances of securing the 2012 nomination.

The performance at Thursday night’s GOP debate comes as Mr. Santorum has sought to increase his presence within the national debate. Speaking Tuesday, Mr. Santorum launched a scathing rebuke of Mr. Perry’s assessment of U.S. relations with Israel.

“I’ve forgotten more about Israel than Rick Perry knows about Israel,” Mr. Santorum told Politico. “There he is, reading a speech that I’m sure he didn’t write, and has never taken a position on any of this stuff before, and [the media is] taking this guy seriously.”

Preceding the debate hosted by Google, Mr. Santorum made national headlines after issuing a plea to the search engine, requesting that the address search results related to his name. Mr. Santorum’s contacting of Google comes as Google searches for Mr. Santorum’s name have generated some inappropriate results since gay columnist Dan Savage organized an online campaign to link graphic sexual terms to Mr. Santorum’s campaign.

It was a great debate, I recommend watching at least the first half.

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