Overheard on CNN.com: Getting to know the GOP candidates
The Republican presidential candidates are debating national security tonight in Washington.
November 22nd, 2011
06:44 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Getting to know the GOP candidates

Editor's note: Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. Watch the CNN-sponsored GOP presidential debate at 8 p.m. ET, and share your insights on CNN iReport and in the comments area below.

Tonight's debate, the 11th for Republicans so far, features the contenders squaring off on national security and foreign policy just a few blocks from the White House. The spotlight this time is on Newt Gingrich, who appears to be the new front-runner in the polls.

Much to gain and lose for Gingrich, rivals in CNN national security debate

Lots of readers were eager to weigh in on the GOP and the debate. Some said they would welcome Gingrich as the presidential nominee, such as commenter Regents85:

"Here's the truth. Obama's in trouble and the Dems know it. They can only hope Gingrich is not the nominee because he will make Obama look like the incompetent fool that he is. If your boy Clinton can overcome his personal indiscretions and still be worshiped as some Democratic god, Newt can too. Gingrich has already come up with a solution for Social Security. What has Obama done?"

There were some who weren't so sure. "Gingrich is unelectable, replied ReturnofMrsN. "Go ahead and run him. The media firestorm will be relentless."

Others say it could be interesting, such as commenter Davel:

"If Newt's the Republican pick, these are going to be some fantastic debates between him and Obama. It will be the two parties stripped down to their real beliefs and saying what they really mean. And both are articulate, educated people. A Gingrich/Obama debate will be great to watch."

We did receive quite a few comments critical both of Gingrich and his fellow candidates. Many of the readers who've taken the time to write out their thoughts have expressed a lot of dissatisfaction with the current Republican lineup. Of course, it's hard to say just how well these posts actually represent the views of the overall population, but one need only glance at a sampling of the reaction we've gotten to recent stories.

"The fact that a person like Gingrich can be the front-runner for the GOP indicates that the GOP is broken and it is the GOP that is causing broken government," said paschani.

"Gingrich is just the latest 'not Romney,' " wrote JHarris. "He will implode like the rest have."

We'd love to hear your take on the candidates, whether you want to talk about Gingrich or someone else. Let us know what you think below.

Separating from the GOP candidate pack

In regards to the topic of the debate itself, national security and foreign policy, CNN took a look at each of the candidates individually. We saw some pretty vocal opinions in that section, but this exchange stood out:

Phil in KC: "Huntsman would win this one hands-down if the audience were anyone other than a bunch of right-wing Republicans. I don't totally disagree with Romney. I don't totally agree, but I don't completely disagree. Same for Gingrich. The rest are just plain dangerous, and Cain is a joke."

Common Sense: "You don't totally disagree with Romney because Romney picks two sides to every issue."

Speaking of Jon Huntsman, the candidate wrote an opinion article that ran today and many readers said they were impressed with him, but some added they thought he had little chance of becoming the GOP nominee.

Huntsman: Bring U.S. military in line with new reality

Seenen: "Jon Huntsman is by far and away the most qualified of the Republican candidates, not to mention the most reasonable, which is why he is stuck in single digits. He is a centrist and an intellectual at the time the conservative base wants red meat and ignorance."

jrm03063: "Seriously, doesn't he seem more like a Blue Dog than a Republican?"

"Fellow Republicans, we must nominate this guy," said pt8685. "He's the only one who takes the world seriously. All the other candidates are Washington insiders (Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum) or marginal players (Cain). Romney is an empty suit with no fire in his belly. Only Huntsman has the smarts, passion, experience and appeal to beat Obama."

Sunnysmom was among many Democrats who said they might support Huntsman. "Jon Huntsman is the best GOP candidate out there. I'm a Dem, but I would listen to him and consider voting for him if he made a good case. But because he's not sensational enough, the GOP won't consider him. Too bad, he may just be the one who could actually beat Obama."

"This guy is intelligent, passionate and level-headed," said Fiber185. "We really do need to elect this guy to straighten out our worldly problems, and please, take a look at what he has done as governor; he is a productive leader with conservative values."

So what about the other candidates? What about Romney? Glad you asked.

Romney names possible running mate

Mitt Romney mentioned that he was looking at several possible running mates, and dropped the name of New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (who was sitting next to him) as one of those people during an interview with Fox News. We saw mixed feedback on Ayotte.

Dennis: "Good God, I am from New Hampshire, and this would be the equivalent of John McCain picking Sarah Palin. What part of stupid don't these people understand? Are they trying to lose before they even get started?"

Rinos for Winos: "John McCain tried pandering for the woman vote and that did not work out so well. But of course he chose Palin instead of Ayotte. Maybe she is more sane then Palin."

tamashi: "It is so funny to see the almost virulent and irrational hatred towards Mittens, which just shows some people just cannot get any love. People are attacking Mitt for just giving out all possible names of VPs he'd consider, hahahhahahaha. And he was sitting right next to (Ayotte), so he was doing the polite thing and called her name out too. Take a chill pill, people."

Commenters on this story were all over the place about Romney, with some very supportive and others opposed, and others not sure.

R: "Mitt, I like. However, pandering to the ultra-conservative fringe ... bad move. Be proud of being moderate. The country YEARNS for moderation. Until both sides of the aisle embrace some moderation, these stand-off tactics are keeping us from moving forward with dealing effectively with getting our economy back on track. Meanwhile, the ranks of the poor increase and the wealthy and corporate interests continue to get their way. Sign no pledges, answer to the people, REAL people, and you will gather the support and hearts of the true Americans. You want some momentum? Ditch the fascists!"

Sue: "Mitt Romney 2012! Time to put intelligence, competence and ethics in our White House again! It is time to make our economy and country number one again."

Joe: "This guy can pander and weasel like no candidate I've ever seen before. And with his track record of flip-flops, why would anyone take seriously any 'hints' that he drops on any subject? Give me a break."

Finally, we'll take a look at Herman Cain, another contender from the GOP who recently made headlines.

Cain signs anti-abortion pledge

The businessman and former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host put his name to the Susan B. Anthony List's "Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge" on Tuesday. Our commenters gave a harsh appraisal of Cain, but once again it's worth mentioning that it's hard to tell if this crowd is representative or not.

Anon: "This is exactly the sort of person that should not ever be elected to any office, no matter how small. When you sign these pledges, you are saying that you will do what the special interest group wants. Further, a candidate like this is saying they are unwilling to compromise, unwilling to question themselves and their stances. It is people like this getting into office that got our country into the mess it is in."

Ryguy:  "What's the difference between dumping a baby into a Dumpster and having it aborted? It's not 'your' body. The fetus has its own body. Not sure of how to treat the rape and incest issues, but for those who are a willing participant in the act to create a baby should know that its not all 'fun and games.' Act like an adult. Take responsibility and realize that your parents could have aborted you."

And with that, there's clearly a spirited readership out there waiting to see what happens tonight and during election season. What do you think of the candidates and these stories?

Join the conversation about the debate - as it happens - in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or share your opinion on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. fgroeneman

    The current Republican lineup of Presidential hopefuls is just too sad. If this is the best they can come up with they should be embarrassed. These candidates will say anything and do anything with no regard for the facts or the truth. They flat out lie or just subtely distort the facts and hope the American people are too misinformed to notice. They make nonsensical assertions hoping that if they repeat them often enough somehow we won't notice it is nonsense. The media simply repeats their assertions without challenging them and therefore is complicit in perpetuating the lies and distortions. I don't think I can stand to watch any more Republican debates. Is this really the best they have to offer?

    November 23, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeanine

      They ARE embarrassed.
      They are like deer caught in the headlights. They know they don't have anyone worth voting for, but they keep shoving these useless, two-faced politicians at us as if we'll suddenly lose our minds and vote for them.
      Not gonna happen.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Somebody posted here that one either loves Ron Paul or doesn't understand him.
    I understand Ron Paul completely.
    I don't love him, and I certainly don't want him to be our president.
    I love my wife, but, if she asked my advice, I would tell her candidly that I she should not seek the office of POTUS: she loves to shop.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. cigarman

    The month of November is almost over, so that means that Newt Gingrich is almost over. Newt has been the flavor of the month. This December, the flavor of the month will be Huntsman. I dont think that Newt really wants to be PTOUS. He wants to give AMNESTY to Millions of people breaking Federal law. Newt says, an ILLEGAL who has been in the United States for twenty five years should somehow be allowed to stay here forever. Hey Newt, that is the first person I would deport, that person has been breaking our laws for twenty five years. No, I am not heartless, just a taxpayer who is payin for illegals welfare, education, etc. that really is the root of the United States problems. Our Politicians Spend Billions Protecting these ILLEGALS and wonder why the U>S> is broke. DUH

    November 23, 2011 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jody

    If Gingrich is the candate then you can guarantee another four for Obama. This guy is a failure in every way. He was so down on Clinton during the Monica mess and later it was found that he was doing the same thing, cheating on his wife. So choosing one of the two – Obama looks like gold.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      Obama may be a 8 termer if they don't get their butt in gear. With the exception of Paul none of these dudes could beat Obama, especially Nute. With just a little cooperation Obama may not be so bad. He seems to care about the country unlike the others who are just party party.

      November 23, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    I thought one of these guys would take a stand for cleaning out America of the people who should not be here. People who broke the laws of the USA and came in without an invitation. Why are they so afraid to stand up for the majority of Americans who are tired of supporting these illegals and their families. If we spent that money on the American citizens then our nation would not be in such a mess. If this is the best the GOP has to offer, Obama is a shew in.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Hey mike just think for a minute about where these immigrants are leaving to come here? they're not all coming here to exploit and or steal from us Americans. Mostly they just want a better life, look at the crime in Mexico, we should be educating these other countries to become better nations on their own, certainly limit the immigrating now that we've reached such a high amount of illegal immigrants. But c'mon look at alot of us U.S citizens; we're a quarter Irish or Italian or Lithuanian. And its part of what makes America the great nation it can still be if we focus on the more important topics; such as avoiding the UN's implementation of some of the nasty plans that they have for the future of the world. Look into it, everyone should stop worrying about the gay marriages and abortion rights for just a few moments and look at the bigger picture, its far larger than anything else currently going on.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    How much longer are the USA citizens going to stand for this? Everyone I know wants all the people without green cards sent packing, as in Alabama. If illegals can't vote – so what is the problem? Guess this tells us they can and do.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. nash

    Some loon in here was trying to preach econ 101 by stating that the country needs to create demand first and not raise taxes. This is twisted logic. My take is simple. Corporations cannot see demand if people have no jobs. Hoarding money, expanding and laying off people is going to lower demand for obvious reasons. People want to be self reliant when hard times hit. I say greedy corporations should hire people and put them to work. This in turn increases demand for their products because people have money. Otherwise in the current state of affairs. We are in a vicious cycle. Cutting and laying off employees leading to less demand for products and even more lay offs bcause money is more important than people for these greedy corporations. Say whatever you like, but the only solution to the current crisis is to hire more people. In the short run it hurts the bottom line, but in the long run it helps the economy by creating demand for goods and products. Now I am not talking about small business, I am talking of corporations sitting on several trillions of dollars at this time and wondering why there is no demand. This is one of those win-win situations.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. khalil hamid

    Almost all the candidates, except Ron Paul, seem like they were running for the prime minister of Israel not the presendent of the united states. The National security of Israel was more important that the US national security. Mnay people mock Ron Paul but the american public we say Ron was right when he said that the most dangerous national security issue is our economy not the terrorists, but it will be too late for the american public.

    November 25, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. khalil hamid

    Sorry for the previous post (no spell check).

    Almost all the candidates, except Ron Paul, seem like they were running for the prime minister of Israel not the president of the United States. The National security of Israel was more important that the US national security. Many people mock Ron Paul but the American public will say Ron was right when he said that the most dangerous national security issue is our economy not the terrorists, but it will be too late for the American public.

    November 25, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jonathan

    I will be voting for Governor Gary Johnson! Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay rights, Anti war GOP candidate who wants to balance the budget and legalize marijuana! Johnson is also a good steward of tax dollars. He came into office with a huge deficit and left 8 yrs later with a billion dollar surplus. His staff once asked him how he wanted his name read on the state welcome signs. He said Don't put my name on those signs, If we change them at all put welcome to New Mexico from the citizens of New Mexico so we dont have to spend money to change them in the future. As Governor he raised the speed limit to 75 on the highway and allowed people to buy beer on Sunday saying "this is a choice the people of New Mexico can make for themselves and don't need the govt telling them on what day they can buy beer." He understand the proper role of govt to protect you from force or fraud but to otherwise leave you alone unless your actions interfere with the rights of another. Check out Two term(one more than Mitt) Governor Gary Johnson! Dont let the media pick your candidate! Johnson's socially liberal and fiscally conservative stances will be attractive to democrat and independent voters in the general election, I think he is the man to beat obummer.. Gary Johnson is who we need in the White House. The People's President!

    November 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Valorie Jones

    With each debate, the Republican candidates look less worthy with the exception of Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. Dr. Paul is what-he-is and makes a lot of sense but the real future winner will be Jon Huntsman. Not in the 2012 election but I predict that once Obama wins in 2012 and the Tea Party is no more, the once-proud Republican party will recover and realize in Jon Huntsman they have intelligence, character, foreign policy understanding and a truly good man. I hope I am correct.

    November 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. brent

    This is the GOP

    November 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Handofdoom

    Our Government Parties Not so political they are more like a social gathering to enjoy themselves making us Citizens look like Fools !

    November 30, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
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