Readers judge GOP contenders after national security debate
Eight major GOP presidential candidates met in Washington on Tuesday for the CNN National Security Debate.
November 23rd, 2011
01:50 PM ET

Readers judge GOP contenders after national security debate

Editor's note: This post is part of the "Overheard on" series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. Share your debate reaction on CNN iReport and in the comments area below.

Several key divergence points between the GOP candidates emerged Tuesday night during the CNN-sponsored national security and foreign policy debate. The debate was spirited, but who can you believe? That's a question both CNN analysts and our own readers have been trying to answer.

Who can you believe at GOP debates?

Debate coach Todd Graham once again evaluated the candidates in this opinion piece that evaluates the debate. Commenters and iReporters responded with some interesting critiques of some of the candidates.

Many analysts said Newt Gingrich gave a strong performance, with nuanced arguments and confident defenses of potentially unpopular positions on spending and illegal immigration, but commenters seemed a bit ambivalent about him.

joeinalabama: Newt has a lot of baggage, but I think he has a better grasp of how the world works than the rest of them, including Barack Obama.

TxJim: "Newt makes so much sense. Over and over and over again. Very smart man. Just completely devoid of any credibility and totally unelectable."

thestocks: "Newt is a very smart man. I think he has too many skeletons in his closet, and too many instances in his past when he supported the liberal spending policies of George W. Bush."

Ron Paul, on the other hand, advocated a libertarian stance that set him apart from the GOP candidates, analysts say. Paul is known for having a very devoted following, particularly online (the comments section is no exception), and several readers wrote to share their support of him.

firehawktt: "I was impressed with Ron Paul in this debate. The U.S. should not be the world police. We should not interfere in every foreign conflict out there. Here you had the other candidates attacking Obama for not putting a no fly zone in Syria or Iran. We're already in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and these guys want us to get involved in more wars?"

columbridae: "As much as I hate to admit it, Ron Paul came off as very intelligent last night. He still has unrealistic ideas, but he knows his facts. ... I don't think his extreme liberty policies can survive when there is so much corruption and greed; they would be good ideas if businesses could be trusted to not do bad things."

In the article, Graham talks about making deposits in a credibility bank that can't get stretched too thin, just like your finances. He says Jon Huntsman made comments that added to his credibility, and he also says Mitt Romney managed to gain the edge over Rick Perry in a discussion about U.S. policy with Syria. Our commenters liked Huntsman in many of their discussions and were ambivalent about Romney in some cases. Take this comment exchange:

Sphy: "Huntsman won on credibility by a landslide. Romney just oozes insincerity. You can tell he's pandering to Republicans and doesn't believe half the positions he seems to be selling."

But if you think that you can escape from the three-ring electoral circus by moving to some other country, you might want to think again.

ejr1953: You really can't believe any of them. Politics in America is the game of the politician figuring out what most people want to hear, feeding their pre-conceived notions about how things should be in the world, making statements to get more people to vote for them vs. the other candidates.

Roscoe55: Not just in America my friend, things are just the same here in the UK. Politicians get elected on one set of promises and forget all about them once they get in power.

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

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

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. buck kennedy

    the only person on that stage last night who you can TRUST and who has a good chance of beating bama is Ron Paul. lets stop being stupid. lets read up on these people and lets be honest with ourselves.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. markmcinturf

    It always amazes me where politically inclined people choose to place their focus. It reminds me of the age old saying ... can't see the forest for the trees.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    The lone voice of sanity in the babble-Ron Paul.
    The extent of disinformation being spread & pandering to the lobbies represented in the hall was pathetic.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. scot

    If the republicans would strart using their minds instead of using these stupid talking points that are feed to them they would see Jon Huntsman ( I know he is an intellegent man and that scares some of you ) as the man that can beat Obama. He talks straight and will not B.S. us. The only problem is, if he is elected, the rest of the republican congress will not go along with his ideas.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    On this Thanksgiving I humbly offer my thanks to the Lord for protecting us from the likes of Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich & this mindset so far. Dear Lord keep us delivered from them & Bless America – Amen

    November 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kung foo

    Ron Paul is awesome. No way will he ever get the nomination. Maybe Mitt will be ok. No way will I even comnsider voting for any of the others. Cain is a joke that seems to have a bad temper. Perry is another Bush from texas. The others are all zeros.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |

    Ron paul is a good choice, but he is to outspoken against big business, that will get you nowhere fast in washington, he would not be able to make things better. the people who run washington do not feel the threat of an economic meltdown, the last one served them well.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |

    Huntsman is a very bright guy, tour right though, cant do it by himself, and his party knows it, does anyone know who if any of theese guys signed a pledge? that crap pis es mee off!

    November 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. suzette

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that can save this country from becoming another European socialist country. I just wish his campaign manager would teach him how to be more articulate. When he explained why the super committee wasn't really cutting anything in the defense budget, he should have explained that they were cutting the increases in spending over the next year. Spending is still going up! If Ron Paul doesn't get the nomination this country is doomed!!

    November 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bobcat ( in a hat )

    All these candidates can't even agree to disagree. How the hell are we suppose to make an informed choice when these people are anything but informed ?

    November 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. George Patton

    The only decent candidate there is Ron Paul from Texas but he won't be nominated as a direct result of the very ignorance of the American public. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain are all pathetic to say the least and if it wasn't for the ignorance of the general public, these bozoes wouldn't stand a chance!!!

    November 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    Based on what the ruling class says (spend) and does (that would be nothing), you could line these GOP names up on any dartboard, and make a significant choice, all in one throw.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anil


    November 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    As a long time Independant, I wish to remind that to get elected, they must appeal to those of us in the middle. If you select a candidate that is too extreme, then they will not beat President Obama. You already have the hard core Right wing votes. You need more than that to win the election. Pick someone that is electable. Someone that will appeal to those of us who vote, that do not necessarily care for the extremes of either party.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    To me, it's very simple: Romney has a presidential appearance. They should nominate him.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Sorry folks, I didn't post the above. As the true Joey Isotta-Fraschini here, I'm all for Ron Paul from Texas. All the others are a bunch of clowns trying to be politically correct who'll do nothing for this country!!!

      November 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
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