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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ s kel:
    Love your "above that" post.
    Earn a living?
    Too boring. We have our programs.

    November 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    Not JIF @7:23.
    The only obscene thing here is the continued practice of posting vapid opinions under stolen u/n's.

    November 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Annie

    If this is all they have to offer – I will vote for Obama. Did not last time but will this time. I think that he is twice the leader that any of these mis-fits would be. I don't trust Nute. He creeps me out.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Newt reminds me of Captain Kangaroo.
    No disrespect to the good Captain intended.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat (in a hat)

    Yeah, and we'll make Herman his Mr. Greenjeans.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gung hoe

    @bobcat ILL take that Ive allways liked mr greenjeans anyhow! Heck thats a complimeant.Oh banasy and bobcat happy thanksgiveing

    November 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Happy Thanksgiving, Herman.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    You meant Herman Cain, didn't you, bc(iah)?
    Though gung prolly could do as good a job...

    November 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat (in a hat)

    Yeah, I meant the humble Mr. Cain.
    Happy Thanksgiving gugn hoe / herman

    November 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Humble. Ha!

    November 23, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bobcat (in a hat)

    Sorry, I forgot to use my sarcasm font.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mike zaldivar

    I'm surrounded by idiots!!!!!!

    November 24, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Alex

    I truly trust Ron Paul more than all of the others. In my opinion Mitt Romney just panders to the audience. Newt Gingrich is also a little scary, he believes we should keep the patriot act and in his past he has also divorced one of his former wives when she was dying, not someone I would trust running this country honestly.

    Ron Paul has been fighting for freedom for a long time and I think he is right on target. We need to end these wars and secure our borders. If anyone ever appears to be a real threat than we declare war through congress, go out, win the war and come home! Policies of preventive war is what Hitler did, I don't believe this country needs to be a police state. Like Ron Paul also said we can put cameras in everyone's house and monitor everyone's Internet and cell phones, but once we do that we lose everything we have fought for in this country and sadly at that point we truly are not free.

    November 24, 2011 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. inttegritty

    It is time for ALL of them to go. Vote in the new generation of problem SOLVERS.

    November 24, 2011 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jackin

    Come on guys R U Serious about this person? He showed his true colors when he was so gung ho on impeaching Bill Clinton and failed to acknowledge that he was cheating on his wife at the same time. He is so wishy washy – will say what ever he thinks people want to hear. Then this illegal immigration thing. If someone breaks the law should they be rewarded for it? R U kidding us Newt? If this is the best that the GOP can do then Obama will be in for another four. Wonder if that would be so bad?

    November 24, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4