Last night on the Fox News Channel, Mike Huckabee hosted the Republican Presidential Forum. A 2-hour special where each candidate was grilled by three Republican state attorney generals. Six of the current GOP field appeared in the following order determined by luck of the draw, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. They each were questioned separately for 11 minutes with some restrictions. For example, none were allowed to refer to another candidate. The primary focus of the questioning was the concept of federalism, the balance of power between the federal and state governments. Some of the specific topics were education, healthcare and immigration/border security.
The attorney generals were Scott Pruitt from Oklahoma, Pam Bondi from Florida and Ken Cuccinelli from Virginia. They asked some tough, well thought-out questions, bringing their own experiences in doing battle with federal mandates and encroachments of power. All of the candidates did a good job in responding to the questions. Gingrich perhaps did the best, once more proving himself the smartest of the bunch by referencing some obscure act from 1802 which enabled Thomas Jefferson to fire federal judges whom Jefferson deemed to have crossed the line on the Constitution.
The format of the forum was very nice and far superior to a standard game-show-style debate. We had plenty of substance for a change without too many slogans or memorized talking points. The attorney generals did seem to rattle both Ron Paul and Mitt Romney to some degree on their answers. But all-in-all the affair was generally positive allowing each candidate to showcase their ideals and principles.
So kudos to the Fox News Channel and to Mike Huckabee for hosting the Republican Presidential Forum last night. I′m sure it will be replayed today. Below is the first of seven parts of the forum posted on You-Tube in case you missed it. Strange that Jon Huntsman decided on passing on this event, though it was thrown together quickly. Having three Republican state attorney generals question the GOP candidates was far more interesting than the usual pablum from so-called journalists. Huckabee himself did not ask any questions, he just kept track of the time allotments.