I missed the debate so I'm playing catch-up here. Right now I'm watching the chunk in the middle where they all go after Santorum's position on birth control from every direction. Starting somewhere around the 52 minute mark Ron Paul points out, quite rightly, that the Pill can act as an abortifacient, and that any support for Planned Parenthood amounts to support for abortions. Hard truths. Santorum is playing defense throughout, but sincerely and quite nimbly:
What enormous nerve for Romney, a calculating equivocator on the issue, to criticize Santorum on his position on abortion. And to attack him for endorsing him in 2008 (57:00) seems a rather shabby way to go after an opponent. This exchange (starting at 58:00) is pretty fascinating:
SANTORUM: So I -- you know, Governor Romney, I can just say that -- that, you know, we were talking about this issue before of, you know, religious conscience and protections. But this is -- the whole reason this issue is alive is because of the bill that you drafted in Massachusetts, Romneycare, which was the model for Obamacare and the government takeover of health care.Too bad John King didn't let them go on. Santorum's endorsement of Specter over Toomey still rankles but Romney has absolutely no standing to call him on that.
But there -- there's a -- and even the drafter of your bill, when they were working on Obama's bill, said in fact it was the model. So here we have, as Newt said, the real fundamental issue here is government coercion and government coercion when you give governments the right to be able to take your responsibility to provide for your own health and -- and -- and care, and give it to the government.
That's what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts. It would be a very -- very, let say it would be a difficult task for someone who had the model for Obama Care, which is the biggest issue in this race of government in control of your lives, to be the nominee of our party. It would take that issue completely off... [. . .]
ROMNEY: Number three, I don't think the federal government should raise taxes by $500 billion and, therefore, I will repeat Obama Care. And let me -- let me -- let me mention one more -- the reason we have Obama Care -- the reason we have Obama Care is because the Senator you supported over Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, the pro- choice Senator of Pennsylvania that you supported and endorsed in a race over Pat Toomey, he voted for Obama Care. If you had not supported him, if we had said, no to Arlen Specter, we would not have Obama Care. So don't look at me. Take a look in the mirror.
KING: Senator please, quickly?
SANTORUM: So, okay Governor, let's -- let's get this straight. First off number one, you funded Romney Care through federal tax dollars through Medicaid. I know it well, it's called disproportionate share provider tax. About $400 million that you got from the federal taxpayers to underwrite Romney Care to make sure you didn't have to raise taxes right away. But of course you had to. Ask your governor, of the $8 billion of tax increases he had to put in place.
Yes governor, you balanced the budget for four years. You have a constitutional requirement to balance the budget for four years. No great shakes. I'm all for -- I'd like to see it federally. But don't go around bragging about something you have to do. Michael Dukakis balanced the budget for 10 years, does that make him qualified to be president of the United States? I don't think so. [my emphasis :)]
SANTORUM: The bottom line is, what you did was you used federal dollars to fund the government takeover of health care in Massachusetts, used it as -- and -- and Barack Obama...
ROMNEY: ...Arlen Specter.
SANTORUM: Well, I'll get to that in a minute.
(APPLAUSE) SANTORUM: But -- and then Barack Obama used it as a model for taking over this health care system in America. Why I supported Arlen Specter, number one because -- because Arlen Specter was a -- a Senator who was going to be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee at a time when the most important issue that was coming up in the next session of Congress was two to three Supreme Court nominees that were going to be available. And one, and maybe two of them, or maybe all three were going to be out of the conservative block. And Arlen Specter as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, we had a conversation.
He asked me to support him. I said will you support the president's nominees? We had a 51/49 majority in the Senate. He said I'll support the president's nominees as chairman. Every nominee Arlen Specter supported from the time he -- he took on Judge Forks and saved Justice Thomas. Every nominee he supported, passed. Why? Because it gave Democrats cover to vote for it and it gave Republican moderates cover to vote for it.
SANTORUM: And just -- no because he wouldn't have been able to give the moderate Republicans and the conservative Democrats the -- the leeway to then support that nominee, which is exactly what Arlen Specter did. He defended Roberts, defended Alito. We have a 5/4 majority on the court that struck down that case that you just talked about and is there as a guardian of liberty. And I did the right thing for our country.
ROMNEY: ...Arlen Specter...
ROMNEY: ...supporting Arlen Specter -- supporting Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey, that was a -- that was a very torturous route...
SANTORUM: Just about as torturous as six years later blaming me for Obamacare.
How do you think Romney would have voted on NCLB?
Debate video: Birth control question
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