The economy once again took center stage in Thursday night’s MSNBC Republican debate in Boca Raton, Florida. Though candidates first covered domestic economic issues, including President Bush’s new economic stimulus plan, they also answered related questions on the impact of foreign policy on the U.S. economy.
With his one allowed question of another candidate, Mitt Romney asked Rudy Giuliani how he would handle U.S.-China economic relations. Giuliani said the United States should push for intellectual property protection, improved rule of law, and the right to sue in China, “so that you can be protected if you’re doing business there.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) insisted the United States can sustain its present economy while continuing the war in Iraq. “I know of no military leader, including General Petraeus, who says we can’t sustain our effort in Iraq,” he said.
Romney recommended adding 100,000 active-duty personnel to the military by offering added benefits to recruits and updating the GI Bill. He also called the Democratic candidates “audacious” for saying “they are responsible for the progress that the surge has seen, by virtue of their trying to pull out so quickly.”
All of the Republican candidates, with the exception of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said they still believe the invasion of Iraq was a “good idea and worth the price in blood and treasure.”
Climate Change: Giuliani said the United States should expand the use of nuclear, wind, solar, and hydroelectic power, hybrid vehicles and clean coal. “Carbon sequestration is expensive, but it’s a process that works,” he said.
McCain said he favors a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, paired with a “global agreement” on emissions, including China and India.
Cuba: Giuliani said the policy allowing Cuban immigrants to stay in the United States without the same recourse as other immigrants is “fair,” because there is a “presumption in the immigration law that if you’re fleeing Fidel Castro, you’re fleeing political persecution.”