It was billed as a "Lincoln-Douglas -style" debate on foreign policy, though there was, alas, no Lincoln, no Douglas and, apparently, not much debating when Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and John Huntsman (photo) met at the Dana Center at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, Monday afternoon. Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and later ambassador to China, spent 90 minutes in a bloodless exchange of views that bore some resemblance to a college seminar.
"I can see my daughter nodding off over there," Huntsman joked at one point during what CNN.com called a "friendly and subdued conversation" between the rival candidates. "The candidates kept the conversation very friendly," the Los Angeles Times reported, “noting often the areas where they agreed while shying away from discussing their disagreements.”
"Now news, just snooze," was the verdict of The Guardian of London. The candidates did appear to agree on most issues, most notably the perceived threat posed by a potentially nuclear-armed Iran, with Gingrich warning of a second holocaust and Huntsman calling it "the transcendent threat of this decade." That apocalyptic vision of Iran with the bomb has generally been more associated with the combative Gingrich than with the more low-key Huntsman. As reporter Justin Elliott observed on Tuesday, Gingrich reenforced his own frequent warnings about Iran in last Saturday's ABC-Yahoo debate in Des Moines, Iowa, by paying tribute to rival candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum for repeatedly voicing similar concerns about Iran's nuclear program. In that statement Gingrich implied that Iran might not only pose an existential threat to Israel, but could even put at risk the very survival of the United States.
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo: Republican presidential candidates, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, left, and former House Speaker NewtGingrich shake hands after a debate in Manchester, N.H.,, Dec. 12, 2011.: AP Images