I don't have cable but listened to the audio of the debate online. It was actually fascinating focusing in on just the sounds, their voices, rather than how they looked. It also made me tune in better to the size and enthusiasm (or lacks thereof) of the audience applause and cheers and boos. Huckabee got some of the hugest applause and cheers of the night, but of course he wasn't the only one to do so.
Here were some paraphrases and thoughts on the issues of Life (with a capital L).
I was disappointed that only 2 or 3 candidates got to answer each question, so we didn't hear from all candidates on these in particular.
I'm also not commenting here on the other questions/answers except to say:
1) CNN chose way too many garbahj / filler questions and/or trap questions (what kind of guns do you own, why did you support the RedSox if you're a Yankee fan, how are you personally going to stop black-on-black crime, and more)
2) I don't recall a single question on education, Iran or healthcare.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned and abortion is made illegal, should the woman who procurs one be charged and if so, how should she be punished?
Ron Paul: It's up to the states to decide, and we don't need a federal abortion criminalization bill. No, she should not be charged with a crime. It would be up to the states how to punish the doctor.
Thompson: Our #1 focus is to overturn Roe v. Wade. It should go to the states, and assuming states outlaw it, punishment should be fashioned after how it's been done in the past, after viability, or instead moving the point up earlier in the pregnancy or to the beginning. [don't think he said the woman should not be charged]
If Roe is overturned and a Federal Ban of Abortion is on your desk, would you sign it?
Giuliani: would not sign it.
Thompson: The problem with Roe was that it took the decision away from the states. Of course late term abortions and Partial Birth abortions should be criminalized. Didn't really answer the question (if I recall correctly).
[The problem with Roe wasn't just that it took the decision away from the states. The primary problems were that the Supreme Court:
Romney: Agreed with Thompson's answer except that he said he'd sign the bill but said that America is not ready or "there" yet (effectively saying he'd not have to sign it).
[Some online commenters at Powerlineblog.com attacked the question as stupid because there could never be a federal bill banning abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The original question was perhaps misworded, as a Human Life Amendment could in fact be enacted by the government, and I believe the spirit of that amendment was the foundation for the question as well as the answers.]
Thompson's political ad aired a clip of Romney saying he supported Roe v. Wade. He was allowed to defend, saying he changed his mind. He realized once he became Governor of Massachusetts that he was wrong and he couldn't sign any state bill that wouldn't protect the unborn.
[I don't know if that's true, but it sounds like he did a reverse Joe Lieberman to win the Massachusetts governorship: he promised a liberal, libertine state which mostly supported abortion rights that he'd also support same, then once he got into office, he changed his tune. Senator Lieberman promised Connecticut bishops and Catholics he would sport a pro-life platform to win his first Senate seat, then turned pro-choice upon taking oath.
[Romney, if what he said is true, is better for being pro-life now than Lieberman, but it still begs the question: will he do and say anything now to win enough votes?]
Question to those who call themselves "Christian conservatives," regarding the death penalty: What Would Jesus Do?
[could be construed as a trap question]
Huckabee: I may be the only person here who has actually had to carry out the death penalty. Didn't like it, said it was hardest thing ever had to do, but had to do it. Doesn't like it, because it's completely an irrevocable decision. However, some crimes are so heinous, so horrible, that the death penalty is warranted.
[When pressed to answer the WWJD question itself:] Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office! [got huge laughs for this]
[I'm Catholic and even our catechism explains "the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor." The Church doesn't believe in or advocate the death penalty however, saying "the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity 'are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'" All of the above, for what it's worth, is essentially exactly what Huckabee said.]
Tancredo: Said he looks to Jesus for guidance in addressing this issue, but essentially said he agreed with what Huckabee said.
Do you believe literally every single word of this book? (held up a Bible)
[I believe this was a weird, below-the-belt, trap question]
Giuiliani: I don't believe every single word literally. I read the Bible a lot. I read it every day.
[THIS I laughed aloud at. I greatly doubt this is true and he sounded so false saying it. If he did, the moral relativity and cognitive dissonance quotient he's living with would have crushed him under their immense weight by now.]
Romney: It's the word of God. [but then when reasked the question, started hemming and hawwing, couldn't really answer the exact question]
Huckabee: (he figured out it was a trap question and called it out as just that) You need to consider the greater sense of the words in the Bible. Do you believe you should "pluck out your eye" if it offends you? Of course not literally! But how about "Love your neighbor as yourself." Until we get those parts right as human beings, we shouldn't be worried about the more complicated parts and whether anyone believes them literally or not. No human being is ever going to grasp all the Bible's words fully, to fully understand what it all means. If they think they do understand all of it, their god is too small.
If anyone feels I misquoted or misparaphrased, please feel free to add or correct. I didn't take notes verbatim.
I don't like some things about all the candidates. I think, though, I still have a nagging feeling about the What Would Jesus Do? question I already answered here, as regards illegal immigrants.
I wish someone had asked THAT question: regarding illegal immigration, What Would Jesus Do? because the parable of the Good Samaritan is all. over. that one.
Or, at least, it's food for thought.
Cross-posted on AbortionPundit