GOP Presidential Hopefuls Ask: Defense Cuts To Fund Obamacare?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential hopefuls warned in near unanimity against deep cuts in the nation's defense budget Tuesday night, criticizing President Barack Obama in campaign debate but disagreeing over the extent of reductions the Pentagon should absorb as part of an effort to reduce deficits and repair the frail economy.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said nearly $1 trillion in cuts are on the horizon for the Pentagon over the next decade, noting it was the same amount as costs for the nation's new health care law. He blamed Obama for that, adding, "We need to protect America and protect our troops and our military and stop the idea of Obamacare."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was harshly critical of the magnitude of potential cuts saying the Obama administration's Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, had called them irresponsible. "If he's a man of honor he should resign in protest," Perry said.

Neither man specified if they support any cuts in the Pentagon's accounts, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman, one-time ambassador to China, both indicated the topic should be on the table as budget-cutters look for savings.

Only Rep. Ron Paul of Texas sounded unperturbed, saying that despite ominous talk, lawmakers are considering only reductions in future military growth, not actual cuts.

The would-be commanders-in-chief made their points in a debate over national security a mere six weeks before the Iowa caucuses begin the formal competition for delegates to next summer's National Republican Convention. The venerable DAR Constitution Hall was the site - a few blocks from the White House and as close as most if not all of the GOP hopefuls are likely to get.

The debate ranged widely, moving from Iran's threat to develop a nuclear weapon to the anti-terror Patriot Act, the war in Afghanistan and U.S-Pakistan relations. Yet neither the format nor the moderator permitted all eight candidates to answer any one question, producing a somewhat disjointed event in which there was relatively little back-and-forth among the rivals.

Syria was one exception - Perry saying he supported a no-fly zone over the nation where President Bashir Assad's forces are using force to quell protests, and Romney saying now is not the time.

The focus on defense cuts came one day after Congress' supercommittee failed to reach agreement on a plan to reduce red ink by $1.2 trillion over the next decade, an outcome that threatens to trigger a similar amount in automatic spending cuts beginning in 2013. The Pentagon's share of those reductions would be about $500 billion, an amount that would come on top of Obama's own plan to trim military costs by about $450 billion.

Romney did not distinguish between the two categories when he accused Obama of targeting the Pentagon for debilitating reductions.

"They're cutting a trillion out of the defense budget, which just happens to equal the trillion dollars that they're putting into Obamacare," he said. He said such a Pentagon reduction would crimp weapons acquisition and other critical defense needs.

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  • by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:22 PM
    the GOP are getting just what they ask for in an agreement. The Super Committe failed and now it's to giving the Republicans what they wanted ! ! It's going to backfire and I hope Newt Gingrich gets to be their nominee . Every civil and moral Christian should go to the polls and vote against this man.This man changed the whole face of what honestly and integrity is supposed to be about.May GOD forgive him for the "delight he took" while serving on a grand jury bring out all the filth he could. While trying to demean another , he was livng like a heathen.
  • by Mitt Romney: 'I'm Not Looking To Put Money In People's Pockets' on Nov 24, 2011 at 02:00 AM
    The GOP candidate-- who once had a hard time finding a bill in his wallet that wasn't a $100-- told an audience that "I'm not looking to put money in people's pockets." Romney's claim came in the middle of discussion of his economic plan at a campaign stop in Iowa. Romeny has touted his economic policies as beneficial to the middle class. One audience member asked, "It doesn't put any money in my will this help the middle class?" "I'm not looking to put money in people's pockets," the GOP hopeful replied. "That's the other party."
  • by Anonymous on Nov 23, 2011 at 04:07 PM
    Headline should have read GOP PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS ASK: DEFENSE CUTS TO FUND TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY. Glover Norquist was the 13th man in the room. Who elected (purchased) him to represent the GOP...the Koch Brothers!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 23, 2011 at 10:38 AM
    Straght from the horses mouth; Republicans don't really want budget cuts, and they're really not for smaller government. Now everybody except the 1% can stop voting for these people.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil co on Nov 23, 2011 at 01:17 PM in reply to
      I did the math on the stats for the 99% in OWS and elsewhere based on attendence. They represent 0.000029676 % of voters. Now if you are not math savy, thats less than 1% that think that way...hey, maybe they should say they are the 1% based on facts? Gosh, you libterds just think ya on top of the world and making a difference....not in 2012.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 23, 2011 at 04:02 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        What? How about doing the "math" on the Tea party! if those are the numbers that represent the 99%, and the 99% outnumber the Tea Party by 20 to 1, It will not take you long to figure it out. BTW, in case you have forgotten, the 99% is "GLOBAL BABY, AND GROWING EVERY DAY (LESS THAN 3 MONTHS OLD)"!!!!!!
        • reply
          by TP on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:14 PM in reply to
          those congressmen that are of the TR and TP represent about 200 people...that's it. You may support them , but they do not represent YOU !
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 23, 2011 at 06:25 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        So, you are using Repub math?
      • reply
        by Ramone on Nov 24, 2011 at 01:39 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        A new Time Magazine poll shows that the protesters down at Zuccotti Park as part of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are viewed favorably by 54 percent of Americans. Meanwhile, the poll found that only 27 percent have similar feelings toward Occupy Wall Street’s right wing counterpart, the Tea Party.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:15 PM in reply to Ramone
          thank you !
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:08 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        I am not a liberal and I support wholely the OWS ! suck it man ...this is not a liberal movement ...a lot of TP people are joinging that movement.It appears ever so brightly that no "DO nothings they voted into congress are out to destroy democracy". Actually trying to form another type of governing power. It's call "RED" Grover "RED" grover won't you come over. Norquist has dug a grave for the rest of them and tryingto bury this control to stabalize his Islamic Trade union! ! HA ..
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 24, 2011 at 07:24 AM in reply to
      The REAL 1% are the men and women in uniform. The Democrats are willing to give them pay cuts, no raises, increase the cost of their healthcare, etc. So they can gain more votes from those less willing to do anything to contribute to society.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 24, 2011 at 03:56 PM in reply to
        You got that one backwards, the GOP are willing to throw them under the bus, JUST TO ENSURE TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY, just ask Glover Norquist. Have you forgotten about the Pledge they signed to him and forfeited the one they took for the American people who elected them?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Nov 26, 2011 at 07:52 AM in reply to
          Excuse me? Wasnt it Obama and his Democrat buddies who were using the military's pay as hostage during the budget debates earlier this summer? Where can I find this so-called pledge you speak of other than at
        • reply
          by Norguist on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:11 PM in reply to
          Anonymous on Nov 24, 2011 at 10:24 AM ask where to findthe pledge,,yet you took time to post comments like you have so boldly attack the Democrats? What country do you live in ..Do your research !
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:09 PM in reply to
        no it was not the Democrats ! Only an "I" could be so ignorant to post a comment or either a Norguist muslim
  • by Votto on Nov 23, 2011 at 07:55 AM
    You do realize that your statement is an oxymoron?
  • by Tyee Location: Hyde County on Nov 22, 2011 at 09:40 PM
    The only way to have peace in this world is to have PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH in our military. Everything else is secondary to being able to walk out our front door or remain in our homes and feel safe is to have a powerful military.

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