By Dave Andrusko
Although the moderator, CNN’s John King, barely gave the seven Republican presidential candidates time to respond last night, pro-lifers were pleased by the uniform opposition to ObamaCare and (among those asked about abortion) strong support for unborn children. If you did not have a chance to watch the two-hour long debate, you can read the transcript.
Besides having a chance to review what former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum actually said before King cut them off, you’ll find that you may come to a different conclusion who the “winners” and “losers” were in a debate held at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.
CNN’s Jennifer Vaughn began by asking Santorum if he believed Romney’s change of position on abortion” was “genuine” or a “political calculation”—and “should that be an issue in this primary campaign?”
Santorum responded, “I think — I think an issue should be — in looking at any candidate is looking at the authenticity of that candidate and looking at their — at their record over time and what they fought for. And I think that’s — that a factor that — that should be determined.” Turning to his own pro-life convictions, Santorum said, “ A lot of folks run for president as pro-life and then that issue gets shoved to the back burner. I will tell you that the issue of pro-life, the sanctity and dignity of every human life, not just at birth, not just on the issue of abortion, but with respect to the entire life… and the dignity of people at the end of life, those issues will be top priority issues for me to make sure that all life is respected and held with dignity.”
Romney, who answered next, said, “People have had a chance to look at my record and look what I’ve said as — as I’ve been through that last campaign. I believe people understand that I’m firmly pro-life. I will support justices who believe in following the Constitution and not legislating from the bench. And I believe in the sanctity of life from the very beginning until the very end.”
Bachmann, who announced at the debate that she filed papers for an “exploratory committee,” a necessary first step candidates must officially take to run for president, said “I am 100 percent pro-life.”
”I’ve given birth to five babies, and I’ve taken 23 foster children into my home. I believe in the dignity of life from conception until natural death. I believe in the sanctity of human life. And I think the most eloquent words ever written were those in our Declaration of Independence that said it’s a creator who endowed us with inalienable rights given to us from God, not from government. And the beauty of that is that government cannot take those rights away. Only God can give, and only God can take.
“And the first of those rights is life. And I stand for that right. I stand for the right to life. The very few cases that deal with those exceptions are the very tiniest of fraction of cases, and yet they get all the attention. Where all of the firepower is and where the real battle is, is on the general — genuine issue of taking an innocent human life. I stand for life from conception until natural death. “
Pawlenty told King, “Well, this is a great example where we can look at our records. The National Review Online, which is a conservative publication, said based on results — not just based on words — I was probably the most pro-life candidate in this race. As governor of the state of Minnesota, I appointed to the Supreme Court a conservative court for the first time in the modern history of my state. We passed the most pro-life legislation anytime in the modern history of the state, which I proposed and signed, including women’s right to know, including positive alternatives to abortion legislation, and many others.
“I’m solidly pro-life. The main pro-life organization in Minnesota gives me very, very high marks [a reference to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, National Right to Life’s state affiliate]. And I haven’t just talked about these things; I’ve done it.”
The 2012 presidential election is over 16 months away, and there are other candidates who could well jump into the field. Those include pro-life former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who said earlier today that he would announce his candidacy “a week from today,” and pro-life Texas Gov. Rick Perry.