Will Republicans have to lighten up on social issues in order to succeed in 2012?
June 14th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Will Republicans have to lighten up on social issues in order to succeed in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Each of the Republican contenders in last night's CNN presidential debate tried to set himself - or herself - apart from the other candidates, but their main message was more about beating President Obama in 2012 than each other.

With the president's approval ratings near all-time lows, our national debt sky-high and climbing, and unemployment above 9%, it would certainly seem it's the Republicans’ race to lose.

According to a CNN Opinion Research Corp. poll, nearly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters say they want a real contender who can defeat Obama in 2012, even if that nominee doesn't agree with them on every issue. More importantly, that's up 7 percentage points from January.

But for Republicans to keep conservatives happy, social issues - like abortion, gay marriage, "don't ask, don't tell" - still manage to work their way into the conversation. And that may prove to be a problem for Republicans once we head into the general election campaign.
For example, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that not only was he pro-life even in cases of rape and incest, he believes that doctors who perform abortions should face criminal charges. Santorum should save himself a lot of time and money and find something to do besides running for president.

On the subject of gay marriage, all the candidates except Herman Cain and Ron Paul said last night they'd support a constitutional amendment outlawing it. Several of them also said that if elected, they would go back to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Note to the GOP: These are not the issues that middle America is worried about. They would like to be able to find a job.

Here’s my question to you: Will Republicans have to lighten up on social issues in order to succeed in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Brian in San Diego:
Absolutely. These are fringe issues where the majority of the country simply does not agree with the far right. Perhaps more importantly, the voters in this election, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, expect the candidates to focus on the economy and the deficit. Anything else the candidates focus on is a waste of their time and their potential votes.

Dennis in Florida:
Even though the economy is horrible, the Republicans will have to soften the ultra conservative stances. Similarly the Democrats will need a middle-of-the-road message. The average person doesn’t want the extremist right or left positions jammed down their throats.

The moderates like Romney will pretend to be staunchly pro-life, Pawlenty will say what a glowing president Palin would be, until after the nomination. Then, they'll revert to their true centrist views if they want to win.

Richard in San Diego:
How often can you say smaller government, lower taxes, no regulations? Last night’s debate, and I use the word debate lightly, showed that if they don't discuss social issues, then they have nothing to say. No ideas to improve things except trying what has already failed. I don't know about anyone else but if you have two roads and one is a dead end I don't drive down the dead end again.

Jim in Bartlesville, OK:
They definitely should, but I do not think they will. It will cost them the votes of 30-something voters like my adult children, and I believe it will also cost them the election. I am a conservative Republican, and totally frustrated that Republican candidates do not understand, it’s the economy, stupid!

They will not succeed. They cannot get away from cultural wars; they cannot run away from Private Ryan. With candidates like Romney the Mormon, Huntsman the Mormon, T-Paw flip-flop, Newt the philanderer and the rest of them, they are going no where.

Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Russ in PA

    Not sure about the rest, but Ron Paul is a light as one can be, given that he is the one willing to end the wars, end the bail outs, return us to a free market system, and fight for our liberties. How much lighter can one get than that?

    Who else in either party is willing to vote per their rhetoric?

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    June 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  2. lou

    They all need to lighten up on the doom and gloom. Why on earth would we want to elect a leader who thinks America is one big heaping loser town who can't get it's act together? It would be like having my cranky grandpa telling us what a disappointment we are for 4 years.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Richard Martin

    Sorry Jack, but first you need an I.Q. in order to lighten up.

    Republicans seem to believe in the darndest nonsense – either that or they just ignore you completely when you show them up to be wrong.
    In the case of Sarah Palin she blithely carries on after each blunder or fact-check error. It's like they believe you really don't have to 'know anything' in order to aspire to higher office.
    Let's face it....in recent times we have heard certain Republicans say that Newt Gingrich is this really 'bright' guy....likely the brightest of the bunch.....really? Maybe that's the problem with Republicans.....they set the bar so low (like Ann Coulter) that almost anyone is a star to them.

    Conclusion – they wouldn't even understand 'how much' to lighten up!


    June 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  4. Conor in Chicago

    The only thing Conservatives need to do is keep their unholy alliance with the Corporate Investment Class and they will prevail. Obama is nothing more than the last stand of the educated and secular middle class fighting against the power of a religious population accustomed to thinking with their emotions and taking things on faith suckered by the Corporate Investment Class who uses and betrays them in order to consolidate more wealth, more power, and more property. Conservative media controls the message. The military is overwhelmingly Conservative because there are no economic opportunities in rural America any more so the only option is military service. The Conservative Supreme Court reacted to the election of Obama, which was a reaffirmation of the power of the middle class, by deciding that corporations openly bribing politicians was Constitutional as it was the only way to fight the power of the Secular masses.

    Rest assured Conservatives need not do anything other than what they are doing. They are warping people’s minds, have placed people in positions of power and influence, and have an unlimited corporate war chest with which to completely take over this country. I feel utterly confident that in 10 years time this country will look like a banana republic but will feel more like a Christian Iran.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  5. JENNA

    Will conservatives have to lighten up in order for Republicans to succeed in 2012?

    Jack, Conservatives "lightening up" isn't going to help them. Americans may be sometimes fool hardy but they are NOT stupid. The GOP has no right to claim that they don't want government intrusion while they camp out in our bedrooms telling us what we can and can't do with our bodies as consenting adults. They can keep their idols and cherrypick from their Bibles all they want to. They haven't created a single job as promised in 2010, they were the ones that created the mess that our nation is in today and refuse to work to clean it up.

    They don't have MY VOTE.

    Roseville CA

    June 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  6. Norm

    The Election of 2012 will be about high quality jobs. It won't be about doing the work of five people on steroids. It won't be about low wage jobs in fast food. It will be about creating jobs that match the person. It may mean a part time job in astrophysics, chemistry, physical science, engineering or a full time job with respect and opportunity. Either way, the people want to use their talents in ways that are appropriate to THEM.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Bonnie in NY

    No! This country needs a committed leader! He/she is suppose to be working for us, US citizens! It seems the rolls have reversed and we the people are now working for our government. We really need to be critical of who should run for or be president. We need a real person who cares about this country. Not what this country can do for him/her. Obama is a huge let down! What is even worse is he blames everything on past presidents. I will vote for who I feel is the best candidate, not by which political party I am affiliated with. No will I be influenced by the media.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Yes, they are going to have to lighten up. The Republican Party needs both the moderates and the conservatives, ... If the party is viewed as trying to purge one or another faction, then we'll have a civil war that only helps the Democrats."

    June 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  9. Ryan-MN

    Their only chance to start looking out for the middle class for a change. I will not be holding my breath.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  10. John from Alabama

    Jack: The Republicans and the conservatives can not see the road to the election, because they are to busy blaming President Obama on things that happened under President George W. Bush's Administration. America wants good solutions for social security and medicare, and not just the slash and burn policy of Paul Ryan. Bashing Obama will not help the Republicans or the conservatives winn any elections in 2012.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  11. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    Is the inference here that tax cut zealots are giving politics a bad reputation? When Warren Buffet and other billionaires complain that tax cuts for the rich have gone too far, you just might be right.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  12. Tony from Southport

    I don't think so Jack. All Democrats have to do is keep doing what their doing and Republicans will do fine. After all, Trillions in debt under Obama; unemployment over 9% after billions in "stimulus" money spent and nothing positive on the horizon. Taxes and unemployment on the rise, gas prices on the rise, an economy on the brink of disaster and I can remember Obama saying "Help me fundamentally CHANGE America." Well he's doing a good job of destroying America. Republicans had better NOT lighten up. They need to press home the failures of this false Messiah.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  13. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I have seen the republican party change over the years to the point where passed republican presidents would have never won their party's nomination if they were running today. They seem to represent big business, the most wealthy and the extreme religious right. They dwell too much into social issues which have already been settled by the Supreme Court. They spend too much time on wanting to change the healthcare bill knowing full well they don't have enough votes to override a president's veto. The republican party leaves no room for a person like me who comes from blue collar roots to even consider voting republican. Their interest does not represent my interest in any shape or form.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  14. barbara in nc

    Lighten Up?

    From what I'M hearing, they will have to BRIGHTEN UP!!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  15. Claryssa Correa

    I thought the candidates look very presidential, educated and articulated... But The USA needs more than that. The Nation needs to be reinvented. And the Republican candidates, with all their good will and smart, they all sound old and boring...

    Claryssa Correa
    Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

    June 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  16. sean 1

    the conservatives will have to get a plan together for starters. seeing they are all arrogant anyways(see michelle bachman in the debate) then i am not worried about them. they have no candidates, no platform to run on and no brains!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  17. Gary H. Boyd

    Yes because there aren't enough of them to win by themselves. A look at the American demographic today reflects a large increase in hispanic and minority voters that tend to be Democrats. It's become a numbers game and the Tea Party and hard line conservatives are clearly in the minority. If they don't lighten up and recognize what is staring them in the face, they deserve to lose.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    June 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  18. Loren

    Without a doubt. A bigger bunch of holier-than-thous might be hard to find. Unless the Republicans realize that the majority fo the country just want to live a comfortable life and be left alone in their excesses, then they will continue to watch the Democratic Party drive this nation into bankruptcy. What a choice.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  19. Kevin in CA

    Nope – negative is proven to work in politics.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Conservatives should not expect to regain lost credibility with American voters simply by criticizing president Obama's remedies for the economic damage of their greed. If Republicans cannot better govern their own Party how are they going to govern the middle and lower economic classes of all Americans?

    June 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  21. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I think so Jack. The republicans do not have to veer from their principals/ All they need do is stop cramming their values and judgments down other peoples throats. In America we can agree to disagree. Telling people how and what they should think and how they should live their life will lose the republicans this election. We each can decide for ourselves what is right for us. Politicians should stick to running the country not running peoples private lives.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  22. Richard, in Kansas

    Not a chance! Conservatives will stick with their bread and butter (i.e. thier guns and bibles).

    June 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  23. Kevo in New Mexico

    Yeah, but why should they ?

    June 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  24. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, each of the major parties has to come to the middle to get elected, which usually pisses off the hard-core party members, but that's the way of American politics. This election reminds me of the 1996 election, when the GOP nominated Bob Dole and built a platform much farther to the right than they had ever run before. In 2012, we will have a GOP platform even farther to the right and we will probably have a candidate farther to the right than even Barry Goldwater ever dreamed of being. They will lose if they do so.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  25. MR.AL

    Republicans need to support everybody not just the Wealty, Corperate America and special intrest witch I don't see them doing anytime soon. They need to stop covering up for mistakes they made in 2000 to 2008!! They need to stop the cuts to SSI AND MEDICARE while voteing themselves anouther raise in 2011 and recieveing FREE HEALTH CARE!!! I see Repulicans as hypocrites with GREED as their leader!!!! Ive listen to all their political corupt reasoning and all Ive seen is Raceisim,selfserving politics and GREED I can stand!!!!!! I would not and never will vote Republican!!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  26. Katja in Bradenton, Florida

    The GOP Candiates are all very scary, especially, Bachmann and Pawlenty. Obama will win again easily, not because of what he has done, or that he is black or even a liberal, it will be because he is the lesser of the evils.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  27. Brad, Portland, OR

    The old mantra is that a candidate would have to shift left or right to appeal to their base for the primary, and then they would shift to the center to actually govern if they won the election.

    Obama actually did that. He shifted to the right after he won his primary, and he's actually governing as a moderate Republican. His liberal base is pretty unhappy with him because he's shifted so far to the right.

    The Republican candidates, on the other hand, have shifted so far to the right to pander to the right-wing fringe (i.e. Tea Party), that they could never shift far enough to the left again to appeal to independents after their primary.

    I think it's unlikely that any of the current Republican candidates could appeal to enough of the American public to win the general election.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  28. Bryan, Colorado

    You mean will they have to start telling more lies. Remember Busch 2
    said he was a compasionate consevative and look what happened. What happened to the party of no. If they would run with this mantra they would never get elected. The republican party say's one thing while running. When elected they stick a knife in our backs.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  29. Ed from California

    They are playing to their base of haters, very well now, so why change. What they're hoping for is another low voter turnout so they can continue their turning my country into a Third World Nation.

    Jack, all they talk about is tax cuts. The Hoopleheads all believe that those tax breaks will save them money too. Privatizing Social Security and Medicare, equates to, more money in "my" pocket. Without a single thought of their future. It's Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous right now. And we'll worry about the real future later. Narcissism is now considered, "normal"!!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  30. Jane (Minnesota)

    Jack, They can try to lighten up all they want to, if they've ever spoken the red meat crazy talk, I WON'T vote for them. No confidence can be resotred for my comfort.

    All the voters need to do is look around at the places the conservative have control of State Governorships and legislatures and to see some of the off the wall actions taken by them not be wary of voting for some pandering to the very far right.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  31. David in Tampa

    Jack, The Republicans will have to learn that all entitlement programs need to be scrutinized not just social entitlement programs. The tax code will need to be revamped not only to make it fairer but also to eliminate deficit spending. How will decreasing the size of the Federal government help or hurt the individual states? I don't know which I trust less, the public sector or the private sector. Neither sector seems capable of dealing with the monumental problems confronting this country. Cut taxes and add how many trillions of dollars to the deficit? Take away regulation and watch the crooks make out like bandits. Republican idiot policies are what got us into this pickle and going back to them will do about as much good as going back to the failed policies of the Democrats. The Change we need is something new not more of of failed dogma.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  32. LeRoy

    I think the public is disgusted with the negativity of partisan politics. I, for one, would like to hear the wannabee's assesments of what the country's problems really are and what can realistically be done about solving them. Placing blame without addressing solutions is a waste of the voters time and an insult to our intelligence. We can all agree there are problems, now let's hear some realistic thinking on what should be done without mentioning Bush or Obama. Disagree if you must but leave out the disagreeable nonsence.
    Paul LeRoy
    Edgefield County, SC

    June 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  33. Tina Tx

    The so called Christian Conservatives are why we are in such a pitiful state right now. They can blame Obama all they want but Bush & Cheney are the true reason we are sinking in a cess pool right now. They lead us into 2 non-winable wars and what happened to the surplus that Clinton had left over? And now here we go again going to have to listen to the same old song & dance about how Obama brought down the country. Man/Woman up and tell us what you will do for the country and not how the president is killing your Christian Conservative rights.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  34. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Yes, but thank the Goddess, they won't!!!
    Obama in 2012!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  35. Steve in Michigan

    I find it odd that it is always supposed to be conservatives that are supposed to back off their positions to be mainstream. Nobody could be further out of the mainstream than Obama. But, nobody ever asks liberals to back down from their radical ideas. Obama is a flat out socialist. So, what we SHOULD be asking here ... is ... Can a mainstream candidate win against left wing extremist Obama? I am not sure. We may end up responding to Obama with somebody who is on the radical right. Back and forth we go. Left, right, left, right.... one extreme to other. Meanwhile both the left and the right are bankrupting our country. I will vote, but it will not be a for a Democrat or a Republican.... that is for sure.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  36. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Do you mean to say Republican will take off their Jackboots and put on their Jackslippers in hopes of pull the wool over the public's eyes again? It will be the same blueprint as in 2000 & 2004. Any lightening up will only be a facade. As the mid-east becomes more mainstream Republicans in this country are in reverse mode.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  37. Rick, Medina, OH


    Let's hope the GOP has more to offer than the weak and frankly, boring event we witnessed last night. Perhaps these folks forget they must first beat each other, before earning the opportunity to beat Mr. Obama. It won't happen proposing additional tax cuts at a time when rates are their lowest in decades... while we grapple with crushing debt. And it won't happen with their axes aimed at programs that serve the most needy. This is one voter who would welcome some positive proposals for real reforms.

    Medina, OH

    June 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  38. Ed from Texas

    We've got serious economic problems in this country, but at the grass-roots Republicans seem to be spending most of their energy on abortion, collective bargaining, gun rights, and voter ID cards.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  39. Pete in Georgia

    Lighten up ??
    True conservatives have been forced to lighten up ever since the "enlightened civil rights" days of the late sixties.
    Let's see how that has worked for America :
    – Abortion now excepted by much of an immoral society
    -an American education system which has gotten worse annually
    – morals declining, with the help of Hollywood and those who are expert at "lighten up".
    – the Dumbing of America increasing at warp speed
    -American jails too full to hold prisoners to convicted terms
    -non existant immigration policies, to feed the political agendas of the "lighten up" crowd.

    One could go on for hours.
    All with pathetic, negative, disastrous results.

    But alas....................we must all learn to "Lighten Up" !!!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  40. Ed from MD

    If everyone would lighten up we would not need a government. So Im sure there would be a government crackdown on lightening up if it ever became a problem. But In the meantime yes, Republican conservatives lighten up.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  41. Peg in NY

    Yes, they will! If the Republicans want to stand a real chance at winning this election, they have to become far more moderate and inclusive. I am not at all sure that this can happen. So far, they are handing us a hapless bunch of contenders.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  42. terese- seattle,wa

    conservatives dont have to let up.. just Know Proper Trade Policy, not , what pays off the u.s. sellouts, that lobby u.s.improper...The liberals need to let up on the migration of money worshippers and powermongerers, motivated by the educations of hate who want to derail the country ,. ( the 2 party monopoly), as long as the special interests donate enough for thier re elections.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  43. Angela

    Everyone is going to have to lighten up... the Democrats, should feel very lucky about now. Last evenings so called debate was, merely an Obama bashing conversation. No well known hopefuls "No pretty people", We all know that is a factor... No energy, No details how to repair the nation... it was like shopping the generic section in a discount store.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  44. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    They'd better start sucking the helium. Those in the debate last night were so far right they were scary!

    June 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  45. Dennis north carolina

    conservatives make up the whole republican party but has many branches to including the so called tea party which will have to bend alot for the party to come together.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  46. Willie, Mississippi

    They don't have to. They're not going to succeed anyway. Look at the debate. Weakest debate I've ever seen. They were completely afraid to attack each other. All they could do was buddy up and attack Obama. Where's the blood. Someone should make it aware at the next debate that only one person can win the primary. Its to show some teeth or get out. Obama is the least of their problems now. There's 8 people running.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  47. Brian, San Diego, CA

    Absolutely. These are fringe issues where the majority of the country simply does not agree with the far right. Perhaps more importantly, the voters in this election, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, expect the candidates to focus on the economy and the deficit. Anything else the candidates focus on is a waste of their time and their potential votes.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  48. Richard

    How often can you say.. smaller government, lower taxes, no regulations. Last nights debate and I use the word debate lightly, showed that if they don't discuss social issues, then they have nothing to say. No ideas to improve things except trying what has already failed. i don't know about anyone else but if you have two roads and one is a dead end I don't drive down the dead end again. Well I might if there is another pot of gold I can pick up and keep for myself.

    San Diego

    June 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  49. Bob D Iowa

    Jack I truly hope that they continue their total Social Issue Agenda aimed at anti-Same Sex Marriage, anti-Women’s Health, Government Control of the Womb, anti-Gun Control, anti-Medicare, anti-Medicaid, anti-Social Security and anti-VA Benefit anti-Tax on the Wealthy but pushing for the Patriot Act that eliminates any rights that we have left while backing Wall Street with everything they have got. Michelle Bachmann is definitely in the lead to impose all of these agendas and will tell you that to your face. Oh did I mention these are some sick people that need serious help from the other side, they speak for god you know.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  50. Sylvia from San Diego, CA

    The republicans should not compromised on social issues. Both parties need to do what is right for our nation not what will get them elected.......

    June 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  51. Jim Gillett

    They definitley should, but I do not think they will, it will cost them the votes of 30 something voters like my adult children, I believe it will also cost them the election. I am a conservative republican, and totally frustrated that republican candidates do not understand ...its the economy..STUPID!

    Jim Gillett
    Bartlesville, OK

    June 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  52. Ken from Pinon Hills. California

    Pay checks will overrule any other subject like social issues.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  53. Fran DeSantis

    Jack, If the Republicans ran on, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs in 2010 and won, why isn't the Media asking what have you done? They secured tax breaks for the wealthy and want more tax cuts at the expense of the middle and lower class by making cuts to them only. Why aren't they being attacked for having done nothing since their big victory?

    June 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  54. Dennis in Florida

    Even though the economy is horrible, the Republicans will have to soften the ultra conservative stances. Similarly the Democrats will need a middle of the road message.

    The average person doesn’t want the extremist right or left positions jammed down their throats.


    June 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  55. Nate NC

    Yes Jack. They will have to become real, reasonable people and not harsh politicians with adamant views on social issues that are based on outlandish claims. No one has time for extreme right wing propaganda that, in the end, IT STILL ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  56. Bob Kobs

    They will not succeed. They cannot get away from cultural wars; they cannot run away from Private Ryan. With candidate like Romney the mormon, Huntsman the mormon; T-Paw pla flip-flop, the Newt the philanderer and the rest of them, they are going no where.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  57. Bob D Iowa

    Jack I forget that they do not want to control Health Care Costs or anything that curtails the Insurance Companies from reaping major profits from the sick and dying. Heaven forbid controlling Nursing home costs and reducing profits on the aging.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

    Grandma from Va. Jack what you are asking is should they hide their real opinions about social issues? Of courses they should. They have been hiding what they plan to do all along. Isn't that what they did Nov. 2010? They promised jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs. What did they promote?
    No abortions for any female, not taxing the rich–.
    Wisconsin, Ohio, and the rest of the newly elected Repub. governors are sticking it the voters, and my opiniion is that they should stick it to the voters. They were stupid enough to vote for them, so they should suffer.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  59. Cynthia , Longboat Key, FL

    Hopefully they will stay as unenlightened and narrow-minded as they are now. A pleasure to defeat.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  60. Bob D Iowa

    The one thing I love about the Christian Taliban is that they’re so righteous and think that they know how we have to live our lives. May 21st was here and gone and none of the righteous left did they, so maybe they aren’t so righteous. You and I can never understand the Muslims Fundamentalists Blowing themselves up to kill others that done believe as they do, there is no difference in these nuts we are expendable.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  61. Bud Rupert

    Lighten up on social issues and get off the rhetorical small government and cutting taxes train. The fact is Jack that the size of government has continually increased, on a non partisan bases, since the 1930's. It is even possible, some say, that this trend may continue

    June 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  62. Sam

    I believe Ron Paul is placing the social issues into the hands of the states which allows voters to really decide what they feel is right or wrong. He wants to reduce spending and redo our foreign policy for a more peaceful, lush and prosperous American society that our founding fathers built this country on. His congressional track record is absolutely outstanding as well.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  63. Riley - Seattle, Wash

    No, not until after the convention. It's called the Republican Two-Step. First, you fly like a hawk until you've sewn up enough delegates to get the nomination. Then you schlepp towards the center during the general-election campaign to pick up left-leaning Republicans and independents, knowing the hard-rights can't leave you for fear of a Democrat taking the White House. When the Dems do it, it's called flip-flopping.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  64. Charles of Oregon

    Jack– During their upcoming primary battles, the Republicans will probably provide the Democratic Party much ammunition on social issues, given that the GOP primaries have been dominated by the most conservative factions recently.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  65. Julie - IL

    The GOP will have to lighten up on social issues and they will have to give the public a dose of the forgetting potion that they use in Harry Potter so that everyone can forget that the economic positions they are taking now are the same ones that sunk us in the Bush administration.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  66. EJ in Metro Houston

    the GOP is in somewhat of a bind here Jack..they ran in 2010 on a platform job creation and have YET to form one program that will help do so. But then if they DO help create jobs and the unemployment number goes down, it helps President Obama and not them so in a way they have to "silently" hope the number stays up. The only ones interested in social issues such as abortion and gay marriage are the Tea Party folks and the religious right so if those are the only ones they want to appeal to and say to heck with the rest of the country then so be it. They aren't getting my vote regardless.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  67. Ray E. (Georgia)

    They have been kicking that can down the road for far too many years now. It is time to balance up accounts. All the people that have been taking advantage of all the give away's need to start paying their fair share. If they don't there will be nothing to share.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  68. calaurore9

    The moderates like Romney will pretend to be staunchly pro-life, Pawlenty will say what a glowing President Palin would be, until after the nomination. Then, they'll revert to their true centrist views if they want to win.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  69. Dave - Phx, Az

    Yes, I do not go to their church's and do not need to be preached to. If you are running for office, run for office, not for jesus. The insulting thing is half of these corrupt republican officials don't even practice what they preach.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  70. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    I think when describing the Republicans and just about any issue, and especially social issues, the brilliant songwriter Stephen Sondheim put it best when he wrote:

    "Don't you love farce?
    My fault I fear.
    I thought that you'd want what I want.
    Sorry, my dear.
    But where are the clowns?
    Quick, send in the clowns.
    Don't bother, they're here."

    June 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  71. bonnie from NJ

    Although the chances of me voting for a Republican are pretty slim (I am an independent voter), that would have to absolutely happen in order for me to consider it at all. I know they pander to their base with these issues but in a general election it is not going to fly. Ron Paul did peak my interest last time for a while, although he is conservative he is not for the government interfering in our lives. They keep talking about our founding fathers, have they heard of "separation of church and state."

    June 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  72. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    social issues are "between a rock and a hard place" for the Republicans, Jack. they almost HAVE to pander to these issues to inorder to excite their "Christian Conservative" base BUT these same issues tend to TURN OFF most independents and even some "Fiscal Conservative" Republicans that are much more worried about economic issues.

    personally I think the next election will be about mainly economic issues SO ex for maybe "Bible Belt" states, the Republicans would be well advised to soft peddle the social baloney.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  73. Ken in NC

    Seeing how Republicans ran hog wild with their abortion jobs bill after the 2010 elections, the only way they can succeed now is by returning Democrats to power and apologizing to the American people for acting like Street Kids.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  74. Rob in NC

    I don't think it will make much difference. Most people voted for Obama because he was "new" and people thought he would be different from what we have been getting. That hasn't worked out and we are where we started when he took office. The Republicans will do no better because no one has any viable solutions and everyone is working just to get elected again. I am pretty sure the president is just a figure head at this point anyway. Rob in NC

    June 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  75. Rick McDaniel

    You bet.

    The GOP position on social (I call them religion based), issues, is totally unacceptable, and indeed their persistence in persecuting the gay community, women's rights, and their desire to legislate based on religious beliefs, is the main obstacle to any of their candidates succeeding in 2012.

    None of those in last night's debate, are acceptable to me, and with Obama totally unacceptable to me, as well, that means I have to concentrate on voting out the Dems in the Senate, to give the GOP control of both houses, and leave Obama as no more than a figure head, in the WH, for 4 more years, just to find a work around, the problem.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  76. Lori - PA


    Yes. For the Republicans to be talking about social issues, at all, shows that they are out of touch with what matters to voters. And what matters right now is:

    1) The Economy;
    2) Unemployment;
    3) Health Care;
    4) Medicare and Social Security;
    5) Uncontrolled government spending; and
    6) The Debt Ceiling

    The social issues just have to be put on the backburner for the foreseeable future. If Republicans can't get that, they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell at winning the Presidential Election.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  77. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    Maybe but more significantly the people will have to lighten up on their constitutional expectations and rights since those are being lost at a phenomenal rate and at no additional charge, excluding health care !

    June 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  78. Eve Lemon

    They can't lighten up if they want the fundie vote. Those hypocrits can't handle other issues, particularly in front of the other fundies. Poor republicans. EL of Texas

    June 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  79. Jenny from Nanuet, NY

    Yes, they will. So I hope they keep it up!

    June 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  80. Gordon NJ

    You betcha. I was very disappointed no one asked them to each state whether or not they believed in evolution.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  81. Steve, Clifton, VA

    The Republicans will have to lighten up on the social issues because they have consistently shown that they are hypocrites on those issues.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  82. dave in nashville

    Social, moral and religious issues NEVER belonged in the political arena and are not connected in any way to fiscal and monetary policy.

    Now, bring up Weiners weiner and I'll flip flop.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  83. Sandstone.

    "Thankyou, Jack. But I think it will have to be the other way round, if the USA really wan't/need to stay a Super-Power! Do you? Does the country? Then they had better get on board! You can only keep your long history of investments, by making sure you also have the business!"

    June 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  84. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    Social issues are the only thing they have going for them. Obama is doing good on defense and no one trusts them on the economy. If they really want to get back into the game, they need to quit listening to Grover Norquist and agree to raise taxes on the wealthy.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  85. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Pennsylvania voted Santorum OUT because of this pompus ultra conservative attitude. These moral issues should be settled by individuals and their personal preference NOT by the government. Voters want a place to live -as in roof over their heads-food to feed their families, a job so they can provide both,and ALL of these Wars to End. American are looking for an efficient Manager for our Country so we can get back to living the American Dream rather than being stuck in this politically created nightmare we have now.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  86. Karl in Flint

    As the old stalwart Republican homophobes and anti-abortion crowd dies off, and it is dying off, it is being replaced by a different generation of less religious, centrist Republican that is more concerned with jobs and the operations of government and not into the old social issues. They believe this is a freer country then their parents and grandparents that want to impose their religious beliefs on everyone. Some are gay or even had an abortion and the old stigmas aren’t going to get their vote. They may not vote for Obama but they will not vote for anyone that is too socially conservative either. A lot has changed since 2008.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  87. Joe

    To consider many of these Republicans would not allow someone such as Elizabeth Smart or Jaycee Dugard, to obtain relief from their oppressor is absolutely ridiculous, which is what the Republican social agenda is about.

    The reason these politicians want to concentrate on social issues, is because they cannot or will not (confront their big business, wealthy) financial supporters, as the rich and wealthy are perfectly happy making billions of dollars off the backs of manufacturing sweat shops overseas; thereby, not having to create jobs here in the US.

    US corporations have tons of money in their storage accounts, which is not generating jobs for people in the US; therefore, any new story the GOP desires to spin will not affect my decision to vote for them in 2012.

    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    June 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  88. David

    Yes they do, abortion and gay marriage are not going to be the issues that cause this country to implode on it's self. The economy and the wars that we're stuck in are what's going to get us. Why is it that the republicans are always boasting about how we're so lucky to live in a free nation, yet their campaign platforms are always build on stifling those freedoms. Outlaw abortion and watch the crime rate go through the roof, about 16yrs later, restore don't ask don't tell and watch our military start to reexamine the draft in order to keep the numbers up.
    Dave from NH.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  89. Jon

    Why would they? Fear and panic have worked for them so far. Why stop?

    June 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  90. paulet

    As a recovering Republican yes they cdertainly will - don't like "Santorioum" view re women - men stay out of this subject you have enough problems keeping your pants zipped.

    Daddy Romney looked at the kids to make sure they played nice and Backman did present herself very well - loving daughter, possible vp? - they all played nice and ganged up on Obama oh well what do you expect from this group of sophomores,

    June 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  91. HJ - Saint Paul, MN

    The Republicans are trying to use the economy, and the anti-Obama campaign to stake their flags in the ground on these radical topics. Federal laws banning certain marriages? What happened to letting the states govern themselves? These guys are dangerous because they will say anything to drum up some emotion. Listen to what they have to say and ask yourself, "is this important?" How many times can they fail before we stop assuming they know what they're talking about?

    June 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  92. stevegee

    Social issues pale in comparison to the economic issues facing our country. Any Republican who wants to win in 2012 should know that. Simply hammer Obama and the Democrats on their failed policies like Stimulus and TARP, and the American people will vote with their wallets. D for Depression? R for Recovery? Gee, what's the Right choice?


    June 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  93. bill

    jack they don't have to lighten up, they just need to do something

    June 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  94. Michael

    La st nights debate reminded me of a clown try out for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey....

    June 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  95. Chris, Bx., NY

    The di are already cast.....Obama 2012!!! If anyone thimks that i will vote for a republican after GWB....Well then they must be part of the media, or the Bible belt!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  96. Mary D., NE

    In my opinion the Republicans have always been full of doom, gloom and fear mongering. We need hope and life, that's what America voted for when they elected Obama. A political party who lectures their members isn't getting my vote! Then again, I don't belong to an organized political party- I'm a Democrat.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  97. Mickey D

    Jack, don’t worry about the Republicans, they know what to do, They will play to the least intelligent, most fearful, and laziest among us and by doing so get elected. As demonstrated last night they will keep the discourse low and mean. They will perpetuate today’s big lies: there’s plenty of oil, cutting the deficit will fix the economy, cutting taxes puts money in working people’s pockets, and that they have a plan. Then when they get in they’ll do what they always do – screw the working man.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  98. Scott in Bellingham

    A Republican candidate would do well to acknowledge all real Americans including all who have different lifestyles than themselves including different social and economic status. Any candidates' bias against a type will lose that vote, simple as that. The election will be very close. Most voters will vote on the economy, but a single soul made an outsider by a candidates rhetoric could make the difference.

    I feel a bias will hurt a candidate more than help.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  99. GreenieInPA

    Santorum and Bachman are out for me because they push too much on the social issues. Right now, people care about the economy, not the social junk.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  100. Chris - Denver

    No. They just need to go away.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  101. Zbignew Crosscheck

    The Republican Party, the party of “liberty”. As long as it is “their version of liberty”, otherwise they will enact any at all constitutional amendments to make sure their version of liberty does not get compromised no matter how far in the dark ages it will bring this country back to. Yes they need to seriously lighten up.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  102. blake

    It is always amusing to see leftist commentary and advice to conservatives. They desperately want conservatives to embrace a leftist world view and perspective on the issues. Conservative candidates need to appeal to a conservative base. This ALWAYS includes a conservative stance on social issues and the military, even though it is very appropriate to keep the primary focus on economic issues for 2012 because of the abysmal job our current Marxist president has done. He is such a very easy target.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  103. Rich in MN

    These people are so radically right (most driven by religion) that they make Romney look like a centrist–and he's not. It's a shame the Republicans can't select a candidate based on ability to run the country rather than right-wing ideology. I'm from MN–Pawlenty and Bachmann are unqualified. Check their poll numbers in MN. where we know them.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  104. Mark

    Republicans are so far to the right as to be out of sight. You are right, 70% of Americans care little about the things they fall all over themselves to talk about. Unless that changes they haven't a prayer in 2012, especially if Americans realize that their economic ideas would probably do more harm then good for America.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  105. Jeff In Minnesota

    Gay marriage, abortion, etc. are all side-show issues. This is why we're in the boat we're in. No one is discussing the real issues of how we pay for ourselves because it's easier to to whip your base up about gay marriage and abortion. We need to focus on real, critical issues, not B.S.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  106. Howard

    The candidates looked like mechanical sock puppets last night-not one suggestion or idea on anything except crashing medicare. With the possible exception on Ron Paul they are beholden to their contributers and not their constituants. The last thing on their mind is getting involved in social issues! They spent 2 hours and, except for medicare, said nothing!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  107. Dan in Seattle

    Romney kept reminding John King that the central issue is the economy. How many of us wake up in the morning and are concerned with gay marriage, don't ask/don't tell and the issue of abortion? We are facing bankruptcy, rising unemployment, crippling national debt, global conflicts, and so many other very serious challenges that affect all of us. Why are we focusing on these "social issues" as a barometer of one's qualification for becoming the CEO/Commander in Chief of the United States?

    June 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  108. Julianne Grossman

    In a word, yes.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  109. BD70 - Webster NY

    They can lighten up all they want but the damage is done. No matter what they say or do we already know what their core beliefs are. Do what the tea party wants or their out. Abortion, don't ask don't tell etc...nit picking priorities.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  110. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    Jack, the Republicans didn't seem to have any problem kicking out a record-breaking 700-plus Democrats from office last November.

    What makes you think anything has changed in the last 7 month?

    If anything, things have gotten worse for the Democrats and they are the ones who need to start worrying about their positions.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  111. Mike

    How about the GOP lighten up and float away.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  112. Kevin

    You made comments about the social issues are the not important to middle americans. If that's the case, why did the moderator ask questions during the debate about those issues? The debate should have been about jobs, the economy, regulations, taxes and the wars and not whether they liked Coke or Pepsi or who made the best choice of vice presidents.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  113. Daniel

    No the GOP should not pander to immoral people. The people of the US know right from wrong, the only time they betray their conscience is when the liberal "elites" trick them into betraying their conscience by tricking them with a vague concept of "liberty" rather than a strong sensible liberty which is oppossed to immorality.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  114. Chris Kelly, Los Angeles

    Will they? Nope.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  115. Mohammad, Los Angeles, CA

    They really don't have to. The candidates can tone down the message once they've secured the Republican nomination. Won't be the first time a politician "moves to the center" when convenient!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  116. abby, texas

    The GOP candidates will have to come up with real solutions to our nation's problems without resorting to passé ideology, the extremist positions of the righteous right Pharisees and extremist positions of the radical right.
    I saw absolutely nothing in the debate to give me confidence in any of the GOP candidates and saw much to worry me.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  117. Michael Roepke

    Depends on what social issues you are talking about. The poor should suffer? Health care should go to those who can afford it? We deserve to drive gas guzzlers? Muslims are all terrorists? Government shouldn't be involved in food quality, but should be able to tap anyone's phone? We shouldn't aid flood and hurricane victims as it is God's judgement?

    Newt said it best. They are using a financial argument to pass their own social agenda and at least they are being honest about it.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    Yes....jobs, the economy, and ending the wars are much more important than same sex marriage, abortion, and other social issues...

    These Republican wackos on stage in New Hampshire are way out of touch!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  119. BIll in VA

    I consider myself a conservative. But I never thought these social issues – either way – have a place in politics. I really don't like the government /politicians butting personal lives. It is not that I don't care, but social issues never seem to make it to my top 25 list of things to worry about. There always seems to be more important things our politicians should be dealing with, especially now.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  120. Nicholas Sones

    If so, I see Sarah Palin jumping into the race, if they eventually get "radical" on social issues, it will only work in favor of President Obama and ultimately get him reelected. If Palin jumps in and gets nomination or even Bachmann or Santorum, I think this only helps President Obama, it pushes the Republican Party to the Right and Independents will be pushed away. The key to winning any election especially a Presidential Election is Independents.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  121. Josh Shimko

    Will Republicans have to lighten up? Short answer, yes.

    In an economy hemorrhaging jobs, we do not have the luxury to focus on such menial social issues such as Don't ask, Don't tell. Politicians NEED to focus on job growth, and reducing our egregious national debt.

    Enough with nonsense.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  122. Tom Barrister from Las Vegas NV

    While all legitimate issues have some weight, Republicans need to focus on the economy, employment, and the spiraling national debt. Those issues are what's on the minds of the public, and barring some world-changing event (i.e. another major terrorist attack), addressing those issues in a way that satisfies the most people is the key to this election for both the Presidency and Congress.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  123. NOwen - MN

    Yes they need to lighten up. Stop blaming everyone but themselves, telling the public that they need to be afraid of everything, and simply tell us how you will actually FIX this. Only one problem though, they don't want to come out saying how they will fix it because they are afraid someone else is going to take the credit. Lighten up and focus on fixing America not doing what's best for you.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  124. Ralph, Corona NYC

    Even if they did lighten up on social issues, most common sense Americans can see right thru the GOP charade. Face it Jack, the GOP is doomed.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  125. Wendy Truth

    They most certainly have to lighten up on the social issues or their candidacy will be dead on arrival. At this point we are running out of time to correct the economy before we follow in the "lost decade" that plagued Japan. The longer that we stay with 9% unemployment, 16% underemployment and 47 million people on food stamps the harder it will be to right this sinking ship.

    Lighten up – put some helium in their candidacy and let the social issues float away!!!

    Wendy Truth
    Montreal, Canada

    June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  126. David A Whitaker

    Jack they can't lighten up, because that who they're on social issue.
    They don't care about those that don't have any money, if you don't make250,000 or better forget it call someone else. They want their country back from where oh from that Black Man in the White House.


    June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  127. Wayne from Houston

    The only issue that is real as well as both the republicans and tea party's ultimate agenda is to cut social funding for any and every program they can so they can give more tax breaks to the richest individuals and corporations. As well as remove as many regulations as possible. Then the corporations will "open up" their now trillion dollar plus purse and create a whole bunch of minimum wage jobs and part time jobs.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  128. MikeM

    After they "lightened up" on social issues in the 2010 election, they turned around and enacted some extreme anti-abortion laws in the states, banned public employee unions and tried to limit voter access. So, no matter what they "lighten up" on in 2012, Democrats will have lots of ammunition to remind people that the GOP really, really wants to take us back to 1929 in every way ... fiscal and social.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  129. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    The Republican Party cannot afford to lighten up on social issues because then the Democrats will be correct about how money hungry and insensitive they truly are.

    The Republicans need a serious contender if they want to repeal Obama Care and fulfill the American Dream.

    Instead of focusing on the sins of Weiner, focus on the social issues so America comprehends that the Republicans give a rats butt about them!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  130. D. Patel

    Most Americans would like a change in the economy, and mostly a shift to the conservative side. But as Americans, we are not willing to compromise on our social issues and personal freedoms, and we should never have to. What the Republicans really need is a moderate Republican- he can surely defeat Obama.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  131. Gwen NJ

    Yes, but bless their little narrow minded hearts, they won't. Here's a question – what's the difference between the government telling us what to do and Republicans doing it? Is it ok because they're not taxing {gay marriage, abortion, etc.} just sticking their noses in people's private lives?

    June 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  132. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York


    They can keep their social issues, but need to lighten up on their hypocrisy.
    Pro-life stands are not coupled with either guaranteed adoptions for unwanted children or health care, housing, and support for poorer families. Smaller government is allowed to be intrusive for doctors who perform abortions or for patriotic gay soldiers, but not for polluters or predatory mortgage lenders.
    One debate and I already sent President Obama a contribution this morning . Well, that was easy.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  133. Bob

    Maybe Huntsman is as intelligent as he sounds. We haven't heard much from him yet but what we have heard sounds measured, reasonable and positive. He may actually want to improve America rather than mold it into a fuedal system of rich and poor, no middle class.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  134. Donald in New Mexico

    They can't if they want to win the primary. The Republicans are being held hostage by the tea bagers.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  135. John

    I agree these issues are not going to sway the election it will come down to the economy and jobs. Given the poor job this administration has done any of the GOP candidates should be able to unseat this President.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  136. Lauren

    I will be able to vote for the first time in 2012, and any Republican who wants to make performing abortions a crime and outlaw gay marriage should not expect my vote. Republicans are too conservative on social issues.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  137. Fannie

    Jack,even if they do lighten up, I would not trust them.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  138. chris

    What were they thinking??? I would not vote for anyone who accuses and points fingers DUH!!! how do you think we got in this mess. Be a man, fess up to being a Republican Idiot, You really think you can earn votes with the American people acting like a bunch circus clown? Gees jack....

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  139. David A Whitaker

    .I am going to just quit jack no plan on how I am going to it,


    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  140. Marcelo - Los Angeles

    I sure hope so, because many people right now aren't worried about whether Sean and Brad are getting married down the street; they're worried about whether mom and dad are going to have a job so that the family doesn't end up on the street!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  141. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    yes. I normaly don't listen to liberals but I heard a VERY good comment in the last year. "If you don't believe in gay marriage, don't get one". I think that is excellant advice and could be applied to most social issues. We need to focus on the issues that effect the good of the nation and let these side issues go.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  142. Luke V

    Of course the Republicans need to lighten up, overall it seems the American population is in a whole lightening up on social issues, and as Jack stated, are more concerned with jobs and the economy. I am in Illinois and we just legalized same-sex civil unions, four years ago this would not had been possible! America is continuing to evolve culturally and socially, and the Democrats are on track as the Republicans fall behind and are writing their own extinction into history books!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  143. George From Boston

    Most of them are evasive already, saying they have to consult with this or that before making a decision; as if Obama is not doing that already. Let those power mongers and opportunists let America be for a while. If they dare lighten up, they are no longer the greedy Conservatives they claim to be. They will now be seen as real human beings welcomed to the world.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  144. Marvin (Mount Airy, MD)

    Jack, just because you think these views are rediculous doesn't mean they hold no water. There are many of us that agree with these views, and we'll make a difference come voting time. You need to increase your circle of "friends" so you can know what the rest of the country believes.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  145. Mr. D

    Ho, ho, ho, it's off to work we go. The seven dwarfs are off and pontificating again. The one that says the least probably has the best chance to beat Obama. They should run their campaigns like a silent move, with one caption: "it's the economy, stupid."

    June 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  146. Paul Scott

    Of course this gaggle os so-called presidential contenders won't lighten up on social issues. It's all they have. When it comes to economics, monetary policy, jobs, taxes or the deficit they're totally clueless. These clowns can't even do simple math. Remember, they still believe that tax cuts increase revenue. Honest; they really do.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  147. Melody from Baltimore, MD

    They're already ignoring the will of the nation on LGBT rights. Democrats need to point this out when they try to either flip-flop or double down.

    That said, the Republican field will continue to pander to the fundamentalist Christian right and turn off the moderates.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  148. Bob

    I worked for months to get Obama elected in 2008. If there were an enlightened Republican, I'd certainly consider voting for her/him. Unfortunately, every Republican I see is straight out of the Salem Witch Trials. It's become a party of exclusion, not exclusion and they've forgotten that all men are created equal. Obama has it again unless an enlightened Republican exists but if she/he does, will the party even consider her/him??? I don't think so.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  149. Jason Oregon

    How can they get the vote of the 70% poor when they can't and won't admit that they caused this main street depression? They've obstructed progress on the economy and then shamelessly say Obama hasn't done enough. I just can't believe my ears, Jack.
    This charade has gone on 30 years too long. Corporatism is bad. Socialism is good...for the people.

    Bet that got me unchosen.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  150. Cory from Connecticut

    Yes Jack, they should stop bringing up these issues. Social issues like gay marriage and abortion serve only one purpose. Divisiveness. They are back burner issues which are hyped up by an incompetent mainstream media for the sole purpose of distracting the people from the issues that truly effect us all.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  151. RonK

    I think if things continue to decline as they have, the republican canidate will simply have to wait until the democrates burry themselves. I can't believe people could have voted for someone only offering HOPE AND CHANGE, and he didn't even have to describe what he meant by hope and change. DUH.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  152. Stephen Charchuk

    They won't change since taking away rights from minorities is much easier than going after the real issues. Rich people don't need jobs, public education, or universal health care. After all that is who matters the most to them................. Since they give them the most money.

    Yarmouth, NS Canada

    June 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  153. Philip

    How can they? It would`nt be who they (Republicans) are. They are the party that legislates to control people while screaming that no business should be regulated. Asking them not to be social engineers would be like asking the Leopard to change it`s spots.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  154. Robb

    Jack, you are mistaken if you believe or spout off that our nations decline is not somehow related to the downward spiral in regards to morality & the left wing attack on the family. Jobs are important yes but the jobs issue is nothing compared to the depraved condition of an ever growing portion of our society that has talking meat heads like you to egg them on in their perversions.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  155. dew

    all the gop got to do is shutup, and let obama keep talking and they will be fine,

    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  156. Tom from Chicago

    The Republicans answered the questions they were asked last night. Their answers may not be the answers that you all want and that is why you do not vote for them.

    You all think that every conservative goes to church on every issue, it is time to open your minds. Start asking every party and every candidate hard questions and stop falling in love with personalities and parties. Use your minds!

    Every media outlet should STOP taking sides and do your jobs. Ask tough questions of everyone and stop reporting the press releases.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  157. Tony in Lusby

    Now Jack. What makes you any more qualified than the rest of us to speak for "what middle -America wants" ? How about this for a novel idea Jack; We the people will decide what we want, and we really don't need you to figure it out for us. Thank you very much anyway, but don't try to transfer what "you want" onto what you report as what the rest of middle-America wants.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  158. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Easy answer: see the 2008 election. Extremists are louder, not the majority. Catering to extremists won't win the election. Between the poor pickings right now in the GOP and the apparent war they're waging on Medicare do you see Obama breaking into a sweat? Damn straight they better lighten up! I'm not voting for a party that wants to take us backward.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  159. Lee

    They need to focus on the economy. It's the economy stupid! However, the most active element in the Republican Party are the ultra conservatives and the candidates are all afraid of that group and the tea party so they feel they must pander to them. Clearly Romney wants to appear conservative on social issues and then dance towards the middle after he has the nomination locked up. Several of the others aren't willing to do that because they feel strongly about their conservative social views. So they are probably not electable.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  160. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    If the economy is still stagnant come election time and we are still losing troops in that hell-hole we call the Middle East then Obama will not be reelected. However, even if the Republicans take back the White House, they will not fare well in the general election unless they rid themselves of Ryan, Santorum, Pawlenty, Bachmann and others of that ilk.

    Their continued intransigency regarding the debt limit and the danger that forcing the US to default on its obligations as a means to force ruinous spending cuts will be their undoing. They dare to cut Medicare and Social Security at their peril.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  161. Vince Hugh

    Jack, Republicans should NOT lighten up on social conservative issues. While economic issues is the main factor in getting Republicans elected, conservative social issues are the frosting on the cake that will carry a Republican to victory. Liberals have a tendency to underestimate the importance of social issues to middle America.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  162. Andrew Banks

    As a voter, the social issues are still most important to me. I continue to look first for the candidate who is against abortion and gay marriage. I do not agree with everything the Republicans say, but I do align with them on the social issues, mostly, and if they let go of that I will start voting Democrat.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  163. Bob

    Too many liberal entitlement seeking parasite voters to defeat our jet set gypsy continually campaigning President.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  164. Tom Clark

    What was true during the Clinton campaign was true before and is still true: "It's the Economy, Stupid!" Guns, Gays and God do not affect the Economy. Nor does sexual infidelity. Wars, entitlements, taxes, unemployment. trade policies, among other things DO affect the Economy. Those are the issues that matter.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  165. steve from jacksonville florida

    If the Democrats' 2012 campaign is as pathetic as their 2010 campaign was the Republicans won't have to change anything. I'll be moving to Canada if the Democrats blow it again

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  166. Steve - Portland, Oregon

    Clearly there was six candidates attempting to out 'righteous' each other in the hopes of winning the hearts and minds of the Republican base; but all they really achieved was making Ron Paul appear to be the sanest person alive (or at least sanest person on that particular stage).

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  167. Mike Kinney

    I really see nothing offer by any of the candate that are runing for President in 2012 election. i like the Health care and i think it should be giving a chance. To Scrape it and start all over would be the wrong thing to do now.It would be hard to start over just look at the past times they try to get a National Health Care. More of the force should be how to get people working and how to stop sending Jobs overseasw as well. Let make enolyment here in the USA. I want to see what Reblican will do toget this ecomony working and putting people who want and looking for jobs get it in next few years.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  168. John in CA

    For those of us that vote the ABD ticket (anybody but the Democrats), we just have to hold our nose and pick one of the Republicans. They should realize that pushing the far right agenda is almost as repugnant
    to we ABDers as the Obama social engineering obsession. Tone it down – get elected!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  169. Ben Hamilton

    Jack, it is all about the money. The republicans want everything for free. Gay marrage, abortion, and don't ask don't tell is free. They want to continue to ride the backs of the middle and lower class people and continue to not pay there share. all the retoric is just to distract people not paying attention.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  170. Glenn; Southport, NC.

    Republicans definitely need to reach out to people other than the over 50, over $1 million a year, predominently caucasian WASP crowd. Sure they have a few "token" minorities they parade out at election time, but as a party collective they are viewed as the party of the "Blue Blood, Old Money, Aristocratic Elite". They gotta break that sctoma with something other than Joe the Plumber! Keep up the good work.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  171. Terry NJ

    If there is one thing I've learned in business school is that the one who manage you into a bad situation are not the ones that will manage you out of it. The republicans created this debacle, are blaming it all on Obama and have no plan as to how to get us out of it. Free trade is one thing, fair trade in another. Maybe its time we put tariffs on foreign imports to generate jobs here, and maybe its time to initiate a fair and equitable tax code, it really ticks me off that I paid more taxes than GE.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  172. jean2009

    Jack how could they lighten up? They have dug themselves into this ditch for far to long for anyone to believe they would give up on that issue.

    I wouldn't buy a last minute conversion on that subject on their part, and anyone who would believe otherwise is not playing with a full deck.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  173. curtis in philadelphia

    In a word: yes. They will also have to retreat from the cliff of extremism that the Tea Party have pushed them to, except the fact that taxes are a necessary evil and that a social safety net is actually a good thing. I don't see it happening.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  174. Lex from Florida

    I'm a Goldwater Republican. Remember he was the GOP nominee known as Mr. conservative and he was pro-choice. Republicans should leave issues like these and focus on fiscal issues like entitlement reform.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  175. TeabagBilly

    The GOP needs to make a promise to America to end social security, medicare, medicaid, unemployment, the dept of Ed and any and all forms of welfare. We have had enough and it's time for us to take back America.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  176. Kevin - Maryland

    I used to be proud to call myself a Republican. After 20 years of being registered as an Independent, I finally claimed to be Republican when I move to MD. This bunch of right wing idiots say nothing that I can believe in! I have a job and am getting poorer and poorer every year. No raises for 5 years, I have to just be happy the job doesn't go to India! That"s what they say.
    I am a non-religious Republican. The bible should not be part any of these dealings. I believe in a woman"s right to choose, that SSI and Medicare can be fixed by continuing the 6% tax on employees and employers for every dollar make, no cutoff.
    I'm not gay and don't really think it's natural, but that's my opinion. If gays want to be married, raise children, volunteer for the service whatever, LET THEM!
    The overwhelming call by the rich is to tax them more. So do it.
    And the last thing I have to say is that I believe everyone in these United States deserve to have medical insurance.
    Neither Democrat or Republican speaks for this country any more. We are the United States of America not the Democratic Republic of America or Corporate States of America. Government needs to stop handing out money, giving tax breaks and come up with a viable solution to the mess we are in.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  177. Kelly

    The GOP, like the Catholic Church, is unable to keep up with the times – perhaps due to too close an affiliation. As long as this is the case, the GOP will continue to lose support, just as the Catholic Church continues to lose parishioners. Many of the debate responses were nothing more than bigoted, short sighted, and an effort to pander to the religious right. The GOP candidates should loosen up or shut up.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  178. Lance from Tx


    Us Americans need to lighten up. It sure would be nice if the folks on here would quit bashing each other and simply look at the issues and ideas. Let's listen to their ideas (without calling everyone stupid) and Obama's. Then vote.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  179. Corban

    Right now the Republicans are pandering to the extremest religious nuts or those with deep pockets instead of listening to the common people. Problem also lies in the fact that they don't know when to draw the line between bashing those who don't like their views and trying to accomplish something proactive. Republicans can act as extreme as they want but they don't realize that the majority of the people are tired of the banter and don't like it when they bash Americans as being Socialists while bordering on Fascism themselves.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  180. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's too late for them to lighten up, they've already endorse Paul Ryan's budget proposal and they've got a lot of explaining to do.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  181. Rob from NY

    No, republicans do not need to lighten up on social issues. Instead they need to embrace the constitution and the concept of individual liberty. The individual has the right to believe anything they so choose, but does not have the right to impose those views on others.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  182. Dave Summerour

    Republicans and Democrats both need to get off the diversion express using Weinergate, Gays, Abortion and whatever else and do what they are elected to do. They are 6 months late so far in putting a budget together. Obama is busy taking his family on a world tour in Air Force One to raise money. Both parties are out of touch.
    Dave, Venice FL

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  183. Will-New Orleans, LA

    As a high school student, I am often appalled by the backwardness of many Republicans on social issues. However, it is increasingly clear that the American public in general (not just young people) is becoming more progressive in regards to social issues. Thus, watching the debate last night, I realized that the majority of Republicans on stage have no chance of beating President Obama if they continue to emphasize their radical social policies. I can guarantee that Americans will not elect someone who compares Muslims to Nazis and Communists and refers to them as "truly dangerous" people nor will they elect someone who is 100% against gay marriage and refuses to allow exceptions for abortion. If Republicans really want to defeat Obama and turn around the economy, they will have to bring their social positions out of the 1950s.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  184. andyz Lynn, MA

    Most assuredly! If a republican is elected in 2012 we can change the title from President to Grand Inquisitor.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  185. Cary

    Since the Republicans support a peasant/noble system of feudal government why is it a surprise that they stance on social issues is medieval as well?

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  186. roger bleau

    We in N.H. have seen first hand what the Republicans do when they get in power.
    Our N.H. legislature have shown exactly how anti middle class and radically conservative. They have done nothing to create jobs. Quite the opposite. We know what they will do if they get the presidency. It will be devastating!
    Pray to God, People wake up!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  187. Jay

    This is the reason I am no longer a Republican. They campaign on the current fiscal issues and when they get elected go back to the irrelevant social issues. Case in point: Gov. Pawlenty left his State of MN in pretty bad shape, but the Republicans took control of both houses of the Legislature on the strength of deficit control. Now they are abandoning that quest in favor of promoting an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution.

    Yes, they'll have to soft pedal the social issues, but don't be fooled, they don't have a clue how to create jobs!

    Jay, St Paul MN

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  188. steve - virginia beach

    No, Jack. I agree that the other issues are more pressing and should be covered more thoroughly but we need to know where the candidates stand on all of the issues to avoid electing another President who hasn't been vetted. Their stance on social issues will also tell us where they stand on the GOPs promise to restore our founding father's explaination of the Constitution.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  189. Carol - Chattanooga, Tn.

    Come on, Jack. Don't tell them how to win!! If they drop social issues, they might actually have to run on something like, oh I don't know, maybe jobs? Or the economy? The public (and I exclude the Republican base) wants just one thing – for the economy to improve enough to produce jobs. For a party that ran on creating jobs and shrinking the size of government, it is ludicrous to think that they will do either. They haven't so far. But they have passed anti-abortion law after anti-abortion law in the Republican controlled states. They have stripped teachers of their bargaining rights and one state has made it illegal for unions to contribute to election campaigns while allowing corporations to give and give and give. My state of Tennessee, I'm ashamed to say, passed a bill that the new Republican governor signed yesterday that will fine people and put them in jail if they post anything on the Internet that is offensive to someone else. What happened to that promise to decrease the size of government and cut spending? Every law they have passed so far has just the opposite effect. As for the "Internet picture law", I think the law is probably illegal and hopefully will be challenged in court.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  190. Marcus in Greensboro, NC

    Yes, because they're on the wrong side of them. The issues they are fighting over are not major issues anymore. Majority of Americans have no issue with marriage equality or abortion.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  191. mike

    I believe not during the primaries where the audience is a focus group. But a good political animal will change his stripes to gather the attention of the largest number of potential voters for the general election

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  192. JW

    I think it's common sense that GOP contenders should lighten up on the social issues. Why in our politics do we continue to argue over such non-issues as gay marriage, "don't ask don't tell", etc. Fighting over social issues will not improve the economy, will not help tax payers find jobs, will not develop stable business, and will not bring the troops home. If the social issues are going to be the staple of any presidential candidates' run for the most powerful office in the world, then I might as well vote for the incumbent. At least I know what's on his agenda.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  193. Mike Kinney

    Yes i live In Tacoma, Washington.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  194. martin c

    Are you kidding. The only things the Republican have are bogus social issues that have little effect on getting us back on track. They need to concentrate on econmic issues and solving the debt problems, rasing taxes on the rich and putting the Federal Reserve and Wall street on trial. The social issues are only a distraction because they either don't have the answers or are ok with the scams of the rich.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  195. Tim - San Diego, CA

    Absolutely yes, if the GOP hopes to have a snowball's chance, they will indeed have to back off social issues. And, many Republicans I know cringe every time one of the wacky "leaders" of the party opens their mouth on anything from abortion (Rick Santorum) to Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Michelle Bachmann). The rarified air inside the Beltway makes many of these folks completely lose touch with what 80% of Americans think. I know it scares me!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  196. OJ

    They'll lighten up in due time. First they have to pander to the Tea Party folks and Religious Right to get the nomination. Then the nominee will do the usual move-to-the-middle dance and pander to the rest of us. It's all a charade anyway because when elected, they always do the bidding of the deep pockets that paid big bucks to get them there. Voters are ignored until the next election cycle.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  197. Jim

    They are trying to use smoke and mirrors to try to divert the attention of the american people from the fact they it was they, the Republicans that caused the economic melt down in the first place! They are praying the the American people have short memories and will give them the opportunity to finish driving this country into the ground! It is plain to see that all they care about is the rich!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  198. brooker in san diego

    I don't know about "lighten up" but once the Tea Party Express starts dragging these candidates into the realm of the Crazy (Bachmann & Cain especially susceptible) the laughs us democrats will get will sure lighten the mood.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  199. Andrew

    I think it would improve their odds if they did move to the center on social issues. It may not matter. The economy will decide the election. I'm a moderate, independent swing voter. I don't like the idea of having an abortion, but i remember what a failure it was when it was illegal. I will never vote to return to those days. I support equal rights, access, etc. to all citizens, so i will always vote for gay marriage, military, etc. I'm an economic conservative and a social liberal. My business is now improving after two years of slight losses. If I vote tomorrow it would not be for any of the current Republican candidates.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  200. Aaron

    Yes, as it stands, Ron Paul is the only one I would vote for out of all the candidates.
    Reasons stated:
    1. He's not a bigot like the rest of them.
    2. He speaks the truth (not what he thinks people want to hear)
    3. He will bring our troops home and stop us vomiting money at the world to be their hated police force.
    4. He will not touch don't ask don't tell (because he believes goverment needs to stay out of people's personal lives.
    5. He is the only one that could beat Barack Obama and reign in the spending.
    6. He's going to do more to protect this nation (and our image of warmongers) than any of them could possibly dream by bringing our troops home and putting more on the borders.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  201. Aaron

    Jack :

    If all the Rep.'s can do is find fault with what Pres. Obama is doing, then have ZERO ideas of their own. Save the "Rep's" usual talking points. What else can talk about other than their "Social Issues"...MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmm.let me see.......nope ! "Tax cuts, more Borrowing, out law same sex marrige, and over turn "Rowe V. Wade". A former Pres. tried that some years back, how did he do ?

    Sorry folks Rowe V. Wade is OUT of the Pres. hands, like it or not !

    June 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  202. Tom

    Hello Jack, I can't wait for the day any canidate will have the guts to say what is really on their minds instead of compromising just for votes. Abortion and gay rights is and always will be their downfall. If the canidate is a male he should have no say about what a woman can do with her body and if the day comes and he can give birth then and only then should he have a say. Gays are humans too and imagine they can vote!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  203. Fred in Daytona Beach

    I wanna hear a viable plan to create and or bring back good paying jobs for Americans, I don't wanna hear rhetoric, or Obama bashing, or plans that involve lowering taxes on the corporations and 1 -2 %ers to encourage them to create jobs. We all have seen that that does not work. –they just run the savings over to China and set up a shop to export duty free goods to America. I wanna hear a plan, Jack.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  204. Thom Richer

    Not only that, they will have to lighten up on bashing Obama. They, whomever "they" may be, cannot win by blaming everything on Obama when our greatest problems were created by the Bush administrations and if memory serves me, they were in the Republican Party. Granted, the problems continue in Obama's time in office but to put everything on him is cowardly, deceitful and harmful to America. The U.S. government is no longer worthy of our trust. Both major parties and those scratching to become a major party, cannot represent Americans needs and interests as long as their platforms are based on deceit, war and taxes on the working classes. When our own Congress and White Houses deny the wrongness of waring in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan and sustain them for no honorable reason, continuing to take lives of innocents and sacrifice lives of our own people for political and commercial gain, it will not matter who is in office. Whichever party wants to win this election, must end these wars immediately and without apology. That is what a candidate must run on to win.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    June 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  205. Bob fom Long Island, NY

    The Republicans are yelping about non economy issues 'cause they got nothing! If there was a way to bring back jobs don't you think Obama would have done it by now? Cutting taxes and cutting spending will only slow down the economy and may even send us back down a hole. Sorry, but we need more fed spending to get us up and running. Then tax the rich! They can have thire tax break when they hire us and not send our jobs to China!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  206. Julia, Canada

    Looking at it from the outside (Canada) most definitely yes. The US should step up to many other western countries today, especially on the issue of gay marriage. The stance on social issues makes the American concept of "freedom" look pretty hyprocritical.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  207. John in Granbury, TX.

    The republicans need to "back seat" the social sissues and pound, pound, pound on bringing back the jobs in this country. I am sick and tired of seeing :Made in China" on almost everything I buy these days. Also, They need to bring back the regulation that limits the speculators using hedge funds to drive up gas prices. There is no oil shortage and most of us know it. We are not fooled by wall street and the medial predicting what the gas prices will be, up or down.
    I don't agree with some of the positions taken on the social issues facing us today but that is between the individuals concerned and God, NOT the Government at any level.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  208. Aniza

    I was watching last night and was hopping that they will focus on what we care. Jobs and the economy of course. I don't think they get it, and guess what non of them will get my vote. I will just stay home unless I see someone who cares about us.

    Louisville, KY

    June 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  209. Ted Sheppard in El Cajon California

    It's laughable how "anti choice" proponents call themselves "pro life".
    It's all about a womans right to choose. By referring to themselves as pro lifers they make those with the opposite view appear to be against life? Are ya kidding me. Those same folks are usually the biggest supporters of the death penalty.

    Gay marriage a threat to the sanctity of hetero marriage? What sanctity, the 50 plus % divorce rate, the high level of infidelity, the high amount of spousal abuse. Sure there's an institution with a stellar track record. Let's protect that.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  210. Barbara

    Heck yeah, Jack, but thing is, it ain't gonna happen! That group last night, along with the likes of Sarah Palin, all insist on a stampede of unanimity, and all to the hard right. Look at the ideas they promoted: Reinstate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", Amending the Constitution to promote thrice-married Newt's "Defense of Marriage Act"? I've heard said you can't beat someone wtih no one, and based on the "most of what we got is that we don't like the guy who is President now" politics promoted by that lot of clowns last evening, Republicans have no one with the kind of "Play to the Middle" that will be required to win back many in their party and independents, too. Economy in the dumps or no, most Americans do not agree with the ultra-conservative agenda of the bunch on stage last night; President Obama is guaranteed his second term against any one of them.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  211. Cory from Connecticut

    Yes, they should lighten up on these social issues and focus more on monetary policy. Unfortunately Ron Paul was the only candidate who mentioned the idea of regulating the federal reserve. This also shows he understands the primary cause of our economic downturn. The other six don't have a clue probably because they've been high on the Pat Robertson anti-gay marriage/abortion kool-aid.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  212. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    All I heard last night was how Obama had destroyed the economy. Out of the 300 million people in the United States the Republicans are the only idiots that believe that. As I remember we were losing from 400 to 750 thousand jobs a month during the last years of Shrub Bushes time in office and I think Bush is the one that got the first stimulas package and I believe if you work for the government, in the military, retired military or government also state and local governments and any of these contribute to your health care plan then you are part of the people that have a public option health care plan since you don't have to take the health care offered by any of these government bodies. You can go buy you own at a higher cost. THIS IS A PUBLIC OPTION THAT YOU HAVE PEOPLE

    June 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  213. Darryl Kelley

    I am so glad that President Lincoln didn't "lighten Up" on the social issues of his day.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  214. Tina P.

    Jack-Republicans don't throw out their morals when times are tough. Just because the candidates believe abortion, gay marriage, etc..
    .are wrong doesn't mean they won't work on jobs, debt and the economy. Democrats are in big trouble and are trying desperately to discredit the Republicans. It's not going to work.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  215. Ronald

    Is that possible Jack? I don't think that they can.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  216. Steve

    Jack, the whole system needs an overhaul. The Constitution needs to be updated. Republicans and Democrats alike need to learn compromise. The Democrats need to stop being so naïve and the Republicans need an education. I personally think they should all be forced to work basic jobs and know what its like to struggle just paying for gas. I'm sick of all their arguing, all of them, they live in a fantasy. Time to walk not just talk

    June 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  217. Betty Schafer

    People need to get over their phobias. Get out of your house, folks, and see how other people live. See that they are just like you. They have feelings and intelligence and ideas...good ideas. You are not the only ones who share this planet.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  218. Fred In LA

    Nope. All they have to do is keep telling the truth while our President continues to lie and break promises.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  219. Mike Kinney

    Yes Jack I do not see anything that they are offering to get this country back to work which is more important now with unemplyment so high. People are not worry about the National debt as whole. They are more worry about not having a Job. If people are working and have jobs then there would be more money going in to govement from income taqx lets find a way to put people back to work now.
    Mike From Tacoma,Washington

    June 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  220. Cee, La

    I dont see any of them breaking their neck to leave this greedy, incompetent, over reaching, bankrupt government, Just the opposit everyone of them is making a pretty good living slurping at the public trough.....so lighten up on their social agenda, you may as well tell it to the Taliban.....the only solution they have for jobs is tax cuts for business...... are you kidding me?

    June 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  221. Aaron

    Social issues have been trademarked and branded, and assigned to political parties. Bring up environmental issues makes you a Democrat. Bringing up increased drilling makes you a Republican. And bringing up an issue that doesn't belong to you makes you a traitor. The "with-us-or-against-us" polarization of American politics means there's no room to negotiate, work with or prioritize. Debates over gay marriage and the EPA regulations become just as fierce those over jobs and the health of the economy. In that environment, no one is backing off of anything. They already saw what happened to Newt when he failed to stand in lockstep with the rest of the GOP. Should they back off? Yes. Can they back off? No. They've made it nearly impossible without consequence.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  222. Independent Joe


    It depends. If the unemployment rate is still hovering around 9% or greater then no. Americans will care very little about social issues and more about who can get them back to work than they will about abortion, gay marriage, and the don't ask don't tell policy combined. I think Carville got it right when he said, "it's the economy stupid."

    Joe M (Mn)

    June 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  223. Ann

    Jack, it amazes me how ABORTION is glazed over. Yes it is a huge social issue & except for a few Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, you never hear much concern. Our country is on a RUNAWAY TRAIN for sure & Rick Santorum's remarks are dismissed like those who kill innoncent babies should face criminal charges. Instead of just saying abortion why not calling it what it really is THE SLICING & DICING OF BABIES. You never hear that in the media. All this concern in the MEDIA about the child killed in fla., where a few years earlier she would have been eliminated no one notice. We are as a country in a lot of trouble.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  224. Cass

    "He who governs least governs best" is one of many ironic slogans often spoken by the Republicans who demand a say in our personal lives. Yes, I believe they should stay true to their party's theoretical ideals and finally give me somebody to vote for.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  225. John

    Funny these candidates have not been talking social issues they just responded to the question poised to them and yet each one wanted to get back to one topic the economy. We all understand what this election is about stay the course with a Federal Government who is spending more than what we take in or change course. Only liberals are making noise about social issues because they can't run on their economic record, heck the democrats could not even vote a budget when holding full power with the house, senate and white house.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  226. Mick

    Lighten up on social issues.

    That's never going to happen. The Tea Party Republicans will never allow it.

    Great Falls MT

    June 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  227. Marc

    Well yes they should lighten up their stances on the social issues.Social issues, like water, seek their own level. A truly free society cannot legislate social issues or morality in the end. Decisions must be made at the individual level regarding these issues. Concentrate on issues that have immediate impact, like the national debt, the out of control military budget, the inability to reduce unemployment very far, reaching far greater consensus between the parties in the halls of Congress, getting us out of these wars. The list could go on and on.....

    June 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  228. paul

    The Gop have done nothing but blame Obama for most of the damage that they created. Then they campaigned on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. They have done nothing but work on social issues since taking over the house. Why, because they have no solution for jobs. It is sad that they have not done one thing to help with this poor economy and now hope it stays poor so they can gain some seats. It will be scary for medicaid, medicare, social security and social agenda items if the Republicans are given the house, senate, and white house. They cater to the rich and the screw the middle class (except for a couple months before the election when they speak nicely to get the votes). As an independent I have watched closely how the R's have obstructed and won't earn my vote.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  229. a.g.

    Yes,Jack here's why. on one hand you have the Right Wing Bible Beltters say they dont like government telling its citizens what to do, like having the right to carry a gun,but then they say that two people who are the same sex cant marry? thats government control !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Having an abortion is a privacy right issue...oh killing babies is so bad
    ..BUT...not prosecuting pedifiles .is worse!!!!!!!!!!!! you religious wackos
    are the biggest hyprocrits in the world, If your against homosexuallality,
    abortion,and same sex marriage that is government control!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  230. Jon from Florida

    I have some experience in this argument. I was adopted from birth. I am very pro civil liberties but I do not consider abortion to be a social issue pertaining to women's rights. Rights are not awarded to groups. They are protected for every individual. Most important of our inalienable rights is our right to life. I believe that includes the unborn.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  231. Al

    Lighten up? Some of these people are just nuts. Working on space problems, denying that you are an African American? One thing for sure, no of them had a plan for creating jobs or helping the middle class.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  232. Ken Bloomfield

    The GOP may as well stick to bashing the weak as they sure have no realistic solution for the economy. They refuse to accept the fact that the Obama plan includes among other things one real solution to reducing the deficit. That is to move healthcare to be more cost comparable to Canada, where they achieve a better life expectancy and a lower infant mortality at roughly one third our cost. Just imagine the effect that two thirds of the national healthcare costs could do to reduce the deficite!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  233. steve - virginia beach

    Some social issues are critical. For example, we have a 30% k-12 dropout rate as a result of a subculture that rejects education. Whether the rest of us should be forced to support those who defiantly chose premeditated poverty should be a major issue.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  234. Gil

    With helium for brains they can't get any lighter.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  235. TonyInNYC

    Yes, they overread their success in the midterm elections. Voters are angry and want change, but that doesn't mean they want to go too far from the middle and into deep libertarian territory.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  236. Donovan in Nevada

    These are non "issues." We need to make serious and massive ACTION to boost our funding in education and reduce military and defense spending. The system is seriously broken. We are in need of a paradigm shift of the largest magnitude.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  237. John in Houston

    The Republicans are in a tough position. The have to appease their base by shifting ever more rightward, into lunatic-fringe territory. This may satisfy their base, but will alienate moderates. I'm looking forward to another 4 years of Obama.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  238. SilverHair

    None have really said what they would do without a congress that would not cooperate. Pitiful.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  239. Ricardo

    What's up Jack! Lighten up, hmmm...That depends on what the definition of "Lighten Up!" entails. If lighten up means to satisfy both the Republican American populace and met the Independent Voters and capture conservative Democratic Voters in the middle of major Republican American issues such as the continuation of the Middle Eastern War for another 100 years to change Islamic Society ideology, Pro-life rights of the infant with a disregard for the mother's body, Anti-Gay Marriage Rights, and the implementation of Strict Fundamental Christian Ideology within government policy, and tucked away somewhere, the old and true Republican system of small government and Laissez-Faire attitude towards business to increase revenue of the federal government to reduce the current debt crisis in America all in an attempt to capture votes for the presidency and both Houses of Congress, then these candidates have to lighten up significantly to capture the new, younger, and diverse middle American voting population in Coastal regions. Especially mine...

    June 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  240. Eye of Newt

    Jack: I don't know about "lighten up," but even as a republican, I've never seen so much HYPOCRISY in one group of candidates. Lets review: Mitt – Is he even related to the guy who ran in 2008?; Newt – gets blasted for telling the truth (social engineering), and instantly changes policy (don't quote him on that); Michelle – I'm born again! Praise the Lord! Lets crush the punish the poor, sick, and disadvantaged! Pawlenty: "Palin would make a great President." "O-Rhomney care." Palin – {fill in the blank with anything she has ever done or said}. This is a group of pathetic hypocrites only their mothers could love.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  241. Harold Granger

    I am an independent. I associate with many others just like me, who try to listen to both sides of every argument and vote on issues, not party. And here is what "we" think...

    The 2012 presidential election will come down to the economy. Plain and simple. We are in a near crisis situation financially. Lightening up on social issues will have very little effect. Obama is a smart, eloquent, kind man, but he has very little experience in matters of free market economy, and his policies are failing miserably. This cannot continue. Middle America spoke with a very loud voice in the 2010 mid-terms. And that voice will be heard from again in 2012. Not only in the presidential race, but in the house and senate. I see a Republican sweep across the board in 2012.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  242. Bonny

    Jack, do you call what we saw yesterday a Presidential debate? No, far from it. They were all scared to confront one another. Tim Pawlenty could not stand on his earlier rhetoric on Mitt Romneys failed Healthcare plan. Or, was it a calculated ploy by the GOP not to trade political punches against one another? Another case in point was the quick runaround of Gingrich on Ryan's Healthcare plan..With such lukewarmness at which they talked in accord yesterday, they may have to wait for a VERY long time to win a Presidential election. Why were they all in agreement with one another? If they have no differences, why are they running against one another? It leads me to believe they are either hiding or don't have anything to offer.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  243. soneill

    No the Republicans should NOT "lighten up" for the 2012 election. How can you ask such a question? This country is morally and financially bankrupt, we are on the edge of a cliff. The very foundations of our economic capitalistic system are under attack by a bunch of have nots that "haven't received their fair share". By far, the biggest problem facing the country is that of illegal immigration. Unfortunately,Obama will not secure the borders – he wants the latino vote. Really pathetic. This country will BE Mexico in 10 years or less – Is this what you want? Come down to Atlanta Jack, and I'll take you on a little "tour" to show you what has happenned to the beautiful city of Atlanta. America is heading downhill fast and the Republicans seem to have a much better understanding of what has happenned.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  244. Denny from Tacoma

    They cannot. The Republicans are so stuck on the social issues that they almost ruined the country during the George W. Bush years.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  245. barbara in nc

    they lied to get elected in 2010, then changed.

    They'll lie to get elected in 2012, then change.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  246. paul

    Anything the republicans do will just repulse me...former conservative republican.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  247. Bonny

    One more thing, the spark and shine, the argument and disagreement if you will that is synonymous with a presidential debate was non-existent last night. I fell asleep while watching it. That was how boring it was,Jack They were politically flat footed..

    June 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  248. Elle in SC

    They keep talking about these social issues because the media keeps bringing it up.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  249. Alex in Wiscosin

    NO, Republicans will need a completely new playbook in order to succeed. Spending and Tax cuts alone cannot and will not bring jobs or take care of the debt.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  250. MaryBeth


    No, they won't have to "lighten up" on social issues at all. I used to think that the social/wedge issues were merely smoke and mirrors to distract us from the bigger problems we're facing, but now I think the opposite is the case. The GOP successfully used the poor economy and lack of jobs to win big in the 2010 elections, which turned out to be smoke and mirrors for their reactionary, uber right-wing social agenda. They have figured out what short memories and attention spans the voters have, that pandering to the religious radicals gives them attention and the total support of the base, so why would they do anything different?

    What I have yet to figure out is how the GOP can scream for small government, no regulation of business or industry, yet not see the hypocrisy of having total government involvement in my personal life (i.e., birth control, abortion, who can marry).

    June 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  251. pkfops

    With all of their rewriting of history and flat out lying it seems they are trying to get the vote of those who are the least educated.

    It would be an embarrassment to support a GOP candidate these days.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  252. David Cowen

    The old adage about "teach a man to fish" comes to mind here. Instead of giving concrete proposals as to how their desire to gut the federal government like an old catfish are going to create even a single job, each of these candidates blew smoke to divert the issue. The "social issue" smoke is so thick that soon the candidates will be proposing the death penalty for illegal immigrants and outlawing the practice of anything other than evangelical orthodoxy. Should we all wear little brown shirts with crosses on them too?

    People need jobs. Obama's plan just didn't work. What plan do these candidates propose? How do they expect people to even think about going to church if they don't have the money for the gas to drive themselves there? Banning abortions is not a jobs bill.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  253. lynn

    The Republicans' problem is much deeper than their social conservative beliefs. Not once did they talk about the middle class or education in the debate last night. Cutting taxes and deregulation is the extent of their economic plan to create jobs. It's not just the social conservatives in their party who put off Independents like myself, it's the entire Republican platform......reward the rich on the backs of the poor and middle class, undermine/eliminate the social safety net, etc.

    Portland OR

    June 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  254. Murphy


    they should have "lightened up" years ago.

    They continue to ignore the wishes of many in their own party, and of those of most of the Country and focus on the same old marching orders.

    I watched last night, and many used "Change" as rally cry? Hmmm, where did that come from ... but not one was brave enough to tell us how they would change anything.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  255. Jake Crawford

    Before Repubs can even THINK about ATTEMPTING to 'lighten up' they NEED to GET REAL within themselves-by admitting that even if economic conditions were reversed 180 degrees-they STILL would not want a Black Man as Commander in Chief. Even as high value terrorists are being neutralized, gas prices drop; domestic infrastructure jobs are created, they keep crowing about conditions not being 'fixed' by this point by the current administration. News flash...this country's situation ain't a TV drama...in other words, don't think any of our problems are going to be solved y some over-simplified quick-fix that makes for a catchy sound-bite.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  256. Burbank from CA

    I would say yes. The problem many non Republicans have that may want to vote more conservatively is their tendency to impose dysfunctional, controlling Christian morals on everyone and take away people's rights, such as a woman's right to choose for instance.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  257. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    the Republicans promised that if elected to a majority at mid-terms there would be significant improvements for the economy – too little, too late. We can't go back to more of the same that created the mess.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  258. Cal (Maui)

    Jack the Republicans have already layed their cards on the table in order to garner their parties nomination and play to the extreme right. This is actually good at least they won't get elected like in Wisconsin then spring their real adjenda

    June 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  259. Brittany Heyer

    Didn't recent polls show that the majority of Americans supported the repeal of the "don't ask don't tell" policy? I could be wrong...
    And if these GOP candidates want the federal government to play a smaller role than state government, shouldn't they be against outlawing gay marriage at the federal level?
    With the support of many more republicans towards gay marriage (one of the Bush daughters, the Cheney's...), the GOP candidates will have to scale back on the conservatism quite a bit!

    June 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm |