***** 8:43 p.m. ******
Well, it's over, and the most interesting moment of the debate is happening, as Democrats and Republicans greet each other on stage.
As for the Republican discussion of energy and the environment, there wasn't anything new revealed that an interested voter couldn't have learned from the candidates' Web sites (or our candidate profiles) but at least the the issues of oil, energy and global warming got a moment's attention. One could have hoped for more substance, since these issues are so important to the next president's tenure in the White House.
***** 8:41 p.m. ******
Oil hits $100, India and China's demand is going up. Are gas prices going higher, and isn't avoiding saying so "intellectual dishonesty?"
Finally, a question that has to do with a natural resource.
Ron Paul has an interesting take: The price of oil has gone up relative to currencies, but not gold, which he says is because of flawed monetary policy, an issue he has touched on several times tonight.
McCain, who has been the only outspoken Republican candidate to confront climate change, reiterated his support for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said $400 billion U.S. dollars go overseas, some of which ends up with terrorists, and some to dictators. "It's a nexus of two critical issues: alternative energy and nuclear power. "We have to unleash the technology of America," he said, calling energy independence and climate change a "nexus" of issues requiring alternative energy and nuclear power, among other strategies. "It has become a national security issue ... and we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions b/c I believe there is enough evidence that ... (if we do nothing, we will do) irreparable damage to this planet," McCain said.
Thompson and Giuliani talked about the need to build nuclear power plants and refineries. "If we don't make this a major program, led by the president of the United States," Giuliani said.
Huckabee said America can be energy independent in a decade, a timeframe that most others think unlikely. He mentioned a 100 mpg car (as Democrat Gov. Bill Richardson has) and "untaxing innovation." He said "we're paying for both sides on the War on Terror," by paying for troops and paying for oil, which goes to Middle East nations.
Romney said we can't become energy independent in 10 years, but that we can get on the road with a big investment. Spending now, $4 billion, has to be increased "dramatically."
***** 8:23 p.m. ******
The next question: Why not vote for Barack Obama?
***** 8:04 p.m. ******
The first question of the second half, directed at McCain, is about illegal immigration.
***** 8:00 p.m. ******
The first part of the debate has ended without any discussion of the environment. The second part of the debate will feature more direct questions. Let's see if the candidates have to get any more specific about how they'd tackle global warming, or any other environmental issue for that matter.
***** 7:44 p.m. ******
After Ron Paul got in another shot about who adheres to the Constitution with lip service and pays it true allegiance, the next question is about health care.
***** 7:30 p.m. ******
After learning that Ron Paul is the lone Republican who believes that jihadist terrorists are inspired, at least in part, by U.S. foreign policy, the second question came from President Bush, who asked "what are the principles that you will stand on, in good times and in bad times, what are the underpinnings of your decisions?"
***** 7:09 p.m. ******
The New Hampshire Republican presidential debate has begun with a question about whether the candidates would follow President Bush's foreign policy.
Part of the Bush foreign policy has been to avoid international agreements on climate change that require hard targets. Remember, U.S. national security experts have warned that global warming is more than an environmental issue. Because it has the potential to destabilize volatile nations around the world, global warming could embolden dissidents, extremists and the like.
Let's see if the candidates are asked to confront the question of global warming in a real way.
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