Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry speak at veteran’s forum in Des Moines

posted at 7:45 pm on December 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, I attended a forum hosted by Veterans for a Strong America that included three of the Republican candidates for president as their speakers.  The group wanted to have the concerns of veterans and their families addressed in this campaign, but noted that they are a non-partisan group — which became apparent during a later Q&A.  They plan on inviting President Obama to speak to the group at some point, but for today, the focus was on the Republicans.  Despite its proximity in time and geography to tonight’s debate — just a few hours earlier and across the street from the Drake University hall where the debate will take place — the Varsity Theater cinema didn’t fill up with spectators.  It seemed that there may have been as many media people there as attendees.

First to speak was Newt Gingrich, who spent much of his time talking about China, Mexico, and the Middle East.  As usual, Gingrich offered thoughtful analyses of American policies and emerging threats, while finding ways to work in his views on veterans’ issues.  His wife Callista stood by his side throughout his speech, the only candidate to bring anyone else on stage with him:

The next speaker should have been Michele Bachmann.  However, she didn’t appear at the forum, sending her husband Marcus in her place with no explanation for the change.  Marcus delivered what one would presume to have been the speech Michele would have delivered, and did a pretty good job (I’ve met Marcus a few times, but this is the first time I’ve heard him speak in public).  As one might expect, Bachmann’s speech mainly criticized Obama’s policies in Afghanistan, and worked in an attack on ObamaCare as an issue for veterans and their families.

Rick Santorum spoke next, seemingly extemporaneously on foreign policy and veterans’ affairs.  Santorum focused on Iran and on proper resourcing for the military, but left enough time to take two questions from the audience — the only speaker to do so.  Both questions are in the video below.  The first was a lengthy back-and-forth with a man sitting directly in front of me about global warming and its impact on the military, and the questioner is clearly not happy with Santorum’s dismissal of the concerns.  The second and last question has to do with waterboarding as torture, which Santorum also rejected:

Rick Perry closed out the event, but he had the shortest speech. His presentation started with a campaign video, a compilation of endorsing messages from Medal of Honor recipients and other veterans which was rather impressive. Perry mainly focused his speech on Barack Obama’s foreign policy, at one point stressing that he wouldn’t “lead from the back nine” as Obama has. Compared to other speeches I’ve seen Perry give, he seemed a little tentative and muted, but was warmly received:

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First

WhatNot on December 10, 2011 at 7:51 PM

The next speaker should have been Michele Bachmann. However, she didn’t appear at the forum, sending her husband Marcus in her place with no explanation for the change.

Perhaps another migraine.

Flora Duh on December 10, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Who did the voice over work for Perry?

Dack Thrombosis on December 10, 2011 at 7:56 PM

So, what you are saying is Newt.. didn’t talk about Vets? But only about foreign policy?

This won’t show up here for a hour or so…. so can anyone tell me this is true?

upinak on December 10, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Why is Santorum in the race? And Bachmann?

Flapjackmaka on December 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

So, what you are saying is Newt.. didn’t talk about Vets? But only about foreign policy?

This won’t show up here for a hour or so…. so can anyone tell me this is true?

upinak on December 10, 2011 at 7:57 PM

This wasn’t the debate. That comes on at 9 pm ET live. This took place earlier today.

Ed Morrissey on December 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Well I liked both of Santorum’s answers.

Talon on December 10, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Why is Santorum in the race? And Bachmann?

Flapjackmaka on December 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

To help us reach the conclusion that Gingrich is the only adult in the room despite his flaws.

Punchenko on December 10, 2011 at 8:05 PM

This wasn’t the debate. That comes on at 9 pm ET live. This took place earlier today.

Ed Morrissey on December 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

9PM ET.. ugh. I will never get to see any of these debates! Thanks for the heads up though.

upinak on December 10, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Perry seems like he is being overly managed. He didn’t seem himself.

teri_b on December 10, 2011 at 8:10 PM

12:17 minutes of an adult in the room…

… stating out the facts, the problems, and what we are facing as a country.

You Newt haters go on with your attacks, and keep saying he can never win the general election since he has been divorced or something…

… As Newt says, this is no game show, this is how and what do we do to make America survive.

THIS is what Obowma, the Left, and the political elite ruling class are so afraid of…

… and there is no where to hide anymore.

Go get ‘em Newt…!

Seven Percent Solution on December 10, 2011 at 8:10 PM

upinak on December 10, 2011 at 8:06 PM

jsut stay a wee bit longer…

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:11 PM

The next speaker should have been Michele Bachmann. However, she didn’t appear at the forum, sending her husband Marcus in her place with no explanation for the change.

Perhaps another migraine.

Flora Duh on December 10, 2011 at 7:53 PM

I’d like to expand on my comment that Congresswoman Bachmann may not have not shown at the forum because of a migraine.

This is one of the reasons I can’t throw my support behind her for the primary.

I’ve experienced migraines myself. They debilitated me for 24 to 48 hours at a time. We need a president who is going to be able fully function at the drop of a hat. I’m just not sure Mrs. Bachmann’s medical condition would always be able to guarantee she can.

Flora Duh on December 10, 2011 at 8:11 PM

They plan on inviting President Obama to speak to the group at some point,

WHY?

sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

that he wouldn’t “lead from the back nine”

heh

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Perry’s speech was short but strongly presented. Anyone have a link to the Perry campaign video Ed mentioned?

PatrickHenry599 on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Seven Percent Solution on December 10, 2011 at 8:10 PM

+7000%

SlaveDog on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

the Varsity Theater cinema didn’t fill up with spectators. It seemed that there may have been as many media people there as attendees.

Sounds like some candidates have a little trouble getting their people out on a Saturday evening.

JohnGalt23 on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Perry seems like he is being overly managed. He didn’t seem himself.

*snort*

Dack Thrombosis on December 10, 2011 at 8:15 PM

WHY?

sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

my thought exactly….

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:15 PM

jsut stay a wee bit longer…

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:11 PM

can’t dinner and I need to lay down for a while.

upinak on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Perry seems like he is being overly managed. He didn’t seem himself.

teri_b on December 10, 2011 at 8:10 PM

George Will’s wife is playing the Professor Henry Higgins to Perry’s Eliza Doolittle.

Punchenko on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

His wife Callista stood by his side throughout his speech, the only candidate to bring anyone else on stage with him:

Dumb. Co-Presidency anyone?

JPeterman on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

What will the comment count be on tonight’s debate, now that we have all the new members?

predator on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

I know Chris Christie likes Mitt Romney, and Newt has Romney on his short list for for VP…but watching Newt on camera…I’m thinking Java the Hun…and if Newt is going to do a Rhino as VP…at least Christie will make Newt look svelte, up on the campaign stage!

KOOLAID2 on December 10, 2011 at 8:18 PM

WHY?

sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

my thought exactly….

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:15 PM

We already know what he would say: “I killed bin Laden. Shut up”.

SlaveDog on December 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

WHY?
sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM

because the corpsemen luuuuuv him
:O

burrata on December 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

PatrickHenry: Here is a link to Perry’s “Honor” video. Another very strong ad.

capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Newt can’t win. Newt will implode. Newt always has.

Redford on December 10, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Gotta see Marcus’ substituting speech…

The Nerve on December 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

upinak on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

okey doke…hang in there…

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Dumb. Co-Presidency anyone?

JPeterman on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Newt would have a hard enough time beating Obama without the additional reminder of his lack of personal character. He’s trying to force something on people that they will reject. He’d be better off being exceptionally low-key about his marriage, but his personal instincts are apparently not so good, to put it mildly.

capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

SlaveDog on December 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

heh

of course…

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:23 PM

We already know what he would say: “I killed bin Laden. Shut up”.

SlaveDog on December 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Hehe! :) But they pulled him off of the 16 tee in order for him to kill the OBL. Teh Won was one pizzed off duuuuuuuddddeeeeee! Don’t mess with the handicap!

sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Newt can’t win. Newt will implode. Newt always has.

Redford on December 10, 2011 at 8:21 PM

As moderate as he might be, he will never appeal to independents, especially once the media starts in on him. There are a lot of people who will only vote for someone they like – and they will not like an arrogant man with a disgusting history who looks like an older Ellis Hennican in a funhouse mirror.

Might be unfair (in some ways), but that’s the way it is. President. Newt. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.

capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 8:25 PM

because the corpsemen luuuuuv him
:O

burrata on December 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Yeeeaaaahhhhhh, that’s the ticket! :)

sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Wow that cameraman is like me after afternoon coffee.
Newt being Newt. Is Callista standing next to him for moral support or something?
Don’t get Michelle sending the spouse, hope everything is okay.
Tell me again why I’m not jazzed by Santorum. He is a scandal free strict conservative, yes? What was that first ? to him? I didn’t get that one.
Perry seemed to play it just about right considering the audience.

Bmore on December 10, 2011 at 8:27 PM

9PM ET.. ugh. I will never get to see any of these debates! Thanks for the heads up though.

upinak on December 10, 2011 at 8:06 PM

I love my DVR and would sleep with it under my pillow if my iphone didn’t already live there.

Naturally Curly on December 10, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Where’s paul?

hawkdriver on December 10, 2011 at 8:28 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM

canophor is here, the party can get started now…

:)

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:32 PM

capitalist piglet – Thx for link. Excellent ad. Marcus Luttrell is like an adopted son to Rick and Anita Perry. He was in the family meeting and had a personal vote on whether Perry should run for the nomination.

PatrickHenry599 on December 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM

He’d be better off being exceptionally low-key about his marriage, but his personal instincts are apparently not so good, to put it mildly.

capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Personal instincts or bad judgement?

JPeterman on December 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Newt gave a very thoughtful speech. Is he the adult in the room that will defeat Obama? One can only hope so.

onlineanalyst on December 10, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Newt would have a hard enough time beating Obama without the additional reminder of his lack of personal character.

………………….

capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

And Obama has a better character, how so exactly? Why will Obama be so hard to beat? Just curious, you stated these things as facts.

whbates on December 10, 2011 at 8:34 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM

For all of the noobies, this is the man with the plan that has about 100 windows open at one time and gets all of the linkies for us! WOOT!
:)

sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:34 PM

apocalypse on December 10, 2011 at 7:22 PM

And to think Allah is missing it all.

Bmore on December 10, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Perry said he now has “twelve veterans” in Iowa supporting his campaign, and this surge comes hot on the heals of all of those newly minted supporters who propelled him to distant second-place finish in the latest Hot Gas reader poll: can we say Rickmentum? ;)

His speech was actually very solid and he spoke with a seriousness and gravitas befitting of his audience and, frankly, of the higher office for which he is running.

sinkingspring on December 10, 2011 at 8:35 PM

The next speaker should have been Michele Bachmann. However, she didn’t appear at the forum, sending her husband Marcus in her place with no explanation for the change. …

His wife Callista stood by his side throughout his speech,

There’s something surreal about this field…

ddrintn on December 10, 2011 at 8:36 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM
canophor is here, the party can get started now…

:)

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:32 PM

cmsinaz:Lol,ya,I gots 11 windows open!:)
=========================================

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***************************

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Jake Trapper Tweets
********************

https://twitter.com/#!/jaketapper

canopfor on December 10, 2011 at 8:37 PM

What will the comment count be on tonight’s debate, now that we have all the new members?

predator on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Gonna crash the server, Occupy Hot Gas!

ConcealedKerry on December 10, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Newt would have a hard enough time beating Obama without the additional reminder of his lack of personal character. He’s trying to force something on people that they will reject. He’d be better off being exceptionally low-key about his marriage, but his personal instincts are apparently not so good, to put it mildly.
capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Has Newt been palling around with terrorists ?
Has his wife been patient-dumping ?
Has Newt and his wife been disbarred from practicing their professions ?

burrata on December 10, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Great Speech By Rick Perry.

Go Perry 2012

bzip on December 10, 2011 at 8:43 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM

For all of the noobies, this is the man with the plan that has about 100 windows open at one time and gets all of the linkies for us! WOOT!

sicoit on December 10, 2011 at 8:34 PM

He is the undisputed Google Master of the Universe.

Naturally Curly on December 10, 2011 at 8:44 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2011 at 8:37 PM

:)

cmsinaz on December 10, 2011 at 8:45 PM

I think each speaker spoke with conviction and fervor about USA and the necessity to lead and not to follow. I was most impressed by Gingrich’s speech

hermitmind on December 10, 2011 at 9:00 PM

And Obama has a better character, how so exactly? Why will Obama be so hard to beat? Just curious, you stated these things as facts.

whbates on December 10, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Obama’s character has never been an issue for him, because his base has none – and with this friendly media, independents will never be asked to weigh him in that regard. Beyond that, there is no story about Obama in Vanity Fair, in which he – grinning – watches his young children walk in his direction while he’s experiencing gratification (that’s as delicate as I can make it) compliments of a woman not his wife.

It will be very ugly if he’s our nominee.

capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Has Newt been palling around with terrorists ?
Has his wife been patient-dumping ?
Has Newt and his wife been disbarred from practicing their professions ?

burrata on December 10, 2011 at 8:41 PM

You forgot one:

Does Newt have a friendly media on his side?

capitalist piglet on December 10, 2011 at 9:31 PM

ho did the voice over work for Perry?

Dack Thrombosis

Mel Blanc. Didn’t you recognize the Bugs Bunny accent there at the end?

Horace on December 10, 2011 at 9:42 PM

CNN, of all places, says Perry got the strongest round of applause at the event:

The largest applause line of the afternoon came when Perry waded into a local issue. A small firestorm sparked at Iowa State University after a lecturer in the English department wrote a letter in the school’s newspaper criticizing college Republicans for collecting sundry items to send to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The professor argued that soldiers are paid well-enough to buy goods for themselves, and the group’s charity should instead be focused on people who “really need them.”

“I’m really proud of the college Republicans at Iowa State University who filled boxes and worked through their time off from school to give gifts to be delivered to our fighting men and women in Afghanistan,” Perry said to applause. “And I want the English professor who attacked them to know that while it may be your first amendment right to spout nonsense, you wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for those fighting men and women who are serving around the world today.”

Y-not on December 10, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Indeed would an honor to have Gov. Perry as our president and commander in chief. This ad was released today shows a huge support for Perry by vets.
True American Heroes standing with Governor Rick Perry, A President of Honor http://www.rickperry.org/veterans

nancysabet on December 10, 2011 at 11:16 PM

I thought Perry’s speech was fine. I am a little creeped out at Newt bringing Calista on stage, what is that about? Is she going to be his co-President? I know she was a big reason a lot of his early staff left and she was behind his expansive spending early on in his campaign. Bachmann and Santorum both need to get out IMHO.

Rapunzel on December 10, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Here’s how I wish ALL Republican candidates would respond to ANY questions about Global Warming:

I reject, renounce, and defy the premise that mankind is causing or even contributing to an increase in the average worldwide temperatures.
Similarly, I defy the premise that there is anything mankind is capable of doing NOW, to resolve or lessen any naturally occurring increases in average worldwide temperatures that may be occurring.
Period.

listens2glenn on December 11, 2011 at 12:25 AM

Bachmann and Santorum both need to get out IMHO.

Rapunzel on December 10, 2011 at 11:55 PM

My humble response is: “No they don’t.”

listens2glenn on December 11, 2011 at 12:27 AM

You know, I could see myself supporting Santorum. Why oh why does he have to be a Senator with no real executive experience who lost his last election by double digits?

Kakalak Pundit on December 11, 2011 at 6:33 AM

As the only military veteran in the field, former Capt. Perry is the only candidate who knows what he’s talking about. The military is a sub-culture foreign to most.
It’s no secret why Romney didn’t appear – neither he nor any of his five sons served their country. Just imagine what would happen if all Americans acted similarly.
(shudder)
Perry / Bolton 2012

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 12, 2011 at 7:03 AM