Call for ‘Cuban Spring’ Electrifies Florida Debate

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Viewers of the first Republican presidential debate in Florida saw a newly aggressive Mitt Romney who engaged in a lengthy exchange with Newt Gingrich.  The media will focus on the bickering over Gingrich’s alleged lobbying and tenure as speaker of the House, but the tough talk on overthrowing the communist regime of Cuba is what electrified the audience.

About 10% of the Florida primary voters are Cuban-Americans, prompting the moderator to ask Mitt Romney about his stance on the Castro regime and how he’d handle a potential refugee crisis if it were to fall. Romney was applauded, even though the audience was asked to be quiet, when he said he’d first “thank heavens that Castro has gone to his maker.” He sharply criticized President Obama’s softening of America’s policy towards Cuba and praised a democratic activist who died in Cuba while on a hunger strike.

Newt Gingrich was likewise applauded by following that up with saying, “I don’t think Fidel [Castro] is going to meet his maker. He’s going to another place.”  Gingrich then won the biggest reaction of the night when he said that he would not tolerate four more years of the Castro dictatorship and would support a “Cuban Spring” by supporting every democratic activist achieve regime change.

Rick Santorum spoke in similar terms and broadened the discussion. He warned of the anti-American alliance that has formed between Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran and the “jihadists.” He said that these enemies are elated to have a base only 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

Ron Paul was the lone exception to a policy of regime change towards Cuba. He said that it is not 1962 anymore and that the U.S. should diplomatically and economically engage the Cuban regime, comparing it to how relations have improved with Vietnam.

Iran’s threats to shut down the Strait of Hormuz also were discussed. Mitt Romney said that such an action would be an act of war and that the U.S. military should respond to reopen the route. He also said that the U.S. Navy is the smallest it has ever been since 1917 and that he would increase annual production of naval ships from 8 per year to 15.

Gingrich promised to decisively respond to Iran and mocked the Obama administration for canceling its planned missile defense exercises with Israel, saying it is “dangerous”  for Iran to believe that the U.S. is weak. Ron Paul said that the U.S. has committed an act of war against Iran by “blockading” the country and that an attack on the Strait of Hormuz would be “retaliation.”  He dismissed the possibility that Iran would actually close the Strait because of its reliance on oil exports.

Rick Santorum gave the toughest answer on Iran, adding that the U.S. should use military force if necessary to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. He equated the Iranian theocracy with Al-Qaeda and gave a long list of Iranian “acts of war,” including taking American citizens hostage, attacking ships and embassies, plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on American soil and helping to kill American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  • Am3rican Girl

    Funny, you don't mention who received the biggest applause of the evening — there were two (there were really only 2 instances where the audience applauded at all) …. It was with Ron Paul — one for his stance on Cuba, and one for his stance on Iran.

    Failing to report, won't make him go away.

    Ron Paul 2012

    • Mike

      Funny that Ron Paul got his butt handed to him in the Florida primaries.

  • Tom Jasper

    You must have been on another planet during this debate. Ron Paul won this debate hands down and drew the MOST applause from the audience. There is lots of video on the internet to thwart your outright lies, SHAME!

  • xtrabiggg

    There goes that 'Crazy' Ron Paul again! Using historical examples and geopolitical facts! Why doesn't he demagogue and make outrageous, apocalyptic statements like the other three? THAT's how you get votes- not by making sense! Gee, will Ron Paul EVER learn- you don't get elected President by telling the truth and using critical thinking skills- you gotta make emotional appeals and scare the $$#!+ out of people with outrageously nonsensical statements!

  • Brian K

    Gingrich can beg for votes from Paul’s supporters, but there is no way I’d vote for s MSN with 81 ethic violations in Congress and who campaigns for traditional marriage whole hypocritically is married three times and wanted an open marriage.

    Ron Paul is my only candidate!

  • WeRootForNewt

    Brian, you obviously are blinding yourself to the facts. The facts are, it was the Democrats who brought the ethics charges against Newt because they didn't like the idea of a conservative house. All but one were dismissed as completely bogus. And of the remaining one, he was cleared of any wrong doing well over a year ago. He has also acknowledged that he didn't do everything the way he should have in his personal life and has gone to great lengths to make all of that right. It was a lie that he ever asked for an open marriage, but one that you obviously think you can quote and get your own way. Unfortunately for Ron Paul, who is actually a good Congressman and who has a lot of ideas that we all like, including Gingrich, Ron Paul's supporters are as bad as any Alinskyite when it comes to blabbering on about half truths.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      The facts are, it was the Democrats who brought the ethics charges against Newt because they didn't like the idea of a conservative house. All but one were dismissed as completely bogus.

      You accidentally and I'm sure inadvertently left out the best part, 88 percent of Republicans in the house voted against Newt Gingrich. Thus, Gingrich became the first and only speaker ousted in disgrace in history. Not only that, but those Republicans still serving in Congress to this day all claim that they won't vote for Gingrich under any circumstances and that he can't win in any event. In fact, they also claim that if Gingrich becomes the Republican Party nominee that the Republicans will also lose the Senate as well.

      Not to mention that unlike Romney, Gingrich has never worked in the private sector a day in his life. He has been either a college professor exactly like Obama, a professional career politician, or a Washington insider and influence peddler with offices on K street. In other words, if Gingrich miraculously gets elected, which is impossible in any event, it would be business as usual in Washington.

      In addition, Gingrich's Alinsky like anti-capitalist attacks on Bain Capital, Mitt Romney, and the free enterprise system, until the Republican Party was morphed into the second coming of the Dhimmicrat Party, used to be blasphemy and would have previously resulted with him being kicked out of the Republican Party ASAP.

      Not to mention as well that Fox News Sunday discovered several people that appeared in Newt Gingrich's anti-capitalist attack ad that admitted to being paid. Then Fox News' Megyn Kelly interviewed two more people that appeared in Gingrich's anti-capitalist attack ad that said they were quoted without their knowledge or their consent completely out of context to make it seem like they were condemning Mitt Romney and Bain Capital when they weren't.

      In other words, the entire Gingrich Alinsky like anti-capitalist ad is false, bogus, a fraud, and concocted out of nothing but lies, yet Fox News – the official News Network of the RINO Establishment Republican Party – deep sixth the previous Fox News Sunday report and the Megyn Kelly interview, because that news last week would have blown off the lid and derailed Newt Gingrich's sleazy campaign.

      Hence, instead Fox News joined the rest of the lamestream media to launch class-warfare attacks against Mitt Romney because he wouldn't release his tax return per the demand of Newt Gingrich, even though somehow it only became an issue for Mitt Romney, but not an issue for Rick Santorum or Ron Paul to also release their taxes, and even though like most people, Romney still hadn't received all his documents necessary to do his taxes yet.

      Nevertheless, the lamestream media deliberately created a mountain out of a molehill and beat that drum all week long constantly implying that Romney was trying to hide something until his poll numbers inevitably took a nose dive, while claiming at the same time that Newt won the debates, not because he out debated the other candidates, but because he beat up the media.

      Indeed, even though Fox News has been constantly mis-portraying Romney as a moderate and the establishment Republican in the race since the beginning, the truth is the RINO establishment Republican Party would never ever support or back any candidate that was anti-amnesty like Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum unless they actually won the Republican Party nomination.

      There is some major dishonesty and major manipulation taking place with respect to Fox News today, not unlike in 2008 when they also picked John McCain for us, and if they are successful in manipulating the public this time around like they were in 2008, Obama will win four more years and socialized healthcare will become permanent. So will a steep and rapid decline in America and America's living standards precipitating the next WWIII that will make WWII seem like a pleasant stroll in the park.

      In any event, Gingrich is not the most conservative candidate in the race. Instead, he is the least conservative, which is why he supports amnesty, and which if ever implemented will be the final nail in the coffin for conservatism in this country. I know that I won't vote for that commie sleazebag under any circumstances.

  • Steve Chavez

    If Fidel is not overthrown before he dies, he will be idolized for centuries as another Che. If he goes the way of Qaddafi, then he will be erased from monuments and shown as the true henchman and thug he was.

    Cuba is like a prison system and I ask: "What's the difference between Cuba and Alcatraz?" The problem is that the people have become INSTITUTIONALIZED and know no other way. If they were born in a prison, they don't know what's on the outside. Hundreds of thousands have escaped but NOT ONE SUPPORTER OF CASTRO HAS TAKEN AN INNERTUBE TO CUBA! Even those like Michael Moore, and other American visitors, STAY THERE in Castro's "Paradise" and leave this American "Capitalist hellhole and terrorist nation."

    Yes, it is time for a Cuban Spring to rid the world of the Longest Serving Dictator! Yes, Castro NEVER RETIRED and it's only a ploy to say "Overthrow me? I'm not ruling. I retired."

    WHEN FIDEL DIES, you will see the tears flowing from Americans more than Cubans. It's like the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy throws a pale of water on the Witch. She was afraid the soldiers would be mad but instead they rejoiced. I CAN'T WAIT TILL THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST MELTS AWAY! (Oops, I meant Fidel not Nancy Pelosi in this writing.)

  • Steve Chavez

    "Refugee crisis?" Cubans from Miami, all over the U.S. and the world, will INVADE CUBA when Castro is overthrown or dies.

    Cubans will turn Capitalist overnight as their vintage cars will sell for tens of thousands and then sold for hundreds of thousands at the Barrett-Jackson auto auction.

    The one auto I would like to own is the Truck turned into a Boat by a Cuban family but missed the U.S. shores by only a few miles before they were picked up by the Coast Guard. COULDN'T THEY LOOK THE OTHER WAY SINCE THIS WAS INNOVATION AT ITS BEST! That truck/boat would be in a Miami Museum by now.

  • José Mora

    Ron Paul was the only adult in the room last night. It is very telling that a veteran of Brigade 2506 supports Ron Paul. The others are just pandering and I'm now finding it quite irritating. The US has been meddling in Cuba for the entire 20th century and look what we have to show for it.

    At this point, the best thing the US can do for a free Cuba is to get out of its way. And I mean that with the utmost respect.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Why on earth does nobody know what Fidel Castro said to Jeffrey Goldberg about Israel and the Jews? http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/
    Castro was looking for a way to get out of the Marxist-Islamic Alliance. We should enable him to do so.

    • DrBukk

      Fidel is playing those journalists for fools. Cuba is the most racist nation I've ever visited. Fidel would trade away every black person on the island for some Guatemalan Indians, I know from connections that he proposed this. No black has anything above a menial job in Cuba. You think Jews fare any better? I think Fidel knows how to manipulate leftist journalists.

  • David

    I knew if Looked hard enough I would find a website that didn't show Ron Paul as the winner of the debate. Ron Paul smoked the other arguing and war mongering candidates by far.

  • Ghostwriter

    Sadly,Ron Paul lives in a fantasy world. He doesn't care about anyone other than himself. Why should Cuban-Americans or anyone else vote for him? We need leaders who live in the real world,not people like Ron Paul or Barack Obama who live in the the Land of Make-Believe.

  • Ghostwriter

    Oh,and by the way,I'm no fan of Castro and I won't shed any tears when he does die.

  • Amused

    It's the " soup de jour " for politicians to come to Florida and stroke the Cuban Americans . Then the B.S. flows like water .

  • JL Sinclair

    According to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. has transacted almost $4 billion in trade with Cuba over the past decade. Up until two years ago, the U.S. served as Stalinist Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. We’ve fallen a few notches recently but we’re still in the top half. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Stalinist Cuba’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid, including medicine and medical supplies, for decades. Here’s more for over a decade the so-called U.S. embargo has merely stipulated that Castro’s Stalinist regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Ex-Im (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales. Enacted by the Bush team in 2001, this cash-up-front policy has been monumentally beneficial to U.S. taxpayers, making them among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by the Castro regime, which per capita-wise qualifies as the world’s biggest debtor nation, with a foreign debt of close to $50 billion, a credit rating nudging Somalia’s and an uninterrupted record of defaults. Standard & Poors refuses even to rate Cuba, regarding the economic figures released by its Stalinist apparatchiks as utterly bogus

  • aspacia

    Don't believe what any analyst claims because they are usually in the bag for one of the candidates and scew the their data.