GOFFSTOWN, N.H.--The GOP presidential debate is providing a preview of how White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will be fileted if he is the Democratic nominee. All the Republicans slammed the newly minted frontrunner as either too inexperienced or too liberal or both. They are doing what would be unthinkable by any of Obama's Democratic rivals: calling him unqualified to be president practically to his face. They collectively provided the summation of what the Republican case against Obama would include.
The attacks showcases a point Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has been making since the start of the campaign: that no Democratic contender will be immune from GOP attacks, even Obama, who has soared on his popular "why can't we all get along" message.
As Clinton considers an aggressive assault on Obama's record--a very dicey proposition for he since Obama will just say she is going negative, which voters don't like--she has the GOP to thank for doing her heavy lifting.
The gates opened to provide the harshest assessement given to Obama since he started his presidential quest nearly a year ago when Scott Spradling, WMUR-TV news anchor asked the Republicans to say "why not him" if he is the nominee.
Here's the replies:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Obama would move the country towards "socialized medicine" and "he really doesn't have any experience."
Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) said of Obama "His positions are very liberal positions. His first alternative to all problems, as best I can see, is not only the government but the federal government. He's talking in generalities right now. As the time goes on, the process goes on, I think he'll have to be more definitive, but it's clear from what he's said so far that he's taking that position."
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who has occasionally clashed with Obama in the Senate, said "Senator Obama does not have the national security experience and background to lead this nation. We are facing the transcendent challenge of the 21st century, and that is radical Islamic extremism. In his recent statements on various foreign national security issues I've strongly disagreed, but I am -- can make it perfectly clear that it requires a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience and a lot of background to have the judgment to address the challenges that our nation faces in the 21st century."
Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani said "I think the problem Barack Obama would have is, first of all, he's never run a city, never run a state, never run a business. I don't think, at a time when America's at war, with the major problems that we face, we're going to want someone to get on- the-job experience as the chief executive, never having had that kind of experience."
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Obama is likeable but would be a taxer. "I think we also ought to recognize that what Senator Obama has done is to touch at the core of something Americans want. They are so tired of everything being horizontal -- left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. They're looking for vertical leadership that leads up, not down. He has excited a lot of voters in this country. Let's pay respect for that. He's a likable person who has excited people about wanting to vote who have not voted in the past."
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) noted that he and Obama appeal to youthful voters but Obama is "with monetary policy.
I mean, he -- he is too much into the welfare state issue, not quite understanding how free market economics is the truly compassionate system. If we care about the poor and want to help the poor, you have to have free markets. You can't have a welfare state in order to try to take care of people.