In the second major Republican Presidential 'debate' for the 2012 election cycle, eight of the declared candidates appeared on the stage front and center to answer questions from a Fox News panel and anchor Chris Wallace. The term 'debate' is an erroneous way to describe these events, which are nothing similar to the classic debate format but are more like candidates' forums or joint news conferences. Nonetheless, the evening proved to be electrifying both on the stage and in the audience.
Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney all came out swinging in an effort to demonstrate the 'fire in the belly.' The audience loved it, giving the candidates wildly enthusiastic applause and several standing ovations.
As promised, the candidates will be periodically rated based upon their performance on the campaign trail and their 'debate' appearances. The rating system is one that this writer developed prior to the 2008 Presidential campaign, which focuses on ten central issues of paramount importance to conservatives--jobs and the economy, government spending, small government, border security, immigration policy, taxes, abortion, foreign policy, terrorism, and the national defense. Candidates are rated on each of these issues based upon a scale of 1 to 10, with10 being the top score and 1 being the lowest. Then, the scores are compiled for an overall score.