Eight Republican presidential candidates took to the stage at Oakland University in Michigan on Wednesday, but the debate was decidedly cooler than those of past weeks. The economy and jobs became the focus over Herman Cain’s recent accusations of sexual harassment, and, surprisingly, there was little conversation about the collapse of Michigan’s Big Three automakers.
The allegations that Herman Cain had sexually harassed four women came up only once during the two-hour debate. When asked by the moderator about the whether Americans should vote for someone whose character has been called into question, Cain answered: “I value my character and my integrity more than anything else. And for every one person that comes forward with an unfair accusation there are probably, there are thousands who come forward and say none of that ever happened with Herman Cain,” reports the Associated Press.
As the debate took place in Michigan, a state where unemployment is at 11.1 percent, which surpasses the national nine percent jobless rate, the conversation then moved to jobs. Texas Gov. Rick Perry charged that the next president should measure all of the government regulations enacted since President Barack Obama took office by whether they created jobs. Any that failed should be repealed, he said.
The candidates talked little about the collapse of the Michigan auto industry, which accepted in 2008 and 2009 a federal bailout backed by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Interestingly, all eight of the candidates said they wouldn’t have offered government assistance.
The candidates agreed again on the topic of Europe’s recent financial woes, saying that the U.S. should not provide Italy and other counties with a bailout. They warned if U.S. deficits aren’t cut and the economy healed, America could suffer the same fate.