In the 2012 Election cycle I watched the 27 Republican debates and forums. If I had a vote in that primary I am still not sure who I would have voted for. I decided I’ll watch all of the debates and forums on both sides of the 2016 Election and post some thoughts here with an Israeli perspective.

Tonight was the first Republican Forum, think of this as a blog summary of thoughts, not an official piece.

Israel Count: 4 candidates

Jindal won the Israel count by mentioning Israel three times. He spoke at length about national security issues.  At the beginning he focused more on Democrats and DC.

Fiorina mentioned both Israel and “her friend” Benjamin Netanyahu. She seemed very knowledgeable on national security issues, but on domestic issues she remained unclear as to a majority of her positions. She focused her time talking about leadership, Hillary and reform.

Santorum mentioned Israel in the context of advice he is internalizing. He focused his time on immigration, judicial issues and economy and taxes.

Cruz also mentioned Israel. He started off on national security and moved on to discuss DC and entitlements.

National Security: 6 candidates

Graham seemed overall the most polished on national security issues, but his gaffe when he started talking domestic politics during the last 30 seconds will be memorable.

Christie talked mostly about entitlements and drugs, but answered national security questions at the end.

Pataki talked mostly about entitlements, veterans and manufacturing, but also touched on national security.

Rubio focused on drugs and immigration, and talked about national security at the end of his time.

Paul probably insulted China and/or Russia with his “once great superpowers” gaffe. His views on national security and civil rights do put him apart from the rest of the pack.

Bush was flustered and stuttered himself through the national security questions before settling down with domestic tops that included economic growth and the Bush Family. I suspect he will do poorly at the Fox debate.

Domestic Politics: 4 candidates

Perry talked about immigration, energy, economy and taxes.

Kasich talked about immigration, economy and his long political career.

Walker talked about the environment, economy, unions and entitlements.

Carson talked about entitlements, taxes and judicial issues. He stuttered a few times. I suspect he will do very poorly on the big stage.

  • Three candidates did not participate in the First Forum that took place tonight: Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump.