The GOP presidential hopefuls debated in Florida prior to the state's primary. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) – The Republican presidential candidates seemed to distance themselves from the Bush administration's economic policies just hours after the president gave his approval to a stimulus package meant to boost the fragile U.S. economy.
During their Thursday debate, the Republican White House hopefuls faulted the president for unrestrained government spending over the last seven years.
Bush "signed into law two years in a row pork-laden bills...which are outrageous," said John McCain, who said he'd restore "fiscal discipline" to Washington.
Mitt Romney said he would "run away" from the high-spending, high-deficit record of Washington.
"They said they'd rein in spending," he said. "But somehow, every year more and more money goes in."
Mike Huckabee chimed in with a populist theme, saying the government should to pay more attention to Americans living paycheck to paycheck.
"I think people need in the president, is somebody who understands the totality of the American family, and not just the folks at the top," Huckabee said.
Rep. Ron Paul said what the country needed was a return to the "old-fashioned Republican program" of cutting taxes and reducing the size of government.
"I can't be identified with this," Paul said of the economic troubles plaguing the country. "I was waving the flag the whole time, saying, 'Slow up, slow up.'"
–CNN Associate Producer Rachel Streitfeld
All their attempts to distance themselves from Bush have such a hollow ring. Republicans are going to continue to line the pockets of the wealthiest Americans while saying to heck with the rest of us. We cannot afford another Bush. We cannot afford another Republican.
Looks like The Republicans are scared of Hillary! They keep bringing her name up!!
Of course it was Dr Ron Paul. He is the only one talking about economics without just printing more dollars as all the others want to do.
About 20 min into the debate Tim asked Mit a question and Mit had an answer whispered to him. Tivo it. Check it out you can distinctly here a loud whisper "raise taxes"
Ron Paul's tie says it all! His colors are a combination of ALL the colors worn by the men around him, showing that he embodies ALL the dreams of the men shown standing with him! Hey...the tie don't lie!
What a sad group! However it takes all kinds, to each it's own!
These guys need to stay in the private sector to impose less
harm to others!
Continue the past 29 yrs of Kraziness is not only stupid but
irresponsible! This platform must never rear it's ugly head
to rein power over the Commons again? Bad/ Short memory?
Boy a third party is looking real good!
Impeach bush & cheney / cohorts
Republicans after taking office with a $260,000,000 surplus have turned that into a $260,000,000 deficit.
Republicans are good at talking fiscal responsiblity when they're not in charge, but heaven help us when they are, they spend drunken sailors.
The debate was great stuff, I am a Democrat and thought it was very telling that the only name mentioned by the Republican candidates was Hillary Clinton, over and over again. I agree with them, she will be the Democrat running against them.
I am thinking about donating my $300 rebate to Ron Pauls campaign. Getting him elected is the only way to stimulate the economy and get this country to where it needs to be.
Right now our economic reputation is embarrasing. Our busy body attitude and foreign policy is embarrasing. Our government is a shambles and we are trying to teach the Iraq people how to run things. We have got to be the laughing stock of the world. When I travel I dont let anyone know I am "american" because I am embarrased and afraid. You know, nobody like us. You wouldnt like your nieghbor camping out on your property now would you? Nobody else gets to build bases here so why are we camping out on other peoples property?
Dr. Paul wins every debate because he is the only one with the courage to speak the truth. What is a real shame is that the media is ignoring him. CNN and others think we dont notice this. They are wrong we do notice.
Americans should be ashamed that Ron Paul was ignored from debating.
MSNBC is another manipulative media outlet.
This is another sad day in American history.
Keep supporting Ron Paul & if you are against him....at least compare his positions from 19 years ago compared to today.
He is the only one who can say he stands by his voting record & is not connected to big money interests.
Then make your decision. Don't just accept the opinion of someone you respect.
Investigate him yourself. He is a great man.
Just look at the picture being shown, you could paste and cuts the heads and no one would know the difference. They're interchageable.
Four Black Suits, and one Blue Suit.
Two Solid Blue Ties, Two Solid Red Ties, and One Striped Red, Navy Blue and Light Blue Tie.
FINAL SCORE Question asked: romney 14 mccain 13 giuliani 9 huckabee 9 paul 6
I have a bumper sticker on my car that reads: I'm a democrate because who has ever hear of a great piece of elephant. That bumper sticker has drawn a number of people to me that tell me Democrats are for big government. However, in the last 7 years, Washington has taken a bigger role in my life then ever before. Where are the republicans who feel like they should butt out. No child left behind? Not a repubilcan issue from the capital. Gay marriage? not for the federal government to decide. The states have that right, thanks to the republicans. Or at least it was??? Why are there wire taps on our phones? Big Brother is supposed to be the democrats watching. Anymore, I feel like the republicans are the ones with there nose in my business for the sake of national...spending...on private contracts that benefit someone in the administration.
The wisper "raise taxes" wasn't from anyone talking to Romney.....you could hear wispering the whole debate, it was from one of the other candidates
These morons are going to turn Bush's deficit around by cutting taxes...Wow, pigs do fly.. How stupid do they think people are? Yea, everytime I have a budget deficit in my household I cut my income. That helps alot. Who swallows this crap anyway???
You might be able to paste and cut heads but Ron Pauls message rings true and is not interchangeable. Beside I would know him by his tie.
Out of this group, I could live with McCain. However, for a guy that has been a Senator for a very long time, it is laughable that he is outraged by pork in bills. When hasn't there been pork in a bill over the past several decades? Did he vote down virtually ever bill that has crossed his desk...doubt it.
That said, Bush has driven our economy into the ground and McCain is right to scold him on his fiscal discipline....I just wish he did it starting 7 years ago!
Exactly , only 6 questions were asked of Ron Paul. Bias? Do we have to be rocket scientist to know what the media is doing? If you think this is unfair? Write to the media and let them know how unjust they are. If enough people complain about the unjust and unfair treatment of the candidates then maybe they will do better.
Romney all the way!!this is actually a man that has run a corporation before,just what we need in times of economic hardship!!!and oh he can take on both clintons!!let's go romney!i think somebody is gonna wake up from a dream come november,the clintons will not be allowed back to the white house!!never!!!!
Everytime i have a budget deficit in my house I cut spending. I work hard for my money and I dont expect a hand out. I dont appreciate giving to a governemnt that waste it. The government can learn to live without our income.
Well done Mitt Romney! You have a plan to improve our country and the entire world will be gratefull!
Romney will bring change, efficiency and respect to the oval office!
I heard the whisper to Mitt "raise taxes" when asked if he would do what Reagan did in the 80's... I guess that truly makes Mitt a stuffed shirt and brings reality to his statement "I'd have to consult my lawyers"
McCain lied on his first question, he did say in an earlier debate he wasn't comfortable with economics.
Hillary was talked about way too much.. stick with the agenda boys.
Ron Paul, no air time.. shame on the system, shame on MSNBC.
Mike Huckabee did a great job, especially with his comment that the stimulus package would stimulate China.
Rudy.. I don't like him..he didn't do poorly, but he didn't shine.
The worst performer was MSNBC for not giving Ron Paul equal time and asking questions based on useless polls. Russert is not a good moderator. Overall, it was a bad debate, but not because the candidates..but because MSNBC really sucked.
At least the candidates didn't waste people's time attacking each other during the debate. It's funny how now the economy has now become the dominant issue – Congressman Ron Paul got into politics 30 years ago because he was concerned about America's economic policy, and rightfully so. He is a self-dedicated student of Austrian economics and can talk circles around all of the candidates on this issue. His voting record in Congress has always been consistent and he understands and speaks for the economic plight of the American general public – not corporate businessmen, not politicians, and not lobbyists or people controlled by the Council on Foreign Relations. I know who I trust my future and the future of my fellow citizens with!
Hey Ivan from Chicago: You left off three zeros from your financial figures.
Ron Paul 08
The media is a joke its time to wake up and take back our country
from the corporations