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
Ron Paul made some interesting points, but more than likely he will not get hardly any legislation past through congresss.
Thought McCain came out on top.
I'M BLACK AND MY VOTE GOES FOR RON PAUL. HE IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS. ALL THE RESTOF THE CANIDATES SWAY WITH THE WIND. AND GONNA SELL US OUT TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER SOME AS THEY TOUCH THEY OFFICE. THE GUY JUST MAKES SINCE. AND SHAME ON CNN AND THE PRESS FOR TRING TO SAY HES RACIST BECAUSE HE STARTED GAINING MOMENTUM.
Reggie, Anehime, Cal.
"Boy a third party looks good"
You are always free to join Hillarys 3rd Reicht.
Why is it that only Ron Paul, Mike Huckaby and myself understand what this phony stimulus package is all about? The government wants to give us back a small portion of our own money. But we haven't given this money to the government yet! Our government will have to borrow this money from China and will have to be repaid by our children and grandchildren. The best investment we could all make with this money is to forward it to the Ron Paul for President campaign. The return on our money would be astronomical.
I am really surprised by the ignorance of people. "Romney will bring change, efficiency and respect to the oval office!".. are you serious? Have you listened to him talk? It is typical politics. Promise everything and avoid giving details so as to get elected.. and then when in office, make excuses and ignore compaign promises.
Hmmm...it's about time someone adressed Ron Paul – it seems as if even though he's been doing better than Giuliani, he still gets the back burner. When is the media going to realize that he is a serious candidate? If everyone thinks "why try for Paul, he has no chance" then he really won't have a chance! Every vote counts, and the media needs to recognize that Paul is real.
If the Media doesnt cover someone, that SOMEONE must be trying to tell you the TRUTH. Take a closer look at Ron Paul,A True American Patriot.
Loved Mitt's blue suit.
Ron get the heck out of the GOP now now now!!!!!!!!! You are a different breed and you should rally those who are not into the current superstructure. Just run as an independent. Please Ron Paul. I beg you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Paul wins again, he's definately got my vote!
Even if he isn't elected, at least I know I was part of the crowd who tried saving this country. I can't believe the sheeple actually want hillary or obama, what a sham. If we had Dr. Paul then all of us would be helped!
DOWN WITH BIG GOVT, RON PAUL 2008!!
He's definately the most intelligent choice.
Bush spent like Hillary will – if elected!
Dude, right on there borethr.