Play By Play Between the Chicken Hawk and the Liar

The debate Saturday night was heated, to say the least. Many of the candidates got into rapid fire arguments. One of note began with Ron Paul’s assertion that Newt Gingrich was a chicken hawk for not serving in the military. Gingrich’s response starts by saying such a statement was Dr. Paul’s ‘style’, perhaps to lessen the blow of the name he’s been called. He then tries to gain ethos through his father’s experience in the military which gives him some ground to say he understands veterans. He then references a meeting he had in New Hampshire – this aims to gain points in Tuesday’s primary – to improve veteran health care. His use of ‘army brat’ strikes me as negative, although I was,for a brief time, an army brat myself, in that I don’t want a brat as a president, and it doesn’t seem to carry enough gravitas to equate him with someone who has actually served.

Next comes a barrage from Dr. Paul. He first stand by his use of ‘chicken hawk’ and furthers it by saying that people, “who don’t serve when they could… have no right to send our kids to war.” This is a powerful statement in reference to Gingrich, who according to Paul, got several deferments. Mentioning sending kids to war definitely scores Paul some Pathos points. Then he goes after more than just Gingrich. He calls the current wars ‘undeclared’ and ‘un-winnable’. This must be the ‘style’ to which Gingrich referred, and it may hurt Paul if the audience was for America’s current wars, but may be particularly strong if the support for the wars has waned. He goes on to count up the dead and wounded of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and says how his ‘heart weeps’ for the young veterans, more pathos.

Gingrich fires back by calling Paul a liar. He defends himself by saying he never asked for deferment. He was married with a child. This pecks away at Paul’s ethos. Also his father was serving at that time. He garners pathos by saying how worried he was about his father while he was serving and finishes by saying he resents Paul’s slandering. Paul replies very simply, “I was married and had two kids, and I went.” Gingrich’s reply is almost drowned out by Paul’s applause, “I wasn’t eligible for the draft. I wasn’t eligible for the draft.”

Paul won this argument regardless if he lied about the deferments or not. He established much more ethos as a commander-in-chief by being in the military than Gingrich, who was only in a military family.

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