Presidential Candidates Battle in Orlando

ORLANDO (2011-9-23) -

The three-day Presidency 5 event kicked off with a flourish Thursday night, as nine candidates took to the stage of the Orange County Convention Center. There was less sniping between the candidates than at last week’s presidential debate in Tampa – which suited some people in the audience.

Most of the candidate’s comments were directed at making Barack Obama a one-term president, which was fine with Charlotte Beasley of Boca Raton. She supported Mitt Romney four years ago, and says she’s torn between Romney and Rick Perry. But Beasley wishes they’d stop attacking each other and talk about the issues.

"Social Security, that’s something I’d wish they’d discuss, creating more jobs for Floridians, that’s something they have to discuss," she says, "the economy, the stock market crashing, all these horrible things, evacuation plans if we have a natural disaster, these are Florida issues."

Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida, says Romney scored some points against Perry on the issue of illegal immigrants.

"He really discovered the Achilles heel of Perry, with the in-state tuition issue," says MacManus, "when many parents around the country, and including Florida, are struggling to put their children in schools and sometimes can’t even get them into the state schools of their choice."

The Presidency 5 event continues today with a debate among the candidates vying to unseat Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.

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