At the Southern Republican Debate in South Carolina last night, all four remaining candidates said that they were against PIPA and SOPA. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said that they were against the anti-piracy bills that sparked an Internet protest on Wednesday.
C|Net has a full transcript of all of the candidates’ comments, but two are worth emphasizing. First Texas Congressman Ron Paul points out correctly that he was the first Republican Presidential candidate to strongly and publicly oppose SOPA and PIPA:
"I was the first Republican to sign on with a host of Democrats to oppose this law. And we have worked — we have had a concerted effort, and I feel like we're making achievement. This bill is not going to pass. But watch out for the next one," Paul said. "And I am pleased that the attitude has sort of mellowed up here, because the Republicans unfortunately have been on the wrong side of this issue. And this is a good example on why it's good to have somebody that can look at civil liberties and work with coalitions and bring people together. Freedom and the Constitution bring factions together. I think this is a good example."
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rich Santorum begrudgingly agreed with the other candidates, but he also said that the Internet should not be a place where "anything goes." His opposition to the bill seems soft..
"I don't support this law," Santorum said. "And I agree with everybody up here that is goes too far. But I will not agree with everybody up here that there isn't something that can and should be done to protect the intellectual property rights of people."
"The Internet is not a free zone where anybody can do anything they want to do and trample the rights of other people, and particularly when we're talking about — in this case, we're talking about entities offshore that are doing so, that are pirating things. So, the idea that the government — that you have businesses in this country, and that the government has no role to try to protect the intellectual property of people who have those rights in this country from people overseas pirating them and then selling them back into this country, it's great."
"I mean, I'm for free, but I'm not for people abusing the law. And that's what's happening right now, and I think something proper should be done. I agree this goes too far. But the idea that, you know, anything goes on the Internet, where did that come from? Where in America does it say that anything goes? We have laws, and we respect the law. And the rule of law is an important thing, and property rights should be respected."
It should also be noted that the guy running for reelection, President Barack Obama, has come out against both bills in their present form, saying that he would not support them without addressing everyone’s concerns..