Liveblogging The GOP Debate At 9 PM EST


Tonight at 9 PM EST, there will be a GOP debate in Iowa. I will be liveblogging. So, when you turn on the TV to watch the debate, head over to RWN and chip in your two cents in the comments section while you’re watching.

9:02: Here. We. Go.

9:02. You politicians, who speak in nothing but talking points, can you put aside the talking points? Dumb opener.

9:03: Michele Bachmann is sticking with her, “We shouldn’t have raised the debt ceiling at all” position, which appeals to certain people, but is a perfectly ridiculous position. She’s a really polished speaker though.

9:04: Mitt, after giving a really boring answer, is asked about being MIA on the debt ceiling debate until the very end. Mitt gives a really awful, equivocating answer, although I did like his saying he wasn’t”eating Barack Obama’s dog food.”

9:09: Rambling answer from Ron Paul. Getting into militarism and stuck on the idea of getting anything through a divided Congress.

9:10: Jon Huntsman, you don’t seem to have a plan. You’re doing an economic council or something? Huntsman: I have a great record in Utah! I will do what I did in Utah. Charisma-free. He also reminds me of a less oranged Charlie Crist, which is not a good first impression.

9:11: Newt — you’ve been asking about divided government: I’ve passed successful legislation WITH divided government. Really good answer.

9:13: TPaw: Where’s Obama’s plan? I’ll give a prize to anyone who finds Obama’s plan on those issues, I will come to your house and cook your dinner or mow your law — in Mitt’s case, I’d limit it to one acre. Great answer! Great sound byte!

9:16: Santorum tries to show some fire, but…

9:16: TPaw, is Bachmann unqualified to be President or is she just beating you in the polls? She hasn’t accomplished anything in Congress. I’ve done things in Minnesota, while she’s done nothing in Congress.

9:20: Bachmann — TPaw, you said the era of small government was over, pushed cap and trade, you remind me of Barack Obama. He wanted Minnesotans to buy into his unconstitutional mandate. I didn’t pass legislation — I fought the Left’s agenda.

9:20: TPaw — She’s a LIAR and she failed to stop Obamacare and the rest of the awful stuff Obama did.

9:21: Bachmann: I fought Reid, Pelosi, and the rest all the way. I was their #1 target last year

9:22: Tpaw and Bachmann went head-to-head right there and when it was all said and done, TPaw was raw meat squirming on the floor. Ouch. They probably would have BOTH been better served by not making it such a nasty personal fight.

9:24: Romney scores a couple of points by saying if you want people with private sector experience, it’s me or Herman Cain.

9:27: Newt, your whole campaign staff quit. What does that say about you? Newt: Fox should put aside the talking points. Like Reagan and McCain, I’ve had staffers quit. I’d love to see this focus on issues. Although I’ve enjoyed the tough questions, Newt’s response was outstanding.

9:30: Huntman, you served under Obama and supported the stimulus. Are you running for the wrong party’s presidential nomination? Huntsman — I’m running on my record.

9:31: Herman Cain — you have said some controversial things about Muslims. How do you reassure people you know enough to run for President?

9:33: Gov. Huntsman, do you want citizenship for illegal immigrants? Huntsman dodges the question.

9:34: You wanted to import more foreign labor at one point. Do you still want to do that? No, but we need a better class of more educated immigrants. Decent answer.

9:35: Herman Cain: America’s got to learn how to take a joke. — Good line.

9:37: Newt Gingrich: We can control the border. English should be the official language of America.

9:38: Ron Paul, you’re against e-verify. Why? It puts too much strain on businesses. He inserts “militarism” into his answer again — which is weird.

9:40: Mitt Romney — I got a credit rating increase in my state. We balanced the budget every year I was Governor. Great answer. Sigh.

9:42: TPaw — I did agree to a cigarette fee, but I balanced the budget every time in Minnnesota. Obama should cancel his vacation and get back to work on this.

9:43: You voted for that cigarette fee. It’s TPaw’s fault — he combined a pro-life bill and a cigarette fee because he negotiated with the special interests.

9:44: TPaw: Bachmann led and failed in Congress!

9:44: Bachmann: I wouldn’t sell you out like TPaw

(TPaw and Bachmann hit again and Bachmann was like a truck going head-to-head with a deer — and TPaw’s the deer.)

9:48: Every hand goes up when asked if they’d walk away from a 10-to-1 cuts to taxes deal. I WOULDN’T walk away from that deal.

9:49: Newt scores again by slamming the super committee.

9:50: Tpaw gets another shot on Obamaneycare: Obamacare was patterned after Romneycare. Anyone should admit that. Mitt ran up spending 40% in 4 years. 2 out of 3 of Mitt’s judge selections were liberals. TPaw scores.

9:51: Romney goes to the 10th Amendment argument on Romneycare. That’s a terrible argument.

9:52: Do you think anyone has the right to make someone buy a good or service because he’s an American? Where is that in the Constitution? Mitt dodges.

9:54: Bachmann, the government CANNOT force you to buy health care and I will not rest until it’s repealed.

9:55: Ron Paul sounds like a crank tonight. He’s gone backwards from his last debate.

9:57: Santorum veers completely off the rails to take a shot at Bachmann on forced sterilization or something.

10:01: Bachmann wasn’t on stage when they came back from the commercial. She came right back after. Interesting.

10:02: Now it’s a lightning round where everyone beats up on Perry and Palin.

10:03: Bachmann — I love Palin and I welcome Palin into the race.

10:04: Is it still worth it for us to be in Afghanistan? TPaw says yes, but we should be drawing down.

10:06: Mitt, we should drawdown the troops, but Obama is doing it too fast for politics sake.

10:08: Newt hammers Fox again for taking him out of context. Sounded a little ranty there.

10:10: Huntsman: Cyber attacks are acts of war.

10:11: TPaw: We should take every plausible step to stop Iran from getting nukes. Obama should tell Assad that he should go. We should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel.

10:12: Ron Paul: The CIA tells me there’s no evidence they’re working on a nuke. Wait, what? Ron Paul has no problem with Iran having nukes. Ron Paul sounds like somebody’s crazy Grandpa up there & his fans are cheering him. Ugh.

10:16: Rick Santorum tries to score some points off of Paul, Rudi Giuliani style, and fails.

10:17: There’s more to politics than bombs and bullets. There’s bombs, bullets, and economic policy. We should use our energy resources.

10:18: Bachmann: Gitmo good, giving Miranda rights to foreign terrorists, stopping Iran from getting nukes is a high a priority.

10:21: Santorum is giving a mashed up statement about Iran, but the world can’t afford to have Iranian nukes.

Inexplicably, Fox has managed to work Ron Paul’s wild eyed rambling into almost every foreign policy question and he sounds just awful; yet his every utterance is followed by clapping from his glassy-eyed followers who’d applaud Paul asking what the weather’s like. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

10:26: Newt — there is nothing illegitimate about making sure people who work for the government are legal. We need better security provisions across the board to make sure people are loyal to the government. Very good answer.

10:28: Herman Cain: Is your focus on other people’s religion hurting your campaign? Honest answer: Oh, yes. Herman Cain answer: I’m committed to the First Amendment.

10:29: Michelle Bachmann, would you be submissive to your husband if you were President? Answer: Submission to me means respect and I love my husband and respect him.

10:30: Mitt — marriage is a status that should be dealt with federally because people move from state to state. Marriage should be between a man and woman.

10:32: Jon Huntsman, you favor civil unions. Yes, I do.

10:33: Ron Paul — Polygamy is completely unrealistic, so nothing to worry about there.

10:35: Rick Santorum: Sounds like Ron Paul would be fine with polygamy.

10:36: Rick Santorum: Are you against abortion even for rape and incest? Yes.

10:37: Tpaw: Who’s more pro-life — you or Santorum? I’ve done more in the real world to limit abortions, as opposed to rhetoric.

10:39: I thought Mitt Romney was going to say he wouldn’t extend unemployment benefits, but he dodged. I THINK he’s saying he wouldn’t, but…

10:42: Huntsman stumbles all over when he was asked about creating jobs in his company overseas.

10:43: Bachmann — do not raise the debt ceiling. I wouldn’t raise it at all. I love Bachmann and I know a lot of people like her “don’t ever raise the debt ceiling argument” but that position is ludicrous.

10:45: Herman Cain, I am not concerned what they’ll do with that money if they bring it back, I just want them to bring it back.

10:47: Newt Gingrich — The Fed should be totally audited. Their monetary policy since the late nineties has been a big problem and it’s scandalous that they can do this privately.

10:49: Ron Paul! Fed! Rarrrrrr!

10:49: Rick Santorum — Just because Ron Paul is mostly wrong doesn’t mean he’s always wrong. To suggest that we should never raise the debt ceiling is showmanship, not leadership.

10:54: Bachmann reiterates that she wouldn’t raise the debt ceiling.

10:55: Huntsman. Kill No-Child Left Behind and I loved the Boehner deal.

Closing.

Rick Santorum: I’ve beaten 3 incumbent Democrats.

Herman Cain: Send a business problem solver to Washington.

Ron Paul: I’m down on wars, gold standard, ramble, ramble, RARRRRR!

Mitt Romney: In order to create jobs, it’s helpful to have had a job.

Michele Bachmann: Vote for me at Ames!

TPaw: America’s best days are ahead if I’m President!

Huntsman: Obama won on hope; I’m going to win on solutions!

Newt: We need real help now!

Summary: Fox fired off a lot of “gotcha” questions and quite frankly, if any other network had done this debate, conservatives would be up in arms about all of the “media bias.”

Going on to the candidates, there was no stand-out performance. Nobody really covered themselves in glory and you might be able to fairly say that Rick Perry won, by not being part of a not particularly impressive debate. But, if I had to pick a winner, it would be….

Winner: Newt Gingrich. He went a little overboard protesting the questions, but he gave intelligent, solid answers and he had some good lines. Good night for him.

Runner-Up: Mitt Romney. Romney was solid all-night long, had some good lines, and benefited from soft questions and a minimal number of attacks from the other candidates, but he still sounded absolutely terrible on health care.

Michele Bachmann: Bachmann gave a lot of good answers and generally sounded good except on her popular, but ludicrous suggestion that she didn’t ever want to raise the debt ceiling which Rick Santorum notably called “showmanship, not leaership.” Bachmann also got into a really nasty running brouhaha with Tim Pawlenty. On the plus side, people tend to assume women aren’t tough enough to stand in there under fire. If anyone had those sort of doubts about Bachmann, they should be dispelled. On the other hand, with a firebrand like Bachmann, people want to be reassured that she’s not going to go off the reservation and do something wild. It probably hurt her on that front. So, how that plays out over the long-haul remains to be seen.

Herman Cain: Although his answers were solid, Cain wasn’t as charismatic as normal. It may be be a case where he was tired or a little off his game for some reason.

Rick Santorum: He had a couple of good lines, but Santorum doesn’t have a lot of charisma and he probably didn’t help himself very much with this debate.

Debate Loser: When Ron Paul is on, he tends to sound pretty good on everything except foreign policy. When he’s off, like he was tonight, he sounds like someone’s crazy grandpa. At times, he sounded like a crank who didn’t belong on the stage.

Debut Loser: This was Jon Huntsman’s introduction to the public and he came across as a dull, plodding RINO who’s way out of his depth.

The Big Loser: Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty had good answers, good lines, and generally did a good job. However, and this a HUGE however, the battle between him and Bachmann was like a deer going toe-to-toe with a truck. She stomped a mudhole in his behind and walked it dry, right there in front of the world. If Pawlenty, who deserves to be a top tier contender, but isn’t, was trying to make up for his reluctance to attack Romney at the last big debate by being combative with Bachmann, it was a major miscalculation.

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