Saturday, December 10, 2011

Liveblog -- GOP debate


Just quick takes:

Michele Bachmann suggests that what we really need to do is raise taxes on 47% of Americans.

Mitt Romney is all about plans. Obama doesn't plan enough.

Rick Santorum: I'm all for tax cuts, but not for the peasants.

Ron Paul: If you want to save Social Security, stop spending money on everything else.

Q: "Who is the most consistent conservative candidate?" Mitt Romney says he understands meritocracy, while Newt wants to mine minerals on the moon. And because he's been in the private sector, he understands that central planning works.

Oh, snap! Gingrich to Romney: "The only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to Ted Kennedy in 1994." Gets big applause for defending letting young people work.

Paul and Bachmann take Gingrich down a few notches on Freddie Mac.

Bachmann says she's the real consistent conservative because she's spent 50 years in the private sector (doing tax law and collecting farm subsidies).

Bachmann accuses Romney of being the only governor who put socialized medicine into place. Apparently she was too busy in the private sector to notice Howard Dean.

Bachmann: "Newt Romney," evil twins.

Gingrich to Bachmann: You're lying about me. I opposed cap and trade, I opposed ObamaCare, I wasn't a lobbyist.

Romney: "I know Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich is a friend of mine. But Newt and I aren't clones."

Perry. Sorry, I can't seem to stay awake when Perry talks.

Hate to say it, but Bachmann's winning this debate. She's making Romney and Gingrich look like chumps, and she's keeping Santorum from getting much of a word in edgewise.

Santorum compliments Bachmann on fighting the good fight and losing, claims he fought and won. Bachmann rebuts that she was in the GOP minority, Santorum had a majority to work with.

Diane Sawyer says hey, we need to go by the rules here. I don't think George Stephanopoulos has said a word yet.

At the commercial break, I read Bachmann as pretty much romping. She's got Romney and Gingrich on the defensive. I was hearing that this debate would be Santorum's showcase, and he's not doing too badly, but Bachmann's on a rampage and taking scalps.

OK, we're back and George is now talking. Q: Should voters consider marital fidelity an issue?

Perry: His vow to his wife and to God is even stronger than a handshake in Texas.

Santorum: Character counts, but people make mistakes and it's not the only thing to worry about. More accommodating line than I expected from him.

Paul: Important, but not something we should have to talk about. Gets on a pretty good roll about the oath of office.

Romney: I've got core values to keep us from becoming a Greece or Italy. Because Mussolini didn't know how to make the trains run on time, but I do.

Bachmann: "The measure of a man or woman" is what the founders emphasized. She's a Christian, proud of it, may even be a virgin.

Gingrich: It's a real issue. People have the right to ask any question to decide if they trust. I've made mistakes, I've had to go to God for forgiveness. But I'm a 68-year-old grandfather and I hope people will look at who I am now.

Immigration. We know you all want to secure the borders, but the question is what to do about the 11 million immigrants who are here without some politicians' permission.

Gingrich: Local boards should decide who gets to stay based on whether they're an honest, valuable part of the community. But I still want a police state and to conscript employers as unpaid ICE agents.

Romney: Not for amnesty. Any kind of amnesty encourages people going places without my permission.

Perry: Enforce the laws already on the books (except for the Constitution, which makes all federal immigration laws void, of course). Opposes Obama's "catch and release" method (never mind that Obama has deported nearly as many in three years as Bush did in eight).

Q: Gingrich called the Palestinians an "invented people." Do you agree?

Paul: Disagrees. Opposes intervention, but believes we should re-write history to make Arab "Palestinians" exist as a group before 1948 because it's the diplomatic thing to do. Or something like that.

Gingrich: "Is what I said factually correct? Is it historically true? Yes." And doesn't care if the Arab "leaders" are mad about it because they're terrorists anyway. "Enough lying about the Middle East."

Romney: Agrees with most of what Newt says except for Palestinians being an invented people. We shouldn't get ahead of Israel or try to set their positions for them. Obama, despite the fact that he takes exactly the same line as every president since Reagan, is anti-Israel.

Gingrich: This is a propaganda war in which the Arabs are lying and we need to stand for the truth.

Romney: We shouldn't speak for Israel.

Gingrich: I'm not speaking for Israel, I'm speaking as an historian.

Bachmann's no longer controlling the floor. She needs to get back in there or lose what she gained in the first segment.

Gingrich: "I am a Reaganite. I am proud to be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth ..."

Bachmann: I went to Israel in 1974 and worked on a kibbutz. Been to Israel as a congresswoman. Talked with Fayed, asked him why they teach children hatred of Jews, he says they don't do it. I pulled out pages showing it. That's what needs to change.

Santorum: You have to speak the truth, but you have to do it prudently. We have an ally, Mitt is right, we should be working with them, not saying inflammatory stuff. Then says West Bank is Israeli land.

Perry: This is a minor issue. Obama has a muddled foreign policy. Now Iran has one of our drones. Completely incoherent, but gets big applause.

Q: Last time one of you had a personal financial strain that forced you to cut back -- hold your answers for commercial break.

Back.

Perry: Grew up without running water until I was five, home-sewn clothes until college. Didn't have much, but never felt like I gave anything up. I know there are people suffering, that's why we need to get the economy running again.

Romney: I didn't grow up poor. But I grew up with a dad who had been poor and wanted me to understand hard work. Had jobs when I was growing up, served my church, worked with people who were struggling. I'm in this race not because I grew up without means, but because I understand what it takes to fix things.

Paul: Raised during Depression, but didn't really know I was poor. My wife worked to get me through medical school. Middle class is suffering because of monetary policy that transfers their wealth to the upper class. Got to stop overspending, overborrowing, printing too much money.

Santorum: Grew up in modest home but had my needs met. Family makes the difference, sense of security. Family breakdown is behind economic status breakdown. Promote marriage (for heterosexuals).

Bachmann: Opposed bailout for troubled banks while troubled homeowners got evicted. Privatized profit, socialized risk. I took on Paulson, I took on the president. My folks got divorced with four kids, we went to below poverty, I went to work at 13. I know what it's like to struggle. We still clip coupons and go to thrift stores today.

Gingrich: Grew up in an apartment over a gas station, dad was a soldier. Frugal but not desperate. I have relatives who have been out of work. Callista and I have a small business and we know how difficult it is.

Q for Gingrich and Romney: Yahoo! audience wants you to tell us more about your past support for healthcare mandates. Romney, you encouraged other states to try it like you did in Massachusetts. Gingrich, what changed your mind?

Romney: States can do what they want. That's federalism. My plan was for my state, other states should do whatever they think is best for them. ObamaCare's federal mandate is BS.

Gingrich: Unconstitutional. Tenth Amendment. Been working on health issues since 1974, been trying to find a way to break out of failed third party payment model. We need to fundamentally rethink entire health system along lines suggested by Santorum, doctor-patient, not insurance company.

Q: Heard pharmacists talking about unhealthy habits. Anything government should do?

Paul: No. Government is a referee to keep people from hurting other people. If it's trying to protect you from yourself, you're in trouble (big applause). Why should we have a candidate who has to keep explaining himself on healthcare. Government is force, and once it molds behavior/economy, it violates whole concept of revolution/Constitution.

Perry: Agrees with Paul about federal government, but states should be able to jab 12-year-old girls with STD vaccines whether their parents like it or not.

Commercial break. If you're not liking my takes, you can find others at Memeorandum.

Q: Tell us one thing you've learned from another candidate on stage.

Santorum: When I was first running for office, I listened to Newt Gingrich's tapes. He taught me how to be a conservative.

Perry: Congressman Paul got me intrigued about the Federal Reserve.

Romney: Everyone here exhibits different qualities of leadership. Every time I come to a debate, all the signs I see outside are Ron Paul signs, he enthuses people. Now let's talk about me for awhile.

Gingrich: Two people, one onstage, one not. Governor Terry Bransted, because he's like me, left government, came back. Rick Perry got me engaged on 10th Amendment. Rick Santorum's consistency and courage on Iran will be what makes us survive if we do.

Paul: Appreciates Perry for coming his way on the Fed. We shouldn't be fighting among ourselves if we just follow the Constitution.

Bachmann: Herman Cain showed us power of being plain-spoken and simplistic. I'm the proven consistent conservative.

The end.

Instant Evaluation: Bachmann won the debate in general, and may pull up past Santorum for the caucus because of it, but Gingrich won by not losing. Nobody got a real mitt (pun intended) on him. He's probably still the frontrunner. Biggest loser was Romney. He's just not convincing.

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