Thursday, January 19, 2012

Liveblog, GOP Debate

English: Newt GingrichImage via Wikipedia
The usual -- comment when I feel like it, quit when I get bored.

Sticking the wrap-up here, for those who don't want the blow-by-blow. I'm pretty sure Gingrich won. I'm absolutely sure Romney lost. But the whole thing was pretty ugly and boring.

[7:05 CST] Candidates introduced. All of them stand and smile except for Santorum, who waves and grins like he's on "Hee Haw." Someone probably fed him amphetamines this afternoon.

[7:06] National anthem, debate rules, opening "if you don't know who I am yet" statements.

[7:09] Gingrich is appalled at being asked if he's a swingin' dude as the opener to a presidential debate.

[7:12] This is why Gingrich will be the nominee. He's got his blood up and is ready to fight any sumbitch what gets in his way.

[7:13] Santorum calms it down with a pretty positive statement about forgiveness, etc. Romney: Let's get on to the real issues. Paul: Too often we're all on the receiving ends of personal attacks, etc.

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.Image via Wikipedia[7:15] Three programs to put people back to work. Paul: Get the government out of the way, sound currency, reduced regulation, reduce income tax, get rid of debt, no bailouts, get government out of the way. Gingrich: Repeal Dodd-Frank, energy independence (natural gas especially), overhaul the Corps of Engineers so they can improve ports -- takes them eight years to do studies, WWII was only 3 1/2 years.

[7:17] What did Bain do wrong? Gingrich: Underlying model of Bain kind of investment ought to be looked at. Romney: Get rid of crony capitalism to improve economy, Obama is a crony capitalist.

[7:19] Back to Bain. Romney: I know the left will attack it, but capitalism works, free enterprise works, and why the hell are REPUBLICANS attacking me? Businesses I invested in with Bain have survived, some have failed, but overall created 110,000 new jobs. Domino's Pizza (so if you were for Cain, pick me). Nothing wrong with profit, it went to pension funds, charities, profitable enterprises can hire more people.

[7:22] Santorum believes in capitalism that works for everybody. Obama wants everybody to be dependent. Need a party that talks about more than cutting top tax rate, putting people back to work. I've talked about that. Cut manufacturing tax to zero. Get the Reagan Democrats back.

[7:24] What to do about unemployment among veterans? Should feds target that? Paul: To some degree, but should make economy healthy for everybody. After WWII, budget was cut by 60%, taxes by 30%, people went back to work. Veterans deserve better health care from the VA. Santorum: Supports continuing veterans' preferences, grew up at a VA hospital, saw veterans coming back from Vietnam. Obama wants to cut military by increasing its budget by 10%, and that's disgusting. Romney: State level should help veterans. Also thinks a 10% increase is a cut. Gingrich: Attacks Paul on post-WWII claim, cites GI Bill; also tax cuts. Transition process for veterans, and cut tax and regulation on energy to get veterans back to work.

[7:31] Audience question: Do any of you sincerely believe that ObamaCare can be repealed in its entirety? Romney: Would waive ObamaCare for states, but would also go after complete repeal. But would replace it with RomneyCare II, which is market free enterprise because it's called RomneyCare instead of ObamaCare. Gingrich: Elect a House, Senate, President committed to repeal. Santorum: Romney and Gingrich aren't credible on ObamaCare. Romney invented it and it is a disaster, Gingrich supported individual mandate. Santorum just gave Romney a sucking chest wound with RomneyCare states. Santorum claims he invented HSAs.

[7:37] Romney stumbling and stammering trying to defend RomneyCare. This may be the moment that is remembered as destroying him in South Carolina. Golf claps for his attempt to defend himself, and Santorum tears into him again. Romney is starting to whine ... says Medicaid isn't a state program, a federal one, wants that money back so they can do their own kind of socialism. Gingrich: I led the charge against HillaryCare, I ran the congressional conference that implemented HSAs, I have written books on health care reform. I can debate Obama Lincoln-Douglass style and whip his ass. Santorum: Gingrich was for individual mandate, and that's the core of ObamaCare, and Gingrich will lose any debate. Gingrich: I can say I was wrong and figured it out, he was wrong and he didn't. Paul: I'm a doctor. Hard to get ObamaCare repealed, so let's talk about government involvement in healthcare entirely. Santorum supported Medicare Part D. Get rid of overseas spending to float the wind-down of government healthcare. Stand back, everyone, he's on the antiwarpath.

Commercial break ... Zemanta doesn't seem to want to feed me pictures of Romney and Paul.

English: Governor Mitt Romney of MAImage via Wikipedia
[7:50] Q to Santorum: Gingrich says you should quit. Should you? Santorum: Grandiosity has never been a problem for Newt. I beat Gingrich in Iowa and New Hampshire. Screw Newt, he's a friend but he's a gasbag. Gingrich: I started working with Reagan in 1974, developed supply side with Kemp, beat the Russians with the Gipper, created Republican majority in 1994, reformed welfare, cut taxes, balanced the budget. Damn right I am grandiose, and Santorum's my bitch. Santorum: Saw Gingrich in the House, no discipline, did nothing about scandals. Gingrich: I led the way on kicking out the corrupt and building a Republican majority. Romney: Gingrich is a DC careerist, I've lived on the real streets of America. Gingrich: Worked with Reagan, suck it.

[7:59] Romney is well off his game. Audience question: When will you release your tax returns. Gingrich: An hour ago. Paul: Probably won't, I'm not very rich, but heck, I may do it, we'll see. N o conflict, don't talk to lobbyists. Romney: When my taxes are complete for this year, if I'm the nominee, in April. Stammering again. Gingrich: It's his decision, but if there's anything bad in there we should know it before the nomination, not after. Santorum: I do my own taxes, they're on my computer and I'm not home. When I get home, you can have them.

[8:03] Back in 1969, Romney's dad set the precedent by releasing 12 years of tax returns. Will you? Romney: Maybe. Plays the one nation under God card.

[8:05] Apple employs 500k in China. What do you do about that. Santorum: I'll bring manufacturing back to the US with my plan to cut corporate tax to zero for manufacturing, by half for everyone else. Too many regulations. Cut'em. Paul: Not worried about people overseas having jobs. If we send dollars overseas, those dollars come back, and the cheaper good saves us money. We shouldn't be fighting about trade. Slams unions, supports anti-libertarian "right to work" laws. Santorum says he does support anti-libertarian "right to work," just not federal.

[8:11] SOPA. What do you think? Gingrich: You're asking a conservative about the economic interests of Hollywood. Google et. al say it will kill the Internet. It's censorship. I favor freedom. Government censoring Internet on behalf of giant corporations is bullshit. Romney: I agree with Gingrich. But I do favor intellectual property and want to destroy people who don't. Paul: I was the first Republican to oppose SOPA. Glad these guys up here are starting to get it right. Santorum: I don't support SOPA, but think that intellectual property needs to be protected. I hate freedom, and don't want the Internet to be free.

Easting dinner. Softballs anyway.

[8:24] The Know-Nothings are heard from. None of the candidates have responded correctly -- that the Constitution gives the federal government zero power to regulate immigration. But Paul at least notices that employer sanction laws are conscription of people as unpaid police officers. Would bring the troops home and militarize the border.

[8:36] Abortion. Gingrich goes after Romney. Romney stutters. Santorum goes after Romney and Gingrich. Romney stutters. Gingrich recites his pro-life record. Paul cites morality, pleads states' rights.

Commercial break. Disappointing that Gingrich has backed away a bit from being the least anti-libertarian candidate on immigration. That could have helped him in Florida, but I guess he's staking everything on North Carolina.

[8:51] Make your case to South Carolina. Paul: South Carolina is known for its love of liberty. And we need to get rid of the debt. Gingrich: Barack Obama is under your bed, oogabooga! Let's debate! Namechecks Alinsky. Romney: Stammers through parts of the Declaration of Independence and tells us how America was just like that until Barack Obama came along and ruined it. He's the reason we can't have nice things. Santorum: I'm a clear contrast to ... well, pretty much everyone else on earth.

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