Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Live-blogging tonight's Republican presidential debate

[Here's the transcript.]

8:20 - I finally found the live video online. I missed the first 20 minutes of the debate because CNBC is foolishly not streaming it.

8:21 - Herman Cain is asked about "character issues." The audience boos. "The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations." Of course, he pivots to saying what people care about is the "issues."

8:23 - Mitt Romney is asked: "Would you keep [Cain] on if you had bought his company?" Romney wisely refuses to answer. When the moderator says, "I'm going to switch back to the economy," the audience cheers.

8:24 - Jon Huntsman on Occupy Wall Street: "I want to be president of the 99%. I also want to be president of the 1%." He doesn't like OWS's anti-capitalism, but he does agree with them that we need to stop "bailing out corporations." Huntsman is right.

8:26 - Romney says Democrats incoherently think "they like jobs, but they don't like businesses."

8:28 - Newt Gingrich blames the news media for not "reporting accurately how the economy works." The moderator presses him to specify what the media reports inaccurately about the economy. Gingrich says, for example, the media never asks the OWS protesters: "Who's going to pay for the park you're occupying if there are no businesses?"

8:33 - Cain is asked about the fact that the rates could be increased on his 9/9/9 tax plan after it gets passed. Cain's answer: "Tax codes don't raise taxes, politicians do." He claims, absurdly, that "the people" will prevent the rates from ever increasing.

8:36 - Michele Bachmann says "we all need to sacrifice," so she would make sure everyone pays a federal income tax. So I guess she doesn't think people deserve to keep all their money, as she said in an earlier debate. This is also a blatant flip-flop from her pledge not to raise taxes, since she's talking about raising many people's federal income taxes from zero.

8:44 - Question to Romney: "Not one of the points in your 59-point economic plan mentions housing. Can you tell us why?" Romney: "Yeah, because it's not a housing plan."

8:57 - A moderator asks each candidate to explain how, after repealing Obamacare, they'd fix the health-care system. Each candidate gets 30 seconds! Gingrich says he'd need to take two whole "Lincoln-Douglas style debates" in order to answer this question. Moderator: "Do you want to answer the question tonight?"

9:04 - Romney gives us a bizarre non sequitur: 18% of our GDP is spent on health care; the most any other country spends is 12%. Therefore, Romney says, we need to switch to a "market" system. But we're the country with market-based health care; those other countries spend less by having universal health care!

9:06 - As one moderator is saying they're about to go to commercials, another moderator cuts in to make fun of the health-care question: "Before we go, I want to give every candidate 15 seconds to solve the deficit problem."

9:15 - Romney criticizes President Obama for being driven by a desire to get re-elected.

9:17 - My brother Chris IMs (and gives me permission to quote):

Perry just had the worst moment of any candidate in a debate I think I've ever seen!
Perry started out by saying he was going to list 3 agencies that should be abolished. He said "Education, Commerce" — but then spent a very long time trying to think of the third one. Another candidate suggested: "EPA." Perry jokingly said, "Yeah, the EPA." The moderator asked Perry if he seriously meant the EPA, and he said no. Finally, he admitted he just couldn't think of the rest of his message. Perry ended his segment by actually saying out loud: "Oops!"

HuffPo already has a series of Twitter posts skewering Perry's embarrassment:
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your .... uh, oh God, give me a moment." #PerryStatements

"Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down this .... what's the word for it? Ummmmmmm...Wait, I know this one." #perrystatements

"Read my lips: No new .... uh....I honestly can't remember" #PerryStatements

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto....uh, um, you know, the person that is "me" but, you know, not "me"?? #perrystatements

Rick Perry: There are three agencies I want to eliminate: Commerce, Education ....and the Department of My Campaign Is Over
Shortly after Perry's blunder, Rich Lowry of National Review says (in 2 Twitter posts):
this may be the debate when it became a contest btwn cain and gingrich to be the alternative to romney

to think rick perry getting into the race may have played into paul ryan's decision to stay out
9:31 - After several other candidates have spoken, Perry gets his next question, and he finally explains that he was trying to think of the Department of Energy. Meanwhile, he came out in favor of cutting defense spending.

9:36 - The top headline on TalkingPointsMemo right now, with a photograph of Perry at the debate:
Um, Um, Um ...
9:43 - WaPo's The Fix says (in multiple Twitter posts):
The Perry thing will be replayed relentlessly over the next 24-48 hours. Not going to be good. But Herman Cain is happy.

Perry people will start jumping ship -- or at least giving negative background quotes -- in 4,3,2...

The remainder of the debate after Perry's brain freeze will be ignored in post-game analysis unless some major news is made.

Biggest problem for Perry will be donors. Hard to recruit big $ people to the cause after such a big swing and miss.
My mom, Ann Althouse, has posted the video of Perry followed by a reader poll. She asks the appropriate question: "How horrible is it?"

The debate is now over. I wasn't able to pay attention to anything else after the Perry disaster.

Rich Lowry points out something very significant, which I hadn't noticed:
no one bothers attacking rick perry any more
Jonah Goldberg says:
On the plus side, Perry's campaign can at least have an open casket.


Lawcruiter said...

Video Stream is at

John Althouse Cohen said...

Thanks, but that link isn't working for me.

Anonymous said...

Where's the audio stream? Got video but it's too choppy.

Lawcruiter said...

It's choppy. Have patience.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I'm actually getting video too now, from here.

Anonymous said...

I am patient. It's just that when it comes back, I am missing large portions of what each person is saying. It's like hearing only half, or part of a conversation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John, that stream is already way better than what I was using!

rcocean said...

1 -Please stop quoting Jonah "We need to invade Africa" Goldberg and Rich "I'm too boring to say anything interesting" Lowry.

2- Hey, Perry's bad at Debates. But he's good at... well, anyway what are we electing? A debater-in-chief?

3-We need another good solid Texas Governor like Bush II, except for TARP, Iraq, support for illegal immigration, reaching across the aisle, tax cuts for the rich, out-of-control spending, and that low, low rating before he left office. y'know that kind of Texas Governor.

4- I sure am glad Palin dropped out because Romney is such a solid conservative. Hat tip to "Red State" "NRO" and "Hot Air" for making a Romney win possible. That's what conservative Websites are there for!

John Althouse Cohen said...

1 -Please stop quoting Jonah "We need to invade Africa" Goldberg and Rich "I'm too boring to say anything interesting" Lowry.

No, I'm going to quote whoever makes statements I consider worth quoting.

rcocean said...

I said Please.

John Althouse Cohen said...

And I am saying that I would never change my blogging based on a reader's request. I will always blog based on my ideas and preferences, not anyone else's. You're free to either read my blog or not read it based on whether you like the content.