Monday, January 16, 2012

Live-blogging the Republican presidential debate

Keep reloading this post (or the homepage) for more updates.

Since Jon Huntsman just dropped out, this debate's lineup will be the smallest of the 2012 race so far: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul.

For more live-blogging, try TalkingPointsMemo or National Review.

[UPDATE: The FoxNews video player didn't work for me, so I missed the first half hour of the debate. I finally found a working link here.]

9:36 - Gingrich on the difference between President Obama and the Republican candidates: "We actually think work is good. Saying to someone 'I'll help you if you're willing to help yourself' is good." He calls Obama the "food stamp" president.

9:42 - Paul is challenged on his proposal to dramatically cut military spending. "We're supposed to be conservative: spend less money!"

9:43 - Romney is asked whether he'll release his tax records. He says he's "not opposed" to doing it, but he'll wait till around April because that's what George W. Bush and John McCain did. He's already showing "a lot of exposure" about other things.

9:46 - Romney is asked a second question in a row. This one is about immigration, and he gives his standard answer: everyone needs to follow the law, illegal immigrants need to get to the back of the line, etc. I don't know why they keep asking about immigration in these debates — is there anything left for the candidates to say that they haven't already said in 10 other debates?

9:47 - Santorum cites a study by the Brookings Institution that gives a way to be virtually sure you won't be poor (since only 2% of the people who do these 3 things are poor): (1) get a job; (2) graduate from high school; and (3) get married before you have kids. Easier said than done!

9:53 - Moderator Juan Williams is very loudly booed for asking several questions of Gingrich about whether his comments have been insensitive to blacks — for instance, calling Obama the "food stamp" president (as he did earlier in the debate). Gingrich says that more people have gone on food stamps during the Obama administration than in any other administration. "I know among the politically correct that you're not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable."

10:04 - The moderators don't seem to be enforcing time limits. Paul speaks for a very long time about how we shouldn't have killed Osama bin Laden the way we did.

10:07 - In response to Paul's comments on bin Laden, Gingrich says: "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America's enemies: kill them."

10:07 - Paul: "Maybe we ought to consider a Golden Rule in foreign policy: don't do to other nations what we wouldn't want done to us." This gets loudly booed.

10:08 - Romney: "The right thing for bin Laden was the bullet in the head that he received."

(As always, I'm writing down all these quotes live. They might be slightly off, though I'm trying to write them down verbatim.)

10:13 - Perry is asked whether Turkey should be a member of NATO. Perry says we should "have a conversation" about it. He adds that Turkey and all other countries should "go to zero" as far as foreign aid, and then we should "have a conversation" about foreign aid.

10:18 - Romney: "People who join al Qaeda are not entitled to the rights of due process under our legal code." He's confident the government won't abuse its power to indefinitely detain Americans who are suspected of terrorism. Daniel Foster at National Review says (on Twitter):

Romney essentially said he wants a nation of men, not laws, when it comes to indefinite detention.
Similarly, Katrina Trinko (also of National Review) says:
It's like Paul isn't confident the president's character and judgment won't always be exemplary.
10:33 - Romney: "Anyone middle-income should be able to save their money tax-free." I'd like to see how he would implement that principle in a way that wouldn't create a perverse disincentive against making a high income.

10:38 - The moderators seem to have trouble filling up the whole debate with actual content: for the second time in this debate, Romney is asked about his record on gun control. Romney is then asked whether he has been hunting since 2007, when he was ridiculed for saying he hunted "varmints." He says he has, but he admits he isn't much of a hunter.

10:46 - Romney calls the Gingrich Super PAC's ad about Romney's record with Bain Capital "the biggest hoax since Bigfoot." "We all would like to have Super PACs disappear, to tell you the truth." He says the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform has led to an absurd situation where ads are run on behalf of candidates who are legally prohibited from having anything to do with the creation or editing of those ads.

That's all.


Bob Ellison said...

Good comments so far, John, but I'd like to see more. You didn't comment on Brett Baier (sp?) making Ron Paul cry.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Did he? If it happened in the first half hour, I missed it because Fox News failed to offer a working stream on its website.

Bob Ellison said...

Well, I exaggerate. I probably can't give an unbiased, classically journalistic description of what happened. I'll say, from my point of ridicule and bias, that Baier (sp?) made Paul squeak a lot and sound like just the fool he apparently is.

rcommal said...

Easier said than done!

John, I part company with you on this comment. Wait, OK, to be more clear: I part company with you on what I perceive as the *insouciance* of your comment.

Is this particular, specific thing that Santorum said so wrong, or more to the point, incorrect?

I am not a Santorum booster (and, John, I am 100% sure that I was aware of Santorum going on 25 years ago, now, so my issues are quite old and my skepticism quite aged). Still, I think he's right in terms of the basics of corollaries that hold young people back.

Hell, I emphasize those very same basics with my own son (which, I strongly suspect, so many determinedly, educationally and economically aware folks also do, bluntly, subtly or otherwise).

What, you wouldn't (and your mom didn't, subtly or otherwise?)?

And of course it's easier said than done. So are a lot of things. But they're certainly easier to do if emphasized earlier.

John: What things are easier done than said?

John Althouse Cohen said...

John: What things are easier done than said?

Getting and keeping a reasonably well-paying job, and not having children.

I assume you agree with this since you said: "of course it's easier said than done." That's all I said too.

I didn't say they're impossible or that they aren't good things to do. I didn't say there's no truth in what Santorum said. But he did refer to them very glibly, as if anyone could just decide to do those things and then be virtually guaranteed not to be poor.

rcommal said...

But he did refer to them very glibly,

I think "glibly" is open to interpretation, and I'll say outright, as a general rule, that I don't think that's so in his case, "very" or otherwise. Consider the meaning of "glibly." I am no Santorum fan, as previously stated, but in my view that is unjust.

as if anyone could just decide to do those things

*anyone*? Are you sure you don't mean *everyone*? Or, what do you mean?