Monday, September 12, 2011
The CNN/Tea Party Debate: LIVE BLOG
For those worshiping at the House of Football, and those not inclined to watch, we've got your back at SIGIS. Live-blogging to commence shortly.
And here we go...
Why does it seem incongruous to me that CNN has teamed up with the Tea Party for this debate?
I'm not sure why Jon Huntsman is still in this race. Maybe tonight will show me.
I should get hazard pay for having to listen to Wolf Blitzer.
And here come the contenders.
Romney busses Bachmann when she comes out. He didn't kiss anyone else. Hmmm.
Ok, all joking aside. Here we go. Santorum and Romney lip synced the national anthem. Everyone else stood respectfully.
One minute to answer? That's fast.
I know why it's a 2 hour debate. We still haven't started. Now the candidates are about to introduce themselves in 30 seconds or less.
Bachmann touts her Tea Party roots in her intro to some nice applause. Cain touts his credentials as a non-politician. Perry: "I wanna make Washington as inconsequential in your life as I can. Newt celebrates the 9/12 date and says it's time to profoundly change Washington. Santorum ... hunh?
Bachmann answers first. Reform, she says. "Obama STOLE over 500 billion dollars out of Medicare to switch it to Obamacare!" Ooooo fine line she walks - says she's been there long enough to know the problems but not long enough to be part of the system.
Perry: To the people who are on Social Security today it is "slam dunk guaranteed" that program will be there for those individuals. But says we need to reform.
Romney says most people agree with Perry but says "Ponzi scheme" is "scary." He goes on to quote Perry saying Social Security is unconstitutional and ought to go back to the states. Romney is shaky here. He's not accurately quoting Perry and is twisting what he said. Someone needs to ask Mitt when he changed his mind; he said the same thing in his own book.
Perry's stance is that things have changed in all these years and it needs reform. Romney hammers him and pushes him on the "unconstitutional" thing. Perry wins this argument.
Romney continues to hammer. Perry finally quotes Romney's own book to him to great applause. Blitzer finally goes to Ron Paul who says young people should be able to get out and "go on their own."
Huntsman: "I don't think anything should be off the table."
Newt: LOL! "President Obama scares" the people "every single day" so he isn't worried about Mitt and Perry scaring the people with the word Ponzi scheme.
He says "You get back to a full employment economy" to fix Social Security and he says if you're younger and you'd like a personal account, you should be able to do that.
Santorum: Blitzer asks "are you with Romney or Perry?" He says, "The question is, Who is with ME?" Applause. The teenager is sitting here. He says, "This guy isn't winning anything. Nobody knows who he is." The oracle.
7:26: Next question is about balancing the budget. Wolf paraphrases it because he's the smartest person in the room. Newt challenges the Super Committee on this question. Santorum gets challenged on the prescription drug vote (he voted for it). Would you repeal it? Wolf asks. "We have to pay for it," Santorum says. He says Washington doesn't "know better than you" how to run your health care.
Mitt: Reform. He says we're not going to balance the budget by taking out the waste. We need to cut spending, he says. Plus, we have to "grow the economy again."
Ron Paul on the repeal: " It wouldn't be on my high list." We spend too much money on wars, he says. (The teenager applauds.) "We need to cut the Department of Education, the Department of Energy..." applause.
7:37: Next question is about getting the economy moving again. Again, Wolf clarifies the question because he's brilliant.
Oh. Jon Huntsman is here. He's orange.
To Perry -"Obama had $800 billion worth of stimulus and created zero jobs. $400 billion in this package. I can do the math on this one - half of zero jobs is ... zero jobs." Snickers in the audience. "Quit the spending, give clear regulatory relief and reform the tax code."
Herman Cain - "this economy is on life support. We need a bold solution...I believe we throw out the entire tax code and put in my 9-9-9 tax code!" He's fighting hard!
Cain says American entrepreneurship will provide the jobs.
Mitt concedes Texas is a "terrific state." He's not cutting Perry and credit though. Mitt says we have to make our tax code competitive with the rest of the world. We need energy security. Perry is nodding. Balance the budget, Mitt says. Wolf asks if Perry deserves any credit at all. Mitt says sure. Wolf says, tell him. Fast on his feet - Mitt says, "If you're dealt four aces that doesn't mean you're a good poker player." The audience goes "OOOooooooooo."
Perry - "Mitt, you were doin' pretty good until you started talkin poker." He touts his Texas record of job creation during tough economic times. He touts tort reform. "Tell the trial lawyers to get out of your state." Applause. (I guess no trial lawyers are there.)
Ron Paul isn't willing to give Perry any credit either and says his taxes have doubled under Perry and says most of the jobs have been government jobs.
I'm afaid my 19 year old is going to vote for Ron Paul.
Back to Perry - We've cut taxes by $14 billion while I've been governor. Texas population has increase over the past five years. "They're not comin' because we're over taxin' 'em."
To Newt: He looks incredulous. Newt just answers whatever he wants to despite what is asked. "The American people create jobs, not government." Applause. "Ronald Reagan taught me a great lesson if you have democrats in charge. Go to the American people on principle" and have them educate their congressmen.
Cain. Absolutely. But we need the right leadership.
Huntsman. "This country needs more workers." Didn't Marco Rubio say that? Huntsman touts his record in Utah. "We were the best managed state in America."
7:55: Next question. What is your position on the Federal Reserve.
Someone ask about immigration, please.
Santorum says the economy would have to improve greatly to be a disaster. Gets a laugh.
Cain says the Reserve should be audited and its focus should be narrowed.
Bachmann on Perry's statement that Bernanke should be tried for treason. She says she wouldn't renominate Bernanke. Mitt smiles condescendingly at her. Wolf presses her on the treason comment. She says, "That's for Governor Perry to make that decision."
Perry clarifies: "If you are allowing the Federal Reserve to be used for political purposes, that is almost treasonous." Applause. And Mitt smiles condescendingly at Perry. I guess that's just Mitt.
Romney: My own view is that the fed should preserve our currency. "People will not invest in this country...if they don't have faith in our currency." Mitt says if we don't have a Federal Reserve who will control our currency? "Congress?"!
Next question: Out of every dollar I earn, how much do you think I deserve to keep? Bachmann - "oooo I love that question!"
Huntsman answers first and calls for a competitive tax code.
Newt slams GE on his answer. "I was astonished the other night" to see the president of GE sitting there during the president's speech! Trying to raise taxes at this time is a bad idea.
Question: Would any of you be willing to support the Fair Tax?
Wolf clarifies the question: "The Fair Tax is basically a national sales tax."
Romney says the way the Fair Tax has been structured has a real question. His answer gets some Boos. He wants to dramatically reduce the tax burden on middle class. "Let people save their money" as they see fit, he says.
Question: Under what circumstances should a president sign an executive order?
Paul says the ExO has been abused.
Perry gets a Gardisil question and says he would do it differently, "absolutely."
Bachmann is, of course, totally against the Gardisil issue; Perry has already backed off of it so...; she says you "don't get a mulligan."
Wolf presses Perry on Gardisil. He says there was an "opt out" but at the end of the day, "I'm always going to err on the side of life." Bachmann says, "We cannot forget...there was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate." Crony capitalism.
Perry: "The company was Merck. It was a $5,000 contribution I received from them. If you're saying I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended." Bachmann says, I'm offended for all the little girls who had to get that vaccination. Good comeback by her.
Santorum says Perry is not sorry for the vaccine, just sorry about how he did it.
Perry says Texas is a place that protects life and he's been the most pro-life governor in the state of Texas. Santorum says "Give parents the opt IN, then."
Next question is about health care and the cost of health care so health insurance can be reduced. Cain says to repeal Obamacare.
Romney stands by RomneyCare. He says the reason health care is expensive is because of the cost of providing care. The more the provider does, the more he gets paid. We have to make sure individuals care about what things cost.
He says again he's going to grant a waiver for all 50 states on ObamaCare.
Romney: The Democrat president cut Medicare! What the president did was simply WRONG! But he still touts RomneyCare for his state.
To Ron Paul:, Blitzer asks who would pay for 30 year man with no insurance in a coma: "In a society where you accept welfarism and socialism he would expect the government would pay for that." We should legalize alternative health care, he says.
Bachmann: Waivers and Executive Orders "won't cut it." She says no state should be able to force anyone to buy health care. "It's unconstitutional." She says, "2012 is IT!" If you don't stop it now, we're totally screwed. "We are never going to get rid of it unless you have a president willing to get rid of it." She vows she "is committed" to repealing ObamaCare. Applause.
Here is the link to CNN's live blog.
8:24: New question. "What would you do to remove the illegal immigrants from our country?" Santorum says "I'm the son of an Italian immigrant." He says we have an unsecure border and need a fence. We don't need storm troopers or amnesty. After the border is secure, we can deal with the problem.
Perry says he's had a lot of experience with this and that our government "has been an abject failure" at securing the border. Says a fence is dumb (my words); he said "not reality". "We understand and know how to secure that border but we can't do it alone but the federal government has to step up and do their constitutional duty" to secure the voter.
Wolf wants to know how you'll get the Hispanic vote. Santorum says Perry offered in-state tuition. Open door. Answer that, Rick.
Santorum: We are a melting pot, not a salad bowl.
Wolf goes back to Perry: He says, If you've been in the state of Texas 3 years, if you're workin' toward your college degreee and if you're on on the path to citizenship, you get in-state tuition there. He gets boo'd.
Bachmann says this is not the American way to reward people who have broken our laws. Come in legally. Learn to speak English, the Constitution and American History, she says.
Perry: "I'm not for the DREAM Act they are talking about in D.C.; that is Amnesty." Says what he did in Texas is a states right issue. If you want to live in Texas and pursue citizenship, "we're going to allow you to be contributing members" to the state of Texas and not a drag on society.
Huntsman: "For Rick to say you can't secure the border is a treasonous comment." I think that was a joke.
Huntsman was asked about the drivers license issue for illegals. He touts the 10th Amendment.
Romney: Latino voters did not come here for a handout. If they came here for a handout, they'll vote for Democrats. He says, "Of course we build a fence. And of course we don't give in-state tuition credits to people who come here illegally!" Applause.
Perry: We basically had a decision to make. Are we going to give people an incentive to be contributing members of society or are we going to put you on the government dole...in the state of Texas...we decided it was in the best interest of those young people to have the opportunity to go on to college. .." He sounds flustered but he should have been ready for this.
Next question is about energy independence. To Herman Cain: "We've got to remove some of those barriers out of the way...I would start with the EPA Gone Wild...". He says he'd appoint people who've been abused by the EPA to the Regulatory Commission.
On national security: Newt says we greatly underestimate the threat to this country and we should never forget the threat of foreign terrorists. Cites North Korea and Iran. We need a serious national dialogue on security and says there's a civil war in Mexico right next door to us.
Ron Paul says there's a difference between military spending and defense spending. He says slash military spending but not defense spending. "We're in 130 countries!" he says. We don't have to be the policemen of the world, he says.
Ron Paul says the Muslim world "is not" attacking us because we're free. He says it's because we have bases on their soil and that they said we haven't been fair to the Palestinians. He gets boo'd.
Question: A lady from Afghanistan asks what they would do to secure safety for the women and children if Afghanistan from the radicals.
Huntsman says it's time to get out of Afghanistan. We don't need to be nation building. We're dim bulbs he says. He's blathering about shining lights. Al Gore bulbs, probably. No, wait...
To Perry: Is our money well spent in Afghanistan? He says we should come home but have a presence there. He says our military has a target on their back in Afghanistan; their own military needs to take care of their people.
Commericial. Oh no. A "This or That" coming up. Wolf promises a "What would they add to the White House if they get to move in" question. Groan.
8:50: To Santorum. What would you bring to the White House? A vegetable garden? A horse shoe track? He says, "A bedroom." They have 7 kids.
Newt says he'd kick out the czars, and have more music, ballet, and chess sets.
Paul: Common sense and a course in economics.
Perry: The most beautiful first lady this country has ever seen. Awwww!
Romney: He'd restore the Churchill bust.
Bachmann: A copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Cain: A sense of humor because America is too uptight.
Huntsman: My Harley Davidson.
Perry won that question!
Well, okay. Perry didn't lose, but he didn't gain much. They hammered him on the Gardisil issue and I don't think he impressed the Tea Party audience with his answers on the in-state tuition issue. I think he should have been more prepared for that question but he seemed actually flummoxed that people don't think the way he does on it.
Bachmann held steady and was more of a presence than she was in the last debate. I think it's just Perry and Romney now and the rest are just background veep contenders. Romney didn't lose any ground but I don't think he gained any either. He's definitely willing to go after Perry on the issues, though. It should get more interesting as the field narrows. When Perry and Romney actually go head to head we might get somewhere.
Now, I hear there's a football game on, so I'm out.