Monday, January 16, 2012
Live-Blogging the South Carolina Debate UPDATED
We're just getting started. Stay tuned.
Update 1: We begin with Newt trying to defend his negative attacks on Romney after vowing not to go negative. Romney defends by touting his private sector record. If an Olympics reference is on your bingo card, DRINK.
Update 2: A "vulture capitalism" question to Rick Perry. DRINK. Perry seems a little stiff. He's calling on Mitt to release his income tax records and gets applause. Perry calls for the repeal of Dodd-Frank and when he says we have way too many regulations in this country he gets lots of applause.
Romney gets a chance to respond but says he needs more than 30 seconds. Uh, okay.
Update 3: Romney: "You never want to see anyone lose a job." That ought to play well with his "I like to be able to fire people," comment. Context or not. Romney dodged the call for his tax records, by the way. Why is that? What's he hiding?
Update 4: Shift to Ron Paul who comes out swinging on Santorum by explaining he couldn't hit Santorum on everything he wanted to in one single ad. Ouch. Santorum says he voted for NCLB and "I shouldn't have." On right to work, Santorum says he supports it.
Santorum calls him on it. Bam!
Santorum is relentless on this and Mitt is stuttering.
Update 5: Perry just stuck them both by pointing out that the "Washington insiders" need to get out of it and let the states decide. Applause.
Update 6: Fox sets Romney up give a summary of his "conservative" positions. He's pro-life, he says, against gay marriage, believes in freedom and free enterprise, on and on and on. Oh, and not a flip-flopper. Yeah, okay.
Perry's response is that the federal government should stay out of it and pulls the right to work issue into it as well. He says this administration is at war against religion too, for that matter. Strong answer by Perry, I think. "South Carolina is at war against the federal government." Huge applause, too.
Update 7: When asked how long someone should be able to draw unemployment checks, Newt says it should all be tied to a training program. "99 weeks is an Associates Degree!" he says, to applause. Newt just called Obama "the food stamp president." Heh!
Update 8: Romney: our tax rates are too high and regulations too burdensome. We have an energy policy that doesn't take advantage of our natural resources. This president has opened no new markets around the world. Bailouts aren't the answer.
To Ron Paul a defense cuts question: "what do you say to people in this state" that worry that your positions will cost jobs? Paul says we would not be weaker under his policies and says he gets lots of donations from active military. "There's a difference between military spending and defense spending," Paul points out. Building embassies is not defense spending "it's waste," he says.
What is the highest federal income tax any American should have to pay?
Flat tax - Perry
25% - Romney
15% - Newt
0% - Ron Paul
Question to Mitt: "Will you release your income tax records?" Romney says he looked at what other candidates like Bush and Reagan did, they released in April. He'll probably do that in April, then. He's stammering on this a bit. "What's happened in history is that people released them in April and that's what I'll probably do."
Next he goes to Newt and asks if he could be perceived as anti-black. "Only the elites despise earning money," he says. Juan says people of all races ask him if Newt's comments are "anti-poor." Juan gets boo'd. "It sounds as if you're trying to belittle people," when you use the term "food stamp president," Juan says. Newt schools him on political correctness and using uncomfortable facts. The crowd stands and applauds.
Juan should be under the desk about now.
Update 10: Ron Paul gets to spend a long time rambling about his foreign policy position. He sounds nuts.
Newt is strong on the Bin Laden question - "He's not a Chinese dissident!"; in other words, you kill your enemies.
Going to Romney after Paul only makes Romney sound more sensible. A run over dog would sound more sensible than Ron Paul when he gets cranked up on "all these WARS!!!"
Mitt says we "absolutely not" negotiate with the Taliban. "We should not negotiate with the Taliban, we should defeat the Taliban!"
Update 11: Rick Santorum does not support a military mission into Syria but wants the international community to help remove Assad.
He advocates cutting foreign aid to zero. "Our president has a foreign policy that makes our allies very nervous and emboldens our enemies." I'm not sure he answered that question, exactly.
Perry has mentioned his military service several times in this debate. Somehow the marine urination video comes up here. He blasts Biden for calling those Marines despicable, and he says "Let me tell you what is despicable: cutting Danny Pearl's head off" is despicable. Hanging our contractors from bridges is despicable, he says. Applause. Perry suggests that this administration has strong disdain for our military.
Update 12: When asked if he would have signed the national defense act as written, Mitt says yes. He gets boo'd.
Pivot to the housing market - Perry basically says to get the federal government out of it.
To Newt - a Social Security question. The Chilean model comes back out.
Update 13: Santorum and Newt duke it out on Social Security. Santorum calls Newt's privatization "irresponsible" right now. Newt defends the personal savings account model. Draw.
Romney agrees with Santourm: "Rick is right," he says.
Update 14: A gun owners question for Romney from Juan. No race baiting on this one. "How can you convince gun owners you will be an advocate for them?" Mitt says he's signed pro-gun legislation in his state. He disagrees with new legislation and does not believe in new laws restricting gun use and gun owners. Juan asks Mitt if he's gone hunting since '07. Yep - elk hunting, he says. Heh - Romney says Rick Perry is probably a more serious hunter than he is. Perry agrees.
Update 15: Santorum attacks Ron Paul on gun liability. Sigh.
Woah. Newt just jabbed Romney saying if he can't control his SuperPAC "it makes you wonder how much influence he would have as president." Random.
Final update: We end with Romney disavowing SuperPacs and Perry vowing to secure the border. Who won this one? Man. Tough one. They all had strong moments. To my mind, though, this is the first time Romney took any hits. Perry continues to improve. Newt was strong as was Santorum.
Glad it's over.
Heigh ho - there's another damn debate this week! Thursday? Good grief.