Just got underway, nice comedic musical introduction by the way. CNN.com has a
live video stream.
And it begins. Rudy and Romney fight it out over illegals, it gets personal. Poor way to start the debate guys.
Thompson takes the pledge: No Amnesty.
McCain says his amnesty was not amnesty. Gets booed. Saddened for something... probably that immigration was the first issue debated here... rambles on about other issues, comes back to border security.
Heh: Tancredo says others are trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo... which is pretty much true.
Hunter, the ignored candidate, repeats his San Diego fence accomplishment.
Huckabee spins his illegal alien college handouts, avoids the question about illegals getting reduced tuition often better than veterans' children. But skillfully brought up veterans' bill of rights.
Romney with a quip to Huck, "Mike, thats not your money." Huck responds with emotional appeal, not too bad there Huck. They continue to quibble as Cooper tries to move on.
Ooh, an NAU question for Paul: Do you believe all this stuff? Paul defends sovereignty, cites empirical examples of what appears to be a looming NAU. Big applause.
SPENDING is out of control. McCain with his usual stump speech against pork-barrel spending, I like it. Romney says cut entitlements, Rudy says use technology and replace government workers, do away with failing programs. I like that better.
Fred says reform entitlements... doesn't answer the question (which three federal programs would you cut?) directly... but has got a plan for entitlement spending. Ron Paul says limit Dept of Education, change foreign policy, reduce Homeland Security. Huck says do away with the IRS... applause... reform Homeland and Social Security.
Interestingly, most of the guys here look like they'd rather be somewhere else.
WOW. McCain says Paul's foreign policy got us into WWII, Paul supporters, in strength tonight, boo him. McCain responds to the jeers by saying the troops want to win in Iraq, contrary to Paul's ideas.
Paul responds with his trademark blowback rhetoric. Says most officers support him or something.
Clever, Romney on farm subsidies: doesn't want our food supply to look like our energy supply. Subsidies secure our source of food, helps level the global playing field. Rudy agrees.
THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Gun control? Duncan Hunter lectures the questioner about gun safety, and he's right. Then he kind of equates the RKBA to fighting in Iraq, but you didn't answer the question Hunter. Gun control was the question, not your level of support of the 2nd Amendment.
Rudy bombed. Enforce gun laws... reasonable regulations... New York is different...
Once again, the issue of gun control was pretty much avoided in favor of verbally showing support for the 2nd Amendment. [Edit: I reviewed the debate, and I missed Fred's response to Rudy, which was very good. Also, he had the quote of the night, on the question if and what kind of guns each candidate had. Thompson said, "I own a couple, but I'm not going to tell you what they are or where they are." He's speaking to the gun crowd, and that's the perfect answer.]
CRIME: Romney and Rudy compete over who's crime control was better. Rudy seems to win this little competition. Romney concedes that Rudy did a good job, but defends his crime enforcement.
ABORTION issue is up. Criminalize abortion? Ron Paul takes a federalist position. Cool, but kind of a cop-out, depends on how you look at it.
Rudy takes a federalist position too. Fred did also, but urged overturning Roe.
Romney agrees with Fred, and would sign a federal ban on abortion.
DEATH PENALTY: Huck says he killed more than any other governor. OK, nice strategy there. Advocates it for deterrence purposes. Comes back to abortion. Heh: Jesus was too smart to run for public office.
THE BIBLE: This debate is turning into CNN's stereotypical view of Republicans, ugh. Huck jokingly offers to help Rudy, who then says he believes it but not literally. Romney fumbled, AND THAT WILL KILL HIM. Mitt says ye... yes.. er... yeah, wait, yes, yes I do. I'm Mormon and I could've said it 100 times better than Romney did. "YES," without the fumble.
Huck jumps into minister mode for a minute and performs well. A planted question for Huck?
The debate is fast paced, part stupid, part funny, and part gladiatorial. 100% demeaning to the Republican Party.
FOREIGN POLICY: How to make America's image better? Rudy says we are smart and can do that while staying on the offensive.
McCain promotes the surge, reminds us of his role in that. Speaks of success, tells us Democrats would've let Al Qaeda run rampant.
Hunter: I will never apologize for the USA. Applause.
TORTURE: Romney won't get specific, but says he opposes torture. Says terrorists should be sent to Guantanamo. McCain hits back, Waterboarding is torture. Says we will take the moral high ground in fighting terror. Romney insists he knows what torture is and is not, but refuses to say what techniques we will and will not use against terrorists. McCain still thinks Romney supports Waterboarding. Is there something I'm not getting?
IRAQ: Stay or go? Long term commitment? Fred says stay as long as necessary, not a moment longer.
Paul says get out now, Vietnam was a mess, Iraqis have started taking their country back already, especially after we've left. But he can't seem to remember the name of them there northerners; the Kurds Paul, the Kurds.
McCain defends Vietnam, never lost a battle, public opinion was lost. Paul responds by saying we pissed them off by occupying their countries. Namely Saudi Arabia, who willingly lets us stay there. Tancredo says wake up and smell the coffee Paul, this is reality, we have threats and we need to be prepared.
Rudy and 9/11, too much? Rudy says no, insists that it's his comprehensive experience that qualifies him, and gave him the reason to run.
GAYS in the Military? Retired Brigadier General Kerr debates the candidates. Says our military is professional enough to work with them. Hunter says no. Romney gets put on the spot, supports Don't Ask Don't Tell, but refuses to say yes or no. I missed what McCain said, but it sounded like a polite "no."
GAY MARRIAGE? Huck says he'll take the Log Cabin support, but won't support gay marriage.
SPACE EXPLORATION: Huck says increase funding, send Hillary to Mars! Tancredo: we can't afford it, politicians are trying to give everything to everybody.
THE BLACK VOTE: I liked that guy and his question. Rudy says it's the Party's fault, but he thinks turning welfare into a job agency as he did in New York is a good idea. Huck said something uninteresting, and that's why I missed it.
THE CONFEDERATE FLAG? Romney says no thanks, no divisive talk, don't show the flag, but you have a right to hang it in your room.
Fred says it is not racist, but is interpreted as racist by many. But we don't need to bring it up.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Sacrifice and repair America? Rudy brings up New York again. With help, he rebuilt much of New York. Rudy says he can lead the States and localities to rebuild over time with a responsible budget.
Paul says we have the money as long as the Feds get off our backs.
McCain says stop federal pork, give money back to states.
Rudy: During my time as mayor, the Yankees won four world series. After I left, they've won zero.
Romney: I, like most of America, love our sports teams and hate the Yankees.
Wow, CNN seemed more obligated to the Youtubers than the candidates. Too many questions, too few direct answers, and not enough debate between candidates -especially in the latter half.
I don't know who won, but it was not Romney, Tancredo, or Hunter. Fred could have done a lot better, and he needed to be considering his performance in the polls. Huckabee is a great performer, probably the winner tonight. Rudy was lackluster, though his fights with Romney were entertaining. Ron Paul did better than usual; perhaps because he didn't have to answer too many Iraq questions, and the fact that much of the crowd were obviously Paul supporters.
The debate overall was awful, there is just too little time and too many candidates.
I'll have video in a new post.