Liveblogging the GOP Debate - Part I

The first Republican presidential debate starts at 8 p.m. ET, and I'll be following it on this thread. Some predictions before it kicks off:

- The frontrunners will praise President Bush. Romney and McCain especially will praise Bush's veto of the Iraq supplemental. Remember, Republican primary voters still love Bush and love the war, and for them the veto's the best thing he's done since the Alito nomination.
- Romney will say he can take back Congress for the GOP.
- They'll all bash Obama more than they bash any other Democratic candidate.
- They'll trash Pelosi and Reid more than they trash Obama.
- Duncan Hunter will repeat his call for Harry Reid to resign, which got zero attention the first time around and will get slightly more than zero attention this time, unless he gets some other candidate to agree with him.
- Ron Paul will be the only candidate who attacks the war. Sam Brownback, who used to be against the surge, won't attack it.
- Jim Gilmore will lose.

And we begin with Chris Matthews impersonating Robin Leach.

8:01 - Ron Paul is situated between Rudy and McCain. Try and crop that out, gold standard-haters!

8:03 - Rudy Giuliani claims we have the greatest health care system in the world and it needs to be fixed.

8:05 - And John McCain is the first to angrily denounce Harry Reid. He sounds as crazy as he does in Matt Welch's nightmares.

8:06 - Tommy Thompson offers a detailed Iraq strategy that involves... letting the Iraqis vote for their own leaders.

8:08 - Romney wants to leave Iraq once we can be certain it will no longer have conflicts and crises with its neighbors. IE, never.

8:10 - Brownback wants us to "engage moderate Muslim regimes like Pakistan and Egypt," which we currently have diplomatic relations with and dispense foreign aid to.

8:11 - Huckabee blames the problems in Iraq on "listening to the guys in silk ties and striped suits." Creeping anti-Semitism? (I'm kidding.)

8:13 - Jim Gilmore: "I see this Iraq problem as part of an entire Middle East issue." And who can argue?

8:14 - Ron Paul is asked why everyone on stage was wrong about the war, and Paul sticks to "a policy of non-intervention." He's a bit loud, but more concise than usual: "Think of how Eisenhower won the Korean War, think of how Nixon was elected to end the mess in Vietnam." Basically he reads the paleocon playbook much more clearly than anyone expected.

8:15 - You know, the GOP's reputation as the "party of national security" comes, in part, from the fact that their leaders seem so comfortable gaming out wars.

8:17 - Tancredo sets off a wave of grumbling among American Conservative subscribers by saying he'd let slip the dogs of war to defend Israel.

8:20 - Jim Gilmore's rationale for running makes sense on paper, when you look at everyone's issue stands. On stage, when everyone's discussing the war, he's having no luck sounding different than the poll leaders.

8:21 - Mitt Romney's defense for saying he didn't care about capturing Osama bin Laden? "I don't want to buy into the Democratic idea that this is about one man."

8:22 - McCain is asked if he'd put Tom Tancredo in charge of the INS. "In a word, no." He then says he'd "follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell" and then - and this really rewards the use of a Tivo - flashes a Joker-like grin.

8:23 - Matthews asks everyone if they'd support an amendment to allow foreigners - i.e., Arnold - to run for president. Ron Paul says no, because "I believe in original intent." Matthews says - into the mic! - "Oh, God."

8:25 - So why doesn't Matthews say "Oh, God" when Romney blathers about loving "America's rolling hills?" Cornpone = good. Constitution = meh.

8:26 - Tancredo gets a question about legally selling organs - he punts and says we shouldn't be cloning organs.

8:27 - Duncan Hunter declares war on Iran.

8:28 - Paul promises to phase out the I.R.S. by "changing our ideas about what the government should do" - scaling it back, avoiding foreign adventures.

8:29 - Brownback says the repeal of Roe would mark "A glorious day of human liberty and freedom."

8:30 - In a rather blase manner, Giuliani says he'd welcome the end of Roe and - nudge! nudge! - a court of conservative judges could do that for you.

8:32 - Romney's Harvard MBA-speak is ill-suited to talking about his change of heart on abortion - he's a human PowerPoint presentation.

8:33 - Giuliani flip-flops on public funding of abortion - he supports the Hyde Amendment, which he didn't support a couple of minutes ago.

8:35 - McCain uses a short question to launch a cliche-fattened speech.

8:36 - Huckabee says we are a great nation because "We are a culture of life." By that reasoning, if we got into a shooting war with the Vatican, would we lose?

8:37 - Paul is asked how to rectify national greatness and the culture of life. He launches into another anti-war argument, with an attempt at a soundbite. "The freedom message brings us together. It does not divide us."

8:38 - Thompson, who sounds like a corpse exhaling its Ka, defends the right of businesses to fire based on sexual orientation. Seriously, he sounds awful.

Continued here.

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  • Eric Sundwall||

    Chris Matthews will couch every question to Giuliani in terms of 9/11 . . .

  • ||

    What precisely is the difference between "bash" and "trash" in this context?

  • ||

    Oh, wait, duh. Pelosi and Reid aren't candidates, so it doesn't matter.

  • Fenevad||

    Duncan Hunter will repeat his call for Harry Reid to resign, which got zero attention the first time around



    Apparently not zero, or has Mr. Weigel discovered the advantages of self-effacing humility since it apparently did attract his attention.

  • ||

    Wait a minute, the guy who used to put AJ Foyt in the 14 Gimore Specials is running for President. Cool. Too bad about the whole being dead thing.

    http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/irl/56679

  • ||

    Why is Reason having the Republican debate covered by a Democrat shill?

  • crap-action-jackson||

    insert Kang/Kodos joke [here]
    insert helmet/howdie-doodie hairstyle joke [here]
    summarize: "douchebags" [here]

  • ||

    My prediction:
    Romney calls Giuliani out on flip flopping on social issues, they get into an embarrassing shouting match.
    McCain gets caught doodling a Tehran nuclear holocaust.
    Ron Paul eloquently speaks on the problems of profligate government spending, fiat money, and judicial activism FTW!

  • jn||

    Sam B:

    And everyone gazes at him with a puzzled look on their face, followed with a rejoinder about how we need to fight the terrorists in Iraq and not on Main Street, USA.

  • ||

    Ron Paul on War: HR

  • Hayekian Dreamer||

    Interesting. I'm not a Tancredo supporter but if I was I'd be livid. They're asking McCain a second question before even asking him a first question. I'm just glad they let Dr. Paul speak, and speak so eloquently.

  • ||

    Glad Paul is in there, the Gravel of the Rep. race sticking a needle in...

  • phocion||

    Hayekian Dreamer:

    Having just seen Tancredo speak, I think his supporters are hoping for even fewer questions in his direction.

  • ||

    Tancredo supporters won't be happy with that answer.
    Rudy will likely include "Reagan" in all his answers: 2 for 2 so far...

  • Hayekian Dreamer||

    Probably, but I have a strange fascination with the man. Blowhards and bigots amuse me, incompetent blowhards are even better.

  • ||

    Romney: Re: bin Laden "He will pay, and he will die"
    McCain: Bit angry John?

  • ||

    McCain: " Americans, Tonight we dine at the Gates of Hell, with Osama Bin Laden!!!"

  • ||

    Did Mathews just say "Oh God." after Paul babbled about orginal intent?

  • Hayekian Dreamer||

    I think he did. It just shows why we NEED Dr. Paul to restore some respect for Constitutional government.

  • ||

    Live blogging the UK local elections -- SNP early results good, Labour having a bad night, so are the Lib Dems, Tories making moves in the north.

  • ||

    Romney just blew the one interview question everyone prepares for. the easy answer was "apathy".

  • ||

    Romney "hearts" America. Sheesh.

  • ||

    Mitt Romey answered the "what you hate about America" question with the same amount of BS I give when I'm asked what I like least about myself in a job interview.

  • ||

    Q: "Gov. Romney what do you least like about America?"
    A: "It's too awesome"

  • ||

    Q: "Gov. Romney what do you least like about America?"
    A: "It works too hard. Sometimes it looses track of the hours when it is doing its job."

  • Hayekian Dreamer||

    Why is Romney (and McCain earlier) getting so much time to explain and clarify his flip flops, his changing perspectives, and his controversial positions? Ron Paul is reduced to a brief (yet brilliant) sound byte, and it is just so HORRIBLY biased. You'd think at least on the first debate they'd give more time to the minor candidates to give them a chance, we KNOW what the big boys believe, let the public here from the little guys.

  • ||

    Glad that H&R is on the case, b/c I just watched a supersize Earl and now I'm digging into a supersize Office.

  • ||

    8:27 - Duncan Hunter declares war on Iran.
    PROMISE ME YOU WON'T NUKE IRAN. PROMISE ME!

  • phocion||

    I think Paul would be well served by hitting issues other than foreign policy once in a while. I think there are a lot of Republicans who would respond to the fire behind his low tax, small government message.

  • ||

    Glad that H&R is on the case, b/c I just watched a supersize Earl and now I'm digging into a supersize Office.
    NO I completely forgot! My tivo is too busy taping Ugly Betty and the debate.

  • ||

    Weigel is doing a damn fine job with this. Damn. I must say.

    I am very pleased to have him as my Facebook friend.

  • ||

    Romney had a real "get 'im Chris" look on it when Matthews was getting on Brownback...

  • ||

    ...look on his face that is

  • ||

    While Matthews' transgression of the 2nd commandment was most unprofessional, I'm not sure what Ron Paul is trying to say there. Constitutional amendments are supposed to go against original intent, otherwise you wouldn't need to amend the constitution!

    He's lucky Maher isn't there; he would have asked him if he also opposed the Civil War amendments since the Founders intended America to be a slaveholding society.

  • ||

    phocion,
    I totally agree, but also I think that that's genuine on his part. I think more than anyone on that stage Ron Paul was actually speaking his mind. I also LOVED when he said "inflation" was the tax he would get rid of.
    Really, he isn't going to win, but it's great that he is getting his message out.

  • ||

    8:25 - So why doesn't Matthews say "Oh, God" when Romney blathers about loving "America's rolling hills?" Cornpone = good. Constitution = meh.

    David, you've just won me over.

  • phocion||

    No doubt that Paul was genuine about everything he said. He was even thinking out loud with the stupid "most crucial decision" question. I just think Paul has the advantage of being able to go much further to the economic right than any of the other candidates, and that would win some support among hardcore small government Republicans.

    He's not going to win, but I'd like to see his ideas carry SOME influence in the race. I think his national ID card answer did the most for that, and was the kind of answer I would have liked to hear more of.

    I've got no problem with him expressing his anti-war message on the war questions, but the typical Republican could come away from this debate thinking that he's a one note guy, and that it's the wrong note. If people who don't know Paul come away from this debate thinking he's Kucinich II, that's not good for the future of his campaign.

  • ||

    Did Mathews just say "Oh God." after Paul babbled about orginal intent?

    I wonder if Ron Paul supports the 3/5 compromise.

  • Equality 7-2321||

    Probably.

    Only the Southern slaveholders were against the 3/5ths compromise.

  • ||

    Did no one notice my vote for Most Fascist Comment of the Night?

    Matthews: Blah blah, polls say EVERYBODY OPPOSES THE WAR IN IRAQ.
    Romney: If Americans wanted to be governed by the polls, we would just plug in our TVs and let them rule. But that's not what America wants, that's not what America needs. Blah blah...

    Translation: An overwhelming majority of Americans might think they want to stop the senseless slaughter of Iraqis and American soldiers, but they don't really want that.

    I'm excited for the Mormon, Scientology-loving, Freudian campaign this man's gonna run. Maybe Mitt will be shown slaying John Travolta, who represents the Universal Father Figure, and winning the hand of his "Mother" America, portrayed by Katie Holmes.


    -sam

  • ed||

    So blogging has become boxing?
    Down goes Frazier!
    Down goes Frazier!

  • ||

    Sam, I caught that as well. I felt like going out, buying some guns, and killing that prick before he gets a chance to become president. Luckily for him, it was 12 at night and all the gun shops were closed. On top of that, I had to be at work in the morning...

  • Ellie||

    Thompson, who sounds like a corpse exhaling its Ka

    I laughed so hard at this I actually thought I was having a heart attack. Grylliade can vouch for it; there was flailing and clutching of chest.

    I love you guys.

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