What the hell, let's live-blog this, the 427th debate of the GOP presidential nominating season. If Dr. Congressman Disco Brotherman Ron Paul (R-Texas) is to land that longshot haymaker, this is the state where it really has to happen. Start your commenting now, and let's see what happens!
9:02: Famous journalist salutes politicians for being brave enough to run for president. DRINK!
9:05: Roger Ebert predicts a Paul victory in Iowa.
9:06: Diane Sawyer (wisely) asks for "distinguishing" characteristic on economic plan. Romney (unwisely) repeats same old seven-point plan.
9:07: "Malinvestment"! DRINK!
9:08: "That is the culprit: big spending and big government." Paul closes well.
9:10: Ann Coulter: "Luckily, none of the candidates have Clinton's 'distinguishing characteristic.'" Funny cuz it's TRUE.
9:10: Wait, did Bachmann just say "one of my win points"?
9:13: Santorum, as he always does, answers at least one question very well: No, he can't promise the number of jobs he'll creat.
9:15: Katrina Trinko: "Glad Cain and Huntsman are out so there's enough time for Sawyer to get everything in she wants to say."
9:17: Where's Gary Johnson? Gary Johnson is on Twitter.
9:18: Lucy Steigerwald is heckling me.
9:23: First real exchange between Romney and Gingrich tragically drowned out by my three-year-old girl wishing me good night and suggesting I slam my head against the bookcase. #mixedsignals. Also, Gingrich seems to be routing Romney's attacks, however.
9:25: Ron Paul hits Newkular square in the Ta-tas on Freddie Mac.
9:28: Crowd stone-cold laughs at Gingrich's contention that his Freddie consulting was "in the private sector." It's really the right response to Newt Gingrich, in all instances.
9:33: Every time Mitt Romney campaigns to Obama's left on cutting Medicare, a little fairy rises up from my wine glasses and finishes my joke.
9:35: Romney always lies his face off when he talks about how he didn't want Romneycare to be applied to the federal bureaucracy, BTW.
9:37: Romney bets Perry $10,000. For once, I hope that's illegal.
9:40: Timothy P. Carney: "Regular Americans make $10,000 bets, right?"
9:42: Katrina vanden Heuvel: "And could moderators follow up when Ron Paul raises smart + transpartisan points--like why are we spending $billions on wars and bases/." Forget about the content there for a moment, and dwell on the syntax. SHE WRITES LIKE THAT EVERY DAY. It's fascinating.
9:45: Ron Paul hasn't talked in what, 25 minutes?
9:49: "Even stronger than a handshake in Texas." DRINK! Also, marital fidelity is more important to Rick Perry than learning how to pronounce it.
9:51: "I don't think we should have to talk about it," Ron Paul says, about fidelity, and then pivots wisely: "What about your oath of office?" Good applause paragraph!
9:54: Jesse Walker: "Cheers to Ron Paul, who managed to turn a question about Newt Gingrich's penis into a libertarian stump speech."
9:55: Gingrich sez "I've had to go to God for forgiveness." I'm not an expert on this stuff, but isn't going to God a privilege or something?
9:57: Gingrich: "I think we should make deportation dramatically easier." Also, English the official language. He is the big immigration softie, BTW.
9:59: Romney continues to try to claim the most hard-ass GOP position on immigration, even while he tries to claim the most soft-ass position on Medicare. 0 for 2, as far as I'm concerned. Though I think we can all agree that Diane Sawyer is a monster.
10:01: Rick Perry should n-e-v-e-r say the phrase "that clearly say..."
10:03: My wife, with a knowing, forlorn look: "It's 10 o'clock on a Saturday night, and you're live-blogging the Republican debate." DONATE, PEOPLE!
10:06: John Podhoretz: "I'm all for having candidates praise Israel, but Newt on Palestinians should not be the first foreign policy question."
10:08: Newt: "I spoke as a historian." Romney actually had a good retort to that one.
10:09: There is an insufficient amount of Teddy Roosevelt bashing in this debate. Also, Bachmann is talking about her kibbutz summer. DRINK BECHEROVKA.
10:11: Can an expert on stimulants assess Romney's mile-a-minute, teeth-grinding performance?
10:18: Roger Stone: "Newt leads at 3/4 mark. Romney flop sweat showing. Rick Perry, Ron Paul crazy Michelle and little Ricky irrelevant."
10:21: Rick Perry: "My Social Security has a zero in 1978." Bro, I've got nearly a whole decade that looks like that. Also, I can complete a sentence now and again.
10:23: Greg Gutfeld: "Okay, Next question: have you ever invited a homeless man over for dinner?"
10:24: Yes, Ron Paul moved from the question of personal poverty to monetary policy in roughly three sentences. #commitment
10:27: Kyle Smith: "Rick Santorum: Vote for me, I had both a mother and a father. Special!"
10:28: Oh hold on, Bachmann pronounces it KEW-pawn?? That's almost as bad as Newt Gingrich talking about his hands-on struggles as a small businessman.
10:29: Either Ron Paul is live-Tweeting from the podium, or he has some other human Tweeting under his name. JUST LIKE A POLITICIAN.
10:31: A "fundamentally rethink" from Newt. DRINK ROBITUSSIN.
10:32: Great, succinct answer from Ron Paul about government protecting you from itself. And now is talking about government as "force."
10:41: Rick Santorum is the only candidate I like more than I did at the beginning of this campaign. I do not know how to feel about this.
10:42: Rick Perry gives a generous shout-out to Paul's work on the Federal Reserve. Did not see that coming.
10:44: Mitt Romney singles out Ron Paul in his closing statement. You could see it as a generous pat on the head downward, or you could see it as Romney knowing that he's competing against Ron Paul in Iowa. I'll take the latter.
10:45: If we do survive, it will be because of Rick Santorum?
10:46: Nice close from the Disco Brotherman. Tolerance, bitches!
10:50: Oh! It's over. Thank God. You like this kind of thing? Please donate! And with that, good night, and thanks for commenting!