Live-blogging the GOP debate tonight …

… because you care.

8pm ET, 7 CST
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Showtime! Ooh, sweet set. Right in front of a shiny Air Force One.

7:03 – Are Americans better off than they were eight years ago? Romney says yes. He owns on economic talk. McCain acts like restating what Romney just said is “being real.” When I look at McCain, I see a cocktail shrimp. Is that ignorant? (Rhetorical.) McCain “We have to stop this ‘squanderous’ spending.” Huckabee doesn’t think we’re better off; he blames congress, exonerates Bush. He spouts off with his regular populist crap. Ron Paul says we’re not better off. SURPRISE! He slams our foreign policy. Of course. There isn’t anything this man could do that isn’t predictable.
Huckabee sides with Ah-nuld’s green plan. Boooo. “You get the chance to find out if it works.” Just, wow. Huck gives us history lesson monologues whenever he doesn’t know what to say.
Ron Paul: federalist approach. Nice answer.

7:10 To Romney: You think McCain is a lib! Say it! Don’t be a pansy about it, Mitt! Own him! YES! He’s calling him on his record! He hits on McCain-Feingold. Nice. On McCain’s amnesty with Kennedy. McCain-Liberman.
McCain: “I was endorsed by your two hometown papers.” Na nanana nah! He calls his record a “conservative record.” Maybe in a freak parallel universe. They go back and forth alternately arguing over, challenging, and defending their records. BORING. Slap-fight already.

7:17: To Huck: “Rush says if you get the nomination you’ll kill the GOP.” Huck answered classy. I’m a bit fonder of Huck now because he didn’t punk out like Rudy. But still. Populist.

7:19 Is it just me or are they going after Romney tonight? I like Romney’s “pay your own way” approach to healthcare. Now the debate is starting to sound like an exercise in conservatism. First time all night.

7:21 Ah-nuld in the hiz-ouse! He’s going to be BFF with McCain, just watch. McCain says he’s a Federalist? Gawd, prep me before this crap, I almost choked on a piece of beef jerky. McCain is talking about his hippie policies. He says he believes in climate change, I mean, global warming. He reasons that even if global warming didn’t exist at least we’ve created a cleaner world for our kids. A cleaner, more socialist world built on a total bullshit theory, for our kids. Is this the GOP debate or the Dem debate? This question is dumb as hell. Let’s talk terrorism! Economy! You know, actual proven concerns.
Romney responds: states should decide emissions. Opposes McCain on capping energy use. Don’t argue with him about money, John. He’ll pwn you.

7:29 OMG SHUT UP HUCK. “Give people money from China and they’ll buy shoes and stuff from China.” Riiiight. What the hell is he even talking about. “We have bridges falling down on people all over America.” Hell, BRIDGE TERRORISM!
Romney gets it. Do you know how we already know this? Because he’s a petrillionaire. He’s successful. He knows how money works.
Ron Paul – Huck “complains about borrowing from China, where would you get the money to build those highways.” I could hug him right now.

7:34 McCain: homeowners were “somehow convinced” to take those loans. Wow.
He’s talking like a liberal. “We may have to take further steps.” Basically: a bailout. He sounds like Hillary.

7:36 McCain tries to explain his way out of his waffling on tax cuts. He says that his plan would’ve saved the world had not everyone not picked him last in dodgeball. I don’t know. I forgot what he said while counting how many times he used “Reagan foot soldier” to describe himself.

7:40 Romney sternly says no amnesty for illegal immigrants. Deport! How and with what money? [cue Huckabee “borrow money from China” line]

7:44 Would McCain vote for his own original immigration reform plan today? “It won’t get voted on.” McCain flounders on the question. Shut up with the “I’m from a border state.” WE KNOW. Hey! Did you know that McCain is from a border state? YEAH!

7:48 Huck talks right to life. First time he’s sounded like a true conservative all night. Now they’re talking about Sandra Day O’Connor, Reagan’s greatest mistake.

7:58 I like how Romney rises above the allure of a cheap shot at Bush. He gets the first loud applause of the night talking about how Bush “stood for strength” and stuck to his guns.

8:00 Romney denies ever supporting a specific timetable for Iraq withdraw. “I will not pull our troops out until we have success in Iraq.” McCain quibbles with Romney on whether or not Romney ever supported a timetable withdraw.

Huckabee and Paul are just bystanders in this debate now. McCain is VERY aggressive with Romney. They’ve been fighting for five minutes now. They are really going after Romney and taking it easy on McCain. Very telling.

8:10: McCain drags Huckabee into the fray and accuses Romney of negative campaigning. As opposed to happy, BFF campaigning?

Ron Paul “This argument is silly. They’re [Romney and McCain] arguing over technicalities of a policy they both agree with.” SOMEONE HUG THIS MAN.
Ooook, now he’s crazy again. “Why do our guys have to die for this, for something that has no threat to our national security?” And THAT’S why Ron Paul will never, should never, be president. He fails to recognize that the country’s #1 responsibility is national security: to protect our people. End of story.

8:12: With regards to Iraq: “We need to lead with honor,” says Huck. As opposed to leading like the cowardice terrorists? It’s impossible for us to lead in any way that would NOT make our lead honorable – especially when compared to Islamofascists.

8:20: McCain takes a dig at Romney, says he’s in it to lead, “not for profit.” I’m sure Romney really needs that $200k salary.

8:23: Romney hits the “you-don’t-have-military-experience-how-can-you-lead question out of the park.

8:25: Ron Paul: “The President is Commander-in-Chief, not the commander of the economy.” Yea, but the president can decide on economic policy and wields a veto. So argument moot.

8:28: Huck is such a populist.

8:30: Romney is right, he is an outsider much like Reagan was. They’re all going to fall all over each other now saying how Reagan, if still alive, would’ve endorsed them. I’m not sure if Reagan would endorse a damn single one of them.

Conclusion: Romney won. His answers on Iraq and the economy were solid and well-delivered.

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