Big night here at the Ferris Compound. Papa Ferris has promised to make a cameo during the debate. That significantly increases the possibility of Glass-Steagal being touted and Ben Bernanke being booed.
Before we get started, this looks like it has potential to be the most college-esque debate of the bunch so far. Darthmouth, Charlie Rose and the whole sitting around the table motif makes it sound like more of a symposium than a debate.
7:59 – Chris Christie is the crowd. You meatballs! Side note, he tried to cancel the Big Dig earlier today. Old habits die hard.
8:01 – It is all about the economy! The next one should be about science!
8:01 – Charlie Rose probably has most expensive kitchen table in American history. Also the biggest – maybe he borrowed Bachmann’s.
8:02 – The Gingrich/Santorum bromance continues. Thanks Bloomberg producers for sitting them together. Those two are going to paint Hanover, NH red tonight!
8:02 – Bruce Bartlett did a pretty solid takedown of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan earlier today. I would hope Charlie Rose would mention how the tax changes would increase the debt.
8:03 – Perry’s first question is a super easy one. Yet he still swings at the fastball down the plate like it is curveball in the dirt. He can’t even knock his punchline out of the infield. Weak. His campaign said he got extra sleep last night – was it at the greyhound station across the river in White River Junction?
8:05 – First lie of the night: Obama has never worked in the private sector. Hey folks, meet the 31st iteration of Mitt Romney – New Hampshire Romney whose best friends are Democrats. That won’t be on display in South Carolina, Nevada, or anyone else for that matter.
8:06 – Rick Perry sounds like he woke up late on the day of the exam. Showed up to class thinking the test was on cowboys and instead it was on the marginal tax rate. Nice line on Romney running for the last six years though.
8:08 – I think the wider Michele Bachmann’s eyes, the more she is going believe all the craziness she is saying. Bachmann blamed Dodd-Frank, a piece of legislation that was signed into law after the economic downturn began, for the economic downturn. Classic!
8:10 – Newt Gingrich is sounding reasonable until he says we should jail Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. And then he goes after the media. Newt Gingrich has mistaken this table for a lecture.
8:13 – Santorum wants us to be competitive. What is he going to doing about the cost of salary? No mention of the fact that no minimum wage is a big part of the race to the bottom. Santorum really thinks the Democrats would support his plan?
8:16 – Rick Perry’s facial response to Huntsman’s cheesey joke? Priceless. Huntsman’s persona and messaging in these debates, which right now is his only way to get out to folks since has little to no paid media, is all over the place. He makes bad jokes and then tries to be the adult in the room. It is as if he is running for the position of Dad.
8:17 – Newt Gingrich goes from praising a medical specialist to praising Sarah Palin – in the same breath. The former speaker is a smart man, but there is a flaw in his issue with the government’s prostrate decision. He was opposed to national mandates because it wouldn’t save lives. If the decision went the other way, would he still oppose it?
8:19 – Oh my god – is the death panels meme coming back?
8:20 – Huntsman says he wants to get more folks into government service, even if for just a few years. But what he doesn’t mention is that being a bureaucrat or government official has been demonized by conservatives who want to shrink government. Some assorted thoughts, his pizza joke is nice, but I (and others, I assume) made it a long time ago. And did he just come out in support of the Bowles-Simpson deficit plan that was DOA in Congress because of the GOP?
8:24 – I want the job title, Wealth Creationist. Does that mean he believes God created wealth in seven days or can I believe it evolved over time? Also, the dude, Cleveland’s Rich Lowry, the only articles about him online are about folks not being able to find him.
8:25 – Mitt Romney just started talking over a female reporter. In the same sentence, Romney says he wouldn’t have to call Tim Geithner to ask him what is going on in the economy, but does say he will work with people to fix the economy. Which Mitt? Also, wasn’t Obama the presidential candidate in 2008 who attended the White House meeting and was a substantive participant while McCain did nothing?
8:28 – Herman Cain didn’t attack Romney even though it was there on a platter. He thinks he is a frontrunner and is acting like it too.
8:31 – When Ron Paul sees a Republican, he sees a Keynesian. Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders must get drunk and talk shit about so many people. I would pay several gold bars to hang out with them.
8:37 – Charlie Rose really hates giving time to LinkedIn. He intentionally botched the explanation and then I don’t think he ever mentioned their polls.
8:37 – Oh man, the WaPo and Bloomberg got baller. Bringing Reagan’s comments on tax equality to a pillow fight.
8:38 – Rick Perry is seriously just winging it. “Americans are so untrustworthy….” I just can’t understand why people thought he could run roughshod over this field.
8:40 – Romney has slipped into platitudes as a way to avoid the question.
8:42 – Gingrich complains about the way Washington is run. To be honest, I don’t think much is different from his days of DC leadership.
8:43 – Michele Bachmann says she has an economics background and “is” a federal tax lawyer.
8:44 – Herman Cain is asking economists, voters, and Americans to support his 9-9-9 plan but that you can’t judge it based on current economic models. But it is awesome.
8:47 – Bachmann hates Congress so much it sounds like she want to vaccinate it personally. Bachmann makes a 666 reference on Cain’s plan. Someone has been trolling some dark message boards apparently. Woof
8:48 – Huntsman gets a question in his wheelhouse on a potential trade war with China and it is a tough one: He handles it so smartly that it makes you forget how poorly run his campaign actually is.
8:51: When they pan to him, Rick Perry looks like a cat watching a ball of yarn go across the floor during that China discussion.
8:51: Did Charlie Rose say “Governor Huckabee?” Surprise cameo!!!
8:53 – Baller question from the Honeywell CEO. Rick Santorum is so angry at people that he is going to lead us to war against China. How do you Google translate “Santorum” into Chinese?
8:54 – Santorum may be an angry SOB, but he just nailed Cain’s plan in New Hampshire with their anti-tax dogma.
8:55 – After one of the debate’s last month, Michele Bachmann got attacked for using a one-off anecdote on HPV vaccines. However, Santorum and others use unverifiable anecdotes to justify their positions. Tonight, it is a business man who hates ObamaCare. But these are the candidates who disdain Washington experts, but accept anecdotes.
8:56 – Cain’s description of 9-9-9 as “bold” makes it sound like a new version of Doritos.
9:01 – The Bloomberg Commentator in the “intermission” looks like a lot like Robin Scherbatsky
9:02 – The candidates are asking each other questions – Apples to Apples!!
9:06 – Michele Bachmann brings up Perry’s Gore connection and tax hikes. She is as subtle as a Mac Truck.
9:07 – Perry gives his first good answer in a month worth of debates. He is like the Kwame Brown of debates.
9:08 – Herman Cain is like a ninja with that question to Romney. Oh I wish they could debate each other one-on-one in March. Or have a buddy sitcom on FX. Cain scores point with that question but doesn’t hurt Romney.
9:10 – Newt Gingrich’s question is like his Amazon.com book reviews. Page 47….
9:11 – Massachusetts Mitt Romney showed up in that comment about how the “rich are doing just fine.”
9:11 – Huntsman makes me hit my head on walls. Ruins the solid question to Romney with a joke on their shared Mormonism. Is Meghan McCain running this campaign?
9:13 – In football, when one team is about to score a touchdown but turns it over, allowing the other team to score, that is a 14 point swing. Similar thing hapenned with Huntsman’s question to Romney. The question gives Mitt Romney one of his strongest and most passionate answers in the debates I’ve seen.
9:16 – 8 percent of the population in Massachusetts was uninsured. That was his motivation. But there were so many more uninsured in the US. Nevertheless, Romney is on fire in this debate. Both Perry and Huntsman have tried to go after him and instead, Romney gained yardage.
9:18 – Romney asks Bachmann a question – Talk about a softball question. The last time they debated in NH, Bachmann was on fire and now she is such an after thought that one of the front-runners burned their softball.
9:20 – Bachmann says she has spent her entire career in the private sector and she was a lawyer for the IRS.
9:22 – Rick Santorum is so angry that Herman Cain says the same thing he does but gets so much more love from the voters – It is because he isnt angry.
9:26 – Rick Perry is asked about health care, says we got to get people back to work by getting energy sector up, and then talks about more private involvement in health care.
9:29 – Perry literally just stopped his answer in the middle sentence.
9:30 – Herman Cain’s Alan Greenspan comment indicates his naivete. Since you know, Greenspan was part of the bubble inducing Fed. If anything, it indicates his opportunistic attachment to the Tea Party ethos.
9:31 – Ron Paul takes Herman Cain to school for loving him some Alan Greenspan.
9:32 – Mitt Romney seems really comfortable tonight. Maybe it is the table. Maybe it is New Hampshire. But he is coming across as personable, ugh I know, as I’ve ever seen.
9:35 – Dirty Dealing – like Dirty Dancing, but about politics. Nobody puts appropriations in a corner. Michele Bachmann’s also just unknowingly affirmed why campaign finance reform is important.
9:36 – I may disagree with Ron Paul, but he is honest about how Republicans and Democrats are equally responsible.
9:37 – Rick Perry just walked into a pile of shit on the Solyndra question when it was turned around on him. Details may not be as damning as it initially sounds, but it doesn’t look good on the surface level.
9:41 – Herman Cain is kind of like Palin. He said folks protesting in Wall Street may be unemployed but aren’t like the folks who are unemployed across America. The real unemployed versus and Real Americans.
9:42 – Romney buried his strongest argument in lieu of attacking Obama. That is not a good habit to develop.
9:44 – Rick Perry takes a question about the past 30 years and blames a man who has been in office for less than 3 years. My mistake for expecting an honest answer in this debate.
9:45 – Rick Santorum, in his closing statement, talks about protecting the family.
9:47 – New Hampshire isn’t going to get the po’/poor joke by Cain. Bold – 9-9-9 plan. Get me Pizza Doritos.
9:49: Ron Paul is preaching to the choir. He may win straw polls and do well in these debates, but what is his campaign doing to expand his base of support?
9:49 – Santorum stumbles onto the fact that income mobility is greater in Europe but would not mimic what they do over there since it is so socialist.
9:50 – Stop toying with me Huntsman. Either get real or get out.
9:50 – Why do we get upset about foreclosures for the middle class, but not the poor?
9:51 – It is a shame that Perry will not be the nominee. What does making America America again mean?
9:52 – Who does Romney think our military is second to?
So in the end, Romney does well by himself after getting on fire in the second half of the debate. Perry has permanently sealed his fate as a second tier candidate with this performance. Herman Cain did not hurt his cause, but he definitely was the target of more attacks. He was both benefited and disadvantaged by the total focus on the economy. It gave him time to tout his bold plan, but it also left unanswered his seriousness when it comes to foreign policy. Guess we will have to wait till the next debate. Ron Paul continues to do what he does and stays true to his beliefs and principles which makes him unique on that stage. Jon Huntsman probably wakes up in the middle night wishing he was still our ambassador in Beijing, watching the inanity from China and getting ready for 2016. Instead, he has been looking for political oxygen since Day One.