Thursday, December 15, 2011

Liveblogging the Fox Iowa Republican Debate

What a change from the ABC debate debacle, at least at the outset. This apparently will not be another moderator arranged circular firing squad.

Question - address the concerns raised about you and explain why you can beat Obama.

 Gingrich - "Electability" at this point is a red herring - citing to Reagan's win against Carter when he was 30% down in the polls a year out. As to the Romney "crazy" criticism, Gingrich goes over his many "conservative" accomplishments while Speaker. As to whether he lacks discipline - he strives for "very large changes." And he takes it to Obama. Good Answer.

 Romney - A non-answer to the question of whether he can be as effective as Gingrich in debating Obama. He simply claims that his business background gives him more gravitas when talking about jobs.

Paul - Claims that "we can all beat Obama." He also notes that he concerns himself with policies the others don't, such as monetary policy. Good answer.

 Santorum - I am the most conservative - gives no examples.

 Bachman - Claims that she can attract independents, despite being a doctrinaire conservative, by pointing to her elections in Minnesota.

 Perry - Cavuto asks him to address the fact that his debating skills have left many feeling that he is not up to the challenge. Perry says he's gotten much better and compares himself to Tim Tebow.

 Huntsman - claims that he is not a moderate, but a "consistent conservative." He is claiming to fix the country's "trust deficit" with government and Wall St.


 Question - What do you do to effect that gridlock playing out in Congress today.

Gingrich - Leadership and reaching across the aisle is the key - citing to what he accomplished in the Clinton administration.

Romney - Leadership and reaching across the aisle is the key - citing to what he accomplished as the Mass governor and with Staples.

Paul - Half the Congress wants warfare, the other half wants welfare. He would split the difference. It is a crazy answer.

Santorum - Somehow learned of the need for bipartisanship during a campaign.

Bachman - She would dictate the left what she is going to do. It is an incredibly weak answer.

Huntsman - People need to be told where you can take them and then deliver it. Not really an answer to the question.


 Question - The DC Culture

 Romney - Respond to Gingrich's criticism that he should give back the money he earned at Bain capital because he bankrupted businesses. Great answer - he created a lot of jobs. Failure is a part of capitalism and compared his stewardship to Obama's stewardship of GM. Very effective.

Gingrich - Respond to his own statement from 2007 on the Freddie Mac website that he "likes GSE's." He says that there are a lot of GSE's that do good work, and that he has long supported home ownership.

Bachman - Invited to criticize Gingrich for "lobbying for Fannie and Freddie." She demagogues the fact that Gingrich took a check from Freddie Mac. Has no evidence other than he took a Freddie Mac paycheck.  Bachman moves down a small notch in my estimation every time I listen to her. Claims that Politifact supports her. Politifact has apparently issued a denial over twitter.


Question - Gingrich's criticism of Paul Ryan's medicare plan was that of "right wing social engineering." How does he feel now that Ryan has changed his plan?

Gingrich - Good answer - we need to have the American people on board or it will feel like social engineering. The change to the Ryan plan is a good one. He also compliments Romney for his similar plan.


Question - Huntsman how do you respond to China's pushing a 22% tariff on US Sports Utility Vehicles.

Huntsman - we need China to adopt American values and democracy. Only China and the U.S. will matter in the 21st century.  He does not explain how he will get China to adopt our values beyond inviting the Chinese, one at a time, to visit him in his office.


 Question: What future areas will drive jobs in the US

 Romney - great answer. The markets decide. Cites to Solyandra and other Obama on crony capitalism. -


 Question - Would Newt abolish courts or impeach judges if they do not like the court rulings.

Gingrich - He gives a great answer - that the Courts have gone far beyond their mandate on Constitutional issues. The only thing he didn't say - the Constitution tells us two ways to amend the Constitution, neither of which involves fiat by the Supreme Court. As a historian, he understands this better than lawyers. He is 100% right. Big applause for his answers.

 Bachman - agrees

 Paul - thinks it is too dangerous to take on the courts.

 Romney - says he had to nominate conservative democrats for the bench in Mass. or they would not have been acceptable.


 Question - Paul, why are you to the left of Obama on Iran.

 Paul: There is no evidence that Iran is creating a nuclear weapon. IAEA apparently doesn't count. Iran has every reason to get a nuclear weapon. We don't need any more war - as if Iran does not get a say in that. Question: What about if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz. Paul gives a non-answer. Just used diplomacy to convince them not to close the straits.  This was Fox giving Paul a chance to push his self-destruct button, repeatedly.

Santorum: Fully understands the problem of Iran's theocracy. MADD won't work with Iran. We need to have a preemptive strike if Iran does not open up its nuclear sites to full inspection.

Bachman: Iran is extending its influence through Iraq and it is a huge concern. Paul is a dangerous nutter. heh. Good answer.

Romney: Gets a real softball question. Is Obama too timid with Iran over the drone? Wow. First ridiculous question.

Paul: No need to have defense beyond our borders.


 Question: Gingrich is critical of UN. Why?

 Gingrich: The UN is a snakepit. The degree of obfuscation on the Israel is intolerable. We need to change it or seriously reduce our contributions. There is no peace process with Palestinians rocketing Israel monthly. How would we react if it was happening to us. Biggest applause of the night. 

Bachman: Agrees.

 ------------------------------------------ Question - Keystone Pipeline

Gingrich - Trying to choose words that won't appear "crazy." Heh. The President's handling of this is horrid. Republicans need to attach it to every bill being sent to the President until he signs it. Big applause lines.

Huntsman - Wants to get us off imported oil. Wants to disrupt the domestic "oil monopoly." Hmmmmm. Then brings up natural gas. That part I agree with.

 Bachman - Obama's response to the BP spill hurt our economy more than the spill. Obama is holding up Keystone solely for his reelection effort.


Question - Immigration

 Romney - Is his plan realistic of having illegals register and return to country of origin. He claims so. Sites to Gingrich plan to have employers immediately check status of employees.

 Gingrich - Says in passing that he disagrees with Romney on the area of what to do with people here a very long time. He does go on to withholding funds from sanctuary cities, end law suits against Arizona, Ala. and Utah. Big applause lines.


 Question - The Romney Roast - whether his many changes of policy are heartfelt or pragmatic.

 Romney - Claims to have been a conservative at all times.  Hmmmmmmmm. 

Santorum - Romney sided with the Mass. courts over the Mass. Constitution in ordering gay marriage. An interesting fact I hadn't heard before.


 Question - On When Life Begins

 Bachman - Newt is a babykiller.

 Newt - Take a look at the facts, don't create them. Think Bachman is about to explode. 


Quick scorecard:

Juan Williams and Krauthammer - Newt had the big answers

 Moderators - Bachman and Perry helped themselves.

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