Liveblogging the First (But Not Really) Presidential Primary Debate of 2012 (er, 2011!)
Posted by michael on May 5, 2011
If today’s announcement that an actual real life socialist (Review-endorsed!) is going to be the new Student Trustee has got you down, don’t worry! Tonight is the first debate (despite featuring none of the top tier candidates, it will showcase all of the crazy and hilarious ones) of the 2012 primaries. Hosted in Greenville, South Carolina, the debate is streaming here and the Insider will be liveblogging the event below.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who is promoting his new summer blockbuster, will be there, along with four others running for the Republican nomination. Look for Rick Santorum to complain about gay people a lot, Herman Cain to talk about health care reform like an old school preacher in the deep south, and Gary Johnson to attempt to match Ron Paul in the number of Austrian economists and references to marijuana legalization he can fit into one answer.
Full coverage after the jump . . .
8:45 PM: This is all you need to know about Ron Paul supporters:
At one table, a Paul supporter named Brian Frank was selling dehydrated food, and offering free samples of the water-added broccoli cheese or cream of potato soups.
9:00 PM: Brett Baier is soooooo dreamy. Shannon Breem is Miss America. Ron Paul is awkward. Herman Cain is my long lost black grandfather. Rick Santorum is creepy. Gary Johnson is stone-faced (and probably also stoned). Juan Williams needs to GTFO.
9:04 PM: Tim Pawlenty wants to thank the “other contenders that have showed up tonight.” Good point about Obama’s use of, uh, waterboarding to capture OBL. Everyone but Herman Cain would put out a photo of OBL’s dead body. Also, handshows aren’t debating.
9:06 PM: Rick Santorum on Foreign Policy–”What President Obama has done that wasn’t a continuation of the Bush Administration has been wrong!”
9:07 PM: Ron Paul–Afghanistan mission is useless nation building. ”End it now!” Met with loud applause from the UC Libertarians hippies he’s bussed in.
9:08 PM: Herman Cain’s hand gestures are awesome and he stops at that f’ing bell.
9:09 PM: Gary Johnson’s voice is very . . . effeminate. He also thinks we should have left Afghanistan after six months. Coolstorybro. ”In a position right now where I can offer opinions on anything” stands in stark contrast with Cain’s humble admission that, uh, he’s not the President and doesn’t have all the information needed to make a decision on the War on Terror.
9:12 PM: Rick Santorum wants to fight an ideological battle with radical Islam. Good luck with that.
Ron Paul thinks that not giving foreign terrorists Habeas corpus means that we’ll take them away from US citizens soon. I wonder how he got to that conclusion . . . oh yeah, he’s crazy.
9:15 PM: Tim Pawlenty’s just reading his passport at this point.
Everyone but Paul and Johnson would resume the enhanced interrogations that led to OBL’s death.
Santorum’s calling him “Ron” now; this is awesome.
9:17 PM: Cain on enhanced interrogation–”The terrorists simply want to kill. Us. All. And I’ll do anything that’s in my means to stop them.” Loudest applause of the night.
Johnson–”Eliminating the corporate income tax would create tens of millions of jobs overnight.”
9:20 PM: Pawlenty on Breem’s “Come Attack Mitt” Bait: ”Governor Romney’s not here to defend himself, so I won’t pick on him.” Very classy, Governor Pawlenty.
9:25 PM: Santorum supports the Ryan plan on entitlement reform. I wonder if we’ll get an answer on that from the other candidates.
9:27 PM: Baier: ”Later, we’ll ask THESE candidates about the OTHER candidates that didn’t show.” AKA, let’s have everyone dump all over Mitt Romney for the remaining hour.
9:30 PM: Skipping this debate was a very good idea.
Santorum wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system immediately, going farther than the Ryan plan. That would NOT fly in a general election.
9:33 PM: Ron Paul apparently only thinks the federal government should run a few domestic military bases. He also thinks defaulting on the national debt is a good idea.
9:35 PM: Chris Wallace really sticks Cain on support of the FairTax, which replaces federal income taxes with a nearly 25% federal sales tax on everything from new homes to groceries. He brings up the prebate as keeping it from bankrupting the middle class. Still seems like it could hurt American business a lot.
Gary Johnson’s complaining about not getting enough questions like my mother sends back cold soup at a diner.
9:38 PM: Gary Johnson’s talking about spending cuts a lot more rationally than Paul. Hopefully he’ll be the only of the two libertarians that ends up running; his campaign sounds much more serious.
9:40 PM: Of course Ron Paul’s against SB 1070.
Santorum: Why won’t you teach me Italian?
Santorum’s Dad: Because THIS IS AMERICA!
9:42 PM: Gary Johnson thinks work visas are the best way to handle illegal immigrants and that immigration should be about “work, not welfare.” Good points, but his stance against securing the border is insane.
9:44 PM: Santorum–”If the President says Gadaffhi must go, he must go.” Best stance on Libya from any of the candidates on stage.
9:48 PM: Santorum–”I’ve been very supportive of Pakistan and I’d continue the aid.” Why?!?!?
9:50 PM: Paul–”It’s not like every Jew in this country supports our policy [on foreign aid to Israel]!” LOL
Ooooh, they’re going to talk about Wisconsin! <3 Scott Walker
9:53 PM: Of course the chair of the SC GOP is a hot blonde lady. Of course.
9:54 PM: Oh my god, Ron Paul’s been married almost as long as my dad’s been alive.
9:56 PM: Johnson–”I support a woman’s right to choose up until viability of the fetus, but I’ve always favored parental notification and would not ever use public funds for abortion.”
9:59 PM: This isn’t a debate on social issues, just a debate on each candidate’s actual position on social issues.
Santorum’s being asked about Daniels’ call for a “truce” on social issues. Uh-oh.
Santorum: Daniels “doesn’t understand what America is all about.” He’s about to blow up–”life, God, liberty, constitution. Social truce does not compute. Error. Error.”
10:03 PM: Cain’s jacket is awesome.
Cain: ”What the NLRB did in citing Boeing for moving to South Carolina [because it was a right-to-work state] was horrible.” SC Gov Nikki Haley is in the audience and LOVES it.
Pawlenty: ”There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design, but it doesn’t HAVE to be in the science class.” ”I’m from a union family, so I understand this issue. What we’re against is government intervening in the market. It’s not about bashing unions, it’s about being pro-business.”
10:07 PM: Chris Wallace plays a Pawlenty for Governor ’08 ad calling for cap and trade. Ouch.
Pawlenty on past cap’n'trade support–”I was wrong, it was a mistake, and I’m sorry.”
10:08 PM: Chris Wallace says Santorum’s a crappy candidate because he doesn’t want women working outside the home and lost to a Dem by 18 points in the swing state of PA. You don’t say!
10:10 PM: Paul–”SC will vote for me if they realize that my commitment to liberty will allow them to practice their religion.” Which candidate doesn’t want them to practice their religion?
10:12 PM: Wallace–”Are you suggesting that heroin and prostitutes are exercising liberty?”
Wallace–”I never thought heroin would get applause in South Carolina!”
10:13 PM: Gary Johnson’s stoned RIGHT NOW!
10:15 PM: Oooh, it’s the “lightning round!”
10:17 PM: Sorry, Tim Pawlenty started talking and I fell asleep.
10:19 PM: Johnson’s dumping on Bush. Sorry, Gary, this isn’t a 2007 Democratic primary debate.
And, yes, dear viewer, the “Dump on Mitt” lightning round is coming . . . right after this commercial break! Fox knows its audience.
10:23 PM: Cain–”I supported Romney in 2008 because of his business experience. I’m running because he did not win last time.”
Pawlenty–”I love the Huck.”
Paul on if Bachmann has “eclipsed him” in the Tea Party movement–”She’s not here tonight, so, uh . . .”
10:25 PM: Santorum on Gingrich’s cheatin’ ways–”Just because you fall short, doesn’t mean you can’t stand up and say this is the right way.”
Chris Wallace just asked Gary Johnson what his dream reality show would be. Wow. ”I don’t think it would be Donald Trump’s show or Sarah Palin’s show crawling on her hands and knees on the ice in Alaska.” Best answer he could come up with.
10:28 PM: Cain’s closing–”FELLOW PATRIOTS . . . “
Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty’s talking about his website. Yawn.
Gary Johnson is Tim Gunn and he somehow says the name of his website much more forcefully than Pawlenty.
10:30 PM: Aw, it’s over. Wait, Hannity’s in the spin room. Ron Paul won’t go on Sean’s show, therefore he is not Great American TM.
Luntz’s focus group thinks Herman Cain won the debate BY FAR. One focus grouper had him as their first choice coming in, now most of the twenty something of them in the room have him as their number one candidate. So there you go.
10:34 PM: One final thought, there is a massive painting of Reagan on an easel in the room Luntz is holding the focus group in. You don’t get that kinda thing on a CNN hosted GOP debate. FOX: Setting the Reagan Bar High.