Liveblogging Tonight's CNN GOP Town Hall

At 8 P.M. Eastern, CNN will air a Republican town hall, featuring Anderson Cooper and three candidates: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. At the same time, MSNBC has scheduled an interview with Vice President Joe Biden, who decided not to run for president last year, but around whom some Democratic donors are turning as a Plan B should former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton get indicted.

Thursday will feature another town hall, also at 8 P.M., with real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. The South Carolina Republican primary is this Saturday, February 20.

Let the games begin!

11:00 P.M.

And that's a wrap. Final thoughts: Carson did really well, Rubio talked way too fast, and Cruz was far too wonky for the average voter. Cruz wins in the personable category, Rubio seemed more polished, and Carson more down-to-earth.

Also, bears! And the Jedi Council. But seriously, bears are a big health problem, guys -- and Ben Carson knows how to stitch you up. Just don't tell him I said that...

Cruz mentioned it with Anderson Cooper! This hilarious badass picture:

10:56 P.M.

"What's your favorite cocktail?"

"I'm a scotch man." That's not a cocktail!

Cruz on appealing to young people -- we have to tell how the Obama economy is "Obamacare is a huge wealth transfer from young healthy people to everybody else." He's not wrong.

10:53 P.M.

Cruz on the Reagan revolution in 1980 -- "You think they dislike me? They hated Reagan with the head of a thousand white-hot suns." Reagan tried to primary a sitting President.

And this gem: "You cannot find a Republican who doesn't have Reagan tattooed somewhere on his body."

10:46 P.M.

Cruz's Bible quoting game is on point. When people are being unkind to you, be kind back -- it's like heaping coals on their head.

On drafting daughters:

Unfortunately this is right on.

10:44 P.M.

More on the Trump-Rubio fight: If I am lying, Phyllis Schlafly, Rush Limbaugh, and James Dobson are lying. Very strong.

10:42 P.M.

Cruz tries his line about Trump and Rubio -- "Whenever anyone points to their actual record, they start screaming 'Liar, Liar, Liar!'"

Video of Cruz's hit on Trump:

And on not nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year, it may not be a spoken tradition, but it's precedent.

10:37 P.M.

Ted Cruz gives Scalia tremendous praise: "Like Ronald Reagan was to the Presidency, so Justice Scalia was to the Supreme Court."

"I think 2016 should be a referendum on the Supreme Court," Cruz adds.

On Cruz's earlier hit on Trump -- "You can never write off the possibility of Donald Trump suing you."

10:36 P.M.

Just another lie?

10:31 P.M.

Cruz has to defend that he's a "natural born citizen" to a questioner in South Carolina. This is a dumb question, all Trump's fault. Cruz lists John McCain, and Mitt Romney's father George, who are natural born citizens, even though they were born outside the U.S.

"I've never breathed a breath of air on this planet when I was not a U.S. citizen."

On Trump's potential suit: "You can never write off the possibility of Donald Trump suing you." YES!

10:29 P.M.

Ted Cruz really understands the way fluctuations in the dollar's value makes a difference in global markets. Also explains what the American energy market needs - government not to pick winners and losers.

And in more serious matters:

10:26 P.M.

Cruz lists defending Christian values (among them the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial) before the Supreme Court, and winning. I wonder if Obama should nominate him to the Supreme Court...

Or would Hillary nominate Obama?

10:21 P.M.

"I like Donald, but I don't think his policy positions make any sense," Cruz says about Trump.

Trump called for impeaching George W. Bush, but Cruz notes that the Donald did not list one "high crimes or misdemeanors."

On Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, Cruz tells a pastor, "Don't listen to what any of us say. Use the Biblical criterion -- you shall know them by their fruits."

10:18 P.M.

Cruz says he will rebuild the military like Reagan: Reagan started with tax reform and regulation reform which led to economic growth. This meant taking in more in taxes, and then more military investment.

"I'm the father of two daughters -- I think women can do anything, but the idea of drafting women is ridiculous."

On a separate note.

10:09 P.M.

Heidi Cruz is "beautiful, she's brilliant, she's an accomplished businesswoman," says Ted. With a heart for economic development - helping lift people out of poverty by starting small businesses.

"School choice is the Civil Rights issue of the 21st Century!" Amen.

Liberals, go home. You're drunk.

Now here's a good question.

10:02 P.M.

"Apple has a serious argument," Cruz says, but "law enforcement has the better argument" because it applies only to the one phone, involved in the San Bernardino attacks. Compares it to a legal search warrant.

This, also, is important.

9:59 P.M.

"We're seeing that old Reagan coalition come together," Cruz says about his new lead in recent national poll.

"We won among conservatives evangelicals, Reagan Democrats, and young people."

This is interesting, on that theme.

And this.

9:54 P.M.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz will be on shortly. He'll likely mention this.

And this:

9:50 P.M.

"Football has inherent danger, so does competitive cheer leading. So does driving a car to work in the morning." Good line on sports. Rubio has the sports vote in the bag.

9:46 P.M.

"An American President has to love the American people, even those who don't love you back," declares Rubio. "Even if you don't vote for me, I'll cut your taxes." Good lines.

And this is why Rubio is called a robot.

9:41 P.M.

Such a solid answer on refugees from Rubio:

Rubio notes that Reagan did not face the Islamic State which uses immigration to invade other countries. "We lock our doors not because we hate the people outside our home but because we love the people inside our home." Great line.

"It's not about a religious test...it's that we have to be 100 percent right" that the refugees are properly vetted.

Also this.

9:34 P.M.

All these issues are ok, but what does Rubio think of the horrifying rise in cat obesity?

9:28 P.M.

Rubio just said this, and it's awesome -- "The Fed is not a Jedi Council."

9:25 P.M.

Anderson Cooper asks "have you ever felt the sting of racism?"

Rubio recalls an instance of being treated differently, but said his parents "never raised us to feel that we were victims."

He notes that an Indian-American Governor just endorsed a Hispanic Senator, and will campaign with a Black Republican Senator tomorrow.

And here's an idea:

9:20 P.M.

Rubio takes both sides of the race -- police issue seriously.

More on Rubio's 15 years of accomplishment:

And here's a harrowing upcoming film.

9:18 P.M.

Marco Rubio claims he reformed Eminent Domain and reduced property taxes in Florida. "I have 15 years of experience changing conservative ideas into action," and he's listing them off.

"But my campaign is not about the past, it's about the future."

In other news, James Dobson just attacked him as unreliable on gay marriage and abortion.

9:15 P.M.

Strong Rubio talking point, but debatable.

Marco's serious weakness -- he talks WAY too fast.

9:11 P.M.

Rubio says he is the only one addressing student debt, because he recently paid off his college loans with book sales. His education plan:

1. Alternative accrediting -- break the monopoly on education standards.

2. Alternative to student loans -- student investment plan. Companies would invest in your college, taking the risk of your education on them.

3. Income based repayment of student loans -- keeps students from defaulting.

4. "Right to know before you go" -- schools have to tell you how much people make when they graduate from that school with that major.

Good plans.

And when it comes to Nikki Haley, she's got...style?

9:02 P.M.

Rubio says we have to secure the border before other immigration reform policies. "No progress will be made on immigration in this country until we can prove to the American people" that the border is secure, the wall is built, and we have E-Verify.

Rubio on expanding the Republican Party:

9:00 P.M.

Rubio says he likes the term "Marcomentum." He beats Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head, but that's not what the race looks like.

Rubio also repeats his accusation that Cruz is a liar.

8:55 P.M.

Carson is done. Waiting for Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who was recently endorsed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Rush Limbaugh says Rubio has what it takes.

8:53 P.M.

Ben Carson says medical care isn't what it used to be. Make Healthcare Great Again!

Ben Carson plays pool -- good to know. He likes Classical/Baroque music.

8:50 P.M.

Ben Carson with a great explanation for how he could face a blustering Democrat -- speak softly and people will be quiet to listen to you. This town hall shows he's right on.

Ben Carson "would relish running against either" Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

8:47 P.M.

Ben Carson has hit on broken homes. Here's more on why we should discuss the important issue of fatherlessness. From our own Leslie Loftis:

Fatherlessness is on the rise. It is causally linked to an array of social risk factors. While there are success stories in single parent households, children raised without a father in the home are more at risk for dropping out of school, using drugs, having emotional problems, and becoming involved in crime, just to name a few.

8:42 P.M.

More on da BEARS!!!!

The scourge of political correctness.

8:38 P.M.

"We are so busily giving away our dignity, our values, and our principles for political correctness," Ben Carson declares. Solid line. He also is not looking for a cabinet position.

And he may or may not have JUST released his energy policy...

8:34 P.M.

"We've had guns for hundreds of years, and we've been free for hundreds of years." Um, yes. We've also had pancakes for hundreds of years. Oh, and we've had big government for thousands of years until the Constitution...

So the bear thing keeps coming up.

But in other news, Carson finally has a congressional endorsement!

8:30 P.M.

"Our system was designed for citizen statesmen, for people who have real life experience and translate that to government work." Now Carson is discovering his voice on national TV -- and it's good. I'm glad he doesn't have Trump interrupting him here.

8:28 P.M.

"We the people have the responsibility to take care of the indigent in our society -- it's not the government's job." Carson nails the "least of these" question.

Then he says "when somebody got killed by a bear, people took care of their family." All I can think of is this.

8:24 P.M.

Carson says Americans need to get over their distrust of the government. Really?

Right on about the Supreme Court though -- it was not meant to be partisan. That's the fault of the Progressive ideology, by the way.

8:20 P.M.

Anderson Cooper introduces Ben Carson first. So these are one-on-one.

"Brain surgery is a lot harder" than politics, Carson says.

Meanwhile, here are some of Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominees:

8:14 P.M.

And the three Republican candidates are still "about to take the stage."

Meanwhile, on the Twitters:

And a shameless plug.

8:06 P.M.

CNN Town Hall still has yet to start, but CNN has noted Ted Cruz's lead in the new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. For the first time, Cruz is ahead of Trump, 28 percent to 26 percent.