Live From New Hampshire, It's Saturday Night G.O.P!

Welcome to a Quick & Dirty Edition of the Umpteenth GOP Debate Drunkblog.

We have people coming over for dinner shortly, so no wrap and not much of an intro either. What you do get -- for the low, low price of nothin' -- is the distilled essence of drunkblogging, with none of that highfalutin pithy stuff around it.

Go time is in ten.

Buckle up, buttercups.

I have to cut this short -- company is here, dinner is about to be served, and I just received a text that there's a fine bottle of Cab in serious need of opening.

But despite earlier promises, I'll give you a quick-if-early wrap.

Cruz was Cruz, for good and ill. Trump was at his best tonight, Rubio at his worst. Christie showed he's in the fight, for all the good it will do him. Bush seemed sane, competent, and almost entirely irrelevant. Carson makes you wish we lived in a country where he could be elected president. And Kasich -- jeebus, Kasich. I look forward to his withdrawal announcement Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

And if anything I miss in the last half hours proves any of this wrong, please assume I wrote something else far more pithy and accurate.

Cheers!

I'd missed this.

Happens to all candidates, it's just that Rubio is so obvious and oblivious about it.

It's good to see Republican candidates talking from the heart on drug addiction instead of the old "lock 'em up and let God sort 'em out."

Cruz has got to stop tapping the podium.

Lectern?

Help me out here with the difference.

Dang. Cruz showing his human side. This doesn't happen much -- watch closely.

Jeb! with the shoutout for the 10th Amendment -- wooooo!

Does anyone have any idea what Kasich just said for the last eleventeen minutes?

I'd like to see Trump as SecState if he doesn't win POTUS.

Maybe, yes.

WATERBOARDING

Mmm, pizza and torture.

Cruz is all over the place here on waterboarding. I have no idea where he stands, and that's not just the Basil Hayden bourbon talking.

Except for Rubio, there hasn't been a whole lot of anti-Obama talk -- this has been a mostly forward-looking debate.

That's a good thing.

"Can you imagine General Douglas MacArthur or Patton" not bombing because it would pollute the atmosphere?

Trump sounds like Curtis Lemay, and it is awesome.

Rubio sounds a lot like Obama when it comes to building a Sunni army from scratch in Syria.

You gotta love it when the talk turns to who is going to blow the most crap out of ISIS.

Yuge, if true.

Uh-oh.

Rubio's Stump Speech Automator™ is stuck again on "not an accident."

He actually got a few boos for it.

But at least Trump was extemporaneous.

"We're the highest-taxed country in the world."

I assume he means corporate tax. If not, he might be having what I'm having.

I'm glad to see Rubio's Stump Speech Automator™ has been updated with a new goto loop on the meaning of conservatism in three parts.

"We want to conserve our money, conserve our wealth... be smart."

Trump, of course

To Kasich: "How would you change conservatism?"

Well, he started by bragging about his recent praise by the New York Freaking Times.

So that's a change, for sure.

Missed opportunity.

Trump's just flat-out lying on eminent domain.

Trump now getting booed for a snide attack ob Jeb! as a "tough guy."

Lots more boos now.

It's fun to watch Trump defending his eminent domain record to a crowd which already understand's he's the Kelo King.

Now:

"That is not public purpose, that is downright wrong."

Jeb! on Trump's real eminent domain record.

If elected, I'll appoint Ben Carson my Czar for Doing Smart and Decent Things He's Too Smart and Decent to Get Elected President to Do.

#Vodka2016

ANALYSIS: TRUE

All over Twitter right now, people are going after Trump for sounding like a Democrat on health coverage.

Again.

And again.

Pretty sure Trump just accused Republicans of letting people die in the street. His applause was tepid.

"We are going to replace ♡bamaCare!!! with something so much better."

-Trump, of course

The problem the non-Trump candidates have when talking about immigration is that they're talking far too much policy, programs people have never heard of.

"Build a wall," keep it simple.

Cruz offered Trump the job of building the wall when Cruz is president.

Heh.

Question to Kasich on deportation: "Are you not where the voters are?"

"We need to finish the border... we have to be able to lock our doors."

Rather the deportation, "legalization" and "paying back taxes" for illegals who haven't (cough) broken the law.

Everyone on this stage sounds smart on turning over as much of the North Korean problem to China as possible. China doesn't "control" the DPRK like Trump said, but they can be made to take responsibility for their troublesome ally.

To Jeb!: "What would you do to get that student back home [from his North Korean captors]?"

Bush goes into a good critique of Obama's history of ...largess... towards hostage takers.

Trump doesn't know much about North Korea.

"We have a president who is totally incompetent and he has no idea what he's doing."

-Trump, of course

Big question from Martha Raddatz is: Which one of you warmongering freaks is batshit crazy enough to launch a preemptive strike on a North Korean missile pad?

I might be paraphrasing, but not by much.

Cruz promises to "rip to shreds" the Iranian nuclear deal which Congress never ratified and the Iranians never signed.

Who?

Wait -- we don't have Patriot missiles in South Korea?

Hey, an issue! North Korea!

Big heated exchange here and Rubio is getting the worst of it.

Wait -- over now and on to Jeb! Bush.

Jeb! recites his record as governor like he's using Rubio's Automator.

Did I mention Rubio's Stump Speech Automator™ is stuck?

Christie still gunning hard at Rubio's experience, or lack thereof.

Smart. Rubio's surging in NH and this state of Christie's big chance to make a big stand.

Rubio's Stump Speech Automator™ is stuck in the "We want to be the United States of America" loop.

Christie says Rubio "hasn't been held accountable" and calls him on missing votes: "That's not leadership; that's truancy."

Now to Rubio: What makes a first-term senator qualified to be President?

Um...

ABC host: "We're going to move on now, back to issues."

As just noted, there have been no issues.

We've gone through three candidates and we're still talking Ted Cruz.

ABC

Yep.

ABC News is coming out swinging against Cruz. Everything so far is about Cruz said this and Cruz said that and isn't Cruz kinda crazy?

Carson is going to Reagan's 11th Commandment -- and yet still finding wiggle room to get digs in at Cruz. It's a good answer.

"We're gonna win with Trump... this country doesn't win anymore... we're gonna win with Trump."

Steve hates it when people talk in third person about themselves.

Cruz might have the most to lose, after his bad attempts to be Trump in the last debate, and coming off a big win in Iowa anyway.

Trump is in Grownup Mode in the early going, like he was two debates ago -- which was his best performance to date. Makes you wonder if missing the last debate killed his surge in Iowa.

Or was it his ground game?

Trump gets the question about Cruz joking that Trump would "nuke Denmark" and doesn't have the temperament to be POTUS.

Trump touts his business acumen. I understand he's quite rich.

And then they flubbed Kasich's intro although he did make his way directly to stage when they finally called him.

What a mess.

Trump is back there with him. I have no idea what's going on here, and neither do Trump & Carson.

Carson missed his cue and seems to be stuck backstage.

Is this the Spinal Tap debate?

Stuff Reporters Shouldn't Say When Reporting from a College Campus: "I'm beginning to learn my way around the dorms here."

I think Matt Dowd just said that for Trump, tonight's debate is "pivotable."

That might be the bestest and truest malapropism ever.

SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!

Are these monster truck pull-type intros necessary?