Drunkblogging Tonight's GOP Presidential Debate

5:49PM I remember George Stephanopoulos as the guy who was just too young to be working for the President. After almost twenty years, he’s increased both in stature and in how much he looks like a Muppet.


5:50PM Good news: Fox News is hosting along with YouTube, so we’ll get questions from people just like you and me, only on really interesting medications.

Bad news: The pre-show is O’Reilly.

5:52PM The pre-spin is: Bachmann will tear into Perry, Huntsman will tear into Romney.

It’s like midget wrestling vs. the WWE.

5:54PM Tonight’s drunkblogging beverage: Cheap whiskey.

How cheap? Don’t ask. But there are a lot of debates this season, and sacrifices must be made.

PS I need an expense account. Hint, hint.

5:55PM Watching the ads: From a bridge to nowhere to a bridge to Canada… but I repeat myself.

5:57PM The reason I don’t watch O’Reilly is, he makes me want to give up my libertarian principle that the government should never tax the bejeebus out of anyone.

6:00PM Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuumble.

6:01PM Rick Perry waves like the Queen. So does Romney. So did Ron Paul… Bachmann…

6:01PM Santorum waves his hand like my five year old waves a tennis racket, only bigger.

6:02PM Ladies, take note of that previous post.

6:02PM Color codes map pins! I really am excited. Don’t judge. me.

6:03PM Audio sync! Audio sync!

I shouldn’t poke fun. You shoulda seen the early days of PJTV.

6:04PM Jobs question to Perry. Answer: Good governance. Plus a stumble early on. But that could be a sign of heavy prepping — which he really needed. Stay tuned.

6:05PM To Perry: Where’s your jobs plan. Answer: Look at Texas! We’ll be hearing lots… actually, we’ve heard lots of that. We’ll hear lots more. But he really is stumbling. Doubt he’s nervous. I’m thinking over-prepped.

6:06PM To Romney: Get specific.

Answer: I want to answer the other question. Also, Obama sucks.

6:06PM Romney gets five points for first slam on Obama. Who gets the five point Reagan reference.

6:07PM Romney has a 59-point plan.

I need a drink.

6:08PM Romney: I want everyone in America to be rich enough to afford my stylist.

6:09PM To Bachmann: How much of each dollar should you keep?

Answer: I have no idea. My TV software is colorshifting like mad, and it’s making my eyes swim. Hang on…

6:10PM YouTube Question to Santorum: How bright should I shine my lights directly into the camera?


6:11PM Santorum shifted the union question to the *public* union question. That’s smart, especially for a guy from a manufacturing state like PA. And if he’s lucky, his campaign might last as long as the PA primary.

6:11PM Newt: I have a very specific proposal.

6:13PM I don’t know how Huntsman does it, but every time I wear a tie that color, small aircraft land on my driveway.

6:14PM There’s a pool going at work, if this will be Huntsman’s last big debate. I’ve got the under at $5. Any takers?

6:15PM Huntsman: I have an even more specific proposal.

6:15PM To Cain: Won’t three Nines become Three 27s or something?

6:15PM Cain: I would like to answer another question, which I’ll do now.

6:16PM What’s the over/under for Cain? I think he’ll last longer than Huntsman, if only because he’s *much* better TV.

6:17PM Romney: I will help the middle class, with my plan that has even more nines than Herman Cain’s. Seven nines!

6:17PM YouTube Question to Paul: How will you restore the 10th Amendment?

6:18PM Ron Paul: Would veto every single bill that violate the 10th Amendment. That was his whole answer! Also, he’s gonna need a bigger pen.

6:19PM If Paul were to be elected President, I would hope for two things:

1. He rethink his foreign policy.
2. He get a suit that fits.

6:20PM Gary Johnson: Will veto any unbalanced budget. And I have a bigger veto pen than Ron Paul. It’s the Ron Jeremy of veto pens.

6:20PM I heart Johnson for getting in the Fair Tax plug.

6:21PM Immigration is coming up after the break, or as most of the candidates call it: Perry-bashing time.

6:25PM After the Fox/YouTube debate, I eagerly await the MSNBC/MySpace debate.

6:26PM Not one Reagan reference before the first break. I’m out a sawbuck.

6:26PM Question to Perry: You’re nuts on Social Security, right?

6:27PM Perry just went for blood on Romney.

But I’m not sure he’s drawing any blood here. It’s a long answer on a tough topic — and I can’t make much sense out of it.

6:28PM Romney: That’s not what you said in your book, Gov. Perry.

Perry’s eyebrows are moving across his forehead like over-caffeinated spider monkeys.


6:28PM Romney just won Florida.

6:29PM Perry: So, how ’bout that RomneyCare, eh? Oh, and your book sucks, too.

6:30PM Romney: My book beats your book. My book had an index, and blurbs from smart people. Or something.

6:30PM War of the Books. I never saw that one coming.

6:31PM To Romney: How much does Obama suck? Is he a socialist?

Romney: Just call him “former President.”

He’ll settle on “social democrat.”

And that’s pretty much right on target.

6:31PM Romney: I only spent four years as governor — I didn’t inhale.

Um… how many years would you have served if you hadn’t lost all those elections?

6:32PM Huntsman: I have an even more specific proposal.

6:32PM Huntsman gets the five points for the first Reagan reference. Also, he has an even more specific proposal.

6:33PM YouTube Question to Cain: Which one department would you eliminate?

6:35PM Cain: Would eliminate EPA and “start all over.” “It’s gone wild.” “Gone too far.” “Eliminate… and start rebuilding a responsible EPA.”

Also, I have like four more nines for Social Security, or however they say it in Chile.

6:35PM Newt: I have a very specific proposal.

6:37PM YouTube Question to everyone: How would you get DC out of classrooms?

6:38PM Johnson: I’ll just up and abolish the Department of Education, sometime after 4:20.

6:38PM Santorum: Remember me?

6:39PM Newt: I have a very specific proposal.

6:40PM Paul: What Johnson said, only crankier and an octave higher.

6:41PM Perry: I like what the other guys said, but Mitt Romney doesn’t.

6:41PM Romney: “Nice try.” “Get the federal government out of education.” Plus: I like great teachers!

Bold stand, but it might be a winner.

6:42PM Romney: I don’t even know what Perry said about me.

That might be the line with the most sting of the whole night.

6:43PM Bachmann: “Local control with parents.” Also: I have insane numbers of babies.

(I respect her for that, but enough of the plugs, please.)

6:43PM Cain: “Cut all the strings.” All nine strings?

6:44PM Huntsman: I have an even more specific proposal, and also I have even more natural children than Bachmann. Now, back to my even more specific proposal.


6:45PM Question to Bachmann: Do you hate immigrants as much as the rest of the GOP?

I think that was the question.

6:46PM Bachmann: I’d build a super-tall fence and man it with T-800s.

6:46PM Another immigration question to Newt, on getting businesses to help enforce.

6:47PM Via E-Verify, I mean.

6:47PM Newt: I have a very specific proposal.

6:49PM Mitt: Perry loves illegals. I don’t, but not in a racist way.

6:51PM Note to Chris Wallace: You need a clock on your questions.

6:52PM Perry: I’ve spent more time on border security than anyone on this stage.

Given the constituency though, people will want to know how well he’s spent that time, not how much time he’s spent.

6:52PM Perry got booed. Wasn’t expecting that.

6:53PM Santorum was just given a chance to go head-to-head against the frontrunner. And I still can’t bring myself to really listen to what he’s saying.

6:54PM Perry: “You put the boots on the ground.” Not a fence, boots and UAVs.

6:55PM Question to Paul: Do you know a lot of Americans who want to flee Americans?

6:56PM Paul: This is all leading up to the Fed and evil computers, I know it.

6:56PM Score! He mentioned the evil computers. Nothing on the Fed yet though.

6:58PM After the break: Foreign policy, social issues and health care.

It had better be a long break.

7:02PM That was not a long enough break.

7:02PM Word clouds on TV is like printing the lyrics right on the CD.

7:03PM To Romney: How would you protect Israel?

7:03PM Romney: No “space” between us and Israel.

I swear, he’s locked up Florida tonight.

7:04PM To Cain: How would you respond to unilateral Palestinian statehood?

7:05PM Cain: I was in Israel last month. Peace through strength. How do you say Nine in Hebrew?

7:06PM To Perry: 3AM phone call that the Taliban has Pakistan’s nukes.

7:07PM Perry: I would make friends in the region.

OK, he’s showing off some chops here, naming names and weapons systems — but this is not a coherent answer. When I said maybe he’d over-prepped? He’s over-prepped.

7:07PM Just going to put my bias on my sleeve here: I don’t care what Rick Santorum says. And neither do enough people to give him any excuse to be on this stage tonight.


7:08PM Perry gets thirds after Bachmann and Perry, and he hasn’t done a thing here to steal a vote even from Bachmann, much less Perry.

7:09PM YouTube question to Newt: Will you cut foreign aid?

7:10PM Newt: I have a very specific proposal.

7:11PM To Johnson: What would you do about Cuba? (REALLY???)

7:11PM Johnson: Would reduce military spending by 43%.

Well, he just captured the GOP’s Kucinich Caucus.

7:12PM Bachmann: Any flights I’d order to Cuba would involve B-52s.

7:12PM Huntsman: I have an even more specific proposal.

7:14PM Santorum: I’d nuke the crap out of crap.

Or something like that. Honestly, I have him tuned out like the Peanuts teacher.

7:14PM Social issues! I need a drink.

7:15PM To Bachmann: Is there a separation between church and state?

7:15PM Bachmann: No official state church, just like Jefferson wanted.

7:17PM YouTube Question to Santorum from a gay soldier in Afghanistan: Would you bring back DADT?

That question was booed by a small number of people in the audience, each of whom I would despise if I could bring myself to care about them that much.

7:17PM Santorum: Would bring back DADT.

7:18PM To Paul: How can you accept a rape exception to abortion?

7:19PM Paul: With the day after pill, you can’t even be sure she was really pregnant!

His answer is more heartfelt, and more consistent, than I just painted it.

7:20PM To Perry: You’re really just Bush III, aren’t you — except the two of you hate each other?

7:20PM Perry: I like Bush, but I don’t like him, like him.

7:21PM To Cain: You survived a lot of cancer that ObamaCare would have left you for dead.

And there’s big applause, even from the other candidates.

7:22PM Cain: I had really expensive cancer, and the IPAB would have nixed it.

It’s a great story, but he’s not telling in it a way that really connects it to ObamaCare.

7:23PM YouTube Question to Huntsman: I have a condition that ObamaCare covers for like totally free, so why do you want me to die?

7:24PM Huntsman: I have an even more specific proposal.

7:26PM To Bachmann: Your batstuff crazy about vaccines, huh?

7:26PM Bachmann: Yes, I am batstuff crazy about HPV vaccines.

7:28PM Perry: “I got lobbied on this issue” of the HOV vaccine. That’s a straddle worthy of Romney.


“I will always err on the side of life.” THAT should have been his lede, not the first quote.

7:29PM To Perry: You hate sick, poor people, don’t you?

7:30PM Perry: “There’s a menu of options.”

Plus, a hint: Don’t quote Johnson if you want to win the general election. It breaks my heart to say that, but it’s true.

7:30PM To Romney: RomneyCare sucks, huh?

7:31PM Romney: The system hasn’t changed for people who aren’t breaking my law. “It’s different from ObamaCare.”

7:32PM Perry followup: “I don’t think Americans know sometimes which Mitt Romney they’re dealing with.”

SOLID opener. But he’s stumbling on the specifics.

Something I’ve noticed about Perry, he fades in the last 30 minutes of the debate.

7:33PM Romney: “I haven’t spent my life in politics.”

Not for lack of trying.

Also: I’m the king of Social Security!

Seriously, he pwns Florida.

7:33PM After the break: Jobs.

7:37PM I need more ice.

7:38PM Brett Baier: The jobless are going to riot because we’ve lost our mojo. “How are you going to turn this country around?”

7:38PM It’s to all the candidates.

7:38PM Huntsman: I have an even more specific proposal.

7:39PM Cain: It starts with growth. Nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine.

7:40PM Bachmann: “It’s time to reach for the brass ring of liberty.” Also, ObamaCare kills jobs.

7:40PM Romney: There are families sitting in places with gadget and forms with tough times and patriotism and anthems because we know how to lead with hope and strength.

7:41PM Perry: We’ve got jobs in Texas.

7:42PM Paul: Government destroys jobs, and the Fed and the Gold standard and bubbles and 20 years and

7:42PM Oops. I’m drunk.

7:42PM Newt: I have a very specific proposal.

7:43PM Santorum: Please, if you love this country, pretend you can hear me now.

7:44PM Johnson: My neighbor’s dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this administration.

I bow to the master.

7:45PM Johnson: FAIR TAX!

I have a total man-crush right now. A wig-wearing man-crush.

7:46PM This is it…

7:47PM YouTube Question: Pick a runningmate from this stage.


7:47PM Johnson: Ron Paul.


7:47PM That YT question is to all candidates, BTW.

7:48PM Santorum: I’d hitch my sinking boat to Newt’s sinking boat.

7:48PM Newt: I have a very specific proposal.

7:49PM Paul: I don’t love Johnson the way he loves me. NTTAWWT.

7:49PM Perry: I’d make a Frankenstein creature out of Newt and Herman.

Also: Ew.

7:49PM Perry: I’d make a Frankenstein creature out of Newt and Herman.

Also: Ew.

7:50PM Romney: Ew to Perry’s answer.

Also: Punt.

7:51PM Bachmann: We don’t have to settle.


7:52PM Cain: “I’ll play the game.”

I’d take Romney for 3 Nines, or Newt if he doesn’t. But I love you all! Goodnight, Florida!

7:52PM Huntsman: I have an even more specific proposal.

7:53PM I will loathe Huntsman forever for dissing on Fred Effing Thompson.

7:54PM OK, I gotta write a wrap. Given the dearth of goodness, you won’t have to wait more than a minute.

7:55PM This makes me sad — nearly maudlin, given how much I’ve had to drink — but I can sum up tonight in three short sentences.

In the war of ideas, it was all Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Herman Cain and Ron Paul. In the battle of personalities, it was Mitt versus Rick.

The news networks will remember the battle, not the war.

7:56PM And that’s all I have to say about that.

I’ll see you right here the next time one of the networks get these candidates together for another one of these “debates.” If my calendar is right, that will be mercilessly soon.


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