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« Day 7 - Snowbound in Kayenta | Main | Day 8 - Finally! »

Live-Blogging the Debate

This is long, and copied from the Politics West Gang of Four.


Personally, and I say this as a sincere semi-supporter of Giuliani, I think he did very well, especially buying time for the tax-cut ad during the first break. In fact this was the first time that the majority of candidates started talking about tax cuts in correlation with the potential recession. Happy to see this. OK, I'm sick as the dog Colmes doesn't have in this fight, so that's all.

The Focus Group thinks Fred won? Ok, well, if they say so. But they keep saying he had facts and specific points. I didn't really see that, I'm afraid. The energy in his first answer apparently set the crowd's impression for the entire debate. Although I think Fox's showing a black, woman, Republican in South Carolina is something you won't see on CNN.

8:33 - Goler starts with crime-reporting, and then tries to expand it to more extensive non-reporting. Giuliani narrows it back down to the initial question. And then turns into the Energizer Bunny.

8:31 - Huckabee wants people to leave, and jst assumes that they'll do so. Er, why?

8:28 - Thompson: "High fences and wide gates." Good stump line. And addressing "sanctuary cities," by cutting off funding. Gee, we do do that for drunk-driving limits, don't we? Andrews will likeboth his and Paul's allusion to self-deportation, or the pull part of it. And Paul continues as the anti-war candidate.

8:27 -h Romney hits the "special path" issue. Good idea.

8:24 - Goler gets applause at the mentionof immigration. McCain gives a fine answer on this, but he was in fact a point man for a bill that everyone hated. He was a little reluctant to add in the whole fence thing at the time, and I'm not sure he gets this even now.

8:20 - Ron Paul's started out with a good answer...but "Robert Effing Taft???" This was one o fthe most irresp[onsible members of the Republican caucus in ther 50s, when it came to foreign policy. Again, what could have been avery strong answer was sabotaged by Paul himself. Because the whole Department of Education, lower taxes, lower spending, Constitutionalist message is the Republican message.

8:17 - Huck feeling sorry for himself about the religious stuff, but he's framed his campaign that way. This is a good answers, and it was kind of a silly question. But he turned it into a nice defense of marriage.

8:16 - McCain declines to attack Rudy, instead talking about hiimself. OK, good call.

8:14 - Rudy points out the value-neutral quality of "change," and he's going after Dems as much as Repubs. But he's completely avoiding the 9/11 question. Ford Administration committee on terroriam? Hmmm, have to look that up. And the normal recitation. Although he can repeat that part of throwing Arafat out of the Met again if he wants. That part ain't never gonna get old.

8:13 - Ooops. Huck's serious, not laughing. Strong answer on welfare reform, pointing out he's run something, and Fred hain't.

8:11 - Thompson bring up the tax pledge, and Huck's mention of it. Good parrry, but Huck's writing. Clever laugh-line alert. More generalities from him, though. Another weak answer from Fred.

8:09 - Huck starts out well here, but..arrggh! "49th in the nation!" No wonder the NEA loves him. This is a list of achievements, but may not be what people want to hear.

8:07 - McCain: "Geez, could tee one up better for me?" McCain's listing changes hes made in the past, including some fairly small items he started out with. He played a weak hand fairly well there, I think.

8:06 - Romney on the vacant concept of "Change," but at least he's listing his particulars. The problem is, the President doesn't have the power to "take Washington apart."

Paul's probably got a coherent point here, somewhere, but he's letting his emotion rob him of his chances.

8:00 - Giuliani on Israel is strong, but it's what he's said before. And Thompson also makes the point of exactly who's on what side in Pakistan, re:Huck.

7:59 - OK, Paul's just corrected that from before: "Arm the Arabs, not harm the Arabs." This makes more sense. But carrying out bold, daring raids, is different from strategic defense.

7:59 - Huck: "Dan to Beersheba" has got to be a Biblical reference. But at least he's spot-on on Israel.

7:55 - Did Romney just say we'd support the Pakistani military in lieu of its government? That's a problem, and it may just have put this guy at risk. The rest of the answer's ok, but this will come back to haunt him.

7:53 - "Should we continue to support Musharraf even though he's down in the polls?" Stock line about Iraq and the NYT, but it plays well. Oh goodness. Some Democrat is going to talk about Musharraf firing judges and bring up Bush. But he's hit the key point - the nukes.

7:53 - Good, calm, response from McCain.

7:52 - "We used to be allied with Osama bin Laden?" Er, no. We didn't. He's completely off the rails here. He's ranting.

7:51 - McCain's point is well-taken.

7:49 - Paul calls for "getting out," but it's unclear what he means. Israel & the Palestinians aren't costing us lives. "Why do we harm the Arab nations and they're the enemies of Israel?" Israel could have taken care of Saddam? Or the Arabs? What the hell did he just say?

7:48 - Wendel Goler's smart, but he takes even longer than Andrews to set up a question. The question to Giuliani is about Israel and the Palestinians, and he sets down the right markets, but then, so did Bush before he went off the rails. Giuliani turns the question now to the surge, and McCain points out he was Surge before Surge was cool.

7:46 - McCain's giving a good defense of his and Lieberman's oped today. Defense is the one thing he really has going for him, and his recalling of his support for the surge. Nice touch on the Man of the Year thing? Did it come up in a blog conference call?

7:42 - A little lame from Romney, but Paul's "Making fun of me..." just looks like he's feeling sorry for himself. Then he nods to the people booing Romney's joke.

7:41 - Paul would urge caution, and invokes the Gulf of Tonkin. His answer isn't coherent, although the Paulites like it. He knows perfectly well that this isn't going to start a war, and if he had taken one look at the USS Cole, he'd know what a small boat can do to the thin skin of a ship. Paul just doesn't get the Iranian threat. Not sure what the laughter is; maybe they were all leaping at the mike.

7:40 - But again, there's really nothing he to say except what McCain just did - you can't go around second-guessing on-the-spot decisions. On the other hand, he's just made the case for keeping the Navy engaged around the world.

7:39 - Giuliani is now dismantling the NIE. Good move, since at least unlick Huck, he knows what it is. But now, sigh, sanctions.

7:38 -Thompson didn't really give an answer, did he?

7:37 - Now, Huckabee is talking tougher. Again, remember, this is South Carolina. 55% of families have members associated with the military. And they're like McCain more and more.

D'oh! Forgot to hit the Gang of Four button for this posting.

During the break, a word about the dollar. Academics believe that we can only correlate about 25% of currency movements to known factors. The dollar will certainly fall in response to an expected recession. Because people won't invest here, and the demand for dollars will fall.

Paul also brought up the easy lending practices, but surely he can't be calling for government to regulate those markets more?

7:30 - Paul's answer about the truthers apparently thrills his supporters, but it looks like more tapdancing. He's not a truther, but he won't tell them to go away except insofar as it hurts him. Now he's hit his stride. I'm sure he'll get applause for all this.

7:28 - Giuliani also hits the right note about leadership. Leadership, not managerial ability. The principles are timeless, but the policies have to be made for today's issues. Smart move. And trying to steal a little of the federalism message from Paul. Careful though. Electability isn't enough to get you elected.

7:26 - Huck gets some applause of his own. And here we are back to Huck's record. Wait! What's that? A Democratic governor of Arkansas in legal trouble? You're kidding me! A recitation of his record "correction," and more applause.

7:24 - Thompson fires off the first guns. Real energy here, because he knows who's in front in today's polls. And the first applause of the night.

7:23 - Romney gives a solid answer on the key question, but then goes back to the Reagan question. Look, I love Reagan as much as anyone, but the battle over his legacy is either over or doesn't matter. And this doesn't really answer the question.

7:21 - Another McCain chance to show off his spending hawk. Although I didn't realize that Climate Change was a Reaganite issue. A weak answer, I though.

7:18 - Now, all of a sudden, Huck's a tax-cutter. Please. But he's right about the guns. But it was Question 2 until he got around to the Evangelical identity politcs.

7:16 - Thompson brings up that the contagion has spread to the general credit markets. But this is a somewhat incoherent response. I get the sense that, like Paul, he's thought a lot about this, and is having a terrible time getting it into 1:30. UPDATE: he hit the tax cut reversal problem right, though. Businesses are already planning for higher taxes.

7:15 - Paul: Oy. Look, he's right about some of this, but the the problem he cites are just normal business cycle problems. The Fed didn't cause this with low interest rates, though. Long-term rates fell well in advance of the Fed's short-term cuts.

7:14 - McCain: Me too! Me Too! Only, not so much. Talk about spending. Tell me where they come from, though.

7:12 - Giuliani tries to steal a little of Romney's Club For Growth thunder. Finally, someone who understands where to cut taxes. Cutting spending will probably not stop a recession, but it's still the right thing to do.

7:10 - Huckabee continues as the populist. Not a single thing he mentioned causes a recession, and higher food prices owe as much to the corn ethanol subsidies he do love so well.

7:07 - McCain shows a weak grasp of economics, although a strong grasp of where the next primary is. That $400B buys the cheapest fuel available. Spending more on fuel, even if it's here, isn't going to help.

Romney starts off strong and then gets weak. Research into energy isn't going to avoid a recession. And right now, I'm looking for work. A middle class tax cut isn't going to increase my consumption, since I'm not paying anything right now anyway. Cut corporate taxes.

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