Frank Luntz Poll: Mitt Romney was the Winner but overall debate was good for all.
September 22, 2011 News Corp
Republican Presidential Debate pt.1 – I think this is numbered incorrectly and it is part 2
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
September 22, 2011 News Corp
Watch the full CNN/Tea Party debate here
Note Comments as it happened….
Mitt Romney got the better of Rick Perry as the nine GOP presidential candidates debated in Orlando
Rick Perry (left) watches Mitt Romney makes a point at the GOP presidential debate in Orlando. Photograph: Scott Audette/Reuters
The debate itself kicks off at 9pm ET (2am BST) on Fox News – the late start time presumably so as not to get in the way of X Factor, although Project Runway fans have no such luck.
For a quick summary of what’s at stake – in the debate, not X Factor – here’s a preview I wrote earlier:
Debate fatigue may be setting in but tonight’s encounter could see more fireworks. In the previous debates this month Rick Perry found himself in the unaccustomed role of punching bag, as the other candidates took turns on assailing his positions on social security, immigration and the HPV vaccine in Texas.
Expect Perry to come out fighting this time around, as he has done when winning three bitterly-contested gubernatorial primaries in Texas. In particular he is likely to target Romney, his nearest rival in what the opinion polls show to be a two-horse race.
The Romney-Bot 2000 protocol droid greets humanoid supporters before the debate in Orlando. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
If that’s still not enough, then knock yourself out by reading our live blogging of last week’s debate in Tampa.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments box below, as always.
8.01pm: Just when you think it’s safe to ignore Sarah Palin – she leaps back in, demanding attention.
The Des Moines Register reports that Palin supporters have just received teasing letters from the former Alaskan governor’s staff:
Alaska Republican Sarah Palin is “on the verge of making her decision of whether or not to run for office” – and her backers should write a check right away, a letter from her political action committee says.
The Sept 20 letter from SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford says: “It’s one of the most difficult and important decisions of her life. And I want her to know that she has our support.”
It also notes the donations could be used to support other conservative candidates. “Send your best, one-time gift to SarahPAC today,” it says.
What to make of that, I don’t know. Except that if she pops up during this debate, don’t faint. Maybe she’ll come out of the audience, like one of those pro-wrestling “surprise” matches where the arch-rival jumps into the ring wearing a suit.
Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson. Photograph: Richard Shiro/AP
8.05pm: By the way, there will be nine candidates on stage tonight. Alongside the usual suspects (Perry, Romney, Bachmann, Paul) the no-hopers (Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain), the negative-hoper (Rick Santorum), there will also be former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.
Ana Marie Cox profiles Johnson as “the most plausible GOP candidate you’ve never heard of”:
As the former governor of New Mexico, he’s won state-wide office – unlike Ron Paul (or Michele Bachmann, or Herman Cain). And unlike Rick Santorum, he’s won a state-wide election more than once (he served two terms). Unlike Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, he reduced the size of the state government he oversaw.
8.14pm: Since Rick Perry has been taking all the punishment in the last 900 debates, is it time for Mitt Romney to feel some GOPain over his Romneycare health model?
Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller reads Ron Suskind’s new unfictional account of life in the Obama administration, and notes this dirty little secret from page 206:
[White House chief health care official Nancy-Ann DeParle] directed Obama’s attention to the only working model for reform in the country: Massachusetts, whose health care overhaul bill passed in 2005 under a brokered deal between then-governor Mitt Romney and the state’s Democratic legislature.
But that was the Old Mitt Romney. The New Mitt Romney hateshealthcare.
Tea Party member Kay Alfonso listens to speakers during a pre-debate rally in Orlando. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Don’t be scared by the blonde lady speaking, that’s just Dana Perino and she can’t hurt you.
8.30pm: By the way, this debate is sponsored by Fox News and Google – now there’s a terrifying combination. Anyway, Google and YouTube are also live-streaming the debate. So you have choice, as befits America.
8.38pm: Long-shot Ron Paul is taking this nomination business very seriously. This time around he’s even running some extremely good conventional bio-ad slots, such as this one:
Proving once again that Vietnam is still not dead as a political issue in America. In any case, it’s a very different approach by the Paul campaign.
The subtext here is that Ron Paul has been getting flak for his militant non-interventionist position, which includes bring all the US troops home from everywhere.
“I have known and worked with Rick Perry for over twenty years. He is the right leader for this moment in history,” said Gov Brownback. “Now more than ever, America needs a President who knows how to create jobs and stop Washington’s runaway spending. Rick Perry balanced budgets in tough economic times, signed the largest tax cut in state history and helped Texas become the national leader in job creation. On the most important issues of our time, his record of leadership serves as a blueprint for America’s renewal.”
Brownback is firmly in the socially conservative wing of the GOP, and carries some weight.
9.01pm: Here we go – and the candidates are being introduced by Fox News’s Bret Baier.
Were there boos for Newt Gingrich? Sounded like it. Anyway, a noisy crowd tonight, all 3,500 of them. Exciting.
And the sound to alert candidates that their time is up is the Gchat “boop” – provided by Google – which might be kind of annoying. But dog owners complained that the last warning sound was a door bell, which set the dogs barking. So if your dog is on Gchat, bad luck.
9.03pm: First question, about jobs and small businesses, to Rick Perry. His answer is, basically: “Texas, woo!” Well, not much more than that:
If it’ll work in the state of Texas, it’ll work in Washington.
But tell us the details Rick Perry? asks Baier. My jobs plan is Texas, says Perry.
The gag about Rudy Giuliani was that his answer to everything was “a noun, a verb and 9/11”. Perry skips the verb and goes straight to “Texas”.
9.06pm: Romney is asked why the Wall Street Journal said his jobs plan is rubbish. Romney ignores this and complains about Obama. “My list goes on and my 59 points,” says Romney. Oh yes, the 59 points.
9.08pm: Now it’s Michele Bachmann, asked about a non-question she failed to give in the last debate, about how much people should be taxed.
Bachmann’s answer is that “If people make money it’s their money,” and wishes should could have said last time that people should keep everything they earn. Eh?
She then says that there has to be taxes … which doesn’t actually make any sense given her previous answer. So people should keep all the money they earn. Except for the taxes.
Thank you Michele Bachmann. The crowd seems puzzled.
9.10pm: Now it’s “Mr One Per Cent Poll Rating,” also known as Rick Santorum, speaking. Meh.
9.11pm: Would Newt Gingrich extend unemployment benefits? Newt says they should be signed up for a training programme. Which would obviously be free and cost the federal government nothing, right? Good luck with that.
Members of the audience at the Republican presidential debate tonight. This is a real photograph. Where do they find these people? Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
9.16pm: Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain are given their 15 seconds of non-fame. Something, something, something.
In these debates, whenever anyone says something rude about Mitt Romney, Romney starts his reply: “That’s fine…”
9.18pm: Offered an open goal on the 10th amendment (states rights), Ron Paul says that the federal government shouldn’t do anything at all. Big cheers.
Now it’s Gary Johnson, who mentions that he started as a “one-man handyman” in 1974 and grew to 1,000 employees.
“I think I vetoed more bills than any governor in the history of the United States,” says Johnson, who notes that he has only ever run for office twice: once to be governor of New Mexico and once for re-election. (What do you think you are doing now, Gary Johnson? Chopped liver?)
9.21pm: Ad break already?
Before the break the moderators show one of those new-fangled “word clouds,” about immigration. Right in the middle is one big word: illegal.
9.27pm: We’re back and it’s Rick Perry on social security – and he uses it to take a shot at Mitt Romney for something, I don’t quite follow this, about social security in Massachusetts.
Romney is saying that there’s another Rick Perry out there saying other things about social security. “You better find that Rick Perry,” says Romney.
“Speaking of books,” says Perry – and points out changes Romney made between the hardback and paperback editions of his book about his healthcare proposals, in the hardback saying that this was what America needed.
Romney says “I stand by what I said in my book.” But which book, Mitt? The Kindle edition? The Spanish audio version?
9.31pm: Another question for Romney, who is very slick. “I only spent four years in government. I didn’t inhale.”
The trouble is, he doesn’t actually say anything, other than “I believe in America.” If you thought Mitt Romney was a slippery bastard, there’s nothing he says in these debates that makes you think otherwise.
You know who else sounded good without really answering a question? Hillary Clinton.
9.34pm: Asked which government department he’d like to abolish, Herman Cain says: the Environmental Protection Agency, “it’s out of control”. Apparently it’s trying to regulate dust. Mmm.
9.35pm: “Next Thursday in Des Moines I’m going to unveil a 21st century contract for America,” says Newt Gingrich.
Next Thursday? Oh no, I’m busy next Thursday, I’m … busy.
9.37pm: Gary Johnson seems like a reasonable, nice guy, even when he says he’s going to cut the federal budget by 43% and abolish the Department of Education.
9.38pm: Rick Santorum says that parents are forced to turn over control of their children to the government.
Oh no, I got a real Gchat “boop” and thought that Newt Gingrich was blathering on too long. Now the dog’s barking.
9.40pm: Perry is now bashing Romney again, blaming him for backing Obama’s “race to the top” education programme.
“Nice try,” smirks Mitt. He really is being a prick.
The moderators come back at him, asking: “Did Governor Perry say something that wasn’t true?” “I’m not sure,” says Romney, who is fumbling a bit – but the moderators fail to go back to Perry, sadly.
This Gchat “boop” is starting to be annoying due to my Pavlovian reaction. Is it the editor pinging me or is it just Jon Huntsman going over time?
9.44pm: “By the way, everyone likes the new sound?” asks Bret Baier. No, Bret. We don’t.
9.45pm: Immigration! “I would build a wall on every yard, every foot of the border,” says Michele Bachmann. Again, that would cost nothing, right?
9.47pm: Oh god, Newt Gingrich on using electronic verification for illegal immigration. “We would be far better to outsource e-Verify to Mastercard, Visa or American Express, because they are used to dealing with fraud,” says Newt Gingrich. Yes, yes, and credit card companies never get defrauded, right?
9.49pm: Now Romney is offered another chance to smack Perry over in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants in Texas, a rare liberal (ish) policy, supported by that crazy left-winger George Bush.
According to Mitt, millions of illegal aliens are coming to America solely to get in-state tuition fees at the University of Texas.
“I feel pretty normal being criticised by these folks,” says Perry, giving a stern response:
If you say that we should not educate children that have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought here by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.
Good answer. Which will go down like a cup of cold sick with many GOP voters.
Then, Rick Santorum tries to butt in to his own question, which has to be a first. Santorum accuses Perry of being soft on immigration and American sovereignty. Santorum gets a bit shouty here, which isn’t pretty, with the shiny red face and spittle.
9.57pm: Based on that last “debate,” it says everything about the state of the Republican party today that Rick Perry is accused, with a straight face. of being a flaming liberal.
At this point, the only person pure enough to be the Republican nominee is a 10-year-old child living in Tibet. Probably not a US citizen though.
Perry was serving as agriculture commissioner in the ’90s when he first met Crowe, whose brother had approached the state about an agriculture project.
“The governor met Crowe, who has a ranch in Australia, and they talked about farming and ranching, and they developed a friendship that has continued over the years,” a Perry spokeswoman told the Austin American-Statesman in 2003.
10.03pm: Next question is on Israel. This will no doubt be a balanced, scholarly debate, weighing the geo-political … no, it’s love-making to Israel time.
Hey, Herman Cain has met someone from Israel. Here’s what Cain told him: “If you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the United States of America.”
10.06pm: Rick Perry also wants to make love to India, by giving it romantic gifts of flowers and F-16s.
Ana Marie Cox notes:
Rick Perry just answered a question about foreign policy using complete sentences and with appropriate hand gestures. So he passes.
10.07pm: I’m glad Rick Santorum is still in the debates. It gives me time for a break when he’s talking.
10.09pm: “When are we going to have someone in the White House who’s going to stand up to these countries and say, you’re not getting any more of our money,” asks a questioner via YouTube. Kind of rhetorical really.
Memo to everyone: America doesn’t actually give that much money to anyone.
10.11pm: Oh, Michele Bachmann demands to answer a question about Cuba, and says that there shouldn’t be flights from Florida to Cuba because … something. Oh, Cuba’s a state sponsor of terrorism.
Now Huntsman and Santorum are having some sort of spat. Which is kind of like when two unpopular kids at school had a fight: it was entertaining but no one cared who won.
The moderators have totally lost control of the debate here.
10.16pm: Now noted non-homosexual Rick Santorum is asked by a gay member of the military if he’d rewind “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.
Naturally, someone in the audience boos the soldier. Nice. Makes a change from booing people for dying I suppose.
“What we are doing is playing social experimentation with the military,” says Santorum.
“Going forward we would reinstitute that policy if Rick Santorum was president,” says Rick Santorum, because “sex should be kept out of this”. Eh? Isn’t that the point about DADT – it makes an issue out of sexuality when there shouldn’t be one? Loser.
Ana Marie Cox has this to say:
I would respond to Rick Santorum’s egregious misreading of what it means to repeal DADT – he says it grants gay servicemembers “special privileges” – but instead I will just note that every time someone Googles “Santorum” and “gay,” an angel gets its ear pierced.
10.19pm: Oh a question about abortion. That’s a first for these debates, since it’s hard to find the most pin-dancing difference between the candidates.
Anyway, Ron Paul is asked how he can back a rape exception for an abortion ban while also seeking to ban the morning-after pill. As if that’s some huge ideological difference.
Anyway, like Perry, Paul has to defend himself against the notion that he’s running to be the president of Planned Parenthood.
10.22pm: Herman Cain says private healthcare saved his life: “We need to get bureaucrats out of the business of trying to micro-manage healthcare in this country.”
Health insurance companies have no bureaucrats working for them at all, just doctors. And nurses. It is not a Kafkaesque nightmare of paperwork. Oh no.
10.25pm: Ana Marie Cox writes:
Underdog Gary Johnson is performing well in his second debate, the first that people seem to be paying attention to – he has given answers that springboard out of his staunch fiscal libertarianism and avoiding the kind of “operators are standing by” catchphrases that some of the more desperate also-rans cling to (Herb Cain says “9-9-9” like it is a phone sex line).
Perry and Romney only have eyes for each other; if this were a movie, they’d be headed for a romantic resolution of their testy-but-intrigued relationship. Romney can benefit from Perry’s attacks if he’s able to walk the line between showing some genuine emotion and coming across as peevish. Perry has had some trouble holding onto the equanimity of a front-runner, responding to attacks that he should probably laugh off… This is the mistake of a debate neophyte, and a reminder that Perry has managed to avoid these situations for much of his political career.
10.26pm: Michele Bachmann is asked about her ridiculous claim to have met someone after the last debate who told her that the HPV vaccine caused “mental retardation”. Oh no, says Bachmann, I was just passing on what I was told. Lame.
I’m missing Project Runway to watch this – so what would Michael Kors say about Bachmann’s outfit tonight? “She looks like a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral.”*
*Actual Michael Kors quote
10.29pm: Some discussion about healthcare in Texas. Perry says states should be able to come up with the best ideas about how to deliver healthcare. Or in the case of Texas, not deliver any.
10.35pm: Another Perry v Romney set-to: “I think sometimes Americans don’t know which Mitt Romney they’re dealing with,” says Perry, who struggles to explain what he means after that. “We’ll wait until tomorrow to find out which Mitt Romney we’re dealing with.”
“As I said before, nice try,” says Romney, being an arse. “I wrote a book two years ago,” he continues proudly, as if assigning homework.
To be honest, I think Obama would beat Romney in a debate. Perry is less fluent but more direct – and as Al Gore discovered with George Bush, that’s harder to deal with.
On the other hand, Perry’s garbled attack on Romney – literally, something like: “Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of, against, the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment, was it before he was before these social programmes, uh, from the standpoint he was standing” – was teeth-grindingly bad and won’t win him any supporters.
Ana Marie Cox thinks Perry has dropped the ball tonight:
It’s especially sad that Rick Perry goofed up his litany of Romney’s flipflops because if he had just waited until Romney gets back ahead in the polls, someone else will do it for him.
Seriously: Perry’s performance has underwhelmed in the extreme. It’s possible to make all criticism go away if he just repeats the word “jobs” enough, but, still, we’re seeing the weaknesses emerge when a candidate doesn’t have a history of hard campaigns.
10.42pm: It’s the traditional “America! Woo hoo!” stage of a Republican debate.
Repealing Obamacare will make America great again, according to everyone. “President Obama is the new King George the Third,” says Santorum, never knowingly under-hyperbolised.
My colleague Stuart Miller tweets:
Can we get the fact check team onto the Obama = King George III claim please
10.46pm: Gary Johnson makes a great joke!
My next-door neighbour’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this administration.
It brings the house down. “You’ve just made your next-door neighbour’s dogs famous,” says the moderator.
10.55pm: Ah, a convoluted question and answer session about which of the other candidates would each other choose as a running mate. I wrote it all down but then Gary Johnson’s neighbour’s dogs – via my computer – ate it. Bah.
Anyway, Newt Gingrich called it a “Hollywood game” and refused to play, thus being a snob. Romney got mildly embarrased when he said all the candidates would be fine as VP, only to be reminded that he called Perry “unelectable” (which he denied).
That’s it! All over, and the clear winner was … no one? Fox News’s Chris Wallace says Perry and Romney “bickered like a married couple”. A married couple who write books on policy, perhaps.
11.06pm: On Fox, in-house pollster Frank Luntz talks to his focus group of tame Republicans, and Romney seems to have won, although one person said they liked someone called “Mitt Perry”.
Luntz is doing his usual schtick, saying “This is the worst response I have ever seen,” which appears to happen every debate. The focusees all hate Rick Perry’s position on the in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, on the grounds that it “subsidising” them.
11.11pm: Just got an email from the National Swimming Pool Foundation. Sadly, it’s not connected to the debate at all.
11.16pm: Sean Hannity now interviewing Mitt Romney, who mounts a sterling defence of social security. Apparently, it’s great and is a much cherished national institution.
Now Mitt is banging on about the need to build a fence along the border with Mexico. Does anyone seriously believe that Mitt Romney wants to build an actual fence along the border? If you believe that, as the Duke of Wellington once said, you’ll believe anything.
both Obama and George III succeeded a bloke called George who had a father called George
But then, so did Rick Perry. So Perry is … George IV?
11.40am: So what did we learn tonight? Apart from the fact that one or two members of the audience saw fit to boo a serving member of America’s armed forces, an unusual event.
We learned that Rick Perry can’t debate, and that Mitt Romney is still gliding along. With nine candidates on stage the impact of Romney versus Perry is diluted too much – what we really want to see is the two of them go at it.
The other thing is that Perry’s position on immigration – especially the matter of giving in-state tuition to the children of undocumented state residents – gets bigger and bigger. On many of the conservative blogs there’s talk of the 80/20 test – that it’s foolish to demand a candidate be 100% within the conservative tent, and that 80% is good enough. Under that criteria, does Perry meet the 80% mark? Maybe but he needs to be able to deal with the 20% better.
Other than Gary Johnson, none of the other candidates made much impression. Ron Paul seemed to disappear and get little air time compared with previous debates – cue dark muttering by Paulites about a Fox News conspiracy. Similarly, Bachmann had little to say and did it badly: her non-answer on tax rates was a Bachmannesque word salad.
Given the outrage at the execution of Troy Davis, it was very surprising that there were no questions on capital punishment. But similarly there have been no questions on gun control, gay marriage and almost nothing on abortion, because there’s such a consensus in the GOP that there’s nothing to debate.
Indeed there is so much agreement between the candidates that these debates seem so sterile. Not a word on how the US should respond to the crisis in the euro-zone, for example. But on building a fence on the border with Mexico, the only answer seems to be “How high?”
Much more of this and the debates can be boiled down to candidates giving one word answers to one word questions: Jobs? Texas. Immigration? Wall. Obamacare? Destroy. Taxes? Cut. Government? Shrink. At least that way the debates would only take about five minutes.
Good news: the next debate isn’t until 11 October. Until then, good evening and thank you for reading. [“boop”]
WATCH Cancer Survivor Herman Cain: ‘I Would Be Dead’ on Obamacare
Government bureaucrats can’t be the ones in charge of your cancer treatment.
It was his “moment.”
The president “doesn’t understand what America is all about…”
And Michele Bachmann does not want Americans to pay income tax.
Perry: ‘I Don’t Think You Have a Heart’ If You Oppose In-State Tuition for Children of Illegal Immigrants
WATCH Herman Cain: If You Mess With Israel, You’re Messing With the USA
Candidates weighed in on the Palestinians’ unilateral bid for a UN recognized state.
WATCH Romney and Perry Spar Over Whose Book is Worse Politically
“I actually wrote my book,” Romney quipped.
One of Ron Paul’s best points at the debate was against e-verify and and National ID Card. He pointed out that if you value freedom you better remember that a National ID Card means a National database that everyone will be in… not just illegal aliens. Big Brother will be watching you too!! And building a fence might just end up being a fence to keep you in! He went on to say that the way to take care of the illegal problem is to cut any and all benefits for illegals… get rid of anchor babies, school tuition aid, and any financial programs and they will go home and stop coming.
Afghanistan divides candidates along different lines – Huntsman, Paul: “let’s get out”
Who won the debate will depend on the poll you look at but the Fox Poll says Ron Paul and the Frank Luntz Group said Mitt Romney. According to the Washington Post, Rick Santorum is the winner if you look at which candidates helped themselves.
Ron Paul won the FOX News’ after debate online poll with nearly 40% of the over 70,000 votes cast…
Ask Marion – h/t to Fox News, Prison Planet, the Guardian, MoxNews and Jean Stoner