Hang out here!
8:02 — Watch it live here. Questions from around the world. This is the Google/YouTube aspect of the debate. The questions were voted on.
8:03 — The small businessman seeks the confidence to hire new employees. Perry has a message for lawyers: "Don't come to Texas."
8:05 — You want a more specific jobs plan? Look at Texas. That's my plan, Perry says. So far... it's all about Perry. "Governor Romney, you have a specific plan..." I'm sensing Fox leaning toward Romney.
8:07 — Romney won't define who's rich. He wants everybody to be rich!
8:08 — Out of every dollar you earn, you deserve to keep one dollar, says Michele Bachmann... but then she says we have to pay some taxes... so... I guess it's some ideological thing.
8:13 — "What? You don't call your wife a 'human being'! That's disgusting!" says Meade when Huntsman calls his wife the greatest "human being" he's ever known (which, by the way, was completely nonresponsive to the question asked).
8:15 — Herman Cain, is it just a coincidence that all those 9s just matched up in your 999 plan? Also, if we turn that upside down...
8:16 — Yesterday, Meade and I saw a guy wearing a yellow tie, and we were all: Yellow tie? Who wears a yellow tie? If you wore a yellow tie to a presidential debate, people would not take you seriously. Wearing a yellow tie tonight: Huntsman and Cain. [ADDED: And Ron Paul.]
8:17 — The question that got the most votes on YouTube: The 10th Amendment! How would you restrict the federal government to its original enumerated powers? Ron Paul answers and then — finally! — Gary Johnson. He does a prepared speech. My first impression of his looks: He's kind of like Harrison Ford. Meade says: "Look at his left thumb... It's like he's constantly pushing a 'Jeopardy' button."
8:22 — Commercial break. I'll go see what my son John is live-blogging.
8:29 — You old people, don't worry about Social Security. The rest of you people... worry! (Paraphrasing Rick Perry.)
8:30 — "You'd better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that," says Mitt Romney, doing some sort of "humor" thing. Then Rick Perry gets to respond to Romney's charge that he's deviating from his book, and he points to some discrepancy between Mitt's book in the hard cover and the paperback edition. When Mitt gets a chance to respond to that, Perry calls the back and forth "badminton," which sounds like "Bad Mitt(on)." Mitt responds, but we're distracted by Perry, who looks super-happy. We laugh, and agree Perry looks like Reagan.
8:34 — Romney makes a joke I think we'll be hearing more than once: "I only spent 4 years as a governor. I didn't inhale." That's done with a glance at Perry, who, presumably, is a habitual governor, toking on power like a maniac.
8:36 — Eliminate one department of the federal government, one questioner demands. Cain says: EPA. (But then he's going to "rebuild" it, so... not really responsive.
8:47 — Lots of talk about education, and just about everyone seems to think the federal government ought to get the hell out of it.
8:52 — Romney slams Perry on in-state tuition for Texas students in the country illegally. Why should they get what is a $100,000 discount compared to what non-Texan American citizens pay? Romney just doesn't understand what Perry is arguing.
8:54 — Yeah, well, try being a governor of a state with a 1200-mile border with Mexico, Perry says. "I don't think you have a heart."
8:56 — Perry: "Have you ever even been to the border of Mexico?" You can't build a wall, he says, in a head-to-head battle with Santorum, who asserted that Perry doesn't understand "sovereignty."
8:59 — The answer on illegal immigration, Ron Paul says, is to take away all the benefits.
9:05 — Romney hits Obama for going around the world apologizing for the U.S. and for failing to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with our ally Israel.
9:16 — Doesn't Michele Bachmann believe in a "wall" between church and state? She praises free expression of beliefs in "the public square" — which doesn't say anything about what the government should or shouldn't be doing.
9:18 — Santorum thinks it's "tragic" "social experimentation" to allow gay people to serve openly in the military. He argues that sex just shouldn't be an issue in the military. "Just keep it to yourself." So, he'd bring back Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
9:23 — Cain is revealed as a survivor of liver and colon cancer, and he speaks passionately against Obamacare, which would, he believes, have killed him, with the delays of bureaucracy.
9:28 — Michele Bachmann gets an opportunity to deal with her statement about the HPV virus and mental retardation. She says she was just relaying a comment someone made to her, but the real issue is Rick Perry's signing an executive order forcing "little girls" to get a shot to protect them from a sexually transmitted disease. She also accuses him of acting in response to lobbying from the drug company. Perry says he was lobbied, lobbied by a young woman with cervical cancer. (I wrote about that here, and Perry didn't meet that woman until after he'd signed the executive order.)
9:36 — Perry has a long "he was for it before he was against it" routine to recite about Romney, but his delivery is slow and halting, like he's getting tired.
9:37 — Romney is not tired, and he gets out the quote of the night: "I'm going to stand by my positions. I'm proud of them. There are a lot of reasons not to elect me. There are a lot of reasons not to elect other people on this stage. But one reason to elect me is that I know what I stand for, I've written it down, words have meaning, and I have the experience to get this country going again."
9:48 — Closing statements, apparently. I'm drifting off. Santorum, waving his finger in the air, says "Reagan," which makes me realize they haven't been saying "Reagan" over and over too much tonight. And then Gary Johnson says something about his neighbor's dogs' poop and "shovel-ready jobs" and cracks up at his own prepackaged humor. The audience loves it. Mitt Romney loves it. Santorum loves it. Hear that? Dog poop! Ha ha ha.
9:52 — They're asked to pick one of the other candidates for VP. Johnson picks Paul, because the country is "about freedom." Santorum picks Gingrich, and Gingrich has no idea who he'd pick. Paul won't pick. Perry wants to take Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich and "mate them up." And Mitt says, "There are a couple of images I'm going to have trouble getting out of my mind" — Cain and Gingrich mating and Johnson's neighbor's dogs pooping. And he's not picking his VP on stage right now. But any one of these people would be better than what we've got in Obama. Bachmann wants a "constitutional conservative." Herman Cain says this is a game, and he'll play the game, and he says he'll pick Romney, if he adopts 999, and otherwise Gingrich. Huntsman says Romney and Perry may not be around because they're going to "bludgeon themselves to death." So he picks Herman Cain because of the yellow tie. So... color.