7:57 p.m.: CNN is live streaming the debate! Let’s hope someone asks Gingrich more questions about his open marriage.
8:00 p.m.: “A presidential race that’s breaking all the rules…” Not really. PS Wolf Blitzer is really lame for someone named Wolf.
8:05 p.m.: Alright kiddos, here we go! We have Ron Paul (“I’ve seen THOUSANDS of vaginas”); Mitt “The Mitten” Romney; (Fig) Newt(on) Gingrich; Rick “Google Me” Santorum are all on stage.
8:06 p.m.: Newt Gingrich looks angry at even the national anthem. He also looks like he’s not sure where his heart is. It’s slightly higher, Newt.
8:09 p.m.: The candidates are introducing themselves. Santorum’s is enthusiastically introducing his nonagenarian mother. Newt Gingrich just made some populist appeal to army stuff. Mitt Romney just reminded people of how Mormon he was by numbering his children. Ron Paul is looking extra ferret-like.
8:12 p.m.: Illegal immigration question from the audience. Santorum says “We are a country of laws.” He forgot to say “Except Sharia law.” He also just implied that it’s better if an illegal immigrant is here and not working (with a trust fund) than who is working. Nothing very special about his response, except “I’m an immigrant too. But my family did it right. Laws laws laws.”
8:14 p.m.: Gingrich has made another pledge! Take a shot! His immigration plan is certainly very concrete, although he just did say that he wanted credit card companies to monitor immigrant workers… He also proposes “citizen panels” to determine who gets to stay in America and who doesn’t. That sounds not at all like putting too much power in people’s hands. We should have witch trials next.
8:17 p.m.: Mittens just said a bunch of things that didn’t amount to anything. He wants to protect certain groups of people, but has no real plan to do so. Ron Rand–oops, Ron Paul looks exhausted. Paul brought the immigration problem around to the economy again. He suggests bringing the resources over from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border over to the Mexico-American border. I imagine he plans on using FedEx.
8:17 p.m.: “You have to be realistic in your indignation.” Newt Gingrich just said that!! What?! Gingrich just mentioned his history in Washington of passing legislation. The historian seems to forget history.
8:20 p.m.: Cat fight! Mitt Romney just went off on Newt Gingrich for his negative advertising; and Rubio had defended Romney. Apparently, Gingrich had repudiated the facts and Romney called him on it. To which Gingrich said “I’ll allow you to self-destruct.” The gloves (or mittens) are off.” I, for one, am glad to see Mitt Romney angry. His ire makes him seem (almost) human, because honestly, who doesn’t Gingrich piss off? The audience seems to like it as well.
8:21 p.m.: What is with these grandmother examples? Romney just pointed this out and made a funny. “There aren’t 11 million grandmothers …”
8:24 p.m.: Gingrich just made the argument that everyone should speak English because there are 90+ languages in the Miami-Dade college. I am afraid I don’t follow the logic, but I’m kind of thankful that I don’t follow Gingrich logic. Romney has pointed out that both of them agree that classes should be taught in English. The camera goes to the Hispanic Leadership Network. Question from them: What would each of you do to more deeply engage Latin America and to support the government and political parties that support democracy and free markets?
8:26 p.m.: Ron Paul wants free trade with Cuba. But of course, for him, there is no financial obligation to enforce democracy in Latin America. He does want to send “help” and hold hands and maybe pass around the Feelings Stick. He also thinks that with time there will be friendship and free trade with Cuba. Looks like they don’t teach history or politics in medical school. Santorum doesn’t agree with Obama! Now he’s babbling something about Castro, Chavez and Obama. Ooh, now he’s brought it around to terrorism and radical Islam. Santorum says: “I will visit those areas of the world.” I presume it’s because the male prostitutes there are cheaper for Mr. Santorum.
8:29 p.m.: Okay, maybe I was too hard on Santorum there. He’s just so unlikable. Clearly, he has our nation’s best interests in mind against the “narco-terrorists.” How dare Obama side with the unions and the environmentalists?!
8:30 p.m.: “It is better for children to earn English. Period.” Classic Gingrich-ism. Or does Newt-ism sound better? Regardless, there was just a little fact-check there by CNN (possibly the only one they’ve ever done) about a Romney ad. In the ad, Romney alleges that Gingrich said that “Spanish was the language of the ghetto.” Romney asked Gingrich, flat-out, whether he said that. Gingrich replied “That was taken out of context.” I’m not sure how you can take that out of context.
8:33 p.m.: Question about the housing crisis. Romney has whipped out some statistics. It makes me feel all tingly inside. Does anyone else think that Gingrich looks like he has three chins. Gingrich is trying to defend his Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae consulting. Now he is alleging that Romney has shares in Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Goldman Sachs and that he has been making money off of foreclosures. First, who doesn’t own shares in Goldman Sachs? Second, who makes their own investments (as Romney pointed out.) Finally, why do we need to know so much about Romney’s finances? Romney just called out Gingrich, and Gingrich capitulated. Looks like Gingrich also has Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae shares.
8:34 p.m.: Gingrich just called himself poor. Lols. He also doesn’t know what a blind trust is. Gingrich should learn not to tangle with Romney on a business matter. Every time Gingrich talks, I just hear the grown-ups from Charlie Brown.
8:35 p.m.: Ron Paul doesn’t care. But he does think we should have auctioned off Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae. Did Ron Paul shave off half an eyebrow?
8:38 p.m.: Santorum wants us to set aside the “petty personal politics” and focus on the issues. Especially all the anal sex people are having in the privacy of their own homes. And all the birth control that women are consuming so they can have the PREMARITAL SECKS.
8:43 p.m.: Question about tax returns and transparency. Is Gingrich satisfied with Romeny’s transparency on his finances? To which Gingrich responds “This is a nonsense question.” That’s certainly a 180 from Gingrich’s previous responses. The crowd is booing because Gingrich will not defend his allegations. Gingrich wants Romney to explain his Swiss banks. Romney repeats that he has a blind trust. Gingrich scoffs–probably because Gingrich does not know what a blind trust is. Is it something he can fuck?
8:45 p.m.: Romney says: Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m rich. Y’all like Richie Rich! But in all seriousness, that was a pretty good response by Romney. I don’t think he should be ashamed of being rich, especially considering the company he’s keeping on that stage.
8:48 p.m.: Gingrich proposes an alternative flat tax. (“This is what they do in Hong Kong.”) Gingrich wants a flat tax of 15%. Who on that stage doesn’t want a flat tax? Santorum just said “If it’s good enough for Ronald Reagan, it’s good enough for me.” I’m surprised they all made it forty-six minutes without mentioning Dutch. Ron Paul wants to get rid of the Sixteenth Amendment. Tell me Ron, is there any part of the Constitution you do like? He wants us to address the bail out and Wall Street; “the welfare system helps the wealthy.”
8:50 p.m.: Question about Ron Paul’s medical record. To which he replied “I’m Texan. I’m already dead, it’s just all the barbeque sauce and bacon that’s helping me move.” Newt Gingrich just said Ron Paul is in great shape. That’s like the lard bucket calling the butter stick healthy.
8:53 p.m.: Question about the space program. I’m pretty sure Gingrich planted this audience member. Yesterday, Gingrich wanted moon-colonies by 2020 (fact check on that please). Romney wants to bring in the top professors (you can never beat the HLS out of someone) and come together with everyone and talk about the cost. Mittens doesn’t want to spend the money, wants to save it for the economy. Gingrich wants to get rid of an agency–NASA. Take another shot! Gingrich just asked “What is it that NASA does all day?” Finally he admits that he doesn’t know anything.
8:58 p.m.: Santorum just called Space the next frontier. C’mon Rick, it’s the FINAL frontier. Santorum says he will cut spending every year he’s president until the budget is balanced. This includes scrapping all grand plans. Ron Paul doesn’t want to go to the moon–there are no copies of Atlas Shrugged up there. He doesn’t want government-business partnerships. He wants there to be enough rich men to build their own moon colonies. For the government, they should only invest in space technology for national-defense purposes. Why would the private sector send people to the moon? There is no money there, except for the moon rocks with which you can scam people. Apparently, Gingrich thinks that letting China get to space means we’re a nation in decline. Now I understand why Gingrich has spent so much on Tiffany. For him, branding and appearances are everything.
9:00 p.m.: Romney just called Gingrich on his madcap ideas again. Gingrich volleys with a catty (but respectably on-target) response. Please note that we have reached the halfway point, and nothing has been said about healthcare, stimulating the economy, gay marriage, Iran or unemployment. Ron Paul called Gingrich a liar about his facts. Gingrich is getting booed and he just told the audience to “let him finish.”
9:04 p.m.: Santorum says the biggest problem to our nation’s financial health is being downgraded by S&P. Question from the audience: What can the candidates promise someone who is unemployed and unable to afford healthcare? Ron Paul says: “I’ll look at your vagina for free!” He then goes on to say that the government has made insurance expensive because the government has pumped money into it. In other words, he wants to turn back the clock. The diagnosis may be good, but the cure is not there. Gingrich wants to “get the economy growing so she can get a job so she can have insurance.” Um duh. And to get the economy going, Gingrich wants repeal of SOX, Dodd-Frank and Obamacare.
9:07 p.m.: So, everyone is agreed about the only two things that matter: healthcare and the economy. But, Santorum is pointing out the flip-floppiness of Gingrich and Romney. First reference to Romneycare tonight. Does anyone else think that Santorum is getting super chubby? He has squirrel cheeks.
9:13 p.m.: Romney will appeal Obamacare. He also just had an oopsie “If I were governor …” Santorum is getting upset that Romney still liked top-down, government-run medical care in Massachusetts. Santorum just mentioned something about a “fundamental freedom.” Does anyone else find this HILARIOUS? Romney says everyone has a requirement to either pay the state for externalities or to buy insurance. Santorum rejects the idea of externalities. I hate to be elitist here, but this is the difference between HLS and “I hate gays” university. Rick Santorum is getting angry.
9:16 p.m.: Guys I think Rick Santorum is gonna Hulk out on us. Romney has the “I can’t explain this to dumb people” look. Ron Paul just said “I think they’re all wrong.” And he just reminded us of how old he is: “When I started out in medicine, there was no Medicare or Medicaid.” And he wants to cut $1 trillion the first year. Newt Gingrich had been silent for ten whole minutes. And he wants to “rethink from the ground up” the whole notion of healthcare. (Because when Newt was young and only cheating on his first wife, they still used leeches.)
9:18 p.m.: Question: What Hispanic political leader would you pick for your cabinet? Rubio, Rubio, Rubio. Man, Mittens really memorized some names. Ron Paul did not. After the break: Why would your wives make the best first ladies?
9:27 p.m.: Okay. I can’t WAIT for Gingrich to defend Callista as a first lady. (“Well, we already know she’s capable of adultery so at least there won’t be any surprises!”) Ron Paul defends his wife because they’ve been married a long time. And is a good mother, grandmother and has authored a cookbook. I’m not sure that any of those are real qualities for a first lady. Romney ‘s wife is wearing an atrocious blazer. But he does mention that she has battled both MS and cancer successfully (Gingrich would have divorced her in a flash). Gingrich just said, “Having gotten to know them, I think all three”–and here I thought he would say that all three of his wives would make good first ladies, but he was actually talking about the other candidate’s wives. However, he mentions that Callista is “artistic” because she’s written a book, can play the french horn and has produced some movies. Santorum’s wife is his hero. Apparently she is educated (certainly more so than that idiot Michelle Obama) and “felt called” to be a mom and a wife. Because, you know, that’s what defines a woman. OMG! SANTORUM’S DAUGHTER IS NAMED BELLA. GUYS HE’S A TWIHARD. Santorum just claimed to have saved thousands of lives.
9:32 p.m.: Gingrich has just given a conspiracy theory about Romney’s “machine.” Because, of course, Romney is the one that gets $5mil contributions in order to attack other candidates. Do people remember what life was like during the Reagan period? It wasn’t all candy and tits. Romney has said that he’s voted for a Republican every time there has been a Republican on the ballot.
9:35 p.m.: Another question from the audience about free trade with Cuba. Santorum opposes free trade with Cuba because he wants the U.S. to stand on the side of the Cuban people and stand against the depots. He probably also wants us to stop sending food to the Africans and North Koreans. I mean, if we’re going to starve the leaders out, we should just pull a Hiroshima already. (By the way, my cat jumps in a box every time Santorum opens his mouth.) Ron Paul is looking a bit fatigued and his suit is ill-fitting. I don’t understand why being a Republican means shunning a good suit.
9:38 p.m.: Mittens’s issue with Obama’s policy: (1) neglecting Latin America, particularly Colombia and Panama; (2) reaching out with accommodations to some of the world’s worst actors, such as Iran and Putin. Romney will use every resource (short of invasion) to help the people of Cuba achieve freedom. Gingrich just implied that the Cold War ended without any help from Gorbachev.
9:42 p.m.: Non-question from the audience. Palestinian dude standing up saying that Palestinian-Americans exist. Romney is pro-Israel and basically called most Palestinians Jew-killers. Gingrich says that Palestinians just invented themselves. That is a pretty big insult.
9:45 p.m.: Holy shit this woman is scary. She is asking about Puerto Rican voters and is complaining about its “second-rate” status. She asks (in very broken English) about Puerto Rico becoming a state. To which the obvious response is: We don’t want another state, 50 is a lovely, round number. Santorum replies, “Hey I have Puerto Rican friends! They’re like non-scary black people!” He also supports self-determination but does not take a position on statehood. Question from attorney in the audience about religious beliefs. Paul says his religious beliefs only affect “his character and the way he lives . . .”
9:50 p.m.: Romney would seek help from Providence in making his decisions. And he ain’t talkin’ ’bout Rhode Island. Romney says that the country was founded on Judeo-Christian relations. And he just made a goof about “unalienable” rights. Gingrich lists three ways in which religion would affect him (and I assume he meas Catholicism and not “I like cheating”-ism): (1) guidance; (2) faithfulness would suffuse his life; (3) he would stop the liberal media and secular elite from suppressing religious freedom (of Christians, obv). Santorum thinks that the foundational documents–and he also just made the “unalienable rights” mistake. This is embarrassing. Santorum believes in “faith and reason” and wants people to understand that their rights come from God–and thus Santorum can obviously take those away.
9:59 p.m.: Last Question: Why are you the one person who is most likely to beat Barack Obama? Ron Paul says: “I have no shot of beating Obama.” Mittens says: “This is a critical time. And I’m white and only a secret socialist! And I’m different from Obama because I also went to HLS” Gingin says: “I don’t want to beat Obama, I just want to replace Callista with a White House aide.” Frothy says: “Just please don’t Google me.” But seriously, he just called global warming “a hoax.” Seriously guys, seriously.
Lisa Wang is a 2L. Her column runs every other Wednesday, and she will also be providing commentary on the Republican primary debates. Everything she says is completely, totally, unequivocally true. (But not for liability purposes).