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Live GOP Debate Coverage (Live updates)

About to start.  I hope you are joining me.  Leave comments below as we go.

4:45 ET – Wouldn’t say that I’m excited about this debate.  My hope is actually that we get some huge blunders from the moderates that forces them to drop out soon.  Unlikely, but that would be nice because with this many we aren’t going to get any chance at substance (which plays to the hand of the Bush and Christie types).  If we get substance out of these debates then the Cruz, Paul, Rubio ilk.  So here is to the 2015 Rick Perry’s (to include you Rick!).

5:00 ET – Will cover the 5:00 debate (generally) later.  I won’t cover it live like I will the 9:00.

6:40 ET – Here’s my wrap up of the candidates from the first debate in order of worst to best IMO:

– Lindsay Graham: Let’s go to war with Syria, Iraq, Iran, someone!  Troops on the ground…and global warming too.  Tired of sending money overseas – even as a congressional member.  His family needed Social Security…so we should keep pumping money into the broken system, but take less from it in order to keep it.  Never heard such a warhawk sound so timid and scared.

– George Pataki: Tired of soundbites – but offers nothing but soundbites; redundant soundbites which sounds like “I’m basically a democrat”.  Thinks we should spy on Muslims in order to see if they’re radicalized.  Was governor during 9/11 so elect him….he works well with democrats.

– Jim Gillmore: Reminded everyone that he was ran for president and did other things…like was governor of Virginia during 9/11 – so elect him.

– Bobby Jindal: Didn’t say anything crazy, he just says it so unwell.  Very smart, very put together…but not polished as a national leader.  Did take a few shots at GOP establishment.  “Immigration without assimilation is an invasion”.

– Rick Perry: Says he’s ready now and that he’s not a celebrity…but kind of the same old Rick Perry.  Seems cool, seems nice, seems tough, but says a lot of the same thing with misstatements (Ronald Raven for instance).  “I’ll shut the boarder”.  Texas works – let’s do it nationally.

– Rick Santorum: He wasn’t too whiny this time.  He said a lot of things I liked regarding cutting entitlements, health savings accounts, and not accepting what 1/3rd of the government says just because they wear robes.

– Carly Fiorina: Hit Trump hard on issues, not his personality.  Hit his ties to Clintons and his NUMEROUS flip-flops on big issues.  I believed her when she said “I can do this job”.

UPDATE: 7:15

Seems I’m not alone in calling the winner in Fiorina.  She seemed the only person with a head on her shoulders who spoke to the issues and gave answers that haven’t been boxed to us for years.  I like her realistic and no nonsense approach to the Iran deal.  Well spoken woman.

Update 9:10 Opening statements:

It is a rough start for Trump and already an accusation from Rand on his association with the Clintons – perhaps even saying that he is a plan by the Clintons?  The audience seemed to not like the Trump answer.

Tough question for Carson to start, but he handled it well.  He implied that he is smart and that he can figure out Washington.

Rubio sounds smart and polished; realistic and yet hopeful.  I’m not all that concerned about his “paycheck to paycheck” slogan, but it seemed to resonate with the crowd.

Jeb on dynastic politics…I’m going to run hard.  He won with the veto line.  Second time around he responds to his illegal immigrant “it’s an act of love” line by underscoring it.  They have no other choice but to come here, so let’s just open our arms.  “Earned legal status” joke is used – it is amnesty because nobody would do them since there is no threat.

Trump: Gets a tough anti-woman question and juggles it with a joke against Rosie O’Donnell which will resonate well for a long time on the Huffington Post.  Nobody will care about what he said after that come general election.  If he is nominated, the Rosie O’Donnell comment and the pathetic remark against Megan will be what is played ad nauseum.  Second time around he gets to talk to Jeb about his line about the evidence that the Mexican government is sending their worst here.  Of course, Trump makes it about him and continues to make gestures as the question was asked.  The answer about his evidence regarding the Mexican government is “some boarder patrol agencies” told him.  He is unhinged and sophomoric and I think it is coming across.

Cruz: Keeps trumpeting the “against lobbying and special interest” mantra – which is who he is and what he stands for.  I don’t know how long it will work for him, but I like it.

Christie: 9 Credit downgrades, 44th in growth, crap economy; “If you think it is bad now you should have seen it when I got there”.  There you go.  That’s Christie in a nutshell.  He wants you to elect him because he took over a pathetic state and managed to keep it pathetic.

Walker: Abortion law and he got to talk about his defunding of Planned Parenthood – that’s a score at this time.

Huckabee: Gay marriage question – talks about abortion.  5th and 14th Amendment should apply to an unborn child (agreed).

Paul: Had to back off of his republicans are responsible for terrorism line but brought it back to the spirit of his statement; we shouldn’t fund our enemies.

Kasich: He’s a big government guy and he didn’t really have a rebut to it; talked about some of his social policies.  Nothing to do with his stance on government growing.

I think first round goes to Walker, but the most memorable lines are and will likely continue to be Trump.

=============UPDATE =============

Immigration:
While Kasich can’t answer a question (instead talks about his accomplishments), Rubio rocks the immigration issue and sounds together again and more knowledgeable than the others.  Walker is put on the defensive again regarding his past immigration stance, handles it okay; but still sounds weak on it.  It will never be a priority for him, that is clear.  Cruz tried to put up Kate’s law and gets to hit McConnell in the teeth again on national stage (not CSPAN).  He stood against amnesty when few others would.

Winner: Rubio

Terrorism:
Christie thinks that you can blame Paul for terrorism because…well he is against terrorism.  Didn’t make any sense.  Rand responds by invoking the 4th Amendment by the letter.  Christie gets “tough” and then looks weak with his response to Rand’s “hug” bomb.  “How can you tell the difference” – Christie   “Get a warrant” – Rand

Sen. Cruz “radical Islamic terrorism”, “if you wage war on America, you signed your death warrant”.  Big applause.  Bush says he wouldn’t have gone into Iraq…apparently just came up with that answer.  Seems a Bush would have had an answer long ago.  Walker talks about our closest mideast allies: says Egypt (sigh).  Carson “there’s no such thing as a politically correct war”, “if we gave them (military leaders) the mission and we don’t tie their hands behind their back they will do it effectively”.

Winner: Paul

Obamacare:
Trump says Obamacare could have worked a decade ago…but not now apparently.  He will also take care of those who can’t take care of themselves…with some unnamed plan.  Also talks about how the system is broken…but admits to being the recipient of the benefits of that broken system.

Winner: the field

Size of government:
Huck pulls his huckster response about the fed being controlled by Wall St (correct), and then invokes federalism (states’ rights).  Get rid of the IRS via fair tax.  Carson talks about tithing – a flat tax of sorts at 10%.

Winner: Huck

Education:
Bush on common core and federal control – federal government shouldn’t be involved in education (amazing amount of empty talk here).  He did speak of state voucher systems in Florida (which is excellent) and beating the teachers’ union sounds nice.  Says “fine” to opt out of common core as a state.  Rubio wants curriculum reform and points out that common core pushers will continue to force feed the states.

Winner: Rubio

===============UPDATE==============

Hillary:
Kasich says very little, but gets a slight applause in his home town.  Carson “She is the epitome of the secular progressive movement”.  Speaks of Alinsky (which is likely lost on many watching), talks about driving wedges between people while driving up debt as some kind of “way to destroy nation”.

Winner: Maybe Carson by default…but it wasn’t what it could have been.  Only two people asked, which seems to be what they’re going to do now.

Jobs:
Jeb talks about creating rules and tax increases – but it is his establishment GOP that has been doing that.  He’s for the XL Pipeline (on stage anyway).  Walker walks the party rhetoric line in decent fashion.

Winner: Draw

Social Security/Medicare

Christie (people have got to be tired of the “i’m the only guy on this stage” line…I am.  Raise the age by 2 years and then take it away from only those who have built a retirement….which will no doubt destroy people’s desire to invest.  Huck – 60 million people are on SS and 90% need 100% of it.  “Who’s fault is it that the system is messed up, the recipient or Washington?” — take away the retirement of the congressional members.  Christie rightfully points out that Huck is just empty rhetoric (which is what he does).  Huck responds by saying that the fair tax would fix it by a consumption tax rather than a income tax.  HORRAY!

Winner: Huck – last second shot.

Topic – Trump:

Trump: “I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage”.

Trump destroys on this…and makes Wallace look a little foolish.

Small businesses:

Rubio repeats the market change mantra but now brings in the notion that big businesses can adjust while small businesses can’t.  …but then says a few empty statements. “We need to improve higher education”.  How, pray tell, does a president do that?

Iran deal:

I imagine there will be a lot of people who push their way into this topic.

Rick Perry gets some more face time by having the tape played – and that helps him because it was his best moment.  Ditto Carly.

Walker ties together ISIS and Iran, as he should but he could have done it better.  Paul says that the POTUS didn’t negotiate from a position of strength, tries to parallel it with Reagan and the Russians (much different situation).  Huck better invokes Reagan (a requirement I guess), but says that we “didn’t even get 4 hostages back”.  Huck makes the parallel that Rand made on negotiations right by saying that Russia already had nukes whereas Iran is a new virgin.

Winner: Huck…unfortunately.

Seems like Cruz isn’t getting much attention and he isn’t shouting his way in.  We’ll see what happens after next commercial.

===============UPDATE===============

Abortion:

Jeb defends his pro-life strongly.  Rubio doesn’t defend the notion that rape and incest should warrant abortion (which I agree with) and notes that the Constitution says that their rights already are legitimized in law through that document.  We’re barbarians!  Yes.  Trump talks about Reagan’s evolution (fair enough) and somehow hits Bush because of his brother.  Jeb responds by being nice.  He is much more polished (of course).

Gay Marriage:

Kasich – all about love on gay marriage; not about division.  However, backs down on the law.  “The courts have spoken”.  Pff
Paul- “I don’t want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington” “That’s when it’s time to resist”  NICE.

Black Lives Matter

Walker – Training… Thanks for that stupid question.

===========UPDATE=============

On Washington Deals Abroad or something:

Trump gets cheeky about being nice to Obama and makes points about our complete cave on negotiations.

Cyberwarfare:

Cruz (finally), knows a lot about the foreign happenings throughout the world; notes that Reagan’s inauguration coincided with the Iran hostage release in 1980.

I’ll just generalize unless something worthwhile happens from here on out.

We’re finally getting some non-talking point dialogue.  We have differences of opinion on foreign policy.  Rand says that we can’t build strength from the bankruptcy court, but Christie says that we should be building our military to gigantic numbers (something that would be absurdly expensive and grow the debt by a LOT).  Coupling that with his previous answer regarding tax reform (or non-reform), he desires to build the debt more for the purpose of appearing strong.  How long do we have a giant army before we start selling off assets?  See the Soviet Union.  I don’t necessarily disagree with financial support to Israel, but we must have the money to do so.

Closing question was fairly stupid – though Cruz probably started off with the best answer; the scripture is God’s voice.

The rest of the debate is packaged, so I will wrap this up as they do.

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RightHandMan

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