10:55: The debate is now over. Watch the highlight of tonight’s debate:
10:54: Moderators did not ask candidates about the death penalty, one day after a Georgia man who may have been innocent was executed. Were they trying to avoid another “cheering death” moment from the audience?
10:53: When asked would would be the perfect VP, these were the answers given by the candidates (name of responder listed first):
Gingrich/ “Somebody who could be President”
Paul/ “I’ll tell you when I’m winning”
Perry/Herman Cain-Newt Gingrich Mutant Hybrid
Romney/ “I’ll think about it if I’m lucky enough to get far enough.”
Bachmann/ “A constitutional conservative who’s not just not Obama”
Cain/Romney + 999 plan OR Gingrich
10:52: Bachmann falsely claims Obama has the lowest approval ratings of any modern president. Actually, that honor goes to George W. Bush who left office with only 22% of Americans behind him.
10:50: Rick Perry suggest that a perfect Vice Presidential candidate would be the offspring of the mating of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. Hermewt Cainrich? Newman Gingain?
10:47: Santorum says he would pick Gingrich as his running mate. Gingrich does not return the favor.
10:47: Gary Johnson delivers the joke of the night: “My next door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than this current president.” The joke was plagiarized from Rush Limbaugh, who said virtually the same thing earlier today.
10:45: Ron Paul says “the government destroys jobs, the private sector creates jobs.” Apparently, he missed the fact that in his state, under Perry, government created jobs twice as fast as the private sector.
10:42: Baier makes a subtle allusion to the fact that thousands of people are protesting Wall Street this week for impoverishing 60 million Americans. None of the candidates touch it — they depend on Wall Street’s big contributions.
10:41: That “liberal columnist” referenced by Bret Baier who wrote “we’ve lost our mojo” was the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen.
10:40: A plurality of participants in Fox News’ immigration poll approve of a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
10:38: Romney concedes: “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me.”
10:37: Now Perry is saying that he is not moving “an inch” from the positions in his book. Just one hour ago, he backed off his book’s claim that Social Security is unconstitutional and can only be done by the states.
10:35: For at least the fourth time tonight, Romney replies to a challenge from Perry with, “Nice try.”
10:35: Perry bombs at trying to deliver a hit on Romney.
10:31: Again, as President, Romney couldn’t provide a waiver from ObamaCare to all 50 states.
10:27: Rick Perry promises that he “will always err on the side of life,” except when executing people.
10:27: Just last week, Texas received a thumbs up from the Obama administration “on a proposed overhaul of the Texas Medicaid program.” If the federal government grants its final approval, it will be the state’s 17th Medicaid waiver, undermining Perry’s argument that the federal government has prevented Texas from pursuing “innovating” health care solutions.
10:27: On Twitter, Slate’s John Dickerson says, “Perry says one of his disagreements with President Bush was over Medicare Part D but in last debate he said he’d keep Medicare Part D.”
10:26: Bachmann defends repeating unsubstantiated rumors from a stranger about mental retardation and the HPV vaccine — which experts have said is counter-productive — saying the woman was distraught and she “merely related” her story.
10:25: Jon Huntsman points out that he has a daughter who has juvenile diabetes — a preexisting condition — but he never answers the submitted question about if he would keep the health care reform provisions like not being denied coverage for prior conditions.
10:24: Jon Huntsman praises the idea of “harmonizing medical records” to improve health care, then immediately asserts that we ought to leave health care policy up to the states. Seems to be a contradiction here. Who if not the federal government is going to harmonize records across different states?
10:21: Under ‘ObamaCare’ 32 million Americans will have access to the kind of world-class treatments that Herman Cain benefited from. 45,000 Americans die annually because they don’t have access to health insurance.
10:19: Ron Paul — the man caught up in the infamous “let him die” moment — says “no one can outdo me on respect for life.”
10:17: Audience boos gay servicemember for wanting to serve openly. “Any kind of sexual activity has no place in the military” says Rick Santorum, apparently planning to raise an army of monks and kick all the married officers out of the military. Watch it:
10:14: Santorum says Obama is fighting wars “with one hand tied behind our generals.” What the heck does that even mean?
10:11: Amidst all this foreign aid bashing, nobody notes that Israel is the largest recipient of American foreign aid.
10:10: Florida pander! Bachmann says Cuba is a state-sponsor of terrorism, catering to the influential Cuban-American exile population.
10:10: Rick Perry’s answer on Pakistan was particularly bad considering he just met with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to discuss the region two months ago.
10:10: National Review’s Rick Lowry on Twitter: “perry throwing out bits of things he’s heard abt central asia, and asia generally.” Watch the incoherent ramble:
10:08: Santorum wanted to keep engaging with Pervez Musharraf, yet another in a long line of dictators in the Muslim world — like Egypt’s Mubarak and the Shah of Iran — he thinks the U.S. should more strongly support.
10:03: Romney criticized Obama for “chastising” Israel for settlement activity in the West Bank. The U.S. and the international community considers those settlements illegal.
10:03: Romney again attacks Obama on not standing “behind Israel.” “We need to listen to them,” he says. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough noted earlier that standing behind a foreign national over the American president is “dangerous and not good for us.”
10:01: Debate notable: Romney and Perry keep landing hits on each other and giggling. At one point, Perry turned to Romney and said “Badminton!”
9:58: We’re now halfway through the debate. No one in the audience has cheered death yet.
9:56: Ron Paul says we need to attack undocumented workers’ benefits. Calls to end the 14th amendment — “no birthright citizenship”.
9:56: Perry just said he would “put the aviation assets on the ground.” Watch it:
9:54: Perry for supporting the state DREAM Act, saying “we need to educate these children or they will become a drag on society.” Audience boos.
9:52: Perry says he has the most experience of all candidates securing the Mexican-American border. But Perry didn’t realize predator drones were being used in his very state at the border.
9:52: Worth noting: both candidates who have governed border states (Perry and Johnson) oppose the idea of a border fence.
9:51 Perry says Mitt Romney has no heart. Unfortunately, Perry has no brains. Debate needs a cowardly lion figure.
9:50: The candidates are promoting the idea of building a fence across the U.S.’s southern border. But have any of them talked about how they would address the cost of building it?
9:49: Gingrich won’t answer whether the E-verify system checking employees’ immigration status should be mandatory for all employers. The E-Verify system has faced strong opposition from congressional Republicans and the Tea Party.
9:49: Romney would prefer we not educated the children of undocumented immigrants who are here through no fault of their own and dare to want a college education — which incidentally would result in more revenue for the U.S. Perry calls Romney heartless for his answer.
9:48: Bachmann slams the idea behind the DREAM Act. “I would not allow benefits for illegal aliens or their children, that’s a magnet” for illegal aliens. Perry, however, gladly signed — and defended — his state’s version of the DREAM Act.
9:47: Bachmann says it is “reprehensible” that the Obama Administration sued to strike down Arizona’s unconstitutional anti-immigrant law. Maybe it’s because Obama swore an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
9:46: Cain called for “cutting all the strings” attached to federal funding. Is Cain calling for eliminating the strings on federal highway funding that has states set the drinking age at 21?
9:43: Perry says Romney is the only candidate who supports Obama’s Race to the Top education program. In fact, so does Newt Gingrich. He told reporters its “the one area where I very much agree with [Obama].”
9:42: Perry accused Romney of supporting the administration’s Race to the Top program. Romney said he doesn’t, but he did praise the program yesterday. Romney does concede that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is doing “a good thing.”
9:41: Ron Paul rips on No Child Left Behind (which Bush signed) and says we need to scrap it. He apparently didn’t get the memo that Obama is already doing that.
9:40: Santorum’s answer on No Child Left Behind seemed designed to obscure the fact that he voted for the law, along with 86 other Senators.
9:39: So far, every single Republican given a chance to answer says that Department of Education should be eliminated. Ten years ago, President Bush signed a major expansion of the Education Department’s role. That’s a whole lot of radicalization in just one decade.
9:39: Parents are the consumer of the public education system, Rick Santorum says, because they’re responsible for educating their children — not the teachers hired by the school systems to do it.
9:38: Johnson probably thinks he’s being bold in saying we should eliminate the Department of Education. He’s already been out-flanked. Perry thinks the Department of Education is unconstitutional.
9:37: Remember that time Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich and it destroyed lots of jobs? Yeah, we don’t either.
9:35: Audience goes nuts at Cain’s promise to eliminate the EPA. (A better idea: eliminating the Department of Commerce.) Over the summer, Cain said he would literally appoint Shell Oil’s CEO to set EPA regulations.
9:34: Romey on having a real job: “I spent four years as a governor, I didn’t inhale. I’m a business man.”
9:34: Mitt Romney says “Europe isn’t working in Europe.” The austerity-wracked Eurozone is certainly in trouble, but Norway is the richest country in the world and non-Euroized Sweden is enjoying its fastest economic growth ever thanks to a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus.
9:33: Megyn Kelly points out that many of the candidates have called Obama a socialist. Romney won’t stick him with the label and just calls him a “tax and spend liberal” who takes his ideas from “socialist Europe.”
9:33: Mitt Romney has repeatedly claimed that Massachusetts’ health care reform could serve as a model for the nation. “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation,” he told Newsweek in 2007.
9:32: Romney calls out Perry’s partially ghost-written book: “I wrote my book.” The Texas Public Policy Foundation, funded by Fortune 100 companies in Texas and Koch Industries, reportedly helped write Perry’s book.
9:32: Romney made many changes between the hardcover and paperback version of his book, No Apology. In the hardcover edition, Romney wrote, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting the government take over health care,” but the sentence was omitted from the paperback issue.
9:32: Though Rick Perry tried to downplay the section in his book where he calls Social Security unconstitutional, Perry told ThinkProgress last month that he hasn’t “backed off anything” in his book.
9:31: Romney is right, Perry repeatedly told Andrew Romano among others that Social Security should be run by the states. Odd that Rick Perry can’t keep his own positions straight.
9:30: On Social Security, Romney notes that there’s a Rick Perry out there who wrote in a book and keeps saying that the government shouldn’t be in the pension business. Tell Perry, “You should find that Perry and tell him to stop saying that.”
9:30: Perry says he never proposed sending Social Security back to the states. He definitely did.
9:29: Reminder: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) disagrees with Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s belief that Social Security is unconstitutional.
9:27: Yesterday, Romney, worth up to $250 million, called himself part of the “middle class.” But a majority of Fox News views voted in a poll that earning over $1 million makes you “rich.” For the record, just 0.3 percent of the country makes that much.
9:23: Fox’s new “hurry up and end your answer” sound for the candidates is provided by Google and annoyingly sounds exactly like you’re getting a gchat message.
9:19: The video that got the most votes is aired. It’s a “Tenther” video about the restoring the 10th Amendment. Ron Paul gets the question. Why are they giving the question about the Constitution to the people who are already on record saying everything is unconstitutional?
9:18: Gary Johnson brags that he vetoed more bills than any other governor. Audience goes wild. What if they were good bills? Why just veto everything?
9:16: The corporate tax cut in Herman Cain’s cockamamie 9-9-9 plan would cost more than $2 trillion alone.
9:14: Solyndra comes up just 14 minutes into the debate. Chris Wallace tries to paint Huntsman’s sane renewable energy policy as the same as Obama’s (which he suggests led to the Solyndra “scandal”).
9:13: Newt Gingrich endorses tying unemployment benefits to job training, ignoring the thousands of workers who went through retraining only to remain out of work.
9:11: Santorum makes Scott Walker look like Caesar Chavez. Claims that there should be no public sector unions, period. Public workers should have no rights to negotiate for decent wages or benefits. Santorum, however, passed up the chance to support a nationwide “right to work” law.
9:08: Bachmann calls for absolutely no taxes. “You should be able to keep every dollar that you earn.” Then contradicts herself, “obviously we have to give money back to the government to run the government.”
9:06: Romney claims he will give tax cuts to the “middle class,” but refuses to explain who he thinks are “rich.” Says he wants “everyone to be rich.” Romney wants everyone to be able to double the size of their vacation homes.
9:06: Mitt Romney calls for cutting corporate taxes. Yesterday, he called for raising taxes on the poor.
9:06: Perry, when asked for his jobs plan, says “look what we’ve done in the state of Texas.” So we can all look forward to lots of minimum wage jobs?
9:05: Who’s not on the stage? Republican candidates Buddy Roemer and Fred Karger. Earlier this month, Fox News host Neil Cavuto said network exclusion of candidates is “the real scandal.” Cavuto called for CNN to “invite them all.”
9:02: Rick Perry opens with a shoutout to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the most unpopular governor in the country.
9:02: Male anchors both wearing pocket squares, candidates have naked pockets. Rick Perry once again sporting a very 90s three-button suit. Megyn Kelly and Bachmann both sporting red.
9:01: The candidates are arranged in no particular order: Perry, Romney, Paul, Bachmann, Gingrich, Cain, Santorum, Hunstman, Johnson. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson joins debate for the first time. He giggles when introduced.
9:00: Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, when someone mentions Jeb Bush jumping into the race, exclaims “I’m for Bush!”
8:59: Over on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell hosting Levi Johnston, who struggles to read passages from his book about showering with Bristol.
8:58: Moments ago, Bill O’Reilly bemoaned that he’s never picked to moderate any of these debates. He told co-moderator Megyn Kelly: “Here’s the problem with all these debates,” candidates never answer the question. Kelly did concede that she won’t jump in as frequently as she’d like.
8:55: Rick Santorum jokes on Twitter: “Eric Schmidt just dropped in to our green room to thank me for increasing Google traffic jkjk! He actually did stop by – nice visit.”
8:52: We anticipate that tonight will feature another showdown between Romney and Perry on Social Security. In recent days, Romney issued “Six Questions for Rick Perry on Social Security.” To ensure that Romney doesn’t escape scrutiny for his own views, we’ve posed six questions for Romney about his views on privatization.
8:50: Bill O’Reilly: “I think tonight some of the candidates are going to have be outrageous to get attention. That’s what I’m looking for.”