GOP Presidential Debate Live-Blog

10:56: In closing, Herman Cain cites a “poet’s” lyrics that “Life can be a challenge / life can seem impossible.” The poet? Apparently, it was disco singer Donna Summer’s song “The Power of One,” featured in Pokemon: The Movie 2000.

Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty riffs on Spider-Man, saying “With great blessing comes great responsibility.”

10:55: Huntsman and Cain both would not reinstate President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law.

10:46: Newt Gingrich calls for “going back as Reagan did, to sound money.” As we’ve tried to tell Gingrich before, in fact inflation was considerably higher during the Reagan era than it is today.


10:45: Herman Cain on the charge that companies will not use the money from a tax break he favors for creating jobs: “So what?” In the next sentence, he says, “that’s what I’m about, jobs.”

10:42: Huntsman attacks the “EPA regulatory reign of terror.” In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency saved the lives of over 160,000 Americans.

10:42: Bachmann says that raising the debt ceiling was a “blank check” for Obama. Politifact rightly rated this claim “false.”

10:39: Romney calls for less spending on anti-poverty programs and unemployment programs. He said that he would not extend unemployment benefits for those currently out of work. 44 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or more.

10:36: Santorum says allowing a raped woman to receive an abortion would “put her through another trauma,” so we should force her to carry her rapist’s child for nine months instead.

10:34: Rep. Paul seems unaware that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution bans slavery.

10:33: “I support civil unions,” Huntsman said. “I believe our nation can do better a job with equality.” Huntsman has one of the most liberal positions when it comes to LGBT equality: he would allow states to legalize marriage, came out in favor of civil unions in 2006, and favors reciprocal beneficiary rights for same-sex couples. His campaign has even reached out to LGBT groups in Utah.


10:31: Romney: Marriage should be decided at the federal level. So much for that 10th amendment. He has the exact opposite argument when it comes to health care reform.

10:29: Crowd booing Byron York for asking Bachmann if she would be submissive to her husband as president. Bachmann says that she interprets “submissive” to mean respect. That’s not what that word means to anyone else in the world.

10:26: Gingrich on loyalty tests for American Muslims, advocates “not just for Muslims, but for everybody!” Says “there is nothing illegitimate about making sure Americans remain loyal to the U.S.”

10:21: Santorum now says Iran is under a “mullahcracy.” Finally stands up for the gays, criticizing Muslim countries that “trample the rights of gays.”

10:15: Santorum defends his foreign policy chops: “Iran is not Iceland!” Bizarrely claims Iran has killed more Americans in Afghanistan than the “Afghanistanis” have.

10:15: Paul calls for ending embargo on Cuba.

10:12: Paul says CIA tells him there’s no evidence Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

10:10: Huntsman says he “absolutely” consider cyber hacking from China an act of war. Says hacking of private individuals is “beyond the pale.” Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch disagrees.


10:07: Newt continues his war on former Fox News colleagues, is now taking moderator Bret Baier to task for a “gotcha question” about his views on Libya and where he stands now.

10:06: Mitt Romney has given Afghanistan two years to take over security for its country.

10:07: Fox News chyron flashes — 85 percent of Fox poll respondents say we should withdraw from Afghanistan.

10:04: Pawlenty hits Barack Obama for supporting an Afghanistan withdrawal timetable faster than that recommended by either “General Petraeus” or “General Mullen.” He may have been thinking of Admiral Mike Mullen of the US Navy, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff. Admittedly Minnesota is landlocked.

10:01: Debate comes back from commercial. No one knows where Bachmann is.

Whew, she’s back.

9:59: What this debate really needs is some Thaddeus McCotter! Don’t want to miss his debate with himself tonight.

9:59: Santorum has one of the worst records on LGBT issues — he opposes civil unions, marriage equality, or any other kind of legal recognition of same-sex couples. He would also reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

9:57 Santorum scores with first gay-bashing of the night, taking a hit at Bachmann for saying that marriage should be left to the states. He generally attacks federalist themes from his fellow candidates “there are things the states can’t do,” cites Lincoln as an authority and appears to compare state-initiated marriage equality and Mitt Romney’s universal health care plan to slavery. “Does that mean that the state has the right to impose polygamy? To pass sterilization? No! We are a country based on morals.”

9:56: Romney likes to say that his health reform law was tailored for Massachusetts. But soon after he signed it into law, Romney was arguing that it should serve as a model for the nation.9:55: “I will not rest until we have a filibuster-proof Senate,” Bachmann said, demonstrating that her focus is directed at politics, not policy.

9:53: Romney said he would issue a waiver invalidating ObamaCare on his first day in office. A president doesn’t have that authority.9:52: Pawlenty is right. Obama did pattern parts of his health care law after the reform Romney enacted in 2006. Here is a table of the similarities.

9:51: Chris Wallace gives Pawlenty another chance to attack Romney after he passed up the opportunity in the first debate to hammer on “Obamneycare”. Pawlenty: “How could I give up this opportunity?”

9:49: All candidates just raised their hands to say they would walk away from a deal that was 10 to 1 cuts to revenue increases.

9:47: Santorum says his opposition to new revenue is due to “the facts.” The fact is that revenue is at a 60 year low.

9:45: Looks like Pawlenty learned his mistake from the last debate when he failed to defend ‘ObamneyCare.’ He is really going hard after Bachmann tonight.

9:45: Santorum raises his hand to complain that he “hasn’t had a chance to say a whole lot.” Finally gets to answer a question.

9:40: Pawlenty says his tax on cigarettes, or “health impact fee,” to balance his budget does not mean you have to raise taxes to balance a budget. He says he regrets his cigarette fee.

9:40: “I don’t believe in raising taxes,” Romney said. Yet in a 2004 presentation to Standard & Poor’s, his administration touted tax hikes as a reason that Massachusetts should get its credit rating raised to AA.

9:39: None of the Republican candidates, or any of the questioners, seems interested in the fact that the quantity of unauthorized border crossing has plummeted over the past several years.

9:36: Romney claims to exalt physics PhDs…but doesn’t believe the American Physical Society’s dire warning on global warming.

9:35: Herman Cain says that a combination of “high fences and wide open doors” is the principle the country was founded on. In fact, immigration into the United States was completely unlimited until the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Immigration from Latin America was unrestricted until the second half of the 20th century.

9:35: Asked about whether he is serious about building a moat, filling it with alligators, and surrounding it with an electric fence as a means of securing the border, Herman Cain says “America’s got to learn how to take a joke.”

9:33: Chris Wallace wonders if Jon Huntsman Jr. is “running for president in the wrong party” because he supported a cap and trade system in Utah. In that case, Romney, Pawlenty, and Gingrich are also running in the wrong party.

9:33: Teaser: Cain knows what the three problems in Afghanistan are, and he will tell you what they are. Maybe later.

9:33: Cain chides Wallace, tells him he never said that Americans have the right to ban mosques in their community. Except he did — to Wallace.

9:32: Wallace responds, if you think questions about your record are “Mickey Mouse,” I’m sorry. Gingrich replies, “there’s too much attention paid by the press corps to campaign minutia.”

9:31: Former Fox contributor Newt Gingrich goes to war against former Fox colleague Chris Wallace: “I took seriously Brett’s injunction to put away the talking points. So I wish you would put away the gotcha questions.”

9:30: Memo to Pawlenty: Here’s Obama’s plan on Medicare and Medicaid reform. You can deliver that dinner to our offices at the Center for American Progress.

9:20 Bachmann says she “fought cap and trade” by introducing legislation to reverse lightbulb efficiency laws, which has nothing to do with a cap-and-trade system, other than both originally being Republican ideas.

9:19: Watch Pawlenty and Bachmann spar on health care.

9:18: Pawlenty fires back — notes that Bachmann has a record of false statements (see ie, pants on fire awards). Pawlenty on Bachmann: “She says she has a titanium spine; it’s not her spine that we’re worried about but her record.”

9:18: Bachmann responds to Pawlenty: You supported Cap & Trade and the individual mandate. “You sound a lot like Barack Obama.”

9:17: Pawlenty wants people to look at his record in Minnesota. Like one-third of his budget relying on the 2009 Recovery Act?

9:16: Santorum says that the U.S. economy has grown at faster than five percent a year for ten years. It hasn’t.

9:15: VOTER PANDER ALERT — Pawlenty says he’ll offer a prize to anyone who can find President Obama’s plan on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid reform. If they find his plan, “I’ll come to your house and cook you dinner.” Or mow your lawn. He told Romney that he would be limited to one acre of lawn mowing. Romney’s response? “That’s just fine.”

9:14 Tim Pawlenty completely dodges the point that five percent annual growth for a decade has never happened before, not even close, not even during the era of the great Ronald Reagan.

9:13: Huntsman told us to look at his record as governor to see how he would act as president. But during his tenure, the state’s uninsured rate remained steady at 11 percent, even though he had promised to halve that number in half.

9:12 Newt Gingrich rings in with first mention of Ronald Reagan at debate. Says Reagan’s 1981 tax cut led to seven years of growth. Unsurprisingly, he failed to mention Reagan’s 1982 tax increase.

9:10: In case you were wondering, CNN’s Piers Morgan is countering Fox’s debate programming with an exclusive hour-long interview with actor Jeff Bridges.

9:09: Ron Paul: “If we have to cut, we can’t be so determined that we can’t cut one nickel out of the militarism around the world.”

9:08: Ron Paul getting fired up about not dumping debt on the people and explaining his plan to fix the U.S. economy. Baier asks if he can get his plan through a divided Congress. Paul says yes because he’d have to since we’re likely to still have a divided Congress.

9:07: Romney says he wouldn’t raise the debt ceiling without first rewriting the Constitution to make it impossible to fund Social Security, Medicare and the military at the same time.

9:07: Just a casual observation: Bachmann is wearing her grey announcement outfit.

9:06: Romney says “capitalism is about people, not just capital” a funny observation for someone who earlier today said that corporations are people.

9:05: Baier already asking Romney about the “Mittness” protection program to question his leadership and why he was not vocal on the debt ceiling debate. Romney responds: “I’m not going to eat Barack Obama’s dog food.”

9:04: Romney, contra Bachmann, declines to say how long it will take him to turn the economy around.

9:02: Admonition from host Bret Baier: “Put aside the talking points. … Level with the American people, speak from the heart.” Bachmann, the first responder, opens with a talking point: “Barack Obama, you will be a one-term president!”

9:01: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) appeared to receive the loudest applause from the audience during the introductions.  Welcome to ThinkProgress’ live-blog. Let’s get started.