GOP Reagan Library Debate Live-Blog

10:20: Get the federal government out of health care. End the minimum wage. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Obama is a liar. Watch a ThinkProgress video compilation of the craziest moments from tonight’s debate:

10:00: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell recalls this 1983 quote from Ronald Reagan:

Today we reaffirm Franklin Roosevelt’s commitment that social security must always provide a secure and stable base so that older Americans may live in dignity.

9:56: No questions tonight about gay rights, abortion, or influence of money in elections.

9:52: Iraq was mentioned once during tonight’s debate. “We’re spending, believe it or not, this blew my mind when I read it,” Ron Paul said, “$20 billion a year for air conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq in the tents over there.”

9:50: Brian Williams announces that the debate has gone over its allotted time, and he abruptly ends the questioning.

9:44: Audience beaks out in applause after host Brian Williams notes that Perry has executed more than 234 people on death row. Apparently he’s “never struggled at all” at night worrying that he’s executed an innocent man. That’s reassuring.

9:40: Gingrich says he will fire the Fed chairman “tomorrow.” Which the President can’t do.

9:39: Michele Bachmann hedges on reiterating that she would allow oil drilling in the Everglades; instead, she turns it back to blaming the EPA.

9:38: Perry says the “science isn’t settled” on global warming. Scientists disagree.

9:38: Perry compares belief in global warming to the naysayers who persecuted Galileo for saying the Earth revolved around the sun.


9:37: Great question from John Harris to Rick Perry — which scientists do you find credible on climate change? Perry whiffs.

9:37: Huntsman: In order for us to win, we can’t run from science. The rest of his party is sprinting as fast as humanly possible. Perry insists, “science is not settled” on climate change.

9:36: Meanwhile, pseudo-GOP presidential candidate Rep. Thad McCotter (MI) weighs in on the important issues facing America, tweets “Mickey Gilley’s “legendary Honky Tonk piano” appraised for $8–10,000 — great pick! #AmericanPickers”

9:32: Perry again claims that “government spending won’t create one job,” never mind the 50,000 jobs it created in Texas. As Jared Bernstein has noted, Texas under Perry has followed a “traditional Keynesian game plan” of job creation during the recession.

9:31: Perry gives his “propes” (props) to Obama for capturing bin Laden. But he dodges the question about his foreign policy disagreements with Bush.


9:30: Bachmann said Israel’s 1967 borders are “indefensible.” However, “in the 1967 war, those borders were defended by Israel.”

9:29: Huntsman: “We need to bring those troops home” from Afghanistan.

9:27: All GOP candidates have signed anti-tax pledge save Huntsman. Huntsman responds: I would like to see everyone pledge to make no pledges.

9:23: Mitt Romney won’t say if he’s a member of the Tea Party. But the Tea Party crowd hasn’t been too sure of him either.

9:21: Gingrich says English should be the official language of the U.S. government. It is doubtful he said that when he apologized for demonizing Latinos in Spanish in 2007 and implored Republicans to speak more Spanish in 2010. Watch it:

9:20: Via Ben Smith — Romney adviser Stuart Stevens emails: “[Rick Perry] has lost. No federal candidate has ever won on the Perry program to kill Social Security. Never has. never will.”

9:17: Bachmann complains that immigrants don’t know American history, despite her own frequent flubs of the subject.

9:15: Bachmann says that American immigration law worked well in the 1950s. It’s little known that until the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 there was no restriction whatsoever on immigration from Latin America.


9:15: Gingrich says “we should insist that first generation immigrants who come here learn American history to become citizens.” Gingrich himself might not pass that test.

9:13: ThinkProgress’ coverage of the debate is interrupted by an emergency flash flood warning by the National Weather Service. Ron Paul thinks the National Weather Service is unconstitutional.

9:11: Via Politico’s Jonathan Martin — Rick Perry is wearing a boy scout lapel pin. Scouts honor.

9:09: Rick Perry calls President Obama an “abject liar” for saying the U.S. border is secure. But Perry is the liar this time.

9:09: Rick Perry calls for unmanned drones to patrol the border. After ten years as governor of a border state, he still doesn’t know that we’re already using these drones for border patrol.

9:08: For the first time in the debate, a candidate admits they agree with President Obama on something: Gingrich says he and Obama find common ground on charter schools and commends his “courage” taking on the teacher’s unions.

9:06: Via Jon Ward — Romney press shop email header: “PERRY DOES NOT BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD EXIST”

9:03: Even by Eric Cantor standards, Paul is shockingly far to the right on disaster relief, claiming, “FEMA conditions people to build where they shouldn’t build.”

9:01: Taking the air conditioning out of the Green Zone in Iraq would save $20 billion a year that Ron Paul says could help pay down the deficit and fund FEMA — plus, the troops would come home, he says.

9:00: Ron Paul smears TSA agents, says they engage in “all kinds of sexual activities” while frisking people in the security line.

8:58: Rick Perry takes a bold stand: “I hate cancer.”

8:57: Santorum panders to the football vote, says that he and Jon Huntsman on the ends are the wide receivers of the debate because of their flanking positions on the stage.

8:55: Perry’s HPV vaccine order did allow parents “to submit a request for a conscientious objection affidavit form,” but it also specifically mandated the vaccine for all female children before they entered middle school. “The Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner shall adopt rules that mandate the age appropriate vaccination of all female children for HPV prior to admission to the sixth grade,” it read.

8:55: Dr. Ron Paul on Rick Perry’s HPV vaccine mandate, says “it’s not good medicine” to vaccinate young women against a cancer-causing virus. Rick Perry has backed away from his controversial executive order mandating young girls to receive the HPV immunization. Here is a timeline of his various positions on the issue.

8:55: Bachmann: I “cut my teeth in politics” on education reform. Incidentally, she wants to abolish the Education Department. 8:54: Doubling down on Ponzi scheme language, Perry says: “Maybe its time to have some provocative language in this country.” Social Security vs. ponzi scheme in one chart:

8:52: Romney hits Perry for calling Social Security a “failure” and says he’s committed to “abolishing Social Security.” He says the GOP nominee has to be someone willing to protect Social Security, but he consistently ignores the easiest way to do so without cutting benefits.

8:51: Perry rips Rove: “Karl has been over the top for a long time in some of his remarks so I’m not responsible for Karl any more.”

8:51: Rick Perry simply refuses to answer questions about his book’s characterization of Social Security, says it’s “a nice intellectual conversation” that’s irrelevant to the campaign. There’s plenty more crazy ideas in Fed Up! for Perry to refuse to talk about if other candidates want to press him on it.

8:50: Perry says “yes sir” I stand by every claim in Fed Up! That includes his claims that Social Security, Medicare, environmental laws, Medicaid, child labor laws, laws preventing discrimination against women and the minimum wage are unconstitutional.

8:50 Asked to explain his position on Social Security, Perry deflects and says he’s focused on the future, not what happened in the 1930s. He doubles down and reiterates that the entitlement program is a “Ponzi scheme.”

8:48:What NBC’s tribute to Ronald Reagan didn’t mention — his belief that Medicare would lead to socialism! “[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free,” Reagan warned in a 1961 radio ad.

8:47: Frederick Ryan Jr., an executive at Albritton Media and chief executive of Politico, is also the president of the Reagan Presidential Foundation, the nonprofit responsible for the Gipper’s archive in Semi Valley.

8:45: The debate takes a break to play a video “tribute to one of the most important people” — Ronald Reagan.

8:40: Paul is the first candidate to directly attack the existence of Medicare. 40 minutes into the debate and still no questions to Rick Perry on why he thinks Medicare (or Social Security) is unconstitutional.

8:39: Here is part of that letter Rick Perry tossed back at Ron Paul about Paul telling Ronald Reagan that he would quit the party over Reagan’s policies.

8:38: Gold bug pander: Ron Paul, trying to top Bachmann’s $2-a-gallon promise, says you can already get a gallon of gas for a dime….as long as you use a silver coin!

8:38: Ron Paul “absolutely” supports getting rid of the minimum wage and makes the outrageous claim that it would actually help the poor.

8:37: In 1993, then-Agricultural Commissioner Rick Perry did praise First Lady Hillary Clinton, writing, “I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation’s health care system are most commendable.”

8:35: Just a reminder, if Republicans get their way and repeal the Affordable Care Act they would: increase the deficit by $230 billion over 10 years, raise the number of uninsured by 32 million, eliminate subsidies, and force millions of American families to pay higher premiums, and increase premiums for employer-based coverage.

8:34: Romney focuses on creating more energy jobs by drilling for oil and mining for coal to use the resources that the U.S. has, and scoffs at the idea of green jobs. However, more people in the U.S. have green jobs than fossil fuel jobs — 2.7 million compared to 2.4 million.

8:31: Santorum touts his work on welfare reform law that kneecapped the nation’s ability to provide for the poor during a deep recession. Two years after Santorum left office, “One in five Pennsylvania households [did] not make enough money to meet basic needs even though many live above the federal poverty level.”

8:30: Romney sending out press releases attacking Perry with the following graphic:

8:29: Cain hits “HillaryCare,” “Obamacare,” and “Romneycare”

8:28: First hit on the media of the night! Gingrich refuses to break Reagan’s 11th commandment. He angrily yells that he will not allow moderators to get Republicans to fight each other, “we are all committed to defeating Barack Obama.”

8:26: PerryCare vs. RomneyCare:

Uninsured populationUninsured childrenAverage Annual Percent GrowthInfant MortalityTexas6.2 Million (26%)1.3 Million (18%)7.4%6.3Massachusetts323,500 (5%)51,400 (3%)6.3%5.08:24: Perry blames the federal government for the high rate of uninsurance in Texas. Despite having the highest uninsurance rate in the nation, Perry has previously agreed that Texas has the best health care in the country.

8:23: Romney is still promising to put out an illegal executive order “granting a waiver to all 50 states” from the Affordable Care Act.

8:22: Rick Perry’s proposal to block grant the Medicaid program has actually been rejected by Republican governors and would only shift costs to the states, forcing them to make drastic cuts to the program. In fact, a recently study found that up to 31 to 44 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage under a block grant proposal.

8:21: Romney would exempt all 50 states from the Affordable Care Act, but he had no problem criticizing President Obama for not defending the Defense of Marriage Act, saying “he should not abdicate that responsibility based on his own interpretations and personal views.”

8:20: Romney has repeatedly insisted that his Massachusetts health care reform — and the individual mandate — can serve as a model for the nation. As recently as December 2007, Romney said that if other states adopted the individual mandate, it would be “a terrific idea…we’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.”

8:21: Romney mic cuts out. Politico’s Harris panics. All that’s heard is “jobs” and “opportunity.” Williams quips, “I’m sure he had more to say than that, didn’t he?” A quick survey of his plan implies probably not.

8:20: Politico editor John Harris seems nervous and overmatched. Can’t put a print guy on TV!

8:18: Newt Gingrich tries to absolve Rick Perry of his crazy ideas in Fed Up! — “To go back and take that apart is silly.” It remains to be seen how Perry will deal with his book’s claim that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional tonight.

8:16: Bachmann is concerned about ObamaCare “killing jobs,” despite the fact that the health care sector is one of the few registering growth. Last month, the U.S. economy experienced practically no job growth but the healthcare sector continued to buck the national trend, as the industry added 29,700 positions.

8:15: Bachmann claims the Congressional Budget Office says “Obamacare” will kill jobs. She’s wrong. CBO says that the Affordable Care Act will give 800,000 people the financial security they need to retire early.

8:15: Huntsman on Romney’s job record: “To my good friend Mitt, 47th just ain’t going to cut it my friend.”

8:14: First mention of Reagan from Jon Huntsman…a full 14 minutes into the debate!

8:12: “Michael Dukakis created jobs three times after you did, Mitt,” Perry charged, but Romney was ready, telling Perry: “George Bush created jobs three times faster than you did.”

8:11: Perry hits Romney’s record of job creation in Massachusetts by making the dubious claim that “we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas” than Romney created in his entire tenure.

8:10: Mitt Romney mentions Rick Perry and Al Gore in the same sentence, though he doesn’t tie them together. Paging Ron Paul…

8:08: Perry to Romney: Being a good businessman doesn’t make you a good governor. Perry’s right.

8:04: Texas actually has the most minimum-wage workers (550,000 in all) in the nation.

8:03: Reminder about Rick Perry’s jobs miracle: Texas has the nation’s worst job creation record when adjusted for labor force growth. Also, keep in mind the fact that Texas’ unemployment rate is higher than the rate in the median state.

7:59: Reagan Library Fun Fact: In Nov. 2007, the Reagan Library National Archives officials reported that, due to poor records, they were unable to say whether about 80,000 artifacts were stolen or lost inside the museum complex. The National Archives labeled the Reagan library as having the most serious problems with their inventory.

7:57: Ron Paul attack ad airing on MSNBC, touting his early endorsement of Reagan and slamming Rick Perry for “undoing the Reagan revolution.” Ron Paul-approved message calls Perry “Al Gore’s Texas cheerleader.”

7:55: Prior to tonight’s debate, GetEQUAL protested outside on behalf of young people who committed suicide because they were bullied for their real or perceived sexual orientation. Every time a Republican candidate attacks the LGBT community, they are contributing to this bullying mentality.

7:53: Candidates taking the stage. If Reagan was there, he’d be more liberal than any of them.

7:52: We’re eagerly anticipating Rick Perry’s debate debut. Moments ago, MSNBC pundit Peggy Noonan set the bar for Perry: He needs to make people think “I could watch him for 4 years and not throw up in my mouth.” And with that, let’s kick off the live blog.