Fox News Presidential Debate Live Blog & Commentary – UPDATED!

UPDATES  (See Bottom of post for details) – Glenn Beck: Romney lied in the debate

New York Post: Romney not authentic, pandering

Fox News: Polling dictates Romney answers…

In the debate Romney trashed Rick Perry and takes the position that you cannot be too against illegal immigration, but he was talking amnesty with Tim Russert:

Live Blog by PoliticalArena.org editor Chuck Norton:

Perry opens up with setting an environment to help get small business hiring – points 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Perry: Texas was the number one state for relocation for five years in a row.

Mitt Romney opens up by attacking Obama on his job crushing policies – very smart. “Regulators have to be allies to business not foes”…

Romney is trying to walk the fence of the class warfare game. – We need to bring wealth home and dodging Brett’s question about that does not inspire confidence.

[Note – Romney had an opportunity to take on Obama’s recent push on class warfare he and he totally waffled. Romney’s answer fell somewhere between the non-committal committal and the non-denial denial. This is really indicative of a man who is making political calculations and is not standing on principle. This really bothered me.]

Bachmann goes after Obama on the “Out of every dollar I earn how much do I deserve to keep” question.

Federal Right to Work Law Question – Santorum goes after over reaching government unions – but the feds already took such bargaining away from the federal govt unions under Carter.

Newt: Unemployment should be tied to a business training program.

Huntsman targeted by Chris Wallace on his idea to subsidize natural gas…..and my internet freezes… so I did not hear the rest of his answer. OK – He favors it to ‘get the ball rolling’, so long as there is a quick phase out so it isn’t a long term thing…

Herman Cain on his 9 9 9 plan. Throw out the tax code totally. Romney wont toss out the tax code and start over and that dog wont hunt says Cain. Cain is absolutely right. The tax code is such a mess and so hard to comply with right now that modifying the edges of it will not help really fix the real problem which is the tax code itself.

How to get teeth in the 10th Amendment – Ron Paul says that he would veto every bill that violates the 10th amendment – It sounds great in theory, but that radical of a change so fast would be a huge shock to the economy. It would have to be phased in over time. There are just better answers to this question.

Gary Johnson gets his first answer. I promise, I promise list of goodies. Gary is a nice guy and pretty smart. I have had the pleasure of talking with him personally. He wants the Fair Tax. He needs to work on his charismatic approach IMO but a nice answer.

Megyn Kelly quoting Newt: Sure of course he is (a socialist)  LOL I love it. Romney – I have news for Obama, European socialism isnt working for Europeans so stop trying to use it here.

Huntsman – this is the worst time to be raising any taxes and everybody knows that. We have structural problems with our tax code. Now huntsman is pretty much quoting the Obama deficit commission plan, which is actually a pretty good plan, which is why Obama ignored it.

Our friend Lee Doren in the debate with a question!! What department would YOU eliminate?? Herman Cain – we need to start all over on these departments like the EPA- he is right. More Cain – we need to use the Chilean model on Social Security – “The solution is FIX IT” – Herman Cain is GREAT at ‘make sure you are addressing the RIGHT problem’.

Newt – once again he refuses to accept the premise of the media figures question. Newt announces a NEW Contract with America – Far Deeper, far bolder, far more profound. Newt: Obama’s socialist policies..,. SMACK home run.
Newt just wowed the debate again.

Education Question: Gary Johnson  – the department of education actually costs us more money than it spends. Santorum agrees saying “The federal education system doesn’t serve the customer” Great answer Rick. Newt Gingrich wants Pel Grants for K-12 – he obviously believes that the public schools have failed. Ron Paul – if you love your children get the govt out of public education, people need a right to opt out of the public school system when it is failing.

Rick Perry – comes out for school choice praises everyone on stage and slaps Romney for praising the “Race to the Top” program which is a regulatory disaster. Notice Romney does not deny what Perry said. Romney is dodging…. Romney just praised Arne Duncan /facepalm  [Arne Duncan and ‘Race to the Top’ are both a disaster, if you do not know why I will be happy to explain in comments below – Editor]

[UPDATE – More on the education issue and Romney added in the update section below.]

Huntsman – I signed the second voucher bill in the United States. I have actually done something about this. Localize, Localize, Localize.

Bachmann asked the illegal immigration question – Should each state enforce the immigration laws because the feds will not. Wallace said that laws like Arizona’s are at odds with the Constitution – that is NOT so. The courts have said that the states can enforce federal law as long as the state law mimics it and the AZ law does.

Newt: E-Verify is a mess with massive fraud. Visa and Mastercard could run E- Verify better. Newt is right that E-Verify as it is now is useless. The federal govt keeps that program a mess.

Romney goes after Perry on in state tuition in Texas. Perry – only 4 dissenting votes in legislature on his tuition law – Perry is Right about this guys.

The accusation: Perry wants to hand ‘in state’ tuition to illegals who just waltz over the border…This particular “in state tuition for illegals” accusation is an easy one to bust when ALL of the facts are considered. WHY?????

The bill did not give in state tuition for all “illegals”, it gave it to the children of illegals who graduated in good standing from Texas high schools. The difference is a huge moral gulf. I am fine with punishing illegals who had illegal intent when crossing the border in the middle of the night.

What I am NOT willing to do is punish their children who could not control who their parents are or what they did. The very idea of punishing someone for the acts of their parents, or of continuing punishment via bloodline is morally repugnant to many good people, including myself. Would you want your kids to suffer for what YOU did, as a politician would you want to take the position that the children of those who do wrong should “pay”?

The very idea of “criminal intent” goes to the very fabric of our rule of law and of our legal procedure back to the earliest days of the common law. No case can be made that the kids of those illegals had criminal intent.

This policy is way better than having them go on state and federal welfare rolls. By the way, said students who get in state tuition have to had come out from the shadows and be on a path to citizenship

Foreign policy question – time to watch Ron Paul blow himself to bits … IF he gets asked the Iran question. He doesn’t get asked.
On Israel: Romney – you do not have an inch of space between you and your allies. Romney pounding Obama on his trashing of Israel and sucking up to Hamas. Well done Mitt. “It is unacceptable for Iran to be a nuclear state”.
Herman Cain – I like peace through strength so my policy would be “Peace Through Strength & Clarity”. Very good answer.

Perry on the Pakistan nuke question “Where do you start”? Perry answers that you begin with Pakistan’s neighbors who are our allies. – Good answer. Santorum says stabilize Iraq and then goes after Ron Paul. He obviously does not want to see RP as the nominee.

Newt: If the country is not your ally why are you giving them money? Newt says that the world could become dramatically more dangerous in a short time.

Gary Johnson – the biggest threat to our national security is that we are bankrupt – he was wise to ignore the stupid Cuba question at first. Cuba doesn’t matter right now.

Santorum: Just because our economy is sick doesn’t mean that our values are sick – /smacks Huntsman hard and lectures him on Obama’s stupid rules of engagement. [It is true that the rules of engagement that our soldiers are operating under are ridiculous and made by a pack of lawyers. They cost lives – Editor]

Bachmann is right on the separation question. Separation means that the US Govt should not be run as a Church of the United States, not the idiocy that the courts are engaged in now. Her constitutional interpretation is spot on.

Santorum on the gays in the military question – His answer is spot on. Folks, anyone who leads with or defines himself with his sexuality is making a mistake. Sex should not be an issue so soldiers, liberals, activists should not make it one.

Ron Paul on the day after pill – the rape question – we have too many laws already and the “day after pill” is just too hard to enforce a ban upon.

Perry: the fed govt has no business telling the states how to educate our children.

Cain on ObamaCare – I suspect that he is about to whack it out of the park….. he does. Herman Cain – I had stage four colon and liver cancer. ObamaCare would have resulted in delays in tests and treatments. The only reason I survived is because I got treated on MY timeline and not the federal governments. Great answer.

YouTube question from Ian McDonald – “I have a heart condition” –  asks about the new provision for kids to stay on parents policies till they are 26 [Note – this was a GOP idea a long time ago and that was included in ObamaCare in an attempt to call it “bipartisan”]. Huntsman: lets have the states engage in experiments. In Utah we have a state backed catastrophic policy that can be a supplement to private insurance [This is also a long time GOP idea by the way].

Chris Wallace goes after Bachmann on the HPV causes retardation question. – Bachmann is spinning because the day after the last debate she doubled down on this issue . Bachmann is going after Perry on the Merck donations issue – the issue is a total red herring. Bachmann gets donations from Merck’s competition and those donations are more than what Perry got. Perry reminded us on the opt out and gave a touching story. Perry is trying a rise above strategy – it may be working.

Perry on Romney’s flip flopping. Sorry Mitt, but Perry is right about that. Romney has a cute line about experience to get this country going again, but he is shying away from substance and trying to go charismatic. It is already starting to get a tad old [Note – I am trained in political communications, including deception and propaganda, so I am more sensitive to the game Romney is playing. I am not sure regular folks wont fall for this tactic. I hope not].

Via Doug Scheon and Pat Caddell: Perry is winning the polling on Fox News on immigration – toldja 🙂

Question: How to jump start the turn around once elected:

Huntsman – good specifics on energy.

Herman Cain – the problem is a severe lack of confidence in leadership – great point and one that should not be underestimated. – Reagan, shining city on a hill – Cain is doing very well tonight.

Bachmann – first thing to do is repeal ObamaCare – its a good point because domestic business is scared to death of it, while the internationals love the idea so it can eliminate their domestic competition.

Romney – restore trust in the Oval Office

Perry – energy independent, repeal ObamaCare, reform the tax code,

Ron Paul – fix the Federal Reserve problem in creating market bubbles – Good point.

Newt Quoting Reagan –  “When Jimmy Carter is unemployed it is a recovery”. Awesome.

Santorum – We need to remember who are are as Americans and we have a president who does not understand what America is all about. Obama is the new King George III who believes that things need to be dictated to on high. WOW

Gary Johnson – My neighbors two dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than this current administration. More – Balance the budget now, not 20 years form now. Do it NOW.  Toss out the tax system and start over.

The Running-mate question:

Johnson picks Ron Paul.

Santorum – I would pick Newt.

Newt – I do not know yet but would be capable.  Newts audio flaked out so I missed part of his answer.

Ron Paul – I defer

Rick Perry – I want to merge Herman Cain and Newt and make him VP 🙂

Romney – there are a couple images I am going to have a hard time getting out of my mind. Any one up here would be a great president or VP.

Bachmann – a solid conservative she says. Then she has a good moment saying, (paraphrasing) “Every 4 years we are told that we have to settle. I do not think that is true. We need a candidate who represents constitutional conservatives especially since Obama’s numbers will be even more in the tank come election time.”

Cain Hints using a non verbals that he is open to be asked for the VP spot and says  – If Romney throws out his bad jobs plan and adopted 9 – 9 – 9 I could go for him, but am thinking Newt Gingrich.

Huntsmnan – I would pick Herman Cain.

END OF DEBATE –

Commentary

Romney had his first decent night, but once again everyone had their moments. Romney and Herman Cain stood out as far as showmanship is concerned.

Doug Scheon said that the people are still ahead of the candidates. That is a very astute observation, but I think Doug missed Mitt walking the fence on the class warfare card because Scheon is a Democrat who does not understand GOP sensitivities on that issue.

Mitt’s fence walking on this critical issue has actually managed to lower my confidence in him, but he did raise my estimates of him communications ability. I think more voters caught onto that than the Fox News team realizes.

If I was on Perry’s communications team. I would have this theme and pound it:

Voters have had enough of candidates who talk a great game and then lack follow through when elected. You guys TALK about plans and job creation, but I do it every day and I do something none of you have done, and that is have the best job growth under the totally irresponsible job killing policies of this president. Talk all you want, I walk the walk when the chips are down.

I am becoming more convinced that Romney is not going to replace the tax code, he is not going to tackle the bureaucracy and regulatory reform except superficially. His vision lacks boldness. Every time Romney was asked to state a BOLD plan or vision for reform he gave platitudes and/or his weak-sauce “59 points job plan” answer. Even Herman Cain made it clear that Romney”s 59 points plan is almost a joke.

I discussed tonights performance with two communications professionals. One who is from out West and another who is a DC insider with many years of political experience.

Out West:

I’m not liking Romney. Class warfare, the scare tactics and his flip flopping. I smell a John McCain all over. Conservative in the primaries and a moderate in the general & presidency. Perry needs to be specific and articulate more. My top three candidates so far are Perry, Gingrich & Cain. Santorum & Bachmann come off as bitter Perry haters, although I loved Rick Santorum’s smack-down on Ron Paul/Huntsman on foreign policy.

If Bachmann is so anti Obamacare, why is she not pounding Romney on Romneycare? If she’s truly principled, she’d hammer Romney instead of trying to pry back the Evangelical vote from Perry?[Answer: Bachmann wants Romney v Bachmann two man race, that is why.]

DC Insider:

Thanks, Chuck…good honest assessment of candidates’ positions. Right on…exactly about the Fox News team of Caddell, Scheon, and Parino missing the point on Romney’s fence walking. Romney’s communications person (Eric Fehrnstrom) and his strategist are crippling him [in the long run as they may have done OK in this battle but will lose the war with the charismatics and the fence walking].

UPDATE – Glenn Beck comparing Romney’s book from 2 and a half years ago to the recently released paperback version (ironically called ‘No Apologies’).

Romney then: The stimulus will help some but could be better. RomneyCare could be a national model.

Romney now: Stimulus is a war against free enterprise. National health care of any kind is unconstitutional.

Glenn Beck just read verbatim from the two versions of Romney’s book. When Perry hit Romney for making these changes he said “I have changed no such thing” – Romney lied.

I am going over clips from the debate. When Romney praised Obama’s radicalized and failed Education Secretary Arne Duncan in the debate, Romney was saying that we need to have a teacher accountability program like Duncan has proposed (and will never see the light of day).

How many “teacher accountability” programs have we had? Tinkering around the fringes of our failed education system will not fix the problem. Herman Cain lectured Romney last night for taking that same approach to his economic recovery and jobs program. Cain always says, “Make sure that you are working on the RIGHT problem”. The problems are institutional in education as well as our regulatory structure. Much like the tax code, they are structurally flawed and tinkering with them will not solve the problem.

UPDATE II – New York Post: Romney an unauthentic panderer

Today’s New York Post after going through Romney’s statements found out that he was not being honest in much the same way we did.

New York Post:

And yet maybe Perry’s debate wasn’t all awful. Far from it. The thing is, debates aren’t only about performance; they are also about the way the interchanges reveal the character of the candidates — their political character.

Do they stand up for what they believe? Do they believe in anything, or are they just willing to say whatever their audiences want to hear?

And in that regard, Romney did not perform well at all.

In the opening of the debate, Romney went after Perry for statements in his book, “Fed Up,” about Social Security and the problems with the direct election of senators. And Perry lowered the boom on him. Romney, he noted, changed his line on his own health-care plan in the text of the paperback version of his book “No Apology.”

Words poured from Romney’s mouth like smoke from a wildfire. He zoomed through sentences impossible to follow as he tried to deny that he had done what he had in fact done, which was scrub his own book as his own position changed.

The speed with which he spoke recalled the flim-flam salesman Harold Hill, clouding the minds of innocent Iowans as he raced through the song “Trouble in River City” in “The Music Man.”

Even more telling, Perry hit Romney for speaking well of President Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative, as implemented by Education Secretary Arne Duncan–which Romney absolutely did in Miami on Wednesday. “I think Secretary Duncan has done some good things,” he said, as reported by Politico. “I hope that’s not heresy in this room.”

Romney denied it–a huge blunder, because this contradiction can be thrown back at him daily until the campaign is over. And because it speaks to precisely the reason Romney has been unable to make the sale with Republicans despite his incredible persistence in wooing them over the course of five years. He comes across as false, somehow.

Is unprepared and graceless worse than smooth and false in the eyes of voters desperate for authenticity? I don’t think so.

UPDATE III – Dan Henniger at Fox News

A reader sent us the following note:

Chuck, Dan Henninger just referenced your sentiments on Journal Editorial Report on Fox. He said that Romney’s answers scream “Polling, polling, polling”. The sentiment from the panel is that Romney is a well polished panderer.

UPDATE IV:  Rick Perry Backer Matt Gaetz: Romney Supporters Voting for Herman Cain to ‘Skew Results’ | Sunshine.

This does not surprise me, they did not want Perry to be first and Romney second. So they decided to put their votes behind someone with very little support in the general public to help diminish Perry. As was shown in the last debate, to the Romney camp everything is a political calculation and that is very revealing.

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About Chuck Norton

I write about politics, education, economics, morality and philosophy.
This entry was posted in 2012 Primary, Bachmann, Communications Theory, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry. Bookmark the permalink.

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