Live Blogging The Debate Tonight

I’ll be liveblogging the 9 P.M. EST debate tonight, which will be on Fox News. So, if you’re watching and prowling the blogosphere at the same time, make sure to stop in and refresh constantly.

9:01: Let’s get reaaaady to rrrrruuuuuuummmmmmbbbbblllleee!

9:06: Tommy got a haircut. He looks sharper than at the first debate.

9:09: Tell ’em, Sam. We haven’t lost. Harry Reid was wrong — although I think the split the state solutions can’t really work. The country isn’t split up into 3 neat and clean regions.

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9:13: This time around, Tanc is prepared — good answer by the way about why he thinks we should start pulling troops back later.

9:14: The “we didn’t declare war” line from Paul is silly. Congress did, for all intents and purposes, declare war by giving Bush the authority to go to war.

9:15: Duncan is using the same strategy as the last debate, skipping part of the question and going on to other strong points. It worked for him. It got his resume out there.

9:17: Do we have 300,000 ground troops to send into Iraq? I don’t think we do.

9:18: We’re getting tough, but fair questions from Fox and getting good answers from the candidates.

9:18: I’m glad Gilmore brought up the proliferation of nukes if Iran gets nukes. Glad someone brought that up.

9:21: McCain has used that drunken sailor line a million times. It is good though. That was the first applause line of the debate.

9:22: Huckabee topped him with that John Edwards at a beauty shop line. That is funny!

9:24: Not refilling 50% of the positions held by federal employees who retire. Good idea, Rudy!

9:26: Sell those vetoes and tax cuts, Tommy! Every agency at 95% of last year’s budget. I love it. Why isn’t Bush doing that?

9:27: The Department of Homeland Security? Inefficient, yes. I opposed its creation, too. But, given that everything that is lumped in under that umbrella, if Paul got his way and dumped it, it would essentially wipe out our intelligence services.

9:30: Gilmore sounds a lot better tonight…and I love the plug, but don’t bring up those people who aren’t conservative if you’re not going to name names.

9:31: Duncan loves the trade issues….

9:32: Now Tanc sounds unfocused again, although he’s making good points on fiscal conservatism. Just the defense of the country? That’s the only thing the federal government does under the Constitution? Wrong answer, Tanc…

9:36: It’s hard to tell who’s winning this debate. Maybe because the questions are tougher.

9:37: Fox has decided that they want some fireworks. I like it.

9:40: “Rudy McRomney wouldn’t make a bad candidate.” Good line. Although, even if Rudy is right about Hillary, he’s dodging the question about conservatism. Ouch, another 30 seconds because he dodged the question. Most conservative in New York City isn’t saying much. Rudy admits he’s pro-abortion. Not a good one for him overall.

9:41: McCain: Leadership is reaching across the aisle and giving the Democrats everything they want. Boo!

9:42: Huckabee — I could use the bump! Good line. Huckabee had a good answer to the question.

9:43: Mitt: I flip and I flop on the issues, but forgive me because I’m from Mass.

9:45: Ronald Reagan endorsed a ONE TIME amnesty in 1986. The one time has already happened. That means you don’t have another one, Sam.

9:46: No more, “Why aren’t you a conservative,” questions? I guess the other guys are too conservative to make those work. I wish conservatives would hit on the very important fact that adult stem cells are just much more promising that embryonic stem cell research.

9:48: Now they’re skipping around. Back to Hunter, please!

9:49: Another good answer from Huckabee on abortion.

9:50: Ouch! The rape victim question is tough. Brownback is answering it as best as he can though.

9:51: Dunc got skipped in that round. Boo!

9:53: A Baptist Tent conversion here on the stage. Great line from Tanc.

9:55: McCain would have made the Fort Dix terrorists into American citizens.

9:56: Mitt — Here’s why the amnesty plan I support isn’t amnesty and is slightly different from the amnesty plan that McCain supports and says isn’t amnesty.

9:58: McCain and Mitt bloodied each other a bit there. Good lines from both. But, in an early debate like this do we have to keep going back and forth between the big 3 contenders over and over and over? And yeah, Rudy stinks on illegal immigration and yes, he is soft on illegal immigration. And yeah, Rudy would like to make the Fort Dix terrorists citizens, too.

9:59: They made Duncan wait almost 30 minutes for a question, but at least they played to his strength. Hey, applause!

10:02: I think Paul is right overall about the party being non-interventionist, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re in a war and Paul wants to surrender it. Oh, now it’s our fault that the terrorists attacked us. Ugh…Yes, he is suggesting that we invited the 9/11 attacks. Ugh…what a repulsive little toad he is.

10:04: Rudy was smart to jump in there and scored big points and Paul isn’t even smart enough to say he was misunderstood. Now everybody wants to take a turn thrashing Paul.

10:06: On the one hand, the McCain question about the flag was relevant, but it’s such a tired thing to ask about. That’s why people groaned. Everyone should move on over the issue. Good answer for Johnny Mac.

10:08: This is Huckabee’s Willie Horton by the way. At least he’s not standing by the mistake he made like Dukakis.

10:09: Tanc has a pretty good answer there on global warming. And he smacks Ron Paul and…hmmm, Tanc essentially said that terrorism is part of the Muslim religion there — or at least I thought he did. I will have to watch the tape.

10:13: Commercial break. Boy, did Ron Paul step in it.

10:14: Hundreds dead, we’re questioning terrorists. What now? Ron Paul apologizes to them because it’s our fault?

10:15: I think McCain’s answer was good, although his actual position on interrogation handcuffs our troops.

10:16: Good answer, Rudy! Andrew Sullivan’s eyes just bugged out when there was applause. They were right to applaud.

10:17: Good answer on Gitmo, Mitt. Double it!

10:18: Tommy is giving a good answer on taking out those camps.

PS: You know who should be answering these questions? The Democratic candidates. You know the Republican candidates, other than Paul, are going to be hawkish. Would Obama? Would Edwards? Would Hillary. Let’s see what they’d say.

10:20: Strong answer from Duncan. Get the information. One minute. I liked it.

10:21: What happens to our people if we rough up the terrorists? They’re cutting the heads off of our people now, McCain. What an idiot he is on this subject and if you listen to McCain, everything is torture. Ugh…

10:23: Huckabee, how can we have the same sort of sacrifice we had at Pearl Harbor? It’s a totally different world now. What, are we supposed to have every person working on the war effort? Stop all the plants in Detroit and have them make tanks we don’t need? What is Paul babbling about now….I just loathe him.

10:26: Good answer on Jack Bauer, Tanc. If nukes go off, all bets are off.

10:28: James Gilmore stopped non-existent church burnings? Ehr, Ok…

10:29 Oh yes, how brave you are Mitt to stand up for testing and against the teacher’s unions. Lol.

10:30: This is another good question for Duncan. The got in front of the tank line was good. They didn’t ask Duncan a lot of questions, but at least the ones he got were right down his alley.

Summary: (Since I work for Duncan Hunter, I am not going to include him in my analysis)

My first quick reaction,

There were a lot more good lines in this debate.

Rudy beating up Ron Paul.
McCain and Romney beating each other up.
John McCain’s drunken sailor line.
Huckabee’s line about spending money like John Edwards in a beauty parlor.
Tanc’s Baptist tent conversion line.
Tanc’s line on Jack Bauer.

It’s harder to judge who won this one, although overall, I again thought that Mike Huckabee did the best overall. Even though Rudy still chocked on abortion and the social conservatism issues, his surgical strike on Ron Paul will be replayed over and over, which will probably make him the default winner of the debate.

The big loser was obviously Ron Paul, who suggested that we invited the 9/11 attacks, which was just a catastrophically stupid thing to say.

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