GOP Debate Liveblogging and Instant Commentary (5/15/2007)
7:57 PM Central, the candidates have taken the stage. Carl Cameron of Fox News says that the candidates might be allowed to be take on each other directly. This debate maybe better than the last one.
8:01 PM: Debate is being simulcast on Foxnews.com. South Carolina GOP chairman is giving an introduction. Nobody cares.
8:02 PM: Candidates being introduced. The only candidate with weaker applause than the rest was John McCain from the audience.
8:04 PM: Rules being gone over.
8:05 PM: No Falwell mentions allowed.
8:05 PM: McCain asked why Americans should continue to support the failed Iraqi government. Says Al-Qaeda will do nasty things if we leave Iraq. Supports the current strategy. Says Iraqi victory is in national interest.
8:06 PM: Tommy Thompson asked how he’s going to force the “freely elected” Iraqi government to vote whether or not Americans will stay and/or a partition. He defends his Iraq plan, which is actually a good one.
8:08 PM: Mitt Romney won’t project failure in Iraq. Explains the Islamofascist threat. Still has no plan for Iraq.
8:09 PM: Sam Brownback asked is consensus the way to win in Iraq. He supports consensus here at home, by attacking Democrats. Pushes the Jimmy Carter/Bill Clinton political solution for Iraq.
8:11 PM: Rudy Giuliani complains about being misquoted about Iraq and the Republicans. Asked whether or not he supports an open ended commitment for Iraq, dodges the question by talking about Fort Dix.
8:12 PM: Tom Tancredo supports November withdrawal of combat troops. Wants Iraqis to take the lead in Iraq, says Bush has set the November benchmark.
8:13 PM: Ron Paul asked whether or not he’s in touch with Republican voters with his withdrawal stances. He retorts by pointing out opinion polls of all the American people. Wants a declared war. Makes first Reagan reference by pointing out his withdrawal from Lebanon.
8:15 PM: Duncan Hunter asked whether or not Iraqis will actually fight. He says they will. Fighting whom is the question.
8:16 PM: Mike Huckabee asked how much he would listen to his generals. Basically, he’ll take everyone’s advice. Question is, would he fire General McClellan?
8:17 PM: Jim Gilmore asked if he would bomb Iran if they were close to a nuke. He wants serious, tough, UN sanctions and a discussion about Iran’s nukes here at home.
8:18 PM: Romney asked about flip-flopping on the no new taxes pledge, touts that he didn’t raise taxes in Massachusetts, but he did raise fees. Dodges the question overall.
8:20 PM: McCain asked about tax increases, support tax cuts and reigning in spending. Spending was the reason why Republicans lost the election.
8:21 PM: Huckabee supports the FairTax. Makes John Edwards joke about him spending money at a beauty shop.
8:23 PM: Giuliani asked where is his fiscal conservative credentials. He touts a Club for Growth report.
8:24 PM: Brownback asked about gas prices. He likes the ethanol scam in Kansas and Iowa and drilling in Alaska. He likes conservation also.
8:25 PM: Tommy Thompson asked which three programs he would eliminate. Says HHS stockpile needs to be eliminated.
8:27 PM: Ron Paul does much better. Wants to eliminate Education, HHS, and Homeland Security departments. Calls FEMA inefficient. Attacks Iraq War, welfare state, and entitlements. Condemns borrowing. Spent $40 billion before 9/11 and it failed. Past system was inefficient.
8:29 PM: Gilmore asked about Social Security reform wants to talk about it. Gilmore says he is the conservative.
8:31 PM: Duncan Hunter wants to stop the Chinese from stealing American jobs. Eliminate taxes on manufacturers.
8:32 PM: Tom Tancredo says Republicans have no fiscal discipline. Outlines the crimes of the Republican party. He wants to follow the Constitution.
8:33 PM: Commercial Break.
8:37 PM: Gilmore slams Romney, Giuliani, McCain, Huckabee. Gilmore has come alive.
8:38 PM: Giuliani attacks Hillary and calls her a socialist. Well, duh; but that wasn’t the question. The question is, are you a conservative? Chris Wallace gives him another try to answer the question. Giuliani gives the Eric Dondero response, “somebody said I’m conservative therefore I’m conservative”.
8:40 PM: McCain asked about his liberalism. Defends McCain-Feingold as bi-partisanship and working for the common good.
8:42 PM: Huckabee was attacking for raising taxes. Jokes about not being part of Rudy McRomney. Huckabee points out that gasoline tax was supported by 80% of Arkansas residents. Claims he was forced to raise education spending.
8:43 PM: Romney asked about his flip-flops. Still supports an assualt weapons ban. Likes the gays but opposes gay marriage. Claims he stood up for life, marriage, death penalty, abstinence education, and other conservative values. He’s still a flip-flopper.
8:44 PM: Brownback asked about amnesty and Iraq and Reagan. Says Reagan was a great compromiser.
8:46 PM: Tommy Thompson supports embryonic stem cell research.
8:47 PM: Rudy Giuliani asked about abortion, he says he wants to reduce abortion.
8:49 PM: Huckabee not liking Giuliani’s position, but he respects it because he’s honest. (Dig at Romney and Gilmore).
8:50 PM: Brownback asked about opposition to abortion even as a result of rape. One of the best answers to this difficult question I’ve heard.
8:51 PM: Romney asked about people who die during back alley abortions. Romney looked at the issue “long and hard”. Cloning pushed him toward the pro-life stance. I think it was probably polling, not cloning.
8:53 PM: Tancredo asked about immigration. He says McCain is soft on immigration. Slams candidates for “conversions” on the issues on the road to Des Moines.
8:54 PM: McCain opposes amnesty. Points out his bill is supported by President Bush. Says expired visas are bigger problem than border jumpers. He’s right. Chris Wallace asks McCain about the perception of him running away from his own bill. McCain says this is not the case.
8:56 PM: Romney asked about immigration flip-flops. Opposes amnesty, but also supports amnesty as well. Draws applause after attack on McCain-Feingold.
8:58 PM: McCain attacks Romney as a flip-flopper. Draws applause.
8:58 PM: Giuliani tries attempt at humor by thanking Tancredo for calling him soft. Asked about his flip-flopping on immigration. Dodges the question by saying he’s now tough on immigration.
9:00 PM: Hunter asked about how immigrants will be stopped from getting social services. He built San Diego fence. Attacks Bush on immigration. Border is biggest security threat. Dodges the question. Draws applause.
9:01 PM: Paul takes another question about being out of step with the party on Iraq. Points out Republican’s traditional isolationism. Republicans ended Korean War and Vietnam War. Republicans have been traditionally non-interventionist. Asked if non-intervention ended on 9/11. Paul says 9/11 was caused by interventionism. Paul says we should listen to Al-Qaeda.
9:04 PM: Giuliani was personally offended. Attacks Paul on 9/11 response. Draws loud applause. Asks Paul to withdraw his comment.
9:05 PM: Paul talks about blowback. Points out Iran example (a bad example).
9:05 PM: Wendell Goler asks McCain about Confederate flag. McCain says he was wrong in 2000 when he said flag should stay on state capital. He supports current agreement where it flies at a Confederate monument. Wants to move on. Very loud applause.
9:07 PM: Huckabee asked about controversial parole of a rapist. Huckabee denied him clemency.
9:08 PM: Tancredo asked about global warming. Doesn’t believe in man made global warming. Wants to reduce petroleum dependence for national security reasons. Muslims cause terrorism.
9:10 PM: Commercial break.
9:14 PM: McCain asked about interrogation at Gitmo. McCain opposes torture in all circumstances. Hurts us more than them. Tortured lies to stop torture. Best anti-torture response I’ve heard.
9:16 PM: Giuliani asked about waterboarding. Giuliani would allow torture, but he won’t call it torture. Loud applause.
9:17 PM: Romney wants to prevent terrorist attack. Romney wants Gitmo detainees at Gitmo, draws loud applause. Romney supports torture in all but name.
9:18 PM: Thompson would verify if fictional anti-American country is supporting terrorist attacks against America, then he would attack them.
9:19 PM: Brownback asked about going to UN. Would put American lives over UN opinion.
9:20 PM: Hunter would torture then bomb the country.
9:21 PM: McCain gives another good opposition to torture. Says Americans will be tortured if captured. Draws applause.
9:22 PM: Gilmore says we need share information.
9:23 PM: Huckabee wants to go after terrorists, calling them murderers. He wants Americans to sacrifice. About damn time a leader called on Americans to sacrifice.
9:24 PM: Paul asked about economic policies post attack. He wants to cut spending. Paul calls Enhanced Interrogation what it is, torture. Rambling about Pakistan, Osama, giving money…spouting the MoveOn.org talking points.
9:26 PM: Tancredo says waterboarding is not a bad thing after a nuclear attacks, makes a reference to Jack Bauer. All rules out of the window in the fight for Western Civilization. Wants to terrorize the terrorists.
9:27 PM: Gilmore asked about no minority or women Republican candidates. Says how he’s not a racist and he’s built the tent. Wallace wants him to answer the question about minority candidates in the Republican party. Gilmore says they’re coming. Gilmore says we need to look at records.
9:28 PM: Romney asked if he’s grown against the party grassroots. Romney likes the Department of Education. Calls education the civil rights issue.
9:30 PM: Duncan Hunter plays the China threat card again.
9:31 PM: Debate ends