8:01 - And so, the 573,637th Republican primary debate begins
8:02 - The intros to these debates have become almost epic. CNN's calling this "The Fight for the South" Blah
8:04 - All of them have a single button on their jackets buttoned. Paul and Romney carry it off. Gingrich needs to get a larger jacket.
8:06 - That was a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. Been a while since I've heard an all-male chorus sing it.
8:07 - Romney introduces himself by rattling off his extended family. 17 grandchildren. The way it came off, it was fairly transparently pandering.
8:09 - Not sure why John King started off with the Callista Gingrich question. 1) It's red meat for Gingrich, who has demonstrated quite clearly in the past that he'll just insult the questioner. 2) What's the purpose of asking that question without a clear way of tying it to a national issue.
8:11 - And then Gingrich goes back on the attack.
8:12 - Dear god, John King, just move on already.
8:15 - Paul, somewhat round-aboutedly, says we need to reform bankruptcy and finance laws. I know it
8:16 - Gingrich says we need to repeal Dodd-Frank because it's killing small businesses. That's just plain bullshit. The Port of Charleston expansion is actually a good answer ... except that it's his own Republican colleagues who've blocked that, not because of environment concerns, but because they've blocked any public funds and no private industry will touch the investment without that guarantee.
8:18 - Oh please. Obama's been practicing crony capitalism? Good reasons for doing it aside, the Solyndra investment was started under Bush. Detroit is a success story.
8:20 - Romney documents the 100K job figure as 120K jobs added minus 10K jobs lost = >100K jobs added. That's definitely going to be fact-checked out the wazoo, and is almost certainly overly optimistic on jobs created. Romney responds to the Bain question by saying he's for capitalism. So is practically everyone. The problem with Bain is that heads, Romney gets $40 million and people keep their jobs. Tails, people lose their jobs ... and Romney still gets $40 million. That just rubs people the wrong way.
8:25 - Someone should tell Ron Paul that the reason government spending went down by 60% after World War II ended is because ... World War II ended.
8:30 - Kind of interesting that most of the candidates actually favor high government spending, it just has to be at the state level. Gingrich makes the case for higher government spending.
8:34 - Did Gingrich just say that Congress needs to repeal Obamacare, but he doesn't trust Congress, so he'll do ... something?
8:37 - Santorum goes ballistic on health care. After Romney for Massachusetts care. Gingrich for his support of individual mandates back when it was still a conservative idea (ie a few years ago). "Footsies with the left" sounds like a twitter meme!
8:42 - Santorum vs Gingrich! Round two! Fight!
8:51 - Santorum: "It's a worrying situation. Something's gonna pop." It sounds like he's talking about a pimple.
8:52 - I'll say one thing for John King: his early screw-up notwithstanding, he successfully turned this into Republicans vs each other. Everybody's attacking each other. Except for Ron Paul, who just keeps talking about what it was like before 1960's.
8:53 - Santorum says Gingrich played a part in the "biggest scandal in 50 years" in Congress. I think he's referring to the page scandal, but not sure.
8:56 - Did Romney just describe himself as growing up "on the streets"? The guy is tone deaf. And for Romney to describe himself as not a politician is just dumb.
9:01 - Romney says he's not going to release ANY his tax returns until April, which is after the primary is decided and they have no chance to influence the outcome. Oddly enough, his refusal to release them is making them an issue.
9:02 - "They're at home and nobody's home right now and so when I get home I'll get them cause I'm home." Huh?
9:03 - Wow ... Romney just got asked about his tax returns, made a very nervous laugh, and then got heckled. His rational for not releasing them until April is that Democrats will attack him over it. But that just doesn't make sense. The election is in November, which gives Democrats over half a year to make those attacks. The real reason, which pretty much everyone knows after tonight, is that they show he takes certain liberties with his taxes and income that are only available to the super rich, and they're pretty much a poster child for what's wrong.
9:11 - I honestly didn't expect a question about SOPA. Gingrich kind of stumbles his way through it. Romney strongly opposes. Paul strongly opposes, and actually says Republicans were on the wrong side of the issue at first. Kudos for honesty. Somehow Santorum manages to make this about personal responsibility and what he describes as America's "anything goes" culture. Oof.
9:37 - Ok, after a long break, we're back to exciting social issues.