[Re-published from 2008Central.net. This liveblog on Donklephant will be updated periodically. For the latest please visit the active liveblog at 2008Central.net]
7:02: And we are ready. 1 hour to go until tonight’s CNN/YouTube Republican Debate. The participants will be: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo and Fred Thompson. Alan Keyes (yes, he’s running) will not be participating.
7:20: The Giuliani campaign has sent out a pre-debate email discussing what they consider to be a high volume of negative attacks from Romney’s campaign [pdf]. It’s fairly extensive and is obviously intended to increase the press’ coverage of Romney’s negative attacks themselves (as opposed to any fallout that may come as a result of those attacks).
7:54: Lou Dobbs is ranting. No analysis required.
7:59: The snowman apparently will not make the cut, as per the web preview on CNN.com. Three commercial breaks are scheduled for the two hour debate.
8:01: Charlie Crist is going to introduce the candidates, who are all going to fantasize about receiving his endorsement. From left to right in reverse order of their introductions: Tancredo, Huckabee, Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, McCain, Paul, Hunter. Itâ€™s mildly amusing to see them all trying to be nice to each other on stage.
8:06: CNN thinks Mitt Romney is still the unabashed front runner in the early states. Apparently they are holding this debate in October. Itâ€™s a dead heat in Iowa with Huckabee having so much more committment than Romney in Iowa.
8:08: Anderson Cooper previews questions. U-S-E-L-E-S-S.
8:10: A song that would get about 1,000 viral hits starts off the debate. This is really corny humor that will go over well with some and induce a lot of eye rolling by the rest.
8:12: The debate begins! A New Yorker asks why Giuliani ran NYC as a sanctuary city and if he would continue it. He explains why he left children exempt, why they could be treated, and why they could report crimes, and those were the only exemptions. Romney says NYC called itself a sanctuary city and that Giuliani brought a suit to that effect, and not everyone that was reported as committing a crime was deported. Two well-crafted and obviously practiced answers. Giuliani retorts by citing sanctuary cities in Massachusetts and a ‘sanctuary mansion’ at Romney’s own mansion. Tough answer, and Mitt tries the direct response, and Giuliani retorts. Romney points out he hired a company and says he should not check employees of that company for immigration papers. Romney eventually segues into his record and the answer gets a lot less interesting. Seems like equals yelling back and forth, ending with Giuliani getting booed to the next question.
8:19: Pledge to veto any amnesty bill? Thompson says yes. This is inducing a lot of stump speeches. Thompson accuses Romney of flip-slopping on the Bush immigration plan ‘unsurprisingly.’ The Giuliani campaign is rolling, as we’ve already received an email about Romney hiring immigrants. Thompson accuses Giuliani of bringing a lawsuit to protect sanctuary city status, Giuliani repeats his exceptions line. McCain, using a really serious and low tone, says the plan was not amnesty and he would veto amnesty. Talks about lack of trust in the government to control the borders first, and everything else needs to be resolved second, and that the illegals are God’s children as well second. Cites demagoguing of the issue, and that the rhetoric contributes nothing.
8:24: Tancredo basks in the glory. An employer of seasonal workers asks what he would do about it. Tancredo talks about the evils of immigration as a while, and that he rejects the idea that there are jobs that no Americans will take. Hunter makes a cameo appearance, and shockingly talks about the double fence he built in San Diego. Did he jsut send the tape of him to the debate ala Leia in Star Wars?
[Continued at 2008Central.net]