[Re-published from 2008Central.net. This liveblog on Donklephant will be updated periodically. For the latest please visit the active liveblog at 2008Central.net]
Tonight is the CNN/Los Angeles/Politico Republican Debate at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. It will begin at 8pm est and will air on CNN and will stream live at both CNN and LA Times‘ websites. The participating candidates will be Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.
7:45: 15 minutes to go. I’m not sure what the seating locations will be yet, but I do know that McCain’s staffer won the first pick for location on the stage and had to call back to headquarters to confirm the location.
7:49: Format: No rules, No time limits. I guess ever since Wolf Blitzer threw out the rules at the last debate, CNN’s just decided to really go wild.
7:58: Lou Dobbs is expressing outrage (not necessarily about anything specific…just outrage…he wants you to know that he’s very disturbed).
8:00: And here we go!
8:03: First question, are Americans better off now than they were 8 years ago? Mitt Romney says that that’s a question for President Bush, then launches into defense of his record in Mass. Anderson Cooper gets indignant and wants an answer, Romney shows viewers that he’s able to stand up to Anderson Cooper, but does offer some discussion of the problems he sees in America now.
8:06: McCain says he’ll bring some straight talk, offers a bit of gloom and then talks about making the Bush tax cuts permanent. McCain states that he believes Americans are better off now than they were 8 years ago, if you look at everything.
8:07: Huckabee plainly states that he doesn’t think we’re better off now than we were 8 years ago, states that the President isn’t solely responsible, so is the congress. Huckabee says that Americans want someone that is honest and straight with them. I wonder if he’s aware that McCain already has that catchphrase locked up?
8:09: Paul states the problems are caused by foreign policy and we must acknowledge that those policies need to come to an end.
8:12: Romney takes a shot at McCain’s conservatism by noting McCain’s NY Times endorsement. McCain reminds Romney that both of Romney’s hometown papers, which know him best, endorsed him over Romney. Ouch. McCain continues to talk up his conservatism by mentioning some people that support him.
8:15: Romney defends his record on job growth by noting that some of the negative data on job growth included a time period under the former Governor. He also explains the fee increases under his administration. Romney also touts the work he did on health care and notes that when he left there was a balanced budget and a small surplus.
8:18: Huckabee talks conservatism: lower taxes, streamlining the government, amendment banning gay marriage and a life amendment. Something about these, “who is more conservative” questions seem sort of pointless at some point.
8:21: McCain is asked about Gov. Schwarzenegger’s environmental law proposals, which are much different than the steps that the Bush Administration would take towards combating climate change. Given the impending endorsement for Arnold, obviously McCain needs to tread lightly and he does. He responds by noting that he believes in federalism, which has really turned into code for “I won’t force you to do something. Please don’t shy away from me because of this issue.” McCain then gives his oft used version of Pascal’s Wager for support of green technology.
8:25: Romney says that he supports states’ rights to control and regulate their own emissions. Huckabee then tries to explain why Federalism is good, he then goes on to state that Alexander Hamilton was wrong. Uhhhh….he’s having a difficult enough time staying in this race against Romney, McCain and Paul…I’m pretty sure injecting Hamilton into this race would only make it worse for him. *sigh*
8:29: Paul asks for some time to discuss and issue and Cooper denies him. For a debate that wasn’t really supposed to have rules, Anderson Cooper seems awfully indignant.
8:33: Talk turns to the economy…excuse me while I relocate to the top floor of my building, preferably a seat near the edge…
8:35: On the economic stimulus: McCain says that we will probably need more. Wow! This is like saying that we need more puppies, fluffier pillows or locations that have Coke Zero available from the fountain.
8:36: McCain is challenged on his initial opposition to Bush’s tax cuts on the grounds that they favored the rich too much. McCain states that he was a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution…then proceeds with obfuscation.
[Continued at 2008Central.net]