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Live Blog Of The Des Moines Register Republican Debate (December 12, 2007)


[Re-published from We will update this post on Donklephant periodically, but for the latest check out the live blog at]

The Des Moines Register is having a Republican debate in Iowa today beginning at 2pm eastern. It is being aired on Iowa Public Television, as well as Fox News and CNN.

2:oo: Yup, we’re live blogging. From left to right: Rudy Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Alan Keyes (yes, Alan Keyes is there). As an aside, this moderator looks like she’s going to be scary.

2:03: Is the debt a threat to national security? Moderator insists yes or no. Giuliani uses question to talk about tax cuts. Says it is not a national security issue, but it’s an economic security issue. Ron Paul thinks it’s a national security issue. The moderator already seems mad at some of the crummy dodgy answers she’s gotten so far. Fred Thompson rambles about social security and medicare. As a reminder, this was a yes or no question. Romney: ‘strengthen the American people.’ Again, not really an answer. Huckabee says yes and then explains. McCain also directly answers the question. Republicans in Luntz’s group seem to like McCain’s response the most. McCain promises oil independence in 5 years. Keyes says yes, there’s a threat to national security.

2:11: What sacrifices, specifically, would you ask Americans to make to lower the debt? Giuliani says the American people aren’t the problem and that the government should cut it’s spending. Follow up, if you’re going to cut nonmilitary spending by 10%, then won’t people who use those programs need to sacrifice? Giuliani says that people relying on those programs will need to find other ways.

2:14: Huckabee says that instead of treating people after their sick, we should focus on prevention.

2:17: Tancredo: Don’t ask the government to help you from beginning to end or there will be a humongous deficit. *sigh* I always love when candidates use 2nd grade rhetoric.

2:18: Who is paying more than their fair share of taxes relative to everyone else? McCain says that low and middle income taxpayers pay the most and suggests that it’s time to fix it. Takes a swipe at the Democrats for wanting to raise taxes. Huckabee: FAIR TAX! Moderator tells people to start answering questions “a little snappier.”

2:23: Giuliani doesn’t say who is paying more than their fair share of taxes, but talks about reducing the tax burden through either a flat tax or reducing taxes on corporations. Why can’t these folks just answer a question?

2:26: What is the plan for protecting U.S. jobs? Huckabee talks about three causes for this, one of them is red tape. Huckabe states that as president, “I can’t part the red sea, but I can part the red tape.” I realize that he’s affable and makes some good quips, but sometimes, they seem a bit too forced.

2:28: What specific changes should be made in NAFTA? Giuliani says that it should be enforced and is a good thing. So far, I haven’t really heard any real responses to this question. Do you get the feeling that perhaps they may not really know the specifics of NAFTA? Tancredo states some specific problems with NAFTA and notes that it is fueling the immigration problem. Hunter follows up and complains about the trade imbalance caused by NAFTA.

2:32: Fred Thompson’s “free moment” to say anything he wants comes up. He takes the opportunity to

2:32: Do you believe that global climate change is serious and caused by human action? (show of hands) Fred Thompson refuses and the other candidates quickly follow his lead in refusing to do a show of hands. The moderator stands her ground, sasses the candidates a bit and proceeds with her question. McCain answers the question and says even if humans aren’t to cause, going green doesn’t hurt us it helps us. Giuliani agrees. Romney asks for time to answer too…he states that it is “global warming and not American warming” and that Americans should therefore not pay for most of it. Perhaps he’s not aware of the proportion of energy consumption in the US vs. other countries?

2:37: Alan Keyes rhetorical flurry alert! He says that the only emission he would curtail is the hot air from politicians.

2:38: What will you do to reduce gas consumption? Increase mandates on biofuels? Huckabee says that if the government makes changes, the market will be changed because the price for alternative fuels will change.

2:40: Tancredo uses his free moment to talk about the dangers of having a “polyglot boarding house.”

2:42: What educational standards does the US need to adopt in order to compete in the global economy? McCain talks about choices. He doesn’t talk about how he’d enable those choices, but does cite choices. Giuliani says that he’s where he is today because of the educational choices of his parents and that choices need to be increased. He also doesn’t really talk about how he’d increase choices. Again, are the candidates just not listening to the question?

2:47: Romney cites some specifics among them are English immersion and scholarships. Huckabee says that education is a state issue, but there are some things that can be done at the federal level that will help all the states. 1) “personalize the learning” and 2) institute “weapons of mass instruction” which would increase education on arts and other subjects across the board. I’m not sure how that’s consistent with this opening that the federal government should be out of education, but who cares about contradictions and meaningless slogans when you’re running for president. VIVA LA PERSONALIZE THE LEARNING!

2:48: Alan Keyes gets mad and scolded the moderator for not asking him questions. She says fine and that he gets 30 seconds. He complains that it’s unfair that other candidates get a minute and he only gets 30 seconds. Keyes then says the problem with education is that God is no longer in the education.

2:51: Fred Thompson states that the biggest obstacle to educational reform is the National Education Association because they stand in the way of choice. Tancredo points out the contradiction in Huckabee’s argument.

2:53: Huckabee responds and says that he was suggesting that the government become a clearinghouse for reform. Says that the president’s second most important job, after being Commander-In-Chief, is to be “communicator-in-chief” and using bully pulpit to communicate.

2:54: Realistically, what do you believe you can accomplish in the first year of your administration? Giuliani: secure against Islamic terrorism, begin winning war against Islamic terrorism, secure borders and accomplish energy independence. Ron Paul: would end the war, bring the troops home, would increase his the credibility of US abroad. Tancredo: would use the pulpit to explain that we are not fighting a war

3:00: Romney states he would do more than talk in his first year, he would: keep the world safe from global jihad, advance schools, wants to get health insurance for every person in America. Mike Huckabee: he likes the laundry list, but notes that it’s not going to happen unless someone brings the country together and he intends to be president of all 50 states. John McCain also talks about the need for making America safe and the second most important thing would be to restore faith and trust in government by fixing broken programs. Alan Keyes: would restore the soverignty of the American people, sign an executive order protecting unborn life in the womb (aka: would ban abortion), would establish a national border guard in order to seal the border (he realizes that we currently have one, right?).

3:02: Romney uses his free moment to pander to Iowans. Rudy Giuliani uses his free moment to talk about the fact that he’s been tested by proving his leadership through crises like 9/11, being a US attorney and Mayor of New York.

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