Saturday, January 07, 2012

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the New Hampshire GOP Debate

Welcome to the first 2012 Edition in the continuing saga of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the Debates!" Ah, I think back to when I conceived this series while covering the first 2008 Republican debate, lo those many years ago, and first asked the question:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? The Dividist rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread. "
Has it only been 28 months since I last attempted a LBLB? It seems like... well it seems only... Well, actually it seems like about 28 months and not long enough to start this again.

No matter. This particular debate features the oddity of two debates within 12 hours of each other. The first debate will begin tonight starting 9 PM ET at Saint Anselm College in Manchester on ABC and the second on Sunday morning 9 AM ET at the Capital Center in Concord on NBC's Meet the Press. No, I don't know how or why the candidates agreed to do that. Since I am on the left coast and not likely to awake to cover the morning debate live, we'll just settle on round one.

As always, we select a variety of bloggers from across the political spectrum, and attempt to live blog their live blog efforts. I don't know who we will include, but we will start with some bloggers we have used before, including Daily Kos, from the left, VodkaPundit or HotAir from the right, look to either David Weigel, Reason or the Atlantic's Megan McArdle for a libertarian point of view and the Moderate Voice, Rise of the Center, or Donklephant as a centrist blog. In reality we'll be scrambling as usual and covering anyone we can find who is live blogging this debate. Since it is up against an NFL playoff game, that may be a tougher task than usual. Andrew Sullivan is usually a reliable live-blogger, and I don't think he is a football fan. Chris Cillizza's Fix and Comedy Central's Indecision are on the case, so we'll start with them.

As per history I will likely guess wrong about which blogs to monitor and will be scrambling for substitutes once things get started. Refresh your browsers for latest content once the debate is underway. Because of the derivative nature of this enterprise, I do run quite a bit behind the actual debate. Just setting expectationsand lowering the bar. Is that not what debates are all about?


Chris Cillizza's Fix: "The first Republican presidential debate of 2012 is just hours away — 9 p.m. on ABC (or WMUR if you are in New Hampshire) to be exact — and we are, admittedly, a little too excited.Since the last time the GOP candidates shared a debate stage, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich peaked too soon, Iowa voters, well, voted and one-time top-tier candidateMichele Bachmann ended her campaign. (Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted at doing the same but decided to stay in while on a run in Iowa. Not kidding — that really happened.)"

Comedy Central Indecision: "You read right — with its primary less than a week away, the Granite State is hosting not one but two Republican debates this weekend. Will Mitt Romney deliver strong performances and triumph like everyone more or less knows he will? Will Rick Santorum surprise everyone and not utterly squander his Iowa near-win? Will Jon Huntsman get asked any questions?"

Atlantic - Molly Ball:"Mitt Romney has won Iowa (or just about). He is about to win New Hampshire, and he leads in South Carolina. There's only one real question for the two debates about to take place here in quick succession Saturday night and Sunday morning: Can anybody stop this train?"

Boston Globe - Political Intelligence: "The debates will be the first since Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann ended her own campaign on Wednesday following a dismal showing in Iowa, her native state.The winnowing of the field should allow each candidate more time to speak - and a more concentrated focus on Romney.The Globe’s Matt Viser will be providing spot coverage of the debates for,, and the Boston Sunday Globe."

Vodka Pundit - Stephen Green:"Y'all can go to Hell; I’m drunkblogging tonight!"

Stinque: "Newt hates Mitt. Ron hates Jon. Rick hates everyone who has joy in their life. Sounds like the premise for a zany Armageddon sitcom, or our GOP DebateOpen Thread/Pie Fight. Or both."

Reason Hit and Run: "Has it really only been 23 days? Last time we had a Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann was still a candidate, Newt Gingrich was widely considered a front-runner (the first question of that night from moderator Bret Baier included the phrase "Speaker are now physically at the center of the stage, which means you're at the top of the polls"), and Rick Santorum wasn't even a gleam in David Brooks' eye. "

DIVIDIST - Allright, I've got this thing cued up and a few live bloggers identified. We'll find more when it kicks off... Houston knocked off Cincinnati in the first playoff game. Detroit just took the opening possession in for a touchdown, leading 7-0. I hope no one took my betting advice.

We'll be updating when the debate starts in about 40 minutes. And we're off....



Chris Cillizza's Fix: "Postpolitics: You may be watching the fight for 2nd in NH right now. Paul vs Santorum."

Comedy Central Indecision: "9:05 – I like how Mitt Romney stares over at Rick Santorum likes he's watching an adorable puppy chew on an old pair of his Florsheims."

The Beast - Andrew Sullivan: "9.04 pm. Romney is saying that Obama deserves to be blamed for the recession he inherited, but that he gets no credit for any improvement. That sounds about right."

Daily Kos - Jed: "6:05 PM PT: Rick Santorum is trying to attack Mitt Romney, but he's doing a bad job of it so far. He's saying he's passed legislation in Congress about Iran. Great, so he's taking credit for Iran policy. But he also says Iran is about to get a nuke. Was that from his policies?"

Vodka Pundit - Stephen Green:"Y'all can go to Hell; I’m drunkblogging tonight!"

Stinque: "Game on: Newt comes out against the “Wall Street model” of “flipping companies”."

Reason Hit and Run - Matt Welch: "9:08: Newt Gingrich, who has spent the debate season campaigning against the press, is now trying to use The New York Times to whine about how sometimes capitalism involves people losing jobs."

DIVIDIST - Shifting a few players around as I figure out who I can cut and rip easily. Detroit is leading 14-7.



Chris Cillizza's Fix: "Postpolitics: You may be watching the fight for 2nd in NH right now. Paul vs Santorum."

Comedy Central Indecision: "9:29 – Newt Gingrich: "Dr. Paul has a long history of saying things that are false." I think Newt Gingrich might have forgotten what his own name is.9:26 – Newt Gingrich paraphrased: "I'm pretty much an honorary veteran. I've received more military deferments than anyone else on this stage."

The Beast - Andrew Sullivan: "9.31 pm. Ron Paul devastates Newt Gingrich on the question of his avoidance of military service. Newt's response - a desperate pander to New Hampshire on healthcare, and a mention of his being an army brat. He denies that he asked for any deferments. Gingrich says he was married with kids and therefore didn't fight. Paul knocks him out by noting that he served as a married man with kids."

Daily Kos - Jed: "6:27 PM PT: Newt says he has military experience through osmosis from his dad.6:30 PM PT: Ron Paul mentions "Rick" camera shoots to Perry. He was talking about Santorum. Paul is ripping Gingrich as a chicken hawk for dodging the draft. Okay this is so completely irrelevant. Romney is loving life—nothing tough has come his way so far."
Slate- Dave Weigel:"9:19: I've never seen Paul that aggressive, sticking to careful, simple attacks on old Santorum votes. What did Santorum say in response? "I believe in some government." He took several chances to run down his bio and his record. Paul's immediate goal is to come second in New Hampshire; Santorum's is to introduce himself to conservatives. Both did fairly well."

Stinque - Chicago Bureau: "Boy, Mitt is dancing, and — PUNTS TO PAUL! Holy crap!”"

Reason Hit and Run - Matt Welch: "9:13: Paul on Santorum: "He's a big-government person."9:14: Santorum: "I'm a conservative, not a libertarian. I believe in some government."9:15: The battles between Santorum and Paul, even before this debate, have been some of the most telling and useful delineations of political philosophy in this campaign."

DIVIDIST - Halftime Detroit is leading 14-10.



Chris Cillizza's Fix: "FixAaron: Huntsman: "I have seven kids. I'm glad we're off the contraception discussion." New line of the night!"

Comedy Central Indecision: "9:43 – Rick Santorum paraphrased: "Obviously, the architects of the Constitution didn't intend to extend privacy rights to gay people."9:40 – Mitt Romney paraphrased: "I believe that the ruling of the Supreme Court is the law of the land, except that I hate everything about it."

The Beast - Andrew Sullivan: "9.42 pm. Romney seems completely at sea on the contraception question. He seems to have no idea about Griswold vs Connecticut. Then Romney says that Griswold - a decision he was unaware of two minutes ago - was wrongly decided. Ron Paul reveals he knows more about the Constitution than Romney has forgotten."

Daily Kos - Jed: "6:39 PM PT: Mitt Romney won't say whether or not he believes states of the right to ban contraception. "I don't know," he says.6:40 PM PT: Then he asks if the Supreme Court has ever ruled on the issue. Stephanopolous, looking dumbfounded, says: Griswold.6:42 PM PT: Romney then says the Supreme Court decides the law. But he says he wouldn't amend the Constitution to allow states to ban contraception. But he does say that Roe v. Wade should be overturned."

Slate- Dave Weigel:"9:41: The point of the contraception discussion must have been to draw out this statement from Romney: "I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes, I do." So, well done."

Stinque - Chicago Bureau: "For the record: six minutes of a presidential debate were taken up debating the LEGALITY OF BIRTH CONTROL. Really. That happened."

Reason Hit and Run - Matt Welch: "9:40: Mitt Romney snatches coherence from the jaws of what was a pretty good answer. But finishes well: "Contraception? It's working just fine. Leave it alone!""

DIVIDIST - 3rd Quarter. Saints take the lead 14-17. Still not covering.



Chris Cillizza's Fix: "chgorich: Mitt is the winner. No knock out punches. Santorum fades away. Newt is already away. Hunstman goes back to Ambassadorship. And Ron Paul hangs in there biting Mitt in the rear end for several more primaries."

Comedy Central Indecision: "10:05 – Get out of here, Ron Paul, with your rational arguments! Don't you know there are Iranians eating Christian babies at this very moment?10:03 – Wait, did Rick Perry just say that Iranians can "literally move at the speed of light"? I think maybe he's confusing them with electrons.10:01 – Oh, so now we're going back into Iraq? Maybe we should also go back into Vietnam. Oh, and also Germany!"

The Beast - Andrew Sullivan: "10.05 pm. Romney does not rule out sending troops back into Iraq! We would have both a war against Iran and possibly a war against Iraq! These candidates have not moved past the Bush-Cheney mindset in any way. Except, of course, for Huntsman and Paul.10.02 pm. Santorum implies we should never have left Iraq and should stay in Afghanistan until our national security is assured. But when you're as paranoid as Gingrich, there'snever any national security. He seems to believe we need to launch a new Cold War. Rick Perry wants to send troops back to Iraq right away, in violation of Iraqi sovereignty, and against the formal agreement made by George W. Bush."

Daily Kos - Jed: "6:56 PM PT: Romney says he wants to bring "troops home as soon as we possibly can" from Afghanistan. Of course he also wants to put 30,000 troops back in Iraq.6:59 PM PT: Rick Santorum says "I wouldn't" send troops back into Iraq. Difference with Mitt Romney! Will there be a follow-up? I'd bet no."

Slate- Dave Weigel:"9:56: Did Perry just say he'd send troops back to Iraq?"

Stinque - Nojo: "Party game: Take everybody’s criticism about Obama’s foreign policy, and substitute “Bush”."

Reason Hit and Run - Matt Welch: "9:56: "I don't want to spend another penny on another nation's civil war." Huntsman cuts through his own snark for once.
9:59: Santorum: "We are the weak horse," "America is soft." No wonder the neo-cons are rallying around him.

DIVIDIST - Saints up 24 - 21 going into Q4. Need two scores to cover.



Chris Cillizza's Fix: "10:33 - Comment From Guest:Maybe Romney can reply in French
10:34 - Comment From FixScott: Next debate at Chinese restuarant- ordering contest
10:34 - Comment From uglysexy in mandarin huntsman said....."You're no Joe Kennedy"
10:35 - Comment From Tony: -Huntsman just ordered Kung Pao shrimp"

Comedy Central Indecision: "10:34 – Jon Huntsman just said something in Chinese. I'll bet he was communicating something to his Asian overlords."

The Beast - Andrew Sullivan: "10.36 pm. Romney threatens a trade war with China. It's a big theme for him, and he dinged Huntsman on working for Obama as China ambassador. It's strange to see a Republican threaten a trade war against a vital trading partner, and even use leftist rhetoric like "stealing our jobs". It's even stranger to hear a Republican speak Mandarin in public."

Daily Kos - Jed: "7:33 PM PT: Mitt Romney attacks Jon Huntsman for serving in the Obama administration.
7:35 PM PT: Jon Huntsman directs some Mandarin to Mitt, which he says means "You don't know what you're talking about with respect to China" (or something close to that)."

Slate- Dave Weigel:"9:48: I think we're losing the thread. Basically, should gay chickenhawks be able use contraception if they write racist newsletters?"

Stinque - Nojo: "Mormon slapfight! Mitt lashes out at Huntsman for serving Obama in China. Why has Huntsman gotten under Mitt’s skin? This is a bit of inside baseball, but Mitt’s whole approach has been to run against Obama, and treat the other contenders as fleas. So why make a point of disagreeing with Huntsman and thus giving Huntsman status? And why — of all things — try to trump Huntsman on China? The umpire declares an Error."

Reason Hit and Run - Matt Welch: "10:33: Mitt Romney is one of the most consistently effective xenophobes in American politics.10:36: Greg Gutfeld: "Note: Huntsman actually said, 'Seagull loves back rub.' I looked it up."
DIVIDIST - 7 minutes to go in the game. Saint up 38 -21 and COVERING! Lions moving.


[Note to self: Insert Elton John Saturday YouTube here before anyone else thinks of it]

Chris Cillizza's Fix: "Comment From Rob We need Maria Bartiromo to moderate a debate again!"
MelindaDC: So do Newt and Santorum now get their guy cards revoked for not knowing what sports are on tonight. (None?) A blow against sports metaphors!"

Comedy Central Indecision: "10:41 – See, ABC News! You're keeping Jon Huntsman from talking to his children!"
10:43 – Okay, guys, that's it for tonight. But don't worry. There's plenty more debate ahead, and first thing in the morning no less. Can you imagine a better way to start your Sunday than with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum?

The Beast - Andrew Sullivan: "Perry would be at a firing range at 10.44 pm on a Saturday night. Ron Paul's answer was self-mocking and funny. Huntsman reminded us that his sons are in the military that Gingrich dodged all those years ago.
From another reader: Romney and Santorum would spend tonight watching a football game being played on Monday. Newt would be watching a basketball game being played in April."

Daily Kos - Jed: 7:41 PM PT: Whoa. The debate is over. Just like that. Mercifully! 7:43 PM PT: Well, I don't know about you, but I'm going to go watch some football. Nothing remarkable in this debate. Republicans are probably coming to grips with the fact that Romney's going to be their nominee.
Slate- Dave Weigel: [Dividist: I think Weigel passed out. His live blog ended kind of abruptly.]

Stinque: "Mistress Cynica 10:41 PM Ooooh, maybe it’s the fact that Huntsman’s sons actually serve in the armed forces unlike Mitt’s chicken hawklets. Nice finish, Huntsman. Too bad you haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell."

Reason Hit and Run - Matt Welch: "10:40: ABC News employs Jake Tapper. Free tip: Next time, use the person in your employ who is actually not horrible at this stuff."

- Saints Cover 45-28. As I predicted.

BTW, that had to be the worst finishing debate question I have ever heard. What exactly was the point of that? "What would you be doing Saturday night if you weren't running for President?" What did we learn from that? There are no Saints or Lions fans running for President?

Some more concluding thoughts later... or maybe tomorrow...

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