Once again! Bret Baier and his ever-loving white teeth are back, along with roughly eleventy-billion people, cheering wildly and ready to PAR-TAY. Seriously, this crowd has already been to the beer tent a few times, ifyaknowwhattamean (also, they are WAY more fun than the New Hampshire-ites, eh?)
Our illustrious field is narrowed with Jon Huntsman’s pissy exit today, so I am not going to remind you all who these fellas are, because seriously, five people are not that tough to keep track of, amIrite?
Bret starts with the attack on Romney’s business record, asking Gingrich why he’s an anti-capitalist schmoozer. Newt answers that even though he’s been in government for roughly the last hundred years, he’s also created jobs. Ummmmm… sorry, but I’m going to vote for a private businessman over a “job-creating” bureaucrat. Bad answer, Grouchy Newt. He continues to beat around the bush about how Romney is a Big Ol’ Meanie.
Romney responds and answers normally. He says they invested in well over 100 businesses, some won, some lost, it’s called CAPITALISM, quit whining already. South Carolina likes it! Shots all around!
Rick Perry talks about how Texas is all about capitalism and so is he, but Bain Capital is a Big Ol’ Meanie. Perry’s ONLY chance in this race is how he has been a job creator (more accurately, “allower” as government does not create jobs) in Texas, so going against business is just not going to work. *bangs head against wall* Perry continues to say that we need to get rid of ton of regulations and Dodd-Frank and etc, and gets more applause and the beer flows like wine. So WHY are you anti-Bain Capital, how can Romney be such a bad fella if you want to pull off even more regulations? EVERYTHING ROMNEY DID WAS LEGAL. *bang head against a wall* *again*
Perry sticks it to Romney by asking why he hasn’t made his income tax public like everyone else has. Romney is looking politic-y and not very strong here.
Some chick asks Ron Paul about his scathing attacks on his fellow Republicans, (since Huntsman was vewwy vewwy upset by how mean everybody is). Paul says that it’s not slander if it’s true.
Santorum rebuts with the line that he is conservative but not perfect, and asserts that the government should get out of primary and secondary education entirely, hence he regrets voting for No Child Left Behind. Big cheers!
Juan Williams asks if personal attacks are OK. Santorum says he only talks about issues, not personal attacks. I’m actually fairly sure that’s true. He asks Romney if he believes that felons who’ve served time and been paroled have been given the right to vote. Romney tries to divert like a politician and Santorum calls him out to loud applause. I’m pretty sure a bra landed on stage for that one. Romney seems more pompous and less at ease than normal.
Rick Perry butts in and says “Shut up insiders! Leave the states alone.” Everybody hoots and hollers but we’re not sure why.
Bret says “Stop giving alcohol to the candidates, SC! They are droning on and I’m bored. Get off my lawn. Also, where’s my friendly Google dinger when I need it?”
Juan asks Governor Perry about South Carolina’s new law requiring voters to show state ID before they can vote, as our illustriously corrupt DOJ is challenging anything that might make it tougher for their pals at ACORN to forge a few votes. What jerks, those boozy South Carolinans. Juan wants to know why Perry and Nikki Haley hate black people. Perry says that Texas and South Carolina are under assault by this administration, citing the recent lawsuit from NLRB and voting rights. Nikki Haley beams and claps and everybody passes the pitcher and whoops with all their hearts.
Santorum is asked about unemployment benefits and he makes sense. He’s not stabby or politic-y or anything but a little overly nervous, per usual. He again comes back to federalism and flexibility for states. You know, if these guys keep giving all the power back to the states, I really will have to leave California, since it’s bound to fall into the ocean under the weight of horrible policy sooner or later.
Newt makes the point that 99 weeks is an Associate Degree. Ha! He also says that all five of the candidates on stage differ from Obama in that they agree that work is good, and having conditional welfare is good policy. Whooop South Carolina! Someone is buying Newt a shot right now.
Romney gives a great answer about the financial crisis, saying that bankruptcy happens and slush funds for high-powered bankers are not the point of capitalism. Romney is at his strongest when he talks business, and I think the 10% unemployed South Carolinans are picking up what he’s putting down. (Which, unfortunately for Mormon Romney, is not a frosty pint.) “Get government out of the American economy” – great line. He talks about new markets, de-regulating and embracing free enterprise.
Ron Paul is OF COURSE asked about national defense. This just bugs me. I want him to talk about domestic policy and monetary plans instead of the conspiracy theory crap that these moderators push him into. He actually makes a great point that we do not get a strong national defense by diluting ourselves all over the world, which gets loud applause.
Bret asks “What’s the highest income tax anyone should have to pay?” Dumb pundit question. Gingrich is the only one besides Ron Paul who answers this well, by saying that we should lower government to meet revenue, not raise revenue to meet the government’s needs. Paul also answers INCREDIBLY by being the only one who mentions harmful inflation, which he rightly calls a tax. Nicely said. Take a shot, sir!
Romney calls America an “opportunity nation”. He says he doesn’t believe in special treatment for illegal immigrants and he stands against the DREAM Act. Hear that, Perry?
Santorum is asked about why black people are poor and why he hates them. Santorum says that there’s a study showing that if Americans work, graduate from high school and get married before they have kids, they can avoid poverty. South Carolina likes these kind of stand-up guys, and they would like to buy these high school-diploma-holding, married working men a drink. He asserts the Obama administration will not allow non-profits to talk about marriage or abstinence, and says that they insist on neutrality, “but neutrality creates poverty”. Nice!
Paul talks about the drug war and the border and black people getting arrested and it’s all over the place, y’all.
Gingrich is asked about being mean to kids and minorities and puppies. He refuses to acknowledge the question and gets wild applause. He talks about kids having jobs and how awesome it is, and I agree with him. He says only the elites despise earning money, and people LOVE it. They boo Juan for asking a follow-up question that continues to push the point, and his comeback quotes the Constitution and makes the beer flow like wine and the cheers more uproarious than teenage girls at a Justin Bieber show. A Standing O! Well, well, Mr Speaker. I guess your illogical attack on Bain has been long forgotten.
Ron Paul is asked if he really honestly thinks that killing Osama Bin Laden was wrong. I really don’t get this. I’ve tried to get an answer on this and it seems that he was against killing Bin Laden, and yet he denies it in debates. Does anyone have better clarification on this? He now says that this would be like China bombing us… wait? what? Do we have a mass-murderer of Chinese people on our soil? I’m so confused. Can you guys imagine a State of the Union address with Ron Paul at the helm… it makes me kinda happy, actually, because I’m fairly certain that 40 minutes of him talking about America would be pretty dang entertaining. He says he was in favor of trying and killing Saddam, to which Bret points out that he was extremely anti-Iraq war. Paul wanders off again, and Bret gives up.
Gingrich takes apart Ron Paul’s argument and ties it back to Andrew Jackson, who he says “had a pretty good idea about America’s enemies. Kill them.” The camera pans over two middle-aged ladies, fist-pumping and hollering. Another Standing O! Drinks all around! Paul suggests a “golden rule of foreign policy” horribly acting as though Pakistan harboring a known mass-murderer is the same as America protecting herself. GIVE ME A BREAK.
Romney says “the right thing for Osama Bin Laden was the bullet in the head that he received.” Whoa! Way to lay it out, Mitt. He says “we need a military so strong, that no one would think of testing it.”
Santorum criticizes Obama on Syria. He does a good job of talking about his experience with foreign policy.
Perry is asked if Turkey still belongs in NATO. He says it’s time for the US to pull back on foreign aid on any country that doesn’t have America’s interest in mind. Amen. He references his time in Turkey in the Air Force and it is very strong.
He says that he is bothered by the administration’s disdain for our men and women in uniform, “let me tell you what’s utterly despicable: cutting Daniel Pearl’s head off on YouTube, hanging our contractors from bridges, that’s utterly despicable!” Perry is on FYAH on this stuff and references his personal experience well. South Carolina digs it. I have a feeling that South Carolina is the kind of place where service people show up to a bar in a uniform and are guaranteed free drinks all night.
Ron Paul rightly points out that the Al-Queda and Taliban are different. I find this interesting, that he sees differences here, but can’t tell the difference between our entering Pakistan to take out a known terrorist and China bombing our soil? Seems there’s a bit of willing ignorance going on here.
Santorum speaks well about the National Defense Authorization Act by denoting the difference between American citizens and foreign enemy combatants. Well said.
Governor Perry is asked about the housing crisis and responds by citing his (very aggressive) tax plan as a way to make people feel free to risk their capital. He is passionate, likable and makes sense. Truth! He says Congress should live under the laws that they pass, and makes a great stab at Timmy Geithner.
Romney makes a crack about the horrible Medicare commercial in which a Paul Ryan lookalike threw a helpless ol’ granny off a cliff. He says he sticks with Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan, and wants to send Medicaid back to the states.
Gingrich talks about his social security plan, which I like, even though it seems a bit convoluted. Using private savings accounts and making it voluntary sounds awesome, I’ll give him that. He says that it takes government out of your savings and telling you when to retire. South Carolina likes that sauce.
The applause has died down a bit lately – not sure if everybody is just sleepy or if we need another round to wake them up. Maybe it’s because our candidates are talking about money and numbers and what-not. Santorum and Gingrich are fighting about Newt’s Social Security plan versus paying down the deficit and etc. Both are insisting they’re right and obviously I need to do more research on this before weighing in.
Romney says “in the private sector, you don’t have a choice. You balance your budget, or you go out of business.” He talks about eliminating capital gains taxes and taxes on interest and dividends to encourage saving. The crowd woke up again! Woooo!
Romney is asked about his wiggly past on the Second Amendment. As he is from the Northeast, I think I buy his answer. He says we should not make any new laws about gun ownership, which gets wild applause. I think I heard a shotgun go off in the back, haha.
Romney says he’s not a great hunter like Rick Perry, who gives a cute smirk and nod. Santorum is asked about the trigger lock legislation that he signed while in the Senate. His reasoning is that sometimes you have to sign bad legislation to avoid terrible legislation. I don’t like that answer, but I also don’t like retreating from a fight – I’m torn. He sticks it to Ron Paul for voting against this super awful lawsuit law allowing gun makers to be liable for any injury created by a gun. This thing makes my head hurt.
Romney attacks McCain/Feingold and the current SuperPAC cluster, and says that we need to be honest and simplify. Wild applause!
Perry is asked about securing the border and he is VERY strong on this. Being a governor of a border state makes him very qualified to talk about this and he has passion for the subject. South Carolina digs it, too.
Gingrich says we need to return education money back to states, and states need to shrink their Department of Education(s) as well. YAY common sense!
That’s it, SC! Put your feet up and be proud, because South Carolina has officially been the most fun debate yet. Shots all around!