image9:04p – Final thoughts: Governor Mitt Romney handled the questions well, and had the most opportunities.  Because of this it’s hard not to consider him the winner of tonight’s debate.  He still hasn’t addressed (and I don’t think he ever will) RomneyCare to my satisfaction.  That said, this was his place to shine.  He was on message, he was able to handle the attacks he received.

I’ll say for a third time that too much focus was spent on Romney.  Herman Cain stayed on message throughout the debate.  Santorum probably took the best shot at his 9-9-9 plan, but so far it seems to be resonating with people.  Cain did extremely well as his first time being frontrunner.  He wasn’t shaken by the shots he took, and was able to respond staying on message.  Anyone not know what the name of his plan is or what it essentially does?  You can count Cain a winner in this debate as well.

Gingrich had some excellent answers, but he was basically ignored.  Santorum wasn’t given enough time, but he took some nice shots at Cain and others who supported TARP.  Bachmann wasn’t really a presence either.  She didn’t hurt herself, but she didn’t stand out.  Paul was great when he had the chance to talk about monetary policy and the Fed.  Huntsman… was well Huntsman.  His answers for the most part weren’t bad, but I just don’t like his personality.  I don’t want a smug President.

This seemed, to me, to be another shaky debate for Perry.  The panel and the other candidates were likely successful in raising more doubts about his record as Governor.  He needed to have a stronger performance and it didn’t happen.  If there was a loser tonight I believe it was Perry.

8:47p – How to identify with people who are unemployed:  Bachmann said we must be charitable so people don’t depend on government.  We need to love people.  Cain: “I was po before I was poor.”  Gingrich: People don’t vote for President who will sympathize they want somebody who will provide solutions.  Paul: Restore liberty.  Santorum: Create jobs in manufacturing sector.  Huntsman: We need to have the sense of the dignity of a job.  Perry: I’ve got the experience to create jobs.  Romney: Absolutely devoted to America the strongest country on earth.

8:45p – Poverty – Perry said that the problem is a President who is a job killer.  Santorum said that the breakdown of the family is the biggest problem.  We can’t have limited government or economic recovery if the family is in decline (single households, etc.)

8:42p – Romney: employers don’t respond to tax cut extensions that are temporary which is what Obama wants to continue to do.

8:40p – Gingrich best line of the night – “Obama gives apologies disguised as press conferences.”  Talking about how some people want to see America decline.

8:39p – Perry asked about potential conflicts with Texas’ enterprise fund.  He said there is “tremendous oversight,” he said they created many jobs.

8:37p – Paul said we need to repeal Sarbannes-Oxley.

8:36p – Cain said we need to repeal Dodd-Frank and get rid of capital gains tax… “and we know what plan gets rid of the capital gains tax.”  Let me guess – 9-9-9?

8:35p – Bachmann mentions small bankers she has talked to who are struggling due to regulatory burdens.

8:33p – Romney: Obama meant well, but was in over his head.

8:32p – Paul said that Greenspan is coming back to the Gold Standard.

8:30p – Cain said best model for Fed Chair is Alan Greenspan.  He’s the one who served as Chair when Cain was on board in early 90s.  He said priority is on monetary regulation.  Paul said Greenspan was a disaster.

8:27p – Perry said the most efficient way to reform Medicaid is to block grant money back to states.

8:21p – Santorum notes that the four (Romney, Huntsman, Cain, and Perry) who supported TARP are the ones who they say they are anti-Washington.  Asks Cain how can we trust you when you’re going to give Congress a tool to take away freedom.  Cain explains deterrents.

8:19p – Romney asks Bachmann a softball question, I’m surprised he didn’t focus on Cain.

8:17p – Perry asks Romney about Romneycare.  He appeals to Federalism.  He said fired back at Perry about Texas having the highest rate of children who are uninsured.  Perhaps has something to do with illegal immigration?????

8:14p – Paul asks Cain about auditing the Fed since was on the board of directors of the Kansas City Fed.  Cain said we didn’t do what the current Fed is doing back in the 90s.  He said I don’t have a problem auditing the Fed, it’s just not my top priority.  “My top priority is 9-9-9.  Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.”

8:13p – Romney, “I would not be in this race if I have spent my time in politics alone.”

8:10p – Gingrich asks wonky question, he’s good for that.  Re. capital gains tax – why are you focused on middle class.  Romney isn’t worried about rich people, they’re doing just fine.

8:08p – Cain asks Romney can you name all 59 points of your plan and is it fair, simple, transparent like his 9-9-9 plan.  Romney – “simple answers are often inadequate.”

8:06p – Bachmann is asking Perry a question accusing him of increasing debt… she realizes he’s not the frontrunner anymore right?  Perry replied that Texas has the 2nd lowest debt per capita.

8:01p – Half-time, you can tell who the frontrunners are since everybody is attacking Romney and Cain.  I’ll say again that they must get to other candidates more and stop going to Romney so much.  Santorum was asked two questions.  Gingrich has been ignored for about the last 1/2 hour.

7:57p – Everybody says repeal and replace Obamacare.

7:54p – Santorum – I don’t want a trade war with China I want a trade war.  He said ask New Hampshire folks how they feel about a 9% sales tax.  He said it won’t get passed.  He asks do we really think Congress will keep rates at 9%?

7:52p – Perry we need energy independence and for the President to reduce and eliminate regulations.

7:50p – Romney not willing to let China steal our future.  Huntsman let’s just all get along.  Romney insinuates that a trade war would hurt them more than us.

7:46p – Cain said that 9-9-9 plan is revenue neutral.  Bachmann said it isn’t a jobs plan, it’s a tax plan.  She said you don’t want to give government a new revenue stream.  “When you turn it upside down… the devil’s in the details.”  (666 for you eschatologically impaired).

7:44p – Buffering again.

7:43p – Bachmann – “Every year we’re spending 40% more than we are taking in.”  She said we are facing 75% tax rates if spending not brought under control.

7:42p – Romney talked about Obama’s job plan, the Senate blocked it today.

7:41p – Buffering again… arggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

7:40p – Romney supports Cap, Cut & Balance – and then get economy going.

7:38p – I don’t think Perry meant to say Americans are “untrustworthy,”  but that they are not trusting…  Touts balanced budget amendment.

7:37p – LinkedIn evidently a reliable polling source, who knew?  And like I predicted I’m back to buffering.  Bloomberg TV mega fail.

7:35p – Commercial break… and if I were a betting man I’d bet that I’ll lose my feed again after the commercial break.  Well I’m glad that the panel enjoys interviewing Romney… let’s spread it around more.

7:33p – Back to listen to Paul talking about the need for sound money and to reduce the debt.  I can agree with him 100% on that issue.

7:31p – Romney & Cain both agreed that stimulus (TARP) conceptionally to protect the financial system, but not to bailout individual institutions.  And I lost my video feed, yet again.

7:27p – Romney – “I’ll put the interest of the American people ahead of any institution.”

7:24p – Cain – 9-9-9 plan throws out current tax plan unlike other candidates tax plans.  “My plan will pass because it’s what the American people want.”

7:22p – Huntsman – let’s get rid of all the background checks so people can serve (talking about advisors).

7:20p – I’m back in the midst of Bachmann’s medicare answer.

7:18p – Gingrich asked question about medicaid, and I lost my video feed… hopefully will get it back soon.  It’s buffering, and now I’m told I lost my connection.  Nice.  Why hasn’t Cain been asked another question yet?

7:16p – Why is Jon Huntsman still in these debates?

7:13p – Santorum was asked a manufacturing jobs question, this has been his niche re. job creation environment.  He proposes taking corporate income tax for manufacturers from 35% to 0%.  Promote energy independence.  He said the “cool thing about my plan… is that it will pass tomorrow.”

7:12p – Gingrich said media needs to demand transparency at the Fed and go after the politicians that have been at the heart of this problem.

7:10p – Gingrich drawing distinction between Occupy Wall Street group and Tea Party – look who cleans up after themselves.

7:08p – Bachmann reminding moderator panel that the Fed Government pushed subprime loans, and they are complicit in our housing mortgage crisis.  Dodd-Frank institutionalized the problems.

7:07p – Charlie Rose asks Perry where’s your plan.  “Mitt’s had six years to be working on a plan, I’ve been in this 8 weeks.”

7:05p – Romney – “we need leadership.”  “We need to stand by our principles.”  What are those?  They change daily.

7:05p – Perry – “it’s time for energy independence.”

7:03p – Cain gets first question, a nod to his frontrunner status, he touts his 9-9-9 plan.  Not sure how I like the table format, what do you think?

P.S.  Be sure to refresh this page for updates.

6:56p – New Iowa Caucus polls are out, both show Herman Cain and Mitt Romney leading the field.  I think we can now safely say that Cain is a frontrunner since we’re seeing momentum in early states.

It’s the debate about economic issues, and only economic issues.  My prediction – Texas Governor Rick Perry will not get beat up by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and former Senator Rick Santorum over his Gardisil decision or get raked over the coals regarding his immigration stance.

Unless somebody finds a way to work it in.  That wouldn’t surprise me.

A couple of reads… five things to watch (according to the Washington Post), and we had a little Republican Governor Blue State love thing going on today – *shocker.*  I don’t know why everyone was going on and on about how great New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is.  He’s more center than he’s right, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.

Consider this an open thread.  I’ll be back later to liveblog the debate tonight at 7:00p (CST).

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