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November, 28th 2007

GOP debate-- getting started

– Liz Mair

Charlie Crist kicks off, talking about the "people's debate." And I personally am upset that we'll have no questions from dogs.

We start off with a question that Romney must be loving-- sanctuary cities, for Rudy. Rudy does a good job with the answer, but Romney's hitting back hard. And Rudy comes out blasting. Mitt had six sanctuary cities, and a sanctuary mansion! He didn't deputize until 2 weeks before he left office, and the deputies didn't catch the illegal immigrants working on his lawn. Romney is seriously backpedaling now. Rudy is talking "holier-than-thou attitudes." And Romney's special immigration problem. Romney's trying to explain away via contractual relationships. Personally, I think he has a point. But ooh, he just said asking about people's legal status is "un-American!" What a mess for Romney. And, yes, we are seeing mean Rudy-- but I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.

Thompson gets a question on amnesty. He's talking sovereignty and borders-- and looking a little lifeless. Fred wants to associate himself with a few things. He says Romney backed comprehensive immigration reform, and has changed his position "surprisingly." He's saying Rudy shouldn't be talking about good and bad hires. And that either NYC was a Sanctuary City or Rudy filed a frivolous lawsuit.

McCain is evidently pissed that the word "amnesty" was associated with his plan. He says he'll veto a bill including amnesty, but since he has a different definition I'd guess than the guy asking the question, my guess is that's not quite correct. He's invoking Mel Martinez's name-- probably a good move. He's now talking about government failures and compassion. He gets applause-- amazingly since I'm not getting the impression that his position is very popular within the room.

Tancredo's on about bookends again. Yawn. Maybe he'd get asked more if he didn't talk about household accessories every time his name was called. Oh, and he's totally misunderstood the question, my guess is because he's so focused on his anti-immigration rhetoric to miss the point that some people actually want guest workers. Note that he also just said he opposes increasing legal immigration, as well as illegal immigration. Legal immigration, people. That confirms for me that he is anti-immigration, generically.

Duncan Hunter just screwed up Anderson Cooper's name. Good job. He's talking about his fence again. I'll bet any reader $50 right now that he cracks his tired Olympics joke, incidentally. Oh crap-- lucky I didn't post that. Dunc bailed on his joke!

Now, we're on to Huckabee and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants versus military kids. Huckabee sounds a little grumpy: "you're a little misinformed." He also started talking to the TV. She's not on live, Mike! Oh, OK, he's fixed it now. Huckabee's trying to explain that you don't punish the kid for the crime of the parent. But I can see Tancredo smiling in the corner, and I think he wants to do some punishing...

***

Huckabee has a Veteran's bill of rights, too. That seems new.

Oh, and Romney's getting asked about him calling Huckabee a liberal on immigration. He's actually making sense about the spending of tax dollars in a way that many people wouldn't like. Huckabee says that they earn the benefit of in-state tuition, not just get it. He's also talking about having had to work his way through school (something that clearly Mitt did not have to do). He's also taking a moral line with Romney on the issue: "we're better than that," etc.

***

North American Union time. Wait for Ron Paul's real crazy side to come out now. Paul just said the word conspiracy, and I think no matter what he meant, he's going to lend credence to it. Yup. He basically just said a North American Union is being planned. Duncan Hunter looks like he thinks Ron Paul is nuts. He may have a point.

McCain is talking about cutting the national debt. He also just wheeled out the bear paternity issue joke. Hopefully, he won't do the drunken sailor one, too. On the plus side, he explains what's wrong with the SCHIP bill quite well. He's blasting about pork, too.

Romney's trying to answer the same question, but starts off badly. He talks about using the veto pen and using out of the box thinking outside the Beltway or somesuch. I cannot believe he just failed to raise the line-item veto point.

Giuliani just hit Bush on spending-- very justified, in my opinion.

***

Thompson's just called Romney "Mitch." Whoops! OK, completely missed Fred's point while chuckling. Oh wait, he's just saying what his point is. Entitlement reform. OK, good. But now he seems to be digressing into so and so begat so and so who begat so and so or something.

Ron Paul says Washington did not change him. No kidding. He wants to eliminate the Department of Education, the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security, and he's back onto Iraq. Amazingly, he gets applause. There must be a lot of Paulettes as well as Romneybots in the house.

Huckabee's on about his fair tax thing. I still think it's interesting that a lot of those who advocate that proposal are awful on taxes and spending.

***

Does McCain support the fair tax? No, he does not. He seems to be saying it could be regressive (certainly it could). He says he'll fix the tax code. Now he's going to hit Paul on isolationism. All fine and good, but let's hope John doesn't start sounding neocon. He introduced Hitler into the debate. Probably not a good move. OK, it will be with a lot of the conservative base. Just not to randoms tuning in, or libertarian-minded folks who have concerns about the war.

Ron Paul says he gets the most money from active duty service personnel. He says he's a non-interventionist, not an isolationist. He also basically just say John doesn't know jack about defense or foreign policy. I disagree, but hey...

***

Grover Norquist got a question in about taxes. He's no doubt awfully pleased about this. The pledge signers tout their pledge signing status. Thompson says he opposes all tax increases, but pledges, too. Ditto McCain. Paul says no tax increases, but you must cut spending, too. Duncan Hunter won't pledge not to raise taxes. Hmmm...

***

Farm subsidies! I hate them, too! Romney apparently doesn't! I guess he's worried about his lead in Iowa, hmmm? He just tagged "subsidies" as "investment." What BS, if you'll pardon my French. He also just suggested that subsidies improve competition. What BS, again. What a surprise who it's coming from.

Giuliani just said he wouldn't get rid of all subsidies in a simple slash. Well, that doesn't totally please me, but hey.

Wow-- Anderson Cooper just asked about this security billing thing. Says he needed security to protect from threats he generally doesn't discuss with people (I'm thinking something not so nice here-- a gold star to anyone who emails with an accurate guess). Giuliani gives a good enough answer that Anderson leaves him alone. That's kind of amazing.

***

Chinese imports. When are we going to get a brief break?

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