I'm watching the debate, and leaving my musings below ...
9:00 - Brit Hume asks of Fred Thompson's absense: "Who has made the smart move here?" Saying that he gave up his spot on Jay Leno to be in New Hampshire, Huckabee comes back with the kind of answer that used to impress me -- but now just annoys me.
9:02 - Ron Paul says Thompson's entry is good for Paul, as it will dilute his opponents (after all, Paul points out he is the only anti-war candidate).
... John McCain says maybe it's past Fred Thompson's bedtime. He also says New Hampshire voters expect you to be in the state.
...Rudy says Fred has done a good job of playing his part on Law & Order.
9:08 - Rudy zings the non-executive branch members.
9:09 - Chris Wallace points out that Mitt Romney is criticizing Rudy over immigration, yet hired an illegal immigrant to do yard work.
9:10 - Wallace loves to point out hypocrisy. Now he's bringing up Rudy's past comments on illegal immigration. Rudy's answer seems good.
9:12 - Wallace reminds McCain about the line about Romney "getting his varmint gun" and running off illegal immigrants. McCain looks good tonight. So far, he seems to have more energy, and be more comfortable, than in past debates.[# More #]
9:14 - Wallace asks Huckabee why he thinks some of the opponents to immigration are "racist." Once again, Huckabee rips off Newt Gingrich's Fed-Ex line about tracking packages.
9:16 - Tom Tancredo seems to be doing better tonight. Maybe it's because he's talking about illegal immigration -- but he seems more sure of himself than usual. He just got a big applause, anyway.
9:17 - Duncan Hunter has a nice line, that goes virtually unnoticed: "If you get over my fence, we sign you up for the Olympics, immediately."
9:19 - This is pretty neat, Carl Cameron is interviewing folks at a local diner.
9:20 - Rudy's argument that the Federal Government wasn't deporting people, and as Mayor, he had to do what he had to do to run a big city, is compelling.
9:24 - Sam Brownback finally gets a question ... and it's about Larry Craig. Huckabee's answer: Wawawawa, wawawawa (at least, that's what I heard).
9:28 - Romney dances around the abortion question, making legalistic arguments. Huckabee nails it. I like his reference to the Utah miners.
9:26 - Duncan Hunter makes a good point that Republicans get rid of our scoundrels while Democrats make theirs Chairmen of committees.
9:31 - Ron Paul sets the record straight on his Ames speech. He never said the passengers should have guns. He said the pilots should. He gets some good applause for his position.
9:40 - Rudy says he would vote for McCain if he wasn't running, himself.
9:43 - Moment of self doubt: Should I be posting these in inverse order (newest on top?)
9:47 - Chris Wallace thinks he's got Ron Paul, saying we should take our marching orders from the enemy. Paul fires back -- NO -- we should take our marching orders from the Constitution. Wallace thought he had him, but Paul makes a good comeback. He's passionate and it shows, and gets some good applause.
9:50 - Huckabee says if anyone on the stage understands the word "honor," it's John McCain. Huckabee looks at Ron Paul and says whether or not we shuld have gone to Iraq is for historians to decide, but we owe it to the men and women fighting to let them leave with honor.
9:52 - Huckabee and Ron Paul exchange words. They are both giving as good as they get. This is good for Ron Paul, in my estimation. This is, by far, the most interesting exchange of the night, so far.
9:58 - A fellow at a diner criticizes Romney for comparing his sons campaign work to military service.
10:05 - "We can't close Guantanimo, because no one will take them." - Rudy
10:08 - Huckabee says he wouldn't have a VP as strong and independent as Cheney.
10:11 - McCain parrys the tax pledge question -- extending it to the spending issue.
Observation: Everyone says FOX is biased toward conservatives, but I think in these situations they are, perhaps, tougher, than any other network. Chris Wallace, especially, is very tough on Republicans. I'm not accusing him of being liberal, mind you, just a tough questioner.
10:16 - Wallace asks Huckabee about the Fair Tax. Huckabee makes a good point that you wouldn't be penalized for making money. But I would point out that it would discourage consumption (which, I guess, is why I'm a flat-taxer).
10:19 - "When you sacrifice liberty for security, you lose both." -- Good point by Ron Paul (I believe, paraphrasing Ben Franklin).
10:22 - I like how Rudy keeps saying that his job was tough -- and he's not talking about 9-11 -- but about the crime and fiscal problems he faced as Mayor of NYC. This is truly effective because it serves to remind voters of 9-11, while similtaneously innoculating him against charges that the only thing he's done is 9-11.
10:29 - "Political correctness is going to get us all killed." -- Great Tancredo line.