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The GOP Debate!

9:33 - Ron Paul says Reagan liked the Gold standard.

9:31 - My take:  Romney is like Reagan on many policy issues.  McCain is like Reagan on principle and guts.

9:30 - WWRD?  Romney says Reagan would endorse him. 

9:27 - Huckabee says that if Romney wants a governor, well, he appreciates the endorsement.

9:25 - Ron Paul is actually making some good points right now, regarding how the President isn't Commander-in-Chief of the economy.

9:24  - Well, Lincoln did serve in the Black Hawk war...

9:22 - A while back, I asked McCain why Senators aren't elected President ...

9:20 - Romney takes on Legislators ... and McCain:  "He's a fine man ... but ... they don't look to Senators, they look to Governors.  ... They sit in committees ... and they call that leadership ..."

9:19 - McCain:  "I led the largest squadron in the United States Navy and I did it out of patriotism, not for profit."  (This makes Romney look like a money-grabber.  But is McCain treading into dangerous Huckabee/Class Warfare territory?)

9:14 - McCain is right that it's casualties that matters to Americans, not the presence or amount of time of deployment, that matters...

9:12 - Huckabee keeps playing John Edwards; complaining that he's being left out of the debate.

9:11- McCain makes a good point that Mitt Romney was the first candidate to go negative, both in Iowa and in New Hampshire.  He doesn't hammer this home enough, though.

9:10 - Roorback: "a false and more or less damaging report circulated for political effect, usually about a candidate seeking an office."

9:07 - Timetables?  Watch for your self.

9:05 - "Lays in the weeds?"  We're getting into the weeds on this topic.

9:03 - John McCain was prepared to handle Romney's accusation of dirty tricks.  "The right answer to that question was, 'no'," McCain says.  He's right.  If Mitt Romney's position was wrongly twisted by McCain, the reason it was easily twisted is because it was unclear to begin with.  Had Romney answered, "no," we wouldn't be having this conversation... 

9:02 - MItt Romney accuses McCain of "dirty tricks" in Florida.  This seems a bit whiny to me.  I don't think voters see themselves as referees.  This may make Mitt Romney feel better, but I don't think it gets him ahead.

8:58 - Did Romney just get the first applause of the night, in praising GEORGE W. BUSH?

8:58 - Actually, Peggy Noonan worked for Reagan and H.W. Bush.

8:51 - Commercial break.  Question:  Why isn't Romney going after McCain?

8:49 - "I'm not going to second-guess Ronald Reagan" - McCain on O'Connor.

8:47 - Very interesting.  Anderson Cooper asks if Sandra Day O'Connor was a good Supreme Court pick for Reagan.  I think Huckabee was probably smart in being gracious enough not to tell the truth -- that she turned out to be a very bad pick.  Man, is Huckabee a good speaker!

8:44 - Does the LA Times lady have it in for McCain?  She asks him about immigration -- whether or not he would now vote on his own bill.  His line that "The American people want the borders secured" is a good line, and is probably the only way he can appease some conservatives without flip-flopping on his previous stance ...

The good folks at Mitt Romney's campaign remind us of this:
In 2001, Sen. McCain argued, 'I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.' That statement is virtually indistinguishable from the class-warfare demagoguery used by Democrats like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry." – Pat Toomey, The Club For Growth

8:41 - AmSpecBlog's Phil Klein says this of Romney's healthcare plan: 

“[A]re economic conservatives ready to rally around a candidate who believes that it is conservative to force individuals to purchase health insurance or face fines?” 

8:33 - So far, I'm thinking Huckabee is winning the debate.  He talks like a real person, not a politician.  Of course, the better Huckabee does, the worse it is for Romney.

8:27 - Regarding whether or not CA should be allowed to make unilateral decisions regarding the Environment, Huckabee makes a good point that the "genius of Federalism" is that states can act as laboratories for the other states, and experiment with ideas before other states either copy -- or reject -- them.

8:22 - CA Gov. Arnold has lost weight.  He's looking better than he has in years.  I'm hearing he may endorse McCain tomorrow.

8:20 - Seems like Romney has had the stage more than anyone else.  This is probably good news for him.

8? Romney said some of McCain's views are "out of the mainstream" of conservative thought.  He also added that McCain was endorsed by the NY Times.  "Let me note that I was endorsed by your two hometown newspapers," McCain said, noting that he was endorsed by Boston's conservative -- and liberal -- newspapers.   He also added that he guarantees he would get the endorsement of the Phoenix Sun Arizona Republic ...

8:08 - Huckabee says we're not better off now than we were eight years ago, which is patently ridiculous.  I mean, eight years ago we were sitting around listening to Hanson and watching Sex and the City episodes ...

8:06 - Much better shirt/necktie combination for McCain tonight.  Actually, all the candidates look very good tonight.  It must be the lighting, or something.

8:04 - Anderson Cooper is already getting a bit terse with Mitt Romney.

8:03 - The format, so far, seems very different.  The candidates are sitting down (in front of Air Force One), and the crowd seems small and subdued.

8:02 - There's a shot of all the candidates, and you can really now tell the herd has thinned.  No Fred or Rudy!  (And yet, Ron Paul is still there ...)
8:01 - If you've never been to the Reagan Library, put it on your list of things to do.

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