The Des Moines ABC/Yahoo GOP Presidential Debate, Part 3
Here are the traditional liveblogging notes, formatted for readability, that I kept during the latter-half of Saturday night’s ABC News/Yahoo News debate co-sponsored by WOI-TV, The Des Moines Register and Drake University
[9:48] George S asks Perry about his describing marital fidelity as an important issue to the Presidential campaign.
[9:48] Marriage is a vow to your wife, and a vow to God, and stronger than a Texas handshake.
[9:49] Perry: Someone who cheats on their wife is likely to cheat on others.
[9:50] Santorum: Character counts, but people make mistakes. The public has to decide, based on someone’s whole record. And I’ve been married for 21 years and have 7 kids.
[9:51] Paul: Character is important, we shouldn’t have to talk about it, it should show through in the way we live (and I’ve been married for 54 years, BTW)
[9:52] Q to Romney: Family and faith feature of your first ad. Romney: It’s a response to an Obama ad, saying I have no core values. I am motivated by love for this country, and want to make sure America continues to be a merit based society.
[9:53] Bachmann: Founders spoke of a “measure of a man” (or “measure of a woman”) and thought that if a person would keep their word was more important than anything else.
[9:55] And Gingrich says: The questions are legitimate. People have to judge who I am now, am I someone they can trust.
[9:56] Sawyer asks about immigration. She wants it “stipulated”(?) that everyone here wants to secure the borders. Now lets talk about 11 million undocumented people in the U.S.
[9:57] Gingrich: Create citizen review boards based on the selective service system. Doesn’t think the people of U.S. will deport people who are good community members.
[9:57] Gingrich: Deportation of people with no community ties should be made easier; English should be the official language of the US.
[9:59] Sawyer asks Romney a long-winded version of “how many people do you want to deport”.
[9:59] Romney says let’s secure the border first. Then give the people who are here an opportunity to Settle their affairs, and return home.
[10:01] Sawyer simplifies Romney‘s answer to you want to deport 11.5 million people.
[10:01] Sawyer to Perry, what about people who are in the military.
[10:01] Perry: First we need to secure the border! Then we need to enforce the laws that are on the books. Then we can have a legitimate conversation on immigration reform.
[10:02] Stephanopoulos asks Paul about Gingrich‘s recent comment that the Palestinians are an invented people.
[10:03] Paul: Under the Ottoman Empire, that was technically correct, but Israel wasn’t a state either. People in those regions should be dealing with those problems, we shouldn’t be dealing with them. Says his “policeman of the world” meme.
[10:04] Gingrich sticks by his guns. What he said was historically true, and groups like Hamas are willing to say openly that not a single Jew will remain in Israel. There’s too much lying about the Middle East.
[10:05] Romney asked to respond: He agrees with most of what Gingrich said, except that the Palestinians are an invented people. US should not jump ahead of Israeli leadership, and make their jobs more difficult.
[10:07] Fanned by Stephanopoulos, some back and forth between Gingrich and Romney.
[10:09] Gingrich compares his remark to Reagan’s evil empire remark.
[10:10] Q to Bachmann: who got the better of the arg? Obviously uncomfortable, she goes into a prepared set-piece, starting with her days working on Kibbutz, ending with her confronting the head of the Palestinian authority about textbooks that teach hatred of Jews.
[10:11] Q to Santorum: who got the better of the arg? A: “You have to speak the truth, but with prudence”.
[10:12] I wonder if Bachmann and Santorum were told before the debate that their role was to be Greek Chorus to the other candidates.
[10:13] Perry says Gingrich‘s comment is a minor issue and the media is blowing out of proportion. Criticizes Obama’s handling of a crashed drone. This President is the problem, not something that Gingrich said.
[10:14] Sawyer says “I’m a yahoo”. Oh, wait, that’s “I have a question from Yahoo”, right after this next commercial break.
[10:20] Question from Yahoo to the candidates: Has the economy forced you to cut back on any necessities (not just luxuries)?
[10:21] Perry didn’t have running water until he was 5 years old, and his mother sewed his clothes until he went to college. But never felt like he had to give anything up.
[10:22] Sawyer complains about candidates going over time.
[10:23] Romney says he didn’t grow up poor, but his parents instilled principles of hard work.
[10:23] Sawyer asks Paul if the question she just asked matters.
[10:23] Paul: I grew up in the depression and WWII, but didn’t feel deprived. Then pivots to monetary policy, and how overspending and overborrowing will destroy the middle class.
[10:24] Santorum grew up in a modest home, and had his basic needs met. Most important thing: I had two parents. Breakdown of family leads to breakdown of the economy. Marriage should be promoted.
[10:26] Sawyer asks Bachmann about bank bailouts. Bachmann answers that some people on this stage supported bailouts, I didn’t. Says she was born in Iowa, and had a job at 13 to help out her divorced single mom.
[10:27] Gingrich: I lived in an apartment above a gas-station for a while. Has several out of work relatives. Callista runs a business, has to meet payroll, etc.
[10:28] Stephanopoulos: I want to keep being a yahoo — oh wait, that’s I want to stick with Yahoo. Yahoo audience wants to hear more about healthcare mandates.
[10:29] Romney: “States can do whatever the heck they want to do”, but a Federal mandate violates the 10th amendment.
[10:30] Stephanopoulos actually comes up with a decent follow-up: Gingrich supported the mandate up until May. Gingrich says he opposes the mandate, because it means any majority could make you do anything.
[10:30] More Gingrich: 3rd party payment model has grown more difficult sustain, we need to move back towards a doctor-patient relationship.
[10:31] Sawyer talks about her visit to a pharmacy in Iowa. Listening to her speak is making me want to take painkillers.
[10:32] OK, since I was too busy being snarky in the last line, I missed the specific question that prompted Paul‘s response of: If you need a system where government protects you from yourself, we’re in big trouble.
[10:32] Then Paul adds “All government is force”. Ron, you we’re starting to sound sane tonight — don’t lose it now.
[10:33] Stephanopoulos asks if anyone disagrees with Paul‘s point of the government not being involved in regulating behavior. Perry jumps in (disappointing Stephanopoulos, I think): It’s up to the states, it should be their call. Goes into set-piece about overhauling Washington, going to a part time Congress…
[10:34] …except Perry then adds the brilliant point that we need a balanced budget constitutional amendment.