GOP debate

ICYMI: GOP debate at the Reagan Library

In case you weren’t able to catch it last night, here is the full video of the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. You’ll notice that the debate was centered around Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, not surprising since the race is largely between the two of them right now.

While Perry and Romney sparred and the former also took heat for laying the blueprint for ObamaCare, they came out of the debate OK. This was also Jon Huntsman’s best debate performance, to the point that I’d say he was a winner (and I’m not a fan of the guy, though his tax reform plan is very good). And as much I hate to say it, Ron Paul came off very bad last night; not that he is a good debater anyway. Michele Bachmann, who was barely noticed, and everyone else were just window dressing.

You can read a fact-check of the debate here.

LIVE BLOG: GOP Presidential Candidate Debate

Eight of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination will square off tonight at the Reagan Library in California. It’s Rick Perry’s first formal debate since joining the field of candidates. All eyes will be on him as he tries to live up to the hype.

What to watch for:

The debate, organized by Politico and NBC News, will begin at 8pm. We’ll begin chatting here around 7pm.

Trump backs out of Newsmax debate

Donald Trump has backed out of the December 27th debate, hosted by the conservative magazine, Newsmax, after several Republicans candidates turned down invitations to participate. Why? Well, Trump says it’s because he is still considering an independent bid for president:

Donald Trump has backed out of moderating a Republican debate because, he says, he’s still considering running for president as an independent candidate.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said that GOP candidates are “very concerned” that he will announce an independent candidacy after “The Apprentice” ends, and that they won’t agree to a debate with him unless he rules that out. Which he won’t do.

“It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate,” Trump said in his statement. “Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate.”

Rick Perry moving up in Iowa?

After coming on strong in August and September and largely stealing Michele Bachmann’s thunder, Rick Perry was knocked down a peg after a some bad debate performances and gaffes. But don’t look now, Perry may be making a comeback in Iowa, at least according to a new poll from the American Research Group (ARG).

  • Newt Gingrich: 22% (-5)
  • Ron Paul: 17% (+1)
  • Mitt Romney: 17% (-3)
  • Rick Perry: 13% (+8)
  • Michele Bachmann: 7% (+1)
  • Rick Santorum: 7% (+1)
  • Jon Huntsman: 5% (+2)
  • Other: 1%
  • Undecided: 12%

As you can see, Perry has seen an 8 point jump in his numbers since the last ARG poll, while Gingrich and Romney have declined. Here are some other key points from the poll from the Houston Chronicle:

Perry’s in fourth with 13 percent, almost as much as the 14 percent support he had in September when his campaign trail looked a bit smoother than it’s turned out to be.

Perry, however, jumps slightly ahead of Paul (still within the four-point margin-of-error) with strong Republican respondents, pulling 14 percent of their support to Paul’s 13 percent. But Paul rules the Independent vote in Iowa—a full 39 percent of respondents identifying as Independents say they’ll vote for him. Gingrich is first with Republicans and second with Independents, but Jon Huntsman, perennially stuck at the bottom of the pack, is close behind him with Independents, polling with 13 percent of their support.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

There wasn’t a shake up in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in the last week. It certainly looks like Newt Gingrich is tightening his grip as the frontrunner and Mitt Romney is becoming desperate to knock him down. Meanwhile, Ron Paul is emerging as a legitimate candidate.

You can see the latest polling out of Iowa here. And in case you missed it, Saturday evening’s debate at Drake University in Des Moines, you can watch it below.

Please note that we’ve removed Herman Cain (suspended campaign) and Gary Johnson (likely running for the Libertarian Party’s nomination) from the power rankings.

The News

Rick Perry declines invite to Trump debate

Rick Perry became the latest Republican hopeful to decline an invitation to the debate that will be moderated by Donald Trump on December 27th in Iowa:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest GOP presidential candidate to decline an invitation to the controversial debate that will be hosted by Donald Trump, saying that “retail campaigning” in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses is his “top priority.”

“Gov. Perry has talked to Donald Trump in recent days and respects him and the folks at Newsmax very much,” said campaign manager Ray Sullivan in a statement. “In the coming weeks, Gov. Perry will be in Iowa almost continually, meeting with real voters, doing town-hall meetings and events and talking American jobs, faith and overhauling Washington, D.C., to Iowa voters.”

The campaign also pointed out that there are two debates in the next seven days.

Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney have already declined invitations. Michele Bachmann backed out yesterday. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has urged candidates not to attend, largely because Trump is still kicking around the idea of running in an independent or third party bid.

Gingrich defends Trump, Romney declines debate invite

As noted on Monday, Donald Trump will moderate a Republican debate hosted by Newsmax on December 27th in Iowa. There has been some pushback inside Republican circle as Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul almost immediately declined invites. Mitt Romney has also declined. Michele Bachmann has not actually said whether she plans to attend, but did express “concern” about the debate.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum accepted the invitations, and Gingrich also defended Trump against criticism from Paul that it would be a circus:

After a nearly hour-long meeting at Trump Tower, Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich emerged for a joint news conference, during which the former House speaker defended The Donald from slams from Ron Paul that Trump moderating a debate would create a “circus” atmosphere.

Donald Trump to host Republican debate (*sigh*)

We just can’t seem to get rid of Donald Trump. This attention whore and advocate of big government was at one time considering a bid for the Republican nomination, but in the end it turned out to be a publicity stunt for his show, The Apprentice.

Unfortunately, those of us hoping that this race would become serious with the departure of Herman Cain are in for some bad news as it was announced on Friday that Trump will moderate the Newsmax-hosted Republican debate on December 27th:

Donald Trump will moderate a Republican presidential debate later this month in Iowa.

The reality TV star and real estate mogul was selected by the conservative media outlet Newsmax to host a Dec. 27 debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We’ve interviewed him several times over the last few years,” said Newsmax Editor Brett Sandala. “We see him as a truly great American and his vocal conservative voice reaches millions, so we wanted a moderator that resonated with that base.”

The debate would be the last one scheduled before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan continues to come under fire

If you watched the Republican debate last night, you noticed the increased scrutiny on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. The criticism isn’t without risk. If they hit him too harshly, they risk victimizing him and emboldening his base of support. If they’re too lenient, the quick-witted Cain wll turn make sure that it blows up in their face.

But Cain has tipped his hand in what he has to come back with as conservatives lay out very serious concerns about the proposal; and it’s clear that he isn’t ready to argue on substance. His staff has responded to criticism with a simple line, “the problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect.” Cain’s own recent defense of the plan laid out in an editoral leaves more questions than answers.

Even the editors at the conservative National Review are unconvinced that Cain’s good intentions will bring the benefits that he claims:

Perry is right, Romney supported a national individual mandate

During Thursday’s debate, Rick Perry an interesting claim that Mitt Romney removed a line from his book, No Apology, where he said that the Massachusetts health care reform law — the blueprint for ObamaCare — should serve as model for the rest of the country. Romney dismissed the claim, saying:

I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. What I said, actually — when I put my health care plan together – and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post. He said, “Is this is a plan that if you were president you would put on the whole nation, have a whole nation adopt it?” I said, “Absolutely not.” I said, “This is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan.”

Romney’s argument has been that his health care plan, which has cost Massachusetts some 18,000 jobs and has been a financial burden on the state, was what was right for his state; a poor defense. He has constantly denied ever saying that it serves as a national model. We know Romney backed a national individual mandate, the centerpiece of his plan and ObamaCare, as early as 1994. And it certainly seems as though Perry was right on this specific accusation, according to a report from ABC News:

 
 


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