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GOP Debate: Republican Presidential Candidates Face Off In New Hampshire (LIVE UPDATES)

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Eight Republican candidates competing for their party's presidential nomination will go head-to-head in a primary debate in New Hampshire on Tuesday night.

The Bloomberg/Washington Post forum begins at 8 p.m. ET. GOP contenders participating in the event include: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

The debate comes in the wake of Cain's surprise win in Florida's presidential straw poll. Since the event, the Republican hopeful has seen a surge in support.

Meanwhile, Perry is looking to bounce back after a series of missteps on the trail.

A new Gallup poll shows Romney running ahead of rival GOP candidates at 20 percent support. According to the survey, 18 percent of Republicans are standing behind the Cain campaign, while 15 percent back Perry.

Below, a live blog of the latest developments to unfold in New Hampshire.

live blog

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During a discussion about repealing the Affordable Care Act in tonight's debate, Jon Huntsman argued that the law is already taking hold of the country, and it won't be so easy to wipe it away.

"It's disingenuous to just say that you can waive it all away," he said. "The mandate will be in place. The IRS is already planning on 19,500 new employees to administer that mandate. That will stay, and that's the ruinous part of Obamacare. And that -- Mitt [Romney], your plan is not going to do anything."

Huntsman is right that repealing health care reform will not be quite as easy as many of the GOP candidates make it out to be. But he was wrong in his claim that the IRS is hiring tens of thousands of new employees to make sure individuals have health insurance.

Last year, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman debunked conservatives, who at the time were claiming that the IRS was hiring 16,500 new employees. In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, Shulman denied that IRS agents were going to be out auditing taxpayers about the mandate:

REP. RON KIND (D-Wis.): And IRS agents are not going to go out and auditing taxpayers to verify if they have obtained acceptable health insurance, will they?

SHULMAN: No. … [I]t’s probably worth me being very clear because I think there have been some misconceptions out there. The way we envision this working is that HHS, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the exchanges will be working with the insurance companies to determine what is acceptable coverage.

All that will happen with the IRS is similar to a current 1099 where a bank sends IRS a statement that says “here’s the interest” someone owes, and they send it to the taxpayer. We expect to get a simple form -- that we won’t look behind -- that says this person has acceptable health coverage. There are not going to be any discussions about health coverage with an IRS employee.

As FactCheck.org summarized last year, "The law requires the IRS mostly to hand out tax credits, not collect penalties. The claim of 16,500 new agents stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation."

-- Amanda Terkel

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@ CarrieNBCNews : Lil Perry post-debate slip: "Reason we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown"

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HANOVER, N.H. -- At the Bloomberg after party, debate host Charlie Rose told me that Rick Perry tried to avoid eye contact when Rose was looking around the table for candidates to jump into the fray.

That comports with the post-game consensus that Perry barely came to play, and was so spooked by his past performances that he didn't dare venture far from even his most simple platitudes.

Post-game critics at the party, on the other hand, gave props to former Sen. Rick Santorum for his clever appeal to the audience when attacking Herman Cain's sales tax proposal. Santorum asked the crowd how many would be for a sales tax -- in famously anti-tax New Hampshire.

No one raised his or her hand.

-- Howard Fineman reporting from New Hampshire

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“I want to return to the spirit of Glass Steagall," Huntsman said after tonight's debate. “You’ve got to look at, fundamentally look at, downsizing some of our banks, looking at some sort of a cap requirement on the size of things. When you have financial institutions of which there are six and any one of them collapsing could cause such dire reverberations in the global economy that it could be catastrophic, it becomes too big to fail.”

“Not Glass-Steagall from the 1930s but something in the spirit of Glass-Steagall, something that would ultimately right-size banks,” he added.

-- Alex Becker

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HANOVER, N.H -- The consensus in the spin room after the debate was clear enough: Not only had Mitt Romney won big, but he had done it partly because of an unrealistic debate format, which made the mistake of assuming that just because the GOP candidates were sitting at a Charlie Rose table, they would behave like a calm and equable Charlie Rose guest.

While the rowdies around the table went after each other or talked about Austrian economics, Romney recited his talking points with the aplomb of the host of a classical-music hour on public radio.

Romney is growing even more adept at explaining and rationalizing his many changed positions and ideological confusions -- on TARP, on bank bailouts, on trade, you name it.

Tony Perkins of Values Voters just explained to me here in the spin room what Romney was up to when he asked such a nice, gentle and meaningless question of Bachmann. "He's going after the conservative womens' vote in Iowa and elsewhere," he said. "He was polite and they will notice. I'll say this about the Romney campaign: It is very, very well run."

Herman Cain was mobbed in the spin room, and laughter erupted from the circle around him. But that isn't necessarily a sign of a surging campaign. It's more the sign of a guy who is good copy -- maybe too good for his own well-being.

-- Howard Fineman reporting from New Hampshire

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After the debate ended, the Bachmann campaign sent out a 1,178 word research piece on how Rick Perry "is not a fiscal conservative." It has 11 main points and goes into great detail about Perry's record on spending and debt in Texas, the growth of state government employees in the state, Perry's statements that he would secure stimulus funding for Texas and then his use of those funds. Bachmann says he used it to plug budget holes and guided some of that money to his "political machine." Here's that section of the Bachmann attack, which is sourced to only one article:

"And those grants have become an integral part of Perry's political machine….While Perry's office is the conduit for the federal money [for local law enforcement agencies], the governor chooses which agencies receive the money and how it is spent. The political payoff has been great." (R.G. Ratcliffe, "Perry Making Use of Stimulus Boost," Houston Chronicle, 9/8/09)

"Every time Perry doles out the federal Byrne grants, he sounds like the money is his. 'Texas is tough on crime and remains dedicated to equipping our law enforcement with the resources necessary to protect our citizens and ensure the safety of our communities,' the governor said while handing out million of the federal money to East Texas communities last year." (R.G. Ratcliffe, "Perry Making Use Of Stimulus Boost," Houston Chronicle, 9/8/09)

Byrne Grants helped Perry win the endorsement of the Border Sheriff's Coalition in 2006. "Perry in 2005 gave million in funds to the counties participating in the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition 'to deter illegal immigration and prevent border-related crime.' Days before Perry's 2006 re-election victory, the sheriffs made a high-profile trip to Washington with the governor to discuss border crime, and most endorsed Perry. 'I don't think it was a coincidence that the grants roughly correlated with those endorsements,' said Democratic political consultant Jason Stanford, who managed the gubernatorial campaign of party nominee Chris Bell." (R.G. Ratcliffe, "Perry Making Use Of Stimulus Boost," Houston Chronicle, 9/8/09)

-- Jon Ward

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HANOVER, N.H. -- My conservative friends in the press room here at Dartmouth were shaking their heads when this chaotic Bloomberg-Washington Post debate ended.

Mitt Romney, smooth as silk and just as slippery, had expertly handled the format and the questions -- his evasions were earnest, his voice confident, especially since he had brought in Chris Christie as his body man -- and no one else here could lay a glove on him.

Rick Perry, whose expectations were as low as the belly of an armadillo, failed to meet them. He made no major gaffes. He just didn't say anything, and what he said was so painfully simplistic that even the crowd had a hard time listening.

Newt, Ron, Rick Santorum, the inexplicable Huntsman, who cares?

Herman Cain droned on about 9-9-9; Romney complimented Michele Bachmann. Can the GOP come to terms with Mitt?

It may have to.

-- Howard Fineman reporting from New Hampshire

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It was a good night for Mitt Romney, and another very bad one for Rick Perry. Romney took incoming fire from several directions, more than he's ever had come his way before when asked questions by several of the other candidates. He handled the questions well, and showed depth

in a broad range of subjects. He also continued to look comfortable and at ease.

Rick Perry was lethargic for most of the debate, and talked about little else but the energy plan, on which he has yet to really go into detail. His worst moment came when he dismissed a complex debate about tax policy and China as if these subjects were unrelated to the U.S. economy. He looked diminished. His task of rebuilding momentum -- which was already looking to be difficult -- just became a much steeper uphill fight.

-- Jon Ward

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Herman Cain said last week that Occupy Wall Street protesters should blame themselves for not having a job or being rich. And tonight he stuck to that statement, although he said his statements should not be taken as remarks on the unemployed in general.

"Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!" he told the Wall Street Journal last week.

But on Tuesday evening, he clarified that the 14 million people who are unemployed through no fault of their own -- apparently not including those involved with the protests -- should not be targeted by that statement.

"That response was directed at the people who are protesting on Wall Street," he said. "Not the 14 million people who are out of work for no reason of their own other than that the economy is not growing. Not the millions who are underemployed. That statement was not directed at them."

-- Elise Foley

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At 9:20 p.m. tonight, Bachmann had 22 foster children, as she said when asked a question by Mitt Romney.

By 9:47, however, she had 23.

"I grew up in a middle-class home," she said toward the end of the debate. "We went to below poverty when my parents divorced, and my mother worked very hard. We all did. We all got jobs and were able to work our way through college, and eventually my husband and I started a business. We have broken hearts for at-risk kids. That is why we took 23 foster children into our home."

-- Amanda Terkel

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HANOVER, N.H. -- Quick shout out to Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg and Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post. They asked good questions, even if the candidates didn't answer them.

-- Howard Fineman reporting from New Hampshire

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Former N.H. state legislator Fran Wendelboe has moved on to Perry's debate watch party at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at Dartmouth and said he's pulled in a smaller crowd than Romney and Cain. She wrote on the Exeter Patch live blog that maybe 25 people are at the party.

-- John Celock

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Mitt Romney, naturally, says that regulatory uncertainty is the primary reason that businesses aren't hiring. Businesses disagree! Per McClatchy newspapers:

Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation.

"Government regulations are not 'choking' our business, the hospitality business," Bernard Wolfson, the president of Hospitality Operations in Miami, told The Miami Herald. "In order to do business in today's environment, government regulations are necessary and we must deal with them. The health and safety of our guests depend on regulations. It is the government regulations that help keep things in order."

[...]

McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business.

Their response was surprising.

None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.

-- Jason Linkins

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Mitt Romney officially opposes a payroll tax cut for working Americans.

"I don't want temporary little Band-Aids, I want fundamental restructuring," Romney said, referring to the payroll tax cut.

-- Zach Carter

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HANOVER, N.H. -- Something about the PBSish tone and the table (Mitt Romney and Charlie Rose seem cut from the same Brooks Brothers cloth), plus the weirdness or ignorance of the people around him, makes Romney seem almost palatable, and even almost wise. Maybe it's just a matter of context -- but, after all, that is what politics is about, context and timing.

-- Howard Fineman reporting from New Hampshire

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Herman Cain just said Alan Greenspan would be his model for a replacement to Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Ron Paul, echoing everybody who remembers the housing bubble or the year 2008, responded: "Alan Greenspan was a disaster!"

-- Zach Carter

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Ron Paul, the longest-serving advocate of a Fed audit in Congress, asked Herman Cain, a former director of the Kansas City Fed, why he opposed an audit of the central bank, and why he called advocates of such an audit ignorant.

Cain said that, in fact, he didn't oppose an audit, and that when he served on the Fed it was a different institution. "You have misquoted me. I did not call you or any of your people ignorant," he said. "You've gotta be careful of the stuff you get off the Internet."

A careful check of the Internet, however -- guided by the Paul campaign -- turns up audio of Cain saying just what Paul accused him of saying. As recently as 2010, long after the Fed began engaging in the lending Cain says he opposed, Cain belittled those calling for an audit.

"Some people say that we ought to audit the Fed. Here's what I do know. The Federal Reserve already has so many internal audits it's ridiculous. I don't know why people think we're gonna learn this great amount of information by auditing the Federal Reserve. I think a lot of people are calling for this audit of the Federal Reserve because they don't know enough about it. There's no hidden secrets going on in the Federal Reserve to my knowledge," he said.

LISTEN:

-- Ryan Grim

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Posed a question about getting the economy back on track by Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann replied, "I'm a mother of 28 kids. 22 foster kids, five biological kids. I get how difficult it is for young people to get jobs right out of college. It's very, very tough."

22 plus 5 actually equals 27, not 28. Presumably, Bachmann meant to say that she has had 23 foster children -- a number she has cited in the past.

-- Amanda Terkel

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Herman Cain vowed before the debate today that he was ready to take on Mitt Romney. He told radio host Neil Boortz today, “I’m going after Romney. I have a very penetrating question for him." Cain added that he "didn't need to go after Perry."

Well, if you were wondering what the "penetrating question" was (and perhaps betting that it might have to do with health care reform, the issue that took on a new salience today with the news about Romney's health care advisers being a part of the design and implementation of the Affordable Care Act), here you go: "Can you name all 59 points of your 59-point economic plan?"

Not particularly penetrating, is it? Romney swatted it back like it was placed on a tee, replying, "Simple answers are often helpful, but sometimes inadequate." Then he very quickly hit seven highlights of his plan: end regulatory creep, open up markets to American goods, "stop the cheating that's going on," "follow the rule of law" (with specific mention of the NLRB/Boeing dispute), "create institutions that create human capital," and, of course, reduce federal spending.

The thing that's somewhat astounding about Cain's idea of a penetrating question is that it was the sort of question he had mocked earlier this week:

CAIN: I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know. Do you know? And then I’m going to say how’s that going to create one job?

Seems like Cain had a 'cheap gotcha question' in mind when he said he was coming at Romney with a "penetrating" one.

It was Rick Perry who asked Romney about the connection between RomneyCare and ObamaCare. He replied that he "was proud that he had taken on a big problem in his state" and expanded coverage. The difference, in Romney's mind, is that ObamaCare is an invasive program that took over a larger part of the health care system than CommonwealthCare did. He cited has new endorser, Chris Christie, and his complaint about costs. Perry tried to interject during Romney's response, but Mitt held firm and fended off Perry.

-- Jason Linkins

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HANOVER, N.H. -- Romney takes center stage in the candidate-to-candidate section of the debate, and does a good job -- his best run of any of the debates. Almost every question was directed at him, and he answered them well.

Asked about his 59-point plan by Herman Cain, Romney patiently recited the seven pillars of it, and sounded reasonable doing so. Simple answers can be helpful, he said, but not in America's dire situation.

Romney gave a careful and plausible defense of his thinking on why he wants to limit a capital-gains tax cut to middle-class families.

He cited Chris Christie in defense of Romneycare. He fired back at Rick Perry on Romneycare, saying that Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of kids without care, Texas the worst. (And Perry did not respond.)

"I care about people," Romney said.

He even gave a good approximation of a guy who cares about middle-class lives.

And he shrewdly lobbed a softball question at Michele Bachmann. What was going on there? The first move in a bid to get her support eventually?

-- Howard Fineman reporting from New Hampshire

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While Jon Huntsman may be holding back from slinging attacks at his fellow GOP contenders, his daughters are not.

Throughout the debate, Huntsman's three oldest daughters -- Liddy, Abby and Mary Anne -- have been tweeting under the name @Jon2012Girls, making fun of the other Republicans and defending their dad.

Some of their tweets:

- "How does Romney know anything about China? He's only been there once and that was for the Olympics. Panda express doesn't count."

- "Just picture the Von trapp family eating pizza and singing about numbers. Maybe we will have a Romney bro duet."

- "When is someone going to make a song about 9-9-9? We will start working on one. Get ready."

- @AriFleischer we had an intervention with dad to just be himself tonight...glad he finally took our advice.

-- Amanda Terkel

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New Hampshire residents commenting on the Exeter Patch blog are debating Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan, along with judging candidate performance. Bachmann and Gingrich have been praised by the group, who have questioned why Cain hasn't challenged Romney. The group asks if Perry will be speaking more and adds in some praise for Santorum.

-- John Celock

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A fairly remarkable moment for Rick Perry just now. He has been silent for long portions of this debate, as the discussion ranged from tax reform to health care to the issue of China and trade wars.

Finally, he piped up, and it looked like he was going to weigh in either on whether to call China a currency manipulator or on Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan.

But instead, Perry delivered essentially an encomium to no policies except for his energy plan.

"We’re missing this so much. What we need to focuse on in this country today is not whether or not we’re going to have this policy or that policy. What we need to be focused on is how we get Americans working again," Perry said.

But a policy is another term for a plan that a politician proposes to achieve an end. Perry, however, was dismissive of all plans except for his energy plan, which remains a very broad proposal. He also misspoke, saying that the president should pass regulations before catching and correcting himself.

"I don’t need 999. We don’t need any plan to pass Congress. We need to get a president of the United States that is committed to passing the types of regulations, pulling the regulations back, freeing this country to go develop the energy industry that we have in this country … the manufacturing will come back to this country," Perry said.

-- Jon Ward

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Advocates of the old-age and disability insurance program broke into song and dance outside the New Hampshire debate, because, well, why not?

WATCH:

-- Ryan Grim

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HANOVER, N.H. -- Charlie Rose's famous oak able is ending up looking like the faculty lounge of the world's strangest economics department. On speed.

Rick Santorum wants to "beat" China. Mitt Romney warns that "if you don't stand up to China, you will be run over by China." Herman Cain says that the criticism of his 9-9-9 plan's arithmetic is incorrect. Michele Bachmann says that Cain's plan is dangerous because if you turn 9-9-9 upside down it reads "666." "The devil is in the details," she said with a cold smile.

If the American people are looking for concrete, comprehensible specifics about a way forward to more jobs for the middle class, it is hard to know if they are finding any in the GOP presidential debate underway here at Dartmouth.

Cain has been a star of this Mad Hatters Tea Party, declaring that his plan had been vetted by a guy in Cleveland and that "dynamic scoring" meant that a trillion shortfall estimated by Bloomberg was not, in fact, a shortfall.

Romney all but declared a trade war on China. Newt Gingrich called for jailing Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and suggested that the chairman of the federal reserve should be booted -- even though neither the president nor the Congress has that power until his term ends several years from now.

Rick Santorum talked somewhat comprehensibly but not specifically about his re-industrialization plan, though again the details were fuzzy, at least in this telling.

A subdued Ron Paul is well, Ron Paul, mumbling on about the superiority of Austrian economists to Keynesians. That'll win over the middle class.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has kept quiet, knowing either that he is in over his head or that no one in the country understands what is being said.

The affable Charlie Rose is the one in over his head: He keeps asking these people if they would ever be willing to raise taxes. Cain is, in a round about way, but no one wants to mention him again lest he get another chance to talk.

-- Howard Fineman reporting from New Hampshire

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Fred Karger -- who along with Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer is perennially excluded from these debates -- writes us to complain about the morbidity on display around Charlie Rose's table tonight:

"Doom and gloom from the GOP roundtable. No wonder 80% of Americans think the country is going in wrong direction. Where's some optimism?"

Karger debuted an ad this week (click here to view it) that was, to say the least, brimming with optimism. It imagined an alternative world in which Karger participated in the Fox News/Google debate, defending the gay soldier who was booed by members of the audience, and winning the applause of Michele Bachmann.

-- Jason Linkins

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) hit back at Newt Gingrich's statement that Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who led a charge for a Wall Street reform bill in 2010, should be thrown in jail for their role in the financial meltdown.

Frank told TPM's Benjy Sarlin that Gingrich's accusations were "very odd," pointing to the fact that Republicans were in control of the House from 1995 to 2007. Frank did not begin his work on financial reform until 2007.

"It’s interesting, the charge is failure to stop Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay from deregulating," he said. "This notion we caused the problem that started while they were in charge even by Gingrich’s standards is very odd."

Added Frank: "I wish i knew that he was willing to listen to my advice, I would have given him some: I would have told him not to impeach Clinton, I would have told his successors not to go to war with Iraq, and i would have told DeLay not to go on the dance show."

Frank speculated that Gingrich’s comments were borne out of frustration with his campaign.

"He’s been having a bad year, you know — this self-styled intellectual leader of the free world struggling to stay ahead of Michele Bachmann in the polls is unsettling him so he talks even sillier than he sometimes does," he said.

-- Elise Foley

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When asked if he would cut defense spending as part of a fiscal compromise, Romney came out strongly against the idea: "My choice is to not cut defense. I think it’s a terrible idea to cut defense. It’s a terrible idea to raise taxes, particularly at a time when the economy is struggling."

"I did not want the automatic cuts," he said, highlighting the threats of massive Pentagon budget cuts if sequestration takes effect. "I want to see that super committee take responsibility for getting the economy going."

Gingrich also blasted the possibility of sequestration while taking aim at the debt ceiling crisis. "It's nonsense to say we're going to disarm the United States unilaterally because we're too stupid to balance the budget any other way," he said.

Gingrich reserved some of the harshest words of the debate for the issue. He described the debt ceiling compromise as Congress saying "we're either going to shoot ourselves in the head or cut off our right leg and we'll come in around Thanksgiving and we'll show you how we're gonna cut off the right leg and the alternative will be shooting ourselves in the head."

-- Max Rosenthal

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Herman Cain, as is his wont, defended his 9-9-9 plan by saying that everyone who's analyzed it -- and that includes economic minds from the left and the right (see Bruce Bartlett, below) -- is just "wrong" because they've started from the wrong set of assumptions. Those same economists struggle to analyze the plan because Cain refuses to show his work. Per ABC News:

“The first thing I think is show me the money,” said Joel Slemrod, an economics professor at the University of Michigan. “I want to know whether it adds up and I suspect it doesn’t.”

The 9-9-9 plan eliminates the payroll tax and estate tax, which brought in a combined 3 billion in 2010, or about 41 percent of the .16 trillion collected by the federal government last year. Cain’s proposal also wipes out taxes on capital gains and repatriated corporate profits.

The Tax Policy Center estimates that cutting capital gains taxes alone would allow 23,000 millionaires to pay no income taxes, a move that would add billion to the deficit each year. Cain’s fellow GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman also support eliminating the capital gains tax.

Cain’s plan to end taxes on corporate profits that are earned overseas and then brought back into America would drop federal revenues by about billion over the next decade, according to the tax center.

“Everything he’s talking about is if you just provide tax cuts to rich people we will all fare well,” Mishel said. “But hasn’t that been the theme for 30 years and doesn’t everybody agree that the middle class does not fare well? This is a triumph of amnesia.”

And per the Christian Science Monitor:

But probably the largest economic impact would be shifting the tax burden. “It's a huge tax reduction on the very top and a huge tax increase for moderate and low income people," says Michael Graetz, a professor at Columbia University who has testified before Congress on taxes.

For example, economists have a measure called marginal propensity to consume. Low income people tend to spend about 98 percent of their income, middle income people spend 97 percent and high income people spend 90 percent.

Thus, Cain’s proposal would result in an individual who makes ,000 per year, paying ,800 in income taxes, plus another ,605 in sales taxes, assuming they spend 98 percent of their income. The combined income and sales taxes would amount to 17 percent of income.

By way of comparison, using today’s tax rates, that individual – married filing separately – would pay ,575 in combined taxes or 12.8 percent of their income, according to the website moneychimp.com.

Michele Bachmann blew up Twitter with her ensuing quip, "When you take the 9-9-9 plan, and turn it upside down, the devil's in the details." Michele Bachmann is correct!

-- Jason Linkins

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Mitt Romney briefly floated the idea of the repatriation tax holiday, which is being floated simultaneously by Senate Democrats as "Plan B" to the American Jobs Act. Mother Jones' Siddhartha Mahanta explains the problems with this idea:

There's a serious problem with tax repatriation holidays: They don't work, as Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, explained back in June:

• Repeating the tax holiday would increase incentives to shift income overseas. If Congress enacts a second tax holiday, rational corporate executives will conclude that more tax holidays are likely in the future. That will make corporations more inclined to shift income into tax havens and less likely to make investments in the United States.

• The claim that a tax holiday would increase domestic investment by freeing multinationals from cash restraints is extremely dubious. U.S. non-financial corporations currently have .9 trillion in cash and other liquid assets, the highest level as a share of total corporate assets since 1959. The ten companies lobbying hardest for a new tax holiday alone have at least billion in cash and other liquid assets that could be used for domestic investments—without triggering additional tax liability.

• Some of the biggest beneficiaries of a tax holiday would be firms that have aggressively shifted income overseas. Companies in the technology and pharmaceutical industries have been particularly aggressive in shifting income abroad because they rely on intellectual property, which is relatively easy to shift to other countries as a tax avoidance strategy. Half of all repatriations from the 2004 tax holiday came from companies in these two sectors alone. The same corporations and sectors would stand to benefit disproportionately—and enormously—from a second tax holiday."

Repatriation rewards corporations for hoarding cash and dodging US taxes, and sets a dangerous precedent for future tax holidays.

-- Jason Linkins

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