Liveblog! The GOP + CNN + YouTube = Snowman Fever! (Minus The Snowman)

03/28/2008 02:47 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hello, and welcome to sunny Tampa, and the much-heralded CNN/YouTube debate, where the GOP candidates will laugh and sing with snowmen, fuzzy animated characters, and gay people wanting to know what they'll do as President to protect their rights. Okay, maybe Okay, maybe not so many of those! In between, we'll see fisticuffs between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, position-entrenching by new up-and-comer Mike Huckabee, straight-talkin' by John McCain, DA-like dignity from Fox-hating Fred Thompson,and the wild applause of Ron Paul Nation — because honestly, people, it's Ron Paul's Internet, we're just blogging on it. Oh yeah, somewhere in there remains Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. One of them can get the snowman question. In the meantime, Anderson Cooper and his fetching pout will guide us all through this uncharted new digital-debate universe, as millions look on, CNN fervently hopes. Join us now as we liveblog every last America-loving second, because we are today's HuffPo Debate Liveblog Team: HuffPo mainstay Glynnis MacNicol, communications analyst John Neffinger, viral video pioneer Phil de Vellis, plus your trusty HuffPo media team of Jason Linkins and your moderator, Rachel Sklar (me!). Together, we'll bring you all the glories that are even now unfurling on a stage somewhere in Florida, that state where nothing weird happens, ever. Come one come all! Sorry, we stole that one from the Republicans - it's their immigration slogan. Here we go!

Rachel(8:04:09 PM): Here we go! Where are the videos? Oh, look, Anderson! Where are John Roberts and Campbell Brown? What this debate really needs is a Canadian. Phil (8:04:31 PM): First things first: I should point out to everyone across HuffPo land that I work for Governor Richardson's media consulting firm. Phil (8:05:09 PM): Big dime got dropped on Rudy right before the debate. Phil (8:05:41 PM): The Politico reports that he billed security costs to NYC while visiting his then-mistress Jason (8:06:39 PM): All of which is currently running on our homepage! Phil (8:06:56 PM): Yes, I saw. Huffpo knows a good story when it sees one. Rachel (8:07:10 PM): A few notes at the top: Duncan Hunter is still in the race? Huge applause for Ron Paul! Pundits at the top of the show....yikes, more glitches. WE WANT DEBATE! WE WANT SNOWMAN! Here come the videos...and here we go! Phil (8:07:31 PM): Romney's adversary the snow man is on the screen Phil (8:08:03 PM): Shame that CNN is taking out the fun questions. Rachel (8:09:03 PM): Touting the game-changing and revolutionary YouTube debate — but with no unsettling animation, fuzzy animals, or threatening snowmen! Can't believe they dissed the snowman. Phil (8:08:12 PM): Chuck Norris in the audience supporting Huckabee. Jason (8:08:53 PM): Well, here we go. Phil (8:09:07 PM): It starts with a song. This probably the most awkward thing. Even Ron Paul doesn't know how to handle himself. Rachel (8:09:47 PM): Wow. Even I'M uncomfortable here. This has like, fifty-zillion stanzas! Where exactly is the question? Phil (8:10:40 PM): Oh that wasn't a question

Jason (8:10:50 PM): But this is! Ernie Nardi, Brooklyn: Will you continue to aid and abet illegal aliens? Phil (8:10:57 PM): Oh this is good. New Yorkers hate Rudy. Rudy only believes in education as a form of crime prevention Phil (8:12:17 PM): Chuck Norris seems skeptical Jason (8:12:36 PM): I will deploy a virtual fence. Phil (8:12:45 PM): What is a virtual fence? Is he proposing building a fence in Second Life? Jason (8:12:51 PM): He will keep the aliens out of second life. Phil (8:14:03 PM): Is Sanctuary City the sequel to Sin City? Jason (8:14:08 PM): Oooh. Sanctuary mansions! Jason (8:14:30 PM): He funneled them out of his own home! Phil (8:14:57 PM): How about Sanctuary Hottubs Jason (8:15:03 PM): Mitt and Rudy are giving us the GOP version of the Hillary/Obama catfight. John (8:15:16 PM): This is the least animated thing I can remember Rudy saying in the entire campaign - very subdued as he talks about taking 70,000 children of illegal immigrants into New York city schools. He seems to be looking down - contritely -- toward the podium or somewhere on the stage, rather than out into the audience. Could be the camera angle, but it makes him look weak. Phil (8:15:23 PM): The sexual tension between those two is wonderful to watch Jason (8:15:44 PM): I know! Get a sanctuary lovenest! Like Kerik and Regan! Phil (8:15:56 PM): Rudy employed a convicted pedophile priest Phil (8:15:59 PM): I think that's worse Jason (8:16:20 PM): Yes. I agree. Phil (8:16:58 PM): Glynnis (8:16:58 PM): Romney needs to stop smiling into all his criticism. Phil (8:17:04 PM): Rudy is a big cult fan Phil (8:17:15 PM): I like the Godfather 2 lighting Glynnis (8:16:58 PM): Giuliani has switched up his mantra...a noun, a verb, and "New York is not a sanctuary city."

Jason (8:17:25 PM): Michael from NJ. Will you pledge tonight to veto amnesty?
Phil (8:17:42 PM): He obviously shot it in the dungeon where he keeps all the illegals he captures
Jason (8:17:48 PM): I know!
Jason (8:19:28 PM): Oooh. Dig at Rudy?
Jason (8:19:44 PM): People we've hired that turned out to be a bad decision?
Phil (8:20:41 PM): No love for McCain
Jason (8:20:47 PM): Uh-oh. Sad McCain.
Phil (8:21:09 PM): Name checks local politician -- check
John (8:21:29 PM): This is the first angry frown we have seen out of Mitt Romney as well. He is standing very strong here, looking righteous, and Rudy hesitated... until Romney backs off and puts on his usual big, jocular grin to shrug it off. This turns into a draw, but the booing Rudy gets at the end suggests Romney has scored here.

Phil (8:21:35 PM): McCain being honest Phil (8:21:42 PM): Rare thing for a GOP candidate Jason (8:22:28 PM): Yes. Phil (8:22:34 PM): Nice tie, buddy Jason (8:22:55 PM): He'll be performing at the local Days Inn after the debate. Jason (8:23:18 PM): You can't out-Tancredo Tancredo! Phil (8:23:35 PM): Are they building a nuclear reactor there? Jason (8:24:09 PM): Jack Brooks: Cambridge, MD: How will you help bring us guest workers to keep our business alive? Phil (8:24:15 PM): Tancredo is flummoxed by a legitimate contribution of immigrants Jason (8:24:36 PM): Hey, you feel like working in a strawberry patch? I won't do that job! Will he force Americans to do those jobs? Phil (8:25:18 PM): Yeah, Tancredo, should do the SEIU day in their shoes thing and see how he likes cleaning bathrooms Jason (8:25:28 PM): True story: I forgot all about Duncan Hunter this week. He is the new Jim Gilmore. Jason (8:27:16 PM): Ashley, San Antonio: Will you back a law to give military families the same tuition breaks as illegal immigrants? Phil (8:27:50 PM): The beautiful charcoal rubbing of Reagan's face added immensely to that video. Glynnis (8:28:26 PM): Joining now - technical issues. John and I are here, Rachel is standing by and editing out our typos. Summing up what we've missed. Immigration! Also, nobody wants to admit that they've been nice to illegal aliens. John (8:29:40 PM): Huckabee is brave here - he defends his scholarship program - quietly, moderately, trying to keep things calm. Phil (8:30:05 PM): Huckabee giving a passionate defense John (8:30:19 PM): Mitt isn't letting him get away with this offering scholarships to children of illegal immigrants business: "That's not your money!" Glynnis (8:30:45 PM): Huckabee is the voice of reason here: "We are a better country than to punish people for what their parents did." Jason (8:31:15 PM): I hope that some YouTuber, rather than asking Mitt a question, attempts to administer the Voight-Kampff Test instead. (Look it up!) Glynnis (8:31:38 PM): But Romney says NO! Forget the children. Phil (8:31:39 PM): Does this guy really need the telemarketer headset? Jason (8:31:59 PM): Arlington, TX: To Ron Paul: Why do you believe in these crazy urban legends? John (8:32:02 PM): Romney again comes back strong, but again undermines himself by backing down to a goofy grin. John (8:32:22 PM): I used to work at CFR! It exists, I swear. Jason (8:32:41 PM): How's the highway coming? Jason (8:33:08 PM): I support it, because how else will we combine Mexican and Canadian cuisine? John (8:33:21 PM): Hmmm... Never heard of it. Maybe that's the other CFR. Council For Roads? Glynnis (8:33:36 PM): This conspiracy question to Romney is making me think a Romney/Kucinich platform might be viable.

Jason (8:34:12 PM): QUESTION: Sarah from Scottdale, PA:What measures will you take to tackle the national debt and control spending?
John (8:34:33 PM): Two questions in a row not about illegal immigrants (so far).
Phil (8:34:46 PM): Another boring YouTube vid. The questions are valid, but the use of YouTube is incidental.
John (8:34:58 PM): I dunno man, she was kinda cute.
John (8:35:27 PM): Sorry, Glynn! Owch!
Rachel (8:35:38 PM): Ahem! I'm here too. AND I'M EDITING. So watch it.
Glynnis (8:35:49 PM): McCain is dragging out the GOP spending skeletons. Something about Wyoming, bears and paternity. I'm sure there's a punchline here somewhere...Jason?
Jason (8:35:54 PM): But will McCain waterboard spending? Will he send spending to Syrian prisons?
Phil (8:36:58 PM): Does anyone think the Republicans have any credibility on fiscal responsibility?
Rachel (8:37:04 PM): Republicans do!
Glynnis (8:37:10 PM): Giuliani says the GOP needs to be like Reagan (do we still get to drink on this?) and cut across the board.

Jason (8:37:34 PM): QUESTION: Emily from L.A. What federal programs would you cut to reduce spending? Glynnis (8:37:56 PM): Getting the sense that we are in for questions on a theme. Right now, it's all about college girls asking about government spending. Rachel (8:38:04 PM): College Girls Asking About Government Spending Gone Wild! John (8:38:10 PM): If these questions are representative of anything, blonde co-eds are very concerned about deficit spending. Glynnis (8:38:50 PM): Leave it to a GOP debate to debunk blonde co-ed stereotypes! Jason (8:39:16 PM): Washington didn't change Ron Paul. Phil (8:39:18 PM): Washington did not change Ron Paul, but the Martians did Jason (8:39:48 PM): Ron Paul will destroy the Capitol Hill tavern economy. John (8:40:06 PM): Ron Paul somehow got around to bringing our troops home in that answer about the debt. Glynnis (8:40:10 PM): Huckabee will destroy the IRS. Jason (8:40:12 PM): Mike Huckabee wants to get rid of the IRS. Phil (8:40:29 PM): Tax illegal aliens to make up for the loss of revenue! Glynnis (8:40:47 PM): Since audits are more terrifying than muggings (but apparently not illegals). John (8:40:51 PM): Rudy Guiliani wants to automate the bureaucracy! That will make us love government even more. Rachel (8:40:59 PM): Aaaaaaand....scene.

Jason (8:41:16 PM): QUESTION: Ronald Lanham, Mobile: Do you support the elimination of the income tax in favor of a national retail tax ("Fair" tax)? Phil (8:41:44 PM): McCain is really desperate. He's taking on Ron Paul. Phil (8:41:56 PM): McCain fighting to get into 5th place John (8:42:00 PM): McCain is looking down and around and looking very hesitant addressing the issue of revising the tax code, which he should own. Not on his game here. Glynnis (8:42:04 PM): McCain says Ron Paul's isolationist thinking is what caused WWII. Phil (8:42:10 PM): Uh-oh. McCain drops a Hitler bomb Rachel (8:42:20 PM): Oy, Godwin's Law. Why, McCain, why? Phil (8:43:01 PM): Good point. Ron Paul gets the most money from active duty personnel Rachel (8:43:01 PM): AMAZING point. And the most in-your-face aggressive stance I've heard him take thus far. Ron Paul smacking down from a position of strength. Glynnis (8:43:20 PM): Ron Paul wants to know: If the troops want to stay as McCain suggests, then why is all his money coming from them? Glynnis (8:43:45 PM): Strong mix of cheers and boos on this. But this audience is giving the Dem Vegas one a run for its money. Rachel (8:43:45 PM): I know! They are so unruly! What is this, a football game? A karaoke bar? A strip joint? Oh, look, Anderson, a pole! John (8:43:48 PM): A serious chill here between McCain and Ron Paul, who are standing next to each other but not meeting each others' gazes in this exchange the story Politco broke about his spending is true. Giuliani says NO! It was all valid...the mob was after him.
John (8:49:29 PM): No one has been looking especially leaderly in their demeanor yet this evening. Rudy and Huckabee are a little subdued, Fred is still laconic, McCain looks beaten down.
Rachel (8:49:37 PM): When Fred Thompson is not on screen, I forget about him utterly. I see this as being about Rudy/Romney, Huckabee, McCain, and Ron Paul. Not necessarily in that order.
Phil (8:49:50 PM): The Tancredo video was terrible.
Rachel (8:49:51 PM): Terrible! He can't even speak! I swear I'm not sure that he is, in fact, speaking English.
Jason (8:49:53 PM): Wow! Tancredo's video includes scenes of him stammering!
Rachel (8:49:56 PM): Wow, he STAMMERS ON THE WORD "IMMIGRANT." It's his SIGNATURE ISSUE. In a video that he had the capacity to EDIT.
Phil (8:50:08 PM): He took on Geraldo which somehow qualifies him to take on Hillary?
Glynnis (8:50:18 PM): Tancredo's mom must be in the audience because his video got exactly one clap.
John (8:50:32 PM): You really like his tie?

Jason (8:50:37 PM): QUESTION: Leanne from Pittsburgh. My home is covered in lead! What will you do about China and the lead?
Jason (8:51:20 PM): China is cheating on trade!
Phil (8:51:59 PM): AWESOME
Phil (8:52:08 PM): The Thompson video is negative
Phil (8:52:26 PM): The video is brutal. Shows a fat Huckabee
Jason (8:52:27 PM): Yeah. And he was too lazy to even show up for it.
Glynnis (8:52:48 PM): Thompson is reaching back for footage! Everyone has a lot of hair!
John (8:53:01 PM): Anderson Cooper kicks it to Fred: What's up with that?
Rachel (8:53:05 PM): Fred kicks it back: What do you mean, what's up with that? Anderson seems chastened.
Phil (8:53:14 PM): Thompson has a good comeback when confronted about posting a negative video on his opponents — "I wanted to give my buddies some extra air time."
Rachel (8:53:15 PM): Thompson going negative so early - not a message of hope and leadership. Especially for a campaign that has been lacking that thus far. This doesn't help him.
Glynnis (8:53:16 PM): So far the candidates videos are trumping the submitted ones.
Phil (8:53:26 PM): Isn't hard to trump the submitted ones.
Glynnis (8:53:35 PM): Romney: "On abortion, I was wrong."
Jason (8:54:02 PM): "It never occurred to me what LIFE meant until I sat down and REALLY thought about it."
Rachel (8:54:15 PM): Mistakes happen, people, Romney has repented. The important thing is, he hates abortion. And isn't that really what it's all about?
Glynnis (8:54:19 PM): Romney is done apologizing to people for being pro-life.
John (8:54:28 PM): Romney takes his lumps. He does not look strong doing it, but he is very straight about this.

Phil (8:54:41 PM): Huckabee - "When they're kicking you in the rear, it means you're still in front." Glynnis (8:55:09 PM): Romney looks a bit more honest, I think. It's the first time all night he's stopped smirking. Glynnis (8:56:55 PM): Anyone have thoughts thus far? John (8:57:21 PM): Fred Thompson's suit jacket still does not fit -- the collar still sags away from his neck. It suggests he maybe got it tailored some years ago, and has since let himself go. Phil (8:59:03 PM): Scary Columbine video Glynnis (8:59:06 PM): I think that of the line-up, Huckabee is the only one I can stomach for more than 30 seconds at a time. Ron Paul has his own, peculiar charm, but I don't want him too close to important buttons. Glynnis (9:02:32 PM): This may be the most reasonable Giuliani has sounded since he moved in with the gay couple. Phil (9:02:36 PM): Do they believe in the right for bears to bare arms? Phil (9:03:07 PM): Signing ceremonies with members of Clinton's cabinet. Might as well be an orgy. Glynnis (9:04:10 PM): Giuliani seems strong on this point. John (9:03:25 PM): Rudy's eyebrows are flying high up his forehead as he answers this question. A little of that for emphasis can be strong, but this expression is too much. It's the facial equivalent of shrugging his shoulders and throwing up his hands: "Whaddaya want from me?" Jason (9:06:31 PM): QUESTION: Prentiss Tate: What are you going to do about black-on-black crime? Phil (9:06:36 PM): The black kid is lucky b/c he has a dad? Phil (9:06:41 PM): This is a scandal Jason (9:06:57 PM): Where will we find the extra moms and dads? Phil (9:06:57 PM): Romney is digging his grave John (9:07:10 PM): The question was about the black community explicitly, no? Glynnis (9:07:11 PM): Romney is about to bring this to gay marriage. By way of Bill Cosby. Jason (9:07:24 PM): This is crazy! Crazy! Namechecking Bill Cosby? Sex offenders? Jason (9:07:49 PM): Cooper just baited the Romney judge hook. Jason (9:07:53 PM): He didn't bite. Glynnis (9:08:15 PM): Giuliani is so much more convincing when he tones everything down. John (9:08:38 PM): Romney is smiling as Rudy says that murder went up in Massachusetts under Romney. Why? Why is this man smiling? What is wrong with him? Phil (9:09:06 PM) has left the room. Glynnis (9:09:07 PM): Someone should ask Giuliani about Louima and Dorismond.

Rachel (9:14:59 PM) And Huckabee with the line of the night: "Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office, Anderson." Put that on a bumper sticker! John (9:16:50 PM): Huckabee does a nice job with this answer. He is simultaneously bragging about personally sending more people to the chair than anyone else on the stage, and evoking the poignancy of the moment, how much he cared, how hard it was on HIM to make the decision, how brave he was to do it.

Jason (9:16:27 PM): QUESTION: Joseph from Dallas. Do you believe every word of the King James Bible?
Glynnis (9:16:38 PM): EVERY SINGLE WORD.
Jason (9:16:47 PM): Obviously intended as a gotcha for Romney.
Glynnis (9:17:00 PM): Huckabee wants to know if Giuliani needs help on this one!
Jason (9:17:21 PM): Personally, I don't know if everyone who's said to have begat someone else actually did so.
Glynnis (9:17:22 PM): And watch Giuliani dance!
Jason (9:17:25 PM): Trust but verify.
Rachel (9:17:29 PM): I love the Bible! The Bible's awesome! It's the Biblest!
John (9:17:35 PM): Rudy should shut up now.
Jason (9:17:48 PM): Giuliani's just glad Judith Regan didn't publish it.
Glynnis (9:17:50 PM): Giuliani believes strongly in...allegory.
Jason (9:18:07 PM): Oh, Mitt.
John (9:18:13 PM): Mitt: And if you liked "The Holy Bible," you'll love "The Book of Mormon"!
Jason (9:19:18 PM): Huckabee is crushing this question. Wow.
Rachel (9:19:22 PM): He is dropping scripture like a vandal, yo! And smacking down the questioner &mdash "Are we really going to pluck our eye out? Of course not, obvs!"
Glynnis (9:19:26 PM): Huckabee talks convincingly to the mysticism of the Bible.
John (9:19:44 PM): Huckabee gets 30 seconds for a mini-sermon. He's gettin' his minister on.
Jason (9:20:03 PM): Uhm, he just mopped the floor with Mitt Romney.
Rachel (9:21:22 PM):Once again, note that these questions had to have been SELECTED by CNN. In an effort to make this a "serious" Republican debate, and "a debate of their party." Guns and the Bible. With whether or not a candidate believes EVERY WORD OF THE BIBLE being a legitimate campaign issue. To be subsequently cheered or boo! Sheesh. This is a gong show.

Jason (9:23:45 PM): OMGs. Did Rudy just take credit for a reduction in SNOWFALL??

Glynnis (9:25:23 PM): Giuliani doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks. It's all about 9/11 people!! Rachel (9:24:41 PM): "Why, when I was mayor after 9/11...." On the one hand, don't engage in group blame! On the other hand, don't stick your head in the sand! So....? Glynnis (9:25:51 PM): The Democrats are not offending the right people. Jason (9:25:58 PM): Yasmin, by the way, doesn't qualify to work in the Romney cabinet. John (9:26:17 PM): Nice finish for Rudy, calling the questioner a decent person, emphasizing making the distinction. Jason (9:26:26 PM): McCain: I have hitched my wagon to this surge and I will ride it as far as it will take me. John (9:27:39 PM): I understand McCain wants to talk about Iraq, but "staying in Iraq forever" does not sound like the right answer to "How do you repair the image of America in the Muslim world?" Glynnis (9:28:01 PM): Duncan Hunter: We've bent over backward to help the rest of the world. I won't apologize for the U.S. of A. "Sorry" is not an American word. Rachel (9:28:08 PM): That sounds like an Elton John song. Though he's not exactly in the GOP, er, constituency. Never mind that he's not American. Rachel (9:28:21 PM):Here's a question: Where the hell is Ron Paul?

Jason (9:28:20 PM): QUESTION: Andrew from Seattle. Waterboarding: What's the deal? John (9:28:54 PM): ...and where do you get off disagreeing with John McCain about it? Rachel (9:28:55 PM): Mitt Romney doesn't think we should be letting the enemy known what our tactics are when interrogating people...which *might* include waterboarding? 'Cause he's opposed to torture, but he's dodging whether waterboarding is it. He just wants to be super-secretive about the techniques used to get information! Glynnis (9:29:09 PM): Romney says it's not up to the President to define torture. Glynnis (9:29:33 PM): John McCain: We do not torture. Rachel (9:29:41 PM): McCain is "astonished" that Romney hasn't figured out what waterboarding is. Oh and by the way, ever heard of the goddamned GENEVA CONVENTION? We are AMERICANS, dammit. We. Do. Not. Do. That. Jason (9:30:06 PM): McCain gets applause for it. As well he should. John (9:30:16 PM): John McCain to Mitt: I'm astonished you're so dumb. Jason (9:30:50 PM): Now, Romney will continue to equivocate. Jason (9:31:57 PM): I wish that McCain would just say, "You are an idiot." John (9:32:13 PM): McCain is not looking at Romney , who is staring at McCain. Generally this would make Romney look stronger, but Romney is a little unsure here, and McCain just looks disgusted with him. Glynnis (9:32:31 PM): He's certainly taking the high road by not pointing out Romney's lack of service. John (9:32:41 PM): Romney is making a policy argument that a lot of experts support: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded and allegedly coughed up a lot of actionable intel that helped track down Al Qaeda operatives. He is talking technical, though - consultations, not specifying, etc. - not making a strong rhetorical case at all.

Jason (9:33:15 PM): QUESTION: Buzz Brockway from Lawrenceville, Georgia: Which one of you will consign the next seven generations to the Iraq mistake?
Jason (9:33:32 PM): I'm sorry. Have I not captured that question honestly?
Jason (9:33:33 PM): "Who will make a permanent/long-term commitment to the Iraqi people?"
Rachel (9:33:42 PM): Thompson: We shouldn't be there longer than necessary, but we should be there as long as necessary. Well, now, that's clarifying.
Glynnis (9:34:33 PM): Movies that won't be on television if Thompson gets the nomination: The Hunt For Red October.
Rachel (9:34:52 PM): We should help Iraq by giving them their country back. Hello, surge? So not working.
Jason (9:35:07 PM): Ron Paul would be well-served to learn that the "people in the North" are the Kurds.
Glynnis (9:36:45 PM): McCain says the fundamental difference with Vietnam is that they didn't want to follow us home. Like those darn Iraqis...Zarqawi and Bin Laden. Oh wait, they're not Iraqis!
Rachel (9:36:57 PM): Bit of a back and forth here with Ron Paul and McCain. Tancredo gets in there, too.

Jason (9:38:24 PM): QUESTION: Sam from Colo. Springs: To Rudy — Are you using 9-11 to propel yourself into the White House? Glynnis (9:39:19 PM): As a side note: why didn't someone just submit footage of Biden saying "a noun, a verb, 9/11." Rachel (9:36:57 PM): Giuliani: I was in the Regan justice department! I stopped Haitan illegal immigration into South Florida! I was the USDA in New York! I prosecuted organized crime members! Sicilians, even! I was Mayor of New York! I turned the city around! George Will says I'm a conservative! I reduced abortions! I increased adoptions! I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me....

Jason (9:40:39 PM): QUESTION: Nick Anderson: Will you allow your Veep to run buck wild like Dick Cheney?
Rachel (9:40:51 PM): Cartoon Dick Cheney! No more huggable.
John (9:41:22 PM): Fred Thompson is a funny dude. Said he thought the little animated bugger might have been him.
Glynnis (9:42:36 PM): McCain says that the vice president wouldn't need so much power if our president wasn't such a ignoramus.
Jason (9:43:15 PM): Wait for it! "Right Stuff" joke!
Jason (9:43:31 PM): Oh, wow. Missed opportunity for a bad pun.
Rachel (9:43:39 PM): SCOURGE OF THE DEBATES!
Glynnis (9:43:49 PM): Oww - these candidates videos are painfully lacking in anything that might be described as a sense of humor.
John (9:43:55 PM): Duncan Hunter's ad has all the production values of the spot your local car dealer shot out in the lot.
Jason (9:44:10 PM): Hunter's ad was like the one's we have here for Easterns Motors. Except no Washington Redskins players goofing to bad hip-hop.
Rachel (9:45:31 PM): Hold on a second. Endorsed by Chuck Yeager - broke the sound barrier Chuck Yeager? Yes, the very same! That was a Trivial Pursuit question. I was a nerdy kid.

Jason (9:48:13 PM): QUESTION: Brig. Gen Keith Kerr: I am an openly gay man who served with distinction. So, WTF? John (9:48:41 PM): Duncan Hunter: I'm with Colon Powell, bad for unit cohesion because most people in the army are intolerant conservatives. Interesting. Jason (9:49:00 PM): Duncan Hunter is going to tell a BRIGADIER GENERAL that he's bad for unit cohesion? Jason (9:49:06 PM): He's going to say that soldiers are conservatives who suffer from gay panic? Jason (9:49:28 PM): Huckabee: Homosexuality=conduct. Jason (9:49:48 PM): Uhm...what's the word I'm looking for? Oh, yes: "repugnant." Glynnis (9:50:07 PM): Why isn't anyone directing this question to Giuliani, in the form of: Why is it okay to room with gays in NYC but not in the army? John (9:51:01 PM): Did Romney just give such a weak, vacillating answer that he got his ass booed even though he didn't say anything? Jason (9:51:09 PM): Yes, he did. Rachel (9:51:18 PM): Oh my gosh, CNN turned off his microphone?? Wow. Jason (9:51:28 PM): Put the man's microphone back on! John (9:51:48 PM): The crowd is getting restless. Rachel (9:51:58 PM): The crowd started out restless, and CNN allowed it to get worse. I can't believe the lack of decorum at a presidential debate. It looks tacky and makes CNN look bush league. Glynnis (9:52:42 PM): According to McCain the army is so good it doesn't need the gays! Jason (9:52:59 PM): That retired general is the first guy I've seen tonight who deserves to be President.

UPDATE (Rachel): There has been some controversy about Gen. Kerr since it was revealed post-show that he has previousy been associated with Hillary Clinton's gay-issues steering committee. I watched the debate re-run and I could have dozed off, but I am almost positive that they cut Gen. Kerr's question and the subsequent responses out of the replay. UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: No, they definitely cut that question out. Without disclosure.

Jason (9:53:19 PM): QUESTION: Do you want the support of the Log Cabin Republicans?
Glynnis (9:53:35 PM): Huckabee will take anyone's support!
Jason (9:53:38 PM): Huckabee wants it, won't do anything to earn it.

Jason (9:54:29 PM): QUESTION: Adam from Ilinois. What will you do to repay the money in the social security trust fund?
John (9:54:40 PM): They found someone who is not a blonde co-ed to re-ask the debt question.
Jason (9:56:00 PM): I guess Mitt Romney will pay down the debt with empty platitudes!
Glynnis (9:56:06 PM): Here's everything you won't be able to watch should Fred Thompson get nominated.
Glynnis (9:56:20 PM): Vote accordingly.

Jason (9:56:46 PM): QUESTION: Steven Nielson from Denver. What is your vision for human space exploration? Jason (9:56:56 PM): Wait for the Kucinich joke. John (9:57:02 PM): Did he just say the "Mars Society"? Glynnis (9:57:43 PM): Huckabee is very reassuring...even when he's talking about Mars. Rachel (9:57:16 PM): Hell, he'll take the Mars vote too! John (9:58:24 PM): Huckabee: "Put Hillary on the first rocket to Mars." The biggest cheer for Huckabee's dumbest joke yet. Jason (9:58:26 PM): Tancredo: We can only spend money on border security. Rachel (9:58:56 PM): Martians: Illegal immigrants of the FUTURE!

Rachel (9:58:52 PM): QUESTION: David McMillan. There are conservative black Americans. But typically, black America votes Democrat. Why aren't African Americans voting for the GOP? John (9:59:26 PM): Anderson sends the question to Rudy. Hmmm... Rudy, why do you suppose black people don't vote for you? Jason (10:00:08 PM): Rudy: Black people=people on welfare. John (10:00:29 PM): Well there you go. Glynnis (10:00:35 PM): Giuliani moved "most" of the people off welfare...the rest went to Queens maybe? Jason (10:00:44 PM): Utica, actually. Jason (10:00:58 PM): Long Island City. Piscataway. Jason (10:01:15 PM): Huckabee will be second black president. Rachel (10:01:41 PM): Ouch on the follow up question....

Jason (10:01:42 PM): QUESTION: Leroy Brooks. What does the Confederate Flag mean to you?
John (10:01:45 PM): Leroy is lettin' it all hang out.
Glynnis (10:02:08 PM): The questioner wants to know if the candidates were fans of the Dukes of Hazzard.
John (10:02:09 PM): Bo and Luke forever.
Jason (10:02:43 PM): Hey! Romney and I agree on something? I think Edwards' "Two Americas" message is garbage as well!
Jason (10:03:01 PM): Send your hate mail to, America.
Jason (10:03:32 PM): Fred Thompson thinks that flag honors "various servicepeople?"
John (10:03:52 PM): The grey side of the chess set, presumably.

Jason (10:05:01 PM): QUESTION: Hank Campbell: Who among the candidates will articulate the sacrifices we need to make to repair America's infrastructure?
Jason (10:05:21 PM): Side note: No questions on the environment so far tonight.
Rachel (10:05:31 PM): That's because the environment is fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!
Glynnis (10:05:38 PM): Giuliani says it will take a village of presidents to solve America's fiscal crisis.
Jason (10:06:39 PM): What did Ron Paul's answer even mean?
John (10:07:05 PM): How did Ron Paul get from bridges falling down to "getting the government off our backs and out of our wallets"? I'm dizzy.
Rachel (10:07:23 PM): Nevertheless, he knows an applause line.
Jason (10:07:37 PM): Rudy is right. The line item veto IS unconstitutional.
Glynnis (10:07:54 PM): It's seven minutes after ten.
Rachel (10:07:59 PM): They are SO taking advantage of the fact that there is no new TV to watch.

Jason (10:08:17 PM): QUESTION: Mark Strauss, Davenport. Will you run as an independent?
Jason (10:08:24 PM): Ron Paul: No.
Glynnis (10:08:49 PM): Ron Paul wants to make it clear that he's NOT independent, he's a Republican.
John (10:09:08 PM): Ron Paul had lots of people show up at his rally... "With blacks!"
Glynnis (10:09:18 PM): Anderson needs to shut this show down.

Jason (10:09:58 PM): LAST Question: Chris Krul: Do you like diamonds or pearls? Glynnis (10:10:01 PM): Nah, this beat the diamond and pearls finale. Why did Giuliani root for the Red Sox? Rachel (10:10:21 PM): Totally germane, actually. He called Hillary Clinton on professing to be a Yankees fan, and if he's ever accused anyone of flip-flopping, then he damn well better answer this. John (10:10:36 PM): I am a baseball fan. I know hundreds of baseball fans. I have never in my life met an "American League" fan. Glynnis (10:10:59 PM): Noun, verb, 9/11. And now Giuliani is taking credit for the Yankee's championships. Jason (10:11:11 PM): American League fans are BS. The designated hitter is BS. Cardinals, baby! Rachel (10:11:41 PM): This was a bad final question for Giuliani - what he did managed to piss off Yankees fans AND Red Sox fans.

Rachel (10:11:41 PM): Takeaways, people?
Jason (10:12:24 PM): I think that the storyline is going to be: "Romney got schooled."
Glynnis (10:12:54 PM): YouTube was the loser here. Just like Phil said, the videos were extraneous.
John (10:12:57 PM): Right at the get-go there?
Glynnis (10:13:28 PM): I think that Huckabee came off as the most reasonable candidate by far.
Jason (10:13:36 PM): Glynnis: couldn't agree more.
Rachel (10:13:46 PM): Huckabee really shone here, between the Bible question, his effective spinning of the capital punishment question into a positive, and his general poise and unflappability. And the crowd's reaction underscored that. Probably won't get the nomination, but don't count him out for VP. And everyone looks more presidential after being VP....
Glynnis (10:13:54 PM): John McCain had a few good zingers, particularly on torture, that will probably make the recaps tomorrow.
Rachel (10:14:06 PM): But the problem with McCain is that he is on the fringes of the action. He's the wise elder here — and his smackdown of Romney over torture was impressive and incontrovertible — but still, he just doesn't have the mojo. He and Edwards, man. They left an essential ingredient behind in their last runs, and it may have been their last runs.

John (10:14:23 PM): Huckabee looked good overall, and had a few nice moments -- which count for a lot in the media coverage.
Rachel (10:14:26 PM): Yes, the reply counts for a great deal. Reaches more eyeballs than the debate. Ditto the spin - that is where Hillary's drivers-licence-for-illegals gaffe got magnified and blown up.
Jason (10:14:34 PM): Romney got jumped from the get-go, yes. But he got beaten up throughout. By McCain, Huckabee. They made him look very small, very weak, very meek.
Glynnis (10:15:06 PM): But, top story, as Jason says, is definitely Romney's "illegal help." If he can't figure out who's working for him in his home, should he be running the country?
John (10:15:45 PM): Nobody looked particularly strong tonight, certainly not Rudy.
John (10:16:43 PM): Romney had a few strong moments in that initial exchange, but he undercut himself too often, spent too much time apologizing and waffling.
Jason (10:16:56 PM): I'm throwing my support behind Brigadier General Keith Kerr.
Glynnis (10:17:01 PM): On the flip side, none of the main candidates looked like maniacs either.
John (10:18:00 PM): By the way, did we get through this whole debate with not a single word about health care?
Jason (10:18:10 PM): I believe so!
Jason (10:18:46 PM): And nothing on the environment.
John (10:19:03 PM): Hm. Other than Ron Paul and McCain, who are working opposite sides of the issue, I don't think anyone else volunteered anything about Iraq, either.
John (10:19:46 PM): The environment? Well, that's no big deal. Heck, they hardly had time to talk about the Mars mission.
John (10:20:57 PM): It's a good point, though. When you ask Americans what's on their minds, you do hear immigration, but you also hear health care, Iraq, and energy policy a whole lot too.
John (10:21:15 PM): Maybe when you ask YouTube, you get something a little different.
Jason (10:21:44 PM): But not different enough to warrant the use of YouTube.
Glynnis (10:25:47 PM): I feel like the use of YouTube in these debates is so whitewashed as to make the format useless.
Glynnis (10:26:51 PM): Nothing so new here except the rhetoric seemed a bit toned down all around and Hillary was only the butt of two jokes.
Glynnis (10:27:40 PM): Otherwise, sorry not to see the snowman.


Question 1: Goofy song.

Question 2: Will you make America a 'sanctuary city' country?

3. Will you pledge to veto amnesty for illegal immigrants?

4. With immigration reform failing, will I have a job?

5. Lower college tuition rates - military families or illegals?

6. Do you believe in a conspiracy to make a new union?

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7. What measures will you take to tackle the national debt?

8. What are the top three federal programs you would cut?

9. Do you support a 'Fair Tax'?

10. Will you pledge never to raise taxes?

11. Will you eliminate farm subsidies?

12. How will you keep lead-laced toys out of my home?

13. What is your opinion on gun control?

14. Do you believe in a required written exam for gun ownership?

15. How many guns do you own?

16. What will you do to reduce crime in the inner cities?

17. If abortion is illegal, what should the punishment be?

18. Would you sign a federal abortion ban?

19. On the Death Penalty, what would Jesus do?

21. How would you repair the image of America in the Muslim world?

22. Is waterboarding torture?

23. Will you make a permanent commitment to the people of Iraq?

24. Is your campaign exploiting 9/11?

25. Should Vice-President Dick Cheney have so much power?

26. A gay Brigadier General asks a question

27. Do you accept the support of log cabin republicans?

28. Will you repay the $2 trillion borrowed from Social Security

29. What is your vision for human space exploration?

30. Why don't many African-Americans vote Republican?

31. What does the "stars and bars" flag represent?

32. How can we repair the infrastructure of America?

33. Mr. Paul, are you going to run as an independent?

34. Yankees vs. Red Soxs