8:15: Rick Perry is the Tim Tebow.
8:20: Ron Paul identifies 2 factions in Congress: those who are for welfare and those who are for warfare. (He's against both.)
8:22: Listening to Huntsman, I blurt out: "He'd be a great candidate if only he hadn't worked in the Obama administration." He just can't get any respect. It's kind of sad! He was reelected governor with 80% of the vote. He's used to being immensely popular, so it must be bewildering not to get any traction. And yet, he knows exactly what his problem is. Too bad... perhaps for all of us.
8:25: The first commercial break. I go over to read what my son John is live-blogging:
9:07 - Rick Santorum is asked why he's doing so badly when he's spent more time in Iowa than any of the other candidates. "I'm counting on the people of Iowa to catch fire for me." He says he presents a "clear contrast" with the others because he's been a consistent conservative. If that's so clear, yet he's going nowhere, doesn't that imply that hardcore conservatism isn't the voters' top priority?(John is in the Eastern Time Zone.)
8:35: Ron Paul goes after Gingrich on government-sponsored enterprises. They're not private business. Gingrich, given a chance to defend himself, says some government-sponsored enterprises do a lot of good. Then Bachmann gets to pile on: Gingrich stands for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and "they need to be shut down."
8:45: Rick Perry seems to be trying to get in on that Ron Paul small-government magic. Perry's new thing: "Part-time Congress."
9:01: Megyn Kelly invites them to trash those terrible judges, the legislators in black robes. At one point, she insists that they all name their favorite Supreme Court Justice. Rick Perry says: "Alito, Thomas, or Roberts — pick one!" What about Scalia! Man! What happened? Scalia used to be the favorite. Next, it's Romney, and he recites: "Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Scalia," then almost giggles, as if to say: I did it, I named all the conservative Justices!
9:02: Gingrich agrees about those 4 Justices, then chooses Scalia, because he's "the most intellectual." Hmmm, maybe that's why Scalia didn't rate with Perry.
9:03: Ron Paul says: "All of them are good and all of them are bad." And Bachmann puts Scalia at the top of her list, then adds the other 3: Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. Huntsman gives a little homily about the rule of law... then picks Roberts and Alito.
9:10: "A foreign policy based on 'pretty please,' you've got to be kidding." Romney mocks Obama's request that Iran return our drone.
9:21: "I'm very concerned about trying not to be zany," says Gingrich, in a reference to something Romney said the other day.
9:48: I'd like to see all of them with false eyelashes.
9:51: Gingrich would like to "eliminate abortions as a choice... defund Planned Parenthood and shift the money to pay for adoption services to give young women a choice of life rather than death." Why not eliminate the word "choice" then?
9:52: What happened to the Ronald Reagan commandment "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican?" That's the new question.
9:53: "There's an NFL player. His name doesn't come to mind, but he said if you don't get your tail kicked every now and then, you're not playing at a high enough level." Hey! That's the second time Perry dragged in football. Gratuitously. And ineptly reminding us of the way he can't remember stuff. And he wants to give "all you all" credit for letting him play at a high enough level. So he dragged in football again, quite unnecessarily, and got stuck not remembering something again.
9:54: Romney these attacks don't matter. Obama's the real opponent. Gingrich agrees: everyone on the stage is his "friend" and would be better than Barack Obama.
9:55: "I kind of like Huntsman. I think it's a shame he ruined himself by working for Obama," say I. Meade says, "I don't like him at all he's..." "Smarmy?" I volunteer. "Yeah, smarmy," says Meade. "He's a smarmdog."