Posted on | February 22, 2012 | 47 Comments
10:05 p.m. ET: It’s over. I actually nodded off for a few minutes there. The important thing, I think, is that Santorum was in the cross-hairs all night, and didn’t really sustain any serious damage.
9:27 p.m. ET: Newt Gingrich talks Iran and Ahmadinejad.
9:25 p.m. ET: Santorum reminds us that we have civilian control of the military for a reason. He escapes damage on a question that was specifically aimed at him.
9:23 p.m. ET: Remember when “Your mother wears combat boots” was a put-down? I’m just sayin’ …
9:18 p.m. ET: Another commerical break.
9:12 p.m. ET: Newt talks about border control.
9:10 p.m. ET: Mitt is an E-Verify evangelical.
9:08 p.m. ET: Newt talks fences and illegal immigration.
9:04 p.m. ET: Santorum: “RomneyCare!” Romnney: “Arlen Specter!” That was good, wasn’t it?
8:58 p.m. ET: When Ron Paul accuses Santorum of voting for Planned Parenthood funding. Santorum explains that this was actually a vote for the appropriations bill for the entire Department of Health and Human Services.
8:56 p.m. ET: Newt Gingrich sounds an awful lot like Ron Paul on this “government coercion” stuff. So how come when Ron Paul says it, he’s treated like a radical extremist?
8:54 p.m. ET: Mitt Romney sounds an awful lot like Rick Santorum on this “family values” stuff. So how come when Santorum says it, he’s treated like a radical extremist?
8:50 p.m. ET: Rick Santorum name-checks Charles Murray and talks about out-of-wedlock births.
8:48 p.m. ET: Mitt defends the right of conscience against Barack Obama.
8:46 p.m. ET: CNN asks about contraception and gets booed. Newt takes on the elite media and gets cheered.
8:45 p.m. ET: We’re back from commercial, during which here in Ohio we saw another Rick Santorum commercial.
8:40 p.m. ET: Santorum defends himself, and then Newt slams UAW. So if you’re UAW . . . vote Santorum!
8:38 p.m. ET: Mitt slams the UAW.
8:36 p.m. ET: Rick rips Mitt on bailouts. Mitt begins his response, “First, let’s look at the facts.” Which means he’s about to lie.
8:32 p.m. ET: Newt just made Mitt look like an idiot.
8:28 p.m. ET: Mitt admits that he sought earmarks for the Salt Lake City Olympics, which he compares to the “Bridge to Nowhere.”
8:27 p.m. ET: Rick Santorum defends earmarking.
8:24 p.m. ET: Newt Gingrich takes a question and turns it into a lecture.
8:22 p.m. ET: Mitt Romney defends his claim to be a “severe conservative.”
8:20 p.m. ET: Santorum mentions this Weekly Standard article that defends his record as a fiscal conservative.
8:17 p.m. ET: John King lobs a softball to Ron Paul, inviting him to repeat his attack-ad arguments against Santorum.
8:16 p.m. ET: We’re a quarter-hour into the debate before Newt gets a chance to speak. He wants to balance the budget by opening federal lands to oil exploration.
8:14 p.m. ET: Santorum comes right back at Romney, which means Romney gets a chance to rebut.
8:12 p.m. ET: On his first question, Santorum draws cheers for saying he wants to end ObamaCare. Then it’s Mitt Romney’s turn, and he opens with attack-ad chatter against Santorum.
8:06 p.m. ET: National anthem sang by Arizona State University symphonic chorale. Classical, not all Whitney Houston-like.
8:04 p.m. ET: Moderator John King introduces the candidates. I heard a rumor today that the Romney campaign was trying to pack the audience with their supporters.
** PREVIOUSLY (7:31 p.m. ET) **
My brother-in-law just brought me a Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat, and I’m ready to live-blog tonight’s CNN Arizona debate, which Howard Kurtz previews:
When Santorum takes the stage Wednesday night, the glare of the spotlight will be unusually harsh.
CNN: Satan’s Cable News Network!
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin’s in Rick’s corner:
Look for the liberal CNN debate “moderators” tonight to force their frame around Santorum.
And look for Santorum to cheerfully cast off their narrow-minded narrative and do the same thing he’s done successfully to challenge Mitt Romney’s front-runner status:
Offer no apology for his social conservatism, while sticking to his core fiscal conservative attacks on the Obama White House . . .
Read the rest. I should perhaps explain why I’m in Ohio instead of Arizona. I got credentialed for the debate, and had hoped to fly out, but transportation plans fell through. So I decided instead to drive to Michigan, and stopped here at my wife’s sister’s house for the night, where the debate blogging will begin at 8 p.m.
UPDATE II: Steve Eggleston has details of today’s Wisconsin poll showing Santorum ahead of Mitt Romney by 16 points.
BTW, in the past 15 minutes here in Ohio, I’ve seen two Rick Santorum ads on CNN.
UPDATE III: Barbara Espinosa is at the debate in Mesa. This is the 20th nationally televised Republican debate and may very well be the last this year.