Ames, Iowa—Good evening from Ames Iowa, the home of this Saturday’s key Republican presidential straw poll, and tonight’s equally important Fox News/Washington Examiner debate.
By far the most significant developments tonight were the heated exchanges between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann.
We’ll be live-blogging the action all night, so click here, or refresh the page for the latest. (Note: All times below CDT)
10:02pm | Some quick thoughts:
The Bachmann-Pawlenty feud was ugly, but probably hurt Bachmann more. Pawlenty showed some life on stage, but didn’t seem to connect with the audience.
Huntsman fell flat — yet again — and his campaign needs help.
Santorum criticised Paul instead of Perry, meaning Perry — who wasn’t here — got a free pass.
Romney rose above the fray, and directed almost all his criticism to Obama.
Cain didn’t repeat his stellar May performance, and Gingrich seemed way out of touch.
10:02pm | That’s it for the debate.
9:56pm | Closing statements.
Santorum pushes his Iowa credentials.
Cain says American needs a “leader and a uniter” says he will get the economy moving.
Paul restates his belief in liberty and opposition to wars and the fed. Mentions return to gold standard.
Romney uses his final minute to criticise President Obama. Says “to create jobs it is helpful to have had a job.”
Bachmann plugs the straw poll, calls for voters to send a message to Obama
Pawlenty says the nation is blessed, but has responsibilities that must be met.
Huntsman says he will run on solutions, not hope.
Gingrich says “we are in a crisis now.” Calls for Congress to get back to DC to repeal Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley.
9:54pm | Huntsman stands up for the debt deal.
He says Speaker Boehner should be complimented for his proposal. “This nation should never default.”
9:50pm | Santorum criticises Bachmann.
Says vote against the debt limit is “showmanship not leadership.”
9:47pm | Gingrich calls for an audit of the Fed.
Says it’s a “scandal” that their decisions and discussions are secret.
9:42pm | Bachmann on not raising the debt ceiling:
“It was very important not to raise the debt ceiling.”
Bachmann cites S&P downgrade as vindicating her position on not raising the debt limit
9:41pm | Huntsman sidesteps question on overseas jobs.
Calls for regulatory reform to restart American manufacturing industry.
9:40pm | Romney calls for reform of unemployment system.
Wants personal accounts.
9:39pm | Back to the economy.
9:35pm | All candidates but Huntsman and Paul support a federal marriage amendment.
Bachmann: I have an unblemished record on man-woman marriage.
9:33pm | Huntsman spends more time saying he is running on his record than explaining what that record is.
Stands by his support for civil unions.
9:30pm | Asked if she would be “submissive” to her husband as President, Bachmann says submission means respect, and that she and her husband have mutual respect.
The question from the Examiner’s Byron York drew boos from the audience.
9:09pm | Huntsman says cyber attacks are acts of war.
Huntsman: “I think it would be a great thing to have a President of the United States who knew something about China”
9:04pm | All of the candidates are being soft with Perry.
Everyone is praising him.
He does praise Perry’s job creation record in Texas.
8:53pm | Romney on individual mandate.
Asked about support for individual mandate “Are you familiar with the MA constitution? I am.” Says states can force buy-in, but federal government can.
8:50pm | Pawlenty vs. Romney.
Obamneycare round 2… Pawlenty says “I don’t want to miss that chance again”
Says he’s proud to use the term again tonight.
Romney says “I preferred his answer in the last debate.”
Doesn’t bode well for the Super Committee
8:44pm | Bachmann and Pawlenty trade barbs over the tax.
Bachmann voted for it, claims it was because the bill added more pro-life protections. Pawlenty says that’s not why she voted for it.
Pawlenty: her answer is illogical
8:39pm | Romney asked about his Mass. record of raising taxes.
I don’t believe in raising taxes. As governor I cut taxes 19 times.
Romney says Obama “doesn’t know how to lead, and he doesn’t know how to grow the economy.”
He hangs his hat on the having his state’s debt upgraded by S&P when he was in office. Contrasts to Obama.
Says “America has got to learn to take a joke.”
Cain: “We can have good fences and wide open doors all at the same time.”
8:33pm | Huntsman on illegal immigration:
He says he will prove that we can secure the border before any talk of amnesty.
Mentions that he is anti-abortion, pro-second amendment. Still trying to introduce himself to voters.
8:32pm | Cain asked if he “knows enough” to be President.
He says he knows more about the issues now, that he did a few months ago. Says some of his statements have been taken out of context.
8:29pm | Huntsman asked about his record.
Chris Wallace says some say Huntsman is running for President of the wrong party.
Says he’d “take to the grave” serving his country when asked.
Huntsman says he is proud to run on his record. Will bring Utah policies to US Quick twitter reaction is that Huntsman is not connecting.
8:27pm | Gingrich asked about his campaign mismanagement.
Gingrich says Reagan’s campaign had staff quit, says Fox should leave aside “gotcha questions” if he leaves aside talking points.
Gingrich engages in media criticism. Says too much inside baseball, not enough coverage of Obama’s policies.
8:23pm | Romney says he and Cain are the only candidates who understand the private sector.
“If you want someone who understand the private sector you have to choose one of us.
8:21pm | Pawlenty responds.
Says Bachmann has record of misstatements.
Pawlenty says to Bachmann: “Please stop, because you’re killing us”
8:19pm | Bachmann fires back:
Bachmann on Pawlenty’s record: “That sounds a lot more like Barack Obama to me.”
Says he said “the era of small government is over.”
In fact he says she has no record.
He promises to cook dinner for anyone who can find Obama’s specific plan on economic issues.
He then fires a shot at Romney’s wealth, saying he would also mow their lawns, but “In Mitt’s case I’d limit it to one acre.”
8:12pm | Gingrich is the first to invoke Reagan.
Notes that Reagan pushed tax cuts through a divided government. Says he could do the same.
8:11pm | Asked where his economic plan is, Huntsman says it’s coming:
“The plan you will find on our website — it is coming.”
He adds: I will do for US what I did for Utah
8:05pm | Romney asked why he was AWOL during the debt ceiling debate.
He says he signed the Cut, Cap and Balance on June 30 and stuck by that.
He says he doesn’t like the final deal adding: “I wont eat Barack Obama’s dog food.”
That’s how Fox News anchor and debate moderator Bret Baier introduces the debate. He encourages the candidates to put aside the talking points.
8:01pm | Answers will be limited to 1 minute.
We doubt they’ll stick to it, but we’ll see.
7:59pm | Here we go.
The candidates are all on stage.
7:45pm | 15 minutes to showtime.
7:23pm | The media files in.
We watch the same feed you do on the jumbo-tron. After the debate is over, campaign staff and party operatives will flood the room to “spin” the media coverage of the debate.
[credit provider=”Business Insider”]
7:00pm | We’re one hour away from the start of the debate.
The national press corps is here, as are the candidates.
6:49pm | It’s the economy stupid.
After last week’s debt ceiling vote, the S&P downgrade, and this week’s market volatility, we’re expecting a host of questions dealing with economic and fiscal issues tonight.
6:12pm | Texas Governor Rick Perry is gearing up to announce his candidacy on Saturday.
He will be in Iowa on Sunday, missing the straw poll, though a draft-Perry write-in movement is in effect.
(Not to be confused with Stephen Colbert’s “Draft Rick Parry” movement.)
6:09pm | The candidates are rolling in now.
The eight contenders participating tonight are:
- Michele Bachmann
- Herman Cain
- Newt Gingrich
- Jon Huntsman*
- Ron Paul
- Tim Pawlenty
- Mitt Romney*
- Rick Santorum
Romney and Huntsman are sitting out Saturday’s straw poll.
5:50pm | What we’re looking at:
Some photos of the media centre / spin room:
[credit provider=”Business Insider”]
[credit provider=”Business Insider”]
5:49pm | White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on what he wants to hear from the people trying to take his boss’ job:
Speaking to the press aboard Air Force One today, he said: “What I’m curious about is whether or not anyone participating in the debate tonight will have any concrete proposals for growing the economy and creating jobs that aren’t retread ideas that didn’t work in the past.”