Debate. Florida. Tonight. 6:00 pm local time.
This one could be an earth scorcher.
Consider this. The past couple of weeks of polls have had Romney leading Gingrich by double digits in Florida. Today, there were two new polls released, and Gingrich leads Romney by +8 and +9.
Romney needs to do something different—that could be quite interesting.
Gingrich needs to not screw up, yet remain on the attack. He needs to show is fangs, but probably not bite anyone but the media.
Santorum and Paul are there for the shits and giggles.
I’ll live blog when I can, but I may have a couple of interruptions.
Live stream is at NBC here.
6:08: Mitt comes out attacking Gingrich…but he is using too much, too soon. Clearly, when it come to attacking, Mitt is a novice.
6:10: Newt says Mitt is “a lousy historian.” Yeah…I’ll bet Mitt never earned a monthly “retainer” of $25000 to $30000 to serve as an “historian.”
6:12: I think Rick Santorum is saying something.
6:14: Ron Paul, “The delegates is what counts.”
6:16: Will Ron Paul run as a 3rd party candidate. “No plans to do that.”
6:18: Mitt on what is controversial in his tax returns: “No surprises.” “But the real question is the American people…”taxes too intrusive”, “lower tax rates”, “pro-growth tax policy”, blah, blah, blah.
6:21: Priceless: Newt gets Romney to volunteer that under his (Newt’s) tax plan, Mitt would have paid zippo, zilch, zero tax (’cause his income is all capital gains).
6:24: I think Santorum just burbled something.
6:25: Seriously…Santorum is almost incomprehensible tonight. He’s pullin’ a Perry.
6:26: Newt defends his $25,000 to $30,000 PER MONTH “historical consulting” retainer: We had a consultant come in and tell us the fine line between lobbying and citizen activism.
6:30: The debate briefly spirals out of control with Newt and Mitt arguing back and forth. Perhaps the moderators have fallen asleep?
6:32: Mitt thinks influence peddling is “not right.” I am sure he will shut down K-street should he become preznit.
6:37: Rick Santorum’s “Free Market”: let the banks fail, but help people get out from being underwater. Ron Paul’s “Free Market”: let the banks fail, and let people fail.
6:41: Newt: “Repeal Dodd–Frank and the economy will recover overnight.” Ummm….didn’t the economy tank—and remain tanked—before Dodd–Frank was passed?!?
6:44: Mitt, “The President has taken a VERY DANGEROUS PATH with regard to Cuba.” WTF?!?
6:44: Newt: Fidel Castro is going to hell.
6:45: Paul: “The Cold War is over!” “I don’t know why all the Cubans are so intimidating.”
6:47: Santorum: “Sanctions in Cuba should continue until the Castros are dead.” WTF?!?
6:48: Santorum seems to be claiming that Cuba has become a platform for Jihad. Perhaps he believes “Jihad” is waged by all people with darkish skin.
6:49: Mitt, again, claims that the “Navy is smaller than any time since 1917.” Politifact: Pants on Fire.
7:00: Santorum gets all scaremongery over Iran. Still…no evidence that they are developing a nuclear weapon.
7:02: Santorum: Pipelines and off-shore rigs are the safest way to transport oil. I guess that works…if we live in the Middle East.
7:03: Newt tries to justify is lunatic rantings about the need for English as an Official Language. Sure…that will solve the problem.
7:04: Mitt agrees. Paul…let the States decide what is best for them.
7:06: Newt and Mitt: Dream Act for foreign mercenaries Only!
7:08: Mitt relies on people “self-deport[ing]” when they are dying of hunger.
7:09: Newt on sugar, “In an ideal world you would have an open market”…but I couldn’t do anything about it. I tried.
7:11: Mitt: Just get rid of sugar subsidies.
7:11: Mitt: “Everything Obama has done has made it worse for Florida.”
7:19: Did Historian Newt just mis-remember the Terry Schaivo case? I think Newt said her husband wanted her to live.
7:21: Mitt wants NASA to be a collaboration between government, private business, and our educational institutions. Wait…isn’t that what’s going on right now?
8:03: I was in there up to 7:25—the final break. I was “on” for dinner, so during the breaks I was running out to the kitchen to prepare enchiladas.
Newt wins. He made no gaffes. He weaseled his way out of questions about his past ethics violations and failed House leadership.
Mitt isn’t very good on the attack—to me, his attempts fell flat.
What we have here, folks, is a two way race that is nearly tied: Mitt, the rich boy who desperately wants to be President and Newt, the self-confessed smartest man in the world, who knows the position needs him.