Our favorite line about Newt Gingrich is that he’s a stupid guy’s idea of what a smart guy sounds like. And sure enough, his Towering Intellect is a major factor in Newt’s Not-Mitt Surge: Finally, somebody who can take on that empty-suit teleprompter jockey!

Never mind that the Teleprompter Jockey handily faced down a room of dimwit Republican congresscritters a couple years back. If you’ve forgotten how joyous that was, don’t worry, you’ll remember next fall.

But for now, join us in our GOP Debate Open Thread/Newtapalooza. In Newt’s America, we’ll all be cleaning toilets.


Guess I should have checked first whether the Sandy Eggo ABC station is running it live…

@nojo: Nor in LA, although “Pimp My Ride” is showing.

Diane Sawyer: How adorable that Iowa takes voting seriously!

Diane: How adorable that candidates take campaigning seriously!

@Dodgerblue: There might be some Yahoo app the handles it. I’m sticking to the laptop.

Diane’s very voice is soft-focus.

@nojo: A question that never crossed my mind here in DC.

Diane’s opening question: How many jobs will you create, and how soon will you do it?

It’s slow-pitch softball night!

@mellbell: I’ve never seen SNL live, either. Starting in 1975.

Crazy Eyes offers a “Win-Win-Win Plan”, playing off 9-9-9.

And speaking of 1975, “WIN” will always have another meaning to me.

@nojo: Ha. I wasn’t even thinking of time zones (though that’s true), but rather that a DC affiliate would never pass on running this thing.

Diane’s complaining that only Mittens pulled a job-creation number out of his ass.

As always, I refuse to watch. Catching up on the current season of Fringe … I am relying on you guys to describe the more excruciating moments.

@mellbell: In fairness, they may actually get more viewers here on tape delay. But still: No fun.

Crazy Eyes bitches that payroll-tax holiday harms Social Security Trust Fund. Doesn’t mention $106,000 SS tax cap. Will Diane?

Mitt complains about “Obama Economy”, doesn’t mention Republicans blocking every move. Will Diane?

What is George Stephanolopopopolis’s nickname? Munchkin?

Twice now Romney has glossed over the fact that he ever left the private sector. Interesting.

Anybody who doesn’t challenge candidates on the SS payroll cap is a fucking hack. But that’s not news.

Munchkin: “Which of you is better able to defeat President Obama?”

The softballs are flying!

Mitten: Unlike Newt, I’m not in favor of moon mining.

Lunar environmentalist!

Newt to Mittens: “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is that you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.”

Oh, it’s on.

@nojo: Because no one is going to accuse Fox of carrying water for the Left.

Newt defends moon mining. This issue hasn’t received enough attention.

Mittens is pushing the Lundegaardometer to 7. 8 is the danger zone.

Mittens: “Losing to Teddy Kennedy is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

And many, many others.

Munchkin to Ron Paul: “Why do you think Speaker Gingrich is a hypocrite?”

Okay, questions getting more fun.

@mellbell: I really like Snuffleupagus, but Munchkin is easier to type in a hurry.

Newt claims “private-sector” experience. At $60,000 a speech.

Crazy Eyes says Mittens introduced “socialized medicine” to Massachusetts.

Also says Newt has supported individual mandate longer than Obama.

“Newt Romney”, she’s chanting. Tim Pawlenty weeps.

Bachmann has been a businesswoman since she was five?

Crazy Eyes did her homework. She’s on the attack.

@nojo: You forgot about the vanity books, he’s built a business empire on this.

Mittens: “I know Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich is a friend of mine. But he and I are not clones.”

Not quite as quotable as the original, but We Are Not Clones is a great bumper-sticker.

Deranger Rick: “Who can stand on the stage, look Obama in the eye…”

Sorry. Couldn’t hear the rest over my chortling.

Mittens to Deranger Rick: “You had a mandate in your state… You wanted to give young girls a vaccine.”

Slow start, but this is getting fun.

Newt grants that the Mandate was a “conservative” answer to HillaryCare. But isn’t that the point?

Mittens wants to bet Deranger Rick “ten thousand bucks”. Call it a Wealthy Gentleman’s Bet.

For ten thousand bucks, I want a night with your wife.

Frothy Mix says Crazy Eyes “has been fighting and losing. I fought and won.”

Santorum says Gingrich “strayed” from his conservative values — Freudian slip?

Crazy Eyes says “I will take on K Street”. Where did all the populists come from?

Commercial break! Everybody to your corners!

Yahoo talking head says Mittens is “relaxed”. Like I’m relaxed after four coffees.

Sport TJ:
Andrew Luck of The Tree was the runner-up a second year in a row for the Heisman. Luckily the LSU/Alabama nominees split the southern/eastern vote, and the adorable RGIII from Baylor wins the statue. If Luck had to be bridesmaid for a second time, I’m glad it’s to the other QB from a Texas high school.

/back to your political marathon of Nojo’s masochism

@SanFranLefty: But it hurts so good. Certainly a tonic after Huckabee’s snoozefest.

And, we’re back — with the “marital fidelity” question!

Deranger Rick: a “vow to God… is even stronger than a handshake in Texas.”

Also: “If you cheat on your life, you’ll cheat on your business partner.”

Santorum now answering the question. Why the camera isn’t slowly zooming in on Newt is beyond me.

Third up: Ron Paul. Cutaway to Newt looking for a quick exit.

Ron Paul somehow turns the question to the Fed. Foul ball!

Mitt claims he wants a “merit-based society”. I agree. Can it be retroactive?

Fifth up: Crazy Eyes.

Newt: “I’ve made mistakes at times. I’ve had to go to God for forgiveness… I’m also a 68-year-old grandfather.”

Diane’s back, asks Newt about “Citizen Review Boards” for illegal immigrants: What’s the cutoff point?

Newt again says it’s based on the Draft — Selective Service boards. Newt, by the way, spent the Sixties with an education exemption.

Let me finish that sentence for you, Newt: “…unless their name is Elian Gonzalez.”

Mittens is all for deporting eleven million people. But nicely.

Will anybody mention the record number of deportations under Obama? No?

Munchkin brings up Newt calling Palestinians an “invented people”.

@nojo: No, because if the candidates say that, then the people will recognize Obama as a better Republican, and they will help reelect him. Hence, the desperate clinging to the Kenyan Mooslim meme.

Ron Paul: “Under the Ottoman power, that is correct.” Well, there goes the entire Middle East.

Newt: It’s time somebody had the guts to agree with AIPAC down the line.

@matador1015: I know it’s an old story, but it does get tiresome listening to the media connive with wingnut talking points.

I’m waiting for someone to call Begun a terorrist.

Newt and Mittens are both Close Personal Friends of Bibi.

Bibi, not Bebe. This remark brought to you by 1973.

Crazy Eyes mentions her kibbutz experience. Which, as Jon Stewart pointed out, makes her a socialist sympathizer.

Deranger Rick says Obama’s foreign policy is “muddled”. And Deranger Rick knows from muddle.

Deranger Rick: Obama “had two choices. Actually, he had three.”

(About the drone in Iran, but never mind that.)

Is Yahoo related to Bibi Netanyahu?

Commercial break! No winners, but Newt and Mittens are losing.

Yahoo’s streaming panel says Newt handled the divorce question well, because he’s matured with age. At 68 — with Divorce #2 in his late Fifties — I’m not sure you get the Youthful Indiscretion exemption.

Internet question: When’s the last time you were dirt poor?

Deranger Rick: No running water until age 5. Let’s just close the bidding right there.

Also: “As a 27-year-old boy — well, I was a grown man by then.”

Mittens: “I didn’t grow up poor… but I grew up with a dad who had been poor.”

Don’t know anything about George, so I’ll have to let that slide.

Crazy Eyes: the banks “socialized their losses”. Once again, populism intrudes.

Wow. I actually agree with Santorum on something. A two-parent household is a luxury.

Newt: “Gingrich Productions… is a very small company.”

Dammit, where’s my intern when I need him?

Full disclosure: I didn’t have cable or color TV until I was ten.

@nojo: This is all so scary to me…at least 1/2 of the country thinks at least one of these guys is fit to be president.Roll the dice.

Commericial break! Temperatures have cooled. Alas.

@texrednface: If it’s any solace, half the country has been batshit crazy for a long time.

Yahoo talking head calls it “the most substantive debate so far”. Yahoo talking head is a blithering idiot.

@nojo: How the fuck can anyone get solace out of that? I live in a state where that figure is pretty neat 99%.

Somehow, Donna Brazile has shown up on the Yahoo panel. Is she not chattering for CNN anymore?

@texrednface: Well, nothing new. At least nothing new since 1980.

And, we’re back. Diane: Why can’t we all disagree nicely?

Go fuck yourself, Diane.

@nojo: We are about the same age, and I didn’t have color TV until I moved out.

So: Say something polite about your opponent. Frothy Mix: Newt is somebody whose “tapes I listened to as a young man.”

That would be brilliant if he intended it.

The Unasked Question: Would anybody like to say something nice about Obama?

Does “plain Spoken” mean talking out yer ass?

And, scene! By the grace of God, I hope I never have to listen to Diane Sawyer again.

Fred thompson hawking a federally backed “reverse mortgage loan commercial in my area.

@nojo: When I was about 11 years old my dad brought home yet another in a series of B&W TVs … when the coast was clear I unscrewed the back, removed a component or two, and flushed them down the toilet. He returned the TV but did not return with a color TV, just another B&W. Granted, the man was color-blind, but did we have to suffer?

@texrednface: Here in Sandy Eggo, we get Robert Wagner hawking cars. Which is really, really sad.

@blogenfreude: ⟨andyrooney⟩Remember tubes?⟨/andyrooney⟩

I’m old enough to remember when GOP candidates didn’t sound like the crazy aunt/uncle in the attic. Was that so long ago?

CNN: Peter Gabriel is bald and grey.

Sorry. Waiting to see if the cable chatterers are awake.

@matador1015: I’d have to say 1976. Or Bush I, before he capitulated in 1980.

When asked about fidelity did Rick Perry at least tell them that in these parts Calista would still be called a home wrecker?

Matthew Dowd has crowned Newt the nominee.

MSNBC: Prisons!

CNN: Larry King!

Me: Pod F. Tompkast!

@nojo: One day I will buy a MacIntosh amp like I had so many years ago, along w/ a TEAC reel-to-reel and a B&O turntable like the one I dropped … tubes indeed. Speakers? Dunno – maybe those Electro-Voice big ones I remember from my youth …

@texrednface: Well, there’s a final pre-caucus debate Thursday — on Fox — but it does look like it’s Newt’s to lose at this point. Mitt has never broken out of his 22 percent rut, and there’s nowhere else for the anti-Mitt vote to turn. Plus, anecdotal evidence suggests that wingnuts really like his combativeness.

I’m not sure what Newt could do to blow it. All his problems are baked into the price.

Demrats, of course, are spewing genetic material with glee all over the walls.

@nojo: But I can’t remember the third one.

@nojo: Whenever Diane Sawyer appears, I remember that her first claim to fame was working for Ron Ziegler.

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