Welcome to Florida, everybody! Speaker Gingrich, Governor Romney, Senator Santorum, Dr. Evol, please take your places. You’ll see we’ve laid out a swell spread of comestibles for tonight’s GOP Debate Open Thread/Pie Fight. Please, don’t be stingy. There’s much more where that came from.

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And we begin with our traditional Searching the Cable Schedule to See Whether the Sandy Eggo Network Affiliate Carries This Sucker Live.

Livestream apparently here if you or your Local NBC Station is unable to deal with it.

Attention, people in the front rows: You may want to wear ponchos to protect yourself from the splatter.

And let’s get this one out of the way: Tonight, a very special episode of Fear Factor.

They should have trap doors for these things.

Sandy Eggo NBC station bails on the live feed. Fuck them.

Bing! “Who is Saul Alinksy, Alex?”

Newt gets in a Reagan reference in the first clause of the first answer.

Newt on leaving Congress: “I didn’t want to stay around, as Nancy Pelosi has.”

That, plus a $350,000 fine.

Note: Brian Williams has cautioned the audience to shut the fuck up. Buzzkill Brian, we call him.

Mittens calls Newt “influence peddler in Washington.”

Also mentions Newt sharing couch with Pelosi in TV ad. Pelosi references: 2; Reagan: 1.

Newt calls Mittens a liar. Continuing our theme, that’s one eye-poke each. Boink!

@JNOV is like, Peace?: Not if I want another night like Friday.

I’m watching Rachel. Maybe I should be trying to get home earlier.

@nojo: Ear hair is no big deal. Did something else happen, hmmmm?

Mitt’s inner Jerry Lundegaard is coming out early — while attacking Newt. Anything other than Nationalistic Bromides gets him uppity.

Romney really has no idea how to do the attack thing does he? That Freddie Mac thing he just went through was a muddle.

@Dodgerblue: Only if KNBC is carrying it live. Sandy Eggo station is waiting until 9pm PT.

LOL, Newt asked the GOP to vote to reprimand him. Died for your sins, as it were.

Newt Gingrich: brought to you by Jesus Christ.

@Serolf Divad: If I’m coaching Obama, I’m playing close attention to how Mitt behaves on the attack, and on defense.

Come on, Mitt, Let me help you out: “Newt’s ‘I asked them to fine me’ reminds me of the underperforming employee who screams at his boss, ‘you can’t fire me because I QUIT!'” It may stroke his ego to think that, but it simply isn’t true.

What the hell is up with that set? It looks like an ante room to hell.

Frothy Mix really comes off like a bad college debator. I have visions of him hauling around cases of index cards backstage.

My bet: Santorum doesn’t attack Gingrich on the off chance that Gingrich will chose him as VP.

Ron Paul gets crazier looking with every debate, doesn’t he?

Paul leaves the door open to a third party bid.

@Serolf Divad: Nah. It’s just the question everybody asks him. He really wants to make a fuss at the convention.

My God, Brian Williams looks damn fine!

Why can’t Ron Paul buy a suit fits?

They’re all so charming. And poor Mitty looks hopelessly adrift.

I have ten grand in the bank. Would you like to know how many pennies my taxable interest amounts to?

Note on Mitt’s charitable contributions: Millions to Mormons.

I love how they’re all going to do such big things. like the Kochs would ever want that.

“You’ll see how complicated taxes can be” = “You’ll see how far my accountants have pushed the envelope in order to shelter as much of my income from taxes as possible.”

@Serolf Divad: I hear the Cayman Islands are lovely in the winter.

@nojo: it’s being mooted that he contributed a lot to Prop 8.

Mitt: “Weapons of the Left.” Drink!

Oh, Mitt, you just fucked yourself with this claim that two years of taxes is enough. WE the voters decide how much is enough. Not you.

By the way, if you read Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith ain’t stupid. Today’s panel would probably consider him a raving socialist.

Newt: “There’s a point in this process when it gets unnecessarily personal.”

Like, oh, the past four years.

Wow, Newt is rattling off a list of congressmen he never lobbied Freddy Mac on? So does that mean that it’s easier to list the congressmen he didn’t lobby than those he did?

Actual historian wage: About $60,000 at public university.

Romney should be killing Gingrich with this line of attack, but he sucks at it. Too bad for Romney.

Still watching Rachel. She has a very long neck.

@Benedick: The Mitt-Newt exchange needs music.

“I offered advice based on my knowledge of history… of Washington.” LOL!!!! Oh, Newt you are such a fucking lying piece of shit!

Newt storms the moral high ground!

“Medicare Part D is run on the free enterprise model of the government paying for your medications.”

@Serolf Divad: You can just feel Mitt’s throat constrict.

@Serolf Divad: Medicare Part D is Newt’s wink to Florida retirees.

Newt Gingrich has an astonishing ability to argue that black is really white and the moon is made of cheese.

@Benedick: I’m hearing Twentieth Century. Not sure where Imogene Coca fits in.

@Benedick: No commericals on the website feed. Suddenly silent at Stinque World Domination HQ. Except for I-5.

@nojo: Oh yeah, no doubt. But the idea that Mitt can stand there and claim that Medicare Part D is run “on the free enterprise model” is hilarious.

I guess what he means is that Republicans inserted language ensuring that the government that is paying fo these medications could not negotiate for better prices. Maybe that’s what he means by “free enterprise model.” He means “Medicare Part D is run on a model that allows drug companies to bleed to government for as much as possible.”

@Serolf Divad: Lie like you mean it. Americans love self-confidence.

What the hell is the “Florida Council of One Hundred”, and how awesome is that?

Frothy Mix: Can I make my eyes any tinier? How about now?

Rick Santorum rewriting history: Freddie and Fannie as central players in the subprime mortgage market rather than bit players.

Frothy Mix: Deduct losses, not just tax gains, from sale of home.

This is interesting, and as a lifetime renter, I have no clue. I will note that home ownership is a longstanding federal policy, and thus tax breaks for owners.

Points to anybody who mentions the inability to remove credit-card debt from bankruptcy.

Ron Paul would have allowed the entire banking sector to collapse.

Romney thinks Dodd Frank prevented the banks from renegotiating all those mortgages they were just begging to be allowed to renegotiate. LOL.

Yes, look how well the economy was doing before Dodd-Frank.

Bonus points for Glass-Steagall reference.

Holy crap, Romney is sounding like a Democrat on regulation. Capital requirements? Derivatives legislation? WTF?!

Brian Williams just killed Castro.

Hey Mitt: When Fidel Castro dies will he get to be a God over his own planet, too?

@Serolf Divad: Yes, the Rimshot Button still works.

Obama has failed on Cuba because he hasn’t yet launched another Bay of Pigs.

America needs Cuba’s auto-repair squad.

Goddamit Ron Paul, don’t make me love you!

@Serolf Divad: Dangerous rationality.

Also: Guantanamo, anyone?

Holy crap, did Rick Santorum just promise post-communist Cuba “mountains of aid?”

@Serolf Divad: Romney got new writers, apparently, who specialize in muddles:

“I can’t predict when it’s [the housing crisis] going to get better other than if I’m fortunate enough to become president I will care very deeply about getting it better in a big hurry,” Romney said.

‎”I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” From Romney’s stump speech, via NRO (don’t say you weren’t warned).

Mitt says our Navy is smaller than 1918. Don’t make me dredge up the chart showing a historical peak in defense spending.

Mitt Romney will keep us in Afghanistan forever.

@nojo: We didn’t have a standing army until after WWII, right?

@nojo:

And how many 1917 era frigates does it take to match the power of a nuclear aircraft carrier? Sheer numbers of ships doesn’t mean crap.

I really doubt Obama called Iran a “little small country.”

One hour in, and nobody’s mentioned Israel? In a Florida debate?

@Serolf Divad: Without checking, I think FDR was Secretary of the Navy during the Great War.

Frothy Mix: Iran is “attacking our troops”. So, um, where are our troops?

Did Santorum just actually claim that we have a bad economy because oil prices spiked in 2008?

Newt: “How do you unify the country?” Calling your opponents Kenyan Alinskian socialists, of course.

Gingrich:

Join the military become a citizen. Go to college and get a degree in engineering please go to China or some place that needs educated people.

Mitt & Newt: If you’re willing to become cannon fodder, we’ll be happy to make you citizens. Just going to college, and improving America’s intellectual capital, not so much.

Wrong state. Let’s talk about lack of illegal-immigrant jobs in, say, Georgia.

Mitt: I’m now going to extrapolate from eight people I talked to this morning.

Wait, Mitt: doesn’t Florida have a Tea Party governor? Why isn’t business booming?

@nojo:

Are you my long lost twin brother, NOJO?

@nojo: Yes, he was.

I can’t take any more of this. ooo, if you hold down the backspace key it deletes a word at a time.

@Serolf Divad: I think we’re now supposed to make out for the benefit of the Ladies.

Hey, where did the Ladies go?

@nojo: LOL. I don’t think the ladies enjoy that sort of thing as much as the men enjoy the converse.

For a man who got two degrees at Harvard and who is supposed to have been an astute businessman, Romney seems as clueless as Santorum.

@Benedick: It’s really not as much fun without the audience whoopin’ and hollerin’.

Oh, God not a Terry Schiavo question!

“The Florida Council of 100 is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It was formed in 1961 at the request of Governor Farris Bryant to provide advice to him on key Florida issues from a business perspective. The Council has continued that advisory role to the Governor over the years, and today exists to promote the economic growth of Florida and improve the economic well-being and quality of life of its citizenry. The Council was the first of its kind in the United States, and works in close harmony with the Governor, the Chief Justice, the Legislature, as well as with private organizations, to achieve quality of life improvements for the people of Florida.”

So, um, yeah.

Mr. Gingrich: If Terry Schiavo had been your wife, would you have served her with divorce papers, too?

@Serolf Divad: I’m sorry, my Wayback Machine blew a fuse. Can’t we talk about Elian instead?

Memo to all: In case this arises, pull the fucking plug.

Dr. Evol just advocated Death Panels, I think.

Mitt advocates Missions to Mars, to see who owns it.

(Hat tip: Serolf.)

Sugar is one thing, but demagoging NASA is fucking awesome.

Newt: fixing the economy is easy, you just have to find oil on your land.

Newt loses his wind without a cheering audience.

Also, I think I finally have the drinking game: “history”.

I was really hoping for Mitt to pick a fight with Brian Williams. Doesn’t sound like it’s happening.

Mitt: What have I done to advocate the cause of conservatism? Potency, dude.

Oh, I was wrong. Santorum is attacking Gingrich.

Frothy: “Wall Street bailouts”. And Occupy claims another one.

Memo to Panel: Dropping “Dodd-Frank” and “Sarbanes-Oxley” just increases Google revenue.

Oh, Mitt: Mentioning Teddy’s mortgage doesn’t help.

Ted Kennedy had to take a mortgage out on his house to beat me. Too bad he didn’t have the benefit of a $265 million dollar bank account.

Interesting “gotcha” on the “restoring America’s greatness” thing.

@Serolf Divad: The only problem with the Kennedys is that they weren’t rich enough.

And, scene? With twenty minutes left?

Ugh, thank God it’s over. Pretty boring over all. Romney didn’t get killed off tonight. Not sure that’s enough to save him, though.

@Serolf Divad: Mitt’s on the wrong side of the polls. A boring debate tie is a loss.

@nojo:

The Kennedy’s: the cubic zirconia of rich people.

@nojo:

Yeah, but he didn’t get Juan Williamsed. There wasn’t a room full of rednecks whopping and hollering as Gingrich stomped on his face.

Broadly: The Florida GOP primary is closed, but allows early voting. Mitt’s main hope is that folks decided prematurely.

“I don’t want to spend my time talking about Mitt,” says Newt Gingrich, who instead makes a series of (frankly) risible claims, including that he developed “supply side economics in the 1970s” …

Does this mean that Al Gore really did invent the internet?

OK, well. Time for me to hit the sack. Gotta get up at 5:00 tomorrow… as usual.

I feel honored to have been present at the birth of a new bromance.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut:

No, Newt did, of course, along with everything else that’s good in America today. He just didn’t have time to list aaaaaaall of his accomplishments in the brief time allotted to him.

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