Live Blogging ABC-Yahoo GOP Iowa Debate

I will be live-blogging the ABC-Yahoo-Republican Party of Iowa debate tonight. This is a 2-hour debate at Drake University. The audience was chosen by the Iowa Republican Party.

Please free to leave comments as it debate progresses. I will be typing and refreshing the page as quickly as possible. Please excuse typos and shortcuts, as it is the only way to live-blog.

Participants are Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul (Huntsman missing)

This may embed the debate, but I’m not sure, so click and see if it is streaming.

Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopolous are moderating. Sawyer just introduce the candidates. UPDATE: Both moderators were courteous, no snark.

UPDATE – My opinion: Newt, Santorum, and Bachmann were the clear winners. Paul was clear as always and made great points about the oath of office they would take, how it has been respected, and for a public servant, that oath is more important than the marital oath. BAM! He got it exactly right.

UPDATE – Analysis and afterthoughts from ABC Crew: 

Jake Tapper is saying Newt won.

Perry tried to bet Romney that Romney had said a certain thing in his book. Romney refused. Analysis shows that Perry would have lost the vote.

Romney did not stop the bleeding.

Gingrich solidified his lead.

Bachmann is going to come out well. Had a great debate.

Romney’s headlines are not good.

Bottom line: now we understand why Gingrich is coming out on top.

Top words: Consistent Conservative

Leslie Sanchez, Republican Strategist: Bachmann should not have invoked Herman Cain.

Kudos to Newt for acknowledging that infidelity should be a concern.

Coming out of this debate, Romney will no longer be considered the leading candidate.


Debate begins:

DIANE: Jobs in American – what is your distinquiching idea about how to create jobs, and bring them back from overseas, how many can you create and how long will it take you to do it.

GINGRICH: Lower taxes, less regs, an American energy plan and a positive attitude. No class warfare. Zero capital gains, 12.5% corporate tax rate, 100% expensing for all new equipment and abolish the death tax immediately.

ROMNEY: Previously promised 11.5M jobs in one year. Competitive tax rate with other nations, regulations are not to burden but to encourage, wise trade policies, crack down on China, energy policies that use our extraordinary energy potential, a government that doesn’t spend more than it takes in.

PAUL: You have to know why we have a recession. The financial bubbles are created by excessive government. Stimulus causes excessive debt. So far we have dumped the debt on the American people through TARP and Fed Res. Cut $1T in one year and lower taxes.

PERRY: A tax policy that puts a flat tax in place of 20%. Get rid of regs that are killing business. I have a record of doing so. Very clear how to make it work. Direct line between Washington DC and Wall Street is the problem we have today. We need an outsider.

BACHMANN: Tax code – address it, abolish it, embrace a pro-growth policy. Make a tax code that applies fairly for all Americans. Everyone must pay something. Today 47% pay nothing. American energy must be legalized – will create 1.4M jobs in just a few years. I am committed to repealing ObamaCare, Dod-Frank. We will save millions of jobs if we do that.

SANTORUM: The manufacturing economy is hurting in the heartland. Revitalize manufacturing. Zero out the taxes. Repeal regs crushing manufacturers. President can repeal regulations. I’ll start with energy regs. Rural and small town America will be revitalized.

DIANE: Anyone want to promise Romney’s 11.5M jobs in one year?

SANTORUM: Doesn’t think from the top that can be estimated.

DIANE: Payroll tax cut which funds Social Security. If this tax cut expires, it could add as much $1,000 to a family’s costs.

BACHMANN: It should have never be instituted. I voted against it a year ago. This is an Obama maneuver. This took away $11B from Social Security Trust Fund. This year alone it will cost the Trust Fund another $112B. That means the Treasury has to replace it and there is nothing in the Treasury but months.

ROMNEY: I don’t want to raise taxes, but it will help people right now. It is a temporary bandaid. We have to change to bring America back to the place for the world to invest.

SANTORUM: Is there a Social Security Trust Fund or not? Obama is stealing from the Trust Fund. To take the Fund that is so sacrosanct at election time, and then take from it is absurd. You either believe in, or your don’t

PAUL: I want to keep the tax cut, but I want to pay for it. Just get rid of the Embassy in Baghdad. It costs $1B a year. Pay for the cuts.

GEORGE: Which candidate is the most conservative and which is the most electable. Quotes Gingrich claiming to be both.

ROMNEY: Who can lead the country? We have an entitlement President – the government takes from some and give it to some one else. We were founded on merit. I can take that message to the president and the people. I believe in the principles that made America great. (talking about how he is different from Newt – ya da ya da.) I’ve been a private business man.

GINGRICH: to Romney: The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994. We’re both citizens, we’ve both served. I’m proud of trying to find things to encourage young people to study, get into the space program. Tragic that NASA has been so politicized. I’m happy to defend the idea that we should be in space in an entrepreneurial way. I defend poor children working after school. Middle class children do it all the time. I’ll stick with zero capital gains and create vastly more jobs than your plan.

ROMNEY: Losing to Kennedy was the best thing I could have done. I’ve learned so much from the private sector. We need people from outside Washington.

GEORGE: To Paul: You’ve had tough ads against Newt. You’ve accused him of ‘serial hypocrisy.’

PAUL: Newt was a spokesman for Freddie Mac and got some of our tax money from them. He is never consistent. No one can compete against me on consistency (Santorum can).

GINGRICH: Audit fed and fire Bernake. I was never a spokesman for Freddie Mac. I was paid for consulting – offering advise.

GEORGE: to Bachmann: You called Newt the ‘poster boy of crony capitalism.”

BACHMANN: His office is on K-Street. I’ve lived a real life and built a real business. You asked if they are the conservatives in this race. Newt advocated for mandates in health care. Romney did the same. I led 40,000 Americans to Washington DC to fight against it. If you look at Newt Romney they were for TARP, bailouts, payroll extensions. She said “Newt Romney” several times.

GINGRICH: Michelle, a lot of what you say is not true. I opposed Cap and Trade the same day Gore fought for it. Important that you be accurate. Most of the money I made had nothing to do with lobbying or representation. I’m and author and a public speaker, and have made most of my money through those ventures.

BACHMANN: 1993 Newt advocated for individual mandate in health care. Romney sent his team to WH to teach them how to do healthcare. Newt Romney won’t work.

ROMNEY: Gingrich is a friend of mine, but we are not clones. Newt Romney doesn’t work. I didn’t send a team to work with Obama on healthcare (but he did!). If he had called me I would have told him not to go down that path. Obama is the only president to cut medicare ($500B). If I’m Pres, we will get rid of ObamaCare and return responsibility to the state.

PERRY: I’m stunned. Michele hit the nail on the head. Stunned Mitt that you would have told Obama he was on the wrong path. Studies show that over $8B of costs – you are for individual mandates. You can say you will repeal, but you and Newt are for mandates.

ROMNEY: Newt said he was for a Federal Mandate. I never said that. I believe in the Tenth Amendment. Raises taxes, we didn’t raise taxes. We didn’t cut Medicare. We dealt with those who did not have health insurance. ObamaCare is crafted for everyone. To Perry: you mandated vaccines for young girls.

GINGRICH: In 1993 fighting HillaryCare, every Conservative saw the mandate as a less oppressive way to handle it than HillaryCare. It started as a way to stop HillaryCare. The Heritage Foundation agreed. After we killed HillaryCare, and got into it, and looked at it, we realized it was unconstitutional.

ROMNEY: Chapter 7 in my book, the Mass model. In my view each state should be able to fashion their healthcare as they see fit to serve the people. Let individual states craft their own solutions.

BACHMANN: We have one shot to get rid of ObamaCare. Do we really believe Newt Romney will get rid of ObamaCare?

SANTORUM: In 1994 I did not support an individual mandate. I supported individual health care accounts. The record is important. I fought and won. Michele has been fighting, but she has lost. I was the leader on pro-life and family issues, national security – sanctions on Iran. I have been consistant. I have led, didn’t flip-flop and won. I can win important states, like Pennsylvania.

BACHMANN: I was fighting against Pelosi, and knew the battle would be lost, but I didn’t sit on my hands. I fought when few others did. As president my proven consistent record will be that I will take on K-Street. I will help elect 13 more Conservative senators. You can take it to the bank.

SANTORUM: Says he was in the minority as well, but still won. We fought and figured out a way, even in the minority.

GEORGE: Values, family and faith. Romney and Perry. You’ve made it a feature this week. Should voters consider marital fidelity when choosing a candidate.

PERRY: Not only did I make a vow to my wife, I made a vow to God. That’s even stronger than a handshake in Texas.

GEORGE: Do you think some one who breaks his marital vows, will break vows to the voters.

PERRY: If you cheat on your wife, you’ll cheat on your business partners. Why wouldn’t you cheat on anyone.

SANTORUM: I think character issues do count. The records is there. I would say it is a disqualifier. People make mistakes, but it is a factor. Trust is everything. People can decide

PAUL: Character is very important. It should show through in the way we live, but I don’t think we should have to think about it. What about your oath of office. That’s where a public figure is held to account. I ask why people are not asking about the oath Congress takes. (applause)

ROMNEY: Obama’s Pac attacked me as a person without a core – no core values. So we decided to put out our ads. Who can lead this country where we will not be a Greece or Italy. Who can make sure it is good to be middle class again.

BACHMANN: Founders spoke about this. What we need in a president. They looked at the measure of the man (didn’t look at wealth) – looked at integrity. I’m a committed Christian and I am happy to talk about that.

GINGRICH: It is a real issue. People have to look at to whom they will loan the presidency. It’s an important issue. People have to render judgement. I’ve gone to God for forgiveness. I’m 68, and I have changed.

DIANE: Immigration. Can we stipulate that everyone on the stage has said “secure the borders.” Abt the 11M undocumented in this country. Ginrich – people here 25 years should get consideration under the special review board you suggest. Does 5 years make a difference.

GINGRICH: The review board came from the military review board. I started with cases very difficult to argue about. Has children and grandchildren here, worked here, goes to church here. I don’t think we will ship them out, and we should be honest about that. Those with no ties, must go immediately. We need an affective guest worker program. (There are not 3.5M that have been here for 15 years.) Newt says he didn’t say 15 years. He said 25 years. There are not 3.5M that have been here for 25 years.

ROMNEY: asked how many people should be sent back home. Should they be rounded up? Romney: when we talk about amnesty, we will then create another magnet that draws illegals here. Let’s secure the border. Those 11M should register that they are here illegally. They will be given time to settle their affairs, then they will go home and get in the back of the line. I want to bring people here who have skills. I don’t want to do anything that discourages illegals to come.

PERRY: (asked what should happen to those illegals who have willingly gone into the military) If we would just enforce the laws already on the books, it would give a substantial smaller number of illegals. You will not see my Justice Department suing Arizona or any other state. You will not see a Catch and Release situation.

GEORGE: Newts saying Palestinians are an “invented” people.

PAUL: No I don’t agree. I believe in non-interventionist policies. Newt is stirring up trouble. (He indicates that in theory Newt is right, but we shouldn’t be talking about it). We shouldn’t decide on what the settlement should be. We should not be in these discussions.

GEORGE: quotes some Palestinian leader, saying Newt’s comments will be fuel for the bin Ladens and other jihadists. What about that.

GINGRICH: How would he know the difference? (Gingrich is laying down the truth) Enough lying about the Middle East (I love this!) (talks about the textbooks for Muslims youth, says there were no Palestinians. Hope I can get the video later)

ROMNEY: Doesn’t believe the Palestinians are an invented people. Says Newt would probably agree with that. Newt says ‘no.’ We are going to tell the truth but we are not going to through fuel on the fire.

GEORGE: Are you making life more difficult to Israeli’s.

GINGRICH: No! They’re getting rocketed everyday. ‘Palestinian” didn’t come into being until 1977 (he’s right).

ROMNEY: Israel should take their own positions.

GINGRICH: I didn’t speak for Israel. I’m a historian. I spoke for myself (I soooo love this!)

ROMNEY: The last thing Netanyahu needs is someone running for president to have someone say things like this. (Says he is not a bomb thrower. He would get on the phone and ask Netanyahu what he wants him to say)

GINGRICH: I’m a Reaganite. Reagan didn’t call anyone to clear “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

BACHMANN: (asked who is right about Newt’s comment) (she talks about her trip to the area.) Palestinians teach their children to hate the Jews, to call them pigs. Arafat told her they didn’t do that anymore. She showed him pages out of the text books. He said oh, these are old texbooks. She asked him to send the textbooks. Still hasn’t received them today.

SANTORUM: We have to tell the truth but do it with prudence. We didn’t have an ally in the Soviet Union. We have an ally in Israel. I think Mitt’s point is the correct one. We have to ask if it is wise to engage in the issue. It’s their fight. We are to be supporting them. The Israelis have the right to determine what will happen to their land.

PERRY: This is a minor issue that the media is blowing way out of proportion. Obama has put the most muddled policy out, causing many problems in the Middle East. He did nothing in Egypt, now radicals have taken over. He led from the rear in Libya. Now Iran has our drone. Obama had 2 opportunities to retrieve it or do nothing. He chose nothing. This president is the problem, not something that Newt said.

After commercial a Yahoo question: the last time you had a personal financial strain that forced you to cut back on necessities?

PERRY: Growing up where I grew up, in a house that didn’t have running water until I was 5. “Luxury” wasn’t in my lexicon. After the Air Force at 27, I didn’t have anything. I was giving up things others consider to be luxuries. But there was never a time when I gave up anything that I thought I really needed. That’s why we have to get America working.

ROMNEY: I didn’t grow up poor, but I grew up with a Dad who grew up poor, and he wanted us to know the value of hard work, and to learn not to spend money foolishly. I spent time as a missionary overseas, and a pastor here in the U.S. I understand what it takes to get America working again.

PAUL: I’m very fortunate. My family was rather poor, but I didn’t know it. I worked my way through college because that was what you were supposed to do. My wife worked my way through Medical School. When a country destroys currency, the middle class drops.

SANTORUM: I grew up in a modest home and was blessed to have my basic needs met. My greastest blessing was having a mother and father who made me feel safe. Today the families are continuing to break down. 40% poverty in one-parent families. We should promote the families and the institution of marriage.

BACHMANN: I oppose the $770B bailout for Wall Street. They rolled the dice. They pocketed the good times. After the bad, we bailed them out. I took on Hank Paulsen and my president. Luxuries: I was born in a middle class family. My folks divorced. She had 4 kids. We went to below the poverty line over night. I began working at 14. Today we still go to consignment stores.

GINGRICH: When I was young, we lived in an apartment above a gas station. My dad was in the Army, but we didn’t feel desparate. My wife and I have to meet a payroll, find markets. I know how difficult this economy is, if you are a small business.

GEORGE: 72% of Yahoo listeners want to hear more about health care mandates from Romney and Gingrich.

ROMNEY: States can do what they want to do. Mandates if they want to. Whatever works for them. Massachusetts has no government health care. It is all private, except Medicare and Medicaid.

GEORGE: to Gingrich –  As late as May of this year you supported some form of health care mandate.

GINGRICH: It is unconstitutional. If this stays in the law, the government can force you go buy ANYTHING. We need to rework the whole system (he didn’t even come close to answering the question!)

DIANE: Pharmacy talking about habits that cause poor health. Is there anything the government should do on healthy behavior at a young age.

PAUL: Only if people are doing something to harm others. They should prevent you from harming yourself. Why should we have a candidate that has to continually explain their positions on healthcare? We are forced to pay Medicare. Now we’ll  be forced to buy health insurance. Both are unconstitutional.

GEORGE: Does anyone disagree with Paul that the government should not intervene.

PERRY: People are sick of Washington DC. They are sick of the fraud. Sick of seeing their kids future mortgaged. Let’s go to a part time Congress. Cut their pay in half and send them home to work at regular jobs at home. Get a balanced budget amendment.

9:46 pm CDT: Commercial

DIANE: Why can’t people who disagree, respect each other.

GEORGE: Tell us something you’ve learned from someone on the stage.

SANTORUM: I listened to Newt’s tapes as a young man, and used them to prepare for my first race. When I won, the RNC didn’t even know my name. I’ve stuck by the conservative outlines that Newt advocated in the late ’80’s.

PERRY: Paul got me intrigued by the Federal Reserve and I’ve been working on it. The one thing I’ve found outside of the people on this stage, but the people want to get this country back on track. Michele, as you have said, this elections is about saving this country and we have to get it right.

ROMNEY: Each here has different qualities of leadership. Paul has his followers. They come out in freezing temps and it is exciting to watch. It is the qualities of leadership that counts. Fundamentally, what determines a presidency is their quality of leadership. We are going in a dangerous direction/

GINGRICH: Two people. One not on the stage, Terry Branstedt is my roll model. Perry got me involved in the Tenth Amendment, and Rick’s (Santorum) position on Iran to tell the truth.

PAUL: I’ve learned never to give up on your convictions, because sooner or later they will come your way. We shouldn’t be fighting among ourselves. We all take the same oath of office. With persistance we can all prevail and come up with the right answers.

BACHMANN: I agree with everyone. Herman Cain when he brought up the 9-9-9 plan, he showed us the power of being plain spoken and reducing it to a simply, understandable level. That’s a challenge for all of us. Rightly so, people want outside of Washington. I’m going with Win-Win-Win, rather than 9-9-9.