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Live Blog: The GOP Debate

Winners: Romney, Bachmann, Santorum. Losers: Gingrich, Paul.

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The debate ends. Big question is whether the beating Gingrich took on Freddie Mac will cripple him.

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Question about Reagan’s 11th commandment is another soft question.

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Did Bachmann just say abortion is a seminal issue? Blasts Gingrich as a compromiser on embryos. Gingrich says she doesn’t have her facts right. Again, Bachmann won’t back down.

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Santorum accues Romney of issuing gay marriage licenses. Romney he says Mass. court ruled and he fought it.

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Romney asked about abortion flip-flop. Says Mass. legislation changed his mind. Sounds pretty convincing. Also makes good argument against discrimination against gays while still opposing same sex marriage.

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Huntsman gets in his first good line of the night when he says immigrants won’t come because Obama is sinking the economy.

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Romney asked about contradiction in his immigration stance. But his answer is consistent. Gingrich replies by reiterating his support for deportation of long term illegals.Makes up for it by bashing anti-Arizona federal lawsuits and “sanctuary” cities.

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Fast and Furious question for Perry about calling for Eric Holder’s resignation, is another softball. Opening for him to talk about Islamist/Iranian infiltration of the border. Santorum chimes in as well.

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Cavuto nails Perry with doing Solyndra type deals with oil industry. His defense: 10th amendment. Says state government should pick winners and losers. Weak argument.

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Michele Bachmann hits a home run with conservatives with Keystone XL shot at Obama and radical environmentalists.

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Gingrich says he’s trying not to be zany but as long as he’s attacking Obama and not talking about Freddie Mac, he’s okay.

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Perry finally gets back in the discussion with strong attack on foreign policy. But it’s just an echo of Romney, Gingrich and Bachmann.

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Gingrich pledges to reduce American reliance on the UN. Cites Palestinian missile attacks on Israel. Mocks Obama and Paul with one swipe.

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Bachmann: Ron Paul’s answer is the most dangerous for American security. “We’d be fools and knaves to ignore Iran’s plan.” She’s on a roll. Paul responds by rationalizing Iran again. Pathetic.

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Romney given another softball about Obama saying “pretty please” to Iran over the drone. An opening to make his strong America argument.

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Rick Santorum knocks it out of the park on the Iran threat. Backing down is an inducement to war and strengthens Islamist ideology.

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I hope Ehud Barak is happy about Ron Paul quoting his idiotic statement.

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Ron Paul doubles down on his denial of the Iran nuclear threat. The ayatollah’s favorite candidate.

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Commercial on Fox opposing electoral college was pretty good even if the cause is not.

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Question about naming your favorite Supreme Court justice was lame. Questions tonight are not as sharp as most of the answers.

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Attempt to nail Romney on appointing non-GOP judges in Mass. falls flat. Also gives him an opening to swat Newt’s idea.

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Gingrich is wrong to want to follow in the footsteps off FDR’s court-packing “reform.” But Bachmann’s ditto shows its a popular theme for conservatives.

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Fox’s “new topic” is a lengthy applause line for Gingrich: reining in an out-of-control liberal judiciary. Newt’s best moment so far.

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Once again, Romney is tossed a softball that enables him to tout the wonders of free markets. After a bad performance last time, he’s got his mojo back.

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Rick Perry back to his populist argument about a part-time Congress. Good applause line but great comeback from Cavuto who points out they worked less than half a year in 2011.

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Ron Paul fends off question about voting to help his district.

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Now Gingrich is having to defend his attack on Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan. Responds by complimenting Romney. Is this supposed to help Newt?

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Bachmann not backing down on charges of Gingrich lobbying. Says he was an influence peddler. She’s right about that. The longer this discussion goes on the worse it is for Gingrich. Good moment for Bachmann showing she has the nerve to go toe-to-toe with him.

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Paul backs Gingrich into corner where he’s touting the good that government can do. This is thin ice for Gingrich as he tries to deny lobbying and influence peddling.

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Gingrich asked about his Freddie Mac boodle. Says its not the same thing as Barney Frank and Chris Dodd’s corruption because he was out of office. Weak argument. Good opening for Ron Paul to exploit the issue.

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Chris Wallace asks Romney about a Gingrich attack that Newt has already recanted. Good opening for Romney to talk more about running businesses. This is Mitt’s wheelhouse.

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At the first break, no major gaffes so far. Gingrich and Romney both appear to be in good form.

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Michele Bachmann will make DC work by telling Congress to do as she says. Yes, that’ll work fine.

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Gingrich makes the first mention of Obama and Saul Alinsky in the same sentence. But did so while me-too-ing Romney.

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Romney gives first coherent answer about how to make Washington work. Turning his experience as Mass. governor to his advantage.

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Jon Huntsman brags about not pandering. But did he say no ethanol in Iowa? No, he didn’t.

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Bachmann running as conservative Joan of Arc. Rick Perry as the Tim Tebow of politics.

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Romney touts his business experience, successes and failures. Self-conscious laugh over the latter.

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Santorum comes out firing at Gingrich.

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Will Ron Paul support GOP candidate next fall? Good question. He fails to answer. Probably because he won’t.

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Gingrich compares himself to Reagan in 1980 and predicts he’ll beat Obama in debates. Then he touts his conservative bona fides. Will the voters buy that comparison?

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Brett Baier starts off with the electability issue. Can’t wait for Rick Santorum to brag about winning in PA in 1994 and 2000 while omitting his landslide loss in 08.

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It’s the last debate before the Iowa caucus so a lot is at stake tonight. Let’s see what happens.

Watching Bill O’Reilly’s Christmas quiz waiting for the debate to begin on Fox, just want to point out that the clip he showed of Bing Crosby singing was from “Holiday Inn” not the later “White Christmas.”


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