Sunday, December 11, 2011

Republican Debate: Ten-thousand-dollar bet?

No transcript available, so this’ll be a bit jumbled.

Romney came out firmly against lunar colonies.

Bachmann talked about “Newt Romney,” which is either a reference to their both having supported a health insurance mandate in the past, or to some slash fic she’s been posting anonymously on the internet.

Tweaked again by Perry about removing from the paperback edition of his book a reference to extending Romneycare nationwide, Twitt responded, “I’ll tell you what: 10,000 bucks? Ten-thousand-dollar bet?” At which point, they might as well have turned off the cameras and gone home, since that’s all anyone will remember. What’s interesting about the rich guy mistakes – this, demolishing the mansion in San Diego to build an even bigger mansion, etc – is that he keeps making them over and over.

MA, MA, WHERE’S MY PA? I don’t know what it says about the state of politics that it won’t have occurred to most viewers that there’s something out of the ordinary about a candidate talking about another candidate’s sex life. I don’t think Blaine went after Cleveland’s alleged illegitimate child personally. Rick Perry, though: “If you cheat on your wife, you’ll cheat on your business partner, so I think that issue of fidelity is important.”

GONE TO THE WHITE HOUSE, HA HA HA: Gingrich responded, “I’ve said in my case, I’ve made mistakes at times -- I’m also a 68-year-old grandfather and I think people have to measure what I do now.” I think he’s saying that he can’t get it up anymore, so the White House interns are probably safe. I wonder how Callista feels about the affair that turned into her marriage being referred to as a “mistake.” And about those grandchildren – their grandmother was the woman with cancer you divorced. Gingrich says “I’ve had to go to God for forgiveness.” So that’s okay then.

In the talk about Israel, Gingrich and Romney both tried to position themselves as close as possible to their good friend “Bibi,” promising to subordinate their Middle East policies not just to Israel but to Likud. Romney literally said that before he’d make a statement like Gingrich’s about the Palestinians being an invented people, he’d call Bibi and ask permission. No one had a sympathetic word for the Palestinians and several strongly implied that they were all terrorists. Gingrich doubled down on the “invented people” thing – “I spoke as a historian” (and he usually gets $1.6 million for that) – why, he says, the term “Palestinian” was never even heard before 1977. Also, speaking the “truth” about Palestinians’ non-existence makes him exactly like Reagan calling the Soviet Union an evil empire. He complained that “we [are] in a situation where every day rockets are fired into Israel” – every day? I think not – “while the United States -- the current administration, tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process.” You know when you need a peace process? When rockets are fired into your country “every day.” Mittens said Gingrich threw “incendiary words into a place which is a boiling pot.” If it’s already boiling, then... oh, never mind.

Romney accused Gingrich of being a, gasp, career politician, and G. shot back, “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is that you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.” Romney said, “Losing to Teddy Kennedy was probably the best thing I could have done.” Boy, he’s just lucky that way.

The candidates were asked to prove that they understood what it’s like to be poor even though none of them are poor. Perry said he didn’t have running water growing up; Gingrich said he once lived in an apartment over a gas station. Romney admits he’s never been poor, but his father was, so that’s close enough. Michele Bachmann says she still clips coupons, which brings up the frightening prospect of Michele Bachmann with a pair of scissors.

Bachmann praises Herman Cain for teaching her to “reduce things to a very simple level so people can understand it” and now “you can’t have a debate without saying 9-9-9,” but rather than “9-9-9,” her motto will be “win, win, win.”

(Update: Gingrich on Palestine: “These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?’” ABC did not give a reaction shot of Rick Perry, but I’ll bet he was working it out on his fingers.)

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