End Game Assessment:  Something different.  Not sure we learned much.  Not having everyone or at least multiple candidates together allowed for stock answers.  This was not a format in which one candidate clearly could be a winner or loser.

Clearly went after Newt with the most vigor, seemed loaded for bear from start to finish of his segment — but questions were appropriate.  Romney has a stock Romneycare answer, Newt and other have to be prepared to test him on it at debates.  Perry probably gained the most because he continues to improve, but wonder if it’s too late.  Santorum, Bachmann got softball questions.

Mitt Romney:

Assessment at the break:  Did fine, gave the usual Romneycare response which doesn’t really address the issue of a state mandate and what actually took place in Mass.

Re energy, he would put stop to EPA overseeing hydro-fracking.

Re Obama claim that Obamacare based on Romneycare.  Repeats line about “why didn’t you give me a call.”  What would do differently — some portions he vetoed but overridden.  He’s proud of the bill.

Didn’t what you did affect entire industry in Mass?  In a way, but for 92% nothing changed, still had private insurance.  (Isn’t that what Obama says?)

Campaigned in favor of No Child Left Behind, stands behind aspects of it, federal gov’t has role to stand up to federal teachers unions.  (huh?)

As to labor law, revampt NLRB, open question as to whether need federal labor law.

Ron Paul:

Assessment at the break – articulated his views well, as always does.  The problem is his view of terrorism as essentially a criminal law issue.

Patriot Act – lack of laws not our problem, don’t need comprehensive law at federal level to prevent terrorism, rely on state laws to punish violence.  Have laws to punish crimes.

What were attacks on Twin Towers — acts of violence, terrorism and have responsibility to check borders and find out who coming in, rather than just more federal policemen.  Have to understand motivation and why people want to come here to kill us.  Foolish to think that people come here to kill us because they hate our freedom.

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security unconstitutional, but hard to get rid of, can’t do overnight.  Cut $1 trillion now from other areas.

Any amendments to Constitution that were mistakes? Prohibition, repealed.  None other.

Michele Bachmann:

Assessment at the break – did fine.  Again questioners didn’t go after her.  Problem with federalism, keeps saying states rights but keeps insisting on federal solution.

As to Obamacare, this is last chance to stop it.

As to deporting all 11 million illegal aliens, how to pay and execute plan.  Says costs $113 billion per year (fact check, please) now.  Enforcement by ICE agents, do away with sanctuary cities.  Must be paid for by feds.

Supports federal tort reform for medical malpractice.  (How is this consistent with federalism?)

As to eliminating EPA, how to deal with national pollution issues? She says negotiate wtih states, Cuccinelli asks how that would work, and she completely talks around it.

Other than Roe v. Wade, what is worst in last 50 years, Kelo decision (ability of gov’t to take private property).  What do from federal gov’t to protect private property?  Legislation, and also follow constitution.

Why federal human life amendment not to states?  God given inalienable rights.

Rick Perry:

Assessment at the break – Perry did well, but wasn’t grilled like Newt.  No attempt to go over his policies, such as Gardasil.

Re executive order stopping Obamacare — what is your authority to block legislation.  Answer – has power to stop regulations.  What is your authority for blocking legislation?  Never really answered the question.  Cuccinelli says “we’re getting a little bit away from the question.”

Bunch of Q&A re border enforcement.  Same old same old.

Would block grant a lot of things to states.  Wants to do away with life term for judges via Constitutional Amendment.

Wants both to return abortion laws to the states pending constitutional amendment.

Leave labor law to the states.

Favorite founding father was Madison, Federalist Papers.

Santorum:

Assessment at the break — pretty boring, softball questions.  Non-event.  Would have liked to see a question about how he’s going to win the nation when he got clobbered in last Pennsylvania Senate race.

As to Patriot Act, doesn’t run over any of our civil rights.

Is it proper function of federal gov’t to strengthen the family? Yes.

Says supports constitutional amendment banning abortion, providing single definition of marriage.

Pretty boring questioning, mostly softballs.  Didn’t even try to go over his record.  Get the feeling the questioners don’t really care what he thinks because he’s not a contender.

Newt up first:

Assessment at the break — very tough questioning, but appropriate.  He handled his weak points well.

1st question is about local boards in immigration.  Says not contrary to the rule of law, similar to selective service boards and jury trials.  Says only applies to people who are here for a long time.

Health care mandate — developed initially as method to block Hillarycare, but came to conclusion that not the right path.  Testified against cap and trade, and history of conservative accomplishments.

Education largely returned to states, and Medicaid block granted.  Replace EPA with agency which collaborates with states.  Re abolishing federal courts, would have to have consent of House and Senate, a president can’t do it.

Re Race to the Top and charter schools, President can urge states to adopt program and to lead, that’s different than having fed government dictate.

As to Pelosi couch interview, dumb because sitting with her overwhelmed his conservative message.  Favorite founding father was George Washington.

Before the start:

It’s not a debate.  It’s a forum.   Mike Huckabee will interview each candidate separately, using questions from three Republican attorneys general, and they’ll have a chance to respond.

I’ve suggested that the time is now for Mitt Romney to start going after Newt in person or Mitt risks becoming Tim Pawlenty.

Tonight is not the perfect opportunity because they will not be on stage together, but they will be at the same forum and have a chance to reply to each other.  So this is Mitt’s first opportunity to prove that he is the not-Pawlenty.  (UPDATE — Just heard Huckabee say candidates are asked not to mention or attack other candidates, so not a chance for Mitt to go on offense).

I will not be “live blogging” but will provide commentary at the breaks.