I already have debate fatigue.

But will soldier on. Not “live blogging” but insightful and inciteful analysis at appropriate points. Comments are welcome and encouraged.

Final Assessment:  Rick Perry didn’t help himself; just don’t understand why he’s not more comfortable in this setting, not quick on his feet, doesn’t have good answers to the same questions that get asked every time.  Romney was very comfortable; have said before it’s easy to see him going head to head with Obama.  Herman Cain raising his profile steadily, coming across much more of a mainstream candidate (VP?).  Newt not much of a presence.  Bachmann neither here nor there.  Gary Johnson had a good first appearance.  Santorum pretty strong.  Huntsman okay, hanging in there.  Frank Luntz viewer panel on Fox News overwhelmingly says Romney won the debate.

Tweet of the Night:


9:20 break:  “I’m sorry, but it seems like a game show,” says the wife.  Good quick answers by all so far; Gary Johnson the newbie on the stage had a good line about vetoing more bills than the Governors of all others states combined.  Herman Cain gets plenty of audience applause.

10:00 break:  Perry and Romney went at it on social security.  Romney brought up Perry’s book, and Perry brought up that Romneycare.  Perry needs to deal better with the issue.  Romney would not say that Obama is a “socialist” but did say he takes his lead from European Social Democrats.  Gary Johnson came out in favor of eliminating the federal Dept. of Education, pointing out that the feds impose more mandates than it pays for.  Perry pointed out that Romney is in favor of Obama’s “race to the top,” Romney said “nice try” but never denied it; on further questioning Romney said he’s not sure what Perry is referring to, basically danced around the question and never answered it.

On immigration, the mandatory use of E-verify came up, and Tea Party objections to such a mandate.  Gingrich said yes, but not so simply, and then added he wants English as official language.  On in-state tuition discount, Romney came out against it and used stark numbers showing that an American citizen from another state would pay $100k more than an illegal alien.  Perry came back pretty strong on his efforts and pointing out his long border, said if children brought to country through no fault of their own, “you don’t have a heart” if you are against it.  Santorum responded that it’s an issue of subsidizing them, not whether they can go.  Santorum said Perry is soft on illegal immigration.

Ron Paul was questioned on his prior comment about a fence keeping people in.  He says destruction of currency leads to capital controls and people controls.

Mid-point assessment — Perry still struggles in these debates.  Just doesn’t seem comfortable in the format.

10:30 Break:  On foreign policy, no real surprises.  Not much time spent on it.

On DADT, Santorum said becomes a special privilege, injects social policy into military, would reinstitute policy.  Ron Paul asked about rape exception to abortion and morning after pill, said should be left to the states, laws not the answer.

Perry asked about what makes him different from Bush, said they have a good relationship, differences as much in style as in substance; says was against Medicare Part D (prescription drug) and no child left behind.  Herman Cain’s battle with cancer came up, and he related how he was able to undergo treatment immediately without having a government timetable..  He got a huge applause from the audience.

On Gardasil issue, Bachmann repeated her prior positions; Perry pretty much repeated his prior position.  Said was lobbied on issue by 31 year old woman with cancer, but I thought I heard somewhere he didn’t meet her until after his executive order (?) On uninsured issue in Texas, Perry says requested waiver from feds but couldn’t do it, so state could not come up with its own solution.  Not sure the answer made sense.

Perry said don’t know which Romney is here tonight, basically saying flip flopper.  Romney said Perry already backing away from book written six months ago.

Mid-point assessment — not a good debate for Perry.  Romney much more in charge.  Herman Cain getting the most applause.  Where’s Newt?  Few questions asked to him.

10:45 break:  Candidates asked what they would do to turn the country around.  Mostly sound bites.  Newt made the point I’ve made, only defeating Obama can turn around the country.  Gary Johnson line of night:  My neighbors’ two dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than this administration.  For what it’s worth, my Twitter feed is pretty negative on Perry’s performance, seems ill prepared and lethargic.

Last question – Who would you pick as running mate of people on stage:

Johnson would pick Paul.  Santorum would pick Newt.  Newt says doesn’t have any idea, will not pick.  Paul says inappropriate and will defer.  Perry says staying with game show theme, mate Herman Cain up with Newt Gingrich.  Romney also says will not name someone now.  Bachmann doesn’t name anyone, says conservatives always told to settle.  Cain says would pick Gingrich because of his experience, but just hypothetical.  Huntsman says Herman Cain.