Live Blog: CNN Republican Debate

That’s it! Thanks for tuning in to my live blog.

10:00 Santorum’s on CNN after-debate show right now, responds to question about audience boos by saying crowd was pretty much “pro-Romney.”

9:54 Santorum: Biggest misconception is that he can’t defeat Barack Obama

9:53 “You get to ask the questions you want, I get to give the answers I want.”-Romney responding to John King as he refuses to answer question about misconception. Instead, touting his achievements.


9:52 Gingrich: American people don’t know the amount of work it took as speaker to be successful. “You’ve got to have somebody who can actually get it done in Washington.” Paul: Biggest misconception is perpetuation of myth by media that I can’t win

9:51  Final question: What is the biggest misconception about you right now?

9:47 The New York Times debate blog points out that there has been no mention of housing in this debate, a complete turnaround compared to Florida and Nevada. “What a difference a state makes,” writes Michael Shear at 9:46

9:42 Santorum says he made a mistake voting for No Child Left Behind as senator. Booed by audience.

9:41 Audience question (first question from a woman tonight): Where do you stand on education reform and No Child Left Behind?

9:40 Paul said he’s tried moral argument and constitutional argument regarding Syria and they don’t work. Said he’s going to try economic argument, “We don’t have the money.” Candidates turn down opportunity to challenge Obama on gas prices, steering convo back to Iran.

9:37 “We should have our allies covertly helping to destroy the Assad regime.” -Gingrich on Syria

Santorum: Syria is a puppet of Iran

9:34 Question: Should the U.S. Intervene in Syria and arm the rebellion?

–We’ve entered the home stretch of the CNN Republican debate in Arizona–the last 30 minutes. Follow along by watching on CNN or online . Tweet using the hashtag #CNNDebate and keeping checking here!

9:32 “I don’t want them to get a weapon but I think what we’re doing is encouraging them to get a weapon.” -Paul on Iran. Mixed reaction from audience

9:29 “Nothing in my view is as serious a failure as [Obama’s] failure to deal with Iran appropriately.” -Romney

9:27 Question: How would you deal with threat from Iran? Asked by audience member with an awesome mustache, twitter audience really digging the ‘stache

9:25 Santorum says U.S. should have sober minds looking at what is the best roles for everyone in combat. Question about women in combat is something he’s stumbled on in last few weeks.

9:21 Question on role of women in military. Romney says he would look to military to make that decision. Says Obama is shrinking military.

Fact check:


Gingrich: “I think it’s a misleading question in the modern era.” People in uniform are in danger at all times. Would ask combat leaders what is appropriate step “as opposed to social engineers of Obama administration”

9:19 Question: How would you describe yourself in one word?


Santorum: Courage

Romney: Resolute

Gingrich: Cheerful

9:17 Next question: Please define yourself using one word and one word only. Think the candidates can do it?

What do you think is missing from the debate tonight? We’ve heard questions about the debt, contraception and the border. What about the crisis in Europe?

9:11 “The right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states who are doing the job Barack Obama isn’t doing. Said he would complete the fence, institute an e-verify system for employers.” -Romney.  It seems Romney has backed off his “self-deportation” plan.

Editorial from New York Times that sums up candidates’ positions on immigration in the campaign (short read): Immigration and the Campaign

9:05 Question for audience: What will you do to secure our border?

“Forget about the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and focus on this border. That’s what we need.” -Paul. Paul says government rewards illegal immigration.

According to CNN blog, Latinos make up almost 30 percent of Arizona’s population.

9:02 “The reason we have Obamacare is because the Senator you supported (Arlen Spector), he voted for Obamacare. So don’t look at me, take a look in the mirror.” – Romney


9:01 Santorum going after Romney for “Romneycare” and it’s similarities to national healthcare law.


–If you’re just now tuning in, I’m live blogging the CNN Republican Debate. Why does this debate matter? Well it’s the last one before the Feb. 28 primaries in Arizona and Michigan and the last debate before Super Tuesday on March 6. It also might be the last GOP debate of the election.

Stay involved: Keep refreshing for updates, follow me on twitter @heatherscope and tweet along with the debate using the hashtag #CNNDebate

8:56 CNN Moderator John King said they weren’t going to spend that much time on the birth control question, so far they’ve spent 10 minutes and counting.

8:52 “The pills can’t be blamed for the immorality of our society.” -Paul


8:50 “What we’re seeing is a problem in our culture…when children have children.” -Santorum “We have a problem in this country and the family is fracturing. How can the country survive if children are being raised in homes where it’s so much harder to succeed economically?”

8:46 “Which candidate believes in birth control and if not, why?” Audience boos question

Newt had first “elite media” reference of the night


Romney said President Obama continues to “attack religious conscience”

8:40 “Managed bankruptcy” seems to be the buzz phrase of the night. First referenced by  Romney and then again by Gingrich.

Romney mentioned he supported TARP bail out, auto industry bail out, not so much. Has Romney changed his position on TARP? PoltiFact has fact-checked that claim.


8:37 “These companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy” -Romney on what he would’ve done for auto industry. “Go through bankruptcy, when that happens then the market can help lift them out.” -Romney

8:36 Santorum says he’s opposed to government bailing out an industry–cites Wall Street bail out in 2009 and auto industry bail out. Attacking Romney, saying he supported Wall Street bail out but didn’t support auto industry bail out.

“Nice try, but now let’s look at the facts,” Romney responded.

8:29 “While I was fighting to save the Olympics, you were fighting to save the bridge to nowhere.” -Romney talking to Santorum following a question on whether earmarks are good or bad.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum continue to focus on each other during debate. Romney said he “didn’t follow” Santorum’s answer on earmarks.

8:27 The campaigns have started sending emails out, not even 30 minutes into debate.


8:25 “Everybody talks about managing the current government. The current government is a disaster.” -Newt Gingrich. Gingrich now talking about taking control of the border, “actually working with Arizona”

8:22 “You can’t believe, I don’t believe, anything but a fiscal conservative and run a business” -Romney


8:21 Paul shoots back, says you can’t just go by ratings to tell who is conservative and who isn’t

8:20 Santorum touting his “strong principal voting record,” says Paul is the one who is not conservative enough

8:17 “When people are running for office, they’re really fiscally conservative. When they’re in office, they do something different.” -Ron Paul

8:15 Wondering who to follow on Twitter? @TheFix and @Chris_Moody if you want commentary interspersed with information

@chucktodd Gets down to business on debate comments

@DWSTweets Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schutlz says she’s fact-checking the GOP candidates

8:12 “If you don’t balance your budget in business, you go out of business. I’ve lived balancing budgets.” -Romney

8:09 First question: Audience member asks, “What are you going to do to bring down the debt?”


8:05 Want to be involved in the CNN Debate? Tweet your questions using the hashtag #CNNDebate

Hi there folks! Tonight I’ll be live blogging the CNN Republican Debate in Arizona. Tune in to the debate on CNN,  watch online, follow along on twitter using #CNNDebate and keep checking here for updates!

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