Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) and former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe debated a third time Thursday night, giving voters one final chance to see the two candidates side by side before heading to the polls in under two weeks.
So what were the most important takeaways from the hour-long showdown hosted by Virginia Tech and and WDBJ? Here are the five biggest things we spotted:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and state Sen. Barbara Buono (D) debated for the first time Tuesday night.
It got heated pretty quickly.
From the presidential buzz surrounding Christie, to gay marriage, taxes and late-night TV, the two candidates traded jabs for the better part of the hour-long meeting, which was hosted by the Bergen Record newspaper, William Paterson University and Gannett New Jersey.
The Republican National Committee's decision to exclude CNN and NBC from the 2016 primary debate process is about Hillary Rodham Clinton, right? Only partly.
The more important takeaway from the whole saga is that party leaders know they desperately need to limit the number of debates in 2016. And the step the committee took Friday allows the national party tighten its grip over a process that, in the eyes of many Republicans, cost the GOP in 2012.
With 20 days to go until the Senate election, Rep. Ed Markey (D) and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (R) will square off in the first of three televised debates Wednesday night. There's plenty to watch and lots of ground for the two candidates to cover.
Below are the four biggest things to keep an eye on. What did we miss? The comments section awaits your input!
CHICAGO — Away from the bright lights and fanfare of the just-completed presidential debates, four third-party White House hopefuls debated Tuesday night, coming from starkly different political perspectives, but uniting in agreement that neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama can solve the nation’s biggest problems.
We’ve said for a while on this blog that foreign policy quite simply isn’t a priority for the vast majority of American voters right now.
And that was definitely the case Monday night — even in a debate that was supposed to be about foreign policy. Throughout the debate, the candidates seemed anxious to return to issues of domestic policy.
The 2012 presidential debate season is in our rear view mirror. (Sad face.)
So, what did we learn from them about President Obama, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and ourselves? (The Fix occasionally goes existential.) After a semi-solid night of sleep — who starts debates at 9 pm eastern time??? — and a morning of reflection (and a Starbucks grande mocha), our lessons learned are below.
The presidential debate portion of the campaign program is now complete, after President Obama and Mitt Romney tangled for the final time Monday night during a 90-minute session in Boca Raton, Fla. From Libya to Iran, China to Afghanistan, and even the domestic economy, the candidates waded through the differences (and similarities) in their policy positions.
And just like that, the 2012 presidential election debates are over.
President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney traded blows on foreign policy for 90 minutes in Boca Raton tonight. So, who won and who lost? We try to answer both of those questions below.
Agree or disagree with our picks? Tell us why in the comments section.
The third and final presidential debate is over, after President Obama and Mitt Romney traded blows Monday night in a 90-minute set-to dedicated solely to discussing foreign policy.
Below, we run down the debate’s top four moments, when sparks flew, and the candidates drew sharp distinctions with each other, or landed the one-liners that will be replayed over again on Tuesday. (Did we miss anything? The comments section awaits.)
At 9 p.m. eastern time, the Washington Post will start live-streaming the last presidential debate online on The Grid, where you can also follow along with live-blog context and analysis on our Election 2012 blog. Click below to join!
But also be sure to keep this tab open — the Fix bloggers will live-tweet the debate in the space below. The event kicks off at 9 p.m. ET at Lynn University in sunny Boca Raton, Florida.
To get you up to speed, here’s a mini-recap of what the Fix has covered so far about the debate: Five ways the foreign policy face-off could be pivotal; how style (and massive amounts of prep) can trump substance; the incredible challenge of moderating the debates; and, of course, the eternal question of whether the debates matter at all. If you want to join in, use the hashtag #debates or #lynndebate.
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EARLIER ON THE FIX:
If there’s one thing we in the political media have been certain about in this election, it’s that debates matter.
After all, without the Republican primary debates, we would never have had the boomlets of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich — badly underfinanced candidates who rose to prominence based on their star turns in the debates.
We are now three debates into the 2012 general election — two presidential, one vice presidential — and in each of that trio the moderator has emerged as a major story in his/her own right.
In the first presidential debate, Democrats questioned why moderator Jim Lehrer didn’t intervene more or fact-check in real time.
The social media and political echo chamber have spoken: Mitt Romney’s remark in Tuesday’s presidential debate about “binders full of women” is the hottest topic in the land.
Romney’s comment about gathering female applicants for his cabinet in Massachusetts was decidedly awkward. But Democrats are insisting it was more than that — indicative of the way in which Romney thinks about females.
The second of three debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney is now history. In a spirited, 90-minute town hall, the candidates clashed over social and economic policy, domestic issues and foreign matters, and even each other’s pension. (Check out the complete transcript here and watch the debate in two minutes below.)
Tuesday night’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney took a personal turn when Obama hit Romney over the size of his pension and the Republican counter-punched by charging that Obama’s pension involves overseas investments.
“Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And I understand they do include investments outside the United States, including in — in Chinese companies,” Romney said.
Romney then asked: “Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?”
Obama responded: “I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours so it doesn’t take as long.”
Romney then charged that Obama holds investments in companies based in foreign countries
“Look at your pension,” Romney said. “You also have investments in Chinese companies. You also have investments outside the United States. You also have investments through a Cayman’s trust.”
President Obama and Mitt Romney fielded a question at Tuesday night’s debate about the nation’s 43rd president, with Romney drawing distinctions between himself and Bush, and Obama tying them together on economic policy.
“President Bush has a very different path for a very different time. My path is designed in getting small businesses to grow and hire people,” Romney said.
“There are differences between Governor Romney and George Bush, but they’re not on economic policy.” said Obama, who added: “George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher.”
President Obama and Mitt Romney sparred over taxes at Tuesday night’s town hall debate, with the president lashing the former governor’s tax plan as “sketchy.”
“Governor Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said, here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it, you wouldn’t have taken such a sketchy deal and neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn’t add up,” said Obama.
“We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that,” Obama also said, referring to Romney’s proposed tax cuts.
Obama sought to personalize the tax debate at one point, mentioning that Romney paid a 14 percent tax rate in 2011, noting to the audience, “a lot of you are paying much higher.”
Things got testy early in the debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney during an exchange over energy.
“You will get your chance in a moment,” Romney said to Obama, as the two candidates were beginning to talk over one another.
“I’m used to being interrupted,” Obama said later.
President Obama went on offense early on in Tuesday night’s town hall debate, declaring that Mitt Romney’s characterization of the auto bailout wasn’t true.
“And I know he keeps saying, you want to take Detroit bankrupt. Well, the president took Detroit bankrupt. You took General Motors bankrupt. You took Chrysler bankrupt. So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did,” Romney said.
“What Gov. Romney said just isn’t true,” Obama responded.
The Obama campaign has repeatedly charged that Romney was not truthful in the first debate.
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EARLIER ON THE FIX:
President Obama and Mitt Romney will take the stage tonight at Hofstra University for their second general election debate — the most important debate since, well, their first debate 13 days ago.
VIDEO: The town hall debate you’ve already seen: We take a look back on how President Obama and Mitt Romney have responded to Americans’ questions on domestic and foreign policy issues.
All eyes in the political world will be fixed on Hofstra University in New York Tuesday night, where President Obama and Mitt Romney will debate for a second time.
Second presidential debates present unique opportunities. For the candidate coming out of the first debate with momentum (in this case, Romney), it’s a chance for an encore on a national stage. For the candidate who struggled the first time around (Obama), it’s a do-over.
Vice President Biden’s facial expressions and body language didn’t hinder his message at Thursday’s debate, his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said Sunday morning.
“Look, I’m happy to defend my dad,” Beau Biden said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “I don’t think he needs any defensiveness. Any time the other side — Karl Rove or folks on the far right — are going after my father for smiling too much, you know that’s a victory. My father spoke clearly to the American people about the facts, and you saw him do that for 90 minutes straight.”
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FIRST ON THE FIX:
* Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) holds a slight, 42 percent to 39 percent lead over Sen. Dean Heller (R), according to a poll conducted for her Senate campaign by Mark Mellman. The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted Oct. 8-10.
In each of the first two debates of the 2012 election, the story coming out of the showdown has been as much — if not more — about how President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden looked than about what they said.
For Obama, it was his glum demeanor and odd tendency of staring down at his podium while Mitt Romney spoke. For Biden it was his smiling, laughing and even the occasional rhetorical aside as Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was speaking. (Worth noting: Ryan’s tendency to smirk while Biden spoke did him no favors either but was less pronounced than the Vice President’s reactions.)
There was a very heated debate Thursday, and we’re not talking about the one between Vice President Biden and Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (Wis.) in Danville, Ky.
All the way on the other side of the country, one of the cycle’s most heated member-versus-member showdowns grew ever more contentious when a candidate forum for California Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman nearly came to blows.
The one and only vice presidential debate is in the books a day after Vice President Biden and Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) squared off over Libya, Medicare, Iran, taxes, abortion and a host of other issues during a 90-minute sparring session in Danville, Ky.
Unlike last week’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, there didn’t appear to be a clear-cut winner in the minds of viewers, as snap polls from CBS and CNN revealed a split. The post-debate wrangling over which side entered Friday morning with more momentum will rage all day, but in the meantime below is a look at a few figures from Thursday’s debate that mattered (Missed the debate? Check out the complete transcript here and watch the debate in two minutes below):
The one and only vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan is over — and what a debate it was.
The VP debate in two minutes: Highlights from Thursday night’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan in Danville, Kentucky.
Biden and Ryan repeatedly savaged one another over everything from Iran to the economy and back — interrupting, smirking and laughing out loud as the other man tried to make his points.
The topic of abortion came up toward the end of Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate, as Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) were each asked about their Catholic faith, and how it informs their position on abortion.
Biden, who is for abortion rights, said he accepts his church’s judgment on the issue, but added: “I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here.”
Ryan made clear the Romney/Ryan ticket’s position on abortion, saying the ”policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”
Lloyd Bentsen famously told Dan Quayle in a 1988 presidential debate that he was “no Jack Kennedy.” The former president’s name came up again at Thursday night’s debate between Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.).
The two candidates sparred over the Republican ticket’s plan to cut taxes. Ryan mentioned Kennedy as an example of someone who has made cuts in tax rates work.
“Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth,” Ryan said.
“Oh, now you are Jack Kennedy?” Biden asked Ryan sarcastically.
Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan sparred over the future of Medicare on Thursday night, with the Republican aiming to personalize his push to reform the entitlement.
”Medicare and Social Security did so much for my own family,” Ryan said.
“You are jeopardizing this program,” retorted Biden.
Unlike the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney’s controversial “47 percent” comment came up during the first half of Thursday’s vice presidential debate. Vice President Biden was the first to bring it up, but Republican vice presdiential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) appeared to come prepared with a rebuttal of his own.
“I think the vice president very well knows, that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way,” Ryan said.
The reference is to Biden’s knack for gaffes.
Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) clashed over the issue of Iran at Thursday night’s debate. The Republican argued that the regime in Tehran is closer to a nuclear weapon, while Biden dismissed his opponent’s charge and defended the sanctions the administration has spearheaded against the country.
Then the exchange took a colorful turn.
“This is a bunch of stuff,” Biden said, in response to Ryan’s claims.
“What does that mean?” asked moderator Martha Raddatz.
“It’s Irish,” Ryan said.
“We Irish call it malarkey,” chimed in Biden.
Biden added that Iran is “a good way away” from a nuclear weapon.
What’s the only thing better than a nationally televised vice presidential debate? A nationally televised vice presidential debate live-tweeted by the Fix posse!
That’s exactly what you’ll get in this space starting at 8:30 pm (or so) tonight. (The debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan starts at 9 pm eastern and runs 90 minutes.)
Never participated in one of our live-tweeting adventures before? It’s a mix between the “Crossfire” and “Mystery Science Theater 3000“. And it’s fun — or your money back.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Democrat Elizabeth Warren squared off Wednesday night in their third of four debates – a showdown which was more notable for what it didn’t contain (a discussion of Warren’s heritage, many heated exchanges, and a bounty of one-liners) than anything else. Here is our list of the four biggest takeaways from the debate in Springfield, which was sponsored by a Massachusetts media consortium:
It’s no secret that Vice President Joe Biden has a tendency to stick his foot in his mouth. And looking ahead to Thursday’s debate, one of the big questions has to be whether Biden will steal the spotlight for saying something controversial.
But before looking forward, it’s worth looking back at Biden’s previous debate performances — of which there are plenty to choose from. There are moments Biden can reflect on with pride, and others he might want to forget. Below is our rundown of his five most memorable debate moments (and for more on Biden’s debate tendencies, check out this video from the Post’s Karen Tumulty):
Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) will square off Thursday in their one and only debate of the campaign. Vice presidential debates are opportunities for candidates to vouch for their running mates and slam the opposing ticket. For challengers in particular, the goal is also to appear capable of assuming the job of president.
Many political observers have taken to dating this campaign in terms of “BD” (“before debate”) and AD (“after debate”), believing that President Obama’s lackluster performance in the first general election debate has fundamentally altered the course of the race.
Mitt Romney’s widely praised performance at the first presidential debate was rooted in the Republican presidential nominee’s dishonesty, Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to President Obama’s campaign said Sunday.
“Governor Romney had a masterful theatrical performance just this past week, but the underpinnings and foundations of that performance were fundamentally dishonest,” Gibbs said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “Look, he walked away from the central tenet of his economic theory by saying he had no idea what the president was talking about. “
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, sought to lower expectations ahead of Thursday’s vice presidential debate, saying Sunday he expects Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) to do well, but noting repeatedly that Vice President Biden is a talented debater.
There was no a shortage of one-liners and quips at Saturday’s night’s debate between Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. Below are ones that stood out most to us (Did we miss any? The comments section awaits.):
* “Give me back the $800 billion for the Iraq war and children’s television is on the house.” — Stewart, during a discussion of cutting the subsidy for public TV, which Mitt Romney proposed at a debate last week.
President Obama and Mitt Romney aren’t the only ones debating this election season. Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” squared off Saturday night in Washington over many of the same issues confronting the presidential candidates.
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EARLIER ON THE FIX:
President Obama isn’t the first incumbent president to fall victim to a tough performance in his first debate.
Recent history, in fact, is littered with presidents struggling to defend their records the first time out. And four of the last five presidents were judged to have lost their first debate.
Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter debated only once in 1980, and the debate was a disaster for Carter. Notable moments for Reagan included “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and “There you go again,” and Carter was criticized for citing his daughter’s opinion that nuclear disarmament was the most important issue facing the country.
Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are all about to be a major part of the presidential campaign.
Google analytics show the debt-reduction bill named for Simpson and Bowles and the Wall Street reform bill spearheaded by Dodd and Frank were the fastest rising search terms during Wednesday’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
We’ve awoken to a brand new presidential race today — at least, if you believe some of the punditry coming out of Wednesday’s debate.
But just what, exactly, has changed? And what are people interested in from last night?
Below, we look at four graphics — courtesy of our friends at Google — that tell us a little something about Wednesday.
During an exchange on the topic of education, Mitt Romney rebutted an argument from President Obama by saying he is not “entitled” to his own facts.
“You’re entitled, Mr. President, as the president to your own airplane and your own house, but not to your own facts,” Romney said. “I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding.”
No two words were mentioned more often during the first 15 minutes of the debate than “middle class,” with both President Obama and Mitt Romney positioning themselves as the better advocate for average Americans. And Romney even called the decline in middle class income a tax.
“Middle income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a tax in and of itself. I will call it the economy tax,” Romney said.
The two candidates jousted early and often over taxes, with Romney repeatedly saying that his plan does not call for a $5 trillion tax cut.
Obama, meanwhile, defended his record on taxes.
“We cut taxes for middle class families by about 3,600 dollars,” Obama noted.
“We do best when the middle class is doing well,” the president added.
Mitt Romney delivered an attack against President Obama on the topic of energy at the debate on Wednesday night in Denver, saying that the areas the president’s administration has supported with government funds have not proved to be winning bets.
“You put $90 billion — like 50 years worth of breaks into solar and wind, to Solyndra … I have a friend who said, ‘you don’t just the pick the winners and losers – you pick the losers,’” Romney said.
Sesame Street character Big Bird’s name came up at Wednesday night’s first presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
As Romney noted what entities he would stop funding, he mentioned the president’s health care law, then added that he would also stop a subsidy to PBS.
He said to moderator Jim Lehrer, who works for PBS: “I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to the stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.”
The Fix l-o-v-e-s politics. And there’s no better moment in politics than a presidential debate.
And what better way to celebrate the first debate between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney than some live-tweeting of the proceedings! If you have never taken part in a Fix live-tweeting experience, it’s a combination of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Shorter version: It’s like watching the debate on a couch with a few of your friends. And some random music references.
Come for the debate! Stay for the hilarious stream-of-consciousness commentary. You can follow tweets from the Fix posse below.
Issue No. 1, the economy, is sure to play a big role in the first debate Wednesday night. The latest poll from the Washington Post and ABC News finds large numbers of voters continuing to hold negative views of the state of the economy, its direction and where things stand for their personal finances, and ambivalence about the 2009 stimulus program.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Democrat Elizabeth Warren squared off in their second debate Monday night at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. The 60-minute debate hosted by NBC’s David Gregory wasn’t short on heated exchanges on many of the issues the candidates have been sparring over for months. Here are six takeaways from debate number 2:
There are 36 days left until Election Day, and that means that every day matters. But the next five days matter more than most when it comes to the race’s final outcome.
Here’s why: There are two seminal events in the campaign this week — the first presidential debate on Wednesday night and the release of the September jobs report on Friday morning.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) raised expectations Sunday ahead of Mitt Romney’s first debate with President Obama, saying that come Thursday morning, observers will look at the race as an entirely new contest.
“I have absolute confidence that when we get to Thursday morning, George, all of you are going to be shaking your head saying it’s a brand-new race with 33 days to go,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (Wis.) sought to lower expectations for the first presidential debate, saying Sunday he doesn’t believe a single event will dramatically alter the shape of the campaign.
“I don’t think one event is going to make or break this campaign,” Ryan said on “Fox News Sunday.
Everywhere you look these days in the political world, you see stories touting just how important next Wednesday’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney will be to the final outcome of the race.
But, at least according to data gathered by Gallup in 2008 and covering the last five decades of presidential campaigns, there are relatively few examples of times in which the general election presidential debates fundamentally altered the course of a race.
With a deadline to remove his name from the Missouri ballot fast approaching, Rep. Todd Akin (R) squared off against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) at their first debate Friday morning. The Democrat cast the Republican as “extreme” while Akin sought to draw attention to the senator’s voting record.
Akin, who stoked national controversy last month when he said in an interview that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy, was asked by the debate’s moderator how much the comment should matter in the campaign. He responded that the contest should center on action, not talk.
The first of four debates between Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren is in the books, after a spirited one-hour session hosted by WBZ-TV in Boston Thursday night. The debate was animated, and chock full of memorable barbs. Here are our four biggest takeaways (Did we overlook anything? The comments section awaits):
The 2012 presidential debates will feature a female moderator for the first time in 20 years.
The Presidential Debate Commission announced Monday that PBS’s Jim Lehrer, CBS’s Bob Schieffer and CNN’s Candy Crowley will moderate the three presidential debates, while ABC’s Martha Raddatz will moderate the lone vice presidential debate between Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Through the first four contests in the GOP presidential race, there were more than 20 debates. For the next 14 contests (at least), there will be only one debate.
That debate was held Wednesday night in Arizona, and its impact on the GOP presidential race will become clear in the days ahead.
Here’s our snapshot of the debate, presented as usual in the form of winners and losers:
* Ron Paul: Who knew the Texas congressman was such an attack dog? While we’ve seen flashes of it in previous debates, he really went after Rick Santorum on Wednesday and got himself plenty of camera time in the process.
The takeaway if you were seeing Paul for the first time: ‘I’m not a politician like these guys. I’m principled.’ He used Santorum as a counter-balance in that effort, and it worked.
Rick Santorum’s front-runner status in the GOP presidential race is predicated on the idea that he is the consistent conservative alternative in the field.
And that image had some serious holes poked in it at Wednesday’s debate in Arizona.
Mitt Romney and Ron Paul tag-teamed the former Pennsylvania senator much of the night, calling into question his conservatism on issues ranging from earmarks and fiscal policy to his endorsements and even what is often considered Santorum’s most solidly conservative credential — social issues.
It’s the last debate before Super Tuesday and perhaps the last debate of the 2012 GOP presidential race.
And there’s a lot at stake. A whole lot.
We’ll be doing a blow-by-blow live blog of the debate starting after 7 p.m. Eastern time (the debate starts at 8 p.m. on CNN).
For now, though, here are some storylines to watch:
* Rick Santorum, center stage
Santorum emerged as a frontrunner more than two weeks ago. This is the first debate since then, which means that, for the first time in this entire presidential race, Santorum will no longer be a bit player on the debate stage.
Forget March 6; the new Super Tuesday is Feb. 28.
And if Super Tuesday is now Feb. 28, tonight’s debate in Arizona might as well be called Super Wednesday.
New polling shows not only is Mitt Romney’s win in Michigan in serious jeopardy, but so is his edge in Arizona’s primary the same day.
The CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll out Tuesday showed Romney leading Rick Santorum within the margin of error, 36 percent to 32 percent.
It all makes the stakes for tonight’s debate in Phoenix about as high as they could be for the erstwhile frontrunner.
Updated at 3:50 p.m.
The March 1 debate in Georgia is crumbling.
Mitt Romney’s campaign said Thursday that he will not take part in debate, the final one before Super Tuesday on March 6. In addition, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is reportedly sitting it out as well, and Rick Santorum’s campaign says he’s likely to skip it too.
CNN, confirming that Romney and Paul won’t participate, now says that it will pull out of the debate.
“Without full participation of all four candidates, CNN will not move forward with the Super Tuesday debate,” CNN said in a statement.
Tonight in Jacksonville, Florida, the final four Republican presidential candidates hold their last debate of a debate-filled month.
The debate is on CNN; Wolf Blitzer is moderating. (The TV-free can watch online here.) Things kick off at 8 p.m. eastern time, but we’re chatting starting at 7:30.
Tonight marks the 19th debate in the Republican presidential contest, the second Florida debate before Tuesday’s primary, and the last debate for nearly a month.
The stakes could hardly be higher, with both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich arguably needing a win in Florida. So tonight’s debate is about as big as they come.
On Fox News Tuesday morning, former House speaker Newt Gingrich said he wouldn’t “allow” future debate moderators to tell the audience not to applaud during the event.
“We’re going to serve notice on future debates that we won’t tolerate – we’re just not going to allow that to happen ... the media doesn’t control free speech.” Gingrich said. “The media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they’ve done in every debate.”
The 18th — yes, eighteenth! — debate of the Republican presidential primary ended after most reasonable people had already gone to bed on Monday night.
But, the Fix never sleeps — or, more accurately, rarely sleeps — so not only did we live-blog the entire thing but we also came up with some winners and losers from the debate that was. We spent a night letting our thoughts marinate so they should be good and flavorful this morning.
Welcome to the eighteenth debate of the Republican primary!
This debate is in Tampa, Florida and NBC News’ Brian Williams is moderating. For those of you without TV, you can watch online here.
The debate starts at 9 p.m., but we’ll be liveblogging here ten or fifteen minutes before the action starts.
If you’ve never participated in one of our liveblogs, it’s like watching the debate with a bunch of politics nerds. It’s fun. We promise.
With the political world — or at least former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — still reeling from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s convincing win in South Carolina, the four men still competing for the Republican presidential nomination will take the stage in Tampa tonight for their 17th debate.
NBC will be airing the entire two-hour affair beginning at 9 p.m. eastern time and the Fix will be live-blogging as well (a cheer goes up from the crowd!).
Until then, you can either stare at the clock waiting for the moment to arrive or read our preview of the best storylines to keep an eye on tonight. We recommend the latter option.
Tonight in Tampa, Florida, the four men left in the Republican presidential nomination fight will gather for the 18th — yes, 18th! — time in the race to date.
And tonight’s gathering, which will be carried live on NBC starting at 9 p.m. and live-blogged in this space too, is one of two two debates scheduled for this week. (The other, sponsored by CNN, is set for Thursday night.)
Mitt Romney could skip some debates, labor is getting into the primary, Gingrich thinks he’ll be the nominee again and he’s attacking Romney on Spanish-language radio.
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The final four Republican presidential candidates will take the debate stage for the second time in the last three days tonight at 8 p.m. eastern time in Charleston, South Carolina. And we will bring it all to you!
Here’s the plan: Watch the debate will live on CNN and join us in our live chat — it’s at the bottom of this post — to talk about what you are watching in real time. (It’s all very meta.)
And then there were four.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to quit the presidential race means that only four men — former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul — will take the stage tonight for their 16th(!) gathering. (Who would have bet that quartet would have comprised the “final four” just a few months ago? You have to love politics!)
Newt Gingrich is touting a confrontation with debate moderator Juan William on Monday night in a new TV ad, using the back and forth to make the case that the former House Speaker is the only candidate who can stand up to President Obama in a debate.
No word yet on the size of the buy, but the ad is airing statewide in South Carolina.
Super PACs took a starring role in Monday night’s Republican presidential debate, with three separate scuffles over attack ads aired by independent groups collecting unlimited funds.
According to an AP analysis, ads now sway more voters than traditional campaigning. Super PACs are outspending the actual campaigns in South Carolina 2-to-1. The State reports that average viewers in the Columbia-area market are likely to see a political ad 182 times before Saturday’s primary.
In the battle of candidates vs. super PACs, candidates won, at least on merit. Every ad described as dishonest in the debate has been deemed so by independent factcheckers.
Below, every exchange, every ad and the facts.
Another day, another Republican presidential debate. (Missed it? Don’t worry — we liveblogged the entire night right here.)
So, who won tonight’s set-to in South Carolina? And, more deliciously, who lost? Our answers are below.
Five candidates will take the stage tonight in South Carolina for the first of two debates this week in advance of the state’s Jan. 21 Republican presidential primary.
And we will bring it all to you! We will be live-blogging every minute of the proceedings in the space below. Come hang out! It’s got to be better than re-watching the Golden Globes, right?
Oh, debates, how we’ve missed you.
The five remaining Republican candidates for president will be back at it tonight in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina starting at 9 p.m. on Fox News Channel.
We will be live-blogging the entire debate but to tide you over here’s a look at what to watch for tonight.
* Bain banter?: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have spent the majority of the past week blasting former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for his time spent with Bain Capital.
Less than 12 hours after the six men competing for the Republican presidential nomination concluded their last debate, they’ll be back at it again this morning at 9 am eastern time on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
We will be there — assuming our typing fingers can recover — documenting every moment of the festivities in our live blog. Never participated in a Fix live blog before? Think “Mystery Science Theater 3000” but for politics.
Come hang out. It’s like breakfast at Wimbledon — without the white shorts or the class.
The first Republican presidential debate of 2012 is just hours away — 9 p.m. on ABC (or WMUR if you are in New Hampshire) to be exact — and we are, admittedly, a little too excited.
Since the last time the GOP candidates shared a debate stage, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich peaked too soon, Iowa voters, well, voted and one-time top-tier candidate Michele Bachmann ended her campaign. (Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted at doing the same but decided to stay in while on a run in Iowa. Not kidding — that really happened.)
Gingrich wants to debate Romney in the kitchen, Michele Bachmann says there’s no reason to drop out, California Democrats got the map they wanted and a pro-Perry super PAC is throwing punches.
Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.
The last Republican presidential debate of 2011 is in the books. It was a remarkably sedate affair with the frontrunning candidates — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — playing it safe and staying away from any direct attacks on one another.
If you missed any of the debate, never fear: We live-blogged it! We also jotted down some winners and, yes, some losers from the night that was. Our picks are below. Agree? Disagree? The comments section awaits.
For the final time before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, the seven men and women running for the Republican presidential nomination will face off on a debate stage tonight.
The debate will run on Fox News Channel starting at 9 p.m. eastern time. (And, yes, The Fix will be live-blogging it all!)
We’re calling this the “kitchen sink” debate because you can bet any and every attack that the Republican candidates might have been keeping in their pocket will come out tonight. Why? Because it’s the last chance for Iowa voters — and voters nationally — to compare and contrast the candidates before an actual ballot is cast.
Debate over (5:27 p.m.)
The debate has concluded.
We got through five of 10 planned topics in 90 minutes.
And the time-keeper closed with a zing for Mitt Romney, who is not there to defend himself.
Of Gingrich’s plan to challenge President Obama to similar Lincoln-Douglas style debates, the time-keeper, Pat Griffin, said: “I’ll bet you $10,000 he doesn’t show up.”
Huntsman digs at Trump (5:26 p.m)
“I can’t wait to compare and contrast this format with the Donald Trump debate,” Huntsman said.
Huntsman has passed on participating in the Trump-moderated debate, but Gingrich is taking part.
Gingrich says Chinese relationship most important (5:16 p.m.)
Gingrich said the Chinese will be the United States’ most important relationship for decades to come.
“The most important relationship of the next 50 years is the American people and the Chinese people,” Gingrich said, differentiating that from the relationship between the governments.
“If you don’t fundamentally rethink what we’re doing here, you cannot compete with China,” Gingrich added. “If we do the right thing here, China can’t compete with us.”
Huntsman says U.S. has interest in Syria, not Libya (4:52 p.m.)
Huntsman said he disagrees with the intervention in Libya because there was no national security interest there.
It’s all over but the spinning at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa where six Republican presidential candidates duked it out earlier this evening.
We live-blogged the debate but also managed to come up with some of the winners — and losers — from the night that was. Our picks are below. Have some of your own? The comments section awaits.
No days off!
That’s the motto of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates (and the people that cover them) with only 24 days left before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
The final Iowa sprint begins in earnest tonight with a debate at Drake University sponsored by, among others, ABC and Yahoo. Six candidates will be participating — all of the major contenders with the exception of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman who failed to meet the minimum requirements to be included. (Huntsman has ignored Iowa to focus his energy on New Hampshire.)
The Dec. 27 forum is being hosted by the conservative Web site Newsmax and broadcast on Ion Television. Republican leaders have been urging candidates to avoid the event, warming that it could easily devolve into a circus-like atmosphere.
Romney not doing Trump but he is doing Fox News Sunday, Jon Huntsman shifts a bit on global warming, Joe Walsh making a decision and AFSCME endorsing Obama.
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Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman will debate, Cain is meeting with top supporters tomorrow, Lisa Murkowski is backing Romney and Jon Corzine has been subpoenaed.
Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.
Media mogul Donald Trump will moderate a Republican presidential debate sponsored by the conservative website Newsmax in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 27, Newsmax confirmed today.
“We approached Donald Trump,” Newsmax.com executive director Steve Coz told The Fix. “He is a well-known and vocal conservative, and we thought it was a great partnership.” Trump adviser Michael Cohen confirmed his participation.
While most Americans are planning what — and how much — they will be eating at Thanksgiving on Thursday, eight Republican presidential candidates will take the debate stage in Washington tonight for a national security focused debate.
And we will be there! For those who haven’t participated in our live blogs before, think of it as watching the debate with your best (and most sarcastic) friends. You can follow the live blog below. We will get started around 7:30 p.m. — about a half-hour before the debate actually starts.
Come hang out. It will be more fun than watching a Hallmark Hall of Fame tear-jerker. We promise.
Eight Republican candidates will gather for the billionth — oops, sorry, twelfth— time tonight in Washington, D.C. for a debate focused on national security.
The festivities get started at 8 p.m. on CNN — we will ramp up the Fix live-blog around 7:30 p.m. — but in the meantime we thought we’d offer a few things to keep an eye on in tonight’s debate.
As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments section.
On Twitter this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) castigated his party’s presidential candidates for embracing waterboarding at this weekend’s CBS News debate.
Use the form below to submit your own question or just fill out one of our pre-written ones. Then tune it at noon today to see if we’ve picked yours.
So just where does Rick Perry rank on the list of all-time worst presidential debaters?
Or let’s just ask the question bluntly: Is he the worst?
Of course, such things are difficult to characterize and are a matter of opinion. With so many candidates having run in their parties’ primaries, lots of politicians have turned in some underwhelming and gaffe-prone debate performances that we may not remember.
The Fix loves us some lists.
So what better way to celebrate “11/11/11” then to put together our favorite eleven — get it?! — political quotes of 2011.
If there’s one thing Newt Gingrich has made clear in recent debates, it’s that he doesn’t have much regard for debate moderators.
Gingrich’s duel with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo at Wednesday night’s Republican debate in Michigan was perhaps the tensest exchange between Gingrich and a debate moderator to date, but it was simply the latest in a long line of them. Gingrich has taken on the press at almost every debate (he actually did it twice with Bartiromo on Wednesday) in what can’t be described as anything less than a calculated effort.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s near-minute long unsuccessful attempt to remember the three federal agencies he would eliminate if he became president dominated the post-game analysis of Wednesday night’s presidential debate in Michigan.
And, while the Perry gaffe likely ensures he will have never have the chance to eliminate any federal departments there were a few other take-aways from the debate that are worth noting.
Eight Republican presidential candidates will gather tonight at 8 p.m. at Oakland University in Michigan for their tenth debate of the primary season.
We’ll be live-blogging the proceedings — natch! — but thought we’d provide a viewer’s guide to keep you occupied in the hours before things get started in earnest.
After a series of mediocre debate performances over the past six week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems to be signaling that he may not take part in future candidate gatherings.
Perry has committed to the next debate in Michigan on November 9 but, according to campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan, the governor’s participation in future debates is very much up in the air.
In Tuesday night’s Las Vegas debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry answered a question about uninsured children in his state by attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for once having undocumented immigrants at work on his lawn.
“And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year,” Perry said, in a total non-sequiter.
A picture is worth a thousand words — but which words? That’s what we want from you.
Offer your best caption for the photo below in the comments section or on the PostPolitics Facebook page. The winner — as judged by yours truly — gets an official Fix t-shirt and the adulation of political junkies everywhere.
The deadline for submissions is Thursday at 4 p.m.
Update: The deadline for submissions has passed. The Fix will announce his winners tomorrow.
Foreign policy has never been Herman Cain’s strong suit. But his response in the Las Vegas debate on the possibility of exchanging a soldier for Guantanamo Bay prisoners can’t be good for the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO.
Not only did Cain contradict himself, he was forced to admit that he made a mistake and did not understand a question.
The eighth Republican presidential debate — and fifth in the last six weeks! — is over.
We liveblogged the whole thing but also made time to scribble down a few of the best — and the worst — moments of the night.
Our take is below. Have thoughts of your own on the debate? The comments section awaits.
Tonight at 8 p.m. eastern time seven Republican candidates running for president will take the stage in Las Vegas for the fifth debate in the last six weeks.
And what would a Republican debate be without a Fix live blog? (Answer: It would be, somehow, empty. Like “Two and a Half Men” without Charlie Sheen. Or Van Halen without David Lee Roth.)
Starting around 7:30 p.m. — we like to warm up to avoid injury — the Fix posse will be detailing every quote and note from the debate. If you’ve never participated in a Fix live blog before, there’s no time like the present. It’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and the “McLaughlin Group” rolled into one. Sort of.
Come. Comment. Hang out. It’s the only way to watch a debate!
For the fifth time in the last six weeks and the eighth time in 2011 — neither of those are typos — the Republican presidential field will gather on a debate stage with Las Vegas providing the backdrop to tonight’s tete a tete.
Unlike the last several debates there will be seven not eight men and women on stage as former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is boycotting the debate in solidarity with the New Hampshire Republican party, which is upset with the Silver State for scheduling their presidential caucus on Jan. 14, 2012. (Follow all of that?)
Earlier today we fielded questions on tonight’s Republican debate — the eighth in a series! — in Las Vegas.
Missed it? Never fear. It’s archived forever on the Internet(s) and available in all of its uninterrupted glory below.
And don’t forget: we’ll be liveblogging every minute of the CNN-sponsored debate starting at 8 p.m. eastern time right here on the Fix. Tune in!
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is tumbling on the political prediction site Intrade in the wake of a series of lackluster debate performances. The once formidable Perry stock is now selling for just .86 cents a share. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, meanwhile, just keeps going up in price — as of writing, he’s at $6.70 a share.
“Perry enjoyed a nice boost when he first announced he was running,” said Carl Wolfenden, the Intrade Exchange Operations Manager. “The initial enthusiasm for his chances has fallen away after largely being bested by Romney in the debates and being raked over the coals for his stance on immigration and the HPV vaccine.”
InTrade — and the bets it handles — have become candy to political junkies of late, a sort of day-trading service for politics. But is it an accurate predictor of the GOP presidential nominee — or any of the other political bets it takes? Maybe. Sort of. Let us explain.
The Fix is an unapologetic lover of word clouds. And so we asked the graphic wizards at the Post to cook us up one after Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College. The result is below. (And make sure to check out our detailed transcript of the debate here.)
Not surprising: “Taxes” was the most mentioned word. Somewhat surprising: “9-9-9” wasn’t mentioned more.
Businessman Herman Cain’s “9/9/9 plan” is a controversial one in the world of economics. But it’s pure gold in the political arena.
Cain’s plan — a tax reform idea centered on, you guessed it, a 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent personal income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax — dominated the discussion at last night’s Republican presidential debate sponsored by the Washington Post and Bloomberg News.
When the candidates were invited to ask each other questions in Tuesday night’s debate, most focused their fire on the front-runner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. But Texas Rep. Ron Paul targeted Herman Cain — and caught the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO being disingenous at best.
“Mr. Cain, in the past you have been rather critical of any of us who would want to audit the Fed. You have said ... that we were ignorant and that we didn’t know what we are doing, and ... you’re not going to find out anything, because everybody knows everything about the Fed,” Paul said.
At Tuesday’s Washington Post-Bloomberg News debate, Rick Perry was asked about his support in 1988 for then-Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore.
The Texas governor, who was then a Democrat but soon switched to become a Republican, pointed out that Ronald Reagan made that same party switch later in his life than Perry.
“I, like most people in the state of Texas and those Southern states, grew up a Democrat,” Perry said.
Perry also defended his spending in Texas, saying the state’s debt, per person, is the second lowest in the country.
Watch the video after the jump.
Former China ambassador Jon Huntsman was full of one-liners in Tuesday night’s Washington Post/Bloomberg News debate. In one memorable exchange, he took a dig at Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his association with a controversial pastor.
Asked to pose a question to one of the other candidates, Huntsman chose former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
“Since this discussion is all about economics, Governor Romney, I promise this won’t be about religion,” Huntsman said. He paused, then added, “Sorry about that, Rick.”
Perry has taken heat for refusing to disavow the comments of evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, who introduced the governor at last weekend’s Values Voter summit and later called Mormonism a “cult.”
Both Huntsman and Romney are Mormons.
Romney called on Perry to “repudiate” the remarks earlier today.
The Washington Post-Bloomberg News presidential debate at Dartmouth College is in the books. (That’s seven presidential debate for those of you counting.)
We live-blogged every minute of it but also came out with a quick take on who won and who lost. Our thoughts are below. Offer your own in the comments section.
Linda Lingle says her campaign isn’t about Obama, Herman Cain says he’s got a plan for tonight, Daley is leaving the White House, and we’re having a debate!
Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.!
Late last week, we asked the world of Quora — a very cool question and answer site — which of the eight candidates had the most to lose in tonight’s economic focused debate sponsored by the Washington Post and Bloomberg News.
The answer from Matt McDonald, a friend of the Fix and Republican consultant, was Texas Gov. Rick Perry and it’s the right one.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has become known in a few short weeks as a bad debater. As we get ready for tonight’s Washington Post/Bloomberg News debate, he has a chance to set things right — or to reinforce a narrative that he cannot hold his own on stage. Here are some of the lowlights of Perry’s debate performances so far.
The Washington Post and Bloomberg News are sponsoring an economic-focused debate among the 2012 Republican presidential candidates at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
The economy is the dominant issue of both the Republican primary fight and next year's general election so each of the candidates have a considerable amount riding on their debate performance.
Our question for you: Which of the Republican presidential candidates has the most at stake at the debate?
Is it former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who has staked his campaign on the economic know-how he learned in the private sector? Or Texas Gov. Rick Perry whose job creation successes in the Lonestar State have formed the foundation of his nascent campaign? What about businessman Herman Cain who is the fastest rising star in the GOP field? Or is is someone else?
Offer your thought via Quora or in the comments section below. We’ll incorporate them into our debate preview in advance of Tuesday’s debate.
Nine Republican presidential candidates — the usual suspects plus former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson — will gather tonight in Orlando, Florida at 9 pm for the third presidential debate in the last 15 days.
We’ll have our “what to watch for” guide — aka the debate cheat sheet — a little later in this space and, of course, will be live blogging the proceedings too. (You can watch the debate live on Fox News Channel.)
But before you do all of that, make sure to check out our “Fast Fix” video preview of what to expect tonight. Hint: It’s all about former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney versus Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Mitt Romney is the tortoise of the 2012 presidential race.
Through four debates now, the former Massachusetts governor has shown himself to be a capable debater who doesn’t get tripped up, withstands whatever attacks are directed at him, and always has something to say. Almost like a the proverbial tortoise, he has been slow, steady and most importantly, no one has been able to penetrate the shell he has erected.
And given the uneven track record of his more hare-like opponents — particularly the struggles last week of Michele Bachmann and a very rough performance from Rick Perry on Monday night — Romney has come out as the winner almost every time.