Last night’s GOP primary debate seemed, in many ways, like a repeat episode of the previous debate. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney bickered about what the other said about Social Security in his book, Michele Bachmann was asked about the HPV vaccine, Perry was forced to defend his immigration policies, Rick Santorum yelled a lot, and Newt Gingrich was crotchety. But there were differences, too, such as Gary Johnson saying something funny, and the audience booing a soldier. Because you’re a busy person/you were watching The Office last night, we put together a list of all the highs and lows for your convenience.
Number of Times the Candidates Said Bush: Zero
Number of Times the Candidates Said Reagan: Seven
Number of Times the Candidates Said Obamacare: Sixteen
Most Illogical Answer: Michele Bachmann said that “you should get to keep every dollar that you earn. That’s your money; that’s not the government’s money.” Then she adds, “Obviously, we have to give money back to the government so that we can run the government.”
Number of Seconds It Took Into His Very First Answer for Newt Gingrich to Say the Word Fundamentally: 24
Most Ineffective Pander: Jon Huntsman notes that the debate is taking place in Orlando, hometown of his wife, to zero response from the audience,
Least Successful Attempt to Incite GOP-on-GOP Feud: Gary Johnson refuses to bite when asked why libertarians should vote for him over Ron Paul.
Worst Math: After an online poll showed that 44 percent of respondents think “rich” means you earn over $1 million, debate co-host and Fox News anchor Shannon Bream refers to this as a “majority.”
Two Most Creative Country Pronunciations:
2. Rick Santorum referring to Afghanistan as “Afghanistine.”
1. Herman Cain referring to the Chile as “chill-AY.”
Conversation Most Appropriate for a Book Club: The endless back and forth between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney about who said what in the other’s book, for the second debate in a row.
Mitt Romney’s Worst Moment: When Rick Perry accused him of supporting the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program, Romney ignored the accusation, then claimed that he didn’t know what Perry was talking about … then admitted he did like some of the things Education Secretary Arne Duncan was doing.
Most Boos: For Rick Perry’s defense of the Texas DREAM Act, which allowed illegal immigrants to receive in-state college tuition breaks.
Biggest Slap in the Face of the GOP Primary Electorate: “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.” — Rick Perry, on the Texas DREAM Act that most Republican voters hate
Least Promising Border Security Plan: “You put the boots on the ground. You put the aviation assets in the ground.” — Rick Perry
Most Yelling: Rick Santorum.
Most Pathetic Foreign Policy Answer: “Well, obviously, before you ever get to that point you have to build a relationship in that region. That’s one of the things that this administration has not done. Yesterday, we found out through Admiral Mullen that Haqqani has been involved with — and that’s the terrorist group directly associated with the Pakistani country. So to have a relationship with India, to make sure that India knows that they are an ally of the United States.” — Rick Perry, trying to answer a question on what he would do if the Taliban seized control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal
Worst “Support the Troops” Moment: Members of the audience booing a gay soldier, stationed in Iraq, who asked about protecting the rights of gay servicemen:
Second Worst “Support the Troops” Moment: “Any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.” — Rick Santorum
Worst Moderator Moment: Asking Rick Santorum about DADT, and not, say, someone who could actually become the commander-in-chief at some point/is not virulently anti-gay.
Most Poorly Delivered Attack That Shouldn’t Have Been That Difficult: This confusing word vomit, courtesy of Rick Perry:
Most Self-Critical Statement: “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me.” — Mitt Romney
Worst Jobs Plan: Asked for a 30-second jobs plan, Mitt Romney basically says we’ll will jobs into existence with patriotism:
Best Stolen Joke: At the end of the night, Gary Johnson cracked up the audience with the line, “My next door neighbor’s two dogs have delivered more shovel-ready jobs than the current administration.” Earlier in the day, Rush Limbaugh said on his show, “My dogs have created more shovel-ready work than Obama has just this week alone.”
Most Crotchety, Anti-Moderator Newt Gingrich Reaction: When each candidate was asked who on the stage they’d pick as their VP, Gingrich replied:
Most Haunting Image: “I don’t know how you would do this, but if you could take Herman Cain and mate him up with Newt Gingrich, I think you would have a couple of really interesting guys to work with.” — Rick Perry, on who he’d pick as his VP
Three Most Blatantly Inaccurate and Easily Disproven Remarks:
3. “The EPA has gone wild. The fact that they have a regulation that goes into effect January 1, 2012, to regulate dust says that they’ve gone too far.” — Herman Cain. The EPA has had dust regulations on the books for years. No new regulations are planned for January 1, 2012.
2. “I didn’t make that claim nor did I make that statement. Immediately after the debate, a mother came up to me and she was visibly shaken and heartbroken because of what her daughter had gone through. So I only related what her story was.” — Michele Bachmann, on why she said that the HPV vaccine was “potentially dangerous.” Even disregarding the “mental retardation” anecdote, during the September 12 debate, Bachmann said, “Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan.”
1. “President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of any president in modern times.” — Michele Bachmann, ignoring the worse approval ratings of George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Harry Truman.
Losers: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann (for barely existing)
Winner: Mitt Romney