What You Missed in the Primary Season’s First Republican Debate

The first debate of the Republican presidential primary campaign took place earlier tonight in South Carolina. Because many of the big names sat it out or were ineligible to participate, and the only candidates who showed up were Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Gary Johnson, you would be excused if, instead of watching, you were out downing as many margaritas as your body can physically allow. For you social, fun people, we’ve put together this easily digestible summary of what transpired.

If you prefer images to words, you can watch an easy-to-digest video of all the evening’s best moments here.

Nicest Thing Anyone Said About President Obama:
“I do congratulate President Obama for the fine job he did …. He did a good job and I tip my cap to him in that moment.” — Tim Pawlenty on President Obama’s role in killing Osama bin Laden.

Number of Candidates Who Wouldn’t Have Released That Gross Photo of Osama bin Laden:
One — Herman Cain

Number of Times Ronald Reagan Was Mentioned by Name:
Only twice, in consecutive sentences, when Tim Pawlenty pointed out that Reagan once bombed Qaddafi but didn’t succeed in killing him.

Number of Times George W. Bush was mentioned by name:

Number Times the Word “Socialism” Was Used:

Number Times the Word “Obamacare” Was Used:
Twice (Rick Santorum)

References to The Founders:
One (Rick Santorum)

Number of Separate Occasions That Pawlenty Mentioned That He Grew Up In a “Meatpacking Town”:

Most Crowd-Pleasing One-Liner:
Herman Cain, in defending his lack of any political experience, notes that Washington is full of people with political experience, and “how’s that working for you?”

Best Non Sequitur:
“I’m not in favor of a timetable. I’m in favor of tomorrow, and I realize that tomorrow may take several months.” — Gary Johnson, on withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Biggest Dodge:
Herman Cain doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan because he’s not president yet.

Most Disingenuous But Appealing Proposal:
Herman Cain suggests achieving energy independence by drilling for more domestic oil. (Wouldn’t work.)

Most Unexpected Impression:
Ron Paul impersonating someone who really wants some heroin.

Meanest Thing Said About the United Nations:
The United Nations is a “pathetic organization.” — Tim Pawlenty

Amount of Time It Took For It to Be Noted That Mitt Romney Wasn’t in Attendance:
22 minutes

Amount of Time That It Looked Like Rick Santorum Was Clenching His Jaw:
All the time.

Best, and Only, Apology:
Tim Pawlenty on previously supporting cap and trade: “I was wrong, it was a mistake, and I’m sorry.”

Strangest Prediction:
Ron Paul on closing Guantanamo and secret prisons: “Why do we have to move in the direction of giving up the right of habeus corpus, which some day, if we’re not careful, will affect American citizens? We should treat the people the way we think we might be treated in dire circumstances, and our dire circumstances are moving right along because we may have real trouble in this country and we may be subject to this same type of treatment.”

Most Baseless Reassurance:
Will the country default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised? “Probably not,” says Ron Paul.

Greatest Insult:
Gary Johnson having to beg the moderators to stop ignoring him, in a debate featuring Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, and Ron Paul.

Biggest Shot at Potential GOP Savior Mitch Daniels:
“Anybody that would suggest that we call a truce on moral issues doesn’t understand what America is all about.” — Rick Santorum

Discussion Most Appropriate For a Presidential Debate in 1948:
Rick Santorum clarifying that he doesn’t actually think it’s wrong for women to work outside of the home.

Most Embarrassing Question (for Fox News):
Asking Gary Johnson what his reality show would be like if he had one.

Most Awkward Reference to Sarah Palin:
Gary Johnson, struggling to answer the stupid reality show question: “I don’t think it would be Sarah Palin’s show, crawling on her hands and knees in Alaska.”

Most Orange Tie:
Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul (tie)

What You Missed in the Primary Season’s First Republican Debate