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What You Missed in the Fourth GOP Presidential Debate

If you didn’t tune in to last night’s debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, you missed Rick Perry arguing with Mitt Romney, Ron Paul saying a bunch of odd things, Newt Gingrich getting crotchety, lots of talk about why Obamacare is the devil’s work, and some interesting references to Galileo and air-conditioning. As a service to our readers, we have tallied up the debate’s best moments both in a video summary and the recap below.

Number of Times the Candidates Said the Name Reagan: 24

Number of Times Mitt Romney and Rick Perry Said Reagan: 1 (Perry)

Number of Times the Candidates Said Obamacare: 15

Most Well-Researched Exchange:
PERRY: Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.
ROMNEY: Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.

Most Dubious Anti-Government Position: Ron Paul’s claim that government regulation of drugs does “as much harm as good.”

Most Absurd Scapegoating of the Federal Government: “Well, bottom line is that we would not have that many people uninsured in the state of Texas if you didn’t have the federal government.” — Rick Perry

Number of People Who Mentioned Exactly How Many Kids They Have: Bachmann (5 biological, 23 foster), Huntsman (7), Santorum (7)

Least Objective Stat: “We just learned today that if the federal government would pull back on all of the regulatory restrictions on American energy production, we could see 1.2 million jobs created in the United States.” — Michele Bachman, citing a study from the American Petroleum Institute

Least Becoming Swipe at President Obama: “This is a perfect example of where presidential leadership matters. To have a president who would actually walk out from behind the TelePrompTer, get out of the way, speak from your heart and soul … ” — Jon Huntsman

Two Nice Things People Said About President Obama:
— “The president, I thought, was showing some courage in taking on the teacher’s union to some extent and offering charter schools.” — Newt Gingrich
— “He maintained the chase. We took out a very bad man in the form of bin Laden, and I tip my hat to him.” — Rick Perry

Most Ron Paul-ish Ron Paul Line: “You can buy a gallon of gasoline today for a silver dime. A silver dime is worth $3.50.”

Number of Times Rick Perry Referred to Social Security as a “Ponzi Scheme”: 2

Worst Explanation for 9/11: “Just remember, 9/11 came about because there was too much government.” — Ron Paul

Most Startling Fact About Air-Conditioning: According to Ron Paul, air-conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan costs us $20 billion a year.

Number of Times the Debate Moderators Shat on Texas: 3
— “Texas ranks last among those who have completed high school, there are only eight other states with more living in poverty, no other state has more working at or below the minimum wage.”
— “In Texas, about a quarter of the people don’t have health insurance. That’s 50 out of 50, dead last.”
— “Your state ranks among the worst in the country in high-school graduation rates.”

Newt Gingrich’s Inevitable Crotchety Barb at the Moderators: “Well, I’m frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other.” — Newt Gingrich, responding to a question about different approaches to health-care reform taken by Romney and Perry.

Three Biggest Dodges:
3. Rick Perry, after earlier decrying an American “foreign policy of military adventurism,” would not name a specific instance of what he considers “military adventurism.”
2. Michele Bachmann twice evading the question of what to do with the 11.5 million illegal immigrants who live in the United States.
1. Jon Huntsman, declining to name which of his fellow candidates are “anti-science” or which are, in the words of his campaign manager, “cranks.”

Most Paranoid Statement: Ron Paul suggesting that a border fence will not only keep immigrants out, but “may well be used against us and keep us in.”

Best Pithy One-Liner: “I’d love to get everybody to sign a pledge to take no pledges.” — Jon Huntsman

Most Disturbing Applause: The applause that erupted when the moderators noted that Rick Perry had overseen more executions than any governor in modern times.

Worst Reason to Ignore Scientists: “Just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.” — Rick Perry

Question That Everyone Expected to Be Asked But Wasn’t Asked: “Raise your hand if you believe in evolution.”

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What You Missed in the Fourth GOP Presidential Debate