John King: Welcome to our 2012 Republican primary debate. On stage are all the candidates who felt like showing up tonight. Let’s skip the boring opening statements and have candidates introduce themselves.
Rick Santorum: I’m a former senator who nonetheless has experience making tough executive governing managerial ruling leadership decisions.
Michele Bachmann: I’m a businesswoman with 5 children and 23 foster children.
Newt Gingrich: Obama sucks.
Mitt Romney: I lost in 2008, but that won’t happen again, because Republicans are the party of “it’s his turn.”
Ron Paul: I am a senator who used to deliver babies and now champions liberty and libertarianism.
Tim Pawlenty: I’m a husband, father, neighbor, and lover. Of America.
Herman Cain: I am not a politician and have no political experience. I know pizza.
King: What would you do to create jobs?
Cain: Uncertainty is stalling this train that is our economy. We need to lower taxes, which is like greasing the caboose, and then decrease interest rates, which is like putting the fuel in the tank of the train that is our economy.
King: Is it possible for the economy to grow at 5% a year?
Pawlenty: Our president is an anemic declinist who thinks we can’t have 5% growth like China or Brazil.
King: What are your views on Dodd-Frank?
Bachmann: I’m looking forward to answering that question. But first… Guess what: I’m running for president!
King: What three steps would you take to repeal ObamaCare?
Bachmann: I introduced the first bill to kill ObamaCare and will not rest until it is dead and buried. Take that to the bank and cash the check.
King: Governor Romney, how will you ever be elected, given that you passed ObamaCare in Massachusetts?
Romney: That’s not fair. Massachusetts’ plan was different, because it abridged people’s liberties and introduced massive regulations on the state level, not the federal level.
Pawlenty: Obama said he looked to Massachusetts as a model for his plan. [Nelson Muntz laugh and finger-pointing at Romney] Ha-ha!
King: Speaker, should there be an individual mandate, as you have passionately argued hundreds of times in the past before it became unpopular?
Gingrich: In addition to the presidency, we also need more Senate seats.
Audience member: Do you support right-to-work laws?
Pawlenty: Yes, even though I and most of my family have been in unions most of our lives.
Gingrich: I hope New Hampshire adopts it. Why would you want to be stupid like California when you could be smart like Texas?
King: Every time we go to or come back from a break, I’m going to ask a pointless random personal question. Leno or Conan?
Santorum: Leno. Conan is too edgy.
King: And we’re back. Elvis or Johnny Cash?
Bachmann: Both. I love “Christmas with Elvis.”
Audience member: What assistance should government give to private industry?
Paul: None, duh.
King: Stop applauding, audience. We know you’re Republicans and love their answers, but you’re taking up too much time. Mr. Cain, why did you support TARP?
Cain: I actually supported TARP before I opposed it.
King: “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol”?
Gingrich: “American Idol.”
King: BlackBerry or iPhone?
Audience member: How will you keep Medicare solvent forever?
Paul: It is not solvent, will never be solvent, and was never designed to be solvent. That’s why we need to cut our military.
Pawlenty: I have a plan that’s better than Paul Ryan’s. I’m not going to show it to you.
King: Speaker, why did you call Ryan’s plan “social engineering”?
Gingrich: I put my foot in my mouth. But the question was too narrow and the answer was taken out of context.
Audience member: How do you feel about separation of church and state?
Pawlenty: It was designed to protect religious people from atheists.
Paul: Congress should make no law abridging the right to express your faith, especially if it’s Christian.
King: Deep dish or thin crust?
Cain: Deep dish.
King: Spicy or mild barbecue?
Romney: Spicy, of course.
Audience member: Gay marriage is legal in New Hampshire. Would you interfere with states’ rights on the issue?
Bachmann: Marriage should be between a man and a woman, because children need a mother and a father. I come from a broken home, and I was raised by a single mother, and I turned out great.
King: Should Congress pass a federal marriage amendment, or should states deal with it?
Paul: Get government out of marriage.
Bachmann: Oh, are all the real candidates in favor of an amendment? Well, let me jump in and say that I am too, but let me also remind you that I don’t favor trampling on states’ rights, even though I’m totally contradicting myself.
Audience member: What are your views on immigration?
Gingrich: We are not a heartless nation. We can kick 20 million people out of the country without being cruel.
King: Coke or Pepsi?
Audience member: Should we get out of Afghanistan?
Romney: We should bring the troops home quickly, assuming the Afghan military can defend the country against the Taliban, which it obviously can’t.
Paul: I would get us out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Pakistan, because we have no national security interests there, or anywhere else in the world.
Pawlenty: That’s crazy. I favor defending the nation against outside threats. Hello, it’s called “Commander in Chief”?
Cain: To paraphrase my grandmother, Libya is a mess.
King: Who made the worse vice presidential pick in 2008—Obama or McCain?
Pawlenty: Biden is a horse’s ass.
Romney: I have bad blood with Palin, so I’m going to avoid the question and just reiterate that Obama sucks.
King: What have you learned in the past two hours?
Santorum: Nothing. If I’m delusional enough to think I have a chance of winning, do you think I’m capable of absorbing new information about the candidates or my prospects?
Bachmann: I’ve learned about the goodness of the American people.
Romney: New Hampshire loves the future.
Cain: It’s all about the children and the grandchildren.
King: Good night. God, I feel old.
- Results of the New Hampshire GOP Debate (dakotavoice.com)
- This or That: Declinism or Defeatism? After Tonight’s GOP Debate in New Hampshire, How About Both? (reason.com)
- Live Blogging: The Republican 2012 Presidential Candidates New Hampshire Debate on CNN (themoderatevoice.com)
- GOP candidates split on marriage amendment (cbsnews.com)
- GOP Hopefuls Run Against Regulation (online.wsj.com)