All of the candidates, except soon-to-be candidate Rick Perry, are in Ames, Iowa for tonight's Republican debate! Oh wait, neither are Gary Johnson or Thaddeus McCotter or the other loser, Buddy something, or the gay guy. But the others, they're there! So grab your Iowa State Fair fried butter stick and turn on America's channel, Fox News. The future starts below.
8:57 — Funny joke: I checked to see how long the debate is, and it's two hours. Two full hours. Ha ha ha! Eesh. The punchline is you and me.
8:59 — Where is Rick Perry tonight? Wrong question. The question is what/who he's shooting to death. Cameron Todd Willingham's already dead, so try again.
9:00 — It's starting! Our host is Bret Baier, replete a fresh dead furry animal atop his head. He is reading us terrible economic statistics, and telling us about all the dead people in Afghanistan, as a prelude to... instructing the candidates to put aside talking points, out of respect. Now here's a question for Michele Bachmann that's designed to draw forth a talking point.
9:01 — Michele Bachmann reminds people about her pledge to
destroy the global economy never vote to raise the debt ceiling. She brags about how she wouldn't raise it! Within one minute, someone has already said something that should be disqualifying.
9:05 — Hey Mitt, why are you such a pussy who dodges every question? Mitt: Capitalism. Also: "I wouldn't want to eat President Obama's dog food." Yeah!...??
9:08 — What do you think about debt Ron Paul? Ron Paul: [Tries to rapidly summarize Austrian business cycle theory.] RON PAUL!
9:10 — Herman Cain promises to get the economy going in "90 days" as president. Hell, why didn't Obama think of that?
9:12 — Jesus, be quiet Jon Huntsman, the presidential candidates are trying to debate.
9:13 — Newt Gingrich is there! He's already calling decades-old pieces of legislation by Jack Kemp by their proper legislative names and throwing out random numbers. (Newt Gingrich is a politician from the 1990s, fyi.)
9:15 — Tim Pawlenty is offering to cook me dinner or mow someone's lawn, if he doesn't grow the economy enough or something? Yeah, he's trying too hard again. Mitt Romney is asked for a follow-up and in actual legitimately funny fashion is like, yeah... that's nice, Tim. Nice line.
9:16 — Chris Wallace is trying to get Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann to fight, YES. Do you make fun of her accomplishments because you believe it, or because she's beating you in the polls, Wallace asks? WELL, HOCKEYBUTT?
9:18 — Michele Bachmann says that Tim Pawlenty instituted cap-and-trade while he was governor of Minnesota, which isn't actually true, but is great. God Bless Michele Bachmann. She says that Tim Pawlenty is basically Barack Obama. Tim Pawlenty to drop out in 3...2...1...
9:20 — T-Paw (who is from a meat-packing town!): You only tell lies. Stop. Actual boxing fight howls in the audience. Oh goddamnit, don't move on to Mitt Romney now!
9:24 — Mitt Romney keeps talking about all the jobs he created at his private equity firm that existed to destroy jobs.
9:27 — Back from commercial! First question for Newt: Remember when you lost all the money you never had and all of your staffers quit? Wasn't that funny? Newt: "I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions." Not defensive at all!
9:28 — Newt is already mentioning "Lean Six Sigma," a management strategy company that he probably has a sponsorship agreement with for whenever he finally kills off his campaign, or right now. Oh Jesus, now Newt is literally feuding with the moderator in a back and forth.
9:30 — Hey Jon Huntsman, remember when you fucking worked for Barack Obama for two years?
9:31 — Herman Cain, you don't like Muslims and know nothing about anything. How do you reassure people that you "know enough" to be president? Cain: I don't know what you're talking about.
9:32 — Cain: Also too, Sharia.
9:33 — Jon Huntsman, will you let Mexicans flood into the country because you love them so much? Jon Huntsman: I support the Second Amendment, and the border. Secure the border with "fencing and technology." I will talk to the state board of... ZZZZZZ
9:39 — That dork Byron York is asking questions now. Mitt Romney, why did you ask S&P to raise Massachusetts' credit rating because of the taxes you raised? Is raising taxes good sometimes? Mitt looks flustered. "No." Ugh. He looks quite flustered and is now talking about cutting spending. Why does he keep running from his history as a successful governor?
9:41 — Tim Pawlenty: I didn't raise taxes so much as fees. You know how it is, By. Also: Barack Obama should cancel his Martha's Vineyard vacation. Thanks for that, Tim.
9:42 — Rumor has it that Rick Santorum is on the stage. Can anyone confirm?
9:45 — They're trying to ask Rick Santorum a question, but Bachmann and Pawlenty keep fighting like children. This is almost making Rick Santorum look good.
9:48 — Guess what? Rick Santorum wouldn't support tax hikes either. Maybe this is a useless question.
9:48 — Everyone on stage is asked if they'd reject a deficit reduction deal that's 10-1 spending cuts vs. tax hikes. They would all reject it. Fucking joke.
9:50 — Newt was just kind of good making fun of the Deficit Super Committee!
9:51 — T-Paw: PSST, I heard that Mitt Romney loves nominating abortion-loving judges to the bench to have abortions and give abortions all day because he loves abortion so much.
9:54 — Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman has been spotted in a van down by the river.
9:57 — Santorum making the anti-states' rights case: If states do bad things, I will stop them all! ALL OF THEM, I TELL YOU!
10:01 — I think Michele Bachmann just went to the bathroom?
10:02 — Ron Paul: I'm glad Rick Perry is joining because he is another opponent for RON PAUL to defeat.
10:04 — But seriously where did Michele Bachmann go during the commercial break?
10:06 — Jon Huntsman probably won't help himself among the GOP rank-and-file for immediately making fun of Rick Perry's prayer rally.
10:08 — Newt Gingrich is asked about Libya, and again starts fighting with the moderator about "gotcha questions." He needs to stop doing this. He's now giving a lengthy lecture about how he doesn't flip flop. "If you go back to Greta's show two weeks before that..." SHUT UP.
10:09 — My cat is attacking Newt Gingrich on the teevee screen, and probably tearing it up with claws, but it's worth it.
10:12 — Huntsman: I know things about China, unlike the rest of you fucks.
10:14 — Ron Paul is being absolutely brilliant about Iran. We will love him until the next question about economics.
10:15 — Aaaaaand Rick Santorum picks up the available faux-outraged response to Ron Paul's suggestion that maybe we need to think more about "Iran," in general.
10:18 — They are all going after Ron Paul now, for suggesting that international relations follow some sort of logic.
10:22 — It would be nice if Ron Paul could be the next Secretary of Defense!
10:26 — Newt: I wouldn't apply a loyalty oath to Muslims in the government, but to everybody. Phew!
10:28 — Cain: I don't dislike Mitt Romney's weird ass dumb Mormon religion, I just don't know anything about how weird ass and dumb it is.
10:29 — Wow! Byron York actually asks Michele Bachmann if she would be "submissive to her husband" as president... which she does, in fact, believe under her religion. LOUD boos.
10:31 — I want to know if Newt Gingrich would be submissive to his wife. And yet here we have Mitt Romney talking about states' rights instead! Does anyone know how to produce a television program anymore?
10:35 — Were there just two Santorums on my teevee, or am I already in Hell?
10:39 — Each candidate is trying to prove how he or she is the most anti-abortion person ever, by saying they'd put doctors who give abortions in jail, maybe. Twenty minutes left!
10:40 — Mitt Romney won't flat-out say that he'd be against extending unemployment benefits. Good for him! (PSST: Unemployment benefits are politically popular!)
10:43 — Finally, someone is pressing Michele Bachmann on that little I WILL NEVER RAISE THE DEBT CEILING thing.
10:43 — Also, why do conservatives keep saying "a $2.4 trillion blank check." It is clearly *not blank if it has a number attached.*
10:46 — Newt Gingrich is asked why the Fed is "worth saving." We see what you did there, trying to out-crazy the Gingrich.
10:51 — Bret Baier promises wild card questions for the end! We're going to go kill ourself for a minute to prepare for this.
10:55 — So... the wild card was a question about tweaking No Child Left Behind. BAM.
10:58 — Mittens: Barack Obama has not "lived in the real economy." He lives in the barter system, or what?
11:00 — As someone who has liveblogged like 50 debates, I must say that this was easily the longest. This was a seven hundred hour debate. Thank you for pretending to read, goodnight! The winner was Rick Perry.
[Photos via Getty Images, AP]