With a nod to Michele Bachmann, what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas.
AHHHH! Ms. Bachman is proving that it is impossible to discuss a Value Added Tax without the hapless audience wanting to kill either themselves or the speaker.
ROMNEYCARE: Epic brawl between Santorum and Romney. Romney is not offering a defense that ought to be helpful (if it is correct) - Massachusetts already had a tax meant to raise revenue to cover health costs for the uninsured. RomneyCare re-directed this revenue stream (and some Federal funds) for its funding, without raising taxes. That wouldn't work at the national level.
And here is the Fact Check on Romney's editing of his book:
HARDCOVER: "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care."
PAPERBACK: "And it was done without government taking over health care."
OK, NOW IT IS A FIGHT NIGHT: Perry and Romney get as nasty as I have ever seen in a debate format, and I know it will be a YouTube instant classic. Here is some background on Romney's employment of illegal aliens.
In previous debates Perry has started quiclky and then run out of steam and lost focus. Tonight, as a helpful timesaver for viewers at home, he seems to have gone directly to his unfocused modality.
TARP: Santorum says Perry backed TARP; Perry denies. This PolitiFact FactCheck scores that as half true:
This much is certain: On the morning of Oct. 1, 2008, the Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association publicized a three-paragraph letter signed by their respective chairmen, Perry and Manchin, stating: "We strongly urge Congress to leave partisanship at the door and pass an economic recovery package ... If Congress does not act soon, the situation will grow appreciably worse."
The letter doesn’t explicitly endorse the plan then before the Senate. But no other plan was in play that day amid national fears of an economic collapse. And The Associated Press cast the governors' letter as part of a frantic national push for the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street sought by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and President George W. Bush.
Later the same day, Perry issued a contradictory-sounding second statement, partly headlined: "On Protecting Taxpayers."
"In a free market economy," Perry said, "government should not be in the business of using taxpayer dollars to bail out corporate America."
Asked to clarify at the time what Perry wanted the Senate to do, his spokeswoman, Allison Castle, demurred. "The senators have to make their own decisions," Castle said.
CUTTING DEFENSE: Ron Paul wonders why we have US troops based in Korea. A far better example of expensive and unnecessary foreign basing would be Germany; deterring Poland is less important than deterring North Korea.
So what is my point, that Ron Paul is a kook?
FINAL TALLY: I had to duck out for the last half hour, but on my scorecard Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney exceeded expectations. Herman Cain got less time than I thought he would, and was OK. Rick Perry was weak, Ron Paul was Ron Paul, and I won't survive another question to Michele Bachmann about the VAT. Honestly, I would rather listen to an explanation of the paid-up insurance feature of my whole life policy.
AROUND THE WEB: Prof. Wild Bill Jacobson thought Perry exceeded his low expectations.