THE REPUBLICAN BASE….Last night Joe Klein sat in on one of Frank Luntz’s focus group sessions for the Republican debate. It was one of those deals where each participant got a “dial” that allowed them to register instant approval or disapproval of what each candidate said. Klein’s report:

In the next segment — the debate between Romney and Mike Huckabee over Huckabee’s college scholarships for the deserving children of illegal immigrants — I noticed something really distressing: When Huckabee said, “After all, these are children of God,” the dials plummeted. And that happened time and again through the evening: Any time any candidate proposed doing anything nice for anyone poor, the dials plummeted (30s).

The other big loser: John McCain saying we shouldn’t torture people. In fact, it was an even bigger loser. It turns out that the only thing these GOP voters hated more than helping the poor was being told that it’s wrong to torture people.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Republican base.