First Republican Debate: LiveBlog I

Maybe I’m having a senior moment, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a debate where the moderators and associated pundits are pre-spinning the event over loudspeakers in the venue itself, with the mammoth (though not a full house) crowd cheering appropriately. That’s Fox News, I guess.

Megyn Kelly’s suggesting maybe the candidates should come out like sports contestants. And yes, she’s announcing them just like players taking the floor. Where are the heights and weights and college teams? Will Scott Walker get credit for being “out of Marquette?”

The just had the runway moment where the still photographers got their shot. Jeb had the opportunity to loom over Trump.

Kelly is hyping Fiorina’s earlier performance, basically saying she should be on the next Big Stage.Yeah, she’s getting a lot of mileage from her talking points and one opportunistic Trump question.

There are clearly going to be issues with crowd reaction here. So far there seems to be zero inclination to quiet them.

Facebook’s getting its obligatory shout-out now.

And now there’s the official candidate introductions, with wild applause. Is there an applause-o-meter? Kasich gets the big, big ovation from the homies.

–Oh God: They’re starting with a hand-raising question aimed right at Donald Trump, who rises to the bait by refusing to pledge not to run as a third-party candidate!

–And now Rand Paul bursts out with a claim that Trump is used to “buying politicians” and might support Clinton!

–As in the undercard debate, the moderators go into electability early, asking Ben Carson if someone as inexperienced as him can win.

–Chris Wallace goes right at Rubio with a quote from him about the superior qualifications of governors, and Rubio suggests a “resume competition” will only help HRC.

–Bush asked about the dynastic problem: he has a great line–“in Florida, they call me Jeb”–to segue into recitation of his record.

–Kelly shows how savagely Fox wants to take down Trump, asking about sexist tweets. Trump gets big cheer denouncing Rosie O’Donnell and “political correctness.”

–Wallace quotes various attacks on Cruz for unproductive extremism; Cruz does his “I tell the truth” rap.

–Baier hits Christie with negative stats about New Jersey. Christie says he turned it all around with lower taxes and smaller government.

–Kelly asks Walker about opposition to “life of the mother” exception to abortion ban. Walker shifts to HRC’s support for Planned Parenthood.

–Wallace asks Huck about support for constitutional amendment reversing marriage equality. Huck suddenly shifts to demand for defying SCOTUS on abortion.

–Baier goes after Paul for criticizing Republicans on Middle East. Paul responds that we are arming ISIS via its allies.

–Kelly hits Kasich on Medicaid expansion, mocks his religious rationale. He notes Reagan expanded Medicaid, and then gets wonky on what he’s saved with Medicaid money.

–Wallace quotes Jebbie’s “act of love” quote on immigration, asks if he still supports “earned legalization.” Jeb quotes book and also gets first shot in at “sanctuary cities.”

–Okay, fun fun: Wallace asks Trump to respond personally to Bush’s objections to “Mexico sending immigrants” number. Trump responds directly to Wallace with “we’ll build a wall.” Follow-up: specific evidence Mexico sending criminals. Trump: Border Control sending them; repeats “stupid American leaders” bit.

Quite a 30 minutes. Fox clearly trying to take down Trump. A new thread just ahead.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.