Home / Culture and Society / California Presidential Debate Live Chat Event – September 7th at 8pm EST

California Presidential Debate Live Chat Event – September 7th at 8pm EST

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Chat Live During the Debate

Welcome to the Blogcritics live online event for the Politico/NBC Republican Presidential Debate in California. The debate begins at 8pm eastern time and our live coverage will begin a little bit before that. We’ll have live chat commentary which you can participate in with capacity for hundreds to take part and share their observations during the debate, plus a post mortem after the debate which may feature a special guest. Drinking games during the debate are not only authorized, but encouraged. The chat application is right below and some information on the candidates fills out the rest of this article.

Click here for live web feed video at Politico.com. The coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT). For cell phone viewing, the live stream can also be seen via Politico Mobile apps as well as MSNBC iPhone and iPad app and Droid app and Blackberry app.

Prior to the debate you can submit your questions for the candidates through Twitter using the hash tag #reagandebate.

The Contenders

Gary Johnson is not included in the debate, further feeding a major controversy over media neglect of the former two-term governor of New Mexico who was included in the first debate in South Carolina but has been left out of many polls and excluded from subsequent debates. His exclusion from the debates has generally been on the basis that he is not doing well enough in the polls, a catch-22 situation because he has not been included in many polls so we really have no idea how strong his support is. His exclusion is particularly controversial in this debate which includes two candidates (Santorum and Huntsman) who came in behind Johnson in the most recent CNN poll.

Rick Perry is the longest serving governor in the history of the state of Texas and has launched a campaign based around strong statements on states rights and getting Washington off the backs of the people. His statements are somewhat in contrast to his long record as a government insider and supporter of federal programs. He is perhaps best known in Texas for his friendliness to large corporations and the inside deals and special favors which have been hallmarks of his administration. This is Perry’s first debate and there is some speculation that he is not well prepared and may suffer based on his history of being a weak debate performer, or may even duck out at the last minute citing the wildfire crisis in Texas as a reason not to attend.

Ron Paul is probably the highest profile candidate. He is a 10 term Congressman from Texas known by his colleagues as “Dr. No” for his consistent opposition to any growth of government spending or programs and any legislation of questionable constitutionality. Paul ran for president in 2008 and his campaign launched the Tea Party movement and pioneered non-traditional fundraising methodology which has been adopted by other insurgent campaigns since then. Paul is a conservative libertarian politically who believes in minimal government and strict adherence to the Constitution and for his outspoken, sometimes irascible style.

Mitt Romney is a perceived frontrunner, but he has been running a very low profile campaign and losing ground to more active candidates. The former governor of Massachusetts has a strong business background and a successful record in office. He ran for president in 2008 and has high name recognition, but is somewhat tainted by his association with President Obama’s public health care plan which was largely based on a plan Romney instituted in Massachusetts which has been plagued by budget overruns. This debate is Romney’s opportunity to confirm that he is a frontrunner or end his campaign quickly with a bang.

Michelle Bachmann is a controversial Congresswoman from Minnesota who is best known for her association with the Tea Party movement and her extreme religious views which include strong opposition to gay rights and a call for a federal ban on pornography. Bachmann has a strongly fiscally conservative record and was a top contender in the polls until a few weeks ago when her numbers dropped into the single digits, possibly because of the entry of Rick Perry into the race and his appeal to the same demographic.

Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a syndicated columnist and a former federal reserve board chairman.. Until recently he was a nationally syndicated radio talkshow host, but is on hiatus during his campaign. He is from Atlanta and has degrees in mathematics and computer science. He is a strong fiscal conservative with relatively pragmatic positions on social issues. He is an experienced and dynamic public speaker and brings powerful credentials as a very successful businessman to his campaign.

John Huntsman is the former Governor of Utah and most recently was President Obama’s Ambassador to China. He is seen as a moderate Republican with an appeal to independents, though so far his lack of media exposure and relatively low public profile have held him back from any success in national polls. If he performs well here it may take him from the back bench to being a more major contender.

Rick Santorum served two terms as Senator from Pennsylvania and two terms in Congress representing suburban Pittsburgh. He is Roman Catholic and has a reputation as an extreme religious conservative. He tried to legislate the teaching of intelligent design at the federal level and has made controversial statements on a variety of social issues. He is known for his aggressive and confrontational style and for not shying away from controversial positions.

For more information on the candidates, their statements and their records see Project Vote Smart.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Robert Pike

    Is anybody going to ask the question of the candidates that if they are elected President will they demand Congress to terminate the Free Trade Agreements that have cost the U.S. more that 5 million jobs and 50,000 factories shut down just since 2000?

  • David Johnson

    …and if they do eliminate free trade agreements, will they replace them with the smorgasbord of big government tariffs and controls that existed prior to such agreements?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    You mean the government tariffs and controls that kept our manufacturing base intact, that REAGAN refused to get rid of (much to the frustration of the conservatives at the time)?

    It was not Reagan who pushed those free trade agreements and got rid of tariffs and controls – that was CLINTON…and it was only after NAFTA began to take effect that the “giant sucking sound” (that Ross Perot foretold) began to herald the tens of thousands of factories that have since left the country.

    Imagine that – Reagan was (economically speaking) MORE liberal than Clinton! Not that either one had nearly as much economic sense as Eisenhower or Truman or FDR….

  • You can bet they all have more economic sense than Rick Perry.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Agreed wholeheartedly…which doesn’t happen very often.

  • Alex

    Where the f is Gary Johnson on the stage? Great job covering Gary in this article, well worded, objective, fair, and straight-shooting. GJ’s exclusion could turn into the biggest faux pas. I hope they wise up and include him before their reputations go down the toilet.

  • Woody Engle

    I can’t wait to see Dr. Paul talk Texan to Al Gore supporting Rick Perry.

    Hopefully the questioners will ask the type of questions that will allow the viewers to see what Ron Paul stands for.

    Dr. Paul’s latest commercial “TRUST – Reagan Republican or Gore Cheerleader?” is scheduled to be broadcast twice on nationwide network television during tonight’s debate.


    @ Dave;
    Any details on Perry’s friendliness to large corporations or the inside deals and special favors you referenced?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yes, what does Ron Paul stand for? Get rid of the government programs that protect not only the people who need it most but also our economy as a whole.

    There’s a very, very good reason why there’s no modern first-world nation that is run by a libertarian government…and that’s because libertarian theory and first-world living standards for a nation’s population are mutually exclusive. You can’t have both.

  • Ron

    How do more tariffs and import controls reduce government interference?

  • Shawn Lucena

    As a Texas teacher, I can assure you that Rick Perry is not good for education. With a budget shortage, our public school systems took a massive hit and are still paying the price. By refusing to fully utilize the Rainy Day fund, the financial crisis in public schools did not improve.

    Also, many people are not aware that the Texas legislature siphons money from the Lite Up Texas program, which is designed to assist low-income residents with their electric bills. The money is donated $1 at a time and raised $146 million this year. $64 million went to the program while $82 million went straight into the state budget. Ask Rick Perry if he’s raised taxes and he’ll say no. But ask him how. It’s schemes like this that make me worried about Rick Perry going to Washington. It’s a catch 22. We don’t want him in Texas, but we don’t want him in Washington either!

  • Ron

    Glenn – Nice assertion. Where are your facts? There are no libertarian countries because there is no incentive for governments to give up power. There are no laboratory clean comparisons in the real world. But there is evidence. It shows that every time we move toward a more libertarian condition things get better. e.g. Kennedy tax cuts, Reagen tax cuts, end of Viet Nam war, end of prohibition. And plenty of evidence of the reverse, e.g. going off the gold standard, creation of federal reserve, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

    And you really believe government programs are designed to protect people? Really? Like the Fed and FEMA and Sarbanes-Oxley, and FANNIE and Marijuana prohibition and stop-and-frisk and TSA? Really?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ron –

    There’s quite a few countries that effectively have libertarian societies – and they’re all third-world countries. I have a house in one – the Philippines. It’s far more libertarian than America ever has been. The same goes for several of the other nations I’ve visited.

    You’re throwing examples of what you think should be done…but what you’re NOT doing is working through the DETAILS. The devil’s in the details, Ron. Libertarian rhetoric sounds really nice, but when you really start digging into what happens without those oh-so-terrible government programs…is you start realizing the truth behind the old saying that “many hands make light work”, and that our taxes and our government is just that – many hands making life a lot easier.

    Work out the details of what happens without those government agencies, Ron, and THEN get back to me.

  • Caterina

    What do you think the US was prior to 1913? Quite liberatarian, in fact. On the other hand, what we are witnessing here today in our country is exactly what isn’t working. Big government, intrusive policy, bloated agencies, lack of accountability in the legislative branch.

  • I was looking for candidates to assert constitutional positions, and only Paul, Cain, and Perry did that, with Paul leading the constitutional pack.

    After tonight, however, I would say it is time for Santorum and Bachman to drop out. They lack the energy that voters are looking for.

  • John Lake

    Ron Paul didn’t want to win anyhow. He must have used the word, “monstrosity” at least three times, and he made some effort to remind us of his “hippy” day’s. If you didn’t hear it, .. never mind.
    I wish I had seen the plans for the discussions during the debate. I didn’t notice till afterwords.

  • Arch Conservative

    Glenn knocks the libertarian ideology in favor of the big government, cradle to grave entitlement ideology. You know, the kind that we see in Greece.

  • Baronius

    “Ron Paul is probably the highest profile candidate.”

    At 79%, Paul’s name recognition among Republicans falls behind Romney and Bachmann (and Palin and Giuliani). Perry has nearly caught up to him after a few weeks of presidential campaigning, versus Paul’s 23 years.

  • Heloise

    nice commentary on each contender. the guardisil thing bothered me for a different reason than I’ve heard other pundits cite. I thought why the hell do teens here in Texas need so many vaccinations that pertain to STDs? It concerned me. They must also take shots for hepatitis too. I know my kids did not have to take all those shots in Illinois back when. It told me, and it was true, that there is a lot of promiscuous sex leading to babies and STDs here in Texas. That was more true than I knew.

    Perry wanted to ramrod this through and that made a lot of people mad. But the system worked and it was overturned. The op out was a problem too. It seemed to be all about ties to big pharma.

    Perry stuck to his guns literally, that was good. And old Mitt was looking really good and sounded so presidential. But will he overcome the Mormon hurdle? I hate Mormon religion personally, but the men are good looking and they seem to have a handle on how to govern. But where does that come from? Their kooky religion or their white work ethic?

    Next round we will see which political wheel has the most polling momentum. I half heartedly predicted that Mitt would run thrice because Obama would win re eletion. But I said those a few months back. If economy continues to tank and his speech tonight does not uplift the boats of the unemployed he can hang out the “lame duck” sign and Romney will run thrice. The second time winning and the third time running for re election.

    That said it is way too early to do anything but hedge political bets. We won’t know until January or February which wheel rules the top tier. After that the predictions will have more clarity.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Caterina –

    Yes, we were more libertarian before 1913 then today – because before then, very few nations had social safety nets…

    …but there’s Germany, which IIRC has had universal health care since the 1890’s, even though all their changes in government and forms of statehood.

    But back to libertarianism before 1913 – who do you think it is that ONLY nations who rejected libertarianism are now first-world nations, and those nations who remained libertarian were either taken over or remain as third-world countries?

    Why is that, Caterina?

    Here’s a hint: our Founding Fathers initially founded America under the Articles of Confederation with much more limited federal government, very much in line with modern libertarian ideals…but they found out after a few years that the states simply wouldn’t work together as they had hoped, and America could not effectively defend herself. So instead, they decided to change America to having a strong central government…and that’s what has seen us through to the modern day.

    Got that? The Founding Fathers WERE initially in favor of “state’s rights uber alles”…but soon rejected the idea because they could see that such was setting us up for national failure. That’s why our Constitution was written in 1789…because the Articles of Confederation it replaced was in effect only from about 1777 to 1788.

    Libertarianism has wonderful rhetoric – it sounds really sensible on its face…but its practical application leads only to national stagnation and decline – and that’s PRECISELY why the Founding Fathers rejected the Articles of Confederation in favor of a strong federal government. The Articles they rejected were not called ‘libertarian ideas’…but that’s what they were – severely limited federal government, severely limited (or nonexistent) federal oversight, limited (and largely unenforceable) taxation, severely limited defense…and essentially, “states’ rights uber alles”.

    The Founding Fathers saw that what we now call libertarian ideals wouldn’t work, and rejected them in 1789 with the passage of our Constitution.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  • Gail Collins returned to the NY Times this morning after a few months off to start a book. Her subject was this debate. [I will admit that reading her column is as close as I will get to watching it; even debates that feature people I can tolerate are just about intolerable.] Anyhow, she is as funny and perceptive as ever:

    She points out that Rick Perry is “possibly the first major presidential candidate opposed to the direct election of U.S. senators since the advent of the Bull Moose Party.”

    And, also referring to Perry [after the ludicrous Dukakis-and-W-created-more-jobs-than-these-two-impostors exchange]: “Republicans, do you want to trust your nomination to a guy who makes Mitt Romney look clever? Just think about it.”

    And her wrap-up:
    “The debate was at the Reagan library, and no matter what you think of Ronald Reagan, this crew makes him look good. It is the genius of the Republican Party in recent decades that it continually selects candidates who make the ones who went before appear better.

    Remember how great George H.W. Bush seemed once we’d lived with his son for a while? And I have a strong suspicion that whoever the nominee is this time will make us yearn for the magic that was W.”

  • Cannonshop

    It’s interesting that you chose Germany-a nation that, hit with hard financial times, elected a genocidal maniac who gave them a “Rich” to soak and blame and the world the single worst war in terms of destruction and motivation it has ever seen.

    The Weimar Republic, where you had universal health care, and it took a wheelbarrow of banknotes to buy a loaf of bread…yeah, that’s an example to emulate.

    (Yeah, that was a cheap shot, so what?)

    As for your speechifying about the Constitution…yes, the U.S. needed a central government, with a single currency. You might note, somewhere in your use of the adoption of the 1789 Constitution that they still imposed strict limitations on what functions Government was PERMITTED to perform-it was LIMITED, unlike the unlimited state power you (and most of D.C) favour-it strictly defined the powers of the Central Government-which were broader, admittedly, than the powers granted in the 1777 Articles of Confederation.

    The Constitution was written and the bill of rights adopted to prevent the kind of vast, expansive, and micromanaging programmes you and the rest of the “Progressives” want to impose, powers were separated and checks and balances installed specifically to prevent the overaccumulation of power in too few hands, the reason for the House’s 2 year terms vice the Senate’s six, was that the House would represent the interests of small districts, and the Senate the actual STATES, the President was not permitted to declare war unilaterally, the funding for the Executive was given to the Congress-these were things intended to act as a brake on Federal Power and the abuse thereof. It took a Constitutional Amendment to end Slavery, it took an Act of Congress to Comission and promote Military Officers, it required both Houses and the Senate to make Federal Law.

    Gridlock was intended.

    The definitions of Federal properties and zones of Federal Jurisdiction were specific, and Limited, with the intention of preventing the abuse of that power, and the expansion of a government that the several states could not (and can not, as we see today) afford.

    We have, right now, a Federal Government that pays lip-service to the Constitution, but bears little resemblance in practice to the INTENT of the Constitution.

  • Baronius

    “Repeal 17th amendment” yields more Google results than “repeal 16th amendment”, the one about taxes. It looks like the 26th (voting age) is the least popular, though.

  • “Repeal the 19th Amendment” – 132,000 results. Heh.

  • 24: Sexists, or careless typists? Who can say?

  • pablo

    22 Cannonshop
    Excellent post, I am afraid however it will go right over Contrarian’s head.

  • Cannonshop

    “Over someone’s head” implies a desire to understand and/or engage. I tend to think of it more like echoing unheard.