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Huntsman is continuing to plug his Wall Street Journal-endorsed time as Governor of Utah: “I’m the only one on this stage who actually delivered – as governor – a flat tax. I’m not standing here as a theorist, but as a practitioner; I’ve done it before.”

Rick Perry just had an excruciatingly embarrassing moment.

Coming to the end of an answer on how he’d create a more business friendly environment when he gets to Washington, he said “When I get there there’ll be three departments I’ll end: commerce, education and… um… what’s the third one there?”

He turned to Ron Paul who said, “There should be five… One is EPA.”

“EPA,” replied Perry. “No, um, the EPA should be rebuilt. The third is… um.”

The moderator then asked, “Are you saying you can’t name the third?”

“No,” Perry conceded. He couldn’t.

Former Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino, in reaction to Herman Cain calling former Speaker of the House Pelosi “princess Nancy”, tweeted this:

@DanaPerino: Ay yi yi, former Speaker Pelosi called a princess in the debate? Not fair. We may disagree on policy, but she earned the Speaker title.

Herman Cain gave an unusual, derogatory nickname to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in referring to her time as Speaker of the House in the previous Congress.

Cain said that House Republicans already had a health care reform proposal in the last Congress, but it went nowhere “because Princess Nancy sent it to committee,” and it did not make it out of there.

The nickname for Pelosi generated applause from the audience.

The moderators question Newt over having been a consultant for Freddie and Fannie. Newt takes great umbrage, saying all he did was “offer them advice on precisely what they didn’t do.”

“I have never done any lobbying,” he continues. “I offered my advice. I walked in as an historian… and I said ‘this is a bubble, this is insane, this is impossible.’”

This is a full transcript of his follow-up:

“No. I have never done that. I assume I get a second question. I have never done any lobbying. Every contractor was written during the period I was out of the office. Specifically said I would do no lobbying. I offered advice. My advice is historian when they walked in and said we are now making loans to people that have no credit history. And have no record of paying back anything but that’s what the government wants us to do. I said at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible. It turned out unfortunately i was right and the people who were doing exactly what congressman bachmann talked about were wrong. I think it is a good case for breaking up fannie mae and freddie mac and getting much smaller institutions back into the private sector to be competitive and to be responsible for their behavior. cain, fannie mae and freddie mac, congresswoman bachmann said now underwrite or guarantee 90% of the home financing in this country. What would you do with these — fannie mae and freddie mac? Would you shut them down even though it could mean higher interest rates for america? Does it make harder than it is right now for americans to get home loans?”

Asked about how to improve the housing market, Newt Gingrich gives a fairly incoherent answer about Dodd-Frank that seems to suggest we should bring back the dodgy loans that led to the chaos in the first place.

However, Romney suddenly becomes quite passionate on the issue. First, he says his jobs plan doesn’t have any housing references in it because “it’s not a housing plan; it’s a jobs plan.” That gets cheers from the audience.

“The best thing you can do for housing is to get the economy going again. The things the speaker just indicated are excellent ideas as well,” he continues.

“What we know won’t work is what this president has done: to hold off the market and put in place policies that prevent this economy from going.”

Then he comes to his peroration:

“Markets work. When you have government play its heavy hand, things blow up.”

Remember Rick Perry? Mitt Romney? Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and the rest? They're still alive, and they're still running for president. And in just a few hours they're going to get some serious screen presence for the first time since Politico blew up Herman Cain's world and pushed everyone else off the map.

That's right: it's time for another Republican primary debate.

Read More →

Michele Bachmann says one of Obama’s problems is that David Axelrod is really in charge: “He should be going to job creators if he wants to know how to create jobs. Instead he continues to go to a General Axelrod in Chicago to look for his orders to figure out how to deal with the economy.”