Live blog: Sioux City Debate Politics Editor Glen Johnson is live-blogging the GOP debate. Feel free to make comments and ask questions.

  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:36:37 AM
    Hi folks. It's time for the final debate of 2011 and the pre-Iowa campaign.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:37:29 AM
    Surely some are booing, while others are cheering. This form of "reality TV," though, has been decisive so far in shaping voters' perceptions of the would-be Republican challengers to President Obama
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:43:47 AM
    This debate is from the Sioux City Convention Center in Sioux City, Iowa. It is being hosted by the Fox News Channel and the Iowa Republican Party. The questioners will be Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, Neil Cavuto, and Chris Wallace.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:44:52 AM
    All seven GOP contenders will be there tonight: Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry,
    Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:45:43 AM
    If you have questions or comments, log on here to ask and add them. If you want to tweet, use the hashtag #gopdebate. I will try to keep track of both and add them into this feed. I'm getting a hand from Editor Ron Agrella.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:46:35 AM
    We also have on-scene coverage posted to and from Globe staffers Matt Viser and Tracy Jan.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:48:30 AM
    In addition, I will sneak in some tweets. My handle is @globglen, if you want to follow me.
  • Statuz 12/16/2011 1:50:26 AM
    23 min and on!!
  • Taran 12/16/2011 1:55:40 AM many think we'll look back on this debate as the definitive event that decided who would become the Republican nominee?
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:56:05 AM
    Taran has a point... this is moving time for the candidates wanting to pass Newt Gingrich - or Ron Paul - in Iowa.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 1:57:29 AM
    So for those of you who have been following these live blogs, tonight's will be a little different. Less blow-by-blow, more conversation and analysis. So, let's act like we're sitting in the @globeglen living room, throwing back the milk and discussing everything we see.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:02:01 AM
    So, this is a change: Candidates are already on stage, ready to get going. But this is not a change: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in the center, all to make sparring easier. Bret Baier of Fox calls this the time for the candidates' closing argument
  • DMG73192 12/16/2011 2:03:39 AM
    Hope they let Ron Paul speak his part
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:03:52 AM
    First question to Newt Gingrich: Can you put to rest you are most electable candidate against President Obama? Gingrich responds with Merry Christmas to crowd. No "happy holidays" from him...
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:04:40 AM
    Gingrich replies that in debates with President Obama, "he won't have a leg to stand on."
  • Hansonbroisadope 12/16/2011 2:04:59 AM
    Will be nice to thin the herd
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:05:46 AM
    It's natural for Gingrich to be early focus: He is frontrunner in three of four early states. Will be interesting to see how the other candidates - not the moderators - attack him.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:06:52 AM
    Gingrich also tries to dissipate flip-flops, saying, "I change when the conditions change."
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:07:07 AM
    Second question, in same vein, to Ron Paul...
  • 4RonPaul12 12/16/2011 2:07:11 AM
    and NOW the debate starts...
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:07:48 AM
    Paul, the Texas congressman, says his libertarian philosophy is appealing because it focuses on everyday interests: cutting budget, etc.
  • Watching the #GOPdebate. Ron Paul is talking. All I hear is "Get off my lawn!!!"
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:09:11 AM
    Rick Santorum: You can trust him as a conserative. "I've been there and I've done it." Says Gingrich had a "conservative revolution" against him when he led House.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:09:55 AM
    Fox is allowing the candidates to make their closing argument at the outset, allowing them to explain who they are and why they are best equipped to represent conservative ideals.
  • DMG73192 12/16/2011 2:10:32 AM
    If Pete the Planner thinks that the Constitution is all about getting people off your lawn he is sadly mistaken.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:10:44 AM
    Now, to Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is very polished in debates this second time around. He says he could be best to challenge President Obama because "I'll have credibility on the economy when he doesn't."
  • Ron Agrella, Editor 12/16/2011 2:11:49 AM welcomes your questions and comments. Please click the "Make A Comment" link to post to this live blog. All comments are moderated.
  • 4RonPaul12 12/16/2011 2:12:01 AM
    We all know any of you could beat please focus on how the better yourself than the other Republicans next to you on stage...
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:12:19 AM
    Michele Bachmann says people have elected her because she is an "action person" and a person of her word. Says she spent "five years as a real person" and five years taking on Barack Obama.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:12:48 AM
    In all these debates, these early questions are softballs. Then moderators turn to questions that turn candidates on one another.
  • Romney name drops several companies: Staples, Bright Horizons Children's Center, Jet Blue
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:13:54 AM
    Rick Perry: He dismisses questions debates have made him look bad; says he will "get there early" for debates with President Obama. Compares himself to unlikely hero of Tim Tebow. "I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses," he says.
  • #iowadebate #hannity #tcot #gop @talkmaster Perry is pretty animated now. but he still looks like he came from a funeral parlor
  • johninprovidence 12/16/2011 2:14:45 AM
    Ron Paul seems to be the most relaxed person on the stage tonight.
  • 4RonPaul12 12/16/2011 2:14:59 AM
    The only consistent conservative is RP
  • James 12/16/2011 2:15:13 AM
    I have to disagree 4RonPaul12, I think electability is a major issue. Only a couple of these candidates would stand any chance in the general election.
  • DMG73192 12/16/2011 2:15:32 AM
    Rick Perry just laughs ?'s off every time, no one takes that seriously
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:15:46 AM
    Jon Huntsman has a tendency to tell a joke that falls flat before delivering a serious debate answer. He made one, and then moved onto a recitation of his argument that he is best person to restore trust in government. "We're too good as people to be in the hole we're in, and we deserve better," he says.
  • Huntsman just blew off any last-minute invite from Trump - pretty weak audience response #iowadebate
  • 4RonPaul12 12/16/2011 2:17:51 AM
    @ James...why wouldn't RP be electable?
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:18:12 AM
    Romney: "This is the question of the presidency: What is leadership?" He cites his work with the Democratic Massachusetts Legislature. "We need to have a leader in the White House who knows how to lead," he says.
  • Glen Johnson 12/16/2011 2:18:57 AM
    Gingrich: Labels Obama a "Saul Alinsky
    radical" who campaigns constantly.
  • DMG73192 12/16/2011 2:19:20 AM
    If Ron Paul does well tonight I am definitely voting for him
  • Good point from Mitt Romney; he had to lead as a Governor in a state with 85% Democrats #gopdebate #iowadebate
  • Romney talking about trying to gain respect from Dems isn't going to win over conservatives. #iowadebate
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