7:13 PM: Ron Paul totally losing it about the Federal Reserve -- we're in the middle of "unwinding a seventy-year-old Keynesian bubble."
7:15 PM: Michelle Bachmann claims "the CBO says Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs." This, for the record, is not true.
7:16 PM: Romney is trying to distinguish the ACA from his health care plan in MA. But not well. "My plan was a state plan, so if people don't like it, they can change it." Errrr....
7:18 PM: John King trying to start a fight between Pawlenty and Romney. Romney just just smirks while Pawlenty dodges and weaves.
7:19 PM: This is all ridiculous, though. "Romneycare" and "Obamacare" are incredibly similar.
7:20 PM: Gingrich points out (correctly!) that the president can't unilaterally repeal a law passed by Congress. No, Newt! Bad!
7:22 PM: Rick Santorum seems like the nerdy kid who always runs for class president.
7:22 PM: Michelle Bachmann says the Tea Party is made up of "disaffected Democrats" and "a wide swath of Americans coming together." This, for the record, is not true.
7:23 PM: John King is pathetic. "Alright. Okay. Alr -- Oh -- Alright. Uh -- Alright. Yeah. Okay. Uh."
7:25 PM: Someone just asked how the candidates would increase manufacturing jobs. Prediction: they'll say "Cut taxes, cut regulations."
7:26 PM: Yep.
Although Ron Paul also said we should strengthen the currency, which, as everyone knows, makes American labor cheaper and more attractive.
7:29 PM: Michelle Bachmann says the answer is to "Repeal the EPA."
7:30 PM: Santorum says cut the capital gains tax, so that "wealth can really trickle down."
7:32 PM: Gingrich: "Why would you want to be California when you could be Texas or North Dakota?" #republicans
7:35 PM: Santorum picked Leno over Conan, proved his unfitness for office once and for all.
7:37 PM: A union leader asked Ron Paul how'd he have government assist and subsidize private enterprise. Ron Paul is flabbergasted at the question, can barely speak, stutters his way through an outraged response. #perfectstorm
7:42 PM: No one is willing to stand behind the wildly successful auto bailout. Not surprising, but no less absurd for that.
7:46 PM: Truly bizarre disagreement about the space program. Gingrich: "NASA's gotta go." Pawlenty: "No, let's not get rid of government space travel." Gingrich: "I'm not saying get rid of it, I'm saying move it out of Washington, decentralize it." As best I can tell, Gingrich is proposing state-sponsored space launches.
7:49 PM: Big moment as Herman Cain says the government should inspect food. First point for government regulation all night.
7:50 PM: Romney: "Every time you take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if can send it all the way back to private enterprise, that's even better." Even on a stage with Ron "tinfoil hat" Paul, this is the craziest thing anyone's said yet.
7:54 PM: Oh, wait, I forgot that Ron Paul just came out in support of the collapse of the housing market (because it's propped up by government dollars, you see) a few minutes ago. Nevermind.
7:55 PM: John King keeps asking "This or that" questions. "Blackberry or iPhone?" "American Idol or Dancing with the Stars?" #thedeclinistsareright
7:56 PM: Ron Paul suggests a Medicare opt-out. "Let people take themselves out of the system! Take care of themselves!" Huh?
8:03 PM: Romney refuses to say that the debt ceiling should be raised. Uh oh.
8:05 PM: John King is my least favorite person on the stage. #stoptalkingIhavetoaskyoumorequestions
8:10 PM: Herman Cain just said A. he wouldn't be comfortable with a Muslim in his administration, B. that there's nothing wrong about giving extra scrutiny to Muslims as long as they're "the Muslims who are trying to kill us," and C. that he is opposed to Sharia law. Massive applause.
8:11 PM: Romney backs freedom of religion, non-discrimination. Genuinely admirable moment for him.
8:12 PM: And then Newt Gingrich went on a horrifying rant about how there's nothing wrong with excluding Muslims, because many Muslims don't believe in America. "We did it to the communists and Nazis, and it was controversial then, too."
8:13 PM: And finally, John King interrupts the candidates for the most powerful office in the world, who are currently railing against religious minorities, in order to announce that it's time for a commercial break. But first, he has one more question for Herman Cain: "Deep-dish or thin crust?" "Deep-dish," says Cain. Cut. #theterroristsareright
8:19 PM: Bachmann, Paul, Cain all prefer leaving gay marriage to the states. Everyone else wants an amendment to make it unconstitutional.
Then Bachmann clarifies her answer, "I would support a constitutional amendment. I just wouldn't support overturning state laws." Okay, "clarifies" might have been the wrong word.
8:25 PM: Questioner points out that Romney "changed his mind" on abortion. Despite occasional jaunts into crazyland, Romney has been by far the most impressive candidate in this debate. He's also the one who agrees with Democrats the most. #surelyacoincidence
8:28 PM: Next up: illegal immigration. Santorum says the people who come here legally "came for freedom." But the rest, apparently, "come for government benefits."
8:33 PM: Pawlenty talks up his immigration credentials. "I sent the Minnesota National Guard to protect the border." Not the border they're talking about, dude.
Also he just claimed that birthright citizenship isn't in the Constitution. Hm.
8:35 PM: The union leader who asked Ron Paul about when government should help industry now asks him if eminent domain should ever be used. #trollspotted
8:41 PM: The US literally cannot achieve energy independence by ramping up oil production. There is not enough oil. This is a thing you cannot say out loud and be elected president. Urghhhhhh
8:43 PM: There's more genuine disagreement about foreign policy than anything else so far. Although Romney's "I don't want to fight someone else's war for them in Afghanistan" has a pretty huge asterisk in the form of "depending on what the generals say."
8:47 PM: "Should the price tag be a factor in military action?" Wow, John King, way to ask the tough questions. I wonder what they're going to say.
8:48 PM: Gingrich and Bachmann both believe Libyan rebels are probably al Qaeda. Not sure what policy response this new information necessitates. Change sides and start bombing the rebels, maybe?
8:49 PM: Herman Cain: "To paraphrase my grandmother about these situations in Libya and the Middle East, these are not simple situations." #agebringswisdom
8:51 PM: "Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh." --John King, moderator extraordinaire
8:55 PM: John King reads off a bunch of "great questions from the public" about foreign policy. Doesn't ask them to anyone. Food for thought, maybe? "Have you considered... Israel?"
In unrelated news, CNN spent a total of nine minutes on foreign policy.
8:57 PM: King asks whether McCain or Obama made a better vice-presidential pick. Pawlenty says Biden has been wrong about everything in his life, ever. Romney says anyone in the debate would be a better president than Obama. There is a zero percent chance he believes this. Bachmann says she will pick her vice president through an American Idol contest, but it was probably a joke.
8:59 PM: John King: "Er..- Uh..-- Mister-- Mister Speaker-- Uh-- Right-- Uh-- Uh-- Yeah-- Right--"
GOOD LORD MAN JUST SAY THE WORDS
And that's a wrap. God have mercy on the United States of America.