Liveblogging the 1st Perry-Hutchison-Medina Debate

We'll have real time updates, photos and analysis from the Denton debate between GOP gubernatorial candidates Governor Rick Perry, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina. Check back and reload often. Elise is reporting from the University of North-Texas campus, Ross will be providing additional analysis from Austin.

The Texas Debates are being produced by KERA in partnership with CBS 11 (KTVT-TV) and TXA 21 (KTXA-TV), Fort Worth Star-Telegram, KUVN Univisión 23, Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB), Texas State Network, and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

 

Liveblog

by Texas Tribune Staff
The Medina and Hutchison campaigns both have supporter tents and areas outside the debate hall. Here's a look a supporter pre-debate.
Kay signs, pre debate
(photo by Elise Hu)
by Texas Tribune Staff
The media room is bumpin'. Photographers are working to get all their hookups to the feed ready, but it appears we're powerless. The building doesn't have power for an hour, so all the reporters are going to have to run on battery for awhile... hope everyone's fully charged.

Kay signs, pre debate
(Photo by Bob Daemmrich)
by Texas Tribune Staff
We're overhearing the crowd in the room right now but still not getting a video feed. Shelly Kofler of KERA is going to both moderate and serve as panelist.
by Texas Tribune Staff
KBH, Medina are now seated - so it appears they won't be introducing the candidates before they get on stage. They will be seated before the actual broadcast starts.
by Ross Ramsey
Not everyone out here in TV land is getting the same show tonight. The debate's going all over the place, but some stations — notably the home base at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth — will get an hour of spin room and analysis after the debate. Other cities get just the hour-long debate.
by Texas Tribune Staff
And here we go. The press corps is filing from a separate room.
Kay signs, pre debate
(photo by Elise Hu)
by Texas Tribune Staff
First question. Perry drew first. Name one federal program you like. Perry picks the military. "There are three things our government should do well, deliver our mail, stand a military and protect our borders," he said. "One outta three ain't bad. (This is a line he commonly uses on the stump.)
by Ross Ramsey
They start with hot buttons: Nullification, Washington, Secession.

Perry's the first to answer and says he can't think of a federal program Texas ought to try to get rid of... Hutchison, like him, starts by praising the military as her favorite federal program.
by Ross Ramsey
Just before the debate, Team Perry launched a new television ad, titled "Bailout" and aimed at Hutchison's vote for TARP funds in the last month's of the Bush Administration. ...

Here's the script, along with my bet that Perry hits her on some of this during the next hour:

TEXT ON SCREEN: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
...
Senator Hutchison: “I could not give a blank check for 700 billion dollars to anyone. I wouldn’t have given it to Ronald Reagan.”
...
TEXT ON SCREEN: September 30, 2008
...
Narrator: “Just one day later, Senator Hutchison bailed on Texans …”
...
TEXT ON SCREEN: October 1, 2008
...
Narrator: “… and voted for the 700 billion dollar Wall Street Bailout.”
...
TEXT ON SCREEN: Senator Hutchison voted FOR the $700 billion Wall Street Bailout
...
Senate voice: “Mr. Hatch, Aye. Mrs. Hutchison? Mrs. Hutchison, Aye.”
...
TEXT ON SCREEN: BAILOUT BOONDOGGLE New York Post, November 14, 2008
...
Narrator: “No surprise. For over 17 years, she’s voted for billions in earmarks, spending and more debt.”
....
TEXT ON SCREEN: Senator Hutchison has voted for BILLIONS in earmarks, spending and more debt.
...
Narrator: “Senator Hutchison, voting with Washington since 1993.”
...
TEXT ON SCREEN: Senator Hutchison Voting WITH Washington since 1993
...
by Texas Tribune Staff
Things get a little testy as the topic turns to unemployment. Perry uses this to pivot into his main campaign message - that this is the best state to be living in to find a job. Pressed, Perry gets a little defensive - "It wears me out that we have two people on stage that want to tear Texas down.:

by Texas Tribune Staff
Medina and KBH both point out that Texas has indeed lost jobs in the private sector. So KBH gets a little backup for the first time tonight from Debra Medina. The moderators are kind of losing control of the parameters here, but it's a good back and forth.
by Texas Tribune Staff
A view from my seat in the debate filing room. We all laughed when Perry made a little joke about KBH citing The Dallas Morning News. (I'm sitting next to the guys from the News, who took it in stride.)
Kay signs, pre debate
(Photo by Elise Hu)
by Ross Ramsey
Ever hear three candidates talk at once? They're geared up to argue, and did, on the subject of the economy, unemployment and such. Perry wants to use numbers through 2008, before the state economy started to turn. Medina and Hutchison want more recent numbers. And then they all talked at once...
by Texas Tribune Staff
Oh yes. Medina gets asked about where and when she thinks we can carry guns.
by Ross Ramsey
Medina doesn't carry her gun in grocery stores (it's illegal). But, she adds, "I'd like to."
by Texas Tribune Staff
The debate turns to the issue of eminent domain. The panelists - notably Kofler and Dave Montgomery - are doing a good job of asking follow up questions that get at answers beyond the surface.
by Ross Ramsey
Some of the questions for each candidate are just what the opposing campaigns want asked (not that there's anything wrong with that): Hutchison gets an abortion, Roe v. Wade question; Medina's asked about guns; Perry gets a question about eminent domain and the Trans Texas Corridor. And now, they get to ask each other some stuff...
by Texas Tribune Staff
Hutchison's getting into murky waters with the issue of abortion. Perry, in his opportunity to ask her a question, targets her vote to continue Roe v. Wade and also the original support of the stimulus package.
by Ross Ramsey
Roe v. Wade's a big deal in a GOP primary, and so Perry loads it into his question (on something else entirely, the bailout of GM) to Hutchison. He'd like to be in the 100 percent pro-life position and keep her in the something-less-than-100 percent category. Keep watching...
by Ross Ramsey
Perry changed parties in 1989, having been a Democratic member of the Texas House. He ran for agriculture commissioner as a Republican in 1990 and won, in an upset, and has held office since. Medina asks about it anyway, pointing to his support (in 1988) for then-presidential candidate Al Gore. That's fighting talk in a GOP primary.
by Texas Tribune Staff
We should mention the debate staging. Medina is sandwiched right between the GOP heavyweights. Medina is positioned Kay on screen left, and Rick on screen right. Medina, in her opportunity to address Perry with a question, says that Texans deserve a break from the squabbling but also tells him he "paints a rosy picture that doesn't exist."
by Texas Tribune Staff
A smart move by KBH as she gets to ask Medina a question. She uses a question about the high property taxes in Texas to get Medina to criticize Perry on the issue. Medina, predictably, says all property taxes should be eradicated.
by Ross Ramsey
Some economics: To Hutchison's question about how she'd fund government without property taxes, Medina says she'd go with a broad-based sales tax instead. She says it would boost the economy and jobs...
by Ross Ramsey
Hutchison does a little ju-jitsu, agreeing with Medina, "and frankly, the governor" that Washington has overstepped its bounds and encroached on state's rights. She says she's been fighting that in Washington.
by Ross Ramsey
Forty minutes in. KBH's camp responds to the pressure on abortion with a few points. (Team Kay has been furioualy blasting emails and their "fact checks", my email inbox is blowing up.) A snippet from them on the abortion issue:

Hutchison Has A Lifetime Average Of 94 Percent For Voting With The National Right To Life Committee. (National Right To Life Committee, "NRLC Vote Scorecards," capwiz.com, Accessed 11/13/09

* Hutchison Has Voted 6 Times To Ban Partial-Birth Abortion; At Least 16 Times To Prohibit Federal Funding Of Abortions; At Least 7 Times To Prohibit Federal Funding For Organizations That Promote Abortion As A Method Of Birth Control Overseas; And 3 Times To Make Transporting Minor Across State Line In Order To Circumvent Parental Notification Law A Federal Crime.
by Ross Ramsey
Hutchison to Perry: You increased business taxes and the size of the budget and say otherwise in your ads...
by Texas Tribune Staff
The audience erupts in laughter when Perry jokingly directs a question to KBH instead of his assigned target, Medina. The question: "Are you going to resign from the US Senate?"
by Ross Ramsey
Hutchison's follow-up, after he defends the state as a low-tax place with a better-than-most economy: "There you go again." That's a Ronald Reagan line, kids...
by Ross Ramsey
Medina comes back on sales taxes, adding that business margins tax should be whacked along with the property tax (she'd do away with both). She'd keep sales tax exemptions on medicine and such to protect the poor from paying higher proportions of their incomes. But she doesn't get to what rate she'd charge -- the state gets 6-1/4 percent of sales now, and what she's suggesting would add at least a nickel to that.
by Texas Tribune Staff
A quick thought on Medina - she's getting squeezed out because of the Perry/Hutchison bickering, but she's poised and holding her own when she gets a chance to make her points.
by Ross Ramsey
Perry says Hutchison voted for sanctuary cities. She says she didn't. Medina says both of the officeholders have fouled up immigration. Her suggestion: Military forces on the border.
by Ross Ramsey
Fast hour. We're at closing remarks already...
by Texas Tribune Staff
This debate has gone by very fast - already we're at closing statements and the press is getting their shots and positions ready for the press conference that's going to be going on here. Perry and Hutchison are both not going to be participating in the presser. "We said before, we wouldn't come if we won," said Communications Director Jenn Baker.

Kay signs, pre debate
(photo by Elise Hu)
by Texas Tribune Staff
A very lively debate, folks. Perry was typically confident and wry, Hutchison was full-energy and well-prepared, Medina more than held-her-own. Too bad these public officials won't be answering questions. But we do get Medina in the post-game presser. At least there's Debra.
by Ross Ramsey
Think this was in the can? Hutchison campaign headline on press release, as the credits rolled: "Kay Bailey Hutchison Scores Decisive Victory"
by Ross Ramsey
Some notes: The candidates ran over the moderator and the panelists and took control of the debate. Medina, the outsider here, put on a credible show (though you're free to blast away or support her policy positions, according to your preference). Perry and Hutchison looked like they've done this a lot, which might or might not be a good thing. The governor didn't make any mistakes, really, and neither did the senator. They didn't produce anything that will have Texas talking tomorrow, either. Neither of them lost the debate, but that's not the same as winning it. Those two, at least, will meet again: Belo Corp. is holding a GOP debate on January 29. Hutchison and Perry are invited; Medina is not.
by Texas Tribune Staff
"Kay and Rick have big government ideas, I have big people ideas," says Medina, as she shows up for the post-debate press conference.

Kay signs, pre debate
(photo by Elise Hu)

"Certainly, we're going to continue... let's get out there and get after it, we're working hard on this race and we've got support all over the state," she says. "We want servant leaders."

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