6:53 p.m. by
We're just a few minutes from Perry's fifth GOP presidential debate. Stand by for updates!
6:57 p.m. by
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has endorsed Gov. Rick Perry for president, will be seated next to First Lady Anita Perry during the debate, officials say. No word on whether Sandoval will hit the post-debate spin room.
7:04 p.m. by
Perry with the bright red power tie.
7:05 p.m. by
Perry seems to be ready for battle. Enters stage with salute. Some head-bobbing. A Texas-style show-down in Vegas?
7:10 p.m. by
A swipe at Mitt? Perry says he's "not a conservative of convenience."
7:16 p.m. by
Herman Cain, surging in polls, gets pounded in debate. Candidates criticizing the 9-9-9 plan after audience member asks about whether to replace federal income tax
7:19 p.m. by
Folksy sounding Perry joins Cain pile on, says "I love you, brother," but warns that he's "fixing" to give America a tax increase with the 9-9-9 plan. "I don't think so, Herman, it's not going to fly."
7:26 p.m. by
Somebody drank his energy drink tonight
7:28 p.m. by
Perry, asked about Romney's jobs plan, adeptly switches to his own plan. Of all the "nines," Perry says, "It’s the 9 percent unemployment in this country that’s where we’ve got to get focused in America." Perry said his jobs plan, which aims at getting "this energy that’s under our feet" and seeking energy independence, is the solution to sending 1.2 million Americans to work. Romney, asked by Anderson Cooper to respond to Perry's comments, said, effectively, Perry's right.
7:33 p.m. by
Perry's sitting pretty while his opponents all beat up on Romney about health care reform.
7:34 p.m. by
Now it's a Mitt pile on, over Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich, usually a statesman, is much more critical than in past debates. Cain and Romney have targets on their back tonight. Lots of shouting and sometimes chaotic exchanges among candidates. Will Perry jump in even when un-prompted?
7:42 p.m. by
Mitt to Rick: "Are you going to keep talking?"
7:43 p.m. by
Perry says Romney lost all credibility on illegal immigration issue because he allegedly hired illegal immigrants
7:43 p.m. by
Perry to Romney: "You had illegals working on your property."
7:44 p.m. by
Romney says to Perry: "You have a problem" because he keeps interrupting. This is getting nasty.
7:50 p.m. by
On the question of a border sense, Perry says it's entirely possible to build a fence — but it'll take 10-15 years and cost $30 billion.
He recommends a "virtual defense zone" bolstered by strategic fencing. That includes putting boots on the ground and predator drones in the air.
Bachmann retorts she's going to build a double-walled fence.
Perry's unimpressed. "There's a lot better way than to stand here and say we're gonna build a fence somewhere and then wipe our hands of it," he says.
For someone to lecture him on how to deal with the border is "not right," he says.
7:54 p.m. by
Perry says Romney is "number one" on the list of people hiring illegal immigrants that are attracting them like a magnet to the U.S. This line of attack is getting Perry booed — at least, I think it's Perry.
To be fair, it's possible they disapprove of Romney's choice of employees. Though, really, it really seems like it's Perry's attack.
7:54 p.m. by
Ron Paul says mandates from federal government requiring the education of illegal immigrant kids are incentives that contribute to the problem.
7:56 p.m. by
Perry's just not answering the questions Cooper sends his way. He just said to Cooper, “you get to ask the question, I get to answer like I want to.”
7:57 p.m. by
The Perry-Romney duel over illegal immigration actually began over a question about the high number of uninsured in Texas. Perry said, "We’ve got one of the finest healtch care systems in the world in Texas,” but otherwise didn't give much of an answer about why. Then he launched into an obviously pre-planned attack on Romney. He said there were too many illegals who are coming to the United States. "They're coming here because there is a magnet and the magnet is called jobs." Perry said then said Romney hired illegals in his home and called that the 'height of hypocrisy."
7:59 p.m. by
Perry says he doesn't support repealing the 14th Amendment.
8 p.m. by
Romney is very testy tonight. Seems like Perry has gotten under his skin. Have gotten texts from pro- and anti-Perry forces who say the former Massachusetts governor is "off his game." Is Perry setting the stage for a comeback?
8 p.m. by
Curious how Anderson Cooper and Perry make this cordial again. There's no love between these two.
8:05 p.m. by
Santorum going after Perry, Romney, and Cain for supporting TARP. Perry says he didn't. "You complain about Gov. Romney flip-flopping," Santorum responds.
8:07 p.m. by
Perry, acting statesman-like, says Romney is right about allowing states to decide if they want to accept or decline nuclear waste. Predictably talks up support for 10th amendment.
8:08 p.m. by
Perry says Santorum has it wrong. Perry's ofice did send a letter to DC, but he says, he didn't mean he wanted TARP passed.
Santorum basically says there's no other possible meaning when you call for passing an economic plan on the same day as the TARP vote. Perry says he knows what his intent was, and it was not to support TARP.
8:08 p.m. by
Santorum's critique of Perry on TARP is worth noting. Perry, in his capacity for the Republican Governor's Association, sent a letter in 2008 urging Congress to pass an "economic recovery package," coinciding with the vote for the bailout in Congress. Perry says that letter can be interpreted any way his opponents want to, but that the letter was meant to get Congress to take immediate action, not necessarily in support of the bank bailout.
8:19 p.m. by
Mormonism issue up now
8:27 p.m. by
Light sparring over the controversy stemming from Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress' comments about Mormonism. Perry said he disagreed with the comments and, "I can't apologize any more than that." Romney seemed satisfied.
8:28 p.m. by
Robert Jeffress, the Dallas megachurch pastor who introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., and later told reporters he thought Mormonism was a cult, is back in discussion.
Perry has publicly said he and Jeffress differ on this issue, and that he does not believe Mormonism, Mitt Romney’s faith, is a cult. But the fact that he introduced Perry may be a thorn in the side for the Texas governor; when Anderson Cooper brought it up, there were giant boos from the audience.
“I have said I didn’t agree with that individual’s statement,” Perry said. But he didn’t go so far as to repudiate Jeffress, saying people have the right to free speech.
8:29 p.m. by
Paul just got big applause for his plan to cut $1 trillion by eliminating a handful of federal departments.
8:32 p.m. by
Contender for best line of the night: "I'm a cheap hawk," Newt says.
8:34 p.m. by
Perry just called for a "very serious conversation about defunding the United Nations."
8:49 p.m. by
Perry's asked why he thinks he can beat Obama — instead slams Romney: "If you want to know how someone's going to act in the future look how they act in the past." He says Massachusetts under Romney was 47th in the nation in job creation. He says Texas created more jobs in the last two months than Massachusetts did in the last two years.
Romney fires back that Perry's got his own track record: He worked for Al Gore's campaign. Romney said he got unemployment in Massachusetts down to 4.7 percent.
8:50 p.m. by
This audience is quite Romney friendly. Lots of boos for Perry here when he attacks Romney.