It is another pivotal night for Herman Cain. He will likely either solidify his position as a serious challenger to Mitt Romney or go the way of Rick Perry. Also, you probably wouldn’t notice if I didn’t point it out now, but Jon Huntsman is “boycotting” this debate. However, a month ago he was at risk of not even qualifying. In other words, Huntsman said, “You can’t fire me! I quit!”

If you’re looking for where to watch the debate, go here.

Live updates after the jump. Refresh early and often.

Ron Paul: “I am Ron Paul from Texas. I am the champion of liberty.” Solid opening line.

Herman Cain: “I am a 42 year businessman which means I solve problems for a living.” Also solid.

Mitt Romney: He honestly sounded like he was playing second fiddle to Cain.

Rick Perry: Claims to be an “authentic conservative, not one out of convenience”. I guess he forgot about being Al Gore’s campaign manager.

Newt: Always taking to focus to Republicans against Obama. Running for VP.

Wow. The first question comes from Kevin from The Office. He goes straight to the fair tax question.

Bachmann focuses on 999 and doesn’t answer the question. The so-called “fair-tax” would eliminate the federal income tax. Also odd that Bachmann gets the first question. She is irrelevant at this point.

999 is immediately under attack. Unfortunately for Herman Cain, the argument of “go read our analysis” is not an effective argument in a debate. He needs talking points.

Ron Paul says replace the income tax with nothing. The government did operate just fine before the early 1900s without an income tax.

Mitt Romney has been winning so far. He hasn’t had to speak.

Cain keeps saying “apples and oranges”. He cannot effectively explain the embedded 35% corporate taxes and 15% payroll taxes that are added to every product sold that would drop prices on commodity products.

Cain is getting killed.

I am quite disappointed to see a bunch of Republicans playing the class warfare game with each other. Herman Cain’s play would treat everyone fairly. But Romney, Bachmann, and Perry are focusing on who it may pay more under the plan….like the 47% that pay nothing.


Anderson Cooper asks the perfect question to Bachmann, asking whether the 47% who pay nothing should pay something. Bachmann essentially contradicted herself saying they should pay something. So which is it? Yet another example of why you are irrelevant right now.

Blah. Santorum is going on and on about his made in America manufacturing bull. He wants to give manufacturers special tax treatment. Santorum should learn a thing or two about American manufacturing. We have the highest value per unit produced in the world because we have the most technologically advanced manufacturing the world. In other words, we get by far the highest output per worker in the world.

Santorum won’t let Romney get a word in. And he was booed. Solid. Have some class 2% poller.

Romney just opened up a can claiming he knows “how to lower the cost of healthcare”. That’s a joke. The cost of Massachusetts healthcare has skyrocketed since Romneycare was instituted.

Newt, ever the politician says Romneycare is bad, but Obamacare is worse. Right.

I wish we could have the honest healthcare conversation. We need to remove all the regulations and incentives that have created the third party payer system and open up competition across state borders.

Well we can all sing Kumbayah now. All the Republicans agree that Obamacare is awful. Funny, the polls agree.

Romney and Perry both look awful talking over each other. Once Perry stops, Romney takes a shot at him.

All of Romney’s squabbling with others, baited into it or otherwise, takes some of his luster of appearing “Presidential” away.

Perry interrupts Romney again. Romney tells him that interrupting people won’t make him a good president.

It’s too bad Herman Cain cannot effectively defend his 999 plan because sometimes he really brings the common sense, like on the immigration issue currently being discussed.

Bachmann is trying to sound like a VP, much like Newt. She is working hard to get jabs in at Obama on nearly every answer. She just isn’t as good at it as Newt.

Ha ha. Anderson Cooper briefly interrupted Rick Perry to add to his question.

Romney compares Perry’s border security “experience” to a college coach that goes 0-40 going to the NFL.

Perry, for a third time, mocks Romney for Romney’s lawn care company having illegals on its crew. The crowd boos and jeers. It is getting old.

Ron Paul says the answer to border security isn’t a fence, but doesn’t actually offer a solution.

Rick Perry tells Anderson Cooper “You ask the questions. I get to answer them how I want.” What an idiot. You don’t actually say that.

Perry looks worse and worse every single debate.

Anderson Cooper is trying to get someone to answer whether we should repeal the 14th Amendment. Cain declines. Perry says no. Bachmann doesn’t answer. Santorum doesn’t answer. So much for Cain’s straight talk.

The answer is easy. Repeal the 14th Amendment. It was instituted to ensure the citizen of slaves were citizens. Those days are long gone.

Who cares about Yucca Mountain. That is a state issue. This is a national debate. Try screening your questioners CNN.

Ron Paul manages to make the case that the other 49 states shouldn’t dump their trash on one state. That is a fantastic answer. Romney takes it even further to say let the states bid on the contracts for these wasteful materials.

Cain was for TARP before he was against it. That’s a nice bit John Kerry right there.

Should government protect people from losing their houses? Of course not. But of course none of the Republicans have the guts to say that. Buying a house is a gamble. Sometimes you lose. That’s life. You wouldn’t understand sweet without the bitter and vice versa.

I’m glad to hear Herman Cain clearly stand behind his stance that people earn their way.

I don’t think I have ever disagreed with Ron Paul more than when he says Cain is “blaming the victims”. Cain advocated personal responsibility, which is why he got the loudest cheer of the night from the crowd.

I’m happy to have a break right now. This one has moved quickly.

The comment by Pastor Jeffers was brought up by Anderson Cooper. The crowed booed. People may not realize that Las Vegas’s population is about 10% members of the Mormon Church.

Santorum makes the right point that it is the values that religion teaches that matter. The path to salvation that an individual religion teaches has no impact on governing a nation.

Newt took it even further to say that you must be a person who prays to make the right decisions. I agree. Hopefully people who hear him say that also believe in repentance.

So have we reached Rick Perry’s bed time now? I think he has reached that hour. Perry is done.

Anderson Cooper is clearly becoming frustrated. But he is nothing close to where Charlie Rose was.

Ron Paul is the only candidate on this stage that takes our budget problem seriously. We spend $1.2 trillion-plus more than we take in every year. We must make tough decisions, not make cute political speeches.

Paul: “I want to find another person on this stage willing to cut something.” Fantastic.

Okay, foreign aid is dumb, but the real problems are the entitlements and defense. These grow exponentially year over year and comprise about 3/4 of the total budget.

Israel is our greatest ally, but why do we have to pay them to be our ally?

The candidates seem to be running out of steam. It’s a good thing the next debate isn’t for another month.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll is stupid. It only qualifies that respondents are adults.

Hey Rick Santorum, how did that election in 2006 go for you in your swing state?

I wish Perry would stop talking about how many jobs he has “created”. Governments don’t create jobs.

Interesting seeing Cain/Romney/Perry on stage together in the camera shot. Cain looks a little angry. Romney has a smile and Perry needs a nap.

Bachmann “I am the most different candidate from Barack Obama on this stage.” Yeah. For the wrong reasons.

Newt want seven three hour debates with Obama. That would be amazing!

Thanks everyone for joining tonight.