Video: Rick Perry’s Debate Fail

In isolation this would have been embarrassing but wouldn’t have left a mark. But when you’ve stumbled in every debate, and pundits are repeatedly declaring that you have just one more chance to get it right, this is pretty damaging. I am sure that this will be the defining moment of Perry’s campaign, the moment everything ended, but things have been unraveling from the start. This has been Romney’s race for some time and looks to stay that way.

Fred Thompson Explains Reagan Coalition – Conservatism to Mike Huckabee

It isn’t too late for Fred to be a factor but he needs a needs a serious, buzzworthy, surge to reset the race. That surge, if it’s to come, will be the result of his performance last night and his ability to dial in that tone that so resonated with the conservative base. We’ll know soon if Fred can be a factor:

“I don’t know of any better place to stand my ground and test my case than in South Carolina,” Thompson told a couple of hundred people at a pancake house in the northern part of the state as he began an 11-day bus tour.

He said the results in New Hampshire and in Michigan on Jan. 15 will factor into whether he stays in the race, but that South Carolina will be key.

Arizona Sen. John McCain won the Republican primary in New Hampshire.

“This is where we make our stand — this is where I have chosen to make my stand,” Thompson told a crowd at a barbecue restaurant. He later told reporters he needs to do well in South Carolina, which votes Jan. 19.

“There’s no question about it. It could prove at the end of the day that South Carolina is determinative as far as I’m concerned, but we’re not there yet,” he said.

Republicans Debate in South Carolina

Update 9:28 PM CST:: Internet probelms here. I have to bail out of the liveblogging. I’ll wrap up once I can get a decent connection.

Update 8:51 PM CST:: Ron Paul is going nuts again. You can tell the other candidates are really tired of this crackpot.

Update 8:44 PM CST:: Romney just said that Ron Paul should “stop reading Ahmadinejad’s press releases.” Best line so far.

Update 8:42 PM CST:: Rudy and McCain handled questions about the incident with Iran well. Ron Paul just had a total freakout meltdown – typical blame America stuff – the audience is laughing at him.

Update 8:35 PM CST:: Fred on the Iranians – “One more step and they would have been introduced to those virgins they’re looking forward to seeing.” Like Huckabee he followed with a more serious response.

Update 8:31 PM CST:: Huckabee threatened our enemies with a trip through the “gates of hell.” It was pretty entertaining but lacking a bit of sophistication. His second answer was a bit more thoughtful.

Update 8:29 PM CST:: Ron Paul on the GOP – “We finally got control of the government and we became big government people.” He’s right about that.

Update 8:26 PM CST:: Whoa Fred Thompson is kicking ass! Finally someone with some credibility addresses all of this Reagan legacy talk. He just stepped in and schooled everyone and drew the first applause of the night.

Update 8:22 PM CST:: Obligatory Reagan praise. Too bad they never seem to actually want govern like Reagan when they have the opportunity.

Update 8:19 PM CST:: Fred Thompson is talking about specific techniques for managing the economy. That sure confused everyone.

Update 8:17 PM CST:: Ron Paul is screaming “I hate blacks and gays!” Just kidding – that material is reserved for his newsletters.

Update 8:14 PM CST:: Rudy is promoting balance in all things. He must be taking yoga classes.

Update 8:11 PM CST:: Hucakbee is addressing economic issues in terms that his key snake-handling constituency can understand.

Update 8:07 PM CST:: McCain says that he’s ready to wield the veto pen and tackle wasteful spending.

Update 8:03 PM CST:: I almost clicked past it at the start. I saw that musical number and thought it was a state beauty pageant.