Texas GOP Primary Debate, Perry vs. KBH Live Blog

Tonight was the first debate in the Texas GOP primary. Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison squared off and were joined by lesser known GOP contender, Debra Medina. Skip toward the bottom of the post for a minute by minute breakdown of the debate. All times are Central.

Post Game Chatter

Governor Perry’s campaign statement on tonight’s debate:

“Tonight’s debate gave Texans the chance to hear competing visions for our state’s future while reflecting on the remarkable success story our state has written over the last several years.

“As our nation’s economy continues to struggle, our best prospects lie with maintaining our job-friendly climate, continuing to strengthen our education system, keeping our border secure and pushing back against the flood of misguided policies pouring out of Washington.

“I hope that our success has earned the confidence of Texas voters and that they will continue supporting me in leading our state with hard work, innovation and careful fiscal stewardship.”

Senator Hutchison’s first statement about the debate:

Via <a href=”http://twitter.com/TeamKay/status/7771020615″>Twitter</a>:

A decisive victory for Kay in the first debate.”

Did they watch the exchanges about abortion and bailouts?

Statement from Rick Perry’s Campaign Manager, Rob Johnson:

“Tonight, the Governor spoke about his record of fiscal discipline; Rick Perry is the only Texas governor since World War II to sign a budget that cut general revenue spending in the state budget— and he’s done it twice. Governor Perry explained how Texas is standing up to Washington’s wasteful spending and one-size-fits-all mandates. He spoke about how Texas is taking the lead in securing our border because of Washington’s failure to do so. He also noted that Texas has some of the strongest accountability and curriculum standards in education and that student test scores have been rising under his leadership.

Tonight, the Governor articulated his unwavering Texas values and his record of proven conservative leadership, and we are asking you to actively help Gov. Perry spread his conservative message and the Texas success story. Your advocacy will keep our tremendous momentum building and help us grow the largest grassroots effort in Texas’ history! Thanks to all the hard work you’re doing to help the campaign, we are positioned for a strong finish over the next few weeks.”

Live Blog of Debate

7:59 – And, we’re done. Stay tuned, right here for analysis and responses from the campaigns.

7:56 – KBH: Texas is the best state in the nation. Trying to hit on toll roads and private property rights.

7:55 – Perry’s up: The reason we have the opportunity to exchange these ideas is the protection of the military.  Texas is the land of opportunity, and there is something special going on here. Sound fiscal decisions over the past several years have gotten us here.

7:53 – Closing statements. Medina up first thanking debate for allowing her to come, offering “the road less traveled.”

7:52 – Question about immigration to each of the candidates.  Perry points out that KBH voted for sanctuary cities, and says that we should rout out those who hire illegal immigrants.  Perry: That’s the best way to reduce illegal immigration here in Texas.

7:50 – Perry: We did this in 2003. I already have the experience to trim the budget where needed. Perry points out that KBH has voted to raise the debt ceiling nine times in Washington.

7:49 – KBH’s response: I have balanced a budget, run a small business, and that’s the kind of experience needed to handle the state budget.

KBH thinks cuts need to be made to state agencies now, and consolidate state agencies, now going way over on time.

7:43 – Question for all three candidates. “How are you going to deal with state budget in the next legislative session?”

7:42 – KBH to Perry, asking him about his record on Texas. Perry – we have the second lowest tax burden in this country in Texas.  We have a state that is growing and that Texas is the land of opportunity. Perry to KBH, “People wouldn’t be coming to Texas if it was the place you’re painting it to be.”

7:40 – KBH talking about reminding the federal government not to encroach on state’s rights.

7:39 – More candidate to candidate questions. Medina to KBH, “What evidence can you give voters that you’ll be bound by the Texas constitution?”

7:36 – KBH sends a softball question to Medina about property taxes looking for her to attack Perry on the issue.

7:33 – Medina trying to ding Perry on being a Conservative Democrat in the 80’s before joining the GOP.  Perry responds that he made the same decision Ronald Reagan did, and is proud to be a Republican.

7:32 – Perry and Kay sparing now over the bailouts. Perry laughing and jovial.

7:30 – KBH putting the blame on Bush.  Isn’t that an Obama tactic? Now she’s trying to explain being for the bailout before she was against it.

7:30 – First of questions from candidate to candidate. Perry to KBH about her inconsistencies.  Mentioning her flip-flops on abortion and bailouts.

7:28 – Perry talking about his efforts to sign private property rights legislation and his veto of a particular bill because of trial lawyers interests.

7:26 – Perry faces his first question about private property rights.

7:24 – Twitter is abuzz with chatter about KBH’s poor handling of the abortion question.

7:21 – KBH: “I’ve always come down on the side of life.” Texas Right to Life and her record begs to differ: http://bit.ly/4poOgH. She’s dodging now, saying “What would happen if Roe vs Wade got overturned?”

KBH’s staff must be scrambling now.

7:20 – Fist abortion question to KBH.  This is going to be good.

7:19 – Reference for Perry’s “Texas at top of small business rankings” quote: http://bit.ly/8f2su6

7:17 – Moderator to KBH, “we’re going to move on, but if you want to talk about what you would do today to add jobs, we can come back to this.” Wow.

7:16 – KBH: Lower the burden on businesses to get jobs back in Texas.

7:15 – Perry: Texas created more jobs in 07 and 08 then the rest of the country combined.

7:15 – Perry: This is the best state in the nation to be living in right now. Texas programs will help those who have lost their jobs. Texas created jobs, has a fair regulatory climate, fair and accountable schools.

7:12 – Question from Facebook, “What do you plan to do about unemployment?”

7:11 – Medina up. Concerned about health care and energy.

7:11 – Austin American Statesman reporter Jason Embry just Tweeted, “KBH just left herself open on ACORN.”

7:10 – Moderator says, “Senator Hutchison, you’ve been in Congress a long time and know Washington…” as she prefaces the question. KBH also believes the military is the best federal program. Kay is defending her bill on gas tax refunds. Moderator noted that it would be difficult to get a vote in DC.

7:06: First question, which federal program do you love the most and which would you cut?

Rick Perry: There are three things that the government should do, deliver our mail, defend our country, secure our borders.  The military is the best federal program we receive. National healthcare from Washington is the problem we should be focusing on from the federal government.

7:03: Three journalists on panel, one wandering the audience.

7:00: And here we go.  Sitting on stage are Governor Rick Perry, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and GOP activist Debra Medina.

6:57: The candidates are taking their places and getting set for kickoff.

6:50pm: T-minus 10 minutes to the showdown.