Friday, December 16, 2011

Fox News Debate Stats Sioux City 12/15/2011

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A lot going on in Iowa these days as the state prepares for the first in the nation caucuses for the Republican primaries. Fox News hosts Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, Neil Cavuto and David Gregory each took turns quizzing the seven candidates on-stage on a list of topics ranging from Economic, Foreign Policy, Social Issues, the Judiciary, and even partisan politics. As a whole this was quite a contentious debate with a total of 14 responses between candidates, five of which were from Newt Gingrich, who not coincidentally had the most amount of total speaking time at 14:39 (mm:ss).

During Newt's Freddie Mac past, he stated, "Now, if you read the whole thing that they posted, I said that they need more regulations". Perhaps it is splitting hairs, but here is what he actually said in the article regarding regulations, "So while we need to improve the regulation of the GSEs, I would be very cautious about fundamentally changing their role or the model itself," (Freddie Mac article link). Clearly, Newt is in favor of the Fannie & Freddie model and was not advising any structural changes whatsoever.

Furthermore. Perhaps the more interesting thoughts from that Freddie Mac interview with Newt was, "I recognize that there are times when you need government to help spur private enterprise and economic development.", which is hardly the hallmark of a free market mindset. No, he reveals himself to be the Keynesian tinkerer that currently fills out our government body.

In the article, he continues, "Look at our own history. The government provided railroad land grants to encourage widespread adoption of what was then the most modern form of transportation to help develop our country. The Homestead Act essentially gave land away to those willing to live on it and develop it." The historian that Newt claims to be then he should surely know that the Homestead Act was widely abused for fraud and corporate monopolization of resources such as water. As for the railroad land grants he references, the mechanisms the government used were wholly inefficient and were frequently rebuilt having been constructed with such poor quality in the sprint to scoop up the subsidies. In fairness, the land grants did make it easier to raise investments for other rail companies who did a better job in their construction. (Mises link)

Other than Michele Bachmann (10:25) and Speaker Gingrich trading claims, Bachmann also mixed it up with Ron Paul (11:43) over foreign policy with regards to Iran. Specifically, Congresswoman Bachmann said that the latest IAEA report "said literally, Iran is within just months of being able to obtain that weapon." Ron Paul refuted that she was totally wrong, that there is no evidence. Who's right? Well, when has Michele Bachmann ever got anything right.

The November 2011 report (link) states on page 10, in section "K", that they (IAEA) have "serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme", but this based on what they *don't know*, as stated in the previous paragraph: "the Agency (IAEA) is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all material in Iran is in peaceful activities." They flat out state they just don't know. This is not "literally" saying that "Iran is within just months of being able to obtain that weapon", anything beyond 'we need more info' is pure conjecture, even though I do think it's reasonable to assume Iran would want a nuclear weapon since it is surrounded by them. (IAEA report link)

It's worth pointing out that even though Dr Paul did receive the third highest allotment of speaking time, after the foreign policy squabble he went the next 24:19 of candidate speaking time in silence, which was over seven minutes longer than the next longest wait (Santorum waited 16:57 at one point) where Congressman Paul was not allowed to weigh in on Energy, Immigration and Social Issues. Whereas in this same time frame every other candidate weighed in at least twice, and in the case of Mitt Romney & Newt Gingrich, five times.

Great job Fox News, but at least your moderator did not try to paint Ron Paul as "running left of President Obama". Yes, that's sarcasm, and yes, that's you Bret Baier. Either moderate or commentate, but please do not do both at the same time. Peace and caution should not be labeled as some kind of left-wing extremism, some call it "wisdom".

Here are the debate stats, check back soon for a rollup of all the debates to see who the big winner is (my bet's on Mitt):

Total Talk %
Gingrich 14:39 20.07%
Romney 12:58 17.78%
Ron Paul 11:43 16.06%
Bachmann 10:25 14.29%
Santorum 8:09 11.17%
Huntsman 7:59 10.96%
Perry 7:03 9.67%
Total 1:12:59 100.00%
*Note: This is uninterrupted talking time, except for audience cheer/applause in the middle of a response as this goes against their official response time.

Turns Talking %
Gingrich 19 22.35%
Romney 14 16.47%
Ron Paul 14 16.47%
Bachmann 13 15.29%
Perry 9 10.59%
Santorum 8 9.41%
Huntsman 8 9.41%
Total 85 100.00%

Avg b/w Talks Longest Wait
Huntsman 8:07 0:11:47
Perry 7:53 0:13:55
Santorum 7:42 0:16:57
Ron Paul 5:28 0:24:19
Romney 4:48 0:15:31
Bachmann 4:46 0:11:28
Gingrich 4:02 0:10:58

Qs Responses Follow-ups
Romney 10 2 2
Gingrich 10 5 4
Bachmann 9 4 0
Perry 8 0 1
Ron Paul 8 3 3
Santorum 8 0 0
Huntsman 8 0 0
Total 61 14 10
Note: Qs = Questions; Responses (candidates responding to each other); Followups (moderator following up from the previous question)

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