Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Date Night Right: The 2012 Arizona GOP Debate

We have watched nearly every single GOP presidential debate online this primary season. So, you can imagine our excitement at getting the chance to attend one live! :) Tonight, the Republican presidential candidates debated in Mesa, and we made the two hour trip to view the debate in the square outside the Mesa Arts Center. The energy was incredible.
Lincoln (and Squire's!) very first presidential debate.
Here you can see what we saw as we made our way toward Main street - lots of left-leaning folk singing anti-war songs and waving their banners and handmade signs.
This lady's poster said: "THEY ARE ALL LYING" on the one side. The other side showed three boxes with the words, "Democrat," "Republican" and "Pissed Off" next to them. She had checked the pissed off box with a thick dark marker. And underneath the boxes she wrote, "I'll keep my government out of your religion when you keep your religion out of my government." Yikes! Haha. She was very pleasant when I asked for her picture though. Not quite so "P.O.ed" as her poster led me to think she might be.
There was a sea of energized and attentive viewers! Interested to hear a couple of the highlights we saw as participants outside you might not have gotten from watching on CNN? Of course!

When the question about each candidates personal opinion on birth control was asked, the reaction was immediate and very strongly negative. Loud booing all around.

Santorum's comment on making good policy decisions only required that you look at what Joe Biden does and do exactly the opposite, and you'll be right 100% of the time. Haha. That one got laughs. It was one of Squire's favorites. 

Best debate moment: When Newt Gingrich chose "cheerful" as the one word to describe himself best - the crowd erupted in choking laughter. It was so hilarious and unexpected. Was he being facetious? Trying to convince us? Himself? Was he just making a joke? I don't know. But it was awesome (seeing as how most people describe Newt as an "angry old man.")
Random observation/confession/amendment: There were quite a few Ron Paulers there tonight. I caused a bit of a stir a few weeks ago when I posted, "Ron Paul supporters are annoying" on my facebook wall. So to soften that blow, I have to mention that tonight only about half of the Ron Paulers fit that annoying sort of stereotype - the other half were well-mannered, clean cut, educated-looking, and respectful. They waved their signs politely and vigorously in all the right places and times. So kuddos to the decent and not annoying Ron Paul people. I will just amend my status to about half of Ron Paul supporters are annoying? Deal? Deal.

Lincoln loved the people watching and he loved the audience reactions. He clapped with the crowd and was a happy bouncing baby throughout the debate. His eyes were drawn to the people waving these flags who chanted, "Free Syria!" who seemed most pleased with what Romney had to say about the issue . . .
This guy looked like the monopoly man incarnate, but with fewer good teeth. He really only had a few teeth! But, he still looked pretty bad-a with his cane and poofy mustache:
I asked him if I could take a picture of him and he said I could. He let me know he was selling the pins on his apron for $1.50 each if I wanted one. I read over a handful of pins on his apron and had to let him know that, "You know, I see things a lot differently than you do! But, I'm glad you're here and contributing to the energy of this event!" He told me how he didn't have cable so he had to come to the square be able to watch the debate:
The Button Man
During the commercial breaks, people would chant different things. During the debate, we heard "Vote for Mitt! Not a politician!" But after the debate, another group chanted, "Veto Romney! Not the Dream Act!"
More protestors sharing their views in bold print:
As we made our way to our car at the close of the debate, the live band at the event rocked out Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". Haha. Thanks guys! I'm taking that message with me to the voting booth in November. Maybe if we just believe hard enough, we can get Obama voted out and get our country back on the right track!
And of course, what debate night would be complete without a bit of windshield wiper propoganda? Hehe.
Well, honestly that wasn't the end the end. We are raising our boy "right" politically, but we were bad parents and kept him out much too late passed his bedtime! We were really hungry, so we stopped at Tom's BBQ for a quick bite to eat. It was delicious. We met a family with a 27 year old boy with down's syndrome while we were there. That made me happy, on account of my own amazing little sister.
Tonight's family date night was one of the best ever! You can't go wrong with intelligent conversation, crowds of fascinating people who are game to be photographed, and great food - all shared with your most favorite people. :) Arizona's 2012 GOP Presidential Debate was a blast.


  1. Fun! I would have loved to go! So how did the actual debate go? You think it swung a certain way?

    1. Kellie -

      The feeling I got from the debate was that it didn't move or shake too many votes. I think Santorum had an opportunity to capture some votes last night, but I don't think this debate did him very much good. Romney and Paul dealt him some bad blows and I don't think people were satisfied with his wishy washy answers. Ron Paul was the same as always and his supporters were by far most prevelant outside the arts center. His constistency made him stand out. I saw a lot of hispanic families out to support Newt - who has the most lax approach to amnesty for illigeal immigrants. But, I don't feel like he was a superstar as he has been in debates before, just ok. Newt was more pleasant this debate maybe because he's not a frontrunner anymore. Romney was steady, and very presidential, and dealt with attacks calmly and evenly. I think people waffling between Romney and Santorum would go with Romney after last night. So pretty even all around, except for Santorum who did not leave unscathed.

  2. What a lively night. Thanks for sharing. I never thought about it before but I didn't know they would be so exciting.

  3. I can't believe my wife said "bad-a," at least I can't believe she said it in public. ;) One correction I will make is that it only sounded like people were saying "We want Romney, not a politician," when in fact they were saying "Veto Romney, not the Dream Act" the whole time. It was difficult to hear because of the crowd and on account of their Spanish accents.

    1. Haha. You know I'm a rebel at heart, babe!

      Are you sure about that Squire?! I can see how "We want" could sound like "Veto", but "Dream Act" to sound like "politician"? That's a stretch. Could be true though. I am sort of going deaf. Oh well! Whatever they were chanting doesn't change my vote! ;)



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