GLUErecap: 2012 Republican candidates debate

Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman before the debate in Iowa last night. Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP
November 2012 is still 15 months away, but the Republican candidates vying to take on President Obama didn't hold back at last night's debate in Iowa. As per usual, the candidates mostly steered away from answering any question directly and opted to gloat about their personal lives and achievements or cast their opponent(s) as Obama-loving liberal-sympathizers.. Michelle Bachmann had the chance to praise her loving husband and perfect marriage, all 500 foster kids included. And then the questions about social issues came.

Make the Republican Party change its anti-LGBT platform

ThinkProgress has a great shorted rundown of the candidates' answers to same-sex marriage:
MITT ROMNEY: Marriage is a status. It’s not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state and as a result, our marriage status relationship should be constant across the country. I believe we should have a federal amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. 
JON HUNTSMAN: I also believe in civil unions, because I believe this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality and I believe we can do a better job when it comes to reciprocal beneficiary rights rights. 
RON PAUL: I think marriages should be between a single man and a single woman and that the federal government shouldn’t be involved. 
RICK SANTORUM: It sounds to me like Rep. Paul would say that polygamous marriages are okay. 
MICHELE BACHMANN: I support the federal marriage amendment…and as president I would not nominate activist judges who would legislate from the bench.
I have to give Jon Huntsman credit where credit is due. He not only set himself way apart from the rest of the pack, but he defended his support of civil unions in the name of equality instead of politics. That couldn't have been easy. Mitt Romney sounded like he was helping pro-equality folks with his "marriage is a status" comment. Yes, it is a status, which is why it is so important that we offer it to every American regardless of sexual orientation. Ron Paul was all over the place, saying how it is unrealistic to bring polygamy into the conversation right before he advocated for no government involvement in marriage for gays or straights. Totally realistic. Not.

Ultimately, my impression is that they are all aware of who actually has a chance of winning the nomination and who is not. The big contenders took on Obama directly, while some of the others tried to pick fights with each other. Regardless, I don't think any has a chance to win the general election at this point.

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