Fox News GOP Undercard Debate: Live Blog

Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Jim Gilmore face off in last “Happy Hour” debate in Iowa

Last Updated: January 28, 2016 @ 11:22 PM

Welcome to the TheWrap’s live blog for tonight’s Fox News GOP debate’s undercard event.

The early debate, often nicknamed the “Happy Hour” debate, will feature Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore. Did you forget there’s a Republican candidate named Jim Gilmore? We understand.

This is probably the last “Happy Hour” debate of this presidential campaign, since some candidates are expected to drop out if they underperform in the Iowa caucuses.

Tonight’s participants received a minimum of 1 percent support in at least one recent national poll without qualifying for the primetime debate. If early debates are your thing, stay tuned and refresh your page often because we will update it with thoughts throughout the event.

And we’re off to the races.

4:02 p.m. PST: Huckabee goes first. He wants to not only “defund Planned Parenthood, but let’s do something bolder. Let’s get rid of abortion once and for all.”

4:05 p.m. PST: Santorum is asked whether Monday’s caucuses in Iowa is his “last stand.”

“I have been in Iowa. But this is not the place where I’m choosing to begin my campaign. I am beginning my campaign in New Hampshire and I decided to do that based upon the process that is in place in Iowa and the primary that’s in place in New Hampshire,” Gilmore said.

Nothing like telling voters they’re not really your first choice anyway…

4:11 p.m. PST: New York values vs. Iowa values come up. Huckabee has a witty response, “I’m not going to get into argument with all the New Yorkers because there’s a lot of them.”

4:15 p.m PST: Carly Fiorina takes the first shot at Hillary Clinton:
Fiorina’s asked whether Obama is right to say that ISIS does not pose an existential threat to the United States.

“Newsflash President Obama. Newsflash, Mrs. Clinton,” she said. “Climate change is not our most pressing national security threat.”

The line gets a thunderous applause form the audience.

4:24 p.m. PST: Huckabee says people who live in “bubbles” of New York, D.C., and Hollywood “don’t have a clue about how hard people out here are working every single day.”

4:27 p.m. PST: Meanwhile…

4:32 p.m. PST: Huckabee discusses how “nobody wants to be poor” and says “people are poor because they don’t know how to get out of the hole.”

4:32 p.m. PST: Hmmm … We were wondering the same thing.

4:30 p.m. PST: Santorum is asked about a woman at a Bernie Sanders rally who cried as she talked about the difficulty of living on the minimum wage. He’s asked what he would tell her.

Santorum insists the country needs more jobs and a “renaissance” in manufacturing.

4:35 p.m. PST: Gilmore actually said, “When I’m president.”

He says he is a board member of the NRA before proclaiming, “When Jim Gilmore’s President of the United States, I can tell you this. Gun control is not going to be an issue,” adding, “I’ll veto it as fast as it takes Hilary Clinton to eliminate her emails.”


4:42 p.m. PSTShots fired as Fiorina says Clinton “will do anything to gain and hang on to power, anything. Listen, if my husband did what Bill Clinton did, I would have left him long ago.

Florina then delivers two great zingers: “Hillary Clinton has been climbing the ladder to try and get power and here now she is trying for the White House. She is probably more qualified for the big house, honestly.

And then she hits with another crazy one-liner: “She has escaped prosecution more times than El Chapo, perhaps Sean Penn should interview her.”

4:48 p.m PST: Fiorina has Santorum’s back, “It is outrageous frankly, that Fox News, and you, would question the pro-life credentials of Rick Santorum.”

4:52 p.m. PST: Huckabee is asked about Democrats supporting a socialist.

“I guess you could say, they’re feeling the bern,” moderator Bill Hemmer said jokingly.

I honestly don’t understand how anybody with IQ above plant life would honestly think that we would be better off if we let the government have all of the private property and that the government would dole out what they thought we should have,” Huckabee says, adding, “I’m not ‘feeling the Bern,’ Bill. I’m not feeling it.”

4:53 p.m. PST: And look who’s trending on Twitter (second from the top)… Did we call it or did we call it?

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4:55 p.m. PST: Closing arguments are 30 seconds each:
Gilmore:  “I didn’t have a father that could give me a million dollar loan to start my business,” he said taking on final jab at Trump. “But, my father did talk character, and he provided for his family, and he was a wonderful example.”
Santorum: “I just want to thank the people of Iowa. Over the last five years I’ve done 700 speeches and town hall meetings all throughout the state of Iowa, and it has been an incredible right.”
Florina: “The people of Iowa know what the rest of Americans have figured out, this ain’t working anymore. The government no longer works for those who pay for it. The professional political class says and does whatever they need to do to win, and then does whatever they please.
Huckabee: “Well, this week there was a little dust up about a video we put together with the music of Adele, so I thought it’d be appropriate for me to begin tonight by saying, ‘Hello, Iowa. It’s me.'”