New Hampshire GOP Debate: John Dickerson and David Weigel take your questions after the second Republican debate.

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
June 14 2011 3:31 PM

Searching for the Anti-Romney

John Dickerson and David Weigel take your questions about the 2012 election and the GOP's first New Hampshire debate.

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Nate Kennedy: ‎@John, thank you!

Nate Kennedy: And also Dave.

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Toby Archer: As a non-American but close observer of U.S. politics, could you please assure me that there is no way that Santorum won't even be given the VP slot? With all his Muslim-baiting he looks like a scary conspiracy theorist rather than a serious political figure. Sad that within the GOP you can be both.

John Dickerson: If you are worried about Rick Santorum winning the nomination or getting the VP slot I think you should put your mind at ease. It is not going to happen.

Toby Archer: Good—someone on Diane Rehm was suggesting he was angling for the VP slot. I thought he always seemed too loony-tunes to be taken that seriously.

Dave Weigel: No chance whatsoever of VP Santorum. He is not well liked by Republican elites, he doesn't really help with Pennsylvania.

Toby Archer: Sticking on the Muslims-as-bogeypeople theme (see: here) does Cain being black make it less or more likely for people to call him out on the unpleasantness of his statement classifying American Muslims as good vs. those-that-want-to-kill-us?

Dave Weigel: I feel like Cain took a lot of fire for the Muslim comment, and kept taking it last night, so: No. He's getting as much heat as Santorum would get.

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Michael Rogers: Why has everyone anointed TPaw as the sane alternative to Romney? His economic speech didn't seem to provide much in the way of grounds for that.

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Dave Weigel: I think it's just a logic puzzle. He has the longest and least damaging record of any non-Romney candidate. He's an evangelical Christian. He's hired a strong staff, which reporters pay attention to.

John Dickerson: I'd add to Dave's answer that there doesn't seem to be an obvious obstacle to his candidacy. Even his tepid character thing which lots of people bring up is a bubble that can be popped.

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John Dickerson: Internet Explorer keeps interrupting my answers to warn me that this material is not secure and asking me if it's okay to send it through. I think you've all been very polite and I don't know what IE is talking about—though I never really do.

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John Dickerson: I was just looking at Sarah Palin's Facebook page. There aren't as many people asking me or Dave to run for president here and frankly I'm a little hurt.

Ivan K. Freeman: Too difficult to pick the top of the Dave/John, John/Dave ticket.

Toby Archer: I'd vote for you, John, but only if you pick Emily B. as your VP. Mr. Plotz will just have to be a Rahm Emanuel-esque chief of staff.

Dave Weigel: If nominated, I will not campaign. If elected, I will serve, but only on odd days.

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Jared Mosher: Why are they scared of Gary Johnson and refused to allow him in the debate when he met the criteria? 

Dave Weigel: If I'm a debate planner I certainly want Johnson in there. He's the only pro-choice, sort of pro-gay rights guy in there, and on economics he's very far to the right. Fascinating stuff, if you think debates should be about arguments and not canned statements.

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Mitch Mitchell: John/Dave – Post-debate, does the Obama camp feel better or worse about their chances?

John Dickerson: I bet they feel about the same. The economy is weak. It's going to be a tough race.

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David Frederick: I'd also like to know why the economy is better when rich people pay a fair share of the taxes. 

Dave Weigel: Save that for the general election! I'm pretty obsessed with the orthodoxy of "tax cuts fix everything, always" theory in the GOP. It's especially odd now because polling STILL shows that tax increases on people making $250,000 or more are popular. There's a reason Obama campaigned on them.

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John Dickerson: Okay gang I've got to go, the housekeeping knock on the door of the hotel room has gotten so loud I think they're going to bring in the battering ram. I have enjoyed this. Thanks everyone and Dave it was a pleasure chatting with you.

Dave Weigel: It's noon and I have to return to the trail. But I had a GREAT time answering questions. Please keep asking me whatever you like, here and on my blog at Slate. Thanks!

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.