Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 January 14, 2016: The Fox Business Network Sixth Republican Debate in Charleston Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Full Transcript of the Sixth Republican Debate in Charleston

Source: Time, 1-14-16

 

Hosted by Fox Business Network in Charleston, South Carolina

Participants: New York businessman Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former New York Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Moderators: Fox Business Network anchors Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo.

CAVUTO: It is 9:00 p.m. here at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in South Carolina. Welcome to the sixth Republican presidential <debate> of the 2016 campaign, here on the Fox Business Network.

CAVUTO: I’m Neil Cavuto, alongside my friend and co-moderator Maria Bartiromo.

BARTIROMO: Tonight we are working with Facebook to ask the candidates the questions voters want answered. And according to Facebook, the U.S. election has dominated the global conversation, with 131 million people talking about the 2016 race. That makes it the number one issue talked about on Facebook last year worldwide.

CAVUTO: Now, the seven candidates on the stage tonight were selected based on their standing in six national polls, as well as polls in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, those standings determining the position on the stage of the candidates tonight. And here they are.

Businessman Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

Texas senator Ted Cruz.

(APPLAUSE)

Florida senator Marco Rubio.

(APPLAUSE)

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

(APPLAUSE)

New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

(APPLAUSE)

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

And Ohio governor John Kasich.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Tonight’s rules are simple: up to 90 seconds for each answer, one minute for each follow-up response. And if a candidate goes over the allotted time, you’ll hear this.

(BELL RINGS) So let’s get started. Candidates, jobs and growth — two of the biggest issues facing the country right now. In his State of the Union address earlier this week, the president said, quote, “we have the strongest, most durable economy in the world.”

And according to our Facebook research, jobs is one of the biggest issues resonating across the country, including here in South Carolina. The president is touting 14 million new jobs and an unemployment rate cut in half.

The president said that anyone who claims America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction. Senator Cruz, what do you see that he doesn’t?

CRUZ: Well, Maria, thank you for that question, and let me say thank you to the state of South Carolina for welcoming us.

Let me start — I want to get to the substance of the question on jobs, but I want to start with something. Today, many of us picked up our newspapers, and we were horrified to see the sight of 10 American sailors on their knees, with their hands on their heads.

In that State of the Union, President Obama didn’t so much as mention the 10 sailors that had been captured by Iran. President Obama’s preparing to send $100 billion or more to the Ayatollah Khamenei. And I’ll tell you, it was heartbreaking.

But the good news is the next commander-in-chief is standing on this stage.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And I give you my word, if I am elected president, no service man or service woman will be forced to be on their knees, and any nation that captures our fighting men will feel the full force and fury of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, on to your substantive question. The president tried to paint a rosy picture of jobs. And you know, he’s right. If you’re a Washington lobbyist, if you make your money in and around Washington, things are doing great. The millionaires and billionaires are doing great under Obama. But we have the lowest percentage of Americans working today of any year since 1977. Median wages have stagnated. And the Obama-Clinton economy has left behind the working men and women of this country.

The reason all of us are here is we believe we should be fighting for the working men and women of this country, and not Washington, D.C.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Kasich, we are not even two weeks into this stock trading year, but (inaudible) investors already lost $1.6 trillion in market value. That makes it the worst start to a new year ever. Many worry that things will get even worse, and that banks and financial stocks are particularly vulnerable.

Now, if this escalates, like it did back when Barack Obama first assumed the presidency, what actions would you take if this same thing happens all over again just as, in this example, you are taking over the presidency?

KASICH: Look, it takes three things basically to grow jobs. And I’ve done it when I was in Washington when we had a balanced budget; had four years of balanced budgets; paid down a half-trillion of debt. And our economy was growing like crazy. It’s the same thing that I did in Ohio. It’s a simple formula: common sense regulations, which is why I think we should freeze all federal regulations for one year, except for health and safety. It requires tax cuts, because that sends a message to the job creators that things are headed the right way. And if you tax cuts — if you cut taxes for corporations, and you cut taxes for individuals, you’re going to make things move, particularly the corporate tax, which is the highest, of course, in the — in the world.

But in addition to that, we have to have fiscal discipline. We have to show that we can march to a balanced budget. And when you do that, when you’re in a position of managing regulations; when you reduce taxes; and when you have fiscal discipline, you see the job creators begin to get very comfortable with the fact that they can invest.

Right now, you don’t have the — you have taxes that are too high. You have regulations — I mean, come on, they’re affecting everybody here, particularly our small businesses. They are — they’re in a position where they’re smothering people. And I mean, are you kidding me? We’re nowhere close to a balanced budget or fiscal discipline.

Those three things put together are going to give confidence to job creators and you will begin to see wages rise. You will begin to see jobs created in a robust economy. And how do I know it? Because I’ve done it. I did it as the chairman of the Budget Committee, working with Senator Domenici. And I’ve done it in the state of Ohio as the chief executive.

Our wages are growing faster than the national average. We’re running surpluses. And we can take that message and that formula to Washington to lift every single American to a better life.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: We know that recent global events have many people worried — Iran detaining American sailors, forcing them to apologize; North Korea and its nuclear ambitions; an aggressive China; and a Middle East that continues to deteriorate, not to mention ISIS is getting stronger.

Governor Christie, sometimes it seems the world is on fire. Where and when should a president use military action to restore order?

CHRISTIE: Well, Maria, I’m glad to have heard from you in the summary of that question about what’s going on in the world. Because Tuesday night, I watched story time with Barack Obama. And I’ve got to tell you, it sounded like everything in the world was going amazing, you know?

(APPLAUSE)

The fact is, there’s a number of things that the next president is going to have to do to clean up this mess. The first thing is we have to strengthen our alliances around the world. And the best way to do that is to start talking to our allies again and having them be able to count on our word.

CHRISTIE: Lots of people will say lots of different things about me in this campaign and others, but the one thing they’ve never said about me is that I’m misunderstood. And so when we talk to our allies and we give them our word, in a Christie administration, they know we’re going to keep it.

Next, we have to talk to our adversaries, and we have to make sure they understand the limits of our patience. And this president, given what Ted said right at the beginning, he’s absolutely right. It’s a — it’s absolutely disgraceful that Secretary Kerry and others said in their response to what’s going on in Iran that this was a good thing; it showed how the relationship was getting better.

The president doesn’t understand — and by the way, neither does Secretary Clinton — and here’s my warning to everybody out in the audience tonight. If you’re worried about the world being on fire, you’re worried about how we’re going to use our military, you’re worried about strengthening our military and you’re worried most of all about keeping your homes and your families safe and secure, you cannot give Hillary Clinton a third term of Barack Obama’s leadership.

I will not do that. If I’m the nominee, she won’t get within 10 miles of the White House.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Just to be clear Governor, where and when would you use military action?

CHRISTIE: MIlitary action, Maria, would be used when it was absolutely necessary to protect American lives and protect American interests around the world. We are not the world’s policeman, but we need to stand up and be ready.

And the problem, Maria, is that the military is not ready, either. We need to rebuild our military, and this president has let it diminish to a point where tinpot dictators like the mullahs in Iran are taking our Navy ships. It is disgraceful, and in a Christie administration, they would know much, much better than to do that.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Bush, the president just told the nation two nights ago that America is back and that the idea that our enemies are getting stronger or that this country is getting weaker, well, it’s just rhetoric and hot air. Now other Democrats go even further, sir, saying Republicans even suggesting such comments actually embolden our enemies. I guess they would include you. What do you say?

BUSH: Well first of all, the idea that somehow we’re better off today than the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated president of the United States is totally an alternative universe. The simple fact is that the world has been torn asunder.

Think about it. With grandiose language, the president talks about red lines and nothing to follow it up; talks about ISIS being the JV team, they form a caliphate the size of Indiana with 35 (thousand) to 40,000 battle-tested terrorists. He’s missing the whole point, that America’s leadership in the world is required for peace and stability.

In the crowd today is Major General James Livingston, who’s the co-chairman of my campaign here in South Carolina, a Medal of Honor recipient.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ve learned from him that what we need to achieve is peace through strength, which means we need to rebuild the military. In this administration, every weapon system has been gutted, in this administration, the force levels are going down to a level where we can’t even project force. Our friends no longer think we have their back and our enemies no longer fear us, and we’re in a much difficult — we’re in a much different position than we should be.

And for the life of me, I have no understanding why the president thinks that everything is going well. Terrorism is on the run, China, Russia is advancing their agenda at warp speed, and we pull back.

As president of the United States, I will be a commander in chief that will have the back of the military. We will rebuild the military to make sure that it is a solid force, not to be the world’s policeman, but to make sure that in a peaceful world, people know that the United States is there to take care of our own national interests and take care of our allies.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: So I take it from that you do not agree with the president.

BUSH: No. And worse — worse yet, to be honest with you, Hillary Clinton would be a national security disaster.

Think about it. She wants to continue down the path of Iran, Benghazi, the Russian reset, Dodd-Frank, all the things that have — that have gone wrong in this country, she would be a national security mess. And that is wrong.

And you know what? Here’s the problem. If she gets elected, she’s under investigation with the FBI right now. If she gets elected, her first 100 days, instead of setting an agenda, she might be going back and forth between the White House and the courthouse. We need to stop that. (LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Senator Rubio, the president says that ISIS doesn’t threaten our national existence like a Germany or a Japan back in World War II, that the terror group is nothing more than twisted souls plotting attacks in their garages.

But House Homeland Security Committee recently said that over 1,000 ongoing investigations of homegrown extremism in 50 states. So how do you define the threat? Germany then or dangerous nut cases now?

RUBIO: Yeah, I would go, first of all, one step further in this description of Hillary Clinton. She wouldn’t just be a disaster, Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being commander in chief of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Someone who cannot handle intelligence information appropriately cannot be commander in chief and someone who lies to the families of those four victims in Benghazi can never be president of the United States. Ever.

(APPLAUSE)

On the issue of Barack Obama, Barack Obama does not believe that America is a great global power. Barack Obama believes that America is a arrogant global power that needs to be cut down to size. And that’s how you get a foreign policy where we cut deals with our enemies like Iran and we betray our allies like Israel and we gut our military and we go around the world like he has done on 10 separate occasions and apologized for America.

He doesn’t understand the threat in ISIS. He consistently underestimates it but I do not. There is a war against ISIS, not just against ISIS but against radical jihadists terrorists, and it is a war that they win or we win.

When I’m president of the United States, we are going to win this war on ISIS. The most powerful intelligence agency in the world is going to tell us where we are, the most powerful military in the world is going to destroy them. And if we capture any of them alive, they are getting a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we are going to find out everything they know.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator.

BARTIROMO: Dr. Carson, the president says he does not want to treat ISIS as a foreign army, but ISIS is neither a country nor a government. How do you attack a network that does not respect national borders?

CARSON: Well, I’m very happy to get a question this early on. I was going to ask you to wake me up when that time came.

(LAUGHTER)

You know, I find it really quite fascinating some of the president’s proclamations. The fact of the matter is he doesn’t realize that we now live in the 21st century, and that war is very different than it used to be before. Not armies massively marching on each other and air forces, but now we have dirty bombs and we have cyber attacks and we have people who will be attacking our electrical grid. And, you know, we have a whole variety of things that they can do and they can do these things simultaneously. And we have enemies who are obtaining nuclear weapons that they can explode in our exoatmosphere and destroy our electric grid.

I mean, just think about a scenario like that. They explode the bomb, we have an electromagnetic pulse. They hit us with a cyberattack simultaneously and dirty bombs. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue at that point? He needs to recognize that those kinds of things are in fact an existential threat to us.

But here’s the real key. We have the world’s best military, even though he’s done everything he can to diminish it. And the fact of the matter is if we give them a mission and we don’t tie their hands behind their back, they can get it accomplished.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Mr. Trump, at the State of the Union, the president pointed to a guest who was a Syrian refugee you might recall whose wife and daughter and other family members were killed in an air attack. Now he fled that country seeking asylum here, ultimately ended up in Detroit where he’s now trying to start a new life.

The president says that that doctor is the real face of these refugees and not the one that you and some of your colleagues on this stage are painting; that you prefer the face of fear and terror and that you would refuse to let in anyone into this country seeking legitimate asylum. How do you answer that?

TRUMP: It’s not fear and terror, it’s reality. You just have to look today at Indonesia, bombings all over.

(APPLAUSE)

You look at California, you look, frankly, at Paris where there’s a — the strictest no-gun policy of any city anywhere in the world, and you see what happens: 130 people dead with many to follow. They’re very, very badly wounded. They will — some will follow. And you look around, and you see what’s happening, and this is not the case when he introduced the doctor — very nice, everything perfect but that is not representative of what you have in that line of migration.

That could be the great Trojan Horse. It could be people that are going to do great, great destruction. When I look at the migration, I looked at the line, I said it actually on your show recently, where are the women? It looked like very few women. Very few children. Strong, powerful men, young and people are looking at that and they’re saying what’s going on?

TRUMP: You look at the kind of damage that two people that two people that got married, they were radicalized — they got married, they killed 15 people in actually 15 — going to be probably 16 but you look at that and you take a look — a good strong look and that’s what we have. We are nineteen trillion dollars — our country’s a mess and we can’t let all these people come into our country and break our borders. We can’t do it.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, the New York Times is reporting that you failed to properly disclose a million dollars in loans from Goldman Sachs and CitiBank. During your senate race, your campaign said, “it was inadvertent.” A million dollars is inadvertent?

CRUZ: Well Maria, thank you for passing on that hit piece in the front page of the New York Times. You know the nice thing about the mainstream media, they don’t hide their views. The New York Times a few weeks back had a columnist who wrote a column saying, “Anybody But Cruz.” Had that actually — that same columnist wrote a column comparing me to an evil demonic spirit from the move, “It Follows” that jumps apparently from body to body possessing people.

So you know the New York Times and I don’t have exactly have the warmest of relationships. Now in terms of their really stunning hit piece, what they mentioned is when I was running for senate — unlike Hillary Clinton, I don’t have masses of money in the bank, hundreds of millions of dollars. When I was running for senate just about every lobbyist, just about all of the establishment opposed me in the senate race in Texas and my opponent in that race was worth over 200 million dollars. He put a 25 million dollar check up from his own pocket to fund that campaign and my wife Heidi and I, we ended up investing everything we owned.

We took a loan against our assets to invest it in that campaign to defend ourselves against those attacks. And the entire New York times attack — is that I disclosed that loan on one filing with the United States Senate, that was a public filing. But it was not on a second filing with FDIC and yes, I made a paperwork error disclosing it on one piece of paper instead of the other. But if that’s the best the New York Times has got, they better go back to the well.

BARTIROMO: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right. Welcome back to the Republican presidential <debate>, right here in North Charleston, South Carolina. Let’s get right back to the questions. And I’ll start with you, Senator Cruz.

Now you are, of course, a strict constitutionalist — no one would doubt that. And as you know, the U.S. Constitution says only natural-born citizens are eligible for the office of president of the United States. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Now, you were born…

(LAUGHTER)

… you were born in Canada to an American mother. So you were and are considered an American citizen. But that fellow next to you, Donald Trump — and others — have said that being born in Canada means you are not natural-born, and that has raised questions about your eligibility.

Do you want to try to close this topic once and for all tonight?

CRUZ: Well, Neil, I’m glad we’re focusing on the important topics of the evening.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

You know, back in September, my friend Donald said that he had had his lawyers look at this from every which way, and there was no issue there. There was nothing to this birther issue.

(LAUGHTER)

Now, since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed.

(LAUGHTER)

But the poll numbers have.

(APPLAUSE)

And I recognize — I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa. But the facts and the law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding U.S. law, the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen.

If a soldier has a child abroad, that child is a natural-born citizen. That’s why John McCain, even though he was born in Panama, was eligible to run for president.

If an American missionary has a child abroad, that child is a natural-born citizen. That’s why George Romney, Mitt’s dad, was eligible to run for president, even though he was born in Mexico.

At the end of the day, the legal issue is quite straightforward, but I would note that the birther theories that Donald has been relying on — some of the more extreme ones insist that you must not only be born on U.S. soil, but have two parents born on U.S. soil.

Under that theory, not only would I be disqualified, Marco Rubio would be disqualified, Bobby Jindal would be disqualified and, interestingly enough, Donald J. Trump would be disqualified.

(APPLAUSE)

(UNKNOWN): Not me.

CRUZ: Because — because Donald’s mother was born in Scotland. She was naturalized. Now, Donald…

TRUMP: But I was born here.

CRUZ: … on the issue — on the issue of citizenship, Donald…

TRUMP: (inaudible). Big difference.

CRUZ: … on the issue of citizenship, Donald, I’m not going to use your mother’s birth against you.

TRUMP: OK, good. Because it wouldn’t work.

CRUZ: You’re an American, as is everybody else on this stage, and I would suggest we focus on who’s best prepared to be commander- in-chief, because that’s the most important question facing the country.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Mr. Trump…

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: … that you raised it because of his rising poll numbers.

TRUMP: … first of all, let me just tell you something — and you know, because you just saw the numbers yourself — NBC Wall Street Journal just came out with a poll — headline: Trump way up, Cruz going down. I mean, so don’t — so you can’t — you can’t…

(BOOING)

… they don’t like the Wall Street Journal. They don’t like NBC, but I like the poll.

(LAUGHTER)

And frankly, it just came out, and in Iowa now, as you know, Ted, in the last three polls, I’m beating you. So — you know, you shouldn’t misrepresent how well you’re doing with the polls.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t have to say that. In fact, I was all for you until you started doing that, because that’s a misrepresentation, number one.

TRUMP: Number two, this isn’t me saying it. I don’t care. I think I’m going to win fair and square (inaudible) to win this way. Thank you.

Lawrence Tribe and (inaudible) from Harvard — of Harvard, said that there is a serious question as to whether or not Ted can do this. OK? There are other attorneys that feel, and very, very fine constitutional attorneys, that feel that because he was not born on the land, he cannot run for office.

Here’s the problem. We’re running. We’re running. He does great. I win. I choose him as my vice presidential candidate, and the Democrats sue because we can’t take him along for the ride. I don’t like that. OK?

(LAUGHTER)

The fact is — and if for some reason he beats the rest of the field, he beats the rest of the field (inaudible). See, they don’t like that. They don’t like that.

(AUDIENCE BOOING)

No, they don’t like he beats the rest of the field, because they want me.

(LAUGHTER)

But — if for some reason, Neil, he beats the rest of the field, I already know the Democrats are going to be bringing a suit. You have a big lawsuit over your head while you’re running. And if you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in office? So you should go out, get a declaratory judgment, let the courts decide. And you shouldn’t have mentioned the polls because I would have been much…

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Why are you saying this now — right now? Why are you raising this issue now?

TRUMP: Because now he’s going a little bit better. No, I didn’t care (inaudible). It’s true. No, it’s true. Hey look, he never had a chance. Now, he’s doing better. He’s got probably a four or five percent chance.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: Neil…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: The fact is, there is a big overhang. There’s a big question mark on your head. And you can’t do that to the party. You really can’t. You can’t do that to the party. You have to have certainty. Even if it was a one percent chance, and it’s far greater than one percent because (inaudible).

I mean, you have great constitutional lawyers that say you can’t run. If there was a — and you know I’m not bringing a suit. I promise. But the Democrats are going to bring a lawsuit, and you have to have certainty. You can’t have a question. I can agree with you or not, but you can’t have a question over your head.

CAVUTO: Senator, do you want to respond?

CRUZ: Well, listen, I’ve spent my entire life defending the Constitution before the U.S. Supreme Court. And I’ll tell you, I’m not going to be taking legal advice from Donald Trump.

TRUMP: You don’t have to. Take it from Lawrence Tribe.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Take it from your professors…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: The chances of any litigation proceeding and succeeding on this are zero. And Mr. Trump is very focused…

TRUMP: He’s wrong. He’s wrong.

CRUZ: … on Larry Tribe. Let me tell you who Larry Tribe is. He’s a left-wing judicial activist, Harvard Law professor who was Al Gore’s lawyer in Bush versus Gore. He’s a major Hillary Clinton supporter. And there’s a reason why Hillary’s supporters are echoing Donald’s attacks on me, because Hillary…

TRUMP: He is not the only one.

CRUZ: … wants to face Donald Trump in the general election.

TRUMP: There are many lawyers.

CRUZ: And I’ll tell you what, Donald, you — you very kindly just a moment ago offered me the V.P. slot.

(LAUGHTER) I’ll tell you what. If this all works out, I’m happy to consider naming you as V.P. So if you happen to be right, you could get the top job at the end of the day.

TRUMP: No — no…

(LAUGHTER)

… I think if it doesn’t…

(APPLAUSE)

I like that. I like it. I’d consider it. But I think I’ll go back to building buildings if it doesn’t work out.

CRUZ: Actually, I’d love to get you to build a wall.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I have a feeling it’s going to work out, actually.

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: Let me (inaudible). I was invoked in that question, so let me just say — in that answer — let me say, the real question here, I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV.

(LAUGHTER)

But the real — but I think we have to get back to what this election has to be about. OK? Listen, we — this is the greatest country in the history of mankind. But in 2008, we elected a president that didn’t want to fix America. He wants to change America. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the Constitution. He undermines it. We elected a president that is weakening America on the global stage. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the free enterprise system.

This election has to be about reversing all of that damage. That’s why I’m running for office because when I become president of the United States, on my first day in office we are going to repeal every single one of his unconstitutional executive orders. When I’m president of the United States we are getting rid of Obamacare and we are rebuilding our military. And when I’m president, we’re not just going to have a president that gives a State of the Union and says America is the greatest country in the world. When I’m president, we’re going to have a president that acts like it.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, senator.

BARTIROMO: Mr. Trump, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in her response to the State of the Union address

(APPLAUSE)

BARITROMO: appeared to choose sides within the party, saying Republicans should resist, quote, “the siren call of the angriest voices”. She confirmed, she was referring to you among others. Was she out of line? And, how would a President Trump unite the party?

TRUMP: Okay. First of all, Nikki this afternoon said I’m a friend of hers. Actually a close friend. And wherever you are sitting Nikki, I’m a friend. We’re friends. That’s good.

(LAUGHTER)

But she did say there was anger. And I could say, oh, I’m not angry. I’m very angry because our country is being run horribly and I will gladly accept the mantle of anger. Our military is a disaster.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Our healthcare is a horror show. Obamacare, we’re going to repeal it and replace it. We have no borders. Our vets are being treated horribly. Illegal immigration is beyond belief. Our country is being run by incompetent people. And yes, I am angry.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And I won’t be angry when we fix it, but until we fix it, I’m very, very angry. And I say that to Nikki. So when Nikki said that, I wasn’t offended. She said the truth.

One of your colleagues interviewed me. And said, well, she said you were angry and I said to myself, huh, she’s right. I’m not fighting that. I didn’t find it offensive at all. I’m angry because our country is a mess.

(APPLAUSE)

BARITROMO: But what are you going to do about it?

CAVUTO: Marco Rubio. I’m sorry, it’s the time constraints. You and Governor Christie have been exchanging some fairly nasty words of late, and I will allow the governor to respond as well.

The governor went so far to say, you won’t be able to slime your way to the White House. He’s referring to a series of ads done by a PAC, speaking on your behalf, that say quote,”One high tax, Common Core, liberal, energy-loving, Obamacare, Medicaid-expanding president is enough. You think you went too far on that and do you want to apologize to the governor?

RUBIO: You know, as I said already twice in this <debate>, we have a very serious problem in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: We have a president of the United States that is undermining this country’s security and expanding the role of…

CAVUTO: That is not my question.

RUBIO: Well, I am going to answer your question, Neil. He is — this president is undermining the constitutional basis of this government. This president is undermining our military. He is undermining our standing in the world. I like Chris Christie, but we can not afford to have a president of the United States that supports Common Core.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: We can not afford to have a president of the United States that supports gun control. This president, this president is more interested in funding — less interested in funding the military, than he is in funding planned — he’s more interested in funding Planned Parenthood than he is in funding the military.

Chris Christie wrote a check to Planned Parenthood. All I’m saying is our next president has to be someone that undoes the damage Barack Obama has done to this country. It can not be someone that agrees with his agenda.

Because the damage he has done to America is extraordinary. Let me tell you, if we don’t get this election right, there may be no turning back for America. We’re on the verge of being the first generation of Americans that leave our children worse off than ourselves.

So I just truly, with all my heart belief, I like everybody on the stage. No one is a socialist. No one here is under FBI investigation. So we have a good group of people.

CAVUTO: Is he a liberal?

RUBIO: Our next president…

CAVUTO: Is he a liberal?

RUBIO: Unfortunately, Governor Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Barack Obama supports, whether it is Common Core or gun control or the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor or the donation he made to Planned Parenthood. Our next president, and our Republican nominee can not be someone who supports those positions.

CAVUTO: Governor?

(APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: I stood on the stage and watched Marco in rather indignantly, look at Governor Bush and say, someone told you that because we’re running for the same office, that criticizing me will get you to that office.

It appears that the same someone who has been whispering in old Marco’s ear too.

(LAUGHTER)

So the indignation that you carry on, some of the stuff, you have to also own then. So let’s set the facts straight. First of all, I didn’t support Sonia Sotomayor. Secondly, I never wrote a check to Planned Parenthood.

Third, if you look at my record as governor of New Jersey, I have vetoed a 50-caliber rifle ban. I have vetoed a reduction this clip size. I vetoed a statewide I.D. system for gun owners and I pardoned, six out-of-state folks who came through our state and were arrested for owning a gun legally in another state so they never have to face charges.

And on Common Core, Common Core has been eliminated in New Jersey. So listen, this is the difference between being a governor and a senator. See when you’re a senator, what you get to do is just talk and talk and talk. And you talk so much that nobody can ever keep up with what you’re saying is accurate or not.

When you’re a governor, you’re held accountable for everything you do. And the people of New Jersey, I’ve seen it.

(APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: And the last piece is this. I like Marco too, and two years ago, he called me a conservative reformer that New Jersey needed. That was before he was running against me. Now that he is, he’s changed his tune.

I’m never going to change my tune. I like Marco Rubio. He’s a good guy, a smart guy, and he would be a heck of a lot better president than Hillary Rodham Clinton would ever be.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Neil, my name was mentioned here. Neil, my name was mentioned as well.

Here’s the deal, Chris is totally right. He’s been a good governor, and he’s a heck of a lot better than his predecessor that would have bankrupted New Jersey.

Everybody on this stage is better than Hillary Clinton. And I think the focus ought to be on making sure that we leave this nomination process, as wild and woolly as it’s going to be — this is not being bad.

These attack ads are going to be part of life. Everybody just needs to get used to it. Everybody’s record’s going to be scrutinized, and at the end of the day we need to unite behind the winner so we can defeat Hillary Clinton, because she is a disaster.

(APPLAUSE)

Our country rise up again, but we need to have a compelling conservative agenda that we present to the American people in a way that doesn’t disparage people, that unites us around our common purpose.

And so everybody needs to discount some of the things you’re going to hear in these ads, and discount the — the back-and-forth here, because every person here is better than Hillary Clinton.

CARSON: Neil, I was mentioned too.

CAVUTO: You were?

CARSON: Yeah, he said everybody. (LAUGHTER)

And — and I just want to take this opportunity to say, you know, in the 2012 election, you know, we — and when I say we, Republicans — tore themselves apart.

You know, we have to stop this because, you know, if we manage to damage ourselves, and we lose the next election, and a progressive gets in there and they get two or three Supreme Court picks, this nation is over as we know it. And we got to look at the big picture here.

BARTIROMO: Governor Kasich…

(APPLAUSE)

… Governor Kasich, Hillary Clinton is getting some serious competition from Senator Bernie Sanders. He’s now at 41 percent in the latest CBS/New York Times poll. Vice President Biden sang his praises, saying Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real, and he has credibility on it.

So what does it say about our country that a candidate who is a self-avowed socialist and who doesn’t think a 90 percent tax rate is too high could be the Democratic nominee?

KASICH: Well, if that’s the case, we’re going to win every state, if Bernie Sanders is the nominee. That’s not even an issue. But look…

(APPLAUSE)

… and I know Bernie, and I can promise you he’s not going to be president of the United States. So here’s this — the situation, I think, Maria.

And this is what we have to — I — I’ve got to tell you, when wages don’t rise — and they haven’t for a lot of families for a number of years — it’s very, very difficult for them.

Part of the reason why it hasn’t risen because sometimes we’re not giving people the skills they need. Sometimes it’s because the Federal Reserve kept interest rates so low that the wealthy were able to invest in — in strong assets like the stock market when everybody else was left behind.

People are upset about it. I’ll tell you what else they’re upset about: you’re 50 or 51 years old, and some kid walks in and tells you you’re out of work, and you don’t know where to go and where to turn. Do we have answer for that? We do. There are ways to retrain the 50 and 51-year-olds, because they’ve got great value.

I’ll tell you what else people are concerned about. Their kids come out of college, they have high debt and they can’t get a good job. We got to do a lot about the high cost of high — higher education, but we’ve got to make sure we’re training people for jobs that exist, that are good jobs that can pay.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me tell you that, in this country — in this country, people are concerned about their economic future. They’re very concerned about it. And they wonder whether somebody is getting something to — keeping them from getting it.

That’s not the America that I’ve ever known. My father used to say, “Johnny, we never — we don’t hate the rich. We just want to be the rich.” And we just got to make sure that every American has the tools, in K-through-12 and in vocational education, in higher education.

And we got to fight like crazy so people can think the American dream still exists, because it does, with rising wages, with full employment and with everybody in America — and I mean everybody in America — having an opportunity to realize the American dream of having a better life than their mother and their father.

I’m president — look, I’ve done it once. I’ve done it once in Washington, with great jobs and lower taxes. The economy was really booming.

And now in Ohio, with the same formula, wages higher than the — than the national average. A growth of 385,000 jobs.

(BELL RINGS)

It’s not that hard. Just know where you want to go, stick to your guts. Get it done, because our — our children and grandchildren are counting on us to get it done. And, folks, we will. You count on it.

BARTIROMO: Dr. Carson, one of the other candidates on this stage has brought Bill Clinton’s past indiscretions. Is that a legitimate topic in this election? And what do you think of the notion that Hillary Clinton is an enabler of sexual misconduct?

CARSON: Well, there’s not question that we should be able to look at past president whether they’re married to somebody who’s running for president or not in terms of their past behavior and what it means. But you know, here’s the real issue, is this America anymore? Do we still have standards? Do we still have values and principles?

You know, you look at what’s going on, you see all the divisiveness and the hatred that goes on in our society. You know, we have a war on virtual everything — race wars, gender wars, income wars, religious wars, age wars. Every war you can imaging, we have people at each other’s throat and our strength is actually in our unity.

You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article and you go to the comments section — you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names. Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that. And wherever it came from we need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong. And let’s not let the secular progressives drive that out of us.

The majority of people in American actually have values and principles and they believe in the very things that made America great. They’ve been beaten into submission. It’s time for us to stand up for what we believe in.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Well, we are not done. Coming up, one of the top things people are talking about on Facebook, guns. And you can join us live us on this stage in the conversation during this commercial break right from home. You can go to Facebook.com/(inaudible). We will be streaming live and talking about how we think the <debate> is going so far.

CAVUTO: We’re back in a moment in Charleston, South Carolina.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debates, right here in North Charleston. Let’s get right back to the questions.

Governor Bush, gun rights, one of the top issues seen on Facebook with close to 3 million people talking about it in the past month. Right here in Charleston, Dylann Roof, who has been accused of killing nine people in a nearby church, reportedly had not passed his background check when he got his gun. What is the harm in tightening standards for not only who buys guns, but those who sell them?

BUSH: First of all, I’d like to recognize Governor Haley for her incredible leadership in the aftermath of the —

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: The Emanuel AME church killings. And I also want to recognize the people in that church that showed the grace of God and the grace of forgiveness and the mercy that they showed.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: I don’t know if any of us could have done what they did, one after another, within 48 hours of that tragedy taking place. Look, here’s the deal, in this particular case, the FBI made a mistake. The law itself requires a background check, but that didn’t fulfill their part of the bargain within the time that they were supposed to do.

We don’t need to add new rules, we need to make sure the FBI does its job. Because that person should not have gotten a gun, should not — would not have passed a background check. The first impulse of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is to take rights away from law- abiding citizens.

That’s what they do, whether it’s the San Bernardino attack or if it’s these tragedies that take place, I think we need to focus on what the bigger issue is. It isn’t law-abiding gun owners.

Look, I have an A plus rating in the NRA and we also have a reduction in gun violence because in Florida, if you commit a crime with a gun, you’re going away. You’re going away for a long, long while.

And that’s what we should focus on is the violence in our communities. Target the efforts for people that are committing crimes with guns, and if you do that, and get it right, you’re going to be much better off than creating a political argument where there’s a big divide.

The other issue is mental health. That’s a serious issue that we could work on. Republicans and Democrats alike believe this.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: The president’s first impulse is do this by executive order, power he doesn’t have. Why not go to Congress and in a bipartisan way, begin to deal with the process of mental health issues so that people that are spiraling out of control because of mental health challenges don’t have access to guns.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Trump, are there any circumstances that you think we should be limiting gun sales of any kind in America?

TRUMP: No. I am a 2nd amendment person. If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn’t have 14 or 15 people dead right now.

If even in Paris, if they had guns on the other side, going in the opposite direction, you wouldn’t have 130 people plus dead. So the answer is no and what Jeb said is absolutely correct.

We have a huge mental health problem in this country. We’re closing hospitals, we’re closing wards, we’re closing so many because the states want to save money. We have to get back into looking at what’s causing it. The guns don’t pull the trigger. It’s the people that pull the trigger and we have to find out what is going on.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We have to protect our 2nd amendment and you cannot do this and certainly what Barack Obama was doing with the executive order. He doesn’t want to get people together, the old-fashioned way, where you get Congress. You get the Congress, you get the Senate, you get together, you do legislation. He just writes out an executive order. Not supposed to happen that way.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you sir.

XXX where you get Congress.

TRUMP: You get the Congress. You get the Senate. You get together. You do legislation. He just writes out an order, executive order. It’s not supposed to happen that way.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Senator Rubio, you said that President Obama wants to take people’s guns away. Yet under his presidency, gun sales have more than doubled. That doesn’t sound like a White House unfriendly to gun owners.

RUBIO: That sounds like people are afraid the president’s going to take their guns away.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, the Second Amendment is not an option. It is not a suggestion. It is a constitutional right of every American to be able to protect themselves and their families. I am convinced that if this president could confiscate every gun in America, he would. I am convinced that this president, if he could get rid of the Second Amendment, he would. I am convinced because I see how he works with his attorney general, not to defend the Second Amendment, but to figure out ways to undermine it.

I have seen him appoint people to our courts not to defend the Second Amendment, but to figure out ways to undermine it.

Here’s my second problem. None of these instances that the president points to as the reason why he’s doing these things would have been preventive. You know why? Because criminals don’t buy their guns from a gun show. They don’t buy their guns from a collector. And they don’t buy their guns from a gun store. They get — they steal them. They get them on the black market.

And let me tell you, ISIS and terrorists do not get their guns from a gun show. These…

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

… his answer — you name it. If there’s an act of violence in America, his immediate answer before he even knows the facts is gun control. Here’s a fact. We are in a war against ISIS. They are trying to attack us here in America. They attacked us in Philadelphia last week. They attacked us in San Bernardino two weeks ago. And the last line standing between them and our families might be us and a gun.

When I’m president of the United States, we are defending the Second Amendment, not undermining it the way Barack Obama does.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: But what fact can you point to, Senator — what fact can you point to that the president would take away everyone’s gun? You don’t think that’s (inaudible)?

RUBIO: About every two weeks, he holds a press conference talking about how he can’t wait to restrict people’s access to guns. He has never defended…

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: I’ll give you a fact. Well, let me tell you this. Do you remember when he ran for president of the United States, and he was a candidate, and he went and said, “These Americans with traditional values, they are bitter people, and they cling to their guns and to their religion.” That tells you right away where he was headed on all of this.

This president every chance he has ever gotten has tried to undermine the Second Amendment.

(APPLAUSE)

He doesn’t meet — here’s the difference. When he meets with the attorney general in the White House, it’s not “how can we protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans.” It’s “give me options on how I can make it harder for law-abiding people to buy guns.” That will never happen when I am president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Christie, you, too, have criticized the president’s recent executive action on gun control, saying it’s unconstitutional, another step to bypass Congress. But hasn’t your own position on guns evolved, sir? The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that you signed several laws to regulate the possession of firearms, and that you argued back in August 2013, and I quote, “These common sense measures will strengthen New Jersey’s already tough gun laws.”

So isn’t that kind of what the president wants to do now?

CHRISTIE: No, absolutely not. The president wants to do things without working with his Congress, without working with the legislature, and without getting the consent of the American people. And the fact is that that’s not a democracy. That’s a dictatorship. And we need to very, very concerned about that.

See, here’s the thing. I don’t think the founders put the Second Amendment as number two by accident. I don’t think they dropped all the amendments into a hat and picked them out of a hat. I think they made the Second Amendment the second amendment because they thought it was just that important.

The fact is in New Jersey, what we have done is to make it easier now to get a conceal and carry permit. We have made it easier to do that, not harder. And the way we’ve done it properly through regulatory action, not buy signing unconstitutional executive orders. This guy is a petulant child. That’s what he is. I mean, you know…

(APPLAUSE)

… the fact is, Neil, let’s think about — let’s think about — and I want to maybe — I hope the president is watching tonight, because here’s what I’d like to tell him.

Mr. President, we’re not against you. We’re against your policies. When you became president, you had a Democratic Congress and a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate. You had only 21 Republican governors in this country. And now after seven years of your policies, we have the biggest majority we’ve had since the 1920s in the House; a Republican majority in the Senate; and 31 out of 50 Republican governors.

The American people have rejected your agenda and now you’re trying to go around it. That’s not right. It’s not constitutional. And we are going to kick your rear end out of the White House come this fall.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: So what is the answer, Senator Cruz, to stop mass shootings and violent crime, up in 30 cities across the country?

CRUZ: The answer is simple. Your prosecute criminals. You target the bad guys. You know, a minute ago, Neil asked: What has President Obama do — done to illustrate that he wants to go after guns?

Well, he appointed Eric Holder as attorney general. Eric Holder said he viewed his mission as brainwashing the American people against guns. He appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, someone who has been a radical against the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

He launched Fast and Furious, illegally selling guns to Mexican drug lords that were then used to shoot law enforcement officials. And I’ll tell you what Hillary Clinton has said: Hillary Clinton says she agrees with the dissenters — the Supreme Court dissenters in the Heller case.

There were four dissenters, and they said that they believe the Second Amendment protects no individual right to keep and bear arms whatsoever, which means, if their view prevailed and the next president’s going to get one, two, three, maybe four Supreme Court justices, the court will rule that not a single person in this room has any right under the Second Amendment and the government could confiscate your guns.

And I’ll note that California senator — Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said, if she could say to Mr. America and Mrs. America, “give me your guns, I’m rounding them up,” she would.

And let me make a final point on this. Listen, in any Republican primary, everyone is going to say they support the Second Amendment. Unless you are clinically insane…

(LAUGHTER)

… that’s what you say in a primary. But the voters are savvier than that. They recognize that people’s actions don’t always match their words. I’ve got a proven record fighting to defend the Second Amendment.

There’s a reason Gun Owners of America has endorsed me in this race. There’s a reason the NRA gave me their Carter Knight Freedom Fund award…

(BELL RINGS) … and there’s a reason, when Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer came after our right to keep and bear arms, that I led the opposition, along with millions of Americans — we defeated that gun control legislation.

And I would note the other individuals on this stage were nowhere to be found in that fight.

BARTIROMO: Senator…

(APPLAUSE)

… let me follow up and switch gears.

Senator Cruz, you suggested Mr. Trump, quote, “embodies New York values.” Could you explain what you mean by that?

CRUZ: You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: I am from New York. I don’t.

CRUZ: What — what — you’re from New York? So you might not.

(LAUGHTER)

But I promise you, in the state of South Carolina, they do.

(APPLAUSE)

And listen, there are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men and women in the state of New York. But everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro- gay-marriage, focus around money and the media.

And — and I would note indeed, the reason I said that is I was asked — my friend Donald has taken to it as (ph) advance playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”, and I was asked what I thought of that.

And I said, “well, if he wanted to play a song, maybe he could play, ‘New York, New York’?” And — and — you know, the concept of New York values is not that complicated to figure out.

Not too many years ago, Donald did a long interview with Tim Russert. And in that interview, he explained his views on a whole host of issues that were very, very different from the views he’s describing now.

And his explanation — he said, “look, I’m from New York, that’s what we believe in New York. Those aren’t Iowa values, but this is what we believe in New York.” And so that was his explanation.

And — and I guess I can — can frame it another way. Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I’m just saying.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: Are you sure about that?

CAVUTO: Maria…

TRUMP: So conservatives actually do come out of Manhattan, including William F. Buckley and others, just so you understand.

(APPLAUSE)

And just so — if I could, because he insulted a lot of people. I’ve had more calls on that statement that Ted made — New York is a great place. It’s got great people, it’s got loving people, wonderful people.

When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York. You had two one hundred…

(APPLAUSE)

… you had two 110-story buildings come crashing down. I saw them come down. Thousands of people killed, and the cleanup started the next day, and it was the most horrific cleanup, probably in the history of doing this, and in construction. I was down there, and I’ve never seen anything like it.

And the people in New York fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death, and even the smell of death — nobody understood it. And it was with us for months, the smell, the air.

TRUMP: And we rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor bush, for the third time in as many months, the Iranians have provoked us, detaining us, as we’ve been discussing, with these 10 Navy sailors Tehran had said strayed into their waters. The sailors were released, but only after shown on video apologizing for the incident. This occurring only weeks after Iran fired multiple rockets within 1,500 yards of a U.S. aircraft carrier and then continued to test medium range missiles.

Now you’ve claimed that such actions indicate Tehran has little to fear from a President Obama. I wonder, sir, what would change if they continued doing this sort of thing under a President Jeb Bush?

BUSH: Well, first of all, under President Jeb Bush, we would restore the strength of the military. Last week, Secretary Carter announced that the Navy’s going to be cut again. It’s now half the size of what it was prior to Operation Desert Storm.

The deployments are too high for the military personnel. We don’t have procurement being done for refreshing the equipment. The B-52 is still operational as the long range bomber; it was inaugurated in the age of Harry Truman. The planes are older than the pilots. We’re gutting our military, and so the Iranians and the Chinese and the Russians and many other countries look at the United States not as serious as we once were.

We have to eliminate the sequester, rebuild our military in a way that makes it clear that we’re back in the game.

Secondly, as it relates to Iran, we need to confront their ambitions across the board. We should reimpose sanctions, they’ve already violated sanctions after this agreement was signed by testing medium-range missiles.

Thirdly, we need to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to send a serious signal that we’re back in the game with Israel —

(APPLAUSE)

… and sign an agreement that makes sure that the world knows that they will have technological superiority.

We need to get back in the game as it relates to our Arab nations. The rest of the world is moving away from us towards other alliances because we are weak. This president and John Kerry and Hillary Clinton all have made it harder for the next president to act, but he must act to confront the ambitions of Iran. We can get back in the game to restore order and security for our own country.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Thank you, Governor. Governor Kasich, while everyone has been focusing on Iran’s provocations, I’m wondering what you make of what Saudi Arabia has been doing and its recent moves in the region, including its execution of a well-known Shi’ite cleric and its move to dramatically increase oil production, some say in an effort to drive down oil prices and force a lot of U.S. oil producers out of business.

Sure enough, oil prices have tumbled. One brokerage house is predicting a third or more of American oil producers and those heavily invested in fracking will go bankrupt, and soon Saudi Arabia and OPEC will be back in the driver’s seat.

U.S. energy player Harold Hamrie similarly told me with friends like these, who needs enemies? Do you agree?

KASICH: Well, let me — let me first of all talk a little bit about my experience. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years, and by the way, one of the members of that committee was Senator Strom Thurmond from South Carolina. Let em also tell you…

(APPLAUSE)

… that after the 9/11 attacks, Secretary Rumsfeld invited me to the Pentagon with a meeting of the former secretaries of Defense. And in that meeting, I suggested we had a problem with technology, and that I wanted to take people from Silicon Valley into the Pentagon to solve our most significant problems. So I not only had the opportunity to go through the Cold War struggles in Central America, and even after 9/11 to be involved.

With Saudi Arabia and oil production, first of all, it’s so critical for us to be energy independent, and we’re getting there because of fracking and we ought to explore because, see, energy independence gives us leverage and flexibility, and secondly, if you want to bring jobs back to the United States of America in industry, low prices make the difference.

We’re seeing it in my state and we’ll see it in this country. And that’s why we must make sure we continue to frack.

In terms of Saudi Arabia, look, my biggest problem with them is they’re funding radical clerics through their madrasses. That is a bad deal and an evil situation, and presidents have looked the other way. And I was going to tell you, whether I’m president or not, we better make it clear to the Saudis that we’re going to support you, we’re in relation with you just like we were in the first Gulf War, but you’ve got to knock off the funding and teaching of radical clerics who are the very people who try to destroy us and will turn around and destroy them.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: So look, in foreign policy — in foreign policy, it’s strength, but you’ve got to be cool. You’ve got to have a clear vision of where you want to go. And I’m going to tell you, that it — I’m going to suggest to you here tonight, that you can’t do on the job training.

I’ve seen so much of it – a Soviet Union, the coming down of a wall, the issues that we saw around the world in Central America, the potential spread of communism, and 9/11 and Gulf War. You see what the Saudi’s — deliver them a strong message but at the end of the day we have to keep our cool because most of the time they’re going right with us. And they must be part of our coalition to destroy ISIS and I believe we can get that done.

Thank you.

CAVUTO: Thank you John.

BARTIROMO: There’s much more ahead including the fight against ISIS. More from Charleston, South Carolina when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: We welcome back to the Republican Presidential <Debate>, right back to the questions.

Candidates, the man who made fighting ISIS the cornerstone of his campaign, South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham is out the race but he joins us tonight in the audience.

(APPLAUSE)

He says, “the air-strike now in their 16th month have been ineffective.” Dr. Carson …

CARSON: Wait a minute, who in their 16th month?

BARTIROMO: The air-strikes.

CARSON: OK.

BARTIROMO: Now in their 16th month are ineffective. Dr. Carson, do you think Senator Graham is right in wanting to send 20,000 troops — ground troops to Iraq and Syria to take out ISIS?

CARSON: Well, there’s no question that ISIS is a very serious problem, and I don’t believe that this administration recognizes how serious it is.

I think we need to do a lot more than we’re doing. Recognize that the caliphate is what gives them the legitimacy to go out on a jihadist mission, so we need to take that away from them.

The way to take that away from them is to talk to our military officials and ask them, “what do you need in order to accomplish this goal?”

Our decision is, then, do we give them what we need. I say, yes, not only do we give them what they need, but we don’t tie their hands behind their backs so that they can go ahead and get the job done.

In addition to that…

(APPLAUSE)

… in addition to that, we go ahead and we take the oil from them, their source of revenue. You know, some of these — these engagement rules that the administration has — “we’re not going to bomb a tanker that’s coming out of there because there might be a person in it” — give me a break.

Just tell them that, you put people in there, we’re going to bomb them. So don’t put people in there if you don’t want them bombed. You know, that’s so simple.

(APPLAUSE)

And then we need to shut down — we need to shut down their mechanisms of funding and attack their command-and-control centers. Why should we let their people be sitting there smoking their cigars, sitting in their comfortable chairs in Raqqa?

We know (ph) to go ahead and shut off the supply routes, and send in our special ops at 2:00 a.m. and attack them everywhere they go. They should be running all the time, then they won’t have time to plan attacks against us.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir. Senator Graham has also said that the U.S. will find Arab support for its coalition if it removes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And I quote, “The now king of Saudi Arabia told us, ‘you can have our army, you just got to deal with Assad.’

“The emir of Qatar said, ‘I’ll pay for the operation, but they are not going to fight ISIS and let Damascus fall into the hands of the Iranians. Assad has to go.’”

Governor Christie, how important is it to remove Assad from power and how would you do it?

CHRISTIE: Maria, you look at what this president and his secretary of state, Secretary of State Clinton, has done to get us in this spot. You think about it — this is the president who said, along with his secretary of state — drew a red line in Syria, said, if Assad uses chemical weapons against his people, that we’re going to attack.

He used chemical weapons, he’s killed, now, over a quarter of a million of his own people, and this president has done nothing. In fact, he’s done worse than nothing.

This president — and, by the way, Secretary Clinton, who called Assad a reformer — she called Assad a reformer. Now, the fact is, what this president has done is invited Russia to play an even bigger role, bring in Vladimir Putin to negotiate getting those chemical weapons back from Assad, yet what do we have today?

We have the Russians and the Iranians working together, not to fight ISIS, but to prop up Assad. The fact of the matter is we’re not going to have peace — we are not going to have peace in Syria. We’re not going to be able to rebuild it unless we put a no-fly zone there, make it safe for those folks so we don’t have to be talking about Syrian refugees anymore.

The Syrians should stay in Syria. They shouldn’t be going to Europe. And here’s the last piece…

(APPLAUSE)

… you’re not going to have peace in Syria with Assad in charge. You’re simply not. And so Senator Graham is right about this.

And if we want to try to rebuild the coalition, as Governor Kasich was saying before, then what we better do is to get to the Arab countries that believe that ISIS is a threat, not only to them, but to us and to world peace, and bring them together.

And believe me, Assad is not worth it. And if you’re going to leave this to Hillary Clinton, the person who gave us this foreign policy, the architect of it, and you’re going to give her another four years, that’s why I’m speaking out as strongly as I am about that.

Hillary Clinton cannot be president. It will lead to even greater war in this world. And remember this, after Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have had nearly 8 years, we have fewer democracies in the world than we had when they started.

That makes the world less peaceful, less safe. In my administration, we will help to make sure we bring people together in the Middle East, and we will fight ISIS and defeat them.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump, your comments about banning Muslims from entering the country created a firestorm. According to Facebook, it was the most-talked-about moment online of your entire campaign, with more than 10 million people talking about the issue.

Is there anything you’ve heard that makes you want to rethink this position?

TRUMP: No.

(LAUGHTER)

No.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, we have to stop with political correctness. We have to get down to creating a country that’s not going to have the kind of problems that we’ve had with people flying planes into the World Trade Centers, with the — with the shootings in California, with all the problems all over the world.

TRUMP: I just left Indonesia — bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.

We have to find out what’s going on. I said temporarily. I didn’t say permanently. I said temporarily. And I have many great Muslim friends. And some of them, I will say, not all, have called me and said, “Donald, thank you very much; you’re exposing an unbelievable problem and we have to get to the bottom of it.”

And unlike President Obama, where he refuses even to use the term of what’s going on, he can’t use the term for whatever reason. And if you can’t use the term, you’re never going to solve the problem. My Muslim friends, some, said, “thank you very much; we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

But we have a serious problem. And we can’t be the stupid country any more. We’re laughed at all over the world.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Donald, Donald — can I — I hope you reconsider this, because this policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out ISIS. The Kurds are our strongest allies. They’re Muslim. You’re not going to even allow them to come to our country?

The other Arab countries have a role to play in this. We cannot be the world’s policeman. We can’t do this unilaterally. We have to do this in unison with the Arab world. And sending that signal makes it impossible for us to be serious about taking out ISIS and restoring democracy in Syria.

(APPLAUSE)

So I hope you’ll reconsider. I hope you’ll reconsider. The better way of dealing with this — the better way of dealing with this is recognizing that there are people in, you know, the — Islamic terrorists inside, embedded in refugee populations.

What we ought to do is tighten up our efforts to deal with the entry visa program so that a citizen from Europe, it’s harder if they’ve been traveling to Syria or traveling to these other places where there is Islamic terrorism, make it harder — make the screening take place.

We don’t have to have refugees come to our country, but all Muslims, seriously? What kind of signal does that send to the rest of the world that the United States is a serious player in creating peace and security?

CAVUTO: But you said — you said that he made those comments and they represented him being unhinged after he made them.

BUSH: Yeah, they are unhinged.

CAVUTO: Well — well, after he made them…

(APPLAUSE)

… his poll numbers went up eight points in South Carolina. Now — now, wait…

TRUMP: Eleven points, to be exact.

CAVUTO: Are you — are you saying — are you saying that all those people who agree with Mr. Trump are unhinged?

BUSH: No, not at all, absolutely not. I can see why people are angry and scared, because this president has created a condition where our national security has weakened dramatically. I totally get that. But we’re running for the presidency of the United States here. This isn’t — this isn’t, you know, a different kind of job. You have to lead. You cannot make rash statements and expect the rest of the world to respond as though, well, it’s just politics.

Every time we send signals like this, we send a signal of weakness, not strength. And so it was (inaudible) his statement, which is why I’m asking him to consider changing his views.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I want security for this country. OK?

(APPLAUSE)

I want security. I’m tired of seeing what’s going on, between the border where the people flow over; people come in; they live; they shoot. I want security for this country. We have a serious problem with, as you know, with radical Islam. We have a tremendous problem. It’s not only a problem here. It’s a problem all over the world.

I want to find out why those two young people — those two horrible young people in California when they shot the 14 people, killed them — people they knew, people that held the wedding reception for them. I want to find out — many people saw pipe bombs and all sorts of things all over their apartment. Why weren’t they vigilant? Why didn’t they call? Why didn’t they call the police?

And by the way, the police are the most mistreated people in this country. I will tell you that.

(APPLAUSE)

The most mistreated people. In fact, we need to — wait a minute — we need vigilance. We have to find out — many people knew about what was going on. Why didn’t they turn those two people in so that you wouldn’t have had all the death?

There’s something going on and it’s bad. And I’m saying we have to get to the bottom of it. That’s all I’m saying. We need security.

BARTIROMO: We — we want to hear from all of you on this. According to Pew Research, the U.S. admits more than 100,000 Muslim immigrants every single year on a permanent lifetime basis. I want to ask the rest of you to comment on this. Do you agree that we should pause Muslim immigration until we get a better handle on our homeland security situation, as Mr. Trump has said?

Beginning with you, Governor Kasich.

KASICH: I — I’ve been for pausing on admitting the Syrian refugees. And the reasons why I’ve done is I don’t believe we have a good process of being able to vet them. But you know, we don’t want to put everybody in the same category.

KASICH: And I’ll go back to something that had been mentioned just a few minutes ago. If we’re going to have a coalition, we’re going to have to have a coalition not just of people in the western part of the world, our European allies, but we need the Saudis, we need the Egyptians, we need the Jordanians, we need the Gulf states. We need Jordan.

We need all of them to be part of exactly what the first George Bush put together in the first Gulf War.

(BELL RINGS)

It was a coalition made up of Arabs and Americans and westerners and we’re going to need it again. And if we try to put everybody in the same — call everybody the same thing, we can’t do it. And that’s just not acceptable.

But I think a pause on Syrian refugees has been exactly right for all the governors that have called for it, and also, of course, for me as the governor of Ohio.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir, we want to hear from the rest of you,

Governor Christie, your take.

CHRISTIE: Now Maria, listen. I said right from the beginning that we should take no Syrian refugees of any kind. And the reason I said that is because the FBI director told the American people, told Congress, that he could not guarantee he could vet them and it would be safe. That’s the end of the conversation.

I can tell you, after spending seven years as a former federal prosecutor, right after 9/11, dealing with this issue. Here’s the way you need to deal with it. You can’t just ban all Muslims. You have to ban radical Islamic jihadists. You have to ban the people who are trying to hurt us.

The only way to figure that out is to go back to getting the intelligence community the funding and the tools that it needs to be able to keep America safe.

(BELL RINGS)

And this summer, we didn’t do that. We took it away from the NSA, it was a bad decision by the president. Bad by those in the Senate who voted for it and if I’m president, we’ll make our intelligence community strong, and won’t have to keep everybody out, we’re just going to keep the bad folk out and make sure they don’t harm us.

BARTIROMO: Senator Rubio, where do you stand?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, let’s understand why we are even having this <debate> and why Donald tapped in to some of that anger that’s out there about this whole issue. Because this president has consistently underestimated the threat of ISIS.

If you listen to the State of the Union the other night, he described them as a bunch of guys with long beards on the back of a pickup truck. They are much more than that. This is a group of people that enslaves women and sells them, sells them as brides.

This is a group of people that burns people in cages, that is conducting genocide against Christians and Yazidis and others in the region. This is not some small scale group.

They are radicalizing people in the United States, they are conducting attacks around the world. So you know what needs to happen, it’s a very simple equation, and it’s going to happen when I’m president. If we do not know who you are, and we do not know why you are coming when I am president, you are not getting into the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, where do you stand? Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know I understand why Donald made the comments he did and I understand why Americans are feeling frustrated and scared and angry when we have a president who refuses to acknowledge the threat we face and even worse, who acts as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism.

I think what we need is a commander in chief who is focused like a laser on keeping this country safe and on defeating radical Islamic terrorism. What should we do? First, we should pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act, legislation I’ve introduced that says if an American goes and joins ISIS and wages jihad against America, that you forfeit your citizenship and you can not come in on a passport.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And secondly, we should pass the legislation that I’ve introduced…

(BELL RINGS)

… that suspends all refugees from nations that ISIS or Al Qaida controls significant territory. Just last week, we see saw two Iraqi refugees vetted using the same process the president says will work, that were arrested for being alleged ISIS terrorists.

If I’m elected president, we will not let in refugees from countries controlled by ISIS or Al Qaida. When it comes to ISIS, we will not weaken them, we will not degrade them, we will utterly and completely destroy ISIS

(APPLAUSE).

BARTIROMO: Dr. Carson, where do you stand? Do you agree with Mr. Trump?

CARSON: Well, first of all, recognize it is a substantial problem. But like all of our problems, there isn’t a single one that can’t be solved with common sense if you remove the ego and the politics. And clearly, what we need to do is get a group of experts together, including people from other countries, some of our friends from Israel, who have had experience screening these people and come up with new guidelines for immigration, and for visas, for people who are coming into this country.

That is the thing that obviously makes sense, we can do that. And as far as the Syrians are concerned, Al-Hasakah province, perfect place. They have infrastructure. All we need to do is protect them, they will be in their own country.

And that is what they told me when I was in Jordan in November. Let’s listen to them and let’s not listen to our politicians.

BARTIROMO: So, to be clear, the both of you do not agree with Mr. Trump?

BUSH: So, are we going to ban Muslims from India, from Indonesia, from countries that are strong allies — that we need to build better relationships with? Of course not. What we need to do is destroy ISIS.

I laid out a plan at the Citadel to do just that and it starts with creating a “No Fly Zone” and “Safe Zones” to make sure refugees are there. We need to lead a force, a Sunni led force inside of Syria. We need to embed with — with the Iraqi military. We need to arm the Kurds the directly. We need to re-establish the relationships with the Sunnis.

We need the lawyers(ph) off the back of the war fighters. That’s how you solve the problem. You don’t solve it by big talk where you’re banning all Muslims and making it harder for us to build the kind of coalition for us to be successful.

BARTIROMO: Thank you governor.

CAVUTO: Mr. Trump, sometimes maybe in the heat of the campaign, you say things and you have to dial them back. Last week, the New York Times editorial board quoted as saying that you would oppose, “up to 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods.”

TRUMP: That’s wrong. They were wrong. It’s the New York Times, they are always wrong.

CAVUTO: Well…

TRUMP: They were wrong.

CAVUTO: You never said because they provided that…

TRUMP: No, I said, ” I would use — ” they were asking me what to do about North Korea. China, they don’t like to tell us but they have total control — just about, of North Korea. They can solve the problem of North Korea if they wanted to but they taunt us.

They say, ” well, we don’t really have control.” Without China, North Korea doesn’t even eat. China is ripping us on trade. They’re devaluing their currency and they’re killing our companies. Thousands of thousands — you look at the number of companies and the number in terms of manufacturing of plans that we’ve lost — 50,000 because of China.

(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: So they’ve never said to put a tariff on their…

TRUMP: We’ve lost anywhere between four and seven million jobs because of China. What I said then was, “we have very unfair trade with China. We’re going to have a trade deficit of 505 billion dollars this year with China.” A lot of that is because they devalue their currency.

What I said to the New York Times, is that, “we have great power, economic power over China and if we wanted to use that and the amount — where the 45 percent comes in, that would be the amount they saw their devaluations that we should get.” That we should get.

What I’m saying is this, I’m saying that we do it but if they don’t start treating us fairly and stop devaluing and let their currency rise so that our companies can compete and we don’t lose all of these millions of jobs that we’re losing, I would certainly start taxing goods that come in from China. Who the hell has to lose 505 billion dollars a year?

CAVUTO: I’m sorry, you lost me.

TRUMP: It’s not that complicated actually.

CAVUTO: Then I apologize. Then I want to understand, if you don’t want a 45 percent tariff, say that wasn’t the figure, would you be open — are you open to slapping a higher tariff on Chinese goods of any sort to go back at them?

TRUMP: OK, just so you understand — I know so much about trading about with China. Carl Icahn today as you know endorsed. Many businessmen want to endorse me.

CAVUTO: I know…

TRUMP: Carl said, “no, no — ” but he’s somebody — these are the kind of people that we should use to negotiate and not the China people that we have who are political hacks who don’t know what they’re doing and we have problems like this. If these are the kinds of people — we should use our best and our finest.

Now, on that tariff — here’s what I’m saying, China — they send their goods and we don’t tax it — they do whatever they want to do. They do whatever what they do, OK. When we do business with China, they tax us. You don’t know it, they tax us.

I have many friends that deal with China. They can’t — when they order the product and when they finally get the product it is taxed. If you looking at what happened with Boeing and if you look at what happened with so many companies that deal — so we don’t have an equal playing field. I’m saying, absolutely, we don’t have to continue to lose 505 billion dollars as a trade deficit for the privilege of dealing with China.

I’m a free trader. I believe in it but we have to be smart and we have to use smart people to negotiate. I have the largest bank in the world as a tenant of mine. I sell tens’ of millions of (inaudible).

I love China. I love the Chinese people but they laugh themselves, they can’t believe how stupid the American leadership is.

CAVUTO: So you’re open to a tariff?

TRUMP: I’m totally open to a tariff. If they don’t treat us fairly, hey, their whole trade is tariffed. You can’t deal in China without tariffs. They do it to us, we don’t it. It’s not fair trade.

KASICH: Neil, Neil — can I say one thing about this. I’m a free trader. I support NAFTA. I believe in the PTT because it’s important those countries in Asia are interfacing against China. And we do need China — Donald’s right about North Korea.

I mean the fact is, is that they need to put the pressure on and frankly we need to intercepts ships coming out of North Korea so they don’t proliferate all these dangerous materials. But what he’s touching — talking about, I think has got merit. And I’ll allow putting that tariff or whatever he’s saying here…

TRUMP: I’m happy to have him tonight…

(LAUGHTER)

KASICH: For too long — no, for too long, what happens is somebody dumps their product in our country and take our people’s jobs, and then we go to an international court and it takes them like a year or two to figure out whether they were cheating us. And guess what? The worker’s out of a job.

So when they — be found against that country that’s selling products in here lower than the cost of what it takes to produce them, then what do we tell the worker? Oh, well, you know, it just didn’t work out for you.

I think we should be for free trade but I think fair trade. And when countries violate trade agreements or dump product in this country, we need — we need to stand up against those countries that do that without making them into an enemy.

And I want to just suggest to you. How do I know this? Because so many people in my family worked in steel mills, and they didn’t work with a white collar, they worked in a blue collar. And the fact is those jobs are critical, they’re hard working members of the middle class and they need to be paid attention to because they’re Americans and they carry the load. So let’s demand open trade but fair trade in this country. That’s what I think we need to do.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: All right.

RUBIO: But on this point, if I may add something on this point. We are all frustrated with what China is doing. I think we need to be very careful with tariffs, and here’s why.

China doesn’t pay the tariff, the buyer pays the tariff. If you send a tie or a shirt made in China into the United States and an American goes to buy it at the store and there’s a tariff on it, it gets passed on in the price to price to the consumer.

So I think the better approach, the best thing we can do to protect ourselves against China economically is to make our economy stronger, which means reversing course from all the damage Barack Obama is doing to this economy.

It begins with tax reform. Let’s not have the most expensive business tax rate in the world. Let’s allow companies to immediately expense.

(APPLAUSE)

It continues with regulatory reform. Regulations in this country are out of control, especially the Employment Prevention Agency, the EPA, and all of the rules they continue to impose on our economy and hurting us.

How about Obamacare, a certified job killer? It needs to be repealed and replaced. And we need to bring our debt under control, make our economy stronger. That is the way to deal with China at the end of the day.

TRUMP: Neil, the problem…

BARTIROMO: We’re getting…

TRUMP: … with what Marco is saying is that it takes too long, they’re sucking us dry and it takes too long. It would just — you absolutely have to get involved with China, they are taking so much of what we have in terms of jobs in terms of money. We just can’t do it any longer.

CAVUTO: He is right. If you put a tariff on a good, it’s Americans who pay.

BUSH: Absolutely.

TRUMP: You looking at me?

BUSH: Yeah.

BARTIROMO: Prices go higher for…

TRUMP: Can I tell you what? It will never happen because they’ll let their currency go up. They’re never going to let it happen.

Japan, the same thing. They are devaluing — it’s so impossible for — you look at Caterpillar Tractor and what’s happening with Caterpillar and Kamatsu (ph). Kamatsu (ph) is a tractor company in Japan. Friends of mine are ordering Kamatsu (ph) tractors now because they’ve de-valued the yen to such an extent that you can’t buy a Caterpillar tractor. And we’re letting them get away with it and we can’t let them get away with it.

And that’s why we have to use Carl (ph) and we have to use our great businesspeople and not political hacks to negotiate with these guys.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Here’s — apart from the — apart from the higher prices on consumers and people are living paycheck to paycheck, apart from that, there will be retaliation.

BARTIROMO: Yeah.

BUSH: So they soybean sales from Iowa, entire soybean production goes — the equivalent of it goes to China. Or how about Boeing right here within a mile? Do you think that the Chinese, if they had a 45 percent tariff imposed on all their imports wouldn’t retaliate and start buying Airbus? Of course, they would. This would be devastating for the economy. We need someone with a steady hand being president of the United States.

BARTIROMO: Real quick, Senator — go ahead, Senator Cruz.

(APPLAUSE)

And then we have to get to tax reform.

TRUMP: And we don’t need a weak person being president of the United State, OK? Because that’s what we’d get if it were Jeb — I tell you what, we don’t need that.

AUDIENCE: Boo.

TRUMP: We don’t need that. That’s essentially what we have now, and we don’t need that. And that’s why we’re in the trouble that we’re in now. And by the way, Jeb you mentioned Boeing, take a look. They order planes, they make Boeing build their plant in China. They don’t want them made here. They want those planes made in China.

BUSH: They’re a mile away from here.

TRUMP: That’s not the way the game is supposed to be played.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor Bush. Thank you, Mr. Trump. Very briefly.

BUSH: My name was mentioned. My name was mentioned here. The simple fact is that the plane that’s being build here is being sold to China. You can — if you — you flew in with your 767, didn’t you? Right there, right next to the plant.

TRUMP: No, the new planes. I’m not talking about now, I’m talking about in the future they’re building massive plants in China because China does not want Boeing building their planes here, they want them built in China, because China happens to be smart the way they do it, not the way we do it.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

BUSH: When you head back to airport tonight, go check and see what the…

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Mr. Trmup. Thank you, Governor.

TRUMP: I’ll check for you.

BUSH: Check it out.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: Senator briefly.

CRUZ: Thanks for coming back to me, Maria. Both Donald and Jeb have good points, and there is a middle ground. Donald is right that China is running over President Obama like he is a child, President Obama is not protecting American workers and we are getting hammered.

CRUZ: You know, I sat down with the senior leadership of John Deere. They discussed how — how hard it is to sell tractors in China, because all the regulatory barriers. They’re protectionist.

But Jeb is also right that, if we just impose a tariff, they’ll put reciprocal tariffs, which will hurt Iowa farmers and South Carolina producers and 20 percent of the American jobs that depend on exports.

So the way you do it is you pass a tax plan like the tax plan I’ve introduced: a simple flat tax, 10 percent for individuals, and a 16 percent business flat tax, you abolish the IRS…

(APPLAUSE)

… and here’s the critical point, Maria — the business flat tax enables us to abolish the corporate income tax, the death tax, the Obamacare taxes, the payroll taxes, and they’re border-adjustable, so every export pays no taxes whatsoever.

It’s tax-free — a huge advantage for our farmers and ranchers and manufacturers — and every import pays the 16 percent business flat tax. It’s like a tariff, but here’s the difference: if we impose a tariff, China responds.

The business flat tax, they already impose their taxes on us, so there’s no reciprocal…

(BELL RINGS)

… tariffs that come against us. It puts us on a level, even playing field, which brings jobs here at home…

(UNKNOWN): Maria…

CRUZ: … and as president, I’m going to fight for the working men and women.

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO: We’ve got to get to tax reform, gentlemen. We’ve got to get to tax reform, and we’ve got to get to the…

(UNKNOWN): Yeah, but I want to talk about taxes.

BARTIROMO: … we’ve got to get to the national debt as well. Coming up next, the growing national debt, the war on crime, tax reform. More from North Charleston, South Carolina, when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the Republican presidential <debate> here in North Charleston. Right back to the questions.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Christie, we have spoken much about cutting spending, given the $19 trillion debt. But according to one report, America needs $3.6 trillion in infrastructure spending by 2020.

Here in South Carolina, 11 percent of bridges are considered structurally deficient, costing drivers a billion dollars a year in auto repairs. What is your plan to fix the ailing roads and bridges without breaking the bank?

CHRISTIE: Well, I’m glad you asked that, Maria. Here’s — here’s our plan. We’ve all been talking about tax reforms tonight, and paying for infrastructure is caught right up in tax reform.

If you reform the corporate tax system in this country, which, as was mentioned before, is the highest rate in the world — and we double tax, as you know.

And what that’s led to over $2 trillion of American companies’ monies that are being kept offshore, because they don’t want to pay the second tax. And who can blame them? They pay tax once overseas. They don’t want to pay 35 percent tax on the way back.

So beside reforming that tax code, bringing it down to 25 percent and eliminating those special-interest loopholes that the lobbyists and the lawyers and the accountants have given — bring that rate down to 25 percent, but also, a one-time repatriation of that money.

Bring the money — the $2 trillion — back to the United States. We’ll tax it, that one time, at 8.75 percent, because 35 percent of zero is zero, but 8.75 percent of $2 trillion is a lot of money. And I would then dedicate that money to rebuilding infrastructure here in this country.

It would not necessitate us raising any taxes. It would bring the money back into the United States to help build jobs by American companies and get our economy moving again, and growing as a higher rate, and it would rebuild those roads and bridges and tunnels that you were talking about. And — and — and the last piece of this, Maria, is this. You know, the fact is that this president has penalized corporations in America. He’s penalized — and doesn’t understand. In fact, what that hurts is hurt hardworking taxpayers.

You’ve seen middle-class wages go backwards $3,700 during the Obama administration. That’s wrong for hardworking taxpayers in this country. We’d rebuild infrastructure that would also create jobs in this country, and we’d work with the states to do it the right way, to do it more efficiently and more effectively.

And remember this — I’m credible on this for this reason: Americans for Tax Reform says that I’ve vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history. We don’t need to raise taxes to get this done.

We need to make the government run smarter and better, and reform this corporate tax system, bring that money back to the United States to build jobs and rebuild our infrastructure, and we need to use it also to protect our grid from terrorists.

All of those things are important, and all those things would happen in a Christie administration.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir. Dr. Carson…

(APPLAUSE)

… it is true U.S. companies have $2 trillion in cash sitting overseas right now. That could be used for investment and jobs in America.

Also, several companies right now are pursuing mergers to move their corporate headquarters abroad, and take advantage of much lower taxes. What will you do to stop the flow of companies building cash away from America, and those leaving America altogether?

CARSON: Well, I would suggest a fair tax system, and that’s what we have proposed. A flat tax for everybody — no exemptions, no deductions, no shelters, because some people have a better capability of taking advantage of those than others.

You know, and then the other thing we have to do is stop spending so much money. You know, I — my — my mother taught me this. You know, she only had a third-grade education, but — you know, she knew how to stretch a dollar.

I mean, she would drive a car until it wouldn’t make a sound, and then gather up all her coins and buy a new car. In fact, if my mother were secretary of treasury, we would not be in a deficit situation. But…

(LAUGHTER)

… you know, the — the — the fact of the matter is — you know, if we fix the taxation system, make it absolutely fair, and get rid of the incredible regulations — because every regulation is a tax, it’s a — on goods and services. And it’s the most regressive tax there is.

You know, when you go into the store and buy a box of laundry detergent, and the price has up — you know, 50 cents because of regulations, a poor person notices that. A rich person does not. Middle class may notice it when they get to the cash register.

And everything is costing more money, and we are killing our — our — our people like this. And Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will say it’s those evil rich people.

It’s not the evil rich people. It’s the evil government that is — that is putting all these regulations on us so that we can’t survive.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

Senator Rubio…

TRUMP: Maria — Maria, what you were talking about just now is called corporate inversion. It’s one of the biggest problems our country has. Right now, corporations, by the thousands, are thinking of leaving our country with the jobs — leave them behind.

TRUMP: They’re leaving because of taxes, but they are also leaving because they can’t get their money back and everybody agrees, Democrats and Republicans, that is should come back in. But they can’t get along. They can’t even make a deal.

Here is the case, they both agree, they can’t make a deal. We have to do something. Corporate inversion is one of the biggest problems we have. So many companies are going to leave our country.

BARTIROMO: Which is why we raised it.

Senator Rubio?

Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: One of the biggest fiscal challenges is our entitlement programs, particularly Social Security and Medicare. What policies will you put forward to make sure these programs are more financially secure?

RUBIO: Well, first let me address the tax issue because it’s related to the entitlement issue and I want to thank you for holding a substantive debates where we can have debates about these key issues on taxes.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: Here is the one thing I’m not going to do. I’m not going to have something that Ted described in his tax plan. It’s called the value added tax. And it’s a tax you find in many companies in Europe.

Where basically, businesses now will have to pay a tax, both on the money they make, but they also have to pay taxes on the money that they pay their employees.

And that’s why they have it in Europe, because it is a way to blindfolded the people, that’s what Ronald Reagan said. Ronald Regan opposed the value tax because he said it was a way to blindfold the people, so the true cost of government was not there there for them.

Now, you can support one now that’s very low. But what is to prevent a future liberal president or a liberal Congress from coming back and not just raising the income tax, but also raising that VAT tax, and that vat tax is really bad for seniors. Because seniors, if they are retired, are no longer earning an income from a job. And therefore, they don’t get the income tax break, but their prices are going to be higher, because the vat tax is embedded in both the prices that business that are charging and in the wages they pay their employees.

When I am president of the United States, I’m going to side with Ronald Regan on this and not Nancy Pelosi and we are not having a vat tax.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you senator.

CRUZ: Maria, I assume that I can respond to that.

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, yes. You were meant to. Yes, of course.

CRUZ: Well, Marco has been floating this attack for a few weeks now, but the problem is, the business flat tax in my proposal is not a vat. A vat is imposed as a sales tax when you buy a good.

This is a business flat tax. It is imposed on business and a critical piece that Marco seems to be missing is that this 16 percent business flat tax enables us to eliminate the corporate income tax. It goes away. It enables us to eliminate the death tax.

If you’re a farmer, if you’re a rancher, if you are small business owner, the death tax is gone. We eliminate the payroll tax, we eliminate the Obamacare taxes. And listen, there is a real difference between Marco’s tax plan and mine.

Mine gives every American a simple, flat tax of 10 percent. Marco’s top tax rate is 35 percent. My tax plan enables you to fill out your taxes on a postcard so we can abolish the IRS. Marco leaves the IRS code in with all of the complexity. We need to break the Washington cartel, and the only way to do it is to end all the subsidies and all…

(BELL RINGS)

… the mandates and have a simple flat tax. The final observation, invoked Ronald Reagan. I would note that Art Laffer, Ronald Reagan’s chief economic adviser, has written publicly, that my simple flat tax is the best tax plan of any of the individuals on this stage cause it produces economic growth, it raises wages and it helps everyone from the very poorest to the very richest.

BARTIROMO: Thank you senator.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: But that’s not an accurate description of the plan. Because, first of all, you may rename the IRS but you are not going to abolishes the IRS, because there has to be some agency that’s going to collect your vat tax. Someone’s going to be collecting this tax.

In fact, Ronald Reagan’s treasury, when Ronald Reagan’s treasury looked at the vat tax, you know what they found? That they were going to have to hire 20,000 new IRS agencies to collect it.

The second point, it does not eliminate the corporate tax or the payroll tax. Businesses will now have to pay 16 percent on the money they make. They will also have to pay 16 percent on the money they pay their employees.

So there are people watching tonight in business. If you are now hit on a 60 percent tax on both your income and on the wages you pay your employees, where are you going to get that money from? You’re going to get it by paying your employees less and charging your customers more, that is a tax, the difference is, you don’t see it on the bill.

And that’s why Ronald Reagan said that it was a blindfold. You blindfold the American people so that they cannot see the true cost of government. Now 16 percent is what the rate Ted wants it at. But what happens if, God forbid, the next Barack Obama takes over, and the next Nancy Pelosi, and the next Harry Reid…

(BELL RINGS)

and they decide, we’re going to raise it to 30 percent, plus we’re going to raise the income tax to 30 percent. Now, you’ve got Europe.

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO: Thank you senator. I have to get to a question for Mr. Trump.

CRUZ: Maria…

BARTIROMO: Yes.

CRUZ: Maria, I’d just like to say…

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: Maria, I’d like to interrupt this <debate> on the floor of the Senate to actually answer the question you asked, which was on entitlements. Do you remember that, everybody? This was a question on entitlements.

And the reason — and the reason…

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: … no, you already had your chance, Marco, and you blew it. Here’s the thing.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: The fact is, the reason why…

RUBIO: If you’ll answer the (inaudible) core question.

CHRISTIE: … the fact is — the fact is the reason why that no one wants to answer entitlements up here is because it’s hard. It’s a hard problem. And I’m the only one up on this stage who back in April put forward a detailed entitlement reform plan that will save over $1 trillion, save Social Security, save Medicare, and avoid this — avoid what Hillary Rodham Clinton will do to you.

Because what she will do is come in and she will raise Social Security taxes. Bernie Sanders has already said it. And she is just one or two more poll drops down from even moving further left than she’s moved already to get to the left of Bernie on this.

We have seniors out there who are scared to death because this Congress — this one that we have right now, just stole $150 billion from the Social Security retirement fund to give it to the Social Security disability fund. A Republican Congress did that.

And the fact is it was wrong. And they consorted with Barack Obama to steal from Social Security. We need to reform Social Security. Mine is the only plan that saves over $1 trillion and that’s why I’m answering your question.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Governor.

(APPLAUSE) CARSON: Can I just add one very quick thing? And I just want to say, you know, last week we released our tax plan. And multiple reputable journals, including The Wall Street Journal, said ours is the best. Just want to get that out there, just saying.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

Coming up, how would the candidates protect America, and another terror attack, if we were to see it. But first, you can join us live on stage during the commercial break right from home. Go to facebook.com/foxbusiness. We’ll be streaming live and answering your questions during this break next.

More from South Carolina coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Mr. Trump, your net worth is in the multi-billions of dollars and have an ongoing thriving hotel and real estate business. Are you planning on putting your assets in a blind trust should you become president? With such vast wealth, how difficult will it be for you to disentangle yourself from your business and your money and prioritize America’s interest first?

TRUMP: Well, it’s an interesting question because I’m very proud of my company. As you too know, I know I built a very great company. But if I become president, I couldn’t care less about my company. It’s peanuts.

I want to use that same up here, whatever it may be to make America rich again and to make America great again. I have Ivanka, and Eric and Don sitting there. Run the company kids, have a good time. I’m going to do it for America.

So I would — I would be willing to do that.

BARTIROMO: So you’ll put your assets in a blind trust?

TRUMP: I would put it in a blind trust. Well, I don’t know if it’s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. If that’s a blind trust, I don’t know. But I would probably have my children run it with my executives and I wouldn’t ever be involved because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country, anything.

BARTIROMO: Thank you sir.

TRUMP: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Governor Christie, going back to your U.S. Attorney days, you had been praised by both parties as certainly a tough law and order guy. So I wonder what you make of recent statistics that showed violent crimes that have been spiking sometimes by double digit ratings in 30 cities across the country. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said, “most local law enforcement officials feel abandoned by Washington.” Former NYC Police Chief Ray Kelly, says that, “police are being less proactive because they’re being overly scrutinized and second guessed and they’re afraid of being sued or thrown in jail.”

What would you do as president to address this?

CHRISTIE: Well, first off, let’s face it, the FBI director James Comey was a friend of mine who I worked with as U.S. Attorney of New Jersey. He was the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. He said, “there’s a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country.” Here’s why, the president of the United States and both his attorney’s general, they give the benefit of the doubt to the criminal, not to the police officers.

That’s the truth of the matter and you see it every time with this president. Every time he’s got a chance, going all the way back to — remember that Great Beer Summit he had after he messed up that time. This is a guy who just believes that law enforcement are the bad guys.

Now, I for seven years was the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey. I worked hard with not only federal agents but with police officers and here’s the problem, sanctuary cities is part of the problem in this country. That’s where crime is happening in these cities where they don’t enforce the immigration laws. And this president turns his back — this president doesn’t enforce the marijuana laws in this country because he doesn’t agree with them.

And he allows states to go ahead and do whatever they want on a substance that’s illegal. This president allows lawlessness throughout this country. Here’s what I would do Neil, I would appoint an Attorney General and I would have one very brief conversation with that Attorney General. I’d say, “General, enforce the law against everyone justly, fairly, and aggressively. Make our streets safe again. Make our police officers proud of what they do but more important than that, let them know how proud we are of them.”

We do that, this country would be safe and secure again not only from criminals but from the terrorist who threaten us as well. I’m the only person on this stage who’s done that and we will get it done as President of the United States.

CAVUTO: Thank you governor.

Governor Kasich, as someone has to deal with controversial police shootings in your own state, what do you make of Chicago’s move recently to sort of retrain police? Maybe make them not so quick to use their guns?

KASICH: Well, I created a task force well over a year ago and the purpose was to bring law enforcement, community people, clergy and the person that I named as one of the co-chair was a lady by the name of Nina Turner, a former State Senator, a liberal Democrat. She actually ran against one of my friends and our head of public safety.

KASICH: And they say down as a group trying to make sure that we can begin to heal some of these problems that we see between community and police.

KASICH: And they came back with 23 recommendations. One of them is a statewide use of deadly force. And it is now being put into place everyplace across the state of Ohio. Secondly, a policy on recruiting and hiring, and then more resources for — for training.

But let me also tell you, one of the issues has got to be the integration of both community and police. Community has to understand that that police officer wants to get home at night, and not — not to lose their life. Their family is waiting for them.

At the same time, law enforcement understands there are people in the community who not only think that the system doesn’t work for them, but works against them.

See, in Ohio, we’ve had some controversial decisions. But the leaders have come forward to realize that protest is fine, but violence is wrong. And it has been a remarkable situation in our state. And as president of the United States, it’s all about communication, folks. It’s all about getting people to listen to one another’s problems.

And when you do that, you will be amazed at how much progress you can make, and how much healing we can have. Because, folks, at the end of the day, the country needs healed. I’ve heard a lot of hot rhetoric here tonight, but I’ve got to tell you, as somebody that actually passed a budget; that paid down a half-a-trillion dollars of our national debt, you can’t do it alone. You’ve got to bring people together. You’ve got to give people hope.

And together, we can solve these problems that hurt us and heal America. And that is what’s so critical for our neighborhoods, our families, our children, and our grandchildren.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Thank you, Governor.

BARTIROMO: Senator Rubio?

(APPLAUSE)

Under current law, the U.S. is on track to issue more new permanent immigrants on green cards over the next five years than the entire population of South Carolina. The CBO says your 2013 immigration bill would have increased green cardholders by another 10 million over 10 years.

Why are you so interested in opening up borders to foreigners when American workers have a hard enough time finding work?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, this is an issue that’s been debated now for 30 years. And for 30 years, the issue of immigration has been about someone who’s in this country, maybe they’re here illegally, but they’re looking for a job. This issue is not about that anymore.

First and foremost, this issue has to be now more than anything else about keeping America safe. And here’s why. There is a radical jihadist group that is manipulating our immigration system. And not just green cards. They’re looking — they’re recruiting people that enter this country as doctors and engineers and even fiances. They understand the vulnerabilities we have on the southern border.

They’re looking — they’re looking to manipulate our — the visa waiver countries to get people into the United States. So our number one priority must now become ensuring that ISIS cannot get killers into the United States. So whether it’s green cards or any other form of entry into America, when I’m president if we do not know who you are or why you are coming, you are not going to get into the United States of America.

BARTIROMO: So your thinking has changed?

RUBIO: The issue is a dramatically different issue than it was 24 months ago. Twenty-four months ago, 36 months ago, you did not have a group of radical crazies named ISIS who were burning people in cages and recruiting people to enter our country legally. They have a sophisticated understanding of our legal immigration system and we now have an obligation to ensure that they are not able to use that system against us.

The entire system of legal immigration must now be reexamined for security first and foremost, with an eye on ISIS. Because they’re recruiting people to enter this country as engineers, posing as doctors, posing as refugees. We know this for a fact. They’ve contacted the trafficking networks in the Western Hemisphere to get people in through the southern border. And they got a killer in San Bernardino in posing as a fiance.

This issue now has to be about stopping ISIS entering the United States, and when I’m president we will.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: But Maria, radical Islamic terrorism was not invented 24 months ago; 24 months ago, we had Al Qaida. We had Boko Haram. We had Hamas. We had Hezbollah. We had Iran putting operatives in South America and Central America. It’s the reason why I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and led the fight to stop the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, because it was clear then, like it’s clear now, that border security is national security.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: It is also the case that that Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill, one of the things it did is it expanded Barack Obama’s power to let in Syrian refugees. It enabled him — the president to certify them en masse without mandating meaningful background checks.

I think that’s a mistake. That’s why I’ve been leading the fight to stop it. And I would note the Senate just a few weeks ago voted to suspend refugees from Middle Eastern countries. I voted yes to suspend that. Marco voted on the other side. So you don’t get to say we need to secure the borders, and at the same time try to give Barack Obama more authority to allow Middle Eastern refugees coming in, when the head of the FBI tells us they cannot vet them to determine if they are ISIS terrorists.

RUBIO: Maria, let me clear something up here. This is an interesting point when you talk about immigration.

RUBIO: Ted Cruz, you used to say you supported doubling the number of green cards, now you say that you’re against it. You used to support a 500 percent increase in the number of guest workers, now you say that you’re against it. You used to support legalizing people that were here illegally, now you say you’re against it. You used to say that you were in favor of birthright citizenship, now you say that you are against it.

And by the way, it’s not just on immigration, you used to support TPA, now you say you’re against it. I saw you on the Senate floor flip your vote on crop insurance because they told you it would help you in Iowa, and last week, we all saw you flip your vote on ethanol in Iowa for the same reason.

(APPLAUSE)

That is not consistent conservatism, that is political calculation. When I am president, I will work consistently every single day to keep this country safe, not call Edward Snowden, as you did, a great public servant. Edward Snowden is a traitor. And if I am president and we get our hands on him, he is standing trial for treason.

(APPLAUSE)

And one more point, one more point. Every single time that there has been a Defense bill in the Senate, three people team up to vote against it. Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. In fact, the only budget you have ever voted for, Ted, in your entire time in the Senate is a budget from Rand Paul that brags about how it cuts defense.

Here’s the bottom line, and I’ll close with this. If I’m president of the United States and Congress tries to cut the military, I will veto that in a millisecond.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: There’s — look, there’s —

CAVUTO: Gentlemen, gentlemen —

CRUZ: I’m going to get a response to that, Neil. There’s no way he launches 11 attack —

CAVUTO: Very quick, very quick. CRUZ: I’m going to — he had no fewer than 11 attacks there. I appreciate your dumping your (inaudible) research folder on the <debate> stage.

RUBIO: No, it’s your record.

CRUZL But I will say —

CAVUTO: Do you think they like each other?

CRUZ: — at least half of the things Marco said are flat-out false. They’re absolutely false.

AUDIENCE: Boo.

CRUZ: So let’s start — let’s start with immigration. Let’s start with immigration and have a little bit of clarity. Marco stood with Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama on amnesty. I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King. Marco stood today, standing on this stage Marco supports legalization and citizenship for 12 million illegals. I opposed and oppose legalization and citizenship.

And by the way, the attack he keeps throwing out on the military budget, Marco knows full well I voted for his amendment to increase military spending to $697 billion. What he said, and he said it in the last <debate>, it’s simply not true. And as president, I will rebuild the military and keep this country safe.

CAVUTO: All right, gentlemen, we’ve got to stop. I know you are very passionate about that.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bush, fears have gripped this country obviously, and you touched on it earlier since the San Bernardino attacks. Since our last <debate>, the national conversation has changed, according to Facebook data as well.

Now this first graphic shows the issues that were most talked about right before those attacks and now after: the issues of Islam, homeland security and ISIS now loom very large. The FBI says Islamic radicals are using social media to communicate and that it needs better access to communication. Now the CEO of Apple, Governor, Tim Cook said unless served with a warrant private communication is private, period. Do you agree, or would you try to convince him otherwise?

BUSH: I would try to convince him otherwise, but this last back and forth between two senators — back bench senators, you know, explains why we have the mess in Washington, D.C. We need a president that will fix our immigration laws and stick with it, not bend with the wind.

The simple fact is one of the ways, Maria, to solve the problem you described is narrow the number of people coming by family petitioning to what every other country has so that we have the best and the brightest that come to our country. We need to control the border, we need to do all of this in a comprehensive way, not just going back and forth and talking about stuff —

CAVUTO: Would you answer this question?

BUSH: Oh, I’ll talk about that, too. But you haven’t asked me a question in a while, Neil, so I thought I’d get that off my chest if you don’t mind.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Fair enough. So Tim Cook — so Tim Cook says he’s going to keep it private.

BUSH: I got that. And the problem today is there’s no confidence in Washington, D.C. There needs to be more than one meeting, there needs to complete dialogue with the large technology companies. They understand that there’s a national security risk. We ought to give them a little bit of a liability release so that they share data amongst themselves and share data with the federal government, they’re not fearful of a lawsuit.

We need to make sure that we keep the country safe. This is the first priority. The cybersecurity challenges that we face, this administration failed us completely, completely. Not just the hacking of OPM, but that is — that is just shameful. 23 million files in the hands of the Chinese? So it’s not just the government — the private sector companies, it’s also our own government that needs to raise the level of our game.

We should put the NSA in charge of the civilian side of this as well. That expertise needs to spread all across the government and there needs to be much more cooperation with our private sector.

CAVUTO: But if Tim cook is telling you no, Mr. President.

BUSH: You’ve got to keep asking. You’ve got to keep asking because this is a hugely important issue. If you can encrypt messages, ISIS can, over these platforms, and we have no ability to have a cooperative relationship —

CAVUTO: Do you ask or do you order?

BUSH: Well, if the law would change, yeah. But I think there has to be recognition that if we — if we are too punitive, then you’ll go to other — other technology companies outside the United States. And what we want to do is to control this.

We also want to dominate this from a commercial side. So there’s a lot of balanced interests. But the president leads in this regard. That’s what we need. We need leadership, someone who has a backbone and sticks with things, rather than just talks about them as though anything matters when you’re talking about amendments that don’t even actually are part of a bill that ever passed.

CAVUTO: Governor, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: When we come right back, closing statements. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Candidates, it is time for your closing statements. You get 60 seconds each.

Governor John Kasich, we begin with you.

KASICH: You know, in our country, there are a lot of people who feel as though they just don’t have the power. You know, they feel like if they don’t have a lobbyist, if they’re not wealthy, that somehow they don’t get to play.

But all of my career, you know, having been raised in — by a mailman father whose father was a coal miner, who died of black lung and was losing his eyesight; or a mother whose mother could barely speak English. You see, all of my career, I’ve fought about giving voice to the people that I grew up with and voice to the people that elected me.

Whether it’s welfare reform and getting something back for the hard-earned taxpayers; whether it’s engaging in Pentagon reform and taking on the big contractors that were charging thousands of dollars for hammers and screw drivers and ripping us off; or whether it’s taking on the special interests in the nursing home industry in Ohio, so that mom and dad can have the ability to stay in their own home, rather than being forced into a nursing home.

KASICH: Look, that’s who I stand up for. That’s who’s in my mind

(BELL RINGS)

And if you really want to believe that you can get your voice back, I will tell you, as I have all my career, I will continue to fight for you, because you’re the ones that built this country, and will carry it into the future. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Bush?

BUSH: Who can you count on to keep us safer, stronger and freer? Results count, and as governor, I pushed Florida up to the top in terms of jobs, income and small business growth.

Detailed plans count, and I believe that the plan I’ve laid out to destroy ISIS before the tragedies of San Bernardino and Paris are the right ones.

Credibility counts. There’ll be people here that will talk about what they’re going to do. I’ve done it. I ask for your support to build, together, a safer and stronger America.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Governor Chris Christie?

CHRISTIE: Maria, Neil, thank you for a great <debate> tonight.

When I think about the folks who are out there at home tonight watching, and I think about what they had to watch this week — the spectacle they had to watch on the floor of the House of Representatives, with the president of the United States, who talked a fantasy land about the way they’re feeling.

They know that this country is not respected around the world anymore. They know that this country is pushing the middle class, the hardworking taxpayers, backwards, and they saw a president who doesn’t understand their pain, and doesn’t have any plan for getting away from it.

I love this country. It’s the most exceptional country the world has ever known. We need someone to fight for the people. We need a fighter for this country again.

I’ve lived my whole life fighting — fighting for things that I believe in, fighting for justice and to protect people from crime and terrorism, fighting to stand up for folks who have not had enough and need an opportunity to get more, and to stand up and fight against the special interests.

But here’s the best way that we’re going to make America much more exceptional: it is to make sure we put someone on that stage in September who will fight Hillary Clinton and make sure she never, ever gets in the White House again.

I am the man who can bring us together to do that, and I ask for your vote.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Dr. Ben Carson?

CARSON: You know, in recent travels around this country, I’ve encountered so many Americans who are discouraged and angry as they watch our freedom, our security and the American dream slipping away under an unresponsive government that is populated by bureaucrats and special interest groups.

We’re not going to solve this problem with traditional politics. The only way we’re going to solve this problem is with we, the people. And I ask you to join me in truth and honesty and integrity. Bencarson.com — we will heal, inspire and revive America for our children.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Senator Marco Rubio?

RUBIO: You know, 200 years ago, America was founded on this powerful principle that our rights don’t come from government. Our rights come from God.

That’s why we embraced free enterprise, and it made us the most prosperous people in the history of the world. That’s why we embraced individual liberty, and we became the freest people ever, and the result was the American miracle.

But now as I travel the country, people say what I feel. This country is changing. It feels different. We feel like we’re being left behind and left out.

And the reason is simple: because in 2008, we elected as president someone who wasn’t interested in fixing America. We elected someone as president who wants to change America, who wants to make it more like the rest of the world.

And so he undermines the Constitution, and he undermines free enterprise by expanding government, and he betrays our allies and cuts deals with our enemies and guts our military. And that’s why 2016 is a turning point in our history. If we elect Hillary Clinton, the next four years will be worse than the last eight, and our children will be the first Americans ever to inherit a diminished country.

But if we elect the right person — if you elect me — we will turn this country around, we will reclaim the American dream and this nation will be stronger and greater than it has ever been.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Senator Ted Cruz?

CRUZ: “13 Hours” — tomorrow morning, a new movie will debut about the incredible bravery of the men fighting for their lives in Benghazi and the politicians that abandoned them. I want to speak to all our fighting men and women.

I want to speak to all the moms and dads whose sons and daughters are fighting for this country, and the incredible sense of betrayal when you have a commander-in-chief who will not even speak the name of our enemy, radical Islamic terrorism, when you have a commander-in- chief who sends $150 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, who’s responsible for murdering hundreds of our servicemen and women.

I want to speak to all of those maddened by political correctness, where Hillary Clinton apologizes for saying all lives matter. This will end. It will end on January 2017.

And if I am elected president, to every soldier and sailor and airman and marine, and to every police officer and firefighter and first responder who risk their lives to keep us safe, I will have your back.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Mr. Donald Trump?

TRUMP: I stood yesterday with 75 construction workers. They’re tough, they’re strong, they’re great people. Half of them had tears pouring down their face. They were watching the humiliation of our young ten sailors, sitting on the floor with their knees in a begging position, their hands up.

And Iranian wise guys having guns to their heads. It was a terrible sight. A terrible sight. And the only reason we got them back is because we owed them with a stupid deal, $150 billion. If I’m president, there won’t be stupid deals anymore.

We will make America great again. We will win on everything we do. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Candidates, thank you.

CAVUTO: Gentlemen, thank you all. All of you. That wraps up our <debate. We went a little bit over here. But we wanted to make sure everyone was able to say their due. He’s upset. All right. Thank you for joining us. Much more to come in the Spin Room ahead.

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Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 January 14, 2016: Fox Business Network sixth undercard Republican debate transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Fox Business undercard Republican debate transcript

Source: WaPo, 1-14-16

Hosted by Fox Business Network in North Charleston, South Carolina

Participants: CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Moderators: Trish Regan and Sandra Smith

TRISH REGAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: In Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, the president said that our economy is strong. He cited the significant decline we’ve seen in unemployment rate and the millions of jobs that have been created.

What is your assessment of the economy right now? And I would like to hear from all of you on this one, beginning with Ms. Fiorina.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you. Good evening. If I may begin by saying how honored I am to be standing here with two former Iowa Caucus winners.

Governor, Senator.

And how honored I am to be talking with all of you. You know, I’m not a political insider. I haven’t spent my lifetime running for office. The truth is I have had and been blessed by a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things in my life.

And unlike another woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: I’m standing here because I think we have to restore a citizen government in this country. I think we have to end crony capitalism. The crony capitalism that starts with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

You know, Hillary Clinton sits inside government and rakes in millions, handing out access and favors. And Donald Trump sits outside government and rakes in billions buying people like Hillary Clinton.

The state of our economy is not strong. We have record numbers of men out of work. We have record numbers of women living in poverty. We have young people who no longer believe that the American dream applies to them.

We have working families whose wages have stagnated for decades, all while the rich get richer, the powerful get more powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected get more connected.

Citizens, it’s time to take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

SANDRA SMITH, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: Governor Huckabee, same question to you. Where do you see the country right now?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wish I saw the country in the same place that the president presented it to be the other night in the State of the Union. He talked about how great the economy was doing. And I guess for the people he hangs out with, it’s probably doing great.

But the president should’ve stood in the line at the layaway counter at Walmart just before Christmas. He would have heard a very different story about the economy of America.

HUCKABEE: I wish I could introduce him the lady who cleans the building where our campaign headquarters is located in Little Rock. Her name is Kathleen (ph). She works all day at a local hospital cleaning, and then she goes to the building where a bank, and our headquarters, and other offices are she spends another seven hours. She works 15 hours a day.

I guarantee you she’s not working 15 hours a day because she loves scrubbing toilets, and sweeping floors. She’s working that many hours because that’s what it takes for her to make it work.

And, she’s not alone. There are people all over this country who are working like that. Many of them working two jobs — and they used to have one job, and that would take care of them. But, because of wage stagnation, which we’ve had for 40 years, because the fact that they’re punished for working harder if they work that many hours. The government gets more of their second shift than they do.

And, as a result there are a lot of people who are hurting today. I wish the President knew more of them. He might make a change in the economy and the way he’s managing it.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you Governor Huckabee. Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Well, all he has to do is listen to the Democratic debate and find out how bad the economy is. All they do is complain about the hollowing out of the middle of America, and how America is struggling so badly, and have to make these radical changes in Washington.

But they’ve been in control for the last seven years, and what have we seen? The most important jobs, I believe, in this country are the ones that fill the middle. For the 74% of Americans who don’t have a college degree between the age of 25 and 65 are manufacturing jobs. Your governor, and your legislature, and your team here have done an amazing job of bringing manufacturing jobs back to South Carolina.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

SANTORUM: Right here. Right here in Charleston, right down in the street in Boeing (ph). You’ve done a great job, and what’s happened? You’ve grown this economy, you’ve strengthened the center of your state, the middle. That’s because you know that if you’re really going to create wealth and opportunity, you got to get jobs, and good paying jobs for everybody.

And, so what’s happened? Two million jobs, manufacturing jobs, have left this country because of Barack Obama. Regulations, EPA, workplace regulations, things driving people off-shore all because of his number one priority, global climate change.

Well, let me tell you this, Mr. President. For every dollar of GDP, China creates five times as much pollution as we do here. You want to — lower global climate change, bring those jobs back to America and let American workers do that job with less pollution.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Senator Santorum. Thank you, candidates.

Moving to the world stage. The middle east is on the brink of chaos. Iran continues to provoke the United States, North Korea claims it’s tested a hydrogen bomb, and Afghanistan is in danger of falling back into Taliban hands. Critics of the administration say it’s all due to lack of U.S. leadership.

To you, Mrs. Fiorina, how do you see America’s role in the world today?

FIORINA: America must lead because when we do not lead, when this exceptional nation does not lead, the world is more dangerous and a more tragic place.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, they all refuse to lead. Worse, they refuse to respond when this nation is provoked. Hillary Clinton famously asked what difference does it make how four Americans died in Benghazi?

Mrs. Clinton, here’s what difference it makes. When you do not stand up and say the truth, that this was a purposeful terrorist attack, when you do not say the United States of America will retaliate for that attack, terrorists assume it’s open season.

We have refused to respond to every provocation. The President wouldn’t even mention the fact that Iran had taken two Navy boats and our sailors — hostage. He didn’t mention the fact that they violated the Geneva convention. He didn’t respond to the fact that Iran launched two ballistic missile just a short time ago, in direct violation of a deal they had just signed. We didn’t respond to the fact that North Korea attacked Sony Pictures.

When we refuse to respond over, and over to provocation and bad behavior, we will get more provocation and bad behavior. I know most of our allies personally. I have met many of our adversaries. I know our military and our intelligence capability, and I know this. When we will not stand with our allies, when we will not respond to our adversaries, when we do not lead in the world the world is a dangerous and tragic place. I will be a Commander in Chief who will lead.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Well, since we’ve been talking about the Middle East, Senator Santorum, conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran have certainly escalated, amid accusations that Saudi Arabia bombed the Iranian Embassy in Yemen after the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was attacked.

As we confront an increasingly unstable Middle East, how will you, as president, navigate this administration’s promises to Iran while standing by our historic allies in the region?

RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FORMER SENATOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the historic promises that we have made to — to Iran in this agreement need to be torn up on the first day in office of the next president.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And let me tell you why, because Iran has already torn it up. Iran has not approved the agreement that President Obama has said that they have approved. They have approved a different agreement in their parliament.

The fact of the matter is they have violated this agreement. Carly just mentioned some of those violations.

They have launched ballistic missiles, tested them, in clear violation.

And here’s the pathetic part. The president announced that they were going to impose sanctions. And then President Rouhani went on Twitter and said there would be retaliation.

And what did we do?

We backed down.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are 50 some Citadel cadets in this audience tonight.

(APPLAUSE) SANTORUM: I would ask them to stand up if they will. And here’s what I want to tell each and every one of them, as you stand. Here’s what I want to tell them.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Whether it’s you’re watching that movie this weekend that just came out when we abandoned our men and women in Benghazi, or whether it’s we treat Iran, that gave courtesies to our sailors, as they made them record a hostage video, let me tell you this, if you choose to serve this country, I will have your back. I will not let America be trampled upon anymore by these radical jihadists.

REGAN: Thank you, Senator Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Governor Huckabee, in Afghanistan, the Taliban is strengthening. Attacks are on the rise and thousands more civilians have been wounded or killed. Much of the Taliban surge can be attributed to the withdrawal of U.S. forces there.

You have expressed skepticism with the war there, saying you see no end game in sight.

What, then, is your solution to the growing conflict there?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AK), FORMER GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me put that in context. When I went to Afghanistan, I saw a land that looked like the land of the Flintstones. It was desolate. It was barren. It was primitive.

And it’s been that way for thousands of years. They want to take the world back to be just like that.

We don’t.

We need to make a clear goal as to why we want to be anywhere in the Middle East, and I’ll tell you why we want to be and need to be, is to destroy radical Islam and everything that threatens civilization. It’s not just a threat…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: — to Israel or to America, it’s a threat to every civilized person on this Earth. And we need to be equipping not only the Kurds in Iraq, we need to be making sure that those who are willing to fight radical Muslims will do it, but we need to never ever spend a drop of American blood unless there is a clearly defined goal and we can’t make sure we win unless we have a military that’s the strongest in the history of mankind.

We’ve got to rebuild our navy. It’s the smallest navy we’ve had since 1915, when my grandfather got on a destroyer in World War I when he was in the U.S. Navy. We’ve got young men in Air Force B-52s, one in particular, he’s flying a B-52 that his father flew in the ’80s and his grandfather flew in the ’50s. Those planes are older than me.

We’ve got to have a military that the world is afraid of, use it sparingly, but when we do, the whole world will know that America is on their tail and they will be on their tail on the ground, never ever to rise up again.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, if I could just follow-up with that.

Do we need to be in Afghanistan?

HUCKABEE: Only if there is a concerted effort to destroy the advance of radical Islamists who are against us. As far as what are we going to make it look like. Frankly, I don’t know what we can make it look like. You can’t create for other people a desire for freedom and democracy.

And frankly, that is not the role of the United States. The role of the United States military is not to build schools, it is not to build bridges, it is not to go around and pass out food packets.

It is to kill and destroy our enemy and make America safe and that is the purpose we should be there if we’re going to be there.

REGAN: Thank you Governor Huckabee.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, nearly 600 women say they were attacked in a German city on New Year’s Eve by men of Arab or North African descent and 45 percent of those alleged attacks were sexual assaults. Twenty-two of those 32 men arrested so far are asylum-seekers. Are you worried about similar problems in the United States?

FIORINA: Of course I’m worried about similar problems in the United States. We can not allow refugees to enter this country unless we can adequately vet them and we know we can’t. Therefore we should stop allowing refugees into this country.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: And by the way, we do not need to be lectured about why we’re angry and frustrated and fearful because we’ve had an illegal immigration problem in this country for 25 years.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: And we have every right to be frustrated about the fact that politicians stand up in election after election after election and promise us to fix the problem and yet, it has never been fixed.

I offer leadership that understands that actions speak louder than words, that results count. We must secure our border. We must fix our broken immigration system. We must enforce a pro-American immigration system that serves our interests, not the rest of the world. I understand what it takes to translate goals into results and that is what I will do as president of the United States. Of course, we should be worried, for heavens sakes.

This administration has now told us they don’t know who has overstayed a visa. This administration has told us they don’t even bother to check Facebook or Twitter to find out who’s pledging allegiance to jihadis. We can do better than this, citizens. We need to take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: I want to stay with you on this. The world shares a common enemy right now in the way of ISIS. Russia, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, we all agree ISIS is a threat and it must be stopped.

During World War II, the world partnered with Joseph Stalin, who was arguably one of the most formidable — despicable figures of the 20th century. But they partnered with him to fight the Nazis.

Today, everyone seems to agree we need some kind of coalition to fight ISIS. Do you agree with that? And if so, would your coalition include possibly, Russia and Iran?

FIORINA: We need to be very clear-eyed now about who are our allies and who are our adversaries. In the fight against ISIS, Saudi Arabia is our ally. Iran is our adversary. And despite Donald trump’s bromance with Vladmir Putin, Vladmir Putin and Russia are our adversary. We can not…

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: We can not outsource leadership in the Middle East to Iran and Russia. We must stand and lead. The Kuwaitis, the Jordanians, the Saudis, Egyptians, Bahrainis (sic), the Emirates, the Kurds. I know virtually all of these nations and their leaders. And they have asked us for very specific kinds of support: bombs, material, arms, intelligence.

We are not providing any of it today. I will provide all of it. We have allies who will stand up and help us deny ISIS territory, which is what we must do to defeat them. We must deny them territory. They will help us do this. And yes, we need a coalition.

But only in the United States of America can lead such a coalition. I will lead it. But we must be clear-eyed through this fight. Iran is our adversary. Russia is our adversary. We can never outsource our leadership. Only the United States of America can lead to defeat ISIS. I will.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, thank you.

SMITH: All right, thank you, candidates. We’re just getting started. Jobs, Homeland Security, gun rights, all those issues are coming up straight ahead. We’re live from North Charleston and the Republican Presidential Debate. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Welcome back, everyone, to the Republican presidential debate. On to the next round of questions — Sandra.

SMITH: All right, let’s get started. Senator Santorum, to you first. President Obama has urged technology leaders to make it hard for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice. Hillary Clinton says social media companies can help by swiftly shutting down terrorist accounts.

The companies say that they’re already working with law enforcement and any proposed legislation would do more harm than good. Should companies like Facebook and Twitter be required by law to more actively — be more actively engaged in fighting terror?

SANTORUM: I would just say that if we were doing a better job within the government, we wouldn’t need the private sector to do the things that we’re asking them to do.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: I’ve had a little experience in this in the private sector myself. And what I found was a government with layers and layers of bureaucracy, of people who had some technical expertise but they had no authority, number one.

And one of the things I found out about in the bureaucracy is if a lot of people have authority, nobody has authority, number one. And number two, that if you don’t do anything, you don’t get fired.

It’s only when you do something and something goes wrong, you get fired. So they do nothing. And that’s what is happening in our Defense Department right now. We have a capability that they’re trying to develop to play defense.

We have a lot of technologists that are very skilled. And they’re trying to figure out how to play defense. But what we don’t have is we don’t have folks who are thinking about offense.

We don’t have war-fighters. We have technologists. Technologists are not war-fighters. Technologists are thinking, how do I protect cyber-security, how do I secure, how do I protect?

SANTORUM: And we need to have a much more dynamic, how do we — how do we go after them?

How do we respond?

And we need leadership that’s willing to make sure that when someone attacks us — and ladies and gentlemen, they’re attacking us as we speak. They’re attacking us all day every day, not just the government, but they’re attacking private sector companies all day every day.

They have to learn that we’re going to pay — they’re going to pay a price when they do so.

And then right now, just like in every other aspect of our national security, people who attack us are not paying a price. We need a leader who will make sure that they know when they mess with America, they’re going to pay a price.

SMITH: Senator, would you — would you require anything of those companies like Facebook and Twitter if you were president?

SANTORUM: Look, Facebook and Twitter can teach us things. We can cooperate with them. We can share ideas and information. But this is a — and this is a very dicey area for the government to go in and require the industry to do its job.

It needs to develop that capability. We need to be — have responsible dialogue, but I don’t think requirements are the order of the day.

SMITH: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, the president has just issued an executive order to expand the gun laws and background checks. And none of you on stage agree with this.

But recent polls show the majority of Americans are in favor of universal background checks.

(BOOS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in this room.

REGAN: It’s the poll data.

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: And we all believe the polling data all the time, don’t we?

REGAN: So tell me…

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: — why, in your view, is the president’s proposal a problem?

FIORINA: Oh, it’s a problem for so many reasons.

First of all, it is yet another lawless executive order. You see, he doesn’t like the fact that Congress has rejected his ideas twice on a bipartisan basis, so he’s decided he just gets to override them.

Sorry, Mr. President, not the way “The Constitution” works.

Secondly…

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: — secondly, he basically admitted in that speech that he hasn’t been paying much attention to enforcing the laws we have. He said, gee, we need a few more FBI agents. That would have helped, perhaps, stop a tragedy here in South Carolina with Dylann Roof, a guy who clearly never should have been sold a gun.

In other words, Mr. President, you’re right, we need to enforce the laws we have. Let’s enforce the laws we have. There are criminals running around with guns who shouldn’t have them. We don’t prosecute any of them. Less than 1 percent.

But I want to go back to the technology issue for a moment, if I may, as well, because in this regard, I disagree with Senator Santorum. Look, I come from the technology industry and I can tell you there is one thing that bureaucracies don’t know how to do. They do not know how to innovate.

We have come seven generations of technology since 2011. We have bureaucracies that are incapable of bringing in that innovation.

So, yes, there are some very specific things that we should ask the private sector to help us with, including making sure we have the latest and greatest in algorithms to search through all these databases so that we find terrorists before they attack us, not after it’s too late.

And, finally, when a president who understands technology in the Oval Office. Mrs. Clinton, actually, you cannot wipe a server with a towel.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, you’ve said that was when you were CEO of HP, you actually worked with the government.

FIORINA: Yes, and see…

REGAN: — to try and combat some of these terrorist threats.

FIORINA: As CEO of Hewlett Packard…

REGAN: What did you do?

FIORINA: As CEO of Hewlett Packard, I was asked very specifically for some very real help. The help I was asked to provide, this is now public information. So I am not revealing what — something that was — was classified.

We had a very large shipment of equipment, software and hardware, headed to a retail outlet. And I was called by the head of the NSA, who had an urgent need for that capability, to begin laying out a program to track terrorists.

We turned that truck around on a highway and it was escorted to the headquarters in San Jose.

In World War II, our government went to the private sector and said, help us do things that we cannot do.

The private sector has capabilities that the government does not have. There are some legal authorities that are required.

The Sony attack could have been detected and repelled, had legal authorities been passed in Congress allowing private networks and public networks to work together.

Those legal authorities have not yet been passed.

Yes, I was asked to help.

(RINGS BELL)

FIORINA: I know the technology industry. They will help again. But they must be asked by a president who understands what they have.

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: All right, Governor Huckabee, you called President Obama’s executive orders on gun control unconstitutional and completely insane.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: (LAUGHING) Yes, I did.

SMITH: You even told gun store owners to ignore the President’s orders.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Yet, innocent people are dying from gun violence in cities like Detroit, Chicago, and Charleston everyday. Is there anything that can be done at the federal level to prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals?

HUCKABEE: Well, why don’t we start by making sure the Justice Department never does an idiotic program like Fast and Furious where the U.S. Government put guns…

(CHEERING)

HUCKABEE: …in the hands of Mexican drug lords…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …and end up killing one of our border agents. You know, they want to talk about law abiding citizens, I just find it amazing the President keeps saying the gun show loophole. There is no gun show loophole. I promise you I’ve been to more gun shows than President Obama.

SMITH: (LAUGHING)

HUCKABEE: And, I’ve bought more weapons at them, and you fill out forms. The President also says things that it’s easier to get a gun now than it is to grow trees. Again, I purchase guns, and I can assure you that it is much more difficult to purchase a firearm than it is to get the ingredients of a salad at the supermarket.

What the President keeps pushing are ideas that have never worked. Ideas that would not have stopped San Bernadino, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and at some point you wonder if you keep retrying things that don’t work, maybe we should just see if we could resell all those used lottery tickets that didn’t work real well because that’s the logic of just keep doing the same thing, but something that has failed. Of course, we want to stop gun violence, but the one common thing that has happened in most mass shootings is that they happened in gun- free zones where people who would have been law abiding citizens, who could have stood up and at least tried to stop it and we’re not allowed to under the law.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, an American in San Bernardino murdered 14 people while terrorists with Belgian and French passports murdered 130 people. Were facing a threat within our borders, and from outside the United States. Those European terrorists, they could have come here at any time given that we have a visa waiver program that enables people to travel back and forth. It exists within those countries, and 36 others.

In countries around the world, including many in Europe, cannot ensure that their citizens are not jihadists, why are we waiving the visa requirement at all?

HUCKABEE: Well, we shouldn’t be and that’s one of the reasons that I think there a lot of voices in our country who are saying it’s time to relook (ph) at the visa program. The European Union is a failure, it’s not allowed for even the economic goals that they were trying to achieve.

But, what we’re not seeing is that it’s making Europe less safe, and it’s proven not to be exactly what they all thought it was going to be.

Our first and foremost responsibility in this country, and the first responsibility of the President of the United States is protect America, and protect Americans. We have a President who seems to be more interested in protecting the reputation and image of Islam than he is protecting us. And, I want to be very clear…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …that this President.

(CHEERING)

HUCKABEE: Makes comments like he did the other night, that we have to be so careful because we don’t want to offend Muslims. He needs to read his own FBI crime stats from last year which would show him that of the hate crimes in the country, over 5,500, about 1,100 were religious hate crimes. And, of those, 58% were directed toward Jews. Only 16% directed toward Muslims.

Maybe what the President should have talked about the other night is how we ought to be more careful in the anti-semitic comments that are going toward American Jews than toward Muslims because by three times as many…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …they’re being targeted for religious hate crime.

REGAN: If you get the visa waiver program, does that shut down international commerce?

HUCKABEE: It does not shut down international commerce, but it may slow it down. And, you don’t want to slowdown commerce that is making us safer. It’s worth it. This lady who came and joined with the San Bernardino killer had passed three background checks, and that’s why a lot of Americans didn’t buy it when the President said we’ll bring in Syrian refugees, but don’t worry we’ll check them out.

We have a lot of confidence in a president who told us that we could keep our doctor, we could keep our health insurance, and cost us less, and now the latest is if you like your gun you can keep it too, and frankly, we don’t buy it. We don’t believe it. He’s lost his credibility, and his inept…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …inability to work with Congress and pass legislation has led him to do what I never even imagined doing as a governor, and that’s just going and doing it my own way.

HUCKABEE: That’s why we elect a president, is to lead, is to be able to shepherd things through. And if I can do it with a 90 percent Democrat legislature in Arkansas, there is no excuse for any president not being able to lead in Washington if he knows what the heck he is doing when he gets there.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

SMITH: Senator Santorum, many of our military leaders believe America’s critical infrastructure is vulnerable to a terrorist attack. This is the power in our homes, the water we drink, the Internet and phone systems by which we stay connected.

If attacked, these essential services that underpin American society could come to a grinding halt. Do you have a specific plan to protect us from this type of attack?

SANTORUM: Well, the most devastating attack that could occur is an electromagnetic pulse attack, and that would be an attack that would be triggered by a nuclear explosion in the upper atmosphere of our country.

The best way to stop that from happening is to make sure that those who contemplating and actually war-gaming and talking about using it, Iran, doesn’t get a nuclear weapon so they can’t explode that device.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And the president of the United States has put Iran on a path to a nuclear weapon. And we have done nothing to do anything to harden our grid. There is actually a bill in Congress that would put money forward to try to put redundancy and harden our electric grid so it could actually survive an EMP.

An EMP is a devastating explosion that sends a pulse that knocks out all electric, everything, everything that is connected to any kind — that is wired, that has a circuit board gets fried out. Everything is gone. Cars stop. Planes fall out of the sky.

This is a devastating attack. And this president has done nothing, number one, to take the most probable person to — probable country to launch an attack and stop them, and has done nothing to try to defend us, particularly our electric grid. The bottom line is, I put the original sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program when I was in the United States Senate. I’ve been fighting for 12 years with one thing in mind, that we must stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And…

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Because they’re different than every other country. They do not want a nuclear weapon to defend themselves. They want a nuclear weapon to have theological ends to bring about their mahdi so they can control the world. And that is the most serious threat facing this country right now.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Senator Santorum, I want to stay with you on this, moving to jobs and the economy. In his State of the Union Address the other night, President Obama touted his record on jobs, citing more than 14 million new jobs and boasted of nearly 900,000 manufacturing jobs added in the past six years.

Do you dispute his track record of creating jobs?

SANTORUM: Well, the numbers just don’t add up. I mean, they have not added manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing jobs have been lost in this country, 2 million of them. The bottom line is that this president has done more to take jobs away from the hard-working people who are struggling the most.

And that’s folks who are, as I said, the 74 percent of Americans who don’t have a college degree. And they’re out there talking about, well, we’re going to provide free college for everybody. Well, who is going to pay for it? The 74 percent that don’t have a college degree.

They’re not — nobody is focused. Let’s just be honest, nobody is focused on the people who are struggling the most in America today. We talk about immigration. Talk about the president’s immigration plan. He wants to bring in more and more people into this country. Let people who are here illegally stay in this country.

Almost all of the people who are here illegally, and most of the people who came here legally over the last 20 years, they’re working in wage-earning jobs. That is why wages have flat-lined.

And we have unfortunately two political parties with most of the candidates in this field for some form of amnesty, some form of allowing people to stay here even though they’re here illegally and for increasing levels of legal immigration.

I’m someone who believes that we need to be the party that stands for the American worker. And when we say we need to send people back, I mean we send people back.

And let me just make one point. I was in Storm Lake, Iowa, the other day, near a Tyson’s plant, 91 percent of the kids that go to the elementary school there are minority kids. And they said, well, what are you going to do with all of these people, their families, they’ve lived here for a long time?

I said, I’m going to give them a gift. I’m going to give them a gift of being able to help the country they were born in.

SANTORUM: And I’m going to export America, the education they were able to see. They learned English language. They learned about capitalism. They learned about democracy. You want to stop flow of immigrants?

Let’s send six million Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, El Savadorians…

(BELL RINGS)

… back into their country, so they can start a renaissance in their country so they won’t be coming over here anymore.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Senator Santorum, thank you.

SMITH: Governor Huckabee, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, has said the greatest threat to our security is our national debt.

Our national debt is now on pace to top $19 trillion. Yet, you as well as Ms. Fiorina have laid forward no plan to reform entitlements. How can you say you’re going to pay down our country’s debt without cutting Social Security or Medicare?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, let’s just remember that Social Security is not the government’s money, it belongs to the people who had it taken out of their checks involuntarily their entire working lives.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: For the government to say, well it is fault of working people that we have a Social Security problem, no. It is the fault of a government that used those people’s money for something other than protecting those people’s accounts. So let’s not blame them and punish them.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: But here is a fact, and I sometimes hear Republicans say well, we’re going to have to cut this and extend the age. You know what I think a lot of times when I hear people say, well, let’s make people work to their 70. That sounds great for white-collar people who sat at a desk most of their lives. You ever talk to somebody that stood on concrete floor for the first 40 years of their working life? Do you think they can stand another five years or 10 years, many of them will retired virtually crippled because they worked hard. And we’re going to punish them some more? I don’t think so. Here’s the fact.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCAKBEE: Four percent economic growth, we fully fund Social Security and Medicare. Our problem is not that Social Security is just too generous to seniors. It isn’t. Our problem is that our politicians have not created the kind of policies that would bring economic growth.

And I still support strongly that we get rid of the 77,000 pages of the monstrous tax code…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: … pass the fair tax, supercharge this economy with the rocket fuel that happens with the consumption tax and we don’t have to cut Social Security to any senior who has worked their lifetime for it.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

SMITH: OK. We’re going to continue this conversation. We’re taking a quick break and then coming up, the candidates’ plans for strengthening the middle class. We’re live in North Charleston with the Republican Presidential Debate. We’ll be right back.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

REGAN: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate live from North Charleston.

We want to jump right back in.

Sandra is kicking it off.

SMITH: All right, thanks, Trish.

Well, let’s get started with Ms. Fiorina.

Today, the middle class represents about 50 percent of the U.S. population, down from about 61 percent back in 1971. That’s according to Pew Research. The same research revealed a widening income gap in America. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

What will you do to strengthen a middle class that is no longer the majority?

FIORINA: For decades, the professional political class in both parties has been talking about the middle class. For decades, Republicans in particular have been talking about reducing the size and scope of government, spending less money, reducing the complexity.

And yet, for 40 years, the government has gotten bigger and more expensive.

We now have a 75,000 plus page tax code, although politicians have run for office for decades promising reform. And all the while, middle class incomes have stagnated.

You see, when government gets bigger and bigger, more powerful, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class gets squeezed.

We need to understand who the job creators are in this country, because we need more jobs to grow the middle class and to grow the wages of the middle class.

Who creates jobs?

Small businesses, new businesses, family-owned businesses. (APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: They create two thirds of the new jobs in this country and they employ half the people.

I started out typing for a nine person real estate firm. My husband Frank started out driving a tow truck for a family-owned auto body shop. And we are crushing small businesses and destroying the middle class.

So here’s my blueprint to take back America. Let us first actually reform the tax code from 73,000 pages down to three. There’s a 20-year-old plan to do exactly that.

And then let us begin piece by piece to focus on every single dollar the government spends, so that we will spend less overall and still have enough for our priorities. And that requires the government to budget the way you do at home — examine every dollar, cut any dollar, move any dollar. The fancy term for that is zero- based budgeting, but I call it common sense.

Citizens, we’ve got to take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, you know it used to be you could graduate from high school and get a pretty good job at the local factory, enough to take care of your family and yourself. Those days seem to be gone. It’s pretty hard to do that nowadays.

Businesses are increasingly turning to automation to increase their productivity levels. It’s happening right here, in fact, at the Boeing factory in North Charleston.

The president says automation threatens workers’ ability to get higher wages.

Do you agree with that?

And if so, do you have a solution?

HUCKABEE: Let me go back to the reason so many people are having a hard time getting ahead. The tax system punishes them.

Think about this. If you work really hard and you start moving up the economic ladder, you get bumped into a different tax bracket. So the government thinks it deserves more of your hard work than you do.

And it’s one of the reasons that no matter how many different reforms you have to a tax on people’s productivity, you’re still taxing their work, their savings. You’re taxing their capital gains, inheritance, dividends, you’re taxing everything that produces something.

And it’s way I really believe it’s time to do something bold, not something minute. This is no time for a tap of the hammer, a twist of the screwdriver. It’s time for something big. That’s why the fair tax transforms our economy.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And we don’t punish workers. It’s the only way we’re going to get middle class people moving ahead again, because the harder they work, the more they keep. No payroll tax deducted from their checks. They get their entire paycheck.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And, one of the most important parts, it’s built on the common sense with which we raised our kids, and trained dogs. You reward behavior you want more of. And, you punish behavior you want less of. That’s how I raise kids, it’s how I trained our dogs, and folks, it’s not that difficult.

We now punish the behavior we say we want more of by taxing it, and we reward the behavior that we say we want less of, so if you make a good investment, we punish you with a tax. If you make a bad investment you can write that off and the rest of the taxpayers will help subsidize you, and bail you out.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you very much, Governor Huckabee.

Senator Santorum, 40% of babies born today are born to single moms. That’s twice as high as reported back in 1980, and it’s 11 times as high as in 1940. Studies show that children are always better off economically, most often — and emotionally, with two parents in a household. From a policy perspective, should the government be doing anything to encourage family formation?

SANTORUM: You know, we’ve had this debate about the economy, and we haven’t talked the one issue now increasingly even the right, and even the are coming to agreement. I’ve run around doing 300 town hall meetings talking about a book written by a liberal Harvard sociologist, not a normal thing for me to be talking about, but I now name Robert Putnam who wrote a book called, “Our Kids”.

And, he wrote this book, I think, ostensibly to support the Democratic argument that the middle of America’s hollowing out, and income gap is widening, and rich are getting richer. When he studied all the information as to what was going on, he realized that the biggest reason that we’re seeing the hollowing out of the middle of America is the breakdown of the American family.

The reality is that if you’re a single parent — a child of a single parent, and you grew up in a single parent family neighborhood, you went to that single parent family school, the chance of you ever, ever reaching the top 20% of income earners is 3% in America. At least — I don’t know about you, but that’s not good enough. And, we have been too politically correct in this country because we don’t want to offend anybody to fight for the lives of our children. (APPLAUSE)

You want — You want to be shocked? You read the first few chapters of Mr. — Dr. Putnam’ book. He talks about Port Clinton, Ohio and growing up there in the 1950’s, and how poor kids actually survived and did well, even though they were poor and disadvantaged. But, then he goes to the towns today and these kids are failing, and failing miserably. They don’t even have a shot, and we won’t even have the courage to have leadership at the federal level — not with legislation, but the most powerful tool a president have, the bully pulpit to encourage each and everyone of you, churches and businesses, and educators, and community leaders to let’s have a national campaign to rebuild the American family, and give every child its birthright which is a Mom and a Dad who loves them.

That will change this economy.

(CHEERING & APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you.

SMITH: Thank you, Senator.

We’re not finished yet. More Republican Presidential Debate in North Charleston after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Welcome back, it’s time for the closing statements. Candidates will each get one minute, starting with Senator Santorum.

Thank you very much, I want to thank the people of Charleston, which has become a little bit of a second home to me, because I am very privileged to have two young men who go to the Citadel here and they’re here tonight, my son John and my son Daniel.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Ladies and gentlemen, America is frustrated and angry and looking for someone who’s a fighter, but I also think they’re looking for someone who’s a winner. Somebody who can go out there and take on the establishment and make a difference. And take on someone who’s going to be the person who’s going to be between a Republican holding the presidency and that’s Hillary Clinton.

And there’s one person on this stage, one person in the race who’s done it and done it repeatedly. I’ve taken on Hillary Clinton on the issues you care about. Partial-birth abortion.

Go and google Rick Santorum and Hillary Clinton and there you’ll see a five-minute debate. I’ll let you decide who won the debate. I’ll tell you who won, because we passed the bill and I know I’m out of time but I’m going to take some of Rand Paul’s time here for a second.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: If you’re looking for someone who fought Hillary Clinton on Iran’s sanctions, she was one of four who voted — who’s deciding vote who voted against Iran’s sanctions, so we didn’t get it in place as earlier as we should have.

I’ve fought battles against her. In 1994, I ran against the Clinton machine. James Carville and Paul Begala, ran the race against me when I took on the author of Hillary care.

And each one of those battles, I won. You want a fighter, you want a winner, I’d appreciate your vote. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Senator Santorum. Governor Mike Huckabee.

HUCAKBEE: Well, Rick, I’m pretty sure I did also fight the Clinton machine because every election I was ever in in Arkansas, I assure you, they were behind it, helping finance and campaign for every opponent.

And I share with you the understanding that it’s going to be a tough battle. But I spent the first half of my adult life in the private and nonprofit sector, raising a family, understanding how tough it is for people to make it.

And that first half of my life is what led me to believe that America needs a different kind of leadership, not people who spent their whole life running from one office to the next, and living off the government dime. And I got involved because I got sick of what I saw.

I also believe that there’s got to be some leadership that not only addresses the monetary and military issues of this country, but the moral issues of this country. At the end of every political speech, most of us say, God bless America.

But how can he do that when we continue to slaughter 4,000 babies a day?

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And I want to be the president that treats every person, including the unborn, as a person. And protect them under the 5th and 14th amendments of the constitution. I close with this word from a gentleman in East Texas named Butel Lucre (ph). He’s 100 years old and I met him down in East Texas.

HUCKABEE: And he said this to me. “I sure wish, Mike, we had the days when The Ten Commandments were in all of our capitals and in every school, and we prayed again.

You know, he may be 100 years old, but I believe some of those old ideas to get this country back where we unapologetically get on our knees before we get on our feet might be the best solutions we’ve ever sought as a country.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And I ask for your support and your vote.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Governor.

REGAN: Carly Fiorina?

FIORINA: My husband Frank, that I mentioned, I love spending time with. He’s down there. He was real excited the other day because in New Hampshire, he was introduced as my eye candy.

(LAUGHTER)

FIORINA: You know, everybody out there watching knows this. You cannot wait to see the debate between me and Hillary Clinton. You would pay to see that fight.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: And that’s because you know I will win. And that’s important. We’ve got to start by beating Hillary Clinton.

All of my life, I have been told to sit down and be quiet. Settle. Settle. Don’t challenge the system.

That’s what the American people are being told now and we have been told that for way too long — sit down and be quiet about our God, about our guns, about the abortion industry, settle for illegal immigration that’s been a problem for decades, as so many of our problems have festered for decades. Accept a system of government and politics that no longer works for us.

I will not sit down and be quiet. And neither will you.

So I ask you to stand with me, fight with me, vote for me, citizens. It is time to take our future back, time to take our politics back. It is time to take our government back. Citizens, it is time. We must take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you to all the candidates.

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: That does it, everyone for the first debate right here in North Charleston.

 

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 December 15, 2015: Fifth Republican Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Transcript: Fifth CNN Republican Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada

Source: Time, 12-15-15

Nine candidates for the Republican nomination faced off in Las Vegas Tuesday night for a primetime debate on CNN, moderated by Wolf Blitzer, CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, and Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

Here’s a complete transcript of the event, courtesy of CNN.

BLITZER: Welcome to the CNN-Facebook Republican presidential debate here at the Venetian Las Vegas.

We have a very enthusiastic audience. Everyone is here. They’re looking forward to a serious and spirited discussion about the security of this nation.

I’m Wolf Blitzer, your moderator tonight. This debate is airing on CNN networks here in the United States and around the world, and on the Salem Radio Network. The nine leading candidates, they are here. Let’s welcome them right now.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

(APPLAUSE)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

(APPLAUSE)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

(APPLAUSE)

Businessman and real estate developer Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

Retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

(APPLAUSE)

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

And Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome these Republican candidates for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

This is the final Republican debate before the election year begins, and we’re taking a moment for the photographs of the candidates together on the stage. Now, everyone, please rise for the national anthem sung by Ayla Brown.

(NATIONAL ANTHEM)

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: I know everyone is eager to get started. So, candidates, please take your places while I explain the ground rules for tonight.

As moderator, I’ll guide the discussion, and I’ll be joined in the questioning by Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt and CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash. We also asked Republicans and independents nationwide to share their questions for the candidates. We teamed up with Facebook to send a campaign camper across the country over the past several weeks.

Thousands of people stepped inside and recorded their questions on video. Millions more have weighed in on Facebook. Candidates, I’ll try to make sure each of you gets your fair share of questions. You’ll have a minute and 15 seconds to answer and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. I’ll give you time to respond if you’re singled out for criticism.

Our viewers should know that we have timing lights that are visible to the candidates to warn them when their time is up. And as the candidates requested, a bell will sound like this. We know you are all eager to jump in and debate these important issues, so, please, wait until you’re called on.

These nine Republicans are positioned on stage based on their ranking in the recent polls, so let’s begin right now. I’d like to invite each candidate to introduce himself or herself to our audience. You’ll have one minute.

First to you, Senator Paul.

PAUL: The question is, how do we keep America safe from terrorism? Trump says we ought to close that Internet thing. The question really is, what does he mean by that? Like they do in North Korea? Like they do in China?

Rubio says we should collect all Americans’ records all of the time. The Constitution says otherwise. I think they’re both wrong. I think we defeat terrorism by showing them that we do not fear them. I think if we ban certain religions, if we censor the Internet, I think that at that point the terrorists will have won. Regime change hasn’t won. Toppling secular dictators in the Middle East has only led to chaos and the rise of radical Islam. I think if we want to defeat terrorism, I think if we truly are sincere about defeating terrorism, we need to quit arming the allies of ISIS. If we want to defeat terrorism, the boots on the ground — the boots on the ground need to be Arab boots on the ground.

As commander-in-chief, I will do whatever it takes to defend America. But in defending America, we cannot lose what America stands for. Today is the Bill of Rights’ anniversary. I hope we will remember that and cherish that in the fight on terrorism.

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Thank you, Wolf. Just last weekend, just last week, a friend asked one of my daughters, “Do you like politics?” And my daughter said, “No, I don’t. And the reason I don’t like it is because there’s too much fighting, too much yelling. It’s so loud, I don’t like it.” You know, I turned to my friend and I said, “You know, she’s really on to something.”

And when we think about our country and the big issues that we face in this country; creating jobs, making sure people can keep their jobs, the need for rising wages, whether our children when they graduate from college can find a job, protecting the homeland, destroying ISIS, rebuilding defense. These are all the things that we need to focus on but we’ll never get there if we’re divided. We’ll never get there if republicans and democrats just fight with one another.

Frankly, we are republicans and they’re democrats but before all of that, we’re Americans. And I believe we need to unify in so many ways to rebuild our country, to strengthen our country, to rebuild our defense, and for America to secure it’s place it world; for us, for our children, and for the next generation.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: Thank you Wolf.

America has been betrayed. We’ve been betrayed by the leadership that Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have provided to this country over the last number of years. Think about just what’s happened today. The second largest school district in America in Los Angeles closed based on a threat. Think about the effect that, that’s going to have on those children when they go back to school tomorrow wondering filled with anxiety to whether they’re really going to be safe.

Think about the mothers who will take those children tomorrow morning to the bus stop wondering whether their children will arrive back on that bus safe and sound. Think about the fathers of Los Angeles, who tomorrow will head off to work and wonder about the safety of their wives and their children.

What is Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton done to this country? That the most basic responsibility of an administration is to protect the safety and security of the American people. I will tell you this, I’m a former federal prosecutor, I’ve fought terrorists and won and when we get back in the White House we will fight terrorists and win again and America will be safe.

(APPLAUSE) BLITZER: Ms. Fiorina?

FIORINA: Like all of you I’m angry. I’m angry at what’s happening to our nation. Citizens, it’s time to take our country back.

Bombastic insults wont take it back. Political rhetoric that promises a lot and delivers little, won’t take it back. All of our problems can be solved. All of our wounds can be healed by a tested leader who is willing to fight for the character of our nation.

I have been tested. I have beaten breast cancer. I have buried a child. I started as a secretary. I fought my way to the top of corporate America while being called every B word in the book. I fought my way into this election and on to this debate stage while all the political insiders and the pundits told, “it couldn’t be done.”

I’ve been told, “no,: all my life. And all my life, I’ve refused to accept no as an answer. Citizens, it is time to take our country back from the political class, from the media, from the liberal elite. It can be done, it must be done, join me and we will get it done.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Bush?

BUSH: Our freedom is under attack. Our economy is under water. The leading democrat is under investigation. And America is under the gun to lead the free world to protect our civilized way of life.

Serious times require strong leadership, that’s what at stake right now. Regarding national security, we need to restore the defense cuts of Barack Obama to rebuild our military, to destroy ISIS before it destroys us. Regarding economic security, we need to take power and money away from Washington D.C. and empower American families so that they can rise up again.

Look, America still is an exceptional country. We love to lead and we love to win. And we do it, when we take on any challenge and when we take – we support our friends.

As president, I will keep you and our country safe, secure, and free.

Thank you.

BLITZER: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Thank you Wolf.

It’s really amazing to be back in Las Vegas. I spent six years as a child growing not far from where we stand tonight. I use to sit on the porch of our home and listen to my grandfather tell stories as he smoked one of three daily cigars.

One of the things my grandfather instilled in me, was that I was really blessed because I was a citizen of the greatest country in the history of our mankind. But there have always been people in American politics that wanted America to be more like the rest of the world. And In 2008, one of them was elected president of this country and the result has been a disaster.

Today you have millions of Americans that feel left out and out of place in their own country, struggling to live paycheck to paycheck, called bigots because they hold on to traditional values.

And around the world, America’s influence has declined while this president has destroyed our military, our allies no longer trust us, and our adversaries no longer respect us. And that is why this election is so important.

That is why I’m running for president. And that’s why I’m going to ask you for your vote tonight. If you elect me president, we will have a president that believes America is the greatest country in the world and we will have a president that acts like it.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: Thank you, Wolf.

America is at war. Our enemy is not violent extremism. It is not some unnamed malevolent force. It is radical Islamic terrorist. We have a president who is unwilling to utter its name. The men and women on this stage, every one of us, is better prepared to keep this nation safe than is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

We need a president who understands the first obligation of the commander-in-chief is to keep America safe. If I am elected president, we will hunt down and kill the terrorists. We will utterly destroy ISIS.

We will stop the terrorist attacks before they occur because we will not be prisoners to political correctness. Rather, we will speak the truth. Border security is national security and we will not be admitting jihadists as refugees.

We will keep America safe.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Dr. Carson.

CARSON: Thank you, Wolf.

Please join me for a moment of silence and remembrance of the San Bernardino victims. Thank you. You know, our country since its inception has been at war, every 15 or 20 years. But the war that we are fighting now against radical Islamist jihadists is one that we must win. Our very existence is dependent upon that.

You know, as a pediatric neurosurgeon, I frequently faced life and death situations, and had to come up with the right diagnosis, the right plan, and execute that plan frequently with other colleagues.

Right now, the United States of America is the patient. And the patient is in critical condition and will not be cured by political correctness and will not be cured by timidity.

And I am asking the Congress, which represents the people, to declare a war on ISIS so that we can begin the process of excising that cancer and begin the healing process, and bring peace, prosperity, and safety back to America.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you.

I began this journey six months ago. My total focus was on building up our military, building up our strength, building up our borders, making sure that China, Japan, Mexico, both at the border and in trade, no longer takes advantage of our country.

Certainly would never have made that horrible, disgusting, absolutely incompetent deal with Iran where they get $150 billion. They’re a terrorist nation. But I began it talking about other things.

And those things are things that I’m very good at and maybe that’s why I’m center stage. People saw it. People liked it. People respected it.

A month ago things changed. Radical Islamic terrorism came into effect even more so than it has been in the past. People like what I say. People respect what I say. And we’ve opened up a very big discussion that needed to be opened up.

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you.

Since you last debated, Americans have witnessed terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. The FBI director says the country now faces the greatest terror threat since 9/11. You all have different approaches to keeping the country safe. And that will be the focus of tonight’s debate.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, as you mentioned in your opening statement, part of your strategy is to focus in on America’s borders. To keep the country safe, you say you want to temporarily ban non-American Muslims from coming to the United States; ban refugees fleeing ISIS from coming here; deport 11 million people; and wall off America’s southern border. Is the best way to make America great again to isolate it from much of the rest of the world?

TRUMP: We are not talking about isolation. We’re talking about security. We’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about security. Our country is out of control. People are pouring across the southern border. I will build a wall. It will be a great wall. People will not come in unless they come in legally. Drugs will not pour through that wall.

As far as other people like in the migration, where they’re going, tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them? I don’t think so, Wolf. They’re not coming to this country. And if I’m president and if Obama has brought some to this country, they are leaving. They’re going. They’re gone.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Bush, you called Mr. Trump “unhinged” when he proposed banning non-American Muslims from the United States. Why is that unhinged?

BUSH: Well, first of all, we need to destroy ISIS in the caliphate. That’s — that should be our objective. The refugee issue will be solved if we destroy ISIS there, which means we need to have a no-fly zone, safe zones there for refugees and to build a military force.

We need to embed our forces — our troops inside the Iraqi military. We need to arm directly the Kurds. And all of that has to be done in concert with the Arab nations. And if we’re going to ban all Muslims, how are we going to get them to be part of a coalition to destroy ISIS?

The Kurds are the greatest fighting force and our strongest allies. They’re Muslim. Look, this is not a serious proposal. In fact, it will push the Muslim world, the Arab world away from us at a time when we need to reengage with them to be able to create a strategy to destroy ISIS.

So Donald, you know, is great at — at the one-liners, but he’s a chaos candidate. And he’d be a chaos president. He would not be the commander in chief we need to keep our country safe.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Jeb doesn’t really believe I’m unhinged. He said that very simply because he has failed in this campaign. It’s been a total disaster. Nobody cares. And frankly, I’m the most solid person up here. I built a tremendous company and all I want to do is make America great again.

I don’t want our country to be taken away from us, and that’s what’s happening. The policies that we’ve suffered under other presidents have been a disaster for our country. We want to make America great again. And Jeb, in all fairness, he doesn’t believe that.

BUSH: Look, he mentioned me. I can bring — I can talk. This is — this is the problem. Banning all Muslims will make it harder for us to do exactly what we need to do, which is to destroy ISIS. We need a strategy. We need to get the lawyers off the back of the warfighters. Right now under President Obama, we’ve created this — this standard that is so high that it’s impossible to be successful in fighting ISIS.

We need to engage with the Arab world to make this happen. It is not a serious proposal to say that — to the people that you’re asking for their support that they can’t even come to the country to even engage in a dialogue with us. That’s not a serious proposal. We need a serious leader to deal with this. And I believe I’m that guy.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Senator Rubio — I’m going to go to Senator Rubio and get his thoughts.

You have said banning Muslims is unconstitutional. But according to a recent ABC News-Washington Post poll, a majority of Republicans support Mr. Trump’s idea. Why are they wrong?

RUBIO: Well, I understand why they feel that way, because this president hasn’t kept us safe. The problem is we had an attack in San Bernardino. And we were paying attention to the most important issue we have faced in a decade since 9/11, and then all the talk was about this proposal, which isn’t going to happen.

But this is what’s important to do is we must deal frontally with this threat of radical Islamists, especially from ISIS. This is the most sophisticated terror group that has ever threatened the world or the United States of America. They are actively recruiting Americans. The attacker in San Bernardino was an American citizen, born and raised in this country. He was a health inspector; had a newborn child and left all that behind to kill 14 people.

We also understand that this is a group that’s growing in its governance of territory. It’s not just Iraq and Syria. They are now a predominant group in Libya. They are beginning to pop up in Afghanistan. They are increasingly involved now in attacks in Yemen. They have Jordan in their sights.

This group needs to be confronted with serious proposals. And this is a very significant threat we face. And the president has left us unsafe. He spoke the other night to the American people to reassure us. I wish he hadn’t spoken at all. He made things worse. Because what he basically said was we are going to keep doing what we’re doing now, and what we are doing now is not working.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Hugh Hewitt, you have a question.

HEWITT: Senator Cruz, you’ve said you disagree with Mr. Trump’s policy. I don’t want a cage match; you’ve tweeted you don’t want a cage match. But Republican primary voters deserve to know, with the kind of specificity and responsiveness you delivered in your nine Supreme Court arguments, how you disagree with Mr. Trump. Would you spell that out with us?

CRUZ: Well, listen, Hugh, everyone understands why Donald has suggested what he has. We’re looking at a president who’s engaged in this double-speak where he doesn’t call radical Islamic terrorism by its name. Indeed, he gives a speech after the San Bernardino attack where his approach is to try to go after the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens rather than to keep us safe.

And even worse, President Obama and Hillary Clinton are proposing bringing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to this country when the head of the FBI has told Congress they cannot vet those refugees.

I understand why Donald made that proposal. I introduced legislation in the Senate that I believe is more narrowly focused at the actual threat, which is radical Islamic terrorism, and what my legislation would do is suspend all refugees for three years from countries where ISIS or Al Qaida control substantial territory.

HEWITT: So you’re saying you disagree because he’s too broad and you have a narrower focus? Why do you disagree with him?

CRUZ: Well, you know, I’m reminded of what FDR’s grandfather said. He said, “All horse-thieves are Democrats, but not all Democrats are horse-thieves.”

(LAUGHTER)

In this instance, there are millions of peaceful Muslims across the world, in countries like India, where there is not the problems we are seeing in nations that are controlled — have territory controlled by Al Qaida or ISIS, and we should direct at the problem, focus on the problem, and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. It’s not a war on a faith; it’s a war on a political and theocratic ideology that seeks to murder us.

HEWITT: Carly Fiorina… (APPLAUSE)

… this is the Christmas dinner debate. This will be the debate that Americans talk about at Christmas. And thus far, in the first 10 minutes, we haven’t heard a lot about Ronald Reagan’s city on a hill. We’ve heard a lot about keeping Americans out or keeping Americans safe and everyone else out. Is this what you want the party to stand for?

FIORINA: What I think we need to stand for are solutions. I offer myself as a leader to the people of this country because I think they’re looking for solutions, not lawyers arguing over laws or entertainers throwing out sound bites that draw media attention. We need to solve the problem.

To solve the problem, we need to do something here at home and something over there in their caliphate. We need to deny them territory.

But here at home, we need to do two fundamental things. Number one, we need to recognize that technology has moved on. The Patriot Act was signed in 2001, roughly. The iPhone was invented in 2007. The iPad was invented in 2011. Snapchat and Twitter, all the rest of it, have been around just for several years. Technology has moved on, and the terrorists have moved on with it.

Let me tell you a story. Soon after 9/11, I got a phone call from the NSA. They needed help. I gave them help. I stopped a truckload of equipment. I had it turned around. It was escorted by the NSA into headquarters. We need the private sector’s help, because government is not innovating. Technology is running ahead by leaps and bound. The private sector will help, just as I helped after 9/11. But they must be engaged, and they must be asked. I will ask them. I know them.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Christie, Americans are clearly more afraid today than at any time since 9/11. As you mentioned in your opening statement, today in Los Angeles, 650 schoolchildren didn’t go to — 650,000 schoolchildren didn’t go to school because of an e-mail threat, this two weeks after an attack killed 14 people in San Bernardino. Is this the new normal? And if so, what steps would you take as president of the United States to ensure that fear does not paralyze America?

CHRISTIE: Wolf, unfortunately, it’s the new normal under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The fact is that if you listen to Hillary Clinton the other day, what she said to the American people was, as regards to ISIS, my strategy would be just about the same as the president’s.

Just about the same as the president’s? We have people across this country who are scared to death. Because I could tell you this, as a former federal prosecutor, if a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, California, is now a target for terrorists, that means everywhere in America is a target for these terrorists.

Now, I spent seven years of my life in the immediate aftermath of September 11th doing this work, working with the Patriot Act, working with our law enforcement, working with the surveillance community to make sure that we keep America safe.

What we need to do, Wolf, is restore those tools that have been taken away by the president and others, restore those tools to the NSA and to our entire surveillance and law enforcement community.

We need a president who is going to understand what actionable intelligence looks like and act on it. And we need a president and a cabinet who understands that the first and most important priority of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of Americans.

As someone who has done it, I will make sure it gets done again.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you.

Governor Kasich, one of the killers in San Bernardino was an American who was not on anyone’s watch list. How are you going to find that radicalized person and stop another such attack?

KASICH: Well, first of all, Wolf, I said last February that we needed to have people on the ground, troops on the ground in a coalition similar to what we had in the first Gulf War.

I remember when the Egyptian ambassador to the United States stood in the Rose Garden and pledged Arab commitment to removing Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Before we came out here tonight, I am told that the Saudis have organized 34 countries who want to join in the battle against terrorism.

First and foremost, we need to go and destroy ISIS. And we need to do this with our Arab friends and our friends in Europe.

And when I see they have a climate conference over in Paris, they should have been talking about destroying ISIS because they are involved in virtually every country, you know, across this world.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, you destroy ISIS in a coalition. You get joint intelligence with our European friends. And then here at home, there are things called the Joint Terrorism Task Force, headed by the FBI, and made up of local law enforcement, including state police.

They need the tools. And the tools involve encryption where we cannot hear what they’re even planning. And when we see red flags, a father, a mother, a neighbor who says we have got a problem here, then we have to give law enforcement the ability to listen so they can disrupt these terrorist attacks before they occur.

We can do this, but we’ve got to get moving. Pay me now or pay me a lot more later. This is the direction we need to go.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you.

Dana Bash, you have the next question.

BASH: A crucial question is how to balance surveillance with privacy and keeping Americans safe.

Senator Cruz, you voted for a bill that President Obama signed into law just this past June that made it harder for the government to access Americans’ phone records. In light of the San Bernardino attack, was your vote a mistake?

CRUZ: Well, Dana, the premise of your question is not accurate. I’m very proud to have joined with conservatives in both the Senate and the House to reform how we target bad guys.

And what the USA Freedom Act did is it did two things. Number one, it ended the federal government’s bulk collection of phone metadata of millions of law-abiding citizens.

But number two in the second half of it that is critical. It strengthened the tools of national security and law enforcement to go after terrorists. It gave us greater tools and we are seeing those tools work right now in San Bernardino.

And in particular, what it did is the prior program only covered a relatively narrow slice of phone calls. When you had a terrorist, you could only search a relatively narrow slice of numbers, primarily land lines.

The USA Freedom Act expands that so now we have cell phones, now we have Internet phones, now we have the phones that terrorists are likely to use and the focus of law enforcement is on targeting the bad guys.

You know what the Obama administration keeps getting wrong is whenever anything bad happens they focus on law-abiding citizens instead of focusing on the bad guys.

We need to focus on radical Islamic terrorists and we need to stop them before they carry out acts of terror.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Thank you.

Senator Rubio, Senator Cruz is right there was bipartisan support for that. But you voted against it. So, is Senator Cruz wrong?

RUBIO: He is and so are those that voted for it. There were some that voted for it because they wanted to keep it alive and they were afraid the whole program would expire.

Here’s the world we live in. This is a radical jihadist group that is increasingly sophisticated in its ability, for example, to radicalize American citizens, in its inability to exploit loopholes in our legal immigration system, in its ability to capture and hold territory in the Middle East, as I outlined earlier, in multiple countries.

This is not just the most capable, it is the most sophisticated terror threat we have ever faced. We are now at a time when we need more tools, not less tools. And that took we lost, the metadata program, was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal.

BASH: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Well, you know, I would note that Marco knows what he’s saying isn’t true. You know, Mark Levin wrote a column last week that says that the attack ads his Super PAC is running that are saying the same thing, that they are knowingly false and they are, in fact, Alinsky-like attacks like Barack Obama.

And the reason is simple. What he knows is that the old program covered 20 percent to 30 percent of phone numbers to search for terrorists. The new program covers nearly 100 percent. That gives us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism, and he knows that that’s the case.

RUBIO: Dana, may I interject here?

BASH: Senator — Senator — Senator Rubio, please respond.

RUBIO: Let me be very careful when answering this, because I don’t think national television in front of 15 million people is the place to discuss classified information. So let me just be very clear. There is nothing that we are allowed to do under this bill that we could not do before.

This bill did, however, take away a valuable tool that allowed the National Security Agency and other law — and other intelligence agencies to quickly and rapidly access phone records and match them up with other phone records to see who terrorists have been calling. Because I promise you, the next time there is attack on — an attack on this country, the first thing people are going to want to know is, why didn’t we know about it and why didn’t we stop it? And the answer better not be because we didn’t have access to records or information that would have allowed us to identify these killers before they attacked.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Paul, Senator Paul, I know this is — this has been a very big issue for you. You hear many of your colleagues are calling for increased surveillance by law enforcement. You call that hogwash. Why is that hogwash?

PAUL: You know, I think Marco gets it completely wrong. We are not any safer through the bulk collection of all Americans’ records. In fact, I think we’re less safe. We get so distracted by all of the information, we’re not spending enough time getting specific immigration — specific information on terrorists.

The other thing is, is the one thing that might have stopped San Bernardino, that might have stopped 9/11 would have been stricter controls on those who came here. And Marco has opposed at every point increased security — border security for those who come to our country.

On his Gang of Eight bill, he would have liberalized immigration, but he did not — and he steadfastly opposed any new border security requirements for refugees or students.

Last week, I introduced another bill saying we need more security, we need more scrutiny. Once again, Marco opposed this. So Marco can’t have it both ways. He thinks he wants to be this, “Oh, I’m great and strong on national defense.” But he’s the weakest of all the candidates on immigration. He is the one for an open border that is leaving us defenseless. If we want to defend the country, we have to defend against who’s coming in, and Marco is — has more of an allegiance to Chuck Schumer and to the liberals than he does to conservative policy.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: I want to thank Rand for another 30 seconds, because, number one, what he’s pointing to is a bill last week that — amendment that he voted for that only 10 people voted for. You know why? Because it’s not focused on terrorists. It would have banned anyone from coming here. Someone from Taiwan would not have been able to come here as a tourist.

Number two, this program, this metadata program is actually more strict than what a regular law enforcement agency has now. If a regular law enforcement agency wants your phone records, all they have to do is issue a subpoena. But now the intelligence agency is not able to quickly gather records and look at them to see who these terrorists are calling. And the terrorists that attacked us in San Bernardino was an American citizen, born and raised in this country. And I bet you we wish we would have had access to five years of his records so we could see who he was working with…

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Governor Christie, Governor Christie…

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Governor Christie, I’ll come to you in a minute. Go ahead, Senator Paul.

PAUL: If I was mentioned in the question, can I respond? BASH: Go ahead, please.

PAUL: Marco still misunderstands the immigration issue. What I put forward was an amendment that would have temporarily halted immigration from high-risk terrorist countries, but would have started it up, but I wanted them to go through Global Entry, which is a program where we do background checks.

The thing is, is that every terrorist attack we’ve had since 9/11 has been legal immigration. Marco wants to expand that. I want more rules, more scrutiny, and to defend the country, you have to defend the border.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator, we’re going to talk about immigration in a while. But, Governor Christie, just listening to this…

RUBIO: Do I get another 30 seconds? He mentioned me.

BASH: Listening to this, you talked — you heard Senator Paul, Senator Cruz talk about how important it is to protect Americans’ privacy, even in a time of grave danger. Why — what’s wrong with that?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I want to talk to the audience at home for a second. If your eyes are glazing over like mine, this is what it’s like to be on the floor of the United States Senate. I mean, endless debates about how many angels on the head of a pin from people who’ve never had to make a consequential decision in an executive position.

The fact is, for seven years, I had to make these decisions after 9/11, make a decision about how to proceed forward with an investigation or how to pull back, whether you use certain actionable intelligence or whether not to. And yet they continue to debate about this bill and in the subcommittee and what — nobody in America cares about that.

CHRISTIE: What they care about is, are we going to have a president who actually knows what they’re doing to make these decisions? And for the seven years afterwards, New Jersey was threatened like no other region in this country and what we did was we took action within the constitution to make sure that law enforcement had all the information they needed.

We prosecuted two of the biggest terrorism cases in the world and stopped Fort Dix from being attacked by six American radicalized Muslims from a Mosque in New Jersey because we worked with the Muslim American community to get intelligence and we used the Patriot Act to get other intelligence to make sure we did those cases. This is the difference between actually been a federal prosecutor, actually doing something, and not just spending your life as one of hundred debating it.

Let’s talk about how we do this, not about which bill, which one these guys like more. The American people don’t care about that.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Dr. Carson, you’re in favor of monitoring mosques and schools where there is anti-America sentiment, what do you consider anti- America?

CARSON: First of all, let me just complain a little bit. This is the first time I’ve spoken and several people have had multiple questions so please try to pay attention to that. Now, as far as monitoring is concerned, what my point is, we need to make sure that any place – I don’t care whether it’s a mosque, a school, a supermarket, a theater, you know it doesn’t matter. If there are a lot of people getting there and engaging in radicalizing activities then we need to be suspicious of it.

We have to get rid of all this PC stuff. And people are worried about if somebody’s going to say that I’m Islamophobic or what have you. This is craziness because we are at war. That’s why I asked congress, go ahead and declare the war .

We need to be on a war footing. We need to understand that our nation is in grave danger. You know, what the Muslim Brotherhood said in the explanatory memorandum that was discovered during the Holy Land Foundation Trial was that, “they will take advantage of our PC attitude to get us. :”

We have to be better than this. We have to be smarter than they are.

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, who was right in that little debate that we just heard between Senator Rubio and Senator Paul?

CARSON: I think you have to ask them about that. I don’t want to get in between them. Let them fight.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Hold on a sec, we have a lot more to come and everybody’s going to have their full opportunity.

Governor Bush, six days after 9/11 your brother visited a mosque and said quote, “Islam is peace.” The conversation tonight is about banning Muslims and surveillance of mosques, are President Bush’s words still relevant in today’s Republican party?

BUSH: They are reverent if we want to destroy ISIS. If we want to destroy radical Islamic terrors, we can’t disassociate ourselves from peace loving Muslims. If we expect to do this on our own, we will fail but if we do it in unison with people who are also are at risk and threatened by Islamic Radical terrorism, we’ll be far more successful.

Look, the FBI has the tools necessary un-American activities in our country. It goes on, we shouldn’t even be talking about it, to be honest with you out in the public. Of course they have those capabilities and we should make sure that we give the FBI, the NSA, our intelligence communities, all the resources they need to keep us safe.

But the main thing we should be focused on is the strategy to destroy ISIS. And I laid out a plan that the Reagan Library before the tragedy of Paris, and before San Bernardino to do just that. It requires leadership, it’s not filing an amendment and call it a success.

It is developing a strategy, leading the world, funding it to make sure that we have a military that’s second to none, and doing the job and making sure that we destroy ISIS there. That’s how you keep America safe.

BLITZER: Ms. Fiorina, as you pointed out you were a CEO in Silicon Valley on 9/11. Companies there, they say they won’t help the FBI now crack encrypted communication from ISIS, should they be forced to.

FIORINA: You know, listening to this conversation, let me just say, we have a lot of argument about laws but none of it solves the problem. Let’s examine what happened, why did we miss the Tsarnaev brothers, why did we miss the San Bernardino couple? It wasn’t because we had stopped collected metadata it was because, I think, as someone who comes from the technology world, we were using the wrong algorithms.

This is a place where the private sector could be helpful because the government is woefully behind the technology curve. But secondly, the bureaucratic processes that have been in place since 9/11 are woefully inadequate as well. What do we now know? That DHS vets people by going into databases of known or suspected terrorists.

FIORINA: And yet, we also know that ISIS is recruiting who are not in those databases. So of course, we’re going to miss them. And then we now learn that DHS says, “No, we can’t check their social media.”

For heaven’s sakes, every parent in America is checking social media and every employer is as well, but our government can’t do it. The bureaucratic procedures are so far behind. Our government has become incompetent, unresponsive, corrupt. And that incompetence, ineptitude, lack of accountability is now dangerous.

It is why we need a different kind of leadership in the White House that understands how to get bureaucracies competent again.

BLITZER: But my question was: Should these Silicon Valley companies be forced to cooperate with the FBI?

FIORINA: They do not need to be forced. They need to be asked to bring the best and brightest, the most recent technology to the table. I was asked as a CEO. I complied happily. And they will as well. But they have not been asked. That’s why it cost billions of dollars to build an Obama website that failed because the private sector wasn’t asked.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, you recently suggested closing that Internet up, those were your words, as a way to stop ISIS from recruiting online. Are you referring to closing down actual portions of the Internet? Some say that would put the U.S. in line with China and North Korea.

TRUMP: Well, look, this is so easy to answer. ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea. What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they’re doing.

You talk freedom of speech. You talk freedom of anything you want. I don’t want them using our Internet to take our young, impressionable youth and watching the media talking about how they’re masterminds — these are masterminds. They shouldn’t be using the word “mastermind.” These are thugs. These are terrible people in ISIS, not masterminds. And we have to change it from every standpoint. But we should be using our brilliant people, our most brilliant minds to figure a way that ISIS cannot use the Internet. And then on second, we should be able to penetrate the Internet and find out exactly where ISIS is and everything about ISIS. And we can do that if we use our good people.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Let me follow up, Mr. Trump.

So, are you open to closing parts of the Internet?

TRUMP: I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet. Yes, sir, I am.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Governor Kasich, is shutting down any part of the Internet a good idea?

KASICH: No, I don’t think it is. And I want to go back to two other issues. One is the metadata. We know we have to hold this data for a longer period of time. And, you know, in a lot of ways, Chris is right. Look, what a president has to do is take a position. We don’t want to err on the side of having less. We want to err on the side of having more. That’s good for our families.

In addition to that, Wolf, there is a big problem. It’s called encryption. And the people in San Bernardino were communicating with people who the FBI had been watching. But because their phone was encrypted, because the intelligence officials could not see who they were talking to, it was lost.

We have to solve the encryption problem. It is not easy. A president of the United States, again, has to bring people together, have a position. We need to be able to penetrate these people when they are involved in these plots and these plans. And we have to give the local authorities the ability to penetrate to disrupt. That’s what we need to do. Encryption is a major problem, and Congress has got to deal with this and so does the president to keep us safe.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you, Governor.

The fight against radical Islamic terrorists and ISIS has been called the war of our time. So let’s talk about how each of you, as commander in chief, would fight this war and win it.

Senator Cruz, you have said you would, quote, “carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion,” testing whether, quote, “sand can glow in the dark.” Does that mean leveling the ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria where there are hundreds of thousands of civilians?

CRUZ: What it means is using overwhelming air power to utterly and completely destroy ISIS. To put things in perspective, in the first Persian Gulf War, we launched roughly 1,100 air attacks a day. We carpet bombed them for 36 days, saturation bombing, after which our troops went in and in a day and a half mopped up what was left of the Iraqi army.

Right now, Obama is launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day. It is photo op foreign policy. We need to use overwhelming air power. We need to be arming the Kurds. We need to be fighting and killing ISIS where they are.

And let me go back to the earlier discussion a minute ago. It’s not a lack of competence that is preventing the Obama administration from stopping these attacks. It is political correctness. We didn’t monitor the Facebook posting of the female San Bernardino terrorist because the Obama DHS thought it would be inappropriate. She made a public call to jihad, and they didn’t target it.

The Tsarnaev brothers, the elder brother made a public call to jihad and the Obama administration didn’t target it. Nidal Hasan communicated with Anwar al-Awlaki, a known radical cleric, asked about waging jihad against his fellow soldiers. The problem is because of political correctness, the Obama administration, like a lot of folks here, want to search everyone’s cell phones and e-mails and not focus on the bad guys. And political correctness is killing people.

BLITZER: Thank you. To be clear, Senator Cruz, would you carpet bomb Raqqa, the ISIS capital, where there are a lot of civilians, yes or no?

CRUZ: You would carpet bomb where ISIS is, not a city, but the location of the troops. You use air power directed — and you have embedded special forces to direction the air power. But the object isn’t to level a city. The object is to kill the ISIS terrorists.

To make it — listen, ISIS is gaining strength because the perception is that they’re winning. And President Obama fuels that perception. That will change when militants across the globe see that when you join ISIS that you are giving up your life, you are signing your death warrant, and we need a president who is focused on defeating every single ISIS terrorist and protecting the homeland, which should be the first priority.

BLITZER: Thank you. Thank you, Senator.

Senator Rubio, you’ve been critical of Senator Cruz’s strategy. You say his voting record doesn’t match his rhetoric. Why?

RUBIO: Well, let me begin by saying that we have to understand who ISIS is. ISIS is a radical Sunni group. They cannot just be defeated through air strikes. Air strikes are a key component of defeating them, but they must be defeated on the ground by a ground force. And that ground force must be primarily made up of Sunni Arabs themselves, Sunni Arabs that reject them ideologically and confront them militarily.

We will have to embed additional American special operators alongside them to help them with training, to help them conduct special missions, and to help improve the air strikes. The air strikes are important, but we need to have an air force capable of it. And because of the budget cuts we are facing in this country, we are going to be left with the oldest and the smallest Air Force we have ever had. We have to reverse those cuts, in addition to the cuts to our Navy and in addition to the cuts to our Army, as well.

And beyond that, I would say we must win the information war against ISIS. Every war we have ever been involved in has had a propaganda informational aspect to it. ISIS is winning the propaganda war. They are recruiting people, including Americans, to join them, with the promise that they are joining this great apocalyptic movement that is going to defeat the West. We have to show what life is really like in ISIS territory, and we have to show them why ISIS is not invincible, by going out and conducting these attacks and publicizing them to those who they recruit.

BLITZER: Because I asked the question, Senator, because you said this. You said he, referring to Senator Cruz, voted against the Defense Authorization Act every year that it came up, and I assume that if he voted against it, he would veto it as president. That’s the bill that funds our troops.

RUBIO: That is accurate. Three times he voted against the Defense Authorization Act, which is a bill that funds the troops. It also, by the way, funds the Iron Dome and other important programs. And I have to assume that if you vote against it in the Senate, you would also veto it as president.

He has also supported, by the way, a budget that is called the containment budget. And it is a budget that would radically reduce the amount of money we spend on our military. You can’t carpet bomb ISIS if you don’t have planes and bombs to attack them with. And if we continue those cuts that we’re doing now, not to mention additional cuts, we are going to be left with the oldest and the smallest Air Force this country has ever had, and that leaves us less safe.

BLITZER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Well, you know, Marco has continued these attacks, and he knows they’re not true. Yes, it is true that I voted against the National Defense Authorization Act, because when I campaigned in Texas I told voters in Texas that I would oppose the federal government having the authority to detain U.S. citizens permanently with no due process. I have repeatedly supported an effort to take that out of that bill, and I honored that campaign commitment.

CRUZ: But more broadly, you know, the notion Marco is suggesting, that somehow — he also has tossed more than a few insults this direction — let’s be absolutely clear. ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism will face no more determined foe than I will be.

We will utterly destroy them by targeting the bad guys. And one of the problems with Marco’s foreign policy is he has far too often supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama undermining governments in the Middle East that have helped radical Islamic terrorists.

We need to focus on killing the bad guys, not getting stuck in Middle Eastern civil wars that don’t keep America safe.

BLITZER: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Yes, let me — three points of distinction. The first is, if you’re an American citizen and you decide to join up with ISIS, we’re not going to read you your Miranda rights. You’re going to be treated as an enemy combatant, a member of an army attacking this country.

(APPLAUSE)

Number two, we do need our defense capabilities. It is a fact that the cuts we are facing today and the cuts that Senator Cruz would have supported would leave us with an even smaller Air Force and a smaller Navy than the one we are going to be left with.

And the final point that I would make is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s strategy is to lead from behind. It sounds like what he is outlining is not to lead at all. We cannot continue to outsource foreign policy. We must lead. We are the most powerful nation in the world. We need to begin to act like it, again.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: We are going to have much more on this…

PAUL: Wolf…

BLITZER: We’re going to have much more on this. But I want to move now back to Mr. Trump.

PAUL: Wolf, this legislation…

BLITZER: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. PAUL: This legislation on indefinite detention…

BLITZER: We have a lot…

PAUL: … I think deserves a little more attention.

BLITZER: We have a lot to discuss. I want to move to Mr. Trump right now. We have a question on this war against ISIS and how you would fight and win this war. Here’s the question from Facebook. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH JACOB, COLLEGE STUDENT: I’m Josh Jacob from Georgia Tech. Recently Donald Trump mentioned we must kill the families of ISIS members. However, this violates the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants in international law.

So my question is, how would intentionally killing innocent civilians set us apart from ISIS?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: We have to be much tougher. We have to be much stronger than we’ve been. We have people that know what is going on. You take a look at just the attack in California the other day. There were numerous people, including the mother, that knew what was going on.

They saw a pipe bomb sitting all over the floor. They saw ammunition all over the place. They knew exactly what was going on.

When you had the World Trade Center go, people were put into planes that were friends, family, girlfriends, and they were put into planes and they were sent back, for the most part, to Saudi Arabia.

They knew what was going on. They went home and they wanted to watch their boyfriends on television. I would be very, very firm with families. Frankly, that will make people think because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Donald, this has got…

BLITZER: Governor Bush. Governor Bush.

BUSH: This is another example of the lack of seriousness. Look, this is — this is troubling because we’re at war. They’ve declared war on us and we need to have a serious strategy to destroy ISIS.

But the idea that that is a solution to this is just — is just crazy. It makes no sense to suggest this. Look, two months ago Donald Trump said that ISIS was not our fight. Just two months ago he said that Hillary Clinton would be a great negotiator with Iran. And he gets his foreign policy experience from the shows.

That is not a serious kind of candidate. We need someone that thinks this through. That can lead our country to safety and security.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Look, the problem is we need toughness. Honestly, I think Jeb is a very nice person. He’s a very nice person. But we need tough people. We need toughness. We need intelligence and we need tough.

Jeb said when they come across the southern border they come as an act of love.

BUSH: You said on September 30th that ISIS was not a factor.

TRUMP: Am I talking or are you talking, Jeb?

BUSH: I’m talking right now. I’m talking.

TRUMP: You can go back. You’re not talking. You interrupted me.

BUSH: September 30th you said…

TRUMP: Are you going to apologize, Jeb? No. Am I allowed to finish?

BLITZER: Just one at a time, go ahead…

TRUMP: Excuse me, am I allowed to finish?

BLITZER: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: So…

BUSH: A little of your own medicine there, Donald.

TRUMP: … again…

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Governor Bush, please.

TRUMP: I know you’re trying to build up your energy, Jeb, but it’s not working very well.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: One at a time.

TRUMP: Look, look, look. We need a toughness. We need strength. We’re not respected, you know, as a nation anymore. We don’t have that level of respect that we need. And if we don’t get it back fast, we’re just going to go weaker, weaker and just disintegrate.

We can’t allow that to happen. We need strength. We don’t have it. When Jeb comes out and he talks about the border, and I saw it and I was witness to it, and so was everyone else, and I was standing there, “they come across as an act of love,” he’s saying the same thing right now with radical Islam.

And we can’t have that in our country. It just won’t work. We need strength.

BLITZER: Governor Bush.

BUSH: Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That’s not going to happen.

(APPLAUSE)

And I do have the strength. Leadership, leadership is not about attacking people and disparaging people. Leadership is about creating a serious strategy to deal with the threat of our time.

BUSH: And I laid out that strategy before the attacks in Paris and before the attacks in San Bernardino. And it is the way forward. We need to increase our military spending. We need to deal with a no- fly zone in Syria, a safe zone. We need to focus on building a military that is second-to-none…

BLITZER: Thank you.

BUSH: … so that we can destroy Islamic terrorism.

TRUMP: With Jeb’s attitude, we will never be great again, that I can tell you. We will never be great again.

BLITZER: All right. Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash, Hugh, go ahead with the next question.

HEWITT: Dr. Carson…

(APPLAUSE)

… you mentioned in your opening remarks that you’re a pediatric neurologist surgeon…

CARSON: Neurosurgeon.

HEWITT: Neurosurgeon. And people admire and respect and are inspired by your life story, your kindness, your evangelical core support. We’re talking about ruthless things tonight — carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?

CARSON: Well, interestingly enough, you should see the eyes of some of those children when I say to them we’re going to have to open your head up and take out this tumor. They’re not happy about it, believe me. And they don’t like me very much at that point. But later on, they love me.

Sometimes you — I sound like him.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, later on, you know, they really realize what’s going on. And by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it’s actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by 1,000 pricks.

HEWITT: So you are OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilian? It’s like…

CARSON: You got it. You got it.

HEWITT: That is what war — can you be as ruthless as Churchill was in prosecuting the war against the Nazis?

CARSON: Ruthless is not necessarily the word I would use, but tough, resolute, understanding what the problems are, and understanding that the job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of this country and to do what is necessary in order to get it done.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Paul, you said ISIS grew stronger because of the hawks in your party. Do you really think that Republicans have fueled the rise of ISIS?

PAUL: I think that by arming the allies of ISIS, the Islamic rebels against Assad, that we created a safe space or made that space bigger for ISIS to grow. I think those who have wanted regime change have made a mistake. When we toppled Gadhafi in Libya, I think that was a mistake. I think ISIS grew stronger, we had a failed state, and we were more at risk.

I’d like to also go back to, though, another question, which is, is Donald Trump a serious candidate? The reason I ask this is, if you’re going to close the Internet, realize, America, what that entails. That entails getting rid of the First amendment, OK? It’s no small feat.

If you are going to kill the families of terrorists, realize that there’s something called the Geneva Convention we’re going to have to pull out of. It would defy every norm that is America. So when you ask yourself, whoever you are, that think you’re going to support Donald Trump, think, do you believe in the Constitution? Are you going to change the Constitution?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So, they can kill us, but we can’t kill them? That’s what you’re saying. And as far as the Internet is concerned, we’re not talking about closing the Internet. I’m talking about parts of Syria, parts of Iraq, where ISIS is, spotting it.

Now, you could close it. What I like even better than that is getting our smartest and getting our best to infiltrate their Internet, so that we know exactly where they’re going, exactly where they’re going to be. I like that better.

(APPLAUSE)

But we have to — who would be — I just can’t imagine somebody booing. These are people that want to kill us, folks, and you’re — you’re objecting to us infiltrating their conversations? I don’t think so. I don’t think so.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Paul, Senator Paul, I want to go back to my initial question, which is you saying that ISIS grew stronger because of hawks in your party. And do you think your own party, the people who you’re describing, are responsible for the rise of ISIS?

PAUL: I think that if you believe in regime change, you’re mistaken. In 2013, we put 600 tons of weapons — us, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar — into the war against Assad. By pushing Assad back, we did create a safe space.

We had people coming to our Foreign Relations Committee and saying, “Oh, we need to arm the allies of Al Qaida.” They are still saying this. It is a crazy notion. This is the biggest debate we should be having tonight is is regime change a good idea; has it been a good idea.

There are still people — the majority on the stage, they want to topple Assad. And then there will be chaos, and I think ISIS will then be in charge of Syria.

BASH: Senator, we’re going to talk about regime change in a bit.

But Governor Kasich, would you like to respond to Senator Paul?

KASICH: Yeah, let me — let me just suggest to everybody, and I hear — last February, I said we needed to have people on the ground in a coalition with Europe and our allies. This is not going to get done just by working with the Sunnis. And it is not going to get done if we just embed a few people.

We have to go massively, like we did in the first Gulf War where we destroyed Saddam’s ability to take Kuwait. We need to have a coalition that will stand for nothing less than the total destruction of ISIS and we have to be the leader. We can’t wait for anybody else. I served on the Armed Services Committee for 18 years and we must lead, or the job won’t get done, unfortunately, for our country.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Rubio? Let’s continue this conversation. This is a critically important issue.

FIORINA: I hope at some point you’re going to ask me my strategy.

BLITZER: We will get to — we have a lot of time, Ms. Fiorina.

I want to get to Senator Rubio right now. Let’s talk about, one of the aspects of your strategy, you say the only way to defeat ISIS is with ground forces made up primarily of Sunni-Arab forces. Those Arab nations, though, as you well know, they’ve conducted less than five percent of the airstrikes and actually none since August. What makes you think they are willing to fight on the ground if they’re not even willing to fight from the air?

RUBIO: Well, they most certainly will have to be worked on to provide more than what they are doing now. There’s no doubt about it. And there’s one — one major reason why they have not been willing to be a broader part of the coalition, and that is they have lost complete trust and confidence in this president. This president cut a deal with their moral enemy, the Shia, in Iran. And this is the reason why they no longer trust this president and are willing to work alongside them.

But they have as much invested in this as we do. In fact, more so, for it is the king of Saudi Arabia they want to behead first. It’s the king of Jordan that they want to dethrone. It’s the — they want to go into Egypt the way they’ve already gone into Libya.

And on another point that we need to talk about, Assad is one of the main reasons why ISIS even exists to begin with. Assad is a puppet of Iran. And he has been so brutal toward the Sunni within Syria that he created the space that led to the people of Syria themselves to stand up and try to overthrow him. That led to the chaos which allowed ISIS to come in and take advantage of that situation and grow more powerful.

And the fact that this president led from behind meant there were no alternative groups on the ground to be empowered, leaving ISIS with the prime operating space they needed to become the force they have now become.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator. Stand by.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Ms. Fiorina, the former defense secretary, Bob Gates, says the chances of getting Sunni-Arab forces on the ground to get the job done, his words, “chances very remote.” What’s your strategy?

FIORINA: Well, first I’ll just point out that talking tough is not the same as being strong. And to wage war, we need a commander in chief who has made tough calls in tough times and stood up to be held accountable over and over, not first-term senators who’ve never made an executive decision in their life.

One of the things I would immediately do, in addition to defeating them here at home, is bring back the warrior class — Petraeus, McChrystal, Mattis, Keane, Flynn. Every single one of these generals I know. Every one was retired early because they told President Obama things that he didn’t want to hear.

We must have Sunni-Arabs involved in this coalition. We must commit leadership, strength, support and resolve. I’ll just add that Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you want something talked about, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you.

Governor Christie, what’s your strategy?

CHRISTIE: Wolf, you sit up here and you listen to this stuff, and you think that so many of these people have had so much to do in this national debate, they talk like they were bystanders. You know, we talk about our military being degraded over time, and yet we’ve had folks on this stage who’ve been a part of Congress who have participated in sequester; who participated in the degrading of this military over time.

And that’s why I think people get so frustrated with Washington, D.C. now. That’s why they’re so angry with the — the electorate is so angry with everybody who is involved in government in Washington, D.C. Because if you listen to the folks up here, you think that they weren’t even there; they had nothing to do with this.

CHRISTIE: This is a difference between being a governor and being in a legislature. See, because when something doesn’t work in New Jersey, they look at me, say: “Why didn’t it get done? Why didn’t you do it?” You have to be responsible and accountable.

And so on ISIS, let’s be clear, the president needs to be a force that is trusted in the world. On this I agree with Marco. You know, this president is not trusted.

If you’re the King of Jordan, if you’re a part of the royal family in Saudi Arabia and he’s made this deal with Iran which gives them $150 billion to wage a war and try to extend their empire across the Middle East, why would you want to do it now?

But I will tell you this, when I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan and I say to him, “You have a friend again sir, who will stand with you to fight this fight,” he’ll change his mind.

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, what is your strategy?

CARSON: First of all, I’ve been talking about this for over a year. We have to destroy their caliphate because that gives them legitimacy to go ahead with the global Jihad. We have to take their energy because they are — ISIS is the richest terrorist organization there is. We have to take their oil, shut down all of the mechanisms whereby they can disperse money because they go after disaffected individuals from all over the place, and they’re able to pay them. That makes a difference.

As far as the command centers are concerned in Raqqa and to a lesser degree Mosul, cut those off. Do the same kind of thing that we did with Sinjar a few weeks ago, working with our embedded special forces with the Kurds, shut off the supply route, soften them up, then we go in with specials ops followed by our air force to take them over. Those are things that work.

But also, you know, this whole concept of boots on the ground, you know, we’ve got a phobia about boots on the ground. If our military experts say, we need boots on the ground, we should put boots on the ground and recognize that there will be boots on the ground and they’ll be over here, and they’ll be their boots if we don’t get out of there now.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Everyone stand by. We’re only just beginning. Coming up, which candidates on this stage tonight want to move foreign policy in a dramatically new direction?

We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to the CNN-Facebook Republican Presidential Debate here at the Venetian, Las Vegas.

The war against ISIS will pose many new challenges for the next commander-in-chief. The last two presidents pursued a Middle East policy that supported toppling dictators to try to promote democracy.

Senator Cruz, you have said the world would be safer today if Saddam Hussein were still in power in Iraq, Moammar Gadhafi ruled Libya, and Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt. So would it be your policy to preserve dictatorships, rather than promoting democracy in the Middle East?

CRUZ: Wolf, I believe in a America first foreign policy, that far too often President Obama and Hillary Clinton — and, unfortunately, more than a few Republicans — have gotten distracted from the central focus of keeping this country safe.

So let’s go back to the beginning of the Obama administration, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led NATO in toppling the government in Libya. They did it because they wanted to promote democracy. A number of Republicans supported them. The result of that — and we were told then that there were these moderate rebels that would take over. Well, the result is, Libya is now a terrorist war zone run by jihadists.

Move over to Egypt. Once again, the Obama administration, encouraged by Republicans, toppled Mubarak who had been a reliable ally of the United States, of Israel, and in its place, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood came in, a terrorist organization.

And we need to learn from history. These same leaders — Obama, Clinton, and far too many Republicans — want to topple Assad. Assad is a bad man. Gadhafi was a bad man. Mubarak had a terrible human rights record. But they were assisting us — at least Gadhafi and Mubarak — in fighting radical Islamic terrorists.

And if we topple Assad, the result will be ISIS will take over Syria, and it will worsen U.S. national security interests. And the approach, instead of being a Woodrow Wilson democracy promoter…

BLITZER: Thank you.

CRUZ: … we ought to hunt down our enemies and kill ISIS rather than creating opportunities for ISIS to take control of new countries.

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Rubio, you supported the removal of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. Now that country is in turmoil, as ISIS is clearly growing there. Senator Cruz says you haven’t learned your lesson. Do you have any regrets for supporting President Obama’s intervention in Libya?

RUBIO: To begin with, Moammar Gadhafi and the revolt against Gadhafi was not started by the United States. It was started by the Libyan people. And the reason why I argued we needed to get involved is because he was going to go one way or the other. And my argument then was proven true, and that is, the longer that civil war took, the more militias would be formed and the more unstable the country would be after the fact.

As far as Moammar Gadhafi is concerned, by the way, Moammar Gadhafi is the man that killed those Americans over Lockerbie, Scotland. Moammar Gadhafi is also the man that bombed that cafe in Berlin and killed those Marines. And you want to know why Moammar Gadhafi started cooperating on his nuclear program? Because we got rid of Saddam Hussein. And so he got scared that he would be next, and that’s why he started cooperating.

Look, we will have to work around the world with less than ideal governments. The government in Saudi Arabia is not a democracy, but we will have to work with them. The government in Jordan is not perfect, but we will have to work with them. But anti-American dictators like Assad, who help Hezbollah, who helped get those IEDs into Iraq, if they go, I will not shed a tear.

BLITZER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Well, it’s more than not shedding a tear. It’s actively getting involved to topple a government. And we keep hearing from President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Washington Republicans that they’re searching for these mythical moderate rebels. It’s like a purple unicorn. They never exist. These moderate rebels end up being jihadists.

And I’ll tell you whose view on Assad is the same as mine. It’s Prime Minister Netanyahu. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said Israel doesn’t have a dog in that fight because Assad is a puppet of Iran, a Shia radical Islamic terrorist, but at the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn’t want to see Syria governed by ISIS. And we need to focus on American interests, not on global aspirations…

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Standby. Everybody standby for a moment. Governor Kasich, go ahead.

KASICH: I don’t understand this thing about Assad. He has to go. Assad is aligned with Iran and Russia. The one thing we want to prevent is we want to prevent Iran being able to extend a Shia crescent all across the Middle East. Assad has got to go.

KASICH: And there are moderates there. There are moderates in Syria who we should be supporting. I do not support a civil war. I don’t want to be policeman of the world. But we can’t back off of this. And let me tell you, at the end, the Saudis have agreed to put together a coalition inside of Syria to stabilize that country.

BLITZER: Thank you.

KASICH: He must go. It will be a blow to Iran and Russia.

BLITZER: We’re going to talk about Assad in a moment.

Mr. Trump, are Americans safer with dictators running the world in the Middle East?

TRUMP: In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.

We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.

It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: That is exactly what President Obama said. I’m amazed to hear that from a republican presidential candidate. But let’s just start with, who got it wrong? Who really got it wrong?

Hillary Clinton has gotten every foreign policy challenge wrong. Hitting the reset button with Vladimir Putin – recall that she called Bashar Al-Assad a positive reformer and then she opened an embassy and then later she said, over, and over, and over again, “Bashar Al-Assad must go.” Although she wasn’t prepared to do anything about it. Recall that Hillary Clinton was all for toppling Gadhafi then didn’t listen to her own people on the ground. And then of course, when she lied about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, she invited more terrorist attacks.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, there’s nothing to respond to. Well, people feel differently. I mean, the fact is Benghazi was a disaster because of Libya, everything just fell into place. It could not have been worse.

What do we have now? We have nothing. We’ve spent $3 trillion and probably much more – I have no idea what we’ve spent. Thousands and thousands of lives, we have nothing. Wounded warriors all over the place who I love, we have nothing for it.

And by the way – and Ben said incorrectly – and I’m not saying this as a knock – he’s one of finest men. You’re not going to find a finer men.

But I’ve been talking about oil for three years. I’ve been saying,, “take the oil, take the oil.” I didn’t say, “just bomb it,” I said,” take it and use it and distribute it so that the wounded warriors -” People, I’ve been saying this now for many years.

BLITZER: All right.

TRUMP: Now, all of a sudden everybody’s saying, “take the oil.” It wasn’t so fashionable to take the oil six months ago. I’ve been saying it for years.

BLITZER: Thank you.

FIORINA: We’ve mismanaged going into Iraq.

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, is the Middle East…

FIORINA: We’ve mismanaged going out of Iraq.

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, is the Middle East better off with dictators?

CARSON: No one is ever better off with dictators but there comes a time you know, when you’re on an airplane, they always say, “in case of an emergency oxygen masks will drop down. Put yours on first and then administer help to your neighbor.” We need oxygen right now.

And we need to start thinking about the needs of the American people before we go and solve everybody else’s problems. The fact of the matter is, is that the Middle East has been in turmoil for thousands of years. For us to think that we’re going to in there and fix that with a couple of little bombs and a few little decorations is relatively foolish.

FIORINA: We actually…

BLITZER: Governor Bush.

BUSH: I think we’re focusing a whole…

BLITZER: Hold on Governor Bush., here’s the question. You said, “getting rid of Saddam Hussein in your words was a pretty good deal.” In light of what has happened in Iraq, do you still feel that way?

BUSH: I do. I think the lesson’s learned are that we have to have to have a strategy to get and a strategy to get out. Which means, that you create a stable situation.

This president and this is what the focus ought to be, it’s not the differences between us, it’s Barack Obama does not believe America’s leadership in the world is a force for good. He does not believe that our strength is a place where security can take place. He leads from behind. He creates an environment that now we’re creating the most unstable situation we’ve had since the World War II era.

The focus ought to be on the single fact that Hillary Clinton wants to double down on a failed foreign policy and we need to be united to defeat that because we’re going to be in a place that is far less secure than it is today. Don’t you all agree?

BLITZER: Senator Paul, was getting rid of Saddam Hussein a pretty good deal?

PAUL: These are the fundamental questions of our time, these foreign policy questions, whether or not regime change is a good idea or a bad idea. I don’t think because I think the regime change was a bad idea it means that Hussein was necessarily a good idea.

There is often variations of evil on both sides of the war. What we have to decide is whether or not regime change is a good idea. It’s what the neoconservatives have wanted. It’s what the vast majority of those on the stage want.

They still want regime change. They want it in Syria. They wanted it in Iraq. They want it in Libya. It has not worked.

Out of regime change you get chaos. From the chaos you have seen repeatedly the rise of radical Islam. So we get this profession of, oh, my goodness, they want to do something about terrorism and yet they’re the problem because they allow terrorism to arise out of that chaos.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Hugh Hewitt, go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hugh.

CRUZ: The question of whether we should toppling dictatorships is asking the wrong question. We should be defeating our enemies. So the problem with defeating…

BLITZER: Senator, Senator, we’re going to get to you. Wait your turn. We have two hours of debate. We’ll have plenty of time. Let Hugh ask his question.

CRUZ: Well, but let me explain, the focus should be…

BLITZER: Senator, please.

CRUZ: … on defeating our enemies. So, for example…

BLITZER: Senator… CRUZ: … a regime we should change is Iran…

BLITZER: You’ll have plenty of opportunity.

Hugh, go ahead.

CRUZ: … because Iran has declared war on us. But we shouldn’t be toppling regimes…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: … that are fighting radical Islamic terrorists that are helping…

BLITZER: These are the rules all of you agreed to.

Hugh, go ahead with your question.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump, we are talking about the most important thing, that’s why it’s heated. And it’s, you are OK with Mr. Assad staying in power, but you are also in favor of winning.

If he stays in power, Iran is winning, Hezbollah is winning. Iran is winning in Yemen. They are winning everywhere. If they are winning how can we be winning?

TRUMP: I think Assad is a bad guy, a very bad guy, all right? Lots of people killed. I think we are backing people we have no idea who they are. The rebels, we call them the rebels, the patriotic rebels. We have no idea. A lot of people think, Hugh, that they are ISIS.

We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS. He is fighting ISIS. Russia is fighting now ISIS. And Iran is fighting ISIS.

We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t go — and I watched Lindsey Graham, he said, I have been here for 10 years fighting. Well, he will be there with that thinking for another 50 years. He won’t be able to solve the problem.

We have to get rid of ISIS first. After we get rid of ISIS, we’ll start thinking about it. But we can’t be fighting Assad. And when you’re fighting Assad, you are fighting Russia, you’re fighting — you’re fighting a lot of different groups.

But we can’t be fighting everybody at one time.

HEWITT: Governor Christie, is he right? Because if we step back, Iran goes nuclear. Is Donald Trump right?

CHRISTIE: Well, I think we have to focus, Hugh, on exactly what the priorities are. And to me, what I’ve always said is that the president has set up an awful situation through his deal with Iran, because what his deal with Iran has done is empower them and enrich them. And that’s the way ISIS has been created and formed here. ISIS is created and formed because of the abuse that Assad and his Iranian sponsors have rained down on the Sunnis in Syria.

And so when we empower Iran, this is why this president — and when Hillary Clinton says her theory against ISIS will be just about the same as the president, then get ready for more unrest and more murder and more violence in the Middle East.

We need to focus our attention on Iran, because if you miss Iran, you are not going to get ISIS. The two are inextricably connected because one causes the other.

HEWITT: Senator Paul, let me ask you, you heard Governor Kasich say Assad must go. Do you agree?

PAUL: No, I think it’s a huge mistake. I think regime change in Syria, and this is what — I’ve been saying this for several years now. In 2013 when we first went in, I said, you are going to give arms to the allies of al Qaida, to radical jihadists? That’s crazy.

But the other thing I said is the great irony is you will be back fighting against your own weapons. Had Assad been bombed when he used chemical weapons two years ago, ISIS would be in charge of all of Syria now.

We have to have a more realistic foreign policy and not a utopian one where we say, oh, we’re going to spread freedom and democracy, and everybody in the Middle East is going to love us. They are not going to love us.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: The foreign policy, you have to know how to pick and choose. There’s no way, if Saddam had not had weapons of mass destruction, I would have gone, because I don’t believe that the U.S. should be involved directly in civil wars.

I opposed the U.S. involvement in Lebanon. We ended up having to withdraw our marines after our barracks were blown up.

There is a difference between Iraq, where you have Sunni, Shia, and Kurds put together after the First World War by the Western powers. It doesn’t work. It needs to break up into three parts.

KASICH: And for the Russians, frankly, it’s time that we punched the Russians in the nose. They’ve gotten away with too much in this world and we need to stand up against them, not just there, but also in Eastern Europe where they threaten some of our most precious allies.

BLITZER: Let’s continue with Russia right now. We have another question from Facebook. Listen and watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: My name is Ashley Tofil. Ms. Fiorina, in November, you said that you would not talk to Vladimir Putin after you were elected because you would be communicating from a position of weakness. Do you believe that it is feasible to not communicate with another world leader? And do you think that that also is a sign of weakness?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Ms. Fiorina, as you know, U.S. and Russian warplanes are flying all over Syria right now. With so many lives on the line, is this a good time for the United States not to talk to Putin?

FIORINA: I didn’t say I would cut off all communication with Putin. What I said was as president of the United States, now is not the time to talk with him. Reagan walked away at Reykjavik. There is a time and a place for everything. There is a time and a place for talk. And there is a time and a place for action.

I know Vladimir Putin. He respects strength. He lied to our president’s face; didn’t both to tell him about warplanes and troops going into Syria. We need to speak to him from a position of strength. So as commander in chief, I will not speak to him until we’ve set up that no-fly zone; until we’ve gathered our Sunni-Arab allies and begun to deny ISIS territory; until I’ve called the supreme leader of Iran and told him new deal — new deal. We the United States of America are going to cut off the money flow, which we can do; which we don’t need anyone’s permission or collaboration to do.

And I will not speak to him personally until we’ve rebuilt the 6th Fleet a little bit right under his nose; rebuilt the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose; and conducted a few military exercises in the Baltic states.

And let us remember one other thing. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are responsible for the growth of ISIS because they precipitously withdrew from Iraq in 2011 against the advice of every single general and for political expediency. It’s not these people up here. It’s Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

Governor Christie, if the U.S. imposed a no-fly zone over Syria and a Russian plane encroached, invaded that no-fly zone, would you be prepared to shoot down that Russian plane and risk war with Russia?

CHRISTIE: Not only would I be prepared to do it, I would do it. A no-fly zone means a no-fly zone, Wolf. That’s what it means.

(APPLAUSE)

See, maybe — maybe because I’m from New Jersey, I just have this kind of plain language hangup. But I would make very clear — I would not talk to Vladimir Putin. In fact, I would talk to Vladimir Putin a lot. But I’d say to him, “Listen, Mr. President, there’s a no-fly zone in Syria; you fly in, it applies to you.” And yes, we would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if in fact they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Senator Paul — Senator Paul, I want you to respond to what we just heard from Governor Christie. If there was a no-fly zone, you say that potentially could lead to World War III. Why?

PAUL: Well, I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate. You know, here’s…

(APPLAUSE)

… the thing. My goodness, what we want in a leader is someone with judgment, not someone who is so reckless as to stand on the stage and say, “Yes, I’m jumping up and down; I’m going to shoot down Russian planes.” Russia already flies in that airspace. It may not be something we’re in love with the fact that they’re there, but they were invited by Iraq and by Syria to fly in that airspace.

And so if we announce we’re going to have a no-fly zone, and others have said this. Hillary Clinton is also for it. It is a recipe for disaster. It’s a recipe for World War III. We need to confront Russia from a position of strength, but we don’t need to confront Russia from a point of recklessness that would lead to war.

This is something — this type of judgment, you know, it’s having that kind of judgment; who you would appoint and how you’re going to conduct affairs, that is incredibly important.

I mean, I think when we think about the judgment of someone who might want World War III, we might think about someone who might shut down a bridge because they don’t like their friends; they don’t want to — you know, they want to (inaudible) a Democrat.

So I think we need to be very careful.

BLITZER: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: Well, Wolf, I’ll tell you what reckless is. What reckless is is calling Assad a reformer. What reckless is allowing Russia to come into Crimea and Ukraine. What reckless is is inviting Russia into Syria to team with Iran. That is reckless. And the reckless people are the folks in the White House right now. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the reckless people.

CHRISTIE: And if you think that a no-fly zone is a reckless policy, you’re welcome to your opinion. But how is it working so far? As we have 250,000 Syrians murdered, slaughtered; millions running around the world, running for their lives. It’s not working. We need to try something else. And that is not reckless.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: All right, let’s go back — Hugh and Dana?

HEWITT: Governor Bush, a commander-in-chief question. You’ve said that Mr. Trump is not qualified to be president because he’s not qualified to deal with Vladimir Putin. Why are you better qualified to deal with Vladimir Putin than Mr. Trump?

BUSH: Because I — first of all, I know what I don’t know. I know what I don’t know. I would seek out, as I have, the best advice that exists. I won’t get my information from the shows. I don’t know if that’s Saturday morning or Sunday morning. I don’t know which one.

(LAUGHTER)

I will seek out the best advice, and I will create a strategy and I will persuade the American people what the role of America should be. I’ve laid out a policy of rebuilding our military.

All of the talk that we’re seeing here — most of which I agree on, frankly — requires a much stronger military. We now have a lack of readiness that is quite scary. We have planes that were — that Harry Truman inaugurated, the B-52. We have — the Navy has been gutted and decimated. The readiness of the Marines is way down.

If we’re serious about America’s leadership in the world, then we need to make sure that we have the back of the armed forces. The Armed Forces Radio is here listening to this today. I hope they know that if I’m president, I’ll be a commander-in-chief, not an agitator- in-chief or a divider-in-chief, that I will lead this country in a way that will create greater security and greater safety.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I think it’s very sad that CNN leads Jeb Bush, Governor Bush, down a road by starting off virtually all the questions, “Mr. Trump this, Mister” — I think it’s very sad. And, frankly, I watched — I think it’s very sad. And, frankly, I watched the first debate, and the first long number of questions were, “Mr. Trump said this, Mr. Trump said that. Mr. Trump” — these poor guys — although, I must tell you, Santorum, good guy. Governor Huckabee, good guy. They were very nice, and I respect them greatly. But I thought it was very unfair that virtually the entire early portion of the debate was Trump this, Trump that, in order to get ratings, I guess. In order to get ratings, I guess.

HEWITT: But, Mr. Trump, it’s not CNN — I was on CNN last night…

TRUMP: I just think it’s very — excuse me.

HEWITT: … watching…

TRUMP: Excuse me. I think it’s very unprofessional.

HEWITT: But it wasn’t — it wasn’t CNN. It was me. I watched you last night for 16 minutes. It’s not CNN.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Well, I think it’s very unprofessional.

HEWITT: It’s not CNN. It’s America’s watching you.

TRUMP: OK, fine.

HEWITT: It’s America’s watching.

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: So I was — I was — I was mentioned, so I can bring up something, I think, right? Look, the simple fact is, if you think this is tough you’re not being treated fairly…

TRUMP: This isn’t tough and easy. I wish it…

BUSH: … imagine what it’s going to be like dealing with Putin or dealing with President Xi.

TRUMP: I wish it was always this easy as you, Jeb.

BUSH: Or dealing with the Islamic terrorism that exists.

TRUMP: Oh, yeah.

BUSH: This is a tough business to run for president.

TRUMP: Oh, I know. You’re a tough guy, Jeb. I know.

BUSH: And it’s — and we need…

(LAUGHTER)

… to have a leader that is…

(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: You’re tough.

BUSH: You’re never going to be president of the United States by insulting your way to the presidency.

TRUMP: Well, let’s see. I’m at 42, and you’re at 3. So, so far, I’m doing better.

BUSH: Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter.

TRUMP: So far, I’m doing better. You know, you started off over here, Jeb. You’re moving over further and further. Pretty soon you’re going to be off the end…

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: This doesn’t do a thing to solve the problems.

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: It doesn’t do a thing to solve the problems.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: One at a time. Hugh, go ahead.

KASICH: It sounds more and more what my daughter said that I said in the beginning, all the fighting and arguing is not advancing us.

FIORINA: It will not solve the problem.

KASICH: It is not the way we’re going to strengthen our country. We will strengthen our country when we come together.

(APPLAUSE)

And, look, you’ve got Rand Paul, you’ve got Ted Cruz, you’ve got Marco, you’ve got a lot of people on this stage that have studied these issues. You know what a leader does? A leader has a sound program, has a good policy, and then brings people together to solve problems.

(APPLAUSE)

Guess what? Both in Congress in balancing the budget and in Ohio fixing the economy — and, by the way, we talk about the fence. The first thing we better get going is strengthening our economy, because if we don’t have a strong economy, we can’t pay for all of this. And the world wants us to be able to function from strength, believe it or not. Get our economy going, get these people together in a room. We can fix this, ladies and gentlemen.

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: We don’t have to fight all the time. It can be done, and we will be great…

HEWITT: Governor — thank you, Governor.

KASICH: … when we join together. Thank you, Hugh.

HEWITT: Dr. Carson, commander-in-chief question again. You’ve been the head of neurosurgery for a big hospital. You’re on a lot of boards of a lot of companies. You’ve traveled the world. You’re going traveling again next week. But does that prepare you to command troops from Djibouti to Japan, troops from Afghanistan to Iraq to be in charge of the men and women watching on Armed Services Network tonight?

CARSON: Well, you know, there’s a false narrative that only the political class has the wisdom and the ability to be commander-in- chief. But if you go back and you study the design of our country, it was really designed for the citizen statesman.

And we need to be talking about where does your experience come from? You know, and I’ve had a lot of experience building things, organizing things, you know, a national scholarship program.

One of the things that you’ll notice if you look through my life is that I don’t do a lot of talking. I do a lot of doing. And really, it says more about a person than how much they talk. And then some people say you’re weak because, you know, you’re not loud and you’re not boisterous and you’re not rude. But the fact of the matter is, look and see what I’ve done. And that speaks volumes about strength.

BASH: Thank you, Dr. Carson. We’ve been talking tonight about programs and policy proposals that you all have to keep Americans safe and it’s a big discussion on the campaign trail. Also about border security and immigration. So let’s talk about immigration.

Senator Rubio. You co-authored a bill with Democrats two years ago that allowed a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Do you still support that path to citizenship, which means giving those immigrants rights, like the right to vote?

RUBIO: Yeah. Immigration is not an issue that I read about in the newspaper or watch a documentary on PBS or CNN. It’s an issues I’ve lived around my whole life. My family are immigrants. My wife’s family are immigrants. All of my neighbors are immigrants.

I see every aspect of this problem. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And here’s what we learned in 2013. The American people don’t trust the Federal Government to enforce our immigration laws, and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control. And we can do that. We know what it takes to do that.

It takes at least 20,000 more additional border agents. It takes completing those 700 miles of fencing. It takes a mandatory e-verify system and a mandatory entry/exit tracking system to prevent overstays. After we have done that, the second thing we have to do is reform and modernize the legal immigration system. And after we have done those two things, I think the American people are gonna be reasonable with what do you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 or 12 years who hasn’t otherwise violated our laws — because if they’re a criminal they can’t stay. They’ll have to undergo a background check, pay a fine, start paying taxes. And ultimately, they’ll given a work permit and that’s all they’re gonna be allowed to have for at least 10 years. But you can’t get to that third step until you have done the other two things, and that was the lesson we learned in 2013. There is no trust that the Federal Government will enforce the law. They will not support you until you see it done first.

BASH: Senator, you haven’t answered the question. You described a very long path but does that path end at citizenship?

RUBIO: But I’ve answered that question repeatedly. I am personally open — after all that has happened and after ten years in that probationary status where all they have is a permit, I personally am open to allowing people to apply for a green card.

That may not be a majority position in my party, but that’s down the road. You can’t even begin that process until you prove to people — not just pass a law that says you’re gonna bring illegal immigration under control. You’re gonna have to do it and prove to people that it’s working.

And that was the lesson of 2013. And it’s more true today, than it was then. After a migratory crisis on the border with minors coming over that you’re seeing start up again now, after all these executive orders the President has issued. More than ever we need to…

BASH: Thank you, senator.

RUBIO: … prove to people that illegal immigration is under control.

BASH: Thank you, senator. Senator Cruz.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Cruz, on the campaign trail, Senator Rubio has said that his immigration plan is not that different from yours. Is that true?

CRUZ: Well, he — he has attempted to muddy the waters, but I think that anyone who watched the battle that we had. You know, there was a time for choosing as Reagan put it. Where there was a battle over amnesty and some chose, like Senator Rubio to stand with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and support a massive amnesty plan.

Others chose to stand with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and the American people and secure the border.

And let me mention, this issue is actually directly connected to what we’ve been talking about. Because the front line with ISIS isn’t just in Iraq and Syria, it’s in Kennedy Airport and the Rio Grande. Border security is national security. And, you know, one of the most troubling aspects of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight Bill was that it gave President Obama blanket authority to admit refugees, including Syrian refugees without mandating any background checks whatsoever. Now we’ve seen what happened in San Bernardino. When you are letting people in, when the FBI can’t vet them, it puts American citizens at risk. And I tell you, if I’m elected president, we will secure the border. We will triple the border patrol. We will build a wall that works and I’ll get Donald Trump to pay for it.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Rubio, please.

RUBIO: Yeah, a couple points. In 2013 we had never faced a crisis like the Syrian refugee crisis now. Up until that point, a refugee meant someone fleeing oppression, fleeing Communism like it is in my community.

As far as Ted’s record, I’m always puzzled by his attack on this issue. Ted, you support legalizing people who are in this country illegally. Ted Cruz supported a 500-percent increase in the number of H-1 visas, the guest workers that are allowed into this country, and Ted supports doubling the number of green cards.

So I think what’s important for us to understand and there is a way forward on this issue that we an bring our country together on. And while I’m president I will do it. And it will begin by bringing illegal immigration under control and proving to the American people.

BASH: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Look, I understand Marco wants to raise confusion, it is not accurate what he just said that I supported legalization. Indeed, I led the fight against his legalization and amnesty. And you know, there was one commentator that put it this way that, for Marco to suggest our record’s the same is like suggesting “the fireman and the arsonist because they are both at the scene of the fire.”

He was fighting to grant amnesty and not to secure the border, I was fighting to secure the border. And this also goes to trust, listening on to campaign trails. Candidates all the time make promises. You know, Marco said,” he learned that the American people didn’t trust the federal government.”

BASH: Senator Cruz?

RUBIO: No, no, give him time.

CRUZ: In Florida promising to…

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: Ted, do you…

CRUZ: go in the fight against amnesty…

RUBIO: Did Ted Cruz fight to support legalizing people that are in this country illegally?

CRUZ: He campaigned promising to lead the fight against amnesty.

FIORINA: Ladies and gentleman, this is why the American people are standing up.

BASH: Senator Cruz, can you answer that question please?

RUBIO: Does Ted Cruz rule out ever legalizing people that are in this country now?

BASH: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ; I have never supported a legalization…

RUBIO: Would you rule it out?

CRUZ : I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization. Let me tell you how you do this, what you do is you enforce the law…

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: This is why the nation is fed up…

BASH: One at a time please.

CRUZ: Watt you do is enforcement the law…

FIORINA: We have been talking about this…

BASH: Ms. Fiorina, please wait your turn, we’re going to get to you.

FIORINA: Sorry, but you haven’t gotten to me. This is why…

CRUZ: What you do…

BASH: Senator Cruz go ahead.

FIORINA: the people are fed up with the political class.

CRUZ: What you do is you enforce the law. I’ve laid out a very, very detailed immigration plan on my website, tedcruz.org. It’s 11 pages of existing federal law and in particular the question of what to do with people who are here now? You enforce the law.

That means you stop the Obama administration’s policy of releasing criminal illegal aliens. Do you know how many aliens Bill Clinton deported? 12 million. Do you know how many illegal aliens, George W. Bush deported? 10 million.

We can enforce the laws and if we secure the border, that solves the problem. And as president I will solve this problem and secure the border.

BASH: Mr. Trump, you like to say that you restarted this conversation in the campaign. TRUMP: I believe I did.

BASH: So who do you side with? Who do you side with in this, Senator Rubio or Senator Cruz?

TRUMP: I have a very hardline position, we have a country or we don’t have a country. People that have come into our country illegally, they have to go. They have to come back into through a legal process.

I want a strong border. I do want a wall. Walls do work, you just have to speak to the folks in Israel. Walls work if they’re properly constructed. I know how to build, believe me, I know how to build.

I feel a very, very strong bind, and really I’m bound to this country, we either have a border or we don’t. People can come into the country, we welcome people to come but they have to come in legally.

BASH: Thank you.

Governor Bush?

BUSH: Yes.

BASH: Listening to this, do you think this is the tone — this immigration debate that republicans need to take to win back Hispanics into our party especially states like where we are in Nevada that has a pretty Hispanic community?

BUSH: No it isn’t but it is an important subject to talk about for sure. And I think people have good ideas on this. Clearly, we need to secure the border. Coming here legally needs to be a lot easier than coming here illegally.

If you don’t have that, you don’t have the rule of law. We now have a national security consideration, public health issues, we have an epidemic of heroine overdoses in all places in this country because of the ease of bringing heroine in. We have to secure the border.

It is a serious undertaking and yes, we do need more fencing and we do need to use technology, and we do need more border control. And we need to have better cooperation by the way with local law enforcement. There are 800,000 cops on the beat, they ought to be trained to be the eyes and ears for law enforcement for the threat against terror as well as for immigration.

This is a serious challenge and if we can get it right, yes, we’ll start winning votes again. The real problem isn’t anybody on this stage, the real problem is Barack Obama has had six years to advocate a position to fix this and he’s done nothing. The congress has funded these programs of building more fencing and doing all this and he hasn’t done it.

He wants to maintain it as a wedge issue and so does Hillary Clinton. Republicans need to fix it and when we do, we’ll be better off.

BLITZER: Governor, thank you very much.

BLITZER: So, Dr. Carson, you recently visited a refugee camp in Jordan and you deemed it your words, “really quite nice.” Saying the people there didn’t want to come to the United States. Do you think these camps are a long-term solution of the problem of Syrian refugees?

CARSON: Well, it was very interesting having an opportunity to talk to the Syrians themselves. And I asked them: What do you want? What is your supreme desire? Their supreme desire was to be settled back in their own country. I said, “What can Americans and other countries do?” They said, “Support the efforts of those who are trying to provide safety for us, including the Jordanians.”

Of course, they had a brand new hospital, for instance, that was unstaffed because there wasn’t enough money to do it. But here’s what’s really neat. If you go into Hasakah province in northeast Syria, that’s an area that’s as big as Lebanon. It’s controlled by the Kurds, the Christians and the moderate Sunnis. And there are airstrips and hotels. You could settle a lot of people there.

All we would have to do is be willing to provide them with some weaponry, some defensive weaponry. And we seem to be afraid to give the Kurds weaponry. We like to send it for some strange reason through Baghdad, and then they only get a tenth of it.

And if we would support them, we’d have a perfect ideal there. We don’t need to set this up as we either take a bunch of refugees who will be infiltrated with terrorists, I guarantee you. For them not to be would be terrorist malpractice. And we need to — to choose the right choice, not these false choices.

BLITZER: Senator Paul, you oppose letting in Syrian refugees at this time into the United States. The U.S. has already accepted 2,000 Syrian refugees, including 13 living here in Las Vegas right now. Would you send them back? What would you do with these people?

PAUL: You know, I think we need to set the record straight on this, because I think Marco misspoke about the bill. On the Gang of Eight bill, there was no provisions really for extra scrutiny or safety for refugees. At the time the bill came up, two Iraqi refugees came to my home town, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Their fingerprints were on a bomb from Iraq. They were in the database, but we didn’t pick them up.

We relocated them here, put them in government housing, got them on food stamps. And we began providing for them, but we didn’t have adequate security. On the Gang of Eight bill, on Marco’s bill, we had an opportunity. There was a conservative consensus for an amendment I put forward called Trust, But Verify that would have strengthened border security on both refugees, students and those coming here. And Marco sided and I guess was more sympathetic to Chuck Schumer and to the president than he was to conservative principles.

But this goes directly to national defense. And if he wants to run as a national — national defense conservative, he’s got to explain why he hasn’t stepped up to support border security.

BLITZER: Senator Rubio?

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: Well, he’s just admitted — as he’s just admitted, the reason why those refugees were allowed in was because they messed up in how they used the actual database. They should have know. They didn’t because they didn’t run the actual law as it exists now. It didn’t work well.

As far as the refugees are concerned, it’s not that America doesn’t want to accept refugees, Wolf. It’s that we may not be able to, because this is an issue we have to be 100 percent right on. If we allow 9,999 Syrian refugees into the United States, and all of them are good people, but we allow one person in who’s an ISIS killer — we just get one person wrong, we’ve got a serious problem.

And there is not a single person in the national defense apparatus of this country that can guarantee you are going to be 100 percent right. And that’s why as president, I’ll take this very seriously.

BLITZER: Senator Paul, you didn’t answer the question about the 2,000 Syrian refugees who are already here in the United States. Will you send them back or let them stay?

PAUL: What my bill would do would be only for refugees going forward. So I haven’t taken a position on sending anyone home. But I have taken the position that we have a lot of problems here in our country. And that one of the things that we do — charity is about giving your own money. Charity isn’t giving someone else’s money. To put everyone in government housing and food stamps and bring them in from around the world I think is a mistake. To give of your own money, I’ve given to my church. My church has helped people that came from Bosnia. That’s a good thing.

But we shouldn’t have a program where we just say that we’re going to take care of the world’s refugees. Nobody in the Middle East is doing anything. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait — all the Gulf nations are doing nothing. They need to step up and take…

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: We have another — we have another question. We have another question from Facebook. Let’s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: My name is Carla Hernandez. I’m from the University of Texas at Austin. And my question is directed to all the candidates.

If the Bible clearly states that we need to embrace those in need and not fear, how can we justify not accepting refugees?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Governor Christie, you say there should be a pause in allowing new refugees to come into the United States, including orphans under the age of five. What do you say to Carla?

CHRISTIE: What I say to Carla is that the first job of the president of the United States is to protect your safety and your security and the security and safety of your family. And this debate stops with me in the discussions with the FBI director.

CHRISTIE: Now, listen, I’m a former federal prosecutor, I know Jim Comey. We’ve worked together. He was the U.S. attorney in Manhattan when I was a U.S. attorney in New Jersey.

And when Jim Comey gets up before Congress and says, we cannot effectively vet these people, for me as president, that’s the end of the conversation. We have to put America’s security first.

(APPLAUSE)

The American people — we on this stage need to open our ears. We need to open our ears. The American people are not whispering to us. They are screaming to us. And they’re screaming to us that it’s our job to actually make this government work.

It’s so dysfunctional under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It’s so ineffective. It’s so ineffectual that the American people say, we don’t trust them to do anything anymore. So I’m not going to let Syrian refugees, any Syrian refugees in this country.

And it was widows and orphans, by the way, and we now know from watching the San Bernardino attack that women can commit heinous, heinous acts against humanity just the same as men can do it.

And so I don’t back away from that position for a minute. When the FBI director tells me that he can vet those people, then we’ll consider it and not a moment before because your safety and security is what’s most important to me.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Kasich.

KASICH: You know, obviously, as president of the United States, we’ve got to keep the people safe. That’s first and foremost.

But as governor of Ohio, I have an obligation to keep the 11.5 million people in Ohio safe. And we have been very effective with our Joint Terrorism Task Force, being able to make busts.

In fact, we just made one three-four weeks ago against a person who was favorable to ISIS living in Akron.

But let me tell you what is interesting about the administration. We had Central American miners that were placed in Ohio, and we never knew a thing about it. We didn’t know where they were. And, in fact, we know now that some of them, there is a case going on where some of them may have been human-trafficked.

So when the administration tells me we have a great vetting process, the proof is in the pudding. They sent these miners to us. Our schools were disrupted. We didn’t know where they were. And bad things happened to them. And now they tell me that we ought to be able to admit these Syrian refugees.

So, Wolf, look, people have accused me at times of having too big of a heart. You know, that’s OK. But I have to also to say I must keep the people of my state safe. So we take a pause.

BLITZER: Thank you, Governor.

There is much more coming up. We are only just beginning. Coming up, what other global hot spots await the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to the CNN-Facebook Republican Presidential Debate. We’re here at the Venetian Las Vegas. Tonight we have been focusing on the Middle East, but let’s turn to some other world threats that you will potentially face as Commander in Chief.

Ms. Fiorina, candidates here have called the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un a maniac who is mentally unstable. Last week he said he now has a hydrogen bomb. If you were elected president, what would you do about Kim Jong-Un?

FIORINA: Well, first, Kim Jong-Un is a dangerous leader, without a doubt. And both Republican and Democrat administrations have been completely ineffective in dealing with him. So we must continue to isolate him. We will need China as part of that strategy.

China is a rising adversary. So one of the things we have to do if we want China’s support is to push back on China. They, too, recognize one thing — strength and their own economic interest.

I have done business in China for 25 years, so I know that in order to get China to cooperate with us, we must first actually retaliate against their cyber-attacks so they know we’re serious. We have to push back on their desire to control the trade route through the South China Sea through which flows $5 trillion worth of goods and services every year.

We cannot let them control the disputed islands, and we must work with the Australians, the South Koreans, the Japanese and the Filipinos to contain China. And then we must ask for their support and their help with North Korea. Because believe it or not, China is as concerned about Kim Jong-Un as we are.

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, what would you do about Kim Jong-Un?

CARSON: Well, I definitely believe that he is unstable, and I do, in fact, believe that China has a lot more influence with him than we do. But we also recognize that North Korea is in severe financial straits, and they have decided to use their resources to build their military, rather than to feed their people and to take care of the various humanitarian responsibilities that they have.

We can capitalize upon that. You know, we should use our economic power in lots of different ways. I think we can use that in order to keep Putin contained, because he is a one-horse show. Energy. And we have an abundance of energy, but we have archaic energy exportation rules. We need to get rid of those, allow ourselves to really make Europe dependent on us and other parts of the world dependent on us for energy. Put him back in his little box where he belongs.

And, you know, we need to be doing lots of other things with the resources that we have. So economic power works just as well as military power, perhaps even better. And speaking of that, our Military needs to be upgraded. You know, you look at things like our Ohio Class submarines, they’re 25 years old. Our minuteman 3 missiles — they are 34 years old. Our B-52 bombers — 50 years old. You know, if we don’t get the military right nothing else matters.

BLITZER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. Dana and Hugh you have questions as well.

BASH: Governor Christie, you’ve said if China launches a cyber- attack against the U.S. on your watch, “they’re going to see cyber- warfare like they have never seen before.” What exactly would that response look like?

CHRISTIE: Well, what it would like is, we have one of the great advantages of America being the open society that we are. It is, we are not hiding things from the American people, but China everyday is conducting business in a way that hides things from their people.

CHRISTIE: So if they want to come in and attack all the personnel records in the federal government, which they’ve done, and which — they now have my Social Security number and my fingerprints, as well as maybe some other folks’ who are on this stage.

The fact is, they need to be fought back on. And what we need to do is go at the things that they are most sensitive and most embarrassing to them; that they’re hiding; get that information and put it out in public. Let the Chinese people start to digest how corrupt the Chinese government is; how they steal from the Chinese people; and how they’re enriching oligarchs all throughout China.

They need to understand that. And we need to take those type of steps. This president has seen personnel records of people who have sacrificed for the American people and for the federal government stolen by the Chinese and he’s done nothing in return. This is why — this is what I said at the beginning that this administration, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton through their foreign policy, have betrayed the American people, because the weakness they’ve displayed has led to Putin’s incursions in the Middle East and in eastern Europe, and has led — has led to significant problems in the Middle East as well, and the death and murder of lots of folks.

BASH: Governor Bush, what you just heard from Governor Christie, are you concerned that that could really escalate with China, that they would retaliate? And, for example, as the NSA has said, attack the U.S. and maybe it’s power grid, which the Chinese have the capability to do?

BUSH: I completely agree with Chris. And this administration has been so lax. Think about it. Hillary Clinton is using a private server for — where classified information go by. This is a — this is a serious administration?

The president receives an inspector general’s report that the Office of Personnel Management could be hacked into; they had antiquated firewalls; 23 million files have been — are in the hands of the Chinese allegedly, including, by the way, members of the press, it turns out, last week. Maybe that’s the only part that’s good news, so that you guys can get a feel for what it’s like now to see this type of attack.

This is something — we have to have the best defensive capabilities. We need to coordinate all of our efforts with the private sector. We need to give them liability relief so that we can do that. And offensively, we need to have capabilities second to none. We need to create a situation where they know that there will be adverse impacts if they continue to do what they’re doing.

They’ll respect that. They’ll respect a United States that is serious about protecting our — our infrastructure. If we don’t do it, we’ll continue to see what’s — exactly what’s happening, not just from the Chinese, by the way. The Russians and rogue actors, including ISIS — this is a serious part of the 21st century security challenge that we face.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump…

(APPLAUSE)

… Dr. Carson just referenced the single most important job of the president, the command, the control and the care of our nuclear forces. And he mentioned the triad. The B-52s are older than I am. The missiles are old. The submarines are aging out. It’s an executive order. It’s a commander-in-chief decision.

What’s your priority among our nuclear triad?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who is totally responsible; who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important. And one of the things that I’m frankly most proud of is that in 2003, 2004, I was totally against going into Iraq because you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. I called it. I called it very strongly. And it was very important.

But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game. Frankly, I would have said get out of Syria; get out — if we didn’t have the power of weaponry today. The power is so massive that we can’t just leave areas that 50 years ago or 75 years ago we wouldn’t care. It was hand-to-hand combat.

The biggest problem this world has today is not President Obama with global warming, which is inconceivable, this is what he’s saying. The biggest problem we have is nuclear — nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That’s in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now.

HEWITT: Of the three legs of the triad, though, do you have a priority? I want to go to Senator Rubio after that and ask him.

TRUMP: I think — I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.

HEWITT: Senator Rubio, do you have a response?

RUBIO: I do. First, let’s explain to people at home who the triad — what the triad is. Maybe a lot of people haven’t heard that terminology before. The triad is our ability of the United States to conduct nuclear attacks using airplanes, using missiles launched from silos or from the ground, and also from our nuclear subs’ ability to attack. And it’s important — all three of them are critical. It gives us the ability at deterrence.

Now, some have become more critical than others; for example, the submarines. And that’s the Ohio Class submarine that needs to be modernized. The air component also needs to be modernized. The B-52, as someone earlier pointed out, is an outdated model that was flown by the grandparents of people that are flying it now. And we need a serious modernization program as well on our silo-launched missiles. All three are critical for the defense of the country.

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator Rubio.

Some of you on this stage have questioned whether your opponents have temperament, the right temperament, to be in control of the nuclear codes.

Dana, you have a question on this?

BASH: Mr. Trump, just this weekend you said Senator Cruz is not qualified to be president because he doesn’t have the right temperament and acted like a maniac when he arrived in the Senate. But last month you said you were open to naming Senator Cruz as your running mate.

TRUMP: I did.

BASH: So why would you be willing to put somebody who’s a maniac one heartbeat away from the presidency?

TRUMP: Let me just say that I have gotten to know him over the last three or four days. He has a wonderful temperament.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: He’s just fine. Don’t worry about it.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Okay.

Senator Cruz. Senator Cruz, you have not been willing to attack Mr. Trump in public.

TRUMP: You better not attack…

(LAUGHTER)

BASH: But you did question his judgment in having control of American’s nuclear arsenal during a private meeting with supporters. Why are you willing to say things about him in private and not in public?

CRUZ: Dana, what I said in private is exactly what I’ll say here, which is that the judgment that every voter is making of every one of us up here is who has the experience, who has the vision, who has the judgment to be commander in chief. That is the most important decision for the voters to make. That’s a standard I’m held to. And it’s a standard everyone else is held to.

And I will note, you know, in the whole course of this discussion about our foreign policy threats, it actually illustrates the need for clarity of focus.

You know, my daughters, Caroline and Catherine, came tonight. They’re 7 and 5. And you think about the Los Angeles schools canceling their schools today.

And every parent is wondering, how do we keep our kids safe? We need a commander in chief who does what Ronald Reagan did with communism, which is he set out a global strategy to defeat Soviet communism. And he directed all of his…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: I’m answering the question, Dana.

He directed all of his forces to defeating communism.

One of the things we’ve seen here is how easy it is for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to get distracted from dealing with radical Islamic terrorism. They won’t even call it by its name.

We need a president who stands up, number one, and says, we will defeat ISIS. And number two, says the greatest national security threat facing America is a nuclear Iran.

BASH: Senator, senator, I just…

CRUZ: And we need to be focused on defeating…

BASH: Senator, a lot of people have seen…

CRUZ: … defeating radical Islamic terrorists.

BASH: … a lot of people have seen these comments you made in private. I just want to clarify what you’re saying right now is you do believe Mr. Trump has the judgment to be commander in chief?

CRUZ: What I’m saying, Dana, is that is a judgment for every voter to make. What I can tell you is all nine of the people here would make an infinitely better commander in chief than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you, senator. Thank you.

CRUZ: And there is a real danger, Dana, when people get distracted.

I’m answering the question, Wolf.

CRUZ: There’s a real danger when people get distracted by peripheral issues. They get distracted by democracy building. They get distracted about military conflicts. We need to focus on defeating jihadism. ISIS and Iran have declared war on America, and we need a commander in chief who will do everything necessary to keep our children safe.

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: And I will do everything necessary to keep our children safe.

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.

We’re a month and a half away now from the first real test who will be the Republican presidential nominee.

Hugh, you have a question?

HEWITT: My listeners tell me again and again they are worried that Hillary Clinton will win the White House because you’ll run as an independent. Are you ready to assure Republicans tonight that you will run as a Republican and abide by the decision of the Republicans?

TRUMP: I really am. I’ll be honest, I really am.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I mean, the people have been putting me…

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I really am.

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Dr. Carson, last week…

TRUMP: Let me just. Can I just finish my…

HEWITT: Please.

TRUMP: I’ve gained great respect for the Republican leadership. I’ve gained great respect for many — and I’m going to even say — I mean, in different forms for the people on the dais, in different forms.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: In different forms.

But I have great respect for the people I have met through this process. I’ve never done this process before. I’ve never been a politician. I mean, for the last six months I’ve been a politician.

But I will tell you, I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the front runner.

(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: And I think I’ll do very well if I’m chosen. If I’m so fortunate to be chosen, I think I’ll do very well.

Polls have come out recently saying I would beat Hillary. I will do everything in my power to beat Hillary Clinton, I promise you.

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Dr. Carson, Mr. Trump just committed to stay the distance regardless of the result. How about you?

CARSON: Well, you know, the statement that I made last week, that I would leave the party was contingent upon whether in fact the party acts like they have in the past with a lot of subterfuge and dishonesty, or like they’re going act now because I spike to Reince Priebus, and he assured me that the Washington Post writer had it all wrong, and that they’re not be engaging in anything to thwart the will of the people.

That’s why I got into this race, as a member of we the people, to try bring some honesty and integrity back to the process.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: All right. Candidates, we have more coming up. When we come back, everyone will have an opportunity to explain why this particular candidate, each of you on the stage, believes he or she should be the Republican presidential nominee.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Now it’s time for the closing statements from the candidates. Each one has 30 seconds.

Senator Paul.

PAUL: The greatest threat to our national security is our debt. We borrow a million dollars a minute. And whose fault is it? Well, frankly, it’s both parties’ fault. You have those on the right who clamor and say, oh, we will spend anything on the military, and those on the left who say the same for domestic welfare.

But what most Americans don’t realize is there is an unholy alliance. They come together. There’s a secret handshake. We spend more money on everything. And we are not stronger nation if we go further into debt. We are not projecting power from bankruptcy court.

To me, there is no greater threat than our debt. I’m the only fiscal conservative on the stage because I’m willing to hold the line on all spending. I hope you will consider me in the election. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Kasich. KASICH: No Republican has ever been elected president of the United States without winning Ohio. Let me give you a little tip on how you win Ohio, it’s reform, it’s hope, it’s growth, it’s opportunity, and it’s security.

The people of Ohio are the people of America. The people of America are reflected in Ohio. Our message has to be big, and bold, and positive, and connect, not just with people’s heads but also connect with their hearts.

If we do it, we will beat Hillary Clinton, and we will run the White House, and we will strengthen and fix America, I promise you.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: On September 10th, 2001, I was named chief federal prosecutor in New Jersey and on September 11th, 2001, my wife and my brother who are in the audience tonight went through the World Trade Center and to their offices just blocks away from the Trade Center.

I lost touch with them for six hours that day and prayed that they were alive. Luckily, they were sent home. But many of our friends and others in our neighborhood lost their lives that day.

Terrorism — radical jihadist terrorism is not theoretical to me. It’s real. And for seven years, I spent my life protecting our country against another one of those attacks. You won’t have to worry when I’m President of the Untied States whether that can be done because I’ve already done it. I want the chance to do it again to protect you, your children and your families.

If you give me the chance and give me your vote I will protect America from the wars that are being brought to our door step.

BLITZER: Ms. Fiorina.

FIORINA: I too remember September 11th. I remember immediately putting into place security procedures all throughout our company that did business in 170 countries where we thought corporate interests would be attacked next. To take our country back, to keep our nation safe, we have to begin by beating Hillary Clinton.

We need to unify our party. We need to better than our government, which 75 percent of the American people now think is corrupt and incompetent. They’re right. We need to better than our politics. 80 percent think we have a professional/political class of both parties that cares more about its power, position and privilege than actually on getting anything done.

We need to unify our party, we need a real Conservative in the White House, and we need to beat Hillary Clinton to take our country back and keep our nation safe.

I can. I am. And together, if you join me, we will take our country back.

BLITZER: Governor Bush. BUSH: Ask yourself, which candidate will keep you and our country safer, stronger and freer?

Hillary Clinton has aligned herself with Barack Obama on ISIS, Iran and the economy. It’s an alliance doomed to fail. My proven record suggests that — my detailed plans will fortify our national and economic security. And my proven record as governor makes — will give you a sense that I don’t make false promises. I deliver real results.

For America to be safe and sound, I ask for you support. Thank you all very much.

BLITZER: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Thank you. As we near the end of this year, we enter one of the most important elections in a generation. For what’s at stake in this election is not simply what party’s going to be in charge. But our very identity as a people and as a nation. For over 200 years this has been a special country. A unique place where anyone from anywhere can achieve anything. But now millions of Americans feel like they’re being left behind. Insecure in their future and unsafe in the face of terrorism. This election is about electing a president that will restore our economic vibrancy so that the American dream can expand to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And rebuild our Military and our intelligence programs so that we can remain the strongest nation on earth. Tonight I ask you for your vote.

If you do this, we will rebuild this country, and together we will usher in a new American century — the greatest era in the history of this great land.

BLITZER: Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: Judgment, strength, clarity and trust. Barack Obama has said he doesn’t believe in American leadership or America winning — he is wrong. America can win again and we will win again. Ronald Reagan reignited the American economy, rebuilt the Military, bankrupted the Soviet Union and defeated Soviet Communism. I will do the same thing.

Cutting taxes, cutting regulation, unleashing small businesses and rebuilding the Military to defeat radical Islamic terrorism — our strategy is simple. We win, they lose. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.

BLITZER: Dr. Carson.

CARSON: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to 58 different countries and I thank God everyday that I was born in this country. The most exceptional country that the world has ever known. And I want to make sure that we preserve that exceptionalism for the next generation. My mother told me if I work hard and I really believed in American principles and I believed in God, anything is possible. I believe that is true, and that’s why I’m not anxious to give away American values and principles for the sake of political correctness.

TRUMP: Our country doesn’t win anymore. We don’t win on trade. We don’t win on the military. We can’t defeat ISIS. We’re not taking care of our great people, the veterans. We’re not taking care of them.

We have to change our whole way, our health care system is a disaster. It’s going to implode in 2017, just like you’re sitting there. It doesn’t work. Nothing works in our country. If I’m elected president, we will win again. We will win a lot. And we’re going to have a great, great country, greater than ever before.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thanks to all the Republican presidential candidates. That does it for this Republican presidential debate.

On behalf of everyone at CNN, we want to thank the candidates, Facebook, the Republican National Committee, and the Venetian Las Vegas. My thanks also to Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash.

We especially want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas, happy holidays, especially to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines protecting us around the world.

Anderson Cooper picks up our coverage of tonight’s debate right now — Anderson.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 September 16, 2015: CNN Republican Top Tier Debate Transcript Carly Fiorina Wins

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

CNN Republican Top Tier Debate Transcript

Source: CNN, 9-16-15

GOP Presidential Debate. Aired 8:10-11:15p ET.

Aired September 16, 2015 – 20:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN MODERATOR: I’m Jake Tapper. We’re live at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California for the main event. Round 2 of CNN’s presidential debate starts now.

The eleven leading Republican candidates for president are at their podiums. They are ready to face off, and if you’ve been watching this race, you know anything could happen over the next few hours.

To viewers who are just joining us, welcome to the Air Force One Pavilion of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Our thanks to the staff here and especially to former first lady Nancy Reagan for this impressive setting with Ronald Reagan’s presidential plane as our backdrop.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: This debate is airing on CNN networks in the United States and around the world. It’s also being broadcast on the Salem Radio Network. I know everyone is very eager to get started.

But first, I want to explain the ground rules tonight. My name is Jake Tapper. I’ll be the moderator. I will be joined in the questioning by Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt. He worked in the Reagan administration for six years. And by CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

I will ask follow-up questions, I will attempt to guide the discussion. Candidates, I will try to make sure each of you gets your fair share of questions. You’ll have one minute to answer and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. I’ll give you time to respond if you’ve been singled out for criticism.

Our viewers should know we have timing lights that are visible to the candidates to warn them when their time is up. These 11 Republicans are positioned on the stage based on their ranking in recent national polls.

Our goal for this evening is a debate. A true debate, with candidates addressing each other in areas where they differ. Where they disagree — on policy, on politics, on leadership. Now, let’s begin.

I’d like to invite each candidate to take 30 seconds to introduce him or herself to our audience. First to you, Senator Paul.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Good evening, everyone. I’m an eye surgeon from Bowling Green, Kentucky. My wife, Kelly, and I have been married for nearly 25 years, and I spend my days defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I think there’s nothing more important than understanding that the Constitution restrains government, not the people.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, R-ARK.: I’m Mike Huckabee. I’m delighted to be on this stage with some remarkable fellow Republicans.

None of us are a self-professed socialist. None of us on this state are under investigation by the FBI because we destroyed government records, or because we leaked secrets.

I know that there are some in the Wall-Street-to-Washington axis of power who speak of all of us contemptuously. But I’m here to say that I think we are, in fact, the A team.

We have some remarkable people, and, in fact, not only are we the A team; we even have our own Mr. T, who doesn’t mind saying about others, “you’re a fool.”

And I’m delighted to be here with all of these guys, and would put any of them in an administration that I led. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

SEN. MARCIO RUBIO, R-FL.: Thank you. My name is Marco Rubio. I’m from Florida. My wife Jeanette and I are the proud — we’ve been married 17 years, and we’re the proud parents of four children, two of whom were able to join us here this evening.

I’m honored to be here at the Reagan Library, at a place that honors the legacy of a man who inspired not just my interest in public service, but also our love for country.

And I’m also aware that California has a drought, and so that’s why I made sure I brought my own water.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: I’m Ted Cruz. I am the son of an Irish-Italian mom and a Cuban immigrant dad who fled oppression and came to America seeking freedom. I’m a husband to my best friend, Heidi, who’s here tonight. I’m a dad to two little girls who are the loves of my life, Caroline and Catherine.

If you’re fed up with Washington, if you’re looking for someone to stand up to career politicians in both parties, I’m the only one on this stage who has done that over and over again, and if we stand together, we can bring America back. DR. BEN CARSON: Hi, I’m Ben Carson, and I’m a retired pediatric

neurosurgeon. I’m here with my wife, Candy, of 40 years, and two of my sons, and their wives.

I stress the pediatric part of my career because the reason that I’ve gotten involved in this race is because I’m very concerned about the future of our children, and the direction of our country is one that does not portend well, unless we, the people, intervene and retake our rightful place at the pinnacle.

And I just want to be — make it clear that I’m grateful to be here with all of you again, and welcome the addition of Carly Fiorina, as well.

(APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP: I’m Donald Trump. I wrote “The Art of the Deal”. I say not in a braggadocious way, I’ve made billions and billions of dollars dealing with people all over the world, and I want to put whatever that talent is to work for this country so we have great trade deals, we make our country rich again, we make it great again. We build our military, we take care of our vets, we get rid of Obamacare, and we have a great life altogether.

Thank you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH, R-FLA.: I’m Jeb Bush, and I believe America’s on the verge of its greatest century, and I’m ready to lead. I’m a committed, conservative reformer that cut taxes, that balanced budgets, that took on the special interest in Florida, and we won.

I look forward to talking tonight about how we can fix a broken Washington D.C., and create an environment where people can rise up again in this great country.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: Good evening, I’m Scott Walker, and tonight, I want to thank Mrs. Reagan, and the Reagan Library for hosting us. You see, in my lifetime, the greatest president was a governor from California. Ronald Reagan knew how to go big, and go bold. He understood the essence of moving this country forward, and that’s what I did when I took on the status quo in my state, and the Washington based special interest.

Now, more than ever, America needs a leader who will go big and bold again. Someone who’s been tested. I’m ready to be that leader. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLY FIORINA: Good evening. My story, from secretary to CEO, is only possible in this nation, and proves that everyone of us has potential. My husband, Frank, of 30 years, started out driving a tow truck for a family owned auto body shop. We have come to a pivotal point in our nation’s history where this nation’s possibilities and potential are being crushed by a government grown so big, so powerful, so inept, so corrupt, and a political class that refuses to do anything about it.

I am prepared to lead the resurgence of this great nation.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. JOHN R. KASICH, R-OHIO: Hello, I’m John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio. Emma, and Reese, my children, and Karen, love ‘ya girls. Thanks for watching tonight.

By the way, I think I actually flew on this plane with Ronald Reagan when I was a congressman, and his goals, and mine, really much — are pretty much the same. Lift Americans, unify, give hope, grow America, and restore it is to that great, shining city on a hill.

Yes, he was a great one, and I learned much from watching him. The most important thing, hope to Americans, unify, lift everyone in America.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Hi, my name is Chris Christie, and I’d like to you take the camera off me and put it on the audience because I’d like to ask all of you, how many of you, raise your hand, believe that in today’s Barak Obama America your children will have a better life than you’ve had?

You see? That’s why I’m running for President. Because leadership is not about me, it’s about our country. And, what we talk about tonight, it’s not about us, it’s about the people in the audience tonight, because in seven short years this president has stripped away their trust, and their faith, and their belief that the next generation will have a better life. He’s stolen that from us, and when I’m president, I’m going to take it back.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you one and all for being here. There are many important policy issues facing our nation. We’re going to get to many of them tonight, but I do want to start off with some current events in the news, and also some of the comments the candidates have recently made on the campaign trail.

TAPPER: Mrs. Fiorina, I want to start with you. Fellow Republican candidate, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, has suggested that your party’s frontrunner, Mr. Donald Trump, would be dangerous as President. He said he wouldn’t want, quote, “such a hot head with his finger on the nuclear codes.”

You, as well, have raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s temperament.

You’ve dismissed him as an entertainer. Would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes?

FIORINA: You know, I think Mr. Trump is a wonderful entertainer. He’s been terrific at that business.

I also think that one of the benefits of a presidential campaign is the character and capability, judgment and temperament of every single one of us is revealed over time and under pressure. All of us will be revealed over time and under pressure. I look forward to a long race.

TAPPER: You didn’t answer my question. Would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes? It’s an issue that one of your fellow candidates has raised.

FIORINA: That’s not for me to answer; it is for the voters of this country to answer, and I have a lot of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the voters of the United States of America.

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Well, first of all, Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage. He’s number 11, he’s got 1 percent in the polls, and how he got up here, there’s far too many people anyway.

As far as temperament — and we all know that — as far as temperament, I think I have a great temperament. I built a phenomenal business with incredible, iconic assets, one of the really truly great real-estate businesses.

And I may be an entertainer, because I’ve had tremendous success with number-one bestsellers all over the place, with “The Apprentice” and everything else I’ve done.

But I will tell you this: What I am far and away greater than an entertainer is a businessman, and that’s the kind of mindset this country needs to bring it back, because we owe $19 trillion right now, $19 trillion, and you need this kind of thinking to bring our country back.

And believe me, my temperament is very good, very calm. But we will be respected outside of this country. We are not respected now.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. — Senator Paul, your name has been invoked.

PAUL: I kind of have to laugh when I think of, “Mmm, sounds like a non sequitur.” He was asked whether or not he would be capable and it would be in good hands to be in charge of the nuclear weapons, and all of a sudden, there’s a sideways attack at me.

I think that really goes to really the judgment. Do we want someone with that kind of character, that kind of careless language to be negotiating with Putin? Do we want someone like that to be negotiating with Iran? I think really there’s a sophomoric quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried. I’m very concerned about him — having him in charge of the nuclear weapons, because I think his response, his — his visceral response to attack people on their appearance — short, tall, fat, ugly — my goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I never attacked him on his look, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.

(LAUGHTER)

That I can tell you.

WALKER: But Jake, Jake, Jake, Jake…

TAPPER: I want to — I want to give Mr. Trump…

WALKER: But Jake, this — this is — this…

TAPPER: … Mr. Trump, I want to give you another chance — Mr. Trump, I want to give you a chance to respond to something that your rival to your left, Governor Bush, said.

Governor Bush told me last week when I read him the quote from Governor Jindal that he agrees you’re not a serious candidate.

Tell Governor Bush why you are a serious candidate and what your qualifications are to be commander-in-chief. TRUMP: I’ve actually been in politics all my life, although I’ve been on that side as opposed to this side. I’m now a politician for about three months. Obviously, I’m doing pretty well. I’m number one in every polls (sic) by a lot.

But the qualification is that I’ve dealt with people all over the world, been successful all over the world. Everything I’ve done virtually has been a tremendous success.

When markets changed, when things turned, I heard Governor Pataki, who, by the way, was a failed governor in New York, a very seriously failed — he wouldn’t be elected dog catcher right now. I heard what he had to say.

And I will tell you this: Atlantic City, I’ve made a tremendous amount of money in Atlantic City. I left seven years ago, I’ve gotten great credit for my timing, and that’s what I’m all about.

I’m a businessman, did really well, really well, and Jeb, what I want to do is put that ability into this country to make our country rich again. And I can do that, and I’m not sure that anybody else in the group will be able to do that.

TAPPER: Governor Bush, would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes?

BUSH: I think the voters will make that determination.

But what I know to be true is that the next president of the United States is going to have to fix an extraordinary difficult situation. This administration, with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, has created insecurity the likes of which we never would’ve imagined. There’s not a place in the world where we’re better off today than six and a half years ago.

And that requires a steadiness. That requires an understanding of how the world works. That requires an understanding and appreciation of American leadership in the world.

You can’t just, you know, talk about this stuff and insult leaders around the world and expect a good result. You have to do this with a steady hand, and I believe I have those skills.

WALKER Jake, this is — this is — this is…

TRUMP: But I have to say…

WALKER This is actually what’s wrong — this is what’s wrong with this debate. We’re not talking about real issues.

And Mr. Trump, we don’t need an apprentice in the White House.

(APPLAUSE)

We don’t need an apprentice in the White House. We have one right now. He told us all the things we wanted to hear back in 2008. We don’t know who you are or where you’re going. We need someone who can actually get the job done.

And you talked about business.

TRUMP: Well, in Wisconsin…

WALKER You — you — let me finish…

TRUMP: Excuse me.

WALKER No, no…

TRUMP: In Wisconsin, you’re losing $2.2 billion right now.

WALKER You’re using the talking…

TRUMP: I would do so much better than that.

WALKER Mr. Trump, you’re using the talking points of the Democrats…

TRUMP: No.

WALKER … and as we all know…

TRUMP: I’m using facts.

WALKER … that failed three times in four and a half years when I got elected, because it is working. We balanced a budget.

You want to talk about balanced budgets? You took four major projects into bankruptcy over and over and over again. You can’t take America into bankruptcy. That’s what’s wrong with the politicians in Washington right now. They think we can take a country into bankruptcy.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Every major business leader, has used the — I never went bank bankrupt, by the way, as you know, everybody knows. But — hundreds of companies, hundreds of deals, I used the law four times and made a tremendous thing. I’m in business. I did a very good job.

But I will say this, and people are very, very impressed with what I’ve done, the business people. But when the folks of Iowa found out the true facts of the job that you’ve done in Wisconsin, all of a sudden you, tubed (ph), he was No. 1 and now he’s No. 6 or seven in the polls.

So, look, we brought it out, you were supposed to make a billion dollars in the state. You lost 2.2 — you have right now, a huge budget deficit. That’s not a Democratic point. That’s a point. That’s a fact. And when the people of Iowa found that out, I went to No. 1 and you went down the tubes.

TAPPER: Governor Walker?

WALKER: Jake, yeah, absolutely, I’ll take this on, because this is an issue that’s important in this race.

Just because he says it doesn’t make it true. The facts are the facts.

(APPLAUSE)

We balanced a $3.6 billion budget deficit, we did it by cutting taxes — $4.7 billion to help working families, family farmers, small business owners and senior citizens. And it’s about time people in America stand up and take note of this.

If you want someone that can actually take on the special interest of Washington, which you yourself said you were part of, using the system, we need somebody that will stand up and fight for average Americans to put them back in charge of their government.

I’m the one who is taking that on. I’ll do that as your next president.

TAPPER: Let’s move on.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Jake, Jake. TAPPER: A phenomenon going on in the race right now is the

political…

OK, Governor Kasich, go ahead.

KASICH: Listen, you know, I — if I were sitting at home and watch thing back and forth, I would be inclined to turn it off. I mean, people at home want to know across this country, they want to know what we’re going to do to fix this place, how we’ll balance a budget, how we’re going to create more economic growth, how we’ll pay down the debt. What we’re going to do to strengthen the military.

So, we just spent 10 minutes here…

TAPPER: We have a lot of issues coming up, sir.

KASICH: But — but wait a minute. It’s a lot of ad hogshead. Now, I know that it may be buzzing out there, but I think it’s important we get to the issues, because that’s what people want, and they don’t want all this fighting.

TAPPER: We are getting to the issues, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Phenomenon going on in the race is the political outsiders in the race, Dr. Carson, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, all together, have majority support in the polls.

Governor Christie, I want to ask you about something that Dr. Carson said the other day.

Dr. Carson said campaigning is easier for him, because he’s not a politician. He can just tell the truth, therefore, while politicians, quote, “Have their finger in the air to see and do what is politically expedient.”

Governor Christie, tell Dr. Carson, is that a fair description of you?

CHRISTIE: Well, I know Ben wasn’t talking about me, I’m sure he was talking about one of the other guys, not me.

(LAUGHTER)

As far as being an outsider is concerned — as far as being an outsider is concerned, let me tell you this, Jake, I’m a Republican in New Jersey. I wake up every morning as an outsider. I wake up every morning with a Democratic legislature who trying to beat my head in and fight me because I’m trying to bring conservative change to a state that needed it desperately.

And so, everyone can talk us here about their credentials. But the bottom line is, every morning I get up, I veto 400 bills from a crazy liberal Democratic legislature, not one of them has been overridden. I’ve vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history, according to Americans for Tax Reform. What folks want in this country is somebody to go down there and get the job done. And that’s exactly what I’ll do.

So, I know this much, that what the American people want to hire right now is somebody who believes in them. And believes that they are the ones who can fix our country. I will be the vessel through which they can fix this country, but it’s not about me.

It’s about all of you. And getting this government off your back and out of your way, and letting you succeed. I know Ben wasn’t talking about me.

TAPPER: Well, let’s find out. Thank you.

CHRISTIE: Look at him smiling at me right now. I know Ben didn’t mean it about me. One of these other guys, I’m sure.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Christie.

Dr. Carson, who were you thinking about on this stage when you said that?

CHRISTIE: Be honest, Ben, be honest.

TAPPER: And more broadly, is experience in government not important for a president to have?

CARSON: Typically, politicians do things that are politically expedient. And they are looking for whatever their particular goal is.

That is not the reason that I have gotten into this thing. I’m extraordinary concerned about the direction of this country, the divisiveness that is going on, fiscal irresponsibility, the failure to take a leadership position in the world.

All of those things will lead to a situation where the next generation will not have a chance that we’ve had now. So I don’t — I don’t want to really get into describing who’s a politician and who’s not a politician, but I think the people have kind of made that decision for themselves already, and will continue to do so as time goes on.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

CHRISTIE: See, Jake, it wasn’t me.

(LAUGHTER)

FIORINA: Jake, I’ll tell you — I’ll tell you why people are supporting outsiders. It’s because you know what happens if someone’s been in the system their whole life, they don’t know how broken the system is. A fish swims in water, it doesn’t know it’s water. It’s not that politicians are bad people, it’s that they’ve been in that system forever.

The truth is 75 percent of the American people think the government is corrupt; 82 percent of the American people think these problems that have festered for 50 years in some cases, 25 years in other cases. The border’s been insecure for 25 years; 307,000 veterans have died waiting for health care. These things have gone on for so long because no one will challenge the status quo.

You know what a leader does? They challenge the status quo, they solve problems that have festered for a long time and they produce results. That is what my whole life has been about. People know this is about far more than replacing a D with an R —

TAPPER: Thank you.

FIORINA: — this is about changing the system.

TAPPER: Thank you. Thank you Ms. Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bush, in addition to the fact that he’s an outsider, one of the reasons Mr. Trump is a frontrunner, Republican voters say, is because they like the fact that he is not bought and paid for by wealthy donors. Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that the $100 million you’ve raised for your campaign makes you a puppet for your donors. Are you?

BUSH: No. Absolutely not. People are supporting me because I have a proven record of conservative leadership where I cut taxes $19 billion over eight years. We shrunk the state government workforce, we created a climate that led the nation in job growth seven out of eight years. We were one of two states to go to AAA bond rating. People know that we need principle-centered leadership, a disrupter to go to Washington, D.C. The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something — that was generous and gave me money — was Donald Trump. He wanted casino gambling in Florida —

TRUMP: I didn’t —

BUSH: Yes you did.

TRUMP: Totally false.

BUSH: You wanted it and you didn’t get it because I was opposed to —

TRUMP: I would have gotten it.

BUSH: — casino gambling before —

TRUMP: I promise I would have gotten it.

BUSH: during and after. And that’s not — I’m not going to be bought by anybody.

TRUMP: I promise if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.

BUSH: No way. Believe me. TRUMP: I know my people.

BUSH: Not even possible.

TRUMP: I know my people.

TAPPER: Is there anything else you want to say about this?

TRUMP: No. I just will tell you that, you know, Jeb made the statement. I’m not only referring to him. I — a lot of money was raised by a lot of different people that are standing up here. And the donors, the special interests, the lobbyists have very strong power over these people.

I’m spending all of my money, I’m not spending — I’m not getting any — I turned down — I turn down so much, I could have right now from special interests and donors, I could have double and triple what he’s got. I’ve turned it down. I turned down last week $5 million from somebody.

So I will tell you I understand the game, I’ve been on the other side all of my life. And they have a lot of control over our politicians. And I don’t say that favorably, and I’m not sure if there’s another system, but I say this. I am not accepting any money from anybody. Nobody has control of me other than the people of this country. I’m going to do the right thing.

TAPPER: Governor — BUSH: You’ve got, according to your — to what you said on one of the talk shows, you got Hillary Clinton to go to your wedding —

TRUMP: That’s true. That’s true.

BUSH: — because you gave her money. Maybe it works for Hillary Clinton —

TRUMP: I was — excuse me, Jeb.

BUSH: — it doesn’t work for anybody on this — on stage.

TRUMP: I was a businessman, I got along with Clinton, I got along with everybody. That was my job, to get along with people.

BUSH: But the simple fact is —

TRUMP: I didn’t want to — excuse me. One second.

BUSH: No. The simple fact is, Donald, you could not take —

TRUMP: OK, more energy tonight. I like that.

(LAUGHTER)

Look —

BUSH: I was asked the question. TRUMP: I didn’t want — it was my obligation as a businessman to my family, to my company, to my employees, to get along with all politicians. I get along with all of them, and I did a damn good job in doing it. Go ahead.

BUSH: So he supports Pelosi, he supports Schumer, he supports Clinton —

TRUMP: Got along with everybody.

BUSH: When he — and he — when he asked — when he asked Florida to have casino gambling, we said no.

TRUMP: Wrong.

BUSH: We said no. And that’s the simple fact. The simple fact is —

TRUMP: Don’t make things up. Jeb, don’t make things up. Come on.

BUSH: Don’t cut me off.

TRUMP: Don’t make things up.

CARSON: Jake, can I say something about that?

TAPPER: Sure Dr. Carson.

CARSON: You know, when I entered this race, all the political pundits said it’s impossible; you can’t do it because you’re not connected with the money. And there’s no way that you can raise what you need in order to compete successfully.

I in no way am willing to get in the bed with special interest group or lick the boots of billionaires. I have said to the people if they want me to do this, please get involved. And we now have over 500,000 donations, and the money is coming in.

But the pundits forgot about one thing, and that is the people. And they are really in charge.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. Let’s move to Russia if we could.

Russia is sending troops and tanks into Syria right now to prop up a U.S. enemy, Bashar al-Assad. President Obama’s incoming top general says, quote, “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.”

Mr. Trump, you say you can do business with President Vladimir Putin, you say you will get along, quote, “very well.” What would you do right now if you were president, to get the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: So, number one, they have to respect you. He has absolutely no respect for President Obama. Zero.

Syria’s a mess. You look at what’s going on with ISIS in there, now think of this: we’re fighting ISIS. ISIS wants to fight Syria. Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.

I would talk to him. I would get along with him. I believe — and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.

We don’t get along with China. We don’t get along with the heads of Mexico. We don’t get along with anybody, and yet, at the same time, they rip us left and right. They take advantage of us economically and every other way. We get along with nobody.

I will get along — I think — with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable — stable world.

TAPPER: So, you — just to clarify, the only answer I heard to the question I asked is that you would — you would reach out to Vladimir Putin, and you would do what? You would…

TRUMP: I believe that I will get along — we will do — between that, Ukraine, all of the other problems, we won’t have the kind of problems that our country has right now with Russia and many other nations. TAPPER: Senator Rubio, you’ve taken a very different approach to the — the question of Russia. You’ve called Vladimir Putin a, quote, “gangster.”

Why would President Rubio’s approach be more effective than President Trump’s?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I have an understanding of exactly what it is Russia and Putin are doing, and it’s pretty straightforward. He wants to reposition Russia, once again, as a geopolitical force.

He himself said that the destruction of the Soviet Union — the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, and now he’s trying to reverse that.

He’s trying to destroy NATO. And this is what this is a part of. He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East.

Here’s what you’re going to see in the next few weeks: the Russians will begin to fly — fly combat missions in that region, not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad.

He will also, then, turn to other countries in the region and say, “America is no longer a reliable ally, Egypt. America is no longer a reliable ally, Saudi Arabia. Begin to rely on us.”

What he is doing is he is trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East, and this president is allowing it. That is what is happening in the Middle East. That’s what’s happening with Russia, and…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Rubio.

(CROSSTALK) TAPPER: I want to bring in Carly Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: Having…

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, you have met…

FIORINA: Having met Vladimir Putin, if I may…

TAPPER: …yeah, you’ve met Vladimir Putin. Yes.

FIORINA: Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him.

What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message. By the way, the reason it is so critically important that every one of us know General Suleimani’s name is because Russia is in Syria right now, because the head of the Quds force traveled to Russia and talked Vladimir Putin into aligning themselves with Iran and Syria to prop up Bashar al- Assad.

Russia is a bad actor, but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side, and we have all of that within our control.

We could rebuild the Sixth Fleet. I will. We haven’t. We could rebuild the missile defense program. We haven’t. I will. We could also, to Senator Rubio’s point, give the Egyptians what they’ve asked for, which is intelligence.

We could give the Jordanians what they’ve asked for…

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

FIORINA: …bombs and material. We have not supplied it…

TAPPER: Thank you.

FIORINA: …I will. We could arm the Kurds. They’ve been asking us for three years. All of this is within our control.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

While you’re — while you brought up the subject of General Suleimani of the Quds forces from Iran, the next president, no matter who he or she may be, will inherit President Obama’s Iran deal.

Senator Cruz, Governor Kasich says that anyone who is promising to rip up the Iran deal on day one, as you have promised to do, is, quote, “inexperienced,” and, quote, “playing to a crowd.” Respond to Governor Kasich, please.

CRUZ: Well, let me tell you, Jake, the single biggest national security threat facing America right now is the threat of a nuclear Iran. We’ve seen six and a half years of President Obama leading from behind. Weakness is provocative, and this Iranian nuclear deal is nothing short of catastrophic.

This deal, on its face, will send over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, making the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.

This deal abandons four American hostages in Iran, and this deal will only accelerate Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons. You’d better believe it. If I am elected president, on the very first day in office, I will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Why is that not, as Governor Kasich says, playing to the crowd and an example of you being inexperienced?

CRUZ: Well, let’s be clear when it comes to experience. What President Obama wants to do is he’s run to the United Nations, and he wants to use the United Nations to bind the United States, and take away our sovereignty. Well, I spent five and a half years as a Solicitor General of Texas, the lead lawyer for the state, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and I went in front of the Supreme Court, and took on the world court of the United Nations in a case called Medellin v. Texas, and we won a historic victory saying the World Court, and the U.N., has no power to bind the United States, and no President of the United States, Republican or Democrat, has the authority to give away our sovereignty.

And, so, if there’s anyone up here who would be bound by this catastrophic deal with Iran, they’re giving up the core responsibility of commander in chief, and as president, I would never do that.

TAPPER: Governor Kasich…

KASICH: …Yeah, well…

TAPPER: …Did Senator Cruz just play to the crowd?

KASICH: Well, let me just say this. First of all, I think it’s a bad agreement, I would never have done it. But, you know, a lot of our problems in the world today is that we don’t have the relationship with our allies. If we want to go everywhere alone, we will not have the strength as (ph) if we could rebuild with our allies.

Now, this agreement, we don’t know what’s going to happen in 18 months. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years. I’ve seen lots of issues in foreign affairs, and foreign — in terms of global politics, you have to be steady.

Now, here’s the — if they cheat, we slap the sanctions back on. If they help Hamas, and Hezbollah, we slap the sanctions back on. And, if we find out that they may be developing a nuclear weapon, than the military option is on the table. We are stronger when we work with the Western civilization, our friends in Europe, and just doing it on our own I don’t think is the right policy.

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor. I want to go to Senator Paul.

TRUMP(?): …Slow (ph) and steady, (inaudible) chicken…

TAPPER: I want to go to Senator Paul. Senator Paul, the White House is rolling out the red carpet next week for the President of China, President Xi. Governor Walker says that President Obama should cancel the state dinner because of China’s currency manipulation, and because of China’s alleged cyber attacks against the United States.

Is Governor Walker right?

PAUL: I think this goes back to essentially what we’ve been saying for the last two or three questions. Carly Fiorina also said we’re not going to talk with Putin. Well, think if Reagan had said that during the Cold War? We continued to talk with the Russians throughout the Cold War which is much more significant that where we are now.

Should we continue to talk with Iran? Yes. Should we cut up the agreement immediately? That’s absurd. Wouldn’t you want to know if they complied? Now, I’m going to vote against the agreement because I don’t think there’s significant leverage, but it doesn’t mean that I would immediately not look at the agreement, and cut it up without looking to see if whether or not Iran has complied.

The same goes with China. I don’t think we need to be rash, I don’t think we need to be reckless, and I think need to leave lines of communication open. Often we talk about whether we should be engaged in the world, or disengaged in the world, and I think this is an example of some who want to isolate us, actually, and not be engaged.

We do need to be engaged with Russia. It doesn’t mean we give them a free pass, or China a free pass, but, to be engaged, to continue to talk. We did throughout the Cold War, and it would be a big mistake not to do it here.

TAPPER: Governor Walker, Senator Paul seemed to suggest…

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: …that canceling the state dinner would be rash, and reckless.

WALKER: Two parts to that, one on China, one back for a second on Iran.

When it comes to China, why would we be giving an official state visit to a country that’s been involved in a massive cyber attack against the United States? That’s not just a visit, that’s a 21 gun salute on the South Lawn of the White House. It just doesn’t make any sense. If we’re ever going to send a message to them, wouldn’t this be the time, when they’ve issued this, sort of, massive attack against us? And, Jake, for the question, I was one of the first ones to call for terminating the bad deal with Iran on day one. The President came after me and said I need to bone up. You know, the President who called ISIS the JV squad said I needed to bone up.

The reality is it’s a bad deal on day one, and it’s a bad deal because this president has allowed Iran to go closer, and closer.

I’d love to play cards with this guy because Barack Obama folds on everything with Iran. We need a leader who’s going to stand up, and actually (INAUDIBLE)…

FIORINA: …Jake…

TAPPER: …Governor Bush…

CRUZ(?): …Jake…

TAPPER: Governor Bush, your father was the chief diplomatic envoy to China back when Nixon opened relations to China. Is Scott Walker’s approach the right one, canceling the state dinner?

BUSH: No, I don’t think so, but we need to be strong against China. We should use offensive tactics as it relates to cyber security, send a deterrent signal to China. There should be super sanctions in what President Obama has proposed. There’s many other tools that we have without canceling a dinner. That’s not going to change anything, but we can be much stronger as it relates to that.

As it relates to Iran, it’s not a strategy to tear up an agreement. A strategy would be how do we confront Iran? And, the first thing that we need to do is to establish our commitment to Israel which has been altered by this administration. And, make sure that they have the most sophisticated weapons to send a signal to Iran that we have Israel’s back.

If we do that, it’s going to create a healthier deterrent effect than anything else I can think of.

TAPPER: I want to turn…

FIORINA: …Jake, (INAUDIBLE)…

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: …I want to turn to Governor Huckabee who has been very patient. Somebody had to be 11th, and he is, but, I do want to change the subject to the event that you had…

HUCKABEE: I would certainly love to get in on this, because I think the single…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: … however you want, but I want to ask this question.

HUCKABEE: I’ve been patiently waiting, and I’m going to just say this about Iran.

TAPPER: All right, sir, go ahead.

HUCKABEE: Because I think it is incredibly important. This is really about the survival of Western civilization. This is not just a little conflict with a Middle Eastern country that we’ve just now given over $100 billion to, the equivalent in U.S. terms is $5 trillion.

This threatens Israel immediately, this threatens the entire Middle East, but it threatens the United States of America. And we can’t treat a nuclear Iranian government as if it is just some government that would like to have power. This is a government for 36 years has killed Americans, they kidnapped Americans, they have maimed Americans. They have sponsored terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, and they threaten the very essence of Western civilization.

To give them this agreement, that the president treats like the Magna Carta, but Iranians treat it like it’s toilet paper, and we must, simply, make it very clear that the next president, one of us on this stage, will absolutely not honor that agreement, and will destroy it and will be tough with Iran, because otherwise, we put every person in this world in a very dangerous place.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: OK.

(UNKNOWN): Jake, I’d like to…

TAPPER: We’re going to turn now to Hugh Hewitt, from Salem Radio Network.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HOST: Thank you, Jake.

Mr. Trump, two years ago, President Obama drew a red line that the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad crossed, President Obama threatened to strike. He did not, his knees buckled.

We now have 4 million refugees, Syria is a living hell, and he turned to the Congress for the authority to back him up. You have three senators to your right that said, no. Do they bear responsibility for this refugee crisis, and what would you have done when Bashar Assad crossed the line?

TRUMP: I wouldn’t have drawn the line, but once he drew it, he had no choice but to go across. They do bear some responsibility, but I think he probably didn’t do it, not for that reason.

Somehow, he just doesn’t have courage. There is something missing from our president. Had he crossed the line and really gone in with force, done something to Assad — if he had gone in with tremendous force, you wouldn’t have millions of people displaced all over the world.

HEWITT: How much responsibility, Mr. Trump, do the senators hold?

TRUMP: They had a responsibility, absolutely. I think we have three of them here…

HEWITT: Senator Rubio…

TRUMP: I think they had a responsibility, yes.

RUBIO: Let me tell you — I will tell you we have zero responsibility, because let’s remember what the president said. He said the attack he would conduct would be a pinprick. Well, the United States military was not build to conduct pinprick attacks.

If the United States military is going to be engaged by a commander- in-chief, it should only be engaged in an endeavor to win. And we’re not going to authorize use of force if you’re not put in a position where they can win.

And quite frankly, people don’t trust this president as commander-in- chief because of that.

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Senator Paul? PAUL: I think this gets to the point of wisdom on when to intervene and when we shouldn’t. Had we bombed Assad at the time, like President Obama wanted, and like Hillary Clinton wanted and many Republicans wanted, I think ISIS would be in Damascus today. I think ISIS would be in charge of Syria had we bombed Assad.

Sometimes both sides of the civil war are evil, and sometimes intervention sometimes makes us less safe. This is real the debate we have to have in the Middle East.

Every time we have toppled a secular dictator, we have gotten chaos, the rise of radical Islam, and we’re more at risk. So, I think we need to think before we act, and know most interventions, if not a lot of them in the Middle East, have actually backfired on us.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Paul.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to turn now to my colleague Dana Bash.

RUBIO: Hold on, a second, Jake, he asked me, as well. I’d like to actually…

TAPPER: That would be fair, you’re right. You’re the third senator.

RUBIO: … respond. I think I’m the first senator.

(LAUGHTER)

The No. 1 test for use of military force should be the vital national security interest of the United States. The reason why I opposed President Obama bombing Syria, is because he couldn’t answer the question what do you do if chemical weapons end up in the hands of radical Islamic terrorists like al-Nusra, like Al Qaida, like ISIS?

Now, I also want to respond to several folks up here who said we should trust this Iranian deal, see if the Iranians will comply.

Anyone who is paying attention to what Khamenei says knows that they will not comply. There is a reason Khamenei refers to Israel as the little Satan, and America as the great Satan.

In the middle of negotiating this treaty, Khamenei led the assembled masses in chanting, death to America. I’m reminded of a great editorial cartoon. It shows the Ayatollah Khamenei saying, “Death to all Americans,” and then it shows John Kerry coming back, saying, “Can we meet ya half way?”

(LAUGHTER)

We need a commander-in-chief who will stand up and protect this country. And I’ll tell you, I can’t wait to stand on that debate stage with Hillary Clinton and to make abundantly clear if you vote for Hillary, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khomeini to possess a nuclear weapon and if you elect me as president, under no circumstances will a theocratic ayatollah who chants death to America ever be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: We’re going to go to Dana Bash…

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: No, no, no. I want to — I want to — I want to say something about what the senator just said.

FIORINA: And then it’ll be my turn.

KASICH: No one is — no — let me — let me suggest to you we believe that we operate better in the world when our allies work with us. President Bush did it in the Gulf War. We work better when we are unified.

Secondly, nobody’s trusting Iran. They violate the deal, we put on the sanctions, and we have the high moral ground to talk to our allies in Europe to get them to go with us.

If they don’t go with us, we slap the sanctions on anyway. If they fund these radical groups that threaten Israel and all of the West, then we should rip up the deal and put the sanctions back on.

And let me make it clear — let me make it clear…

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: … if we think — if we think they’re getting close to a — to developing a nuclear weapon and we get that information, you better believe that I would do everything in my power as the commander-in- chief to stop them having a nuclear weapon.

CRUZ: Jake, Jake… KASICH: We can have it, and we can have our allies, and we can be strong as a country, and we can project across this globe with unity, not just doing it alone. That is not what gets us where we want to get as a nation.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Jake, there is no more important topic in 2016 than this topic right here, and I’ve listened to several folks saying, “Well, gosh, if they cheat, we’ll act.”

We won’t know under this agreement — there are several facilities in Iran they designate as military facilities that are off limit all together. Beyond that, the other facilities, we give them 24 days notice before inspecting them. That is designed to allow them to hide the evidence.

And most astonishingly, this agreement trusts the Iranians to inspect themselves. That makes no sense whatsoever.

And let me know — President Obama is violating federal law…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … by not handing over the side deals, and we ought to see the United States Congress…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … stand up together and say, “Hand over this treaty, and protect this country.”

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. I want to…

FIORINA: Jake?

TAPPER: … turn back to Governor Huckabee…

FIORINA: Jake?

TAPPER: I want to turn back to Governor Huckabee.

Governor Huckabee, last week, you held a rally for a county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as I don’t need to tell you.

You’ve called what happened to Kim Davis, that clerk, “an example of the criminalization of Christianity.” There are several people on the stage who disagree with you.

Governor Bush, for example, says that that clerk is sworn to uphold the law. Is Governor Bush on the wrong side of the criminalization of Christianity?

HUCKABEE: No, I don’t think he’s on the wrong side of such an issue. Jeb is a friend. I’m not up here to fight with Jeb or to fight with anybody else.

But I am here to fight for somebody who is a county clerk elected under the Kentucky constitution that 75 percent of the people of that state had voted for that said that marriage was between a man and a woman.

The Supreme Court in a very, very divided decision decided out of thin air that they were just going to redefine marriage. It’s a decision that the other justices in dissent said they didn’t have and there wasn’t a constitutional shred of capacity for them to do it.

I thought that everybody here passed ninth-grade civics. The courts cannot legislate. That’s what Roberts said. But heck, it’s what we learned in civics.

The courts can’t make a law. They can interpret one. They can review one. They can’t implement it. They can’t force it.

But here’s what happened: Because the courts just decided that something was going to be and people relinquished it and the other two branches of government sat by silently — I thought we had three branches of government, they were all equal to each other, we have separation of powers, and we have checks and balances.

If the court can just make a decision and we just all surrender to it, we have what Jefferson said was judicial tyranny.

The reason that this is a real issue that we need to think about…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: No, no. Let me finish this one thought, Jake. I haven’t gotten that much time, so I’m going to take just what little I can here.

We made accommodation to the Fort Hood shooter to let him grow a beard. We made accommodations to the detainees at Gitmo — I’ve been to Gitmo, and I’ve seen the accommodations that we made to the Muslim detainees who killed Americans.

HUCKABEE: You’re telling me that you cannot make an accommodation for an elected Democrat county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky? What else is it other than the criminalization of her faith and the exaltation of the faith of everyone else who might be a Fort Hood shooter or a detainee at Gitmo?

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Well, I’m not telling you that, Governor. But Governor Bush is, because he — because he disagrees. He thinks that Kim Davis swore to uphold the law.

You disagree? You’re not — you don’t…

BUSH: I don’t think — you’re not stating my views right.

TAPPER: OK. Please do.

BUSH: I think there needs to be accommodation for someone acting on faith. Religious conscience is — is — is a first freedom. It’s — it’s a powerful part of our — of our Bill of Rights.

And, in a big, tolerant country, we should respect the rule of law, allow people in — in — in this country — I’m a — I was opposed to the decision, but we — you can’t just say, “well, they — gays can’t get married now.”

But this woman, there should be some accommodation for her conscience, just as there should be for people that are florists that don’t want to participate in weddings, or bakers. A great country like us should find a way to have accommodations for people so that we can solve the problem in the right way. This should be solved at the local level…

TAPPER: You did…

BUSH: And so we do agree, Mike.

CHRISTIE: I was —

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Governor, you said, quote, “she is sworn to uphold the law.”

CHRISTIE: She is, and so if she, based on conscience, can’t sign that — that marriage license, then there should be someone in her office to be able to do it, and if the law needs to be changed in the state of Kentucky, which is what she’s advocating, it should be changed.

TAPPER: Let me go to my colleague Dana Bash, who has a question.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Governor Kasich, Senator Cruz is so committed to stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood that it could result in shutting down the federal government in just about two weeks. Do you agree with Senator Cruz’s tactic?

KASICH: Well, I agree that we should defund Planned Parenthood. I don’t know many people in America who don’t think that we should, and in my state, we’re trying to figure out how to get it done, because we are threatened with the federal government taking all of our Medicaid money away.

I think there is a way to get this done by giving governors the ability to be able to act to defund Planned Parenthood. But when (ph) it comes to closing down the federal government, you gotta be very careful about that.

When we shut the government down — if we have a chance at success and it’s a great principle, yes. The president of the United States is not going to sign this, and all we’re gonna do is shut the government down, and then we’re gonna open up — open it up, and the American people are gonna shake their heads and say, “what’s the story with these Republicans?” So I think there is a way to get to cutting off the funding for

Planned Parenthood. I was in the Congress for 18 years, balanced the budget, cut taxes, got it done. Changed welfare, went around the president to get welfare reform done.

There are ways to do it without having to shut the government down, but I’m sympathetic to the fact that we don’t want this organization to get funding, and the money ought to be reprogrammed for family planning in other organizations that don’t support this tactic.

But I would not be for shutting the government down…

BASH: Thank you.

KASICH: …because I don’t think it’s going to work out.

BASH: Thank you.

Senator Cruz, I would just add that, on this stage not that long ago, Senator Graham said that this tactic that you’re pushing would tank the Republicans’ ability to win in 2016.

CRUZ: Well, let me tell you, Dana, number one, I’m proud to stand for life. These Planned Parenthood videos are horrifying. I would encourage every American to watch the videos. See — seeing your Planned Parenthood officials callously, heartlessly bartering and selling the body parts of human beings, and then ask yourself, “are these my values?”

These are horrifying. On these videos, Planned Parenthood also essentially confesses to multiple felonies. It is a felony with ten years’ jail term to sell the body parts of unborn children for profit. That’s what these videos show Planned Parenthood doing.

Absolutely we shouldn’t be sending $500 million of taxpayer money to funding an ongoing criminal enterprise, and I’ll tell you, the fact that Republican leadership in both houses has begun this discussion by preemptively surrendering to Barack Obama and saying, “we’ll give in because Obama threatens a veto.”

You know, Obama’s committed to his principles. His liberal principles, he will fight for them. He says…

BASH: Thank you, senator.

CRUZ: I will veto any budget that doesn’t fund Planned Parenthood, and Republicans surrender. We need to stop surrendering and start standing…

BASH: Thank you…

CRUZ: …for our principles.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK) BASH: Governor — governor, I want to go to you. Is it what Senator

Cruz says, a surrender by Republicans?

CHRISTIE: We’re not — what I can tell you is this. We didn’t surrender in New Jersey, six years ago, as the brand new first ever pro-life governor of New Jersey since Roe versus Wade, I defended Planned Parenthood.

And I’ve vetoed Planned Parenthood funding, now, eight times in New Jersey. Since the day I walked in as governor, Planned Parenthood has not been funded in New Jersey. We stood up and every one of those vetoes has been sustained.

But here’s the problem, we’re — we’re fighting with each other up here. We agree. Let’s ask Hillary Clinton. She believes in the systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts…

BASH: But…

CHRISTIE: …Dana, in a way that maximizes their value for sale for profit. It is disgusting, and the American people need to hear it…

BASH: But is it…

CHRISTIE: …we shouldn’t be fighting with each other. She’s the real opponent, she’s the real problem.

BASH: But, governor, the — but, governor, the reality is, in just two weeks’ time…

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: …we are going to be facing a question about whether or not it’s enough to shut down the government to make that statement, because there is still a Democrat in the White House. Do you oppose it or support it?

CHRISTIE: I’ll tell you what — I’ll tell you what I’d be willing to fight for. I’ll tell you what I’d be willing to fight for. Why will (ph) we put tax reform on the president’s desk, so we can simplify this tax system?

BASH: Yes or no, do you support this shutdown?

CHRISTIE: No, no, it’s really important, Dana. We got to talk about what we would be willing to shut down for. Why don’t we put tax reform on this president’s desk, and make him veto it if that’s what he wants to do? Why haven’t we repealed and replaced Obamacare?

Make him veto if that’s what he wants to do.

BASH: We’re talking about Planned Parenthood right now.

CHRISTIE: And why don’t we do the same thing with Planned Parenthood?

BASH: Can you answer yes or no?

CHRISTIE: We elected a Republican Congress to do this. And they should be doing it, and they’re not. And they’re giving the president a pass.

FIORINA: Dana, I’d like to…

BASH: One more time. I’m sorry, I just want to get the answer.

CHRISTIE: I put it in the list, Dana. We should be doing these things and forcing the president to take action.

BASH: So you would support a shutdown.

CHRISTIE: Let’s force him to do what he says he’s going to do. Now I don’t know whether he’ll do it or not, but let’s force him to do it.

FIORINA: Dana, I would like to link these two issues, both of which are incredibly important, Iran and Planned Parenthood.

One has something to do with the defense of the security of this nation. The other has something to do with the defense of the character of this nation. You have not heard a plan about Iran from any politician up here, here is my plan. On day one in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls, the first to my good friend to Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel.

The second, to the supreme leader, to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections by our people, not his, we, the United States of America, will make it as difficult as possible and move money around the global financial system.

We can do that, we don’t need anyone’s cooperation to do it. And every ally and every adversary we have in this world will know that the United States in America is back in the leadership business, which is how we must stand with our allies.

As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.

This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up in and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dana, I want to continue on the subject.

Governor Bush, you recently said while discussing Planned Parenthood, quote, you’re “not sure we need a half billion for women’s health issues.” Now you’ve since said that you misspoke, you didn’t mean to say “women’s health issues.”

But Donald Trump said that quote, that comment, which Hillary Clinton did seize upon immediately, will haunt you the same way Mitt Romney’s 47 percent video haunted him.

Tell Donald Trump why he’s wrong.

BUSH: Well, he’s wrong on a lot of things, but on this he’s wrong because I’m the most pro-life governor on this stage. I got to act on my core beliefs. It’s part of who I am. Life is a gift from God. And from beginning end we need to respect it and err on the side of life.

And so I defunded Planned Parenthood. We created a climate where parental notification took place. We were the only state to fund crisis pregnancy centers with state moneys. We were totally focused on this. And I would bring that kind of philosophy to Washington, D.C.

So here is a solution to this. Title X of the HHS funding, there is something that was the “Reagan Rule.” It was passed in 1988. And in that rule it was defined, and the courts approved this, that a Planned Parenthood, you couldn’t separate the money between the actual abortion procedures, and there are 330,000 abortions that take place in this clinic, and their promotion of it.

He interpreted it the right way, the courts ruled in his favor, and Planned Parenthood did not get funding during that time until President Clinton came in.

When I’m elected president, we will restore that interpretation of Title X. And this deal will be finished.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Bush.

Donald Trump, let me just…

TRUMP: Jeb, just…

TAPPER: The quote was, “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” He said he misspoke. You said that that’s going to haunt him. Why do you think that?

TRUMP: I think it will haunt him. I think it’s a terrible. I think it’s going to haunt him absolutely. He came back later and he said he misspoke. There was no question because I heard when he said the statement. I was watching and he said the statement.

And I said, wow, I can’t believe it. I will take care of women. I respect women. I will take care of women.

One thing we will say and I would like to get back to the Iran situation. We’re talking about Iran. The agreement was terrible. It was incompetent. I’ve never seen anything like it. One of the worst contracts of any kind I’ve ever seen.

And nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places. But certainly North Korea.

And Ted and I have spoken. We’ve — a lot of us have spoken. We’re talking about Iran. They are bad actors, bad things are going to happen. But in the meantime, you have somebody right now in North Korea who has got nuclear weapons and who is saying almost every other week, I’m ready to use them. And we don’t even mention it.

TAPPER: Governor Bush?

BUSH: There are 13,000 community-based organizations that provide health services to women, 13,000 in this country. I don’t believe that Planned Parenthood should get a penny from the federal government. Those organizations should get funding, just as I increased funding when I was governor of the state.

That’s the way you do this is you improve the condition for people. And, Donald, when I was governor, we also increased the opportunities for women.

Women’s income grew three times faster than the national average when I was governor.

TRUMP: So why didn’t you say it? Why didn’t you say it?

BUSH: We improved — we improved —

TRUMP: I know, but why did you say it? I heard it myself. Why did you say it?

BUSH: — we increased child support — we increased child support with a broken system by 90 percent.

TRUMP: You said you’re going to cut funding for women’s health. You said it.

BUSH: I have a proven record. I have a proven record.

TRUMP: You said it.

TAPPER: I want to — we’re going to get to —

WALKER: Jake, just one more moment. This is — there’s something bigger to this. Now, I — like so many other governors here, I defunded Planned Parenthood four-and-a-half years ago, in a Blue State. But it’s bigger than that. We did that in a Blue State, we took the money and put it into women’s health, so we did exactly what we’re talking about here.

But I think the bigger issue here is we should be able to do this nationally, and this is precisely why so many Republicans are upset with Washington. They see the House and they see the Senate and they say why can’t we pass this. Why can’t we defund Planned — put it in a spending bill.

Forget about the 60-vote rule, there’s no reason — and the Constitution doesn’t call for 60 votes. Pass it with 51 votes, put it on the desk of the president —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

WALKER: — and go forward and actually make a point. This is why —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

WALKER: — people are upset with Washington.

TAPPER: We’re going to — we’re going to get to many of these issues. This — we’re still in the first block, believe it or not. We’re going to get to many of these issues, but before we end this block, Ms. Fiorina, I do want to ask you about this.

In an interview last week in Rolling Stone magazine, Donald Trump said the following about you. Quote, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Mr. Trump later said he was talking about your persona, not your appearance. Please feel free to respond what you think about his persona.

(LAUGHTER)

FIORINA: You know, it’s interesting to me, Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly and what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I think she’s got a beautiful face, and I think she’s a beautiful woman.

TAPPER: All right. On that note, in less than two minutes — we’re going to take a very quick break. In less than two minutes, the most contentious issue on the campaign trail. And the candidates on the stage are split over how to handle it. That’s coming up next.

Please give some applause to the candidates.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome to CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate. No topic perhaps has been more combustible in this campaign than the issue of immigration.

Mr. Trump, you have called for deporting every undocumented immigrant, Governor Christie has said, quote, “There are not enough law enforcement officers — local, county, state and federal combined — to forcibly deport 11 to 12 million people.”

Tell Governor Christie how much your plan will cost, and how you will get it done.

TRUMP: Correct. First of all, I want to build a wall, a wall that works. So important, and it’s a big part of it.

Second of all, we have a lot of really bad dudes in this country from outside, and I think Chris knows that, maybe as well as anybody.

They go, if I get elected, first day they’re gone. Gangs all over the place. Chicago, Baltimore, no matter where you look.

We have a country based on laws. I will make sure that those laws are adhered to. These are illegal immigrants. I don’t think you’d even be asking this question if I didn’t run because when I ran, and I brought this up, my opening remarks at Trump Tower, I took heat like nobody has taken heat in a long time. And, then they found out with the killing of Katie, from San Francisco, and so many other crimes, they found out that I was right.

And, most people, many people, apologized to me. I don’t think you’d even be talking about illegal immigration if it weren’t for me. So, we have a country of laws, they’re going to go out, and they’ll come back if they deserve to come back. If they’ve had a bad record, if they’ve been arrested, if they’ve been in jail, they’re never coming back. We’re going to have a country again. Right now, we don’t have a country, we don’t have a border, and we’re going to do something about it, and it can be done with proper management, and it can be done with heart.

TAPPER: Governor Christie, you and I have talked about this in an interview. You say that his big wall, his plan to deport 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants, it sounds great, but it’s never going to happen.

Tell him why you’re skeptical of his plans?

CHRISTIE: First of, Jake, I don’t yield to anybody on how to enforce the law. I’m the only person on this stage who spent seven years as a United States Attorney after September 11th, and I know how to do this.

The fact is though that for 15,000 people a day to be deported every day for two years is an undertaking that almost none of us could accomplish given the current levels of funding, and the current number of law enforcement officers. Here’s what we need to do, and I think this is where Donald is absolutely right. What we need to do is to secure our border, and we need to do it with more than just a wall.

We need to use electronics, we need to use drones, we need to use FBI, DEA, and ATF, and yes, we need to take the fingerprint of every person who comes into this country on a visa, and when they overstay their visa, we need to tap them on the shoulder, and say, “You have overstayed your welcome, you’re taking advantage of the American people. It’s time for you to go.”

If we had that kind of system in place, we wouldn’t have the 11 million people we have now.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Christie… TRUMP: …By the way, I agree with — with what Chris is saying, but, I will say this. Illegal immigration is costing us more than $200 billion dollars a year just to maintain what we have.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Dr. Carson because he too has been skeptical of your plan to immediately deport 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants. He said, quote, “People who say that have no idea what this entails.”

Why do you say that, Dr. Carson?

CARSON: Well, first of all, I recognize that we have an incredible illegal immigration problem. I was down in Arizona a few weeks ago at the border. I mean, the fences that were there were not manned, and those are the kind of fences when I was a kid that would barely slow us down. So, I don’t see any purpose in having that.

Now, what we need to do is look at something that actually works. Yuma County, Arizona. They stop 97 percent of the illegal immigrants through there. They put in a double fence with a road so that there was quick access by the enforcement people.

If we don’t seal the border, the rest of this stuff clearly doesn’t matter. It’s kind of ridiculous all the other things we talk about. We have the ability to do it, we don’t have the will to do it.

There was one area where they had cut a hole in the fence, and to repair it, they put a few strands of barb wire across. Well, the photographers who were there with us, they wanted to photograph us from the side of the Mexicans, and they went through there, and they were not physically fit people, and they took their cameras and things with them, and shot us from the other side.

That’s how easy it is to get across. And, the drugs, I mean, it goes on, and on, and on. ICE tells them to release these people, 67,000 criminals released…

TAPPER: …Dr. Carson…

CARSON: …on to our property, it’s ridiculous.

TAPPER: With all due respect, you said about Donald Trump’s plan to deport 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants, “People who say that have no idea what this entails.”

Why not?

CARSON: Well, I have also said, if anybody knows how to do that, that I would be willing to listen. And, if they can, you know, specify exactly how that’s going to be done, and what the cost, and it sounds reasonable, then I think it’s worth discussing…

TRUMP(?): …(INAUDIBLE)…

TAPPER: …let’s continue the conversation about illegal immigration with Dana Bash.

BASH: Governor Bush, Mr. Trump has suggested that your views on immigration are influenced by your Mexican born wife. He said that, quote, “If my wife were from Mexico, I think I would have a soft spot for people from Mexico.” Did Mr. Trump go to far in invoking your wife?

BUSH: He did, he did. You’re proud of your family, just as I am.

TRUMP: Correct.

BUSH: To subject my wife into the middle of a raucous political conversation was completely inappropriate, and I hope you apologize for that, Donald.

TRUMP: Well, I have to tell you, I hear phenomenal things. I hear your wife is a lovely woman…

BUSH: She is. She’s fantastic.

TRUMP: I don’t know her, and this is a total mischaracterization…

BUSH: She is absolutely the love of my life, and she’s right here…

TRUMP: Good.

BUSH: And why don’t you apologize to her right now.

TRUMP: No, I won’t do that, because I’ve said nothing wrong.

BUSH: Yeah.

TRUMP: But I do hear she’s a lovely woman.

BUSH: So, here’s the deal. My wife is a Mexican-American. She’s an American by choice.

She loves this country as much as anybody in this room, and she wants a secure border. But she wants to embrace the traditional American values that make us special and make us unique.

We’re at a crossroads right now. Are we going to take the Reagan approach, the hopeful optimistic approach, the approach that says that, you come to our country legally, you pursue your dreams with a vengeance, you create opportunities for all of us?

Or the Donald Trump approach? The approach that says that everything is bad, that everything is coming to an end. I…

BASH: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Jeb said…

BUSH: I’m on the Reagan side of this.

TRUMP: … that they come into our country as an act of love. With all of the problems we that we have, in so many instances — we have wonderful people coming in. But with all of the problems — this is not an act of love. He’s weak on immigration — by the way, in favor of Common Core, which is also a disaster, but weak on immigration.

He doesn’t get my vote.

BASH: Mr. Trump…

FIORINA: Dana, with all being said to Mr. Trump…

BASH: Go ahead.

FIORINA: Immigration did not come up in 2016 because Mr. Trump brought it up. We talked about it in 2012, we talked about it in 2008. We talked about it in 2004.

TRUMP: Not with this intensity.

FIORINA: We have been talking about it for 25 years. This is why people are tired of politicians.

BASH: Ms. Fiorina — Ms. Fiorina, we’re going to come to you, we’re going to come to you.

I just want to give Governor Bush a chance to respond to what Mr. Trump said. BUSH: Look, first of all, I wrote a book about this, three — four years ago, now. And I laid out a comprehensive, conservative approach for immigration reform.

And it does require securing the border. No one disagrees with that. But to build a wall, and to deport people — half a million a month — would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, Donald. Hundreds of billions of dollars. It would destroy community life, it would tear families apart.

And it would send a signal to the rest of the world that the United States values that are so important for our long-term success no longer matter in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: As I said, we are spending $200 billion — we are spending $200 billion a year on maintaining what we have. We will move them out. The great ones will come back, the good ones will come back.

They’ll be expedited, they’ll be back, they’ll come back legally. We’ll have a country — they’ll come back, legally.

BASH: OK, on that note, you have criticized Governor Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail. You said, quote, “He should really set an example by speaking English in the United States.”

What’s wrong with speaking Spanish?

TRUMP: Well, I think it’s wonderful and all, but I did it a little bit half-heartedly, but I do mean it to a large extent.

We have a country, where, to assimilate, you have to speak English. And I think that where he was, and the way it came out didn’t sound right to me. We have to have assimilation — to have a country, we have to have assimilation.

I’m not the first one to say this, Dana. We’ve had many people over the years, for many, many years, saying the same thing. This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Well, I’ve been speaking English here tonight, and I’ll keep speaking English.

But the simple fact is, if a high school kid asks me a question in Spanish, a school — by the way, a voucher program that was created under my watch, the largest voucher program in the country, where kids can go to a Christian school, and they ask me a question in Spanish, I’m going to show respect and answer that question in Spanish.

Even though they do speak English, and even though they embrace American values.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: This is a reporter, not a high school kid.

RUBIO: Ms. Dana, I agree that English is the unifying language of our country, and everyone should learn to speak it. It’s important.

I want to tell you a story about someone that didn’t speak English that well. It was my grandfather; he came to this country in the 1960s, as a — escaping Cuba. And he lived with us, growing up.

And my grandfather loved America. He understood what was so special about this country. He loved Ronald Reagan; he would be very proud of the fact that we’re here this evening.

My grandfather instilled in me the belief that I was blessed to live in the one society in all of human history where even I, the son of a bartender and a maid, could aspire to have anything, and be anything that I was willing to work hard to achieve.

But he taught me that in Spanish, because it was the language he was most comfortable in. And he became a conservative, even though he got his news in Spanish.

And so, I do give interviews in Spanish, and here’s why — because I believe that free enterprise and limited government is the best way to help people who are trying to achieve upward mobility.

And if they get their news in Spanish, I want them to hear that directly from me. Not from a translator at Univision.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Rubio. (APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Senator Cruz — Senator Cruz, this week, we learned more about Dr. Carson’s plan for the 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

Dr. Carson proposed giving these undocumented immigrants a six- month grace period to pay back taxes then to let them become guest workers and only to deport people who failed to do that.

CARSON: Not exactly what I said.

TAPPER: Well, how would you say it, sir? I was just reading the Wall Street Journal quote, but please tell us.

CARSON: Well, what I said, after we seal the borders, after we turn off the spigot that dispenses all the goodies so we don’t have people coming in here, including employment, that people who had a pristine record, we should consider allowing them to become guest workers, primarily in the agricultural sphere, because that’s the place where Americans don’t seem to want to work.

That’s what I said. And they have a six-month period to do that. If they don’t do it within that time period, then they become illegal, and as illegals, they will be treated as such.

TAPPER: OK, from the horse’s mouth, Senator Cruz, does that fit your definition of amnesty?

CRUZ: Well, Jake, you know, I’m — I’m very glad that Donald Trump’s being in this race has forced the mainstream media finally to talk about illegal immigration. I think that’s very important.

I like and respect Ben Carson. I’ll let him talk about his own plans.

But I will say this: The natural next question that primary voters are asking, after we focus on illegal immigration is, okay, what are the records of the various candidates? And this is an issue on which there are stark differences.

A majority of the men and women on this stage have previously and publicly embraced amnesty. I am the only candidate on this stage who has never supported amnesty and, in fact, who helped lead the fight to stop a massive amnesty plan.

In 2013, when Barack Obama and Harry Reid joined the Washington Republicans in a massive, I stood shoulder to shoulder with Jeff Sessions helping lead the fight.

You know, folks here have talked about, how do you secure the borders? Well, I’ve been leading the fight in the Senate to triple the Border Patrol, to put in place fencings and walls, to put in place a strong biometric exit/entry system…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

Senator Rubio…

CARSON: Can I — can I — can I just…

TAPPER: … I’m not sure…

CARSON: Can I correct…

TAPPER: We’ll come back to you — we’ll come back to you in one second, sir.

But Senator Rubio, I’m not sure exactly whose plan he’s — he’s saying is — constitutes amnesty, but I know he has said it about your plan in the past, so I want to give you a chance to respond, then, Dr. Carson, we’ll come to you.

CARSON: OK.

RUBIO: Well, let me say that legal immigration is not an issue I read about in the newspaper. Immigration, illegal immigration, all the good aspects of immigration and all the negative ones as well, I live with. My family’s immigrants. My neighbors are all immigrants. My in-laws are all immigrants.

So I’ve seen every aspect of it, and I can tell you America doesn’t have one immigration problem, it has three.

First, despite the fact that we are the most generous country in the history of the world in allowing people to come here legally, we have people still coming illegally.

Second, we have a legal immigration system that no longer works. It primary is built on the basis of whether you have a relative living here instead of merit.

And third, we have 11 million or 12 million people, many of whom have been here for longer than a decade who are already here illegally.

And we must deal with all three of these problems. We cannot deal with all three of these problems in one massive piece of legislation. I learned that. We tried it that way.

Here’s the way forward: First, we must — we must secure our border, the physical border, with — with a wall, absolutely. But we also need to have an entry/exit tracking system. 40 percent of the people who come here illegally come legally, and then they overstay the visa. We also need a mandatory e-verify system.

After we’ve done that, step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here.

And after we’ve done those two things, I believe the American people…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. RUBIO: … will be very reasonable and responsible about what you do with someone who’s been here and isn’t a criminal. If you’re a criminal, obviously, you will not be able to stay.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

Senator — Dr. Carson…

(APPLAUSE)

… I want to give you 30 seconds. I’d like you to answer the question.

Senator Cruz describes plans such as yours as amnesty. Why is your plan not amnesty?

CARSON: My plan is not amnesty for a number of reasons.

Number one, you know, I’ve talked to farmers, and they said they cannot hire Americans to do the kind of job that I’m talking about.

And the second reason is because the individuals who register as guest workers, they don’t get to vote, they are not American citizens, and they don’t get the rights and privileges of American citizens. So that’s key.

But the other thing that I want to bring up is, I mentioned something earlier. I think it was just sort of glossed over.

I talked about the success in Yuma County, I mean, incredible success, and the Department of Justice said, “No, we don’t want to do that. That’s too successful.”

We don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. All we have to do is look at things that work. All we have to do is use a little common sense.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. I want to talk about the issue of birthright citizenship, which — which has emerged since the first debate as — as an a — a major issue in this campaign.

Mr. Trump, you say that babies born in the United States to undocumented immigrants should not any longer get automatic American citizenship. Ms. Fiorina says that you are pandering on this issue and acting like the politicians that you rail against. What’s your message to Ms. Fiorina on birthright citizenship?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, the — the 14th Amendment says very, very clearly to a lot of great legal scholars — not television scholars, but legal scholars — that it is wrong. It can be corrected with an act of Congress, probably doesn’t even need that.

A woman gets pregnant. She’s nine months, she walks across the border, she has the baby in the United States, and we take care of the baby for 85 years. I don’t think so.

And by the way, Mexico and almost every other country anywhere in the world doesn’t have that. We’re the only ones dumb enough, stupid enough to have it. And people — and by the way, this is not just with respect to Mexico. They are coming from Asia to have babies here, and all of a sudden, we have to take care of the babies for the life of the baby.

The 14th Amendment, it reads properly, you can go and — it’s probably going to be have to be check — go through a process of court, probably ends up at the Supreme Court, but there are a lot of great legal scholars that say that is not correct.

And in my opinion, it makes absolutely no — we’re the only — one of the only countries, we’re going to take care of those babies for 70, 75, 80, 90 years? I don’t think so.

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, the vast majority of countries do not have birthright citizenship…

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: …Donald Trump is right about that. Why is it pandering when he’s — he says this?

FIORINA: First let me say, We have just spent a good bit of time discussing, as Republicans, how to solve this problem. I would ask your audience at home to ask a very basic question. Why have Democrats not solved this problem?

President Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008 on solving the immigration problem. He entered Washington with majorities in the House and the Senate. He could have chosen to do anything to solve this pro — this problem. Instead, he chose to do nothing.

Why? because the Democrats don’t want this issue solved.

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina…

FIORINA: They want it to be an issue that they can use. As to birthright citizenship…

TAPPER: Please.

FIORINA: …the truth is, you can’t just wave your hands and say “the 14th Amendment is gonna go away.” It will take an extremely arduous vote in Congress, followed by two-thirds of the states, and if that doesn’t work to amend the Constitution, then it is a long, arduous process in court.

And meanwhile, what will continue to go on is what has gone on for 25 years. With all due respect, Mr. Trump, we’ve been talking about illegal immigration for 25 years. San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989. There are 300 of them.

And meanwhile, what has happened? Nothing. The border remains insecure. The legal immigration system remains broken. Look, we know what it takes to secure a border. We’ve heard a lot of great ideas here. Money, manpower, technology… TAPPER : Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

FIORINA: …mostly, apparently, leadership…

TAPPER: Thank you.

FIORINA: …the kind of leadership that understands how to get results.

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina. Mr. Trump, I want to give you the chance to respond…

TRUMP: I agree 100 percent, by the way, with Carly on the fact that the Democrats do not want to solve this problem, for the obvious reasons, but they do not.

But I believe that a reading of the 14th Amendment allows you to have an interpretation where this is not legal and where it can’t be done. I’ve seen both sides, but some of the greatest scholars agree with me, without having to go through Congress.

If you do go through Congress, you can absolutely solve the problem. TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump. Senator Paul…

FIORINA: But you — you would stipulate, Mr. Trump, but not everyone agrees with you.

TRUMP: That’s true, sure.

FIORINA: OK.

TAPPER: Senator Paul, I want to bring you in. Where — where do you stand on the issue of birthright citizenship?

PAUL: Well, I hate to say it, but Donald Trump has a bit of a point here.

The case that was decided around 1900 was, people had a green card, were here legally, and they said that their children were citizens. There’s never been a direct Supreme Court case on people who were here illegally, whether or not their kids are citizens.

So it hasn’t really been completely adjudicated. The 14th Amendment says that “those who are here and under the jurisdiction.” The original author of the — of the 14th Amendment said on the Senate floor that this was applying to slaves, and did not specifically apply to others.

TAPPER: All right. Senator Paul, thank you so much. Let’s turn to a new topic. We’ve received a lot of questions on social media about the economy and about jobs. We have two CEOs on stage right now.

Ms. Fiorina, you were CEO of Hewlett Packard. Donald Trump says you, quote, “ran HP into the ground,” you laid off tens of thousands of people, you got viciously fired.

For voters looking to somebody with private-sector experience to create American jobs, why should they pick you and not Donald Trump?

FIORINA: I led Hewlett Packard through a very difficult time, the worst technology recession in 25 years. The NASDAQ stock index fell 80 percent. It took 15 years for the stock index to recover. We had very strong competitors who literally went out of business and lost all of their jobs in the process.

Despite those difficult times, we doubled the size of the company, we quadrupled its topline growth rate, we quadrupled its cash flow, we tripled its rate of innovation.

Yes, we had to make tough choices, and in doing so, we saved 80,000 jobs, went on to grow to 160,000 jobs. And now Hewlett Packard is almost 300,000 jobs. We went from lagging behind to leading in every product category and every market segment.

We must lead in this nation again, and some tough calls are going to be required. But as for the firing, I have been very honest about this from the day it happened. When you challenge the status quo, you make enemies. I made a few. Steve Jobs told me that when he called me the day I was fired to say, hey, been there, done that twice.

It’s also true that the man that led my firing, Tom Perkins, just took —

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

FIORINA: — out a full-page ad in the New York Times to say he was wrong, I was right. I was a terrific CEO, the board was dysfunctional. And he thinks I will make a magnificent president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina. TRUMP: Well —

TAPPER: Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump, why would you be better at creating jobs than Carly Fiorina?

TRUMP: — let me — well, let me just explain. The head of the Yale Business School, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, wrote a paper recently, one of the worst tenures for a CEO that he has ever seen, ranked one of the top 20 in the history of business. The company is a disaster and continues to be a disaster. They still haven’t recovered. In fact, today, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, they fired another 25 or 30,000 people saying we still haven’t recovered from the catastrophe.

When Carly says the revenues went up, that’s because she bought Compaq, it was a terrible deal, and it really led to the destruction of the company.

Now one other company before that was Lucent. Carly was at Lucent before that. And Lucent turned out to be a catastrophe also. So I only say this. She can’t run any of my companies. That I can tell you.

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, I want to give you a chance to respond.

FIORINA: You know, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is a well-known Clintonite and honestly had it out for me from the moment that I arrived at Hewlett Packard. But honestly, Mr. Trump, I find it quite rich that you would talk about this.

You know, there are a lot of us Americans who believe that we are going to have trouble someday paying back the interest on our debt because politicians have run up mountains of debt using other people’s money. That is in fact precisely the way you ran your casinos. You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses, using other people’s money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once —

TRUMP: I never filed for bankruptcy.

FIORINA: — not twice, four times, a record four times. Why should we trust you to manage the finances —

TRUMP: I’ll tell you why; it’s very simple.

FIORINA: — of this nation any differently than you managed the finances —

TRUMP: I’ll tell you. I was running —

FIORINA: — of your casinos?

TRUMP: — Carly, Carly —

TAPPER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: — I’ve made over $10 billion. I had a casino company — Caesars just filed for bankruptcy. Chris will tell you — it’s not Chris’ fault either — but almost everybody in Atlantic City is either in trouble or filed for — maybe I’ll blame Chris.

FIORINA: Well —

TRUMP: But Atlantic City is a disaster —

FIORINA: Well, Mr. Trump —

TRUMP: Wait a minute, Carly. Wait. I let you speak. Atlantic City is a disaster, and I did great in Atlantic City. I knew when to get out. My timing was great. And I got a lot of credit for it.

Many of the great business people that you know — and Carl Icon (ph) is going to work with me on making great deals for this country. But whether it’s Carl or so many others that we read about all the time —

TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: — they have used the laws of the land, which is the —

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Governor Christie’s name has been invoked. I’d like to give him a 30 second opportunity.

CHRISTIE: Jake listen. While I’m as entertained as anyone by this personal back-and-forth about the history of Donald and Carly’s career, for the 55-year-old construction worker out in that audience tonight who doesn’t have a job, who can’t fund his child’s education, I’ve got to tell you the truth. They could care less about your careers, they care about theirs.

(APPLAUSE)

Let’s start talking about that on this stage and stop playing — and stop playing the games. Stop playing —

KASICH: There’s a —

CHRISTIE: John — I’m not done yet, John.

FIORINA: A track record of leadership is not a game. It is the issue in this election.

CHRISTIE: Stop — and stop playing — and Carly — Carly, listen. You can interrupt everybody else on this stage, you’re not going to interrupt me, OK?

The fact is that we don’t want to hear about your careers, back and forth and volleying back and forth about who did well and who did poorly. You’re both successful people. Congratulations. You know who’s not successful? The middle class in this country who’s getting plowed over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Let’s start talking about those issues tonight and stop this childish back-and-forth between the two of you.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, I want to give you

KASICH: Jake —

TAPPER: Governor Kasich, I’m coming to you next, but Ms. Fiorina’s name was mentioned, and I have to give her the opportunity to respond if she wants it.

FIORINA: Well, I thought we had been hearing quite a bit about Govenor Christie’s record as governor, actually. I think track records are very important. I completely agree that what’s at stake here is the future of this nation, and the future of every American.

But I do think that a track record of leadership is vital because in the end this election is about leadership. And let’s talk about what leadership is. It’s not about braggadocio, it is about challenging the status quo, solving problems, producing results.

And the highest calling of leadership is to unlock potential in others.

TAPPER: Thank you. FIORINA: Problems have festered in Washington for too long. And the potential of this nation is being crushed.

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

Governor Kasich, I want to come — I’m coming to you. I’m coming to you. Let me ask the question. You can use the time however you want.

KASICH: OK, Jake.

TAPPER: Donald Trump says that the hedge fund guys are getting away with murder by paying a lower tax rate. He wants to raise the taxes of hedge fund managers, as does Governor Bush. Do you agree?

KASICH: I don’t at this point in terms of changing the incentives for investment and risk-taking.

But let’s just stop for a second. There’s one person on this stage that does have a record. I’m the only person on the stage and one of the few people in this country that led the effort as the chief architect of the last time we balanced the federal budget.

We also cut taxes. And when I left Washington in 2000, we had a $5 trillion surplus, and the economy was booming. I had spent 10 years of my life to get us to that point, went out in the private sector, was a great experience, and went into Ohio and took an $8 billion hole and turned it into a $2 billion surplus.

We’ve had the largest amount of tax cuts of any sitting governor. We’ve grown well over 300,000 jobs. You see, I’ve done it in both places. I’m the only one here that has done it in both places.

It took a lot to get us to a balanced budget. It was legitimate. It was real. And we negotiated it. A lot of what we’re talking about here tonight as we take this position and that position, you know what? At the end of the day, America has got to work.

We’ve got to figure out how we come together to deal with this — with our fiscal problems because when we deal with that, we create a stronger economy for everybody. People have a chance to rise.

So, you know, when we think about how we make a choice, it’s the person that lands that plane. It’s not somebody that talks about it. It’s about the person who has done it. And I’ve done it in…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

KASICH: … both places. And I did it including people in the other party. And that’s how we were successful.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Kasich.

KASICH: And that’s how I will be president, using that experience to drive this country forward. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE) TAPPER: Governor Huckabee, I want to bring you in on the question of

hedge fund managers and taxing them. You have said that you are bothered by the fact that hedge fund managers pay such a low tax rate and make 2,500 times what people who work for them make.

Do you agree with what Donald Trump and Governor Bush have proposed, raising their tax rates?

HUCKABEE: I have a different idea. I think we ought to get rid of all the taxes on people who produce. Why should we penalize productivity? And it’s why I’m an unabashed supporter of the “fair tax,” which would be a tax on our consumption, rather than a tax on our productivity.

In other words, you’re not going to tax anybody for what they earn, whether it’s worker whose working by the hour or whether it’s a hedge fund manager. If they can produce something and bring capital and labor to create jobs, we need some jobs. And I think the “fair tax” makes more sense.

Now, Jake, I’ve been listening to everybody on the stage and there is a lot of back and forth about I’m the only one who has done this, the only one who has done that, I’ve done great things.

We’ve all done great things or we wouldn’t be on this stage. But it occurs to me as we’re sitting here in the Reagan Library that most of us would like to pay tribute to a guy who, when he got elected, didn’t get elected telling everybody how great he was.

He got elected telling everybody how great the American people were. And he empowered them to live their dreams, which is what I’d love to see us do by no longer penalizing the people who are out there working because they are taking a gut punch right now.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

Dr. Carson, you support scrapping the entire tax code and replacing it with a flat tax based on the principal on tithing from the Bible. If you make $10 billion, you pay $1 billion in taxes, if you make $10, you pay $1 in taxes.

Donald Trump believes in progressive taxation. He says it’s not right that rich people pay the same as the poor. Tell Donald Trump why his ideas on taxes are wrong.

CARSON: It’s all about America. You know, the people who say the guy who paid a billion dollars because he had 10, he has still got $9 billion left, that’s not fair, we need to take more of his money. That’s called socialism. That doesn’t work so well.

What made America into a great nation was the fact that we said, that guy just put in $1 billion, let’s create an environment that’s even more conducive to his success so that next year he can put in $2 billion. And that’s the kind of thing that helps us to grow. We can’t grow by

continuing to take a piece of pie, and dividing it, and redistributing it.

But, I’m also looking at what doctor — at what Governor Huckabee talked about…

HUCKABEE: …You don’t want me operating on you, I assure you.

(LAUGHTER)

CARSON: The Fair Tax. Looking at both of them, and evaluating them both, and I’m talking to the American people because one of the things we must recognize is that this country is of, for, and by the people. And, it’s really time that the government get out of the way, and let the people be the ones who decide how they want to run their country.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: …Well, I’d like to respond, I’d like to respond…

TAPPER: …What do you think of the flat tax? Do you think it’s fair?

TRUMP: Well, I think the thing about the flat tax, I know it very well. What I don’t like is that if you make $200 million a year, you pay ten percent, you’re paying very little relatively to somebody that’s making $50,000 a year, and has to hire H&R Block to do the — because it’s so complicated.

One thing I’ll say to Ben is that we’ve had a graduated tax system for many years, so it’s not a socialistic thing. What I’d like to do, and I’ll be putting in the plan in about two weeks, and I think people are going to like it, it’s a major reduction in taxes. It’s a major reduction for the middle class. The hedge fund guys won’t like me as much as they like me right now. I know them all, but they’ll pay more.

I know people that are making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no tax, and I think it’s unfair.

TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump. Senator Paul?

PAUL: Well, I’m glad we’re having a discussion about taxes because everybody laments that we lose jobs overseas, we have. Our companies, and our jobs are being chased overseas by a 70,000 page tax code, so, that’s why I’ve chosen to get rid of the whole thing, and have one single rate, 14 and a-half percent for everybody, business, and for corporate income, and personal income. But, we also get rid of the payroll tax, so the working class would get a tax break as well.

So, I think a flat tax, eliminating the tax code, getting rid of all the loopholes, is the way to go, and it’s the way we get America going again.

TAPPER: Governor Walker, I want to go to you. Dr. Carson wants to raise the Federal Minimum Wage, you have called it a lame idea. Why is raising the Federal Minimum Wage lame?

WALKER: So, the best way to help people see their wages go up is to get them the education, the skill they need, to take on careers that pay more than minimum wage. And, it’s why we talk about it, it’s all about jobs. You want to help actually get jobs, it’s why on that last question we were trying to jump in on taxes. To me, it’s not just about taxes, cutting taxes. I’ve done it as much as anyone has.

I’ve cut income taxes, I’ve cut property taxes. In fact, property taxes are lower today in my state than they were before we took office. The real issues about jobs.

Ronald Reagan, our plan is based on the Ronald Reagan tax cuts of 1986. That brought about one of the longest sustained periods of economic growth in American history. All the things we should be talking about tonight are about how do we create jobs, helping people get the skills and the education qualifications they need to succeed.

That’s the way you help people create jobs. It’s part of our large plan to reform the tax code, to cut taxes, to put in place an education system that gives people the skills and education that they need. To put in place all the above energy policy, but you start on day one with repealing Obamacare.

I’m the only one on this stage that’s actually got a plan, introduced an actual plan to repeal Obamacare on day one. I’ll send a bill up to Congress, and to make sure enact it…

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor…

WALKER: …I’m going to sign an order that makes the Congress live by the same rules as everybody else. TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor…

WALKER: …That will ensure they repeal Obamacare…

TAPPER: Dr. Carson, Governor Walker didn’t really answer the question, but I’ll let you respond. He called raising the Federal Minimum Wage lame, what do you think of that?

CARSON: Well, first of all, let me say what I actually said about raising the minimum wage. I was asked should it be raised, I said, probably, or possibly. But, what I added, which I think is the most important thing, so, I said we need to get both sides of this issue to sit down, and talk about it. Negotiate a reasonable minimum wage, and index that so that we never have to have this conversation again in the history of America.

I think we also have to have two minimum wages, a starter, and a sustaining because how are young people ever going to get a job if you have such a high minimum wage that it makes it impractical to hire them…

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson…

WALKER: …Jake, Jake, Jake, I just want to address that issue because you said I didn’t answer, and I did. I said, to me, I think the real focus shouldn’t be — you know, Hillary Clinton talks about the minimum wage. That’s her answer to grow the economy. The answer is to give people the skills and the education so they make far more than minimum wage.

I don’t want to argue about how low things are going to be, I want to talk about how do we lift everyone up in America. That’s what Reagan talked about. It wasn’t how bad things were, it was how to make it better for everyone. That’s what we’ve done in Wisconsin, that’s exactly what we’d do as…

TAPPER: Let me bring in our partner from Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt.

HEWITT: I’d like to talk about winning because I think all of you are more qualified than former Secretary of State Clinton, and as were the people in the first debate, but there are different styles, and Carly Fiorina, Governor Kasich, you’re conveniently located next to each other, and you have different styles.

Governor Kasich, you’ve been on my show a lot. You refused to attack Hillary Clinton, you just don’t want to go there, you want to do the up with people. Go, Ohio, OK, and I like that.

Carly Fiorina, I don’t have to bring up the Secretary of State — you bring her up, so (inaudible).

Which one of you is wrong? Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Well, look, people still have to get to know me, so I want to spend my time talking about my experience reforming welfare, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, providing economic growth when I was in Washington, turning Ohio around. Eight billion in the hole, $2 billion surplus, up over 300,000 jobs, big tax cuts, strengthening our credit.

All those things matter but, you know, as a young man in my first election in 1978, I defeated an incumbent Democrat. I defeated an incumbent Democrat in 1982; running on the Reagan program, I was the only Republican in America to defeat an incumbent Democrat that year.

And then, when I won for election of governor, I was the first Republican to defeat an incumbent in 36 years, and the first person to have never run statewide out of politics for 10 years to beat an incumbent. That hadn’t happened for 96 years.

So, we’ll get to the point where we’ll talk about Hillary Clinton, or whoever the nominee is, record. But right now, I want to give people sense of hope, sense of purpose, a sense of unity, sense that we can do it. So…

HEWITT: Governor.

KASICH: You know, at the end of the day, I’m going to continue to talk about my record, because there is, did you ever notice when people run for office, they run for president, they make a lot of promises, they don’t keep them. HEWITT: Thank you, Governor. KASICH: I don’t intend to do that, and I

going to be out there pushing it out — don’t worry about me and Hillary. That will all work out, and I’m from Ohio. She will not beat me there, I can promise you that.

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Carly Fiorina, your style?

FIORINA: You see, Governor Christie, people spend time talking about their track records, and Mr. Trump and I have every right to do the same. And Mrs. Clinton has to defend her track record.

Her track record of lying about Benghazi, of lying about her e- mails, about lying about her servers. She does not have a track record of accomplishment.

Like Mrs. Clinton, I, too, have travels hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know flying is an activity, not an accomplishment. Mrs. Clinton — if you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name a accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton’s.

HEWITT: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

Governor Christie, your name was mentioned. I want to give you a chance to respond.

CHRISTIE: Listen, you know, Hugh, it’s an important point. And the question is, who is going to prosecute Hillary Clinton?

The Obama White House seems to have in interest, the Justice Department seems to have no interest. I think it’s time to put a former federal prosecutor on the same stage as Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

And I will prosecute her during those debates on that stage for the record we’re talking about here. The fact she had a private email server in her basement, using national security secrets running through it, could have been hacked by the Russians, the Chinese, or two 18-year-olds on a toot (ph) wanting to have some fun.

No one is answering that question from the Hillary Clinton campaign…

HEWITT: Thank you, Governor.

CHRISTIE: You know why? Because she knows she’s wrong, and she cannot look in the mirror at herself, and she cannot tell the American people the truth.

HEWITT: Thank you, Governor Christie. There is a lot more coming up.

Ahead, a world of trouble. The challenges that one of these candidates may face in the Oval Office, and how he or she will handle it.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate. Let’s turn to some issues now in foreign policy.

Mr. Trump, Senator Rubio said it was, quote, “very concerning to him” that in a recent interview you didn’t seem to know the details about some of the enemies the U.S. faces. Rubio said, if you don’t know the answers to those questions, you will not be able to serve as commander-in-chief.

Please respond to Senator Rubio.

TRUMP: Well, I heard Hugh Hewitt, a nice man, he apologized because he actually said that we had a misunderstanding. And he said today that Donald Trump is maybe the best interview there is anywhere that he has ever done.

Now unless he was just saying that on CNN to be nice, but he did say that…

(CROSSTALK)

HEWITT: Oh, you’re the best interview in America.

TRUMP: And we had a legitimate misunderstanding in terms of his pronunciation of a word.

But I would say just…

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Well, I think it was. And he actually said that. Did you say that?

(CROSSTALK)

HEWITT: … makes an interesting case (ph) here (ph).

TRUMP: OK. So I will say this, though, Hugh was giving me name after name, Arab name, Arab name, and there are few people anywhere, anywhere that would have known those names. I think he was reading them off a sheet.

And frankly I will have — and I told him, I will have the finest team that anybody has put together and we will solve a lot of problems.

You know, right now they know a lot and look at what is happening. The world is blowing up around us. We will have great teams and great people.

TAPPER: Senator Rubio?

TRUMP: I hope that answers your question. I mean, you are in the Senate, but I hope that answers your question. RUBIO: Yes, well, it does. But it’s in the following way, this is an

important question. I think if you’re running for president, these are important issues, because look at around the world today.

There is a lunatic in North Korea with dozens of nuclear weapons and long-range rocket that can already hit the very place in which we stand tonight. The Chinese are rapidly expanding their military. They hack into our computers. They’re building artificial islands in the South China Sea, the most important shipping lane in the world.

A gangster in Moscow is not just threatening Europe, he’s threatening to destroy and divide NATO. You have radical jihadists in dozens of countries across multiple continents. And they even recruit Americans using social media to try to attack us here at home.

And now we have got this horrible deal with Iran where a radical Shia cleric with an apocalyptic vision of the future is also guaranteed to one day possess nuclear weapons and also a long-range rocket that can hit the United States.

These are extraordinarily dangerous times that we live in. And the next president of the United States better be someone that understands these issues and has good judgment about them because the number one issue that a president will ever confront, and the most important obligation that the federal government has, is to keep this nation safe.

And today we are not doing that. We are eviscerating our military. And we have a president that is more respectful to the ayatollah in Iran than he is to the prime minister of Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump? Senator Rubio seemed to be suggesting that you don’t know information that…

TRUMP: No, I don’t think he’s suggesting that at all. I mean…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: All right. Senator Rubio.

TRUMP: I don’t think he’s suggesting that at all.

RUBIO: Well, that’s why we have a debate. I think that we should have a deeper debate about these issues, because there is no more important decision that a president will make.

TAPPER: But are you saying that you have the knowledge to be the president that Mr. Trump does not have?

RUBIO: Well, you should ask him questions in detail about the foreign policy issues our president will confront, because you had better be able to lead our country on the first day.

Not six months from now, not a year from now, on the first day in office, our president could very well confront a national security crisis. You can’t predict it. Sometimes you cannot control it.

And it is the most — the federal government does all kinds of things it’s not supposed to be doing. It regulates bathrooms. It regulates schools that belong to local communities.

But the one thing that the federal government must do, the one thing that only the federal government can do is keep us safe. And a president better be up-to-date on those issues on his first day in office, on her first day in office.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, you have to understand, I am not sitting in the United States Senate with, by the way, the worst voting record there is today. Number one. I am not sitting in the United States Senate. I’m a businessman doing business transactions.

RUBIO: Trust (ph) me, I get that. OK.

TRUMP: I am doing business transactions. I will know more about this — and, as you said, that was very acceptable, and when you listen to that whole interview, it’s a great interview, you said it, I didn’t. Well, now I did. But…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Listen, just one second. Just one second.

RUBIO: I never get to addressed, and…

TRUMP: I will know…

RUBIO: …and when I do, I’m gonna jump in.

TRUMP: …I will know more about the problems of this world by the time I sit, and you look at what’s going in this world right now by people that supposedly know, this world is a mess. TAPPER: Senator Rubio, he did invoke your absentee record in the Senate.

RUBIO: Yeah. He did. Let me — I’m proud to serve in the United States Senate. You know, when I ran five years ago, the entire leadership of my party in Washington lined up against me.

But I’m glad I won. And I’m glad that I ran, because this country’s headed in the wrong direction. And if we keep electing the same people, nothing is going to change.

And you’re right, I have missed some votes, and I’ll tell you why, Mr. Trump. Because in my years in the Senate, I’ve figured out very quickly that the political establishment in Washington, D.C. in both political parties is completely out of touch with the lives of our people.

You have millions of people in this country living paycheck to paycheck, and nothing is being done about it. We are about to leave our children with $18 trillion in — in — in debt, and they’re about to raise the debt limit again.

We have a world that grows increasingly dangerous, and we are eviscerating our military spending and signing deals with Iran. And these — if this thing continues, we are going to be the first Americans to leave our children worse off than ourselves.

That’s why I’m missing votes. Because I am leaving the Senate, I’m not running for re-election, and I’m running for president because I know this: unless we have the right president, we cannot make America fulfill its potential, but with the right person in office, the 21st century can be the greatest era that our nation has ever known.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Rubio. I want to turn now to Hugh Hewitt.

HEWITT: Thank you, Jake. I’ve done a lot of great interviews with all of you, but, Governor Bush, I talked to you in February about the biggest elephant in a room full of elephants, which is your last name. And you said you would not be burdened either by your brother or your father’s legacy in the Middle East.

And then, a week later, you rolled out your list of foreign policy advisers, and it was a lot of the band getting back together again. So on behalf of the military that is watching…

BUSH: Yeah.

HEWITT: …OK, the active duty military that are at the end of the sphere (ph), what kind of a commander in chief is Jeb Bush going to be, and who are the advisers that are new to your team?

BUSH: Well, first of all, Hugh, if you’re looking at Republican advisers, you have to go to the last two administrations. That happened to be 41 and 43. So just by definition, if you’re — and many of the people here that are seeking advice from the foreign policy experts in the Republican side, they — they served in my dad’s administration, my brother’s administration. Of course that’s the case.

But I’m my own man. I’m going to create a strategy that is based on the simple fact that the United States needs to lead the world. The first thing that we need to do is to stop the craziness of the sequester.

Rebuild our military so that our — so that we don’t deploy people over and over again without the necessary equipment to keep them safe, to send a signal to the world that we’re serious. If we’re going to lead the world, then we need to have the strongest military possible.

We need to rebuild our counterintelligence and intelligence capabilities. We need to focus on the fact that the next president is going to start in 2017, not in 1990 — you know, 30 years ago, or when my brother started.

The world is dramatically different. And I believe that we need to restore America’s presence and leadership in the world. Name a country where our relationship is better today than it was the — the day that Barack Obama got elected president.

Under Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, we have seen a weakness that now creates huge problems for the next president of the United States. So I’ll have a team that will be — that will be following the doctrine I set up, and it will be peace through strength.

We’re sitting here in this library, which is a wonderful place to talk about this, because that’s exactly what happened in the 1980s, and the world was a lot safer because of…

TRUMP: (inaudible)

HEWITT: Mr. — Mr. Trump.

BUSH: The leadership of Ronald Reagan and my…

(CROSSTALK)

HEWITT: I want to ask you a question, though, you promised us great leaders. And I believe that. But Jeb Bush has laid out 20 different people that have experience around the world. There are 190 countries, you can’t run the world by yourself.

When are we going to get some names on your military and your foreign policy advisers?

TRUMP: (inaudible) I’m — and I’m meeting with people that are terrific people, but I have to say something because it’s about judgment.

I am the only person on this dais — the only person — that fought very, very hard against us (ph), and I wasn’t a sitting politician going into Iraq, because I said going into Iraq — that was in 2003, you can check it out, check out — I’ll give you 25 different stories.

TRUMP: In fact, a delegation was sent to my office to see me because I was so vocal about it. I’m a very militaristic person, but you have to know when to use the military. I’m the only person up here that fought against going into Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: Hugh, can I — can I make a response to that?

TRUMP: Just excuse me, one second, Rand…

PAUL: Can I make a response to that?

TRUMP: If you don’t mind, Rand — you know, you are on last — you do have your 1 percent.

I would like — and I think it’s very important. I think it’s important, because it’s about judgment. It’s about judgment.

I didn’t want to go into Iraq, and I fought it, because what I said — what I said…

PAUL: May I make a response to that?

TRUMP: … was you’re going to — you’re going to destabilize…

PAUL: He’s referred to me.

TRUMP: … the Middle East, and that’s what happened.

PAUL: He’s referred to me…

BUSH: So you — the — the first chance…

PAUL: … in his remarks. May I make a response?

BUSH: Right after me, and then I’ll — I’ll yield — yield the floor. What do you guys say in the Senate when you’re talking and debating?

PAUL: Absolutely. Go ahead.

BUSH: Here’s the facts: When Donald Trump talks about judgment, what was his position on who would’ve been the best negotiator to deal with Iran? It wasn’t a Republican; it was Hillary Clinton. That’s what you believe. I mean, the lack of judgment and the lack of understanding about how the world works is really dangerous in this kind of time that we’re saying.

So is that the judgment that you bring to the table, that Hillary Clinton…

TRUMP: If you think about it…

BUSH: … is a great negotiator, that she could bring about a better deal on Iran?

TRUMP: Your brother — and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster, those last three months, that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected.

BUSH: You know what? As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe.

I don’t know if you remember…

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: … Donald…

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: … you remember the — the rumble? You remember the fire fighter with his arms around it? He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe.

TRUMP: I don’t know. You feel safe right now? I don’t feel so safe. PAUL: May I respond?

WALKER:: That’s because of Barack — that’s because of Barack Obama.

BUSH: That’s — that’s my brother.

WALKER:: That’s because of Barack Obama. We’ve had a president who called ISIS the J.V. squad, Yemen a success story, Iran a place we can do business with. It’s not because of George W. Bush; it’s because of Barack Obama…

(APPLAUSE)

WALKER: (inaudible) on that point, though, whether it’s — whether we’re talking about national security, foreign policy or we’re talking about domestic policy, the key…

TRUMP: Or the collapse of the economy.

WALKER: … the key issue here is talking about leadership. Now, there’s a lot of greater people up here, and you’ve heard a lot of great ideas out there. But I would ask the American people, look at who’s been tested.

When there were 100,000 protesters in my capital, I didn’t back down, when they issued death threats against me and threats against my family, I didn’t back down, when they tried to recall me, I didn’t back down, and when they made me the — one of their number-one targets last year, I didn’t back down.

Give me the chance to be your president.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

WALKER: I won’t back down…

TAPPER: Senator…

WALKER: … on any of these issues.

TAPPER: Senator Paul?

PAUL: The remark was made that there hadn’t been anyone else on the podium opposed to the Iraq War. I’ve made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War. I was opposed to the Syria war. I was opposed to arming people who are our enemies.

Iran is now stronger because Hussein is gone. Hussein was the great bulwark and counterbalance to the Iranians. So when we complain about the Iranians, you need to remember that the Iraq War made it worse.

Originally, Governor Bush was asked, was the Iraq War a mistake, and he said, “No. We’d do it again.”

We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We’re still paying the repercussions of a bad decision.

TAPPER: Senator Paul…

PAUL: We have make the decision now in Syria, should we topple Assad? Many up here wanted to topple Assad, and it’s like — I said no, because if you do…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Paul…

PAUL: … ISIS will now be in charge of Syria…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Paul…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I understand that Governor Bush’s name has been invoked, and then we can go to you, Senator Rubio. BUSH: Here’s the lessons of history: When we — we pull back, voids are created. We left Iraq. We should’ve had a — a forces agreement to stay there with a small force, and instead of that, we politically and militarily pulled back, and now we have the creation of ISIS.

36 days ago in this very library, I gave a speech with a comprehensive strategy how to take out ISIS, and it requires American leadership and engagement. We don’t have to be the world’s policemen. But we certainly have to be the world’s leader.

We need to have — make sure that the world knows that we’re serious, that we’re engaged, that we’re not going to pull back, that — that our — that our word matters. And if we do that, we can create a force that will take out ISIS both in Iraq and in Syria, which will take a lot longer time now…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

BUSH: … because of what President Obama’s done by pulling back.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: I want to go even deeper — and I want to go even deeper in that direction, because I think the belief that somehow by retreating, America makes the world safer has been disproven every single time it’s ever been tried.

Syria’s a perfect example of it. The uprising in Syria was not started by the United States; it was started by the Syrian people. And I warned at the time — this was three and a half years ago — I openly and repeatedly warned that if we did not find moderate elements on the ground that we could equip and arm, that void would be filled by radical jihadists.

Well, the president didn’t listen, the administration didn’t follow through, and that’s exactly what happened. That is why ISIS grew. That is why ISIS then came over the border from Syria and back into Iraq. What is happening in that region is the direct consequence of the inability to lead and of disengagement. And the more we disengage, the more airplanes from Moscow you’re going to see flying out of Damascus and out of Syria…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

RUBIO: … as you asked earlier today.

(APPLAUSE)

CARSON: Jake, Jake…

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I haven’t had an opportunity to weigh in on foreign policy, and I just want to mention that when the war, when the issue occurred in 2003, I suggested to President Bush that he not go to war? OK. So I just want that on the record.

And, you know, a lot of people are very much against us getting involved right now with global jihadism. And they refer back to our invasion of Iraq. And they seem to think that that was what caused it.

What caused it was withdrawing from there and creating a vacuum which allowed this terrible situation to occur. But it is very different from what is going on today. We’re talking about global jihadists who actually want to destroy us.

They are an existential threat to our nation. And we have to be mature enough to recognize that our children will have no future if we put our heads in the sand. We have to recognize we have two choices.

We either allow them the continue to progress and appear to be the winners, or we use every resource available to us to destroy…

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: … them first.

TAPPER: I mean, it is interesting that you say that, because I want to ask Governor Christie about something else that you have said.

Governor Christie, we just marked the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Now Dr. Carson has said that if he had been president at the time, the United States would not have gone to war in Afghanistan. What does that say to you about how Dr. Carson would respond as president if America were attacked again?

CHRISTIE: Well, Jake, I was named U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001. And that next day my wife Mary Pat did what she did every day, she traveled through the World Trade Center and went to her office two blocks from the World Trade Center.

And after those planes hit, for five-and-a-half-hours after that, I couldn’t reach her, didn’t know whether she was dead or alive, and we had three children at the time, 8, 5 and 1.

And I had to confront what so many thousands of others in my region had to confront, the idea I might become a single parent, the idea that my life and my children’s life might be changed forever.

We lost friends that day. We went to the funerals. And I will tell you that what those people wanted and what they deserved was for America to answer back against what had been done to them.

And I support what President Bush did at that time, going into Afghanistan, hunting al Qaeda and its leaders, getting its sanctuary out of place, and making it as difficult around the world for them to move people and money.

And then he went to prosecutors like us, and he said, never again. Don’t prosecute these people after the crime is committed. Intervene before the crime happens. I absolutely believe that what the president did at the time was right.

And I am proud to have been one of the people on the stage who was part of making sure that what Governor Bush said before was the truth. America was safe for those seven years and Barack Obama has taken that safety away from us.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: Well, recognize that, you know, President George W. Bush is a great friend of ours, and we spent many wonderful days at the White House. I haven’t been there in the last seven years. I probably have to have a food-tester.

(LAUGHTER)

But at any rate, I didn’t suggest that nothing be done. What I suggested to President Bush is to be Kennedy-esque, in the sense that when the Russians got ahead of us in the space race, what we did is use the bully pulpit to galvanize everybody, business, industry, academia behind a national goal to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely.

I said, you can do the same kind of thing. Declare that within five to 10 years we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks.

There are smart ways to do things and there are muscular ways to do things. And sometimes you have to look at both of those to come up with the right solution.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: … Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: Let me say this, Jake, is that while that may have been a fine idea that Dr. Carson had, these people were out to kill us.

I stood in that region with my family, and every time a plane went overhead in the weeks after that, people’s heads jerked to the sky because they thought it was happening again.

You do not need to go through subtle diplomacy at that point. That could be handled later on. What you need is a strong American leader who will take the steps that are necessary to protect our nation.

That’s what I would do as commander-in-chief in this circumstance. And that’s what President George W. Bush did in 2001.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I have no argument with having a strong leader, and to be aggressive where aggression is needed. But it is not needed in every circumstance. There is a time when you can use your intellect to come up with other ways to do things. And I think that’s what we have to start thinking about.

CARSON: There is no question that a lot of these problems that we have been talking about in terms of the international situation is because we are weak. It is because our Navy is so small. It is because our Air Force is incapable of doing the same things that it did a few years ago.

It’s because our Marines Corps is not ready to be deployed.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: There are a lot of problems that are going on, and we need to solve those problems, we need to build up our military…

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

RUBIO: But radical terrorism cannot be solved by intellect. It cannot — they require — what they need, is they need an operating space. That’s what Afghanistan was for Al Qaida. It was a vacuum that they filled, and they created an operating space.

That’s why they had to be drawn out of there. That’s why they had to be destroyed. It is the reason why ISIS has grown as well. We allowed them — we allowed a vacuum to emerge in Syria. They used it as an operating space to grow; and today they’re not just in Iraq and Syria anymore, they’re now in Libya, conducting operations in the Sinai.

They’re now in Afghanistan, trying to supplant the Taliban as the most powerful radical jihadist group on the ground there, as well. You cannot allow radical jihadists to have an operating safe haven anywhere in the world.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Huckabee. (APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: Just today — just today, there was a new report that 50 different intelligence analysts have said that what they sent up the ladder was doctored by senior officials, so that they could give some happy talk to the situation that we face.

I love the idea of a good intellectual capacity to deal with our enemies, but the fact is, if you don’t have good intelligence that is reliable and honest, you won’t have good intelligence and you cannot make good decisions.

The next president is primarily elected not just to know things, but to know what to do with the things that he knows. And the most dangerous person in any room is the person who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: And the reason Barack Obama has been dangerous to this country and we better elect someone who had some executive experience, is because we cannot afford another eight years having a person in the office who doesn’t know what he does not know.

TAPPER: Thank you, governor, I want to turn to ISIS. Governor Walker…

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: We just spent — we just spent the last 10 minutes…

TALKER: Governor Walker, there is a big debate now, we have been talking about ISIS here and there in this discussion, there a big debate right now about whether or not to send more U.S. troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

In the first debate earlier this evening, Senator Lindsey Graham argued that candidates are only serious about fighting ISIS if they’re willing to send 10,000 U.S. troops to Iraq, 10,000 U.S. troops as part of a coalition to Syria.

Governor Walker, you say, you just told me a few days ago that the 3,000 U.S. troops there right now are enough, as long as the rules of engagement are changed.

What do you know that Senator Graham doesn’t know?

WALKER: To be clear, what I said the other day was that we need to lift the political restrictions that are already in play. Barack Obama’s administration has put political restrictions on the military personnel already in Iraq.

We need to lift those and then we need to listen to our military experts, not the political forces in the White House, but our military experts about how many more we sent in. And we certainly shouldn’t have a commander-in-chief who sends a message to our adversaries as to how far we’re going to go, and how far we’re willing to fight, so I’m not putting a troop number.

What I’m saying is lift the political restrictions. When you do that, you empower our military personnel already there to work with the Kurd and the Sunni allies, to reclaim the territory taken by ISIS. And to do so in a way that allows that ISIS doesn’t go back in Syria, as we were just talking about here.

That is the fundamental problem going forward. We have a president — and Hillary Clinton was a part of this, by the way, who has made political decisions for our men and women in uniform. I want the men and women at home to know, if I’m commander-in-chief, I will only send you into harm’s way when our national security is at risk. And if we do, you know you’ll have our full support, the support of the American people, and you’ll have a clear path for victory.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Paul, I want to go to you, because you have said that the boots on the ground to fight ISIS need to be Arab boots. We just learned today that despite the Obama administration spending $500 million to help create those Arab boots, there are only four or five U.S. trained fighters in Syria fighting ISIS.

What does that say to you about the effectiveness of the idea of the boots on the ground need to be Arab boots?

PAUL: If you want boots on the ground, and you want them to be our sons and daughters, you got 14 other choices. There will always be a Bush or Clinton for you, if you want to go back to war in Iraq.

But the thing is, the first war was a mistake. And I’m not sending our sons and our daughters back to Iraq. The war didn’t work. We can amplify those who live there.

The Kurds deserve to be armed and I’ll arm them. We can use our Air Force to amplify the forces there. But the boots on the ground need to be the people who live there.

My goodness, I’m still upset with the Saudi Arabians for everything they do over there. They’ve funded the arms that went to the jihadists. They’re not accepting any of the people, any of the migrants that have been — the refugees that are being pushed out of Syria. Saudi Arabia is not accepting one.

Why are we always the world’s patsies that we have to go over there and fight their wars for them? They need to fight their wars, we need to defend American interests, but it is not in America’s national security interests to have another war in Iraq.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re going to turn to some domestic issues now. I want to bring in my colleague, Dana Bash.

BASH: Thank you.

KASICH: Can I just — can I — Jake, can I just make one point on this whole military discussion?

TAPPER: Sure….

KASICH: I called for boots on the ground many months ago in a coalition with our friends who share our interest. You know, you win a battle with the military, and when we go somewhere, we need to be mobile, and lethal. We need to take care of business, and we need to come home.

But, we face, also, a bigger war — and you win the bigger war with the battle of ideas. You wonder why young people, and educated people, rich people, schooled people, have tried to join ISIS.

Western civilization, all of us, need to wake up to the fact that those murderers and rapists need to be called out, and in Western civilization we need to make it clear that our faith in the Jewish and Christian principals force us to live a life bigger than ourselves…

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor…

KASICH: …to make (ph) centers (ph) of justice so that we can battle the radicals, call them out for what they are, and make sure that all of our people feel fulfilled in living in Western civilization…

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor. Dana Bash…

KASICH: …This is a giant battle in the world today…

FIONNA: …Jake, since everyone has gotten to weigh in on this military issue, I’d like to be able to do the same.

We have spent probably 12 minutes talking about the past. Let’s talk about the future. We need the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it. And, specifically, what that means is we need about 50 Army brigades, we need about 36 Marine battalions, we need somewhere between 300, and 350 naval ships, we need to upgrade every leg of the nuclear triad…

TAPPER: Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina…

FIORINA: …we need to reform the Department of Defense, we need as well…

BASH: …Thank you….

TAPPER: …Thank you, we’re going to turn now to domestic issues with Dana Bash.

FIORINA: …to invest in our military technology, and we need to care for our veterans so 307,000…

TAPPER: …Dana Bash…

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: …aren’t dying waiting for health care.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dana Bash?

BASH: Governor Bush, let’s talk about the issue that’s very important to Republican voters, and that’s the Supreme Court. After Chief Justice John Roberts voted to uphold Obamacare twice, Senator Cruz criticized your brother for appointing John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

Looking back on it, did your brother make a mistake?

BUSH: Well, I’m surprised Senator Cruz would say that since he was as strong supporter of John Roberts at the time.

I will talk about what I will do as it relates to appointing Supreme Court Justices. We need to make sure that we have justices that, with a proven experienced record of respect for upholding the constitution. That is what we need. We can’t have — the history in recent past is appoint people that have no experience so that you can’t get attacked.

And, that makes it harder for people to have confidence that they won’t veer off…

BASH: …Is John Roberts one of those people?

BUSH: John Roberts has made some really good decisions, for sure, but he did not have a proven, extensive record that would have made the clarity the important thing, and that’s what we need to do. And, I’m willing to fight for those nominees to make sure that they get passed. You can’t do it the politically expedient way anymore. This is the culture in Washington. You have to fight hard for these appointments. This is perhaps the most important thing that the next president will do.

BASH: Do you like what you just heard, Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Well, Dana, I’ve known John Roberts for 20 years, he’s amazingly talented lawyer, but, yes, it was a mistake when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. He’s a good enough lawyer that he knows in these Obamacare cases he changed the statute, he changed the law in order to force that failed law on millions of Americans for a political outcome.

And, you know, we’re frustrated as conservatives. We keep winning elections, and then we don’t get the outcome we want. And, let me focus on two moments in time.

Number one, in 1990, in one room was David Souter, and in another room was Edith Jones, the rock ribbed (ph) conservative on the fifth circuit court of appeals. George Herbert Walker Bush appointed David Souter.

And then in 2005, in one room was John Roberts, in another room was my former boss, Mike Luttig, the rock ribbed (ph) conservative on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: …George W. Bush appointed John Roberts, and let me give you the consequences of that.

If, instead, the President Bush had appointed Edith Jones, and Mike Luttig, which is who I would have appointed, Obamacare would have been struck down three years ago, and the marriage laws of all 50 states would be on the books. These matter, and I fought to defend the constitution my whole life…

TAPPER: …Governor Bush…

CRUZ: …and I will as president as well.

TAPPER: …I want to let you respond.

BUSH: Well, first of all, he, as I said, supported John Roberts. He supported him, publicly. So, you can rewrite history, I guess, Ted, but the simple fact is that you supported him because he had all the criteria that you would have thought would have made a great justice. And, I think he is doing a good job.

But, the simple fact is that going forward, what we need to do is to have someone that has a long standing set of rulings that consistently makes it clear that he is a focused, exclusively on upholding the Constitution of the United States so they won’t try to use the bench as a means to which legislate.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor…

…And, that’s what we should do, and I hope I’ll be working members of the United States Senate to fight hard for the passage of people that have that kind of qualification.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz, 30 seconds.

CRUZ: It is true that after George W. Bush nominated John Roberts, I supported his confirmation. That was a mistake and I regret that. I wouldn’t have nominated John Roberts, and indeed, Governor Bush pointed out why.

It wasn’t that the President Bushes wanted to appoint a liberal to the court, it’s that it was the easier choice. Both David Souter and John Roberts, they didn’t have a long paper trail. If you had nominated Edith Jones or Mike Ludig (ph) you would have had a bloody fight and they weren’t willing to spend political capital to put a strong judicial conservative on the court. I have spent my entire life, starting from clerking for Chief Justice

William Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court, one of the most principled jurists. We have an out-of-control Court, and I give you my word, if I’m elected president, every single Supreme Court justice will faithfully follow the law and will not act like philosopher kings — TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: — imposing their liberal policies on millions of Americans —

TAPPER: Thank you, Semator.

CRUZ: — who need to be trusted to govern ourselves.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Huckabee, I want to bring you in very quickly if you could. Will you have a litmus test when it comes to appointing Supreme Court nominees?

HUCKABEE: You better believe I will, because I’m tired of liberals always having a litmus test and conservatives are supposed to pretend we don’t. Well let me tell you what mine would be.

Number one, I’d ask do you think that the unborn child is a human being or is it just a blob of tissue? I’d want to know the answer to that. I’d want to know do you believe in the First Amendment, do you believe that religious liberty is the fundamental liberty around which all the other freedoms of this country are based? And I’d want to know do you really believe in the Second Amendment, do you believe that we have an individual right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our family and to protect our country? And do you believe in the Fifth and the 14th Amendment? Do you believe that a person, before they’re deprived of life and liberty, should in fact have due process and equal protection under the law? Because if you do, you’re going to do more than defund Planned Parenthood.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: One final thing. I’d make darn sure that we absolutely believe the 10th Amendment. Every governor on this stage would share this much with you. Every one of us — our biggest fight wasn’t always with the legislature or even with the Democrats. My gosh, half the time, it was with the federal government who apparently never understood —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: — that if it’s not reserved in the Constitution, then the 10th Amendment says it’s left to the states. But somebody forgot to send a memo to Washington.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. We’re going to take a quick break. Coming up, one of the hottest questions that you have been asking us via social media. We will pose it to the candidates. That’s coming up right after this.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN’s Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library here in Simi Valley — Simi Valley, California.

Many people on social media wanted us to ask about marijuana legalization. Senator Paul, Governor Christie recently said, quote, “if you’re getting high in Colorado today,” where marijuana has been legalized, “enjoy it until January 2017, because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana.” Will you?

PAUL: I think one of the great problems, and what American people don’t like about politics, is hypocrisy. People have one standard for others and not for them — for themselves.

There is at least one prominent example on the stage of someone who says they smoked pot in high school, and yet the people going to — to jail for this are poor people, often African-Americans and often Hispanics, and yet the rich kids who use drugs aren’t.

I personally think that this is a crime for which the only victim is the individual, and I think that America has to take a different attitude. I would like to see more rehabilitation and less incarceration. I’m a fan of the drug courts which try to direct you back towards work and less time in jail.

But the bottom line is the states. We say we like the 10th Amendment, until we start talking about this. And I think the federal government has gone too far, I think that the war on drugs has had a racial outcome, and really has been something that has really damaged our inner cities.

Not only do the drugs damage them, we damage them again by incarcerating them and then preventing them from getting employment over time.

So I don’t think that the federal government should override the states. I believe in the 10th Amendment and I really will say that the states are left to themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: I want to give that — I want to give the person that you called a hypocrite an opportunity to respond. Do you want to identify that person?

PAUL: Well, I think if we left it open, we could see how many people smoked pot in high school.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Is there somebody you were specifically thinking of?

PAUL: Well, you know, the thing is that…

BUSH: He was talking about me.

PAUL: Yeah, I was talking about (inaudible) — well, let me…

TAPPER: That’s what I though, but I wanted (inaudible) to say it.

BUSH: Well, I — I wanted to — be — make it easier for him.

TAPPER: OK.

BUSH: And I just did.

TAPPER: Governor Bush, please.

BUSH: So, 40 years ago, I smoked marijuana, and I admit it. I’m sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: That’s true. And here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. We have — we have a serious epidemic of drugs that goes way beyond marijuana. What goes on in Colorado, as far as I’m concerned, that should be a state decision.

But if you look at the problem of drugs in this — in this society today, it’s a serious problem. Rand, you know this because you’re campaigning in New Hampshire like all of us, and you see the epidemic of heroin, the overdoses of heroin that’s taking place.

People’s families are — are being torn apart. It is appropriate for the government to play a consistent role to be able to provide more treatment, more prevention — we’re the state that has the most drug courts across every circuit in — in — in Florida, there are drug courts to give people a second chance.

That’s the best way to do this.

PAUL: But let me respond. The thing is, is that in Florida, Governor Bush campaigned against medical marijuana. That means that a small child like Morgan Hintz (ph) that has seizures is day, is failing on non-traditional medications, is not allowed to use cannabis oil.

And if they do that in Florida, they will take the child away, they will put the parents in jail. And that’s what that means if you’re against allowing people use medical marijuana, you’ll actually put them in jail.

BUSH: No, you’re wrong — you’re wrong about this.

PAUL: And actually, under the current circumstances, kids who had privilege like you do, don’t go to jail, but the poor kids in our inner cities go to jail. I don’t think that’s fair. And I think we need to acknowledge it, and it is hypocritical to still want to put poor people in jail… BUSH: I don’t want to put poor people in jail, Randy.

PAUL: Well, you vote — you oppose medical marijuana…

BUSH: Here’s the deal. No, I did not oppose when the legislature passed the bill to deal with that very issue. That’s the way to solve this problem.

Medical marijuana on the ballot was opened up, there was a huge loophole, it was the first step to getting to a (inaudible) place. And as a citizen of Florida, I voted no.

PAUL: But that means you’ll put people in jail.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to go right now — I want to go right now…

FIORINA: Jake, may I just say…

CHRISTIE: Jake, you brought my issue up.

TAPPER: That’s true. Go ahead, Christie, please.

CHRISTIE: You know, I enjoy the interplay. Thank you, gentlemen.

I’ll just say this, first off, New Jersey is the first state in the nation that now says if you are non-violent, non-dealing drug user, that you don’t go to jail for your first offense. You go to mandatory treatment.

You see, Jake, I’m pro-life. And I think you need to be pro-life for more than just the time in the womb. It gets tougher when they get out of the womb. And when they’re the 16-year-old drug addict in the Florida county lockup, that life is just as precious as the life in the womb.

And so, that’s why I’m for rehabilitation, why I think the war on drugs has been a failure.

But I’ll end with this. That doesn’t mean we should be legalizing gate way drugs. And if Senator Paul thinks that the only victim is the person, look at the decrease in productivity, look at the way people get used and move on to other drugs when they use marijuana as a gateway drug, it is not them that are the only victims. Their families are the victims too, their children are the victims too, and their employers are the victims also.

That’s why I’ll enforce the federal law, while you can still put an emphasis on rehabilitation, which we’ve done in New Jersey.

PAUL: May I respond?

FIORINA: Jake — Jake…

TAPPER: You may respond, and then I’ll bring in you, Ms. Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Understand what they’re saying. if they’re going to say we are going to enforce the federal law against what the state law is, they aren’t really believing in the Tenth Amendment.

Governor Christie would go into Colorado, and if you’re breaking any federal law on marijuana, even though the state law allows it, he would put you in jail. If a young mother is trying to give her child cannabis oil for medical marijuana for seizure treatment, he would put her in jail, if it violates federal law.

I would let Colorado do what the Tenth Amendment says. This power — we were never intended to have crime dealing at the federal level. Crime was supposed to be left to the states. Colorado has made their decision. And I don’t want the federal government interfering and putting moms in jail, who are trying to get medicine for their kid…

CHRISTIE: And Senator Paul knows that that’s simply not the truth.

In New Jersey, we have medical marijuana laws, which I supported and implemented. This is not medical marijuana. There’s goes as much — a further step beyond. This is recreational use of marijuana.

This is much different. And so, while he would like to use a sympathetic story to back up his point, it doesn’t work. I’m not against medical marijuana. We do it in New Jersey. But I’m against the recreational use against marijuana.

If he wants to change the federal law, get Congress to pass the law to change it, and get a president to sign it.

PAUL: May I respond? May I respond?

TAPPER: Yes, Senator Paul.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Here is the thing, he doesn’t want to make it about medical marijuana, but what if New Jersey’s medical marijuana contradicts the federal law? He’s saying he’ll send the federal government in, and he will enforce the federal law. That’s not consistent with the Tenth Amendment. It is not consistent with states’ rights. And it is not consistent with the conservative vision for the country.

I don’t think we should be sending the federal police in to arrest a mother and separate them from their child for giving a medicine to their child for seizures.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to bring in Ms. Fiorina — I want to bring in Ms. Fiorina on this issue.

FIORINA: I very much hope I am the only person on this stage who can say this, but I know there are millions of Americans out there who will say the same thing.

My husband Frank and I buried a child to drug addiction. So, we must invest more in the treatment of drugs.

FIORINA: I agree with Senator Paul. I agree with states’ rights. But we are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. It’s not. And the marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago.

(LAUGHTER)

We do — sorry, Barbara. We do need — we do need criminal justice reform. We have the highest incarceration rates in the world. Two- thirds of the people in our prisons are there for non-violent offenses, mostly drug related. It’s clearly not working.

But we need to tell young people the truth. Drug addiction is an epidemic, and it is taking too many of our young people. I know this sadly from personal experience.

TAPPER: Hugh — Hugh, I’d like to…

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Thank you, Jake.

Tomorrow is — Republicans know this — tomorrow is Constitution Day. We’ve been talking about the 10th Amendment. Let’s talk about the Second Amendment.

Governor Bush, one of the things the Supreme Court has gotten right is that it’s an individual right and it’s protected for individuals to hold it.

Last week, you said the next step in gun issues is to make sure they’re not in the hands of mentally ill. In this state, there’s a controversial law that allows guns to be taken away from people without a hearing.

Where does it go — and the problem of violence is endemic, but where does it go from what you said last week, how far into people’s lives to take guns away from them?

BUSH: Not very far.

I think we need to do this state by state. There are places that get this right, and we need to make sure that we protect the privacy laws. This is a complicated place. But I do think the natural impulse on the left — Hillary Clinton, immediately after one of these horrific violent acts took place, immediately said we need to have federal gun laws. President Obama almost reflexively always says the same thing.

And the net result is, you’re going to take away rights of — of law- abiding citizens, the 99.999 percent of the people that are law- abiding citizens. That’s not the right approach to do it. In Florida, we have a background check. We have concealed-weapon permit holders, and in fact, there’s 1,200,000 of them. We have a reduction in violent crime because we put people behind bars when they use a gun in the commission of the crime. That’s the better approach.

But we’re living in a society today where despair kind of grows in isolation.

HEWITT: If a family member calls and says, “My child, my brother, my sister is disturbed,” ought the state be able to go and get their weapon without a hearing?

BUSH: I — I think there needs to be a hearing, but the fact is, we need to encourage that kind of involvement. That’s — that’s exactly what we need to do.

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: There’s a broader issue here, Hugh. And there’s a broader issue here as well.

First of all, the only people that follow the law are law-abiding people. Criminals by definition ignore the law, so you can pass all the gun laws in the world, like the left wants. The criminals are going to ignore it because they are criminals.

Here’s the real issue.

(APPLAUSE)

The real issue — the real issue is not what are people using to commit violence, but why are they committing the violence? And here’s the truth: Because you cannot separate the social, moral wellbeing of your people from their economic and other wellbeing. You cannot separate it.

You can’t have a strong country without strong people, you cannot have strong people without strong values, and you cannot have strong values without strong families and the institutions in this country that defend and support those families.

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator.

RUBIO: Well, and today, we have a left-wing government under this president that is undermining all of the institutions and society that support the family and teach those values.

HEWITT: Senator Cruz, I want to go to you.

Your constitutional litigant (ph), are you afraid of the next- step theory of what happens to Second Amendment rights?

CRUZ: I — I am not, and — and you mentioned that the U.S. Supreme Court had rightly upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms.

I was proud to lead 31 states before the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Second Amendment, and we won that landmark victory. And indeed, just a couple of years ago, when Harry Reid and Barack Obama came after the right to keep and bear arms of millions of Americans, I was proud to lead the fight in the United States Senate to protect our right to keep and bear arms, and for that reason…

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … I was honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America…

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on this stage today, and I will…

HEWITT: Thank you, senator.

CRUZ: … fight every day to defend the Bill of Rights.

TAPPER: I’d like to turn it over — I’d like to turn to Dana Bush.

BASH: Mr. Trump, you have said once or twice that you are really rich, and you are by far the richest person on this stage.

Chris Christie says billionaires like you and even people who make and earn far less should no longer get Social Security, or at least there should be limits based on — on their income.

You think he’s wrong, and if so, why?

TRUMP: Speaking for myself, I’m OK with it. I think there’s a certain truth to it. I know people that, frankly, it has no impact on their life whatsoever. There are many people.

I would almost say leave it up to them, but I would be willing to check it off, and say I will not get Social Security. I do not…

BASH: What about the country as a — as a policy?

TRUMP: As a policy, I would almost leave it up to the people. Don’t forget they pay in and they pay in, and maybe they do well, and maybe some people want it. But the fact is that there are people that truly don’t need it, and there are many people that do need it very, very badly. And I would be willing to write mine off 100 percent, Dana.

BASH: So is a voluntary program the way to get the Social Security system solvent again like that.

CHRISTIE: No, it’s not. But with Donald, it’s a good start. That’s really good.

(LAUGHTER)

No, listen. This is an issue that — that we’ve gotta talk about, and we haven’t talked about yet.

71 percent of all federal spending is on entitlements and debt service. When John Kennedy was elected president in 1960, it was 26 percent.

Harvard and Dartmouth says that Social Security’s going to go insolvent in seven to eight years. So what I say is very simple. We need to save this program for the good people out there who have paid into the system and need it.

And if that means making sure that folks like Donald and many of us on the stage don’t get it, that’s the right thing to do because here’s what Hillary Clinton is going to want to do.

She’s going to want to put more money into a system that has already lied to us and stolen from us. This government doesn’t need more money to make Social Security solvent. We need to be not paying out benefits to people who don’t really need it.

We need to protect the people who Social Security means the difference between picking between heat and rent and food. That’s why I put out the proposal and that’s the people I’m trying to…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I’m coming to you right now on a separate issue, sir. We received…

(UNKNOWN): Well, I want to talk about this issue for a moment.

TAPPER: We received a lot of questions from social media about climate change.

Senator Rubio, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz, reminds us that when Reagan was president he faced a similar situation to the one that we’re facing now. There were dire warnings from the mass consensus of the scientific community about the ozone layer shrinking.

Shultz says Ronald Reagan urged skeptics in industry to come up with a plan. He said, do it as an insurance policy in case the scientists are right. The scientists were right. Reagan and his approach worked.

Secretary Shultz asks, why not take out an insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?

RUBIO: Because we’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government that we are under now wants to do. We’re not going to…

TAPPER: I’m citing George Shultz.

RUBIO: Well, and I don’t — he may have lined up with their positions on this issue. But here is the bottom line. Every proposal they put forward are going to be proposals that will make it harder to do business in America, that will make it harder to create jobs in America.

Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families. Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida, or anywhere across this country cannot afford it.

So we are not going to destroy our economy. We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather, because America is a lot of things, the greatest country in the world, absolutely.

But America is not a planet. And we are not even the largest carbon producer anymore, China is. And they’re drilling a hole and digging anywhere in the world that they can get a hold of.

So the bottom line is, I am not in favor of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live, or to work, or to raise their families.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Governor Christie, you have said that climate change is real, and that humans help contribute to it. Without getting into the issue of China versus the United States, which I understand you’ve talked about before, what do you make of skeptics of climate change such as Senator Rubio?

CHRISTIE: I don’t think Senator Rubio is a skeptic of climate change. I think what Senator Rubio said I agree with. That in fact we don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem.

Look at what we have done in New Jersey. We have already reached our clean air goals for 2020. And when I was governor, I pulled out of the regional cap and trade deal, the only state in the Northeast that did that. And we still reached our goals.

Why? Because 53 percent of our electricity comes from nuclear. We use natural gas. We use solar power. We’re the third-highest- using solar power state. You know why? Because we made all of those things economically feasible.

I agree with Marco. We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow us by ourselves is going to fix the climate. We can contribute to that and be economically sound.

We have proven we can do that in New Jersey. Nuclear needs to be back on the table in a significant way in this country if we want to go after this problem.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Just for the record, I was citing Secretary of State George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state who I don’t think anybody would call him left-wing. CHRISTIE: I understand. No, no, listen, everybody makes a mistake

every once in a while, Jake, even George Shultz. And if that’s truly a representation of what he believes we should be doing, then with all due respect to the former secretary of state, I disagree with him.

RUBIO: Jake, you mentioned me and called me a denier. Let me say, climate change…

TAPPER: I called you a skeptic.

RUBIO: OK. A skeptic. You can measure the climate. You can measure it. That’s not the issue we’re discussing. Here is what I’m skeptical of. I’m skeptical of the decisions that the left wants us to make, because I know the impact those are going to have and they’re all going to be on our economy.

They will not do a thing to lower the rise of the sea. They will not do a thing to cure the drought here in California. But what they will do is they will make America a more expensive place to create jobs.

And today with millions of people watching this broadcast that are struggling paycheck to paycheck that do not know how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of this month, I’m not in favor of anything that is going to make it harder for them to raise their family.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to go another question right now.

(CROSSTALK) WALKER: … a lot of those people, though, and I’m going to echo what Senator Rubio just said. This is an issue where, we’re talking about my state, it’s thousands of manufacturing jobs. Thousands of manufacturing jobs for a rule the Obama administration, own EPA has said will have a marginal impact on climate change.

So we’re going to put thousands and thousands of jobs in my state, I think it’s something like 30,000 in Ohio, other states across this country, we’re going to put people — manufacturing jobs, the kind of jobs that are far greater than minimum wage, this administration is willing to put at risk for something its own EPA says is marginal (ph)…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

(CROSSTALK)

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I’m turning to…

PAUL: If you want a skeptic — if you want a skeptic, Jake, I will happily jump into that briar patch. If you want a real…

TAPPER: …I’m turning to another — I’m turning to another issue right now. Senator Cruz. Well, I think we’ve heard from several this evening. A backlash against vaccines was blamed for a measles outbreak here in

California. Dr. Carson, Donald Trump has publicly and repeatedly linked vaccines, childhood vaccines, to autism, which, as you know, the medical community adamantly disputes.

You’re a pediatric neurosurgeon. Should Mr. Trump stop saying this?

CARSON: Well, let me put it this way, there has — there have been numerous studies, and they have not demonstrated that there is any correlation between vaccinations and autism.

This was something that was spread widely 15 or 20 years ago, and it has not been adequately, you know, revealed to the public what’s actually going on. Vaccines are very important. Certain ones. The ones that would prevent death or crippling.

There are others, there are a multitude of vaccines which probably don’t fit in that category, and there should be some discretion in those cases. But, you know, a lot of this is — is — is pushed by big government.

And I think that’s one of the things that people so vehemently want to get rid of, big government. You know, we have 4.1 million federal employees. Six hundred and fifty federal agencies and department (sic).

That’s why they have to take so much of our taxes. TAPPER: Should he stop saying it? Should he stop saying that vaccines cause autism?

CARSON: Well, you know, I’ve just explained it to him. He can read about it if he wants to. I think he’s an intelligent man and will make the correct decision after getting the real facts.

TAPPER: Mr. Trump, as president, you would…

TRUMP: Well, I — I — I’d like to respond.

TAPPER: I’m going right to you.

TRUMP: I’d like to respond.

TAPPER: Mr. Trump, as president, you would be in charge of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, both of which say you are wrong. How would you handle this as president?

TRUMP: Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control.

I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Because you take a baby in — and I’ve seen it — and I’ve seen it, and I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, over a two or three year period of time.

Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump — I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me.

Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.

I only say it’s not — I’m in favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount.

TAPPER: Thank you.

TRUMP: But just in — in little sections.

TAPPER: Dr. — Dr. Carson?

TRUMP: I think — and I think you’re going to have — I think you’re going to see a big impact on autism.

TAPPER: Dr. Carson, you just heard his medical take.

(LAUGHTER)

CARSON: He’s an OK doctor.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CARSON: But, you know, the fact of the matter is, we have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccinations. But it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time.

And a lot of pediatricians now recognize that, and, I think, are cutting down on the number and the proximity in which those are done, and I think that’s appropriate.

TRUMP: And that’s all I’m saying, Jake. That’s all I’m saying.

TAPPER: Dr. Paul? Dr. Paul, I’d like to bring you in.

PAUL: A second opinion?

(LAUGHTER)

One of the greatest — one of the greatest medical discoveries of all times was — were the vaccines, particularly for smallpox. And if you want to read a story, it’s called The Speckled Monster, it’s an amazing story, it was all done voluntary.

But people came in by the droves. George Washington wouldn’t let his wife visit until she got vaccinated. So I’m all for vaccines. But I’m also for freedom.

I’m also a little concerned about how they’re bunched up. My kids had all of their vaccines, and even if the science doesn’t say bunching them up is a problem, I ought to have the right to spread out my vaccines out a little bit at the very least.

TAPPER: Alright, thank you so much…

HUCKABEE: Jake? Jake?

TAPPER: Coming up — I’m sorry, Governor Huckabee, please.

HUCKABEE: I think we need to remember that there are maybe some controversies about autism, but there is no controversy about the things that are really driving the medical costs in this country.

And I would really believe that the next president ought to declare a war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, because those are the four things that are causing the greatest level of cost.

John Kennedy said, “we’ll go to the moon in a decade and bring a man back,” and we did it. I grew up in the ’50s. I remember the polio vaccine. We saved billions of dollars since that time, because we haven’t had to treat for polio.

Why doesn’t this country focus on cures rather than treatment? Why don’t we put a definitive focus scientifically on finding the cure for cancer, for heart disease, for diabetes and for Alzheimer’s, a disease alone that will cost us —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: $1.1 trillion by the year 2050. We change the economy and the country.

TAPPER: We have to take another quick break. Coming up, Ronald Reagan looming large over this debate. So how Reaganesque exactly are these Republicans? We will find out next.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. We have a few last questions for you. Two of them a little lighthearted, the other one more serious. We’ll start with one of the more light questions. Senator Paul, I’m going to start with you and we’re just going to go down the line.

Earlier this year, the Treasury Department announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill. What woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?

PAUL: Ooh, that’s a tough one. You know, I’m big on — that we were — and I love what Carly said about women’s suffrage. I think Susan B. Anthony might be a good choice.

TAPPER: Governor Huckabee?

HUCKABEE: That’s an easy one. I’d put my wife on there. (LAUGHTER)

I’ve been married to her 41 years. She’s fought cancer and lived through it. She’s raised three kids, five great grandkids, and she’s put up with me. I mean, who else could possibly be on that money other than my wife. And that way, she could spend her own money with her face.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Senator Paul (sic).

RUBIO: Senator Rubio, you mean?

TAPPER: I’m sorry. Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: I know we all look alike.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Just the senators.

RUBIO: The — Rosa Parks, an everyday American that changed the course of history.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Well, I wouldn’t change the $10 bill, I’d change the $20. I’d take Jackson off and I’d leave Alexander Hamilton right where he is as one of our Founding Fathers.

(APPLAUSE)

And I very much agree with Marco that it should be Rosa Parks. She was a principled pioneer that helped change this country, helped remedy racial injustice, and that would be an honor that would be entirely appropriate.

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I’d put my mother on there. You know, she was one of 24 children, got married at age 13, had only a third grade education, had to raise two sons by herself, refused to be a victim. Wouldn’t let us be victims, and has been an inspiration to many people.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Well, because she’s been sitting for three hours, I think my daughter, Ivanka, who’s right here.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Other than that we’ll go with Rosa Parks. I like that.

TAPPER: Governor Bush.

BUSH: I would go with Ronald Reagan’s partner, Margaret Thatcher. Probably illegal, but what the heck?

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Since it’s not going to happen. A strong leader is what we need in the White House, and she certainly was a strong leader that restored the United Kingdom into greatness.

TAPPER: Governor Walker. WALKER: First of all, I got to say to Carson, Huckabee, thanks a lot for making the rest of us look like chumps up here, but, I’d pick Clara Barton. I once worked for the American Red Cross, she was a great founder of the Red Cross.

TAPPER: Mrs. Fiorina.

FIORINA: I wouldn’t change the $10 bill, or the $20 bill. I think, honestly, it’s a gesture. I don’t think it helps to change our history. What I would think is that we ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group. Women are the majority of this nation. We are half the potential of this nation, and this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she chooses.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Governor Kasich.

KASICH: Well, it’s probably not, maybe, legal, but, I would pick Mother Theresa, the lady that I had a chance to meet, a woman who lived a life so much bigger than her own. An inspiration to everyone when we think about our responsibility to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

TAPPER: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: I think the Adams family has been shorted in the currency business. Our country wouldn’t be here without John Adams, and he would not have been able to do it without Abigal Adams, so, I’d put Abigail Adams on the bill.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Alright. Some good entries if anybody at the mint was listening. Here’s the next lighthearted question, you all know that the United States Secret Service uses codenames for the president, and his family. Ronald Reagan’s codename, for example, was, “Rawhide”, an homage to his performances in Westerns. Nancy Reagan’s was, “Rainbow”.

You don’t have to come up the one for your spouse, but, what would you want, Governor Christie, I’ll start with you, your Secret Service codename to be.

(LAUGHTER) CHRISTIE: You know, I’ve been called a lot of names by a lot of different people, and now I got to get called by names by the Secret Service?

I would just say True Heart.

KASICH: Well, I have one now — they (ph) call me, “Unit One”.

My wife says, “You’ll never be Unite One, I’m Unite One. You’re Unit Two.” FIORINA: Secretariat.

TAPPER: Governor Walker?

WALKER: Harley. I love riding Harley’s.

BUSH: Ever Ready, it’s very high energy, Donald.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Humble.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

MALE: That’s a good one.

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: One Nation.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know, as a Cuban, I might go with Cohiba (ph), and I’ll tell you, I’d go with, for Heidi, Angel, because she is my angel.

TAPPER: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Well, there are some people in Florida upset at me over a joke I made about Florida State, but, what the heck, I want my codename to be Gator.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: I’d go with Duck Hunter.

TAPPER: Senator Paul.

PAUL: Justice Never Sleeps.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: That’s a mouthful, but OK.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: OK, here’s the more serious question, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President, used the plane behind you to accomplish a great many things. Perhaps, most notably, to challenge Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall, and ultimately, to make peace with the USSR.

How will the world look different once your Air Force One is parked in the hangar of your presidential library?

Senator Paul?

PAUL: I met Ronald Reagan as a teenager, and my family, we’re big supporters of him when he ran against Gerald Ford. It was a big deal because he was the grassroots, running against the establishment, and I’ll never forget that. And, how he stood up and said, you know what, this is something new that our country needs, and our party needs.

If I were president, I would try to be one who says, you know what, I’m a Reagan Conservative. I’m someone who believes in peace through strength, and I would try to lead the country in that way knowing that our goal is peace, and that war is the last resort, not the first resort. And, that when we go to war, we go to war in a constitutional way, which means that we have to vote on it, that war is initiated by congress, not by the president, that we go to war electively (ph). That when we go to war, we don’t fight with one arm tied behind our back, we fight all out to win, but then we come home.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: At the end of my presidency I would like to believe that the world would be a safe place, and there wouldn’t be the threats. not only to the U.S., but to Israel and our allies, because we would have the most incredible well-trained, well-equipped, well- prepared military in the history of mankind. And they would know that the commander-in-chief would never send them to a mission without all the resources necessary, but people wouldn’t bully us anymore. Because they would know that that would be an invitation to their destruction.

Domestically, we would be operating under a tax system that eliminated the IRS. People wouldn’t be punished for their work, and for what they produced.

And life would be really deemed precious. Abortion would be no more. It would be as much of a scourge in our past as slavery is. And we would have a peaceful country, where people respected each other and people respected law enforcement. And we would focus on cures.

And we would make this country not only safe from our enemies without, but safe from the enemies within. And it would be a good place to raise our kids and our grandkids.

(APPLAUSE) RUBIO: One of the things that made Ronald Reagan a great president, is that he understood that America was a unique nation, like any other that had existed throughout human history. He knew it was founded on universal principles that were powerful, the dignity of all people, human rights, the rights of all to live in freedom and liberty, and choose their own path in life. He didn’t just believe it, he acted on it. That’s why bringing down communism was so important to him. If I’m honored with the opportunity to be president, I hope that our Air Force One will fly, first and foremost, to our allies; in Israel, in South Korea, and Japan. They know we stand with them. That America can be counted on.

It would also fly to China, not just to meet with our enemies, not just to meet with those adversaries of ours that are there, but also to meet with those that aspire to freedom and liberty within China. I would even invite them to my inauguration.

We would also fly into Moscow and into Russia. And not just meet with the leaders of Russia, but also meet with those who aspire to freedom and liberty in Russia. And ultimately, I hope that my Air Force One, if I become president, will one day land in a free Cuba, where its people can choose its leaders and its own destiny.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Ronald Reagan believed in America.

If I’m elected president our friends and allies across the globe will know that we stand with them. the bust of Winston Churchill will be back in the Oval Office, and the American embassy in Israel will be in Jerusalem.

Enemies across this world will know the United States is not to be trifled with. ISIS will be defeated. We will have a president willing to utter the words, “radical Islamic terrorism,” and the Ayatollah Khamenei will understand that he will never, ever, ever acquire nuclear weapons.

Here at home, we’ll reignite the promise of America. Young people coming out of school, with student loans up to their eyeballs, will find instead of no jobs, two, three, four, five job opportunities.

How will that happen? Through tax reform. We’ll pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. And through regulatory reform, we will repeal every word of Obamacare.

You want to know what I’ll do as president? It is real simple. We’ll kill the terrorists, we’ll repeal Obamacare, and we will defend the Constitution, every single word of it.

(APPLAUSE)

CARSON: Well, you know, I was a radical Democrat before I started listening to Ronald Reagan. And he didn’t sound like what they said Republicans were. He sounded logical. And I hope that I sound logical also. Because when

I look at what is going on with the United States of America, I see a lot of things that are not logical.

I see us allowing people to divide us, when in fact our strength is in our unity. I see people exercising the most irresponsible fiscal habits that anyone could possibly do. And hiding it from the American people, so that the majority of people have no idea what our financial situation is.

So, when someone comes along and says, free college, free phones, free this and that, and the other, they say, “wow, that’s nice,” having no idea that they’re destabilizing our position. And I think also that Ronald Reagan was a master at understanding that a pinnacle nation has to be a nation that leads.

If we learn to lead in the Middle East right now, a coalition will form behind us, but never they do it if we just sit there and talk about it.

Real leadership is what I would hopefully bring to America.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: If I become president, we will do something really special. We will make this country greater than ever before. We’ll have more jobs. We’ll have more of everything.

We were discussing disease, we were discussing all sorts of things tonight, many of which will just be words, it will just pass on. I don’t want to say politicians, all talk, no action. But a lot of what we talked about is words and it will be forgotten very quickly.

If I’m president, many of the things that we discussed tonight will not be forgotten. We’ll find solutions. And the world will respect us. They will respect us like never before. And it will be actually a friendlier world.

And I have to say, it is a great honor to be here tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Six million more people are living in poverty than the day that Barack Obama got elected president. Six million more people. The middle class has had declining income, workforce participation rates are lower than they were in 1977.

For the first time in modern history, more businesses are failing than are being created. That is what the next president will have to deal with.

And I believe we can reverse course by creating a strategy of high sustained economic growth, not the new normal of 2 percent that all the left says we just have to get used to, but a 4 percent growth strategy where we reform how we tax, fix the broken regulatory system, embrace the energy revolution in our midst, fix the immigration system so we can turn it into an economic driver, deal with the structural fiscal problems that exist because of our entitlement problems that will overwhelm and create way too much debt.

If we grow at 4 percent, people are going to be lifted out of poverty. The great middle that defines our country will have a chance to be able to pursue their dreams as they see fit.

That should be the great challenge and the great opportunity for the next president of the United States, to forge consensus to go back to a high-growth strategy. And then we’ll be able to lead the world.

Without a high-growth strategy, our country will never have the resources or the optimism to be able to lead the world, which the world desperately needs our leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

WALKER: Well, I turned 13 years old two days before Ronald Reagan was first elected. A lot of people forget this, but just a few days before that election 1980, he was behind in the polls.

And I think what changed things was people in America realized they didn’t want to hear what was bad about America, they wanted to know how it was going to be better. Ronald Reagan wasn’t just a conservative Republican, he was an eternal optimist in the American people.

And I am too. So here’s what I think will make America better. We need to live in a world where our children are free, are free from the threats of radical Islamic terrorism.

We need to live in an America where we have an economy, where everyone can live their piece of the American dream, no matter what that dream is. And we need to live in an America where we have a federal government that is not too big to fail, but ultimately small enough to succeed, where we send powers back to the states and back to the people.

That’s what I did in Wisconsin. We took on the big government union bosses, the big government special interests, many of whom came in from Washington, to spend millions of dollars to try and take me out because we stood up to them, we didn’t back down in any of those instances.

If you give me the chance as your next president, I won’t back down any day, anyway, anyhow. I’ll fight and win for you and your families every single day I’m in office.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: I think what this nation can be and must be is symbolized by Lady Liberty and Lady Justice. Lady Liberty stands tall and strong. She is clear-eyed and resolute. She doesn’t shield her eyes from the realities of the world, but she faces outward into the world nevertheless, as we always must.

And she holds her torch high, because she knows she is a beacon of hope in a very troubled world.

And Lady Justice, Lady Justice holds a sword by her side, because she is a fighter, a warrior for the values and the principles that have made this nation great. She holds a scale in her other hand. And with that scale she says all of us are equal in the eyes of God. And so all of us must be equal in the eyes of the law and the government, powerful and powerless alike.

And she wears a blindfold. And with that blindfold she is saying to us that it must be true, it can be true that in this country, in this century, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter how you start, it doesn’t matter your circumstances, here in this nation, every American’s life must be filled with the possibilities that come from their God-given gifts.

One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Well, as president, I will make this a nation that will solve problems. And how? By having the elected officials and the leaders realize they’re Americans before they’re Republicans or Democrats. I did it in Washington. And I’ve done it in Ohio by having the elected officials realize that they’re Ohioans before anything else.

Secondly, I will rebuild the relationships and show the respect to our allies around the world. We have no choice but to do that. We will be stronger when we are unified. And we’ll fight for freedom and for human rights.

And finally, a little bit of what Carly said. The people that are out there listening, America was never great because we ran America from the top down. America is great because we have run America from the bottom up, where we all live in the neighborhoods.

One more time in America, we need to revive the concept of citizenship, where everybody’s actions make a huge difference in changing the world. We have a Holocaust memorial on our state house grounds. And there is one line on there that stands out all the time. “If you’ve saved one life, you’ve changed the world.”

We need to adopt that as citizens and rebuild and reinspire our country. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: I turned 18 in 1980, and my first vote was for Ronald Reagan. Boy, am I glad I did it. And I think the country is, too. A Christie presidency won’t be about me. It will be about you.

Tonight, you sit at home in your living room, frustrated that you play by the rules, you pay the taxes, you do the hard things to raise your family, yet you feel like America’s generosity is being taken advantage of. That you’ve been — system is being gamed, and that you’re turning out to fall further and further behind. Our presidency — our presidency — will be about ending that, about

enforcing the law, level the playing field for everybody, and once again reward those folks who play by the rules, and think that justice means more than just the word. But it means a way of life.

And I will tell you this, around the world, I will not shake hands with, I will not meet with, and I will not agree to anything with a country that says death to us and death to Israel and holds our hostages while we sign agreements with them.

It will be an America that be strong and resolute, and will once again be able to stick out its chest and say, “we truly are the greatest nation in the world, because we live our lives that way, each and every day.”

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: That concludes this Republican presidential debate. On behalf of everyone here at CNN, we want to thank the candidates, the Reagan Library, and the Republican National Committee. Thank you, also, to Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash.

The next presidential debate will also be right here on CNN, among the Democratic candidates, who will face off for the first time on October the 13th. That debate, a partnership with Facebook, will be moderated by my colleague, Anderson Cooper.

And Anderson picks up our coverage of tonight’s debate right now. Before I throw to Anderson, let’s have one final round of applause for the candidates.

(APPLAUSE)

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 August 6, 2015: Full Text of the Fox News Republican Undercard Debate Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Transcript: Read the Full Text of the Republican Undercard Debate

Source: Time, 8-6-15

 

Seven Republican presidential candidates met for an undercard debate on Fox News Thursday night.

The candidates who did not make the main debate due to low poll numbers hit each other, Donald Trump and President Obama during an hour-long debate that began at 5 p.m., nicknamed the “happy hour debate.”

At the debate: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore and former New York Gov. George Pataki.

The moderators were Fox News anchors Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.

Here is a complete transcript of the debate.

HEMMER: This is first official event in the campaign for the Republican nomination for president. Welcome to Cleveland Ohio. It is debate night.

HEMMER: I’m Bill Hemmer.

MACCALLUM: And I’m Martha MacCallum.

It all starts here. We are ready, the candidates are ready. We’re live at the Quicken Loans Arena, where we have partnered with Facebook to bring you, the voter, into today’s debate.

HEMMER: So you will hear from all 17 candidates tonight, and you’ll meet seven of them right now, starting with three-time governor in the state of Texas, Rick Perry.

(APPLAUSE)

MACCALLUM: Also, two-time senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

HEMMER: Two-time. Two-time governor of the State of Louisiana, Acting Governor Bobby Jindal.

HEMMER: So you will hear from all 17 candidates tonight, and you’ll meet seven of them right now, starting with three-time governor in the state of Texas, Rick Perry.

(APPLAUSE)

MACCALLUM: Also, two-time senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

HEMMER: Two-time. Two-time governor of the State of Louisiana, Acting Governor Bobby Jindal.

(APPLAUSE)

MACCALLUM: Businesswoman and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

HEMMER: The senior senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham.

(APPLAUSE)

MACCALLUM: Former three-term governor of New York, George Pataki.

(APPLAUSE)

HEMMER: And former Virginia governor, Jim Gilmore.

MACCALLUM: Now, this debate will last one hour. We’re going to have four commercial breaks.

MACCALLUM: Each candidate will have one minute to anwer each question and 30 seconds for rebuttal. If you run out of time, you’re going to hear this.

OK?

HEMMER: Gentle.

MACCALLUM: Everybody got the bell?

HEMMER: Wait til you hear what the others are going to get later, huh?

MACCALLUM: Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

HEMMER: One year from now, a Republican nominee will be standing on this stage in this very same arena. That person is in Cleveland today.

So let’s get started. First topic, electability.

First question to Governor Perry from Texas.

Welcome, Governor.

PERRY: It’s good to be with you.

HEMMER: You were in charge of the 12th largest economy in the world, and you recently said that four years ago, you weren’t ready for this job.

HEMMER: Why should someone vote for you now?

PERRY: After those four years of looking back and being prepared, the preparation to be the most powerful individual in the world requires an extraordinary amount of work: not just having been the governor of the 12th largest economy in the world, which I might add, we added 1.5 million jobs during that period of time over that 2007 through 2014 period, a period when America was going through the most deep recession it had been through since the Great Depression.

I think Americans want someone to have a track record of showing them how to get this country back on record, someone who will stand up and every day project that best days of America are in front of us.

And I will assure you, as the governor of the state of Texas, and as those last four years have shown me, the preparation to be ready to stand on this stage and talk about those monetary policies, those domestic policies, and those foreign policies, Americans are going to see that I am ready to be that individual.

HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.

MACCALLUM: Now we go to Carly Fiorina.

Carly, you were CEO of Hewlett-Packard. You ran for Senate and lost in California in 2010. This week, you said “Margaret Thatcher was not content to manage a great nation in decline, and neither am I.”

Given your current standings in the polls, is the Iron Lady comparison a stretch?

FIORINA: Well, I would begin by reminding people that at this point in previous presidential elections, Jimmy Carter couldn’t win, Ronald Reagan couldn’t win, Bill Clinton couldn’t win, and neither could’ve Barack Obama.

I started as a secretary and became ultimately the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world, almost $90 billion in over 150 countries. I know personally how extraordinary and unique this nation is.

I think to be commander in chief in the 21st century requires someone who understands how the economy works, someone who understands how the world works and who’s in it; I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton; understands bureaucracies, how to cut them down to size and hold them accountable; and understands technology, which is a tool, but it’s also a weapon that’s being used against us.

Most importantly, I think I understand leadership, which sometimes requires a tough call in a tough time. But mostly, the highest calling of leadership is to challenge the status-quo and unlock the potential of others. We need a leader who will lead the resurgence of this great nation and unlock its potential once again.

Thank you.

HEMMER: Senator Santorum, you won the Iowa caucus four years ago and 10 other states. But you failed to beat Mitt Romney for the nomination. And no one here tonight is going to question your conviction or your love for country. But has your moment passed, Senator?

SANTORUM: You know, we didn’t start out four years ago at the top of the heap. We were behind where we were today. But we stuck to our message. We stuck to the fact that Americans are tired of Washington corporate interests and Democrats who are interested in just politics and power and they’re looking for someone who’s going to fight for them; looking for someone who’s going to grow manufacturing sector of our economy, so those 74 percent of Americans who don’t have a college degree have a chance to rise again. Someone who’s going to stand up, and be very clear with our enemies as to the lines their going to draw and stand with them.

I’ve got a track record. The reason I did so well last time is not just because of the vision, it’s because I have a track record in Washington, D.C. of getting things done. Iran sanctions — the Iran sanctions that brought them to the table, those are sanctions that we put in place when I was in the United States Senate, and a whole host of other things that put me in a position of saying, I not only have a great vision, but I can govern effectively in Washington.

HEMMER: Thank you, Senator.

MACCALLUM: Governor Jindal, you’re one of two sitting governors on the stage tonight. But your approval numbers at home are in the mid 30s at this point. In a recent poll that showed you in a head-to- head against Hillary Clinton in Louisiana, she beat you by several points.

So if the people of Louisiana are not satisfied, what makes you think that the people of this nation would be?

JINDAL: Well, first of all, thank you all for having us.

You know, I won two record elections. Last time I was elected governor, won a record margin in my state. Martha, we got a lot of politicians that will kiss babies, cut ribbons, do whatever it takes to be popular. That’s not why I ran for office.

I ran for office to make the generational changes in Louisiana. We’ve cut 26 percent of our budget. We have 30,000 fewer state bureaucrats than the day I took office. I don’t think anybody has cut that much government anywhere, at any time. As a result, eight credit upgrades; as a result, a top ten state for private sector job creation. And we fought for statewide school choice, where the dollars follow the child, instead of the child following the dollars. We’ve been the most pro-life state six years in a row. My point is this: I won two landslide elections, I made big changes. I think our country is tired of the politicians who simply read the polls and fail to lead. Both Democrats and Republicans have gotten us in the mess we’re in — $18 trillion of debt, a bad deal with Iran, we’re not staying with Israel.

I think the American people are look for real leadership. That’s what I’ve done in Louisiana, that’s what I’ll do in America.

HEMMER: Senator Lindsey Graham, you worked with Democrats and President Obama when it came to climate change, something you know is extremely unpopular with conservative Republicans.

How can they trust you based on that record?

GRAHAM: You can trust me to do the following: that when I get on change with Hillary Clinton, we won’t be debating about the science, we’ll be debating about the solutions. In her world, cap- and-trade would dominate, that we will destroy the economy in the name of helping the environment. In my world, we’ll focus on energy independence and a clean environment.

When it comes to fossil fuels, we’re going to find more here and use less. Over time, we’re going to become energy independent. I am tired of sending $300 billion overseas to buy oil from people who hate our guts. The choice between a weak economy and a strong environment is a false choice, that is not the choice I’ll offer America.

A healthy environment, a strong economy and energy independent America — that would be the purpose of my presidency, is break the strangle hold that people enjoy on fossil fuels who hate our guts.

HEMMER: Thank you, Senator.

MACCALLUM: Governor Pataki, four years ago this month, you called it quits in a race for the presidency in 2012, but now you’re back. Mitt Romney declined to run this time, because he believed that the party needed new blood.

Does he have a point?

PATAKI: I think he means somebody who hasn’t been a career politician, and who’s been out of office for awhile. I think the last eight years in the private sector have allowed me to see government from the outside, and I think that is a positive thing. Yes, I thought about running four years ago. I was ready to lead, but I wasn’t ready to run.

But I look at this country today, and I look at how divided we are, I look at how politicians are always posturing and issuing sound bites but never solving problems. What I did in New York was bring people together, an overwhelmingly Democratic state. But I was able to get Democrats to support the most conservative sweeping policy changes in any state in America.

And when I look at Washington today, we need to bring us together. We need to solve problems, we need to rebuild our military so we can stand up to radical Islam, we need to get our economy growing much faster by throwing out the corrupt tax code and lowering the rates. We have to end crony capitalism in Washington, where the lobbyists and the powerful can get tax breaks and tax credits, and the American people don’t get laws in their interest.

I can do that. And I can do it regardless of what the makeup of Congress is because I did it in New York state. So we need new leadership — yes. I will be that new leader.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Governor.

From one side of the stage, the other — the other, Governor Jim Gilmore.

You were the last person on stage to declare your candidacy. You ran for the White House once and lost. You ran for the Senate one time and lost. You haven’t held public office in 13 years.

Similar question, is it time for new blood?

GILMORE: I think the times are different now. I think the times are much more serious.

Because Obama and Clinton policies, the United States is moving further and further into a decline. I want to reverse that decline. That’s why I’ve entered this race, and I think I have the experience to do it.

Former elected prosecutor, attorney general, governor, I was elected to all of those offices.

A person who, in fact, has a long experience in foreign-policy issues, which is different from many of the other governors and prospective governors who are running. I was an Army intelligence agent and a veteran during the Cold War, assigned to West Germany.

I was the chairman of the National Commission on Homeland Security and Terrorism for the United States for five years. I was a person who has dealt extensively with these homeland security issues. I was a governor during the 9/11 attack.

I understand both of these issues, how to build the economy and doing that as a governor who’d built jobs, had cut taxes and also a governor who understands foreign-policy, and that’s why I entered this race.

HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.

MACCALLUM: Alright, everybody. Now to the elephant that is not in the room tonight, Donald Trump.

Let’s take a look at this graphic that shows the huge amount of political chatter that he is driving on Facebook right now, some of it good, probably, some of it bad. But he is dominating this conversation. Governor Perry, you two have been going at it. But given the large disparity in your poll numbers, he seems to be getting the better of you.

PERRY: Well, when you look at the celebrity of Donald Trump, then I think that says a lot about it.

One thing I like to remind people is, back in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was leading the polls for almost a year. I’ll suggest a part of that was his celebrity. Fred Thompson was the other one, a man who had spent a lot of time on that screen.

I’ve had my issues with Donald Trump. I talked about Donald Trump from the standpoint of being an individual who was using his celebrity rather than his conservatism.

How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single- payer health care? I mean, I ask that with all due respect. And nobody, nobody on either one of these stages has done more than I’ve done and the people of the State of Texas to deal with securing that border.

We sent our Texas ranger recon teams. We sent our parks and wildlife wardens. I deployed the National Guard after I stood on the ramp in Dallas, Texas and looked the president of the United States in the eye and said, “Mr. President, if you won’t secure the border, Texas will,” and that’s exactly what we did.

We need a president that doesn’t just talk a game, but a president that’s got real results.

MACCALLUM: Alright, I want to ask that same question, because it’s true, really, of all of you on this stage that, like it or not, Donald Trump is — there’s a huge disparity between the poll numbers that you have and the poll numbers that he has, given also the fact that Rudy Giuliani said he thought that there may be some Reagan qualities to Donald Trump.

So Carly Fiorina, is he getting the better of you?

FIORINA: Well, I don’t know. I didn’t get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn’t. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t given money to the foundation or donated to his wife’s Senate campaign.

Here’s the thing that I would ask Donald Trump in all seriousness. He is the party’s frontrunner right now, and good for him.

I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel. They’re sick of politics as usual. You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would resolved, the political class has failed you. That’s just a fact, and that’s what Donald Trump taps into.

I would also just say this. Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion, I would just ask, what are the principles by which he will govern?

MACCALLUM: Thank you.

HEMMER: This Saturday, August 8th, two days from now marks one year since the strikes began against ISIS in Iraq and followed in Syria one month later. This week, a leading general in the U.S. Marine Corps says, “One year later, that fight is at a stalemate.”

Governor Jindal, give me one example how your fight against ISIS would be different over there?

JINDAL: Well, to start with, unlike President Obama, I’ll actually name the enemy that we confront. We’ve got a president who cannot bring himself to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Now, Bill, he loves to criticize America, apologize for us, criticize medieval Christians. How can we beat an enemy if our commander-in-chief doesn’t have the moral honesty and clarity to say that Islam has a problem, and that problem is radical Islam, to say they’ve got to condemn not generic acts of violence, but the individual murderers who are committing these acts of violence.

We’ve got a president who instead says, we’re going to change hearts and minds. Well, you know what? Sometimes you win a war by killing murderous, evil terrorists. We’re going to take the political handcuffs off the military. We will arm and train the Kurds. We will work with our Sunni allies. They know we will be committed to victory.

We had this failed red line with Assad and it discouraged folks that want to help us on the ground. Finally, we’ll take off the political handcuffs. We’ll go to the Congress. This president has gone to Congress and said give me a three-year deadline, give me a ban on ground troops. I’m going to go to the commanders and say give me a plan to win. You can’t send your troops into harm’s way unless you give them every opportunity to be successful.

HEMMER: And the senator to your right has called for 20,000 American troops in Syria and Iraq so far today, Senator Graham, and I’ll give this question to you. Why should the American people after two wars in Iraq sacrifice yet again on a third war?

GRAHAM: If we don’t stop them over there, they are coming here just as sure as I stand here in front of you.

One thing I want to be clear about tonight. If you’re running for president of the United States and you don’t understand that we need more American ground forces in Iraq and that America has to be part of a regional ground force that will go into Syria and destroy ISIL in Syria, then you’re not ready to be commander in chief. And you’re not serious about destroying ISIL.

According to the generals that I know and trust, this air campaign will not destroy ISIL. We need a ground force in Iraq and Syria, and America has to be part of that ground force. According to the FBI and the director of national intelligence, Syria’s becoming a perfect platform to strike our nation. I’ve got a very simple strategy as your president against ISIL. Whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat them.

HEMMER: Senator, thank you.

MACCALLUM: All right. Let’s get to our first commercial break. There is plenty more to discuss tonight. Coming up, immigration, more on ISIS and homeland security as well as we continue live tonight from Cleveland, Ohio.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: It is debate night, and welcome back to Cleveland, Ohio. Let’s get back to the questions right now with Martha.

MACCALLUM: All right. Let’s talk about ISIS and the threat to the homeland that we have seen growing in recent months. This goes to Governor Pataki.

Sixty-nine ISIS-inspired terrorists have been arrested in this country, in homeland plots, and the FBI assures us that there are likely many more to come.

The president is reluctant to label these terrorists Islamic extremists, but you’ve said that you have no problem with that label. Then comes the hard part.

So here’s the question. How far are you willing to go to root out this problem here at home? Would you put mosques, for example, potentially, under surveillance? And keep in mind that conservatives are increasingly concerned in this country with religious liberty.

PATAKI: Martha, religious liberty doesn’t include encouraging a fellow American to engage in violent jihad and kill an American here. That is not protected free speech. That is not protected religious belief.

That is like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, and that is illegal, and I would do everything in our power not just to go after those who are here who we know who are here, before they can radicalize other Americans to carry out attacks, and it’s not just the ones they’ve arrested.

Think back to Garland, Texas. But for that Texas police officer, we could have had a mass murder. We have to shut down their internet capability. We have to shut down, whether or not they’re in prisons preaching or on — in mosques preaching. No radical Islam that is allowed to engage in encouraging violence against Americans, that is not protected speech.

Let me just add one thing about ISIS over there. We have got to destroy their training camps and recruiting centers.

I was governor of New York on September 11. I know that we are at greater risk today than at any time since then of another attack. We have got to destroy their training camps over there before they can attack us here.

I don’t agree that we’re going to occupy and spend another decade or a trillion dollars. What we need to do is destroy their ability to attack us here over there, and then get out.

You know, I have two sons. Both served. One as a marine officer in Iraq, one as an army officer in Afghanistan. I do not see — want to see one parent or loved one worrying about getting a call in the middle of the night.

I would not place one American life at risk unless it was absolutely necessary. But to destroy ISIS, it is necessary.

MACCALLUM: All right. This question to Carly Fiorina. The FBI director Comey says that terrorists can thrive here at home because they go dark and they recruit behind the cyber walls that are built by American companies like Google and Apple.

Comey says this is a big problem. Rand Paul says that the government forcing these companies to bring down those walls would be a big privacy issue and a dangerous way to go on this. You’ve been a tech leader in this country. Which side are you on?

FIORINA: Let me say first that it is disturbing that every time one of these home-grown terrorist attacks occurs, and, as your question points out, they are occurring with far too great frequency, it turns out we had warning signals.

It turns out we knew something was wrong. It turns out some dot wasn’t connected, and so the first thing we have to do is make sure that everyone and every responsible agency is attuned to all of these possibilities and symptoms.

We even had warnings about the Boston Marathon bombers, and yet the dots weren’t connected. So we need to get on a different mindset.

Secondly, I certainly support that we need to tear down cyber walls, not on a mass basis, but on a targeted basis. But let me just say that we also need down — to tear down the cyber walls that China is erecting, that Russia is erecting.

FIORINA: We need to be very well aware of the fact that China and Russia are using technology to attack us, just as ISIS is using technology to recruit those who would murder American citizens. I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen’s privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are — are already a problem. But yes, there is more collaboration required between private sector companies and the public sector. And specifically, we know that we could have detected and repelled some of these cyber attacks if that collaboration had been permitted. A law has been sitting — languishing, sadly, on Capitol Hill and has not yet been passed, and it would help.

MACCALLUM: So, would you tonight call for Google and Apple to cooperate in these Investigations and let the FBI, in where they need to go?

FIORINA: I absolutely would call on them to collaborate and cooperate, yes.

HEMMER: Excuse me, Martha. I have not heard the bell just yet, so you’re all very well behaved so far.

Governor Gilmore, 30 seconds.

GILMORE: Well, yes, indeed. I chaired the National Commission on Homeland Security Committee for United States. We warned about the 9/11 attack before the 9/11 attack occurred. I was the governor during the 9/11 attack when the Pentagon was struck.

And I’m going to tell you this, we need to use the benefit of our law enforcement people across this country, combined with our intelligence people across this country. We need to use our technological advantages, because what we’ve warned of is an international guerrilla movement that threatens this country. It’s going to happen in this country, there are going to be further attacks.

We have to be prepared to defend the American people, prepare them for a long war, stand up for the defense of this country, and stand up for the values of this country…

HEMMER: Thank you, Governor. I’ve got to move on to immigration here.

Senator Santorum, you would argue you have one of the tougher positions on illegal immigration in the entire 17 candidate field at the moment. We often talk about this issue on the abstract level in Washington, D.C., but you know how it’s being talked about in states like Iowa and New Hampshire among illegals in our country today — 11 million plus.

And some are asking, what would you say to a child, born and raised in America, who could see their family broken apart by your policy?

SANTORUM: My father was born in Italy, and shortly after he was born my grandfather immigrated to this country. And under the laws of this country, he wasn’t allowed to be with his father for seven years. Spent the first seven years of his life in Fascist Italy, under Benito Mussolini. Not a very pleasant place to be.

I asked my dad after — obviously, when I found out about this. And I said, “Didn’t you resent America for not letting you be with your father in those formative and very threatening years?” You know what he said to me? “America was worth the wait.”

We’re a country of laws, Bill. We’re a country of laws, not of men, not of people who do whatever they want to do. I know we have a president who wants to do whatever he wants to do, and take his pen and his phone and just tell everybody what he thinks is best. But the reason America is a great country, the reason is because our compassion is in our laws. And when we live by those laws and we treat everybody equally under the law, that’s when people feel good about being Americans.

And I put forth an immigration policy that is as strong in favor of the folks who are struggling in America the most than anybody else. It’s the strongest pro-worker immigration plan. It says that after 35 million people have come here over the last 20 years, almost all of whom are unskilled workers, flattening wages, creating horrible opportunity — a lack of opportunities for unskilled workers, we’re going to do something about reducing the level of immigration by 25 percent.

We’re going to be tough at the border, we’re going to be tough on all of the illegal immigrants that everybody else in this field — we’re going to be different. We’re going to be actually out there trying to create a better life for hard-working Americans.

HEMMER: Governor Perry, try and answer this question again.

What do you say to the family of illegals? Are you going to break them apart?

PERRY: Bill, here’s the interesting position on this. Americans are tired of hearing this debate — want to go to, what are you going to do about illegal immigration? For 30 years this country has been baited with that. All the way back to when Ronald Reagan signed a piece of legislation that basically allowed for amnesty for over 4 million people, and the border is still not secure.

The American people are never going to trust Washington, D.C., and for good reason. We hear all this discussion about well, I would do this, or I would do that, when the fact is, the border is still porous. Until we have a president of the United States that gets up every day and goes to the Oval Office with the intent purpose of securing that border, and there’s not anybody on either one of these stages that has the experience of dealing with this as I have for over 14 years with that 1200-mile border.

PERRY: We have to put the personnel on that border in the right places; you have to put the strategic fencing in place; and you have to have aviation assets that fly all the way from Tijuana to El Paso to Brownsville, Texas — 1,933 miles looking down 24/7, with the technology to be able to identify what individuals are doing, and ID when they are in obviously illegal activities or suspicious activities, and quick response teams come.

At that particular point in time, then Americans will believe that Washington is up to a conversation to deal with the millions of people that are here illegally, but not until.

If you elect me president of the United States, I will secure that southern border.

HEMMER: Governor, thank you.

MACCALLUM: On that note, next, the candidates take on the future of the U.S. economy when we come back after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Welcome back, everybody. It is the bottom of the hour, and we are back, live from Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, kicking off the first 2016 Republican primary debate.

HEMMER: And so right now, we’re 30 minutes in. Going to jump back into the topics and continue our discussion of national issues on the domestic level.

The issue that is really number one on the minds of many voters, that’s the economy and jobs.

MACCALLUM: So let’s start here with Senator Graham.

Senator Graham, 82 million Americans over the age of 20 are out of the workforce.

GRAHAM: Right.

MACCALLUM: Forty-five million people in this country are on food stamps. Nine million are on disability.

All of these numbers have been rising sharply in recent years.

There is an increasing willingness in this country to accept assistance. How do you get Americans who are able to take the job instead of a handout?

GRHAAM: I think America is dying to work, you just need to give them a chance. To all the Americans who want a better life, don’t vote for Hillary Clinton. You’re not going to get it. She’s not going to repeal “Obamacare” and replace it. I will. She’s not going to build the Keystone Pipeline. I will. She’s not going to change Dodd-Frank. I will.

Until you change the policies of Barack Obama, we’re never going to grow this economy. Until you change the policies of Barack Obama, we’re never going to be safe. She represents a third term of a failed presidency.

I’m fluent in Clinton-speak; I’ve been dealing with this crowd for 20 years. You know, when Bill Clinton says it depends on what the meaning of is is, that means is is whatever Bill wants it to mean. When Hillary Clinton tells you I’ve given you all the emails you need, that means she hasn’t. So to the people who are dying for a better America, you better change course, and she doesn’t represent the change that we need.

Do we all agree that ISIL is not the JV team? If I have to monitor a mosque, I’ll monitor a mosque. If I have to take down a cyber wall, I’ll take it. If I have to send more American troops to protect us here, I will do it. She will not. She has empowered a failed agenda. She is going to empower a failed solution to an American economy dying to grow.

Elect me, I know the difference between being flat broke. Apparently, she doesn’t. In Hillary Clinton’s world, after two terms in the White House where her husband was president, she said she was flat broke. Hillary, I’ll show you flat broke. That’s not it.

MACCALLUM: All right. Senator Santorum, let’s get back to the question at hand, which is whether or not Americans have become too reliant on assistance or too willing to take assistance. Do you believe that we need to change the culture in this country in terms of whether or not we should be encouraging people to get off of it and take the job when it’s available? Some are able and not doing that.

SANTORUM: I think it’s — yeah, I think it’s a one-two punch. Number one, we have to create better paying jobs. I mean, that’s just the bottom line. We haven’t. And that’s the reason that I’ve said under my presidency, we’ll create jobs and make American the number one manufacturing country in the world.

If we want to create jobs for the folks that you’re talking about, who are having trouble getting off government benefits, primarily because of their low skill level, there is no better way — it’s worked for 100 years in America — putting people back to work in manufacturing is it.

I’m going to be introducing a plan which I call the 2020 Perfect Vision for America. It’s a 20 percent flat rate tax, it’ll take a blowtorch to the — to the IRS. It will create a manufacturing juggernaut in this country. And you combine that with reforms of our welfare system.

You’re looking at the — at the man who introduced and fought on the floor as a freshman senator and passed the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 over two President Clinton vetoes. Got 70 votes in the United States Senate. Bipartisan issue. And I ended a federal entitlement. Never been done before, never been done since.

What we need to do is take the rest of the federal entitlements, not just welfare, but food stamps and Medicaid and housing programs and do the same thing we did with welfare. Work requirements and time limits. That will change everything.

MACCALLUM: All right. New question, same topic, goes to Governor Gilmore. You know, based on your record and what we’re discussing here, which is potentially cutting back some entitlement, cutting back benefits, it’s tricky business as we all know because people will argue that that’s their means to escape poverty. So they’re going to look at you when you want to do that and they will call you heartless. What will you tell them?

GILMORE: I’ll tell them that we’re going to grow the economy so that we can give people better opportunities so they don’t have to rely exclusively on benefit types of programs. Some do, but many Americans are dying to have an opportunity to grow and to create something inside this economy. And I’m glad that I have a chance to answer this question.

I’ve had the growth code (ph) there for about five years, and it’s this specific program. We’re going to do a tax cut for all Americans. We’re going to have a three-bracket tax code, 10, 15 and 25 percent. We’re going to combine all commercial activity in business into one place in the tax code and charge it 15 percent, which is going to suddenly make us competitive with the rest of the world. And we’re going to eliminate the death tax.

GILMORE: With a couple of additional tweaks, we know what this will do. It will cause the economy to grow, to explode, to create more jobs. And first of all, we’ve got to recognize that there is problem that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have caused. And that problem is too big regulations like the EPA, too much new taxes on business that we have seen and “Obamacare.” These are drags on the economy, it’s a deliberate drag. I propose to reverse that and get this economy moving again.

HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.

Your last topic brings us to the state of Ohio.

You know, the saying, right? No Republican wins the White House unless you win here in the Buckeye state. Well, here in the Buckeye state, the Governor John Kasich took the federal money for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

And Governor Jindal of Louisiana, you passed on those tax dollars. Why do you think Governor Kasich got it wrong here?

JINDAL: Well, this goes to the question you were just asking. Look, under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, they’re working hard to change the American dream into the European nightmare. They do celebrate more dependence on the government.

Give Bernie Sanders credit. At least he’s honest enough to call himself a socialist. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, they’re no better. If we were to expand Medicaid, for every uninsured person we would cover, we’d kick more than one person out of private insurance or remove their opportunity to get private insurance.

We’re going to have too many people in the cart rather than pulling the cart. This isn’t free money. I know some people like to say, “well, this is free money.” We pay federal taxes. We are borrowing money from China today.

Yesterday, the president stunningly admitted this. He said, “we don’t have leverage with China to get a better deal on Iran because we need them to lend us money to continue operating our government.”

The president of the United States admitting that he’s weakening our government’s position, our foreign policy standing, because he can’t control spending in D.C..

There is a better way to provide health care. The Oregon study showed this. Simply expanding Medicaid does not improve health care outcomes. In Louisiana, instead we’re helping people getting better paying jobs so they can provide for their own health care.

HEMMER: So Governor Kasich was wrong, just to be clear.

JINDAL: I don’t — look, I don’t think anybody should be expanding Medicaid. I think it’s a mistake to create new and more expensive entitlement programs when we can’t afford the ones we’ve got today. We’ve got to stop this culture of government dependence.

HEMMER: I didn’t hear an answer regarding Governor Kasich, but for now I’ll go to Governor Pataki. Yes or no?

JINDAL: I’ll say this. I don’t think anybody should expand Medicaid. I think it was a mistake to expand Medicaid everywhere in Ohio and across the country.

HEMMER: Governor Pataki, three term governor of New York. Is he right, Governor Jindal from Louisiana?

PATAKI: I think he is right. I don’t think you expand entitlements when so many people are dependent on government and when the money the federal government is offering is going to be taken away from you after just a couple of years.

But getting back to Martha’s question about how we end dependency, do we have to have a cultural change? The answer is no. And I know this, because when I ran for governor of New York, one in 11 of every man, woman, and child in the state of New York was on welfare. On welfare. Think about that.

And people said “you can’t win, you can’t change the culture.” But I knew that good people who wanted to be a part of the American dream have become trapped in dependency because the federal government and the state government had made it in their economic interest not to take a job because the benefits that they didn’t work were better.

I changed that. We put in place mandatory work fair (ph). But we allowed people to keep health care. We put in place child care support.

HEMMER: Yes or no, would you have expanded Obamacare in the state of New York, had you been governor at that time?

PATAKI: No, it should be repealed. And by the way, when I left, there were over 1 million fewer people on welfare in New York state than when I took office…

HEMMER: OK.

PATAKI: … replacing dependency with opportunity.

HEMMER: Thank you, Governor Pataki.

In a moment here, we’ll talk to the candidates about an issue today on Planned Parenthood, and also the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s all next here in Cleveland.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: Welcome back to Cleveland, Ohio. Want to get back to the questions and the issues in this debate now, with my co-anchor, Martha.

MACCALLUM: All right.

Well, there’s been a lot of discussion on Facebook, as you would imagine, about the Iran nuclear deal. Let’s just take a look, as an opener, at this one question that comes from Logan Christopher Boyer of St. Louis, Missouri.

He says, “How will you disarm Iran and keep the Middle East from becoming nuclearized?

So let’s open this discussion about Iran with this question that comes to Governor Perry. Governor Perry, here’s the question for you:

Critics of the Iran deal say that it puts America on the same side as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, of Hamas, of Hezbollah, of the backers of those groups of people who chant ‘Death to America,’ in the street, that this deal puts on that side of the equation.

But our traditional Middle East allies, led by Saudi Arabia, have also funneled support to Islamic radical groups who want to kill Americans.

So which side do you believe we should be on?

PERRY: We need to be on the side that keeps Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. That’s the side we need to be on, and that’s the side of the bulk of the — of the Middle East.

We need to have some coalitions in that part of the world to go after ISIS, but we also need to send a clear message. And hopefully — you know, Senator Graham, I — I know where he’s going to be on this, but we use Congress, and we use Congress to cut this funding.

One of the great challenges that we have, $150 billion is fixing to go to a country that killed our Marines in Lebanon, that used their weapons to kill our young men in Iran. And the idea that this negotiation — I will tell you one thing. I would a whole lot rather had Carly Fiorina over there doing our negotiation than John Kerry. Maybe we would’ve gotten a deal where we didn’t give everything away.

But the issue for us is to have a Congress that stands up and says not only no, but “Hell no” to this money going to a regime that is going to use it for terror, Susan Rice has said that, and we need to stand up and strongly and clearly tell the ayatollah that — whoever the next president of the United States is going to be, and I’ll promise you, if it’s me, the first thing that I will do is tear up that agreement with Iran.

MACCALLUM: Alright. I want to go to Carly Fiorina on this, but I want to ask you some of what I just asked to Governor Perry.

The issue is that the allies that we are with sometimes have groups within them that funnel money to terrorists as well. This is a complicated situation. Are you OK with us being on their side?

FIORINA: Yeah. Sometimes it’s a complicated situation, but some things are black and white.

On day one in the Oval Office, I would make two phone calls. The first one would be to my good friend, Bibi Netanyahu, to reassure him we will stand with the State of Israel.

The second will be to the supreme leader of Iran. He might not take my phone call, but he would get the message, and the message is this: Until you open every nuclear and every military facility to full, open, anytime/anywhere, for real, inspections, we are going to make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system.

FIORINA: I hope Congress says no to this deal. But realistically, even if they do, the money is flowing.

China and Russia have never been on our side of the table. The Europeans have moved on. We have to stop the money flow. And by the way, as important as those two phone calls are, they are also very important because they say this. America is back in the leadership business. And when America does not lead, the world is a dangerous and a tragic place.

This is a bad deal. Obama broke every rule of negotiation. Yes, our allies are not perfect. But Iran is at the heart of most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East through their proxies.

MACCALLUM: Very, very briefly, would you help our allies in that region to get nuclear weapons if Iran has them?

FIORINA: Let me tell you what I would do immediately, day two in the Oval Office. I would hold a Camp David summit with our Arab allies, not to talk them into this lousy deal with Iran, but to say to them, “what is it that you need to defeat ISIL?”

You know, Obama has presented the American people with a false choice every time. It’s what I’ve done or not done, or it’s war. It is a false choice.

King Abdullah of Jordan, a man I’ve known for a long time, has been asking for bombs and materiel. We have not provided them. He has gone to China.

The Kurds have been asking us to arm them for three years. We haven’t done so.

The Egyptians have asked us to share intelligence. We’re not doing it. We have Arab allies.

They are not perfect. I know every one. But they need to see leadership, support and resolve from the United States of America, and we can help them defeat ISIS.

HEMMER: Next question on the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s been 42 years, Senator Santorum, since Roe v. Wade, and many consider, in this country, to be a case of settled law.

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage. Is that now settled law in America today? SANTORUM: It is not any more than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln, who, in his first inaugural address, said “it won’t stand.” And they went ahead and passed laws in direct contravention to a rogue Supreme Court.

This is a rogue Supreme Court decision, just like Justice Roberts said. There is no constitutional basis for the Supreme Court’s decision, and I know something about this.

The — one of the times the Supreme Court spoke that I thought they were acting outside of their authority was in a partial-birth abortion case. You know, these Planned Parenthood tapes, what they’re showing are partial-birth abortions.

Abortions being done where the baby’s being delivered first, to preserve those organs, and then they crush the skull. Well, the Supreme Court found a bill that I was the author of unconstitutional.

What did I do? I didn’t stop. I didn’t say “oh, well we lost. It’s the law of the land.” We worked together. The House and Senate, under my leadership, and we passed a bill, and we said, “Supreme Court, you’re wrong.”

We’re a coequal branch of the government. We have every right to be able to stand up and say what is constitutional. We passed a bill, bipartisan support, and the Supreme Court, they — they sided with us.

Sometimes it just takes someone to lead and stand up to the court.

HEMMER: Alright, Senator, thank you.

To Governor Gilmore. For years, presidential candidates have not said they would have a litmus test for justices nominated to the Supreme Court.

Recently, Hillary Clinton broke that precedent. She said she would apply that on the case of Citizens United, which deals with campaign finance laws in America today.

Is it time for conservatives to impose a litmus test on abortion?

GILMORE: Well, as you know, I’m a former elected prosecutor, a former elected attorney general, trained at the University of Virginia in constitutional law, and I don’t believe in litmus tests except this.

I believe we should be appointing Supreme Court justices who will follow the law and not try to make the law. Now, the challenge we’re seeing today is that the Supreme Court is being converted into some type of political body.

They have to have some legal basis and precedence for being able to follow the law instead of making the law up, and my goal is — in appointing Supreme Court justices, would be to point — to appoint justices who would follow the law. Bill, I want to say one more thing about…

HEMMER: So, no litmus test?

GILMORE: Not — not on that, no. But let me say one more thing. I want to — before my time runs out I want to get back to this issue of ISIS versus Iran. It is Iran that’s the expansionist power. ISIL is trying to create themselves into a new state.

Our job has to be to recognize the conflict between the two. I have proposed there be a Middle East NATO so that we can combine our allies there to stand up to Iranian expansion, and at the same time join together to begin to stop and this ISIL thing before it becomes an actual state.

HEMMER: Thank you, governor.

MACCALLUM: All right. With that, we are going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back with much more from Cleveland. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: As the first debate of the nomination season continues, welcome back to Cleveland. Let’s get back to the questions right now, and the issues here in the U.S.

Martha?

MACCALLUM: We want to get back to Planned Parenthood. And this question goes to Governor Pataki.

Governor Pataki, you’re the only pro-choice candidate running. A Republican holding that position has not won a single primary in 35 years. With the recent Planned Parenthood videos that we have all seen, shedding new light on abortion practices, I know that you have said that you would defund Planned Parenthood.

PATAKI: Yes.

MACCALLUM: But has this story changed your heart when it comes to abortion?

PATAKI: My heart has not changed, because I’ve always been appalled by abortion. I’m a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception. But as Bill said earlier, Roe v. Wade, it’s has been the law for 42 years, and I don’t think we should continue to try to change it.

But we can do is defund Planned Parenthood, and by the way, put in place an absolute permanent ban on any taxpayer dollars ever being used to fund abortions. Also, when you look at these videos, they are horrific and show just a hideous disrespect for life. What else we can do is that we should believe in science.

PATAKI: You know, Hillary Clinton’s always saying how Republicans don’t follow science? Well, they’re the ones not listening to the scientists today, because doctors say that at 20 weeks that is a viable life inside the womb. And at that point, it’s a life that we have the right to protect, and I think we should protect.

So, I would pass legislation outlawing abortion after 20 weeks. It is Hillary, it is Biden, it is the others who insist on allowing abortion well into viable (inaudible) wrong, and that should be stopped.

MACCALLUM: All right.

On the same topic, let’s go to Governor Jindal.

Carly Fiorina, also on the stage, said that she would go so far as to shut down the government over the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. Would you do that? Would you be willing to shut down the government when it comes to defunding this group?

JINDAL: Well, a couple of things. Planned Parenthood had better hope that Hillary Clinton wins this election, because I guarantee under President Jindal, January 2017, the Department of Justice and the IRS and everybody else that we can send from the federal government will be going in to Planned Parenthood.

This is absolutely disgusting, and revolts the conscience of the nation. Absolutely, we need to defund Planned Parenthood. In my own state, for example, we launched an investigation, asked the FBI to cooperate. We just, earlier this week, kicked them out of Medicaid in Louisiana as well, canceled their provider contract. They don’t provide any abortions in Louisiana.

But in terms of shutting down the government, I don’t think President Obama should choose to shut down the government simply to send taxpayer dollars to this group that has been caught, I believe, breaking the law, but also offending our values and our ethics.

It is time for Republicans in D.C. to fight. Too often, they give up, they negotiate with themselves. They said they would get rid of the unconstitutional amnesty. They didn’t do that. They said they would repeal Obamacare if we gave them the majority. They didn’t do that either. They said they’d shrink and balance the budget. They haven’t done that. Absolutely, they should fight to fund — defund Planned Parenthood, and I don’t think the president should shut down the government simply to send our taxpayer dollars to this group.

MACCALLUM: All right.

Lindsey Graham, this conversation will no doubt go to the war on women, and that cutting funding to this group could be a very broad brush against all of you or anybody who will hold this nomination as being against women’s health, against these organizations that people will say provide positive things for many women.

GRAHAM: I don’t think it’s a war on women for all of us as Americans to stand up and stop harvesting organs from little babies. Let’s take the money that we would give to Planned Parenthood and put it in women’s health care without having to harvest the organs of the unborn. The only way we’re going to defund Planned Parenthood is have a pro-life president.

You want to see a war on women? Come with me to Iraq and Afghanistan, folks. I’ve been there 35 times. I will show you what they do to women. These mythical Arab armies that my friends talk about that are going to protect us don’t exist. If I am president of the United States, we’re going to send soldiers back to Iraq, back to Syria, to keep us from being attacked here and keep soldiers in Afghanistan because we must.

I cannot tell you how much our nation is threatened and how we need a commander in chief who understands the threats to this nation.

If you’re running for president of the United States and you do not understand that we cannot defend this nation without more of our soldiers over there, you are not ready for this job.

HEMMER: Thank you, Senator.

Executive power. It appears that you all have a little bit of an issue with it at the moment. I want to move through this as quickly as I can, from stage left to stage right.

On the second day of his presidency, January 22nd 2009, President Obama signed one of his first executive orders. That was close Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Still open today. What would be your first executive order?

Governor Gilmore, start.

GILMORE: Well, it’s not a matter of what the first executive order would be, Bill. The matter is what orders exist now that shouldn’t exist?

The president has done an executive order with respect to illegal immigration that is illegal. Illegal. And it creates a — a contempt for the law, for the rule of law. If i were the president of the United States, I would go and look at every executive order that exists right now and determine which ones want to be voided, because the president shouldn’t be legislating: not through that vehicle or any other. We should be relying upon the leadership of the Congress to pass the laws.

HEMMER: Senator Graham.

GRAHAM: Change the Mexico City policy, not take one dime of taxpayer money to fund abortion organizations overseas, and restore the NSA that’s been gutted. We’re going dark when it comes to detecting the next attack. We have gutted our ability to detect the next attack. And I would not stand for that as president of the United States. I would take the fight to these guys, whatever it took, as long as it took.

HEMMER: Governor Jindal, your first executive order would be in the White House would be what?

JINDAL: To repeal these unconstitutional illegal orders, whether it’s amnesty or whether it’s this president going around the Congress, whether it’s in Obamacare, to restore the rule of law. I’d also go after these sanctuary cities, do everything we can to make sure that we are not — that we are actually prosecuting and cutting off funding for cities that are harboring illegal aliens, and then finally making sure the IRS is not going after conservative or religious groups.

I would sign an executive order protecting religious liberty, our first amendment rights, so Christian business owners and individuals don’t face discrimination for having a traditional view of marriage.

HEMMER: Governor Perry.

PERRY: It’ll be a pretty busy day, but that Iran negotiation is going to be torn up on day one. We’re going to start the process of securing that border. I’m also going to take a bottle of White-Out with me to get started on all those executive orders that Mr. Obama has put his name to.

HEMMER: That will be a long day.

PERRY: It will be a long day.

HEMMER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Just ditto to that.

We’re going to suspend — I’ve — I’ve said this for four years. We’re going to suspend and repeal every executive order, every regulation that cost American jobs and is — is — is impacting our freedom.

And second, the First Amendment Defense Act, which is protecting religious liberty, if it’s not passed by then, which I suspect it won’t, because the president will veto it, I will institute an executive order to make sure that people of faith are not being — not being harassed and persecuted by the federal government for standing up for the religious beliefs.

HEMMER: First order, Carly Fiorina?

FIORINA: I agree with my colleagues. We need to begin by undoing — I would begin by undoing a whole set of things that President Obama has done, whether it’s illegal amnesty or this latest round of EPA regulations. But let me go back to something that’s very important. We have been debating right here the core difference between conservatism and progressivism.

Conservatives, I am a conservative because I believe no one of us is any better than any other one of us. Every one of us is gifted by God, whether it is those poor babies being picked over or it’s someone whose life is tangled up in a web of dependence.

Progressives don’t believe that. They believe some are smarter than others, some are better than others, so some are going to need to take care of others.

That is the fight we have to have, and we have to undo a whole set of things that President Obama has done that get at the heart of his disrespect and disregard for too many Americans.

HEMMER: Governor Pataki?

PATAKI: Bill, I defeated Mario Cuomo. In the first day in office, my first executive order, I revoked every one of the executive orders that he had — he had enacted over the prior 12 years. I would do that to Barack Obama’s executive orders.

But I’d sign a second one, as I did in New York, as well, having a hard hiring freeze on adding new employees except for the military or defense-related positions. I’d sign that executive order.

When I left the workforce, New York State had been reduced by over 15 percent. We can do that in Washington. I will do that in Washington.

HEMMER: Thank you all.

MCCALLUM: Moving on to the next question, President Obama promised hope and change for the country, yet 60 percent of Americans are not satisfied with the shape that the country is in right now. Many think that America has lost its “can do” spirit and that it’s not the nation that it once was.

Ronald Reagan was confronted with a similar atmosphere, and he said that it could be morning in America again. JFK said it was a new frontier. FDR said that we had nothing to fear but fear itself.

On this level, Carly Fiorina, can you inspire this nation?

FIORINA: This is a great nation. It is a unique nation in all of human history and on the face of the planet, because here, our founders believed that everyone has a right to fulfill their potential and that that right –they called it life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness — comes from God and cannot be taken away by government.

We have arrived at a point in our nation’s history where the potential of this nation and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government, and only someone who will challenge the status quo of Washington, D.C. can lead the resurgence of this great nation.

I will do that.

MCCALLUM: We’re talking about tapping into historic levels of leadership and lifting the nation in this kind of way that we’re discussing.

So Senator Santorum, how would you do it?

SANTORUM: I came to Washington, D.C. in 1990. That sounds like a long time ago. It was. It was 25 years ago, and I came by defeating the Democratic incumbent. I came as a reformer.

I started the Gang of Seven, and it led to the overtaking of the 40-year Democratic rule of Congress, because I didn’t — I stood up to the old-boy network in Washington, D.C. because I believed that Washington was not the solution, that Washington was the problem, just like Ronald Reagan said. I was a child of Ronald Reagan.

And I went there, and for 16 years, I fought the insiders and was able to get things done. That’s the difference. We need to elect someone who will stand with the American people, who understands its greatness, who understands what an open economy and freedom is all about, but at the same time, has a record of being able to get things done in Washington like we’ve never seen before.

Reforms, everything from moral and cultural issues to economic issues. Those of you health savings accounts. Health savings accounts are something that we introduced. It’s a private-sector solution that believes in freedom, not Obamacare that believes in government control.

SANTORUM: Those are the things we brought, and we were able to get things done. If you want someone who’s not going to divide Washington, but gets things done, then you should make me your president.

HEMMER: Thank you, senator.

MACCALLUM: (inaudible) Lindsey Graham?

GRAHAM: Thank you.

First thing I’d tell the American people, whatever it takes to defend our nation, I would do.

To the 1 percent who have been fighting this war for over a decade, I’d try my best to be a commander-in-chief worthy of your sacrifice.

We’re going to lose Social Security and Medicare if Republicans and Democrats do not come together and find a solution like Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. I will be the Ronald Reagan if I can find a Tip O’Neill.

When I was 21, my mom died. When I was 22, my dad died. We owned a liquor store, restaurant, bar and we lived in the back. Every penny we needed from — every penny we got from Social Security, because my sister was a minor, we needed. Today, I’m 60, I’m not married, I don’t have any kids. I would give up some Social Security to save a system that Americans are going to depend on now and in the future.

Half of American seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check. If you make your president, I’m going to put the country ahead of the party. I’m going to do what it takes to defend this nation. This nation has been great to me, and that’s the only way I know to pay you back.

MACCALLUM: Thank you.

HEMMER: Thank you, Senator. I need a two-word answer to the following query. In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama described Hillary Clinton as, quote, “likable enough,” end quote. What two words would you use to describe the Democratic frontrunner? Governor Pataki to start.

PATAKI: Divisive and with no vision. No vision at all. HEMMER: Wow. Carly Fiorina.

FIORINA: Not trustworthy. No accomplishment.

UNKNOWN: Secretive and untrustworthy.

PERRY: Well, let’s go with three. Good at email.

HEMMER: Governor Jindal?

JINDAL: Socialist and government dependent.

GRAHAM: Not the change we need at a time we need it.

HEMMER: Governor?

GILMORE: Professional politician that can’t be trusted.

HEMMER: Not a lot of compliments. To be continued.

MACCALLUM: So every candidate will have the opportunity to make a closing statement tonight. Each candidate will have 30 second for that. And we start with Governor Perry.

PERRY: Well, this is going to be a show me, don’t tell me election. I think America is just a few good decisions and a leadership change at the top away from the best years we’ve ever had. And I think that the record of the governor of the last 14 years of the 12th largest economy in the world is just the medicine America is looking for.

1.5 million jobs created during the worst economic time this country has had since the Great Depression while the rest of the country lost 400,000 jobs. We’re talking about a state that moved graduation rates forward from 27th in the nation to second-highest. As a matter of fact, if you’re Hispanic or African-American in Texas, you have the number one high school graduation rates in America.

Americans are looking for somebody that’s going to give them, and there is a place in this country over the last eight years in particular that talked about hope every day, and they didn’t just talk about it, they delivered it. And that was the state of Texas. And if we can do that in Texas, that 12th largest economy in the world, we can do it in America.

Our best days are in front of us. We can reform those entitlements, we can change that corporate tax code and lower it. We can put America back on track on a growth level and a growth rate that we’ve never seen in the history of this country. Manufacturing will flow back into this country. It just needs a corporate executive type at the top that’s done it before. And I will suggest to you nobody’s done it like Rick Perry has done it over the last eight years. And if you elect me president, we will bring incredible growth back to this country. And as someone who’s worn the uniform of the country, that’s how we build our military back up.

HEMMER: Thank you Governor. Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: I’ll tell you how optimistic I am about America. Karen and I have seven children. You don’t have seven children and bring them into this world if you’re not optimistic about the future of this country.

I am, but people are upset, and they’re upset for a reason about the future of this country. Donald Trump actually seized on it when he talked about immigration. And I think the reason he did is because immigration is sort of an example of what’s broken and what’s wrong in Washington, D..C.

You see, you have one side, the Democrats, and with immigration, all they care about is votes. They don’t care about American workers, they just care about bringing as many people in so they can get as many votes as they can. ON the other side, you have so many Republicans, and what do they care about? Helping business make profits. There’s nobody out there looking out for the American worker.

I’m looking out for the American worker. I’m the only one on this stage who has a plan that’s actually reduced — actually going to reduce immigration. Actually going to do something to help the American worker. And you combine that with a plan to make manufacturing — this country number one in manufacturing, you’ve got someone who’s going to help revitalize and give hope to America, the place — the place is that is the most hopeless today.

That’s why I ask for your support for president.

HEMMER: All right. Senator thank you.

MACCALLUM: Governor Jindal?

JINDAL: You know, we’ve got a lot of great talkers running for president. We’ve already got a great talker in the White House. We cannot afford four more years of on the job training. We need a doer, not a talker. We also need a nominee, a candidate who will endorse our own principles.

Jeb Bush says we’ve got to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general. Let me translate that for you. That’s the establishment telling us to hide our conservative principles to get the left and the media to like us. That never works. If we do that again, we will lose again, we will deserve to lose again.

One principle, for example, we’ve got to embrace is on immigration. We must insist on assimilation — immigration without assimilation is an invasion. We need to tell folks who want to come here, they need to come here legally. They need to learn English, adopt our values, roll up their sleeves and get to work.

I’m tired of the hyphenated Americans and the division. I’ve got the backbone, I’ve got the band width, I’ve got the experience to get us through this. I’m asking folks not just to join my campaign, but join a cause. It is time to believe in America again. MACCALLUM: Thank you, Governor.

HEMMER: Carly Fiorina, closing statement.

FIORINA: Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi, she lies about e- mails. She is still defending Planned Parenthood, and she is still her party’s frontrunner. 2016 is going to be a fight between conservatism, and a Democrat party that is undermining the very character of this nation. We need a nominee who is going to throw every punch, not pull punches, and someone who cannot stumble before he even gets into the ring.

I am not a member of the political class. I am a conservative; I can win this job, I can do this job, I need your help, I need your support. I will, with your help and support, lead the resurgence of this great nation.

Thank you.

HEMMER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Senator Graham.

GRAHAM: We need somebody ready to be commander-in-chief on day one, who understands there are no moderates in Iran, they’ve been killed a long time ago. That the Ayatollah is a radical jihadist who really means it when he chants, “Death to America, death to Israel.” And this deal is giving him a pathway to a bomb, a missile to deliver it, and money to pay for it all.

We need a president who can solve our problems, bring us together. We’re becoming Greece if we don’t work together. At the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, our best days are ahead of us only if we work together, and I intend to put this country on a path of success by working together and doing the hard things that should have been done a very long time ago.

HEMMER: And to Governor Pataki, closing statement now.

PATAKI: With all the candidates, why me?

My background is different. I look at Washington, and I hear the talk, and I see the promises and it seems nothing ever changes. Washington gets bigger, taxes get higher, and the American people feel more distance from our government. I have the opportunity not just to run, but to win in the deep blue state of New York three times. And not only did I win, but I then worked with a Democratic legislature to put in place the most sweeping conservative reforms of any state in America, taking us from the most dangerous state in America to the fourth safest; reducing our welfare rolls by over 1 million, and replacing over 700,000 private sector jobs.

I can govern by bringing people together. And also, I’ve been tested in a way no one else has. I was governor on September 11th, and I’m proud of my leadership in bringing New York through that time. And when I left, we were stronger, we were safer, and we were more united than at any time in my lifetime.

We need to bring people together in Washington. The talk has got to stop, the action has got to begin. People can promise you something, I delivered in the blue state of New York. I will deliver for the American people if I have the privilege of leading this country.

HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.

MACCALLUM: Governor Gilmore.

GILMORE: Well, I was a conservative governor of Virginia, I governed that way, and that’s my track record. But the key thing that we’re seeing now is serious challenges to this country that must change, the direction of this nation must change. And that’s why I’ve offered a specific program to the people of America tonight to address the fundamental problem of getting our country growing again, getting our economy growing, wages up, opportunities for people.

And second, the international crisis we are facing is most dreadful and most dangerous. I have the experience as a prosecutor, attorney general, governor, United States Army intelligence veteran, governor during the 9/11 attack, chairman of the Terrorism Commission for this country. It’s time for real substance and real experience.

And that’s what I’ll offer to the people of the United States in this candidacy for the presidency.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Governor.

HEMMER: That concludes the first debate of the 2016 Republican primary. We would like to thank all seven of you for being here today.

Super Tuesday 2010: Lincoln renominated in Ark. Whitman, Fiorina Win in Calif., Angle wins in Nev., Haley in SC

SUPER PRIMARIES 2010

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

Meg Whitman prevailed in the California G.O.P. primary for  governor.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times Meg Whitman prevailed in the California G.O.P. primary for governor.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Primary Election Results June 8thNYT
  • Lincoln Bucks Tide; Business Leaders Win in CaliforniaNYT, 6-8-10
  • Live Blogging the Primaries: From California to Maine, Georgia to Nevada, a dozen states are holding primaries and runoff contests for key Senate, House and governor’s races. Polls have closed in South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maine, South Dakota, Iowa, Nevada and California…. – NYT Caucus, 6-8-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • Tuesday’s Primaries: Lincoln Triumphs in Ark.; Whitman, Fiorina Win in Calif.: Final results are still coming in from the 12 states with primaries Tuesday but a few headlining outcomes have emerged, notably that incumbent Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln has survived a challenge in that state’s Democratic primary to run for a third term…. – PBS Newshour, 6-9-10
  • California Republicans tap women to lead ticket: Once, California Democrats led the way to a year of the women. Now, nearly two decades later, Republicans hope it’s their turn. Meg Whitman won the party’s nomination for California governor on Tuesday and Carly Fiorina will carry the GOP banner into the fall campaign for a Senate seat, a pair of wealthy businesswomen and first-time candidates running against veteran politicians in a year of palpable anti-establishment sentiment.
    In next-door Nevada, a third woman contender, Sharron Angle, won the right to oppose Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall. And hundreds of miles to the east, South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley outpaced three male rivals in a race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Shy of a majority, she will face Rep. Gresham Barrett in a June 22 runoff in a solidly Republican state…. – AP, 6-9-10
  • Whitman and Fiorina Win in Calif.; Lincoln Prevails in Ark.: Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, who ascended to the top of the business world before turning to politics, prevailed on Tuesday in their respective battles for the Republican nominations for the United States Senate and governor in California, setting the stage for costly general election fights this fall…. – NYT, 6-9-10
  • Whitman, Fiorina cruise to victories Republicans choose wealthy businesswomen to oppose Democrats Brown and Boxer for governor and U.S. senator: California Republicans reached for history in Tuesday’s primary elections, as Meg Whitman claimed the party’s nomination for governor and Carly Fiorina won the GOP race for the U.S. Senate, results that gave women the Republican nominations for the two most powerful statewide political offices for the first time.
    The two wealthy businesswomen, who powered their first electoral bids with millions of dollars of their own money, swept into election day as the front-runners and rode the momentum of an angry electorate that spurned the appeals of veteran politicians competing against them on the ballot. Neither one touted her gender overtly on the campaign trail, but Whitman embraced it Tuesday night as she greeted supporters near Universal Studios.
    “Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., be warned — you now face your worst nightmare; two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done!” she said, after congratulating Fiorina. LAT, 6-9-10
  • Whitman easily defeats Poizner: Meg Whitman, who spent a record-smashing $71 million of her own money to sell herself as a political outsider from the corporate world who could turn California around, decisively defeated Steve Poizner on Tuesday to become the first woman in state history to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
    “This gal is on a mission. … I’m all in,” the billionaire former eBay CEO declared at her lavish victory party at the Universal City Hilton in Los Angeles, where 500 supporters ate and drank amid signs declaring, “Fiscal responsibility is on the way.”… – SF Chronicle, 6-9-10
  • Anti-Incumbent Rage Bypasses Arkansas: On a primary election night when the heralded anti-incumbency sentiment was expected to again demonstrate its strength, Senator Blanche Lincoln proved there were clear limits to its power.
    Virtually written off as a likely victim of voter outrage at veteran politicians, Mrs. Lincoln, a two-term Arkansas Democrat, showed that an experienced office-holder with money, message and determination still had a chance to prevail even in a toxic environment.
    “Blanche has proven once again she is a true independent voice for the people of Arkansas, but she is also a fighter for what she believes in and will never stop standing up for her convictions or for her state,” said Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee…. – NYT, 6-9-10
  • GOP picks NV tea party candidate in Reid battle: Nevada Republicans Tuesday picked tea party insurgent Sharron Angle to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, marking the start of an epic showdown between a king of Capitol Hill and a conservative renegade who wants to turn Washington on end. The choices couldn’t be more different.
    Reid, 70, is the bland, sometimes prickly Democratic powerhouse who tells Nevadans, “I’m just who I am.” Angle, 60, is a fiercely committed small-government, low-tax crusader, an outsider even in the GOP, who says, “I am the tea party.” The former school teacher and legislator grabbed the nomination after a brutal primary in which her rivals depicted her as too extreme to appeal to independents who often cast the decisive votes in centrist Nevada. She benefited when one-time front-runner Sue Lowden was widely mocked for suggesting consumers use chickens to barter with doctors…. – AP, 6-9-10
  • Nevada governor loses job after 4 years of scandal: Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has been thrown out of office after a tumultuous term that was marred by a bitter divorce and allegations of infidelities. The first-term Republican lost the GOP primary Tuesday to former federal judge Brian Sandoval. Rory Reid won the Democratic primary, earning a spot at the top of the ballot next to his senator father. Gibbons is the latest incumbent to be ousted this election year. But his woes had more to do with his own problems than anti-incumbent rage prevalent in other states…. – AP, 6-9-10
  • Runyan wins N.J. GOP primary: Former Eagles lineman Jon Runyan posted the first victory of his political career Tuesday, holding off a feisty tea-party-backed challenger in the Republican primary in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District. In the fall, Runyan will face the better-funded freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D., N.J.) in what is expected to be one of the nation’s most closely watched and expensive races.
    Underscoring the importance of this race for Republicans, Gov. Christie went to Runyan’s Mount Laurel strip-mall headquarters to share in the celebration Tuesday night. “Make sure we send the right Jon to Washington, D.C., in November, not the wrong John,” the governor said. “It’s time to get rid of John Adler and time to bring common sense to Washington.”
    Runyan quipped: “This reminds me of a post-game speech that Coach [Andy] Reid would have: ‘Take the night off, get back to work tomorrow.'”… – PA Inquirer, 6-9-10
  • SC Dem upset: Jobless vet to face GOP’s Jim DeMint: An unemployed military veteran who raised no funds and put up no campaign website shocked South Carolina’s Democratic Party leadership by capturing the nomination Tuesday to face Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in November. With nearly all precincts reporting, Alvin Greene, 32, commanded 59 percent of the vote against 41 percent for former four-term state lawmaker Vic Rawl, 64, who had raised about $186,000 and had to abruptly scrap a late-week fundraiser for the fall.
    “I would’ve liked very much to be a candidate against Jim DeMint,” Rawl said, describing his sole primary rival as something of a mystery. “I never saw him. I’ve still never met him.”
    As for Greene, he couldn’t explain it either but thanked voters in a state numb with high unemployment and said: “Let’s continue to make history and get South Carolina back to work.”… – AP, 6-9-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Democrat Lincoln’s Arkansas Primary Tests Dislike of Incumbents: “There is no way Lincoln’s defeat can be seen as anything but people being upset with incumbents,” said Julian Zelizer, a history and public policy professor at Princeton University in New Jersey.
    “You see the center-left tension” within the Democratic Party playing out in the Lincoln-Halter race, Zelizer said.
    An Angle win might fuel other anti-establishment candidates, Zelizer said. “The question with the Tea Party is, is this a serious movement that can do serious things?” he said. “To the extent they’re successful, they get more people involved.”… – Business Week, 6-8-10
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