Campaign Buzz January 3, 2012: Iowa Caucus Results — Rick Santorum & Mitt Romney Tie, Ron Paul Finishes 3rd

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: IOWA CAUCUS RESULTS 2012: RICK SANTORUM & MITT ROMNEY IN TIE, RON PAUL FINISHES 3RD

Google Politics: Election 2012 Results

Iowa Caucus Results:

Candidate Votes Percent
Rick-santorum_38 Rick Santorum
29,908 24.6%
Mitt-romney_38 Mitt Romney
29,874 24.5
Ron-paul_38 Ron Paul
26,097 21.4
Newt-gingrich_38 Newt Gingrich
16,161 13.3
Rick-perry_38 Rick Perry
12,536 10.3
Michele-bachmann_38 Michele Bachmann
6,056 5.0
Others_38 Others
1,098 0.9
Full Results » 99% reporting

Santorum, Romney in dead heat in Iowa: Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney are in a dead heat in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses with nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting. Texas Rep. Ron Paul is likely to finish third…. – WaPo, 1-3-12

Iowa Caucus Live Coverage: Caucusgoers all over Iowa are gathering in their communities Tuesday night to pick a Republican nominee for president. The New York Times’s political unit is on the ground in the Hawkeye State — with the candidates and at the caucus sites — to provide live updates and analysis of the 2012 nominating contests…. – NYT, 1-3-12

Live Blogging the Iowa Caucuses: The real action will not get underway until 8 p.m. New York time, when caucuses convene around the state — and it is likely to be at least another hour or so after that before we start seeing the first results. However, we will be entertaining you with various statistically-driven observations before then, including data from entrance polls.
Updates will appear below, and also on the live Iowa caucus dashboard, which brings together updates and analysis from the New York Times political unit…. – NYT, 1-3-12

  • Live blog: Tight race in Iowa GOP caucuses: We’ll be live blogging the Iowa caucuses throughout the night, with separate posts as necessary. Caucuses have now opened at 1774 precincts throughout the Hawkeye State. The first official votes are starting to get counted … – USA Today, 1-3-12
  • Santorum and Romney in Dead Heat: The Republican Party opened its presidential nominating contest on Tuesday night at the Iowa caucuses, with voters taking the first step in their quest to win back the White House…. – NYT, 1-3-12
  • 3 Bunched at Top in Crowded Race for GOP in Iowa: The Republican Party opened its presidential nominating contest on Tuesday night at the Iowa caucuses, with Mitt Romney trying to persuade conservatives to coalesce behind him to begin the quest to defeat President Obama. … – NYT, 1-3-12
  • Iowa caucus results a setback for one-time favorites Perry, Gingrich: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were in a tight, three-way race in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday night, based on partial returns in the opening vote of the 2012 Republican presidential campaign. The results were a clear setback… – LAT, 1-3-12
  • Romney, Paul and Santorum remain at top as Iowans begin caucuses: Three sharply different Republican candidates were on course to split the bulk of votes in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses as a chaotic campaign season culminated with the first real ballots cast. With nearly half of Iowa’s 1774 precincts … – WaPo, 1-3-12
  • Paul, Romney, Santorum top field in Iowa: Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney were at the top of the field in early balloting in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses Tuesday night as the state’s voters delivered the first verdict on the 2012 campaign. … – USA Today, 1-3-12
  • Santorum Strategy Pays With Strong Iowa Result: Former Senator Rick Santorum’s campaign in Iowa conducted no polls or focus groups, employed no speechwriter and had no security presence until a few days ago. “We don’t have a bunch of guys with earpieces running around doing nothing.”…. – NYT, 1-3-12
  • Republican candidates are glum and glummer: Have you ever seen a glummer or grouchier bunch of presidential aspirants than the current GOP crop? You’d be working those frown lines, too, I guess, if you thought, as Rick Santorum does, that this year’s race will decide “whether we will be a free … – WaPo, 1-3-12
  • Candidates’ Electability and Principles Vie for Primacy in Iowa Vote, Poll Shows: Republicans appeared sharply divided between those whose top priority is defeating President Obama and those seeking someone representing traditional conservative principles and religious values, according to a poll of voters entering… – NYT, 1-3-12
  • Iowa’s lessons: For candidates, campaigns and the GOP: No surprise here: The Iowa caucuses Tuesday night were poised to boost the presidential ambitions of the trio of candidates who finished at the top — Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney … USA Today, 1-3-12
  • Romney, Paul and Santorum in top tier in Iowa as Republicans give first verdicts of 2012 race: Republicans rendered the first verdict in the 2012 race for the White House on Tuesday in Iowa caucuses from Adel to Zearing, opening night … – WaPo, 1-3-12
  • Iowa caucuses get underway after last-minute flurry of candidate insults: Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses have now begun, as a whirlwind that included nine major candidates, 18 debates and five different front-runners culminates in a brief ritual of short speeches and secret ballots. … WaPo, 1-3-12
  • Iowa caucuses are opening act for GOP presidential race: After months of campaigning and a revolving cast of Republican front-runners, the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday night will provide the first voter verdict of the 2012 presidential contest. President Obama’s victory on the Democratic side… – LAT, 1-3-12
  • Iowa Caucuses: 7 counties to watch: The results in the GOP caucuses in Iowa should come in methodically, if reasonably quickly. And the winner could conceivably be known as early as 9 or so ET Tuesday. However, if there’s an extended tangle at the top … – LAT, 1-3-12
  • GOP candidates wrap up pitches in Iowa: Republican candidates made their final pitches to Iowa voters who were poised to deliver the first results of the 2012 presidential campaign Tuesday evening, with Mitt Romney confidently predicting a strong showing… – USA Today, 1-3-12
  • Iowa caucus results: For Romney, what constitutes a win?: Aides say Mitt Romney, after running a streamlined Iowa caucus campaign, does not have to ‘win this thing’ outright to score a victory. But if he’s not in first, it matters who finishes ahead of him… . – CS Monitor, 1-3-12
  • A political tip sheet for the rest of us outside the Washington Beltway: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW GOP CAMPAIGN. Republicans are rendering the first verdict in the 2012 race for the White House in Iowa caucuses Tuesday night, the opening salvo in the campaign to pick a challenger to President Barack Obama … – WaPo, 1-3-12
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Full Text Campaign Buzz December 15, 2011: Fox News GOP Iowa Debate Transcript — Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Sioux City Iowa — Last Debate of 2011 & Before Iowa Caucus

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

 

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The seven Republican presidential candidates made their case to prospective voters in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday night in the last debate of the year. More Photos »

 

Republican Candidates Debate in Sioux City, Iowa December 15, 2011

PARTICIPANTS:
Representative Michele Bachmann (MN);
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (GA);
Former Governor Jon Huntsman (UT);
Representative Ron Paul (TX);
Governor Rick Perry (TX);
Former Governor Mitt Romney (MA); and
Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA)

MODERATOR:
Bret Baier (Fox News)

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich, since our last debate, your position in this race has changed dramatically. You are now physically at the center of the stage, which means you’re at the top of the polls, yet many Republicans seem conflicted about you. They say that you’re smart, that you’re a big thinker. At the same time, many of those same Republicans worry deeply about your electability in a general election, saying perhaps Governor Romney is a safer bet.

Can you put to rest once and for all the persistent doubts that you are, indeed, the right candidate on this stage to go up and beat President Obama?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, let me just say to you and to all of our viewers, Merry Christmas. This is a great time for us to be here. And I hope that everybody across the country has a very joyous Christmas season.

I’ve been around long enough that I remember at this exact time in 1979 when Ronald Reagan was running 30 points behind Bill Clinton — behind Jimmy Carter. And if people had said, “Gosh, electability is the number-one issue,” they wouldn’t have nominated him.

What they said was: He believes what he’s talking about. He has big solutions. He can get the economy growing. He understands foreign policy, and he’s the person I want to have debate Jimmy Carter. He carried more states against Carter than FDR carried against Herbert Hoover in 1932.

I believe I can debate Barack Obama, and I think in seven three- hour debates, Barack Obama will not have a leg to stand on in trying to defend a record that is terrible and an ideology that is radical.

MODERATOR: Mr. Speaker, Governor Romney…[applause]

Governor Romney just yesterday said you’re an unreliable conservative. Now, obviously, he’s your opponent. He’s your opponent. But even Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said today he respects you greatly, but he openly questioned whether you had the discipline and focus to be president.

GINGRICH: Well, those are two different questions. The first — let me take them one by one, very quickly. I have a 90 percent American Conservative Union voting record for 20 years. I balanced the budget for four straight years, paid off $405 billion in debt. Pretty conservative. The first wealth entitlement reform of your lifetime, in fact, the only major entitlement reform until now was welfare. Two out of three people went back to work or went to school. Pretty conservative. First tax cut in 16 years, largest capital gains tax cut in American history, unemployment came down to 4.2 percent. Pretty conservative.

I think on the conservative thing, it’s sort of laughable to suggest that somebody who campaigned with Ronald Reagan and with Jack Kemp and has had a 30-year record of conservatism, is somehow not a conservative?

MODERATOR: And what about the concerns from Iowa governor Branstad?

GINGRICH: I think people have to watch my career and decide. I spent 16 years working to create the first Republican majority in 40 years. I spent years helping create the first balanced budgets. I am the longest serving teacher in the senior military, 23 years teaching one and two-star generals and admirals the art of war. I think it’s fair to say that my commitment to disciplined, systematic work is — is fairly obvious. You know, people just have to decide.

Part of the difference is, I do change things when conditions change. And part of the difference is I strive for very large changes and I’m prepared to really try to lead the American people to get this country back on the right track. And that’s a very large change.

MODERATOR: Now to my colleague, Megyn Kelly.

MODERATOR: A similar question to you, Congressman Paul. You have some bold ideas. Some very fervent supporters and probably the most organized ground campaign here in Iowa. But there are many Republicans inside and outside of this state who openly doubt whether you can be elected president. How can you convince them otherwise? And if you don’t wind up winning this nomination, will you pledge here tonight that you will support the ultimate nominee?

PAUL: Well, you know, fortunately for the Republican party this year, probably every — anybody up here could probably beat Obama, so. [laughter] [applause]

PAUL: So the challenge isn’t all that great on how we’re going to beat Obama. I think he’s beating himself. I think really the question is, is what do we have to offer? And I have something different to offer. I emphasize civil liberties. I emphasize a pro-American foreign policy, which is a lot different than policemen of the world. I emphasize, you know, monetary policy and these things that the other candidates don’t — don’t talk about. But I think the important thing is the philosophy I’m talking about is the Constitution and freedom.

And that brings people together. It brings independents into the fold and it brings Democrats over on some of these issues. So, therefore, I see this philosophy as being very electable, because it’s an America philosophy. It’s the rule of law. And it — it means that, you know, we ought to balance the budget. It opens up the door for saying — supporting my willingness to cut $1 trillion out of the budget the first year. [applause]

MODERATOR: Senator Santorum, no one has spent more time in Iowa than you. You have visited every county in the state. And yet while we have seen no fewer than four Republican candidates surge in the polls, sometimes in extraordinary ways, so far your campaign and you have failed to catch fire with the voters. Why?

SANTORUM: Well I’m counting on the people of Iowa to catch fire for me. That’s — that’s what this plan was all about from day one, is to go to all 99 counties and do already almost 350 town hall meetings here in Iowa. We’re organizing. We have a very clear message. That’s the thing that’s going to pay off for us in the end. And we present a clear contrast that really nobody else in this race does.

We present the contrast of someone who’s been a strong conviction conservative. You know where I stand. You can trust me because I’ve been there and I’ve done it. And I did it as a leader. When I was in the leadership, if you were a conservative and you had an issue that you wanted to get voted on or you wanted to get done in the United States Senate, you came to Rick Santorum. Because I was the guy fighting for the conservative cause when it was popular, and when it was unpopular.

The speaker had a conservative revolution against him when he was the speaker of the House. I had conservatives knocking down my door because I was the effective advocate for the principles that they believed in. That’s the contrast. We have — we need someone who’s strong in their political and personal life to go out and contrast themselves with the president and make him the issue in this campaign. And that’s why Iowans are beginning to respond. They like the accountability. They like the fact that I’ve been there and — and met with them and believe in them to lead this country.

MODERATOR: Chris Wallace? [applause]

MODERATOR: Thank you Brett. Governor Romney, I want to follow up on Brett’s line of questioning to the speaker. Because many of our viewers tell us that they are supporting Newt Gingrich because they think that he will be tougher than you in taking the fight to Barack Obama in next fall’s debates. Why would you be able to make the Republican case against the president more effectively than the speaker?

ROMNEY: Well lets step back and talk about what’s really happening in the country. What we’re finding across America is a lot of people are really hurting. 25 million people out of work, stopped looking for work or in part-time work that need full-time jobs. A lot of people in the middle-class who have seen incomes go down as the cost of their living has gone up and up and up. The American people care very deeply about having a president who’d get America right again.

And all of us on this stage have spoken over the last several debates about the fact that government doesn’t create jobs, but the private sector does. I spent my life, my career in the private sector. I understand, by the way from my successes and failures what it’s going to take to put Americans back to work with high-paying jobs.

I can debate President Obama based upon that understanding. And I’ll have credibility on the economy when he doesn’t. My successes include some businesses that were successful, like Staples and Bright Horizons Children’s Centers, and a steel mill in the middle of Indiana, some things I learned from.

And, by the way, some failures. I remember when founders of Jet Blue came to me and said, invest in us. I said, well, that will never work. Got it wrong. Now one of my favorite airlines.

I know what it takes to get this economy going. The president doesn’t. The proof is in his record. It’s terrible. My record shows that I can get America working again. [applause]

MODERATOR: Congresswoman Bachmann, no one questions your conservative credentials, but what about your appeal to independents who are so crucial in a general election? If you are fortunate enough to become the Republican nominee, how would you counter the efforts by the Barack Obama campaign to paint you as too conservative to moderate voters?

BACHMANN: Well, it’s very clear in the last five years I have won four elections as the first Republican woman ever to win out of the state of Minnesota. And I did that by attracting not only Republicans but also independents and Democrats as well.

Because people wanted to know, who could they trust? They knew that in me they may not always agree with me but they knew that I was a woman who said what she meant and meant what she said. And they respected that level of authenticity and sincerity.

And They also knew that I was an action person. That I wasn’t just going to sit on my hands. I was going to work and serve them. And that is what I’ve done. I have worked very hard in the United States Congress in the brief time that I have been there.

I’m 55 years old. I spent 50 years as a real person. And now five years going toe-to-toe with Barack Obama, taking him on, on every issue from Dodd-Frank to cap and trade to illegal immigration to “Obama-care.” And I will do that as president of the United States. That is my proven track record. [applause]

MODERATOR: Neil Cavuto?

MODERATOR: Thank you, Bret. Governor Perry, by your own admission, you are not a great debater. You have said as much, and downplayed debating skills in general. But if you were to become your party’s nominee, you would be going up against an accomplished debater in Barack Obama.

There are many in this audience tonight, sir, who fear that possibility. And don’t think you are up to the fight. Allay them of their concerns.

PERRY: Well, I want to share something with you. That as each one of these debates — I’m kind of getting where I like these debates. As a matter of fact, I hope Obama and I debate a lot. And I’ll get there early. And we will get it on and we will talk about our differences, which are great.

I’ll talk about what we have done in the state of Texas. I’ll talk about passing a balanced budget amendment to the United States Congress. I’ll talk about having the type of part-time Congress that I think Americans are ready for.

And, you know, there are a lot of people out there — I understand it, you know, there are a lot of folks that said Tim Tebow wasn’t going to be a very good NFL quarterback. There are people that stood up and said, well, he doesn’t have the right throwing mechanisms, or he doesn’t — you know, he is not playing the game right.

And, you know, he won two national championships. And that looked pretty good. We’re the national champions in job creation back in Texas. And so — but am I ready for the next level? Let me tell you, I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa Caucuses. [applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman, your campaign has been praised by moderates but many question your ability to galvanize Republicans, and energize the conservative base of the party. They are especially leery of your refusal to sign on to a no-tax-hike pledge. How can you reassure them tonight?

HUNTSMAN: I think people, Neil, are coming around to finding that I am the consistent conservative in this race. They are coming around to find that I am not going to pander. I am not going to contort myself into a pretzel to please any audience I’m in front of. And I’m not going to sign those silly pledges.

And you know what else? I’m not going to show up at a Donald Trump debate. [laughter] [applause]

HUNTSMAN: This nation has been downgraded. This nation is on the cusp of the third government shutdown. We have been kicked around as people. We are getting screwed as Americans. And I’m here to tell you, we are going to lead charge in doing what must be done in addressing the two deficits we have.

We have an economic deficit in this country, and is it going to shipwreck the next generation unless we can deal with it. And we have a trust deficit. People in this country don’t trust the institutions of power anymore.

We need to go to Congress and we need to say, you need term limits. We need to go to Congress and say, we need to close that revolving door that allows members of Congress to file on out and lobby.

And we need to go to Wall Street and say, no trust there either, because we have banks that are “too big to fail.” And I’m telling you, Neil, I’m the person who is going to leave the charge on all of the above and fix the economic deficit, but I’m going fix this country’s trust deficit, because we’re too good as people to be in the hole we’re in and we deserve better. [applause]

MODERATOR: As Governor Huntsman just mentioned, there is a real drama playing out real-time in Washington right now with the threat of yet another government shutdown, the possibility that millions of Americans could see their payroll taxes go up. If you’re president, as is the case now, and you are at lagerheads with one chamber of congress, how would you handle this situation?

30 seconds down the line. Start with Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: Well, you do what leaders do. They go out and try to bring people together. They tell a narrative and remind Americans who we are and how we solve our problems. This country is a great country because we believe in free people.

In 2008, the American public were convinced by Barack Obama that they needed someone to believe in, that they could believe in. We now understand that what we need is some president who believes in them. That is the narrative. Go out and motivate the American public, have them talk to their representatives in Washington to pass solutions that believe in bottom up, how we built America, free markets, free people.

MODERATOR: Governor perry?

PERRY: After three years, you would think this president could learn how to work in Washington, D.C. If there has ever been a greater example of on-the-job training, this is it. Couldn’t have been at a worst time for America.

We need a president who has that governing, executive experience, someone who understands how to work with both sides of the aisle. Frankly, we should never have gotten this point at all.

The idea that he walked away from the work at hand and we had a supercommittee, that was put in place, that was going to fail on its face, that is the type of leadership that this president has been an absolute failure at and the type that I have been working at as the governor of Texas for the last 11 years.

MODERATOR: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Bret, this is a question that ought to take longer than 30 seconds, even 60 seconds. This is the question of the presidency. What is leadership?

I had the disadvantage of some respects of becoming governor and a state with a legislature 85 percent Democrat. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. To get anything done, I had to learn how to get respect of the speaker of the house and the senate president and Democratic leaders. I found a way to do that, to find common ground from time to time. And when crisis arose, we were able to work together. That is what has to happen.

There are Democrats who love America as Republicans do, but we need to have a leader in the White House, that knows how to lead. I have had four leadership experiences in my life where I have lead enterprises. I want to use that experience to get America right again. And I will do it as president.

MODERATOR: We will have many more questions about gridlock in Washington and this topic overall. But Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: I want to start by reinforcing what Governor Romney just said. Leadership is the key. When you have a Sal Alinsky radical who is a campaigner in chief who doesn’t do the job of president, because he’s too busy trying to run for re-election, the constitution can’t work. I helped Ronald Reagan when Tip O’Neil was speaker to get enough votes to pass the Reagan program despite a Democratic majority.

As speaker, one reason some people aren’t happy with my leadership I worked things out with Bill Clinton to get welfare reform, a tax cut and four balanced budgets signed in a way that required bipartisanship, because you couldn’t get anything done otherwise. So leadership matters immensely in getting this done.

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: The main problem we have is the government is too big and the debt is too big and you have to cut spending so you have to get people to come together. They have been coming together to increase spending for decades. We have to get them to come together to do the opposite.

But there are two factions up there, one wants welfare and the other want warfare around the world and policing the world. So you go to people who like warfare you say give me half of the cuts that have to be in the welfare. Go to welfare people and say give me the cuts to cut the oversea warfare spending and bring people together and live up to what they say.

MODERATOR: Congresswoman Bachmann?

BACHMANN: As president of the United States I would have called all 535 members of congress to come sit down in Washington last summer looking at the debt ceiling crisis. And what I would have done is said there are three principles we are going to follow, because the first one needs to be no new taxes. We’re taxed enough already.

The second principle needed to be that government can’t spend any more money than what it is taking in.

And the third principle had to be that we were going to follow the constitution of the United States. What that would have meant we would have looked at $15 trillion debt in the eye and said we are not going to add one more cent to it. We are going to prioritize our spending. And we’re going to put the reform in these long-term programs now, not wait eight months or five months. We are going to reform right now.

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman.

HUNTSMAN: Leadership is action, not words. And I learned a very important lesson about this when I ran for governor in 2004. I promised the people of my state as governor that we would create the finest state in America for business. I ran on a flat-tax proposal. It took us two years; we got it delivered.

Flat — I hear a lot of people talking about tax reform and a flat — we actually got one done. The finest business in the United States, we delivered to our people. Health care reform without a mandate. The list went on and on and on.

I ran for re-election. I got almost 80 percent of the vote, not because I’m a great politician, but I learned some lessons in leadership, that people want to be told where you can take them, and then they want you to deliver.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have many more interesting questions coming up. We have a new feature for you tonight, as well. How well are the candidates answering the questions? We’re asking you to weigh in on Twitter. Tweet the candidate’s last name and the hash-tag #answer if you think they’re tackling the question or the hash-tag #dodge if you think they’re avoiding the question. Then you can go to foxnews.com/debate to see those results.

Now, during the break, you can head there and check it out. And if you have a suggested question or a follow-up to something you’ve heard, tweet @bretbaier. We’ll be using some of those suggested questions tonight.

MODERATOR: After the break, the candidates on the increasingly sharp tone of this campaign, the economy, and a topic that has not been raised in any of the debates so far. Stay with us.

[commercial break]

[begin video clip]

STRAWN: Good evening from Sioux City in northwest Iowa. I’m Matt Strawn, chairman of the Iowa GOP. Four years after repelling Barack Obama to the White House, Iowa has seen a surge of new Republican voters as Iowa Republicans have posted 33 straight months of voter registration gains. And as those Republicans prepare to vote in just 19 days, we understand the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being first in the nation.

And because the fight to reclaim the White House extends far beyond Iowa’s borders, we want you to be the first to know. So text “Iowa” to 91919 to know the results and other updates. Thank you and now let’s return to the final debate before the January 3 Iowa Caucus.

[end video clip]

MODERATOR: Thank you Mr. Chairman and welcome back to Sioux City Iowa and the Republican presidential debate. For the next round of questions, I turn to my colleague, Chris Wallace.

MODERATOR: Thanks Brett. Candidates, I’m going to call this section, for lack of a better word, D.C. Culture. Governor Romney, I’m going to begin with you. Speaker Gingrich says that you should give back the millions of dollars you made, in his words, “bankrupting companies and laying off employees.” You respond that he has, in your words, “an extraordinary lack of understanding of how the economy works.”

But his comments dovetail with arguments you hear from Democrats that your belief in, what’s called, the creative destruction of capitalism, shows a hardheartedness. What do you think of what Speaker Gingrich had to say about you? And are you vulnerable to that kind of attack?

ROMNEY: I think it’s a great opportunity for us. Because I think the president is going to level the same attack. He’s going to go after me and say, you know, you — in businesses that you’ve invested in, they didn’t all succeed. Some failed. Some laid people off. And he’ll be absolutely right. But if you look at all the businesses we invested in, over 100 different businesses, they added tens of thousands of jobs.

In — in the real world that the president has not lived in, I — I actually think he doesn’t understand that not every business succeeds. That not every entrepreneur is lucky enough to do as well as the entrepreneurs that I described at Bright Horizons and Staples and that steel company and many, many others. I myself have had the chance of leading four different organizations. Each of those was highly successful, in part because of hard work and in part because of good luck.

In the real world, some things don’t make it. And I believe I’ve learned from my successes and my failures. The president I’ll look at and say, Mr. President, how — how did you do when you were running General Motors as the president, took it over? Gee, you closed down factories. You closed down dealerships. And he’ll say, well I did that to save the business. Same thing with us, Mr. President. We did our very best to make those businesses succeed. I’m — I’m pleased that they did and I’ve learned the lessons of how the economy works.

This president doesn’t know how the economy works. I believe to create jobs, it helps to have created jobs.

MODERATOR: Thank you. [applause]

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich, on the Freddie Mac website in 19 — in rather 2007 you said this, I like the GSE, or government sponsored enterprise like Freddy Mac model, making home ownership more affordable is a policy goal that I believe conservatives should embrace. Now in an earlier debate, a recent debate, you said that politicians like Barney Frank, who in your words, profited from the environment that led to the financial meltdown, should go to jail.

Now that it turns out that you were on the Freddie Mac payroll to the tune of more than $1.6 million, how do you answer critics who say that you’re being hypocritical.

GINGRICH: I think pretty straightforward. Barney Frank was in public office with direct power over Freddie Mac. He exploited that power just as Chris Dodd was in public office when he got special bargains from Countrywide, a firm that went broke. They were using power. I was a private citizen, engaged in a business like any other business. Now, if you read the whole thing that they posted, I said they need more regulations and I want to go back to my point about helping people buy houses.

I worked for years with Habitat for Humanity. I think it’s a good conservative principle to try to find ways to help families that are right at the margin learn how to budget, learn how to take care of a house, learn how to buy a house. And I — I’m not going to step back from the idea that in fact we should have as a goal, helping as many Americans as possible be capable of buying homes. And when you look for example at electric membership co-ops, and you look at credit unions, there are a lot of government sponsored enterprises that are awfully important and do an awfully good job.

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul you are — and having been in this town for what 48 hours now, you are all over Iowa TV these days with a negative ad about Speaker Gingrich. You accuse him of selling access and playing the corrupt revolving door game. What about the explanation that you just heard, that he’s in the private sector and this is free enterprise?

PAUL: Well he has a different definition of the private sector than I have. Because it’s a GSE, government sponsored enterprise. That’s completely different. It’s — it’s a government agency. They get the money and the sponsorship. They get mixed up. It’s — it’s the worst kind of economy.

You know, pure private enterprise, more closely probably to what Governor Romney is involved with, but if it’s government-sponsored, it’s a mixture of business and government. It’s very, very dangerous. Some people say, if it goes to extreme, it becomes fascism, because big business and big government get together.

So, yes, they get money. And I was talking about that for a long time, the line of credit, the excessive credit from the Federal Reserve, the Community Reinvestment Act for 10 years or so. The Austrian economists knew there was a bubble. And at this time, nobody was listening or doing anything in the Congress.

And then to go to work for them and get money from them, it literally is — it’s literally coming from the taxpayer. They went broke. We had to bail them out. So indirectly, that was money that he ended up getting. They’re still getting money from a government- sponsored enterprise. It’s not a free-market enterprise.

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich, 30 seconds to respond?

GINGRICH: Well, let me just go back to what I said a minute ago. The term government-sponsored enterprise has a very wide range of things that do a great deal of good. Go across this state and talk to people in the electric membership co-ops. Go across this state and talk to people in the credit unions. There are a lot of very good institutions that are government-sponsored.

And, frankly, the idea that anything which in any way has ever touched government could raise questions about doctors dealing with Medicare and Medicaid and a whole range of other government activities. There are many things governments do. I did no lobbying of any kind for any organization. And that was — that was a key part of every agreement we had.

MODERATOR: Well, let me pick up with that with you, Congresswoman Bachmann, because you accused Speaker Gingrich of peddling his influence with congressional Republicans to help the companies that paid him tens of millions of dollars since he’s left office. Given his denial over time and again tonight that he’s — denies ever having lobbied, what is your evidence, hard evidence that he engaged in influence-peddling?

BACHMANN: Well, it’s the fact that — that we know that he cashed paychecks from Freddie Mac. That’s the best evidence that you can have, over $1.6 million. And, frankly, I am shocked listening to the former speaker of the House, because he’s defending the continuing practice of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

There’s a big difference between a credit union and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. And they were the epicenter of the mortgage financial meltdown. I was trying to see these two entities put into bankruptcy, because they, frankly, need to go away, when the speaker had his hand out and he was taking $1.6 million to influence senior Republicans to keep the scam going in Washington, D.C. That’s absolutely wrong. We can’t have as our nominee for the Republican Party someone who continues to stand for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They need to be shut down, not built up. [applause]

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: Well, the easiest answer is, that’s just not true. What she just said is factually not true. I never lobbied under any circumstance. I never went in and suggested in any way that we do this.

In fact, I tried to help defeat the housing act when the Democrats were in charge of the House. And if you go back and talk to former Congressman Rick Lazio, he’ll tell you, when we were passing housing reform while I was speaker, I never at any time tried to slow down the reform effort. In fact, I helped him pass the reform bill. And I think some of those people ought to have facts before they make wild allegations.

BACHMANN: Let me — let me…

MODERATOR: Yes, go ahead. Congresswoman?

BACHMANN: Well, after the debates that we had last week, PolitiFact came out and said that everything that I said was true. And the evidence is that Speaker Gingrich took $1.6 million. You don’t need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influence-peddling with senior Republicans in Washington, D.C., to get them to do your bidding.

And the bidding was to keep this grandiose scam of Freddie Mac going. That’s — that is something that our nominee can’t stand for. We have to shut down these government enterprises. And we’ve got to end them. And I think that’s shocking that he’s saying that.

GINGRICH: And let me just say two things…

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich, quickly. [applause]

GINGRICH: OK, I want to say two things. First, my policy is to break up both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is not anything like what she just described.

Second, I want to state unequivocally, for every person watching tonight, I have never once changed my positions because of any kind of payment. Because I — the truth is, I was a national figure who was doing just fine, doing a whole variety of things, including writing best-selling books, making speeches. And the fact is, I only chose to work with people whose values I shared and having people have a chance to buy a house is a value I believe still is important in America.

MODERATOR: Now to Neil Cavuto with questions about the economy.

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich, not to make you a target, but you…

GINGRICH: It goes with being right here.

MODERATOR: You just responded this morning, sir, tweeted originally and with follow-up statements as a major break through of this plan on the part of Republican congressman Paul Ryan working with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden to find a sort of updated way to keep Medicare solvent. This would involve a choice, those who like the program as it is can stick with it. They will be a private option, et cetera.

But earlier on, this might have confused Congressman Ryan and others for whom you had said was the initial Medicare fix that it was right wing social engineering. Later on you backed off that comment, said there was much you could find in Mr. Ryan’s plan to like.

Can you blame Governor Romney for saying you have a consistency problem on this issue?

GINGRICH: I’m not in the business of blaming Governor Romney. I’m in the business to try and understand what we can do as a policy. If you go back and look at the “Meet the Press” quote I didn’t want reference him. And I’ll come back and say it again, a free society should make very big decisions with the support of the people.

Now you can earn that support. You can win a communications argument. Reagan was very, very good at that. But the only point I was making on “Meet the Press” is when you are going to have a major change, you have to communicate with the American people in order to ensure that they are for you.

Now Governor Romney came up, frankly, with a very good variation on the Ryan plan which allowed the maintenance of the current system. Paul has adopted that. And I think did a very brave act by Senator Ron Wyden, you now have a Democrat willing to co-sponsor the bill. I’ve endorsed the concept today. I think it is a big step forward. And I think Governor Romney deserves some of the credit for having helped figure out a way to make this thing workable.

So, I think it’s a nice thing to actually have a bipartisan plan in Washington that we could actually look at in a positive way and hope would help save Medicare.

MODERATOR: Governor Romney do you want to respond to that compliment?

ROMNEY: Yeah. Thank you.

Yeah, I hope people understand just how big today is for this country. We all understand that the spending crisis is extraordinary with $15 trillion now in debt, with the president that’s racked up as much debt as all the other presidents combined.

But there is another problem we have, which is our national balance sheet. Which are the obligations that we have made, that we have no funding behind. And it adds up to $62 trillion.

And today Republicans and Democrats came together with Senator Wyden and Congressman Paul Ryan to say we have a solution to remove that $62 trillion. This is a big day for our kids and grand kids. It’s an enormous achievement. It means we finally have the prospect of dealing with somebody which has the potential of crushing our future generations and a good Democrat and a good Republican came together.

This is the impact of people on both sides of the aisle that care about America at a critical time. And I applaud him. It’s good news.

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul, as you have been warning, we are on the brink of another government shutdown because of the spending that you call out of control. But haven’t you contributed to that spending problem yourself, sir, supporting over the years earmarks that have benefited your district and your state?

Back in 2009, you explained this by saying if I can give my district any money back, I encourage that. I don’t think that the federal government should be doing it but if they are going to allot the money, I have a responsibility to represent my people.

Isn’t that what they call a mixed message, congressman?

PAUL: Well, it’s a mixed question is the problem, because the real message is you should include in your question also you have never voted once for an earmark.

No, it’s a principle that I deal with, because if the government takes money from you and you fill out your tax form, you take your deductions. I look at that the same way in our communities. They take our money, they take our highway funds. and we have every right to apply for them to come back.

As a matter of fact, it’s a bigger principle for me than that. I think this whole thing is out of control on the earmarks, because I think the congress has an obligation to earmark every penny, not to deliver that power to the executive branch. What happens when you don’t vote for the earmarks it goes in to the slush fund, the executive branch spends the money then you have to grovel to the executive branch and beg and plead and say oh, please return my highway funds to me.

So if this whole principle of budgeting that is messed up, but I never vote, I never voted for an earmark. But I do argue the case for my — the people I represent to try to get their money back if at all possible.

MODERATOR: But isn’t that the same thing of having your cake and eating it too? You can complain about earmarks but then if there are provisions there that help your district or your state that’s different? If 434 other members felt the same way, how would we ever fix the problem?

PAUL: Yes, but you’re missing the point. I don’t complain about earmarks, because it is the principle of the Congress meeting their obligation. But if everybody did what I did, there would be no earmarks. The budget would be balanced and we’d be cutting about 80 percent of the spending. So that would be the solution. [applause]

PAUL: But you also want to protect the process. You want to emphasize the responsibility of the Congress, and not delivering more power to the president. I would be a different kind of president. I wouldn’t be looking for more power.

Everybody wants to be a powerful executive and run things. I, as the president, wouldn’t want to run the world. I don’t want to police individual activities and their lifestyle. And I don’t want to run the economy.

So that is an entirely different philosophy, but it’s very, very much in our tradition and in a tradition of our Constitution. [applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Perry, you said the only way to stop our spending problem is to get Congress to stop spending. Quoting you, sir, you said: “I vetoed 82 bills in my first year as governor of Texas. I have a record of keeping spending under control.”

But as Texas agriculture commissioner, you oversaw a loan guarantee program that, as The Austin American-Statesman reported at the time, had so many defaults that the state had to stop guaranteeing bank loans to start-ups in the agribusiness, and eventually bailed out the program with the tax-payer money.

So aren’t you guilty of the same behavior you rail against as a presidential candidate?

PERRY: Well, two things. Number one, don’t believe everything you read in The Austin American-Statesman. And the second side of it is, we had that program put in place and the state did not bail out, those programs worked as they were supposed to work. Just like in any bank or any business, you are going to have some that fail.

But I want to go back and talk about just a second the issue of where we had a big back-and-forth about whether Newt was involved in untoward activity or not. And I’ll be real honest with you, the issue we ought to be talking about on this stage is how you really overhaul Washington, D.C.

And the idea that you can’t tell the difference between lobbying and consulting, the idea that we have Congress staying there as many days as they do and the salary that they have, that is the reason I have called for a part-time Congress.

Cut their pay in half. Cut their time in Washington in half. Cut their staff in half. Send them home. Let them get a job like everybody else back home has and live within the laws of which they passed. [applause]

PERRY: We do that and you pass a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution, and the conversations that we’ve been having up here will be minor.

MODERATOR: By the way, Governor, they worked 151 days last year. How much more would constitute part-time?

PERRY: I would suggest to you maybe 140 days every other year like we do in Texas. [laughter] [applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman, as you’re probable familiar, sir, the Chinese have just left huge tariffs of up to 22 percent on imports of some American sport utility vehicles, larger American cars.

Now as a former ambassador to China and one who has argued for an adult conversation with Beijing, how would you respond to what some are calling a childish move on the part of a country that routinely flouts international trade rules?

HUNTSMAN: Well, it’s a large and complicated relationship. It’s part trade, it’s part North Korea, it’s part Iran, part Pakistan, part Burma, part South China Sea, party military-to-military engagement. You move one end of the relationship, it impacts the other.

The best thing to do, invite a few dissidents who are seeking freedom and want to expand democracy in China to the United States embassy, the kind of thing that I used to do. That is what matters to the Chinese people who are looking for change and looking for reform these days.

That is the kind of thing that over time is going to create enough swell of change and reform in that country that is going to make the U.S.-China relationship successful longer term.

Because eventually, we need more than just a transactional relationship. We need shared values infused into this relationship. Let’s face it, the 21st Century will only have two relationships that matter: the United States and China.

For that to succeed, we need shared values. That is democracy. That is human rights. That is recognition of the role of the Internet in society. That is greater tolerance toward religion, and so much more.

As president of the United States, I would drive that home. And I would make it a relationship that worked.

MODERATOR: Senator Santorum, right now American companies have trillions parked overseas because of the very high tax rates here. Would you support a tax holiday to bring that money back, but only under, as some Democrats have suggested, the condition that these companies hire workers with that money?

SANTORUM: Yes, what I proposed in the “Made in the USA” plan is that if money has been made overseas, that it can come back at 5.5 percent rate, which is what we did back in 2004, and it did cause a lot of money to come back. But I put a special rate, zero, if they bring it back and invest it in plant and equipment in America.

We need to rebuild the manufacturing base of this country. When I traveled around to all of these counties in Iowa, I went to a lot of small towns, like Sidney and Hamburg down in Fremont County, and I was in — the other day in Newton, where they’ve lost jobs to overseas. Why? Because we’re not competitive.

We need to have our capital be competitive and — and come here free so they can invest it. We need to cut the corporate tax on manufacturers to zero. Why? Because there’s a 20 percent cost differential between America and our nine top trading partners. And we — and that’s excluding labor costs.

We need to get our taxes down. We need to repeal regulations. I promise to repeal every single Obamacare regulation. Every single Obama regulation that cost businesses over $100 million, I can repeal it. I can’t repeal laws, but as a president, you can repeal — excuse me, regulations. And I will repeal every single one of them so business can get going in this country. [applause]

MODERATOR: Thank you, Neil.

This question is from Twitter. And it is for you, Governor Romney. @LeonJamesPage tweets, “Over the next 10 years, in what sector or industries will most of the new jobs be created?”

ROMNEY: The great thing is, the free market will decide that. Government won’t. And we have in a president someone who, again, doesn’t understand how the economy works and thinks that, as a government, he can choose, for instance, which energy sector is going to be successful. So he invests as a venture capitalist in certain car companies that have electric battery power, not understanding that perhaps Toyota and G.M. could do a better job than Tesla and Fisker.

The president decides to go into Solyndra because he thinks that solar power is going to be the future. Look, let markets determine what the future course of our economy will be.

What do I happen to think will be the future? I think manufacturing is going to come back. I think manufacturing, for some of the reasons Rick just indicated, it’s going to come back to the U.S. I also think, of course, that high-tech is going to be an extraordinarily source — extraordinary source of growth for a long time in this country.

And energy. We have extraordinary energy resources in this country. Opening those up — our president holds them off, doesn’t give them the permits to start drilling and getting the natural gas and oil — those are some of the areas that are extraordinarily powerful. This economy has every potential to continue to lead the world. Our president thinks America is in decline. It is if he’s president. It’s not if I’m president. This is going to be an American century. [applause]

MODERATOR: Thank you, Governor Romney.

Now to Megyn Kelly with the next round of questions. And this is a new topic, the judiciary.

MODERATOR: This is something we have heard pressure little about in this election, but something that’s an important issue for a lot of voters.

Speaker Gingrich, let me start with you. You have proposed a plan to subpoena judges to testify before Congress about controversial decisions that they make. In certain cases, you advocate impeaching judges or abolishing courts altogether. Two conservative former attorneys general have criticized your plan, saying it alters the checks and balances of the three branches of government. And they used words like “dangerous,” “outrageous,” and “totally irresponsible.” Are they wrong?

GINGRICH: Well, the first half is right. It alters the balance, because the courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful, and I think, frankly, arrogant in their misreading of the American people. [applause]

There’s an entire paper at newt.org — I’ve been working on this project since 2002, when the Ninth Circuit Court said that “one nation under God” is unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance. And I decided, if you had judges who were so radically anti-American that they thought “one nation under God” was wrong, they shouldn’t be on the court. Now, we have… [applause]

I taught a short course in this at the University of Georgia Law School. I testified in front of sitting Supreme Court justices at Georgetown Law School. And I warned them: You keep attacking the core base of American exceptionalism, and you are going to find an uprising against you which will rebalance the judiciary.

We have a balance of three branches. We do not have a judicial dictatorship in this country. And that’s what the Federalist papers promised us. And I would — just like Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and FDR — I would be prepared to take on the judiciary if, in fact, it did not restrict itself in what it was doing.

MODERATOR: What of the former attorney general? [applause]

These are conservative former attorneys generals who have criticized the plan, as I say, dangerous, ridiculous, outrageous, totally irresponsible.

GINGRICH: Sure. I’d ask, first of all, have they studied Jefferson, who in 1802 abolished 18 out of 35 federal judges? Eighteen out of 35 were abolished.

MODERATOR: Something that was highly criticized.

GINGRICH: Not by anybody in power in 1802. [laughter] [applause]

Jefferson himself was asked, is the Supreme Court supreme? And he said, that is absurd. That would be an oligarchy. Lincoln repudiates the Dred Scott decision in his first inaugural address in 1861 and says, no nine people can make law in this country. That would be the end of our freedom. So I would suggest to you, actually as a historian, I may understand this better than lawyers. And as lawyers those two attorneys general are behaving exactly like law schools, which have overly empowered lawyers to think that they can dictate to the rest of us. [applause]

MODERATOR: Congresswoman Bachmann. [applause]

MODERATOR: You heard Speaker Gingrich — you heard Speaker Gingrich reference the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and that is one of the courts that he has suggested abolishing. It is a left-leaning court and as he points out, as he has done before, he believes it’s an activist court because in part it was the court that — that issued a ruling striking down “under God” in the pledge years ago. A decision that was reversed by the Supreme Court leader.

Do you agree that the Ninth Circuit should be abolished? And if so, what would then happen if a Democratic president came into office and we had a democratically controlled Congress that later took aim at the right-leaning federal courts. Where would it end?

BACHMANN: Well where it needs to end is under the Constitution of the United States. That’s the real issue. Are the courts following the Constitution or aren’t they following the Constitution? It isn’t just Congress that gets it wrong, it’s the courts that get it wrong as well.

MODERATOR: But what do you do about it?

BACHMANN: Well what we need to do about it is have the — both the president and the United States Congress take their authority back and I would agree with Newt Gingrich that I think that the Congress and the president of the United States have failed to take their authority. Because now we’ve gotten to the point where we think the final arbitrator of law is the court system. It isn’t. The intention of the founders was that the courts would be the least powerful system of government.

And if we give to the courts, the right to make law, then the people will have lost their representation. They need to hold onto their representation. That’s why I commend Iowans, because they chose not to retain three judges that decided that marriage would be… [applause]

BACHMANN: …and Iowans decided to take their Constitution back. That’s what the American people need to do, take the Constitution back and as president of the United States, I would only appoint judges to the Supreme Court who believe in the original intent of the Constitution.

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul let me ask you, do you believe in — in what the two candidates have said? That it would potentially be OK to abolish courts like the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals entirely, or judges, impeach them if Congress and the president don’t decide — decide they don’t like their rulings?

PAUL: Well the Congress can get rid of these courts. If — if a judge misbehaves and is unethical and gets into trouble, the proper procedure is impeachment. But to subpoena judges before the Congress, I’d really question that. And if you get too careless about abolishing courts, that could open up a can of worms. Because it — you — there — there could be retaliation. So it should be a more serious — yes we get very frustrated with this. But the whole thing is, if you just say, well we’re going to — OK there are 10 courts, lets get rid of three this year because they ruled a — a way we didn’t like.

That — that to me is, I think opening up a can of worms for us and it would lead to trouble. But I really, really question this idea that the — the Congress could subpoena judges and bring them before us. That’s a real affront to the separation of the powers.

MODERATOR: Governor Romney, many people believe that the way to reign in, so-called activist judges is to be careful in appointing or nominating the judges in the first place. As governor of Massachusetts, you passed over Republicans for three quarters of the judicial vacancies you faced, instead nominating Democrats or Independents. With that track record, why should Republicans believe that you will appoint conservatives to the bench if you become president?

ROMNEY: Well I have to let you know that in Massachusetts, I actually don’t get to appoint the judges. I get to nominate them. They go before something known as the Governor’s Council. It consists of, I believe, seven members, all of whom are elected Democrats. And so to be able to get my appointments through, I had to have people of both parties. And the people I put forward, all were individuals who I vetted very carefully to make sure they would follow the rule of law.

These were largely people going into criminal courts. I chose overwhelmingly people who had been prosecutors in their prior experience. And so we had that kind of justice. Now, let — let me note that the key thing I think the president is going to do, is going to be with the longest legacy. It’s going to be appointing Supreme Court and justices throughout the judicial system. As many as half the justices in the next four years are going to be appointed by the next president.

This is a critical time to choose someone who believes in conservative principles. Now I — I don’t believe that it makes a lot of sense to have Congress overseeing justices. The — the — the only group that has less credibility than justices perhaps is Congress. So lets not have them be in charge of overseeing the — the justices. [applause]

ROMNEY: However — however, we don’t call it we the judges. We call it we, the people. And we do have the ability to remove justices that need to be impeached. We also have the ability to pass new amendments if we think a justice is taken the nation in the wrong direction. And where a statute has been misinterpreted, congress can write a statute that clarifies that point. We have ability to rein in excessive judges.

MODERATOR: All right. And I just want to go quickly down the line. With just a name, favorite Supreme Court justice. Senator Santorum — current.

SANTORUM: I have to say of these folks over here have been talking about taking on the courts. I have done it. I actually campaigned in Iowa against those justices and I was the only one on this panel that did it, number one.

Number two, when the partial birth abortion status struck down by the Supreme Court, George Bush got elected we actually went back and I worked with Henry Hyde and we passed another bill, told the Supreme Court they were wrong. Passed it, George Bush signed it and it was overturned.

We can talk about reform and doing something to confront the courts, or you can actually go out and make it happen. I made it happen. And it’s tops.

MODERATOR: And quickly down the line, favorite current Supreme Court justice.

PERRY: I’ll be as quickly as I can, but when I talk about overhauling Washington, D.C., one of the things I talk about besides a part-time congress is no longer having lifetime terms for the federal bench. I think that is one of the ways that you keep these unaccountable legislators from rogues to try to dictate to the rest of us. And I would say, you know, you pick Alito, Roberts, Thomas, pick one.

MODERATOR: All right. Would you pick one, please.

ROMNEY: Yes. Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Scalia.

MODERATOR: All right. Speaker Gingrich.

GINGRICH: I think that is a pretty darned good list. And I would sign up for those guys. Scalia is probably the most intellectual of the four. They’re all four terrific judges.

I mean, if we had nine judges as good as those four we would be happy with the Supreme Court.

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: From my point they’re all good and they’re all bad, because our country a long time ago split freedom up to two pieces — personal liberty and economic liberty. And the judges, as is congress and as is nation, think it’s two issues. It’s but one issue. So therefore, congress is on this issue as well as our judges.

MODERATOR: Last chance to say a name.

PAUL: No, I’m not going to — all of them are good and all of them are bad. How is that?

MODERATOR: Congresswoman Bachmann?

BACHMANN: Well, I do think that there are good justices. And I would put Antonin Scalia at the top of the list. I would also include Clarence Thomas and John Roberts and Alito. I think they are all marvelous. It could be easy to pick any one of them.

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: One of the reasons I’m optimistic about the future of this country is because we have rule of law. Let’s face it. One of the great things that this country has that very few other countries have. So the Judiciary is critically important.

It’s also important to note that governors actually some experience appointing judges. You got to make those hard decisions. And as I reflect on those who today serve I’ve got to say Justice Roberts and Justice Alito fit the bill very, very nicely.

MODERATOR: Thank you, all.

MODERATOR: That was a valiant effort.

MODERATOR: I tried. I tried.

MODERATOR: Coming up, there is a lot of ground to cover in this next hour. The threat from Iran and other foreign policy hot spots, up- and-down oil prices, immigration and border issues, and controversial social issues. Stay with us. Remember, tweet @bretbaier with a question or followup. We’ll be right back.

[commercial break]

MODERATOR: Welcome back to Sioux City, Iowa, and the Republican presidential debate. [applause]

Fired-up crowd, they’re ready for hour number two. And we begin hour number two with an important topic, foreign policy.

Congressman Paul, many Middle East experts now say Iran may be less than one year away from getting a nuclear weapon. Now, judging from your past statements, even if you had solid intelligence that Iran, in fact, was going to get a nuclear weapon, President Paul would remove the U.S. sanctions on Iran, included those added by the Obama administration. So, to be clear, GOP nominee Paul would be running left of President Obama on the issue of Iran?

PAUL: But I’d be running with the American people, because it would be a much better policy. For you to say that there is some scientific evidence and some people arguing that maybe in a year they might have a weapon, there’s a lot more saying they don’t have it.

There’s no U.N. evidence of that happening. Clapper at the — in our national security department, he says there is no evidence. It’s no different than it was in 2003. You know what I really fear about what’s happening here? It’s another Iraq coming. There’s war propaganda going on. [applause]

And we’re arguing — to me, the greatest danger is that we will have a president that will overreact and we will soon bomb Iran. And the sentiment is very mixed. It’s — it’s very mixed even in Israel. You know, there — the — a head of the security for Israel, who just recently retired, said that it wouldn’t make sense to do this, to take — to take them out, because they might be having a weapon. So I would say that the greatest danger is overreacting. There is no evidence that they have it. And it would make more sense — if we lived through the Cold War, which we did, with 30,000 missiles pointed at us, we ought to really sit back and think and not jump the gun and believe that we are going to be attacked. That’s how we got into that useless war in Iraq and lost so much in Iraq. [applause]

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul, the — the question was based on the premise that you had solid intelligence, you actually had solid intelligence as President Paul, and yet you still at that point would — would pull back U.S. sanctions and again, as a GOP nominee, would be running left of President Obama on this issue?

PAUL: Yes. All we’re doing is promoting their desire to have it. Ehud Barak, the defense minister for Israel, said that — that, if he were in — in Iran, he would probably want a nuclear weapon, too, because they’re surrounded, for geopolitical reasons. So that’s an understanding.

So the fact that they are surrounded, they have a desire. And how do we treat people when they have a nuclear weapon? With a lot more respect. What did we do with Libya? We talked to them. We talked them out of their nuclear weapon. And then we killed them.

So, it makes more sense to work with people. And the whole thing is that nuclear weapons are loaded over there. Pakistan, India, Israel has 300 of them. We have our ships there. We’ve got to get it in a proper context. We don’t need another war. [cheering and applause]

MODERATOR: Understood. And you make that point quite a lot. I’m going to — I’ll try one more time. Iran is reportedly running exercises on closing the Strait of Hormuz, a key passage, as you know, for global trade. Now what should the U.S. response be if Iran were to take that dramatic step?

PAUL: This is — the plans are on the book. All they talk about is, when are we, the West, going to bomb Iran? So why wouldn’t they talk about — they don’t have a weapon, they don’t have a nuclear weapon, why wouldn’t they try to send out some information there and say, you know, if you come and bomb us, we might close the Straits of Hormuz down.

So already the president, and I think he is wisely backing off on the sanctions, because it’s going to be an economic calamity if you take all the oil out of Europe. So I think that makes sense.

He knows these sanctions are overreaching. Sanctions are an act of war when you prevent goods and services from going into a country. We need to approach this a little differently. We have 12,000 diplomats in our services. We ought to use a little bit of diplomacy once in a while. [applause]

MODERATOR: OK. Just a reminder again, that little friendly beep is when you wrap up. Senator Santorum, you have a very different thought about the threat from Iran. For several years, according to the U.S. military leaders, Iran has provided training, funding, and lethal arms to jihadists killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are those acts of war?

SANTORUM: They have been continually. They just tried to plan an attack here in this country, killing the Saudi ambassador. They have been at war with us since 1979. The IEDs that have killed so many soldiers, they are manufactured in Iran.

This is — Iran is not any other country. It is a country that is ruled by the equivalent of al Qaeda on top of this country. They are a radical theocracy. The principle virtue of the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to President Ahmadinejad, is not freedom, opportunity, it’s martyrdom.

The idea, Ron, that mutual assured destruction, like the policy during the Cold War with the Soviet Union would work on Iran when their principle virtue is martyrdom, is — mutual assured destruction with respect to Iran would not be any kind of, you know, idea of preventing a war. It would be an inducement to a war.

This is what their objective is. Their objective is to in fact create a calamity. This is what their theology teaches. They believe that it is their mission to take on the West. They don’t hate us because of what we do or the policies we have. They hate us because of who we are and what we believe in.

And we need to make sure that they do not have a nuclear weapon. And we should be working with the state of Israel right now. We should use covert activity. And we should be planning a strike against their facilities and say, if you do not open up those facilities and not close them down, we will close them down for you. [cheering and applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Romney, this week President Obama said the U.S. asked Iran to give our downed high-tech drone back. As you know, the Iranians have it on display. They claim they are extracting data from it and they have no intention of giving it back.

Yesterday you called the president’s response, quote, “extraordinarily weak and timid.” Now in your book you write, quote, “weakness invites challenges, acts of intimidation, acts of aggression, and sometimes war.”

So in this case, are President Obama’s actions inviting war?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Does timidity and weakness invite aggression on the part of other people? Absolutely. A strong America, a strong America is the best ally peace has ever known. This is a president with — the spy drone being brought down, he says pretty please? A foreign policy based on pretty please? You have got to be kidding.

This is a president who fundamentally believes that this next century is the post-American century. Perhaps it’s going to be the Chinese century. He is wrong. It has to be the American century. America has to lead the free world. [applause]

ROMNEY: And the free world has to lead the entire world. The right course under President Obama’s plans is to shrink our military, thinking somehow if we appease or accommodate the tyrants of the world, that the world will be safer. He’s wrong.

The right course for America is to strengthen our economy, our values, our families, and our military. We need to rebuild our Navy and go from nine ships a year to 15. We need to modernize our Air Force. We need 100,000 new additional troops in our military. We need to take care of our veterans in the way they deserve.

It is time for us to recognize once again a strong military does not create war. A strong America prevents people from trying to test us around the world. [applause]

MODERATOR: Congresswoman Bachmann, today is the official end of the U.S. military operations in Iraq, and there is real concern, as you know, about growing Iranian influence inside Iraq. Also, the deputy prime minister there has expressed concerns about the country possibly slipping into civil war. Are there any circumstances as president where you would send U.S. troops back in to Iraq?

BACHMANN: Well, I think clearly the biggest mistake that President Obama has made — and there are many when it comes to foreign policy — has been the decision that he made regarding Iraq. He was essentially given on a silver platter victory in Iraq, and he’s choosing intentionally to lose the peace.

And we all know what’s going to happen. We know that Iran is going to be the hegemon and try to come into Iraq and have the dominant influence. And then Iraq will essentially have dominance from the Persian Gulf all the way to the Mediterranean through its ally, Syria.

And with all due respect to Ron Paul, I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one that we just heard from Ron Paul. And I’ll tell you the reason why. [applause]

And the reason — the reason — the reason why I would say that is because we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally, Israel, off the face of the map, and they’ve stated they will use it against the United States of America.

Look no further than the Iranian constitution, which states unequivocally that their admission — their mission is to extend jihad across the world and eventually to set up a worldwide caliphate. We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan. [applause]

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: Obviously, I would like to see a lot less nuclear weapons. I — I don’t want Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I would like to reduce them, because there would be less chance of war.

But to declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same, this is dangerous talk. Yeah, there are some radicals, but they don’t come here to kill us because we’re free and prosperous. Do they go to Switzerland and Sweden? I mean, that’s absurd.

If you think that is the reason, we have no chance of winning this. They come here and explicitly explain it to us. The CIA has explained it to us. It said they come here and they want to do us harm because we’re bombing them.

What is the whole world about the drone being in Iran? And we’re begging and pleading, and how are we going to start a war to get this drone back? Why were we flying the drone over Iran? Why do we have to bomb so many countries? Why are we in — have 900 bases, 130 countries, and we’re totally bankrupt? How are you going to rebuild the military when we have no money? How are we going to take care of the people? [applause]

So I think — I think this wild goal to have another war in the name of defense is the dangerous thing. The danger is really us overreacting. And we need a strong national defense. And we need to only go to war with a declaration of war, and just carelessly flouting it and starting these wars so often.

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich, is Congressman Paul…

[crosstalk]

BACHMANN: And the point would be — can I respond to that? Can I…

MODERATOR: Go ahead.

BACHMANN: Can I respond? And the problem would be the greatest under-reaction in world history if we have an avowed madman who uses that nuclear weapon to wipe nations off the face of the Earth. And we have an IAEA report that just recently came out that said, literally, Iran is within just months of being able to obtain that weapon. Nothing could be more dangerous than the comments that we just heard.

[crosstalk]

MODERATOR: All right, 30 seconds, Dr. Paul.

PAUL: There is no U.N. report that said that. It’s totally wrong on what — what you just said.

BACHMANN: It’s an IAEA report.

PAUL: That — that is not — that is not true. They — they produced information that led you to believe that, but they have no evidence. There’s no — been no enrichment of these bombs.

BACHMANN: And if we agree with that…[booing]… if we agree with that, the United States’ people could be at risk of our national security.

PAUL: OK. She took my time, so I’d like — I’d like to finish. If she thinks we live in a dangerous world, she ought to think back when I was drafted in the 1962 with nuclear missiles in Cuba. And Kennedy calls Khrushchev and talks to them, and talks them out of this so we don’t have a nuclear exchange.

And you’re trying to dramatize this, that we have to go and — and treat Iran like we’ve treated Iraq and kill a million Iraqis, and 8,000-some Americans have died since we’ve gone to war. You cannot solve these problems with war. You can solve the problems if we follow our constitution and go to war only when we declare the war, win them and get them over with instead of this endless fighting and this endless attitude that we have enemy all around the world.

BACHMANN: But as president, I stand on the side of…

MODERATOR: Thank you — we have been liberal with our friendly ding.

Mr. Speaker, you have been openly critical of the United Nations. For example on the topic of Palestinian efforts for statehood at the U.S. you said, quote, “we don’t need to fund a corrupt institution to beat up on our allies.”

In a Gingrich administration would the United States leave the UN?

GINGRICH: No, but we would dramatically reduce our reliance on it. And we’d confront certain realities. People talk about a peace process. 11 missiles were fired in Israel last month, last month. Over 200 missiles fired at Israel this year. You think if we had 11 missiles fired in the United States we — well, this president anyway would say gee, maybe we could communicate and you would like us more.

But I don’t think there is — you know, I think most of us, most Americans would say you know if you are firing missiles at me, that may not be a good gesture. OK? The United Nations camps that we have helped fund have been training grounds for terrorism.

As Congressman Bachmann pointed out the last time we debated, she was over there with textbooks that are clearly teaching terrorism that are indirectly funded by the United States through the UN.

We have no obligation to lie and every obligation to tell the truth about how bad the UN bureaucracy is and why it ought to be fixed or we ought to radically cut what we’re paying.

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman, do you agree?

HUNTSMAN: I think the United Nations serves a useful purpose in the area of peacekeeping and some humanitarian work. Beyond that, I hate the anti-Americanism. I hate the anti-Israel sentiment.

But let me tell you what this nation needs and what it is going to get under a Huntsman administration. It needs a new foreign policy. We need to update it a little bit. We are still trapped a little bit in the Cold War, George Tenet mind set.

I want to make sure that first and foremost we have a foreign policy, and a the national security strategy that recognizes that we have to fix our core here at home. We are weak. This economy is broken. When we are strong, we project values of goodness that transform and change people like no military can — liberty, democracy, human rights and free markets.

We have got to fix this core first and foremost if we are going to be effective overseas. And that is what i want to focus on.

Second of all, I want to make sure that…

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman, that is the time.

HUNTSMAN: Let me just get the second point.

Second of all, I want a foreign policy — I want a foreign policy that is driven by economics first. Let me just tell you, its used to break my heart sitting in embassy in Beijing the second largest embassy in the world looking at Afghanistan with 100,000 troops. We are securing the place, the Chinese go in and they win the mining concession. There is something wrong with that picture.

We need to change the way we’re doing business.

MODERATOR: OK. Two dings in that one.

Governor Perry, given the grim details of the recent United Nations report on the Syrian regime killing and torturing its own people, thousands of people said to be killed at the hands of the Assad regime. At what point should the U.S. consider military intervention there?

PERRY: Well, I have already called for a overfly zone — no fly zone over Syria already. They are Iran’s partner. They are attached at the hip. And we have to stand firm with our ally in that region, Israel. There needs to be no space between the United States and Israel. And this administration has absolutely bungled.

It is the most muddled foreign policy that I can ever remember in my lifetime whether it was in ’09 when we had the opportunity either covertly, overtly or other ways of helping the Iranian citizens as they were trying to overthrow that repressive regime, whether it was working with Mubarak, and trying to have a moderate to come in and replace him, whether it was leading from behind, as we have seen in Libya, and now we have seen this president, as Mitt and Newt have both talked about, asking the Iranians to give us back that drone.

What we should have done is one of two things — we either destroy it or we retrieve it. He took a third route, which was the worst and the weakest, and that is to do nothing.

MODERATOR: Now to my colleague Neil Cavuto — Neil?

MODERATOR: Candidates, I want to move on if we can to energy issues. And Speaker Gingrich, I would like to begin with you. As you know, the president, sir, has rejected any efforts to tie a payroll tax cut extension with the Keystone pipeline and to reopen it and to explore reopening it as well.

He says that any other way to connect the two would be akin to adding an extraneous issue. Given his opposition and — and the likelihood that the Keystone issue could be up in the air for a year or more, how do you recommend Republicans deal with this to force the issue?

GINGRICH: You know, Neil, I sometimes get accused of using language that’s too strong, so I’ve been standing here editing. [laughter]

I’m very concerned about not appearing to be zany. And…[laughter]

But — but I want to paint a picture for all of us. The Iranians are practicing closing the Straits of Hormuz. The Canadian prime minister has already said to the American president, if you don’t want to build this pipeline to bring — create 20,000 American jobs and bring oil through the United States to the largest refinery complex in the world, Houston, I want to put it straight west in Canada to Vancouver and ship the oil direct to China, so you’ll lose the jobs, you’ll lose the throughput, you’ll lose 30 or 40 years of work in Houston.

And the president of the United States cannot figure out that it is — I’m using mild words here — utterly irrational to say, I’m now going to veto a middle-class tax cut to protect left-wing environmental extremists in San Francisco, so that we’re going to kill American jobs, weaken American energy, make us more vulnerable to the Iranians, and do so in a way that makes no sense to any normal, rational American. [applause]

MODERATOR: No offense, sir, but you didn’t answer my question. [laughter]

What would — what would you do to try to move on this within a year?

GINGRICH: What — what should the congressional Republicans do? They should attach it to the middle-class tax cut, send it to president, force him to veto it, send it a second time. We had to send welfare reform to Bill Clinton three times. He vetoed it twice. By the third time, the popular outrage was so angry, 92 percent of the country wanted to have welfare reform, he decided to sign it. It happened to be an election year.

I’d say to the president, you want to look like you are totally out of touch with the American people? Be my guest, but I’m not backing down when we’re right and you are totally wrong. [applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman, on the same issue [inaubible] the delay, as you’ve pointed out, stands to threaten thousands of jobs, in a recent speech, you said potentially up to 100,000 jobs. But the president’s supporters say a rushed decision could cost the environment a great deal more. What I’d like to ask you, Governor, is there any condition under which a President Huntsman would say the need to protect our land trumps the need to provide more jobs?

HUNTSMAN: It’s always going to be a balancing act. We’ve got land that everybody respects and appreciates, but the job we’ve got to undertake as American people is to fuel our future.

We have no choice. I mean, our economy has hit the wall. I want to get rid of that heroin-like addiction we have based on imported oil. Three hundred billion dollars transfers every year from this country to a lot of unpredictable and relationships that are no more than transactional.

In order to get to where this country needs to be, we need a relationship with Canada from which we can draw raw materials. But I also want to make sure that I’m able as president to disrupt the oil monopoly. There’s a one-product monopoly in terms of product distribution in this country. If we’re going to achieve real energy independence, we’re going to have to be able to draw from a multiplicity of products like natural gas.

We wake up to the reality [inaubible] in this country that we have more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil, I say, how stupid are we? When are we going to get with the picture and start converting to transportation, converting to manufacturing, converting to electricity and power generation? It is completely within our grasp.

It’s going to require a president who understands that — that delicate balance and who’s going to be able to go out with an aggressive plan toward energy independence — independence that gets it done for this country. [applause]

MODERATOR: Congresswoman Bachmann, you — you were very critical, Congresswoman, of the extended shutdown after the BP oil spill that I believe lasted upwards of five, six months, in terms of a moratorium. I was wondering, though, Congresswoman, if you were president and there were such a disaster again, what would be an acceptable period for oil drilling to cease, for you to get to the bottom of a problem?

BACHMANN: Well, what we needed to do was find out what the true cause of the problem was. And the Obama administration wasn’t willing to have a true and thoughtful investigation to get to the bottom of it.

President Obama jumped to conclusions, and he put a moratorium on accessing American oil in the Gulf region that actually hurt the economy more than the original disaster. But I wanted to add something on Keystone. Keystone is extremely important, the pipeline.

This pipeline is one that would have brought at least 20,000 jobs, at least $6.5 billion worth of economic activity. And if I was president of the United States, I wouldn’t have taken the decision that President Obama did. His entire calculus was based upon his reelection effort. Because quite frankly, the radical environmentalists said to President Obama, you pass Keystone, we’re not going to do your volunteer door-to-door work.

That’s what Barack Obama has done to this country. He’s put his reelection over adding jobs and making the United States energy independent. I would have made the decision as president of the United States, we would put Keystone online immediately. [applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Perry, you — you have railed against the special treatment of Ford and Solyndra as have the other candidates here tonight. And particularly the tax code incentives for green technologies and allowances that have been made for this industry. But it’s nexus, governor you have afforded the same attention to the oil industry. Back in 2003, you signed a bill that reduced the tax paid by some natural gas companies that have helped them reap since, better than $7 billion in tax savings. So I — I guess what I’m saying is, are you guilty of the same behavior as governor, favoring an industry, that you claim this president has, favoring the green industry?

PERRY: Today is the 220th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights. And one of those, the Tenth Amendment, I like a lot. And the reason is because that’s how our founding fathers saw this country set up. Where we had these laboratories of innovation. It — it should be in the purview and the decision making process of a state. If they want to put tax policies in place that helps make them be more competitive.

PERRY: We did it not only for the oil and gas industry, but we also did it for the alternative industry — alternative energy industry. And the wind industry. They came in droves, made Texas the number one wind energy producing state in the nation. But government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers from Washington, D.C. That’s the difference. If in the states — I’ll promise you Terry Branstad in this state, he knows how to put tax policy, regulatory policy in place to make his state be more competitive. And you need 50 states out there competing with each other and Washington out of their hair. [applause]

MODERATOR: Thank you Neil. And a reminder, go to Foxnews.com/debate to see how well the candidates are answering the questions with your votes. Coming up, we’ll ask about border issues, immigration and a topic that got a lot of attention on Twitter, plus some controversial social issues as well. Stay tuned. [applause]

[commercial break]

MODERATOR: Welcome back to Sioux City, Iowa. And our Republican presidential debate here in northwestern Iowa.

These people tend to like it I think so far. I think they do. You have to next round of questions on board issues and immigration.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Bret.

The question is for you, Governor Perry. This topic received traffic on Twitter. You have joined the 57 House Republicans who have called for the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, to resign in the wake of the failed federal gun tracking program Operation Fast and Furious.

So far, there is no clear proof that Mr. Holder knew about the controversial aspects of this operation. And he points out that he actually helped stop it when it came to his attention. Are you and other Republicans politicizing this issue as General Holder claims?

PERRY: If I’m the president of the United States, and I find out that there is an operation like Fast and Furious and my attorney general didn’t know about it, I would have him resign immediately. You cannot, the president of the United States comes to El Paso, Texas, earlier this year and proclaims that the border of Texas and Mexico, the U.S. border with Mexico is safer than it’s ever been.

Well, let me tell you, I’ve been dealing with this issue for 11 years. I’ve sent Texas Ranger recon teams there. Our law enforcement men and women face fire from across the border or in the U.S. side from these drug cartels. It is not safe there. Our country is at jeopardy.

If we are going to be able to defend America, from Iran, from Hezbollah, from Hamas, that are using Mexico as a border, as a way to penetrate in the southern part of the United States. Venezuela has the largest Iranian embassy in the world there. We know what is going on. It is time for this country to have a real conversation about a Monroe Doctrine again like we did against the Cubans in the 60s.

MODERATOR: Senator Santorum, what say you to the attorney general’s claim that the Republicans are politicizing this issue?

SANTORUM: I would agree with Governor Perry that if he was the attorney general under me, I would have him — I would fire him. I wouldn’t have him resign, I’d fire him. This is something he should have been aware of, something that should have been stopped, it shouldn’t have started in the first place.

I think Governor Perry is also right. And this is something I’ve been saying now for many years, which is we need to pay much more attention to what is going on in our own hemisphere, not only do they have the largest embassy in Venezuela, there are flights from Tehran, from Damascus to Caracas. And those flights stop at a military base before they come into the civilian base.

There are training camps, jihaddist training camps in Central and South America. They’re working with the drug cartels. And they are planning assaults on the United States. That is what we know is going on right now. And we are doing — this president has ignored that threat. Has insulted our allies like Honduras and Colombia, deliberately. Has embraced — as he has the other scoundrels in the Middle East, has embraced Chavez and Ortega and others in Central and South America, not promoting our values and interests.

We need a brand new initiative, an initiative that says that we will promote our values in this region and we will stop the spread of terrorism in Central and South America. [cheering and applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Romney, last week you said that the 11 million illegal immigrants now in this country must return to their countries of origin before they can apply for legal status.

You also said that we are not going to go around and round up the 11 million. Why would these illegal immigrants voluntarily leave America just to apply for a chance at legal status, especially when they have your assurance that if they stay put we are not going to round them up?

ROMNEY: Let me tell you how that works. We are going to have an identification card for people who come here legally. The last campaign, actually, Rudy Giuliani talked about this time and time again.

We would have a card, a little plastic card, bio-information on it. Individuals who come here legally have that card. And when they apply for a job, they are able to show that to the employer. The employer must then check it with E-Verify or a similar system.

Newt Gingrich points out, let Federal Express — or not Federal Express, American Express or MasterCard or Visa process that, immediately determine if the card is valid or not.

So people come here legally, they’ve got that card. If employers hire people without that card, the employer gets sanctioned just like they do for not paying taxes. Very serious sanctions.

So you say to people who are here illegally today, you are not going to be able to work here unless you register, unless — and we will give you transition period of time, and then ultimately you have got to go home, apply for permanent residency here or citizenship, if you want to try and do that, but get in line behind everyone else.

My view is, people who have come here illegally, we welcome you to apply but you must get at the back of the line, because there are millions of people who are in line right now that want to come here legally. I want those to come here legally. Those that are here illegally have to get in line with everybody else. [applause]

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich, is that realistic?

GINGRICH: Well, let me start and say that Congressman Steve King has just introduced the IDEA act, which would in fact reinforce this model. Because it would take away all tax deductibility for anyone who is employed illegally, and once you have something like E-Verify effectively working, you really build a big sanction.

We disagree some on what you do with very, very long-term people here. I think somebody who has been here 25 years and has family here and has local family supporting them ought to have some kind of civilian certification.

But let me say on this whole issue of immigration. On day one, I would drop all the lawsuits against Arizona, South Carolina, and Alabama. It is wrong for the government. [cheering and applause]

GINGRICH: I would propose — I would propose cutting off all federal aid to any sanctuary city that deliberately violated federal law. [cheering and applause]

GINGRICH: And I would begin the process of completing control of the border by January 1st, 2014. Those steps would begin to fundamentally change the entire way of behavior towards getting control of legality in the United States. [applause]

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman, a recent FOX News poll showed that 66 percent of voters believe that the government should allow a pass to citizenship for the illegal immigrants who are already here in this country.

Nearly three-quarters of Latinos agree. Given these majorities and given the growing importance of the Latino vote in the general election, does the Republican presidential candidate need to take a more moderate approach on this issue if he hopes to defeat President Obama?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I think the Republican candidate has to speak based on our values, the values of the Republican Party. Limited government, pro-growth, these are the things that the Hispanic and the Latino populations are going to be looking for.

You don’t need to pander. You just need to be — we need to be who we are. But in terms of immigration, and illegal immigration, this president has so screwed up this economy, nobody is coming anymore. There is nothing to come for. I mean, there’s not a problem today. Just take a look at the numbers coming across.

I mean, the numbers, it was posted the other day, lowest in four decades. So I say, you know, we have got to secure the border, of course. We have got to deal with the 11, 12 million people who are here.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that legal immigration is an engine of growth for this country. Half of the Fortune 500 companies in this country today were founded by immigrants.

We have lost probably — well, our market share of travel and tourism has gone from 7 percent to 12 percent because our visa system is so screwed up in this nation. So you’ve got to look at the Department of Homeland Security.

You’ve got to completely remake the way that people are moving back and forth, our H1-B visa system, how we are dealing with the movement of people, how we are dealing with immigration. This is an economic development opportunity and we are missing it. [applause]

MODERATOR: Chris Wallace has the next round of questions.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Bret. Governor Romney, you have changed your position in the last 10 years on abortion, on gay rights, on guns. You say keeping an open mind is a strength, but some of your critics say that every one of these moves has been to your political advantage. When you were running in Massachusetts, you took liberal positions. Running now as president, you take more conservative positions. Is that principle or is it just politics?

ROMNEY: Well, I’ll begin by taking exception with your list there. I did change my…

MODERATOR: Which — which one?

ROMNEY: Gay rights.

MODERATOR: Well…

ROMNEY: I’m firmly in support of people not being discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation. At the same time, I oppose same-sex marriage. That’s been my position from the beginning.

With regards to abortion, I changed my mind. With regards to abortion, I had the experience of coming in to office, running for governor, saying, you know, I’m going to keep the laws as they exist in the state. And they were pro-choice laws, so effectively I was pro-choice.

Then I had a bill come to my desk that didn’t just keep the laws as they were, but would have created new embryos for the purpose of destroying them. I studied it in some depth and concluded I simply could not sign on to take human life. I vetoed that bill. [applause]

I went to the — to the Boston Globe. I described for them why I am pro-life. Every decision I took as governor was taken on the side of life. I am firmly pro-life.

I’ve learned over time, like Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush and others, my experience in life over, what, 19 — 17, 18, 19 years has told me that sometimes I was wrong. Where I was wrong, I’ve tried to correct myself.

MODERATOR: If I may just pick up, you say the one issue which I was wrong on was gay rights. Correct, sir?

ROMNEY: Mm-hmm. What was the — what was the — I don’t recall the whole list, but I…

[crosstalk]

MODERATOR: It was abortion, gay rights, and guns.

ROMNEY: You know, I’ve always supported the Second Amendment. And — and we had a piece of legislation that came to our desk that would have — that provided an assault weapon ban. The gun lobby favored it because it also did things that the gun lobby wanted. Working with them, we decided to sign the bill. So you can say, well, I’ve changed my position on that, but I’ve been pro-gun and continue to be pro-gun.

MODERATOR: If I may, sir, in 1994, when you were running for the Senate, you wrote a letter to the Log Cabin Republicans in which you said, “I am more convinced than ever before that, as we seek full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent,” who was Ted Kennedy.

In 1994, you also said you supported not only an assault weapons ban, but also a five-day waiting period. And in 2002, when you were running as governor, you said that you supported the tough gun control laws in Massachusetts. And then as you say in 2004, you also signed an assault weapons ban.

So you are still more of a champion of gay rights than Ted Kennedy was?

ROMNEY: I think — I think — I think you just said exactly what I said, which is this.

MODERATOR: I…

ROMNEY: Let me — let me go back and say that. I do not believe in discriminating against people based upon their sexual orientation. There are some people that do. I had a member of my administration, my cabinet who was — who was gay. I didn’t ask justices that I was looking to appoint — rather, people who are applicants for jobs — what their sexual orientation was.

I believe as a Republican, I had the potential to fight for antidiscrimination in a way that would be even better than Senator Kennedy, as a Democrat, was expected to do so.

At the same time, Chris, in 1994 — and throughout my career — I’ve said I oppose same-sex marriage. Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. My view is — let me tell you — protects — protect the sanctity of marriage, protect the sanctity of life. That’s my view. I’ve had it for many years.

Thank you. [applause]

MODERATOR: Senator Santorum, you have campaigned on social issues as much or perhaps more than any other candidate on this stage. Are you persuaded that Governor Romney has made these changes or what he says in some cases are not changes, based on principle and not political expedience?

SANTORUM: Governor Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, was faced with a Supreme Court decision that said that same-sex — that traditional marriage was unconstitutional. In that court decision, the court said that they did not have the power to change the law in Massachusetts and rule same-sex marriage legal. Why? Because in the Massachusetts constitution, it states specifically that only the governor and the legislature can change marriage laws.

Governor Romney — the court then gave the legislature a certain amount of time to change the law. They did not. So Governor Romney was faced with a choice: Go along with the court, or go along with the constitution and the statute. He chose the court and ordered people to issue gay marriage licenses, and went beyond that. He personally as governor issued gay marriage licenses. I don’t think that is an accurate representation of his position of saying tolerance versus substantively changes in the laws.

I’ve had a strong, consistent track record of standing up for the values of this country, not discriminating. It had a no- discrimination policy in my office. But we’re not talking about discrimination. We’re talking about changing the basic values of our country.

MODERATOR: Governor Romney, 30 seconds to respond, sir. [applause]

ROMNEY: That is a very novel understanding of what our Supreme Court of Massachusetts did. I think everybody in Massachusetts and the legal profession in Massachusetts and my legal counsel indicated that the Supreme Court of Massachusetts determined that under our constitution, same-sex marriage was required. And the idea that somehow that was up to me to make a choice as to whether we had it or not is a little unusual. We got together with our legislature and I fought leading an effort to put in place a constitutional amendment in Massachusetts to overturn the court’s decision to make marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

This is something I battled in the year I had after their decision. I fought it every way I possibly could. I went to Washington, testifying in favor of a federal amendment to define marriage as a relationship between man and a woman.

Let me tell you, I want to make it very clear, I have been a champion of protecting traditional marriage that continues to be my view. If I somehow missed somewhere I’m happy to get corrected. But that is something I feel very deeply.

MODERATOR: All right. Congresswoman Bachmann, you say that Speaker Gingrich has a, quote, “inconsistent record on life” and you singled out comments he made recently that life begins with the implantation of a fertilized egg, not at conception. What is your concern?

BACHMANN: Well, my concern is the fact that the Republican Party can’t get the issue of life wrong. This is a basic part of our party. Just last night we gathered in Des Moines to talk about this issue, because it’s that crucial to our party. And one of the concerns that I had is that when Speaker Gingrich was Speaker of the House he had an opportunity to de-fund Planned Parenthood. And he chose not to take it. That is a big issue.

And also I think even more troubling when he was in Washington, D.C., he made an affirmative statement that he would not only support but he would campaign for Republicans who are in support of the barbaric procedure known as partial birth abortion. I could never do that.

And as a matter of fact, George Wilt asked the question of Speaker Gingrich. he said this: he said, “is it a virtue to tolerate infanticide?” This is a seminal issue and something we can’t get wrong. As president of the United States, I will be 100 percent pro- life from conception until natural death.

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: Sometimes Congressman Bachmann doesn’t get her facts very accurate. I had ad 98.5 percent right to life voting record in 20 years. The only …

MODERATOR: Go ahead. I’m…

GINGRICH: The only difference was that they didn’t like the initial welfare reform bill, which every other conservative group had said had nothing in it on abortion. Period. That’s the only one in 20 years.

I believe that life begins at conception. The conversation we’re having which is an ABC interview, I was frankly thinking about proposing a commission to look at fertility, because I think there is a challenge with what happens to embryos, who I think should be regarded as life because by definition they have been conceived. I am against any kind of experimentation on embryos. And I think my position on life actually has been very clear and very consistent.

MODERATOR: Let me just ask you — no. I want to ask you a direct question, if I may, speaker. That was your rebuttal to Congresswoman Bachmann.

BACHMANN: Can I rebuttal, because have a rebuttal for getting my facts wrong?

MODERATOR: Absolutely, congresswoman.

BACHMANN: Because this isn’t just once, I think it’s outrageous to continue to say over and over through the debate that I don’t have my facts right. When as a matter of fact, I do. I’m a serious candidate for president of the United States. And my facts are accurate.

Speaker Gingrich said that he would actively support and campaign for Republicans who got behind the barbaric practice of partial birth abortions. This is not a small issue. This is a big issue.

I think George Will was right when he asked that question. What virtue is there in tolerating infanticide?

MODERATOR: We are way over time. So I’m just going to ask you for 30 seconds to respond on the that specific issue.

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, what I said on that particular issue is I wouldn’t go out and try to purge Republicans. Now, I don’t see how you are going to govern the country if you are going to run around and decide who you are going to purge. The fact is, twice when I was speaker we moved the end of partial-birth abortion. Clinton vetoed it. We worked very hard. And Rick Santorum has been a leader on this issue.

I have consistently opposed partial birth abortion. I, in fact, would like to see us go much further than that and eliminate abortion as a choice. And I said as president I would de-fund Planned Parenthood and shift the money to pay for adoption services to give young women a choice of life rather than death.

MODERATOR: Thank you, speaker.

GINGRICH: Thank you, Chris. Candidates, Ronald Reagan famously espoused his 11th Commandment: Thou shall not…

PROTESTER: [off-mike]

MODERATOR: I’m sorry. Thank you. Thank you very much.

PROTESTER: [off-mike]

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Well — well, let me just finish this question. We’re running out of time.

Ronald Reagan famously espoused the 11th Commandment: Thou shall not speak ill of another Republican. Yet to varying degrees, during this campaign, you’ve all broken that one way or another, broken that vow. So I guess the question is, how do you balance on the one hand trying to win the nomination with on the other hand not weakening the eventual nominee to the point where he or she is less electable than President Obama?

Down the row, Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: We have a responsibility to vet the candidates. That’s what — look, I’ve been at 350 town hall meetings. I’ve been kicked pretty hard by a lot of Iowans about the positions I hold, and that’s what — that’s the process. The process is, let’s find out who can stand up. Let’s find out who has the best record, who’s the most — who’s the person that can have that — the consistency of — of going out there and finding for the principles that we believe in.

Because I — let me assure you, the other side’s going to kick very, very hard, and we have to have someone who can stand up for it, fight, and holds those convictions deep so they can fight the good fight in the fall and win this presidency.

MODERATOR: Governor Perry?

PERRY: Yeah, there’s a — there’s an — as a matter of fact, I think that was the Republican chairman, not Ronald Reagan, that actually said that.

MODERATOR: Well, he espoused it. That’s what I said.

PERRY: Right, indeed he did. But there’s an NFL player — his name doesn’t come to mind — but he said, if you don’t get your tail kicked every now and then, you’re not playing at a high enough level. And I just want to give all of you all credit for letting me play at a high enough level and for training me the way that you have. [laughter]

MODERATOR: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Yeah, we can handle it. And — and there’s nothing — there’s nothing that’s been said by — by these folks on this stage about me that I’m not going to hear 100 times from — from President Obama. He’s going to have a — what, $1 billion to go after me or whoever our nominee is? We’re — we’re going to give each other what we need to for people to understand who we are.

But let’s not forget this. Let’s every day remember that, time and time again, this — it’s President Obama we’ve got to be talking about. He has unveiled himself as a president that’s not — not the right person to lead this country. [applause]

MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: Well, I think it’s pretty clear, if you look at my ads, if you look at my website, if you look at what — how I’ve operated in the debates, that while I reserve the right to correct attacks against my — against me, overall I’ve tried very hard to talk about very big solutions to be — to go to the American people with the communication about, what do we need to do?

And I’ve said consistently, these are all friends of mine. Any of these folks would be better than Barack Obama in the White House. Any of them would be great in the next administration. [applause]

Our only opponent is Barack Obama. And we need to come out of this process remembering: Beating him is what we collectively have to do. [applause]

MODERATOR: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: You know, the media has a responsibility and we have a responsibility, and I think exposing our opponents to what they believe in and their flip-flop, I think the reason maybe that we had to do more this year is maybe the media is messing up and they haven’t asked enough questions, that we have to fill in and ask these questions and get this information out.

So, no, I think it’s a responsibility on us. I think there should be lines drawn. I think there are some things below the belt. I don’t think — but I don’t like the demagoguing, the distortion, and taking things out of context. I don’t like that. But when they disagree on an issue, important issues, then we should expose it.

MODERATOR: Congresswoman Bachmann? [applause]

BACHMANN: Ronald Reagan also brought clarity to the — his opponents that he had in his primaries, as well. And he famously asked the question, in 1980, are we better off today than we were four years under Jimmy Carter? And I think the republic is in far worse shape today under Barack Obama’s leadership.

That’s what we’re exposing now. Who will be — who will continue that legacy of Ronald Reagan? And who will take Barack Obama on toe to toe and hold him accountable? And I think that I’ll be the best one to do that on the stage.

MODERATOR: Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: I actually worked for Ronald Reagan. And I think he would have been the first to stand up and say: Debate is good. It must be respectful, and it must be rigorous.

A rigorous debate will lead to greater trust. And the one thing this nation needs desperately today is heightened trust, in our institutions, in our tax code, in our wars abroad, in Congress, toward Wall Street.

And I’m here to tell you that this kind of debate over time is going to elevate the trust level in whomever makes it out as the nominee. That will allow us to beat Barack Obama.

Thank you. [applause]

MODERATOR: Well, that is it for our debate tonight. Thank you all very much. Our thanks to the candidates, their staffs, the Iowa Republican Party, and to all the great people here in Sioux City, and, of course, in Iowa. They could not have been more hospitable.



Citation: Presidential Candidates Debates: “Republican Candidates Debate in Sioux City, Iowa,” December 15, 2011. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=97978.

Campaign Buzz December 15, 2011: Fox News GOP Iowa Debate — Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Sioux City Iowa — Last Debate of 2011 & Before Iowa Caucus — Candidates Attack Gingrich

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The seven Republican presidential candidates made their case to prospective voters in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday night in the last debate of the year. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: FOX NEWS GOP REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN SIOUX CITY, IOWA — LAST DEBATE OF 2011

Live Blogging the Fox News Debate in Iowa: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were a focus of attention.
Seven candidates take the stage tonight in Sioux City, Iowa, for the final debate before the Jan. 3 caucuses…. – NYT, 12-15-11

Iowa Debate Fact Check: New York Times reporters examined candidates’ statements on Iran, immigration, the national debt and more, during the Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa…. – NYT, 12-15-11

Liveblogging the last Republican presidential debate of 2011Yahoo News, 12-15-11

“I’m ready for the next level. Let me tell you, I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucus.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry

“I think it’s good conservative principle to find ways to help families that are right at the margins to learn how to budget, learn how to take care of a house, learn how to buy a house. I did no lobbying of any kind for any organization.” — Newt Gingrich

“If you have judges that are so radically anti-American that they thought ‘One Nation Under God’ was wrong, then they shouldn’t be on the court.” — Newt Gingrich

“I don’t want to run the world. I don’t want to police individual activities or people’s lifestyle, and I don’t want to run the economy.” — Texas Rep. Ron Paul,

“We have a president who, again, doesn’t understand how the economy works. Not every business succeeds. … In the real world, some things don’t make it.” — Mitt Romney

“We have been kicked around as a people. We’re getting screwed as Americans.” — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

“It’s outrageous to say over and over again during the debates to say that I don’t have my facts right. I’m a serious candidate for president of the United States, and my facts are accurate.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“You don’t need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influence-peddling.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“Where it needs to end is under the Constitution of the United States. If we give to the courts the right to make law, then the people will have lost their representation. They need hold to their representation, That’s why I commend Iowans, because they chose not to retain three judges.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

  • Iowa Republican debate: The live blog!: If it’s a weekday, it’s time for another Republican presidential debate! Tonight’s debate, which will be in Sioux City, Iowa, will feature seven of the leading contenders for the GOP presidential nod gather on stage with just 19 days remaining before … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Washington Wire Live Blog of GOP Debate in Iowa: Tonight’s Republican presidential debate marks the last time the candidates will go after each other on stage before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, so the stakes are high to make a good impression — or bloody an opponent. … – WSJ, 12-15-11
  • Live: Gingrich tries to hold lead in last GOP debate: By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY Seven GOP presidential candidates are squaring off in a final, pivotal debate tonight before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3…. – USA Today, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Debate: Republican Winners and Losers: Fox News and the Iowa Republican party sponsored the final debate Thursday night before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. Here’s our take on the winners and losers from Sioux City, Iowa.
    WINNERS

    Newt Gingrich
    Mitt Romney
    Michele Bachmann
    Rick Perry
    Ron Paul

    LOSERS

    Rick Santorum
    Jon Huntsman

    CBS News, 12-16-11

  • Candidates Stake Iowa Debate on Electability, Leadership: As the candidates make their final pitch in a group forum before the first voters go to the polls in Iowa in less than three weeks, the GOP candidates have made their policy cases…. – Fox News, 12-15-11
  • FACT CHECK: Gingrich Off on His Budget History: Newt Gingrich overlooked a couple of years of red ink when he boldly claimed Thursday night that he balanced the budget for four years as House speaker. He also glossed over the fact he was not the only leader in town back in … – AP, Fox News, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich under attack at Iowa presidential debateReuters, 12-16-11
  • Gingrich Parries With Challengers in Final Debate Before Iowa Caucuses: The Republican presidential candidates began delivering their closing arguments at the final debate of the year here on Thursday night, with the rivals trying to whittle away at the credibility of … – NYT, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Republican debate: For the final time before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, the seven men and women running for the Republican presidential nomination faced off on a debate stage…. – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Some key moments in Thursday’s GOP debate, from Tebow to ‘Pretty-Please’: PERRY TURNS TO TEBOW The gaffe-prone Rick Perry sought strength from an unlikely source Thursday night: Tim Tebow. The young Denver Broncos quarterback has captured the admiration of football fans across the country after a string of … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • FACT CHECK: Some golden oldie missteps by Gingrich, Romney and more in last: Newt Gingrich overlooked a couple of years of red ink when he asserted Thursday night that he balanced the budget for four years as House speaker. And in claiming sole credit for the achievement, he glossed over the fact that budgets are … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich under fire in final GOP debate before Iowa vote: In the final debate before voting starts in the 2012 presidential contest, front-running Newt Gingrich battled renewed criticism Thursday night from rivals over his activities outside of government. … – LAT, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich under fire as GOP rivals try to stall his momentum: Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, the latest front-runner in a roller-coaster Republican presidential race, was hammered Thursday in the final debate before the Iowa caucuses as rivals …… – USA Today, 12-15-11
  • Republicans Spar Over Their Credentials to Challenge Obama in Final DebateBloomberg, 12-15-11
  • Candidates Stake Iowa Debate on Electability, Leadership: It isn’t quite fourth and one with seconds on the clock, but for political conservatives, Thursday night’s final Republican presidential primary debate had all the markings of a close competition in a tight second half.
    With less than three weeks to go before Iowa Republicans caucus to pick their nominee in the 2012 presidential election season, the GOP hopefuls presented their late-game playbook at Fox News’ debate in Sioux City, Iowa.
    Having largely mapped out their policies and philosophies in more than a dozen pre-season debates, the candidates on Thursday night set out to prove that not only are they the best pick for primary-goers, but they are ready to be recruited for the first-string — a general election contest to defeat the current occupant of the White House. … – Fox News, 12-15-11
  • Takes from the Sioux City Squawker: AP: “Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich clashed sharply with one rival, took pains to compliment another and said it was laughable for any of them to challenge his conservative credentials Thursday night in the last campaign debate … – Time, 12-15-11
  • At Iowa debate, Mitt Romney avoids tangling with Newt Gingrich: To the surprise of many, Mitt Romney, deep into the Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday had refrained from attacking front-runner Newt Gingrich a single time. But it’s clear that Romney’s attacks earlier this week had … – LAT, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich, Romney, Paul run thorugh debate gauntlet in Iowa: National Affairs Writer As seven Republican presidential contenders began their sprint toward the first- in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, each of the top candidates ran through a gauntlet of challenges in their Thursday … – MSNBC, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich and Bachmann duke it out early in Republican debate: Michele Bachmann came out swinging at Newt Gingrich and his $1.6 million in earnings from Freddie Mac…. – CS Monitor, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich invokes Reagan and Clinton at Iowa Republican debate: By Nia-Malika Henderson Newt Gingrich, ahead in the polls and facing withering criticism from his own party, compared himself to Ronald Reagan in the last debate among the GOP presidential contenders before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses…. – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich insists he did ‘no lobbying of any kind’ while working for Freddie Mac: At the last Republican debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Gingrich defended his work for mortgage lender Freddie Mac, saying he was “a private citizen engaged in a business like any other business” when he earned $1.6 million for providing the … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Rick Perry compares himself to Tim Tebow at Iowa debate: Rick Perry needs a fourth-quarter comeback to win in Iowa. So at the GOP debate in Sioux City on Thursday night, he compared himself to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who has captured the attention of NFL fans by leading his … LAT, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich, Under Fire, Plays Clumsy Defense in Fox News Iowa Debate: The Sioux City faceoff made clear that Gingrich is the man to beat in Iowa. But after a string of sure-footed performances, he didn’t help himself on Thursday night…. – Daily Beast, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Debate: Romney, Gingrich In Harmony on Medicare Proposal: Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich gave high marks to the bipartisan proposal on to revamp Medicare released this week by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis…. – National Journal, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Debate: Candidates All Hawkish, Except for Paul: Thursday night’s debate reinforced the view that the Republican presidential field, split over foreign policy earlier in the campaign, has shifted decisively toward a hawkish consensus –- with the notable exception of Rep. Ron Paul…. – National Journal, 12-15-11
  • Candidates Engage Ahead of Debate: The lights won’t go on at tonight’s Fox News debate until 9 p.m. Eastern, but the Republican candidates have already spent the day in a rhetorical sparring match…. – NYT, 12-15-11
  • With Gingrich under pressure, contenders poised for Iowa debate: The seven Republican presidential contenders prepared for a final debate Thursday before the first-in-the- nation Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. The event will be the 13 th time that the Republican contenders have … – MSNBC, 12-15-11

Campaign Buzz December 12, 2011: Gingrich-Huntsman Debate on Foreign Policy & National Security at St Anselm College, New Hampshire Emulates Lincoln-Douglas Style — Candidates Agree on Issues — Transcript Excerpts

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Jon M. Huntsman Jr., center, and Newt Gingrich covered only half of the 10 topics they planned to discuss during their 90 minute Lincoln-Douglas-style debate.
Joseph Sywenkyj for The New York Times
Jon M. Huntsman Jr., center, and Newt Gingrich covered only half of the 10 topics they planned to discuss during their 90 minute Lincoln-Douglas-style debate.

IN FOCUS: GINGRICH-HUNTSMAN DEBATE ON FOREIGN POLICY POLICY & NATIONAL SECURITY AT ST ANSELM COLLEGE EMULATES LINCOLN-DOUGLAS STYLE — CANDIDATES AGREE ON ISSUES

Live-blogging the Gingrich-Huntsman debate: Get updates from the Fix’s Aaron Blake and watch the Lincoln-Douglas style debate live…. WaPo, 12-12-11

“This is what we should have a lot more of. This is substantive. We’re a country in enormous trouble, and we need leaders who are willing to talk to citizens … We’re not going to solve things with, you know, what’s your solution on Libya in 30 seconds. This is not a Hollywood game, this is not a reality show. This is reality.” — Newt Gingrich

“We’re always looking for winners and losers in these things, but I think the winners might well be the American people.” — Jon Huntsman

Huntsman and Gingrich Square Off in Unmoderated Debate: In New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich and Jon M. Huntsman Jr. participated in a two-man unmoderated debate devoted to foreign policy and national security…. – NYT, 12-12-11

  • Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman agree on seriousness at debate in New Hampshire: The meeting of two presidential candidates here today was billed as a successor to the Lincoln Douglas debates, but turned out to be a festival of self-congratulation intended less to tease out differences between Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman than simply signal their status as serious men.
    The 90-minute talk at St. Anselm College, moderated by local Republican operative Patrick Griffin, centered on national security and foreign policy, and the two men ranged widely across Asia and the Middle East. The debate showed a few of their differences – Huntsman, notably, favors a rapid withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan – but it lacked the animating point of the 1858 debates on which it was modeled: a core disagreement…. – Politico, 12-12-11
  • Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman square off in friendly debate: Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich and rival Jon Huntsman Jr. squared off Monday afternoon at a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate on national security and foreign policy.
    The event, sponsored by the St. Anselm College Republicans and hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and Political Library, was modeled after a series of seven debates that took place between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas during their 1858 campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinios, in which one candidate spoke for the first 60 minutes, the second candidate followed with a 90-minute rebuttal, and then the first speaker had 30 minutes to respond.
    Monday’s debate lasted half as long and focused on half a dozen predetermined questions, but the candidates were allowed to answer without strict time constraints, which made for 90 minutes of what felt like a college seminar…. – LAT, 12-12-11
  • The Huntsman-Gingrich Debate That Wasn’t: The so-called “Lincoln-Douglas debate” between the GOP candidates at the top and bottom of the polls turned out to be an unenlightening lovefest
    Republican front-runner Newt Gingrich took a break from the campaign trail Monday to give a wide-ranging foreign-policy lecture at a New Hampshire university, where he was joined on the panel by a former ambassador to China, one Jon Huntsman.
    That’s what Monday afternoon’s supposed “Lincoln-Douglas debate” between Gingrich and Huntsman really felt like. The two flattered each other, recited a number of views that they mostly agreed upon, and filled the balance of the time with uncontroversial blather about the importance of foreign policy, the glories of the present event and, of course, the greatness of America…. – The Atlantic, 12-12-11
  • Gingrich, Huntsman Agree: Iran Is Scary GOP candidates exchange foreign policy views in New Hampshire debate: Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman engaged in a friendly, rather academic foreign policy debate today that saw more agreement than fireworks, the Los Angeles Times reports. Modeled on the Abraham Lincoln- Stephen Douglas debates of 1858—in which candidates spoke for long uninterrupted stretches—the two Republican contenders discussed issues including Iran, China, and Afghanistan at a college in New Hampshire. “I can see my daughter nodding off over there,” quipped Huntsman…. – Newser, 12-12-11

 

Republican presidential candidates Jon Huntsman Jr., left, and Newt Gingrich during a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester.

Republican presidential candidates Jon Huntsman Jr., left, and Newt Gingrich during a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester. (EPA/CJ GUNTHER / December 12, 2011)

Gingrich-Huntsman debate live blog (VIDEO)

Debate over (5:27 p.m.)

The debate has concluded.

We got through five of 10 planned topics in 90 minutes.

And the time-keeper closed with a zing for Mitt Romney, who is not there to defend himself.

Of Gingrich’s plan to challenge President Obama to similar Lincoln-Douglas style debates, the time-keeper, Pat Griffin, said: “I’ll bet you $10,000 he doesn’t show up.”

Huntsman digs at Trump (5:26 p.m)

“I can’t wait to compare and contrast this format with the Donald Trump debate,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman has passed on participating in the Trump-moderated debate, but Gingrich is taking part.

Gingrich says Chinese relationship most important (5:16 p.m.)

Gingrich said the Chinese will be the United States’ most important relationship for decades to come.

“The most important relationship of the next 50 years is the American people and the Chinese people,” Gingrich said, differentiating that from the relationship between the governments.

“If you don’t fundamentally rethink what we’re doing here, you cannot compete with China,” Gingrich added. “If we do the right thing here, China can’t compete with us.”

Huntsman says U.S. has interest in Syria, not Libya (4:52 p.m.)

Huntsman said he disagrees with the intervention in Libya because there was no national security interest there.

As for Syria, he suggested more should have been done.

“I couldn’t see a definable national security interest” in Libya, he said. “With Syria, I see it a little differently, because it is a conduit, a pipeline for Iran.”

Huntsman calls Iran the “transcendant threat” (4:44 p.m)

Huntsman says Iran poses a bigger problem than any other country right now, calling it the “transcendant threat” and saying all options are on the table in dealing with the regime there.

Huntsman said a nuclear Iran would lead Turkey and other nations to build nuclear programs.

“I think all options are on the table, and I do believe we’re going to have a conversation with Israel” when Iran goes nuclear, Huntsman said.

He also said the Obama Administration missed an opportunity to get a foothold in the region with the Arab Spring.

“We missed a huge opportunity with the Arab Spring,” Huntsman said. “Huge missed opportunity.”

Gingrich largely agreed on Iran. He has previously said the United States needs to be ready to join Israel against Iran and called Iran the “biggest national security threat of the next 10 years.”

Gingrich says United States not safer than 10 years ago (4:29 p.m.)

Gingrich said the United States might not be any safer than it was in 2001 when the war in Afghanistan began and before the war in Iraq began.

“It’s hard for me to argue that we’re any safer than we were 10 years ago,” Gingrich said, pointing to potential nuclear capabilities in Iran and Pakistan.

Huntsman says bring Afghanistan troops home (4:22 p.m.)

Huntsman said the United States has had success in Afghanistan, and that it should bring the troops home.

“I think we’ve done the best that we could do, but I think we’ve done all we could do,” he said, repeating his past statements on the topic, which differ from his GOP opponents. Huntsman said the time has passed for nation-building and counter-insurgency, and that the new mission should be focused on counter-terrorism.

Huntsman went on to say that the United States’ relationship with Pakistan is too “transactional.”

“Pakistan, sadly, is nothing more than a transactional relationship with the United States,” Huntsman said. “For all the money we put into Pakistan, are we in a better situation? The answer is no.”

Original post (3:44 p.m.)

Starting at 4 p.m. eastern time, The Fix will be doing a modified live blog of the one-on-one, Lincoln-Douglas style debate in New Hampshire between Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman.

Check back on this post for regular updates on the key moments from the debate and everything you need to know about what’s said.

For now, see piece previewing the debate.

Full Text Campaign Buzz November 22, 2011: CNN GOP National Security Republican Presidential Debate at Constitutional Hall, Washington, DC — Debate Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

 

Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Before the sparring began at the debate in Washington on Tuesday, the Republican presidential primary candidates paused as the national anthem was sung.

Source: CNN, 11-23-11

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Full Transcript of CNN NATIONAL SECURITY DEBATE, 20:00-22:00

Aired November 22, 2011 – 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, DEBATE MODERATOR AND CNN LEAD POLITICAL ANCHOR: Live from Washington, DC, for the Republican National Security Debate.

(UNKNOWN): It’s a president’s most important and daunting responsibility, to protect and defend the United States of America. Millions of lives in the hands of one commander-in-chief. It’s what legacies are made of.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A date which will live in infamy.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): For better…

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): — and for worse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that is not to do anything that would endanger the lives or safety of the hostages.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): In war…

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just two hours ago, Allied air forces began an attack on military targets in Iraq and Kuwait.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): — and peace. On the day everything changed… (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): — and every day since.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Tonight, from an historic hall in the nation’s capital, the Republican candidates address the global challenges ahead — Mitt Romney, who ran an international business and the Olympic Winter Games.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people of America deserve a regular briefing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker with a PhD in history.

Herman Cain…

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We would use our military might if we have to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): A business executive who worked for firms with global reach.

Ron Paul, a leading anti-war voice in Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: We should only go to the war when the people in this country declare the war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Rick Perry, the governor of the state with the longest stretch of international border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BACHMANN: Iran is waiting in the wings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Michele Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNTSMAN: Our nation’s future is how well prepared we are to compete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China.

Rick Santorum, who served on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Who has what it takes to be the next commander-in-chief in a world of peril?

The first step toward building a legacy, the Republican National Security Debate begins now.

BLITZER: From Constitution Hall in the nation’s capital, this is the Republican presidential debate.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Every U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge has been inside this historic hall, just steps away from the White House.

Tonight, the eight Republican candidates are here with their ultimate goal in sight.

I’m Wolf Blitzer.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

Tonight’s debate is airing on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol and the American Forces Network. We want to thank our co- sponsors, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Members of these distinguished conservative think tanks, they are here in our audience and some of them will have a chance to question the candidates. They’ll add their knowledge and insights to our discussion, making this unlike any debate so far in this presidential campaign.

Viewers also can take part in our debate by sending us your questions online, on Twitter. Make sure to include the hash tag, cnndebate; on Facebook at Facebook.com/cnnpolitics; and, of course, on CNNPolitics.com.

It’s time now to meet the 2012 Republican presidential contenders.

Joining us onstage, the former U.S. ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman.

FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN JR, R-UTAH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

HUNTSMAN: Thank you.

BLITZER: Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to see you, Wolf.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: The former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: The former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Herman Cain.

(APPLAUSE)

The former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney…

(APPLAUSE)

Texas governor, Rick Perry…

(APPLAUSE)

Texas congressman, Ron Paul…

(APPLAUSE)

(inaudible) from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican candidates for President of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, please rise for our National Anthem. Please rise. The National Anthem performed by Mauricio Perez, from the Tony Award winning musical, “Jersey Boys,” now playing at the National Theater here in Washington, D.C.

(APPLAUSE)

(SINGING NATIONAL ANTHEM)

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Mauricio Perez, thank you.

Candidates, please take your — to your podiums while I tell you a little bit more about how this debate will work. I’ll be the moderator and as I mentioned, our partners from the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute will ask questions as well.

I’ll follow up. I’ll try to guide the discussion. Candidates, I’ll try to make sure each of you gets your fair share of questions.

You’ll have one minute to answer, 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. And I’ll make sure you get time to respond if — if you’re singled out for criticism.

This year more than ever we’ve seen how events beyond our borders directly affect America, including perhaps the biggest national security issue right now, the economy.

Candidates, tonight Republican voters are here. They are watching around the country to decide if you have what it takes to be the next commander in chief, to shape foreign policy, to protect this great nation.

On some of these issues you will agree. On some you’ll disagree. But by the end of the night, voters should have a better understanding of how you would lead the nation in times of crisis.

Now, let’s have the candidates introduce themselves to our audience, but we’ll keep it very brief. Here’s an example of what I’m looking for.

I’m Wolf Blitzer and yes, that’s my real name. I’ll be your moderator this evening and I’m happy to welcome each one of you to our debate.

Rick Santorum, let’s begin with you.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I am Rick Santorum. And it’s great to be here and I want to thank AEI and Heritage (inaudible).

… One constitutional responsibility of the federal government and that is national security. And I think we can all agree that if you like what Barack Obama has done to our economy, you’ll love what he’s done to our national security.

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m Ron Paul, a congressman from Texas. I am pleased to be here at the debate because this is a very important debate. I am convinced that needless and unnecessary wars are a great detriment. They undermine our prosperity and our liberties. They add to our deficits and they consume our welfare. We should take a careful look at our foreign policy.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, and I want to take a moment and introduce you, the beautiful first lady of the state of Texas, Anita. Thank you for being here with me, 29 years of wedded bliss and 45 years ago we had our first date. So I’m a blessed man in many ways to represent a great state, and we’re here to ask you for your support, your blessings and your vote.

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m Mitt Romney and yes, Wolf, that’s also my first name. And…

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: … I’m a husband, a father, a grandfather of 16. I love this country very much. I spent my life in the private sector. And as I’ve watched the direction this president has taken our country, both domestically and internationally, I’m afraid that he’s taking us on a perilous course. I want to keep America strong and free, and if I’m president, I’ll use every ounce of my energy to do just that.

(APPLAUSE)

HERMAN CAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am businessman Herman Cain. I’m delighted to be here to discuss one of the most critical issues we face because, as a result of this administration, our national security has indeed been downgraded.

(APPLAUSE)

FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m Newt Gingrich. My father spent 27 years in the infantry. And as a result of that, in the fall of 1958, I decided that national survival was worth the study of a lifetime. I’ve worked with both Heritage and the American Enterprise Institute for over 30 years. I can’t imagine any two institutions better to partner with CNN on the most important single topic, the survival of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: My name is Michele Bachmann. I’m a proud member of the United States Congress. I’m privileged to serve on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. My father honorably served in the United States Air Force, my stepfather in the United States Army and my brother in the United States Navy.

I think for every one of us who are here on this stage tonight, I think we all want to send our very best Happy Thanksgiving greetings to all of our men and women in uniform who are serving us overseas, here in the United States and also to their families. Happy Thanksgiving. We appreciate, we love you and we want to get you home as soon as we can.

(APPLAUSE)

HUNTSMAN: My name is Jon Huntsman. I believe this week, in particular, that there is still much to be grateful for in this, the greatest nation that ever was. I’m here with my wife of 28 years, Mary Kay, who is fortuitously sitting in the New Hampshire box up here. We are the wife — or we are the parents of seven kids, two in the United States Navy.

Twice elected governor of the great state of Utah, I’ve lived overseas four times, three times as a United States ambassador. I am honored and privileged to be here. Wolf, CNN, Heritage, AEI, thank you one and all for making tonight possible.

BLITZER: Thank you very much. And let’s get right to the questions.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Our leadoff question is from the honorable Ed Meese, the former attorney general of the United States, who is representing the Heritage Foundation.

ED MEESE, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: At least 42 terrorist attacks aimed at the United States have been thwarted since 9/11. Tools like the Patriot Act have been instrumental in finding and stopping terrorists.

Shouldn’t we have a long range extension of the investigative powers contained in that act so that our law enforcement officers can have the tools that they need?

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, only this weekend there was an alleged terror plot uncovered in New York City. What do you think?

GINGRICH: Well, I think that Attorney General Meese has raised a key point, and the key distinction for the American people to recognize is the difference between national security requirements and criminal law requirements.

I think it’s desperately important that we preserve your right to be innocent until proven guilty, if it’s a matter of criminal law. But if you’re trying to find somebody who may have a nuclear weapon that they are trying to bring into an American city, I think you want to use every tool that you can possibly use to gather the intelligence.

The Patriot Act has clearly been a key part of that. And I think looking at it carefully and extending it and building an honest understanding that all of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives. This is not going to end in the short run. And we need to be prepared to protect ourselves from those who, if they could, would not just kill us individually, but would take out entire cities.

BLITZER: So, Speaker, just to clarify, you wouldn’t change the Patriot Act?

GINGRICH: No, I would not change it. I’m not aware of any specific change it needs. And I’d look at strengthening it, because I think the dangers are literally that great. And again, I’ve spent years studying this stuff. You start thinking about one nuclear weapon in one American city and the scale of loss of life and you ask yourself, what should the president be capable of doing to stop that?

And you come up with a very different answer. Again, very sharp division. Criminal law, the government should be frankly on defense and you’re innocent until proven guilty. National security, the government should have many more tools in order to save our lives.

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, I suspect you disagree.

PAUL: I do.

BLITZER: Tell us why.

PAUL: I think the Patriot Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty. I’m concerned, as everybody is, about the terrorist attack. Timothy McVeigh was a vicious terrorist. He was arrested. Terrorism is still on the books, internationally and nationally, it’s a crime and we should deal with it.

We dealt with it rather well with Timothy McVeigh. But why I really fear it is we have drifted into a condition that we were warned against because our early founders were very clear. They said, don’t be willing to sacrifice liberty for security.

Today it seems too easy that our government and our congresses are so willing to give up our liberties for our security. I have a personal belief that you never have to give up liberty for security. You can still provide security without sacrificing our Bill of Rights.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: I want to bring others in, but do you want to respond, Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: Yes. Timothy McVeigh succeeded. That’s the whole point.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Timothy McVeigh killed a lot of Americans. I don’t want a law that says after we lose a major American city, we’re sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, you try to take out an American city, we’re going to stop you.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: This is like saying that we need a policeman in every house, a camera in every house because we want to prevent child- beating and wife-beating. You can prevent crimes by becoming a police state. So if you advocate the police state, yes, you can have safety and security and you might prevent a crime, but the crime then will be against the American people and against our freedoms. And we will throw out so much of what our revolution was fought for. So don’t do it so carelessly.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, let me bring you into this conversation. Are you with Congressman Paul or Speaker Gingrich or do you have your own view?

BACHMANN: Well, I’m with the American people, with the Constitution, and with the job of the commander-in-chief as the number one duty of the president of the United States.

We have to realize we’re in a very different war, with very different techniques that are used for that war, and very different bad actors than we’ve had before in the terrorists and their motivations are very different.

We can’t forget that technology is completely different. When we were looking at prior laws, phones were wired in to walls. That’s not how it works any more. Today we deal with wireless functions. And we have to completely change the way that we go about investigating.

This is one thing we know about Barack Obama. He has essentially handed over our interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. He has outsourced it to them. Our CIA has no ability to have any form of interrogation for terrorists.

When the bomber — or the attempted bomber over Detroit, the underwear bomber was intercepted, he was given Miranda warnings within 45 minutes. He was not an American citizen. We don’t give Miranda warnings to terrorists, and we don’t read them their rights. They don’t have any.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman, where do you stand on the Patriot Act? Do you believe it’s un-American, as Congressman Paul has suggested?

HUNTSMAN: I think we have to be very careful in protecting our individual liberties. We forget sometimes that we have a name brand in this world. And I have seen it shine living overseas. And when our light shines based on the values that we live up to and represent, it moves people, it moves countries, it moves events like nothing else can.

We are a nation of values. And forever, like what we’re trying to do in this debate tonight, we’ll try to find that balancing act between our individual liberties and security. But we also have to remember as we’re talking about security, I see Tom Ridge in the audience here, a great former secretary of Homeland Security. He will tell you, he will tell you that we cannot secure the homeland out of Washington, D.C., itself. We’ve got to make sure that we have partnerships with governors and mayors, that this is a national effort.

No longer can we compartmentalize intelligence. Those are the old days. Today we’ve got to share. We’ve got to make sure that we are prepared as a people, we are prepared not only as a federal government, but we’re prepared as well as a local government in a collaborative and sharing kind of relationship.

BLITZER: I’m going to give everyone a chance to respond, but let me get this one question from CNN Politics, that came to cnnpolitics.com, and then we’ll bring in the rest of you.

This was the question: “TSA pat-downs: violation of civil liberty or a necessity to ensure national security?”

Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Well, we can do a lot better than the TSA system. It’s going to get get better over time. We can use better technology. We can also identify people who are lower risk and allow them to go through the process more quickly than the current process.

But let’s come back to the issue that seems to be so confusing here.

And that is Congressman Paul talked about crime. Newt Gingrich was right. There are different categories here. There’s crime and there are rights that are afforded to American citizens under our Constitution and those that are accused of crime. Then there’s war. And the tool of war being used today in America and around the world is terror. There’s a different body of law that relates to war.

And for those that understand the difference between the two, they recognize that we need tools when war is waged domestically to ensure that, as president of the United States, you can fulfill your first responsibility, which is to protect the life, liberty and property of American citizens and defend them from foes domestic and foreign.

And that means, yes, we’ll use the Constitution and criminal law for those people who commit crimes, but those who commit war and attack the United States and pursue treason of various kinds, we will use instead a very different form of law, which is the law afforded to those who are fighting America.

that we need tools when war is waged domestically to ensure that as president of the United States you can fulfill your first responsibility which is to protect the life, liberty and property of American citizens and defend them from foes domestic and foreign. That means yes we’ll use the constitution and criminal law for those people who commit crimes but those who commit war and attack the United States and pursue treason of various kinds we will use instead a very different form of law which is the law afforded to those who are fighting America.

BLITZER: Governor Perry…

(APPLAUSE)

… you proposed legislation that would criminalize these TSA pat-downs under certain circumstances.

PERRY: Right.

BLITZER: Explain what you have in mind.

PERRY: Well, here’s what I would do with the TSA; I would privatize it as soon as I could and get rid of those unions.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s working in Denver. They have a program where they’re privatizing it. And the airlines and other private-sector groups work together to do the security in our airports. And it makes abundant good sense.

And I agree with most of my colleagues here on the stage when we talk about the Patriot Act. And we need to keep it in place. We need to have — strengthen it if that’s what’s required, to update it with new technologies as they come along, Newt.

But here’s the other issue that I think we’ve really failed at, and that is in our ability to collect intelligence around the world. And this administration in particular has been an absolute failure when it comes to expending the dollars and supporting the CIA and the military intelligence around the world, to be able to draw in that intelligence that is going to truly be able to allow us to keep the next terrorist attack from happening on American soil.

BLITZER: Senator Santorum, under certain circumstances in the past, you’ve supported profiling. Is that correct?

SANTORUM: I have.

BLITZER: What do you have in mind?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, I think TSA is a good example of that. We should be trying to find the bomber, not the bomb. Other countries have done it. Israel is probably the best example of that.

But to put this enormous expense on the federal government, to put the enormous expense on the traveling public for — for pat-downs and other intrusions, I think, is too much money. I agree with Governor Perry; I actually voted when I — when this bill came up, I voted to allow for privatization. I was not for this being a government function. I thought it could be a private function.

But the issue of the Patriot Act is — is a little different. We are at war. The last time we had a — we had a threat at home like this — obviously, it was much more of a threat at home — was during the Civil War.

And, of course, Abraham Lincoln ran right over civil rights. Why? Because we had a present domestic threat. In the previous wars that we’ve had, we haven’t had this type of threat that we have here in the homeland. And we have to deal with it differently.

I disagree with Governor Huntsman. He made some good points. And we have had the debate. It’s been an open debate. It’s really shown the values of our country, that we can engage in this open debate and balance those interests, and I think we have done so appropriately.

BLITZER: So just to be precise, is it ethnic profiling, religious profiling? Who would be profiled?

SANTORUM: Well, the folks who are most likely to be committing these crimes. If you look at — I mean, obviously, it was — obviously, Muslims would be — would be someone you’d look at, absolutely. Those are the folks who are — the radical Muslims are the people that are committing these crimes, as we’ve — by and large, as well as younger males.

I mean, these are things that — not exclusively — but these are things that you profile to — to find your best — the most likely candidate.

BLITZER: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: That’s digging a…

(APPLAUSE)

That’s digging a hole for ourselves. What if they look like Timothy McVeigh? You know, he was a pretty tough criminal.

I think we’re using too much carelessness in the use of words that we’re at war. I don’t remember voting on — on a declared — declaration of war. Oh, we’re against terrorism.

(APPLAUSE)

And terrorism is a tactic. It isn’t a person. It isn’t a people. So this is a very careless use of words. What about this? Sacrifice liberties because there are terrorists? You’re the judge and the jury? No, they’re suspects.

And they have changed the — in the — in DOD budget they have changed the wording on the definition of al-Qaeda and Taliban. It’s anybody associated with organizations, which means almost anybody can be loosely associated so that makes all Americans vulnerable.

And now we know that American citizens are vulnerable to assassination.

So I would be very cautious about protecting the rule of law. It will be a sacrifice that you’ll be sorry for. (APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Herman Cain, let’s bring you into this conversation. Are you with Senator Santorum when he says that there should be religious profiling, that Muslims in particular should get extra screening when they go — go through airports?

CAIN: I believe we can do a whole lot better with TSA. And I called it, targeted identification.

BLITZER: What does that mean?

CAIN: We can do — we can do — targeted identification. If you take a look at the people who are trying to kill us, it would be easy to figure out exactly what that identification profile looks like.

But I want — but I want to make sure that I get to the Patriot Act. So I believe we can do a whole better. The answer, I believe, also may be privatization.

Now, relative to the Patriot Act, if there are some areas of the Patriot Act that we need to refine, I’m all for that. But I do not believe we ought to throw out the baby with the bathwater for the following reason. The terrorists have one objective that some people don’t seem to get. They want to kill all of us.

So we should use every mean possible to kill them first or identify them first — first.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Now, just to be precise, Mr. Cain. I just want to — I’ll give you a chance. Is it OK for Muslim Americans to get more intensive pat downs or security when they go through airports than Christian Americans or Jewish Americans?

CAIN: No, Blitz. That’s oversimplifying it. I happen to believe that if — if you allow our intelligence agencies to do their job they can come up with an approach — I’m sorry, Blitz, I meant Wolf, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

This was — since we on a — since we on a blitz debate, I apologize. Wolf, what I’m saying is let’s ask the professionals to give us an approach of how we can increase the identification of people that might be a danger to civilians as well as a danger to this nation.

BLITZER: Thank you, Cain.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE) All right. Go ahead. We have another question. Please give us your name and the organization you represent.

QUESTION: I’m Fred Kagan, resident scholar and director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.

And my question is, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was obviously an important success in the struggle against al-Qaeda, although it also drove U.S. relations with Pakistan into a new low.

Do you think that an expanded drone campaign in Pakistan would be sufficient to defeat al-Qaeda and to secure our interests in Pakistan?

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: Let me just say that as we talk about foreign policy, let’s be reminded that in order to have an effective foreign policy we need a Washington that works.

Today we have a president who can’t lead. We have a Congress that can’t even figure out how to balance our budget. They need term limits, by the way. We’ve gotta get our house in order if we…

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. We’ve gotta get our house in order if we’re gonna expect to get anything done overseas because when our light shines we can influence the rest of the world.

Pakistan is a concern. That’s the country that ought to keep everybody up at night. You have not President Zardari in charge but General Kayani over the military, which also is responsible for ISI.

You’ve got the youngest demographic of the 160 million people in Pakistan. You’ve got a Midrasha movement. You’ve got over 100 nuclear weapons. You’ve got trouble on the border.

You’ve got a nation-state that is a candidate for failure. And I say it’s a haven for bad behavior. It’s a haven — it’s — it’s a haven for training the people who seek to do us harm. And an expanded drone program is something that would serve our national interest.

I think it must be done. And I think it must be consistent with recognizing the reality on the ground of what we need out of Afghanistan — we don’t need 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.

We don’t need to nation-build in Afghanistan when this nation so desperately needs to be built.

BLITZER: We’re gonna get to Afghanistan.

HUNTSMAN: But we need something. We need something in Afghanistan.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, we’ll be bringing you in. You’re a member… HUNTSMAN: We need Special Forces and drones.

BLITZER: All right. You’re a member of the Intelligence Committee. Do you think, as Governor Perry has said, that Pakistan should no longer receive U.S. aid because they’ve shown they’re not a good friend, ally of the United States?

BACHMANN: Pakistan has been the epicenter of dealing with terrorism. They are, as Governor Huntsman said, there are al-Qaeda training grounds there. There’s also the Haqqani network that can be trained there as well.

And they also are one of the most violent, unstable nations that there is. We have to recognize that 15 of the sites, nuclear sites are available or are potentially penetrable by jihadists. Six attempts have already been made on nuclear sites. This is more than an existential threat. We have to take this very seriously.

The United States has to be engaged. It is complicated. We have to recognize that the Chinese are doing everything that they can to be an influential party in Pakistan. We don’t want to lose influence.

I’m answering your question. You asked me about the money that the United States gives to Pakistan. This is a — this is a dual answer. A nation that lies, that does everything possibly that you could imagine wrong, at the same time they do share intelligence data with us regarding Al Qaida.

We need to demand more. The money that we are sending right now is primarily intelligence money to Pakistan. It is helping the United States. Whatever our action is, it must ultimately be about helping the United States and our sovereignty…

BLITZER: So…

BACHMANN: … our safety and our security.

BLITZER: … you would continue that aid to Pakistan?

BACHMANN: I — at this point I would continue that aid, but I do think that the Obama policy of keeping your fingers crossed is not working in Pakistan,. And I also think that Pakistan is a nation, that it’s kind of like too nuclear to fail. And so we’ve got to make sure that we take that threat very seriously.

BLITZER: Governor Perry?

PERRY: I understand where she’s coming from, but the bottom line is that they’ve showed us time after time that they can’t be trusted. And until Pakistan clearly shows that they have America’s best interests in mind, I would not send them one penny, period.

I think it is important for us to send the message to those across the world that, if you are not going to be an ally of the United States, do not expect a dime of our citizens’ money to be coming into your country. That is the way we change foreign policy. Now, if we want to engage these countries with our abilities and our companies that go in, and help to economically build these countries up, rather than just writing a blank check to them, then we can have that conversation, because I think that is a change in foreign policy that would be adequate and appropriate and a positive move for us.

But to write a check to countries that are clearly not representing American interests is nonsensical.

BLITZER: You want to respond, Congresswoman Bachmann?

BACHMANN: Well, I — with all due respect to the governor, I think that’s highly naive, because, again, we have to recognize what’s happening on the ground. These are nuclear weapons all across this nation. And, potentially, Al Qaida could get hold of these weapons.

These weapons could find their way out of — out of Pakistan, into New York City or into Washington, D.C., and a nuclear weapon could be set off in this city. That’s how serious this is. We have to maintain an American presence.

They certainly aren’t looking out for the best interests of the United States. I wouldn’t expect them to. But at the same time, we have to have our interests, which is national security, represented. The best way we can do that with an uneven actor state is to have some sort of presence there.

BLITZER: I just want to give Governor Perry the chance to respond.

She just said your views are highly naive.

PERRY: And I — absolutely we need to be engaged in that part of the world. I never said for us not to be engaged. I just said we need to quit writing blank checks to these countries, and then letting them decide how these dollars are going to be spent.

We’ve got Afghanistan and India working in concert right now to leverage Pakistan. I think if we would create a trade zone in that part of the world, where you have all of those countries working together, that may be the answer to getting Pakistan to understand that they have to work with all of the countries in that region.

BLITZER: All right, I want to move on.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: I want to move on, but you’ll have a chance — you’ll have a chance to respond…

BACHMANN: If I can just — Wolf, if I could just…

BLITZER: Very quickly.

BACHMANN: … clarify, we’re not writing just blank checks. We’re also exchanging intelligence information. So we aren’t writing blank checks in that region.

BLITZER: All right. Let’s take another question from the audience.

Please give us your name and your organization.

QUESTION: Israel Ortega (ph) with the Heritage Foundation.

Is the money that we’ve drawn back from U.S. troops in Afghanistan really worth the risk of allowing Taliban to expand territories, and Al Qaida to grow safe sanctuaries?

BLITZER: Governor Romney, $2 billion a week the United States is spending right now in Afghanistan, $2 billion, more than $100 billion a year. And U.S. troops are supposed to stay for another three years at least, till the end of 2014. Is that money well spent?

ROMNEY: We spent about $450 billion so far, 1,700 or so service men and women have lost their lives there, and many tens of thousands have been wounded. Our effort there is to keep Afghanistan from becoming a launching point for terror against the United States. We can’t just write off a major part of the world.

Pakistan is the sixth largest country in the world. We can’t just say goodbye to all of — of what’s going on in that part of the world.

Instead, we want to draw them toward modernity. And for that to happen, we don’t want to literally pull up stakes and run out of town after the extraordinary investment that we’ve made. And that means we should have a gradual transition of handing off to the Afghan security forces the responsibility for their own country.

And for the region, what happened in Indonesia back in the 1960s, where — where we helped Indonesia move toward modernity with new leadership. We — we brought them in the technology that allowed them to trade in the world.

We need to bring Pakistan into the 21st century — or the 20th century, for that matter, so that they — they can engage throughout the world with trade and with modernity.

Right now, American approval level in — in Pakistan is 12 percent. We’re not doing a very good job with this huge investment we make of $4.5 billion a year. We can do a lot better directing that to encourage people to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities the West and freedom represent for their people.

BLITZER: Now, Governor Huntsman, do you agree with Governor Romney that the U.S. has to stay in Afghanistan at these levels?

HUNTSMAN: No, I — I totally disagree. I think we need to square with the American people about what we’ve achieved. We need an honest conversation in this country about the sacrifices that have been made over nearly 10 years. We have — we have dismantled the Taliban. We’ve run them out of Kabul. We’ve had free elections in 2004. We’ve killed Osama bin Laden. We’ve upended, dismantled al Qaeda. We have achieved some very important goals for the United States of America.

Now, the fact that we have 100,000 troops nation-building in Afghanistan when this nation so desperately needs to be built, when, on the ground, we do need intelligence gathering, no doubt about that. We need a strong Special Forces presence. We need a drone presence. And we need some ongoing training of the Afghan National Army.

But we haven’t done a very good job defining and articulating what the end point is in Afghanistan. And I think the American people are getting very tired about where we find ourselves today.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Let me let Governor Romney respond.

ROMNEY: Well, let me respond.

Are you suggesting, Governor, that we just take all our troops out next week or what — what’s your proposal?

HUNTSMAN: Did you hear what I just said?

I said we should draw down from 100,000. We don’t need 100,000 troops. We don’t need 100,000 troops in Afghanistan…

(CROSSTALK)

HUNTSMAN: — many of whom can’t even cross the wire. We need a presence on the ground that is more akin to 10,000 or 15,000. That will serve our interests in terms of intelligence gathering and Special Forces response capability. And we need to prepare for a world, not just in South Asia, but, indeed, in every corner of the world in which counter-terror — counter-terrorism is going to be in front of us for as far as the eye can see into the 21st century.

ROMNEY: And the — and the commanders on the ground feel that we should bring down our surge troops by December of 2012 and bring down all of our troops, other than, perhaps, 10,000 or so, by the end of — of 2014.

The decision to pull our troops out before that, they believe, would put at risk the extraordinary investment of treasure and blood which has been sacrificed by the American military.

I stand with the commanders in this regard and have no information that suggests that pulling our troops out faster than that would do anything but put at — at great peril the extraordinary sacrifice that’s been made. This is not time for America to cut and run. We have been in for 10 years. We are winding down. The Afghan troops are picking up the capacity to secure their country. And the mission is pretty straightforward, and that is to allow the Afghan people to have a sovereign nation not taken over by the Taliban. BLITZER: Let me bring the speaker in. What do you say…

GINGRICH: I would…

BLITZER: — pull out?

HUNTSMAN: Just — just one point.

BLITZER: You want — oh, go ahead.

HUNTSMAN: Yes, just about the generals on the ground. And listen, I think it’s important for the American people to know we have achieved some very important objectives in raising standards in Afghanistan and helping to build civil society.

But at the end of the day, the president of the United States is commander-in-chief, commander-in-chief. Of course you’re going to listen to the generals. But…

(APPLAUSE)

HUNTSMAN: — I also remember when people listened to the generals in 1967 and we heard a certain course of action in South Asia that didn’t serve our interests very well.

The president is the commander-in-chief and ought to be informed by a lot of different voices, including of those of his generals Jr. ) on the ground.

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich?

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: It’s…

ROMNEY: Look, I’ve got a good — he gets a response, I get a response.

BLITZER: All right.

ROMNEY: Of course the commander-in-chief makes — make the final decision.

PAUL: How about the rest of us?

ROMNEY: Of course the final — look…

PAUL: How about us who haven’t had a response?

BLITZER: (INAUDIBLE) got a chance.

ROMNEY: Of course the commander-in-chiefs makes the — makes the final decision. But the commander-in-chief makes that decision based upon the input of people closest to the ground. And — and we — we’ve both been to Afghanistan. I’ve been to Afghanistan. The people I speak with there say we have a very good prospect of the people in Afghanistan being able to secure the peace and their sovereignty from the Taliban, but that if we pull out on a precipitous basis, as Governor Huntsman suggests, that we could well see that nation and Pakistan get pulled into terror and become another launching point to go after America. That’s a mistake. That’s why you listen and then make your decision.

BLITZER: Speaker?

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Well, Wolf, I’m a little confused about exactly what we’re currently debating, because I think — I think we tend to get down to these narrow questions that — that, in a sense, don’t get at the — at the core issues.

The very first question I thought about Pakistan is the one that should be the starting point.

The gentleman said that when we went in and killed bin Laden, that we drove U.S.-Pakistan — did I have — is this like a 30-second response?

BLITZER: Go ahead.

GINGRICH: I mean, I’m happy to play by the rules, I just want to know what they are. But I think this is the heart of the American dilemma. We were told, a perfectly natural Washington assumption that our killing bin Laden in Pakistan drove U.S.-Pakistan relations to a new low.

To which my answer is, well, it should have because we should be furious.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Now, and that’s where this has got to start. You want to keep American troops in Afghanistan, you accept hot pursuit, you say no sanctuaries, you change the rules of engagement, you put the military in charge of the military side, you overhaul the State Department and AID so they get the job done, and you do it for real and you do it intensely, and you tell the Pakistanis, help us or get out of the way, but don’t complain if we kill people you’re not willing to go after on your territory where you have been protecting them.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: I agree with Ron Paul. We are not fighting a war on terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic. We’re fighting a war against radical Islam. And what radical Islam is telling — all of the radical Islamist leaders are saying is that just wait America out, America is weak, they will not stand for the fight, they cannot maintain this, they’ll set time limits, politics will interfere, and we will tell the people in Afghanistan, we will tell the people in Iraq and other places that we will be the strong horse in the region.

And President Obama, by making political decision after political decision about timelines and constraints on rules of engagement, has validated everything these radical Islamists are saying.

So the answer to you, Jon, is that you’re doing exactly — Governor Huntsman, is that you’re doing exactly what all of the radical leaders are saying that America will do, that we are not in this to win, we are going to play politics with this, and then we will find this problem in Afghanistan on our shores in a very short order.

BLITZER: We are going to come to Congressman Cain (sic) in a moment. But just hold your horses for a second because we’re going to take a quick break. Much more coming up. The former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff calls this the number one threat to America’s national security. The candidates will answer that question on this topic, coming up next.

We want you to send us your questions for the candidates. Go to cnnpolitics.com or facebook.com/cnnpolitics or on twitter use #cnndebate. Our coverage of this historic debate at Constitution Hall in Washington continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to historic Constitution Hall here in the nation’s capital.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re continuing the CNN national security debate. Let’s go right to the audience. We have a question from the audience.

(APPLAUSE)

Go ahead with your question.

Hello?

No question from the audience.

Yes, we do. We do have a question from the audience.

(LAUGHTER)

We were waiting for you.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: I’m Mike Gonzalez (ph) of the Heritage Foundation.

BLITZER: Thank you.

QUESTION: If Israel attacked Iran to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons, would you help Israel launch the attack or support it otherwise? BLITZER: All right. We’ve got the question. Let me ask Herman Cain first. Did you get the question?

CAIN: I didn’t quite get the question.

BLITZER: If — the specific question is, if Israel attacked Iran to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons, would you help Israel launch the attack or support it otherwise?

CAIN: I would first make sure that they had a credible plan for success, clarity of mission and clarity of success.

Remember, when you talk about attacking Iran, it is a very mountainous region. The latest reports say that there may be 40 different locations, and I would want to make sure that we had a good idea from intelligence sources where these are located.

And if Israel had a credible plan that it appeared as if they could succeed, I would support Israel, yes. And in some instances, depending upon how strong the plan is, we would join with Israel for that, if it was clear what the mission was and it was clear what the definition of victory was.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, would you support Israel and help Israel in such an attack?

PAUL: No, I wouldn’t do that.

(LAUGHTER)

But there would be good reasons because I don’t expect it to happen. Because, you know, the Mossad leader that just retired said it would be the stupidest thing to do in the world. And it’s a big argument over in Israel. They’re not about to do this.

They’ve just polled 40 major experts on foreign policy here by the National Journal. Not one of them said there should be a unilateral attack on — on the sites in — in Iran.

So that’s not going to happen. And if it did — you’re supposing that if it did, why does Israel need our help? We need to get out of their way. I mean, we interfere with them. We interfere with them…

(LAUGHTER)

… when they deal with their borders. When they want to have peace treaties, we tell them what they can do because we buy their allegiance and they sacrifice their sovereignty to us. And then they decide they want to bomb something, that’s their business, but they should, you know, suffer the consequences. When they bombed the Iraqi missile site, nuclear site, back in the ’80s, I was one of the few in Congress that said it’s none of our business and Israel should take care of themselves. Israel has 200, 300 nuclear missiles. And they can take care of themselves. Why should we commit — we don’t even have a treaty with Israel. Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel? So I think they’re quite capable of taking care of themselves.

I think we do detriment — just think of all the money we gave to Egypt over 30 or 40 years. Now, look, we were buying friendship. Now there’s a civil war, they’re less friendly to Israel.

The whole thing is going to backfire once we go bankrupt and we remove our troops, so I think we should be very cautious in our willingness to go to war and send troops without a proper declaration by the U.S. Congress.

BLITZER: Let me let Herman Cain respond.

(APPLAUSE)

CAIN: Thank you.

I stated if the mission and the plan were clear, that it could succeed, but I pointed out that that is highly unlikely, given the terrain, the mountainous terrain in Iran.

But here’s the other reason that we should help Israel in an initiative live that. Back to Afghanistan: if we pull out of Afghanistan too soon, Iran is going to help to fulfill that power vacuum in Afghanistan. And so it is in our best interests, the United States of America, to prevent them from being able to help fill that power vacuum in Afghanistan.

BLITZER: Let’s stay on this subject. And I want all of you to weigh in. We have another question.

Please give us your name and your organization.

QUESTION: Good evening. I’m Danielle Pletka (ph); I’m the Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Yesterday the United States and the U.K. slapped new sanctions on Iran. But we haven’t bought oil directly from Iran in over 30 years. We’ve had targeted sanctions on Iran for more than half that time.

Nonetheless, Iran is probably less than a year away from getting a nuclear weapon. Do you believe that there is any set of sanctions that could be put in place that would stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

BLITZER: Let’s go to Governor Perry. What do you think?

PERRY: Absolutely. We need to sanction the Iranian Central Bank. That would be one of the most powerful ways to impact that. As a matter of fact, Congressman Paul, that is what we need to do before we ever start having any conversations about a military strike, is to use every sanction that we have. And when you sanction the Iranian Central Bank, that will shut down that economy. At that particular point in time, they truly have to deal with the United States. And it’s one of the reasons that I call for the — there is an area over there, of all of them working together — and I’m talking about Syria — and bringing them into the mix as well.

As I called for, one of the options is to have a no-fly zone over Syria at the same time you’re putting those types of sanctions against Iran. And in that moment, they will understand that America is serious. This President refuses to do that, and it’s another show of lack of leadership from the President of the United States.

BLITZER: The argument, Speaker Gingrich — and I know you’ve studied this, and I want you to weigh in — on the sanctioning of the Iranian Central Bank, because if you do that, for all practical purposes, it cuts off Iranian oil exports, 4 million barrels a day.

The Europeans get a lot of that oil. They think their economy, if the price of gasoline skyrocketed, which it would, would be disastrous. That’s why the pressure is on the U.S. to not impose those sanctions. What say you?

GINGRICH: Well, I say you — the question you just asked is perfect, because the fact is we ought to have a massive all-sources energy program in the United States designed to, once again, create a surplus of energy here, so we could say to the Europeans pretty cheerfully, that all the various sources of oil we have in the United States, we could literally replace the Iranian oil.

Now that’s how we won World War II.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: So, I think you put your finger, Wolf, on the — on the — you know, we all get sucked into these tactical discussions. We need a strategy of defeating and replacing the current Iranian regime with minimum use of force. We need a strategy, as Rick Santorum was saying, of being honest about radical Islam and designing a strategy to defeat it wherever it happens to exist.

We need a strategy in central Asia that recognizes that, frankly, if you’re Pashtun, you don’t care whether you’re in Pakistan or Afghanistan, because you have the same tribal relationships. So we need to be much more strategic and less tactical in our discussion.

But if we were serious, we could break the Iranian regime, I think, within a year, starting candidly with cutting off the gasoline supply to Iran, and then, frankly, sabotaging the only refinery they have.

BLITZER: But sanctions on the Iranian Central Bank now, is that a good idea or a bad idea?

GINGRICH: I think it’s a good idea if you’re serious about stopping them having nuclear — I mean, I think replacing the regime before they get a nuclear weapon without a war beats replacing the regime with war, which beats allowing them to have a nuclear weapon. Those are your three choices.

BLITZER: I want Congresswoman Bachmann to weigh in. Go ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: I agree with all of that. And energy independence is something that President Obama certainly has avoided.

BLITZER: But that’s going to take many years.

BACHMANN: It — it will but the president — almost every decision that the president has made since he came in has been one to put the United States in a position of unilateral disarmament including the most recent decision he made to cancel the Keystone Pipeline.

That would have not only created jobs but it would have helped us in energy independence.

But I want to go back to something. That’s the fact why is it that we’re talking about Israel having to make a strike against Iran? It’s because Iran has announced they plan to strike Israel.

They’ve stated, as recently as August just before President Ahmadinejad came to — to the U.N. General Assembly. He said that he wanted to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth.

He has said that if he has a nuclear weapon he will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He will use it against the United States of America.

This isn’t just an idle threat. This is a reality. And that’s why President Obama has — has failed the American people because for two and a half years he gave the Iran the luxury of time.

He met with them with no preconditions. It’s the doctrine of appeasement. He has changed the course of history because at the time when we needed a leader most, we didn’t have one.

That’s what I’ll do differently as President of the United States. I’ll lead.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Thank you. All right. I — I — I want to — I want to — we’re gonna continue this but we have another question from Paul Wolfowitz. Go ahead.

QUESTION: My name is Paul Wolfowitz. I’m a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and my question is about development assistance.

Under George W. Bush, who was a conservative Republican, the United States spent billions of dollars to fight AIDS and malaria in Africa and elsewhere and set up the Millennium Challenge Corporation to encourage governments of poor countries to pursue policies that promote economic growth and job creation.

Do you believe those are still wise expenditures? Or do you think we can no longer afford them?

BLITZER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Well, as the author of the Global Fund Bill and the Millennium Challenge in the United States Senate and someone who worked with the president on PEPFAR to deal with the issue of AIDS in Africa, I believe it’s absolutely essential.

Africa was a country on the brink. On the brink of complete meltdown and chaos, which would have been fertile ground for the radical Islamists to be able to — to get — to get a foothold.

We’re seeing it already. But the work that we’ve done in stabilizing that area, while humanitarian in nature, was absolutely essential for our national security.

And I hear people up here talking abut zeroing out foreign aid and humanitarian aid in particular. I think that’s absolutely the wrong course.

You want to — you want to spend more money on the military, zero out all the things we do to develop relationships around the world and we will spend a lot more money on the military.

It’s important for us to use all the assets we have. Promote our values. America is that shining city on the hill. It is — it is the city that comes to the aid of those in trouble in America — in the world.

We have done more good for America in Africa and in the third world by the things that we’ve done. And we have saved money and saved military deployments by wisely spending that money not on our enemies but on folks who can and will be our friends.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Herman Cain?

CAIN: Here again…

BLITZER: All right, here’s the question. Can the United States afford to continue that kind of foreign assistance to Africa for AIDS, malaria — could run into the billions of dollars? CAIN: It depends upon priorities. Secondly, it depends upon looking at the program and asking the question, has that aid been successful.

In other words, let’s look at the whole problem. It may be worthwhile to continue. It may not. I would like to see the results.

Just like every program we have here domestically, what have the results been. Then we make a decision about how we prioritize. BLITZER: Ron Paul?

PAUL: I — I think the aid is all worthless. It doesn’t do any good for most of the people. You take money from poor people in this country and you end up giving it to rich people in poor countries.

And they’re used as weapons of war so you accomplish nothing. We should export some, maybe some principles about free markets and sound money and maybe they could produce some of their — their own wealth.

But this whole idea of — of talking about the endless wars and the endless foreign aid, it seems like nobody cares about the budget. I mean, we — we’re in big trouble and — and — and nobody wants to cut anything.

So if you’re gonna keep sending foreign aid overseas and these endless wars that you don’t have to declare and — and go into Libya without even consulting with the Congress, the biggest threat — the biggest threat to our national security is our financial condition.

And this is just aggravating it.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Congressman Paul, what they’re doing is cutting a trillion dollars out of the defense budget. They’re cutting a trillion dollars out of the defense budget, which just happens to equal the trillion dollars we’re putting into “Obama-care.”

And so what you have is a president that has a priority of spending us into bankruptcy, but he’s not just spending us into bankruptcy, he’s spending the money foolishly.

We need to protect America and protect our troops and our military and stop the idea of “Obama-care.” That’s the best way to save money, not the military.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Hold on one second because Ron Paul wants to respond to that point.

PAUL: Well, they’re not cutting anything out of anything. All this talk is just talk.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Believe me. They’re cutting — they’re nibbling away at baseline budgeting, and its automatic increases. There’s nothing cut against the military. And the people on the Hill are nearly hysterical because they’re not going — the budget isn’t going up as rapidly as they want it to. It’s a road to disaster. We had better wake up.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: OK. Let’s just talk about what they’re cutting with the first $350 billion, not the next 600 which is coming down the road. The first $350 billion, what do they cut? They stopped the F-22. They delayed aircraft carriers. They stopped the Navy cruiser system. They said long range Air Force bombers aren’t going to be built. They’re trying to cut our troops by 50,000. The list goes on.

They’re cutting programs that are cutting the capacity of America to defend itself. Look, let’s stand back for a moment, because we’ve been talking about Israel and Iran. What we’re talking about here is a failure on the part of the president to lead with strength.

And that’s why we have discussions about whether Israel should have to step in to stop the nuclear program, whether Iran is going to become nuclear. We have a president who pursued an agenda of saying we’re going to be friendly to our foes and we’re going to be disrespectful to our friends.

The right course in America is to stand up to Iran with crippling sanctions, indict Ahmadinejad for violating the Geneva — or the Genocide Convention, put in place the kind of crippling sanctions that stop their economy. I know it’s going to make gasoline more expensive. There’s no price which is worth an Iranian nuclear weapon.

And the right course for Israel is to show that we care about Israel, that they are our friend, we’ll stick with them. If I’m president of the United States, my first trip — my first foreign trip will be to Israel to show the world we care about that country and that region.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: All right. We’re going to stay on this subject.

Go ahead.

ALISON ACOSTA FRASER, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OKLAHOMA OFFICE OF STATE FINANCE: Hi, my name is Alison Acosta Fraser, and I’m the director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. And my question is this, the next president will have to make some very, very tough choices in order to solve the nation’s spending and debt crisis. Would you be willing to say that our national security is so paramount that cuts to the defense budget are unacceptable?

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich.

GINGRICH: No. I helped found the Military Reform Caucus in 1981 at the beginning of the Reagan buildup because it’s clear that there are some things you can do in defense that are less expensive.

It’s clear, if it takes 15 to 20 years to build a weapons system at a time when Apple changes technology every nine months, there’s something profoundly wrong with this system. So I’m not going to tell you automatically I’m going to say yes. (APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: But let me make a deeper point. There’s a core thing that’s wrong with this whole city. You said earlier that it would take too long to open up American oil. We defeated Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan in three years and eight months because we thought we were serious.

If we were serious, we would open up enough oil fields in the next year that the price of oil worldwide would collapse. Now, that’s what we would do if we were a serious country. If we were serious…

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: One last thing, if we were serious, we would apply Strong America Now’s model of Lean Six Sigma, we would save $500 billion a year by having an efficient effective federal government. We would open up federal lands, increasing dramatically both jobs and the amount of revenue of the federal government.

There are lots of things you can do if you decide break out of the current mindless bureaucracy of this city and just get the job done, including, by the way, making the Millennium Challenge work and doing it in a way that we actually help people even more effectively and at a much lower cost by having public/private partnerships.

BLITZER: I’m going to bring Governor Huntsman in, but very quickly, Mr. Speaker, would you, if you were president of the United States, bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power?

GINGRICH: Only as a last recourse and only as a step towards replacing the regime. No bombing campaign which leaves the regime in charge is going to accomplish very much in the long run. You have to seriously talk about regime replacement, not just attacking them.

But I will also say — this is, I guess, where I disagree with my good friend Ron Paul. If my choice was to collaborate with the Israelis on a conventional campaign or force them to use their nuclear weapons, it will be an extraordinarily dangerous world if out of a sense of being abandoned they went nuclear and used multiple nuclear weapons in Iran. That would be a future none of us would want to live through.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman, where do you stand on defense cuts?

HUNTSMAN: Well, let’s face the economic reality. Let’s face the deficit reality we have as a country. We have an economic deficit. And I’d argue that 70 percent debt-to-GDP is a national security problem because, at some point, you just don’t grow any more, when your debt becomes that.

I mean, look at Japan. They’re in their third decade of lost growth. Look at Greece. Look at Italy. So I’d say, aside from that, we’ve got another deficit in this country. It’s called the trust deficit.

People have lost trust in their institutions of power in America. They don’t trust Congress. They don’t trust the executive branch. They don’t trust Wall Street. The list goes on. We’ve got to fix both those deficits.

As it relates to defense spending, let’s be realistic about this. We can’t have an intellectually honest conversation about where we go with debt and spending with sacred cows. Everything’s got to be on the table. The Defense Department’s got to be on the table, for haven’t sake. But we need to have a Defense Department and a budget for the Defense Department. If we can’t find some savings in the $650 billion budget, we’re not looking closely enough.

But we need spending for the Department of Defense that follows a strategy. And that strategy needs to follow how we best protect the American people now that we’re in the second decade of the 21st century.

And I believe our national security strategy and our foreign policy increasingly needs to follow, number one, economic policy.

It used to break my heart sitting in Beijing, the second largest embassy in the world, looking at neighboring Afghanistan. We’d have 100,000 troops there. The Chinese would move in and take the mining concession. And I’d say there’s something fundamentally wrong with this picture.

When are we going to get with the program and determine that foreign policy will be driven by economics, that which plays right back to strengthening our core (ph)…

(APPLAUSE)

… and creates jobs here on the home front.

And, second of all, let’s face the reality that we have a counterterror threat for as far as the eye can see.

Professor Wolfowitz was just up here. I know he’s done a lot of work on — for as far as the eye can see, and that means not only in Afghanistan but every corner of the world. We’ve got to prepare for the reality that counterterrorism is here to stay. We need friends and allies who are in this fight with us. We need special forces response capability. We need defense spending that will match the realities of where we find ourselves.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me bring in Governor Perry into this conversation.

As you know, the so-called supercommittee failed. And as a result, unless Congress takes action next year — in an election year, that would be difficult — there’s not going to be any change in that automatic trigger as it’s called. That sequestration, $1.2 trillion cut, including $600 billion in defense, will go into effect.

Here’s the question. If you were president of the United States, would you compromise with Democrats in Congress in order to avoid that Washington gridlock that, if you believe the polls, the American people hate?

PERRY: I don’t think anybody is particularly surprised that a supercommittee failed. It was a super-failure. And I think we expected that. We had a president of the United States who is not a leader. He pitched this over to them and said, here, you all figure this out.

I’ve signed six balanced budgets as the head of the state of Texas. I worked with those legislators on a daily basis, or my staff.

This president has been an absolute failure when it came to this budget process. And the idea — it was almost reprehensible to me. I’ve worn the uniform of this country. I’ve been the commander in chief of the 20-plus-thousand National Guard troops that we have in Texas, Dr. Paul.

But it was reprehensible, for me, for this president to stand in front of Americans and to say that that half a trillion dollars, $500 million-plus is not going to be on the table and we’re just going to have to work our way through it, putting young men and women’s life in jeopardy.

And I will tell you, as a commander in chief, as an American citizen, that is totally and absolutely irresponsible. Even his own secretary of defense said it was irresponsible. As a matter of fact, if Leon Panetta is an honorable man, he should resign in protest.

BLITZER: Here’s the question, though. Would you compromise — all of you have said you wouldn’t accept any tax increases at all, even if there were 10 — 10 times as many spending cuts. So would you just let the gridlock continue, Governor Perry, or would you compromise under those circumstances?

PERRY: Listen, I’ve had to work with Democrats for the 10 years that I’ve been the governor of the state of Texas.

So the idea that you can’t sit down and work with people on both sides of the aisle, but just to, you know, throw us into — into that briar patch at this particular point in time and say, what would you do — we would never have gotten into that situation if I were the president of the United States. I’d have been there working day in and day out so that we had a budget that not only — I’ve laid out a clear plan to — flat tax of 20 percent; cut the spending; and put a 20 percent corporate tax rate in. And, as a matter of fact, they ought to make the legislature, the Congress, part-time, and that would make as big an impact in this city as anything I can think of.

BLITZER: Let me bring Senator Santorum into this, because I covered Ronald Reagan’s presidency. And, as you know — and I’ll read a quote. He wrote in his autobiography this: “If you got 75 of 80 percent of what you were asking for, I say you take it and fight for the rest later.”

If you got 75 percent or 80 percent of what you wanted, would you make a deal with Democrats, increase some taxes in order to move on and fight the next battle the next day?

SANTORUM: It all depends on what the 75 percent and 85 percent is. If the — if the things that you have to give up make what you’re trying to accomplish harder to do — in other words, reduce the deficit, what the Republicans — why the Republicans are drawing a line in the sand, rightfully so, it’s because what they’re — what the Democrats are attempting to do is increase taxes, which will slow down to the — this economy, which will increase the deficit, reduce tax revenues, ultimately, and — and increase government payments.

So you don’t work against yourself. You — you won’t — you — you take ideas from the other side that you may not find particularly valuable, like spending cuts that you may not want. There are spending cuts that I would like to, you know, I mean there’s things that it mentioned before, that I would stand — stand firm on.

But in a compromise, yes, you do give up some things that you think maybe are critical spending. But you don’t undermine the ability of this con — economy to grow because of politics. This president has poisoned the well. He’s campaigned all over this country, trying to divide group from group in order to — to — to win, you know, to — to position himself to win this election and rally his troops. And what he’s done is poisoned the well here in Congress.

I’ve worked together, I’ve got a long track record of bipartisan accomplishments where I kept to the principles. I use welfare reform as an example. Welfare reform, I stuck to my principles. We cut the welfare budget. We had — we had time limits. We block granted to the states and we put a work requirement.

Did I compromise on things?

Yes. I compromised on some — on some child care. I compromised on — on some transportation.

So I got 75 percent. But it 100 percent changed the welfare system because we…

BLITZER: Thank you.

SANTORUM: — stuck to our principles.

BLITZER: Let — but let’s stay on this subject, because I know many of you want to weigh in.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: We have another question.

ALEX BRILL: My name is Alex Brill and I’m a research fellow in the economics department at the American Enterprise Institute. Even if the super committee hadn’t failed, the savings that they would have proposed would have been a drop in the bucket relative to the $11 trillion deficit our country may face in the subsequent decade. In the decades after that, without entitlement reform, we’ll borrow even more.

To strengthen our economy, to strengthen our country, what entitlement reform proposals would you make to address our long-term structural deficit?

BLITZER: Good question.

Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: It’s a great question and it raises the — the core issue of really large scale change.

Yesterday in Manchester, I outlined a Social Security reform plan based on Chile and based on Galveston, Texas. In Chile, people who have now have the right to a personal Social Security savings account, for 30 years, the government of Chile has promised that if you don’t have as much savings as you would get from Social Security, the government would make up the difference.

In 30 years time, they’ve paid zero dollars, even after ’07 and ’08 and ’09, people slid from three times as much to one-and-a-half times as much, but they didn’t go below the Social Security amount. The result is in Chile, for example, 72 percent — they have 72 percent of the GDP in savings. It has — it has increased the economy, increased the growth of jobs, increased the amount of wealth and it dramatically solves Social Security without a payment cut and without having to hurt anybody.

So I think you can have a series of entitlement reforms that, frankly, make most of this problem go away without going through the kind of austerity and pain that this city likes.

BLITZER: Let’s talk about that, Congresswoman Bachmann.

Social Security, Medicare, health care — what would you cut first?

What would you tackle if you were president of the United States?

BACHMANN: Let me answer that in the context of the super committee, because I was involved in the middle of that fight as a member of Congress this summer. And my voice said this. I said it’s time for us to draw a line in the sand. We have sufficient revenues coming in to pay the interest on the debt.

But the real issue was, were we going to give Congress another $2.4 billion in borrowing authority?

In other words, another blank check to the president. Because, again, consider the context. A little of four years ago, we were just over $8 trillion in debt. We are now $15 trillion in debt in just over four years. Now we’re talking about — if the gentleman is correct — adding another $11 trillion in debt over 10 years, or potentially $8.5 trillion, according to the super committee.

All that they were asked to do is cut back on $1.2 trillion of that increase in debt. We aren’t even talking about the central issue, which is balancing the budget. We need to balance the budget and then chip away at the debt. This isn’t Monopoly money.

Because what we need to recognize is that when we are sending interest money over to China, with whom we are highly in hock, we’re not just sending our money. We’re sending our power.

What will happen is that our national security and our military will decrease and our money will increase China’s military. So think about that.

Our money will be used to grow China’s military at the expense of the United States military. That should give every American pause.

BLITZER: All right. I want everybody to stand by and all of you are going to weigh in. We’ve got a lot more to discuss, important issues that we’re talking about. Collect your thoughts for a moment.

More tough questions for the candidates including their plans for protecting the border, reducing illegal immigration — we’re live from Constitution Hall here in Washington, D.C. This is the CNN Republican National Security Debate.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to the CNN National Security Debate.

The next President of the United States will certainly have to tackle conflicts in the Middle East. You’re looking at these live pictures coming in from Cairo’s Tahrir Square right now, the middle of the night in Egypt.

Thousands of Egyptians are again protesting their government as the Arab Spring continues into the winter months.

The candidates will weigh in on this and much, much more. We’re being seen live, around the world right now. Remember, you can send in your questions and comments at cnnpolitics.com; at Twitter, remember hash tag #cnndebate.

The Republican National Security Debate — we’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to the historic Constitution Hall here in Washington, D.C. We’re at the CNN Republican National Security Debate. Let’s go right to the audience. We have a question. Please, give us your name and your organization. TRULUCK: Thank you. My name is Phil Truluck. I’m executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Heritage Foundation. And I’d like to thank all the candidates for joining us tonight. I know some of you may want to be in other places, but we appreciate you being here and sharing your views with us.

Let’s — I’d like to turn it back a little bit, a little closer to home, and talk about what’s going on on the borders, our southern border. As all of you know, the drug-related crimes and violence are getting heavier and heavier in that area.

First, do you consider that to be a national interest threat? And, secondly, what could we be doing with the Mexican government to help stop these drug cartels?

BLITZER: Let’s go to Governor Perry. You represent the state with the longest border with Mexico right now. What do you think you should do, if you were President of the United States, as far as using the United States military?

PERRY: Well, let me kind of broaden it out. I think it’s time for a 21st century Monroe Doctrine. When you think about what we put in place in the — in the 1820s, and then we used it again in the 1960s with the Soviet Union. We’re seeing countries start to come in and infiltrate. We know that Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico, as well as Iran, with their ploy to come into the United States.

We know that Hugo Chavez and the Iranian government has one of the largest — I think their largest embassy in the world is in Venezuela. So the idea that we need to have border security with the United States and Mexico is paramount to the entire western hemisphere.

So putting that secure border in place with strategic fencing, with the boots on the ground, with the aviation assets, and then working with Mexico in particular, whether it’s putting sanctions against the banks, whether it’s working with them on security with Mexico, all of those together can make that country substantially more secure and our borders secure.

As the President of the United States, I will promise you one thing, that within 12 months of the inaugural, that border will be shut down, and it will be secure.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, you’re from Texas. Do you agree with your governor?

PAUL: Not entirely.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: No, the drug was mentioned. I think that’s another war we ought to cancel, because it’s… (APPLAUSE)

PAUL: … to nobody’s benefit. And that’s where the violence is coming from. But, yes, we do have a national responsibility for our borders. What I’m, sort of, tired of is all the money spent and lives lost worrying about the borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan and forgetting about our borders between the United States and Mexico. We should think more about, you know, what we do at home.

We need better immigration services, obviously. But, you know, if you subsidize something or give people incentives, you get more of it. So if you give easy road to citizenship, you’re going to have more illegals. If you have a weak economy, which is understandable and we should have prevented, that’s understandable.

But giving — mandating to the states and to Texas that we have to provide free medical care and free education, that’s a great burden. It’s a great burden to California and all the border states.

So I would say eliminate all these benefits and talk about eliminating the welfare state because it’s detrimental not only to here but the people that come because that’s the incentive to bring their families with them.

BLITZER: But I just want you to clarify. When you say cancel the war on drugs, does that mean legalize all these drugs? PAUL: I think the federal war on drugs is a total failure.

(APPLAUSE)

You can — you can at least let sick people have marijuana because it’s helpful, but compassionate conservatives say, well, we can’t do this; we’re going to put people who are sick and dying with cancer and they’re being helped with marijuana, if they have multiple sclerosis — the federal government’s going in there and overriding state laws and putting people like that in prison.

Why don’t we handle the drugs like we handle alcohol? Alcohol is a deadly drug. What about — the real deadly drugs are the prescription drugs. They kill a lot more people than the illegal drugs.

So the drug war is out of control. I fear the drug war because it undermines our civil liberties. It magnifies our problems on the borders. We spend — like, over the last 40 years, $1 trillion on this war. And believe me, the kids can still get the drugs. It just hasn’t worked.

BLITZER: Herman Cain, let me let you…

(APPLAUSE)

… weigh in.

CAIN: Yes. Allow me to answer the gentleman’s question. The answer is yes. An insecure border is a national security threat for the following reasons.

Number one, we know that terrorists have come into this country by way of Mexico. Secondly, 40 percent of the people in Mexico, according to a survey, already believe that their country is a failed state. Thirdly, the number of people killed in Mexico last year equals the number of people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

So yes, so let’s solve the whole problem. Number one, secure the border for real. Number two, enforce the laws that are already there. We don’t need new laws. Number three, promote the current path to citizenship. Clean up the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. so people can come through the front door instead of sneaking in the side door. And, number four, to deal with the illegals that are already here, empower the states to do what the federal government is not capable of doing.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Let’s stay on this subject. Go ahead, please.

QUESTION: I have a question about high-skilled immigration. We hear a lot about low-skilled immigration, so I want to ask you about high-skilled immigration.

What would you do to ensure that the United States is as welcoming as possible to the world’s skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs?

BLITZER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Well, as the son of a legal immigrant to this country, I strongly believe in legal immigration and believe we are that shining city on the hill, that our future — if you look at all of the jobs that are being created in our economy today, a huge percentage of them come from the legal immigrants of this county — country who have innovated, who created great products, who created great companies and employed lots of people.

That’s one of the reasons that — that I put together my economic plan, was to take all that great innovation that’s coming as a result, in part, of legal immigration and make sure that those products that are being created are actually made here in America.

That’s part of the problem that — you know, Reaganomics was criticized as trickle-down. Problem is, we’re not seeing that money trickle down to the blue-collar workers in America. And that’s why I put forth a four-point economic plan to revitalize manufacturing that begins with zeroing out the corporate tax for manufacturers; also, regulatory reform, repatriation of profits, if invested in this country, to pay no taxes; and finally, energy policy that will explode the energy industry in this country.

We do those things, we’ll not only have the innovation, which I support, coming from legal — legal immigrants, but we’ll have that money trickle down to blue-collar workers and we can see that income mobility that a lot of people are right in that is not happening in America.

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, let me let you broaden out this conversation. Back in the ’80s — and you remember this well. I was covering you then. Ronald Reagan and you — you voted for legislation that had a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as you well remember. There were, what, maybe 12 million, 10 million — 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States right now.

Some called it amnesty then; they still call it amnesty now. What would you do if you were President of the United States, with these millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom have been in this country for a long time?

GINGRICH: Let me start and just say I think that we ought to have an H-1 visa that goes with every graduate degree in math, science and engineering so that people stay here.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: You know, about five blocks down the street, you’ll see a statue of Einstein. Einstein came here as an immigrant. So let’s be clear how much the United States has drawn upon the world to be richer, better and more inclusive.

I did vote for the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. Ronald Reagan, in his diary, says he signed it — and we were supposed to have 300,000 people get amnesty. There were 3 million. But he signed it because we were going to get two things in return. We were going to get control of the border and we were going to get a guest worker program with employer enforcement.

We got neither. So I think you’ve got to deal with this as a comprehensive approach that starts with controlling the border, as the governor said. I believe ultimately you have to find some system — once you’ve put every piece in place, which includes the guest worker program, you need something like a World War II Selective Service Board that, frankly, reviews the people who are here.

If you’re here — if you’ve come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home. period. If you’ve been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out.

The Creeble Foundation is a very good red card program that says you get to be legal, but you don’t get a pass to citizenship. And so there’s a way to ultimately end up with a country where there’s no more illegality, but you haven’t automatically given amnesty to anyone.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, you agree with the speaker?

BACHMANN: Well, I don’t agree that you would make 11 million workers legal, because that, in effect, is amnesty. And I also don’t agree that you would give the DREAM Act on a federal level. And those are two things that I believe that the speaker had been for, and he can speak for himself.

But those are two areas that I don’t agree with. What I do think, though, is what Steve — what Steve Jobs said to President Obama. He had said to President Obama that he had to move a great deal of his operation over to China because he couldn’t find 30,000 engineers to be able to do the work that needed to be done.

That’s what we want to do. We do want to have people. And I agree with the speaker, people like chemists and engineers, and people who are highly skilled.

We think about the United States and what’s in the best interests of the United States. If we can utilize these workers, like Steve jobs wanted to, then we need to offer those visas. That will help the United States. But I don’t agree that we should make 11 million workers who are here illegally legal.

BLITZER: Let me let the speaker respond to that.

GINGRICH: Well, I mean, two things, first of all, in the DREAM Act, the one part that I like is the one which allows people who came here with their parents to join the U.S. military, which they could have done if they were back home, and if they serve on it with the U.S. military to acquire citizenship, which is something any foreigner can do.

And I don’t see any reason to punish somebody who came here at three years of age, but who wants to serve the United States of America. I specifically did not say we’d make the 11 million people legal.

I do suggest if you go back to your district, and you find people who have been here 25 years and have two generations of family and have been paying taxes and are in a local church, as somebody who believes strongly in family, you’ll have a hard time explaining why that particular subset is being broken up and forced to leave, given the fact that they’ve been law-abiding citizens for 25 years.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, you want to respond?

(APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: If I understood correctly, I think the speaker just said that that would make 11 people — 11 million people who are here illegally now legal. That’s really the issue that we’re dealing with. And also, it would be the DREAM Act, the federal DREAM Act, which would offer taxpayer-subsidized benefits to illegal aliens. We need to move away from magnets (ph), not offer more.

BLITZER: Let’s broaden it out.

Governor Romney, where do you stand? Are you with the speaker, that some of those illegal immigrants — I think — he didn’t say all — some of them, if they have roots, they belong to a church, for example, should be allowed to stay in this country? ROMNEY: Look, amnesty is a magnet. What when we have had in the past, programs that have said that if people who come here illegally are going to get to stay illegally for the rest of their life, that’s going to only encourage more people to come here illegally.

The right course for our immigration system is to say we welcome people who want to come here legally. We’re going to have a system that makes that easier and more transparent. But to make sure we’re able to bring in the best and brightest — and, by the way, I agree with the speaker in terms of — I’d staple a green card to the diploma of anybody who’s got a degree of math, science, a Masters degree, Ph.D.

We want those brains in our country. But in order to bring people in legally we’ve got to stop illegal immigration. That means turning off the magnets of amnesty, in-state tuition for illegal aliens, employers that knowingly hire people that have come here illegally.

We welcome legal immigration. This is a party, this is a party that loves legal immigration. But we have to stop illegal immigration for all the reasons the questioner raised, which is, it is bringing in people who in some cases can be terrorists, in other cases they become burdens on our society.

And we have to finally have immigration laws that protect our border, secure the border, turn off the magnets, and make sure we have people come to this country legally to build our economy.

BLITZER: Just to precise, and I’ll give Speaker Gingrich a chance to respond. Are you saying that what he’s proposing, giving amnesty in effect, or allowing some of these illegal immigrants to stay, is a magnet that would entice others to come to this country illegally?

ROMNEY: There’s no question. But to say that we’re going to say to the people who have come here illegally that now you’re all going to get to stay or some large number are going to get to stay and become permanent residents of the United States, that will only encourage more people to do the same thing.

People respond to incentives. And if you can become a permanent resident of the United States by coming here illegally, you’ll do so. What I want to do is bring people into this country legally, particularly those that have education and skill that allows us to compete globally. (APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: I do not believe that the people of the United States are going to take people who have been here a quarter century, who have children and grandchildren, who are members of the community, who may have done something 25 years ago, separate them from their families, and expel them.

I do believe if you’ve been here recently and have no ties to the U.S., we should deport you. I do believe we should control the border. I do believe we should have very severe penalties for employers, but I would urge all of you to look at the Krieble Foundation Plan.

I don’t see how the — the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century. And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.

BLITZER: Governor Perry, are you with the speaker or with the governor, Governor Romney?

(APPLAUSE)

PERRY: Here we go again, Mitt. You and I standing by each other again and you used the words about the magnets. And that’s one of the things that we obviously have to do is to stop those magnets for individuals to come in here.

But the real issue is securing that border. And this conversation is not ever going to end until we get the border secure. But I do think that there is a way. That after we secure that border that you can have a process in place for individual who are law- abiding citizens who have done only one thing, as Newt says, 25 years ago or whatever that period of time was, that you can put something in place that basically continues to keep those families together.

But the idea that we’re having this long and lengthy conversation here, until we have a secure border is just an intellectual exercise. You’ve got to secure the border first. And I know how to do that. I’ve been dealing with it for 10 years.

And we have to put the boots on the ground and the aviation assets in place, and secure that border once and for all, and be committed to it.

BLITZER: Let me let Governor Romney respond.

ROMNEY: Yes, I don’t disagree with what Governor Perry indicated. Certainly we have to secure the border. And we talk about people who have been here 25 years, that is the extreme exception…

BLITZER: You would let them stay.

ROMNEY: … not the rule.

BLITZER: You would let them stay?

ROMNEY: I’m not going to start drawing lines here about who gets to stay and who get to go. The principle is that we are not going to have an amnesty system that says that people who come here illegally get to stay for the rest of their life in this country legally.

The answer is we’re going to have a system that gives people who come legally a card that identifies them as coming here legally. Employers are going to be expected to inspect that card, see if they’re here legally. On that basis we’re going to be able to bring you to this country.

The number of people that we need to power our industries, whether that’s agriculture or high tech, we welcome people in here with visa programs. We have a whole series of legal programs. But the idea of focusing a Republican debate on amnesty and who we’re going to give it to, is a huge mistake.

Secure our border, protect legal immigration, and return to a system that follows the law.

BLITZER: All right. Let’s take another…

(APPLAUSE)

… quick break because we have a lot more to — I want to bring everybody into this conversation. We’re also going to broaden the conversation and go to the Middle East and see what’s going on in the so-called Arab Spring.

Don’t forget, Twitter — you can weigh in on what’s going on, #CNNdebate. Also, go to Facebook, CNNpolitics.com. Much more from historic Constitution Hall, here in the nation’s capital, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: All right. Welcome back to the CNN Republican national security debate. Let’s go right to the audience.

Please give us your name and your organization.

QUESTION: I’m David Addington. I’m a vice president with the Heritage Foundation.

(APPLAUSE)

Serious violence has erupted in Syria between the repressive al- Assad regime and some elements of the people of Syria. Syria borders a major ally of the United States, NATO ally, Turkey, and three other friendly countries, Israel, Jordan and Iraq.

In your view, what are the interests of the United States in this region and what would you do to protect them?

BLITZER: Herman Cain, you may not know this, but today Governor Perry called for a no-fly zone, for the U.S. to participate in a no- fly zone over Syria. Would you go that far? Would you support that?

CAIN: No, I would not. I would work with our allies in the region to put pressure to be able to try and get our allies and other nations to stop buying oil from Syria. That would be one thing that I would do, but I would not support a no-fly zone.

The most effective tools that we have in any of these situations are a strong military, which it is getting weaker, unfortunately, and our own economic strength.

This whole discussion tonight about cutting and compromise, we didn’t spend enough time talking about the other part of the problem — growing this economy, because this administration has failed dismally at growing this economy. We can cut until the cows come home but it still would not solve the problem until we have effective economic growth.

BLITZER: Governor Perry, why would you support a no-fly zone over Syria?

PERRY: Obviously, that’s one of a multitude of — of sanctions and actions that I think work very well from the standpoint of being able to pressure that regime, overt, covert, economic sanctions.

I mean I think there are a number of ways. But when you put the no-fly zone above Syria, it obviously gives those dissidents and gives the military the opportunity to maybe disband, that want to get out of the situation that they’re in in Syria, as well.

So I think if we’re serious about Iran — and that’s what we’re really talking about here. We’re talking about Syria is a partner with Iran in exporting terrorism all across that part of the world and — and around the globe.

So if we’re serious about Iran, then we have to be serious about Syria, as well.

So I think a no-fly zone is an option of one of a multitude of options that we should be using. And we should put them in place if we’re serious about Iran not getting the nuclear weapon.

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman, let me bring you into this conversation.

We just got a question from Twitter. I’ll read it to you.

“So many people view the Arab spring as a good thing. Given the recent violence in Egypt, do you worry this can go bad?”

And we’ve got some live pictures we’re going to show our viewers out there of Tahrir Square in Cairo right now. Thousands of people are protesting the military regime in Egypt right now.

What do you say to this person who sent this — this — this Twitter message to us?

HUNTSMAN: His — history will tell. We missed the Persian spring. The president failed on that front. We go into Libya, where, to my mind, we don’t have any definable American interests. We’ve got Syria now on the horizon, where we do have American interests. It’s called Israel. We’re a friend and ally. They’re a friend and ally. And we need to remind the world what it means to be a friend and ally of the United States.

And we have nuclearization in Iran. Centrifuges spinning. At some point, they’re going to have enough in the way of fissile material out of which to make a weapon. That’s a certainty.

We had a discussion earlier tonight about sanctions. Everybody commented on sanctions. Sanctions aren’t going to work, I hate to break it to you. They’re not going to work because the Chinese aren’t going to play ball and the Russiansaren’t going to play ball.

And I believe Iran has already — the mullahs have already decided they want to go nuclear.

Why?

They have looked at North Korea. They’ve got a weapon. Nobody touches them. They like at Libya. Libya gave up their weapon in exchange for friendship with the world. Look where they are.

So I say let’s let history be our guide. We saw the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1919. We saw the region transform and make itself into something different. We saw changes in 1947.

I think we do our national interests a disservice by jumping in too soon and taking up sides with people we don’t fully understand, Islamist groups, pan-Arab groups.

Our interest in the Middle East is Israel. And our interest is to ensure that Israel — that Iran does not go nuclear.

BLITZER: All right, let’s stay in the region.

We have another question from the audience.

KATHERINE ZIMMERMAN: I’m Katherine Zimmerman from the American Enterprise Institute Critical Threats Project.

The United States adopted a policy of disengagement with Somalia after its retreat following Black Hawk down.

Today, an al Qaeda affiliate, Al Shabab, controls significant territory in that country.

What can the United States do to prevent Al Shabab from posing the same threat that al Qaeda did from Afghanistan 10 years ago?

BLITZER: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: You’re talking about al Qaeda, correct?

ZIMMERMAN: Right.

PAUL: You have to understand who the al Qaeda really is. The — the al Qaeda responds in a very deliberate fashion. As a matter of fact, Paul Wolfowitz explained it very clearly after 9/11.

He said that al Qaeda is inspired by the fact that we had bases in Saudi Arabia. So if you want to inspire al Qaeda, just meddle in — in that region. That will inspire the al Qaeda. As a matter of fact, he went on to say that that was a good reason for us to remove the base that we had had in 15 years in — in Saudi Arabia and that we should have done that.

So there is a response. Al Qaeda responds to that and they — they are quite annoyed with us. So if you drop — if you have a no- fly zone over Syria, that’s an act of war.

What if we had China put a no-fly zone over our territory? I don’t think — I don’t think we would like that.

And I think we should practice a policy of good will to other people. What about saying that we don’t do anything to any other country that we don’t have them do to us? When we have a no-fly zone over Iraq, it was for — meant to be regime change. And evidently, some want to have regime change.

What is our business? Why should we spend more money and more lives to get involved in another war? That’s an — that is the internal affairs of the other nations and we don’t want — we don’t need another nation to start nation building. We have way too many already. So this is just looking for more trouble. I would say why don’t we mind our own business?

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Governor Romney, where do you stand?

ROMNEY: Wolf, that is a foreign policy. It’s different than President Obama’s, but similar in some respects. President Obama’s foreign policy is one of saying, first of all, America’s just another nation with a flag.

I believe America is an exceptional and unique nation. President Obama feels that we’re going to be a nation which has multipolar balancing militaries. I believe that American military superiority is the right course. President Obama says that we have people throughout the world with common interests. I just don’t agree with him. I think there are people in the world that want to oppress other people, that are evil.

President Obama seems to think that we’re going to have a global century, an Asian century. I believe we have to have an American century, where America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.

President Obama apologizes for America. It is time for us to be strong as a nation. And if we are strong, with a military and economy that are so strong, no one in the world will try and attempt to threaten us or to attack our friends.

BLITZER: Just to be precise, are you with Governor Perry…

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: … on declaring a no-fly zone over Syria? ROMNEY: No, this is not — this is not the time for a no-fly zone over Syria. This is the time for us to use not only sanctions, but covert actions within Syria to get regime change there. There are people in the military that are shifting over, that are — that are becoming part of the rebel effort.

We should support those efforts. We need to meet with the Alawites to make sure they understand that they have a future after Assad, that they don’t have to link with him. He’s getting pressure now from both Turkey as well as Saudi Arabia. They’re coming and putting pressure on him. The Arab League is putting pressure on him.

We — that’s the right way to go. And by the way, they have 5,000 tanks in Syria. A no-fly zone wouldn’t be the right military action. Maybe a no-drive zone. I mean, this is — this is a nation — this is a nation which is not bombing its people, at this point, and the right course is not military.

BLITZER: We’re ready to wrap it up. But let me have Governor Perry react.

PERRY: Yes, as I said, I said the no-fly zone is one of the options that we have. But I think you need to leave it on the table to make sure, because this is not just about Syria. This is about Iran, and those two, as a partnership and exporting terrorism around the world. And if we’re going to be serious about saving Israel, we better get serious about Syria and Iran, and we better get serious right now.

BLITZER: All right. Let’s take another question from the audience. This is last question. Go ahead.

QUESTION: My name is Mark Teese (ph) and I’m a visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute. And my question has to do with the unexpected. During the 200 Presidential debates, Governor George W. Bush was never asked about the threat from Al Qaida, yet the battle with Al Qaida dominated his presidency. What national security issue do you worry about that nobody is asking about, either here or in any of the debates so far?

BLITZER: All right. Let’s go down the line and start with Senator Santorum. Give us a quick answer. What do you think?

SANTORUM: Well, I’ve spent a lot of time and concern — and Rick mentioned this earlier — about what’s going on in Central and South America. I’m very concerned about the militant socialists and there — and the radical Islamists joining together, bonding together.

I’m concerned about the spread of socialism and that this administration, with — time after time, whether it was the delay in moving forward on Colombia’s free trade agreement, whether it was turning our back to the Hondurans and standing up for democracy and the — and the rule of law.

And we took the side with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro for a corrupt President. We’ve sent all the wrong signals to Central and South America.

BLITZER: Thank you.

SANTORUM: You know, maybe the first trip I would take to Israel, but my second trip, and third and fourth, would be into Central and South America. We need to build a solid hemisphere and those people — and the people in south of our border need to know that we are going to…

BLITZER: All right.

SANTORUM: … solidarity with them and build strong alliances.

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.

I want to do this quickly, if we can, because we don’t have a lot of time.

Congressman?

PAUL: I worry most about overreaction on our part, getting involved in another war when we don’t need to, when we have been attacked, and our national security has not been at threat. And I worry a lot about people never have come around to understanding who the Taliban is and why they are motivated.

Taliban doesn’t mean they want to come here and kill us. The Taliban means they want to kill us over there because all they want to do is get people who occupy their country out of their country, just like we would if anybody tried to occupy us.

BLITZER: Governor Perry?

(APPLAUSE)

PERRY: I think, obviously, the big issue out there, and we’ve talked about it before, but I happen to think it’s China and how we’re — we’re going to deal with China.

And Communist China — when I think back about Ronald Reagan, and he said that the Soviet Union was destined for the ash heap of history, and he was correct, and I happen to think that Communist China is destined for the ash heap of history because they are not a country of virtues.

When you have 35,000 forced abortions a day in that country; when you have the cybersecurity that the PLA has been involved with, those are great and — and major issues, both morally and security-wise that we’ve got to deal with now.

BLITZER: All right. We’ve got to keep it brief. But, go ahead…

(APPLAUSE)

… Governor Romney. ROMNEY: Rick, in my view, is right with regards to long-term security interests, and that’s — and that’s China, although that’s very much on our agenda.

Immediately, the most significant threat is, of course, Iran becoming nuclear.

But I happen to think Senator Santorum is right with regards to the issue that doesn’t get enough attention. That’s the one that may come up that we haven’t thought about, which is Latin America. Because, in fact, Congressman, we have been attacked. We were attacked on 9/11. There have been dozens of attacks that have been thwarted by our — by our security forces. And we have, right now, Hezbollah, which is working throughout Latin America, in Venezuela, in Mexico, throughout Latin America, which poses a very significant and imminent threat to the United States of America.

BLITZER: Thank you, Governor. Mr. Cain?

(APPLAUSE)

CAIN: Having been — having been a ballistics analyst and a computer scientist early in my career, cyber attacks: that’s something that we do not talk enough about, and I happen to believe that that is a national security area that we do need to be concerned about.

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich?

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: I — I helped create the Hart-Rudman Commission with President Clinton, and they came back after three years and said the greatest threat to the United States was the weapon of mass destruction in an American city, probably from a terrorist. That was before 9/11.

That’s one of the three great threats. The second is an electromagnetic pulse attack which would literally destroy the country’s capacity to function.

And the third, as Herman just said, is a cyber attack. All three of those are outside the current capacity of our system to deal with.

BLITZER: Thank you. Congresswoman?

BACHMANN: Well, I would agree with what my colleagues said up here on the stage. And also, we need to remember, we won the peace in Iraq. And now President Obama is intentionally choosing to give that peace away.

This is a significant issue because we’re taking the terrorist threat away from the Middle East, bringing it to the United States.

We talked about Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab is real. In my home state of Minnesota, we’ve just had two convictions of two women that are financing terror with Al-Shabaab. This threat, I believe, now is in the United States and now the threat has come home and that’s what we have to deal with.

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: I guess I could say China because I know a little bit about the subject matter, but they’re in for real trouble ahead.

So I have to say that our biggest problem is right here at home. And you can see it on every street corner. It’s called joblessness. It’s called lack of opportunity. It’s called debt, that has become a national security problem in this country. And it’s also called a trust deficit, a Congress that nobody believes in anymore, an executive branch that has no leadership, institutions of power that we no longer believe in.

How can we have any effect on foreign policy abroad when we are so weak at home? We have no choice. We’ve got to get on our feet here domestically.

BLITZER: Thank you to…

(APPLAUSE)

… all of you. And thanks to all of you as well. We have to leave it right there. We want to thank our partners, the American Enterprise Institute. We want to thank the Heritage Foundation. Thanks very much for watching. I’m Wolf Blitzer here at Constitution Hall.

(APPLAUSE)

Campaign Buzz November 22, 2011: CNN GOP National Security Republican Presidential Debate at Constitutional Hall, Washington, DC — Frontrunner Newt Gingrich Takes Center Stage on Immigration & Patriot Act

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Before the sparring began at the debate in Washington on Tuesday, the Republican presidential primary candidates paused as the national anthem was sung.

IN FOCUS: CNN GOP NATIONAL SECURITY REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE

Fact checking the GOP national security debate — CBS News, 11-22-11

Debate Highlights G.O.P.’s Lack of a Unified Security Vision: Most of the presidential candidates vowed to put any necessary steps to protect the nation ahead of worries about civil liberties…. – NYT, 11-22-11

Live Blogging the National Security Debate: Follow along for live updates, analysis and fact checks during the Republican national security debate…. – NYT, 11-22-11

Defense cuts, immigration policy: Key moments in Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate: Key moments in Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate…. – AP, 11-22-11

“I’m prepared to take the heat for saying let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship, but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.” — Newt Gingrich

“I think the speaker just said that he would make 11 people, 11 million people who are here illegally now, legal.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“A no-fly zone wouldn’t be the right military action — maybe a no-drive zone. — Mitt Romney

“We’ve got to get on our feet domestically.” — Jon Huntsman

“Africa was a country on the brink. On the brink of complete meltdown and chaos, which would have been fertile ground for the radical Islamists to be able to — to get — to get a foothol.” — Rick Santorum

 

  • Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate National Security, Foreign Aid: US Republican presidential hopefuls debated how to deal with Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran’s nuclear program Tuesday evening in their latest televised debate. Questioned about US aid to Pakistan, Texas Governor Rick Perry said he would cut the aid … – Voice of America, 11-22-11
  • GOP presidential candidates debate liberty vs. security in age of terrorism: The Republican presidential candidates grappled Tuesday with how to balance civil liberties and security, from the war on terrorism at home and abroad to check-in lines at airports. … – Miami Herald, 11-22-11
  • GOP candidates spar over global threats, security: The eight major GOP presidential candidates all believe they can be a better commander in chief than President Obama. But some differences emerged in the 11th nationally televised debate of the year, on issues such as the … – USA Today, 11-22-11
  • CNN Republican debate: Winners and losers: Another day, another Republican presidential debate. We live-blogged the whole thing but also took note of a few of the night’s winners and, yes, losers. Republican presidential candidates (LR) former US Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), US Representative … – WaPo, 11-22-11
  • Too Much Debate? Why the Republican Frontrunner Keeps Changing: Debates are doing in the Republican candidates one by one, and yet they can’t seem to stop talking. And we can’t seem to stop watching. Tuesday night’s debate was the 11th political face-off among the Republican candidates…. – Reuters, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich shows humane side on immigration: In his first debate as the Republican frontrunner, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took a political gamble Tuesday by wading into the volatile issue of limited amnesty for long-time illegal immigrants. … – CNN, 11-22-11
  • 2012 CNN foreign policy debate: Mitt Romney channels Rudy Giuliani: For one night only, anyway, but Mitt Romney just turned to Ron Paul as a foil to make the point about how the US was attacked on 9/11, which was why the nation is at war. FIghting with Paul as a hawk was a part of Rudy Giuliani’s debate strategy…. – Politico, 11-22-11
  • Patriot Act, security prompt GOP sparring in CNN National Security Debate: The Republican candidates for president outlined their visions for fighting terrorism and keeping the country safe during a CNN debate Tuesday held just down the street from the White House … – CNN, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich Calls for Regime Change in Iran: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called for replacing the leadership of Iran and said that could be accomplished within a year, adopting a more aggressive posture toward the US … – WSJ, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich at center stage, national security in the spotlight: Republican presidential candidates argued Tuesday night over what was more important — the need to fight terrorism or protect civil liberties — as they sought to define themselves on national … – USA Today, 11-22-11
  • Washington foreign policy debate: Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich mix it up: Some of Newt GIngrich’s critics have been taking him on over his past stands on immigration, and Michele Bachmann joined them onstage, pointing out that the former House Speaker supported, as she said, the federal DREAM Act. Gingrich disagreed. … – Politico, 11-22-11
  • GOP divides on foreign policy questions: The Republican presidential candidates sparred in a national security debate Tuesday night, dividing over the war in Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, foreign aid and more. The night was a stark contrast to the overall unity within the Republican Party…. – Politico, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich says cutting off Iran from gasoline, sabotaging its refineries would: Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says the United States could “break Iran within a year” if allies worked together on a strategy instead of focusing on specific tactics. Gingrich says that ending gasoline sales to Iran and … – WaPo, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich ‘prepared to take the heat’ with talk of amnesty: In his first debate since jumping into the lead in the polls, Newt Gingrich took the lead on a controversial topic Tuesday night when he suggested that his fellow Republicans might reconsider their outright opposition to amnesty for … – LAT, 11-22-11
  • GOP debate recap: Yes, Herman Cain’s obsession with the topography of Iran showed up. No, Michele Bachmann’s friend, the Seven-Foot Doctor, didn’t. Probably the newsiest thing that happened in tonight’s Republican debate on national security was that Newt Gingrich went where Rick Perry should never have gone and tried to make a case for moderation on immigration…. – WaPo, 11-22-11
  • Candidates Vie For Air Time: Among the many things that pundits and party operatives alike will be considering during tonight’s GOP debate on CNN – the 11th debate of this primary season – is the following question: Does it appear as though some candidates are being asked more … – ABC News, 11-22-11
  • Networks walk a tightrope over crowded debates: Keeping the crowded Republican presidential debates fair, lively and topical at the same time can seem like the equivalent of juggling while walking a tightrope. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is the next television personality on stage. … – CBS News, 11-22-11
  • Too Much Debate? Why the Republican Frontrunner Keeps Changing: Debates are doing in the Republican candidates one by one, and yet they can’t seem to stop talking. And we can’t seem to stop watching. Tuesday night’s debate was the 11th political face-off among the Republican candidates in a year that … – TheWrap, 11-22-11
  • Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul clashed over the Patriot Act: Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul clashed over the Patriot Act at the start of Tuesday’s debate for GOP presidential candidates, with Gingrich saying terrorism means “all of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives. … – CNN, 11-22-11
  • At GOP debate, candidates spar over Patriot Act: It only took a few minutes for Newt Gingrich to display the bluntness that has become his signature quality during the Republican presidential debates. Gathered at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, … – LAT, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich, Paul tangle over Patriot Act’s reach: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul are tangling over the Patriot Act as they open a Republican presidential debate on national security. Gingrich says he supports the anti-terrorism law that civil liberty activists object … – Boston Globe, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich, Paul tangle over Patriot Act as GOP candidates open national: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul are tangling over the Patriot Act as they open a Republican presidential debate on national security. Gingrich says he supports the anti- terrorism law that civil liberty activists object … – WaPo, 11-22-11
  • DC debate: Michele Bachmann says technology has changed: Michele Bachmann opened with a response to the Patriot Act question by saying she’s “with the American people, with the Constitution,” but went on to say, without directly answering the Patriot Act question, that, “We can’t forget that technology is … – Politico, 11-22-11
  • Foreign policy debate: Ron Paul cites Oklahoma City on counter-terrorism: Ron Paul delivered the first philosophical dispute of CNN’s national security debate, disagreeing with Newt Gingrich’s support for the Patriot Act and pointing to the Oklahoma City attack as a threat dealt with through criminal law. … – Politico, 11-22-11
  • Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul Clash Over Patriot Act Extension: Saying “we will be in danger for the rest of our lives,” Newt Gingrich on Tuesday supported an extension of Patriot Act provisions to fight terrorism. Speaking at a CNN debate on national security at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC…. – Sunshine State News, 11-22-11
  • Patriot Act a new litmus test in GOP debate: Republican candidates staked out contrary stances on renewing the Patriot Act at the onset of a national security debate on Tuesday, adding another latest litmus test on how to best protect the United States…. – The Hill, 11-22-11
  • Gingrich Supports Patriot Act Powers to Protect US ‘In Danger’: Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Republican presidential front runner, said that the US must strengthen tools to detect and prevent terrorism because “all of us will be in danger for the rest of our … – BusinessWeek, 11-22-11
  • CNN national security debate: What to watch for: Eight Republican candidates will gather for the billionth — oops, sorry, twelfth— time tonight in Washington, DC for a debate focused on national security…. – WaPo, 11-22-11
  • 2012 GOP Hopefuls Face Off On National Security: The supercommittee’s embarrassing collapse adds a tricky new task for the combatants in yet another GOP debate Tuesday: persuading voters they can end the partisan dysfunction crippling Washington…. – New York Daily News, 11-22-11

Full Text Campaign Buzz November 12, 2011: CBS News / National Journal GOP Republican Presidential Debate at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina Transcript — Iran & Pakistan Central Issues in National Security & Foreign Policy Debate

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The eight Republican candidates for president debated Saturday in Spartanburg, S.C. More Photos »

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

IN FOCUS: REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN SOUTH CAROLINA ON NATIONAL SECURITY & FOREIGN POLICY

Republican Debate Sponsored by CBS, The National Journal and the Republican Party of South Carolina

Sponsored by CBS, The National Journal and the Republican Party of South Carolina

Related

Speakers:

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA.

Former Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-GA.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-MASS.

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., R-UTAH

Hermain Cain

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MINN.

Gov. Rick Perry, R-TEXAS

Rep. Ron Paul, R-TEXAS

Moderators: CBS moderator Scott Pelley and National Journal moderator Major Garrett

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  This country has a bright future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We have something to be proud of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS:  I’m the champion of liberty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We’ve got the answers. We don’t have leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY:  If you want to become president of the United States, you’ve got to let both people speak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We should make English the official language.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I won’t rest until I repeal ObamaCare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY:  You had your chance.  Let me speak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM:  You’re out of line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL:  Fourteen girls to take an inoculation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM:  Just because our economy is sick doesn’t mean our values are sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS:  It is a Ponzi scheme.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  My 999 Plan is a bold solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HUNTSMAN:  This country is never again going to bailout corporations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN:  I will build the fence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY:  We know how to secure the borders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is about nation-building at home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH:  The American people create jobs, not governments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL:  Government is not very capable of managing almost anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY:  Middle income Americans need a break and I’ll give it to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN:  This economy is on life support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY:  If you are too big to fail, you are too big.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PELLEY, CO-HOST:  Tonight from South Carolina, the Republicans who would be president address critical issues of national security and foreign affairs.      It’s the commander-in-chief debate — eight candidates, 90 minutes, all starting in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PELLEY:  Good evening from Wofford College in Spartansburg, South Carolina. I’m Scott Pelley with CBS News, along with my colleague, Major Garrett, of “National Journal”. In just under a year now, Americans will go to the polls to choose a president. Tonight, CBS News and “National Journal” are pleased to bring you a discussion of the issues by the Republican candidates for their party’s nomination. The focus will be foreign policy and national security, the president’s role as commander-in-chief. Consider this, the 9/11 attacks came in the eighth month of a new presidency, the Bay of Pigs in the 13th week and the Civil War on the 40th day of a new presidency — reminders from history that a president must be prepared to deal with a crisis from day one. The ground rules for tonight’s debate are simple — a candidate who is asked a question will have one minute to respond and then, at the discretion of the moderators, there can be a 30 second follow-up or a 30 second rebuttal from another candidate. The debate will run a total of 90 minutes.  The first hour will be broadcast right here, on the CBS television network.  The entire 90 minutes will be streamed on CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com.  And we invite you to submit questions during the debate to either Web site. Joining me now in asking the question, Major Garrett.

MAJOR GARRETT, CO-HOST:  Scott, thank you very much. One more piece of housekeeping.  Let’s introduce the candidates. Former Utah governor, Jon Huntsman. Representing the 6th District of Minnesota, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. Representing the 14th District of Texas, Congressman Ron Paul.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  From Atlanta, Georgia, businessman Herman Cain.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Current Texas Governor Rick Perry.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  And former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Mr. Cain, I’d like to begin this evening with you, sir.

CAIN:  Yes?

GARRETT:  This week, a U.N. nuclear watchdog agency provided additional credible evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. If you were president right now, what would you do specifically that this administration is not doing to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?

CAIN:  The first thing that I would do is to assist the opposition movement in Iran that’s trying to overthrow the regime. Our enemies are not the people of Iran, it’s the regime.  And a regime change is what they are trying to achieve. Secondly, we need to put economic pressure on Iran by way of our own energy independence strategy, by having our own energy independence strategy, we would impact the price of oil on the world market, because Iran uses oil not only as a — a means — a currency, but they use it as a weapon. One of the reasons that they are able to afford that nuclear weapons program is because of oil. Secondly, we would then work to increase sanctions on Iran, along with our friends and our allies.  So whereas we would not be — so as I do believe that they have a nuclear weapons program and they’re closer to having a nuclear weapon, stopping them, the only way you can stop them is through economic means.

GARRETT:  A quick follow-up, Mr. Cain.

CAIN:  Yes.

GARRETT:  When you say assisting the opposition, would you entertain military assistance to that opposition…

CAIN:  No…

GARRETT:  (INAUDIBLE).

CAIN:  — not at this time.  I would not entertain military opposition.  I’m talking about to help the opposition movement within the country. And then there’s one other thing that we could do.  We could deploy our ballistic missile defense capable Aegis warships strategically in that part of the world.  We have the biggest fleet of those warships in the world, and we could use them strategically in the event that they were able to fire a ballistic missile.

PELLEY:  Governor Romney, would it be worth going to war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?

ROMNEY:  Well, let’s — let’s start back from there and let’s talk about where we are.  This is, of course, President Obama’s greatest failing, from a foreign policy standpoint, which is he recognized the gravest threat that America and the world faced as — and faced was a nuclear Iran and he did not do what was necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took to the streets and say America is with you and work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents. Number two, he should have put — put in place crippling sanctions against Iran.  But instead of getting Russia, for instance, to when —  when he gave in our — our missile defense system, to agree to — to stand with those crippling sanctions, he gave Russia what they wanted, their number one foreign policy objective, and got nothing in return.

PELLEY:  That’s…

ROMNEY:  And finally…

PELLEY:  — that’s the time by the governor on the question.

ROMNEY:  I get — I get…

PELLEY:  We’re going to adhere to time.

ROMNEY:  I get 60…

PELLEY:  Very quickly…

ROMNEY:  — seconds.

PELLEY:  But what made…

ROMNEY:  I get 60 seconds.

PELLEY:  Yes, yes sir. And the 60…

ROMNEY:  That was 30.

PELLEY:  The 60…

ROMNEY:  Sorry, it started at yellow so I — I have much more time to go.

PELLEY:  You — you know what, Governor?

ROMNEY:  Yes?

PELLEY:  I stand corrected.  You are right.  Please continue.

ROMNEY:  Yes.  All right.  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY:  Fin — finally, the president should have built a credible threat of military action and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.  And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you elect me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon. PELLEY:  But, sir, let me…

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  — you just described where we are today and that’s what you’re going to have to deal with if you become president. How do you prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon? Is it worth going to war to prevent that?

ROMNEY:  Well, it’s worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It’s worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change in the country.  And if all else fails, if after all of the work we’ve done, there’s nothing else we could do besides mil — take military action, then of course you take military action.  It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.  This term unacceptable has been applied by several presidents over history.  And our current president has made it very clear that he’s not willing to do those things necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. I will take a different course.  I will make sure that the sanctions, diplomatic pressure, economic pressure and support of insurgents within the country help them become dissuaded to get away from their nuclear ambition.

PELLEY:  This…

ROMNEY:  And, finally…

PELLEY:  — this time, it is time.

ROMNEY:  Yes.  And finally, at that…

PELLEY:  (INAUDIBLE)…

ROMNEY:  And, finally (INAUDIBLE)…

PELLEY:  You’ll have 30 seconds on the follow-up.

ROMNEY:  Yes.

PELLEY:  So we’re going to try to adhere to the time.

GARRETT:  Mr. Speaker, is this the right way to look at this question, war or not war? Or do you see other options diplomatically, or other non-war means that the United States has in its possession with dealing with Iran that it has not employed?

GINGRICH:  Well, let me start and say that both the answers you just got are superior to the current administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes!

GINGRICH:  And…

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH:  — you know, there are a number of ways to be smart about Ir  — Iran and relatively few ways to be dumb.  And the administration is has skipped all the ways to be smart.

(LAUGHTER)

GARRETT:  Could you tell us the smart ways…

GINGRICH:  Sure.

GARRETT:  — Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH:  First of all, abs — maximum covert operations to block and disrupt the Iranian program, including taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable. Second, maximum…

(LAUGHTER)

GINGRICH:  — maximum coordination with the Israelis in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in Iran.

GINGRICH:  Third, absolute strategic program comparable to what President Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher did to the Soviet Union, of every possible aspect short of war of breaking the regime and bringing it down. And I agree entirely with Governor Romney.  If in the end, despite all of those things, the dictatorship persists you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon.

PELLEY:  Congressman Paul, let me follow up with you for just 30 seconds.  Is it worth going to war to prevent a nuclear weapon in Iran?

PAUL:  No, it isn’t worthwhile.  The only way you would do that is you’d have to go the Congress.  We — we as commander in chief aren’t — to make a decision to go to war. You know, the old-fashioned way, the Constitution, you go to the Congress and find out if our national security is threatened.  And I’m afraid what’s going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq. And you know they didn’t have weapons of mass destruction and it was orchestrated and it was, to me, a tragedy of what’s happened these past  — last 10 years, the death and destruction, $4 billion — $4 trillion in debt. So no, it’s not worthwhile going to war.  If you do, you get a declaration of war and you fight it and you win it and get it over with.

PELLEY:  Thank you, Congressman.

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  Governor Perry, what’s your appraisal of the combat situation on the ground in Afghanistan today and what would you change?

PERRY:  Let me answer the previous question very quickly for our — if I  — if I may.

PELLEY:  Governor, I’d like to move on.  Could you give me a sense of your — of your appraisal of the combat situation?

PERRY:  I — I — if you — I have a minute and I can do both in one minute, I promise you.

PELLEY:  There is…

PERRY:  And the issue that has not been raised is that this country can sanction the Iranian Central Bank right now and shut down that country’s economy and that’s what this president needs to do. And the American people need to stand up and force him to make that stand today. Now, let me address this issue of Afghanistan and how we deal with it. The mission must be completed there.  The idea that we will have wasted our treasure and the lives of young Americans to not secure Afghanistan is not appropriate. But the idea that we would give a timetable to our enemy is irresponsible.  From a military standpoint, it’s irresponsible from the lives of our young men and women and it is irresponsible leadership of this president to give a timetable to pull out of any country that we’re in conflict with.

PELLEY:  But governor, if I could just follow up for 30 seconds. The question was what’s your appraisal of the combat situation on the ground there and what would you change as commander in chief?

PERRY:  Well, obviously we’re discussing with our commanders on the field about what’s going on in Afghanistan.  I — I think we’re making progress there. The issue is training up the Afghan security forces so that we’re comfortable that they can protect that citizenry and continue to take the war to the terrorists that are using Afghanistan and Pakistan, I might add. It’s a very complex part of the world.  But I think that our military is doing the best job that they can, considering the lack of support that they’re getting from this administration of telegraphing to the enemy when we’re gonna pull out.

GARRETT:  Senator Santorum, I know you want to jump in on Iran. I’ll give you that opportunity in just second. So let me merge two things if I could — just one second.  The Taliban said earlier this summer, quote, “The Afghans have an endless stamina for a long war.” If you were commander in chief, would you have endless stamina for a victory in Afghanistan?  And would you this evening define victory in Afghanistan? And please weigh in, and I know you do want to, on Iran.

SANTORUM:  Thank you very much, Major.  I appreciate that. Victory against the Taliban in Afghanistan is that the Taliban is a neutered force.  They are no longer a security threat to the — to the Afghan people or to — to our country.  That would be victory. Doesn’t mean wipe them out, we can’t wipe them out, but they’re no longer a security threat. The bigger issue and — I know there’s those of us at the end that don’t get a lot of questions and so I — I — this was — this is the most important national security issue that we’re gonna be dealing with here in — in this year and that’s the issue of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. And I think everyone should have the opportunity to answer that question, particularly me.  I’ve been working on Iran since back in 2004. And I proposed exactly the things that Herman and — and Mitt Romney suggested, which was to give money to the — to the — to the rebel forces there to — to help the pro-democracy movement and to put tough sanctions in place. I was opposed by President Bush and yet we were able to overcome that and pass the Iran Freedom And Support Act.  I was able to get that done and then President Bush didn’t provide money for the pro- democracy movement.  And President Obama cut that money. What we — we have a situation that’s different.  I disagree with Newt. More sanctions and — and — and providing, you know, more support for the pro-democracy movement isn’t gonna be enough in time. Read the IAEA report.  They are close and…

PELLEY:  Senator, I’m sorry, that’s time.  I’m sorry.  We’re gonna try to…

SANTORUM:  Well…

PELLEY:  … adhere to time and be fair…

SANTORUM:  … let me — if I can — to be fair…

PELLEY:  … to everyone in the application of that rule but if…

SANTORUM:  I understand.  Just let me finish my final comment. My final comment is we should be working with Israel right now to do what they did in Syria, what they did in Iraq, which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we hear in Iran is a nuclear one and then the world changes.

PELLEY:  That is time.  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  Representative Bachmann, do you think the 30,000 surge troops in Afghanistan have made a difference and if so, where?

BACHMANN:  They absolutely have but it’s unfortunate the request was made for 40,000 troops.      President Obama dithered for approximately two months when he should have given the full complement of 40,000 troops. When he gave 30,000 troops to the effort in Afghanistan that meant that a decision had to be made. With 40,000 troops they could have conducted the war going into the southern province, in — in Helmand and also going into the eastern province and dealing with the problem all at once and coming to victory that much sooner and bringing our troops home. When 30,000 troops were given, then our troops did the very best that they could by going into the south and dealing in the Helmand Province. We actually have seen improvement down by Kandahar.  That’s a very good thing.  And that’s because of the brave actions of our men and women in that area. However, we have to recognize now President Obama has made a very fatal decision in Afghanistan.  He’s made the decision that by next September our troops will be withdrawn. If that is the case, how do we expect any of our allies to continue to work with us?  How can we even begin to seek the peace with the Haqqani network that are in the eastern region?

PELLEY:  Thank — thank you.

GARRETT:  Thank you, Congresswoman, that’s time.

PELLEY:  Thank you, Congresswoman Bachmann.  Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  Let me come over to you Governor Huntsman and — and ask you, we are seeing spikes in casualties in Afghanistan in new places. Can you explain to me what’s happening there?  And how you would change that as commander in chief?

HUNTSMAN:  Well, I think the spikes obviously are driven by lack of security, proper security, in certain parts of the country, which could plague us for a very, very long time to come. I take a different approach on Afghanistan.  I say it’s time to come home.

(APPLAUSE)

I say this — I say this nation has achieved its key objectives in Afghanistan.  We’ve had free elections in 2004.  We’ve uprooted the Taliban.  We dismantled al-Qaeda.  We have killed Osama bin Laden. I say this nation’s future is not Afghanistan.  This nation’s future is not Iraq.  This nation’s future is how prepared we are to meet the 21st Century challenges, that’s economic and that’s education.      And that’s gonna play out over the Asia-Pacific region and we’re either prepared for that reality or we’re not. I don’t want to be nation building in Afghanistan when this nation so desperately needs to be built.

PELLEY:  Make sure I understand — bring all the troops home today?

(APPLAUSE)

HUNTSMAN:  Here’s what I keep behind because we still have work to do: we don’t need 100,000 troops nation building, many of whom can’t cross the wire. I think we need a component that gathers tactical intelligence. We need enhanced Special Forces response capability for rapid response.  And we need some ongoing commitment to train the local Afghan national army. That’s not 100,000 troops.  That’s well south of that.  We are fighting an asymmetric threat, a counterterror threat, not only there but in Waziristan and every other corner of the world and we need to prepare for that as a reality of our 21st Century foreign policy.

GARRETT:  And that’s time.  Thank you, sir. Governor Romney, a much smaller footprint in Afghanistan, do you support that? And secondarily, sir, is it time or would it ever be time for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban?

ROMNEY:  We don’t negotiate with terrorists.  I’d not negotiate with the Taliban.  That’s something for the Afghans to decide, how they’re going to pursue their course in the future. With regards to our footprint in Afghanistan, the right course is for us to do our very best to secure the victories that have been so hard won by the soldiers, the men and women of — of our fighting forces who’ve been in Afghanistan. The commanders on the field feel that we can take out 30,000 to 40,000 troops some time by the end of next year.  The commander in chief, perhaps looking at the calendar of the election, decided to bring them home in September instead in the middle of the fighting season. Our commanders said that puts our troops at risk, at danger. Please don’t pull them out there, they said.  But he said, no, I’m gonna get them out early. I think that was a mistake.  Our surge troops should have been withdrawn by December of next year, not by September.  And the timetable by the end of 2014 is the right timetable for us to be completely withdrawn from Afghanistan, other than a small footprint of support forces.

PELLEY:  Mr. Speaker, how do you achieve peace in Afghanistan if you don’t negotiate with the Taliban? GINGRICH:  I don’t think you do.  I mean, look, I…

PELLEY:  Would you agree that the Taliban….

GINGRICH:  I — I — I think this so much bigger and deeper a problem than we’ve talked about as a country that we — we don’t have a clue how hard this is gonna be. First of all, the Taliban survives for the very same reason that historically we’ve said gorillas always survive, which is they have a sanctuary. The sanctuary is Pakistan.  You’re never going to stop the Taliban as long as they can hide.  And you — and you have proof every week in new bombings, and new killings, and new training.  So I think this has to be a much larger strategic discussion that starts with frankly Pakistan on the one end, and Iran on the other.  Because Afghanistan is in between the two countries, and is the least important of the three countries.

PELLEY:  Related to that, Mr. Cain, I’d like to pick up on a point that Speaker Gingrich just made.  You have said about foreign policy America needs to be clear about who its friends are, and who its foes are.  So this evening, sir, Pakistan — friend or foe?

CAIN:  We don’t know, because Pakistan — it’s not clear, because Pakistan is where Osama bin Laden was found and eliminated.  Secondly, Pakistan has had a conversation with President Karzai from Afghanistan, and they — and President Karzai has said that if United States gets into a dispute with Pakistan, then Afghanistan is going to side with Pakistan. There is a lot of clarity missing, like Speaker Gingrich says, in this whole region.  And they are all inter-related.  So there isn’t a clear answer as to whether or not Pakistan is a friend or foe.  That relationship must be reevaluated.

PELLEY:  If you were president, sir, and your National Security Council asked you what questions you would want answered to find out a better answer to this very question, what would you tell them?

CAIN:  I would ask them what commitments is Pakistan willing to make to assure the United States of America that they are a friend or a — or a foe.  And be specific about that.  Will they make commitments relative to the commitment of their military if we have to make commitments?  Are they willing to come to some regional agreement about what we need to do? We need a regional strategy in that area of the world such that all of our allies where we work together in order to come up with those things that will be mutually beneficial to everyone.  Those are the questions that need to be asked.

PELLEY:  Governor Perry, why is Pakistan playing a double game saying that it supports the United States one moment, and then supporting terrorists who are killing American troops the next? What’s going on there?

PERRY:  Listen, I think we’re having a — an interesting conversation here.  But the deeper one is — that the speaker makes reference to is the whole issue of — of foreign aid.  And we need a president of the United States working with a Congress that sends a clear message to every country.  It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s Pakistan, or whether it’s Afghanistan, or whether it’s India. The foreign aid budget in my administration for every country is going to start at zero dollars — zero dollars.  And then we’ll have a conversation.  Then we’ll have a conversation in this country about whether or not a penny of our taxpayer dollars needs to go into those countries.  And Pakistan is clearly sending us messages Mitt. It’s clearly sending us messages that they — they don’t deserve our foreign aid that we’re getting, because they’re not being honest with us.  American soldiers’ lives are being put at jeopardy because of that country, and the decisions that they’re ma…

(CROSSTALK)

PELLEY:  And that’s…

PERRY:  And it’s time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don’t support the United States of America.

PELLEY:  That’s time, Governor.  Governor, let me give you 30 seconds in the follow up to go back to the question.  Why is Pakistan playing this double game?  Help us understand what’s going on there.

PERRY:  What they’ve doing is — they’ve been doing this for years. Their political people are not who are in charge of that country.  It’s the military.  It’s the secret service.  That’s who is running that country.  And I don’t trust them.  And we need to send clear messages. We need to do foreign aid completely different. I’m telling you no dollars going into those countries.  As a matter of fact, if they want any American aid, any country, unless we say differently then American manufacturing — big companies, small companies going in to help create economic impact in those countries…

PELLEY:  And that’s time, Governor.  Thank you.

PERRY:  … rather than just dollars flowing into some administration.

PELLEY:  Thank you very much.

GARRETT:  Congresswoman Bachmann, you serve on the Intelligence Committee.  I would like to get your assessment of what you think is happening in Pakistan, especially with the Haqqani network.  And you know from sitting on that committee that those in the diplomatic corps in this country, and even the intelligence community, believe that there is a tangible benefit at times to properly apply foreign aid from this country. So I want to know if you agree with the governor on that question, “Starting at zero.”  And also your assessment of the intelligence situation in Pakistan.  And what would you do about it?

BACHMANN:  Pakistan is a very difficult area, because they have been housing terrorists.  And terrorists have been training there.  Al Qaeda as well as Haqqani, as — whether other militias dealing with terrorist organizations.  But I would not agree with that assessment to pull all foreign aid from Pakistan. I would reduce foreign aid to many, many countries.  But there’s a problem.  Because Pakistan has a nuclear weapon.  We have more people affiliated with Al Qaeda closer to that nuclear bomb than in any other nation.  This is an extremely important issue.  And I think it underscores exactly why the next commander-in-chief has to understand from day one the intricacies that are happening in the Middle East.  This is a very dangerous time.  If you look at Iran, and if you look at Pakistan, and if you look at — at the link with Syria, because Iran is working through proxies like Syria through Hezbollah, through Hamas. It seems that the table is being set for world wide nuclear war against Israel.  And if there’s anything that we know, President Obama has been more than willing to stand with Occupy Wall Street, but he hasn’t been willing to stand with Israel.  Israel looks at President Obama, and they do not see a friend.

GARRETT:  Congresswoman, thank you. Speaker Gingrich, you presided as speaker over several foreign aid budgets for the United States.  And I remember covering in 1995 the intervention of the half a Mexican Peso.  You have seen at times the proper role of the United States through foreign aid and other interventions.  I want to know if you agree with Governor Perry about starting at zero.

GINGRICH:  Absolutely.  I mean, what he says made absolutely the perfect sense?  Why would you start every year — I mean, consider the alternative.  You’re giving some countries $7 billion a year.  So you start off — or — or in the case of Egypt $3 billion a year.  So you start off every year and say, “Here’s your $3 billion.  Now I’ll start thinking.”      You ought to start off with zero and say, “Explain to me why I should give you a penny.”  And let me tell you, the fact that the Pakistanis — and think about this.  The Pakistanis hid bin Laden for at least six years in a military city within a mile of their national defense university.  And then they got mad at the people who turned him over to us. And we think those are the acts of allies?  I think that’s a pretty good idea to start at zero, and sometimes stay there.

GARRETT:  Just a quick follow up, Mr. Speaker.  Since you mentioned —  since you mentioned Egypt, Mr. Speaker, I just want to know if you were president if the aid that we currently provide on an annualized basis to Egypt would be completely rethought of — possibly eliminated if you were president.

GINGRICH:  Well, it would certainly be completely rethought.  And candidly the degree to which the Arab spring may become an anti- Christian spring is something which bothers me a great deal.  And I would certainly have the State Department intervening on behalf of the Christians who are being persecuted under the new system having their churches burned, having people killed.  And I’d be pretty insistent that we are not going to be supportive of a regime which is explicitly hostile to religions other than Islam.

PELLEY:  Senator Santorum, if a Pakistani nuclear weapon goes missing, what do you do?

SANTORUM:  Well, let me just step back, and say I disagree with a lot of what was said up here.  Pakistan must be a friend of the United States for the reason that Michele outlined.  Pakistan is a nuclear power.  And there are people in this — in that country that if they gained control of that country will create a situation equal to the situation that is now percolating in Iran. So we can’t be indecisive about whether Pakistan is our friend. They must be our friend.  And we — we must engage them as friends, get over the difficulties we have as we did with Saudi Arabia with — with respect to the events of 9-11.  We — the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia.  And we said, “Well, you know what?  It’s important for us to maintain that relationship in spite of those difficulties.”  And it’s important for us with a nuclear power with a very vast number of people in Pakistan who are radicalizing, that we keep a solid and stable relationship, and work through our difficulties. It is that important, and we must maintain that relationship.

PELLEY:  But the Pakistanis back a terrorist network, the Haqqani Network, that laid siege to the NATO Headquarters, and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for 20 hours a few weeks ago.

SANTORUM:  The Pakistanis would say they don’t back…

PELLEY:  How do you make friends out of Pakistan?

SANTORUM:  A lot of the Pakistanis and most of the government would say they don’t back the Haqqani Network.  And that the Haqqani Network causes as much trouble in Pakistan as it has caused us in — in Afghanistan.  We need to work with the elements of Pakistan, and there are elements in the government of Pakistan, and the military.

SANTORUM:  We need to continue those joint exercises.  We need to continue the — the aid relationship.  And of course, we all know the aid relationship when it comes to military aid is all spent in the United States.  So it’s not giving money away.  It’s — it’s sending military hardware which creates jobs in this country to those countries creating nexus in relationships and dependency on our weapon systems that’s important for those future relationships.

PELLEY:  Senator, we’ll have to leave it right there.  We will have more of the Republican commander-in-chief debate in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PELLEY:  Welcome back to Spartanburg, South Carolina, and the “Republican Commander-in-Chief Debate.” I’m Scott Pelley with CBS News, along with Major Garrett of National Journal.

GARRETT:  Thanks, again, Scott. Mr. Speaker, you said yesterday that Governor Romney is a competent manager, but you said you were unsure if he was really capable of changing Washington.  You said you were the change agent. Based on the arc of this campaign and perhaps what you’ve heard tonight, would you care to evaluate Governor Romney’s ability think outside the box and change the United States national security or foreign policy perspectives?

GINGRICH:  No.  No.

(LAUGHTER)

GARRETT:  You said so last night.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Then what was the point, sir, of bringing it up yesterday on a national radio show?

GINGRICH:  I brought it up yesterday because I was on a national radio show.  I think he brings up things when he’s on national radio shows.  We’re here tonight talking to the American people about why every single one of us is better than Barack Obama.  And that’s a topic I’d rather…

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Mr. Speaker, if you — if you would like to…

GINGRICH:  And by the way — let me just say, compared to this administration, talking about a friend who is a great business manager, is a good manager, is an enormous improvement over Barack Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Then, Mr. Speaker, I well remember you talking as speaker about the necessity of leaders to think outside the box.

GINGRICH:  Yes.

GARRETT:  If you were president, how would you think outside the box about some of the issues we’ve discussed here tonight?

GINGRICH:  Oh, in a number of ways.  As I said earlier, I would explicitly adopt the Reagan-John Paul II-Thatcher strategy towards Iran.  I would do the same thing towards North Korea.  I would adopt a very strong policy towards the United Nations of dramatically taking on its absurdities. I would explicitly repudiate what Obama has done on Agenda 21 as the kind of interference from the United Nations…

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH:  There are a number of other areas.  I would also, frankly, apply Lean Six Sigma to the Pentagon to liberate the money to rebuild the Navy.  We need a capital investment program and this administration is shrinking the Navy to a point where it’s going to be incapable of doing its job worldwide. So there are a number of places I would be thinking outside the box.

PELLEY:  And that’s time, Mr. Speaker.  Thank you very much. Mr. Cain, you’ve often said that you’ll listen to your generals for their advice before making your decisions as commander-in-chief. How will you know when you should overrule your generals?

CAIN:  The approach to making a critical decision, first make sure that you surround yourself with the right people.  And I feel that I’ll be able to make that assessment when we put together the cabinet and all of the people from the military, et cetera. You will know you’re making the right decision when you consider all the facts and ask them for alternatives.  It is up to the commander-in-chief to make that judgment call based upon all the facts.  And because I’ll have a multiple group of people offering different recommendations, this gives me the best opportunity to select the one that makes the most amount of sense. But ultimately it’s up to the commander-in-chief to make that decision.

GARRETT:  Senator Santorum, this is really a question about how you build a leadership model.  How, sir, would you decide when it was necessary for you as commander-in-chief to overrule the advice you get from either your civilian advisers or your military advisers?

SANTORUM:  Well, I’ll come into the office of the presidency with a very clear agenda and will get people together that will share my point of view.  When I was in the United States Senate, I didn’t hire people who didn’t share how I approached the problem.  That’s what the people of this country are elected — they’re electing someone who is going to be very crystal clear, and as you heard from my first two answers, I don’t mince words. I say exactly what I believe and then I follow through and do what I say.  I did that when I was in public life before, even though I represented a state that wasn’t a particularly conservative state, I followed through and did that and I will surround myself with people who will execute what I promised the American public to do, and then we will go about the process of doing that.

GARRETT:  You mentioned your agenda.  If you could prioritize one or two points, maybe more if you’d like, what your key agenda is on national security?

SANTORUM:  Well, obviously, the issue we were talking about before, which is number one, Iran must not get a nuclear weapon, and we will go about whatever it takes to make sure that happens. I hope, I hope that some of the things that I’ve talked about here and Newt’s thing that I’ve been talking about for a while, which is covert activity, you know, there have been scientists turning up dead in Russia and in Iran. There have been computer viruses.  There have been problems at their facility.  I hope that the United States has been involved with that.  I hope that we’ve been doing everything we can covertly to make sure that that program doesn’t proceed forward. And if we’re lucky enough — and I’m not sure we will be, that if no action is taken and we still don’t have a nuclear Iran, that would be my laser beam focus to make sure that would not happen.

PELLEY:  And that’s time, Senator.  Thank you very much. Governor Perry, you advocate the elimination of the Department of Energy.  If you eliminate the Department of Energy…

PERRY:  I’m glad you remembered it.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  I’ve had some time to think about it, sir.

(LAUGHTER)

PERRY:  Me, too.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  If you eliminate the Department of Energy, what do you do with the nuclear weapons?

PERRY:  Well, there are plenty of places in our government that can have oversight on our nuclear energy. But let me back over to the question that you have asked before this about what is the most important thing from a strategic standpoint, commander-in-chief.  For 10 years I have been the commander-in-chief of over 20,000-plus individuals in the state of Texas as we’ve dealt way host of either natural disasters or having deployments into the combat zones. So if there’s someone on this stage who has had that hands-on commander-in-chief experience, it is me as the governor of the state of Texas.  I’ve dealt with generals.  I have individuals at the Department of Defense who have been at the highest levels, both on the civilian side and on the military side, that will help me make decisions about those issues that we face as a country.

PERRY:  So I feel very comfortable from day one of surrounding myself with individuals who have extraordinary backgrounds in national defense, and will be able to put this country on a track that Americans will feel we know that we’re going to be secure, including…

PELLEY:  And that’s time, sir.

PERRY:  … the southern border of this country with Mexico.

PELLEY:  And that’s time.  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  I don’t need to tell the people on this stage that presidential politics is interactive business, and, of course, this debate is interactive as well. And we have an e-mail question, I’m happy to say, emailed into the “National Journal”.  And it comes from Stephen Shaffer (ph) (inaudible), Oregon (ph).  And I’d like to address this question to Mr. Cain. Stephen (ph) writes:  “I served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War.  I believe that torture is always wrong in all cases. What is your stance on torture?”

CAIN:  I believe that — following the procedures that have been established by our military.  I do not agree with torture.  Period. However, I would trust the judgment of our military leaders to determine what is torture and what is not torture.  That is the critical consideration.

GARRETT:  Mr. Cain, of course you’re familiar with the long- running debate we’ve had about whether waterboarding constitutes torture or is an enhanced interrogation technique. In the last campaign, Republican nominee John McCain and Barack Obama agreed that it was torture, and should not be allowed legally, and that the Army Field Manual should be the methodology used to interrogate enemy combatants.  Do you agree with that or do you disagree, sir?

CAIN:   I agree that it was an enhanced interrogation technique.

GARRETT:  And then you would support it as president?

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  You would return…

CAIN:  Yes.

GARRETT:  … to that policy?

CAIN:  I would return to that policy.  I don’t see it as torture.  I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.

GARRETT:  Congresswoman Bachmann, your opinion on this question that our emailer asked?

BACHMANN:  If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding.  I think it was very effective.  It gained information for our country, and I — and I also would like to say that today, under Barack Obama, he is allowing the ACLU to run the CIA. You need to understand that today, today we — it — when we — when we interdict a terrorist on the battlefield, we have no jail for them.  We have nowhere to take them.  We have no CIA interrogation anymore.  It is as though we have decided we want to lose in the war on terror under President Obama.  That’s not my strategy.  My strategy will be that the United States will be victorious in the war on terror.

GARRETT:  Congressman Paul, my fighting sense tells me we have a debate about to get launched here.  I know you have an opinion and would like to weigh in.

PAUL:  Yes, torture is illegal and — by our laws.  It’s illegal by international laws.

GARRETT:  How do you — how do you define torture, sir?

PAUL:  Well, waterboarding is torture and many others.  It’s illegal under international law and under our law.  It’s also immoral, and it’s also very impractical.  There’s no evidence that you really get reliable evidence. Why would you accept the position of torturing a hundred people because you know one person might have information?  And that’s what you do when you accept the principle of torture.  I think it’s — I think it’s uncivilized and — and have no practical advantages and it’s really un-American to accept, on principle, that we will torture people that we capture.

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN:  Major, Major, I have to weigh in.  I have to say something.  I have — I have to say something.  I have — I have to say…

PELLEY:  Let’s allow — let’s allow — I’m sorry, Congresswoman, just a moment, if you would, please.  Let’s give — let’s give Governor Huntsman an opportunity to take 30 seconds on that question.

HUNTSMAN:  It gets a little lonely over here in Siberia from time to time.

(LAUGHTER)

(UNKNOWN):  Tell me about it.

HUNTSMAN:  First of all, let me thank the sailor on the shift.  I have two boys in the United States Navy.  And all they want to do is go on to fight, protect and defend the great freedoms that we share in this country. This country has values.  We have a name brand in the world. I’ve lived overseas four times.  I’ve been an ambassador for my country three times.  I’ve lived overseas and done business.  We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project, which include liberty, democracy, human rights and open markets, when we torture. We should not torture.  Waterboarding is torture.  We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries, and we lose that ability to project values that a lot of people in corners of this world are still relying on the United States to stand up for.

PELLEY:  And that is time.  Thank you, sir. Governor Romney…

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  … Governor Romney, recently, President Obama ordered the death of an American citizen who was suspected of terrorist activity overseas.  Is it appropriate for the American president, on the president’s say-so alone, to order the death of an American citizen suspected of terrorism?

ROMNEY:  Absolutely.  In this case, this is an individual who had aligned himself with a — with a group that declared war on the United States of America.  And if there’s someone that’s going to join with a group like Al Qaida that declares war on America, and we’re in a — in a war with that entity, then, of course, anyone who is bearing arms with that entity is fair game for the United States of America. Let me go back…

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY:  … let me go back and just talk a moment about the issue that a number of people have spoken about, which is their definition of how their foreign policy might be different than this president. My foreign policy is pretty straightforward.  I would be guided by an overwhelming conviction that this century must be an American century, where America has the strongest values, the strongest economy and the strongest military.  An American century means a century where America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world. We have a president right now who thinks America is just another nation.  America is an exceptional nation.  We have a president who thinks that the way to conduct foreign policy is through his personal affects (sic) on other people. I am — I believe the way to conduct foreign policy is with American strength.  Everything I do will make America stronger, and I will stand and use whatever means necessary within the law to make sure that we protect America’s citizens and Americans’ rights.

PELLEY:  And that — and that’s time, Governor. Ladies and gentlemen…

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  … ladies and gentlemen, the applause are lovely but we will not have booing.  Thank you very much.  We’ll have — we’ll have courtesy for all of the candidates on the stage. Speaker Gingrich, if I can ask you the same question.   As president of the United States, would you sign that death warrant for an American citizen overseas who you believe is a terrorist suspect?

GINGRICH:  Well, he’s not a terrorist suspect.  He’s a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking the death of Americans.

PELLEY:  Not found guilty by a court, sir.

GINGRICH:  He was found guilty by a panel that looked at it and reported to the president.

PELLEY:  Well, that’s extrajudicial.

(CROSSTALK)

PELLEY:  It’s not the rule of law.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH:  It is the rule of law.  That is explicitly false.  It is the rule of law.  If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant.  You have none of the civil liberties of the United States.  You cannot go to court.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH:  No, let me be — let me be very clear about this on two levels.  There is a huge gap here that, frankly, far too many people get confused over.  Civil defense, criminal defense is a function of being within the American law.  Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law. It is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war, and the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you.

(APPLAUSE)

(UNKNOWN):  Well said.  Well said.

GARRETT:  Governor Perry, with your indulgence, sir, I would like to change the subject a little bit to China.  According to U.S. officials, China is using cyber-attacks to steal billions of dollars of intellectual property that is critical to this nation’s economic success.  Are we, sir, engaged in financial warfare with China?

PERRY:  Listen, there are some people who have made the statement that the 21st century is going to be the century of China and that, you know, we’ve had our time in the sunshine.  I don’t believe that.  I don’t believe that at all. As a matter of fact, you think back to the 1980s, and we faced a similar type of a situation with Russia.  And Ronald Reagan said that Russia would end up on the ash heap of history, and he was right. I mean, I happen to think that the communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history if they do not change their virtues.  It is important for a country to have virtues, virtues of honesty.  And this whole issue of allowing cyber-security to go on, we need to use all of our resources. The private sector, working along with our government to really —  standing up the cyber-command in 2010 was a good start on that. But fighting this cyber-war, I would suggest, is one of the great issues that will face the next President of the United States and we must win it.

PELLEY:  Governor, thank you.  That’s time. Governor Romney, I wonder, how would you manage China to avoid a 21st century Cold War?

ROMNEY:  Well, China has an interest in trade.  China wants to — as they have 20 million people coming out of the farms and coming into the cities every year, they want to be able to put them to work. They want to have access to global markets.  And so we have, right now, something they need very badly, which is access to our market and our friends around the world have that same power over China. We need to make sure that we let them understand that in order for them to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules. They can’t hack into our computer systems and steal from our government.  They can’t steal from corporations.  They can’t take patents and designs, intellectual property and duplicate them — duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. And they also can’t manipulate their currency in such a way as to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be.  We have to have China understand that, like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules.  And if they do, we’ll have open trade with them and work with them.  And they should, in every way, want to collaborate with us and not become a belligerent nation, economically or militarily. But if you just continue to sit back and let them run over us, the policies of Barack Obama in China have allowed China to continue to expand their — their entry into our computer systems, their entry…

(UNKNOWN):  And…

ROMNEY:  — stealing our intellectual property…

PELLEY:  That’s time, Governor…

ROMNEY:  — and, of course, their military…

PELLEY:  (INAUDIBLE).

ROMNEY:  — their military capacity, as well.

PELLEY:  That’s time, Governor. But I would like to ask you a follow-up on that point.  You — you’ve talked about all the things that China should be doing. How do you affect that as commander-in-chief? How do you make China do these things

ROMNEY:  Well, number one on day one is acknowledging something which everyone knows, they’re a currency manipulator.  And on that basis, we also go before the WT — WTO — and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator.  And that allows us to apply selectively tariffs where we believe they are stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our computers or artificially lowering their prices and killing American jobs. We can’t just sit back and let China run all over us.  People say, well, you’ll start a trade war.  There’s one going on right now, folks.  They’re stealing our jobs and we’re going to stand up to China.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT:  Governor Huntsman, Governor Romney just said we’re in the middle of a war that — we’re not even declared or we’re not even aware of and Governor Perry said China will end up on the ash heap of history. You’ve been in China.  You were the ambassador of our nation there under President Obama. What’s your reaction?

HUNTSMAN:  Well, the real — the reality is a little different, as it usually is when you’re on the ground.  And I’ve tried to figure this out for 30 years of my career. First of all, I don’t think, Mitt, you can take China to the WTO on currency-related issues. Second, I — I don’t know that this country needs a trade war with China.   who does it hurt? Our small businesses in South Carolina, our exporters, our agriculture producers.  We don’t need that at a time when China is about to embark on a generational transition. So what should we be doing? We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China.  They’re called the young people.  They’re called the Internet generation.  There are 500 million Internet users…

PELLEY:  And Governor…

HUNTSMAN:  — in China…

PELLEY:  — we’re going to have to…

HUNTSMAN:  — now 80 million bloggers and they are bringing about change the likes of which is going to take China down.

PELLEY:  We’re going to have to leave it there.

HUNTSMAN:  — while we have an opportunity to go up and win back our economic…

PELLEY:  Governor…

HUNTSMAN:  — manufacturing muscle.

PELLEY:  That’s time.

HUNTSMAN:  That’s all I want to do as president.

PELLEY:  I thank you very much. We will be back with the Republican Commander-In-Chief Debate from Wofford College, in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PELLEY:  Welcome back to South Carolina and the Republican Commander-In-Chief debate. Governor Perry, we just got a question via Twitter from Barbara McMahon. And Barbara asks this question of you:  “Does Governor Perry’s foreign aid starts at zero included Israel?”

PERRY:  Well, governorperry would Tweet back to her that absolutely, every country would start at zero.  Obviously…

(APPLAUSE)

PERRY:  — Israel is a special ally.  And my bet is that we would be funding them at some substantial level.  But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case.  As a matter of fact, we ought to try that — doing that with some of those agencies that I was trying to think the name of the other night.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

PERRY:  Starting at zero, zero-based budgeting, and then we’ll share with you, is — we’ve got to go there.  And everyone has to come in and make their case.  That’s what the American people are doing. There’s somebody at home sitting watching TV tonight, looking for a job.  And they’re having to budget. Why in the world would our federal government get a pass on sending our tax dollars to any country…

PELLEY:  And Governor, I have to…

PERRY:  — without having an answer?

PELLEY:  We’re going to have to leave it right there.

PERRY:  Why?

PELLEY:  I thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

PELLEY:  That brings us to the end of the first hour of the debate.  Some CBS stations will be leaving us.  But you can continue to follow the debate online on CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com. And you can submit questions for the candidates at either of those sites. Most of our stations in South Carolina and on the West Coast will continue to broadcast the debate. When we return, we will take questions from South Carolina’s two senators, United States Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Jim DeMint. With thanks to the candidates…

(APPLAUSE) PELLEY:  — thanks to Wofford College, thanks to the GOP of South Carolina, I’m Scott Pelley.

Campaign Buzz November 12, 2011: CBS News / National Journal GOP Republican Presidential Debate at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina — Iran & Pakistan Central Issues in National Security & Foreign Policy Debate

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

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The eight Republican candidates for president debated Saturday in Spartanburg, S.C. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN SOUTH CAROLINA ON NATIONAL SECURITY & FOREIGN POLICY

CBS News/National Journal Debate — CBS News, 11-12-11

In Full: The CBS News/NJ GOP debate: The commander-in-chief debate: Eight Republican presidential candidates gathered at South Carolina’s Wofford College for a national security and foreign policy debate hosted by CBS News and National Journal…. Watch Video

CBS News, National Journal to host Republican debate on Nov. 12: CBS News and National Journal today are announcing a Republican presidential debate to take place on November 12 at 8 p.m. ET. It will take place at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. and will be moderated by CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley and National Journal congressional correspondent Major Garrett. The debate, the first on broadcast television, will focus primarily on national security…. – CBS News, 11-12-11

Live Blogging the Republican Debate in S.C.: The Republican presidential candidates gather for a debate Saturday night in South Carolina, where Rick Perry will get a chance to redeem his fumbling, forgetful performance in Michigan on Wednesday night…. – NYT, 11-12-11

 

  • The Republicans: Live from South Carolina: Republicans largely agreed with each other on foreign policy issues during a debate Saturday, largely reserving their criticism for President Obama over his stewardship of world affairs…. – USA Today, 11-12-11
  • Live blogging the GOP foreign policy debate — JTA, 11-12-11
  • A look at key moments in Republican debate: Key moments in Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate…. – AP, 11-12-11
  • “We’re here tonight to talk to the American people about why every single one of us is better than Barack Obama.” — Newt GingrichMr. Perry successfully made light of his brain freeze on Wednesday, though he had help from the CBS moderator Scott Pelley.
    When Mr. Pelley began asking how nuclear weapons would be monitored without an Energy Department, Mr. Perry, smiling broadly, cut in with a joke: “I’m glad you remembered it.”
    “I’ve had some time to think about it, sir,” Mr. Pelley said, to which Mr. Perry shot back, “Me too.”

    “Look, one thing you can know, and that is if we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.” — Mitt Romney

    “It’s time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don’t support the United States of America.” — Gov. Rick Perry

  • Up for Debate: Foreign Policy and Obama: The eight major Republican candidates for president joined in a united attack against President Obama as commander in chief during a debate here Saturday, but at times differed sharply over how to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the way forward in Pakistan.
    The debate, held here by CBS News and The National Journal, was the first to focus exclusively on foreign policy, and the candidates seemed more focused on presenting themselves as plausible commanders in chief than on knocking one another off-balance.
    His fortunes rising in polls, former Speaker Newt Gingrich declined an invitation to repeat his Friday critique of the presumed Republican front-runner Mitt Romney as insufficient to the task of changing Washington, saying sternly, “We’re here tonight to talk to the American people about why every single one of us is better than Barack Obama.”… – NYT, 11-12-11
  • At least 3 GOP candidtes say war with Iran is an option: Three Republican candidates for president said they would go to war if Iran Timeline of articlesobtained a nuclear weapon. Mitt Romney, one of the frontrunners and the former Massachusetts governor, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the US House of Representatives…. – JTA, 11-12-11
  • GOP candidates talk tough on Iran, split over Pakistan at debate: As a foreign policy-themed debate got underway in Spartanburg, S.C., on Saturday, it quickly became clear that the eight Republican presidential candidates on the stage were more like-minded on how to handle the threat posed by a nuclear Iran than what do with Pakistan.
    Almost to a candidate, they charged that President Obama wasn’t doing enough to deter Iran from developing a nuclear weapon…. – LAT, 11-12-11
  • Romney: Iran will obtain nuclear weapon if Obama is re-elected: The Republicans vying to challenge President Obama in next year’s election slammed his administration’s foreign policy, suggesting he’s bungled efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear … – Yahoo! News Blogs, 11-12-11
  • Perry: My foreign aid budget starts at zero: Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would cut the United States’ foreign aid budget to zero and then allocate taxpayer dollars depending on each country’s support for America, indicating that Pakistan would no longer receive U.S. aid but Israel would.
    “It’s time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don’t support the United States of America,” Perry said.
    His idea received support from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich but, in the case of Pakistan, was opposed by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at the CBS News/National Journal debate in Spartanburg, S.C…. – CBS News, 11-12-11
  • Romney and Gingrich willing to attack Iran to prevent them from getting nukes: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both said it is worth using the United States military to attack Iran in order to prevent the oil rich nation from obtaining a nuclear weapon…. – CBS News, 11-12-11
  • GOP presidential candidates criticize Obama’s Afghanistan policy: Republican presidential contenders blasted President Barack Obama’s policies on Iran and Afghanistan Saturday night as badly misguided and weak…. – Myrtle Beach Sun News, 11-12-11
  • >GOP presidential debate in South Carolina – live: Can Rick Perry avoid ‘brain freeze’ in tonight’s GOP presidential debate in South Carolina? Follow our live coverage here Republican presidential contender Rick Perry: can he remember his own name in tonight’s GOP debate in South Carolina? … – The Guardian, 11-12-11
  • GOP hopefuls debate foreign policy tonight: The 2012 Republican hopefuls will take the stage again tonight for another debate – this one focused on foreign policy. The event in South Carolina is being hosted by CBS and the National Journal… – Politico, 11-12-11
  • Republican debate in South Carolina tests Rick Perry and Herman Cain once again: The Republican presidential campaign makes a stop in this key primary state Saturday for a debate on foreign policy and national security issues. It could be an especially important moment for businessman Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry… – WaPo, 11-12-11
  • Republican presidential contenders challenge Obama on foreign policy in South Carolina: Republican candidates prepared to challenge President Barack Obama on foreign policy, an issue they have given scant attention in recent weeks, as they gathered Saturday night for their second debate in four days. … – WaPo, 11-12-11
  • CBS/NJ GOP debate tonight: 5 things to watch: Can Rick Perry recover from his disastrous gaffe? Can Gingrich keep the momentum going? Can Cain prove he’s more than 9-9-9? Read more by Jan Crawford on CBS News’ Political Hotsheet….. – CBS News, 11-12-11
  • GOP candidates ready for CBS News/National Journal debate: Eight candidates looking to unseat President Obama will gather on stage at Wofford College Saturday night for a debate on national security and foreign policy hosted by CBS News and National Journal.
    The Spartanburg, South Carolina, debate is chance for Texas Gov. Rick Perry to revive his candidacy after a major flub Wednesday night in Michigan where he said he wants to eliminate three government agencies but could only name two of them. The awkward pause has been played over and over again on TV and the Internet since then.
    In the CBS News poll released Friday, Cain leads the field with 18 percent, followed by Romney and a surging Newt Gingrich at 15 percent. Perry is in fourth place in the poll with 8 percent, followed by Ron Paul at 5 percent, Michele Bachmann at 4 percent, Rick Santorum at 2 percent and Jon Huntsman at 1 percent…. – CBS News, 11-12-11
  • Cain hones in on foreign policy before debate: Hours before the second Republican presidential debate of the week, GOP candidate Herman Cain previewed his foreign policy bona fides before a group of young Republicans in his home state Saturday morning. … – CNN, 11-12-11
  • Gingrich: Bring the Debates On: There may be one Republican candidate prone to memory lapses who wishes he never had to debate again, but Newt Gingrich cannot get enough of these events. Bring the debates on, he told a crowd at the opening…. – NYT, 11-12-11

Full Text Campaign Buzz November 9, 2011: CNBC “Your Money, Your Vote” GOP Republican Presidential Debate at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan Transcript — 9th GOP 2012 Debate on Economy — Perry Experiences Oops Moment

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Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times

Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas at the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday. More Photos »

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

CNBC’s “Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate” Live from Oakland University in Rochester, MI …

CNBC ‘Your Money, Your Vote’ Republican Presidential Debate

The following is a transcript of the CNBC “Your Money, Your Vote” Republican presidential debate at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich, as provided by Federal News Service.

Speakers: Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MINN.)

Businessman and Columnist Herman Cain

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives  Newt Gingrich (R-GA.)

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R)

Representative  Ron Paul (R-TEXAS)

Governor Rick Perry (R-TEXAS)

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R)

Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA.)

Moderators: Maria  Bartiromo and John Harwood

MARIA BARTIROMO: Throughout the evening tonight, we’ll be joinedby an all-star line-up of the smartest people on CNBC. First uptonight: Jim Cramer, the host of “Mad Money.” Jim, welcome.(Cheers, applause.)

JIM CRAMER: Thank you, Maria.

JOHN HARWOOD: And we also want to hear your voice. Go to ourwebsite, debate.cnbc.com, and tweet us at hashtag CNBCdebate. All

night we’ll be showing your tweets on the bottom of the screen, so allthe candidates will have even more of a motive to impress.

MS. BARTIROMO: In the interest of time, the candidates haveagreed to forgo opening and closing statements tonight. So let’s getstarted.

And we begin with you, Mr. Cain. I want to begin with what wesaw today, another rough day for our money, for our 401(k)s. Onceagain we were all impacted by the news that the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage dropped 400 points today. The reason: Italy is on the brinkof financial disaster. It is the world’s seventh-largest economy. Aspresident, what will you do to make sure their problems do not takedown the U.S. financial system?

HERMAN CAIN: Let’s start with two things. First, we must growthis economy. We are the biggest economy in the world, and as long aswe are stagnant in terms of growth in GDP, we impact the rest of theworld. We must do that.

But we’re not going to be able to do that until we put some fuelin the engine that drives economic growth, which is the businesssector. This administration has done nothing but put stuff in thecaboose, and it’s not moving this economy. We must grow this economy,number one.

Number two, we must assure that our currency is sound. Just like — a dollar must be a dollar when we wake up in the morning. Justlike 60 minutes is in an hour, a dollar must be a dollar.

If we are growing this economy the way it has the ability to do, andat the same time we are cutting spending seriously, we will havethings moving in the right direction in order to be able to survivethese kind of (ripple effects ?)

MS. BARTIROMO: So to be clear: Focus on the domestic economy;allow Italy to fail?

MR. CAIN: Focus on the domestic economy, or we will fail. So,yes, focus on the domestic economy first. There’s not a lot that theUnited States can directly do for Italy right now because they have — they’re really way beyond the point of return that we — we as theUnited States can save them.

MS. BARTIROMO: Governor Romney, should we allow Italy to fail?Should we have a stake in what’s going on in the eurozone right now?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, Europe is able to take care of their ownproblems. We don’t want to step in and try and bail out their banksand bail out their governments. They have the capacity to deal withthat themselves. They’re a very large economy. And there will be,I’m sure, cries if Italy does default, if Italy does get in trouble,and we don’t know that’ll happen. But if they get to a point wherethey’re in crisis and banks throughout Europe could hold a lot ofItaly debt, we’ll — we’ll then face crisis. And there’ll have to besome kind of effort to try and uphold their financial system.

There will be some who say here that banks in the U.S. that haveItalian debt — that we ought to help those as well. My view is, no,no, no. We do not need to step in to bail out banks either in Europeor banks here in the U.S. that may have Italian debt. The rightanswer is for us — (applause) —

MS. BARTIROMO: But the U.S. does contribute to the InternationalMonetary Fund, and the IMF has given $150 billion to the eurozone.Are you saying the U.S. should stop contributing to the IMF?

MR. ROMNEY: I’m happy to continue to participate in worldefforts like the World Bank and the IMF. But I’m not happy to havethe United States government put in place a TARP-like program to tryand save U.S. banks that have Italian debt, foreign banks doingbusiness in the U.S. that have Italian debt, or European debt — we’rejust — of banks there.

There’s going to be an effort to try and draw us in and talkabout how we need to help — help Italy and help Europe. Europe isable to help Europe. We have to focus on getting our own economy inorder and making sure we never reach the kind of problem Italy ishaving.

If we stay on the course we’re on, with the level of borrowingthis administration is carrying out, if we don’t get serious aboutcutting and capping our spending and balancing our budget, you’regoing to find America in the same position Italy is in four or fiveyears from now, and that is unacceptable. We got to fix our — ourdeficit here. (Applause.)

JIM CRAMER: Congressman Paul. (Inaudible) — to say. You know,I really get that. But I’m on the front lines of the stock market.We were down 400 points today. We’re not going to be done going downif this keeps going up, if Italy keeps — the rate keeps going up.Surely you must recognize that this is a moment-to-moment situationfor people who have 401(k)s and IRAs and the like, and you wouldn’tjust let it fail, just go away and take our banking system with it.

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL (R-TX): No, you don’t. You have to letit — you have to let it liquidate. We’ve had — we took 40 years tobuild up this worldwide debt. We’re in a debt crisis never seenbefore in our history. The sovereign debt of this world is equal tothe GDP, as ours is in this country. If you prop it up, you’ll doexactly what we did in the Depression, prolong the agony. If you do — if you prop it up, you do what Japan has done for 20 years.

So, yes, you want to liquidate the debt. The debt isunsustainable. And this bubble was predictable because 40 years ago,we had no restraints whatsoever on the monetary authorities and wepiled debt on debt, we pyramided debt, we had no restraints on thespending. And if you keep bailing people out and prop it up, you justprolong the agony, as we’re doing in the housing bubble.

Right now Fannie May and Freddie Mac are demanding more moneybecause we don’t allow the market to determine what these mortgagesare worth. If you don’t liquidate this and clear the market, believeme, you’re going to perpetuate this for a decade or two more, and thatis very, very dangerous. (Applause.)

MR. CRAMER: Governor Huntsman. (Inaudible.) Italy’s too big tofail. It’s great. I would love it if we were independent. It wouldbe terrific (to say it’s your fault ?), it’s your fault and it’s yourproblem.

But if this goes, the world banking system could shut down. Doesn’tthat involve our banks, too?

JON HUNTSMAN: So we wake up this morning, and we find that theyield curve with respect to Italy is up and prices are down. So ifyou want a window into what this country is going to look like in thefuture if we don’t get on top of our debt, you’re seeing it playingout in Europe right now. You’re seeing the metastasy effect of thebanking sector.

And what does it mean here? What am I most concerned about, Jim?I’m concerned that it impacts us in a way that moves into our bankingsector, where we’ve got a huge problem called “too big to fail” inthis country. We have six banks in this country that, combined, haveassets worth 66 percent of our nation’s GDP, $9.4 trillion. Theseinstitutions get hit, they have an implied bailout by the taxpayers inthis country. And that means we’re setting ourselves up for disasteragain.

Jim, as long as we have banks that are too big to fail in thiscountry, we’re going to catch the contagion, and it’s going to hurtus. We’ve got to get back to a day and age where we have properly-sized banks and financial institutions.

JOHN HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. (Applause.)

Governor Romney, I want to switch to the bailout drama that we’velived through in this country, and no state understands it better thanthe state of Michigan. I’m going to talk a little bit about yourrecord on that. Four years ago when you were running for theRepublican nomination and the auto industry was suffering, you said,where’s Washington? After the election, when the Bush administrationwas considering financial assistance for the automakers, you said no,let Detroit go bankrupt. Now that the companies are profitable againafter a bailout supported by your Republican governor here inMichigan, you said, well, actually, President Obama implemented myplan all along, or he gravitated to my plan. With a record like thatof seeming to be on all sides of the issue, why should Republicans beconfident in the steadiness of your economic leadership?

MR. ROMNEY: John, I care about about this state and about theauto industry like — I’d guess like no one else on this stage, havingbeen born and raised here, watched my parents make their life here. Iwas here in the 1950s and 1960s when Detroit and Michigan was thepride of the nation. I’ve seen this industry and I’ve seen this statego through tough times.

And my view some years ago was that the federal government, byputting in place CAFE requirements that helped foreign automobilesgain market share in the U.S., was hurting Detroit. And so I said,where is — where is Washington? They’re not doing the job they oughtto be doing.

My view with regards to the bailout was that whether it was byPresident Bush or by President Obama, it was the wrong way to go. Isaid from the very beginning they should go through a managedbankruptcy process, a private bankruptcy process. We have capitalmarkets and bankruptcy. It works in the U.S. The idea of billions ofdollars being wasted initially — then finally they adopted themanaged bankruptcy. I was among others that said we ought to do that.

And then after that, they gave the company to the UAW, they gaveGeneral Motors to the UAW, and they gave Chrysler to Fiat. My plan,we would have had a private sector bailout with the right — privatesector restructuring and bankruptcy with the private sector guidingthe — the direction, as opposed to what we had with the governmentplaying its heavy hand.

MR. HARWOOD: Governor, let me follow up, because — (applause) — the auto bailout is part of a larger issue facing your candidacy,as you know. Your opponents have said you’ve switched positions onmany issues. It’s an issue of character — not personal, butpolitical. You seemed to encapsulate it in what — the last debatewhen you said: I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake.

What can you say to Republicans to persuade them the things yousay in the campaign are rooted in something deeper than the fact thatyou’re running for office?

MR. ROMNEY: I think — John, I think people know me pretty well,particularly in this state, in the state of Massachusetts, NewHampshire that’s close by, Utah where I (served in ?) the Olympics. Ithink people understand that I’m a man of steadiness and constancy.

I don’t think you’re going to find somebody who has more of thoseattributes than I do.

I’ve been married to the same woman for 25 — excuse me — (chuckles) I get in trouble — for 42 years. (Laughter.) I’ve — I’ve been in the same church my entire life. I worked at one company,Bain, for 25 years, and I left that to go up and — off and help savethe Olympic Games.

I think it’s outrageous the Obama campaign continues to push thisidea when you have in the Obama administration the most politicalpresidency we’ve seen in modern history. They’re actually decidingwhen to pull out of Afghanistan based on politics.

Let me tell you this. If I’m president of the United States, Iwill be true to my family, to my faith and to our country, and I willnever apologize for the United States of America. That’s my belief.(Cheers, applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Now, Governor Perry, I want to ask you about this,because you’ve raised this issue yourself about Governor Romney, andyou’re running as a politician with strong convictions. From the flipside, Ronald Reagan raised taxes when the deficit got too big. GeorgeW. Bush supported TARP and the auto bailout when he thought we mightface a Great Depression — second Great Depression. Does that,examples like that, tell you that good, effective leaders need to showthe kind of flexibility that Governor Romney has showed on someissues?

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R-TX): The next president of the UnitedStates needs to send a powerful message not just to the people of thiscountry but around the world that America is going to be Americaagain; that we are not going to pick winners and losers fromWashington, D.C.; that we’re going to trust the capital markets andthe private sector to make the decisions and let the consumers pickwinners and losers.

And it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s Wall Street orwhether it’s some corporate entity or whether it’s some Europeancountry. If you are too big to fail, you are too big. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Speaker Gingrich, Federal Reserve Chairman BenBernanke has called the unemployment in this country a national crisisdue to the amount of days people are out — months that people are outof work and the number of people out of work. Many of you have comeup with tax reform plans. Why is tax reform the path to job creation?And if it’s not the only path, what else can you implement to getpeople back to work?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I think Ben Bernanke is alarge part of the problem and ought to be fired as rapidly aspossible. (Cheers, applause.) I think the Federal Reserve ought tobe audited, and we should have all the decision documents for 2008, ‘9and ’10 so we can understand who he bailed out, why he bailed themout, who he did not bail out and why he did not bail them out.(Cheers, applause.) So I’m — I’m glad that Ben Bernanke recognizessome of the wreckage his policies have led to.

I’ve — the reason we follow — I think most of us are for taxpolicies that lead to jobs is because we’ve had two cycles in mylifetime, Ronald Reagan and the Contract with America, both of whichhad the same policies: lower taxes, less regulation, more Americanenergy, and have faith in the American job creator, as distinct from aSaul Alinsky radicalism of higher taxes, bigger bureaucracy with moreregulations, no American energy — as the president announced againtoday in his decision on offshore — and finally, class warfare. So Iwould say that all of us on this stage represent a dramaticallygreater likelihood of getting to a paycheck and leaving behind foodstamps than does Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Congressman Bachmann, same question to you. Howcan you create jobs as quickly as possible?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): Well, I think one thingthat we know is that taxes lead to jobs leaving the country. All youneed to know is that we have the second-highest corporate tax rate inthe world. And if you go back to 1981 and you look around the world,we had a lot of high corporate tax countries.

It was 47 percent, on average, on a lot of countries across the world.But if you look today in the United States, we have an effective rate,if you average in state taxes with federal taxes, of about 40 percent;but the world took a — took a clue. Because capital is mobile, andcapital went to places where corporate tax rates went to 25 percentand falling. We’re still stuck in a 1986 era of about a 40-percenttax rate.

We have to lower the tax rate, because of the cost of doingbusiness, but we have to do so much more than that. We — our biggestproblem right now is our regulatory burden. The biggest regulatoryproblem we have is “Obamacare” and Dodd-Frank. I will repeal thosebills. I’ve written those bills to repeal those bills. They gottago. But beyond that — (cheers, applause) — but beyond that, we haveto legalize American energy.

And here’s something else that we have to do that will help theeconomy. We have to build the fence on America’s southern border andget a grip on dealing with our immigration problem. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: OK.

MR. HARWOOD: Senator Santorum, you’ve proposed a zero tax onmanufacturing businesses.

RICK SANTORUM: I have.

MR. HARWOOD: All right. I understand the sentiment behind that,and the state of Michigan’s lost hundreds of thousands ofmanufacturing jobs over the last few decades. Isn’t that the kind ofdistortion in the tax code that people want to get away from in orderto get rates down — flatter, simpler, fairer?

MR. SANTORUM: I think getting the rate down to zero is down — is pretty far down. That’s good. It’s down to zero — (inaudible) —

MR. HARWOOD: But it’s down for the manufacturing industry, asopposed to people doing other things. Isn’t that picking winners andlosers?

MR. SANTORUM: It’s down for a sector of the economy, not pickingan individual winner or loser. It’s down for an entire sector of theeconomy, that we’re getting our hat handed to us by losing jobs. I — we see that here in Michigan; we see it across this country. And the

reason is government has made us uncompetitive. We need to compete ontaxes. We need to compete on regulations.

We need to repeal “Obamacare.” I’ve said I’m going to repeal everysingle Obama-era regulation that costs business over a hundred milliondollars. Repeal them all. We’ll save — we’ll send a very clearmessage out to manufacturers in this country and all over the worldthat America will compete.

Some have suggested we need to go into a trade war with China andhave tariffs. That just taxes you. I don’t want to tax you. I wantto create an atmosphere where businesses and manufacturers can beprofitable. Lower taxes, repatriating funds, zero percent tax if yourepatriate those funds and invest them in plant and equipment.

And then of course an energy policy that everyone on this stageis going to agree with, that says we are going to produce energy inthis country. I’m different than many of them, that — I’m going tocut all the subsidies out and let the market work, as opposed tocreating incentives for different forms of energy that the governmentsupports. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: You have all said that you will repeal thepresident’s health care legislation. We will get into that because wewant to know, then what? What is the plan once you repeal”Obamacare?”

But first, Mr. Cain, the American people want jobs but they alsowant leadership. They want character in a president. In recent days,we have learned that four different women have accused you ofinappropriate behavior. Here we’re focusing on character and onjudgement. (Boos.)

You’ve been a CEO. (Boos.) You know that shareholders arereluctant to hire a CEO where there are character issues. Why shouldthe American people hire a president if they feel there are characterissues?

MR. CAIN: The American people deserve better than someone beingtried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations.(Cheers, applause.)

And I value my character and my integrity more than anythingelse. And for every one person that comes forward with a falseaccusation, there are probably — there are thousands who would saynone of that sort of activity ever came from Herman Cain.

You’re right, this country’s looking for leadership. And this is whya lot of people, despite what has happened over the last nine days,are still very enthusiastic behind my candidacy.

Over the last nine days — (applause) — over the last nine days,the voters have voted with their dollars, and they’re saying theydon’t care about the character assassination, they care aboutleadership and getting this economy growing and all of the otherproblems we face. (Applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Romney, when you were at Bain Capital, youpurchased a lot of companies. You could fire the CEO and themanagement team or you could keep them. Would you keep a CEO — areyou persuaded by what Mr. Cain has said? Would you keep him on if youhad bought his company? (Boos.)

MR. ROMNEY: I’m — look. Look, Herman Cain is the person torespond to these questions. He just did. The people in this room andacross the country can make their own assessment. I’m not going to — (applause) — inaudible). (Extended cheers and applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Huntsman, let me switch back to theeconomy. (Cheers, applause.)

Many Republicans have criticized the Occupy Wall Street movement.Well, we have have an NBC News/Wall Street poll this week that showeda large proportion of the American people, 76 percent, said theybelieve there’s something wrong with our economy that tilts toward thewealthy at the expense of others.

Do you consider something wrong with the structure of our economyand the income inequality that it produces? Is that somethinggovernment should do something about?

And if so, what?

JON HUNTSMAN: Let me just say that I want to be the president ofthe 99 percent. I also want to be the president of the 1 percent.This nation is divided, and it’s painful, and it is unnatural for themost optimistic blue-sky people this world has ever known. We areproblem solvers.

When I hear out the people who are part of the Wall Streetprotests, I (say ?) thank goodness we have the ability to speak out.I might not agree with everything they say. I don’t like the anti-capitalism messages. But I do agree that this country is never againgoing to bail out corporations.

I do agree — (applause) — thank you. I do agree that we haveblown through trillions and trillions of dollars with nothing to showon the balance sheet but debt and no uplift in our ability to competeand no addressing our level of unemployment.

And I do agree that we have institutions, banks, that are too bigto fail in this country, and until we address that problem — we canfix taxes, we can fix the regulatory environment, we can move towardenergy independence; so long as we have instant banks that are too bigto fail, we are setting ourselves up for long-term disaster andfailure.

MR. HARWOOD: So, Governor, you agree with Governor Romney thatthe bailout that Governor Snyder supports in Michigan was a mistake?

MR. HUNTSMAN: The bailout here in the auto sector, $68 billionworth — we’re going to end up footing a bill — Governor Snyder knowsthat — of probably $15 billion when all is said and done. I don’tthink that’s a good use of taxpayer money. Instead there ought to besome way of taking the auto sector through some sort ofreorganization, get them back on their feet. The people in thiscountry are sick and tired of seeing taxpayer dollars go towardbailouts and we’re not going to have it anymore in this country.(Applause.)

MR. CRAMER: Governor Romney, do you believe public companieshave any social responsibility to create jobs?

Or do you believe, as Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, the mostimportant, most influential conservative economist of the 20th centuryheld, that corporations should exist solely to create maximum profitfor their shareholders?

MR. ROMNEY: This is a wonderful philosophical debate, but youknow what? We — we don’t have to decide between the two because theygo together. Our Democratic friends think that when a corporation isprofitable, that’s a bad thing. I remember asking some, where do youthink — where do you think profits go? When you hear that a companyis profitable, where do you think it goes? And they said, well, topay the executives their big bonuses. I said no, actually, none of itgoes to pay the executives. Profit is what’s left over after they’veall been paid. What happens with profit is that you can grow thebusiness. You can expand it. You add working capital, and you hirepeople.

The right thing for America is to have profitable enterprisesthat can hire people. I want to make American businesses successfuland thrive. What we have in Washington today is a president and anadministration that doesn’t like business, that somehow thinks theywant jobs, but they don’t like businesses. Look, I want to see ourbusinesses thrive and grow and expand and be profitable. (Cheers,applause.) I want to see — (inaudible) — I want a (job ?) —

MR. CRAMER: Governor Perry, 30 seconds to you. Do you thinkthat companies can both be profitable and be able to create jobs? Doyou think it’s a dichotomy, or do you think they can do it?

GOV. PERRY: They better be. They better be, and that’s thereason the tax plan that I laid out, a 20 percent flat tax on thepersonal side and a 20 percent corporate tax rate — that will getpeople working in this country. (Applause.) We need to go out thereand stick a big old flag in the middle of America that says, “Open forbusiness again.” (Cheers, applause.)

MR. CRAMER: Mr. Speaker, how about to you? Can corporations doboth?

MR. GINGRICH: Look, obviously, corporations can and should doboth. And what is amazing to me is the inability of much of ouracademic world and much of our news media and most of the people onOccupy Wall Street to have a clue about history.

(Cheers, applause.)

In this town, Henry Ford started as an Edison Electric supervisorwho went home at night and built his first car in the garage. Now,was he in the 99 percent, or the 1 percent? Bill Gates drops out ofcollege to found Microsoft. Is he in the 1 percent, or the 99percent?

Historically, this is the richest country in the history of theworld because corporations succeed in creating both profits and jobs.And it’s sad that the news media doesn’t report accurately how theeconomy works. (Cheers, applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: (Inaudible) — I’d like to know what the — Mr.Speaker, I’m sorry, but what is the media — what is the mediareporting inaccurately about the economy?

MR. GINGRICH: What? (Laughter.)

MS. BARTIROMO: What is the media reporting inaccurately aboutthe economy?

MR. GINGRICH: (I love humor disguised as a question ?). That’sterrific. (Laughter.)

I have yet to hear a single reporter ask a single Occupy WallStreet person a single rational question about the economy that wouldlead them to say, for example: Who’s going to pay for the park you’reoccupying if there are no businesses making a profit? (Cheers,applause.)

MR. CRAMER: Senator Santorum, I want to talk about a high-quality problem our country has. I just came back from North Dakota.We have made the largest oil discovery in a generation there. Notonly is it a — defined a big step toward creating energyindependence, it stands to create as many as 300,000 jobs. But whatthe guys tell me up there is that they can’t handle the rush withoutfederal help. Would you favor incentives — incentives to get workersand businesses to where the jobs are — to support this boom?

MR. SANTORUM: No, because we’ve done it in Pennsylvania.Pennsylvania has Marcellus shale. It took a while for us to ramp up,but we’re drilling 3(,000) to 4,000 wells. The price of natural gas,because of Marcellus shale — which is the second largest natural gas

find in the world — has gone from $12 to $3.65. And we let themarketplace work.

So no, we didn’t have the federal government come in and bail us out.

I want to make the point about manufacturing jobs again, becauseif you’re — if you’re talking about creating jobs that trickle down,I agree with Newt. We have folks who have (sic) innovators. But healways — he talked about innovators that created jobs for blue-collarworkers. The unemployment rate among non-college-educated is wellinto the double digits in America. It’s 4 or 5 percent for people whohave college degrees.

The reason I put forth this manufacturing point is not just so wecan say “made here in America.” That we can create opportunities foreveryone in America, including those that don’t have that collegeskill set. People who built this country, like my grandfather who wasa coal miner.

So that is a very important part that Republicans, unfortunately,are not talking about. We need to talk about income mobility. Weneed to talk about people at the bottom of the — of the income scalebeing able to get necessary skills and rise so they can supportthemselves and a family. And that’s what manufacturing does, andthat’s why I’m laser-beam focused on it. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Let’s get back to tax reform.

Mr. Cain, let’s talk fairness in taxation. Ever since thiscountry started taxing income a hundred years ago, our system chargesthose people who make more money a higher rate than those people whomake less money. Governor Perry has said he doesn’t believe in thatapproach, and your 9-9-9 plan suggests you don’t either.

Why now, when the higher-income group is doing better than therest of America, is the time to switch to the same rate for all of us?

MR. CAIN: My proposal is the only one that solves the problem bythrowing out the current tax code, which has been a mess for decades — (applause) — and we need to put in something different that I’veproposed: 9-9-9. It satisfies five simple criteria.

It is simple. The complexity costs us $430 billion a year.

It is transparent. People know what it is. There are thousandsof hidden “sneak attaxes” in the current tax code. That’s why I wantto throw it out.

It is fair. The reason it’s fair is because of the definition inWebster, which says everybody gets treated the same, all businessesget treated the same, not having Washington, D.C., pick winners andlosers. This is why I have proposed a bold plan of 9-9-9: 9 percentbusiness flat tax, 9 percent tax on personal income, a 9-percentnational sales tax. It treats everybody the same. And it will boostthis economy.

MS. BARTIROMO: How do you ensure that when the government needsmore revenue, that the sales tax doesn’t go up and that plan doesn’tturn into 19-19-19?

MR. CAIN: Tax codes do not raise taxes, politicians do.(Cheers, applause.) And as long as it’s visible, the people will holdthe politicians’ feet to the fire. It’s not the code that raisestaxes, it’s the politicians. Because the code — because the approach9-9-9 will be very visible, the American people are going to hold therates at 9.

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Romney, Mr. Cain’s got a flat tax, RickPerry’s got a flat tax, Congresswoman Bachmann is talking about a flattax. You don’t have a flat tax. You’re proposing to preserve theBush era tax rates. What is wrong with the idea that we should go toone rate? Why do you believe in a progressive tax system?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, I would like to see our tax rates flatter.I’d like to see our code simpler. I’d like to see the special breaksthat we have in the code taken out. That’s one of the reasons why I’dtake the corporate rate from 35 down to 25, is to take out some of thespecial deals that are there.

With regards to our tax code, what I want to do is to take ourprecious dollars as a nation and focus them on the people in thiscountry that have been hurt the most, and that’s the middle class.

The Obama economy has really crushed middle-income Americans. Thispresident has failed us so badly. We have 26 million people out ofwork or in part-time jobs, that need full-time work or have stoppedlooking for work altogether.

Median incomes have dropped 10 percent in the last three years.At the same time, gasoline prices are up, food prices are up, healthcare costs are up. And so what I want to do is help the people who’vebeen hurt the most. And that’s the middle class. And so what I do isfocus a substantial tax break on middle-income Americans.

Ultimately, I’d love to see if — see us come up with a plan thatsimplifies the code and lowers rates for everybody. But right now,let’s get the job done first that has to be done immediately. Let’slower the tax rates on middle-income Americans.

MR. HARWOOD: Congresswoman Bachmann, Governor Romney isaccepting — (applause) — the premises of the Democratic argumentthat you have to have a fair approach to taxation that preservesdifferent rates for different people.

Why is he wrong?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, I would say President Obama is the onethat’s wrong, because President Obama’s plan for job creation hasabsolutely nothing to do with the true people who know how to createjobs. He should really be going to job creators if he wants to knowhow to create jobs.

Instead, he continues to go to General Axelrod in Chicago to lookfor his orders to figure out how to deal with the economy. That won’twork.

We know what needs to be done. We have a real problem. When youhave 53 percent of Americans paying federal income taxes, but you have47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes, you have areal problem.

And that’s why in my tax plan, I have everyone paying something,because everyone benefits by this magnificent country. So even if itmeans paying the price of two Happy Meals a year, like $10, everyonecan afford to pay at least that. And what it does is create amentality in the United States that says that freedom is free. Butfreedom isn’t free.

We all benefit. We all need to sacrifice. Everybody has to be a partof this tax code. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Congressman Ron Paul, you have said you want toclose down agencies. Tell us about your tax plan, as well as closingagencies, federal agencies. Where do those jobs go?

REP. PAUL: Well, eventually they go into the private sector.They don’t all leave immediately when the plan goes into effect.(Scattered applause.)

But what my plan does is, it addresses taxes in a littledifferent way. We’re talking about the tax code, but that’s theconsequence, that’s the symptoms. The disease is spending. Everytime you spend — (scattered applause) — spending is a tax. We taxthe people, we borrow, and then we print the money, and then theprices go up, and that is a tax. So you have to address the subjectof spending. That is the tax.

That is the reason I go after the spending. I propose in thefirst year cut $1 trillion out of the budget — (cheers, applause) — in five departments.

Now the — the other thing is — that you must do if you want toget the economy going and growing again is you have to get rid ofprice fixing. And the most significant price fixing that goes on, thatgave us the bubble, destroyed the economy and is preventing this fromcoming out is the price fixing of the Federal Reserve manipulatinginterest rates way below market rates. (Applause.) You have to havethe market determine interest rates if you want a healthy, viableeconomy.

MS. BARTIROMO: So you think the economy would be stronger ifinterest rates were higher right now?

REP. PAUL: You would have — you would have more incentive. Youwould take care of the elderly. They get cheated. They get nothingfor their CDs. Why — why cheat them and give the banks loans at 0percent? Then they loan it back to the government at 3 percent.They’re ripping us off at the expense of those on fixed incomes andthen retirees.

MS. BARTIROMO: Even though higher interest rates would make itmuch more expensive to borrow mortgages, borrow —

REP. PAUL: But what you want is the market to determine this.Whoever thought that one person, the Federal Reserve Board chairman,knows what the money supply should be? Just in the past six months,M1 has gone up at the rate of 30 percent.

That spells inflation. That spells lower standard of living andhigher prices. And watch out, they’re coming. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: We are just getting started tonight. When wereturn, how will the candidates breathe new life into the lifelesshousing market?

MR. HARWOOD: Plus, the view of the economy from the corneroffice.

(Video plays:)

MR. : I think that we’re in serious trouble. Businesspeopleare struggling.

MR. : The problems of the economy didn’t arrive in 20minutes, and they won’t be resolved in 20 minutes.

MR. : The most important economic issue of concern to me islack of leadership in government and the lack of any focus on buildingconfidence both with consumers and the business community.

(Video ends.)

MR. HARWOOD: So how are the candidates going to turn thingsaround? CNBC’s Republican presidential debate will be right back.Stay with us. (Applause.)

(Announcements.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Welcome back to CNBC’s Republican presidentialdebate. With us for this portion of the program, CNBC’s senioreconomics reporter, Steve Liesman.

Welcome, Steve. (Applause.)

STEVE LIESMAN (CNBC senior economics reporter): It’s great to behere, Maria. Thank you.

MS. BARTIROMO: Most economists agree that there can be noeconomic recovery without a recovery in housing. American familieshave lost some $7 trillion in home value in the last five years.Right now 4 million people are behind on their mortgage or inforeclosure. Twenty-five percent of homeowners owe more to the banksthan their house is actually worth.

Governor Romney has said that the government should let theforeclosure process play out so that the housing market can recoverand the free markets can work.

Speaker Gingrich, is Governor Romney right?

MR. GINGRICH: Well, he’s certainly right in the sense that youwant to get through to the real value of the houses as fast as youcan, because they’re not going to rise in value as long as you staytrapped, as Japan has done now for 20 years. But I think there aretwo specific steps you got to understand in terms of housing.

To pick up on something Congresswoman Bachmann said, if theRepublican House next week would repeal Dodd-Frank and allow us to putpressure on the Senate to repeal Dodd-Frank, you’d see the housingmarket start to improve overnight. Dodd-Frank kills small banks; itkills small business. The federal regulators are anti-housing loan.And it has maximized the pain level.

You could also change some of the rules so that it would beeasier to do a short sale, where the house is worth less than themortgage, than it is to do a foreclosure. Today the banks areactually profiting more by foreclosing than by encouraging shortsales.

But in the long run, you want the housing market to come back?the economy has to come back. When you’re at 4-percent unemployment,you suddenly have a dramatic increase in demand for housing. Whenyou’re at 9- percent-plus unemployment, it’s hard to get the housingmarket to come back.

MS. BARTIROMO: Governor Romney, respond in 30 seconds. Not oneof your 59 points in your economic plan mentions or addresses housing.Can you tell us why?

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, because it’s not a housing plan, it’s a jobsplan. And the right way to get — (cheers, applause.)

The best — the best thing you can do for housing is to get theeconomy going, get have people working again, seeing incomes, insteadof going down, incomes coming up so people can afford to buy homes.The things the speaker just indicated are excellent ideas as well.You have to let the market work and get people in homes again, and thebest way for that to happen is to — is to allow this economy toreboot.

What we know won’t work is what this president has done, which isto try and hold off the foreclosure process, the normal marketprocess, to — to put money into a stimulus that failed and to put inplace a whole series of policies from “Obamacare” to Dodd-Frank thathave made it harder for this economy to get going. You want to getAmerica’s economy going, we know how to do it. It’s do almost theexact opposite of what President Obama has done. (Cheers, applause.)

(Off-mic exchange.)

MR. LIESMAN: Governor Romney, we’ve created 2.7 million jobssince February 2010. Over that period of time, the housing market hascontinued to decline. We’re at 2003 price levels now. If we keepgoing the way we’re going, in four or five years we’ll be at 1999price levels. The $7 trillion figure that Maria mentioned couldalmost double. Are you willing to let that happen in America?

MR. ROMNEY: And exactly what you — what would you do instead?Would you decide to have —

MR. LIESMAN: I’m asking you.

MR. ROMNEY: — have — to have the federal government go out andbuy all the homes in America? That — that’s not going to happen inthis country. Markets work. When you have government play its heavyhand, markets blow up, and people get hurt.

And the reason we have the housing crisis we have is that thefederal government played too heavy a role in our markets. Thefederal government came in with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — (cheers,applause) — and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd told banks they have togive loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back. And so — and so our friends — our friends in Washington today, they say, oh,if we’ve got a problem in the housing, let’s let government play abigger role.

That’s the wrong way to go. Let markets work. Help people getback to work. Let them buy homes. You’ll see home prices come backup if we allow this market to work.

(Applause.)

MR. LIESMAN: But Governor Perry, every quarter I get the report,the GDP figures, and it’s a negative number for housing. And we’velost some 2 million construction jobs. Housing creates jobs as well;doesn’t it?

GOV. PERRY: Not a negative number in Texas, and one of thereasons is because we have put policies into place that follow my planto get America back working again.

MR. LIESMAN: OK, so translate that plan to America, please.

GOV. PERRY: When you look at what I’ve laid out, whether it’sthe energy side and getting the energy industry going — and RickSantorum is absolutely correct on that, is let’s get our energyindustry freed up, federal lands, federal waters — pull back all ofthose regulations. Everybody on this stage understands, it’s theregulatory world that is killing America. (Applause.)

The tax side of it, yeah, have a flat tax. Have a corporate flattax in there, as well. But the real issue facing America areregulations. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s the EPA orwhether it’s the federal banking, the Dodd-Frank or “Obamacare,”that’s what’s killing America. And the next president of the UnitedStates has to have the courage to go forward, pull back everyregulation since 2008, audit them for one thing: Is it creating jobs,or is it killing jobs? And if that regulation is killing jobs, doaway with it. (Applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Well, Congresswoman Bachmann, in one of the lastdebates you were asked what you would do about foreclosures, and youtold moms to hang on. But your advice, as your colleagues havementioned, was: Let the economy recover. So you agree with GovernorRomney that the way to fix the housing market is to let theforeclosure process proceed more rapidly?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, what I agree with is that we have got tostop what we’re doing now. When we had the financial meltdown, 50percent of the homes were being financed by Fannie and Freddie; today,it’s 90 percent of the homes. In other words, the government is thebacker of the homes.

Well, let’s take a look and an analysis of what a great,brilliant job Freddie and Fannie are doing. They just applied thisweek for another $7 billion bailout because they’re failing. Theother one applied for a $6 billion bailout because they’re failing.

But what did they do? They just gave bonuses of almost $13million to 10 top executives. This is the epicenter of capital crony — crony capitalism. That’s what’s wrong with Washington, D.C. Forthese geniuses to give 10 of their top executives bonuses at $12million, and then have the guts to come to the American people andsay, give us another 13 billion (dollars) to bail us out just for thequarter? That’s lunacy. We need to put them back into bankruptcy — (applause) — and get them out of business. They’re destroying thehousing market.

MR. HARWOOD: Since you mentioned Fannie and Freddie, SpeakerGingrich, 30 seconds to you. Your firm was paid $300,000 by FreddieMac in 2006. What did you do for that money?

MR. GINGRICH: You — were you asking me?

MR. HARWOOD: Yes.

MR. GINGRICH: I offered them advice on precisely what theydidn’t do. (Laughter, applause.)

Look, look, this is not — this is —

MR. HARWOOD: Were you not trying to help Freddie Mac fend offthe effort by the Bush administration —

MR. GINGRICH: No. No, I do no — I have never done that.

MR. HARWOOD: — to curb Freddie Mac?

MR. GINGRICH: I have never done — I assume I get a secondquestion. I have never done any lobbying, every contract that waswritten during the period when I was out of the office specificallysaid I would do no lobbying, and I offered advice. And my advice as ahistorian, when they walked in and said to me, we are now making loansto people who have no credit history and have no record of paying backanything, but that’s what the government wants us to do, is I said — I said to them at the time: This is a bubble. This insane. This isimpossible.

It turned out, unfortunately, I was right and the people who weredoing exactly what Congresswoman Bachmann talked about were wrong.And I think it’s a good case for breaking up Fannie Mae and FreddieMac and getting much smaller institutions back into the private sectorto be competitive and to be responsible for their behavior.(Applause.)

MR. LIESMAN: Mr. Cain, government-sponsored entities Fannie Maeand Freddie Mac, as Congresswoman Bachmann said, now underwrite orguarantee 90 percent of the home financing in this country. Whatwould you do with these — with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Would youshut them down even though it could mean higher interest rates forAmericans and make it even harder than it is right now for Americansto get home loans?

MR. CAIN: You don’t start there. You start with fixing the realproblem, which is growing this economy, which is why I have put a boldsolution on the table, 9-9-9.

Secondly, then you get the regulators off of the backs of thebanks, like someone mentioned, get the regulars out of the way, suchthat the small banks and the medium-sized banks aren’t being forcedout of the business. They would then be in a better position, andthey might develop a desire in order to help homeowners reset theirmortgages if they were able to see, number three, some certainty.Uncertainty is what’s killing this economy, and until we throw out thetax code and put in something bold, get government out the way byreducing the regulatory environment, we are going to still have thehousing problem.

MR. LIESMAN: I’m sorry, Mr. Cain, but you would come into officeand Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be there, and the question was,what would you do with them?

MR. CAIN: OK, after I did those three things that I outlined,then deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

MR. LIESMAN: Right.

MR. CAIN: You don’t start solving a problem right in the middleof it, so we got to do that first.

I would also turn those GSEs into private entities. Thegovernment does not need to be in that business. I would find a wayto unwind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac such that the marketplace candetermine the future of the housing market. (Applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Huntsman, I want to go back to the issuethat you raised before about “too big to fail.” If anything, thatproblem has gotten worse since the financial crisis than before. The10 biggest bank holding companies in this country now hold nearly 90percent of all the assets in the banking system, up from 75 percent in2006. So what would you do? Would you break up the banks to removethe risk or diminish the risk for American taxpayers?

MR. HUNTSMAN: Let me just say on the housing discussion here,lost in all of this debate is the fact that there are people tuning intonight who are upside-down in terms of the financing of their homes,who are feeling real pain, people who probably heard today that theylost a job. These issues are very real. They’re complicated. For usto say that there’s an easy solution to housing, that’s just notright. And that’s not fair. The economy does have to recover inorder for the housing market to pick up its slack and for us to getonto housing starts, which ought to be 15 percent of our nation’s GDP,and today it’s 2 percent.

With respect to the banks that are too big to fail, you know,today we’ve got, as I mentioned earlier, six institutions that areequal to 60 (percent), 65 percent of our GDP, $9.4 trillion. Theyhave an implied guarantee by the taxpayers that they’ll be protected.That’s not fair. That’s not right for the taxpayers.

MR. HARWOOD: So you break them up?

MR. HUNTSMAN: I say we need to — we need to right-size them. Isay in the 1990s you had Goldman Sachs, for example, that was 1.1 — that was — that was $200 billion in size. By 2008 it had grown to$1.1 trillion in size. Was that good for the people of this country?Or were — were we assuming — (inaudible) — process.

MR. HARWOOD: Well, how would you accomplish that? How would youright-size?

MR. HUNTSMAN: I think we ought to set up some sort of fund.Well, I think we ought to charge some sort of fee from the banks thatmitigates the risk that, otherwise, the taxpayers are carrying.There’s got to be something that takes the risk from the taxpayers offthe table so that these institutions don’t go forward with thisimplied assumption that we’re going to bail them out at the end of theday.

That’s not right, and it’s not fair for the taxpayers of this country.(Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Let’s stay on regulation for a moment. You haveall said that you will repeal President Obama’s health carelegislation. Down the line, 30 seconds: If you repeal “Obamacare,”what’s the answer?

Jon Huntsman.

MR. HUNTSMAN: I would sit down and I would meet with the 50governors of this country. And I’d say: I did health care reform inmy state. Took us three years to get it done. We delivered aninsurance connector that was not a costly mandate.

You can sit down with the 50 governors and you can address costcontainment. This is a $3 trillion industry, half of which any expertwill tell you is totally nonsense and superfluous spending. How doyou get cost out of the system? How do you empower patients to betterunderstand what they’re getting when they go into the doctor’s office?

Number two, we need to do a better job in harmonizing medicalrecords so that we can pull up on a consistent basis the mostefficacious course of treatment for patients.

And third, we need to close the gap on the uninsured without acostly mandate, letting the free market work in bringing peopletogether with truly affordable insurance.

MS. BARTIROMO: That’s time. We want to get each of yourcomments on what the plan is.

Ron Paul.

REP. PAUL: We need to get the government out of the business.And we do need to have the right to opt out of “Obamacare,” but weought to have the right to opt out of everything. And the answer toit is turn it back over to the patient and the doctor relationshipwith medical savings accounts.

So I would say that we’ve had too much government. I’ve been inmedicine. It’s gone downhill. Quality has gone down. Prices haveskyrocketed because of the inflation. So you need to get a marketforce in there. But medical savings accounts.

But this mess has been created — it’s a bipartisan mess, so it’sbeen there for a while. But what we need is the doctor-patientrelationship and medical savings accounts where you can deduct it fromyour taxes and get a major medical policy. Prices then would comedown.

MS. BARTIROMO: Thirty seconds. Governor Perry.

GOV. PERRY: Obviously, on the Medicare side you have to have aninsurance type of a program where people have options, which givesthem a menu of options of which they can choose from.

I think you have to have the doctors and the hospitals and the otherhealth care providers being given incentives on health care ratherthan sick care.

And then on Medicaid, it’s really pretty simple, just like Jonand Mitt both know. You send it back to the states and let the statesfigure out how to make Medicaid work — (applause) — because I’llguarantee you, we will do it safely, we will do it appropriately andwe will save a ton of money.

MS. BARTIROMO: Mr. Cain.

MR. CAIN: The legislation has already been written: H.R. 3000.In the previous Congress, it was H.R. 3400. And what that does — it’s already been written. We didn’t hear about it in the previous — the previous Congress, because “Princess Nancy” sent it to committeeand it stayed there — (laughter) — it never came out. H.R. 30 — H.R. 3000 allows the decisions to be with the doctors and thepatients, not with the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Thelegislation has already been written. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Governor Romney?

MR. ROMNEY: Health care in 30 seconds — it’s a little tough,but let me try. (Laughter.)

Number one, you return to the states the responsibility forcaring for their own uninsured, and you send the Medicaid money backto the states so they can craft their own programs. That’s numberone.

Number two, you let individuals purchase their own insurance — not just getting it through their company, but buy it on their own ifthey want to — and no longer discriminate against individuals whowant to buy their insurance.

Number three, you do exactly what Ron Paul said. I don’t alwayssay that, but I’m going to say it right now. (Laughter.) And thatis, you have to get health care to start working more like a market.And for that to happen, people have to have a stake in what the cost,and the quality as well, is of their health care. And so a healthsavings account or something called co-insurance, that’s the way tohelp that and make that happen.

And finally, our malpractice system in this country is nuts.We’ve got to take that over and make sure we don’t burden our systemwith that. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Mr. Speaker.

MR. GINGRICH: Well, I just want to point out, my colleagues havedone a terrific job of answering an absurd question. (Laughter.)

To say, in 30 seconds —

MS. BARTIROMO: You have said you want to repeal “Obamacare,”correct?

MR. GINGRICH: I’d like to — let me just finish, if I may — (inaudible, applause) — to say in 30 seconds what you would do with18 percent of the economy, life and death for the American people, atopic I’ve worked on since 1974, about which I wrote a book called”Saving Lives and Saving Money” in 2002, and for which I founded theCenter for Health Transformation, is the perfect case of why I’m goingto challenge the president to seven Lincoln-Douglas style three-hourdebates with a timekeeper and no moderator, at least two of whichought to be on health care, so you could have a serious discussionover a several-hour period that affects the lives of every person inthis country. (Cheers, applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Would you like to try to explain — would youlike to — (cheers, applause) — would you like to try to explain, insimple speak, to the American people, what you would do after yourepeal the president’s health care legislation?

MR. GINGRICH: In 30 seconds? (Laughter.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Take the time you need, sir. Take the time youneed.

MR. GINGRICH: I can’t take what I need; these guys’ll all gangup on me.

MS. BARTIROMO: You want to answer the question tonight on healthcare, or no, Speaker?

MR. GINGRICH: (Inaudible) — something like — (inaudible).

MS. BARTIROMO: You want to try to answer the question tonight,Speaker?

MR. GINGRICH: No, let me — let me just say it very straight.One, you go back to a doctor-patient relationship and you involve thefamily in those periods where the patient by themselves can’t make keydecisions. But you relocalize it.

Two, as several people said, including Governor Perry, you putMedicaid back at the state level and allow the states to reallyexperiment, because it’s clear we don’t know what we’re doingnationally.

Three, you focus very intensely on a brand-new program on brainscience, because the fact is, the largest single (out-year ?) set ofcosts we’re faced with are Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s, mentalhealth and things which come directly from the brain. And I am forfixing our health rather than fixing our health bureaucracy, becausethe iron lung is the perfect model of saving people so you don’t needto pay for a federal program of iron lung centers because the poliovaccine eliminated the problem.

That’s a very short pracis. (Cheers, applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Congresswoman.

REP. BACHMANN: The main problem with health care in the UnitedStates today is the issue of cost. It’s just too expensive. AndPresident Obama said that’s what he would solve in “Obamacare.” We’dall save $2,500 a year in our premiums. Well, we have “Obamacare,”but we didn’t have the savings. So what I would do to replace it isto allow every American to buy any health insurance policy they wantanywhere in the United States without any federal minimum mandate.Today there is an insurance monopoly in every state in the country. Iwould end that monopoly and let any American go anywhere they want.That’s the free market.

Number two, I would allow every American to pay for thatinsurance policy, their deductibles, their copay, theirpharmaceuticals, whatever it is that’s medical-related with their owntax-free money. And then finally, I’d have true medical malpracticeliability reform. If you do that, it’s very simple. People own theirown insurance policies, and you drive the cost down, because what wehave to get rid of is government bureaucracy in health care. That’sall we bought in “Obamacare” was a huge bureaucracy. That has to goaway. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Senator.

MR. SANTORUM: This is, I think, the difference between me and alot of the candidates. I heard a lot of responses, but I hadn’t — Ihaven’t seen a lot of consistency in some of the — some of thoseresponses on the last few questions.

When it comes to health care, back in 1992 I introduced the firsthealth savings account bill that everybody up here said was the basisfor consumer-driven health care. I was leading on that before anyoneelse was even talking about it. Secondly, I was someone who proposeda block grant for Medicaid way back in 1998 with Phil Gramm, againleading on this issue. Same thing reforming the Medicare program backin the 1990s. Again, I led on these issues. I was always for havingthe government out of the health care business and for a bottom-up,consumer-driven health care, which is different than Governor Romneyand some of the other people on this panel.

Number two — and — and I didn’t get a chance to answer the — any of the housing questions. I was on the bank and the housingcommittee when — in — in the United States Senate. I was one of 24people who wrote a letter to Harry Reid saying: Please let us bringup this housing legislation, which I voted for in the committee, thatwould have put curbs on Fannie and Freddie. I — I — I was out therebefore this bubble burst, saying this was a problem.

I — I was in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the other day and I had oneof a — a home builder. He was the head of the association, came upto me and said: Rick, I’m here to apologize. We came here to pushyou so you would oppose, you know, putting caps on Fannie and Freddie.You were right. We were wrong.

Time and time again, Wall Street — the Wall Street bailout — five of the eight people on this panel supported the Wall Streetbailout. I didn’t. I know that we solve problems best from thebottom up, not the top down and government intervention in themarketplace.

MS. BARTIROMO: Governor Romney, you have 30 seconds to respond.(Applause.)

MR. ROMNEY: That’s — that’s fine. I very — believe verydeeply in the functioning of markets. The work I’ve done on healthcare — I actually worked in — as a consultant to the health careindustry, to hospitals and various health institutions. I had theoccasion of actually acquiring and trying to build health carebusinesses. I know something about it, and I believe markets work.

And what’s wrong with our health care system in America is thatgovernment is playing too heavy a role. We need to get our markets towork by having the consumer, the patient, have a stake in what thecost and quality is of health care, give them the transparency theyneed to know where the opportunities are for lower cost and betterquality, to make sure that the providers offer them the broadest arrayof options that they could have. And once we have that happening,you’ll see us — we — 18 percent of our GDP is spent on health care.The next highest nation in the world is 12 percent. It’s a hugedifference.

MS. BARTIROMO: Time —

MR. ROMNEY: We have to get the market to work to make sure thatwe get the kind of quality and value that America deserves.

MR. HARWOOD: But Governor, let me ask you about health care,because Congressman Paul said put it back to the doctor and thepatient.

You said a few moments ago that you thought that states should havethe responsibility for insuring the uninsured. Of course, inMassachusetts you enacted an individual mandate and subsidies to havepeople who didn’t have insurance get it. So you think there’s apretty large role for government in this area.

MR. ROMNEY: Well, I think the people have a responsibility toreceive their own care. Doctor-patient relationship is, of course —

MR. HARWOOD: The government (has ?) responsibility to force it.

MR. ROMNEY: I didn’t know whether Ron Paul was saying he’s goingto get rid of Medicaid. I would not get rid of Medicaid. It’s ahealth program for the poor. What I said was I would take theMedicaid dollars that are currently spent by the federal government,return them to the states so that states can craft their own programsto care for their own poor rather than having the federal governmentmandate a one-size-fits-all plan in the entire nation.

“Obamacare” is wrong. I’ll repeal it. I’ll get it done.(Applause.)

REP. PAUL: John.

MR. HARWOOD: Congressman.

REP. PAUL: My plan of cutting the budget by a trillion dollarsdoes deal with Medicaid, and that is that it preserves it and there isa transition period, with the goal that eventually we would hope tomove that back into the economy. But right now it would be too muchto do it in one year. You know, finding a trillion dollars was a joband a half, and — (inaudible) — department.

So, yes, my budget takes into consideration health care for theelderly, health care on Medicaid, as well as child health care. Atthe same time, we deal with the bailouts, the banks and all thebenefits that they get from the financial system.

Because what we’re facing today is a crisis — on this housingcrisis, if I could just have one second on that. We face the housingcrisis once again because it’s price fixing. They’re fixing theprices of these mortgages too high, and this is why nobody will buythem. This is why you have to get rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,sell all of that into the marketplace.

And the reason they do this is to prop up the banks, because thebanks have invested in Europe, they’ve invested in Fannie Mae andFreddie Mac and these credit default swaps.

They’re in big trouble, and that is why they’re getting bailed out,and that’s why they’re not allowing these mortgages to go down. Andthat is why we will most likely bail out Europe, which will be a realtragedy. (Applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Congressman, it’s — thank you for that. It’s timefor a quick break —

MR. LIESMAN: Hold it. John, I wanted to give them 15 secondseach to solve the deficit problem.

MS. BARTIROMO: (Laughs.) We’ll come back to the deficit.

MR. HARWOOD: When we return, balancing the budget and cuttingthe deficit, making the college education more affordable.

MS. BARTIROMO: Plus, a little lesson on Social Security.

You’re watching CNBC’s “Your Money, Your Vote” Republicanpresidential debate. (Applause.)

(Announcements.)

MR. HARWOOD: And welcome back. Joining us for this portion ofthe debate, Rick Santelli, CNBC’s on-air editor — (cheers, applause) — and Sharon Epperson, our personal finance correspondent.

Now, we’ll get to them in a moment, but first, Senator Santorum,you were known as a tough partisan fighter in the Senate. But lookwhere partisan fighting got us this summer: gridlock and a debtrating downgrade. The American people don’t much like it, and neitherdoes Doug Oberhelman, the CEO of Caterpillar. Let’s take a listen.

DOUGLAS OBERHELMAN (CEO, Caterpillar Inc.): (From video.) Mostpeople think our politicians are not helping the country get back onits feet. The last two presidents made promises to work across partylines, and both failed.

How will you put our country ahead of your political party andsolve the issues that are so critical for Americans? Be specific,please — these are promises.

MR. HARWOOD: And Senator, let me ask you about — to set up thatquestion. If everyone on this stage rules out any tax increases, evenat a 10-to-1 ration of spending cuts, as you have done, what could youpossibly offer Democrats to get them to go along and compromise withyou on the things that Republicans want?

MR. SANTORUM: You create a — you create a platform that theycan buy into, because they see the advantages of your — of your plan.

For example, one of the reasons that I — I put forward thismanufacturing plan is because folks here in Michigan, Democrats andRepublicans, will vote for it. I was at the New Hampshire House ofRepresentatives the other day and spoke to a bipartisan group, talkedabout the tax plan — not just the manufacturing, but the broad-basedplan that I have.

And I had two Democratic house members go over to my chairman,Dan Tamburello, and said, hey, I want him to come to my district andtalk about this. We can support it.

So when you put together a plan — look, if the RepublicanParty’s just about keeping the top rate, you know, lower or cuttingtaxes, we’re not going to be reaching people. We’ve got to look atplans that bring people together. That’s why I’ve focused on thissector. I understand, John, that the Wall Street Journal won’t likethat I’m picking one sector over another. I don’t care.

What I need to do is bring America together, find a plan that canwork, that we — can be implemented right away. It may not be theboldest plan in the world, but it’s one that will work. It’ll putpeople back to work. It’ll give the ability to people to rise in oursociety. It’ll help with the jobs out in rural America where themanufacturing loss has been the greatest and the employment (sic) rateis the highest.

You put a plan like that together, you’ll get Democrats andRepublicans, and we’ll create jobs in this country. We’ll get thingsdone.

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Romney, you’ve shown that you can workwith Democrats. When you were governor, of course, you collaboratedwith Ted Kennedy on the health care plan that you enacted.

You raised fees to balance the budget and you used that as an argumentto get the credit rating of your state upgraded. Independent votersmight like that. Should Republican primary voters be nervous aboutit?

MR. ROMNEY: Thanks for reminding everybody. (Laughter.)

What I’ve found is, in a state like mine where there are a fewDemocrats in the legislature — 85 percent of my legislature wasDemocrat. To get anything done, I was always in an “away” game, ifyou will. And to get something done, I had to see if there wereDemocrats who cared more about the state than they cared about theirreelection or their party. And there were.

And right now, America faces a crisis. I think people on bothsides of the aisle recognize that this is no longer a time just forworrying about the next election. This is a time to worry aboutAmerica.

We see what’s happening in Italy, what’s happening in Greece.That’s where we’re headed if we don’t change our course. And thereare enough good Democrats and good Republicans willing to put asidepartisanship and do what’s right for the country, in my view, ifthey’re led by someone who cares more about the country, cares moreabout the future of America, cares about our kids and our grandkids,and is willing to step forward and lead.

What we have now is a president who, unfortunately, is driven byone thing: his reelection. It’s unbelievable that we have the crisisgoing on in America that we have — (applause) — and we have apresident who is focused on trying to get himself reelected. This isa — this is a crisis in America.

MR. HARWOOD: Time, Governor.

Governor Perry, you play only home games in Texas. Do you givehim points for winning on the road?

GOV. PERRY: Listen, there is a reason that Caterpillar movedtheir hydraulics manufacturing and their engine manufacturing to thestate of Texas. It didn’t have anything to do with Republican versusDemocrat. It had everything to do with creating a climate in ourstate where the job creators knew that they were going to have theopportunity to keep more of what they work for.

MR. HARWOOD: He’s said he did.

GOV. PERRY: And that’s what Americans are looking for.(Scattered applause.) They’re looking for a tax plan that basicallysays you’re going to be able to keep more of what you work for.They’re looking for a regulatory climate that doesn’t strangle thelife out of their businesses when they want to put those dollars outthere to create the wealth.

That’s what Americans are looking for.

I think we’re getting all tangled up around an issue here aboutcan you work with Democrats or can you work with Republicans. Yeah,we can all do that. But the fact of the matter is, we better have aplan in place that Americans can get their hands around, and that’sthe reason my flat tax is the only one of all the folks — these goodfolks on the stage. It balances the budget in 2020. It does thethings for the regulatory climate that has to happen.

And I will tell you, it’s three agencies of government, when Iget there, that are gone: Commerce, Education and the — what’s thethird one there — let’s see. (Laughter.)

REP. PAUL: You need five.

GOV. PERRY: Oh, five. OK.

REP. PAUL: Make it five.

GOV. PERRY: OK. So Commerce, Education and — the — (pause) —

MR. ROMNEY: EPA?

GOV. PERRY: EPA. There you go. (Laughter.) (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Let’s go —

MR: HARWOOD: Seriously? Is EPA the one you were talking about?

GOV. PERRY: No, sir. No, sir. We were talking about theagencies of government — EPA needs to be rebuilt. There’s no doubtabout that.

MR. HARWOOD: But you can’t — but you can’t name the third one?

GOV. PERRY: The third agency of government.

MR. HARWOOD: Yes.

GOV. PERRY: I would do away with the Education, the Commerce and — let’s see — I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.

MS. BARTIROMO: What about the EPA and the new rules coming outof the EPA? Mr. Cain, right now there is a situation with the EPA

getting aggressive, the National Labor Relations Board gettingaggressive, wanting to shut down a plant in South Carolina. Whatwould you tell Boeing to do?

MR. CAIN: What about —

MS. BARTIROMO: Should they shut down that plant in SouthCarolina unless they make it union?

MR. CAIN: Absolutely not. (Cheers, applause.) That’s what’swrong with government (tampering ?). Absolutely not. (Applause.)The government has no business trying to pick winners and losers, aswe have said, whether it’s through the front door with legislation orthe back door through regulation.

Now, if I may go back —

MR. HARWOOD: What about manufacturing? Zero tax rate for onesector of the economy.

MR. CAIN: Well, this is why my 9-9-9 plan — (cheers, applause) — makes every sector grow. How about helping everybody, not just onesector? And that’s the power of my 9-9-9 plan. Number one, it’sbold. And yes, I’m the only one that’s put a bold plan on the tableand not afraid to go out and defend it.

Now, as far as getting both sides of the aisle to work together — if I may; I don’t see that little yellow light yet — (laughter) — in terms of getting both sides to work together, it’s called provide acompelling solution, and the American people, if they understand it,they will demand it. That’s how you get both sides of the aisle towork together. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Rick Santelli.

RICK SANTELLI (On-air editor, CNBC): Speaker Gingrich, for thefirst time in its 75-year history, Social Security is going to be inthe red. According to the Washington Post on October 29th, 105billion (dollars) this year. The reason: Political parties — bothsides — at the end of last year agreed that they wanted a tax cut.And the area they cut were payroll taxes, the main funding for SocialSecurity. If we continue that — and there seems to be some agreementon both sides of the aisle to extend that tax cut — for 2011 and2012, the cumulative amount will be closer to 260 billion (dollars).Are all tax cuts created equal? Is this a tax cut that you wouldback?

MR. GINGRICH: Well, I’m not prepared to raise taxes on workingAmericans in the middle of a recession that’s this bad. (Applause.)But let — but let me put Social Security in context. In 1968, inorder to fake a balanced budget, Lyndon Johnson brought SocialSecurity in the general budget. And ever since, politicians have hidbehind Social Security. Now it’s going to become a disadvantage to doso.

I think the first step is you take Social Security off thefederal budget. You don’t try to solve the budget deficit problem onthe back of working Americans and retirees.

You deal with Social Security as a free-standing issue. And the factis, if you allow younger Americans to have the choice to go to aGalveston or — or Chilean-style personal Social Security savingsaccount, the long-term effect on Social Security is scored by theSocial Security actuary as absolutely stabilizing the system andtaking care of it.

The key is, there’s 2 trillion (dollars), 400 billion dollars inSocial Security which — be — which should be off-budget, and nopresident of the United States should ever again say, because of somepolitical fight in Washington, I may not be able to send you yourcheck. That money is sitting there. That money’s available. And thecountry ought to pay the debt it owes the people who put the money inthere. (Applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Romney, if I could follow up, SpeakerGingrich just said he’s not prepared to raise taxes on the Americanpeople in the middle of a slow economy like this. That’s what wouldhappen if the payroll tax cut is not extended. Does — do you agreewith him? And would you also support, when it comes down to it, anextension of the payroll tax cut?

MR. ROMNEY: I want to — I don’t want to — I don’t want toraise taxes on people in the middle of a recession. Of course not.

MR. HARWOOD: So you’re for it.

MR. ROMNEY: That’s — and that’s one of the reasons why — whywe fought so hard to make sure the Bush tax cuts weren’t taken away by — by President Obama.

But look, this issue of deficits and spending — it’s not aboutjust dollars and cents. This is a moral issue. It’s a moralimperative. We can’t continue to pass on massive debts to the nextgeneration. We can’t continue to put at risk the — the greatestnation in the history of the earth because of the profligate spendingthat’s going on in Washington, D.C. And —

MR. HARWOOD: But to clarify, you agree with President Obama thepayroll tax cut should be extended?

MR. ROMNEY: I want to — I want to keep our taxes down. I don’twant to raise any taxes anywhere. Let me — I’m not looking to raisetaxes.

What I’m looking to do is to cut spending. And that’s why thislast week I put out a plan that dramatically cuts spending inWashington, that gets us to a 20 percent cap and makes sure that wehave a balanced budget thereafter. And how do I do it? I have threemajor steps.

Number one, cut programs. Get rid of programs we don’t have tohave, like “Obamacare.” Take a lot of programs that we have at thestate level, number two — excuse me, at the federal level — and sendthem back to the states where they can be better run with less fraudand abuse. And number three, finally, bring some productivity andmanagement expertise to the federal government. I would cut theworkforce by 10 percent —

MR. : Good.

MR. ROMNEY: — and I want to say one more, and that is this. Iwant to make sure we link the compensation of our federal bureaucratsto that which exists in the private sector. People who are publicservants shouldn’t get more money than the taxpayers that they’reserving. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Does any candidate on this stage disagree — doesany candidate disagree and oppose extension of the payroll tax cut?

REP. BACHMANN: Say that again.

MR. HARWOOD: Does any candidate disagree with the speaker andGovernor Romney, and oppose the extension of the payroll tax cut?

MR. : Yeah.

MR. LIESMAN: Go ahead.

MR. HARWOOD: You oppose it?

REP. BACHMANN: I do. I opposed it when it was first proposed,because I knew that it would blow a hole of $111 billion in the SocialSecurity trust fund. President Obama clearly did this for politicalreasons. That’s why he did it. And so I had made that warning then,because we actually have already run Social Security in the red. Wearen’t just about to; we already have — six years ahead of time.

Now, consider the context. We have Baby Boomers in their peakearning years. This is when money should be flooding into the SocialSecurity trust fund. Instead, we’re already in the red. When we talkthis evening about how much trouble we’re in with spending, we’re in atremendous amount of trouble with spending. Just consider, we pay alot of taxes in this country: 2.2 trillion (dollars) is what we sendin to Washington. The problem is, we spent at the government level3.7 trillion (dollars). You started out trying to cut —

MR. HARWOOD: Well — out of time, Congresswoman.

Rick?

MR. SANTELLI: Governor Huntsman, our federal government —

MR. HUNTSMAN: Thank you. It was getting a little lonely overhere. (Laughter.)

MR. SANTELLI: Our federal government still owns 500 millionshares of GM stock; guarantees trillions — trillions with a “T” — dollars of mortgages.

They are basically the lender doing 90 percent of all the mortgageorigination right now.

And you consider the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve haspurchased 2.62 trillion (dollars) — again with a T — of Treasurysecurities, agency securities and mortgage securities.

If you were president, how would your administration and wouldyour administration reverse these obligations?

MR. HUNTSMAN: I would clean up the balance sheet. And let metell you what I worry about as much as anything else. We talk aboutfailed leadership; we certainly have failed leadership. PresidentObama had three years to get this economy going and to move us towardan environment that speaks to job growth, and he’s failed miserably.

But along with that, we have a real trust crisis in this countrybetween the American people and our institutions of power: Congress,the executive branch, Wall Street as well. There’s no trust. We’rerunning on empty.

And when a democracy begins to run on empty because of governmentholdings and bailouts and being involved in ways that are absolutelyinappropriate based on constitutional government and where we shouldbe, that results in a diminution of trust by the American people.We’ve got to raise that trust.

So let me just tell you what I think needs to be done in terms ofbringing our economy up. We’ve heard about all these great tax plans.I think I’m the only one on this stage who’s actually delivered a flattax. And I did that as governor of my state. I put forward aproposal that I think is right for this country in getting it back onits feet. The Wall Street Journal has come out — the most respectededitorial page economically maybe in the entire world — has come outand endorsed my plan, said it’s the very best of the bunch.

And it very simply calls out, just as I did as governor — so I’mnot sitting here talking about academic theory. I stand here as apractitioner; I’ve done it before.

I want to phase out the loopholes and the deductions on the individualside, phase out corporate welfare and subsidies on the corporate side —

MS. BARTIROMO: Sharon Epperson.

MR. HUNTSMAN: — and lower the rates, make us more competitive.That’s the kind of work that is realistic. It can get done inCongress and fire the engines of growth that are so desperately neededto boost trust in this country. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Sharon Epperson.

SHARON EPPERSON (personal finance correspondent, CNBC): I wantto turn the attention to why we’re here on this campus and what manystudents are very interested in, and that is the fact that,Congressman Paul, right now we are looking at student loan debt thatis near $1 trillion. Americans owe more on student loans right nowthan credit cards, and the average debt for a college senior right nowis over $25,000. It’s obviously a very hot topic right here on thiscampus and with students across the country. Just listen to what theyhave to say.

(Video begins.)

MR. : Tuition rates have increased roughly three times thatof inflation over the last three decades.

MS. : More students have to take out loans or forgo college.

MS. : My generation is graduating with student debt levels atan unprecedented level.

(Video ends.)

MS. EPPERSON: So Congressman Paul, you’ve already talked aboutthe fact that you want to get rid of the Department of Education.You’ve said that you want to get rid of federal student loans. So howwould you make college more accessible, more affordable for thesestudents and students around the country?

REP. PAUL: Well, I think you’ve proved that the policy ofstudent loans is a total failure. (Chuckles.) I mean, a trilliondollars of debt? (Cheers, applause.) And it’s going to be dumped on

the taxpayer? And what have they gotten? A poorer education andcosts that have skyrocketed because of inflation. And they don’t havejobs. There’s nothing more dramatically failing than — than thatprogram.

So no, there is no authority in the Constitution for the federalgovernment to be dealing with education. We should get rid of theloan programs. We should get rid of the Department of Education andgive tax credits, if you have to, to help people. But the inflationis the big problem. It’s three times the rate that the governmentadmits that inflation is, and that is natural and normal.

When governments inflate the currency, it goes in the areas that thegovernment gets involved in. Housing, high — (inaudible). Stockmarket, skyrocketing prices. Medical care, skyrocketing. Education —

MS. EPPERSON: But how will they pay for it? How do they now payfor college if they’re not —

REP. PAUL: The way you pay for cell phones and computers.(Cheers, applause.) You have the marketplace there. There’scompetition. Quality goes up; the price goes down. Can you imaginewhat it would have been like if the Department of Homeland securitywas in charge of finding one person — or one company to make the cellphones? I mean, it would have been a total disaster.

So when the government gets involved in the delivery of anyservice, whether it’s education, medical care or housing, they causehigher prices, lower quality, create bubbles, and they get us thismess that we’re in. That’s why we have to eventually get — we haveto wise up and look at where the bubbles come from. It’s from theFederal Reserve. And we should start by auditing the Fed, and then weshould end the Fed. (Cheers, applause.)

MS. EPPERSON: Thank you, Congressman.

Speaker Gingrich, Congressman Paul just talked about a bubble.And there are many that are concerned that unlike other types of debt,student loan debt does not have the same type of consumer protections.It cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy, by law. There’s really littleway to refinance it. Are you worried about student loan debt becomingthe next government bailout?

MR. GINGRICH: You know, this is a good place to talk about thescale of change we’re about to live through. We’re at the end of thewelfare-state era of dependency, debt, distortion and dishonesty. Thestudent loan program began — when Lyndon Johnson announced it, Ithink it was a $15 million program. It’s an absurdity.

What does it do? It expands the ability of students to stay incollege longer because they don’t see the cost. It actually meansthey take fewer hours per semester, on average; it takes longer forthem to get through school; it allows them to tolerate tuitions goingup absurdly. By 2014, there will be one administrator for everyteacher on college campuses in the United States.

Now let me give you a contrast that’s very startling. TheCollege in (sic) the Ozarks is a work-study college. You cannot applyto it unless you need student aid, and they have no student aid. Youhave to work 20 hours a week during the year to pay tuition and books.You work 40 hours a week during the summer to pay for room and board.Ninety-two percent of the students graduate owing no debt. The 8percent who owe debt owe $5,000 because they bought a car.

Now, that is a model so different it will be culture shock forthe students of America to learn we actually expect them to go toclass, study, get out quickly, charge as little as possible, andemerge debt-free by doing the right things for four years. (Cheers,applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Governor Perry — Governor Perry, name the topprograms that you would cut in terms of long-term deficit reduction.Include Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense spending inthe order you see fit.

GOV. PERRY: Well, every one of those — and by the way, that wasthe Department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago. So — (laughter, cheers, applause).

Here’s what we have to look at as Americans, and it’s theentitlement programs that are eating up this huge amount of moneythat’s out there. And it’s also the spending, Congressman Paul. Andthose — when you look at Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, andthose unfunded liabilities I think are over $115 trillion just inthose three programs. Those are the places where you go where youhave to make the really hard decisions in this country. Those are the —

MS. BARTIROMO: So what is your order? And you didn’t mentiondefense spending.

GOV. PERRY: Well, obviously Social Security is one of thosewhere we either can go to a blended type of a program where we blendprice and wages and come up with a program and can save billions ofdollars there. But the people who are on Social Security, they needto understand something today.

It’s going to be there for them. Those that are working their waytowards Social Security, we’ve made a pledge to them that thoseindividuals are going to have those dollars there for them.

But the young people out there — who’s going to stand up for theyoung people in this country, those that are at the workforce today,and stand up and say: We’re going to transform this program so it’sgoing to be there for you?

MR. HARWOOD: Well, Governor —

GOV. PERRY: I will do that. I will stand up for the youngpeople in this country and put a program into place that will be therefor them. (Applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Speaking of young people, quick answer: Do youagree with Congressman Paul that we should kill the federal studentloan program?

GOV. PERRY: I happen to think there are a substantial number ofways — matter of fact, I’ve called for a $10,000 (graduate ?) program —

MR. HARWOOD: But would you kill the federal student loanprogram?

GOV. PERRY: I don’t think the federal government should be inthe business of paying for programs and building up huge debt outthere. I think we need to look at how do you force these universities —

MR. HARWOOD: So get rid of them.

GOV. PERRY: — how do force these universities to be efficient?And one of the ways is that the governors who appoint the — the — the trustees — they step in and they basically say: Listen, you aregoing to have graduation rates that are moving upwards. You’re goingto have tuition that is moving down. You have to have control overthose boards of regents, if that’s how you do it, or the legislaturehas to have control.

But the bottom line is, we have to put powerful economic forcesinto place. And one of those is using our technology.

MR. HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

GOV. PERRY: We have to let our kids have the opportunity to getan education — through long-distance learning, for instance.

MS. BARTIROMO: That’s time.

MR. HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

MS. BARTIROMO: We’re going to take one more quick break. Whenwe return: final questions to the candidates.

MR. HARWOOD: Our CNBC Republican presidential debate will beright back. (Applause.)

(Announcements.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Welcome back to CNBC’s Republican presidentialdebate.

MR. HARWOOD: Mr. Cain, I want to ask you a question. Under aRepublican governor, the state of California hired a company in Chinato build major portions of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge;created thousands of jobs in China. And California did that becauseit was cheaper. Is that smart purchasing by government in a globaleconomy, or is there something wrong with that?

MR. CAIN: There’s something wrong with that, which is why I haveproposed a bold plan — (laughter) — 9-9-9 — and allow me to explainhow, under 9-9-9, that that company would be more inclined to keep thebusiness here.

On the first nine, you take sales minus purchases, net exportsand capital. It levels the playing field between goods produced herein the United States and the rest of the world. It makes the UnitedStates much more competitive, and businesses won’t be tempted to buildoverseas, send jobs overseas.

The tax code is what sends jobs overseas. The tax code is whatcaused them to buy those articles from the Chinese. It starts withreplacing the tax code.

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Romney, was it a mistake for GovernorSchwarzenegger to hire the firm in China to build portions of thatbridge?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, that’s a — a long answer to that because what — what China is doing is not playing fairly by the — the rules thatexist in our — in the WTO and in the world. China is, on almostevery dimension, cheating. And we got to recognize that. (Applause.)It is good for America — it — it is good for America to have freetrade. It is good for us to be able to send our goods and servicesaround the world and vice versa.

MR. HARWOOD: So a good decision to build the bridge over the —

MR. ROMNEY: That — that is — that is normally a good thing.But China is playing by different rules. One, they’re stealingintellectual property. Number two, they’re hacking into our computersystems, both government and corporate, and they’re stealing by virtueof that as well from us. And finally, they’re manipulating theircurrency and, by doing so, holding down the price of Chinese goods andmaking sure their products are artificially lowly — low-priced. It’spredatory pricing. It’s killing jobs in America. If I’m president ofthe United States, I’m making it very clear: I love free trade; Iwant to open markets to free trade, but I will crack down on cheaterslike China. They simply cannot continue to steal our jobs. (Cheers,applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: How do you crack down? How do you crack down,Governor? Are you — are you talking about new tariffs? How are youcracking down?

MR. ROMNEY: I’m sorry? Pardon?

MS. BARTIROMO: How would you crack down on China?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, number one, I would do something thispresident should have done a long time ago, which is to label China acurrency manipulator. And then I’d bring an action at the WTO levelcharging them with being a — a currency manipulator. Number three,where they have stolen intellectual property, where they have hackedinto computers and where their artificial pricing is causing theirgoods to have predatory levels of pricing, I would apply, ifnecessary, tariffs to make sure that they understand we’re willing toplay on a level playing field. We want — we have to have free trade.That’s essential for the — the — the functioning of a strongeconomy. But we cannot allow one nation to continue to flaunt therules and kill our jobs by allowing them to continue as they have.(Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Speaker, in addition to that, so many companies — multinational companies want to try to get a foothold in China andsell to the billion and a half people there. They can only do jointventures. They are not getting a fair shake in terms of selling tothat 1 1/2 billion-person population.

How would you move the needle?

MR. GINGRICH: There are two things here, and let me say inadvance that I would yield in part to Governor Huntsman because hespeaks fluent Chinese, he’s worked in China, and he’s been theambassador. And I’d be curious to get his reaction.

But there are two different parts here. The problem withbuilding the bridge is simple. What is it about American regulations,American taxation, American labor costs and attitudes that makes itcheaper to go to China than to go to the United States? (Applause.)

Now we do it — (see ?), first of all, you’ve got to decide, howare we going to be more competitive and how are we going to be thelowest cost? And there’s a — there’s a new Boston consulting studythat says by 2015 South Carolina and Alabama will be cheaper than theChinese coastal provinces to manufacture in.

Second, in terms of dealing with China strategically, I thinkwe’re going to have to find ways to dramatically raise the pain levelfor the Chinese cheating, both in the hacking side but also on thestealing and intellectual property side. And I don’t think anybodytoday has a particularly good strategy for doing that.

MS. BARTIROMO: Time — 30 seconds. Jon Huntsman, you were theambassador to China. 30 seconds to respond.

MR. HUNTSMAN: Thirty seconds! For heaven’s sake. (Laughter.)Let me just say that we’ve had a 40-year relationship with China.It’s a — it’s a troublesome and problematic relationship; very, verycomplicated. But the bottom line is — I mean, you can give applauselines and you can kind of pander here and there. You start a tradewar if you start slapping tariffs randomly on Chinese products basedupon currency manipulation. I — that’s not a good idea.

But longer term, we’re just going to have to do business the waywe’ve always done. You sit down, you find solutions to the problems,and you move forward. It isn’t easy, it isn’t glamorous. It’sgrinding it out the way we’ve done it for 40 years. And for 40 moreyears, we’re going to have to do it the same way.

MR. HARWOOD: Are you saying Governor Romney’s pandering?

MR. HUNTSMAN: I’m saying that you can throw out applause linesand you can say that you’re going to slap on tariffs. You know, thatdoesn’t work — (inaudible) —

MR. HARWOOD: But you’re suggesting it. He’s standing righthere.

Would you say that he’s pandering on this issue?

MR. HUNTSMAN: Well, I’ve said it before; I think that thatpolicy is one of simply pandering, just throwing a tariff on for thesake of an artificially valued currency, which is, in fact, the case.

But here’s what they do in response. They say: You have anartificially valued currency too, with those quantitative easingprograms, you too are manipulating your currency, and we’re going toslap something on your products. And before long, you have a tradewar. (Applause.)

But let me tell you —

MR. HARWOOD: Governor Romney, are you pandering?

MR. ROMNEY: Look, I’ve been in business all my life, 25 years.I consulted to businesses around the world. I’ve been in businesswhere we competed around the world. I understand free trade. I likefree trade. I know that America can compete with anyone in the world.Newt is right about our capacity to manufacture and compete heads-onversus the Chinese.

But I’ve also seen predatory pricing. I’ve seen people pricetheir goods at an artificial level for an extended period of time suchthat they can drive other people out of business. And then when theother people are out of business, they can raise their prices. That’swhat China’s doing by holding down the value of their currency.

Let the currencies float. If the U.S. currency, for instance, isbeing inflated, let it float. Let us float. Let us have a marketmechanism determine the value of our respective currencies, as opposedto the Chinese government continuing to put an advantage there fortheir producers. This is no longer a time for us just to sit back andsay we’re going to let them steal our jobs.

MS. BARTIROMO: Congresswoman Bachmann, weigh in here. How doyou open the markets in China for American companies?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, the Chinese have been bad actors. Recentlywe’ve found out that they’ve dumped counterfeit computer chips here inthe United States. We’re using some of those counterfeit computerchips in the Pentagon in some of our weapon systems. This hasnational security implications.

We also found out that the Chinese just finished building 3,000miles of underground tunnels where they’re housing some nuclearweapons. There’s some very real consequences to the United Statesoverspending to such an extent that we’re in hock to them over atrillion dollars.

We’ve sent so much interest money over to the Chinese to pay our debtsoff that we effectively built their aircraft carrier. And by 2015, wewill be sending so much interest money over, we will be paying for theentire People’s Liberation Army of China, the number-one employer ofthe — of the world.

What we need to do is stop enriching China with our money. Andwe do that by stop borrowing from them, by stop spending money that wedon’t have. (Applause.)

MR. CRAMER: Mr. Cain, I want to go to you with this question.This does not lend itself to 9-9-9 or any other number, OK?

MR. CAIN: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the first part.

MR. CRAMER: This question does not lend itself to 9-9-9 or anyother (thing ?). This is our final word, OK? And it comes from ourviewers. And it is all about restoring trust and faith in our marketsand in our way of life.

I’m going to be quoting Joanne Kornbleat (ph). She emails us;she says: Our stock market has turned into a casino, with high-frequency computerized trading comprising 70 percent of alltransactions, and hedge-fund speculation resulting in volatile marketswings. Before privatizing Social Security, how would you make thestock market safer for individual investors?

And Mr. Cain — just simple — how do we restore faith in themarkets for the little guy?

MR. CAIN: The first thing we do is restore faith in business byproviding certainty so businesses can grow. A lot of the volatilityis being driven by uncertainty. Businesses are uncertain about whatthe health care rules are going to be. They don’t know what the taxrules are going to be. All of the uncertainty has this economystagnated. So the way you restore that: Grow this economy.

That’s job one. Many of the things we talked about up here todaystarts with growing the economy. And that’s why we’ve got to use abold plan — I won’t mention it — (laughter) — in order to grow theeconomy. (Laughter, applause.)

MR. CRAMER: But when the economy was growing great, sir, therewas no trust. You know, when the economy going great, people weregetting ripped off, and there was insider trading. When the economywas going great, people were getting hurt in the stock market.

Forget the economy.

MR. CAIN: Jim —

MR. CRAMER: Talk about the way the market’s regulated.

MR. CAIN: Jim, Jim, Jim, I — I feel your pain. Look, here’swhat I’m saying. Here’s —

MR. CRAMER: It (isn’t a feeling ?). (How about ?) the 90million people who’ve got money in the market — (inaudible)?

MR. CAIN: No, Jim, you got to provide certainty in the — you — in this environment, so businesses will grow. They have been in amode of survive. They need to be in a mode of grow. That’s what wegot to do first.

And I agree with some of the others who said we got to repealDodd-Frank. There’s three big things wrong with Dodd-Frank, which iswhy it needs to be a top priority to repeal. Number one, it doesn’tprovide oversight for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and we all agreedthat that was the catalyst for the meltdown in 2008.

The two other biggest problems with Dodd-Frank: Dodd and Frank.(Laughter, cheers, applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: Governor Perry, Governor Perry, same question toyou — same question to you and Congressman Ron Paul: How do yourestore faith in the public markets?

GOV. PERRY: Well, we have the regulations in place and we hadthe regulations in place well before the meltdowns occurred. We havea culture in Washington, D.C., where these corporate lobbyists havethese cozy relationships with the people that they’re regulating. And

— and we have to have leadership in this country that not onlyrecognizes that but demands that those individuals who are working forus are in those agencies, whether it’s in the stock market or whetherit’s at — at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and when there areindividuals who are breaking the laws, who are pushing the bounds,that there are clear efforts that are made to take those people eitherout of those jobs or prosecute them for criminality, one of the two.

That has to happen. And then — and you can pass legislation, likeyou said, until the world looks level. But you’ve got to have men andwomen who are committed to the laws of this country and a presidentthat will push his administration to make sure that they’re done.(Applause.)

MR. HARWOOD: Congressman Paul, Governor Perry was just talkingabout the culture of Washington. His critics in the state of Texas — you’re a congressman from Texas — say crony capitalism is what he’spracticed as governor. Are they right?

REP. PAUL: I haven’t analyzed it well enough to call him a cronyor not. So no, I — I — I — I don’t know the details of that. Butthere is a lot of crony capitalism going on in this country. And thathas to be distinguished from real capitalism because that’s — thisoccupation stuff on Wall Street — if you’re — if you’re going aftercrony capitalism, I’m all for it. And those are the people whobenefit from contracts from government, benefits from the FederalReserve, benefits from all the bailouts. They don’t deservecompassion. They deserve taxation, or they don’t — they deserve tohave all their benefits removed.

But crony capitalism isn’t when somebody makes money and theyproduce a product. That is very important. We have to distinguishthe two. And unfortunately, I think some people mix that. But this,to me, is so vital that we recognize what crony — what capitalism isversus crony capitalism. And believe me, when you have aninflationary environment and all this speculation and all thatbailouts do to the monetary system, believe me, you’d get a majorityof them (to ?) crony capitalism. And that’s why we’re facing thiscrisis today. (Applause.)

MS. BARTIROMO: We want to thank all of you tonight. That is allthe time we have for CNBC’s Republican presidential debate. We thankall of the candidates for being here tonight and spending the time andputting their plans forward. We hope you now have a betterunderstanding of where each of them stand on the economy, jobs andyour money.

MR. HARWOOD: We’d also like to thank our partners, the Michigan Republican Party, and all of the Grizzlies of Oakland University. (Cheers, applause.)

Campaign Buzz November 9, 2011: CNBC “Your Money, Your Vote” GOP Republican Presidential Debate at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan — Rick Perry Experiences Oops Moment — Herman Cain Addresses Allegations

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times

Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas at the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN MICHIGAN

CNBC’s “Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate” Live from Oakland University in Rochester, MI

CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party presidential economic debate at Oakland University

“You bet I’m going to continue on. Going through that long list of government agencies is really what this campaign’s all about. I’m human like everyone else. This campaign is about ideas. It’s not about who’s the slickest debater or whether anyone’s made a mistake or not. We’re all going to make mistakes.” — Gov. Rick Perry in an interview on NBC’s “Today”

“Commerce, Education… The third one, I can’t… Sorry. Oops.” — Gov. Rick Perry

“The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations. I value my character and my integrity more than anything else.” — Herman Cain

“Herman Cain is the person to respond to these accusations. He just did. And the people in this room and around the country can make their own determination.” — Mitt Romney

“I think people understand that I’m a man of steadiness and constancy.” — Mitt Romney

  • CNBC ‘Your Money, Your Vote’ Republican Presidential Debate: The following is a transcript of the CNBC “Your Money, Your Vote” Republican presidential debate at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich, as provided by Federal News Service…. – NYT, 11-10-11
  • Live Analysis: G.O.P. Debate in Michigan: The Republican candidates for president gathered in Michigan tonight for a 90-minute exchange meant to focus on economic issues…. – NYT, 11-9-11
  • Live Blogging the Michigan Debate: The debate, to be broadcast nationally by CNBC, will be followed three days later by a gathering in South Carolina, where another face-off is supposed to keep the candidates talking about foreign policy questions. … – NYT, 11-9-11
  • Live Blogging the GOP Debate WSJ, 11-9-11
  • The CNBC presidential debate live blog WaPo, 11-9-11
  • GOP Debate Live Updates: Will Herman Cain’s harassment scandal sink his chances at the presidency? Who’ll be the new anti-Romney? The candidates takes the stage in Rochester, Michigan for the CNBC GOP debate…. – Newsweek, 11-9-11
  • Live: GOP candidates debate economic fixes: We ‘re live blogging the GOP presidential debate on the economy, being held at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. CNBC is broadcasting the faceoff, with John Harwood and Maria Bartiromo moderating. … – USA Today, 11-9-11
  • Live blog: 8 Republican contenders kick off debate at Oakland U.: Republican presidential candidates are shown at a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. GOP candidates are slated to debate again at Oakland University on Wednesday in a forum sponsored by CNBC… – Detroit Free Press, 11-9-11
  • The Role of Regulation in Holding Back Business: Fact-checking Republican candidates’ claims from Wednesday night’s debate that regulatory uncertainty is holding back companies…. – NYT, 11-9-11
  • GOP candidates: Fix US economy or fail like Europe: United in agreement for once, Republican presidential rivals warned forcefully Wednesday night the United States could be doomed to the same sort of financial crisis that is afflicting Europe unless federal deficits are … – AP, 11-9-11
  • Cain denounces sex allegations during US debate: Herman Cain defended his character during a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday and said Americans “deserve better” than the controversy over sexual harassment allegations against him. … – Reuters, 11-9-11
  • CNBC presidential debate: Winners and losers: The 10th Republican presidential debate — this one from Oakland University in Michigan — is over. (The eight Republican candidates for president debated at Oakland University in Michigan Wednesday night.)…. – WaPo, 11-9-11
  • Romney rides high, Perry flops in debate: Mitt Romney rejected charges that he’s a flip-flopper in a Michigan debate on Wednesday night, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a flop of his own. Romney said he’s a man of “steadiness and constancy” and insisted that he’s been consistent…. – MarketWatch, 11-9-11
  • GOP debate: Romney on housing policy, plus palm oil prices: Something’s been missing from all the Republican presidential debates this fall. It certainly hasn’t been fireworks among the candidates, which headlined the historic clash in Las Vegas; it hasn’t been unclassy behavior by audience … – WaPo, 11-9-11
  • Live blog: GOP candidates face off in Michigan: The GOP presidential candidates just finished their ninth nationally televised debate of the year and a gaffe by Texas Gov. Rick Perry sticks out. Perry, who has said he’s not a good debater, stumbled when he tried to name … – USA Today, 11-9-11
  • CNBC debate: Jon Huntsman balks on Mitt Romney attack: Jon Huntsman stopped short of going after Mitt Romney directly at the CNBC debate Wednesday, even as the CNBC moderators baited him to call the GOP frontrunner’s China policies “pandering.” After Romney finished an extended attack on Chinese trade … – Politico, 11-9-11
  • Michigan debate: Candidates slamming China: The issue led off with Herman Cain, who said that there is something wrong with companies sending jobs to China because it’s cheaper, and used it to pivot to the ‘9-9-9’ plan without going into details about how he’d fix it. … – Politico, 11-9-11
  • GOP hopefuls say let Europe solve debt on its own: Republican presidential hopefuls agreed Wednesday night that Europe’s countries should rise or fall on their own without any American bailout and warned that failing to cut budget deficits at home will doom the US economy… – AP, 11-9-11
  • FACT CHECK: Romney’s clunker claim on auto bailout: Debating in Michigan, where the bailout was popular and credited with helping to save automakers, Republican candidates struggled at times to explain why…. – CBS News, 11-9-11
  • Rick Perry fails to remember what agency he’d get rid of in GOP debate: In a cringe-worthy moment during Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry couldn’t remember the third federal agency he has pledged to eliminate. Perry was discussing his jobs plan and his flat tax plan when he said…. – CBS News, 11-9-11
  • ‘Oops’ From Perry at Republican Presidential Debate: A day after an embarrassing stumble, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said he had no intention of leaving the race, despite stinging G.O.P. criticism…. – NYT, 11-9-11
  • Rick Perry ‘oops’ debate moment: Has it done him in?: Rick Perry floundered during Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate and has analysts wondering if it’s all over for his campaign. Some financial supporters are having second thoughts…. – CS Monitor, 11-10-11
  • Rick Perry’s ‘Oops’ in Republican debate could have long-lasting implications for his campaign: The Texas governor suffered from a particularly painful moment in Wednesday night’s debate, in which he couldn’t recall the third agency of the federal government that he would like to cut…. – WaPo, 11-9-11
  • For Perry, a Cringe-Worthy Gaffe: In the middle of an answer on his plans for the tax code, he turned to Ron Paul and proudly proclaimed that he would eliminate three federal agencies: Commerce, Education and … um. … – NYT, 11-9-11
  • Will ‘Oops’ be Perry’s campaign epitaph?: A visibly flustered Rick Perry was reduced to “Oops” after a painful 45 seconds of trying to remember the name of the third of three federal agencies that he would cut at a Republican presidential debate in Rochester, Michigan, on Wednesday. … – CNN, 11-9-11
  • Rick Perry on epic debate lapse: ‘I stepped in it, man’: Rick Perry made a rare appearance in the media spin room moments after Wednesday’s Republican debate, and was mobbed by reporters asking him if he could recover. An hour earlier, the Texas governor had struggled to name the three … – LAT, 11-9-11
  • Rick Perry’s brain freeze at the CNBC debate: Rick Perry just had a bizarre brain freeze where he couldn’t name the third agency he would want to cut as part of his revamp of the federal government…. – Politico, 11-9-11
  • Rick Perry fails to remember what agency he’d get rid of in GOP debate: Texas governor stumbles when trying to remember the third government agency he said he’d eliminate as president Read more by Kevin Hechtkopf on CBS News’ Political Hotsheet…. – CBS News, 11-10-11
  • Big Perry goof defines debate, may damage campaign: Rick Perry, who has proposed to eliminate three federal departments if he is elected president, couldn’t name all three during Tuesday night’s economic policy debate in Michigan. The Texas governor said he would abolish the federal Department of … – Houston Chronicle, 11-9-11
  • A look at key moments in the GOP debate: Key moments in Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate: ___ Perry Flub: Texas Gov. Rick Perry struggled to remember the names of the three federal agencies that he would eliminate if elected president. … – AP, 11-9-11
  • Rick Perry’s ‘Oops’ at GOP Debate: In case you missed it, here’s the moment in the CNBC debate among GOP presidential candidates that set the political world abuzz Wednesday night. As Texas Gov. Rick Perry said afterwards, “I stepped in it.” Actually, it seemed more…. – WSJ, 11-9-11
  • Perry’s Key Moment in Debate: a Memory Lapse: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s debate performance Wednesday night may be long remembered for what the candidate didn’t manage to say, rather than what he did. Mr. Perry set out to detail three federal agencies he’d eliminate if elected … – WSJ, 11-9-11
  • Perry: Bad. Cain? Worse. Another night at the circus with the GOP: What can you say about a debate in which one candidate had perhaps the worst moment ever in a presidential debate — Rick Perry’s brain freeze about the third of the three government agencies he wants to eliminate — and he didn’t…. – WaPo, 11-10-11
  • Rick Perry’s ‘Oops’ in Republican debate could have long-lasting implications: Rick Perry wants to get rid of three agencies of the federal government. Just don’t ask him to identify the third one. In easily the most painful moment of an already uneven set of debate performances, the Texas governor on Wednesday night fumbled … – WaPo, 11-9-11
  • Perry’s Debate Flub Not Necessarily Kiss of Death: GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s memory lapse at Wednesday night’s CNBC debate will go down as one of the worst debate flubs in history, but it may not mean the campaign kiss of death that the Twitterverse quickly proclaimed it to be.
    Despite the national audience of televised debates, a solitary sound bite is rarely the deciding factor between winning the nomination and foundering into failure.
    A 43-second clip that exemplifies one of the candidate’s biggest weaknesses, however, could deal a deathly blow to an already struggling campaign, said long-time political consultant Phil Noble
    “I don’t think this in and of itself is going to kill him, but I think that it could become the symbol of what kills him,” Noble said. “If he continues to reinforce this message of not being ready, of not being bright enough or smart enough, then this becomes the symbol of that larger message.”… – ABC News, 11-10-11
  • Big Perry goof defines debate, may damage campaign: Rick Perry, who has proposed to eliminate three federal departments if he is elected president, couldn’t name all three during Tuesday night’s economic policy debate in Michigan…. – Houston Chronicle, 11-9-11
  • Its Debate Night in America: The Dallas Cowboys aren’t the only Texans who have trouble in the second half. Rick Perry has repeatedly performed worse in the second half of presidential debates than in the opening portion. Tonight’s “oops” moment may have topped them all. … – Houston Chronicle, 11-9-11
  • Perry stumbles, Cain deflects in GOP debate at Oakland U: Texas Gov. Rick Perry stumbled just after GOP presidential debate’s midway point Wednesday night when he told the audience he planned to eliminate three federal departments when he arrives in Washington DC as president, but was unable to … – The Detroit News, 11-9-11
  • Pundits Pile On Perry: Larry Sabato: “To my memory, Perry’s forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate.” Mona Charen: “That was the greatest flame-out I’ve ever witnessed in a debate.” Rich Lowry: “That might be the most uncomfortable moment … – Time, 11-10-11

“Any time you’re standing in front of however many million people we were and you have a loss of train of thought, sure. It impacts you. But the fact is one error is not going to make or break a campaign.” — Rick Perry on CBS’ “The Early Show.”

“It’s hard to overstate how badly damaged Rick Perry is after the debate, one in which he overall performed more or less well – save for about 50 seconds. That was how long it took the Texas governor to concede he couldn’t recall the third federal agency he’d eliminate as president.” — Maggie Haberman, Politco.com

“To my memory, Perry’s forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate.” — Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics

“I thought Perry would get better after his first debate. I was wrong. I thought he couldn’t do worse than his last few debate performances. I was wrong. His blank moment on the three cabinet agencies was very uncomfortable to watch. It could happen to any of us, but having it happen to him, on this stage, was devastating.” — Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review

  • Takes from the Michigan Mash-Up: AP: “Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry says he would eliminate three federal agencies. Just don’t ask him to name them.” Politico: “The Rick Perry comeback hit a potentially disastrous snag Wednesday night, as the Texas governor again froze on … – Time, 11-9-11
  • Five things to watch for in GOP debate CNN, 11-9-11
  • Republican debate: Five key questions: Another day, another debate. Only a dozen or so more to go. But only Rick Perry is counting. The GOP field takes the stage tonight for a CNBC debate in the oh-so-important state of Michigan…. – WaPo, 11-9-11
  • Republican presidential debate in Michigan likely to focus on Herman Cain NY Daily News, 11-9-11
  • Romney on home-state territory for tonight’s GOP debate in Michigan: Mitt Romney returns to his home state today, where he was greeted this morning with full-page ads criticizing his position on the auto bailout and where he will be the focus of his seven rivals tonight on the debate … – Boston Globe, 11-9-11
  • Republicans to debate in jobs-starved Michigan: Rampant foreclosures, high unemployment and a volatile auto industry create a grim backdrop as the Republican presidential candidates debate in a state hit hard by the 2009 recession and longer-term … – MSNBC, 11-9-11
  • Entering the elimination round: The 2012 Republican primary is about to enter the elimination round. When the GOP presidential candidates meet in Michigan Wednesday for a CNBC debate on the economy, they’ll no longer be … – Politico, 11-9-11
  • Cain looks to move past controversy at US debate: Republican Herman Cain will try to move past an escalating sexual harassment controversy on Wednesday during a US presidential debate on economic issues held in the hard-hit manufacturing state of Michigan…. – Reuters, 11-9-11
  • Debate forum may benefit Rick Perry: Since he has decided to risk more presidential debates, Wednesday’s economy-focused forum may look like good medicine for Gov. Rick Perry’s ailing campaign. It gives him a stage in an economically battered state to talk about Texas … – Houston Chronicle, 11-9-11
  • Michigan GOP chair: Herman Cain’s sexual harassment problems shouldn’t be an issue: Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak says he doesn’t expect Herman Cain’s troubles over claims of sexual harassment will play much of a role in tonight’s GOP presidential debate. The focus of the televised debate, sponsored by CNBC…. – Dallas Morning News, 11-9-11
  • Stage set for GOP debate at Oakland University: Workers at Oakland University put the finishing touches on the CNBC stage for tonight’s Republican presidential debate. Herman Cain, inset, is battling allegations of sexual misconduct. … – Detroit Free Press, 11-9-11
  • Detroit Debate: Tests for Romney And Perry, Opportunity For Gingrich: The Republican primary debate in Motor City Wednesday night is the first one after a break of more than three weeks for the GOP candidates. The last debate was on Oct. 18 in Las Vegas. You remember. “Anderson! … – Huff Post, 11-9-11

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 11, 2011: Bloomberg / Washington Post GOP Republican Presidential Debate on the Economy at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire Transcript — 7th & Least Combative GOP 2012 Debate has Mitt Romney as Front Runner, Herman Cain in the Hot Seat & Rick Perry in the Sidelines

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Republican Debate transcript

Pool photo by Toni Sandys

The Republicans gathered for debate on Tuesday at Dartmouth College, and the scene resembled a talk show. Charlie Rose was one of the moderators. More Photos »

Source: WaPo, 10-11-11

Bloomberg/Washington Post/WBIN-TV Republican Presidential Candidates Debate Republican Candidates: Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Businessman and Columnist Herman Cain; Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA); Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R); Representative Ron Paul (R-TX); Governor Rick Perry (R-TX); Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R); Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) Moderators: Charlie Rose; Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg TV White House Correspondent; Karen Tumulty, Washington Post Political Correspondent Location: Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire Time: 8:01 p.m. EDT Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
CHARLIE ROSE:  I am pleased to be here at this table to have an opportunity to talk to them about the issues that all of us are thinking about, and I begin this evening first with Herman Cain.

As you know, when Standard & Poor’s downgraded American credit, they noted not only the economic difficulties but the political   dysfunction.  So we begin this evening with the question:  What would you do specifically to end the paralysis in Washington?

HERMAN CAIN:  Two things:  Present a bold plan to grow this economy, which — I have put my 9-9-9 plan on the table, and it starts with throwing out the current tax code and putting in the 9-9-9 plan.

Secondly, get serious about bringing down the national debt.  The only way we’re going to do that is the first year that I’m president and I oversee a fiscal year budget, make sure that revenues equals spending.  If we stop adding to the national debt, we can bring it down.

So the answer is, we must grow this economy with a bold solution, which is why I’ve proposed 9-9-9 and at same time get serious about not creating annual deficits, so we can bring the national debt.  That will re-establish confidence in our system, and I believe we could get our credit rating back.

MR. ROSE:  Governor Perry, are you prepared, even though you have said you want to make Washington inconsequential, to go to Washington and, as Ronald Reagan did, compromise on spending cuts and taxes in order to produce results?

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R-TX):  Well, certainly, as the governor of the second-largest state, I’ve had to deal with folks on both sides of the aisle.

I’ve signed six balanced budgets as the governor of — of Texas.  So working with folks on both sides of the aisle and — and bringing ideas, whether it’s ways to redo your tax structure or what have you.

One of the things that I laid out today I think is a pretty bold plan to put 1.2 million Americans working in the energy industry.  And you don’t need Congress to do that; you need a president with a plan, which I’m laying out over the next three days, and clearly the intent to open up this treasure trove that America’s sitting on and getting America independent on the domestic energy side.  It’s time for another American Declaration of Independence.  It’s time for energy independence.

MR. ROSE:  We’ll come back to energy and also your economic plan this evening, but I go now to Governor Romney.

The paralysis is there and everybody’s concerned about it.  What specifically would you be prepared to do to make the country moving again on addressing its problems?

MITT ROMNEY:  I’d be prepared to be a leader.  You can’t get the country to go in the right direction and get Washington to work if you don’t have a president that’s a leader.  And — and three years ago we selected a person who’d never had any leadership experience, never worked in the private sector, never had the opportunity to actually bring people together, and he hasn’t been able to do so.  He said he’d bring us hope and change.  Instead he’s divided the nation and tried to blame other people.

The real course for America is to have someone who’s a leader, who can identify people in both parties who care more about the country than they care about getting reelected.  There are Democrats like that.  There are Republicans like that.  I was the governor of a state that had a few Democrats.  (Laughs.)  People in this room know how many we had in Massachusetts.

MR. ROSE:  So it’s essential to deal with Democrats —

MR. ROMNEY:  Yeah, you have to —

MR. ROSE:  — and to be prepared to compromise on the big issues of our time?

MR. ROMNEY:  You have to stand by your principles.  At the same time, you know that good Democrats and good Republicans who love the   country first will be able to find common ground from time to time and recognize we can’t keep on spending like we’re spending.

We can’t demand more from tax revenue from people, because that kills jobs and hurts working families.  We have got to help the middle class in this country.

The only way that’ll come together is if you have people on both sides of the aisle who will listen to a leader who has the experience of leading.  And that’s what America’s looking for and desperately longing for.

MR. ROSE:  And back to Governor Perry:  this plan that you would like to lay out — because Governor Romney has said you’ve had two months to produce a plan, an economic plan.  He’s had a 59-point plan. What’s the plan?  What will you say specifically?

GOV. PERRY:  Well, clearly, opening up a lot of the areas of our domestic energy area; that’s the real key.  You’ve got an administration that, by and large, has either by intimidation or over- regulation, put our energy industry and the rest of the economy in jeopardy.  And we’ve got to have a president who is willing to stand up and to clearly pull back those regulations that are strangling the American entrepreneurship that’s out there.

And it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s “Obamacare,” whether it’s Dodd-Frank, or whether it’s the tax burden, a president, particularly with the plan that I’m going to be laying out over the next three days — and I’m not going to lay it out all for you tonight.  You know, Mitt’s had six years to be working on a plan; I’ve been in this for about eight weeks.  But clearly, we’re going to be focused on initially the energy industry in this country and making America again independent and clearly the place where domestic energy needs to be produced from.

MR. ROSE:  Let me introduce my friend Karen.  Karen?

KAREN TUMULTY:  Congresswoman Bachmann, three years after the financial meltdown, Main Street continues to suffer.  People have lost their jobs, they’ve lost their homes, they’ve lost their faith in the future.

But Wall Street is thriving.  The banks not only got bailed out by the government:  They made huge profits; they paid themselves huge bonuses.  Do you think it’s right that no Wall Street executives have gone to jail for the damage they did to the economy?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN):  I think if you look at the problem with the economic meltdown, you can trace it right back to the federal government, because it was the federal government that demanded that banks and mortgage companies lower platinum-level — level — lending standards to new lows.  It was —

MS. TUMULTY:  But the federal government had also deregulated them.

REP. BACHMANN:  It was the federal government that pushed the subprime loans.  It was the federal government that pushed the Community Reinvestment Act.  It was Congressman Barney Frank and also Senator Chris Dodd that continued to push government-directed housing goals.  They pushed the banks to meet these rules.  And if banks failed to meet those rules, then the federal government said, we won’t let you merge; we won’t let you grow.  There’s a real problem:  It began with the federal government, and it began with Feddie and — Freddie and Fannie.

If you look at these secondary mortgage companies, which the federal government is essentially backing 100 percent, they put American mortgages in a very difficult place.  We had artificially low interest rates.  Freddie and Fannie were the center of the universe on the mortgage meltdown, and we had lending standards lowered for the first time in American history.  The fault goes back to the federal government.  And that’s what’s wrong with Dodd-Frank:  Dodd-Frank institutionalized all of these problems that were put into effect by the federal government.  That’s what I introduced the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank.  It’s the “jobs and housing destruction act.”

MS. TUMULTY:  So Speaker Gingrich, it sounds like Congresswoman Bachmann does not believe that Wall Street is to blame for the financial mess.  You’ve said that the current protests on Wall Street are, in your words, “the natural product of Obama’s class warfare.”

Does this mean that these people who are out there protesting on Wall Street, across the country, have no grievance?

MR. GINGRICH:  No.  I — let me draw a distinction.  I think there are — virtually every American has a reason to be angry.  I think virtually every American has a reason to be worried.  I think the people who are protesting on Wall Street break into two groups: one is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other is sincere middle-class people who, frankly, are very close to the tea party people in actually caring. You can tell which group is which.

The people who are decent and responsible citizens pick up after themselves.  The people who are just out there as activists trash the place and walk off and are proud of having trashed it.  So let’s draw that distinction.

If they want to really change things, the first person to fire is Bernanke, who is a disastrous chairman of the Federal Reserve.  The second person to fire is Geithner.  The fact is, in both the Bush and the Obama administrations, the fix has been in, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable for people to be angry.  But let’s be clear who put the fix in.  The fix was put in by the federal government.  And if you want to put people in jail, I want to second what Michele said: You ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.  And let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble.

MR. ROSE:  Clearly, you’re not saying they should go to jail.

MR. GINGRICH:  Well, in Chris Dodd’s case, go back and look at the Countryside deals.  In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at — at the — at Freddie Mac.  All I’m saying is, everybody —

MS. TUMULTY:  So if you were in the White —

MR. GINGRICH:  — everybody — everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country, and ought to start with Bernanke, who has still not been exposed for the hundreds of billions of dollars — (applause) —  MS. TUMULTY:  But —

MR. GINGRICH:  I’m going to say one other thing.  I’m going to repeat this:  Bernanke has in secret spent hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out one group and not bailing out another group.  I don’t see anybody in the news media demanding the kind of transparency at the Fed that you would demand of every other aspect of the federal government.

And I think it is corrupt and it is wrong for one man to have that kind of secret power.

MS. TUMULTY:  So, Congressman Paul, where do you come down this?

(Laughter, cross talk.)

REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL (R-TX):  The one thing — one thing I might — might say — that we have made some inroads on the Federal Reserve.  We passed a bill last year — we got a partial, you know, audit of the Fed.  We’ve learned a whole lot.  They were dealing in $15 trillion.  Five trillion (dollars) went overseas to bail out foreign banks.

But you know what?  The Congress did a lot.  I’ve worked on it for a good many years.  But Bloomberg helped and Fox helped.  They had court cases, Freedom of Information Act, and there are some, even at this table, who didn’t think auditing the Fed was such a good idea, that we could call up the Fed and ask him — and it would tell us what to do.  And I’ve been calling them up for 30 years and they never tell me.  (Laughter.)

But we’re getting to the bottom of it.  But if you want to understand why we have a problem, you have to understand the Fed, because the cause comes from the business cycle.  We shouldn’t be asking what to do exactly with the recession — obviously we have to deal with that — but you can’t solve, you can’t cure the disease if you don’t know the cause of it.  And the cause is the booms.  When there are booms, and they’re artificial, whether it’s the CRA or whether it’s the Fed, easy credit, when you have bubbles, whether it’s the NASDAQ or whether it’s the housing bubbles —

MR. ROSE:  OK.

REP. PAUL:  — they burst.  And when they do, you have to have corrections.  And that’s what we’re dealing with.  And we can do this by building coalitions —

MR. ROSE:  Thank you.

REP. PAUL:  — and not sacrificing any principles.

MR. ROSE:  Julianna.  JULIANNA GOLDMAN:  Thank you, Charlie.

Senator Santorum, I want to turn to jobs, because you’ve said that when you were growing up in a steel town in Pennsylvania, 21 percent of the country was involved in manufacturing.  Now it’s down to 9 percent.  Can those jobs ever return?  And what would you do to create jobs now?

RICK SANTORUM:  Yeah, the jobs can come back if you create a climate for them to be profitable.

I — I — we have a lot of businesspeople, manufacturers in Pennsylvania.  I don’t know a single one who wanted to ship their jobs offshore, who didn’t want them in their own community to be able to employ people and see the fruits of their labor being — benefiting the community that they live in.  What happened was we became uncompetitive.

So we need to be competitive.  And that’s why I proposed taking the corporate tax from manufacturers and processors, taking it from 35 percent and eliminating it, zero percent tax.  Allow this to be the — the — the manufacturing capital of the world again.  Take that money — $1.2 trillion that over — that’s overseas from manufacturers who did send their jobs overseas — bring it back, zero percent tax rate if you invest it in plant and equipment in this country.

Repeal every regulation the Obama administration has put in place that’s over $100 million.  Repeal them all.  You may have to replace a few, but let’s repeal them all because they are all antagonistic to businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

And do as Governor Perry suggested.  We need a bold energy plan — I’ve put one out there — to drill.  Pennsylvania — I don’t want to brag, Governor, but Pennsylvania is the gas capital of the world right now, not Texas, because —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MS. GOLDMAN:  But —

MR. SANTORUM:  — we are — we’re doing a great job.  And energy prices and gas went down by 75 percent —

MS. GOLDMAN:  But let me just follow up because we are in a crisis.  So what would you do right now to create jobs?

MR. SANTORUM:  The — the cool thing about my plan as opposed to Herman’s plans and some of the other plans out here, it’ll pass tomorrow.  It would pass tomorrow.  Why?  Because industrial-state Democrats want those jobs and they know if we put a pro-manufacturing- jobs plan on the table it will pass overnight.  We’ll get votes from Indiana and Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan, all of those states.

So it’s not just proposing a plan that will get — get things started that The Wall Street Journal will smile at — excuse me, The    Washington Post — or — but it’s a plan that can actually pass and get things done and bring people together.  That’s why I put it on the table.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Thank you.

I want to follow up now to Governor Huntsman.  From the Erie Canal to the Internet, it’s what — innovation is what’s always fueled economic recovery.  So shouldn’t the focus now be on trying to create the innovative jobs of tomorrow?  And what do you think those are?

JON HUNTSMAN:  We need to regain our industrial base.  I would, first and foremost, disagree with Rick on one measure.  And that is, Pennsylvania is not the gas capital of the country; Washington, D.C., is the gas capital of the country.  (Laughter.)

GOV. PERRY:  (That’s OK — that’s OK ?).

MR. HUNTSMAN:  There are two things that critically need to be done for us to stay ahead in this highly competitive world, and when we lose one or both of them, we lose out to the Chinese and the Indians.  One is maintaining a strong commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and freedom in the marketplace.  We have the sense of innovation that no country has been able to replicate.  Some have tried, and some will continue to try, but nobody does it like we do here.  And that gives rise to high technology, to regular manufacturing jobs cross the board.  It makes this economy hum when it’s working well.

The second part of this:  You need a marketplace, like Rick described a moment ago, in which you can translate those innovations into products.  We are losing our ability to maintain a competitive marketplace today.

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. HUNTSMAN:  That’s taxes, that’s regulation.  We’ve lost it to others, so right now we’re not able to translate innovation to the — we’ve got to regain the magic of a strong marketplace, so that we have the complete package.

MR. ROSE:  Karen.

MS. TUMULTY:  Congressman Gingrich — Speaker Gingrich, Medicare —

NEWT GINGRICH:  Newt — (off mic).

MS. TUMULTY:  (Laughs.)  Medicare is going broke.  Consider the fact that half of all Medicare spending is done in the last two years of life.  And research that has done — been done right here at Dartmouth by the Dartmouth Atlas would suggest that much of this money is going to treatments and interventions that do nothing to prolong life, or to improve it.  In fact, some of it does the opposite.  Do you consider this wasteful spending?  And if so, should the government do anything about it?  MR. GINGRICH:  You know, I’m really glad you asked that, because I was just swapping emails today with Andy von Eschenbach, who was the head of the National Cancer Institute, the head of the Food and Drug Administration.  But before that, he was the provost at MD Anderson, the largest cancer treatment center in the world.

And he wrote me to point out that the most recent U.S. government intervention on whether or not to have prostate testing is basically going to kill people.  So if you ask me, do I want some Washington bureaucrat to create a class action decision which affects every American’s last two years of life, not ever.  I think it is a disaster.  I think, candidly, Governor Palin got attacked unfairly for describing what would — would, in fact, be death panels.

And — and — what von Eschenbach will tell you if you call him is:  The decision to suggest that we not test men for — with PSA will mean that a number of people who do not have the — who are susceptible to a very rapid prostate cancer will die unnecessarily. And there was not a single urologist — not a single specialist on the board that looked at it.  So I’m — I’m opposed to class intervention for these things.

MS. TUMULTY:  Well, Congresswoman Bachmann, of course no one wants the government to come between a doctor and a patient, but do you think that Americans are getting the most for their money in Medicare spending?  And how can we make sure that the money that is being spent is being spent on the treatments and the — and the preventive treatments that do the most?

REP. BACHMANN:  We have a big problem today when it comes to Medicare, because we know that nine years from now, the Medicare hospital Part B Trust Fund is going to be dead flat broke.  So we’ve got to deal with this issue.

I was in the White House with President Obama this summer.  We asked him not once but three times:  President Obama, what is your plan to save Medicare?  And the president mumbled and he didn’t give an answer the first time, the second time.  And the third time the president said something very interesting, Karen.

He said “Obamacare.”  I think that senior citizens across the country have no idea that President Obama plans for Medicare to collapse, and instead everyone will be pushed into “Obamacare.”

And just like Newt Gingrich said, the way that “Obamacare” runs, there’s a board called IPAB.  It’s made up of 15 political appointees. These 15 political appointees will make all the major health care decisions for over 300 million Americans.  I don’t want 15 political appointees to make a health care decision for a beautiful, fragile, 85-year-old woman who should be making her own decision.

MR. ROSE:  We’ll come back to Medicare as well and medical issues and the cost of medical in the United States.

I want to talk about advisers and appointees.  Tell me, Governor Huntsman, whose advice do you seek on economic issues?  And who — what’s the profile of the kind of person you’d like to have advising you in your White House?

MR. HUNTSMAN:  I’d like the profile of my own father, who was a great entrepreneur.  And he started with nothing, and he built a great business, and my brother now runs that business.

People who have been out in the world, who have actually had their hands on products and manufacturing and know something about how to build something from the ground up.  That’s what this country has always done, is what we need to continue to do.

But in order to have the right policies in place.  And some I put forward as governor of the great state of Utah.  Tax reform:  I created a flat tax in the state of Utah.  It took that state to the number-one position in terms of job creation.  Regulatory reform and energy independence.

I want the kind of people who understand what makes an economy work.

But let’s be real about what it takes to get into federal government service these days.  Who on Earth from the private sector is ever going to want to give up their privacy and enter government service with the background checks, the financial disclosures, and everything else that serve as tremendous disincentives for good people to get into government.  So what we have today, Charlie, we’ve got a professional governing class of people on one end, and then you’ve got private- sector — (inaudible) — on the other —

MR. ROSE:  And so what would you do about that to change that, to attract those —

MR. HUNTSMAN:  We need —

MR. ROSE:  — kind of people so that they would be willing to serve — a cross section of people from every —

MR. HUNTSMAN:  Let’s get back to —

MR. ROSE:  (Inaudible.)

MR. HUNTSMAN:  — what we did a generation or two ago when we were more open in terms of accommodating people from all backgrounds who wanted to take a little bit of their life and serve in government, and then leave and go back to what it is they did best, whether on the farm or whether insurance or whether business or whether academia.

MR. ROSE:  When you mentioned the flat tax, does that mean that you look with some favor upon 9-9-9 that Herman Cain mentioned at the beginning of this conversation?

MR. HUNTSMAN:  I think it’s a catchy phrase.  In fact, I thought it was a price of a pizza when I first heard about it, Herman. (Laughter, applause).

MR. ROSE (?):  Price of a pizza.

MR. HUNTSMAN:  Here’s — here’s — here’s what — here’s what we need:  We need something that’s doable, doable, doable.  And what I have put forward is a tax program that is doable.  It actually wipes clean all of the loopholes and the deductions.  This is right out of what the Simpson-Bowles commission recommended — a bipartisan group of people that took a thoughtful approach to tax for corporate and individual — individual, and on the corporate side, phase out all of the corporate welfare, all of the subsidies because we can’t afford it any longer; in a revenue-neutral fashion, buy down the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, leveling the playing field for businesses big and small, allowing us to be a whole lot more competitive in the second decade of the 21st century.  MR. ROSE:  Julianna.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Thank you.  We will be coming back to 9-9-9, but first —

MR. CAIN:  (Now ?), wait, wait —

MS. GOLDMAN:  Well, but — but —

MR. CAIN:  He mentioned me —

MR. ROSE:  Give him 30 seconds.

MR. CAIN:  And he — (inaudible) — me, and you didn’t give me an opportunity to respond.

MR. ROSE:  And you have that opportunity (now ?).

MR. CAIN:  Thank you very much.  (Laughter.)  9-9-9 will pass, and it is not the price of pizza because, it has been well-studied and well-developed.  It starts with, unlike your proposals, throwing out the current tax code.  Continuing to pivot off the current tax code is not going to boost this economy.

This is why we developed 9-9-9 — 9 percent corporate business flat tax, 9 percent personal income flat tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax.  And it will pass, Senator, because the American people want it to pass.

MR. ROSE:  This is beginning to sound more like my table. Julianna — I mean, Karen.

MS. TUMULTY:  Mr. Cain, who do you turn to for political advice and for economic advice?

MR. CAIN:  My advisers come from the American people.  Now, I will have some experts.  One of my experts that helped me to develop this is a gentleman by the name of Rich Lowry out of Cleveland, Ohio. He is an economist, and he has worked in the business of wealth creation most of his career.  I also have a number of other well- recognized economists that helped me to develop this 9-9-9 plan.  It didn’t come off a pizza box, no.  It was well studied and well developed because it will replace the corporate income tax, the personal income tax, the capital gains tax, the death tax, and most importantly the payroll tax.

MS. TUMULTY:  So who are some of these economists?

MR. CAIN:  Rich Lowry out of Cleveland, Texas is one of the economists that I have used.  He’s been my lead economists on helping to develop this.

MR. ROSE:  Julianna.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Thank you.  Governor Romney, it’s 2013 and the European debt crisis has worsened, countries are defaulting, Europe’s largest banks are on the verge of bankruptcy, contagion has spread to the U.S., and the global financial system is on the brink.  What would you do differently than what President Bush, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke did in 2008?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, you’re — you’re talking about a scenario that’s obviously very difficult to imagine, and — and — and —

MS. GOLDMAN:  But it’s not a hypothetical because more than half the —

MR. ROMNEY:  It — it is — I’m — I’m afraid it is a hypothetical.  MS. GOLDMAN:  It’s not — Governor, it’s not a —

MR. ROMNEY:  Do you want to explain why it’s not a hypothetical?

MS. GOLDMAN:  Yes.

MR. ROMNEY:  OK.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Because more than half the country believes that a financial meltdown is likely in the next several years, and the U.S. banks have at least $700 billion in exposure to Europe.  So it’s a very real threat, and voters want to know what you would do differently.

MR. ROMNEY:  There — it’s still a hypothetical as to what’s going to precisely happen in the future.

I’m not very good at being omniscient, but I can tell you this:  that I’m not going to have to call up Timothy Geithner and say how does the economy work, because I’ve spent my life in the economy.  I spent my entire career working in the private sector, starting businesses, helping turn around businesses, sometimes successfully and sometimes not.  And I know how to make tough decisions, and to gather the input of people from around the country to help make the important decisions that have to be made.

Clearly if you think the entire financial system is going to collapse, you take action to keep that from happening.  In the case of Europe right now, they’re looking at what’s happening with Greece. Are they going to default on their debt?  Are they not?  That’s a decision which I would like to have input on, if I were president of the United States, and try and prevent the kind of contagion that would affect the U.S. banking system and put us at risk.

But I can tell you this.  I’m not interested in bailing out individual institutions that have wealthy people that want to make sure that their shares are worth something.  I am interested in making sure that we preserve our financial system, our currency, the banks across the entire country, and I will always put the interest of the American people ahead of the interests of any institution.

MS. GOLDMAN:  But — so would you — so would you or would you not be open to another Wall Street bailout?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, no one likes the idea of a Wall Street bailout.  I certainly don’t.  Asset — asset —

MS. GOLDMAN:  But you said in 2008 that it prevented the collapse of the financial —

MR. ROMNEY:  There’s no question but that the action that President Bush and that Secretary Paulson took was designed to keep not just a collapse of individual banking institutions but to keep the entire currency of the country worth something and to keep all the banks from closing and to make sure we didn’t all lose our jobs.  My — my experience tells me that we were on the — on the precipice and we could have had a complete meltdown of our entire financial system, wiping out all the savings of the American people.  So action had to be taken.

Was it perfect?  No.  Was it well-implemented?  No, not particularly.  Were there some institutions that should not have been   bailed out?  Absolutely.  Should they have used the funds to bail out General Motors and Chrysler?  No, that was the wrong source for that funding.

But this — but this approach of saying, look, we’re going to have to preserve our currency and maintain America and our financial system is — is essential.

MR. ROSE:  So you agree — you agree with Speaker Gingrich about Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed?

MR. ROMNEY:  I wouldn’t keep Ben Bernanke in office.  I’d choose someone of my — of my own — (inaudible).

MR. ROSE:  And who might that be?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, I haven’t chosen that person.  I haven’t even chosen a vice president.  I’m not sure I’m the nominee yet. (Laughter.)

MR. ROSE:  Well, we’d like to — we’d like to have — we would like to have — nor has anyone else, but we’d like to have an idea of the kind of people, you know, that you would have confidence in, in playing this very important role — although, Congressman Paul may differ about how important it is.

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, I wish we could find Milton Friedman again. Although what Milton said to us was, he said, you know, if you took all the economists in America, and you laid them end to end, it would be a good thing.  And I — (laughter) — and I have more respect for economists than that.  The people who help guide my economic policy are Greg Mankiw at Harvard —

MR. ROSE:  Right.

MR. ROMNEY: — and Glenn Hutchins at Columbia.  They were both former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers.  I don’t always agree with them.  I also talk to a number of business leaders.  I talk to people who are currently in the economy, in the financial sector, and in the manufacturing sector.  And on the basis of these various viewpoints I make my decisions.  And I believe that drawing on the best minds in this country, including economists, is something that’s essential to make sure that we preserve our financial system.

Right now America’s in crisis.  We don’t need to think about a hypothetical of what happens if Europe explodes and pulls us under. Although, if that does happen, you want to have someone who’s smart, who has experience, who knows how the financial services sector works, who knows how to protect American jobs — and I do; I’ve done it.

MR. ROSE:  And as far as you’re concerned, there’s no institution — no financial institution that’s too big to fail.  MR. ROMNEY:  Well, no, you don’t — you don’t — you don’t want to bail out anybody.  The idea of trying to bail out an institution to protect its shareholders or to protect a certain interest group: that’s a terrible idea, and that shouldn’t happen.  You do want to make sure we don’t lose the country, and we don’t lose our financial system, and we don’t lose American jobs, and that all the banks don’t go under.  So you have to take action very carefully to make sure that you preserve our currency and preserve our financial system.

But bailouts of individual institutions?  No one has interest in that, I don’t think.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Mr. Cain, back in 2008, you wrote that the Wall Street bailout was a win-win for the taxpayer.  You just heard Governor Romney.  Do you agree?

MR. CAIN:  Conceptually, I made that statement based upon the concept, but I happen to agree with Governor Romney.  The way it was administered is where it got off track.  They were discretionary in which institutions they were going to save, rather than apply it equitably, which is what most of us thought was going to be done.  The implementation of it is where they got off track.  I didn’t agree with it.  I don’t think Governor Romney agreed with it, so did a lot of us. The implementation was at fault.

MR. ROSE:  Housing is considered one of the real problems in terms of our economy, and getting housing starts up —

MR. GINGRICH:  Can I say one thing before we go to housing?

MR. ROSE:  Yes.

MR. GINGRICH:  Because I think this is really important.  There’s a real possibility that you can’t have the euro and the Greek economy in the same system.  There’s a possibility we could have a meltdown in the next year.  The thing that is most obvious, looking back, is that Paulson and Bernanke and Geithner didn’t have a clue — not because they’re not smart, but because they were operating in a world that has suddenly changed so radically, they didn’t know.

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. GINGRICH:  One of the reasons I’ve said that the Congress should insist that every decision document from 2008, 2009 and 2010 at the Fed be released is we are not any better prepared today for a crisis of that scale, because the people who were in that crisis and were wrong are still in charge.  And I think we need to learn what did they do right —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. GINGRICH:  — and what did they do learn — wrong — precisely for the reason you raised about 2013.  MR. ROSE:  Let me go to housing.  What would you do — would you get the federal government out of housing?  Yes?

REP. PAUL:  Absolutely.  I mean, there’s no need to.  Look at the —

MR. ROSE:  No Freddie — no Freddie Mac, no Fannie Mae, nothing?

REP. PAUL:  No, that’s where the distortions come.  That’s where the moral hazard comes from.  That’s where the mal-investment — overbilled.  It was predictable.

You talked about what economists we should look to, and unfortunately we’ve been living with Keynesian economics for many, many decades, and everybody who was right about predicting the bubbles were Austrian economists.  They said they were coming.  And yet they’re also saying — and I agree with them — that everything that we’re doing right now is wrong.

So what we did with the housing bubble, yes, we had too many houses.  It was glaring in our face.  The bubble was doomed to burst, and it came because of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, easy credit, and also the Community Reinvestment Act.

So who — who got into trouble?  The people who did the speculating and the Wall Street, the derivatives market.  They got the bailout.  They got privileges.  So what happened to the middle class? They lost their jobs.  They lost their houses.  This whole system is all messed up.

And you’re — what I hear here is just tinkering with the current system and not looking at something new and different, and it’s a free-market economy without a Federal Reserve System, with sound money.  If you don’t have that, you’re going to continue with a bubble.

And this propping up this debt and keeping the correction — you need the correction.  You need to get rid of the malinvestment and the debt.  The debt is the burden on the economy.

MR. ROSE:  Time.

All right, we’ll be back.  Take a break and be right back.  Stay with us from Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire.

(Announcements.)

MR. ROSE:  In order to take the pulse of America, we have partnered with LinkedIn — LinkedIn — and they have some 120 billion (sic) networked professionals, and we’ve asked them to take part in this by giving us some polling that they have done.  But before I bring some of those results in, I want to take a look at a series of clips we’ll show you in this segment, beginning with this one of a former president.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN:  The single-most important question facing us tonight is, do we reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share, or do we accept bigger budget deficits, higher interest rates and higher unemployment simply because we disagree on certain features of a legislative package which offers hope for millions of Americans at home, on the farm and in the workplace?

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. ROSE:  Let me go to the governor of Texas.  Do you agree with the former president?

GOV. PERRY:  Well, I think we’re certainly talking about different times, because what I heard him say there, that he was willing to trade tax increases for reductions, and I don’t think he ever saw those reductions, he just saw the tax increase.  As a matter of fact, in his diary he made that statement that he’s still looking around for those — those reductions.

So I mean, from the standpoint — that’s one of the problems that we got in Washington, D.C.  One of the reasons that I think Americans are so untrustworthy of what’s going on in Washington is because they never see a cut in spending.  They always hear the — the siren song of, you know, if you’ll allow us to raise taxes, then we’ll make these reductions over here, when the fact of the matter is the issue is we need to have a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.  (Applause.)  And the next president of the United States needs to spend his time passing a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.

MR. ROSE:  But I want to stay with this idea of spending cuts and revenue increases and go back to you, Governor Romney.  This is where it is, it seems in Washington right now, not only the paralysis, but also you got the supercommittees.  And if in fact they can’t find an agreement, you’re going to have a trigger with automatic cuts, including defense.  So doesn’t that demand some kind of compromise, as Reagan suggested?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, I — I don’t know what particular compromises he was referring to.  We can take a look at that.

But I can tell you this, if you go back a few years before that clip and go to JFK’s time, the government at all levels — federal, state and local — was consuming about 27 percent of the U.S. economy. Today it consumes about 37 percent of the U.S. economy.  It’s on track to get to 40 percent.  We cease at some point to be a free economy. And the idea of saying, we just want a little more, just give us some more tax revenue, we need that, that is the answer for America.

The answer is to cut federal spending.  The answer is to cap how much the federal government can spend as a percentage of our economy and have a balanced budget amendment.

And the second part of the answer is to get our economy to grow, because the idea of just cutting and cutting and taxing more — I understand mathematically those things work, but nothing works as well as getting the economy going.

MS. TUMULTY:  But can we —

MR. ROMNEY:  Get Americans back to work.  Get them paying taxes. Get — get corporations growing in America, investing in America. Bring dollars back, as Rick said, repatriation dollars — bring a trillion-three (dollars) back from overseas.  Invest in the United States.  Get this economy going.  And I’ll tell you, these kinds of problems will disappear.

MS. TUMULTY:  But could we get back to the actual choice that is likely to confront Congress at the end of the year, which is some mix of revenues and cuts or these draconian automatic spending cuts that would include defense.  Which of those two, if that is the choice, would you prefer?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, my choice is not to cut defense.  I think it’s a terrible idea to cut defense.  I think it’s a terrible idea to raise taxes.  Particularly at a time when the economy’s struggling, the idea of raising taxes, taking more money away from the American people, so government can spend it, and can spend it — right now the president has a jobs bill.

MS. TUMULTY:  So this is —

MR. ROMNEY:  How’d his last jobs bill work out for us?

MS. TUMULTY:  But this is the automatic cut —

MR. ROMNEY:  Not — not so well.

MS. TUMULTY:  — (inaudible)?

MR. ROMNEY:  Yeah, the — no, I do not want the automatic cuts. I want to see that supercommittee take responsibility for getting the economy going again by reining in the scale of the federal government —  MR. ROSE:  OK.

MR. ROMNEY:  — and saying we’re going to pull back on some of the programs we have —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. ROMNEY:  — and reform our entitlements, so they’re sustainable.

The American people want to see growth and jobs, and they believe that the right way to do it is by cutting back on the scale of government.  And they’re right.

MR. ROSE:  Without any increase in revenue?  (Applause.)

(Cross talk.)

MR. GINGRICH:  I just want to say one — I want to say one thing about the entire way Washington works, which was just posed in that question.  First of all, the Congress couldn’t figure out how to get the debt ceiling done with a president who shows zero leadership, so they adopt a truly stupid bill, OK?

And the bill basically says:  We’re either going to shoot ourselves in the head, or cut off our right leg.  And we’ll come in and — around Thanksgiving, and we’ll show you how we’re going to cut off the right leg.  And the alternative will be shooting ourselves in the head.

Let me just say bluntly, all of the spending cuts that are built into the debt ceiling bill — all of them are acts of Congress.  They can all be repealed at any moment.  It is nonsense to say we’re going to disarm the United States unilaterally because we’re too stupid to balance the budget any other way.  (Applause.)

MR. ROSE:  All right.

Congressman Bachmann.

REP. BACHMANN:  Charlie, last summer I was a leading voice in the wilderness of Washington, and a lone voice as a matter of fact, saying:  Do not increase the debt ceiling.  By that, what I was saying is, let’s not give Barack Obama another $2.4 trillion blank check to spend.

Think of what this means.  Our government right now — this is significant.  We are spending 40 percent more than what we take in. We all paid a lot of taxes this year.  We paid $2.2 trillion in taxes. That’s a lot of money from all the American people.  The American government spent a hundred percent of that 2.2 trillion (dollars). But the travesty is they spent 1.5 trillion (dollars) more than that. That’s the problem.  Every year, we are spending about 40 percent more than what we take in.

Our answer has to be that we cut back on the spending so we get to balance.  We can’t do this because all —

MR. ROSE:  Will cutting back on the spending —

REP. BACHMANN:  — all around us are young people that are going to be paying for this burden.  And their tax rates won’t be our tax rates.  Their tax rates could come at some point, their overall effective burden — I’m a federal tax lawyer; that’s what I do for a living.  And my background is in economics.  Their tax rates some day in their peak earning years, Charlie, could be as much as 75 percent. Who’s going to get out of bed in the morning to go to work, if they’re paying 75 percent tax rates?  We’ve got to get our spending house in order and cut back on spending.

MR. ROSE:  Cutting back on spending, in your judgment, will do it?

REP. BACHMANN:  That’s one piece of the answer.  That’s not the whole answer —

MR. ROSE:  Yeah —

REP. BACHMANN:  — but we have to cut taxes —

MR. ROSE:  I want you to take a look — we’ll come to all of you, but let me take a look at another clip; this one you will recognize as well.  Here it is.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

MR. CAIN:  It’s called the 9-9-9 plan.  (Applause.)  It imposes a 9 percent business flat tax, a 9 percent personal flat tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. ROSE:  Go ahead, Julianna.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Thanks.  I said we would get back to 9-9-9. (Laughter.)

Mr. Cain, you say that your plan is revenue neutral.  And last year, the U.S. collected $2.2 trillion in tax revenue.  But Bloomberg Government has run the numbers, and your plan would have raised no more than $2 trillion.  And even with that shortfall, you’d still be slapping a 9 percent sales tax on food and medicine.

MR. CAIN:  The problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect.  (Laughter, applause.)

MS. GOLDMAN:  Well — well —

MR. CAIN:  The — the reason — the reason it’s incorrect is because they start with assumptions that we don’t make.  Remember, 9- 9-9 plan throws out the current tax code.  And it starts with three simple economic driving principles:  production drives the economy;    risk-taking drives growth; and we need sound money — measurements must be dependable.

Now, what 9-9-9 does, it expands the base.  When you expand the base, we can arrive at the lowest possible rate, which is 9-9-9.  The difference between the 9-9-9 plan and the other plans that are being proposed is that they pivot off of the existing tax code.

We’ve had an outside firm — independent firm —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. CAIN:  — dynamically score it, and so our numbers will make it revenue neutral.

MR. ROSE:  All right.  Karen — go ahead.  I’m sorry, go ahead.

MS. GOLDMAN:  But then explain why, under your plan, all Americans should be paying more for milk, for a loaf of bread, and beer?

MR. ROSE:  And pizza.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Yeah, and pizza.  (Laughs.)

MR. CAIN:  I don’t buy beer.  (Laughter.)

You have to start with the biggest tax cut a lot of Americans pay, which is the payroll tax, 15.3 percent.  That goes to 9 percent. That’s a 6 percentage point difference, and the prices will not go up. So they’ve got a 6 percentage point difference to apply to the national sales tax piece of that, and in doing so they have the flexibility to decide on how much they want to spend it on new goods, how much they want to spend it on used goods —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. CAIN:  — because there is no tax on used goods.

MS. GOLDMAN:  But Congresswoman Bachmann, you’re a former IRS lawyer.  Do you agree?

REP. BACHMANN:  I would have to say the 9-9-9 plan isn’t a jobs plan, it is a tax plan.  And I would say that from my experience being in Congress but also as a federal tax lawyer, when you — the last thing you would do is give Congress another pipeline of a revenue stream, and this gives Congress a pipeline in a sales tax.  A sales tax can also lead to a value added tax.

The United States Congress put into place the Spanish-American War tax in — in 1898.  We only partially repealed that in 2006.  So once you get a new revenue stream, you’re never going to get rid of it.  And one thing I would say is, when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil’s in the details. (Laughter.)

MR. ROSE:  All right.  I have to —

MR. CAIN:  You’ve got to let me respond.

MR. ROSE:  We’ve given you several chances to respond.  I’ll come back.  We will continue to talk about taxes and spending.

We also know here that there has been a paradigm shift in the world economic order.

We know about China and we know about India.  Here is our next clip, and we will respond from that.  Here it is:

(Video begins.)

MR. ROMNEY:  And I will label China as it is, a currency manipulator, and I will go after them for stealing our intellectual property, and they will recognize that if they cheat, there is a price to pay.  I certainly don’t want a trade war with anybody, and we’re not going to have a trade war, but we can’t have a trade surrender either.

(Video ends.)

MR. ROSE:  Karen.

MS. TUMULTY:  Governor Huntsman, you were also ambassador to China, and you say that this would risk a trade war.  But if China is indeed keeping its currency low, that means that everything they sell in this country is artificially cheap and everything that our companies try to sell in China is artificially expensive.  So what do you say to people who ask, aren’t we already in a trade war with China?

MR. HUNTSMAN:  Well, first of all, I don’t subscribe to the Don Trump school or the Mitt Romney school of international trade.  I don’t want to find ourselves in a trade war.

With respect to China, if you start slapping penalties on them based on countervailing duties, you’re going to get the same thing in return because what they’re going to say, because of quantitative easing part one and part two, you’re doing a similar thing to your currency.  And then you’re going to find yourself in a trade war very, very quickly.

And what does that do?  That disadvantages our small businesses. It disadvantages our exporters.  It disadvantages our agricultural producers.  So I say, for the first and the second-largest economies in the world, we have no choice; we have to find common ground.  We have to of course use our trade laws, and use them very, very aggressively.

But at the end of the day, we’ve got to find more market-opening measures.  We’ve got to get more governors from this country together    with governors from provinces of China, mayors together with mayors, and exploit the opportunities that exist for exporters.  That’s a job- creator in this country.  It’s a huge job creator.  And we have to get used to the fact that as far as the eye can see into the 21st century, it’s going to be the United States and China on the world stage.

MS. TUMULTY:  You know, Governor Romney, this issue does carry a lot of resonance, especially in states like New Hampshire which, as you probably know, has lost a greater percentage of its manufacturing jobs to China than any other state.  But voters have heard candidates talk tough on China before — George W. Bush did it, Barack Obama did it — only to see that, once elected, the president takes a much more cautious approach, because of the complexity of the relationship and the fact that this is our biggest creditor.  Why should voters believe that you would be any different?

MR. ROMNEY:  I’m afraid that people who’ve looked at this in the past have been played like a fiddle by the Chinese.  And the Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank, taking our currency and taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future.  And I’m not willing to let that happen.

I’m in this race to try and get America to make sure we’re strong again, we’re creating jobs, we’re the best place in the world to be middle class again.  And for that to happen, we’ve got to call cheating for what it is.

MS. TUMULTY:  But is —

MR. ROMNEY:  And you can’t — you can’t — you know, people say, well, we might have a trade war with China.  Well, now, think about that.  We buy this much stuff from China; they buy that much stuff from us.  You think they want to have a trade war?  I mean, this is — this is a time when we’re being hollowed out by China that is artificially holding down their prices, as you just said a moment ago. And that’s having a massive impact on jobs here.  It is the wrong course for us, when people have pursued unfair trade practices.  You have to have a president that will take action.

And on day one — I’ve indicated, day one — I will issue an executive order identifying China as a currency manipulator.  We’ll bring an action against them in front of the WTO for manipulating their currency, and we will go after them.  If you’re not willing to stand up to China, you’ll get run over by China.  And that’s what’s happened for 20 years.  (Applause.)

MS. TUMULTY:  But as recently as —

GOV. PERRY:  But we’re —  MR. ROSE:  Let me go to Governor Perry and then governor — then Governor Huntsman.

Governor Perry.

GOV. PERRY:  We’re missing this so much.  What we need to be focused on in this country today is not whether or not we’re going to have this policy or that policy.  What we need to be focused on is how we get America working again.  That’s where we need to be focused.

And let me tell you, we’re sitting on this absolute treasure trove of — of energy in this country.  And I don’t need 9-9-9, we don’t need any plan to pass Congress.  We need to get a president of the United States that is committed to passing the types of — of regulations, pulling the regulations back, freeing this country to go develop the energy industry that we have in this country.

I can promise you that we do that and we’ll create an environment in this country where the manufacturing will come back to this country.  We did it in Texas.  We brought CHI Manufacturing, that had business in China, back to the state of Texas.  You free up this country’s entrepreneurs where they know that they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on investment and all of this conversation that we’re having today becomes substantially less impactful.

MR. ROSE:  All right.  I want to come back to these issues, but let me introduce — speaking of CEOs and business — this is a New Hampshire native.  His name is David Cote.  He is chairman and CEO of Honeywell, and he is a former member of the Simpson-Bowles commission. Here he is.

DAVID COTE (chairman and CEO, Honeywell):  (From videotape.) Twenty years ago there were a billion people actively participating in the global economy.  Today there are more than 4 billion active participants in the global economy, with China, India, former CIS states and other emerging economies now in the game.  While that is a good and peaceful phenomenon, it also means we need to compete more strongly than we did in the past.  We need an American competitiveness agenda.  We need to inspire that American competitive spirit that has served us so well for over 200 years.

I would like to ask, what would be on your American competitiveness agenda?  And with one last small request.  My guess is, all of us are ready to accept that we’re a great country and a great people, so if your response could focus on specifics, it would be much appreciated.  Thank you.

MR. ROSE:  Senator Santorum, we talked about jobs in Pennsylvania.  A competitive agenda of yours would be what?

MR. SANTORUM:  Well, I already put forward a plan.  You know, Mitt, I don’t want to go to a trade war.  I want to beat China.  I want to go war with China and — and make America the most attractive place in the world to do business, and we need to do that with the agenda that I outlined, which, unlike Herman’s plan, which could not pass, because no — how many people here are for a sales tax in New Hampshire?  Raise your hand.  There you go, Herman.  That’s how many votes you’ll get in New Hampshire.

MR. ROSE:  Yeah.

MR. SANTORUM:  You know, we’re not going to — we’re not going to give the — we’re not going to give the federal government, Nancy Pelosi, a new pipeline, a 9 percent sales tax, for consumers to get hammered by the federal government.  How many people believe that we’ll keep the income tax at 9 percent?  Anybody?  There.  There’s — that’s why people won’t trust —

MR. ROSE:  All right.  So if you keep —

MR. SANTORUM:  — giving people — (inaudible) — if you if you give us a plan —

MR. ROSE:  — if you keep mentioning 9-9-9 and Herman Cain, I’m going to have to go back to him every other question.

(Cross talk, laughter.)

MR. CAIN:  That’s right.  (Applause.)

MR. SANTORUM:  Charlie, whoa, whoa.  I’m not done yet.

MR. CAIN:  Thank you.

MR. ROSE:  (Chuckles.)

MR. SANTORUM:  I’m not done yet.  I’ve — I’ve only been able to answer one question, unlike everybody else here, so let let me just finish what I’m saying.

MR. ROSE:  Right.

MR. SANTORUM:  We need to repeal “Obamacare.”  That’s the first thing we need to do.  We want to create jobs.  I went to Osippi (ph) today and I talked to a small-business man there, and he said:  I will not hire anybody, I will not do — I will not make a move until I find    out what’s going to happen with this health care bill and how it’s going to crush me and — and — and so repealing “Obamacare” — and we can do it, not by waivers.  That’s the wrong idea, Mitt.  And you — reason it’s the wrong idea — because you get a waiver — California going to waive that?  No.  New York going to waive it?  No.  All these states — many of them, liberal states — are going to continue on, and then states like New Hampshire that will waive it will end up subsidizing California.

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. SANTORUM:  We need to repeal it — let me finish.

MR. ROSE:  Yes, you do, but you —

MR. SANTORUM:  We need to repeal it —

MR. ROSE:  All right, but their time —

MR. SANTORUM:  I know.  Well, I’m —

MR. ROSE:  Time.  You see the red light.  Time!

MR. SANTORUM:  — (spending up the ?) time.  We need to repeal it —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. SANTORUM:  — by doing it through a reconciliation process, and since I have the experience and know how to do that, we’ll take care of and get it rid of it the first —

MR. ROSE:  I’ve got to go to the break and I’m — but I’m — both — give both Herman Cain and Governor Romney a chance to make their point, because they were both mentioned — first Cain, then Romney, then break.

MR. CAIN:  Therein lies the difference between me, the nonpolitician, and all of the politicians.  They want to pass what they think they can get passed, rather than what we need, which is a bold solution.

9-9-9 is bold, and the American people want a bold solution, not just what’s going to kick the can down the table — down the road.

MR. ROSE:  Governor Romney.  (Applause.)

MR. ROMNEY:  Rick, you’re absolutely right.  On day one, granting a waiver for — to all 50 states doesn’t stop in its tracks entirely “Obamacare.”  That’s why I also say we have to repeal “Obamacare,” and I will do that on day two with a reconciliation bill, because, as you know, it was passed by reconciliation, 51 votes.  We can get rid of it with 51 votes.  We have to get rid of “Obamacare” and return to the states the responsibility —

MR.     :  (Inaudible.)

MR. ROMNEY:  No, not if you get rid of it.  And by the way, the Supreme Court may get rid of it.

MR.     :  (Inaudible.)

MR. ROMNEY:  Let me finish.  Let me finish.

MR. ROSE:  OK.  Let him finish, then we’ll go to Huntsman, then we go to break.  And then when we come back, each of you can question each other.  (Laughter, applause.)

MR. ROMNEY:  All right.  (That’s a good deal ?).

And let me — let me just say this, which is, we all agree about repeal and replace.  And I’m proud of the fact that I put together a plan that says what I’m going to replace it with.  And I think it’s incumbent on everybody around this table to put together a plan that says, this is what I’ll replace it with, because the American people are not satisfied with the status quo.  They want us to solve the problem of health care, to get it to work like a market, and that’s what has to happen.

MR. ROSE:  All right.  Government Huntsman, then we go.

MR. HUNTSMAN:  It’s disingenuous to — to just say that you — you can can waive it all the way.  The mandate will be in place.  The IRS is already planning on 19,500 new employees to administer that mandate.  That will stay, and that’s the ruinous part of “Obamacare.” And that — Mitt, your plan is not going to do anything.  MR. ROMNEY:  (Inaudible) — a way to repeal it.  Did you miss that?

MR. HUNTSMAN:  (Inaudible.)  It doesn’t — it doesn’t repeal the mandate.

(Cross talk.)

MR. SANTORUM:  Through reconciliation you can repeal the taxes, you can repeal the spending, and therefore the mandate has no teeth because there’s no tax penalty if you don’t enforce (them ?).

MR. ROSE:  All right, we have much to talk about.  When we come back, the candidates will ask questions of each other, after this break.  (Applause.)

(Announcements.)

MR. ROSE:  Welcome back.  We’re at the Republican presidential candidates’ debate.  We’re at Dartmouth College in New Hanover (sic) — in Hanover, New Hampshire — and we’re pleased now to turn around a bit and have the candidates question each other.  They will each have 30 seconds to pose and answer — will have one minute to respond — 30 seconds per question, one minute to respond.

They’ll proceed in alphabetical order.  I remember that — I want you to remember, as we talk about this, we’re talking about the economy or those things that affect the economy.

Beginning in alphabetical order:  Congresswoman Bachmann.

REP. BACHMANN:  Thank you.  In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan introduced an economic miracle.  And while all of us were wishing and yearning for a third term for Ronald Reagan, Governor Perry, you were campaigning and cochairing Al Gore’s election campaign for president of the United States.  You went on to increase spending in Texas by over 50 percent, and you financed that spending by increasing bond debt by over 137 percent.  That’s exactly what Barack Obama has been doing:  increasing debt by trillions of dollars.  How can we trust you to not go down the Obama way and overspend and pay for that spending with indebtedness on the backs of the next generation?

GOV. PERRY:  Well, I, like most people in the state of Texas and in those southern states, grew up a Democrat.  Michael Reagan and I were talking just the other day, Charlie, that I came to the Republican Party sooner in age than his dad, Ronald Reagan did.

And let me just address this issue of the debt in the state of Texas.  Texas has the sixth-lowest debt per capita when I started as the governor back in 2000.  And today, Texas has the second-lowest debt per capita in the United States.  I think that’s what America’s looking for, is a president of the United States that understands how to balance budgets, how to deal with the spending issue and how to get Americans back working again.

MR. ROSE:  Herman Cain — question.

MR. CAIN:  Yes.  One of my guiding principles has been and will always be:  Surround yourself with good people.  The 9-9-9 plan that I have proposed is simple, transparent, efficient, fair and neutral.

My question is to Governor Romney.  Can you name all 59 points in your 160-page plan?  And does it satisfy that criteria of being simple, transparent, efficient, fair and neutral?  (Laughter, applause.)

MR. ROMNEY:  (Laughs.)  Herman, I — I’ve had the experience in my life of taking — taking on some tough problems.  And — and I must admit that — that simple answers are — are always very helpful, but oftentimes inadequate.  And in my view, to get this economy going again, we’re going to have to deal with more than just tax policy and just energy policy, even though both of those are part of my plan.

And the other parts of my plan are these.

One is to make sure that we stop the regulatory creep that’s occurred in Washington.  And all of the Obama regulations we say no to — we put a halt on them and reverse all of those that cost jobs.

Number two, we have trade policies that open up new markets to American goods.  And I lay out a number of things I’d do in that 59 points that open up more markets to American goods.  And we of course stop the cheating that goes on.

We also have to have the rule of law.  By that I mean you can’t have the federal government through its friends at the National Labor Relations Board saying to a company like Boeing that you can’t build a factory in a non-union state.  That’s simply wrong and violates the principle of the rule of law.

We also have to have institutions that create human capital. We’re a capitalist system, but we don’t — don’t just believe in — in physical capital or financial capital —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. ROMNEY:  — also human capital.  We need great schools, great institutions.

Finally, you got to have a government that doesn’t spend more money than it takes in.

Those are the seven major pillars of those 59 points.

MR. CAIN:  So no, it’s not simple is what you’re saying.  MR. ROMNEY:  It — I — let me — let me tell you, to get this economy restructured fundamentally to put America on a path to be the most competitive place in the world to create jobs is going to take someone who knows how to do it.  And it’s not one or two things; it’s a good number of things to get America — (inaudible).

MR. ROSE:  All right.  Speaker Gingrich, question.

MR. GINGRICH:  Now, Governor Romney, let me say first of all there’s an awful lot in your plan that’s very good and that I think would be very helpful if implemented — a lot better than what Obama is doing.  But one of the characteristics of Obama in his class- warfare approach has been to talk about going after people who made over $250,000 a year and divide us.  And I was a little surprised — I think it’s about page 47 of your plan — that you have a capital-gains tax cut for people under $200,000, which is actually lower than the Obama model.

Now, as a businessman, you know that you actually lose economic effectiveness if you limit capital-gains tax cuts only to people who don’t get capital gains.  So I’m curious:  What was the rationale for setting an even lower base mark than — than — than Obama had?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, the reason for giving a tax break to middle- income Americans is that middle-income Americans have been the people who have been most hurt by the Obama economy.  The reason you’re seeing protests, as you indicated, on Wall Street and across the country is middle-income Americans are having a hard time making ends meet.  Not only do we have 25 million people out of work or stopped looking for work, or in part-time jobs needing full-time employ, we just saw this week that median income in America has declined by 10 percent during the Obama years.  People are having a hard time making ends meet.

And so if I’m going to use precious dollars to reduce taxes, I want to focus it on where the people are hurting the most, and that’s the middle class.  I’m — I’m not worried about rich people; they’re doing just fine.  The very poor have a safety net; they’re taken care of.  But the people in the middle, the hard-working Americans, are the people who need a break, and that’s why I focus my tax cut right there.

MR. ROSE:  Governor Huntsman.

MR. HUNTSMAN:  Since this discussion is all about economics, Governor Romney, I promise this won’t be about religion.  (Laughter.) Some — (laughter) — sorry about that, Rick.

Since some might see it because of your past employment with Bain Capital as more of a financial engineer — somebody who breaks down    businesses, destroys jobs as opposed to creating jobs and opportunity, leveraging up, spinning off, enriching shareholders — Since you were number 47 as governor of the state of Massachusetts — where we were number one for example — and the whole discussion around this campaign is going to be job creation, how can you win that debate given your background?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, my background is quite different than you describe, Jon.  (Chuckles.)  So the way I’ll win it is by telling people an accurate rendition of what I’ve done in my life.

And fortunately, people in New Hampshire, living next door, have a pretty good sense of that.  They understand that in the business I was in, we didn’t take things apart and cut them off and sell them off.  We — we instead helped start businesses.

And they know some of the names.  We started Staples, we started the Sports Authority, we started Bright Horizons children centers. Heck, we even started a steel mill in a farm field in Indiana.  And that steel mill operates today and employs a lot of people.  So we began businesses.

Sometimes we acquired businesses and tried to turn them around — typically effectively — and net — net created tens of thousands of new jobs.  And I’m proud of the fact that we were able to do that. That’s a big part of the American system.  People are not going to — in my opinion, are not going to be looking for someone who’s not successful.  They want someone who has been successful and who knows how fundamentally the economy works.

I — look, I — I would not be in this race had I spent my life in politics alone.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.  But right now, with the American people in the kind of financial crisis they’re in, they need someone who knows how to create jobs, and I do.

MR. ROSE:  All right.  Congressman Paul.

REP. PAUL:  Since the Federal Reserve is the engine of inflation, creates the business cycle, produces our recessions and our depressions, the Federal Reserve obviously is a very important issue. And fortunately tonight, we have a former director of the Federal Reserve at Kansas City, so I have a question for Mr. Cain.

Mr. Cain, in the past, you’ve been rather critical of any of us who would want to audit the Fed.

You said — you’ve used pretty strong terms, that we were ignorant and that we didn’t know what we were doing, and therefore there is no need for a(n) audit anyway because if you had one you’re not going to find out everything because everybody knows everything about the Fed.  But now that we have found — and we’ve gotten an audit, we have found out an awful lot on how special businesses get, you know, bailed out — Wall Street, the banks and special companies, foreign governments. And — and you said that — you advised those of us who are concerned and you belittled.  You say, call up the Federal Reserve and just ask ’em —

MR. ROSE:  Question?

REP. PAUL:  — to get the PR person.  So do you still stick by this, that this is a — this is frivolous?  Or do you think it’s very important?  Sixty-four percent of the American people want a full audit of the Fed on a regular basis.

MR. ROSE:  Mr. Cain?

MR. CAIN:  First of all, you have misquoted me.  I did not call you or any of your people “ignorant.”  I don’t know where that came from.

REP. PAUL:  (Off mic.)

MR. CAIN:  All right?  Now, so you got to be careful of the stuff that you get off the Internet because that’s just not something that I have said.  (Laughter.)

Secondly, when I served on the board of the Federal Reserve in the 1990s, we didn’t do any of the things that this Federal Reserve is doing.  I don’t agree with the actions of this Federal Reserve.  I don’t agree with the actions that have been undertaken by Ben Bernanke.  We didn’t have a $14 trillion national debt to prop up with some of the actions that they are taking.

And I have also said, to be precise, I do not object to the Federal Reserve being audited.  I simply said if someone wants to initiate that option, go right ahead.  It doesn’t bother me.  So you — I’ve been misrepresented in that regard.  I don’t have a problem with the Federal Reserve being audited.  It’s simply not my top priority.  My top priority is 9-9-9.  (Laughter.)  Jobs, jobs, jobs! (Applause.)  MR. ROSE:  Governor Perry, question for —

GOV. PERRY:  (Chuckles.)  Governor Romney, your chief economic adviser, Glenn Hubbard, who you know well — he said that “Romneycare” was “Obamacare.”  And “Romneycare” has driven the cost of small business insurance premiums up by 14 percent over the national average in Massachusetts.

So my question for you would be, how would you respond to his criticism of your signature legislative achievement?

MR. ROMNEY:  You know, the — the great thing about running for president is that you get the chance also to talk about your experience as governor, and I’m proud of the fact that we took on a major problem in my state.  And the problem was that we had a lot of kids without insurance, a lot of adults without insurance, but it added up to about 8 percent of our population.  And we said:  You know what?  We want to find a way to get those folks insured, but we don’t want to change anything for the 92 percent of the people that already have insurance.  And so our plan dealt with those 8 percent, not the 92 (percent).

One of the problems with “Obamacare” is, he doesn’t deal with the people without insurance, he takes over health care for everyone. Then he does something else that Chris Christie said today.  He said: The problem with “Obamacare” is he spends an extra trillion dollars and raises taxes.  And raising taxes is one of the big problems — something we didn’t do in Massachusetts.

He also cuts Medicare!  Only — but — but with people out there talking about Medicare — it’s President Obama that did that.

And I — I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish.  I’ll tell you this, though.  We have the lowest number of kids, as a percentage, uninsured, of any state in America.  You have the highest.  You have over —

GOV. PERRY:  (Inaudible) —

MR. ROMNEY:  — I’m still — I’m still speaking.  I’m still speaking.

GOV. PERRY:  — Mr. Glenn Hubbard’s criticism.    MR. ROMNEY:  I’m still speaking.  We have — we have less than 1 percent of our kids — they’re uninsured.  You have a million kids uninsured in Texas — a million kids.

Under President Bush, the percent uninsured went down.  Under your leadership, it’s gone up.

I care about people.  Now our plan isn’t perfect.  Glenn Hubbard is a fine fellow.  I (will ?) take a look at his quote.

Some people say that.  Just because people say something doesn’t mean it’s true.  (Chuckles.)  The truth is, our plan is different.  And the people of Massachusetts, if they don’t like it, they get rid of it. Right now, they favor it three-to-one.

But I’m not running for governor of Massachusetts; I’m running for president of the United States.  And as president, I will repeal “Obamacare.”  I’ll grant a waiver on day one to get that started.  And I’ll make sure that we return to the states what we had when I was governor:  the right to care for our poor in the way we thought best for our respective states.

MR. ROSE:  Senator Santorum.

MR. SANTORUM:  Romney’s before me — R.

MR. ROSE:  No, I’m sorry, you’re right.  You’re right. (Laughter.)  Governor Romney.  (Laughs, laughter.)  Very good. (Applause.)

I missed school that day.  I missed school that day when they said R is before S.  (Laughter.)

MR. GINGRICH:  Think of us as your — (inaudible).

MR. ROSE:  That’s right.  (Laughs.)

MR. ROMNEY:  You’d think someone from PBS would know that, wouldn’t you?  (Laughter.)

MR. ROSE:  I was — I was thinking how much I was enjoying this. (Laughter.)

MR. ROMNEY:  (Laughs.)  Yeah, exactly — exactly right.

Let me turn to Congresswoman Bachmann, and just ask you Congresswoman, as we’ve spoken this evening, we’re all concerned about getting Americans back to work.  And you’ve laid out some pretty bold ideas with regards to taxation and cutting back the scale of the federal government.  And there’s no question, that’s a very important element of getting people back to work.  And I’d like to ask you to expand on your other ideas.

What do you do to help the American people get back to work, be able to make ends meet?  You’ve got families that are sitting around   the kitchen table, wondering how they’re going to make it — make it to the end of the month.  You got — you got young people coming out of college — maybe not here at Dartmouth, but a lot of colleges across the country — wondering where they can get a job.  What would you do, beyond the tax policies you described, to get people back to work?

REP. BACHMANN:  Well, I do understand that.  I’m a mother of 28 kids — 23 foster kids, five biological kids.  I get how difficult it is for young people right now to get jobs right out of college.  It’s very, very tough.  And the solutions that I’m offering in my plan — which, if I can give a commercial, are at michelebachmann.com — the solutions that I’m offering aren’t just a silver bullet.

It’s not just the tax code.  It’s also dealing with the regulatory burden, because businesses — my husband and I started our own successful business.  I’m 55.  I spent my whole life in the private sector.  I get job creation, too.  And the business world is looking at 1.8 trillion (dollars) every year in compliance costs with government regulations.  That has to go.  So I want to get rid of that.  It’s the mother of all repeal bills.

But the number-one reason that employers say that they aren’t hiring today is “Obamacare.”  And I was the leading critic for President Obama in Washington, D.C., against “Obamacare.”  That’s why I was the first member of Congress to introduce that bill to repeal “Obamacare.”  I understand that’s what’s inhibiting job creation and job growth.  We have to repeal that.  I also introduced and I fought on Barney Frank’s committee against Dodd-Frank, which is the “housing and jobs destruction act.”  That’s why I was the chief author of that bill as well.

MR. ROSE:  Time.

REP. BACHMANN:  There’s much more to my solutions.  Go to michelebachmann.com and you can find out.

(Cross talk, laughter.)

MR. SANTORUM:  We’re in the “live free or die” state, and I opposed the single-biggest government intrusion into the private sector, the Wall Street bailout, the TARP program.  I opposed it because it violated the principles of our Constitution, the spirit of our Constitution, because the experience I had, that if you open up the door of government involvement in the private sector, some president will, and in fact did, drive a truck through it and explode the size of the federal government and constrict our freedom.

The interesting thing here is, is the four people on this panel that actually supported TARP at the time of its — of its passage are the people who say that they are the anti-Washington candidates, that they are the business candidates, and they’re the four on this — on this program that supported the Washington bailout, giving Washington — naively, I would say — tools to constrict our freedom.

MS.    :  So do you have a question for one of them?

MORE  MR. SANTORUM:  My question is — you’ve — you’ve prompted it perfectly because here’s my question.

MR. CAIN:  (Laughs.)

MR. SANTORUM:  My question is, since I think Herman Cain is giving naively a tool in his 9-9-9 plan of giving Washington a huge new tax — tax opportunity to get money through a sales tax, why can we trust you that, with your lack of experience, that you won’t continually give Washington the ability to take freedom away from freedom-loving people here in the Live Free or Die State?

MR. CAIN:  There are three deterrents to the —

MR. SANTORUM:  And by the way, it’s one — the four people were Governor Huntsman, Governor Perry, Herman Cain and Governor Romney all supported TARP.

MR. CAIN:  There are three deterrents to this nightmare scenario you described in terms of how bad things are going to be because we are trying to fix the real problem.

The first deterrent is that I’m going to ask the United States Congress to include a two-thirds majority vote before they can raise the 9-9-9 tax.

The second deterrent — the second deterrent is the fact that because it is visible, simple and transparent, the American people are going to be the ones to hold Congress — Congress’ feet to the fire.

The third deterrent is that I would be president and I won’t sign anything that raises the 9-9-9.

MR. SANTORUM:  You’re not going to be president forever.

MR. ROSE:  With that we take a break and come back for our final segment.  Stay with us.  (Applause.)

(Announcements.)

MR. ROSE:  We are back at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire, talking with the eight Republican candidates about a variety of issues.  Clearly, we come back to health care.  I want to go to Governor Perry.  Explain to me what you think the difference is about your health care ideas and Governor Romney’s health care ideas and how you see mandates and how he sees mandates and the Constitution, because not only has there been some exchange here, Governor Christie got involved today.

GOV. PERRY:  Well, certainly the issue of health care is probably one of the biggest one that’s facing us.  I mean, there are a lot of Americans sitting out there today, and — and getting those people back to work’s the most important thing that we do as a country so that they can have the opportunity to purchase health care.  And I think that is probably the biggest issue that are facing Americans. There are people sitting out there around the kitchen table watching TV tonight who are looking for someone to lay out an idea that truly will get this country back working again.

And that’s why I lay out, without having any congressional impact at all, how to get our energy industry back to work and back to work very quickly.

But in the state of Texas, from the standpoint of what we’ve done to make access of health care better, we passed the most sweeping tort reform in the nation in — in 2003.  We also passed Healthy Texas, which expands the private sector insurance, and we’ve driven down the cost of insurance by 30 percent.

So those are some of the ways that the states — but the real issue for us is Medicaid and how to get the flexibility on Medicaid so that the innovators can occur in the states.  I can promise you whether it’s Governor Jindal or myself or Susana Martinez over in New Mexico, that’s where you’ll find the real innovation in health care. The way to deliver health care more efficiently, more effectively is to block grant those dollars back to the state and keep this federal government that has this one-size-fits-all mentality from driving the thought process that we’ve seen that’s destroyed health care in this country today.

MS. TUMULTY:  But Governor Perry, as The Washington Post fact- checker noted, Texas has had 16 waivers for Medicaid.  So how can you say that the problem is that the federal government has not given Texas enough flexibility?

GOV. PERRY:  They haven’t anywhere near given the states — I think what you should see is the block granting, not having to go to Washington, D.C. and ask them mother may I every time you come up with a concept or an idea.  Block granting back to the states, I’ll guarantee you the governors and — and their innovators in — in their states will come up with ways to better deliver health care more efficiently, more effectively, more cost-efficiently.  And that’s what this country’s looking for, is a president who understands that we have these 50 laboratories of innovation.  Free up these states from Washington, D.C.’s one-size-fits-all.

MR. ROSE:  Julianna.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Thank you, Charlie.

Mr. Cain, you disapprove of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, and we all know that your priority is 9-9-9.

But one of the most important appointments that you’re going to have to make your first year, should you be president, would be Fed chairman.  So which Federal Reserve chairman, over the last 40 years, do you think has been most successful and might serve as a model for that appointment?

MR. CAIN:  Alan Greenspan.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Why?

MR. CAIN:  Because that’s when I served on the board of the Federal Reserve in the early 1990s, and the way Alan Greenspan oversaw the Fed and the way he coordinated with — the way he coordinated with all of the Federal Reserve banks, I think that it worked fine back in the early 1990s.

Now, on that same point, I have already identified two candidates, which I cannot give their names, to replace the — Bernanke in anticipation of having that responsibility.  We must narrow the mission of the Fed first.  I don’t believe in ending the Fed; I believe we can fix the Fed by getting their mission re-focused on monetary price stability.  And I have candidates in mind that will help us do that.

MS. GOLDMAN:  So you have two appointments waiting in the wings for — for 2013, for this — when his —

MR. CAIN:  Yes.

MS. GOLDMAN:  — term is up, 2014?

MR. CAIN:  Yes.  I have two candidates waiting in the wings to take that job.

MS. GOLDMAN:  How about a hint?

MR. CAIN:  I got to keep them confidential.

MS. GOLDMAN:  OK.  Congressman Paul?  (Laughs, laughter.)

REP. PAUL:  Spoken like a true insider.  (Chuckles.)  No, Alan Greenspan was a disaster.  (Laughter, applause.)  Everybody in Washington — liberals and conservatives — said he kept interest rates too low too long.  Of course, the solution was lower ’em even more, and they think that’s going to solve our problems.  But if I had to name one person that did a little bit of good, that was Paul Volcker.  He at least knew how to end — or help, you know, end the inflation.

But of course, with my position that I don’t think highly of the Federal Reserve and I think we should have sound money and we shouldn’t have somebody deciding what the interest rates should be and how much money supply we should have, I mean, nobody satisfies me.

But certainly Alan Greenspan has ushered in the biggest bubble. And what did we do?  We’ve continued the same thing, doing the same thing.  We think the inflation of — under Alan Greenspan was bad, so we’re trying to solve the problem by inflating even further.  So Bernanke compounds the problem.  He’s inflating twice as fast as Greenspan was.

But Greenspan caused so much trouble.  And he used to believe in the gold standard.  I think he’s coming around to that.  And before he retires, he’ll write his biography and explain why he’s coming back to the gold standard.

MR. ROSE:  I want go to from the gold standard to a small- business person who is from New Hampshire, who’s in the audience with us and has a question about small business, of which she has founded one:  Margot Thompson (ph).

MARGOT THOMPSON (ph):  Businesses like mine have great difficulty obtaining credit.  What specifically would you do to make bank lending more accessible to small businesses?

MR. ROSE:  You would direct it to —

Q:  I was told to direct it to you —

MR. ROSE:  Oh, Governor Romney?  (Laughter.)

MR. ROMNEY:  Give her the answer, Charlie.  (Laughter.)

MR. ROSE:  I ask questions, not answer them, governor.

MR. ROMNEY:  Oh, OK, OK.

MR. ROSE:  I forgot to explain that.

MR. ROMNEY:  What’s happened in this country, under the Obama administration, is that you have a president who I think is well- meaning but just over his head when it comes to the economy.  And the absolute wrong time to have the absolute wrong people put together a    financial regulatory bill was right now and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.  They were the wrong guys at the wrong time.  Because what they did with this new bill is usher in what will be hundreds and thousands of pages of new regulations.

The big banks, the big money center banks in Wall Street, they can deal with that.  I spoke with one banker there that said they have hundreds of lawyers working on that legislation and trying to implement it.

For community banks that provide loans to business like yours, they can’t possibly deal with a regulatory burden like that.

Then you have inspectors coming in and writing down your — their — their assets and saying they’re not worth as much as the bank thought they were worth, and therefore the banks are unable to lend.

Small community banks across this country are starving and struggling because of inspectors that are making their job impossible and because of regulation that’s fine for the big banks, because they can deal with it.  It’s a killer for the small banks.  And those small banks loaning to small businesses and entrepreneurs are what have typically gotten our economy out of recession.

What’s — what the president has done on almost every dimension —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. ROMNEY:  — is exactly the wrong thing to get this economy going again.

REP. BACHMANN:  OK.

MR. ROSE:  Congresswoman Bachmann.

REP. BACHMANN:  I’d like to add to that, because the Dodd-Frank bill IS the — the jobs and housing destruction act.  And I have spoken to — to Iowa bankers, and they told me that they are going to see the collapse of community banks, just like Mitt said, all across the state.  I talked to a banker in Texas who owns multiple branch banks.  He said he’s going to lose 20 million (dollars) on his bottom line this year because of all of the compliance.

So government is putting a huge layer of regulation on banks.  We will literally thousands of banks close their door.  That will be hard for small business owners like you and like me.  And so that’s going to hurt real people, and it will lead to job destruction.

MR. ROSE:  All right.

REP. BACHMANN:  That’s why I introduced the bill to repeal Dodd- Frank, because it’ll hurt credit, not add to credit.  And by the way, that’s why we see the new $5 debit card fee that people are paying    every — every month that they’re upset about, because of Dodd-Frank. And that was insider dealing, because Senator Durbin had former staffers that came to lobby him on behalf of retailers.  This is dirty dealing.  As president of the United States, I would end all of these payoffs to political donors by — by — by our legislators.

That’s a — that’s wrong.  That’s got to end.

MR. ROSE:  OK.  Here, and then go over here — first, and then there.

MR. CAIN:  In addition to what Governor Romney said, I agree, repeal Dodd-Frank.  But also, get rid of the capital gains tax. That’s a big wall between people with ideas and people with money. And we know which plan gets rid of the capital gains tax.  (Laughter.)

REP. PAUL:  I just want to add one quick thing.  You know, Dodd- Frank, obviously, is a disaster.  It’s estimated it’s going to cost a trillion dollars.  I think one of the reasons we’re not getting anywhere, and we’re not getting anywhere in Washington, is it’s a partisan fight; it’s a fight over power.  Because Sarbanes-Oxley, which was done by the Republicans, it cost a trillion dollars, too. Let’s repeal that, too.

I mean, if you look at what we’ve done as Republicans, we have caused a lot of problems.  To say it’s all in these past two years, I mean, I think that is so misleading.  That’s why the American people are sick and tired of listening to the politics — (inaudible).

MR. ROSE:  All right, I want to bring my colleagues in.

Karen?

MS. TUMULTY:  Right.  Governor Perry, taxpayers stand to lose half a billion dollars in the collapse of Solyndra, which is a solar energy firm that was a centerpiece of the Obama green jobs initiative. Do you think there were inadequate safeguards there, or do you think this is just the risk we run when the government gets involved in subsidizing new industries and technologies?

GOV. PERRY:  Well, I don’t think the federal government should be involved in that type of investment, period.  If states want to choose to do that, I think that’s fine for states to do that.

MS. TUMULTY:  And you have in Texas done that with the emerging technology fund.  But your own state auditor said earlier this year that that fund is neither accountable nor transparent.  The Dallas Morning News reported that that fund gave $16 million to companies that are connected to your campaign contributors.  And like Solyndra, some of the emerging technology fund investments have gone bust.  So how is this different in principle from the Obama administration’s efforts to pick winners in the future economy?

GOV. PERRY:  Well, first off, the Texas legislature has full oversight of that committee.  It’s approved it for — I think since 2003.  So every two years the Texas legislature looks at it and it’s had full oversight, and I can promise you the 54,600 jobs that have been created and the 14-plus billion dollars worth of investment that has come out of the Enterprise Fund in the state of Texas, those people that have jobs today in the state of Texas, they are absolutely happy that we’ve got a program like that.  And — and 75 percent of those Emerging Technology Fund dollars — or my appointees never made a contribution to me, period.

MS. TUMULTY:  But you talk about — you talk about oversight. The fact is that in some instances your appointees have overruled the regional boards that have tried to turn back some of these deals.

GOV. PERRY:  Every — every one of those projects had the lieutenant governor, the speaker and the governor’s office.  So there’s extraordinary amount of oversight in those programs, and we’re proud of them.  I mean, we feel like that those are part of the reason that Texas has led the nation in the creation of jobs.  While this country was losing 2 1/2 million jobs, Texas was creating 1 million jobs.  That’s the kind of leadership that America’s longing for, someone that actually understands that you have to be able to give a climate where people know they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on that investment.

MR. ROSE:  We have one more video I want to show.  Here it is.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:  (From videotape.)  The more people who own their home, the better off America is.  And we’re making good progress.  Our nation’s 68 percent homeownership rate is the highest ever.  More people own homes now than ever before in the country’s history, and that’s exciting for the future of America. (Applause.)

MR. ROSE:  Speaker Gingrich, is the American dream of owning a home no longer a realistic dream?  And is it too easy in America?

MR. GINGRICH:  You know, there’s a stream of American thought that really wishes we would decay and fall apart, and that the future would be bleak so the government could then share the misery.  It was captured by Jimmy Carter in his “malaise speech.”  It’s captured every week by Barack Obama in his apologias disguised as press conferences. (Laughter, scattered applause.)

The fact is — and the governor is exactly right.  When we get back — I mean, a lot of these folks are right about a lot of things. His energy plan, his industrial manufacturing plan, most of what he put down — a fair amount, but not totally what my good friend said there — hard money with a very limited Federal Reserve —

MS. TUMULTY (?):  Repeal “Obamacare” —

MR. GINGRICH:  What Huntsman has done —

MS. TUMULTY (?):  Repeal “Obamacare” —

MR. GINGRICH:  And she — she’s right on repealing Dodd-Frank. I’m shocked that the House Republicans haven’t repealed Dodd-Frank. They ought to do it now.

MS. TUMULTY:  (Off mic.)

MR. GINGRICH:  They ought to repeal Sarbanes-Oxley now.  If we get back on track, the — and you know this, as a former ambassador — the Chinese couldn’t compete with us in a hundred years if we got our act together in this country and we got back to doing the right things in this country; at which point we could afford to buy houses, which would solve virtually everything else.  You got to be able to afford it to be able to buy it, and that’s where things went wrong in the — in the last decade.

MR. ROSE:  All right.

Julianna.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Mr. Cain — (applause) — you recently said, quoting you:  Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks; if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.  So are you telling the 14 million unemployed Americans that it’s their fault that they don’t have a job?

MR. CAIN:  No, the question was — that response was directed at the people that are protesting on Wall Street, not that 14 million people who are out of work for no reason of their own other than that the economy is not growing, not the millions of people that are underemployed.

That statement was not directed at them.  It was specifically directed at the people who were protesting on Wall Street.  And I also said that they have basically targeted the wrong target.  It should be against the failed policies of this administration, not Wall Street, is where they should be protesting.

MS. GOLDMAN:  Governor Romney, I want to ask you, because President Obama’s jobs bill was stalled in the Senate today, and so it may have to be broken into component parts for Congress to vote on. If the payroll tax cut is not extended, that would mean a tax increase for all Americans.  What would be the consequences of that?

MR. ROMNEY:  No one likes to see tax increases, but look, the — the stimulus bills the president comes out with that are supposedly going to create jobs, we’ve now seen this played in the theater several times.  And what we’re seeing hasn’t worked.  The American people know that when he — when he went into office and borrowed $800 billion for a massive jobs stimulus program, that they didn’t see the jobs.  Some of those green jobs we were supposed to get, that’s money down the drain.  The right course for America is not to keep spending money on stimulus bills, but instead to make permanent changes to the tax code.

Look, when you give — as the president’s bill does, if you give a temporary change to the payroll tax and you say, we’re going to extend this for a year or two, employers don’t hire people for a year or two.  They make an investment in a person that goes over a long period of time.  And so if you want to get this economy going again, you have to have people who understand how employers think, what it takes to create jobs.  And what it takes to create jobs is more than just a temporary shift in a tax stimulus.  It needs instead fundamental restructuring of our economy to make sure that we are the most attractive place in the world for investment, for innovation, for growth and for hiring, and we can do that again.

MS. GOLDMAN:  So you would be OK with seeing the payroll tax cuts —

MR. ROMNEY:  Look, I don’t like — (inaudible) — little Band- Aids.  I want to fundamentally restructure America’s foundation economically.

MR. ROSE:  Before a closing question, I want not this hour and a half to pass without some recognition and conversation about the question of disparity in America.  Karen.

MS. TUMULTY:  Governor Perry, over the last 30 years, the income of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans has grown by more than 300 percent.  And yet, we have more people living in poverty in this country than at any time in the last 50 years.  Is this acceptable? And what would you do to close that gap?

GOV. PERRY:  The reason we have that many people living in poverty is because we’ve got a president of the United States who’s a job killer.  That’s what’s wrong with this country today.  You have a president who does not understand how to create wealth.  He has overtaxed, over-regulated the small-businessmen and -women to the point where they’re laying off people.

Two-and-a-half million Americans are out there who have lost their jobs.  We have 14 million without work.  This president, I will suggest to you, is the biggest deterrent to getting this country back on track.  And we have to do everything we can to replace Barack Obama in 2012.  (Applause.)

MR. ROSE:  All right, let me just —

MR. SANTORUM:  There’s more — there’s more to it —

MR. ROSE:  OK, but we’re almost out of time.  I want to give you a chance, and then we have to go to a final question.

MR. SANTORUM:  There’s more to it than that.  I agree with Rick, what he said.  But the biggest problem with poverty in America we don’t talk about here, because it’s an economic discussion.  And that is the breakdown of the American family.  You want to look at the poverty rate among families that have two — a husband and wife working in them?  It’s 5 percent today.  A family that’s headed by one person?  It’s 30 percent today.

We need to do something.  We need to talk about economics, the home — the word “home” in Greek is the basis of the word “economy.” It is — it is the foundation of our country.  We need to have a policy that supports families, that encourages marriage —

MR. ROSE:  All right.

MR. SANTORUM:  — that has fathers take responsibility for their children.  You can’t have limited government, you can’t have a wealthy   society, if the family breaks down that basic unit of society.  And that needs to be included in this economic discussion.

MR. ROSE:  All right, I’ve got one last question.

One last question with 30 minutes of — one last question —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Off mic.)

MR. ROSE:  All right.  One last question as we close this evening, and each of you 30 seconds.  What is it about you that you want to connect with the American people in their both despair and in their hope for the future that says something essentially about who you are?  And I begin with Congresswoman Bachmann.

REP. BACHMANN:  I’m sorry, Charlie.

REP. PAUL:  (Chuckles.)  A little distraction.  (Laughter.)

MR. ROSE:  It is about the individual.  We have 30 seconds here. We’ve talked about issues here, but I want to talk for a moment, as a last impression, a sense of what it is about you that you want to hear and let the American people know about you and your sense of recognizing their own pain as well as their hope?

REP. BACHMANN:  Well, I do — I grew up in a middle-class home. We went to below —

MR. ROSE:  Thirty seconds.  I’m sorry.

REP. BACHMANN:  We — we went to below poverty when my parents divorced, and my mother worked very hard.  We all did.  We all got jobs and we were able to work our way through college.  And — and eventually my husband and I started a business.

We have broken hearts for at-risk kids, Charlie.  That’s why we took 23 foster children into our home.

I believe the best solutions are the ones closest to home.  If we reach out as individuals to help people and have broken hearts for people and care for them on a personal basis, then we don’t need big government to step in and do that job.  The more that we can do to love people, the better off the society will be.

MR. ROSE:  And Herman Cain.  Thirty seconds.

MR. CAIN:  I can connect with people’s pain because I was po’ before I was poor.  My dad worked three jobs.  I understand what that means.  But more importantly, with my career and with my record, I    understand that leaders are supposed to make sure we’re working on the right problems, we assign the right priority; surround yourself with the right people, which will allow you to put together the right plans — and yes, sometimes those plans will be bold plans, because this economy is on life support.

We don’t need to trim around the edges.  We need a bold plan.

MR. ROSE:  Congressman — Speaker Gingrich.

MR. GINGRICH:  Well, look, I grew up in an Army brat family.  We moved all over the country.  In recent years I’ve had relatives out of work.  I’ve had folks who were trying to find jobs for up to a year. We have, I think, a pretty good sense of the pain level.

But I also think it’s important to say of leaders that you find solution — I don’t think people hire one of us just to say:  I sympathize with you.

I think they hire us to say:  This is how we will solve it.

And I would say every person at this table is more likely to solve those problems than Barack Obama.

MR. ROSE:  Congressman Paul.  (Applause.)

REP. PAUL:  My motivation, my goals has always been to promote liberty, believing that’s what made America great.  If we want prosperity, if we want peace, we understand what the cause of liberty is all about.  And we have to understand that a free market system and sound money gives us the prosperity.  And it also is the humanitarian program, because once you get into the welfare state and a socialist state, it all backfires.  So if you care about people, you believe in liberty, that’s what made America great.  That’s what I want to restore.

MR. ROSE:  Senator Santorum.  (Applause.)

MR. SANTORUM:  As was mentioned, I grew up in a steel town, and one of the things that I realized is the when manufacturing left, a lot of the people in the middle income of America left.

And what we — what I — I just read a recent study that actually income mobility from the bottom two quintiles up into the middle of — up into the middle income is actually greater — the mobility in Europe — than it is in America today.  We need to change that, and the way you do it is by — in — by creating jobs in the manufacturing sector of the economy, which is what I will do.  It create that income mobility.  It’ll create the opportunity for semiskilled and lower- skilled and — and skilled workers to rise in society.  It will take    those people off of Occupy — and bring them into the workplace, where they can — they can have family-sustaining jobs.

MR. ROSE:  Governor Huntsman.

MR. HUNTSMAN:  Not only have I seen and participated in the creation of a great family business where jobs mean something, but I presided over a state that delivered the lowest level of unemployment in this country, 2.4 percent.  And when I saw on the faces of people who had the dignity of a job, you knew what it meant to moms and dads and entire families.

And when Sheriff Hardy who was here in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, when he talks about his deputies who for the first time are handing our foreclosure notices to the middle class and they’re seeing a rise in suicides, they’re seeing a rise in spousal abuse, they’re seeing a rise in substance abuse, it gives you a sense of what it means to have the dignity of a job.  We don’t have enough of them in this country.

MR. ROSE:  Governor Perry.

GOV. PERRY:  Charlie, as the son of tenant farmers and a young man who had the opportunity to wear the uniform of my country, and then the great privilege to serve as the governor of the second- largest state in this country, I’ve got not only the CEO experience but also working with the private sector to create the jobs.  And that’s what people are begging for.  Talking to that out-of-work rig worker out in the Gulf of Mexico today, they’re begging for someone to make America America again.

MR. ROSE:  Governor Romney.

MR. ROMNEY:  You know, we talked about a crisis this evening, an economic crisis, people out of work, incomes going down.  But there’s another crisis, and that’s that people wonder whether their future will be brighter for the kids than it’s been for them.  It’s always been what it means to be American, to have a greater degree of confidence in the future than even what we’ve enjoyed ourselves.  And what we have to do is to have the leadership in this country, like the men and women at this table, who believe in America.  My experience will help us get our values strong, get our economy strong, and make sure that our military is second to none in the world.

I am absolutely devoted to making America the strongest nation on Earth.  And if you don’t want that as your objective, don’t vote for me — we already have a president that doesn’t make that his first — first objective.

MR. ROSE:  All right.  I want to thank each and all of the candidates who sat at this table this evening.  As I said at the beginning, I believe in tables and I believe that places where you can come and talk about the country and its future and your beliefs is important.

Secondly, I want to thank Karen and thank Julianna for joining us.

I want to thank all of you who came here this evening to hear these candidates.  Thank you very much.  For those at home, thank you for watching.  A post-debate program will follow this.  We thank you for your time.  Good night.  (Applause.)

END.

Campaign Buzz October 11, 2011: Bloomberg / Washington Post GOP Republican Presidential Debate on the Economy at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire — Least Combative GOP 2012 Debate has Mitt Romney as Front Runner, Herman Cain in the Hot Seat & Rick Perry in the Sidelines

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Pool photo by Toni Sandys

The Republicans gathered for debate on Tuesday at Dartmouth College, and the scene resembled a talk show. Charlie Rose was one of the moderators. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: BLOOMBERG / WASHINGTON POST GOP REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Debate Live Blog: Republicans Take On the Economy: The Republican presidential candidates gather in Hanover, N.H., to discuss the economy and other issues…. – NYT, 10-11-11

Republican debate: Winners and losers: Mitt Romney shines as Rick Perry, Herman Cain fall short at GOP face-off in New Hampshire…. – CBS News, 10-12-11

  • Republican debate: Winners and Losers:
    WINNERS

    Mitt Romney
    9-9-9/Herman Cain: The “9-9-9” plan is Herman Cain. Herman Cain is the “9-9-9 plan”. Nothing so dominated tonight’s debate as chatter about Cain’s “bold”(his words — repeatedly) plan to restructure the tax system in the country. There’s little question that the 9/9/9 plan will be the single most searched term in the wake of this debate — and that’s a very good thing for Cain.
    Newt Gingrich
    Candidates asking candidates questions

    LOSERS

    Rick Perry
    Michele Bachmann
    Dodd-Frank
    Chilean Model

    WaPo, 10-11-11

  • When the Talk Turns to Taxes and Medicine: The Republican debate covered a range of topics, including income and sales taxes, prostate cancer tests and tax holidays…. – NYT, 10-11-11

“What we need to be focused on in this country today is not whether or not we are going to have this policy or that policy. What we need to be focused on is how we get Americans working again.” — Gov. Rick Perry

“Mitt’s had six years to be working on a plan. I’ve been in this for about eight weeks.” — Gov. Rick Perry

“I have had the experience in my life of taking on some tough problems. And I must admit that simple answers are always very helpful but oftentimes inadequate. And in my view, to get this economy going again, we’re going to have to deal with more than just tax policy and just energy policy, even though both of those are part of my plan.” — Mitt Romney

“If you want to understand why we have a problem, you have to understand the Fed. When there are booms and they’re artificial. . . . When you have bubbles, whether it’s the Nasdaq or whether it’s the housing bubbles, they burst.” — Rep. Ron Paul

“I think it’s a catchy phrase. In fact, I thought it was the price of a pizza when I first heard about it.” — Jon Huntsman

“9-9-9 will pass, and it is not the price of a pizza, because it has been well studied and well developed.” — Herman Cain

“When you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil is in the details” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“I don’t need 9-9-9. We don’t need any plan to pass Congress. We need to get a president of the United States that is committed to passing the types of regulations, pulling the regulations back, freeing this country to go develop the energy industry that we have in this country.” — Gov. Rick Perry

“I’m proud of the fact that we took on a major problem in my state. We had a lot of kids without insurance, a lot of adults without insurance. And we said, we don’t want to change anything for the 92 percent of the people that already have insurance. One of the problems with Obamacare is he doesn’t just deal with the people without insurance. He takes over health care for everyone.” — Mitt Romney

  • Romney Snubs Perry as Debate Focuses on the Economy: The Republicans gathered for debate on Tuesday at Dartmouth College, and the scene resembled a talk show. Charlie Rose was one of the moderators.
    With a fresh air of confidence in his candidacy, Mitt Romney set out to diminish Gov. Rick Perry of Texas while presenting himself as the leader best prepared to take on President Obama…. – NYT, 10-11-11
  • Mitt Romney solidifies his front-runner status in Republican debate: A comfortable and confident Mitt Romney solidified his front-runner status on Tuesday night in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, navigating 90 minutes of tough questions on the economy from his rivals and debate moderators.
    All eight Republican hopefuls who shared an intimate round table on the debate stage at Dartmouth College clamored to blame Washington for the country’s economic ills. In turn, they pointed fingers at President Obama, the Federal Reserve and the government in general, although they sparred over the details of their plans to grow the economy.
    The participants uniformly criticized Obama and official Washington for, in their view, not reviving the economy and for stunting its growth with too many regulations, overreach by the Federal Reserve and inadequate tax relief…. – WaPo, 10-11-11
  • Live: GOP candidates debate the economy and jobs: We’re live blogging the GOP presidential debate on the economy, being held at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are at the top of the latest Gallup Poll on the race, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry…. – USA Today, 10-11-11
  • GOP Debate Live Blog: All eyes might be on Texas Gov. Rick Perry at tonight’s debate, but Mitt Romney stole the pregame buzz by trotting out an unexpected endorsement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor announced his support for Mr. Romney…. – WSJ, 10-11-11
  • New Hampshire debate: Only minutes to go: Until the Republican candidates go head to head in Hanover, NH, for their fourth debate in a little over a month. Looming over the evening: Chris Christie’s endorsement of Mitt Romney, Herman Cain’s surge in the polls and a vocal Rick Perry supporters…. – Politico, 10-11-11
  • Live coverage: GOP debate at Dartmouth College: Only a month ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the Justin Bieber of American conservatism — an appealing new face who soared to the top of the charts (in this case, polls) with improbable speed. But then Perry went head to head with his Republican rivals…. – LAT, 10-11-11
  • Republican Presidential Debate: Photos: Images of the Republican Presidential debate hosted by Bloomberg and The Washington Post in partnership with WBIN-TV Derry, NH and Dartmouth College…. – BusinessWeek, 10-11-11
  • Romney Looks Past Rivals as Debate Focuses on Economy: Mitt Romney offered a robust defense of the health care plan he signed as governor of Massachusetts and sought to look beyond his Republican presidential rivals at a debate here Tuesday night by presenting himself as the leader who is best prepared to take on President Obama.
    With a fresh air of confidence in his candidacy, Mr. Romney set out to diminish Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and all but ignored him, a different approach from the last three debates, where he repeatedly tangled with Mr. Perry. Given a chance to question a fellow candidate, Mr. Romney selected Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
    In a debate that focused on the nation’s economic burdens, Mr. Romney defended elements of the Wall Street bailout in late 2008 as an imperfect but necessary solution. The view is at odds with the sentiment of many conservative voters, who will help decide the party’s nominee…. – NYT, 10-11-11
  • New Hampshire debate: Perry still in the hot seat: After a steep drop-off in his poll numbers, Rick Perry sat down at the Republican debate table Tuesday night with much to prove after three shaky debates, and stumbles on the stump. He needed to be sharp, quick, and show that he could go toe-to-toe with Mitt Romney.
    Well, the reviews are in and they are good and bad.
    The consensus seems to be this: Perry’s no debater, but he’s got money…. – WaPo, 10-12-11
  • Republican Presidential Candidate Debate: Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum talk about the US economy, job markets, tax code and their policies. … – Bloomberg, 10-12-11
  • Cain’s ‘9-9-9? plan in focus at Republican debate: The buzz word was definitely “9-9-9? in Tuesday’s Republican debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire that focused on economic issues. During the debate, the catchphrase 9-9-9 was mentioned 25 times (including 16 times by the man who conceived it)…. – Reuters Blogs, 10-11-11
  • New debate format familiar answers: Two big stories dominated the news cycle Tuesday: An alleged Iranian assassination plot against a diplomat on American soil and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s endorsement of Mitt Romney. Neither got an airing in Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate. … – Politico, 10-12-11
  • Cain Discusses 9-9-9 Plan, Independent Voters: Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive officer Herman Cain explains the specifics of his 9-9-9 tax plan and his campaign’s appeal to independent voters…. – Bloomberg, 10-11-11
  • Debate fatigue as GOP gathers in Dartmouth: Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate is the seventh since May and the fourth in a little over a month. There’s another one scheduled for next Tuesday, and more on the calendar before the end of the year…. – Politico, 10-11-11
  • GOP presidential debate fallout: Is Mitt Romney becoming inevitable?: At Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate, Mitt Romney fielded questions deftly, attacked when given an opening, and stayed out of jab-fests. Contenders so far haven’t knocked him off stride…. – CS Monitor, 10-12-11
  • Dartmouth aims to control debate crowd: At the last three GOP presidential debates, the crowd has cheered for executions, screamed out that a man without health insurance should be left to die and booed a gay soldier. Dartmouth is trying to keep Tuesday night’s Washington Post/Bloomberg … – Politico, 10-11-11
  • Buddy Roemer: Let me participate in the Republican debate: It’s too late for Buddy Roemer to get in on tonight’s Republican debate, but he has a simple pitch for whomever is planning the next one. “I hope the sponsors and the GOP say, ‘Roemer has a degree in economics and maybe we ought … – Washington Post, 10-11-11
  • Tonight’s Debate Deserves the Hype: Tuesday’s debate about economic issues takes on extra importance, particularly for Rick Perry…. – NYT, 10-11-11
  • Bloomberg debate: Cain, Perry look to upstage Romney: On a red-letter day already for Mitt Romney, he’ll have a chance to play to his strength — the economy — at a Republican presidential debate Tuesday evening in New Hampshire. The debate, broadcast live from Dartmouth College…. – LAT, 10-11-11
  • Republican debate: Five things to watch: For 90 minutes in New Hampshire tonight, eight Republican presidential hopefuls will sit around a wooden table and take shots at each other and President Obama. The theme of The Washington Post/Bloomberg debate, which starts at 8 p.m, is the economy. As Karen Tumulty, who will be one of the journalists asking questions, wrote, previous debates definitively shifted the momentum of the race. And tonight’s debate will likely set off yet another a new phase…. –

    1. Is Herman Cain a contender or a pretender?
    2. Can Romney take a punch?
    3. Rick Perry rebound?
    4. Will the debate veer off topic?
    5. Who will debate his or her way into a Saturday Night Live skit?

    WaPo, 10-11-11

Campaign Recap September 26, 2011: Herman Cain & Mitt Romney Beat Rick Perry in Florida & Michigan Straw Polls — GOP Candidates Debate in the Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Chip Litherland for The New York Times

STATS & POLLS

Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

Democratic Nominee 2012: President Barack Obama’s Official Reelection Campaign Website — BarackObama.com

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

  • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
  • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
  • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
  • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
  • Perry present favorite among Florida Republicans: A poll released early Thursday indicates Florida Republicans slightly prefer Perry over Romney in their party’s battle to find a nominee to face President Barack Obama next year. Perry was favored by 28 percent of the 374 registered Republican voters…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Romney dominates NH poll, well ahead of Perry: Mitt Romney may be tightening his grip on New Hampshire voters, despite tremendous buzz surrounding Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the nation’s first presidential primary state and elsewhere.
    The former Massachusetts governor now leads his nearest rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, by 27 points among likely New Hampshire voters, according to a Suffolk University-7News poll released Wednesday night. Perry finished far back, earning 8 percent compared with Romney’s 41 percent. Paul took 14 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman received 10 percent to round out the top four finishers…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign cratering?: A new poll shows Michele Bachmann falling back in the Republican field – and that her problems extend beyond front-runner Rick Perry siphoning off her supporters…. – CS Monitor, 9-20-11
  • Poll: Perry, Romney far ahead of field as SC looms: The Winthrop Poll shows Perry as the first choice among 30 percent of Republican voters; Romney is close behind at 27 percent. That’s within the 4 percentage-point margin of sampling error for the 596 GOP or Republican-leaning voters called between Sept. 11 and Sept. 18.
    Businessman Herman Cain had 7 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin 6 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 5 percent.
    Reps. Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul, both tea party favorites, were at 4 percent…. AP, 9-20-11

POLLS: MITT ROMNEY WINS MICHIGAN STRAW POLL OVER RICK PERRY

Romney Wins Michigan Straw Poll: Mr. Romney won 51 percent of the vote in the straw poll, far surpassing Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who finished second with 17 percent. Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, was third…. – NYT, 9-25-11

  • Romney bests Perry in Michigan straw poll: Michigan native Mitt Romney rolled over Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the rest of his Republican presidential rivals in a Michigan straw poll on Sunday, reinforcing a favorite son status that could make it tough for anyone else to win the state’s GOP primary.
    It was the second day of bad news for Perry, who lost to businessman Herman Cain in a Florida straw poll Saturday before heading to the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan.
    Perry’s second-place finish in Florida came just days after he faltered in a debate in Orlando, Fla. Romney came in third there, although he isn’t officially competing in straw polls.
    More than 1,600 elected officials and party regulars attended Michigan’s three-day conference, and state Republican Chairman Bobby Schostak said it’s no surprise that the former Massachusetts governor did so well in Sunday’s poll…. – CBS News, 9-25-11
  • On Home Turf, Romney Prevails in Straw Poll: Mitt Romney didn’t disappoint on his home turf this weekend, receiving 51 percent of the votes at the Michigan Straw Poll, a wide victory over Texas Gov. Rick Perry who garnered just 17 percent. Third place in the straw poll went to Herman Cain…. – ABC News, 9-25-11
  • Mitt Romney wins Michigan straw poll, Rick Perry a distant second: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he isn’t competing in any straw polls — not even the one this weekend on the island where he spent summers as a boy, where pictures of his father adorn the Grand Hotel and where George Romney’s legacy as a popular governor hung over the proceedings.
    To say Romney was the heavy favorite at the biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference would be an understatement. And he did not disappoint, winning the straw poll with 51 percent of the 681 votes cast. His top rival for the nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, finished second with 17 percent.
    For Romney, the victory was especially sweet considering that Perry flew here — a remote island on Lake Huron, accessible only by ferry and where visitors ride bicycles or horse-drawn carriages because automobiles are banned — to deliver a luncheon speech Saturday to conference attendees. Romney was here, too, and gave his speech during Saturday night’s dinner program.
    Former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive Herman Cain, who won the Florida straw poll Saturday, finished third in Michigan with 9 percent, according to the results announced Sunday morning. He was followed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) with 8 percent; Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), 4 percent; former House speaker Newt Gingrich, 4 percent; former senator Rick Santorum, 3 percent; and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr., 2 percent.
    The straw poll, organized and sponsored by National Journal Hotline and the National Association of Home Builders, surveyed the party leaders, donors and activists who attended this weekend’s conference.
    The poll also surveyed voters’ favorites to be the GOP vice presidential nominee. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) easily won, with 23 percent of the 481 votes cast in that category. Cain finished second with 14 percent, followed by Gingrich with 13 percent and Bachmann with 12 percent…. – WaPo, 9-25-11

PRESIDENCY 5: HERMAN CAIN WINS FLORIDA STRAW POLL OVER RICK PERRY

Herman Cain Wins Florida Straw Poll: Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, won the Florida straw poll today, defeating second-place Rick Perry…. – NYT, 9-24-121

FLORIDA STRAW POLL RESULTS:
In a stunning upset Saturday, Herman Cain won Florida’s Presidency 5 straw poll, a vote of 2,657 Republican activists that in past years has predicted the party nominee. Here are the results:

Herman Cain: 37 percent
Rick Perry: 15 percent
Mitt Romney: 14 percent
Rick Santorum: 10.9 percent
Ron Paul: 10.4 percent
Newt Gingrich: 8 percent
Jon Huntsman: 2.3 percent
Michelle Bachmann: 1.5 percent

“Folks, this is what you call momentum. The Herman Cain train is picking up steam.” — Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza

“Floridians and voters nationally want a candidate who is clear on the issues and talks honestly about the future. Not someone who takes multiple sides of an issue and changes views every election season. Today’s vote demonstrates that Floridians are energized and ready to help get America working again.” — Rick Perry

“Cain won, we still have work to do. It’s his day. The conservative message won today. We’ve been in this race for five weeks. We’re going to continue campaigning hard….
It’s more of what happened to Mitt Romney. He’s not going to be crowned president of the United States. He’s going to have to work for it. And after five and a half years he once again got rejected in a key state in the Republican primary process.” — Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner

  • Cain upsets Perry in Florida Republican straw poll: Former pizza executive Herman Cain surprised rival Rick Perry with an upset victory on Saturday in a nonbinding Republican presidential straw poll in Florida, dealing a disappointing loss to the Texas governor two days after a shaky debate performance.
    Perry, leading in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, had needed a victory in the key test of strength in a crucial state to salve the wounds left over from a debate with his rivals on Thursday in which he struggled.
    Instead, former Godfather’s Pizza executive Cain, who is far behind the two top-tier candidates Perry and Mitt Romney, won with 37 percent of 2,657 votes cast.
    Perry was a distant second at 15 percent, just ahead of Romney, who won 14 percent despite not participating in the poll. Further back were Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann.
    Florida’s straw poll is a nonbinding popularity poll and is significant only in terms of showing a candidate’s strength in the state. The state contests to determine the Republican nominee do not start until early next year.
    The Perry camp shrugged off the results…. – Reuters, 9-24-11
  • Cain’s Moment in the Sunshine State: The former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza has hit his rhetorical stride in the Republican contest, whipping up crowds of true-believers everywhere he goes. And he was rewarded on Saturday with a decisive win in the straw poll…. – NYT, 9-25-11
  • Herman Cain upsets Rick Perry in Florida straw poll: Rick Perry in a straw ballot of Florida Republican activists Saturday. The vote has no bearing on the choice of a 2012 nominee but, along with recent campaign events, is likely to increase the chances that the Republican presidential contest will … – LAT, 9-24-11
  • Cain wins Florida straw poll, finishing far ahead of Perry: Businessman Herman Cain won the Florida GOP presidential straw poll in a major surprise on Saturday, finishing well ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry…. – WaPo, 9-24-11
  • Perry on Straw Poll: “I have all my hopes on Florida”: In an effort to regain momentum after Thursday’s debate performance that left many Republicans here disappointed, GOP front-runner Governor Rick Perry lashed out at his rivals who have decided to skip Florida’s P5 presidential straw poll– a forum which has now become a significant test for Perry’s campaign for the White House.
    “There are a number of candidates who have spurned Florida’s straw poll and I think that’s a big mistake,” Perry said to a group of several hundred GOP delegates who had gathered to hear him speak at an Orlando breakfast event.
    “I have all my hopes on Florida,” Perry added.
    The poll is voted on by a convention of over 3,500 GOP delegates from across the battleground state…. – Fox News, 9-24-11
  • Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll in stunning victory; Perry in deep trouble: From the bottom of the polls to the top of the pack, businessman Herman Cain won the Republican Party of Florida’s nationally watched presidential straw poll Saturday in a sign that frontrunner Rick Perry is in deep trouble.
    Cain’s victory with 37 percent of the vote was a major defeat for Perry, the frontrunner in Florida and national polls, who garnered only 15 percent after wooing the nearly 3,000 party faithful with a free breakfast and mailers.
    The vote also showed how soft Republican support is for Mitt Romney, who came in third with 14 percent. Unlike Perry, though, he avoided schmoozing the GOP voters, called delegates. Miami Herald, 9-24-11
  • Can Herman Cain keep up the momentum after his Florida straw poll win?: Herman Cain is basking in the Sunday glow of his surprise win Saturday in the Florida straw poll. But he lags in national polls, and his Florida win may draw sharper scrutiny of his positions…. – CS Monitor, 9-25-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts mittromney.com

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts rickperry.org

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ronpaul2012.com

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts hermancain.com

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts michelebachmann.com

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts newt.org

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts jon2012.com

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ricksantorum.com

  • Fox News-Google Republican Presidential Debate: The following is a transcript of the Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Fla…. – NYT, 9-23-11

IN FOCUS: FOX NEWS / GOOGLE GOP REPUBLICAN DEBATE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

GOP DEBATE EXCERPTS — QUOTES

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Rick Perry Under Attack Goes on the Offensive — Especially Against Chief Rival Mitt Romney — Social Security, Healthcare Main Issues Fox News, 9-22-11

Small business: Gov. Rick Perry: “What we’ve done in Texas over the course of the last decade is to lower that tax burden on small-business men and women, have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable and a sweeping tort reform system that we passed in 2003. … That’s the way you get the government off the back of small businesses, and that’s the way you free up those small-business entrepreneurs when they know they can risk their capital and have a chance to get a return on their investments.
“If it will work in the state of Texas, it will work in Washington, D.C. And that’s exactly what I’m going to bring when I go there in November, excuse me, in January of 2013.”

States’ rights: Rep. Ron Paul: “The responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th Amendment. That would be the solution.
“Government is too big in Washington, D.C. It has run away, we have no controls on spending, taxes, regulations. … If we want government, whether it’s medical care or whatever, it’s proper to do it at the local level.”

Perry vs. Bush: Perry disputed any notion of a rift between him and former President George W. Bush. Perry said they have “a great rapport” and talk “on a relatively regular basis.”
“I highly respect the president and his public service,” Perry said.

Education: Paul: “If you care about your children, you will get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids,” he said.

HEADLINES FROM THE DEBATE….

    • Live Blogging the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Nine candidates will take the debate stage tonight in Orlando, Fla., in what is likely to feature the continuing slugfest between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry…. – NYUT, 9-22-11
    • Fact Checking the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Examining statements on Social Security, education, foreign policy and more…. – NYT, 9-23-11

Romney, Perry go after each other in GOP debate: Side by side in confrontational debate, Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry sarcastically accused each other Thursday night of flip-flopping on Social Security and health care, flashpoints in their intense struggle for the party nomination.
In a debate that focused on character and credibility as much as other issues, Perry insisted he had backed off “not one inch, Sir” from what he had written in a campaign-season book published a few months ago.
Romney vouched for his own steadfastness moments later. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me,” he said. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect other people on this stage. … But one reason to elect me is I know what I stand for. I’ve written it down. Words have meaning.”
The two men assailed one another in the third debate in as many weeks in a race for the Republican presidential nomination growing testier by the day. AP, 9-22-11

  • Under Attack, Perry Hits Back at Rivals in GOP Debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP presidential front-runner, fended off fierce attacks during Thursday night’s debate from his rivals over his criticism of Social Security and his record on immigration…. – Fox News, 9-22-11
  • GOP presidential debate: Who won the wrangle in Orlando?: The critics were brutal about Rick Perry’s performance. But voters react to the images that candidates project in a presidential debate over time, as snippets are worked into news reports and political ads…. – CS Monitor, 9-23-11
  • GOP debate: Winners and losers: The six Republican presidential debate this year, which took place Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, left some candidates more prepared than others and gave some candidates some key standout moments. Here’s our breakdown of the winners and losers: … Winners: Mitt Romney — Rick Santorum — Herman Cain…
    Losers: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, YouTube Questions…. – CBS News, 9-22-11
  • Perry and Romney Come Out Swinging at Each Other in G.O.P. Debate: In their third debate in as many weeks, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas engaged in a sometimes heated back and forth over immigration, health care and entitlements, their rivalry dominating a stage that included seven other candidates struggling to catch up in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
    Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry arrived here with a strategic imperative to challenge the other’s consistency and conservative credentials. The tensions only grew as the night wore on, to the point where Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, joked that Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry were at risk of bludgeoning each other to death.
    Still, after two hours of dueling it was unclear whether Mr. Perry had achieved his goal of knocking Mr. Romney off his fairly unruffled stride. It was similarly not certain that Mr. Romney had made headway in knocking Mr. Perry down a few pegs in what has been a relatively strong opening to his young campaign…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs: If you believe pollster Frank Luntz’s focus group in the post-game analysis on Fox News, Mitt Romney did himself a lot of good in Thursday’s two-hour Fox News/Google GOP Debate, held in Orlando, Fla. Nine candidates faced questions from FNC anchors … – LAT, 9-22-11
  • The GOP debate: 6 takeaways: It’s official — the frontrunners aren’t a mutual fan club. With three debates in the books featuring Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the animosity between the Texas governor and the former Massachusetts governor is palpable.
    Here are POLITICO’s six takeaways from Thursday’s slugfest in Orlando…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate Health Care,Retirement: The top two contenders for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination fended off accusations of changing their positions on everything from health care to Social Security during a nationally televised debate Thursday in Florida. … – Voice of America, 9-23-11
  • Orlando GOP debate: A strong night for Santorum as Perry fades: When the Republican presidential contenders debated in Orlando tonight, it was really two debates. In the first third of the evening, a series of disjointed questions without follow-ups, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seemed strong and well-prepared. But he faded over the rest of the debate, appearing to lose his steam just as he was trying to paint Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper.
    The big winner of the night, however, was Rick Santorum…. – WaPo, 9-22-11
  • Thursday’s ‘high-stakes’ GOP debate: 4 key questions: The Republican presidential hopefuls are preparing to clash in yet another debate. What can we expect?
    The Republican presidential candidates repeatedly bashed each other’s records this week, ahead of Thursday night’s debate in Florida, a crucial swing state. Indeed, there will be “high stakes” for frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — and for rivals struggling to keep their hopes alive — as the showdown in Orlando sets the table for a Saturday straw poll that leading Sunshine State Republicans say will predict the party’s 2012 nominee. What should viewers watch for when the candidates square off on stage Thursday? Here, four key questions:

    1. Can Romney take down Perry over Social Security?
    2. Which Rick Perry will take the stage?
    3. Can Gary Johnson make a difference?
    4. Will second-tier candidates break through?

    The Week, 9-22-11

THE HEADLINES: WEEKLY RECAP

    • Lady Gaga shows at Obama fundraiser: Pop singer Lady Gaga was among the guests at a Silicon Valley fundraiser for President Barack Obama. The intimate gathering was held under a tent in the yard of Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Sunday night…. – AP, 9-25-11
    • Obama takes shots at Perry, GOP debates: President Barack Obama is swiping at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, criticizing him as “a governor whose state is on fire, denying climate change.”… – AP, 9-25-11
    • NYC’s Bloomberg says Obama could be re-elected: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he thinks President Barack Obama could win re-election next year in spite of the country’s high unemployment rate. Bloomberg cites the power of incumbency as one of Obama’s advantage. … – AP, 9-25-11
    • Obama adviser: GOP will target middle class: A top White House adviser is laying out the theme of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, saying the Republicans running for president would “take dead aim” at middle class Americans. Obama’s 2008 campaign manager…. – AP, 9-25-11
    • Romney using wife’s story to connect with voters: …Ann Romney, his wife of 42 years, stood with him, spatula in hand, wearing the same white apron and the comfortable smile of a woman who spent countless mornings flipping flapjacks for five hungry sons.
      Her presence on that day, like so many others during the long campaign, is an acknowledged blessing for a 2012 White House contender who struggles to shake a robotic image. Friends and foes alike say she makes him seem more genuine…. – AP, 9-25-11

“I see anybody that gets in the race that believes in America and is a small government but efficient government individual, I would welcome into the race. It just strengthens the point that the Republican Party’s all about getting our country working again. Whoever that is. And I’m also a big believer in these governors being freed up to be able to compete against each other. Chris Christie is a great competitor — and I’ll be up there, you know, in Jersey, looking for some businesses to move to Texas.” — Gov. Rick Perry

  • Perry works to show he’s strongest GOP contender: Texas Gov. Rick Perry worked to convince Florida Republicans Saturday that he is the strongest contender for the GOP nomination despite a shaky debate performance earlier this week that has sparked jitters about his bid…. – AP, 9-25-11
  • Perry, Romney look beyond early-voting states: Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are the only two Republican presidential candidates who can afford to spend their time and money in states that aren’t first on the primary calendar.
    That helps explain their appearances Saturday in Michigan, where GOP voters will have their say in 2012, but only after Iowa, New Hampshire and several other states that second-tier contenders must win to survive…. – AP, 9-24-11
  • Obama’s likability is keeping him afloat: This is a factor any Republican challenger must consider: Public opinion polls routinely show that Americans like the president personally even though they don’t agree with his policies, even if hurt by them.
    People who have lost their jobs or homes during Obama’s presidency nonetheless say they want him to succeed and, what’s more, they’re working to help re-elect him because of the affinity they feel for him…. – AP, 9-24-11
  • As Perry sags, Christie in spotlight: With the party’s frontrunner sagging, Chris Christie is reconsidering pleas from Republican elites and donors to run for president in 2012. Two Republican sources told POLITICO, says the governor will make a decision in roughly a week…. – Politico, 9-24-11
  • Can Rick Perry make a comeback?: Rick Perry’s debate performance this week was universally panned, even by conservatives. Now, he’s pushing his “authenticity” versus the “slickness” of his main Republican rival Mitt Romney…. – CS Monitor, 9-24-11
  • Tampering With the Electoral College: Pennsylvania Republicans propose changing the state’s voting system for partisan advantage…. – NYT, 9-24-11
  • Small Donors Are Slow to Return to the Obama Fold: The frustration and disillusionment that have dragged down President Obama’s approval ratings have crept into the ranks of his vaunted small-donor army…. – NYT, 9-24-11
  • Texas May Be Solid Red at the Ballot Box, but Big Money Makes It Bipartisan: Red state or blue doesn’t really matter when it comes to where politicians go to raise money, and Texas, a major supplier of campaign cash, is proof of that. NYT, 9-24-11
  • Perry and Romney Set Clear Lines of Attack: The animosity between Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney has deepened as they compete for contributors and endorsements…. – NYT, 9-24-11
  • Perry on shaky ground? Doubts among some in GOP: The findings underscore Romney’s effort to present himself as an economic conservative capable of drawing independent voters in a head-to-head campaign with Obama. Regardless of the polling, some voters in Florida are grimacing. … – AP, 9-24-11
  • Democrats working to undercut Perry, Romney: To hear Democrats tell it, Gov. Rick Perry’s economic record in Texas is nothing more than a mirage and his views on Social Security make him “America’s Most Dangerous Cowboy.” In Massachusetts, President Barack Obama’s allies say job creation lagged under Mitt Romney, whose policies would undermine the middle class.
    Republicans won’t pick a candidate to challenge Obama for months but Democrats already are working to poke holes in the two who, according to polls, are mostly likely to win the GOP nomination…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • Tea Party Group to Form Super PAC: Unlike similar organizations, the FreedomWorks Super PAC plans to raise $20 million from small donors to spend in Republican primaries…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Romney Leads Endorsement Race: Endorsements can be a good predictor of electoral success, something that bodes well for Mitt Romney…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • GOP presidential debate: Who won the wrangle in Orlando?: The critics were brutal about Rick Perry’s performance. But voters react to the images that candidates project in a presidential debate over time, as snippets are worked into news reports and political ads…. – CS Monitor, 9-23-11
  • Caucus Video: Five Key Moments from the Debate: Reporters look at the debate’s importance going forward in the Republican race…. – The Caucus, 9-23-11
  • Rick Perry’s Stance on Immigration May Hurt His Chances: For Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, the issue of immigration could be treacherous in early-nominating states that have few Hispanics…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Obama’s Los Angeles campaign office smashed up: Police said Friday they are investigating what appears to be a politically motivated attack on a campaign office for President Barack Obama in Los Angeles, only days before he’s scheduled to arrive in Southern California. … – AP, 9-23-11
  • Only Palms Are Swaying: Outside supermarkets and restaurants, inside bookstores and candy shops, Jewish voters in this affluent yet diverse Jewish community in north Miami said they planned to mostly stay the course…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Fears Gnaw at Liberalism: Local Jewish leaders say most of the more than 200,000 Jews who live in greater Philadelphia remain Democrats and are almost sure to support Mr. Obama in 2012…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • An Enthusiasm Cools Down: At a small gathering Thursday morning in a rabbi’s office to chat about the president, those in attendance said they would vote for Mr. Obama again, regardless of their disappointment…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Romney, Bachmann challenge Perry on immigration: Keeping the heat on Rick Perry, rivals Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann on Friday challenged his suggestion that people are heartless if they don’t support his Texas law that gives some illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates at universities.
    “If you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart,” Romney told a gathering of conservatives in Florida, which has a sizable immigrant population. “It means that you have a heart and a brain.”
    In her speech, Bachmann said: “We will not have taxpayer-subsidized benefits for illegal immigrants or their children.” She pledged to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, a move that Perry opposes…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • Web verdict on Perry: Brutal: There was no election-ending gaffe or singularly disqualifying remark. But his second consecutive weak outing set off alarm bells on the right, where too many cringeworthy moments raised questions about Perry’s durability, his seriousness and ability to compete on a stage with Barack Obama…. – Politico, 9-23-11
  • Texas toast? Perry worries GOP: The first line of Rick Perry’s campaign obituary may have been drafted Thursday night: He got in too late…. – Politico, 9-23-11
  • The GOP debate: 6 takeaways: With three debates in the books featuring Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the animosity between the Texas governor and the former Massachusetts governor is palpable…. – Politico, 9-23-11
  • GOP debate shows Michele Bachmann’s star continues to fizzle: Bachmann barely merited a mention in the post-debate analysis, from a post-debate focus group on Fox News to the ever-roiling debate-about-the-debate on Twitter. At one point mid-debate, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin tweeted, “Is Michele Bachmann still there?”… – Politico, 9-23-11
  • Analysis: Perry, Romney defend records in forum: The candidate who best figures out how to appeal to that audience without abandoning his own record is likely to win the nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. As governors of Texas and Massachusetts, respectively, Perry and Romney … – AP, 9-23-11
  • Romney, Perry spar on Social Security at Florida GOP debate: Under fire from Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann on the same issue, Perry said he didn’t believe in punishing children who entered the country illegally through no fault of their own….
    Rick Perry and Mitt Romney traded charges of flip-flopping and political opportunism at the GOP debate in Orlando on Thursday night, with both men again turning to each others’ books for harsh, personal criticism…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • FACT CHECK: Slippery assertions in GOP debate: Mitt Romney denied supporting an Obama administration education program that he had praised. But the most consequential exchange may have been over Social Security, and Perry’s changing thoughts about it…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • GOP candidates parry over Afghanistan withdrawal: Two Republican presidential hopefuls are divided over President Barack Obama’s plan to bring home troops from Afghanistan. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says “this country has given its all” and the US is ready to bring home troops…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Romney says US-Israel policy must be in step: Romney and other GOP candidates on Thursday criticized President Barack Obama’s administration and posture toward Israel. He says that Obama has disrespected its closest friend in the Middle East and has been unclear in its broader policy in the region…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Romney says he wants all Americans to be rich: The Republican presidential contender said during a debate on Thursday that he wants all Americans to have the same opportunities to build wealth while President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party wants to raise taxes on wealthy workers…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Candidates in Debate Trip Over Foreign Policy: The candidates gave some head-scratching remarks when quizzed about foreign policy and other topics on Thursday…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • Republican Presidential Candidates Debate: With Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Mitt Romney well out in front, the other candidates sought to break through in the Republicans’ third presidential debate in 15 days…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • 5 things to watch in Thursday debate: Which Rick Perry will show up? And does Romney pin Perry down on Social Security and illegal immigration?… – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Perry Calls Prayer Vital to His Life: Rick Perry tells religious conservatives that he has “been driven to my knees on many occasions.”… – NYT, 9-22-11
  • McCotter Ends Long-Shot Presidential Bid: Representative Thad McCotter ends his presidential campaign as he faces a primary challenge for his House seat in Michigan…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • Thaddeus McCotter drops 2012 bid for president, endorses Mitt Romney: Several candidates had already begun to make moves to run for McCotter’s seat in a redrawn Michigan district, making clear that they were not waiting to give deference to him. McCotter’s announcement, first reported by the Detroit News, comes days before state senator Mike Kowall’s campaign kickoff this weekend at the biennial Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island.
    The Michigan lawmaker, whose presidential campaign was a longshot, “will likely run again” for his seat…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Is Rick Perry winning the ‘Donald Trump primary’?: Rick Perry met with Donald Trump last week. Mitt Romney is set to meet with him next week. Michele Bachmann met him in July. Why are all the Republican presidential candidates lining up?… – CS Monitor, 9-21-11
  • Perry rivals work to undercut his character: United on the economic issues that most worry voters, the Republican presidential candidates have turned to subjects like vaccines, immigration and the future of Social Security. And while there are some policy differences, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and others are raising those topics partly to make character arguments against GOP front-runner Rick Perry…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • RNC surpasses DNC in August fundraising: The Republican National Committee raised about $8.2 million in August, far outpacing its Democratic rival in a typically slow fundraising month.
    The Democratic National Committee reported that it raised $5.4 million last month, including $1.4 million for the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account by the DNC and Obama’s campaign…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • FACT CHECK: GOP candidates overreach on Israel: The Palestinian bid to win UN recognition is focusing attention on the Obama administration’s Mideast policy, which Republican presidential candidates say is all wrong. Presenting themselves as stronger advocates for Israel…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • Perry Opens Record of Financial Investments: The Texas governor, now a Republican candidate for president, revoked his blind trust and must report his holdings to the Federal Election Commission…. – AP, 9-20-11
  • Dodd-Frank Act Is a Target on G.O.P. Campaign Trail: The Dodd-Frank Act, the sprawling law to address the causes of the financial crisis, is a job killer that should be repealed, Republican presidential candidates say…. – NYT, 9-20-11
  • Stuart Stevens, Redefining Romney’s Presidential Run: A laid-back yet competitive strategist has given the Romney campaign a very different feel this time around…. – NYT, 9-20-11
  • Obama says ‘better ideas’ will win him re-election: President Barack Obama says he intends to win the 2012 election because he’s got “better ideas.” Speaking at a fundraiser Tuesday night for his re-election campaign, Obama said his ideas are based on the notion that Americans should … – AP, 9-20-11
  • Republican candidates assail Obama over Israel: Republican presidential candidates slammed President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies Tuesday while emphatically declaring their own support for Israel as the United Nations considered a bid for Palestinian statehood. … – AP, 9-20-11
  • Obama warns of ‘perilous path’ for US: President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States is headed down a “perilous path” if its leaders cannot move quickly and responsibly to help people get back to work. Obama, speaking at an exclusive Park Avenue fundraiser … – AP, 9-19-11
  • Mitch Daniels Calls for a More Honest Campaign Debate: The governor of Indiana says his party’s presidential candidates should “campaign to govern, not just win.”… – NYT, 9-19-11
  • Rivals ask: Is Perry weak on the right, or left?: Rick Perry’s Republican rivals are struggling to find a coherent, easy-to-grasp argument against the Texas governor, who tops GOP presidential polls despite attacks from all sides.
    In fact, it’s the “all sides” nature that complicates the opposition’s message. Republican voters who watched last week’s presidential debate and its aftermath might wonder: Should I see Perry as too conservative or too moderate?… – AP, 9-19-11

HOUSE — SENATE — GOVERNORSHIPS CAMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS

  • Warren’s TARP panel under scrutiny: Elizabeth Warren, who is seeking the Democratic Senate nomination in Massachusetts to take on Republican Scott Brown, has yet to break down exactly how her congressional panel spent more than $10 million on travel expenses, meals and consultants, nor has Warren revealed the total amount she was paid while serving as chairman…. – Politico, 9-22-11

CAMPAIGN 2012: ANALYSTS &S HISTORIANS COMMENTS

  • Politico Arena: Daily Debate with Policymakers, Opinionshapers & Academics Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: Should GOP go for inspiration or victory?: With all the talk about the ideological and strategic divisions within the GOP, the real choice that primary voters will have to make next year is a simple one.
    Republicans have to decide whether to pick a candidate who appeals to their hearts or to their minds. The field is still fluid, but so far Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to be the candidate who appeals most strongly to the ideological passion of conservatives, even though he stumbled in last week’s debate.
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who doesn’t inspire that passion seems to be the right man at the right time to defeat a struggling incumbent president. In recent weeks, at least based on the polls, logic seems to be a stronger pull.
    Traditionally, voters tend to go for the candidate who appeals to their hearts, even if the choice may be less likely to win. The primary process favors candidates who play to the base of the party and voters want someone they can believe in…. – CNN, 9-26-11

Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Mitt Romney Winner of Debate Attacks Offensive Rick Perry — Social Security, Healthcare & Immigration Main Issues

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Chip Litherland for The New York Times

IN FOCUS: FOX NEWS / GOOGLE GOP REPUBLICAN DEBATE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

GOP DEBATE EXCERPTS — QUOTES

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Rick Perry Under Attack Goes on the Offensive — Especially Against Chief Rival Mitt Romney — Social Security, Healthcare Main IssuesFox News, 9-22-11

Small business: Gov. Rick Perry: “What we’ve done in Texas over the course of the last decade is to lower that tax burden on small-business men and women, have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable and a sweeping tort reform system that we passed in 2003. … That’s the way you get the government off the back of small businesses, and that’s the way you free up those small-business entrepreneurs when they know they can risk their capital and have a chance to get a return on their investments.
“If it will work in the state of Texas, it will work in Washington, D.C. And that’s exactly what I’m going to bring when I go there in November, excuse me, in January of 2013.”

States’ rights: Rep. Ron Paul: “The responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th Amendment. That would be the solution.
“Government is too big in Washington, D.C. It has run away, we have no controls on spending, taxes, regulations. … If we want government, whether it’s medical care or whatever, it’s proper to do it at the local level.”

Perry vs. Bush: Perry disputed any notion of a rift between him and former President George W. Bush. Perry said they have “a great rapport” and talk “on a relatively regular basis.”
“I highly respect the president and his public service,” Perry said.

Education: Paul: “If you care about your children, you will get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids,” he said.

HEADLINES FROM THE DEBATE….

  • Live Blogging the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Nine candidates will take the debate stage tonight in Orlando, Fla., in what is likely to feature the continuing slugfest between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry…. – NYUT, 9-22-11
  • Fact Checking the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Examining statements on Social Security, education, foreign policy and more…. – NYT, 9-23-11Romney, Perry go after each other in GOP debate: Side by side in confrontational debate, Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry sarcastically accused each other Thursday night of flip-flopping on Social Security and health care, flashpoints in their intense struggle for the party nomination.
    In a debate that focused on character and credibility as much as other issues, Perry insisted he had backed off “not one inch, Sir” from what he had written in a campaign-season book published a few months ago.
    Romney vouched for his own steadfastness moments later. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me,” he said. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect other people on this stage. … But one reason to elect me is I know what I stand for. I’ve written it down. Words have meaning.”
    The two men assailed one another in the third debate in as many weeks in a race for the Republican presidential nomination growing testier by the day. AP, 9-22-11
  • Under Attack, Perry Hits Back at Rivals in GOP Debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP presidential front-runner, fended off fierce attacks during Thursday night’s debate from his rivals over his criticism of Social Security and his record on immigration…. – Fox News, 9-22-11
  • GOP debate: Winners and losers: The six Republican presidential debate this year, which took place Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, left some candidates more prepared than others and gave some candidates some key standout moments. Here’s our breakdown of the winners and losers: … Winners: Mitt Romney — Rick Santorum — Herman Cain…
    Losers: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, YouTube Questions…. – CBS News, 9-22-11
  • Perry and Romney Come Out Swinging at Each Other in G.O.P. Debate: In their third debate in as many weeks, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas engaged in a sometimes heated back and forth over immigration, health care and entitlements, their rivalry dominating a stage that included seven other candidates struggling to catch up in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
    Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry arrived here with a strategic imperative to challenge the other’s consistency and conservative credentials. The tensions only grew as the night wore on, to the point where Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, joked that Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry were at risk of bludgeoning each other to death.
    Still, after two hours of dueling it was unclear whether Mr. Perry had achieved his goal of knocking Mr. Romney off his fairly unruffled stride. It was similarly not certain that Mr. Romney had made headway in knocking Mr. Perry down a few pegs in what has been a relatively strong opening to his young campaign…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs: If you believe pollster Frank Luntz’s focus group in the post-game analysis on Fox News, Mitt Romney did himself a lot of good in Thursday’s two-hour Fox News/Google GOP Debate, held in Orlando, Fla. Nine candidates faced questions from FNC anchors … – LAT, 9-22-11
  • The GOP debate: 6 takeaways: It’s official — the frontrunners aren’t a mutual fan club. With three debates in the books featuring Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the animosity between the Texas governor and the former Massachusetts governor is palpable.
    Here are POLITICO’s six takeaways from Thursday’s slugfest in Orlando…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate Health Care,Retirement: The top two contenders for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination fended off accusations of changing their positions on everything from health care to Social Security during a nationally televised debate Thursday in Florida. … – Voice of America, 9-23-11
  • Orlando GOP debate: A strong night for Santorum as Perry fades: When the Republican presidential contenders debated in Orlando tonight, it was really two debates. In the first third of the evening, a series of disjointed questions without follow-ups, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seemed strong and well-prepared. But he faded over the rest of the debate, appearing to lose his steam just as he was trying to paint Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper.
    The big winner of the night, however, was Rick Santorum…. – WaPo, 9-22-11
  • Thursday’s ‘high-stakes’ GOP debate: 4 key questions: The Republican presidential hopefuls are preparing to clash in yet another debate. What can we expect?
    The Republican presidential candidates repeatedly bashed each other’s records this week, ahead of Thursday night’s debate in Florida, a crucial swing state. Indeed, there will be “high stakes” for frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — and for rivals struggling to keep their hopes alive — as the showdown in Orlando sets the table for a Saturday straw poll that leading Sunshine State Republicans say will predict the party’s 2012 nominee. What should viewers watch for when the candidates square off on stage Thursday? Here, four key questions:

    1. Can Romney take down Perry over Social Security?
    2. Which Rick Perry will take the stage?
    3. Can Gary Johnson make a difference?
    4. Will second-tier candidates break through?

    The Week, 9-22-11

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Rick Perry Under Attack Goes on the Offensive — Especially Against Chief Rival Mitt Romney — Social Security, Healthcare Main Issues

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Under Attack, Perry Hits Back at Rivals in GOP Debate

AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP presidential front-runner, fended off fierce attacks during Thursday night’s debate from his rivals over his criticism of Social Security and his record on immigration.

TRANSCRIPT: Fox News-Google GOP Debate

 

This is a rush transcript from the Fox News-Google GOP Presidential debate on September 22, 2011 at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Welcome to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, the site of our Republican presidential debate. It is being sponsored by Fox News and Google in conjunction with the Florida Republican Party.

Besides watching us on Fox News Channel, we are being streamed on YouTube.com/Fox News and heard on Fox News Radio.

Now let’s meet the candidates.

Texas Governor Rick Perry.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congressman Ron Paul.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Businessman Herman Cain.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Senator Rick Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: And former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Joining me at the big desk tonight, my Fox News colleagues Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: With our partner Google, we have some new features we’d like to quickly tell you about.

Throughout the night we’ll be playing some questions from viewers who posted their video and text questions on YouTube. We will also be polling viewers on key issues while the debate is under way. We will have updates from our own Shannon Bream.

Our rules are similar to previous Fox debates, one minute for answers, 30 seconds for follow-ups. And after an outpouring of e-mails from dog owners who said the last bell sounded like their doorbell, we have a new sound for the candidates if they run too long.

Thank you to Google for that sound. We hope after a string of debates we don’t have to use that too much.

Now, we received thousands and thousands of questions from around the world on different topics. Each one of these pins on the map is another question from health care and immigration, to foreign policy and social issues. But the highest percentage of questions dealt with jobs, the economy, debt, and government spending. And that was even before today’s major market slide.

What makes this debate unique is that not only did you submit the questions, you voted on them, letting everyone know which questions you think the candidates should be asked tonight.

We received questions from all 50 states, but our first question comes from Dave Meldeau, right here in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: As a small business owner, one of the obstacles I have in growing my business in today’s economy is having the confidence and incentive to go out and hire new employees. I’m wondering what each one of our candidates would propose to do as president to help incent small businesses like mine to hire new employees and to confidently grow our business in this troublesome economic environment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Governor Perry, I’ll put that question to you.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: Yes, sir.

Well, Rick Scott is sitting right over there, and he and I compete every day with trying to get jobs into our states. And what we have done in the state of Texas over the course of the last decade is to lower that tax burden on the small businessmen and women, have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable, and sweeping tort reform that we passed in 2003 that told personal injury trial lawyers, don’t come to Texas, because you are not going to be suing our doctors frivolously.

(APPLAUSE)

PERRY: That’s the way you get the government off of the back of small businessmen and women. And that’s the way you free up those small business entrepreneurs, where they know that they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on investment.

If it will work in the state of Texas, it will work in Washington, D.C. And that’s exactly what I’m going bring to Washington when I go there in November — or, excuse me, in January of 2013.

BAIER: Governor Perry, the thing we’ve heard from most people who submitted questions is they wanted specifics, they wanted details. Most of the people on the stage, opponents, have a specific jobs plan on paper that people can read.

Where is your jobs plan?

PERRY: Well, you will see a more extensive jobs plan. But the fact of the matter is, you look at the state of Texas and see what we’ve done there from the standpoint of lowering that tax burden, the regulatory climate in the state of Texas. We’ve taken those types of regulation off the throat of small business operators.

People understand that the state of Texas, during the last decade, something special happened there. It was the number one state for relocation for five years in a row. And we plan on keeping it that way, Rick.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Governor Romney — Governor Romney, you have a specific plan. In recent days, actually, the top rising search of your name on Google actually dealt with people searching for specifics of that plan.

But a Wall Street Journal editorial recently called your 59-point economic plan, quote, “surprisingly timid and tactical considering our economic predicament.” Specifically, the editorial board had a problem with you picking the $200,000 income threshold for eliminating interest, dividends, and capital gains taxes, writing that you were afraid of President Obama’s, quote, “class warfare rhetoric.”

How do you response to that criticism?

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: Well, let’s go back — let’s go back and talk — microphone on? Can we get the mike on? There we go.

BAIER: There we go.

ROMNEY: Let’s go back and talk about the question that Dave asked, which is how to get small business a break. And President Obama has done everything wrong.

I happen to believe that to create jobs it helps to have had a job, and I have (ph). And having had a job in small business and in big business, I know what you have to do is make America the most attractive place in the world for business, and that means our corporate tax rates, our employer tax rates have to be competitive. Small business pays at the highest rate. We need to get those rates down to globally competitive levels.

Number two, government and regulators have to be allies of business, not foes.

Number three, we’ve got to become energy secure in this country.

Number four, we have to have trade policies that work for us, not just for the other guys, and crack down on cheaters like China.

And my list goes on in my 59 points. But finally, let me tell you this…

(APPLAUSE)

I — I know there are some that say, look, we should lower taxes for the very highest-income people. Other folks have different plans. My view is very simple: The people that have been hurt most by the president’s economy, the Obama economy, has been the middle class.

That’s why I cut taxes for the middle class.

BAIER: So, sir, what…

(APPLAUSE)

… what do you consider rich? Is half-a-million dollars, a million dollars rich? At what income does someone reach your definition of rich?

ROMNEY: I don’t try and define who’s — who’s rich and who’s not rich. I want everybody in America to be rich. I want people in this country to have opportunity.

(APPLAUSE)

And I want everybody to have the kind of opportunities that we on this stage have had. I want people in America to recognize that the future will be brighter for their kids than it was for them.

I know that the — the president’s party wants to try and take from some people and give to the others. That isn’t the way to lift America. The way to lift America is to give people opportunity and to let them enjoy the freedoms that have made us the envy of the world.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor, thank you very much. Occasionally, through the debate, we will ask the same questions we ask the candidates to you at home. The first one, what is your definition of rich? You can vote on that answer at youtube.com/foxnews. We’ll bring some of those results throughout the show with Shannon Bream.

Now to my colleague, Megyn Kelly.

KELLY: Thanks, Bret.

Congresswoman Bachmann, after the last debate, a young member of the California Tea Party said he didn’t feel he had had his question fully answered. And it’s a question that received the most votes on Google and YouTube on the list, as well. The answer his question is a number. And the question was, quote, “Out of every dollar I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?”

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: And after the debate, I talked to that young man, and I said I wish I could have answered that question, because I want to tell you what my answer is: I think you earned every dollar. You should get to keep every dollar that you earn. That’s your money; that’s not the government’s money.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s the whole point. Barack Obama seems to think that when we earn money, it belongs to him and we’re lucky just to keep a little bit of it. I don’t think that at all. I think when people make money, it’s their money.

Obviously, we have to give money back to the government so that we can run the government, but we have to have a completely different mindset. And that mindset is, the American people are the genius of this economy. It certainly isn’t government that’s the genius. And that’s the two views.

President Obama has embraced a view of government-directed temporary fixes and gimmicks. They don’t work. He’s destroyed the economy. What does work is private solutions that are permanent in the private sector. That gives certainty; that will grow our economy.

(APPLAUSE)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Senator Santorum, next question is for you. This map from Google depicts 22 states in the U.S. are right-to-work states. In the other 28, if a business is a union shop, you have to join the union if you want to work there. Now, this next question is one of the top-voted questions online, and it comes to us via YouTube from Yates Wilburn of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: With unemployment numbers remaining above 9 percent, union issues, such as the National Labor Relations Board lawsuit against Boeing and several union battles in state legislatures across the country have become incredibly relevant to the national discussion. For all the candidates, would you support some form of a federal right-to-work law, allowing all workers to choose whether or not to join a union?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: That’s for you, Senator Santorum.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.: I — I think the most important area that we have to focus in on when it comes to unions is public employee unions. That’s the area of unionization that’s growing the fastest and it’s costing us the most money.

We’ve seen these battles on the state level, where unions have — have really bankrupted states from pension plans to here on the federal level, for example, 30 percent to 40 percent union — union employees make above their private-sector equivalents.

I do not believe that — that state, federal or local workers, unions, should be involved in unions. And I would actually support a bill that says that we should not have public employee unions for the purposes of wages and benefits to be negotiated.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Speaker Gingrich, this next one’s for you. You criticized extending unemployment benefits, saying that you were, quote, “opposed to giving people money for doing nothing.” Benefits have already been extended to 99 weeks, and they are set to expire soon. If you were president today, would you extend unemployment benefits? And if not, how do you justify that to the millions of unemployed Americans who are looking in earnest and whose families are depending on those checks?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, what I’ve said is that I think unemployment compensation should be tied directly to a training program. And if you have to — if you don’t have a job and you need help, then in order for us to give you the help, you should sign up for a business-led training program so that that 99 weeks becomes an investment in human capital, giving us the best-trained workforce in the world so you can get a job.

But I believe it is fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing. That’s why we had welfare reform.

(APPLAUSE)

And, frankly, the easiest thing for Congress to do, if the president sends up a proposed extension, is to allow all 50 states to experiment at the state level with developing a mandatory training component of unemployment compensation, so you’d have 50 parallel experiments, and not pretend that Washington knows best or that Washington can solve the problem by itself. But I believe deeply, people should not get money for doing nothing.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Now I turn to my colleague, Chris Wallace.

Chris?

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Bret, thank you. Good evening, candidates.

Governor Huntsman, in Utah, you offered millions of dollars in tax credits to promote clean energy. In June you said that as president you would subsidize natural gas companies. How is that different from the Obama administration, which gave the solar panel company Solyndra a half-a-billion dollars in federal loan guarantees, and as we all know, that company ended up bankrupt, and we taxpayers ended up on the hook?

FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN, R-UTAH: Chris, first of all, it’s an honor to be here in Orlando, home of my wife, the greatest human being I’ve known in 28 years.

We’ve learned some important lessons as this economy has spun out of control. We have some hard decisions to make. And we’re not going to fix the problem. We’re not going to be able to bring our people together in America until we fix the economy.

I’m convinced that part of the divide that we’re experiencing in the United States, which is unprecedented, it’s unnatural, and it’s un-American, is because we’re divided economically, too few jobs, too few opportunities.

We have learned that subsidies don’t work and that we can no longer afford them. I believe that we can move toward renewable energy, but we’re going to have to have a bridge product. Everybody wants to draw from the sun and draw from the wind, and I’m here to tell you that eventually that will make sense, but today the economics don’t work.

We need something like natural gas. I’ve put forward an energy independence program, along with tax reform and regulatory reform. Just by drawing from natural gas, for example, you’re looking at 500,000 to 1 million jobs over the next five years. It is ours, it’s affordable, it has important national security implications, and we should begin the conversion process.

WALLACE: But just a 30-second follow-up, sir. In June, you told the New Hampshire Union Leader as president you would subsidies the natural gas industry.

HUNTSMAN: I would be willing to begin an effort, so long as there was a rapid phase-out. I do not like subsidies. I do not like long-term subsidies. But if there was some sort of way to get the ball rolling with a — with a — with a quick phase-out, I would be in favor of that.

WALLACE: Mr. Cain, I want to follow up on your 999 plan for economic growth. That’s a 9 percent…

(APPLAUSE)

Well, they seem to already know what it is. But for the few who don’t, it’s a 9 percent flat corporate tax, a 9 percent flat income tax, and a new 9 percent national sales tax.

Now, conservatives usually say repeal the income tax before you impose a new tax. Isn’t there a danger with your 999 plan, with these three taxes, that some government down the road after President Cain is going to increase three forms of taxation on Americans?

HERMAN CAIN, FORMER CEO OF GODFATHER’S PIZZA: No, there’s no danger in that. And first, let me answer Dave’s question with the 9, 9, 9 plan. Unfortunately, nobody up here answered his question. He wanted to know as a small businessman what are we going to do to help him as a small business person? I have walked in Dave’s shoes.

This economy is on life support, that’s why my 9, 9, 9 plan is a bold solution. It starts with throw out the current tax code and pass 9 percent business flat tax, 9 percent personal income tax, and the 9% national sales tax. This is the most important part, it eliminates, or replaces corporate income tax, personal income tax, capital gains tax as well as the estate tax.

Then it treats all businesses the same. And the people who are paying only payroll tax, 15.3, that 15.4 they don’t have to pay, now they only have to pay that 9 percent.

And unlike Governor Romney’s plan my plan throws out the old one.

He’s still hooked to the current tax code. That dog won’t hunt.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: The rule is if your name is mentioned in an answer you get 30 seconds to respond — Governor Romney.

ROMNEY: That’s fine. I put my plan out, I want to make it clear my intent is to help the people who have been most hurt by President Obama’s economy. And the people who have been most hurt are the middle income families of America. And that’s why my plan says that if middle income families want to save their money, anybody earning under $200,000 and not pay any taxes on interest, dividends or capital gains, zero tax on their savings, that’s the plan I’m for. And I will get that done in my first year. Thank you.

WALLACE: Congressman Paul I want to show the video that got the most votes of all the video questions submitted to YouTube. And this one comes, as you can see, from Brandy and Michael in Spencer, Indiana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: There’s growing concern among Americans about the size and the scope of the federal government and its infringement upon state and individual rights.

QUESTION: If you’re elected president how do you plan to restore the 10th amendment, hold the federal government only to those enumerated powers in the Constitution and allow states to govern themselves?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Congressman what is your answer for Brandy and Michael?

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS: Well obviously, it would take more than one individual, but the responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th amendment. That would be the solution.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Anything else? You have a little time left.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Well, I’ll tell you what, that is the subject that is crucial because government is too big in Washington, D.C. It’s run away. We have no controls of spending, taxes, regulations, no control in the Federal Reserve printing money. So if we want government, whether it is medical care or whatever, it is proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools. But there’s no authority in the constitution to do so much what we’re doing. There’s no authority for them to run our schools, no authority to control our economy, and no authority to control us as individuals on what we do with our personal lives!

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: OK, we got to the full answer there at the end. Governor Johnson, same question to you about the 10th amendment. With this added, you are an outspoken libertarian. What makes you a better choice for libertarian Republicans than Congressman Paul?

FORMER GOV. GARY JOHNSON, R-N.M.: I’m not going to presume to make that assumption, but I would like to say that I do bring a unique perspective to this stage. I started a one-man handyman business in Albuquerque in 1974 and grew it to over 1,000 employees. I have run for two political offices in my life: governor of New Mexico and reelection. I promise to submit a balanced budget to congress in the year 2013. I promise to veto legislation where expenditures exceed revenue.

And if anybody doubts my willingness to veto bills, I think I vetoed more bills than any governor in the history of the United States. I think I vetoed more bills than all the other governors in the country combined.

Add to that, throwing out the entire federal tax system and replacing it with a consumption tax, the fair tax, which would absolutely reboot the American economy because it does away with the corporate tax to create tens of millions of jobs in this country.

BAIER: Governor Johnson, thank you.

We’ll be coming back to the issue of the economy throughout this debate tonight. As I mentioned at the top of the show, we’ll also be checking in with our own Shannon Bream throughout the night to get real-time updates from people watching — Shannon.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS: Hi Bret.

Well, this is the most interactive debate ever, and it’s thanks to our partner Google. You can go to YouTube.com/Fox News. What happens there, folks can see the debate streaming live. But also, to the right of the screen, all night long, we are sending out questions so we can get your answers at home. And you can participate and weigh in.

Bret, a little bit earlier, asked Governor Romney how he defines rich. It’s a question we put to folks out on the Internet as well, and we’ve got the results.

Here’s the question: “I define rich as someone having an annual income higher than.” A hundred thousand dollars, 13 percent of you weighed in there; $250,000, 22 percent; $500,000, 22 percent; and the majority went with $1 million annual income, that defines you as rich,
44 percent of those who voted.

We’ll be going through all kinds of polls and data on the commercials. Join us at YouTube.com/Fox News.

Bret, back to you.

BAIER: Thanks, Shannon.

After the break, we will be tackling foreign policy, government spending. Shannon will have more on that, too. And also the issue of immigration.

Now, here for a preview of what’s to come, let’s take a look at what’s called a word cloud. It shows the words that were used most often in all of the questions you asked about immigration. The bigger the word, the more often it was used.

The biggest word in this cloud, as you see, is “illegal.”

Back after a short break.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: Good evening. I’m Florida Governor Rick Scott. Because of Florida’s size and diversity, our state represents the very pulse of our great nation. Not only will Florida be a must win for a Republican to be our party’s nominee, Florida is a must win on the road to the White House.

It is my belief that the next president will be the candidate who both articulates a plan for getting America’s economy back on the right track and inspires confidence in the hearts and minds of all Americans.

Good luck to all the candidates.

This debate is a partnership with Fox News and Google. I thank the men and women of Fox News and Google for choosing Florida, and thank all of you for being part of this exciting event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Thank you Governor Scott.

And welcome back to Orlando, Florida, and the Republican presidential debate.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: My colleague Megyn Kelly will take us through the next round of questions on government spending and debt.

KELLY: Thanks, Bret.

Governor Perry, Governor Romney has been hammering you on your idea of turning Social Security back to the states, repeatedly. Can you explain specifically how 50 separate Social Security systems are supposed to work?

PERRY: Well, let me just say first, for those people that are on Social Security today, for those people that are approaching Social Security, they don’t have anything in the world to worry about. We have made a solemn oath to the people of this country that that Social Security program in place today will be there for them.

Now, it’s not the first time that Mitt has been wrong on some issues before. And the bottom line is, is we never said that we were going to move this back to the states. What we said was, we ought to have as one of the options the state employees and the state retirees, they being able to go off of the current system, on to one that the states would operate themselves.

As a matter of fact, in Massachusetts, his home state, almost 96 percent of the people who are on that program, retirees and state people, are off of the Social Security program. So having that option out there to have the states — Louisiana does it, almost every state has their state employees and the retirees that are options to go off of Social Security.

That makes sense. It’s an option that we should have.

KELLY: Governor Romney, you’re satisfied with that?

ROMNEY: Well, it’s different than what the governor put in his book just, what, six months, and what you said in your interviews following the book. So I don’t know. There’s a Rick Perry out there that is saying — and almost to quote, it says that the federal government shouldn’t be in the pension business, that it’s unconstitutional.

Unconstitutional and it should be returned to the states.

So you better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Now, my own view is, that we have to make it very, very clear that Social Security is a responsibility of the federal government, not the state governments, that we’re going to have one plan, and we’re going to make sure that it’s fiscally sound and stable.

And I’m absolutely committed to keeping Social Security working. I put in my book that I wrote a couple of years ago a plan for how we can do that and to make sure Social Security stable not just for the next 25 years, but for the next 75.

Thank you.

PERRY: And I would like to respond to that.

KELLY: Go ahead, Governor Perry.

PERRY: Speaking of books and talking about being able to have things in your books, back and forth, your economic adviser talked about Romneycare and how that was an absolute bust. And it was exactly what Obamacare was all about.

As a matter of fact, between books, your hard copy book, you said it was exactly what the American people needed, to have that Romneycare given to them as you had in Massachusetts. Then in your paperback, you took that line out. So, speaking of not getting it straight in your book sir, that would be a —

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Governor Perry, we were talking about Social Security, but if you want to talk about health care, I’m happy to do that.

BAIER: We are going to have a round on that.

ROMNEY: I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. What I said, actually — when I put my health care plan together
— and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post. He said, “Is this is a plan that if you were president you would put on the whole nation, have a whole nation adopt it?”

I said, “Absolutely not.” I said, “This is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan.”

And it’s fine for to you retreat from your own words in your own book, but please don’t try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book. I stand by what I wrote. I believe in what I did.

And I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what it is.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: We’ve got plenty of questions for all the other candidates up here tonight, but I want to stick with you on this one, Governor Romney.
Congresswoman Bachmann has said that President Obama has “ushered in socialism” during his first term. Governor Perry says that this administration is “hell bent” toward taking America toward a socialist country” When Speaker Gingrich was asked if he believes President Obama is a socialist, he responded, quote, “Sure, of course he is.”

(LAUGHTER)

Do you, Governor Romney…

(APPLAUSE)

Do you, Governor Romney, believe that President Obama is a socialist?

ROMNEY: Let me tell you the title that I want to hear said about President Obama, and that is: former President Barack Obama. That’s the title I want to hear.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me tell you this. What President — what President Obama is, is a big-spending liberal. And he takes his political inspiration from Europe and from the socialist democrats in Europe. Guess what? Europe isn’t working in Europe. It’s not going to work here.

I believe in America. I believe in the opportunity and in the freedom that is American opportunity and freedom. I believe in free enterprise and capitalism. I believe government is too big. It’s gone from 27 percent of our economy in the years of JFK to 37 percent of our economy. We have to rein in the scale of government or we’re not going to be — continue to be a free economy.

I love this country. I spent my life in the private sector, not in government. I only spent four years as a governor. I didn’t inhale.

(LAUGHTER)

I’m a business guy. I’m going to get America working again, because I believe in the principles that make America the hope of the Earth.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Governor Huntsman, this next one’s for you. This week, President Obama proposed a tax hike on millionaires, saying that they need to pay their, quote, “fair share.” According to an August Gallup poll, 66 percent of American adults actually believe that a tax hike on the wealthy is a good idea to help tackle our mounting debt. Is there any scenario under which you could side with the 66 percent of people who believe that it is a good idea to raise taxes on millionaires?
FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN, R-UTAH: We’re not going to raise taxes. This is the worst time to be raising taxes, and everybody knows that.
(APPLAUSE)

We need to grow. We need to be reminded of what Ronald Reagan told us so beautifully, that which is great about America, freedom. We need to re-establish freedom in the marketplace.

We need to address our underlying structural problems that we have.

And in order to do that, we’re going to have to fix our taxes. And we put forward a program endorsed by the Wall Street Journal that phases out for individuals all the loopholes, all the deductions, and creates three rates, 8, 14, 23.

On the corporate side, it phases out all of the corporate welfare, all of the subsidies, and it gets it from 35 percent to 25 percent.

This is exactly where we need to be. We need to grow; we need to create jobs. This is not a point in time where we should be raising taxes.

We need to fix the underlying structural problems in this economy.

And until such time as we do, we’re not going to provide the confidence to businesses who are looking to deploy capital in the marketplace and hire people. And that would be serious tax reform, like I proposed, and like I did in the stay of Utah, and that would be — that would be structural reform, as well, dealing with Dodd-Frank, and repealing Obamacare, because they are presenting tremendous uncertainty to the marketplace right now.

KELLY: Thank you, Governor.

Mr. Cain, this question was one of the top 10 video questions voted on by people online, and it comes to us from Lee Doren of Arlington, Virginia, via YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: My question is, if you were forced to eliminate one department from the federal government, which one would you eliminate and why? Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

HERMAN CAIN, BUSINESSMAN: The first — the first department, if I were forced to eliminate a department, I would start with the EPA and start all over.

It’s out of control.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I know that makes some people nervous, but the EPA has gone wild. The fact that they have a regulation that goes into effect January 1, 2012, to regulate dust says that they’ve gone too far.

(LAUGHTER)

So rather than try to fix it, eliminate all of the things that they have right now and then start rebuilding a responsible EPA.

Now, with the rest of my time, may I offer a solution for Social Security, rather than continuing to talk about what to call it? I have proposed the Chilean model. It’s been around 30 years, and it works.

It’s a personal retirement account. And in the last 30 years, not only has Chile succeeded with that model, but 30 other countries have done so. I don’t think we’re doing a service to the American people to keep bantering about what you call it and what you don’t call it. The solution is: Fix it.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Speaker Gingrich, every day the federal government takes in about $6 billion, but spends about $10 billion. So we borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend. Now, I understand that you believe that if we modernize the federal government that it’ll help a lot, it’ll save billions. But given the resistance that we’ve seen in Washington — the seeming intractable resistance we’ve seen in Washington to spending cuts, how can you possibly slash spending by 40 percent? How can you do it?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSR: Well, the way you described the question, you can’t.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: Well, that’s it. Stick a fork in us.

GINGRICH: If — if you assume Washington remains the way Washington is right now, it’s all hopeless. We might as well buy Greek bonds and go down together.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: How do you get us out of that?

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Well, next Thursday in Des Moines, I’m going to outline a 21st century Contract with America. And it’s going to be far bolder, far deeper, far more profound than what we did in 1994 or what I helped Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan do in 1980.

It’s important to remember, this month, in the Reagan administration, September 1983, we created 1,100,000 new jobs. Obama’s socialist policies, class warfare, and bureaucratic socialism, we created zero in August.

I believe with leadership we can balance the budget. I did it for four consecutive years. We went from $2.2 trillion projected deficit over a decade to $2.7 trillion projected surplus when I left. I think it is doable, but it takes real leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Thank you, Megyn.
The next question is for all of the candidates. It comes to us from Atlanta, Georgia, on the topic of education.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Stella Lohmann from Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve taught in both public and private schools, and now as a substitute teacher I see administrators more focused on satisfying federal mandates, retaining funding, trying not to get sued, while the teachers are jumping through hoops trying to serve up a one-size-fits-all education for their students. What as president would you seriously do about what I consider a massive overreach of big government into the classroom? Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: That topic is for all candidates. And to get everyone to weigh in, 30 seconds each, please.

Governor Johnson?

FORMER GOV. GARY JOHNSON, R-N.M.: I’m promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013. That’s a 43 percent reduction in federal spending.

I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.

(APPLAUSE)

The federal Department of Education gives each state 11 cents out of every dollar that every state spends, but it comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. So what America does not understand is that it’s a negative to take federal money. Give it to 50 laboratories of innovation, the states, to improve on, and that’s what we’ll see:
dramatic improvement.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Santorum?

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.: Yeah, 20 years ago, the federal contribution to education was 3 percent. It’s now at 11 percent, and our schools are doing worse, and it’s exactly what Gary Johnson just said. It’s because the federal government’s meddling.

The bottom-line problem with education is that the education system doesn’t serve the customer of the education system. And who’s the customer? The parents, because it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate the children.

It’s been that responsibility — from the moment they were born, they began the education of their children. And at some point, we have
— the government has convinced parents that at some point it’s no longer their responsibility. And in fact, they force them, in many respects, to turn their children over to the public education system and wrest control from them and block them out of participation of that.

That has to change or education will not improve in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: I think you need very profound reform of education at the state level. You need to dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education, get rid of virtually all of its regulations.

And the truth is, I believe we’d be far better off if most states adopted a program of the equivalent of Pell Grants for K-through-12, so that parents could choose where their child went to school, whether it was public, or private, or home-schooling, and parents could be involved. Florida has a virtual school program that is worth the entire country studying as an example.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congressman Paul?

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS: If you care about your children, you’ll get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids.

(APPLAUSE)

In 1980, when the Republican Party ran, part of the platform was to get rid of the Department of Education. By the year 2000, it was eliminated, and we fed on to it. Then (inaudible) Republicans added No Child Left Behind.

So the first thing a president should do is — the goal should be set to get the government out completely, but don’t enforce this law of No Child Left Behind. It’s not going to do any good, and nobody likes it. And there’s no value to it. The teachers don’t like it, and the students don’t like it.

But there are other things that the federal government can do, and that is give tax credits for the people who will opt out. We ought to have a right to opt out of the public system if you want.

BAIER: Governor Perry.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: There are a lot of good ideas here on the side and whether it is cutting back on the Department of Education, making those types of reductions.

I happen to believe we ought to be promoting school choice all across this country. I think school — the voucher system, charter schools all across this country. But there is one person on this stage that is for Obama’s Race to the Top and that is Governor Romney. He said so just this last week. And I think that is an important difference between the rest of the people on this stage and one person that wants to run for the presidency.

Being in favor of the Obama Race to the Top and that is not conservative.

BAIER: Governor Romney?

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.: Nice try.

Let me tell you what I think I would do.

One, education has to be held at the local and state level, not at the federal level. We need get the federal government out of education. And secondly, all the talk about we need smaller classroom size, look that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers. We looked at what drives good education in our state, what we found is the best thing for education is great teachers, hire the very best and brightest to be teachers, pay them properly, make sure that you have school choice, test your kids to see if they are meeting the standards that need to be met, and make sure that you put the parents in charge.

And as president I will stand up to the National Teachers Unions.

BAIER: Governor Romney, I want give you more time. Did Governor Perry say something that wasn’t true?

ROMNEY: