CNN/RPOF/HLN Republican Presidential Debate @ University of N. FL – Jacksonville – January 26, 2012

>>ANNOUNCER: Race has been won by Governor
Ronald Reagan of California>>ANNOUNCER: George Herbert Walker Bush,
41st President of the United States>>ANNOUNCER: Governor Clinton is now President
Bill Clinton>>ANNOUNCER: Too close to call.>>ANNOUNCER: Here it is George W. Bush re-elected.>>ANNOUNCER: Barack Obama, President Elect
of the United States.>>ANNOUNCER: This is CNN.>>BLITZER: Tonight, the final face off before
Florida voters choose>>ANNOUNCER: A presidential race that breaking
all the rules. Comes to a state that wrote the book on election cliffhangers.>>ROMNEY: Here in Florida>>GINGRICH: That’s how important Florida is.>>ANNOUNCER: Only one thing is certain in
this contest. Expect the unexpected.>>SANTORUM: you have three candidates who
have won three primaries>>ROMNEY: you are going to have to make a
decision. Which of the three should become our nominee. I think you know.>>ANNOUNCER: Tonight. The candidates together,
in Jacksonville Florida. Newt Gingrich, the South Carolina winner. Hoping to capitalize
on his recent victory and strong record in debates.>>GINGRICH: It’s not that I’m a good debater.
It is that I articulate the deepest felt values of the American people.>>ANNOUNCER: Mitt Ronmey, The New Hampshire
winner. Trying to broaden his appeal and reclaim the title of frontrunner.>>ROMNEY: We’re not choosing a talk show
host. We are choosing the person who should be the leader of the free world.>>ANNOUNCER: Rick Santorum, the Iowa winner.
Looking for a new burst of momentum, after his upset in the heartland.>>SANTORUM: There was one race that was in
nobody’s backyard. And we won that race.>>ANNOUNCER: Ron Paul, still in search of
a win. A fierce competitor with a die hard following.>>PAUL: We have the determination and we
will win this battle for peace and prosperity.>>ANNOUNCER: Now, the 2012 Republicans, in
Flordia. Its the biggest battleground so far and this could be the most important debate
yet.>>BLITZER: From the University of North Florida
in Jacksonville, this is the Florida Republican presidential debate. [APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Tonight, the four Republican candidates
are here to tell us why they’re the most qualified to take on President Barack Obama. I’m Wolf
Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. We
also want to thank our co-sponsors, the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership
Network. Members of the Florida Republican party are here in the audience with us and
some of them will have a chance to question the candidates. In addition, our sister network
CNN in Espanol is standing by in Miami with members of the Hispanic Leadership Network
who will also have a chance to question the candidates. Viewers can send us questions
online. On Twitter, make sure to include the hash tag #CNNdebate; on Facebook at;
and, of course, on It’s now time to welcome the 2012 Republican presidential
contenders.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Joining us on stage, Texas Congressman
Ron Paul.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Former Massachusetts Governor
Mitt Romney.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: The former speaker of the House,
Newt Gingrich.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: And the former U.S. senator from
Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican
candidates for president of the United States.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Ladies and gentlemen, please rise
for our national anthem, performed by the University of North Florida Chamber Singers.>>CHOIR: O! say can you see by the dawn’s
early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad
stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were
so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof
through the night that our flag was still there; O! say does that star-spangled banner
yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Candidates, please take your podiums
while I tell you more about how this debate will work tonight. I’ll be the moderator.
And as I mentioned, our partners from the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic
Leadership Network will also ask questions. I’ll follow up and 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 certainly
make sure you get time to respond if you’re singled out for criticism. Now let’s have
the candidates introduce themselves to Florida voters. Please keep it short. Here is an example:
I’m Wolf Blitzer and I’m thrilled to be here on the campus of the University of North Florida
in Jacksonville. Senator Santorum, let’s begin with you.>>SANTORUM: I’m Rick Santorum, and I’m thrilled
to be here on the campus of North Florida.>>[LAUGHTER]>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: And I’m especially thrilled because
I’m here with a North Florida resident who lives right down the beach from Jacksonville,
my mom, who is 93 years old, who is with me here tonight.>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: I better just stop right there.>>GINGRICH: I’m Newt Gingrich, from the neighboring
state of Georgia. I’m delighted to be in Jacksonville, which will be the site of the next nuclear
aircraft carrier battle group.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: I’m Mitt Romney, and I’m pleased
to be here with my wife and my oldest son Tagg Romney. We’re the parents of five sons,
five daughters-in-law, 16 grandkids. And it’s great to be back in Jacksonville. Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]>>RON PAUL: I’m Ron Paul. I’m a congressman
from Texas, 12 terms. I am the champion of a sound monetary system, a gold standard,
as it is under the Constitution, and a foreign policy based on strength which rejects the
notion that we should be the policemen of the world and that we should be a nation builder.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: All right. Let’s start with a
question from the audience.>>JONNA FLYN: Hello. Can you tell me what
specific actions you’ll take to address the costly consequences of illegal immigration
while preserving the rights of those who seek to immigrate legally?>>BLITZER: All right. Senator Santorum, let’s
take that question. But also, in the course of that question, express your opinion on
what we heard from Governor Romney, that self-deportation, or illegal immigrants leaving the country
voluntarily, is a possible solution.>>SANTORUM: Well, the possible solution is
— I actually agree with Governor Romney. The bottom line is that we need to enforce
the laws in this country. We are a country of laws. People come to this country. My grandfather
came to this country because he wanted to come to a country that respected him. And
a country that respects you is a country that lives by the laws that they have. And the
first act when they come to this country, is to disobey a law, it’s not a particularly
welcome way to enter this country. What I’ve said is from the very beginning, that we — we
have to have a country that not only do you respect the law when you come here, but you
respect the law when you stay here. And people who have come to this country illegally have
broken the law repeatedly. If you’re here, unless you’re here on a trust fund, you’ve
been working illegally. You’ve probably stolen someone’s Social Security number, illegally.
And so it’s not just one thing that you’ve done wrong, you’ve done a lot of things wrong.
And as a result of that, I believe that people should no — should not be able to stay here.
And so I think we need to enforce the law at the border, secure the border. Secondly,
we need to have employer enforcement, which means E-verify and then we need to have not
only employers sanctioned, but we have to have people who are found who are working
here illegally, they need to be deported. That is again the principle of having a rule
of law and living by it. I am very much in favor of immigration. I’m not someone — my
dad came to this country and I’m someone who believes that — that we need immigration.
We are not replacing ourselves. We have — we need not only immigration for — to keep our
population going, but we need immigration because immigrants bring a vitality and a
love of this country that is — infuses this country with — with great energy. And so,
I support legal immigration, but we need to enforce the law and in fact, if you don’t
create an opportunity for people to work, they will leave because they can’t afford
to stay here.>>BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, you’ve suggested
that self- deportation as advocated by Governor Romney is in your words, “An Obama level fantasy.”
Why?>>GINGRICH: Well look, I think that first
of all, you should control the border, which I have pledged to do by January 1, 2014. You
should fix legal immigration in terms of visas so people can come and go easily — more easily
than doing it illegally. You should also make deportation easier so when you deport people
who shouldn’t be here. The 13 gang members, for example. It should be very quick and very
clear. You should have a guest worker program, probably run by American Express, Visa or
MasterCard so they minimize fraud, which the federal government won’t do. And you should
have much stronger employer penalties at that point because you can validate it. I actually
agree that self-deportation will occur if you’re single. If you’ve only been here a
short time. And there are millions of people who faced with that, would go back home, file
for a guest worker program and might or might not come back. The one group I singled out,
were people who have been here a very long time who are married, who may well have children
and grandchildren. And I would just suggest that grandmothers or grandfathers aren’t likely
to self-deport. And then you’ve got a question. I — I offered a proposal, a citizen panel
to review whether or not somebody who had been here a very long time, who had family
and who had an American family willing to sponsor them, should be allowed to get residency,
but not citizenship so that they would be able to stay within the law, but would not
have any chance of becoming a citizen, unless they went back home. I don’t think grandmothers
and grandfathers will self-deport.>>BLITZER: Governor Romney, the few times
and I think it was only once, that they experimented with self-deportation, only a handful of individuals
voluntarily left. What makes you think that — that program could work?>>ROMNEY: Well, you’ve just heard the last
two speakers also indicate that they support the concept of self-deportation. It’s very
simply this, which is for those who come into the country legally, they would be given an
identification card that points out they’re able to work here and then you have an E-verify
system that’s effective and efficient so that employers can determine who is legally here
and if employers hire someone without a card, or without checking to see if it’s been counterfeited,
then those employers would be severely sanctioned. If you do that, people who have come here
illegally won’t be able to find work. And over time, those people would tend to leave
the country, or self-deport. I don’t think anyone is interested in going around and rounding
up people around the country and deporting 11 million Americans — or, excuse me 11 million
illegal immigrants into America. Now, let’s look at — and — and I know people said,
but isn’t that unfair to those 11 million that are here and have lived their lives here
and perhaps raised children here? But I think it’s important to remember, that there are
three groups of people that are of concern to us. One are those that have come here illegally,
11 million. The second is the group of people who are brought over by coyotes and who are
in many cases abused by virtue of coming into this country illegally. And the third, are
the four to five million people who are waiting at home in their own nations trying to get
here legally. They have family members here asking them to come here. Grandparents and
uncles and aunts. Those are the people we have a responsibility for. And the second
group as well, those that are abused. We — we’re concerned about them. Let’s focus our attention
on how to make legal immigration work and stop illegal immigration.>>BLITZER: All right. Governor Paul — sorry,
excuse me, Congressman Paul you’re from Texas. The state with the longest border with Mexico.
Is this a viable option, what we just heard?>>PAUL: Well, I’d talk about it, but I don’t
see it as being very practical. I think it’s a much bigger problem. You can’t deal with
immigration without dealing with the economy. The weaker the economy, the more resentment
there is when illegals come in. If you have a healthy, vibrant economy, it’s not a problem;
we’re usually looking for workers. Even under today’s circumstances, a lot of businesses
are looking for workers and they don’t have them. They’re not as well-trained here. But
also, the way we’re handling our borders is actually hurting our economy because the businesspeople
— you know, visitors have a hard time coming in. I mean, we don’t have a well-managed border.
So I think we need more resources and I think most of the other candidates would agree we
need more resources. But where are the resources going to come from? I have a suggestion. I
think we spend way too much time worrying about the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Use some of those resources on our own border.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, you had an ad,
but you pulled it this week, in which you described Governor Romney as the most anti-
immigrant candidate. Why did you do that?>>GINGRICH: Why did we describe him that
way? Because, in the original conversations about deportation, the position I took, which
he attacked pretty ferociously, was that grandmothers and grandfathers aren’t going to be successfully
deported. We’re not — we as a nation are not going to walk into some family — and
by the way, they’re going to end up in a church, which will declare them a sanctuary. We’re
not going to walk in there and grab a grandmother out and then kick them out. We’re not going
— and I think you have to be realistic in your indignation. I want to control the border.
I want English to be the official language of government. I want us to have a lot of
changes.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: I am prepared to be very tough
and very bold, but I’m also prepared to be realistic, because I’ve actually had to pass
legislation in Washington and I don’t believe an unrealistic promise is going to get through,
but I do believe, if there’s some level of humanity for people who have been here a long
time, we can pass legislation that will decisively reduce illegality, decisively control the
border and will once again mean the people who are in America are here legally.>>BLITZER: I just want to make sure I understand.
Is he still the most anti-immigrant candidate?>>GINGRICH: I think, of the four of us, yes.>>BLITZER: Go ahead, Governor.>>ROMNEY: That’s simply unexcusable. That’s
inexcusable. And, actually, Senator Marco Rubio came to my defense and said that ad
was inexcusable and inflammatory and inappropriate. Mr. Speaker, I’m not anti-immigrant. My father
was born in Mexico. My wife’s father was born in Wales. They came to this country. The idea
that I’m anti-immigrant is repulsive. Don’t use a term like that. You can say we disagree
on certain policies, but to say that enforcing the U.S. law to protect our borders, to welcome
people here legally, to expand legal immigration, as I have proved, that that’s somehow anti
anti-immigrant is simply the kind of over-the-top rhetoric that has characterized American politics
too long. And I’m glad that Marco Rubio called you out on it. I’m glad you withdrew it. I
think you should apologize for it, and I think you should recognize that having differences
of opinions on issues does not justify labeling people with highly charged epithets.>>GINGRICH: I’ll tell you what…>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: I’ll give you an opportunity
to self-describe. You tell me what language you would use to describe somebody who thinks
that deporting a grandmother or a grandfather from their family — just tell me the language.
I’m perfectly happy for you to explain what language you’d use.>>ROMNEY: Mr. Speaker, I think I described
following the law as it exists in this country, which is to say, I’m not going around and
rounding people up and deporting them. What I said was, people who come here legally get
a work permit. People who do not come here legally do not get a work permit. Those who
don’t get work will tend, over time, to self-deport. I’m not going to go find grandmothers and
take them out of their homes and deport them. Those are your words, not my words. And to
use that rhetoric suggests to people that somehow, if you’re not willing to keep people
here who violated the law, that you’re anti- immigrant. Nothing could be further from the
truth. I am pro-immigrant. I want people to come to America with skill and vitality and
vibrance. I want them to come legally. There are grandmothers that live on the other side
of the border that are waiting to come here legally. I want them to come here, too, not
just those that are already here.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: Well, so we have gone — we’ve
gone from your Washington attack when I first proposed this and you said it was outrageous;
it would be a magnet to you’re accepting the fact that, you know, a family is going to
take care of their grandmother or their grandfather. The idea that you are going to push them out
in some form by simply saying they can’t go get a job — I think the grandmother is still
going to be here. All I want to do is to allow the grandmother to be here legally with some
rights to have residency but not citizenship, so that he or she can finish their life with
dignity within the law.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: You know, our problem is not 11
million grandmothers. Our problem is — all right.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: Our problem is 11 million people
getting jobs that many Americans, legal immigrants, would like to have. It’s school kids in schools
that districts are having a hard time paying for. It’s people getting free health care
because we are required under the law to provide that health care. And the real concern is
the people who want to come here legally. Let’s let legal immigrants come here. Let’s
stop illegal immigration.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: The rhetoric on immigration, Governor,
has been intense, as you well know, as all four of you know, and anyone who watches television
knows. You had an ad running saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish “the language of the
ghetto.” What do you mean by that?>>ROMNEY: I haven’t seen the ad, so I’m sorry.
I don’t get to see all the TV ads. Did he say that?>>BLITZER: Did you say that?>>GINGRICH: No. What I said was, we want
everybody to learn English because we don’t — and I didn’t use the word “Spanish.” We
do not want anyone trapped in a situation where they cannot get a commercial job, they
cannot rise, and virtually every parent of every ethnic group — and by the way, they
are 94 languages spoken at the Miami-Dade College — 94 languages. And that’s why I
think English should be the official language of government, and that’s why I think every
young American should learn English. And my point was, no one should be trapped in a linguistics
situation where they can’t go out and get a job and they can’t go out and work. So I
would say as much as Governor Romney doesn’t particularly like my use of language, I found
his use of language and his deliberate distortion equally offensive.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: I’d like — I doubt that’s my ad,
but we’ll take a look and find out. There are a bunch of ads out there that are being
organized by other people. But I think our position on English in our schools and in
our nation is the same, which I believe English should be the official language of the United
States, as it is. I also believe that in our schools, we should teach kids in English.
So, when I was governor, I fought for — actually, before I was governor, I fought for, during
my election and thereafter, a program to have English immersion in our schools so our kids
could learn in English. I think we agree on this, which is, you know what? Kids in this
country should learn English so they can have all the jobs and all the opportunity of people
who are here.>>BLITZER: I want to bring Congressman Paul
and Senator Santorum into this. But let’s take this question from Miami. CNN en Espanol’s
Juan Carlos Lopez has a guest there.>>LOPEZ: Hola, Wolf. We’re at the viewing
party for the Hispanic Leadership Network, and it really is a party. They are holding
their yearly conference, a meeting of Hispanic Republican leaders. And I’m joined by Raquel
Rodriguez. She’s an attorney in Miami. She practices business and international law,
and she has a question for the candidates.>>RODRIGUEZ: Yes, good evening. The U.S.
has been largely away in its foreign and trade policy with Latin America. In the meantime,
Iran and China have been increasing their influence over an involvement in Latin America
through the leftist and left-leaning governments. What would each of you do as president to
more deeply engage in Latin America and, importantly, to support the governments and the political
parties that support democracy and free markets?>>BLITZER: Congressman Paul?>>PAUL: Well, I think free trade is the answer.
Free trade is an answer to a lot of conflicts around the world, so I’m always promoting
free trade. And you might add Cuba, too. I think we would be a lot better off with Cuba,
trading with Cuba.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: So, I think the more you can do to
promote this free trade, the better off we’ll be. But as far as us having an obligation,
a military or a financial obligation to go down and dictate to them what government they
should have, I don’t like that idea. I would work with the people and encourage free trade,
and try to set a standard here where countries in Central America or South America or any
place in the world would want to emulate us and set the standards that we have. Unfortunately,
sometimes we slip up on our standards and we go around the world and we try to force
ourselves on others. I don’t think the nations in South America and Central America necessarily
want us to come down there and dictate which government they should have. And yet, I believe
with friendship and trade, you can have a lot of influence, and I strongly believe that
it’s time we have friendship and trade with Cuba.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Senator Santorum, are you with
Congressman Paul?>>SANTORUM: No, I’m not with Congressman
Paul and I’m not with Barack Obama on this issue. Our policy in Central and South America
under this administration has been abysmal. The way we have treated, in particular, countries
like Honduras, Honduras, which stood up for the rule of law, which threw out a would-be
dictator who was using the Chavez playbook from Venezuela in order to try to run for
re-election in Honduras, and the United States government, instead of standing behind the
— the people in the parliament, the people in the Supreme Court, who tried to enforce
the constitution of Honduras — instead of siding with them, the Democrats, President
Obama sided with two other people in South America — excuse me — Central America and
South America. Chavez and Castro and Obama sided against the people of Honduras. This
is a consistent policy of siding with the leftists, siding with the Marxists, siding
with those who don’t support democracy, not standing up for our friends in Colombia, not
standing up for our friends who want to engage and support America, who want to be great
trading partners and great allies for our country, to be able to form that kind of bond
that is so essential in our own hemisphere. The European Union understood how important
it was for diverse people to be able to come together in an economic unit. We only — not
only have to come together as an economic unit, but the threat of terrorism, the threat
of Iran now in Venezuela and in other places, and Cuba and in Nicaragua, the threat of radical
Islam growing in that region — is it important for — it’s absolutely important for us to
have a president who understands that threat and understands the solution is closer ties.
I will visit that area of the world, repeatedly, to solidify those ties when I become president.>>BLITZER: Let me let Congressman Paul…>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: quickly respond.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: The — the senator mentioned standing
up for some of these nations, but he doesn’t define it, but standing up for nations like
this usually means that we impose ourselves, go and pick the dictators, undermine certain
governments, also sending them a lot of money. It doesn’t work. Most of the time, this backfires.
They resent us. We can achieve what he wants in a much different way than us using the
bully attitude that you will do it our way. This is the…>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: This is not a benefit to us. And
besides, where do you get the troops and where are you going to get the money? Because you’re
talking about force. And I — I know of a much better way than using force to get along
with people.>>SANTORUM: I don’t know where…>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: I don’t know what answer Congressman
Paul was listening to. He obviously wasn’t listening to my answer.>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: What I talked about is building
strong economic relationships, strong national security relationships. No one’s talking about
force. Nobody’s talking about going into Cuba or going into Venezuela. It’s talking about
the other countries in the region, which are being influenced greatly by those countries,
that are tending and moving toward those militant socialists, instead of the United States.
Why? Because we’ve ignored them. You’ve got a president of the United States that held
a Colombian free trade agreement — Colombia, who’s out there on the front lines, working
with us against the narco- terrorists, standing up to Chavez in South America. And what did
we do? For political — domestic political purposes, the president of the United States
sided with organized labor and the environmental groups and held Colombia hanging out to dry
for three years. We cannot do that to our friends in South America.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: All right, we’re going to — we’re
going to come back to this.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: We’re going to come back to Cuba,
as well. But stand by for that. We did double-check, just now, Governor, that ad that we talked
about, where I quoted you as saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish “the language of the
ghetto” — we just double-checked. It was one of your ads. It’s running here in Florida
in — on the radio. And at the end you say, “I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this ad.”
So it is — it is here.>>[BOOING]>>ROMNEY: Let me ask — let me ask a question.
Let me ask the speaker a question. Did you say what the ad says or not? I don’t know.>>GINGRICH: It’s taken totally out of context.>>ROMNEY: Oh, OK, he said it.>>GINGRICH: I did not — no. I did not say
it about Spanish. I said, in general, about all languages. We are better for children
to learn English in general, period.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: Let’s take a look at what he said.
[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: All right. We have a very important
subject, housing. Not only here in Florida, foreclosures really, really bad, but all over
the country. And a lot of people are wondering if the federal government contributed to the
housing collapse in recent years. We got a question that came in to us and — let me
put it up there and I’ll read it to you. “How would you phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac? Does the private mortgage industry need additional regulation?” — that from William
Schmidt. Let me start with Governor Romney.>>ROMNEY: Well, I think you know that Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac were a big part of why we have the housing crisis in the nation that
we have. And we’ve had this discussion before. Speaker Gingrich was hired by Freddie Mac
to promote them, to — to influence other people throughout Washington, encouraging
them to — not to dismantle these two entities. I think that was an enormous mistake. I think,
instead, we should have had a whistle-blower and not horn-tooter. He should have stood
up and said, look, these things are a disaster; this is a crisis. He should have been anxiously
telling the American people that these entities were causing a housing bubble that would cause
a collapse that we’ve seen here in Florida and around the country. And are they a problem
today? Absolutely. They’re offering mortgages, again to people who can’t possibly repay them.
We’re creating another housing bubble, which will hurt the American people. The right course
for our — for our housing industry is to get people back to work so they can buy homes
again. We have 9.9 percent unemployment in Florida. It’s unthinkable, 18 percent real
unemployment here. Get people back to work. We’ll get people into homes. Get the foreclosures
out of the system. Let people get into homes, rent properties if necessary and get America’s
housing industry growing again.>>BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich?>>GINGRICH: Let me start by saying, Florida
is one of the two or three most hard hit states on foreclosures. How many of you know somebody
who has had a house foreclosed? Just raise your hand. Raise your hand.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: Okay. The governor has cheerfully
— the governor has cheerfully attacking me inaccurately and he knows it. The contracts
we released from Freddie Mac said I would do no consulting, wrote in, no — I mean no
lobbying, none. But this is a more interesting story. We began digging in after Monday night
because frankly I’d had about enough of this. We discovered to our shock, Governor Romney
owns shares of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Governor Romney made a million dollars
off of selling some of that. Governor Romney owns share — has an investment in Goldman
Sachs, which is today foreclosing on Floridians. So maybe Governor Romney in the spirit of
openness should tell us how much money he’s made off of how many households that have
been foreclosed by his investments? And let’s be clear about that.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: First of all, my investments are
not made by me. My investments for the last 10 years have been in a blind trust, managed
by a trustee. Secondly, the investments that they’ve made, we’ve learned about this as
we made our financial disclosure, have been in mutual funds and bonds. I don’t own stock
in either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There are bonds that the investor has held through
mutual funds. And Mr. Speaker, I know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but have
you checked your own investments? You also have investments through mutual funds that
also invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: Let me — let me — I’ve got more
time. Let me — let me — let me just — let me just continue. There’s a big difference
between buying like U.S. savings bonds and getting a return. That’s a — that’s not taking
money out of the United States, that’s loaning money to the United States. And what my trustee
did, is he loaned money to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and — and they got paid interest
of course, just like if you buy U.S. savings bonds. But what the speaker did, was to work
as a spokesman to promote Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. To protect them from those people that
wanted to take them down. He got paid $1.6 million to do that. He said his first contract
indicated there would be no lobbying. But his second contract didn’t have that prescription
taken out of it. And so you have to ask yourself why is that? What he was doing was clearly
promoting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in this case Freddie Mac to the tune of $1.6 million.
That is one of the reasons we’re in the trouble we’re in.>>BLITZER: Go ahead.>>GINGRICH: Well, first of all, you’ll notice
that the governor wasn’t aware of the ad he was running. He’s not aware of the investments
that were being made in his name.>>ROMNEY: Of course, I can’t it’s a blind
trust.>>[CROSSTALK]>>GINGRICH: …compare my investments with
his is like comparing a tiny mouse with a giant elephant. The fact — the fact is… [APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: …that there is a very substantial
question. You didn’t give any instructions to — to say, gee, let’s not do this or let’s
not do that? You’re very quick to draw the widest possible exaggeration. The fact is,
the only time I ever spoke to the Congress about this issue was in July of 2008. The
New York Times reported it. I told the Republicans in the House, vote no. Do not give them any
money. They need to be reformed. And in answer to the question earlier, I would break each
of them up into five or six separate units. And over a five year period, I would wean
them from all federal sponsorship because we need to get away from this gigantic systems.>>BLITZER: Let me bring Congressman Paul,
then Senator Santorum.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: A follow up question to you both
specifically. It seems they both acknowledge they both made money from Fannie and Freddie.
Should they return that money?>>PAUL: That — that subject really doesn’t
interest me a whole lot.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: But the question does. The — the
question is, what are we going to do about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It should have
been auctioned off right after the crash came. It would have been cleansed by now.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: It should have been sold.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: But maybe it’s my physician background,
but I think an ounce of prevention is what we ought to talk about so we can quit doing
this. But we know how the bubble came about. It was excessive credit, interest rates held
too low, too long, the Federal Reserve responsible for that. Community Reinvestment Act, which
is Affirmative Action telling banks they have to make these risky loans. And at the same
time, there was a line of credit which allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to, you know, make
more money. And it was — it was assumed that they would always be protected. Now, you can’t
argue. I’ve talked a long time about cutting off that credit from the Fed. I was trying
to prevent this stuff.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: Also, I opposed the Community Reinvestment
Act, as well as I had legislation in 10 years before the bust came to remove that line of
credit to the Treasury.>>BLITZER: Senator Santorum?>>SANTORUM: Well, I would just say, in answer
to the question, that as I mentioned last debate, in 2006, I went out and authored a
letter with 24 other senators asking for major reform of Freddie and Fannie, warning of a
meltdown and a bubble in the housing market. I stood out, I stood tall, and tried to get
a reform, and we couldn’t do it. The reform we’d need is to gradually decrease the amount
of mortgage that can be financed by Freddie — or underwritten by Freddie and Fannie over
time, keep reducing that until we get rid of Fannie and Freddie. The bigger issue here
is, these two gentlemen, who are out distracting from the most important issues we have been
playing petty personal politics, can we set aside that Newt was a member of Congress and
used the skills that he developed as a member of Congress to go out and advise companies
— and that’s not the worst thing in the world — and that Mitt Romney is a wealthy guy because
worked hard and he’s going out and working hard? And you guys should that alone and focus
on the issues.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: We’re going to take a quick break,
but we have a lot more to discuss. Coming up, the debate questions go to space, the
final frontier. Stay with us.>>[COMMERCIAL BREAK]>>BLITZER: We’re continuing the debate here
in Jacksonville, Florida. Let’s get to the issue of transparency, because voters out
there, they want to know as much about you four gentlemen as possible before they vote.
Tax returns — let me bring this to Speaker Gingrich. Earlier this week, you said Governor
Romney, after he released his taxes, you said that you were satisfied with the level of
transparency of his personal finances when it comes to this. And I just want to reiterate
and ask you, are you satisfied right now with the level of transparency as far as his personal
finances?>>GINGRICH: Wolf, you and I have a great
relationship, it goes back a long way. I’m with him. This is a nonsense question.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: Look, how about if the four of
us agree for the rest of the evening, we’ll actually talk about issues that relate to
governing America?>>BLITZER: But, Mr. Speaker, you made an
issue of this, this week, when you said that, “He lives in a world of Swiss bank and Cayman
Island bank accounts.” I didn’t say that. You did.>>GINGRICH: I did. And I’m perfectly happy
to say that on an interview on some TV show. But this is a national debate, where you have
a chance to get the four of us to talk about a whole range of issues.>>BLITZER: But if you make a serious accusation
against Governor Romney like that, you need to explain that.>>GINGRICH: I simply suggested –>>[BOOING]>>GINGRICH: You want to try again? I mean
–>>ROMNEY: Wouldn’t it be nice if people didn’t
make accusations somewhere else that they weren’t willing to defend here?>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: OK. All right. Given that standard,
Mitt, I did say I thought it was unusual. And I don’t know of any American president
who has had a Swiss bank account. I’d be glad for you to explain that sort of thing.>>ROMNEY: OK. I will. I will. I’ll say it
again. I have a trustee that manages my investments in a blind trust. That was so that I would
avoid any conflicts of interest. That trustee indicated last week, when he was asked about
this, he said that he wanted to diversify the investments that I had. And for awhile
he had money in a Swiss account, reported in the U.S., full taxes paid on it, U.S. taxes.
There’s nothing wrong with that. And I know that there may be some who try to make a deal
of that, as you have publicly. But look, I think it’s important for people to make sure
that we don’t castigate individuals who have been successful and try and, by innuendo,
suggest there’s something wrong with being successful and having investments and having
a return on those investments. Speaker, you’ve indicated that somehow I don’t earn that money.
I have earned the money that I have. I didn’t inherit it. I take risks. I make investments.
Those investments lead to jobs being created in America. I’m proud of being successful.
I’m proud of being in the free enterprise system that creates jobs for other people.
I’m not going to run from that. I’m proud of the taxes I pay. My taxes, plus my charitable
contributions, this year, 2011, will be about 40 percent. So, look, let’s put behind this
idea of attacking me because of my investments or my money, and let’s get Republicans to
say, you know what? What you’ve accomplished in your life shouldn’t be seen as a detriment,
it should be seen as an asset to help America.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Mr. Speaker, I’m ready to move
on, if you are.>>GINGRICH: What?>>BLITZER: I said I’m ready to move on to
the next subject if you are.>>GINGRICH: I’m happy to. I’m happy to simply
say, you know, it would be nice if you had the same standard for other people that you
would like applied to you and didn’t enter into personal attacks about personal activities
about which you are factually wrong. So I would be glad to have a truce with you, but
it’s a two-way truce.>>[BOOING]>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: I’m happy on any occasion to describe
the things that I believe with regards to the Speaker’s background. We’ll probably get
a chance to do that as time goes on.>>BLITZER: Mr. Speaker, explain why you think
the money that he made over these many years, recent years, under your tax — hold on. Mr.
Speaker, under your tax plan — we’re talking about taxes right now. This is substance.
Under your proposed tax plan, he would pay zero taxes. Explain that.>>GINGRICH: Well, it would depend on whether
the particular kind of payments he made were counted under that plan as capital gains or
whether they were counted as regular income. But even as regular income, he would pay about
the same. And I’ve said this. This is where I’m the opposite of Obama. I believe we need
to have somebody who fights for hardworking taxpayers. My interest is in reducing everybody’s
tax here to 15 percent, not trying to raise his to the Obama level. So I proposed an alternative
flat tax –>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: You know, I have proposed an
alternative flat tax that people could fill out where you could either keep the current
system — this is what they do in Hong Kong — keep the current system with all of its
deductions and all its paperwork, or you’d have a single page — I earned this amount,
I have this number of dependents, here is 15 percent. My goal is to shrink the government
to fit the revenue, not to raise the revenue to catch up with the government. And I’d be
happy…>>[APPLAUSE]>>Let me just say, I’d — I would be happy
to have the Mitt Romney flat tax for every American to pay at that rate, and I haven’t
complained about the rate he pays.>>BLITZER: Senator Santorum, most of the
polls, almost all of the polls, want the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes in order to
balance the budget. Why are they wrong, in your opinion?>>SANTORUM: Because we need to have as much
money funneling through this economy as possible. And the people who make those investments
are people who have resources and wealth, and we want them to deploy that wealth in
the most productive way possible. And when you increase tax rates and you make things
much more expensive to do — in other words, the rate of return is not as profitable, then
they tend to do things like investing in — in nontaxable instruments and other things that
don’t employ people. And so what I believe is we need to reduce taxes. I don’t — look,
I’m honest. I don’t reduce the higher — top rate as much as these other folks do. I take
the Reagan approach. Ronald Reagan had a 28 percent top rate. If it was good enough for
Ronald Reagan, it’s good enough for me. And that’s what we put the top rate as.>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: And — and we have a bottom rate
of 10 percent. I believe in a differential. I don’t believe in a flat tax. I believe in
a simplified tax code with five deductions and — and focus on simplify, creating two
rates. I disagree with Newt also on this. I don’t believe in a zero capital gains tax
rate. I don’t think you need to get to zero to make sure that there’s an efficient deployment
of capital and investment. I think, if you get to zero, then, in fact, guys like Mitt
Romney, who, again, I give him — I wish I made as much money as Mitt Romney, but…>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: But — you know, but he wouldn’t
probably pay much at all in taxes. And I think that, as long as the tax is not one that deters
a proper investment to be able to deploy capital and to get jobs created, then lower rates
are better than zero when it comes to the issue of capital gains.>>BLITZER: Are you with Ronald Reagan as
far as the tax rates, as Senator Santorum has suggested, Congressman Paul?>>PAUL: No, he taxed too much. My goal is
to get rid of the 16th amendment. And the only way you can do that…>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: The only way you can do that is not
run a welfare system and a warfare system in policing the world. But I do want to address
this subject about taxing the rich. That is not a solution. But I understand and really
empathize with the people who talk about the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Because there’s
a characteristic about what happens when you destroy a currency. There is a transfer of
wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. And this has been going on for 40 years. So
the middle class is shrinking. They are getting poorer and they’re losing their jobs and they’re
losing their houses. But Wall Street isn’t getting poorer. And they are the ones who
are getting the bailout. So we have to address the bailout and the system that favors a certain
group over another group. If you don’t have sound money and if you have a welfare state,
no matter whether the welfare state is designed to help the poor, you know, the welfare system
helps the wealthy. And there has been this transfer of wealth. So, if we could stop all
of these transfers to the wealthy class, but the solution isn’t to tax the wealthy. If
you give an honest product and customers buy that product, you deserve to keep that money
and earn that money. But there’s a big difference between those who earn money and those who
rip us off through the government and the monetary system.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Congressman Paul, you’re a physician.
You’re 76 years old. You would be the oldest president of the United States if you were
elected. Are you prepared to release your medical records so voters out there know what
your health is?>>[LAUGHTER]>>PAUL: Oh, obviously, because it’s about
one page, if even that long. But…>>[LAUGHTER]>>PAUL: But I’m willing to…>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: I’m willing to challenge any of these
gentlemen up here to a 25- mile bike ride any time of the day in the heat of Texas.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: And, you know — you know, that subject
has come up and sometimes in fun but sometimes not in fun. But, you know, there are laws
against age discrimination, so if you push this too much, you better be careful.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: I raise the question because you
remember, four years ago, the same question came up with John McCain and he released his
records, finally. I remember our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta spent hours reviewing those records.
So let me go down and ask all of you. Are you ready to release your medical records?>>ROMNEY: Happy to do so.>>GINGRICH: I’m happy to. And I also want
to attest I’m confident that Dr. Paul is quite ready to serve if he’s elected. Watching him
campaign, he’s in great shape.>>[LAUGHTER]>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: All right, we have another question
from the audience. I’ll look forward to seeing your medical records.>>[LAUGHTER]>>BLITZER: Go ahead. Let’s take a question
right now. Please introduce yourself, as well.>>QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Matthew
Bathel. My question is, what would your plan be for the future of manned space flight and
the future of NASA?>>BLITZER: All right, let me go to Governor
Romney on this one. An important issue, especially here in Florida where a lot of people have
lost their jobs as a result of the decline of the space program. Yesterday Speaker Gingrich
outlined a — a pretty long plan on what to do about it and he said that by the end of
his second term, if he were elected president, there would be a permanent base on the moon.
Good idea?>>ROMNEY: That’s an enormous expense. And
right now I want to be spending money here. Of course the space coast has been badly hurt
and I believe in a very vibrant and strong space program. To define the mission for our
space program, I’d like to bring in the — the top professors that relate to space areas
and physics, the top people from industry. Because I want to make sure what we’re doing
in space translates into commercial products. I want to bring in our top military experts
on space needs. And — and finally of course, the — the people from — the administration
if I had an administration. I’d like to come together and talk about different options
and the cost. I’d like corporate America as well as the defense network and others that
could come together in a — in a part — in, if you will, a partnership basis to create
a plan that will keep our space program thriving and growing. I — I believe in a manned space
program. I’d like to see whether they believe in the same thing. I’m not — I’m not looking
for a — a colony on the moon. I think the cost of that would be in the hundreds of billions,
if not trillions. I’d rather be rebuilding housing here in the U.S.>>BLITZER: We have a question. I want to
speaker to weigh in as well.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: This question is related from
— we got it from Twitter. Speaker Gingrich, how do you plan to create a base on the moon
while keeping taxes down in eight years?>>[LAUGHTER]>>GINGRICH: I think, look it’s a great question.
You start with the question, do you really believe NASA in it’s current form is the most
effective way of leveraging investment in space? We now have a bureaucracy sitting there,
which has managed to mismanage the program so well that in fact we have no lift vehicle.
So you almost have to wonder, what does the Washington office of NASA do? Does it sit
around and think space?>>[LAUGHTER]>>GINGRICH: Does it contemplate that some
day we could have a rocket? My point in the speech I made yesterday, which is on CSPAN
and I’d love to have all of you look at it. It’s based on having looked at space issues
since the late 1950’s when missiles and rockets was a separate magazine. And working with
NASA and others. I believe by the use of prizes, by the use of incentives, by opening up the
space port so that it’s available on a ready basis for commercial fight, by using commonsense
for example the Atlas-V could easily be fixed into a man capable vehicle so you didn’t have
to rely on — on a Russian launch or a Chinese launch. There are many things you can do to
leverage accelerating the development of space. Lindbergh flew to Paris for a $25,000.00 prize.
If we had a handful of serious prizes, you’d see an extraordinary number of people out
there trying to get to the moon first in order to have billed [ph] that. And I’d like to
have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there.>>BLITZER: Senator Santorum?>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: I — I believe America’s a frontier
nation and obviously the frontier that — that we’re talking about is — is the next one,
which is space. And that we need to inspire. One of the big problems we have in our country
today is that young people are not getting involved in math and science and not dreaming
big dreams. So NASA or the space program where space is important, NASA is one component
that — our — our space defense is another area. I think both of — both of which are
very, very important. I agree that we need to bring good minds in the private sector
much more involved in NASA than the government bureaucracy that we have. But let’s just be
honest, we run a $1.2 trillion deficit right now. We’re — we’re borrowing 40-cents of
every dollar. And to go out there and promise new programs and big ideas, that’s a great
thing to maybe get votes, but it’s not a responsible thing when you have to go out and say that
we have to start cutting programs, not talking about how to — how to — how to grow them.
We’re going to cut programs. We’re going to spend — under my administration, we’re going
to spend less money every year — every year. Year, to year, to year the federal government
amount of spending will go down for four years until we get a balanced budget. And you can’t
do that by — by — by grand schemes. Whether it’s the space program or frankly whether
it’s the Speaker’s Social Security program, which will create a brand-new Social Security
entitlement. Those are things that sound good and maybe make big promises to people, but
we’ve got to be responsible in the way we allocate our resources.>>BLITZER: We’re going to get to that in
a moment, but…>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Congressman Paul, Texas, the space
program very important there as well. Where do you stand on this?>>PAUL: Well, I don’t think we should go
to the moon. I think we maybe should send some politicians up there.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: But I went — I went into the Air
Force in 1962 and studied aerospace medicine. Actually had a daydream about maybe becoming
the first physician to go into space. That — that didn’t occur, but I see space — the
amount of money we spend on space, the only part that I would vote for is for national
defense purposes. Not to explore the moon and go to Mars. I think that’s fantastic.
That’s — I love those ideas. But I also don’t like the idea of building government business
partnerships. If we had a healthy economy and had more Bill Gateses and more Warren
Buffetts, the money would be there. It should be privatized, and the people who work in
the industry, if you had that, there would be jobs in aerospace. And I just think that
we don’t need a bigger, a newer program, when you think of the people — I mean, health
care or something else deserves a lot more priority than going to the moon. So, I would
be very reluctant, but space technology should be followed up to some degree for national
defense purposes, but not just for the fun of it and, you know, for — you know, for
scientific –>>BLITZER: We’re going to leave this subject,
but before we do, I want Speaker Gingrich to clarify what you said yesterday in that
major speech you delivered on space. You said that you would support a lunar colony or a
lunar base, and that if 13,000 Americans were living there, they would be able to apply
for U.S. statehood from the moon.>>GINGRICH: I was meeting Rick’s desire for
grandiose ideas. But –>>BLITZER: That’s a pretty grandiose idea.>>GINGRICH: But let me make just two points
about this. It is really important to go back and look at what John F. Kennedy said in May
of 1961 when he said, “We will go to the moon in this decade.” No American had orbited the
Earth. The technology didn’t exist. And a generation of young people went into science
and engineering and technology, and they were tremendously excited. And they had a future.
I actually agree with Dr. Paul. The program I envision would probably end up being 90
percent private sector, but it would be based on a desire to change the government rules
and change the government regulations, to get NASA out of the business of trying to
run rockets, and to create a system where it’s easy for private sector people to be
engaged. I want to see us move from one launch occasionally to six or seven launches a day
because so many private enterprises walk up and say, we’re prepared to go do it. But I’ll
tell you, I do not want to be the country that having gotten to the moon first, turned
around and said, it doesn’t really matter, let the Chinese dominate space, what do we
care? I think that is a path of national decline, and I am for America being a great country,
not a country in decline.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: We’re going to move on, but go
ahead, Governor Romney.>>ROMNEY: I spent 25 years in business. If
I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion
dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, “You’re fired.” The idea that corporate America
wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there, it may be a big idea, but it’s not
a good idea. And we have seen in politics — we’ve seen politicians — and Newt, you’ve
been part of this — go from state to state and promise exactly what that state wants
to hear. The Speaker comes here to Florida, wants to spend untold amount of money having
a colony on the moon. I know it’s very exciting on the Space Coast. In South Carolina, it
was a new interstate highway, and dredging the port in Charleston. In New Hampshire,
it was burying a power line coming in from Canada and building a new VHA hospital in
New Hampshire so that people don’t have to go to Boston. Look, this idea of going state
to state and promising what people want to hear, promising billions, hundreds of billions
of dollars to make people happy, that’s what got us into the trouble we’re in now. We’ve
got to say no
to this kind of spending.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: I want to make two points. First,
I thought we were a country where one of the purposes of candidates going around was to
actually learn about the states they campaigned in and actually be responsive to the needs
of the states they campaign in. For example, the port of Jacksonville is going to have
to be expanded because the Panama Canal is being widened, and I think that’s useful thing
for a president to know. I think it’s important for presidents to know about local things.
Second — and at the other end of the state, the Everglades Restoration Project has to
be completed, and it’s the federal government which has failed. But, second, in response
to what Rick said, when we balanced the budget with the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, and ultimately
had four consecutive balanced budgets, we doubled the size of the National Institutes
of Health because we set priorities. It is possible to do the right things in the right
order to make this a bigger, richer, more exciting country. You don’t just have to be
cheap everywhere. You can actually have priorities to get things done.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: All right. We’re going to move
on. But go ahead, Ron Paul.>>PAUL: I want to make a quick comment, because
Newt’s mentioned this quite a few times about balancing the budget for four times. I went
back and looked at the record. The budget was — the national debt during those four
years actually went up about a trillion dollars. What he’s talking about is, he doesn’t count
the money he takes out of Social Security. So, Reagan nor you had a truly balanced budget
because the national debt goes up, and that’s what we pay the interest on. So I think you’ve
stretched that a little bit more than you should have.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Go ahead and respond. And then
Senator Santorum.>>GINGRICH: No, I…>>BLITZER: You want to respond to Congressman
Paul?>>GINGRICH: No, I would just say — I would
just say, under the system that was used, we were $405 billion [inaudible]…>>[BOOING]>>GINGRICH: I agree with Ron — but let me
finish. I actually agree with you, and I propose that we take Social Security off budget so
no president can ever again get threaten, as Obama did in August, that he would not
send the check out, and you could set Social Security back up as a free-standing trust
fund. It does have enough money and you could in fact pay the checks without regard to politics
in Washington.>>BLITZER: Go ahead, quickly.>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: Well, look, we just listened
to the president of the United States the other night completely ignore the biggest
problem facing this country when it comes to our financial health. We’ve been downgraded
as a — as a — as a country and the president of the United States completely ignored any
of the heavy work, the hard work in being honest with the American public about what
we have to do to get our fiscal house in order. And I think that’s the point I would make
here. Going around and promising a whole bunch of new ideas and new projects and big ideas
— that was fine. And maybe we need it; we can do that. I supported the doubling of the
National Institutes of Health. But we didn’t have a $1.2 trillion deficit. We didn’t — we
weren’t at over — we are now going to reach $16 trillion, which is more than our whole
GDP. We were not in that situation 20, 15 years ago. We are in a different world. We
need leaders who are going to be honest with the people of this country, of the problems
we have, and have bold solutions to make that happen. I’ll do that.>>BLITZER: Let’s continue on this subject.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: But let’s take a question from
the audience. Go ahead. Stand up and please introduce yourself.>>QUESTION: My name is Lynn Frazier and I
live here in Jacksonville. And for the Republican presidential candidates, my question is, I’m
currently unemployed and I found myself unemployed for the first time in 10 years and unable
to afford health care benefits. What type of hope can you promise me and others in my
position?>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Let’s ask Congressman Paul.>>PAUL: Well, it’s a tragedy because this
is a consequence of the government being involved in medicine since 1965. When I was growing
up, we didn’t have a whole lot, but my dad had a small insurance, but medical care costs
weren’t that much. And you should have an opportunity — medical care insurance should
be given to you as an individual, so if you’re employed or not employed, you have — you
just take care of that and you keep it up. When you lose a job, sometimes you lose your
insurance. But the cost is so high. When you pump money into something, like housing, cost
— prices go up. If you pump money into education, the cost of education goes up. When the government
gets involved in medicine, you don’t get better care; you get — cost goes up and it distorts
the economy and leads to a crisis. But your medical care should go with you. You should
get total deduction on it. It would be so much less expensive. It doesn’t solve every
single problem, but you’re — you’re suffering from the consequence of way too much government
and the cost going up because government has inflated the cost and we have a government-created
recession, and that is a consequence of the business cycle.>>BLITZER: Speaker — Speaker Gingrich, what
should Lynn do?>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: Well, look, the first — she
actually put her finger on two different problems. The largest challenge of this country is to
get the economy growing so she can have a job so it’s easy for her to have insurance.
We — we need — and the president did nothing about this the other night. In fact, his proposal
on taxes would make the economy worse. We need to have a program which would start with,
frankly, repealing Obamacare, repealing Dodd-Frank, repealing Sarbanes-Oxley.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: And we need to give her a chance
at a job. Second, we need real health reform, not the Obama style, but we need health reform
that allows her to buy in. And Dr. Paul is right. She ought to get the same tax break
whether she buys personally or whether she buys through a economy. She should also be
able to buy into an association so that she’s buying with lots of other people so it’s not
single insurance, which is the most expensive kind. But you combine those two, reforming
the insurance system and getting the economy growing again so people are back at work,
you cure an awful lot of America’s problems with those two steps, and you put her back
in a position where she’s in charge of her life; she’s not dependent on Barack Obama
to take care of her.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: That plan work for you, Governor?
ROMNEY: Actually, what both these gentlemen said is pretty much spot-on. And I’d — and
I’ll add a couple of things. One, I want to underscore something both of them said, and
that is, right now in America, if you have insurance, you most likely got it through
your employer. And the reason is, your employer gets a deduction for you when they buy the
insurance for you. That means that, if you change jobs, you’ve got to get a new insurance
company, most likely. And if you become unemployed, you lose your insurance. That doesn’t make
sense. And if an individual wants to own their own insurance, they’re not part of a big group,
and so as a result they get a very high rate. What we should do is allow individuals to
own their own insurance and have the same tax treatment as companies get. You do that
and people like this young woman would be able to own her insurance. The rates would
be substantial lower for her buying it individually than if she had to buy it individually today.
Secondly, getting people to work. This president has failed the American people. He got up
there and gave a speech last night. It was like Groundhog Day all over again. He said
the same things and the same results we’re seeing today. People are not working.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: And we know what it takes to put
people back to work. He said some of those things last night — lowering corporate taxes,
lowering regulations, opening up all of the above in energy, cracking down on China. He
just doesn’t do any of those things, and if I’m president, I will do those things and
I’ll get you back to work. Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: All three of these folks sound
great and I agree with them. I would just add that health savings account, which I introduced
20 years ago with John Kasich, is really the fundamental reform of getting consumers back
involved in the health care system. The problem with the answers from Congressman Gingrich
and Governor Romney is that, well, they didn’t always say what they’re saying. Governor Romney
was the author of Romneycare, which is a top- down government-run health care system which,
read an article today, has 15 different items directly in common with Obamacare, everything
from the increase in the Medicaid program, not just that government is going to mandate
you buy something that’s a condition of breathing, mandate that you buy an insurance policy,
something that Governor Romney agreed to at the state level, something Congressman Gingrich
for 20 years advocated, that the federal government can force each and every person to enter into
a private contract. Something that everyone now, at least up on this stage, says is radically
unconstitutional, Congressman Gingrich supported for 20 years. Governor Romney supported it
in the state, a state that is a — pretty much a model for what Obamacare is going to
look like — the highest health care costs in the country, 27 percent above the average,
average waiting time — 94 percent of the people in Massachusetts are now insured, but
there was just a survey that came out and said one in four don’t get the care they need
because of the high cost. So, you have a card, you’re covered, but you can’t get care. This
is the top-down model that both of these gentlemen say they’re now against, but they’ve been
for, and it does not provide the contrast we need with Barack Obama if we’re going to
take on that most important issue. We cannot give the issue of health care away in this
election. It is too foundational for us to win this election.>>BLITZER: A quick rebuttal from Speaker
Gingrich and then Governor Romney.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: Well, in my case, I think Rick
is lumping us together rather more than is accurate. If you go to,
I founded the Center for Health Transformation. I wrote a book in 2002 called “Saving Lives
and Saving Money.” It calls for you and your doctor and your pharmacist and your hospital
have a relationship. I believe in something like patient power. I didn’t advocate federal
mandates. I talked about it at a state level, finding a way — which included an escape
clause that people didn’t have to buy it — finding a way to try to have people have insurance,
particularly for wealthy people who are simply free-riding on local hospitals. But the fact
is, it was a personal system, dramatically different than either Romneycare or the version
Rick just discussed.>>BLITZER: Governor Romney?>>ROMNEY: The system that we put in place
in our state was something we worked out with the labor community, the health care community,
business, and the citizens of the nation. We came together, it was voted by a 200-person
legislature. Only two voted no. Our system has a lot of flaws, a lot of things I’d do
differently. It has a lot of benefits. The people of the state like it by about three
to one. We consider it very different than Obamacare. If I were president, day one I
will take action to repeal Obamacare. It’s bad medicine. It’s bad economy. I’ll repeal
it.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: And I believe the people — I believe
the people of each state should be able to craft programs that they feel are best for
their people. I think ours is working pretty well. If I were governor, it would work a
heck of a lot better.>>BLITZER: All right. And very quickly, go
ahead.>>SANTORUM: What Governor Romney just said
is that government-run top-down medicine is working pretty well in Massachusetts and he
supports it. Now, think about what that means –>>ROMNEY: That’s not what I said.>>SANTORUM: — going up against Barack Obama,
who you are going to claim, well, top-down government-run medicine on the federal level
doesn’t work and we should repeal it. And he’s going to say, wait a minute, Governor.
You just said that top-down government-run medicine in Massachusetts works well. Folks,
we can’t give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom. Whether the
United States government or even a state government — you have Amendment 1 [ph] here offered
by Scott Pleitgen [ph], who, by the way, endorsed me today, and it’s going to be on your ballot
as to whether there should be a government mandate here in Florida. According to Governor
Romney, that’s OK. If the state does it, that’s OK. If the state wants to enforce it, that’s
OK. Those are not the clear contrasts we need if we’re going to defeat Barack Obama and
a –>>BLITZER: Let’s go to Miami.>>[APPLAUSE]>>[CROSSTALK]>>BLITZER: Very quickly.>>ROMNEY: Rick, I make enough mistakes in
what I say, not for you to add more mistakes to what I say. I didn’t say I’m in favor of
top- down government-run health care, 92 percent of the people in my state had insurance before
our plan went in place. And nothing changes for them. They own the same private insurance
they had before. And for the 8 percent of people who didn’t have insurance, we said
to them, if you can afford insurance, buy it yourself, any one of the plans out there,
you can choose any plan. There’s no government plan. And if you don’t want to buy insurance,
then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under
federal law if someone doesn’t have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals,
give them free care. So we said, no more, no more free riders. We are insisting on personal
responsibility. Either get the insurance or help pay for your care. And that was the conclusion
that we reached.>>SANTORUM: Does everybody in Massachusetts
have a requirement to buy health care?>>ROMNEY: Everyone has a requirement to either
buy it or pay the state for the cost of providing them free care. Because the idea of people
getting something for free when they could afford to care for themselves is something
that we decided in our state was not a good idea.>>SANTORUM: So, in Massachusetts…>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: Just so I understand this, in
Massachusetts, everybody is mandated as a condition of breathing in Massachusetts, to
buy health insurance, and if you don’t, and if you don’t, you have to pay a fine. What
has happened in Massachusetts is that people are now paying the fine because health insurance
is so expensive. And you have a pre-existing condition clause in yours, just like Barack
Obama. So what is happening in Massachusetts, the people that Governor Romney said he wanted
to go after, the people that were free-riding, free ridership has gone up five-fold in Massachusetts.
Five times the rate it was before. Why? Because…>>ROMNEY: That’s total, complete…>>SANTORUM: I’ll be happy to give you the
study. Five times the rate it has gone up. Why? Because people are ready to pay a cheaper
fine and then be able to sign up to insurance, which are now guaranteed under “Romney-care,”
than pay high cost insurance, which is what has happened as a result of “Romney-care.”>>ROMNEY: First of all, it’s not worth getting
angry about. Secondly, the…>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: Secondly, 98 percent of the people
have insurance. And so the idea that more people are free-riding the system is simply
impossible. Half of those people got insurance on their own. Others got help in buying the
insurance. Look, I know you don’t like the plan that we had. I don’t like the Obama plan.
His plan cuts Medicare by $500 billion. We didn’t, of course, touch anything like that.
He raises taxes by $500 billion. We didn’t do that. He wasn’t interested in the 8 percent
of the people that were uninsured. He was concerned about the 100 percent of the people
of the country. “Obama-care” takes over health care for the American people. If I’m president
of the United States, I will stop it. And in debating Barack Obama, I will be able to
show that I have passion and concern for the people in this country that need health care,
like this young woman who asked the question. But I will be able to point out that what
he did was wrong. It was bad medicine, it’s bad for the economy, and I will repeal it.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Let’s move on, let’s move on.>>SANTORUM: Wolf, what Governor Romney said
is just factually incorrect. Your mandate is no different than Barack Obama’s mandate.
It is the same mandate. He takes over…>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: All right. All right.>>SANTORUM: You take over 100 percent, just
like he takes over 100 percent, requires the mandate. The same fines that you put in place
in Massachusetts are fines that he puts in place in the federal level. Same programs.>>BLITZER: Congressman Paul, who is right?>>PAUL: I think they’re all wrong.>>[LAUGHTER]>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: I think this — this is a typical
result of when you get government involved, because all you are arguing about is which
form of government you want. They have way too much confidence in government sorting
this out. So, I would say there’s a much better way. And that is allow the people to make
their decisions and not get the government involved. You know, it has only been…>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: When I started medicine, there was
no Medicare or Medicaid. And nobody was out in the streets without it. Now, now people
are suffering, all the complaints going on. So the government isn’t our solution. So,
I’m not too happy with this type of debate, trying to blame one versus the other, so,
but — most likely we’re going to continue to have this problem unless we straighten
out the economy. And that means…>>BLITZER: I’ll give you 30 seconds, Mr.
Speaker. PAUL: … cut the spending. And they talk about these new programs and all, but
how many of the other candidates are willing to cut anything? I’m willing to cut $1 trillion
out of the first year.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: All right.>>GINGRICH: Well, I just want to say that
I actually think if you look at what Ron Paul’s background is as a doctor, and you look at
medicine in the early ’60s, and you look at how communities solved problems, it was a
fundamentally more flexible and less expensive system. And there’s a lot to be said for rethinking
from the ground up, the entire approach to health care.>>BLITZER: Let’s go to Miami. We have another
question.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: CNN Espanol’s Juan Carlos Lopez
is standing by. Go ahead?>>LOPEZ: Yes, Wolf, our question now comes
from Jennifer Coryn [ph] she is a — the Executive Director of the Hispanic Leadership Network,
our cosponsor and she is the spouse of a Marine Corps Gunnery Sargent and I believe, Jennifer,
your question has to do with the future?>>QUESTION: Yes. Thank you very much and
good evening. We have many qualified, Hispanic leaders. Which of our Hispanic leaders would
you consider to serve in your cabinet?>>BLITZER: Senator Santorum?>>SANTORUM:: Well, I mean I hate to throw
one to Florida, but obviously your Senator Marco Rubio is a pretty impressive guy.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich?>>GINGRICH: I think that there are a number,
and I think for example of — of when you think cabinet, I think for example of Susana
Martinez, the governor of New Mexico. You know, at the cabinet level I think of somebody
like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. I actually thought about Marco Rubio on a slightly more dignified
and central role, then being in the cabinet, but that’s another conversation.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Governor?>>ROMNEY: We — we are blessed — we’re blessed
to have an enormous number of highly qualified Hispanic-Americans in the Republican Party
and leadership right now. Brian Sandoval, the governor of — of Nevada. You mentioned
Susana Martinez in New Mexico. I — both of the Diaz-Belart brothers, one retired from
Congress, the other currently there. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mel Martinez is back in the
private sector. Who knows, he could be pulled back. Of course, Senator Marco Rubio a — a
terrific Hispanic- American. I — I’m sure I’m missing many, many others, but we have
a — a remarkable — Carlos Gutierrez, formerly secretary of Commerce. These individuals can
for membership in our — in our cabinet, I believe. And — and potentially as the — as
the speaker indicates, other positions as well.>>PAUL: I — I — I don’t have one particular
name that I’m going to bring up, but my litmus test would be to get individuals, Hispanic
or otherwise to understand monetary policy and understand the system. But also the Hispanic
community is especially attuned to the foreign policy of non-intervention. They — they are
more opposed to war than other communities, so I would think there’s plenty in the Hispanic
community that could give me good advice and an understanding of why a non-intervention
foreign policy is very attractive to the Hispanic people.>>BLITZER: All right, gentleman stand by.
Much more to discuss. I want to take a short break. We have many more topics to include
— including this, we’ll get into this a little bit, what would your wife — why would your
wife make the best first lady. I’ll ask these four candidates. Stay with us.>>[APPLAUSE]>>[COMMERCIAL BREAK]>>BLITZER: I’m Wolf Blitzer. We’re here in
Jacksonville for CNN’s Florida Republican presidential debate. Many of you are watching
online, commenting on Twitter, Facebook, at We have many more questions for the
candidates, including one that hits close to home. Stand by to find out why each man
on this stage thinks his wife would be the best first lady.>>[COMMERCIAL BREAK]>>BLITZER: Want to get right back to the
rest of the debate, but first, on a lighter subject, I want to ask each of these gentlemen
why they think their wife would make a great first lady. Congressman Paul?>>PAUL: Well, she’s been my wife for 54 years.
And we’re going to have an anniversary on February 1st.>>BLITZER: Congratulations.>>PAUL: So — but she’s the mother of five
of our children, and she’s a grandmother of 18 grandchildren, does an excellent job. And
she’s also the author of a very famous cookbook, “The Ron Paul Cookbook.”>>BLITZER: Governor?>>ROMNEY: I’ve got to take a little bit more
time, a little more seriousness. My — nothing wrong with what you said — I’m sorry. My
wife is also a mom, as I pointed out early on, but in some respects, she is a real champion
and a fighter. She was diagnosed in 1998 with Multiple Sclerosis, and more recently with
breast cancer. She has battled both successfully. And as first lady, she will be able to reach
out to people who are also struggling and suffering and will be someone who shows compassion
and care. And she’s also had a passion all of her adult life on helping people in troubled
situations, young women in particular, understand the importance of getting married before they
have babies and encouraging people to create families to raise kids in.>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: Let me say, first of all, having
gotten to know them, I think all three of the wives represented here would be terrific
first ladies. Callista and I have gotten to know all three of them, and we think they’d
be fabulous people. So I would rather just to talk about why I like Callista, and why
I’d like her to be first lady, but she’s not necessarily in any way better. These are wonderful
people, and they would be wonderful first ladies. But Callista brings a couple of things.
One is a tremendous artistic focus. She’s done a video in music education, why it really
matters. She’s a pianist by background, plays the French horn in a community band, sings
in the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. She really
cares about the arts and would bring a really strong feeling for music education and for
art, and why it matters to people as part of their education. She’s also very patriotic
about American exceptionalism. She’s had a best-selling “New York Times” book, children’s
book, and has really reached out to young people to get them to understand America.
And she’s helped produce and host seven movies now, so she would bring an entire, I think,
artistic flavor. But — and I, obviously, would be thrilled to be able to hang out with
her at the White House. So it would be good.>>BLITZER: And I suspect you would be. Unfortunately,
Senator Santorum, your wife is not here tonight.>>SANTORUM: Yeah, she’s not. She’s — she’s
doing what she does incredibly well, which is to be a mother to our seven children. And
she is — she’s my hero. She’s someone who has been, you know, well- educated. She was
a neo-natal intensive care nurse for nine years at one of the most advanced nurseries
in the — in the country. She went on to, because she saw all these ethical challenges
there, so she went on and got a law degree so she could — she could deal with those
in the — in the legal world. And then when she got married, she gave that up; she walked
away and walked into something that she felt called to do, which was to be a mom and to
be a wife. And we’ve — we’ve had eight children. We are blessed to be raising seven. We’ve
been through a lot together, losing a child, having a child with a disability that we have
now, our little Bella. And the — the amount of love for these special kids is just palpable
in her. She wrote a book about our son that we lost called “Letters to Gabriel,” about
that ordeal that we went through. That book, that little book has saved countless — I
don’t — we know of at least hundreds of lives that were saved because people read that book
and realized that the child they we’re carrying had the dignity to be love and nurtured irrespective
of what malady may have — may have befallen that baby in the womb. And so many children
were born and are alive today because of that book. She’s also written a book on manners.
That’s something that I — I — we have seven children, so we know that kids are not born
good. And…>>[LAUGHTER]>>SANTORUM: and so manners is very important
in our house. And she wrote a storybook because there were all sorts of how-to books on manners
but there was no storybook, teaching manners through, well, how Christ taught us, through
stories. And — and that’s what she did. And that book has hopefully somewhat civilized
some children around this country.>>[LAUGHTER]>>BLITZER: Very nice. All right, let’s get
back to the debate — the debate now.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Governor Romney, you criticized
Speaker Gingrich for not being as close to Ronald Reagan as he says he was. When you
ran for the Senate, you said you were, quote, “You weren’t trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”
So the question is, do you think you can claim the Reagan mantle more than Speaker Gingrich?>>ROMNEY: Oh, of course not. No, I — I was
— at the time Ronald Reagan was — was president, I was just getting started. I went through
school, came out of school, got my first job, worked my way up in a consulting company,
and then, after awhile, started a business of my own. I was looking at politics from
afar and learning as time went on. I didn’t get involved in politics early in my life.
I instead spent my time building a business. And then later, as my business had been successful
and we’d been involved in some turnaround situations, some businesses in trouble that
we were able to help — not all worked out as we’d hoped, but a number did — I got asked
to go off and help get the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 on track and put aside my
business and went — went to Utah. And it was perhaps the greatest professional experience
of my life, going there and spending three years helping getting those games on track.
I — I happen to believe the Olympics is one of the great showcases of the — of the human
spirit that exists in the media world. And it was very successful. And then — and then,
after that, I was asked by some friends to come back and run for governor, did that.
And that’s when I became terribly politically involved. And in that involvement, I learned
a lot of lessons. Being governor taught me a lot of things. I became more conservative,
by the way, as I was governor, and found the importance of lowering taxes, making it easier
for businesses to grow, the importance of driving schools to be the best in the country.
Those are the things I did. And so I’m not suggesting — the speaker was a congressman
at the time Ronald Reagan was president, so he — he, of course, was closer to the Ronald
Reagan era than I.>>BLITZER: Mr. Speaker, you’ve heard the
criticism lately that you weren’t necessarily as close to the president as you suggest?>>GINGRICH: Well, it’s increasingly interesting
to watch the Romney attack machine coordinate things. And all of a sudden, today, there
are like four different articles by four different people that randomly show up. The fact is,
I’m thrilled that Michael Reagan has endorsed me and will be campaigning with me here in
Florida. I remember very fondly, in 1995, when we were at the Goldwater Institute and
Nancy Reagan said, you know, “Barry gave Ronnie the torch, and now Ronny’s passing the torch
to Newt and his team in Congress. So I think it’s reasonable to say, and I think the governor
said it fairly, I am vastly closer to Reagan. In that period the governor was an independent
business person. In ’92 he was donating to the Democrats for Congress and voted for Paul
Tsongas in the Democratic primary. In ’94 running against Teddy Kennedy, he said flatly,
I don’t want to go back to the Reagan-Bush era, I was an independent. So there’s a pretty
wide gap. Now, he’s more mature. He’s more conservative, I accept that. I think it’s
a good thing. But those of us who were in the trenches fighting in the ’80’s, it would
be nice to be recognized for what we actually did and not to have orchestrated attacks to
try to distort the history of that period.>>BLITZER: Governor Romney, you can respond
please.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: Just a — just a short clarification.
I — I’ve never voted for a Democrat when there was a Republican on the ballot. And
— and in my state of Massachusetts, you could register as an independent and go vote in
which — either primary happens to be very interesting. And any chance I got to vote
against Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, I took. And so I — I’m…>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: …I have voted — I have always
voted for a Republican any time there was a Republican on the ballot. With regards to
the Speaker’s involvement in the Reagan years, he can speak for himself. The Reagan Diaries
and the other histories that were written at that time can lay that out as well. I — I
— I think, I think what he said speaks for itself and I’m proud of the things I was able
to accomplish.>>BLITZER: Let’s take another question from
the audience. Go ahead. Please stand up and give us your name?>>QUESTION: Hi, my name is George Miatus
[ph], I live here in Jacksonville and when I was 3-years-old I was very blessed that
my parents brought me here from Cuba. They brought me here so that I could be raised
in freedom and in liberty. President Obama has recently announced that he is liberalizing
trade and travel policies. What would be your position as president toward the island of
Cuba?>>BLITZER: Senator Santorum?>>SANTORUM: I would oppose it. I’ve been
100 percent in support of the Cuban people and their right to have a free Cuba and the
United States should stand on the side of the Cuban people against these despots who
are not just reigning terror, continuing reign of terror in Cuba. But now have their — their
— their puppet, Chavez in — in Venezuela and Noriega and Morales and it keeps — it
keeps like a cancer growing. So the idea that a president of the United States would take
the heart of the cancer that is in Central and South America, and begin to reward behavior
that has spread this cancer because of our dilly-dallying and our inattentiveness to
the problems in Central and South America. Now, we’re going to reward the secret police.
We’re going to [inaudible] president of Venezuela as they are in Cuba. We’re going to reward
this type of thuggery, this type of Marxism in our region. We’re going to reward a country
that is now working with these other countries to harbor and bring in Iran and the terrorist
— the Jihadist’s who want to set up missile sites and to set up training camps. And so
we’re going to reward this behavior by opening up and liberalizing. This is the exact wrong
message at the exact wrong time.>>BLITZER: Congressman Paul…>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: …you said the U.S. should talk
to everyone. Imagine you’re in the Oval Office, you speak to Raul Castro. What would you say
to him?>>PAUL: Well, I’d ask him what he called
about, you know?>>[LAUGHTER]>>PAUL: What was the purpose of his call?
No, I would ask him what can — what can we do to improve relations? Because I wouldn’t
see them as likely to attack us. When I was drafted in October of ’62, that was a different
world. I mean there were nuclear weapons in Cuba. That was a different story. But — but
today to — not to talk to them and take the call and see what you can work out, helps
— helps Castro. It hurts the people, the dissidents, the people who want to overthrow
him have always had to be, you know, nationalistic and unified behind the leader. So as well
intended as these sanctions are, they almost inevitably backfire and they help the dictators
and hurt the people.>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: So it’s time to change. The Cold
— the Cold War — the Cold War is over. They’re not going to invade us and I just think that
a better relationship and trade relationship, so many people — I think — I’ve noticed
already since I’ve been talking about this issue the last four of five years, I think
the people have changed their mind. It’s very — the American people are getting much more
open. Not nearly as frightened. And people — I don’t think they see a Jihadist under
the bed every night…>>[LAUGHTER]>>PAUL: …and we have to worry about that.
I think there’s — I — I worry about overreaction, over concern and lack of ability to talk to
them when they call you.>>BLITZER: I want both of you to weigh in,
Governor Romney first?>>ROMNEY: Two — two major flaws with President
Obama’s foreign policy.>>[CROSSTALK]>>BLITZER: Well what about Ron Paul’s policy?>>ROMNEY: Well, I’m talking about President
Obama right now. We can get back to Ron Paul in a moment.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: First of all, I think the president
has largely ignored Latin America, Cuba in particular, Venezuela, and other nations.
I think we have to change that dramatically. I think we have to have economic initiatives
to build trade throughout Latin America, particularly with Colombia and Panama, now part of free
trade agreements. I want more of that throughout Latin America. But that’s the first flaw,
ignoring Latin America. And number two is reaching out with accommodations to some of
the world’s worst actors, whether it was Putin in Russia, giving him what he wanted, or Castro,
saying we’re going to let you have remittances coming from the U.S. to fund your future,
or relaxed trade restrictions. Throughout the world, with Ahmadinejad opening an open
hand, tyrants look for weakness to take advantage. That’s the wrong course. The right course
for Cuba is to continue to honor Helms-Burton. And if I’m president of the United States,
I will use every resource we have, short of invasion and military action, Congressman
Paul. I’ll use every resource we can to make sure that when Fidel Castro finally leaves
this planet, that we are able to help the people of Cuba enjoy freedom. They want it.
It’s a God-given right. And it is our responsibility to help share the gift of freedom with people
throughout the world that are seeking it.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Are you open — Mr. Speaker, are
you open to improving relations with Cuba?>>GINGRICH: Well, let me start with where
the governor correctly pointed out. I was very proud as Speaker to be able to make sure
that the Helms-Burton Act passed, and I’m delighted that Congressman Dan Burton is here
tonight and is campaigning with me, because it was a very important step towards isolating
the Castro regime. I think it’s amazing that Barack Obama is worried about an Arab Spring,
he’s worried about Tunisia, he’s worried about Libya, he’s worried about Egypt, he’s worried
about Syria, and he cannot bring himself to look south and imagine a Cuban Spring. And
I would argue that we should have, as a stated explicit policy, that we want to facilitate
the transition from the dictatorship to freedom. We want to bring together every non-military
asset we have, exactly as President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher and Pope John
Paul II did in Poland and in Eastern Europe. They broke up the Soviet empire without a
general war by using a wide range of things, one of which is just psychological, saying
to the next generation of people in Cuba, the dictatorship is not going to survive.
You need to bet to moving to freedom in order to have prosperity in Cuba, and we will help
you get to that freedom.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Let’s take another question from
the audience. Please give us your name and tell us where you are from.>>[QUESTION]: Abraham Hassel [ph] from Jacksonville,
Florida. How would a Republican administration help bring peace to Palestine and Israel when
most candidates barely recognize the existence of Palestine or its people? As a Palestinian-American
Republican, I’m here to tell you we do exist.>>BLITZER: All right. Let’s ask Governor
Romney, first of all. What would you say to Abraham?>>ROMNEY: Well, the reason that there’s not
peace between the Palestinians and Israel is because there is — in the leadership of
the Palestinian people are Hamas and others who think like Hamas, who have as their intent
the elimination of Israel. And whether it’s in school books that teach how to kill Jews,
or whether it’s in the political discourse that is spoken either from Fatah or from Hamas,
there is a belief that the Jewish people do not have a right to have a Jewish state. There
are some people who say, should we have a two-state solution? And the Israelis would
be happy to have a two-state solution. It’s the Palestinians who don’t want a two-state
solution. They want to eliminate the state of Israel. And I believe America must say
— and the best way to have peace in the Middle East is not for us to vacillate and to appease,
but is to say, we stand with our friend Israel. We are committed to a Jewish state in Israel.
We will not have an inch of difference between ourselves and our ally, Israel. This president
went before the United Nations and castigated Israel for building settlements. He said nothing
about thousands of rockets being rained in on Israel from the Gaza Strip. This president
threw –>>[APPLAUSE]>>ROMNEY: I think he threw Israel under the
bus with regards to defining the ’67 borders as a starting point of negotiations. I think
he disrespected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I think he has time and time again shown distance
from Israel, and that has created, in my view, a greater sense of aggression on the part
of the Palestinians. I will stand with our friend, Israel.>>BLITZER: Thank you, Governor.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, you got into
a little hot water when you said the Palestinians were an invented people. GINGRICH: It was
technically an invention of the late 1970s, and it was clearly so. Prior to that, they
were Arabs. Many of them were either Syrian, Lebanese, or Egyptian, or Jordanian. There
are a couple of simple things here. There were 11 rockets fired into Israel in November.
Now, imagine in Duvall County that 11 rockets hit from your neighbor. How many of you would
be for a peace process and how many of you would say, you know, that looks like an act
of war. You have leadership unequivocally, and Governor Romney is exactly right, the
leadership of Hamas says, not a single Jew will remain. We aren’t having a peace negotiation
then. This is war by another form. My goal for the Palestinian people would be to live
in peace, to live in prosperity, to have the dignity of a state, to have freedom. and they
can achieve it any morning they are prepared to say Israel has a right to exist, we give
up the right to return, and we recognize that we’re going to live side-by-side, now let’s
work together to create mutual prosperity. And you could in five years dramatically improve
the quality of life of every Palestinian. But the political leadership would never tolerate
that. And that’s why we’re in a continuous state of war where Obama undermines the Israelis.
On the first day that I’m president, if I do become president, I will sign an executive
order directing the State Department to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to
send the signal we’re with Israel.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Let’s go to Miami. Let’s take
another question from Miami. Juan Carlos, go ahead?>>LOPEZ: Thank you, Wolf. I’m joined now
by Elizabeth Cuevas- Neunder. She is the CEO and founder of the Puerto Rican Chamber of
Commerce in Florida. She is based out of Tampa. And I’m pretty sure, Elizabeth, your question
has to do with the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.>>ELIZABETH CUEVAS: [SPEAKING IN SPANISH].
Good evening. [SPEAKING IN SPANISH]. I am bilingual, proud of it. My question to the
candidates, we have 4 million Puerto Ricans in the United States, voters, 3.8 in Puerto
Rico. We have been treated as second class citizen and just now our governor’s name was
not mentioned as a V.P. possibility, a great governor. My question to you is, where do
you stand for Puerto Rico to become a state? And secondly, how do you — where do you stand
on domestic trade between Florida and Puerto Rico, between Tampa Bay and Ponce ports which
have been neglected? Thank you. BLITZER: All right. Senator Santorum, let’s throw that
question to you. The question about, do you support Puerto Rico potentially as the 51st
state?>>SANTORUM: Well, first, I will give a shout-out
to Governor Luis Fortuno, who is a good friend of mine, and someone — I know him and his
family, we have known each other for many years, we actually used to go to church together.
And so I spoke to Luis this week. And I’ve been to Puerto Rico many times. And actually,
when I was a United States senator, we did a lot of work with Puerto Rico. Because of
my relationship with many friends down there, I was made aware of problems, for example,
in the Medicaid program. We went down and we actually passed things to help with reimbursement
rates, which were deplorably low in Puerto Rico. We also worked on hurricane relief and
a whole lost of other things as a result of my relationship with many Puerto Ricans in
Pennsylvania, and developed those relationships on the island. I believe that — I believe
in self-determination. That, you know, the Puerto Rican people should have the opportunity
to be able to be able to speak on this. I have supported that. I don’t take a position
one way or the other on statehood, commonwealth, independence, that’s for the people of Puerto
Rico to decide. But I also supported a lot of things to help the Puerto Rican economy.
Puerto Ricans are United States citizens, and the poverty, the unemployment rates simply
are — are simply not something that we as Americans should allow to occur in our country.
And we need to make sure that there are pro-growth, supply side economics to make sure that Puerto
Rico can be successful as an economy on that island, and I believe they can. And under
my administration, that’s something that I would work towards.>>BLITZER: I’ll take that as a maybe. Statehood,
not statehood.>>SANTORUM: No, I take no position on that.
That’s — I would — I’ve supported, you know, the opportunity for them to make that decision.>>BLITZER: Let’s take another question from
the audience here. Go ahead, please. What is your name?>>SUZANNE BASS: Suzanne Bass, I’m an attorney
in Jacksonville. Welcome to the great city of Jacksonville. My question, how would your
religious beliefs, if you’re elected, impact the decisions that you make in the office
of the presidency?>>BLITZER: Congressman Paul?>>PAUL: Well, my religious beliefs wouldn’t
affect it. My religious beliefs affect my character in the way I treat people and the
way I live. The only thing it would affect…>>[APPLAUSE]>>PAUL: The only thing that would affect
me in the way I operate as a president or a congressman is my oath of office and my
promises that I’ve made to the people.>>BLITZER: Governor?>>ROMNEY: Ron Paul makes very good point.
I concur with that. I would also seek the guidance of — of providence in making critical
decisions. And of course, ours is a nation which is based upon Judeo- Christian values
and ethics. Our law is based upon those values and ethics. And in some cases, our law doesn’t
encompass — encompass all of the issues that we face around the world. The conviction that
the founders, when they wrote the Declaration of Independence, were writing a document that
was not just temporary and not just for one small locale but really something which described
the relationship between God and man — that’s something which I think a president would
carry in his heart. So when they said, for instance, that the creator had “endowed us
with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,”
I would seek to assure that those principles and values remain in America and that we help
share them with other people in the world, not by conquering them, but by helping them
through our trade, through our various forms of soft power, to help bring people the joy
and — and — and opportunity that exists in this great land.>>BLITZER: Mr. Speaker?>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINGRICH: I would say that there are three
ways in which religion would affect me. The first is, I agree with Governor Romney. I
think anyone who is president is faced with decisions so enormous that they should go
to God. They should seek guidance. Because these are decisions beyond the ability of
mere mortals to truly decide without some sense of what it is we should be doing. I
would say, second, that we have a real obligation to recognize that, if you’re truly faithful,
it’s not just an hour on Sundays or Saturdays or Fridays. It’s in fact something that should
suffuse your life, to be a part of who you are. And in that sense, it is inextricably
tied in with how you behave. But I would say, third, one of the reasons I am running is
there has been an increasingly aggressive war against religion and in particular against
Christianity in this country, largely by…>>[APPLAUSE]>>GINRICH: largely by a secular elite and
the academic news media and judicial areas. And I frankly believe it’s important to have
some leadership that stands up and says, enough; we are truly guaranteed the right of religious
freedom, not religious suppression by the state.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Senator?>>SANTORUM: Faith is a very, very important
part of my life, but it’s a very, very important part of this country. The foundational documents
of our country — everybody talks about the Constitution, very, very important. But the
Constitution is the “how” of America. It’s the operator’s manual. The “why” of America,
who we are as a people, is in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to
be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain
unalienable rights.” The Constitution is there to do one thing: protect God-given rights.
That’s what makes America different than every other country in the world. No other country
in the world has its rights — rights based in God-given rights, not government-given
rights. And so when you say, well, faith has nothing to do with it, faith has everything
to do with it. If rights come…>>[APPLAUSE]>>SANTORUM: If our president believes that
rights come to us from the state, everything government gives you, it can take away. The
role of the government is to protect rights that cannot be taken away. And so the answer
to that question is, I believe in faith and reason and approaching the problems of this
country but understand where those rights come from, who we are as Americans and the
foundational principles by which we have changed the world.>>BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: We have one more break to take,
but we have a lot more to discuss. Don’t go too far away. Coming up, the final debate
question before Florida votes.>>[APPLAUSE]>>[COMMERCIAL BREAK]>>BLITZER: All right. We’re in the last few
minutes of the last question to these four presidential candidates before the Florida
primary on Tuesday in this debate format. Here is the question, and it involves the
president of the United States. I want you to tell voters who are watching or are here
on this campus right now why you are the one person on this stage that is most likely to
beat Barack Obama. Congressman?>>PAUL: Well, you know, so far, we have some
pretty good evidence that I’ll do quite well and have a better chance than the rest to
beat him, because if you do a national poll, I do very, very well against Obama. But one
of the reasons is, is that the freedom message in the Constitution is very appealing to everybody
in all political beliefs because it includes free markets, which conservatives endorse,
but it also protects civil liberties, the way people run their lives. If it is a God-given
life, and it’s your life, you should have the right to run your life as you so choose
as long as you don’t harm other people. This means a lot more tolerance that some would
like to give. So that brings people in who are concerned about civil liberties, and all
of a sudden, my position undermines Obama completely and totally because the foreign
policy is different. He promises to end the wars, but the wars expand. A constitutional
foreign policy will end the wars. And if you want somebody to talk about peace and prosperity,
it has to be somebody who understands money and a foreign policy and free markets.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Governor Romney, why are you the
one person on this stage most likely to beat President Obama?>>ROMNEY: The people of America recognize
that this is a critical time. This is not just an average election. This is a time where
we’re going to decide whether America will remain the great hope of the 21st century,
whether this will be an American century, or, instead, whether we’ll continue to go
down a path to become more and more like Europe, a social welfare state. That’s where we’re
headed. Our economy is becoming weaker. The foundation of our future economy is being
eroded. Government has become too large. We’re headed in a very dangerous direction. I believe
to get America back on track, we’re going to have to have dramatic, fundamental, extraordinary
change in Washington to be able to allow our private sector to once again reemerge competitively,
to scale back the size of government and to maintain our strength abroad in our military
capacities. I believe that, to change Washington in such a dramatic way, you cannot do it by
people who have been there their entire careers. I believe, if you just elect the same people
to change chairs in Washington, not much happen. I think, if you want to change Washington,
you’re going to have to bring someone in who has been on the outside. I have lived in the
private sector. I know how it works. I’ve competed with businesses around the world.
I know how to win. I know what it takes to keep America strong. I know how to work in
government. I’ve had experience for — four years, rather, working as the governor of
Massachusetts. I will use the experience of my life to get America right. And I will be
able to convince the American people that someone with my experience is very different
than Barack Obama. And that experience is how I’ll beat him.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Mr. Speaker…>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: why are you the one person on
this stage most likely to beat President Obama?>>GINGRICH: You know, I have participated
in the two largest Republican sweeps in modern time, 1980, in the Reagan campaign, and 1994,
with the Contract with America, which had the largest one-party increase in American
history, 9 million extra votes. I believe that what we need this fall is a big-choice
election that goes to the heart of who we are. I’m running more than anything for my
two grandchildren, Maggie and Robert. I’d like them to be able to look back 50 years
from now and say that what we did, what we the American people did, the choice we made
in 2012 to unleash the American people, to rebuild our country based on the core values,
to pose for the American people a simple choice: Do you want freedom and independence and a
paycheck and a job, or do you want dependence and big government and food stamps and a lack
of future? And I believe, if we have a big election with truly historic big choices,
that we can defeat Barack Obama by a huge margin. But it won’t be by running just as
a Republican. It will be an American campaign open to every American who prefers a paycheck
to food stamps, who prefers the Declaration of Independence to Saul Alinsky and who prefers
a strong national security to trying to appease our enemies.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: Senator?>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: I’ll repeat the question for you.
Why do you think you’re the best, most qualified person on this stage to beat President Obama?>>SANTORUM: I agree with the previous two
speakers that this is a big election. This is an election about fundamental freedom.
It’s about who America is going to be. Are we a country that’s going to be built great
from the bottom up, as our founders intended, or from the top down? I just think I’m a lot
better than the previous two speakers to be able to make that case to the American people.
I’m not for a top- down government-run health care system. I wasn’t for the Wall Street
bailouts like these two gentlemen were. Governor Romney talks about the private sector and
how he’s going to bring private sector. When the private sector was in trouble, he voted
for government to come in and take over the private sector and be able to — and to bail
them out. Cap-and-trade — both of them bought into the global warming hoax, bought into
the cap-and-trade, top-down control of our energy and manufacturing sector. If you look
at President Obama’s speech the other night, what did he lead with? He lead with manufacturing.
He led with manufacturing why? Because the base of his party, the ones that are always
the ones — not the base — the swing vote in his party, the ones that Ronald Reagan
was able to get — we call them Reagan Democrats up in Pennsylvania. Those are the blue-collar
working people of America who know that this president has left them behind. He has a plan
for them, and it’s more dependency, not work, not opportunity. So he went out and tried
to make a play for manufacturing. That’s been the center point of my campaign. The center
point of my campaign is to be able to win the industrial heartland, get those Reagan
Democrats back, talking about manufacturing, talking about building that ladder of success
all the way down so people can climb all the way up. That’s why I’m the best person to
be able to go out and win the states that are necessary to win this presidency and govern
with the mandate that Newt just talked about.>>BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: And thank you to the four presidential
candidates.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: I also want to thank our partners
in this debate, the Republican Party of Florida, the Hispanic Leadership Network. Thank you
very much to them.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BLITZER: We’d also like to thank our hosts
here on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

  1. This had to have been one of the most useless "debates" if you can call it that. Minimal economic issues, trying to appeal to the Latin community, useless questions, and for most giving such minimal almost non existent airtime to Ron Paul! Outrageous! I'm a liberal from Canada, though fully support Dr. Paul. Useless RNC debate

  2. Can you explain to me truly I am at a lost. How did Romney win. Any individual with the slightest bulb of intelligence can see that Ron Paul is the only candidate worthy, and intelligent enough of being of being nominated, and not just because he is in competition with these dunderheads flip flopping everywhere. Americans. Republicans stood a great chance with Dr. Paul, as he would have made an excellent President. But now you've secured another term for the Democrats at least.

  3. He got side lined, during the candidate race for the republicans. He might be in three next time, but the guy is getting old and considering that he wasn't even mentioned in the media coverage most of the time even though he was second in the running more often than not. It's kind of weird watching a report of the votes when number 1, 3 and 4 is in, but not number 2. If that's the way it's handled, then it's hard to have free open elections. Until you do, Ron Paul and his like will have it tough

  4. At the 1:10:30 mark the moderator asks Ron Paul who's right? And RP is the only one who answers the question correctly.
    Ron Paul clearly wins this debate as he won all of them. This is just one example I highlighted that shows the other 3 were all completely wrong.

  5. ron paul is a crazy guy,if he ever get to be elected…..he will destroy our economy….mark my word…..i guarantee you that….ill put my hand on it…

  6. no clue about what???political science was my minor at Stanford univ i think i have a good hand on the subject…..the only people that ron paul can convince ,are individuals that never been to schools or believe blindly to every conspiracy theories thrown at them without looking for the real reasons or motivation behind any action from other sources….from watching his interview,he sounds credible ,i have to admit…but believe me, you are getting fired up over somebody that is not realist…

  7. For everyone who is against Ron Paul, watch this debate again and tell me how many times the other 3 candidates agreed with him. You'll also notice nobody EVER challenged him.
    Too bad for rigged elections, he'll never be president! The Romneys just bought the voting machines used in Ohio, Colorado and several other states!! Hmmm…conflict of interest don't you think! Come to think of it, Didn't he mention that his money is held in a "blind trust, with a trustee"!

  8. Ron Paul should have won the GOP nomination!! He was the ONLY GOP candidate to honestly address the issues. I'm a Democrat and I was very impressed with his straight forward responses telling Americans exactly how things are done instead of telling us what he "thinks" we want to hear to get our votes. How many more lives, jobs, home & promises need to be lost before America gets it together? The way things are being done isn't working we needs to make drastic changes NOW!!!!

  9. go back in history and you ll find out nobody want usa in south america. Usa just help to currupt our goberments for their benefit and now they want to go to venezuela and take their oil to protect "freedom". Ron paul has to win

  10. @cross7353 Sad thing is, if Ron Paul answers the question before the other candidates, most having the same ideas, he is just getting the idea out before them. They are not simply agreeing with him, they are expressing their concerns and ideas.

  11. Ron Paul around 58:00 said one of the smartest things I have heard from any candidate. Whatever thing Government decides to put money in, the cost goes up. This is absolutely 100% true.

  12. How come whenever Ron Paul speaks the three of them throw these clueless kind of what's-he-doing faces. They're thinking "Oh, shit, puppeteer is not going to like this!"

  13. 1st of all, it's actually your constitutional right to have same sex marriage. 2nd, neither Romney nor Obama would support or decline same sex marriages as federal law, they both would leave that up to the states. 3rd, I said that almost every political platform they agree on. At lastly, if your vote is determined by whether or not an individual supports same sex marriage, then I think you're influenced to much by media and are nothing more then the sheeple they want you to be.

  14. but they need to hear the truth……I understand conspiration theory seems sometimes real and it s kind of uplifting to hear about it….but they are by no mean always true

  15. Ron paul speaks the truth but his views are a little behind the times. The rest are liars and a clown show. Obama won cuz there wasnt a better choice. Americans are dumb. Al gore should have been president john kerry should have been president. But america likes to pick dumbasses. Luckily this time the biggest liar didnt get elected. Obama is president so shut up and get with the program. We have a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed. Dont forget george bush ruined this country with his bullshit

  16. I love how nobody challenged Ron Paul's ideas or called him out, I love how many times they all agreed with Ron Paul on his views (practically every time he opened his mouth), and I love how he separates religion and government. We needed him in office and now I'm truly scared my country will economically break itself.

  17. @ 1:15:00 Why each man's wife would be the best first lady… Yep. This just turned into X-Factor. Where the hell is Simon Cowell hiding. This entire debate has been full of one-upmanship, bullying and spite. There has been virtually no policy described. Except by Mr Paul. I'm From Australia, and I gotta say the impacts and interconnections of the Fed Reserve, Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, and soon to be Iran affect more people than just those in the USA. Please Vote carefully in the future.

  18. that part about israel+palestine, damn I wanted to hear ron paul's say about that, since the other two were offensive and full of shit, specially that fat ass.

  19. Mitt Romney is not telling the truth his trustee set it up where Romney would have to pay no taxes that is what happen see those swiss bank accounts off shore acoounts is to keep him from paying taxes like Obama said Weâve got to build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules and Mitt Romney and Newt Gringrich don't play by the same rules as everybody else period.

  20. Yeah. For the most part. I let my gut guide my research. I suppose that adds bias, but bias is inevitable. I'm human haha.

  21. Ron did get challenged when he accused the one guy of going to use force in South American countries. Which I think Ron was in the wrong because he never even mentioned force.

  22. Is this debate fixed, on the question on Palestine why were only Romney and Gingrich asked to respond.

  23. How about Stewart Alexander 2016? He was the Socialist Party USA's choice and he was ranked MORE libertarian than Ron Paul, via political compass!?

  24. newt and romney talking about palestine as if though they are the cause of the problem, when in fact it is the regime in Israel that is the agressor, the Israeli population want peace with palestine, but the criminal rothschild zionist Israeli political leadership want to wipe out palestine.

  25. think its the ultimate hypocrisy to say that other nations are not free, when in america the constitution/bill of rights is being purposefully eroded due to a neo-corporate fascist state on course to global government..

  26. The national anthem? For a domestic presidential debate? This has got to be the most stupid thing I've ever seen. I love my country very much, but it is possible to express your love for your country, without singing the national anthem everytime someone sneezes.

  27. The republican party's power is in the south and a few almost completely white mid west states.the poorest section of the country is where the richest get their power,the southern states.they have everyone fooled.they are the GOD dems don't believe or stand for God.the dems stand for freedom of all people as all should. I am not dem.its between u and God not u and those gays and God or whatever.the republican power is mostly from the south and a couple mid west states that are primarily white.its ignorance and racisim.and fear.that's they're power.the constitution is genius.separation of church and state.if you can understand that.may God help people to see.rep's are fooling you.the richest with power from mostly the poorest.ridiculous.fear racism USINGGod for votes and their own wealth,the party needs a complete overhaul.crazy since the90's.Limbaugh?wake up.eyes2see.ears2hear

  28. OMG the bitch slap Romney gave Gingrich at 40:18+, where Gingrich is asking for a truce and Romney just rejects it, saying something like: "Im happy to debate the faults of Gingrich whenever I have the opportunity". 😀

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