CNN/SRLC – The Southern Republican Presidential Debate in Charleston, SC (January 19, 2012) 720p


>>ANNOUNCER: 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.>>[Intro Music]>>KING: We’re live in Charleston, South Carolina.
It’s debate night after a dramatic day in the Republican race for president. Iowa declares
a new winner. Rick Perry bows out. And 35 hours before the polls open here in South
Carolina, we have a dead heat. The Southern Republican Presidential Debate starts right
now.>>(Soft Trumpet Playing)>>ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the South, the heart
of the Republican Party, where tradition lives.>>ROMNEY: The strongest military in the world.>>ANNOUNCER: And values matter.>>SANTORUM: We want a conservative on the
ticket.>>ANNOUNCER: Tonight, the Republican candidates
on stage in South Carolina for their final debate before the first-in-the-South primary.
Mitt Romney, the front-runner, going for another win, trying to close the deal with skeptical
voters.>>ROMNEY: I will work to get good jobs back.>>ANNOUNCER: Newt Gingrich, on the rise,
trying to harness conservative support as the field gets smaller.>>GINGRICH: I am the only candidate capable
of stopping a moderate from winning the nomination.>>ANNOUNCER: Rick Santorum, with renewed
momentum, after learning that he won Iowa after all.>>SANTORUM: We defeated Mitt Romney in Iowa.>>ANNOUNCER: Ron Paul, the insurgent, a powerful
force in the first contests, with an army of young voters.>>PAUL: We are dangerous to the status quo
of this country.>>ANNOUNCER: Now, South Carolina is ready
to put its stamp on the 2012 presidential race.>>(UNKNOWN): The president of the United
States.>>ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Charleston and the
fight for the South.>>(Soft Transition sounds & Intro Music)>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: From the North Charleston Coliseum,
this is the Southern Republican Presidential Debate. Tonight, the four remaining Republican
candidates are with us with their ultimate goal now in sight. Welcome this evening. I’m
John King. This is the final debate before the South Carolina presidential primary. That’s
on Saturday. Republican leaders from here in South Carolina, 13 other southern states
in this audience tonight, along with members of the Tea Party Patriots. Some of our audience
members will get a chance to directly question the candidates. You can also take part in
this debate by sending us your questions online. On Twitter, make sure to include the hash
tag #CNNdebate. On Facebook, at Facebook.com/CNNpolitics. And of course as always, on CNNPolitics.com.
It’s time now to meet the 2012 Republican presidential contenders. Joining us on stage
first, the Texas congressman, Ron Paul.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: The former speaker of the House,
Newt Gingrich.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: The former Massachusetts governor,
Mitt Romney.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: And the former senator from Pennsylvania,
Rick Santorum.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican
presidential candidates.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Now, just before we came on the air
tonight we recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Now please rise for our national anthem. We’re
blessed tonight to have it performed by military cadets from The Citadel right here in Charleston,
South Carolina.>>(SINGING OF NATIONAL ANTHEM)>>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?>>KING: That was fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.
I want to ask the candidates to get comfortable at their podiums, have our audience take their
seats, while I tell you a bit about how tonight’s debate will work. I’ll ask questions, as will
some members of our audience tonight. I’ll follow up and guide the discussion. Candidates,
I promise you, we’re going to try to make sure each of you gets your fair share of the
time and the questions. You’ll have one minute to answer and 30 seconds for follow-ups and
rebuttals. And I’ll make sure you get time to respond if you are singled out for criticism.
Now let’s have the candidates introduce themselves. We’re going to ask them to keep it short.
And here’s an example. I’m John King from CNN. I’m rooting for the Patriots this weekend,
and I’m honored to be your moderator this evening. Senator Santorum, let’s begin with
you.>>SANTORUM: I’m Rick Santorum, and I want
to thank the people of the Low-Country for their hospitality to my wife Karen and our
seven children. And I also want to thank the people of Iowa for a little delayed but most
welcome victory there. Thank you to the people of Iowa.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: I’m Mitt Romney. It’s good to be
back in South Carolina. I see many good friends here. It’s also great to be here with my wife
and some of my kids. I’m married now 42 years. I have five sons, five daughters-in-law, 16
grand-kids, and they’re the joy of my life. Thank you.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker.>>GINGRICH: I’m Newt Gingrich. I want to
thank the people of South Carolina for being so hospitable. As a Georgian, it feels good
to be back at home in the South, and I look forward to this evening.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Congressman Paul.>>PAUL: Thank you very much. It’s great to
be here tonight. I’m a Congressman from Texas. I’ve been elected for 12 times. And also,
I practiced OB/GYN for a 30-year period. I’ve also served five years in the military, and
I’m the only U.S. veteran on this stage tonight.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: You’ve met the candidates. It’s time
now to begin the debate, an event that has quite a dramatically different feel than just
a few hours ago. Just this morning, as Senator Santorum just noted, we learned he, not Governor
Romney, won the Iowa caucuses. There were five podiums on the stage when the sun came
up. Four now because of Governor Rick Perry’s decision to drop out. And just as Speaker
Gingrich surged into contention here in South Carolina, a direct fresh character attack
on the Speaker. And Mr. Speaker, I want to start with that this evening. As you know,
your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview with “The Washington
Post.” And this story has now gone viral on the Internet. In it, she says that you came
to her in 1999, at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to
enter into an open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that?>>GINGRICH: No, but I will.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: I think the destructive, vicious,
negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder
to attract decent people to run for public office.
And I am appalled that you would begin
a presidential
debate on a topic like that.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Is that all you want to say, sir?>>GINGRICH: Let me finish.>>KING: Please.>>GINGRICH: Every person in here knows personal
pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To
take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential
campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: My — my two daughters — my
two daughters wrote the head of ABC and made the point that it was wrong, that they should
pull it, and I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open
a presidential debate.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: As you noted, Mr. Speaker, this story
did not come from our network. As you also know, it is a subject of conversation on the
campaign. I’m not — I get your point. I take your point.>>GINGRICH: John — John, it was repeated
by your network. You chose to start the debate with it. Don’t try to blame somebody else.
You and your staff chose to start this debate with it.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: Let me be quite clear. Let me
be quite clear. The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that
period said the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false.
They weren’t interested because they would like to attack any Republican. They’re attacking
the governor. They’re attacking me. I’m sure they’ll presently get around to Senator Santorum
and Congressman Paul. I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking
Republicans.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: As I noted — as I noted at the beginning,
we have four podiums on this stage tonight, not five. And when he exited the race this
morning, Governor Perry quickly and forcefully endorsed Speaker Gingrich. And in that remark,
he said that, “No, Mr. Gingrich is not a perfect man.” Senator Santorum, he said “none of us
are.” And he said he believes in his Christian faith that guides him to the value of redemption.
Speaker Gingrich doesn’t believe this is an issue. Governor Perry says this is not an
issue. I just want to start with you, sir, and go down. Do you believe it is?>>SANTORUM: I’ve answered this question repeatedly
throughout the course of this campaign. I am a Christian, too. And I thank God for forgiveness.
But, you know, these — these are issues of our lives and what we did in our lives. They
are issues of character for people to consider. But the bottom line is those are — those
are things for everyone in this audience to look at. And they’re going to look at me,
look at what I’ve done in my private life and personal life, unfortunately. And what
I say is that this country is a very forgiving country. This country understands that we
are all fallen and I’m very hopeful that we will be judged by that standard and not by
a higher one on the ultimate day.>>KING: Governor Romney?>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: John, let’s get on to the real
issues is all I’ve got to say.>>KING: Congressman?>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: I think too often all of us are on
the receiving ends of attacks from the media. It’s very disturbing because sometimes they’re
not based on facts and we suffer the consequences. You know, sometimes it reminds me of this
idea of getting corporations out of running campaigns. But what about the corporations
that run the media? I mean, they’re always…>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: And I think our responsibility, since
sorting facts and fiction, the people have to sort this out. But I think setting standards
are very important and I’m very proud that my wife of 54 years is with me tonight.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: All right. As I said at the top of
the debate — as I said at the top of the debate, we’ll take some questions from the
audience. We’ve reached out to people online. We’ve also reached out to a number of votes,
some who wish they could be here tonight, but can’t be here tonight. I want to turn
to a question from one of those voters. Her name is Jane Gallagher. She’s from here in
South Carolina. As all of you know, and as everyone in this audience in South Carolina
knows, we’re in a state with 9.9 percent unemployment. And Jane asked this question: List three or
more specific programs that will put American people back to work? Congressman Paul, I want
to begin with you. Do you believe we need specific federal programs to put the American
people back to work?>>PAUL: Well, most of the things the federal
government could do to get us back to work is get out of the way. I’d like to…>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: I’d like to see the federal government
have a sound currency. That creates a healthy economy.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: I — I would like to see massive
reduction of regulations. I would like to see income tax reduced to near zero as possible.
And that is what we have to do. We have to get the government out of the way. We have
to recognize why we have unemployment. And it comes because we have a deeply flawed financial
system that causes financial bubbles. The bubbles burst and you have the unemployment.
Now, the most important thing to get over that hump that was created artificially by
bad economic policies is to allow the correction to occur. You have to get rid of the excessive
debt and you have to get rid of the malinvestment. And you don’t do that by buying the debt off
the people who were benefiting from it. So we, the people, shouldn’t be stuck with these
debts on these mortgage derivatives and all. We need to get that behind us, which means
the government shouldn’t be doing any bailouts. So most of the things to improve the environment
is getting the government out of the way and enforce contract laws and enforce bankruptcy
laws.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, come in on that point,
as you address what you would like to do but also specifically the question, do we need
federal programs?>>GINGRICH: Well, there are three things
that can be done at a specifically South Carolina level. There’s one easy thing to do at a national
level, and that’s repeal the Dodd-Frank bill, which is killing small business, killing small
banks.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: That would help overnight.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: But three specifics. One, there’s
$29 billion-plus of natural gas offshore. In Louisiana, jobs for that kind of production
are $80,000 a year. That would help us become energy independent from the Middle East. Part
of the royalties of the natural gas could be used then to modernize the Port of Charleston
and the Port of Georgetown. Charleston has to be modernized to meet the largest ships
that will come through the Panama Canal in 2014. One out of every five jobs in South
Carolina is dependent on the Port of Charleston. The third thing you could do, frankly, is
fundamentally, radically overhaul the — the Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers
today takes eight years to study — not to complete — to study doing the port. We won
the entire second World War in three years and eight months.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: A subset of the jobs conversation
among the candidates in this state over the past week, Mr. Speaker, has been from you
and from the now-departed Governor Perry, pretty sharp criticism
of Governor Romney’s
tenure as the CEO of Bain Capital. I want you to be specific. What do you think he did
wrong that makes you question his ability as a president to create jobs?>>GINGRICH: I think there are specific cases
— Georgetown Steel would be a case here, and a company in Gaffney, South Carolina — specific
cases where Bain Capital’s model, which was to take over a company and dramatically leverage
it, leave it with a great deal of debt, made it less likely to survive. I think the governor
ought to explain — because it started because he cited his experience as a key part of his
preparation for being president. And so I think the underlying model of that kind of
investment, which is very different from venture capital, ought to be explained, and those
cases ought to be looked at.>>KING: Well, Governor Romney, let me give
you a chance. Explain.>>ROMNEY: Well, I hope I get a chance to
talk about the topic you began with. We’ll come back to the — the direct attack from
Speaker Gingrich in a moment.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: So let’s go back and talk about
first what you do to get the economy going. And of course we’ve spoken time and again
about our tax code that’s out of alignment with other nations. We’ve spoken about the
fact that regulation is overwhelming us, that we need to take care of our energy resources
and become energy secure. We have to open up markets. And we have to crack down on China
when they cheat. But I’d like to talk about something else that President Obama has been
doing. He’s been practicing crony capitalism. And if you want to get America going again…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: you’ve got to stop the spread of
crony capitalism. He gives General Motors to the UAW. He takes $500 million and sticks
it into Solyndra. He — he stacks the labor stooges on the NLRB so they can say no to
Boeing and take care of their friends in the labor movement.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: You go across the country with
regards to energy because he has to bow to the most extreme members of the environmental
movement. He turns down the Keystone Pipeline, which would bring energy and jobs to America.>>(BOOING)>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: This — this president is the biggest
impediment to job growth in this country. And we have to replace Barack Obama to get
America working again.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: So — so let’s go — let’s go back.
I’m glad you had that opportunity. I do want to go back, see if we can clear this up. Now,
the questions about Bain, many have been about the number. You have said 120,000 jobs that
you can tie back to decisions you made at Bain Capital. I want you to take your time,
sir, and do the math. Do the math and how you get to 100,000 or 120,000 jobs?>>ROMNEY: I’ll do the math, but let me tell
you, I know we’re going to get attacked from the left, from Barack Obama, on capitalism.
I know that people are going to say, oh, you should only practice it this way or that way
and think they know better than the private market. My view is capitalism works. Free
enterprise works. And I…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: and I find it — I find it, kind
of, strange, on a stage like this with Republicans, having to describe how private equity and
venture capital work and how they’re successful and how they create jobs.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: But let me tell you the answer.
We started a number of businesses. Four in particular created 120,000 jobs as of today.
We started them years ago. They’ve grown well beyond the time I was there, to 120,000 people
that have employed by those enterprises. There are others we’ve been with, some of which
have lost jobs. People have evaluated that since — well, since I ran four years ago,
when I ran for governor. And those that have been documented to lost jobs lost about 10,000
jobs. So 120,000 less 10,000 means that we created something over 100,000 jobs. And there’s
some, by the way, that were businesses we acquired that grew and became more successful
like Domino’s Pizza and a company called Duane Reade and others. I’m very proud of the fact
that throughout my career, I have worked to try and build enterprises, hopefully to return
money to investors. There’s nothing wrong with profit, by the way. That profit –>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: That profit went to pension funds,
to charities. It went to a wide array of institutions. A lot of people benefited from that. And by
the way, as enterprises become more profitable, they can hire more people. I’m someone who
believes in free enterprise. I think Adam Smith was right. And I’m going to stand and
defend capitalism across this country, throughout this campaign. I know we’re going to get hit
hard from President Obama, but we’re going to stuff it down his throat and point out
it is capitalism and freedom that makes America strong.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Senator Santorum, join the conversation,
specifically to the initial question from Jane. What should the federal government be
doing? And do you believe in specific programs? And I also want to ask you if you share the
Speaker’s concern about Governor Romney’s tenure at Bain.>>SANTORUM: Well, on the first question,
I believe in capitalism, too. I believe in capitalism for everybody. Not necessarily
high finance, but capitalism that works for the working men and women of this country
who are out there paddling alone in America right now, who have an unemployment rate 2.5
times those who are college educated and feel that no party cares about them. Because you
have the Democratic Party, and Barack Obama, and all he wants to do is make them more dependent,
give them more food stamps, give them more Medicaid. I was talking to a state official
the other day in Iowa that told me that the state of Iowa is being fined because they’re
not signing up enough people on to the Medicaid program. This is what the answer is for the
economic squalor that Barack Obama has visited on working men and women in this country,
and it’s creating more government programs and getting them more dependent on those programs.
We need a party that just doesn’t talk about high finance and cutting corporate taxes or
cutting the top tax rates. We need to talk about how we’re going to put men and women
in this country, who built this country, back to work in this country in the manufacturing
sector of our economy.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: And there’s one candidate that
has done that. I have done that. I’ve done that throughout the course of this campaign.
I talked about who we’re going to target and make sure that we can be competitive. I was
in Boeing today and I was up at BMW yesterday. South Carolina can compete with anybody in
this world in manufacturing.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: We just need to give them the
opportunity to compete. And we are 20 percent more costly than our top nine trading partners,
and that’s excluding labor costs. That’s why I said we need to cut the corporate tax and
manufacturing down to zero. We need to give manufacturers a leg up so they can compete
for the jobs, half of which went from 21 percent of this country in manufacturing, down to
nine percent. And we left the dreams of working men and women on the sideline. We need to
show that we’re the party, we’re the movement that’s going to get those Reagan Democrats,
those conservative Democrats, all throughout the states that we need to win to win this
election,
to sign up with us, and we’ll put them back to work.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Let’s stay on the economy and let’s
stay on the South Carolina experience all you gentlemen have had. As you know, and as
this audience reflects, this is a state incredibly proud of its military tradition and incredibly
proud of its veterans. Many of those veterans who have served post-9/11, served honorably
in Iraq and Afghanistan, are coming back to a terrible economy. Right now, the unemployment
rate for post-9/11 veterans aged 18 to 24 is at 22 percent. Congressman Paul, to you
first, sir. Should the federal government be specifically targeting that part, our veterans
coming back, saying the unemployment rate is so high among that sub group, that the
federal government should offer tax incentives to employers or take other steps to help them
to incentivize the economy to help them get jobs?>>PAUL: To some degree, but you really want
to make the environment — the economy healthy for everybody and not designate special places.
But to help them out to come back is probably necessary on some occasions now. But we have
to think about how serious our problems are here, because we face something much, much
greater. After World War II, we had 10 million came home all at once. But what did we do
then? There were some of the liberals back then that said, oh, we have to have more work
programs and do this and that. And they thought they would have to do everything conceivable
for those 10 million. They never got around to it because they came home so quickly. And
you know what the government did? They cut the budget by 60 percent. They cut taxes by
30 percent. By that time, the debt had been liquidated. And everybody went back to work
again, you didn’t need any special programs. So…>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: But the one thing, talking about
concern about the — the military and the veterans, I’m very proud that, you know, I
get twice as many donations from the military, active military people, then all the rest
put together.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: So I am very concerned about them.
I think where the real problem is, is we can create a healthy economic environment if we
did the right things. Where the veterans really deserve help, both as a physician and as a
congressman, is the people who come back and aren’t doing well health-wise. They need a
lot more help. We have an epidemic now of suicide of our military coming back. So they
need a lot of medical help. And I think they come up shortchanged. They come up shortchanged
after Vietnam war, Persian Gulf war, and even now. They don’t get care from the Veterans
Administration.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: I think we all agree there’s a generational
challenge for the country with the brain injuries and the other injuries and the suicide, as
you mentioned. I want to stay on the economy for a minute, though. Senator Santorum, you
started to shake your head. Again, specifically, it’s a role of government question. Should
the government be stepping in and saying we need to help this subgroup in the economy
that’s hurting, the veterans?>>SANTORUM: Well, obviously, we have — we
have and should continue to have veterans preferences. People who went out and served
this country should have — should have preferences when it comes to job positions when they come
back to work in this economy.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: My dad and mom worked for the
Veterans Administration. I grew up on a V.A. grounds, lived in an apartment in those — on
those V.A. grounds for the first 18 years of my life. And I saw the — the impact of
the Vietnam war on — on those veterans who came back. And they came back very damaged,
not just — not just with — with physical wounds, but a lot of psychological ones. And
that’s, I’m sure, a very big part of the high unemployment rate that we’re dealing with.
And we need to be much, much more aggressive. We have the president of the United States
who said he is going to cut veterans benefits, cut our military, at a time when these folks
are four, five, six, seven tours, coming back, in and out of jobs, sacrificing everything
for this country. And the president of the United States can’t cut one penny out of the
social welfare system and he wants to cut a trillion dollars out of our military and
hit our veterans and that’s disgusting.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: So, Governor, Governor, and then
Mr. Speaker, Senator Santorum passionately makes the case. It also is a time, as all
of you know, of very tough budget decisions the next president’s going to have to make,
setting priorities. How do you do it? How — what specifically do you do to help the
veterans?>>ROMNEY: Well, let’s distinguish between
what gets done at the federal level and what gets done at the state level. In our state
we found a way to help our — our veterans by saying, “Look, if you’re going to come
back, particularly if you’re in the National Guard, we’ll pay for your education, college
degree, both the fees and tuition. We give you a full ride.” And we also had a plan that
said, “If you come back and you’ve been out of work for a year or more, we’re going to
put like a bonus on your back, which if anyone hires you, that bonus goes to them to pay
for your training.” So we can encourage that to occur. But let’s do it at the state level.
Let’s not have the federal government continue to extend its — its tentacles into everything
that goes on in this country. Let’s take the…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: Let’s take the — let’s take the
money that — that we use to help people who have real needs and instead of having it all
administered by the federal government, that thinks they know how to do everything, let’s
take that money, bundle up South Carolina’s fair share and every other state’s fair share,
send it to them and say, “You care for your people in the way you feel best.” Let’s do
that at the state level. And I agree with what — what Senator Santorum said with regards
to our military budget. Right now for the president to be cutting $350,000 from our
military budget, planning to cut another $650,000 — $650 billion, excuse me, $350 billion,
another $650 billion, a trillion dollars, his secretary of defense says that represents
a doomsday scenario. We’ve got an aging Navy. We’ve got an aging Air Force. They’re planning
on cutting our number of active duty personnel. They can’t possibly keep up with the needs
of our veterans. It is absolutely wrong to balance our budget on the backs of our military.
We need a strong military, so strong no one in the world would ever think of testing it.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, please come in. We’re
going to have — we’ll have some conversations about commander in chief. You have the floor
now. Specifically veterans who need jobs.>>GINGRICH: Let me just say two things about
Congressman Paul’s history. The U.S. government did two dramatic things after World War II.
They created a G.I. Bill, which enabled literally millions of returning veterans to go to college
for the very first time. My father, who was in the Second World War, went to college on
a G.I. Bill. So there was an enormous expansion of opportunity that enabled them to integrate
into a new, emerging society. The second thing they did is they dramatically cut taxes and
the economy took off and grew dramatically and it absorbed the workforce. So I would
say we ought to both have a transition process for veterans to enable them to have a real
advantage at getting a job when they come home,
and we ought to have a very aggressive
economic program of regulatory cuts and tax cuts and American energy so that the entire
population is absorbed by getting back to about 4 percent unemployment, in which case
virtually every veteran would have a very good job at the end of the transition period.>>KING: Let’s turn to our audience now.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Let’s turn now and take a question
from down in our audience tonight. Go ahead, sir. QUESTION: My name is Sonny Cohen. I’m from
Sevier County, Tennessee. My question to any of the candidates is: Do any of you sincerely
believe that Obamacare can either be repealed or reversed in its entirety?>>KING: Let me go first to Governor Romney
on that one. Governor, you had said you would do it on day one with an executive order that
would free the states up to opt out, waivers essentially to get out of that program. I
know your friend, the South Carolina governor might like to have that option. Help me understand
as you do that how would it play out? And what happens to those, someone with a preexisting
condition for example, who now has coverage under the president’s health care plan, or
a young American, 22, 23, 24, who because of the changes in the law, can now stay a
few extra years on their parents’ health care? What happens to them when you sign that executive
order?>>ROMNEY: Well, first of all, the executive
order is a beginning process. It’s one thing, but it doesn’t completely eliminate Obamacare.
It’s one thing I want to get done to make sure that states could take action to pull
out of Obamacare. But number two, we have to go after a complete repeal and that’s going
to have to happen…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: that — that’s going to have to
happen with a House and a Senate, hopefully that are Republican. If we don’t have a Republican
majority, I think we’re going to be able to convince some Democrats that when the American
people stand up loud and clear and say, “We do not want Obamacare; we do not want the
higher taxes; we do not want a $500 billion cut in Medicare to pay for Obamacare,” I think
you’re going to see the American people stand with our president and say, “Let’s get rid
of Obamacare.” But we’ll replace it, and I’ve laid out what I’ll replace it with. First,
it’s a bill that does care for people that have preexisting conditions. If they’ve got
a preexisting condition and they’ve been previously insured, they won’t be denied insurance going
forward. Secondly, I’d allow people to own their own insurance, rather than just be able
to get it from their employer. I want people to be able to take their insurance with them
if they go from job to job. So — so we’ll make it work in the way that’s designed to
have health care act like a market, a consumer market, as opposed to have it run like Amtrak
and the post office. That’s what’s at risk…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: at stake here. Do we — we — we
go back to this. Ours is the party of free enterprise, freedom, markets, consumer choice.
Theirs is the party of government knowledge, government — government domination, where
Barack Obama believes that he knows better for the American people what’s best for them.
He’s wrong. We’re right. That’s why we’re going to win.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, you heard the skepticism.
This is a southern Republican voter, but he’s skeptical. He knows how Washington works.
He’s watched Washington work. He’s asking it be reversed in its entirety. You — you
were the speaker of the House. You understand how this works. How — how can it be repealed
in this current political environment?>>GINGRICH: Well, let me say first of all,
if you’ve watched Washington and you’re not skeptical, you haven’t learned anything.>>(LAUGHTER)>>GINGRICH: I mean, this — this system is
a total mess right now. Second, can you get it repealed in total? Sure. You have to elect
a House, a Senate and a president committed to that. It has to be major part of the fall
campaign. And I think that, frankly, on our side with any of us, it’s going to be a major
part of the fall campaign. The American people are frightened of bureaucratic centralized
medicine. They deeply distrust Washington and the pressure will be to repeal it. And
a lot of what Governor Romney has said I think is actually a pretty good, sound step for
part of the replacement. I would always repeal all of it because I so deeply distrust the
congressional staffs that I would not want them to be able to pick and choose which things
they cut. But let me make one observation. He raised a good example. Why is President
Obama for young people being allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until 26? Because
he can’t get any jobs for them to go out and buy their own insurance.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: I mean I have — I have an offer
— I have an offer to the parents of America: Elect us and your kids will be able to move
out because they’ll have work.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Senator Santorum, you heard Governor
Romney and you heard Speaker Gingrich. Do you trust them if one of them is the Republican
party’s nominee and potentially the next president of the United States to repeal this?>>SANTORUM: The biggest — the biggest thing
we have to do is elect a president. I think Newt’s right. The problem is that two of the
people up here would be very difficult to elect on, I think, the most important issue
that this country is dealing with right now, which is the robbing of our freedom because
of Obamacare. Governor Romney tells a very nice story about what his plan is now. It
wasn’t his plan when he was in a position to do a plan. When he was governor of Massachusetts,
he put forth Romneycare, which was not a bottom-up free market system. It was a government-run
health care system that was the basis of Obamacare, and it has been an abject failure. And he
has stood by it. He’s stood by the fact that it’s $8 billion more expensive…>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: than under the current law. He
stood by the fact that Massachusetts has the highest health insurance premiums of any state
in the country. It is 27 percent more expensive than the average state in the country. Doctors
— if you’re in the Massachusetts health care system, over 50 percent of the doctors now
are not seeing new patients — primary care doctors are not seeing new patients. Those
who do get to see a patient are waiting 44 days on average for the care. It is an abject
disaster. He’s standing by it. And he’s going to have to run against a president — he’s
going to have to run against a president who’s going to say, well, look, look at what you
did for Massachusetts, and you’re the one criticizing me for what I’ve done? I used
your model for it. And then…>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: then we have Speaker Gingrich,
who has been — who has been for an individual mandate, not back when the time that just
was — Heritage was floating around in the ’90s, but as late as comments since 2008,
just a few years ago. He stood up and said that you should have an individual mandate
or post $150,000 bond. How many $150,000 bond holders do we have here who can post a bond
for their health insurance? These are two folks who don’t present the clear contrast
that I do, who was the author of health savings accounts, which is the primary basis of every
single conservative reform of health care.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: I was the author of it back in
1991 and ’92, 20 years
ago. I’ve been fighting for health reform, private sector, bottom
up, the way America works best, for 20 years, while these two guys were playing (inaudible)
with the left.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: I want to bring Congressman Paul
— bring you into the discussion in just a moment. But Senator Santorum directly challenged
the governor and then the speaker. Governor, you first.>>ROMNEY: Well, so much of what the senator
said was wrong. Let me mention a few of the things. First of all, the system and my state
is not a government-run system. Ninety-two percent of the people had their own insurance
before the system was put in place and nothing changed for them. They still had the same
private insurance. And the 8 percent of the uninsured, they brought private insurance,
not government insurance. And the people in the state still favor the plan 3-1. And it
certainly doesn’t work perfectly. Massachusetts, by the way, had the highest insurance costs
before the plan was put in place and after. But fortunately, the rate of growth has slowed
down a little less than the overall nation. And one of the things I was proud of is that
individuals who wanted to buy their own insurance saw their rates — when they were not part
of a big group — saw their rates drop by some 40 percent with our plan. Is it perfect?
Absolutely not. But I do believe that having been there, having been in the front lines,
showing that I have compassion for people that don’t have insurance but that the Obama
plan is a 2,700-page massive tax increase, Medicare-cutting monster. I know how to cut
it. I’ll eliminate it. I will repeal it. And I’ll return to the — I’ll return the power
to the states, where the power for caring for the uninsured ought to reside constitutionally.
Thank you.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Senator Santorum, he says your facts
are wrong.>>SANTORUM: Well, they’re simply not wrong.
The fact is that, yes, you’re right, Governor Romney. Ninety-two percent of people did have
health insurance in — in Massachusetts. But that wasn’t private-sector health insurance.
A lot of those people were, as you know, on Medicare and Medicaid. So they’re already
on government insurance, and you just expanded. In fact, over half the people that came on
the rolls since you put Romneycare into effect are fully subsidized by the state of Massachusetts.
And a lot of those are on the Medicaid program. So the idea that you have created this marketplace
in — with this government-run health care system, where you have very prescriptive programs
about reimbursements rates. You have very prescriptive programs just like what President
Obama is trying to put in place here. You’re arguing for a plan; you’re defending a plan
that is top- down. It is not a free-market health care system. It is not bottom- up.
It is prescriptive and government. It was the basis for Obamacare.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: And you do not draw a distinction
that’s going to be effective for us just because it was the state level, not the federal level.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: If you want, Governor, quickly?>>ROMNEY: Sure, absolutely. First of all,
as you probably know, Medicaid is not a state program.>>SANTORUM: Of course it is. It’s a state
and federal program.>>ROMNEY: Medicaid is as demanded by the
federal government and it is — it’s a mandate by the federal government and it’s shared
50/50, state and federal. The people of Massachusetts who are on Medicaid — I would like to end
that program at the federal level, take the Medicaid dollars and return them to the states
and allow states to craft their own plans. That would make the plan we had in Massachusetts
a heck of a lot better. My view is get the federal government out of Medicaid, get it
out of health care. Return it to the states. And if you want to go be governor of Massachusetts,
fine. But I want to be president and let states take responsibility for their own plans.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker — it may seem like a
while ago, Mr. Speaker, but Senator Santorum made the point, in his view, you don’t have
credibility on this issue.>>GINGRICH: No, what he said, which I found
mildly amazing, was that he thought I would have a hard time debating Barack Obama over
health care. Now, in fact, I — as Republican whip, I led the charge against Hillarycare
in the House. As Speaker of the House, I helped preside over the conference which wrote into
law his idea on health savings accounts. So I was delighted to help him get it to be a
law. And the fact is, I helped found the Center for Health Transformation. I wrote a book
called “Saving Lives and Saving Money” in 2002. You can go to healthtransformation.net
and you’ll see hundreds of ideas, none of which resemble Barack Obama’s programs. So
I’d be quite happy to have a three-hour Lincoln/Douglas style debate with Barack Obama. I’d let him
use a teleprompter. I’ll just rely on knowledge. We’ll do fine.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Senator, I want to bring Congressman
Paul in. You’re shaking your head. Quickly.>>SANTORUM: The core of Obamacare is an individual
mandate. It is what is being litigated in the Supreme Court right now. It is government,
top-down, telling every business, every American what kind of health care you will have. That
is the problem with Obamacare at the core of it, and the Speaker supported it repeatedly
for a 10-year period. So when he goes and says, I can, you know, run rings around President
Obama in a Lincoln/Douglas debate, you can’t run rings around the fact, Newt, that you
supported the primary, core basis of what President Obama’s put in place.>>GINGRICH: Look, just one –>>KING: Quickly, Mr. Speaker. The congressman’s
getting lonely down here. Let’s go.>>GINGRICH: Just one brief comment. Of course
you can. I can say, you know, I was wrong and I figured it out. You were wrong and you
didn’t.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: Newt, you held that position
for over 10 years. And, you know, it’s not going to be the most attractive thing to go
out there and say it took me 10 or 12 years to figure out I was wrong when guys like Rick
Santorum knew it was wrong from the beginning.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Congressman Paul, you have the floor.
Do you trust these men to repeal Obamacare?>>PAUL: Thank you.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: I thought you were — I thought maybe
you were prejudiced against doctors and a doctor that practiced medicine in the military
or something. No, I want to address the question. The gentleman asked whether he thinks we can
repeal Obamacare. Theoretically, we can. The likelihood isn’t all that good. We can diminish
some of the effect, but I’m more concerned about a bigger picture of what’s happening.
And that is, government involvement in medicine. I had the privilege of practicing medicine
in the early ’60s before we had any government. It worked rather well and there was nobody
out in the street suffering with no medical care. But Medicare and Medicaid came in and
it just expanded. But even when we had the chance to cut back on it, when we had a Republican
Congress and a Republican president, we gave them prescription drug programs. Senator Santorum
supported it. You know, that’s expanding the government.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: So — and most of them are bankrupt.
Prescription drugs, they’re not going to be financed. Medicare’s not financed. Medicaid’s
in trouble. But nobody talks about
where the money’s going to come from. Now, even in my
budget proposal, which is very, very tough, because I’m going to cut $1 trillion the first
year, but I try to really –>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: Even though these programs should
have never started but a lot of people depend on it, I want to try to protect the people
who are dependent on medical care. Now, where does the money come? My suggestion is, look
at some of the overseas spending that we don’t need to be doing.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: We have troops in Korea since the
Korean War, in Japan since World War II, in Germany since — those are subsidies to these
countries. And we keep fighting these wars that don’t need to be fought. They’re undeclared.
They never end. Newt pointed out that World War II was won in less than four years. Afghanistan,
we’re there for 10 years. Nobody says where’s the money coming from? We could work our way
out of here and take care of these people with these medical needs. But we can’t do
it with the current philosophy of the government taking care of everybody forever on medical
care, cradle to grave, and being the policeman of the world. We will get rid of all this
government program, unfortunately because we’re going bankrupt and you’re going to have
runaway inflation, and our checks are going to bounce. And that’s going to be a lot worse
problem than we’re facing tonight.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: All right. Going to ask our candidates
to stand by, our audience as well. We have a couple breaks tonight. We’re going to take
one of them now. One candidate on this stage suggested this week that two candidates should
get out of the race. One of them listened. We’ll get the reaction from the other coming
up. And also coming up, this is just in. While we’ve been on the air having this debate,
Speaker Gingrich has released his tax returns. He’s put them online. We’ll ask him what’s
in them when we come back.>>(APPLAUSE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Back in Charleston, South Carolina,
and our Southern Republican Presidential Debate. Let’s get back to questioning the four gentlemen
who would like to be the Republican nominee for president and the next president of the
United States. Part of the political conversation during the crackling campaign in this great
state this week, Senator Santorum, Speaker Gingrich said he thought it would be preferable
for the conservative movement if one candidate, in his view, had a direct campaign against
Governor Romney. He suggested — said it was up to you — but he suggested perhaps Governor
Perry and Senator Santorum should get out of the race. In suggesting that, he said this:
You don’t have, quote, “any of the knowledge for how to do something on this scale.” What
do you say to that?>>SANTORUM: Grandiosity has never been a
problem with Newt Gingrich. He — he handles it very, very well.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: And that’s really one of the
issues here, folks. I mean, a month ago, he was saying that, “Oh, I’m — it’s inevitable
that I’m going to win the election. And it’s I’m destined to do it.” I don’t want a nominee
that I have to worry about going out and looking at the paper the next day and figuring out
what is he — worrying about what he’s going to say next. And that’s — that’s what I think
we’re seeing here.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: For him to suggest that — that
someone who was tied for first and eventually won the Iowa caucuses and finished with twice
as many votes as he did and finished ahead of him in New Hampshire, in spite of the fact
that he spent an enormous amount more money in both those places, plus had the most important
endorsement in the state, the Manchester Union Leader, and I was 10 points behind him a week
before the election, and then finished ahead of him. So I was 2-0 coming into South Carolina,
and I should get out of the race? These are — there are not — there are not cogent thoughts.
I mean, and — and let’s just be honest.>>(LAUGHTER)>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: I mean, Newt’s — Newt’s a friend.
I love him. But at times, you’ve just got, you know, sort of that, you know, worrisome
moment that something’s going to pop. And we can’t afford that in a nominee. We need
someone — I’m not the most flamboyant, and I don’t get the biggest applause lines here.
But I’m steady. I’m solid. I’m not going to go out and do things that you’re going to
worry about. I’m going to be out there. I’m going to make Barack Obama the issue in this
campaign.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, take some time to respond.
As you do so, what exactly did you mean, “doesn’t have any of the knowledge for how to do something
on this scale”?>>GINGRICH: Well, it’s a very simple question.
How big a scale of change do we want in Washington? I started working with Governor Reagan in
1974. I helped with Jack Kemp and others the development of supply-side economics in the
late ’70s. I participated in the ’80s in an enormous project of economic growth and, with
President Reagan’s leadership, the American people created 16 million jobs. With President
Reagan’s leadership, the Soviet Union disappeared. I came back — I spent 16 years on a grandiose
project called creating a Republican majority in the House — 16 years. And most of the
Republican leaders in the House thought it was a joke. Even the night before the election,
they thought it was a joke. And we created the first majority. We then worked for two
solid years, reformed welfare. Two out of three people went back to work or went to
school. We ultimately became the first re-elected Republican majority since 1928. We then went
on to cut taxes for the first time in 16 years, the largest capital gains tax cut in American
history. In the four years I was speaker, the American people created 11 million new
jobs. We balanced the budget for four consecutive years, (inaudible).You’re right. I think grandiose
thoughts. This is a grandiose country of big people doing big things. And we need leadership
prepared to take on big projects.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Quickly?>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: I will give Newt Gingrich his
due on grandiose ideas and grandiose projects. I will not give him his — his — his due
on executing those projects, which is exactly what the president of the United States is
supposed to do. Four years into his speakership, he was thrown out by the conservatives. It
was a coup against him in three. I served with him. I was there. I knew what the problems
were going on in the House of Representatives when Newt Gingrich was leading this — leading
there. It was an idea a minute, no discipline, no ability to be able to pull things together.
I understand your taking credit for the 1994 election, and you did have a lot of plans.
As you know, I worked with you on those, and we had meetings early in the morning on many
— many a week. And so we worked together on that. But you also have to admit that this
freshman congressman who wasn’t supposed to win a race came and did something you never
did, which is blew the lid off the biggest scandal to hit the Congress in 50 years. You
knew about it for 10 or 15 years because you told me you knew about it. And you did nothing
because you didn’t have the courage to stand up to your own leadership, the Democratic
speaker of the House, take to the floor of the Senate, demand the releasing of the checks
that were being kited by members of Congress, risk your political career,
risk your promotion
within the ranks and do what was right for America. And that had more or as much to do
with the 1994 win as any plan that you put together.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, respond.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: You know, campaigns are interesting
experiences for all of us. And each of us writes a selective history that fits our interest.
As a freshman in 1979, I moved to expel a member who was a convicted felon, for the
first time since 1917, against the wishes of our leadership. In the page scandal in
the 1980s, I moved and threatened to expel them unless they were punished much more severely,
against the wishes of the leadership. In the late 1980s, I initiated charges against the
speaker of the House, Jim Wright, at rather considerable risk for a back-bench member.
In 1990, I opposed the president of the United States of my own party when he tried to raise
taxes. I said I actually thought he meant “Read my lips,” and I led the fight against
raising taxes, against the wishes of my party’s leadership. I think, long before Rick came
to Congress, I was busy being a rebel, creating the Conservative Opportunity Society, developing
a plan to win a majority in the Congress. And if you talk to anybody who worked at the
Congressional Campaign Committee from December of 1978 on, for 16 years, I worked to help
create the Republican Party nationally to become a majority. I worked to create GOPAC
to train a majority. Those are just historic facts, even if they’re inconvenient for Rick’s
campaign.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Governor Romney, you’re raising your
hand to come in the conversation. I want to let you in on the conversation, but also,
as I do, you put an ad on the air paid by your campaign, not one of the super PAC ads,
calling the Speaker an unreliable leader. Why?>>ROMNEY: Well, let me go back and address
first what you just heard. What you’ve listened to, in my view, and the Speaker’s rendition
of history going back to 1978 and his involvement in Washington, is, in my view, a perfect example
of why we need to send to Washington someone who has not lived in Washington, but someone
who’s lived in the real streets of America, working in the private sector, who’s led a
business, who started a business, who helped lead the Olympics, who helped lead a state.
We need to have someone outside Washington go to Washington. If we want people who spent
their life and their career, most of their career, in Washington, we have three people
on the stage — well, I take that back. We’ve got a doctor down here who spent most of his
time in the surgical suite — well not surgery, in the birthing suite.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: But I think America has to make
a choice as to whether we’re going to send people who spent their life in Washington
go represent our country or, instead, whether we’re going to lead — have someone who goes
who’s been a leader in the private sector and knows how the economy works at the grassroots
level. Now, you asked me an entirely different question.>>GINGRICH: It beats me. I don’t know. Where
are we at, John? (LAUGHTER)>>ROMNEY: Let me tell you, one of the things
I find amusing is listening to how much credit is taken in Washington for what goes on, on
Main Street. I mean, Mr. Speaker, it was — you talk about all the things you did with Ronald
Reagan and the Reagan revolution and the jobs created during the Reagan years and so forth.
I mean, I looked at the Reagan diary. You’re mentioned once in Ronald Reagan’s diary. And
in the diary, he says you had an idea in a meeting of young congressmen, and it wasn’t
a very good idea and he dismissed it. That’s the entire mention. I mean, he mentions George
Bush 100 times. He even mentions my dad once. So there’s a sense that Washington is pulling
the strings in America. But you know what? The free people of America, pursuing their
dreams and taking risk and going to school and working hard, those are the people that
make America strong, not Washington.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Quickly respond, Mr. Speaker.>>GINGRICH: This is probably a fundamental
difference in our background and our experience. Under Jimmy Carter, we had the wrong laws,
the law regulations, the wrong leadership, and we killed jobs, we had inflation, we went
to 10.8 percent unemployment. Under Ronald Reagan, we had the right jobs, the right laws,
the right regulators, the right leadership. We created 16 million new jobs. We then had
two consecutive tax increases, one by a Republican, one by a Democrat. The economy stagnated.
When I became Speaker, we went back to the Ronald Reagan playbook: lower taxes, less
regulation, more American energy, and 11 million jobs showed up. Now, I do think government
can kill jobs, and I do think government can create the environment where entrepreneurs
create jobs. And the truth is, you did very well under the rules that we created to make
it easier for entrepreneurs to go out and do things. You’d have been much poorer if
Jimmy Carter had remained president.>>ROMNEY: Let me just –>>KING: Go ahead, quickly.>>ROMNEY: Let me just tell you, Mr. Speaker,
you were Speaker four years.>>GINGRICH: Right.>>ROMNEY: I was in business 25 years.>>GINGRICH: Right.>>ROMNEY: So you’re not going to get credit
for my 25 years, number one. Number two, I don’t recall — I don’t recall a single day
saying, oh, thanks heavens Washington is there for me. Thank heavens. I said, please get
out of my way, let me start a business and put Americans to work.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: All right. Let me get out of the
way for a second and go back out to our audience and take a question from an audience member.
Sir. QUESTION: John Marcoux from the great city
of Charleston.>>(APPLAUSE) MARCOUX: Gentlemen, when will you release
your tax returns specifically?>>GINGRICH: An hour ago.>>(LAUGHTER)>>KING: Mr. Speaker posted his online an
hour ago. We know that. Congressman Paul — we’ll come down the line. Congressman Paul, I want
to start with you. We reached out to your campaign this week, and they said you would
not release your tax returns. Why?>>PAUL: Well, I hadn’t thought it through.
I don’t have an intention of doing it, but for a different reason. I’d probably be embarrassed
to put my financial statement up against their income. And I don’t want to be embarrassed
because I don’t have a greater income.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: Now, I mean, it may come to that,
but right now, I have no intention of doing that. I think with our financial statements,
congressional financial statements, I think you know more about me than I know about myself.
That’s how my wife found out so much about what we were doing, you know, from my financial
statements. No, we don’t need — I don’t think people need that because nobody’s challenging
me, because I have no conflict of interest. And I don’t even talk to lobbyists and I don’t
take that kind of money. So there’s no conflicts.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Governor Romney, when will we see
yours?>>ROMNEY: When my taxes are complete for
this year, and I know that if I’m the nominee, the president’s going to want to insist that
I show what my income was this last year and so forth. When they’re completed this year
in April, I’ll release my returns in April and probably for other years as well. I know
that’s
what’s going to come. Every time the Democrats are out there trying their very
best to — to try and attack people because they’ve been successful. And — and I have
been successful. But let me tell you, the — the challenge in America is not people
who’ve been successful. The challenge in America, and President Obama doesn’t want to talk about
this, is you’ve got a president who’s played 90 rounds of golf while there are 25 million
Americans out of work, and — and you’ve got…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: and while the price of gasoline
has doubled, he said “no” to the Keystone pipeline. And while we’ve got $15 trillion
of debt, he — he said, “Look, I’m going to put another $1 trillion of debt for Obamacare.”
That’s the problem in America, not the attacks they make on people who’ve been successful.>>KING: But some of the questions about when
you release your taxes have not come — the president has raised them; his campaign has
raised them — you’re right on that — but so have some of your rivals up here. Speaker
Gingrich has said you owe them to the people of South Carolina before they vote. Governor
Perry made that point as well before he left the race. Why not should the people of South
Carolina before this election see last year’s return?>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: Because I want to make sure that
I beat President Obama. And every time we release things drip by drip, the Democrats
go out with another array of attacks. As has been done in the past, if I’m the nominee,
I’ll put these out at one time so we have one discussion of all of this. I — I obviously
pay all full taxes. I’m honest in my dealings with people. People understand that. My taxes
are carefully managed and I pay a lot of taxes. I’ve been very successful and when I have
our — our taxes ready for this year, I’ll release them.>>KING: Speaker Gingrich, is that good enough?>>GINGRICH: Look, he’s got to decide and
the people of South Carolina have to decide. But if there’s anything in there that is going
to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination. And if there’s nothing
in there — if there’s nothing in there, why not release it? I mean, it’s a very simple
model, but he’s got to decide. It’s his decision and everybody’s got to run their own campaign
based on what they think is a reasonable risk. I have filed — I released mine this evening.
We also released the little small charitable foundation we have so people can see what
we do and how we did it and what our values are.>>KING: Senator Santorum, when will we see
yours?>>SANTORUM: Well, I do my own taxes and they’re
on my computer and I’m not home. So…>>(LAUGHTER)>>SANTORUM: and there’s nobody at home right
now. Until I get home, I won’t get them. When I get home, you’ll get my taxes.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: But you — you did call on the governor
to release his.>>SANTORUM: No, someone asked me, “would
it be OK for the governor,” and I said “yes.” I didn’t think — I don’t think it’s a big
deal. I mean, if Governor Romney’s told what his tax rate is. Mine’s higher than that,
I can assure you, but I can’t tell you what it was. All I know it was very painful writing
the check last April. That’s all I can tell you.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: I want to — Governor Romney, you
mentioned the Democratic attacks. I want to ask you to go back in history a little bit.
Back in 1967, your father set a groundbreaking — what was then a groundbreaking standard
in American politics. He released his tax return. He released them for not one year,
but for 12 years. And when he did that, he said this: “One year could be a fluke, perhaps
done for show.” When you release yours, will you follow your father’s example?>>ROMNEY: Maybe. (LAUGHTER)>>ROMNEY: You know, I don’t know how many
years I’ll release. I’ll take a look at what the — what our documents are and I’ll release
multiple years. I don’t know how many years, and — but I’ll be happy to do that. Let me
tell you, I know there are some who are very anxious to see if they can’t make it more
difficult for a campaign to be successful. I know the Democrats want to go after the
fact that I’ve been successful. I — I’m not going to apologize for being successful.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: And I’m not — I’m not suggesting
— I’m not suggesting these people are — are doing that, but I know the Democrats will
go after me on that basis and that’s why I want to release these things all at the same
time. And — and I — you know, my — my dad, as you know, born in Mexico, poor, didn’t
get a college degree, became head of a car company. I could have stayed in Detroit like
him and gotten pulled up in a car company. I went off on my own. I didn’t inherit money
from my parents. What I have I earned. I worked hard, the American way, and…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: I’m going to be able — I’m going
to be able to talk to President Obama in a way no one else can that’s in this race right
now, about how the free economy works, what it takes to put Americans back to work, and
make sure he understands that this divisiveness, of dividing Americans between 99 and one is
dangerous. We are one nation under God.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: You’ve raised the topic of putting
America back to work. I think we’re ready for another question from our audience. Am
I right? Not quite yet. All right. So let’s stay up here for a second. Let’s move — you
mentioned putting America back to work. Let’s talk about something: Apple Computer. Apple
computer is a breathtakingly important American company. Senator Santorum, it’s one of the
most respected companies in the country. I’ve handed it off, but I carry Apple products
to do my work every day. It employs about 500,000 people in China. It is based in the
United States, has some employees here, about 40-something thousand, I think 46,000. Most
of them in retail stores and at the headquarters. Five hundred thousand of them are in China.
As a president of the United States, what do you do about that?>>SANTORUM: I’m the only person on this stage
that will do something about it. I’ve got a specific plan in place that — that I’ve
put out there, called the Made in the USA Plan, for exactly these kinds of companies
that have great technology and then go somewhere else to make them because America is uncompetitive.
And that’s why we have to cut the corporate tax to zero for all corporations who manufacture
and process in this country. People have said, “Well, why are you doing it for corporations
and only cutting it in half?” which I do, to 17.5 percent for the rest. It’s because
the local pharmacy’s not going to move to China. They’re not going to — the jobs that
we’re losing are jobs that we have to compete with other countries, and those are manufacturing
jobs. The reason they’re going there is not because our — our — our workers or our management
in this country are not productive. We have great productivity gains. It’s amazing the
transformation that has been made in the last decade or two about our manufacturing processing
here. It is simply government getting in the way. None of these folks do anything. I do
dramatic things that send a signal: Apple, you want — you — you have all those employees
over there, you make all those profits over there, if you want to bring that money back,
right now you pay a 35 percent tax. Under our plan, if you bring it back
and invest
it in plant and equipment here in Charleston, you pay nothing. You put that money to work.
If you invest it, you pay nothing.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: It’s a powerful incentive. You
throw on top of that the energy policy that we put out there to revitalize the energy
sector. You — which will create — again, manufacturing, energy cost is a big deal.
So we have an energy piece. We also a piece having to do with regulations. The Obama administration
has promulgated two and a half times the number of regulations that cost American businesses
over $100 million a year. Two and a half time the last 16 years of presidents. This president
is putting a burden on manufacturers and business. It’s the reason they’re not — we’re not making
things here. I’ll repeal every single one of those regulations on day one.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Congressman Paul, how do you revive
made in America?>>PAUL: You have to create the right conditions
to bring these companies back and they have to bring their capital back and should be
taxed. But Apple’s a great company, but the way you asked the question, it infers that
because there’s a bunch of workers overseas it hasn’t benefited a lot of people here.
The consumers obviously have been benefited by a good company well run. But obviously
there’s a lot of employees with Apple in this country as well. I don’t think that’s the
number that you have to be concerned about. A lot of people worry about us buying and
money going overseas. But if you send money to China, let’s say they’re paying wages other
there and we send dollars over there, they don’t put the dollars in a shoe box. They
have to spend those dollars. Unfortunately, they’re buying our debt and perpetuating our
consumerism here and our debt here. But immediately there’s a benefit to us because those dollars
come back. But also when you get products, if they’re buying products cheaper over there,
let’s say the computer cost $100 instead of $1,000. Well, the person’s just saved $900.
That helps the economy. That $900 stays in that person’s pocket. So whether it’s shoes
or a computer. So we shouldn’t be frightened about trade or sending money on. But we have
to look at the reason why they’re doing this. I mean, even the car companies, there’s obviously
a problem with car companies here. They’re in bigger trouble. We had to bail them out.
But there are foreign companies that build cars in this country and they make a living
out of it. So it’s more complex than that. But we have to do whatever we can. I think
the — I think the — the union problem, the right to work states, and of course I’ve chided
Senator Santorum on this…>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: because he has voted, you know, against
right to work. But we have to change these conditions to invite people back. But believe
me, the regulations and the fact that we are the issuer of the reserve currency of the
world is a real temporary blessing for us because it’s easy for us to export our money.
That’s unfortunately our greatest export and they’re still taking our money. Soon, though,
they’re going to quit and this whole ball game is going to end and we better get prepared
for it.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: He mentioned you, Senator Santorum.
Go ahead, quickly.>>SANTORUM: Congressman Paul knows because
we’ve talked about this before. I’ve already signed a pledge and said I would sign a national
right to work bill. And when I was a senator from Pennsylvania, which is a state that is
not a right to work state, the state made a decision not to be right to work. And I
wasn’t going to go to Washington and overturn that from the federal government and do that
to the state. That’s a very different position.>>King: Quickly, sir.>>PAUL: Yes, the response should be — yes,
I understand that, that’s the way politics works. You voted the way you thought –>>SANTORUM: Representative government works.>>KING: Yes, for your state. But, as president,
are you going to represent South Carolina or Pennsylvania? That’s really the question.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: Well, maybe you didn’t hear what
I said. I said I would support a national right to work law and sign it into law, and
would support and advocate for one.>>KING: Let’s continue the economic conversation
with some input from a question from Twitter. If you look up here you can see it, CNNDebate.
“What is your take on SOPA and how do you believe it affects Americans?” For those who
have not been following it, SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act, a crackdown on Internet
piracy, which is clearly a problem. But opponents say it’s censorship. Full disclosure, our
parent company, Time Warner, says we need a law like this because some of its products,
movies, programming, and the like, are being ripped off online. Let me start with you,
Mr. Speaker. There’s two competing ends, two engines, even, of our economy here at on this.
How do you deal with it?>>GINGRICH: Well, you’re asking a conservative
about the economic interests of Hollywood.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: And I’m weighing it. I’m weighing
it. I’m not rushing in. I’m trying to think through all of the many fond left- wing people
who are so eager to protect. On the other hand, you have virtually everybody who is
technologically advanced, including Google and YouTube and Facebook and all the folks
who say this is going to totally mess up the Internet. And the bill in its current form
is written really badly and leads to a range of censorship that is totally unacceptable.
Well, I favor freedom. And I think that if you — I think we have a patent office, we
have copyright law. If a company finds that it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has
the right to sue. But the idea that we’re going to preemptively have the government
start censoring the Internet on behalf of giant corporations, economic interests, strikes
me as exactly the wrong thing to do.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, Governor Romney, these
companies complain — some of them are based in Hollywood, not all of them are — that
their software, that their publishing, that their movies, that their shows are being ripped
off.>>ROMNEY: I think he got it just about right.
The truth of the matter is that the law, as written, is far too intrusive, far too expensive,
far too threatening, the freedom of speech and movement of information across the Internet.
It would have a potentially depressing impact on one of the fastest growing industries in
America, which is the Internet, and all those industries connected to it. At the same time,
we care very deeply about intellectual content that’s going across the Internet. And if we
can find a way to very narrowly, through our current laws, go after those people who are
pirating, particularly those from off shore, we’ll do that. But a very broad law which
gives the government the power to start stepping into the Internet and saying who can pass
what to whom, I think that’s a mistake. And so I’d say no, I’m standing for freedom.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: I mean, it’s a big issue in the country
right now. Congressman Paul and Senator Santorum, your views on this one quickly.>>PAUL: I was the first Republican to sign
on with a host of Democrats to oppose this law. And we have worked –>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: We have had a concerted effort, and
I feel like we’re making achievement. This bill is not going to pass. But watch out for
the next one. And I am pleased that the attitude has
sort of mellowed up here, because the
Republicans unfortunately have been on the wrong side of this issue. And this is a good
example on why it’s good to have somebody that can look at civil liberties and work
with coalitions and bring people together. Freedom and the Constitution bring factions
together. I think this is a good example.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Those who support the law, Senator,
argue tens of thousands of jobs are at stake.>>SANTORUM: I don’t support this law. And
I agree with everybody up here that is goes too far. But I will not agree with everybody
up here that there isn’t something that can and should be done to protect the intellectual
property rights of people. The Internet is not a free zone where anybody can do anything
they want to do and trample the rights of other people, and particularly when we’re
talking about — in this case, we’re talking about entities offshore that are doing so,
that are pirating things. So, the idea that the government — that you have businesses
in this country, and that the government has no role to try to protect the intellectual
property of people who have those rights in this country from people overseas pirating
them and then selling them back into this country, it’s great. I mean, I’m for free,
but I’m not for people abusing the law. And that’s what’s happening right now, and I think
something proper should be done. I agree this goes too far. But the idea that, you know,
anything goes on the Internet, where did that come from? Where in America does it say that
anything goes? We have laws, and we respect the law. And the rule of law is an important
thing, and property rights should be respected.>>KING: All right. Gentlemen, I want to thank
you. I’ll ask our audience — applaud if you wish. Stand by one second. We’ll take one
more break. Much more of our Southern Republican Presidential Debate to come, including this
question: After months of campaigning, if these candidates could do one thing over,
what would it be?>>(APPLAUSE)>>(COMMERCIAL BREAK)>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: I’m John King. We’re live in Charleston,
South Carolina, and this is the CNN Southern Republican Presidential Debate. Many of you
are watching online, commenting on Twitter, Facebook and at CNN.com. When we come back,
we’ll ask the four candidates for president this question: After months and months of
campaigning, if you could do one thing over, what would it be? Stay with us.>>(APPLAUSE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)>>KING: Welcome back to the Southern Republican
Presidential Debate. I’m John King. We’re live in Charleston, South Carolina. A lot
more issues to wander through tonight. But I just want to take this moment. After months
and months of campaigning, maybe this is fun; maybe it isn’t. Speaker Gingrich, I want to
start with you. You’re at this for months and you’re out there. If there’s one thing,
just one thing in this campaign you could do over, what would it be?>>GINGRICH: I would skip the opening three
months where I hired regular consultants and tried to figure how to be a normal candidate.
And I would just go straight to being a big ideas, big solutions, Internet-based campaign
from day one. Just didn’t work. I mean, it’s not who I am. I’m not capable of being a sort
of traditional candidate. I’m a very ideal-oriented candidate and I think the Internet makes it
possible to create a momentum of ideas that’s very, very exciting.>>KING: Governor Romney?>>ROMNEY: Well, I would have worked to get
25 more votes in Iowa, that’s for sure.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: And — well, let’s see. I guess
— I guess I also would go back and take every moment I spent tal>>KING about one of the
guys on the stage and spent that time talking about Barack Obama because…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: the — the truth is that — that
Barack Obama is just way over his head and he’s taking our country down a path that is
very dangerous. He’s making us more and more like a European social welfare state. He’s
making us an entitlement society. He’s taking away the rights of our citizens. He believes
government should run this country. Look, the right course for America is to return
to our fundamental principles, and I would be talking about that more, and probably about
my colleagues less because frankly, any one of them would be a better president than the
one we’ve got.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Senator?>>SANTORUM: I just thought about that, and
you know what? I wouldn’t a change a thing. It’s — for me to be standing here in the
final four is about as amazing a thing that I could have ever conceived of happening;
someone who had no money; who lost his last race; who everyone basically ignored as I
traveled around South Carolina, Iowa and — and New Hampshire and just talked to people. A
town hall meeting — after 700 town hall meetings, just going around. And it proved that good
ideas and hard work still pay off in America and it just was an affirmation to me of the
great process that we have.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Congressman Paul: I can’t — I can’t
think of any one thing that I would do differently, but I would continue to do what I’m always
trying to do. One thing that I believe about a free society is it provides the opportunity
for us to work for our own virtue and excellence. And in campaigning, I think I can still learn
a lot about becoming a better deliverer of a message. And the conviction I have that
I think if I spoke a little slower and maybe more conviction, that I could do a better
job. So I think in general, I could — I will continue to work on delivering a message which
I think is a great message.>>KING: All right, gentlemen. Thank you.
Let’s get back to our issues discussion and let’s begin with a question down in our audience. QUESTION: Hi. I would like to ask on the issue
of amnesty of the illegal aliens, would you — how would you secure that the American
citizens would get — keep the jobs in line first for them?>>KING: Mr. Speaker, let’s start with you
on that. She mentioned the word “amnesty.” You have explained your position in this campaign.
And as you know, some conservatives have said, “No, Mr. Speaker, you say you can’t deport
maybe it’s 10 million, 11 million, some people say as high as 20 million people illegally
in this country. You say it’s unrealistic to deport them all. So some would have to
be given a path to legal status.” And as you know, many conservatives say, “No, that’s
amnesty, Mr. Speaker.”>>GINGRICH: Right. What I say, we’ll start
with I think you have to first of all control the border. I don’t think you can pass a comprehensive
bill because nobody trusts the government. So first, you control the border. We have
a bill that would have it controlled by January 1, 2014. And I’m prepared both to waive all
federal regulations to get it built and controlled by 2014 and I’m prepared to move up to half
the people who work for Homeland Security — about 20,000 — they have 23,000 employees
in Washington. I’d be prepared to move half of them to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico if
that’s what it took to control the border.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: Second, I favor English as the
official language of government. And I think that creates a continuity.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: Third, I would actually modernize
the legal system of visas, because currently we make it too difficult to come here legally
and too
easy to come here illegally.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: Fourth, I would make it much
easier to deport people. So if you are a non-citizen who belonged, say, to MS-13, an El Salvadorian
gang, we should be able to get rid of you in two weeks, not two years. And we should
have a much easier deportation. Fifth, I favor a guest worker program. And I would outsource
it to American Express, Visa or MasterCard, because they can run it without fraud and
the federal government’s hopeless. So you want a system that is accurate and that is
anti-fraud, which leads you then to be able to say to private employers, if you hire somebody
who’s illegal, we’re going to have an enormous economic sanction, because there will be no
excuse once you have a guest worker program that’s legal. Then you get down to the question
of people who are already here. I believe in what I just described most of them will
go home. The one group I signaled out — and we do have a lively debate on this up here.
There are people who have been here 25 years. They’ve been working. They’ve been paying
their bills. They’re married. They have children. They may have grandchildren. They may be in
your church. Now, I don’t think we’re going to deport grandmothers and grandfathers who
have 25 years of networking and relationships in a community. So I’ve suggested a World
War II-style draft board where local citizens would review the applications. You could only
apply if you proved that you were financially responsible, you proved you had genuine family
ties, and you had an American family sponsor you. You still wouldn’t get amnesty. You wouldn’t
get citizenship. You would get a residency permit. In order to apply for a citizenship,
you would have to go back to your own country and get in line behind everybody else and
be processed as a person from that country. But I think this is a doable, solvable, practical
solution. And I think trying to deport grandmothers and grandfathers will never pass the Congress
and would never be accepted by the American people.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Governor Romney, is that the doable,
practical solution?>>ROMNEY: You know, the issue of illegal
immigration is relatively straightforward compared to the tough issues we face, issues
like how we’re going to compete with China as it grows a military which is of extraordinary
scale and a navy of that scale; how we’re going to deal with radical violent jihadists;
Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, making sure they’re solvent. We’ve got real challenges
that are tough. This one is not tough. You build a fence. You have enough border patrol
agents to secure the fence. And you also have a system of giving to people who come here
legally an identification card, and you expect employers and insist that employers check
that card before they hire someone. If they don’t check the card, if they don’t run it
through the U.S. database and get an instant response from the government or from MasterCard,
Visa, American Express, or whomever, then those employers are going to get severely
sanctioned. If you do that, we solve the problem of illegal immigration. And with regards to
those that have come here illegally now, we’re not going to round them all up and deport
them, but we’re also not going to give them a preferential pathway to become permanent
residents or citizens. They need to go back home, apply for citizenship, apply for permanent
residency, like everyone else. Coming here illegally should not give you an advantage
being able to become a permanent resident of the United States.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Do you have the same view, Senator?>>SANTORUM: Well, I come at it from — as
being the son of an immigrant. And my grandfather came to this country and brought my dad when
he was 7 years old. And that’s the story that I love and am familiar with, and believe in
my heart of hearts that immigration is — people who want to come to this country and be Americans
is really the continuing infusion of freedom and enthusiasm for our country. But when you
come here illegally, the first act you take is to break our law, that’s a different story.
And we have two folks here, both Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich. Mitt Romney has
a position now that people have to go home. But as of just a few years ago, he said that
there could be a pathway to citizenship. He’s repeatedly said that. Now he’s changed his
position. I understand that. He’s done that on a couple of occasions. And you have Speaker
Gingrich, who believes there needs to be a legal pathway. That’s where President Obama’s
position is. Again, just like health care, we need a clear contrast, someone who can
say, look, I have always been for making sure that the law is enforced and enforced fairly.
I agree for people who have been here 25 years and maybe have to be separated from their
family if they were picked up and deported, but my father grieved for his father when
he came to this country and lived here five years. And other folks who sacrificed, who
came here to America, did it the right way according to the law. Because America was
worth it. And if you want to be an American, the first thing you should do is respect our
laws and obey our laws. And…>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: And the idea that someone, whether
it’s either of these two gentlemen, the idea that someone who came here and lived here
25 years has only broken one law — if they’ve worked for 25 years, they’ve been breaking
the law for 25 years.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: If they’ve been working, they
have probably stolen someone’s Social Security number and they’ve committed Social Security
fraud. They — this is not just a single occurrence. It’s an ongoing issue. And if we treat people
like that differently than we do with a mother who, out of a desperate situation, goes out
and shoplifts or does something and gets thrown in jail, what are we saying, that we’re going
to treat people in this country who do things for their family differently than those who
are here illegally?>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: I don’t think so.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: You mentioned both Governor Romney
and the speaker. Take a moment, quickly. I want to bring Congressman Paul into the conversation.
He is essentially saying he doesn’t trust you on this.>>ROMNEY: Well, you know, I ran for president
four years ago. This was the position I described when I ran four years ago. I wrote a book,
laid out my position. I actually agreed, I think, with what you just said, which is I
believe those people who have come here illegally should not be given a preferential path to
become permanent residents or citizens of this country. You shake your head…>>(CROSSTALK)>>SANTORUM: I’ll be happy to show you the
quotes of what you said…>>ROMNEY: OK, good. Good.>>SANTORUM: … that people should have a
pathway to citizenship.>>ROMNEY: And the…>>SANTORUM: Not — not — not citizens, a
pathway to be legal in this country, not citizenship.>>ROMNEY: And the pathway that I’ve described
is that those individuals who have come here illegally should be able to register in this
country, have a temporary period to arrange their affairs and return home and get at the
— at the back of the line like everyone else. And the position I’ve had is that the people
who have come here illegally should not be given a preferential pathway relative to others
but should be able to get in the same line at the back of the line. And I agree with
the
senator. I’m sorry you don’t acknowledge my agreement, but I agree with you, that this
is a nation of laws. At the same time, I think it’s important. I’m glad you mentioned this
because I didn’t in my answer. And that is we need to underscore the fact that we’re
a party of legal immigration. We like legal immigration. We want legal immigration.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: And to protect…>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: to protect legal immigration, we
want to stop illegal immigration. And we don’t want to do anything that would suggest to
people, “Come on in here, just wait long enough, whether it’s five years or 10 years, wait
long enough and we’ll take you all in on an amnesty basis.” I want people to get in line
legally.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Congressman>>PAUL, you’re from
a border state. If this is a problem, you’ve heard your colleagues talk about ma>>KING
sure employers, companies that hire large numbers of people, making sure they get the
message they can’t hire illegals. What about individuals? About a quarter of the illegal
immigrants in the country work for individuals. If this is a problem — if I hired an illegal
immigrant, say, to clean my home, should I be prosecuted for doing that?>>PAUL: I don’t believe you should be. Because
I think those laws are misdirected. That makes you the policeman, or the businessman the
policeman, or the Catholic Church the policeman, if they do anything to help an illegal immigrant.
It should be the law enforcers, and that is the border guards. And the federal government’s
in charge of immigration. So, no, I don’t agree with those laws. But it doesn’t mean
that I’m soft in the issue of illegal immigration. Illegal — I can’t imagine anybody standing
up here and saying, oh, I’m for illegal immigration. We’re all against illegal immigration. But
I think what we fail to do is — is look at the incentives. And it has a lot to do with
economics. There’s an economic incentive for them to come, for immigrants to come. But
there’s also an incentive for some of our people in this country not to take a job that’s
a low-paying job. You’re not supposed to say that, but that is true. But there’s also an
economic incentive in the welfare state for immigrants to come in. In Texas, we suffer
from the fact that there are federal mandates that we have to take care of their medical
needs and their educational needs, and it bankrupts some of our — our school districts
and our hospitals. So it’s those mandates. But we need a more generous immigration policy.
It should be legal, but we need more resources. But I find that the resources are all overseas.
When I was in the military, I was on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and that is a no-man’s-land. You can’t
see the border. At least we can — we can see the river south of Texas. We know where
the Rio Grande is. Over there, we can’t see it. But we’re over there fighting and dying
over that border, looking for problems. Why don’t we take those resources and quit pretending
we can defend those borders and put them on our borders and take care of our needs here?>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: The Speaker?>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: John, I just think, if you’re
going to raise immigration, I want to make the point, on the very first day that I’m
inaugurated, I will issue an executive order to the Justice Department to drop the lawsuits
against South Carolina, Alabama and Arizona. The federal government should enforce the
law, not stop states from helping it enforce the law.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: I think we have nodding heads. I
assume we have agreement on that. But let’s move on to another issue that came up in the
campaign right here in South Carolina this week, and that’s the life issue. Mr. Speaker,
your campaign sent out a mailing to South Carolina Republicans across this state essentially
questioning Governor Romney’s commitment on this issue, saying that he has changed his
position on the abortion issue. If you’ll recall, I moderated a debate back in New Hampshire
in June. There were seven candidates then. We have four tonight. But when this came up,
we talked about it briefly, and then I asked, is this fair game, an issue in this campaign,
or is it case closed? Mr. Cain, who was with us at the time, said case closed, and I paused.
No one else took the opportunity to speak up. If it was case closed then, why is a legitimate
issue now?>>GINGRICH: You just said nobody else spoke.
So nobody else said, yes, it’s case closed. I mean, Herman Cain said it was case closed,
the rest of us, it wasn’t a particular issue we wanted to fight that night. I mean, we
are allowed to run our own campaigns, John. It’s not an automatic requirement that we
fit in your debate schedule.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: This is — look, this is a very
straightforward question. Governor Romney — and I — and I accept this — I mean, Governor
Romney has said that he had a experience in a lab and became pro-life, and I accept that.
After he became pro-life, Romneycare does pay for tax-paid abortions. Romneycare has
written into it Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, by name.
Does not have any right to life group written into it. He did appoint pro-abortion judges.
And a branch of the government which included his appointees did agree to fund an abortion
clinic for Planned Parenthood. All that occurred after he had become pro-life. Now, those are
all facts which we validated, and it seems to me that’s a legitimate part of the campaign,
is to say, “OK, if you’re genuinely pro-life, how come these things are occurring?”>>KING: Governor Romney, he questions whether
you’re genuinely pro-life.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: I’m not questioned on character
or integrity very often. And I don’t feel like standing here for that. But let me clarify
the things which are wrong in what the speaker just said. And — and he can get a scintilla
of truth in there to make it seem like this is a significant issue. But let’s go through
one by one. First, in Romneycare there’s no mention of abortion whatsoever. The courts
in Massachusetts, the supreme court was the body that decided that all times if there
was any subsidy of health care in Massachusetts that one received abortion care. That was
not done by the legislature. Would not be done by me either. I would have vetoed such
a thing. That was done by the courts, not by the legislature or by me. Number two, it’s
true, somewhere in that bill of ours, 70 pages, there’s the mention of the word Planned Parenthood,
but it describes a person at a technical advisory board about payment structures. There’s no
requirement or no participation of Planned Parenthood in our health care plan. With regards
to judges, I appointed probably 50 or 60 judges, at the trial court level mostly, the great
majority. These were former prosecutors, 80 percent of them former prosecutors. We don’t
have a litmus test for appointing judges, as>>KING them if they’re pro-life or not
pro-life. These are people going after crimes and — and — and the like. I didn’t get to
appoint any supreme court justices. I am pro-life. And the Massachusetts Citizens for Life and
several other family-oriented groups wrote a letter two weeks ago and said they’d watched
my record, that I was an avidly pro-life governor. I’m a pro-life governor. I am a pro-life individual.
And — and I — I have to be honest here. It is — this is not the time to be doubting
people’s words or questioning their integrity. I’m pro-life.
By the way, is there any possibility
that I’ve ever made a mistake in that regard, I didn’t see something that I should have
seen? Possibly. But you can count on me as president of the United States to pursue a
policy that protects the life of the unborn, whether here in this country or overseas.
And I’ll reverse the policies of this president. Thank you.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, he says you’re questioning
his integrity.>>GINGRICH: I’ll yield to Senator Santorum.>>KING: Senator?>>SANTORUM: I just want to make one point.
And a lot of legislatures here — legislators here in the room and they — and they know
this to be the truth, that if you write a piece of legislation and you — and you say
medical care and you do not specifically mention that abortion is not covered, we know from
every court decision at the state and federal levels that the federal courts and state courts
will require it. That is someone every governor knows, every state legislator knows. And so
when Governor Romney did not put that in the bill, you can’t say, “Oh, gee, surprise, the
court made us cover abortions.” He knew very well that the court would make them cover
abortions. That’s number one. Number two…>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: Number — number two, what we’re
talking about here is someone who’s not going to just check the boxes and say, “Yes, I’m
pro-life.” We’ve got a lot of folks who just whisper into the microphone that they’re pro-life,
and then you have other people who go out and fight the battle and defend life and come
out of the trenches and actually work to make sure that the dignity of every human life,
innocent human life in this country is protected. And I’ve done that.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: And I — and I would say to you
in — in contrast with Speaker Gingrich, who on the social issues, in particular when he
was speaker and even afterwards, they were pushed on the back bench. There was a pledge
to America that the Congress tried to put together in 2010. I got phone calls ringing
off the hook that Speaker>>GINGRICH went in and told them, “Keep social issues out
of the pledge to America for the 2010 elections, and we need you to come in and help to try
to convince these folks to put that back into the pledge.” We don’t need someone who in
the back rooms is going to say social issues in the front — are in the back of the bus,
and then come out here and try to prevent they’re pro-life.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Governor Romney and then Speaker
Gingrich, he mentioned (inaudible). Very quickly.>>ROMNEY: Senator, I — I admire the fact
that you’ve been a stalwart defender of — of pro-life and in a state where that’s not easy.
I was also a governor in a state where being pro-life was not easy. And I — and I battled
hard. What came to my desk was a piece of legislation that said “We’re going to redefine
when life begins.” In our state, we said life began at conception. The legislature wanted
to change that to say, “No, we’re going to do it an implantation.” I vetoed that. The
legislature also said, “We want to allow cloning for purposes of — of creating new embryos
for testing.” I vetoed that. The legislature did not want to abstinence education. I pushed
and pursued abstinence education. There was an effort to also have a morning-after pill
provided to, as I recall, young women in their teens. I can’t remember the exact age. I vetoed
that. I stood as a pro-life governor and that’s why the Massachusetts Pro-Life Family Association
supported my record as governor, endorsed my record as governor. I — I did my very
best to be a pro-life governor. I will be a pro-life president. I’m proud of that. I
wrote about it in my book. My record is — is solid. I appreciate your record. I hope you’ll
appreciate mine.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker, he — he mentioned you
specifically, and then we want to move on, but please respond.>>GINGRICH: Well, the fact is that I voted
with Henry Hyde, who was the leading pro-life advocate in the House for a generation. I
had a 98.6 percent pro-life voting record. The only one we disagreed on was welfare reform,
which they scored for reasons we never understood. Otherwise, it was a perfect record on — on
pro-life. When I was speaker, we twice passed a bill that actually Rick was — was very
active in, to end partial-birth abortion. Twice, it was vetoed by Clinton, but twice
we passed it. In the 2010 election, the freshman class has the highest percentage of pro-life
members ever in history, and my job was to maximize their winning. And the fact is, we
won a huge victory in 2010 with the largest number of pro-life members ever elected in
a freshman class.>>KING: All right, let’s move on. Let’s take
another question. Congressman, I’ll (inaudible) on this one. Let’s — let’s take a question
now from social media. Question — (inaudible), before we move on, do you want in on this
issue? They want you in on this issue. Would you like in on this issue?>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: John, once again, it’s a medical
subject and I’m a doctor.>>(LAUGHTER)>>PAUL: No, I do want to make a couple of
comments because I can remember the very early years studying obstetrics and I was told — and
it was before the age of abortion. And I was told taking care of a woman that’s pregnant,
you have two patients. And I think that’s — that solves a lot of the problems of life
— you know, when life begins and all.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: And I also experienced a time later
on in my training, in the 1960s when the culture was changing. The Vietnam War was going on.
The drugs were there and pornography and everything came in. And abortion became prevalent, even
though it was illegal. So the morality of the country changed, but then the law followed
up. When the morality changed, it will — reflects on the laws. The law is very important. We
shouldn’t have these laws, but law will not correct the basic problem, and that’s the
morality of the people that we must do. Now, just very, very briefly, I want to talk a
little bit about that funding because the flaw there is if you — if you send funding
out and you say, “Well, you can have it for birth control, but not for abortion,” all
funds are fungible. Even funds that go to any hospital if you say, “Well, it’s not for
birth control and it’s not for Planned Parenthood and it’s not for abortion,” if you send it
to the hospital, they can still use that money. This is an indictment of government-run medicine
because you never can sort that all out. You need the government out of that business or
you will always argue over who’s paying what bills.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Very quickly, Senator.>>SANTORUM: I think that was directed at
me, and so I would just say this. Congressman Paul has a national right-to-life voting record
of 50 percent, which is pretty much what Harry Reid’s national right to life voting record
is. So for — to go out and say that you’re someone who stands up for the right to life,
you repeatedly vote against bills on a federal level to promote the right to life. And you
say that this is an individual, a personal decision, or state decision. Life should be
protected, and you should have the willingness to stand up on a federal law and every level
of government and protect what our Declaration protects, which is the right of our creator
to life, and that is a federal issue, not a state issue.>>(APPLAUSE)>>
KING: Quickly, sir.>>PAUL: Just for the record, I wasn’t even
thinking about you when I was giving my statement, so you are overly sensitive.>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: But it is true that we have a disagreement
on how we approach it. I follow what my understanding is of the Constitution. And it does allow
for the states to deal with difficult problems. A matter of fact, it allows the states to
deal with almost all the problems if you look at it. It is not given — these powers aren’t
given to the Congress. I see abortion as a violent act. All other violence is handled
by the states — murder, burglary, violence. That’s a state issue. So don’t try to say
that I’m less pro-life because I want to be particular about the way we do it and allow
the states the prerogative. This is the solution. This is the solution. Because if we would
allow the states to write their laws, take away the jurisdiction by a majority vote in
the Congress, you repeal Roe versus Wade overnight, instead of waiting year after year to change
the court system.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: All right. We need to take one more
break, Gentlemen. Stand by. Less than 35 hours away now from the polls opening right here
in South Carolina, a state that is crucial, often decisive in Republican presidential
politics. Stay with us. Hear the candidates’ closing arguments to the voters of a state
that takes pride in picking presidents.>>(COMMERCIAL BREAK)>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Welcome back to the Southern Republican
Presidential Debate.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: We’re in Charleston, South Carolina,
tonight. Gentlemen, we’re running out of time. Time flies. I wish we could stay all night.
I don’t suspect you have campaigning to do. I don’t suspect you’ll agree. (LAUGHTER)>>KING: I didn’t think so. (LAUGHTER)>>KING: You know the history of this state.
We’re inside 35 hours now from voters in South Carolina going to the polls, and we all know
the history of this state. In modern times, the winner of the South Carolina Republican
primary has gone on to be your party’s nominee. We have an interesting race at the moment.
Senator Santorum wins Iowa; Governor Romney wins New Hampshire. Everybody’s waiting to
see. Most people believe, if Governor Romney wins here, he would be the prohibitive favorite.
I want each of you, since we have a short time left, and I’ll start on the end. We’ll
come down the line. Congressman Paul, make your case. Make your case. South Carolina
essentially faces this decision: “Not so fast, let’s continue the race,” or embrace Governor
Romney. Make your case to the people of South Carolina in these final hours.>>PAUL: Well, South Carolina is known for
their respect for liberty, and a lot of people will ask the question…>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: They will ask the question, in a
way, what will you do for South Carolina or what will you do for New Hampshire? What will
you do for the various states? But if you understand liberty, it’s equal for everybody;
it benefits everybody, so if you have a protection of liberty, which is the purpose of the Constitution,
protection of individual liberty, and that means you protect the private property rights
system. And if you do that, that benefits everybody. And this is what we have to do,
is convince people that we can bring people together with the understanding of what those
— those beliefs were that made America great. And it is freedom. It isn’t this continued
spending money and debt. This is the reason — we’re in a mountain of debt and we have
to deal with it. We really never even got around to tal>>KING about that tonight. And
one of my very modest proposals…>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: My modest proposal is in the first
year, cut $1 trillion out of the budget to get started…>>(APPLAUSE)>>PAUL: because the debt bubble is a great
burden. It’s a burden to all of us, and as I mentioned earlier, these programs are going
to go down if we don’t get our budget under control. And we have to be willing to look
at overseas spending and all of the entitlement system here in the country.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Mr. Speaker?>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: Well, let me start — I want
to thank CNN and I want to thank the people of Charleston for a very, very interesting
and very useful evening. We have a real challenge. It is imperative that we defeat Barack Obama.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: This is, I believe, the most
dangerous president of our lifetime. And if he is re-elected after the disaster he has
been, the level of radicalism of his second term will be truly frightening. But in addition
to beating Obama, we have to have a team victory in the Senate and the House and we have to
have a principled victory so the American people send a signal that in January of 2013,
they want very dramatic, very deep change in Washington.>>(APPLAUSE)>>GINGRICH: I believe the only way to create
the momentum is to be able to overcome his billion-dollar campaign with a series of debates
which decisively convince the American people that a Sol Alinsky radical who is incompetent
cannot be reelected, and I hope you will vote for me on Saturday as the person who could
do that.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Governor Romney?>>ROMNEY: I agree with a lot of what these
last two men have just said. I think this is an absolutely critical election. I believe
that the founders took very careful thought in the preparation of the words of our Declaration
of Independence that said that the creator had endowed us with certain unalienable rights,
not the state but the creator, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And by virtue of those words, the pursuit of happiness, this became the place on the
planet where we were able to pursue our dreams as we might choose. People came here from
all over the world, wishing to pursue happiness in their own way. And that has made us the
most powerful economic engine in the world, where we can guard freedom because our military
is the strongest in the world, coming from that powerful economic engine. This president’s
changing that. He’s changing the very nature of America. He’s turning us not from a merit
society, an opportunity society, where people are free to choose their own course, but instead
he’s making us an entitlement society, where people think they’re entitled to what other
people have, where government takes from some and gives to others. That has never been the
source of American greatness. We need to return to the principles upon which this country
was founded. Our president said, I think in a very revealing way, that he wants to fundamentally
transform America. He’s wrong. We need to restore the values that made America the hope
of the Earth. And I understand those values.>>(APPLAUSE)>>ROMNEY: I will do everything in my power
to restore those values by keeping America free, by fighting for free enterprise, by
standing up to President Obama and pointing out how he has made it almost impossible for
our private sector to reboot. I will get America working again. I will defeat Barack Obama
and keep America as it’s always been, the shining on a hill. Thank you.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: Senator Santorum.>>SANTORUM: I agree with Governor Romney
100 percent of what he said about what the stakes
are. The question is, who is the best
person to take on President Obama? I would make the argument that a conviction conservative
who has a clear contrast with President Obama on the most important issues of the day is
the best person, someone who has a clear contrast on health care, a clear contrast on global
warming, a clear contrast on the Wall Street bailout. Talk about the one issue — the huge
issue in the last couple of years where the government has come in and taken over, and
both Newt and Governor Romney have supported that. We need someone who not only says now
they’re going to stand up for conservative principles, the big issues, but someone who
has a track record of doing so and winning. I’m the only one in this race that’s ever
defeated a Democratic incumbent. I did it for the Congress and I did it for the Senate.>>(APPLAUSE)>>SANTORUM: We’re the only people in this
race that actually has won a swing state. And I did it because I have a plan like I
outlined today. I come from those states. I come from the background. I come with the
working class and strong credentials, not just with a plan, but with the character that
fits in with exactly the voters we need, those Reagan Democrats in Pennsylvania and Ohio
and Michigan and Indiana and Wisconsin. Those are the votes and those are the states. You
want to win? Elect someone who can win in the states we have to win and draw the clear
contrast with President Obama. South Carolina, you’ve been told in the past, you’ve got to
settle for a moderate because they can win, and you said the last time we had a situation
like this, in 1980, you said, no, we’re going to take the strong conviction conservative,
and you voted for Reagan before Reagan was the Reagan we knew. Vote for the one who can
do the job that America needs. Vote for me.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: That concludes our debate this evening.
I want to thank all of our candidates for their time tonight. I want to thank our wonderful
audience. We also want to thank the people of South Carolina.>>(APPLAUSE)>>KING: I do appreciate it, and I know the
candidates do as well. Tune into CNN 600 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, our special coverage
of the South Carolina presidential primary. Also, next Thursday, we’ll be live in Jacksonville,
Florida, for a Republican presidential debate there. Our coverage of “America Votes 2012”
continues right now.




Comments
  1. I am beginning to believe that Newt isn't going to win b/c Not to many people talk about him. Yet to me Newt gingrich is the only one that comes out to debates with clear goals…Not like Romney… IDK =(

  2. Anyone intelligent enough to know how to type a youtube comment wouldn't vote for romney, santorum or gingrich.

  3. the REPUBLICUNTS are over and done with… they have fucked this country up way too badly… you want to fill more flag draped caskets or ship more jobs out of America? Vote for republicunts

  4. FUCK Off YOU INBRED REPUBLICUNT!!! The GOP screwed up the economy, got us into a war we had NO business in…and now want to start another war with Iran? A vote for a Republican is a vote for dead troops

  5. Nope, the GOP screwed it up… increased spending and let the wealthy get away with not paying taxes, not to mention giving tax breaks and corporate welfare as an award for shipping jobs out of the country.They also deregulated wall street so illegal naked short selling was happening all over. Conservatism is dead and Romney as well as Mccain were the only GOP that even had a chance to run…. they both are the most liberal republicans there are. Nobody will vote for a conservative anymore.

  6. Dont let the government that justifies spending $40 million investigating Clinton, and only $600 thousand investigating 9/11, direct our nations direction any longer!!! Ron Paul 2012 or REAL REVOLUTION!!!!

  7. How is the one candidate who avoids answering almost every question thrown at him supposedly "the front runner"? are americans that ignorant nowadays? i'm not!!

  8. Whats the difference between WWII and the war we are in now (other than this war has lasted longer than any other American military campaign? Well, in WWII we had American Workers working on our own military capabilities…..where did our jobs go?

  9. Quit letting Corporations dictate our freedoms!!! I cant get a job in this country unless i quit smoking cigarettes and cut off my beard!!!! Its no wonder our young brothers and sisters are so dissillusioned by our government!!! Obama-care and Romney-care BOTH SUCK!!!!

  10. I cant even see my psychiatrist without my HUD case manager passing secret notes to the doctor without ANY medical knowledge!!!! I want to make my own decisions!!! Stop Dictating My Inalienable Freedoms!!!

  11. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness!! = medical care, freedom, and non restrictive laws on the federal level!! Dont let the CIA run the Drug Trade ANYMORE!!!!

  12. Just remember America….whoever should take office this year will STILL have the executive powers that Obama and George W Bush have created….I dont trust any of these remaining candidates with those powers!!! Only Ron Paul has stated he will REPEAL these unconstitutional powers of dictatorship!!!

  13. wow so Romney says he's Pro Life now….and says "This is not the time to question his Character and Integrity" so wait…..we're not supposed to question the ethics of our President?

  14. if i am "innocent until proven guilty" and then i am declared "Not Guilty"…i have to then pay a lawyer to try and expunge the charge? social security puts that on every paper they share, and corporations are allowed to use that charge to discriminate against me and fire me….

  15. I think Santorum should have responded to Gingrich's call for him to drop out that he will not do so until every American is protected by corporate abuses and endless war. They both agreed the wars need to end by mid 2012 and both have made a tremendous effort to bring our troops home. God bless our troops. Reps. are doing the right thing and letting our sons and daughters spend the 4th of July, American Independence Day, a day of our freedom with their families. God bless the Republican Party.

  16. I apologize for my choice of words the other night.
    I had only watch the debate for five minutes before making my comment. it upset me that the first question would be about Newt Gingerich affairs,
    instead of this country's direction.
    I apologize.

  17. wow how diffrent us debats is from swedish, in sweden they talk in a small studio without a audience. and we don't treat our politicians as rock stars we treat them like they are the devil

  18. Newt had VERY good ideas on illegal immigration. I am a Democrat but I believe that his opinions on that matter were handled very well. If our country became Republican, Romney and Paul together would create a decent candidate. But if one person had to become in power, Paul would be the one for me.

  19. 23:00 Santorum: "South Carolina can compete with anybody in this world in manufacturing."

    You forgot about China eh?

  20. @wocijun i agree one of my top 10 also… i think you would enjoy this game have a look ==> bit.ly/LMKajn?=eihpl

  21. that look on Obama's face on the posted ad to the right of the video saying "Obama is out of touch"!! Obozo the clown looks creepy and evil looking!! lmao

  22. Southerners are a peculiar breed. They signed up for the Confederacy regardless of their socioeconomic status. Even dirt farmers living in tents were willing to die for slave owners, because they hated the "fed'rl gobmint" telling them what to do. Ever since 1865, the former Confederate states are the poorest states in the union with out of wedlock pregnancy and divorce rates many times higher than in New York state, for instance. Southerners in tin shacks still vote for the richest candidates.

  23. When you look back at these debates, it almost seems that it was preordained that Romney would win. The rest of these guys were either too looney or had too much dirt in their past to be electable.

  24. I'm from Missouri, so I think I know a little bit about the rebel states. We got rebel cemetaries and battlefields even out West.

  25. My point is that being a Southerner doesn't automatically mean that you should turn your brain off at election time and vote for the most conservative candidate you can find.

  26. Man did they try to just act like Paul wasn't even there. That wasn't right at all, especially on issues that man knew more about than anybody on that state.

  27. Thank god Santorum didnt win, thats all I cared about…not that anybody can beat Obama, except maybe Huntsman, who wasnt taken seriously, lol.

  28. Republicans are so are out of sink with today. They just vote straight party lines and not for the people who voted for them. They care about morals before they care about people. If they think hitting a glass bottle on Tuesday is wrong then they will not allow it even if it saves a child's life. Then will defend themselves only with rhetoric toward the opposition. For instance (Obama is now a US citizen) (Obama is a terrorist and his dad is in a terrorist camp) (Obama ruined the economy) so on!

  29. Well its really going to hurt us all, when our national debt hits 20 trillion in the next 4 yrs! What has he done except hand out food stamps and waste our money?

  30. That we shoudn't have gone after the terrorists that went after our country on 9/11! Also, Obama has added more debt than any other President before him, and more than the troubled governments of Europe! Is it ok to funnel money out of Medicare to finance ObamaCare? What about Cuyahoga county,Obama got 99% of the vote, when 3rd world dictators dont even get 99% of vote. In 50 precints Romney got 0 or less votes, in the swing state of Ohio? Unemployement rate promised to be below 5.4. What is it

  31. Ya we did go after Bin Laden and Bush said that there was no difference between the terrorists and the nations and governments that harbor them, such as the Taliban. Lame, really? You can't respond because you know im right!

  32. When Paul Ryan was having a conference with Obama and other Republicans and Democrats, Obama had people come over to him to give him help and when it was his turn to talk, he turned it over for another person to explain for him, so yes u should see my point

  33. proto-marxist!? surely you jest. smith was the founder of free market theory, so you're obviously conflating the free market with corporatism.

  34. All Mitt Romney does is trash Obama, even though our unemployment rate has dropped 2.4% from when this was made. In the video they said it was 9.9% but now it's 7.5% so I think CNN is a little off.

  35. I dont understand why people would down vote this…It is exactly what the title says, so you shouldn't have clicked on it. If your democratic, go vote.

  36. TheRequestNetwork, yes the unemployment rate has dropped but that is because the unemployment rate only counts people actively looking for a job. Under Obama the labor force participation rate has dropped and less people are looking for jobs which results in a lower unemployment rate. Therefore a lot of people still do not have jobs under Obama though the unemployment rate has dropped. is

  37. 2.4% of americans started actively looking for jobs under Obama but the participation rate is lowered? That doesn't seem right, we're recovering from 2008 when near the end, we had a huge deficit and hundreds of thousands of americans lost their jobs.

  38. Can king tell these hicks to shut up after every sentence? My god this is almost unwatchable cuz of the applause every ten seconds

  39. "We have an aging Navy" (Romney)…WTF BITCH?! WE HAVE NUCLEAR SUBMARINES!!!! WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT??? USA RUN THIS SHIT

  40. John King allowed the candidates to lie to his face and did nothing about it. I don't care what ideology you subscribe to, his performance was unacceptable.  Listening to these candidates, they sound so out of touch, they complain about the President—granted they are running for that office—knowing full well that the President makes very little policy and many of the policies they despise so much are creatures of the Congress. Mind you, Obamacare is the Republican's market based health-care solution from 1994, now they're treating it like a hog stuffed with horse anuses. It should be pointed out that this is their policy, the Democrats policy was a bit more liberal offering people the option to buy into government sponsored insurance. Let's continue to watch this trainwreck, it's only getting more horrific by the moment. 

  41. I keep forgetting Ron Paul is standing there on the stage too. Why are they just leaving him out of some topics?

  42. Fucking mainstream republicans not understanding what their party really stands for. If they really knew Ron Paul would have won.

  43. Takes me back to when I lived in USA 2011 to early 2012. 
    The only person who didn't look like a moron, fueled by religion, simple rethoric and primordial emotion, was Ron Paul. 
    Jeez republicans, get your shit together.

  44. If you want to hear vague usage of language, and people being slippery with their speech, listen to these goons. Were these guys actually potential presidential candidates in our beautiful country? It makes you feel embarrassed when you realize that the sweater-vest mannequin positioned on the left in this debate is running AGAIN!

  45. I think it's fascinating how impervious these Republicans are to facts about their own country. It's like they live in a bubble…

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