The following is a full transcript of the ABC News Iowa Republican debate, with Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, anchored by ABC News' Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos.
DIANE SAWYER: And a good evening to all of you welcome to Iowa, welcome to Drake University as the presidential voting draws near, the time is coming. And the political team of ABC News has been out in force throughout this state. And we just wanna say to the people of Iowa, we are endlessly struck by how seriously you take your role as first in line for the vote.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Every four years first.
DIANE SAWYER: That is true. And it's 24 days now and counting until the voting begins in the caucuses. And-- and it's at the time for closing arguments, so let us introduce the presidential candidates from the Republican party for the United States of America here at the debate tonight.
Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts (AUDIENCE WHOOP), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia (AUDIENCE WHOOP), Texas Congressman Ron Paul, (APPLAUSE) and Congresswoman from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann. (APPLAUSE) Thank you all.
Before we begin if we can just one note, because George and I have been talking and all of us have been talking to many of you about what it takes to run for the presidency in this country right now. And we are talking about the determination, the physical stamina, the road you travel, the miles you travel and the sacrifices your families make as you do it. So we thought maybe at the end of this year-- the-- the end of this road does approach, we could all just salute your commitment to the presidential race and to democracy in this country. We salute you.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The rules of the debate are pretty straightforward, the candidates have negotiated them, agreed to them. They're gonna forgo opening statements and then they will give, they've agreed, one minute responses to questions from Diane and me, 30 seconds for rebuttal to those. And we wanna show everybody at home that the candidates can see as well, this clock right here. And we'll shift from green to yellow to red over the course of the allotted time.
The audience here at Drake was chosen by the Iowa Republican Party, and all of you at home can follow on ABCNews.com and Yahoo.com. You can even join the discussion by downloading Yahoo's Enter Now app on your iPhone, and with that you can actually pitch in with opinions during this debate.
DIANE SAWYER: So it is time to begin. And people are telling us that they do feel it's time to choose. And the number one issue on which they're going to choose, jobs in America. And we would like to hear from all of you in this opening round. And the question is this: what is your distinguishing idea, distinguishing, from all of the others on this stage, about how to create jobs in this create, how to bring jobs back from overseas. And if you will, how many jobs do you think you can create and how long will that take? And Speaker Gingrich, will you lead us off?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I think that there's a clear record, I worked with Ronald Reagan in the early '80s and his recovery program translated into today's population of about 25 million new jobs in a seven-year period. As Speaker of the House, I worked with-- President Clinton and he followed with a very similar plan.