Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate


DIANE SAWYER: And we wanna thank all of you. And again, these are the rules that you set up. We wanna be fair. And we wanna hear everything you have to say. These issues are so important. But, it really does help if you stick to the rules that were agreed on. And we appreciate that. And if-- we could, when we come back, we're gonna tackle some other very big issues, immigration, big questions about foreign policy, and also one about states and family values. And that will be when we come back. (MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: You're watching live ABC News coverage of the Iowa Republican Party debate. (MUSIC)


MITT ROMNEY: (MUSIC) The real difference, I believe, is our backgrounds. I spent my life in the private sector. I understand how the economy works. And I believe that for Americans to-- to say goodbye to President Obama and elect a Republican, they need to have confidence that the person they're electing knows how to make this economy work again and create jobs for the American middle class.


NEWT GINGRICH: (CLEARS THROAT) Just a second. We had four allegations. Do I get four responses?


NEWT GINGRICH: Okay. Let's-- let's start with the last one. Let's be candid. The only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994. (BOOS)

MITT ROMNEY: Now-- now wait a second, now wait a second. That's-- that was-- that was--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That was-- you'll-- you'll get another response, go ahead.

NEWT GINGRICH: Do-- do I get to go ahead and continue?

MITT ROMNEY: Please, please.

NEWT GINGRICH: No, and I'm just saying--

MICHELE BACHMANN: You want a difference, Michele Bachmann is a proven conservative. It's not Newt Romney.

MALE VOICE: You threw-- you threw a lot out there. (APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: Back live from Des Moines, Iowa (INAUDIBLE).


ANNOUNCER: Live from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, once again, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We are back. It has been a rocking debate so far. And we want to get to another issue that you all talked about extensively in this campaign, and that is values, family, and faith. Governor Romney and Governor Perry, you both made it a feature of ads you ran in Iowa this week, which leads to this question from our partners at the Des Moines Register. And we're gonna show it up on the screen. "Should voters consider marital fidelity in making their choices for president?" And-- and Governor Perry, in South Carolina this week you said this is an important issue. Why?

RICK PERRY: Well-- it-- I said that-- not only did I make a vow to my wife, but I made a vow to God. And-- that's pretty heavy liftin' in my book. When I make a vow to God-- then-- I would suggest to you that's-- even stronger than a handshake in Texas. (APPLAUSE)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The question is-- is about its relevance to the presidential race. So, let me just follow up quickly. Do you think a candidate who breaks his marital vows is more likely to break faith with voters?

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