Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate

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I know what the-- it's like for single moms to struggle. And throughout most of our marriage, we're still coupon clippers today. We still go to consignment stores today. We get what that feels like. And I think it's important for the next president of the United States to be in touch with what real people struggle with across the country, and I have.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Speaker Gingrich? (APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: Well, let me say first of all, the-- that-- when I was young, we lived-- in an apartment above a gas station on the square in Holmestown (PH), Pennsylvania. I had relatives who were steel workers, others who were delivery men, some who worked in department stores. My dad was in the Army and we'd moved around, and he lived on the pay of a junior officer. By the time-- it was fairly frugal, but you-- you didn't feel desperate.

Today, I've had several relatives in the last three years who've been out of work, who've had to go through very difficult times. My wife Callista runs Gingrich Productions as a company. It's a very small company, does basically movies and books and things like that. We have to meet a payroll. We have to find markets. We have to find-- you know-- d-- well, do-- do everything that small businesses go through. And I know how difficult this economy is at a practical level if you're a small business.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanna stick with Yahoo because as you-- we said at the start, we're getting real-time feedback from our Yahoo audience. Over 12,000 people have already weighed in on Yahoo and ABCNews.com. An-- and this is directed at-- at Speaker Gingrich and-- and-- and Governor Romney, because more than 72% say right now they want to hear more from you about your past support for health care mandates.

That's something that they're still not fully satisfied with what they've heard-- (NOISE) from you. And-- and Speaker Gingrich-- I mean, Governor Romney, let me begin with you because-- you were clear. You've said you've always been against a federal mandate; you supported it in the State of Massachusetts. Where there has been some ambiguity, at least in the past, is whether you think that other states should try the mandate. Back in 2007, you said that you thought it would be good for most states to try it; now you say you wouldn't encourage other states to try. Can you explain that?

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: States can do whatever the heck they want to do; that's the great thing about-- (APPLAUSE) about our system. I-- I think there's a good deal that we did that people can look at and find as a model, that could--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The mandate?

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: --help other state-- if some-- if they want to, sure. They could try what they think is best. I-- that's-- it's up to other states to try what works for them. Some will like that; some will think it's a terrible idea. We had this idea of exchanges where people could buy insurance-- from companies, private companies-- we have no government insurance, by the way, in our state. It's all-- other than the federal Medicare/Medic-- Medicaid programs. It's all private pay. So people can learn from one another.

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