Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate


People aren't investing in America because this president has made America a less attractive place for investing and hiring than other places in the world. That's got to change. And it's a shame that we've got a president who thinks that being hands-on in the economy means working on his golf cred. You know, the-- the-- the right course for America is to have a president who understands the economy and will make that his-- his focus and put in place a plan to get this economy going.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanna grab that-- this conversation, but-- but very quickly, I believe Speaker Gingrich is also for extending the payroll taxes and so is Congressman Paul, Governor Perry, I believe you're against it-- some are so tur--

RICK PERRY: Very much so.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, you're the only one I-- what is your position on it?

RICK PERRY: Is there a Social Security Trust Fund and-- or not? And is the Social Security system gonna be funded by payroll taxes or not? And the President of the United States runs around and talks about how Republicans don't care about Social Security and how they're gonna-- they're gonna rip apart the Social Security system, and he's the one defunding the Social Security system.

We're either gonna have a serious debate on how to fix Social Security, and we're not gonna do it by taking resources away from Social Security to pay benefits. So I'm-- I'm all for tax cuts, I-- I mean, I'll welcome the president to sit down with-- Republicans in Congress to work on a tax cut that's gonna create growth in the economy. But to-- to take the Social Security Trust Fund that is-- that is so sacrosanct to the Democrats when it comes for election time.

And then to use that as a tax and then try to beat up Republicans for-- for not supporting the tax cut is-- is absurd. You either care about Social Security and you wanna fund it, or you don't.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's very divided. Three and three, Congressman Paul, 30 seconds rebuttal, Senate--

RON PAUL: Well-- well I want to-- extend the tax cut, because if you don't, you raise the taxes. But I wanna pay for it. And it's not that difficult. In my proposal, in my budget, I wanna cut hundreds of billions of dollars from overseas. The trust fund is gone. But how are we gonna restore it? We have to quit the spending. We have to quit this being the policemen of the world.

We don't need another war in Syria and another war in Iran. Just get rid of the embassy in Baghdad. We're pretending we're comin' home from Baghdad. We built an embassy there that cost a billion dollars and we're putting 17,000 contractors in there, pretending our troops are coming home. I could save--


RON PAUL: --and we don't have to raise taxes on Social Security-- on the-- on the-- on the-- on the tax--


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: As I said, I do wanna broaden this out, and all of you have been debating for the past several months-- two big questions for this nomination fight. Who has the most consistent conservative candidate among you, and which of you is best able to defeat President Obama? And Governor Romney, Speaker Gingrich crystallized his argument a couple of weeks ago. He said, and I quote, "I'm a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney, and a lot more electable than anyone else." (LAUGH) I know you don't agree with that thought. (LAUGH)

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