Live: Republican Presidential Debate

Sep 22, 2011 8:51pm
ap gop debate lt 110922 wblog Live: Republican Presidential Debate

John Raoux/AP Photo

10:47 – Who would you choose as your VP from the people on this stage?

Gary Johnson would pick Ron Paul

Rick Santorum would pick “someone who would do what I articulated I would do.” – Gingrich

Gingrich – this isn’t a Hollywood game. He won’t say who he’d pick.

Paul – “I don’t plan to make a choice right now”

Perry – “If you could take Herman Cain and mate him up with Newt Gingrich…”

Romney – any one of the people on this stage would be better than Obama.

Bachmann – won’t pick, but says Republicans don’t need to settle. Because, she says, Obama hasn’t reached the basement in popularity yet.

Cain – if Romney would pick 9-9-9 as his jobs plan, he’d pick him.

Huntsman – says Romney and Perry are going to bludgeon each other. He’d pick Herman Cain.

10:44 – Santorum compares Obama to King George III, dictacting things from on high. Gary Johnson says his neighbors two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than President Obama. That’s funny.

10:42 – Gingrich compares Obama to Carter and suggests the next president could be like Reagan.

10:38 – In 30 seconds – what would you do to turn things around in this country?

Huntsman – tax package.

Cain – 9-9-9- plan and leadership. Says Reagain promised the shining city on th ehill, but says, “we’ve slid down that hill.”

Bachmann – “repeal Obamacare.”

10:32 – Perry gets a little flustered trying to turn Romney’s flip-flops around on him. Romney shows his polish until he says, “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me.”

Bachmann talks about Perry’s HPV decision.

Perry points to the fact that “I got lobbied.” – by a 31 year-old woman dying of cervical cancer. Regrets the decision, but he defends himself saying people could opt out: “I don’t know what part of opt out parents don’t get.”

Meet Heather Burcham, the woman who lobbied Perry.

10:24 – Cain says that he’d be dead if Health Care Reform (aka Obamacare) had been enacted when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Says he would have had to wait for treatment and diagnosis. The fact checkers will likely have issues with this answer.

10:20 – Perry turns a question about how he and Bush are different into this pointed statement: “The federal government has no business telling us how to educate our children.”

Gays in the Military – 10:18 – Santorum gets applause from the crowd in his passionate opposition to lifting don’t ask don’t tell policy, which was lifted Monday. The questioner, by the way, was a soldier in Iraq. Santorum says he’d reinstate the policy. Doesn’t know what he’d do with the soldiers who are now out of the closet.

Question from soldier serving in Iraq on the policy toward gays drew a solitary boo.

Foreign Policy -10:14 – Santorum and Huntsman got at it on foreign policy. Huntsman rounds it out – only Afghanistan can save Afghanistan. Only Pakistan can save Pakistan. Says he’s interested in saving America.

10:07 – Santorum says we shouldn’t be taking troops out of Iraq. “We need to listen to our generals,” he says. Suggests that under Obama, Huntsman, Perry and Paul, the U.S. would be less safe.

10:06 – Perry is asked about getting a call at 3am that Pakistan’s nukes were missing. He says its a problem that we don’t have any allies in the region. He’d work to fix that. This answer will be scrutinized.

Question: If you were president and you got a call at 3 am telling you that Pakistan had lost control of its nuclear weapons at the hands of the Taliban what would be your first move?
Perry: Obviously before you ever get to that point you have to build a relationship in that region and that’s one of the things this administration has not done – just yesterday we found out through admiral mullen that haqqani has been involved with and that’s the terrorist group directly associated with the Pakistani country so to have a relationship with india to make sure india knows they’re an ally with the united states. For instance, when we had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded f16s we chose not to do that.  We did the same thing with Taiwan.
the point is our allies need to understand clearly that we are their friends we will be standing with them. today  we don’t have those allies in that region that can assist us if that situation that you talked about were to become a reality

10:05 – Cain on foreign policy – “peace through strength and clarity.” He says you have to make it clear to the world that “if you’re messin’ with Israel, you’re messin’ with the United States.”

10:04 – Romney says Obama “threw Israel under the bus.” He says the right course is not to negotiate for Israel, but to stand behind them.

Immigration – 9:54 – Santorum goes after Perry on the in-state tuition issue. Says he’s not opposed because he’s heartless. He wants to make sure the children of illegal immigrants pay their share. Not get in-state tuittion. Says Perry is “soft” on illegal immigration.

Perry says Santorum talks like someone whose never been to the border. And then the two talk over each other. Santorum wants to know if the non-fence border programs are working.

Ron Paul on illegal immigrants – “no free subsidies, no citizenship…”

9:50 – Romney says he doesn’t understand the Texas system of giving in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants. That’s a Rick Perry program. Romney says its essentially a $100,000 credit for those kids. Texas, Romney doesn’t say, has the biggest border with Mexico.

Perry fires back – Nobody on this stage has spent more time on border issues than I have.

“If you don’t think we should educate children who have been brought into our state by no fault of their own”… “I don’t think you have a heart.”

Several cheers are drowned out by boos.

9:46 – Bachmann would build a fence “on every mile, on every inch” of the border with Mexico. She wouldn’t give any benefits to the children of illegal immigrants. This is a jibe on Perry, who gave college tuition to them in Texas.

Education – 9:41 – Perry hits Romney for supporting “Race to the Top”. Romney, pushed, applauds Arne Duncan, Education Secretary, for seeking accountability for schools. Romney tries to separate Obama and his Secretary Duncan. Education is one place of accord for the president and many Republicans in Congress.

Bachmann too would “lock the doors” at the Department of Education and send the money, she says, back to the states.

9:39 – Gingrich says he’d essentially do away with public education. He’d institute something like a Pell grant program to give parents more choice.

9:39 – Santorum says that education should be looked at like a business. And the parents, he says, are the customer.

9:37 – There is a question from a teacher on the problem of “one size fits all” education. President Obama will tomorrow announce waivers to the No Child Left Behind Act.

Gary Johnson says he’d propose the “abolishment” of the Department of Education.

9:37 – Gingrich says he’ll unveil an economic plan in Iowa very soon.

9:34 – Cain is asked what one government agency he’d do away with. EPA, he says. “They’ve gone wild.”

9:32 – Huntsman, asked about the majority of Americans who want tax hikes on the wealthy, says “We’re not going to raise taxes.” Says this isn’t the time and he points out that his economic plan got plaudits from the Wall Street Journal. Read it here.

9:31 – Romney is asked if Barack Obama is a socialist. Won’t go there. Says he just wants to hear “former President” as a descriptor for Obama.

Book War  and Social Secuirty 9:28 – Perry and Romney spar on social security. Perry alters his stance a bit. Doesn’t mention a “Ponzi Scheme” in describing Social Security. Instead says people on Social Security can expect to keep it. But it needs reforming. Then it turns into a book war. Romney wants to know what happened to the other Perry. Perry suggests Romney changed his book between hard copy and paperback to remove “Romneycare.” Romney denies it.

Romney to Perry – “It’s different from what the governor put in his book just what six months ago and what you said in your interviews following the book.  There’s a rick perry out there that’s saying that – almost quoted it says that the federal government shouldn’t  be in the pension business, that it’s unconstitutional, unconstitutional and to be returned to the states. So you better find that rick perry and get him to stop saying that.”

Cain on Social Security, points again to the Chilean model for Social Security: “I don’t think we’re doing a svc to the American ppl talking about what you call it and what you don’t call it. The solution is, fix it.”

9:22 – We’re told to expect a word cloud question. Fox is behind ABC here. We’ve got word clouds for every debate so far: See them here.

9:19 – Gary Johnson, excluded from previous debates, tells his story… handy man to New Mexico governor. Says he’d replace income tax with a “fair” consumption tax. Critics complain that a consumption tax is focused unfairly on the poor, who use a much larger percentage of their income in consumption.

9:18 – Ron Paul is asked what he’d do to protect the 10th amendment – which is to give power to the states for things not specifically given to the federal government. Paul says he’d veto anything that violates the 10th amendment. Simple answer. He’s got time left over. Launches into a defense of freedom.

9:17 – Romney says he’d zero out any tax on savings (capital gains?) for people making less than $200k.

9:16 – Herman Cain gets applause for his 9-9-9 plan. It would throw out the current tax code in favor of a plan built on 9s. Cain accuses Romney of being stuck on the current tax code. “That dog won’t hunt.”

Huntsman is asked about natural gas subsidies. He says there have been too many, but timidly supports others. crickets.

9:14 – Each Republican debate has included some criticism of unemployment benefits. Gingrich – its wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing.

More on the 99ers.

9:10 – Santorum is asked if he supports a “right to work” law. That’s a soft-ball in this crowd. Would be unanimous on the stage.

More on “Right to work” and the Boeing standoff with the NLRB in South Carolina.

9:09 – Bachmann says President Obama thinks “our money is his.”

9:06 – Fox Host quotes the Wall Street Journal and wonders whether Romney’s jobs plan, all 59 points of it, is timid. Romney says he’s had a job (outside government) and that’s why he’s qualified. Talks about energy security. Points to his jobs plan – http://mittromney.com/jobs.

Romney asked “who is rich?”

Doesn’t want to define it. Says “I want everybody to be rich.”

Romney was criticized today for saying at a townhall that he’s a part of the middle class even though he’s a really wealthy man. Perry’s campaign snarkily hit out at “Middle Class Mitt”.

9:04 – Rick Perry turns a question about job creation and small business into an answer about tort reform. In a follow-up, he says in the future “you’ll see a jobs plan” from him. But says something special happened in the state of Texas during the past decade (little government regulation).

Welcome to ABC’s live blog of the Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Florida.

The debate is sponsored by Fox News and Google and takes place in the all-important state of Florida.

It is, in many ways, a two-man race between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Those two have been hammering at each other all week. Perry hits Romney for being “Obama Lite.” Romney hits Perry for being unelectable.

It will be interesting to see if any of the other candidates can pierce through that rivalry. Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Congresswoman who seemed so strong just one month ago has faded. Ron Paul, the Texas Congressman, has sought mainstream credibility. Tonight, for the first time with all the other candidates, is Gary Johnson, the libertarian-minded former New Mexico Governor.

Read more about the importance of Florida.

Read more about preparations for the debate.

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