Republican Presidential Debate Live

What would you bring to the White House?

Santorum – beds

Gingrich – music and chess (from his grandkids)

Paul – Austrian economics and Common Sense

Perry – the most beautiful first lady

Romney – Common sense A Bust of Winston Churchill.

Bachmann – the declaration and the Constitution.

Cain – a Sense of humor, “because America’s too uptight”.

Huntsman – my harley and motorbike.

SECURITY and 9/11

It is pretty clear that the 2008 Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, would have little in common with the current field,  on the subject of the wars. Exceptions: Gingrich and Santorum.

9:45 – Huntsman says the U.S. is ten years in the war and its time to go home.  Tells an Afghani questioner that what will help Afghan women is the U.S. shining again. Perry agrees that its time to bring the troops home as soon as possible BUT its also good to have a presence there.

9:41 – Paul says we invited more terrorism by going to war. Santorum, to applause, says he believes in American exceptionalism and that the U.S. was justified in attacking Afghanistan and Iraq. This is followed by a difficult justification by Paul of anger with the U.S. in the Middle East. There are boos.

Not allowed at the debate, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter is tweeting the Detroit Tigers, White Sox game: “Rayburn RBI triple + wild pitch = good times! Tigers 8 – White Sox 2, bottom of 5th.”

IMMIGRATION – Our latest look at the issue.

9:36 – “This is a states right issue.” In the state of Texas, says Perry, we decided it was in the best interest of young people (who came her illegally) to give them the opportunity to go to college.

Perry: There’s not anybody on this stage who’s had to deal with this issue of border security more than I have with 1200 miles of texas and mexico and our federal government has been an abject failure at securing our border.  We’ve had to spend some $400 million dollars of texas taxpayer dollars to send texas ranger recon teams down there, strategic fencing in the metropolitan areas absolutely has a role to play but the idea that you’re going to build a wall from Brownsville to el paso and go left for another 800 miles to Tijuana is just not reality.  What you have to have is boots on the ground.  You’ve got to have 4500 border patrol agents trained up, 1500 national guard troops, you’ve got to have the aviation assets in the air putting real time information down to the law enforcement.  We understand and know how to secure that border but we can’t do it alone and the federal government has to step up and do what their constitutional duty is and that is secure the border with Mexico


9:35 – Romney says “of course we build a fence.” We are the party of opportunity. We are also the “party of law abiding citizens.”


9:34 – Huntsman says that for “Rick to say you can’t secure the border is a treasonous comment.” Utah, of course, doesn’t have any border. He defends his bill to give illegal immigrants in Utah drivers licenses.

9:33 – Perry will not back down on his college benefits bill. Falls on unfriendly ears in this crowd.

9:31 – Perry defends the Texas version of the DREAM Act. Says he’s proud to have them in college than on the government dole. Bachmann says the American way is not to give people who have broken the law benefits. Bachmann says immigration in the U.S. was working fine ’til the 1960s.

9:31 – Santorum says it was his immigrant father’s honor to learn English.

9:29 – Perry says the idea that you can build a wall from Brownsville to Tijuana is “not a reality.”

View Larger Map

9:28 – Santorum says we “need to build more fence.” That has to happen, he says, before anything else.

HEALTH REFORM – Blitzer asks if a 30 year-old with health insurance, but in a coma, should be allowed to die.

9:21 – 2012 is it, says Bachmann. This is the election that will decide if “we have socialized medicine.”

9:20 – Bachmann says no state should force someone to buy health care.

9:19 – Paul says not having health insurance is a risk. Suggests a man in a coma should not be kept alive at government expense. He points to church hospitals.

9:16 – Perry says its okay for Massachusetts to have an indvidual mandate.

9:15 – Romney defends passing a health care mandate in Massachusetts. He says we have a health system that’s working like a service not a market. That’s why he wants more health savings accounts.


9:10 – Bachmann points out Perry’s close relationship with executives at the company that manufactures the HPV vaccine. Perry says it was just one $5,000 contribution from Merk. He’s offended at the notion he could be bought for $5,000. Bachmann says she’s offended for the little girls. Santorum says there’s no government purpose served by having little girls inoculated; they aren’t likely to get cervical cancer in school.

The tough questions appear to have caught Perry flat-footed.

9:09 – Bachmann says forcing little 12 year-old girls to have a “government injection” is just plain wrong.

Bachmann: I’m a mom and I’m a mom of three children and to have them make 12-year old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong. That should never be done. That is a violation of a liberty interest. That should – little girls who had a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan. They don’t get a do-over. The parents don’t get a do-over. That’s why I fought so hard in Washington DC against President Obama and Obamacare. President Obama has so many shocking levels of power now. Just recently he told all private insurance companies you must offer the morning-after abortion pill because I said so and it must be free of charge. That same level coming through executive order and through government dictates is wrong. And that’s why again we have to have someone who’s absolutely committed to the repeal of ObamaCare and I am. I won’t rest until we do.

Santorum:   I think we need to hear what governor perry is saying.  He’s saying his policy was right. He believes that what he did was right.  He thinks he went about it the wrong way. I believe your policy was wrong. Why – ladies and gentlemen, why do we inoculate people with vaccines in public schools? Because we’re afraid of those diseases being communicable between people at school and therefore to protect the rest of the people at school.  We have vaccinations to protect those children.  Unless texas has a very progressive way of communicating diseases in their school by way of their curriculum then there is no government purpose served for having little girls inoculated at the force and compulsion of the government..this is big government run amok.  It is bad policy and it should not have been done

9:07 – Perry says it was a mistake to agree to a mandated HPV vaccine. He defends his intentions. “Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die.” Perry says he’d use an executive order to attack Obamacare.

9:06 – Paul says he would never use executive orders.


9:05 – Romney says the fair tax – a national sales tax – has a lot going for it. but he points out that it would lower rates on the rich and raise the burden on the middle class. He would undo taxes on interest and capital gains. (Wouldn’t that lower the burden on the rich too?)

9:03 – Newt Gingrich jabs at GE – CEO Jeff Immelt is on the president’s jobs advisory board – which had more write-offs than taxes. Gingrich says every green tax incentive is a loophole. Gingrich says he’s pro-energy. He’d help the people who make energy.

9:02 – Huntsman explains he’d have a three-tier tax code for individuals. 8, 12 or 24 percent. He’d undo loopholes for coroporations and lower the rate.


9:00 – Romney plays against the crowd, suggesting yes, we need to have a Fed. The alternative, he says, is Congress. He’d rather have the Fed.

8:59 – Perry stands by his “almost treasonous” description of Bernanke if Bernanke was using the Fed for politics.

8:57 – Bachmann says she worked behind the scenes against the Wall Street Bailout. But she won’t say that Ben Bernanke should be tried for treason.

8:56 – Santorum says it should be a single charter instead of a dual charter. But then he pivots to manufacturing. He too would have a zero tax rate for manufacturers.


8:49 – Gingrich says government doesn’t create jobs. The American people do.

8:46 – Ron Paul says his taxes have gone up 2x under Perry. “I don’t want to offend the governor because he might raise my taxes.” Says the jobs have been government jobs (a lot of them). Paul wants to cut overseas, in Iraq.

8:46 – Perry says Mitt has a bad poker analogy. Points to tort reform as something they’ve done.

8:44 – Romney says Perry does deserve credit for job growth in Texas. But he says Perry was “dealt four aces.” No income tax, oil in the ground, curbs on organizing…” Says Democrat Ann Richards saw higher job growth.

8:43 – Romney says things don’t happen overnight.

8:41 – Bachmann says she wants a zero percent corporate tax rate. That’d repatriate more than a trillion, she says. Its easy to turn around this economy, she says, you just have to have the backbone to do it.

Cain outdoes zero tax rate, says lets throw out the whole tax code and institute his 9-9-9. plan. 9 Percent rates for corporate and sales tax. Cain’s great one-liner: “People say I don’t know how government works. I do. It doesn’t.”

8:38 – Huntsman priorities: 1. Reform tax code – lower rates and undo loopholes. 2. Undo Obamacare. 3. Get America off foreign oil. Obama suggested doing away with loopholes today, to pay for a jobs bill. But not lowering rates.

Perry says Obama wants to raise taxes to pay for his jobs bill. The real antidote, says Perry, is to cut taxes and let “the economy take off like a rocketship.”

8:32 – Bachmann – the ethos of America government should be “buying more stuff” has to change. She says we have to get to an “ownership society.”

8:31 – Romney says the answer for America is to stop the growth of the federal government and start the growth of the private sector.

8:30 – Perry wouldn’t repeal the prescription drug benefit – the biggest unfunded part of the Ponzi scheme.

8:29 – Santorum says “Washington Think” is the government thinking it knows better than you how to do your health care.


8:24 – Gingrich says that you should get the option of private accounts because if you have your own account, you KNOW you’ll get more money than if the government is in charge. That will have to be fact-checked with people whose 401ks are in the dumps right now.

8:23 – Gingrich says Obama is scarier than Perry or Romney on Social Security. The audience applauds. Gingrich says its eating into his time.

8:22 – Huntsman says everything needs to be on the table to fix Social Security. He points to previous commission and says the answers are there, its leadership that’s been missing.

8:21 – Paul makes the point that the wars have hurt Social Security. Cain says “I don’t care what you call it, its broken.” He points to a privatized system in Galveston, Texas.

8:17 – Romney says Perry’s view is objectionable because he is saying Social Security is a failure and is being portrayed as something that was foisted on the people. Romney suggests it should be a federal responsibility. Or should the states be in charge? Perry says what they did in the ’30s was wrong. But he’s not “going to take it away.”

Romney won’t let Perry retreat. Perry says we need to have a conversation and Romney cuts in “we’re having it right now.”

Perry says Romney is trying to “scare people.”

Romney launches into a defense and Perry cuts in with a quote from Romney’s book.

8:15 – A new tone from Perry, who pledges that Social Security will be there for people currently on it and be there for people approaching it. But he says we have to be honest with the kids and people in “mid-career ages.” He says we need to fix it for those young people. They need to know the truth, he says.

8:14 – First question from a Tea Party activist – How do you convince old folks that Social Security needs to change.

Bachmann accuses President Obama of “stealing” $500 billion from Medicare to “give it to Obamacare.” Without the stealing part, politifact would probably give that a half true.

8:13 – Paul introduces himself as a Constituionalist. Gingrich talks about 9/11. Santorum points out that he won in Pennsylvania.

8:12 – Perry makes a pledge – he “wants to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential to your live as I can.”

8:11 – Still no questions. the Candidates are introducing themselves. Cain calls himself the only non-politician, a subtle swipe at Romney, who says that about himself. Bachmann introduces herself as a friend of the Tea Party.

8:07 – The National Anthem. CNN is building the tension for this thing to start.

As the debate gets underway, Cindy McCain, who attended one or two of these in 2008, tweets: “Another debate. I’m glad I’m home comfy watching on tv!”

Wolf Blitzer of CNN announces the candidates like its a wrestling match. Herman Cain gets the most applause. Huntsman, maybe, the least.

Here is the ABC News’ Political team’s live coverage of the Republican presidential debate in Florida. Last week the candidates squared off at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The action gets underway at 8 p.m. ET.

This week the debate attention shifts to  the battleground state of Florida, which could also play an important role in the GOP nominating process.

Its been five days since the last Republican presidential debate. A new poll from CNN shows a widening lead for Texas Gov. Rick Perry among the field of candidates and further fall for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. In the middle is onetime front-runner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Perry continues to be dogged by his oft-repeated characterization of Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”

In addition, there are new questions for conservative Republicans about Perry’s stance on immigration. It is one issue where Perry, who opposes building a border fence, is to the left of his Republican colleagues.

Read more about the differences between Perry and Romney on illegal immigration.

Read more about expectations for tonight’s debate.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...