Republican Debate Live Coverage

9:44 – Brian Williams asks a question and points out that Texas has executed more people than any other state. The question gets applause. Perry says he sleeps just fine at night. There’s an appellate process. But he says that if you come into Texas and kill someone, you will “face the ultimate justice in Texas.”

Asked why the question itself got applause, Perry says Americans support justice.

9:40 – Gingrich says of Ben Bernanke – “I would fire him tomorrow.”

9:35 – Huntsman says Republicans have to accept the opinion of 98 of 100 climate scientists. How many of the ten people on the stage agree on climate change? Not Perry. He says the science is not settled on this. And it would be silly, he says, to to put America’s economic future in jeopardy. Then makes an odd aside comment about Galileo, who he says, “got out-voted for a spell”

9:35 – Santorum says Republicans have to stay the course of Reagan on foreign policy and not go isolationist. This is a dig at Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul.

9:27 – Romney: “We have a crisis in confidence because we’ve had an absence of leadership.”

9:26 – Huntsman wants everyone to sign a pledge not to sign pledges. There’s one important anti-tax pledge that most others have signed. Read it.

follow-up about 9/11 – he says we’ve lost our confidence.

9:23 – Romney says he’s not a card-carrying member of the Tea Party. Its not an organization you carry a car for. But he says if the Tea Party is for smaller government, he’s for it.

There has been a wave of press releases from the Romney and Paul campaigns attacking Perry from both sides on everything from health care reform to jobs and immigration.

9:18 – in a treatise against illegal immigration, Paul blames the drug war. He does not support a fence or realid. “This fence business may well be designed and used to keep us in.”

9:16 – Bachmann a bit stumped when questioner Diaz-Balart pushes her on what to do with the 11 million undocumented/illegal aliens.

9:10 – Romney is to the right of Perry on immigration. Perry says its not safe on the border and either Obama has bad intelligence or is an “abject liar”. He’d call in more National Guard troops.

Obama has said it is safer now on the border.

Romney would build a fence across the whole border.He talks about amnesty and subtly goes after Perry’s in-state tuition benefit for the children of some illegal immigrants. Perry also does not support a fence across the border.

Gingrich says English should be the national language.

9:02 – Gingrich says education reform and charter schools is one of the few places he agrees with Obama.

8:59 – Gingrich says we have to have security spending. Paul says airlines should be responsible for their cargo. Says TSA screeners are molesting people.

9/11, says Paul, came about because there was too much government.

8:55 – Perry says he hates cancer, would always err on the side of saving lives – telling people about cervical cancer. Gets guff from Bachmann and Santorum over parental rights vs. states rights.

Romney defends him. Says Perry might want to take a mulligan, but his heart is in the right place. Says the focus should be on Obama, who he says is a nice guy, but doesn’t have a clue how to get the economy going again.

8:53 – Paul criticizes Perry over HPV vaccination debacle. Says he doesn’t like executive orders. Wouldn’t use them as a president.

8:52 – Cain chimes in with, he says, a solution: The Chilean model. Private accounts.

8:50 – Perry says Social Security is indeed a Ponzi Scheme. Calls out Karl Rove for saying that view was toxic to his campaign. “Karl has been over the top for a while.”

Here’s that Karl Rove interview with George Stephanopoulos.

Romney says you can’t say its a failure to the millions of people living on Social Security.

8:38 – Ron Paul would do away with the minimum wage because, he says, it would undo regulation and so help poor people. He argues that Medicare is a mandate and should similarly not be government policy.

He’s touted the fact that he was early to endorse Reagan when he ran for President in 1976. But then argues that the government ran away under Reagan and spent too much. Paul left the GOP at the end of Reagan’s presidency and ran himself as a Libertarian.

FACTCHECK – Did Romney create more jobs in Mass. than Obama created in the US?

Here’s the Romney camp defense, forwarded by Jonathan Karl – Massachusetts Added Nearly 50,000 New Jobs During Governor Romney’s Tenure. Massachusetts added an estimated 47,419 jobs over the course of the Romney Administration. According to Current Population Survey data, employment was 3,281,263 in December 2006, Governor Romney’s last full month in office. In December 2002 (used to account for January 2003 numbers and reflect a full 48-month term in office), the survey reported 3,233,844 jobs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics,, 6/1/11)

Under President Obama, America Has Lost More Than Two-And-A-Half Million Jobs. According to the Department of Labor’s Current Population Survey, the national employment level has fallen by an estimated 2,574,000 (as of August 2011) since President Obama’s first full month in office. (Bureau of Labor Statistics,, Accessed 9/7/11)

But ABC’s Devin Dwyer points out – There has been a net job loss since Obama took office, BUT Obama also oversaw 13 months of job gains, totaling 2.215 million created.

8:33 – Perry quotes JFK, saying the best welfare reform program is a job.

8:31 – Rick Santorum says he did more than anyone in Congress during his time there to help the poor. He did this through welfare reform. He believed in the dignity of everyone to look after themselves. As President he’d cut food stamps not to save money, but to save people’s lives.

Our Governors’ Report Card on Health Reform

8:27 – Gingrich won’t pick sides in the various Republican governor health reform efforts. Says he’s not interested in getting Republicans fighting with each other. Applause. But the point is that there are three very different approaches to health reform on the stage. And one of them is a lot like Barack Obama’s.

8:26 – Bachmann points out that you need 13 Republican senators to repeal Obamacare. That’s gonna be tough.

8:23 – Massachusetts has the most insured people. Texas has the lowest rate of health insurance in the union. But Perry says the people want the federal government out of their business.

Why are so many uninsured? Perry says its because of the federal government. Because HHS won’t give Texas flexibility.

Huntsman says its “absolutely not” ever okay to force people to buy health insurance. But he’s supported mandates in the past.

ABC New’s Arlette Saenz reports: Four minutes before the debate started, Rep. Ron Paul’s ad attacking Perry’s 1988 support of Al Gore runs on MSNBC

8:18 – Newt Gingrich wrote the forward to Perry’s book. Says he’d write another forward if Perry wrote another book. But said the Perry manifesto, aka “Fed Up!” is not something for a future president to have written.

Gingrich says Obama is too committed to “Bureaucratic Socialism” to create jobs.

8:16 – Ron Paul says its not that he doesn’t believe in regulations. Just government regulations. He’s more into market regulations for the airline and pharmaceutical industries.

8:14 – Bachmann says her jobs plan is to do away with “Obamacare.”

Obamacare is killing jobs, she says. Particularly summer jobs for kids.

Its now okay to say Obamacare, by the way. Read about it here.

8:12 and Huntsman has our first Reagan reference. Says he “hates to rain on the parade” of the Lone Star governor. But Utah was a better per capita job creator, he says.

They’d love some rain in Texas right now.

8:11 – Herman Cain – “If ten percent is good enough for God, 9 percent oughta be good enough for the federal government.”

Santorum says he’s got a record of getting things done in Congress.

8:08 – Romney defends his jobs record because being a Republican in Massachusetts, he says, is harder than being a Republican in Texas. Then he gets in a quick Al Gore reference. Perry parries with a Michael Dukakis reference.


Perry endorsed Gore for President in 1988. Dukakis, according to Perry, had a better public sector jobs record than Romney.

8:05 – Romney comes back and says he created more jobs in Massachusetts as governor than Obama has created in the country. That’s ripe for a fact check.

Both Perry and Romney grew state worker payrolls as governor.

Romney suggests (for the umpteenth time this campaign) his best qualification is that he’s not a career politician. Defends his time at Bain Capital Management.

Perry fires off that Romney’s private sector career “created jobs all around the world.”

Perry – “We created more jobs in the last three months in Texas” than Romney created in his time as governor.

8:03 – Rick Perry says the basic question is “who on this stage can get America back to work”… because, he says, Obama cannot. Immediately tries to distinguish himself, point to the Texas jobs record.

The truth about Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle from ABC’s Amy Bingham.

This is ABC News’ live blog of the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calfiornia.

The Debate is sponsored by Politico and NBC and starts at 8 p.m..

But first, check out ABC’s guide to the Republican field of candidates.

Read more about the leadup to the debate.

Get the early read on debate expectations from front-runner Rick Perry and former front-runner Mitt Romney from ABC News’ John Berman.

Republicans have been happier with their options in the Republican field since Rick Perry joined the race.

Read results from the latest ABC News/Washington Post Poll.

Here are some things to watch for:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has hit the field like a ton of bricks since jumping in last month, has a lot to prove. He is not known as a debater and in 11 years as Texas Governor, has only debated five times.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann had all the buzz coming out of her win at the Ames straw poll in Iowa. But Perry’s entrance seems to have undercut her popularity. But it was her solid performance at a debate in New Hampshire that first got Republicans seriously talking about Bachmann.

Mitt Romney has avoided criticizing his fellow Republicans at previous debates. But then he was the front-runner. Today he trails Perry in the most recent polls.