Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 28, 2015: Third Republican Candidates Debate in Boulder, Colorado Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates Debate in Boulder, Colorado
October 28, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project

PARTICIPANTS:
Former Governor Jeb Bush (FL);
Ben Carson;
Governor Chris Christie (NJ);
Senator Ted Cruz (TX);
Carly Fiorina;
Former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR);
Governor John Kasich (OH);
Senator Rand Paul (KY);
Senator Marco Rubio (FL);
Donald Trump;

MODERATORS:
John Harwood (CNBC);
Becky Quick (CNBC); and
Carl Quintanilla (CNBC)

QUINTANILLA: Good evening, I’m Carl Quintanilla, with my colleagues Becky Quick and John Harwood. We’ll be joined tonight by some of CNBC’s top experts on the markets and personal finance.

Let’s get through the rules of the road. Candidates get 30 seconds to answer the opening question, 60 seconds to answer a formal question, 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals, all at the discretion of the moderators.

We want you to weigh in from home. You’ll see your tweets at the bottom of the screen. Use the hashtag, #cNBCgopdebate. You can also go to cNBC.com/vote to tell us where you stand throughout the night.

So let’s introduce the candidates for tonight’s Republican presidential debate. On the stage from left to right, Governor John Kasich. [applause]

Governor Mike Huckabee. [applause]

Governor Jeb Bush. [applause]

Senator Marco Rubio. [applause]

Mr. Donald Trump. [applause]

Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]

Mrs. Carly Fiorina. [applause]

Senator Ted Cruz. [applause]

Governor Chris Christie. [applause] And Senator Rand Paul. [applause]

A lot to get to tonight. So let’s get started. This first is an open question.

This series of debates is essentially a job interview with the American people. And in any job interview, you know this: you get asked, “what’s your biggest weakness?” So in 30 seconds, without telling us that you try too hard or that you’re a perfectionist… [laughter] …what is your biggest weakness and what are you doing to address it? We’ll go left to right. Governor Kasich, 30 seconds.

KASICH: Good question, but I want to tell you, my great concern is that we are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job.

I’ve watched to see people say that we should dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and leave the senior citizens out — out in the — in the cold. I’ve heard them talk about deporting 10 or 11 — people here from this country out of this country, splitting families. I’ve heard about tax schemes that don’t add up, that put our kids in — in a deeper hole than they are today.

We need somebody who can lead. We need somebody who can balance budgets, cut taxes…

QUINTANILLA: Governor?

KASICH: You know, frankly, I did it in Washington, in Ohio, and I will do it again in Washington, if I’m president, to get this country moving again.

KASICH: country moving again.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Well, John, I don’t really have any weaknesses that I can think of. [laughter]

But my wife is down here in the front, and I’m sure, if you’d like to talk to her later, she can give you more than you’ll ever be able to take care of.

If I have a weakness, it’s that I try to live by the rules. I try to live by the rules, no matter what they are, and I was brought up that way as a kid. Play by the rules.

And I’ll tell you what a weakness is of this country: there are a lot of people who are sick and tired because Washington does not play by the same rules that the American people have to play by.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor. Governor Bush.

BUSH: You know, I am by my nature impatient. And this is not an endeavor that rewards that. You gotta be patient. You gotta be — stick with it, and all that.

But also, I can’t fake anger. I believe this is still the most extraordinary country on the face of the Earth. And it troubles me that people are rewarded for tearing down our country. It’s never been that way in American politics before.

I can’t do it. I just don’t believe that this country’s days are going to be deeply — you know, going down. I think we’re on the verge of the greatest time, and I want to fix the things to let people rise up.

QUINTANILLA: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Thank you for that question. I would begin by saying that I’m not sure it’s a weakness, but I do believe that I share a sense of optimism for America’s future that, today, is eroding from too many of our people.

I think there’s a sense in this country today that somehow our best days are behind us. And that doesn’t have to be true.

Our greatest days lie ahead if we are willing to do what it takes now. If we’re willing to do what it takes now, the 21st century is going to be the new American century, greater than any other era we’ve had in the history of this great nation.

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I think maybe my greatest weakness is that I trust people too much. I’m too trusting. And when they let me down, if they let me down, I never forgive. I find it very, very hard to forgive people that deceived me. So I don’t know if you would call that a weakness, but my wife said “let up.” [laughter]

QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: Probably in terms of the applying for the job of president, a weakness would be not really seeing myself in that position until hundreds of thousands of people began to tell me that I needed to do it. I do, however, believe in Reagan’s 11th commandment, and will not be engaging in awful things about my compatriots here.

And recognizing that it’s so important, this election, because we’re talking about America for the people versus America for the government.

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina?

FIORINA: Well, gee, after the last debate, I was told that I didn’t smile enough. [laughter]

QUINTANILLA: Fixed it.

FIORINA: But I also think that these are very serious times; 75 percent of the American people think the federal government is corrupt. I agree with them. And this big powerful, corrupt bureaucracy works now only for the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected. Meantime, wages have stagnated for 40 years. We have more Americans out of work or just Americans who quit looking for work for 40 years.

Ours was intended to be a citizen government. This is about more than replacing a D with an R. We need a leader who will help us take our government back.

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: I’m too agreeable, easy going. [laughter]

You know, I think my biggest weakness is exactly the opposite. I’m a fighter. I am passionate about what I believe. I’ve been passionate my whole life about the Constitution. And, you know, for six-and-a-half years, we’ve had a gigantic party. If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be that guy. But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done and I will get you home.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: I don’t see a lot of weakness on this stage, quite frankly. Where I see the weakness is in those three people that are left on the Democratic stage. You know, I see a socialist, an isolationist and a pessimist. And for the sake of me, I can’t figure out which one is which. [laughter]

But I will — but I will tell you this, the socialist says they’re going to pay for everything and give you everything for free, except they don’t say they’re going to raise it through taxes to 90 percent to do it. The isolationist is the one who wants to continue to follow a foreign policy that has fewer democracies today than when Barack Obama came into office around the world.

But I know who the pessimist is. It’s Hillary Clinton. And you put me on that stage against her next September, she won’t get within 10 miles of the White House. Take it to the bank.

QUINTANILLA: Senator Paul?

PAUL: You know, I left my medical practice and ran for office because I was concerned about an $18 trillion debt. We borrow a million dollars a minute. Now, on the floor of the Congress, the Washington establishment from both parties puts forward a bill that will explode the deficit. It allows President Obama to borrow unlimited amounts of money.

I will stand firm. I will spend every ounce of energy to stop it. I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it. And I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say enough is enough; no more debt.

QUINTANILLA: Thanks to all the candidates.

John?

HARWOOD: Mr. Trump, you’ve done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it.

TRUMP: Right.

HARWOOD: Send 11 million people out of the country. Cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit.

TRUMP: Right.

HARWOOD: And make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.

TRUMP: That’s right.

HARWOOD: Let’s be honest. [laughter]

Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?

TRUMP: No, not a comic book, and it’s not a very nicely asked question the way you say that.

Larry Kudlow is an example, who I have a lot of respect for, who loves my tax plan. We’re reducing taxes to 15 percent. We’re bringing corporate taxes down, bringing money back in, corporate inversions. We have $2.5 trillion outside of the United States which we want to bring back in.

As far as the wall is concerned, we’re going to build a wall. We’re going to create a border. We’re going to let people in, but they’re going to come in legally. They’re going to come in legally. And it’s something that can be done, and I get questioned about that. They built the great wall of China. That’s 13,000 miles. Here, we actually need 1,000 because we have natural barriers. So we need 1,000.

We can do a wall. We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door right in the middle of the wall. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re coming in legally. And Mexico’s going to pay for the wall because Mexico — I love the Mexican people; I respect the Mexican leaders — but the leaders are much sharper, smarter and more cunning than our leaders.

And just to finish, people say, how will you get Mexico to pay? A politician other than the people in the states — I don’t want to — a politician cannot get them to pay. I can. We lose, we have a trade imbalance…

Excuse me, John.

… of $50 billion…

HARWOOD: We’re at the 60 seconds.

TRUMP: … believe me the world is peanuts by comparison.

HARWOOD: We’re at 60 seconds, but I gotta ask you, you talked about your tax plan. You say that it would not increase the deficit because you cut taxes $10 trillion in the economy would take off like…

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Hold on, hold on. The economy would take off like a rocket ship.

TRUMP: Right. Dynamically.

HARWOOD: I talked to economic advisers who have served presidents of both parties. They said that you have as chance of cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit as you would of flying away from that podium by flapping your arms.

TRUMP: Then you have to get rid of Larry Kudlow, who sits on your panel, who’s a great guy, who came out the other day and said, I love Trump’s tax plan.

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation says — has looked at all of our plans and — and his creates, even with the dynamic effect, $8 trillion dollar deficit…

QUICK: Gentlemen — we’ll — we’ll get back to this — just a minute — just a minute we’re gonna continue this.

I wanna talk taxes…

QUINTANILLA: Hold it. We’ll cut it back to you in just a minute. Becky’s moving on.

QUICK: Dr. Carson, let’s talk about taxes.

You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and — I’ve looked at it — and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this.

If you were to took a 10 percent tax, with the numbers right now in total personal income, you’re gonna come in with bring in $1.5 trillion. That is less than half of what we bring in right now. And by the way, it’s gonna leave us in a $2 trillion hole.

So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?

CARSON: Well, first of all, I didn’t say that the rate would be 10 percent. I used the tithing analogy.

QUICK: I — I understand that, but if you — if you look at the numbers you probably have to get to 28.

CARSON: The rate — the rate — the rate is gonna be much closer to 15 percent.

QUICK: 15 percent still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to some strategically cutting in several places.

Remember, we have 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny and every one of those is in a fantasy world.

So, also, we can stimulate the economy. That’s gonna be the real growth engine. Stimulating the economy — because it’s tethered down right now with so many regulations…

QUICK: You’d have to cut — you’d have to cut government about 40 percent to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: That’s not true.

QUICK: That is true, I looked at the numbers.

CARSON: When — when we put all the facts down, you’ll be able to see that it’s not true, it works out very well.

QUICK: Dr. Carson, thank you.

KASICH: Listen, I want to just comment.

HARWOOD: Governor Kasich, hold it, I’m coming to you right now. The…

KASICH: Well I want to comment on this. This is the fantasy…

HARWOOD: Well, I’m asking you about this.

KASICH: This is the fantasy that I talked about in the beginning.

HARWOOD: I’m about to ask you about this.

That is, you had some very strong words to say yesterday about what’s happening in your party and what you’re hearing from the two gentlemen we’ve just heard from. Would you repeat it?

KASICH: I’m the only person on this stage that actually was involved in the chief architect of balancing the Federal Budget.

You can’t do it with empty promised. You know, these plans would put us trillions and trillions of dollars in debt.

I actually have a plan. I’m the only one on this stage that has a plan that would create jobs, cut taxes, balance the budget and can get it done because I’m realistic. You just don’t make promises like this.

Why don’t we just give a chicken in every pot, while we’re, you know, coming up — coming up with these fantasy tax schemes. We’ll just clean it up. Where are you gonna clean it up?

You have to deal with entitlements, you have to be in a position to control discretionary spending. You gotta be creative and imaginative.

Now, let me just be clear, John. I went into Ohio where we had an $8 billion hole and now we have a $2 billion surplus. We’re up 347,000 jobs.

When I was in Washington, I fought to get the budget balanced. I was the architect. It was the first time we did it since man walked on the moon. We cut taxes and we had a $5 trillion projected surplus when I left.

That’s was hard work. Fiscal discipline, know what you’re doing. Creativity.

This stuff is fantasy. Just like getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid. Come on, that’s just not — you scare senior citizens with that. It’s not responsible.

HARWOOD: Well, let’s just get more pointed about it. You said yesterday that you were hearing proposals that were just crazy from your colleagues.

Who were you talking about?

KASICH: Well, I mean right here. To talk about we’re just gonna have a 10 percent tithe and that’s how we’re gonna fund the government? And we’re going to just fix everything with waste, fraud, and abuse? Or that we’re just going to be great? Or we’re going to ship 10 million Americans — or 10 million people out of this country, leaving their children here in this country and dividing families?

Folks, we’ve got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn’t know how to do the job. You have got to pick somebody who has experience, somebody that has the know-how, the discipline.

And I spent my entire lifetime balancing federal budgets, growing jobs, the same in Ohio. And I will go back to Washington with my plan.

QUINTANILLA: Governor — Governor. thank you, Governor.

KASICH: And I will have done it within 100 days, and it will pass. And we will be strong again. Thank you.

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump, 30 seconds.

TRUMP: First of all, John got lucky with a thing called fracking, OK? He hit oil. He got lucky with fracking. Believe me, that is why Ohio is doing well. Number — and that is important for you to know.

Number two, this was the man that was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers when it went down the tubes and almost took every one of us with it, including Ben and myself, because I was there and I watched what happened.

And Lehman Brothers started it all. He was on the board. And he was a managing general partner.

And just thirdly, he was so nice. He was such a nice guy. And he said, oh, I’m never going to attack. But then his poll numbers tanked. He has got — that is why he is on the end. [laughter] And he got nasty. And he got nasty. So you know what? You can have him.

[crosstalk]

KASICH: Let me just — let me respond. First of all, Ohio does have an energy industry, but we’re diversified. We’re one of the fastest growing states in the country. We came back from the dead. And you know what? It works very, very well.

And secondly, when you talk about me being on the board of Lehman Brothers, I wasn’t on the board of Lehman Brothers. I was a banker and I was proud of it. And I traveled the country and learned how people made jobs.

We ought to have politicians who not only have government experience but know how the CEOs and the job creators work. My state is doing great across the board. And guess what, in 2011, I got a deal…

QUICK: Governor…

KASICH: … an agreement with the…

[crosstalk]

KASICH: … that he tried to take credit for four years later. It’s a joke.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor.

QUICK: Dr. Carson, let me get 30 seconds with Dr. Carson…

[crosstalk]

CARSON: Since I was attacked too.

QUICK: Thank you.

CARSON: Let me just say, if you’re talking about an $18 trillion economy, you’re talking about a 15 percent tax on your gross domestic product. You’re talking about $2.7 trillion. We have a budget closer to $3.5 trillion.

But if you also apply that same 15 percent to several other things, including corporate taxes, and including the capital gains taxes, you make that amount up pretty quickly. So that is not by any stretch a pie in the sky.

CRUZ: Becky, if you want a 10 percent flat tax where the numbers add up, I rolled out my tax plan today, you can find it on line at tedcruz.org. It is a simple flat tax where for individuals, a family of four pays nothing on the first $36,000.

After that you pay 10 percent as a flat tax going up. The billionaire and the working man, no hedge fund manager pays less than his secretary.

On top of that, there is a business flat tax of 16 percent. Now that applies universally to giant corporations that with lobbyists right now are not paying taxes, and as small business.

And you wanted to know the numbers, the Tax Foundation, which has scored every one of our plans, shows that this plan will allow the economy to generate 4.9 million jobs, to raise wages over 12 percent, and to generate 14 percent growth.

And it costs, with dynamic scoring, less than a trillion dollars. Those are the hard numbers. And every single income decile sees a double-digit increase in after-tax income.

QUICK: Senator — Senator, thank you.

CRUZ: Growth is the answer. And as Reagan demonstrated, if we cut taxes, we can bring back growth.

QUICK: Gentlemen, I’m sorry, we need to…

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: We’re going to try to move on.

[crosstalk]

FIORINA: Let me just say on taxes, how long have we been talking about tax reform in Washington, D.C.? We have been talking about it for decades. We now have a 73,000-page tax code.

There have been more than 4,000 changes to the tax plan since 2001 alone. There are loads of great ideas, great conservative ideas from wonderful think tanks about how to reform the tax code.

The problem is we never get it done. We have talked about tax reform in every single election for decades. It never happens. And the politicians always say it is so complicated, nobody but a politician can figure it out.

The truth is this, the big problem, we need a leader in Washington who understands how to get something done, not to talk about it, not to propose it, to get it done.

QUINTANILLA: You want to bring 70,000 pages to three?

FIORINA: That’s right, three pages.

QUINTANILLA: Is that using really small type?

FIORINA: You know why three?

QUINTANILLA: Is that using really small type?

FIORINA: No. You know why three? Because only if it’s about three pages are you leveling the playing field between the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected who can hire the armies of lawyers and accountants and, yes, lobbyists to help them navigate their way through 73,000 pages.

Three pages is about the maximum that a single business owner or a farmer or just a couple can understand without hiring somebody. Almost 60 percent of American people now need to hire an expert to understand their taxes.

So yes, you’re going to hear a lot of talk about tax reform —

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina —

FIORINA: — the issue is who is going to get it done.

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: We’re going to —

QUICK: We’re going to move on.

QUINTANILLA: We will come around the bend, i promise. This one is for Senator Rubio. You’ve been a young man in a hurry ever since you won your first election in your 20s. You’ve had a big accomplishment in the Senate, an immigration bill providing a path to citizenship the conservatives in your party hate, and even you don’t support anymore. Now, you’re skipping more votes than any senator to run for president. Why not slow down, get a few more things done first or least finish what you start?

RUBIO: That’s an interesting question. That’s exactly what the Republican establishment says too. Why don’t you wait in line? Wait for what? This country is running out of time. We can’t afford to have another four years like the last eight years.

Watching this broadcast tonight are millions of people that are living paycheck to paycheck. They’re working as hard as they ever have, everything costs more, and they haven’t had a raise in decades.

You have small businesses in America that are struggling. For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses closing than starting. We have a world that’s out of control and has grown dangerous and a president that is weakening our military and making our foreign policy unstable and unreliable in the eyes of our allies. And our adversaries continue to grow stronger.

We have a — they say there’s no bipartisanship in Washington? We have a $19 trillion bipartisan debt and it continues to grow as we borrow money from countries that do not like us to pay for government we cannot afford.

The time to act is now. The time to turn the page is now. If we — if we don’t act now, we are going to be the first generation in American history that leaves our children worse off than ourselves.

QUINTANILLA: So when the Sun-Sentinel says Rubio should resign, not rip us off, when they say Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job, when they say you act like you hate your job, do you?

RUBIO: Let me say, I read that editorial today with a great amusement. It’s actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.

QUINTANILLA: Well, do you hate your job?

RUBIO: Let me — let me answer your question on the Sun-Sentinel editorial today. Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the Senate by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat, ran for president missing over 30 percent of his votes. I don’t recall them calling for his resignation —

QUINTANILLA: Is that the standard?

RUBIO: Later that year, in 2004, John Kerry ran for president missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes. I don’t recall the Sun — in fact, the Sun-Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again. So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative movement. [applause]

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you. John.

BUSH: Could I — could I bring something up here, because I’m a constituent of the senator and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the Sun-Sentinel because he was the most talented guy in the field. He’s a gifted politician.

But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate — what is it, like a French work week? You get, like, three days where you have to show up? You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job. There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck in Florida as well, they’re looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day.

RUBIO: I get to respond, right?

QUICK: Thirty seconds.

RUBIO: Well, it’s interesting. Over the last few weeks, I’ve listened to Jeb as he walked around the country and said that you’re modeling your campaign after John McCain, that you’re going to launch a furious comeback the way he did, by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you’re now modeling after?

BUSH: He wasn’t my senator.

RUBIO: No Jeb, I don’t remember — well, let me tell you. I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record. The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.

BUSH: Well, I’ve been —

RUBIO: Here’s the bottom line. [applause]

I’m not — my campaign is going to be about the future of America, it’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage. I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush. I’m not running against Governor Bush, I’m not running against anyone on this stage. I’m running for president because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Senator.

TRUMP: I think you’re — [applause]

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Hold on. I think there’s a — I’ve got question for —

[crosstalk]

KASICH: John Harwood, there’s a bigger issue here.

HARWOOD: Hold on, Governor. I’ve got a question for Governor Bush.

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: No, we’re moving to Governor Bush. Governor, the fact that you’re at the fifth lectern tonight shows how far your stock has fallen in this race, despite the big investment your donors have made.

You noted recently, after slashing your payroll, that you had better things to do than sit around and be demonized by other people. I wanted to ask you —

BUSH: No, no. What I said was I don’t believe that I would be president of the United States and have the same dysfunction that exists in Washington, D.C. now.

HARWOOD: OK.

BUSH: Don’t vote for me if you want to keep the gridlock in Washington, D.C.

HARWOOD: Got it.

BUSH: But if you want someone who has a proven, effective leadership, that was a governor of a state, that transformed the culture there, elect me so I can fight for the American people and change the culture in Washington, D.C.

HARWOOD: But it’s a — OK. It’s a — it’s a question about why you’re having difficulty. I want to ask you in this context.

Ben Bernanke, who was appointed Fed chairman by your brother, recently wrote a book in which he said he no longer considers himself a Republican because the Republican Party has given in to know- nothingism. Is that why you’re having a difficult time in this race?

BUSH: [inaudible], the great majority of Republicans and Americans believe in a hopeful future. They don’t believe in building walls and a pessimistic view of the future.

They’re concerned that Washington is so dysfunctional it is holding them back. There are lids on people’s aspirations. Think about it: six and a half million people working part-time. Workforce participation rates lower than they were in 1977.

Six million more people living in poverty than the day that Barack Obama got elected president, and the left just wants more of the same. We have to offer a compelling alternative that is based on hope and optimism and grounded in serious policy, which I’ve laid out.

And you can go get it at jeb2016.com.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: We’re gonna get down the line. Becky’s got a question.

QUICK: We’ll get to everyone.

Ms. Fiorina, I — I’d like to ask you a question. You are running for president of the United States because of your record running Hewlett-Packard. But the stock market is usually a fair indicator of the performance of a CEO, and the market was not kind to you.

Someone who invested a dollar in your company the day you took office had lost half of the dollar by the day you left. Obviously, you’ve talked in the past about what a difficult time it was for technology companies, but anybody who was following the market knows that your stock was a much worse performer, if you looked at your competitors, if you looked at the overall market.

I just wonder, in terms of all of that — you know, we look back, your board fired you. I just wondered why you think we should hire you now.

FIORINA: You know, the NASDAQ dropped 80 percent — 80 percent — and it took 15 years for the NASDAQ to recover. I was recruited to H.P. to save a company.

It was a company that had grown into a bloated, inept bureaucracy that cost too much and delivered too little to customers and shareholders. It had missed, before I had arrived, expectations for nine quarters in a row.

As an outsider, I tackled H.P.’s entrenched problems head-on. I cut the bureaucracy down to size, re-introduced accountability, focused on service, on innovation, on leading in every market, in every product segment.

And yes, it was a very difficult time. However, we saved 80,000 jobs and we went on to grow to 160,000 jobs, and scores of technology companies literally went out of business — like Gateway — taking all their jobs with them.

The truth is I had to make some tough calls in some tough times. I think, actually, people are looking for that in Washington now. And yes, I was fired over a disagreement in the boardroom. There are politics in the boardroom as well.

And yet the man who led my firing, Tom Perkins, an icon of Silicon Valley, has come out publicly and said, “you know what? We were wrong. She was right. She was a great CEO. She’d be a great president of the United States because the leadership she brought to H.P. is exactly the leadership we need in Washington, D.C.

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina, it’s interesting that you bring up Mr. Perkins, because… [applause] …he said a lot of very questionable things. Last year, in an interview, he said that he thinks wealthy people should get more votes than poor people.

I think his quote was that, “if you pay zero dollars in taxes, you should get zero votes. If you pay a million dollars, you should get a million votes.” Is this the type of person you want defending you?

FIORINA: Well, this is one of the reasons why Tom Perkins and I had disagreements in the boardroom, Becky. [laughter]

Nevertheless, one of the things that I think people don’t always understand is how accountable a CEO actually is.

So you know, I had to report results every 90 days in excruciating detail. I had to answer every single question about every single result and every single projection in public until there were no more questions.

And if I misrepresented those results or those projections in any way, I was held criminally liable. Imagine — imagine — if a politician were held to that standard of account.

I will run on my record all day long. [applause]

And I believe people need a leader who is prepared to make tough calls in tough times and stand up…

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina.

FIORINA: …and be held accountable.

QUICK: Thank you, we’re out of time. Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina.

Carl.

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz. Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown and calm financial markets that fear of — another Washington-created crisis is on the way.

Does your opposition to it show that you’re not the kind of problem-solver American voters want?

CRUZ: You know, let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. [applause] This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions — “Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?” “Ben Carson, can you do math?” “John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?” “Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?” “Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?”

How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about? [applause]

QUINTANILLA: [inaudible] do we get credit [inaudible]?

CRUZ: And Carl — Carl, I’m not finished yet.

The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, “Which of you is more handsome and why?” [laughter]

And let me be clear.

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: So, this is a question about [inaudible], which you have 30 seconds left to answer, should you choose to do so.

CRUZ: Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. [laughter]

And nobody watching at home believed that any of the moderators had any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be what are your substantive positions…

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: OK. [inaudible] I asked you about the debt limit and I got no answer.

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: You want me to answer that question? I’m happy to answer the question…

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Let me tell you how that question…

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Let me tell you how that question…

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Senator Paul, I’ve got a question for you on the same subject.

CRUZ: … so you don’t actually want to hear the answer, John?

HARWOOD: Senator Paul?

CRUZ: You don’t want to hear the answer. You just want to…

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: You used your time on something else.

Senator Paul?

CRUZ: You’re not interested in an answer.

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Senator Paul, the budget deal crafted by Speaker Boehner and passed by the House today makes cuts in entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security disability, which are the very programs conservatives say need cutting to shrink government and solve our country’s long-term budget deficit. Do you oppose that budget deal because it doesn’t cut those programs enough?

PAUL: No, I oppose it because you’re taking money from the entitlement and then spending it immediately on other items. That’s what they’re doing. They’re taking money from Social Security and they’re going to spend it on the military and they’re going to spend it on domestic spending.

Here’s the thing. When you look at raising the debt limit, it should be leverage to try to reform government. In 2011, the sequester was passed as a reform to slow down the rate of government. Instead, the Washington establishment raised both. We raised the military spending, took from entitlements, and raised domestic spending and the deficit will explode under this. This is the unholy alliance that people need to know about between right and left. Right and left are spending us into oblivion. We should use the debt ceiling, as precisely to Don, to force upon them budgetary reforms.

HARWOOD: Senator, if what you just said is true, why did Speaker Boehner craft this deal and why did Paul Ryan, who has a strong reputation for fiscal discipline, vote for it?

PAUL: Well, that’s a real question. Is there going to be any change in the House with new leadership? I frankly don’t think there will be much change because I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to get more of the same. People in Washington think they were sent there to be adults and govern and do all this. Well, you know what I’m worried about? Not keeping the government open. I’m worried about bankrupting the American people.

We’re borrowing a million dollars a minute. That is important. And that’s what we have to contrast. Keeping the government open and continuing to borrow a million dollars a minute.

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator [inaudible].

QUICK: Governor Christie, I’d like to [inaudible] a question next. Actually, I have a question for you [inaudible].

In your tell it like it is campaign, you’ve said a lot of tough things. You’ve said that we need to raise the retirement age for Social Security. You think that we need to cut benefits for people who make over $80,000 and eliminate them entirely for seniors who are making over $200,000.

Governor Huckabee, who is here on the stage, has said that you and others who think this way are trying to rob seniors of the benefits that they’ve earned. It raises the question: When it is acceptable to break a social compact?

CHRISTIE: Well, I wish you would have asked that question years ago when they broke it. I mean, let me be honest with the people who are watching at home. The government has lied to you and they have stolen from you. They told you that your Social Security money is in a trust fund. All that’s in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs for money they spent on something else a long time ago.

And they’ve stolen from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits and Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years. We’re sitting up here talking about all these other things; 71 percent of federal spending today is on entitlements, and debt service. And, that’s with zero percent interest rates.

Now, I’m the only person that’s put out a detailed plan on how to deal with entitlements. And we’ll save a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. And, here’s the difference between me and Hillary Clinton. What Hillary Clinton’s going to say, and has said before is, she wants to raise Social Security taxes.

Now, let me ask you a question everybody, and, this is for the guy, you know, who owns a landscaping business out there. If somebody’s already stolen money from you, are you going to give them more? Or, are you going to deal with the problem by saying, I’m going to give people who’ve done well in this country less benefit on the backend. We need to get realistic about this. We’re not — the American people — forget about anything else, they’ve already been lied to and stolen from. And…

QUICK: …Governor…

CHRISTIE: …I’m going to go to Washington to stop it…

QUICK: …Thank you.

QUINTANILLA: We promised we would get to everyone this block. Governor Huckabee, I’m going to give you 60 seconds on this.

HUCKABEE: Well, I would really appreciate that. First of all, yes, we’ve stolen. Yes, we’ve lied to the American people about Social Security, and Medicare.

But, you know what we’re not telling them? It’s their money. This isn’t the governments money. This is not entitlement, it’s not welfare. This is money that people have confiscated out of their paychecks. Everytime they got a paycheck, the government reached in and took something out of it before they ever saw it. Now, we’re going to blame the people.

Today congress decided to take another $150 billion dollars away from Social Security so they can borrow more money. That makes no sense to everybody. And, they’re always going to say, “Well, we’re going to fix this one day.”

No their not. It’s like a 400 pound man saying, “I’m going to go on a diet, but I’m eating a sack of Krispy Kremes before I do.”

And, people are sick of believing that the government is never going to really address this. But, let me tell you who not to blame. Let’s quit blaming the people on Social Security. Let’s quit making it a problem for them. It’s like them getting mugged, and then us saying, well, we’re going to mug you some more. You ought to just be able to get over it, get used to it…

QUINTANILLA: …Governor…

HUCKABEE: …No, sir…

QUINTANILLA: …Thank you, Governor…

HUCKABEE: …we need to honor our promises…

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: …Senator Cruz…

HUCKABEE: …before I go. This is the only time I’ve had a chance, let me finish.

QUINTANILLA: OK, alright.

HUCKABEE: …This is a matter not of math, this is a matter of morality. If this country that does not keep its promise to seniors then what promise can this country hope to be trusted to keep? And, the fact is, none of them.

[crosstalk]

[UNKNOWN]: And, by the way, Carl… [applause]

HUCKABEE: And, the only way — no…

[crosstalk]

CHRISTIE: …The only way we’re going to be morale, the only way we’re going to keep our promise to seniors is start by following the first rule we should all follow, which is to look at them, treat them like adults, and tell them the truth.

It isn’t there anymore, Mike. They stole it. It got stolen from them. It’s not theirs anymore. The government stole it, and spent it a long time ago…

HUCKABEE: …Chris…

CHRISTIE: So, let’s stop fooling around about this, let’s tell people the truth. For once, let’s do that, and stop trying to give them some kind of fantasy that’s never going to come true.

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz…

HUCKABEE: …Chris…

QUINTANILLA: …Before we go to break, we’re clearly not having that beer you mentioned, but I’ll give you 30 more seconds…

CRUZ: …Then I’ll buy you a tequila…

QUINTANILLA: OK.

CRUZ: …Or, even some famous Colorado brownies.

QUINTANILLA: I’ll give you 30 seconds to respond…[cheering] [inaudible]

HUCKABEE: Since he brought me up, do I not get to respond?

QUINTANILLA: Respond on the debt limit, or an answer to the governor, which ever you choose.

CRUZ: Well, sure. This deal in Washington is an example of why Washington’s broken. Republican leadership joined with every single Democrat, add $80 trillion to our debt to do nothing to fix the problems.

And, let me now on Social Security because we were getting into a good substantive exchange, and I want to say I think both Chris, and Mike are right. Governor Huckabee’s exactly right, we need to honor the promises made to our seniors, but for younger workers — look. I’m 44 years old.

It is hard to find someone in my generation that thinks Social Security will be there for us. We can save and preserve and strengthen Social Security by making no changes for seniors, but for younger workers gradually increasing the retirement age, changing the rate of growth so that it matches inflation, and critically allowing younger workers to keep a portion of our tax payments in a personal account that we own, we control them, we can pass on to our kids.

QUINTANILLA: 30 seconds, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: John, listen, let’s keep in mind that for one-third of the 60 million Americans on Social Security it represents 90 percent of their income. And, when I hear people talking about means testing, let’s just remember what that means. If we means test Social Security, it means that the government decides whether or not I deserve it. If a person lives in a seven room house, does the government get to say you don’t need seven rooms, we’re going to take two of them away?

Folks, the government has no business stealing even more from the people who have paid this in. I just want to remind you, people paid their money. They expect to have it. And, if this government doesn’t pay it, than tell me what’s different between the government and Bernie Madolf, who sits in prison today for doing less than what the government has done to the people on social security and Medicare in this country. [applause]

QUINTANILLA: Governor, thank you. We will take a break. The Republican Presidential debate, live from Boulder, Colorado, coming back after a break on CNBC. [applause]

[commercial break]

QUICK: Welcome back to the presidential debate for the Republicans. We are live in Boulder, Colorado, right here on CNBC.

Folks, we’ll get right back into this.

Mr. Trump, let’s talk a little bit about bankruptcies. Your Atlantic City casinos filed for bankruptcy four times. In fact, Fitch, the ratings agency, even said that they were serial filers for all of this. You said that you did great with Atlantic City, and you did. But some of the individuals — the bondholders, some of the contractors who worked for you, didn’t fare so well.

Bankruptcy is a broken promise. Why should the voters believe the promises that you’re telling them right now?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, like many other very big businessmen, I could name them here, but I’m not going to do that for a lot of obvious reasons, but the biggest, and almost all of them, they’ve all used the chapter laws, the bankruptcy laws to their own benefit.

Before this, I was a very successful person as a developer and as a businessman. Atlantic City has gone bad. I mean, Chris will know about that. I’m not blaming Chris, by the way, but he will know about that. Caesar’s — excuse me — Caesar’s, the Rolls-Royce, as you know, is in bankruptcy. Almost every hotel in Atlantic City has either been in bankruptcy or will be in bankruptcy — the biggest.

But also the biggest people (ph) — now I’ve used that to my advantage as a business man, for my family, for myself. I never filed for bankruptcy. But many, many people did. What happened with Atlantic City is very, very disgraceful.

Now hundreds of companies I’ve opened. I’ve used it three times, maybe four times. Came out great. But I guess I’m supposed to come out great. That is what I could do for the country. We owe $19 trillion, boy am I good at solving debt problems. Nobody can solve it like me.

But I will tell you this, Atlantic City, you’re using that, hundreds of companies that I have opened have thrived. I built a net worth of way over $10 billion, and I have done it four times out of hundreds. And I’m glad I did it.

I used the laws of the country to my benefit, I’m sorry.

QUICK: Mr. Trump, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

CRAMER: Dr. Carson, in recent weeks, a number of pharmaceutical companies has been accused of profiteering, for dramatically raising the prices of life-saving drugs. You have spent a lifetime in medicine.

Have these companies gone too far? Should the government be involved in controlling some of these price increases?

CARSON: Well, there is no question that some people go overboard when it comes to trying to make profits, and they don’t take into consideration the American people. What we have to start thinking about, as leaders, particularly in government, is what can we do for the average American? And you think about the reasons that we’re having such difficulty right now with our job market.

Well, the average small manufacturer, whatever they’re manufacturing, drugs or anything, if they have less than 50 employees, the average cost in terms of regulations is $34,000 per employee. Makes it a whole lot easier for them to want to go somewhere else.

So what we’re going to have to start doing instead of, you know, picking on this group or this group, is we’re going to have to have a major reduction in the regulatory influence that is going on.

The government is not supposed to be in every part of our lives, and that is what is causing the problem.

CRAMER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

Governor Christie, there has been a lot of political rhetoric that some bank executives should have gone to jail for the 2008 financial crisis.

But General Motors paid more than $1 billion in fines and settlements for its ignition switch defect. One hundred and twenty- four people died as a result of these faulty switches. No one went to jail.

As a former prosecutor, do you believe the people responsible for the switch and the cover-up belong behind bars?

CHRISTIE: You bet they do. And if I were the prosecutor, that is exactly where they would be. The fact is that this Justice Department under this president has been a political Justice Department.

It has been a Justice Department that decided that they want to pick who the winners and losers are. They like General Motors, so they give them a pass. They don’t like somebody else like David Petraeus, they prosecute them and send a decorated general on to disgrace. It’s a political Justice Department.

And, Jim, you know full well that in the seven years I was U.S. attorney we went after pharmaceutical companies. We went after companies that were ripping off shareholders. We went after companies that were doing things that were against the law.

And to expand on Mr. Carson’s — or Dr. Carson’s question, let’s face it, we have laws already. We don’t need newer (ph) laws. We don’t need Hillary Clinton’s price controls for — again, does anybody out there think that giving Washington, D.C., the opportunity to run the pharmaceutical industry is a good idea, given how well they have done running the government?

So what we do, though, is, if there is somebody who is price- gouging, we have laws for prosecutors to take that on. Let’s let a Justice Department — and I will make an attorney general who will enforce the law and make justice more than just a word. It will be a way of life.

CRAMER: Thank you, Governor Christie.

HARWOOD: Jim, thanks.

Governor Bush, in a debate like this four years ago, every Republican running for president pledged to oppose a budget deal containing any tax increase even if it had spending cuts ten times as large.

A few months later, you told Congress, put me in, coach, you said you would take that deal. Still feel that way?

BUSH: Well, the deal was done. Barack Obama got his massive tax increase, and there was no spending cuts. You just see the recent deal announced today or yesterday, more spending, more tax increasing, more regulation. And now we have to accept 2 percent, the new normal for economic growth.

And the net result is the middle class has $2,300 less in their pockets than the day that Barack Obama got elected president. And now they see Hillary Clinton proposing a third term of economic policy for our country.

We need to reverse that. And my record was one of cutting taxes each and every year. You don’t have to guess about it, because I actually have a record. $19 billion of tax cuts, 1.3 million jobs created. We were one of two states to go to AAA bond rating, and our government spending was far less than the spending in people’s income.

HARWOOD: But to — to the point that you made to Congress, if you were president and you were offered a bipartisan deal that had one dollar…

BUSH: You find me…

HARWOOD: …one dollar of tax increases per ten dollars of spending cuts, would you take it?

BUSH: You find me a Democrat — you find me a Democrat that will cut spending ten dollars? Heck, find me a Republican in Congress that would cut spending ten dollars. I’ll talk to them.

HARWOOD: So you don’t want the coach to put you in any more?

BUSH: Look, the — the deal is already done. The biggest tax increase happened under the watch of Barack Obama, and spending’s gone up. You find a Democrat that’s for cutting taxes — cutting spending ten dollars, I’ll give them a warm kiss. [laughter]

HARWOOD: Thank you, governor.

Carl?

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina, in 2010, while running for Senate in Tech Ridge (ph), California, you called an Internet sales tax a bad idea. Traditional brick and mortar stores obviously disagree. Now that the Internet shopping playing field has matured, what would be a fair plan to even that playing field?

FIORINA: You know, I want to go back for a moment to what we were just talking about. Crony capitalism is alive and well, and has been so in Washington, D.C. for decades.

What’s crony capitalism? Crony capitalism is what happens when government gets so big and so powerful that only the big and the powerful can handle it.

So why are the pharmaceutical companies consolidating? Why are there five even bigger Wall Street banks now, instead of the ten we used to have on Wall Street? Because when government gets big and powerful, the big feel like they need to get even bigger to deal with all that power, and meanwhile, the small and the powerless — in this case, 1,590 community banks — go out of business.

You see, folks, this is how socialism starts. Government causes a problem, and then government steps in to solve the problem. This is why, fundamentally, we have to take our government back.

The student loan problem has been created by government. Government trying to level the playing field between Internet and brick-and-mortar creates a problem. The FCC jumping in now and saying, “we’re going to put 400 pages of regulation over the Internet,” is going to create massive problems.

But guess who pushed for that regulation? The big Internet companies. This is what’s going on. Big and powerful use big and powerful government to their advantage.

It’s why you see Walgreens buying Rite Aid. It’s why you see the pharmaceuticals getting together. It’s you see the health insurance companies getting together. It’s why you see the banks consolidating.

And meanwhile, small businesses are getting crushed. Community- based businesses and farms are getting crushed. Community banks are going out of business. Big government favors the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected, and crushes the small and the powerless.

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina.

FIORINA: It is why we have to simplify. It is why we have to reduce the size and power of government.

QUINTANILLA: OK.

FIORINA: It’s the only way to level the playing field between big and powerful and small and powerless.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you very much. [applause]

QUICK: Senator Rubio, you yourself have said that you’ve had issues. You have a lack of bookkeeping skills. You accidentally inter-mingled campaign money with your personal money. You faced (ph) foreclosure on a second home that you bought. And just last year, you liquidated a $68,000 retirement fund. That’s something that cost you thousands of dollars in taxes and penalties.

In terms of all of that, it raises the question whether you have the maturity and wisdom to lead this $17 trillion economy. What do you say?

RUBIO: Well, you just — you just listed a litany of discredited attacks from Democrats and my political opponents, and I’m not gonna waste 60 seconds detailing them all. But I’m going to tell you the truth.

Here’s the truth. I didn’t inherit any money. My dad was a bartender, my mother was a maid. They worked hard to provide us the chance at a better life.

They didn’t save enough money for us to go to school. I had to work my way through school. I had to borrow money to go to school. I tried (ph), early in my marriage, explaining to my wife why someone named Sallie Mae was taking $1,000 out of our bank account every month. [laughter]

I know what it’s like to owe that money, and we’ve worked hard. We’ve worked hard our whole life to provide a better family — a better life for our family.

We own a home four blocks away from the place that I grew up in. My four children have been able to receive a good Christian education, and I’ve been able to save for them to go to college so they never have to have the loans that I did.

But I’m not worried about my finances, I’m worried about the finances of everyday Americans who today are struggling in an economy that is not producing good paying jobs while everything else costs more. And that’s what this economy needs to — that’s what this debate needs to be about.

This debate needs to be about the men and women across this country that are struggling on a daily basis to provide for their families the better future that we’ve always said this country is all about.

QUICK: Senator, I understand all of that. I had a lot of student loans when I got out, too. But you’ve had a windfall that a lot of Americans haven’t. You made over a million dollars on a book deal, and some of these problems came after that.

RUBIO: And I used it to pay off my loans. And it’s available on paperback, if you’re interested in buying my book. [applause]

QUICK: But you — but you liquidated that retirement account after the fact, and that cost you about $24,000 out of that in taxes and feed. That — that was after you’d already come into that windfall. That’s why I raised the question.

RUBIO: Yeah, again, as I said, we’re raising a family in the 21st century and it’s one of the reasons why my tax plan is a pro- family tax plan.

It increases the per child tax credit, because I didn’t read about this in a book. I know for a fact how difficult it is to raise children, how expensive it’s become for working families. And I make a lot more than the average American. Imagine how hard it is for these people out there that are making 40, 50, $60,000 a year, and they’re trying to provide for their families at a time when this economy is not growing.

We can’t afford another four years of that. Which is what we’re gonna get if we elect a big government liberal like Hillary Clinton to the White House.

Thank you, senator.

HARWOOD: Governor John Kasich, you’ve called for abolishing the Export Import Bank, which provides subsidies to help American companies compete with overseas competitors. You call that corporate welfare.

One of the largest newspapers in your state wrote an editorial, said they found that strange, writing, that if that’s corporate welfare, what does Kasich call the millions of dollars in financial incentives doled out to attract or retain jobs by his development effort — jobs Ohio.

If subsidies are good enough for Ohio companies, why aren’t they good enough for companies trying to compete overseas?

KASICH: Well, first of all, when we talk about the Import Export Bank, it’s time to clean up corporate welfare. If we’re gonna reform welfare for poor people, we ought to reform it for rich people, as well. Secondly, in our state, we went from a loss of 350,000 jobs to, now, a gain of 347,000 jobs to the positive. Our wages are growing faster than the national average, and I’ve cut taxes more than any sitting governor in this state — $5 billion, including no taxes on small business and killing the death tax.

I want to go back to what we were talking about earlier, this budget deal in Washington.

This is the same old stuff since I left.

You spend the money today and then you hope you’re going to save money tomorrow.

I don’t know if people understand, but I spent a lifetime with my colleagues getting us to a federal balanced budget. We actually did it. And I have a road map and a plan right now to get us to balance.

Reforming entitlements, cutting taxes. You see, because if you really want to get to a balanced budget, you need to reduce your expenses and you need to grow your economy. So what I will tell you about our incentives — our incentives are tight, and at the end of the day we make sure that we gain more from the creation of jobs than what we lose.

And you know what? Ohio, one of the best growing places in the country — I not only did it in Washington, I did it in Ohio, and I’ll go back to Washington, and there will be no more silly deals…

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

KASICH: … If I become President because we’ll have a Constitutional Amendment to require a federally balanced budget so they will do their job.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. Thank you.

QUICK: Yes, thank you John.

Senator Cruz, working women in this country still earn just 77 percent of what men earn. And I know that you’ve said you’ve been very sympathetic to our cause. But you’ve also you said that the Democrats’ moves to try and change this are the political show votes.

I just wonder what you would do as President to try and help in this cause?

CRUZ: Well, we’ve gotta turn the economy around for people who are struggling.

The Democrats’ answer to everything is more government control over wages, and more empowering trial lawyers to file lawsuits.

You know, you look at women working. I’ll tell you, in my family there are a lot of single moms in my family. My sister was a single mom, both of my aunts who were a single moms. My mom who’s here today, was a single mom when my father left us when I was 3 years old.

Now, thank God, my father was invited to a Bible study and became born again and he came back to my mom and me and we were raised together. But I — the struggle of single moms is extraordinary. And you know, when you see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and all the Democrats talking about wanting to address the plight of working women, not a one of them mentioned the fact that under Barack Obama, 3.7 million women have entered poverty.

Not a one of them mentioned the fact that under Barack Obama and the big government economy, the median wage for women has dropped $733. The the truth of the matter is, big government benefits the wealthy, it benefits the lobbyists, it benefits the giant corporations. And the people who are getting hammered are small businesses, it’s single moms, it’s Hispanics. That is who I’m fighting for. The people that Washington leaves behind.

[crosstalk]

FIORINA: Becky, it is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman President, when every single policy she espouses, and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women.

92 percent — 92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women. Senator Cruz is precisely right. Three million women have fallen into poverty under this administration. The number of women —

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina —

FIORINA: — living in extreme poverty is the highest level on record. I am a conservative because I know our values, our principles and our policies —

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina, we will come back to you.

FIORINA: — work better to lift everyone up, men and women.

QUICK: Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina. Carl? [applause]

QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson, we know you as a physician, but we wanted to ask you about your involvement on some corporate boards, including Costco’s. Last year, a marketing study called the warehouse retailer the number one gay-friendly brand in America, partly because of its domestic partner benefits.

Why would you serve on a company whose policies seem to run counter to your views on homosexuality?

CARSON: Well, obviously, you don’t understand my views on homosexuality. I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. And there is no reason that you can’t be perfectly fair to the gay community.

They shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe. And this is one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society, and this is how they frighten people and get people to shut up. You know, that’s what the PC culture is all about, and it’s destroying this nation.

The fact of the matter is we the American people are not each other’s enemies, it’s those people who are trying to divide us who are the enemies. And we need to make that very clear to everybody. [applause]

QUINTANILLA: One more question. This is a company called Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year relationship. They offered claims that they could cure autism, cancer, they paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, and yet you’re involvement continued. Why?

CARSON: Well, that’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda.

I did a couple of speeches for them, I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them.

Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.

QUINTANILLA: To be fair, you were on the homepage of their website with the logo over your shoulder —

CARSON: If somebody put me on their homepage, they did it without my permission.

QUINTANILLA: Does that not speak to your vetting process or judgment in any way.

CARSON: No, it speaks to the fact that I don’t know those —

[audience boos]

See? They know. [applause]

QUINTANILLA: Apparently. We will take a break. We’ll be back in Boulder in just a minute.

[commercial break]

HARWOOD: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate on CNBC, live from Boulder, Colorado at the University of Colorado.

Senator Huckabee, I mean — excuse me — Senator Rubio, Wired magazine recently carried the headline, “Marco Rubio wants to be the tech industry’s savior.” It noted your support for dramatically increasing immigration visas called H1B, which are designed for workers with the special skills that Silicon Valley wants.

But your Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, says in reality, the tech industry uses this program to undercut hiring and wages for highly qualified Americans. Why is he wrong?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, if a company gets caught doing that, they should never be able to use the program again. If you get caught abusing this program, you should never be able to use it again.

The second thing I said is we need to add reforms, not just increase the numbers, but add reforms. For example, before you hire anyone from abroad, you should have to advertise that job for 180 days. You also have to prove that you’re going to pay these people more than you would pay someone else, so that you’re not undercutting it by bringing in cheap labor.

But here’s the best solution of all. We need to get back to training people in this country to do the jobs of the 21st century. Why, for the life of me, I do not understand why did we stop doing vocational education in America, people that can work with their hands; people you can train to do this work while they’re still in high school so they can graduate ready to go work. But the best way to close this gap is to modernize higher education so Americans have the skills for those jobs. But in the interim, in the absence of that, what’s happening is some of these tech companies are taking those — those centers (ph) to Canada because they can get people to go over there instead of here.

But the ideal scenario is to train Americans to do the work so we don’t have to rely on people from abroad.

HARWOOD: It sounds like you think Senator Sessions is wrong to believe there is enough abuse in that program that we shouldn’t…

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: Well, I believe that there are abuses, those companies should be permanently barred from ever using the program again and we should put strict standards in place to ensure that they’re not being abused, like the prevailing wage requirement and like the advertising requirement.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator.

Becky?

QUICK: Mr. Trump, let’s stay on this issue of immigration. You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who has wanted to increase the number of these H1Bs.

TRUMP: I was not at all critical of him. I was not at all. In fact, frankly, he’s complaining about the fact that we’re losing some of the most talented people. They go to Harvard. They go to Yale. They go to Princeton. They come from another country and they’re immediately sent out.

I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.

QUICK: So you’re in favor of…

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: So I have nothing at all critical of him.

QUICK: Where did I read this and come up with this that you were…

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: Probably, I don’t know — you people write the stuff. I don’t know where you… [laughter] [applause]

And if I could say just one thing. I am the only person in either campaign that’s self-funding. I’m putting up 100 percent of my own money. And right now, I will be putting up a tremendous — so far, I’ve put up less than anybody and I have the best results. Wouldn’t that be nice if the country could do that?

But I will be putting — I will be putting up, you know, tremendous amounts of money. SuperPacs are a disaster. They’re a scam. They cause dishonesty. And you better get rid of them because they are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people. And I’m not blaming these folks — well, I guess I could. [laughter]

Very good people are making very bad decisions right now. And if anything comes out of this whole thing with some of these nasty and ridiculous questions, I will tell you, you better get rid of the SuperPacs because they causing a big problem with this country, not only in dishonesty and what’s going on, but also in a lot of bad decisions that have been made for the benefit of lobbyists and special interests.

QUICK: You know, Mr. — you know, Mr. Trump, if I may [inaudible]. You’ve been — you have been — you had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H1B.

TRUMP: I never said that. I never said that.

QUICK: So this was an erroneous article the whole way around?

TRUMP: You’ve got another gentleman in Florida, who happens to be a very nice guy, but not…

QUICK: My apologies. I’m sorry.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: … he’s really doing some bad…

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: Since I’ve been mentioned, can I respond?

[crosstalk]

QUICK: Yes, you can.

RUBIO: OK. I know the Democrats have the ultimate SuperPac. It’s called the mainstream media who every single day… [applause] … and I’ll tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, “Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements.” She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

It was the week she got exposed as a liar. It was the week that she got exposed as a liar… [applause]

But she has her super PAC helping her out, the American mainstream media.

QUICK: Senator Rubio, thank you very much.

I would like to introduce my colleague, Rick Santelli, he has some comments as well, sir.

SANTELLI: Senator Cruz, let’s focus on our central bank, the Federal Reserve. You’ve been a fierce critic of the Fed, arguing for more transparency. Where do you want to take that?

Do you want to get Congress involved in monetary policy, or is it time to slap the Fed back and downsize them completely? What are your thoughts? What do you believe?

CRUZ: Well, Rick, it’s a very important question. I have got deep concerns about the Fed. The first thing I think we need to do is audit the Fed. And I am an original co-sponsor of Rand Paul’s audit the Fed legislation.

The second thing we need to do is I think we need to bring together a bipartisan commission to look at getting back to rules- based monetary policy, end this star chamber that has been engaging in this incredible experiment of quantitative easing, QE1, QE2, QE3, QE- infinity.

And the people who are being impacted, you know, a question that was asked earlier, Becky asked, was about working women. You know, it’s interesting, you look at on Wall Street, the Fed is doing great. It’s driving up stock prices. Wall Street is doing great.

You know, today, the top 1 percent earn a higher share of our income than any year since 1928. But if you look at working men and women. If you look at a single mom buying groceries, she sees hamburger prices have gone up nearly 40 percent.

She sees her cost of electricity going up. She sees her health insurance going up. And loose money is one of the major problems. We need sound money. And I think the Fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy and simply be focused on sound money and monetary stability, ideally tied to gold.

SANTELLI: Senator Paul, the same question to you.

PAUL: Well, thank you very much. I would like to thank Ted for co-sponsoring my bill, audit the Fed. And I think it’s precisely because of the arrogance of someone like Ben Bernanke, who now calls us all know-nothings, that is precisely why we need audit the Fed.

I think it is really very much a huge problem that an organization as powerful as the Fed comes in, lobbies against them being audited on the Hill. I would prevent them lobbying Congress. I don’t think the Fed should be involved with lobbying us.

I think we should examine how the Fed has really been part of the problem. You want to study income inequality, let’s bring the Fed forward and talk about Fed policy and how it causes income inequality.

Let’s also bring the Fed forward and have them explain how they caused the housing boom and the crisis, and what they’ve done to make us better or worse. I think the Fed has been a great problem in our society.

What you need to do is free up interest rates. Interest rates are the price of money, and we shouldn’t have price controls on the price of money.

SANTELLI: Thank you, Senator. [applause]

Dr. Carson, you told The Des Moines Register that you don’t like government subsidies, it interferes with the free market. But you’ve also said that you’re in favor of taking oil subsidies and putting them towards ethanol processing.

Isn’t that just swapping one subsidy for another, Doctor?

CARSON: Well, first of all, I was wrong about taking the oil subsidy. I have studied that issue in great detail. And what I have concluded is that the best policy is to get rid of all government subsidies, and get the government out of our lives, and let people rise and fall based on how good they are.

And — you know, all of this too big to fail stuff and picking and choosing winners and losers — this is a bunch of crap, and it is really causing a great deal of — great deal of problems for our society right now.

And — and — you know, it goes back to the whole concept of regulations, which are in everything. The reason that I — I hate them so much is because every single regulation costs in terms of goods and services.

That cost gets passed on to the people. Now, who are the people who are hurt by that? It’s poor people and middle class. Doesn’t hurt rich people if their bar of soap goes up ten cents, but it hurts the poor and the middle class.

And Bernie Sanders will tell them that it’s because of the rich. Well, I’ll tell you something: you can take everything from the top 1 percent, and you apply it to our fiscal gap, and you won’t even make a dent in it.

SANTELLI: Thank you, Doctor.

Becky?

QUICK: Rick, thank you very much.

Governor Huckabee, you have railed against income inequality. You’ve said that some Wall Street executives should have gone to jail over the roles that they played during the financial crisis.

Apart from your tax plan, are there specific steps you would require from corporate America to try and reduce the income inequality.

HUCKABEE: I don’t think it’s so much about when the government orders a corporation to do something. In fact, that’s part of the problem. If you saw that blimp that got cut loose from Maryland today, it’s a perfect example of government.

I mean, what we had was something the government made — basically a bag of gas — that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people powerless, but they couldn’t get rid of it because we had too much money invested in it, so we had to keep it.

That is our government today. We saw it in the blimp. [applause]

That’s exactly what we saw. So look, corporations ought to exercise some responsibility. When CEO income has risen 90 percent above the average worker, when the bottom 90 percent of this country’s economy has had stagnant wages for the past 40 years, somebody is taking it in the teeth.

And it’s not the folks on Wall Street. I’m not anti-Wall Street, but I don’t believe the government ought to wear a team jersey, pick winners and losers.

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: The government ought to wear a striped shirt and just make sure the game…

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: …is paid — played fairly.

QUICK: Thank you.

HUCKABEE: Now, everybody else has fudged their time and gone over, so please, don’t cut me off too quick, Becky.

QUICK: All right, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Let me just close it out this way.

QUICK: How about 15 more seconds?

HUCKABEE: We need to be focusing on what fixes this country. And I’ll tell you one thing that we never talk about — we haven’t talked about it tonight.

Why aren’t we talking about — instead of cutting benefits for old people, cutting benefits for sick people — why don’t we say, “let’s cure the four big cost-driving diseases…

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: …”diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s?”

QUICK: Governor, I’m sorry…

HUCKABEE: If you do that, you don’t just change the economy, you transform the lives of millions of hurting Americans.

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

HUCKABEE: Gosh, I’d love for us to talk about something like that. Thank you.

QUICK: Governor, thank you. Appreciate it.

John?

HARWOOD: Governor Bush, the tax reform bill that Ronald Reagan signed in 1986 cut the top personal income tax rate to 28 percent — just like your plan does. But President Reagan taxed capital gains at the same rate, while you would tax them at just 20 percent.

Given the problems we’ve been discussing, growing gap between rich and poor, why would you tax labor at a higher rate than income from investments?

BUSH: Look, the — the simple fact is that my plan actually gives the middle class the greatest break: $2,000 per family. And if you make $40,000 a year, a family of four, you don’t pay any income tax at all.

Simplifying the code and lowering rates, both for corporations and — and personal rates, is exactly what we need to do. You think about the regulatory cost and the tax cost — that’s why small businesses are closing, rather than being formed in our country right now.

The big corporations have the scale to deal with all of this. And what I think all of us are saying is, our monetary policy, our tax policy, regulatory policy needs to be radically changed so we can create high sustained growth for income to rise.

The government has tried it their way. Under — under Barack Obama and the proposals of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and others, they’ve tried it their way, and it has failed miserably.

We need to take a new approach of taxing — reforming how we tax, and reforming the regulations in our — in our country before it’s too late.

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you.

The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale.

Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don’t you have that backward?

RUBIO: No, that’s — you’re wrong. In fact, the largest after- tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there’s a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them.

Number one, you have people in this country that…

HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation — just to be clear, they said the…

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: …you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it.

HARWOOD: No, I did not.

RUBIO: You did. No, you did. [applause]

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Senator, the Tax Foundation said after-tax income for the top 1 percent under your plan would go up 27.9 percent.

RUBIO: Well, you’re talking about — yeah.

HARWOOD: And people in the middle of the income spectrum, about 15 percent.

RUBIO: Yeah, but that — because the math is, if you — 5 percent of a million is a lot more than 5 percent of a thousand. So yeah, someone who makes more money…

HARWOOD: [inaudible]

RUBIO: …numerically, it’s gonna be higher. But the greatest gains, percentage-wise, for people, are gonna be at the lower end of our plan, and here’s why: because in addition to a general personal exemption, we are increasing the per-child tax credit for working families.

We are lowering taxes on small business. You know, a lot of business activity in America is conducted like the guy that does my dry cleaning. He’s an S corporation. He pays on his personal rate, and he is paying higher than the big dry-cleaning chain down the street, because he’s paying at his personal rate.

Under my plan, no business, big or small, will pay more than 25 percent flat rate on their business income. That is a dramatic tax decrease for hard-working people who run their own businesses.

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: …The other thing I’d like to make about our plan, one more point, it is the most pro growth tax plan that I can imagine because it doesn’t tax investments at all. You know why? Because the more you tax something, the less of it you get.

I want to be in — I want America to be the best…

PAUL: …John…

RUBIO: …in the world for people…

HARWOOD: Senator, thank you.

PAUL: John, I’d like to address this? John, could I follow up on this?

QUINTANILLA: …We’ll come back around. I want to get to governor Kasich.

PAUL: What are the rules on who gets to follow up. How do we decide on who gets to follow up? I’ve seen plenty of other people follow up?

QUICK: It’s at the moderator discretion.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Kasich, let’s talk …

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: …about Marijuana, Governor Kasich…

PAUL: I’d like to just mention something about my tax plan, and how it relates to the discussion…

QUINTANILLA: Alright, but 30 seconds, you made a case. Sure, 30 seconds.

PAUL: Alright. Much of the discussion is centered over whether or not the different tax plans help, or affect the middle class. In fact, it’s the chief argument by democrats against many of the different flat tax proposals. Mine is unique in the sense that my tax plan actually gets rid of the payroll tax as well. It shifts it to the business, and it would allow middle class people to get a tax cut.

If you just cut their income tax, there isn’t much income tax to cut. Mine actually cuts the payroll tax, and I think it would spread the tax cut across all socioeconomic levels, and would allow then it to be something that would be broadly supported by the public in an election.

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you.

CRUZ: Let me say on that…

QUINTANILLA: Oh, no, no, no…

CRUZ: …Rand is exactly right. His plan is a good plan, and I will note that my 10% plan also eliminates the payroll tax, eliminates the death tax,

QUINTANILLA: …Ok…

CRUZ: …eliminates the business…

[UNKNOWN]: [inaudible]

CRUZ: …income tax…

[UNKNOWN]: What are you doing?

CRUZ: …10% flat rate…

QUINTANILLA: …We’re going to go to…

CRUZ: …is the lowest personal rate any candidate up here has, and what it would also enable us to do is for every citizen to fill out their taxes on a postcard so we can eliminate the IRS. [cheering and pplause]

QUINTANILLA: OK. Thank you, Senator. Governor Kasich, let’s talk about marijuana. We’re broadcasting from Colorado which has seen $150 million in new revenue for the state since legalizing last year. Governor Hickenlooper is not a big fan of legalization, but he’s said the people who used to be smoking it are still smoking it, they’re just now paying taxes.

Given the budget pressures in Ohio, and other states, is this a revenue stream you’d like to have?

KASICH: Well, first of all, we’re running a $2 billion dollar surplus, we’re not having a revenue problem right now. And, sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster. Drugs is one of the greatest scourge in this country, and I spent five years of my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try to reign in the problem of overdoses, and it goes on and on. We could do a whole show on that.

I want to go back for a second thought on this issue of income inequality. My program would move the 104 programs of the federal Department of Education into four block grants, and send them back to the states because income inequality is driven by a lack of skills when kids don’t get what they need to be able to compete and win in this country.

The fact is, in order to get this economy moving again, I call for freezing regulations for a year except for the problem of public safety. I believe that we need to cut these taxes down, we need to be on a roadmap to balancing the budget, and we need to send power, money, and influence, the welfare department, the education department, job training, infrastructure, Medicaid, all of that out of Washington back to the states so we can run these programs from where we live to the top, not a one size fits all mentality that they have in Washington.

And, that will get to the nub of opportunity for our children, and an ability to see wages rise. Again…

[crosstalk]

KASICH: …One more time, in Ohio, our wages are growing faster than the national average. We’ve cut taxes, balanced budgets, changed the regulatory environment. Folks, you want to —

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor.

KASICH: — fix America, this is the formula. It worked for Reagan and it works for our team in Ohio. Thank you.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you. We’ll be back from Boulder, Colorado in just a moment. [applause]

[commercial break]

QUICK: Welcome back to the University of Colorado and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC.

Mr. Trump, I want to go back to an issue that we were talking about before, the H-1B visas. I found where I read that before. It was from the donaldjtrump.com website and it says — it says that again, Mark Zuckerburg’s personal senator, Marco Rubio has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities. Are you in favor of H-1Bs or are you opposed to them?

TRUMP: I’m in favor of people coming into this country legally. And you know what? They can have it anyway you want. You can call it visas, you can call it work permits, you can call it anything you want. I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs, and in all due respect — and actually some of these folks I really like a lot — but I’m the only one that can say that. I have created tens of thousands of jobs, and I’ll be creating many millions of jobs if I’m given — if I’m given the opportunity to be president.

As far as Mark is concerned, as far as the visas are concerned, if we need people, they have — it’s fine. They have to come into this country legally. We have a country of borders. We have a country of laws. We have to obey the laws. It’s fine if they come in, but they have to come in legally.

QUICK: Thank you, sir.

RUBIO: I was mentioned in the question.

QUICK: You were. You get 30 seconds.

RUBIO: Thank you.

Well, I’ve learned the rules on this. [laughter]

Look, in addition to what Donald was saying is we also need to talk about the legal immigration system for permanent residents. Today, we have a legal immigration system for permanent residency that is largely based on whether or not you have a relative living here. And that’s the way my parents came legally in 1956.

But in 2015, we have a very different economy. Our legal immigration system from now on has to be merit-based. It has to be based on what skills you have, what you can contribute economically, and most important of all, on whether or not you’re coming here to become an American, not just live in America, but be an American.

QUICK: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.

Carl?

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump, you’ve said you have a special permit to carry a gun in New York.

TRUMP: Yes.

QUINTANILLA: After the Oregon mass shooting on October 1st, you said, “By the way, it was a gun-free zone. If you had a couple of teachers with guns, you would have been a hell of a lot better off.”

TRUMP: Or somebody else. Right.

QUINTANILLA: Would you feel more comfortable if your employees brought guns to work?

TRUMP: Yes, I might feel more comfortable. I would say that I would and I have a permit, which is very unusual in New York — a permit to carry. And I do carry on occasion, sometimes a lot. But I like to be unpredictable so that people don’t know exactly… [laughter]

QUINTANILLA: Are you carrying one now? [laughter]

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: By the way, unlike our country where we’re totally predictable and the enemy, whether it’s ISIS or anybody else, they know exactly what we’re doing because we have the wrong leadership. [applause]

But I feel that the gun-free zones and, you know, when you say that, that’s target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill. That’s target. They look around for gun-free zones. You know, we could give you another example — the Marines, the Army, these wonderful six soldiers that were killed. Two of them were among the most highly decorated — they weren’t allowed on a military base to have guns. And somebody walked in and shot them, killed them. If they had guns, he wouldn’t be around very long. I can tell you, there wouldn’t have been much damage.

So, I think gun-free zones are a catastrophe. They’re a feeding frenzy for sick people.

QUINTANILLA: We called a few Trump resorts, a few Trump properties that — that do not allow guns with or without a permit. Would you change those policies?

TRUMP: I would change them. I would change them.

QUINTANILLA: OK. All right. Thank you.

John?

HARWOOD: Governor Huckabee, you’ve written about the huge divide in values between middle America and the big coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles. As a preacher as well as a politician, you know that presidents need the moral authority to bring the entire country together.

The leading Republican candidate, when you look at the average of national polls right now, is Donald Trump. When you look at him, do you see someone with the moral authority to unite the country?

HUCKABEE: You know, of the few questions I’ve got, the last one I need is to give him some more time. I love Donald Trump. He is a good man. I’m wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one, OK? [applause]

[crosstalk]

[UNKNOWN:]: Is it made in Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I don’t know.

[UNKNOWN:]: Where’s it made? Is it made in China?

[UNKNOWN:]: Is it made in China or Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I have no idea.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: Such a nasty — such a nasty question, but thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: You’re welcome. [laughter]

Let me tell you, Donald Trump would be a president every day of the week and twice on Sunday, rather than Hillary. I’ve spent a lifetime in politics fighting the Clinton machine. [applause]

You want to talk about what we’re going to be up against next year? I’m the only guy on this stage — you know, everybody has an “only guy” — “I’m the only guy this; I’m the only guy that.” Well, let me tell you one thing that I am the only guy: The only guy that has consistently fought the Clinton machine every election I was ever in over the past 26 years. And not only did I fight them, but I beat them.

Somebody says “I’m a fighter.” Well, I want to know, did you win? Well, I did. And not only did I fight them and win, I lived to tell about it and I’m standing on this stage tonight as evidence of that. And I think that ought to be worth something.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

CHRISTIE: John, I’ll tell you something. You want to talk about moral authority. Let’s talk about something that happened this week in the news. You know, the FBI director, the president’s appointed FBI director has said this week that because of a lack of support from politicians like the president of the United States, that police officers are afraid to get out of their cars; that they’re afraid to enforce the law. And he says, the president’s appointee, that crime is going up because of this.

And when the president of the United States gets out to speak about it, does he support police officers? Does he stand up for law enforcement? No, he doesn’t. I’ll tell you this, the number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people. This president has failed, and when I’m in the Oval Office, police officers will know that they will have the support of the president of the Untied States. That’s real moral authority that we need in the Oval Office.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

Don’t forget my colleague, Sharon Epperson.

EPPERSON: Thank you, John.

Mrs. Fiorina, you were the CEO of a large corporation that offers a 401(k) to its employees. But more than half of American have no access to an employer sponsored retirement plan.

That includes the workers at small businesses, and the growing ranks of Uber drivers and other part-timers in the freelance economy.

Should the Federal Government play a larger role in helping to set up retirement plans for these workers?

FIORINA: No, the Federal Government should not play a larger role.

Look, every time the Federal Government gets engaged in something it gets worse. And then the Government steps in to try and solve the problem and we get a little further down to that progressive vision that Hillary Clinton is talking about.

Companies should, if they want to attract the best workers, provide a good set of benefits. But honestly, if you’re a small business owner today you are being crushed. We have 400,000 small businesses forming every year in this country. How great is that? They are employing themselves, they are potentially employing others.

The bad news is, we have 470,000 going out of business every year. And why? They cite Obamacare.

They are refusing to…

EPPERSON: So you wouldn’t agree — you wouldn’t agree with a start for 401(k) for businesses or anything like that?

FIORINA: I think it’s a wonderful that that businesses start a 401(k). The point I’m making is this, the Federal Government should not be in a lot of things.

There is no Constitutional role for the Federal Government in setting up — retirement plans. There is no Constitutional role for the Federal Government to be setting minimum wages…

EPPERSON: Thank you very much.

FIORINA: … The more the Government gets engaged in the economy, the slower the economy becomes. The more the Government gets engaged in the economy, it is demonstrably true…

EPPERSON: Thank you, the rules say one minute.

FIORINA: … The more the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected are advantaged.

EPPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina. We appreciate it. Thank you, thank you.

I want to turn my attention now, to you now, Governor Kasich.

Most people can’t get a college degree without going into debt. Over 40 million Americans have student loans and many of them cannot pay them back.

This country has over $100 billion in student loan defaults. That’s billion with a b.

What will you do to make sure that students, their families, taxpayers, won’t feel the economic impact of this burden for generations?

Well, first of all, in Ohio we’re changing the whole system. Universities will not get paid one dime unless the student graduates or — graduates or completes a course.

Secondly, you can be in high school and complete almost an entire first year before you go to college and get credit to do that. And, of course, in addition to that, we are working now to go after the cost drivers in our universities. And let me give you an example. Universities today have so many non-academic assets. At Ohio State they sold the parking garage and the parking lot, and they got $500 million because they shouldn’t be in the parking lot business. They shouldn’t be in the ding business, they shouldn’t be in the dorm business.

And, of course, we need to take advantage of on-line education to reduce these costs and begin to dis-intermediate the cost of four years.

Now, for those who that have these big high costs, I think we can seriously look at an idea of where you can do public service. I mean legitimate, public service and begin to pay off some of that debt through the public service that you do. And in the meantime, it may inspire us to care more about our country, more about ourselves.

This is a big moral issue in America. Living a life bigger than yourself, and being a center of healing and justice. And people can learn it through public service.

EPPERSON: Thank you, thank you.

BUSH: We don’t need the federal government to be involved in this at all.

QUICK: Higher education is the example…

BUSH: We don’t need the Federal Government to be involved in this, because when they do we create a $1.2 trillion debt.

In Florida, we have the lowest in-state tuition of any state, because there’s accountability, just as John said. Let the states do this. You’ll create a much better graduation rate at a lower cost, and you won’t in debt the next generation with recourse debt on their backs.

It’s always a solution of the left to create more Government from the Federal Government. It is broke, it is not working.

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: Governor Bush, daily fantasy sports has become a phenomenon in this country, will award billions of dollars in prize money this year. But to play you have to assess your odds, put money at risk, wait for an outcome that’s out of your control. Isn’t that the definition of gambling, and should the Federal Government treat it as such?

BUSH: Well, first of all, I’m 7 and 0 in my fantasy league.

QUINTANILLA: I had a feeling you were going to brag about that.

BUSH: Gronkowski is still going strong. I have Ryan Tannehill, Marco, as my quarterback, he was 18 for 19 last week. So I’m doing great. But we’re not gambling.

And I think this has become something that needs to be looked at in terms of regulation. Effectively it is day trading without any regulation at all. And when you have insider information, which apparently has been the case, where people use that information and use big data to try to take advantage of it, there has to be some regulation.

If they can’t regulate themselves, then the NFL needs to look at just, you know, moving away from them a little bit. And there should be some regulation. I have no clue whether the federal government is the proper place, my instinct is to say, hell no, just about everything about the federal government.

[crosstalk]

CHRISTIE: Carl, are we really talking about getting government involved in fantasy football? [laughter]

We have — wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work. We have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us. And we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop? [applause]

How about this? How about we get the government to do what they’re supposed to be doing, secure our borders, protect our people, and support American values and American families. Enough on fantasy football. Let people play, who cares?

[crosstalk]

QUICK: I want to go back, if I can, to the issue of…

[crosstalk]

QUICK: I want to go back, if I may, to the…

HARWOOD: Governor Christie, you’ve said something that many in your party do not believe, which is that climate change is undeniable, that human activity contributes to it, and you said, quote: “The question is, what do we do to deal with it?”.

So what do we do?

CHRISTIE: Well, first off, what we don’t do is do what Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Barack Obama want us to do, which is their solution for everything, put more taxes on it, give more money to Washington, D.C., and then they will fix it.

Well, there is no evidence that they can fix anything in Washington, D.C.

HARWOOD: What should we do?

CHRISTIE: What we should do is to be investing in all types of energy, John, all types of energy. I’ve laid out…

HARWOOD: You mean government?

CHRISTIE: No, John. John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer? [laughter]

How are we going to do this? [applause]

Because, I’ve got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude. So… [laughter]

We’ve laid out a national energy plan that says that we should invest in all types of energy. I will tell you, you could win a bet at a bar tonight, since we’re talking about fantasy football, if you ask who the top three states in America are that produce solar energy: California and Arizona are easy, but number three is New Jersey.

Why? Because we work with the private sector to make solar energy affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state.

We need to make sure that we do everything across all kinds of energy: natural gas, oil, absolutely. But also where it’s affordable, solar, wind in Iowa has become very affordable and it makes sense.

That is the way we deal with global warming, climate change, or any of those problems, not through government intervention, not through government taxes, and for God’s sake, don’t send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they’re already sending there.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

Becky.

QUICK: Senator Paul, among the leading conservative opponents to the creation of Medicare back in the 1960s was Ronald Reagan. He warned that it would lead to socialism. Considering the mounting cost of Medicare, was he right to oppose it?

PAUL: The question always is, what works better, the private marketplace or government? And what distributes goods better? It always seems to be the private marketplace does a better job.

Is there an area for a safety net? Can you have Medicare or Social Security? Yes. But you ought to acknowledge the government doesn’t do a very good job at it.

The main problem with Medicare right now is that the average person pays in taxes over their whole lifetime about $100,000. But the average person takes out about $350,000. We have this enormous mismatch because we have smaller and smaller families.

When people ask me, whose fault is it? Whose fault is it that Medicare is broken, out of money, that Social Security is broken, out of money? And I say, look, it’s not Republicans’ fault, it’s not Democrats’ fault, it’s your grandparents’ fault for having too many damn kids. [laughter]

After the war we had all of these kids, Baby Boomers. Now we’re having smaller families. We used to have 16 workers for one retiree, now you have three workers for one retiree.

It’s not working. I have a bill to fix Medicare. I’ve a bill to fix Social Security. For both of them you have to gradually raise the age. If you’re not willing to do that, nobody wants to do it, but if you’re not willing to gradually raise the age, you’re not serious about fixing either one of them.

QUICK: Senator, thank you.

[UNIDENTIFIED]: Becky, may I…

QUINTANILLA: This is the— well, we’re going to take a break. We want to save time for closing statements after the break.

So this is the Republican presidential debate in Boulder, and we’ll be right back.

[commercial break] [applause]

QUICK: Welcome back to Boulder, Colorado and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC.

Governor Huckabee, you wanted to respond to the points that Senator Rand Paul was just making when it comes to Social Security. Your time, sir.

HUCKABEE: Well, and specifically to Medicare, Becky, because 85 percent of the cost of Medicare is chronic disease. The fact is if we don’t address what’s costing so much, we can’t throw enough money at this. And it’s why I’ve continued to focus on the fact that we need to declare war on the four big cost drivers because 80 percent of all medical costs in this country are chronic disease. We don’t have a health care crisis in America, we have a health crisis.

And until we deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio — when I was a little kid, we eradicated it. You know how much money we spent on polio last year in America? We didn’t spend any. We’ve saved billions of dollars.

You want to fix Medicare? Focus on the diseases that are costing us the trillions of dollars. Alzheimers, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Eradicate those and you fix Medicare and you’ve fixed America, its economy and you’ve made people’s lives a heck of a lot better.

BUSH: Becky —

QUICK: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

BUSH: — the governor’s absolutely right. But we also need to reform Medicare and Social Security. We can’t just allow it to continue on its current path the way that Hillary Clinton wants to do because there’ll be major reductions in benefits in the next decade if we do nothing.

I have a concrete plan to do just that, which allows people to keep HSAs to encourage savings, it allows for people that are retiring with Social Security to be able to get a minimum of 125 percent of the poverty level so that there is a baseline that in this generous country of ours no one goes below.

HARWOOD: Governor Bush, Mr. Trump says that he is capable of growing the economy so much that Social Security and Medicare don’t have to be touched. Do you want to explain how that is going to happen, Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Yes, it’s very simple. We’re going to make a really dynamic economy from what we have right now, which is not at all dynamic. We’re going to bring jobs back from Japan, we’re going to bring jobs back from China, we’re going to bring, frankly, jobs back from Mexico where, as you probably saw, Nabisco is leaving Chicago with one of their biggest plants, and they’re moving it to Mexico.

We’re going to bring jobs and manufacturing back. We’re going to cut costs. We’re going to save Social Security, and we’re going to save Medicare.

[UNKNOWN:]: Governor, you just heard him.

BUSH: You have to reform Social Security, and the simple way to do it is to make sure that the wealthiest don’t receive the same benefits as people that are lower-income.

And make sure you enhance savings in the private market. The idea of 401(k)s. I have a small business that I set up. It took — it took an arm and a leg to be able to set up a 401(k). Because of all the federal mandates and federal laws, it was too expensive.

We need to incent private savings and make sure that Social Security is protected for those that have it.

KASICH: John.

BUSH: But the idea that you can’t — that you’re just gonna grow your way out of this — I have a plan to grow the economy at 4 percent, but you’re gonna have to make adjustments for both Medicare and Social Security.

[UNKNOWN:]: Governor Kasich, do you want 30 seconds?

KASICH: I wanna tell you, in my state, we took Medicaid, the hardest program to control, and we took it from a 10 percent growth rate to 2.5 percent without taking one person off the rolls or cutting one single benefit.

And so much of what we did — to force competition, to use technology, to stand down the special interest groups — can you imagine taking Medicaid from 10 to 2.5 percent?

We can take many of those same procedures, we can apply it to Medicare. We can make a stronger program. But I agree with Jeb, you can’t just do this by growing the economy. You can’t grow your way out of demographics.

But we can give people better health care. And finally, on health care, why don’t we start treating — keep giving…

QUICK: Governor.

KASICH: …incentives for people to keep people healthy, rather than giving the incentives to treat them when they’re sick?

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

Senator Paul, let’s go back to you. Do these solutions sound like they work?

PAUL: Say again?

QUICK: Do these solutions sound like they would work?

PAUL: You can’t do nothing. And that’s what I hear from some people, “we’ll do nothing and it will just be fixed.” That’s absurd, and I think people who don’t want to fix it, really, or unwilling to take the chance to say, “something has to change,” are missing the boat here.

The age will have to gradually rise, there is no question. It’s the only way you fix Medicare, the only way you fix Social Security. You will also have to means-test the benefits and declare there’s not enough money.

It isn’t “I put money in, I’m getting it back.” There is no money, it’s a stack of paper. There is no money in the Social Security account. There is no money in the Medicare account. There’s only a promise to pay by the next generation, and the next generation’s not big enough to pay it.

[crosstalk]

[UNKNOWN:]: …to deal with this. We did it 200 days ago.

HARWOOD: Hold on, Governor. I’ve got a question for — for Dr. Carson.

CARSON: About Medicare?

HARWOOD: Yes. You’ve said that you would like to replace Medicare with a system of individual family savings accounts, so that families could cover their own expenses.

Obviously, that would be a very controversial idea. Explain how that would work, exactly.

CARSON: Well, first of all the — the plan gives people the option of — of opting out. But I think they will see a very good option here. You know, the annual Medicare budget is over $600 billion. And there are 48 million people involved — 40 million, 65 and over, and 8 million other.

Divide that out. That comes out to $12,500 for each one. Now, I can tell you there are a lot of private-sector things that you could do with $12,500, which will get you a lot more than you get from this government program.

And that’s really a theme of a lot of the things that I’m talking about. How do we utilize our intellect rather than allowing the government to use its, quote, “intellect,” in order to help us to be able to live healthier and better lives?

It was never intended that the government should be in every aspect of our lives. This is a country that is of, for and by the people.

QUICK: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

Governor?

CHRISTIE: And — and — and I — you know, Ben is absolutely right in saying that what we don’t need to do is to send more money to Washington, D.C. to fix this problem.

And that’s what you’ll hear from Hillary Clinton — and I’ve already heard from her — is that, send more money in Social Security, send more money in Medicare taxes, send more money for Medicaid, and that’s gonna solve the problem.

What we know is we’re living longer. That’s a blessing. It’s a blessing that we’re living longer, so we have to increase the retirement age to reflect that blessing.

We need to make sure that people understand, as Jeb said before, that if you’ve done extraordinarily well in this country, do you want them to take more out of your taxes now and think they’re gonna give it back to you later? Or would you rather take less later on?

QUINTANILLA: Senator Rubio…

HARWOOD: Governor, do you also think that…

QUINTANILLA: …yeah, I just wanted [inaudible].

HARWOOD: …that Dr. Carson’s right, that we can replace Medicare with individual savings accounts?

RUBIO: No. No. What I said was that I think that Dr. Carson’s ideas are good ideas. They’re not my ideas, and I don’t necessarily agree with all of them.

But this is what you’re seeing in the Republican debate that you didn’t see in that Democrat debate.

You didn’t see it for a minute. You didn’t see these kind of ideas being batted around, and being batted around in a way that’s civil and smart and that’s trying to help to inform the voter out there.

What you saw was a parade of, “I’ll give you this for free; I’ll give you that for free.”

Let me tell you, everybody, when they say they want to give it to you for free, keep your hands on your wallets because they’re coming to you to pay for it. And that’s why I think these ideas up here are great, and that’s what we should have is have more discussions like this and less gotcha.

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: I want to give you 30 seconds here.

RUBIO: I want to take off from that point and argue the same thing. And that is that one of the things you’re watching tonight are 11 quality candidates debating an important issue. The Republican Party is blessed to have 11 good candidates, [inaudible] 10 good candidates. The Democrats can’t even come up with one.

And on this issue of the Medicare in particular, it’s important because they’re going to demagogue what we’re saying here tonight. Everyone up here tonight that’s talking about reforms, I think and I know for myself I speak to this, we’re all talking about reforms for future generations. Nothing has to change for current beneficiaries. My mother is on Medicare and Social Security. I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother. [laughter]

So, we’re talking about — we’re talking about reform for people like me and people like Senator Cruz, as he talked about earlier, who are years away from retirement that have a way to plan for these changes, and way that’s very reasonable. And it’s not too much to ask of our generation after everything our parents and our grandparents did for us.

FIORINA: John, I — if I — a lot of people have jumped in here. I’d like to jump in. A lot of people have jumped in here.

HARWOOD: Mrs. Fiorina, we’re right at the end of our time.

FIORINA: I understand.

HARWOOD: You all wanted us to limit [inaudible].

All right. Go ahead.

FIORINA: I would just say that… [laughter] … I would just say this, we’ve heard a lot of great ideas up here, and I agree with what Senator Rubio said. Every election we talk about this. Every election we talk about Medicare and Social Security reform. It never happens.

I would like to start with a basic. Let us actually go to zero- based budgeting so we know where the money is being spent. It’s kind of basic. There is a bill sitting in the House that would actually pass and have us go to zero-based budgeting so we know where every dime of your money is being spent instead of only talking about how much more we’re going to spend year after year after year.

My point is this. While there are lots of good ideas for reform, we have never tackled the basics. And we finally need to tackle the basics to cut this government down to size and hold it accountable. So let’s start by knowing where your money is being spent by the federal government.

HARWOOD: We have now reached the point in the program where candidates are going to give their closing statements, 30 seconds apiece. We’re going to go right to left and start with you, Senator Paul.

PAUL: Liberty thrives when government is small. I want a government so small I can barely see it. I want a government so small that the individual has a chance to thrive and prosper. I think, though, government is too big now. And what you’re going to see in Washington this week is establishment Republicans have made an agreement with the president to raise the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion; no limit to the debt ceiling raise.

This is extraordinary. It’s extraordinarily wrong. You’ll see me on the floor of the Senate tomorrow filibustering this and saying enough is enough, no more debt.

HARWOOD: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: I want to talk to the folks at home. I want to ask you: Are you fed up with how Washington taxes you? Are you fed up with how Washington wastes your money? Are you concerned like I am that the debt and deficits of Washington, D.C. are endangering America’s future?

I’ve got one more question for you then. Are you serious about this election? Because if you are, you need to elect someone who’s deadly serious about changing this culture. I am deadly serious about changing this culture. I changed it in New Jersey. I’m deadly serious about doing this job the right way.

I’m prepared. I’m tested. I’m ready. And I want to make this our government. For the people who say we can’t do it, I say hell no, we can do it together.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know, everyone here talks about the need to take on Washington. The natural next question is who actually has done so. Who actually has stood up not just to Democrats, but to leaders in our own party? When millions of Americans rose up against Obamacare, I was proud to lead that fight. When millions of Americans rose up against amnesty, I was proud to lead that fight. When millions of Americans rose up against Planned Parenthood, I was proud to lead that fight.

If people are promising they’re going to take on Washington and cronyism, you need to look to who has been doing it. In my family, my dad fled oppression in Cuba to come to America. Freedom is personal for me, and I will always keep my word and fight for freedom.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator.

Mrs. Fiorina?

FIORINA: You know, every election we hear a lot of talk. We hear a lot of good plans. We hear actually a lot of good intentions. But somehow for decades, nothing really has changed. What we need now is a proven leader who has produced results. That’s how you go from secretary to CEO. You lead and you produce results. I will cut this government down to size and hold it accountable, simplify the tax code, roll back the regulations that have been spewing out of Washington, D.C. for 50 years.

I may not be your dream candidate just yet, but I can assure you I am Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare. And in your heart of hearts, you cannot wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. I will tell you this, I will beat Hillary Clinton. And with your vote and your support and your prayers, I will lead with the citizens of this great nation the resurgence of this great nation.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina.

Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I just want to thank all my colleagues here for being civil, and not falling for the traps. And, I also just want to thank the audience for being attentive, and noticing the questions, and the noticing the answers. And, this is what I am finding throughout America.

People are waking up because it is going to be us who will determine the direction of our country. And, it was made for we the people, we are the ones who decide who we are, and we should never give away the values and principles that made America into a great nation for the sake of political correctness. [applause]

HARWOOD: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Our country doesn’t win anymore. We used to win, we don’t win anymore. We lose on trade. We lose with ISIS. We lose with one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen negotiated of any kind, that’s our recent catastrophe with Iran. We don’t win.

Let me give you one quick example. These folks, CNBC, they had it down at three, three and a half hours. I just read today in the New York Times, $250,000 for a 30 second ad. I went out and said, it’s ridiculous. Nobody — I could stand up here all night. Nobody wants to watch three and a half, or three hours. It was a back sacrifice, and I have to hand it to Ben.

We called Ben, he was with me 100%. We called in, we said, that’s it. We’re not doing it. They lost a lot of money, everybody said it couldn’t be done. Everybody said it was going to be three hours, three and a half, including them, and in about two minutes I renegotiated it so we can get the hell out of here. Not bad. [applause]

TRUMP: And, I’ll do that with the country. We will make America great again. And, thank you everybody. Just for the record.

HARWOOD: Just for the record, the debate was always going to be two hours. Senator Rubio?

TRUMP: That’s not right. That is absolutely not right. You know that. That is not right.

[UNIDENTIFIED:] Thank you.

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: You know, America doesn’t owe me anything. I have a debt to America I’ll never repay. This isn’t just the country I was born in, this is the nation that literally changed the history of my family. My parents in this country were able to give me the chance to do all the things they never did. We call that the American Dream, although, it’s built on the universal dream of a better life.

The fact that it’s happened for so many people here throughout our history, that’s what makes us special. But, now for millions of Americans, it’s slipping away. And, we have a government and leaders in government that are completely out of touch, and that’s why I’m running for president. Because we can’t just save the American Dream, we can expand it to reach more people, and change more lives than ever before.

And, that’s why tonight I’m asking you for your vote.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator. Governor Bush?

BUSH: America’s at a crossroads. The D.C. politicians continue to make things worse. I have a proven record of success, 32 years in business, and 8 years as Governor of the state of Florida.

I will change the culture in Washington, just as I changed the culture in Tallahassee. I will do so in a way that will bring people together. We need a unifier, not a cynical divider in chief, and that’s exactly what I will do.

Imagine a country where people are lifted out of poverty again. Imagine a country where the middle class can get rising income again. I know we can do this because we’re still the most extraordinary country on the face of the Earth.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: You know, I know to a lot of people in the media, this is just a great big game, and we’re the players. And, we come out here, and we do our thing. And, sometimes we’re held up in contempt by people who write columns, but, I guarantee you to every person on this stage there’s something deep inside of us that would cause us to give up our livelihoods and step out on this stage and fight for the people of America.

I’ve got five grandkids. I do not want to walk my five grandkids through the charred remains of a once great country called America, and say, “Here you go, $20 trillion dollars of debt. Good luck making something out of this mess.”

And, for those of us who are serious enough to run for president, think long and hard why we’re here, and hopefully you’ll know we’re not here for ourselves. We honest to god are here to get this country back on track. I know this, I certainly am.

HARWOOD: Thank you…

HUCKABEE: …Thank you.

HARWOOD: Governor Kasich?

KASICH: I was on morning Joe at a town hall and a young student stood up and said, “Can I still be idealistic?”

I said, absolutely, you can still change the world. And, you know the old inscription, if you save one life, you’ve changed the world. Folks, we have a problem here with the leadership in Washington, but I’ll tell you another problem. We need to rebuild our families. We need to have stronger families. We need to know who our neighbors are. We need to come together as a country because we have to realize that America is great, not from the top-down. Oh yeah, we want to elect a good president, but America is great from the bottom-up, and the bottom-up is us in our families, in our communities, in our neighborhoods. We will renew America if we work together, and I am totally confident that we will. And God bless America. [applause]

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

QUINTANILLA: That concludes tonight’s debate. On behalf of my colleagues Becky Quick, John Harwood, Sharon Epperson, Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer, we’d like to our host, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Republican National Committee, the candidates and, of course, tonight’s audience.

 

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 28, 2015: Third Republican Candidates “Undercard” Debate in Boulder, Colorado Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates “Undercard” Debate in Boulder, Colorado Among Candidates Polling Below the Top Ten
October 28, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 

PARTICIPANTS:
Senator Lindsey Graham (SC);
Governor Bobby Jindal (LA);
Former Governor George Pataki (NY);
Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA);

MODERATORS:
John Harwood (CNBC);
Becky Quick (CNBC); and
Carl Quintanilla (CNBC)

QUICK: Good evening, everyone. I’m Becky Quick, along with my CNBC colleagues, Carl Quintanilla and John Harwood. Some of CNBC’s experts on the markets and personal finance will be here with us tonight as well.

But let’s get right to the debate rules.

Candidates will get 30 seconds to answer an opening question and then 60 seconds to answer a formal question. They’ll also get 30 seconds for rebuttals and follow-ups. All of this comes at the discretion of the moderators.

We want you to weigh in tonight, either from home or wherever you are. By the way, if you check it out on the bottom of the screen, you can see your tweets right there using #cnbcgopdebate. You can also go to cnbc.com/vote throughout the night to tell us where you stand.

First up, let’s get right to the candidates for tonight’s Republican Presidential Debate. I want to run you through the line on the stage from left to right.

First up, Governor Bobby Jindal. [applause]

Senator Rick Santorum.

Governor George Pataki.

And Senator Lindsey Graham.

Obviously we have a lot to cover here tonight so let’s get this started.

My colleague, John Harwood, has our first question — John.

HARWOOD: We’re going to pose this question to all candidates and go left to right, starting with Governor Jindal.

Governor, a majority of Republican voters at this point in the campaign have made clear that they prefer someone from outside the political system.

In 30 seconds, tell us why your experience inside the system would be more valuable than the fresh eyes an outsider would bring.

JINDAL: I think the reason voters are so frustrated is nothing seems to change in D.C. Look, over the next several hours, you’re going to hear several Republicans all tell you they want to shrink the size of government and grow the American economy and it sounds great and we’ve got to do it.

Here’s the truth — of all these folks talking, I’m the only one that has cut the size of government. There’s not two of us, there’s one of us. The rest of it is all just hot air. When politicians talk, we need to pay attention to what they do, not what they say.

I’m the only one that’s reduced the size of government. Let’s shrink the government economy. Let’s grow the American economy.

HARWOOD: Thanks, Governor Jindal.

Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Yes, I think it’s one thing to shrink the size of a state government but it’s another thing to actually get something accomplished in Washington. It’s a much tougher field.

And I’m the one in the — on this stage and, frankly, on both stages that has actually gone to Washington, said we would shrink government, said we would shake things up and actually delivered for the conservative cause, everything from welfare reform, which was the largest, most significant accomplishment in the last 25 years for conservatism.

I authored the bill when I was in the House of Representatives; I managed the bill on the floor of the United States Senate. You need a conservative who can deliver and that’s what I bring to the table.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Pataki?

PATAKI: We need an outsider to run our party and to win the next election. Washington has become a corrupt insider game and everybody talks about how they’re going to change the taxes, grow the economy. Nothing seems to change.

But, by the way, Bobby, I shrunk the size of New York State’s government when I left. We had reduced the employment by over 25,000 and cut taxes.

But I understand that to change Washington you have to understand government as well. You can’t just be an outsider. You can’t just be someone who throws stones at Washington. You have to be someone who can actually bring people together across party lines.

I can do that, I will do that if I have the chance to lead this party.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Graham.

GRAHAM: Well, number one, thank you for having me here tonight.

How about a round of applause for Boulder, Colorado?

This is a beautiful place. [applause]

Looking at their academic standards, the only way I could have gotten into this university is to be invited to this debate tonight. [laughter]

But here’s my take on things. Without national security, there is no economic security. Without the sacrifice of the veteran, all of our hopes and dreams are at risk.

Just a few days ago, Hillary Clinton said that the problems with the V.A. are being exaggerated by Republicans. They are not, they are real.

HARWOOD: Senator Graham, thank you very much. Becky?

QUICK: Governor Jindal, let’s talk a little bit about the news of the day. Just a few hours ago, the Republicans and the Democrats in the House voted on a budget deal that will increase spending by about $80 billion dollars over the next two years. You, however, have called the Republicans who have been willing to work with the Democrats to do things like this the, “Surrender Party of the Republican caucus.”

Would you have shut the government down instead?

JINDAL: Well, look, I think that’s a false choice. I think this is a very bad deal. Whenever they tell us in D.C. they’re going to cut tomorrow, that means they’re never going to cut. Tomorrow never seems to happen. Instead, why don’t we actually follow our conservative principles? Why not insist on structural reforms? Why not cut spending?

I don’t mean strength (ph) the growth rate, I mean, actually spend less. Why not a balanced budget in the amendment — an amendment to the Constitution? Why not a super-majority vote before they grow our taxes, before they grow the government faster than the economy?

Let’s be honest, $18 trillion dollars of debt. Record low participation rate in the workforce, record number of Americans on food stamps. We are going the way of Europe. The left is trying to turn the American Dream into the European Nightmare. If you’re a Republican…

QUICK: …But Governor…

JINDAL: …[inaudible] willing to stand up and fight…

QUICK: …if you didn’t have a choice, if you didn’t control things in the house, would you take the choice of shutting things down, or would you go ahead and agree with them?

JINDAL: I think that’s a false choice. If I were — I were to lead, we would pass a conservative budget, challenge the President to do the right thing. And, here’s the problem, the Republicans never want to fight. Give Pelosi and Reed credit, they forced Obamacare and socialism down our throats, why won’t the Republicans fight half as hard for freedom and opportunity. This was a bad budget.

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

PATAKI: Becky, can I comment on this question?

HARWOOD: Just hold on, Governor Pataki, we’re going to go to Senator Graham on this question because we believe you are likely to be the only person on this stage tonight who supports this budget deal. Now, you just heard Governor Jindal say that it’s a phony deal, it doesn’t do anything, and people like you are surrendering rather than fighting by supporting it. Why is he wrong?

GRAHAM: Well, let me tell you what is real. The threat to our homeland. I’ve never seen so many threats to our homeland than I do today. Barack Obama is an incompetent Commander in Chief. There are more terrorist organizations with safe havens to attack the American homeland than anytime since 9/11. We’re in the process of reducing our defense spending by half.

I am looking at this budget with one view in mind, will it restore the ability to defend this nation. We’re on track to have the smallest army since 1940, the smallest navy since 1915, this budget, if it is paid for, will put $40 billion dollars back in the defense department at a time we need it.

The number one role of the federal government’s to defend this nation, I intend to be a Commander in Chief that can win a war we cannot afford to lose.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator Graham…

PATAKI: …John, can I quickly comment on this one…

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: …Governor, we’re going to get to you in just a moment, we’re going to try to keep this shorter…

PATAKI: …But, I want to speak on this issue…

QUINTANILLA: …Question, in the meantime, for Senator Santorum. You have advocated a flat tax, so we’d like to ask you about fairness. Why is it fair to tax all Americans at the same rate, as opposed to taxing more affluent Americans at higher rates?

SANTORUM: Well, if you look at my flat tax, it actually takes the best of what Steve Forbes, Art Laffer, many have been advocating for a long time, which is a very strong pro-growth tax code — very simple. And, it adjusts it to make sure that it is not regressive.

We have a $2,750 per person tax credit — that’s $2,750 off the taxes due, not a deduction, a credit. And, we think — in fact, if you run the numbers, no American who’s going to be paying more taxes under our proposal, so, we’ve accomplished both.

We have a system that has a low single rate, but we take care of American families. I’m talking about $2,750 per person. That means a family four, that’s $11,000 dollar tax credit. That’s a very, very strong pro-family — and if you looked at the Wall Street Journal today, and so many of the publications that have been out there, they’ve talked about how the biggest problem of the hollowing out of the middle of this country. For workers to be able to raise is actually, the breakdown of the American family.

William Galston, a liberal, said that on the pages of the Wall Street Journal today that the key to poverty is families. So, we put forth a pro-growth — Steve Forbes plan, combined it with a pro- family plan, and that’s why I think it’s going to work out, and work effectively.

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you. John — Becky?

QUICK: Governor Pataki, let’s get to your point. You wanted to make a comment on the budget. You want to get in on the idea, what would you do if you were in Washington? Would you compromise…

PATAKI: …I think it was a bad deal, but I would have voted for it for a very simple reason. Barack Obama is the first president in American history to hold our military hostage. He knew that we needed funding for overseas contingency operations, $40 million dollars that would go to support our troops. And, he was prepared, and had vetoed it, unless this deal went through.

I have two sons, they both served overseas. One in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan, and I understand that we have got to do far more to help our military, help our veterans, and help protect our security. This is a bad deal, but to protect our military, I would have signed it. Uh, it’s not going to be the case, if I have a chance to lead this country, we’re going to reduce the deficit, shrink the government, lower the tax burden and grow the private sector because that’s how you solve deficits.

QUICK: Governor Pataki, thank you.

John?

PATAKI: Thank you.

HARWOOD: Governor Jindal, a question about fiscal policy, especially since you noted that this deal doesn’t solve the long-term debt situation.

When you came into office with a budget surplus in the state of Louisiana, now, years later, the state legislature faced a $1.6 billion budget gap and the Republican state treasurer called one of your approaches to that problem “nonsense on a stick,” quoting him.

Are you going to do for the federal budget what you did for the Louisiana budget?

JINDAL: Absolutely, Jhon. And what we did is we cut state spending. We’ve cut our budget 26 percent, according to Cato and other analysis, the only candidate that’s actually reduced government spending.

Look, the left always complains there’s not enough money for government. We have 30,000 fewer state employees than the day I took office, eight credit upgrades, we’re a top 10 state for private sector job creation.

We’ve got a choice. You grow the government economy or the American economy. When I became governor, we had 25 years in a row of outmigration. We were coming back from Katrina. The question many were asking, will Louisiana rebuild, should Louisiana rebuild?

Seven years in a row, more people moving into the state than were leaving the state.

We now have more people working than ever before, erg a higher income than ever before.

Yes, we’ve reduced the size of government. That’s exactly what we need to do in DC. In DC, the Republicans slowed the growth rate, they claimed victory. That’s not enough.

Let’s be honest with where we are today. We are running off of a cliff. Look, we’ll be the next Greece and we can talk and we can rearrange the chairs. Over over $18 trillion of debt, no wonder our economy has been stagnant. We haven’t had real growth.

If you’re a young student here, you’ve not seen a robust American economy.

HARWOOD: But Governor Jindal, as you know, many Republicans are opposed to the approach that you’ve taken in Louisiana. They complain that you have tried so hard to avoid anything that could be called a tax increase so that you could run for president saying you’d never raised taxes, David Vitter, the Republican who’s now running to succeed you, has told voters, I won’t be like Jindal, I’m not using the governorship as a stepping stone to higher office.

JINDAL: Well, Jhon, a couple of things.

Not only did we not raise taxes, we did the largest income tax cut in the state’s history. And I’m proud of that record. I think that’s the kind of leadership voters want in DC.

Look, if you want a Republican that’s going go grow government spending, if you want a — a president or if you want a candidate who’s going to income taxes, I’m not your guy.

If you want somebody that’s going to do and say the things that can’t be said, can’t be done, I’m asking a vote for me to join my cause. That’s how dangerous these times are. This is — this is a — this is — these are dangerous times for America. I think we have a chance to rescue the idea of America, but if we don’t do it now, four years will be too late from now.

So, yes, I’m proud we cut taxes, we cut spending, 30,000 fewer state government bureaucrats than the day I took office. I absolutely will do that in DC.

HARWOOD: Governor Jindal, thank you.

JINDAL: Thank you.

HARWOOD: We’re going to take a quick break.

The Republican presidential debate continues live from Boulder, Colorado in a moment. [applause]

[commercial break]

QUINTANILLA: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate live in boulder, Colorado, on cNBC. We resume our questions now with Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s Mad Money.

CRAMER: Thank you. Governor Pataki, in the wake of the Sony hack last year, you said, quote, “at the very least, we should declare cyber-war on North Korea.”

What does a cyber-war look like? And if our companies are getting attacked by foreign governments, do we need a military response?

PATAKI: No, I don’t think we need a military response, but we need a coordinated response. And I have to say that I think the Obama administration has been completely lax, to say the least, in dealing with these cyber-attacks, not just by governments like North Korea, but by, particularly, Chinese and other companies.

And what I would do is put in place a policy where if we know a company, say, a Chinese company, is hacking into American companies, stealing trade secrets, as we know they do every day, we will retaliate against that company and say that that company’s not going to be allowed to continue to do trade with the United States.

I would also look at what we’re doing at the federal level and put in place what Israel has done: a — one federal agency dealing with cybersecurity and charged with working across silos to make sure we have the best technology.

And, Jim, I’ve gotta tell you something, talking about cybersecurity. Hillary Clinton put a server, an unsecure server, in her home as secretary of state. We have no doubt that that was hacked, and that state secrets are out there to the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese and others.

That alone should disqualify her from being president of the United States. [applause]

CRAMER: Senator Graham, you’re a hawk. Was that tough enough?

GRAHAM: Here’s the problem. We’re being walked all over because our commander in chief is weak in the eyes of our enemies. Do you think Putin would be in the Ukraine today if Ronald Reagan were president? Why are the Chinese stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our system? Why are they building islands over resource-rich waters? Because they can get away with it.

At the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, the foreign policy of Barack Obama needs to be replaced, and the last person you want to find to replace his foreign policy is his secretary of state.

So to the Chinese, when it comes to dealing with me, you’ve got a clenched fist or an open hand. You pick. The party’s over, to all the dictators. Make me commander-in-chief and this crap stops. [applause]

CRAMER: Thank you, Senator.

Senator Santorum. We know that a troubling amount of air pollution on the west coast comes from China. Should we enact a pollution tax on products imported from China and give our manufacturers a level playing field?

SANTORUM: What we should be — we shouldn’t be putting tariffs on anything. That hurts working men and women in this country. What we should be doing is making our manufacturing more competitive.

One of the reasons I introduced the 20/20 plan, a 20 percent flat tax on corporations, as well as on individuals, is so we can be competitive, so we can bring those manufacturing jobs back.

You want to talk about cutting pollution? You do a little back- of-the-envelope. We — we produce, per dollar of GDP, about one-fifth of the CO2 and other pollutants that China produces. So we’re five times more efficient in producing goods here, as far as the environment — environment is concerned.

Why don’t we — if we really want to tackle environmental problems, global warming, what we need to do is take those jobs from China and bring them back here to the United States, employ workers in this country.

We’ve lost two million jobs — two million jobs — under this administration in manufacturing — 15,000 manufacturers have left this country. Why? Because of bad tax policy, bad regulatory policy and, yes, bad trade policy.

We need to have a president that’s going to pledge, as I have — I’m going to make America the number-one manufacturer so working men and women can have good paying jobs again in America.

CRAMER: Thank you, Senator. John?

HARWOOD: Governor Jindal, Senator Santorum just raised the issue of corporate taxes, and cutting corporate taxes is very popular in your party because our rate, at 35 percent, is one of the highest in the world. But nobody has figured out how to identify a set of loopholes that would allow that tax rate to be lowered. So can you tell us specifically what loopholes you’d do away with?

JINDAL: Absolutely, John. I’d go further. My tax plan, like everybody’s, like a lot of Republicans’ — look, I’d get rid of the death penalty and the marriage penalty, and I’d simplify the brackets to 25 percent, 10 percent, 2 percent, so that an average middle-class family — a teacher marries a law enforcement official (ph)…

HARWOOD: We’re talking corporate taxes.

JINDAL: …I — I’m gonna get that. Pays 25 percent today, would pay 10 percent under my plan. But my plan does three things different from other people’s plans.

One — remember, I said 2 percent. I think everybody should pay something, even if it’s only 2 percent. That’s the most important 2 percent in my plan.

I know a lot of Republicans brag — y’all can clap, it doesn’t scare me. Go ahead. I heard some people.

There are millions of — there are millions of folks that wouldn’t pay taxes in Jeb’s plan and Trump’s plan. I think that’s a mistake.

In terms of the corporate tax, secondly, I’d get rid of the corporate tax. We do have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. I’d get rid of it. I’d get rid of all the corporate welfare. Make the CEOs pay their same tax rates the way the rest of us do.

And third, I’d purposely shrink the size of government. You know, that is a — that is an intentional feature of my plan. We’ve got a choice: do we grow government — the government economy, or the American economy?

So I say get rid of the corporate tax, bring those jobs and investment here to the United States, stop sending jobs and investment overseas.

HARWOOD: Thanks, Governor. Becky?

QUICK: Governor Pataki, let’s talk a little bit about what’s happened on Wall Street. Some of your colleagues in the Republican Party, including some of the people on this stage, have bashed Wall Street. They say that it was largely responsible for the financial crisis.

You’re a former governor of New York, and you relied very heavily on Wall Street for income. Do you think they’ve gone too far?

PATAKI: I think they have gone too far. I think we’ve seen Wall Street really blossom and do very well while the rest of the country is struggling, and it’s because we have this corrupt connection between Wall Street and Washington.

And, John, you were just talking about what loopholes would you get rid of. I would get rid of virtually every single one of them. They cost American taxpayers $1.4 trillion a year. I would throw them all out.

HARWOOD: So the tax credit right now that we have for domestic manufacturing, which manufacturers say is…

PATAKI: No, I wouldn’t. I was going to say…

HARWOOD: …important, you would get rid of that?

PATAKI: …no, I would keep — first, yes, but what I would do is ii would lower the tax on manufacturing to the lowest in the developed world — 12 percent.

We all have plans. I have a plan. We all have plans. My plan, the Tax Foundation said, would create five and a half million new jobs over the next decade.

The difference, though, is I will get my plan enacted because, when I was governor of New York, I passed sweeping tax code — cuts in a Democratic state with a Democratic legislature.

I — you know, Bobby, you’re talking about your tax cuts? I cut taxes more than everybody on this stage, more than everybody on the next stage, combined. By more than the other 49 states, in New York state.

I don’t just have a plan. I will enact tax cuts, get rid of those loopholes and make the system fairer for all Americans.

QUICK: Governor Pataki, thank you.

PATAKI: Thank you.

QUICK: Carl?

QUINTANILLA: Senator Graham. You have said you believe that climate change is real. You’ve said you accept tax increases as part of a budget deal with Democrats. You’ve co-sponsored a Senate immigration bill providing a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally.

Are you in the wrong party’s debate? [laughter]

GRAHAM: No, I — I think I’m trying to solve problems that somebody had better solve.

Now, you don’t have to believe that climate change is real. I have been to the Antarctic. I’ve been to Alaska. I’m not a scientist, and I’ve got the grades to prove it. [laughter]

But I’ve talked to the climatologists of the world, and 90 percent of them are telling me that greenhouse gas effect is real. That we’re heating up the planet. I just want a solution that would be good for the economy, that doesn’t destroy it.

I want to fix an immigration system. I’m not gonna tell you, if you like your doctor, you can keep it — keep him. Do you like your health care, you’re gonna keep it. I’m tired of telling people things that they want to hear, that we know we’re not gonna do.

We’re not gonna eliminate the corporate tax. But we can make it lower. We’re going to fix immigration, only if we work together. I want to secure the border because, if we don’t, we’re going to get hurt and hit again.

I want to fix a broken visa system. I want to increase legal immigration, because we’re gonna have a shortage of workers over time. As to the 11 million, I want to talk about fixing the problem. We’re not going to deport 11 million people and their legal citizen children.

But we will deport felons. And those who stay will have to learn our language to stay, because I don’t speak it well but look how far I’ve come.

[crosstalk]

GRAHAM: At the end of the day, folks, I am trying to solve a problem and win an election. I am tired of losing.

Good God, look who we’re running against. The number one candidate on the other side thought she was flat broke after her and her husband were in the White House for eight years. The number two guy went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon and I don’t think he ever came back. [laughter]

If we don’t beat these people, who the hell are we going to beat?

[crosstalk]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, you’re well over your minute but thank you for that.

We will be back from Boulder, Colorado, in just a moment.

[commercial break]

QUICK: Welcome back, everyone. This is the Republican Presidential Debate on CNBC, live from the University of Colorado.

Senator Santorum, I’d like to go to you. You have talked an awful lot about how you want to protect American jobs by eliminating the number of immigrants who come into this country.

But very recently, the CEO of Toll Brothers told that he can’t get by without immigrants because they make up more than half of his workforce at this point. We’re not talking about people who are making minimum wage but he can’t find Americans who want to do these jobs for $20-an-hour-plus jobs.

What would happen if your plans are successful? What happens and how would we fill that hole in the economy, that gap that’s created?

Well, as you know, Becky, we have the lowest labor participation rate in 50 years and we also have the slowest growth in wages in the history of our country, any 20-year period. In fact, the last quarter had the lowest wage growth ever recorded. And so you look at the fact that we’ve brought in 35 million — 35 million legal and illegal immigrants over the last 20 years, more than any period in American history, we have low wages, low participation waits. Maybe — rates.

Maybe there’s something going on like we aren’t — we aren’t — we don’t have the — the right match, right?

We don’t — we aren’t giving the training and the investment in our workers and we’re bringing in people to compete against low wage workers. That’s what’s happening.

We are — we have an immigration policy that Senator Graham supported that brings in even more low wage workers into this country. He says he wants to solve problems, that’s great. But you’re not solving problems for American wage earners. You’re not solving problems for workers in America who have seen their wages flat line and have been disaffected enough to leave the workplace.

We need to get better training and better skills, including vocational education and — and training in this — in those — and — and cut — community colleges. But the bottom line is, we have to make sure that we are not flooding this country…

All right…

SANTORUM: — with competition…

QUICK: Senator, I’m sorry your minute is up.

SANTORUM: — for low wage workers.

QUICK: Thank you very much, Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: [inaudible] and I…

QUICK: And Graham, Mr. Graham, yes, that was a question to you, too.

GRAHAM: The first thing…

QUICK: You have 30 seconds.

GRAHAM: — that we have to do is come to grips with the reality that we’re facing as Americans. In 1950, there were 16 workers for every Social Security recipient. Today, there’s three. In 20 years, there are two.

I want to make sure that no American company leaves America because you can’t find a worker.

American workers always get the first preference. But if you can’t find an American worker, after you advertise at a competitive wage, I don’t want you to be at a loss. Bring people in based on merit. Let’s take a broken immigration…

QUICK: Senator Graham, thank you.

GRAHAM: — system…

QUICK: I’m sorry. That’s your 30 seconds…

GRAHAM: — and make a merit-based immigration system that will help our economy. We’re going to need workers in the future.

QUICK: Senator Graham…

GRAHAM: Let’s just choose rationally.

QUICK: Thank you, Senator.

[crosstalk]

QUICK: Gentlemen, hold on a second.

PATAKI: Let me — let me try to get a word in edgewise.

QUICK: Go ahead,

SANTORUM: That’s not what’s happening.

PATAKI: In Washington, they talk over each other…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each one…

[crosstalk]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, let’s — let’s have — let Governor Pataki have a chance to speak.

PATAKI: Yes. Very simply, you guys talk over each other in Washington all the time. I’m not used to that. I listen when people talk.

We have a skills gap. You mentioned the construction company. The construction industry says one of their biggest problems are they can’t find the craftsmen to do the work.

What we have to…

[crosstalk]

PATAKI: — do in America is honor blue collar work again. We have to honor the carpenter, the plumber, the electrician, who can actually build something and instead of just saying that a college degree live — delivers prestige, let’s celebrate those who do things with their hands and elevate their skills using training in high school and community…

QUICK: Governor Pataki…

PATAKI: — colleges so that we can…

QUICK: — I’m sorry, that was a…

[crosstalk]

PATAKI: — have a better quality workforce that we honor…

QUICK: Governor Pataki…

PATAKI: — as they build America’s future.

QUICK: I’m sorry to talk over you, sir.

That was a minute.

PATAKI: Thank you.

QUICK: Thank you very much.

PATAKI: Thank you.

QUICK: Carl?

QUINTANILLA: My question for Governor Jindal, Paul Ryan says he would take the speaker job if it did not take away from his family time. The Department of Labor says 13 percent of American workers are eligible for paid family leave and the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world not to have guaranteed paid maternity leave for new moms.

Should the government work to change that?

JINDAL: Look, I think the government should work to change that, but that doesn’t — does not mean I’m for the government mandating that.

We already have too many government mandates out of DC.

Do I want people to have paid leave?

Sure.

Do I want people to earn higher wages?

Sure.

Do I want them to have better benefits?

Sure. The government can’t wave a magic wand and make that happen.

Here’s the problem. The last seven years, President Obama has tried to teach the American people that government is the answer to all of our problems.

Where has that gotten us?

We’re on a path toward socialism. The way that folks can get better paying jobs with better benefits is if we have a growing economy. That means to repeal all of ObamaCare, a lower flatter tax code.

That means that we have an energy plan that makes sense. That means that we embrace an all of the above approach to energy. Those are good paying jobs — $50,000, $70,000, $90,000 a year jobs with benefits.

But this president won’t let us produce more energy on our domestic federal lands and waters. He won’t allow the Canadians to build the Keystone Pipeline. He’s got an EPA that’s doing everything they can to kill private sector jobs in America.

So, yes, I want families to have better paying jobs and better benefits, but we’re not going to get that with a government mandate, we’re going to get that with a growing economy.

QUINTANILLA: Governor, thank you. [applause]

John?

HARWOOD: Senator Graham, Americans have gotten used to seeing headlines about more and more big corporations relocating overseas to cut their tax bill. Now, many in Washington think the way to stop that is to lower our corporate tax rate.

But as we’ve seen, tax reform takes time. It hasn’t happened yet.

In the meantime, do you fault those companies for leaving?

Do companies owe anything to their country, as well as their shareholders?

GRAHAM: We owe to every businessperson and worker in America the best environment in the world to create a job. We owe that to American businesses. Thirty-five percent corporate tax rate is the second highest in the world.

We need to lower it so they don’t leave. The goal is to help the middle class. We can talk about corporations all day long but my goal is to help the middle class, somebody who makes too much to be on government assistance but still lives paycheck to paycheck.

When the kid gets sick you don’t go on vacation.

[crosstalk]

GRAHAM: That’s the purpose of my presidency, to grow the economy here. And let me tell you, our Democratic friends have a list a mile long of more government. That’s not going to grow the middle class, that’s going to create a burden on your children, which they’re already overburdened. The best way to grow the middle class is to make it a good place to create a job.

You know why Boeing came to South Carolina when they could have gone anywhere to build the 787?

Because we wanted them. We had a low-tax structure.

HARWOOD: Senator Graham.

GRAHAM: A permitting structure that allowed them to build the building even faster than they thought they could build it. We welcomed them there. I’m going to take the South Carolina attitude —

HARWOOD: I want to remind candidates, you’ve got a one-minute limit on the — on the response.

But I just want to follow up, Senator Graham. Four years ago, the nominee of your party said that corporations are people, too.

If that is true, the question is, do they owe any obligation to the country?

GRAHAM: I think everybody owes an obligation to the country. The ones that I’m most worried about are the 1 percent of Americans in uniform, who have been fighting this war for 14 years. They need a commander in chief who knows what the hell they’re doing.

My first job as President of the United States is to rebuild the military and use it smartly. Admiral Mullen said the debt is a big threat to our national security. He’s right. But people go where they’re welcome when it comes to job creation.

If I’m President of the United States you will be welcomed in America.

HARWOOD: Senator Graham —

GRAHAM: This will be the place to come —

HARWOOD: — thank you very much.

GRAHAM: And if I’m president of the United States —

HARWOOD: We’re moving on.

GRAHAM: — our enemies —

QUICK: You guys are making this just like home. This is just like [inaudible].

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Senator, we’re moving on.

I’d like to bring on my colleague, Rick Santelli — Rick.

SANTELLI: Thanks, John.

Governor Pataki.

PATAKI: Hey, Rick.

SANTELLI: How are you doing tonight?

PATAKI: I’m doing great.

SANTELLI: Listen, America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, they’ve kept interest rates near zero since the 2008 financial crisis.

And, by the way, they had a meeting today, you think they raised rates?

No.

Shocking, isn’t it?

PATAKI: Not at all.

SANTELLI: Listen, it’s been a rough ride for American savers and retirees, they really rely on this interest income. And it’s been a bonanza for the stock market, a bonanza.

And for investors that like the little bit more risk, it’s been a bonanza for them as well.

So I guess what I’m asking is, do you think this policy is fair and do you support it?

PATAKI: No, I don’t support it. But let me go back a little bit here. We need to grow our economy faster. We’ve had the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. And it’s because of policy in Washington and policy at the Fed.

And let me go back to Washington. In 2009 —

HARWOOD: Senator, that — I mean, Governor, if that’s true, why was our economy limping six years ago and now it’s the strongest in the world?

PATAKI: John, no question Barack Obama inherited a economic disaster in 2009.

But what did he do?

Instead of focusing on pro-growth policies in the economy, he rammed through ObamaCare, the worst law of my lifetime, that hurt small businesses, hurt companies, raised taxes and almost completely eliminated one industry because of its taxes.

The Fed had to act. And the Fed did act and appropriately in reducing interest rates but they’ve reduced them now for seven straight years, that’s never happened before. They’ve been zero for way too long.

They should raise the rates; the Fed should get out of manipulating the market and the Fed also, by the way, should reduce its balance sheet, $2.7 trillion. Let some of those bonds mature and put the money back in the banking system so our economy can grow.

SANTELLI: Thanks, Governor.

Senator Santorum, in the 2012 presidential debate, you were for the export-import bank, which facilitates government funding for U.S. exports. American companies like GE and Boeing are among the beneficiaries.

But you said that killing the bank here — and I’m going to quote you — “is the last thing a true conservative should be doing.”

I don’t know, government-backed funding isn’t normally what I hear from true conservatives.

So why is this situation different?

SANTORUM: A true conservative wants to create a level playing field. That’s what — that’s what we’re — that’s what government is supposed to do. They’re not supposed to favor one group over another.

And when it comes to our manufacturers, the level playing field is not in the United States. It’s international. And so the federal government should have laws, tax laws, regulatory laws and, yes, finance laws. There’s 60 other ex-im banks all over — all over the world.

Every major competitor for the United States’ manufacturing dollar has one of those banks.

And guess what? They use those banks a heck of a lot more than their — than the United States of America does, number one.

So in order to have a level playing field, which is what conservatives talk about all the time, level playing field, then we have to have export financing and here’s why.Because export financing doesn’t help Boeing, or G.E.

G.E. just lost a contract, you know what they did? They went to . They got the X.M. (ph) bank in France to support it, and what did they do? They moved manufacturing out of South Carolina, out of Texas, moved to — Hungary, and to France. G.E. is still making money. G.E. is still doing well, but American workers are out of jobs. That’s why we have to have this level playing field so we can compete with the rest of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Senator.

QUINTANILLA: CNBC’s coverage of the Republican presidential debate continues, live from the University of COlorado after this short break. [applause]

[commercial break]

QUINTANILLA: Welcome back to the University of Colorado, and the Republican Presidential Debate on CNBC. [applause]

A question for Senator Santorum. People in this state have loved Coors Beer since it was founded in 1873. I can atest…[cheering and applause]

Now, the brewer later became part of SABMiller, but, now SAB may be bought by Budweiser owner, InBev. Is it right to have a third of brewers in this country owned by one company, and do you fear a company that size will have too much power over consumers.

SANTORUM: Well, first, since you mention Colorado, I want to thank the people of Colorado because four years ago you — gave me the honor of winning the nomination out here in the state of Colorado. On a night we won three states, and it catapulted us to win 11 states ultimately, so, I just want to thank you very, very much for that support, and — in response to that, I do drink a lot of Coors beer, so…[laughter]

I try to help. The answer is pretty simple. The answer is simple. There are no shortage of breweries around the United States of America. I — I do — as I travel around the country, I do pints and politics, and I go to breweries all over the place, and there — there’s almost no town in America anymore that doesn’t have a brewery, so I don’t think we need to worry too much.

They’re obviously — if there’s — if there’s some anti- competitive issues, you know, we have agencies to look at that. But, no, I’m not — I’m not concerned that Americans are not going to have choices in beer.

QUINTANILLA: Well, let’s get to that. I mean, another example, for example, is Walgreens.

SANTORUM: And I care about, by the way. I care about choices.

QUINTANILLA: I’m sure you do. [laughter]

Walgreens/Rite Aid. Big deal, consolidation in drug stores, semiconductors, food. What is the line at which something becomes anti-competitive in your view?

SANTORUM: Well, I — I would say this, that what you’re seeing is — in health care, you’re seeing a lot of consolidation, and that consolidation is occurring because of Obamacare.

You’re seeing it particularly in an area that I am concerned about, and that’s in insurance — health insurance. You’re seeing the big health insurance companies fold up.

You’ve seen Obama try to seed health insurance companies, and they’ve all failed, I think, except one. Why? Because we have a system of Obamacare with minimum loss ratios that make it virtually impossible for a small insurer to operate effectively.

And this was the motive behind Obamacare. This wasn’t incidental. This was deliberate, to make it so impossible for small insurers to survive…

QUINTANILLA: Senator.

SANTORUM: …that they consolidate into a small group. Then the left can say, “there is no competition, we need a single payer.” That’s why we have to repeal Obamacare. [applause]

QUINTANILLA: Thank you. Becky.

QUICK: Governor Jindal, I want to go back to something that you mentioned before with your tax plan. I know that you want to put a 2 percent tax on all families, just to make sure everyone has some skin in the game.

But every working American pays 6.2 percent, when it comes to Social Security taxes. They pay another 1.45 percent of Medicare. Isn’t that skin in the game?

JINDAL: A couple things. You’re talking about payroll taxes that fund programs. People pay for their Medicare, they pay for their Social Security.

I want every American to worry and care about how those folks in D.C. are spending our money. If $18 trillion of debt — they’re misspending our money. Earned success is so much more fulfilling than unearned success.

I don’t want us to continue to create one class of Americans that pays income taxes, that pays for government, another class of Americans that’s growing more and more dependent on government.

That’s what we have today. Socialism is bad, not only for taxpayers, but people that they say they’re trying to help. There’s dignity in work, dignity in self-sufficiency.

I wanna quote you a president. Our previous president said this: he said, “the problem is, is that tax rates are too high, government income revenues are too low.”

He said, “paradoxically, lowering tax rates now is the best way to produce higher government revenues later.” No, that wasn’t President Reagan, as many are probably guessing at home. That was President Kennedy.

I see you know the answer. That was President Kennedy. Imagine if he were alive today — and if he was at that last Democratic debate, imagine if you tried to say that in a party that’s veering towards socialism. That wouldn’t be welcome in today’s Democratic party.

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

HARWOOD: Governor Pataki, you’ve indicated you believe climate change is real and caused at least in part by human activity. So, in 60 seconds, tell us what the federal government should do about it.

PATAKI: Yeah, absolutely. I — one of the things that troubles me about the Republican Party is too often we question science that everyone accepts. I mean, it’s ridiculous that, in the 21st century, we’re questioning whether or not vaccines are the appropriate way to go. Of course they are. And it’s also not appropriate to think that human activity, putting CO2 into the atmosphere, doesn’t make the earth warmer. All things being equal, it does. It’s uncontroverted.

I think part of the problem is that Republicans think about climate change, say, “oh my God, we’re gonna have higher taxes, more Obama, more big government, the EPA shutting down factories.”

That’s not the solution that I see. I want Republicans to embrace innovation and technology. You know, there’s one country in the world that has fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the rest of — of the world. You know what that is? The United States.

Our emissions are lower than they were in 1995. Not because of a — of a government program, but because of fracking, private sector creation…

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Is there a role for government?

PATAKI: …replace coal plants — government’s roles — is to incentivize innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit in America. We could have far more clean energy.

We could have next-generation nuclear, thorium reactors that have no risk of meltdown. We could have solar panels on every home that are four times more efficient than today.

HARWOOD: So, subsidies for those programs? For — for those alternative energy sources?

PATAKI: R&D — R&D credits. Let the private sector do this, develop this innovation. And not only would we solve our problems, we would have clean energy, cheaper energy here.

We could export those technologies to places like China and like India so we would grow our economy, have a far greater impact globally, have a secure domestic source of energy, and cleaner, healthier air.

That’s the solution. Embrace science, embrace innovation and change.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Governor. Carl? [applause]

QUINTANILLA: Question for Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: Thank you. Can I just say something about that?

QUINTANILLA: After this question maybe. [laughter]

The 2015 Nobel Prize winner for economics argues that slow growth causes poverty, and that leads to inequality. What would you do to ease inequality? And what would you do solve poverty? By the way, thanks to Larry Kudlow, CNBC, for this question.

SANTORUM: Well, if you look at our plan that I introduced, the 2020 Clear Vision for America, we increase growth by 10 percent, 1 percent a year. So we go from 2.3 to 3.3, in repealing Obamacare, it’s another .7. So you’re looking at 4 percent growth, according to the Tax Foundation.

And unlike Donald Trump and Bobby Jindal, we don’t add $10 trillion to the deficit. In fact, our plan, while it creates as many jobs as their plan does and grows the economy as much as theirs does, we are a revenue-neutral plan because I believe that we need to reduce the size of government, yes, but we also need to reduce our deficit, and we need to get our budget balanced so we can start paying down this debt. And adding a trillion dollars with a tax cut and getting no more growth is not the way to do it.

But that’s only half of it. The word “economy” comes from the Greek “euthokis” (ph) which means family. The family is the first economy. And the one thing that we do not talk about enough is how stable families are vitally important for the middle of America to be prosperous and to grow and be safe. And I will have policies, not just tax policies, but others that will make sure that families are strong again in America.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Jindal, I’ll give you 30 seconds on this.

JINDAL: Well, thank you.

Look, if Senator Santorum wants to concede the tax cut wing of the Republican Party, I’m happy to fight for that side of the Republican Party. He’s exactly right. I explicitly want to shrink the size of government; 22 percent over 10 years is not too much. We cut our state budget 26 percent in eight years.

This is a fundamental choice. We mustn’t become a cheaper version of the Democratic Party, a second liberal party. We need to proudly say we’re willing to cut taxes, shrink government, grow the American economy. President Kennedy said it to the Democratic Party. Why can’t we say it in the Republican Party in 2015, let’s cut taxes.

HARWOOD: Governor, if you cut spending and cut government so much, why did your legislature have such a big deficit?

JINDAL: John, our budget is balanced. We balanced our budget every year for eight years. Yeah, we’ve had to cut spending. You know what? We privatized or closed nine of our 10 charity hospitals. We did statewide school choice; $1.6 billion (ph) budget cut.

You’re quoting an old number from the beginning of the year. We closed that gap. What they talk about, just like D.C., government’s the only place where you give them less money than they wanted, they count it as a cut. They take last year’s budget. They add inflation. They call it a baseline. We need to do zero-based budgets. We need to say just because you got money last year, you don’t have it this year.

Let me close, though. We balanced our budget. We didn’t raise taxes. In eight years, we never raised taxes. We cut taxes. Our — our taxpayers, our families have been better off for it.

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: No, we’re going to move on. I’m going to bring on my colleague Sharon Epperson.

EPPERSON: Thank you, John.

Senator Graham, one in every four workers has saved less than $1,000 for retirement. Millions of Americans rely on their Social Security benefits for the majority of their retirement income. Now, you called for reforms to Social Security, but what would you do to fix the other part of the problem for future retirees and get people to save more?

GRAHAM: Well, number one, Social Security is not just a concept to me. I know why it exists; 50 percent of today’s seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check. I promise you, if you make me your president, I will save Social Security because I know why it exists.

Now, if you’re looking for good beer policy, I’m your best bet. My dad owned a bar. [laughter]

I know beer. We grew up, my sister and myself, in the back of that bar in one room with my mom, my dad and my sister who’s nine years younger. When I was 21, my mom was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Neither parent finished high school. She died within a year. We were wiped out from the medical bills. And if it wasn’t for a Social Security survivor benefit check coming into my family, we wouldn’t’ have made it because my dad died 15 months later.

So I…

EPPERSON: But Senator Graham…

GRAHAM: Wait a minute, please. I’m 22 and we’re wiped out. I am 60. I’m not married. I have a military retirement. I’m in good shape. I would give up some of my benefits to help those who need it more than I do.

To young people here, I will ask you to work a little bit longer because we have to. The purpose of my presidency is to save this country and to save Social Security by working across the aisle just like Ronald Reagan. This is the biggest issue facing this nation.

EPPERSON: Thank you, Senator Graham. Thank you, Senator Graham.

Governor Jindal, you’ve been a strong supporter of for-profit colleges. These are institutions that educate many veterans, minorities and working class Americans. They make up about 11 percent of the college population at these schools, but they account for 44 percent of student loan defaults. Should for-profit schools be held accountable when they take taxpayer money and leave students deep in debt?

JINDAL: [inaudible] absolutely they should be accountable. They should be accountable to their students through the market. Look, you either trust the American people to make their own choices or you don’t.

I know the Left thinks we need to be protected from ourselves. President Obama is trying to limit competition to the higher education market. As a result, you’re going to see tuition prices continue to go up. We’ve had $1 trillion of student debt and counting. And he wants to exempt certain schools from the same oversight he wants to apply only to the for-profit market.

For some reason, the private sector is a bad word to this president. It’s not in the real world.

In Louisiana, we fought so that the dollars follow the child and so the child following the dollar. What that means, from K-12, what that means is that parents and their families can decide what’s the best way for their children to be educated. Higher education, we have a TOPS program, where, again, we will help if a student maintains a 20 ACT, 2.5 GPA, we’ll pay for their tuition. They can take those dollars for private school of their choice in the state as well.

You either trust the American people or you don’t. I know the Left doesn’t. That’s why you get ObamaCare. They want to tell us what kind of insurance to buy. That’s why you get Common Core, they want to take away our gun rights under the Second Amendment. They want to take away our religious liberty rights.

So, yes, there’s accountability. There’s accountability to students through choice and competition. We don’t need the nanny state to protect us from ourselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Governor Jindal. [applause]

HARWOOD: And thank you, Sharon.

This is the Republican Presidential Debate, live from Boulder, Colorado. We’ll be right back. [applause]

[commercial break]

[applause]

QUICK: Welcome back to Boulder, Colorado, and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC.

Gentlemen, this is our lightning round, where we have some questions for you we hope you can answer in 20 seconds or less. And we will go right down the line on this.

Governor Jindal, I’ll start with you.

We’re wondering, what are the three apps that you use most frequently on your cellphone?

JINDAL: I was just saying to my colleagues, I may be the last person in this audience without an iPhone. I’m actually one of the last folks — I still have a BlackBerry in my pocket. And I basically use it for scheduling. I use it to keep up when my wife is here and my three kids at home.

The only games on that phone are Bricklayer. I use it to keep up with the news through the Internet. I may be the last American out there without an iPhone.

QUICK: No, no.

JINDAL: My apologies.

QUICK: I — I’m with you. I still have a BlackBerry, too.

Senator — Senator Santorum, how about you?

SANTORUM: MLB, NHL, so I’m a big sports fan. And “The Wall Street Journal.” Those are the three apps I use the most.

QUICK: Thank you.

Governor?

PATAKI: The one I use the most is Uber. You know, I used to get driven…[laughter]…when I was governor, I had a driver. I don’t anymore, but…[crosstalk]. And it’s an example of what millennials are doing to change America for the better. And I tweet a lot, too.

So Uber, Tweet — Twitter and then I communicate with my family.

QUICK: Thank you.

Senator Graham?

GRAHAM: Well, number one, the only reason I have an iPhone is because I gave my number to Donald Trump. Don’t do that. [laughter]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor…

GRAHAM: Donald has done more to upgrade my technology than my whole staff.

Number one, Fox News. Sorry about CNBC. [laughter]

We’re in a Republican primary here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

QUICK: We take your time back. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time is up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut his microphone.

QUINTANILLA: We’ve got one more. One more lightning round.

Governor Jindal, should the day after the Super Bowl be a national holiday? [laughter]

JINDAL: Well, absolutely, when the Saints go back to repeat, we were talking about beer sales earlier, all those folks from being hung over in Louisiana from drinking to celebrate Drew Brees winning this, I think it would be a great day to take off.

No, look, on a serious note, I do want to say this about the Super Bowl and our athletes. They can be great role models for our children and I’m obviously a Saints fan. Drew Brees and his wife great role models, great Christians.

So, yes, it should be a holiday.

QUINTANILLA: Senator?

SANTORUM: Well, since we’re usually in the Super Bowl at the Pittsburgh Steelers…

Steeler nation, anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

SANTORUM: No. I was in…[crosstalk]…was in Kansas City over the weekend to watch the Steeler game and about a third of the crowd were Steeler fans. So I’m usually not alone when I call on Steeler Nation.

But we are used to being in the Super Bowl, so actually, it is in Pennsylvania already.

QUINTANILLA: Governor?

PATAKI: I — I am a long suffering Jets fan. So my answer is obviously no, there’s no reason to take off the day after the Super Bowl. [applause]

But let me just add this. The Mets are going to win tonight. Let’s go, Mets.

QUINTANILLA: Finally, Senator?

GRAHAM: Well, I think a national holiday would be the day that commander-in-chief Barack Obama doesn’t have that job. [applause]

But unlike these other three, I want to win New Hampshire. Go Tom Brady. Go Patriots. [laughter]

Sorry, Colorado is late in the…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Panderer.

[crosstalk]

QUICK: John?

HARWOOD: OK, now we’re at the point of the evening where we’re just about to give our candidates a holiday from this debate, but not before they tell us in 30 seconds their closing statements.

Senator Graham, you’re first.

GRAHAM: Somebody said — or maybe I saw it on the bill of a cap — that let’s make America great again. [laughter]

America is great. [applause]

I intend to make America strong again. I’m going to be the champion of the middle class, where I came from. If you make me your president, our best days are ahead. I’m ready to be commander- in-chief, ladies and gentlemen, on day one. I intend to war — win a war that we cannot afford to lose.

I will be a commander-in-chief worthy of the sacrifice of those brave Americans who have been defending our nation. They have had our back. God knows, they have had our back…

HARWOOD: Senator Graham…

GRAHAM: — and I intend to have their back as commander-in- chief. Make me commander-in-chief.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator Graham.

Governor Pataki?

PATAKI: Thank you for the opportunity to be with this great audience tonight.

I’m a limited government conservative and I mean by that that not just when it comes to economic issues leaving them to the state, but social issues, as well.

And in that I differ from every single other candidate seeking the Republican nomination.

I take the Tenth Amendment very, very seriously.

I’m a Republican who embraces science and understands we have to work with the next generation of millennials to have the innovation and technology so that we can grow a 21st century economy.

And I’m a Republican who understands in Washington, when you’re a leader, you have to put aside partisan politics to do what’s right for the people.

We are one America. If we work together across party lines, there’s no problem we can’t solve and the 21st century will be America’s greatest century.

Thank you very much.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: I grew up in a steel town of Western Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh, and when I announced for president, I announced from the factory floor. When I talk about making America the number one manufacturer again in the world, it’s not just talk. When I talk about having the opportunity for people to rise again, it’s not just because it polls well.

I represented the old steel valley of Pittsburgh. I represented a 70% Democratic district, and won with 60% of the vote. Why? Because I aligned myself with working men and women who feel that neither party, and certainly not Washington D.C. cares about them.

You elect me, we will get American workers on the side of the Republican party, and we can not be stopped if we do. [applause]

HARWOOD: Senator Santorum, thank you. Governor Jindal?

JINDAL: My message is to conservatives, this is our hour. Thanks to the insanity, the incompetence of the Democratic party, the American people are ready to turn our government over to us. It’s not enough to let just any Republican, however. The reality is the idea of America is slipping away.

As Christians, we believe that the tomb is empty. As Americans, we believe that our best days are always ahead of us, and they can be again. We must win this election. We cannot allow Hillary Clinton to take us down this path towards socialism — further down this path.

I’ve got the courage to apply our conservative principles. I can’t do it alone. With your help, with God’s grace, we can save the idea of America before it’s too late.

HARWOOD: Governor Jindal, thank you very much. Carl?

QUINTANILLA: That concludes our first part of the evening.

 

 

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 13, 2015: First Democratic Candidates Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Democratic Candidates Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada
October 13, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 

PARTICIPANTS:
Former Governor Lincoln Chafee (RI);
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton;
Former Governor Martin O’Malley (MD);
Senator Bernie Sanders (VT);
Former Senator Jim Webb (VA);

MODERATORS:
Anderson Cooper (CNN);
Dana Bash (CNN);
Don Lemon (CNN); and
Juan Carlos Lopez (CNN en Espanol)

COOPER: I’m Anderson Cooper. Thanks for joining us. We’ve already welcomed the candidates on stage. They are in place at their podiums. Before we dive into the issues, I want to quickly explain some of the groundrules tonight.

As the moderator, I’ll ask questions, followups and guide the discussion. I’ll be joined in the questioning by CNN’s Juan Carlos Lopez and Dana Bash, a well as Don Lemon who will share questions from Democrats around the country. Each candidate will get one minute to answer questions, and 30 seconds for followups and rebuttals. I’ll give candidates time to respond if they have been singled out for criticism.

Our viewers should know that we have lights that are visible to the candidates to warn them when their time is up.

I want the candidates to be able to introduce themselves to our audience. Each candidate will have two minutes to introduce themselves.

Let’s begin with Governor Chafee.

Governor?

CHAFEE: Thank you, Anderson.

Thank you, CNN, and thank you Facebook for organizing this debate.

Not only will Americans be electing a new president next year, we also will be electing a world leader. Voters should assess the candidate’s experience, character and vision for the future as they make this important decision.

I’m the only one running for president that has been a mayor, a United States senator, and a governor. As mayor, I brought labor peace to my city and kept taxes down. I was reelected three times. As a senator, I earned a reputation for courageous votes against the Bush-Cheney tax cuts the favored the wealthy, against the tragedy of the Iraq war, for environmental stewardship, for protection of our civil liberties. I served on the Foreign Relations Committee and I chaired the Middle East Subcommittee for four years.

As governor, I came in at the depths of the recession and we turned my state around. Rhode Island had the biggest drop of the unemployment rate over my four budgets of all but one state. It happens to be Nevada, where we’re having this debate. I’m very proud that over my almost 30 years of public service, I have had no scandals. I’ve always been honest. I have the courage to take the long-term view, and I’ve shown good judgment. I have high ethical standards.

As we look to the future, I want to address the income inequality, close the gap between the haves and the have-nots. I want to address climate change, a real threat to our planet. And I believe in prosperity through peace. I want to end these wars.

I look forward to the discussion ahead.

Thank you [applause]

COOPER: Thank you very much, Governor. [applause]

Senator Webb, you have two minutes.

WEBB: Thank you.

You know, people are disgusted with the way that money has corrupted our political process, intimidating incumbents and empowering Wall Street every day, the turnstile government that we see, and also the power of the financial sector in both parties.

They’re looking for a leader who understands how the system works, who has not been coopted by it, and also has a proven record of accomplishing different things. I have a record of working across the political aisle. I’ve also spent more than half of my professional life away from politics in the independent world of being an author, a journalist, and a sole proprietor.

In government service, I’ve fought and bled for our country in Vietnam as a Marine. I spent years as Assistant Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy — in the Reagan administration.

In the senate, I spoke about economic fairness and social justice from day one. I also wrote and passed the best piece of veterans education legislation in history, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I brought criminal justice reform out of the political shadows and into the national discussion. I led what later became called the Strategic Pivot to Asia two years before President Obama was elected.

I know where my loyalties are.

My mother grew up in the poverty of east Arkansas chopping cotton, picking strawberries. Three of her seven siblings died in childhood. My wife, Hong, came to this country as a refugee from war torn Vietnam — learned English, a language that was not spoken at home, and earned her way into Cornell Law School. I have five daughters. Amy works with disabled veterans, Sarah is an emergency room nurse, Julia is a massage therapist, Emily and Georgia are still in school. My son Jim fought as an infantry Marine on the bloody streets of Ramadi.

You may be sure that in a Webb administration, the highest priority will be the working people who every day go out and make this country stronger at home, and who give us the right reputation and security overseas under a common sense foreign policy. [cheering and applause]

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, you have two minutes.

O’MALLEY: My name is Martin O’Malley, former Mayor of Baltimore, former governor of Maryland, a life long democrat, and most importantly, a husband, and a father.

My wife Katie and I have four great kids, Grace, and Tara, and William and Jack. And, like you, there is nothing we wouldn’t do to give them healthier and better lives. There are some things that I have learned to do better in life than others. And, after 15 years of executive experience, I have learned how to be an effective leader.

Whether it was raising the minimum wage, making our public schools the best in America, passing marriage equality, the DREAM Act, and comprehensive gun safety legislation, I have learned how to get things done because I am very clear about my principals.

Thanks to President Obama, our country has come a long way since the Wall Street crash of 2008. Our country’s doing better, we are creating jobs again. But we elected a president, not a magician, and there is urgent work that needs to be done right now. For there is a — deep injustice, an economic injustice that threatens to tear our country apart, and it will not solve itself. Injustice does not solve itself.

What I’m talking about is this, our middle class is shrinking. Our poor families are becoming poorer, and 70 percent of us are earning the same, or less than we were 12 years ago. We need new leadership, and we need action. The sort of action that will actually make wages go up again for all American families.

Our economy isn’t money, it’s people. It’s all of our people, and so we must invest in our country, and the potential of our kids to make college a debt free option for all of our families, instead of settling our kids with a lifetime of crushing debt.

And, we must square our shoulders to the great challenge of climate change and make this threat our opportunity. The future is what we make of it. We are all in this together. And, the question in this election is whether you and I still have the ability to give our kids a better future. I believe we do, that is why I am running for president, and I need your help.

Thank you. [applause]

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, thank you very much. Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Anderson, thank you very much. I think most Americans understand that our country today faces a series of unprecedented crises. The middle class of this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing. Millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and yet almost all of the new income and wealth being created is going to the top one percent.

As a result of this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, our campaign finance system is corrupt and is undermining American democracy. Millionaires and billionaires are pouring unbelievable sums of money into the political process in order to fund super PACs and to elect candidates who represent their interests, not the interests of working people.

Today, the scientific community is virtually unanimous: climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy and leave this planet a habitable planet for our children and our grandchildren.

Today in America, we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth. African-American youth unemployment is 51 percent. Hispanic youth unemployment is 36 percent. It seems to me that instead of building more jails and providing more incarceration, maybe — just maybe — we should be putting money into education and jobs for our kids. [applause]

What this campaign is about is whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires and create the vibrant democracy we know we can and should have. Thank you. [applause]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, thank you, and thanks to everyone for hosting this first of the Democratic debates.

I’m Hillary Clinton. I have been proud and privileged to serve as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state. I’m the granddaughter of a factory worker and the grandmother of a wonderful one-year-old child. And every day, I think about what we need to do to make sure that opportunity is available not just for her, but for all of our children. I have spent a very long time — my entire adult life — looking for ways to even the odds to help people have a chance to get ahead, and, in particular, to find the ways for each child to live up to his or her God-given potential.

I’ve traveled across our country over the last months listening and learning, and I’ve put forward specific plans about how we’re going to create more good-paying jobs: by investing in infrastructure and clean energy, by making it possible once again to invest in science and research, and taking the opportunity posed by climate change to grow our economy.

At the center of my campaign is how we’re going to raise wages. Yes, of course, raise the minimum wage, but we have to do so much more, including finding ways so that companies share profits with the workers who helped to make them.

And then we have to figure out how we’re going to make the tax system a fairer one. Right now, the wealthy pay too little and the middle class pays too much. So I have specific recommendations about how we’re going to close those loopholes, make it clear that the wealthy will have to pay their fair share, and have a series of tax cuts for middle-class families.

And I want to do more to help us balance family and work. I believe in equal pay for equal work for women, but I also believe it’s about time we had paid family leave for American families and join the rest of the world. [applause]

During the course of the evening tonight, I’ll have a chance to lay out all of my plans and the work that I’ve done behind them. But for me, this is about bringing our country together again. And I will do everything I can to heal the divides — the divides economically, because there’s too much inequality; the racial divides; the continuing discrimination against the LGBT community — so that we work together and, yes, finally, fathers will be able to say to their daughters, you, too, can grow up to be president. [applause]

COOPER: Thank you, all. It is time to start the debate.

Are you all ready? [applause]

All right. Let’s begin. We’re going to be discussing a lot of the issues, many of the issues, important issues that you have brought up. But I want to begin with concerns that voters have about each of the candidates here on this stage that they have about each of you.

Secretary Clinton, I want to start with you. Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency.

You were against same-sex marriage. Now you’re for it. You defended President Obama’s immigration policies. Now you say they’re too harsh. You supported his trade deal dozen of times. You even called it the “gold standard”. Now, suddenly, last week, you’re against it.

Will you say anything to get elected?

CLINTON: Well, actually, I have been very consistent. Over the course of my entire life, I have always fought for the same values and principles, but, like most human beings — including those of us who run for office — I do absorb new information. I do look at what’s happening in the world.

You know, take the trade deal. I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards. My standards for more new, good jobs for Americans, for raising wages for Americans.

And I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say, “this will help raise your wages.” And I concluded I could not.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, though, with all due respect, the question is really about political expediency. Just in July, New Hampshire, you told the crowd you’d, quote, “take a back seat to no one when it comes to progressive values.”

Last month in Ohio, you said you plead guilty to, quote, “being kind of moderate and center.” Do you change your political identity based on who you’re talking to?

CLINTON: No. I think that, like most people that I know, I have a range of views, but they are rooted in my values and my experience. And I don’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment.

You know, when I left law school, my first job was with the Children’s Defense Fund, and for all the years since, I have been focused on how we’re going to un-stack the deck, and how we’re gonna make it possible for more people to have the experience I had.

You know, to be able to come from a grandfather who was a factory worker, a father who was a small business person, and now asking the people of America to elect me president.

COOPER: Just for the record, are you a progressive, or are you a moderate?

CLINTON: I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done. And I know… [applause] …how to find common ground, and I know how to stand my ground, and I have proved that in every position that I’ve had, even dealing with Republicans who never had a good word to say about me, honestly. But we found ways to work together on everything from…

COOPER: Secretary…

CLINTON: …reforming foster care and adoption to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which insures…

COOPER: …thank you…

CLINTON: …8 million kids. So I have a long history of getting things done, rooted in the same values…

COOPER: …Senator…

CLINTON: …I’ve always had.

COOPER: Senator Sanders. A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?

SANDERS: Well, we’re gonna win because first, we’re gonna explain what democratic socialism is.

And what democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1 percent in this country own almost 90 percent — almost — own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. That it is wrong, today, in a rigged economy, that 57 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent.

That when you look around the world, you see every other major country providing health care to all people as a right, except the United States. You see every other major country saying to moms that, when you have a baby, we’re not gonna separate you from your newborn baby, because we are going to have — we are gonna have medical and family paid leave, like every other country on Earth.

Those are some of the principles that I believe in, and I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people. [applause]

COOPER: Denmark is a country that has a population — Denmark is a country that has a population of 5.6 million people. The question is really about electability here, and that’s what I’m trying to get at.

You — the — the Republican attack ad against you in a general election — it writes itself. You supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. You honeymooned in the Soviet Union. And just this weekend, you said you’re not a capitalist.

Doesn’t — doesn’t that ad write itself?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let’s look at the facts. The facts that are very simple. Republicans win when there is a low voter turnout, and that is what happened last November.

Sixty-three percent of the American people didn’t vote, Anderson. Eighty percent of young people didn’t vote. We are bringing out huge turnouts, and creating excitement all over this country.

Democrats at the White House on down will win, when there is excitement and a large voter turnout, and that is what this campaign is doing.

COOPER: You don’t consider yourself a capitalist, though?

SANDERS: Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little by which Wall Street’s greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don’t.

I believe in a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires. [applause]

COOPER: Just let me just be clear. Is there anybody else on the stage who is not a capitalist?

CLINTON: Well, let me just follow-up on that, Anderson, because when I think about capitalism, I think about all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living for themselves and their families.

And I don’t think we should confuse what we have to do every so often in America, which is save capitalism from itself. And I think what Senator Sanders is saying certainly makes sense in the terms of the inequality that we have.

But we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America. And it’s our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism so that it doesn’t run amok and doesn’t cause the kind of inequities we’re seeing in our economic system.

But we would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history…

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

CLINTON: … of the world. [applause]

SANDERS: I think everybody is in agreement that we are a great entrepreneurial nation. We have got to encourage that. Of course, we have to support small and medium-sized businesses.

But you can have all of the growth that you want and it doesn’t mean anything if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. So what we need to do is support small and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of our economy, but we have to make sure that every family in this country gets a fair shake…

COOPER: We’re going to get…

SANDERS: … not just for billionaires.

COOPER: We’re going to have a lot more on these issues. But I do want to just quickly get everybody in on the question of electability.

Governor Chafee, you’ve been everything but a socialist. When you were senator from Rhode Island, you were a Republican. When you were elected governor, you were an independent. You’ve only been a Democrat for little more than two years. Why should Democratic voters trust you won’t change again?

CHAFEE: Anderson, you’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues. Whether it’s…

[crosstalk]

COOPER: It seems like pretty soft granite. I mean, you’ve been a Republican, you’ve been an independent.

CHAFEE: Did you hear what I said? On the issues. I have not changed on the issues. I was a liberal Republican, then I was an independent, and now I’m a proud Democrat. But I have not changed on the issues.

And I open my record to scrutiny. Whether it’s on the environment, a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, fiscal responsibility, aversion to foreign entanglements, using the tools of government to help the less fortunate.

Time and time again, I have never changed. You’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues. So I have not changed.

COOPER: Then why change labels?

CHAFEE: The party left me. There’s no doubt about that. There was no room for a liberal moderate Republican in that party. I even had a primary for my reelection in 2006. I won it. But the money poured in to defeat me in Rhode Island as a Republican. That’s what we were up against.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, the concern of voters about you is that you tout our record as Baltimore’s mayor. As we all know, we all saw it. That city exploded in riots and violence in April.

The current top prosecutor in Baltimore, also a Democrat, blames your zero tolerance policies for sowing the seeds of unrest. Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what’s going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?

O’MALLEY: Yes, actually, I believe what she said was that there’s a lot of policies that have led to this unrest.

But, Anderson, when I ran for mayor of Baltimore in 1999…

COOPER: She actually — just for the record, when she was asked which policies, to name two, she said zero tolerance. I mean, there’s a number of old policies that we’re seeing the results of. That distress of communities, where communities don’t want to step forward and say who killed a 3-year-old, it’s a direct result of these failed policies.

O’MALLEY: Well, let’s talk about this a little bit. One of the things that was not reported during that heartbreaking night of unrest in Baltimore was that arrests had actually fallen to a 38-year low in the year prior to the Freddie Gray’s tragic death.

Anderson, when I ran for mayor of Baltimore back in 1999, it was not because our city was doing well. It was because we allowed ourselves to become the most violent, addicted, and abandoned city in America.

And I ran and promised people that together we could turn that around. And we put our city on a path to reduce violent crime, or part one (ph) crime by more than any other major city in America over the next 10 years.

I did not make our city immune to setbacks. But I attended a lot of funerals, including one for a family of seven who were firebombed in their sleep for picking up the phone in a poor African-American neighborhood and calling the police because of drug dealers on their corner.

We’ve saved over a thousand lives in Baltimore in the last 15 years of people working together. And the vast majority of them were young and poor and black. It wasn’t easy on any day. But we saved lives and we gave our city a better future, improving police and community relations every single day that I was in office.

COOPER: In one year alone, though, 100,000 arrests were made in your city, a city of 640,000 people. The ACLU, the NAACP sued you, sued the city, and the city actually settled, saying a lot of those arrests were without probable cause.

O’MALLEY: Well, I think the key word in your followup there was the word “settle.” That’s true. It was settled. Arrests peaked in 2003, Anderson, but they declined every year after that as we restored peace in our poorer neighborhoods so that people could actually walk and not have to worry about their kids or their loved ones of being victims of violent crime.

Look, none of this is easy. None of us has all the answers. But together as a city, we saved a lot of lives. It was about leadership. It was about principle. And it was about bringing people together.

COOPER: Thank you, Governor.

O’MALLEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Senator Webb, in 2006, you called affirmative action “state-sponsored racism.” In 2010, you wrote an op/ed saying it discriminates against whites. Given that nearly half the Democratic Party is non-white, aren’t you out of step with where the Democratic Party is now?

WEBB: No, actually I believe that I am where the Democratic Party traditionally has been. The Democratic Party, and the reason I’ve decided to run as a Democrat, has been the party that gives people who otherwise have no voice in the corridors of power a voice. And that is not determined by race.

And as a clarification, I have always supported affirmative action for African Americans. That’s the way the program was originally designed because of their unique history in this country, with slavery and the Jim Crow laws that followed. What I have discussed a number of times is the idea that when we create diversity programs that include everyone, quote, “of color,” other than whites, struggling whites like the families in the Appalachian mountains, we’re not being true to the Democratic Party principle of elevating the level of consciousness among our people about the hardships that a lot of people who happen to be have — by culture, by the way.

COOPER: Senator Webb, thank you very much.

Let’s move on to some of the most pressing issues facing our country right now, some of the biggest issues right now in the headlines today. We’re going to start with guns. The shooting in Oregon earlier this month, once again it brought the issue of guns into the national conversation. Over the last week, guns have been the most discussed political topic on Facebook by two to one.

Senator Sanders, you voted against the Brady bill that mandated background checks and a waiting period. You also supported allowing riders to bring guns in checked bags on Amtrak trains. For a decade, you said that holding gun manufacturers legally responsible for mass shootings is a bad idea. Now, you say you’re reconsidering that. Which is it: shield the gun companies from lawsuits or not?

SANDERS: Let’s begin, Anderson, by understanding that Bernie Sanders has a D-minus voting rating (ph) from the NRA. Let’s also understand that back in 1988 when I first ran for the United States Congress, way back then, I told the gun owners of the state of Vermont and I told the people of the state of Vermont, a state which has virtually no gun control, that I supported a ban on assault weapons. And over the years, I have strongly avoided instant background checks, doing away with this terrible gun show loophole. And I think we’ve got to move aggressively at the federal level in dealing with the straw man purchasers.

Also I believe, and I’ve fought for, to understand that there are thousands of people in this country today who are suicidal, who are homicidal, but can’t get the healthcare that they need, the mental healthcare, because they don’t have insurance or they’re too poor. I believe that everybody in this country who has a mental crisis has got to get mental health counseling immediately.

COOPER: Do you want to shield gun companies from lawsuits?

SANDERS: Of course not. This was a large and complicated bill. There were provisions in it that I think made sense. For example, do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont that sells legally a gun to somebody, and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don’t.

On the other hand, where you have manufacturers and where you have gun shops knowingly giving guns to criminals or aiding and abetting that, of course we should take action.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns?

CLINTON: No, not at all. I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long and it’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA. The majority of our country… [applause] … supports background checks, and even the majority of gun owners do.

Senator Sanders did vote five times against the Brady bill. Since it was passed, more than 2 million prohibited purchases have been prevented. He also did vote, as he said, for this immunity provision. I voted against it. I was in the Senate at the same time. It wasn’t that complicated to me. It was pretty straightforward to me that he was going to give immunity to the only industry in America. Everybody else has to be accountable, but not the gun manufacturers. And we need to stand up and say: Enough of that. We’re not going to let it continue. [applause]

COOPER: We’re going to bring you all in on this. But, Senator Sanders, you have to give a response.

SANDERS: As a senator from a rural state, what I can tell Secretary Clinton, that all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want, and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns and end this horrible violence that we are seeing.

I believe that there is a consensus in this country. A consensus has said we need to strengthen and expand instant background checks, do away with this gun show loophole, that we have to address the issue of mental health, that we have to deal with the strawman purchasing issue, and that when we develop that consensus, we can finally, finally do something to address this issue.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, you passed gun legislation as governor of Maryland, but you had a Democratic-controlled legislature. President Obama couldn’t convince Congress to pass gun legislation after the massacres in Aurora, in Newtown, and Charleston. How can you?

O’MALLEY: And, Anderson, I also had to overcome a lot of opposition in the leadership of my own party to get this done. Look, it’s fine to talk about all of these things — and I’m glad we’re talking about these things — but I’ve actually done them.

We passed comprehensive gun safety legislation, not by looking at the pollings or looking at what the polls said. We actually did it. And, Anderson, here tonight in our audience are two people that make this issue very, very real. Sandy and Lonnie Phillips are here from Colorado. And their daughter, Jessie, was one of those who lost their lives in that awful mass shooting in Aurora.

Now, to try to transform their grief, they went to court, where sometimes progress does happen when you file in court, but in this case, you want to talk about a — a rigged game, Senator? The game was rigged. A man had sold 4,000 rounds of military ammunition to this — this person that killed their daughter, riddled her body with five bullets, and he didn’t even ask where it was going.

And not only did their case get thrown out of court, they were slapped with $200,000 in court fees because of the way that the NRA gets its way in our Congress and we take a backseat. It’s time to stand up and pass comprehensive gun safety legislation as a nation. [applause]

COOPER: Senator Sanders, I want you to be able to respond, 30 seconds.

SANDERS: I think the governor gave a very good example about the weaknesses in that law and I think we have to take another look at it. But here is the point, Governor. We can raise our voices, but I come from a rural state, and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not.

Our job is to bring people together around strong, commonsense gun legislation. I think there is a vast majority in this country who want to do the right thing, and I intend to lead the country in bringing our people together.

O’MALLEY: Senator — Senator, excuse me.

[crosstalk]

O’MALLEY: Senator, it is not about rural — Senator, it was not about rural and urban.

SANDERS: It’s exactly about rural.

O’MALLEY: Have you ever been to the Eastern Shore? Have you ever been to Western Maryland? We were able to pass this and still respect the hunting traditions of people who live in our rural areas.

SANDERS: Governor…

O’MALLEY: And we did it by leading with principle, not by pandering to the NRA and backing down to the NRA.

SANDERS: Well, as somebody who has a D-minus voting record…

[crosstalk]

O’MALLEY: And I have an F from the NRA, Senator.

SANDERS: I don’t think I am pandering. But you have not been in the United States Congress.

O’MALLEY: Well, maybe that’s a healthy thing. [laughter]

SANDERS: And when you want to, check it out. And if you think — if you think that we can simply go forward and pass something tomorrow without bringing people together, you are sorely mistaken.

COOPER: Let me bring in somebody who has a different viewpoint. Senator Webb, your rating from the NRA, you once had an A rating from the NRA. You’ve said gun violence goes down when more people are allowed to carry guns. Would encouraging more people to be armed be part of your response to a mass shooting?

WEBB: Look, there are two fundamental issues that are involved in this discussion. We need to pay respect to both of them. The first is the issue of who should be kept from having guns and using firearms. And we have done not a good job on that.

A lot of them are criminals. And a lot of the people are getting killed are members of gangs inside our urban areas. And a lot of them are mentally incapacitated. And the shooting in Virginia Tech in ’07, this individual had received medical care for mental illness from three different professionals who were not allowed to share the information.

So we do need background checks. We need to keep the people who should not have guns away from them. But we have to respect the tradition in this country of people who want to defend themselves and their family from violence.

COOPER: Senator…

WEBB: May I? People are going back and forth here for 10 minutes here. There are people at high levels in this government who have bodyguards 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The average American does not have that, and deserves the right to be able to protect their family.

COOPER: Senator — Governor Chafee, you have an F rating from the NRA, what do you think about what Senator Webb just said?

CHAFEE: Yes, I have a good record of voting for gun commonsense safety legislation, but the reality is, despite these tragedies that happen time and time again, when legislators step up to pass commonsense gun safety legislation, the gun lobby moves in and tells the people they’re coming to take away your guns.

And, they’re successful at it, in Colorado and others states, the legislators that vote for commonsense gun safety measures then get defeated. I even saw in Rhode Island. So, I would bring the gun lobby in and say we’ve got to change this. Where can we find common ground? Wayne Lapierre from the NRA, whoever it is, the leaders. Come one, we’ve go to change this. We’re not coming to take away your guns, we believe in the Second Amendment, but let’s find common ground here.

COOPER: I want to…

O’MALLEY: …Anderson, when the NRA wrote to everyone in our state — when the NRA wrote to members in our state and told people with hunting traditions lies about what our comprehensive gun safety legislation is, I wrote right back to them and laid out what it actually did. And that’s why, not only did we pass it, but the NRA didn’t…

SANDERS: …Excuse me…

O’MALLEY: …dare to petition a referendum…

SANDERS: …I want to make…

O’MALLEY: …Because we built a public consensus…

COOPER: …I want to move on to another issue, which is in the headlines right now, another crisis making headlines.

Secretary Clinton, Russia, they’re challenging the U.S. in Syria. According to U.S. intelligence, they’ve lied about who they’re bombing. You spearheaded the reset with Russia. Did you underestimate the Russians, and as president, what would your response to Vladimir Putin be right now in Syria?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, we got a lot of business done with the Russians when Medvedev was the president, and not Putin. We got a nuclear arms deal, we got the Iranian sanctions, we got an ability to bring important material and equipment to our soldiers in Afghanistan.

There’s no doubt that when Putin came back in and said he was going to be President, that did change the relationship. We have to stand up to his bullying, and specifically in Syria, it is important — and I applaud the administration because they are engaged in talks right now with the Russians to make it clear that they’ve got to be part of the solution to try to end that bloody conflict.

And, to — provide safe zones so that people are not going to have to be flooding out of Syria at the rate they are. And, I think it’s important too that the United States make it very clear to Putin that it’s not acceptable for him to be in Syria creating more chaos, bombing people on behalf of Assad, and we can’t do that if we don’t take more of a leadership position, which is what I’m advocating.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, what would you do differently.

SANDERS: Well, let’s understand that when we talk about Syria, you’re talking about a quagmire in a quagmire. You’re talking about groups of people trying to overthrow Assad, other groups of people fighting ISIS. You’re talking about people who are fighting ISIS using their guns to overthrow Assad, and vice versa.

I’m the former chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, and in that capacity I learned a very powerful lesson about the cost of war, and I will do everything that I can to make sure that the United States does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country. We should be putting together a coalition of Arab countries who should be leading the effort. We should be supportive, but I do not support American ground troops in Syria.

COOPER: On this issue of foreign policy, I want to go to…

CLINTON: …Well, nobody does. Nobody does, Senator Sanders.

COOPER: I want to go to Dana Bash. Dana?

BASH: Governor Chafee, you were the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Iraq war. You say Secretary Clinton should be disqualified from the presidency because she voted in favor of using force in Iraq. She has since said that her vote was a mistake. Why isn’t that good enough?

CHAFEE: Well, we just heard Senator Sanders say that it’s the worst decision in American history. That’s very significant, the worst decision in American history, I just heard from Senator Sanders.

So, as we look ahead, if you’re going to make those poor judgment calls, a critical time in our history, we just finished with the Vietnam era, getting back into another quagmire — if you’re looking ahead, and you’re looking at someone who made that poor decision in 2002 to go into Iraq when there was no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — I know because I did my homework, and, so, that’s an indication of how someone will perform in the future. And that’s what’s important. [applause]

BASH: Secretary Clinton, he’s questioning your judgment.

CLINTON: Well, I recall very well being on a debate stage, I think, about 25 times with then Senator Obama, debating this very issue. After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State.

He valued my judgment, and I spent a lot of time with him… [applause] …in the Situation Room, going over some very difficult issues.

You know, I — I agree completely. We don’t want American troops on the ground in Syria. I never said that. What I said was we had to put together a coalition — in fact, something that I worked on before I left the State Department — to do, and yes, that it should include Arabs, people in the region.

Because what I worry about is what will happen with ISIS gaining more territory, having more reach, and, frankly, posing a threat to our friends and neighbors in the region and far beyond.

So I think while you’re talking about the tough decision that President Obama had to make about Osama bin Laden, where I was one of his few advisers, or putting together that coalition to impose sanctions on Iran — I think I have a lot of evidence…

[crosstalk]

BASH: Senator Sanders — Senator Sanders, I want to bring you in here. My question for you is, as a congressman, you voted against the Iraq War. You voted against the Gulf War. You’re just talking about Syria, but under what circumstances would a President Sanders actually use force?

SANDERS: Let me just respond to something the secretary said. First of all, she is talking about, as I understand it, a no-fly zone in Syria, which I think is a very dangerous situation. Could lead to real problems.

Second of all, I heard the same evidence from President Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld about why we should overthrow Saddam Hussein and get involved in the — I would urge people to go to berniesanders.com, hear what I said in 2002. And I say, without any joy in my heart, that much of what I thought would happen about the destabilization, in fact, did happen.

So I think…

BASH: All right. [applause]

SANDERS: I think the president is trying very hard to thread a tough needle here, and that is to support those people who are against Assad, against ISIS, without getting us on the ground there, and that’s the direction I believe we should have (inaudible).

COOPER: But, Senator Sanders, you didn’t answer the question. Under what — under what circumstances would you actually use force?

SANDERS: Well, obviously, I voted, when President Clinton said, “let’s stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo,” I voted for that. I voted to make sure that Osama bin Laden was held accountable in Afghanistan.

When our country is threatened, or when our allies are threatened, I believe that we need coalitions to come together to address the major crises of this country. I do not support the United States getting involved in unilateral action.

(UNKNOWN): You’re at work with our allies.

[crosstalk]

COOPER: I’m gonna bring you all in on this. Governor — Governor O’Malley, Secretary Clinton…

SANDERS: I don’t believe that any…

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton voted to authorize military force in Iraq, supported more troops in Afghanistan. As Secretary of State, she wanted to arm Syrian rebels and push for the bombing of Libya. Is she too quick to use military force?

O’MALLEY: Anderson, no president — no commander in chief — should take the military option off the table, even if most of us would agree that it should be the last option.

What disturbed people so much about — and I would agree with Senator Sanders on this — leading us into Iraq under false pretenses and telling us, as a people, that there were weapons of mass destruction there was — was one of the worst blunders in modern American history.

But the reason why people remain angry about it is because people feel like a lot of our legislators got railroaded in a war fever and by polls. And I remember being at a dinner shortly before that invasion. People were talking at — and saying, “it’ll take us just a couple years to rebuild democracy,” and I thought, “has this world gone mad?”

Whenever we go — and contrary to John Quincy Adams’ advice — “searching the world for monsters to destroy,” and when we use political might to take a — at the expense of democratic principle, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our [inaudible].

COOPER: Does she — does she want to use military force too rapidly?

O’MALLEY: I believe that, as president, I would not be so quick to pull for a military tool. I believe that a no-fly zone in Syria, at this time, actually, Secretary, would be a mistake.

You have to enforce no-fly zones, and I believe, especially with the Russian air force in the air, it could lead to an escalation because of an accident that we would deeply regret.

I support President Obama. I think we have to play a long game, and I think, ultimately — you want to talk about blunders? I think Assad’s invasion of Syria will be seen as a blunder.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, just for the record, on the campaign trail, you’ve been saying that Secretary Clinton is always quick for the — for the military intervention. Senator — Secretary Clinton, you can respond.

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I…

WEBB: Anderson, can I come into this discussion at some point?

COOPER: Well — yes, you’ll be coming in next, but she was directly quoted, Senator.

WEBB: Thank you. I’ve been standing over here for about ten minutes, trying.

COOPER: OK.

WEBB: It’s just — it’s gone back and forth over there.

COOPER: Secretary?

CLINTON: Well, I am in the middle, here, and… [laughter]

Lots of things coming from all directions.

WEBB: You got the lucky [inaudible].

CLINTON: You know, I have to say, I was very pleased when Governor O’Malley endorsed me for president in 2008, and I enjoyed his strong support in that campaign. And I consider him, obviously, a friend.

Let me say — because there’s a lot of loose talk going on here — we are already flying in Syria just as we are flying in Iraq. The president has made a very tough decision. What I believe and why I have advocated that the no-fly zone — which of course would be in a coalition — be put on the table is because I’m trying to figure out what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. You know, diplomacy is not about getting to the perfect solution. It’s about how you balance the risks.

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: And I think we have an opportunity here — and I know that inside the administration this is being hotly debated — to get that leverage to try to get the Russians to have to deal with everybody in the region and begin to move toward a political, diplomatic solution in Syria.

COOPER: Thank you, Secretary.

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Senator Webb, you said as president you would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was, in your words, “inevitable.” Should Secretary Clinton have seen that attack coming?

WEBB: Look, let’s start — I’ve been trying to get in this conversation for about 10 minutes — let’s start with why Russia is in Syria right now. There are three strategic failings that have allowed this to occur. The first was the invasion of Iraq, which destabilized ethnic elements in Iraq and empowered Iran. The second was the Arab Spring, which created huge vacuums in Libya and in Syria that allowed terrorist movements to move in there. And the third was the recent deal allowing Iran to move forward and eventually acquire a nuclear weapon, which sent bad signals, bad body language into the region about whether we are acquiescing in Iran becoming a stronger piece of the formula in that part of the world.

Now, I say this as someone who spent five years in the Pentagon and who opposed the war in Iraq, whose son fought in Iraq, I’ve fought in Vietnam. But if you want a place where we need to be in terms of our national strategy, a focus, the greatest strategic threat that we have right now is resolving our relationship with China. And we need to do this because of their aggression in the region. We need to do it because of the way they treat their own people.

COOPER: Senator…

WEBB: And I would say this. I’ve been waiting for 10 minutes. I will say this.

COOPER: You’re over your time as of now.

WEBB: I will — well, you’ve let a lot of people go over their time. I would say this…

COOPER: You agreed to these debate rules.

WEBB: … to the unelected, authoritarian government of China: You do not own the South China Sea. You do not have the right to conduct cyber warfare against tens of millions of American citizens. And in a Webb administration, we will do something about that.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, I want you to be able to respond.

SANDERS: Pardon me?

COOPER: I’d like you to be able to respond and get in on this.

SANDERS: Well, I think Mr. Putin is going to regret what he is doing. I think that when he gets into that…

COOPER: He doesn’t seem to be the type of guy to regret a lot.

SANDERS: Well, I think he’s already regretting what he did in Crimea and what he is doing in the Ukraine. I think he is really regretting the decline of his economy. And I think what he is trying to do now is save some face. But I think when Russians get killed in Syria and when he gets bogged down, I think the Russian people are going to give him a message that maybe they should come home, maybe they should start working with the United States to rectify the situation now.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, on the campaign trail, Governor Webb has said that he would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was inevitable. Should you have seen that attack coming?

CLINTON: Well, let’s remember what was going on. We had a murderous dictator, Gadhafi, who had American blood on his hands, as I’m sure you remember, threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people. We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words. And we had the Arabs standing by our side saying, “We want you to help us deal with Gadhafi.”

Our response, which I think was smart power at its best, is that the United States will not lead this. We will provide essential, unique capabilities that we have, but the Europeans and the Arabs had to be first over the line. We did not put one single American soldier on the ground in Libya. And I’ll say this for the Libyan people…

COOPER: But American citizens did lose their lives in Benghazi.

CLINTON: But let — I’ll get to that. But I think it’s important, since I understand Senator Webb’s very strong feelings about this, to explain where we were then and to point out that I think President Obama made the right decision at the time.

And the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy. Because of the Arab Spring, because of a lot of other things, there was turmoil to be followed.

But unless you believe the United States should not send diplomats to any place that is dangerous, which I do not, then when we send them forth, there is always the potential for danger and risk.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley?

WEBB: Can I…

[crosstalk]

O’MALLEY: Anderson, I think we are learning…

[crosstalk]

O’MALLEY: Anderson, I think there’s lessons to be learned from Benghazi. And those lessons are that we need to do a much better job as a nation of having human intelligence on the ground so that we know who the emerging next generation leaders are that are coming up to replace a dictator when his time on this planet ends.

And I believe that’s what Chris Stevens was trying to do. But he did not have the tools. We have failed as a country to invest in the human intelligence that would allow us to make not only better decisions in Libya, but better decisions in Syria today.

And it’s a huge national security failing.

COOPER: Senator Webb, I want you to be able to respond.

WEBB: Thank you.

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: This is not about Benghazi per se. To me it is the inevitability of something like Benghazi occurring in the way that we intervened in Libya. We had no treaties at risk. We had no Americans at risk. There was no threat of attack or imminent attack.

There is plenty of time for a president to come to the Congress and request authority to use military force in that situation. I called for it on the Senate floor again and again. I called for it in Senate hearings.

It is not a wise thing to do. And if people think it was a wise thing to do, try to get to the Tripoli airport today. You can’t do it.

COOPER: Secretary (sic) Webb, you served in Vietnam. You’re a marine. Once a marine, always a marine. You served as a marine in Vietnam. You’re a decorated war hero. You eventually became secretary of the navy.

During the Vietnam War, the man standing next to you, Senator Sanders, applied for status as a conscientious objector. Given his history, can he serve as a credible commander-in-chief?

WEBB: Everybody makes their decisions when the time there is conscription. And as long as they go through the legal process that our country requires, I respect that. And it would be for the voters to decide whether Senator Sanders or anyone else should be president.

I will say this, coming from the position that I’ve come from, from a military family, with my brother a marine, my son was a marine in Iraq, I served as a marine, spending five years in the Pentagon, I am comfortable that I am the most qualified person standing up here today to be your commander-in-chief.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, tell an American soldier who is watching right now tonight in Afghanistan why you can be commander-in- chief given that you applied for conscientious objector status.

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let me applaud my good friend Jim Webb for his service to this country in so many ways. [applause]

Jim and I, under Jim’s leadership, as he indicated, passed the most significant veterans education bill in recent history. We followed suit with a few years later passing, under my leadership, the most significant veterans’ health care legislation in the modern history of this country. [applause]

When I was a young man — I’m not a young man today. When I was a young man, I strongly opposed the war in Vietnam. Not the brave men like Jim who fought in that war, but the policy which got us involved in that war. That was my view then. [cheering and applause]

I am not a pacifist, Anderson. I supported the war in Afghanistan. I supported President Clinton’s effort to deal with ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. I support air strikes in Syria and what the president is trying to do.

Yes, I happen to believe from the bottom of my heart that war should be the last resort that we have got to exercise diplomacy. But yes, I am prepared to take this country into war if that is necessary.

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Very quickly, 30 seconds for each of you. Governor Chafee, who or what is the greatest national security threat to the United States? I want to go down the line.

CHAFEE: OK. I just have to answer one thing that Senator Webb said about the Iran deal, because I’m a strong proponent of what President Obama — and he said that because of that the Iran deal that enabled Russia to come in.

No, that’s not true, Senator Webb. I respect your foreign policy chops. But Russia is aligned with Iran and with Assad and the Alawite Shias in Syria. So that Iran deal did not allow Russia to come in.

COOPER: OK. Senator, I can give you 30 seconds to respond.

WEBB: I believe that the signal that we sent to the region when the Iran nuclear deal was concluded was that we are accepting Iran’s greater position on this very important balance of power, among our greatest ally Israel, and the Sunnis represented by the Saudi regime, and Iran. It was a position of weakness and I think it encouraged the acts that we’ve seen in the past several weeks.

COOPER: Thirty seconds for each of you. Governor Chafee, what is the greatest national security threat to the United States?

CHAFEE: It’s certainly the chaos in the Middle East. There’s no doubt about it.

COOPER: OK.

CHAFEE: And it all started with the Iraq invasion.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley?

O’MALLEY: I believe that nuclear Iran remains the biggest threat, along with the threat of ISIL; climate change, of course, makes cascading threats even more (inaudible).

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, the greatest national security threat?

CLINTON: I — I think it has to be continued threat from the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands. I know the terrorists are constantly seeking it, and that’s why we have to stay vigilant, but also united around the world to prevent that.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, greatest national security threat?

SANDERS: The scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable. That is a major crisis.

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: Our greatest long-term strategic challenge is our relation with China. Our greatest day-to-day threat is cyber warfare against this country. Our greatest military-operational threat is resolving the situations in the Middle East.

COOPER: All right. We’re going to take a short break. Do these candidates see eye to eye on an issue that is driving a big wedge between Republicans? That is next.

We’ll be right back. [applause]

[commercial break]

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in Nevada, in Las Vegas, at the Wynn Resort for the first Democratic presidential debate. The questions continue.

We begin with Secretary Clinton. Secretary Clinton, you are going to be testifying before Congress next week about your e-mails. For the last eight months, you haven’t been able to put this issue behind you. You dismissed it; you joked about it; you called it a mistake. What does that say about your ability to handle far more challenging crises as president?

CLINTON: Well, I’ve taken responsibility for it. I did say it was a mistake. What I did was allowed by the State Department, but it wasn’t the best choice.

And I have been as transparent as I know to be, turning over 55,000 pages of my e-mails, asking that they be made public. And you’re right. I am going to be testifying. I’ve been asking to testify for some time and to do it in public, which was not originally agreed to.

But let’s just take a minute here and point out that this committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. [applause]

It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise. And that’s what they have attempted to do.

I am still standing. I am happy to be part of this debate. [applause]

And I intend to keep talking about the issues that matter to the American people. You know, I believe strongly that we need to be talking about what people talk to me about, like how are we going to make college affordable? How are we going to pay down student debt?

COOPER: Secretary…

CLINTON: How are we going to get health care for everybody…

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, with all due respect, it’s a little hard — I mean, isn’t it a little bit hard to call this just a partisan issue? There’s an FBI investigation, and President Obama himself just two days ago said this is a legitimate issue.

CLINTON: Well, I never said it wasn’t legitimate. I said that I have answered all the questions and I will certainly be doing so again before this committee.

But I think it would be really unfair not to look at the entire picture. This committee has spent $4.5 million of taxpayer money, and they said that they were trying to figure out what we could do better to protect our diplomats so that something like Benghazi wouldn’t happen again. There were already seven committee reports about what to do. So I think it’s pretty clear what their obvious goal is.

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: But I’ll be there. I’ll answer their questions. But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States. [applause]

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Let me say this. [applause]

Let me say — let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails. [applause]

CLINTON: Thank you. Me, too. Me, too.

SANDERS: You know? The middle class — Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens Union. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America. [applause]

CLINTON: Thank you, Bernie. Thank you. [applause]

COOPER: It’s obviously very popular in this crowd, and it’s — hold on. [applause]

I know that plays well in this room. But I got to be honest, Governor Chafee, for the record, on the campaign trail, you’ve said a different thing. You said this is a huge issue. Standing here in front of Secretary Clinton, are you willing to say that to her face?

CHAFEE: Absolutely. We have to repair American credibility after we told the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which he didn’t. So there’s an issue of American credibility out there. So any time someone is running to be our leader, and a world leader, which the American president is, credibility is an issue out there with the world. And we have repair work to be done. I think we need someone that has the best in ethical standards as our next president. That’s how I feel.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?

CLINTON: No.

COOPER: Governor — Governor… [applause]

Governor O’Malley… [applause]

Governor, it’s popular in the room, but a lot of people do want to know these answers.

Governor O’Malley, you expressed concern on the campaign trail that the Democratic Party is, and I quote, “being defined by Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.”

You heard her answer, do you still feel that way tonight?

O’MALLEY: I believe that now that we’re finally having debates, Anderson, that we don’t have to be defined by the email scandal, and how long — what the FBI’s asking about. Instead, we can talk about affordable college, making college debt free, and all the issues. Which is why — and I see the chair of the DNC here, look how glad we are actually to be talking about the issues that matter the most to people around the kitchen table.

We need to get wages to go up, college more affordable…

COOPER: …Thank you, governor.

O’MALLEY: …we need to make American 100 percent clean electric by 2050.

COOPER: I want to talk about issues of race in America, for that I want to start of with Don Lemon.

LEMON: Alright, Anderson, thank you very much. I’m not sure how to follow that, but this question is about something that has tripped some of the candidates up out on the campaign trail. Can you hear me?

Can’t hear me in the room. OK, here we go again, as I said…

WILKINS: …law school. My question for the candidates is, do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?

COOPER: The question from Arthur…

LEMON: …There we go…

COOPER: …Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter? Let’s put that question to Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Black lives matter. [cheering] And the reason — the reason those words matter is the African American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and then three days later she’s going to end up dead in jail, or their kids… [applause] …are going to get shot. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major, major reforms in a broken criminal justice system… [applause] …In which we have more people in jail than China. And, I intended to tackle that issue. To make sure that our people have education and jobs rather than jail cells. [applause]

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, the question from Arthur was do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?

O’MALLEY: Anderson, the point that the Black Lives Matter movement is making is a very, very legitimate and serious point, and that is that as a nation we have undervalued the lives of black lives, people of color.

When I ran for Mayor of Baltimore — and we we burying over 350 young men ever single year, mostly young, and poor, and black, and I said to our legislature, at the time when I appeared in front of them as a mayor, that if we were burying white, young, poor men in these number we would be marching in the streets and there would be a different reaction.

Black lives matter, and we have a lot of work to do to reform our criminal justice system, and to address race relations in our country. [applause]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, what would you do for African Americans in this country that President Obama couldn’t?

CLINTON: Well, I think that President Obama has been a great moral leader on these issues, and has laid out an agenda that has been obstructed by the Republicans at every turn, so… [applause] …So, what we need to be doing is not only reforming criminal justice — I have talked about that at some length, including things like body cameras, but we also need to be following the recommendations of the commissioner that President Obama empanelled on policing. There is an agenda there that we need to be following up on.

Similarly, we need to tackle mass incarceration, and this may be the only bi-partisan issue in the congress this year. We actually have people on both sides of the aisle who have reached the same conclusion, that we can not keep imprisoning more people than anybody else in the world.

But, I believe that the debate, and the discussion has to go further, Anderson, because we’ve got to do more about the lives of these children. That’s why I started off by saying we need to be committed to making it possible for every child to live up to his or her god given potential. That is…

COOPER: …Thank you, Senator…

CLINTON: …really hard to do if you don’t have early childhood education…

COOPER: Senator…

CLINTON: …if you don’t have schools that are able to meet the needs of the people, or good housing, there’s a long list… [applause] …We need a new New Deal for communities of color…

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: I hope I can get that kind of time here. As a President of the United States, every life in this country matters. At the same time, I believe I can say to you, I have had a long history of working with the situation of African Americans.

We’re talking about criminal justice reform, I risked my political life raising the issue of criminal justice reform when I ran for the Senate in Virginia in 2006. I had democratic party political consultants telling me I was committing political suicide.

We led that issue in the congress. We started a national debate on it. And it wasn’t until then that the Republican Party started joining in.

I also represented a so-called war criminal, an African American Marine who was wounded — who was convicted of murder in Vietnam, for six years. He took his life three years into this. I cleared his name after — after three years.

COOPER: Thanks, sir.

WEBB: And I put the African American soldier on the Mall. I made that recommendation and fought for it. So, if you want someone who is — can stand up in front of you right now and say I have done the hard job, I have taken the risks, I am your person.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, let’s talk about income inequality. Wages and incomes are flat. You’ve argued that the gap between rich and poor is wider than at any time since the 1920s. We’ve had a Democratic president for seven years. What are you going to be able to do that President Obama didn’t?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let’s remember where we were when Bush left office. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. And I know my Republican friends seem to have some amnesia on this issue, but the world’s financial crisis was on — the world’s financial markets system was on the verge of collapse. That’s where we were.

Are we better off today than we were then? Absolutely. But the truth is that for the 40 years, the great middle class of this country has been disappearing. And in my view what we need to do is create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; pay equity for women workers; and our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and university in this country tuition free. [applause]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton…

[crosstalk]

COOPER: I’ll let you jump in a moment. Everybody will get in on this in a moment.

Secretary Clinton, how would you address this issue? In all candor, you and your husband are part of the one percent. How can you credibly represent the views of the middle class?

CLINTON: Well, you know, both Bill and I have been very blessed. Neither of us came from wealthy families and we’ve worked really hard our entire lives. And I want to make sure every single person in this country has the same opportunities that he and I have had, to make the most of their God-given potential and to have the chances that they should have in America for a good education, good job training, and then good jobs.

I have a five point economic plan, because this inequality challenge we face, we have faced it at other points. It’s absolutely right. It hasn’t been this bad since the 1920s. But if you look at the Republicans versus the Democrats when it comes to economic policy, there is no comparison. The economy does better when you have a Democrat in the White House and that’s why we need to have a Democrat in the White House in January 2017.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, (inaudible).

O’MALLEY: Yes. Anderson, I want to associate myself with many of the items that the senator from Vermont mentioned, and I actually did them in our state. We raised the minimum wage, passed the living wage, invested more in infrastructure, went four years in a row without a penny’s increase in college tuition.

But there’s another piece that Senator Sanders left out tonight, but he’s been excellent about underscoring that. And that is that we need to separate the casino, speculative, mega-bank gambling that we have to insure with our money, from the commercial banking — namely, reinstating Glass-Steagall.

Secretary Clinton mentioned my support eight years ago. And Secretary, I was proud to support you eight years ago, but something happened in between, and that is, Anderson, a Wall Street crash that wiped out millions of jobs and millions of savings for families. And we are still just as vulnerable Paul Volcker says today.

We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and that’s a huge difference on this stage among us as candidates.

COOPER: Just for viewers at home who may not be reading up on this, Glass-Steagall is the Depression-era banking law repealed in 1999 that prevented commercial banks from engaging in investment banking and insurance activities.

Secretary Clinton, he raises a fundamental difference on this stage. Senator Sanders wants to break up the big Wall Street banks. You don’t. You say charge the banks more, continue to monitor them. Why is your plan better?

CLINTON: Well, my plan is more comprehensive. And frankly, it’s tougher because of course we have to deal with the problem that the banks are still too big to fail. We can never let the American taxpayer and middle class families ever have to bail out the kind of speculative behavior that we saw.

But we also have to worry about some of the other players — AIG, a big insurance company; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank. There’s this whole area called “shadow banking.” That’s where the experts tell me the next potential problem could come from.

CLINTON: So I’m with both Senator Sanders and Governor O’Malley in putting a lot of attention onto the banks. And the plan that I have put forward would actually empower regulators to break up big banks if we thought they posed a risk. But I want to make sure we’re going to cover everybody, not what caused the problem last time, but what could cause it next time.

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Senator Sanders, Secretary Clinton just said that her policy is tougher than yours.

SANDERS: Well, that’s not true.

[laughter]

COOPER: Why?

SANDERS: Let us be clear that the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall Street, where fraud is a business model, helped to destroy this economy and the lives of millions of people. [applause]

Check the record. In the 1990s — and all due respect — in the 1990s, when I had the Republican leadership and Wall Street spending billions of dollars in lobbying, when the Clinton administration, when Alan Greenspan said, “what a great idea it would be to allow these huge banks to merge,” Bernie Sanders fought them, and helped lead the opposition to deregulation. [applause]

Today, it is my view that when you have the three…

COOPER: Senator…

SANDERS: …largest banks in America — are much bigger than they were when we bailed them out for being too big to fail, we have got to break them up. [applause]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, you have to be able to respond. He brought you up.

CLINTON: Yeah.

You know, I — I respect the passion an intensity. I represented Wall Street, as a senator from New York, and I went to Wall Street in December of 2007 — before the big crash that we had — and I basically said, “cut it out! Quit foreclosing on homes! Quit engaging in these kinds of speculative behaviors.”

I took on the Bush administration for the same thing. So I have thought deeply and long about what we’re gonna do to do exactly what I think both the senator and the governor want, which is to rein in and stop this risk.

And my plan would have the potential of actually sending the executives to jail. Nobody went to jail after $100 billion in fines were paid… [applause]

COOPER: [inaudible]

CLINTON: …and would give regulators the authority to go after the big banks.

COOPER: Thank you. Thank you. Senator Sanders…

CLINTON: But I’m telling you — I will say it tonight. If only you look at the big banks, you may be missing the forest for the trees.

[crosstalk]

WEBB: Bernie, say my name so I can get into this.

SANDERS: I will, just a second.

WEBB: OK. Thank you. [laughter]

SANDERS: I’ll tell him.

In my view, Secretary Clinton, you do not — Congress does not regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress. [applause]

And we have gotta break off these banks. Going to them…

CLINTON: So…

SANDERS: …and saying, “please, do the right thing”…

CLINTON: …no, that’s not what…

SANDERS: …is kind of naive.

CLINTON: …that — I think Dodd-Frank was a very…

WEBB: Anderson, I need to jump in (inaudible).

CLINTON: …good start, and I think that we have to implement it. We have to prevent the Republicans from ripping it apart. We have to save the Consumer Financial Protection board, which is finally beginning to act to protect consumers. [applause]

We have work to do. You’ve got no argument from me. But I know, if we don’t come in with a very tough and comprehensive approach, like the plan I’m recommending, we’re gonna be behind instead of ahead…

COOPER: Governor O’Malley? Where do you stand?

CLINTON: …on what the next crisis could be.

O’MALLEY: Anderson, look, this is — the big banks — I mean, once we repealed Glass-Steagall back in the late 1999s (ph), the big banks, the six of them, went from controlling, what, the equivalent of 15 percent of our GDP to now 65 percent of our GDP.

And — (inaudible) right before this debate, Secretary Clinton’s campaign put out a lot of reversals on positions on Keystone and many other things. But one of them that we still have a great difference on, Madam Secretary, is that you are not for Glass-Steagall.

You are not for putting a firewall between this speculative, risky shadow banking behavior. I am, and the people of our country need a president who’s on their side, willing to protect the Main Street economy from recklessness on Wall Street.

We have to fulfill…

COOPER: Secretary Clinton…

O’MALLEY: …our promise.

COOPER: I have to let you respond. [applause]

CLINTON: Well, you know, everybody on this stage has changed a position or two. We’ve been around a cumulative quite some period of time. [laughter]

You know, we know that if you are learning, you’re gonna change your position. I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.

But I have been on the forefront of dealing with climate change, starting in 2009, when President Obama and I crashed (ph) a meeting with the Chinese and got them to sign up to the first international agreement to combat climate change that they’d ever joined.

So I’m…

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: …not taking a back seat to anybody on my values…

COOPER: Thank…

CLINTON: …my principles and the results that I get.

COOPER: Senator Sanders… [applause]

Senator Sanders, in 2008, congressional leaders were told, without the 2008 bailout, the U.S. was possibly days away from a complete meltdown. Despite that, you still voted against it.

As president, would you stand by your principles if it risked the country’s financial stability?

SANDERS: Well, I remember that meeting very well. I remember it like it was yesterday. Hank Paulson, Bernanke came in, and they say, “guys, the economy is going to collapse because Wall Street is going under. It’s gonna take the economy with them.”

And you know what I said to Hank Paulson? I said, “Hank, your guys — you come from Goldman Sachs. Your millionaire and billionaire friends caused this problem. How about your millionaire and billionaire friends paying for the bailout, not working families in this country?”

So to answer your question, no, I would not have let the economy collapse. But it was wrong to ask the middle class to bail out Wall Street. And by the way, I want Wall Street now to help kids in this country go to college, public colleges and universities, free with a Wall Street speculation tax. [applause]

COOPER: We’re going to talk about that in a minute.

But, Senator Webb, I want to get you in. You have said neither party has the guts to take on Wall Street. Is the system rigged?

WEBB: There is a reality that I think we all need to recognize with respect to the power of the financial sector.

And let me just go back a minute and say that on this TARP program, I introduced a piece of legislation calling for a windfall profits tax on the executives of any of these companies that got more than $5 billion, that it was time for them, once they got their compensation and their bonus, to split the rest of the money they made with the nurses and the truck drivers and the soldiers who bailed them out. With respect to the financial sector, I mean, I know that my time has run out but in speaking of changing positions and the position on how this debate has occurred is kind of frustrating because unless somebody mentions my name I can’t get into the discussion.

COOPER: You agreed to these rules and you’re wasting time. So if you would finish your answer, we’ll move on.

WEBB: All right. Well, I’m trying to set a mark here so maybe we can get into a little more later on. This hasn’t been equal time.

But if you want to look at what has happened, if we look at the facts in terms of how we’re going to deal with this, since that crash, in the last 10 years, the amount of the world’s capital economy that Wall Street manages has gone from 44 percent to 55 percent.

That means the Wall Street money managers are not risking themselves as the same way the American people are when they’re going to get their compensation. They’re managing money from all over the world.

We have to take that into consideration when we’re looking at ways to regulate it.

COOPER: Governor Chafee, you have attacked Secretary Clinton for being too close to Wall Street banks. In 1999 you voted for the very bill that made banks bigger.

CHAFEE: The Glass-Steagall was my very first vote, I’d just arrived, my dad had died in office, I was appointed to the office, it was my very first vote.

COOPER: Are you saying you didn’t know what you were voting for?

CHAFEE: I’d just arrived at the Senate. I think we’d get some takeovers, and that was one. It was my very first vote, and it was 92-5. It was the…

COOPER: Well, with all due respect, Governor…

CHAFEE: But let me just say…

COOPER: … what does that say about you that you’re casting a vote for something you weren’t really sure about?

CHAFEE: I think you’re being a little rough. I’d just arrived at the United States Senate. I’d been mayor of my city. My dad had died. I’d been appointed by the governor. It was the first vote and it was 90-5, because it was a conference report.

But let me just say about income inequality. We’ve had a lot of talk over the last few minutes, hours, or tens of minutes, but no one is saying how we’re going to fix it. And it all started with the Bush tax cuts that favored the wealthy.

So let’s go back to the tax code. And 0.6 percent of Americans are at the top echelon, over 464,000, 0.6 Americans. That’s less than 1 percent. But they generate 30 percent of the revenue. And they’re doing fine.

COOPER: Thank you, Governor.

CHAFEE: So there’s still a lot more money to be had from this top echelon. I’m saying let’s have another tier and put that back into the tax bracket. And that will generate $42 billion.

COOPER: I want to bring in Dana Bash.

CHAFEE: And then we can help the middle class and hard-earning Americans — hard-working Americans.

COOPER: Dana?

BASH: Thank you.

CNN visited college campuses, along with Facebook. And not surprisingly college affordability was among the most pressing issue.

Senator Sanders, you’ve mentioned a couple of times you do have a plan to make public colleges free for everyone. Secretary Clinton has criticized that in saying she’s not in favor of making a college free for Donald Trump’s kids.

Do you think taxpayers should pick up the tab for wealthy children?

SANDERS: Well, let me tell you, Donald Trump and his billionaire friends under my policies are going to pay a hell of a lot more in taxes today — taxes in the future than they’re paying today. [applause]

But in terms of education, this is what I think. This is the year 2015. A college degree today, Dana, is the equivalent of what a high school degree was 50 years ago.

And what we said 50 years ago and a hundred years ago is that every kid in this country should be able to get a high school education regardless of the income of their family. I think we have to say that is true for everybody going to college.

I think we don’t need a complicated system, which the secretary is talking about, the income goes down, the income goes down, if you’re poor you have to work, and so forth and so on.

I pay for my program, by the way, through a tax on Wall Street speculation, which will not only make public colleges and universities tuition-free, it will substantially lower interest rates on college debt, a major crisis in this country. [applause]

BASH: And, Secretary Clinton, it’s not just college tuition that Senator Sanders is talking about, expanding Social Security and giving all Americans Medicare. What’s wrong with that?

CLINTON: Well, let me address college affordability, because I have a plan that I think will really zero in on what the problems are. First, all the 40 million Americans who currently have student debt will be able to refinance their debt to a low interest rate. That will save thousands of dollars for people who are now struggling under this cumbersome, burdensome college debt.

As a young student in Nevada said to me, the hardest thing about going to college should not be paying for it. So then we have to make it more affordable. How do we make it more affordable? My plan would enable anyone to go to a public college or university tuition free. You would not have to borrow money for tuition.

But I do believe — and maybe it’s because I worked when I went through college; I worked when I went through law school — I think it’s important for everybody to have some part of getting this accomplished. That’s why I call it a compact.

BASH: Secretary Clinton…

CLINTON: But, yes, I would like students to work 10 hours a week…

BASH: Can you answer the…

SANDERS: … in order to make it possible for them to afford their education. And I want colleges to get their costs down. They are outrageously high in what they’re charging.

BASH: Secretary Clinton, the question was not just about tuition, though. It was about Senator Sanders’ plan to expand Social Security, to make Medicare available to all Americans. Is that something that you would support? And if not, why not?

CLINTON: Well, I fully support Social Security. And the most important fight we’re going to have is defending it against continuing Republican efforts to privatize it.

BASH: Do you want to expand it?

CLINTON: I want to enhance the benefits for the poorest recipients of Social Security. We have a lot of women on Social Security, particularly widowed and single women who didn’t make a lot of money during their careers, and they are impoverished, and they need more help from the Social Security system.

And I will focus — I will focus on helping those people who need it the most. And of course I’m going to defend Social Security. I’m going to look for ways to try to make sure it’s solvent into the future. And we also need to talk about health care at some time, because we agree on the goals, we just disagree on the means.

SANDERS: When the Republicans — when the Republicans in the Congress and some Democrats were talking about cutting Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans, for the so-called chained CPI, I founded a caucus called the Defending Social Security Caucus.

My view is that when you have millions of seniors in this country trying to get by — and I don’t know how they do on $11,000, $12,000, $13,000 a year — you don’t cut Social Security, you expand it. And the way you expand it is by lifting the cap on taxable incomes so that you do away with the absurdity of a millionaire paying the same amount into the system as somebody making $118,000. You do that, Social Security is solvent until 2061 and you can expand benefits.

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Senator Sanders, I want to bring it over to Juan Carlos Lopez from CNN en Espanol. We’re obviously in Nevada. It’s had the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants of any state in the country as of last year. Juan Carlos?

LOPEZ: Gracias, Anderson. Senator Sanders, in 2013, you voted for immigration reform. But in 2007, when Democrats controlled Congress and the Bush White House was onboard, you voted against it. Why should Latino voters trust you now when you left them at the altar at the moment when reform was very close?

SANDERS: I didn’t leave anybody at the altar. I voted against that piece of legislation because it had guest-worker provisions in it which the Southern Poverty Law Center talked about being semi-slavery. Guest workers are coming in, they’re working under terrible conditions, but if they stand up for their rights, they’re thrown out of the country. I was not the only progressive to vote against that legislation for that reason. Tom Harkin, a very good friend of Hillary Clinton’s and mine, one of the leading labor advocates, also voted against that.

LOPEZ: Tom Harkin isn’t running for president. You are.

SANDERS: I know that. But point being is that progressives did vote against that for that reason. My view right now — and always has been — is that when you have 11 million undocumented people in this country, we need comprehensive immigration reform, we need a path toward citizenship, we need to take people out of the shadows.

O’MALLEY: And Juan Carlos — Juan Carlos…

LOPEZ: Secretary Clinton — Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley wants to open up Obamacare to millions of undocumented immigrants and their children, including almost 90,000 people right here in Nevada. Do you?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I want to make sure every child gets health care. That’s why I helped to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and I want to support states that are expanding health care and including undocumented children and others.

I want to open up the opportunity for immigrants to be able to buy in to the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. I think to go beyond that, as I understand what Governor O’Malley has recommended, so that they would get the same subsidies.

I think that is — it raises so many issues. It would be very difficult to administer, it needs to be part of a comprehensive immigration reform, when we finally do get to it.

LOPEZ: Governor O’Malley?

O’MALLEY: Juan Carlos, I think what you’ve heard up here is some of the old thinking on immigration reform, and that’s why it’s gridlocked. We need to understand that our country is stronger in every generation by the arrival of new American immigrants. That is why I have put out a policy for comprehensive immigration reform, that is why I would go further than President Obama has on DACA, and DAPA.

I mean, we are a nation of immigrants, we are made stronger by immigrants. Do you think for a second that simply because somebody’s standing in a broken que on naturalization they’re not going to go to the hospital, and that care isn’t going to fall on to our insurance rates? I am for a generous, compassionate America that says we’re all in this together. We need comprehensive

COOPER: Senator Webb…

O’MALLEY: …immigration reform. It’ll make wages go up in America $250 for every year…

LOPEZ: Senator Webb, do you support the undocumented immigrants getting Obamacare?

WEBB: I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Let me start by saying my wife is an immigrant. She was a refugee, her family escaped from Vietnam on a boat– her entire extended family, after the communists took over, when hundreds of thousands of people were out there and thousands of them were dying. Went to two refugee camps, she never spoke English in her home, and she ended, as I said, graduating from Cornell Law School. That’s not only American dream, that’s a value that we have with a good immigration system in place. No country has — is a country without defining its borders. We need to resolve this issue. I actually introduced an amendment in the 2007 immigration bill…

LOPEZ: …Thank you, Senator.

WEBB: …Giving a pathway to citizenship to those people who had come here, and put down their roots, and met as a series of standards…

COOPER: …Thank you, Senator.

WEBB: …lost (ph) — I introduced that in 2007 — We need a comprehensive reform, and we need to be able to define our borders.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: I want to follow up because I think underneath Juan Carlos’ important questions, there is such a difference between everything you’re hearing here on this stage, and what we hear from the Republicans. [applause]

O’MALLEY: Here. Here.

(CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Demonize hard-working immigrants who have insulted them. You know, I came to Las Vegas in, I think, May. Early may. Met with a group of DREAMers, I wish everybody in America could meet with this young people, to hear their stories, to know their incredible talent, their determination, and that’s why I would go further…

COOPER: …Secretary…

CLINTON: …than even the executive orders that President Obama has signed when I’m president.

(CROSS TALK)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, let me ask you. Two of your rivals from your left, Governor O’Malley, and Senator Sanders, want to provide instate college tuition to undocumented immigrants. Where do you stand on that?

CLINTON: My plan would support any state that takes that position, and would work with those states and encourage more states to do the same thing.

COOPER: So, on the record, you believe that undocumented immigrants should get instate college tuition.

CLINTON: If their states agree, then we want more states to do the same thing.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley?

O’MALLEY: Anderson, we actually did this in my state of Maryland. We passed… [applause]

O’MALLEY: We passed a state version of the DREAM Act…

(CHEERING)

O’MALLEY: …And a lot of the xenophobes, the immigrant haters like some that we’ve heard like, Donald Trump, that carnival barker in the Republican party…

(CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

O’MALLEY: Tried to mischaracterize it as free tuition for illegal immigrants. But, we took our case to the people when it was petitioned to referendum, and we won with 58 percent of the vote. The more our children learn, the more they will earn, and that’s true of children who have yet to be naturalized…

COOPER: …Senator…

O’MALLEY: …but will become American citizens…

COOPER: Senator Sanders, you talked about your record on the Veteran affairs committee. You served on that committee for the last eight years, including two years as its chairman while veterans died waiting for health care. You and Senator McCain ultimately addressed the issue with bi-partisan legislation. Why did it take 18 Inspector General reports, and a CNN investigation, and others, before you and your colleagues took action?

SANDERS: Well, I was chairman for two years, and when I was chairman we did take action. What we did is pass a $15 billion dollar piece of legislation which brought in many, many new doctors, and nurses into the V.A. so that veterans in this country could get the health care when they needed it, and not be on long waiting lines.

And, the other part of that legislation said that if a veteran is living more than 40 miles away from a V.A. facility, that veteran could get health care from the community health center, or the private sector. As a result of that legislation, we went further in than any time in recent history in improving health care for the men and women of this country who put their lives on the line to defend them.

COOPER: Governor Chafee, you and Hillary Clinton both voted for the Patriot Act which created the NSA surveillance program. You’ve emphasized civil liberties, privacy during your campaign. Aren’t these two things in conflict?

CHAFEE: No, that was another 99 to one vote for the Patriot Act, and it was seen as at the time modernizing our ability to do what we’ve always done to tap phones which always required a warrant. And I voted for that.

COOPER: Do you regret that vote?

CHAFEE: No, no. As long as you’re getting a warrant, I believe that under the Fourth Amendment, you should be able to do surveillance, but you need a warrant. That’s what the Fourth Amendment says. And in the Patriot Act, section 215 started to get broadened too far. So I would be in favor of addressing and reforming section 215 of the Patriot Act.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, do you regret your vote on the Patriot Act?

CLINTON: No, I don’t. I think that it was necessary to make sure that we were able after 9/11 to put in place the security that we needed. And it is true that it did require that there be a process. What happened, however, is that the Bush administration began to chip away at that process. And I began to speak out about their use of warrantless surveillance and the other behavior that they engaged in.

We always have to keep the balance of civil liberties, privacy and security. It’s not easy in a democracy, but we have to keep it in mind.

COOPER: Senator — Senator Sanders, you’re the only one on this stage who voted against the Patriot Act in 2001… [applause]

SANDERS: It was 99 to one and I was maybe the one. I don’t know.

COOPER: … and the reauthorization votes. Let me ask you, if elected, would you shut down the NSA surveillance program?

SANDERS: I’m sorry?

COOPER: Would you shut down the NSA surveillance program?

SANDERS: Absolutely. Of course.

COOPER: You would, point blank.

SANDERS: Well, I would shut down — make — I’d shut down what exists right now is that virtually every telephone call in this country ends up in a file at the NSA. That is unacceptable to me. But it’s not just government surveillance. I think the government is involved in our e-mails; is involved in our websites. Corporate America is doing it as well.

If we are a free country, we have the right to be free. Yes, we have to defend ourselves against terrorism, but there are ways to do that without impinging on our constitutional rights and our privacy rights.

O’MALLEY (?): Anderson, the NSA…

COOPER: Governor Chafee, Edward Snowden, is he a traitor or a hero?

CHAFEE: No, I would bring him home. The courts have ruled that what he did — what he did was say the American…

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Bring him home, no jail time?

CHAFEE: … the American government was acting illegally. That’s what the federal courts have said; what Snowden did showed that the American government was acting illegally for the Fourth Amendment. So I would bring him home.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, hero or traitor?

CLINTON: He broke the laws of the United States. He could have been a whistleblower. He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower. He could have raised all the issues that he has raised. And I think there would have been a positive response to that.

COOPER: Should he do jail time?

ClINTON: In addition — in addition, he stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands. So I don’t think he should be brought home without facing the music.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, Snowden? [applause]

O’MALLEY: Anderson, Snowden put a lot of Americans’ lives at risk. Snowden broke the law. Whistleblowers do not run to Russia and try to get protection from Putin. If he really believes that, he should be back here.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, Edward Snowden?

SANDERS: I think Snowden played a very important role in educating the American people to the degree in which our civil liberties and our constitutional rights are being undermined.

COOPER: Is he a hero?

SANDERS: He did — he did break the law, and I think there should be a penalty to that. But I think what he did in educating us should be taken into consideration before he is (inaudible).

COOPER: Senator Webb, Edward Snowden?

WEBB: I — well, I — I would leave his ultimate judgment to the legal system. Here’s what I do believe. We have a serious problem in terms of the collection of personal information in this country. And one of the things that I did during the FISA bill in 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was introduce with Russ Feingold two amendments basically saying, “We understand the realities of how you have to collect this broad information in the Internet age, but after a certain period of time, you need to destroy the personal information that you have if people have not been brought — if criminal justice proceedings have not been brought against them.”

We’ve got a vast data bank of information that is ripe for people with bad intentions to be able to use. And they need to be destroyed.

COOPER: Another — another question for each of you, starting with Governor Chafee.

Name the one thing — the one way that your administration would not be a third term of President Obama.

CHAFEE: Certainly, ending the wars. We’ve got to stop these wars. You have to have a new dynamic, a new paradigm. We just spent a half-billion dollars arming and training soldiers, the rebel soldiers in Syria. They quickly join the other side. We bombed the…

[crosstalk]

COOPER: President Obama’s generals right now are suggesting keeping troops in Afghanistan after the time he wanted them pulled out. Would you keep them there?

CHAFEE: I’d like to finish my question — my answer.

And also we just bombed a hospital. We’ve had drone strikes that hit civilian weddings. So I would change how we — our approach to the Middle East. We need a new paradigm in the Middle East.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, how would you be different than President Obama’s administration?

O’MALLEY: I would follow through on the promise that the American people thought we made as Democratic Party, to protect the Main Street economy from recklessness on Wall Street. I would push to separate out these too-big-to-jail, too-big-to-fail banks, and put in place Glass-Steagall, a modern Glass-Steagall that creates a firewall so that this wreckage of our economy can never happen again.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, how would you not be a third term of President Obama?

CLINTON: Well, I think that’s pretty obvious. I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had up until this point, including President Obama.

COOPER: Is there a policy difference?

CLINTON: Well, there’s a lot that I would like to do to build on the successes of President Obama, but also, as I’m laying out, to go beyond. And that’s in my economic plans, how I would deal with the prescription drug companies, how I would deal with college, how I would deal with a full range of issues that I’ve been talking about throughout this campaign to go further.

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: I have a lot of respect for president Obama. I have worked with him time and time again on many, many issues. But here’s where I do disagree. I believe that the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of the drug companies, the power of the corporate media is so great that the only way we really transform America and do the things that the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution when millions of people begin to come together and stand up and say: Our government is going to work for all of us, not just a handful of billionaires. [applause]

COOPER: Senator Webb, how would you not be a third term for Obama?

WEBB: I got a great deal of admiration and affection for Senator Sanders, but I — Bernie, I don’t think the revolution’s going to come. And I don’t think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff. And if there would be a major difference between my administration and the Obama administration, it would be in the use of executive authority.

I came up as a committee counsel in the Congress, used to put dozens of bills through the House floor every year as a committee counsel on the Veterans Committee. I have a very strong feeling about how our federal system works and how we need to lead and energize the congressional process instead of allowing these divisions to continue to paralyze what we’re doing. So I would lead — working with both parties in the Congress and working through them in the traditional way that our Constitution sets (ph).

COOPER: Senator Sanders, he cited you. You don’t hear a lot of Democratic presidential candidates talking about revolution. What do you mean?

SANDERS: What I mean is that we need to have one of the larger voter turnouts in the world, not one of the lowest. We need to raise public consciousness. We need the American people to know what’s going on in Washington in a way that today they do not know. [applause]

And when people come together in a way that does not exist now and are prepared to take on the big money interest, then we could bring the kind of change we need.

O’MALLEY: Anderson, I actually have talked about a revolution. What we need is a green energy revolution. We need to move America to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050 and create 5 million jobs along the way.

COOPER: And we want to — and we’re going to talk more about climate change and environmental issues coming up. Some of the candidates have tried marijuana, as have pretty much — probably everybody in this room.

(LAUGHTER)

Others have not. Does that influence — does it influence their views on legalization? Find out that and others ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to this CNN Democratic presidential debate. It has been quite a night so far. We are in the final block of this debate. All the candidates are back, which I’m very happy to see.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: It’s a long story. Let’s continue, shall we?

Secretary Clinton, welcome back.

CLINTON: Well, thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: You know, it does take me a little longer. That’s all I can say.

COOPER: That’s right. Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley says the presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth between two royal families. This year has been the year of the outsider in politics, just ask Bernie Sanders. Why should Democrats embrace an insider like yourself?

CLINTON: Well, I can’t think of anything more of an outsider than electing the first woman president, but I’m not just running because I would be the first woman president. [applause]

CLINTON: I’m running because I have a lifetime of experience in getting results and fighting for people, fighting for kids, for women, for families, fighting to even the odds. And I know what it takes to get things done. I know how to find common ground and I know how to stand my ground. And I think we’re going to need both of those in Washington to get anything that we’re talking about up here accomplished.

So I’m very happy that I have both the commitment of a lifetime and the experience of a lifetime to bring together to offer the American people.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, do you want to tell Secretary Clinton why she shouldn’t get the crown?

O’MALLEY: Well, actually, you know, we had this conversation. And I will share with you that I’ve traveled all around the country, Anderson, and there’s two phrases I keep hearing again and again and again. And they’re the phrases “new leadership” and “getting things done.”

We cannot be this dissatisfied with our gridlocked national politics and an economy where 70 percent of us are earning the same or less than we were 12 years ago, and think that a resort to old names is going to move us forward.

I respect what Secretary Clinton and her husband have done for our country. But our country needs new leadership to move forward.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, you have to be able to respond, if you want.

CLINTON: Well, I would not ask anyone to vote for me based on my last name. I would ask them to listen to what I’m proposing, look at what I’ve accomplished in the Senate, as secretary of of state, and then draw your own conclusion.

I certainly am not campaigning to become president because my last name is Clinton. I’m campaigning because I think I have the right combination of what the country needs, at this point, and I think I can take the fight to the Republicans, because we cannot afford a Republican to succeed Barack Obama as president of the United States.

COOPER: (inaudible). [applause]

Senator Sanders, does she have the right stuff?

SANDERS: I think — I think that there is profound frustration all over this country with establishment politics. I am the only candidate running for president who is not a billionaire, who has raised substantial sums of money, and I do not have a super PAC. [applause]

I am not raising money from millionaires and billionaires, and in fact, tonight, in terms of what a political revolution is about, there are 4,000 house parties — 100,000 people in this country — watching this debate tonight who want real change in this country.

COOPER: we’ve got — we — a lot of questions we’ve got about climate change, and we’re gonna go to Don Lemon. Don?

LEMON: All right. This one is for Martin O’Malley. Anderson, Governor O’Malley, this is from Anna Bettis from Tempe, Arizona. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: As a young person, I’m very concerned about climate change and how it will affect my future. As a presidential candidate, what will you do to address climate change?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Governor O’Malley, please tell Anna how you would protect the environment better than all the other candidates up on that stage.

O’MALLEY: Yeah.

Anna, I have put forward a plan — and I’m the only candidate, I believe, in either party to do this — to move America forward to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050.

We did not land a man on the moon with an all-of-the-above strategy. It was an intentional engineering challenge, and we solved it as a nation. And our nation must solve this one.

So I put forward the plan that would extend the investor tax credits for solar and for wind. If you go across Iowa, you see that 30 percent of their energy now comes from wind. We’re here in Las Vegas, one of the most sustainable cities in America, doing important things in terms of green building, architecture and design.

We can get there as a nation, but it’s going to require presidential leadership. And as president, I intend to sign as my very first order in office the — an order that moves us as a nation and dedicates our resources to solving this problem and moving us to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050.

COOPER: Governor…

O’MALLEY: We can do it.

COOPER: …Governor O’Malley, thank you very much. [applause]

Senator Webb, you have a very different view than just about anybody else on this stage, and unlike a lot of Democrats. You’re pro-coal, you’re pro-offshore drilling, you’re pro-Keystone pipeline. Are — again, are you — the question is, are you out of step with the Democratic party?

WEBB: Well, the — the question really is how are we going to solve energy problems here and in the global environment if you really want to address climate change?

And when I was in the Senate, I was an all-of-the-above energy voter. We introduced legislation to bring in alternate energy as well as nuclear power. I’m a strong proponent of nuclear power. It is safe, it is clean. And really, we are not going to solve climate change simply with the laws here.

We’ve done a good job in this country since 1970. If you look at China and India, they’re the greatest polluters in the world. Fifteen out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in one of those two countries. We need to solve this in a global way. It’s a global problem and I have been very strong on — on doing that. The — the agreements — the so-called agreements that we have had with China are illusory in terms of the immediate requirements of the — of the Chinese government itself.

So let’s solve this problem in an international way, and then we really will have a — a way to address climate change.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, are you tougher on — on climate change than Secretary Clinton?

SANDERS: Well, I will tell you this. I believe — and Pope Francis made this point. This is a moral issue. The scientists are telling us that we need to move extremely boldly.

I am proud that, along with Senator Barbara Boxer, a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation which called for a tax on carbon.

And let me also tell you that nothing is gonna happen unless we are prepared to deal with campaign finance reform, because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change… [applause]

…and certainly is not prepared to go forward aggressively.

This is a moral issue. We have got to be extremely aggressive in working with China, India, Russia.

COOPER: Senator — thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: The planet — the future of the planet is at stake.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, I want you to be able to respond, then I’m gonna go to (ph) (inaudible).

CLINTON: Well, that — that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. When we met in Copenhagen in 2009 and, literally, President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese, going throughout this huge convention center, because we knew we had to get them to agree to something. Because there will be no effective efforts against climate change unless China and India join with the rest of the world.

They told us they’d left for the airport; we found out they were having a secret meeting. We marched up, we broke in, we said, “We’ve been looking all over for you. Let’s sit down and talk about what we need to do.” And we did come up with the first international agreement that China has signed.

Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, it’s now gone much further.

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: And I do think that the bilateral agreement that President Obama made with the Chinese was significant. Now, it needs to go further, and there will be an international meeting at the end of this year, and we must get verifiable commitments to fight climate change from every country gathered there.

COOPER: Dana Bash?

BASH: Secretary Clinton, you now support mandated paid family leave.

CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

BASH: Carly Fiorina, the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company, argues, if the government requires paid leave, it will force small businesses to, quote, “hire fewer people and create fewer jobs.” What do you say not only to Carly Fiorina, but also a small-business owner out there who says, you know, I like this idea, but I just can’t afford it?

CLINTON: Well, I’m surprised she says that, because California has had a paid leave program for a number of years. And it’s…

BASH: It’s on the federal level.

CLINTON: Well, but all — well, on a state level, a state as big as many countries in the world. And it has not had the ill effects that the Republicans are always saying it will have. And I think this is — this is typical Republican scare tactics. We can design a system and pay for it that does not put the burden on small businesses.

I remember as a young mother, you know, having a baby wake up who was sick and I’m supposed to be in court, because I was practicing law. I know what it’s like. And I think we need to recognize the incredible challenges that so many parents face, particularly working moms.

I see my good friend, Senator Gillibrand, in the front row. She’s been a champion of this. We need to get a consensus through this campaign, which is why I’m talking about it everywhere I go, and we need to join the rest of the advanced world in having it.

BASH: But Secretary — Secretary Clinton, even many people who agree with you might say, look, this is very hard to do, especially in today’s day and age. There are so many people who say, “Really? Another government program? Is that what you’re proposing? And at the expense of taxpayer money?”

CLINTON: Well, look, you know, when people say that — it’s always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say, “You can’t have paid leave, you can’t provide health care.” They don’t mind having big government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They’re fine with big government when it comes to that. I’m sick of it. [applause]

You know, we can do these things. [applause]

We should not be paralyzed — we should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain, “big government this, big government that,” that except for what they want to impose on the American people. I know we can afford it, because we’re going to make the wealthy pay for it. That is the way to get it done.

COOPER: Thank you. Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Yeah, Dana, here’s the point: Every other major country on Earth, every one, including some small countries, say that when a mother has a baby, she should stay home with that baby. We are the only major country. That is an international embarrassment that we do not provide family — paid family and medical leave. [applause]

Second of all, the secretary is right. Republicans tell us we can’t do anything except give tax breaks to billionaires and cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That’s not what the American people want.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley?

O’MALLEY: Anderson, in our state, we actually expanded family leave. And I have to agree with Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. Look, the genius of our nation is that we find ways in every generation to include more of our people more fully in the economic life of our country, and we need to do that for our families, and especially so that women aren’t penalized in having to drop out of the workforce. My wife, Katie, is here with our four kids. And, man, that was a juggle when we had little kids and — and keeping jobs and moving forwards. We would be a stronger nation economically if we had paid family leave.

COOPER: Governor, thank you. The issue now, particularly in this state, is recreational marijuana. I want to go to Juan Carlos Lopez.

LOPEZ: Thank you, Anderson.

Senator Sanders, right here in Nevada, there will be a measure to legalize recreational marijuana on the 2016 ballot. You’ve said you smoked marijuana twice; it didn’t quite work for you. If you were a Nevada resident, how would you vote?

SANDERS: I suspect I would vote yes. [applause]

And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses. We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away, and yet we are imprisoning or giving jail sentences to young people who are smoking marijuana. I think we have to think through this war on drugs… [applause] …which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need to rethink our criminal justice system, we we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.

O’MALLEY: Juan Carlos? [applause]

LOPEZ: Secretary Clinton, you told Christiane Amanpour you didn’t smoke pot when you were young, and you’re not going to start now. [laughter]

When asked about legalizing recreational marijuana, you told her let’s wait and see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington. It’s been more than a year since you’ve said that. Are you ready to take a position tonight?

CLINTON: No. I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana, and I think even there we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.

So, I think we’re just at the beginning, but I agree completely with the idea that we have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana. Therefore, we need more states, cities, and the federal government to begin to address this so that we don’t have this terrible result that Senator Sanders was talking about where we have a huge population in our prisons for nonviolent, low-level offenses that are primarily due to marijuana.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, thank you. I want to go to Don Lemon with another Facebook question.

LEMON: Alright, Anderson. This is for Senator Sanders, OK? This is from Carrie (ph) Kang (ph) from Manassas, Virginia, would like would like to ask the Senator, “President Obama has had a difficult time getting Republicans to compromise on just about every agenda. How will you approach this going forward, and will it be any different?”

Senator?

SANDERS: The Republican party, since I’ve been in the Senate, and since President Obama has been in office, has played a terrible, terrible role of being total obstructionists. Every effort that he has made, that some of us have made, they have said no, no, no.

Now, in my view, the only way we can take on the right wing republicans who are, by the way, I hope will not continue to control the Senate and the House when one of us elected President… [applause] …But the only way we can get things done is by having millions of people coming together. If we want free tuition at public colleges and universities, millions of young people are going to have to demand it, and give the Republicans an offer they can’t refuse.

If we want to raise the minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour, workers are going to have to come together and look the Republicans in the eye, and say, “We know what’s going on. You vote against us, you are out of your job.” [applause]

COOPER: We’re going to hear from all the candidates coming up. We’re going to take a short break. More from the candidates in a moment. [applause]

[commercial break]

COOPER: And welcome back to the final round of the CNN Democratic presidential debate.

This is a question to each of you. Each of you, by the way, are going to have closing statements to make. Each of you will have 90 seconds. But a final question to each of you. If you can, just try to — 15 seconds if you can.

Governor Chafee, Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” You’ve all made a few people upset over your political careers. Which enemy are you most proud of? [laughter]

CHAFEE: I guess the coal lobby. I’ve worked hard for climate change and I want to work with the coal lobby. But in my time in the Senate, tried to bring them to the table so that we could address carbon dioxide. I’m proud to be at odds with the coal lobby.

COOPER: Governor O’Malley?

O’MALLEY: The National Rifle Association. [applause]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, in addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians. [laughter]

Probably the Republicans. [laughter and applause]

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: As someone who has taken on probably every special interest that there is in Washington, I would lump Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry at the top of my life of people who do not like me. [applause]

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: I’d have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he’s not around right now to talk to.

COOPER: All right. Time for closing statements. Each of you will have 90 seconds.

Governor Chafee, let’s begin with you.

CHAFEE: Thank you, Anderson. Thank you, CNN. And thank you, Facebook, for sponsoring this debate.

America has many challenges confronting us — ending the perpetual wars, addressing climate change, addressing income inequality, funding education, funding infrastructure, funding healthcare, helping black Americans, helping Native Americans. We have many challenges. Who is best able to confront these challenges?

I’ve served in government at many levels. I know what it’s like to solve problems at the local level because I did it as mayor. I know how to get legislation passed through Congress because I did it as a senator. I know how to turn around a state because I did as governor of Rhode Island.

But what I’m most proud of is that in 30 years of public service, I have had no scandals. I have high ethical standards. And what I’m most proud of is my judgment, particularly in the Iraq war vote. There was a lot of pressure — political pressure, public pressure. But I did my homework and I did not believe that the evidence was there that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And we live now with the consequences.

So that kind of judgment is what we want in a president going forward. And I’m running for president to end the wars. I want to be the peacemaker. I am a proven peacemaker. Please go to Chafee 2016 to learn more about me. Thank you. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Chafee, thank you very much. Senator Webb, your final statement for 90 seconds.

WEBB: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure to be with you tonight. You’ve heard a lot of promises up here; you’ve heard a lot of rhetoric. They all seem to happen during campaigns, and then once the election’s over, people start from scratch again and try to get things done.

One of the things I can promise you, if you look at my record, in and out of government, is that I’ve always been willing to take on a complicated, something unpopular issues, and work them through, the complex issues, and work them through in order to have the solution.

We did it with criminal justice reform. We’ve had a lot of discussion here about criminal justice reform. We did it in other ways. We need a national political strategy for our economy, for our social policy, for social justice, and, by the way, for how you run and manage the most complex bureaucracy in the world, which is the federal government.

I know how to lead. I did it in Vietnam, I did it in the Pentagon, I did it in the Senate, and if you will help me overcome this cavalcade of — of financial irregularities and money that is poisoning our political process, I am ready to do that for you in the White House.

COOPER: Senator Webb, thank you very much.

Governor O’Malley, you have 90 seconds.

O’MALLEY: Anderson, thank you.

I am very, very grateful to have been able to be on this stage with this distinguished group of candidates tonight. And what you heard tonight, Anderson, was a very, very — and all of you watching at home — was a very, very different debate than from the sort of debate you heard from the two presidential Republican debates. [applause]

On this stage — on this stage, you didn’t hear anyone denigrate women, you didn’t hear anyone make racist comments about new American immigrants, you didn’t hear anyone speak ill of another American because of their religious belief.

What you heard instead on this stage tonight was an honest search for the answers that will move our country forward, to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050, to take the actions that we have always taken as Americans so that we can actually attack injustice in our country, employ more of our people, rebuild our cities and towns, educate our children at higher and better levels, and include more of our people in the economic, social, and political life of our country.

I truly believe that we are standing on the threshold of a new era of American progress. Unless you’ve become discouraged about our gridlock in Congress, talk to our young people under 30, because you’ll never find among them people that want to bash immigrants or people that want to deny rights to gay couples. [applause]

That tells me we are moving to a more connected, generous, and compassionate place, and we need to speak to the goodness within our country. [applause]

COOPER: Governor O’Malley, thank you very much.

Senator Sanders, final, closing thoughts, 90 seconds.

SANDERS: This is a great country, but we have many, many serious problems. We should not be the country that has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country and more wealth and income inequality than any other country.

We should not be the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all of our people as a right of citizenship and we should not be the only major country that does not provide medical and — and parental leave — family and parental leave to all of our families.

Now, at the end of our day, here is the truth that very few candidates will say, is that nobody up here, certainly no Republican, can address the major crises facing our country unless millions of people begin to stand up to the billionaire class that has so much power over our economy and our political life.

Jim Webb is right: Money is pouring in to this campaign through super PACs. We are doing it the old-fashioned way: 650,000 individual contributions. And if people want to help us out, BernieSanders.com. We are averaging $30 bucks apiece. We would appreciate your help. [applause]

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Thank you very much, Anderson. And thanks to all the viewers who tuned in tonight.

I think what you did see is that, in this debate, we tried to deal with some of the very tough issues facing our country. That’s in stark contrast to the Republicans who are currently running for president.

What you have to ask yourself is: Who amongst us has the vision for actually making the changes that are going to improve the lives of the American people? Who has the tenacity and the ability and the proven track record of getting that done?

Now, I revere my late mother, and she gave me a lot of good advice. But one of the best pieces of advice she gave me was, you know, the issue is not whether or not you get knocked down. It’s whether you get back up.

America’s been knocked down. That Great Recession, 9 million people lost their jobs, 5 million lost their homes, $13 trillion in wealth disappeared. And although we’ve made progress, we’re standing but not running the way America needs to.

My mission as president will be to raise incomes for hard-working middle-class families and to make sure that we get back to the basic bargain I was raised with: If you work hard and you do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead.

Please join me in this campaign. Please come and make it clear that America’s best days are still ahead. Thank you very much. [applause]

COOPER: Well, that does it for this Democratic presidential debate. On behalf of everyone at CNN, we want to thank the candidates, our debate partners at Facebook, the Wynn Resort, and the Democratic National Committee. Thanks also to Dana Bash, Juan Carlos Lopez, and Don Lemon. We’ll be back in Las Vegas December 15th, when CNN hosts our next Republican presidential debate. That will be moderated by my colleague, Wolf Blitzer.