Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 November 14, 2015: Second Democratic Candidates Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Democratic Candidates Debate in Des Moines, Iowa
November 14, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 

PARTICIPANTS:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton;
Former Governor Martin O’Malley (MD);
Senator Bernie Sanders (VT);
MODERATORS:
Nancy Cordes (CBS News);
Kevin Cooney (CBS News);
John Dickerson (CBS News); and
Kathie Obradovich (The Des Moines Register)

DICKERSON: Before we start the debate here are the rules. The candidates have one minute to respond to our questions and 30 seconds to respond to our follow-up. Any candidate who is attacked by another candidate gets 30 seconds for rebuttal. Here’s how we’ll keep time, after a question is asked the green light goes on. When there are 15 seconds left the candidate gets a yellow warning light.

And when time’s up the light turns red. That means stop talking. [laughter] Those are the rules. So let’s get started. You will each have one minute for an opening statement to share your thoughts about the attacks in your Paris and lay out your visions for America. First, Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Well, John, let me concur with you and with all Americans who are shocked and disgusted by what we saw in Paris yesterday.

Together, leading the world, this country will rid our planet of this barbarous organization called ISIS.

I’m running for president, because as I go around this nation, I talk to a lot of people. And what I hear is people’s concern that the economy we have is a rigged economy. People are working longer hours for lower wages, and almost all of the new income and wealth goes to the top one percent.

And then on top of that, we’ve got a corrupt campaign finance system in which millionaires and billionaires are pouring huge sums of money into super PACS heavily influencing the political process.

What my campaign is about is a political revolution — millions of people standing up and saying, enough is enough. Our government belongs to all of us, and not just the hand full of billionaires.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Sanders.

Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, our prayers are with the people of France tonight, but that is not enough. We need to have a resolve that will bring the world together to root out the kind of radical jihadist ideology that motivates organizations like ISIS, a barbaric, ruthless, violent jihadist terrorist group.

This election is not only about electing a president. It’s also about choosing our next commander-in-chief. And I will be laying out in detail, what I think we need to do with our friends and allies in Europe and elsewhere to do a better job of coordinating efforts against the scourge of terrorism. Our country deserves no less, because all of the other issues we want to deal with depend upon us being secure and strong.

DICKERSON: Governor O’Malley.

O’MALLEY: My heart, like all of us in this room, John, and all the people across our country, my hearts go out to the people of France in this moment of loss. Parents, and sons, and daughters and family members, and as our hearts go out to them and as our prayers go out to them, we must remember this, that this isn’t the new face of conflict and warfare, not in the 20th century but the new face of conflict and warfare in the 21st century.

And there is no nation on the planet better able to adapt to this change than our nation. We must able to work collaboratively with others. We must anticipate these threats before they happen. This is the new sort of challenge, the new sort of threat that does, in fact, require new thinking, fresh approaches and new leadership.

As a former mayor and a former governor, there was never a single day, John, when I went to bed or woke up without realizing that this could happen in our own country. We have a lot of work to do, to better prepare our nation and to better lead this world into this new century.

DICKERSON: All right, thank you, Governor. Thank all of you.

The terror attacks last night underscore biggest challenge facing the next president of the United States. At a time of crisis, the country and the world look to the president for leadership and for answers.

So, Secretary Clinton, I’d like to start with you. Hours before the attacks, President Obama said, “I don’t think ISIS is gaining strength.” Seventy-two percent of Americans think the fight against ISIS is going badly. Won’t the legacy of this administration, which is– which you were a part of, won’t that legacy be that it underestimated the threat from ISIS?

CLINTON: Well, John, I think that we have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network. It cannot be contained, it must be defeated.

There is no question in my mind that if we summon our resources, both our leadership resources and all of the tools at our disposal, not just military force, which should be used as a last resort, but our diplomacy, our development aid, law enforcement, sharing of intelligence in a much more open and cooperative way — that we can bring people together.

But it cannot be an American fight. And I think what the president has consistently said– which I agree with– is that we will support those who take the fight to ISIS. That is why we have troops in Iraq that are helping to train and build back up the Iraqi military, why we have special operators in Syria working with the Kurds and Arabs, so that we can be supportive.

But this cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential.

DICKERSON: But as — Secretary Clinton, the question was about, was ISIS underestimated? And I’ll just add, the president referred to ISIS as the JVU (sic), in a speech at the Council of Foreign Relations in June of 2014 said, “I could not have predicted the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq.”

So you’ve got prescriptions for the future, but how do we even those prescript prescriptions are any good if you missed it in the past?

CLINTON: Well, John, look, I think that what happened when we abided by the agreement that George W. Bush made with the Iraqis to leave by 2011, is that an Iraqi army was left that had been trained and that was prepared to defend Iraq. Unfortunately, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, set about decimating it. And then, with the revolution against Assad — and I did early on say we needed to try to find a way to train and equip moderates very early so that we would have a better idea of how to deal with Assad because I thought there would be extremist groups filling the vacuum.

So, yes, this has developed. I think that there are many other reasons why it has in addition to what happened in the region, but I don’t think that the United States has the bulk of the responsibility. I really put that on Assad and on the Iraqis and on the region itself.

DICKERSON: Okay, Governor O’Malley, would you critique the administration’s response to ISIS. If the United States doesn’t lead, who leads?

O’MALLEY: John, I would disagree with Secretary Clinton respectfully on this score.

This actually is America’s fight. It cannot solely be America’s fight.

America is best when we work in collaboration with our allies. America is best when we are actually standing up to evil in this world. And ISIS, make no mistake about it, is an evil in this world.

ISIS has brought down a Russian airliner. ISIS has now attacked a western democracy in — in France. And we do have a role in this. Not solely ours, but we must work collaboratively with other nations.

The great failing of these last 10 or 15 years, John, has been our failing of human intelligence on the ground. Our role in the world is not to roam the globe looking for new dictators to topple. Our role in the world is to make ourselves a beacon of hope. Make ourselves stronger at home, but also our role in the world, yes, is also to confront evil when it rises. We took out the safe haven in Afghanistan, but now there is, undoubtedly, a larger safe haven and we must rise to this occasion in collaboration and with alliances to confront it, and invest in the future much better human intelligence so we know what the next steps are.

DICKERSON: Senator Sanders, you said you want to rid the planet of ISIS. In the previous debate you said the greatest threat to national security was climate change. Do you still believe that?

SANDERS: Absolutely. In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world — this is what the CIA says — they’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops ask you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.

But, of course, international terrorism is a major issue that we have got to address today. And I agree with much of what the Secretary and the Governor have said. But let me have one area of disagreement with the Secretary.

I think she said something like the bulk of the responsibility is not ours. Well, in fact, I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al-Qaeda and to ISIS.

Now, in fact, what we have got to do — and I think there is widespread agreement here — is the United States cannot do it alone. What we need to do is lead an international coalition which includes very significantly the Muslim nations in that region who are going to have to fight and defend their way of life.

DICKERSON: Quickly, just let me ask you a follow-up on that, Senator Sanders.

When you say the disastrous vote on Iraq, let’s just be clear about what you’re saying. You’re saying Secretary Clinton, who was then Senator Clinton, voted for the Iraq war. And are you making a direct link between her vote for that or and what’s happening now for ISIS. Just so everybody…

SANDERS: I don’t think any — I don’t think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now. I think that was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the more than history of the United States.

DICKERSON: Alright. Let’s let Secretary Clinton respond to that.

CLINTON: Thank you, John.

Well, thank you, John.

I think it’s important we put this in historic context. The United States has, unfortunately, been victimized by terrorism going back decades.

In the 1980s, it was in Beirut, Lebanon, under President Reagan’s administration, and 258 Americans, marines, embassy personnel, and others were murdered. We also had attacks on two of our embassies in Tanzania, Kenya, when my husband was president. Again, Americans murdered. And then, of course, 9/11 happened, which happened before there was an invasion of Iraq.

I have said the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. But I think if we’re ever going to really tackle the problems posed by jihadi extreme terrorism, we need to understand it and realize that it has antecedents to what happened in Iraq and we have to continue to be vigilant about it.

DICKERSON: Senator Sanders let me just follow this line of thinking. You criticized then, Senator Clinton’s vote.

Do you have anything to criticize in the way she performed as Secretary of State?

SANDERS: I think we have a disagreement, and the disagreement is that not only did I vote against the war in Iraq. If you look at history, John, you will find that regime change — whether it was in the early ’50s in Iran, whether it was toppling Salvador Allende in Chile, whether it is overthrowing the government of Guatemala way back when — these invasions, these toppling of governments, regime changes have unintended consequences. I would say that on this issue, I’m a little bit more conservative than the Secretary…

DICKERSON: Alright.

SANDERS: … And that I am not a great fan of regime change.

DICKERSON: Senator let me…

O’MALLEY: John, may I — may I interject here? Secretary Clinton also said we — it was not just the invasion of Iraq which Secretary Clinton voted for and has since said was a big mistake — and, indeed, it was.

But it was also the cascading effects that followed that. It was also the disbanding of many elements of the Iraqi army that are now showing up as part of ISIS. It was country after country without making the investment in human intelligence to understand who the new leaders were and the new forces were that are coming up.

We need to be much more far thinking in this new 21st century era of — of nation state failures and conflict. It’s not just about getting rid of a single dictator. It is about understanding the secondary and third consequences that fall next.

DICKERSON: All right, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, of course, each of these cases needs to be looked at individually and analyzed. Part of the problem that we have currently in the Middle East is that Assad has hung on to power with the very strong support of Russia and Iran and with the proxy of Hezbollah being there basically fighting his battles.

So I don’t think you can paint with a broad brush. This is an incredibly complicated region of the world. It’s become more complicated. And many of the fights that are going on are not ones that the United States has either started or have a role in. The Shi’a-Sunni split. The dictatorships have suppressed people’s aspirations. The increasing globalization without any real safety valve for people to have a better life. We saw that in Egypt. We saw a dictator overthrown. We saw a Muslim brotherhood president installed, and then we saw him ousted and the army back.

So, I think we’ve got to understand the complexity of the world that we are facing and no place is more so than in the Middle East.

DICKERSON: I understand. Quickly, Senator.

SANDERS: The Secretary’s obviously right. It is enormously complicated. But here’s something that I believe we have to do as we put together an international coalition, and that is we have to understand that the Muslim nations in the region — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan — all of these nations, they’re going to have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground. They are going to have to take on ISIS.

This is a war for the soul of Islam. And those countries who are opposed to Islam, they are going to have to get deeply involved in a way that is not the case today. We should be supportive of that effort. So should the UK, so should France. But those Muslim countries are going to have to lead the effort. They are not doing it now.

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, I think — I think that is very unfair to a few you mentioned, most particularly Jordan, which has put a lot on the line for the United States, has also taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, and has been, therefore, subjected to threats and attacks by extremists themselves.

I do agree that in particular, Turkey and the Gulf nations have got to make up their minds. Are they going to stand with us against this kind of jihadi radicalism or not? And there are many ways of doing it. They can provide forces. They can provide resources. But they need to be absolutely clear about where they stand.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you, Secretary Clinton, a question about leadership.

We’re talking about what role does America take?

Let me ask you about Libya. So Libya is a country in which ISIS has taken hold in part because of the chaos after Muammar Gaddafi. That was an operation you championed. President Obama says this is the lesson he took from that operation. In an interview he said, the lesson was, do we have an answer for the day after? Wasn’t that suppose to be one of the lessons that we learned after the Iraq war? And how did you get it wrong with Libya if the key lesson of the Iraq war is have a plan for after?

CLINTON: Well, we did have a plan, and I think it’s fair to say that of all of the Arab leaders, Gaddafi probably had more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else. And when he moved on his own people, threatening a massacre, genocide, the Europeans and the Arabs, our allies and partners, did ask for American help and we provided it.

And we didn’t put a single boot on the ground, and Gaddafi was deposed. The Libyans turned out for one of the most successful, fairest elections that any Arab country has had. They elected moderate leaders. Now, there has been a lot of turmoil and trouble as they have tried to deal with these radical elements which you find in this arc of instability, from north Africa to Afghanistan.

And it is imperative that we do more not only to help our friends and partners protect themselves and protect our own homeland, but also to work to try to deal with this arc of instability, which does have a lot of impact on what happens in a country like Libya.

DICKERSON: Governor O’ Malley I want to ask you a question and you can add whatever you’d like to. But let me ask you, is the world too dangerous a place for a governor who has no foreign policy experience?

O’MALLEY: John, the world is a very dangerous place, but the world is not too dangerous of a place for the United States of America, provided we act according to our principles, provided we act intelligently. I mean, let’s talk about this arc of instability that Secretary Clinton talked about.

Libya is now a mess. Syria is a mess. Iraq is a mess. Afghanistan is a mess. As Americans, we have shown ourselves to have the greatest military on the face of the planet, but we are not so very good at anticipating threats and appreciating just how difficult it is to build up stable democracies, to make the investments and sustainable development that we must as a nation if we are to attack the root causes of these sorts of instability.

And I wanted to add one other thing, John, and I think it’s important for all of us on this stage. I was in Burlington, Iowa. And a mom of a service member of ours who served two duties in Iraq said, Governor O’ Malley, please, when you’re with your other candidates and colleagues on stage, please don’t use the term ‘boots on the ground’. Let’s don’t use the term ‘boots on the ground’.

My son is not a pair of boots on the ground. These are American soldiers and we fail them when we fail to take into account what happens the day after a dictator falls and when we fail to act with a whole of government approach with sustainable development, diplomacy, and our economic power in alignment with our principles.

CLINTON: Well, I think it’s perfectly fair to say that we invested quite a bit in development aid. Some of the bravest people that I had the privilege of working with as secretary of state were our development professionals who went sometimes alone, sometimes with our military, into very dangerous places in Iraq, in Afghanistan, elsewhere.

So, there does need to be a whole of government approach, but just because we’re involved and we have a strategy doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to dictate the outcome. These are often very long- term kinds of investments that have to be made.

[crosstalk]

SANDERS: When you talk about the long-term consequences of war, let’s talk about the men and women who came home from war. The 500,000 who came home with PTSD, and traumatic brain injury. And I would hope in the midst of all of this discussion, this country makes certain that we do not turn our backs on the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend us, and that we stand with them as they have stood with us.

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, you mentioned radical jihadists. Marco Rubio, also running for president, said that this attack showed and the attack in Paris showed that we are at war with radical Islam. Do you agree with that characterization, radical Islam?

CLINTON: I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. I think we’re at war with jihadists who have —

DICKERSON: Just to interrupt. He didn’t say all Muslims. He just said radical Islam. Is that a phrase you don’t…

CLINTON: I think THAT you can talk about Islamists who clearly are also jihadists, but I think it’s not particularly helpful to make the case that Senator Sanders was just making that I agree with, that we’ve got to reach out to Muslim countries.

We’ve got to have them be part of our coalition. If they hear people running for president who basically shortcut it to say we are somehow against Islam, that was one of the real contributions, despite all the other problems, that George W. Bush made after 9/11 when he basically said after going to a Mosque in Washington, we are not at war with Islam or Muslims.

We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and oppression. And, yes, we are at war with those people. But I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush.

DICKERSON: The reason I ask is you gave a speech at Georgetown University in which you said, that it was important to show, quote, “respect, even for one’s enemies. Trying to understand and in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.” Can you explain what that means in the context of this kind of barbarism?

CLINTON: I think with this kind of barbarism and nihilism, it’s very hard to understand, other than the lust for power, the rejection of modernity, the total disregard for human rights, freedom, or any other value that we know and respect.

Historically, it is important to try to understand your adversary in order to figure out how they are thinking, what they will be doing, how they will react. I plead that it’s very difficult when you deal with ISIS and organizations like that whose behavior is so barbaric and so vicious that it doesn’t seem to have any purpose other than lust for killing and power and that’s very difficult to put ourselves in the other shoe.

[crosstalk]

DICKERSON: Just quickly, do either of you, radical Islam, do either of you use that phrase?

SANDERS: I don’t think the term is what’s important. What is important to understand is we have organizations, whether it is ISIS or Al Qaida, who do believe we should go back several thousand years. We should make women third-class citizens, that we should allow children to be sexually assaulted, that they are a danger to modern society.

And that this world, with American leadership, can and must come together to destroy them. We can do that. And it requires an entire world to come together, including in a very active way, the Muslim nations.

DICKERSON: Governor O’ Malley, you have been making the case when you talk about lack of forward vision, you’re essentially saying that Secretary Clinton lacks that vision and this critique matches up with this discussion of language. The critique is that the softness of language betrays a softness of approach. So if this language — if you don’t call it by what it is, how can your approach be effective to the cause? that’s the critique.

O’MALLEY: I believe calling it what it is, is to say radical jihadis. That’s calling it what it is. But John, let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that all of our Muslim American neighbors in this country are somehow our enemies here. They are our first line of defense.

And we are going to be able to defeat ISIS on the ground there, as well as in this world, because of the Muslim Americans in our country and throughout the world who understand that this brutal and barbaric group is perverting the name of a great world religion. And now, like never before, we need our Muslim American neighbors to stand up and to — and to be a part of this.

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, the French president has called this attack an act of war.

CLINTON: Yes.

DICKERSON: A couple of days ago you were asked if you would declare war on ISIS and you said no. What would you say now?

CLINTON: Well, we have an authorization to use military force against terrorists. We passed it after 9/11.

DICKERSON: And you think that covers all of this?

CLINTON: It certainly does cover it. I would like to see it updated.

DICKERSON: If you were in the Senate, would you be okay with the commander in chief doing that without it coming back to you?

CLINTON: No, it would have to go through the Congress, and I know the White House has actually been working with members of Congress. Maybe now we can get it moving again so that we can upgrade it so that it does include all the tools and everything in our arsenal that we can use to try to work with our allies and our friends, come up with better intelligence.

You know, it is difficult finding intelligence that is actionable in a lot of these places, but we have to keep trying. And we have to do more to prevent the flood of foreign fighters that have gone to Syria, especially the ones with western passports, that come back. So there’s a lot of work we need to do and I want to be sure what’s called the AUMF, has the authority that is needed going forward.

DICKERSON: Senator, let me just — let’s add to whatever you’ve got to say. Refugees. You’ve been a little vague on what you would do about the Syrian refugees. What’s your view on them now?

SANDERS: Let me do that but let me pick up on an issue, a very important issue that we have not yet discussed. This nation is the most powerful military in the world. We’re spending over $600 billion a year on the military and yet, significantly less than 10 percent of that money is used to be fighting international terrorism.

We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars maintaining 5,000 nuclear weapons. I think we need major reform in the military, making it more cost effective, but also focusing on the real crisis that faces us.

The Cold War is over. And our focus has got to be on intelligence, increased manpower, fighting internationally targets. So, in terms of refugees, I believe that the United States has the moral responsibility with Europe, with Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia to make sure that when people leave countries like Afghanistan and Syria with nothing more than the clothing on their back that, of course, we reach out.

Now, what the magic number is, I don’t know, because we don’t know the extent of the problem. But I certainly think that the United States should take its full responsibility in helping those people.

DICKERSON: Governor O’Malley, you have a magic number. I think it’s 65,000. Does that number go up or down based on what happened yesterday?

O’MALLEY: John, I was the first person on this stage to say that we should accept the 65,000 Syrian refugees that were fleeing the sort of murder of ISIL, and I believe that that needs to be done with proper screening. But accommodating 65,000 refugees in our country today, people of 320 million, is akin to making room for 6.5 more people in a baseball stadium with 32,000.

There are other ways to lead and to be a moral leader in this world, rather than at the opposite end of a drone strike. But I would want to agree with something that Senator Sanders says. The nature of warfare has changed. This is not a conflict where we send in the third divisions of Marines. This is a new era of conflict where traditional ways of huge standing armies are not as — serve our purposes as well as special ops, better intelligence and being more proactive.

DICKERSON: Just very quickly, 65,000, the number stays?

O’MALLEY: That’s what I understand is the request from the international…

DICKERSON: But for you, what would you want?

O’MALLEY: I would want us to take our place among the nations of the world to alleviate this sort of death and the specter we saw of little kids’ bodies washing up on a beach.

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, let me ask you a question from twitter which has come in and this is a question on this issue of refugees. The question is, with the U.S. preparing to absorb Syrian refugees, how do you propose we screen those coming in to keep citizens safe?

CLINTON: I think that is the number one requirement. I also said that we should take increased numbers of refugees. The administration originally said 10. I said we should go to 65, but only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine, whatever resources it takes because I do not want us to, in any way, inadvertently allow people who wish us harm to come into our country.

But I want to say a quick word about what Senator Sanders and then Governor O’Malley said. We do have to take a hard look at the defense budget and we do have to figure out how we get ready to fight the adversaries of the future, not the past. But we have to also be very clear that we do have some continuing challenges.

We’ve got challenges in the South China Sea because of what China is doing in building up these military installations. We have problems with Russia. Just the other day, Russia allowed a television camera to see the plans for a drone submarine that could carry a tactical nuclear weapon. So we’ve got to look at the full range and then come to some smart decisions about having more streamlined and focused approach.

DICKERSON: Alright. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry. We’re going to have to take a break now. We will have more of the Democratic debate here from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. [applause]

[commercial break]

DICKERSON: Want to turn now from terrorism to another important issue for many Americans, the financial squeeze on the the middle class. For that, we go to my CBS News Colleague, Nancy Cordes.

Nancy?

CORDES: John, thanks so much.

We’ve learned a lot during the course of this campaign about the things that you’d like to do that you say would help the middle class, but we haven’t heard quite as much about who would pick up the tab.

So Secretary Clinton, first to you. You want to cap individuals’ prescription drug costs at $250 a month. You want to make public college debt-free. You want community college to be free altogether. And you want mandatory paid family leave. So who pays for all that? Is it employers? Is it the taxpayers, and which taxpayers?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, it isn’t the middle class. I have made very clear that hardworking, middle-class families need a raise, not a tax increase. In fact, wages adjusted for inflation haven’t risen since the turn of the last century, after my husband’s administration. So we have a lot of work to do to get jobs going again, get incomes rising again. And I have laid out specific plans — you can go to my web site, hillaryclinton.com, and read the details. And I will pay for it by, yes, taxing the wealthy more, closing corporate loopholes, deductions, and other kinds of favorable treatment. And I can do it without raising the debt, without raising taxes on the middle class and making it reasonably manageable within our budget so that we can be fiscally responsible at the same time.

CORDES: But a quick follow-up on that $250-a-month cap. Wouldn’t the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies just pass that cost on to the consumers in the form of higher premiums?

CLINTON: Well, we’re going to have to redo the way the prescription drug industry does business. For example, it is outrageous that we don’t have an opportunity for Medicare to negotiate for lower prices. In fact, American consumers pay the highest prices in the world for drugs that we help to be developed through the National Institute of Health and that we then tested through the FDA.

So there’s more to my plan than just the cap. We have to go after price gouging and monopolistic practices and get Medicare the authority to negotiate.

CORDES: Governor O’Malley, you also want to make public college debt-free. You want…

O’MALLEY: That’s right.

CORDES: … states to freeze tuition. You’ve got your own family leave plan. How would you pay for it? In Maryland, you raised the sales tax, you raised the gas tax and you raised taxes on families making over $150,000 a year. Is that the blueprint?

O’MALLEY: Nancy, the blueprint in Maryland that we followed was yes, we did in fact raise the sales tax by a penny and we made our public schools the best public schools in America for five years in a row with that investment. And yes, we did ask everyone — the top 14 percent of earners in our state to pay more in their income tax and we were the only state to go four years in a row without a penny’s increase to college tuitions.

So while other candidates will talk about the things they would like to do, I actually got these things done in a state that defended not only a AAA bond rating, but the highest median income in America. I believe that we pay for many of the things that we need to do again as a nation, investing in the skills of our people, our infrastructure, and research and development and also climate change by the elimination of one big entitlement that we can no longer afford as a people, and that is the entitlement that many of our super wealthiest citizens feel they are entitled to pay — namely, a much lower income tax rate and a lower tax rate on capital gains.

I believe capital gains, for the most part, should be taxed the same way we tax income from hard work, sweat, and toil. And if we do those things, we can be a country that actually can afford debt-free college again.

CORDES: Senator Sanders, you want to make public college free altogether. You want to increase Social Security benefits and you want to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. So you said that to do some of these things, you’ll impose a tax on top earners. How high would their rate go in a Sanders administration?

SANDERS: Let me put those proposals– and you’re absolutely right. That is what I want to do. That is what is going to have to happen, if we want to revitalize and rebuild the crumbling middle class.

In the last 30 years, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth. And I know that term gets my Republican friends nervous. The problem is, this redistribution has gone in the wrong direction. Trillions of dollars have gone from the middle class and working families to the top one-tenth of one percent who have doubled the percentage of wealth they now own.

Yes, I do believe that we must end corporate loopholes, such that major corporations year after year pay virtually zero in federal income tax, because they’re stashing the money in the Cayman Islands.

Yes, I do believe there must be a tax on Wall Street speculation. We bailed out Wall Street. It’s their time to bail out the middle class, help our kids be able to go to college tuition-free.

So we pay for this by do demanding that the wealthiest people and the largest corporations, who have gotten away with murder for years, start paying their fair share.

CORDES: But let’s get specific. How high would you go? You have said before you would go above 50 percent.

How high?

SANDERS: We haven’t come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90 percent. But it will be…[laughter]

I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower. [applause]

But — but we are going to end the absurdity, as Warren Buffet often remind us.

O’MALLEY: That’s right.

SANDERS: That billionaires pay an effective tax rate lower than nurses or truck drivers. That makes no sense at all. There has to be real tax reform, and the wealthiest and large corporations will pay when I’m president.

O’MALLEY: And may I point out that under Ronald Reagan’s first term, the highest marginal rate was 70 percent. And in talking to a lot of our neighbors who are in that super wealthy, millionaire and billionaire category, a great numbers of them love their country enough to do more again in order to create more opportunity for America’s middle class.

CORDES: Secretary Clinton, Americans say that health care costs and wages are their top financial concerns. And health care deductibles, alone, have risen 67 percent over the past five years.

Is this something that Obamacare was designed to address? And if not, why not?

CLINTON: Well, look, I believe that we’ve made great progress as a country with the Affordable Care Act. We’ve been struggling to get this done since Harry Truman. And it was not only a great accomplishment of the Democratic Party, but of President Obama.

I do think that it’s important to defend it. The Republicans have voted to repeal it nearly 60 times. They would like to rip it up and start all over again, throw our nation back into this really contentious debate that we’ve had about health care for quite some time now.

I want to build on and improve the Affordable Care Act. I would certainly tackle the cost issues, because I think that once the foundation was laid with a system to try to get as many people as possible into it, to end insurance discrimination against people with preexisting conditions or women, for example, that, yes, we were going to have to figure out how to get more competition in the insurance market, how to get the costs of — particularly, prescription drugs, but other out-of-pocket expenses down.

But I think it’s important to understand there’s a significant difference that I have with Senator Sanders about how best to provide quality, affordable health care for everyone. And it’s– it’s a worthy debate. It’s an important one that we should be engaged in.

CORDES: It is — it is a worthy debate. Senator Sanders, a quick response, and then we’ll get into health care again later.

SANDERS: I am on the committee that helped write the Affordable Care Act. We have made some good progress.

Now what we have to take on is the pharmaceutical industry that is ripping off the American people every single day. I am proud that I was the first member of Congress to take Americans over the Canadian border to buy breast cancer drugs for one-tenth the price they were paying in the United States.

But at the end of the day, no doubt, the Affordable Care Act is a step forward. I think we all support it. I believe we’ve got to go further.

I want to end the international embarrassment of the United States of America being the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege. [applause]

And also — also, what we should be clear about is we end up spending — and I think the secretary knows this — far more per capita on health care than any other major country, and our outcomes, health care outcomes are not necessarily that good.

O’MALLEY: All right, Nancy, I really wish you’d come back to me on this on this one, John…

DICKERSON: All right, I am sorry, Governor, we’re going to have to go, I apologize.

O’MALLEY: Because we have found a way to reduce hospital costs, so whenever we come…

DICKERSON: Governor — Governor, you’re breaking the rules. [laughter]

I’m sorry, we’re going to have to cut for a commercial. We’ll be right back here from Drake University here in Des Moines, Iowa.

O’MALLEY: Thank you.

[commercial break]

DICKERSON: There is a lot of presidential history here in Iowa. It hosted the first in the nation caucuses. Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, and tonight, we are in Polk County, named for our 11th president, with three people who hope to be number 45.

Joining my now to question them are Iowans Kevin Cooney of KCCI and Kathie Obradovich, of the Des Moines Register.

Kevin?

COONEY: Thanks, John.

Candidates, we’ve already heard your answers on what you would do with Syrian refugees, but a crucial part of the immigration debate here at home is control of our own borders.

Republicans say the borders — securing borders is a top priority. Democrats say they want to plan for comprehensive immigration reform. So, Governor O’Malley, are you willing to compromise on this particular issue to focus on border security first in favor of keeping the country safe?

O’MALLEY: Well, Mr. Cooney, we’ve actually been focusing on border security to the exclusion of talking about comprehensive immigration reform.

In fact, if more border security and these — and more and more deportations were going to bring our Republican brothers and sisters to the table, it would have happened long ago. The fact of the matter is — and let’s say it in our debate, because you’ll never hear this from that immigration-bashing carnival barker, Donald Trump, the truth of the matter is… [applause]

The truth of the matter is, net immigration from Mexico last year was zero. Fact check me. Go ahead. Check it out. But the truth of the matter is, if we want wages to go up, we’ve got to get 11 million of our neighbors out of off the book shadow economy, and into the full light of an American economy.

That’s what our parents and grandparents always did. That’s what we need to do as a nation.

Yes, we must protect our borders. But there is no substitute for having comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people, many of whom have known no other country but the United States of America. Our symbol is the Statue of Liberty. It is not a barbed wire fence.

COONEY: Thank you. Now, Secretary Clinton said you would go further than the President when it comes to taking executive action to implement immigration reforms. But the President’s already facing legal trouble on this. We’ve seen it more just in the past week. Realistically, how could you go further with executive action?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I know that the President has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. And my reading of the law and the Constitution convinces me that the President has the authority that he is attempting to exercise with respect to dreamers and their parents, because I think all of us on this stage agree that we need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Border security has always been a part of that debate. And it is a fact that the net immigration from Mexico and South has basically zeroed out.

So, what we want to do is to say, look, we have 11 million people who have been here, many of them for decades. They have children who are doing so well, I’ve met and worked with dreamers. I think any parent would be so proud of them. So let’s move toward what we should be doing as a nation and follow the values of our immigration history and begin to make it possible for them to come out of the shadows and to have a future that gives them a full chance of citizenship. [applause]

COONEY: Kathie.

OBRADOVICH: Senator Sanders, you’ve actually talked about immigration as being a wage issue in the United States. And I want to actually go directly to the wage issue now.

You called for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour everywhere in the country. But the President’s former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, has said a national increase of $15 could lead to undesirable and unintended consequences of job loss.

What level of job loss would you consider unacceptable?

SANDERS: Kathie, let me say this. You know, no public policy doesn’t have, in some cases, negative consequences. But at the end of the day, what you have right now are millions of Americans working two or three jobs because their wages that they are earning are just too low.

Real inflation accounted for wages has declined precipitously over the years. So I believe that, in fact, this country needs to move towards a living wage. It is not a radical idea to say that if somebody works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty. It is not a radical idea to say that a single mom should be earning enough money to take care of her kids. So I believe that over the next few years, not tomorrow, but over the next few years, we have got to move the minimum wage to a living wage, 15 bucks an hour. And I apologize to nobody for that.

OBRADOVICH: You said there are consequences… [applause]

You said there are consequences for — for any policy. Do you think job losses are a consequence that are…

SANDERS: This is what I think — this is what many economists believe that one of the reasons that real unemployment in this country is 10 percent, one of the reasons that African American youth unemployment and underemployment is 51 percent is the average worker in America doesn’t have any disposable income.

You have no disposable income when you are make 10, 12 bucks an hour. When we put money into the hands of working people, they’re going to go out and buy goods, they’re going to buy services and they’re going to create jobs in doing that. Kathie, that is the kind of economy I believe, put money in the hands of working people, raise the minimum wage to 15 buck an hour.

O’MALLEY: Kathie, this was not merely theory in Maryland. We actually did it. Not only were we the first state in the nation to pass a living wage. We were the first to pass a minimum wage. And the U.S. chamber of commerce, which hardly ever says nice things about Democratic governors anywhere, named our state number one for innovation and entrepreneurship.

We defended the highest median income in the country. And so, look, the way that — a stronger middle class is actually the source of economic growth. And if our middle class makes more money, they spend more money, and our whole economy grows. We did it, and it worked, and nobody headed for the hills or left the state because of it.

OBRADOVICH: You’re calling for a $15 an hour wage now but why did you stop at $10.10 in your state?

O’MALLEY: $10.10 was all I could get the state to do by the time I left in my last year. But two of our counties actually went to $12.80 and their county executives, if they were here tonight, would also tell you that it works.

The fact of the matter is, the more our people earn, the more money they spend, and the more our whole economy grows. That’s American capitalism.

SANDERS: Let me just…

CLINTON: Kathie, I think — Kathie the…

SANDERS: Let me just add to that. Just because this is not an esoteric argument. You’re seeing cities like Seattle. You’re seeing cities like San Francisco, cities like Los Angeles doing it, and they are doing it well and workers are able to have more disposable income.

CLINTON: But I do take what Alan Krueger said seriously. He is the foremost expert in our country on the minimum wage, and what its effects are. And the overall message is that it doesn’t result in job loss. However, what Alan Krueger said in the piece you’re referring to is that if we went to $15, there are no international comparisons.

That is why I support a $12 national federal minimum wage. That is what the Democrats in the Senate have put forward as a proposal. But I do believe that is a minimum. And places like Seattle, like Los Angeles, like New York City, they can go higher. It’s what happened in Governor O’Malley’s state. There was a minimum wage at the state level, and some places went higher. I think that is…

O’MALLEY: Didn’t just happen.

CLINTON: I think that is the smartest way to be able to move forward because if you go to $12 it would be the highest historical average we’ve ever had.

O’MALLEY: Come on now. Yeah, but look. It should always be going up. Again, with all do respect to Secretary Clinton…

CLINTON: But you would index it — you would index it to the median wage. Of course, you would. Do the $12 and you would index it. But I…

O’MALLEY: I think we need to stop taking our advice from economists on Wall Street…

CLINTON: He’s not wall street.

O’MALLEY: … And start taking advice…

CLINTON: That’s not fair. He’s a progressive economist.

[crosstalk]

DICKERSON: You have — you have given me the perfect segue. We are going to talk about Wall Street, but now we’ve got to go do a commercial.

We’re coming to the end of the first hour. But there’s another hour behind it and we’re going to talk about Wall Street so hang with us.

[commercial break]

DICKERSON: Good evening again, as we begin the second half of the debate. Joining me in the questioning are the candidates — of the candidates are CBS news congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, Kevin Cooney of CBS Des Moines affiliate KCCI, and Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines register.

As those who watched the first hour know, our topic is Wall Street. For those just joining us, welcome. Senator — excuse me, Secretary Clinton, I went to the past there for a moment. Senator Sanders recently said, quote, “People should be suspect of candidates who receive large sums of money from Wall Street and then go out and say ‘Trust me. I’m going to really regulate wall street’.

So you’ve received millions of dollars in contributions and speaking fees from from Wall Street companies. How do you convince voters that you are going to level the playing field when you’re indebted to some of its biggest players?

CLINTON: Well, I think it’s pretty clear that they know that I will. You have two billionaire hedge fund managers who started a super PAC and they’re advertising against me in Iowa as we speak. So they clearly think I’m going to do what I say I will do and you can look at what I did in the Senate.

I did introduce legislation to reign in compensation. I looked at ways that the shareholders would have more control over what was going on in that arena. And specifically said to Wall Street, that what they were doing in the mortgage market was bringing our country down. I’ve laid out a very aggressive plan to reign in Wall Street — not just the big banks.

That’s a part of the problem and I am going right at them. I have a comprehensive, tough plan. But I went further than that. We have to go after what is called the shadow banking industry. Those hedge funds. Look at what happened in ’08, AIG, a big insurance company, Lehman Brothers, an investment bank helped to bring our economy down. So, I want to look at the whole problem and that’s why my proposal is much more comprehensive than anything else that’s been put forth.

DICKERSON: Senator Sanders you said that the donations to Secretary Clinton are compromising. So what did you think of her answer?

SANDERS: Not good enough. [applause]

Here’s the story. I mean, you know, let’s not be naive about it. Why do — why, over her political career has Wall Street been a major — the major campaign contributor to Hillary Clinton? You know, maybe they’re dumb and they don’t know what they’re going to get, but I don’t think so.

Here is the major issue when we talk about Wall Street. It ain’t complicated. You have six financial institutions today that have assets of 56 percent, equivalent to 56 percent of the GDP In America. They issue two-thirds of the credit cards and one-third of the mortgages.

If Teddy Roosevelt, a good Republican, were alive today, you know what he’d say? “Break them up.” Reestablish Glass-Steagall. And Teddy Roosevelt is right. That is the issue. Now I am the only candidate up here that doesn’t have a super PAC. I am not asking Wall Street or the billionaires for money. I will break up these banks. Support community banks and credit unions. That’s the future of banking in America.

DICKERSON: Great follow up because you — and Secretary Clinton, you will get a chance to respond.

You said they know what they’re going to get. What are they going to get?

SANDERS: I have never heard a candidate never, who has received huge amounts of money from oil, from coal, from Wall Street, from the military industrial complex, not one candidate say, oh, these campaign contributions will not influence me. I’m going to be independent. Well, why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions? they expect to get something. Everybody knows that.

Once again, I am running a campaign differently than any other candidate. We are relying on small campaign donors, 750,000 of them, 30 bucks a piece. That’s who I’m indebted to.

CLINTON: Well John, wait a minute. Wait a minute, he has basically used his answer to impune my integrity. Let’s be frank here.

SANDERS: No, I have not.

CLINTON: Oh, wait a minute, senator. You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small. And I’m very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent. [applause]

So, I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.

So, you know, it’s fine for you to say what you’re going to say, but I looked very carefully at your proposal. Reinstating Glass- Steagall is a part of what very well could help, but it is nowhere near enough. My proposal is tougher, more effective, and more comprehensive because I go after all of Wall Street not just the big banks.

O’MALLEY: John, please, it’s– personal privilege, John.

DICKERSON: Hold on. He was attacked. [applause]

O’MALLEY: John, John,

DICKERSON: Hold on, he was attacked. Glass-Steagall…

[crosstalk]

SANDERS: So was I, John. Let me get a chance to respond. This issue touches on two broad issues. It’s not just Wall Street. It’s campaign — a corrupt campaign finance system. And it is easy to talk the talk about ending Citizens United, but what I think we need to do is show by example that we are prepared to not rely on large corporations and Wall Street for campaign contributions, and that’s what I’m doing.

In terms of Wall Street, I respectfully disagree with you, madam secretary, in the sense that the issue here is when you have such incredible power and such incredible wealth. When you have Wall Street spending $5 billion over a 10-year period to get — to get deregulated, the only answer they know is break them up, reestablish Glass-Stegall.

DICKERSON: All right. Senator, we have to get Governor O’ Malley in.

Governor, along with your answer, how many Wall Street veterans would you have in your administration?

O’MALLEY: Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ve said this before. I don’t — I believe that we actually need some new economic thinking in the White House. And I would not have Robert Rubin or Larry Summers, with all due respect, Secretary Clinton, to you and to them, back on my council of economic advisers.

DICKERSON: Anyone from Wall Street?

O’MALLEY: They are the architects. Sure, we’ll have an inclusive group but I won’t be taking my orders from Wall Street. And look, let me say this. I put out a proposal. I was on the front lines when people lost their homes, when people lost their jobs. I was on the front lines as a governor fighting against — fighting that battle.

Our economy was wrecked by the big banks of Wall Street. And Secretary Clinton, when you put out your proposal on Wall Street, it was greeted by many as, quote, unquote, “Weak tea”. It is weak tea. It is not what the people expect of our country.

We expect that our president will protect the main street economy from excesses on Wall Street. And that’s why Bernie’s right. We need to reinstate a modern version of Glass-Steagall and we should have done it already. [applause]

CLINTON: Well, you know, governor, I know that when you had a chance to appoint a commissioner for financial regulation, you chose an investment banker in 2010. So for me, it is looking at what works and what we need to do to try to move past what happened in ’08.

And I will go back and say again, AIG was not a big bank. It had to be bailed out and it nearly destroyed us. Lehman Brothers was not a big bank. It was an investment bank. And its bankruptcy and its failure nearly destroyed us. So I’ve said, if the big banks don’t play by the rules, I will break them up.

SANDERS: The big banks–

CLINTON: And I will also go after executives who are responsible for the decisions that have such bad consequences for our country. [applause]

SANDERS: Look–

DICKERSON: Hold on.

SANDERS: I don’t know and with all due respect to the secretary, Wall Street played by the rules? Who are we kidding? The business model of Wall Street is fraud. That’s what it is. [applause]

And we have — and let me make this promise. One of the problems we have had — I think all Americans understand this, is whether it’s Republican administrations or Democratic administrations, we have seen Wall Street and Goldman Sachs dominate administrations. Here’s my promise– Wall Street representatives will not be in my cabinet. [applause]

DICKERSON: All right, I want to switch to the — switch to the issue of guns here.

Secretary Clinton, you said that Senator Sanders is not tough enough on guns, but basically he now supports roughly the same things you do. So can tell us what the exact difference is going forward between the two of you on the issue of gun control?

CLINTON: Well, I think that there are different records. I — you know, know that Senator Sanders had a different vote than I did when it came to giving immunity to gun makers and sellers. That was a terrible mistake. It basically gave the gun lobby even more power to intimidate legislators, not just in Washington but across the country.

But just think about this– since we last debated in Las Vegas, nearly 3,000 people have been killed by guns. Twenty-one mass shootings, including one last weekend in Des Moins where three were murdered. Two hundred children have been killed. This is an emergency. There are a lot of things we’ve got to do in our country, reigning in Wall Street is certainly one of them. I agree with that.

That’s why I’ve got such a good plan. But we have to also go after the gun lobby and 92 percent of Americans agree we should have universal background checks. Close the gun show loophole, close the online loophole and… [applause]

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, I want to…

CLINTON: I will do everything I can as president to get that accomplished.

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, just a quick follow-up. You say that Senator Sanders took a vote that — on immunity that you don’t like. So if he can be tattooed by a single vote and that ruins all future opinions by him on this issue, why then isn’t he right when he says your wrong vote on Iraq tattoos you forever in your judgment?

CLINTON: I — I said I made a mistake on Iraq, and I would love to see Senator Sanders join with some of my colleague in addition the Senate that I see in the audience. Let’s reverse the immunity. Let’s put the gun makers and sellers on notice that they’re not going to get away with it. [applause]

SANDERS: Let’s do more — let’s do more than reverse the immunity. Let’s…

DICKERSON: But was that a mistake, Senator?

SANDERS: Let me hear if there’s any difference between the Secretary and myself. I have voted time and again to — for — for the background check, and I want to see it improved and expanded. I want to see us do away with the gun show loophole.

In 1988, I lost an election because I said we should not have assault weapons on the streets of America. We have to do away with the strawman proposal. We need radical changes in mental health in America so somebody who is suicidal or homicidal can get the emergency care they need. We have — I don’t know that there’s any disagreement here…

O’MALLEY: Oh, yes there is. [laughter

SANDERS: We have got to come forward with a consensus that in fact will work.

DICKERSON: Senator, a mistake or not, your immunity vote? Quickly, before I go to…

SANDERS: There were parts of that bill which agree with parts — I disagree. I am certainly, absolutely, willing to look at that bill again and make sure there’s a stronger bill.

DICKERSON: So not a mistake?

O’MALLEY: John, this is another one of those examples. Like we have a — we have a lot of work to do and we’re the only nation on the planet that buries as many of our people from gun violence as we do.

In my own state, after the children in that Connecticut classroom were gunned down, we passed comprehensive gun safety legislation with background checks, ban on assault weapons, and Senator, I think we do need to repeal that immunity that you granted to the gun industry.

But Secretary Clinton, you’ve been on three sides of this. When you ran in 2000, you said that we needed federal robust regulations. Then, in 2008, you were portraying yourself as Annie Oakley and saying that we don’t need those regulations on the federal level and now you’re coming back around here.

So John, there’s a big difference between leading by polls and leading with principle. We got it done in my state by leading with principal and that’s what we need to do as a party for comprehensive gun safety.

SANDERS: With all — with all due respect… [applause]

I think it’s fair to say that Baltimore is not now one of the safest cities in America, but the issue is…

O’MALLEY: But it’s a lot safer. It’s saved a lot of lives along the way, Senator.

SANDERS: The issue is — I believe, and I believe this honestly, and I don’t know that there’s much difference on guns between us. But I believe coming from a state that has virtually no gun control, I believe that I am in position to reach out to the 60 or 70 percent of the American people who agree with us on those issues. The problem is…

DICKERSON: Hold on.

SANDERS: … people all over this country — not you, Secretary Clinton — are shouting at each other. And what we need to do is bring people together to work on the agreement where there is broad consensus and that’s what I intend to do.

[crosstalk]

O’MALLEY: I’d like to take a matter of personal privilege here…

CLINTON: But wait, I just want to say this Senator. There is broad consensus, 92 percent in the most recently poll of Americans want gun safety measures…

SANDERS: Absolutely.

CLINTON: … and 85 percent of gun owners agree.

SANDERS: Yes.

CLINTON: We’ve got the consensus, what we’re lacking is political leadership…

SANDERS: Yes.

CLINTON: … and that’s what you and others can start providing in the Senate. [applause]

SANDERS: Yes, I agree.

DICKERSON: Sorry. I’m going to bring in Nancy Cordes with a question from twitter about this exchange.

CORDES: There was a lot of conversation on twitter about guns, but also about your conversation on campaign finance.

And Secretary Clinton, one of the tweets we saw said this, “I’ve never seen a candidate invoke 9/11 to justify millions of Wall Street donations until now.” The idea being, yes, you were a champion of the community after 9/11, but what does that have to do with taking big donations?

CLINTON: Well, I’m sorry that whoever tweeted that had that impression because I worked closely with New Yorkers after 9/11 for my entire first term to rebuild. So, yes, I did know people. I’ve had a lot of folks give me donations from all kinds of backgrounds say, I don’t agree with you on everything, but I like what you do. I like how you stand up. I’m going to support you, and I think that is absolutely appropriate. [applause]

SANDERS: Well, I — if I might. I think the issue here is — and I applaud Secretary Clinton. She did. She’s the senator from New York. She worked — and many of us supported you — in trying to rebuild that devastation. But at the end of the day, Wall Street today has enormous economic and political power. Their business model is greed and fraud. And for the sake of our economy, they must — the major banks must be broken up.

CORDES: Hold on.

O’MALLEY: John, I think somewhere between…

CORDES: Senator Sanders — I’m sorry. Senator Sanders, but what is it in Secretary Clinton’s record that shows you that she’s been influenced by those donations?

[crosstalk]

SANDERS: Well, (inaudible) the major issue right now is whether or not we reestablish Glass-Steagall. I led the effort, unfortunately unsuccessfully, against deregulation because I knew when you merge large insurance companies and investment banks and commercial banks it was not going to be good. The issue now is do we break them ?up do we reestablish Glass-Steagall. And Secretary Clinton, unfortunately, is on the wrong side.

CLINTON: Well, I’ll tell you who is on my side. Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, who said my plan for what we should do to reign in Wall Street was more comprehensive and better. Paul Volcker, one of the leading lights of trying to reign in the excesses, has also said he does not support reinstating Glass-Steagall.

So, I mean this may seem like a bit of an arcane discussion. I have nothing against the passion that my two friends here have about reinstating Glass-Steagall. I just don’t think it would get the job done. I’m all about making sure we actually get results for whatever we do. [applause]

DICKERSON: Final word. Final word, Governor O’Malley, before we go to commercial.

O’MALLEY: John, there is not a serious economist who would disagree that the six big banks of Wall Street have taken on so much power and that all of us are still on the hook to bail them out on their bad bets. That’s not capitalism, Secretary Clinton. That’s crony capitalism. That’s a wonderful business model. If you place bad bets, the taxpayers bail you out. But if you place good ones, you pocket it.

Look, I don’t believe there’s the model — there’s lots of good people that work in finance, Secretary Sanders, but Secretary Clinton, we need to step up and we need to protect Main Street from Wall Street and you can’t do that by — by campaigning as the candidate of Wall Street. I am not the candidate of Wall Street…

SANDERS: Let me…

O’MALLEY: … and I encourage everybody watching this tonight to please, acknowledge that by going online at martinomalley.com and help me wage this campaign for real American capitalism. [applause]

DICKERSON: We have to — we have to go for a commercial, Senator. I’m sorry. We have to go for a commercial here. We’ll be right back with the Democratic debate here in Des Moines, Iowa on CBS.

[commercial break]

DICKERSON: Back now in Des Moines with the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Senator Sanders, I want to start with you. Let’s say you’re elected president. Congratulations.

SANDERS: Thank you. [applause]

Looking forward to it.

DICKERSON: You’ve said you’ll have a revolution.

SANDERS: Yes.

DICKERSON: But there’s a conservative revolution going on in America right now. As John Boehner knows and as Democrats know, who have lost in state houses across the country.

SANDERS: Right.

DICKERSON: Those conservatives are watching tonight and probably shaking their heads. So how do you deal with that part of the country? The revolution’s already happening, but on the other side?

SANDERS: And we are going to do a political revolution, which brings working people, young people, senior citizens, minorities together.

Because every issue that I am talking about– paid family and medical leave, breaking up the banks on Wall Street, asking the wealth to pay their fair share of taxes, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour — every one of those issues is supported by a significant majority of the American people.

The problem is, that as a result of a corrupt campaign finance system, Congress is not listening to the American people. Its listening to the big money interest.

What the political revolution is about is bringing people together to finally say, enough is enough. This government belongs to us. Not just the billionaires.

DICKERSON: Senator, as a 30-second follow-up, we’ve heard already tonight this figure, 92 percent of support for background checks.

Let’s look at that as an example. There was something 92 percent of the public was for. There had been these mass shootings. There was emotional support behind it.

SANDERS: Yes.

DICKERSON: Bipartisan support.

SANDERS: Yes.

DICKERSON: The president, the full force of his office.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DICKERSON: It went nowhere. That’s the model you’re talking about. Nothing happened.

SANDERS: What we need is leadership in this country which revitalizes American democracy, and makes people understand that if they stand up and fight back and take on the billionaire class, we can bring about the change that we need.

If we are not successful, if we continue the same old, same old of Washington being run by corporate lobbyists and big-money interests, nothing changes.

What I am very happy in this campaign that we have had rallies with tens of thousands of people, mostly young people. What the polls are showing is that we are actually defeating the secretary among younger people. We’re giving young people and working people hope that real change can take place in America.

That’s what the political revolution is about.

DICKERSON: A question from Kathie Obradovich.

OBRADOVICH: Yes, Senator Sanders, you famously said in the last debate that you were sick and tired of hearing about your damn e- mails. But then you told the Wall Street Journal that the question about whether or not Secretary Clinton’s e-mails compromised classified information were valid questions.

So which is it? Is it an issue or is it not?

SANDERS: No. That’s just media stuff.

I was sick and tired of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail. I am still sick and tired of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. [laughter]

And the issue is, the problem is, the front pages every day were dealing with it. I didn’t know I had so much power. But after I said that, we’re not hearing so much about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.

What I would like for the media now is for us to be talking about why the middle class is disappearing, why we have more people in jail than any other country, why we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, and we’re the only major country on Earth without paid family and medical leave.

We’ve gotten off the Hillary’s e-mails, good. Let’s go to the major issues facing America. [applause]

OBRADOVICH: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you.

Secretary Clinton, your response.

CLINTON: I agree completely. [applause]

I couldn’t have said it better myself. But I did want to — I wanted to follow up.

Look, we need more Americans to be involved in the political process. And I give Senator Sanders a lot of credit for really lighting a fire under many people — young, old, everybody — who sees a chance to be involved and have their voice heard.

Look at what’s happening with the Republicans. They are doing everything they can to prevent the voices of Americans to be heard. [applause] They’re trying to prevent people from registering to vote. So, we do need to take on the Republicans very clearly and directly. But the other thing I just wanted quickly to say is, I think President Obama deserves more credit than he gets for what he got done in Washington, despite the Republican obstructionists. [applause]

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, just one more question on the e- mail question.

For Democrats, there’s an FBI investigation going on. Can you satisfy Democrats, who might worry about an another shoe dropping, that you and your staff have been totally truthful to them, and that another shoe is not going to drop?

CLINTON: I think after 11 hours, that’s pretty clear, yes. [applause]

And, you know, I do think it’s important to do exactly what Senator Sanders said, and that is to start talking about the issues that the American people really care about, and that they talk to each of us about.

And to contrast, even — there are differences among us. You’ve heard some of those tonight. I still want to get back to health care, because I think that’s a worthy topic to explore.

But the differences among us pale compared to what’s happening on the Republican side. And if you listen to what they say — and I had a chance over those 11 hours to watch and listen, as well as what I see in their debates — they are putting forth alarming plans.

I mean, all of us support funding Planned Parenthood. All of us believe climate change is real. All of us want equal pay for equal work.

They don’t believe in any of that. So let’s focus on what this election is really going to be about. [applause]

DICKERSON: Race relations is another issue everyone cares about, and we’re going to switch to that now.

Governor O’Malley, let me ask you a question. The head of the FBI recently said it might be possible that some police forces are not enforcing the law, because they’re worried about being caught on camera. The acting head of the drug enforcement administration said a similar thing.

Where are you on this question? And what would do you if you were president, and two top members of your administration were floating that idea?

O’MALLEY: John, I think the — I think the call of your question is how can we improve both public safety in America and race relations in America, understanding how very intertwined both of those issues are in a very, very difficult and painful way for us as a people.

Look, the truth of the matter is that we should all feel a sense of responsibility as Americans to look for the things that actually work to save and redeem lives, and to do more of them, and to stop doing the things that don’t.

For my part, that’s what I have done in 15 years of experience as a mayor and as a governor. We restored voting rights to 52,000 people. We decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.

I repealed the death penalty. And we also put in place a civilian review board. We reported openly discourtesy, and lethal force and brutality complaints.

This is something that — and I put forward a new agenda for criminal justice reform that is informed by that experience. So as president, I would lead these efforts, and I would do so with more experience and probably the attendance at more grave sites than any of the three of us on this stage when it comes to urban crime, loss of lives.

And the truth is I have learned on a very daily basis that, yes, indeed, black lives matter.

DICKERSON: All right, Governor… [applause]

Senator Sanders, one of your former colleagues, an African- American member of Congress, said to me recently that a young African- American man had asked him where to find hope in life. And he said, “I just don’t know what to tell him about being young and black in America today.”

What would you tell that young African-American man?

SANDERS: Well, this is what I would say, and the Congressman was right. According to the statistics that I’m familiar with, a black male baby born today stands a one in four chance of ending up in the criminal justice system.

Fifty-one percent of high school African-American graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

We have more people in jail today than any other country on earth. We’re spending $80 billion locking people up, disproportionately Latino and African American.

We need, very clearly, major, major reform in a broken criminal justice system. From top to bottom. And that means when police officers out in a community do illegal activity — kill people who are unarmed who should not be killed, they must be held accountable. It means that we end minimum sentencing for those people arrested. It means that we take marijuana out of the federal law as a crime and give states the freedom to go forward with legalizing marijuana.

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, you told some Black Lives Matter activists recently that there’s a difference between rhetoric in activism and what you were trying to do, was — get laws passed that would help what they were pushing for.

But recently, at the University of Missouri, that activism was very, very effective. So would you suggest that kind of activism take place at other universities across the country?

CLINTON: Well, John, I come from the ’60s, a long time ago. There was a lot of activism on campus — Civil Rights activism, antiwar activism, women’s rights activism — and I do appreciate the way young people are standing up and speaking out.

Obviously, I believe that on a college campus, there should be enough respect so people hear each other. But what happened at the university there, what’s happening at other universities, I think reflects the deep sense of, you know, concern, even despair that so many young people, particularly of color, have…

You know, I recently met with a group of mothers who lost their children to either killings by police or random killings in their neighborhoods, and hearing their stories was so incredibly, profoundly heartbreaking. Each one of them, you know, described their child, had a picture. You know, the mother of the young man with his friends in the car who was playing loud music and, you know, some older white man pulled out a gun and shot him because they wouldn’t turn the radio down.

Or a young woman who had been performing at President Obama’s second inauguration coming home, absolutely stellar young woman, hanging out with her friends in a park getting shot by a gang member.

And, of course, I met the mothers of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and so many of them who have lost their children.

So, your original question is the right question. And it’s not just a question for parents and grandparents to answer. It’s really a question for all of us to answer, every single one of our children deserves the chance to live up to his or her god-given potential. And that’s what we need to be doing to the best of our ability in our country.

DICKERSON: All right, over to Kevin Cooney.

COONEY: Senator — Senator Sanders, we’ve heard a lot about this, your offer — you want to offer free tuition to public universities and colleges.

A couple of questions about this. 63 percent of those who enroll graduate.

First question, isn’t this throwing a lot of money away if we’re looking at a third of these people are not going to complete college?

SANDERS: No, it is not throwing — it is an extraordinary investment for this country.

Germany, many other countries do it already. In fact, if you remember, 50, 60 years ago, the University of California, City University of New York were virtually tuition-free.

Here is the story — it’s not just the college graduates should be $50,000 or $100,000 in debt. More importantly, I want kids in Burlington, Vermont, or Baltimore, Maryland, who are in the sixth grade or the eighth grade, who don’t have a lot of money, whose parents — like my parents — may never have gone to college.

Do you know where I’m going, Kevin? I want those kids to know that if they study hard, they do their homework, regardless of the income of their families, they will in fact be able to get a college education because we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. This is revolutionary for education in America. It will give hope to millions of young people.

COONEY: Well, one of the things you want to do is to have the states pay for about a third of this $70 billion plan, correct?

SANDERS: Yes.

COONEY: There are 16 states that are running budget deficits right now. Where are are they expected to come up with this?

SANDERS: Well, I think that they’re be pretty smart, because I think a lot of the states will do the right thing, and I think those states that don’t will pay a heavy penalty.

Bottom line here is, in the year 2015, we should look at a college degree the same way we looked at a high school degree 50 or 60 years ago.

If you want to make it into the middle class — I’m not saying in all cases — we need plumbers, and we need carpenters, and electricians, that’s for sure, and they should get help as well. But bottom line now, is in America, in the year 2015, any person who has the ability and the desire should be able to get an education, college education, regardless of the income of his or her family. And we must substantially lower, as my legislation does, interest rates on student debt.

COONEY: Governor O’Malley, jump in now.

O’MALLEY: Okay, thank you. I have — look, I would agree with much of what Senator Sanders says, Kevin.

I believe that actually affordable college, debt-free college is the goal that we need to attain as a nation. And, unlike my two distinguished colleagues on this stage, I actually made college more affordable and was the only state that went four years in a row without a penny’s increase to college tuition.

I respectfully disagree with Senator Sander’s approach. I believe that the goal should be debt-free college. I believe that our Federal Government needs to do more on pell grants. States need to stop cutting higher education, and we should create a new block grant program that keeps the states’ skin in the game, and we should lower these outrageous interest rates that parents and kids are being charged by their own government. 7 percent and 8 percent to go to college?

I mean, my dad went to college on a G.I. Bill after coming home from Japan, flying 33 missions. My daughters went to college on a mountain of bills.

We were proud of them on graduation day, but we’re going to be proud every month for the rest of our natural lives. It — it doesn’t need to be that way. We can have debt-free college in the United States.

CLINTON: Kevin, if I could just jump in. I — I believe that we should make community college free. We should have debt-free college if you go to a public college or university. You should not have to borrow a dime to pay tuition. I want to use pell grants to help defray the living expenses that often make a difference, whether a young person can stay in school or not.

I disagree with free college for everybody. I don’t think taxpayers should be paying to send Donald Trump’s kids to college. I think it ought to be a compact — families contribute, kids contribute. And together we make it possible for a new generation of young people to refinance their debt and not come out with debt in the future.

COONEY: All right, Nancy Cordes has a question.

CORDES: Back to health care, by popular demand. First to you, Senator Sanders.

You’d prefer to scrap Obamacare and move to a single-payer system, essentially Medicare for all.

You say you want to put the private insurance companies out of business. Is it realistic to think that you can pull the plug on a $1 trillion industry?

SANDERS: It’s not going to happen tomorrow. And it’s probably not going to happen until we have real campaign finance reform and get rid of all these superpacs, and the power of the insurance companies and the drug companies.

But at the end of the day, Nancy, here is the question — in this great country of ours, with so much intelligence and so much capability, why do we remain the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right? Why do we continue to get ripped off by the drug companies who can charge us any prices they want? Why is it that we are spending per capita far, far more than Canada, which is 100 miles away from my door, that guarantees health care to all people?

It will not happen tomorrow. But when millions of people stand up and are prepared to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies, it will happen, and I will lead that effort.

Medicare for all, single-payer system is the way we should go.

CORDES: Secretary Clinton, back in — Secretary Clinton, back in 1994, you said that momentum for a single-payer system would sweep the country. That sounds Sanders-esque. But you don’t feel that way anymore, why not?

CLINTON: No. Revolution never came. I waited and I got the scars to show for it.

We now have this great accomplishment known as the Affordable Care Act, and I don’t think we should have to be defending it among Democrats. We ought to be working to improve it and prevent Republicans from both underming it and even repealing it.

I have looked at — I have looked at the legislation that Senator Sanders has proposed, and basically, he does eliminate the Affordable Care Act, eliminates private insurance, eliminates Medicare, eliminates Medicaid, Tricare, children’s health insurance program — puts it all together in a big program which he then hands over to the states to administer.

And I have to tell you, I would not want — if I lived in Iowa, Terry Branstad administering my health care. I — I think — I think as Democrats we ought to proudly support the Affordable Care Act, improve it, and make it the model that we know it can be.

SANDERS: Well, let me just say something.

DICKERSON: Thirty seconds.

SANDERS: We don’t eliminate Medicare. We expand Medicare to all people. And we will not, under this proposal, have a situation that we have right now with the Affordable Care Act where you have states like South Carolina, and many other Republican states, that because of their right wing political ideology, are denying millions of people the expansion of Medicaid that we passed in the Affordable Care Act. Ultimately, we have got to say as a nation, Secretary Clinton, is health care a right of all people or is it not? I believe it is a right.

O’MALLEY: May I jump in here for 30 seconds on health care?

DICKERSON: I’m sorry, governor. We’ve got to take a break or the machine breaks down. You’re watching the Democratic debate here on CBS. [applause]

[commercial break]

DICKERSON: We begin the final segment of this debate with something none of you saw coming. Something quite unexpected. Soon after your inauguration, you will face a crisis. All presidents do. What crisis you have experienced in your life that suggests you’ve been testd and can face that inevitable challenge? Secretary Clinton, you first.

CLINTON: Well, there are so many, I don’t know where to start. [laughter]

I guess the one I — I would pick is the fact that I was part of a very small group that had to advise the president about whether or not to go after Bin Laden. I spent a lot of time in the situation room as secretary of state and there were many very difficult choices presented to us.

But probably that was the most challenging because there was no certainty attached to it. The intelligence was by no means absolute. We had all kinds of questions that we discussed and, you know, at the end, I recommended to the president that we take the chance to do what we could to find out whether that was bin Laden and to finally bring him to justice.

It was an excruciating experience. I couldn’t talk to anybody about it. In fact, after it happened, the president called my husband — he called all the former presidents and he said to Bill, “Well I assume Hillary has told you about this.” And Bill said, “No, no, she hasn’t.” There was nobody to talk to and it really did give me an insight into the very difficult problems presidents face.

DICKERSON: Governor O’ Malley, what crisis proves that you’re tested?

O’MALLEY: John, I don’t think that there is a crisis at the state or local level that really you can point to and say, therefore, I am prepared for the sort of crises that any man or woman who is commander in chief of our country has to deal with.

But I can tell you this. I can tell you that as a mayor and as a governor, I learned certain disciplines which I believe are directly applicable to that very, very powerful and most important of all jobs in the United States, the president, whose first and primary duty is to protect the people of our country.

You learn that threats always change. You learn to create a security cabinet. You learn to create feedback mechanisms. You learn to constantly evaluate and understand the nature of the threats that you are being faced with.

I have been tried under many different emergencies and I can tell you that in each of those emergencies, whether they were inflicted by drug gangs, whether they were natural emergencies, I knew how to lead and I knew how to govern because I know how to manage people in a crisis and be very clear about the goal of protecting human life.

DICKERSON: Senator Sanders what, experience would you draw on in a crisis?

SANDERS: John, I had the honor of being chairman of the U.S. Senate committee on Veterans’ Affairs for two years. And in that capacity, I met with just an extraordinary group of people from World War II, from korea, vietnam, all of the wars. People came back from Iraq and Afghanistan without legs, without arms.

And I was determined to do everything that I could to make VA health care the best in the world, to expand benefits to the men and women who put their lives on the line to defending.

We brought together legislation supported by the American Legion, the VFW, the DOD, Vietnam Vets, all of the veterans organizations, which was comprehensive. Clearly the best piece of veterans’ legislation brought forth in decades.

I could only get two Republican votes on that. We ended up with 56 votes. We needed 60. So what I had to do then is go back and start working on a bill that wasn’t the bill that I wanted. Sit down with people like John Mccain. Sit down with people like Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the house, and work on a bill.

It wasn’t the bill that I wanted, but yet it turned out to be one of the more significant pieces of veterans’ legislation passed in recent history. So the crisis was I lost what I wanted. But I had to stand up and come back and get the best that we could.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Sanders… [applause]

We’ve ended the evening on crisis, which underscores and reminds us again of what happened last night. Now, let’s move to closing statements.

Governor O’Malley, you’re first.

O’MALLEY: John, thank you, and to all of the people in Iowa, for the role you have performed in this presidential selection process.

If you believe that our country’s problems and the threats that we face in this world can only be met with new thinking, new and fresh approaches, then I ask you to join my campaign.

Go on to martinomalley.com. No hour is too short, no dollar too small. If you — we will not solve our nation’s problems by resorting to the divisive ideologies of our past, or by returning to polarizing figures from our past.

We are at the threshold of a new era of American progress, but it’s going to require that we act as Americans, based on our principles, here at home, making an economy that works for all of us. And, also, acting according to our principles and constructing a new foreign policy of engagement and collaboration, and doing a much better job of identifying threats before they back up into military corners.

There is no challenge too great for the United States to confront, provided we have the ability and the courage to put forward new leadership that can move us to those better and safer and more prosperous days. I need your help. Thank you very, very much. [applause]

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, thank you very much to CBS and everyone here this evening for giving us another chance to appear before you. I’ve heard a lot about me in this debate, and I’m going to keep talking and thinking about all of you because ultimately, I think the president’s job is to do everything possible, everything that she can do to lift up the people of this country. [applause]

Starting with our children and moving forward. I’ve spent my entire life, since I started as a young lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund, trying to figure out how we can even the odds for so many people in America, this great country of ours, who are behind, who don’t have a chance.

And that’s what I will do as your president. I will work my heart out. I need your help. All of you in Iowa, I need you to caucus for me. Please go to hillaryclinton.com and be part of making this country what we know it can and should be. [applause]

DICKERSON: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: John — John, this country today has more income and wealth inequality than any major country on Earth. We have a corrupt campaign finance system dominated by Super PACs. We are the only major country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee healthcare to all people. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty, and we’re the only country in the world — virtually the only country that doesn’t guarantee paid family and medical leave.

That’s not the America that I think we should be. But in order to bring about the changes that we need, we need a political revolution. Millions of people are going to have to stand up, turn off the TV, get involved in the political process and tell the big- money interest that we are taking back our country. Please go to berniesanders.com. Please become part of the political revolution. Thank you. [applause]

[commercial break]

DICKERSON: And the candidates are thanking each other for a good debate. Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley now two debates in the books, with four more to come.



Citation: Presidential Candidates Debates: “Democratic Candidates Debate in Des Monies, Iowa,” November 14, 2015. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=110910.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 November 10, 2015: Fourth Republican Candidates Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
November 10, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 

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

MODERATORS:
Gerard Baker (The Wall Street Journal);
Maria Bartiromo (Fox Business Network); and
Neil Cavuto (Fox Business Network)

CAVUTO: It is 9:00 p.m. on the East Coast, 8:00 p.m. here inside the Milwaukee theater. Welcome to the Republican presidential debate here on the Fox Business Network. I’m Neil Cavuto, alongside my co-moderators, Maria Bartiromo, and the editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, Gerard Baker.

BARTIROMO: Tonight we’re partnering with the Wall Street Journal to ask questions on the economy that voters want answered. We’re also working with Facebook, who tells us that since the first Republican debate, more than 58 million people have joined the political conversation online.

More than 9 million are talking specifically about the economy.

BAKER: The candidates on stage tonight were selected based on their standing in an average of four national polls. Those standings determining their position on the stage. And here they are. At center stage, businessman Donald Trump. [applause]

Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]

CAVUTO: Florida Senator Marco Rubio. [applause]

Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [applause]

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Businesswoman Carly Fiorina. [applause]

Ohio Governor John Kasich. [applause]

And Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. [applause]

BAKER: Tonight’s rules are simple. Up to 90 second for each answer. One minute for each follow-up response. And if a candidate goes over their allotted time, you’ll here this.

CAVUTO: It sounds like a game show but it’s not.

Now I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the elephant in the room, and I’m not talking about your party’s fine symbol. I’m talking about the purpose of tonight’s debate.

The economy and what each of you would do to improve it. No more, no less. We are focused on those issues, and what you have said on those issues in your words and what your opponents have said in their words about your words. That is the agenda tonight. How each of you plans to make America better tomorrow. And so we begin. Candidates, as we gather tonight in this very august theater, just outside and across the country, picketers are gathering as well. They’re demanding an immediate hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Just a few hours ago, near Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed doing the same for all state workers, the first governor to do so.

Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?

TRUMP: I can’t be Neil. And the and the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I’ve come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It’s going to be a tremendous plan. I think it’ll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.

CAVUTO: So do not raise the minimum wage?

TRUMP: I would not do it. [applause]

CAVUTO: Dr. Carson, you have long bemoaned this lackluster recovery. And this Facebook map show Americans share your concern. The green represents how the jobs issue is resonating all across the nation, especially here in the state of Wisconsin.

You suggested one minimum wage does not fit all, and that perhaps we should offer a lower or starter wage for young people. Those protesters outside are looking for $15 and nothing less. Where are you?

CARSON: Well, first of all, delighted to be here. My family’s here, and my little granddaughter, who’s three years old, said she wanted to come to the debate. So this is very cool.

As far as the minimum wage is concerned, people need to be educated on the minimum wage. Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.

It’s particularly a problem in the black community. Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, who are looking for one. You know, that — and that’s because of those high wages. If you lower those wages, that comes down.

You know, I can remember, as a youngster — you know, my first job working in a laboratory as a lab assistant, and multiple other jobs. But I would not have gotten those jobs if someone had to pay me a large amount of money.

But what I did gain from those jobs is a tremendous amount of experience, and how to operate in the world and how to relate to different people, and how to become a responsible individual. And that’s what gave me what I needed to ascend the ladder of opportunity in this country.

That’s what we need to be thinking about. How do we allow people to ascend the ladder of opportunity, rather than how do we give them everything and keep them dependent? [applause]

CAVUTO: So, sir, just to be clear, you would not raise it?

CARSON: I would not raise it. I would not raise it, specifically because I’m interested in making sure that people are able to enter the job market and take advantage of opportunities. [applause]

CAVUTO: Senator Rubio, you called the recent Democratic debate in Las Vegas a night of giveaways, including free health care, free college and a host of other government-paid benefits. Since you aren’t a fan of all they’re giving away, tell us tonight what you would take back.

RUBIO: Well, let me begin by answering both the first question and this one, because they’re related. As I’ve said many times before, my parents were never rich people. My father was a bartender. My mother was a maid. They worked for a living. But they were successful people, because, despite the fact that they weren’t well educated and had those jobs, they made enough money to buy a home in a safe and stable neighborhood, retire with dignity, leave all four of their children better off than themselves.

We call that the American dream, but in fact, it’s a universal dream of a better life that people have all over the world. It is a reminder that every country in the world has rich people.

What makes America special is that we have millions and millions of people that are not rich, that through hard work and perseverance are able to be successful.

The problem is that today people are not successful working as hard as ever because the economy is not providing jobs that pay enough. If I thought that raising the minimum wage was the best way to help people increase their pay, I would be all for it, but it isn’t. In the 20th century, it’s a disaster.

If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine. And that means all this automation that’s replacing jobs and people right now is only going to be accelerated.

Here’s the best way to raise wages. Make America the best place in the world to start a business or expand an existing business, tax reform and regulatory reform, bring our debt under control, fully utilize our energy resources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing, repeal and replace Obamacare, and make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training. For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers. [applause]

If we do that — and if we do this — if we do this, we will be able to increase wages for millions of Americans and we will be able to leave everyone better off without making anyone worse off.

CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator Rubio. [applause]

BARTIROMO: We’ve asked people on Facebook to submit their questions for the candidates. Seth Bell wrote, “We are approaching $20 trillion in national debt. Specifically, what plans do you have to cut federal spending?” Governor Kasich, you have spoken much about your success in balancing the budget under President Clinton. Today the national debt is at record highs and growing unsustainably. Interest will be the fastest-growing part of the federal budget, tripling over the next 10 years. Social Security, the lifeline of millions of American seniors, is rushing toward insolvency. With all of the tax plans presented tonight, estimated to cost anywhere between $2 trillion and $12 trillion over a decade, what specific steps will you take to balance the budget?

KASICH: First of all, let me just say that, in the state of Ohio — and I’m the only acting executive on — on this stage today — we do have a moderate increase in the minimum wage. And I got to tell you, my father carried mail on his back. His father was a coal miner. He died of black lung. He was losing his eyesight. My mother’s mother lived with us. She could barely speak English. I come from a town where if the wind blew the wrong way, people found themselves out of work. An economic theory is fine, but you know what? People need help.

Now, I have a plan that, in fact, would cut taxes, but not $11 trillion or $12 trillion that would put my children further in debt. I have a plan that would not only cut taxes, lower the income tax rate for individuals, lower the tax for businesses so businesses will compete here and not move operations overseas, and also a plan — the only plan of anybody standing on this stage to get us to a balanced budget by the end of a second term.

And, you know, the simple fact of the matter is, we hear a lot of promises in this debate, a lot of promises about these tax cuts or tax schemes sometimes that I call them. Hillary and the Democrats promise everything on the spending side. We’ve got to be responsible about what we propose on the tax side.

Yes, lower taxes, lower spending. My website, JohnKasich.com, will show you exactly how we balance the budget. I balanced the budget in Washington as a chief architect, and I have balanced it in Ohio for one reason. When you balance the budget and you cut taxes, people get work.

And our most important moral purpose as leaders in the political system is to make sure we create an environment for job creation so people can live their dreams and realize their God-given potential. That’s why it’s so important.

And for those at the bottom, we’ve got to do what we can to train them so they can move up. But to just look the other way is not acceptable, because, you know what, as the governor of Ohio I have to deal with real challenges, and we’ve gotten it done in our state, and I will do it for America. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Did you want to name any specific steps, sir?

KASICH: Sure. We would move the Medicare system from a 7 percent growth down to about a 5 percent growth. And I have a whole series of ways to do that. In Ohio, we reduced Medicaid funding for the poor from 10 percent to 2.5 percent, didn’t cut one benefit or didn’t take anybody off the rolls. Why? Because we’re innovators. I’ve been an innovator my entire career. And I really don’t care what special interests or lobbyists have to say. I have a job to do when I take over a public office. Now, we freeze non-defense discretionary for eight years. We also put an increase in defense spending. Our tax cuts balance out. And at the end of the day, we will get to a balanced budget.

And I want everybody here to know, when I was Budget Committee chairman in Washington, I stepped on every toe in that town, and we got to a balanced budget, and we had enormous job growth. And as governor of Ohio, we went from 350,000 lost jobs to a gain of 347,000 jobs.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

KASICH: I’ll do it in Washington. I’ve done it twice; I’ll do it thrice for the United States of America.

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, the International Monetary Fund recently cut its expectations for economic growth. Many economists expect a recession to hit the U.S. within the next year due to the weakening of manufacturing. The next president will have to deal with it. You say tax reform is a powerful lever to spur economic expansion. You’re calling for a 10 percent income tax and a 16 percent business tax. What other elements do you need in this plan to actually create jobs?

CRUZ: Well, Maria, it’s great to be with you. It’s great to be here in Milwaukee. You know, the question you asked really I think is the most important question any of us can have — face, which is, how do we get the economy growing? How do we bring back economic growth?

Because economic growth, it’s foundational to every other challenge we have. As you rightly noted, from 2008 to today, our economy has grown 1.2 percent a year on average. The Obama economy is a disaster, and the IMF is telling us this is a new normal. It doesn’t have to be.

If you look at the history of America, there are three levers that government has had to facilitate economic growth. The first is tax reform. And as you noted, I have rolled out a bold and simple flat tax: 10 percent for every American that would produce booming growth and 4.9 million new jobs within a decade.

The second element is regulatory reform, pulling back the armies of regulators that have descended like locusts on small businesses.

And the third element is sound money. Every time we’ve pursued all three of those — whether in the 1920s with Calvin Coolidge or the 1960s with JFK or the 1980s with Ronald Reagan — the result has been incredible economic growth. We have done it before, and with leadership, we can do it again. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

KASICH: Excuse me.

BARTIROMO: Governor Bush…

KASICH: Yeah, I would like to make a comment.

BUSH: You’ve already made two comments, John. It’s my turn.

BARTIROMO: We have more questions for you, Governor Kasich, coming up. We have more questions for you, Governor Kasich.

BUSH: I got about four minutes in the last debate. I’m going to get my question right now.

KASICH: I appreciate it, Jeb. I’m all of you. But I want at some point to talk about a value-added tax and $11 trillion, $12 trillion tax cuts that will put our kids way deeper in the hole than they have been at this point. So I would like to talk about it at some point, because that’s what leadership is.

BARTIROMO: We will — we will certainly get to that. Governor Bush?

BUSH: Yes.

BARTIROMO: Almost 40 percent of Americans are without a job and are not looking. Many have given up. That’s what the participation rate tells us. You’ve said your policies will drive the economy back to 4 percent growth, which we haven’t seen since the year 2000. What specific regulations would you change? And how will that lead to jobs and growth?

BUSH: First of all, we could get to 4 percent growth. The new normal of 2 percent puts huge demands on government. The reason why we have structural deficits is that more and more people are relying on government and the growth that we don’t have makes — makes the deficit grow.

A 4 percent growth strategy starts with tax reform. And the proposal that I’ve laid out is the one the Wall Street Journal editorial board has said is the most pro-growth of all the proposals out there. We cut the — we eliminate a lot of deductions and cut the rates down. A corporate rate of 20 percent, which puts us 5 percent above — below that of China, and allows us full expensing of investing. It would create an explosion of investment back into this country, creating higher-wage jobs, and so that’s part of it.

On the regulatory side I think we need to repeal every rule that Barack Obama has in terms of work in progress, every one of them. [applause]

And start over. For those that are already in existence, the regulation of the Internet, we have to start over, but we ought to do that.

The clean power act, we ought to repeal that and — and start over on that. The waters of the United States act, which is going to be devastating for agriculture and many industries, we should repeal that. We should repeal the rules because the economic costs of this far exceed the social benefit.

And if we’re serious about being serious about high growth, then we have to recognize that small businesses right now, more of them are closing than — than are — than are being set up.

Hillary Clinton has said that Barack Obama’s policies get an A. Really? One in 10 people right now aren’t working or have given up altogether, as you said. That’s not an A. One in seven people are living in poverty. That’s not an A. One in five children are on food stamps. That is not an A. It may be the best that Hillary Clinton can do, but it’s not the best America can do. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

BAKER: Ms. Fiorina, while you’ve all pointed out how weak the current recovery has been and how disappointing by any historical standards, in the general election, the Democrats will inevitably ask you and voters to compare the recent president’s jobs performance.

Now, in seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs a month. Under President Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 jobs a month. Under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you’ll probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?

FIORINA: Well, first of all, I must say as I think about that question, I think about a woman I met the other day. I would guess she was 40 years old. She had several children. And she said to me, you know, Carly, I go to bed every night afraid for my children’s future. And that really struck me. This is America. A mother is going to bed afraid for her children’s future.

And the reason she’s afraid for her children’s future is because we’ve had problems for a long time. Yes, problems have gotten much worse under Democrats. But the truth is, this government has been growing bigger and bigger, more corrupt, less effective, crushing the engine of economic growth for a very long time. This isn’t about just replacing a Democrat with a Republican now. It’s about actually challenging the status quo of big government.

Big government has created a big business called politics. And there are lots of people invested in the status quo of that big business called politics. Specifically, we need actually to do five things to really get this economy going again. We need to go to zero-based budgeting so we know where every dollar is being spent, we can challenge any dollar, cut any dollar, move any dollar. [applause]

We need to actually reform the tax code. Go to a three-page tax code. Yes, there are plans that would reform our tax code to three pages. In addition to rolling back what President Obama has done, we need to do a top-to-bottom review of every single regulation on the books. That hasn’t been done in 50 years. We need to pass the REINS Act so Congress is in charge of regulation, not nameless, faceless bureaucrats accountable to no one. We’ve become a nation of rules, not a nation of laws.

And finally we actually, yes, have to hold government officials accountable for their performance. All this has to be done, and the citizens of this nation must help a President Fiorina get it done. We must take our government back. [applause]

BAKER: Thank you. Thank you. Senator Paul, income inequality has been rising in the United States. Fifty years ago, for example, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?

PAUL: Absolutely. And I think that we ought to look where income inequality seems to be the worst. It seems to be worst in cities run by Democrats, governors of… [applause]

States run by Democrats and countries currently run by Democrats. So the thing is, let’s look for root causes.

But I would also say — lay some blame at the — the feet of the Federal Reserve. I think the Federal Reserve has made this problem worse. By artificially keeping interest rates below the market rate, average ordinary citizens have a tough time earning interest, have a tough time making money. They’re actually talking now about negative interest.

The money as it’s created through quantitative easing or other means tends to start out in the big banks in New York. And because we’re now paying interest for them to keep the money there, much of that money has not filtered out into the economy. So what we’re finding is there is increasing income disparity and income inequality.

We also find that as the Federal Reserve destroys the value of the currency, what you’re finding is that, if you’re poor, if you make $20,000 a year and you have three or four kids, and you’re trying to get by, as your prices rise or as the value of the dollar shrinks, these are the people that are hurt the worst.

So really we need to reexamine whether we not — we want a Federal Reserve that’s involved so much in determining interest rates. We also need to look at root causes as to what caused the housing boom and the housing collapse.

But the bottom line is, if you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor. [applause]

BAKER: Thank you, Senator.

CAVUTO: All right. We’re only just getting started. Coming up, your taxes. Stick around. You’re watching FOX Business

[commercial break]

CAVUTO: Welcome back to the Milwaukee Theater and the Republican presidential debate. Let’s get right back to our questions.

Dr. Carson, to you. You recently railed against the double- standard in the media, sir, that seems obsessed with inconsistencies and potential exaggerations in your life story, but looked the other way when it came to then-Senator Barack Obama’s. Still, as a candidate whose brand has always been trust, are you worried your campaign — which you’ve always said, sir, is bigger than you — is now being hurt by you?

CARSON: Well, first of all, thank you not asking me what I said in the 10th grade. I appreciate that. [laughter and applause]

CAVUTO: I’ll just forget that follow-up there. [laughter]

CARSON: The fact of the matter is, you know, what — we should vet all candidates.

I have no problem with being vetted. What I do have a problem with is being lied about and then putting that out there as truth. [applause]

And I don’t even mind that so much, if they do it about — with everybody, like people on the other side. But, you know, when I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton, who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that no, this was a terrorist attack, and then tells everybody else that it was a video.

Where I came from, they call that a lie. And…[cheering and applause]

I think that’s very different from, you know, somebody misinterpreting, when I said that I was offered a scholarship to West Point, that is the words that they used. But, I’ve had many people come and say the same thing to me.

That is what people do in those situations. We have to start treating people the same, and finding out what people really think and what they’re made of. People who know me know that I’m an honest person. [applause]

CAVUTO: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

BARTIROMO: Mr. Trump, a federal appeals court just dealt a blow to the Obama administration’s plan to prevent the deportation of 5 million people living in this country illegally. The White House is appealing to the Supreme Court.

At the heart of this issue is the effect that illegal immigrants are having on our economy, what will you do about it?

TRUMP: I was so happy yesterday when I saw that decision come down. That was an unbelievable decision. [applause]

And we don’t have enough of those decisions coming down. He of the executive order, because nobody wants to listen to him, including the Democrats, so he just goes around signing executive orders. That was a great day. And, frankly, we have to stop illegal immigration. It’s hurting us economically. It’s hurting us from every standpoint. It’s causing tremendous difficulty with respect to drugs and what that does to many of our inner cities in particular.

And it really is — was such an unbelievable moment because the courts have not been ruling in our favor. And it was a 2-1 decision. And it was a terrific thing that happened.

And I will tell you, we are a country of laws. We need borders. We will have a wall. The wall will be built. The wall will be successful. And if you think walls don’t work, all you have to do is ask Israel. The wall works, believe me. Properly done. Believe me. [cheering and applause]

BARTIROMO: Can we just send 5 million people back with no effect on economy?

TRUMP: You are going to have to bring people — you are going to have to send people out. Look, we’re a country…

BARTIROMO: So what will you do?

TRUMP: Maria, we’re a country of laws. We either have a country or we don’t have a country. We are a country of laws. Going to have to go out and they will come back but they are going to have to go out and hopefully they get back.

But we have no choice if we’re going to run our country properly and if we’re going to be a country. [cheering and applause]

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

KASICH: Maria, can we comment on that?

BAKER: Senator Rubio…

KASICH: Can we comment on that?

BAKER: Yes, one quick comment, yes.

KASICH: Well, look, in 1986 Ronald Reagan basically said the people who were here, if they were law-abiding, could stay. But, what didn’t happen is we didn’t build the walls effectively and we didn’t control the border. We need to. We need to control our border just like people have to control who goes in and out of their house.

But if people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out of Mexico — to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children.

So, you know what the answer really is? If they have been law- abiding, they pay a penalty. They get to stay. We protect the wall. Anybody else comes over, they go back.

But for the 11 million people, come on, folks. We all know you can’t pick them up and ship them across, back across the border. It’s a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense. [applause]

TRUMP: All I can say is, you’re lucky in Ohio that you struck oil. That is for one thing. [laughter]

Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. “I like Ike,” right? The expression. “I like Ike.” Moved a 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border. They came back.

Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn’t like it. Moved them way south. They never came back. [laughter]

Dwight Eisenhower. You don’t get nicer. You don’t get friendlier. They moved a 1.5 million out. We have no choice. We have no choice.

[crosstalk]

BAKER: Governor Bush…

KASICH: Jerry, Gerald, it was an attack.

[crosstalk]

UNKNOWN: If you’re not going to have my back, I’m going to have my back.

UNKNOWN: A couple things here. First of all…

BAKER: Governor — Governor, you…You should let Jeb speak.

UNKNOWN: We have grown — we have grown…

TRUMP: No, it’s unfair.

[crosstalk]

KASICH: In the state of Ohio, the state of Ohio, we have grown 347,000 jobs. Our unemployment is half of what it was. Our fracking industry, energy industry may have contributed 20,000, but if Mr. Trump understood that the real jobs come in the downstream, not in the upstream, but in the downstream. And that’s where we’re going to get our jobs.

But Ohio is diversified. And little false little things, sir, they don’t really work when it comes to the truth. So the fact is, all I’m suggesting, we can’t ship 11 million people out of this country. Children would be terrified, and it will not work.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: … built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don’t have to hear from this man, believe me. I don’t have to hear from him.

BAKER: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, you yourself — you yourself said let Governor Bush speak. Governor Bush?

BUSH: Thank you, Donald, for allowing me to speak at the debate. That’s really nice of you. Really appreciate that. [applause]

What a generous man you are. Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not — not possible. And it’s not embracing American values. And it would tear communities apart. And it would send a signal that we’re not the kind of country that I know America is.

And even having this conversation sends a powerful signal — they’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this. That’s the problem with this. We have to win the presidency. And the way you win the presidency is to have practical plans. Lay them out there. What we need to do is allow people to earn legal status where they pay a fine, where they work, where they don’t commit crimes, where they learn English, and over an extended period of time, they earn legal status. That’s the path — a proper path… [applause]

[crosstalk]

BAKER: Senator Rubio? Senator…

TRUMP: We have millions of people right now on line trying to come into this country. Very, very unfair to the people that want to come into our country legally. They’ve gone through the process. They’re on line. They’re waiting. Very, very unfair to them. That I can tell you. [applause]

BAKER: Senator Rubio, Senator Rubio, let me — let me take you to a question that I think gets to the root of a lot of the anxiety that people have in this country. The economy is undergoing a transformation through information technology. Americans are anxious that the new economy isn’t producing higher-paying jobs. Many are concerned that the new wealth seems to be going mainly to innovators and investors.

Meanwhile, with factories run by robots and shopping done increasingly on smartphones, many traditional jobs are just going away. How do you reassure American workers that their jobs are not being steadily replaced by machines?

RUBIO: Well, you know, that’s an excellent question, because what we are going through in this country is not simply an economic downturn. We are living through a massive economic transformation. I mean, this economy is nothing like what it was like five years ago, not to mention 15 or 20 years ago.

And it isn’t just a different economy. It’s changing faster than ever. You know, it took the telephone 75 years to reach 100 million users. It took Candy Crush one year to reach some 100 million users. [laughter]

So the world is changing faster than ever, and it is disruptive. Number one, we are in a global competition now, and several of the candidates have said that. There are now dozens of developed economies on this planet that we have to compete with. And we lose that competition because we have the highest business tax rate in the industrialized world, because we have regulations that continue to grow by the billions every single week, because we have a crazy health care law that discourages companies from hiring people, but because we’re not fully utilizing our energy resources, that if we did, it would bring back all kinds of growth, especially in manufacturing, and because we have an outdated higher education system.

Our higher education system is completely outdated. It is too expensive, too hard to access, and it doesn’t teach 21st century skills. If we do what needs to be done — tax reform, regulatory reform, fully utilize our energy resources, repeal and replace Obamacare, and modernize higher education, then we can grasp the potential and the promise of this new economy. And we won’t just save the American dream. We will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And then truly this new century can be a new American century. [applause]

BAKER: Thank you. Senator Cruz — Senator Cruz, entitlements. You’ve argued for raising the retirement age and reducing benefits for future retirees, but reducing any sort of benefits for the elderly has always been notoriously hard to do politically. When Speaker Paul Ryan proposed replacing traditional Medicare with federally funded private plans a few years ago, a liberal group responded with a commercial that featured a granny being pushed off a cliff.

What’s going to be different this time?

CRUZ: Well, my Mom is here, so I don’t think we should be pushing any grannies off cliffs. [laughter]

And, you miss-stated what I’ve said on entitlement reform. What I’ve said is for seniors we should make no changes whatsoever, for younger workers we should gradually raise the retirement age, we should have benefits grow more slowly, and we should allow them to keep a portion of their taxes in a personal account that they control, and can pass on to their kids… [applause]

BAKER: …I said for future retirees was your statement… [applause]

CRUZ: I want to go back to the discussion we had a minute ago because, you know, what was said was right. The democrats are laughing — because if republicans join democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose. [applause]

And, you know, I understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn’t often see it as an economic issue. But, I can tell you for millions — of Americans at home watching this, it is a very personal economic issue. And, I will say the politics of it will be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande.

[audience reaction]

Or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press.

[audience reaction] [applause and cheering]

Then, we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation. And, I will say for those of us who believe people ‘ought to come to this country legally, and we should enforce the law, we’re tired of being told it’s anti-immigrant. It’s offensive. [applause]

I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba… [bell ringing]…to seek the American dream. And, we can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law — and I would note, try going illegally to another country. Try going to China, or Japan. Try going to Mexico. See what they do. Every sovereign nation secures its borders, and it is not compassionate to say we’re not going to enforce the laws… [bell ringing]…And we’re going to drive down the wages for millions of hardworking men and women. That is abandoning the working… [applause]

BARTIROMO: We go back to Facebook. Dewayne Wesley Cato asks on Facebook, how do we get rid of regulations choking our businesses? Ms. Fiorina?

Specifically, under the president’s Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer health insurance, or be fined. Many are opting to pay the fine. Others are cutting back employee hours to duck the law altogether. What specific ways will you alleviate the pressure on small business?

FIORINA: Well, first Obamacare has to be repealed because it’s failing… [applause]

…it’s failing the very people it was intended to help, but, also, it is croney-capitalism at its worst. Who helped write this bill? Drug companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, every single one of those kinds of companies are bulking up to deal with big government. See, that’s what happens. As government gets bigger, and bigger — and it has been for 50 years under republicans and democrats alike — and business have to bulk up to deal with big government.

So, we have to repeal it. It’s tens of thousands of pages long, no one can possible understand it except the big companies, the lawyers, the accountants, the lobbyists that they hire to protect their interests. Then, we have to give back to states the responsibility to manage a high risk pool. We need to try the one thing in health insurance we’ve never tried. Health insurance has always been a cozy, little game between regulators and health insurance companies.

We need to try the free market. The free market. Where people actually have to compete. [applause]

And, we ‘ought to have the government ensure that you must — and I don’t use that term often, that government ‘ought to do something, but every healthcare provider ‘ought to publish its costs, its prices, its outcomes, because as patients we don’t know what we’re buying. [applause] Now, let me just say — let me just say, I know more about innovation and entrepreneurship than anyone on this panel because I have led innovative businesses in the most highly competitive industry in the world for decades. The truth is the secret sauce of America is innovation, and entrepreneurship, it is why we must cut our government down to size, and hold it accountable. It’s why we have to take our government back, because innovation and entrepreneurship is crushed by the crushing load of a 73,000 page tax code. It is crushed… [bell ringing]

…by regulatory thicket that is so vast we don’t even know what’s in it anymore. It is crushed as well by government bureaucrats who don’t do their jobs very well, and who are not held accountable, which is why I’ve said we got to take our government back, and to do that, we have to know where every dollar being spent, and be able to move any dollar. We have to hack through this regulatory thicket, repeal so much, but, also, know what’s in that regulatory thicket — we don’t even know what regulations have been passed.

Third, we need to build a meritocracy — Scott Walker, by the way, is trying now to do in Wisconsin… [bell ringing]…Finally, we need to get to a three page tax code, and, yes, that plan exists.

BARTIROMO: Just to be clear, you want to repeal Obamacare… [applause]..but, what’s the alternative?

FIORINA: Sorry, I can’t hear you.

BARTIROMO: Just to be clear, you say you would repeal Obamacare…

FIORINA: …Absolutely…

BARTIROMO: …But, what is the alternative…

FIORINA: …You need to give…

BARTIROMO: …and how does that help small business…

FIORINA: The alternative is to allow states to manage high risk pools for those who really need help. Look, I’m a cancer survivor, OK? I understand that you cannot have someone who’s battled cancer just become known as a pre-existing condition. I understand that you cannot allow families to go bankrupt if they truly need help. But, I also understand that Obamacare isn’t helping anyone.

We’re throwing more, and more people into Medicaid, and fewer, and fewer doctors are taking those payments.

The point is Obamacare is crushing small businesses, it is not helping the families it was intended to help. So, let us allow states to manage high risk pools. Let us try the one thing in health insurance we’ve never tried, the free market. Let us ensure that as patients, and customers…

BARTIROMO: …Thank you…

FIORINA: …that we have information to shop wisely for our health care.

CAVUTO: Alright, thank you. We’re going to take a break here. Coming up, a big issue many Americans are facing, taxes. The Republican Presidential Debate continues now, live, from Milwaukee.

[commercial break]

CAVUTO: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate live from Milwaukee. Let’s get back to the questions. And we want to touch on obviously one of the biggest of this issue in this year, taxes. And this will go to several of you.

One of the biggest economic concerns of course in the country are taxes. Facebook data certainly backs that up. Once again the green on this map that we’re going to see here shows how the conversation around taxes is resonating across the nation, especially here in Wisconsin.

First off, Dr. Carson, to you. You say you are in favor of a tax system, I guess akin to tithing, sir, with a flat tax rate of up to 15 percent because you said, if everybody pays this, I think God is a pretty fair guy, so tithing is a pretty fair process.

But Donald Trump says that is not fair. That wealthier taxpayers should pay a higher rate because it’s a fair thing to do. So whose plan would God endorse then, Doctor? [laughter]

Yours or Mr. Trump’s?

CARSON: Well, you know, when I say tithing, I’m talking about the concept of proportionality.

CAVUTO: Right.

CARSON: Everybody should pay the same proportion of what they make. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. You get same rights and privileges.

I don’t see how anything gets a whole lot fairer than that. But you also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes because that is the thing that tilts it in one direction or another. And you have to set the rate at an appropriate level.

Now I will say that, there are a lot of people who say, if you get rid of the deductions, you ruin the American dream because, you know, home mortgage deduction. But the fact of the matter is, people had homes before 1913 when we introduced the federal income tax, and later after that started deductions.

And they say there will be no more charitable giving. We had churches before that and charitable organizations before that. The fact of the matter is, I believe if you put more money in people’s pockets that they will actually be more generous rather than less generous. And it’s… [applause] … the money that they earned.

And, the other thing is, I do care about the poor people. And in the system that we’re putting together, there will be a rebate for people at the poverty level. But I also want to emphasize the fact that as we get the economy moving, and I hope I get a question about how do we get the economy moving, there will be a lot more opportunities for poor people not to be poor people because this is America.

This is the land of dreams. And our policies should be aimed at allowing people to realize that dream. [applause]

CAVUTO: Thank you very much.

Senator Paul, you said you want to blow up the tax code and start over with an across-the-board 14.5 percent fair and flat tax. You happily offered that it is not revenue neutral and that’s the idea. You want to choke off the amount of money coming into Washington.

But don’t you risk, sir, creating a near-term budget crisis just as your presidency would be beginning?

PAUL: Well, it’s a great question, Neil, and thanks for including me in the tax debate.

I think what’s important about the tax debate is, is that we have to ask the question, where is money best spent, in the private sector or in the government sector? I want a government really, really small, so small you can barely see it. So I want lower taxes and much more money in the private sector. [cheering and applause]

My tax plan, however, is the only tax plan among any of the candidates on the stage that is part of a balanced budget plan. I put forward three plans that actually balance the budget over a five-year period.

Each of these plans have details on exactly where we would cut. The question came up earlier, where would you cut? Nobody likes to say where they would cut. I’ve put pencil to paper and done three budgets that actually balance.

I’m also in favor of a plan called the penny plan where we’d just cut 1 percent across the board and the budget actually balances in less than five years. So I think what is extraordinary about my tax plan is it is in the context of balancing the budget.

What is also extraordinary about my tax plan is it gets rid of the payroll tax. Democrats demagogue this issue to death, and when they do they say, oh, a millionaire would get a bigger tax cut than someone making $10,000.

That’s proportionality, as Ben is trying to explain to folks. But the thing is, is if we get rid of the payroll tax, everybody is going to get a tax cut. And this is something that I think the public at large will support and could win an election. [applause]

CAVUTO: There are no deductions on your — under your plan?

PAUL: Ours is 14.5 percent for corporations, 14.5 percent for individuals. No payroll tax for the employee. The business tax pays for social security, and there would be two remaining deductions — home mortgage and charity.

CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator.

PAUL: Thank you. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, there isn’t anyone in this audience or watching at home tonight who would not like to pay less in taxes. Most people just want a fair shake, and they don’t want their money to be wasted.

But explain how your plan works. How can you cut taxes as much as you propose without running up debt and deficits?

CRUZ: Well, sure, you put your finger on what the problem is. The current system isn’t fair. Washington is fundamentally corrupt. There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible — and — and not a one of them is as good. [laughter]

Every one of them reflects a carve-out or a subsidy, and it’s all about empowering the Washington cartel. My simple Flat Tax says that, for a family of four, for the first $36,000 you earn, you pay no taxes whatsoever. No income taxes, no payroll taxes, no nothing.

Above that, every American pays 10 percent across the board — a flat, fair tax. Which means that no longer do you have hedge-fund billionaires paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries.

On the business side, I’ve got a business flat tax of 16 percent — again, that applies across the board. Right now, with our corporate income tax, giant corporations with armies of accountants regularly are paying little to no taxes while small businesses are getting hammered.

This is fair and across-the-board. Now, you ask, how do the numbers add up? I would encourage folks, if you go to our website, tedcruz.org, we have the specific numbers on the website.

This plan eliminates the payroll tax, eliminates the death tax, eliminates the corporate income tax, and it abolishes the IRS. [applause]

And the effect of that is incredible economic growth. It means every income group will see double-digit increases, from the very poorest to the very weakest, of at least 14 percent.

So if you’re a single mom, if you’re making $40,000 a year, what that means is an extra about $5,000 in your pocket to provide for your kids, to make ends meet. It has a powerful, powerful effect.

And there’s one other really powerful feature of my plan, which is that it’s border-adjustable. Which means, if you’re an exporter — if you’re a farmer, if you’re a rancher, if you’re a manufacturer, you don’t pay the businesses flat tax.

Exports are free of that tax, but all imports pay that 16 percent business flat tax, which means this tax plan would cause jobs to boom, and it would let America compete with China and the world on a level playing field. [applause]

BARTIROMO: But you haven’t told us how to pay for it.

CRUZ: Well, the numbers the Tax Foundation had put out is that the static cost of the plan is $3.6 trillion over 10 years, but the dynamic cost of the plan, which — which is the cost that factors in growth, is about $768 billion.

It is less than a trillion. It costs less than virtually every other plan people have put up here, and yet it produces more growth and it’s one of the very few plans that abolishes the IRS.

But on top of that, today, we rolled out a spending plan. $500 billion in specific cuts — five major agencies that I would eliminate. The IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and HUD — and then 25 specific programs.

Again, that’s on our website at tedcruz.org. You want to look at specificity? It’s easy for everyone to say, “cut spending”. It’s much harder and riskier to put out, chapter and verse, specifically the programs you would cut to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator. [applause]

Governor Bush, Republican primary voters say tax reform should be a priority for Congress and the administration. But, Governor Bush, how important is tax reform in your domestic policy agenda? Will you guarantee it in the first year of your presidency?

BUSH: I’m gonna fight as hard as I can to make sure that we shift power away from Washington, simplify the tax code, to spur economic activity in this country. Of course it’s the highest priority.

If we don’t do that, we’re stuck with the “new normal” of 2 percent growth. Hillary Clinton says, basically, we just gotta get used to it. Two percent growth means declining income for the middle class. It means more than 6 million people are stuck in poverty than the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated.

It means — it means more demands on government — growing the economy is the first job, if we’re going to be serious about dealing with the deficit and debt. And more importantly, people are really struggling right now.

In this economy, the disposable income of the great middle is down 2,300 bucks. So yeah, we’ve created jobs, your — argue (ph) — brought that up early, and it was a good question. Jobs are being created, but they’re lower-income jobs than the jobs that were lost.

And the net effect of this is we need to jump-start the economy. I think of Jonathan (ph) and Reagan Love (ph), who are supporters of mine. Jonathan has been deployed by the National Guard, he is — he’s in Oklahoma.

Reagan Love — by the way, pretty great name, I think — is a teacher. When — if they had this tax cut, what they told me was that that $2,300 of money in their pocket — they would go back to South Carolina and start a business.

Imagine what it would be like, instead of having more businesses closed than started, we had it the exact opposite. We would grow our economy, and the government would get the revenue necessary to make things — make things better.

Hillary Clinton’s approach to this is more top-down, more regulation, more taxes, more government, and it will destroy our economy. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor.

BAKER: Senator Rubio. Can I just come to Senator Rubio? We’re coming to you, Mr. Trump, in one second. I — I promise.

TRUMP: Yes.

BAKER: Senator Rubio, your tax plan includes a large expansion of child tax credits to raise off (ph) the tax incomes for low-income parents. A similar tax credit that you previously proposed in the Senate was estimated to cost as much as $170 billion a year, according to the Tax Foundation.

Isn’t — isn’t there a risk you’re just adding another expensive entitle program to an already overburdened federal budget?

RUBIO: The most important job I’m ever going to have, the most important job anyone in this room will ever have, is the job of being a parent. Not the job of being president, or the job of being a senator, or the job of being a congressman.

The most important job any of us will ever do is the job of being a president (sic), because the most important institution in society is the family. If the family breaks down, society breaks down.

You can’t have a strong nation without strong values, and no one is born with strong values. They have to be taught to you in strong families and reinforced in you in strong communities.

And so when we set out to do tax reform, we endeavor to have a pro-family tax code, and we endeavor to do it because we know how difficult it is for families in the 21st century to afford the cost of living.

It is expensive to raise children in the 21st century, and families that are raising children are raising the future taxpayers of the United States, and everything costs more. In 35 out of 50 states, child care costs more than college.

There are millions of people watching this broadcast tonight that understand exactly what I’m talking about. They don’t know how they’re going to make that payment every month, and if they can’t make it, they can’t work, because someone needs to watch their kids during the day. They don’t know how they’re going to save for their kids’ future, to go to college.

And so, yes, I have a child tax credit increase, and I’m proud of it. I am proud that I have a pro-family tax code, because the pro- family tax plan I have will strengthen the most important institution in the — in the country, the family.

PAUL: Neil, there’s a point I’d like to make here… [applause] ….Neil, a point that I’d like to make about the tax credits.

We have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t conservative. Is it fiscally conservative to have a trillion-dollar expenditure? We’re not talking about giving people back their tax money. He’s talking about giving people money they didn’t pay. It’s a welfare transfer payment.

So here’s what we have. Is it conservative to have $1 trillion in transfer payments — a new welfare program that’s a refundable tax credit? Add that to Marco’s plan for $1 trillion in new military spending, and you get something that looks, to me, not very conservative. Thank you. [applause]

[crosstalk]

BAKER: Governor Kasich? Let me come to Governor Kasich.

TRUMP: No, I’m sorry. No, excuse me. I was there.

BAKER: Governor Kasich.

[crosstalk]

BAKER: Very quickly, Senator.

RUBIO: Now I get my 60 seconds to respond. He’s talking about my tax plan.

BAKER: Please.

RUBIO: So let me begin with this. I actually believe — first of all, this is their money. They do pay. It is refundable, not just against the taxes they pay to the government, but also the — on their federal income tax, it’s refundable against the payroll tax.

Everyone pays payroll tax. This is their money. This is not our money. And here’s what I don’t understand — if you invest that money in a piece of equipment, if you invest that money in a business, you get to write it off your taxes.

But if you invest it in your children, in the future of America and strengthening your family, we’re not going to recognize that in our tax code? The family is the most important institution in society. And, yes…

PAUL: Nevertheless, it’s not very conservative, Marco.

RUBIO: … I do want to rebuild the American military.

PAUL: How is it conservative?

RUBIO: I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I’m not. I believe the world is a stronger and a better place, when the United States is the strongest military power in the world.

PAUL: Yeah, but, Marco! Marco! How is it conservative, how is it conservative to add a trillion-dollar expenditure for the federal government that you’re not paying for?

RUBIO: Because…

PAUL: How is it conservative?

RUBIO: …are you talking about the military, Rand?

PAUL: How is it conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures? You can not be a conservative if you’re going to keep promoting new programs that you’re not going to pay for. [applause]

RUBIO: We can’t even have an economy if we’re not safe. There are radical jihadist in the Middle East beheading people and crucifying Christians. A radical Shia cleric in Iran trying to get a nuclear weapon, the Chinese taking over the South China Sea… [applause] …Yes, I believe the world is a safer — no, no, I don’t believe, I know that the world is a safer place when America is the strongest military power in the world. [cheering and applause]

PAUL: No. I don’t think we’re any safer — I do not think we are any safer from bankruptcy court. As we go further, and further into debt, we become less, and less safe. This is the most important thing we’re going to talk about tonight. Can you be a conservative, and be liberal on military spending? Can you be for unlimited military spending, and say, Oh, I’m going to make the country safe? No, we need a safe country, but, you know, we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined?

I want a strong national defense, but I don’t want us to be bankrupt. [bell ringing]

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: …Middle ground that brings both of these together…

FIORINA: …Yes, the middle ground is this…

CRUZ: …Exactly right, that we have to defend this nation. You think defending this nation is expensive, try not defending it. That’s a lot more expensive. [applause and cheering]

But, you can do that, and pay for it. You can do that, and also be fiscally responsible. You know, I mention that the 25 programs that I put today, that I would eliminate them. Among them are corporate welfare, like sugar subsidies. Let’s take that as an example. Sugar subsidies. Sugar farmers farm under… [bell ringing] …under roughly 0.2% of the farmland in America, and yet they give 40% of the lobbying money. That sort of corporate welfare is why we’re bankrupting our kids, and grandkids. I would end those subsidies to pay for defending this nation…

BAKER: …Gentleman, we need to move on…

FIORINA: …This is why — this is why we must combine, actually, zero-based budgeting with tax reform because unless we can examine, and cut, and move, every single dollar of discretionary spending in the federal government, we cannot reform taxes and reduce spending at the same time.

Ask yourself this question, how is it possible that the federal government gets more money each and every year, which the federal government has been doing, receiving more money every year for 50 years under republicans and democrats alike, and yet, never has enough money to do the important things?

The answer? All the money’s always spoken for. All the money’s spoken for. So, we have to go to zero-based budgeting, which is a simple idea — by the way, there’s been a bill for zeros-based (ph) budgeting… [bell ringing] …It exists, it can be voted on. Every dollar must be examined. Any dollar can be cut. Any dollar can be cut, any dollar can be moved. We have to go to a three page tax code. You lower every rate, you close every loophole, why? Because the government uses the tax code to decide winners, and losers. You have to strip the corruption out of the tax code to pay for it. You have to know where every single dollar is being spent…

BAKER: …We need to move…

FIORINA: …Cut where you need to, and invest where you need to…

BAKER: …We need too…

FIORINA: …The two go hand in hand…

BAKER: …We do need to move on. Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: Please, if I could just…

BAKER: …Very quick.

TRUMP: We have to make our military bigger, better, stronger than ever before so that nobody messes with us, and a long run, it’s going to save us. I agree with Marco, I agree with Ted, we have no choice. And, I can tell you this with certainty. We all have a different tax plan. Some I don’t totally agree with.

One thing we understand, each one of those tax plans is better than the mess that we have right now. [applause]

BAKER: Let’s talk about — No, no, Governor, I really must move on. I really want to move on.

Mr. Trump, let’s talk about the international economy…

KASICH: …Mr. Baker, everybody got to talk about taxes…

BAKER: …We really need to move on…

KASICH: …I think you were coming to me and then…

BAKER: …No, governor, I promise I will come to you…

KASICH: …Look, I hate to crash the party to you, Mr. Baker, but, you know, what’s fair…

BAKER: …Listen…

KASICH: …Yes, sir…

BAKER: …Mr. Trump, can I ask you about…

TRUMP: …Yes…

BAKER: …the U.S. just concluded an international trade agreement with 11 countries in the Pacific. You’ve said that you’d rather have no deal…

TRUMP: …Yeah…

BAKER: …than sign the one that’s on the table…

TRUMP: …It’s a horrible deal…

BAKER: …Most economists — most economists say that trade is boosted growth, and every single post war president has supported the expansion of international trade, including the last three republican presidents. Why would you reverse more than 50 years of U.S. trade policy?

TRUMP: The TPP is horrible deal. It is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. It’s 5,600 pages long. So complex that nobodies read it. It’s like Obamacare; nobody ever read it. They passed it; nobody read it. And look at mess we have right now. And it will be repealed.

But this is one of the worst trade deals. And I would, yes, rather not have it. With all of these countries, and all of the bad ones getting advantage and taking advantage of what the good ones would normally get, I’d rather make individual deals with individual countries. We will do much better. We lose a fortune on trade. The United States loses with everybody. We’re losing now over $500 billion in terms of imbalance with China, $75 billion a year imbalance with Japan. By the way, Mexico, $50 billion a year imbalance.

So I must say, Gerard, I just think it’s a terrible deal. I love trade. I’m a free trader, 100 percent. But we need smart people making the deals, and we don’t have smart people making the deals.

BAKER: The — the deal, as you say, the terms of the deal were published — were published just last week, the details, 5,000 pages of it, and 80 percent of U.S. trade with countries in the Pacific, these countries, these 11 countries, is actually tariff-free, and these — the trade deal only affects the other 20 percent. Which — are there particular parts of the deal that you think were badly negotiated?

TRUMP: Yes. Well, the currency manipulation they don’t discuss in the agreement, which is a disaster. If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States — China in particular, because they’re so good. It’s the number-one abuser of this country. And if you look at the way they take advantage, it’s through currency manipulation. It’s not even discussed in the almost 6,000-page agreement. It’s not even discussed.

BAKER: There was a separate — separate…

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: And as you understand, I mean, you understand very well from the Wall Street Journal, currency manipulation is the single great weapon people have. They don’t even discuss it in this agreement.

So I say, it’s a very bad deal, should not be approved. If it is approved, it will just be more bad trade deals, more loss of jobs for our country. We are losing jobs like nobody’s ever lost jobs before. I want to bring jobs back into this country.

PAUL: Hey, Gerard, you know, we might want to point out China is not part of this deal.

UNKNOWN: True. It’s true.

BARTIROMO: That’s right. That’s right.

PAUL: Before we get a little bit off-kilter here…

BAKER: But isn’t that — isn’t that part of the problem? When I say, Senator, that if — if this deal is not ratified by — by the U.S. — by the Senate, then it would actually give China an opportunity to grow its economic leadership, which it’s been seeking to do? And if the U.S. is unable to take part in this trade deal with these countries in Asia, China will take the lead?

PAUL: There is an argument that China doesn’t like the deal, because in us doing the deal, we’ll be trading with their competitors. You’re exactly right. But I think we’ve sort of missed the point a little bit here.

There is an important point, though, about how we discuss these trade treaties that I do agree with Mr. Trump on. We should negotiate from a position of strength. And we also should negotiate using the full force and the constitutional power that was given to us. I think it’s a mistake that we give up power to the presidency on these trade deals. We give up the power to filibuster, and I’m kind of fond of that power. [laughter]

We give up the power to amend. And I think, really, one of the big problems we have in our country is, over the last century, really, so much power has gravitated to the executive branch. Really, Congress is kind of a bystander. We don’t write the rules. We don’t make the laws. The executive branch does. So even in trade — and I am for trade — I think we should be careful about giving so much power to the presidency. [applause]

BAKER: Thank you. Thanks, Senator.

BARTIROMO: Coming up, the biggest threats facing the next commander-in-chief. You’re watching the Republican presidential debate, live tonight from Milwaukee. We’ll be right back.

[commercial break]

BARTIROMO: Welcome back. Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate. The candidates taking the questions you want answered. Also tonight, you can see what America is saying about the debate. Go to Facebook and type #gopdebate into the search box.

Now, back to the questions. Americans face security threats at home and abroad. Last year, terrorist attacks rose 61 percent, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, with the most deaths occurring in just five countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria.

Dr. Carson, you were against putting troops on the ground in Iraq and against a large military force in Afghanistan. Do you support the president’s decision to now put 50 special ops forces in Syria and leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan?

CARSON: Well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they — that’s why they’re called special ops, they’re actually able to guide some of the other things that we’re doing there.

And what we have to recognize is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there in an effective way.

We also must recognize that it’s a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there.

What we’ve been doing so far is very ineffective, but we can’t give up ground right there. But we have to look at this on a much more global scale. We’re talking about global jihadists. And their desire is to destroy us and to destroy our way of life. So we have to be saying, how do we make them look like losers? Because that’s the way that they’re able to gather a lot of influence.

And I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate. And you look for the easiest place to do that? It would be in Iraq. And if — outside of Anbar in Iraq, there’s a big energy field. Take that from them. Take all of that land from them. We could do that, I believe, fairly easily, I’ve learned from talking to several generals, and then you move on from there.

But you have to continue to face them, because our goal is not to contain them, but to destroy them before they destroy us. [applause]

BARTIROMO: We asked Facebook to take a look at some of the major issues we’re talking about, and tackling in this debate tonight. This word cloud shows what people are focusing on the most. The bigger the word, the more the talk. One of the most discussed issues in the last month, homeland security. Governor Bush, what is the biggest threat facing America today?

BUSH: It is — I’d say it is Islamic terrorism, and, back to the question of what we are dealing with in Iraq, when we pull back voids are filled. That’s the lesson of history, and, sadly, this president does not believe in American leadership. He does not believe it, and the net result is that we have a caliphate the size of Indiana that gains energy each and everyday to recruit Americans in our own country, and the threat to the homeland relates to the fact that we have not dealt with this threat of terror in the Middle East.

We should have a no fly zone in Syria. We should have a support for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army, and create safe zones. If you want to deal with the four million refugees that are leaving Syria because of the devastation there, then we ‘ought to create safe zones for them to stay in the region rather than go to Europe. And, that requires American leadership.

Without American leadership every other country in the neighborhood beings to change their priorities. It is tragic that you see Iraq, and other countries now talking to Russia. It wasn’t that long ago that Russia had no influence in the region at all. And, so, the United States needs to lead across the board.

This president, and Hillary Clinton both do not believe the United States has a leadership role to play, and we’re now paying a price, and it will have a huge impact on the economy of this country if we don’t deal with this. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Trump, in 2012 debate, President Obama mocked Mitt Romney’s assertion that Russia was the top geopolitical challenge facing the United States, saying he was a Cold War dinosaur. Now, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and has put troops in Syria. You have said you will have a good relationship with Mr. Putin. So, what does President Trump do in response to Russia’s aggression?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, it’s not only Russia. We have problems with North Korea where they actually have nuclear weapons. You know, nobody talks about it, we talk about Iran, and that’s one of the worst deals ever made. One of the worst contracts ever signed, ever, in anything, and it’s a disgrace. But, we have somebody over there, a madman, who already has nuclear weapons we don’t talk about that. That’s a problem.

China is a problem, both economically in what they’re doing in the South China Sea, I mean, they are becoming a very, very major force. So, we have more than just Russia. But, as far as the Ukraine is concerned, and you could Syria — as far as Syria, I like — if Putin wants to go in, and I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that night.

But, you know that.

But, if Putin wants to go and knocked the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it…

BUSH: …They’re not doing that…

TRUMP: …They blew up — hold it….

BUSH: [inaudible]

TRUMP: …They blew up, wait a minute… [audience reaction] …They blew up a Russian airplane. He cannot be in love with these people. He’s going in, and we can go in, and everybody should go in. As far as the Ukraine is concerned, we have a group of people, and a group of countries, including Germany — tremendous economic behemoth — why are we always doing the work?

We are — I’m all for protecting Ukraine and working — but, we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren’t doing anything. They say, “Keep going, keep going, you dummies, keep going. Protect us…” [bell ringing] …And we have to get smart. We can’t continue to be the policeman of the world. We are $19 trillion dollars, we have a country that’s going to hell, we have an infrastructure that’s falling apart. Our roads, our bridges, our schools, our airports, and we have to start investing money in our country. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

BUSH: Donald — Donald’s wrong on this. He is absolutely wrong on this. We’re not going to be the world’s policeman, but we sure as heck better be the world’s leader. That’s — there’s a huge difference where, without us leading… [cheering] …voids are filled, and the idea that it’s a good idea for Putin to be in Syria, let ISIS take out Assad, and then Putin will take out ISIS? I mean, that’s like a board game, that’s like playing Monopoly or something. That’s not how the real world works.

We have to lead, we have to be involved. We should have a no fly zone in Syria. There are — they are barrel bombing the innocents in that country. If you’re a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq, or Syria, you’re going to be beheaded. And, if you’re a moderate Islamist, you’re not going to be able to survive either.

We have to play a role in this be able to bring the rest of the world to this issue before it’s too late.

TRUMP: Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels — I read about the rebels, nobody even knows who they are. I spoke to a general two weeks ago, he said — he was very up on exactly what we’re talking about. He said, “You know, Mr. Trump? We’re giving hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment to these people, we have no idea who they are.”

So, I don’t like Assad. Who’s going to like Assad? But, we have no idea who these people, and what they’re going to be, and what they’re going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place — who I love, OK? All over.

We have nothing. And, I said, keep the oil. And we should have kept the oil, believe me. We should have kept the oil. And, you know what? We should have given the oil… [bell ringing] ..We should’ve given big chunks to the people that lost their arms, their legs, and their families, and their sons, and daughters, because right now, you know who has a lot of that oil? Iran, and ISIS.

FIORINA: You know, Mr. Trump fancies himself a very good negotiator. And, I accept that he’s done a lot of good deals, so, Mr. Trump ‘ought to know that we should not speak to people from a position of weakness. Senator Paul should know that as well.

One of the reasons I’ve said that I would not be talking to Vladimir Putin right now, although I have met him as well, not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting. [laughter, applause, and cheering]

One of the reasons I’ve said I wouldn’t be talking to Vladimir Putin right now is because we are speaking to him from a position of weakness brought on by this administration, so, I wouldn’t talk to him for awhile, but, I would do this. I would start rebuilding the Sixth Fleet right under his nose, rebuilding the military — the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose. I would conduct very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States so that he understood we would protect our NATO allies… [bell ringing] …and I might also put in a few more thousand troops into Germany, not to start a war, but to make sure that Putin understand that the United States of America will stand with our allies. That is why Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes. We also have a set of allies… [applause] …We also have a set of allies in the Arab Middle East that know that ISIS is their fight. They have asked us specifically over, and over again to support them. King Abdullah of Jordan, a man I’ve known for a very long time, has asked us for bombs and material, we have not provided it.

The Egyptians are asking us to share intelligence, we are not, I will. The Kurds have asked us to arm them for three years, we are not, I would. The Egyptians, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Bahrain’s, the Emirati, the Kurds… [bell ringing] …all of these, I know, by the way, understand ISIS is their fight, but they must see leadership support and resolve from the United States of America…

UNKNOWN: …let me follow up that…

FIORINA: …we have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it.

CAVUTO: Senator Paul… [applause and cheering] Senator Paul, you have already said, sir, that that would be a mistake in not talking to Vladimir Putin, or to rule it out. You’ve argued that it’s never a good idea to close down communication. With that in mind, do you think the same applies to administration efforts right now to include the Iranians in talks on Syria?

PAUL: I’d like first to respond to the acquisition, we should — I think it’s particularly naive, particularly foolish to think that we’re not going to talk to Russia. The idea of a no fly zone, realize that this is also something that Hillary Clinton agrees with several on our side with, you’re asking for a no fly zone in an area in which Russia already flies.

Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but you better know at least what we’re getting into. So, when you think it’s going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you’re ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq.

I don’t want to see that happen. I think the first war in Iraq was a mistake… [cheering and applause] You can be strong without being involved in every civil war around the war…

UNKNOWN: [inaudible]

CAVUTO: …Well, then how would you respond?

PAUL: Ronald Reagan was strong, but Ronald Reagan didn’t…

FIORINA: …Ronald Reagan walked away at Reykjavik.

PAUL: …send troops into the Middle East…

FIORINA: …he walked away, he quit talks…

PAUL: …Can I finish…

FIORINA: …when it was time to quit talking…

PAUL: …Can I finish my time?

Could I finish with my time?

TRUMP: Why does she keep interrupting everybody? [laughter]

Terrible. [booing]

PAUL: Yes, I would like to finish my response, basically.

RUBIO: You know, if I may respond…

PAUL: This is an important question. This is an incredibly important question. And the question goes to be, who do we want to be our commander-in-chief? Do you want a commander-in-chief who says something that we never did throughout the entire Cold War, to discontinue having conversations with the Russians?

I am not happy about them flying over there. But I’m not naive enough to say, well, Iraq has them flying over their airspace, we’re just going to announce that we’re shooting them down?

That is naive to the point of being something you might hear in junior high. But it’s scary…

[crosstalk]

CAVUTO: But if you’re not going to respond in a no-fly zone strategy, what would yours be?

PAUL: The first thing I would do is I wouldn’t arm our enemies. I wouldn’t arm ISIS. [cheering and applause]

Most of the people who want to the no-fly zone also favored arming the allies of al Qaeda, which became ISIS. That was the dumbest, most foolhardy notion. And most of the people up here supported it. They wanted to arm the allies of al Qaeda. Some of them still do.

That’s how ISIS grew. We pushed back Assad, and ISIS was allowed to grow in the vacuum. So the first thing you do is don’t arm your enemies.

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: I need to add a couple of points to this. The first is, I’ve never met Vladimir Putin, but I know enough about him to know he is a gangster. He is basically an organized crime figure that runs a country, controls a $2 trillion economy. And is using to build up his military in a rapid way despite the fact his economy is a disaster.

He understands only geopolitical strength. And every time he has acted anywhere in the world, whether it’s in Ukraine or Georgia before that, or now in the Middle East, it’s because he is trusting in weakness.

His calculation in the Middle East is that he has seen what this president has done, which is nothing, the president has no strategy, our allies in the region do not trust us. For goodness sake, there is only one pro-American free enterprise democracy in the Middle East, it is the state of Israel.

And we have a president that treats the prime minister of Israel with less respect than what he gives the ayatollah in Iran. And so our allies in the region don’t trust us. [cheering and applause]

Vladimir Putin is exploiting that weakness, for purposes of edging the Americans out as the most important geopolitical power broker in the region. And we do have a vested interest. And here’s why.

Because all those radical terrorist groups that, by the way, are not just in Syria and in Iraq, ISIS is now in Libya. They are a significant presence in Libya, and in Afghanistan, and a growing presence in Pakistan.

Soon they will be in Turkey. They will try Jordan. They will try Saudi Arabia. They are coming to us. They recruit Americans using social media. And they don’t hate us simply because we support Israel. They hate us because of our values. They hate us because our girls go to school. They hate us because women drive in the United States.

Either they win or we win, and we had better take this risk seriously, it is not going away on its own. [cheering and applause]

BAKER: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Kasich, I want to ask you about China, in particular hundreds of American companies have been subjected to cyber attacks from the Chinese military, yet state-backed Chinese companies, growing their presence in the United States, Chinese investments in U.S., which were nearly nonexistent a few years ago, are now over $50 billion. And as my newspaper recently reported, Chinese companies are planning to bid for one of the largest hotel chains in the United States, what would be the largest ever Chinese takeover of a U.S. company. Would you stop them?

KASICH: Let me tell you this, Mr. Baker, in terms of the cyber attacks, we have the capability to not only have a defensive posture, but it also to make it clear to people that if you attack us with cyber attacks, we will destroy the mechanisms that you are using to attack us.

I want to give you a little trip around the world. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years. In the Ukraine, arm the people there so they can fight for themselves. In the eastern part of Europe, make sure that Finland and the Baltics know that if the Russians move, we move.

In Syria, yes, a no-fly zone in the north on the Turkish border, a no-fly zone on the south on the Jordanian border. Anybody flies in the first time, maybe they can fly out. They fly in there a second time, they will not fly out.

And it also becomes a sanctuary for the people to be. And it also sends many messages in the Middle East that we’re still involved.

Saudi Arabia, cut off the funding for the radical clerics, the ones that preach against us. But they’re fundamentally our friends. Jordan, we want the king to reign for 1,000 years. Egypt, they have been our ally and a moderating force in the Middle East throughout their history.

In the groups — in the countries of the Gulf states of Bahrain, the Cleveland Clinic is opening an operation. Clearly we see the same with them. And in Israel, we have no better ally in the world, and no more criticizing them in public, we should support them.

And finally China, China doesn’t own the South China Sea, and I give the president some credit for being able to move a naval force in there to let the Chinese know that we’re not going to put up with it any more.

And in the trade agreement, the TPP, it’s critical to us, not only for economic reasons and for jobs, because there are so many people who are connected to getting jobs because of trade, but it allows us to create not only economy alliances, but also potentially strategic alliances against the Chinese. They are not our enemy, but they are certainly not our friend.

And finally, I will say to everyone in this room, we have been talking about taxes and economics. When the fall comes, and we run against Hillary, which will be a disaster if she got elected. I have two 16-year-old girls, and I want this country to be strong.

We make promises we can’t keep under the bright light of the fall, we will have trouble. We must make sure that economic programs and our military programs are solid. I served in Washington as the chairman of the Budget Committee, and we got the budget balanced.

And in Ohio, as the CEO, and guess what, we have got to have a CEO mentality and a way to beat Hillary Clinton and the Democracies in the fall. And our ideas have to add up. They have to be solid. And people have to know we have the confidence to lead America.

And as president, I will lead this country, as I have before in Washington and in Ohio, and will return both on domestic and international affairs. And I appreciate the opportunity to speak this time, Gerry. [applause]

BAKER: Thank you, Governor. Plenty of opportunities. Thank you.

Neil?

CAVUTO: All right. And look at the time, look at the time. You are watching FOX Business, we’ll take a break. Stick around.

[commercial break]

BAKER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate, live from Milwaukee.

Now let’s get straight back to the questions, and Governor Bush.

Governor, Hillary Clinton recently said that if we had another financial crisis like the one in 2008, she wouldn’t bail out the banks. Would you?

BUSH: We’re not — we shouldn’t have another financial crisis. What we ought to do is raise the capital requirements so banks aren’t too big to fail. Dodd-Frank has actually done the opposite, totally the opposite, where banks now have higher concentration of risk in assets and the capital requirements aren’t high enough. If we were serious about it, we would raise the capital requirements and lessen the load on the community banks and other financial institutions. This vast overreach has created a huge problem for our country, and Hillary Clinton wants to double down on that.

I was in Washington, Iowa, about three months ago talking about how bad Washington, D.C., is. It was — get the — kind of the — anyway. We had… [laughter]

It — and I talked to a banker there. This is a bank that had $125 million of assets, four branches. Their compliance costs because of Dodd-Frank went from $100,000 to $600,000 in a two-year period. The net effect of that is — and they had — they had not one loan that went bad during the financial crisis. They knew — they knew their borrowers. They gave back to the community. They were engaged in the community. And imagine America without its community banks. Well, that’s what’s happening because of Dodd-Frank. That’s — that’s my worry. My worry is that the real economy has been hurt by the vast overreach of the Obama administration.

And Hillary Clinton, she wants to double down on that. She wants to create even more so. She is a captive of the left of her party to the point now where she is — she was for the trade agreement in — the Pacific agreement. Now she’s against it. She was — hinted she was for the XL pipeline. Now she’s opposed to it. All the things that would create sustained economic growth she’s now doubling down against it.

BAKER: But, Governor, but can I just quickly — did — you can’t seriously guarantee that there won’t be another financial crisis, can you?

BUSH: You could, if you were serious about…

BAKER: Ever? There will never be another financial crisis?

BUSH: No, I can’t say that. But I can say, if you created higher capital requirements, that’s the solution to this, not having concentration of assets. The bigger banks now have more and more control over — over the financial assets of this country. And that is the wrong approach to take.

BAKER: Dr. Carson, if I may, just on that point, despite measures taken, as the governor says, since the crisis to make the financial system safer, the major banks in the U.S., many of them are actually bigger than ever. Asset held by JPMorgan Chase, for example, the very largest bank, have increased by nearly 40 percent to over $2.6 trillion. Do you think JPMorgan and the other big banks should be broken up?

CARSON: Well, I think we should have policies that don’t allow them to just enlarge themselves at the expense of smaller entities. And certainly some of the policies, some of the monetary and Fed policies that we’re using makes it very easy for them, makes it very easy for the big corporations, quite frankly, at these very low interest rates to buy back their stock and to drive the price of that up artificially. Those are the kinds of things that led to the problem in the first place.

And I think this all really gets back to this whole regulation issue which is creating a very abnormal situation. This country was — declared its independence in 1776. In less than 100 years, it was the number-one economic power in the world. And the reason was because we had an atmosphere that encouraged entrepreneurial risk- taking and capital investment. Those are the fuels that drive it.

And what we’ve done now is let the creep of regulation turn into a stampede of regulations, which is involved in every aspect of our lives. If we can get that out, it makes a big difference. And even for the average person, every single regulation costs money. And it’s shifted to the individual.

So — and it hurts the poor and the middle class much more than it does the rich. They go into the store and they buy a bar of soap, it costs 10 cents more, they notice it. And the middle class, when they come to the cash register, have a whole cart full of things that cost 5, 10 or 15 cents more, they notice it. It is hurting the poor.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton won’t tell you that that’s the thing that’s really hurting middle class in the core. They’ll say it’s the rich, take their money, but that won’t help. You can take all of the rich’s money and it won’t make a dent in the problem that we’re having. We have to come back to the fundamental principles that made America great. [applause]

BAKER: But just to be clear, just — just to be clear, then, you wouldn’t — you wouldn’t favor breaking up the big banks? You think they’re big enough — they’re OK as they are, as big as they are?

CARSON: I would have policies that wouldn’t allow that to occur. I don’t want to go in and tear anybody down. I mean, that doesn’t help us. But what does help us is stop tinkering around the edges and fix the actual problems that exist that are creating the problem in the first place.

BAKER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

RUBIO: Can I just add what — he’s right on point there. Do you know why these banks are so big? The government made them big. The government made them big by adding thousands and thousands of pages of regulations. So the big banks, they have an army of lawyers, they have an army of compliance officers. They can deal with all these things. The small banks, like Governor Bush was saying, they can’t deal with all these regulations. They can’t deal with all — they cannot hire the fanciest law firm in Washington or the best lobbying firm to deal with all these regulations. And so the result is, the big banks get bigger, the small banks struggle to lend or even exist, and the result is what you have today.

And in Dodd-Frank, you have actually codified too big to fail. We have actually created a category of systemically important institutions, and these banks go around bragging about it. You know what they say to people with a wink and a nod? We are so big, we are so important that if we get in trouble, the government has to bail us out. This is an outrage. We need to repeal Dodd-Frank as soon as possible. [applause]

KASICH: Let me — let me also say, Gary — Gary, let me also say, Jeb is — what Jeb is talking about with the big banks is to force them to reserve their capital, people who invest it and they hold their capital, so that if the bank goes down, the people who are invested in the bank are the ones that pay. That’s what he’s trying to say.

Secondly, I’ll tell you about Wall Street: There’s too much greed. And the fact is, a free enterprise system is a system that’s produced the greatest wealth for the world. But you know Michael Novak, the great Catholic theologian, says that a free enterprise system that is not underlaid with values — and we should all think about the way we conduct our lives — yes, free enterprise is great, profits are great, but there have to be some values that underlay it, and they need a good ethics lesson on Wall Street on a regular basis to keep them in check so we, the people, do not lose.

BAKER: Thank you.

PAUL: Gerard, can I comment…

[crosstalk]

CAVUTO: Senator Cruz — and I will get to you — but, Senator Cruz, on that theme, Facebook data shows that over the last month alone, nearly 1 million people — nearly 1 million — have been concerned about reining in Wall Street, apparently believing that some have not been punished enough.

So, as an accomplished litigator yourself and a former solicitor general, would you go after the very people who believe and fear that Wall Street has ignored, in other words, the crooks that Bernie Sanders say have gotten away with a financial murder?

CRUZ: Absolutely yes. You know, I have spent much of my adult life enforcing the law and defending the Constitution. And the problem that underlies all of this is the cronyism and corruption of Washington.

You know, the opening question Jerry asked, would you bail out the big banks again? Nobody gave you an answer to that. I’ll give you an answer. Absolutely not. [applause]

And what we have right now is we have Washington — as government gets bigger and bigger, you know, the biggest lie in all of Washington and in all of politics is that Republicans are the party of the rich. The truth is, the rich do great with big government. They get in bed with big government. The big banks get bigger and bigger and bigger under Dodd-Frank and community banks are going out of business. And, by the way, the consequence of that is small businesses can’t get business loans, and it is that fundamental corruption that is why six of the 10 wealthiest counties in America are in and around Washington, D.C.

And let me give you a contrast to Washington cronyism. Some weeks ago, a woman named Sabina Loving testified at a hearing that I chaired in the Senate. Sabina Loving is an African-American single mom who started a tax preparation business in the south side of Chicago. She found a store front, she wanted to have her own business. She started a business.

But then the IRS promulgated new regulations targeting tax preparers. They did it under a more than 100-year-old statute called the Dead Horse Act. Now, this statute and the IRS in classic Washington crony fashion had exemptions for lawyers and big fancy accountants, but Sabina had to pay $1,000 an employee. It would have driven her out of business, and Ms. Loving sued the IRS. She took the Obama IRS to court, and she won, and they struck down the rule for picking the big guys over the little guys.

CAVUTO: Senator…[crosstalk]…Senator, I really want to be clear here. Are you saying, sir, that if Bank of America were on the brink, you would let it fail?

CRUZ: Yes. Now, let’s be clear, there is a role for the Federal Reserve — what the Fed is doing now is it is a series of philosopher- kings trying to guess what’s happening with the economy. You look at the Fed, one of the reasons we had the financial crash is throughout the 2000s, we had loose money, we had an asset bubble, it drove up the price of real estate, drove up the price of commodities, and then in the third quarter of 2008, the Fed tightened the money and crashed those asset prices, which caused a cascading collapse. That’s why I am supporting getting back to rules-based monetary system not with a bunch of philosopher-kings deciding, but tied…

[crosstalk]

CAVUTO: Sir, I understand that. I just want to be clear, if you don’t mind, that millions of depositors would be on the line with that decision. And I just want to be clear. If it were to happen again, for whatever the reason, you would let it go, you would let a Bank of America go?

CRUZ: So let me be clear. I would not bail them out, but instead of adjusting monetary policy according to whims and getting it wrong over and over again and causing booms and busts, what the Fed should be doing is, number one, keeping our money tied to a stable level of gold, and, number two, serving as a lender of last resort.

That’s what central banks do. So if you have a run on the bank, the Fed can serve as a lender of last resort, but it’s not a bailout. It is a loan at higher interest rates. That’s how central banks have worked.

And I’ll point out — look, we had a gold standard under Bretton Woods, we had it for about 170 years of our nation’s history, and enjoyed booming economic growth and lower inflation than we have had with the Fed now.

We need to get back to sound money, which helps, in particular, working men and women. What Washington does — the people who are doing well in the Obama economy are those with power and influence in the Obama government. The people who [inaudible] working men and women…

[crosstalk]

KASICH: Neil, that’s the difference of being an executive. And let me just explain: when a bank is ready to go under and depositors are getting ready to lose their life savings, you just don’t say we believe in philosophical concerns. You know what an executive has to decide? When there’s a water crisis, how do we get water to the city? When there’s a school shooting, how do you get there and help heal a community? When there are financial crisis, or a crisis with ebola, you got to go there and try to fix it.

Philosophy doesn’t work when you run something. And I gotta tell you, on-the-job training for president of the United States doesn’t work. We’ve done it for 8 years, — and almost 8 years now. It does not work. [applause]

We need an executive who’s been tried, has been tested, and judge the decisions that that executive makes. I don’t like what the Fed is doing, but I’ll tell you what worries me more than anything else: turning the Fed over to the Congress of the United States…

BARTIROMO: Thank you, governor.

CRUZ: So, Governor Kasich…

KASICH: …so they can print the money. That would be a very bad approach.

BARTIROMO: Senator Rubio.

CRUZ: …why would you then bail out rich Wall Street banks, but not Main street, not Mom and Pop, not Sabina Loving?

KASICH: I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t.

CRUZ: But you just said an executive…

KASICH: No. No, I didn’t say that.

CRUZ: …knows to step in and bail out a bank.

KASICH: They were — they were talking about what you would do with depositors. Would you let these banks shut down?

My argument is, going forward, the banks have to reserve the capital, so that the — so that the people who own the capital start pressuring the banks to not take these risky approaches, Ted.

But at the end of the day…

CRUZ: So you said you’d abandon philosophy and abandon principle…

KASICH: … I’m gonna tell you this. Let me tell you this. If during — if during…

CRUZ: …but what would you do if the bank was failing?

KASICH: …because if during — well, I’ll tell you what (ph). CRUZ: What would you do if the bank was failing?

I would not let the people who put their money in there all go down.

CRUZ: So you — you would bail them out.

KASICH: As an executive — no. As an executive, I would figure out how to separate those people who can afford it versus those people, or the hard-working folks who put those money in those institutions…[booing]… let me — no, no. Let me say another thing. Here’s what I mean by that. Here’s what I mean by that.

UNKNOWN: Oh, great.

KASICH: When you are faced — when you are faced, in the last financial crisis, with banks going under — with banks going under, and people, people who put their — their life savings in there, you got to deal with it. You can’t turn a blind eye to it.

Now, going forward, that’s one thing. If you had another financial crisis, perhaps there would be an effort to make sure that we do (ph).

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor Kasich.

FIORINA: Can I just — could I just say, as a chief executive who’s had to make tough calls to save jobs and to grow jobs, I think what’s interesting about Dodd-Frank is it’s a great example of how socialism starts.

Socialism starts when government creates a problem, and then government steps in to solve the problem. Government created the problem. [applause]

Government created the problem of a real estate boom. How did we create it? Under Republican and Democrats alike, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, everybody gathered together, Republicans and Democrats, and said, “home ownership is part of the American dream. Let’s create a bubble,” and then government stepped in — by the way, under president George W. Bush, banks were told — encouraged — told, really — to buy other banks, to take money.

And now what do we have with Dodd-Frank? The classic of crony capitalism. The big have gotten bigger, 1,590 community banks have gone out of business, and on top of all that, we’ve created something called the Consumer Financial Production Bureau, a vast bureaucracy with no congressional oversight that’s digging through hundreds of millions of your credit records to detect fraud.

This is how socialism starts, ladies and gentlemen. We must take our government back. [applause]

BARTIROMO: More questions — more questions coming up, when the Republican presidential debate comes right back, live from Milwaukee. Stay with us.

[commercial break]

BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the fourth Republican presidential debate.

Senator Rubio, Hillary Clinton is the clear front runner for the Democratic nomination. If she is indeed the nominee, you will be facing a candidate with an impressive resume.

She was the first lady of the United States, a U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state under Barack Obama. She has arguably more experience, certainly more time in government than almost all of you on stage tonight.

Why should the American people trust you to lead this country, even though she has been so much closer to the office?

RUBIO: Well, that’s a great question, and let me begin by answering it. [laughter]

This election is about the future, about what kind of country this nation is gonna be in the 21st century. This next (ph) election is actually a generational choice. A choice about what kind of nation we will be in the 21st century.

For over 2.5 centuries, America’s been a special country, the one place on earth where anyone from anywhere can achieve anything, a nation that’s been a force for good on this planet.

But now, a growing number of Americans feel out of place in their own country. We have a society that stigmatizes those that hold cultural values that are traditional.

We have a society where people — millions of people — are living paycheck to paycheck. They’re working as hard as they ever have, but they’re living paycheck to paycheck because the economy has changed underneath their feet.

We have young Americans who owe thousands of dollars in student loans for a degree that doesn’t lead to a job. For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses dying than starting, and around the world, every day brings news of a new humiliation for America — many the direct response — direct consequence of decisions made when Hillary Clinton was the secretary of the — of state.

And so here’s the truth: this election is about the future, and the Democratic Party, and the political left has no ideas about the future. All their ideas are the same, tired ideas of the past. More government, more spending. For every issue for America, their answer is a new tax on someone, and a new government program. This nation is going to turn the page, and that’s what this election should be about, and, as I said at the first debate… [bell ringing] …If I am our nominee, they will be the party of the past, we will be the party of the 21st century. [cheering]

CRUZ: And, Maria, I will note, she’s got a lot of experience, but her policies have proven disastrous. If you look at foreign policy, every region in the world has gotten worse. Under her leadership, we abandon the nation of Israel. Under her leadership, radical Islamic terrorism has been on to the rise. Under her leadership, and Obama’s leadership, Iran is getting $100 billion dollars, and on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon.

Everything she’s put her hand to, or has touched — and when we talk about the cronyism of Washington, Hillary Clinton embodies the cronyism… [bell ringing] …of Washington. And, I’ll give you an example of that, which is the Congressional exemption from Obamacare, which is fundamentally wrong, and I’ll tell you this, if I’m elected president, I will veto any statute that exempts members of congress. The law should apply evenly to every American. [applause]

CAVUTO: OK, I think it’s fair to say you’re not fans of Hillary Clinton’s resume. Alright, Mr. Trump….

TRUMP: We are not.

CAVUTO: I had a feeling. Perhaps the most successful capitalist on this stage tonight, you’ve acknowledged that some give capitalism a bad name. You’ve been particularly critical of businesses that find all sorts of ways of paying their taxes by keeping money abroad, but your own plan includes an incentive to bring — that more the $2 trillion dollars home.

Isn’t that, like, a one-time bounty…

TRUMP: …No, no, no…

CAVUTO: …Some of the guys you all but call pirates, so they still keep the loot, and pay only a price to bring it back.

TRUMP: Well, what’s happening right now, Neil, is something that not been a subject of conversation by politicians. As primarily the only politician, I guess other than Carly on the stage, they haven’t talked about a corporate inversion. A corporate inversion — companies are leaving. You know, we used to leave New York to go to Florida. We got better taxes, we got, maybe, something else.

Now, they’re the United States to go to other countries. They have trillions of dollars in those other countries. They’re going for two reasons, they can’t get their money back in. It’s something where the democrats and the republicans both agree, it’s the only thing I can think of. They both agree, let the money come back in.

Three and a half years, they still can’t make a deal. They can’t get the money in. It’s probably two and a half trillion, but, I think it’s much more than that. All of that money could become — could come right in and be used to rebuild our country, and investments in our country. They can’t do it. What we have to do, and what I’ve done, is made the tax rate — and one of the reasons they don’t [inaudible] the taxes so obnoxious, they can’t do it.

Where, I made it a 10% number, as you know. I’ve been very highly praised for it. A lot of money’s going to come back in, we’re going to get rid of the bureaucratic problems, and roadblocks, because that’s also a problem. And, we’re going to have all of this money pour back into the United States. It’s going to be used to build businesses, for jobs, and everything else.

And, as I say, my expression is, let’s make America great again. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Senator Paul, you were one of 15 republicans to vote for an amendment which states that human activity contributed to climate change. President Obama has announced an aggressive plan to cut carbon emissions. At the same time, energy production in America has boomed. Is it possible to continue this boom, and move toward energy self-sufficiency, while at the same time pursuing a meaningful climate change program?

PAUL: The first thing I would do as president is repeal the regulations that are hampering our energy that the President has put in place. [applause]

Including the Clean Power Act. While I do think that man may have a role in our climate, I think nature also has a role. The planet’s 4.5 billion years old, we’ve been through geologic age after geologic age. We’ve had times when the temperatures been warmer, we’ve had times when the temperatures been colder. We’ve had times when the carbon in the atmosphere’s been higher. So, I think before we — we need to look before we leap.

President’s often fond of saying he wants a balance solution, but, really we do need to balance both keeping the environment clean, and we will have some rules for that. We got to balance that with the economy.

He’s devastated my state. I say the President’s not only destroying Kentucky, he’s destroying the democrat party down there because nobody wants to associate with him. So, what we really need is somebody that understands that we do need energy of all forms, and that means we will have solar, and wind, and hydro, but we will still have coal, and we still will have natural gas. And, we’ve got to have an all of the above policy.

But, it would be a mistake to shut down all of our industries in the coal fields, and shut down the coal power plants. If we did so we’re going to have a day where we wake up and some of our big cities are either very cold, or very hot. So, I think it’s a big danger, and we shouldn’t do it. And, what we should do is say we want all of the above… [bell ringing] …We want to free up the energy sector, and let people produce, let them drill, let them explore.

BUSH: Maria? [applause]

CRUZ: Maria, critically, when it comes to climate change…

BUSH: …We’ve had a 10% reduction in carbon emissions, and it isn’t because of Solyndra. It isn’t because of the central planners in Washington D.C. It’s because we’ve had a great American success story, the explosion of natural gas.

Taking two existing technologies, and applying it through innovation has created lower carbon emissions, lower energy costs — 40% of all the economic activity in the age of Obama has come from the energy sector, and Hillary Clinton wants to suppress that. We — I think we ought to be expanding this. High growth is the path to lower carbon, and more jobs.

I know for a fact, as Governor of the State of Florida, we created the largest land purchasing programs, and environment clean-up programs because we had a growing economy. Our revenues were growing at 4.4%. It allowed for resources to be able to protect the natural system.

We got to get to a conservation… [bell ringing] …in environmental policy that goes beyond just carbon…

CRUZ: …Our — our…

CAVUTO: …Alright, gentlemen, I know you want to — and I want to, be we also promised to get people home tonight, and we are going to take a quick break here. I think it is fair to say at this juncture that you can discuss these issues, and only business issues, but still keep it interesting. Stick around for these candidates closing statements. [applause]

[commercial break]

BAKER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate. And now, candidates, it’s time for your closing statements. You get 30 seconds each, and, Senator Paul, we will begin with you.

PAUL: We’re the richest, freest, most humanitarian nation in the history of mankind. But we also borrow a million dollars a minute. And the question I have for all Americans is, think about it, can you be a fiscal conservative if you don’t conserve all of the money? If you’re a profligate spender, you spend money in an unlimited fashion for the military, is that a conservative notion? We have to be conservative with all spending, domestic spending and welfare spending. I’m the only fiscal conservative on the stage. [applause]

BAKER: Thank you, Senator. Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Well, ladies and gentlemen, if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders were to win this election, my 16-year-olds, I — I worry about what their life is going to be like.

You know, the conservative movement is all about opportunity. It is about lower taxes. It’s about balanced budgets. It’s about less regulation. And it’s about sending power, money and influence back to where we live so we can run America from the bottom up.

In addition to that, once we have the power and the money and the influence with programs we shift out, that each of us have a responsibility to reach out and to rebuild our families, make them stronger, and connect our neighborhoods. All that together — wealth, connection, family — America’s greatest days are ahead. We must win this election. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Carly Fiorina?

FIORINA: Imagine a Clinton presidency. Our military will continue to deteriorate. Our veterans will not be cared for. And, no, Mrs. Clinton, that situation is not exaggerated. The rich will get richer. The poor will get poorer. The middle class will continue to get crushed.

And as bad as that picture is, what’s even worse is that a Clinton presidency will corrode the character of this nation. Why? Because of the Clinton way: Say whatever you have to, lie as long as you can get away with it.

We must beat Hillary Clinton. Carly Fiorina can beat Hillary Clinton. I will beat Hillary Clinton. And under a President Fiorina, we will restore the character of this nation, the security of this nation, the prosperity of this nation, because as citizens, we will take our government back. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Former Governor Jeb Bush?

BUSH: Jane Horton is sitting with my wife here today. Her husband, Chris, was killed in action in Afghanistan. And Jane spends her time now defending and fighting for military families. They’re both heroes.

I don’t think we need an agitator-in-chief or a divider-in-chief. We need a commander-in-chief that will rebuild our military and restore respect to our veterans by revamping and fixing a broken Veterans Administration, That’s my pledge to you. I ask for your support. Thank you. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Senator Ted Cruz?

CRUZ: Fifty-eight years ago, my father fled Cuba. As he stood on the deck of that ferryboat with the wind and salt air blowing, he looked back at the oppression and torture he was escaping. And yet he looked forward to the promise of America. His story is our story. What ties Americans together is we are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom.

America is in crisis now. I believe in America. And if we get back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country, we can turn this country around. I believe that 2016 will be an election like 1980, that we will win by following Reagan’s admonition to paint in bold colors, not pale pastels. We’re building a grassroots army. I ask you to join us at tedcruz.org. And we, the people, can turn this nation around. [applause]

CAVUTO: Senator Marco Rubio?

RUBIO: Ours — the story of America is an extraordinary story. It is the story of a nation that for over two centuries each generation has left the next better off than themselves. But now, because Washington is out of touch, for the fault of both political parties, for the first time in our history, that is in doubt.

And that is what this election must be about, because if the next four years are anything like the last eight years, our children will be the first Americans ever left worse off by their parents. This election is about making a different choice, about applying our principles of limited government and free enterprise to the unique issues of our time. And if we do, we will not just save the American dream. We will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And the 21st century can be a new American century.

So tonight, I ask you for your vote and I ask you to join us at my website, marcorubio.com. [laughter and applause]

BARTIROMO: He’s funny.

CAVUTO: Dr. Ben Carson?

CARSON: In the two hours of this — of this debate, five people have died from drug-related deaths, $100 million has been added to our national debt, 200 babies have been killed by abortionists, and two veterans have taken their lives out of despair. This is a narrative that we can change, not we the Democrats, not we the Republicans, but we the people of America, because there is something special about this nation, and we must embrace it and be proud of it and never give it away for the sake of political correctness. [applause]

CAVUTO: Donald Trump?

TRUMP: Thank you. Over the years, I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs and a great company. It’s a company I’m very proud of. Some of the most iconic assets anywhere in the world. And I will tell you, I don’t have to give you a website because I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m putting up my own money.

I want to do something really special. I want to make our country greater than it’s ever been. I think we have that potential. We cannot lose this election. We cannot let Hillary Clinton, who is the worst secretary of state in the history of our country, win this election.

We will fight. We will win. And we truly will make this even more special. We have to make it better than ever before. And I will tell you, the United States can actually be better than ever before. Thank you.

CAVUTO: Candidates, we want to thank you all. We also appreciate your helping save time by talking over one another at times. That was welcomed. But by all means, it was a very riveting debate. Business issues can be — can be riveting, because it wasn’t about us, it’s about them.

BARTIROMO: Thank you.

CAVUTO: That’ll do it. Thank you for joining us.

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 November 10, 2015: Fourth Republican Candidates “Undercard” Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates “Undercard” Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Among Candidates Averaging Less Than 2.5% in Opinion Polls
November 10, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project

PARTICIPANTS:
Governor Chris Christie (NJ);
Former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR);
Governor Bobby Jindal (LA);
Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA);

MODERATORS:
Trish Regan (Fox Business Network);
Gerald Seib (The Wall Street Journal); and
Sandra Smith (Fox Business Network)

REGAN: Good evening, and welcome to the historic Milwaukee Theater. Tonight, you’ll hear from 12 Republican candidates vying to become the next President of the United States. I’m Trish Regan, along with my co-moderators, Sandra Smith, and from the Wall Street Journal, Jerry Seib.

SEIB: This evening Fox Business is partnering with the Wall Street Journal to bring you the fourth republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign. For the next hour, four of the candidates will be here answering the question voters want answered.

REGAN: Let’s introduce them. New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. [cheering and applause]

Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee. [cheering and applause]

Former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum. [applause]

And, Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal. [applause]

JINDAL: …Thank you.

SMITH: Alright, this debate will last one hour. Each candidate will have up to 90 seconds to respond to each question. One minute for each follow up. When your time is up, you’re going to hear this bell.

[bell sound]

Alright, that’s it, so let’s begin with Governor Christie. Governor, economically, our country is struggling with some of the anemic growth we have seen on record. More than 90 million Americans are unemployed, or they are not in the workforce altogether.

The number of people now willing, able, and wanting to go to work is at a level that has fallen to a level we have not been since the 1970’s. For those that are working, wages aren’t budging while other things, costs, like housing, remain high.

As President, what concrete steps will you take to get America back to work.

CHRISTIE: Well, first I want to share a story with you that relates to your question. I was in New Hampshire last week, and a woman approached me after the town hall meeting and she said to me, “Governor, I’m really concerned.”

I said, “What are your concerns?”

And, she said, “I don’t quite how to describe it,” she said. “But, every month when my bills come in, I feel this awful anxiety in the pit of my stomach that I’m not going to have enough to pay them that month.”

There are tens of millions of Americans living that way after the worst recovery from an economic recession since World War II. And, let’s be clear, if we do not change course, if we follow the President’s lead, and that’s exactly what Secretary Clinton will do, we’re going to be in the same circumstance — with government picking the winners and losers.

So, let me be clear about what we’ll do. First, Make the tax code fairer, flatter, and simplier. Get rid of all the special interest deductions. You know, the American people feel like the tax code is rigged for the rich, and you know why they feel that way? Because it is.

We’ll get rid of all those special interest deductions except for the home mortgage interest deduction, and the charitable contribution deduction. Everyone will get lower rates, keep more of their own money, be able to file their tax returns in 15 minutes, and, by the way, the good thing, I’ll be able to fire a whole bunch of IRS agents once we do that. [applause]

And, in addition, we need to get the government off of our backs. Dodd-Frank, all the different regulations, 81,000 pages of new regulation by this administration just last year — it is suffocating small business, it is suffocating the folks who are trying to make a living. I will do what I did in New Jersey…[bell ringing]…lift if off their backs. [applause]

SMITH: Thank you. Governor Huckabee, we’re here Wisconsin, a state that has seen the biggest decline in middle-class households of any American state. With more than 120,000 manufacturing jobs being lost in the last 15 years. As we move away from a manufacturing economy to a services based, technological economy, how are you going to help the millions of Americans that are stuck in this transition?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, Trish, I don’t know why we have to move away from manufacturing. The only reason we have is because… [applause] …we have a tax code that has punished manufacturing. I hear a lot of people talk about the plans to simplify the tax code. I’ve got one better than any of the simplifications, it’s called a, “Fair Tax”, and it eliminates all of the taxes on our productivity.

Here’s what would happen. We’d get rid of taxes on people’s work, so, we wouldn’t punish people for working anymore. Yeah, we’ve lost five million manufacturing jobs just since the year 2000 — 160,000 manufacturing plants have close in this country, which means a lot of people — that the governors talking about, he’s exactly right. They don’t have jobs anymore.

And the reason they don’t have jobs is because their jobs are in Mexico, they’re in China, they’re in Indonesia.

Bring the jobs back. And with the fair tax, you do that, because you don’t tax capital and labor and you bring a real sense of equity to the opportunity so that people will not only make it easier to function, they’ll get the manufacturing jobs back.

And here’s the best part. We don’t reduce the IRS, we get rid of the IRS. We completely eliminate them…[applause]…because the government has no business knowing how much money we make and how we made it. It’s none of their business. And that’s why I believe that manufacturing is critical. If we can’t feed ourselves, fuel ourselves and fight for ourselves, we can’t be free.

And by the way, fighting for ourselves means manufacturing our own weapons of self-defense.

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee. [applause]

SEIB: Senator Santorum, you’re all obviously highly critical of President Obama’s economic record. But federal statistics show that payrolls have expanded by 8.7 million new jobs so far during his time in office. All the jobs lost in the recession were recovered by last year. And in October, the economy added jobs at the fastest rate since 2009.

So what’s wrong with the Obama jobs record?

SANTORUM: The middle of America is hollowing out. All you have to do is listen to the last Democratic debate and you would think there was a Republican president in office the way they complained about how bad things are in America and how the middle — the middle of America is hollowing out.

I agree with Mike Huckabee. I spent this morning in Chicago at Fabtech, which is a sheet manufac — a sheet metal fabricators conference. Thousands of people there explained the latest and newest technologies.

You know what I was told?

I was told when I went to booth after booth that there are 250,000 welder jobs open in America — 250,000 welder jobs paying anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 a year, and if you want to weld pipe on a, you know, for oil and gas pipelines, you can make $100,000 a year.

Every manufacturer — I go to one every single week. In fact, I have with me in the — in the crowd here today a gentleman who is a supporter of mine from Rockwall, Texas, Ed Grand-Lienard. He runs Special Products.

And he tells me he has jobs open in every skill that he — he — he could possibly hire for in Rockwall, Texas, but he can’t find people.

So the issue is, yes, we need a tax code. I — I propose a 20 percent flat tax — 20 percent on corporations, 20 percent on — on individuals, full expensing, which will be powerful for manufacturing, a 0 percent rate, initially, for manufacturers.

We’re going to have a very powerful tax code. We’re going to do something about regulation. We’re going to suspected every single ObamaCare regu — Obama regulation that cost over $100,000 to the economy.

But we have to start doing something about training and employing people who are sitting on the sidelines because they don’t see a path. And we have a — a bureaucracy in Washington and a president in Washington — and even among Republicans who think everybody has to go to college. People need to go to work and we need to provide…[buzzer noise]…opportunities for them to go to work out of high school. [applause]

REGAN: All right, Governor Jindal, you have pushed Louisiana’s energy resources as a means to grow jobs in your state. But as oil prices have plunged in recent months, so has jobs growth.

Louisiana now has an unemployment rate above the national average.

Will your energy-focused jobs plan for the country be subject to the same market ups and downs?

JINDAL: A couple of things.

In Louisiana, we’re actually a top 10 state for job growth. As we sit here today, we have more people working in Louisiana than ever before, earning a higher income than ever before. We’ve had 60 months in a row of consecutive job growth in our state. So the reality is, we have diversified our economy. Yes, I’ve got an interview plan that says all of the above, that creates good manufacturing jobs in America. We’ve also got one of the fastest growing IT sectors by percentage. We are growing Louisiana’s economy.

But let me get to the point that is, I think, the most important issue here tonight. You’re going to have several hours of debate on the economy and we’re going to have a great discussion about energy plans and tax rates. And that’s all great.

The most important thing we have to do, we have a fundamental choice to make, folks.

Are we willing to cut the government economy so we can grow the American economy?

That is the most fundamental question we’ve got to answer.

We are on the path to socialism right now. [applause]

These are mutually exclusive. The hour is late, but it is not too late for America.

Though under President Obama, you asked about his economy. We’ve got record dependents, a record number of Americans on food stamps, record low participation rate in the work force.

This is a fundamental choice. Sending a big government Republican to DC is not enough to fix this problem. It’s not enough just to beat Hillary Clinton. We’ve got to change the direction of our country.

What that means is let’s shrink the government, not slow its growth rate, but actually shrink the government so we can grow the American economy. That is the fundamental issue we should be debating here tonight.

REGAN: All right, Governor Jindal, thank you. [applause]

Governor Christie, you have said that the Democrats’ message is one of, quote, “free stuff.” In contrast, Republicans want to reduce spending. How do you win a national election when the Democrats are offering free health care, a free or subsidized college education, and you’re the party that is seemingly offering nothing in the way of immediate tangible benefits?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sure. [laughter]

If anybody believes the stuff they heard from that Democratic debate a few weeks ago, there’s nothing for free. What they forgot to tell was that they’re going to raise your tax rates to 70 or 80 percent in order to provide all of that stuff.

But let me ask the folks at home one very simple question, do you want to give Washington more control over your life? Do you think they’re doing such a great job that now let’s have them control what our corporations pay their employees? Let’s have them control every aspect of our economy?

Is Washington doing that good a job for you right now? And the fact is that if you listen to Hillary Clinton, she has made it very clear, she believes that she can make decisions for you better than you can make them for yourself.

She believes that Washington, D.C., should pick the winners and losers in our economy, and in our life. And here’s what I believe as a Republican, I believe the greatness of America is not in its government.

The greatness of America is in the American people. And what we need to do is get the government the hell out of the way and let the American people win once again. [cheering and applause]

REGAN: Senator Santorum, a single mom with no job and two kids in New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation primary, is eligible for more than $30,000 a year in benefits. Even if she could find a job, she would need to find child care. And in many cases may conclude it’s better for her to live off government benefits.

Senator, how do you help and incentivize her to go to work? And if you’re the one that’s going to cut her benefits, why should she vote for you?

SANTORUM: Well, the answer is first that we need to do something about a tax code that doesn’t penalize. One thing that I’m excited about our tax code, proposed changes, is it’s very pro-family.

You have a $2,700 tax credit, period, for every person in that family, so that family, you know, would have about an $8,000 tax credit, which would be refundable. So every dollar she works, she’s still only losing 20 cents.

The problem with the tax code today, because of all the different provisions, you’re right, you go back to work, you lose welfare benefits, you’re losing money. Throw on top of that the — even a bigger problem, over 50 percent of children being raised in a home today of a single mom are raised in a home where the father is born — father is (sic) living at the child — the time the child is born.

Now what does that mean? That means we have incentivized people not to marry. We’ve incentivized people to cohabitate instead of not marry, why? Because mom will lose welfare benefits if she marries father.

It’s not just mom going back to work, but it’s mother and father marrying to form a more stable family for that child to be raised in a two-parent family.

So we’ve got all sorts of really corrupt incentives that were put in place, well meaning by the left. But we need to remove those. We need to remove those incentives. We need to adopt a tax code that says we’re going to be pro-family and pro-work. And that’s what we’ll do. [applause]

SMITH: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Huckabee, you have characterized entitlement reform as both political and economic suicide. Taxpayers currently spend more than $600 billion per year on social welfare programs, with the intended goal of getting people back on their feet and working again.

Today a record number of Americans aren’t even looking for work. Are our social welfare programs, while well-intended, creating a culture of dependency? If so, how will you fix it?

HUCKABEE: Well, Sandra, first of all, let me mention the fact that I think there’s a big difference between welfare programs and what some people call entitlements. Namely, Social Security and Medicare.

I just want to remind everybody out there who has ever had a paycheck, the government didn’t ask you if you wanted them to take money out of your check for Social Security and Medicare. They did that involuntarily.

Those are not entitlements and that’s not welfare. That’s an earned benefit. And by gosh, you paid for it. And if the government screwed it up, you shouldn’t have to pay the penalty because of an incompetent government.

That’s different than the social programs that we’ve spent $2 trillion on since the War on Poverty began exactly 50 years ago this year.

Now the reason we still have so much poverty is because it was never designed to get people out of poverty. It was designed to make sure that there was an industry of poverty, so that the people in the poverty industry would have a lot of jobs. But the people who are poor haven’t been benefited. Having grown up poor, I know a little something about it. Nobody who is poor wants to be. That’s a nonsense statement and I hear it all the time. Well, poor people ought to work harder. They’re working as hard as they can, for gosh sake.

But the problem is the system keeps pushing them down because, if they work, then they get punished. They lose all the benefits. When we did welfare reform in the ’90s, you know what we did? We said you’re not going to lose everything at once. There’s not an arbitrary threshold. So as you move up the ladder from work and training, you’ll actually always be better off than you were before. That’s the American way.

SMITH: Thank you, Governor.

SEIB: Governor Jindal, Republicans have now 32 of the nation’s 50 governor seats. But, even while you’re doing very well at the state level, you keep falling short nationally. You’ve lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Are Democrats simply putting forward a better national economic message than the one Republicans are offering? And what should Republicans do about it.

JINDAL: No, I think right now there’s not much difference between the two parties. The reason we keep losing nationally is we try to be cheaper versions of the Democratic party. What if the Republicans, what if Republicans actually embraced our own principles? So I earlier said if you want bigger paychecks, you want more jobs, you want less government dependence, you’re going to have to cut government spending. Here’s the dirty little secret.

You’re going to hear a lot of Republicans tonight in this debate and the next one talk about cutting government spending. It’s going to sound great. There’s only one of us that’s actually cut government spending. Not two, there’s one, and you’re looking at him. We’ve got four senators running. They’ve never cut anything in D.C. They give these long speeches called filibusters, they pat themselves on the back, nothing changes. When they go to relieve themselves their cause and the toilet get flushed at the same time, and the American people lose. We’ve got a bunch of governors running, we’ve got seven current former governors running. I’m the only one that has cut government spending. Everybody else can talk about it. If they haven’t done it in their state capitals, what makes them thank that — what makes us think they’ll do it if we send them to D.C. Look, when politicians talk, we need to look at what they have done, not what they have said. Otherwise, it’s a bunch of hot air. We’ve cut our budget 26 percent. Record number of Louisianans working.

If Republicans want to win national elections, let’s be conservatives, let’s be Republicans, let’s not be a second version of the liberal party, let’s cut government spending and grow the American economy.

SMITH: Do you have something to add, Governor?

HUCKABEE: Well, I’d just like to respond, with all due respect to, to the Governor, to the state just south of me, I would say that a lot of us have cut things. And during the recession of 2001 to 2003, when 91 percent of our state budget was basically three things, educate, medicate and incarcerate, we ended up cutting 11 percent out of the state budget through that recession so we didn’t have to go in and raise a bunch of taxes, and there were people who thought we should.

So it’s just not accurate to say that nobody else up here has ever cut. I believe every governor has probably had to make tough decisions. I’m, I’m guessing my colleague Governor Christie has, as I’m tossing him the ball like Arkansas did to Ol’ Miss the other day.

UNIDENTIFIED: Why don’t, why don’t we…

JINDAL: Wait, wait, wait. I want to respond. He has criticized something I said. I want to respond to that. Mike, with all due respect, I admire your social views, I share many of those views, your record as Governor tells a different story. Was — your time as Governor spending in Arkansas went up 65 percent, number of state workers went up 20 percent, the taxes for the average citizen went up 47 percent. That’s not a record of cutting. I’m saying we’ve actually cut. We reduced the size of our budget. So wanting to cut is one thing, actually cutting is a different thing. Facts don’t lie.

SMITH: All right. Let’s, let’s bring Governor Christie in next.

HUCKABEE: Sandra, before we get too far away, he specifically brought out some things about the record that I need to correct.

SMITH: All right. Well, let’s get the — let’s keep the conversation going. Let’s bring Governor Christie in here because we’re talking about national debt, climbing toward $19 trillion, Governor. Our federal government employed nearly three million workers, our tax code is more than 74,000 pages long. If you’re elected President, Governor Christie, what concrete steps would you take to reduce the size of the federal government?

CHRISTIE: First off, let me, let me just say this in response to this back and forth. For the people who are out there right now, I want to guarantee you one thing real clearly. If you think that Mike Huckabee won’t be the kind of President who will cut back spending, or Chris Christie, or John Kasich, wait ’til you see what Hillary Clinton will do to this country and how she will drown us in debt. She is the real adversary tonight and we’d better stay focused as Republicans on her.

Now I’ve forward, I put forward an entitlement reform plan.

We spend 71 cents of every dollar in America on entitlements and debt service, and if — you know, Willy Sutton used to say, when they asked him why he robbed banks, he said that’s ’cause that’s where the money is, OK?

And where the money is in the federal government are these entitlement programs and debt service.

What I’ve said is we need to get a hold of that. We cannot continue to go down the $19 trillion in debt.

So our plan will save over $1 trillion over the next 10 years and make sure that Social Security and Medicare are there for those who truly need it and also make sure that we have money to be able to reduce taxes and spend on the things we need to spend.

I will also, on my first day as — as president, sign a executive order that says no more regulation for the next 120 days by any government agency or department. We are drowning in regulations. Stop and then we’ll go out there and we’ll cut and reduce regulation that small business owners across this country want us to do.

You’ll grow the economy then. More money will come into the system and we’ll get more closer to balance.

But the bottom line is, believe me, Hillary Clinton’s coming for your wallet, everybody. Don’t worry about Huckabee or Jindal, worry about her. [applause]

REGAN: Governor Christie, thank you. [applause]

All right, we are just getting started.

Medicare, Social Security and the future of ObamaCare — that is all straight ahead, live from Milwaukee and the Republican presidential debate.

[commercial break] [applause]

REGAN: Welcome back to the Milwaukee Theater, and the Republican Presidential Debate. On to the next round of questions, Gerry has the next question.

SEIB: Senator Santorum, we’re in the Upper-Midwest, heart of the American auto industry. The Auto Alliance says the state of Wisconsin, where we are tonight, is home to 176 auto supplier companies. Back in 2008, you opposed the use of federal bailout funds for automakers as proposed then by the Bush administration. The automakers survived. In retrospect, do you still think that was the right position.

SANTORUM: Absolutely. I’m a capitalist, not a corporatist. I’m not someone who believes we should be bailing out corporations whether their auto industries, or banks. [applause]

And, it is simply a matter that there’s auto industry — the auto industry would have survived, it would have survived through a bankruptcy process of — instead of Washington picking a winner and a loser. And, in this case, the losers are the bondholders, and the winners were the unions. That’s fine. They did it, the unions — the unions survived. We — we have not survived in continuing to grow manufacturing jobs. We have a — we have a president, and an economy right now, that is killing — choking our ability to be able to compete.

I’m one of the few people up here who actually believes that we need a level playing field when it comes to manufacturing. That means a good tax code, a good regulatory environment, low energy prices, better opportunities for workers to get training, and, also, I’m — a supporter of the EXIM bank. Everybody else on this stage, everybody else, I think, in the entire field, is opposed to it.

Why can you — how can you come out and say I’m for manufacturing when a majority of republican congressmen and senators supported the EXIM bank because it means jobs for American workers here in America. The fact is that we’ve seen already G.E. lose jobs here in America, and just move those jobs to France and Hungary. We have a right as a country to compete with other countries that have export financing.

Every major manufacturer, 60 countries, competes against America, wants to take our jobs, and we have every Republican candidate — you want to talk about communicating to workers here in Wisconsin? [bell rings]

Ask them why we’re tying one hand behind our back and saying go out and compete. [applause]

SEIB: Thank you, Senator Santorum.

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, you differ from many of your GOP opponents on the stage tonight over accepting Syrian refugees into this country. You have said, “We don’t have an obligation to just open our doors.”

As the Islamic state continues to expand, slaughtering and crucifying Christians, including women and children, refugees continue to flee their land by the thousands. Should America open its doors to accept any refugees in this country? If so, how many?

HUCKABEE: Sandra, I’ve been concerned that this administration has not done anything to help stop the slaughter of Christians. We didn’t help the Kurds, we said we would. But, the idea that we’re just going to open our doors, and we have no idea who these people are — what we do know is that only one out of five of the so called, “Syrian Refugees”, who went into Europe were actually Syrian. Many of them, we had no idea who they were. They weren’t Syrian.

Are we going to open the doors so that the ISIS people will come on in, and we’ll give them a place to say, and a good sandwich, and medical benefits? My gosh, we have $19 trillion dollars in debt, we can’t even afford to take care of Americans.

So…[applause]…If we’re going to do something for the Syrians…[applause]…let’s find out who they really are, and the ones that are really in danger, let’s help build an encampment for them, but closer to where they live, rather than bringing them here when they don’t know the language, the culture — and, frankly, if we’ve got as many homeless people as we have, I’m not sure this makes any sense.

So, let’s do it where we can best help them. Send them some food. But, let’s ask the Saudi’s to step up. I’m really tired of Americans being the only ones asked to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to charity, and, quite frankly, my number one concern right now is taking care of the fact that Americans are taking it in the gut without jobs. Many of them working two and three part time jobs. And, if America wants to do something great, let’s get our economy growing again, stabilize the dollar, and we’ll be in a much better position to help people around the world.

REGAN: Alright, Governor Huckabee, thank you. [applause]

SMITH: Governor Christie, China is stealing our technology. China is pirating our intellectual property, and China’s hacking into our computers, spying on American corporations, and spying on our citizens. China also slaps tariffs on U.S. goods, making it harder for us to sell our products. How are you going to stop them?

CHRISTIE: Well, let’s start with this, remember why we’re in the position we’re in with China, because an absolutely weak and feckless foreign policy that was engineered by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. That’s why we’re in the position we’re in…[applause]…because the Chinese…[applause]…the Chinese don’t take us seriously and why should they?

Why should they?

They hacked into the American government’s personnel file and took millions of records in cyberwarfare against this country. I’m one of the victims of that hack. They took my Social Security number, my fingerprints as a former United States attorney that was on file in there.

And what has this president done?

Not one thing.

Let me be really clear about what I would do.

If the Chinese commit cyberwarfare against us, they are going to see cyberwarfare like they have never seen before. And that is a closed society in China…[applause]…where they’re hiding information from their own people. The information we take, we’ll make sure all the Chinese people see it. Then they’ll have some real fun in Beijing when we start showing them how they’re spending their money in China. [applause]

And one last thing.

One last thing. I will tell you this, they’re building those artificial islands in the South China Sea and the president won’t — up until recently, wouldn’t sail a ship within 12 miles or fly a plane over it. I’ll tell you this, the first thing I’ll do with the Chinese is I’ll throw — I’ll fly Air Force One over those islands. They’ll know we mean business. [applause]

SEIB: Governor Jindal, there’s a new trade deal the Obama administration has completed with 11 other Pacific nations. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office says that deal will cut 18,000 different tariffs on American goods sent to the Pacific and will cut tariffs on goods made in your state of Louisiana by as much as 40 percent.

Even a skeptical about — a skeptic about this deal, now that the details are public, are you going to be for it?

JINDAL: I was absolutely a skeptic of giving this president more power. He negotiated a bad deal with Iran. He breaks the law routinely. I don’t know why Congress would want to concede more authority to him.

Look, this trade deal is 6,000 pages long. Unlike ObamaCare, I think we should read it before we decide whether we would vote for it or not vote for it. [applause]

I am for trade deals, but I want to make sure they are fair trade deals.

I want to come back to something that Chris had said earlier. Look, I absolutely agree we’ve got to beat Hillary Clinton. But just sending any Republican is not good enough. We’ve had a Republican majority in the Senate and the House.

What has changed?

If we send another big government Republican to the White House, we will not do enough to fix what is wrong in this country.

Chris, I think records matter. I think the way we govern matter.

Under your leadership in New Jersey, your budget has gone up 15 percent. It’s gone down 26 percent in Louisiana.

It has gone up $5 million in New Jersey. It’s gone down $9 billion in Louisiana. In New Jersey, you’ve had nine credit downgrades, setting a record. We’ve had eight credit upgrades in Louisiana.

My point is this. If politicians say they’re going to be conservative, they say they’re going to cut spending but they don’t do it, why should we send them to DC?

It gets harder, not easier, when we send them to DC. Let’s not be a second liberal party. Let’s actually cut government spending. Let’s grow the American economy. Let’s not just beat Hillary, let’s elect a conservative to the White House, not just any Republican.

SEIB: Governor Christie? [applause]

CHRISTIE: I’ll tell you, Gerry, it’s interesting, if you go to New Jersey, they’ll call me lots of different things. A liberal is not one of them. Um, and…[laughter]…I would say this. I have great respect for Bobby’s record in Louisiana. I think he’s been a wonderful governor and I think he’s provided outstanding leadership for that state and I respect him for what he’s done.

And I think that all of us deserve that same level of respect.

And my point is this. You know, the differences between me and Bobby Jindal, we can talk about those, and obviously, Bobby wants to spent a lot of time tonight talking about that.

I’ll tell you what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what’s going to happen to this country if we have another four years of Barack Obama’s policies.

And by the way, it will be even worse, because Hillary Clinton is running so far to the left to treaty to catch up to her socialist opponent, Bernie Sanders, it’s hard to even see her anymore.

The fact is — the fact is that we’d better be focused on it. And I’ll tell you what I’ll bring to the table, the fact that I’ve won in a blue state, that I’ve won in a state that has 750,000 more Democrats than Republicans…[applause]…that I won in a state for reelection after governing as a pro-life conservative…[buzzer noise]…and got 61 percent of the vote. That’s the person you want on the stage prosecuting the case against Hillary Clinton. [applause]

JINDAL: But wait a minute, records matter. [applause]

Records — records matter. Yes, we’ve got to…

CHRISTIE: I don’t…

JINDAL: — beat Hillary Clinton. But Chris, it’s also true that you expanded food stamps at a time that we’ve got record numbers of Americans on food stamps. It’s also true you caved into ObamaCare. You expanded Medicaid.

We’ve got a choice in front of us. This is an important debate. This is not about comparing Louisiana to New Jersey or Bobby to Chris. This is an important debate for the American people.

This is supposed to be an economics debate. Let’s have a debate.

Do we want to grow government or do we want to grow the American economy?

Do we want to grow dependence on government, or do we want to grow good paying jobs in the private sector…

SMITH: …Alright…

JINDAL: …you don’t grow the economy by putting more people on food stamps, more people in Medicaid, you grow the economy by cutting government, cutting spending. That’s what we’ve done in Louisiana, you haven’t done that in New Jersey…

CHRISTIE: ..Let me…

SEIB: …Guys…

JINDAL: …We need a conservative, not a big government republican in D.C.

SEIB: Governor Christie…

CHRISTIE: …Let me just…

SEIB: …last word, briefly

CHRISTIE: …Sure. [applause]

It’s interesting. I complimented Bobby, imagine how much time he’d want if I actually criticized him. [laughter]

You know, the fact is, he’s done — done a nice job down in Louisiana, and I don’t have any problem with the job he’s done. I’ve cut spending $2 billion dollars, except for our pension and health care in New Jersey, which was driven predominantly by Obamacare. We have reduce the number of employees we have on the state payroll by 15%, but, you know what? The people out there don’t care about any of that.

You know what they care about? They care about who’s going to be able to beat Hillary Clinton…[bell ringing]…Who’s going to keep their eye on the ball? I’m going to keep my eye on the ball.

[crosstalk]

SEIB: …Thank you both, Governors. [applause]

REGAN: Next question to you, Governor…

JINDAL: …This is how we….

REGAN: …Next question to you, Governor…

JINDAL: …This is how we move our country forward, look, this is not about between me and Chris…

HUCKABEE: …I’d like to get that opportunity to go…

JINDAL: …This is about…[crosstalk]…are we going to be the party…

REGAN: …let me get in…[crosstalk]…Let me get in here, because the next question, it’s to you, and it’s on Obamacare. It is still unpopular with the American people. You’ve seen the polls, they’ve shown nearly half the country still opposes this law. You have been critical of your GOP opponents, some of them standing on the stage tonight, others later. Notably, Ted Cruz, for not having comprehensive plans.

You say you do. What specifically makes your plan to replace Obamacare better than the opponents, some of them standing next to you.

JINDAL: Well, look, only one other opponent, actually, one other candidate, actually, has a plan. That’s Jeb Bush, and he creates a new entitlement program. My plan actually gets rid of all of Obamacare, it’s great that Senator Cruz will shut down the government over Obamacare, but he still hasn’t given us his plan to get rid of it. It’s great that other republicans talk about getting rid of it.

You go to a town hall in Iowa, or New Hampshire, ask them how they’re actually going to get rid of it — my plan has been online for over a year. It gets rid of all of Obamacare, it reduces the cost. It actually puts Americans, their patients, their doctors back in control. And, it actually helps those that really need this help — but, this is one of the most critical issues we face domestically.

I think I — look, right now, I think I am the only candidate running that refused to expand Medicaid. I’m the only one that turned down — that did what we could to fight Obamacare. This is an important point, and, look, I appreciate Chris’s nice compliments to me. And, Chris, you look to me very well, I love Mary-pat, but this isn’t about me and Chris. This is about the country, and this is about what direction — this is the most important election in our lifetimes.

Folks, a couple of years ago they told us give them the republican majorities in the House and the Senate, they’d stop Obamacare, and amnesty, and the bad Iran deal — nothing changed. If they fooled us once, shame on them. If they fooled us twice, shame on us. Don’t let them fool us again.

Chris, look, I’ll give you your ribbon for participation, and a juicebox, but in the real world, it’s about results…[audience reaction]…but, in the real world it’s about results. It’s about actually cutting government spending, not just talking about cutting government spending.

REGAN: Governor Jindal, thank you.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, listen. We stopped Obamacare in New Jersey because we refused to participate in the federal exchange. But, here’s the bigger issue. What do you think’s going to happen when Hillary Clinton’s elected president of the United States? The woman who tried to impose healthcare on this country over 20 years ago? And, she was stopped then by a strong group of republicans, and an American public that said, “No, thank you.”

What she will do — what she will do is move us towards a single payer system. She will completely nationalize the federal health care system. That’s what she wanted to do 20 years ago, and I guarantee you that’s what she’ll do if you give her the keys to the White House one more time.

The fact is we need someone who knows how to beat democrats, who knows how to beat democrats in a democratic area. I’ve done it twice as governor of New Jersey, and Hillary Clinton doesn’t want one minute on that stage with me next September when I’m debating her, and prosecuting her for her vision for America…

SANTORUM: …Let me settle this argument…

SEIB: …No, no, Senator Santorum…

SANTORUM: …Well…

SEIB: …I have a question for you. Just about everybody agrees that the nation’s infrastructure is in bad shape. Urban highway congestion costs the economy more than $100 billion dollars annually, nearly one in four bridges in the National Highway System is structurally deficient, or obsolete. Congress is working on a six year highway bill to try to fix this problem. It only funds it for about three years. Should Americans be asked to pay more in federal gas taxes in order to address this problem?

SANTORUM: I’ll answer that in a second, but, I want to answer this other problem because this is a real legitimate debate between Chris and Bobby, and if somebody says we need someone who can win in a blue state, and Bobby says we need a real principled conservative. [audience reaction] [applause]

Ninety-two percent conservative voting record, unlike some of the other senators that Bobby mentioned who hasn’t done anything to cut federal spending, I was actually the author of welfare reform, which is the only time we’ve ever seen a federal entitlement actually cut. We cut it. Senate did exactly what every conservative says they want to do. We took the program, we eliminated the federal entitlement, we blocked (ph) to the state, we capped the amount of money, cut it by about 10%, and then put two requirements, work, and time limits.

We need to do that with the rest of the — means (ph) tested federal entitlements. I’ve done it.

And I did it with a bipartisan support in the House and Senate, and after fighting two presidential vetoes by Bill Clinton.

So I had a democratic president we had to get this through. No record of accomplishment. I agree with the folks who are from the Congress in this race. I have a record of accomplishment of being a conservative on everything.

National security, on moral and cultural issues, on the economy, and twice won a blue state. The first time I beat the author of Hillarycare. I had Bill and Hillary in my state, James Carville managed the race against me, a state with a million more Democrats than Republicans.

And I ran on health savings accounts, on private sector health care, as a conservative, pro-life, pro-family, and I won. And then in 2000, I was the only senator to win a state as a conservative that George Bush lost.

You want someone who can win Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, with a conservative message, I’m your guy. [applause]

SEIB: Senator, I don’t think we got to infrastructure, but I understand. [laughter]

SANTORUM: I’ll be happy to answer that if you give me more time.

SEIB: No, no. To do the things you’re talking about, that you’re all talking about, getting things done in Washington, you have to work with the other side. So a question, who in Congress do you most admire on the Democratic side? I need one name from each of you.

And let’s start with Governor Jindal.

JINDAL: We can waste our time. And I think this is why people were so frustrated with the last debate with these kinds of silly questions. [applause]

We’ve only got a certain amount of time to talk about the economy. Let me use my time to say this. I want to fire everybody in D.C. in both parties. I think they all — we need term limits, get rid of them all, make them live under the same rules they passed on the rest of us. [cheering and applause]

SEIB: Governor Huckabee?

HUCKABEE: Well, since we’re not going to answer the question, let me just remind everybody, tomorrow is Veterans Day. And here’s what I would like to remind everybody. The VA has been a disaster in large part because the people in Congress have never bothered to fix it, and this president has certainly not…

REGAN: We’ll get to that.

HUCKABEE: Let me finish, please. I’m going to ask you just this, what would happen if the Congress and the president had to get their health care from the VA? We would fix the problem and we would fix Congress. [cheering and applause]

SEIB: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: I’ll continue in the pattern and just say…[laughter]

And just say this to everybody, since it seems to be an open question. [laughter]

I’ll tell you the thing that disturbs me the most about what’s going on with the Democratic Party in Washington, that they’re not standing behind our police officers across this country. [cheering and applause]

That they’re allowing lawlessness…[cheering and applause] That they’re allowing lawlessness to reign in this country. I spent seven years of my life in law enforcement, here’s what every law enforcement, 700,000, should know tonight. When President Christie is in the Oval Office, I’ll have your back. [cheering and applause]

SEIB: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: I’m going to answer two questions for the price of one. The infrastructure question, the answer is…[laughter]

We need to get the federal government out of this infrastructure business, other than vital economic highways. It has been said that if we cut the gas tax to 3 to 5 cents and send the rest back to the states, and just take care of the federal infrastructure that’s vital for our economy, let the — we don’t need the federal government and the road business that it is today. Number one.

Number two, you know who I respect in the Democratic Party? You know why I respect them? Because they fight! Because they’re not willing to back down, and they’re willing to stand up and fight and win. And so I respect them because they are willing to take it to us.

SEIB: Thank you, Senator Santorum. [applause]

REGAN: Ronald Reagan did work with Tip O’Neill.

Anyway, we are going to take a quick break. Coming up, one of the top issues for voters, how much you’re paying in taxes. We are live from Milwaukee with the Republican presidential debate.

See you right back here.

[commercial break]

REGAN: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate.

We are live from Milwaukee.

A top issue on the campaign trail, taxes and how much you pay.

All right, I’ve got a question for all of you here.

When looking at the federal income tax, state income tax and local tax, in some cases, combined, some Americans are paying over 50 percent of their paycheck to the government.

What is the highest percentage, all in, in the way of taxes, that any American should have to pay and what is the lowest?

I’d like to, again, to hear from each of you. And I want those two all in numbers.

I’m going to start with you, Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: Well, I’ll tell you, I have a 20 percent flat tax. That’s one all income — so capital gains, corporations, individuals, 20 percent. I think that’s a fair number, one out of five, to be able to — to help support the federal government.

By the way it also approximates, if you take out some of the deductions, it approximates how much the federal government is, on average, spent of GDP, which is about 18 to 19 percent of GDP.

So it actually fits with shrinking the size of government down to more like post-World War II levels.

So the second thing we do is I don’t allow for deductibility of state and local taxes, which will require state and local taxes to go down in order to be treated for their — for their people to be treated fairly.

So the answer is, 20 percent and probably 33 percent overall.

REGAN: All in.

OK, Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: Yes. You know, our tax plan puts forward a highest rate of 28 percent for those who are doing the most and making the most in this country and 8 percent on the low end.

And I agree with Senator Santorum, we get rid of all of the deductions and loopholes, except for the home mortgage interest deduction and the charitable contribution deduction. That means getting rid of the state and local income tax deduction, as well, because that will put more pressure on governors and on local officials not to keep raising those taxes, saying we can deduct them.

And so ours will be 28 on the high end, 8 on the low end.

And I will tell you one other thing. Americans for Tax Reform came out with a report six weeks ago and said I vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history. I will do exactly the same thing as president of the United States. [applause]

REGAN: And we’ll get back to you.

Governor Jindal?

JINDAL: So under our tax plan, look, the top rate is 25 percent, 10 percent, 2 percent. That 2 percent is the most important.

I think everybody should pay something. I think everybody should have skin in the game.

We shouldn’t be creating one group of Americans that’s dependent on government, another group that’s paying taxes.

I want to come back to an earlier point though, that Chris said. Look, we all agree Hillary Clinton is bad. We all agree we need to beat her. But let’s not pretend that out-of-control government spending is only a Democratic issue. This is a bipartisan issue, and just sending another big government Republican to D.C. is not good enough.

We need to actually cut government spending. We need to cut — and we’re not going to do it just by sending any Republican. I’m glad he’s vetoed taxes. The Tax Foundation graded New Jersey the 50th worst business climate due to taxes, high taxes in the state of New Jersey.

SMITH: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Well, thank you very much.

I still want to go back to the fact that if we got rid of all the taxes on our work, got rid of the taxes on our savings, investments, capital gains, and inheritance, and made a zero tax, we’d pay at the point of consumption.

Because why should we punish people for their productivity? And the fair tax doesn’t punish people for doing well and building the economy. There’s $31 trillion parked offshore. What happens if that money comes back to America? You’d think it’d goose the economy? I guarantee you it would.

And that’s why the fair tax is the best solution we have for economic growth in this country. [applause]

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, Americans, under your plan, would pay a tax on every single thing that they purchase. Given that consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of GDP, some economists worry that your tax plan would actually discourage spending, thereby slowing our economy. How do you respond?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, do you know an American that will just stop spending? I don’t. [laughter]

No, that’s not going to be the problem. Look, Americans will go to the marketplace with more money they’ve ever had. For the first time they’ll be having their whole paycheck.

You see, most people don’t understand that when you buy something that is made in America, 22 percent of the cost of it is the embedded tax they never even know they paid. It’s why China has beaten the daylights out of us, they can build stuff that we can’t because they’re not taxing it, when they don’t tax capital and labor and we do.

They bring something over here, it’s automatically cheaper even without the regulatory environment because they’re not embedding the taxes, we are.

Take the embedded taxes out. Give a person his whole paycheck because every American would no longer have a payroll tax taken out. It means they’d see their real paycheck for the first time. When they go to spend that money, they’ll actually have it.

And they only pay taxes on the stuff that’s new. So a lot of Americans will buy used stuff. Look, here’s the point, Americans are not going to quit shopping. Americans are not going to quit buying.

But it would be nice if Americans could control how much they paid in tax, rather than having the government reach into their pockets and take it out before they ever had a chance to even see it, much less spend it. [applause]

And that’s why the fair tax makes a heck of a lot more sense than punishing productivity and rewarding irresponsibility.

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

SEIB: Governor Jindal, you’ve proposed something different. You’ve proposed eliminating the federal corporate income tax entirely. Why would have you wage-earners and investors pay an income tax but not a corporation?

JINDAL: Well, a couple of reasons. Look, we know big companies don’t pay those taxes today. They hire lobbyists and accountants and lawyers. It’s the small businesses that get hit.

I want to get rid of the corporate tax, I want to bring the jobs and investment back to America. Make the CEOs pay the same rates as everybody else. Get rid of all the corporate welfare as well.

Like I said, make everybody pay something, earned success is so much better than unearned success. And let’s actually shrink the size of government. My plan purposely does that.

Look, we can talk all night about tax plans, energy plans, I think you will find a lot of agreement among all the Republicans. We all want to get rid of the death tax, the marriage penalty. We all want lower, fewer brackets. We want to downsize, take away power from the IRS.

What we really need to be talking about is this, these last seven years, we’ve had more government spending, more government dependence. Poverty has gone up. Inequality has gone up. Only the top 10 percent have seen their incomes go up — their median incomes go up.

We actually have more inequality thanks to what we have seen, the largest most expensive experiment in progressive government. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have.

And the reality is, the last couple of years it hasn’t mattered whether Republicans or Democrats were in control. We keep stealing from our children. That is immoral. It is wrong. And we’re creating more government dependence.

If we really want to grow the economy, yes, you need a rational energy plan, and you’ve got to rein in the EPA, and you’ve got to repeal Obamacare, and you’ve got to cut taxes.

But none of that will be enough if we’re not serious about cutting government spending. We cannot afford to elect a big- government Republican. We need somebody. This is the most important election. Hillary Clinton is gift-wrapping this election to us. Let’s not waste this opportunity to apply conservative principles and cut the size of government. [applause]

SMITH: All right. Governor Jindal, thank you.

All right. Well, we are not finished yet.

More from the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, next.

[commercial break]

SEIB: Welcome back to the Republican Presidential Debate live from Milwaukee’s historic theater. Let’s get back to the questions. Governor Christie, by keeping interest rates so low for so long, is the Fed creating a new financial bubble in real estate or stock as prices that will burst and create problems down the road, or has it been right to err on the side of trying to help the recovery through low rates?

CHRISTIE: Gerry, this has been the most political Federal Reserve I’ve seen in my lifetime. Now, when they first cut interest rates during the economic recession and the crisis, that was the right thing to do. But they’ve kept those interest rates artificially low for one reason, and one reason only. Because they’re trying to politically support Barack Obama and his agenda. And it’s been wrong.

And what it’s done, in an administration where the President has talked about income inequality, he’s had more income inequality in this administration than any previous administration. The middle class is doing worse than it’s ever done before. And the investor class, the wealthy, are doing even better because of this cheap money from the Fed. And here’s the worst part, we had one and a half percent GDP growth last quarter. If we slide back towards a recession, you cannot lower interest rates below zero. Where are we going to go if we need help if the economy slides back into recession?

And with this government- controlled economy that Barack Obama, we’re moving right towards it.

The Fed should be audited and the Fed should stop playing politics with our money supply. That’s what they’ve done. It’s been the wrong thing to do. It’s hurting the American economy. And…[applause]…let me…[applause]…let me add one other thing on this.

Be very aware now, because what Hillary Clinton is talking about doing, if she’s president of the United States, is to make sure that the government gets even more involved in the economy, even more involved in making choices for everybody. You do not want that to happen. You need someone who’s going to stand up on that stage and prosecute the case against her and prosecute it strong. [buzzer noise] That’s what I’ll do. [applause]

REGAN: Senator Santorum, you agree with Governor Christie. You also have said that the Fed should be audited.

But many worry that given the Congressional challenges that they face, by having Congressional oversight of the Fed, which has been historically an independent body, you would be making the Fed much more political.

How would you navigate that risk?

SANTORUM: Well, I don’t — I agree with Governor Christie, I don’t think you can make it any more political than it’s been. They — they are protecting a president that is over-taxing and over- regulating, shutting down this economy. And he — and they’re keeping it up like Atlas, trying to hold up the Earth by — by these ridiculously low interest rates.

And it’s hurting American seniors, who are seeing no Social Security increases, seeing no — no savings. They’re — they’re putting their money aside. They’re getting nothing in their deposit accounts.

This is hurting the people who have acted responsibly, all in favor of those who, um, you know, are — are speculators and — and those on Wall Street. It’s not a good deal for — for the vast majority of responsible Americans.

The other thing we have with the Fed is they’ve been given way too much authority. Under Dodd-Frank, they’ve been given this enormous new authority. I mean they — they now have almost become the most powerful entity in Washington, DC.

We need to repeal Dodd-Frank, get away that authority from the Fed and put them under more — more scrutiny.

That’s only part of the problem. I understand the Fed is interesting for a business channel, but I think for most Americans, the most important business is the family. And we haven’t really talked much about the importance of the family to the economy.

And — and ladies and gentlemen, every single book, from left to right, that’s been written over the last couple of years has said the biggest problem in America today at the hollowing out of the middle of America is the breakdown of the nuclear family in America.

We’d better be the party that’s out there talking about this issue and what we’re going to do to help strengthen marriage and return dads into homes in all communities. [applause]

You want to talk about the communities that are hurting the most, the ones you see the protests in…[buzzer noise]…there are no dads. And we need to do something about it. [applause]

REGAN: Thank you, Senator. [applause]

Governor Huckabee, both Senator Santorum and Governor Christie were boat — both critical of the Federal Reserve. Also, many have questioned whether Janet Yellen is the right person to be running the Fed.

If elected president, would you keep Janet Yellen?

HUCKABEE: Well, my wife’s name is Janet and when you say Janet Yelling, I’m very familiar with what you mean. [laughter]

But, look, I think the Fed is in a big trouble because they haven’t addressed the number one issue that’s hurting Americans and that’s the fact that wages for the bottom 90 percent of the economy have been stagnant for 40 years.

In the 25 years after World War II, up to 1971, wages grew by 85 percent in this country. People were — were moving up in the middle class. There was a middle class.

That’s not happening any more, and in large measure, the Fed has manipulated the dollar so it doesn’t have a standard.

Tie the dollar to something fixed and if it’s not going to be gold, make it the commodity basket.

But here’s what we’ve got to do. We absolutely have to get it where the people who go out there and work get something in return.

And if the dollar keeps fluctuating, and this is as crazy as — as is the price of bread, well, the fact is, people can’t get ahead then.

SMITH: So would you change leadership at the Fed?

HUCKABEE: Absolutely. Absolutely, because what we need to is to make sure that they tie the monetary standard to something that makes sense, rather than to their own whims, because who’s getting gut punched?

It ain’t the people in Wall Street, it’s the folks on Main Street. They’re the ones who’s wages have been stagnant for 40 years. And the average American today has a total savings of 1,000 bucks. One root canal and they’re in trouble.

And if their car breaks down the same week…[buzzer noise]…they’re out of business.

REGAN: All right, Governor Huckabee, thank you. [applause]

All right, Senator Santorum, by the way, today is the 240th…

SANTORUM: Happy Birthday.

REGAN: — of the United States…

SANTORUM: — States Marine Corps.

REGAN: — Marine Corps. [applause]

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. We honor and recognize all those who have fought for, and served this great nation, Senator. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, meanwhile, which provides patient care, and federal benefits to those veterans, as well as their families, is beset by scandal.

What new ideas do you have to fix the broken V.A. healthcare system?

SANTORUM: That’s very personal to me. I grew up on a V.A. grounds. I lived in apartments on V.A. grounds my entire childhood. Both my Mom and Dad, after World War II, marry — met at a V.A., married, and that’s where I lived. Kitchen table discussion was, particularly when I was growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, was the decline of the V.A.

When they joined in the early 1950’s, the V.A. was the top. They were the best, they were the best and brightest coming in after the war. And, we believed in the cause that we fought, and we invested in our hospitals to make sure that our veterans who left World War II were taken care of. But, after Vietnam, and during Vietnam, that began to change, and it really hasn’t recovered since.

The bottom line is the V.A. is antiquated. There’s no need for a V.A. healthcare system as it existed after World War — why? Because we have the best private healthcare system in the world, we didn’t need — we needed it in 1950’s, hospitals were not particularly advanced, so, we built the best. We didn’t maintain the best. Government didn’t keep its promises to its veterans. So, what we need to do is two things. Number one, we need to allow veterans to go to private sector hospitals for their routine and ordinary care to get the best care in their community possible. [applause]

And, there is a place for the Veterans Administration. There are injuries, and there are — things like PTSD, or prosthetics that are uniquely problems within the veterans community where we can develop centers of excellence within — and replace the V.A. with a group of…[bell ringing]…centers of excellence that can help our folks to come back…

SMITH: Senator Santorum, thank you. [applause]

I have a question for all of you. Americans connection to the military has been increasingly fading. As a society, how do we restore that sense of duty, that sense of pride, that was the hallmark of the greatest generation. Again, I’d like to ask each of you, 30 seconds each, beginning with Governor Jindal.

JINDAL: Well, a couple things, first, I want to echo what others have said and thank those veterans that run towards danger, not away from it, so we can live in the greatest country in the history of the world.

I think every veteran should get that card, and they should be allowed to get that health care wherever they want in the private sector. But, I also think — or the public sector, I also think we need to fire some of the V.A. bureaucrats. Somebody should go to jail over these scandals, and it is a crime that it has not happened. [applause]

When it comes — when it comes to uniting the American people, one of the things we’ve done to honor our veterans in Louisiana, we’ve given thousands — and I’ve hand delivered these, to veterans — medals to veterans to thank them for their service. I’ll just give you one quick example, I know my time is out, but, we’ve had Vietnam war veterans with tears in their eyes saying nobody has ever thanked them before. We’ve had World War II veterans, children, who said they never heard the stories of their parents heroic sacrifice. Whatever conflict, whenever they served, one of the things we can do is to teach our children we do live in the greatest country in the history of the world.

We got a president who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, but we still do, and it’s because of those men and women in uniform. We should thank them everyday, not just veterans day. [applause]

SMITH: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Well, I think thanking our veterans is a wonderful thing to do, but, they sure appreciate a better paycheck. They’d appreciate the fact that we kept our promises to them. The men and women in uniform put on the uniform of our nation, they went halfway around the world, they face dangers on our behalf, and we promised them if they did that, when they came home we’d take care of their medical care, we’d make is possible for their kids to go to college, and they’d be able to bind to a home.

They kept their promises to us. We have not kept our promises to them, and today, less than one percent of Americans go to the military for service. We’re fighting wars with other people’s kids in large measure because we’ve not taken seriously the moral, not the monetary, the moral obligation to take care of the veterans and to keep America’s promise to the ones who kept their promise to America. [applause]

SMITH: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: The way to reconnect Americans to the men and women in uniform is to first, and foremost, give them a Commander in Chief who respects the military, and respects everyone who wears the uniform. [cheering and applause]

Starts at the top there…[cheering and applause]

And Secretary Clinton says, there’s no crisis at the V.A.. That send a long, and hard message to our veterans that she doesn’t get it, and she doesn’t respect their service.

When the President of the United States doesn’t back up law enforcement officers in uniform, he loses the moral authority to any man or woman who is uniform.

I spent seven years in law enforcement…[bell ringing]…I respect these folks, and I will do so as Commander in Chief of the military.

SMITH: Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: It should come as no surprise to Chris, or anybody else, that Barack Obama doesn’t stand behind our men and women in uniform here at home because he hasn’t stood behind them overseas.

The rules of engagement that we’ve allowed our soldiers to go and fight against have put them in harm’s way for political purposes. This has been the most politicized wars that we’ve ever seen under this administration. He gets in, and gets out, based upon what the polls are saying, what pressure he’s getting from groups. Talk about a Commander in Chief.

We need a commander in chief who has a vision and plan of how we’re going to execute the national security of our country. Commander in chief is not an entry level position. Experience matters, and that’s why I would ask for your support as a Commander in Chief, because I have the experience against the enemy…[bell ringing]…to confront to do the job. [applause]

SEIB: Candidates, it’s time for closing statements, 30 seconds. Governor Jindal, we’ll start with you.

JINDAL: You know, I have spent a lot of time tonight talking about the need to cut the size of government. The reason I’m doing that — it’s not just about balancing the budget, or balancing a bunch of numbers. Because I believe in the American dream. I think President Obama’s done a lot of damage to our country. I think that one of the worst things he has done is try to change the idea of America to be one of dependence. There are a lot of politicians that talk about cutting government spending, I’m the only one that’s actually done it that’s running for President.

The rest of them, it’s a lot of hot air. If you want your paychecks to go up, if you want more good paying jobs, if you want the government out of your lives, we’ve got to cut the size of government. It’s not enough just to elect any republican, we’ve seen that. We’ve got to elect a republican that will take on the establishment in both parties. I’m asking for your support.

Thank you. [applause]

SEIB: Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: I announced from a factory floor in Western Pennsylvania. This campaign has all been about two words for me, working families. Working. Getting people the opportunity to see those wages rise, to be on the side of the American workers so they can get good paying jobs, and that means we have to start making things in America again. We need a president who’s going to not just put policies in place, but is going to stand up at the bully pulpit and talk about the dignity of being a welder. The dignity of being a carpenter, about going to work and earning success.

And, also, the importance of families, the importance of families and fathers, and mothers raising their children, and committing to that so that they can give children in our country the best opportunity to success. Working families is the key for us to win this election. [applause]

SEIB: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: In many ways, I feel like I’m the luckiest guy on Earth. I really do. It’s a long way from a little brick rent house on second street in Hope, Arkansas to this stage where I’m running for President of the United States. It’s not about me, not about these guys — ‘ought to be about you, and I’ve never been the favorite of the people who have the most money.

But, I want to be the favorite of the people who still want to believe the American dream can work for them. Today in our office, I got a letter from a third grader in North Dakota, her name is Reese.

She sent $6 dollars from her allowance, and said, “I want to help you be president.”

You know, I’m going to keep standing on this stage, and keep fighting for one reason, because somewhere out there in North Dakota, and all over America, there are kids like Reese who need a president who will never forget where they came from, and I promise I won’t. [applause]

SEIB: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: I want to tell the American people who are watching tonight the truth. I saw the most disgraceful thing I’ve seen in this entire campaign a few weeks ago. Hillary Clinton was asked the enemy she’s most proud of, and she said, “Republicans”.

In a world where we have Al-Qaeda, and ISIS, the mullahs in Iran, and Vladimir Putin — the woman who asks to run and represent all of the United States says that her greatest enemies are people like you in this audience, and us here. I will tell you one thing, and write this down, when you elect me President of the United States, I will go to Washington not only to fight the fights that need fighting, not only to say what I mean, and mean what I say, but to bring this entire country together for a better future for our children and grandchildren. [applause]

SMITH: Alright, thank you gentlemen. That does it, everyone, for the first debate here in Milwaukee. In just about one hour from now, at 9:00PM Eastern, eight more candidates are going to be taking to the stage. Right now though, special coverage of the Republican Presidential Debate, live from Milwaukee, continues right here on Fox Business. [applause]