Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 19, 2016: The third Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

The third Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

Source: Vox, 10-19-16

Chris Wallace: I’m Chris Wallace of Fox News. And I welcome you to the third and final of the 2016 presidential debates between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

This debate is sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. The commission has designed the format, six roughly 15-minute segments with two-minute answers to the first question, then open discussion for the rest of each segment. Both campaigns have agreed to those rules. For the record, I decided the topics and the questions in each topic. None of those questions has been shared with the commission or the two candidates. The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent. No cheers, boos, or other interruptions, so we and you can focus on what the candidates have to say. No noise except right now as we welcome the Democratic nominee for president, Secretary Clinton, and the Republican nominee for president, Mr. Trump.

Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump, welcome. Let’s get right to it. The first topic is the Supreme Court. We — you both talked briefly about the court in the last debate, but I want to drill down on this because the next president will almost certainly have at least one appointment and likely or possibly two or three appointments, which means that you will in effect determine the balance of the court for what could be the next quarter century. First of all, where do you want to see the court take the country? And secondly, what’s your view on how the Constitution should be interpreted? Do the founders’ words mean what they say, or is it a living document to be applied flexibly according to changing circumstances? In this segment, Secretary Clinton, go first, you have two minutes.

Hillary Clinton: Thank you very much, Chris, and thanks to UNLV for hosting us. When we talk about the Supreme Court it really raises the central issue in this election, namely, what kind of country are we going to be? What kind of opportunities will we provide for our citizens?

What kind of rights will Americans have? And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy.

For me, that means that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in the country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system. I have major disagreements with my opponent about these issues and others that will be before the Supreme Court, but I feel that at this point in our country’s history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United, we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace, that we stand up and basically say the Supreme Court should represent all of us. That’s how I see the court, and the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on behalf of our rights as Americans, and I look forward to having that opportunity.

I would hope that the Senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent to them. That’s the way the Constitution fundamentally should operate. The president nominates and then the Senate advises and consents or not.

But they go forward with the process.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, thank you. Mr. Trump, same question. Where do you want to see the court take the country, and how do you believe the Constitution should be interpreted?

Donald Trump: Well, first of all, it’s great to be with you and thank you, everybody. The Supreme Court, it’s what it’s all about. Our country is so, so, just so imperative that we have the right justices. Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent, and she was forced to apologize, and apologize she did. But these were statements that should never, ever have been made.

We need a Supreme Court that, in my opinion, is going to uphold the Second Amendment and all amendments, but the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege. I believe if my opponent should win this race, which I truly don’t think will happen, we will have a Second Amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what it is right now. But I feel that it’s absolutely important that we recall because of the fact that it is under such trauma. I feel that the justices that I am going to appoint — and I’ve named 20 of them — the justices that I’m going to appoint will be pro-life, they will have a conservative bent, they will be protecting the Second Amendment, they are great scholars in all cases, and they’re people of tremendous respect. They will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.

And I believe that’s very, very important. I don’t think we should have justices appointed that decide what they want to hear.

It’s all about the Constitution of — and so important, the Constitution the way it was meant to be and those are the people that I will appoint.

Wallace: We now have 10 minutes for open discussion. I want to focus on two issues that in fact by the justices that you name could end up changing the existing law of the land. First is one that you mentioned, Mr. Trump, and that is guns. Secretary Clinton, you said last year, and let me quote, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment.

Now, in fact, in the 2008 Heller case, the court ruled that there is a constitutional right to bear arms but a right that is reasonably limited. Those were the words of Judge Antonin Scalia, who wrote the decision. What’s wrong with that?

Clinton: Well, first of all, I support the Second Amendment. I lived in Arkansas for 18 wonderful years. I represented upstate New York. I understand and respect the tradition of gun ownership. It goes back to the founding of our country. But I also believe that there can be and must be reasonable regulation. Because I support the Second Amendment doesn’t mean that I want people who shouldn’t have guns to be able to threaten you, kill you or members of your family.

And so when I think about what we need to do, we have 33,000 people a year who die from guns. I think we need comprehensive background checks. We need to close the online loophole, close the gun show loophole. There are other matters that I think are sensible that are the kind of reforms that would make a difference that are not in any way conflicting with the Second Amendment.

You mentioned the Heller decision, and what I was saying that you reference, Chris, was that I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case. Because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was protect toddlers from guns. They wanted people with guns to safely store them, and the court didn’t accept that reasonable regulation, but they’ve accepted many other.

I see no conflict between saving people’s lives and defending the Second Amendment.

Wallace: Let me bring Mr. Trump in here. The bipartisan open debate coalition got millions of votes on questions to ask here, and this was, in fact, one of the top questions that they got. How will you ensure the Second Amendment is protected? You just heard Secretary Clinton’s answer. Does she persuade you that, while you may differ on regulation, that she supports a Second Amendment right to bear arms?

Trump: The DC v. Heller decision was very strongly and she was extremely angry about it. I watched. She was very, very angry when upheld. And Justice Scalia was so involved, and it was a well-crafted decision, but Hillary was extremely upset, extremely angry, and people that believe in the Second Amendment and believe in it very strongly were very upset with what she had to say.

Wallace: Let me bring in Secretary Clinton. Were you extremely upset?

Clinton: Well, I was upset because, unfortunately, dozens of toddlers injure themselves, even kill people with guns because, unfortunately, not everyone who has loaded guns in their homes takes appropriate precautions.

But there’s no doubt that I respect the Second Amendment, that I also believe there’s an individual right to bear arms. That is not in conflict with sensible, commonsense regulation. And you know, look, I understand that Donald’s been strongly supported by the NRA, the gun lobby’s on his side, they’re running millions of dollars of ads against me. And I regret that, because what I would like to see is for people to come together and say of course we’re going to protect and defend the Second Amendment, but we’re going to do it in a way that tries to save some of these 33,000 lives that we lose every year.

Wallace: Let me bring Mr. Trump back into that. Because, in fact, you oppose any limits on assault weapons, any limits on magazines. You support a national right to carry law. Why, sir?

Trump: Let me just tell you before we go any further, in Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the United States, probably you could say by far they have more gun violence than any other city. So we have the toughest laws and you have tremendous gun violence.

I am a very strong supporter of the Second Amendment. And I don’t know if Hillary was saying it in a sarcastic manner, but I’m very proud to have the endorsement of the NRA. It’s the earliest endorsement they’ve ever given to anybody who ran for president. I’m very honored by all of that.

We are going to appoint justices. This is the best way to help the Second Amendment. We’re going to appoint justices that will feel very seriously about the Second Amendment. That will not do damage to the Second Amendment.

Wallace: Let’s pick up on another issue which divides you and the justices that whoever ends up winning this election appoints could have a dramatic effect there, and that’s the issue of abortion. Mr. Trump, you’re pro-life. But I want to ask you specifically, do you want the court, including the justices that you will name, to overturn Roe v. Wade, which includes, in fact states, a woman’s right to abortion?

Trump: Well, if that would happen, because I am pro-life and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that that would go back to the individual states.

Wallace: But I’m asking you specifically —

Trump: If they overturned it, it will go back to the states.

Wallace: What I’m asking you, sir, is do you want to see the court overturn? You just said you want to see the court protect the Second Amendment. Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?

Trump: If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen. And that will happen automatically in my opinion because I’m putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this, it will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult in many cases decisions about her health care that one can imagine. And in this case it’s not only about Roe v. Wade. It is about what’s happening right now in America. So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which, of course, provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country.

Donald has said he’s in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood. I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women’s rights to make their own health care decisions.

Wallace: Secretary —

Clinton: And we’ve come too far to have that turn back now. Indeed, he said women should be punished, that there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions. And I could just not be more opposed to that kind of thinking.

Wallace: I’m going to give you a chance to respond, but I want to ask you, Secretary Clinton, how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term partial-birth abortions. Why?

Clinton: Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, your reaction, and particularly on this issue of late-term partial birth abortion.

Trump: I think it’s terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Now, you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she’s saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, only the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

Clinton: Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I’ve met with. Women I’ve known over the course of my life.

This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. I do not believe the government should be making it. I’ve been to countries where governments forced women to have abortions like they did in China or force women to bear children like they used to do in Romania. I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice, and I will stand up for that right.

Wallace: All right. Just briefly, I want to move on.

Trump: And honestly, nobody has business doing what I just said, doing that as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth, nobody has that.

Wallace: All right. Let’s move on to the subject of immigration, and there is almost no issue that separates the two of you more than the issue of immigration.

Actually, there are a lot of issues. Mr. Trump, you want to build a wall. Secretary Clinton, you’ve offered no specific plan for how you want to secure our southern border.

Mr. Trump, you are calling for major deportations. Secretary Clinton, you say within your first 100 days as president you’ll offer a package that includes a pathway to citizenship. The question really is why are you right and your opponent wrong? Mr. Trump, you go first in this segment. You have two minutes.

Trump: First of all, she wants to give amnesty, which is a disaster and very unfair to all the people who are waiting in line for many years. We need strong borders. In the audience tonight we have four mothers of — I mean, these are unbelievable people that I’ve gotten to know over a period of years whose children have been killed, brutally killed by people who came into the country illegally. You have mothers, fathers, relatives all over the county. They’re coming in illegally.

Drugs are pouring in through the border. We have no country if we have no border. Hillary wants to give amnesty, she wants to have open borders.

As you know, the Border Patrol agency, 16,500-plus ICE last week endorsed me. First time they’ve ever endorsed a candidate. It means their job is tougher, but they know what’s going on. They know it better than anybody. They want strong borders. They feel we have to have strong borders. I was up in New Hampshire, the biggest complaint they have with all the problems going on in the world, many of the problems caused by Hillary Clinton and by Barack Obama, all of the problems, their single biggest problem is heroin that pours across our southern borders, just pouring and destroying their youth. It’s poisoning the blood of their youth and plenty of other people.

We have to have strong borders. We have to keep the drugs out of our country. Right now we’re getting the drugs, they’re getting the cash. We need strong borders. We absolute — we cannot give amnesty.

Now I want to build a wall. We need the wall. The border patrol, ICE, they all want the wall. We stop the drugs, shore up the border.

One of my first acts will be to get all of the drug lords, we have some bad, bad people in this country that have to go out. We’ll get them out, secure the border, and once the border is secured, at a later date we’ll make a determination as to the rest. But we have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, thank you. Same question to you, Secretary Clinton, basically why are you right and Mr. Trump is wrong?

Clinton: As he was talking, I was thinking about a young girl I met here in Las Vegas, Carla, who was very worried that her parents might be deported because she was born in this country but they were not. They work hard and do everything they can to give her a good life. And you’re right, I don’t want to rip families apart. I don’t want to be sending parents away from children. I don’t want to see the deportation force that Donald has talked about in action in our country. We have 11 million undocumented people. They have 4 million American citizen children — 15 million people. He said as recently as a few weeks ago in Phoenix that every undocumented person would be subject to deportation.

Now, here’s what that means. It means you would have to have a massive law enforcement presence where law enforcement officers would be going school to school, home to home, business to business, rounding up people who are undocumented, and we would then have to put them on trains, on buses, to get them out of our country. I think that is an idea that is not in keeping with who we are as a nation. I think it’s an idea that would rip our country apart. I have been for border security for years.

I voted for border security in the United States Senate. And my comprehensive immigration reform plan of course includes border security. But I want to put our resources where I think they’re most needed — getting rid of any violent person, anybody who should be deported, we should deport them. When it comes to the wall that Donald talks about building, he went to Mexico. He had a meeting with the Mexican president. Didn’t even raise it. He choked, then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said, “We’re not paying for that wall.”

So I think we are both a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws and that we can act accordingly. That’s why I’m introducing immigration reform within the first 100 days with a path to citizenship.

Trump: Chris, I think it’s an issue to respond to. First of all, I had a very good meeting with the president of Mexico. Very nice man. We will be doing very much better with Mexico on trade deals, believe me, than the NAFTA deal by her husband, one of the worst deals of any kind signed by anybody. It’s a disaster. Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006 or thereabouts.

Now, she never gets anything done, so naturally the wall wasn’t built. But Hillary Clinton want the wall. We’re a country of laws. And by the way —

Wallace: I’d like to hear from Secretary Clinton.

Clinton: I voted for border security, and there are —

Trump: And the wall.

Clinton: There are some limited places where that was appropriate. There’s also going to be new technology and how best to deploy that. But it is clear, when you look at what Donald has been proposing — he started his campaign bashing immigrants, calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals and drug dealers — that he has a very different view about what we should do to deal with immigrants. Now, what I am also arguing is that bringing undocumented immigrants out from the shadows, putting them in the formal economy, will be good because employers can’t exploit them and undercut their wages.

Donald knows a lot about this; he used undocumented labor to build Trump Tower. He underpaid undocumented workers, and when they complained he said what a lot of [people] do, you complain I’ll get you deported. I want to get the economy working and not let employers like Donald exploit undocumented workers that hurts them and undocumented workers.

Trump: President Obama has moved millions of people out. Nobody knows about it, nobody talks about it. But under Obama, millions of people have been moved out of this country, they’ve been deported. She doesn’t want to say that, but that’s what’s happened. And that’s what’s happened big league. As far as moving these people out and moving, we have a country or we don’t. We’re a country of laws. We either have a border or we don’t. You can come back in and you can become a citizen, but it’s very unfair — we have million of people that did it the right way.

They’re on line, they’re waiting. We’re going to speed up the process big league because it’s very inefficient. But they’re in line and they’re waiting to become citizens. Very unfair that somebody runs across the border, becomes a citizen. Under her plan you have open borders. You would have a disaster on trade. And you’ll have a disaster with your open borders. What she doesn’t say is that president Obama has deported millions and millions of people just the way it is. Wallace: Secretary Clinton — Clinton: We will not have open borders. That is a rank mischaracterization. Wallace: Secretary Clinton? Clinton: We’ll have secure borders but we’ll also have reform. This used to be a bipartisan issue. Ronald Reagan was the last president — Wallace: Excuse me. Secretary Clinton. Clinton: Designed immigration reform and George W. Bush supported it as well. Wallace: Secretary Clinton, I want to clear up your position on this issue because in a speech you gave to a Brazilian bank for which you were paid $225,000 we’ve learned from the Wikileaks that you said this and I want to quote, my dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders —Trump: Thank you.

Wallace: So that’s the question. Please, quiet, everybody. Is that your dream, open borders?

Clinton: Well, if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, I was talking about energy. You know, we trade more energy with our neighbors than we trade with the rest of the world combined. And I do want us to have an electric grid, energy system that crosses borders. I think that would be a great benefit to us. But you are very clearly quoting from wikileaks and what’s really important about wikileaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions, then they have given that information to Wikileaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet.

This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed to influence our election. So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is finally will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans which he actually encouraged in the past?

Those are the questions we need answered. We’ve never had anything like this happen in any of our elections before.

Trump: That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders, okay? How did we get off to Putin?

Wallace: Hold on.

Trump: No, no.

Wallace: Hold on, folks. Because this is going to end up getting out of control. Let’s try to keep it quiet for the candidates and for the American people.

Trump: Just to finish on the borders —

Wallace: Yes.

Trump: She wants open borders. People are going to pour into our country. People are going to come in from Syria. She wants 550% more people than Barack Obama, and he has thousands and thousands of people. They have no idea where they come from and you see, we are going to stop radical islamic terrorism in this country. She won’t even mention the words and neither will president Obama. So I just want to tell you, she wants open borders.

Now we can talk about Putin. I don’t know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good.

If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good. He has no respect for her. He has no respect for our president. And I’ll tell you what, we’re in very serious trouble because we have a country with tremendous numbers of nuclear warheads, 1,800, by the way, where they expanded and we didn’t — 1800 nuclear warheads, and she’s playing chicken. Look —

[Crosstalk]

Clinton: Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president.

Trump: No puppet, no puppet.

Clinton: And it’s pretty clear —

Trump: You’re the puppet.

Clinton: It’s pretty clear you won’t admit.

Trump: No, you’re the puppet.

Clinton: That the Russians have engaged in cyber attacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, rake up nato, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race so I think this is such an unprecedented situation, we’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election.

We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Trump: She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China or anybody else.

Clinton: I am not quoting myself.

Trump: She has no idea.

Clinton: There are 17 —

Trump: You have no idea.

Clinton: 17 intelligence. Do you doubt? 17 military —

Trump: Our country has no idea.

Clinton: And civilian agencies.

Trump: I doubt it.

Clinton: He’d rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. I find that just absolutely —

Trump: She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way.

Wallace: Mr. Trump —

Trump: Excuse me.

Wallace: Mr. Trump —

Trump: Putin has outsmarted her.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, I do get to ask some questions.

Trump: Yes.

Wallace: I would like to ask you this direct question. The top national security officials of this country do believe that Russia is behind these hacks. Even if you don’t know for sure whether they are, do you condemn any interference by Russia in the American election?

Trump: By Russia or anybody else.

Wallace: You condemn their interference?

Trump: Of course I condemn. Of course. I don’t know Putin. I have no idea —

Wallace: I’m not asking you that.

Trump: This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia, wouldn’t be so bad. Let me tell you, Putin has outsmarted her and Obama at every single step of the way. Whether it’s Syria. You name it. Missiles. Take a look at the start-up that they signed. The Russians have said, according to many, many reports, I can’t believe they allowed us to do this. They create warheads and we can’t. The Russians can’t believe it. She’s been outsmarted by Putin. All you have to do is look at the Middle East. They’ve taken over. We’ve spent $6 trillion. They’ve taken over the Middle East. She has been outsmarted and outplayed worse than anybody I’ve ever seen in any government whatsoever.

Wallace: We’re a long way away from immigration, but I’m going to let you finish this topic. You have about 45 seconds.

Trump: And she always will be.

Clinton: I find it ironic that he’s raising nuclear weapons. This is a person who has been very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons.

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: Japan, Korea, even Saudi Arabia. He said if we have them, why don’t we use them, which I think is terrifying. The bottom line on nuclear weapons is that when the president gives the order, it must be followed. There’s about four minutes between the order being given and the people responsible for launching nuclear weapons to do so. And that’s why 10 people who have had that awesome responsibility have come out and in an unprecedented way said they would not trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes or to have his finger on the nuclear button.

Trump: I have 200 generals and admirals, 21 endorsing me, 21 congressional medal of honor recipients. As far as Japan and other countries, we are being ripped off by everybody — we’re defending other country. We’re spending a fortune doing it. They have the bargain of the century. All I said is we have to renegotiate these agreements because our country cannot afford to defend Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany, South Korea and many other places. We cannot continue to afford. She took that as saying nuclear weapons.

Look, she’s been proven to be a liar on so many different ways. This is just another lie.

Clinton: Well, I’m just quoting you —

Trump: There’s no quote. You’re not going to find a quote from me.

Clinton: Nuclear competition in Asia, you said, you know, go ahead, enjoy yourselves, folks. That kind of —

Trump: And defend yourselves. And defend yourselves. I didn’t say nuclear. And defend yourselves.

Clinton: United States has kept the peace through our alliances. Donald wants to tear up our alliances. I think it makes the world safer and, frankly, it makes the United States safer. I would work with our allies in Asia, in Europe, in the middle East and elsewhere. That’s the only way we’re going to —

Wallace: We’re going to move on to the next topic, which is the economy. And I hope we handle that as well as we did immigration. You also have very different ideas about how to get the economy growing faster. Secretary Clinton, in your plan, government plays a big role. You see more government spending, more entitlements more tax credit, more penalties. Mr. Trump you want to get government out with less regulation. We’ll drill down into this a little more. But in this overview, please explain to me why you think your plan will create more jobs and growth for this country and your opponent’s plan will not. In this round, you go first, Secretary Clinton.

Clinton: I think when the middle class thrives, America thrives. And so my plan is based on growing the economy, giving middle class families many more opportunities.

I want us to have the biggest jobs program since World War II, jobs and infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. I think we can compete with high wage countries, and I believe we should. New jobs and clean energy not only to fight climate change, which is a serious problem, but to create new opportunities and new business I want us to do more to help small businesses.

I want to raise the minimum wage because people who live in poverty, who work full-time should not still be in poverty. I want to make sure that women get equal pay for the work we do. I feel strongly we have to have an education system that starts with preschool and goes through college. That’s why I want more technical education in high schools and community colleges, real apprenticeships to prepare people for the real jobs of the future. I want to make college debt free and for families making less than $125,000, you will not get a division bill from a public college or university if the plan that I worked on with Bernie Sanders is enacted.

And we’re going to work hard to make sure that it is. Because we are going to go where the money is. Most of the gains in the last years since the great recession have gone to the very top. So we’ll have the wealthy pay their fair share.

We’ll have corporations make a contribution greater than they are now to our country. [I have] a plan that has been analyzed by independent experts which said that it could produce 10 million new jobs. By contrast, Donald’s plan has been analyzed to conclude it might lose jobs. Why? Because his whole plan is to give the biggest tax breaks ever to the wealthy and to corporations adding $20 trillion to our debt and pausing the kind of dislocation that we have seen before because it truly will be trickle-down economics on steroids.

So the plan I have I think will actually produce greater opportunities. The plan he has will cost us jobs and possibly lead to another great recession.

Wallace: Secretary, thank you. Mr. Trump, why will your plan create more jobs and growth?

Trump: Her plan is going to raise taxes and even double your taxes. Her tax plan is a disaster. And she can say all she wants about college tuition and I’m a big proponent, we’re going to do a lot of things for college tuition, but the rest of the public’s going be paying for it. We’ll have a massive, massive tax increase under Hillary Clinton’s plan.

But I’d like to start off where we left because when I said Japan and Germany and I’m not to single them out, South Korea, these are very rich, powerful countries. Saudi Arabia, nothing but money. We protect Saudi Arabia. Why aren’t they paying?

She immediately, when she heard this, I questioned and I questioned NATO, why aren’t the NATO questions paying, because they weren’t paying. Since I did this, a year ago, all of a sudden they’re paying. I’ve been given a lot of credit for it. All of a sudden they’re starting to pay up.

They have to pay up. We’re protecting people. They have to pay up. I’m a big fan of NATO, but they have to pay up. She comes out and said, we love our allies, we think our allies are great. It’s awfully hard to get them to pay up when you have somebody saying we think how great they are. We have to tell Japan in a very nice way, we have to tell Germany, all of these countries, South Korea, we have to say, you have to help us out. We have during his regime, during President Obama’s regime, we’ve doubled our national debt. We’re up to $20 trillion.

So my plan, we’re going to re-negotiate trade deals. We’ll have more free trade than we have right now, but we have horrible deals. Our jobs are being taken out. NAFTA, one of the worst deals ever. Our jobs are being sucked out of our economy. You look at all of the places that I just left, you go the Pennsylvania, you go to Ohio, you go to Florida, you go to any of them, upstate New York, our jobs have fled to Mexico and other places. We’re bringing our jobs back. I’m going to renegotiate NAFTA.

And if I can’t make a great deal, then we’re going to terminate nafta and great new deals. We’ll have trade, but we’ll terminate it, we’ll make a great trade deal. And if we can’t, we’re going to go a separate way because it has been a disaster.

We’re going to cut taxes massively. We’ll cut business taxes massively. They’re going to start hiring people. We’re going to bring the $2.5 trillion that’s offshore back into the country. We’re going to start the engine rolling again because right now our country is dying at 1 percent GDP.

Clinton: Let me translate that if I can, Chris. Because —

Trump: You can’t.

Clinton: Fact is, he’s going to advocate for the largest tax cuts we’ve ever seen.

Three times more than the tax cuts under the Bush administration. I have said repeatedly throughout this campaign, I will not raise taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less. I also will not add a penny to the debt. I have costed out what I’m going to do. He will, through his massive tax cuts, add $20 trillion to the debt. He mentioned the debt. We know how to get control of the debt.

When my husband was president, we went from a $300 billion deficit to a $200 billion surplus and we’re actually on the path to eliminating the national debt. When President Obama came into office he inherited the worst economic disaster since the great depression. He has cut the deficit by two-thirds.

So yes, one of the ways you go after the debt. One of the ways you create jobs is by investing in people. I do have investments, investments in new jobs, investments in education, skill training and the opportunities for people who get ahead and stay ahead. That’s the kind of approach —

Wallace: Secretary.

Clinton: That will work. Cutting taxes on the wealthy. We tried that. It has not worked the way that it has been —

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, I want to pursue your plan. Because in many ways it is similar to the Obama stimulus plan in 2009, which has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949.

Trump: Correct.

Wallace: Thank you, secretary. You told me in July when we spoke that the problem is that president Obama didn’t get to do enough in what he was trying to do with this stimulus. So is your plan basically even more of the Obama stimulus?

Clinton: Well, it’s a combination, Chris. Let me say that when you inherit the level of economic catastrophe that president Obama inherited, it was a real touch and go situation.

I was in the senate before I became secretary of state. I’ve never seen people as physically distraught as the bush administration team was because of what was happening to the economy.

I personally believe that the steps that president Obama took saved the economy. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves for taking some very hard positions, but it was a terrible recession. So now we’ve dug ourselves out of it. We’re standing, but we’re not yet running. So what I am proposing is that we invest from the middle out and the ground up, not the top down.

That is not going to work. That’s why what I have put forward doesn’t add a penny to the debt, but it is the kind of approach that will enable more people to take those new jobs, higher paying jobs.

We’re beginning to see some increase in incomes and we certainly have had a long string of increasing jobs. We’ve got to do more to get the whole economy moving, and that’s what I believe I will be able to do.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, even conservative economists who have looked at your plan say that the numbers don’t add up, that your idea, and you’ve talked about 25 million jobs created, 4%.

Trump: Over a ten-year period.

Wallace: Growth is unrealistic. And they say you talk a lot about growing the energy industry. They say with oil prices as they are right now, that’s unrealistic as well. Your response?

Trump: So I just left some high representatives of India. They’re growing at 8 percent. China is growing at 7 percent. And that for them is a catastrophically low number. We are growing, our last report came out and it’s right around the 1 percent level and I think it’s going down. Last week, as you know, the end of last week, they came out with an anemic jobs report. A terrible jobs report. In fact, I said is that the last jobs report before the election? Because if it is, I should win easily. It was so bad. The report was so bad. Look, our country is stagnant. We’ve lost our jobs. We’ve lost our businesses.

We’re not making things anymore, relatively speaking, our product is pouring in from China, pouring in from Vietnam, pouring in from all over the world. I’ve visited so many communities, this has been such an incredible education for me, Chris. I’ve gotten to know so many — I’ve developed so many friends over the last year. And they cry when they see what’s happened. I pass factories that were thriving 20, 25 years ago and because of the bill that her husband signed and she blessed a hundred percent, it is just horrible what’s happened to these people in these communities. She can say that her husband did well, but boy, did they suffer as NAFTA kicked in because it didn’t really kick in very much but it kicked in after they left. Boy, did they suffer. That was one of the worst things that’s ever been signed by our country. Now she wants to sign transpacific partnership.

She lied when she said she didn’t call it the gold standard in one of the debates. She totally lied and they fact checked and said I was right.

Wallace: I want to give you a chance to briefly speak to that and I want to pivot to — Trump: And that was — Wallace: Obamacare. Clinton: Let me say, number one, when I saw the final agreement for TPP, I said I was against it. It didn’t meet my test. I’ve had the same test. Does it create jobs, raise incomes and further our national security? I’m against it now, I’ll be against it after the election, I’ll be against it when I’m President.

There’s only one of us on this stages that actually shipped jobs to Mexico because that’s Donald. He shipped jobs to 12 countries including Mexico, but he mentioned China. One of the biggest problems we have with China is the illegal dumping of steel and aluminum into our markets.

I’ve fought against that as a senator, I stood up against it as secretary of state, Donald has bought Chinese steel and aluminum. The Trump Hotel here in las Vegas was made with Chinese steel. He goes around with crocodile tears about how terrible it is, but he has given jobs to Chinese steel workers, not American teal workers —

Wallace: Mr. Trump?

Trump: That’s the kind of approach that’s going to work. We’ll pull the country together. We’ll have trade agreements that we enforce. I’ll have trade prosecutor for the first time in history. We’re going to enforce those agreements and look for businesses that help us by buying American products.

I ask a simple question. She’s been doing this for 30 years. Why didn’t you do it over the last 15, 20 years? You were very much involved — excuse me, my turn. You were very much involved in every aspect of this country, very much.

And you do have experience. I say the one thing you have over me is experience, but it’s bad experience because what you’ve done is turned out badly. For 30 years you’ve been in a position to help and if you say that I used theater or I use something else make it impossible for me to do that.

You talk, but you don’t get anything done, Hillary. You don’t, just like when you ran the state department, $6 billion is missing. How do you miss $6 billion? You ran the state department. It was either stolen, they don’t know, it’s gone — 6 billion. If you become president, this country is going to be in some mess, believe me.

Clinton: Well, first of all, what he just said about the state department is not only untrue, it’s been did you debunked numerous times. But I think it’s really an important issue he raised the 30 years of experience.

Let me just talk briefly about that. You know, back in the 1970s, I worked for Children’s Defense Fund, and I was taking on discrimination against African-American kids in schools. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings.

In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was bore rogue $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said women’s rights are human rights. He insulted a former miss universe, Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine.

Trump: Give me a break.

Clinton: And on the day when I was in the situation room, monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was host “The Celebrity Apprentice.” So I’m happy to compare my 30 years of experience, what I’ve done for this country, trying to help in every way I could, especially kids and families get ahead and stay ahead with your 30 years. And I’ll let the American people make that decision.

Trump: Well, I think I did a much better job. I built a massive company, a great company, some of the greatest assets anywhere in the world worth many, many billions of dollars. I started with a $1 million loan. I agree with that. It’s a $1 million loan. But I built a phenomenal company. And if we could run our country the way I’ve run my company, we would have a country that you would be so proud of, you would even be proud of it.

And frankly, when you look at her real record, take a look at Syria. Take a look at the migration. Take a look at Libya. Take a look at Iraq. She gave us ISIS because her and Obama created this small vacuum. A small group came out of that huge vacuum. We should have never been in Iraq. But once we were there, we never should have got out the way they wanted to get out. She gave us ISIS as sure as you are sitting there. And what happened is now ISIS is in 32 countries. And now I listen how she is going to get rid of ISIS. She is going to get rid of nobody.

Wallace: All right. We are going to get to foreign hot spots in a few moments. But the next segment is fitness to be president of the United States. Mr. Trump, at the last debate you said your talk about grabbing women was just that, talk, and that you had never actually done it. And since then, as we all know, nine women have come forward and said you either groped them or kissed them without their consent. Why would so many different women from so many different circumstances over so many different years, why would they all in this last couple of weeks make up — you deny this. Why would they all make up these stories. And since this is a question for both of you, secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump says what your husband did and that you defended was even worse. Mr. Trump, you go first.

Trump: Well, first of all, those stories have been largely debunked. Those people, I don’t know those people. I have a feeling how they came. I believe it was her campaign that did it. Just like if you look at what came out today on the clips where I was wondering what happened with my rally in Chicago and other rallies where we had such violence. She is the one — and Obama — that caused the violence. They hired people. They paid them $1500 and they’re on tape saying be violent, cause fights, do bad things. I would say the only way, because the stories are all totally false. I have to say that. And I didn’t even apologize to my wife who is sitting right here because I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know any of these women. I didn’t see these women. These women, the woman on the plane, I think they want either fame or her campaign did it. And I think it’s her campaign. When I saw what they did, which is a criminal act, by the way, where they’re telling people to go out and start fistfights and start violence, I tell you what, in particular in Chicago, people were hurt and people could have been killed in that riot.

And that was now all on tape started by her. I believe, Chris, that she got these people to step forward. If it wasn’t, they get their ten minutes of fame. But they were all totally — it was all fiction. It was lies and it was fiction.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, at the last debate we heard Donald talking about what he did to women. And after that a number of women have come forward saying that’s exactly what he did to them. Now what was his response? Well, he held a number of big rallies where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough for —

Trump: I did not say that. I did not say that.

Clinton: In fact, he went on to say —

Wallace: Sir, her two minutes.

Trump: I did not say that.

Wallace: Her two minutes.

Clinton: He went on to say look at her. I don’t think so. About another woman, he said that wouldn’t be my first choice. He attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her disgusting as he has called a number of women during this campaign. Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.

So we now know what Donald thinks and what he says and how he acts towards women. That’s who Donald is. I think it’s really up to all of us to demonstrate who we are and who our country is and to stand up and be very clear about what we expect from our next president, how we want to bring our country together where we don’t want to have the kind of pitting of people one against the other, where instead we celebrate our diversity, we lift people up.

And we make our country even greater. America is great because America is good. And it really is up to all of us to make that true, now and in the future in particular for our children and our grandchildren.

Wallace: Mr. Trump —

Trump: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody. Nobody has more respect.

[Audience Reaction]

Wallace: Please, everybody.

Trump: And frankly, those stories have been largely debunked. And I really want to talk about something slightly different. She mentions this. Which is all fiction, all a fictionalized. Probable or possibly started by her and her very sleazy campaign. But I will tell you what isn’t fictionalized are her e-mails where she destroyed 33,000 e-mails criminally, criminally, after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.

What happened to the FBI? I don’t know. We have a great general, four-star general today. You read it in all the papers, going to potentially serve five years in jail for lying to the FBI. One lie. She’s lied hundreds of times to the people, to congress, and to the FBI. He is going to probably go to jail. This is a four-star general. And she gets away with it, and she can run for presidency of the United States? That’s really what you should be talking about. Not fiction where somebody wants fame or where they come out of their crooked campaign.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, every time Donald has pushed on something which is obviously uncomfortable like what these women are saying, he immediately goes to denying responsibility. And it’s not just about women. He never apologizes or says he is sorry for anything. So we know what he has said and what he has done to women. But he also went after a disabled reporter —

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: He mocked and Mr and Mrs. Khan on national television. He went after Mr. And Mrs. Khan, the parents of Han who died serving our country, a gold star family because of their religion. He went after John McCain, a prisoner of war. Said he prefers people who aren’t captured. He went after a federal judge, born in Indiana but who Donald said couldn’t be trusted to try the fraud and racketeering case against Trump University because his parents were Mexican.

So it’s not one thing. This is a pattern, a pattern of divisiveness of a very dark and in many ways dangerous vision of our country where he incites violence, where he applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies. That is not who America is. And I hope that as we move in the last weeks of this campaign, more and more people will understand what’s at stake in this election. It really does come down to what kind of country we are going to have.

Trump: So sad when she talks about violence at my rallies and she caused the violence. It’s on tape. Now the other things are false, but honestly, I’d love to talk about getting rid of ISIS. And I’d love to talk about other things.

Wallace: Okay.

Trump: But the other charges as she knows are frauds.

Wallace: In this bucket about fitness to be president, there has been a lot of developments over the last ten days since the last debate. I’d like to ask you about them. These are questions that the American people have. Secretary Clinton, during your 2009 senate confirmation hearing, you promised to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest with your dealing with the Clinton Foundation while you were secretary of state. But e-mails show that donors got special access to you.

Those seeking grants for Haiti relief were considered simply from non-donors, and some of those donors got contract, government contracts, active money. Can you really say you kept your pledge to that senate committee, and what happened and what went on between you and the Clinton foundation. Why isn’t it what Mr. Trump calls pay to play.

Clinton: Well, everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values. The state department said that. I think that’s been proven. But I am happy. In fact, I am thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation.

Because it’s a world-renowned charity. I’m so proud of the work it does. I could talk for the rest of the debate. I know I don’t have the time to do that. But just briefly, the Clinton foundation made it possible for 11 million people around the world with HIV/AIDS to afford treatment. That’s about half of all the people in the world who are getting treatment.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Clinton: In partnership with the American Health Association, we have made environments in schools including healthier lunches.

Wallace: Secretary, respectfully, this is an open discussion.

Clinton: Well it is.

Wallace: I asked a specific question, pay or the play.

Clinton: But there is no evidence —

Wallace: Let’s ask Mr. Trump.

[ Overlapping dialog ]

Trump: It’s a criminal enterprise. Saudi Arabia giving $25 million. Qatar, all of these companies. You talk about women and women’s rights. So these are people that push gays off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now why don’t you give back the money that you have taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money?

I think it would be great gesture. Because she takes a tremendous amount of money. And you take a look at the people of Haiti. I was in little Haiti the other day in Florida. And I want to tell you, they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace. And you know it and they know it and everybody knows it.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, very quickly at the Clinton Foundation spend 90% of all the money that is donated on behalf of programs around the world and in our own country. I’m very proud of that. We are the highest rating from the watchdogs that follow foundations.

And I’d be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? It just was astonishing. But when it comes to Haiti, Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. The earthquake and the hurricane, it has devastated Haiti.

Bill and have I been involved in trying to help Haiti for many years. The Clinton Foundation raised $30 million to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems the people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture, and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it’s an important part of the American experience.

Trump: I’d like to mention one thing: Trump Foundation, small foundation. People contribute. I contribute. The money — 100% goes to different charity, including a lot of military. I don’t get anything. I don’t buy boats. I don’t buy planes. What happens, the money goes in —

Wallace: Wasn’t some of the money used to settle your lawsuit, sir?

Trump: No, we put up the American flag. And that’s it. They put up the American flag. We fought for the right in palm beach to put up the American flag.

Wallace: But there was a penalty imposed by Palm Beach County.

Trump: There was.

Wallace: The money came from your foundation.

Trump: There was.

Wallace: Instead of Mar-a-Lago.

Trump: Went to Fisher House, where they build houses, the money that you’re talking about went to Fisher House, where they build houses for veterans and disabled.

Clinton: But of course there is no way we can know whether any of that is true because he hasn’t released his tax returns. He is the first candidate ever to run for president in the last 40 plus years who has not released his tax returns. Serving what he says about charity or anything else we can’t prove it. You can look at our tax returns. We’ve got them all out there. But what is really troubling is that we learned in the last debate he has not paid a penny in federal income tax. And we were talking about immigrants a few minutes ago, Chris. Half of all immigrants, undocumented immigrants in our country actually pay federal income tax. We have undocumented immigrants in America who are paying more federal income tax than a billionaire. I find that just astonishing.

Trump: We’re entitled because of the laws that people like her passed to take massive amounts of depreciation and other charges, and we do it. And all of our donors, just about all of them, I know [Warren] Buffett took hundreds of millions of dollars, George Soros took hundreds of millions of dollars. Let me just explain.

Wallace: We heard this.

Trump: Most of her donors have done the same thing as I do.

Wallace: Folks we have heard this.

Trump: Hillary, what you should have done, you should have changed the law when you a United States senator.

Wallace: We heard this.

Trump: Because your donors and your special interests are doing the same thing as I do, except even more. So you should have changed the law, but you won’t change the law because you take in so much money. I mean, I sat in my apartment today on a very beautiful hotel down the street.

Clinton: Made with Chinese steel.

Trump: I will tell you, I sat there watching ad after false ad, all paid for by your friends on wall Street that gave so much money because they know you’re going to protect them. And frankly, you should have changed the laws. If you don’t like what I did, you should have changed the laws.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, I want to ask you about one last question in this topic. You have been warning at rallies recently that this election is rigged and that Hillary Clinton is in the process of trying to steal it from you. Your running mate Governor Pence pledged on Sunday that he and you, his words, will absolutely accept the result of this election. Today your daughter Ivanka said the same thing. I want to ask you here on this stage tonight do, you make the same commitment that you will absolutely, sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

Trump: I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I will look at it at the time. What I’ve seen, what I’ve seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt. And the pile-on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, that they don’t even care. It’s so dishonest. And they have poisoned the minds of the voters. But unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it. I think they’re going to see through it. We’ll find out on November 8.

Wallace: But sir —

Trump: Excuse me, Chris, if you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people registered to vote. This isn’t coming from me, from fury report and other places. Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.

So let me just give you one other thing as I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people. I tell you one other thing. She shouldn’t be allowed to run. She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect I say it’s rigged. Because she should never — Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things.

Wallace: Sir, there is a tradition in this country, in fact one of the primes of this country is the peaceful transition of power. And that no matter how hard fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner. But that the loser concedes to the winner, and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?

Trump: What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?

Clinton: Let me respond to that, because that’s horrifying.

Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him. The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case. He said the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary.

He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering. He claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged.

Trump: Should have gotten it.

Clinton: This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks. And it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling.

Trump: Okay.

Clinton: Now that is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair election. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. You know, president Obama said the other day when you’re whining —

Wallace: — Hold on, folks, hold on, folks.

Clinton: Before you’re even finished, it shows you’re not up to doing the job. And let’s, you know, let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating, he is talking down our democracy.

And I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.

Trump: I think what the FBI did and the Department of Justice did including meeting with her husband, the attorney general in the back of an airplane on the tarmac in Arizona, I think it’s disgraceful. I think it’s a disgrace.

Wallace: All right.

Trump: I think we’ve never had a situation so bad as. This.

Wallace: Hold on, folks. This doesn’t do any good for anyone. Let’s please continue the debate and move on to the subject of foreign hot spots. The Iraqi defensive to take back Mosul has begun. If they’re successful in pushing ISIS out of that city and out of all of Iraq, the question then becomes what happens the day after. And that’s something that whichever — whoever of you ends up as president is going to have to confront. Will you put U.S. troops into that vacuum to make sure ISIS doesn’t come back or isn’t replaced by something even worse? Secretary Clinton, you go first in this segment. You have two minutes.

Clinton: Well, I am encouraged that there is an effort led by the Iraqi army, supported by Kurdish

forces and also given the help and advice from the number of special forces and Americans on the ground. I will not support putting American forces into Iraq as a force. I don’t think that is in our interest and I don’t think it would be smart to do. Chris, I think that would be a big red flag waving for ISIS to reconstitute itself. The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqah, which is the ISIS headquarters.

I am hopeful that the hard work that American military advisers have done will pay off, and that we will see a really successful military operation. But we know we’ve got lots of work to do. Syria will remain a hotbed as terrorism as long as the civil war aided and abetted by the Iranians and the Russians continue.

So I have said look, we need to keep our eye on ISIS. That’s why I want to have an intelligence surge that protect us here at home while we have to go after them from the air, on the ground, online. Why we have to make sure here at home we don’t let terrorists buy weapons. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun. And I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria. Not only to help protect the iranians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to frankly gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians so that perhaps we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on a political track.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, same question. If we are able to push ISIS out of mosul and out of Iraq, would you be willing to put U.S. Troops in there to prevent their return or something else?

Trump: Let me tell you, Mosul is so sad. We had Mosul. But when she left, she took everybody out, we lost Mosul. Now we’re fight again to get Mosul. The problem with Mosul and what they wanted to do is they wanted to get the leaders of ISIS who they felt were in Mosul. About three months ago, I started reading that they want to get the leaders. And they’re going to attack Mosul. Whatever happened to the element of surprise? Okay? We announce we’re going after Mosul. I’ve been reading about going after mosul now for how long? Three months? These people have all left. They’ve all left. The element of surprise. Douglas MacArthur, George Patton spinning in their graves when they see the stupidity of our country. So we’re now fighting for mosul that we had. All she had to do is stay there. Now we’re going in to get it. But you know who is big winner in mosul is going to be after we eventually get it? And the only reason they did it is because she is running for the office of president, and they want to look tough. They want to look good.

He violated the red line in the sand. And he made so many mistakes. Made all mistakes. That’s why we have the great migration. But she wanted to look good for the election. So they’re going in. But who is going to Mosul, really? By the way, much tougher than they thought.

Much tougher, going to be more deaths than they thought. But the leaders we wanted to get are all gone because they’re smart. They said what do we need this for? So Mosul is going to be a wonderful thing, and Iran should write us a letter of thank you, just like really stupid, the stupidest deal of all time.

A deal that is going to give Iran absolutely nuclear weapons. Iran should write us yet another letter saying thank you very much. Because Iran, as I said many years ago, Iran is taking over Iraq. Something they’ve wanted to do forever. But we’ve made it so easy for them. So we’re now going to take Mosul. And you know who is going to be the beneficiary? Iran. Boy are they making — I mean, they are outsmarting. Look, you’re not there. You might be involved in that decision. But you were there when you took everybody out of Mosul and out of Iraq. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq. But you did vote for it. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq. But once you were in Iraq, you should have never left the way.

Wallace: Sir, your two minutes are up.

Trump: The point is the winner is going to be Iran.

Clinton: Well, once again, Donald is implying that he didn’t support the invasion of Iraq. I said it was a mistake. I said that years ago. He has consistently defined knight —

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: What is a very clear fact.

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: That before the invasion he supported it. I just want everybody to go Google it. Google Donald Trump Iraq and you will see the dozens of sources which verify that he was for the invasion of Iraq.

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: And you can actually hear the audio of him saying that. Now why does that matter? Well, it matters because he has not told the truth about that position. I guess he believes it makes him look better now to contrast with me because I did vote for it. What’s really important here is to understand all the interplay. Mosul is a Sunni city. Mosul is on the border of Syria. And yes, we do need to go after Baghdadi, just like we went after bin laden while you were doingCelebrity Apprentice, and we brought him to justice. We need to go after the leadership, but we need to get rid of them, get rid of their fighters, their estimated several thousand fighters in Mosul.

They’ve been digging underground. They’ve been prepared to defend. It’s going to be tough fighting. I think we can take back mosul and move on into Syria and take bacharach ca. This is what we have to do. I’m just amazed that he seems to think that the Iraqi government and our allies and everybody else launched the attack on mosul to help me in this election. But that’s how Donald thinks, you know. Looking for some —

Trump: Chris, we don’t gain anything. Iran is taking over Iraq.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Trump: Iran is taking over Iraq.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Trump: We would have gained if we had surprise.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, it’s an open discussion. Secretary, secretary, please let Mr. Trump speak. Go ahead.

Clinton: And he proves it every time he talks.

Trump: No, you are the one that is unfit. Wikileaks just came out. John Podesta said some horrible things about you. And boy was he right. He said some beauties. And you know, Bernie Sanders, he said you have bad judgment. You do. And if you think that going into mosul after we let the world know we’re going in and all of the people that we really wanted, the leaders, they’re all gone. If you think that was good, then you do. Now John Podesta said you have terrible instincts. Bernie Sanders said you have bad judgment. I agree with both.

Clinton: Well, you should ask Bernie Sanders who he is supporting for president. And he has said —

Trump: Which is a big mistake.

Clinton: And campaigned for me around the country. You the most dangerous person to run for president in the modern history of America. I think he is right.

Wallace: Let’s turn to Aleppo. Mr. Trump, in the last debate, you were both asked about the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo. And I want to follow up on that because you said several things in that debate which were not true, sir. You said that Aleppo has basically fallen. In fact, there are — it’s a catastrophe.

Trump: It is a catastrophe.

[Crosstalk]

Wallace: Are a quarter million people still living there and being slaughtered.

Trump: That’s right. And they’re being slaughtered because of bad decisions.

Wallace: If I may just finish here. And you also said that ISIS — that Syria and Russia are busy fighting ISIS. In fact, they have been the ones who have been bombing and shelling eastern Aleppo. And they just announced a humanitarian pause, in effect admit Thanksgiving have been bombing and shelling Aleppo. Would you like to clear that up, sir?

Trump: Well, Aleppo is a disaster. It’s a humanitarian nightmare. But it has fallen from any standpoint. Whether you need to sign a document, take a look at Aleppo. It is so sad when you see what’s happened. And a lot of this is because of Hillary Clinton. Because what has happened, by fighting Assad, who turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought, and now she is going to say oh, he loves Assad, he’s just much tougher and much smarter than her and Obama. And everyone thought he was gone two years ago, three years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran. Who we made very powerful. We gave them $150 billion back. We give them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean cash, bundles of cash as big as this stage. We gave them $1.7 billion.

Now they have aligned, he has aligned with Russia and with Iran. They don’t want ISIS. But they have other things because we’re backing, we’re backing rebels. We don’t know who the rebels are. We’re giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don’t know who the rebels are. And when and if, and it’s not going to happen because you have Russia and you have Iran now. But if they ever did overthrow Assad, you might end up as bad as Assad is, and he is a bad guy.

But you may very well end up with worse than Assad. If she did nothing, we’d be in much better shape. And this is what has caused the great migration where she has taken in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who probably in many case, not probably, who are definitely in many cases ISIS aligned. And we now have them in our country and wait until you see this is going to be the great Trojan horse.

And wait until you see what happens in the coming years. Lots of luck, Hillary. Thanks a lot for doing a great job.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, you have talked about in the last debate and again today that you would impose a no-fly zone to try to protect top the killing there. President Obama has refused to do that because he fears it’s going to draw us closer, deeper into the conflict. And general Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff there says you want to impose a no-fly zone, chances are you’re going to get into a war, his words, with Syria and Russia. So the question I have, if you impose a no-fly zone, first of all, how do you respond to their concerns? Secondly, if you impose a no-fly zone and a Russian plane violates that, does president Putin shoot that plane down?

Clinton: First of all, I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I’m well aware of the really legitimate concerns you have expressed from both the president and the general. This would not be done just on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation, and it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe Zones on the ground.

We’ve had millions of people leave Syria. And those millions of people inside Syria who have been dislocated. So I think we could strike a deal and make a it very clear to the Russians and the Syrians that this was something that we believe was in the best interests of the people on the ground in Syria. It would help was our fight against ISIS. But I want to respond to what Donald said about refugees. He has made these claims repeatedly. I am not going to let anyone into this country who is not vetted, who we do not have confidence in.

But I’m not going to slam the door on women and children. That picture of that little 4-year-old boy in Aleppo with the blood coming down his face while he sat in an ambulance is haunting. And so we are going to do very careful, thorough vetting that does not solve our internal challenges with ISIS and our

need to stop radicalization, to work with American Muslim communities who are on the front lines to identify and prevent attacks. In fact, the killer of the dozens of people at the nightclub in Orlando, the pulse nightclub was born in queens, the same place Donald was born. So let’s be clear about what the threat is and how we are best going to be able to meet it. And yes, some of that threat emanates from over in Syria and Iraq, and we’ve got to keep fighting. And I will defeat ISIS. And some of it is we have to up our game and be much smarter here at home.

Wallace: I want to get into our final segment.

Trump: But I just have to, it’s so ridiculous. She will defeat ISIS. We should have never let ISIS in the first place. And right now they’re in 32 countries. Wait, one second. They have, and a ceasefire three weeks ago. A ceasefire, United States, Russian, Syria. And during the ceasefire, Russia took over vast swatches of land and then said we don’t want the ceasefire anymore. We’re so outplayed on missiles, on ceasefires. She was not there so I assume she has nothing to do with it. But our country is so outplayed by Putin and Assad and by Iran. Nobody can believe how stupid our leadership is.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, Secretary Clinton, we need to move on to our final segment. And that is the national debt, which has not been discussed until tonight. Our national debt a share of gdp is now 70 percent. That’s the highest since just after World War II. But the nonpartisan Committee for Responsible Budget says Secretary Clinton, under your plan, debt would rise to 86 percent of GPD over the next 10 years. Mr. Trump, under your plan, they say it would rise to 105 percent of GDP over the next 10 years. Question is, why are both of you ignoring this problem? Mr. Trump, you go first.

Trump: I say they’re wrong because I’m going to create tremendous jobs. And we’re bringing gdp from really 1 percent, which is what it is now. And if she got in it would be less than zero. But we’re bringing it from 1 percent up to 4 percent. I think you can go higher, to 5 or 6 percent. We have a tremendous machine. We will have created a tremendous economic machine. To do that, we’re taking back jobs. We’re not going to let our countries be raided by other countries where we don’t make our product anymore. It’s very sad. I’m going to create a kind of country that we were from the standpoint of industry. We used to be there. We have given it up. We have become very, very sloppy. We’ve had people that are political ax making the biggest deal in the world. Bigger than companies. You take these big companies.

These trade deals are far bigger than companies. Yet we don’t use our great leaders. Many of whom back me and many of whom back Hillary, I must say. But we don’t use those people. These are the greatest negotiators in the world. We are the greatest business people in the world. We have to use them to negotiate our trade deals. We use political hacks. We use people that get the position because they made a campaign contribution. And they’re dealing with China and people who have very much smarter than they are. We have to use our great people. We will create an economic machine the likes of which we haven’t seen in many decades. And people, Chris, will again go back to work. And they’ll make a lot of money. And we’ll have companies that will grow and expand and start from new.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, first when I hear Donald talk about that and his slogan is “Make America Great Again.” I wonder when he thought America was great. And before he rushes and says “Before you and president Obama were there,” I think it’s important to recognize that he has been criticizing our government for decades. You know, back in 1987, he took out a $100,000 ad in the New York Times during the time when President Reagan was president and basically said exactly what he just said now, that we were the laughingstock of the world.

He was criticizing President Reagan. This is the way Donald thinks about himself, puts himself into, you know, the middle and says I alone can fix it, as he said on the convention stage. But if you look at the debt, which is the issue you asked about, Chris, I pay for everything I’m proposing.

I do not add a penny to the national debt. I take that very seriously because I do think it’s one of the issues we’ve got to come to grips with.

So when I talk about how we’re going to pay for education, how we’re going to invest in infrastructure, how we’re going to get the cost of prescription drugs down, and a lot of the other issues that people talk to me about all the time, I’ve made it very clear, we are going where the money is.

We are going to ask the wealthy corporations to pay their fair share. And there is no evidence whatsoever that that will slow down or diminish our growth. In fact, I think just the opposite. We’ll have what economists call middle outgrowth. We’ve got to get back to rebuilding the middle class. The families of America. That’s where growth will come from. That’s why I want to invest in you. I want to invest in your family. And I think that’s the smartest way to grow the economy, to make the economy fairer. And we just have a big disagreement about this. It may be because of our experience. He started off with his dad as a millionaire. I started off with my dad as a small businessman.

Trump: We’ve heard this before. We’ve heard this before.

Clinton: I think it’s a difference that affects how we see the world and what we want to do with the economy.

Wallace: Time.

Trump: Thank you, Hillary. Could I just respond?

Wallace: Well, no. Because we’re running out of time.

Trump: Reagan was very strongly on trade. I disagreed with him. We should have been much tougher on trade even then. I’ve been waiting for years. Nobody does it right. And frankly now we’re going to do it right.

Wallace: The one last area I want to get into in this debate is the fact that the biggest driver of our debt is entitlements, which is 60 percent of all federal spending. Now the committee for federal — responsible federal budget has looked at both of your plans and they say neither of you has a serious plan that is going to solve the fact that Medicare is going to run out of money in the 2020s. Social Security is going to run out of money in the 2030s. And at that time, recipients are going to take huge cuts in their benefits.

So in effect, the final question I want to ask you in this regard, and let me start with you, Mr. Trump, would President Trump make a deal to save Medicare and Social Security that included both tax increases and benefit cuts in effect a grand bargain on entitlements?

Trump: I’m cutting tax. We’re going to grow the economy. It’s going grow at a record rate.

Wallace: But that’s not going to help entitlements.

Trump: It’s going to totally help you. And one thing we have to do, repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare. It’s destroying our country. It’s destroying businesses. We have to repeal and replace Obamacare. You take a look at the kind of numbers that that will cost us in the year ’17.

It is a disaster. If we don’t repeal and replace it’s probably going to die of its own weight. But Obamacare has to go. It’s — the premiums are going up 60, 70, 80 percent.

Next year they’re going to go up over 100 percent. And I’m really glad that the premiums have started at least the people see what is happening because she wants to keep Obamacare. And she wants to make it’s even worse. And it can’t get any worse. Bad Hillary Clinton — at the most we have to repeal and replace.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, same question. At this point, social security and medicare are going to run out. Will you as president consider a grand bargain, a deal that includes both tax increases and benefit cuts to try to save both fronts?

Clinton: I want to enhance benefits for low income workers and for women who have been disadvantaged by the current social security system. But what Donald is proposing with the massive tax cuts will result in a $20 trillion national debt — that will have dire consequences for social security and medicare. And I’ll say something about the Affordable Care Act, which he wants to repeal: The Affordable Care Act extended the solvency of the Medicare trust fund. So if he repeals it, our Medicare problem gets worse.

Trump: Your husband disagrees with you.

Clinton: The long-term health care drivers. We’ve got to get costs down, increase value, emphasize wellness. I have a plan for doing that. And I think that we will be able to get entitle spending under control by with more resources and smarter decisions. Wallace: This is the final time probably to both of your delight that you’re going to be on stage together in this campaign. I would like to end it on a positive note, that you had not agreed to closing statements. But it seems to me in a funny way that might make it more interesting, because you haven’t prepared closing statements. So I would like you each to take — we’re going to put a clock up, a minute, as the final question and the final debate to tell the American people why they should elect you to be the next president. This is another new mini segment. Secretary Clinton, it’s your turn to go first.

Clinton: Well, I would like to say to everyone watching tonight, that I’m reaching out to all Americans — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be to grow the economy, to make it fairer, to make it work for everyone. We need your talents, your skills, your commitment, your energy, your ambition. I’ve been privileged to see the presidency up close.

And I know the awesome responsibility of protecting our country and the incredible opportunity of working to try to make life better for you. I have made the cause of children and families really my life’s work.

That’s what my mission will be in the presidency. I will stand up for families against powerful interests, against corporations. I will do everything that I can to make sure that you have good jobs with rising incomes, that your kids have good educations from preschool through college. I hope you will give me a chance to serve as your president.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, thank you. Mr. Trump?

Trump: She is raising the money from the people she wants to control. It doesn’t work that way. When I started this campaign, I started it very strongly. It’s called make America great again.

We’re going to make America great. We have a depleted military. It has to be helped. It has to be fixed. We have the greatest people on Earth in our military.

Well don’t take care off our veterans. We take care of illegal immigrants better than we take care of our military. That can’t happen. Our policemen and women are disrespected. We need law and order, but we need justice too. Our inner cities are a disaster. You get shot walking to the store. They have no education, they have no jobs. I will do more for African Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in ten lifetimes. All she has done is talk to the African Americans and to the Latinos.

But they get the vote and then they come back — they say we’ll see you in four years. We are going to make America strong again. And we are going to make America great again. And it has to start now. We cannot take four more years of Barack Obama. And that’s what you get when you get her.

Wallace: Thank you, both. Secretary Clinton — hold on just a moment, folks — Secretary Clinton, and Mr.Trump, I want to thank you both for participating in all three of these debates that brings to an end this year’s debate sponsored by the commission on presidential debates.

We want to thank the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and its students for having us. Now the decision is up to you.

Well, millions have already voted election day, November 8th is just 20 days away. One thing everyone here can agree on. We hope you will go vote. It’s one of the honors and obligations of living in this great country. Thank you and good night.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 9, 2016: The second Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

2016

The second Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

Source: Vox, 10-9-16

Raddatz: Good evening. I’m Martha Raddatz from ABC news.

Cooper: And I’m Anderson Cooper from CNN, we want to welcome you to Washington University in St. Louis for the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sponsored by the Commission on presidential debates. Tonight’s debate is a town hall format which gives voters the chance to directly ask the candidates questions. Martha and I will ask follow-up questions but the night really belongs to the people in this room and to people across the country who committed questions online. The people you see on this stage were chosen by the Gallup organization, are all from the St. Louis area and told Gallup they have not committed to a candidate. Each of them came here with questions they wanted to ask and we saw the questions for the first time this morning. Anderson and I and our team from ABC and CNN are the only ones who have seen them. Both candidates will have two minutes to answer each audience and online question we hope to get to as many questions as we can. We asked the audience not to slow things down with any applause, except for now. Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump and the democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton.

Anderson Cooper: Thank you very much.

We’re honored to be here. Also the Commission on Presidential Debates for sponsoring this. This is obviously a town hall format tonight — a chance for the Americans on this stage and thousands of people who have sent in questions online to ask questions directly to the candidates.

Martha Raddatz: After they’ve asked their questions, they’ve promised to remain silent and I know you’ve heard this before this evening, but no outbursts of any kind. We want to keep this focused on the candidates and the people who are asking the questions here. We appreciate your cooperation and we’ll start shortly. Great to see you all.

MR: Good evening. I’m Martha Raddatz from ABC news.

AC: I’m Anderson Cooper from CNN. We want to welcome you to Washington University for the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. Tonight’s debate is a town hall format, which gives voters the chance to directly ask questions. The night really belongs to the people in this room and to people across the country who have submitted questions online.

The people you see on this stage were chosen by the Gallup organizations. They are all from the St. Louis area and told Gallup they haven’t committed to candidate. Each of them came here with questions they want to ask. And we saw those questions for the first time this morning. And son and I and our team from ABC and CNN are the only ones who have seen them. Both candidates will have two minutes to answer each audience and online question, we hope to get to as many as we can, so we’ve asked the audience not to slow things down with applause. Except for now. Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump and democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Thank you very much for being here. We’re going to begin with a question from one of members in our town hall. Each of you will have two minutes to respond to this question. Secretary Clinton, you won the coin toss.

Voter: Thank you and good evening. The last debate could have been rated as MA: mature audiences, per TV parental guidelines. Do you feel you’re models appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth.

Clinton: Thank you. Are you a teacher? Yes, I think that that’s a very good question. Because I’ve heard from lots of teachers and parents about some of their concerns. About some of the things that are being said and done in this campaign. And I think it is very important for us to make clear to our children that our country really is great because we’re good.

And we are going to respect one another. Lift each other up. We are going to be looking for ways to celebrate our diversity.

And we are going to try to reach out to every boy and girl as well as every adult, to bring them into working on behalf of our country. I have a very positive and optimistic view about what we can do together.

That’s why the slogan of my campaign is stronger together, because when we work together, if we overcome the divisiveness that sometimes sets Americans against one another and instead make big goals, and I’ve set forth some big goals — getting the economy to work for everyone, not just those at the top. Making sure we have the best education system from preschool to college and making it affordable and so much else. If we set those goals and go together to try to achieve them, there’s nothing in my opinion that America can’t do.

So that’s why I hope that we will come together in this campaign. Obviously, I’m going to earn your vote, hoping to be elected in November, and I can promise you, I will work with every American.

I want to be the president for all Americans, regardless of your political beliefs, where you come from, what you look like, your religion. I want us to heal our country and bring it together. Our children and grandchildren deserve that.

AC: Thank you. You have two minutes.

DT: Well, I actually agree with that. I agree with everything she said. I began this campaign because I was so tired of seeing such foolish things happen to our country. This is a great country. A great land. I’ve gotten to know the people of the country over the last year and a half that I’ve been doing this as a politician. I cannot believe I’m saying that about myself, but I guess I have been a politician, and my whole concept was to make America great again.

When I watched the Iran deal being made, some horrible things like Obamacare, health insurance, and health care is going up with numbers that are astronomical, 68 percent, 71 percent, when I look at the Iran deal and how bad a deal it is for us. It’s a one-sided transaction. Where we’re giving back $150 billion to a terrorist state really the number one terror state, we’ve made them a strong country from really a very weak country from just three years ago.

When I look at all of the things that I see and all of the potential that our country has — we have such tremendous potential. Whether it’s in business and trade, where we’re doing so badly. Last year, we had almost $800 billion trade deficit. Other words, trading with other countries. We had an $800 billion deficit. It’s hard to believe.

Inconceivable. We’re going the make great deals. Haivng a strong border is going to bring back law and order. Just today policeman were shot — two, killed. And this is happening on a weekly basis. We have to bring back respect to law enforcement. At the the same time, we need the take care of people on both sides. We need justice. But I want to do things that haven’t been done, including fixing and making inner-cities better for African-Americans and for the Latinos, Hispanics, and I look forward to making America great again.

AC: Thank you, Mr. Trump. The question from Patrice was are you both modeling appropriate behaviors for today’s youth. We received a lot of questions about the tape released on Friday. You called what you said locker room banter — kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.

DT: I don’t think you understood.

This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. To the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk. When we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have frankly drowning people in steel cages, wars, and horrible, horrible fights all over — so many bad things happening. We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world. Can you imagine the people that are frankly doing so well against us with ISIS? And they look at our country and see what’s going on. Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS.

ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum left because of bad judgment, and I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS.

AC: So, Mr. Trump —

DT: Get on to much more important things and much bigger things.

AC: For the record, are you saying, what you said on the bus 11 years ago, that you did not kiss women without consent or grope women without consent.

DT: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.

AC: So, you’re saying you never did that.

DT: I said things that frankly, you hear these things. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.

AC: Have you ever done those things?

DT: No, I have not. I will tell you that I’m going the make our country safe. We’re going to have borders in our country, which we don’t know. People are pouring into our country and coming in from the Middle East and other places.

We’re going to make America safe again. Make America great again, but safe again. And we’re going to make America wealthy again because if you don’t do that, it just, it sounds harsh to say, but we have to — I would build up the wealth.

AC: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

DT: Other nations are taking our jobs and wealth.

AC: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?

HC: Well, like everyone else, I spent a lot of time thinking over the last 48 hours about what we heard and saw. You know, with prior Republican nominees, for president, I disagreed with them. Politics, policies, principles.

But I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different. I said starting back in June, that he was not fit to be president and commander in chief. And many Republicans and independents have said the same thing. What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women.

And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly what he is. Because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women. On their appearance. Ranking them from one to 10. We’ve seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms, so, yes, this is who Donald Trump is. But it’s not only women and it’s not only this video that raises questions about his fitness to be our president.

Because he has also targeted immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, Muslims, and others, so, this is who Donald Trump is, and the question for us, the question our country must answer is that this is not who we are. That’s why, to go back to your question, I want to send a message we all should. To every boy and girl and indeed to the entire world.

That America is great and we are great, because we are good and we will respect one another. And we will work with one another and we will celebrate our diversity.

These are very important values to me because this is the America that I know and love. And I can pledge to you tonight that this is the America that I will serve if I’m so fortunate enough to become your president.

MR: And we want to get to some questions —

DT: Am I allowed to respond to that?

MR: Yes.

DT: It’s just words, folks. Just words. Those words, I’ve been hearing them for many years. I heard them when they were running for the Senate. In New York.

Where Hillary was going to bring back jobs to upstate New York and she failed. I’ve heard them where Hillary is constantly talking about the inner cities of our country, which are a disaster. Education-wise. Job0-ise. Safety-wise. In every way possible, I’m going to help the African Americans, help the Latinos, Hispanics. I am going to help the inner cities.

She’s done a terrible job for the African Americans. She wants their votes and does nothing and then comes back four years later. We saw that firsthand when the United States senator she campaigned where the —

MR: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump — I want to get to audience questions and online questions.

DT: So, she’s allowed to do that, but I’m not allowed to respond. Sounds fair.

DT: This tape is generating intense interest. In just 48 hours, it’s become the single most talked about story of the entire 2016 [cycle] on Facebook with millions and millions of people discussing it on social network.

As we said, we want to bring in questions from voters around country via social media and our first on this topic. Jeff from Ohio asks on Facebook, Trump says the campaign has changed him. When did that happen? So, Mr. Trump, let me add to that. When you walked off that bus at age 59, were you a different man, or did that behavior continue until just recently? And you have two minutes for this.

DT: That was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I am a person who has great respect for people, for my family, for the people of this country. And certainly I’m not proud of it, but that was something that happened. If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse, mine are words, his was action. This is what he has done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women, so you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women.

Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them are here tonight. One of the women, who is a wonderful woman, at 12 years-old, was raped at 12. Her client she represented got him off and she’s seen laughing at the girl who was raped. She is here with us tonight, so, don’t tell me about words. And absolutely, I apologize for those words. But it is things that people say, but what President Clinton did, he was impeached, lost his license to practice law. He had to pay an $850,000 fine. To one of the women. Paula Jones, who’s also here tonight.

And I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that and talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth.

HC: First, let me say so much of what he just said is not right, but he gets to run his campaign any way he chooses. He gets to decide what he gets to talk about.

Instead of answering people’s questions, laying out the plans we have that make a better life and a better country. That’s his choice. When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all.

When they go low, you go high.

And look, if this were just about one video, maybe what he’s saying tonight would be understandable, but everyone can draw their own conclusions at this point about whether or not the man in video or on the stage respects women. But he never apologizes for anything to win.

He never apologized to Mr. And Mrs. Khan, the gold star family whose son died in the line of duty, and Donald insulted and attacked them for weeks over their religion. He never apologized to the distinguished federal judge who was born in Indiana, but Donald said he couldn’t be trusted to be a judge because his parents were, quote, Mexican. He never apologized to the reporter that he mimicked and mocked on national television.

And our children were watching. And he never apologized for the racist lie that President Obama was not born in the United States of America. He owes the president apology. He owes our country an apology and he needs to take responsibility for his actions and words.

DT: Well, you owe the president an apology because as you know very well, your campaign Sidney Blumenthal, another real winner that you have and he’s the one that got this started along with your campaign manager and they were on television just two weeks ago, she was, saying exactly that. So, you really owe him an apology. You’re the one that sent the pictures around your campaign. Sent the pictures around with president Obama, long before I was involved. Number two, Michelle Obama. I’ve gotten to see the commercials that they did on you.

And I’ve gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary. So, you talk about friend, go back and take a look at those commercials. A race where you lost fair and square.

Unlike the Bernie Sanders race, where you won, but not fair and square, in my opinion. All you have to do is take a look at Wikileaks and see what they say about Sanders and see what Wasserman-Schultz had in mind. Never had a chance. I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil, but when you talk about apology, I think the one you should really be apologizing for and this thing you should be apologizing for are the 33,000 e-mails that you deleted and that you acid washed and then the two boxes of e-mails and other things last week taken from an office and are now missing. I’ll tell you what I didn’t think I’d say this and I’m going to say it and hate to say it: If I win, I’m going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there’s never been so many lies, so much deception.

Never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor. When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails and you get a subpoena and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails and then acid watch them or bleach them. A very expensive process, so we’re going to get a special prosecutor because people have been, their lives have been destroyed for doing one fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace and honestly, you ought to be ashamed.

HC: Let me just talk about e-mails because everything he just said is absolutely false. But I’m not surprised. And the first debate, and —

AC: The audience needs to calm down here.

HC: I told people it would be impossible be fact checking all the the time — I’d never get to talk about anything I want to do or how we’re going to make lives better for people. So go to HillaryClinton.com. You can fact check him in realtime, last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so expect we’ll have millions more fact checking. It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.

DT: Because you’d be in jail.

AC: We want to remind the audience to please not — talk out loud. Please do not applaud. You’re just wasting time.

MR: You’ve said your handing of your e-mails was a mistake. You disagreed with James Comey, calling it quote extremely careless. The FBI said there were 110 e-mails, eight of which were Top Secret, and it was possible hostile actors did gain access. You don’t call that extremely careless?

HC: I’ll repeat it because I want everyone to hear it. That was a mistake and I take responsibility. For using a personal e-mail account. Obviously, if I were to do it over again, I would not. I’m not making any excuses. It was a mistake.

And I am very sorry about that. But I think it’s also important to point out where there are some misleading accusations from critics and others.

After a year long investigation, there is no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using and no evidence that anyone can point to at all anyone who says otherwise has no basis. That any classified material ended up in the wrong hands. I take classified materials very seriously and always have when I was on the senate armed services committee, I was privy to a lot of classified material.

Obviously, as secretary of state, I had some of the most important secrets that we possess such as going after bin laden so I am very committed to taking classified information seriously. There is no evidence that any classified information ended up in the wrong hands.

DT: And yet, she didn’t know the word the letter C on a document.

Right? She didn’t even know what that letter meant. You know, it’s amazing. I’m watching Hillary go over facts. And she’s going after fact after fact and lying again. Because she said she, you know, what she did — the e-mail — was fine. You think it was fine? I don’t think so. She said that 33,000 e-mails had to do with her daughter’s wedding, number one and a yoga class.

Right? She didn’t even know what that letter meant. You know, it’s amazing. I’m watching Hillary go over facts. And she’s going after fact after fact and lying again. Because she said she, you know, what she did — the e-mail — was fine. You think it was fine? I don’t think so. She said that 33,000 e-mails had to do with her daughter’s wedding, number one and a yoga class.

Maybe we’ll give three or four or five; 33,000 e-mails deleted and now, she’s saying there wasn’t anything wrong more importantly, that was after getting the subpoena. Got it from the United States Congress and I’ll be honest, I am so disappointed in congressmen, including Republicans, for allowing this to happen. Our justice department — where her husband goes on to the back of a plane for 39 minutes, talks to the attorney general, days before a ruling is going to be made on her case. But for you to say that there was nothing wrong with you deleting 39,000 e-mails, again, you should be ashamed of yourself. What you did and this is after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.

Moderator: We have to move on. Secretary Clinton, you can respond.

Moderator: We want to give the audience a chance here.

DT: Let alone after getting a subpoena from the United States government.

Moderator: Clinton, you can respond. We have to move on to an audience question.

HC: Look, it’s just not true, so please —

DT: You didn’t delete them?

AC: Allow her to respond, please.

DT: 33,000.

HR: Not, well, we turned over 35,000 so —

DT: What about the other 15,000?

AC: Please allow her to respond. She didn’t talk while you talked.

HC: Yes, that’s true, I didn’t. In the first debate and I’m going to try not to in this debate because I’d like to get to the questions.

DT: Get off this question.

HC: Okay, Donald, I know you’re into big diversion tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you.

Moderator: We have a question from Ken. About health care.

DT: I’d like to know why aren’t you bringing up the e-mails? It hasn’t been finished.

Moderator: Ken has a question.

DT: Nice, one on three.

Ken: Thank you. The Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up and the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down, and make coverage better?

AC: That first one goes to secretary Clinton because you started out the last one to the audience.

HC: He wants to start. He can start. Go ahead, Donald.

DT: No, I’m a gentlemen, go ahead.

HC: Well, I think he was about to say he’s going to solve it by repealing it and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act and I’m going to fix it. Because I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copay, deductibles, prescription drug costs — and I’ve laid out a series of options we can take to try to get those costs down. Here’s what I don’t want people to forget when we talk about ranging in the cost. When the Affordable Care Act passed, it wasn’t just 20 million [people who] got insurance who didn’t have it before. That was a good thing.

I meet these people all the time and they tell in what a difference it meant having that. But if [anything] else, the 170 million of of us who got insurance through our employees, got big benefits. Number one, insurance companies can’t deny you coverage because of a preexisting condition.

Number two, no lifetime limits, which is a big deal in you have serious health problems. Number three, women can’t be charged more than men for health insurance, which is the way it used to be. Number four, if you’re under 26, and your parents have a policy, you can be on that policy until age 26. So I want very much to save what works and is good about the affordable care act, but we’ve got to get costs down. We’ve got to provide additional help to small businesses. To know that they can afford to provide health insurance. But if we repeal it as Donald has proposed and start over again, all of those benefits are lost to everybody. Not just people who get their health insurance on the exchange. And then we would have to start all over again. Right now, we are at 90 percent health insurance coverage. That’s highest we’ve ever been in our country. I want us to get 100% and keep costs down and quality up.

AC: You have two minutes.

DT: It is such a great question and maybe the question I get almost more than anything else. Outside of defense. Obamacare is a disaster. You know it. We all know it. It’s going up at numbers that nobody’s seen worldwide. Nobody’s ever seen numbers like this for health care. Only gets worse. Their method of fixing it is to go back and ask congress for more and more money. We have almost $20 trillion in debt. Obamacare will never work. It’s very bad. Very bad health insurance. Far too expensive. And not only expensive for the person that has it, unbelievably expensive for our country. One of the biggest line items very shortly. We have to repeal it. And replace it. With something absolutely much less expensive.

And something that works. Where your plan can actually be tailored. We have to get rid of the lines around the state. Artificial lines, where we stop insurance companies from coming in and competing because they want and President Obama and whoever was working on it, they want to leave those lines because that gives the insurance companies essentially monopolies. We want competition.

You’ll have the finest health care plan there is. She wants to go to a single payer plan, which would be a disaster. Somewhat similar to Canada. If you’ve noticed the Canadians, when they need a big operation, they come into the United States in many cases, because their system is so slow. It’s catastrophic in certain ways. But she wants to go to single payer, which means the government basically rules everything. Hillary Clinton has been after this for years. Obamacare was the first step.

Obamacare is a total disaster, and not only are your rates going up by numbers nobody’s believed, but your deductibles are going up so unless you get hit by a truck, you’re never going to be able to use it. It is a disastrous plan and has to be repealed. And replaced.

MR: Your husband called Obamacare quote, the craziest thing in the world. Small business owners are getting killed, coverage is cut in half. Was he [exaggerating] or simply telling the truth.

HC: He clarified, and it’s clear. Look, we are in a situation in our country, where if we were to start all over again, we might come up with a different system. But we have an employer based system. That’s where the vast majority of people get their health care. And the Affordable Care Act was meant to try to fill the gap between people who were too poor and couldn’t put together any resources to afford health care, namely, people on medicaid. Obviously, medicare, which is a single payer system. Which takes care of our elderly, and does a great job doing it, by the way, and then all of the people who were employed.

But people who were working, but didn’t have the money to afford insurance and didn’t have anybody, an employer, anybody else to help them. That was the slot that the Obama care approach was to take. And like I say, 20 million people now have health insurance. So, if we just rip it up and throw it away, what Donald’s not telling you is we just turn it back to the insurance companies the way it used to be and that means the insurance companies get to do pretty much whatever they want, including saying “look, sorry, you’ve got diabetes, you had cancer, your child has asthma.” You may not be able to have insurance because you can’t afford it, so let’s fix what’s broken about it, but let’s not throw it away and give it back to the insurance companies. That’s not going to work.

MR: Mr. Trump —

DT: First of all, Hillary, everything’s broken about it. Everything. Number two, Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton has very bad judgment. This is a perfect example of it.

MR: Mr. Trump, you’ve said you want to end Obamacare and make coverage accessible for people with preexisting conditions. How do you force insurance companies to do that if you’re no longer mandating — what does that mean?

DT: I’ll tell you. You’re going to have plans that are so good because we’re going to have some competition. Once we break out the lines and allow the competition to come.

AC: Are you going to have a mandate that Americans have to have health insurance?

DT: President Obama by keeping those — and it was almost gone until just right toward the end of the passage of Obamacare, which was a fraud. You know that, because Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, said it was a great lie. It was big lie. President Obama said you keep your plan, the whole thing was a fraud and it doesn’t work.

When we get rid of those lines, you have competition and we’ll be able to keep preexisting and help people that can’t get, don’t have money because we are going to have people protected. And Republicans feel this way. Believe it or not and strongly this way. We’re going to block grant. Into the states. Block grant into medicaid. So we will be able to take care of people without the necessary funds to take care of themselves.

MR: Now a question for both candidates.

Voter: There are 3.3 Muslims in the United States and I’m one of them. You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being a threat to the country after the election is over.

MR: Mr. Trump.

DT: You’re right about Islamophobia and that’s a shame. One thing we have to do is we have to make sure that because there is a problem, whether we like it or not — and we could be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem and we have to be sure that muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.

In San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. Never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them. And you know, there’s always a reason for everything. If they don’t do that, it’s a very difficult situation for our country because you look at Orlando. And you look at San Bernardino and the World Trade Center. Look at Paris. The horrible, these are radical islamic terrorists. And she won’t even mention the word and nor will President Obama.

He won’t use the term, “radical Islamic terrorism.” Now, to solve the problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. She won’t say the name and President Obama won’t say the name. But the name is there. It’s “radical Islamic terror” and before you solve it, you have to say the name.

Moderator: Secretary Clinton.

HC: Thank you for asking your question, and I’ve heard this question from a lot of Muslim Americans across our country. Because unfortunately, there’s been a lot of very divisive, dark things said about Muslims.

And even someone like the young man who sacrificed himself defending our country from the United States army has been subject to attack by Donald. I want to say just a couple of things. First, we’ve had Muslims in America since George Washington. And we’ve had many successful Muslims.

We just lost a particular well-known one with Muhammad Ali. My vision of America is an America where everyone has a place. If you’re willing to work hard, you do your part, you contribute to the community. That’s what America is. That’s what we want America to be for, for our children and grandchildren. It’s also very short-sighted and even dangerous. To be engaging in the kind of rhetoric that Donald has about Muslims.

We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines. I’ve worked with a lot of different Muslim groups around America. I’ve met with a lot of them and heard how important it is for them to feel they are wanted and included and part of our country, part of our homeland security and that’s what I want to see. It’s also important I intend to defeat ISIS.

To do so, in a coalition with majority Muslim nations. Right now, a lot of those nations are hearing what Donald says and wondering, “why should we cooperate with the Americans?” and this is a gift to ISIS and the terrorists. Violent jihadist terrorist. We are not at war with Islam. And it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as though we are. So, I want a country where citizens like you and your family are just as welcome as anyone else.

MR: Thank you, Secretary Clinton.

Mr. Trump, in December, you said this. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the united States until we can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice. We have no choice.” Your running mate said this week that the Muslim ban [is not your] position. Is that correct? And if it is, was it a mistake to have a religious test?

DT: First of all, Captain Kahn is an American hero and if I were president at this time, he would be alive today because unlike her, who voted for the war without knowing what she was doing, I would not have had our people in Iraq. Iraq was disaster. So he would have been alive today. The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into a extreme vetting. From certain areas of the world. Hillary Clinton wants to allow —

MR: And why did it morph into that? Answer the question. Do you still believe —

DT: Why don’t you interrupt her?

MR: Would you please explain whether or not the ban still stands?

DT: It’s called extreme vetting. We are going to areas like Syria. Where they’re coming in by the tens of thousands because of Barack Obama. And Hillary Clinton wants to allow a 550 percent increase over Obama.

People are coming into our country like we have no idea who they are. Where they are from. What their feeling about our country is and she wants 550 percent more. This is going to be the great Trojan horse of all time. I believe in building safe zones, in having other people pay for them as an example, the gulf states who are not carrying their weight, but have nothing but money, and take care of people but I don’t want to have with all the problems this country has and all of the problems that you see going on, hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria when we know nothing about them. We know nothing about their values and we know nothing about their love for our country.

MR: And Secretary Clinton, let me ask you about that. Because you have asked for an increase from ten to 65,000 Syrian refugees. We know you want tougher vetting. That’s not a perfect system. So, why take the risk of having those refugees come into the country?

HC: First of all, I will not let anyone into our country that I think poses a risk to us. But there are a lot of refugees, women and children, think of that picture we all saw of that 4-year-old boy with the blood on his forehead because he had been bombed by the Russian and Syrian air forces. There are children suffering in this catastrophic war. Largely I believe because of Russian aggression. And we need to do our part.

We by no means are carrying anywhere near the load that Europe and others are. But we will have vetting that is as tough as it needs to be from our professionals, our intelligence experts and others. But it is important for us as a policy, you know, not to say as Donald has said, we’re going to ban people based on a religion. How do you do that? We are a country founded on religious freedom and liberty.

How do we do what he has advocated without causing great distress within our own country … are we going to have religious tests?

When people fly into our country? And how do we expect to be able to implement those? So, I thought that what he said was extremely unwise. And even dangerous. And indeed, you can look at the problem began da on a lot of the terrorists sites and what Donald Trump says about muslims is used to recruit fighters.

Because they want to create a war between us. And the final thing I would say, this is the tenth or 12th he’s denied being for the war in Iraq. We have it on tape. The entire press corps has looked at it. Never stops him from saying what he wants to say. You can see it.

DT: Has not been debunked.

MR: I’d like to move on.

DT: She just went about 25 second over her time. Could I just respond to this, please?

MR: Very quickly, please.

DT: Hillary Clinton in terms of having people come into our country, we have many criminal illegal aliens, when we want to send them back to their country, their country says we don’t want them. In some cases, they’re murders and they don’t want them. Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, said that’s okay, we can’t force it. Let me tell you, I’m going to force them right back into their country. Their murderers and some very bad people. When Bernie Sanders said she had bad judgment, she has really bad judgment because we are letting people into this country that are going to cause problems and crime like you’ve never seen.

We’re letting drugs pour through our southern border at a record clip and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. I.C.E. just endorsed me — 16,500 just endorsed me and they endorsed me because I understand the border. She doesn’t. She wants amnesty for everybody. Come right in. Come right over. It’s a horrible thing she’s doing. She’s got bad judgment. And honestly, so bad that she should never be president of the United States. That, I can tell you.

AC: I want to move op. This next question from the public through the bipartisan Open Debate, where Americans submitted questions that generated millions of votes. It was reported that excerpts of secretary Clinton’s paid speeches, in which she has refused to release, and one line, in which you say you need both a public and private position on certain issues. So, [Two], from Virginia asks, Is it okay for politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a private stance?

HC: Right, as I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln, and after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie calledLincoln. It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the congress to approve the 13th amendment. It was principled and strategic. I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the congress to do what you want to do. To keep working at it. And yes, President Lincoln was trying to convince some people to use some arguments. That was a great I thought a great display of presidential leadership.

But you know, let’s talk about what’s really going on because our intelligence community said the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, our directing the attacks, the hacking, on American accounts to influence our election. Other sites, where the Russians hack information. We don’t know if it’s accurate information and then they put it out. We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election. And believe me, they’re not doing it to get elected. They’re doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump. Now, maybe because he has praised Putin, maybe because he says he agrees with a lot of what Putin wants to do, maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons.

But we deserve answers. We should demand that will Donald release all of his tax returns so that people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships.

We should demand that will Donald release all of his tax returns so that people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships.

Moderator: We’re going to get to that later. Secretary, Clinton, you’re out of time.

DT: I think I should respond because so ridiculous. Now she’s blaming — she got caught in a total lie. Her papers went out to everybody at the banks, and she said things Wikileaks that just came out. She lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late great Abraham Lincoln. That’s one that I haven’t — okay, honest Abe never lied. That’s the good thing. That’s the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you. That’s a big, big difference — we’re talking about some difference.

But as far as other elements of what she was saying, I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together as an example. But I don’t know Putin. I notice anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia and the reason is because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know about Russia but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I have no businesses. I have no loans from Russia.

I have a very, very great balance sheet, so great when I did the old post office on Pennsylvania avenue, the united States government, because of my balance sheet which they actually know very well, chose me to do the old post office between the white house and congress, chose me to do the old post office. One of the primary area things, perhaps the primary thing was balance sheet. But I have no loans with Russia. You could go to the United States government and they would probably tell you that because they know my sheet very well in order to get that development. I had to have. Now the facts are very simple

First of all, I pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Many of her friends took bigger deductions, Warren Buffett took a massive deduction, Soros took a massive deduction. Many of the people giving her all this money that she can do many more commercials from me took massive deductions. I pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, about you, but as soon as my routine audit is finished I’ll release my returns.

AC: We have a question from Spencer Moss. Spencer?

Spencer: Good evening. My question is, what specific tax provisions will you change to insure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share intachs oo.

DT: One thing I would do is get rid of carried interest. One of the greatest provisions for people like me, I give up a lot when I run because I knock out the tax code. She could have done this be years ago. She’s a United States senator. She complains that Donald Trump took advantage of the tax code. Well, why didn’t she change it? Why didn’t you change it when you were a senator? The reason you didn’t is all your friends take the same advantage that I do. You have provisions in the tax code that frankly we could change. But you wouldn’t change it because all of these people give you the money so you can take negative ads on Donald Trump. But and I say that about a lot of things. I’ve heard Hillary complaining about so many different things over the years. I wish you would have done this. For 30 years, she’s been doing this stuff. She never changed and she never will change. We’re getting rid of carried interest provisions. I’m lowering taxes actually because I think it’s so important for corporations because we have corporations leaving massive corporations and little ones, little ones can’t form. We’re getting rid of regulations which goes hand in hand with the lowering of the taxes. We’re bringing the tax rate down from 35 percent to 15 percent. We’re cutting taxes for the middle class.

I will tell you we are cutting them big league for the middle class. I will tell you, Hillary Clinton is raising your taxes, folks. You can look at me. She’s raising your taxes really high. And what that’s going to do is a disaster for the country.

But she is raising your taxes and I’m lowering your taxes. That in itself is a big difference. We are going to be thriving again. We have no growth in this country. If China has a GDP of 7 percent, it’s like a national catastrophe. We’re down to 1 percent. And that’s like no growth. We’re going lower in my opinion. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that our taxes are so high. Just about the highest in the world. And I’m bringing them down to one of the lower in the world. And I think it’s so important, one of the most important things we can do. But she is raising everybody’s taxes massively.

Moderator: Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes. The question is, what specific tax provisions will you change to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes.

HC: Well, everything you’ve heard everywhere Donald just now is not true. I’m sorry I have to keep saying this, but he lives in an alternative reality. It is sort of amusing to hear somebody who hasn’t paid federal income taxes in maybe 20 years talking about what he’s going to do. I’ll tell you what he’s going to do. His plan will give the wealthy and corporations the biggest tax cuts they’ve ever had. More than the Bush tax cuts by at least a factor of two. Donald always takes care of Donald and people like Donald and this would be a massive gift. And indeed, the way that he talks about his tax cuts would end up raising taxes on middle class families, millions of middle class families. Here’s what I want to do. I have said nobody who makes less than $250,000 a year, and that’s the vast majority of Americans as you know, will have their taxes raised because we’ve got to go where the money is. The money is with people who have taken advantage of every single break in the tax code. Yes, when I was a senator, I did vote to close corporate loopholes.

I voted to close, I think one of the loopholes he took advantage of when he claimed a billion dollar loss that enabled him to avoid paying taxes. I want to have a tax on people who are making a million dollars called the Buffett rule. Yes, Warren Buffett has gone out and said somebody like him should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. I want a surcharge on income above $5 million. I want to invest in you. I want to invest in hard-working families. I think it’s been unfortunate but it’s happened since the great recession, the gains have all gone to the top. We need to reverse that. People like Donald who paid zero in taxes, zero for our vets, zero for our military, zero for health and education, that is wrong. And we’re going to make sure that nobody, no corporation, and no individual can get away without paying his fair share to support our country.

AC: Mr. Trump, I want to give you the chance to respond. I want to tell viewers. In the last month, taxes were the number one issue on Facebook for the first time in the campaign. The New York Times published three pages of your 1995 tax returns. You claimed a $916 million loss which means you could have avoided paying personal income taxes for years.

You said you pay property taxes, real estate taxes. You have not answered a simple question. Did you use the loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?

DC: Of course I do. So do all of her donors or most of her donors. I know many of her donors. They took massive tax write-offs.

AC: Have you paid personal federal tax?

DT: A lot of my write-off was depreciation and that Hillary as a senator allowed. The people that give her all this money want it. I understand it the tax code better than anybody that’s run for president. Hillary Clinton, it’s extremely complex. Hockey has friends that want the carried interest provision which is very important to Wall Street people. But they really want the carried interest provision. Which I believe Hillary’s leaving. Very interesting why she’s leaving carried interest. Number one, I pay tremendous numbers of taxes. I absolutely used it. So did Warren Buffett and so did George Soros and so did many of the other people that Hillary is getting money from. Now, I won’t mention their names because they’re rich but they’re not famous. We don’t make them famous.

AC: Can you say how many years you have avoided paying personal federal income taxes?

DC: Of course I do. So do all of her donors or most of her donors. I know many of her donors. They took massive tax write-offs.

AC: Have you paid personal federal tax?

DT: A lot of my write-off was depreciation and that Hillary as a senator allowed. The people that give her all this money want it. I understand it the tax code better than anybody that’s run for president. Hillary Clinton, it’s extremely complex. Hockey has friends that want the carried interest provision which is very important to Wall Street people. But they really want the carried interest provision. Which I believe Hillary’s leaving. Very interesting why she’s leaving carried interest. Number one, I pay tremendous numbers of taxes. I absolutely used it. So did Warren Buffett and so did George Soros and so did many of the other people that Hillary is getting money from. Now, I won’t mention their names because they’re rich but they’re not famous. We don’t make them famous.

AC: Can you say how many years you have avoided paying personal federal income taxes?

DT: No, but I pay tax and pay federal tax, too. I have a write-off, a lot of it is depreciation. It’s a wonderful charge. If she had a problem for 30 years, she’s been doing this, Anderson. I say it all the time. She talks about health care. Why didn’t she do something about it? She talks about taxes. She doesn’t do anything about anything other than talk. With her, it’s all talk and no action. In the past — and again, Bernie Sanders, it’s really bad judgment. She has made bad judgment not only on taxes, she’s made bad judgments on Libya, on Syria. On Iraq. I mean, her and Obama, whether you like it or not, the way they got out of Iraq, the vacuum they’ve left, that’s why ISIS formed in the first place. They started from that little area and now they’re in 32 different nations, Hillary. Congratulations. Great job.

Moderator: I want you to be able to respond, secretary Clinton.

HC: Well, here we go again. I’ve been in favor of getting rid of carried interest for years. Starting when I was a senator from New York. But that’s not the point here.

DT: Why didn’t you do it? Why didn’t you do it.

HC: Because I was a senator with a Republican president. I will be the president.

DT: You could have done it if you were an effective —

HC: That’s exactly right.

DT: If you were an effective senator, could you have done it. But you were not an effective senator.

AC: Please allow her to respond. She didn’t interrupt you.

HC: Under our constitution, presidents have something called veto power. Look, he has now said repeatedly 30 years this and 30 years that. So let me talk about my 30 years in public service. I’m very glad to do so. Eight million kids, every year, have health insurance because when I was first lady, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the children’s health insurance program. Hundreds of thousands of kids now have a chance to be adopted because I worked to change our adoption and foster care system.

After 9/11, I went to work with Republican mayor, governor and president to rebuild New York and to get health care for our first responders who were suffering because they had run toward danger and gotten sickened by it. Hundreds of thousands of National Guard and reserve members have healthcare because of work that I did. And children [receive] safer medicines because I was able to pass a law that required the dosing to be more carefully done.

When I was secretary of state, I went around the world advocating for our country but also advocating for women’s rights to make sure that women had a decent chance to have a better life. And negotiated a treaty with Russia to lower nuclear weapons. Four-hundred pieces of legislation have my name on it as a sponsor or cosponsor when I was a senator for eight years. I worked very hard and was very proud to be re-elected in new York by an even bigger margin than I had been elected the first time. And as president, I will take that work, that bipartisan work, that finding common ground because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington.

MR: Thank you, secretary.

HC: I’ve proven that I can and for 30 years, I’ve produced results for people.

MR: Thank you, secretary.

MR: We’re going to move on to Syria. Both of you have mentioned that.

DT: She said a lot of things that were false. I think we should be allowed —

MR: Mr. Trump, this is about the audience.

DT: She’s been a disaster as a senator.

MR: We’re going to move on. The heart breaking video of a 5-year-old Syrian boy sitting in an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble after an air striking in Aleppo focused the world’s attention on the horrors of the war in Syria with 136 million views of on Facebook alone.

But there are much worse … coming out of Aleppo every day now where in the past few weeks alone, 400 people have been killed, at least 100 of them children. Days ago, the state department called for a war crimes investigation of the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad and Russia for their bombardment of Aleppo. This next question comes through social media through Facebook.

Diane from Pennsylvania asks, if you were president what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? Isn’t it a lot like the holocaust when the US waited too long before we helped? Secretary Clinton, we’ll begin with your two minutes.

HC: Well, the situation in Syria is catastrophic. And every day that goes by, we see the results of the regime by Assad in partnership with the Iranians on the grounds, the Russians in the air bombarding places in particular Aleppo where there are hundreds of thousands of people probably about 250,000 still left. And there is a determined effort by the Russian air force to destroy Aleppo in order to eliminate the last of the Syrian rebels who are really holding out against the Assad regime. Russia hasn’t paid any attention to ISIS. They’re interested in keeping Assad in power.

So I when I was secretary of state, advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need to some leverage with the Russians because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground. But I want to emphasize that what is at stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia. Russia has decided that it’s all in in Syria. And they’ve also decided who they want to see become president of the United States too, and it’s not me. I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others and I would do that as president. I think wherever we can cooperate with Russia, that’s fine. And I did as secretary of state. That’s how we got a treaty reducing nuclear weapons. It’s how we got the sanctions on Iran that put a lid on the Iranian nuclear program without firing a single shot. So I would go to the negotiating table with more leverage than we have now but I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.

Moderator: Thank you, Secretary Clinton.

DT: First of all, she’s there with the so-called line in the sand.

HC: No, I wasn’t. I was gone. I hate to interrupt you but at some point we needed to do some fact checking.

DT: You were in contact with the White House and perhaps sadly, Obama probably still listened to you. I don’t think he would listen to you very much anymore. Obama draws the line in the sand. It was laughed at all over the world what happened. Now, with that being said, she talks tough against Russia. But our nuclear program has fallen way behind and they’ve gone wild with their nuclear program. Not good. Our government shouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

Russia is new in terms of nuclear. We are old. We’re tired. We’re exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing. She talks tough, she talks really tough against Putin. And against Assad. She talks in favor of the rebels. She doesn’t even know who they are. Every time we take rebels, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else, we’re arming people, and you know what happens? They end up being worse than the people. Look what she did in Libya with Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s out. It’s a mess. ISIS has a good chunk of their oil. I’m sure you probably have heard that. It was a disaster. The fact is almost everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake and it’s been a disaster. But if you look at Russia, just take a look at Russia, and look at what they did this week where I agree, she wasn’t there but possibly she’s consulted. We sign a peace treaty. Everyone’s excited.

What Russia did with Assad and with Iran who you made very powerful with the dumbest deal I’ve ever seen, the Iran deal with the $1.7 billion in cash which is enough to fill up this room. But look at — Iran now and Russia are now against us. So she wants to fight. She wants to fight for rebels. There’s only one problem. You don’t even know who the rebels are.

Moderator: Mr. Trump it, your two minutes is up.

DT: One thing I have to say. I don’t like Assad at all but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.

MR: Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and if Russia continues to be involved in air-strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.

DT: Okay. He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree.

MR: You disagree with your running mate.

DT: Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and Iran who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and very rich nation, very, very quickly. Very, very quickly.

I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. That was the line.

MR: What do you think will happen if Aleppo falls.

DT: It is a disaster.

MR: What do you think will happen if it falls?

DT: I think it basically has fallen.

Let me tell you something. You take a look at Mosul. The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul. We have … coming out of Washington and Iraq, we will be attacking mosul in three or four weeks. All of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul. Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success. People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking mosul within the next four to six weeks which is what they’re saying. How stupid is our country.

MR: There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.

DT: I can’t think of any. I’m pretty good at it. We have general Flynn. I have 200 generals and admiral who’s endorse me. I have 21 congressional medal of honor recipients who endorse me.

We talk about it all the time. They understand, why can’t they do something secretively where they go in and they knock out the leadership. How — why would these people stay there? I’ve been reading now.

MR: Tell me what your strategy is.

DT: — for weeks about Mosul. It’s the harbor between Raqqah and Mosul, this is where they think the ISIS leaders would be. They’re gone. Because everybody’s talking about how Iraq which is us with our leadership goes into fight mosul. Now, with these 200 admirals and generals, they can’t believe it. All I say is this.

General George Patton, general Douglas MacArthur are spinning in their grave as the stupidity of what we’re doing in the Middle East.

MR: Secretary Clinton, you want Assad to go. You advocated arming rebels. It looks like that may be too late for Aleppo. You talk about diplomatic efforts. Those have failed. Cease fires have failed. Would you introduce the threat of U.S. Military force beyond a no-fly zone against the Assad regime to back up diplomacy?

HC: I would not use American ground forces in Syria. I think that would be a very serious mistake. I don’t think American troops should be holding territory which is what they would have to do as an occupying force. I don’t think that is a smart strategy.

I do think the use of special forces which we’re using, the use of enablers and trainers in Iraq which has had some positive effects are very much in our interests and so I do support what is happening, but let me just.

MR: What would you do differently than president Obama is doing?

HC: Martha, I hope by the time —

DT: Everything.

HC: I hope by the time I am president, that we will have pushed ISIS out of Iraq. I do think that there is a good chance that we can take Mosul. And you know, Donald says he knows more about ISIS than the generals. No, he doesn’t. There are a lot of very important planning going on and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters that we all need to be in this.

That takes a lot of planning and preparation. I would go after Baghdadi. I would specifically target Baghdadi because I think our targeting of Al Qaeda leaders — and I was involved in a lot of the those operations, highly classified ones — made a difference. That could help. I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles but I think they should have the equipment they need so that kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqah after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.

MR: Thank you very much.

DT: It’s funny she went over a minute over and you don’t stop her. When I go one second over —

Moderators: You have had many answers.

DT: It’s very interesting.

Moderators: A question from James Carter. Mr. Carter?

James Carter: My question is, do you believe you can be a devoted president to all the people in the United States?

Moderator: That question begins for Mr. Trump.

DT: Absolutely. I mean, she calls our people deplorable. A large group and irredeemable. I will be a president for all of our people. And I’ll be a president that will turn our inner cities around and will give strength to people and will give economics to people and will bring jobs back because nafta signed by her husband is perhaps the greatest disaster trade deal in the history of the world. Not in this country. It stripped us of manufacturing jobs. We lost our jobs. We lost our money. We lost our plants. It is a disaster. Now she wants to sign tpp even though now she says she’s for it. She called it the gold standard. She lied. It turned out she did say the gold standard and she said she didn’t say it. They actually said that she lied and she lied. But she’s lied about a lot of things.

I would be a president for all of the people. African-Americans, the inner cities. Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities. She’s been talking about it for years. As usual, she talks about it, nothing happens. She doesn’t get it done. Same with the Latino Americans. The hispanic Americans. The same exact thing. They talk, they don’t get it done. You go into the inner cities and you see it’s 45 percent poverty. African-Americans now 45 percent poverty in the inner cities. The education is a disaster.

Jobs are essentially nonexistent. I mean, it’s — you know, and I’ve been saying big speeches where I have 20,000 and 30,000 people, what do you have to lose? It can’t get any worse. She’s been talking about the inner cities for 25 years. Nothing’s going to ever happen. Let me tell you, if she’s president of the United States, nothing’s going to happen. It’s going to be talk. All of her friends the taxes we were talking about, and I would just get it by osmosis. She’s not doing me any favors. By doing all the others favors, she’s doing me favors. She’s all talk. It doesn’t get done. Look at her senate run, take a look at upstate New York.

Moderator: Your two minutes is up. You have two minutes, Secretary Clinton.

HC: Well, 67 percent of the people voted to re-elect me when I ran for my second term. And I was very proud and very humbled by that. Mr. Carter, I have tried my entire life to do what I can to support children and families. You know, right out of law school, I went to work for the children’s defense fund. Donald talks a lot about you know, the 30 years I’ve been in public service. I’m proud of that.

You know, I started off as a young lawyer working against discrimination against African-American children in schools and in the criminal justice system. I worked to make sure that kids with disabilities could get a public education. Something that I care very much about. I have worked with Latinos, one of my first jobs in politics was down in south Texas registering Latino citizens to be able to vote. So I have a deep devotion to use your absolutely correct word.

To making sure that an every American feels like he or she has a place in our country. And I think when you look at the letters that I get, a lot of people are worried that maybe they wouldn’t have a place in Donald Trump’s America. They write me and one woman wrote me about her son Felix. She adopted him from Ethiopia. He’s 10 years old now. This is the only one country he’s known. He listens to Donald on TV and said to miss mother, will he send me back to Ethiopia if he gets elected. Children Liston what is being said, to go back to the very, very first question. And there’s a lot of fear in fact, teachers and parents are calling it the trump effect. Bullying is up. A lot of people are feeling uneasy, a lot of kids are expressing their concerns.

So first and foremost, I will do everything I can to reach out to everybody. Democrats, Republicans, independents, people across our country. If you don’t vote for me, I still want to be your president. I want to be the best president I can be for every American.

Moderator: Your two minutes is up.

I want to follow up on something Donald Trump actually said to you, a comment you made last month. You said that half his supporters are deplorables, racist, xenophobic, islamophobic. You later said you regretted saying half. You didn’t express regret for using the term deplorables. How can you unite a country if you’ve written off tens of millions of Americans.

HC: Within hours I said I was sorry about the way I talked about that. My argument is not with his supporters. It’s with him and with the hateful and divisive campaign he has run and the inciting of violence at his rallies and the very brutal kinds of comments about not just women, but all kinds of Americans. And what he has said about African-Americans and Latinos, about Muslims, about P.O.W.S, about immigrants, about people with disabilities, he’s never apologized for. And so, I do think that a lot of the tone and tenor that he has said, I’m proud of the campaign that Bernie Sanders and I ran. We ran a campaign based on issues, not insults. He is supporting me 100 percent.

Moderator: Thank you.

HC: Because we talked about what we wanted to do. We might have had some differences and we had a lot of debates but we believed that we could make the country better. I was proud of that.

Moderator: I give you a minute.

DT: We have a divided nation. We have a very divided nation. You look at Charlotte. You look at Baltimore. You look at the violence that’s taking place in the inner cities, Chicago, you take a look at Washington, D.C., we have an increase in murder within our cities. The biggest in 45 years. We have a divided nation because people like her, and believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart. And when she said deplorables, she meant it. And when she said irredeemable, they’re irredeemable, you didn’t mention that, but when she said they’re irredeemable, that might have even been worse.

AC: She said some of them.

DT: She’s got tremendous hatred. And this country cannot take another four years of Barack Obama and that’s what you’re getting with her.

AC: Mr. Trump, let me follow up with you. In 2008, wrote in one of your books the most important characteristic of a good leader is discipline. You said if a leader doesn’t have it “He or she won’t be one for very long.” In the days after the first debate, you sent out a series of tweets from 3 am to 5 am, Including one that told people to check out a sex tape. Is that discipline.

DT: It was just take a look at the person she built up to be this wonderful girl scout who was no girl scout. Just so you understand, when she said 3:00 in the morning, take a look at Benghazi. She said who is going to answer it the call at 3:00 in the morning. Guess what, she didn’t answer because when ambassador Stevens.

AC: The question is, is that the discipline of a good leader?

DT: Six-hundred times. She said she was awake at 3:00 in the morning and she also sent a tweet out at 3:00 in the morning. She said she’ll be awake. Guess what happened.

Ambassador Stevens sent 600 requests for help. And the only one she talked to was Sidney Blumenthal who is her friend and not a good guy by the way. So you know, she shouldn’t be talking about that. Now, tweeting happens to be a modern day form of communication. I mean, you can like it or not like it. I have, between Facebook and Twitter, I have almost 25 million people. It’s a very effective way of communication. So you can put it down, but it is a very effective form of communication. I’m not unproud of it to be honest with you.

AC: Secretary Clinton, does Mr. Trump have the discipline to be a good leader

HC: No.

DT: I’m shocked to hear that.

HC: Well, it’s not only my opinion. It’s the opinion of many others. National security experts, Republicans, former Republican members of congress.

But it’s in part because those of us who have had the great privilege of seeing this job up close and know how difficult it is and it’s not just because I watched my husband take a $300 billion deficit and turn it into a $200 billion surplus and 23 million new jobs were created and incomes went up for everybody. Everybody. African-American incomes went up 33 percent.

And it’s not just because I worked with George W. Bush after 9/11. And I was very proud that when I told him what the city needed, what we needed to recover, he said you’ve got it and he never wavered. He stuck with me. And I have worked and I admire President Obama. He inherited the worst financial crisis since the great depression. That was a terrible time for our country.

We have to move along. Nine million people lost their jobs. Five million homes were lost and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out. We are back on the right track. He would send us back into recession with his tax plans.

Moderator: Secretary Clinton, we are moving to an audience question. We’re almost out of time.

DT: We have the slowest growth since 1929.

Moderator: We’re moving on to another question.

DT: Our country has the slowest growth.

Moderator: We want to get to the audience. Thank you very much both of you. We have another audience question. Beth Miller has a question for both candidates.

Beth Miller: Good evening. Perhaps the most important aspect of this election is the supreme court justice. What would you prioritize as the most important aspect of selecting a Supreme Court justice?

Moderator: We begin with your two minutes, secretary Clinton.

HC: You’re right. This is one of the most important issues in this election. I want to appoint supreme court justices who understand the way the world really works. Who have real life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerks for a judge and then gotten on the bench. Maybe they tried some more cases. They actually understand what people are up against because I think the current court has gone in the wrong direction. And so I would want to see the supreme court reverse Citizens United, and get dark unaccountable money out of our politics. Donald doesn’t agree with that.

I would like the supreme court to understand that voting rights are still a big problem in many parts of our country. That we don’t always do everything we can to making it possible for people of color and older people and young people to be able to exercise their franchise. I want a supreme court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose and I want a supreme court that will stick with marriage equality.

Now, Donald has put forth the names of some people that he would consider. And among the ones that he has suggested are people who would reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality. I think that would be a terrible mistake and would take us backwards. I want a supreme court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests. I want a supreme court that understands because you’re wealthy and you can give more money to something doesn’t mean you have any more rights than anybody else. So I have very clear views about what I want to see to tend to change the balance on the supreme court, and I regret deeply that the senate has not done its job and they have not permitted a vote on the person that president Obama, a highly qualified person, they’ve not given him a vote to be able to be have the full complement of nine supreme court justices. I think that was a dereliction of duty.

I hope that they will see their way to doing it, but if I am an so fortunate enough as to be president, will immediately lid move to make sure that we fill that. We have nine justices on behalf of our people.

Moderator: You’re out of time. Mr. Trump?

DT: Justice Scalia, great judge. Died recently. And we have a vacancy.

I am looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia. I’m looking for judges, and I’ve actually picked 20 of them. So that people would see highly respected, highly thought of, and actually very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody. But people that will respect the constitution of the United States. And I think that this is so important. Also, the second amendment which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton. They’ll respect the second amendment. And what it stands for, what it represents.

So important to me. Hillary mentioned something about contributions just so you understand. I will have in my race more than $100 million put in of my money, meaning I’m not taking all of this big money from all of these different corporations like she’s doing. What I ask is this. I’m putting in more by the time it’s finished, I’ll have more than $100 million invested. Pretty much self-funding. We’re raising money for the Republican Party and we’re doing tremendously on the small donations — $61 average or so.

I ask Hillary, why doesn’t she make $250 million by being in office? She used the power of her office to make a lot of money. Why isn’t she funding not for $100 million but why don’t you put $10 million or $20 million or $25 million into your own campaign? It’s $30 million less for special interests that will tell you exactly what to do and it would be a nice sign to the American public. Why aren’t you putting some money in. You’ve made a lot of it because of the fact you’ve been in office. Made a lot of it while you were secretary of state. Why aren’t you putting money into your own campaign, I’m curious.

MR: We’re going to get on to one more question.

HC: The question was about the supreme court. I want to quickly say, I respect the second amendment. But I believe there should be comprehensive background checks and we should close the gun show loophole and close the online loophole.

Moderator: We have one more question, Mrs. Clinton. We have one more question from Ken Boone about energy policy. Ken?

Ken: What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs? While at the same time, reminding environmentally friendly and minimizing it job loss for fossil power plant workers?

DT: Such a great question. Energy is under siege by the Obama administration. Absolute siege of the E.P.A — is killing these energy companies and foreign companies are now coming in, buying so many of our different plants and then rejiggering the plants so that they can take care of their oil. We are killing, absolutely killing our energy business in this country.

Now, I’m all for alternative forms of energy, including wind, solar, etcetera. But we need much more than wind and solar and you look at our miners. Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business. There say thing called clean coal. Coal lasts for thousands of years in this country. We have so many things — because of technology, we have unbelievable — of the last seven years, we have found tremendous wealth right under our feet. So much wealth. Especially when you have $20 billion in debt.

I will bring our companies back. They will make money. They will pay off our tremendous budget deficits which are tremendous. But we are putting our energy companies out of business. We have to bring back our workers. You take a look at what is happening to steal and — happening to steel and China dumping steel, which is killing our workers. We have to guard our energy companies. We have to make it possible. The EPA is so restrict it, they are putting our energy companies out of business. All you have to do is go to a great place like West Virginia or Ohio, which is phenomenal, or places like Pennsylvania, and you see what they are doing to the people — miners and others, in the energy business and it’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace.

AC: Two minutes.

HC: That was very interesting.

First of all, China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Donald is buying it to build his buildings. That is something I fought against as a senator and I would have a trade prosecutor to make sure we don’t get taken advantage of by China, on steel or anything else. You know, because it sounds like you are in the business or are aware of people in the business. You know that we are now for the first time ever energy independent. We are not dependent on the Middle East. But the Middle East still controls a lot of the prices. The price of oil has been way down and that has had a damaging effect on a lot of the oil companies, right? We are, however, producing a lot of natural gas, which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels. I think that is an important transition. We have got to remain energy independent.

It gives us much more power and freedom than to be worried about what goes on in the Middle East. We have enough worries about what goes on over there than having to worry about that. So I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does include fighting climate change, because I think that is a serious problem. And I support moving toward more clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can, because I think we can be the 21st century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses. I also want to make sure we do not leave people behind. That is why I am the only candidate, from the very beginning of this campaign, who had a plan to help us revitalize coal country. Because those coal miners and their grandfathers , they dug that coal out. A lot of them died, were injured. I don’t want to walk away from them. The power — the price of coal is down worldwide. We have to walk away. I hope you will go to hillaryclinton.com and see the entire policy.

MR: We have think then one more question and it comes from Carl Becker.

Carl: Good evening. My question to both of you is — regardless of the current rhetoric — would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?

MR: Mr. Trump, would you like to go first?

HC: Well, I certainly will. Because I think that’s a very fair and important question. I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that, and I think that is something that as a mother and her grandmother, is very important to me.

So, I believe that this election has become in part so conflict oriented, so intense because there’s a lot at stake. This is not an ordinary time. This is not an ordinary election. We are going to be choosing a president who will set policy for — not just four or eight years, but because of some of the important decisions we have to make here at home and around the world, from the supreme court to energy and so much else — so there is a lot at stake. It’s one of the most consequential elections we have had. And that is why I have tried to put forth specific policies and plans, trying to get it off of the personal and put it on to what it is I want to do as president. And that is why I hope people will check on that for themselves so they can see, yes, I have spent 30 years — actually may little more, working to help kids and families and I want to take that experience to the white house and do that every single day.

MR: Mr. Trump?

DT: I consider her statement about my children a very nice compliment. I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment. I’m very proud of my children. They have been wonderful, wonderful kids. I consider that a compliment. I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She is a fighter. I disagree with much of what she is fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait.

MR: Thanks to both of you. Anderson: Want to thank both of the candidates. We want to thank the university here. This concludes the town hall commission. Thank you to everyone who watched.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 4, 2016: The Mike Pence – Tim Kaine vice-presidential debate transcript

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

2016

The Mike Pence vs. Tim Kaine vice-presidential debate transcript

Source: WaPo, 10-4-16

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence is considered the winner of the debate, although he is criticized for defending his running mate, Donald Trump enough.  

QUIJANO: Good evening. From Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, and welcome to the first, and only, vice presidential debate of 2016, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

QUIJANO: I’m Elaine Quijano, anchor at CBSN, and correspondent for CBS News. It’s an honor to moderate this debate between Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence. Both are longtime public servants who are also proud fathers of sons serving in the U.S. Marines.

The campaigns have agreed to the rules of this 90-minute debate. There will be nine different segments covering domestic and foreign policy issues. Each segment will begin with a question to both candidates who will each have two minutes to answer. Then I’ll ask follow-up questions to facilitate a discussion between the candidates. By coin toss, it’s been determined that Senator Kaine will be first to answer the opening question.

QUIJANO: We have an enthusiastic audience tonight. They’ve agreed to only express that enthusiasm once at the end of the debate and right now as we welcome Governor Mike Pence and Senator Tim Kaine.

(APPLAUSE)

Gentlemen, welcome. It truly is a privilege to be with both of you tonight.

QUIJANO: I’d like to start with the topic of presidential leadership. Twenty-eight years ago tomorrow night, Lloyd Bentsen said the vice presidential debate was not about the qualifications for the vice presidency, but about how if tragedy should occur, the vice president has to step in without any margin for error, without time for preparation, to take over the responsibility for the biggest job in the world.

What about your qualities, your skills, and your temperament equip you to step into that role at a moment’s notice? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Elaine, thank you for being here tonight, and, Governor Pence, welcome. It is so great to be back at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

This is a very special place. Sixty-five years ago, a young, courageous woman, Barbara Johns, led a walkout of her high school, Moton High School. She made history by protesting school segregation. She believed our nation was stronger together. And that walkout led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision that moved us down the path toward equality.

I am so proud to be running with another strong, history-making woman, Hillary Clinton, to be president of the United States. I’m proud because her vision of stronger together, building an economy that works for all, not just those at the top, being safe in the world not only with a strong military, but also strong alliances to battle terrorism and climate change, and also to build a community of respect, just like Barbara Johns tried to do 65 years ago. That’s why I’m so proud to be her running mate.

Hillary told me why she asked me to be her running mate. She said the test of a Clinton administration will not be the signing of a bill or the passage of a bill. It’ll be whether we can make somebody’s life better, whether we can make a classroom better learning environment for schoolkids or teachers, whether we can make a safer — it’s going to be about results.

And she said to me, you’ve been a missionary and a civil rights lawyer. You’ve been a city councilman and mayor. You’ve been a lieutenant governor and governor and now a U.S. senator. I think you will help me figure out how to govern this nation so that we always keep in mind that the success of the administration is the difference we make in people’s lives.

And that’s what I bring to the ticket, that experience having served at all levels of government. But my primary role is to be Hillary Clinton’s right-hand person and strong supporter as she puts together the most historic administration possible. And I relish that role. I’m so proud of her.

KAINE: I’ll just say this: We trust Hillary Clinton, my wife and I, and we trust her with the most important thing in our life. We have a son deployed overseas in the Marine Corps right now. We trust Hillary Clinton as president and commander-in-chief, but the thought of Donald Trump as commander-in-chief scares us to death.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: Well, first off, thank you, Elaine, and thank you to — thank you to Norwood University for their wonderful hospitality and the Commission on Presidential Debates. It’s deeply humbling for me to be here, to be surrounded by my — my wonderful family.

And, Senator Kaine, it’s an honor to be here with you, as well. And I just — I also want to say — I want to say thanks to everyone that’s looking in tonight, who understands what an enormously important time this is in the life of our nation.

For the last seven-and-a-half years, we’ve seen America’s place in the world weakened. We’ve seen an economy stifled by more taxes, more regulation, a war on coal, and a failing health care reform come to be known as Obamacare, and the American people know that we need to make a change. And so I want to thank all of you for being — being with us tonight.

PENCE: I also want to thank Donald Trump for making that call and inviting us to be a part of this ticket. I have to tell you, I’m a — I’m a small-town boy from a place not too different from Farmville. I grew up with a cornfield in my backyard. My grandfather had immigrated to this country when he was about my son’s age. My mom and dad built a — everything that matters in a small town in Southern Indiana. They built a family and — and a good name and a business. And they raised a family. And I dreamed some day of representing my home town in Washington, D.C., but I — honestly, Elaine, I never imagined — never imagined I’d have the opportunity to be governor of the state that I love, let alone be sitting at a table like this in this kind of a position.

So to answer your question, I would say I — I would hope that if — if the responsibility ever fell to me in this role, that I would meet it with the way that I’m going to meet the responsibility should I be elected vice president of the United States. And that’s to bring a lifetime of experience, a lifetime growing up in a small town, a lifetime where I’ve served in the Congress of the United States, where — where I’ve led a state that works in the great state of Indiana, and whatever other responsibilities might follow from this, I — I would hope and, frankly, I would pray to be able to meet that moment with that — that lifetime of experience.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, on the campaign trail, you praised Secretary Clinton’s character, including her commitment to public service, yet 60 percent of voters don’t think she’s trustworthy. Why do so many people distrust her? Is it because they have questions about her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation?

KAINE: Elaine, let me tell you why I trust Hillary Clinton. Here’s what people should look at as they look at a public servant. Do they have a passion in their life that showed up before they were in public life? And have they held onto that passion throughout their life, regardless of whether they were in office or not, succeeding or failing?

Hillary Clinton has that passion. From a time as a kid in a Methodist youth group in the suburbs of Chicago, she has been focused on serving others with a special focus on empowering families and kids. As a civil rights lawyer in the South, with the Children’s Defense Fund, first lady of Arkansas and this country, senator, secretary of state, it’s always been about putting others first. And that’s a sharp contrast with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump always puts himself first. He built a business career, in the words of one of his own campaign staffers, “off the backs of the little guy.” And as a candidate, he started his campaign with a speech where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals, and he has pursued the discredited and really outrageous lie that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

It is so painful to suggest that we go back to think about these days where an African-American could not be a citizen of the United States. And I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult- driven selfish “me first” style of Donald Trump.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, let me ask you, you have said Donald Trump is, quote, “thoughtful, compassionate, and steady.” Yet 67 percent of voters feel he is a risky choice, and 65 percent feel he does not have the right kind of temperament to be president. Why do so many Americans think Mr. Trump is simply too erratic?

PENCE: Well, let me — let me say first and foremost that, Senator, you and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult- driven campaign. It really is remarkable. At a time when literally, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, where she was the architect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, we see entire portions of the world, particularly the wider Middle East, literally spinning out of control. I mean, the situation we’re watching hour by hour in Syria today is the result of the failed foreign policy and the weak foreign policy that Hillary Clinton helped lead in this administration and create. The newly emboldened — the aggression of Russia, whether it was in Ukraine or now they’re heavy-handed approach…

KAINE: You guys love Russia. You both have said…

PENCE: … their heavy-handed approach.

KAINE: You both have said — you both have said Vladimir Putin is a better leader than the president.

PENCE: Well…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Well, we’re going to get to Russia in just a moment. But I do want to get back to the question at…

PENCE: But in the midst — Elaine, thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Senator, I’ll…

KAINE: These guys have praised Vladimir Putin as a great leader. How can that…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Yes, and we will get to that, Senator. We do have that coming up here. But in the meantime, the questions…

PENCE: Well, Senator, I must have hit a…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: I must have hit a nerve here.

QUIJANO: Why the disconnect?

PENCE: Because at a time of great challenge in the life of this nation, where we’ve weakened America’s place in the world, stifled America’s economy, the campaign of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine has been an avalanche of insults.

Look, to get to your question about trustworthiness, Donald Trump has built a business through hard times and through good times. He’s brought an extraordinary business acumen. He’s employed tens of thousands of people in this country.

KAINE: And paid few taxes and lost a billion a year.

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: And why the disconnect with your running mate?

PENCE: But there’s a — there’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton. And that’s because they’re paying attention. I mean, the reality is, when she was secretary of state, Senator, come on. She had a Clinton Foundation accepting contributions from foreign governments.

KAINE: You are Donald Trump’s apprentice. Let me talk about this…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Senator, I think I’m still on my time.

KAINE: Well, I think — isn’t this a discussion?

QUIJANO: This is our open discussion.

KAINE: Yeah, let’s talk about the state of…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Well, let me interrupt — let me interrupt you and finish my sentence, if I can.

KAINE: Finish your sentence.

PENCE: The Clinton Foundation accepted foreign contributions from foreign governments and foreign donors while she was secretary of state.

KAINE: OK, now I can weigh in. Now…

PENCE: She had a private server…

KAINE: Now, I get to weigh in. Now, let me just say this…

PENCE: … that was discovered…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: … Senator, you have an opportunity to respond.

PENCE: … keep that pay to play process out of the reach of the public.

KAINE: Governor Pence — Governor Pence doesn’t think the world’s going so well and he, you know, is going to say it’s everybody’s fault.

PENCE: Do you?

KAINE: Let me tell you this. When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, Governor Pence, did you know that Osama bin Laden was alive?

PENCE: Yes.

KAINE: Do you know that we had 175,000 troops deployed in the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you know that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon and Russia was expanding its stockpile?

Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, she was part of the national team, public safety team that went after and revived the dormant hunt against bin Laden and wiped him off the face of the Earth. She worked to deal with the Russians to reduce their chemical weapons stockpile. She worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.

PENCE: Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?

KAINE: Absolutely, without firing a shot. And instead of 175,000 American troops deployed overseas, we now have 15,000.

PENCE: Right and…

KAINE: These are very, very good things.

PENCE: And Iraq has been overrun by ISIS, because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate…

KAINE: Well, if you want to put more American troops in Iraq, you can propose that.

PENCE: Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement…

KAINE: No, that is incorrect. That’s incorrect.

PENCE: And so we removed — we removed all of our…

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, we’ll get to…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: … troops from Iraq, and ISIS was able to be conjured up in that vacuum.

KAINE: But I’d like to correct…

PENCE: … and overrun vast areas of Iraq.

KAINE: Governor, President Bush said we would leave Iraq at the end of 2011. And, Elaine, Iraq didn’t want our troops to stay, and they wouldn’t give us the protection for our troops. And guess what? If a nation where our troops are serving does not want us to stay, we’re not going to stay without their protection.

PENCE: It was a failure of the secretary of state…

QUIJANO: We need to move on to the next topic, gentlemen.

KAINE: If Governor Pence wants to put more troops back in Iraq, that’s…

QUIJANO: There are a lot of people wondering in this country about the economy. Let’s turn to the issue of the economy.

KAINE: OK.

QUIJANO: According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, neither of your economic plans will reduce the growing $19 trillion gross national debt. In fact, your plans would add even more to it.

Both of you were governors who balanced state budgets. Are you concerned that adding more to the debt could be disastrous for the country. Governor Pence?

PENCE: I think the fact that — that under this past administration was of which Hillary Clinton was a part, we’ve almost doubled the national debt is atrocious. I mean, I’m very proud of the fact that — I come from a state that works. The state of Indiana has balanced budgets. We cut taxes, we’ve made record investments in education and in infrastructure, and I still finish my term with $2 billion in the bank.

That’s a little bit different than when Senator Kaine was governor here in Virginia. He actually — he actually tried to raise taxes by about $4 billion. He left his state about $2 billion in the hole. In the state of Indiana, we’ve cut unemployment in half; unemployment doubled when he was governor.

PENCE: But I think he’s a very fitting running mate for Hillary Clinton, because in the wake of a season where American families are struggling in this economy under the weight of higher taxes and Obamacare and the war on coal and the stifling avalanche of regulation coming out of this administration, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want more of the same. It really is remarkable that they actually are advocating a trillion dollars in tax increases, which I get that. You tried to raise taxes here in Virginia and were unsuccessful.

But a trillion dollars in tax increases, more regulation, more of the same war on coal, and more of Obamacare that now even former President Bill Clinton calls Obamacare a crazy plan. But Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to build on Obamacare. They want to expand it into a single-payer program. And for all the world, Hillary Clinton just thinks Obamacare is a good start.

Look, Donald Trump and I have a plan to get this economy moving again just the way that it worked in the 1980s, just the way it worked in the 1960s, and that is by lowering taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms, ending the war on coal that is hurting jobs and hurting this economy even here in Virginia, repealing Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel, and repealing all of the executive orders that Barack Obama has signed that are stifling economic growth in this economy.

We can get America moving again. Put on top of that the kind of trade deals that’ll put the American worker first, and you’ve got a prescription for real growth. And when you get the economy growing, Elaine, that’s when you can deal with the national debt. When we get back to 3.5 percent to 4 percent growth with Donald Trump’s plan will do, then we’re going to have the resources to meet our nation’s needs at home and abroad, and we’re going to have the ability to bring down the national debt.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Elaine, on the economy, there’s a fundamental choice for the American electorate. Do you want a “you’re hired” president in Hillary Clinton or do you want a “you’re fired” president in Donald Trump? I think that’s not such a hard choice.

Hillary and I have a plan that’s on the table that’s a “you’re hired” plan. Five components. First thing we do is we invest in manufacturing, infrastructure, and research in the clean energy jobs of tomorrow. Second thing is we invest in our workforce, from pre-K education to great teachers to debt-free college and tuition-free college for families that make less than $125,000 a year.

Third, we promote fairness by raising the minimum wage, so you can’t work full-time and be under the poverty level, and by paying women equal pay for equal work.

Fourth, we promote small business growth, just as we’ve done in Virginia, to make it easier to start and grow small businesses. Hillary and I each grew up in small-business families. My dad, who ran an iron working and welding shop, is here tonight.

And, fifth, we have a tax plan that targets tax relief to middle- class individuals and small businesses and asks those at the very top who’ve benefited as we’ve come out of recession to pay more.

KAINE: The Trump plan is a different plan. It’s a “you’re fired” plan. And there’s two key elements to it. First, Donald Trump said wages are too high. And both Donald Trump and Mike Pence think we ought to eliminate the federal minimum wage.

Mike Pence, when he was in Congress, voted against raising the minimum wage above $5.15. And he has been a one-man bulwark against minimum wage increases in Indiana.

The second component of the plan is massive tax breaks for the very top, trillions of dollars of tax breaks for people just like Donald Trump. The problem with this, Elaine, is that’s exactly what we did 10 years ago and it put the economy into the deepest recession — the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Independent analysts say the Clinton plan would grow the economy by 10.5 million jobs. The Trump plan would cost 3.5 million jobs. And Donald Trump — why would he do this? Because his tax plan basically helps him. And if he ever met his promise and he gave his tax returns to the American public like he said he would, we would see just how much his economic plan is really a Trump-first plan.

QUIJANO: On that point, Governor Pence, recently the New York Times released part of Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax return and reported that he could have avoided paying federal income taxes for years. Yesterday, Mr. Trump said he brilliantly used the laws to pay as little tax as legally possible. Does that seem fair to you?

PENCE: Well, first, let me say, I appreciated the “you’re hired,” “you’re fired” thing, Senator. You use that a whole lot. And I think your running mate used a lot of pre-done lines.

Look, what — what you all just heard out there is more taxes, $2 trillion in more spending, more deficits, more debt, more government. And if you think that’s all working, then you look at the other side of the table. I mean, the truth of the matter is, the policies of this administration, which Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine want to continue, have run this economy into a ditch. We’re in the…

KAINE: Fifteen million new jobs?

PENCE: … slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.

KAINE: Fifteen million new jobs?

QUIJANO: Governor… (CROSSTALK)

PENCE: There are millions more people living in poverty today than the day that Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton at his side…

KAINE: And the poverty level and the median income…

PENCE: … stepped into the Oval Office.

KAINE: … improved dramatically between 2014 and 2015.

PENCE: You — honestly, Senator, you can roll out the numbers and the sunny side, but I got to tell you, people in Scranton know different. People in Fort Wayne, Indiana, know different. I mean, this economy is struggling. The answer to this economy is not more taxes.

KAINE: But it’s not the giveaway tax relief to the folks at the top.

PENCE: It’s not more spending…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: I am interested to hear whether he’ll defend his running mate’s not releasing taxes and not paying taxes.

PENCE: Absolutely I will.

QUIJANO: Governor, with all due respect, the question was about whether it seems fair to you that Mr. Trump said he brilliantly used the laws to pay as little tax as legally possible.

PENCE: Well, this is probably the difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine. And, I mean, Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine — God bless you for it, career public servants, that’s great — Donald Trump is a businessman, not a career politician. He actually built a business.

Those tax returns that were — that came out publicly this week show that he faced some pretty tough times 20 years ago. But like virtually every other business, including the New York Times not too long ago, he used what’s called net operating loss. We have a tax code, Senator, that actually is designed to encourage entrepreneurship in this country.

KAINE: But why won’t he release his tax returns?

PENCE: Well, we’re answering the question about — about a business thing, is he…

KAINE: I do want to come back to that, but…

PENCE: His tax returns — his tax returns showed he went through a very difficult time, but he used the tax code just the way it’s supposed to be used. And he did it brilliantly. KAINE: How do you know that? You haven’t seen his tax returns.

PENCE: He created a runway — because he’s created a business that’s worth billions of dollars today.

KAINE: How do you know that?

PENCE: And with regard to paying taxes, this whole riff about not paying taxes and people saying he didn’t pay taxes for years, Donald Trump has created tens of thousands of jobs. And he’s paid payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes…

KAINE: Elaine, let me talk about something.

QUIJANO: Senator, I’m going to give you about 30 seconds to respond, and I have question on Social Security for you.

KAINE: OK.

PENCE: The only issue on taxes — Hillary Clinton is going to raise taxes, and Donald Trump and I are going to cut them.

KAINE: Donald Trump started this campaign in 2014 and he said, “If I run for president, I will absolutely release my taxes.” He’s broken his first…

PENCE: And he will.

KAINE: He’s broken his first promise. Second, he stood on the stage…

PENCE: He hasn’t broken his promise. He said he’s…

KAINE: He stood on the stage last week and when Hillary said, you haven’t been paying taxes, he said, “That makes me smart.” So it’s smart not to pay for our military? It’s smart not to pay for veterans? It’s smart not to pay for teachers? And I guess all of us who do pay for those things, I guess we’re stupid. And the last thing I’ll say is this…

PENCE: Senator, do you take all the deductions that you’re entitled to?

KAINE: The last thing — the last thing I want to ask Governor Pence is…

PENCE: I do.

KAINE: Governor Pence had to give Donald Trump his tax returns to show he was qualified to be vice president. Donald Trump must give the American public his tax returns to show that he’s qualified to be president. And he’s breaking his promise.

PENCE: Elaine, I have to respond to this.

QUIJANO: You get very little time, 20 seconds.

PENCE: I’ll be — I’ll be very respectful.

QUIJANO: Governor?

PENCE: Look, Donald Trump has filed over 100 pages of financial disclosure, which is what the law requires.

KAINE: But he said he would release his tax returns.

QUIJANO: All right, Gentlemen…

PENCE: The American people can review that. And he’s going — Senator, he’s going to release his tax returns when the audit is over…

QUIJANO: … I need to ask you about Social Security…

KAINE: Richard Nixon released tax returns when he was under audit.

PENCE: They’re going to raise your taxes. We’re going to cut your taxes.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen…

KAINE: If you can’t meet Nixon’s standard…

QUIJANO: The people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other. I would please ask you to wait until it is that the other is finished.

KAINE: All right. We’re having fun up here.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, on the issue of Social Security, in 18 years, when the Social Security Trust Funds run out of money, you’ll be 76. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates your benefits could be cut by as much as $7,500 per year. What would your administration do to prevent this cut?

KAINE: First, we’re going to protect Social Security, which is one of the greatest programs that the American government has ever done. It happened at a time when you would work your whole life, your whole life, raising your kids, working, being a Little League coach or a Sunday school teacher, and then you would retire into poverty. And Social Security has enabled people to retire with dignity and overwhelmingly not be in poverty.

We have to keep it solvent. And we will keep it solvent. And we’ll look for strategies like adjusting the payroll tax cap upward in order to do that.

Here’s what Hillary and I will not do. And I want to make this very plain. We will never, ever engage in a risky scheme to privatize Social Security. Donald Trump wrote a book and he said Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and privatization would be good for all of us.

And when Congressman Pence was in Congress, he was the chief cheerleader for the privatization of Social Security. Even after President Bush stopped pushing for it, Congressman Pence kept pushing for it. We’re going to stand up against efforts to privatize Social Security. And we’ll look for ways to keep it solvent going forward, focusing primarily on the payroll tax cap.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, I’ll give you an opportunity to respond.

PENCE: Well, thanks, Elaine. There they go again. OK…

KAINE: Go read — go read the book.

PENCE: All Donald Trump — all Donald Trump and I have said about Social Security is we’re going to meet our obligations to our seniors. That’s it.

KAINE: Go read the book.

PENCE: We’ve said we’re going to meet the obligations of Medicare. That’s what this campaign is really about, Senator. And I get, this is — this is the old scare tactic that they roll out…

KAINE: But — but you have a voting record, Governor.

PENCE: And I get all of that. I just, look…

KAINE: I…

PENCE: There’s a question that you asked a little bit earlier that I want to go back to.

KAINE: I can’t believe that you won’t defend your own voting record.

PENCE: I have to go back to.

QUIJANO: We…

PENCE: Well, look, I — you’re running with Hillary Clinton, who wants to raise taxes by $1 trillion, increase spending by $2 trillion, and you say you’re going to keep the promises of Social Security. Donald Trump and I are going to cut taxes. We’re going to — we’re going to — we’re going to…

KAINE: You’re not going to cut taxes. You’re going to raise taxes on the middle class.

PENCE: … reform government programs so we can meet the obligations of Social Security and Medicare.

QUIJANO: All right. PENCE: Stay on the path that your party has us on, we’re going to be in a — in a mountain range of debt. And we’re going to face hard choices and…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Gentleman, I want to move on now.

KAINE: You did ask this question about debt, and the debt explosion on the Trump plan is much, much bigger than anything on the Clinton side.

QUIJANO: All right. Let me move on now…

PENCE: Three hundred and five (ph) economists said your plan is bad for the economy.

QUIJANO: … to the issue of law enforcement and race relations. Law enforcement and race relations. After the Dallas police shooting, Police Chief David Brown said, quote, “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. Every societal failure we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, not enough drug addiction funding, schools fail, let’s give it to the cops.”

Do we ask too much of police officers in this country? And how would you specifically address the chief’s concerns? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Elaine, I think that’s a very fair comment. I think we put a lot on police shoulders. And this is something I got a lot of scar tissue and experience on.

I was a city councilman and mayor in Richmond. And when I came in, we had one of the highest homicide rates in the United States. We fought very, very hard over the course of my time in local office with our police department, and we reduced our homicide rate nearly in half.

And then when I was governor of Virginia, we worked hard, too. And we did something we had really wanted to do. For the first time ever, we cracked the top 10, 10 safest states, because we worked together.

Here’s what I learned as a mayor and a governor. The way you make communities safer and the way you make police safer is through community policing. You build the bonds between the community and the police force, build bonds of understanding, and then when people feel comfortable in their communities, that gap between the police and the communities they serve narrows. And when that gap narrows, it’s safer for the communities and it’s safer for the police.

That model still works across our country, but there are some other models that don’t work, an overly aggressive, more militarized model. Donald Trump recently said we need to do more stop-and-frisk around the country. That would be a big mistake because it polarizes the relationship between the police and the community.

So here’s what we’ll do. We’ll focus on community policing. We will focus on — and Hillary Clinton has rolled out a really comprehensive mental health reform package that she worked on with law enforcement professionals, and we will also fight the scourge of gun violence in the United States.

I’m a gun-owner. I’m a strong Second Amendment supporter. But I’ve got a lot of scar tissue, because when I was governor of Virginia, there was a horrible shooting at Virginia Tech, and we learned that through that painful situation that gaps in the background record check system should have been closed and it could have prevented that crime, and so we’re going to work to do things like close background record checks. And if we do, we won’t have the tragedies that we did.

One of those killed at Virginia Tech was a guy named Liviu Librescu. He was a 70-plus-year-old Romanian Holocaust survivor. He had survived the Holocaust. Then he survived the Soviet Union takeover of his country. But then he was a visiting professor at Virginia Tech, and he couldn’t survive the scourge of gun violence.

We can support the Second Amendment and do things like background record checks and make us safer, and that will make police safer, too.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: You know, my uncle was a cop, a career cop, on the beat in downtown Chicago. He was my hero when I was growing up. And we’d go up to visit my dad’s family in Chicago. My three brothers and I would marvel at my uncle when he would come out in his uniform, sidearm at his side.

Police officers are the best of us. And the men and women, white, African-American, Asian, Latino, Hispanic, they put their lives on the line every single day. And let my say, at the risk of agreeing with you, community policing is a great idea. It’s worked in the Hoosier state. And we fully support that.

Donald Trump and I are going to make sure that law enforcement have the resources and the tools to be able to really restore law and order to the cities and communities in this nation. It’s probably — probably why the 330,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Donald Trump as the next president of the United States of America, because they see his commitment to them. They see his commitment to law and order.

But they also — they also hear the bad mouthing, the bad mouthing that comes from people that seize upon tragedy in the wake of police action shootings as — as a reason to — to use a broad brush to accuse law enforcement of — of implicit bias or institutional racism. And that really has got to stop.

I mean, when an African-American police officer in Charlotte named Brentley Vinson, an all-star football player who went to Liberty University here in the state, came home, followed his dad into law enforcement, joined the force in Charlotte, joined the force in Charlotte in 2014, was involved in a police action shooting that claimed the life of Keith — Keith Lamont Scott, it was a tragedy. I mean, I — we — we mourn with those who mourn. We — we grieve with those who grieve. And we’re saddened at the loss of life.

But Hillary Clinton actually referred to that moment as an example of implicit bias in the police force, where — where she used — when she was asked in the debate a week ago whether there was implicit bias in law enforcement, her only answer was that there’s implicit bias in everyone in the United States. I just think…

KAINE: Can I — can I explain…

PENCE: … I just think what we ought to do is we ought to stop seizing on these moments of tragedy. We ought to assure the public that we’ll have a full and complete and transparent investigation whenever there’s a loss of life because of police action. But, Senator, please, you know, enough of this seeking every opportunity to demean law enforcement broadly by making the accusation of implicit bias every time tragedy occurs.

KAINE: Elaine — Elaine, people shouldn’t be afraid to bring up issues of bias in law enforcement. And if you’re afraid to have…

PENCE: I’m not afraid to bring that up.

KAINE: And if — if you’re afraid to have the discussion, you’ll never solve it. And so here’s — here’s an example, heartbreaking. We would agree this was a heartbreaking example.

The guy, Philando Castile, who was killed in St. Paul, he was a worker, a valued worker in a local school. And he was killed for no apparent reason in an incident that will be discussed and will be investigated.

But when folks went and explored this situation, what they found is that Philando Castile, who was a — they called him Mr. Rogers with Dreadlocks in the school that he worked. The kids loved him. But he had been stopped by police 40 or 50 times before that fatal incident. And if you look at sentencing in this country, African-Americans and Latinos get sentenced for the same crimes at very different rates.

PENCE: We need criminal justice reform.

KAINE: Well, we do.

PENCE: Indiana has passed criminal justice reform.

KAINE: But I just want to say, those who say that we should not…

PENCE: But that’s not what you’re talking about.

KAINE: … we should not be able to bring up and talk about bias in the system, we’ll never solve the problem…

QUIJANO: Governor Pence…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor Pence…

PENCE: Senator, when African-American police officers involved in a police action shooting involving an African-American, why would Hillary Clinton accuse that African-American police officer of implicit bias?

KAINE: Well, I guess I can’t believe you are defending the position that there is no bias and it’s a topic we don’t even…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, I have a question on that point.

PENCE: I did not make that statement. I…

QUIJANO: Your fellow Republican, Governor Pence, Senator Tim Scott, who is African-American, recently spoke on the Senate floor. He said he was stopped seven times by law enforcement in one year.

KAINE: A U.S. senator.

QUIJANO: He said, “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.” What would you say to Senator Scott about his experiences?

PENCE: Well, I have the deepest respect for Senator Scott, and he’s a close friend. And what I would say is that we — we need to adopt criminal justice reform nationally. I — I signed criminal justice reform in the state of Indiana, Senator, and we’re very proud of it.

I worked when I was Congress on a second chance act. We have got to do a better job recognizing and correcting the errors in the system that do reflect on institutional bias in criminal justice. But what — what — what Donald Trump and I are saying is let’s not have the reflex of assuming the worst of men and women in law enforcement. We truly do believe that law enforcement is not a force for racism or division in our country…

KAINE: Elaine, can I…

QUIJANO: So what would you say to Senator Scott, Governor?

PENCE: Law enforcement in this country is a force for good. They are the — they truly are people that put their lives on the line every single day. But I would — I would suggest to you, what we need to do is assert a stronger leadership at the national level to support law enforcement. You just heard Senator Kaine reject stop-and-frisk. Well, I would suggest to you that the families that live in our inner cities that are besieged by crime…

KAINE: Elaine, let me — let me…

QUIJANO: Governor, the question is about Senator Scott. What would — what would you tell Senator Scott?

KAINE: Elaine, if I could — if I could jump in. I’ve heard Senator Scott make that eloquent plea. And look, criminal justice is about respecting the law and being respected by the law. So there is a fundamental respect issue here.

And I just want to talk about the tone that’s set from the top. Donald Trump during his campaign has called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He’s called women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting. I don’t like saying that in front of my wife and my mother. He attacked an Indiana-born federal judge and said he was unqualified to hear a federal lawsuit because his parents were Mexican. He went after John McCain, a POW, and said he wasn’t hero because he’d been captured. He said African-Americans are living in Hell. And he perpetrated this outrageous and bigoted lie that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

If you want to have a society where people are respected and respect laws, you can’t have somebody at the top who demeans every group that he talks about. And I just — again, I cannot believe that Governor Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run.

QUIJANO: All right. I want to turn to our next segment now, immigration. Your running mates have both said that undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes should be deported. What would you tell the millions of undocumented immigrants who have not committed violent crimes? Governor Pence?

PENCE: Donald Trump’s laid out a plan to end illegal immigration once and for all in this country. We’ve been talking it to death for 20 years. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to continue the policies of open borders, amnesty, catch and release, sanctuary cities, all the things that are driving — that are driving wages down in this country, Senator, and also too often with criminal aliens in the country, it’s bringing heartbreak.

But I — Donald Trump has a plan that he laid out in Arizona, that will deal systemically with illegal immigration, beginning with border security, internal enforcement. It’s probably why for the first time in the history of Immigration and Customs Enforcement their union actually endorsed Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, because they know they need help to enforce the laws of this country.

And Donald Trump has laid out a priority to remove criminal aliens, remove people that have overstayed their visas. And — and once we have accomplished all of that, which will — which will strengthen our economy, strengthen the rule of law in the country and make our communities safer once the criminal aliens are out, then we’ll deal with those that remain.

But I have to tell you, I just — I was listening to the avalanche of insults coming out of Senator Kaine a minute ago. KAINE: These were Donald’s — hold on a second, Governor.

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: It’s my time, Senator.

QUIJANO: It is, in fact, the governor’s time.

KAINE: I apologize. It’s your two minutes. I apologize.

PENCE: Thanks. I forgive you. He says ours is an insult-driven campaign. Did you all just hear that? Ours is an insult-driven campaign?

I mean, to be honest with you, if Donald Trump had said all of the things that you’ve said he said in the way you said he said them, he still wouldn’t have a fraction of the insults that Hillary Clinton leveled when she said that half of our supporters were a basket of deplorables. It’s — she said they were irredeemable, they were not American.

I mean, it’s extraordinary. And then she labeled one after another “ism” on millions of Americans who believe that we can have a stronger America at home and abroad, who believe we can get this economy moving again, who believe that we can end illegal immigration once and for all. So, Senator, this — this insult-driven campaign, I mean…

QUIJANO: Governor…

PENCE: That’s small potatoes compared to Hillary Clinton…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

PENCE: …. calling half of Donald Trump’s supporters a basket of deplorables.

KAINE: Hillary Clinton said something on the campaign trail, and the very next day, she said, you know what, I shouldn’t have said that.

PENCE: She said she shouldn’t have said half.

QUIJANO: Governor, this is Senator Kaine’s two minutes, please.

KAINE: Yeah, that’s right, so now we’re even.

PENCE: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

KAINE: Look for Donald trump apologizing to John McCain for saying he wasn’t a hero…

PENCE: Oh…

KAINE: … to Donald Trump apologizing for calling women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting.

PENCE: She apologized for saying “half.”

QUIJANO: Governor. It is his two minutes, please.

KAINE: Did Donald Trump apologize for taking after somebody in a Twitter war and making fun of her weight? Did he apologize for saying African-Americans are living in Hell? Did he apologize for saying President Obama was not even a citizen of the United States? You will look in vain to see Donald Trump ever taking responsibility for anybody and apologizing.

Immigration. There’s two plans on the table. Hillary and I believe in comprehensive immigration reform. Donald Trump believes in deportation nation. You’ve got to pick your choice. Hillary and I want a bipartisan reform that will put keeping families together as the top goal, second, that will help focus enforcement efforts on those who are violent, third, that will do more border control, and, fourth, that will provide a path to citizenship for those who work hard, pay taxes, play by the rules, and take criminal background record checks.

That’s our proposal. Donald Trump proposes to deport 16 million people, 11 million who are here without documents. And both Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to get rid of birthright citizenship. So if you’re born here, but your parents don’t have documents, they want to eliminate that. That’s another 4.5 million people.

These guys — and Donald Trump have said it — deportation force. They want to go house to house, school to school, business to business, and kick out 16 million people. And I cannot believe…

PENCE: That’s nonsense. That’s nonsense.

KAINE: I cannot believe that Governor Pence would sit here and defend his running mate’s claim that we should create a deportation force to — so that they’ll all be gone.

PENCE: Senator, we have a deportation force. It’s called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. And the union for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for the first time in their history endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States of America.

KAINE: So you like the 16 million deportations?

PENCE: Senator, that’s — that’s nonsense. Look, what you just heard is they have a plan for open borders, amnesty. That’s…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: Our plan is like Ronald Reagan’s plan from 1986.

PENCE: They call it comprehensive immigration reform — they call it comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill. We all know the routine. It’s amnesty. And you heard one of the last things he mentioned was border security.

PENCE: That’s how Washington always plays it.

KAINE: No, I…

PENCE: They always say we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, we’ll eventually get the border…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: … border security three years ago, and Governor Pence was against it.

QUIJANO: Governor, Mr. Trump has said…

PENCE: Ronald Reagan said a nation without borders is not a nation. Donald Trump is committed to restoring the borders of this nation and securing our nation, enforcing our laws.

QUIJANO: So, Governor, how would these millions of undocumented immigrants leave? Would they be forcibly removed?

PENCE: Well, I think Donald Trump laid out a series of priorities that doesn’t ends with border security. It begins with border security. And after we secure the border, not only build a wall, but beneath the ground and in the air, we do internal enforcement.

But he said the focus has to be on criminal aliens. We just — we just had a conversation about law enforcement. We just had a conversation about the — the violence that’s besetting our cities. The reality is that there’s heartbreak and tragedy that has struck American families because people that came into this country illegally are now involved in criminal enterprise and activity. And we don’t have the resources or the will to deport them systemically.

Donald Trump has said we’re going to move those people out, people who’ve overstayed their visas. We’re going to enforce the law of this country. We’re going to strengthen Immigrations and Customs Enforcements with more resources and more personnel to be able to do that. And then Donald Trump has made it clear, once we’ve done all of those things, that we’re going to reform the immigration system that we have…

KAINE: I just have to correct Governor Pence….

PENCE: … where people can come into this country.

KAINE: I have to…

PENCE: That’s the order that you should do it. Border security, removing criminal aliens, upholding with law, and then — but then, Senator, I’ll work you when you go back to the Senate, I promise you, we’ll work you to reform the immigration system.

KAINE: I look forward to working together in whatever capacities we serve in. But I just want to make it very, very clear that he’s trying to fuzz up what Donald Trump has said. When Donald Trump spoke in Phoenix, he looked the audience in the eye and he said, no, we’re building a wall, and we’re deporting everybody. He said, quote, “They will all be gone.” “They will all be gone.” And this is one of these ones where you can just go to the tape on it and see what Donald Trump has said. And to add…

PENCE: He’s talking about criminal aliens.

KAINE: And to add to it, and to add to it, and to add to it, we are a nation of immigrants. Mike Pence and I both are descended from immigrant families. Some things, you know, maybe weren’t said so great about the Irish when they came, but we’ve done well by absorbing immigrants, and it’s made our nation stronger.

When Donald Trump says Mexicans are rapists and criminals, Mexican immigrants, when Donald Trump says about your judge, a Hoosier judge, he said that Judge Curiel was unqualified to hear a case because his parents were Mexican, I can’t imagine how you could defend that.

QUIJANO: Gentleman, I’d like to shift now to the threat of terrorism. Do you think the world today is a safer or more dangerous place than it was eight years ago? Has the terrorist threat increased or decreased? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways, because bin Laden is dead. The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped. The terrorist threat to United States troops has been decreased in some ways because there’s not 175,000 in a dangerous part of the world. There’s only 15,000.

But there are other parts of the world that are challenging. Let me tell you this: To beat terrorism, there’s only one candidate who can do it, and it’s Hillary Clinton. Remember, Hillary Clinton was the senator from New York on 9/11. She was there at the World Trade Center when they were still searching for victims and survivors. That’s seared onto her, the need to beat terrorism.

And she’s got a plan to do it. She was part of the national security team that wiped out bin Laden. Here’s her plan to defeat ISIL. First, we’ve got to keep taking out their leaders on the battlefield. She was part of the team that got bin Laden, and she’ll lead the team that will get Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS.

Second, we’ve got to disrupt financing networks, third, disrupt their ability to recruit on the Internet, in their safe havens. But, fourth, we also have to work with allies to share and surge intelligence. That’s the Hillary Clinton plan; she’s got the experience to do it.

Donald Trump. Donald Trump can’t start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot. Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan. He said, “I have a secret plan,” and then he said, “Um, I know more than all the generals about ISIL.” And then he said, “I’m going to call the generals to help me figure out a plan.” And finally he said, “I’m going to fire all the generals.” He doesn’t have a plan.

But he does have dangerous ideas. Here’s four. He trash talks the military. The military is a disaster, John McCain’s no hero, the generals need all to be fired, and I know more than them. He wants to tear up alliances. NATO is obsolete, and we’ll only work together with Israel if they pay “big league.”

Third, he loves dictators. He’s got kind of a personal Mount Rushmore, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Moammar Gadhafi…

PENCE: Oh, please. Come on.

KAINE: … and Saddam Hussein. And last and most dangerously, Donald Trump believes — Donald Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons. He’s said Saudi Arabia should get them, Japan should get them, Korea should get them. And when he was confronted with this, and told, wait a minute, terrorists could get those, proliferation could lead to nuclear war, here’s what Donald Trump said, and I quote: “Go ahead, folks, enjoy yourselves.”

I’d love to hear Governor Pence tell me what’s so enjoyable or comical about nuclear war.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: Did you work on that one a long time? Because that had a lot of really creative lines in it.

KAINE: Well, I’m going to see if you can defend any of it.

PENCE: Well, look, I can defend — I — I — I can — I can make very clear to the American people, after traveling millions of miles as our secretary of state, after being the architect of the foreign policy of this administration, America is less safe today than it was the day that Barack Obama became president of the United States. It’s absolutely inarguable.

We’ve weakened America’s place in the world. It’s been a combination of factors, but mostly it’s been a lack of leadership. I mean, I will give you — and I was in Washington, D.C., on 9/11. I saw the clouds of smoke rise from the Pentagon.

KAINE: I was in Virginia where the Pentagon’s…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: I know you were. We all lived through that day as a nation. It was heartbreaking. And I want to give this president credit for bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.

But the truth is, Osama bin Laden led Al Qaida. Our primary threat today is ISIS. And because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement that would have allowed some American combat troops to remain in Iraq and secure the hard fought gains the American soldier had won by 2009, ISIS was able to be literally conjured up out of the desert, and it’s overrun vast areas that the American soldier had won in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

My heart breaks for the likes of Lance Cpl. Scott Zubowski. He fell in Fallujah in 2005. He fought hard through some of the most difficult days in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom and secure that nation. And that nation was secured in 2009.

But because Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama failed to provide a status of forces agreement and leave sufficient troops in there, we are back at war. The president just ordered more troops on the ground. We are back at war in Iraq. And Scott Zubowski, whose mom would always come to Memorial Day events in Newcastle, Indiana, to see me, and I’d give her a hug and tell her we’re never going to forget her son and we never will, Scott Zubowski and the sacrifices the American soldier made were squandered in Iraq because this administration created a vacuum in which ISIS was able to grow.

And a reference to the Iranian deal, the Iranian deal that Hillary Clinton initiated, $150 billion to the radical mullahs in Iran.

KAINE: Stopping a nuclear weapons program without firing a shot?

PENCE: You didn’t stop the nuclear weapons program.

KAINE: Yes, we did.

PENCE: You essentially…

KAINE: Even the Israeli military says it stopped.

PENCE: … guaranteed that Iran will someday become a nuclear power, because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, Mr. Trump has proposed extreme vetting of immigrants from parts of the world that export terrorism. But that does not address many of the recent terrorist attacks in the United States, such as the Orlando nightclub massacre and the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey. Those were homegrown, committed by U.S. citizens and legal residents. What specific tools would you use to prevent those kinds of attacks?

PENCE: Well, I think it’s — I think it’s a great question, Elaine, but it really does begin with us reforming our immigration system and putting the interests, particularly the safety and security of the American people, first.

I mean, Donald Trump has called for extreme vetting for people coming into this country so that we don’t bring people into the United States who are hostile to our Bill of Rights freedoms, who are hostile to the American way life.

But also, Donald Trump and I are committed to suspending the Syrian refugee program and programs and immigration from areas of the world that have been compromised by terrorism. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to increase the Syrian refugee program by 500…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: Elaine, I want to…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor, the question was about homegrown.

PENCE: Yeah, and so — but first, you know, let’s make sure we’re putting the safety and security of the American people first instead of Hillary Clinton expanding the Syrian refugee program…

KAINE: Or instead of you violating the Constitution by blocking people based on their national origin rather than whether they’re dangerous.

PENCE: That’s not — that’s absolutely false.

KAINE: That’s what the Seventh Circuit decided just — here’s the difference, Elaine.

PENCE: The Seventh Circuit…

KAINE: We have different views on — on refugee issues and on immigration. Hillary and I want to do enforcement based on, are people dangerous? These guys say all Mexicans are bad.

PENCE: That’s absolutely false.

KAINE: And with respect to refugees, we want to keep people out if they’re dangerous. Donald Trump said keep them out if they’re Muslim. Mike Pence…

PENCE: Absolutely…

KAINE: … put a program in place to keep them out if they’re from Syria. And yesterday an appellate court with three Republican judges struck down the Pence plan…

PENCE: Right. Right.

KAINE: … and said it was discriminatory…

PENCE: And those judges — those judges said…

KAINE: We should focus upon danger, not upon discrimination.

QUIJANO: Governor?

PENCE: Elaine, to your point, those judges said it was because there wasn’t any evidence yet that — that ISIS had infiltrated the United States. Well, Germany just arrested three Syrian refugees that were connected to ISIS.

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: But they told you there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

PENCE: But, look, if you’re going to be critical of me on that, that’s fair game. I will tell you, after two Syrian refugees were involved in the attack in Paris that is called Paris’ 9/11, as governor of the state of Indiana, I have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of my state.

KAINE: But, Governor Pence…

PENCE: So you bet I suspended that program.

KAINE: But, Governor Pence, I just…

PENCE: And I stand by that decision. And if I’m vice president of the United States or Donald Trump is president, we’re going to put the safety and security of the American people first.

KAINE: Sure. Can we just be clear — Hillary and I will do immigration enforcement and we’ll vet refugees based on whether they’re dangerous or not. We won’t do it based on discriminating against you from the country you come from or the religion that you practice.

PENCE: But the problem with that…

KAINE: That is completely antithetical to the Jeffersonian values of…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Elaine, the director of the FBI, our homeland security, said we can’t know for certain who these people are coming from Syria.

KAINE: Yes, we can, and when we don’t let them know, we don’t let them in.

PENCE: So — the FBI…

KAINE: When we don’t know who they are, we don’t let them in.

PENCE: The FBI and homeland security said we can’t know for certain. You’ve got to err on the side of the safety and security of the American people, Senator. I understand the…

KAINE: By trashing all Syrians or trashing all Muslims?

PENCE: … the U.N. wants us to expand the Syrian refugee program…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, let me ask you this. Secretary Clinton…

PENCE: We’re going to put the safety and security of the American people first.

QUIJANO: … has talked about an intelligence surge.

KAINE: Yes.

QUIJANO: What exactly would an intelligence surge look like? And how would that help identify terrorists with no operational connection to a foreign terrorist organization?

KAINE: Intelligence surge is two-thirds, Elaine. It’s two things. It’s, first, dramatically expanding our intelligence capacities by hiring great professionals, but also we’ve got some of the best intel and cyber employees in the world right here in the United States working for many of our private sector companies.

So it involves increasing our own workforce, but striking great partnerships with some of our cyber and intel experts in the private sector so that we can, consistent with constitutional principles, gather more intelligence.

But the second piece of this is really, really important. It also means creating stronger alliances, because you gather intelligence and then you share your intelligence back and forth with allies. And that’s how you find out who may be trying to recruit, who may be trying to come to one country or the next. Alliances are critical.

That’s why Donald Trump’s claim that he wants to — that NATO is obsolete and that we need to get rid of NATO is so dangerous.

PENCE: That’s not his plan. KAINE: Well, he said NATO is obsolete. And, look, if you put aside — push aside your alliances, who you’re going to share intelligence with? Hillary Clinton is the secretary of state who knows how to build alliances. She built the sanctions regime around the word that stopped the Iranian nuclear weapons program. And that’s what an intelligence surge means. Better skill and capacity, but also better alliances.

QUIJANO: All right. I’d like to turn now to the tragedy in Syria. Two hundred fifty thousand…

PENCE: Can I speak about the cybersecurity surge at all?

QUIJANO: You can — you can have 30 seconds, Governor, quickly, please.

PENCE: First, Donald Trump just spoke about this issue this week. We have got to bring together the best resources of this country to understand that cyber warfare is the new warfare of the asymmetrical enemies that we face in this country. And I look forward if I’m privileged to be in this role of working with you in the Senate to make sure that we resource that effort.

KAINE: We will work together in whatever roles we inhabit.

PENCE: We have an intelligence, sir (ph). But I will also tell you that it’s important in this moment to remember that Hillary Clinton had a private server in her home that had classified information on it…

QUIJANO: And I don’t — 30 seconds is on up.

PENCE: … about drone strikes, e-mails from the president of the United States of America were on there.

QUIJANO: Right.

PENCE: Her private server was subject to being hacked by foreign…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: I’d like to ask you about Syria, Governor.

PENCE: We could put cybersecurity first if we just make sure the next secretary of state doesn’t have a private server.

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: And all investigation concluded that not one reasonable prosecutor would take any additional step. You don’t get to decide the rights and wrongs of this. We have a justice system that does that. And a Republican FBI director did an investigation and concluded that…

(CROSSTALK) QUIJANO: All right, we are moving on now. Two hundred fifty thousand people…

PENCE: If your son or my son handled classified information the way Hillary Clinton did…

QUIJANO: … one hundred thousand of them children — Governor…

PENCE: … they’d be court martialed.

KAINE: That is absolutely false and you know that.

PENCE: Absolutely true.

KAINE: And you know that, Governor.

QUIJANO: Governor…

PENCE: It’s absolutely true.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, please.

KAINE: Because the FBI did an investigation.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen.

KAINE: And they concluded that there was no reasonable prosecutor who would take it further. Sorry.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, Governor Pence, please.

KAINE: Syria.

QUIJANO: I want to turn now to Syria. Two hundred fifty thousand people, 100,000 of them children, are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Bunker buster bombs, cluster munitions, and incendiary weapons are being dropped on them by Russian and Syrian militaries. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to protect civilians and prevent mass casualties on this scale, Governor Pence?

PENCE: The United States of America needs to begin to exercise strong leadership to protect the vulnerable citizens and over 100,000 children in Aleppo. Hillary Clinton’s top priority when she became secretary of state was the Russian reset, the Russians reset. After the Russian reset, the Russians invaded Ukraine and took over Crimea.

And the small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States to the point where all the United States of America — the greatest nation on Earth — just withdraws from talks about a cease-fire while Vladimir Putin puts a missile defense system in Syria while he marshals the forces and begins — look, we have got to begin to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.

It begins by rebuilding our military. And the Russians and the Chinese have been making enormous investments in the military. We have the smallest Navy since 1916. We have the lowest number of troops since the end of the Second World War. We’ve got to work with Congress, and Donald Trump will, to rebuild our military and project American strength in the world.

But about Aleppo and about Syria, I truly do believe that what America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen.

And secondly, I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.

There’s a broad range of other things that we ought to do, as well. We ought to deploy a missile defense shield to the Czech Republic and Poland which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama pulled back on out of not wanting to offend the Russians back in 2009.

QUIJANO: Governor, your two minutes are up.

PENCE: We’ve just got to have American strength on the world stage. When Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, the Russians and other countries in the world will know they’re dealing with a strong American president. QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Hillary and I also agree that the establishment of humanitarian zones in northern Syria with the provision of international human aid, consistent with the U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed in February 2014, would be a very, very good idea.

And Hillary also has the ability to stand up to Russia in a way that this ticket does not. Donald Trump, again and again, has praised Vladimir Putin. And it’s clear that he has business dealings with Russian oligarchs who are very connected to Putin.

The Trump campaign management team had to be fired a month or so ago because of those shadowy connections with pro-Putin forces. Governor Pence made the odd claim, he said inarguably Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama. Vladimir Putin has run his economy into the ground. He persecutes LGBT folks and journalists. If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, then you got to go back to a fifth-grade civics class.

I’ll tell you what offends me…

PENCE: Well, that offended me.

KAINE: Governor Pence just said — Governor Pence just said that Donald Trump will rebuild the military. No, he won’t. Donald Trump is avoiding paying taxes. The New York Times story — and we need to get this — but the New York Times suggested that he probably didn’t pay taxes for about 18 years starting in 1995. Those years included the years of 9/11.

So get this. On 9/11, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s hometown was attacked by the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States. Young men and women — young men and women signed up to serve in the military to fight terrorism. Hillary Clinton went to Washington to get funds to rebuild her city and protect first responders, but Donald Trump was fighting a very different fight. It was a fight to avoid paying taxes so that he wouldn’t support the fight against terror.

QUIJANO: The question was about Aleppo, Senator.

KAINE: He wouldn’t support troops. He wouldn’t — he wouldn’t support — this is important, Elaine. When a guy running for president will not support the troops, not support veterans, not support teachers, that’s really important.

QUIJANO: Right.

KAINE: And I said about Aleppo, we do agree the notion is we have to create a humanitarian zone in northern Syria. It’s very important.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, you had mentioned no-fly zone. Where would you propose setting up a safe zone specifically? How would you keep it safe?

PENCE: Well, first and foremost, Donald Trump supports our troops. Donald Trump supports our veterans.

KAINE: He won’t pay taxes.

PENCE: Donald Trump has paid all the taxes that he’s — do you not take deductions? How does that work?

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, this is about Syria. I’d like to…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Honestly, Senator. Honestly, Senator.

KAINE: It is about our troops. It is about our troops.

PENCE: I understand why you want to change — I understand why you want to change the subject.

KAINE: How can you support the troops if you won’t pay taxes?

PENCE: I understand why you want to change the subject. And let me be very clear on this Russian thing. The larger question here…

KAINE: Do you think Donald Trump is smart to not pay taxes?

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, we’re going to have time to get to Russia here.

PENCE: What we’re dealing with is the — you know, there’s an old proverb that says the Russian bear never dies, it just hibernates. And the truth of the matter is, the weak and feckless foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has awakened an aggression in Russia that first appeared a few years ago with their move in Georgia, now their move into Crimea, now their move into the wider Middle East.

And all the while, all we do is fold our arms and say we’re not having talks anymore. To answer your question, we just need American strength. We need to — we need to marshal the resources of our allies in the region, and in the immediate, we need to act and act now to get people out of harm’s way.

QUIJANO: And exactly how would those safe zones work? How would they remain safe?

PENCE: The — the safe zones would have to be — as the senator said, there’s already a framework for this that’s been recognized by the international community. The United States of America needs to be prepared to work with our allies in the region to create a route for safe passage and then to protect people in those areas, including with a no-fly zone.

But, look, this is very tough stuff. I served on the Foreign Affairs Committee for a decade. I traveled in and out of that region for 10 years. I saw what the American soldier won in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And to see the weak and feckless leadership that Hillary Clinton was the architect of and the foreign policy of the Obama administration…

KAINE: Well, let me — let me come back…

PENCE: … is deeply troubling to me. That will all change the day Donald Trump becomes president of the United States.

KAINE: … and talk about — let me talk about the things that Governor Pence doesn’t want to acknowledge, Elaine. He doesn’t want to acknowledge that we stopped the Iranian nuclear weapons program. He doesn’t want to acknowledge…

PENCE: We didn’t.

KAINE: … that Hillary was part of a team that got bin Laden. He doesn’t want to acknowledge…

PENCE: I just did. KAINE: … that it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, that it’s a good thing — not a bad thing — that we’re down from 175,000 troops deployed overseas to 15,000.

But let me tell you what will really make the Middle East dangerous. Donald Trump’s idea that more nations should get nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea. Ronald Reagan said something really interesting about nuclear proliferation back in the 1980s. He said the problem with nuclear proliferation is that some fool or maniac could trigger a catastrophic event. And I think that’s who Governor Pence’s running mate is, exactly who Governor Reagan warned us about.

PENCE: And come on. Senator. Senator, that was even beneath you and Hillary Clinton. And that — that’s pretty low.

KAINE: But do you — do you think — do you think we should have — more nuclear weapons in the world will make us safer?

PENCE: Senator, the…

KAINE: That’s what Donald Trump thinks.

PENCE: Ronald Reagan also said nuclear war should never be fought because it can never be won. And the United States of America needs to make investments in modernizing our nuclear force for both deterrence…

KAINE: But can you defend Donald Trump’s claim that more nations should get nuclear weapons?

PENCE: … and assurance to our allies. But let me go back to this Iran thing. I mean, he keeps saying that they prevented — that Hillary Clinton started the deal with the Iranians prevented Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: That’s what the Israeli joint chiefs of staff is saying right now.

PENCE: Well, that’s not what — that’s not what Israel thinks.

KAINE: Gadi Eizenkot, you can go check it.

PENCE: You wouldn’t necessarily know that.

KAINE: Go to the tape.

PENCE: I know you boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech when he came before the Congress.

KAINE: No, I visited him in his office. I visited him in his office.

PENCE: You boycotted the speech. The point is, what this Iran — so-called Iran deal did was essentially guarantee — I mean, when I was in Congress, I fought hard on a bipartisan basis with Republican and Democrat members to move forward the toughest sanctions, it — literally in the history of the United States, against Iran.

KAINE: And then Hillary used them to get a deal.

PENCE: We were bringing them to heel, but the goal was always that we would only lift the sanctions if Iran permanently renounced their nuclear ambitions.

KAINE: Elaine, let me just mention one thing.

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: They have not — Elaine, let me finish a sentence. They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions. And when the deal’s period runs out, there’s no limitation on them obtaining weapons. That…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: And very quickly, Senator.

KAINE: Elaine…

PENCE: … and the fact that they got $1.7 billion in a ransom payment…

QUIJANO: We need to talk about Russia. Very quickly, though, Senator, please.

PENCE: … is astonishing to the American people.

KAINE: Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next. And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate.

PENCE: Well, let’s — no, no, don’t put words in my mouth.

QUIJANO: All right.

PENCE: He’s going…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: And yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend. And I just think that should be underlined.

PENCE: No, I’m — look…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: All right, gentlemen, let’s talk about Russia. This is a topic that has come up.

PENCE: I’m very, very happy to defend Donald Trump. If he wants to take these one at a time, I’ll take them one at a time.

QUIJANO: I will give you an opportunity to do that.

KAINE: More nations should get nuclear weapons. Try to defend that.

PENCE: Don’t put words in my mouth. Well, he never said that, Senator.

KAINE: He absolutely said it. Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan.

PENCE: Most of the stuffy you’ve said, he’s never said.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and has provided crucial military support to the Assad regime. What steps, if any, would your administration take to counter these actions? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: You’ve got to be tough on Russia. So let’s start with not praising Vladimir Putin as a great leader. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have said he’s a great leader. And Donald Trump has business…

PENCE: No, we haven’t.

KAINE: … has business dealings — has business dealings with Russia that he refuses to disclose. Hillary Clinton has gone toe-to- toe with Russia. She went toe-to-toe with Russia as secretary of state to do the New START Agreement to reduce Russia’s nuclear stockpile. She’s had the experience doing it.

She went toe-to-toe with Russia and lodged protests when they went into Georgia. And we’ve done the same thing about Ukraine, but more than launching protests, we’ve put punishing economic sanctions on Russia that we need to continue.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, didn’t know that Russia had invaded the Crimea.

PENCE: Oh, that’s nonsense.

KAINE: He was on a TV show a couple months back, and he said, “I’ll guarantee you this, Russia’s not going into the Ukraine.” And he had to be reminded that they had gone into the Crimea two years before.

PENCE: He knew that.

KAINE: Hillary Clinton has gone toe-to-toe with Russia to work out a deal on New START. She got them engaged on a meaningful way to cap Iran’s nuclear weapons program. And yet she stood up to them on issues such as Syria and their invasion of Georgia. You’ve got to have the ability to do that, and Hillary does.

On the other hand, in Donald Trump, you have somebody who praises Vladimir Putin all the time. America should really wonder about a President Trump, who had a campaign manager with ties to Putin, pro- Putin elements in the Ukraine, who had to be fired for that reason. They should wonder — when Donald Trump is sitting down with Vladimir Putin, is it going to be America’s bottom line or is it going to be Donald Trump’s bottom line that he’s going to be worried about with all of his business dealings?

Now, this could be solved if Donald Trump would be willing to release his tax returns, as he told the American public that he would do. And I know he’s laughing at this, but every president…

PENCE: But what’s it got to do with Russia?

KAINE: Every president since Richard Nixon has done it, and Donald Trump has said I’m doing business with Russia. The only way the American public will see whether he has a conflict of interest…

PENCE: No, he hasn’t said that.

KAINE: He has, actually.

QUIJANO: Senator, your time is up. Governor?

PENCE: Well, thanks. I’m just trying to keep up with the insult-driven campaign on the other side of the table.

KAINE: You know, I’m just saying facts about your running mate.

PENCE: Yeah.

KAINE: And I know you can’t defend.

QUIJANO: Senator, please. This is the governor’s two minutes.

PENCE: I’m happy to defend him, Senator. Don’t put words in my mouth that I’m not defending him.

KAINE: You’re not.

PENCE: I’m happy to defend him. Most of what you said is completely false, and the American people know that.

KAINE: I’ll run through the list of things where you won’t defend…

PENCE: This isn’t the old days where you can just say stuff and people believe it.

QUIJANO: Senator, please. This is Governor Pence’s two minutes.

PENCE: Look, this is the alternative universe of Washington, D.C., versus reality. Hillary Clinton said her number-one priority was a reset with Russia. That reset resulted in the invasion of Ukraine, after they’d infiltrated with what are called little green men, Russian soldiers that were dressing up like Ukrainian dissidents, and then they moved all the way into Crimea, took over the Crimean Peninsula. Donald Trump knew that happened. He basically was saying it’s not going to happen again. The truth of the matter is that what you have in the rise of aggressive Russia, which has had — increased its influence in Iran, that’s now — now because of this deal is on a pathway in the future to obtain a nuclear — the leading state sponsor of terror in the world in Iran now has a closer working relationship with Russia because of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s foreign policy and $150 billion and sanctions all being lifted.

And then, of course, Syria, I mean, it really is extraordinary that — Syria is imploding. You just asked a very thoughtful question about the disaster in Aleppo. ISIS is headquartered in Raqqa. It is — ISIS from Raqqa has overrun vast areas that at great sacrifice the American soldier won in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet Senator Kaine still sits here, loyal soldier — I get all that — in saying that the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama somehow made the world more secure. I mean, it really is astonishing that on the day…

KAINE: We even wiped out the leader of Al Qaida.

PENCE: … on the day that Iran released four American hostages…

KAINE: We stopped Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

QUIJANO: Governor…

PENCE: … we delivered $400 million in cash as a ransom payment for Americans held by the radical mullahs in Tehran.

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor, yesterday, Mr. Trump said…

KAINE: And we stopped a nuclear weapons program without a shot.

QUIJANO: … quote, “Putin has no respect for Hillary Clinton and no respect for Obama.” Why do you think he’ll respect a Trump- Pence administration?

PENCE: Strength. Plain and simple.

KAINE: Business dealings.

PENCE: Donald Trump — that’s nonsense. Donald Trump is a strong leader…

KAINE: Donald Trump’s son says that the Trump organization…

PENCE: … who is going to lead with American strength.

QUIJANO: Please, Senator, I’ll give you a chance to respond.

PENCE: We’re going to rebuild our military. And let me — let me — this whole Putin thing. Look, America is stronger than Russia. Our economy is 16 times larger than the Russian economy. America’s political system is superior to the crony, corrupt capitalist system in Russia in every way.

When Donald Trump and I observe that, as I’ve said in Syria, in Iran, in Ukraine, that the small and bullying leader of Russia has been stronger on the world stage than this administration, that’s stating painful facts. That’s not an endorsement of Vladimir Putin. That’s an indictment of the weak and feckless leadership…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

PENCE: … of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

KAINE: Well, this is one where we can just kind of go to the tape on it. But Governor Pence said, inarguably, Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama.

PENCE: That is absolutely inaccurate.

KAINE: And — and — and I just think a guy who praises…

PENCE: He said he’s stronger — he’s been stronger on the world stage.

KAINE: No, he said leader. And if — and I’ll just say this, Governor.

PENCE: You just said better.

KAINE: If you mistake leadership for dictatorship, and you can’t tell the difference, a country that’s running its economy into the ground…

PENCE: Yeah, here we go. This is the grade school thing again?

KAINE: … persecuting journalists…

PENCE: Right, this is grade school.

KAINE: … if you can’t tell the difference, you shouldn’t be commander-in-chief.

PENCE: Yeah. KAINE: And with Donald Trump — Donald Trump’s sons say that they have all these business dealings with Russia. Those could be disclosed with tax returns, but they refuse to do them. Americans need to worry about whether Donald Trump will be watching out for America’s bottom line or his own bottom line.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, what went wrong with the Russia reset?

KAINE: Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin is a dictator.

QUIJANO: And what would do you differently?

KAINE: Vladimir Putin is a dictator. He’s not a leader. Anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t know Russian history and they don’t know Vladimir Putin. Hillary Clinton knows exactly who this guy is. John McCain said, I look in his eyes and I see KGB. And Hillary kind of has that same feeling.

PENCE: Right.

KAINE: So how do deal with him? You’ve got to — we do have to deal with Russia in a lot of different ways. There are areas where we can cooperate. So it was Hillary Clinton who worked with Russia on the New START Treaty to reduce their nuclear weapons stockpile. It was Hillary Clinton that worked with Russia to get them engaged in a community of nations to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons without firing a shot.

She’s not going around praising Vladimir Putin as a great guy. But she knows how to sit down at a table and negotiate tough deals. This is a very challenging part of the world, and we ought to have a commander-in-chief who is prepared and done it, rather than somebody who goes around praising Vladimir Putin as a great leader.

QUIJANO: All right, I’d like to ask now about North Korea, Iran and the threat of nuclear weapons. North Korea recently conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test.

PENCE: Right.

QUIJANO: What specific steps would you take to prevent North Korea from developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States? Governor Pence?

PENCE: Well, first, we need to — we need to make a commitment to rebuild our military, including modernizing our nuclear forces. And we also need — we also need an effective American diplomacy that will marshal the resources of nations in the Asian Pacific Rim to put pressure on North Korea, on Kim Jong-un, to abandon his nuclear ambitions. It has to remain the policy of the United States of America the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, plain and simple.

And when Donald Trump is president of the United States, we’re — we’re not going to have the — the kind of posture in the world that has Russia invading Crimea and Ukraine, that has the Chinese building new islands in the South China Sea, that has literally the world, including North Korea, flouting American power. We’re going to — we’re going to go back to the days of peace through strength.

But I have to tell you that — that all this talk about tax returns — and I get it, you know, you want to keep bringing that up. It must have — must have…

KAINE: Until he…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: … done well in some focus group. But here — Hillary Clinton and her husband set up a private foundation called the Clinton Foundation. While she was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation accepted tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and foreign donors.

Now, you all need to know out there, this is basic stuff. Foreign donors, and certainly foreign governments, cannot participate in the American political process. They cannot make financial contributions. But the Clintons figured out a way to create a foundation where foreign governments and foreign donors could donate millions of dollars. And then we found, thanks to the good work of the Associated Press, that more than half her private meetings when she was secretary of state were given to major donors of the Clinton Foundation. When you talk about all these — all these baseless rumors about Russia and the rest, Hillary Clinton — you asked the trustworthy question at the very beginning — the reason…

QUIJANO: Governor, your two minutes are up.

PENCE: … the reason the American people don’t trust Hillary Clinton is because they are looking at the pay to play politics that she operated with the Clinton Foundation through a private server…

QUIJANO: Governor, please.

PENCE: … while she’s secretary of state.

QUIJANO: Your two minutes are up, Governor.

PENCE: And they’re saying enough is enough.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

KAINE: I’m going to talk about the foundation, and then I’ll talk about North Korea. So, on the foundation. I am glad to talk about the foundation. The Clinton Foundation is one of the highest- rated charities in the world. It provides AIDS drugs to about 11.5 million people. It helps Americans deal with opioid overdoses. It gets higher rankings for its charity than the American Red Cross does. The Clinton foundation does an awful lot of good work.

Hillary Clinton as secretary of state took no action to benefit the foundation. The State Department did an investigation, and they concluded that everything Hillary Clinton did as secretary of state was completely in the interest of the United States. So the foundation does good work. And Hillary Clinton as secretary of state acted in the interests of the United States.

But let’s compare this now with the Trump organization and the Trump Foundation. The Trump organization is an octopus-like organization with tentacles all over the world whose conflict of interests could only be known if Donald Trump would release his tax returns. He’s refused to do it.

His sons have said that the organization has a lot of business dealings in Russia. And remember, the Trump organization is not a non-profit. It’s putting money into Donald Trump’s pockets and into the pockets of his children, whereas the Clinton Foundation is a non- profit and no Clinton family member draws any salary.

PENCE: The Trump Foundation is non-profit.

KAINE: In addition, Donald Trump has a foundation. The foundation was just fined for illegally contributing foundation dollars to a political campaign of a Florida attorney general. They made an illegal contribution, and then they tried to hide it by disguising it to somebody else. And the person they donated to was somebody whose office was charged with investigating Trump University.

This is the difference between a foundation that does good work and a secretary of state who acted in accordance with American interest and somebody who is conflicted and doing work around the world and won’t share with the American public what he’s doing and what those conflicts are.

QUIJANO: Governor, I will give you 30 seconds to respond, because I know you want to, but, again, I would remind you both this was about North Korea.

(LAUGHTER)

PENCE: Well, Thank you. Thank you. The Trump Foundation is a private family foundation. They give virtually every cent in the Trump Foundation to charitable causes.

KAINE: Political contributions?

PENCE: Less than ten cents on the dollar in the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes.

KAINE: A $20,000 portrait of Donald Trump? PENCE: Less than 10 cents on the dollar of the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes.

KAINE: Ninety percent.

PENCE: It has been a platform for the Clintons to travel the world, to have staff. But honestly, Senator, we would know a lot more about it if Hillary Clinton would just turn over the 33,000 e-mails…

QUIJANO: All right, let’s turn back to North Korea…

PENCE: … that she refused to turn over in her private server…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine…

PENCE: … and we’d have a much better picture of what the Clinton Foundation was about.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, if you had intelligence that North Korea was about to launch a missile, a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States, would you take preemptive action?

KAINE: If we — look, a president should take action to defend the United States against imminent threat. You have to. A president has to do that. Now exactly what action, you would have to determine what your intelligence was, how certain you were of that intelligence, but you would have to take action.

You asked the question about how do we deal with a North Korea. I’m on the Foreign Relations Committee. We just did an extensive sanctions package against North Korea. And interestingly enough, Elaine, the U.N. followed and did this — virtually the same package. Often China will use their veto in the Security Council to veto a package like that. They’re starting to get worried about North Korea, too. So they actually supported the sanctions package, even though many of the sanctions are against Chinese firms, Chinese financial institutions.

So we’re working together with China, and we need to. China’s another one of those relationships where it’s competitive, it’s also challenging, and in times like North Korea, we have to be able to cooperate. Hillary understands that very well. She went once famously to China and stood up at a human rights meeting and looked them in the eye and said, “Women’s rights are human rights.” They didn’t want her to say that, but she did.

But she’s also worked on a lot of diplomatic and important diplomatic deals with China. And that’s what it’s going to take.

The thing I would worry a little bit about is that Donald Trump owes about $650 million to banks, including the Bank of China. I’m not sure he could stand up so tough to the people who have loaned him money.

QUIJANO: All right. I’d like to turn to our next segment now. And in this, I’d like to focus on social issues. You have both been open about the role that faith has played in your lives. Can you discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Yeah, that’s an easy one for me, Elaine. It’s an easy one. I’m really fortunate. I grew up in a wonderful household with great Irish Catholic parents. My mom and dad are sitting right here. I was educated by Jesuits at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. My 40th reunion is in 10 days.

And I worked with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, now nearly 35 years ago, and they were the heroes of my life. I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But I don’t believe in this nation, a First Amendment nation, where we don’t raise any religion over the other, and we allow people to worship as they please, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone.

For me, the hardest struggle in my faith life was the Catholic Church is against the death penalty and so am I. But I was governor of a state, and the state law said that there was a death penalty for crimes if the jury determined them to be heinous. And so I had to grapple with that.

When I was running for governor, I was attacked pretty strongly because of my position on the death penalty. But I looked the voters of Virginia in the eye and said, look, this is my religion. I’m not going to change my religious practice to get one vote, but I know how to take an oath and uphold the law. And if you elect me, I will uphold the law.

And I was elected, and I did. It was very, very difficult to allow executions to go forward, but in circumstances where I didn’t feel like there was a case for clemency, I told Virginia voters I would uphold the law, and I did.

That was a real struggle. But I think it is really, really important that those of us who have deep faith lives don’t feel that we could just substitute our own views for everybody else in society, regardless of their views.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: Well, it’s a wonderful question. And my Christian faith is at the very heart of who I am. I was also raised in a wonderful family of faith. It was a church on Sunday morning and grace before dinner.

PENCE: But my Christian faith became real for me when I made a personal decision for Christ when I was a freshman in college. And I’ve tried to live that out however imperfectly every day of my life since. And with my wife at my side, we’ve followed a calling into public service, where we’ve — we’ve tried to — we’ve tried to keep faith with the values that we cherish.

And with regard to when I struggle, I appreciate, and — and — and — I have a great deal of respect for Senator Kaine’s sincere faith. I truly do.

KAINE: That’s shared.

PENCE: But for me, I would tell you that for me the sanctity of life proceeds out of the belief that — that ancient principle that — where God says before you were formed in the womb, I knew you, and so for my first time in public life, I sought to stand with great compassion for the sanctity of life.

The state of Indiana has also sought to make sure that we expand alternatives in health care counseling for women, non-abortion alternatives. I’m also very pleased at the fact we’re well on our way in Indiana to becoming the most pro-adoption state in America. I think if you’re going to be pro-life, you should — you should be pro- adoption.

But what I can’t understand is with Hillary Clinton and now Senator Kaine at her side is to support a practice like partial-birth abortion. I mean, to hold to the view — and I know Senator Kaine, you hold pro-life views personally — but the very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me.

And I cannot — I can’t conscience about — about a party that supports that. Or that — I know you’ve historically opposed taxpayer funding of abortion. But Hillary Clinton wants to — wants to repeal the longstanding provision in the law where we said we wouldn’t use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.

So for me, my faith informs my life. I try and spend a little time on my knees every day. But it all for me begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of every human life.

KAINE: Elaine, this is a fundamental question, a fundamental question. Hillary and I are both people out of religious backgrounds, from Methodist church experience, which was really formative for her as a public servant.

But we really feel like you should live fully and with enthusiasm the commands of your faith. But it is not the role of the public servant to mandate that for everybody else.

So let’s talk about abortion and choice. Let’s talk about them. We support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That’s something we trust American women to do that.

And we don’t think that women should be punished, as Donald Trump said they should, for making the decision to have an abortion.

Governor Pence wants to repeal Roe v. Wade. He said he wants to put it on the ash heap of history. And we have some young people in the audience who weren’t even born when Roe was decided. This is pretty important. Before Roe v. Wade, states could pass criminal laws to do just that, to punish women if they made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.

I think you should live your moral values. But the last thing, the very last thing that government should do is have laws that would punish women who make reproductive choices. And that is the fundamental difference between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump- Pence ticket that wants to punish women who make that choice.

PENCE: No, it’s really not. Donald Trump and I would never support legislation that punished women who made the heartbreaking choice to end a pregnancy.

KAINE: Then why did Donald Trump say that?

PENCE: We just never would.

KAINE: Why did he say that?

PENCE: Well, look, it’s — look, he’s not a polished politician like you and Hillary Clinton. And so…

KAINE: Well, I would admit that’s not a polished…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: You know, things don’t always come out exactly the way he means them.

KAINE: Well, can I say…

PENCE: But I’m telling you what the policy of our administration would be.

KAINE: Great line from the — great line from the gospel of Matthew. From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.

PENCE: Yeah. KAINE: When Donald Trump says women should be punished or Mexicans are rapists and criminals…

PENCE: I’m telling you…

KAINE: … or John McCain is not a hero, he is showing you who he is.

PENCE: Senator, you’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again. He — look…

KAINE: Can you defend it?

PENCE: There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally who are perpetrating violence and taking American lives.

KAINE: You want to — you want to use a big broad brush against Mexicans on that?

PENCE: He also said and many of them are good people. You keep leaving that out of your quote. And if you want me to go there, I’ll go there.

But here’s — there is a choice, and it is a choice on life. I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with Donald Trump, who’s standing for the right to life. It’s a principle that — Senator Kaine — and I’m very gentle about this, because I really do respect you — it’s a principle that you embrace.

And I have appreciated the fact that you’ve supported the Hyde amendment, which bans the use of taxpayer funding for abortion, in the past, but that’s not Hillary Clinton’s view. People need to understand, we can come together as a nation. We can create a culture of life. More and more young people today are embracing life because we know we are — we’re better for it. We can — like Mother Teresa said at that famous national prayer breakfast…

KAINE: This is important —

PENCE: … bring the — let’s welcome the children into our world. There are so many families around the country who can’t have children. We could improve adoption…

KAINE: But, Governor…

PENCE: … so that families that can’t have children can adopt more readily those children from crisis pregnancies.

KAINE: Governor, why don’t you trust women to make this choice for themselves? We can encourage people to support life. Of course we can. But why don’t you trust women? Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves?

That’s what we ought to be doing in public life. Living our lives of faith or motivation with enthusiasm and excitement, convincing other, dialoguing with each other about important moral issues of the day…

PENCE: Because there are…

KAINE: … but on fundamental issues of morality, we should let women make their own decisions.

PENCE: Because there is — a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled, and the unborn. I believe it with all my heart. And I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with a pro-life candidate in Donald Trump.

QUIJANO: I do have one final question for you both tonight. It has been a divisive campaign. Senator Kaine, if your ticket wins, what specifically are you going to do to unify the country and reassure the people who voted against you?

KAINE: That’s a really important one. That may be the $64,000 question, because it has been a divisive campaign. And again, Hillary is running a campaign about stronger together, and Donald Trump — and this is — this is not directed at this man, except to the extent that he can’t defend Donald Trump — Donald Trump has run a campaign that’s been about one insult after the next.

But we do have to bring the country together. So here’s what we’ll do. Hillary Clinton was first lady, then senator for eight years and secretary of state. And I served in the Senate. And I’m really amazed, Elaine, as I talk to Republican senators, how well they regard and respect Hillary Clinton.

She was on the Armed Services Committee. She was on other committees. She worked across the aisle when she was first lady to get the CHIP program passed so that 8 million low-income kids have health insurance in this country, including 150,000 in Indiana.

She worked across the aisle after 9/11 to get health benefits for the first responders who bravely went into the towers and into the Pentagon. She worked to get benefits for — TRICARE benefits for National Guard members, including Hoosiers and Virginians in the National Guard.

She has a track record of working across the aisle to make things happen. And, you know, Elaine, I have the same track record. I was a governor of Virginia with two Republican houses. And in the Senate, I have good working relationships across the aisle.

Because I think it’s fine to be a Democrat or Republican or independent, but after Election Day, the goal is work together. And Hillary Clinton has a track record of accomplishment across the aisle that will enable her to do just that when we work with the new Congress in January.

QUIJANO: Governor, how will you unify the country if you win?

PENCE: Well, thank you, Elaine, and thanks for a great discussion…

KAINE: Absolutely.

PENCE: … tonight. Thank you, Senator.

This is a very challenging time in the life of our nation. Weakened America’s place in the world after the leadership of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the world stage has been followed by an economy that is truly struggling, stifled by an avalanche of more taxes, more regulation, Obamacare, the war on coal, and the kind of trade deals that have put American workers in the back seat. I think the best way that we can bring people together is through change in Washington, D.C.

You know, I served in Washington, D.C., for 12 years in the Congress of the United States. And I served with many Republicans and Democrats, men and women of goodwill. The potential is there to really change the direction of this country, but it’s going to take leadership to do it.

The American people want to see our nation standing tall on the world stage again. They want to see us supporting our military, rebuilding our military, commanding the respect of the world, and they want to see the American economy off to the races again. They want to see an American comeback.

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Keeping up with politics is easy now.

And Donald Trump’s entire career has been about building. It’s been about — it’s going through hardship just like a businessperson does and finding a way through smarts and ingenuity and resilience to fight forward and — when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, we’re going to have a stronger America.

When you hear him say he wants to make America great again, when we do that, I truly do believe the American people are going to be standing taller. They’re going to see that real change can happen after decades of just talking about it. And when that happens, the American people are going to stand tall, stand together, and we’ll have the kind of unity that’s been missing for way too long.

QUIJANO: All right, gentlemen, thank you so much.

This concludes the vice presidential debate. My thanks to the candidates, the commission, and to you for watching. Please tune in this Sunday for the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis and the final debate on October 19th at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

From Farmville, Virginia, I’m Elaine Quijano of CBS News. Good night.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 September 26, 2016: The first Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

2016

The first Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

Source: WaPo, 9-26-16

According to most news outlets and post-debate polls Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the debate.

LESTER HOLT: Good evening from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. I’m Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News.” I want to welcome you to the first presidential debate.

The participants tonight are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This debate is sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. The commission drafted tonight’s format, and the rules have been agreed to by the campaigns.

The 90-minute debate is divided into six segments, each 15 minutes long. We’llexplore three topic areas tonight: Achieving prosperity; America’s direction; and securing America. At the start of each segment, I will ask the same lead-off question to both candidates, and they will each have up to two minutes to respond. From that point until the end of the segment, we’ll have an open discussion.

The questions are mine and have not been shared with the commission or the campaigns. The audience here in the room has agreed to remain silent so that we can focus on what the candidates are saying.

I will invite you to applaud, however, at this moment, as we welcome the candidates: Democratic nominee for president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee for president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: How are you, Donald?

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Good luck to you.

(APPLAUSE)

Well, I don’t expect us to cover all the issues of this campaign tonight, but I remind everyone, there are two more presidential debates scheduled. We are going to focus on many of the issues that voters tell us are most important, and we’re going to press for specifics. I am honored to have this role, but this evening belongs to the candidates and, just as important, to the American people.

Candidates, we look forward to hearing you articulate your policies and your positions, as well as your visions and your values. So, let’s begin.

We’re calling this opening segment “Achieving Prosperity.” And central to that is jobs. There are two economic realities in America today. There’s been a record six straight years of job growth, and new census numbers show incomes have increased at a record rate after years of stagnation. However, income inequality remains significant, and nearly half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Beginning with you, Secretary Clinton, why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American works?

CLINTON: Well, thank you, Lester, and thanks to Hofstra for hosting us.

The central question in this election is really what kind of country we want to be and what kind of future we’ll build together. Today is my granddaughter’s second birthday, so I think about this a lot. First, we have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That means we need new jobs, good jobs, with rising incomes.

I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women’s work.

CLINTON: I also want to see more companies do profit-sharing. If you help create the profits, you should be able to share in them, not just the executives at the top.

And I want us to do more to support people who are struggling to balance family and work. I’ve heard from so many of you about the difficult choices you face and the stresses that you’re under. So let’s have paid family leave, earned sick days.Let’s be sure we have affordable child care and debt-free college.

How are we going to do it? We’re going to do it by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes.

Finally, we tonight are on the stage together, Donald Trump and I. Donald, it’s good to be with you. We’re going to have a debate where we are talking about the important issues facing our country. You have to judge us, who can shoulder the immense, awesome responsibilities of the presidency, who can put into action the plans that will make your life better. I hope that I will be able to earn your vote on November 8th.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, thank you.

Mr. Trump, the same question to you. It’s about putting money — more money into the pockets of American workers. You have up to two minutes.

TRUMP: Thank you, Lester. Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They’re devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. And we have a winning fight. Because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing.

So we’re losing our good jobs, so many of them. When you look at what’s happening in Mexico, a friend of mine who builds plants said it’s the eighth wonder of the world. They’re building some of the biggest plants anywhere in the world, some of the most sophisticated, some of the best plants. With the United States, as he said, not so much.

So Ford is leaving. You see that, their small car division leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They’re all leaving. And we can’t allow it to happen anymore. As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that. We probably disagree a little bit as to numbers and amounts and what we’re going to do, but perhaps we’ll be talking about that later.

But we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people. All you have to do is take a look at Carrier air conditioning in Indianapolis. They left — fired 1,400 people. They’re going to Mexico. So many hundreds and hundreds of companies are doing this.

TRUMP: We cannot let it happen. Under my plan, I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch.

Companies will come. They will build. They will expand. New companies will start. And I look very, very much forward to doing it. We have to renegotiate our trade deals, and we have to stop these countries from stealing our companies and our jobs.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, would you like to respond?

CLINTON: Well, I think that trade is an important issue. Of course, we are 5 percent of the world’s population; we have to trade with the other 95 percent.And we need to have smart, fair trade deals.

We also, though, need to have a tax system that rewards work and not just financial transactions. And the kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. In fact, it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country than we’ve ever had.

I call it trumped-up trickle-down, because that’s exactly what it would be. That is not how we grow the economy.

We just have a different view about what’s best for growing the economy, how we make investments that will actually produce jobs and rising incomes.

I think we come at it from somewhat different perspectives. I understand that.You know, Donald was very fortunate in his life, and that’s all to his benefit. He started his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father, and he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we’ll be and that everything will work out from there.

I don’t buy that. I have a different experience. My father was a small-businessman. He worked really hard. He printed drapery fabrics on long tables, where he pulled out those fabrics and he went down with a silkscreen and dumped the paint in and took the squeegee and kept going.

And so what I believe is the more we can do for the middle class, the more we can invest in you, your education, your skills, your future, the better we will be off and the better we’ll grow. That’s the kind of economy I want us to see again.

HOLT: Let me follow up with Mr. Trump, if you can. You’ve talked about creating 25 million jobs, and you’ve promised to bring back millions of jobs for Americans. How are you going to bring back the industries that have left this country for cheaper labor overseas? How, specifically, are you going to tell American manufacturers that you have to come back?

TRUMP: Well, for one thing — and before we start on that — my father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars, with some of the greatest assets in the world, and I say that only because that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs.

Our country’s in deep trouble. We don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to devaluations and all of these countries all over the world, especially China.They’re the best, the best ever at it. What they’re doing to us is a very, very sad thing.

So we have to do that. We have to renegotiate our trade deals. And, Lester, they’re taking our jobs, they’re giving incentives, they’re doing things that, frankly, we don’t do.

Let me give you the example of Mexico. They have a VAT tax. We’re on a different system. When we sell into Mexico, there’s a tax. When they sell in — automatic, 16 percent, approximately. When they sell into us, there’s no tax. It’s a defective agreement. It’s been defective for a long time, many years, but the politicians haven’t done anything about it.

Now, in all fairness to Secretary Clinton — yes, is that OK? Good. I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me.

But in all fairness to Secretary Clinton, when she started talking about this, it was really very recently. She’s been doing this for 30 years. And why hasn’t she made the agreements better? The NAFTA agreement is defective. Just because of the tax and many other reasons, but just because of the fact…

HOLT: Let me interrupt just a moment, but…

TRUMP: Secretary Clinton and others, politicians, should have been doing this for years, not right now, because of the fact that we’ve created a movement. They should have been doing this for years. What’s happened to our jobs and our country and our economy generally is — look, we owe $20 trillion. We cannot do it any longer, Lester. HOLT: Back to the question, though. How do you bring back — specifically bring back jobs, American manufacturers? How do you make them bring the jobs back?

TRUMP: Well, the first thing you do is don’t let the jobs leave. The companies are leaving. I could name, I mean, there are thousands of them. They’re leaving, and they’re leaving in bigger numbers than ever.

And what you do is you say, fine, you want to go to Mexico or some other country, good luck. We wish you a lot of luck. But if you think you’re going to make your air conditioners or your cars or your cookies or whatever you make and bring them into our country without a tax, you’re wrong.

And once you say you’re going to have to tax them coming in, and our politicians never do this, because they have special interests and the special interests want those companies to leave, because in many cases, they own the companies. So what I’m saying is, we can stop them from leaving. We have to stop them from leaving. And that’s a big, big factor.

HOLT: Let me let Secretary Clinton get in here.

CLINTON: Well, let’s stop for a second and remember where we were eight years ago. We had the worst financial crisis, the Great Recession, the worst since the 1930s. That was in large part because of tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.

In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, “Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.” Well, it did collapse.

TRUMP: That’s called business, by the way.

CLINTON: Nine million people — nine million people lost their jobs. Five million people lost their homes. And $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out.

Now, we have come back from that abyss. And it has not been easy. So we’re now on the precipice of having a potentially much better economy, but the last thing we need to do is to go back to the policies that failed us in the first place.

Independent experts have looked at what I’ve proposed and looked at what Donald’s proposed, and basically they’ve said this, that if his tax plan, which would blow up the debt by over $5 trillion and would in some instances disadvantage middle-class families compared to the wealthy, were to go into effect, we would lose 3.5 million jobs and maybe have another recession.

They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said, OK, if we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy. Take clean energy. Some country is going to be the clean- energy superpower of the 21st century. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.

TRUMP: I did not. I did not. I do not say that.

CLINTON: I think science is real.

TRUMP: I do not say that.

CLINTON: And I think it’s important that we grip this and deal with it, both at home and abroad. And here’s what we can do. We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That’s a lot of jobs; that’s a lot of new economic activity.

So I’ve tried to be very specific about what we can and should do, and I am determined that we’re going to get the economy really moving again, building on the progress we’ve made over the last eight years, but never going back to what got us in trouble in the first place.

HOLT: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: She talks about solar panels. We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster. They lost plenty of money on that one.

Now, look, I’m a great believer in all forms of energy, but we’re putting a lot of people out of work. Our energy policies are a disaster. Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt. You can’t do what you’re looking to do with $20 trillion in debt.

The Obama administration, from the time they’ve come in, is over 230 years’ worth of debt, and he’s topped it. He’s doubled it in a course of almost eight years, seven-and-a-half years, to be semi- exact.

So I will tell you this. We have to do a much better job at keeping our jobs. And we have to do a much better job at giving companies incentives to build new companies or to expand, because they’re not doing it.

And all you have to do is look at Michigan and look at Ohio and look at all of these places where so many of their jobs and their companies are just leaving, they’re gone.

And, Hillary, I’d just ask you this. You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now? For 30 years, you’ve been doing it, and now you’re just starting to think of solutions.

CLINTON: Well, actually…

TRUMP: I will bring — excuse me. I will bring back jobs. You can’t bring back jobs.

CLINTON: Well, actually, I have thought about this quite a bit.

TRUMP: Yeah, for 30 years.

CLINTON: And I have — well, not quite that long. I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s. I think a lot about what worked and how we can make it work again…

TRUMP: Well, he approved NAFTA…

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: … million new jobs, a balanced budget…

TRUMP: He approved NAFTA, which is the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country.

CLINTON: Incomes went up for everybody. Manufacturing jobs went up also in the 1990s, if we’re actually going to look at the facts.

When I was in the Senate, I had a number of trade deals that came before me, and I held them all to the same test. Will they create jobs in America? Will they raise incomes in America? And are they good for our national security? Some of them I voted for. The biggest one, a multinational one known as CAFTA, I voted against. And because I hold the same standards as I look at all of these trade deals.

But let’s not assume that trade is the only challenge we have in the economy. I think it is a part of it, and I’ve said what I’m going to do. I’m going to have a special prosecutor. We’re going to enforce the trade deals we have, and we’re going to hold people accountable.

When I was secretary of state, we actually increased American exports globally 30 percent. We increased them to China 50 percent. So I know how to really work to get new jobs and to get exports that helped to create more new jobs.

HOLT: Very quickly…

TRUMP: But you haven’t done it in 30 years or 26 years or any number you want to…

CLINTON: Well, I’ve been a senator, Donald…

TRUMP: You haven’t done it. You haven’t done it.

CLINTON: And I have been a secretary of state…

TRUMP: Excuse me.

CLINTON: And I have done a lot…

TRUMP: Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry.

CLINTON: Well, that’s your opinion. That is your opinion.

TRUMP: You go to New England, you go to Ohio, Pennsylvania, you go anywhere you want, Secretary Clinton, and you will see devastation where manufacture is down 30, 40, sometimes 50 percent. NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.

And now you want to approve Trans-Pacific Partnership. You were totally in favor of it. Then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, I can’t win that debate. But you know that if you did win, you would approve that, and that will be almost as bad as NAFTA. Nothing will ever top NAFTA.

CLINTON: Well, that is just not accurate. I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out. I wrote about that in…

TRUMP: You called it the gold standard.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals. You said it’s the finest deal you’ve ever seen.

CLINTON: No.

TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it.

CLINTON: Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts. The facts are — I did say I hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated…

TRUMP: Not.

CLINTON: … which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn’t. I wrote about that in my book…

TRUMP: So is it President Obama’s fault?

CLINTON: … before you even announced.

TRUMP: Is it President Obama’s fault?

CLINTON: Look, there are differences…

TRUMP: Secretary, is it President Obama’s fault?

CLINTON: There are…

TRUMP: Because he’s pushing it.

CLINTON: There are different views about what’s good for our country, our economy, and our leadership in the world. And I think it’s important to look at what we need to do to get the economy going again. That’s why I said new jobs with rising incomes, investments, not in more tax cuts that would add $5 trillion to the debt.

TRUMP: But you have no plan.

CLINTON: But in — oh, but I do.

TRUMP: Secretary, you have no plan.

CLINTON: In fact, I have written a book about it. It’s called “Stronger Together.” You can pick it up tomorrow at a bookstore…

TRUMP: That’s about all you’ve…

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: Folks, we’re going to…

CLINTON: … or at an airport near you.

HOLT: We’re going to move to…

CLINTON: But it’s because I see this — we need to have strong growth, fair growth, sustained growth. We also have to look at how we help families balance the responsibilities at home and the responsibilities at business.

So we have a very robust set of plans. And people have looked at both of our plans, have concluded that mine would create 10 million jobs and yours would lose us 3.5 million jobs, and explode the debt which would have a recession.

TRUMP: You are going to approve one of the biggest tax cuts in history. You are going to approve one of the biggest tax increases in history. You are going to drive business out. Your regulations are a disaster, and you’re going to increase regulations all over the place.

And by the way, my tax cut is the biggest since Ronald Reagan. I’m very proud of it. It will create tremendous numbers of new jobs. But regulations, you are going to regulate these businesses out of existence.

When I go around — Lester, I tell you this, I’ve been all over. And when I go around, despite the tax cut, the thing — the things that business as in people like the most is the fact that I’m cutting regulation. You have regulations on top of regulations, and new companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. And you want to increase the regulations and make them even worse.

I’m going to cut regulations. I’m going to cut taxes big league, and you’re going to raise taxes big league, end of story.

HOLT: Let me get you to pause right there, because we’re going to move into — we’re going to move into the next segment. We’re going to talk taxes…

CLINTON: That can’t — that can’t be left to stand.

HOLT: Please just take 30 seconds and then we’re going to go on.

CLINTON: I kind of assumed that there would be a lot of these charges and claims, and so…

TRUMP: Facts.

CLINTON: So we have taken the home page of my website, HillaryClinton.com, and we’ve turned it into a fact-checker. So if you want to see in real-time what the facts are, please go and take a look. Because what I have proposed…

TRUMP: And take a look at mine, also, and you’ll see.

CLINTON: … would not add a penny to the debt, and your plans would add $5 trillion to the debt. What I have proposed would cut regulations and streamline them for small businesses. What I have proposed would be paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, because they have made all the gains in the economy. And I think it’s time that the wealthy and corporations paid their fair share to support this country.

HOLT: Well, you just opened the next segment.

TRUMP: Well, could I just finish — I think I…

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: I’m going to give you a chance right here…

TRUMP: I think I should — you go to her website, and you take a look at her website.

HOLT: … with a new 15-minute segment…

TRUMP: She’s going to raise taxes $1.3 trillion.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, I’m going to…

TRUMP: And look at her website. You know what? It’s no difference than this. She’s telling us how to fight ISIS. Just go to her website. She tells you how to fight ISIS on her website. I don’t think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.

HOLT: The next segment, we’re continuing…

CLINTON: Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS.

HOLT: … achieving prosperity…

TRUMP: No, no, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do.

CLINTON: No, we’re not. No, we’re not.

TRUMP: See, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you’ve been fighting — no wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.

CLINTON: That’s a — that’s — go to the — please, fact checkers, get to work.

HOLT: OK, you are unpacking a lot here. And we’re still on the issue of achieving prosperity. And I want to talk about taxes. The fundamental difference between the two of you concerns the wealthy.

Secretary Clinton, you’re calling for a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. I’d like you to further defend that. And, Mr. Trump, you’re calling for tax cuts for the wealthy. I’d like you to defend that. And this next two-minute answer goes to you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Well, I’m really calling for major jobs, because the wealthy are going create tremendous jobs. They’re going to expand their companies. They’re going to do a tremendous job.

I’m getting rid of the carried interest provision. And if you really look, it’s not a tax — it’s really not a great thing for the wealthy. It’s a great thing for the middle class. It’s a great thing for companies to expand.

And when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies, and when they’re going to bring $2.5 trillion back from overseas, where they can’t bring the money back, because politicians like Secretary Clinton won’t allow them to bring the money back, because the taxes are so onerous, and the bureaucratic red tape, so what — is so bad.

So what they’re doing is they’re leaving our country, and they’re, believe it or not, leaving because taxes are too high and because some of them have lots of money outside of our country. And instead of bringing it back and putting the money to work, because they can’t work out a deal to — and everybody agrees it should be brought back.

Instead of that, they’re leaving our country to get their money, because they can’t bring their money back into our country, because of bureaucratic red tape, because they can’t get together. Because we have — we have a president that can’t sit them around a table and get them to approve something.

And here’s the thing. Republicans and Democrats agree that this should be done, $2.5 trillion. I happen to think it’s double that. It’s probably $5 trillion that we can’t bring into our country, Lester. And with a little leadership, you’d get it in here very quickly, and it could be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things, and it would be beautiful.

But we have no leadership. And honestly, that starts with Secretary Clinton.

HOLT: All right. You have two minutes of the same question to defend tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: I have a feeling that by, the end of this evening, I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.

TRUMP: Why not?

CLINTON: Why not? Yeah, why not?

(LAUGHTER)

You know, just join the debate by saying more crazy things. Now, let me say this, it is absolutely the case…

TRUMP: There’s nothing crazy about not letting our companies bring their money back into their country.

HOLT: This is — this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes, please.

TRUMP: Yes.

CLINTON: Yeah, well, let’s start the clock again, Lester. We’ve looked at your tax proposals. I don’t see changes in the corporate tax rates or the kinds of proposals you’re referring to that would cause the repatriation, bringing back of money that’s stranded overseas. I happen to support that.

TRUMP: Then you didn’t read it.

CLINTON: I happen to — I happen to support that in a way that will actually work to our benefit. But when I look at what you have proposed, you have what is called now the Trump loophole, because it would so advantage you and the business you do. You’ve proposed an approach that has a…

TRUMP: Who gave it that name? The first I’ve — who gave it that name?

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: Mr. Trump, this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes.

CLINTON: … $4 billion tax benefit for your family. And when you look at what you are proposing…

TRUMP: How much? How much for my family? CLINTON: … it is…

TRUMP: Lester, how much?

CLINTON: … as I said, trumped-up trickle-down. Trickle-down did not work. It got us into the mess we were in, in 2008 and 2009. Slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn’t worked.

And a lot of really smart, wealthy people know that. And they are saying, hey, we need to do more to make the contributions we should be making to rebuild the middle class.

CLINTON: I don’t think top-down works in America. I think building the middle class, investing in the middle class, making college debt-free so more young people can get their education, helping people refinance their — their debt from college at a lower rate. Those are the kinds of things that will really boost the economy. Broad-based, inclusive growth is what we need in America, not more advantages for people at the very top.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re…

TRUMP: Typical politician. All talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work. Never going to happen. Our country is suffering because people like Secretary Clinton have made such bad decisions in terms of our jobs and in terms of what’s going on.

Now, look, we have the worst revival of an economy since the Great Depression. And believe me: We’re in a bubble right now. And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit, that’s going to come crashing down.

We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble. And we better be awfully careful. And we have a Fed that’s doing political things. This Janet Yellen of the Fed. The Fed is doing political — by keeping the interest rates at this level. And believe me: The day Obama goes off, and he leaves, and goes out to the golf course for the rest of his life to play golf, when they raise interest rates, you’re going to see some very bad things happen, because the Fed is not doing their job. The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re talking about the burden that Americans have to pay, yet you have not released your tax returns. And the reason nominees have released their returns for decades is so that voters will know if their potential president owes money to — who he owes it to and any business conflicts. Don’t Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?

TRUMP: I don’t mind releasing — I’m under a routine audit. And it’ll be released. And — as soon as the audit’s finished, it will be released.

But you will learn more about Donald Trump by going down to the federal elections, where I filed a 104-page essentially financial statement of sorts, the forms that they have. It shows income — in fact, the income — I just looked today — the income is filed at $694 million for this past year, $694 million. If you would have told me I was going to make that 15 or 20 years ago, I would have been very surprised.

But that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs. When we have a country that’s doing so badly, that’s being ripped off by every single country in the world, it’s the kind of thinking that our country needs, because everybody — Lester, we have a trade deficit with all of the countries that we do business with, of almost $800 billion a year. You know what that is? That means, who’s negotiating these trade deals?

We have people that are political hacks negotiating our trade deals.

HOLT: The IRS says an audit…

TRUMP: Excuse me.

HOLT: … of your taxes — you’re perfectly free to release your taxes during an audit. And so the question, does the public’s right to know outweigh your personal…

TRUMP: Well, I told you, I will release them as soon as the audit. Look, I’ve been under audit almost for 15 years. I know a lot of wealthy people that have never been audited. I said, do you get audited? I get audited almost every year.

And in a way, I should be complaining. I’m not even complaining. I don’t mind it. It’s almost become a way of life. I get audited by the IRS. But other people don’t.

I will say this. We have a situation in this country that has to be taken care of. I will release my tax returns — against my lawyer’s wishes — when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release.

(APPLAUSE)

I will release my tax returns. And that’s against — my lawyers, they say, “Don’t do it.” I will tell you this. No — in fact, watching shows, they’re reading the papers. Almost every lawyer says, you don’t release your returns until the audit’s complete. When the audit’s complete, I’ll do it. But I would go against them if she releases her e-mails.

HOLT: So it’s negotiable?

TRUMP: It’s not negotiable, no. Let her release the e-mails. Why did she delete 33,000…

HOLT: Well, I’ll let her answer that. But let me just admonish the audience one more time. There was an agreement. We did ask you to be silent, so it would be helpful for us. Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I think you’ve seen another example of bait-and- switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly, I think, 39, 40 years of our tax returns, but everyone has done it. We know the IRS has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you’re under audit.

So you’ve got to ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be.

CLINTON: Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

TRUMP: That makes me smart.

CLINTON: So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.

And the financial disclosure statements, they don’t give you the tax rate. They don’t give you all the details that tax returns would. And it just seems to me that this is something that the American people deserve to see. And I have no reason to believe that he’s ever going to release his tax returns, because there’s something he’s hiding.

And we’ll guess. We’ll keep guessing at what it might be that he’s hiding. But I think the question is, were he ever to get near the White House, what would be those conflicts? Who does he owe money to? Well, he owes you the answers to that, and he should provide them.

HOLT: He also — he also raised the issue of your e-mails. Do you want to respond to that?

CLINTON: I do. You know, I made a mistake using a private e- mail. TRUMP: That’s for sure.

CLINTON: And if I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that.

HOLT: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: That was more than a mistake. That was done purposely. OK? That was not a mistake. That was done purposely. When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they’re not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it’s disgraceful. And believe me, this country thinks it’s — really thinks it’s disgraceful, also.

As far as my tax returns, you don’t learn that much from tax returns. That I can tell you. You learn a lot from financial disclosure. And you should go down and take a look at that.

The other thing, I’m extremely underleveraged. The report that said $650 — which, by the way, a lot of friends of mine that know my business say, boy, that’s really not a lot of money. It’s not a lot of money relative to what I had.

The buildings that were in question, they said in the same report, which was — actually, it wasn’t even a bad story, to be honest with you, but the buildings are worth $3.9 billion. And the $650 isn’t even on that. But it’s not $650. It’s much less than that.

But I could give you a list of banks, I would — if that would help you, I would give you a list of banks. These are very fine institutions, very fine banks. I could do that very quickly.

I am very underleveraged. I have a great company. I have a tremendous income. And the reason I say that is not in a braggadocios way. It’s because it’s about time that this country had somebody running it that has an idea about money.

When we have $20 trillion in debt, and our country’s a mess, you know, it’s one thing to have $20 trillion in debt and our roads are good and our bridges are good and everything’s in great shape, our airports. Our airports are like from a third world country.

You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark, and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible — you come in from China, you see these incredible airports, and you land — we’ve become a third world country.

So the worst of all things has happened. We owe $20 trillion, and we’re a mess. We haven’t even started. And we’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, according to a report that I just saw. Whether it’s 6 or 5, but it looks like it’s 6, $6 trillion in the Middle East, we could have rebuilt our country twice.

And it’s really a shame. And it’s politicians like Secretary Clinton that have caused this problem. Our country has tremendous problems. We’re a debtor nation. We’re a serious debtor nation. And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals. And we don’t have the money, because it’s been squandered on so many of your ideas.

HOLT: We’ll let you respond and we’ll move on to the next segment.

CLINTON: And maybe because you haven’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years. (APPLAUSE)

And the other thing I think is important…

TRUMP: It would be squandered, too, believe me.

CLINTON: … is if your — if your main claim to be president of the United States is your business, then I think we should talk about that. You know, your campaign manager said that you built a lot of businesses on the backs of little guys.

And, indeed, I have met a lot of the people who were stiffed by you and your businesses, Donald. I’ve met dishwashers, painters, architects, glass installers, marble installers, drapery installers, like my dad was, who you refused to pay when they finished the work that you asked them to do.

We have an architect in the audience who designed one of your clubhouses at one of your golf courses. It’s a beautiful facility. It immediately was put to use. And you wouldn’t pay what the man needed to be paid, what he was charging you to do…

TRUMP: Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work…

CLINTON: Well, to…

TRUMP: Which our country should do, too.

CLINTON: Do the thousands of people that you have stiffed over the course of your business not deserve some kind of apology from someone who has taken their labor, taken the goods that they produced, and then refused to pay them?

I can only say that I’m certainly relieved that my late father never did business with you. He provided a good middle-class life for us, but the people he worked for, he expected the bargain to be kept on both sides.

And when we talk about your business, you’ve taken business bankruptcy six times. There are a lot of great businesspeople that have never taken bankruptcy once. You call yourself the King of Debt. You talk about leverage. You even at one time suggested that you would try to negotiate down the national debt of the United States.

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

CLINTON: Well, sometimes there’s not a direct transfer of skills from business to government, but sometimes what happened in business would be really bad for government.

HOLT: Let’s let Mr. Trump…

CLINTON: And we need to be very clear about that.

TRUMP: So, yeah, I think — I do think it’s time. Look, it’s all words, it’s all sound bites. I built an unbelievable company. Some of the greatest assets anywhere in the world, real estate assets anywhere in the world, beyond the United States, in Europe, lots of different places. It’s an unbelievable company.

But on occasion, four times, we used certain laws that are there. And when Secretary Clinton talks about people that didn’t get paid, first of all, they did get paid a lot, but taken advantage of the laws of the nation.

Now, if you want to change the laws, you’ve been there a long time, change the laws. But I take advantage of the laws of the nation because I’m running a company. My obligation right now is to do well for myself, my family, my employees, for my companies. And that’s what I do.

But what she doesn’t say is that tens of thousands of people that are unbelievably happy and that love me. I’ll give you an example. We’re just opening up on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the White House, so if I don’t get there one way, I’m going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue another.

But we’re opening the Old Post Office. Under budget, ahead of schedule, saved tremendous money. I’m a year ahead of schedule. And that’s what this country should be doing.

We build roads and they cost two and three and four times what they’re supposed to cost. We buy products for our military and they come in at costs that are so far above what they were supposed to be, because we don’t have people that know what they’re doing.

When we look at the budget, the budget is bad to a large extent because we have people that have no idea as to what to do and how to buy. The Trump International is way under budget and way ahead of schedule. And we should be able to do that for our country.

HOLT: Well, we’re well behind schedule, so I want to move to our next segment. We move into our next segment talking about America’s direction. And let’s start by talking about race.

The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country is the highest it’s been in decades, much of it amplified by shootings of African-Americans by police, as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap.

So how do you heal the divide? Secretary Clinton, you get two minutes on this.

CLINTON: Well, you’re right. Race remains a significant challenge in our country. Unfortunately, race still determines too much, often determines where people live, determines what kind of education in their public schools they can get, and, yes, it determines how they’re treated in the criminal justice system. We’ve just seen those two tragic examples in both Tulsa and Charlotte.

And we’ve got to do several things at the same time. We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.

CLINTON: Right now, that’s not the case in a lot of our neighborhoods. So I have, ever since the first day of my campaign, called for criminal justice reform. I’ve laid out a platform that I think would begin to remedy some of the problems we have in the criminal justice system.

But we also have to recognize, in addition to the challenges that we face with policing, there are so many good, brave police officers who equally want reform. So we have to bring communities together in order to begin working on that as a mutual goal. And we’ve got to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African- American men, more than the next nine causes put together. So we have to do two things, as I said. We have to restore trust. We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them. And we have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we’re seeing today.

HOLT: All right, Mr. Trump, you have two minutes. How do you heal the divide?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, Secretary Clinton doesn’t want to use a couple of words, and that’s law and order. And we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.

And when I look at what’s going on in Charlotte, a city I love, a city where I have investments, when I look at what’s going on throughout various parts of our country, whether it’s — I mean, I can just keep naming them all day long — we need law and order in our country.

I just got today the, as you know, the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, we just — just came in. We have endorsements from, I think, almost every police group, very — I mean, a large percentage of them in the United States.

We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African- Americans, Hispanics are living in he’ll because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.

In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1st. Thousands of shootings. And I’m saying, where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing? And we have to stop the violence. We have to bring back law and order. In a place like Chicago, where thousands of people have been killed, thousands over the last number of years, in fact, almost 4,000 have been killed since Barack Obama became president, over — almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed. We have to bring back law and order.

Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it.

We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they’re illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant.

We have to be — we have to know what we’re doing. Right now, our police, in many cases, are afraid to do anything. We have to protect our inner cities, because African-American communities are being decimated by crime, decimated.

HOLT: Your two — your two minutes expired, but I do want to follow up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, there are many places where it’s allowed.

HOLT: The argument is that it’s a form of racial profiling.

TRUMP: No, the argument is that we have to take the guns away from these people that have them and they are bad people that shouldn’t have them.

These are felons. These are people that are bad people that shouldn’t be — when you have 3,000 shootings in Chicago from January 1st, when you have 4,000 people killed in Chicago by guns, from the beginning of the presidency of Barack Obama, his hometown, you have to have stop-and-frisk.

You need more police. You need a better community, you know, relation. You don’t have good community relations in Chicago. It’s terrible. I have property there. It’s terrible what’s going on in Chicago.

But when you look — and Chicago’s not the only — you go to Ferguson, you go to so many different places. You need better relationships. I agree with Secretary Clinton on this.

TRUMP: You need better relationships between the communities and the police, because in some cases, it’s not good.

But you look at Dallas, where the relationships were really studied, the relationships were really a beautiful thing, and then five police officers were killed one night very violently. So there’s some bad things going on. Some really bad things.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton…

TRUMP: But we need — Lester, we need law and order. And we need law and order in the inner cities, because the people that are most affected by what’s happening are African-American and Hispanic people. And it’s very unfair to them what our politicians are allowing to happen.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I’ve heard — I’ve heard Donald say this at his rallies, and it’s really unfortunate that he paints such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country.

TRUMP: Ugh.

CLINTON: You know, the vibrancy of the black church, the black businesses that employ so many people, the opportunities that so many families are working to provide for their kids. There’s a lot that we should be proud of and we should be supporting and lifting up.

But we do always have to make sure we keep people safe. There are the right ways of doing it, and then there are ways that are ineffective. Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional and, in part, because it was ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.

Now, I believe in community policing. And, in fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.

But there were some problems, some unintended consequences. Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated. So we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

We need to have more second chance programs. I’m glad that we’re ending private prisons in the federal system; I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans. So there are some positive ways we can work on this.

And I believe strongly that commonsense gun safety measures would assist us. Right now — and this is something Donald has supported, along with the gun lobby — right now, we’ve got too many military- style weapons on the streets. In a lot of places, our police are outgunned. We need comprehensive background checks, and we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who will do harm.

And we finally need to pass a prohibition on anyone who’s on the terrorist watch list from being able to buy a gun in our country. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you are too dangerous to buy a gun. So there are things we can do, and we ought to do it in a bipartisan way.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, last week, you said we’ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias. Do you believe that police are implicitly biased against black people?

CLINTON: Lester, I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police.I think, unfortunately, too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other. And therefore, I think we need all of us to be asking hard questions about, you know, why am I feeling this way?

But when it comes to policing, since it can have literally fatal consequences, I have said, in my first budget, we would put money into that budget to help us deal with implicit bias by retraining a lot of our police officers.

I’ve met with a group of very distinguished, experienced police chiefs a few weeks ago. They admit it’s an issue. They’ve got a lot of concerns. Mental health is one of the biggest concerns, because now police are having to handle a lot of really difficult mental health problems on the street.

CLINTON: They want support, they want more training, they want more assistance. And I think the federal government could be in a position where we would offer and provide that.

HOLT: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: I’d like to respond to that.

HOLT: Please.

TRUMP: First of all, I agree, and a lot of people even within my own party want to give certain rights to people on watch lists and no- fly lists. I agree with you.When a person is on a watch list or a no-fly list, and I have the endorsement of the NRA, which I’m very proud of. These are very, very good people, and they’re protecting the Second Amendment.

But I think we have to look very strongly at no-fly lists and watch lists. And when people are on there, even if they shouldn’t be on there, we’ll help them, we’ll help them legally, we’ll help them get off. But I tend to agree with that quite strongly.

I do want to bring up the fact that you were the one that brought up the words super-predator about young black youth. And that’s a term that I think was a — it’s — it’s been horribly met, as you know. I think you’ve apologized for it. But I think it was a terrible thing to say.

And when it comes to stop-and-frisk, you know, you’re talking about takes guns away. Well, I’m talking about taking guns away from gangs and people that use them. And I don’t think — I really don’t think you disagree with me on this, if you want to know the truth.

I think maybe there’s a political reason why you can’t say it, but I really don’t believe — in New York City, stop-and-frisk, we had 2,200 murders, and stop-and-frisk brought it down to 500 murders. Five hundred murders is a lot of murders. It’s hard to believe, 500 is like supposed to be good?

But we went from 2,200 to 500. And it was continued on by Mayor Bloomberg. And it was terminated by current mayor. But stop-and- frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City. Tremendous beyond belief. So when you say it has no impact, it really did. It had a very, very big impact.

CLINTON: Well, it’s also fair to say, if we’re going to talk about mayors, that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is…

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. You’re wrong.

CLINTON: No, I’m not.

TRUMP: Murders are up. All right. You check it.

CLINTON: New York — New York has done an excellent job. And I give credit — I give credit across the board going back two mayors, two police chiefs, because it has worked. And other communities need to come together to do what will work, as well.

Look, one murder is too many. But it is important that we learn about what has been effective. And not go to things that sound good that really did not have the kind of impact that we would want. Who disagrees with keeping neighborhoods safe?

But let’s also add, no one should disagree about respecting the rights of young men who live in those neighborhoods. And so we need to do a better job of working, again, with the communities, faith communities, business communities, as well as the police to try to deal with this problem.

HOLT: This conversation is about race. And so, Mr. Trump, I have to ask you for five…

TRUMP: I’d like to just respond, if I might.

HOLT: Please — 20 seconds.

TRUMP: I’d just like to respond.

HOLT: Please respond, then I’ve got a quick follow-up for you.

TRUMP: I will. Look, the African-American community has been let down by our politicians. They talk good around election time, like right now, and after the election, they said, see ya later, I’ll see you in four years.

The African-American community — because — look, the community within the inner cities has been so badly treated. They’ve been abused and used in order to get votes by Democrat politicians, because that’s what it is. They’ve controlled these communities for up to 100 years.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, let me…

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: Well, I — I do think…

TRUMP: And I will tell you, you look at the inner cities — and I just left Detroit, and I just left Philadelphia, and I just — you know, you’ve seen me, I’ve been all over the place. You decided to stay home, and that’s OK. But I will tell you, I’ve been all over. And I’ve met some of the greatest people I’ll ever meet within these communities. And they are very, very upset with what their politicians have told them and what their politicians have done.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, I…

CLINTON: I think — I think — I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Mr. Trump, for five years, you perpetuated a false claim that the nation’s first black president was not a natural-born citizen. You questioned his legitimacy. In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years: The president was born in the United States. Can you tell us what took you so long?

TRUMP: I’ll tell you very — well, just very simple to say. Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and close — very close friend of Secretary Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle, went to — during the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard. And you can go look it up, and you can check it out.

TRUMP: And if you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened. Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard. She failed to get the birth certificate.

When I got involved, I didn’t fail. I got him to give the birth certificate. So I’m satisfied with it. And I’ll tell you why I’m satisfied with it.

HOLT: That was…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Because I want to get on to defeating ISIS, because I want to get on to creating jobs, because I want to get on to having a strong border, because I want to get on to things that are very important to me and that are very important to the country.

HOLT: I will let you respond. It’s important. But I just want to get the answer here. The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You’ve continued to tell the story and question the president’s legitimacy in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15…

TRUMP: Yeah.

HOLT: …. as recently as January. So the question is, what changed your mind?

TRUMP: Well, nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it. I figured you’d ask the question tonight, of course. But nobody was caring much about it. But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate. And I think I did a good job.

Secretary Clinton also fought it. I mean, you know — now, everybody in mainstream is going to say, oh, that’s not true. Look, it’s true. Sidney Blumenthal sent a reporter — you just have to take a look at CNN, the last week, the interview with your former campaign manager. And she was involved. But just like she can’t bring back jobs, she can’t produce.

HOLT: I’m sorry. I’m just going to follow up — and I will let you respond to that, because there’s a lot there. But we’re talking about racial healing in this segment. What do you say to Americans, people of color who…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, it was very — I say nothing. I say nothing, because I was able to get him to produce it. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.

But let me just tell you. When you talk about healing, I think that I’ve developed very, very good relationships over the last little while with the African-American community. I think you can see that.

And I feel that they really wanted me to come to that conclusion. And I think I did a great job and a great service not only for the country, but even for the president, in getting him to produce his birth certificate.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, just listen to what you heard.

(LAUGHTER)

And clearly, as Donald just admitted, he knew he was going to stand on this debate stage, and Lester Holt was going to be asking us questions, so he tried to put the whole racist birther lie to bed.

But it can’t be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted, he persisted year after year, because some of his supporters, people that he was trying to bring into his fold, apparently believed it or wanted to believe it.

But, remember, Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans, and he made sure that the people who worked for him understood that was the policy. He actually was sued twice by the Justice Department.

So he has a long record of engaging in racist behavior. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one. You know, Barack Obama is a man of great dignity. And I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.

But I like to remember what Michelle Obama said in her amazing speech at our Democratic National Convention: When they go low, we go high. And Barack Obama went high, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts to bring him down.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, you can respond and we’re going to move on to the next segment.

TRUMP: I would love to respond. First of all, I got to watch in preparing for this some of your debates against Barack Obama. You treated him with terrible disrespect. And I watched the way you talk now about how lovely everything is and how wonderful you are. It doesn’t work that way. You were after him, you were trying to — you even sent out or your campaign sent out pictures of him in a certain garb, very famous pictures. I don’t think you can deny that.

But just last week, your campaign manager said it was true. So when you tried to act holier than thou, it really doesn’t work. It really doesn’t.

Now, as far as the lawsuit, yes, when I was very young, I went into my father’s company, had a real estate company in Brooklyn and Queens, and we, along with many, many other companies throughout the country — it was a federal lawsuit — were sued. We settled the suit with zero — with no admission of guilt. It was very easy to do.

TRUMP: I notice you bring that up a lot. And, you know, I also notice the very nasty commercials that you do on me in so many different ways, which I don’t do on you. Maybe I’m trying to save the money.

But, frankly, I look — I look at that, and I say, isn’t that amazing? Because I settled that lawsuit with no admission of guilt, but that was a lawsuit brought against many real estate firms, and it’s just one of those things.

I’ll go one step further. In Palm Beach, Florida, tough community, a brilliant community, a wealthy community, probably the wealthiest community there is in the world, I opened a club, and really got great credit for it. No discrimination against African- Americans, against Muslims, against anybody. And it’s a tremendously successful club. And I’m so glad I did it. And I have been given great credit for what I did. And I’m very, very proud of it. And that’s the way I feel. That is the true way I feel.

HOLT: Our next segment is called “Securing America.” We want to start with a 21st century war happening every day in this country. Our institutions are under cyber attack, and our secrets are being stolen. So my question is, who’s behind it? And how do we fight it?

Secretary Clinton, this answer goes to you.

CLINTON: Well, I think cyber security, cyber warfare will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next president, because clearly we’re facing at this point two different kinds of adversaries. There are the independent hacking groups that do it mostly for commercial reasons to try to steal information that they can use to make money.

But increasingly, we are seeing cyber attacks coming from states, organs of states. The most recent and troubling of these has been Russia. There’s no doubt now that Russia has used cyber attacks against all kinds of organizations in our country, and I am deeply concerned about this. I know Donald’s very praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin, but Putin is playing a really…

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: … tough, long game here. And one of the things he’s done is to let loose cyber attackers to hack into government files, to hack into personal files, hack into the Democratic National Committee. And we recently have learned that, you know, that this is one of their preferred methods of trying to wreak havoc and collect information. We need to make it very clear — whether it’s Russia, China, Iran or anybody else — the United States has much greater capacity. And we are not going to sit idly by and permit state actors to go after our information, our private-sector information or our public-sector information.

And we’re going to have to make it clear that we don’t want to use the kinds of tools that we have. We don’t want to engage in a different kind of warfare. But we will defend the citizens of this country.

And the Russians need to understand that. I think they’ve been treating it as almost a probing, how far would we go, how much would we do. And that’s why I was so — I was so shocked when Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans. That is just unacceptable. It’s one of the reasons why 50 national security officials who served in Republican information — in administrations…

HOLT: Your two minutes have expired.

CLINTON: … have said that Donald is unfit to be the commander- in-chief. It’s comments like that that really worry people who understand the threats that we face.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, you have two minutes and the same question. Who’s behind it? And how do we fight it?

TRUMP: I do want to say that I was just endorsed — and more are coming next week — it will be over 200 admirals, many of them here — admirals and generals endorsed me to lead this country. That just happened, and many more are coming. And I’m very proud of it.

In addition, I was just endorsed by ICE. They’ve never endorsed anybody before on immigration. I was just endorsed by ICE. I was just recently endorsed — 16,500 Border Patrol agents.

So when Secretary Clinton talks about this, I mean, I’ll take the admirals and I’ll take the generals any day over the political hacks that I see that have led our country so brilliantly over the last 10 years with their knowledge. OK? Because look at the mess that we’re in. Look at the mess that we’re in.

As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. We should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?

TRUMP: You don’t know who broke in to DNC.

But what did we learn with DNC? We learned that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of by your people, by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Look what happened to her. But Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of. That’s what we learned.

Now, whether that was Russia, whether that was China, whether it was another country, we don’t know, because the truth is, under President Obama we’ve lost control of things that we used to have control over.

We came in with the Internet, we came up with the Internet, and I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what ISIS is doing with the Internet, they’re beating us at our own game. ISIS.

So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is — it is a huge problem. I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.

But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing. But that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester, and certainly cyber is one of them.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I think there are a number of issues that we should be addressing. I have put forth a plan to defeat ISIS. It does involve going after them online. I think we need to do much more with our tech companies to prevent ISIS and their operatives from being able to use the Internet to radicalize, even direct people in our country and Europe and elsewhere.

But we also have to intensify our air strikes against ISIS and eventually support our Arab and Kurdish partners to be able to actually take out ISIS in Raqqa, end their claim of being a Caliphate.

We’re making progress. Our military is assisting in Iraq. And we’re hoping that within the year we’ll be able to push ISIS out of Iraq and then, you know, really squeeze them in Syria.

But we have to be cognizant of the fact that they’ve had foreign fighters coming to volunteer for them, foreign money, foreign weapons, so we have to make this the top priority.

And I would also do everything possible to take out their leadership. I was involved in a number of efforts to take out Al Qaida leadership when I was secretary of state, including, of course, taking out bin Laden. And I think we need to go after Baghdadi, as well, make that one of our organizing principles. Because we’ve got to defeat ISIS, and we’ve got to do everything we can to disrupt their propaganda efforts online.

HOLT: You mention ISIS, and we think of ISIS certainly as over there, but there are American citizens who have been inspired to commit acts of terror on American soil, the latest incident, of course, the bombings we just saw in New York and New Jersey, the knife attack at a mall in Minnesota, in the last year, deadly attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando. I’ll ask this to both of you. Tell us specifically how you would prevent homegrown attacks by American citizens, Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, first I have to say one thing, very important. Secretary Clinton is talking about taking out ISIS. “We will take out ISIS.” Well, President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — what, they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.

So she talks about taking them out. She’s been doing it a long time. She’s been trying to take them out for a long time. But they wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.

Or, as I’ve been saying for a long time, and I think you’ll agree, because I said it to you once, had we taken the oil — and we should have taken the oil — ISIS would not have been able to form either, because the oil was their primary source of income. And now they have the oil all over the place, including the oil — a lot of the oil in Libya, which was another one of her disasters.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard. Donald supported the invasion of Iraq.

TRUMP: Wrong.

CLINTON: That is absolutely proved over and over again.

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

CLINTON: He actually advocated for the actions we took in Libya and urged that Gadhafi be taken out, after actually doing some business with him one time.

CLINTON: But the larger point — and he says this constantly — is George W. Bush made the agreement about when American troops would leave Iraq, not Barack Obama.

And the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.

But let’s talk about the question you asked, Lester. The question you asked is, what do we do here in the United States? That’s the most important part of this. How do we prevent attacks? How do we protect our people?

And I think we’ve got to have an intelligence surge, where we are looking for every scrap of information. I was so proud of law enforcement in New York, in Minnesota, in New Jersey. You know, they responded so quickly, so professionally to the attacks that occurred by Rahami. And they brought him down. And we may find out more information because he is still alive, which may prove to be an intelligence benefit.

So we’ve got to do everything we can to vacuum up intelligence from Europe, from the Middle East. That means we’ve got to work more closely with our allies, and that’s something that Donald has been very dismissive of.

We’re working with NATO, the longest military alliance in the history of the world, to really turn our attention to terrorism. We’re working with our friends in the Middle East, many of which, as you know, are Muslim majority nations. Donald has consistently insulted Muslims abroad, Muslims at home, when we need to be cooperating with Muslim nations and with the American Muslim community.

They’re on the front lines. They can provide information to us that we might not get anywhere else. They need to have close working cooperation with law enforcement in these communities, not be alienated and pushed away as some of Donald’s rhetoric, unfortunately, has led to.

HOLT: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: Well, I have to respond.

HOLT: Please respond.

TRUMP: The secretary said very strongly about working with — we’ve been working with them for many years, and we have the greatest mess anyone’s ever seen. You look at the Middle East, it’s a total mess. Under your direction, to a large extent.

But you look at the Middle East, you started the Iran deal, that’s another beauty where you have a country that was ready to fall, I mean, they were doing so badly. They were choking on the sanctions. And now they’re going to be actually probably a major power at some point pretty soon, the way they’re going.

But when you look at NATO, I was asked on a major show, what do you think of NATO? And you have to understand, I’m a businessperson. I did really well. But I have common sense. And I said, well, I’ll tell you. I haven’t given lots of thought to NATO. But two things.

Number one, the 28 countries of NATO, many of them aren’t paying their fair share. Number two — and that bothers me, because we should be asking — we’re defending them, and they should at least be paying us what they’re supposed to be paying by treaty and contract.

And, number two, I said, and very strongly, NATO could be obsolete, because — and I was very strong on this, and it was actually covered very accurately in the New York Times, which is unusual for the New York Times, to be honest — but I said, they do not focus on terror. And I was very strong. And I said it numerous times.

And about four months ago, I read on the front page of the Wall Street Journal that NATO is opening up a major terror division. And I think that’s great. And I think we should get — because we pay approximately 73 percent of the cost of NATO. It’s a lot of money to protect other people. But I’m all for NATO. But I said they have to focus on terror, also.

And they’re going to do that. And that was — believe me — I’m sure I’m not going to get credit for it — but that was largely because of what I was saying and my criticism of NATO.

I think we have to get NATO to go into the Middle East with us, in addition to surrounding nations, and we have to knock the hell out of ISIS, and we have to do it fast, when ISIS formed in this vacuum created by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton. And believe me, you were the ones that took out the troops. Not only that, you named the day. They couldn’t believe it. They sat back probably and said, I can’t believe it. They said…

CLINTON: Lester, we’ve covered…

TRUMP: No, wait a minute.

CLINTON: We’ve covered this ground.

TRUMP: When they formed, when they formed, this is something that never should have happened. It should have never happened. Now, you’re talking about taking out ISIS. But you were there, and you were secretary of state when it was a little infant. Now it’s in over 30 countries. And you’re going to stop them? I don’t think so.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your…

TRUMP: I did not support the war in Iraq.

HOLT: In 2002…

TRUMP: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she — frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.

HOLT: My question is, since you supported it…

TRUMP: Just — would you like to hear…

HOLT: … why is your — why is your judgment…

TRUMP: Wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out.

HOLT: The record shows otherwise, but why — why was…

TRUMP: The record does not show that.

HOLT: Why was — is your judgment any…

TRUMP: The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said — and he called me the other day — and I spoke to him about it — he said you were totally against the war, because he was for the war.

HOLT: Why is your judgment better than…

TRUMP: And when he — excuse me. And that was before the war started. Sean Hannity said very strongly to me and other people — he’s willing to say it, but nobody wants to call him. I was against the war. He said, you used to have fights with me, because Sean was in favor of the war.

And I understand that side, also, not very much, because we should have never been there. But nobody called Sean Hannity. And then they did an article in a major magazine, shortly after the war started. I think in ’04. But they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq.

And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definitely — because if you read this article, there’s no doubt. But if somebody — and I’ll ask the press — if somebody would call up Sean Hannity, this was before the war started. He and I used to have arguments about the war. I said, it’s a terrible and a stupid thing. It’s going to destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what it’s done. It’s been a disaster.

HOLT: My reference was to what you had said in 2002, and my question was…

TRUMP: No, no. You didn’t hear what I said.

HOLT: Why is your judgment — why is your judgment any different than Mrs. Clinton’s judgment?

TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There’s no question about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

I have a much better — she spent — let me tell you — she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising — you know, they get Madison Avenue into a room, they put names — oh, temperament, let’s go after — I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win. She does not have a…

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

TRUMP: Wait. The AFL-CIO the other day, behind the blue screen, I don’t know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you were totally out of control. I said, there’s a person with a temperament that’s got a problem.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Whew, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

Let’s talk about two important issues that were briefly mentioned by Donald, first, NATO. You know, NATO as a military alliance has something called Article 5, and basically it says this: An attack on one is an attack on all. And you know the only time it’s ever been invoked? After 9/11, when the 28 nations of NATO said that they would go to Afghanistan with us to fight terrorism, something that they still are doing by our side.

With respect to Iran, when I became secretary of state, Iran was weeks away from having enough nuclear material to form a bomb. They had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle under the Bush administration. They had built covert facilities. They had stocked them with centrifuges that were whirling away.

And we had sanctioned them. I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate, but it wasn’t enough. So I spent a year-and-a-half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran.

And we did drive them to the negotiating table. And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition-building. That’s working with other nations.

The other day, I saw Donald saying that there were some Iranian sailors on a ship in the waters off of Iran, and they were taunting American sailors who were on a nearby ship. He said, you know, if they taunted our sailors, I’d blow them out of the water and start another war. That’s not good judgment.

TRUMP: That would not start a war.

CLINTON: That is not the right temperament to be commander-in- chief, to be taunted. And the worst part…

TRUMP: No, they were taunting us.

CLINTON: … of what we heard Donald say has been about nuclear weapons. He has said repeatedly that he didn’t care if other nations got nuclear weapons, Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia. It has been the policy of the United States, Democrats and Republicans, to do everything we could to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He even said, well, you know, if there were nuclear war in East Asia, well, you know, that’s fine…

TRUMP: Wrong.

CLINTON: … have a good time, folks.

TRUMP: It’s lies.

CLINTON: And, in fact, his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling. That is the number-one threat we face in the world. And it becomes particularly threatening if terrorists ever get their hands on any nuclear material.So a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes, as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned.

TRUMP: That line’s getting a little bit old, I must say. I would like to…

CLINTON: It’s a good one, though. It well describes the problem.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: It’s not an accurate one at all. It’s not an accurate one. So I just want to give a lot of things — and just to respond. I agree with her on one thing. The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons, not global warming, like you think and your — your president thinks.

Nuclear is the single greatest threat. Just to go down the list, we defend Japan, we defend Germany, we defend South Korea, we defend Saudi Arabia, we defend countries. They do not pay us. But they should be paying us, because we are providing tremendous service and we’re losing a fortune. That’s why we’re losing — we’re losing — we lose on everything. I say, who makes these — we lose on everything. All I said, that it’s very possible that if they don’t pay a fair share, because this isn’t 40 years ago where we could do what we’re doing. We can’t defend Japan, a behemoth, selling us cars by the million…

HOLT: We need to move on.

TRUMP: Well, wait, but it’s very important. All I said was, they may have to defend themselves or they have to help us out. We’re a country that owes $20 trillion. They have to help us out.

HOLT: Our last…

TRUMP: As far as the nuclear is concerned, I agree. It is the single greatest threat that this country has.

HOLT: Which leads to my next question, as we enter our last segment here (inaudible) the subject of securing America. On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy? Mr. Trump, you have two minutes on that.

TRUMP: Well, I have to say that, you know, for what Secretary Clinton was saying about nuclear with Russia, she’s very cavalier in the way she talks about various countries. But Russia has been expanding their — they have a much newer capability than we do. We have not been updating from the new standpoint.

I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s, they’re old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not — we are not keeping up with other countries. I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.

I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table. Because you look at some of these countries, you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.

And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I’ve ever seen negotiated that you started is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea.

And when they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.

And when asked to Secretary Kerry, why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you add other things into the deal? One of the great giveaways of all time, of all time, including $400 million in cash. Nobody’s ever seen that before. That turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion in cash, obviously, I guess for the hostages. It certainly looks that way.

So you say to yourself, why didn’t they make the right deal? This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much.

HOLT: Your two minutes is expired.

TRUMP: And they’re going to end up getting nuclear. I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day. Believe me, he’s not a happy camper.

HOLT: All right. Mrs. Clinton, Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes.

CLINTON: Well, let me — let me start by saying, words matter. Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them.

It is essential that America’s word be good. And so I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to — on behalf of myself, and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people, say that, you know, our word is good.

It’s also important that we look at the entire global situation. There’s no doubt that we have other problems with Iran. But personally, I’d rather deal with the other problems having put that lid on their nuclear program than still to be facing that.

And Donald never tells you what he would do. Would he have started a war? Would he have bombed Iran? If he’s going to criticize a deal that has been very successful in giving us access to Iranian facilities that we never had before, then he should tell us what his alternative would be. But it’s like his plan to defeat ISIS. He says it’s a secret plan, but the only secret is that he has no plan.

So we need to be more precise in how we talk about these issues. People around the word follow our presidential campaigns so closely, trying to get hints about what we will do. Can they rely on us? Are we going to lead the world with strength and in accordance with our values? That’s what I intend to do. I intend to be a leader of our country that people can count on, both here at home and around the world, to make decisions that will further peace and prosperity, but also stand up to bullies, whether they’re abroad or at home.

We cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security…

HOLT: Your two minutes is…

CLINTON: … to be given any opportunities at all.

HOLT: … is expired.

TRUMP: Lester, one thing I’d like to say.

HOLT: Very quickly. Twenty seconds.

TRUMP: I will go very quickly. But I will tell you that Hillary will tell you to go to her website and read all about how to defeat ISIS, which she could have defeated by never having it, you know, get going in the first place. Right now, it’s getting tougher and tougher to defeat them, because they’re in more and more places, more and more states, more and more nations.

HOLT: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: And it’s a big problem. And as far as Japan is concerned, I want to help all of our allies, but we are losing billions and billions of dollars. We cannot be the policemen of the world. We cannot protect countries all over the world…

HOLT: We have just…

TRUMP: … where they’re not paying us what we need.

HOLT: We have just a few final questions…

TRUMP: And she doesn’t say that, because she’s got no business ability. We need heart. We need a lot of things. But you have to have some basic ability. And sadly, she doesn’t have that. All of the things that she’s talking about could have been taken care of during the last 10 years, let’s say, while she had great power. But they weren’t taken care of. And if she ever wins this race, they won’t be taken care of.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, this year Secretary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Earlier this month, you said she doesn’t have, quote, “a presidential look.” She’s standing here right now. What did you mean by that?

TRUMP: She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.

HOLT: The quote was, “I just don’t think she has the presidential look.”

TRUMP: You have — wait a minute. Wait a minute, Lester. You asked me a question. Did you ask me a question?

You have to be able to negotiate our trade deals. You have to be able to negotiate, that’s right, with Japan, with Saudi Arabia. I mean, can you imagine, we’re defending Saudi Arabia? And with all of the money they have, we’re defending them, and they’re not paying? All you have to do is speak to them. Wait. You have so many different things you have to be able to do, and I don’t believe that Hillary has the stamina.

HOLT: Let’s let her respond. CLINTON: Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The world — let me tell you. Let me tell you. Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience. We have made so many bad deals during the last — so she’s got experience, that I agree.

(APPLAUSE)

But it’s bad, bad experience. Whether it’s the Iran deal that you’re so in love with, where we gave them $150 billion back, whether it’s the Iran deal, whether it’s anything you can — name — you almost can’t name a good deal. I agree. She’s got experience, but it’s bad experience. And this country can’t afford to have another four years of that kind of experience.

HOLT: We are at — we are at the final question.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Well, one thing. One thing, Lester.

HOLT: Very quickly, because we’re at the final question now.

CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said…

TRUMP: I never said that.

CLINTON: …. women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.

TRUMP: I didn’t say that.

CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?

CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.

TRUMP: Where did you find this?

CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet…

TRUMP: Oh, really? CLINTON: … she’s going to vote this November.

TRUMP: OK, good. Let me just tell you…

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Mr. Trump, could we just take 10 seconds and then we ask the final question…

TRUMP: You know, Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials. Some of it’s said in entertainment. Some of it’s said — somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.

But you want to know the truth? I was going to say something…

HOLT: Please very quickly.

TRUMP: … extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.” But she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue. They’re untrue. And they’re misrepresentations.

And I will tell you this, Lester: It’s not nice. And I don’t deserve that.

But it’s certainly not a nice thing that she’s done. It’s hundreds of millions of ads. And the only gratifying thing is, I saw the polls come in today, and with all of that money…

HOLT: We have to move on to the final question.

TRUMP: … $200 million is spent, and I’m either winning or tied, and I’ve spent practically nothing.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight, are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters? Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I certainly will support the outcome of this election.

And I know Donald’s trying very hard to plant doubts about it, but I hope the people out there understand: This election’s really up to you. It’s not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want. So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it, because I think it does.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters? TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country.

The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.

HOLT: Will you accept the outcome of the election?

TRUMP: Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: All right. Well, that is going to do it for us. That concludes our debate for this evening, a spirit one. We covered a lot of ground, not everything as I suspected we would.

The next presidential debates are scheduled for October 9th at Washington University in St. Louis and October 19th at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The conversation will continue.

A reminder. The vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 4th at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. My thanks to Hillary Clinton and to Donald Trump and to Hofstra University for hosting us tonight. Good night, everyone.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 February 25, 2016: 10th Republican debate CNN Telemundo Salem Radio in Houston, Texas transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates Debate in Houston, Texas

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 
February 25, 2016

Republican debate – CNN/Telemundo/Salem Radio

Time – 8:30 p.m. ET

Location – University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Moderators – Wolf Blitzer, Maria Celeste Arraras, Hugh Hewitt, Dana Bash

Candidates – Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Ben Carson

PARTICIPANTS:
Ben Carson;
Senator Ted Cruz (TX);
Governor John Kasich (OH);
Senator Marco Rubio (FL);
Donald Trump;

MODERATOR:
Wolf Blitzer (CNN); with
PANELISTS:
Maria Celeste Arrarás (Telemundo);
Dana Bash (CNN); and
Hugh Hewitt (Salem Radio Network)

BLITZER: We’re live here at the University of Houston for the 10th Republican presidential debate. [applause]

An enthusiastic crowd is on hand here in the beautiful opera house at the Moore School of Music. Texas is the biggest prize next Tuesday, Super Tuesday, when 11 states vote, a day that will go a long way towards deciding who wins the Republican nomination.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I’m Wolf Blitzer. This debate is airing on CNN, CNN International, and CNN in Espanol. It’s also being seen on Telemundo and heard on the Salem Radio Network. Telemundo and Salem are our partners in this debate, along with the Republican National Committee.

We’d also like to welcome a very special guest with us here tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush. [applause]

Everyone here is looking forward to a lively debate. I’ll be your moderator tonight. Joining me in the questioning, Telemundo host Maria Celesta Arrasas, CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash; and Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt, who worked in the Reagan administration for six years.

Tonight, there are five Republican candidates and they’re ready to join us right now.

Please welcome Ohio Governor John Kasich. [applause]

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. [applause]

Businessman and real estate developer Donald Trump. [applause]

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. [applause]

And retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the Republican candidates for president of the United States. [applause]

BLITZER: Now please rise for our national anthem, performed by country music artist, Deana Carter.

[the national anthem is sung] [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Deana Carter. A beautiful, beautiful national anthem.

The final debate before Super Tuesday begins right after this quick break.

[commercial break]

BLITZER: Welcome back to the University of Houston and the Republican presidential debate.

The candidates, they are now in place. Their positions were selected based on their standing in the delegate race through Nevada, with the top candidate in the center and the others extending outward.

I want to tell you how tonight’s debate will work. As moderator, I will guide the discussion, asking questions and follow-ups, as will Maria Celeste, Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt. Candidates, you’ll have a minute and 15 seconds to answer and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. We have timing lights that are visible to the candidates. Those lights will warn you when your time is up, and as the candidates requested, a bell will sound like this.

[bell ringing]

We know you all want to jump and debate these critically important issues, but please wait until you’re called on. These are the rules all of the candidates have agreed to.

It’s time for the candidates to introduce themselves right now. You’ll each have 30 seconds. Dr. Carson, you’re first.

CARSON: If someone had tried to describe today’s America to you 30 years ago, you would have listened in disbelief. Americans know that our nation is heading off the abyss of destruction, secondary to divisiveness, fiscal irresponsibility, and failure to lead.

Marco, Donald, Ted, John, we will not solve any of these problems by trying to destroy each other. What we need to do is be looking for solutions tonight. It’s not about us, it’s about the American people. [applause]

BLITZER: Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Well, you know, on the way over here, even getting ready earlier and sitting in the green room and watching the early coverage, you know, my father carried mail on his back and his father was a coal miner and my mother’s mother was an immigrant, could barely speak English. And I’m standing on this stage. It’s pretty remarkable. But I want to tell you, there’s a lot of young people watching tonight. You can do whatever you want to do in your life. America is an amazing country, where a kid like me can grow up to run for president of the United States and be on this stage tonight. So to all the young people that are out there, your hopes, your dreams, pursue them. Shoot for the stars. America’s great, and you can do it. Thank you, Wolf. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Well, thank you. This election, we have to decide the identity of America in the 2ist century, but as part of this primary, we have to find out our identity as a party and as a movement.

Thirty-six years ago, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush began the Reagan Revolution. For a generation, they defined conservatism as limited government and free enterprise and a strong national defense. But they also appealed to our hopes and our dreams. Now we have to decide if we are still that kind of party and still that kind of movement, or if we’re simply going to become a party that preys on people’s angers and fears.

I hope we remain that conservative movement that appeals to our hopes and our dreams and the belief that America will always be better in its future than it’s been in its story history. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Welcome to Texas. [applause]

Here, Texas provided my family with hope. Here, my mom became the first in her family ever to go to college. Here, my dad fled Cuba and washed dishes, making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas. I graduated from high school at Second Baptist not too far away from here.

When I ran for Senate, I promised 27 million Texans I would fight for you every day, and not for the Washington bosses.

And, I’ll tell you, as I travel the state, Democrats tell me I didn’t vote for you, but you’re doing what you said you would do. And, as president, I will do the same. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you. My whole theme is make America great again. We don’t win anymore as a country. We don’t win with trade, we don’t win with the military. ISIS, we can’t even knock out ISIS, and we will, believe me. We will.

We don’t win in any capacity with healthcare. We have terrible health care, Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. We just don’t win.

You look at our borders, they’re like swiss cheese, everybody pours in.

We’re going to make a great country again. We’re going to start winning again. We’re going to win a lot, it’s going to be a big difference, believe me. It’s going to be a big difference. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you very much. It’s now time to begin questions. Voters in the first four states have spoken, and Mr. Trump has emerged as the frontrunner, but in five days the candidates will face their biggest test yet, Super Tuesday. When nearly half of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination will be awarded, and the biggest prize of the night is Texas.

Immigration is a key issue in this state, for all voters nationwide, including the many people watching us on Telemundo. So, that’s where we begin.

Mr. Trump, you’ve called for a deportation force to remove the 11 million undocumented immigrants from the United States. You’ve also promised to let what you call, “the good ones”, come back in. Your words, “the good ones”, after they’ve been deported.

Senator Cruz would not allow them to come back in. He says that’s the biggest difference between the two of you. He calls your plan amnesty. Is it?

TRUMP: First of all, he was in charge of amnesty, he was the leader, and you can ask Marco because they’ve been debating this every debate that we’ve had.

As far as coming back in, number one, you wouldn’t even be talking, and you wouldn’t have asked that as the first question if it weren’t for me when my opening when I talked about illegals immigration. It wouldn’t even be a big subject.

But, we either have a country, or we don’t have a country. We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally. They will go out. They will come back — some will come back, the best, through a process. They have to come back legally. They have to come back through a process, and it may not be a very quick process, but I think that’s very fair, and very fine.

They’re going to get in line with other people. The best of them will come back, but they’re going to come back through a process. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz, what’s wrong with letting what Mr. Trump calls, “the good ones” come back to the United States?

CRUZ: You know, the people that get forgotten in this debate over immigration are the hardworking men and women of this country — our millions of Americans who are losing their jobs. Millions of legal immigrants who are losing their jobs are seeing their wages driven down.

You know, in the past couple of weeks the Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article about the state of Arizona. Arizona put in very tough laws on illegal immigration, and the result was illegal immigrants fled the state, and what’s happened there — it was a very interesting article.

Some of the business owners complained that the wages they had to pay workers went up, and from their perspective that was a bad thing. But, what the state of Arizona has seen is the dollars they’re spending on welfare, on prisons, and education, all of those have dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars. And, the Americans, and for that matter, the legal immigrants who are in Arizona, are seeing unemployment drop are seeing wages rise. That’s who we need to be fighting for.

Listen, we have always welcomed legal immigrants, but I think it is a mistake to forgive those who break the law to allow them to become U.S. citizens, and that’s why I’ve led the fight against granting citizenship to those here illegally, and that’s why I will do the same thing as president. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, do you want to respond to that?

TRUMP: Well, I’m very glad that Ted mentioned Arizona because probably the toughest man on borders is Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and two days ago he totally endorsed me, so, thank you. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Senator Cruz has called your immigration plan amnesty, and has an add out there comparing it to President Obama’s. He says both of you support allowing undocumented immigrants legal status here in the United States after a background check, paying a fine, and paying taxes.

Are those claims correct?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, and before we do anything, I’ve been abundantly clear on this. When I’m president of the United States, before we do anything on immigration, we are going to secure the border. And, that’s not just the physical border with Mexico, it’s Visa overstays. That’s 45 percent of the problem right there.

It also has to do — that’s why we need e-verify, and entry-exit tracking system, and so-forth. And, until that happens, we’re not doing anything else. And then we’ll see what the American people are willing to support.

And Donald mentioned, because he mentioned me in his answer, that his position on immigration is what has driven this debate. Well, the truth is, though, that a lot of these positions that he’s now taking are new to him.

In 2011, he talked about the need for a pathway to citizenship. In 2012, Donald criticized Mitt Romney, saying that Mitt lost his election because of self-deportation.

And so even today, we saw a report in one of the newspapers that Donald, you’ve hired a significant number of people from other countries to take jobs that Americans could have filled.

My mom and dad — my mom was a maid at a hotel, and instead of hiring an American like her, you have brought in over a thousand people from all over the world to fill those jobs instead.

So I think this is an important issue. And I think we are realizing increasingly that it’s an important issue for the country that has been debated for 30 years, but finally needs to be solved once and for all.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, self-deportation is people are going to leave as soon as they see others going out. If you look at Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, they started moving people out and the rest of them left.

Self-deportation, as I really define it, and that’s the way I define it, is you’re going to get some to go, and the rest are going to go out.

As far as the people that I’ve hired in various parts of Florida during the absolute prime season, like Palm Beach and other locations, you could not get help. It’s the up season. People didn’t want to have part-time jobs. There were part-time jobs, very seasonal, 90-day jobs, 120-day jobs, and you couldn’t get.

Everybody agrees with me on that. They were part-time jobs. You needed them, or we just might as well close the doors, because you couldn’t get help in those hot, hot sections of Florida.

RUBIO: That — my point that I made was you had criticized Mitt Romney for self-deportation. You said that his strategy of self- deportation is why he lost the election.

And I think people in Florida would be surprised, because, in fact, the article that was today, they interviewed a number of people that would have been willing to do those jobs, if you would have been willing to hire them to do it.

TRUMP: I criticized Mitt Romney for losing the election. He should have won that election. He had a failed president. He ran a terrible campaign. He was a terrible candidate. That’s what I criticize Mitt Romney — I mean, ran…

RUBIO: No, he…

TRUMP: Excuse me. He ran one terrible campaign. That’s an election that should have been won. [applause]

RUBIO: Well, in fact, I agree we should have won and I wished we would have, but, in fact, you did criticize him for using the term “self-deportation.” I mean, that’s on the record and people can look it up right now online.

But, again, I just want to reiterate, I think it’s really important, this point. I think it’s fine, it’s an important point that you raise and we discuss on immigration. This is a big issue for Texas, a huge issue for the country.

But I also think that if you’re going to claim that you’re the only one that lifted this into the campaign, that you acknowledge that, for example, you’re only person on this stage that has ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally.

You hired some workers from Poland…

TRUMP: No, no, I’m the only one on the stage that’s hired people. You haven’t hired anybody. [applause]

RUBIO: In fact, some of the people…

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: And by the way, I’ve hired — and by the way, I’ve hired tens of thousands of people over at my job. You’ve hired nobody.

RUBIO: Yes, you’ve hired a thousand from another country…

TRUMP: You’ve had nothing but problems with your credit cards, et cetera. So don’t tell me about that.

RUBIO: Let me just say — let me finish the statement. This is important.

TRUMP: You haven’t hired one person, you liar.

RUBIO: He hired workers from Poland. And he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment from…

TRUMP: That’s wrong. That’s wrong. Totally wrong.

RUBIO: That’s a fact. People can look it up. I’m sure people are Googling it right now. Look it up. “Trump Polish workers,” you’ll see a million dollars for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects. He did it. [applause] That happened.

TRUMP: I’ve hired tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. Tens of thousands…

RUBIO: Many from other countries instead of hiring Americans.

TRUMP: Be quiet. Just be quiet. [applause] Let me talk. I’ve hired tens of thousands of people. He brings up something from 30 years ago, it worked out very well. Everybody was happy.

RUBIO: You paid a million dollars.

TRUMP: And by the way, the laws were totally different. That was a whole different world.

BLITZER: Thank you.

TRUMP: But I’ve hired people. Nobody up here has hired anybody. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz, you say you want to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants, but you never want to allow them to come back to the United States. What would happen to the children who are U.S.- born citizens whose parent will be deported under your plan?

CRUZ: Well, existing law provides that those who are deported cannot come back here legally. U.S. citizens can come back. That’s existing law.

But let me say, Wolf, I really find it amazing that Donald believes that he is the one who discovered the issue of illegal immigration. I can tell you, when I ran for Senate here in the state of Texas, I ran promising to lead the fight against amnesty, promising to fight to build a wall. And in 2013, when I was fight against the “gang of eight” amnesty bill, where was Donald? He was firing Dennis Rodman on “Celebrity Apprentice.” [laughter]

And indeed, if you look at the “gang of eight,” one individual on this stage broke his promise to the men and women who elected him and wrote the amnesty bill.

If you look at the eight members of the Gang of Eight, Donald gave over $50,000 to three Democrats and two Republicans. And when you’re funding open border politicians, you shouldn’t be surprised when they fight for open borders.

And I think if you want to know who actually will secure the borders and follow through, you ought to ask who has a record before they were a candidate for president of fighting to secure the borders and stop amnesty. And I’m the only one on this stage that has that record. And by the way, Marco is exactly right that a federal court found Donald guilty of being part of a conspiracy to hire people illegally and entered a $1 million judgment against him. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I can only say this, and I’ve said it loud and clear and I’ve said it for years. And many of these people are sitting right in the audience right now — your lobbyist and your special interest and your donors, because the audience is packed with them, and they’re packed with you.

I’ve had an amazing relationship with politicians — with politicians both Democrat, Republican, because I was a businessman. As one magazine said, he’s a world-class businessman; he was friendly with everybody. I got along with everybody.

You get along with nobody. You don’t have one Republican — you don’t have one Republican senator, and you work with them every day of your life, although you skipped a lot of time. These are minor details. But you don’t have one Republican senator backing you; not one. You don’t have the endorsement of one Republican senator and you work with these people. You should be ashamed of yourself. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know, I actually think Donald is right. He is promising if he’s elected he will go and cut deals in Washington. And he’s right. He has supported — he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats. Anyone who really cared about illegal immigration wouldn’t be hiring illegal immigrants. Anyone who really cared about illegal immigration wouldn’t be funding Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi; wouldn’t be funding the Gang of Eight. And, you know, he is right. When you stand up to Washington, when you honor the promise you made to the men and women who elected you and say enough with the corruption, enough with the cronyism, let’s actually stand for the working men and women of this country, Washington doesn’t like it.

And Donald, if you want to be liked in Washington, that’s not a good attribute for a president. [applause]

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: Here’s a man — Robin Hood. This is Robin Hood over here. He talks about corruption. On his financial disclosure form, he didn’t even put that he’s borrowed money from Citibank and from Goldman Sachs, which is a total violation. He didn’t talk about the fact that he pays almost no interest. He just left it off, and now he’s going to protect the people from the big bad banks.

Give me a break.

BLITZER: All right. We’re going to move on to Governor Kasich.

Governor Kasich…

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Wolf, can I respond to that attack?

BLITZER: You can respond, but let me get Governor Kasich in. He’s been waiting patiently.

Governor Kasich, the idea — you’ve said this, and I want to quote you now: “The idea that we’re going to deport all these people is ludicrous and everybody knows it.” Those are your words. Should people be allowed to break the law just because it’s not feasible to stop them?

KASICH: Look, we have a great president here, George Bush, the 41st president of the United States. He worked with Ronald Reagan to pass an effort to try to solve this problem — a path to legalization. You see, that was a time when things worked. It was a time when President Reagan and George Bush decided that we needed to make the country work.

Look, I think there is an answer here. The answer is you complete the border. You let people know that once it’s done, you don’t have a right to come in. If you come in, we don’t want any excuse. You’re going to go back. But I favor a guest worker program. I think it’s practical. And I think for the 11 million or 11.5 million Americans — the illegals that are here, if they have not committed a crime since they’ve been here, I’d make them pay a fine, some back taxes, maybe some community service. And at the end, I’d give them a path to legalization, but not a path to citizenship. I don’t think we’re going to tear families apart. I don’t think we’re going to ride around in people’s neighborhoods and grab people out of their homes. I don’t think — first of all, I don’t think it’s practical and I don’t think it reflects America.

You know what happened? The problem with President Reagan is we didn’t get in there and actually finish the border. And I think it was probably business interests that affected it. But at the end of the day, let’s be practical. Let’s start solving problems in this country instead of kicking them upstairs. With President Reagan and George Bush, it was a bipartisan coalition to address the issue, and I think we can and should do it again. And I will have a plan in the first 100 days to get it done and get this issue behind us. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

Dr. Carson, you’ve been critical of mass deportation. You said back in November you don’t think Mr. Trump’s plan necessarily represents the Republican Party. Given how well Mr. Trump has been doing with the Republican primary voters, do you still believe that?

CARSON: I believe in liberty and justice for all. I think everything that we do should be fair. And I’ve already described — you know, how we can secure the border.

We need to secure all the borders, because it’s not just people coming in from South America and Mexico, but there are terrorists who want to destroy us, who are getting across our borders fairly easily. And we have to stop that.

But in terms of the people who are here already, after we — after we stop the illegal immigration, we need to be reasonable. And I would give them a six-month period in which to get registered as a guest worker, assuming that they have an acceptable record.

They have to pay a back-tax penalty, have to pay taxes going forward, but they don’t have to live underground anymore. And I think they do not become American citizens, they do not vote.

If they want to become an American citizen, they go through exactly the same process that anybody else goes through. I think that’s the kind of situation that is actually fair to people.

And we have other ways of — of utilizing our facilities and our talents as foreign aid: doing things in South America and Central America and Mexico that improve the economy there, so that they don’t feel the need to come over here. That would cost us a lot less than borrowing money from China, paying interest on it.

BLITZER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. [applause]

Mr. Trump, your campaign, as you well remember, began with the idea of building a wall along the southern border.

TRUMP: [inaudible].

BLITZER: It’s about 315 miles southwest of where we are right now. You’ve said the Mexican government will pay for it.

TRUMP: Correct.

BLITZER: The spokesperson for the current president of Mexico says that will never happen. The last two presidents of Mexico say that will never happen. In fact, the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox — he said today, and I’m quoting him — he said, “I’m not going to pay for that,” quote, “effing wall.” [laughter]

So if you don’t get an actual check from the Mexican government for $8 billion or $10 billion or $12 billion, whatever it will cost, how are you going to make them pay for the wall?

TRUMP: I will, and the wall just got 10 feet taller, believe me. [applause]

It just got 10 feet taller. I saw him make that — I saw him make the statement. I saw him use the word that he used. I can only tell you, if I would have used even half of that word, it would have been national scandal.

This guy used a filthy, disgusting word on television, and he should be ashamed of himself, and he should apologize, OK? Number one. Number two, we have a trade deficit with Mexico of $58 billion a year. And that doesn’t include all the drugs that are pouring across and destroying our country.

We’re going to make them pay for that wall. Now, the wall is $10 billion to $12 billion, if I do it. If these guys do it, it’ll end up costing $200 billion. [applause]

But the wall is $10 billion to $12 billion. You need 1,000 — you need 1,000 miles. The Great Wall of China, built 2,000 years ago — 2,000, is 13,000 miles. We need 1,000, because we have a lot of natural barriers.

We can do it for $10 billion to $12 billion, and it’s a real wall. This is a wall that’s a heck of a lot higher than the ceiling you’re looking at. This is a wall that’s going to work.

Mexico will pay for it, because they are not doing us any favors. They could stop all of this illegal trade if they wanted to…[bell ringing]… immediately. Mexico will pay for the wall. It’s a small portion of the kind of money that we lose and the deficits that we have with Mexico. [applause]

BLITZER: If the — if the Mexicans don’t pay for the wall, will you start a trade war with Mexico?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I don’t mind trade wars when we’re losing $58 billion a year, you want to know the truth. We’re losing so much. [applause]

We’re losing so much with Mexico and China — with China, we’re losing $500 billion a year. And then people say, “don’t we want to trade?” I don’t mind trading, but I don’t want to lose $500 billion. I don’t want to lose $58 billion.

Mexico just took Carrier Corporation, maker of air conditioners. They just took Ford. They’re building a $2.5 billion plant. They just took Nabisco out of Chicago.

And I always say I’m not having Oreos anymore, which is true, by the way. But they just took a big plant from Nabisco into Mexico. They’re taking our businesses. I don’t mind.

BLITZER: Thank you. Senator Rubio? [applause]

RUBIO: Yeah, a couple points. If he builds the wall the way he built Trump Towers, he’ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it. The second…[applause]

TRUMP: Such a cute sound bite.

RUBIO: But it — no, it’s not a sound bite. It’s a fact. Again, go online and Google it. Donald Trump, Polish workers. You’ll see it.

The second thing, about the trade war — I don’t understand, because your ties and the clothes you make is made in Mexico and in China. So you’re gonna be starting a trade war against your own ties and your own suits.

TRUMP: All right, you know what?

RUBIO: Why don’t you make them in America?

TRUMP: Because they devalue their currency — they devalue their currencies…

RUBIO: Well, then make them in America.

TRUMP: … that makes it — well, you don’t know a thing about business. You lose on everything…

RUBIO: Well, make them in America.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you — they de-value their currency. They de-value their currencies.

RUBIO: Well then, make them in America.

TRUMP: That makes it — well, you don’t know a thing about business. You lose on everything you do.

RUBIO: Well, make them in America.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, they de-value their currencies. China, Mexico, everybody. Japan with the cars. They de-value their currencies to such an extent that our businesses cannot compete with them, our workers lose their jobs…

RUBIO: And so you make them in China and in Russia.

TRUMP: But you wouldn’t know anything about it because you’re a lousy businessman.

RUBIO: Well, I don’t know anything about bankrupting four companies. You’ve bankrupted..

TRUMP: No, I — and you know why? You know why? [applause]

RUBIO: I don’t know anything about…

TRUMP: You know why?

RUBIO: … starting a university, and that was a fake university.

BLITZER: One at a time.

TRUMP: First of all…

BLITZER: One at a time.

TRUMP: … first of all, that’s called a…

RUBIO: There are people who borrowed $36,000…

BLITZER: Hold on. One at a time, Mr. Trump.

RUBIO: … to go to Trump University, and they’re suing now — $36,000 to go to a university…

TRUMP: And by the way — and by the way…

RUBIO: … that’s a fake school.

TRUMP: … and by the way…

RUBIO: And you know what they got? They got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump…

TRUMP: … I’ve won most of the lawsuits.

RUBIO: That’s what they got for $36,000.

BLITZER: All right, I want to move on.

TRUMP: And they actually did a very good job, but I’ve won most of the lawsuits.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, Senator, I want to bring in…

RUBIO: Most of the lawsuits.

BLITZER: … I want to bring in my colleague Maria Celeste.

TRUMP: Excuse me. Hey Wolf, let me ask you. Am I allowed to respond to this?

BLITZER: You’re allowed — you’ve been responding.

TRUMP: OK. Well let — no, I haven’t. I really haven’t. [laughter]

RUBIO: He’s talked through the whole thing. [applause]

TRUMP: Here’s a guy — here’s a guy that buys a house for $179,000, he sells it to a lobbyist who’s probably here for $380,000 and then legislation is passed. You tell me about this guy. This is what we’re going to have as president.

RUBIO: Here’s a guy that inherited $200 million. If he hadn’t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now?

TRUMP: No, no, no.

RUBIO: Selling watches in Manhattan. [applause]

TRUMP: [inaudible] I took…

RUBIO: That’s where he would be.

TRUMP: That is so wrong. We’ll work on that. I took $1 million and I turned into $10 billion.

RUBIO: Oh, OK. One million.

TRUMP: I borrowed $1 million…

RUBIO: Better release your tax returns so we can see how much money he made.

TRUMP: I borrowed $1 million, I turned it into $10 billion…

RUBIO: Oh, he doesn’t make that money.

TRUMP: … more than $10 billion.

BLITZER: Thank you. Thank you. I want to bring in Maria Celeste Arrarás of Telemundo. Maria?

ARRARÁS: Senator Rubio, last week, you said that on your first day in office, you will get rid of President Obama’s executive action known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA for short.

RUBIO: Correct.

ARRARÁS: It is a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young people that came here when they were children, brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants. This is the only home they know, and that is a dramatic change from last April when you said in Spanish, and I’m going to quote you [in Spanish] which translates to DACA is going to have to end at some point, but it wouldn’t be fair to cancel it immediately.

So Senator Rubio, what changed?

RUBIO: It didn’t change.

ARRARÁS: Why is it now fair to cancel it on Day One?

RUBIO: No, it’s the same policy. It will have to end at some moment, and as I said, we will — we will eliminate that executive order. The people that are on it now will not be allowed to renew it, and new applicants will not be allowed to apply to it. And it’s not because we’re not compassionate to the plight of a 2 — someone who came here when they were 2 years old. I understand. I know people that are personally impacted by this.

The problem with the executive order is it is unconstitutional. The president doesn’t have the power to do that. [applause]

And he himself admitted that.

ARRARÁS: Senator, Senator…

RUBIO: I’m sorry, but let me finish my…

ARRARÁS: … but you went — you went from saying that it was deeply disruptive to deport them immediately to deport them on Day One.

RUBIO: No, but this is not about deportation. Everybody always goes immediately to the issue of deportation. This is about DACA. DACA is an executive order that is unconstitutional. I will cancel it on my first day in office, which means people who currently hold those permits will not be allowed to renew them when they expire, and new people will not be allowed to apply for them.

Now, I am sympathetic to the plight of someone who came here when they were 2 or 3 years old through no fault of their own, but you can’t solve it doing something that is unconstitutional. No matter how sympathetic we may be to a cause, we cannot violate the Constitution of the United States the way this president now does on a regular basis. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Senator Rubio, you accused Senator Cruz in a previous debate of lying when he said that you said one thing in Spanish and another one in English. So in what sense did he lie?

RUBIO: Because it is not true that I’m not going to get rid of DACA. I am going to get rid of DACA. In the Spanish interview, you just read out the transcript in Spanish, I said, it will have to end at some point. That point will be when I eliminate the executive order and the people who have those permits when they expire will not be allowed to renew it. And new people will not be able to apply. In fact, I don’t even think we should be taking new enrollees in the program now.

That is how the program ends and how you wind it down is you allow the people who are on it, when the program expires, they cannot renew it, and it goes away. But I will cancel the executive order as soon as I take — as soon as I step foot into the Oval Office.

TRUMP: I have to say, he lied this time. He lied. 100 percent. 100 percent.

RUBIO: You lied about the Polish workers.

TRUMP: Yes, yes, yes. 38 years ago.

RUBIO: You lied to the students at Trump University.

ARRARÁS: Let Senator Cruz jump in.

RUBIO: Oh, he lied 38 years ago. All right, I guess there’s a statute of limitation on lies. [laughter and applause]

CRUZ: Well Maria, I would note you made the exact same point here that I made at the last debate, and you’re right that Senator Rubio called me a liar for saying that.

You know, we’ve both seen at home when Washington politicians say about an illegal, or unconstitutional program. Well, it’ll have to end some day, not immediately, but someday in the future.

That, inevitably, is when a politician doesn’t plan to end it at all.

You know, I’m reminded of that that is the same position that Marco took in Iowa on ethanol subsidies. When I campaigned in Iowa, I took on the lobbyists, took on the corporate welfare and said we should have no ethanol subsidies.

Marco’s position was the same as it is to illegal amnesty. Well, someday it should end, just not now. And, frankly, I think we need a president who knows what he believes in, is willing to say it on day one, not at the end of his term when it’s somebody else’s problem.

RUBIO: That’s not an accurate assessment of what I said about ethanol. What I said is that ethanol will phase out, it is phasing out now. By 2022 that program expires by virtue of the existing law, and at that point it will go away. I don’t agree with the mandate and the program that’s in place, but I think it’s unfair that these people have gone out and invested all this money into this program and we’re just going to yank it away from them.

And, again, you read the statement in Spanish. I said very clearly on Spanish television, DACA will have to end at some point, and that point is — at that time I was not a candidate for president. I said it will end in my first day in office as president, and the people who have it now will not be able to renew it. New applicants will not be able to apply. That is the end of DACA.

I am sympathetic to this cause, but once again, it cannot supersede the Constitution of the United States which this president habitually and routinely every single day ignores and violates. [cheering and applause]

ARRARÁS: Senator Cruz, you and Senator Rubio are the two candidates of hispanic descent on this stage. As a matter of fact, you are the first hispanic candidate ever to win a caucus or primary. [applause]

And yet, there is the perception in the Latino community that instead of trying to prove to Latinos who has the best plan, the best platform to help them, that you two are spending the time arguing with each other. Trying to figure out which one is tougher on immigration in order to appeal to the majority of Republicans.

So, my question to you is are you missing a huge opportunity to expand the Republican base?

CRUZ: Well, Maria, you are right. It is extraordinary that of five people standing on this stage that two of us are the children of Cuban immigrants. It really is the embodiment of the incredible opportunity and promise this nation provides.

You know, I would note that a lot of folks in the media have a definition of hispanics that you can only be hispanic if you’re liberal. That makes sense in the media, but I gotta tell you, one of the things I was most proud of when I ran for Senate here in Texas, I earned 40 percent of the hispanic vote here in Texas.

At the same time, Mitt Romney was getting clobbered with 27 percent of the hispanic vote nationwide. And, the reason is, as you know, you look at the value sin the hispanic community. The values in our community are faith, family, patriotism.

You know, we’ve got the highest rate of military enlistment among hispanics in any demographic in this country. And, when I campaigned, and I campaigned the same here in Houston or Dallas as I did in the Rio Grande Valley, defending conservative principles, defending judeo- Christian principals, telling my father’s story.

Telling my Dad’s story of coming to America with $100 dollars in his underwear, not speaking English, washing dishes, having hopes and dreams for the American dream. And, the truth is the Obama-Clinton economy has done enormous damage to the hispanic community. It is not working in the hispanic community, and I…[bell ringing]…fighting so that everyone who is struggling in the hispanic community and beyond will have a fair and even shake at the American dream.

RUBIO: I’m sorry I was mentioned…

ARRARÁS: … Governor Kasich.

RUBIO: Maria I was mentioned in that. I was mentioned in that statement.

ARRARÁS: Governor Kasich, after the…

RUBIO: … OK. I was mentioned — just because of the hispanic — and I’ll be brief.

A couple points, number one, I do think it’s amazing that on this stage tonight there are two descendants of Cuban origin, and an African American. We are the party of diversity, not the Democratic party. [cheering and applause]

And, the second point I would make is that we have to move past this idea that somehow the hispanic community only cares about immigration.

Yes, it’s an important issue because we know and love people that have been impacted by it. But, I’m going to tell you that the most powerful sentiment in the hispanic community, as it is in every immigrant community, is the burning desire to leave your children better off than yourself…[bell ringing]…and, you can only do that through free enterprise. That’s what we stand for, not socialism like Bernie Sanders, and increasingly Hillary Clinton. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Governor Kasich, after the last presidential election the Republican party realized that in order to win the presidency it needed the support of latinos. Guidelines as to how to accomplish that were spelled out in an autopsy report that concluded, and I’m going to quote it, “if hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States they won’t pay attention to our next sentence.”

So, do you think that your fellow Republican candidates get it?

KASICH: Well, I’m not going to talk about that. I mean, I’ve got to tell you, I was with this little 12-year-old girl, was at a town hall meeting, and she said, you know, I don’t like all this yelling and screaming at the debates. My mother’s thinking I might not be able to watch the thing anymore.

I think we ought to move beyond that, about what they think. I’m going to tell you what I think. My position on this whole immigration issue has been clear from the beginning. I haven’t changed anything with it.

And, look, my view is, we need economic growth. Everything starts with economic growth. And how do you get it? Common sense regulations, lower taxes for both business and individuals, and, of course, a fiscal plan that balances the budget.

That gives you economic growth. I did it when I was in Washington, as the Budget Committee chairman, negotiating actually with Democrats, that gave us surpluses, economic growth, and the same thing in Ohio.

But here’s the thing that I believe. Economic growth is not an end unto itself. We have to make sure that everybody has a sense that they can rise.

Of course, our friends in the Hispanic community, our friends in the African-American community, the promise of America is that our system, when we follow the right formula, is going to give opportunity for everyone.

It’s what Jack Kemp used to say. A rising tide lifts all boats, not just some boats, but all boats. And you know what? With me and the Hispanic community, I think they like me. And I appreciate that, because I want them to have the same opportunity that I and my children and my wife and the people we love have had in this country.

It’s time to solve problems. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Dr. Carson, concerning this recommendation of the report, are you, as a candidate, getting it?

CARSON: I didn’t hear the first part of the question?

ARRARÁS: The first part of the question is, there was a report that recommended that in order to approach Hispanics and bring them to vote for the Republican Party, certain things needed to happen.

And one of them was that they shouldn’t feel like they were going to get kicked out of the United States, otherwise they wouldn’t pay attention to one more sentence from candidates.

CARSON: OK, well, first of all, let me just mention that last year at the NALEO, the National Association for Latino Elected Officials, I was the only one of 17 Republican candidates to go there.

And the reason that I don’t fear going to an organization like that is because the message that I give is the same message to every group. You know, this is America. And we need to have policies that are — that give liberty and justice to all people.

And that’s the way that I have fashioned virtually every policy, looking at that. And I think that’s the way the Republican Party generally thinks. We don’t pick and choose winners and losers. We are compassionate.

But real compassion is providing people with a ladder of opportunity to climb up from a state of dependence and become part of the fabric of America. When we begin to emphasize that, I think we will attract everybody. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Mr. Trump, it is common knowledge that the Hispanic vote is very important in this race. You keep saying that Hispanics love you.

TRUMP: True. [laughter]

ARRARÁS: And, yes, you won the Hispanic vote in Nevada.

TRUMP: True.

ARRARÁS: But a brand new Telemundo poll says that three out of four Hispanics that vote nationwide have a negative opinion of you. They don’t like you. Wouldn’t that make you an unelectable…

TRUMP: No.

ARRARÁS: … candidate in a general election?

TRUMP: First of all, I don’t believe anything Telemundo says.

ARRARÁS: You used to say that you love…[laughter]

TRUMP: Number one. Number two, I currently employ thousands of Hispanics, and over the years, I’ve employed tens of thousands of Hispanics. They’re incredible people. They know, and the reason I won in Nevada, not only won the big one, but I also won subs, like, as an example, I won with women.

I won with every single category. I won with men, I won with high-income, low-income, I won with Hispanics. And I got 46 percent. Nobody else was close. Because they know I’m going to bring jobs back from China, from Japan, from so many other places.

They get it. They’re incredible people. They’re incredible workers. They get it. And I’ve won many of the polls with Hispanics. I didn’t maybe win the Telemundo poll.

But one thing I’m also going to do, I’m going to be getting — bringing a lot of people in who are Democrats, who are independents, and you’re seeing that with the polls, because if you look at anywhere, look at any of the elections, every single election, it has been record-setting.

And the good news is, for the Republican Party, the Democrats are getting very poor numbers in terms of bringing them in. We’re getting record-setting numbers. I think I have something to do with that.

We’re getting record-setting numbers. And I won every one — the three of them that I won, I won with record-setting numbers.

TRUMP: New people are coming into the Republican Party. We are building a new Republican Party, a lot of new people are coming in. [applause]

ARRARÁS: For the record, you have said publicly that you loved Telemundo in the past. But it is not just a Telemundo poll. We have…

TRUMP: I love them. I love them. [applause]

ARRARÁS: All right. Well, it’s not the only poll.

TRUMP: They’re fine. Do you know what? They’re fine.

ARRARÁS: Just last night — let me — let me finish, please.

Just last night, The Washington Post showed that 80 percent of Hispanic voters in their polls have a negative view of you. And concerning the Nevada victory, allow me to explain that the poll in Nevada was based on a tiny sample, statistically insignificant of only about 100 — let me finish please — of 100 Hispanic Republicans in the state of Nevada.

TRUMP: Why did they take the poll? Why did they…[crosstalk]

ARRARÁS: I am making reference — I am making reference to Hispanic voters nationwide in a general election.

TRUMP: I’m just telling you, I’m doing very well with Hispanics. And by the way, I settled my suit, as you know, with Univision. It was settled. We’re good friends now. It was all settled up. [laughter]

Very happy, very happy. Very good people.

I’m just telling you — I’m just telling you that I will do really well with Hispanics. I will do better than anybody on this stage. I have respect for the people on the stage, but I will do very well with Hispanics. But I’m telling you also, I’m bringing people, Democrats over and I’m bringing independents over, and we’re building a much bigger, much stronger Republican Party.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, thank you.

I want to turn our attention now to another critically important issue for the American people, the United States Supreme Court, where filling the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia has become a major campaign issue. I want to bring in Salem Radio Network host, Hugh Hewitt.

Hugh?

HEWITT: Thank you, Wolf.

To me, it’s the most important issue. I’ll start with you, Senator Cruz. Do you trust Mr. Trump to nominate conservative justices?

CRUZ: Well, Hugh, I agree with you that it — Justice Scalia’s passing underscores the enormous gravity of this election. Justice Scalia was someone I knew personally for 20 years; was privileged to be at his funeral this weekend. And with his passing, the court is now hanging in the balance. We are one liberal justice away from a five-justice radical leftist majority that would undermine our religious liberty; that would undermine the right to life; and that would fundamentally erase the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms from the Constitution.

Now, I think the voters of Texas, the voters across Super Tuesday are assessing everyone standing on this — this stage. In the past, Republican presidents always promise to nominate strict constitutionalists. So I’m certain if you took a survey, everyone would say they would do that.

But the reality is, Democrats bat about 1,000. Just about everyone they put on the court votes exactly as they want. Republicans have batted worse than 500, more than half of the people we put on the court have been a disaster.

I’ve spent my whole life fighting to defend the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I can tell you, for voters that care about life or marriage or religious liberty or the Second Amendment, they’re asking the question: Who do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who do you know will nominate principled constitutionalists to the court? I give you my word, every justice I nominate will vigorously defend the Bill of Rights for my children and for yours. [applause]

HEWITT: Mr. Trump, Senator Cruz mentioned the issue that keeps me up at night, which is religious liberty. Churches, Catholic and Christian colleges, Catholic adoption agencies — all sorts of religious institutions fear that Hobby Lobby, if it’s repealed, it was a five-four decision, they’re going to have to bend their knee and provide morning-after pills. They fear that if Bob Jones is expanded, they will lose their tax exemption.

Will you commit to voters tonight that religious liberty will be an absolute litmus test for anyone you appoint, not just to the Supreme Court, but to all courts?

TRUMP: Yes, I would. And I’ve been there. And I’ve been there very strongly. I do have to say something, and this is interesting and it’s not anybody’s fault. It’s not Ted’s fault. Justice Roberts was strongly recommended and pushed by Ted. Justice Roberts gave us Obamacare. Might as well be called Roberts-care. Two times of the Supreme Court, Justice Roberts approved something that he should have never raised his hand to approve. And we ended up with Obamacare.

That is a rough thing. And I know Ted feels badly about it. And I think he probably still respects the judge. But that judge has been a disaster in terms of everything we stand for because there is no way — no way that he should have approved Obamacare.

Now, with that being said, these are the things that happen. But Ted very, very strongly pushed Judge Roberts, and Justice Roberts gave us something that we don’t want.

HEWITT: Ted Cruz, Senator, the chief justice got Hobby Lobby right, but what do you make of Mr. Cruz’s criticism?

CRUZ: Well, listen — Donald knows that it was George W. Bush who appointed John Roberts. Yes, it’s true, I supported the Republican nominee once he was made.

But I would not have nominated John Roberts. I would have nominated my former boss, Mike Luttig, who was the strongest proven conservative on the court of appeals. And I’ll tell you, Hugh…[applause]…you know, it’s interesting now that Donald promises that he will appoint justices who — who will defend religious liberty, but this is a man who, for 40 years, has given money to Jimmy Carter, to Joe Biden, to Hillary Clinton, to Chuck Schumer, to Harry Reid.

Nobody who supports far-left liberal Democrats who are fighting for judicial activists can possibly care about having principled constitutionalists on the court.

And what Donald has told us is he will go to Washington…[bell ringing]…and cut a deal.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump…

CRUZ: So that means on Supreme Court…

HEWITT: … can I…

CRUZ: … he’s going to look to cut a deal, rather than fight for someone who won’t cut a deal on the Constitution, but will defend it faithfully. [applause]

HEWITT: Can I trust you on religious liberty?

TRUMP: Well, let — let me — let me just say — let me just say this. Look, I watched Ted — and I respected it, but he gets nowhere — stand on the Senate floor for a day or two days, and talk and talk and talk.

I watched the other senators laughing and smiling. And when Ted was totally exhausted, he left the Senate floor, and they went back to work. OK? We have to have somebody that’s going to make deals.

It’s wonderful to stand up for two days and do that. Now, Ted’s been very critical — I have a sister who’s a brilliant…

HEWITT: Mr. Cruz, will you make a deal about religious liberty?

TRUMP: … excuse me. She’s a brilliant judge. He’s been criticizing — he’s been criticizing my sister for signing a certain bill. You know who else signed that bill? Justice Samuel Alito, a very conservative member of the Supreme Court, with my sister, signed that bill.

So I think that maybe we should get a little bit of an apology from Ted. What do you think?

HEWITT: Let me — Senator.

CRUZ: Let me tell you right now, Donald, I will not apologize for a minute for defending the Constitution. I will not apologize for defending the Bill of Rights. [applause]

And I find it amazing that your answer to Hugh and to the American people is, on religious liberty, you can’t have one of the these crazy zealots that actually believes in it. You’ve got to be willing to cut a deal.

And you know, there is a reason why, when Harry Reid was asked, of all the people on this stage, who does he want the most, who does he like the most, Harry Reid said Donald — Donald Trump.

Why? Because Donald has supported him in the past, and he knows he can cut a deal with him. [bell ringing]

You know what, Donald…[crosstalk]

HEWITT: Senator Rubio.

CRUZ: … I don’t want a Supreme Court justice that you cut a deal with Harry Reid to undermine religious liberty, because that same justice will also erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights. [applause]

TRUMP: When you say crazy zealot, are you talking about you? Crazy zealot — give me a break.

HEWITT: Senator Rubio, you’ve heard this exchange on religious liberty. You have said that religious liberty will trump even the ability of people to stay away from same-sex marriages, not provide flowers, not provide baked goods, et cetera. Are you satisfied with this exchange on religious liberty?

RUBIO: Well, I think you ask a very important question, because the issue here — the next president of the United States has to fill this vacancy.

Justice Scalia — in the history of the republic, there has never been anyone better than him at standing for the principle that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document — it is supposed to be applied as originally meant.

And the next president of the United States has to be someone that you can trust and believe in to appoint someone just as good as Scalia — plus there may be at least two other vacancies.

So you ask Mr. Trump to respond and say that he would, and he says that he would. But the bottom line is, if you look at his record over the last 25 or 30 years, on issue after issue, he has not been on our side.

Now, if he’s changed, we’re always looking for converts into the conservative movement. But the bottom line is that, if you don’t have a record there to look at and say, “I feel at peace that when Donald Trump is president of the United States, he’s going to be firmly on our side on these issues.”

In fact, very recently, he was still defending Planned Parenthood. He says he’s not going to take sides in the Palestinians versus Israel. These are concerning things.

And so, yes, I have a doubt about whether Donald Trump, if he becomes president, will replace Justice Scalia with someone just like Justice Scalia.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump? [applause]

TRUMP: Well, let — let me just say — let me just say, first of all, I have great respect for Justice Scalia. I thought he was terrific. And if you talk about evolving, Ronald Reagan was a somewhat liberal Democrat. Ronald Reagan evolved into a somewhat strong conservative — more importantly, he was a great president. A great president.

As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I’m pro-life. I’m totally against abortion, having to do with Planned Parenthood. But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood.

So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly. And I wouldn’t fund it.

I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3 percent. I don’t know what percentage it is. They say it’s 3 percent. But I would defund it, because I’m pro-life. But millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood. [applause]

HEWITT: Governor Kasich, back to religious liberty. You’ve been a little bit less emphatic. You’ve said, same-sex couple approaches a cupcake maker, sell them a cupcake. Can we trust you as much on religious liberty as the rest of these people?

KASICH: Well, you know, , of course. I mean, if — look, I was involved in just being a pioneer in a new church. Religious institutions should be able to practice the religion that they believe in. No question and no doubt about it.

Now, in regard to same-sex marriage, I don’t favor it. I’ve always favored traditional marriage, but, look, the court has ruled and I’ve moved on. And what I’ve said, Hugh, is that, look, where does it end?

If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced.

I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior.

But when it comes to the religious institutions, they are in inviolate in my mind, and I would fight for those religious institutions. And look, I’ve appointed over a hundred judges as governor. I even appointed adjudge to the Ohio Supreme Court.

And you know what they are? They’re conservatives. Go check it out. They are conservatives. They don’t make the law. They interpret the law. That’s all they do. And they stick by the Constitution. So I will do that.

But let’s just not get so narrow here as to gotcha this or that. I think my position is clear.

HEWITT: Dr. Carson, let me wrap it up with you. Are their positions clear? [applause]

Are the positions you’ve heard clear about the First Amendment and the first freedom?

CARSON: Well, first of all, let me just add my praise to Justice Scalia. I first met him when we got an honorary degree together a long time ago. A tremendous wit and intellect.

As far as religious freedom is concerned, one of the basic tenets of this nation, and I believe that the Constitution protects all of our rights. And it gives people who believe in same-sex marriage the same rights as everybody else.

But what we have to remember is even though everybody has the same rights, nobody get extra rights. So nobody gets to redefine things for everybody else and then have them have to conform to it. That’s unfair.

And this is the responsibility of Congress to come back and correct what the Supreme Court has done. That’s why we have divided government. And we’re going to have to encourage them to act in an appropriate way, or we will lose our religious freedom.

And as president, I would go through and I would look at what a person’s life has been. What have they done in the past? What kind of judgments have they made? What kind of associations do they have? That will tell you a lot more than an interview will tell you.

The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at.

BLITZER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. [applause]

All of you want to repeal and replace Obamacare, so let’s talk about your plans, specific plans to replace it. I want to bring in our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

BASH: Senator Rubio, you said yesterday, right here in Houston, that Mr. Trump thinks part of Obamacare is pretty good. So, he says he is going to repeal Obamacare. Are you saying that you’re worried he won’t?

RUBIO: The individual mandate. He said he likes the individual mandate portion of it, which I don’t believe that should be part of it. That should not remain there. I think here’s what we need to replace it with.

We need to repeal Obamacare completely and replace it with a system that puts Americans in charge of their health care money again. If your employer wants to buy health insurance for you, they can continue to do so from any company in America they want to buy it from.

Otherwise, your employers can provide you health care money, tax- free, not treated as income, and you can use that money only for health care, but you can use it to fund health care any way you want, fully fund a health savings account, the combination of a health savings account or a private plan from any company in any state in the country.

And if you don’t have that, then you will have a refundable tax credit that provides you health care money to buy your own health care coverage. And that, I think, is a much better approach than Obamacare, which, by the way, isn’t just bad for health care, it’s bad for our economy. It is a health care law that is basically forcing companies to lay people off, cut people’s hours, move people to part-time. It is not just a bad health care law, it is a job-killing law. And I will repeal it as president and we will replace it with something substantially better for all Americans. [applause]

BASH: Mr. Trump, Senator Rubio just said that you support the individual mandate. Would you respond?

TRUMP: I just want to say, I agree with that 100 percent, except pre-existing conditions, I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare. We’re going to have something much better, but pre-existing conditions, when I’m referring to that, and I was referring to that very strongly on the show with Anderson Cooper, I want to keep pre- existing conditions.

I think we need it. I think it’s a modern age. And I think we have to have it. [applause]

BASH: OK, so let’s talk about pre-existing conditions. What the insurance companies say is that the only way that they can cover people is to have a mandate requiring everybody purchase health insurance. Are they wrong?

TRUMP: I think they’re wrong 100 percent. What we need — look, the insurance companies take care of the politicians. The insurance companies get what they want. We should have gotten rid of the lines around each state so we can have real competition.

We thought that was gone, we thought those lines were going to be gone, so something happened at the last moment where Obamacare got approved, and all of that was thrown out the window.

The reason is some of the people in the audience are insurance people, and insurance lobbyists, and special interests. They got — I’m not going to point to these gentlemen, of course, they’re part of the problem, other than Ben, in all fairness.

And, actually, the Governor too, let’s just talk about these too, OK? [laughter]

Because I don’t think the Governor had too much to do with this.

But, we should have gotten rid of the borders, we should have gotten rid of the lines around the state so there’s great competition. The insurance companies are making a fortune on every single thing they do.

I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m the only one in either party self-funding my campaign. I’m going to do what’s right. We have to get rid of the lines around the states so that there’s serious, serious competition.

BASH: But, Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … And, you’re going to see — excuse me. You’re going to see preexisting conditions and everything else be part of it, but the price will be done, and the insurance companies can pay. Right now they’re making a fortune. [applause]

BASH: But, just to be specific here, what you’re saying is getting rid of the barriers between states, that is going to solve the problem…

TRUMP: That’s going to solve the problem. And, the insurance companies aren’t going to say that, they want to keep it. They want to say — they say whatever they have to say to keep it the way it is. I know the insurance companies, they’re friends of mine. The top guys, they’re friends of mine. I shouldn’t tell you guys, you’ll say it’s terrible, I have a conflict of interest. They’re friends of mine, there’s some right in the audience. One of them was just waving to me, he was laughing and smiling. He’s not laughing so much anymore.

Hi. [applause]

Look, the insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep preexisting conditions, and that would be a great thing. Get rid of Obamacare, we’ll come up with new plans. But, we should keep preexisting conditions.

RUBIO: Dana, I was mentioned in his response, so if I may about the insurance companies…

BASH: … Go ahead.

RUBIO: You may not be aware of this, Donald, because you don’t follow this stuff very closely, but here’s what happened. When they passed Obamacare they put a bailout fund in Obamacare. All these lobbyists you keep talking about, they put a bailout fund in the law that would allow public money to be used, taxpayer money, to bail out companies when they lost money.

And, we led the effort and wiped out that bailout fund. The insurance companies are not in favor of me, they hate that. They’re suing that now to get that bailout money put back in.

Here’s what you didn’t hear in that answer, and this is important guys, this is an important thing. What is your plan? I understand the lines around the state, whatever that means. This is not a game where you draw maps…

TRUMP: … And, you don’t know what it means…

RUBIO: … What is your plan, Mr. Trump? [applause] What is your plan on healthcare?

TRUMP: You don’t know.

BASH: [inaudible]

TRUMP: … The biggest problem…[crosstalk]

RUBIO: … What’s your plan…

TRUMP: … The biggest problem, I’ll have you know…

RUBIO: … What’s your plan…

TRUMP: … You know, I watched him meltdown two weeks ago with Chris Christie. I got to tell you, the biggest problem he’s got is he really doesn’t know about the lines. The biggest thing we’ve got, and the reason we’ve got no competition, is because we have lines around the state, and you have essentially….

RUBIO: … We already mentioned that [inaudible] plan, I know what that is, but what else is part of your plan…

TRUMP: … You don’t know much…

RUBIO: … So, you’re only thing is to get rid of the lines around the states. What else is part of your healthcare plan…

TRUMP: … The lines around the states…

RUBIO: … That’s your only plan…

TRUMP: … and, it was almost done — not now…

RUBIO: … Alright, [inaudible]…

TRUMP: … Excuse me. Excuse me.

RUBIO: … His plan. That was the plan…

TRUMP: … You get rid of the lines, it brings in competition. So, instead of having one insurance company taking care of New York, or Texas, you’ll have many. They’ll compete, and it’ll be a beautiful thing.

RUBIO: Alright…[applause] So, that’s the only part of the plan? Just the lines?

BASH: [inaudible]

TRUMP: The nice part of the plan — you’ll have many different plans. You’ll have competition, you’ll have so many different plans.

RUBIO: Now he’s repeating himself.

TRUMP: No, no, no. [laughter, applause, and cheering]

TRUMP: [inaudible]

RUBIO: [inaudible]

[cheering]

TRUMP: [inaudible] I watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago…

RUBIO: … I just watched you repeat yourself five times five seconds ago…[applause]

TRUMP: I watched him meltdown on the stage like that, I’ve never seen it in anybody…

BASH: … Let’s stay focused on the subject…

TRUMP: … I thought he came out of the swimming pool…

RUBIO: … I see him repeat himself every night, he says five things, everyone’s dumb, he’s gonna make America great again…

BASH: … Senator Rubio…

RUBIO: … We’re going to win, win win, he’s winning in the polls…

BASH: … Senator Rubio, please.

RUBIO: … And the lines around the state. [applause]… Every night.

BASH: Senator Rubio.

[cheering]

TRUMP: I tell the truth, I tell the truth.

BASH: Senator Rubio, you will have time to respond if you would just let Mr. Trump respond to what you’ve just posed to him…

RUBIO: … Yeah, he’s going to give us his plan now, right? OK…

BASH: … If you could talk a little bit more about your plan. I know you talked about…

TRUMP: … We’re going to have many different plans because…

BASH: … Can you be a little specific…

TRUMP: … competition…

RUBIO: … He’s done it again. [cheering and applause]

TRUMP: There is going to be competition among all of the states, and the insurance companies. They’re going to have many, many different plans.

BASH: Is there anything else you would like to add to that…

TRUMP: No, there’s nothing to add. [cheering and applause] What is to add?

BASH: Thank you. Thank you both.

RUBIO: Alright.

BASH: Governor Kasich, you’ve said it is, quote, “Un American to deny someone health insurance if they have a preexisting condition.”

Would you leave the individual mandate in place requiring all Americans to purchase insurance?

KASICH: No, I wouldn’t. And — but that doesn’t matter when it comes to the issue of preexisting conditions. You don’t want any American to lose their house, everything they’ve saved, because they get sick. Now, I think it is more complicated than what we’ve heard here tonight. We’re actually running significant health reform in my state.

I would repeal Obamacare for a variety of reasons. I would take some of the federal resources, combine it with the freed-up Medicaid program, which I would send back to the states, and cover the people who are currently the working poor because we don’t want to have tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance.

And then we’re driving towards total transparency. If any of you here ever get a hospital bill, it’s easier to interpret the Dead Sea scrolls than to understand your hospital bill. The fact is what we need is transparency with hospitals and with the providers.

And I’ll tell you what we will do. We are actually going to make payments to physicians and to hospitals who actually deliver healthcare with great quality at low prices. We actually are going to make the market work.

BASH: Governor, let me just go back to the original question about the individual mandate. In 1994 when you were in Congress, you proposed a plan requiring an individual mandate. So what changed?

KASICH: Well, Dana, the Heritage Foundation had this position as well. And when I look at it, I don’t think it’s tenable. And we don’t need to do that. Again, I’m telling you that we are going to — we have a proposal, a plan that we’re enacting now that says if you are a hospital or a doctor and you’re providing very high quality at lower prices, below the midpoint — some charge high, some charge low. If you are below the midpoint, we are going to give you a financial reward for allowing you to provide services that result in high quality for our people at lower pricess.

That is the way in which we are going to damp down the rising costs of healthcare. Because if you think about your own deductibles today, they’re going higher, higher and higher. And you know what? At some point, people can’t afford it. Our plan will work. It uses the market. It uses transparency. It gets the patient in the middle. And guess what? We’re actually doing it in my state, the seventh-largest state in the country. And if this will go — this will go national, we will get our hands on healthcare where you will know what’s going on. We will pay for quality, lower prices, and we will begin to see healthcare become affordable in America and where people will also be able to have health insurance, even if they have a preexisting condition.

We don’t want to throw millions of people out into the cold and not have the health insurance, Dana. So that’s really what we’re doing. This is not a theory. This is what we are actually doing in our state. We will begin payments next year based on episodes that we have in our lives. If our primary care physicians keep us healthy for a year, with really high quality, guess what? They will get a financial reward.

Our primary care physicians need help. They need support. We’re losing them. This will allow them to get a reward for doing a great job.

BASH: Governor Kasich, thank you.

KASICH: Thank you. [applause]

BASH: Dr. Carson, you have dealt with the sickest of patients. You support covering preexisting conditions. How would you change Obamacare, but maintain that coverage?

CARSON: Well, first of all, healthcare is not a right. But I do believe it is a responsibility for a responsible society, and we are that. We spend almost twice as much per capita on healthcare as many other nations who have actually much better access than we do.

I propose a system in which we use health empowerment accounts, which are like a health savings account with no bureaucrats. And we give it to everybody from birth until death. They can pass it on when they die. We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for traditional healthcare with. We give people the ability to shift money within their health empowerment account within their family. So dad’s $500 short, mom can give it to him or a cousin or uncle.

And it makes every family their own insurance carrier with no middle man. It gives you enormous flexibility. And also, you know, if Uncle Joe is smoking like a chimney, everybody’s going to hide his cigarettes because they’re all interested in what’s going on there.

Also, the — your catastrophic healthcare is going to cost a lot less money now because the only thing coming out of that is catastrophic healthcare. So, it’s like a homeowners policy with a large deductible, versus a homeowners policy where you want every scratch covered. One costs $1,500 a year; one costs $10,000 a year. You can buy the $1,500 one. That will take care of 75 percent of the people. The people who are indigent, how do we take care of them now? Medicaid. What’s the Medicaid budget? Almost $500 billion; almost 80 million people participate, which is way too many, and that will get a lot better when we fix the economy, which I hope we get a chance to talk about.

But do the math. Over $5,000 for each man, woman and child, and all — they will have a lot more flexibility. What could you buy with that? A concierge practice.

BLITZER: Thank you.

CARSON: And you could still have thousands of dollars left over. And let me just finish, because I don’t get to talk that much. And, you know, let’s…[applause]…you can have the money that’s left over to buy your catastrophic insurance. But most importantly, we give them a menu, just like we do in Medicare Part C, and they have the choices that will allow them not only to have catastrophic health care, but drug care and everything else.

It will be such a good program that nobody will want Obamacare after that, and that’s probably the best way do it, although if anybody still did, I would still de-fund it.

BLITZER: Thank you. [applause]

Thank you, Dr. Carson. Let’s talk about the economy. Let’s talk about…

CRUZ: Wolf, Wolf, Wolf. Does everyone get to address Obamacare but me?

BLITZER: I want to move on, but there’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to address…

CRUZ: It’s kind of an issue I have a long history with.

BLITZER: I know you do. And — all right, go ahead. [laughter]

CRUZ: Thank you, Wolf.

KASICH: How do you — how do you get that extra time, Cruz? You’re very good at…

CRUZ: You know, this is another issue on which Donald and I have sharp disagreements. On Planned Parenthood, he thinks Planned Parenthood is wonderful. I would instruct the Department of Justice to investigate them and prosecute any and all criminal violations. [applause]

On Obamacare, both Donald and I say we want to end it, but for very different reasons. I want to end it because it goes too far, it’s killed millions of jobs, and it’s hurting people’s health care. Donald wants to end it because he says it doesn’t go nearly far enough. And what was amazing in that exchange that was missing is for decades Donald has been advocating socialized medicine.

What he’s said is government should pay for everyone’s health care, and in fact, a couple of debates ago, he said, if you don’t support socialized health care, you’re heartless. Now, liberal Democrats have been saying that for years. Now let me tell you if you’re a small business owner, Donald Trump’s socialized medicine, putting the government in charge of your health care would kill more jobs than Obamacare, and if you’re elderly, the results of socialized medicine in every country on earth where it’s been implemented has been rationing, has been the government saying, no, you don’t get that hip replacement, you don’t get that knee replacement, the government is in charge of your health care.

I’ll tell you this. As president…

BLITZER: Senator…

CRUZ: … I will repeal every word of Obamacare. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you, thank you. Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I do not want socialized medicine, just so you understand. He goes around saying oh, he wants it. I do not want socialized medicine. I do agree with him that it’s going to be a disaster, Obamacare, for the economy.

In 2017, it will be impossible for us to pay for it if you look at what’s going on. That’s why it has to be repealed, for a lot of reasons, Number one, it doesn’t work, number two, premium. You look at premiums going up, 25, 35, even 45 percent, and more. We have to get rid of Obamacare. It is going to destroy our economy completely. Our economy is not doing well. It is going to destroy our economy greatly. And on that, I agree.

CRUZ: Donald, true or false, you’ve said the government should pay for everyone’s health care.

TRUMP: That’s false.

CRUZ: You’ve never said that?

TRUMP: No, I said it worked in a couple of countries…

CRUZ: But you’ve never stood on this debate stage and says it works great in Canada and Scotland and we should do it here.

TRUMP: No, I did not. No I did not.

CRUZ: Did you say if you want people to die on the streets, if you don’t support socialized health care, you have no heart.

TRUMP: Correct. I will not let people die on the streets if I’m president.

CRUZ: Have you said you’re a liberal on health care?

TRUMP: Excuse me. Let me talk. If people…

CRUZ: Talk away. Explain your plan, please.

TRUMP: If people — my plan is very simple. I will not — we’re going to have private — we are going to have health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I’m president. You may let it and you may be fine with it…

CRUZ: So does the government pay for everyone’s health care?

TRUMP: … I’m not fine with it. We are going to take those people…

CRUZ: Yes or no. Just answer the question.

TRUMP: Excuse me. We are going to take those people and those people are going to be serviced by doctors and hospitals. We’re going to make great deals on it, but we’re not going to let them die in the streets.

CRUZ: Who pays for it?

RUBIO: Well, can I just clarify something?

BLITZER: Gentleman, please.

RUBIO: Wolf, no. I want to clarify something.

BLITZER: Gentlemen please. I want to move on.

RUBIO: This is a Republican debate, right? Because that attack about letting people die in the streets…

BLITZER: I want to talk about the economy.

[crosstalk]

BLITZER: Gentleman, gentleman. All of you have agreed — Senator Cruz…

TRUMP: You know what? Call it what you want.

CRUZ: It’s a yes or no.

TRUMP: Call it what you want, people are not going to be dying on the sidewalk.

BLITZER: All of you have agreed — all of you have agreed to the rules. I want to move on. We’re talking about the economy right now. Mr. Trump, you want to cut taxes more than President Ronald Reagan did, more than President George W. Bush did. The Independent Tax Foundation says the cost to the country of your proposal would be about $10 trillion, and that takes into account the economic growth that would emerge from your proposed tax cuts.

How would you cut $10 trillion over 10 years, but make sure the country isn’t saddled with even more debt?

TRUMP: Because the country will become a dynamic economy. We’ll be dynamic again. If you look at what’s going on, we have the highest taxes anywhere in the world. We pay more business tax, we pay more personal tax. We have the highest taxes in the world.

It’s shutting off our economy. It’s shutting off our country. We have trillions of dollars outside that we can’t get in. Yes, we will do my tax plan, and it will be great. We will have a dynamic economy again.

BLITZER: What specific cuts will you make to pay for that tax cut?

TRUMP: We’re going to make many cuts in business. We’re getting rid of — we’re going to get rid of so many different things. Department of Education — Common Core is out. We’re going local. Have to go local. [applause]

Environmental protection — we waste all of this money. We’re going to bring that back to the states. And we’re going to have other [inaudible] many things. [applause]

We are going to cut many of the agencies, we will balance our budget, and we will be dynamic again.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump. If you eliminate completely the Department of Education, as you have proposed, that’s about $68 billion. If you eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, that’s about $8 billion. That’s about $76 billion for those two agencies.

The current deficit this year is $544 billion. Where are you going to come up with the money?

TRUMP: Waste, fraud and abuse all over the place. Waste, fraud and abuse. [applause]

You look at what’s happening with Social Security, you look — look at what’s happening with every agency — waste, fraud and abuse. We will cut so much, your head will spin.

BLITZER: Governor Kasich. [applause]

When you were in Congress, you were chairman of the Budget Committee. You helped craft the last balanced budget the United States had. Can Mr. Trump’s plan work?

KASICH: Well, I think it takes three things, Wolf. And I’ve done it. I mean, I — we got the budget balanced. We cut the capital gains tax. You see, in order to get this economy moving again, you have to grow the economy, and you have to restrain the spending.

And when I was chairman, we cut that capital gains tax and we instituted a significant program to get to balance. We had a balanced budget four years in a row, had to take on every interest group in Washington — every single one of them — and we paid down a half a trillion of the national debt.

And why do you do it? Because you want job growth. If you don’t have regulatory reform, common-sense regulations, reasonable tax cuts, which I have, and a fiscal plan, you won’t get there. You will never be able to do it.

Now, I — I inherited an an $8 billion hole in Ohio, I have common-sense regulations, I have tax cuts — the biggest of any governor in the country — and we have a fiscal plan.

And it’s not all — it’s not always cutting. It’s innovating — it’s producing a better product at, frankly, a lower price. Now we have a $2 billion surplus. Our credit is strong, our pensions are strong.

And, look — I’ve got a plan to take to Washington, and I will have it there in the first hundred days, and it will include shifting welfare, education, transportation, Medicaid and job training back to us, so we can begin, in the states, to be the laboratories of innovation.

I’ve done it — I did it in Washington — four years of balanced budgets. No one could even believe it happened. [bell ringing] I’ve done it in Ohio, we’re growing, the jobs are up and people are having opportunity. And I will go back to Washington and do it again for the American people. I promise you that. [applause]

Within the first hundred days, we will have the plan to get this done.

BLITZER: Thank you. Thank you, governor. [applause]

Speaking of taxes…

TRUMP: I just want to say — and I’m a big fan of the governor, but they also struck oil, OK, so that helped Iowa a lot.

KASICH: OK, let me — let me — let me just talk about that, because I know that — that Donald believes the energy industry is important. So do I. But of the over 400,000 jobs that we’ve created in the state, we think maybe 15,000 are connected to this industry, because it’s early-stage.

See, what we’ve done in Ohio, and what a president needs to do, is to have a cabinet and a whole operation that’s jobs-friendly. We have diversified our economy.

We — we do have energy, we have medical devices, we have financial services, we have I.T., we just got Amazon — their Cloud computing in the Midwest. You know why it’s happening? [bell ringing]

Because we’re balanced budgets, we’re strong, we’re job-friendly, we don’t raise their taxes, and if we have a president that does that in America, we will get the economic growth, and that is what this country needs. Jobs, jobs and jobs, period. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, yesterday, the last Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, called on you to release your back tax returns, and said, and I’m quoting him now, “there is good reason to believe there is a bombshell in them.”

Romney said either you’re not as wealthy as you say you are, said maybe you haven’t paid the kind of taxes we would expect you to pay, or you haven’t been giving the money to veterans or disabled people. Are any of those accusations that he has leveled true?

TRUMP: All right. First of all, let me just explain. I was the first one to file a financial disclosure form — almost 100 pages. You don’t learn anything about somebody’s wealth with a tax return. You learn it from statements.

I filed — which shows that I’m worth over $10 billion. I built a great company with very little debt. People were shocked, the people in the back, the reporters, they were shocked when they went down. And I filed it on time. I didn’t ask for five 45-day extensions, which I would have been entitled to.

So as far as that’s concerned, I filed it. And that’s where you find out what kind of a company. You don’t learn anything from a tax return.

I will say this. Mitt Romney looked like a fool when he delayed and delayed and delayed. And Harry Reid baited him so beautifully. And Mitt Romney didn’t file his return until a September 21st of 2012, about a month-and-a-half before the election. And it cost him big league.

As far as my return, I want to file it, except for many years, I’ve been audited every year. Twelve years, or something like that. Every year they audit me, audit me, audit me.

Nobody gets audited — I have friends that are very wealthy people. They never get audited. I get audited every year. I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously. And I think people would understand that.

BLITZER: Hugh, go ahead.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump. You told me…

TRUMP: Are you going to ask anybody else that question?

CARSON: Yes, amen, amen. [laughter]

TRUMP: Every single question comes to me?

HEWITT: Mr. Trump…[crosstalk]

TRUMP: I know I’m here for the ratings, but it’s a little bit ridiculous. [laughter]

HEWITT: Mr. Trump, a year ago you told me on my radio show, the audio and the transcript are out there on YouTube, that you would release your tax returns.

TRUMP: True.

HEWITT: Are you going back on your commitment?

TRUMP: No, I’m not. First of all, very few people listen to your radio show. That’s the good news. [laughter]

Let me just tell you, let me just — which happens to be true. Check out the ratings.

Look, let me just tell you something. Let me just tell you something. I want to release my tax returns but I can’t release it while I’m under an audit. We’re under a routine audit. I’ve had it for years, I get audited.

And obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return. As soon as the audit is done, I love it.

HEWITT: So, Senator Rubio, Mitt Romney also called upon to you release your tax returns. Your campaign said last spring that you would release your returns that you had not previously released. And you said, coming out any day momentarily. When are we going to see your returns?

RUBIO: Yes, tomorrow or Saturday, in fact, is our plan to release them. And there’s nothing really that interesting in them. So I have no problem releasing them. And luckily I’m not being audited this year, or last year, for that matter.

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: But this is my time. I want to go back to this question you asked about the debt. This is an important issue. It’s a huge issue, OK? In less than five years, 83 percent of our entire budget will be made up of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the interest on the debt.

That means only 17 percent of our budget will be for things like the military or the Department of Education or environmental protection issues.

You cannot balance our budget unless you deal with that 83 percent, which is why I’ve been repeatedly talking about since my time running for the Senate in Florida, where there are a lot of people like my mother that depend on Social Security and Medicare, on the need to save those programs, by reforming the way they work for future generations.

And I think if we — the longer we take to do this, the closer we are going to get to a debt crisis. And, Wolf, you did not get an answer to your question. This debt issue is — the next president of the United States will not be able to serve four to eight years without dealing with the national debt.

It is not a question of if, it is a question of when we have a debt crisis. And we should not leave the stage here tonight without hearing a serious answer from every single one of us about how we are going to deal bring the national debt under control once and for all.

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator Rubio. But I am…[applause]…I’m being fair to all of the candidates.

Senator Cruz, Tuesday is five days away. Why haven’t voters seen your 2012, 2013, and 2014 returns?

CRUZ: So, I’ve released five years of tax returns already. We will have two more years available tomorrow. And I would note that this question really goes — you know, Donald says he’s being audited.

Well, I would think that would underscore the need to release those returns. If he has said something that was false and that an audit is going to find was fraudulent, the voters need to know.

And listen, people across this country, we recognize our country is in crisis. The most important question is how do we win the general election in November, 2016. And roughly 65 percent of Republicans think Donald is not the right candidate to go against Hillary Clinton.

Now, part of the reason in the last 10 polls…

TRUMP: Eighty-five percent say you, big difference.

CRUZ: … RealClearPolitics he has lost to Hillary on eight of them. In the last 10 polls on RealClearPolitics, I either tied or beat Hillary. And this is an example.

You know, the mainstream media is laying off Donald now. They’re going to pick apart his taxes. They’re going to pick apart his business deals.

And let’s take, for example, one of Hillary’s great vulnerabilities, the corruption at the Clinton Foundation, the fact that she had CEOs and foreign companies giving her money while she was secretary of state.

The next Republican nominee needs to be able to make that case against Hillary. And if Donald tried to did it, Hillary would turn to Donald and say, “but gosh, Donald, you gave $100,000 to the Clinton foundation. I even went to your wedding.”

He can’t prosecute the case against Hillary, and we can’t risk another four years of these failed Obama policies by nominating someone who loses to Hillary Clinton in November. [applause]

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: So at the beginning, I said openly to everybody that I contribute to many, many politicians, both Republican and Democrat. And I have, over the years. I’m a businessman. I have, over the years.

And I sort of have to laugh when Ted makes a big deal out of the fact that he’s doing well in the polls. Well, I’m beating him in virtually every poll. I’m tied in Texas, by the way, which I shouldn’t be. But I think I’ll do very well. [applause]

But a poll just came out — a Bloomberg poll — where I am beating him so badly that it’s, like, embarrassing even for me to say I’m beating him that badly. [applause]

And — and here’s the thing — it was sort of funny — 65 percent of the people don’t like you — I just got 36 percent of the vote, right? I just got 46 percent on another one. I got 38 percent…[bell ringing]…on another one. That means — and he got 20 and 22, and he lost in South Carolina so badly — that was going to be his stronghold. He said a year ago, “I can’t lose South Carolina.” I beat him in a landslide.

Last week in Nevada, I beat him in a landslide, and he sank about the polls. One other thing — Hillary Clinton — take a look at USA Today, take a look at the Q poll. I beat her, and I beat her badly. And I — and I haven’t even started at her. I only had one little interchange…[applause]…I only had one little interchange, and that was…[bell ringing]…four weeks ago, when she said I was sexist. And believe me, they had a rough weekend that weekend, between Bill and Hillary. They had a rough weekend. [applause]

BLITZER: Gentlemen. Gentlemen. Gentlemen.

CRUZ: Hold on. He — he attacked me, Wolf. I get a response.

BLITZER: I was about to say — Senator Cruz, respond.

CRUZ: Thank you. Thank — thank — thank you very much.

You know, it’s interesting — Donald went — went on — on an extended tirade about the polls, but he didn’t respond to any of the substance. He has yet to say — he can release past year’s tax returns. He can do it tomorrow.

He doesn’t want to do it, because presumably there’s something in there…

TRUMP: Nothing.

CRUZ: … that is bad. If there’s nothing, release them tomorrow.

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: They’re already prepared. The only reason he’s not releasing them…

TRUMP: You — you don’t…

CRUZ: … is because he’s afraid that he will get hit.

TRUMP: I’m not afraid [inaudible].

CRUZ: You know, Marco made reference earlier to the litigation against Trump University. It’s a fraud case. His lawyers have scheduled the trial for July.

I want you to think about, if this man is the nominee, having the Republican nominee…[bell ringing]…on the stand in court, being cross-examined about whether he committed fraud. You don’t think the mainstream media will go crazy on that?

And on substance, how do we nominate a candidate who has said Hillary Clinton was the best secretary of state of modern times, who agreed with her on foreign policy, who agrees with Bernie Sanders on health care, who agreed with Barack Obama on the Wall Street bailout?

BLITZER: All right…

CRUZ: If — we’ve got to win this election, and we can’t do it with a candidate who agrees with Hillary Clinton and can’t take it to her and beat her on the debate stage and at the polls.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump. Mr, — hold on. Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … first of all, he’s talking about the polls. I’m beating him awfully badly in the polls.

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: But you’re not beating Hillary. You’re not beating Hillary.

TRUMP: Well, then, if I can’t — if — hey, if I can’t beat her, you’re really going to get killed, aren’t you? [applause]

So — so let me ask you this, because you’re really getting beaten badly. I know you’re embarrassed — I know you’re embarrassed, but keep fighting — keep swinging, man. Swing for the fences.

Let me just tell you — let me just tell you, the Trump University case is a civil case. Not a — it’s a civil case. It’s a case where people want to try and get — it’s a case that is nonsense.

It’s something I could have settled many times. I could settle it right now for very little money, but I don’t want to do it out of principle. The people that took the course all signed — most — many — many signed report cards saying it was fantastic, it was wonderful, it was beautiful.

As — and believe me, I’ll win that case. That’s an easy case. Civil case. Number two, as far as the taxes are concerned, I’m being audited. It’s a very routine audit, and it’s very unfair, because I’ve been audited for, I think, over 12 years.

Every year, because of the size of my company, which is very, very large, I’m being audited — which is a very large company.

[bell ringing]

BLITZER: Thank you.

TRUMP: I’m being audited 12 years in a row, at least.

Now, until that audit’s done, and I don’t think anybody would blame me, I’m not giving it…[crosstalk]

CRUZ: … the years you’re not being audited? Will you release those years?

BLITZER: Gentlemen, gentlemen, thank you.

TRUMP: [inaudible] audited for those years.

CRUZ: Which years? Which years are you being audited?

BLITZER: Gentlemen…[crosstalk]…we actually have rules — we’re trying to obey these rules that all of you agreed. We’re going to take a quick break. We have a lot more — many more critically important issues to discuss.

Our coverage of this tenth Republican presidential debate from the University of Houston continues in a moment. [applause]

[commercial break]

BLITZER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate here at the University of Houston.

Gentlemen, I want to turn our attention right now to key issues involving foreign policy and national security. And Mr. Trump, I’ll begin with you.

TRUMP: Shocking. [laughter]

BLITZER: You said this about the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians — I’m quoting you now: “Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I don’t want to say whose fault it is, I don’t think it helps.”

TRUMP: Right.

BLITZER: Here’s the question. How do you remain neutral when the U.S. considers Israel to be America’s closest ally in the Middle East?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I don’t think they do under President Obama because I think he’s treated Israel horribly, all right? I think he’s treated Israel horribly. [applause]

I was the grand marshall down 5th Avenue a number of years ago for the Israeli Day Parade, I have very close ties to Israel. I’ve received the Tree of Life Award and many of the greatest awards given by Israel.

As president, however, there’s nothing that I would rather do to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors generally. And I think it serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy.

Now, I may not be successful in doing it. It’s probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind. OK? But it doesn’t help if I start saying, “I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage.” But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors, because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors.

And I can’t do that as well — as a negotiator, I cannot do that as well if I’m taking big, big sides. With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.

BLITZER: Senator Cruz? [applause]

CRUZ: Well, this is another area on which Donald agrees with Hillary Clinton and on which I disagree with them both strongly. Both Donald and Hillary Clinton want to be neutral, to use Donald’s word, between Israel and the Palestinians.

Let me be clear. If I’m president, America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel. [applause]

And the notion of neutrality is based upon the left buying into this moral relativism that is often pitched in the media. Listen, it is not equivalent. When you have terrorist strapping dynamite around their chest, exploding and murdering innocent women and children, they are not equivalent to the IDF officers protecting Israel. And I will not pretend that they are.

Just today, Iran announced they’re going to pay $7,000 to each suicide bomber. And I would note, missing from Donald’s answer was anything he has done in his nearly 70 years of living defending Israel. I have over and over again led the fight to defend Israel, to fight for Israel. And this — if you want to know who will stand with Israel, we ought to start with who has stood with Israel when the heat was on. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, I can only say — look, I can only say I’ve been a big contributor to Israel over the years. I’ve received many, many awards from Israel, as I’ve said before. I have a great relationship with Israel. And I’m going to keep it that way. And if I could bring peace, that would be a fantastic thing. It would be one of my greatest achievements as president.

BLITZER: Governor Kasich, I want you to weigh in.

KASICH: Well, I mean, well, I was in Congress for 18 years on the Defense Committee. And then, you know, after 9/11, the secretary of defense called me in to help out with some things. And I’ve been a supporter of Israel — a strong supporter of Israel longer than anybody on this stage. I didn’t give as much money as Donald gave, but I’ve been standing with the Israelis for a very long time.

And frankly, I think the problem we have in foreign policy right now, Wolf, is that we are not certain with who we stand with. Our allies are not sure what to make of us, and our enemies are moving. And one — are moving because they’re not sure what we will do.

It’s a very interesting development here within the 24 hours. We said to the South Koreans that we would give them the high altitude defense system. It really rattled the Chinese, and for the first time since we took positive action, the Chinese are beginning to take action against North Korea.

When we stand firm and we let the world know who we’re with, who we stand for, and we bring our allies together, that is the road forward.

[crosstalk] [applause]

BLITZER: We’re going to get to North Korea in a moment. But Senator Rubio, what’s wrong with the U.S. being an honest broker in a negotiation, as Mr. Trump is proposing?

RUBIO: Because — and I don’t know if Donald realizes this. I’m sure it’s not his intent perhaps. But the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israels. Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their four- year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rockets and terrorist attacks again Israel on an ongoing basis. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible.

And so the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not — I’m not going to sit here and say, “Oh, I’m not on either side.” I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I’m a negotiator. I’ve done very well over the years through negotiation. It’s very important that we do that. In all fairness, Marco is not a negotiator. I watched him melt down and I’ll tell you, it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. He’s not going down — excuse me…

RUBIO: He thinks a Palestinian is a real estate deal.

TRUMP: … wait a minute, and these people may even be tougher than Chris Christie. OK?

RUBIO: The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald.

TRUMP: OK, no, no, no — a deal is a deal. Let me tell you that. I learned a long time ago.

RUBIO: A deal is not a deal when you’re dealing with terrorists. Have you ever negotiated with terrorists?

TRUMP: You are not a negotiator. You are not a negotiator. [applause]

And, with your thinking, you will never bring peace. You will never bring peace…

RUBIO: … Donald, might be able to [inaudible] Palestinians and Arabs, but it’s not a real estate deal…

TRUMP: … Excuse me, I want to be able to bring peace…

BLITZER: … Senator.

TRUMP: He will never be able to do it. I think I may be able to do it, although I will say this. Probably the toughest deal of any kind is that particular deal.

BLITZER: Let’s move on to talk about North Korea. You raised it, Governor Kasich. The threat posed by North Korea to the United States and its sallies, the commander of American forces in South Korea said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would use a weapon of mass destruction if he thought his regime was being threatened. You have said the United States should start examining a strategy of regime change in North Korea.

Let’s be clear. Are you talking about getting rid of Kim Jong Un?

KASICH: When you talk about regime change, Wolf, it means regime change. That’s what it means. Even though there’s so much chaos in North Korea right now, there’s a lot of reports of uncertainty, and instability in that government.

But, look, here’s what I think we ought to do — like, immediately. And, we’ve been kicking the can down the road on this for, I don’t know, 15 years. We should be intercepting the ships that are leaving North Korea so they’re not selling this material, or this technology, or giving it to someone else.

Secondly, the same goes with the aircraft.

Thirdly, we need to slap even tougher sanctions on North Korea because we really don’t have the toughest sanctions on North Korea. We ought to talk about arming South Korea with ballistic missile technology. And, of course, also Japan with ballistic missile technology. Because we’re now starting to take a firm position. We have the attention of the Chinese. The Chinese are the best way to calm that regime down and get them in a position of where they back off.

But, when I say regime change, I don’t have to talk exactly what that means. Look, I’ve been involved in national security for a long time. You don’t have to spell everything out, but what I’m telling you is you look for any means you can to be able to solve that problem in North Korea, and in the meantime put the pressure on the Chinese. And, what we’re doing is beginning to work against them.

They are the key to being able to settle this situation.

BLITZER: I just want to be precise, Governor Kasich, this is critically important. There are a million North Korean troops North of the DMZ…

KASICH: … I’m very well aware of that.

BLITZER: A million South Korean troops, 28,000 U.S. troops along the DMZ, right in between. Would you risk war for a regime change?

KASICH: Wolf, again, it would depend exactly what, you know, what was happening. What the situation was. But, if there was an opportunity to remove the leader of North Korea and create stability? Because, I’ll tell you, you keep kicking the can down the road we’re going to face this sooner or later.

But, in the meantime, I’m also aware of the fact that there’s 10 million people living in Seoul. So, you don’t just run around making charges. I have put it on the table that I would leave to see regime change in North Korea.

Now, perhaps the Chinese can actually accomplish that with this man who is now currently the leader, but the fact is we have to bring everything to bear. We have to be firm, and we’ve got to unite those people in that part of the world to stand firmly against North Korea, and make sure we have the ballistic…[bell ringing]…ballistic missile technology to defend ourselves.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: One thing I’d like to add to what the Governor’s saying, I think that we are now in a position — are $19 trillion dollars because of the horrible omnibus budget that was approved six weeks ago, it’s going to be $21 trillion dollars. We can no longer defend all of these countries, Japan, Germany, South Korea.

You order televisions, you order almost anything, you’re getting it from these countries. Whether it’s a Mercedes-Benz, or whether it’s an air conditioning unit. They’re coming out of these countries. They are making a fortune. Saudi Arabia, we are defending Saudi Arabia. Before the oil went down, now they’re making less, but they’re making plenty. They were making $1 billion dollars a day. [bell ringing]

We defend all of these countries for peanuts. You talk about budgets. We have to start getting reimbursed for taking care of the military services for all of these countries. [applause]

KASICH: Hey, Wolf, Wolf…

BLITZER: Dr. Carson.

KASICH: Hey, Wolf, let me just say this because he mentioned this. Look, we’re all in agreement that the Japanese need to do more. We’re all in agreement that the Europeans need to do more, but I hate to just tell everybody we are the leader of the world and we should put the pressure on them to do their job. There is no question about it.

But, at the same time, we also have to rebuild the military. Look, I have a balanced budget plan that cuts taxes, reforms regulations, but also builds the military, puts a $100 billion dollars more in defense. We need to rebuild our defenses,

But, I must also tell you, a long time reformer of the Pentagon, we must reform that building. [bell ringing]

We can’t have a weapon system take 22 and a half years. We have 800,000 bureaucrats working for DOD, performing bureaucratic functions when we ought to be putting…

BLITZER: … Thank you…

KASICH: … these resources into strengthening the military. So, we can do it all…

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, how would you deal with North Korea?

CARSON: OK. Well first of all, people say that I whine a lot because I don’t get time. I’m going to whine because I didn’t get asked about taxes, I didn’t get asked about Israel. Hugh, you said you’re going to be fair to everybody, you didn’t ask me about taxes. I had something to say about that.

Now…

BLITZER: Go ahead. This is your moment. [applause]

CARSON: OK. We have a system of taxation in this country that is horribly wrong. You know, I never had an audit until I spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, and then all of a sudden, they came in, they said we just want to look at your real estate dealings. And then they didn’t find anything, so they said let’s look at the whole year. And they didn’t find anything, so they said let’s look at the next year and the next year. They didn’t find anything and they won’t find anything because I’m a very honest person.

But he fact of the matter is the IRS is not honest and we need to get rid of them. [applause]

And as far as Israel is concerned, you know, when I was there several months ago, I talked to a lot of people. I couldn’t find a single one who didn’t think that we had turned our backs on Israel. You know, they are a strategic partner for us but also recognize that we have a Judeo Christian foundation, and the last thing we need to do is to reject Israel. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be fair to other people. We can always be fair to other people, but, you know, it’s like when you have a child, you know, you want to be fair to all the children around but you have a special attention for your own child.

And now, as far as North Korea is concerned, you know, Kim Jung Un is an unstable person, but he does understand strength. And I think we have to present strength to him. We should be encouraging the alliance with Japan and South Korea. We should be encouraging the placement of the THAAD, the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, that seems to disturb not only the North Koreans but the Chinese as well.

And we also need to have a much more robust naval presence in that area, and I think we need to be developing strategic defense initiative because this man is going to have long-range missiles, he is going to have nuclear capabilities. We need to be able to defend ourselves. And lastly, we should make sure that he knows that if he ever shoots a missile at us, it will be the last thing he ever does. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you. Thank you. We’re going to continue with national security. Go ahead, Hugh.

HEWITT: Thank you, Wolf. Mr. Trump, we are less than 24 hours away from a ceasefire in Syria that has been brokered between the U.S. and Russia. Do you support this ceasefire?

TRUMP: I really don’t because it not working and the countries aren’t agreeing to it and the rebels aren’t agreeing and Syria is not agreeing. So It’s a meaningless ceasefire.

I love the idea of a ceasefire. I love the idea of — with a total cessation. But it’s not working, as you know very well. It’s not working. If — we can do what we want with Russia but nobody else is adhering to it.

So I certainly support it, I would certainly love it, but all parties have to be part of it.

HEWITT: Senator Cruz, your opinion on the ceasefire.

CRUZ: Well look. We’re certainly hopeful that the violence will cease, but there’s reason to be highly skeptical. Russia has enhanced its position because of Obama’s weakness in the Middle East, weakness in Syria. And you know, as we’re headed to November, we need no nominate a Republican candidate that can lay out a clear difference with both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on foreign policy.

One of the real challenges with both Donald and Senator Rubio is that they have agreed over and over again with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. So for example, in Libya, both of them agreed with the Obama/Clinton policy of toppling the government in Libya. That was a disaster. It gave the country over to radical Islamic terrorism and it endangered America.

Another example is John Kerry. John Kerry — Senator Rubio voted to confirm John Kerry as secretary of State. I voted against him. And Donald Trump supported John Kerry against George W. Bush in 2004, gave him a check. And John Kerry has been the most anti-Israel secretary of State this country has ever seen. His diplomacy has been a disaster. And if we nominate someone who agreed with John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on foreign policy, we’re not in a strong position to win the general election. [applause]

HEWITT: A response, Mr. Trump, then Mr. Rubio.

TRUMP: Again, I think I gave them both checks to be exactly honest. I think they both liked me very much. But the fact is that …

CRUZ: But you called for Bush to be impeached.

TRUMP: Well, I think Bush did a hell of a bad as far as that’s concerned. You know it and so do I.

CRUZ: But you gave him a check and called for him to be impeached.

TRUMP: Be honest. Be honest. No, this was before. The check came early.

But let me just tell you, Syria, he’s saying that I was in favor of Syria. He said I was in favor of Libya? I never discussed that subject. I was in favor of Libya? We would be so much better off if Gadhafi were in charge right now.

If these politicians went to the beach and didn’t do a thing, and we had Saddam Hussein and if we had Gadhafi in charge, instead of having terrorism all over the place, we’d be — at least they killed terrorists, all right?

And I’m not saying they were good because they were bad, they were really bad, but we don’t know what we’re getting. You look at Libya right now, ISIS, as we speak, is taking over their oil. As we speak, it’s a total mess.

We would have been better off if the politicians took a day off instead of going into war. [applause]

HEWITT: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Yes, a couple of points. Number one, on the Libya situation, we didn’t topple Gadhafi, the Libyan people toppled Gadhafi. The only choice before America that this president had to make is, does it happen quickly or does it take a long time?

And I argued if it takes a long time, you’re going to have rebel forces emerge like these radical Islamists to take advantage of the vacuum. And that’s what happened. That’s where the term “lead from behind” came. And that’s the foreign policy that apparently Senator Cruz appears to agree with.

On John Kerry, yes, you know why, because every day John Kerry wasn’t appointed was another day Hillary Clinton was still in charge of the State Department. And she was absolutely horrible.

I couldn’t imagine that they were going to find somebody even worse than her, but this president never ceases to amaze. [laughter amd applause]

And the last point I would make on South Korea, now this is important, because we’re asking to be commander-in-chief. Donald is asking to be commander-in-chief. And he’s saying these guys need to do more.

South Korea contributes $800 million a year to that effort. And Japan contributes as well. And here’s why our commitment to that regional security is so critical, Donald, because if we walk away from them, both Japan and South Korea will become nuclear weapons powers.

They can do that very quickly. And that’s what they will do if the American defense agreements wither away, which is why we have to rebuild the military, but why we can’t walk away from our Asia-Pacific defense status.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I never said walk away. I wouldn’t want to walk away. I want them to pay us much more money. We cannot afford to subsidize…

RUBIO: How much?

TRUMP: A lot. I’ll negotiate a lot more money than you’ll ever get.

As far as John Kerry is concerned, there has been no tougher critic of this man, I think he negotiated one of the worst deals in the history of our country, the Iran deal, where they get their $150 billion and all of the other things that take place.

It is a disaster for this country, and speaking of Israel, it’s a disaster for Israel. I’m no fan of John Kerry.

[crosstalk]

BLITZER: Hold on, hold on, Governor.

Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: You know, it’s interesting, Donald just said that he never came out in favor of toppling Gadhafi in Libya. Well, he stated that in an interview that will be on our Web site, tedcruz.org.

You can see and hear the exact words from Donald’s mouth. And I assume when he sees that interview, maybe he forgot about it, but I assume Donald will apologize where he sees that he said exactly that.

With regard to John Kerry, I will say John Kerry’s foreign policy has been a disaster for decades. That’s why I voted against him when he came up. And the fact that Donald Trump would write him a check and support him against George W. Bush shows exceptionally poor foreign policy judgment.

And I’ll give one more example on Israel. When the Obama administration canceled civilian air flights into the national of Israel, when Hamas was raining rockets down on them, I publicly asked, is this an economic boycott against Israel?

The next day Michael Bloomberg, another New York billionaire, got on a plane, a commercial flight, and flew to Israel from London. Together the heat and light that was put on the State Department was so great that within 36 hours they lifted the ban on air flights into Israel.

During that entire battle, and indeed during every battle on Israel the natural question is, where was Donald? If this is something he cares about, why has he supported anti-Israel politicians from Jimmy Carter to Hillary Clinton to John Kerry for four decades?

If you care about Israel, you don’t write checks to politicians who are undermining Israel. Instead you stand and support the national security of America and the alliance with Israel.

[crosstalk]

KASICH: There’s a critical point that needs to be made here. [applause]

BLITZER: Governor, Governor, Governor, he attacked Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has a right to respond.

TRUMP: Well, look, my response is very simple. There is nobody on this stage that has done more for Israel than I have. Nobody. You might say, you might talk, you’re politicians, all talk, no action. [applause]

I’ve been watching it all my life. You are all talk and no action.

CRUZ: Then name one specific thing you’ve done.

TRUMP: What I’ve seen up here — I mean, first of all, this guy is a choke artist, and this guy is a liar. You have a combination…

RUBIO: This guy always goes for…

TRUMP: You have a combination of factors. He can’t do it…

RUBIO: This is so typical.

TRUMP: … for the obvious reason, and he can’t do it because he doesn’t know how to tell the truth. Other than that, I rest my case.

[crosstalk]

BLITZER: One at a time, gentlemen.

Governor Kasich, you have the floor. Governor…[crosstalk]

BLITZER: You will have a response. But I promised Governor Kasich he could respond.

CARSON: Can somebody attack me, please? [laughter and applause]

KASICH: There’s something — I want to — I want to point out something here today that is — it’s so critically important — about how the Obama administration has really done such a ridiculous, feckless job here in foreign policy.

First of all, we should have been supporting the rebels long ago. They could have taken Assad out, and because we did nothing, the Russians are in, and they’re sitting in the catbird seat.

We should have been helping them. I’m thankful that the aid trucks are finally getting into Syria. But the fact is, had we had acted, we would have solved that problem.

Now, let’s talk about Libya. Libya didn’t go down because there was some people revolution. Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and all these other people convinced the president to undermine Gadhafi. They undermined him, and now they have created a cesspool in Libya.

And let me just say to you — we have ISIS beginning get — get a foothold in Libya. We’re gonna have to deal with it. There are not many major cities in Libya. They’re on the coast, which — mostly, it’s desert, but it’s a problem.

Then we have ISIS in — in Syria, and we have ISIS in Iraq. Because this administration has not had a strong and firm foreign policy, we are going to inherit — one of us here is going to inherit a total mess…

BLITZER: All right…

KASICH: … and we’re going to have to work our way out of it, including…

BLITZER: Let’s continue.

KASICH: … the need to arm the Ukrainians. They have been ignored, and we need to help them as well…

BLITZER: Let us continue.

KASICH: … and assert ourselves as America.

BLITZER: Let’s continue the questioning on ISIS. Maria.

CRUZ: Hold on, Wolf. You said I got a response.

BLITZER: You’ll have a chance. Maria will pick up…[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Hold on. He called me a liar. You’re saying I can’t respond to being called a liar? [crosstalk]

BLITZER: Go ahead and respond.

CRUZ: You know, what we’re seeing with Donald is actually the pattern of Washington — the pattern of Washington deal makers, which is they make promises, they break their words, and then when anyone calls them on it, they call you a liar.

And so that’s Donald’s pattern over and over again. He said, for example, seven months ago — this is Donald speaking, quote — “I, Donald Trump, was a member of the establishment.”

There’s a reason Harry Reid thinks he’s the best Republican up here. There’s a reason Jimmy Carter said he would support Donald Trump over me, because he said Donald Trump is malleable, he has no fixed set of beliefs…[bell ringing]…whereas Ted Cruz is not malleable. And every time anyone points at Donald’s actual record…

BLITZER: Thank you.

CRUZ: … what he said on national television, Donald yells “liar.” Let me tell you something — falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie…

BLITZER: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

CRUZ: … and it’s something Donald does daily.

BLITZER: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I watched — I watched…[applause]…the lobbyists. I watched what this man did to Dr. Ben Carson, who I respect, in Iowa, where he said that Ben Carson is out of the race — he has left Iowa and he’s out of the race. And I thought it was disgraceful.

And got a lot of votes because of that — a lot of votes. Took them away from Ben Carson. I watched that. Probably took them away from me, too. But I watched it.

I also watched where he did a forum that looked like it came right out of a government agency, and it said on top, “Voter Violation,” and then it graded you…[bell ringing]…and it scared the hell out of people, and it said the only way you clear up the violation, essentially, is to go and vote for Ted Cruz. I watched that fraudulent document, and I said it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in politics. [bell ringing]

To me, that was even worse than what he did to Ben.

BLITZER: Senator Cruz…[crosstalk]

TRUMP: I know politicians — I know politicians, believe it or not, better than you do. And it’s not good.

CRUZ: I believe it. No, no. I believe you know politicians much better than I do, because for 40 years, you’ve been funding liberal Democratic politicians. And by the way…

TRUMP: I funded you. I funded him. Can you believe it? [applause]

CRUZ: … the reason is — you’re welcome to have the check back.

TRUMP: I funded this guy. I gave him a check.

CRUZ: Yeah, you gave me $5,000.

TRUMP: I gave him a check. He never funded me.

CRUZ: And — and by the way, let’s be clear. [applause]

Donald claims — Donald claims to care about…

TRUMP: You know why? I didn’t want to, but he sent me his book with his autograph…[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Donald. Donald. Donald. I understand rules are very hard for you. They’re very confusing.

TRUMP: Mr. Trump, you’re doing a great job. I have his book.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: Thank you — thank you for the book. Go ahead.

CRUZ: Donald, you can get back on your meds now.

TRUMP: This is a lot of fun up here tonight, I have to tell you. [applause]

Thank — thank you for the book. I really appreciate it.

CRUZ: Donald — Donald, relax.

TRUMP: Go ahead. I’m relaxed. You’re the basket case. [crosstalk] Go ahead.

CRUZ: Donald…

TRUMP: Go ahead. Don’t get nervous.

CRUZ: [inaudible]…

TRUMP: Go ahead. [crosstalk]

CRUZ: I promise you, Donald, there’s nothing about you…

TRUMP: I’ve seen you.

CRUZ: … that makes anyone nervous.

TRUMP: You’re losing so badly you — I want to…

CRUZ: You know, people are actually watching this at home.

TRUMP: … I — you don’t know what’s happening. [crosstalk]

BLITZER: Gentlemen, gentlemen.

CRUZ: Wolf, I’m going to ask my time not be deducted when he’s yelling at me.

BLITZER: You’ve gotta stop this. [crosstalk] The latest debate — gentlemen, please.

CRUZ: Hold on, I’m going to get my answer. He doesn’t get to yell the whole time.

BLITZER: I want to move — I want to move on. These are the rules. [crosstalk]

CRUZ: Excuse me, he called me a liar, then interrupted the whole time. Am I allowed to…[crosstalk] [applause]

Wolf, do I not get a response? Do I not get a response without being interrupted?

BLITZER: You’ll get — you’ll get plenty of response, so stand by.

CARSON: My name was mentioned.

BLITZER: I want to talk — I want to talk about ISIS right now, and the federal government — how much best to keep Americans safe from ISIS.

There’s a huge battle underway right now between the tech giant Apple and the federal government. The federal government wants Apple to unlock the phone used by that San Bernardino terrorist to prevent future attacks. Apple has refused, saying it would compromise the security of all of its customers. And just this afternoon, they went to court to block the judge’s order.

Dana Bash, pick up the questioning.

BASH: Senator Rubio, you say it’s complicated, and that, quote, “Apple isn’t necessarily wrong to refuse the court order.” Why shouldn’t investigators have everything at their disposal?

RUBIO: No, in fact what I have said is the only thing — the FBI made this very clear 48 hours ago — the only thing they are asking of Apple is that Apple allow them to use their own systems in the FBI to try to guess the password of the San Bernardino killer. Apple initially came out saying, “We’re being ordered to create a back door to an encryption device.” That is not accurate.

The only thing they’re being asked to do, and the FBI made this very clear about 48 hours ago, is allow us to disable the self- destruct mode that’s in the Apple phone so that we can try to guess using our own systems what the password of this killer was.

And I think they should comply with that. If that’s all they’re asking for, they are not asking for Apple to create a back door to encryption.

BASH: So just to be clear, you did say on CNN a couple of weeks ago this is a complicated issue; Apple is not necessarily wrong here.

RUBIO: Because at the time, Apple was portraying that the court order was to create a back door to an encryption device.

BASH: But just to be clear — just to be clear, if you are president, would you instruct your Justice Department to force Apple to comply or not?

RUBIO: To comply with an order that says that they have to allow the FBI the opportunity to try to guess the password?

BASH: Correct.

RUBIO: Absolutely. That Apple phone didn’t even belong to the killer. It belonged to the killer’s employer who have agreed to allow him to try to do this. That is all they’re asking them to do is to disable the self-destruct mode or the auto-erase mode on one phone in the entire world. But Apple doesn’t want to do it because they think it hurts their brand.

Well, let me tell you, their brand is not superior to the national security of the United States of America. [applause]

BASH: Senator Cruz, Apple CEO Tim Cook says this would be bad for America. Where do you stand: national security or personal privacy?

CRUZ: Well, as you know, at that same CNN forum, both Marco and I were asked this question. His answer, he was on both sides of the fence. He’s now agreeing with me. And so I’m glad.

What I said is yes, Apple should be forced to comply with this court order. Why? Because under the Fourth Amendment, a search and seizure is reasonable if it has judicial authorization and probable cause. In this instance, the order is not put a back door in everyone’s cell phone. If that was the order, that order would be problematic because it would compromise security and safety for everyone.

I would agree with Apple on that broad policy question. But on the question of unlocking this cell phone of a terrorist, we should enforce the court order and find out everyone that terrorist at San Bernardino talked to on the phone, texted with, e-mailed. And absolutely, Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order in a terrorism investigation. [applause]

BASH: Dr. Carson, Tim Cook, again, the CEO of Apple, says that this would be bad for America. What do you think?

CARSON: I think allowing terrorist to get away with things is bad for America. [applause]

You know, we have the — we have a Constitution. We have a Fourth Amendment. It guards us against illegal and unreasonable search and seizure. But we have mechanisms in place with the judicial system that will allow us to gain material that is necessary to benefit the nation as a whole or the community as a whole. And that’s why we have FISA courts and things of that nature.

So absolutely, I would — I would expect Apple to comply with the court order. If they don’t comply with that, you’re encouraging chaos in our system.

BASH: Mr. Trump…[applause]

KASICH: I want to weigh in on this please. I want to just tell you that the problem is not right now between the administration and Apple. You know what the problem is? Where’s the president been? You sit down in a back room and you sit down with the parties and you get this worked out. You don’t litigate this on the front page of the New York Times, where everybody in the world is reading about their dirty laundry out here.

The president of the United States should be convening a meeting, should have convened a meeting with Apple and our security forces. And then you know what you do when you’re the president? You lock the door and you say you’re not coming out until you reach an agreement that both gives the security people what they need and protects the rights of Americans. This is a failure of his leadership to get this done as an executive should be doing it.

And I’ll tell you, that’s why you want a governor. I do this all the time. And we reach agreements all the time. Because as an executive, you’ve got to solve problems instead of fighting on the front page of the newspaper.

ARRARÁS: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

KASICH: Thank you.

ARRARÁS: Mr. Trump, you have been very vocal about securing the Mexican border, but ISIS has called upon its supporters to conduct attacks on our neighbor to the North, Canada.

As a matter of fact, U.S. officials have warned that it is the Canadian border which is the most significant threat. You have said that you will not build a wall in Canada. When it comes to national security, and the threat of terrorism, why does Mexico need a wall, and Canada doesn’t? Isn’t that, like, closing the front door, and leaving the back door open?

TRUMP: First of all, you’re talking about a border that’s many, many times longer. You’re talking about a massive border.

We have far less problem with that border than we do with our Southern border, and tremendous amounts — you know, I won, I had the privilege of winning by a landslide, by the way, New Hampshire.

You go to New Hampshire, the first thing they talk about is heroin and drugs pouring in. And, you wouldn’t think this beautiful place — it’s beautiful. With the trees and the roads, and the countryside. Their biggest problem is heroin, and it’s such a shame to see it.

They’re pouring in from the Southern border, so I’m talking about great security. I’m talking about a wall that can absolutely be built, and I’ll build it on time, on budget. It’ll be a very high wall, a great wall. It’s going to be built, it’s going to be built. It’s going to be paid for by Canada, by the way — maybe I’ll get Canada to pay? Got to be paid for by Mexico.

The problem with Canada, you’re talking about a massively long piece. You’re talking about a border that would be about four times longer. It would be very, very hard to do, and we — it is not our biggest problem. I don’t care what anyone says. It is not our big problem. Our big problem is not only people coming in, and in many cases the wrong people, it’s the tremendous amount of drugs that are coming in. [applause]

ARRARÁS: I want to talk to you, Senator Rubio, about Puerto Rico. As you know, Puerto Rico’s in the midst of financial collapse, unable to pay it’s debt of $72 billion dollars. Puerto Rico is asking for bankruptcy protection which would give Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans, which are U.S. citizens, you know that — the tools to restructure the debt. That is the same debt the other 50 states have.

You oppose granting Puerto Rico that bankruptcy protection. You say that it is only a last resort measure, but the government of Puerto Rico has said that bankruptcy is it’s last resort. That that’s where they are now. How do you explain this very strong stance to the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans that vote across the U.S. , and particularly in your state of Florida?

RUBIO: Sure, because bankruptcy doesn’t work unless you change the way you’re operating, or you’re going to be bankrupt again. And, the problem with Puerto Rico is it’s economy is not growing. It has a massive exodus of professionals and others that are leaving to my home state of Florida, and all over the country.

They’re coming to the mainland from Puerto Rico because the economy there is not growing, it’s too expensive to do business there. The tax rate is too high. The government regulations are too extensive.

This year alone, with all the problems they’re having, they barely cut their budget from one year to the next. So, I think the leadership on the island has to show their willingness to get their house in order and put in place measures allow the economy there to grow again. If the economy of Puerto Rico does not grow they will never generate the revenue to pay this debt, or the billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities that they have on their books of promises they’ve made to future generations to make payments.

So, yes, if they do all of those things then we can explore the use of bankruptcy protection, but not as the first resort, which is what they’re asking for, because it will not solve the problems on the island and you’re going to continue to see hundreds of thousands of people leave that beautiful place, and coming to the mainland.

They’re United States citizens, they’re obviously entitled to do so, and we welcome them, but we would also prefer to see a Puerto Rico that once again is growing economically, and is robust. And, the leaders in charge there now are doing a terrible job.

Their previous governor, Louis Fortuno was doing a great job until he barely lost that election to…[bell ringing]…to someone who has taken a big government stance once again…

BLITZER: … Senator, thank you very much. [applause]

I want our viewers to stay with us right now, including the last pitch in the final debate before Super Tuesday. [applause and cheering]

[commercial break]

BLITZER: Welcome back to the University of Houston. It’s time now for closing statements. All of you will have 30 seconds. Dr. Carson, we’ll start with you.

CARSON: Well first of all, I want people to think about what kind of leader do you want and what kind of person do you want your kids to emulate. Think about that.

Secondly, several years ago, a movie was made about these hands. These hands by the grace of God have saved many lives and healed many families. And I’m asking you tonight, America, to join hands with me to heal, inspire and revive America. If not us, who? And if not now, when? [applause]

BLITZER: Governor Kasich.

KASICH: Well, the last USA Today poll had me beating Hillary Clinton by 11 points, more than anybody on this stage. Secondly, I hope you saw tonight that executive experience really matters. It matters in terms of growing our economy, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, reforming regulations. I’ve done it in Washington, I’ve done it in Ohio, and I can go back to Washington and do it again.

But I hope you also noticed tonight that I do have the foreign policy experience, not just a few years, but a lot of years in working with some of the great, great minds in this country to develop the expertise, the confidence, the firmness, the toughness and the ability to bring people together.

I hope you all think about giving me your vote. I would appreciate it very much. And I tell you, we won’t have to spend time figuring what we’re going to do. I will hit the ground running and we will get America moving again. Thank you all very much. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Well, thank you for having us tonight. You know, this campaign has come a long way. It was just a few months ago there were 15 or 11 us on the stage and now it’s narrowed and the votes are starting to count. And we have an incredible decision to make, not just about the direction of America, but the identity of our party and of the conservative movement.

The time for games is over.

I know you’ve had a lot of choices to make, but now it’s time to narrow it down. And I’m asking you to get behind me, go on our Web site and join you our effort, marcorubio.com, so we can bring an end to this silliness, this looniness, and once again re-embrace all the things that made America and the Republican Party the bearer of the conservative movement in this country. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: Washington deals are bankrupting this country. There are several deal-makers on this stage but there is only one person who has consistently stood up to both parties, fighting for the American people against the Washington deals.

If I’m elected president, on the first day in office I will rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action. I will instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and prosecute any criminal violations.

I will instruct every federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today. I will rip to shreds the Iranian — catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. And I will begin the process of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

We will repeal Obamacare, abolish of IRS, secure the border, and bring back jobs. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you.

Nobody knows politicians better than I do. They’re all talk, they’re no action, nothing gets done. I’ve watched it for years. Take a look at what’s happening to our country.

All of the things that I’ve been talking about, whether it’s trade, whether it’s building up our depleted military, whether it’s taking care of our vets, whether it’s getting rid of Common Core, which is a disaster, or knocking out Obamacare and coming up with something so much better, I will get it done. Politicians will never, ever get it done. And we will make America great again. Thank you. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, thank you.

And thanks to each of the candidates, on behalf of everyone here at CNN and Telemundo. We also want to thank the Republican National Committee and the University of Houston. My thanks also to Hugh Hewitt, Maria Celeste, and Dana Bash.

Super Tuesday is only five days away.



Citation: Presidential Candidates Debates: “Republican Candidates Debate in Houston, Texas,” February 25, 2016. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=111634.

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]

 

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

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates Debate in Boulder, Colorado
October 28, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governor Mike Huckabee. [applause]

Governor Jeb Bush. [applause]

Senator Marco Rubio. [applause]

Mr. Donald Trump. [applause]

Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]

Mrs. Carly Fiorina. [applause]

Senator Ted Cruz. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Governor?

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

KASICH: country moving again.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Huckabee.

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor. Governor Bush.

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Rubio.

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump?

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

QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson?

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina?

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

QUINTANILLA: Fixed it.

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz?

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Governor Christie?

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Paul?

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Thanks to all the candidates.

John?

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

TRUMP: Right.

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

TRUMP: Right.

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

TRUMP: That’s right.

HARWOOD: Let’s be honest. [laughter]

Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?

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

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

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

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

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

Excuse me, John.

… of $50 billion…

HARWOOD: We’re at the 60 seconds.

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

TRUMP: Right. Dynamically.

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

I wanna talk taxes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CARSON: That’s not true.

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

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

QUICK: Dr. Carson, thank you.

KASICH: Listen, I want to just comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who were you talking about?

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Governor — Governor. thank you, Governor.

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

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump, 30 seconds.

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor…

KASICH: … an agreement with the…

[crosstalk]

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor.

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

[crosstalk]

CARSON: Since I was attacked too.

QUICK: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Senator — Senator, thank you.

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

FIORINA: That’s right, three pages.

QUINTANILLA: Is that using really small type?

FIORINA: You know why three?

QUINTANILLA: Is that using really small type?

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina —

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

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: We’re going to —

QUICK: We’re going to move on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Well, do you hate your job?

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

QUINTANILLA: Is that the standard?

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you. John.

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

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

RUBIO: I get to respond, right?

QUICK: Thirty seconds.

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

BUSH: He wasn’t my senator.

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

BUSH: Well, I’ve been —

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Senator.

TRUMP: I think you’re — [applause]

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

HARWOOD: OK.

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

HARWOOD: Got it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you can go get it at jeb2016.com.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

[crosstalk]

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

QUICK: We’ll get to everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina.

FIORINA: …and be held accountable.

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

Carl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And let me be clear.

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Let me tell you how that question…

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Let me tell you how that question…

[crosstalk]

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

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

HARWOOD: Senator Paul?

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

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: You used your time on something else.

Senator Paul?

CRUZ: You’re not interested in an answer.

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator [inaudible].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: …Governor…

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

QUICK: …Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: …Governor…

HUCKABEE: …No, sir…

QUINTANILLA: …Thank you, Governor…

HUCKABEE: …we need to honor our promises…

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: …Senator Cruz…

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

QUINTANILLA: OK, alright.

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

[crosstalk]

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

HUCKABEE: And, the only way — no…

[crosstalk]

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

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

HUCKABEE: …Chris…

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz…

HUCKABEE: …Chris…

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

CRUZ: …Then I’ll buy you a tequila…

QUINTANILLA: OK.

CRUZ: …Or, even some famous Colorado brownies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: 30 seconds, Governor Huckabee.

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

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

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

[commercial break]

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

Folks, we’ll get right back into this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Mr. Trump, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAMER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAMER: Thank you, Governor Christie.

HARWOOD: Jim, thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUSH: You find me…

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, governor.

Carl?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina.

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

QUINTANILLA: OK.

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you very much. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, senator.

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

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

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

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

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

This is the same old stuff since I left.

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. Thank you.

QUICK: Yes, thank you John.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina —

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[audience boos]

See? They know. [applause]

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator.

Becky?

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

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

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

QUICK: So you’re in favor of…

[crosstalk]

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: My apologies. I’m sorry.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: … he’s really doing some bad…

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

QUICK: Yes, you can.

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

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

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

QUICK: Senator Rubio, thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANTELLI: Senator Paul, the same question to you.

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

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

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

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

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

SANTELLI: Thank you, Senator. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANTELLI: Thank you, Doctor.

Becky?

QUICK: Rick, thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor?

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

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: …is paid — played fairly.

QUICK: Thank you.

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

QUICK: All right, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Let me just close it out this way.

QUICK: How about 15 more seconds?

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

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

QUICK: Governor?

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

QUICK: Governor, I’m sorry…

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

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

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

QUICK: Governor, thank you. Appreciate it.

John?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you.

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

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

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

Number one, you have people in this country that…

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

[crosstalk]

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

HARWOOD: No, I did not.

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: [inaudible]

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

PAUL: …John…

RUBIO: …in the world for people…

HARWOOD: Senator, thank you.

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

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

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

QUICK: It’s at the moderator discretion.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Kasich, let’s talk …

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: …about Marijuana, Governor Kasich…

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you.

CRUZ: Let me say on that…

QUINTANILLA: Oh, no, no, no…

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

QUINTANILLA: …Ok…

CRUZ: …eliminates the business…

[UNKNOWN]: [inaudible]

CRUZ: …income tax…

[UNKNOWN]: What are you doing?

CRUZ: …10% flat rate…

QUINTANILLA: …We’re going to go to…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor.

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

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Thank you, sir.

RUBIO: I was mentioned in the question.

QUICK: You were. You get 30 seconds.

RUBIO: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

Carl?

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

TRUMP: Yes.

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

TRUMP: Or somebody else. Right.

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Are you carrying one now? [laughter]

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: OK. All right. Thank you.

John?

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

The leading Republican candidat