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.

October 18, 2011: CNN /  Western Republican Leadership Conference Republican Presidential Debate Transcript

Republican Candidates Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada October 18, 2011

PARTICIPANTS:
Representative Michele Bachmann (MN);
Herman Cain (GA);
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (GA);
Representative Ron Paul (TX);
Governor Rick Perry (TX);
Former Governor Mitt Romney (MA); and
Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA)

MODERATOR:
Anderson Cooper (CNN)

COOPER: I want to ask the candidates to please take your podiums. While the candidates are taking their podiums, I just want to tell you a little bit more about how tonight’s debate is going to work. I’ll be the moderator. I’ll ask questions on a wide range of issues. And I’ll work to make sure that each candidate is getting his or her fair share of questions.

Also, Western voters right here in the hall will be asking questions, as well, and viewers watching at home can participate, also. We’re accepting questions for the candidates on Twitter. If you send a question for the candidates on Twitter, make sure to include the hash tag #cnndebate, on Facebook at facebook.com/cnnpolitics, and on cnnpolitics.com.

Now, each candidate will have about one minute to answer the questions and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. I’ll make sure candidates get time to respond if they’re singled out for criticism. There are no buzzers. There’s no bells. I’ll just politely inform the candidates when they need to wrap things up.

We want everyone watching to emerge from this debate more informed about the candidates, more able to judge who should be the next president of the United States.

Now that everyone is in place, it’s time for the candidates to introduce themselves to our audience. All the candidates are going to keep it short. Here’s an example. I’m Anderson Cooper. I’m usually anchoring “AC 360” on CNN, but I’m honored to be here in Las Vegas at the Western Republican Presidential Debate. That will be my introduction. [applause]

So, Senator Santorum, you’re first. Let’s start with you.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Anderson. I’m Rick Santorum. My wife, Karen, and I are the parents of seven children. And my little girl, Isabella, 3 years old, had some surgery today. She’s doing fine. But I just wanted to send to her a little “I love you” and I will take the red eye home to be with you tomorrow and make sure that you’re feeling fine. [applause]

PAUL: I’m Congressman Ron Paul from Texas. I’m the champion of liberty. I am the only one that has offered a balanced budget in — in a sincere method. And also, I present the case for a free society as being the best defense for peace and prosperity. [applause]

CAIN: I am businessman Herman Cain. I’ve been married to my wife, Gloria, for 43 years. And I’m a 42-year businessman, which means I solve problems for a living. [applause]

ROMNEY: I’m Mitt Romney. I was a businessman for 25 years. Then I had the fun of getting the chance to help run the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City next door. And then I had the fun also of being governor of Massachusetts. I also solve problems, sometimes for a living, sometimes for other people to make things better. And I hope to be your president. Thank you. [applause]

PERRY: Good evening. I’m Texas Governor Rick Perry, a proven job-creator and a man who is about economic growth, an authentic conservative, not a conservative of convenience. [applause]

GINGRICH: I’m Newt Gingrich. And unlike President Obama, I’m glad to be in Las Vegas. I think it’s a great place to have a convention. [applause]

And — and when I am president, we’re going to replace class warfare with cooperation so all Americans can get off food stamps and onto paychecks. [applause]

BACHMANN: Hi, my name is Michele Bachmann. I am thrilled to be able to be with you tonight in Las Vegas. And this is one night when I hope what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. [applause]

COOPER: All right. Let’s — time to begin. We’ll begin with actually a question in the hall.

QUESTION: This is for all candidates. What’s your position on replacing the federal income tax with a federal sales tax?

COOPER: I’ll direct that to Congresswoman Bachmann. You’ve been very critical of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, which calls for a 9 percent sales tax, a 9 percent income tax, and 9 percent corporate tax. In fact, you’ve said it would destroy the economy. Why?

BACHMANN: Well, I am a former federal tax litigation attorney. And also, my husband and I are job-creators.

One thing I know about Congress, being a member of Congress for five years, is that any time you give the Congress a brand-new tax, it doesn’t go away. When we got the income tax in 1913, the top rate was 7 percent. By 1980, the top rate was 70 percent. If we give Congress a 9 percent sales tax, how long will it take a liberal president and a liberal Congress to run that up to maybe 90 percent? Who knows?

What I do know is that we also have to be concerned about the hidden tax of the value-added tax, because at every step and stage of production, you’d be taxing that item 9 percent on the profit. That’s the worry.

In my plan — again, that’s a tax plan, it’s not a jobs plan — my plan for economic recovery is real jobs right now. I have a tax plan. I have a jobs plan. I have an energy plan and a plan to really turn this country around and create millions of high-paying jobs.

COOPER: Mr. Cain, a lot of prominent conservatives now are coming forward saying that your 9-9-9 plan would actually raise taxes on middle-class voters, on lower-income voters.

CAIN: The thing that I would encourage people to do before they engage in this knee-jerk reaction is read our analysis. It is available at hermancain.com. It was performed by Fiscal Associates. And all of the claims that are made against it, it is a jobs plan, it is revenue-neutral, it does not raise taxes on those that are making the least. All of those are simply not true.

The reason that my plan — the reason that our plan is being attacked so much is because lobbyists, accountants, politicians, they don’t want to throw out the current tax code and put in something that’s simple and fair. They want to continue to be able to manipulate the American people with a 10-million-word mess.

Let’s throw out the 10-million-word mess and put in our plan, which will liberate the American workers and liberate American businesses. [applause]

COOPER: Senator Santorum, will his plan raise taxes?

SANTORUM: Herman’s well-meaning, and I love his boldness, and it’s great. But the fact of the matter is, I mean, reports are now out that 84 percent of Americans would pay more taxes under his plan. That’s the analysis. And it makes sense, because when — when you don’t provide a standard deduction, when you don’t provide anything for low-income individuals, and you have a sales tax and an income tax and, as Michele said, a value-added tax, which is really what his corporate tax is, we’re talking about major increases in taxes on people.

He also doesn’t have anything that takes care of the families. I mean, you have — you have a situation where, under Herman’s plan, a single person pays as much in taxes as a — as a man and a woman raising three children. Ever since we’ve had the income tax in America, we’ve always taken advantage of the fact that we want to encourage people to — to have children and not have to pay more already to raise children, but also pay that additional taxes — we gave some breaks for families. He doesn’t do that in this bill.

And we’re going to — we’ve seen that happen in Europe. And what happened? Boom, birth rates went into — into the basement. It’s a bad tax for — again, it’s bold. I give him credit for — for starting a debate, but it’s not good for families, and it’s not good for low-income… [crosstalk]

COOPER: I’m going to give you 30 seconds to respond. That 84 percent figure comes from the Tax Policy Center.

CAIN: That simply is not true. I invite people to look at our analysis, which we make available.

Secondly, the — the point that he makes about is a value-added tax — I’m sorry, Representative Bachmann — it’s not a value-added tax. It’s a single tax.

And I invite every American to do their own math, because most of these are knee-jerk reactions. And we do provide a provision, if you read the analysis, something we call opportunity zones that will, in fact, address the issue of those making the least.

COOPER: I want to bring in Congresswoman Bachmann since she was referenced by you.

BACHMANN: But Anderson, how do you not have a value-added tax? Because at every level of production you have a profit, and that profit gets taxed, because you produce one portion at one level, and then you take it to the next supplier or vendor at the next level, and you have an exchange. That is a taxable event.

And ultimately, that becomes a value-added tax. It’s a hidden tax. And any time the federal government needs revenue, they dial up the rate and the American people think that it’s — that it is the vendor that creates the tax, but it’s the government that creates the tax. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Perry, in your state, you have a 6.25 percent sales tax. Would taxpayers pay more under the 9-9-9 plan?

PERRY: No.

Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something, you don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out. Go to New Hampshire, where they don’t have a sales tax, and you’re fixing to give them one.

They’re not interested in 9-9-9. What they’re interested in is flatter and fairer. At the end of the week, I’m going to be laying out a plan that clearly — I’ll bump plans with you, brother, and we’ll see who has the best idea about how you get this country working again.

And one of the ways, right here in Nevada you’ve got 8-plus percent. You want nine cents on top of that, and nine cents on a new home — or 9 percent on a new home, 9 percent on your Social Security, 9 percent more?

I don’t think so, Herman. It’s not going to fly.

COOPER: Mr. Cain, 30 seconds. [applause]

CAIN: This is an example of mixing apples and oranges. The state tax is an apple. We are replacing the current tax code with oranges. So it’s not correct to mix apples and oranges.

Secondly, it is not a value-added tax. If you take most of the products — take a loaf of bread. It does have five taxes in it right now. What the 9 percent does is that we take out those five invisible taxes and replace it with one visible 9 percent.

So you’re absolutely wrong. It’s not a value-added tax.

Now one other quick thing.

COOPER: Your time’s up, I’m sorry.

CAIN: This whole thing about —

COOPER: You’ll have another 30 seconds. Trust me, they’re going to go —

CAIN: Tonight?

COOPER: Yes, I guarantee it. In about a minute.

Congressman Paul, you called his plan dangerous today.

PAUL: Oh, it is, because it raises revenues, and the worst part about it, it’s regressive. A lot of people aren’t paying any taxes, and I like that. I don’t think that we should even things up by raising taxes.

So it is a regressive tax. So it’s very, very dangerous. And it will raise more revenues.

But the gentlemen asked the question — he didn’t even ask what we’re talking about. He asked the question, what are you going to replace the income tax with? And I say nothing. That’s what we should replace it with. [applause]

PAUL: But I do want to make a point that spending is a tax. As soon as the governments spend money, eventually it’s a tax. Sometimes we put a direct tax on the people. Sometimes we borrow the money. And sometimes we print the money.

And then when prices go up, like today, the wholesale price index went up 7 percent rate, and if you look at the free market, prices are going up 9 and 10 percent. So that is the tax.

So, spending is the tax. That is the reason I offered the program, to cut $1 trillion out of the first year budget that I offer. [applause]

COOPER: Mr. Cain, in 30 seconds?

CAIN: Once again, unfortunately, none of my distinguished colleagues who have attacked me up here tonight understand the plan. They’re wrong about it being a value-added tax.

We simply remove the hidden taxes that are in goods and services with our plan and replace it with a single rate 9 percent. I invite every family to do your own calculations with that arithmetic.

COOPER: Governor Romney, you have your only 59-point plan. In the last debate, Mr. Cain suggested it was too complicated. Is simpler better?

ROMNEY: Oftentimes simpler is better. And I know we’re not supposed the ask each other questions, but if you permit.

Herman, are you saying that the state sales tax will also go away?

CAIN: No, that’s an apple.

ROMNEY: OK.

CAIN: We’re replacing a bunch of oranges.

ROMNEY: OK.

So, then Governor Perry was right that —

CAIN: No, he wasn’t. He was mixing apples and oranges.

ROMNEY: Well, but will the people in Nevada not have to pay Nevada sales tax and in addition pay the 9 percent tax? CAIN: Governor Romney, you’re doing the same thing that they’re doing. You’re mixing apples and oranges. You’re going to pay —

ROMNEY: I’m —

CAIN: No, no, no, no. You’re going to pay the state sales tax, no matter what.

ROMNEY: Right.

CAIN: Whether you throw out the existing code and you put in our plan, you’re still going to pay that. That’s apples and oranges.

ROMNEY: Fine. And I’m going to be getting a bushel basket that has apples and oranges in it because I’ve got to pay both taxes, and the people in Nevada don’t want to pay both taxes. [cheering and applause]

ROMNEY: Now let me make this comment. Let’s just step back here. We’ve got a lot of people in America that are out of work. We’ve got a lot of people in this state, 13.4 percent of the people in this state out of work. We’ve got home prices going down. We’ve got to talk about how to get America growing again, how to start adding jobs, raising incomes, and tax is part of it.

I want to reduce taxes on our employers to make it easier to invest in America. I want to reduce taxes on middle income families. I like your chutzpah on this, Herman, but I have to tell you, the analysis I did, person by person, return by return, is that middle income people see higher taxes under your plan.

If it’s lower for the middle class, that’s great. But that’s not what I saw. I have to tell you, I want to get our burden down on our employers, on our people. I want to make sure our regulations work to encourage the private sector as opposed to putting a damper on it.

I want to get trade, opening up new markets for America. I want to also find a way to get our energy resources — and they’re all over the world, are all over this country, used for us. This is time to get America growing again. And that’s what this campaign ought to be about.

COOPER: Thank you, Governor.

Mr. Speaker… [cheering and applause]

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich, you have said in recent days that Mr. Cain’s 999 plan would be a harder sell than he lets on. How so?

GINGRICH: Well, you just watched it. [laughter]

GINGRICH: I mean, look, there are — first of all, I think that Herman Cain deserves a lot of credit. He has had the courage to go out and take a specific very big idea at the right level. [applause]

GINGRICH: And he has us at least talking about something that matters as opposed to the junk that all too often is masquerading as politics in this country. So I think that’s important.

There are two parts to this. The first is, if you take his plan, and I think it’s in the interest of the whole country to have serious people take his plan and go through it step by step. There are much more complexities than Herman lets on. OK. I mean, 999, when you get into details like you pay it on a new product, you don’t pay it on an old product, et cetera, there’s a lot more detail here than he lets on.

Second, I favor very narrow, focused tax cuts such as zero capital gains, 100 percent expensing, because I think, as Governor Romney said, jobs are the number one challenge of the next two or three years. Get something you can do very fast. Change on this scale takes years to think through if you’re going to do it right.

COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann, you said in the last debate that everyone should pay something. Does that mean that you would raise taxes on the 47 percent of Americans who currently don’t pay taxes?

BACHMANN: I believe absolutely every American benefits by this magnificent country. Absolutely every American should pay something, even if it’s a dollar. [cheering and applause]

BACHMANN: Everyone needs to pay something in this country. That’s why with my tax plan, I take a page out of not theory but what’s provable and what works. What is provable and what works was the economic miracle that was wrought by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. That’s the plan that I look at.

I also want to completely abolish the tax code. I want to flatten the tax for all of Americans, simplify that tax for all of Americans. And that creates job growth, which is exactly what we need to have.

Because to be able to fuel the fire for this economy, again, it is the tax code, but it doesn’t end with the tax code. It’s the regulatory burden that costs us $1.8 trillion every year, but it’s more than that cost. It’s jobs that are lost.

So we need to repeal “Obama-care,” repeal the jobs and housing destruction act known as Dodd-Frank. President Obama’s plan has been a plan for destruction of this economy and failure.

COOPER: Thank you.

BACHMANN: I plan to change that with real jobs right now at michelebachmann.com. [applause]

COOPER: We’ve been talking about Herman Cain’s plan. Let’s talk about Governor Romney’s plan.

Governor Perry, you have said that Governor Romney was an abject failure at creating jobs when he was governor of Massachusetts. If you’ve read his 59-point plan, has it changed your mind?

PERRY: Well, here’s the nine that we need to get focused on. And it’s not 999, it’s not 59. It’s that 9 percent unemployment in this country. And that’s where we’ve got to get focused in America, is how to create an environment where the men and women get back to work.

It’s the reason I laid out a plan, Newt, this last week to get this energy that’s under our feet. We’ve got 300 years of resources right under our feet in this country. Yet we’ve got an administration that is blockading our ability to bring that to the surface, whether it’s our petroleum, our natural gas, or our coal. And 1.2 million jobs could be put to work.

Americans who are sitting out there listening to this conversation tonight, somebody wants someone on this stage to say: Listen, we got an idea here how to get you to work and take care of your family and have the dignity of a job. And that’s exactly what I did with my plan, laid it out where Americans understand we don’t have to wait on OPEC anymore. We don’t have to let them hold us hostage. America’s got the energy. Let’s have American energy independence. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Romney, does Governor Perry have the answer?

ROMNEY: Well, he’s absolutely right about — about getting energy independence and taking advantage of our natural resources here. We’re an energy-rich nation that’s acting like an energy-poor nation. And that’s something I’ve been talking about for some time, as the governor has. He’s absolutely right.

But there are also a lot of good jobs we need in manufacturing, and high-tech jobs, and good service jobs, technology of all kinds. America produces an economy that’s very, very broad. And that’s why our policy to get America the most attractive place in the world for investment and — and job growth encompasses more than just energy. It includes that, but also tax policy, regulatory policy, trade policy, education, training and balancing the federal budget, and that starts with repealing Obamacare, which is a huge burden on this economy. [applause]

COOPER: Senator Santorum, does Mitt Romney have the answers for jobs? SANTORUM: I agree with — with all of what Governor Romney and both — and Governor Perry said. I would add the fact that — that I’ve put forward the plan that’s going to allow for income mobility. That’s a new term, but I’ve been using it for a long time, which is people at the bottom part of the income scale being able to rise in society.

Believe it or not, studies have been done that show that in Western Europe, people at the lower parts of the income scale actually have a better mobility going up the ladder now than in America. And I believe that’s because we’ve lost our manufacturing base. No more stamp “Made in America” is really hurting people in the middle.

And that’s why I focus all of the real big changes in the tax code at manufacturing. I cut the corporate rate for manufacturing to zero, repeal all regulations affecting manufacturers that cost over $100 million and replace them with something that’s friendlier, they can work with. We repatriate $1.2 trillion that manufacturers made overseas and allow them to bring it back here, if they invest in plants and equipment. They can do it without having to pay any — any excise tax.

The final point I would make to Governor Romney, you just don’t have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare. You are — you are — your plan was the basis for Obamacare. Your consultants helped Obama craft Obamacare. And to say that you’re going to repeal it, you just — you have no track record on that that — that we can trust you that you’re going to do that.

COOPER: Governor Romney, 30 seconds. [applause]

SANTORUM: You don’t.

ROMNEY: You know, this I think is either our eighth or ninth debate. And each chance I’ve — I’ve had to talk about Obamacare, I’ve made it very clear, and also in my book. And at the time, by the way, I crafted the plan, in the last campaign, I was asked, is this something that you would have the whole nation do? And I said, no, this is something that was crafted for Massachusetts. It would be wrong to adopt this as a nation.

SANTORUM: That’s not what you said.

ROMNEY: You’re — you’re shaking — you’re shaking your head.

SANTORUM: Governor, no, that’s not what you said.

ROMNEY: That happens — to happens to be…

[crosstalk]

SANTORUM: It was in your book that it should be for everybody.

ROMNEY: Guys… PERRY: You took it out of your book.

SANTORUM: You took it out of your book.

ROMNEY: Hey, his turn. His turn, OK, and mine.

[crosstalk]

ROMNEY: I’ll tell you what? Why don’t you let me speak?

[crosstalk]

SANTORUM: You’re allowed — you’re allowed to change — you’re allowed to change…

ROMNEY: Rick, you had your chance. Let me speak.

SANTORUM: You can’t change the facts.

ROMNEY: Rick, you had your chance. Let me speak.

SANTORUM: You’re out of time. You’re out of time.

COOPER: He ate into your time. [booing]

Rick…

[crosstalk]

ROMNEY: I haven’t had a chance to respond yet, because you were interrupting the entire time I was trying to speak.

[crosstalk]

ROMNEY: Let me make it very clear.

COOPER: I’ll give another 20 seconds.

ROMNEY: And — look — look, we’ll let everybody take a look at the fact checks. I was interviewed by Dan Balz. I was in interviews in this debate stage with you four years ago. I was asked about the Massachusetts plan, was it something I’d impose on the nation? And the answer is absolutely not.

It was something crafted for a state. And I’ve said time and again, Obamacare is bad news. It’s unconstitutional. It costs way too much money, a trillion dollars. And if I’m president of the United States, I will repeal it for the American people. [applause]

COOPER: All right. Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Mitt, the governor of Massachusetts just is coming forward saying we have to pick up the job left undone by Romneycare, which is doing something about cutting health care costs.

What you did is exactly what Barack Obama did: focused on the wrong problem. Herman always says you’ve got to find the right problem. Well, the right problem is health care costs. What you did with a top-down, government-run program was focus on the problem of health care access. You expanded the pool of insurance without controlling costs. You’ve blown a hole in the budget up there. And you authored in Obamacare, which is going to blow a hole in the budget of this country.

COOPER: Governor Romney, I’m going to give you 30 seconds.

ROMNEY: I’m — I’m sorry, Rick, that you find so much to dislike in my plan, but I’ll tell you, the people in Massachusetts like it by about a 3-1 margin.

And we dealt with a challenge that we had, a lot of people that were expecting government to pay their way. And we said, you know what? If people have the capacity to care for themselves and pay their own way, they should.

Now, I can tell you this, it’s absolutely right that there’s a lot that needs to be done. And I didn’t get the job done in Massachusetts in getting the health care costs down in this country. It’s something I think we have got to do at the national level. I intend to do that.

But one thing is for sure. What Obama has done is imposed on the nation a plan that will not work, that must be repealed. And when it comes to knowledge about health care and how to get our health care system working, I may not be a doctor like this one right over here, but I sure understand how to bring the cost of health care down and how to also make sure that we have a system that works for the American people.

SANTORUM: It didn’t do it. It didn’t do it.

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich, you’ve also been very critical of Mitt Romney’s plan not only on Obamacare, but his plan to lower the capital gains tax only on those earning under $200,000.

GINGRICH: I want to say on health for a minute — OK, let’s just focus. “The Boston Herald” today reported that the state of Massachusetts is fining a local small business $3,000 because their $750-a-month insurance plan is inadequate, according to the bureaucrats in Boston.

Now, there’s a fundamental difference between trying to solve the problems of this country from the top down and trying to create environments in which doctors and patients and families solve the problem from the bottom up.

And candidly, Mitt, your plan ultimately, philosophically, it’s not Obamacare, and that’s not a fair charge. But your plan essentially is one more big government, bureaucratic, high-cost system, which candidly could not have been done by any other state because no other state had a Medicare program as lavish as yours, and no other state got as much money from the federal government under the Bush administration for this experiment. So there’s a lot as big government behind Romneycare. Not as much as Obamacare, but a heck of a lot more than your campaign is admitting. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Romney, 30 seconds.

ROMNEY: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

GINGRICH: That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

ROMNEY: Yes, we got it from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you.

GINGRICH: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

ROMNEY: And you never supported them?

GINGRICH: I agree with them, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true. [crosstalk]

ROMNEY: OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?

GINGRICH: I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.

ROMNEY: You did support an individual mandate?

ROMNEY: Oh, OK. That’s what I’m saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation.

GINGRICH: OK. A little broader.

ROMNEY: OK.

BACHMANN: Anderson?

COOPER: He still has time. Let him finish.

ROMNEY: I get a little time here.

Number two, we don’t have a government insurance plan. What we do is rely on private insurers, and people — 93 percent of our people who are already insured, nothing changed. For the people who didn’t have insurance, they get private insurance, not government insurance.

And the best way to make markets work is for people to be able to buy their own products from private enterprises. What we did was right for our state, according to the people in our state. And the great thing about a state solution to a state issue is, if people don’t like it, they could change it.

Now, there are a lot of things.

BACHMANN: Anderson?

COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann.

BACHMANN: Anderson, I think it has to be stated that Obamacare is so flat-out unpopular, that even the Obama administration chose to reject part of Obamacare last Friday, when they tried to throw out the CLASS Act, which is the long-term care function.

Secretary Sebelius, who is the head of Health and Human Services, reported that the government can’t even afford that part and has to throw it out. And now the administration is arguing with itself.

When even the Obama administration wants to repeal this bill, I think we’re going to win this thing. We’re going to repeal it! And I will! [applause]

COOPER: We’ve got to take a quick break. We will continue this discussion on the other side.

We have a long way to go. We’ll be right back.

[commercial break]

COOPER: And welcome back to the continuing debate. We got a Twitter question. We ended talking about medicine, Obamacare. We actually have a Twitter question about it. It was a question left at CNN debate.

If Obama’s health plan is bad for the U.S., what is the alternative, and how will you implement it?

Congressman Paul, is there any aspect of Obamacare that you would like to keep, whether it’s keeping kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 or no pre-existing conditions?

PAUL: Really not, because he’s just adding on more government. There’s been a lot of discussion about medicine, but it seems to be talking about which kind of government management is best. Our problem is we have too much. We’ve had it for 30, 40 years. We have Medicare. We have prescription drug programs. We have Medicaid.

And what we need — I mean, there’s a pretty good support up here for getting rid of Obamacare, because it’s a Democratic proposal, and we want to opt out. I think we’d all agree on this.

But if you want better competition and better health care, you should allow the American people to opt out of government medicine. And… [applause]

And the way to do this is to not de-emphasize the medical savings account, but let people opt out, pay their bills, get back to the doctor-patient relationship. There is inflation worked into it. When a government gets involved in an industry, prices always go up. We have tort laws to deal with. And we need more competition in medicine.

But the most important thing is letting the people have control of their money and getting it out of the hands of the third party. As soon as you go to the government, the lobbyists line up, the drug companies line up, these insurance companies line up. And even with Obamacare, the industries, the corporations get behind it and affect the outcome, and already insurance premiums are going up. [applause]

COOPER: Herman Cain, same question. Is there any aspect of so- called Obamacare that — that you would keep?

CAIN: No. I think we all agree that Obamacare must be repealed because it is a disaster. And the more we learn about it and the more time goes along, the more we see. We’re all in agreement with that.

But here’s where I would start in answering that question. It’s called H.R. 3400. This was introduced back in 2009, but you didn’t hear a lot of talk about it. Instead of government being imposed on — on our system, it imposes — it basically passes market-centered, market-driven, patient-centered sort of reforms to allow association health plans, to allow loser pay laws, to allow insurance products to be sold across state lines, and a whole list of other things. So that’s a great place to start.

It allows the patient and the doctors to make the decisions, not a bureaucrat. I’d start with HR-3400. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Perry, in the last debate, Governor Romney pointed out that Texas has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, over one million kids. You did not get an opportunity to respond to that. What do you say? How do you explain that?

PERRY: Well, we’ve got one of the finest health care systems in the world in Texas. As a matter of fact, the Houston, Texas, Medical Center, there’s more doctors and nurses that go to work there every morning than any other place in America. But the idea that you can’t have access to health care, some of the finest health care in the world — but we have a 1,200-mile border with Mexico, and the fact is we have a huge number of illegals that are coming into this country.

And they’re coming into this country because the federal government has failed to secure that border. But they’re coming here because there is a magnet. And the magnet is called jobs. And those people that hire illegals ought to be penalized.

And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy. [laughter]

COOPER: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Rick, I don’t think I’ve ever hired an illegal in my life. And so I’m afraid — I’m looking forward to finding your facts on that, because that just doesn’t —

PERRY: Well, I’ll tell you what the facts are.

ROMNEY: Rick, again — Rick, I’m speaking.

PERRY: You had the — your newspaper — the newspaper —

ROMNEY: I’m speaking. I’m speaking. I’m speaking. [crosstalk]

ROMNEY: You get 30 seconds. This is the way the rules work here, is that I get 60 seconds and then you get 30 second to respond. Right?

Anderson?

PERRY: And they want to hear you say that you knew you had illegals working at your —

ROMNEY: Would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking?

PERRY: Yes, sir.

ROMNEY: Would you let me finish with what I have to say? [booing]

ROMNEY: Look, Rick —

COOPER: I thought Republicans follow the rules.

ROMNEY: This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick, and I understand that. And so you’re going to get testy. [applause]

ROMNEY: But let’s let — I’ll tell you what, let me take my time, and then you can take your time. All right?

PERRY: Great. Have at it.

ROMNEY: All right.

My time is this, which is I have in my state — when I was governor, I took the action of empowering our state police to enforce immigration laws. When you were governor, you said, I don’t want to build a fence. You put in place a magnet.

You talked about magnets. You put in place a magnet to draw illegals into the state, which was giving $100,000 of tuition credit to illegals that come into this country, and then you have states — the big states of illegal immigrants are California and Florida. Over the last 10 years, they’ve had no increase in illegal immigration.

Texas has had 60 percent increase in illegal immigrants in Texas. If there’s someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration that doesn’t stand up to muster, it’s you, not me. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Perry, you have 30 seconds.

PERRY: You stood here in front of the American people and did not tell the truth that you had illegals working on your property. And the newspaper came to you and brought it to your attention, and you still, a year later, had those individuals working for you.

The idea that you can sit here and talk about any of us having an immigration issue is beyond me. I’ve got a strong policy. I’ve always been against amnesty. You, on the other hand, were for amnesty.

COOPER: I’ve got 30 seconds, then we’ve got move on to another immigration question.

ROMNEY: OK.

You wrote an op-ed in the newspaper saying you were open to amnesty. That’s number one.

Number two, we hired a lawn company to mow our lawn, and they had illegal immigrants that were working there. And when that was pointed out to us, we let them go. And we went to them and said —

PERRY: A year later?

ROMNEY: You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking. And I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you have got to let both people speak. So first, let me speak. [applause]

ROMNEY: So we went to the company and we said, look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property. I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals. It turns out that once question, they hired someone who had falsified their documents, had documents, and therefore we fired them. And let me tell you, it is hard in this country as an individual homeowner to know if people who are contractors working at your home, if they have hired people that are illegal. If I’m president, we’ll put in an E-Verify system, which you have opposed —

COOPER: Out of time.

ROMNEY: — to make sure that we can find out who’s here illegally and not, and crack down on people who come here illegally.

COOPER: All right. We’re going to stay on the topic of immigration. [applause]

COOPER: We’re going to stay on the topic of immigration. Everyone is going to get a chance to weigh in.

This is a question that was left at CNNPolitics.com. “As president, will you order completion of the physical border fence along the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico?” That’s from Marilyn L.

Herman Cain, let me start with you. Obviously, over the weekend, you got a lot of headlines by saying you would have an electrified fence. You then later said it was — you then later said it was a joke. And then last night, you said, “It might be electrified. I’m not walking away from that. I just don’t want to offend anyone.” [laughter]

So… [applause]

So would you build an entire fence along the entire border, and would you have it be electrified? [laughter]

CAIN: Allow me to give a serious answer. Yes, I believe we should secure the border for real, and it would be a combination of a fence, technology, as well as possibly boots on the ground for some of the more dangerous areas. I don’t apologize at all for wanting to protect the American citizens and to protect our agents on the border, no. [applause]

Secondly, the second thing that I would do — see, I believe in let’s solve the whole problem. We must shut the back door so people can come in the front door. Secondly, promote the existing path to citizenship by cleaning up the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.

Thirdly, enforce the laws — the immigration laws that are already on the books. [applause]

And here’s another one of these bold ideas by the non-politician up here. Empower the states to do what the federal government is not doing in terms of enforcing those laws. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Perry, you have — you have the — your state has the longest border with Mexico. Is it possible — to the question — is it possible to build a fence, an — across the entire border?

PERRY: Sure. You can — you can build a fence, but it takes anywhere between 10 and 15 years and $30 billion. There’s a better way, and that’s to build a virtual defense zone, if you will, along that border, which — not unlike what Herman’s talking about, and you can do it with strategic fencing in the obvious places where it matters.

But the way you really stop the activities along that border that are illegal, whether it’s the drug cartels or whether it’s bringing in illegal weapons or whether it’s illegal immigrants that are coming in, is to put boots on the ground.

I will tell you, Herman, you put a lot of boots on the ground. You use Predator drones that are being trained right up here at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to use that real-time information to give those boots on the ground that information, and they can instantly move to those areas. And that is the way to shut that border down, to secure that border, and really make America safe from individuals, like those Iranians that are using the drug cartels to penetrate this country.

COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann, do you agree with Governor Perry? [applause]

BACHMANN: Well, I think the person who really has a problem with illegal immigration in the country is President Obama. It’s his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens… [applause] … who’ve been allowed to stay in this country, despite the fact that they’re illegal.

This last Saturday, I was the very first candidate that signed a pledge that said that, by a date certain, I will build a double-walled fence with — with an area of security neutrality in between. I will build that, because this is what we know. This is an economics issue and a jobs issue. Every year…

COOPER: You’re saying you would build a fence along the entire border? BACHMANN: I will build it on the entire border, and I’ll tell you why. Every year, it costs this country $113 billion in the costs that we put out to pay for illegal aliens. It costs the state and local government of that amount $82 billion. For every household of an American citizen, it costs us $1,000 a year. We are robbing the household of Americans who can’t afford that.

I will build the fence. I will enforce English as the official language of the United States government. [applause]

And every — every person who comes into this country will have to agree that they will not receive taxpayer-subsidized benefits of any American citizen…

COOPER: Time.

BACHMANN: Thank you.

COOPER: Governor Perry, does that — can you actually — does that make sense? She says she can build the — the fence along the entire border.

PERRY: As I said, you can build that fence, but by the time that fence gets built…

COOPER: She’s also talking about your taxpayer-subsidized benefits.

PERRY: But my — my point is that, by the time that fence gets built, there is a lot better way than to stand here and to — to play to some group of people somewhere and say, “We’re going to build a fence,” and then wipe our hands of it.

I’ve been dealing with this border for 10 years as the governor. And the reason that we have this issue is because the federal government has failed miserably to defend and secure that border.

BACHMANN: Which is why we build…

[crosstalk]

PERRY: You know, for someone that’s been in the United States Congress to — to lecture me on the issues that are going on, on that border is not right. Let me tell you, we’ve had to deal with that issue in the state of Texas. We’ve had to deal with the impact on our state. And I put $400 million on that border of Texas, taxpayers’ money, Texas Ranger recon teams there.

We know how to secure the border. I shared with you earlier how to do it. You put the boots on the ground, the aviation assets in the air, and you secure that border.

COOPER: Governor…

BACHMANN: Anderson, can I respond?

COOPER: He wasn’t talking about you directly.

BACHMANN: No, he did respond.

ROMNEY: Let’s step back. I think it’s important for us as Republicans on this stage to say something which hasn’t been said. And that is I think every single person here loves legal immigration. We respect people who come here legally.

[cheering and applause]

ROMNEY: And the reason we’re so animated about stopping illegal immigration is there are 4.5 million people who want to come here who are in line legally, we want that to happen in an orderly and legal process.

And in terms of how to secure the border, it’s really not that hard. You have a fence, you have enough Border Patrol agents to oversee the fence, and you turn off the magnets. And that’s employers that hire people who they know are here illegally.

That’s why you have an E-Verify system so they can know that. And, number two, you turn off the magnets like tuition breaks or other breaks that draw people into this country illegally. It is not that hard. We have to have the political will to get the job done.

And, Governor Perry, you say you have got the experience. It’s a bit like saying that, you know, the college coach that has lost 40 games in a row has the experience to go to the NFL.

But the truth is, California — I’ll say it again, California and Florida have both had no increase in illegal immigration and yours is up 60 percent…

COOPER: Time.

ROMNEY: … over the last 10 years.

COOPER: Governor Perry, 30 seconds to respond.

PERRY: Well, the bottom line is that we have a federal government that has failed. There is a clear problem here. And he hit the nail on the head a while ago. He said there was a magnet of people that will hire illegals. And you are number one on that list, sir.

And people need to understand that. You’re one of the problems, Mitt.

COOPER: I think we’ve been down that road.

ROMNEY: Yes…

[crosstalk]

ROMNEY: We’ve been down that road sufficiently. It sounds like the audience agrees with me.

COOPER: We are continuing on immigration. We have a question in the audience.

[cheering and applause]

ROBERT ZAVALA, LAS VEGAS RESIDENT: Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to ask my question. We have 50 million Latinos and not all of us are illegal. What is the message from you guys to our Latino community?

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich? President Obama got I think 67 percent of the Latino vote last time around.

GINGRICH: Look, I think that there’s a very clear message to Americans of all backgrounds. Latinos, Korean-Americans, Vietnamese- Americans, there are hundreds of different groups who come to America.

As Governor Romney said, I think anybody who understands America has to be proud of our record as the country which has been the most open in history to legal immigration.

But the truth is most Latinos in the United States aren’t immigrants. Most Latinos in the United States now have been born in the United States. And the fact is they want virtually exactly what everyone else wants.

They want an economy that is growing. They want a job that has take home pay. They want access to health insurance that they can afford. They want a chance to get educated that is actually useful and worthwhile. They want to be able to know that their family is going to grow up in safety. And they want to have a chance that their country is going to work to give their children and their grandchildren a better future.

I think we have to have the same message for every American of every ethnic background that we want to make America work again. And you’ll know it’s working because you will have a job and you’ll have a chance to take care of your family.

[cheering and applause]

COOPER: Congressman Paul, there’s some Latino voters who believe that some of these strong anti-immigration laws — anti-illegal immigration laws are actually anti-Latino laws. What do you say to them?

PAUL: Well, I think some people do believe that. I think a fence is symbolic of that. And I can understand why somebody might look at that. But when we approach this immigration problem, we should look at the incentives and that — or the mandates from the federal government saying that you must educate, you must give them free education.

You have to remove these incentives. But I don’t think the answer is a fence whatsoever. But in order to attract Latino votes, I think, you know, too long this country has always put people in groups. They penalize people because they’re in groups, and then they reward people because they’re in groups.

But following up on what Newt was saying, we need a healthy economy, we wouldn’t be talking about this. We need to se everybody as an individual. And to me, seeing everybody as an individual means their liberties are protected as individuals and they’re treated that way and they’re never penalized that way.

So if you have a free and prosperous society, all of a sudden this group mentality melts away. As long as there’s no abuse — one place where there’s still a lot of discrimination in this country is in our court systems. And I think the minorities come up with a short hand in our court system.

COOPER: Herman Cain, the 14th Amendment allows that anybody born in the United States is an American citizen. Should that change?

CAIN: I want to go back and answer this question first, OK? And that is, my message to Latinos, blacks, whites, and all Americans is that we must first start with significantly boosting this economy, which is on life support.

This is why I have put forth a very bold plan, and I’m not afraid to try and sell it to the American people. I’m not afraid to fight for it when I become president of the United States of America. So that’s my message.

If we have this economy growing, people will be able to take care of their families and go after their American dream. And until we boost this economy, all of us are going to suffer for a long time.

COOPER: Then let me ask the question of Governor Perry.

Governor Perry, the 14th Amendment allows anybody. A child of illegal immigrants who is born here is automatically an American citizen. Should that change?

PERRY: Well, let me address Herman’s issue that he just talked about.

COOPER: Actually, I’d rather you answer that question.

PERRY: I understand that. You get to ask the questions, I get to answer like I want to. And Herman talked about —

COOPER: That’s actually a response, that’s not an answer, but go ahead.

PERRY: — the issue of how we get this country back working. And truly, the plan that I laid out last week, where we talk about the energy industry and this treasure trove that we have under this country, and we need to recognize that the administration that we have today is blocking mining that could be going on in the state of Nevada. I talked to Brian Sandoval before I came in here today. You have an administration that is killing jobs because they want to move us to a green energy. You have a secretary of energy who has basically said he wants to see gas prices up close to the European model. The president himself said electricity rates are necessarily going to skyrocket.

That’s what we’ve got to stop. That’s the reason we got to have a president of the United States that understands that if you get Americans working, and it addresses these issues that we have in this country, then the fastest way to do it is open up these federal —

COOPER: Time.

PERRY: — plants, to pull back those regulations, and get America working again.

COOPER: Time.

[commercial break]

COOPER: To the question on the 14th Amendment, do you support repealing the 14th Amendment?

PERRY: No.

COOPER: No, you do not?

PERRY: I do not.

COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann, do you support it?

BACHMANN: I think there’s a very real issue with magnets in this country. And I think the issue that you’re referring to is the issue of anchor babies. And that’s an issue that — I was just in Arizona this last weekend, and the state is very concerned, because when someone comes illegally across the border, specifically for the purpose of utilizing American resources for having a baby here, then all of the welfare benefits then attach to that baby.

This is an issue that we don’t have to deal with the Constitution. This is an issue that we can deal with legislatively. And there are a lot of Americans that would like us to deal with this issue of anchor babies legislatively. [applause]

COOPER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: I’d like to address the issue that the gentleman brought up, which is, what are we going to say to the Latino community? And not one person mentioned the issue of family, faith, marriage.

This is a community that is a faith-filled community, that family is at the center of that community. I disagree in some respects with Congressman Paul, who says the country is founded on the individual.

The basic building block of a society is not an individual. It’s the family. That’s the basic unit of society. [applause]

SANTORUM: And the Latino community understands that. They understand the importance of faith and marriage. They understand that bond that builds that solid foundation, and that inculcation of faith and religious freedom. And I think the Latino community knows that’s at stake in this country.

There’s a lot going on right now that’s eroding our religious freedom, that’s eroding the traditional values of marriage and family. And there’s one candidate up here who consistently sounds that theme.

Look, I’m for jobs, too. I have got an economic plan, and I agree with everything that’s been said. But we keep running roughshod over the fact that family in America and faith in America is being crushed by the courts and our government, and someone has stand up and fight for those institutions. [applause]

COOPER: Time.

Congressman Paul, you were referenced directly. Thirty seconds.

PAUL: Well, I would like to explain that rights don’t come in bunches. Rights come as individuals, they come from a God, and they come as each individual has a right to life and liberty.

But I might add about the border control and the Latino vote, is we lack resources there. I think we should have more border guards on it, a more orderly transition, and run it much better. But where are our resources?

You know, we worry more about the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We need to bring the guard units home and the units back here so we can have more personnel on our border. [applause]

COOPER: We have a question in the audience.

QUESTION: My question for you is, do you support opening the national nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain?

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich, we’ll start with you.

[crosstalk]

COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.

GINGRICH: Look, we — we worked on this when I was speaker. I think that it has to be looked at scientifically. But I think at some point we have to find a safe method of taking care of nuclear waste. And today, because this has been caught up in a political fight, we have small units of nuclear waste all over this country in a way that is vastly more dangerous to the United States than finding a method of keeping it in a very, very deep place that would be able to sustain 10,000 or 20,000 and 30,000 years of geological safety.

COOPER: Is Yucca Mountain that place?

GINGRICH: I’m not a scientist. I mean, Yucca Mountain certainly was picked by the scientific community as one of the safest places in the United States. It has always had very deep opposition here in Nevada. And, frankly…

COOPER: You were for opening it in Congress, right?

GINGRICH: Huh?

COOPER: When you were in the Congress, you were…

[crosstalk]

GINGRICH: When I was in Congress, frankly, I worked with the Nevada delegation to make sure that there was time for scientific studies. But we have to find some method of finding a very geologically stable place, and most geologists believe that, in fact, Yucca Mountain is that.

COOPER: Congressman Paul, you oppose this?

PAUL: Yes. Yes, I’ve — I’ve opposed this. We’ve had votes in the Congress. There was a time when I voted with two other individuals, the two congressmen from Nevada. And I approach it from a state’s rights position. What right does 49 states have to punish one state and say, “We’re going to put our garbage in your state”? I think that’s wrong.

But I think it’s very serious. I think it’s very serious. But quite frankly, the government shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing any form of energy. And nuclear energy, I think, is a good source of energy, but they still get subsidies. Then they assume this responsibility. Then we as politicians and the bureaucrats get involved in this. And then we get involved with which state’s going to get stuck with the garbage.

So I would say, the more the free market handles this and the more you deal with property rights and no subsidies to any form of energy, the easier this problem would be solved.

COOPER: Governor Romney, where do you stand on this? [applause]

ROMNEY: Congressman Paul was right on that. [applause]

I don’t always agree with him, but I do on that. The — the idea that 49 states can tell Nevada, “We want to give you our nuclear waste,” doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think the people of Nevada ought to have the final say as to whether they want that, and my guess is that for them to say yes to something like that, someone’s going to have to offer them a pretty good deal, as opposed to having the federal government jam it down their throat. [applause]

And by the way, if — if Nevada says, “Look, we don’t want it,” then let other states make bids and say, hey, look, we’ll take it. Here’s a geological site that we’ve evaluated. Here’s the compensation we want for taking it. We want you electric companies around the country that are using nuclear fuel to compensate us a certain amount per kilowatt hour, a certain amount per ton of this stuff that comes.

Let — let the free market work. And on that basis, the places that are geologically safe, according to science, and where the people say the deal’s a good one will decide where we put this stuff. That’s the right course for America. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Perry?

PERRY: You know, from time to time, Mitt and I don’t agree. But on this one, he’s hit it, the nail, right on the head. And I’ll just add that when you think about France, who gets over 70 percent of their energy from nuclear power, the idea that they deal with this issue, that their glassification, and that the innovation — and, Congressman Paul, you’re correct when it comes to allowing the states to compete with each other. That is the answer to this.

We need to have a — a — a discussion in — in this country about our 10th Amendment and the appropriateness of it, as it’s been eroded by Washington, D.C., for all these many years, whether it’s health care, whether it’s education, or whether it’s dealing with energy. We don’t need to be subsidizing energy in any form or fashion, allow the states to make the decision. And some state out there will see the economic issue, and they will have it in their state.

COOPER: We’re going to move on to an issue very important here in the state of Nevada and throughout the West. We have a question from the hall.

QUESTION: Yeah, my question is, those of us who own property here in Nevada have been devastated by the real estate bubble. What would you do as president to help fix the overall problem of real estate and foreclosures in America?

COOPER: Senator Santorum, Nevada has the highest rate of foreclosure. SANTORUM: Yeah, I mean, it’s — it’s a situation right now where obviously the market’s in — has been decimated. And so now you’re looking at, how do you repair it? The problem is — in the first place, is that several people up here, the, quote, “businesspeople,” supported the TARP, supported the bailout. Governors Perry, Romney…

PERRY: Wrong.

SANTORUM: No, you wrote a letter on the day of the vote — you wrote a letter on the day of the vote, Governor, saying to vote for the plan. That’s what you — I mean, that — the letter’s been…

PERRY: No, I didn’t.

SANTORUM: Yes, you did, Governor. You sent…

COOPER: You’ll have a chance to respond. Let him finish.

SANTORUM: Joe Manchin signed it with you. So you — you supported it. Governor Romney and Herman Cain all supported the — the TARP program, which started this ball…

CAIN: Not all of it. [laughter]

SANTORUM: I mean, I — I mean, you guys complain about Governor Romney flip-flopping. I mean, look at what’s going on here. I mean, the — the bottom line is, you all supported it, you all started this ball rolling, where the government injected itself in trying to make — trying to fix the market with the government top-down trying to do it, and managed decline. And what happened was, people who did things that were wrong invested in things, took risks, were bailed out, and the folks who acted responsibly are now getting hurt because their houses have gone down in value. We need to let the market work, and that’s what hasn’t been happening so far.

COOPER: I’m going to allow each of the three of you to respond.

Governor Perry, you have 30 seconds.

PERRY: The fact is, Rick just has that wrong. We wrote a letter to Congress asking them to act. What we meant by acting was, cut the regulations, cut the taxation burden, not passing TARP.

There is clearly a letter out of our office that says that, Rick. I’ll get you a copy of it so you’ll understand it.

SANTORUM: Hold on. I need to respond to that.

He sent a letter the day of the vote on the floor of the House saying, pass the economic plan. There was only one plan, and that was the plan that was voted on the floor. It was TARP.

You sent a letter on that day saying, vote for that plan. Now, you can send a letter later saying I didn’t mean it, but when you said it, it was the only plan that was in play, and that was the TARP plan.

COOPER: Governor Perry — do you want to respond, Governor Perry?

PERRY: I’m just telling you I know what we sent, I know what the intention was. You can read it any way you want, but the fact of the matter, I wasn’t for TARP, and have talked about it for years since then.

COOPER: Governor Romney, 30 seconds.

ROMNEY: There’s an effort on the part of people in Washington to think somehow they know better than markets, how to rebalance America’s economy. And the idea of the federal government running around and saying, hey, we’re going to give you some money for trading in your old car, or we’re going to give you a few thousand bucks for buying a new house, or we’re going to keep banks from foreclosing if you can’t make your payments, these kind of actions on the part of government haven’t worked.

The right course is to let markets work. And in order to get markets to work and to help people, the best we can do is to get the economy going. And that’s why the fundamental restructuring I’ve described is so essential to help homeowners and people across this country. [applause]

COOPER: Mr. Cain, I want you to be able to respond. Thirty seconds.

CAIN: I have said before that we were in a crisis at the end of 2008 with this potential financial meltdown. I supported the concept of TARP, but then, when this administration used discretion and did a whole lot of things that the American people didn’t like, I was then against it. So yes, and I’m owning up to that.

Now, getting back to the gentleman’s question in terms of what we need to do, we need to get government out of the way. It starts with making sure that we can boost this economy and then reform Dodd-Frank and reform a lot of these other regulations that have gotten in the way —

COOPER: Time.

CAIN: — and let the market do it just like Mitt has talked about.

COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann, does the federal government have a role in keeping people in their homes, saving people from foreclosure, in the state of Nevada?

BACHMANN: That was the question that was initially asked. And what I want to say is this — every day I’m out somewhere in the United States of America, and most of the time I’m talking to moms across this country. When you talk about housing, when you talk about foreclosures, you’re talking about women who are at the end of their rope because they’re losing their nest for their children and for their family. And there are women right now all across this country and moms across this country whose husbands, through no fault of their own, are losing their job, and they can’t keep that house. And there are women who are losing that house.

I’m a mom. I talk to these moms.

I just want to say one thing to moms all across America tonight. This is a real issue. It’s got to be solved.

President Obama has failed you on this issue of housing and foreclosures. I will not fail you on this issue. I will turn this country around.

We will turn the economy around. We will create jobs. That’s how you hold on to your house.

Hold on, moms out there. It’s not too late.

COOPER: We have another question. This one is a Twitter question.

“How do you explain the Occupy Wall Street movement happening across the country? And how does it relate with your message?”

Herman Cain, I’ve got to ask you, you said, — two weeks ago, you said, “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job, and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”

That was two weeks ago. The movement has grown. Do you still say that? [applause]

CAIN: Yes, I do still say that. And here’s why. [applause]

CAIN: I still stand by my statement, and here’s why.

They might be frustrated with Wall Street and the bankers, but they’re directing their anger at the wrong place. Wall Street didn’t put in failed economic policies. Wall Street didn’t spend a trillion dollars that didn’t do any good. Wall Street isn’t going around the country trying to sell another $450 billion. They ought to be over in front of the White House taking out their frustration. [applause]

So I do stand by them.

COOPER: Congressman Paul, you’ve been — Congressman Paul, you’ve been critical of Governor Romney for — for holding fundraisers with — with Wall Streeters. Do you think he understands what the protest is about? Do you understand?

PAUL: Well, I think Mr. Cain has blamed the victims. There’s a lot of people that are victims of this business cycle. We can’t blame the victims.

But we also have to point — I’d go to Washington as well as Wall Street, but I’d go over to the Federal Reserve. [applause]

They — they create the financial bubbles. And you have to understand that you can’t solve these problems if you don’t know where these bubbles come from.

But then, when the bailout came and supported by both parties, you have to realize, oh, wait, Republicans were still in charge. So the bailouts came from both parties. Guess who they bailed out? The big corporations of people who were ripping off the people in the derivatives market. And they said, oh, the world’s going to come to an end unless we bail out all the banks. So the banks were involved, and the Federal Reserve was involved.

But who got stuck? The middle class got stuck. They got stuck. They lost their jobs, and they lost their houses. If you had to give money out, you should have given it to people who were losing their mortgages, not to the banks. [applause]

COOPER: Mr. Cain, do you want to respond? He referenced you. So if you want to respond, you have 30 seconds.

CAIN: All I want to say is that representative Paul is partly right, but he’s mixing problems here. It’s more than one problem. Look, the people — the banks — yes, the banks and the businesses on Wall Street, yes, the way that was administered was not right.

But my point is this: What are the people who are protesting want from bankers on Wall Street, to come downstairs and write them a check? This is what we don’t understand. Take — go and get to the source of the problem, is all I’m saying.

COOPER: I’ve got to give you 30 seconds.

CAIN: And that’s the White House.

COOPER: And then we’ll go to Governor Romney.

PAUL: Yes, the argument is it’s — the program was OK, but it was mismanaged. But I work on the assumption that government’s not very capable of managing almost anything… [applause] … so you shouldn’t put that much trust in the government. You have — you have to trust the marketplace. And when the government gets involved, they have to deal with fraud. And how many people have gone to jail either in the government, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, that participated in this? And nobody suffers the consequences. All these investigations, and yet the people who lose their jobs and lose their houses, it’s their fault, according — that’s why they’re on Wall Street. And we can’t blame them. We have to blame the business cycle…

COOPER: Time.

PAUL: … and the economic policies that led to this disaster. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Romney, you — you originally called the protests “dangerous.” You said it was class warfare. You recently sounded more sympathetic. Where do you stand now? What is your message to those people protesting?

ROMNEY: Look, we can spend our time talking about what happened three years ago and what the cause was of our collapse. But let’s talk about what’s happened over the last three years. We’ve had a president responsible for this economy for the last three years, and he’s failed us.

He’s failed us in part because he has no idea how the private sector works or how to create jobs. On every single issue, he’s made it harder for our economy to reboot. And as a result, we have 25 million Americans out of work or stopped looking for work or in part- time work and can’t get full-time employed. Home values going down. You have median income in America that in the last three years has dropped by 10 percent.

Americans are hurting across this country, and the president’s out there campaigning. Why isn’t he governing? He doesn’t — he doesn’t have a jobs plan even now. This — this is a critical time for America. [applause]

And I — and I can tell you that this is time to have someone who understands how the economy works, who can get America working again. Instead of dividing and blaming, as this president is, let’s grow America again and have jobs that are the envy of the world. And I know how to do it.

COOPER: We’ve got to take a quick break. We’re going to continue on the other side. We’ll be right back.

[commercial break]

COOPER: I’m Anderson Cooper, the western Republican presidential debate, live from the Venetian in Las Vegas. As you watch the debate tonight, send us your comments and questions for the candidates on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CNNDebate. Also contact us on Facebook and cnn.com.

When we come back, the right to bears and should a candidate’s faith matter? We’ll be right back.

[commercial break]

COOPER: And welcome back to the CNN GOP debate live from the Venetian in Las Vegas. Let’s continue. We’ve got an e-mail question that was left at cnnpolitics.com. This is from a Mike Richards who says: “With the controversy surrounding Robert Jeffress, is it acceptable to let the issue of a candidate’s faith shape the debate?”

Senator Santorum, this is in reference to a Baptist pastor who, at the Values Voter Summit, after introducing Governor Rick Perry, said of — said that “Mitt Romney is not a Christian,” and that “Mormonism is a cult.” Those were his words.

Should… [booing]

COOPER: Should voters pay attention to a candidate’s religion?

SANTORUM: I think they should pay attention to the candidate’s values, what the candidate stands for. [cheering and applause]

SANTORUM: That’s what is at play. And the person’s faith — and you look at that faith and what the faith teaches with respect to morals and values that are reflected in that person’s belief structure. So that’s — those are important things.

I — I’m a Catholic. Catholic has social teachings. Catholic has teachings as to what’s right and what’s wrong. And those are legitimate things for voters to look at, to say if you’re a faithful Catholic, which I try to be — fall short all the time, but I try to be — and — and it’s a legitimate thing to look at as to what the tenets and teachings of that faith are with respect to how you live your life and — and how you would govern this country.

With respect to what is the road to salvation, that’s a whole different story. That’s not applicable to what — what the role is of being the president or a senator or any other job. [applause]

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich, you agree with that?

GINGRICH: Well, I think if the question is, does faith matter? Absolutely. How can you have a country which is founded on truths which begins we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights? How can you have the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which says religion, morality and knowledge being important, education matters. That’s the order: religion, morality and knowledge.

Now, I happen to think that none of us should rush in judgment of others in the way in which they approach God. And I think that all of us up here I believe would agree. [applause]

But I think all of us would also agree that there’s a very central part of your faith in how you approach public life. And I, frankly, would be really worried if somebody assured me that nothing in their faith would affect their judgments, because then I’d wonder, where’s your judgment — how can you have judgment if you have no faith? And how can I trust you with power if you don’t pray? [applause]

Who you pray to, how you pray, how you come close to God is between you and God. But the notion that you’re endowed by your creator sets a certain boundary on what we mean by America.

COOPER: Governor Perry, Mitt Romney asked you to repudiate the comments of that pastor who introduced you on that stage. He didn’t make the comments on the stage; he made them afterward in an interview. Will you repudiate those comments?

ROMNEY: Well, our faith — I can no more remove my faith than I can that I’m the son of a tenant farmer. I mean, the issue, are we going to be individuals who stand by our faith? I have said I didn’t agree with that individual’s statement. And our founding fathers truly understood and had an understanding of — of freedom of religion.

And this country is based on, as — as Newt talked about, these values that are so important as we go forward. And the idea that we should not have our freedom of — of religion to be taken away by any means, but we also are a country that is free to express our opinions. That individual expressed an opinion. I didn’t agree with it, Mitt, and I said so. But the fact is, Americans understand faith. And what they’ve lost faith in is the current resident of the White House. [applause]

COOPER: Time.

Governor Romney, is that — is that acceptable to you?

ROMNEY: You know, with — with regards to the disparaging comments about my faith, I’ve heard worse, so I’m not going to lose sleep over that. [laughter]

What I actually found was most troubling in what the reverend said in the introduction was he said, in choosing our nominee, we should inspect his religion. And someone who is a good moral person is not someone who we should select; instead, we should choose someone who subscribes to our religious belief.

That — that idea that we should choose people based upon their religion for public office is what I find to be most troubling, because the founders of this country went to great length to make sure — and even put it in the Constitution — that we would not choose people who represent us in government based upon their religion, that this would be a nation that recognized and respected other faiths, where there’s a plurality of faiths, where there was tolerance for other people and faiths. That’s bedrock principle.

And it was that principle, Governor, that I wanted you to be able to, no, no, that’s wrong, Reverend Jeffress. Instead of saying as you did, “Boy, that introduction knocked the ball out of the park,” I’d have said, “Reverend Jeffress, you got that wrong. We should select people not based upon their faith.” Even though — and I don’t suggest you distance yourself from your faith any more than I would. But the concept that we select people based on the church or the synagogue they go to, I think, is a very dangerous and — and enormous departure from the principles of our — of our Constitution. [applause]

COOPER: Would you still like him to say that?

UNKNOWN: I’m sorry?

COOPER: Would — would you still like the governor to say that? Or was that something you wanted him to…

ROMNEY: I’ll let him — that’s his choice.

COOPER: Do you want to respond to that, Governor Perry?

PERRY: I have. I said I did not agree with the — Pastor Jeffress’s remarks. I don’t agree with them. I — I can’t apologize any more than that.

ROMNEY: That’s fine.

COOPER: We’ve got a question from the audience.

QUESTION: Currently, there’s a deficit reduction measure to cut defense spending by $500 billion. Would you support such a reduction in defense spending? And if elected president, how will you provide a strong national defense?

COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann, should defense be cut?

BACHMANN: Well, $500 billion is the amount that the questioner had mentioned. And don’t forget, this was an historic week when it came to American foreign policy.

We saw potentially an international assassination attempt from Iran on American soil. That says something about Iran, that they disrespect the United States so much, that they would attempt some sort of heinous act like that.

Then, we saw the president of the United States engage American troops in a fourth conflict in a foreign land. This is historic.

Then, on Sunday, we heard the reports that now that — in Iraq, the 5,000 troops that were going to be left there won’t even be granted immunity by Iraq. This is how disrespected the United States is in the world today, and it’s because of President Obama’s failed policies.

He’s taken his eyes off the number one issue in the world. That’s an Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. That makes all of us in much danger.

COOPER: Time.

BACHMANN: And the president of Iran is a genocidal maniac. We need to stand up against Iran. [applause]

COOPER: Congresswoman —

BACHMANN: And as president of the United States, I will. We will be respected again in the world.

COOPER: The question though was about budget cuts. And is everything on the table in terms of cutting the budget?

BACHMANN: Absolutely everything.

COOPER: So defense spending would be on the table, should be?

BACHMANN: Defense spending is on the table, but again, Anderson, now with the president, he put us in Libya. He is now putting us in Africa. We already were stretched too thin, and he put our Special Operations Forces in Africa.

COOPER: I just want to make sure. OK. It’s on the table.

BACHMANN: It’s on the table, but we cannot cut it by $500 billion. We can’t do that to tour brave men and women who are on the ground fighting for us.

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: I mean, if you want to understand how totally broken Washington is, look at this entire model of the super committee, which has now got a magic number to achieve. And if it doesn’t achieve the magic number, then we’ll all have to shoot ourselves in the head so that when they come back with a really dumb idea to merely cut off our right leg, we’ll all be grateful that they’re only semi-stupid instead of being totally stupid. [applause]

GINGRICH: Now, the idea that you have a bunch of historically illiterate politicians who have no sophistication about national security trying to make a numerical decision about the size of the defense budget tells you everything you need to know about the bankruptcy of the current elite in this country in both parties. The fact is, we ought to first figure out what threaten us, we ought to figure out what strategies will respond to that. We should figure out what structures we need for those strategies. We should then cost them.

I helped found the Military Reform Caucus. I’m a hawk, but I’m a cheap hawk. But the fact is, to say I’m going to put the security of the United States up against some arbitrary budget number is suicidally stupid.

COOPER: Congressman Paul, you’ve proposed — [applause]

COOPER: Congressman Paul, you just proposed eliminating the Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Interior, Housing and Urban Development. You say it will save a trillion dollars in one year. [applause]

COOPER: You’re proposing a 15 percent cut to the Defense Department. Can you guarantee national security will not be hurt by that?

PAUL: I think it would be enhanced. I don’t want to cut any defense. And you have to get it straight. There’s a lot of money spent in the military budget that doesn’t do any good for our defense.

How does it help us to keep troops in Korea all these years? We’re broke. We have to borrow this money.

Why are we in Japan? Why do we subsidize Germany, and they subsidize their socialized system over there? Because we pay for it. We’re broke.

And this whole thing that this can’t be on the table, I’ll tell you what, this debt bubble is the thing you better really worry about, because it’s imploding on us right now. It’s worldwide.

We are no more removed from this than man the man on the moon. It’s going to get much worse.

And to cut military spending is a wise thing to do. We would be safer if we weren’t in so many places.

We have an empire. We can’t afford it. The empires always bring great nations down. We spread ourselves too thinly around the world. This is what’s happened throughout history, and we’re doing it to ourselves.

The most recent empire to fail was an empire that went into, of all places, Afghanistan…

COOPER: Time.

PAUL: … they went broke. So where are we? In Afghanistan. I say it’s time to come home. [cheering and applause]

COOPER: It’s time.

We have a Twitter question. Given that Israel has just negotiated with Palestine for a soldier, would any of you negotiate for a hostage?

Herman Cain, let me ask this to you. A few hours ago you were asked by Wolf Blitzer, if al Qaeda had an American soldier in captivity, and they demanded the release of everyone at Guantanamo Bay, would you release them? And you said, quote: “I can see myself authorizing that kind of a transfer. Can you explain?

CAIN: The rest of the statement was quite simply, you would have to consider the entire situation. But let me say this first, I would have a policy that we do not negotiate with terrorists. We have to lay that principle down first.

Now being that you have to look at each individual situation and consider all the facts. The point that I made about this particular situation is that I’m sure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to consider a lot of things before he made that.

So on the surface, I don’t think we can say he did the right thing or not. A responsible decision-maker would have considered everything.

COOPER: But you’re saying you could — I mean, in your words, you’ve said that I could see myself authorizing that kind of a transfer. Isn’t that negotiating with, in this case, al Qaeda?

CAIN: I don’t recall him saying that it was al Qaeda-related.

COOPER: Yes, he did. He said…

CAIN: Well, I don’t really — my policy will be we cannot negotiate with terrorists. That’s where we have to start as a fundamental principle.

COOPER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Oh, absolutely not. I mean, you can’t negotiate with terrorists, period.

To address Congressman Paul’s answer and the other answer on military spending, I would absolutely not cut one penny out of military spending. The first order of the federal government, the only thing the federal government can do that no other level of government can do is protect us. It is the first duty of the president of the United States is to protect us. [applause]

SANTORUM: And we should have the resources — we should have all the resources in place to make sure that we can defend our borders, that we can make sure that when we engage in foreign countries, we do so to succeed.

That has been the problem in this administration. We’ve had political objectives instead of objectives for success. And that’s why we haven’t succeeded. And as Michele said and correctly said, the central threat right now is Iran.

The disrespect, yes, but it’s more than that. They sent a message. The two countries that they went after was the leader of the Islamic world, Saudi Arabia, and the leader of the, quote, “secular world,” the United States.

This was a call by Iran to say we are the ones who are going to be the supreme leader of the Islamic world…

COOPER: Time.

SANTORUM: … and we are going to be the supreme leader of the secular world. And that’s why they attacked here. And, by the way, they did it in coordination…

COOPER: Time.

SANTORUM: … with Central and South Americans, which I have been talking about and writing about and talking about for 10 years.

COOPER: Congressman Paul, you were referenced in that answer, 30 seconds.

PAUL: Well, I think we’re on economic suicide if we’re not even willing to look at some of these overseas expenditures, 150 bases — 900 bases, 150 different countries. We have enough weapons to blow up the world about 20-25 times. We have more weapons than all the other countries put together essentially.

And we want to spend more and more, and you can’t cut a penny? I mean, this is why we’re at an impasse. I want to hear somebody up here willing to cut something. Something real. [cheering and applause]

PAUL: This budget is in bad shape and the financial calamity is going to be much worse than anybody ever invading this country. Which country — are they going to invade this country? They can’t even shoot a missile at us.

COOPER: We have a question in the hall that gets to your question. The question in the hall on foreign aid? Yes, ma’am.

VICKI O’KEEFE, BOULDER CITY, NEVADA: The American people are suffering in our country right now. Why do we continue to send foreign aid to other countries when we need all the help we can get for ourselves?

COOPER: Governor Perry, what about that? I mean… [applause]

PERRY: Absolutely. I think it’s time for this country to have a very real debate about foreign aid. Clearly there are places. As a matter of fact, I think it’s time for us to have a very serious discussion about defunding the United Nations. [cheering and applause]

PERRY: When you think about — when you think about the Palestinian Authority circumventing those Oslo Accords and going to New York to try to create the conflict and to have themselves approved as a state without going through the proper channels is a travesty.

And I think it’s time not only to have that entire debate about all of our foreign aid, but in particular the U.N. Why are we funding that organization? [cheering and applause]

COOPER: Governor Romney, should foreign aid be eliminated?

ROMNEY: Foreign aid has several elements. One of those elements is defense, is to make sure that we are able to have the defense resources we want in certain places of the world. That probably ought to fall under the Department of Defense budget rather than a foreign aid budget.

Part of it is humanitarian aid around the world. I happen to think it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to borrow money from the Chinese to go give to another country for humanitarian aid. We ought to get the Chinese to take care of the people that are — and think of that borrowed money on today.

And finally there’s a portion of our foreign aid that allows us to carry out our activities in the world such as what’s happening in Pakistan where we’re taking — we’re supplying our troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan.

But let me tell you: We’re spending more on foreign aid than we ought to be spending. And Congressman Paul asked, is there a place we can cut the budget? Let me tell you where we cut the budget. Discretionary accounts you bring back to 2008 level. We get rid of Obamacare. Number three, we take Medicaid, turn it back to the states, grow it at only 1 percent to 2 percent per year. Number three, we cut — number four, rather, we cut federal employment by at least 10 percent through attrition. And finally, we say to federal employees: You’re not going to make more money than the people in the private sector who are paying for you. We link their compensation. [applause]

COOPER: Time.

Congressman Paul?

PAUL: On foreign aid, that should be the easiest thing to cut. It’s not authorized in the Constitution that we can take money from you and give it to particular countries around the world. To me, foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries. And it becomes weapons of war. Essentially, no well — no matter how well-motivated it is…

COOPER: Congressman Paul, would you cut aid to Israel?

PAUL: I would cut all foreign aid. I would treat everybody equally and fairly. And I don’t think aid to Israel actually helps them. I think it teaches them to be dependent. We’re on a bankruptcy course.

And — and look at what’s the result of all that foreign aid we gave to Egypt? I mean, their — their dictator that we pumped up, we spent all these billions of dollars, and now there’s a more hostile regime in Egypt. And that’s what’s happening all around Israel. That foreign aid makes Israel dependent on us. It softens them for their own economy. And they should have their sovereignty back. They should be able to deal with their neighbors…

COOPER: Time. Congresswoman Bachmann…

PAUL: … at their own will. [applause]

COOPER: Should we cut foreign aid to Israel?

BACHMANN: No, we should not be cutting foreign aid to Israel. Israel is our greatest ally. The biggest problem is the fact… [applause] … that the president — the biggest problem with this administration in foreign policy is that President Obama is the first president since Israel declared her sovereignty put daylight between the United States and Israel. That heavily contributed to the current hostilities that we see in the Middle East region.

Cutting back on foreign aid is one thing. Being reimbursed by nations that we have liberated is another. We should look to Iraq and Libya to reimburse us for part of what we have done to liberate these nations. [applause]

Now, I need to add something on this issue of negotiating for hostages. This is a very serious issue. For any candidate to say that they would release the prisoners at Guantanamo in exchange for a hostage would be absolutely contrary to the historical nature of the United States and what we do in our policy. That’s naive; we cannot do that. The United States has done well because we have an absolute policy: We don’t negotiate.

COOPER: Herman Cain, I’ve got to give you 30 seconds, because she was referring to — basically saying you were naive or if — if that’s what you were suggesting. CAIN: No, I — I said that I believe in the philosophy of we don’t negotiate with terrorists. I think — I didn’t say — I would never agree to letting hostages in Guantanamo Bay go. No, that wasn’t — that wasn’t the intent at all.

But let me go back to this, if I could, very quickly in the time that I have left, the question that you asked about, foreign aid. My approach is an extension of the Reagan approach: Peace through strength, which is peace through strength and clarity. If we clarify who our friends are, clarify who our enemies are, and stop giving money to our enemies, then we ought to continue to give money to our friends, like Israel.

COOPER: You have 30 seconds, Congressman Paul, and then we’ve got to go.

PAUL: Oh, yes. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to make a statement. I want to ask a question. Are you all willing to condemn Ronald Reagan for exchanging weapons for hostages out of Iran? We all know that was done.

SANTORUM: That’s not — Iran was a sovereign country. It was not a terrorist organization, number one.

PAUL: Oh, they were our good friends back then, huh?

SANTORUM: They’re not our good friends. They’re — they’re — they’re a sovereign country, just like the — the Palestinian Authority is not the good friends of Israel.

PAUL: He negotiated for hostages.

SANTORUM: There’s — there’s a role — we negotiated with hostages [inaudible] the Soviet Union. We’ve negotiated with hostages, depending on the scale. But there’s a difference between releasing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in response to a terrorist demand…

PAUL: But they’re all suspects. They’re not terrorists. You haven’t convicted them of anything.

SANTORUM: Then — then — then negotiating with other countries, where we may have an interest, and that is certainly a proper role for the United States, too.

COOPER: We’ve got to take a quick break. I do want to give Speaker Gingrich 30 seconds, and then…

GINGRICH: Just very straightforward. Callista and I did a film on Ronald Reagan. There’s a very painful moment in the film when he looks in the camera and says, “I didn’t think we did this. I’m against doing it. I went back and looked. The truth is, we did. It was an enormous mistake.”

And he thought the Iranian deals with a terrible mistake.

COOPER: We’re going to take a short break. Our debate though continues on the other side of the break, so stay tuned.

When we return, which candidate has the best chance to beat Barack Obama, and should it matter in your vote?

Stay with us. [applause]

[commercial break]

COOPER: And welcome back. The GOP debate is under way.

Let’s talk about probably the most important issue to everybody on this stage, and probably just about everybody in this room, which is, who can beat President Barack Obama in this next election?

In today’s new CNN/ORC poll, 41 percent of Republican voters think that Governor Romney has the best chance of beating the president. [applause]

COOPER: To Senator Santorum, you got one percent. Why shouldn’t Republican voters go with the candidate they feel that can best beat President Obama?

SANTORUM: Well, the Pew poll last week asked how many people in this country can name any of us? And less than 50 percent could come up with even one. So, the idea that this has any relevance to people who aren’t paying close attention to this debate is, in fact, irrelevant. What’s relevant is to look at the track record.

No one in this field has won a swing state. Pennsylvania is a swing state. We win Pennsylvania, we win the election. The Republicans nominate it.

I’ve won it twice. I defeated a Democratic incumbent, winning it the first time, and I won the state of Pennsylvania, the only senator to win a state who was a conservative that George Bush lost. Bush lost it by 5, I won it by 6.

So, you have someone who is defeated and been matched up against three Democratic incumbents. I’m 3-0.

Nobody in this field has won a major race against a Democratic incumbent except me. No one has won a swing state except me as a conservative.

I didn’t run as a Democrat in Texas when it was popular, won and win there. I didn’t run as a liberal in 1994. I ran in 1994, the same year Mitt did in Massachusetts. He ran as a liberal, to the left of Kennedy, and lost. I ran as a conservative against James Carville and Paul Begala, and I won.

In 2002, he ran as a moderate. He ran as a moderate in — in Massachusetts. I ran for re-election having sponsored and passed welfare reform, having authored the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

COOPER: Time.

SANTORUM: I was a — a moral conservative, I was a foreign policy conservative…

COOPER: Time, Senator.

SANTORUM: … I was a fiscal conservative, and I got elected in a state that hasn’t elected a president since 1988 as a Republican.

COOPER: Thank you.

Governor Romney, I’ve got to give you 30 seconds, since he referenced you.

ROMNEY: I think the people of America are looking for someone who can beat President Obama and can get the country on the right track. And I believe that they’ve recognized that if they elect someone who’s spent their life in politics that they’re not going to be able to post up well against President Obama and convince the American people of the truth of the — of the principles that we believe in.

I believe that, having spent my life in the private sector, having actually created jobs is what allows me to have the kind of support that’s going to allow me to replace President Obama and get the country on the right track again. That, for me, is a distinguishing feature that’s going to get me elected as the president of the United States.

COOPER: Governor… [applause]

Governor Perry, was he referring to you?

PERRY: If you want to know how someone’s going to act in the future, look how they act in the past. I mean, so, Mitt, while you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period of time, you were 47th in the nation in job creation. During that same period of time, we created 20 times more jobs. As a matter of fact, you’d created 40,000 jobs total in your four years. Last two months, we created more jobs than that in Texas.

What we need is someone who will draw a bright contrast between themselves and President Obama. And let me tell you one thing: I will draw that bright contrast.

COOPER: I’ve got to give you 30 seconds. Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Yeah. With regards to track record in the past, Governor, you were the chairman of Al Gore’s campaign, all right? [laughter] And there was a fellow — there was a fellow Texan named George Bush running. So if we’re looking at the past, I think we know where you were.

Secondly, our unemployment rate I got down to 4.7 percent, pretty darn good. I think a lot of people would be happy to have 4.7 percent. And with regards… [applause]

With regards to the — to the record — to the record in Texas, you probably also ought to tell people that if you look over the last several years, 40 percent, almost half the jobs created in Texas were created for illegal aliens, illegal immigrants.

PERRY: That is an absolute falsehood on its face, Mitt.

COOPER: You have 30 seconds, Governor Perry.

ROMNEY: It’s actually — it’s actually…

PERRY: That is — that is absolutely incorrect, sir.

ROMNEY: Well, take a look at the study.

PERRY: There’s a third — there’s been a third party take a look at that study, and it is absolutely incorrect. The fact is, Texas has led the nation in job creation. eBay and Facebook and Caterpillar didn’t come there because there weren’t jobs and there wasn’t an environment to be created.

That’s what Americans are looking for. They’re looking for somebody that they trust, that knows has the executive governing experience. I’ve got it. You failed as the governor of Massachusetts.

COOPER: I’ve got to give Governor Romney 30 seconds. He said you failed. [booing]

ROMNEY: I’m very proud of the fact — actually, during the four years we were both governors, my unemployment rate in Massachusetts was lower than your unemployment rate in Texas. That’s number one.

Number two, getting it down to 4.7, I’m pretty happy with. We worked very hard to balance our budget, did every year, put in place a rainy-day fund of $2 billion by the time I was finished.

And I’ll tell you this, the American people would be happy for an individual who can lead the country who’s actually created jobs, not just watching them get created by others, but someone who knows how the economy works because he’s been in it. I have. I’ve created jobs. I’ll use that skill to get America working again. That’s what we want. [applause]

COOPER: Herman Cain, you’re — Herman Cain, you’re tied with Governor Romney in some of the polls for the top leadership position right now. Is a — are they the ones — are either Governor Perry or Governor Romney, are they the ones who should be president?

CAIN: No, I should be president.

COOPER: Well, obviously. [applause]

CAIN: Governor Romney has a very distinguished career, and I would agree with much of what he has said. And there’s one difference between the two of us in terms of our experience. With all due respect, his business executive experience has been more Wall Street- oriented; mine has been more Main Street.

I have managed small companies. I’ve actually had to clean the parking lot. I’ve worked with groups of businesses, et cetera.

And as far as contrasting me with President Obama, if I am fortunate enough to become the Republican nominee, it’s going to be the problem-solver who fixes stuff versus the president who hasn’t fixed anything in this country. [applause]

COOPER: Governor Romney, you’ve got 30 seconds.

ROMNEY: I — I appreciate that. And probably the fact that we’re doing as well as we are is we both have a private-sector background. That probably helps.

But I just want to set the record state on my record — record straight on my record. I’ve been chief executive officer four times, once for a start-up and three times for turnarounds. One was a financial services company. That was the start-up. A — a consulting company, that’s a mainstream business. The Olympics, that’s certainly mainstream. And, of course, the state of Massachusetts. In all those settings, I’ve learned how to create jobs.

COOPER: Your campaigns are telling us we have to end. It’s time…

[crosstalk]

BACHMANN: Oh, no, no, no…

GINGRICH: Wait a second.

COOPER: Sorry.

BACHMANN: Anderson, Anderson, that is…

COOPER: It’s your campaigns. I’m…

BACHMANN: Anderson…

[crosstalk]

COOPER: If you want to defy your campaigns, go ahead. Congresswoman Bachmann, 30 seconds.

BACHMANN: Anderson — Anderson, the good news is, the cake is baked. Barack Obama will be a one-term president; there’s no question about that. [applause]

Now the question is, we need to listen to Ronald Reagan who said no pastels, bold colors. I am the most different candidate from Barack Obama than anyone on this stage.

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich?

BACHMANN: We can’t settle in this race.

COOPER: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: Let me — let me just point out for a second that maximizing bickering is probably not the road to the White House. [applause]

And the — the technique you’ve used maximizes going back and forth over and over again.

I just want to say two things. I think that I would be the strongest candidate because of sheer substance, if you go to newt.org and look at the 21st Century Contract with America. As the nominee, I will challenge Obama to meet the Lincoln-Douglas standard of seven three-hour debate, no time — no moderator, only a timekeeper. I believe we can defeat him decisively to a point where we re-establish a conservative America on our values. And I think that is a key part of thinking about next year.

COOPER: We’d love to host those on CNN.

I want to thank all the candidates, the GOP candidates tonight. [applause]

[crosstalk]

COOPER: I want to thank all the candidates for a spirited debate on the stage. We also want to thank our co-sponsors, the Western Republican Leadership Conference, our host, the Sands Convention Center at the Venetian. Our coverage of “America’s Choice 2012” continues right now here on CNN.