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

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates “Undercard” Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Among Candidates Averaging Less Than 2.5% in Opinion Polls
November 10, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project

PARTICIPANTS:
Governor Chris Christie (NJ);
Former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR);
Governor Bobby Jindal (LA);
Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA);

MODERATORS:
Trish Regan (Fox Business Network);
Gerald Seib (The Wall Street Journal); and
Sandra Smith (Fox Business Network)

REGAN: Good evening, and welcome to the historic Milwaukee Theater. Tonight, you’ll hear from 12 Republican candidates vying to become the next President of the United States. I’m Trish Regan, along with my co-moderators, Sandra Smith, and from the Wall Street Journal, Jerry Seib.

SEIB: This evening Fox Business is partnering with the Wall Street Journal to bring you the fourth republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign. For the next hour, four of the candidates will be here answering the question voters want answered.

REGAN: Let’s introduce them. New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. [cheering and applause]

Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee. [cheering and applause]

Former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum. [applause]

And, Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal. [applause]

JINDAL: …Thank you.

SMITH: Alright, this debate will last one hour. Each candidate will have up to 90 seconds to respond to each question. One minute for each follow up. When your time is up, you’re going to hear this bell.

[bell sound]

Alright, that’s it, so let’s begin with Governor Christie. Governor, economically, our country is struggling with some of the anemic growth we have seen on record. More than 90 million Americans are unemployed, or they are not in the workforce altogether.

The number of people now willing, able, and wanting to go to work is at a level that has fallen to a level we have not been since the 1970’s. For those that are working, wages aren’t budging while other things, costs, like housing, remain high.

As President, what concrete steps will you take to get America back to work.

CHRISTIE: Well, first I want to share a story with you that relates to your question. I was in New Hampshire last week, and a woman approached me after the town hall meeting and she said to me, “Governor, I’m really concerned.”

I said, “What are your concerns?”

And, she said, “I don’t quite how to describe it,” she said. “But, every month when my bills come in, I feel this awful anxiety in the pit of my stomach that I’m not going to have enough to pay them that month.”

There are tens of millions of Americans living that way after the worst recovery from an economic recession since World War II. And, let’s be clear, if we do not change course, if we follow the President’s lead, and that’s exactly what Secretary Clinton will do, we’re going to be in the same circumstance — with government picking the winners and losers.

So, let me be clear about what we’ll do. First, Make the tax code fairer, flatter, and simplier. Get rid of all the special interest deductions. You know, the American people feel like the tax code is rigged for the rich, and you know why they feel that way? Because it is.

We’ll get rid of all those special interest deductions except for the home mortgage interest deduction, and the charitable contribution deduction. Everyone will get lower rates, keep more of their own money, be able to file their tax returns in 15 minutes, and, by the way, the good thing, I’ll be able to fire a whole bunch of IRS agents once we do that. [applause]

And, in addition, we need to get the government off of our backs. Dodd-Frank, all the different regulations, 81,000 pages of new regulation by this administration just last year — it is suffocating small business, it is suffocating the folks who are trying to make a living. I will do what I did in New Jersey…[bell ringing]…lift if off their backs. [applause]

SMITH: Thank you. Governor Huckabee, we’re here Wisconsin, a state that has seen the biggest decline in middle-class households of any American state. With more than 120,000 manufacturing jobs being lost in the last 15 years. As we move away from a manufacturing economy to a services based, technological economy, how are you going to help the millions of Americans that are stuck in this transition?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, Trish, I don’t know why we have to move away from manufacturing. The only reason we have is because… [applause] …we have a tax code that has punished manufacturing. I hear a lot of people talk about the plans to simplify the tax code. I’ve got one better than any of the simplifications, it’s called a, “Fair Tax”, and it eliminates all of the taxes on our productivity.

Here’s what would happen. We’d get rid of taxes on people’s work, so, we wouldn’t punish people for working anymore. Yeah, we’ve lost five million manufacturing jobs just since the year 2000 — 160,000 manufacturing plants have close in this country, which means a lot of people — that the governors talking about, he’s exactly right. They don’t have jobs anymore.

And the reason they don’t have jobs is because their jobs are in Mexico, they’re in China, they’re in Indonesia.

Bring the jobs back. And with the fair tax, you do that, because you don’t tax capital and labor and you bring a real sense of equity to the opportunity so that people will not only make it easier to function, they’ll get the manufacturing jobs back.

And here’s the best part. We don’t reduce the IRS, we get rid of the IRS. We completely eliminate them…[applause]…because the government has no business knowing how much money we make and how we made it. It’s none of their business. And that’s why I believe that manufacturing is critical. If we can’t feed ourselves, fuel ourselves and fight for ourselves, we can’t be free.

And by the way, fighting for ourselves means manufacturing our own weapons of self-defense.

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee. [applause]

SEIB: Senator Santorum, you’re all obviously highly critical of President Obama’s economic record. But federal statistics show that payrolls have expanded by 8.7 million new jobs so far during his time in office. All the jobs lost in the recession were recovered by last year. And in October, the economy added jobs at the fastest rate since 2009.

So what’s wrong with the Obama jobs record?

SANTORUM: The middle of America is hollowing out. All you have to do is listen to the last Democratic debate and you would think there was a Republican president in office the way they complained about how bad things are in America and how the middle — the middle of America is hollowing out.

I agree with Mike Huckabee. I spent this morning in Chicago at Fabtech, which is a sheet manufac — a sheet metal fabricators conference. Thousands of people there explained the latest and newest technologies.

You know what I was told?

I was told when I went to booth after booth that there are 250,000 welder jobs open in America — 250,000 welder jobs paying anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 a year, and if you want to weld pipe on a, you know, for oil and gas pipelines, you can make $100,000 a year.

Every manufacturer — I go to one every single week. In fact, I have with me in the — in the crowd here today a gentleman who is a supporter of mine from Rockwall, Texas, Ed Grand-Lienard. He runs Special Products.

And he tells me he has jobs open in every skill that he — he — he could possibly hire for in Rockwall, Texas, but he can’t find people.

So the issue is, yes, we need a tax code. I — I propose a 20 percent flat tax — 20 percent on corporations, 20 percent on — on individuals, full expensing, which will be powerful for manufacturing, a 0 percent rate, initially, for manufacturers.

We’re going to have a very powerful tax code. We’re going to do something about regulation. We’re going to suspected every single ObamaCare regu — Obama regulation that cost over $100,000 to the economy.

But we have to start doing something about training and employing people who are sitting on the sidelines because they don’t see a path. And we have a — a bureaucracy in Washington and a president in Washington — and even among Republicans who think everybody has to go to college. People need to go to work and we need to provide…[buzzer noise]…opportunities for them to go to work out of high school. [applause]

REGAN: All right, Governor Jindal, you have pushed Louisiana’s energy resources as a means to grow jobs in your state. But as oil prices have plunged in recent months, so has jobs growth.

Louisiana now has an unemployment rate above the national average.

Will your energy-focused jobs plan for the country be subject to the same market ups and downs?

JINDAL: A couple of things.

In Louisiana, we’re actually a top 10 state for job growth. As we sit here today, we have more people working in Louisiana than ever before, earning a higher income than ever before. We’ve had 60 months in a row of consecutive job growth in our state. So the reality is, we have diversified our economy. Yes, I’ve got an interview plan that says all of the above, that creates good manufacturing jobs in America. We’ve also got one of the fastest growing IT sectors by percentage. We are growing Louisiana’s economy.

But let me get to the point that is, I think, the most important issue here tonight. You’re going to have several hours of debate on the economy and we’re going to have a great discussion about energy plans and tax rates. And that’s all great.

The most important thing we have to do, we have a fundamental choice to make, folks.

Are we willing to cut the government economy so we can grow the American economy?

That is the most fundamental question we’ve got to answer.

We are on the path to socialism right now. [applause]

These are mutually exclusive. The hour is late, but it is not too late for America.

Though under President Obama, you asked about his economy. We’ve got record dependents, a record number of Americans on food stamps, record low participation rate in the work force.

This is a fundamental choice. Sending a big government Republican to DC is not enough to fix this problem. It’s not enough just to beat Hillary Clinton. We’ve got to change the direction of our country.

What that means is let’s shrink the government, not slow its growth rate, but actually shrink the government so we can grow the American economy. That is the fundamental issue we should be debating here tonight.

REGAN: All right, Governor Jindal, thank you. [applause]

Governor Christie, you have said that the Democrats’ message is one of, quote, “free stuff.” In contrast, Republicans want to reduce spending. How do you win a national election when the Democrats are offering free health care, a free or subsidized college education, and you’re the party that is seemingly offering nothing in the way of immediate tangible benefits?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sure. [laughter]

If anybody believes the stuff they heard from that Democratic debate a few weeks ago, there’s nothing for free. What they forgot to tell was that they’re going to raise your tax rates to 70 or 80 percent in order to provide all of that stuff.

But let me ask the folks at home one very simple question, do you want to give Washington more control over your life? Do you think they’re doing such a great job that now let’s have them control what our corporations pay their employees? Let’s have them control every aspect of our economy?

Is Washington doing that good a job for you right now? And the fact is that if you listen to Hillary Clinton, she has made it very clear, she believes that she can make decisions for you better than you can make them for yourself.

She believes that Washington, D.C., should pick the winners and losers in our economy, and in our life. And here’s what I believe as a Republican, I believe the greatness of America is not in its government.

The greatness of America is in the American people. And what we need to do is get the government the hell out of the way and let the American people win once again. [cheering and applause]

REGAN: Senator Santorum, a single mom with no job and two kids in New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation primary, is eligible for more than $30,000 a year in benefits. Even if she could find a job, she would need to find child care. And in many cases may conclude it’s better for her to live off government benefits.

Senator, how do you help and incentivize her to go to work? And if you’re the one that’s going to cut her benefits, why should she vote for you?

SANTORUM: Well, the answer is first that we need to do something about a tax code that doesn’t penalize. One thing that I’m excited about our tax code, proposed changes, is it’s very pro-family.

You have a $2,700 tax credit, period, for every person in that family, so that family, you know, would have about an $8,000 tax credit, which would be refundable. So every dollar she works, she’s still only losing 20 cents.

The problem with the tax code today, because of all the different provisions, you’re right, you go back to work, you lose welfare benefits, you’re losing money. Throw on top of that the — even a bigger problem, over 50 percent of children being raised in a home today of a single mom are raised in a home where the father is born — father is (sic) living at the child — the time the child is born.

Now what does that mean? That means we have incentivized people not to marry. We’ve incentivized people to cohabitate instead of not marry, why? Because mom will lose welfare benefits if she marries father.

It’s not just mom going back to work, but it’s mother and father marrying to form a more stable family for that child to be raised in a two-parent family.

So we’ve got all sorts of really corrupt incentives that were put in place, well meaning by the left. But we need to remove those. We need to remove those incentives. We need to adopt a tax code that says we’re going to be pro-family and pro-work. And that’s what we’ll do. [applause]

SMITH: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Huckabee, you have characterized entitlement reform as both political and economic suicide. Taxpayers currently spend more than $600 billion per year on social welfare programs, with the intended goal of getting people back on their feet and working again.

Today a record number of Americans aren’t even looking for work. Are our social welfare programs, while well-intended, creating a culture of dependency? If so, how will you fix it?

HUCKABEE: Well, Sandra, first of all, let me mention the fact that I think there’s a big difference between welfare programs and what some people call entitlements. Namely, Social Security and Medicare.

I just want to remind everybody out there who has ever had a paycheck, the government didn’t ask you if you wanted them to take money out of your check for Social Security and Medicare. They did that involuntarily.

Those are not entitlements and that’s not welfare. That’s an earned benefit. And by gosh, you paid for it. And if the government screwed it up, you shouldn’t have to pay the penalty because of an incompetent government.

That’s different than the social programs that we’ve spent $2 trillion on since the War on Poverty began exactly 50 years ago this year.

Now the reason we still have so much poverty is because it was never designed to get people out of poverty. It was designed to make sure that there was an industry of poverty, so that the people in the poverty industry would have a lot of jobs. But the people who are poor haven’t been benefited. Having grown up poor, I know a little something about it. Nobody who is poor wants to be. That’s a nonsense statement and I hear it all the time. Well, poor people ought to work harder. They’re working as hard as they can, for gosh sake.

But the problem is the system keeps pushing them down because, if they work, then they get punished. They lose all the benefits. When we did welfare reform in the ’90s, you know what we did? We said you’re not going to lose everything at once. There’s not an arbitrary threshold. So as you move up the ladder from work and training, you’ll actually always be better off than you were before. That’s the American way.

SMITH: Thank you, Governor.

SEIB: Governor Jindal, Republicans have now 32 of the nation’s 50 governor seats. But, even while you’re doing very well at the state level, you keep falling short nationally. You’ve lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Are Democrats simply putting forward a better national economic message than the one Republicans are offering? And what should Republicans do about it.

JINDAL: No, I think right now there’s not much difference between the two parties. The reason we keep losing nationally is we try to be cheaper versions of the Democratic party. What if the Republicans, what if Republicans actually embraced our own principles? So I earlier said if you want bigger paychecks, you want more jobs, you want less government dependence, you’re going to have to cut government spending. Here’s the dirty little secret.

You’re going to hear a lot of Republicans tonight in this debate and the next one talk about cutting government spending. It’s going to sound great. There’s only one of us that’s actually cut government spending. Not two, there’s one, and you’re looking at him. We’ve got four senators running. They’ve never cut anything in D.C. They give these long speeches called filibusters, they pat themselves on the back, nothing changes. When they go to relieve themselves their cause and the toilet get flushed at the same time, and the American people lose. We’ve got a bunch of governors running, we’ve got seven current former governors running. I’m the only one that has cut government spending. Everybody else can talk about it. If they haven’t done it in their state capitals, what makes them thank that — what makes us think they’ll do it if we send them to D.C. Look, when politicians talk, we need to look at what they have done, not what they have said. Otherwise, it’s a bunch of hot air. We’ve cut our budget 26 percent. Record number of Louisianans working.

If Republicans want to win national elections, let’s be conservatives, let’s be Republicans, let’s not be a second version of the liberal party, let’s cut government spending and grow the American economy.

SMITH: Do you have something to add, Governor?

HUCKABEE: Well, I’d just like to respond, with all due respect to, to the Governor, to the state just south of me, I would say that a lot of us have cut things. And during the recession of 2001 to 2003, when 91 percent of our state budget was basically three things, educate, medicate and incarcerate, we ended up cutting 11 percent out of the state budget through that recession so we didn’t have to go in and raise a bunch of taxes, and there were people who thought we should.

So it’s just not accurate to say that nobody else up here has ever cut. I believe every governor has probably had to make tough decisions. I’m, I’m guessing my colleague Governor Christie has, as I’m tossing him the ball like Arkansas did to Ol’ Miss the other day.

UNIDENTIFIED: Why don’t, why don’t we…

JINDAL: Wait, wait, wait. I want to respond. He has criticized something I said. I want to respond to that. Mike, with all due respect, I admire your social views, I share many of those views, your record as Governor tells a different story. Was — your time as Governor spending in Arkansas went up 65 percent, number of state workers went up 20 percent, the taxes for the average citizen went up 47 percent. That’s not a record of cutting. I’m saying we’ve actually cut. We reduced the size of our budget. So wanting to cut is one thing, actually cutting is a different thing. Facts don’t lie.

SMITH: All right. Let’s, let’s bring Governor Christie in next.

HUCKABEE: Sandra, before we get too far away, he specifically brought out some things about the record that I need to correct.

SMITH: All right. Well, let’s get the — let’s keep the conversation going. Let’s bring Governor Christie in here because we’re talking about national debt, climbing toward $19 trillion, Governor. Our federal government employed nearly three million workers, our tax code is more than 74,000 pages long. If you’re elected President, Governor Christie, what concrete steps would you take to reduce the size of the federal government?

CHRISTIE: First off, let me, let me just say this in response to this back and forth. For the people who are out there right now, I want to guarantee you one thing real clearly. If you think that Mike Huckabee won’t be the kind of President who will cut back spending, or Chris Christie, or John Kasich, wait ’til you see what Hillary Clinton will do to this country and how she will drown us in debt. She is the real adversary tonight and we’d better stay focused as Republicans on her.

Now I’ve forward, I put forward an entitlement reform plan.

We spend 71 cents of every dollar in America on entitlements and debt service, and if — you know, Willy Sutton used to say, when they asked him why he robbed banks, he said that’s ’cause that’s where the money is, OK?

And where the money is in the federal government are these entitlement programs and debt service.

What I’ve said is we need to get a hold of that. We cannot continue to go down the $19 trillion in debt.

So our plan will save over $1 trillion over the next 10 years and make sure that Social Security and Medicare are there for those who truly need it and also make sure that we have money to be able to reduce taxes and spend on the things we need to spend.

I will also, on my first day as — as president, sign a executive order that says no more regulation for the next 120 days by any government agency or department. We are drowning in regulations. Stop and then we’ll go out there and we’ll cut and reduce regulation that small business owners across this country want us to do.

You’ll grow the economy then. More money will come into the system and we’ll get more closer to balance.

But the bottom line is, believe me, Hillary Clinton’s coming for your wallet, everybody. Don’t worry about Huckabee or Jindal, worry about her. [applause]

REGAN: Governor Christie, thank you. [applause]

All right, we are just getting started.

Medicare, Social Security and the future of ObamaCare — that is all straight ahead, live from Milwaukee and the Republican presidential debate.

[commercial break] [applause]

REGAN: Welcome back to the Milwaukee Theater, and the Republican Presidential Debate. On to the next round of questions, Gerry has the next question.

SEIB: Senator Santorum, we’re in the Upper-Midwest, heart of the American auto industry. The Auto Alliance says the state of Wisconsin, where we are tonight, is home to 176 auto supplier companies. Back in 2008, you opposed the use of federal bailout funds for automakers as proposed then by the Bush administration. The automakers survived. In retrospect, do you still think that was the right position.

SANTORUM: Absolutely. I’m a capitalist, not a corporatist. I’m not someone who believes we should be bailing out corporations whether their auto industries, or banks. [applause]

And, it is simply a matter that there’s auto industry — the auto industry would have survived, it would have survived through a bankruptcy process of — instead of Washington picking a winner and a loser. And, in this case, the losers are the bondholders, and the winners were the unions. That’s fine. They did it, the unions — the unions survived. We — we have not survived in continuing to grow manufacturing jobs. We have a — we have a president, and an economy right now, that is killing — choking our ability to be able to compete.

I’m one of the few people up here who actually believes that we need a level playing field when it comes to manufacturing. That means a good tax code, a good regulatory environment, low energy prices, better opportunities for workers to get training, and, also, I’m — a supporter of the EXIM bank. Everybody else on this stage, everybody else, I think, in the entire field, is opposed to it.

Why can you — how can you come out and say I’m for manufacturing when a majority of republican congressmen and senators supported the EXIM bank because it means jobs for American workers here in America. The fact is that we’ve seen already G.E. lose jobs here in America, and just move those jobs to France and Hungary. We have a right as a country to compete with other countries that have export financing.

Every major manufacturer, 60 countries, competes against America, wants to take our jobs, and we have every Republican candidate — you want to talk about communicating to workers here in Wisconsin? [bell rings]

Ask them why we’re tying one hand behind our back and saying go out and compete. [applause]

SEIB: Thank you, Senator Santorum.

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, you differ from many of your GOP opponents on the stage tonight over accepting Syrian refugees into this country. You have said, “We don’t have an obligation to just open our doors.”

As the Islamic state continues to expand, slaughtering and crucifying Christians, including women and children, refugees continue to flee their land by the thousands. Should America open its doors to accept any refugees in this country? If so, how many?

HUCKABEE: Sandra, I’ve been concerned that this administration has not done anything to help stop the slaughter of Christians. We didn’t help the Kurds, we said we would. But, the idea that we’re just going to open our doors, and we have no idea who these people are — what we do know is that only one out of five of the so called, “Syrian Refugees”, who went into Europe were actually Syrian. Many of them, we had no idea who they were. They weren’t Syrian.

Are we going to open the doors so that the ISIS people will come on in, and we’ll give them a place to say, and a good sandwich, and medical benefits? My gosh, we have $19 trillion dollars in debt, we can’t even afford to take care of Americans.

So…[applause]…If we’re going to do something for the Syrians…[applause]…let’s find out who they really are, and the ones that are really in danger, let’s help build an encampment for them, but closer to where they live, rather than bringing them here when they don’t know the language, the culture — and, frankly, if we’ve got as many homeless people as we have, I’m not sure this makes any sense.

So, let’s do it where we can best help them. Send them some food. But, let’s ask the Saudi’s to step up. I’m really tired of Americans being the only ones asked to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to charity, and, quite frankly, my number one concern right now is taking care of the fact that Americans are taking it in the gut without jobs. Many of them working two and three part time jobs. And, if America wants to do something great, let’s get our economy growing again, stabilize the dollar, and we’ll be in a much better position to help people around the world.

REGAN: Alright, Governor Huckabee, thank you. [applause]

SMITH: Governor Christie, China is stealing our technology. China is pirating our intellectual property, and China’s hacking into our computers, spying on American corporations, and spying on our citizens. China also slaps tariffs on U.S. goods, making it harder for us to sell our products. How are you going to stop them?

CHRISTIE: Well, let’s start with this, remember why we’re in the position we’re in with China, because an absolutely weak and feckless foreign policy that was engineered by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. That’s why we’re in the position we’re in…[applause]…because the Chinese…[applause]…the Chinese don’t take us seriously and why should they?

Why should they?

They hacked into the American government’s personnel file and took millions of records in cyberwarfare against this country. I’m one of the victims of that hack. They took my Social Security number, my fingerprints as a former United States attorney that was on file in there.

And what has this president done?

Not one thing.

Let me be really clear about what I would do.

If the Chinese commit cyberwarfare against us, they are going to see cyberwarfare like they have never seen before. And that is a closed society in China…[applause]…where they’re hiding information from their own people. The information we take, we’ll make sure all the Chinese people see it. Then they’ll have some real fun in Beijing when we start showing them how they’re spending their money in China. [applause]

And one last thing.

One last thing. I will tell you this, they’re building those artificial islands in the South China Sea and the president won’t — up until recently, wouldn’t sail a ship within 12 miles or fly a plane over it. I’ll tell you this, the first thing I’ll do with the Chinese is I’ll throw — I’ll fly Air Force One over those islands. They’ll know we mean business. [applause]

SEIB: Governor Jindal, there’s a new trade deal the Obama administration has completed with 11 other Pacific nations. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office says that deal will cut 18,000 different tariffs on American goods sent to the Pacific and will cut tariffs on goods made in your state of Louisiana by as much as 40 percent.

Even a skeptical about — a skeptic about this deal, now that the details are public, are you going to be for it?

JINDAL: I was absolutely a skeptic of giving this president more power. He negotiated a bad deal with Iran. He breaks the law routinely. I don’t know why Congress would want to concede more authority to him.

Look, this trade deal is 6,000 pages long. Unlike ObamaCare, I think we should read it before we decide whether we would vote for it or not vote for it. [applause]

I am for trade deals, but I want to make sure they are fair trade deals.

I want to come back to something that Chris had said earlier. Look, I absolutely agree we’ve got to beat Hillary Clinton. But just sending any Republican is not good enough. We’ve had a Republican majority in the Senate and the House.

What has changed?

If we send another big government Republican to the White House, we will not do enough to fix what is wrong in this country.

Chris, I think records matter. I think the way we govern matter.

Under your leadership in New Jersey, your budget has gone up 15 percent. It’s gone down 26 percent in Louisiana.

It has gone up $5 million in New Jersey. It’s gone down $9 billion in Louisiana. In New Jersey, you’ve had nine credit downgrades, setting a record. We’ve had eight credit upgrades in Louisiana.

My point is this. If politicians say they’re going to be conservative, they say they’re going to cut spending but they don’t do it, why should we send them to DC?

It gets harder, not easier, when we send them to DC. Let’s not be a second liberal party. Let’s actually cut government spending. Let’s grow the American economy. Let’s not just beat Hillary, let’s elect a conservative to the White House, not just any Republican.

SEIB: Governor Christie? [applause]

CHRISTIE: I’ll tell you, Gerry, it’s interesting, if you go to New Jersey, they’ll call me lots of different things. A liberal is not one of them. Um, and…[laughter]…I would say this. I have great respect for Bobby’s record in Louisiana. I think he’s been a wonderful governor and I think he’s provided outstanding leadership for that state and I respect him for what he’s done.

And I think that all of us deserve that same level of respect.

And my point is this. You know, the differences between me and Bobby Jindal, we can talk about those, and obviously, Bobby wants to spent a lot of time tonight talking about that.

I’ll tell you what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what’s going to happen to this country if we have another four years of Barack Obama’s policies.

And by the way, it will be even worse, because Hillary Clinton is running so far to the left to treaty to catch up to her socialist opponent, Bernie Sanders, it’s hard to even see her anymore.

The fact is — the fact is that we’d better be focused on it. And I’ll tell you what I’ll bring to the table, the fact that I’ve won in a blue state, that I’ve won in a state that has 750,000 more Democrats than Republicans…[applause]…that I won in a state for reelection after governing as a pro-life conservative…[buzzer noise]…and got 61 percent of the vote. That’s the person you want on the stage prosecuting the case against Hillary Clinton. [applause]

JINDAL: But wait a minute, records matter. [applause]

Records — records matter. Yes, we’ve got to…

CHRISTIE: I don’t…

JINDAL: — beat Hillary Clinton. But Chris, it’s also true that you expanded food stamps at a time that we’ve got record numbers of Americans on food stamps. It’s also true you caved into ObamaCare. You expanded Medicaid.

We’ve got a choice in front of us. This is an important debate. This is not about comparing Louisiana to New Jersey or Bobby to Chris. This is an important debate for the American people.

This is supposed to be an economics debate. Let’s have a debate.

Do we want to grow government or do we want to grow the American economy?

Do we want to grow dependence on government, or do we want to grow good paying jobs in the private sector…

SMITH: …Alright…

JINDAL: …you don’t grow the economy by putting more people on food stamps, more people in Medicaid, you grow the economy by cutting government, cutting spending. That’s what we’ve done in Louisiana, you haven’t done that in New Jersey…

CHRISTIE: ..Let me…

SEIB: …Guys…

JINDAL: …We need a conservative, not a big government republican in D.C.

SEIB: Governor Christie…

CHRISTIE: …Let me just…

SEIB: …last word, briefly

CHRISTIE: …Sure. [applause]

It’s interesting. I complimented Bobby, imagine how much time he’d want if I actually criticized him. [laughter]

You know, the fact is, he’s done — done a nice job down in Louisiana, and I don’t have any problem with the job he’s done. I’ve cut spending $2 billion dollars, except for our pension and health care in New Jersey, which was driven predominantly by Obamacare. We have reduce the number of employees we have on the state payroll by 15%, but, you know what? The people out there don’t care about any of that.

You know what they care about? They care about who’s going to be able to beat Hillary Clinton…[bell ringing]…Who’s going to keep their eye on the ball? I’m going to keep my eye on the ball.

[crosstalk]

SEIB: …Thank you both, Governors. [applause]

REGAN: Next question to you, Governor…

JINDAL: …This is how we….

REGAN: …Next question to you, Governor…

JINDAL: …This is how we move our country forward, look, this is not about between me and Chris…

HUCKABEE: …I’d like to get that opportunity to go…

JINDAL: …This is about…[crosstalk]…are we going to be the party…

REGAN: …let me get in…[crosstalk]…Let me get in here, because the next question, it’s to you, and it’s on Obamacare. It is still unpopular with the American people. You’ve seen the polls, they’ve shown nearly half the country still opposes this law. You have been critical of your GOP opponents, some of them standing on the stage tonight, others later. Notably, Ted Cruz, for not having comprehensive plans.

You say you do. What specifically makes your plan to replace Obamacare better than the opponents, some of them standing next to you.

JINDAL: Well, look, only one other opponent, actually, one other candidate, actually, has a plan. That’s Jeb Bush, and he creates a new entitlement program. My plan actually gets rid of all of Obamacare, it’s great that Senator Cruz will shut down the government over Obamacare, but he still hasn’t given us his plan to get rid of it. It’s great that other republicans talk about getting rid of it.

You go to a town hall in Iowa, or New Hampshire, ask them how they’re actually going to get rid of it — my plan has been online for over a year. It gets rid of all of Obamacare, it reduces the cost. It actually puts Americans, their patients, their doctors back in control. And, it actually helps those that really need this help — but, this is one of the most critical issues we face domestically.

I think I — look, right now, I think I am the only candidate running that refused to expand Medicaid. I’m the only one that turned down — that did what we could to fight Obamacare. This is an important point, and, look, I appreciate Chris’s nice compliments to me. And, Chris, you look to me very well, I love Mary-pat, but this isn’t about me and Chris. This is about the country, and this is about what direction — this is the most important election in our lifetimes.

Folks, a couple of years ago they told us give them the republican majorities in the House and the Senate, they’d stop Obamacare, and amnesty, and the bad Iran deal — nothing changed. If they fooled us once, shame on them. If they fooled us twice, shame on us. Don’t let them fool us again.

Chris, look, I’ll give you your ribbon for participation, and a juicebox, but in the real world, it’s about results…[audience reaction]…but, in the real world it’s about results. It’s about actually cutting government spending, not just talking about cutting government spending.

REGAN: Governor Jindal, thank you.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, listen. We stopped Obamacare in New Jersey because we refused to participate in the federal exchange. But, here’s the bigger issue. What do you think’s going to happen when Hillary Clinton’s elected president of the United States? The woman who tried to impose healthcare on this country over 20 years ago? And, she was stopped then by a strong group of republicans, and an American public that said, “No, thank you.”

What she will do — what she will do is move us towards a single payer system. She will completely nationalize the federal health care system. That’s what she wanted to do 20 years ago, and I guarantee you that’s what she’ll do if you give her the keys to the White House one more time.

The fact is we need someone who knows how to beat democrats, who knows how to beat democrats in a democratic area. I’ve done it twice as governor of New Jersey, and Hillary Clinton doesn’t want one minute on that stage with me next September when I’m debating her, and prosecuting her for her vision for America…

SANTORUM: …Let me settle this argument…

SEIB: …No, no, Senator Santorum…

SANTORUM: …Well…

SEIB: …I have a question for you. Just about everybody agrees that the nation’s infrastructure is in bad shape. Urban highway congestion costs the economy more than $100 billion dollars annually, nearly one in four bridges in the National Highway System is structurally deficient, or obsolete. Congress is working on a six year highway bill to try to fix this problem. It only funds it for about three years. Should Americans be asked to pay more in federal gas taxes in order to address this problem?

SANTORUM: I’ll answer that in a second, but, I want to answer this other problem because this is a real legitimate debate between Chris and Bobby, and if somebody says we need someone who can win in a blue state, and Bobby says we need a real principled conservative. [audience reaction] [applause]

Ninety-two percent conservative voting record, unlike some of the other senators that Bobby mentioned who hasn’t done anything to cut federal spending, I was actually the author of welfare reform, which is the only time we’ve ever seen a federal entitlement actually cut. We cut it. Senate did exactly what every conservative says they want to do. We took the program, we eliminated the federal entitlement, we blocked (ph) to the state, we capped the amount of money, cut it by about 10%, and then put two requirements, work, and time limits.

We need to do that with the rest of the — means (ph) tested federal entitlements. I’ve done it.

And I did it with a bipartisan support in the House and Senate, and after fighting two presidential vetoes by Bill Clinton.

So I had a democratic president we had to get this through. No record of accomplishment. I agree with the folks who are from the Congress in this race. I have a record of accomplishment of being a conservative on everything.

National security, on moral and cultural issues, on the economy, and twice won a blue state. The first time I beat the author of Hillarycare. I had Bill and Hillary in my state, James Carville managed the race against me, a state with a million more Democrats than Republicans.

And I ran on health savings accounts, on private sector health care, as a conservative, pro-life, pro-family, and I won. And then in 2000, I was the only senator to win a state as a conservative that George Bush lost.

You want someone who can win Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, with a conservative message, I’m your guy. [applause]

SEIB: Senator, I don’t think we got to infrastructure, but I understand. [laughter]

SANTORUM: I’ll be happy to answer that if you give me more time.

SEIB: No, no. To do the things you’re talking about, that you’re all talking about, getting things done in Washington, you have to work with the other side. So a question, who in Congress do you most admire on the Democratic side? I need one name from each of you.

And let’s start with Governor Jindal.

JINDAL: We can waste our time. And I think this is why people were so frustrated with the last debate with these kinds of silly questions. [applause]

We’ve only got a certain amount of time to talk about the economy. Let me use my time to say this. I want to fire everybody in D.C. in both parties. I think they all — we need term limits, get rid of them all, make them live under the same rules they passed on the rest of us. [cheering and applause]

SEIB: Governor Huckabee?

HUCKABEE: Well, since we’re not going to answer the question, let me just remind everybody, tomorrow is Veterans Day. And here’s what I would like to remind everybody. The VA has been a disaster in large part because the people in Congress have never bothered to fix it, and this president has certainly not…

REGAN: We’ll get to that.

HUCKABEE: Let me finish, please. I’m going to ask you just this, what would happen if the Congress and the president had to get their health care from the VA? We would fix the problem and we would fix Congress. [cheering and applause]

SEIB: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: I’ll continue in the pattern and just say…[laughter]

And just say this to everybody, since it seems to be an open question. [laughter]

I’ll tell you the thing that disturbs me the most about what’s going on with the Democratic Party in Washington, that they’re not standing behind our police officers across this country. [cheering and applause]

That they’re allowing lawlessness…[cheering and applause] That they’re allowing lawlessness to reign in this country. I spent seven years of my life in law enforcement, here’s what every law enforcement, 700,000, should know tonight. When President Christie is in the Oval Office, I’ll have your back. [cheering and applause]

SEIB: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: I’m going to answer two questions for the price of one. The infrastructure question, the answer is…[laughter]

We need to get the federal government out of this infrastructure business, other than vital economic highways. It has been said that if we cut the gas tax to 3 to 5 cents and send the rest back to the states, and just take care of the federal infrastructure that’s vital for our economy, let the — we don’t need the federal government and the road business that it is today. Number one.

Number two, you know who I respect in the Democratic Party? You know why I respect them? Because they fight! Because they’re not willing to back down, and they’re willing to stand up and fight and win. And so I respect them because they are willing to take it to us.

SEIB: Thank you, Senator Santorum. [applause]

REGAN: Ronald Reagan did work with Tip O’Neill.

Anyway, we are going to take a quick break. Coming up, one of the top issues for voters, how much you’re paying in taxes. We are live from Milwaukee with the Republican presidential debate.

See you right back here.

[commercial break]

REGAN: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate.

We are live from Milwaukee.

A top issue on the campaign trail, taxes and how much you pay.

All right, I’ve got a question for all of you here.

When looking at the federal income tax, state income tax and local tax, in some cases, combined, some Americans are paying over 50 percent of their paycheck to the government.

What is the highest percentage, all in, in the way of taxes, that any American should have to pay and what is the lowest?

I’d like to, again, to hear from each of you. And I want those two all in numbers.

I’m going to start with you, Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: Well, I’ll tell you, I have a 20 percent flat tax. That’s one all income — so capital gains, corporations, individuals, 20 percent. I think that’s a fair number, one out of five, to be able to — to help support the federal government.

By the way it also approximates, if you take out some of the deductions, it approximates how much the federal government is, on average, spent of GDP, which is about 18 to 19 percent of GDP.

So it actually fits with shrinking the size of government down to more like post-World War II levels.

So the second thing we do is I don’t allow for deductibility of state and local taxes, which will require state and local taxes to go down in order to be treated for their — for their people to be treated fairly.

So the answer is, 20 percent and probably 33 percent overall.

REGAN: All in.

OK, Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: Yes. You know, our tax plan puts forward a highest rate of 28 percent for those who are doing the most and making the most in this country and 8 percent on the low end.

And I agree with Senator Santorum, we get rid of all of the deductions and loopholes, except for the home mortgage interest deduction and the charitable contribution deduction. That means getting rid of the state and local income tax deduction, as well, because that will put more pressure on governors and on local officials not to keep raising those taxes, saying we can deduct them.

And so ours will be 28 on the high end, 8 on the low end.

And I will tell you one other thing. Americans for Tax Reform came out with a report six weeks ago and said I vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history. I will do exactly the same thing as president of the United States. [applause]

REGAN: And we’ll get back to you.

Governor Jindal?

JINDAL: So under our tax plan, look, the top rate is 25 percent, 10 percent, 2 percent. That 2 percent is the most important.

I think everybody should pay something. I think everybody should have skin in the game.

We shouldn’t be creating one group of Americans that’s dependent on government, another group that’s paying taxes.

I want to come back to an earlier point though, that Chris said. Look, we all agree Hillary Clinton is bad. We all agree we need to beat her. But let’s not pretend that out-of-control government spending is only a Democratic issue. This is a bipartisan issue, and just sending another big government Republican to D.C. is not good enough.

We need to actually cut government spending. We need to cut — and we’re not going to do it just by sending any Republican. I’m glad he’s vetoed taxes. The Tax Foundation graded New Jersey the 50th worst business climate due to taxes, high taxes in the state of New Jersey.

SMITH: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Well, thank you very much.

I still want to go back to the fact that if we got rid of all the taxes on our work, got rid of the taxes on our savings, investments, capital gains, and inheritance, and made a zero tax, we’d pay at the point of consumption.

Because why should we punish people for their productivity? And the fair tax doesn’t punish people for doing well and building the economy. There’s $31 trillion parked offshore. What happens if that money comes back to America? You’d think it’d goose the economy? I guarantee you it would.

And that’s why the fair tax is the best solution we have for economic growth in this country. [applause]

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, Americans, under your plan, would pay a tax on every single thing that they purchase. Given that consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of GDP, some economists worry that your tax plan would actually discourage spending, thereby slowing our economy. How do you respond?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, do you know an American that will just stop spending? I don’t. [laughter]

No, that’s not going to be the problem. Look, Americans will go to the marketplace with more money they’ve ever had. For the first time they’ll be having their whole paycheck.

You see, most people don’t understand that when you buy something that is made in America, 22 percent of the cost of it is the embedded tax they never even know they paid. It’s why China has beaten the daylights out of us, they can build stuff that we can’t because they’re not taxing it, when they don’t tax capital and labor and we do.

They bring something over here, it’s automatically cheaper even without the regulatory environment because they’re not embedding the taxes, we are.

Take the embedded taxes out. Give a person his whole paycheck because every American would no longer have a payroll tax taken out. It means they’d see their real paycheck for the first time. When they go to spend that money, they’ll actually have it.

And they only pay taxes on the stuff that’s new. So a lot of Americans will buy used stuff. Look, here’s the point, Americans are not going to quit shopping. Americans are not going to quit buying.

But it would be nice if Americans could control how much they paid in tax, rather than having the government reach into their pockets and take it out before they ever had a chance to even see it, much less spend it. [applause]

And that’s why the fair tax makes a heck of a lot more sense than punishing productivity and rewarding irresponsibility.

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

SEIB: Governor Jindal, you’ve proposed something different. You’ve proposed eliminating the federal corporate income tax entirely. Why would have you wage-earners and investors pay an income tax but not a corporation?

JINDAL: Well, a couple of reasons. Look, we know big companies don’t pay those taxes today. They hire lobbyists and accountants and lawyers. It’s the small businesses that get hit.

I want to get rid of the corporate tax, I want to bring the jobs and investment back to America. Make the CEOs pay the same rates as everybody else. Get rid of all the corporate welfare as well.

Like I said, make everybody pay something, earned success is so much better than unearned success. And let’s actually shrink the size of government. My plan purposely does that.

Look, we can talk all night about tax plans, energy plans, I think you will find a lot of agreement among all the Republicans. We all want to get rid of the death tax, the marriage penalty. We all want lower, fewer brackets. We want to downsize, take away power from the IRS.

What we really need to be talking about is this, these last seven years, we’ve had more government spending, more government dependence. Poverty has gone up. Inequality has gone up. Only the top 10 percent have seen their incomes go up — their median incomes go up.

We actually have more inequality thanks to what we have seen, the largest most expensive experiment in progressive government. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have.

And the reality is, the last couple of years it hasn’t mattered whether Republicans or Democrats were in control. We keep stealing from our children. That is immoral. It is wrong. And we’re creating more government dependence.

If we really want to grow the economy, yes, you need a rational energy plan, and you’ve got to rein in the EPA, and you’ve got to repeal Obamacare, and you’ve got to cut taxes.

But none of that will be enough if we’re not serious about cutting government spending. We cannot afford to elect a big- government Republican. We need somebody. This is the most important election. Hillary Clinton is gift-wrapping this election to us. Let’s not waste this opportunity to apply conservative principles and cut the size of government. [applause]

SMITH: All right. Governor Jindal, thank you.

All right. Well, we are not finished yet.

More from the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, next.

[commercial break]

SEIB: Welcome back to the Republican Presidential Debate live from Milwaukee’s historic theater. Let’s get back to the questions. Governor Christie, by keeping interest rates so low for so long, is the Fed creating a new financial bubble in real estate or stock as prices that will burst and create problems down the road, or has it been right to err on the side of trying to help the recovery through low rates?

CHRISTIE: Gerry, this has been the most political Federal Reserve I’ve seen in my lifetime. Now, when they first cut interest rates during the economic recession and the crisis, that was the right thing to do. But they’ve kept those interest rates artificially low for one reason, and one reason only. Because they’re trying to politically support Barack Obama and his agenda. And it’s been wrong.

And what it’s done, in an administration where the President has talked about income inequality, he’s had more income inequality in this administration than any previous administration. The middle class is doing worse than it’s ever done before. And the investor class, the wealthy, are doing even better because of this cheap money from the Fed. And here’s the worst part, we had one and a half percent GDP growth last quarter. If we slide back towards a recession, you cannot lower interest rates below zero. Where are we going to go if we need help if the economy slides back into recession?

And with this government- controlled economy that Barack Obama, we’re moving right towards it.

The Fed should be audited and the Fed should stop playing politics with our money supply. That’s what they’ve done. It’s been the wrong thing to do. It’s hurting the American economy. And…[applause]…let me…[applause]…let me add one other thing on this.

Be very aware now, because what Hillary Clinton is talking about doing, if she’s president of the United States, is to make sure that the government gets even more involved in the economy, even more involved in making choices for everybody. You do not want that to happen. You need someone who’s going to stand up on that stage and prosecute the case against her and prosecute it strong. [buzzer noise] That’s what I’ll do. [applause]

REGAN: Senator Santorum, you agree with Governor Christie. You also have said that the Fed should be audited.

But many worry that given the Congressional challenges that they face, by having Congressional oversight of the Fed, which has been historically an independent body, you would be making the Fed much more political.

How would you navigate that risk?

SANTORUM: Well, I don’t — I agree with Governor Christie, I don’t think you can make it any more political than it’s been. They — they are protecting a president that is over-taxing and over- regulating, shutting down this economy. And he — and they’re keeping it up like Atlas, trying to hold up the Earth by — by these ridiculously low interest rates.

And it’s hurting American seniors, who are seeing no Social Security increases, seeing no — no savings. They’re — they’re putting their money aside. They’re getting nothing in their deposit accounts.

This is hurting the people who have acted responsibly, all in favor of those who, um, you know, are — are speculators and — and those on Wall Street. It’s not a good deal for — for the vast majority of responsible Americans.

The other thing we have with the Fed is they’ve been given way too much authority. Under Dodd-Frank, they’ve been given this enormous new authority. I mean they — they now have almost become the most powerful entity in Washington, DC.

We need to repeal Dodd-Frank, get away that authority from the Fed and put them under more — more scrutiny.

That’s only part of the problem. I understand the Fed is interesting for a business channel, but I think for most Americans, the most important business is the family. And we haven’t really talked much about the importance of the family to the economy.

And — and ladies and gentlemen, every single book, from left to right, that’s been written over the last couple of years has said the biggest problem in America today at the hollowing out of the middle of America is the breakdown of the nuclear family in America.

We’d better be the party that’s out there talking about this issue and what we’re going to do to help strengthen marriage and return dads into homes in all communities. [applause]

You want to talk about the communities that are hurting the most, the ones you see the protests in…[buzzer noise]…there are no dads. And we need to do something about it. [applause]

REGAN: Thank you, Senator. [applause]

Governor Huckabee, both Senator Santorum and Governor Christie were boat — both critical of the Federal Reserve. Also, many have questioned whether Janet Yellen is the right person to be running the Fed.

If elected president, would you keep Janet Yellen?

HUCKABEE: Well, my wife’s name is Janet and when you say Janet Yelling, I’m very familiar with what you mean. [laughter]

But, look, I think the Fed is in a big trouble because they haven’t addressed the number one issue that’s hurting Americans and that’s the fact that wages for the bottom 90 percent of the economy have been stagnant for 40 years.

In the 25 years after World War II, up to 1971, wages grew by 85 percent in this country. People were — were moving up in the middle class. There was a middle class.

That’s not happening any more, and in large measure, the Fed has manipulated the dollar so it doesn’t have a standard.

Tie the dollar to something fixed and if it’s not going to be gold, make it the commodity basket.

But here’s what we’ve got to do. We absolutely have to get it where the people who go out there and work get something in return.

And if the dollar keeps fluctuating, and this is as crazy as — as is the price of bread, well, the fact is, people can’t get ahead then.

SMITH: So would you change leadership at the Fed?

HUCKABEE: Absolutely. Absolutely, because what we need to is to make sure that they tie the monetary standard to something that makes sense, rather than to their own whims, because who’s getting gut punched?

It ain’t the people in Wall Street, it’s the folks on Main Street. They’re the ones who’s wages have been stagnant for 40 years. And the average American today has a total savings of 1,000 bucks. One root canal and they’re in trouble.

And if their car breaks down the same week…[buzzer noise]…they’re out of business.

REGAN: All right, Governor Huckabee, thank you. [applause]

All right, Senator Santorum, by the way, today is the 240th…

SANTORUM: Happy Birthday.

REGAN: — of the United States…

SANTORUM: — States Marine Corps.

REGAN: — Marine Corps. [applause]

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. We honor and recognize all those who have fought for, and served this great nation, Senator. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, meanwhile, which provides patient care, and federal benefits to those veterans, as well as their families, is beset by scandal.

What new ideas do you have to fix the broken V.A. healthcare system?

SANTORUM: That’s very personal to me. I grew up on a V.A. grounds. I lived in apartments on V.A. grounds my entire childhood. Both my Mom and Dad, after World War II, marry — met at a V.A., married, and that’s where I lived. Kitchen table discussion was, particularly when I was growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, was the decline of the V.A.

When they joined in the early 1950’s, the V.A. was the top. They were the best, they were the best and brightest coming in after the war. And, we believed in the cause that we fought, and we invested in our hospitals to make sure that our veterans who left World War II were taken care of. But, after Vietnam, and during Vietnam, that began to change, and it really hasn’t recovered since.

The bottom line is the V.A. is antiquated. There’s no need for a V.A. healthcare system as it existed after World War — why? Because we have the best private healthcare system in the world, we didn’t need — we needed it in 1950’s, hospitals were not particularly advanced, so, we built the best. We didn’t maintain the best. Government didn’t keep its promises to its veterans. So, what we need to do is two things. Number one, we need to allow veterans to go to private sector hospitals for their routine and ordinary care to get the best care in their community possible. [applause]

And, there is a place for the Veterans Administration. There are injuries, and there are — things like PTSD, or prosthetics that are uniquely problems within the veterans community where we can develop centers of excellence within — and replace the V.A. with a group of…[bell ringing]…centers of excellence that can help our folks to come back…

SMITH: Senator Santorum, thank you. [applause]

I have a question for all of you. Americans connection to the military has been increasingly fading. As a society, how do we restore that sense of duty, that sense of pride, that was the hallmark of the greatest generation. Again, I’d like to ask each of you, 30 seconds each, beginning with Governor Jindal.

JINDAL: Well, a couple things, first, I want to echo what others have said and thank those veterans that run towards danger, not away from it, so we can live in the greatest country in the history of the world.

I think every veteran should get that card, and they should be allowed to get that health care wherever they want in the private sector. But, I also think — or the public sector, I also think we need to fire some of the V.A. bureaucrats. Somebody should go to jail over these scandals, and it is a crime that it has not happened. [applause]

When it comes — when it comes to uniting the American people, one of the things we’ve done to honor our veterans in Louisiana, we’ve given thousands — and I’ve hand delivered these, to veterans — medals to veterans to thank them for their service. I’ll just give you one quick example, I know my time is out, but, we’ve had Vietnam war veterans with tears in their eyes saying nobody has ever thanked them before. We’ve had World War II veterans, children, who said they never heard the stories of their parents heroic sacrifice. Whatever conflict, whenever they served, one of the things we can do is to teach our children we do live in the greatest country in the history of the world.

We got a president who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, but we still do, and it’s because of those men and women in uniform. We should thank them everyday, not just veterans day. [applause]

SMITH: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Well, I think thanking our veterans is a wonderful thing to do, but, they sure appreciate a better paycheck. They’d appreciate the fact that we kept our promises to them. The men and women in uniform put on the uniform of our nation, they went halfway around the world, they face dangers on our behalf, and we promised them if they did that, when they came home we’d take care of their medical care, we’d make is possible for their kids to go to college, and they’d be able to bind to a home.

They kept their promises to us. We have not kept our promises to them, and today, less than one percent of Americans go to the military for service. We’re fighting wars with other people’s kids in large measure because we’ve not taken seriously the moral, not the monetary, the moral obligation to take care of the veterans and to keep America’s promise to the ones who kept their promise to America. [applause]

SMITH: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: The way to reconnect Americans to the men and women in uniform is to first, and foremost, give them a Commander in Chief who respects the military, and respects everyone who wears the uniform. [cheering and applause]

Starts at the top there…[cheering and applause]

And Secretary Clinton says, there’s no crisis at the V.A.. That send a long, and hard message to our veterans that she doesn’t get it, and she doesn’t respect their service.

When the President of the United States doesn’t back up law enforcement officers in uniform, he loses the moral authority to any man or woman who is uniform.

I spent seven years in law enforcement…[bell ringing]…I respect these folks, and I will do so as Commander in Chief of the military.

SMITH: Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: It should come as no surprise to Chris, or anybody else, that Barack Obama doesn’t stand behind our men and women in uniform here at home because he hasn’t stood behind them overseas.

The rules of engagement that we’ve allowed our soldiers to go and fight against have put them in harm’s way for political purposes. This has been the most politicized wars that we’ve ever seen under this administration. He gets in, and gets out, based upon what the polls are saying, what pressure he’s getting from groups. Talk about a Commander in Chief.

We need a commander in chief who has a vision and plan of how we’re going to execute the national security of our country. Commander in chief is not an entry level position. Experience matters, and that’s why I would ask for your support as a Commander in Chief, because I have the experience against the enemy…[bell ringing]…to confront to do the job. [applause]

SEIB: Candidates, it’s time for closing statements, 30 seconds. Governor Jindal, we’ll start with you.

JINDAL: You know, I have spent a lot of time tonight talking about the need to cut the size of government. The reason I’m doing that — it’s not just about balancing the budget, or balancing a bunch of numbers. Because I believe in the American dream. I think President Obama’s done a lot of damage to our country. I think that one of the worst things he has done is try to change the idea of America to be one of dependence. There are a lot of politicians that talk about cutting government spending, I’m the only one that’s actually done it that’s running for President.

The rest of them, it’s a lot of hot air. If you want your paychecks to go up, if you want more good paying jobs, if you want the government out of your lives, we’ve got to cut the size of government. It’s not enough just to elect any republican, we’ve seen that. We’ve got to elect a republican that will take on the establishment in both parties. I’m asking for your support.

Thank you. [applause]

SEIB: Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: I announced from a factory floor in Western Pennsylvania. This campaign has all been about two words for me, working families. Working. Getting people the opportunity to see those wages rise, to be on the side of the American workers so they can get good paying jobs, and that means we have to start making things in America again. We need a president who’s going to not just put policies in place, but is going to stand up at the bully pulpit and talk about the dignity of being a welder. The dignity of being a carpenter, about going to work and earning success.

And, also, the importance of families, the importance of families and fathers, and mothers raising their children, and committing to that so that they can give children in our country the best opportunity to success. Working families is the key for us to win this election. [applause]

SEIB: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: In many ways, I feel like I’m the luckiest guy on Earth. I really do. It’s a long way from a little brick rent house on second street in Hope, Arkansas to this stage where I’m running for President of the United States. It’s not about me, not about these guys — ‘ought to be about you, and I’ve never been the favorite of the people who have the most money.

But, I want to be the favorite of the people who still want to believe the American dream can work for them. Today in our office, I got a letter from a third grader in North Dakota, her name is Reese.

She sent $6 dollars from her allowance, and said, “I want to help you be president.”

You know, I’m going to keep standing on this stage, and keep fighting for one reason, because somewhere out there in North Dakota, and all over America, there are kids like Reese who need a president who will never forget where they came from, and I promise I won’t. [applause]

SEIB: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: I want to tell the American people who are watching tonight the truth. I saw the most disgraceful thing I’ve seen in this entire campaign a few weeks ago. Hillary Clinton was asked the enemy she’s most proud of, and she said, “Republicans”.

In a world where we have Al-Qaeda, and ISIS, the mullahs in Iran, and Vladimir Putin — the woman who asks to run and represent all of the United States says that her greatest enemies are people like you in this audience, and us here. I will tell you one thing, and write this down, when you elect me President of the United States, I will go to Washington not only to fight the fights that need fighting, not only to say what I mean, and mean what I say, but to bring this entire country together for a better future for our children and grandchildren. [applause]

SMITH: Alright, thank you gentlemen. That does it, everyone, for the first debate here in Milwaukee. In just about one hour from now, at 9:00PM Eastern, eight more candidates are going to be taking to the stage. Right now though, special coverage of the Republican Presidential Debate, live from Milwaukee, continues right here on Fox Business. [applause]

 

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

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

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

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 

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

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

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

But let’s get right to the debate rules.

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

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

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

First up, Governor Bobby Jindal. [applause]

Senator Rick Santorum.

Governor George Pataki.

And Senator Lindsey Graham.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thanks, Governor Jindal.

Senator Santorum?

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Pataki?

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Graham.

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

How about a round of applause for Boulder, Colorado?

This is a beautiful place. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

Would you have shut the government down instead?

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

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

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

QUICK: …But Governor…

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

PATAKI: Becky, can I comment on this question?

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator Graham…

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you. John — Becky?

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor Pataki, thank you.

John?

PATAKI: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JINDAL: Well, Jhon, a couple of things.

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Governor Jindal, thank you.

JINDAL: Thank you.

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

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAMER: Thank you, Senator.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAMER: Thank you, Senator. John?

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

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

HARWOOD: We’re talking corporate taxes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thanks, Governor. Becky?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor Pataki, thank you.

PATAKI: Thank you.

QUICK: Carl?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All right…

SANTORUM: — with competition…

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

SANTORUM: — for low wage workers.

QUICK: Thank you very much, Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: [inaudible] and I…

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

GRAHAM: The first thing…

QUICK: You have 30 seconds.

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

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

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

QUICK: Senator Graham, thank you.

GRAHAM: — system…

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

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

QUICK: Senator Graham…

GRAHAM: Let’s just choose rationally.

QUICK: Thank you, Senator.

[crosstalk]

QUICK: Gentlemen, hold on a second.

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

QUICK: Go ahead,

SANTORUM: That’s not what’s happening.

PATAKI: In Washington, they talk over each other…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each one…

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

What we have to…

[crosstalk]

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

QUICK: Governor Pataki…

PATAKI: — colleges so that we can…

QUICK: — I’m sorry, that was a…

[crosstalk]

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

QUICK: Governor Pataki…

PATAKI: — as they build America’s future.

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

That was a minute.

PATAKI: Thank you.

QUICK: Thank you very much.

PATAKI: Thank you.

QUICK: Carl?

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

Should the government work to change that?

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

We already have too many government mandates out of DC.

Do I want people to have paid leave?

Sure.

Do I want people to earn higher wages?

Sure.

Do I want them to have better benefits?

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

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

Where has that gotten us?

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Governor, thank you. [applause]

John?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Senator Graham.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Senator Graham —

GRAHAM: This will be the place to come —

HARWOOD: — thank you very much.

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

HARWOOD: We’re moving on.

GRAHAM: — our enemies —

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

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Senator, we’re moving on.

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

SANTELLI: Thanks, John.

Governor Pataki.

PATAKI: Hey, Rick.

SANTELLI: How are you doing tonight?

PATAKI: I’m doing great.

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

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

No.

Shocking, isn’t it?

PATAKI: Not at all.

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

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

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

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

And let me go back to Washington. In 2009 —

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

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

But what did he do?

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

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

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

SANTELLI: Thanks, Governor.

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

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

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

So why is this situation different?

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Senator.

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator.

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you. Becky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Is there a role for government?

PATAKI: …replace coal plants — government’s roles — is to incentivize innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit in America. We could have far more clean energy.

We could have next-generation nuclear, thorium reactors that have no risk of meltdown. We could have solar panels on every home that are four times more efficient than today.

HARWOOD: So, subsidies for those programs? For — for those alternative energy sources?

PATAKI: R&D — R&D credits. Let the private sector do this, develop this innovation. And not only would we solve our problems, we would have clean energy, cheaper energy here.

We could export those technologies to places like China and like India so we would grow our economy, have a far greater impact globally, have a secure domestic source of energy, and cleaner, healthier air.

That’s the solution. Embrace science, embrace innovation and change.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Governor. Carl? [applause]

QUINTANILLA: Question for Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: Thank you. Can I just say something about that?

QUINTANILLA: After this question maybe. [laughter]

The 2015 Nobel Prize winner for economics argues that slow growth causes poverty, and that leads to inequality. What would you do to ease inequality? And what would you do solve poverty? By the way, thanks to Larry Kudlow, CNBC, for this question.

SANTORUM: Well, if you look at our plan that I introduced, the 2020 Clear Vision for America, we increase growth by 10 percent, 1 percent a year. So we go from 2.3 to 3.3, in repealing Obamacare, it’s another .7. So you’re looking at 4 percent growth, according to the Tax Foundation.

And unlike Donald Trump and Bobby Jindal, we don’t add $10 trillion to the deficit. In fact, our plan, while it creates as many jobs as their plan does and grows the economy as much as theirs does, we are a revenue-neutral plan because I believe that we need to reduce the size of government, yes, but we also need to reduce our deficit, and we need to get our budget balanced so we can start paying down this debt. And adding a trillion dollars with a tax cut and getting no more growth is not the way to do it.

But that’s only half of it. The word “economy” comes from the Greek “euthokis” (ph) which means family. The family is the first economy. And the one thing that we do not talk about enough is how stable families are vitally important for the middle of America to be prosperous and to grow and be safe. And I will have policies, not just tax policies, but others that will make sure that families are strong again in America.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Jindal, I’ll give you 30 seconds on this.

JINDAL: Well, thank you.

Look, if Senator Santorum wants to concede the tax cut wing of the Republican Party, I’m happy to fight for that side of the Republican Party. He’s exactly right. I explicitly want to shrink the size of government; 22 percent over 10 years is not too much. We cut our state budget 26 percent in eight years.

This is a fundamental choice. We mustn’t become a cheaper version of the Democratic Party, a second liberal party. We need to proudly say we’re willing to cut taxes, shrink government, grow the American economy. President Kennedy said it to the Democratic Party. Why can’t we say it in the Republican Party in 2015, let’s cut taxes.

HARWOOD: Governor, if you cut spending and cut government so much, why did your legislature have such a big deficit?

JINDAL: John, our budget is balanced. We balanced our budget every year for eight years. Yeah, we’ve had to cut spending. You know what? We privatized or closed nine of our 10 charity hospitals. We did statewide school choice; $1.6 billion (ph) budget cut.

You’re quoting an old number from the beginning of the year. We closed that gap. What they talk about, just like D.C., government’s the only place where you give them less money than they wanted, they count it as a cut. They take last year’s budget. They add inflation. They call it a baseline. We need to do zero-based budgets. We need to say just because you got money last year, you don’t have it this year.

Let me close, though. We balanced our budget. We didn’t raise taxes. In eight years, we never raised taxes. We cut taxes. Our — our taxpayers, our families have been better off for it.

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: No, we’re going to move on. I’m going to bring on my colleague Sharon Epperson.

EPPERSON: Thank you, John.

Senator Graham, one in every four workers has saved less than $1,000 for retirement. Millions of Americans rely on their Social Security benefits for the majority of their retirement income. Now, you called for reforms to Social Security, but what would you do to fix the other part of the problem for future retirees and get people to save more?

GRAHAM: Well, number one, Social Security is not just a concept to me. I know why it exists; 50 percent of today’s seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check. I promise you, if you make me your president, I will save Social Security because I know why it exists.

Now, if you’re looking for good beer policy, I’m your best bet. My dad owned a bar. [laughter]

I know beer. We grew up, my sister and myself, in the back of that bar in one room with my mom, my dad and my sister who’s nine years younger. When I was 21, my mom was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Neither parent finished high school. She died within a year. We were wiped out from the medical bills. And if it wasn’t for a Social Security survivor benefit check coming into my family, we wouldn’t’ have made it because my dad died 15 months later.

So I…

EPPERSON: But Senator Graham…

GRAHAM: Wait a minute, please. I’m 22 and we’re wiped out. I am 60. I’m not married. I have a military retirement. I’m in good shape. I would give up some of my benefits to help those who need it more than I do.

To young people here, I will ask you to work a little bit longer because we have to. The purpose of my presidency is to save this country and to save Social Security by working across the aisle just like Ronald Reagan. This is the biggest issue facing this nation.

EPPERSON: Thank you, Senator Graham. Thank you, Senator Graham.

Governor Jindal, you’ve been a strong supporter of for-profit colleges. These are institutions that educate many veterans, minorities and working class Americans. They make up about 11 percent of the college population at these schools, but they account for 44 percent of student loan defaults. Should for-profit schools be held accountable when they take taxpayer money and leave students deep in debt?

JINDAL: [inaudible] absolutely they should be accountable. They should be accountable to their students through the market. Look, you either trust the American people to make their own choices or you don’t.

I know the Left thinks we need to be protected from ourselves. President Obama is trying to limit competition to the higher education market. As a result, you’re going to see tuition prices continue to go up. We’ve had $1 trillion of student debt and counting. And he wants to exempt certain schools from the same oversight he wants to apply only to the for-profit market.

For some reason, the private sector is a bad word to this president. It’s not in the real world.

In Louisiana, we fought so that the dollars follow the child and so the child following the dollar. What that means, from K-12, what that means is that parents and their families can decide what’s the best way for their children to be educated. Higher education, we have a TOPS program, where, again, we will help if a student maintains a 20 ACT, 2.5 GPA, we’ll pay for their tuition. They can take those dollars for private school of their choice in the state as well.

You either trust the American people or you don’t. I know the Left doesn’t. That’s why you get ObamaCare. They want to tell us what kind of insurance to buy. That’s why you get Common Core, they want to take away our gun rights under the Second Amendment. They want to take away our religious liberty rights.

So, yes, there’s accountability. There’s accountability to students through choice and competition. We don’t need the nanny state to protect us from ourselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Governor Jindal. [applause]

HARWOOD: And thank you, Sharon.

This is the Republican Presidential Debate, live from Boulder, Colorado. We’ll be right back. [applause]

[commercial break]

[applause]

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

Gentlemen, this is our lightning round, where we have some questions for you we hope you can answer in 20 seconds or less. And we will go right down the line on this.

Governor Jindal, I’ll start with you.

We’re wondering, what are the three apps that you use most frequently on your cellphone?

JINDAL: I was just saying to my colleagues, I may be the last person in this audience without an iPhone. I’m actually one of the last folks — I still have a BlackBerry in my pocket. And I basically use it for scheduling. I use it to keep up when my wife is here and my three kids at home.

The only games on that phone are Bricklayer. I use it to keep up with the news through the Internet. I may be the last American out there without an iPhone.

QUICK: No, no.

JINDAL: My apologies.

QUICK: I — I’m with you. I still have a BlackBerry, too.

Senator — Senator Santorum, how about you?

SANTORUM: MLB, NHL, so I’m a big sports fan. And “The Wall Street Journal.” Those are the three apps I use the most.

QUICK: Thank you.

Governor?

PATAKI: The one I use the most is Uber. You know, I used to get driven…[laughter]…when I was governor, I had a driver. I don’t anymore, but…[crosstalk]. And it’s an example of what millennials are doing to change America for the better. And I tweet a lot, too.

So Uber, Tweet — Twitter and then I communicate with my family.

QUICK: Thank you.

Senator Graham?

GRAHAM: Well, number one, the only reason I have an iPhone is because I gave my number to Donald Trump. Don’t do that. [laughter]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor…

GRAHAM: Donald has done more to upgrade my technology than my whole staff.

Number one, Fox News. Sorry about CNBC. [laughter]

We’re in a Republican primary here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

QUICK: We take your time back. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time is up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut his microphone.

QUINTANILLA: We’ve got one more. One more lightning round.

Governor Jindal, should the day after the Super Bowl be a national holiday? [laughter]

JINDAL: Well, absolutely, when the Saints go back to repeat, we were talking about beer sales earlier, all those folks from being hung over in Louisiana from drinking to celebrate Drew Brees winning this, I think it would be a great day to take off.

No, look, on a serious note, I do want to say this about the Super Bowl and our athletes. They can be great role models for our children and I’m obviously a Saints fan. Drew Brees and his wife great role models, great Christians.

So, yes, it should be a holiday.

QUINTANILLA: Senator?

SANTORUM: Well, since we’re usually in the Super Bowl at the Pittsburgh Steelers…

Steeler nation, anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

SANTORUM: No. I was in…[crosstalk]…was in Kansas City over the weekend to watch the Steeler game and about a third of the crowd were Steeler fans. So I’m usually not alone when I call on Steeler Nation.

But we are used to being in the Super Bowl, so actually, it is in Pennsylvania already.

QUINTANILLA: Governor?

PATAKI: I — I am a long suffering Jets fan. So my answer is obviously no, there’s no reason to take off the day after the Super Bowl. [applause]

But let me just add this. The Mets are going to win tonight. Let’s go, Mets.

QUINTANILLA: Finally, Senator?

GRAHAM: Well, I think a national holiday would be the day that commander-in-chief Barack Obama doesn’t have that job. [applause]

But unlike these other three, I want to win New Hampshire. Go Tom Brady. Go Patriots. [laughter]

Sorry, Colorado is late in the…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Panderer.

[crosstalk]

QUICK: John?

HARWOOD: OK, now we’re at the point of the evening where we’re just about to give our candidates a holiday from this debate, but not before they tell us in 30 seconds their closing statements.

Senator Graham, you’re first.

GRAHAM: Somebody said — or maybe I saw it on the bill of a cap — that let’s make America great again. [laughter]

America is great. [applause]

I intend to make America strong again. I’m going to be the champion of the middle class, where I came from. If you make me your president, our best days are ahead. I’m ready to be commander- in-chief, ladies and gentlemen, on day one. I intend to war — win a war that we cannot afford to lose.

I will be a commander-in-chief worthy of the sacrifice of those brave Americans who have been defending our nation. They have had our back. God knows, they have had our back…

HARWOOD: Senator Graham…

GRAHAM: — and I intend to have their back as commander-in- chief. Make me commander-in-chief.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator Graham.

Governor Pataki?

PATAKI: Thank you for the opportunity to be with this great audience tonight.

I’m a limited government conservative and I mean by that that not just when it comes to economic issues leaving them to the state, but social issues, as well.

And in that I differ from every single other candidate seeking the Republican nomination.

I take the Tenth Amendment very, very seriously.

I’m a Republican who embraces science and understands we have to work with the next generation of millennials to have the innovation and technology so that we can grow a 21st century economy.

And I’m a Republican who understands in Washington, when you’re a leader, you have to put aside partisan politics to do what’s right for the people.

We are one America. If we work together across party lines, there’s no problem we can’t solve and the 21st century will be America’s greatest century.

Thank you very much.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: I grew up in a steel town of Western Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh, and when I announced for president, I announced from the factory floor. When I talk about making America the number one manufacturer again in the world, it’s not just talk. When I talk about having the opportunity for people to rise again, it’s not just because it polls well.

I represented the old steel valley of Pittsburgh. I represented a 70% Democratic district, and won with 60% of the vote. Why? Because I aligned myself with working men and women who feel that neither party, and certainly not Washington D.C. cares about them.

You elect me, we will get American workers on the side of the Republican party, and we can not be stopped if we do. [applause]

HARWOOD: Senator Santorum, thank you. Governor Jindal?

JINDAL: My message is to conservatives, this is our hour. Thanks to the insanity, the incompetence of the Democratic party, the American people are ready to turn our government over to us. It’s not enough to let just any Republican, however. The reality is the idea of America is slipping away.

As Christians, we believe that the tomb is empty. As Americans, we believe that our best days are always ahead of us, and they can be again. We must win this election. We cannot allow Hillary Clinton to take us down this path towards socialism — further down this path.

I’ve got the courage to apply our conservative principles. I can’t do it alone. With your help, with God’s grace, we can save the idea of America before it’s too late.

HARWOOD: Governor Jindal, thank you very much. Carl?

QUINTANILLA: That concludes our first part of the evening.

 

 

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 September 16, 2015: CNN Republican Early Lower Tier Debate Transcript Lindsey Graham Declared Winner

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

CNN Republican Top Tier Debate Transcript

Source: CNN, 9-16-15

GOP Presidential Debate. Aired 8:10-11:15p ET.

Aired September 16, 2015 – 20:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN MODERATOR: I’m Jake Tapper. We’re live at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California for the main event. Round 2 of CNN’s presidential debate starts now.

The eleven leading Republican candidates for president are at their podiums. They are ready to face off, and if you’ve been watching this race, you know anything could happen over the next few hours.

To viewers who are just joining us, welcome to the Air Force One Pavilion of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Our thanks to the staff here and especially to former first lady Nancy Reagan for this impressive setting with Ronald Reagan’s presidential plane as our backdrop.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: This debate is airing on CNN networks in the United States and around the world. It’s also being broadcast on the Salem Radio Network. I know everyone is very eager to get started.

But first, I want to explain the ground rules tonight. My name is Jake Tapper. I’ll be the moderator. I will be joined in the questioning by Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt. He worked in the Reagan administration for six years. And by CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

I will ask follow-up questions, I will attempt to guide the discussion. Candidates, I will try to make sure each of you gets your fair share of questions. You’ll have one minute to answer and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. I’ll give you time to respond if you’ve been singled out for criticism.

Our viewers should know we have timing lights that are visible to the candidates to warn them when their time is up. These 11 Republicans are positioned on the stage based on their ranking in recent national polls.

Our goal for this evening is a debate. A true debate, with candidates addressing each other in areas where they differ. Where they disagree — on policy, on politics, on leadership. Now, let’s begin.

I’d like to invite each candidate to take 30 seconds to introduce him or herself to our audience. First to you, Senator Paul.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Good evening, everyone. I’m an eye surgeon from Bowling Green, Kentucky. My wife, Kelly, and I have been married for nearly 25 years, and I spend my days defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I think there’s nothing more important than understanding that the Constitution restrains government, not the people.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, R-ARK.: I’m Mike Huckabee. I’m delighted to be on this stage with some remarkable fellow Republicans.

None of us are a self-professed socialist. None of us on this state are under investigation by the FBI because we destroyed government records, or because we leaked secrets.

I know that there are some in the Wall-Street-to-Washington axis of power who speak of all of us contemptuously. But I’m here to say that I think we are, in fact, the A team.

We have some remarkable people, and, in fact, not only are we the A team; we even have our own Mr. T, who doesn’t mind saying about others, “you’re a fool.”

And I’m delighted to be here with all of these guys, and would put any of them in an administration that I led. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

SEN. MARCIO RUBIO, R-FL.: Thank you. My name is Marco Rubio. I’m from Florida. My wife Jeanette and I are the proud — we’ve been married 17 years, and we’re the proud parents of four children, two of whom were able to join us here this evening.

I’m honored to be here at the Reagan Library, at a place that honors the legacy of a man who inspired not just my interest in public service, but also our love for country.

And I’m also aware that California has a drought, and so that’s why I made sure I brought my own water.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: I’m Ted Cruz. I am the son of an Irish-Italian mom and a Cuban immigrant dad who fled oppression and came to America seeking freedom. I’m a husband to my best friend, Heidi, who’s here tonight. I’m a dad to two little girls who are the loves of my life, Caroline and Catherine.

If you’re fed up with Washington, if you’re looking for someone to stand up to career politicians in both parties, I’m the only one on this stage who has done that over and over again, and if we stand together, we can bring America back. DR. BEN CARSON: Hi, I’m Ben Carson, and I’m a retired pediatric

neurosurgeon. I’m here with my wife, Candy, of 40 years, and two of my sons, and their wives.

I stress the pediatric part of my career because the reason that I’ve gotten involved in this race is because I’m very concerned about the future of our children, and the direction of our country is one that does not portend well, unless we, the people, intervene and retake our rightful place at the pinnacle.

And I just want to be — make it clear that I’m grateful to be here with all of you again, and welcome the addition of Carly Fiorina, as well.

(APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP: I’m Donald Trump. I wrote “The Art of the Deal”. I say not in a braggadocious way, I’ve made billions and billions of dollars dealing with people all over the world, and I want to put whatever that talent is to work for this country so we have great trade deals, we make our country rich again, we make it great again. We build our military, we take care of our vets, we get rid of Obamacare, and we have a great life altogether.

Thank you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH, R-FLA.: I’m Jeb Bush, and I believe America’s on the verge of its greatest century, and I’m ready to lead. I’m a committed, conservative reformer that cut taxes, that balanced budgets, that took on the special interest in Florida, and we won.

I look forward to talking tonight about how we can fix a broken Washington D.C., and create an environment where people can rise up again in this great country.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: Good evening, I’m Scott Walker, and tonight, I want to thank Mrs. Reagan, and the Reagan Library for hosting us. You see, in my lifetime, the greatest president was a governor from California. Ronald Reagan knew how to go big, and go bold. He understood the essence of moving this country forward, and that’s what I did when I took on the status quo in my state, and the Washington based special interest.

Now, more than ever, America needs a leader who will go big and bold again. Someone who’s been tested. I’m ready to be that leader. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLY FIORINA: Good evening. My story, from secretary to CEO, is only possible in this nation, and proves that everyone of us has potential. My husband, Frank, of 30 years, started out driving a tow truck for a family owned auto body shop. We have come to a pivotal point in our nation’s history where this nation’s possibilities and potential are being crushed by a government grown so big, so powerful, so inept, so corrupt, and a political class that refuses to do anything about it.

I am prepared to lead the resurgence of this great nation.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. JOHN R. KASICH, R-OHIO: Hello, I’m John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio. Emma, and Reese, my children, and Karen, love ‘ya girls. Thanks for watching tonight.

By the way, I think I actually flew on this plane with Ronald Reagan when I was a congressman, and his goals, and mine, really much — are pretty much the same. Lift Americans, unify, give hope, grow America, and restore it is to that great, shining city on a hill.

Yes, he was a great one, and I learned much from watching him. The most important thing, hope to Americans, unify, lift everyone in America.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Hi, my name is Chris Christie, and I’d like to you take the camera off me and put it on the audience because I’d like to ask all of you, how many of you, raise your hand, believe that in today’s Barak Obama America your children will have a better life than you’ve had?

You see? That’s why I’m running for President. Because leadership is not about me, it’s about our country. And, what we talk about tonight, it’s not about us, it’s about the people in the audience tonight, because in seven short years this president has stripped away their trust, and their faith, and their belief that the next generation will have a better life. He’s stolen that from us, and when I’m president, I’m going to take it back.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you one and all for being here. There are many important policy issues facing our nation. We’re going to get to many of them tonight, but I do want to start off with some current events in the news, and also some of the comments the candidates have recently made on the campaign trail.

TAPPER: Mrs. Fiorina, I want to start with you. Fellow Republican candidate, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, has suggested that your party’s frontrunner, Mr. Donald Trump, would be dangerous as President. He said he wouldn’t want, quote, “such a hot head with his finger on the nuclear codes.”

You, as well, have raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s temperament.

You’ve dismissed him as an entertainer. Would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes?

FIORINA: You know, I think Mr. Trump is a wonderful entertainer. He’s been terrific at that business.

I also think that one of the benefits of a presidential campaign is the character and capability, judgment and temperament of every single one of us is revealed over time and under pressure. All of us will be revealed over time and under pressure. I look forward to a long race.

TAPPER: You didn’t answer my question. Would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes? It’s an issue that one of your fellow candidates has raised.

FIORINA: That’s not for me to answer; it is for the voters of this country to answer, and I have a lot of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the voters of the United States of America.

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Well, first of all, Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage. He’s number 11, he’s got 1 percent in the polls, and how he got up here, there’s far too many people anyway.

As far as temperament — and we all know that — as far as temperament, I think I have a great temperament. I built a phenomenal business with incredible, iconic assets, one of the really truly great real-estate businesses.

And I may be an entertainer, because I’ve had tremendous success with number-one bestsellers all over the place, with “The Apprentice” and everything else I’ve done.

But I will tell you this: What I am far and away greater than an entertainer is a businessman, and that’s the kind of mindset this country needs to bring it back, because we owe $19 trillion right now, $19 trillion, and you need this kind of thinking to bring our country back.

And believe me, my temperament is very good, very calm. But we will be respected outside of this country. We are not respected now.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. — Senator Paul, your name has been invoked.

PAUL: I kind of have to laugh when I think of, “Mmm, sounds like a non sequitur.” He was asked whether or not he would be capable and it would be in good hands to be in charge of the nuclear weapons, and all of a sudden, there’s a sideways attack at me.

I think that really goes to really the judgment. Do we want someone with that kind of character, that kind of careless language to be negotiating with Putin? Do we want someone like that to be negotiating with Iran? I think really there’s a sophomoric quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried. I’m very concerned about him — having him in charge of the nuclear weapons, because I think his response, his — his visceral response to attack people on their appearance — short, tall, fat, ugly — my goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I never attacked him on his look, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.

(LAUGHTER)

That I can tell you.

WALKER: But Jake, Jake, Jake, Jake…

TAPPER: I want to — I want to give Mr. Trump…

WALKER: But Jake, this — this is — this…

TAPPER: … Mr. Trump, I want to give you another chance — Mr. Trump, I want to give you a chance to respond to something that your rival to your left, Governor Bush, said.

Governor Bush told me last week when I read him the quote from Governor Jindal that he agrees you’re not a serious candidate.

Tell Governor Bush why you are a serious candidate and what your qualifications are to be commander-in-chief. TRUMP: I’ve actually been in politics all my life, although I’ve been on that side as opposed to this side. I’m now a politician for about three months. Obviously, I’m doing pretty well. I’m number one in every polls (sic) by a lot.

But the qualification is that I’ve dealt with people all over the world, been successful all over the world. Everything I’ve done virtually has been a tremendous success.

When markets changed, when things turned, I heard Governor Pataki, who, by the way, was a failed governor in New York, a very seriously failed — he wouldn’t be elected dog catcher right now. I heard what he had to say.

And I will tell you this: Atlantic City, I’ve made a tremendous amount of money in Atlantic City. I left seven years ago, I’ve gotten great credit for my timing, and that’s what I’m all about.

I’m a businessman, did really well, really well, and Jeb, what I want to do is put that ability into this country to make our country rich again. And I can do that, and I’m not sure that anybody else in the group will be able to do that.

TAPPER: Governor Bush, would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes?

BUSH: I think the voters will make that determination.

But what I know to be true is that the next president of the United States is going to have to fix an extraordinary difficult situation. This administration, with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, has created insecurity the likes of which we never would’ve imagined. There’s not a place in the world where we’re better off today than six and a half years ago.

And that requires a steadiness. That requires an understanding of how the world works. That requires an understanding and appreciation of American leadership in the world.

You can’t just, you know, talk about this stuff and insult leaders around the world and expect a good result. You have to do this with a steady hand, and I believe I have those skills.

WALKER Jake, this is — this is — this is…

TRUMP: But I have to say…

WALKER This is actually what’s wrong — this is what’s wrong with this debate. We’re not talking about real issues.

And Mr. Trump, we don’t need an apprentice in the White House.

(APPLAUSE)

We don’t need an apprentice in the White House. We have one right now. He told us all the things we wanted to hear back in 2008. We don’t know who you are or where you’re going. We need someone who can actually get the job done.

And you talked about business.

TRUMP: Well, in Wisconsin…

WALKER You — you — let me finish…

TRUMP: Excuse me.

WALKER No, no…

TRUMP: In Wisconsin, you’re losing $2.2 billion right now.

WALKER You’re using the talking…

TRUMP: I would do so much better than that.

WALKER Mr. Trump, you’re using the talking points of the Democrats…

TRUMP: No.

WALKER … and as we all know…

TRUMP: I’m using facts.

WALKER … that failed three times in four and a half years when I got elected, because it is working. We balanced a budget.

You want to talk about balanced budgets? You took four major projects into bankruptcy over and over and over again. You can’t take America into bankruptcy. That’s what’s wrong with the politicians in Washington right now. They think we can take a country into bankruptcy.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Every major business leader, has used the — I never went bank bankrupt, by the way, as you know, everybody knows. But — hundreds of companies, hundreds of deals, I used the law four times and made a tremendous thing. I’m in business. I did a very good job.

But I will say this, and people are very, very impressed with what I’ve done, the business people. But when the folks of Iowa found out the true facts of the job that you’ve done in Wisconsin, all of a sudden you, tubed (ph), he was No. 1 and now he’s No. 6 or seven in the polls.

So, look, we brought it out, you were supposed to make a billion dollars in the state. You lost 2.2 — you have right now, a huge budget deficit. That’s not a Democratic point. That’s a point. That’s a fact. And when the people of Iowa found that out, I went to No. 1 and you went down the tubes.

TAPPER: Governor Walker?

WALKER: Jake, yeah, absolutely, I’ll take this on, because this is an issue that’s important in this race.

Just because he says it doesn’t make it true. The facts are the facts.

(APPLAUSE)

We balanced a $3.6 billion budget deficit, we did it by cutting taxes — $4.7 billion to help working families, family farmers, small business owners and senior citizens. And it’s about time people in America stand up and take note of this.

If you want someone that can actually take on the special interest of Washington, which you yourself said you were part of, using the system, we need somebody that will stand up and fight for average Americans to put them back in charge of their government.

I’m the one who is taking that on. I’ll do that as your next president.

TAPPER: Let’s move on.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Jake, Jake. TAPPER: A phenomenon going on in the race right now is the

political…

OK, Governor Kasich, go ahead.

KASICH: Listen, you know, I — if I were sitting at home and watch thing back and forth, I would be inclined to turn it off. I mean, people at home want to know across this country, they want to know what we’re going to do to fix this place, how we’ll balance a budget, how we’re going to create more economic growth, how we’ll pay down the debt. What we’re going to do to strengthen the military.

So, we just spent 10 minutes here…

TAPPER: We have a lot of issues coming up, sir.

KASICH: But — but wait a minute. It’s a lot of ad hogshead. Now, I know that it may be buzzing out there, but I think it’s important we get to the issues, because that’s what people want, and they don’t want all this fighting.

TAPPER: We are getting to the issues, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Phenomenon going on in the race is the political outsiders in the race, Dr. Carson, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, all together, have majority support in the polls.

Governor Christie, I want to ask you about something that Dr. Carson said the other day.

Dr. Carson said campaigning is easier for him, because he’s not a politician. He can just tell the truth, therefore, while politicians, quote, “Have their finger in the air to see and do what is politically expedient.”

Governor Christie, tell Dr. Carson, is that a fair description of you?

CHRISTIE: Well, I know Ben wasn’t talking about me, I’m sure he was talking about one of the other guys, not me.

(LAUGHTER)

As far as being an outsider is concerned — as far as being an outsider is concerned, let me tell you this, Jake, I’m a Republican in New Jersey. I wake up every morning as an outsider. I wake up every morning with a Democratic legislature who trying to beat my head in and fight me because I’m trying to bring conservative change to a state that needed it desperately.

And so, everyone can talk us here about their credentials. But the bottom line is, every morning I get up, I veto 400 bills from a crazy liberal Democratic legislature, not one of them has been overridden. I’ve vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history, according to Americans for Tax Reform. What folks want in this country is somebody to go down there and get the job done. And that’s exactly what I’ll do.

So, I know this much, that what the American people want to hire right now is somebody who believes in them. And believes that they are the ones who can fix our country. I will be the vessel through which they can fix this country, but it’s not about me.

It’s about all of you. And getting this government off your back and out of your way, and letting you succeed. I know Ben wasn’t talking about me.

TAPPER: Well, let’s find out. Thank you.

CHRISTIE: Look at him smiling at me right now. I know Ben didn’t mean it about me. One of these other guys, I’m sure.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Christie.

Dr. Carson, who were you thinking about on this stage when you said that?

CHRISTIE: Be honest, Ben, be honest.

TAPPER: And more broadly, is experience in government not important for a president to have?

CARSON: Typically, politicians do things that are politically expedient. And they are looking for whatever their particular goal is.

That is not the reason that I have gotten into this thing. I’m extraordinary concerned about the direction of this country, the divisiveness that is going on, fiscal irresponsibility, the failure to take a leadership position in the world.

All of those things will lead to a situation where the next generation will not have a chance that we’ve had now. So I don’t — I don’t want to really get into describing who’s a politician and who’s not a politician, but I think the people have kind of made that decision for themselves already, and will continue to do so as time goes on.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

CHRISTIE: See, Jake, it wasn’t me.

(LAUGHTER)

FIORINA: Jake, I’ll tell you — I’ll tell you why people are supporting outsiders. It’s because you know what happens if someone’s been in the system their whole life, they don’t know how broken the system is. A fish swims in water, it doesn’t know it’s water. It’s not that politicians are bad people, it’s that they’ve been in that system forever.

The truth is 75 percent of the American people think the government is corrupt; 82 percent of the American people think these problems that have festered for 50 years in some cases, 25 years in other cases. The border’s been insecure for 25 years; 307,000 veterans have died waiting for health care. These things have gone on for so long because no one will challenge the status quo.

You know what a leader does? They challenge the status quo, they solve problems that have festered for a long time and they produce results. That is what my whole life has been about. People know this is about far more than replacing a D with an R —

TAPPER: Thank you.

FIORINA: — this is about changing the system.

TAPPER: Thank you. Thank you Ms. Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bush, in addition to the fact that he’s an outsider, one of the reasons Mr. Trump is a frontrunner, Republican voters say, is because they like the fact that he is not bought and paid for by wealthy donors. Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that the $100 million you’ve raised for your campaign makes you a puppet for your donors. Are you?

BUSH: No. Absolutely not. People are supporting me because I have a proven record of conservative leadership where I cut taxes $19 billion over eight years. We shrunk the state government workforce, we created a climate that led the nation in job growth seven out of eight years. We were one of two states to go to AAA bond rating. People know that we need principle-centered leadership, a disrupter to go to Washington, D.C. The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something — that was generous and gave me money — was Donald Trump. He wanted casino gambling in Florida —

TRUMP: I didn’t —

BUSH: Yes you did.

TRUMP: Totally false.

BUSH: You wanted it and you didn’t get it because I was opposed to —

TRUMP: I would have gotten it.

BUSH: — casino gambling before —

TRUMP: I promise I would have gotten it.

BUSH: during and after. And that’s not — I’m not going to be bought by anybody.

TRUMP: I promise if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.

BUSH: No way. Believe me. TRUMP: I know my people.

BUSH: Not even possible.

TRUMP: I know my people.

TAPPER: Is there anything else you want to say about this?

TRUMP: No. I just will tell you that, you know, Jeb made the statement. I’m not only referring to him. I — a lot of money was raised by a lot of different people that are standing up here. And the donors, the special interests, the lobbyists have very strong power over these people.

I’m spending all of my money, I’m not spending — I’m not getting any — I turned down — I turn down so much, I could have right now from special interests and donors, I could have double and triple what he’s got. I’ve turned it down. I turned down last week $5 million from somebody.

So I will tell you I understand the game, I’ve been on the other side all of my life. And they have a lot of control over our politicians. And I don’t say that favorably, and I’m not sure if there’s another system, but I say this. I am not accepting any money from anybody. Nobody has control of me other than the people of this country. I’m going to do the right thing.

TAPPER: Governor — BUSH: You’ve got, according to your — to what you said on one of the talk shows, you got Hillary Clinton to go to your wedding —

TRUMP: That’s true. That’s true.

BUSH: — because you gave her money. Maybe it works for Hillary Clinton —

TRUMP: I was — excuse me, Jeb.

BUSH: — it doesn’t work for anybody on this — on stage.

TRUMP: I was a businessman, I got along with Clinton, I got along with everybody. That was my job, to get along with people.

BUSH: But the simple fact is —

TRUMP: I didn’t want to — excuse me. One second.

BUSH: No. The simple fact is, Donald, you could not take —

TRUMP: OK, more energy tonight. I like that.

(LAUGHTER)

Look —

BUSH: I was asked the question. TRUMP: I didn’t want — it was my obligation as a businessman to my family, to my company, to my employees, to get along with all politicians. I get along with all of them, and I did a damn good job in doing it. Go ahead.

BUSH: So he supports Pelosi, he supports Schumer, he supports Clinton —

TRUMP: Got along with everybody.

BUSH: When he — and he — when he asked — when he asked Florida to have casino gambling, we said no.

TRUMP: Wrong.

BUSH: We said no. And that’s the simple fact. The simple fact is —

TRUMP: Don’t make things up. Jeb, don’t make things up. Come on.

BUSH: Don’t cut me off.

TRUMP: Don’t make things up.

CARSON: Jake, can I say something about that?

TAPPER: Sure Dr. Carson.

CARSON: You know, when I entered this race, all the political pundits said it’s impossible; you can’t do it because you’re not connected with the money. And there’s no way that you can raise what you need in order to compete successfully.

I in no way am willing to get in the bed with special interest group or lick the boots of billionaires. I have said to the people if they want me to do this, please get involved. And we now have over 500,000 donations, and the money is coming in.

But the pundits forgot about one thing, and that is the people. And they are really in charge.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. Let’s move to Russia if we could.

Russia is sending troops and tanks into Syria right now to prop up a U.S. enemy, Bashar al-Assad. President Obama’s incoming top general says, quote, “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.”

Mr. Trump, you say you can do business with President Vladimir Putin, you say you will get along, quote, “very well.” What would you do right now if you were president, to get the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: So, number one, they have to respect you. He has absolutely no respect for President Obama. Zero.

Syria’s a mess. You look at what’s going on with ISIS in there, now think of this: we’re fighting ISIS. ISIS wants to fight Syria. Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.

I would talk to him. I would get along with him. I believe — and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.

We don’t get along with China. We don’t get along with the heads of Mexico. We don’t get along with anybody, and yet, at the same time, they rip us left and right. They take advantage of us economically and every other way. We get along with nobody.

I will get along — I think — with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable — stable world.

TAPPER: So, you — just to clarify, the only answer I heard to the question I asked is that you would — you would reach out to Vladimir Putin, and you would do what? You would…

TRUMP: I believe that I will get along — we will do — between that, Ukraine, all of the other problems, we won’t have the kind of problems that our country has right now with Russia and many other nations. TAPPER: Senator Rubio, you’ve taken a very different approach to the — the question of Russia. You’ve called Vladimir Putin a, quote, “gangster.”

Why would President Rubio’s approach be more effective than President Trump’s?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I have an understanding of exactly what it is Russia and Putin are doing, and it’s pretty straightforward. He wants to reposition Russia, once again, as a geopolitical force.

He himself said that the destruction of the Soviet Union — the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, and now he’s trying to reverse that.

He’s trying to destroy NATO. And this is what this is a part of. He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East.

Here’s what you’re going to see in the next few weeks: the Russians will begin to fly — fly combat missions in that region, not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad.

He will also, then, turn to other countries in the region and say, “America is no longer a reliable ally, Egypt. America is no longer a reliable ally, Saudi Arabia. Begin to rely on us.”

What he is doing is he is trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East, and this president is allowing it. That is what is happening in the Middle East. That’s what’s happening with Russia, and…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Rubio.

(CROSSTALK) TAPPER: I want to bring in Carly Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: Having…

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, you have met…

FIORINA: Having met Vladimir Putin, if I may…

TAPPER: …yeah, you’ve met Vladimir Putin. Yes.

FIORINA: Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him.

What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message. By the way, the reason it is so critically important that every one of us know General Suleimani’s name is because Russia is in Syria right now, because the head of the Quds force traveled to Russia and talked Vladimir Putin into aligning themselves with Iran and Syria to prop up Bashar al- Assad.

Russia is a bad actor, but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side, and we have all of that within our control.

We could rebuild the Sixth Fleet. I will. We haven’t. We could rebuild the missile defense program. We haven’t. I will. We could also, to Senator Rubio’s point, give the Egyptians what they’ve asked for, which is intelligence.

We could give the Jordanians what they’ve asked for…

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

FIORINA: …bombs and material. We have not supplied it…

TAPPER: Thank you.

FIORINA: …I will. We could arm the Kurds. They’ve been asking us for three years. All of this is within our control.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

While you’re — while you brought up the subject of General Suleimani of the Quds forces from Iran, the next president, no matter who he or she may be, will inherit President Obama’s Iran deal.

Senator Cruz, Governor Kasich says that anyone who is promising to rip up the Iran deal on day one, as you have promised to do, is, quote, “inexperienced,” and, quote, “playing to a crowd.” Respond to Governor Kasich, please.

CRUZ: Well, let me tell you, Jake, the single biggest national security threat facing America right now is the threat of a nuclear Iran. We’ve seen six and a half years of President Obama leading from behind. Weakness is provocative, and this Iranian nuclear deal is nothing short of catastrophic.

This deal, on its face, will send over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, making the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.

This deal abandons four American hostages in Iran, and this deal will only accelerate Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons. You’d better believe it. If I am elected president, on the very first day in office, I will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Why is that not, as Governor Kasich says, playing to the crowd and an example of you being inexperienced?

CRUZ: Well, let’s be clear when it comes to experience. What President Obama wants to do is he’s run to the United Nations, and he wants to use the United Nations to bind the United States, and take away our sovereignty. Well, I spent five and a half years as a Solicitor General of Texas, the lead lawyer for the state, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and I went in front of the Supreme Court, and took on the world court of the United Nations in a case called Medellin v. Texas, and we won a historic victory saying the World Court, and the U.N., has no power to bind the United States, and no President of the United States, Republican or Democrat, has the authority to give away our sovereignty.

And, so, if there’s anyone up here who would be bound by this catastrophic deal with Iran, they’re giving up the core responsibility of commander in chief, and as president, I would never do that.

TAPPER: Governor Kasich…

KASICH: …Yeah, well…

TAPPER: …Did Senator Cruz just play to the crowd?

KASICH: Well, let me just say this. First of all, I think it’s a bad agreement, I would never have done it. But, you know, a lot of our problems in the world today is that we don’t have the relationship with our allies. If we want to go everywhere alone, we will not have the strength as (ph) if we could rebuild with our allies.

Now, this agreement, we don’t know what’s going to happen in 18 months. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years. I’ve seen lots of issues in foreign affairs, and foreign — in terms of global politics, you have to be steady.

Now, here’s the — if they cheat, we slap the sanctions back on. If they help Hamas, and Hezbollah, we slap the sanctions back on. And, if we find out that they may be developing a nuclear weapon, than the military option is on the table. We are stronger when we work with the Western civilization, our friends in Europe, and just doing it on our own I don’t think is the right policy.

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor. I want to go to Senator Paul.

TRUMP(?): …Slow (ph) and steady, (inaudible) chicken…

TAPPER: I want to go to Senator Paul. Senator Paul, the White House is rolling out the red carpet next week for the President of China, President Xi. Governor Walker says that President Obama should cancel the state dinner because of China’s currency manipulation, and because of China’s alleged cyber attacks against the United States.

Is Governor Walker right?

PAUL: I think this goes back to essentially what we’ve been saying for the last two or three questions. Carly Fiorina also said we’re not going to talk with Putin. Well, think if Reagan had said that during the Cold War? We continued to talk with the Russians throughout the Cold War which is much more significant that where we are now.

Should we continue to talk with Iran? Yes. Should we cut up the agreement immediately? That’s absurd. Wouldn’t you want to know if they complied? Now, I’m going to vote against the agreement because I don’t think there’s significant leverage, but it doesn’t mean that I would immediately not look at the agreement, and cut it up without looking to see if whether or not Iran has complied.

The same goes with China. I don’t think we need to be rash, I don’t think we need to be reckless, and I think need to leave lines of communication open. Often we talk about whether we should be engaged in the world, or disengaged in the world, and I think this is an example of some who want to isolate us, actually, and not be engaged.

We do need to be engaged with Russia. It doesn’t mean we give them a free pass, or China a free pass, but, to be engaged, to continue to talk. We did throughout the Cold War, and it would be a big mistake not to do it here.

TAPPER: Governor Walker, Senator Paul seemed to suggest…

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: …that canceling the state dinner would be rash, and reckless.

WALKER: Two parts to that, one on China, one back for a second on Iran.

When it comes to China, why would we be giving an official state visit to a country that’s been involved in a massive cyber attack against the United States? That’s not just a visit, that’s a 21 gun salute on the South Lawn of the White House. It just doesn’t make any sense. If we’re ever going to send a message to them, wouldn’t this be the time, when they’ve issued this, sort of, massive attack against us? And, Jake, for the question, I was one of the first ones to call for terminating the bad deal with Iran on day one. The President came after me and said I need to bone up. You know, the President who called ISIS the JV squad said I needed to bone up.

The reality is it’s a bad deal on day one, and it’s a bad deal because this president has allowed Iran to go closer, and closer.

I’d love to play cards with this guy because Barack Obama folds on everything with Iran. We need a leader who’s going to stand up, and actually (INAUDIBLE)…

FIORINA: …Jake…

TAPPER: …Governor Bush…

CRUZ(?): …Jake…

TAPPER: Governor Bush, your father was the chief diplomatic envoy to China back when Nixon opened relations to China. Is Scott Walker’s approach the right one, canceling the state dinner?

BUSH: No, I don’t think so, but we need to be strong against China. We should use offensive tactics as it relates to cyber security, send a deterrent signal to China. There should be super sanctions in what President Obama has proposed. There’s many other tools that we have without canceling a dinner. That’s not going to change anything, but we can be much stronger as it relates to that.

As it relates to Iran, it’s not a strategy to tear up an agreement. A strategy would be how do we confront Iran? And, the first thing that we need to do is to establish our commitment to Israel which has been altered by this administration. And, make sure that they have the most sophisticated weapons to send a signal to Iran that we have Israel’s back.

If we do that, it’s going to create a healthier deterrent effect than anything else I can think of.

TAPPER: I want to turn…

FIORINA: …Jake, (INAUDIBLE)…

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: …I want to turn to Governor Huckabee who has been very patient. Somebody had to be 11th, and he is, but, I do want to change the subject to the event that you had…

HUCKABEE: I would certainly love to get in on this, because I think the single…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: … however you want, but I want to ask this question.

HUCKABEE: I’ve been patiently waiting, and I’m going to just say this about Iran.

TAPPER: All right, sir, go ahead.

HUCKABEE: Because I think it is incredibly important. This is really about the survival of Western civilization. This is not just a little conflict with a Middle Eastern country that we’ve just now given over $100 billion to, the equivalent in U.S. terms is $5 trillion.

This threatens Israel immediately, this threatens the entire Middle East, but it threatens the United States of America. And we can’t treat a nuclear Iranian government as if it is just some government that would like to have power. This is a government for 36 years has killed Americans, they kidnapped Americans, they have maimed Americans. They have sponsored terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, and they threaten the very essence of Western civilization.

To give them this agreement, that the president treats like the Magna Carta, but Iranians treat it like it’s toilet paper, and we must, simply, make it very clear that the next president, one of us on this stage, will absolutely not honor that agreement, and will destroy it and will be tough with Iran, because otherwise, we put every person in this world in a very dangerous place.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: OK.

(UNKNOWN): Jake, I’d like to…

TAPPER: We’re going to turn now to Hugh Hewitt, from Salem Radio Network.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HOST: Thank you, Jake.

Mr. Trump, two years ago, President Obama drew a red line that the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad crossed, President Obama threatened to strike. He did not, his knees buckled.

We now have 4 million refugees, Syria is a living hell, and he turned to the Congress for the authority to back him up. You have three senators to your right that said, no. Do they bear responsibility for this refugee crisis, and what would you have done when Bashar Assad crossed the line?

TRUMP: I wouldn’t have drawn the line, but once he drew it, he had no choice but to go across. They do bear some responsibility, but I think he probably didn’t do it, not for that reason.

Somehow, he just doesn’t have courage. There is something missing from our president. Had he crossed the line and really gone in with force, done something to Assad — if he had gone in with tremendous force, you wouldn’t have millions of people displaced all over the world.

HEWITT: How much responsibility, Mr. Trump, do the senators hold?

TRUMP: They had a responsibility, absolutely. I think we have three of them here…

HEWITT: Senator Rubio…

TRUMP: I think they had a responsibility, yes.

RUBIO: Let me tell you — I will tell you we have zero responsibility, because let’s remember what the president said. He said the attack he would conduct would be a pinprick. Well, the United States military was not build to conduct pinprick attacks.

If the United States military is going to be engaged by a commander- in-chief, it should only be engaged in an endeavor to win. And we’re not going to authorize use of force if you’re not put in a position where they can win.

And quite frankly, people don’t trust this president as commander-in- chief because of that.

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Senator Paul? PAUL: I think this gets to the point of wisdom on when to intervene and when we shouldn’t. Had we bombed Assad at the time, like President Obama wanted, and like Hillary Clinton wanted and many Republicans wanted, I think ISIS would be in Damascus today. I think ISIS would be in charge of Syria had we bombed Assad.

Sometimes both sides of the civil war are evil, and sometimes intervention sometimes makes us less safe. This is real the debate we have to have in the Middle East.

Every time we have toppled a secular dictator, we have gotten chaos, the rise of radical Islam, and we’re more at risk. So, I think we need to think before we act, and know most interventions, if not a lot of them in the Middle East, have actually backfired on us.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Paul.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to turn now to my colleague Dana Bash.

RUBIO: Hold on, a second, Jake, he asked me, as well. I’d like to actually…

TAPPER: That would be fair, you’re right. You’re the third senator.

RUBIO: … respond. I think I’m the first senator.

(LAUGHTER)

The No. 1 test for use of military force should be the vital national security interest of the United States. The reason why I opposed President Obama bombing Syria, is because he couldn’t answer the question what do you do if chemical weapons end up in the hands of radical Islamic terrorists like al-Nusra, like Al Qaida, like ISIS?

Now, I also want to respond to several folks up here who said we should trust this Iranian deal, see if the Iranians will comply.

Anyone who is paying attention to what Khamenei says knows that they will not comply. There is a reason Khamenei refers to Israel as the little Satan, and America as the great Satan.

In the middle of negotiating this treaty, Khamenei led the assembled masses in chanting, death to America. I’m reminded of a great editorial cartoon. It shows the Ayatollah Khamenei saying, “Death to all Americans,” and then it shows John Kerry coming back, saying, “Can we meet ya half way?”

(LAUGHTER)

We need a commander-in-chief who will stand up and protect this country. And I’ll tell you, I can’t wait to stand on that debate stage with Hillary Clinton and to make abundantly clear if you vote for Hillary, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khomeini to possess a nuclear weapon and if you elect me as president, under no circumstances will a theocratic ayatollah who chants death to America ever be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: We’re going to go to Dana Bash…

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: No, no, no. I want to — I want to — I want to say something about what the senator just said.

FIORINA: And then it’ll be my turn.

KASICH: No one is — no — let me — let me suggest to you we believe that we operate better in the world when our allies work with us. President Bush did it in the Gulf War. We work better when we are unified.

Secondly, nobody’s trusting Iran. They violate the deal, we put on the sanctions, and we have the high moral ground to talk to our allies in Europe to get them to go with us.

If they don’t go with us, we slap the sanctions on anyway. If they fund these radical groups that threaten Israel and all of the West, then we should rip up the deal and put the sanctions back on.

And let me make it clear — let me make it clear…

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: … if we think — if we think they’re getting close to a — to developing a nuclear weapon and we get that information, you better believe that I would do everything in my power as the commander-in- chief to stop them having a nuclear weapon.

CRUZ: Jake, Jake… KASICH: We can have it, and we can have our allies, and we can be strong as a country, and we can project across this globe with unity, not just doing it alone. That is not what gets us where we want to get as a nation.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Jake, there is no more important topic in 2016 than this topic right here, and I’ve listened to several folks saying, “Well, gosh, if they cheat, we’ll act.”

We won’t know under this agreement — there are several facilities in Iran they designate as military facilities that are off limit all together. Beyond that, the other facilities, we give them 24 days notice before inspecting them. That is designed to allow them to hide the evidence.

And most astonishingly, this agreement trusts the Iranians to inspect themselves. That makes no sense whatsoever.

And let me know — President Obama is violating federal law…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … by not handing over the side deals, and we ought to see the United States Congress…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … stand up together and say, “Hand over this treaty, and protect this country.”

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. I want to…

FIORINA: Jake?

TAPPER: … turn back to Governor Huckabee…

FIORINA: Jake?

TAPPER: I want to turn back to Governor Huckabee.

Governor Huckabee, last week, you held a rally for a county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as I don’t need to tell you.

You’ve called what happened to Kim Davis, that clerk, “an example of the criminalization of Christianity.” There are several people on the stage who disagree with you.

Governor Bush, for example, says that that clerk is sworn to uphold the law. Is Governor Bush on the wrong side of the criminalization of Christianity?

HUCKABEE: No, I don’t think he’s on the wrong side of such an issue. Jeb is a friend. I’m not up here to fight with Jeb or to fight with anybody else.

But I am here to fight for somebody who is a county clerk elected under the Kentucky constitution that 75 percent of the people of that state had voted for that said that marriage was between a man and a woman.

The Supreme Court in a very, very divided decision decided out of thin air that they were just going to redefine marriage. It’s a decision that the other justices in dissent said they didn’t have and there wasn’t a constitutional shred of capacity for them to do it.

I thought that everybody here passed ninth-grade civics. The courts cannot legislate. That’s what Roberts said. But heck, it’s what we learned in civics.

The courts can’t make a law. They can interpret one. They can review one. They can’t implement it. They can’t force it.

But here’s what happened: Because the courts just decided that something was going to be and people relinquished it and the other two branches of government sat by silently — I thought we had three branches of government, they were all equal to each other, we have separation of powers, and we have checks and balances.

If the court can just make a decision and we just all surrender to it, we have what Jefferson said was judicial tyranny.

The reason that this is a real issue that we need to think about…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: No, no. Let me finish this one thought, Jake. I haven’t gotten that much time, so I’m going to take just what little I can here.

We made accommodation to the Fort Hood shooter to let him grow a beard. We made accommodations to the detainees at Gitmo — I’ve been to Gitmo, and I’ve seen the accommodations that we made to the Muslim detainees who killed Americans.

HUCKABEE: You’re telling me that you cannot make an accommodation for an elected Democrat county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky? What else is it other than the criminalization of her faith and the exaltation of the faith of everyone else who might be a Fort Hood shooter or a detainee at Gitmo?

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Well, I’m not telling you that, Governor. But Governor Bush is, because he — because he disagrees. He thinks that Kim Davis swore to uphold the law.

You disagree? You’re not — you don’t…

BUSH: I don’t think — you’re not stating my views right.

TAPPER: OK. Please do.

BUSH: I think there needs to be accommodation for someone acting on faith. Religious conscience is — is — is a first freedom. It’s — it’s a powerful part of our — of our Bill of Rights.

And, in a big, tolerant country, we should respect the rule of law, allow people in — in — in this country — I’m a — I was opposed to the decision, but we — you can’t just say, “well, they — gays can’t get married now.”

But this woman, there should be some accommodation for her conscience, just as there should be for people that are florists that don’t want to participate in weddings, or bakers. A great country like us should find a way to have accommodations for people so that we can solve the problem in the right way. This should be solved at the local level…

TAPPER: You did…

BUSH: And so we do agree, Mike.

CHRISTIE: I was —

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Governor, you said, quote, “she is sworn to uphold the law.”

CHRISTIE: She is, and so if she, based on conscience, can’t sign that — that marriage license, then there should be someone in her office to be able to do it, and if the law needs to be changed in the state of Kentucky, which is what she’s advocating, it should be changed.

TAPPER: Let me go to my colleague Dana Bash, who has a question.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Governor Kasich, Senator Cruz is so committed to stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood that it could result in shutting down the federal government in just about two weeks. Do you agree with Senator Cruz’s tactic?

KASICH: Well, I agree that we should defund Planned Parenthood. I don’t know many people in America who don’t think that we should, and in my state, we’re trying to figure out how to get it done, because we are threatened with the federal government taking all of our Medicaid money away.

I think there is a way to get this done by giving governors the ability to be able to act to defund Planned Parenthood. But when (ph) it comes to closing down the federal government, you gotta be very careful about that.

When we shut the government down — if we have a chance at success and it’s a great principle, yes. The president of the United States is not going to sign this, and all we’re gonna do is shut the government down, and then we’re gonna open up — open it up, and the American people are gonna shake their heads and say, “what’s the story with these Republicans?” So I think there is a way to get to cutting off the funding for

Planned Parenthood. I was in the Congress for 18 years, balanced the budget, cut taxes, got it done. Changed welfare, went around the president to get welfare reform done.

There are ways to do it without having to shut the government down, but I’m sympathetic to the fact that we don’t want this organization to get funding, and the money ought to be reprogrammed for family planning in other organizations that don’t support this tactic.

But I would not be for shutting the government down…

BASH: Thank you.

KASICH: …because I don’t think it’s going to work out.

BASH: Thank you.

Senator Cruz, I would just add that, on this stage not that long ago, Senator Graham said that this tactic that you’re pushing would tank the Republicans’ ability to win in 2016.

CRUZ: Well, let me tell you, Dana, number one, I’m proud to stand for life. These Planned Parenthood videos are horrifying. I would encourage every American to watch the videos. See — seeing your Planned Parenthood officials callously, heartlessly bartering and selling the body parts of human beings, and then ask yourself, “are these my values?”

These are horrifying. On these videos, Planned Parenthood also essentially confesses to multiple felonies. It is a felony with ten years’ jail term to sell the body parts of unborn children for profit. That’s what these videos show Planned Parenthood doing.

Absolutely we shouldn’t be sending $500 million of taxpayer money to funding an ongoing criminal enterprise, and I’ll tell you, the fact that Republican leadership in both houses has begun this discussion by preemptively surrendering to Barack Obama and saying, “we’ll give in because Obama threatens a veto.”

You know, Obama’s committed to his principles. His liberal principles, he will fight for them. He says…

BASH: Thank you, senator.

CRUZ: I will veto any budget that doesn’t fund Planned Parenthood, and Republicans surrender. We need to stop surrendering and start standing…

BASH: Thank you…

CRUZ: …for our principles.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK) BASH: Governor — governor, I want to go to you. Is it what Senator

Cruz says, a surrender by Republicans?

CHRISTIE: We’re not — what I can tell you is this. We didn’t surrender in New Jersey, six years ago, as the brand new first ever pro-life governor of New Jersey since Roe versus Wade, I defended Planned Parenthood.

And I’ve vetoed Planned Parenthood funding, now, eight times in New Jersey. Since the day I walked in as governor, Planned Parenthood has not been funded in New Jersey. We stood up and every one of those vetoes has been sustained.

But here’s the problem, we’re — we’re fighting with each other up here. We agree. Let’s ask Hillary Clinton. She believes in the systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts…

BASH: But…

CHRISTIE: …Dana, in a way that maximizes their value for sale for profit. It is disgusting, and the American people need to hear it…

BASH: But is it…

CHRISTIE: …we shouldn’t be fighting with each other. She’s the real opponent, she’s the real problem.

BASH: But, governor, the — but, governor, the reality is, in just two weeks’ time…

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: …we are going to be facing a question about whether or not it’s enough to shut down the government to make that statement, because there is still a Democrat in the White House. Do you oppose it or support it?

CHRISTIE: I’ll tell you what — I’ll tell you what I’d be willing to fight for. I’ll tell you what I’d be willing to fight for. Why will (ph) we put tax reform on the president’s desk, so we can simplify this tax system?

BASH: Yes or no, do you support this shutdown?

CHRISTIE: No, no, it’s really important, Dana. We got to talk about what we would be willing to shut down for. Why don’t we put tax reform on this president’s desk, and make him veto it if that’s what he wants to do? Why haven’t we repealed and replaced Obamacare?

Make him veto if that’s what he wants to do.

BASH: We’re talking about Planned Parenthood right now.

CHRISTIE: And why don’t we do the same thing with Planned Parenthood?

BASH: Can you answer yes or no?

CHRISTIE: We elected a Republican Congress to do this. And they should be doing it, and they’re not. And they’re giving the president a pass.

FIORINA: Dana, I’d like to…

BASH: One more time. I’m sorry, I just want to get the answer.

CHRISTIE: I put it in the list, Dana. We should be doing these things and forcing the president to take action.

BASH: So you would support a shutdown.

CHRISTIE: Let’s force him to do what he says he’s going to do. Now I don’t know whether he’ll do it or not, but let’s force him to do it.

FIORINA: Dana, I would like to link these two issues, both of which are incredibly important, Iran and Planned Parenthood.

One has something to do with the defense of the security of this nation. The other has something to do with the defense of the character of this nation. You have not heard a plan about Iran from any politician up here, here is my plan. On day one in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls, the first to my good friend to Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel.

The second, to the supreme leader, to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections by our people, not his, we, the United States of America, will make it as difficult as possible and move money around the global financial system.

We can do that, we don’t need anyone’s cooperation to do it. And every ally and every adversary we have in this world will know that the United States in America is back in the leadership business, which is how we must stand with our allies.

As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.

This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up in and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dana, I want to continue on the subject.

Governor Bush, you recently said while discussing Planned Parenthood, quote, you’re “not sure we need a half billion for women’s health issues.” Now you’ve since said that you misspoke, you didn’t mean to say “women’s health issues.”

But Donald Trump said that quote, that comment, which Hillary Clinton did seize upon immediately, will haunt you the same way Mitt Romney’s 47 percent video haunted him.

Tell Donald Trump why he’s wrong.

BUSH: Well, he’s wrong on a lot of things, but on this he’s wrong because I’m the most pro-life governor on this stage. I got to act on my core beliefs. It’s part of who I am. Life is a gift from God. And from beginning end we need to respect it and err on the side of life.

And so I defunded Planned Parenthood. We created a climate where parental notification took place. We were the only state to fund crisis pregnancy centers with state moneys. We were totally focused on this. And I would bring that kind of philosophy to Washington, D.C.

So here is a solution to this. Title X of the HHS funding, there is something that was the “Reagan Rule.” It was passed in 1988. And in that rule it was defined, and the courts approved this, that a Planned Parenthood, you couldn’t separate the money between the actual abortion procedures, and there are 330,000 abortions that take place in this clinic, and their promotion of it.

He interpreted it the right way, the courts ruled in his favor, and Planned Parenthood did not get funding during that time until President Clinton came in.

When I’m elected president, we will restore that interpretation of Title X. And this deal will be finished.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Bush.

Donald Trump, let me just…

TRUMP: Jeb, just…

TAPPER: The quote was, “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” He said he misspoke. You said that that’s going to haunt him. Why do you think that?

TRUMP: I think it will haunt him. I think it’s a terrible. I think it’s going to haunt him absolutely. He came back later and he said he misspoke. There was no question because I heard when he said the statement. I was watching and he said the statement.

And I said, wow, I can’t believe it. I will take care of women. I respect women. I will take care of women.

One thing we will say and I would like to get back to the Iran situation. We’re talking about Iran. The agreement was terrible. It was incompetent. I’ve never seen anything like it. One of the worst contracts of any kind I’ve ever seen.

And nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places. But certainly North Korea.

And Ted and I have spoken. We’ve — a lot of us have spoken. We’re talking about Iran. They are bad actors, bad things are going to happen. But in the meantime, you have somebody right now in North Korea who has got nuclear weapons and who is saying almost every other week, I’m ready to use them. And we don’t even mention it.

TAPPER: Governor Bush?

BUSH: There are 13,000 community-based organizations that provide health services to women, 13,000 in this country. I don’t believe that Planned Parenthood should get a penny from the federal government. Those organizations should get funding, just as I increased funding when I was governor of the state.

That’s the way you do this is you improve the condition for people. And, Donald, when I was governor, we also increased the opportunities for women.

Women’s income grew three times faster than the national average when I was governor.

TRUMP: So why didn’t you say it? Why didn’t you say it?

BUSH: We improved — we improved —

TRUMP: I know, but why did you say it? I heard it myself. Why did you say it?

BUSH: — we increased child support — we increased child support with a broken system by 90 percent.

TRUMP: You said you’re going to cut funding for women’s health. You said it.

BUSH: I have a proven record. I have a proven record.

TRUMP: You said it.

TAPPER: I want to — we’re going to get to —

WALKER: Jake, just one more moment. This is — there’s something bigger to this. Now, I — like so many other governors here, I defunded Planned Parenthood four-and-a-half years ago, in a Blue State. But it’s bigger than that. We did that in a Blue State, we took the money and put it into women’s health, so we did exactly what we’re talking about here.

But I think the bigger issue here is we should be able to do this nationally, and this is precisely why so many Republicans are upset with Washington. They see the House and they see the Senate and they say why can’t we pass this. Why can’t we defund Planned — put it in a spending bill.

Forget about the 60-vote rule, there’s no reason — and the Constitution doesn’t call for 60 votes. Pass it with 51 votes, put it on the desk of the president —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

WALKER: — and go forward and actually make a point. This is why —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

WALKER: — people are upset with Washington.

TAPPER: We’re going to — we’re going to get to many of these issues. This — we’re still in the first block, believe it or not. We’re going to get to many of these issues, but before we end this block, Ms. Fiorina, I do want to ask you about this.

In an interview last week in Rolling Stone magazine, Donald Trump said the following about you. Quote, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Mr. Trump later said he was talking about your persona, not your appearance. Please feel free to respond what you think about his persona.

(LAUGHTER)

FIORINA: You know, it’s interesting to me, Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly and what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I think she’s got a beautiful face, and I think she’s a beautiful woman.

TAPPER: All right. On that note, in less than two minutes — we’re going to take a very quick break. In less than two minutes, the most contentious issue on the campaign trail. And the candidates on the stage are split over how to handle it. That’s coming up next.

Please give some applause to the candidates.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome to CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate. No topic perhaps has been more combustible in this campaign than the issue of immigration.

Mr. Trump, you have called for deporting every undocumented immigrant, Governor Christie has said, quote, “There are not enough law enforcement officers — local, county, state and federal combined — to forcibly deport 11 to 12 million people.”

Tell Governor Christie how much your plan will cost, and how you will get it done.

TRUMP: Correct. First of all, I want to build a wall, a wall that works. So important, and it’s a big part of it.

Second of all, we have a lot of really bad dudes in this country from outside, and I think Chris knows that, maybe as well as anybody.

They go, if I get elected, first day they’re gone. Gangs all over the place. Chicago, Baltimore, no matter where you look.

We have a country based on laws. I will make sure that those laws are adhered to. These are illegal immigrants. I don’t think you’d even be asking this question if I didn’t run because when I ran, and I brought this up, my opening remarks at Trump Tower, I took heat like nobody has taken heat in a long time. And, then they found out with the killing of Katie, from San Francisco, and so many other crimes, they found out that I was right.

And, most people, many people, apologized to me. I don’t think you’d even be talking about illegal immigration if it weren’t for me. So, we have a country of laws, they’re going to go out, and they’ll come back if they deserve to come back. If they’ve had a bad record, if they’ve been arrested, if they’ve been in jail, they’re never coming back. We’re going to have a country again. Right now, we don’t have a country, we don’t have a border, and we’re going to do something about it, and it can be done with proper management, and it can be done with heart.

TAPPER: Governor Christie, you and I have talked about this in an interview. You say that his big wall, his plan to deport 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants, it sounds great, but it’s never going to happen.

Tell him why you’re skeptical of his plans?

CHRISTIE: First of, Jake, I don’t yield to anybody on how to enforce the law. I’m the only person on this stage who spent seven years as a United States Attorney after September 11th, and I know how to do this.

The fact is though that for 15,000 people a day to be deported every day for two years is an undertaking that almost none of us could accomplish given the current levels of funding, and the current number of law enforcement officers. Here’s what we need to do, and I think this is where Donald is absolutely right. What we need to do is to secure our border, and we need to do it with more than just a wall.

We need to use electronics, we need to use drones, we need to use FBI, DEA, and ATF, and yes, we need to take the fingerprint of every person who comes into this country on a visa, and when they overstay their visa, we need to tap them on the shoulder, and say, “You have overstayed your welcome, you’re taking advantage of the American people. It’s time for you to go.”

If we had that kind of system in place, we wouldn’t have the 11 million people we have now.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Christie… TRUMP: …By the way, I agree with — with what Chris is saying, but, I will say this. Illegal immigration is costing us more than $200 billion dollars a year just to maintain what we have.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Dr. Carson because he too has been skeptical of your plan to immediately deport 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants. He said, quote, “People who say that have no idea what this entails.”

Why do you say that, Dr. Carson?

CARSON: Well, first of all, I recognize that we have an incredible illegal immigration problem. I was down in Arizona a few weeks ago at the border. I mean, the fences that were there were not manned, and those are the kind of fences when I was a kid that would barely slow us down. So, I don’t see any purpose in having that.

Now, what we need to do is look at something that actually works. Yuma County, Arizona. They stop 97 percent of the illegal immigrants through there. They put in a double fence with a road so that there was quick access by the enforcement people.

If we don’t seal the border, the rest of this stuff clearly doesn’t matter. It’s kind of ridiculous all the other things we talk about. We have the ability to do it, we don’t have the will to do it.

There was one area where they had cut a hole in the fence, and to repair it, they put a few strands of barb wire across. Well, the photographers who were there with us, they wanted to photograph us from the side of the Mexicans, and they went through there, and they were not physically fit people, and they took their cameras and things with them, and shot us from the other side.

That’s how easy it is to get across. And, the drugs, I mean, it goes on, and on, and on. ICE tells them to release these people, 67,000 criminals released…

TAPPER: …Dr. Carson…

CARSON: …on to our property, it’s ridiculous.

TAPPER: With all due respect, you said about Donald Trump’s plan to deport 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants, “People who say that have no idea what this entails.”

Why not?

CARSON: Well, I have also said, if anybody knows how to do that, that I would be willing to listen. And, if they can, you know, specify exactly how that’s going to be done, and what the cost, and it sounds reasonable, then I think it’s worth discussing…

TRUMP(?): …(INAUDIBLE)…

TAPPER: …let’s continue the conversation about illegal immigration with Dana Bash.

BASH: Governor Bush, Mr. Trump has suggested that your views on immigration are influenced by your Mexican born wife. He said that, quote, “If my wife were from Mexico, I think I would have a soft spot for people from Mexico.” Did Mr. Trump go to far in invoking your wife?

BUSH: He did, he did. You’re proud of your family, just as I am.

TRUMP: Correct.

BUSH: To subject my wife into the middle of a raucous political conversation was completely inappropriate, and I hope you apologize for that, Donald.

TRUMP: Well, I have to tell you, I hear phenomenal things. I hear your wife is a lovely woman…

BUSH: She is. She’s fantastic.

TRUMP: I don’t know her, and this is a total mischaracterization…

BUSH: She is absolutely the love of my life, and she’s right here…

TRUMP: Good.

BUSH: And why don’t you apologize to her right now.

TRUMP: No, I won’t do that, because I’ve said nothing wrong.

BUSH: Yeah.

TRUMP: But I do hear she’s a lovely woman.

BUSH: So, here’s the deal. My wife is a Mexican-American. She’s an American by choice.

She loves this country as much as anybody in this room, and she wants a secure border. But she wants to embrace the traditional American values that make us special and make us unique.

We’re at a crossroads right now. Are we going to take the Reagan approach, the hopeful optimistic approach, the approach that says that, you come to our country legally, you pursue your dreams with a vengeance, you create opportunities for all of us?

Or the Donald Trump approach? The approach that says that everything is bad, that everything is coming to an end. I…

BASH: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Jeb said…

BUSH: I’m on the Reagan side of this.

TRUMP: … that they come into our country as an act of love. With all of the problems we that we have, in so many instances — we have wonderful people coming in. But with all of the problems — this is not an act of love. He’s weak on immigration — by the way, in favor of Common Core, which is also a disaster, but weak on immigration.

He doesn’t get my vote.

BASH: Mr. Trump…

FIORINA: Dana, with all being said to Mr. Trump…

BASH: Go ahead.

FIORINA: Immigration did not come up in 2016 because Mr. Trump brought it up. We talked about it in 2012, we talked about it in 2008. We talked about it in 2004.

TRUMP: Not with this intensity.

FIORINA: We have been talking about it for 25 years. This is why people are tired of politicians.

BASH: Ms. Fiorina — Ms. Fiorina, we’re going to come to you, we’re going to come to you.

I just want to give Governor Bush a chance to respond to what Mr. Trump said. BUSH: Look, first of all, I wrote a book about this, three — four years ago, now. And I laid out a comprehensive, conservative approach for immigration reform.

And it does require securing the border. No one disagrees with that. But to build a wall, and to deport people — half a million a month — would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, Donald. Hundreds of billions of dollars. It would destroy community life, it would tear families apart.

And it would send a signal to the rest of the world that the United States values that are so important for our long-term success no longer matter in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: As I said, we are spending $200 billion — we are spending $200 billion a year on maintaining what we have. We will move them out. The great ones will come back, the good ones will come back.

They’ll be expedited, they’ll be back, they’ll come back legally. We’ll have a country — they’ll come back, legally.

BASH: OK, on that note, you have criticized Governor Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail. You said, quote, “He should really set an example by speaking English in the United States.”

What’s wrong with speaking Spanish?

TRUMP: Well, I think it’s wonderful and all, but I did it a little bit half-heartedly, but I do mean it to a large extent.

We have a country, where, to assimilate, you have to speak English. And I think that where he was, and the way it came out didn’t sound right to me. We have to have assimilation — to have a country, we have to have assimilation.

I’m not the first one to say this, Dana. We’ve had many people over the years, for many, many years, saying the same thing. This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Well, I’ve been speaking English here tonight, and I’ll keep speaking English.

But the simple fact is, if a high school kid asks me a question in Spanish, a school — by the way, a voucher program that was created under my watch, the largest voucher program in the country, where kids can go to a Christian school, and they ask me a question in Spanish, I’m going to show respect and answer that question in Spanish.

Even though they do speak English, and even though they embrace American values.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: This is a reporter, not a high school kid.

RUBIO: Ms. Dana, I agree that English is the unifying language of our country, and everyone should learn to speak it. It’s important.

I want to tell you a story about someone that didn’t speak English that well. It was my grandfather; he came to this country in the 1960s, as a — escaping Cuba. And he lived with us, growing up.

And my grandfather loved America. He understood what was so special about this country. He loved Ronald Reagan; he would be very proud of the fact that we’re here this evening.

My grandfather instilled in me the belief that I was blessed to live in the one society in all of human history where even I, the son of a bartender and a maid, could aspire to have anything, and be anything that I was willing to work hard to achieve.

But he taught me that in Spanish, because it was the language he was most comfortable in. And he became a conservative, even though he got his news in Spanish.

And so, I do give interviews in Spanish, and here’s why — because I believe that free enterprise and limited government is the best way to help people who are trying to achieve upward mobility.

And if they get their news in Spanish, I want them to hear that directly from me. Not from a translator at Univision.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Rubio. (APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Senator Cruz — Senator Cruz, this week, we learned more about Dr. Carson’s plan for the 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

Dr. Carson proposed giving these undocumented immigrants a six- month grace period to pay back taxes then to let them become guest workers and only to deport people who failed to do that.

CARSON: Not exactly what I said.

TAPPER: Well, how would you say it, sir? I was just reading the Wall Street Journal quote, but please tell us.

CARSON: Well, what I said, after we seal the borders, after we turn off the spigot that dispenses all the goodies so we don’t have people coming in here, including employment, that people who had a pristine record, we should consider allowing them to become guest workers, primarily in the agricultural sphere, because that’s the place where Americans don’t seem to want to work.

That’s what I said. And they have a six-month period to do that. If they don’t do it within that time period, then they become illegal, and as illegals, they will be treated as such.

TAPPER: OK, from the horse’s mouth, Senator Cruz, does that fit your definition of amnesty?

CRUZ: Well, Jake, you know, I’m — I’m very glad that Donald Trump’s being in this race has forced the mainstream media finally to talk about illegal immigration. I think that’s very important.

I like and respect Ben Carson. I’ll let him talk about his own plans.

But I will say this: The natural next question that primary voters are asking, after we focus on illegal immigration is, okay, what are the records of the various candidates? And this is an issue on which there are stark differences.

A majority of the men and women on this stage have previously and publicly embraced amnesty. I am the only candidate on this stage who has never supported amnesty and, in fact, who helped lead the fight to stop a massive amnesty plan.

In 2013, when Barack Obama and Harry Reid joined the Washington Republicans in a massive, I stood shoulder to shoulder with Jeff Sessions helping lead the fight.

You know, folks here have talked about, how do you secure the borders? Well, I’ve been leading the fight in the Senate to triple the Border Patrol, to put in place fencings and walls, to put in place a strong biometric exit/entry system…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

Senator Rubio…

CARSON: Can I — can I — can I just…

TAPPER: … I’m not sure…

CARSON: Can I correct…

TAPPER: We’ll come back to you — we’ll come back to you in one second, sir.

But Senator Rubio, I’m not sure exactly whose plan he’s — he’s saying is — constitutes amnesty, but I know he has said it about your plan in the past, so I want to give you a chance to respond, then, Dr. Carson, we’ll come to you.

CARSON: OK.

RUBIO: Well, let me say that legal immigration is not an issue I read about in the newspaper. Immigration, illegal immigration, all the good aspects of immigration and all the negative ones as well, I live with. My family’s immigrants. My neighbors are all immigrants. My in-laws are all immigrants.

So I’ve seen every aspect of it, and I can tell you America doesn’t have one immigration problem, it has three.

First, despite the fact that we are the most generous country in the history of the world in allowing people to come here legally, we have people still coming illegally.

Second, we have a legal immigration system that no longer works. It primary is built on the basis of whether you have a relative living here instead of merit.

And third, we have 11 million or 12 million people, many of whom have been here for longer than a decade who are already here illegally.

And we must deal with all three of these problems. We cannot deal with all three of these problems in one massive piece of legislation. I learned that. We tried it that way.

Here’s the way forward: First, we must — we must secure our border, the physical border, with — with a wall, absolutely. But we also need to have an entry/exit tracking system. 40 percent of the people who come here illegally come legally, and then they overstay the visa. We also need a mandatory e-verify system.

After we’ve done that, step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here.

And after we’ve done those two things, I believe the American people…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. RUBIO: … will be very reasonable and responsible about what you do with someone who’s been here and isn’t a criminal. If you’re a criminal, obviously, you will not be able to stay.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

Senator — Dr. Carson…

(APPLAUSE)

… I want to give you 30 seconds. I’d like you to answer the question.

Senator Cruz describes plans such as yours as amnesty. Why is your plan not amnesty?

CARSON: My plan is not amnesty for a number of reasons.

Number one, you know, I’ve talked to farmers, and they said they cannot hire Americans to do the kind of job that I’m talking about.

And the second reason is because the individuals who register as guest workers, they don’t get to vote, they are not American citizens, and they don’t get the rights and privileges of American citizens. So that’s key.

But the other thing that I want to bring up is, I mentioned something earlier. I think it was just sort of glossed over.

I talked about the success in Yuma County, I mean, incredible success, and the Department of Justice said, “No, we don’t want to do that. That’s too successful.”

We don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. All we have to do is look at things that work. All we have to do is use a little common sense.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. I want to talk about the issue of birthright citizenship, which — which has emerged since the first debate as — as an a — a major issue in this campaign.

Mr. Trump, you say that babies born in the United States to undocumented immigrants should not any longer get automatic American citizenship. Ms. Fiorina says that you are pandering on this issue and acting like the politicians that you rail against. What’s your message to Ms. Fiorina on birthright citizenship?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, the — the 14th Amendment says very, very clearly to a lot of great legal scholars — not television scholars, but legal scholars — that it is wrong. It can be corrected with an act of Congress, probably doesn’t even need that.

A woman gets pregnant. She’s nine months, she walks across the border, she has the baby in the United States, and we take care of the baby for 85 years. I don’t think so.

And by the way, Mexico and almost every other country anywhere in the world doesn’t have that. We’re the only ones dumb enough, stupid enough to have it. And people — and by the way, this is not just with respect to Mexico. They are coming from Asia to have babies here, and all of a sudden, we have to take care of the babies for the life of the baby.

The 14th Amendment, it reads properly, you can go and — it’s probably going to be have to be check — go through a process of court, probably ends up at the Supreme Court, but there are a lot of great legal scholars that say that is not correct.

And in my opinion, it makes absolutely no — we’re the only — one of the only countries, we’re going to take care of those babies for 70, 75, 80, 90 years? I don’t think so.

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, the vast majority of countries do not have birthright citizenship…

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: …Donald Trump is right about that. Why is it pandering when he’s — he says this?

FIORINA: First let me say, We have just spent a good bit of time discussing, as Republicans, how to solve this problem. I would ask your audience at home to ask a very basic question. Why have Democrats not solved this problem?

President Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008 on solving the immigration problem. He entered Washington with majorities in the House and the Senate. He could have chosen to do anything to solve this pro — this problem. Instead, he chose to do nothing.

Why? because the Democrats don’t want this issue solved.

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina…

FIORINA: They want it to be an issue that they can use. As to birthright citizenship…

TAPPER: Please.

FIORINA: …the truth is, you can’t just wave your hands and say “the 14th Amendment is gonna go away.” It will take an extremely arduous vote in Congress, followed by two-thirds of the states, and if that doesn’t work to amend the Constitution, then it is a long, arduous process in court.

And meanwhile, what will continue to go on is what has gone on for 25 years. With all due respect, Mr. Trump, we’ve been talking about illegal immigration for 25 years. San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989. There are 300 of them.

And meanwhile, what has happened? Nothing. The border remains insecure. The legal immigration system remains broken. Look, we know what it takes to secure a border. We’ve heard a lot of great ideas here. Money, manpower, technology… TAPPER : Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

FIORINA: …mostly, apparently, leadership…

TAPPER: Thank you.

FIORINA: …the kind of leadership that understands how to get results.

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina. Mr. Trump, I want to give you the chance to respond…

TRUMP: I agree 100 percent, by the way, with Carly on the fact that the Democrats do not want to solve this problem, for the obvious reasons, but they do not.

But I believe that a reading of the 14th Amendment allows you to have an interpretation where this is not legal and where it can’t be done. I’ve seen both sides, but some of the greatest scholars agree with me, without having to go through Congress.

If you do go through Congress, you can absolutely solve the problem. TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump. Senator Paul…

FIORINA: But you — you would stipulate, Mr. Trump, but not everyone agrees with you.

TRUMP: That’s true, sure.

FIORINA: OK.

TAPPER: Senator Paul, I want to bring you in. Where — where do you stand on the issue of birthright citizenship?

PAUL: Well, I hate to say it, but Donald Trump has a bit of a point here.

The case that was decided around 1900 was, people had a green card, were here legally, and they said that their children were citizens. There’s never been a direct Supreme Court case on people who were here illegally, whether or not their kids are citizens.

So it hasn’t really been completely adjudicated. The 14th Amendment says that “those who are here and under the jurisdiction.” The original author of the — of the 14th Amendment said on the Senate floor that this was applying to slaves, and did not specifically apply to others.

TAPPER: All right. Senator Paul, thank you so much. Let’s turn to a new topic. We’ve received a lot of questions on social media about the economy and about jobs. We have two CEOs on stage right now.

Ms. Fiorina, you were CEO of Hewlett Packard. Donald Trump says you, quote, “ran HP into the ground,” you laid off tens of thousands of people, you got viciously fired.

For voters looking to somebody with private-sector experience to create American jobs, why should they pick you and not Donald Trump?

FIORINA: I led Hewlett Packard through a very difficult time, the worst technology recession in 25 years. The NASDAQ stock index fell 80 percent. It took 15 years for the stock index to recover. We had very strong competitors who literally went out of business and lost all of their jobs in the process.

Despite those difficult times, we doubled the size of the company, we quadrupled its topline growth rate, we quadrupled its cash flow, we tripled its rate of innovation.

Yes, we had to make tough choices, and in doing so, we saved 80,000 jobs, went on to grow to 160,000 jobs. And now Hewlett Packard is almost 300,000 jobs. We went from lagging behind to leading in every product category and every market segment.

We must lead in this nation again, and some tough calls are going to be required. But as for the firing, I have been very honest about this from the day it happened. When you challenge the status quo, you make enemies. I made a few. Steve Jobs told me that when he called me the day I was fired to say, hey, been there, done that twice.

It’s also true that the man that led my firing, Tom Perkins, just took —

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

FIORINA: — out a full-page ad in the New York Times to say he was wrong, I was right. I was a terrific CEO, the board was dysfunctional. And he thinks I will make a magnificent president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina. TRUMP: Well —

TAPPER: Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump, why would you be better at creating jobs than Carly Fiorina?

TRUMP: — let me — well, let me just explain. The head of the Yale Business School, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, wrote a paper recently, one of the worst tenures for a CEO that he has ever seen, ranked one of the top 20 in the history of business. The company is a disaster and continues to be a disaster. They still haven’t recovered. In fact, today, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, they fired another 25 or 30,000 people saying we still haven’t recovered from the catastrophe.

When Carly says the revenues went up, that’s because she bought Compaq, it was a terrible deal, and it really led to the destruction of the company.

Now one other company before that was Lucent. Carly was at Lucent before that. And Lucent turned out to be a catastrophe also. So I only say this. She can’t run any of my companies. That I can tell you.

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, I want to give you a chance to respond.

FIORINA: You know, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is a well-known Clintonite and honestly had it out for me from the moment that I arrived at Hewlett Packard. But honestly, Mr. Trump, I find it quite rich that you would talk about this.

You know, there are a lot of us Americans who believe that we are going to have trouble someday paying back the interest on our debt because politicians have run up mountains of debt using other people’s money. That is in fact precisely the way you ran your casinos. You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses, using other people’s money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once —

TRUMP: I never filed for bankruptcy.

FIORINA: — not twice, four times, a record four times. Why should we trust you to manage the finances —

TRUMP: I’ll tell you why; it’s very simple.

FIORINA: — of this nation any differently than you managed the finances —

TRUMP: I’ll tell you. I was running —

FIORINA: — of your casinos?

TRUMP: — Carly, Carly —

TAPPER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: — I’ve made over $10 billion. I had a casino company — Caesars just filed for bankruptcy. Chris will tell you — it’s not Chris’ fault either — but almost everybody in Atlantic City is either in trouble or filed for — maybe I’ll blame Chris.

FIORINA: Well —

TRUMP: But Atlantic City is a disaster —

FIORINA: Well, Mr. Trump —

TRUMP: Wait a minute, Carly. Wait. I let you speak. Atlantic City is a disaster, and I did great in Atlantic City. I knew when to get out. My timing was great. And I got a lot of credit for it.

Many of the great business people that you know — and Carl Icon (ph) is going to work with me on making great deals for this country. But whether it’s Carl or so many others that we read about all the time —

TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: — they have used the laws of the land, which is the —

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Governor Christie’s name has been invoked. I’d like to give him a 30 second opportunity.

CHRISTIE: Jake listen. While I’m as entertained as anyone by this personal back-and-forth about the history of Donald and Carly’s career, for the 55-year-old construction worker out in that audience tonight who doesn’t have a job, who can’t fund his child’s education, I’ve got to tell you the truth. They could care less about your careers, they care about theirs.

(APPLAUSE)

Let’s start talking about that on this stage and stop playing — and stop playing the games. Stop playing —

KASICH: There’s a —

CHRISTIE: John — I’m not done yet, John.

FIORINA: A track record of leadership is not a game. It is the issue in this election.

CHRISTIE: Stop — and stop playing — and Carly — Carly, listen. You can interrupt everybody else on this stage, you’re not going to interrupt me, OK?

The fact is that we don’t want to hear about your careers, back and forth and volleying back and forth about who did well and who did poorly. You’re both successful people. Congratulations. You know who’s not successful? The middle class in this country who’s getting plowed over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Let’s start talking about those issues tonight and stop this childish back-and-forth between the two of you.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Ms. Fiorina, I want to give you

KASICH: Jake —

TAPPER: Governor Kasich, I’m coming to you next, but Ms. Fiorina’s name was mentioned, and I have to give her the opportunity to respond if she wants it.

FIORINA: Well, I thought we had been hearing quite a bit about Govenor Christie’s record as governor, actually. I think track records are very important. I completely agree that what’s at stake here is the future of this nation, and the future of every American.

But I do think that a track record of leadership is vital because in the end this election is about leadership. And let’s talk about what leadership is. It’s not about braggadocio, it is about challenging the status quo, solving problems, producing results.

And the highest calling of leadership is to unlock potential in others.

TAPPER: Thank you. FIORINA: Problems have festered in Washington for too long. And the potential of this nation is being crushed.

TAPPER: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

Governor Kasich, I want to come — I’m coming to you. I’m coming to you. Let me ask the question. You can use the time however you want.

KASICH: OK, Jake.

TAPPER: Donald Trump says that the hedge fund guys are getting away with murder by paying a lower tax rate. He wants to raise the taxes of hedge fund managers, as does Governor Bush. Do you agree?

KASICH: I don’t at this point in terms of changing the incentives for investment and risk-taking.

But let’s just stop for a second. There’s one person on this stage that does have a record. I’m the only person on the stage and one of the few people in this country that led the effort as the chief architect of the last time we balanced the federal budget.

We also cut taxes. And when I left Washington in 2000, we had a $5 trillion surplus, and the economy was booming. I had spent 10 years of my life to get us to that point, went out in the private sector, was a great experience, and went into Ohio and took an $8 billion hole and turned it into a $2 billion surplus.

We’ve had the largest amount of tax cuts of any sitting governor. We’ve grown well over 300,000 jobs. You see, I’ve done it in both places. I’m the only one here that has done it in both places.

It took a lot to get us to a balanced budget. It was legitimate. It was real. And we negotiated it. A lot of what we’re talking about here tonight as we take this position and that position, you know what? At the end of the day, America has got to work.

We’ve got to figure out how we come together to deal with this — with our fiscal problems because when we deal with that, we create a stronger economy for everybody. People have a chance to rise.

So, you know, when we think about how we make a choice, it’s the person that lands that plane. It’s not somebody that talks about it. It’s about the person who has done it. And I’ve done it in…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

KASICH: … both places. And I did it including people in the other party. And that’s how we were successful.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Kasich.

KASICH: And that’s how I will be president, using that experience to drive this country forward. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE) TAPPER: Governor Huckabee, I want to bring you in on the question of

hedge fund managers and taxing them. You have said that you are bothered by the fact that hedge fund managers pay such a low tax rate and make 2,500 times what people who work for them make.

Do you agree with what Donald Trump and Governor Bush have proposed, raising their tax rates?

HUCKABEE: I have a different idea. I think we ought to get rid of all the taxes on people who produce. Why should we penalize productivity? And it’s why I’m an unabashed supporter of the “fair tax,” which would be a tax on our consumption, rather than a tax on our productivity.

In other words, you’re not going to tax anybody for what they earn, whether it’s worker whose working by the hour or whether it’s a hedge fund manager. If they can produce something and bring capital and labor to create jobs, we need some jobs. And I think the “fair tax” makes more sense.

Now, Jake, I’ve been listening to everybody on the stage and there is a lot of back and forth about I’m the only one who has done this, the only one who has done that, I’ve done great things.

We’ve all done great things or we wouldn’t be on this stage. But it occurs to me as we’re sitting here in the Reagan Library that most of us would like to pay tribute to a guy who, when he got elected, didn’t get elected telling everybody how great he was.

He got elected telling everybody how great the American people were. And he empowered them to live their dreams, which is what I’d love to see us do by no longer penalizing the people who are out there working because they are taking a gut punch right now.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

Dr. Carson, you support scrapping the entire tax code and replacing it with a flat tax based on the principal on tithing from the Bible. If you make $10 billion, you pay $1 billion in taxes, if you make $10, you pay $1 in taxes.

Donald Trump believes in progressive taxation. He says it’s not right that rich people pay the same as the poor. Tell Donald Trump why his ideas on taxes are wrong.

CARSON: It’s all about America. You know, the people who say the guy who paid a billion dollars because he had 10, he has still got $9 billion left, that’s not fair, we need to take more of his money. That’s called socialism. That doesn’t work so well.

What made America into a great nation was the fact that we said, that guy just put in $1 billion, let’s create an environment that’s even more conducive to his success so that next year he can put in $2 billion. And that’s the kind of thing that helps us to grow. We can’t grow by

continuing to take a piece of pie, and dividing it, and redistributing it.

But, I’m also looking at what doctor — at what Governor Huckabee talked about…

HUCKABEE: …You don’t want me operating on you, I assure you.

(LAUGHTER)

CARSON: The Fair Tax. Looking at both of them, and evaluating them both, and I’m talking to the American people because one of the things we must recognize is that this country is of, for, and by the people. And, it’s really time that the government get out of the way, and let the people be the ones who decide how they want to run their country.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: …Well, I’d like to respond, I’d like to respond…

TAPPER: …What do you think of the flat tax? Do you think it’s fair?

TRUMP: Well, I think the thing about the flat tax, I know it very well. What I don’t like is that if you make $200 million a year, you pay ten percent, you’re paying very little relatively to somebody that’s making $50,000 a year, and has to hire H&R Block to do the — because it’s so complicated.

One thing I’ll say to Ben is that we’ve had a graduated tax system for many years, so it’s not a socialistic thing. What I’d like to do, and I’ll be putting in the plan in about two weeks, and I think people are going to like it, it’s a major reduction in taxes. It’s a major reduction for the middle class. The hedge fund guys won’t like me as much as they like me right now. I know them all, but they’ll pay more.

I know people that are making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no tax, and I think it’s unfair.

TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump. Senator Paul?

PAUL: Well, I’m glad we’re having a discussion about taxes because everybody laments that we lose jobs overseas, we have. Our companies, and our jobs are being chased overseas by a 70,000 page tax code, so, that’s why I’ve chosen to get rid of the whole thing, and have one single rate, 14 and a-half percent for everybody, business, and for corporate income, and personal income. But, we also get rid of the payroll tax, so the working class would get a tax break as well.

So, I think a flat tax, eliminating the tax code, getting rid of all the loopholes, is the way to go, and it’s the way we get America going again.

TAPPER: Governor Walker, I want to go to you. Dr. Carson wants to raise the Federal Minimum Wage, you have called it a lame idea. Why is raising the Federal Minimum Wage lame?

WALKER: So, the best way to help people see their wages go up is to get them the education, the skill they need, to take on careers that pay more than minimum wage. And, it’s why we talk about it, it’s all about jobs. You want to help actually get jobs, it’s why on that last question we were trying to jump in on taxes. To me, it’s not just about taxes, cutting taxes. I’ve done it as much as anyone has.

I’ve cut income taxes, I’ve cut property taxes. In fact, property taxes are lower today in my state than they were before we took office. The real issues about jobs.

Ronald Reagan, our plan is based on the Ronald Reagan tax cuts of 1986. That brought about one of the longest sustained periods of economic growth in American history. All the things we should be talking about tonight are about how do we create jobs, helping people get the skills and the education qualifications they need to succeed.

That’s the way you help people create jobs. It’s part of our large plan to reform the tax code, to cut taxes, to put in place an education system that gives people the skills and education that they need. To put in place all the above energy policy, but you start on day one with repealing Obamacare.

I’m the only one on this stage that’s actually got a plan, introduced an actual plan to repeal Obamacare on day one. I’ll send a bill up to Congress, and to make sure enact it…

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor…

WALKER: …I’m going to sign an order that makes the Congress live by the same rules as everybody else. TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor…

WALKER: …That will ensure they repeal Obamacare…

TAPPER: Dr. Carson, Governor Walker didn’t really answer the question, but I’ll let you respond. He called raising the Federal Minimum Wage lame, what do you think of that?

CARSON: Well, first of all, let me say what I actually said about raising the minimum wage. I was asked should it be raised, I said, probably, or possibly. But, what I added, which I think is the most important thing, so, I said we need to get both sides of this issue to sit down, and talk about it. Negotiate a reasonable minimum wage, and index that so that we never have to have this conversation again in the history of America.

I think we also have to have two minimum wages, a starter, and a sustaining because how are young people ever going to get a job if you have such a high minimum wage that it makes it impractical to hire them…

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson…

WALKER: …Jake, Jake, Jake, I just want to address that issue because you said I didn’t answer, and I did. I said, to me, I think the real focus shouldn’t be — you know, Hillary Clinton talks about the minimum wage. That’s her answer to grow the economy. The answer is to give people the skills and the education so they make far more than minimum wage.

I don’t want to argue about how low things are going to be, I want to talk about how do we lift everyone up in America. That’s what Reagan talked about. It wasn’t how bad things were, it was how to make it better for everyone. That’s what we’ve done in Wisconsin, that’s exactly what we’d do as…

TAPPER: Let me bring in our partner from Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt.

HEWITT: I’d like to talk about winning because I think all of you are more qualified than former Secretary of State Clinton, and as were the people in the first debate, but there are different styles, and Carly Fiorina, Governor Kasich, you’re conveniently located next to each other, and you have different styles.

Governor Kasich, you’ve been on my show a lot. You refused to attack Hillary Clinton, you just don’t want to go there, you want to do the up with people. Go, Ohio, OK, and I like that.

Carly Fiorina, I don’t have to bring up the Secretary of State — you bring her up, so (inaudible).

Which one of you is wrong? Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Well, look, people still have to get to know me, so I want to spend my time talking about my experience reforming welfare, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, providing economic growth when I was in Washington, turning Ohio around. Eight billion in the hole, $2 billion surplus, up over 300,000 jobs, big tax cuts, strengthening our credit.

All those things matter but, you know, as a young man in my first election in 1978, I defeated an incumbent Democrat. I defeated an incumbent Democrat in 1982; running on the Reagan program, I was the only Republican in America to defeat an incumbent Democrat that year.

And then, when I won for election of governor, I was the first Republican to defeat an incumbent in 36 years, and the first person to have never run statewide out of politics for 10 years to beat an incumbent. That hadn’t happened for 96 years.

So, we’ll get to the point where we’ll talk about Hillary Clinton, or whoever the nominee is, record. But right now, I want to give people sense of hope, sense of purpose, a sense of unity, sense that we can do it. So…

HEWITT: Governor.

KASICH: You know, at the end of the day, I’m going to continue to talk about my record, because there is, did you ever notice when people run for office, they run for president, they make a lot of promises, they don’t keep them. HEWITT: Thank you, Governor. KASICH: I don’t intend to do that, and I

going to be out there pushing it out — don’t worry about me and Hillary. That will all work out, and I’m from Ohio. She will not beat me there, I can promise you that.

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Carly Fiorina, your style?

FIORINA: You see, Governor Christie, people spend time talking about their track records, and Mr. Trump and I have every right to do the same. And Mrs. Clinton has to defend her track record.

Her track record of lying about Benghazi, of lying about her e- mails, about lying about her servers. She does not have a track record of accomplishment.

Like Mrs. Clinton, I, too, have travels hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know flying is an activity, not an accomplishment. Mrs. Clinton — if you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name a accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton’s.

HEWITT: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

Governor Christie, your name was mentioned. I want to give you a chance to respond.

CHRISTIE: Listen, you know, Hugh, it’s an important point. And the question is, who is going to prosecute Hillary Clinton?

The Obama White House seems to have in interest, the Justice Department seems to have no interest. I think it’s time to put a former federal prosecutor on the same stage as Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

And I will prosecute her during those debates on that stage for the record we’re talking about here. The fact she had a private email server in her basement, using national security secrets running through it, could have been hacked by the Russians, the Chinese, or two 18-year-olds on a toot (ph) wanting to have some fun.

No one is answering that question from the Hillary Clinton campaign…

HEWITT: Thank you, Governor.

CHRISTIE: You know why? Because she knows she’s wrong, and she cannot look in the mirror at herself, and she cannot tell the American people the truth.

HEWITT: Thank you, Governor Christie. There is a lot more coming up.

Ahead, a world of trouble. The challenges that one of these candidates may face in the Oval Office, and how he or she will handle it.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate. Let’s turn to some issues now in foreign policy.

Mr. Trump, Senator Rubio said it was, quote, “very concerning to him” that in a recent interview you didn’t seem to know the details about some of the enemies the U.S. faces. Rubio said, if you don’t know the answers to those questions, you will not be able to serve as commander-in-chief.

Please respond to Senator Rubio.

TRUMP: Well, I heard Hugh Hewitt, a nice man, he apologized because he actually said that we had a misunderstanding. And he said today that Donald Trump is maybe the best interview there is anywhere that he has ever done.

Now unless he was just saying that on CNN to be nice, but he did say that…

(CROSSTALK)

HEWITT: Oh, you’re the best interview in America.

TRUMP: And we had a legitimate misunderstanding in terms of his pronunciation of a word.

But I would say just…

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Well, I think it was. And he actually said that. Did you say that?

(CROSSTALK)

HEWITT: … makes an interesting case (ph) here (ph).

TRUMP: OK. So I will say this, though, Hugh was giving me name after name, Arab name, Arab name, and there are few people anywhere, anywhere that would have known those names. I think he was reading them off a sheet.

And frankly I will have — and I told him, I will have the finest team that anybody has put together and we will solve a lot of problems.

You know, right now they know a lot and look at what is happening. The world is blowing up around us. We will have great teams and great people.

TAPPER: Senator Rubio?

TRUMP: I hope that answers your question. I mean, you are in the Senate, but I hope that answers your question. RUBIO: Yes, well, it does. But it’s in the following way, this is an

important question. I think if you’re running for president, these are important issues, because look at around the world today.

There is a lunatic in North Korea with dozens of nuclear weapons and long-range rocket that can already hit the very place in which we stand tonight. The Chinese are rapidly expanding their military. They hack into our computers. They’re building artificial islands in the South China Sea, the most important shipping lane in the world.

A gangster in Moscow is not just threatening Europe, he’s threatening to destroy and divide NATO. You have radical jihadists in dozens of countries across multiple continents. And they even recruit Americans using social media to try to attack us here at home.

And now we have got this horrible deal with Iran where a radical Shia cleric with an apocalyptic vision of the future is also guaranteed to one day possess nuclear weapons and also a long-range rocket that can hit the United States.

These are extraordinarily dangerous times that we live in. And the next president of the United States better be someone that understands these issues and has good judgment about them because the number one issue that a president will ever confront, and the most important obligation that the federal government has, is to keep this nation safe.

And today we are not doing that. We are eviscerating our military. And we have a president that is more respectful to the ayatollah in Iran than he is to the prime minister of Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump? Senator Rubio seemed to be suggesting that you don’t know information that…

TRUMP: No, I don’t think he’s suggesting that at all. I mean…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: All right. Senator Rubio.

TRUMP: I don’t think he’s suggesting that at all.

RUBIO: Well, that’s why we have a debate. I think that we should have a deeper debate about these issues, because there is no more important decision that a president will make.

TAPPER: But are you saying that you have the knowledge to be the president that Mr. Trump does not have?

RUBIO: Well, you should ask him questions in detail about the foreign policy issues our president will confront, because you had better be able to lead our country on the first day.

Not six months from now, not a year from now, on the first day in office, our president could very well confront a national security crisis. You can’t predict it. Sometimes you cannot control it.

And it is the most — the federal government does all kinds of things it’s not supposed to be doing. It regulates bathrooms. It regulates schools that belong to local communities.

But the one thing that the federal government must do, the one thing that only the federal government can do is keep us safe. And a president better be up-to-date on those issues on his first day in office, on her first day in office.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, you have to understand, I am not sitting in the United States Senate with, by the way, the worst voting record there is today. Number one. I am not sitting in the United States Senate. I’m a businessman doing business transactions.

RUBIO: Trust (ph) me, I get that. OK.

TRUMP: I am doing business transactions. I will know more about this — and, as you said, that was very acceptable, and when you listen to that whole interview, it’s a great interview, you said it, I didn’t. Well, now I did. But…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Listen, just one second. Just one second.

RUBIO: I never get to addressed, and…

TRUMP: I will know…

RUBIO: …and when I do, I’m gonna jump in.

TRUMP: …I will know more about the problems of this world by the time I sit, and you look at what’s going in this world right now by people that supposedly know, this world is a mess. TAPPER: Senator Rubio, he did invoke your absentee record in the Senate.

RUBIO: Yeah. He did. Let me — I’m proud to serve in the United States Senate. You know, when I ran five years ago, the entire leadership of my party in Washington lined up against me.

But I’m glad I won. And I’m glad that I ran, because this country’s headed in the wrong direction. And if we keep electing the same people, nothing is going to change.

And you’re right, I have missed some votes, and I’ll tell you why, Mr. Trump. Because in my years in the Senate, I’ve figured out very quickly that the political establishment in Washington, D.C. in both political parties is completely out of touch with the lives of our people.

You have millions of people in this country living paycheck to paycheck, and nothing is being done about it. We are about to leave our children with $18 trillion in — in — in debt, and they’re about to raise the debt limit again.

We have a world that grows increasingly dangerous, and we are eviscerating our military spending and signing deals with Iran. And these — if this thing continues, we are going to be the first Americans to leave our children worse off than ourselves.

That’s why I’m missing votes. Because I am leaving the Senate, I’m not running for re-election, and I’m running for president because I know this: unless we have the right president, we cannot make America fulfill its potential, but with the right person in office, the 21st century can be the greatest era that our nation has ever known.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Rubio. I want to turn now to Hugh Hewitt.

HEWITT: Thank you, Jake. I’ve done a lot of great interviews with all of you, but, Governor Bush, I talked to you in February about the biggest elephant in a room full of elephants, which is your last name. And you said you would not be burdened either by your brother or your father’s legacy in the Middle East.

And then, a week later, you rolled out your list of foreign policy advisers, and it was a lot of the band getting back together again. So on behalf of the military that is watching…

BUSH: Yeah.

HEWITT: …OK, the active duty military that are at the end of the sphere (ph), what kind of a commander in chief is Jeb Bush going to be, and who are the advisers that are new to your team?

BUSH: Well, first of all, Hugh, if you’re looking at Republican advisers, you have to go to the last two administrations. That happened to be 41 and 43. So just by definition, if you’re — and many of the people here that are seeking advice from the foreign policy experts in the Republican side, they — they served in my dad’s administration, my brother’s administration. Of course that’s the case.

But I’m my own man. I’m going to create a strategy that is based on the simple fact that the United States needs to lead the world. The first thing that we need to do is to stop the craziness of the sequester.

Rebuild our military so that our — so that we don’t deploy people over and over again without the necessary equipment to keep them safe, to send a signal to the world that we’re serious. If we’re going to lead the world, then we need to have the strongest military possible.

We need to rebuild our counterintelligence and intelligence capabilities. We need to focus on the fact that the next president is going to start in 2017, not in 1990 — you know, 30 years ago, or when my brother started.

The world is dramatically different. And I believe that we need to restore America’s presence and leadership in the world. Name a country where our relationship is better today than it was the — the day that Barack Obama got elected president.

Under Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, we have seen a weakness that now creates huge problems for the next president of the United States. So I’ll have a team that will be — that will be following the doctrine I set up, and it will be peace through strength.

We’re sitting here in this library, which is a wonderful place to talk about this, because that’s exactly what happened in the 1980s, and the world was a lot safer because of…

TRUMP: (inaudible)

HEWITT: Mr. — Mr. Trump.

BUSH: The leadership of Ronald Reagan and my…

(CROSSTALK)

HEWITT: I want to ask you a question, though, you promised us great leaders. And I believe that. But Jeb Bush has laid out 20 different people that have experience around the world. There are 190 countries, you can’t run the world by yourself.

When are we going to get some names on your military and your foreign policy advisers?

TRUMP: (inaudible) I’m — and I’m meeting with people that are terrific people, but I have to say something because it’s about judgment.

I am the only person on this dais — the only person — that fought very, very hard against us (ph), and I wasn’t a sitting politician going into Iraq, because I said going into Iraq — that was in 2003, you can check it out, check out — I’ll give you 25 different stories.

TRUMP: In fact, a delegation was sent to my office to see me because I was so vocal about it. I’m a very militaristic person, but you have to know when to use the military. I’m the only person up here that fought against going into Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: Hugh, can I — can I make a response to that?

TRUMP: Just excuse me, one second, Rand…

PAUL: Can I make a response to that?

TRUMP: If you don’t mind, Rand — you know, you are on last — you do have your 1 percent.

I would like — and I think it’s very important. I think it’s important, because it’s about judgment. It’s about judgment.

I didn’t want to go into Iraq, and I fought it, because what I said — what I said…

PAUL: May I make a response to that?

TRUMP: … was you’re going to — you’re going to destabilize…

PAUL: He’s referred to me.

TRUMP: … the Middle East, and that’s what happened.

PAUL: He’s referred to me…

BUSH: So you — the — the first chance…

PAUL: … in his remarks. May I make a response?

BUSH: Right after me, and then I’ll — I’ll yield — yield the floor. What do you guys say in the Senate when you’re talking and debating?

PAUL: Absolutely. Go ahead.

BUSH: Here’s the facts: When Donald Trump talks about judgment, what was his position on who would’ve been the best negotiator to deal with Iran? It wasn’t a Republican; it was Hillary Clinton. That’s what you believe. I mean, the lack of judgment and the lack of understanding about how the world works is really dangerous in this kind of time that we’re saying.

So is that the judgment that you bring to the table, that Hillary Clinton…

TRUMP: If you think about it…

BUSH: … is a great negotiator, that she could bring about a better deal on Iran?

TRUMP: Your brother — and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster, those last three months, that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected.

BUSH: You know what? As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe.

I don’t know if you remember…

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: … Donald…

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: … you remember the — the rumble? You remember the fire fighter with his arms around it? He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe.

TRUMP: I don’t know. You feel safe right now? I don’t feel so safe. PAUL: May I respond?

WALKER:: That’s because of Barack — that’s because of Barack Obama.

BUSH: That’s — that’s my brother.

WALKER:: That’s because of Barack Obama. We’ve had a president who called ISIS the J.V. squad, Yemen a success story, Iran a place we can do business with. It’s not because of George W. Bush; it’s because of Barack Obama…

(APPLAUSE)

WALKER: (inaudible) on that point, though, whether it’s — whether we’re talking about national security, foreign policy or we’re talking about domestic policy, the key…

TRUMP: Or the collapse of the economy.

WALKER: … the key issue here is talking about leadership. Now, there’s a lot of greater people up here, and you’ve heard a lot of great ideas out there. But I would ask the American people, look at who’s been tested.

When there were 100,000 protesters in my capital, I didn’t back down, when they issued death threats against me and threats against my family, I didn’t back down, when they tried to recall me, I didn’t back down, and when they made me the — one of their number-one targets last year, I didn’t back down.

Give me the chance to be your president.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

WALKER: I won’t back down…

TAPPER: Senator…

WALKER: … on any of these issues.

TAPPER: Senator Paul?

PAUL: The remark was made that there hadn’t been anyone else on the podium opposed to the Iraq War. I’ve made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War. I was opposed to the Syria war. I was opposed to arming people who are our enemies.

Iran is now stronger because Hussein is gone. Hussein was the great bulwark and counterbalance to the Iranians. So when we complain about the Iranians, you need to remember that the Iraq War made it worse.

Originally, Governor Bush was asked, was the Iraq War a mistake, and he said, “No. We’d do it again.”

We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We’re still paying the repercussions of a bad decision.

TAPPER: Senator Paul…

PAUL: We have make the decision now in Syria, should we topple Assad? Many up here wanted to topple Assad, and it’s like — I said no, because if you do…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Paul…

PAUL: … ISIS will now be in charge of Syria…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Paul…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I understand that Governor Bush’s name has been invoked, and then we can go to you, Senator Rubio. BUSH: Here’s the lessons of history: When we — we pull back, voids are created. We left Iraq. We should’ve had a — a forces agreement to stay there with a small force, and instead of that, we politically and militarily pulled back, and now we have the creation of ISIS.

36 days ago in this very library, I gave a speech with a comprehensive strategy how to take out ISIS, and it requires American leadership and engagement. We don’t have to be the world’s policemen. But we certainly have to be the world’s leader.

We need to have — make sure that the world knows that we’re serious, that we’re engaged, that we’re not going to pull back, that — that our — that our word matters. And if we do that, we can create a force that will take out ISIS both in Iraq and in Syria, which will take a lot longer time now…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

BUSH: … because of what President Obama’s done by pulling back.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: I want to go even deeper — and I want to go even deeper in that direction, because I think the belief that somehow by retreating, America makes the world safer has been disproven every single time it’s ever been tried.

Syria’s a perfect example of it. The uprising in Syria was not started by the United States; it was started by the Syrian people. And I warned at the time — this was three and a half years ago — I openly and repeatedly warned that if we did not find moderate elements on the ground that we could equip and arm, that void would be filled by radical jihadists.

Well, the president didn’t listen, the administration didn’t follow through, and that’s exactly what happened. That is why ISIS grew. That is why ISIS then came over the border from Syria and back into Iraq. What is happening in that region is the direct consequence of the inability to lead and of disengagement. And the more we disengage, the more airplanes from Moscow you’re going to see flying out of Damascus and out of Syria…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

RUBIO: … as you asked earlier today.

(APPLAUSE)

CARSON: Jake, Jake…

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I haven’t had an opportunity to weigh in on foreign policy, and I just want to mention that when the war, when the issue occurred in 2003, I suggested to President Bush that he not go to war? OK. So I just want that on the record.

And, you know, a lot of people are very much against us getting involved right now with global jihadism. And they refer back to our invasion of Iraq. And they seem to think that that was what caused it.

What caused it was withdrawing from there and creating a vacuum which allowed this terrible situation to occur. But it is very different from what is going on today. We’re talking about global jihadists who actually want to destroy us.

They are an existential threat to our nation. And we have to be mature enough to recognize that our children will have no future if we put our heads in the sand. We have to recognize we have two choices.

We either allow them the continue to progress and appear to be the winners, or we use every resource available to us to destroy…

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: … them first.

TAPPER: I mean, it is interesting that you say that, because I want to ask Governor Christie about something else that you have said.

Governor Christie, we just marked the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Now Dr. Carson has said that if he had been president at the time, the United States would not have gone to war in Afghanistan. What does that say to you about how Dr. Carson would respond as president if America were attacked again?

CHRISTIE: Well, Jake, I was named U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001. And that next day my wife Mary Pat did what she did every day, she traveled through the World Trade Center and went to her office two blocks from the World Trade Center.

And after those planes hit, for five-and-a-half-hours after that, I couldn’t reach her, didn’t know whether she was dead or alive, and we had three children at the time, 8, 5 and 1.

And I had to confront what so many thousands of others in my region had to confront, the idea I might become a single parent, the idea that my life and my children’s life might be changed forever.

We lost friends that day. We went to the funerals. And I will tell you that what those people wanted and what they deserved was for America to answer back against what had been done to them.

And I support what President Bush did at that time, going into Afghanistan, hunting al Qaeda and its leaders, getting its sanctuary out of place, and making it as difficult around the world for them to move people and money.

And then he went to prosecutors like us, and he said, never again. Don’t prosecute these people after the crime is committed. Intervene before the crime happens. I absolutely believe that what the president did at the time was right.

And I am proud to have been one of the people on the stage who was part of making sure that what Governor Bush said before was the truth. America was safe for those seven years and Barack Obama has taken that safety away from us.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: Well, recognize that, you know, President George W. Bush is a great friend of ours, and we spent many wonderful days at the White House. I haven’t been there in the last seven years. I probably have to have a food-tester.

(LAUGHTER)

But at any rate, I didn’t suggest that nothing be done. What I suggested to President Bush is to be Kennedy-esque, in the sense that when the Russians got ahead of us in the space race, what we did is use the bully pulpit to galvanize everybody, business, industry, academia behind a national goal to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely.

I said, you can do the same kind of thing. Declare that within five to 10 years we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks.

There are smart ways to do things and there are muscular ways to do things. And sometimes you have to look at both of those to come up with the right solution.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: … Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: Let me say this, Jake, is that while that may have been a fine idea that Dr. Carson had, these people were out to kill us.

I stood in that region with my family, and every time a plane went overhead in the weeks after that, people’s heads jerked to the sky because they thought it was happening again.

You do not need to go through subtle diplomacy at that point. That could be handled later on. What you need is a strong American leader who will take the steps that are necessary to protect our nation.

That’s what I would do as commander-in-chief in this circumstance. And that’s what President George W. Bush did in 2001.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I have no argument with having a strong leader, and to be aggressive where aggression is needed. But it is not needed in every circumstance. There is a time when you can use your intellect to come up with other ways to do things. And I think that’s what we have to start thinking about.

CARSON: There is no question that a lot of these problems that we have been talking about in terms of the international situation is because we are weak. It is because our Navy is so small. It is because our Air Force is incapable of doing the same things that it did a few years ago.

It’s because our Marines Corps is not ready to be deployed.

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

CARSON: There are a lot of problems that are going on, and we need to solve those problems, we need to build up our military…

TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

RUBIO: But radical terrorism cannot be solved by intellect. It cannot — they require — what they need, is they need an operating space. That’s what Afghanistan was for Al Qaida. It was a vacuum that they filled, and they created an operating space.

That’s why they had to be drawn out of there. That’s why they had to be destroyed. It is the reason why ISIS has grown as well. We allowed them — we allowed a vacuum to emerge in Syria. They used it as an operating space to grow; and today they’re not just in Iraq and Syria anymore, they’re now in Libya, conducting operations in the Sinai.

They’re now in Afghanistan, trying to supplant the Taliban as the most powerful radical jihadist group on the ground there, as well. You cannot allow radical jihadists to have an operating safe haven anywhere in the world.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Huckabee. (APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: Just today — just today, there was a new report that 50 different intelligence analysts have said that what they sent up the ladder was doctored by senior officials, so that they could give some happy talk to the situation that we face.

I love the idea of a good intellectual capacity to deal with our enemies, but the fact is, if you don’t have good intelligence that is reliable and honest, you won’t have good intelligence and you cannot make good decisions.

The next president is primarily elected not just to know things, but to know what to do with the things that he knows. And the most dangerous person in any room is the person who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: And the reason Barack Obama has been dangerous to this country and we better elect someone who had some executive experience, is because we cannot afford another eight years having a person in the office who doesn’t know what he does not know.

TAPPER: Thank you, governor, I want to turn to ISIS. Governor Walker…

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: We just spent — we just spent the last 10 minutes…

TALKER: Governor Walker, there is a big debate now, we have been talking about ISIS here and there in this discussion, there a big debate right now about whether or not to send more U.S. troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

In the first debate earlier this evening, Senator Lindsey Graham argued that candidates are only serious about fighting ISIS if they’re willing to send 10,000 U.S. troops to Iraq, 10,000 U.S. troops as part of a coalition to Syria.

Governor Walker, you say, you just told me a few days ago that the 3,000 U.S. troops there right now are enough, as long as the rules of engagement are changed.

What do you know that Senator Graham doesn’t know?

WALKER: To be clear, what I said the other day was that we need to lift the political restrictions that are already in play. Barack Obama’s administration has put political restrictions on the military personnel already in Iraq.

We need to lift those and then we need to listen to our military experts, not the political forces in the White House, but our military experts about how many more we sent in. And we certainly shouldn’t have a commander-in-chief who sends a message to our adversaries as to how far we’re going to go, and how far we’re willing to fight, so I’m not putting a troop number.

What I’m saying is lift the political restrictions. When you do that, you empower our military personnel already there to work with the Kurd and the Sunni allies, to reclaim the territory taken by ISIS. And to do so in a way that allows that ISIS doesn’t go back in Syria, as we were just talking about here.

That is the fundamental problem going forward. We have a president — and Hillary Clinton was a part of this, by the way, who has made political decisions for our men and women in uniform. I want the men and women at home to know, if I’m commander-in-chief, I will only send you into harm’s way when our national security is at risk. And if we do, you know you’ll have our full support, the support of the American people, and you’ll have a clear path for victory.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Paul, I want to go to you, because you have said that the boots on the ground to fight ISIS need to be Arab boots. We just learned today that despite the Obama administration spending $500 million to help create those Arab boots, there are only four or five U.S. trained fighters in Syria fighting ISIS.

What does that say to you about the effectiveness of the idea of the boots on the ground need to be Arab boots?

PAUL: If you want boots on the ground, and you want them to be our sons and daughters, you got 14 other choices. There will always be a Bush or Clinton for you, if you want to go back to war in Iraq.

But the thing is, the first war was a mistake. And I’m not sending our sons and our daughters back to Iraq. The war didn’t work. We can amplify those who live there.

The Kurds deserve to be armed and I’ll arm them. We can use our Air Force to amplify the forces there. But the boots on the ground need to be the people who live there.

My goodness, I’m still upset with the Saudi Arabians for everything they do over there. They’ve funded the arms that went to the jihadists. They’re not accepting any of the people, any of the migrants that have been — the refugees that are being pushed out of Syria. Saudi Arabia is not accepting one.

Why are we always the world’s patsies that we have to go over there and fight their wars for them? They need to fight their wars, we need to defend American interests, but it is not in America’s national security interests to have another war in Iraq.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re going to turn to some domestic issues now. I want to bring in my colleague, Dana Bash.

BASH: Thank you.

KASICH: Can I just — can I — Jake, can I just make one point on this whole military discussion?

TAPPER: Sure….

KASICH: I called for boots on the ground many months ago in a coalition with our friends who share our interest. You know, you win a battle with the military, and when we go somewhere, we need to be mobile, and lethal. We need to take care of business, and we need to come home.

But, we face, also, a bigger war — and you win the bigger war with the battle of ideas. You wonder why young people, and educated people, rich people, schooled people, have tried to join ISIS.

Western civilization, all of us, need to wake up to the fact that those murderers and rapists need to be called out, and in Western civilization we need to make it clear that our faith in the Jewish and Christian principals force us to live a life bigger than ourselves…

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor…

KASICH: …to make (ph) centers (ph) of justice so that we can battle the radicals, call them out for what they are, and make sure that all of our people feel fulfilled in living in Western civilization…

TAPPER: …Thank you, Governor. Dana Bash…

KASICH: …This is a giant battle in the world today…

FIONNA: …Jake, since everyone has gotten to weigh in on this military issue, I’d like to be able to do the same.

We have spent probably 12 minutes talking about the past. Let’s talk about the future. We need the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it. And, specifically, what that means is we need about 50 Army brigades, we need about 36 Marine battalions, we need somewhere between 300, and 350 naval ships, we need to upgrade every leg of the nuclear triad…

TAPPER: Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina…

FIORINA: …we need to reform the Department of Defense, we need as well…

BASH: …Thank you….

TAPPER: …Thank you, we’re going to turn now to domestic issues with Dana Bash.

FIORINA: …to invest in our military technology, and we need to care for our veterans so 307,000…

TAPPER: …Dana Bash…

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: …aren’t dying waiting for health care.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Dana Bash?

BASH: Governor Bush, let’s talk about the issue that’s very important to Republican voters, and that’s the Supreme Court. After Chief Justice John Roberts voted to uphold Obamacare twice, Senator Cruz criticized your brother for appointing John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

Looking back on it, did your brother make a mistake?

BUSH: Well, I’m surprised Senator Cruz would say that since he was as strong supporter of John Roberts at the time.

I will talk about what I will do as it relates to appointing Supreme Court Justices. We need to make sure that we have justices that, with a proven experienced record of respect for upholding the constitution. That is what we need. We can’t have — the history in recent past is appoint people that have no experience so that you can’t get attacked.

And, that makes it harder for people to have confidence that they won’t veer off…

BASH: …Is John Roberts one of those people?

BUSH: John Roberts has made some really good decisions, for sure, but he did not have a proven, extensive record that would have made the clarity the important thing, and that’s what we need to do. And, I’m willing to fight for those nominees to make sure that they get passed. You can’t do it the politically expedient way anymore. This is the culture in Washington. You have to fight hard for these appointments. This is perhaps the most important thing that the next president will do.

BASH: Do you like what you just heard, Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Well, Dana, I’ve known John Roberts for 20 years, he’s amazingly talented lawyer, but, yes, it was a mistake when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. He’s a good enough lawyer that he knows in these Obamacare cases he changed the statute, he changed the law in order to force that failed law on millions of Americans for a political outcome.

And, you know, we’re frustrated as conservatives. We keep winning elections, and then we don’t get the outcome we want. And, let me focus on two moments in time.

Number one, in 1990, in one room was David Souter, and in another room was Edith Jones, the rock ribbed (ph) conservative on the fifth circuit court of appeals. George Herbert Walker Bush appointed David Souter.

And then in 2005, in one room was John Roberts, in another room was my former boss, Mike Luttig, the rock ribbed (ph) conservative on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals…

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: …George W. Bush appointed John Roberts, and let me give you the consequences of that.

If, instead, the President Bush had appointed Edith Jones, and Mike Luttig, which is who I would have appointed, Obamacare would have been struck down three years ago, and the marriage laws of all 50 states would be on the books. These matter, and I fought to defend the constitution my whole life…

TAPPER: …Governor Bush…

CRUZ: …and I will as president as well.

TAPPER: …I want to let you respond.

BUSH: Well, first of all, he, as I said, supported John Roberts. He supported him, publicly. So, you can rewrite history, I guess, Ted, but the simple fact is that you supported him because he had all the criteria that you would have thought would have made a great justice. And, I think he is doing a good job.

But, the simple fact is that going forward, what we need to do is to have someone that has a long standing set of rulings that consistently makes it clear that he is a focused, exclusively on upholding the Constitution of the United States so they won’t try to use the bench as a means to which legislate.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor…

…And, that’s what we should do, and I hope I’ll be working members of the United States Senate to fight hard for the passage of people that have that kind of qualification.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz, 30 seconds.

CRUZ: It is true that after George W. Bush nominated John Roberts, I supported his confirmation. That was a mistake and I regret that. I wouldn’t have nominated John Roberts, and indeed, Governor Bush pointed out why.

It wasn’t that the President Bushes wanted to appoint a liberal to the court, it’s that it was the easier choice. Both David Souter and John Roberts, they didn’t have a long paper trail. If you had nominated Edith Jones or Mike Ludig (ph) you would have had a bloody fight and they weren’t willing to spend political capital to put a strong judicial conservative on the court. I have spent my entire life, starting from clerking for Chief Justice

William Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court, one of the most principled jurists. We have an out-of-control Court, and I give you my word, if I’m elected president, every single Supreme Court justice will faithfully follow the law and will not act like philosopher kings — TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: — imposing their liberal policies on millions of Americans —

TAPPER: Thank you, Semator.

CRUZ: — who need to be trusted to govern ourselves.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Huckabee, I want to bring you in very quickly if you could. Will you have a litmus test when it comes to appointing Supreme Court nominees?

HUCKABEE: You better believe I will, because I’m tired of liberals always having a litmus test and conservatives are supposed to pretend we don’t. Well let me tell you what mine would be.

Number one, I’d ask do you think that the unborn child is a human being or is it just a blob of tissue? I’d want to know the answer to that. I’d want to know do you believe in the First Amendment, do you believe that religious liberty is the fundamental liberty around which all the other freedoms of this country are based? And I’d want to know do you really believe in the Second Amendment, do you believe that we have an individual right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our family and to protect our country? And do you believe in the Fifth and the 14th Amendment? Do you believe that a person, before they’re deprived of life and liberty, should in fact have due process and equal protection under the law? Because if you do, you’re going to do more than defund Planned Parenthood.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: One final thing. I’d make darn sure that we absolutely believe the 10th Amendment. Every governor on this stage would share this much with you. Every one of us — our biggest fight wasn’t always with the legislature or even with the Democrats. My gosh, half the time, it was with the federal government who apparently never understood —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: — that if it’s not reserved in the Constitution, then the 10th Amendment says it’s left to the states. But somebody forgot to send a memo to Washington.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. We’re going to take a quick break. Coming up, one of the hottest questions that you have been asking us via social media. We will pose it to the candidates. That’s coming up right after this.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN’s Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library here in Simi Valley — Simi Valley, California.

Many people on social media wanted us to ask about marijuana legalization. Senator Paul, Governor Christie recently said, quote, “if you’re getting high in Colorado today,” where marijuana has been legalized, “enjoy it until January 2017, because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana.” Will you?

PAUL: I think one of the great problems, and what American people don’t like about politics, is hypocrisy. People have one standard for others and not for them — for themselves.

There is at least one prominent example on the stage of someone who says they smoked pot in high school, and yet the people going to — to jail for this are poor people, often African-Americans and often Hispanics, and yet the rich kids who use drugs aren’t.

I personally think that this is a crime for which the only victim is the individual, and I think that America has to take a different attitude. I would like to see more rehabilitation and less incarceration. I’m a fan of the drug courts which try to direct you back towards work and less time in jail.

But the bottom line is the states. We say we like the 10th Amendment, until we start talking about this. And I think the federal government has gone too far, I think that the war on drugs has had a racial outcome, and really has been something that has really damaged our inner cities.

Not only do the drugs damage them, we damage them again by incarcerating them and then preventing them from getting employment over time.

So I don’t think that the federal government should override the states. I believe in the 10th Amendment and I really will say that the states are left to themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: I want to give that — I want to give the person that you called a hypocrite an opportunity to respond. Do you want to identify that person?

PAUL: Well, I think if we left it open, we could see how many people smoked pot in high school.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Is there somebody you were specifically thinking of?

PAUL: Well, you know, the thing is that…

BUSH: He was talking about me.

PAUL: Yeah, I was talking about (inaudible) — well, let me…

TAPPER: That’s what I though, but I wanted (inaudible) to say it.

BUSH: Well, I — I wanted to — be — make it easier for him.

TAPPER: OK.

BUSH: And I just did.

TAPPER: Governor Bush, please.

BUSH: So, 40 years ago, I smoked marijuana, and I admit it. I’m sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: That’s true. And here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. We have — we have a serious epidemic of drugs that goes way beyond marijuana. What goes on in Colorado, as far as I’m concerned, that should be a state decision.

But if you look at the problem of drugs in this — in this society today, it’s a serious problem. Rand, you know this because you’re campaigning in New Hampshire like all of us, and you see the epidemic of heroin, the overdoses of heroin that’s taking place.

People’s families are — are being torn apart. It is appropriate for the government to play a consistent role to be able to provide more treatment, more prevention — we’re the state that has the most drug courts across every circuit in — in — in Florida, there are drug courts to give people a second chance.

That’s the best way to do this.

PAUL: But let me respond. The thing is, is that in Florida, Governor Bush campaigned against medical marijuana. That means that a small child like Morgan Hintz (ph) that has seizures is day, is failing on non-traditional medications, is not allowed to use cannabis oil.

And if they do that in Florida, they will take the child away, they will put the parents in jail. And that’s what that means if you’re against allowing people use medical marijuana, you’ll actually put them in jail.

BUSH: No, you’re wrong — you’re wrong about this.

PAUL: And actually, under the current circumstances, kids who had privilege like you do, don’t go to jail, but the poor kids in our inner cities go to jail. I don’t think that’s fair. And I think we need to acknowledge it, and it is hypocritical to still want to put poor people in jail… BUSH: I don’t want to put poor people in jail, Randy.

PAUL: Well, you vote — you oppose medical marijuana…

BUSH: Here’s the deal. No, I did not oppose when the legislature passed the bill to deal with that very issue. That’s the way to solve this problem.

Medical marijuana on the ballot was opened up, there was a huge loophole, it was the first step to getting to a (inaudible) place. And as a citizen of Florida, I voted no.

PAUL: But that means you’ll put people in jail.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to go right now — I want to go right now…

FIORINA: Jake, may I just say…

CHRISTIE: Jake, you brought my issue up.

TAPPER: That’s true. Go ahead, Christie, please.

CHRISTIE: You know, I enjoy the interplay. Thank you, gentlemen.

I’ll just say this, first off, New Jersey is the first state in the nation that now says if you are non-violent, non-dealing drug user, that you don’t go to jail for your first offense. You go to mandatory treatment.

You see, Jake, I’m pro-life. And I think you need to be pro-life for more than just the time in the womb. It gets tougher when they get out of the womb. And when they’re the 16-year-old drug addict in the Florida county lockup, that life is just as precious as the life in the womb.

And so, that’s why I’m for rehabilitation, why I think the war on drugs has been a failure.

But I’ll end with this. That doesn’t mean we should be legalizing gate way drugs. And if Senator Paul thinks that the only victim is the person, look at the decrease in productivity, look at the way people get used and move on to other drugs when they use marijuana as a gateway drug, it is not them that are the only victims. Their families are the victims too, their children are the victims too, and their employers are the victims also.

That’s why I’ll enforce the federal law, while you can still put an emphasis on rehabilitation, which we’ve done in New Jersey.

PAUL: May I respond?

FIORINA: Jake — Jake…

TAPPER: You may respond, and then I’ll bring in you, Ms. Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Understand what they’re saying. if they’re going to say we are going to enforce the federal law against what the state law is, they aren’t really believing in the Tenth Amendment.

Governor Christie would go into Colorado, and if you’re breaking any federal law on marijuana, even though the state law allows it, he would put you in jail. If a young mother is trying to give her child cannabis oil for medical marijuana for seizure treatment, he would put her in jail, if it violates federal law.

I would let Colorado do what the Tenth Amendment says. This power — we were never intended to have crime dealing at the federal level. Crime was supposed to be left to the states. Colorado has made their decision. And I don’t want the federal government interfering and putting moms in jail, who are trying to get medicine for their kid…

CHRISTIE: And Senator Paul knows that that’s simply not the truth.

In New Jersey, we have medical marijuana laws, which I supported and implemented. This is not medical marijuana. There’s goes as much — a further step beyond. This is recreational use of marijuana.

This is much different. And so, while he would like to use a sympathetic story to back up his point, it doesn’t work. I’m not against medical marijuana. We do it in New Jersey. But I’m against the recreational use against marijuana.

If he wants to change the federal law, get Congress to pass the law to change it, and get a president to sign it.

PAUL: May I respond? May I respond?

TAPPER: Yes, Senator Paul.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Here is the thing, he doesn’t want to make it about medical marijuana, but what if New Jersey’s medical marijuana contradicts the federal law? He’s saying he’ll send the federal government in, and he will enforce the federal law. That’s not consistent with the Tenth Amendment. It is not consistent with states’ rights. And it is not consistent with the conservative vision for the country.

I don’t think we should be sending the federal police in to arrest a mother and separate them from their child for giving a medicine to their child for seizures.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to bring in Ms. Fiorina — I want to bring in Ms. Fiorina on this issue.

FIORINA: I very much hope I am the only person on this stage who can say this, but I know there are millions of Americans out there who will say the same thing.

My husband Frank and I buried a child to drug addiction. So, we must invest more in the treatment of drugs.

FIORINA: I agree with Senator Paul. I agree with states’ rights. But we are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. It’s not. And the marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago.

(LAUGHTER)

We do — sorry, Barbara. We do need — we do need criminal justice reform. We have the highest incarceration rates in the world. Two- thirds of the people in our prisons are there for non-violent offenses, mostly drug related. It’s clearly not working.

But we need to tell young people the truth. Drug addiction is an epidemic, and it is taking too many of our young people. I know this sadly from personal experience.

TAPPER: Hugh — Hugh, I’d like to…

(APPLAUSE)

HEWITT: Thank you, Jake.

Tomorrow is — Republicans know this — tomorrow is Constitution Day. We’ve been talking about the 10th Amendment. Let’s talk about the Second Amendment.

Governor Bush, one of the things the Supreme Court has gotten right is that it’s an individual right and it’s protected for individuals to hold it.

Last week, you said the next step in gun issues is to make sure they’re not in the hands of mentally ill. In this state, there’s a controversial law that allows guns to be taken away from people without a hearing.

Where does it go — and the problem of violence is endemic, but where does it go from what you said last week, how far into people’s lives to take guns away from them?

BUSH: Not very far.

I think we need to do this state by state. There are places that get this right, and we need to make sure that we protect the privacy laws. This is a complicated place. But I do think the natural impulse on the left — Hillary Clinton, immediately after one of these horrific violent acts took place, immediately said we need to have federal gun laws. President Obama almost reflexively always says the same thing.

And the net result is, you’re going to take away rights of — of law- abiding citizens, the 99.999 percent of the people that are law- abiding citizens. That’s not the right approach to do it. In Florida, we have a background check. We have concealed-weapon permit holders, and in fact, there’s 1,200,000 of them. We have a reduction in violent crime because we put people behind bars when they use a gun in the commission of the crime. That’s the better approach.

But we’re living in a society today where despair kind of grows in isolation.

HEWITT: If a family member calls and says, “My child, my brother, my sister is disturbed,” ought the state be able to go and get their weapon without a hearing?

BUSH: I — I think there needs to be a hearing, but the fact is, we need to encourage that kind of involvement. That’s — that’s exactly what we need to do.

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: There’s a broader issue here, Hugh. And there’s a broader issue here as well.

First of all, the only people that follow the law are law-abiding people. Criminals by definition ignore the law, so you can pass all the gun laws in the world, like the left wants. The criminals are going to ignore it because they are criminals.

Here’s the real issue.

(APPLAUSE)

The real issue — the real issue is not what are people using to commit violence, but why are they committing the violence? And here’s the truth: Because you cannot separate the social, moral wellbeing of your people from their economic and other wellbeing. You cannot separate it.

You can’t have a strong country without strong people, you cannot have strong people without strong values, and you cannot have strong values without strong families and the institutions in this country that defend and support those families.

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator.

RUBIO: Well, and today, we have a left-wing government under this president that is undermining all of the institutions and society that support the family and teach those values.

HEWITT: Senator Cruz, I want to go to you.

Your constitutional litigant (ph), are you afraid of the next- step theory of what happens to Second Amendment rights?

CRUZ: I — I am not, and — and you mentioned that the U.S. Supreme Court had rightly upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms.

I was proud to lead 31 states before the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Second Amendment, and we won that landmark victory. And indeed, just a couple of years ago, when Harry Reid and Barack Obama came after the right to keep and bear arms of millions of Americans, I was proud to lead the fight in the United States Senate to protect our right to keep and bear arms, and for that reason…

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … I was honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America…

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: … as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on this stage today, and I will…

HEWITT: Thank you, senator.

CRUZ: … fight every day to defend the Bill of Rights.

TAPPER: I’d like to turn it over — I’d like to turn to Dana Bush.

BASH: Mr. Trump, you have said once or twice that you are really rich, and you are by far the richest person on this stage.

Chris Christie says billionaires like you and even people who make and earn far less should no longer get Social Security, or at least there should be limits based on — on their income.

You think he’s wrong, and if so, why?

TRUMP: Speaking for myself, I’m OK with it. I think there’s a certain truth to it. I know people that, frankly, it has no impact on their life whatsoever. There are many people.

I would almost say leave it up to them, but I would be willing to check it off, and say I will not get Social Security. I do not…

BASH: What about the country as a — as a policy?

TRUMP: As a policy, I would almost leave it up to the people. Don’t forget they pay in and they pay in, and maybe they do well, and maybe some people want it. But the fact is that there are people that truly don’t need it, and there are many people that do need it very, very badly. And I would be willing to write mine off 100 percent, Dana.

BASH: So is a voluntary program the way to get the Social Security system solvent again like that.

CHRISTIE: No, it’s not. But with Donald, it’s a good start. That’s really good.

(LAUGHTER)

No, listen. This is an issue that — that we’ve gotta talk about, and we haven’t talked about yet.

71 percent of all federal spending is on entitlements and debt service. When John Kennedy was elected president in 1960, it was 26 percent.

Harvard and Dartmouth says that Social Security’s going to go insolvent in seven to eight years. So what I say is very simple. We need to save this program for the good people out there who have paid into the system and need it.

And if that means making sure that folks like Donald and many of us on the stage don’t get it, that’s the right thing to do because here’s what Hillary Clinton is going to want to do.

She’s going to want to put more money into a system that has already lied to us and stolen from us. This government doesn’t need more money to make Social Security solvent. We need to be not paying out benefits to people who don’t really need it.

We need to protect the people who Social Security means the difference between picking between heat and rent and food. That’s why I put out the proposal and that’s the people I’m trying to…

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I’m coming to you right now on a separate issue, sir. We received…

(UNKNOWN): Well, I want to talk about this issue for a moment.

TAPPER: We received a lot of questions from social media about climate change.

Senator Rubio, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz, reminds us that when Reagan was president he faced a similar situation to the one that we’re facing now. There were dire warnings from the mass consensus of the scientific community about the ozone layer shrinking.

Shultz says Ronald Reagan urged skeptics in industry to come up with a plan. He said, do it as an insurance policy in case the scientists are right. The scientists were right. Reagan and his approach worked.

Secretary Shultz asks, why not take out an insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?

RUBIO: Because we’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government that we are under now wants to do. We’re not going to…

TAPPER: I’m citing George Shultz.

RUBIO: Well, and I don’t — he may have lined up with their positions on this issue. But here is the bottom line. Every proposal they put forward are going to be proposals that will make it harder to do business in America, that will make it harder to create jobs in America.

Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families. Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida, or anywhere across this country cannot afford it.

So we are not going to destroy our economy. We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather, because America is a lot of things, the greatest country in the world, absolutely.

But America is not a planet. And we are not even the largest carbon producer anymore, China is. And they’re drilling a hole and digging anywhere in the world that they can get a hold of.

So the bottom line is, I am not in favor of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live, or to work, or to raise their families.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Governor Christie, you have said that climate change is real, and that humans help contribute to it. Without getting into the issue of China versus the United States, which I understand you’ve talked about before, what do you make of skeptics of climate change such as Senator Rubio?

CHRISTIE: I don’t think Senator Rubio is a skeptic of climate change. I think what Senator Rubio said I agree with. That in fact we don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem.

Look at what we have done in New Jersey. We have already reached our clean air goals for 2020. And when I was governor, I pulled out of the regional cap and trade deal, the only state in the Northeast that did that. And we still reached our goals.

Why? Because 53 percent of our electricity comes from nuclear. We use natural gas. We use solar power. We’re the third-highest- using solar power state. You know why? Because we made all of those things economically feasible.

I agree with Marco. We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow us by ourselves is going to fix the climate. We can contribute to that and be economically sound.

We have proven we can do that in New Jersey. Nuclear needs to be back on the table in a significant way in this country if we want to go after this problem.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Just for the record, I was citing Secretary of State George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state who I don’t think anybody would call him left-wing. CHRISTIE: I understand. No, no, listen, everybody makes a mistake

every once in a while, Jake, even George Shultz. And if that’s truly a representation of what he believes we should be doing, then with all due respect to the former secretary of state, I disagree with him.

RUBIO: Jake, you mentioned me and called me a denier. Let me say, climate change…

TAPPER: I called you a skeptic.

RUBIO: OK. A skeptic. You can measure the climate. You can measure it. That’s not the issue we’re discussing. Here is what I’m skeptical of. I’m skeptical of the decisions that the left wants us to make, because I know the impact those are going to have and they’re all going to be on our economy.

They will not do a thing to lower the rise of the sea. They will not do a thing to cure the drought here in California. But what they will do is they will make America a more expensive place to create jobs.

And today with millions of people watching this broadcast that are struggling paycheck to paycheck that do not know how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of this month, I’m not in favor of anything that is going to make it harder for them to raise their family.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to go another question right now.

(CROSSTALK) WALKER: … a lot of those people, though, and I’m going to echo what Senator Rubio just said. This is an issue where, we’re talking about my state, it’s thousands of manufacturing jobs. Thousands of manufacturing jobs for a rule the Obama administration, own EPA has said will have a marginal impact on climate change.

So we’re going to put thousands and thousands of jobs in my state, I think it’s something like 30,000 in Ohio, other states across this country, we’re going to put people — manufacturing jobs, the kind of jobs that are far greater than minimum wage, this administration is willing to put at risk for something its own EPA says is marginal (ph)…

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

(CROSSTALK)

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I’m turning to…

PAUL: If you want a skeptic — if you want a skeptic, Jake, I will happily jump into that briar patch. If you want a real…

TAPPER: …I’m turning to another — I’m turning to another issue right now. Senator Cruz. Well, I think we’ve heard from several this evening. A backlash against vaccines was blamed for a measles outbreak here in

California. Dr. Carson, Donald Trump has publicly and repeatedly linked vaccines, childhood vaccines, to autism, which, as you know, the medical community adamantly disputes.

You’re a pediatric neurosurgeon. Should Mr. Trump stop saying this?

CARSON: Well, let me put it this way, there has — there have been numerous studies, and they have not demonstrated that there is any correlation between vaccinations and autism.

This was something that was spread widely 15 or 20 years ago, and it has not been adequately, you know, revealed to the public what’s actually going on. Vaccines are very important. Certain ones. The ones that would prevent death or crippling.

There are others, there are a multitude of vaccines which probably don’t fit in that category, and there should be some discretion in those cases. But, you know, a lot of this is — is — is pushed by big government.

And I think that’s one of the things that people so vehemently want to get rid of, big government. You know, we have 4.1 million federal employees. Six hundred and fifty federal agencies and department (sic).

That’s why they have to take so much of our taxes. TAPPER: Should he stop saying it? Should he stop saying that vaccines cause autism?

CARSON: Well, you know, I’ve just explained it to him. He can read about it if he wants to. I think he’s an intelligent man and will make the correct decision after getting the real facts.

TAPPER: Mr. Trump, as president, you would…

TRUMP: Well, I — I — I’d like to respond.

TAPPER: I’m going right to you.

TRUMP: I’d like to respond.

TAPPER: Mr. Trump, as president, you would be in charge of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, both of which say you are wrong. How would you handle this as president?

TRUMP: Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control.

I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Because you take a baby in — and I’ve seen it — and I’ve seen it, and I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, over a two or three year period of time.

Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump — I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me.

Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.

I only say it’s not — I’m in favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount.

TAPPER: Thank you.

TRUMP: But just in — in little sections.

TAPPER: Dr. — Dr. Carson?

TRUMP: I think — and I think you’re going to have — I think you’re going to see a big impact on autism.

TAPPER: Dr. Carson, you just heard his medical take.

(LAUGHTER)

CARSON: He’s an OK doctor.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CARSON: But, you know, the fact of the matter is, we have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccinations. But it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time.

And a lot of pediatricians now recognize that, and, I think, are cutting down on the number and the proximity in which those are done, and I think that’s appropriate.

TRUMP: And that’s all I’m saying, Jake. That’s all I’m saying.

TAPPER: Dr. Paul? Dr. Paul, I’d like to bring you in.

PAUL: A second opinion?

(LAUGHTER)

One of the greatest — one of the greatest medical discoveries of all times was — were the vaccines, particularly for smallpox. And if you want to read a story, it’s called The Speckled Monster, it’s an amazing story, it was all done voluntary.

But people came in by the droves. George Washington wouldn’t let his wife visit until she got vaccinated. So I’m all for vaccines. But I’m also for freedom.

I’m also a little concerned about how they’re bunched up. My kids had all of their vaccines, and even if the science doesn’t say bunching them up is a problem, I ought to have the right to spread out my vaccines out a little bit at the very least.

TAPPER: Alright, thank you so much…

HUCKABEE: Jake? Jake?

TAPPER: Coming up — I’m sorry, Governor Huckabee, please.

HUCKABEE: I think we need to remember that there are maybe some controversies about autism, but there is no controversy about the things that are really driving the medical costs in this country.

And I would really believe that the next president ought to declare a war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, because those are the four things that are causing the greatest level of cost.

John Kennedy said, “we’ll go to the moon in a decade and bring a man back,” and we did it. I grew up in the ’50s. I remember the polio vaccine. We saved billions of dollars since that time, because we haven’t had to treat for polio.

Why doesn’t this country focus on cures rather than treatment? Why don’t we put a definitive focus scientifically on finding the cure for cancer, for heart disease, for diabetes and for Alzheimer’s, a disease alone that will cost us —

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: $1.1 trillion by the year 2050. We change the economy and the country.

TAPPER: We have to take another quick break. Coming up, Ronald Reagan looming large over this debate. So how Reaganesque exactly are these Republicans? We will find out next.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. We have a few last questions for you. Two of them a little lighthearted, the other one more serious. We’ll start with one of the more light questions. Senator Paul, I’m going to start with you and we’re just going to go down the line.

Earlier this year, the Treasury Department announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill. What woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?

PAUL: Ooh, that’s a tough one. You know, I’m big on — that we were — and I love what Carly said about women’s suffrage. I think Susan B. Anthony might be a good choice.

TAPPER: Governor Huckabee?

HUCKABEE: That’s an easy one. I’d put my wife on there. (LAUGHTER)

I’ve been married to her 41 years. She’s fought cancer and lived through it. She’s raised three kids, five great grandkids, and she’s put up with me. I mean, who else could possibly be on that money other than my wife. And that way, she could spend her own money with her face.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Senator Paul (sic).

RUBIO: Senator Rubio, you mean?

TAPPER: I’m sorry. Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: I know we all look alike.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Just the senators.

RUBIO: The — Rosa Parks, an everyday American that changed the course of history.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Well, I wouldn’t change the $10 bill, I’d change the $20. I’d take Jackson off and I’d leave Alexander Hamilton right where he is as one of our Founding Fathers.

(APPLAUSE)

And I very much agree with Marco that it should be Rosa Parks. She was a principled pioneer that helped change this country, helped remedy racial injustice, and that would be an honor that would be entirely appropriate.

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I’d put my mother on there. You know, she was one of 24 children, got married at age 13, had only a third grade education, had to raise two sons by herself, refused to be a victim. Wouldn’t let us be victims, and has been an inspiration to many people.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Well, because she’s been sitting for three hours, I think my daughter, Ivanka, who’s right here.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Other than that we’ll go with Rosa Parks. I like that.

TAPPER: Governor Bush.

BUSH: I would go with Ronald Reagan’s partner, Margaret Thatcher. Probably illegal, but what the heck?

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Since it’s not going to happen. A strong leader is what we need in the White House, and she certainly was a strong leader that restored the United Kingdom into greatness.

TAPPER: Governor Walker. WALKER: First of all, I got to say to Carson, Huckabee, thanks a lot for making the rest of us look like chumps up here, but, I’d pick Clara Barton. I once worked for the American Red Cross, she was a great founder of the Red Cross.

TAPPER: Mrs. Fiorina.

FIORINA: I wouldn’t change the $10 bill, or the $20 bill. I think, honestly, it’s a gesture. I don’t think it helps to change our history. What I would think is that we ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group. Women are the majority of this nation. We are half the potential of this nation, and this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she chooses.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Governor Kasich.

KASICH: Well, it’s probably not, maybe, legal, but, I would pick Mother Theresa, the lady that I had a chance to meet, a woman who lived a life so much bigger than her own. An inspiration to everyone when we think about our responsibility to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

TAPPER: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: I think the Adams family has been shorted in the currency business. Our country wouldn’t be here without John Adams, and he would not have been able to do it without Abigal Adams, so, I’d put Abigail Adams on the bill.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Alright. Some good entries if anybody at the mint was listening. Here’s the next lighthearted question, you all know that the United States Secret Service uses codenames for the president, and his family. Ronald Reagan’s codename, for example, was, “Rawhide”, an homage to his performances in Westerns. Nancy Reagan’s was, “Rainbow”.

You don’t have to come up the one for your spouse, but, what would you want, Governor Christie, I’ll start with you, your Secret Service codename to be.

(LAUGHTER) CHRISTIE: You know, I’ve been called a lot of names by a lot of different people, and now I got to get called by names by the Secret Service?

I would just say True Heart.

KASICH: Well, I have one now — they (ph) call me, “Unit One”.

My wife says, “You’ll never be Unite One, I’m Unite One. You’re Unit Two.” FIORINA: Secretariat.

TAPPER: Governor Walker?

WALKER: Harley. I love riding Harley’s.

BUSH: Ever Ready, it’s very high energy, Donald.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Humble.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

MALE: That’s a good one.

TAPPER: Dr. Carson?

CARSON: One Nation.

TAPPER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know, as a Cuban, I might go with Cohiba (ph), and I’ll tell you, I’d go with, for Heidi, Angel, because she is my angel.

TAPPER: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Well, there are some people in Florida upset at me over a joke I made about Florida State, but, what the heck, I want my codename to be Gator.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: I’d go with Duck Hunter.

TAPPER: Senator Paul.

PAUL: Justice Never Sleeps.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: That’s a mouthful, but OK.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: OK, here’s the more serious question, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President, used the plane behind you to accomplish a great many things. Perhaps, most notably, to challenge Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall, and ultimately, to make peace with the USSR.

How will the world look different once your Air Force One is parked in the hangar of your presidential library?

Senator Paul?

PAUL: I met Ronald Reagan as a teenager, and my family, we’re big supporters of him when he ran against Gerald Ford. It was a big deal because he was the grassroots, running against the establishment, and I’ll never forget that. And, how he stood up and said, you know what, this is something new that our country needs, and our party needs.

If I were president, I would try to be one who says, you know what, I’m a Reagan Conservative. I’m someone who believes in peace through strength, and I would try to lead the country in that way knowing that our goal is peace, and that war is the last resort, not the first resort. And, that when we go to war, we go to war in a constitutional way, which means that we have to vote on it, that war is initiated by congress, not by the president, that we go to war electively (ph). That when we go to war, we don’t fight with one arm tied behind our back, we fight all out to win, but then we come home.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: At the end of my presidency I would like to believe that the world would be a safe place, and there wouldn’t be the threats. not only to the U.S., but to Israel and our allies, because we would have the most incredible well-trained, well-equipped, well- prepared military in the history of mankind. And they would know that the commander-in-chief would never send them to a mission without all the resources necessary, but people wouldn’t bully us anymore. Because they would know that that would be an invitation to their destruction.

Domestically, we would be operating under a tax system that eliminated the IRS. People wouldn’t be punished for their work, and for what they produced.

And life would be really deemed precious. Abortion would be no more. It would be as much of a scourge in our past as slavery is. And we would have a peaceful country, where people respected each other and people respected law enforcement. And we would focus on cures.

And we would make this country not only safe from our enemies without, but safe from the enemies within. And it would be a good place to raise our kids and our grandkids.

(APPLAUSE) RUBIO: One of the things that made Ronald Reagan a great president, is that he understood that America was a unique nation, like any other that had existed throughout human history. He knew it was founded on universal principles that were powerful, the dignity of all people, human rights, the rights of all to live in freedom and liberty, and choose their own path in life. He didn’t just believe it, he acted on it. That’s why bringing down communism was so important to him. If I’m honored with the opportunity to be president, I hope that our Air Force One will fly, first and foremost, to our allies; in Israel, in South Korea, and Japan. They know we stand with them. That America can be counted on.

It would also fly to China, not just to meet with our enemies, not just to meet with those adversaries of ours that are there, but also to meet with those that aspire to freedom and liberty within China. I would even invite them to my inauguration.

We would also fly into Moscow and into Russia. And not just meet with the leaders of Russia, but also meet with those who aspire to freedom and liberty in Russia. And ultimately, I hope that my Air Force One, if I become president, will one day land in a free Cuba, where its people can choose its leaders and its own destiny.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Ronald Reagan believed in America.

If I’m elected president our friends and allies across the globe will know that we stand with them. the bust of Winston Churchill will be back in the Oval Office, and the American embassy in Israel will be in Jerusalem.

Enemies across this world will know the United States is not to be trifled with. ISIS will be defeated. We will have a president willing to utter the words, “radical Islamic terrorism,” and the Ayatollah Khamenei will understand that he will never, ever, ever acquire nuclear weapons.

Here at home, we’ll reignite the promise of America. Young people coming out of school, with student loans up to their eyeballs, will find instead of no jobs, two, three, four, five job opportunities.

How will that happen? Through tax reform. We’ll pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. And through regulatory reform, we will repeal every word of Obamacare.

You want to know what I’ll do as president? It is real simple. We’ll kill the terrorists, we’ll repeal Obamacare, and we will defend the Constitution, every single word of it.

(APPLAUSE)

CARSON: Well, you know, I was a radical Democrat before I started listening to Ronald Reagan. And he didn’t sound like what they said Republicans were. He sounded logical. And I hope that I sound logical also. Because when

I look at what is going on with the United States of America, I see a lot of things that are not logical.

I see us allowing people to divide us, when in fact our strength is in our unity. I see people exercising the most irresponsible fiscal habits that anyone could possibly do. And hiding it from the American people, so that the majority of people have no idea what our financial situation is.

So, when someone comes along and says, free college, free phones, free this and that, and the other, they say, “wow, that’s nice,” having no idea that they’re destabilizing our position. And I think also that Ronald Reagan was a master at understanding that a pinnacle nation has to be a nation that leads.

If we learn to lead in the Middle East right now, a coalition will form behind us, but never they do it if we just sit there and talk about it.

Real leadership is what I would hopefully bring to America.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: If I become president, we will do something really special. We will make this country greater than ever before. We’ll have more jobs. We’ll have more of everything.

We were discussing disease, we were discussing all sorts of things tonight, many of which will just be words, it will just pass on. I don’t want to say politicians, all talk, no action. But a lot of what we talked about is words and it will be forgotten very quickly.

If I’m president, many of the things that we discussed tonight will not be forgotten. We’ll find solutions. And the world will respect us. They will respect us like never before. And it will be actually a friendlier world.

And I have to say, it is a great honor to be here tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Six million more people are living in poverty than the day that Barack Obama got elected president. Six million more people. The middle class has had declining income, workforce participation rates are lower than they were in 1977.

For the first time in modern history, more businesses are failing than are being created. That is what the next president will have to deal with.

And I believe we can reverse course by creating a strategy of high sustained economic growth, not the new normal of 2 percent that all the left says we just have to get used to, but a 4 percent growth strategy where we reform how we tax, fix the broken regulatory system, embrace the energy revolution in our midst, fix the immigration system so we can turn it into an economic driver, deal with the structural fiscal problems that exist because of our entitlement problems that will overwhelm and create way too much debt.

If we grow at 4 percent, people are going to be lifted out of poverty. The great middle that defines our country will have a chance to be able to pursue their dreams as they see fit.

That should be the great challenge and the great opportunity for the next president of the United States, to forge consensus to go back to a high-growth strategy. And then we’ll be able to lead the world.

Without a high-growth strategy, our country will never have the resources or the optimism to be able to lead the world, which the world desperately needs our leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

WALKER: Well, I turned 13 years old two days before Ronald Reagan was first elected. A lot of people forget this, but just a few days before that election 1980, he was behind in the polls.

And I think what changed things was people in America realized they didn’t want to hear what was bad about America, they wanted to know how it was going to be better. Ronald Reagan wasn’t just a conservative Republican, he was an eternal optimist in the American people.

And I am too. So here’s what I think will make America better. We need to live in a world where our children are free, are free from the threats of radical Islamic terrorism.

We need to live in an America where we have an economy, where everyone can live their piece of the American dream, no matter what that dream is. And we need to live in an America where we have a federal government that is not too big to fail, but ultimately small enough to succeed, where we send powers back to the states and back to the people.

That’s what I did in Wisconsin. We took on the big government union bosses, the big government special interests, many of whom came in from Washington, to spend millions of dollars to try and take me out because we stood up to them, we didn’t back down in any of those instances.

If you give me the chance as your next president, I won’t back down any day, anyway, anyhow. I’ll fight and win for you and your families every single day I’m in office.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: I think what this nation can be and must be is symbolized by Lady Liberty and Lady Justice. Lady Liberty stands tall and strong. She is clear-eyed and resolute. She doesn’t shield her eyes from the realities of the world, but she faces outward into the world nevertheless, as we always must.

And she holds her torch high, because she knows she is a beacon of hope in a very troubled world.

And Lady Justice, Lady Justice holds a sword by her side, because she is a fighter, a warrior for the values and the principles that have made this nation great. She holds a scale in her other hand. And with that scale she says all of us are equal in the eyes of God. And so all of us must be equal in the eyes of the law and the government, powerful and powerless alike.

And she wears a blindfold. And with that blindfold she is saying to us that it must be true, it can be true that in this country, in this century, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter how you start, it doesn’t matter your circumstances, here in this nation, every American’s life must be filled with the possibilities that come from their God-given gifts.

One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Well, as president, I will make this a nation that will solve problems. And how? By having the elected officials and the leaders realize they’re Americans before they’re Republicans or Democrats. I did it in Washington. And I’ve done it in Ohio by having the elected officials realize that they’re Ohioans before anything else.

Secondly, I will rebuild the relationships and show the respect to our allies around the world. We have no choice but to do that. We will be stronger when we are unified. And we’ll fight for freedom and for human rights.

And finally, a little bit of what Carly said. The people that are out there listening, America was never great because we ran America from the top down. America is great because we have run America from the bottom up, where we all live in the neighborhoods.

One more time in America, we need to revive the concept of citizenship, where everybody’s actions make a huge difference in changing the world. We have a Holocaust memorial on our state house grounds. And there is one line on there that stands out all the time. “If you’ve saved one life, you’ve changed the world.”

We need to adopt that as citizens and rebuild and reinspire our country. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: I turned 18 in 1980, and my first vote was for Ronald Reagan. Boy, am I glad I did it. And I think the country is, too. A Christie presidency won’t be about me. It will be about you.

Tonight, you sit at home in your living room, frustrated that you play by the rules, you pay the taxes, you do the hard things to raise your family, yet you feel like America’s generosity is being taken advantage of. That you’ve been — system is being gamed, and that you’re turning out to fall further and further behind. Our presidency — our presidency — will be about ending that, about

enforcing the law, level the playing field for everybody, and once again reward those folks who play by the rules, and think that justice means more than just the word. But it means a way of life.

And I will tell you this, around the world, I will not shake hands with, I will not meet with, and I will not agree to anything with a country that says death to us and death to Israel and holds our hostages while we sign agreements with them.

It will be an America that be strong and resolute, and will once again be able to stick out its chest and say, “we truly are the greatest nation in the world, because we live our lives that way, each and every day.”

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: That concludes this Republican presidential debate. On behalf of everyone here at CNN, we want to thank the candidates, the Reagan Library, and the Republican National Committee. Thank you, also, to Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash.

The next presidential debate will also be right here on CNN, among the Democratic candidates, who will face off for the first time on October the 13th. That debate, a partnership with Facebook, will be moderated by my colleague, Anderson Cooper.

And Anderson picks up our coverage of tonight’s debate right now. Before I throw to Anderson, let’s have one final round of applause for the candidates.

(APPLAUSE)

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 June 24, 2015: Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Campaign Launch Speech at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Transcript: Read Full Text of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Campaign Launch

Source: Time, 6-24-15

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal launched his presidential campaign Wednesday with a speech at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana.

Here is a transcript for the full remarks.

My name is Bobby Jindal, I am the Governor of the great state of Louisiana, and I am running for President of the greatest country in the world – the United States of America.

44 years ago, a young couple who had never been on an airplane before left their home on the other side of the world to come to a place called America. They had never seen it, there was no Internet to search. But they had heard the legend that there was a place in this world where the people were free, and the opportunities were real. They weren’t really coming to a geographical place, they were coming to an idea…and that idea is America.

To them, America represented all that was good in the world, where you could get ahead if you worked hard and played by the rules. A place where what matters is the content of your character, not the color of your skin, the ZIP code you were born in, or your family’s last name.

My dad grew up in a house without electricity or running water, and he was the only person in his family to get past the 5th grade. He and mom came to Louisiana because they believed in America. And when they got here they found that the legend was true. They found that the people of Louisiana accepted them. And they found that America is indeed the land of the free and home of the brave.

37 years later, my parents’ oldest son became Governor of Louisiana. It was the aftermath of Katrina, our economy was locked in a downward spiral, our biggest city was reeling, and for 25 straight years more people had left this state than had moved into it. Louisiana was in big trouble … So we had to make big changes. We had to believe in Louisiana Again. And that is exactly what we did.

We reformed our ethics laws. We went from one of the worst states to one of the best.

We privatized our outdated government-run hospital system, we reformed education, with nearly 100% charter schools in New Orleans. And now we have statewide school choice – because every child deserves an equal opportunity for a great education.

Instead of the child following the dollars … we make the dollars follow the child … because we trust parents not bureaucrats to make the best decisions for our kids.

We did what they said could not be done – we shrank our government. We cut our budget by 26%. We cut the number of government bureaucrats by more than 30,000.

It was not easy, the big government crowd fought us every step of the way. They protested. They filibustered. They even took us to court. But we won.

Today we have more people moving into Louisiana than out of it, our highest population in history. Our kids are coming home.

And now we have more people working than at any time in our state’s history, with the highest incomes in our state’s history. A job for your family and a paycheck in your mailbox are the ultimate proof your state is doing things right.

But of course, there is another side to the story – the big government crowd hates what we have done – they say we have cut government more than anyone, and that government budgets are always running low on funds with me in the Governor’s office.

My response to the big government crowd is simply this – yes. I am guilty as charged, and our state is better off for it today.

It’s time for the folks in Washington to admit the truth — You can’t grow the economy and the government at the same time. It’s an either or choice. Hillary Clinton wants to grow the government in Washington, but we want to grow the real economy out here in America.

Here’s the key difference – the Democrats evaluate success in terms of the prosperity of government. We define success in terms of the prosperity of our people.

My approach is different from most of the other people running for President.

The United States of America — was made great by people who get things done. Not lots of talk or entertaining speeches. To be sure, there are a lot of great talkers running for President already. But none of them, not one, can match our record of actually shrinking the size of government. If great speeches helped our country, we would be on easy street right now. The guy in the White House today is a great talker, and we have a bunch of great talkers running for President. We’ve had enough of talkers, it’s time for a doer. I’m not running for president to be somebody, I’m running for President to do something.

It’s easy to talk about the mess that Obama has made of our country. Every American knows about it, and every Republican candidate talks about it.

That’s not even half of what we should expect of the next President. We owe voters more than just a tirade about the problem – we owe them honesty about our solution.

I will do the things that you cannot do in Washington, and say the things you cannot say.

I served two terms in Congress so I can tell you how it works in Washington — If you want to be with the cool kids, be liked by the media, and be invited to cocktail parties, you have to accept that there are things in Washington you just cannot do.

They say you cannot reduce the size of government or the number of bureaucrats. Oh, you may be able to cut the rate of increase here and there. But they say you cannot actually cut government spending. But we can, and we will.

They say the 18 trillion dollar national debt can’t really be addressed, and it’s just part of doing business, so it’s better not to talk about it. But we can and we will.

They know Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt, but they are afraid to do anything about it, so they deny the math and pretend everything is fine. But we can reform and save these programs and we will.

In Washington they say term limits is a quaint idea that we are naive to believe in. They think we need a permanent class of elites. It’s safer to not rock the boat. But we can rock the boat, and we will.

In Washington they know that the voters want the border secured, but they refuse to do it. But you and I can, and we will.

Finally…. They say we can’t really repeal and replace all of Obamacare. But I am the only candidate who has written a replacement plan, a free market plan that focuses on reducing costs. We can repeal Obamacare and we will.

But today’s Republican Party in Washington has been beaten into submission and is increasingly afraid to speak the truth. It’s time to say what everyone is thinking — the emperors in Washington are not wearing any clothes.

In case it’s not clear by now, I’m running for President without permission from headquarters in Washington D.C. But rest assured — I’m tanned, rested, and ready for this fight.

Here’s the truth about most politicians – They are selfish, and they are followers not leaders. They worry more about their own fate than the country’s fate. They take polls, figure out where the public is headed, and then run out front and pretend to be leading the parade.

It’s easy to be a popular politician, don’t rock the boat, kiss babies and cut ribbons, and don’t make big changes. But I will not take the easy way out. If you want someone who will pretend that everything is fine and just make some small tweaks – then you want someone else.

I will never lead from behind.

I know that some believe that I talk too much about my faith. But I will not be silenced in order to meet their expectations of political correctness.

They don’t accept the idea that you can be both intellectual and Christian. They can’t fathom the notion that you can be both smart and conservative. But, they need to get out more. There’s a big country out here with millions of Americans who believe in God and are not ashamed to say so.

I would be wary of a president who didn’t seek wisdom from the Almighty. I don’t know about you, but I’ve met many very smart people who lack wisdom. Yet Christianity is under assault today in America. But the liberals have forgotten their history. Religious liberty is not some quaint notion from the past. It is fundamental to our freedom. That’s why it is protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution. I’m going to say this slowly so that even Hillary Clinton can understand it. America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America.

And it’s time we stopped trying to divide ourselves against each other. Hillary Clinton is already trying to divide us by ethnicity, by gender, and by economic status. As for me, I’m sick and tired of people dividing Americans. And I’m done with all this talk about hyphenated Americans. We are not Indian-Americans, Irish – Americans, African– Americans, rich Americans, or poor Americans – we are all Americans.

While I’m at it, here’s another thing you aren’t allowed to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. We cannot allow people to immigrate to this country so that they can use our freedoms to undermine our freedoms. That’s exactly what has happened in Europe, where they have 2nd and 3rd generations of immigrants who refuse to embrace the values and culture of the countries they have moved into. We must not let that happen here.

It is not unreasonable to demand that if you immigrate to America, you must do so legally, and you must be ready and willing to embrace our values, learn English, and roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Now, let’s do something different and tell the truth about our political situation. Republicans must stop being afraid to lose. If we try to hide who we are again…we will lose again. You’ve heard Jeb Bush say that we need to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general election. Let me translate that for you, I’m going to translate that from political-speak into plain English. He is saying that we need to hide our conservative ideals. But the truth is, if we go down that road again, we will lose again.

Let’s do something new, let’s endorse our own principles for a change and boldly speak the truth without fear.

As Republicans, we’ve already tried to appease the Left, to make the media like us better, to talk in politically correct language, to hide some of our beliefs by calling them distractions. We’ve tried to mask our conservative ideals, and we have failed.

Every Republican will say they are for school choice, shrinking government, cutting the government workforce, and getting rid of Common Core. But talk is cheap. Talk is just talk. I haven’t just talked about doing these things, I’ve actually done these things.

Every Republican will say they will fight to protect the unborn, repeal Obamacare, secure the border, and destroy ISIS. I won’t simply talk about these things, I will do these things.

It’s time to level with the American people. This President, and his apprentice-in-waiting Hillary Clinton, are leading America down the path to destruction. Economically, culturally, and internationally. But the most devastating thing they have tried to do is redefine the American Dream.

Instead of the dream being to have opportunity and freedom to control your own destiny and make your own way, their dream is for the government to take care of you and make people dependent on the government. We want to guarantee equal opportunity, but they want to guarantee equal outcomes.

The simple fact is they are trying to turn the American Dream into socialism. The folks in Washington may call that the American Dream, but out here in America, we call that the European Nightmare.
To be clear, we are not simply trying to reclaim the past, no, quite to the contrary, we are laying our claim on the future, a future where America leads the world.

This is not a cause any of us can resist. It is our destiny, it is our mission. As America goes, so goes the world. We are the light of freedom in a dark world, and it’s time we start acting like it.
I will not be intimidated from talking about the fact that radical Islam is evil and must be destroyed.

Containment is a strategy for losers. But as General George S. Patton famously observed – “Americans play to win all the time.”

Americans don’t play to lose. President Obama has it wrong, Secretary Clinton has it wrong, our allies need to trust us. Our enemies need to fear us. It’s time we play to win again.

As President I’ll have four objectives:

I will secure our borders;

I will replace Obamacare with a health care system that focuses on reducing costs and restoring freedom;

I will grow the private sector economy by shrinking the size, scope, and reach of the federal government;

And I will rebuild America’s defenses and restore our standing on the world stage.

I’m not asking you to simply join my campaign, I’m asking you to join a cause.

If you are looking for a candidate who will politely manage America’s descent into mediocrity, I’m not your man.

But… if you are chasing a dream and looking for a land where the people are free, and the opportunities are real, I’m asking you to believe.

My dad told me as a young kid that Americans can do anything. I believed him then, and I believe it now.

I know that in your heart you believe it too, I am asking you to Believe again.

Believe in what we can do. Believe in what America can do.

Thank you, may God bless you, and may God bless our great country.