Campaign Buzz 2016 March 16, 2016: Super Tuesday 3 Primary Results Trump, Clinton big winners

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Super Tuesday 3 Results

Source: USA Today

Republican

FLORIDA | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Donald Trump    1,077,221    45.74%    99
Marco Rubio    636,653    27.03%    0
Ted Cruz    403,640    17.14%    0
View more

ILLINOIS | RESULTS 98.77% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Donald Trump    551,053    38.83%    51
Ted Cruz    430,170    30.32%    9
John Kasich    279,518    19.7%    5

MISSOURI | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Donald Trump    382,093    40.92%    25
Ted Cruz    380,367    40.73%    5
John Kasich    92,533    9.91%    0

NORTH CAROLINA | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Donald Trump    458,151    40.23%    29
Ted Cruz    418,740    36.77%    27
John Kasich    144,299    12.67%    9

OHIO | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
John Kasich    956,762    46.83%    66
Donald Trump    727,585    35.61%    0
Ted Cruz    267,592    13.1%    0

Democrat

FLORIDA | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Hillary Clinton    1,097,400    64.44%    133
Bernie Sanders    566,603    33.27%    65
Others    38,875    2.28%    0

ILLINOIS | RESULTS 98.77% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Hillary Clinton    1,007,382    50.49%    68
Bernie Sanders    971,555    48.69%    67
Others    16,470    0.83%    0

MISSOURI | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Hillary Clinton    310,602    49.61%    32
Bernie Sanders    309,071    49.37%    32
Others    6,404    1.02%    0

NORTH CAROLINA | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Hillary Clinton    616,383    54.58%    59
Bernie Sanders    460,316    40.76%    45
Others    52,542    4.65%    0

OHIO | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Hillary Clinton    679,266    56.5%    79
Bernie Sanders    513,549    42.72%    62
Others    9,348    0.78%    0

Advertisements

Campaign Buzz 2016 March 8, 2016: Super Tuesday 2 Results

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

2016

Super Tuesday 2 Results

Source: USA Today

Republican

IDAHO | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Ted Cruz    100,942    45.43%    20
Donald Trump    62,478    28.12%    12
Marco Rubio    35,347    15.91%    0

HAWAII CAUCUS | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Donald Trump    5,677    42.44%    11
Ted Cruz    4,379    32.74%    7
Marco Rubio    1,759    13.15%    1

MISSISSIPPI | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Donald Trump    191,755    47.32%    24
Ted Cruz    147,065    36.29%    13
John Kasich    35,817    8.84%    0

MICHIGAN | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Donald Trump    483,751    36.52%    25
Ted Cruz    330,015    24.91%    17
John Kasich    321,655    24.28%    17

Democrat

MISSISSIPPI | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Hillary Clinton    182,447    82.63%    30
Bernie Sanders    36,348    16.46%    4
Others    1,995    0.9%    0

MICHIGAN | RESULTS 100% reporting
Candidates    Total Votes    % Votes    Del.
Bernie Sanders    595,222    49.82%    67
Hillary Clinton    576,795    48.28%    60
Others    22,626    1.89%    0

Campaign Buzz 2016 March 5, 2016: Super Saturday Results: Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders wins 2 contests each, Hillary Clinton wins 1

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Super Saturday

Kansas caucus

REPUBLICAN

Mar 5 40 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Votes
Cruz (won)
24
48.2%
35,207
Trump
9
23.3%
17,062
Rubio
6
16.7%
12,189
Kasich
1
10.7%
7,795
Dropped out: Bush, Carson, Fiorina

Source: AP

Kansas caucus

DEMOCRATIC

Mar 5 33 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Votes
Sanders (won)
23
67.7%
26,450
Clinton
10
32.3%
12,593
Dropped out: O’Malley

Source: AP

 

Kentucky caucus

REPUBLICAN

Mar 5 46 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Votes
Trump (won)
17
35.9%
82,493
Cruz
15
31.6%
72,503
Rubio
7
16.4%
37,579
Kasich
7
14.4%
33,134
Dropped out: Bush, Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Huckabee, Paul, Santorum

Source: AP

 

Maine caucus

REPUBLICAN

Mar 5 23 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Votes
Cruz (won)
12
45.9%
8,550
Trump
9
32.6%
6,070
Kasich
2
12.2%
2,270
Rubio
0
8.0%
1,492
Dropped out: Bush, Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Huckabee, Paul

Source: AP

 

Louisiana primary

REPUBLICAN

Mar 5 46 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Votes
Trump (won)
18
41.4%
124,818
Cruz
18
37.8%
113,949
Rubio
5
11.2%
33,804
Kasich
0
6.4%
19,355
Dropped out: Bush, Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Graham, Huckabee, Paul, Santorum

Source: AP

Louisiana primary

DEMOCRATIC

Mar 5 51 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Votes
Clinton (won)
35
71.1%
221,615

Sanders
12
23.2%
72,240
Dropped out: O’Malley

Source: AP

 

Nebraska caucus

DEMOCRATIC

Mar 5 25 delegates

99% reporting Delegates Votes
Sanders (won)
14
57.1%
19,120
Clinton
10
42.9%
14,340

Source: AP

Campaign Buzz 2016 March 1, 2016: Super Tuesday Results: Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton win 7 contests, Bernie Sanders 4, Ted Cruz 3, Marco Rubio 1

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Super Tuesday Results

Source: CNN

Georgia

Republican
Trump    38.8%
Rubio    24.5%
Cruz    23.6%
est % in: 92%

Democrat

Clinton 71.3%
Sanders 28.2%
est % in: 100%

Vermont

Republican
Trump    32.7%
Kasich    30.4%
Rubio    19.3%
est % in: 95%

Democrat
Sanders 86.1%
Clinton 13.6%
est % in: 100%

Virginia

Republican
Trump    34.7%
Rubio    31.9%
Cruz    16.9%
est % in: 99%

Democrat
Clinton 64.3%
Sanders 35.2%
est % in: 97%

Polls that closed at 8 p.m. ET

Alabama

Republican
Trump     43.4%
Cruz    21.1%
Rubio    18.7%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton 77.8%
Sanders 19.2%
est % in: 100%

Oklahoma

Republican
Cruz    34.4%
Trump    28.3%
Rubio    26.0%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Sanders 51.9%
Clinton 41.5%
est % in: 100%

Massachusetts

Republican
Trump    49.3%
Kasich    18.0%
Rubio    17.9%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton    50.1%
Sanders    48.7%
no preference    0.7%
est % in: 100%

Tennessee

Republican
Trump    38.9%
Cruz    24.7%
Rubio    21.2%
est % in: 100%

Democrat

Clinton 66.1%
Sanders 32.4%
est % in: 100%

Later Contests

Alaska

Republican
Cruz    36.4%
Trump    33.5%
Rubio    15.1%
est % in: 97%

Arkansas

Republican
Trump    32.8%
Cruz    30.5%
Rubio    24.9%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton 66.3%
Sanders 29.7%
est % in: 86%
updated 8:34 am et, mar. 2, 2016

Colorado
Democrat
Sanders 58.9%
Clinton 40.4%
est % in: 93%
updated 8:34 am et, mar. 2, 2016

Texas
Republican
Cruz    43.8%
Trump    26.8%
Rubio    17.7%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton 65.2%
Sanders 33.2%
est % in: 68%

Minnesota

Republican
Rubio    36.5%
Cruz    29.0%
Trump    21.3%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Sanders 61.6%
Clinton 38.4%
est % in: 98%

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 February 25, 2016: 10th Republican debate CNN Telemundo Salem Radio in Houston, Texas transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates Debate in Houston, Texas

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 
February 25, 2016

Republican debate – CNN/Telemundo/Salem Radio

Time – 8:30 p.m. ET

Location – University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Moderators – Wolf Blitzer, Maria Celeste Arraras, Hugh Hewitt, Dana Bash

Candidates – Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Ben Carson

PARTICIPANTS:
Ben Carson;
Senator Ted Cruz (TX);
Governor John Kasich (OH);
Senator Marco Rubio (FL);
Donald Trump;

MODERATOR:
Wolf Blitzer (CNN); with
PANELISTS:
Maria Celeste Arrarás (Telemundo);
Dana Bash (CNN); and
Hugh Hewitt (Salem Radio Network)

BLITZER: We’re live here at the University of Houston for the 10th Republican presidential debate. [applause]

An enthusiastic crowd is on hand here in the beautiful opera house at the Moore School of Music. Texas is the biggest prize next Tuesday, Super Tuesday, when 11 states vote, a day that will go a long way towards deciding who wins the Republican nomination.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I’m Wolf Blitzer. This debate is airing on CNN, CNN International, and CNN in Espanol. It’s also being seen on Telemundo and heard on the Salem Radio Network. Telemundo and Salem are our partners in this debate, along with the Republican National Committee.

We’d also like to welcome a very special guest with us here tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush. [applause]

Everyone here is looking forward to a lively debate. I’ll be your moderator tonight. Joining me in the questioning, Telemundo host Maria Celesta Arrasas, CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash; and Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt, who worked in the Reagan administration for six years.

Tonight, there are five Republican candidates and they’re ready to join us right now.

Please welcome Ohio Governor John Kasich. [applause]

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. [applause]

Businessman and real estate developer Donald Trump. [applause]

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. [applause]

And retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the Republican candidates for president of the United States. [applause]

BLITZER: Now please rise for our national anthem, performed by country music artist, Deana Carter.

[the national anthem is sung] [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Deana Carter. A beautiful, beautiful national anthem.

The final debate before Super Tuesday begins right after this quick break.

[commercial break]

BLITZER: Welcome back to the University of Houston and the Republican presidential debate.

The candidates, they are now in place. Their positions were selected based on their standing in the delegate race through Nevada, with the top candidate in the center and the others extending outward.

I want to tell you how tonight’s debate will work. As moderator, I will guide the discussion, asking questions and follow-ups, as will Maria Celeste, Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt. Candidates, you’ll have a minute and 15 seconds to answer and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. We have timing lights that are visible to the candidates. Those lights will warn you when your time is up, and as the candidates requested, a bell will sound like this.

[bell ringing]

We know you all want to jump and debate these critically important issues, but please wait until you’re called on. These are the rules all of the candidates have agreed to.

It’s time for the candidates to introduce themselves right now. You’ll each have 30 seconds. Dr. Carson, you’re first.

CARSON: If someone had tried to describe today’s America to you 30 years ago, you would have listened in disbelief. Americans know that our nation is heading off the abyss of destruction, secondary to divisiveness, fiscal irresponsibility, and failure to lead.

Marco, Donald, Ted, John, we will not solve any of these problems by trying to destroy each other. What we need to do is be looking for solutions tonight. It’s not about us, it’s about the American people. [applause]

BLITZER: Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Well, you know, on the way over here, even getting ready earlier and sitting in the green room and watching the early coverage, you know, my father carried mail on his back and his father was a coal miner and my mother’s mother was an immigrant, could barely speak English. And I’m standing on this stage. It’s pretty remarkable. But I want to tell you, there’s a lot of young people watching tonight. You can do whatever you want to do in your life. America is an amazing country, where a kid like me can grow up to run for president of the United States and be on this stage tonight. So to all the young people that are out there, your hopes, your dreams, pursue them. Shoot for the stars. America’s great, and you can do it. Thank you, Wolf. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Well, thank you. This election, we have to decide the identity of America in the 2ist century, but as part of this primary, we have to find out our identity as a party and as a movement.

Thirty-six years ago, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush began the Reagan Revolution. For a generation, they defined conservatism as limited government and free enterprise and a strong national defense. But they also appealed to our hopes and our dreams. Now we have to decide if we are still that kind of party and still that kind of movement, or if we’re simply going to become a party that preys on people’s angers and fears.

I hope we remain that conservative movement that appeals to our hopes and our dreams and the belief that America will always be better in its future than it’s been in its story history. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Welcome to Texas. [applause]

Here, Texas provided my family with hope. Here, my mom became the first in her family ever to go to college. Here, my dad fled Cuba and washed dishes, making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas. I graduated from high school at Second Baptist not too far away from here.

When I ran for Senate, I promised 27 million Texans I would fight for you every day, and not for the Washington bosses.

And, I’ll tell you, as I travel the state, Democrats tell me I didn’t vote for you, but you’re doing what you said you would do. And, as president, I will do the same. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you. My whole theme is make America great again. We don’t win anymore as a country. We don’t win with trade, we don’t win with the military. ISIS, we can’t even knock out ISIS, and we will, believe me. We will.

We don’t win in any capacity with healthcare. We have terrible health care, Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. We just don’t win.

You look at our borders, they’re like swiss cheese, everybody pours in.

We’re going to make a great country again. We’re going to start winning again. We’re going to win a lot, it’s going to be a big difference, believe me. It’s going to be a big difference. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you very much. It’s now time to begin questions. Voters in the first four states have spoken, and Mr. Trump has emerged as the frontrunner, but in five days the candidates will face their biggest test yet, Super Tuesday. When nearly half of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination will be awarded, and the biggest prize of the night is Texas.

Immigration is a key issue in this state, for all voters nationwide, including the many people watching us on Telemundo. So, that’s where we begin.

Mr. Trump, you’ve called for a deportation force to remove the 11 million undocumented immigrants from the United States. You’ve also promised to let what you call, “the good ones”, come back in. Your words, “the good ones”, after they’ve been deported.

Senator Cruz would not allow them to come back in. He says that’s the biggest difference between the two of you. He calls your plan amnesty. Is it?

TRUMP: First of all, he was in charge of amnesty, he was the leader, and you can ask Marco because they’ve been debating this every debate that we’ve had.

As far as coming back in, number one, you wouldn’t even be talking, and you wouldn’t have asked that as the first question if it weren’t for me when my opening when I talked about illegals immigration. It wouldn’t even be a big subject.

But, we either have a country, or we don’t have a country. We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally. They will go out. They will come back — some will come back, the best, through a process. They have to come back legally. They have to come back through a process, and it may not be a very quick process, but I think that’s very fair, and very fine.

They’re going to get in line with other people. The best of them will come back, but they’re going to come back through a process. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz, what’s wrong with letting what Mr. Trump calls, “the good ones” come back to the United States?

CRUZ: You know, the people that get forgotten in this debate over immigration are the hardworking men and women of this country — our millions of Americans who are losing their jobs. Millions of legal immigrants who are losing their jobs are seeing their wages driven down.

You know, in the past couple of weeks the Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article about the state of Arizona. Arizona put in very tough laws on illegal immigration, and the result was illegal immigrants fled the state, and what’s happened there — it was a very interesting article.

Some of the business owners complained that the wages they had to pay workers went up, and from their perspective that was a bad thing. But, what the state of Arizona has seen is the dollars they’re spending on welfare, on prisons, and education, all of those have dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars. And, the Americans, and for that matter, the legal immigrants who are in Arizona, are seeing unemployment drop are seeing wages rise. That’s who we need to be fighting for.

Listen, we have always welcomed legal immigrants, but I think it is a mistake to forgive those who break the law to allow them to become U.S. citizens, and that’s why I’ve led the fight against granting citizenship to those here illegally, and that’s why I will do the same thing as president. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, do you want to respond to that?

TRUMP: Well, I’m very glad that Ted mentioned Arizona because probably the toughest man on borders is Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and two days ago he totally endorsed me, so, thank you. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Senator Cruz has called your immigration plan amnesty, and has an add out there comparing it to President Obama’s. He says both of you support allowing undocumented immigrants legal status here in the United States after a background check, paying a fine, and paying taxes.

Are those claims correct?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, and before we do anything, I’ve been abundantly clear on this. When I’m president of the United States, before we do anything on immigration, we are going to secure the border. And, that’s not just the physical border with Mexico, it’s Visa overstays. That’s 45 percent of the problem right there.

It also has to do — that’s why we need e-verify, and entry-exit tracking system, and so-forth. And, until that happens, we’re not doing anything else. And then we’ll see what the American people are willing to support.

And Donald mentioned, because he mentioned me in his answer, that his position on immigration is what has driven this debate. Well, the truth is, though, that a lot of these positions that he’s now taking are new to him.

In 2011, he talked about the need for a pathway to citizenship. In 2012, Donald criticized Mitt Romney, saying that Mitt lost his election because of self-deportation.

And so even today, we saw a report in one of the newspapers that Donald, you’ve hired a significant number of people from other countries to take jobs that Americans could have filled.

My mom and dad — my mom was a maid at a hotel, and instead of hiring an American like her, you have brought in over a thousand people from all over the world to fill those jobs instead.

So I think this is an important issue. And I think we are realizing increasingly that it’s an important issue for the country that has been debated for 30 years, but finally needs to be solved once and for all.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, self-deportation is people are going to leave as soon as they see others going out. If you look at Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, they started moving people out and the rest of them left.

Self-deportation, as I really define it, and that’s the way I define it, is you’re going to get some to go, and the rest are going to go out.

As far as the people that I’ve hired in various parts of Florida during the absolute prime season, like Palm Beach and other locations, you could not get help. It’s the up season. People didn’t want to have part-time jobs. There were part-time jobs, very seasonal, 90-day jobs, 120-day jobs, and you couldn’t get.

Everybody agrees with me on that. They were part-time jobs. You needed them, or we just might as well close the doors, because you couldn’t get help in those hot, hot sections of Florida.

RUBIO: That — my point that I made was you had criticized Mitt Romney for self-deportation. You said that his strategy of self- deportation is why he lost the election.

And I think people in Florida would be surprised, because, in fact, the article that was today, they interviewed a number of people that would have been willing to do those jobs, if you would have been willing to hire them to do it.

TRUMP: I criticized Mitt Romney for losing the election. He should have won that election. He had a failed president. He ran a terrible campaign. He was a terrible candidate. That’s what I criticize Mitt Romney — I mean, ran…

RUBIO: No, he…

TRUMP: Excuse me. He ran one terrible campaign. That’s an election that should have been won. [applause]

RUBIO: Well, in fact, I agree we should have won and I wished we would have, but, in fact, you did criticize him for using the term “self-deportation.” I mean, that’s on the record and people can look it up right now online.

But, again, I just want to reiterate, I think it’s really important, this point. I think it’s fine, it’s an important point that you raise and we discuss on immigration. This is a big issue for Texas, a huge issue for the country.

But I also think that if you’re going to claim that you’re the only one that lifted this into the campaign, that you acknowledge that, for example, you’re only person on this stage that has ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally.

You hired some workers from Poland…

TRUMP: No, no, I’m the only one on the stage that’s hired people. You haven’t hired anybody. [applause]

RUBIO: In fact, some of the people…

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: And by the way, I’ve hired — and by the way, I’ve hired tens of thousands of people over at my job. You’ve hired nobody.

RUBIO: Yes, you’ve hired a thousand from another country…

TRUMP: You’ve had nothing but problems with your credit cards, et cetera. So don’t tell me about that.

RUBIO: Let me just say — let me finish the statement. This is important.

TRUMP: You haven’t hired one person, you liar.

RUBIO: He hired workers from Poland. And he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment from…

TRUMP: That’s wrong. That’s wrong. Totally wrong.

RUBIO: That’s a fact. People can look it up. I’m sure people are Googling it right now. Look it up. “Trump Polish workers,” you’ll see a million dollars for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects. He did it. [applause] That happened.

TRUMP: I’ve hired tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. Tens of thousands…

RUBIO: Many from other countries instead of hiring Americans.

TRUMP: Be quiet. Just be quiet. [applause] Let me talk. I’ve hired tens of thousands of people. He brings up something from 30 years ago, it worked out very well. Everybody was happy.

RUBIO: You paid a million dollars.

TRUMP: And by the way, the laws were totally different. That was a whole different world.

BLITZER: Thank you.

TRUMP: But I’ve hired people. Nobody up here has hired anybody. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz, you say you want to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants, but you never want to allow them to come back to the United States. What would happen to the children who are U.S.- born citizens whose parent will be deported under your plan?

CRUZ: Well, existing law provides that those who are deported cannot come back here legally. U.S. citizens can come back. That’s existing law.

But let me say, Wolf, I really find it amazing that Donald believes that he is the one who discovered the issue of illegal immigration. I can tell you, when I ran for Senate here in the state of Texas, I ran promising to lead the fight against amnesty, promising to fight to build a wall. And in 2013, when I was fight against the “gang of eight” amnesty bill, where was Donald? He was firing Dennis Rodman on “Celebrity Apprentice.” [laughter]

And indeed, if you look at the “gang of eight,” one individual on this stage broke his promise to the men and women who elected him and wrote the amnesty bill.

If you look at the eight members of the Gang of Eight, Donald gave over $50,000 to three Democrats and two Republicans. And when you’re funding open border politicians, you shouldn’t be surprised when they fight for open borders.

And I think if you want to know who actually will secure the borders and follow through, you ought to ask who has a record before they were a candidate for president of fighting to secure the borders and stop amnesty. And I’m the only one on this stage that has that record. And by the way, Marco is exactly right that a federal court found Donald guilty of being part of a conspiracy to hire people illegally and entered a $1 million judgment against him. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I can only say this, and I’ve said it loud and clear and I’ve said it for years. And many of these people are sitting right in the audience right now — your lobbyist and your special interest and your donors, because the audience is packed with them, and they’re packed with you.

I’ve had an amazing relationship with politicians — with politicians both Democrat, Republican, because I was a businessman. As one magazine said, he’s a world-class businessman; he was friendly with everybody. I got along with everybody.

You get along with nobody. You don’t have one Republican — you don’t have one Republican senator, and you work with them every day of your life, although you skipped a lot of time. These are minor details. But you don’t have one Republican senator backing you; not one. You don’t have the endorsement of one Republican senator and you work with these people. You should be ashamed of yourself. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know, I actually think Donald is right. He is promising if he’s elected he will go and cut deals in Washington. And he’s right. He has supported — he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats. Anyone who really cared about illegal immigration wouldn’t be hiring illegal immigrants. Anyone who really cared about illegal immigration wouldn’t be funding Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi; wouldn’t be funding the Gang of Eight. And, you know, he is right. When you stand up to Washington, when you honor the promise you made to the men and women who elected you and say enough with the corruption, enough with the cronyism, let’s actually stand for the working men and women of this country, Washington doesn’t like it.

And Donald, if you want to be liked in Washington, that’s not a good attribute for a president. [applause]

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: Here’s a man — Robin Hood. This is Robin Hood over here. He talks about corruption. On his financial disclosure form, he didn’t even put that he’s borrowed money from Citibank and from Goldman Sachs, which is a total violation. He didn’t talk about the fact that he pays almost no interest. He just left it off, and now he’s going to protect the people from the big bad banks.

Give me a break.

BLITZER: All right. We’re going to move on to Governor Kasich.

Governor Kasich…

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Wolf, can I respond to that attack?

BLITZER: You can respond, but let me get Governor Kasich in. He’s been waiting patiently.

Governor Kasich, the idea — you’ve said this, and I want to quote you now: “The idea that we’re going to deport all these people is ludicrous and everybody knows it.” Those are your words. Should people be allowed to break the law just because it’s not feasible to stop them?

KASICH: Look, we have a great president here, George Bush, the 41st president of the United States. He worked with Ronald Reagan to pass an effort to try to solve this problem — a path to legalization. You see, that was a time when things worked. It was a time when President Reagan and George Bush decided that we needed to make the country work.

Look, I think there is an answer here. The answer is you complete the border. You let people know that once it’s done, you don’t have a right to come in. If you come in, we don’t want any excuse. You’re going to go back. But I favor a guest worker program. I think it’s practical. And I think for the 11 million or 11.5 million Americans — the illegals that are here, if they have not committed a crime since they’ve been here, I’d make them pay a fine, some back taxes, maybe some community service. And at the end, I’d give them a path to legalization, but not a path to citizenship. I don’t think we’re going to tear families apart. I don’t think we’re going to ride around in people’s neighborhoods and grab people out of their homes. I don’t think — first of all, I don’t think it’s practical and I don’t think it reflects America.

You know what happened? The problem with President Reagan is we didn’t get in there and actually finish the border. And I think it was probably business interests that affected it. But at the end of the day, let’s be practical. Let’s start solving problems in this country instead of kicking them upstairs. With President Reagan and George Bush, it was a bipartisan coalition to address the issue, and I think we can and should do it again. And I will have a plan in the first 100 days to get it done and get this issue behind us. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

Dr. Carson, you’ve been critical of mass deportation. You said back in November you don’t think Mr. Trump’s plan necessarily represents the Republican Party. Given how well Mr. Trump has been doing with the Republican primary voters, do you still believe that?

CARSON: I believe in liberty and justice for all. I think everything that we do should be fair. And I’ve already described — you know, how we can secure the border.

We need to secure all the borders, because it’s not just people coming in from South America and Mexico, but there are terrorists who want to destroy us, who are getting across our borders fairly easily. And we have to stop that.

But in terms of the people who are here already, after we — after we stop the illegal immigration, we need to be reasonable. And I would give them a six-month period in which to get registered as a guest worker, assuming that they have an acceptable record.

They have to pay a back-tax penalty, have to pay taxes going forward, but they don’t have to live underground anymore. And I think they do not become American citizens, they do not vote.

If they want to become an American citizen, they go through exactly the same process that anybody else goes through. I think that’s the kind of situation that is actually fair to people.

And we have other ways of — of utilizing our facilities and our talents as foreign aid: doing things in South America and Central America and Mexico that improve the economy there, so that they don’t feel the need to come over here. That would cost us a lot less than borrowing money from China, paying interest on it.

BLITZER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. [applause]

Mr. Trump, your campaign, as you well remember, began with the idea of building a wall along the southern border.

TRUMP: [inaudible].

BLITZER: It’s about 315 miles southwest of where we are right now. You’ve said the Mexican government will pay for it.

TRUMP: Correct.

BLITZER: The spokesperson for the current president of Mexico says that will never happen. The last two presidents of Mexico say that will never happen. In fact, the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox — he said today, and I’m quoting him — he said, “I’m not going to pay for that,” quote, “effing wall.” [laughter]

So if you don’t get an actual check from the Mexican government for $8 billion or $10 billion or $12 billion, whatever it will cost, how are you going to make them pay for the wall?

TRUMP: I will, and the wall just got 10 feet taller, believe me. [applause]

It just got 10 feet taller. I saw him make that — I saw him make the statement. I saw him use the word that he used. I can only tell you, if I would have used even half of that word, it would have been national scandal.

This guy used a filthy, disgusting word on television, and he should be ashamed of himself, and he should apologize, OK? Number one. Number two, we have a trade deficit with Mexico of $58 billion a year. And that doesn’t include all the drugs that are pouring across and destroying our country.

We’re going to make them pay for that wall. Now, the wall is $10 billion to $12 billion, if I do it. If these guys do it, it’ll end up costing $200 billion. [applause]

But the wall is $10 billion to $12 billion. You need 1,000 — you need 1,000 miles. The Great Wall of China, built 2,000 years ago — 2,000, is 13,000 miles. We need 1,000, because we have a lot of natural barriers.

We can do it for $10 billion to $12 billion, and it’s a real wall. This is a wall that’s a heck of a lot higher than the ceiling you’re looking at. This is a wall that’s going to work.

Mexico will pay for it, because they are not doing us any favors. They could stop all of this illegal trade if they wanted to…[bell ringing]… immediately. Mexico will pay for the wall. It’s a small portion of the kind of money that we lose and the deficits that we have with Mexico. [applause]

BLITZER: If the — if the Mexicans don’t pay for the wall, will you start a trade war with Mexico?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I don’t mind trade wars when we’re losing $58 billion a year, you want to know the truth. We’re losing so much. [applause]

We’re losing so much with Mexico and China — with China, we’re losing $500 billion a year. And then people say, “don’t we want to trade?” I don’t mind trading, but I don’t want to lose $500 billion. I don’t want to lose $58 billion.

Mexico just took Carrier Corporation, maker of air conditioners. They just took Ford. They’re building a $2.5 billion plant. They just took Nabisco out of Chicago.

And I always say I’m not having Oreos anymore, which is true, by the way. But they just took a big plant from Nabisco into Mexico. They’re taking our businesses. I don’t mind.

BLITZER: Thank you. Senator Rubio? [applause]

RUBIO: Yeah, a couple points. If he builds the wall the way he built Trump Towers, he’ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it. The second…[applause]

TRUMP: Such a cute sound bite.

RUBIO: But it — no, it’s not a sound bite. It’s a fact. Again, go online and Google it. Donald Trump, Polish workers. You’ll see it.

The second thing, about the trade war — I don’t understand, because your ties and the clothes you make is made in Mexico and in China. So you’re gonna be starting a trade war against your own ties and your own suits.

TRUMP: All right, you know what?

RUBIO: Why don’t you make them in America?

TRUMP: Because they devalue their currency — they devalue their currencies…

RUBIO: Well, then make them in America.

TRUMP: … that makes it — well, you don’t know a thing about business. You lose on everything…

RUBIO: Well, make them in America.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you — they de-value their currency. They de-value their currencies.

RUBIO: Well then, make them in America.

TRUMP: That makes it — well, you don’t know a thing about business. You lose on everything you do.

RUBIO: Well, make them in America.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, they de-value their currencies. China, Mexico, everybody. Japan with the cars. They de-value their currencies to such an extent that our businesses cannot compete with them, our workers lose their jobs…

RUBIO: And so you make them in China and in Russia.

TRUMP: But you wouldn’t know anything about it because you’re a lousy businessman.

RUBIO: Well, I don’t know anything about bankrupting four companies. You’ve bankrupted..

TRUMP: No, I — and you know why? You know why? [applause]

RUBIO: I don’t know anything about…

TRUMP: You know why?

RUBIO: … starting a university, and that was a fake university.

BLITZER: One at a time.

TRUMP: First of all…

BLITZER: One at a time.

TRUMP: … first of all, that’s called a…

RUBIO: There are people who borrowed $36,000…

BLITZER: Hold on. One at a time, Mr. Trump.

RUBIO: … to go to Trump University, and they’re suing now — $36,000 to go to a university…

TRUMP: And by the way — and by the way…

RUBIO: … that’s a fake school.

TRUMP: … and by the way…

RUBIO: And you know what they got? They got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump…

TRUMP: … I’ve won most of the lawsuits.

RUBIO: That’s what they got for $36,000.

BLITZER: All right, I want to move on.

TRUMP: And they actually did a very good job, but I’ve won most of the lawsuits.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, Senator, I want to bring in…

RUBIO: Most of the lawsuits.

BLITZER: … I want to bring in my colleague Maria Celeste.

TRUMP: Excuse me. Hey Wolf, let me ask you. Am I allowed to respond to this?

BLITZER: You’re allowed — you’ve been responding.

TRUMP: OK. Well let — no, I haven’t. I really haven’t. [laughter]

RUBIO: He’s talked through the whole thing. [applause]

TRUMP: Here’s a guy — here’s a guy that buys a house for $179,000, he sells it to a lobbyist who’s probably here for $380,000 and then legislation is passed. You tell me about this guy. This is what we’re going to have as president.

RUBIO: Here’s a guy that inherited $200 million. If he hadn’t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now?

TRUMP: No, no, no.

RUBIO: Selling watches in Manhattan. [applause]

TRUMP: [inaudible] I took…

RUBIO: That’s where he would be.

TRUMP: That is so wrong. We’ll work on that. I took $1 million and I turned into $10 billion.

RUBIO: Oh, OK. One million.

TRUMP: I borrowed $1 million…

RUBIO: Better release your tax returns so we can see how much money he made.

TRUMP: I borrowed $1 million, I turned it into $10 billion…

RUBIO: Oh, he doesn’t make that money.

TRUMP: … more than $10 billion.

BLITZER: Thank you. Thank you. I want to bring in Maria Celeste Arrarás of Telemundo. Maria?

ARRARÁS: Senator Rubio, last week, you said that on your first day in office, you will get rid of President Obama’s executive action known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA for short.

RUBIO: Correct.

ARRARÁS: It is a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young people that came here when they were children, brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants. This is the only home they know, and that is a dramatic change from last April when you said in Spanish, and I’m going to quote you [in Spanish] which translates to DACA is going to have to end at some point, but it wouldn’t be fair to cancel it immediately.

So Senator Rubio, what changed?

RUBIO: It didn’t change.

ARRARÁS: Why is it now fair to cancel it on Day One?

RUBIO: No, it’s the same policy. It will have to end at some moment, and as I said, we will — we will eliminate that executive order. The people that are on it now will not be allowed to renew it, and new applicants will not be allowed to apply to it. And it’s not because we’re not compassionate to the plight of a 2 — someone who came here when they were 2 years old. I understand. I know people that are personally impacted by this.

The problem with the executive order is it is unconstitutional. The president doesn’t have the power to do that. [applause]

And he himself admitted that.

ARRARÁS: Senator, Senator…

RUBIO: I’m sorry, but let me finish my…

ARRARÁS: … but you went — you went from saying that it was deeply disruptive to deport them immediately to deport them on Day One.

RUBIO: No, but this is not about deportation. Everybody always goes immediately to the issue of deportation. This is about DACA. DACA is an executive order that is unconstitutional. I will cancel it on my first day in office, which means people who currently hold those permits will not be allowed to renew them when they expire, and new people will not be allowed to apply for them.

Now, I am sympathetic to the plight of someone who came here when they were 2 or 3 years old through no fault of their own, but you can’t solve it doing something that is unconstitutional. No matter how sympathetic we may be to a cause, we cannot violate the Constitution of the United States the way this president now does on a regular basis. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Senator Rubio, you accused Senator Cruz in a previous debate of lying when he said that you said one thing in Spanish and another one in English. So in what sense did he lie?

RUBIO: Because it is not true that I’m not going to get rid of DACA. I am going to get rid of DACA. In the Spanish interview, you just read out the transcript in Spanish, I said, it will have to end at some point. That point will be when I eliminate the executive order and the people who have those permits when they expire will not be allowed to renew it. And new people will not be able to apply. In fact, I don’t even think we should be taking new enrollees in the program now.

That is how the program ends and how you wind it down is you allow the people who are on it, when the program expires, they cannot renew it, and it goes away. But I will cancel the executive order as soon as I take — as soon as I step foot into the Oval Office.

TRUMP: I have to say, he lied this time. He lied. 100 percent. 100 percent.

RUBIO: You lied about the Polish workers.

TRUMP: Yes, yes, yes. 38 years ago.

RUBIO: You lied to the students at Trump University.

ARRARÁS: Let Senator Cruz jump in.

RUBIO: Oh, he lied 38 years ago. All right, I guess there’s a statute of limitation on lies. [laughter and applause]

CRUZ: Well Maria, I would note you made the exact same point here that I made at the last debate, and you’re right that Senator Rubio called me a liar for saying that.

You know, we’ve both seen at home when Washington politicians say about an illegal, or unconstitutional program. Well, it’ll have to end some day, not immediately, but someday in the future.

That, inevitably, is when a politician doesn’t plan to end it at all.

You know, I’m reminded of that that is the same position that Marco took in Iowa on ethanol subsidies. When I campaigned in Iowa, I took on the lobbyists, took on the corporate welfare and said we should have no ethanol subsidies.

Marco’s position was the same as it is to illegal amnesty. Well, someday it should end, just not now. And, frankly, I think we need a president who knows what he believes in, is willing to say it on day one, not at the end of his term when it’s somebody else’s problem.

RUBIO: That’s not an accurate assessment of what I said about ethanol. What I said is that ethanol will phase out, it is phasing out now. By 2022 that program expires by virtue of the existing law, and at that point it will go away. I don’t agree with the mandate and the program that’s in place, but I think it’s unfair that these people have gone out and invested all this money into this program and we’re just going to yank it away from them.

And, again, you read the statement in Spanish. I said very clearly on Spanish television, DACA will have to end at some point, and that point is — at that time I was not a candidate for president. I said it will end in my first day in office as president, and the people who have it now will not be able to renew it. New applicants will not be able to apply. That is the end of DACA.

I am sympathetic to this cause, but once again, it cannot supersede the Constitution of the United States which this president habitually and routinely every single day ignores and violates. [cheering and applause]

ARRARÁS: Senator Cruz, you and Senator Rubio are the two candidates of hispanic descent on this stage. As a matter of fact, you are the first hispanic candidate ever to win a caucus or primary. [applause]

And yet, there is the perception in the Latino community that instead of trying to prove to Latinos who has the best plan, the best platform to help them, that you two are spending the time arguing with each other. Trying to figure out which one is tougher on immigration in order to appeal to the majority of Republicans.

So, my question to you is are you missing a huge opportunity to expand the Republican base?

CRUZ: Well, Maria, you are right. It is extraordinary that of five people standing on this stage that two of us are the children of Cuban immigrants. It really is the embodiment of the incredible opportunity and promise this nation provides.

You know, I would note that a lot of folks in the media have a definition of hispanics that you can only be hispanic if you’re liberal. That makes sense in the media, but I gotta tell you, one of the things I was most proud of when I ran for Senate here in Texas, I earned 40 percent of the hispanic vote here in Texas.

At the same time, Mitt Romney was getting clobbered with 27 percent of the hispanic vote nationwide. And, the reason is, as you know, you look at the value sin the hispanic community. The values in our community are faith, family, patriotism.

You know, we’ve got the highest rate of military enlistment among hispanics in any demographic in this country. And, when I campaigned, and I campaigned the same here in Houston or Dallas as I did in the Rio Grande Valley, defending conservative principles, defending judeo- Christian principals, telling my father’s story.

Telling my Dad’s story of coming to America with $100 dollars in his underwear, not speaking English, washing dishes, having hopes and dreams for the American dream. And, the truth is the Obama-Clinton economy has done enormous damage to the hispanic community. It is not working in the hispanic community, and I…[bell ringing]…fighting so that everyone who is struggling in the hispanic community and beyond will have a fair and even shake at the American dream.

RUBIO: I’m sorry I was mentioned…

ARRARÁS: … Governor Kasich.

RUBIO: Maria I was mentioned in that. I was mentioned in that statement.

ARRARÁS: Governor Kasich, after the…

RUBIO: … OK. I was mentioned — just because of the hispanic — and I’ll be brief.

A couple points, number one, I do think it’s amazing that on this stage tonight there are two descendants of Cuban origin, and an African American. We are the party of diversity, not the Democratic party. [cheering and applause]

And, the second point I would make is that we have to move past this idea that somehow the hispanic community only cares about immigration.

Yes, it’s an important issue because we know and love people that have been impacted by it. But, I’m going to tell you that the most powerful sentiment in the hispanic community, as it is in every immigrant community, is the burning desire to leave your children better off than yourself…[bell ringing]…and, you can only do that through free enterprise. That’s what we stand for, not socialism like Bernie Sanders, and increasingly Hillary Clinton. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Governor Kasich, after the last presidential election the Republican party realized that in order to win the presidency it needed the support of latinos. Guidelines as to how to accomplish that were spelled out in an autopsy report that concluded, and I’m going to quote it, “if hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States they won’t pay attention to our next sentence.”

So, do you think that your fellow Republican candidates get it?

KASICH: Well, I’m not going to talk about that. I mean, I’ve got to tell you, I was with this little 12-year-old girl, was at a town hall meeting, and she said, you know, I don’t like all this yelling and screaming at the debates. My mother’s thinking I might not be able to watch the thing anymore.

I think we ought to move beyond that, about what they think. I’m going to tell you what I think. My position on this whole immigration issue has been clear from the beginning. I haven’t changed anything with it.

And, look, my view is, we need economic growth. Everything starts with economic growth. And how do you get it? Common sense regulations, lower taxes for both business and individuals, and, of course, a fiscal plan that balances the budget.

That gives you economic growth. I did it when I was in Washington, as the Budget Committee chairman, negotiating actually with Democrats, that gave us surpluses, economic growth, and the same thing in Ohio.

But here’s the thing that I believe. Economic growth is not an end unto itself. We have to make sure that everybody has a sense that they can rise.

Of course, our friends in the Hispanic community, our friends in the African-American community, the promise of America is that our system, when we follow the right formula, is going to give opportunity for everyone.

It’s what Jack Kemp used to say. A rising tide lifts all boats, not just some boats, but all boats. And you know what? With me and the Hispanic community, I think they like me. And I appreciate that, because I want them to have the same opportunity that I and my children and my wife and the people we love have had in this country.

It’s time to solve problems. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Dr. Carson, concerning this recommendation of the report, are you, as a candidate, getting it?

CARSON: I didn’t hear the first part of the question?

ARRARÁS: The first part of the question is, there was a report that recommended that in order to approach Hispanics and bring them to vote for the Republican Party, certain things needed to happen.

And one of them was that they shouldn’t feel like they were going to get kicked out of the United States, otherwise they wouldn’t pay attention to one more sentence from candidates.

CARSON: OK, well, first of all, let me just mention that last year at the NALEO, the National Association for Latino Elected Officials, I was the only one of 17 Republican candidates to go there.

And the reason that I don’t fear going to an organization like that is because the message that I give is the same message to every group. You know, this is America. And we need to have policies that are — that give liberty and justice to all people.

And that’s the way that I have fashioned virtually every policy, looking at that. And I think that’s the way the Republican Party generally thinks. We don’t pick and choose winners and losers. We are compassionate.

But real compassion is providing people with a ladder of opportunity to climb up from a state of dependence and become part of the fabric of America. When we begin to emphasize that, I think we will attract everybody. [applause]

ARRARÁS: Mr. Trump, it is common knowledge that the Hispanic vote is very important in this race. You keep saying that Hispanics love you.

TRUMP: True. [laughter]

ARRARÁS: And, yes, you won the Hispanic vote in Nevada.

TRUMP: True.

ARRARÁS: But a brand new Telemundo poll says that three out of four Hispanics that vote nationwide have a negative opinion of you. They don’t like you. Wouldn’t that make you an unelectable…

TRUMP: No.

ARRARÁS: … candidate in a general election?

TRUMP: First of all, I don’t believe anything Telemundo says.

ARRARÁS: You used to say that you love…[laughter]

TRUMP: Number one. Number two, I currently employ thousands of Hispanics, and over the years, I’ve employed tens of thousands of Hispanics. They’re incredible people. They know, and the reason I won in Nevada, not only won the big one, but I also won subs, like, as an example, I won with women.

I won with every single category. I won with men, I won with high-income, low-income, I won with Hispanics. And I got 46 percent. Nobody else was close. Because they know I’m going to bring jobs back from China, from Japan, from so many other places.

They get it. They’re incredible people. They’re incredible workers. They get it. And I’ve won many of the polls with Hispanics. I didn’t maybe win the Telemundo poll.

But one thing I’m also going to do, I’m going to be getting — bringing a lot of people in who are Democrats, who are independents, and you’re seeing that with the polls, because if you look at anywhere, look at any of the elections, every single election, it has been record-setting.

And the good news is, for the Republican Party, the Democrats are getting very poor numbers in terms of bringing them in. We’re getting record-setting numbers. I think I have something to do with that.

We’re getting record-setting numbers. And I won every one — the three of them that I won, I won with record-setting numbers.

TRUMP: New people are coming into the Republican Party. We are building a new Republican Party, a lot of new people are coming in. [applause]

ARRARÁS: For the record, you have said publicly that you loved Telemundo in the past. But it is not just a Telemundo poll. We have…

TRUMP: I love them. I love them. [applause]

ARRARÁS: All right. Well, it’s not the only poll.

TRUMP: They’re fine. Do you know what? They’re fine.

ARRARÁS: Just last night — let me — let me finish, please.

Just last night, The Washington Post showed that 80 percent of Hispanic voters in their polls have a negative view of you. And concerning the Nevada victory, allow me to explain that the poll in Nevada was based on a tiny sample, statistically insignificant of only about 100 — let me finish please — of 100 Hispanic Republicans in the state of Nevada.

TRUMP: Why did they take the poll? Why did they…[crosstalk]

ARRARÁS: I am making reference — I am making reference to Hispanic voters nationwide in a general election.

TRUMP: I’m just telling you, I’m doing very well with Hispanics. And by the way, I settled my suit, as you know, with Univision. It was settled. We’re good friends now. It was all settled up. [laughter]

Very happy, very happy. Very good people.

I’m just telling you — I’m just telling you that I will do really well with Hispanics. I will do better than anybody on this stage. I have respect for the people on the stage, but I will do very well with Hispanics. But I’m telling you also, I’m bringing people, Democrats over and I’m bringing independents over, and we’re building a much bigger, much stronger Republican Party.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, thank you.

I want to turn our attention now to another critically important issue for the American people, the United States Supreme Court, where filling the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia has become a major campaign issue. I want to bring in Salem Radio Network host, Hugh Hewitt.

Hugh?

HEWITT: Thank you, Wolf.

To me, it’s the most important issue. I’ll start with you, Senator Cruz. Do you trust Mr. Trump to nominate conservative justices?

CRUZ: Well, Hugh, I agree with you that it — Justice Scalia’s passing underscores the enormous gravity of this election. Justice Scalia was someone I knew personally for 20 years; was privileged to be at his funeral this weekend. And with his passing, the court is now hanging in the balance. We are one liberal justice away from a five-justice radical leftist majority that would undermine our religious liberty; that would undermine the right to life; and that would fundamentally erase the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms from the Constitution.

Now, I think the voters of Texas, the voters across Super Tuesday are assessing everyone standing on this — this stage. In the past, Republican presidents always promise to nominate strict constitutionalists. So I’m certain if you took a survey, everyone would say they would do that.

But the reality is, Democrats bat about 1,000. Just about everyone they put on the court votes exactly as they want. Republicans have batted worse than 500, more than half of the people we put on the court have been a disaster.

I’ve spent my whole life fighting to defend the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I can tell you, for voters that care about life or marriage or religious liberty or the Second Amendment, they’re asking the question: Who do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who do you know will nominate principled constitutionalists to the court? I give you my word, every justice I nominate will vigorously defend the Bill of Rights for my children and for yours. [applause]

HEWITT: Mr. Trump, Senator Cruz mentioned the issue that keeps me up at night, which is religious liberty. Churches, Catholic and Christian colleges, Catholic adoption agencies — all sorts of religious institutions fear that Hobby Lobby, if it’s repealed, it was a five-four decision, they’re going to have to bend their knee and provide morning-after pills. They fear that if Bob Jones is expanded, they will lose their tax exemption.

Will you commit to voters tonight that religious liberty will be an absolute litmus test for anyone you appoint, not just to the Supreme Court, but to all courts?

TRUMP: Yes, I would. And I’ve been there. And I’ve been there very strongly. I do have to say something, and this is interesting and it’s not anybody’s fault. It’s not Ted’s fault. Justice Roberts was strongly recommended and pushed by Ted. Justice Roberts gave us Obamacare. Might as well be called Roberts-care. Two times of the Supreme Court, Justice Roberts approved something that he should have never raised his hand to approve. And we ended up with Obamacare.

That is a rough thing. And I know Ted feels badly about it. And I think he probably still respects the judge. But that judge has been a disaster in terms of everything we stand for because there is no way — no way that he should have approved Obamacare.

Now, with that being said, these are the things that happen. But Ted very, very strongly pushed Judge Roberts, and Justice Roberts gave us something that we don’t want.

HEWITT: Ted Cruz, Senator, the chief justice got Hobby Lobby right, but what do you make of Mr. Cruz’s criticism?

CRUZ: Well, listen — Donald knows that it was George W. Bush who appointed John Roberts. Yes, it’s true, I supported the Republican nominee once he was made.

But I would not have nominated John Roberts. I would have nominated my former boss, Mike Luttig, who was the strongest proven conservative on the court of appeals. And I’ll tell you, Hugh…[applause]…you know, it’s interesting now that Donald promises that he will appoint justices who — who will defend religious liberty, but this is a man who, for 40 years, has given money to Jimmy Carter, to Joe Biden, to Hillary Clinton, to Chuck Schumer, to Harry Reid.

Nobody who supports far-left liberal Democrats who are fighting for judicial activists can possibly care about having principled constitutionalists on the court.

And what Donald has told us is he will go to Washington…[bell ringing]…and cut a deal.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump…

CRUZ: So that means on Supreme Court…

HEWITT: … can I…

CRUZ: … he’s going to look to cut a deal, rather than fight for someone who won’t cut a deal on the Constitution, but will defend it faithfully. [applause]

HEWITT: Can I trust you on religious liberty?

TRUMP: Well, let — let me — let me just say — let me just say this. Look, I watched Ted — and I respected it, but he gets nowhere — stand on the Senate floor for a day or two days, and talk and talk and talk.

I watched the other senators laughing and smiling. And when Ted was totally exhausted, he left the Senate floor, and they went back to work. OK? We have to have somebody that’s going to make deals.

It’s wonderful to stand up for two days and do that. Now, Ted’s been very critical — I have a sister who’s a brilliant…

HEWITT: Mr. Cruz, will you make a deal about religious liberty?

TRUMP: … excuse me. She’s a brilliant judge. He’s been criticizing — he’s been criticizing my sister for signing a certain bill. You know who else signed that bill? Justice Samuel Alito, a very conservative member of the Supreme Court, with my sister, signed that bill.

So I think that maybe we should get a little bit of an apology from Ted. What do you think?

HEWITT: Let me — Senator.

CRUZ: Let me tell you right now, Donald, I will not apologize for a minute for defending the Constitution. I will not apologize for defending the Bill of Rights. [applause]

And I find it amazing that your answer to Hugh and to the American people is, on religious liberty, you can’t have one of the these crazy zealots that actually believes in it. You’ve got to be willing to cut a deal.

And you know, there is a reason why, when Harry Reid was asked, of all the people on this stage, who does he want the most, who does he like the most, Harry Reid said Donald — Donald Trump.

Why? Because Donald has supported him in the past, and he knows he can cut a deal with him. [bell ringing]

You know what, Donald…[crosstalk]

HEWITT: Senator Rubio.

CRUZ: … I don’t want a Supreme Court justice that you cut a deal with Harry Reid to undermine religious liberty, because that same justice will also erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights. [applause]

TRUMP: When you say crazy zealot, are you talking about you? Crazy zealot — give me a break.

HEWITT: Senator Rubio, you’ve heard this exchange on religious liberty. You have said that religious liberty will trump even the ability of people to stay away from same-sex marriages, not provide flowers, not provide baked goods, et cetera. Are you satisfied with this exchange on religious liberty?

RUBIO: Well, I think you ask a very important question, because the issue here — the next president of the United States has to fill this vacancy.

Justice Scalia — in the history of the republic, there has never been anyone better than him at standing for the principle that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document — it is supposed to be applied as originally meant.

And the next president of the United States has to be someone that you can trust and believe in to appoint someone just as good as Scalia — plus there may be at least two other vacancies.

So you ask Mr. Trump to respond and say that he would, and he says that he would. But the bottom line is, if you look at his record over the last 25 or 30 years, on issue after issue, he has not been on our side.

Now, if he’s changed, we’re always looking for converts into the conservative movement. But the bottom line is that, if you don’t have a record there to look at and say, “I feel at peace that when Donald Trump is president of the United States, he’s going to be firmly on our side on these issues.”

In fact, very recently, he was still defending Planned Parenthood. He says he’s not going to take sides in the Palestinians versus Israel. These are concerning things.

And so, yes, I have a doubt about whether Donald Trump, if he becomes president, will replace Justice Scalia with someone just like Justice Scalia.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump? [applause]

TRUMP: Well, let — let me just say — let me just say, first of all, I have great respect for Justice Scalia. I thought he was terrific. And if you talk about evolving, Ronald Reagan was a somewhat liberal Democrat. Ronald Reagan evolved into a somewhat strong conservative — more importantly, he was a great president. A great president.

As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I’m pro-life. I’m totally against abortion, having to do with Planned Parenthood. But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood.

So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly. And I wouldn’t fund it.

I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3 percent. I don’t know what percentage it is. They say it’s 3 percent. But I would defund it, because I’m pro-life. But millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood. [applause]

HEWITT: Governor Kasich, back to religious liberty. You’ve been a little bit less emphatic. You’ve said, same-sex couple approaches a cupcake maker, sell them a cupcake. Can we trust you as much on religious liberty as the rest of these people?

KASICH: Well, you know, , of course. I mean, if — look, I was involved in just being a pioneer in a new church. Religious institutions should be able to practice the religion that they believe in. No question and no doubt about it.

Now, in regard to same-sex marriage, I don’t favor it. I’ve always favored traditional marriage, but, look, the court has ruled and I’ve moved on. And what I’ve said, Hugh, is that, look, where does it end?

If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced.

I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior.

But when it comes to the religious institutions, they are in inviolate in my mind, and I would fight for those religious institutions. And look, I’ve appointed over a hundred judges as governor. I even appointed adjudge to the Ohio Supreme Court.

And you know what they are? They’re conservatives. Go check it out. They are conservatives. They don’t make the law. They interpret the law. That’s all they do. And they stick by the Constitution. So I will do that.

But let’s just not get so narrow here as to gotcha this or that. I think my position is clear.

HEWITT: Dr. Carson, let me wrap it up with you. Are their positions clear? [applause]

Are the positions you’ve heard clear about the First Amendment and the first freedom?

CARSON: Well, first of all, let me just add my praise to Justice Scalia. I first met him when we got an honorary degree together a long time ago. A tremendous wit and intellect.

As far as religious freedom is concerned, one of the basic tenets of this nation, and I believe that the Constitution protects all of our rights. And it gives people who believe in same-sex marriage the same rights as everybody else.

But what we have to remember is even though everybody has the same rights, nobody get extra rights. So nobody gets to redefine things for everybody else and then have them have to conform to it. That’s unfair.

And this is the responsibility of Congress to come back and correct what the Supreme Court has done. That’s why we have divided government. And we’re going to have to encourage them to act in an appropriate way, or we will lose our religious freedom.

And as president, I would go through and I would look at what a person’s life has been. What have they done in the past? What kind of judgments have they made? What kind of associations do they have? That will tell you a lot more than an interview will tell you.

The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at.

BLITZER: Thank you, Dr. Carson. [applause]

All of you want to repeal and replace Obamacare, so let’s talk about your plans, specific plans to replace it. I want to bring in our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

BASH: Senator Rubio, you said yesterday, right here in Houston, that Mr. Trump thinks part of Obamacare is pretty good. So, he says he is going to repeal Obamacare. Are you saying that you’re worried he won’t?

RUBIO: The individual mandate. He said he likes the individual mandate portion of it, which I don’t believe that should be part of it. That should not remain there. I think here’s what we need to replace it with.

We need to repeal Obamacare completely and replace it with a system that puts Americans in charge of their health care money again. If your employer wants to buy health insurance for you, they can continue to do so from any company in America they want to buy it from.

Otherwise, your employers can provide you health care money, tax- free, not treated as income, and you can use that money only for health care, but you can use it to fund health care any way you want, fully fund a health savings account, the combination of a health savings account or a private plan from any company in any state in the country.

And if you don’t have that, then you will have a refundable tax credit that provides you health care money to buy your own health care coverage. And that, I think, is a much better approach than Obamacare, which, by the way, isn’t just bad for health care, it’s bad for our economy. It is a health care law that is basically forcing companies to lay people off, cut people’s hours, move people to part-time. It is not just a bad health care law, it is a job-killing law. And I will repeal it as president and we will replace it with something substantially better for all Americans. [applause]

BASH: Mr. Trump, Senator Rubio just said that you support the individual mandate. Would you respond?

TRUMP: I just want to say, I agree with that 100 percent, except pre-existing conditions, I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare. We’re going to have something much better, but pre-existing conditions, when I’m referring to that, and I was referring to that very strongly on the show with Anderson Cooper, I want to keep pre- existing conditions.

I think we need it. I think it’s a modern age. And I think we have to have it. [applause]

BASH: OK, so let’s talk about pre-existing conditions. What the insurance companies say is that the only way that they can cover people is to have a mandate requiring everybody purchase health insurance. Are they wrong?

TRUMP: I think they’re wrong 100 percent. What we need — look, the insurance companies take care of the politicians. The insurance companies get what they want. We should have gotten rid of the lines around each state so we can have real competition.

We thought that was gone, we thought those lines were going to be gone, so something happened at the last moment where Obamacare got approved, and all of that was thrown out the window.

The reason is some of the people in the audience are insurance people, and insurance lobbyists, and special interests. They got — I’m not going to point to these gentlemen, of course, they’re part of the problem, other than Ben, in all fairness.

And, actually, the Governor too, let’s just talk about these too, OK? [laughter]

Because I don’t think the Governor had too much to do with this.

But, we should have gotten rid of the borders, we should have gotten rid of the lines around the state so there’s great competition. The insurance companies are making a fortune on every single thing they do.

I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m the only one in either party self-funding my campaign. I’m going to do what’s right. We have to get rid of the lines around the states so that there’s serious, serious competition.

BASH: But, Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … And, you’re going to see — excuse me. You’re going to see preexisting conditions and everything else be part of it, but the price will be done, and the insurance companies can pay. Right now they’re making a fortune. [applause]

BASH: But, just to be specific here, what you’re saying is getting rid of the barriers between states, that is going to solve the problem…

TRUMP: That’s going to solve the problem. And, the insurance companies aren’t going to say that, they want to keep it. They want to say — they say whatever they have to say to keep it the way it is. I know the insurance companies, they’re friends of mine. The top guys, they’re friends of mine. I shouldn’t tell you guys, you’ll say it’s terrible, I have a conflict of interest. They’re friends of mine, there’s some right in the audience. One of them was just waving to me, he was laughing and smiling. He’s not laughing so much anymore.

Hi. [applause]

Look, the insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep preexisting conditions, and that would be a great thing. Get rid of Obamacare, we’ll come up with new plans. But, we should keep preexisting conditions.

RUBIO: Dana, I was mentioned in his response, so if I may about the insurance companies…

BASH: … Go ahead.

RUBIO: You may not be aware of this, Donald, because you don’t follow this stuff very closely, but here’s what happened. When they passed Obamacare they put a bailout fund in Obamacare. All these lobbyists you keep talking about, they put a bailout fund in the law that would allow public money to be used, taxpayer money, to bail out companies when they lost money.

And, we led the effort and wiped out that bailout fund. The insurance companies are not in favor of me, they hate that. They’re suing that now to get that bailout money put back in.

Here’s what you didn’t hear in that answer, and this is important guys, this is an important thing. What is your plan? I understand the lines around the state, whatever that means. This is not a game where you draw maps…

TRUMP: … And, you don’t know what it means…

RUBIO: … What is your plan, Mr. Trump? [applause] What is your plan on healthcare?

TRUMP: You don’t know.

BASH: [inaudible]

TRUMP: … The biggest problem…[crosstalk]

RUBIO: … What’s your plan…

TRUMP: … The biggest problem, I’ll have you know…

RUBIO: … What’s your plan…

TRUMP: … You know, I watched him meltdown two weeks ago with Chris Christie. I got to tell you, the biggest problem he’s got is he really doesn’t know about the lines. The biggest thing we’ve got, and the reason we’ve got no competition, is because we have lines around the state, and you have essentially….

RUBIO: … We already mentioned that [inaudible] plan, I know what that is, but what else is part of your plan…

TRUMP: … You don’t know much…

RUBIO: … So, you’re only thing is to get rid of the lines around the states. What else is part of your healthcare plan…

TRUMP: … The lines around the states…

RUBIO: … That’s your only plan…

TRUMP: … and, it was almost done — not now…

RUBIO: … Alright, [inaudible]…

TRUMP: … Excuse me. Excuse me.

RUBIO: … His plan. That was the plan…

TRUMP: … You get rid of the lines, it brings in competition. So, instead of having one insurance company taking care of New York, or Texas, you’ll have many. They’ll compete, and it’ll be a beautiful thing.

RUBIO: Alright…[applause] So, that’s the only part of the plan? Just the lines?

BASH: [inaudible]

TRUMP: The nice part of the plan — you’ll have many different plans. You’ll have competition, you’ll have so many different plans.

RUBIO: Now he’s repeating himself.

TRUMP: No, no, no. [laughter, applause, and cheering]

TRUMP: [inaudible]

RUBIO: [inaudible]

[cheering]

TRUMP: [inaudible] I watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago…

RUBIO: … I just watched you repeat yourself five times five seconds ago…[applause]

TRUMP: I watched him meltdown on the stage like that, I’ve never seen it in anybody…

BASH: … Let’s stay focused on the subject…

TRUMP: … I thought he came out of the swimming pool…

RUBIO: … I see him repeat himself every night, he says five things, everyone’s dumb, he’s gonna make America great again…

BASH: … Senator Rubio…

RUBIO: … We’re going to win, win win, he’s winning in the polls…

BASH: … Senator Rubio, please.

RUBIO: … And the lines around the state. [applause]… Every night.

BASH: Senator Rubio.

[cheering]

TRUMP: I tell the truth, I tell the truth.

BASH: Senator Rubio, you will have time to respond if you would just let Mr. Trump respond to what you’ve just posed to him…

RUBIO: … Yeah, he’s going to give us his plan now, right? OK…

BASH: … If you could talk a little bit more about your plan. I know you talked about…

TRUMP: … We’re going to have many different plans because…

BASH: … Can you be a little specific…

TRUMP: … competition…

RUBIO: … He’s done it again. [cheering and applause]

TRUMP: There is going to be competition among all of the states, and the insurance companies. They’re going to have many, many different plans.

BASH: Is there anything else you would like to add to that…

TRUMP: No, there’s nothing to add. [cheering and applause] What is to add?

BASH: Thank you. Thank you both.

RUBIO: Alright.

BASH: Governor Kasich, you’ve said it is, quote, “Un American to deny someone health insurance if they have a preexisting condition.”

Would you leave the individual mandate in place requiring all Americans to purchase insurance?

KASICH: No, I wouldn’t. And — but that doesn’t matter when it comes to the issue of preexisting conditions. You don’t want any American to lose their house, everything they’ve saved, because they get sick. Now, I think it is more complicated than what we’ve heard here tonight. We’re actually running significant health reform in my state.

I would repeal Obamacare for a variety of reasons. I would take some of the federal resources, combine it with the freed-up Medicaid program, which I would send back to the states, and cover the people who are currently the working poor because we don’t want to have tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance.

And then we’re driving towards total transparency. If any of you here ever get a hospital bill, it’s easier to interpret the Dead Sea scrolls than to understand your hospital bill. The fact is what we need is transparency with hospitals and with the providers.

And I’ll tell you what we will do. We are actually going to make payments to physicians and to hospitals who actually deliver healthcare with great quality at low prices. We actually are going to make the market work.

BASH: Governor, let me just go back to the original question about the individual mandate. In 1994 when you were in Congress, you proposed a plan requiring an individual mandate. So what changed?

KASICH: Well, Dana, the Heritage Foundation had this position as well. And when I look at it, I don’t think it’s tenable. And we don’t need to do that. Again, I’m telling you that we are going to — we have a proposal, a plan that we’re enacting now that says if you are a hospital or a doctor and you’re providing very high quality at lower prices, below the midpoint — some charge high, some charge low. If you are below the midpoint, we are going to give you a financial reward for allowing you to provide services that result in high quality for our people at lower pricess.

That is the way in which we are going to damp down the rising costs of healthcare. Because if you think about your own deductibles today, they’re going higher, higher and higher. And you know what? At some point, people can’t afford it. Our plan will work. It uses the market. It uses transparency. It gets the patient in the middle. And guess what? We’re actually doing it in my state, the seventh-largest state in the country. And if this will go — this will go national, we will get our hands on healthcare where you will know what’s going on. We will pay for quality, lower prices, and we will begin to see healthcare become affordable in America and where people will also be able to have health insurance, even if they have a preexisting condition.

We don’t want to throw millions of people out into the cold and not have the health insurance, Dana. So that’s really what we’re doing. This is not a theory. This is what we are actually doing in our state. We will begin payments next year based on episodes that we have in our lives. If our primary care physicians keep us healthy for a year, with really high quality, guess what? They will get a financial reward.

Our primary care physicians need help. They need support. We’re losing them. This will allow them to get a reward for doing a great job.

BASH: Governor Kasich, thank you.

KASICH: Thank you. [applause]

BASH: Dr. Carson, you have dealt with the sickest of patients. You support covering preexisting conditions. How would you change Obamacare, but maintain that coverage?

CARSON: Well, first of all, healthcare is not a right. But I do believe it is a responsibility for a responsible society, and we are that. We spend almost twice as much per capita on healthcare as many other nations who have actually much better access than we do.

I propose a system in which we use health empowerment accounts, which are like a health savings account with no bureaucrats. And we give it to everybody from birth until death. They can pass it on when they die. We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for traditional healthcare with. We give people the ability to shift money within their health empowerment account within their family. So dad’s $500 short, mom can give it to him or a cousin or uncle.

And it makes every family their own insurance carrier with no middle man. It gives you enormous flexibility. And also, you know, if Uncle Joe is smoking like a chimney, everybody’s going to hide his cigarettes because they’re all interested in what’s going on there.

Also, the — your catastrophic healthcare is going to cost a lot less money now because the only thing coming out of that is catastrophic healthcare. So, it’s like a homeowners policy with a large deductible, versus a homeowners policy where you want every scratch covered. One costs $1,500 a year; one costs $10,000 a year. You can buy the $1,500 one. That will take care of 75 percent of the people. The people who are indigent, how do we take care of them now? Medicaid. What’s the Medicaid budget? Almost $500 billion; almost 80 million people participate, which is way too many, and that will get a lot better when we fix the economy, which I hope we get a chance to talk about.

But do the math. Over $5,000 for each man, woman and child, and all — they will have a lot more flexibility. What could you buy with that? A concierge practice.

BLITZER: Thank you.

CARSON: And you could still have thousands of dollars left over. And let me just finish, because I don’t get to talk that much. And, you know, let’s…[applause]…you can have the money that’s left over to buy your catastrophic insurance. But most importantly, we give them a menu, just like we do in Medicare Part C, and they have the choices that will allow them not only to have catastrophic health care, but drug care and everything else.

It will be such a good program that nobody will want Obamacare after that, and that’s probably the best way do it, although if anybody still did, I would still de-fund it.

BLITZER: Thank you. [applause]

Thank you, Dr. Carson. Let’s talk about the economy. Let’s talk about…

CRUZ: Wolf, Wolf, Wolf. Does everyone get to address Obamacare but me?

BLITZER: I want to move on, but there’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to address…

CRUZ: It’s kind of an issue I have a long history with.

BLITZER: I know you do. And — all right, go ahead. [laughter]

CRUZ: Thank you, Wolf.

KASICH: How do you — how do you get that extra time, Cruz? You’re very good at…

CRUZ: You know, this is another issue on which Donald and I have sharp disagreements. On Planned Parenthood, he thinks Planned Parenthood is wonderful. I would instruct the Department of Justice to investigate them and prosecute any and all criminal violations. [applause]

On Obamacare, both Donald and I say we want to end it, but for very different reasons. I want to end it because it goes too far, it’s killed millions of jobs, and it’s hurting people’s health care. Donald wants to end it because he says it doesn’t go nearly far enough. And what was amazing in that exchange that was missing is for decades Donald has been advocating socialized medicine.

What he’s said is government should pay for everyone’s health care, and in fact, a couple of debates ago, he said, if you don’t support socialized health care, you’re heartless. Now, liberal Democrats have been saying that for years. Now let me tell you if you’re a small business owner, Donald Trump’s socialized medicine, putting the government in charge of your health care would kill more jobs than Obamacare, and if you’re elderly, the results of socialized medicine in every country on earth where it’s been implemented has been rationing, has been the government saying, no, you don’t get that hip replacement, you don’t get that knee replacement, the government is in charge of your health care.

I’ll tell you this. As president…

BLITZER: Senator…

CRUZ: … I will repeal every word of Obamacare. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you, thank you. Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I do not want socialized medicine, just so you understand. He goes around saying oh, he wants it. I do not want socialized medicine. I do agree with him that it’s going to be a disaster, Obamacare, for the economy.

In 2017, it will be impossible for us to pay for it if you look at what’s going on. That’s why it has to be repealed, for a lot of reasons, Number one, it doesn’t work, number two, premium. You look at premiums going up, 25, 35, even 45 percent, and more. We have to get rid of Obamacare. It is going to destroy our economy completely. Our economy is not doing well. It is going to destroy our economy greatly. And on that, I agree.

CRUZ: Donald, true or false, you’ve said the government should pay for everyone’s health care.

TRUMP: That’s false.

CRUZ: You’ve never said that?

TRUMP: No, I said it worked in a couple of countries…

CRUZ: But you’ve never stood on this debate stage and says it works great in Canada and Scotland and we should do it here.

TRUMP: No, I did not. No I did not.

CRUZ: Did you say if you want people to die on the streets, if you don’t support socialized health care, you have no heart.

TRUMP: Correct. I will not let people die on the streets if I’m president.

CRUZ: Have you said you’re a liberal on health care?

TRUMP: Excuse me. Let me talk. If people…

CRUZ: Talk away. Explain your plan, please.

TRUMP: If people — my plan is very simple. I will not — we’re going to have private — we are going to have health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I’m president. You may let it and you may be fine with it…

CRUZ: So does the government pay for everyone’s health care?

TRUMP: … I’m not fine with it. We are going to take those people…

CRUZ: Yes or no. Just answer the question.

TRUMP: Excuse me. We are going to take those people and those people are going to be serviced by doctors and hospitals. We’re going to make great deals on it, but we’re not going to let them die in the streets.

CRUZ: Who pays for it?

RUBIO: Well, can I just clarify something?

BLITZER: Gentleman, please.

RUBIO: Wolf, no. I want to clarify something.

BLITZER: Gentlemen please. I want to move on.

RUBIO: This is a Republican debate, right? Because that attack about letting people die in the streets…

BLITZER: I want to talk about the economy.

[crosstalk]

BLITZER: Gentleman, gentleman. All of you have agreed — Senator Cruz…

TRUMP: You know what? Call it what you want.

CRUZ: It’s a yes or no.

TRUMP: Call it what you want, people are not going to be dying on the sidewalk.

BLITZER: All of you have agreed — all of you have agreed to the rules. I want to move on. We’re talking about the economy right now. Mr. Trump, you want to cut taxes more than President Ronald Reagan did, more than President George W. Bush did. The Independent Tax Foundation says the cost to the country of your proposal would be about $10 trillion, and that takes into account the economic growth that would emerge from your proposed tax cuts.

How would you cut $10 trillion over 10 years, but make sure the country isn’t saddled with even more debt?

TRUMP: Because the country will become a dynamic economy. We’ll be dynamic again. If you look at what’s going on, we have the highest taxes anywhere in the world. We pay more business tax, we pay more personal tax. We have the highest taxes in the world.

It’s shutting off our economy. It’s shutting off our country. We have trillions of dollars outside that we can’t get in. Yes, we will do my tax plan, and it will be great. We will have a dynamic economy again.

BLITZER: What specific cuts will you make to pay for that tax cut?

TRUMP: We’re going to make many cuts in business. We’re getting rid of — we’re going to get rid of so many different things. Department of Education — Common Core is out. We’re going local. Have to go local. [applause]

Environmental protection — we waste all of this money. We’re going to bring that back to the states. And we’re going to have other [inaudible] many things. [applause]

We are going to cut many of the agencies, we will balance our budget, and we will be dynamic again.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump. If you eliminate completely the Department of Education, as you have proposed, that’s about $68 billion. If you eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, that’s about $8 billion. That’s about $76 billion for those two agencies.

The current deficit this year is $544 billion. Where are you going to come up with the money?

TRUMP: Waste, fraud and abuse all over the place. Waste, fraud and abuse. [applause]

You look at what’s happening with Social Security, you look — look at what’s happening with every agency — waste, fraud and abuse. We will cut so much, your head will spin.

BLITZER: Governor Kasich. [applause]

When you were in Congress, you were chairman of the Budget Committee. You helped craft the last balanced budget the United States had. Can Mr. Trump’s plan work?

KASICH: Well, I think it takes three things, Wolf. And I’ve done it. I mean, I — we got the budget balanced. We cut the capital gains tax. You see, in order to get this economy moving again, you have to grow the economy, and you have to restrain the spending.

And when I was chairman, we cut that capital gains tax and we instituted a significant program to get to balance. We had a balanced budget four years in a row, had to take on every interest group in Washington — every single one of them — and we paid down a half a trillion of the national debt.

And why do you do it? Because you want job growth. If you don’t have regulatory reform, common-sense regulations, reasonable tax cuts, which I have, and a fiscal plan, you won’t get there. You will never be able to do it.

Now, I — I inherited an an $8 billion hole in Ohio, I have common-sense regulations, I have tax cuts — the biggest of any governor in the country — and we have a fiscal plan.

And it’s not all — it’s not always cutting. It’s innovating — it’s producing a better product at, frankly, a lower price. Now we have a $2 billion surplus. Our credit is strong, our pensions are strong.

And, look — I’ve got a plan to take to Washington, and I will have it there in the first hundred days, and it will include shifting welfare, education, transportation, Medicaid and job training back to us, so we can begin, in the states, to be the laboratories of innovation.

I’ve done it — I did it in Washington — four years of balanced budgets. No one could even believe it happened. [bell ringing] I’ve done it in Ohio, we’re growing, the jobs are up and people are having opportunity. And I will go back to Washington and do it again for the American people. I promise you that. [applause]

Within the first hundred days, we will have the plan to get this done.

BLITZER: Thank you. Thank you, governor. [applause]

Speaking of taxes…

TRUMP: I just want to say — and I’m a big fan of the governor, but they also struck oil, OK, so that helped Iowa a lot.

KASICH: OK, let me — let me — let me just talk about that, because I know that — that Donald believes the energy industry is important. So do I. But of the over 400,000 jobs that we’ve created in the state, we think maybe 15,000 are connected to this industry, because it’s early-stage.

See, what we’ve done in Ohio, and what a president needs to do, is to have a cabinet and a whole operation that’s jobs-friendly. We have diversified our economy.

We — we do have energy, we have medical devices, we have financial services, we have I.T., we just got Amazon — their Cloud computing in the Midwest. You know why it’s happening? [bell ringing]

Because we’re balanced budgets, we’re strong, we’re job-friendly, we don’t raise their taxes, and if we have a president that does that in America, we will get the economic growth, and that is what this country needs. Jobs, jobs and jobs, period. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, yesterday, the last Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, called on you to release your back tax returns, and said, and I’m quoting him now, “there is good reason to believe there is a bombshell in them.”

Romney said either you’re not as wealthy as you say you are, said maybe you haven’t paid the kind of taxes we would expect you to pay, or you haven’t been giving the money to veterans or disabled people. Are any of those accusations that he has leveled true?

TRUMP: All right. First of all, let me just explain. I was the first one to file a financial disclosure form — almost 100 pages. You don’t learn anything about somebody’s wealth with a tax return. You learn it from statements.

I filed — which shows that I’m worth over $10 billion. I built a great company with very little debt. People were shocked, the people in the back, the reporters, they were shocked when they went down. And I filed it on time. I didn’t ask for five 45-day extensions, which I would have been entitled to.

So as far as that’s concerned, I filed it. And that’s where you find out what kind of a company. You don’t learn anything from a tax return.

I will say this. Mitt Romney looked like a fool when he delayed and delayed and delayed. And Harry Reid baited him so beautifully. And Mitt Romney didn’t file his return until a September 21st of 2012, about a month-and-a-half before the election. And it cost him big league.

As far as my return, I want to file it, except for many years, I’ve been audited every year. Twelve years, or something like that. Every year they audit me, audit me, audit me.

Nobody gets audited — I have friends that are very wealthy people. They never get audited. I get audited every year. I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously. And I think people would understand that.

BLITZER: Hugh, go ahead.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump. You told me…

TRUMP: Are you going to ask anybody else that question?

CARSON: Yes, amen, amen. [laughter]

TRUMP: Every single question comes to me?

HEWITT: Mr. Trump…[crosstalk]

TRUMP: I know I’m here for the ratings, but it’s a little bit ridiculous. [laughter]

HEWITT: Mr. Trump, a year ago you told me on my radio show, the audio and the transcript are out there on YouTube, that you would release your tax returns.

TRUMP: True.

HEWITT: Are you going back on your commitment?

TRUMP: No, I’m not. First of all, very few people listen to your radio show. That’s the good news. [laughter]

Let me just tell you, let me just — which happens to be true. Check out the ratings.

Look, let me just tell you something. Let me just tell you something. I want to release my tax returns but I can’t release it while I’m under an audit. We’re under a routine audit. I’ve had it for years, I get audited.

And obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return. As soon as the audit is done, I love it.

HEWITT: So, Senator Rubio, Mitt Romney also called upon to you release your tax returns. Your campaign said last spring that you would release your returns that you had not previously released. And you said, coming out any day momentarily. When are we going to see your returns?

RUBIO: Yes, tomorrow or Saturday, in fact, is our plan to release them. And there’s nothing really that interesting in them. So I have no problem releasing them. And luckily I’m not being audited this year, or last year, for that matter.

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: But this is my time. I want to go back to this question you asked about the debt. This is an important issue. It’s a huge issue, OK? In less than five years, 83 percent of our entire budget will be made up of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the interest on the debt.

That means only 17 percent of our budget will be for things like the military or the Department of Education or environmental protection issues.

You cannot balance our budget unless you deal with that 83 percent, which is why I’ve been repeatedly talking about since my time running for the Senate in Florida, where there are a lot of people like my mother that depend on Social Security and Medicare, on the need to save those programs, by reforming the way they work for future generations.

And I think if we — the longer we take to do this, the closer we are going to get to a debt crisis. And, Wolf, you did not get an answer to your question. This debt issue is — the next president of the United States will not be able to serve four to eight years without dealing with the national debt.

It is not a question of if, it is a question of when we have a debt crisis. And we should not leave the stage here tonight without hearing a serious answer from every single one of us about how we are going to deal bring the national debt under control once and for all.

HEWITT: Thank you, Senator Rubio. But I am…[applause]…I’m being fair to all of the candidates.

Senator Cruz, Tuesday is five days away. Why haven’t voters seen your 2012, 2013, and 2014 returns?

CRUZ: So, I’ve released five years of tax returns already. We will have two more years available tomorrow. And I would note that this question really goes — you know, Donald says he’s being audited.

Well, I would think that would underscore the need to release those returns. If he has said something that was false and that an audit is going to find was fraudulent, the voters need to know.

And listen, people across this country, we recognize our country is in crisis. The most important question is how do we win the general election in November, 2016. And roughly 65 percent of Republicans think Donald is not the right candidate to go against Hillary Clinton.

Now, part of the reason in the last 10 polls…

TRUMP: Eighty-five percent say you, big difference.

CRUZ: … RealClearPolitics he has lost to Hillary on eight of them. In the last 10 polls on RealClearPolitics, I either tied or beat Hillary. And this is an example.

You know, the mainstream media is laying off Donald now. They’re going to pick apart his taxes. They’re going to pick apart his business deals.

And let’s take, for example, one of Hillary’s great vulnerabilities, the corruption at the Clinton Foundation, the fact that she had CEOs and foreign companies giving her money while she was secretary of state.

The next Republican nominee needs to be able to make that case against Hillary. And if Donald tried to did it, Hillary would turn to Donald and say, “but gosh, Donald, you gave $100,000 to the Clinton foundation. I even went to your wedding.”

He can’t prosecute the case against Hillary, and we can’t risk another four years of these failed Obama policies by nominating someone who loses to Hillary Clinton in November. [applause]

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: So at the beginning, I said openly to everybody that I contribute to many, many politicians, both Republican and Democrat. And I have, over the years. I’m a businessman. I have, over the years.

And I sort of have to laugh when Ted makes a big deal out of the fact that he’s doing well in the polls. Well, I’m beating him in virtually every poll. I’m tied in Texas, by the way, which I shouldn’t be. But I think I’ll do very well. [applause]

But a poll just came out — a Bloomberg poll — where I am beating him so badly that it’s, like, embarrassing even for me to say I’m beating him that badly. [applause]

And — and here’s the thing — it was sort of funny — 65 percent of the people don’t like you — I just got 36 percent of the vote, right? I just got 46 percent on another one. I got 38 percent…[bell ringing]…on another one. That means — and he got 20 and 22, and he lost in South Carolina so badly — that was going to be his stronghold. He said a year ago, “I can’t lose South Carolina.” I beat him in a landslide.

Last week in Nevada, I beat him in a landslide, and he sank about the polls. One other thing — Hillary Clinton — take a look at USA Today, take a look at the Q poll. I beat her, and I beat her badly. And I — and I haven’t even started at her. I only had one little interchange…[applause]…I only had one little interchange, and that was…[bell ringing]…four weeks ago, when she said I was sexist. And believe me, they had a rough weekend that weekend, between Bill and Hillary. They had a rough weekend. [applause]

BLITZER: Gentlemen. Gentlemen. Gentlemen.

CRUZ: Hold on. He — he attacked me, Wolf. I get a response.

BLITZER: I was about to say — Senator Cruz, respond.

CRUZ: Thank you. Thank — thank — thank you very much.

You know, it’s interesting — Donald went — went on — on an extended tirade about the polls, but he didn’t respond to any of the substance. He has yet to say — he can release past year’s tax returns. He can do it tomorrow.

He doesn’t want to do it, because presumably there’s something in there…

TRUMP: Nothing.

CRUZ: … that is bad. If there’s nothing, release them tomorrow.

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: They’re already prepared. The only reason he’s not releasing them…

TRUMP: You — you don’t…

CRUZ: … is because he’s afraid that he will get hit.

TRUMP: I’m not afraid [inaudible].

CRUZ: You know, Marco made reference earlier to the litigation against Trump University. It’s a fraud case. His lawyers have scheduled the trial for July.

I want you to think about, if this man is the nominee, having the Republican nominee…[bell ringing]…on the stand in court, being cross-examined about whether he committed fraud. You don’t think the mainstream media will go crazy on that?

And on substance, how do we nominate a candidate who has said Hillary Clinton was the best secretary of state of modern times, who agreed with her on foreign policy, who agrees with Bernie Sanders on health care, who agreed with Barack Obama on the Wall Street bailout?

BLITZER: All right…

CRUZ: If — we’ve got to win this election, and we can’t do it with a candidate who agrees with Hillary Clinton and can’t take it to her and beat her on the debate stage and at the polls.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump. Mr, — hold on. Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … first of all, he’s talking about the polls. I’m beating him awfully badly in the polls.

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: But you’re not beating Hillary. You’re not beating Hillary.

TRUMP: Well, then, if I can’t — if — hey, if I can’t beat her, you’re really going to get killed, aren’t you? [applause]

So — so let me ask you this, because you’re really getting beaten badly. I know you’re embarrassed — I know you’re embarrassed, but keep fighting — keep swinging, man. Swing for the fences.

Let me just tell you — let me just tell you, the Trump University case is a civil case. Not a — it’s a civil case. It’s a case where people want to try and get — it’s a case that is nonsense.

It’s something I could have settled many times. I could settle it right now for very little money, but I don’t want to do it out of principle. The people that took the course all signed — most — many — many signed report cards saying it was fantastic, it was wonderful, it was beautiful.

As — and believe me, I’ll win that case. That’s an easy case. Civil case. Number two, as far as the taxes are concerned, I’m being audited. It’s a very routine audit, and it’s very unfair, because I’ve been audited for, I think, over 12 years.

Every year, because of the size of my company, which is very, very large, I’m being audited — which is a very large company.

[bell ringing]

BLITZER: Thank you.

TRUMP: I’m being audited 12 years in a row, at least.

Now, until that audit’s done, and I don’t think anybody would blame me, I’m not giving it…[crosstalk]

CRUZ: … the years you’re not being audited? Will you release those years?

BLITZER: Gentlemen, gentlemen, thank you.

TRUMP: [inaudible] audited for those years.

CRUZ: Which years? Which years are you being audited?

BLITZER: Gentlemen…[crosstalk]…we actually have rules — we’re trying to obey these rules that all of you agreed. We’re going to take a quick break. We have a lot more — many more critically important issues to discuss.

Our coverage of this tenth Republican presidential debate from the University of Houston continues in a moment. [applause]

[commercial break]

BLITZER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate here at the University of Houston.

Gentlemen, I want to turn our attention right now to key issues involving foreign policy and national security. And Mr. Trump, I’ll begin with you.

TRUMP: Shocking. [laughter]

BLITZER: You said this about the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians — I’m quoting you now: “Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I don’t want to say whose fault it is, I don’t think it helps.”

TRUMP: Right.

BLITZER: Here’s the question. How do you remain neutral when the U.S. considers Israel to be America’s closest ally in the Middle East?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I don’t think they do under President Obama because I think he’s treated Israel horribly, all right? I think he’s treated Israel horribly. [applause]

I was the grand marshall down 5th Avenue a number of years ago for the Israeli Day Parade, I have very close ties to Israel. I’ve received the Tree of Life Award and many of the greatest awards given by Israel.

As president, however, there’s nothing that I would rather do to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors generally. And I think it serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy.

Now, I may not be successful in doing it. It’s probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind. OK? But it doesn’t help if I start saying, “I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage.” But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors, because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors.

And I can’t do that as well — as a negotiator, I cannot do that as well if I’m taking big, big sides. With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.

BLITZER: Senator Cruz? [applause]

CRUZ: Well, this is another area on which Donald agrees with Hillary Clinton and on which I disagree with them both strongly. Both Donald and Hillary Clinton want to be neutral, to use Donald’s word, between Israel and the Palestinians.

Let me be clear. If I’m president, America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel. [applause]

And the notion of neutrality is based upon the left buying into this moral relativism that is often pitched in the media. Listen, it is not equivalent. When you have terrorist strapping dynamite around their chest, exploding and murdering innocent women and children, they are not equivalent to the IDF officers protecting Israel. And I will not pretend that they are.

Just today, Iran announced they’re going to pay $7,000 to each suicide bomber. And I would note, missing from Donald’s answer was anything he has done in his nearly 70 years of living defending Israel. I have over and over again led the fight to defend Israel, to fight for Israel. And this — if you want to know who will stand with Israel, we ought to start with who has stood with Israel when the heat was on. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, I can only say — look, I can only say I’ve been a big contributor to Israel over the years. I’ve received many, many awards from Israel, as I’ve said before. I have a great relationship with Israel. And I’m going to keep it that way. And if I could bring peace, that would be a fantastic thing. It would be one of my greatest achievements as president.

BLITZER: Governor Kasich, I want you to weigh in.

KASICH: Well, I mean, well, I was in Congress for 18 years on the Defense Committee. And then, you know, after 9/11, the secretary of defense called me in to help out with some things. And I’ve been a supporter of Israel — a strong supporter of Israel longer than anybody on this stage. I didn’t give as much money as Donald gave, but I’ve been standing with the Israelis for a very long time.

And frankly, I think the problem we have in foreign policy right now, Wolf, is that we are not certain with who we stand with. Our allies are not sure what to make of us, and our enemies are moving. And one — are moving because they’re not sure what we will do.

It’s a very interesting development here within the 24 hours. We said to the South Koreans that we would give them the high altitude defense system. It really rattled the Chinese, and for the first time since we took positive action, the Chinese are beginning to take action against North Korea.

When we stand firm and we let the world know who we’re with, who we stand for, and we bring our allies together, that is the road forward.

[crosstalk] [applause]

BLITZER: We’re going to get to North Korea in a moment. But Senator Rubio, what’s wrong with the U.S. being an honest broker in a negotiation, as Mr. Trump is proposing?

RUBIO: Because — and I don’t know if Donald realizes this. I’m sure it’s not his intent perhaps. But the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israels. Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their four- year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rockets and terrorist attacks again Israel on an ongoing basis. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible.

And so the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not — I’m not going to sit here and say, “Oh, I’m not on either side.” I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I’m a negotiator. I’ve done very well over the years through negotiation. It’s very important that we do that. In all fairness, Marco is not a negotiator. I watched him melt down and I’ll tell you, it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. He’s not going down — excuse me…

RUBIO: He thinks a Palestinian is a real estate deal.

TRUMP: … wait a minute, and these people may even be tougher than Chris Christie. OK?

RUBIO: The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald.

TRUMP: OK, no, no, no — a deal is a deal. Let me tell you that. I learned a long time ago.

RUBIO: A deal is not a deal when you’re dealing with terrorists. Have you ever negotiated with terrorists?

TRUMP: You are not a negotiator. You are not a negotiator. [applause]

And, with your thinking, you will never bring peace. You will never bring peace…

RUBIO: … Donald, might be able to [inaudible] Palestinians and Arabs, but it’s not a real estate deal…

TRUMP: … Excuse me, I want to be able to bring peace…

BLITZER: … Senator.

TRUMP: He will never be able to do it. I think I may be able to do it, although I will say this. Probably the toughest deal of any kind is that particular deal.

BLITZER: Let’s move on to talk about North Korea. You raised it, Governor Kasich. The threat posed by North Korea to the United States and its sallies, the commander of American forces in South Korea said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would use a weapon of mass destruction if he thought his regime was being threatened. You have said the United States should start examining a strategy of regime change in North Korea.

Let’s be clear. Are you talking about getting rid of Kim Jong Un?

KASICH: When you talk about regime change, Wolf, it means regime change. That’s what it means. Even though there’s so much chaos in North Korea right now, there’s a lot of reports of uncertainty, and instability in that government.

But, look, here’s what I think we ought to do — like, immediately. And, we’ve been kicking the can down the road on this for, I don’t know, 15 years. We should be intercepting the ships that are leaving North Korea so they’re not selling this material, or this technology, or giving it to someone else.

Secondly, the same goes with the aircraft.

Thirdly, we need to slap even tougher sanctions on North Korea because we really don’t have the toughest sanctions on North Korea. We ought to talk about arming South Korea with ballistic missile technology. And, of course, also Japan with ballistic missile technology. Because we’re now starting to take a firm position. We have the attention of the Chinese. The Chinese are the best way to calm that regime down and get them in a position of where they back off.

But, when I say regime change, I don’t have to talk exactly what that means. Look, I’ve been involved in national security for a long time. You don’t have to spell everything out, but what I’m telling you is you look for any means you can to be able to solve that problem in North Korea, and in the meantime put the pressure on the Chinese. And, what we’re doing is beginning to work against them.

They are the key to being able to settle this situation.

BLITZER: I just want to be precise, Governor Kasich, this is critically important. There are a million North Korean troops North of the DMZ…

KASICH: … I’m very well aware of that.

BLITZER: A million South Korean troops, 28,000 U.S. troops along the DMZ, right in between. Would you risk war for a regime change?

KASICH: Wolf, again, it would depend exactly what, you know, what was happening. What the situation was. But, if there was an opportunity to remove the leader of North Korea and create stability? Because, I’ll tell you, you keep kicking the can down the road we’re going to face this sooner or later.

But, in the meantime, I’m also aware of the fact that there’s 10 million people living in Seoul. So, you don’t just run around making charges. I have put it on the table that I would leave to see regime change in North Korea.

Now, perhaps the Chinese can actually accomplish that with this man who is now currently the leader, but the fact is we have to bring everything to bear. We have to be firm, and we’ve got to unite those people in that part of the world to stand firmly against North Korea, and make sure we have the ballistic…[bell ringing]…ballistic missile technology to defend ourselves.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: One thing I’d like to add to what the Governor’s saying, I think that we are now in a position — are $19 trillion dollars because of the horrible omnibus budget that was approved six weeks ago, it’s going to be $21 trillion dollars. We can no longer defend all of these countries, Japan, Germany, South Korea.

You order televisions, you order almost anything, you’re getting it from these countries. Whether it’s a Mercedes-Benz, or whether it’s an air conditioning unit. They’re coming out of these countries. They are making a fortune. Saudi Arabia, we are defending Saudi Arabia. Before the oil went down, now they’re making less, but they’re making plenty. They were making $1 billion dollars a day. [bell ringing]

We defend all of these countries for peanuts. You talk about budgets. We have to start getting reimbursed for taking care of the military services for all of these countries. [applause]

KASICH: Hey, Wolf, Wolf…

BLITZER: Dr. Carson.

KASICH: Hey, Wolf, let me just say this because he mentioned this. Look, we’re all in agreement that the Japanese need to do more. We’re all in agreement that the Europeans need to do more, but I hate to just tell everybody we are the leader of the world and we should put the pressure on them to do their job. There is no question about it.

But, at the same time, we also have to rebuild the military. Look, I have a balanced budget plan that cuts taxes, reforms regulations, but also builds the military, puts a $100 billion dollars more in defense. We need to rebuild our defenses,

But, I must also tell you, a long time reformer of the Pentagon, we must reform that building. [bell ringing]

We can’t have a weapon system take 22 and a half years. We have 800,000 bureaucrats working for DOD, performing bureaucratic functions when we ought to be putting…

BLITZER: … Thank you…

KASICH: … these resources into strengthening the military. So, we can do it all…

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, how would you deal with North Korea?

CARSON: OK. Well first of all, people say that I whine a lot because I don’t get time. I’m going to whine because I didn’t get asked about taxes, I didn’t get asked about Israel. Hugh, you said you’re going to be fair to everybody, you didn’t ask me about taxes. I had something to say about that.

Now…

BLITZER: Go ahead. This is your moment. [applause]

CARSON: OK. We have a system of taxation in this country that is horribly wrong. You know, I never had an audit until I spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, and then all of a sudden, they came in, they said we just want to look at your real estate dealings. And then they didn’t find anything, so they said let’s look at the whole year. And they didn’t find anything, so they said let’s look at the next year and the next year. They didn’t find anything and they won’t find anything because I’m a very honest person.

But he fact of the matter is the IRS is not honest and we need to get rid of them. [applause]

And as far as Israel is concerned, you know, when I was there several months ago, I talked to a lot of people. I couldn’t find a single one who didn’t think that we had turned our backs on Israel. You know, they are a strategic partner for us but also recognize that we have a Judeo Christian foundation, and the last thing we need to do is to reject Israel. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be fair to other people. We can always be fair to other people, but, you know, it’s like when you have a child, you know, you want to be fair to all the children around but you have a special attention for your own child.

And now, as far as North Korea is concerned, you know, Kim Jung Un is an unstable person, but he does understand strength. And I think we have to present strength to him. We should be encouraging the alliance with Japan and South Korea. We should be encouraging the placement of the THAAD, the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, that seems to disturb not only the North Koreans but the Chinese as well.

And we also need to have a much more robust naval presence in that area, and I think we need to be developing strategic defense initiative because this man is going to have long-range missiles, he is going to have nuclear capabilities. We need to be able to defend ourselves. And lastly, we should make sure that he knows that if he ever shoots a missile at us, it will be the last thing he ever does. [applause]

BLITZER: Thank you. Thank you. We’re going to continue with national security. Go ahead, Hugh.

HEWITT: Thank you, Wolf. Mr. Trump, we are less than 24 hours away from a ceasefire in Syria that has been brokered between the U.S. and Russia. Do you support this ceasefire?

TRUMP: I really don’t because it not working and the countries aren’t agreeing to it and the rebels aren’t agreeing and Syria is not agreeing. So It’s a meaningless ceasefire.

I love the idea of a ceasefire. I love the idea of — with a total cessation. But it’s not working, as you know very well. It’s not working. If — we can do what we want with Russia but nobody else is adhering to it.

So I certainly support it, I would certainly love it, but all parties have to be part of it.

HEWITT: Senator Cruz, your opinion on the ceasefire.

CRUZ: Well look. We’re certainly hopeful that the violence will cease, but there’s reason to be highly skeptical. Russia has enhanced its position because of Obama’s weakness in the Middle East, weakness in Syria. And you know, as we’re headed to November, we need no nominate a Republican candidate that can lay out a clear difference with both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on foreign policy.

One of the real challenges with both Donald and Senator Rubio is that they have agreed over and over again with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. So for example, in Libya, both of them agreed with the Obama/Clinton policy of toppling the government in Libya. That was a disaster. It gave the country over to radical Islamic terrorism and it endangered America.

Another example is John Kerry. John Kerry — Senator Rubio voted to confirm John Kerry as secretary of State. I voted against him. And Donald Trump supported John Kerry against George W. Bush in 2004, gave him a check. And John Kerry has been the most anti-Israel secretary of State this country has ever seen. His diplomacy has been a disaster. And if we nominate someone who agreed with John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on foreign policy, we’re not in a strong position to win the general election. [applause]

HEWITT: A response, Mr. Trump, then Mr. Rubio.

TRUMP: Again, I think I gave them both checks to be exactly honest. I think they both liked me very much. But the fact is that …

CRUZ: But you called for Bush to be impeached.

TRUMP: Well, I think Bush did a hell of a bad as far as that’s concerned. You know it and so do I.

CRUZ: But you gave him a check and called for him to be impeached.

TRUMP: Be honest. Be honest. No, this was before. The check came early.

But let me just tell you, Syria, he’s saying that I was in favor of Syria. He said I was in favor of Libya? I never discussed that subject. I was in favor of Libya? We would be so much better off if Gadhafi were in charge right now.

If these politicians went to the beach and didn’t do a thing, and we had Saddam Hussein and if we had Gadhafi in charge, instead of having terrorism all over the place, we’d be — at least they killed terrorists, all right?

And I’m not saying they were good because they were bad, they were really bad, but we don’t know what we’re getting. You look at Libya right now, ISIS, as we speak, is taking over their oil. As we speak, it’s a total mess.

We would have been better off if the politicians took a day off instead of going into war. [applause]

HEWITT: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Yes, a couple of points. Number one, on the Libya situation, we didn’t topple Gadhafi, the Libyan people toppled Gadhafi. The only choice before America that this president had to make is, does it happen quickly or does it take a long time?

And I argued if it takes a long time, you’re going to have rebel forces emerge like these radical Islamists to take advantage of the vacuum. And that’s what happened. That’s where the term “lead from behind” came. And that’s the foreign policy that apparently Senator Cruz appears to agree with.

On John Kerry, yes, you know why, because every day John Kerry wasn’t appointed was another day Hillary Clinton was still in charge of the State Department. And she was absolutely horrible.

I couldn’t imagine that they were going to find somebody even worse than her, but this president never ceases to amaze. [laughter amd applause]

And the last point I would make on South Korea, now this is important, because we’re asking to be commander-in-chief. Donald is asking to be commander-in-chief. And he’s saying these guys need to do more.

South Korea contributes $800 million a year to that effort. And Japan contributes as well. And here’s why our commitment to that regional security is so critical, Donald, because if we walk away from them, both Japan and South Korea will become nuclear weapons powers.

They can do that very quickly. And that’s what they will do if the American defense agreements wither away, which is why we have to rebuild the military, but why we can’t walk away from our Asia-Pacific defense status.

HEWITT: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I never said walk away. I wouldn’t want to walk away. I want them to pay us much more money. We cannot afford to subsidize…

RUBIO: How much?

TRUMP: A lot. I’ll negotiate a lot more money than you’ll ever get.

As far as John Kerry is concerned, there has been no tougher critic of this man, I think he negotiated one of the worst deals in the history of our country, the Iran deal, where they get their $150 billion and all of the other things that take place.

It is a disaster for this country, and speaking of Israel, it’s a disaster for Israel. I’m no fan of John Kerry.

[crosstalk]

BLITZER: Hold on, hold on, Governor.

Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: You know, it’s interesting, Donald just said that he never came out in favor of toppling Gadhafi in Libya. Well, he stated that in an interview that will be on our Web site, tedcruz.org.

You can see and hear the exact words from Donald’s mouth. And I assume when he sees that interview, maybe he forgot about it, but I assume Donald will apologize where he sees that he said exactly that.

With regard to John Kerry, I will say John Kerry’s foreign policy has been a disaster for decades. That’s why I voted against him when he came up. And the fact that Donald Trump would write him a check and support him against George W. Bush shows exceptionally poor foreign policy judgment.

And I’ll give one more example on Israel. When the Obama administration canceled civilian air flights into the national of Israel, when Hamas was raining rockets down on them, I publicly asked, is this an economic boycott against Israel?

The next day Michael Bloomberg, another New York billionaire, got on a plane, a commercial flight, and flew to Israel from London. Together the heat and light that was put on the State Department was so great that within 36 hours they lifted the ban on air flights into Israel.

During that entire battle, and indeed during every battle on Israel the natural question is, where was Donald? If this is something he cares about, why has he supported anti-Israel politicians from Jimmy Carter to Hillary Clinton to John Kerry for four decades?

If you care about Israel, you don’t write checks to politicians who are undermining Israel. Instead you stand and support the national security of America and the alliance with Israel.

[crosstalk]

KASICH: There’s a critical point that needs to be made here. [applause]

BLITZER: Governor, Governor, Governor, he attacked Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has a right to respond.

TRUMP: Well, look, my response is very simple. There is nobody on this stage that has done more for Israel than I have. Nobody. You might say, you might talk, you’re politicians, all talk, no action. [applause]

I’ve been watching it all my life. You are all talk and no action.

CRUZ: Then name one specific thing you’ve done.

TRUMP: What I’ve seen up here — I mean, first of all, this guy is a choke artist, and this guy is a liar. You have a combination…

RUBIO: This guy always goes for…

TRUMP: You have a combination of factors. He can’t do it…

RUBIO: This is so typical.

TRUMP: … for the obvious reason, and he can’t do it because he doesn’t know how to tell the truth. Other than that, I rest my case.

[crosstalk]

BLITZER: One at a time, gentlemen.

Governor Kasich, you have the floor. Governor…[crosstalk]

BLITZER: You will have a response. But I promised Governor Kasich he could respond.

CARSON: Can somebody attack me, please? [laughter and applause]

KASICH: There’s something — I want to — I want to point out something here today that is — it’s so critically important — about how the Obama administration has really done such a ridiculous, feckless job here in foreign policy.

First of all, we should have been supporting the rebels long ago. They could have taken Assad out, and because we did nothing, the Russians are in, and they’re sitting in the catbird seat.

We should have been helping them. I’m thankful that the aid trucks are finally getting into Syria. But the fact is, had we had acted, we would have solved that problem.

Now, let’s talk about Libya. Libya didn’t go down because there was some people revolution. Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and all these other people convinced the president to undermine Gadhafi. They undermined him, and now they have created a cesspool in Libya.

And let me just say to you — we have ISIS beginning get — get a foothold in Libya. We’re gonna have to deal with it. There are not many major cities in Libya. They’re on the coast, which — mostly, it’s desert, but it’s a problem.

Then we have ISIS in — in Syria, and we have ISIS in Iraq. Because this administration has not had a strong and firm foreign policy, we are going to inherit — one of us here is going to inherit a total mess…

BLITZER: All right…

KASICH: … and we’re going to have to work our way out of it, including…

BLITZER: Let’s continue.

KASICH: … the need to arm the Ukrainians. They have been ignored, and we need to help them as well…

BLITZER: Let us continue.

KASICH: … and assert ourselves as America.

BLITZER: Let’s continue the questioning on ISIS. Maria.

CRUZ: Hold on, Wolf. You said I got a response.

BLITZER: You’ll have a chance. Maria will pick up…[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Hold on. He called me a liar. You’re saying I can’t respond to being called a liar? [crosstalk]

BLITZER: Go ahead and respond.

CRUZ: You know, what we’re seeing with Donald is actually the pattern of Washington — the pattern of Washington deal makers, which is they make promises, they break their words, and then when anyone calls them on it, they call you a liar.

And so that’s Donald’s pattern over and over again. He said, for example, seven months ago — this is Donald speaking, quote — “I, Donald Trump, was a member of the establishment.”

There’s a reason Harry Reid thinks he’s the best Republican up here. There’s a reason Jimmy Carter said he would support Donald Trump over me, because he said Donald Trump is malleable, he has no fixed set of beliefs…[bell ringing]…whereas Ted Cruz is not malleable. And every time anyone points at Donald’s actual record…

BLITZER: Thank you.

CRUZ: … what he said on national television, Donald yells “liar.” Let me tell you something — falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie…

BLITZER: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

CRUZ: … and it’s something Donald does daily.

BLITZER: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I watched — I watched…[applause]…the lobbyists. I watched what this man did to Dr. Ben Carson, who I respect, in Iowa, where he said that Ben Carson is out of the race — he has left Iowa and he’s out of the race. And I thought it was disgraceful.

And got a lot of votes because of that — a lot of votes. Took them away from Ben Carson. I watched that. Probably took them away from me, too. But I watched it.

I also watched where he did a forum that looked like it came right out of a government agency, and it said on top, “Voter Violation,” and then it graded you…[bell ringing]…and it scared the hell out of people, and it said the only way you clear up the violation, essentially, is to go and vote for Ted Cruz. I watched that fraudulent document, and I said it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in politics. [bell ringing]

To me, that was even worse than what he did to Ben.

BLITZER: Senator Cruz…[crosstalk]

TRUMP: I know politicians — I know politicians, believe it or not, better than you do. And it’s not good.

CRUZ: I believe it. No, no. I believe you know politicians much better than I do, because for 40 years, you’ve been funding liberal Democratic politicians. And by the way…

TRUMP: I funded you. I funded him. Can you believe it? [applause]

CRUZ: … the reason is — you’re welcome to have the check back.

TRUMP: I funded this guy. I gave him a check.

CRUZ: Yeah, you gave me $5,000.

TRUMP: I gave him a check. He never funded me.

CRUZ: And — and by the way, let’s be clear. [applause]

Donald claims — Donald claims to care about…

TRUMP: You know why? I didn’t want to, but he sent me his book with his autograph…[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Donald. Donald. Donald. I understand rules are very hard for you. They’re very confusing.

TRUMP: Mr. Trump, you’re doing a great job. I have his book.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: Thank you — thank you for the book. Go ahead.

CRUZ: Donald, you can get back on your meds now.

TRUMP: This is a lot of fun up here tonight, I have to tell you. [applause]

Thank — thank you for the book. I really appreciate it.

CRUZ: Donald — Donald, relax.

TRUMP: Go ahead. I’m relaxed. You’re the basket case. [crosstalk] Go ahead.

CRUZ: Donald…

TRUMP: Go ahead. Don’t get nervous.

CRUZ: [inaudible]…

TRUMP: Go ahead. [crosstalk]

CRUZ: I promise you, Donald, there’s nothing about you…

TRUMP: I’ve seen you.

CRUZ: … that makes anyone nervous.

TRUMP: You’re losing so badly you — I want to…

CRUZ: You know, people are actually watching this at home.

TRUMP: … I — you don’t know what’s happening. [crosstalk]

BLITZER: Gentlemen, gentlemen.

CRUZ: Wolf, I’m going to ask my time not be deducted when he’s yelling at me.

BLITZER: You’ve gotta stop this. [crosstalk] The latest debate — gentlemen, please.

CRUZ: Hold on, I’m going to get my answer. He doesn’t get to yell the whole time.

BLITZER: I want to move — I want to move on. These are the rules. [crosstalk]

CRUZ: Excuse me, he called me a liar, then interrupted the whole time. Am I allowed to…[crosstalk] [applause]

Wolf, do I not get a response? Do I not get a response without being interrupted?

BLITZER: You’ll get — you’ll get plenty of response, so stand by.

CARSON: My name was mentioned.

BLITZER: I want to talk — I want to talk about ISIS right now, and the federal government — how much best to keep Americans safe from ISIS.

There’s a huge battle underway right now between the tech giant Apple and the federal government. The federal government wants Apple to unlock the phone used by that San Bernardino terrorist to prevent future attacks. Apple has refused, saying it would compromise the security of all of its customers. And just this afternoon, they went to court to block the judge’s order.

Dana Bash, pick up the questioning.

BASH: Senator Rubio, you say it’s complicated, and that, quote, “Apple isn’t necessarily wrong to refuse the court order.” Why shouldn’t investigators have everything at their disposal?

RUBIO: No, in fact what I have said is the only thing — the FBI made this very clear 48 hours ago — the only thing they are asking of Apple is that Apple allow them to use their own systems in the FBI to try to guess the password of the San Bernardino killer. Apple initially came out saying, “We’re being ordered to create a back door to an encryption device.” That is not accurate.

The only thing they’re being asked to do, and the FBI made this very clear about 48 hours ago, is allow us to disable the self- destruct mode that’s in the Apple phone so that we can try to guess using our own systems what the password of this killer was.

And I think they should comply with that. If that’s all they’re asking for, they are not asking for Apple to create a back door to encryption.

BASH: So just to be clear, you did say on CNN a couple of weeks ago this is a complicated issue; Apple is not necessarily wrong here.

RUBIO: Because at the time, Apple was portraying that the court order was to create a back door to an encryption device.

BASH: But just to be clear — just to be clear, if you are president, would you instruct your Justice Department to force Apple to comply or not?

RUBIO: To comply with an order that says that they have to allow the FBI the opportunity to try to guess the password?

BASH: Correct.

RUBIO: Absolutely. That Apple phone didn’t even belong to the killer. It belonged to the killer’s employer who have agreed to allow him to try to do this. That is all they’re asking them to do is to disable the self-destruct mode or the auto-erase mode on one phone in the entire world. But Apple doesn’t want to do it because they think it hurts their brand.

Well, let me tell you, their brand is not superior to the national security of the United States of America. [applause]

BASH: Senator Cruz, Apple CEO Tim Cook says this would be bad for America. Where do you stand: national security or personal privacy?

CRUZ: Well, as you know, at that same CNN forum, both Marco and I were asked this question. His answer, he was on both sides of the fence. He’s now agreeing with me. And so I’m glad.

What I said is yes, Apple should be forced to comply with this court order. Why? Because under the Fourth Amendment, a search and seizure is reasonable if it has judicial authorization and probable cause. In this instance, the order is not put a back door in everyone’s cell phone. If that was the order, that order would be problematic because it would compromise security and safety for everyone.

I would agree with Apple on that broad policy question. But on the question of unlocking this cell phone of a terrorist, we should enforce the court order and find out everyone that terrorist at San Bernardino talked to on the phone, texted with, e-mailed. And absolutely, Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order in a terrorism investigation. [applause]

BASH: Dr. Carson, Tim Cook, again, the CEO of Apple, says that this would be bad for America. What do you think?

CARSON: I think allowing terrorist to get away with things is bad for America. [applause]

You know, we have the — we have a Constitution. We have a Fourth Amendment. It guards us against illegal and unreasonable search and seizure. But we have mechanisms in place with the judicial system that will allow us to gain material that is necessary to benefit the nation as a whole or the community as a whole. And that’s why we have FISA courts and things of that nature.

So absolutely, I would — I would expect Apple to comply with the court order. If they don’t comply with that, you’re encouraging chaos in our system.

BASH: Mr. Trump…[applause]

KASICH: I want to weigh in on this please. I want to just tell you that the problem is not right now between the administration and Apple. You know what the problem is? Where’s the president been? You sit down in a back room and you sit down with the parties and you get this worked out. You don’t litigate this on the front page of the New York Times, where everybody in the world is reading about their dirty laundry out here.

The president of the United States should be convening a meeting, should have convened a meeting with Apple and our security forces. And then you know what you do when you’re the president? You lock the door and you say you’re not coming out until you reach an agreement that both gives the security people what they need and protects the rights of Americans. This is a failure of his leadership to get this done as an executive should be doing it.

And I’ll tell you, that’s why you want a governor. I do this all the time. And we reach agreements all the time. Because as an executive, you’ve got to solve problems instead of fighting on the front page of the newspaper.

ARRARÁS: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

KASICH: Thank you.

ARRARÁS: Mr. Trump, you have been very vocal about securing the Mexican border, but ISIS has called upon its supporters to conduct attacks on our neighbor to the North, Canada.

As a matter of fact, U.S. officials have warned that it is the Canadian border which is the most significant threat. You have said that you will not build a wall in Canada. When it comes to national security, and the threat of terrorism, why does Mexico need a wall, and Canada doesn’t? Isn’t that, like, closing the front door, and leaving the back door open?

TRUMP: First of all, you’re talking about a border that’s many, many times longer. You’re talking about a massive border.

We have far less problem with that border than we do with our Southern border, and tremendous amounts — you know, I won, I had the privilege of winning by a landslide, by the way, New Hampshire.

You go to New Hampshire, the first thing they talk about is heroin and drugs pouring in. And, you wouldn’t think this beautiful place — it’s beautiful. With the trees and the roads, and the countryside. Their biggest problem is heroin, and it’s such a shame to see it.

They’re pouring in from the Southern border, so I’m talking about great security. I’m talking about a wall that can absolutely be built, and I’ll build it on time, on budget. It’ll be a very high wall, a great wall. It’s going to be built, it’s going to be built. It’s going to be paid for by Canada, by the way — maybe I’ll get Canada to pay? Got to be paid for by Mexico.

The problem with Canada, you’re talking about a massively long piece. You’re talking about a border that would be about four times longer. It would be very, very hard to do, and we — it is not our biggest problem. I don’t care what anyone says. It is not our big problem. Our big problem is not only people coming in, and in many cases the wrong people, it’s the tremendous amount of drugs that are coming in. [applause]

ARRARÁS: I want to talk to you, Senator Rubio, about Puerto Rico. As you know, Puerto Rico’s in the midst of financial collapse, unable to pay it’s debt of $72 billion dollars. Puerto Rico is asking for bankruptcy protection which would give Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans, which are U.S. citizens, you know that — the tools to restructure the debt. That is the same debt the other 50 states have.

You oppose granting Puerto Rico that bankruptcy protection. You say that it is only a last resort measure, but the government of Puerto Rico has said that bankruptcy is it’s last resort. That that’s where they are now. How do you explain this very strong stance to the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans that vote across the U.S. , and particularly in your state of Florida?

RUBIO: Sure, because bankruptcy doesn’t work unless you change the way you’re operating, or you’re going to be bankrupt again. And, the problem with Puerto Rico is it’s economy is not growing. It has a massive exodus of professionals and others that are leaving to my home state of Florida, and all over the country.

They’re coming to the mainland from Puerto Rico because the economy there is not growing, it’s too expensive to do business there. The tax rate is too high. The government regulations are too extensive.

This year alone, with all the problems they’re having, they barely cut their budget from one year to the next. So, I think the leadership on the island has to show their willingness to get their house in order and put in place measures allow the economy there to grow again. If the economy of Puerto Rico does not grow they will never generate the revenue to pay this debt, or the billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities that they have on their books of promises they’ve made to future generations to make payments.

So, yes, if they do all of those things then we can explore the use of bankruptcy protection, but not as the first resort, which is what they’re asking for, because it will not solve the problems on the island and you’re going to continue to see hundreds of thousands of people leave that beautiful place, and coming to the mainland.

They’re United States citizens, they’re obviously entitled to do so, and we welcome them, but we would also prefer to see a Puerto Rico that once again is growing economically, and is robust. And, the leaders in charge there now are doing a terrible job.

Their previous governor, Louis Fortuno was doing a great job until he barely lost that election to…[bell ringing]…to someone who has taken a big government stance once again…

BLITZER: … Senator, thank you very much. [applause]

I want our viewers to stay with us right now, including the last pitch in the final debate before Super Tuesday. [applause and cheering]

[commercial break]

BLITZER: Welcome back to the University of Houston. It’s time now for closing statements. All of you will have 30 seconds. Dr. Carson, we’ll start with you.

CARSON: Well first of all, I want people to think about what kind of leader do you want and what kind of person do you want your kids to emulate. Think about that.

Secondly, several years ago, a movie was made about these hands. These hands by the grace of God have saved many lives and healed many families. And I’m asking you tonight, America, to join hands with me to heal, inspire and revive America. If not us, who? And if not now, when? [applause]

BLITZER: Governor Kasich.

KASICH: Well, the last USA Today poll had me beating Hillary Clinton by 11 points, more than anybody on this stage. Secondly, I hope you saw tonight that executive experience really matters. It matters in terms of growing our economy, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, reforming regulations. I’ve done it in Washington, I’ve done it in Ohio, and I can go back to Washington and do it again.

But I hope you also noticed tonight that I do have the foreign policy experience, not just a few years, but a lot of years in working with some of the great, great minds in this country to develop the expertise, the confidence, the firmness, the toughness and the ability to bring people together.

I hope you all think about giving me your vote. I would appreciate it very much. And I tell you, we won’t have to spend time figuring what we’re going to do. I will hit the ground running and we will get America moving again. Thank you all very much. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Well, thank you for having us tonight. You know, this campaign has come a long way. It was just a few months ago there were 15 or 11 us on the stage and now it’s narrowed and the votes are starting to count. And we have an incredible decision to make, not just about the direction of America, but the identity of our party and of the conservative movement.

The time for games is over.

I know you’ve had a lot of choices to make, but now it’s time to narrow it down. And I’m asking you to get behind me, go on our Web site and join you our effort, marcorubio.com, so we can bring an end to this silliness, this looniness, and once again re-embrace all the things that made America and the Republican Party the bearer of the conservative movement in this country. [applause]

BLITZER: Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: Washington deals are bankrupting this country. There are several deal-makers on this stage but there is only one person who has consistently stood up to both parties, fighting for the American people against the Washington deals.

If I’m elected president, on the first day in office I will rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action. I will instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and prosecute any criminal violations.

I will instruct every federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today. I will rip to shreds the Iranian — catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. And I will begin the process of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

We will repeal Obamacare, abolish of IRS, secure the border, and bring back jobs. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you.

Nobody knows politicians better than I do. They’re all talk, they’re no action, nothing gets done. I’ve watched it for years. Take a look at what’s happening to our country.

All of the things that I’ve been talking about, whether it’s trade, whether it’s building up our depleted military, whether it’s taking care of our vets, whether it’s getting rid of Common Core, which is a disaster, or knocking out Obamacare and coming up with something so much better, I will get it done. Politicians will never, ever get it done. And we will make America great again. Thank you. [applause]

BLITZER: Mr. Trump, thank you.

And thanks to each of the candidates, on behalf of everyone here at CNN and Telemundo. We also want to thank the Republican National Committee and the University of Houston. My thanks also to Hugh Hewitt, Maria Celeste, and Dana Bash.

Super Tuesday is only five days away.



Citation: Presidential Candidates Debates: “Republican Candidates Debate in Houston, Texas,” February 25, 2016. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=111634.

Campaign Buzz 2016 February 23, 2016: Nevada Republican Caucus Results Donald Trump wins

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Nevada caucus

REPUBLICAN

Feb 23 30 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Vote %
Trump (won)
14
45.9%
Rubio
7
23.9%
Cruz
6
21.4%
Carson
2
4.8%
Kasich
1
3.6%
Dropped out: Bush, Christie, Fiorina, Huckabee, Paul, Santorum

Source: AP

Campaign Buzz 2016 February 20, 2016: South Carolina Republican Primary Results Donald Trump Wins

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

South Carolina primary

REPUBLICAN

Feb 20 50 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Vote %
Trump (won)
50
32.5%
Rubio
0
22.5%
Cruz
0
22.3%
Bush
0
7.8%
Kasich
0
7.6%
Carson
0
7.2%

Source: AP

Campaign Buzz 2016 February 9, 2016: New Hampshire Republican Primary Results Donald Trump wins

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

New Hampshire primary

REPUBLICAN

Feb 9 23 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Vote %
Trump (won)
11
35.3%
Kasich
4
15.8%
Cruz
3
11.7%
Bush
3
11.0%
Rubio
2
10.6%
Christie
0
7.4%
Fiorina
0
4.1%
Carson
0
2.3%
Gilmore
0
0.0%
Dropped out: Graham, Huckabee, Jindal, Pataki, Paul, Santorum

Source: AP

Campaign Buzz 2016 February 9, 2016: New Hampshire Republican Primary Results Donald Trump Wins

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

New Hampshire primary

REPUBLICAN

Feb 9 23 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Votes
Trump (won)
11
35.3%
100,406
Kasich
4
15.8%
44,909
Cruz
3
11.7%
33,189
Bush
3
11.0%
31,310
Rubio
2
10.6%
30,032
Christie
0
7.4%
21,069
Fiorina
0
4.1%
11,706
Carson
0
2.3%
6,509
Gilmore
0
0.0%
133
Dropped out: Graham, Huckabee, Jindal, Pataki, Paul, Santorum

Source: AP

Campaign Buzz 2016 February 1, 2016: Iowa Republican Caucus Results Ted Cruz wins

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Iowa caucus

REPUBLICAN

Feb 1 30 delegates

100% reporting Delegates Vote %
Cruz (won)
8
27.6%
Trump
7
24.3%
Rubio
7
23.1%
Carson
3
9.3%
Paul
1
4.5%
Bush
1
2.8%
Fiorina
1
1.9%
Kasich
1
1.9%
Huckabee
1
1.8%
Christie
0
1.8%
Santorum
0
1.0%
Gilmore
0
0.0%

Source: AP

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

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
November 10, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project 

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

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

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

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

More than 9 million are talking specifically about the economy.

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

Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]

CAVUTO: Florida Senator Marco Rubio. [applause]

Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [applause]

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Businesswoman Carly Fiorina. [applause]

Ohio Governor John Kasich. [applause]

And Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAVUTO: So do not raise the minimum wage?

TRUMP: I would not do it. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator Rubio. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

KASICH: Excuse me.

BARTIROMO: Governor Bush…

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUSH: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAKER: Thank you, Senator.

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAVUTO: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: So what will you do?

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

KASICH: Maria, can we comment on that?

BAKER: Senator Rubio…

KASICH: Can we comment on that?

BAKER: Yes, one quick comment, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

BAKER: Governor Bush…

KASICH: Jerry, Gerald, it was an attack.

[crosstalk]

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

UNKNOWN: A couple things here. First of all…

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

UNKNOWN: We have grown — we have grown…

TRUMP: No, it’s unfair.

[crosstalk]

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

BAKER: Senator Rubio? Senator…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s going to be different this time?

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

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

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

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

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

[audience reaction]

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

[audience reaction] [applause and cheering]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIORINA: Sorry, I can’t hear you.

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

FIORINA: …Absolutely…

BARTIROMO: …But, what is the alternative…

FIORINA: …You need to give…

BARTIROMO: …and how does that help small business…

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: …Thank you…

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

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

Yours or Mr. Trump’s?

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

CAVUTO: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAVUTO: Thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator.

PAUL: Thank you. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor.

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

TRUMP: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

BAKER: Governor Kasich.

[crosstalk]

BAKER: Very quickly, Senator.

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

BAKER: Please.

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

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

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

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

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

PAUL: How is it conservative?

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

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

RUBIO: Because…

PAUL: How is it conservative?

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

FIORINA: …Yes, the middle ground is this…

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

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

BAKER: …Gentleman, we need to move on…

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

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

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

BAKER: …We need to move…

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

BAKER: …We need too…

FIORINA: …The two go hand in hand…

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

TRUMP: Please, if I could just…

BAKER: …Very quick.

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

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

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

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

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

BAKER: …We really need to move on…

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

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

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

BAKER: …Listen…

KASICH: …Yes, sir…

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

TRUMP: …Yes…

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

TRUMP: …Yeah…

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

TRUMP: …It’s a horrible deal…

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAKER: There was a separate — separate…

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

UNKNOWN: True. It’s true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAKER: Thank you. Thanks, Senator.

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

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

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

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

But, you know that.

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

BUSH: …They’re not doing that…

TRUMP: …They blew up — hold it….

BUSH: [inaudible]

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNKNOWN: …let me follow up that…

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

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

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

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

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

UNKNOWN: [inaudible]

CAVUTO: …Well, then how would you respond?

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

FIORINA: …Ronald Reagan walked away at Reykjavik.

PAUL: …send troops into the Middle East…

FIORINA: …he walked away, he quit talks…

PAUL: …Can I finish…

FIORINA: …when it was time to quit talking…

PAUL: …Can I finish my time?

Could I finish with my time?

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

Terrible. [booing]

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

RUBIO: You know, if I may respond…

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAKER: Thank you, Senator.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neil?

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUSH: You could, if you were serious about…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAKER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

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

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

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

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

BAKER: Thank you.

PAUL: Gerard, can I comment…

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, governor.

CRUZ: So, Governor Kasich…

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

BARTIROMO: Senator Rubio.

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

KASICH: I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t.

CRUZ: But you just said an executive…

KASICH: No. No, I didn’t say that.

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

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

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

But at the end of the day…

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

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

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

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

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

CRUZ: So you — you would bail them out.

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

UNKNOWN: Oh, great.

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

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

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor Kasich.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[commercial break]

BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the fourth Republican presidential debate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRUMP: We are not.

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

Isn’t that, like, a one-time bounty…

TRUMP: …No, no, no…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUSH: Maria? [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

CRUZ: …Our — our…

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

[commercial break]

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

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

BAKER: Thank you, Senator. Governor Kasich?

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

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

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

BARTIROMO: Carly Fiorina?

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

And as bad as that picture is, what’s even worse is that a Clinton presidency will corrode the character of this nation. Why? Because of the Clinton way: Say whatever you have to, lie as long as you can get away with it.

We must beat Hillary Clinton. Carly Fiorina can beat Hillary Clinton. I will beat Hillary Clinton. And under a President Fiorina, we will restore the character of this nation, the security of this nation, the prosperity of this nation, because as citizens, we will take our government back. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Former Governor Jeb Bush?

BUSH: Jane Horton is sitting with my wife here today. Her husband, Chris, was killed in action in Afghanistan. And Jane spends her time now defending and fighting for military families. They’re both heroes.

I don’t think we need an agitator-in-chief or a divider-in-chief. We need a commander-in-chief that will rebuild our military and restore respect to our veterans by revamping and fixing a broken Veterans Administration, That’s my pledge to you. I ask for your support. Thank you. [applause]

BARTIROMO: Senator Ted Cruz?

CRUZ: Fifty-eight years ago, my father fled Cuba. As he stood on the deck of that ferryboat with the wind and salt air blowing, he looked back at the oppression and torture he was escaping. And yet he looked forward to the promise of America. His story is our story. What ties Americans together is we are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom.

America is in crisis now. I believe in America. And if we get back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country, we can turn this country around. I believe that 2016 will be an election like 1980, that we will win by following Reagan’s admonition to paint in bold colors, not pale pastels. We’re building a grassroots army. I ask you to join us at tedcruz.org. And we, the people, can turn this nation around. [applause]

CAVUTO: Senator Marco Rubio?

RUBIO: Ours — the story of America is an extraordinary story. It is the story of a nation that for over two centuries each generation has left the next better off than themselves. But now, because Washington is out of touch, for the fault of both political parties, for the first time in our history, that is in doubt.

And that is what this election must be about, because if the next four years are anything like the last eight years, our children will be the first Americans ever left worse off by their parents. This election is about making a different choice, about applying our principles of limited government and free enterprise to the unique issues of our time. And if we do, we will not just save the American dream. We will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And the 21st century can be a new American century.

So tonight, I ask you for your vote and I ask you to join us at my website, marcorubio.com. [laughter and applause]

BARTIROMO: He’s funny.

CAVUTO: Dr. Ben Carson?

CARSON: In the two hours of this — of this debate, five people have died from drug-related deaths, $100 million has been added to our national debt, 200 babies have been killed by abortionists, and two veterans have taken their lives out of despair. This is a narrative that we can change, not we the Democrats, not we the Republicans, but we the people of America, because there is something special about this nation, and we must embrace it and be proud of it and never give it away for the sake of political correctness. [applause]

CAVUTO: Donald Trump?

TRUMP: Thank you. Over the years, I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs and a great company. It’s a company I’m very proud of. Some of the most iconic assets anywhere in the world. And I will tell you, I don’t have to give you a website because I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m putting up my own money.

I want to do something really special. I want to make our country greater than it’s ever been. I think we have that potential. We cannot lose this election. We cannot let Hillary Clinton, who is the worst secretary of state in the history of our country, win this election.

We will fight. We will win. And we truly will make this even more special. We have to make it better than ever before. And I will tell you, the United States can actually be better than ever before. Thank you.

CAVUTO: Candidates, we want to thank you all. We also appreciate your helping save time by talking over one another at times. That was welcomed. But by all means, it was a very riveting debate. Business issues can be — can be riveting, because it wasn’t about us, it’s about them.

BARTIROMO: Thank you.

CAVUTO: That’ll do it. Thank you for joining us.

 

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

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Republican Candidates Debate in Boulder, Colorado
October 28, 2015

Source: UCSB, The American Presidency Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governor Mike Huckabee. [applause]

Governor Jeb Bush. [applause]

Senator Marco Rubio. [applause]

Mr. Donald Trump. [applause]

Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]

Mrs. Carly Fiorina. [applause]

Senator Ted Cruz. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Governor?

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

KASICH: country moving again.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Huckabee.

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor. Governor Bush.

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Rubio.

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump?

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

QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson?

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina?

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

QUINTANILLA: Fixed it.

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz?

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Governor Christie?

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Paul?

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Thanks to all the candidates.

John?

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

TRUMP: Right.

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

TRUMP: Right.

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

TRUMP: That’s right.

HARWOOD: Let’s be honest. [laughter]

Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?

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

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

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

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

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

Excuse me, John.

… of $50 billion…

HARWOOD: We’re at the 60 seconds.

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

TRUMP: Right. Dynamically.

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

I wanna talk taxes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CARSON: That’s not true.

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

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

QUICK: Dr. Carson, thank you.

KASICH: Listen, I want to just comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who were you talking about?

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Governor — Governor. thank you, Governor.

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

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump, 30 seconds.

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor…

KASICH: … an agreement with the…

[crosstalk]

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor.

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

[crosstalk]

CARSON: Since I was attacked too.

QUICK: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Senator — Senator, thank you.

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

FIORINA: That’s right, three pages.

QUINTANILLA: Is that using really small type?

FIORINA: You know why three?

QUINTANILLA: Is that using really small type?

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina —

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

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: We’re going to —

QUICK: We’re going to move on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Well, do you hate your job?

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

QUINTANILLA: Is that the standard?

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you. John.

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

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

RUBIO: I get to respond, right?

QUICK: Thirty seconds.

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

BUSH: He wasn’t my senator.

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

BUSH: Well, I’ve been —

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Senator.

TRUMP: I think you’re — [applause]

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

HARWOOD: OK.

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

HARWOOD: Got it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you can go get it at jeb2016.com.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

[crosstalk]

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

QUICK: We’ll get to everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina.

FIORINA: …and be held accountable.

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

Carl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And let me be clear.

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Let me tell you how that question…

[crosstalk]

CRUZ: Let me tell you how that question…

[crosstalk]

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

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

HARWOOD: Senator Paul?

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

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: You used your time on something else.

Senator Paul?

CRUZ: You’re not interested in an answer.

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator [inaudible].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: …Governor…

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

QUICK: …Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: …Governor…

HUCKABEE: …No, sir…

QUINTANILLA: …Thank you, Governor…

HUCKABEE: …we need to honor our promises…

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: …Senator Cruz…

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

QUINTANILLA: OK, alright.

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

[crosstalk]

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

HUCKABEE: And, the only way — no…

[crosstalk]

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

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

HUCKABEE: …Chris…

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

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz…

HUCKABEE: …Chris…

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

CRUZ: …Then I’ll buy you a tequila…

QUINTANILLA: OK.

CRUZ: …Or, even some famous Colorado brownies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: 30 seconds, Governor Huckabee.

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

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

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

[commercial break]

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

Folks, we’ll get right back into this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Mr. Trump, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAMER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAMER: Thank you, Governor Christie.

HARWOOD: Jim, thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUSH: You find me…

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, governor.

Carl?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina.

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

QUINTANILLA: OK.

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

QUINTANILLA: Thank you very much. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, senator.

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

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

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

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

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

This is the same old stuff since I left.

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. Thank you.

QUICK: Yes, thank you John.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

QUICK: Mrs. Fiorina —

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[audience boos]

See? They know. [applause]

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

[commercial break]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator.

Becky?

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

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

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

QUICK: So you’re in favor of…

[crosstalk]

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

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

[crosstalk]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: My apologies. I’m sorry.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: … he’s really doing some bad…

[crosstalk]

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

[crosstalk]

QUICK: Yes, you can.

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

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

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

QUICK: Senator Rubio, thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANTELLI: Senator Paul, the same question to you.

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

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

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

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

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

SANTELLI: Thank you, Senator. [applause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANTELLI: Thank you, Doctor.

Becky?

QUICK: Rick, thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK: Governor?

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

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: …is paid — played fairly.

QUICK: Thank you.

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

QUICK: All right, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Let me just close it out this way.

QUICK: How about 15 more seconds?

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

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

QUICK: Governor?

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

QUICK: Governor, I’m sorry…

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

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

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

QUICK: Governor, thank you. Appreciate it.

John?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you.

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

Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don’t you have that backward?

RUBIO: No, that’s — you’re wrong. In fact, the largest after- tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there’s a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them.

Number one, you have people in this country that…

HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation — just to be clear, they said the…

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: …you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it.

HARWOOD: No, I did not.

RUBIO: You did. No, you did. [applause]

[crosstalk]

HARWOOD: Senator, the Tax Foundation said after-tax income for the top 1 percent under your plan would go up 27.9 percent.

RUBIO: Well, you’re talking about — yeah.

HARWOOD: And people in the middle of the income spectrum, about 15 percent.

RUBIO: Yeah, but that — because the math is, if you — 5 percent of a million is a lot more than 5 percent of a thousand. So yeah, someone who makes more money…

HARWOOD: [inaudible]

RUBIO: …numerically, it’s gonna be higher. But the greatest gains, percentage-wise, for people, are gonna be at the lower end of our plan, and here’s why: because in addition to a general personal exemption, we are increasing the per-child tax credit for working families.

We are lowering taxes on small business. You know, a lot of business activity in America is conducted like the guy that does my dry cleaning. He’s an S corporation. He pays on his personal rate, and he is paying higher than the big dry-cleaning chain down the street, because he’s paying at his personal rate.

Under my plan, no business, big or small, will pay more than 25 percent flat rate on their business income. That is a dramatic tax decrease for hard-working people who run their own businesses.

[crosstalk]

RUBIO: …The other thing I’d like to make about our plan, one more point, it is the most pro growth tax plan that I can imagine because it doesn’t tax investments at all. You know why? Because the more you tax something, the less of it you get.

I want to be in — I want America to be the best…

PAUL: …John…

RUBIO: …in the world for people…

HARWOOD: Senator, thank you.

PAUL: John, I’d like to address this? John, could I follow up on this?

QUINTANILLA: …We’ll come back around. I want to get to governor Kasich.

PAUL: What are the rules on who gets to follow up. How do we decide on who gets to follow up? I’ve seen plenty of other people follow up?

QUICK: It’s at the moderator discretion.

QUINTANILLA: Governor Kasich, let’s talk …

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: …about Marijuana, Governor Kasich…

PAUL: I’d like to just mention something about my tax plan, and how it relates to the discussion…

QUINTANILLA: Alright, but 30 seconds, you made a case. Sure, 30 seconds.

PAUL: Alright. Much of the discussion is centered over whether or not the different tax plans help, or affect the middle class. In fact, it’s the chief argument by democrats against many of the different flat tax proposals. Mine is unique in the sense that my tax plan actually gets rid of the payroll tax as well. It shifts it to the business, and it would allow middle class people to get a tax cut.

If you just cut their income tax, there isn’t much income tax to cut. Mine actually cuts the payroll tax, and I think it would spread the tax cut across all socioeconomic levels, and would allow then it to be something that would be broadly supported by the public in an election.

QUINTANILLA: Senator, thank you.

CRUZ: Let me say on that…

QUINTANILLA: Oh, no, no, no…

CRUZ: …Rand is exactly right. His plan is a good plan, and I will note that my 10% plan also eliminates the payroll tax, eliminates the death tax,

QUINTANILLA: …Ok…

CRUZ: …eliminates the business…

[UNKNOWN]: [inaudible]

CRUZ: …income tax…

[UNKNOWN]: What are you doing?

CRUZ: …10% flat rate…

QUINTANILLA: …We’re going to go to…

CRUZ: …is the lowest personal rate any candidate up here has, and what it would also enable us to do is for every citizen to fill out their taxes on a postcard so we can eliminate the IRS. [cheering and pplause]

QUINTANILLA: OK. Thank you, Senator. Governor Kasich, let’s talk about marijuana. We’re broadcasting from Colorado which has seen $150 million in new revenue for the state since legalizing last year. Governor Hickenlooper is not a big fan of legalization, but he’s said the people who used to be smoking it are still smoking it, they’re just now paying taxes.

Given the budget pressures in Ohio, and other states, is this a revenue stream you’d like to have?

KASICH: Well, first of all, we’re running a $2 billion dollar surplus, we’re not having a revenue problem right now. And, sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster. Drugs is one of the greatest scourge in this country, and I spent five years of my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try to reign in the problem of overdoses, and it goes on and on. We could do a whole show on that.

I want to go back for a second thought on this issue of income inequality. My program would move the 104 programs of the federal Department of Education into four block grants, and send them back to the states because income inequality is driven by a lack of skills when kids don’t get what they need to be able to compete and win in this country.

The fact is, in order to get this economy moving again, I call for freezing regulations for a year except for the problem of public safety. I believe that we need to cut these taxes down, we need to be on a roadmap to balancing the budget, and we need to send power, money, and influence, the welfare department, the education department, job training, infrastructure, Medicaid, all of that out of Washington back to the states so we can run these programs from where we live to the top, not a one size fits all mentality that they have in Washington.

And, that will get to the nub of opportunity for our children, and an ability to see wages rise. Again…

[crosstalk]

KASICH: …One more time, in Ohio, our wages are growing faster than the national average. We’ve cut taxes, balanced budgets, changed the regulatory environment. Folks, you want to —

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor.

KASICH: — fix America, this is the formula. It worked for Reagan and it works for our team in Ohio. Thank you.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you. We’ll be back from Boulder, Colorado in just a moment. [applause]

[commercial break]

QUICK: Welcome back to the University of Colorado and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC.

Mr. Trump, I want to go back to an issue that we were talking about before, the H-1B visas. I found where I read that before. It was from the donaldjtrump.com website and it says — it says that again, Mark Zuckerburg’s personal senator, Marco Rubio has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities. Are you in favor of H-1Bs or are you opposed to them?

TRUMP: I’m in favor of people coming into this country legally. And you know what? They can have it anyway you want. You can call it visas, you can call it work permits, you can call it anything you want. I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs, and in all due respect — and actually some of these folks I really like a lot — but I’m the only one that can say that. I have created tens of thousands of jobs, and I’ll be creating many millions of jobs if I’m given — if I’m given the opportunity to be president.

As far as Mark is concerned, as far as the visas are concerned, if we need people, they have — it’s fine. They have to come into this country legally. We have a country of borders. We have a country of laws. We have to obey the laws. It’s fine if they come in, but they have to come in legally.

QUICK: Thank you, sir.

RUBIO: I was mentioned in the question.

QUICK: You were. You get 30 seconds.

RUBIO: Thank you.

Well, I’ve learned the rules on this. [laughter]

Look, in addition to what Donald was saying is we also need to talk about the legal immigration system for permanent residents. Today, we have a legal immigration system for permanent residency that is largely based on whether or not you have a relative living here. And that’s the way my parents came legally in 1956.

But in 2015, we have a very different economy. Our legal immigration system from now on has to be merit-based. It has to be based on what skills you have, what you can contribute economically, and most important of all, on whether or not you’re coming here to become an American, not just live in America, but be an American.

QUICK: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.

Carl?

QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump, you’ve said you have a special permit to carry a gun in New York.

TRUMP: Yes.

QUINTANILLA: After the Oregon mass shooting on October 1st, you said, “By the way, it was a gun-free zone. If you had a couple of teachers with guns, you would have been a hell of a lot better off.”

TRUMP: Or somebody else. Right.

QUINTANILLA: Would you feel more comfortable if your employees brought guns to work?

TRUMP: Yes, I might feel more comfortable. I would say that I would and I have a permit, which is very unusual in New York — a permit to carry. And I do carry on occasion, sometimes a lot. But I like to be unpredictable so that people don’t know exactly… [laughter]

QUINTANILLA: Are you carrying one now? [laughter]

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: By the way, unlike our country where we’re totally predictable and the enemy, whether it’s ISIS or anybody else, they know exactly what we’re doing because we have the wrong leadership. [applause]

But I feel that the gun-free zones and, you know, when you say that, that’s target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill. That’s target. They look around for gun-free zones. You know, we could give you another example — the Marines, the Army, these wonderful six soldiers that were killed. Two of them were among the most highly decorated — they weren’t allowed on a military base to have guns. And somebody walked in and shot them, killed them. If they had guns, he wouldn’t be around very long. I can tell you, there wouldn’t have been much damage.

So, I think gun-free zones are a catastrophe. They’re a feeding frenzy for sick people.

QUINTANILLA: We called a few Trump resorts, a few Trump properties that — that do not allow guns with or without a permit. Would you change those policies?

TRUMP: I would change them. I would change them.

QUINTANILLA: OK. All right. Thank you.

John?

HARWOOD: Governor Huckabee, you’ve written about the huge divide in values between middle America and the big coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles. As a preacher as well as a politician, you know that presidents need the moral authority to bring the entire country together.

The leading Republican candidate, when you look at the average of national polls right now, is Donald Trump. When you look at him, do you see someone with the moral authority to unite the country?

HUCKABEE: You know, of the few questions I’ve got, the last one I need is to give him some more time. I love Donald Trump. He is a good man. I’m wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one, OK? [applause]

[crosstalk]

[UNKNOWN:]: Is it made in Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I don’t know.

[UNKNOWN:]: Where’s it made? Is it made in China?

[UNKNOWN:]: Is it made in China or Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I have no idea.

[crosstalk]

TRUMP: Such a nasty — such a nasty question, but thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: You’re welcome. [laughter]

Let me tell you, Donald Trump would be a president every day of the week and twice on Sunday, rather than Hillary. I’ve spent a lifetime in politics fighting the Clinton machine. [applause]

You want to talk about what we’re going to be up against next year? I’m the only guy on this stage — you know, everybody has an “only guy” — “I’m the only guy this; I’m the only guy that.” Well, let me tell you one thing that I am the only guy: The only guy that has consistently fought the Clinton machine every election I was ever in over the past 26 years. And not only did I fight them, but I beat them.

Somebody says “I’m a fighter.” Well, I want to know, did you win? Well, I did. And not only did I fight them and win, I lived to tell about it and I’m standing on this stage tonight as evidence of that. And I think that ought to be worth something.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

CHRISTIE: John, I’ll tell you something. You want to talk about moral authority. Let’s talk about something that happened this week in the news. You know, the FBI director, the president’s appointed FBI director has said this week that because of a lack of support from politicians like the president of the United States, that police officers are afraid to get out of their cars; that they’re afraid to enforce the law. And he says, the president’s appointee, that crime is going up because of this.

And when the president of the United States gets out to speak about it, does he support police officers? Does he stand up for law enforcement? No, he doesn’t. I’ll tell you this, the number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people. This president has failed, and when I’m in the Oval Office, police officers will know that they will have the support of the president of the Untied States. That’s real moral authority that we need in the Oval Office.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

Don’t forget my colleague, Sharon Epperson.

EPPERSON: Thank you, John.

Mrs. Fiorina, you were the CEO of a large corporation that offers a 401(k) to its employees. But more than half of American have no access to an employer sponsored retirement plan.

That includes the workers at small businesses, and the growing ranks of Uber drivers and other part-timers in the freelance economy.

Should the Federal Government play a larger role in helping to set up retirement plans for these workers?

FIORINA: No, the Federal Government should not play a larger role.

Look, every time the Federal Government gets engaged in something it gets worse. And then the Government steps in to try and solve the problem and we get a little further down to that progressive vision that Hillary Clinton is talking about.

Companies should, if they want to attract the best workers, provide a good set of benefits. But honestly, if you’re a small business owner today you are being crushed. We have 400,000 small businesses forming every year in this country. How great is that? They are employing themselves, they are potentially employing others.

The bad news is, we have 470,000 going out of business every year. And why? They cite Obamacare.

They are refusing to…

EPPERSON: So you wouldn’t agree — you wouldn’t agree with a start for 401(k) for businesses or anything like that?

FIORINA: I think it’s a wonderful that that businesses start a 401(k). The point I’m making is this, the Federal Government should not be in a lot of things.

There is no Constitutional role for the Federal Government in setting up — retirement plans. There is no Constitutional role for the Federal Government to be setting minimum wages…

EPPERSON: Thank you very much.

FIORINA: … The more the Government gets engaged in the economy, the slower the economy becomes. The more the Government gets engaged in the economy, it is demonstrably true…

EPPERSON: Thank you, the rules say one minute.

FIORINA: … The more the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected are advantaged.

EPPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina. We appreciate it. Thank you, thank you.

I want to turn my attention now, to you now, Governor Kasich.

Most people can’t get a college degree without going into debt. Over 40 million Americans have student loans and many of them cannot pay them back.

This country has over $100 billion in student loan defaults. That’s billion with a b.

What will you do to make sure that students, their families, taxpayers, won’t feel the economic impact of this burden for generations?

Well, first of all, in Ohio we’re changing the whole system. Universities will not get paid one dime unless the student graduates or — graduates or completes a course.

Secondly, you can be in high school and complete almost an entire first year before you go to college and get credit to do that. And, of course, in addition to that, we are working now to go after the cost drivers in our universities. And let me give you an example. Universities today have so many non-academic assets. At Ohio State they sold the parking garage and the parking lot, and they got $500 million because they shouldn’t be in the parking lot business. They shouldn’t be in the ding business, they shouldn’t be in the dorm business.

And, of course, we need to take advantage of on-line education to reduce these costs and begin to dis-intermediate the cost of four years.

Now, for those who that have these big high costs, I think we can seriously look at an idea of where you can do public service. I mean legitimate, public service and begin to pay off some of that debt through the public service that you do. And in the meantime, it may inspire us to care more about our country, more about ourselves.

This is a big moral issue in America. Living a life bigger than yourself, and being a center of healing and justice. And people can learn it through public service.

EPPERSON: Thank you, thank you.

BUSH: We don’t need the federal government to be involved in this at all.

QUICK: Higher education is the example…

BUSH: We don’t need the Federal Government to be involved in this, because when they do we create a $1.2 trillion debt.

In Florida, we have the lowest in-state tuition of any state, because there’s accountability, just as John said. Let the states do this. You’ll create a much better graduation rate at a lower cost, and you won’t in debt the next generation with recourse debt on their backs.

It’s always a solution of the left to create more Government from the Federal Government. It is broke, it is not working.

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: Governor Bush, daily fantasy sports has become a phenomenon in this country, will award billions of dollars in prize money this year. But to play you have to assess your odds, put money at risk, wait for an outcome that’s out of your control. Isn’t that the definition of gambling, and should the Federal Government treat it as such?

BUSH: Well, first of all, I’m 7 and 0 in my fantasy league.

QUINTANILLA: I had a feeling you were going to brag about that.

BUSH: Gronkowski is still going strong. I have Ryan Tannehill, Marco, as my quarterback, he was 18 for 19 last week. So I’m doing great. But we’re not gambling.

And I think this has become something that needs to be looked at in terms of regulation. Effectively it is day trading without any regulation at all. And when you have insider information, which apparently has been the case, where people use that information and use big data to try to take advantage of it, there has to be some regulation.

If they can’t regulate themselves, then the NFL needs to look at just, you know, moving away from them a little bit. And there should be some regulation. I have no clue whether the federal government is the proper place, my instinct is to say, hell no, just about everything about the federal government.

[crosstalk]

CHRISTIE: Carl, are we really talking about getting government involved in fantasy football? [laughter]

We have — wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work. We have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us. And we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop? [applause]

How about this? How about we get the government to do what they’re supposed to be doing, secure our borders, protect our people, and support American values and American families. Enough on fantasy football. Let people play, who cares?

[crosstalk]

QUICK: I want to go back, if I can, to the issue of…

[crosstalk]

QUICK: I want to go back, if I may, to the…

HARWOOD: Governor Christie, you’ve said something that many in your party do not believe, which is that climate change is undeniable, that human activity contributes to it, and you said, quote: “The question is, what do we do to deal with it?”.

So what do we do?

CHRISTIE: Well, first off, what we don’t do is do what Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Barack Obama want us to do, which is their solution for everything, put more taxes on it, give more money to Washington, D.C., and then they will fix it.

Well, there is no evidence that they can fix anything in Washington, D.C.

HARWOOD: What should we do?

CHRISTIE: What we should do is to be investing in all types of energy, John, all types of energy. I’ve laid out…

HARWOOD: You mean government?

CHRISTIE: No, John. John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer? [laughter]

How are we going to do this? [applause]

Because, I’ve got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude. So… [laughter]

We’ve laid out a national energy plan that says that we should invest in all types of energy. I will tell you, you could win a bet at a bar tonight, since we’re talking about fantasy football, if you ask who the top three states in America are that produce solar energy: California and Arizona are easy, but number three is New Jersey.

Why? Because we work with the private sector to make solar energy affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state.

We need to make sure that we do everything across all kinds of energy: natural gas, oil, absolutely. But also where it’s affordable, solar, wind in Iowa has become very affordable and it makes sense.

That is the way we deal with global warming, climate change, or any of those problems, not through government intervention, not through government taxes, and for God’s sake, don’t send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they’re already sending there.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

Becky.

QUICK: Senator Paul, among the leading conservative opponents to the creation of Medicare back in the 1960s was Ronald Reagan. He warned that it would lead to socialism. Considering the mounting cost of Medicare, was he right to oppose it?

PAUL: The question always is, what works better, the private marketplace or government? And what distributes goods better? It always seems to be the private marketplace does a better job.

Is there an area for a safety net? Can you have Medicare or Social Security? Yes. But you ought to acknowledge the government doesn’t do a very good job at it.

The main problem with Medicare right now is that the average person pays in taxes over their whole lifetime about $100,000. But the average person takes out about $350,000. We have this enormous mismatch because we have smaller and smaller families.

When people ask me, whose fault is it? Whose fault is it that Medicare is broken, out of money, that Social Security is broken, out of money? And I say, look, it’s not Republicans’ fault, it’s not Democrats’ fault, it’s your grandparents’ fault for having too many damn kids. [laughter]

After the war we had all of these kids, Baby Boomers. Now we’re having smaller families. We used to have 16 workers for one retiree, now you have three workers for one retiree.

It’s not working. I have a bill to fix Medicare. I’ve a bill to fix Social Security. For both of them you have to gradually raise the age. If you’re not willing to do that, nobody wants to do it, but if you’re not willing to gradually raise the age, you’re not serious about fixing either one of them.

QUICK: Senator, thank you.

[UNIDENTIFIED]: Becky, may I…

QUINTANILLA: This is the— well, we’re going to take a break. We want to save time for closing statements after the break.

So this is the Republican presidential debate in Boulder, and we’ll be right back.

[commercial break] [applause]

QUICK: Welcome back to Boulder, Colorado and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC.

Governor Huckabee, you wanted to respond to the points that Senator Rand Paul was just making when it comes to Social Security. Your time, sir.

HUCKABEE: Well, and specifically to Medicare, Becky, because 85 percent of the cost of Medicare is chronic disease. The fact is if we don’t address what’s costing so much, we can’t throw enough money at this. And it’s why I’ve continued to focus on the fact that we need to declare war on the four big cost drivers because 80 percent of all medical costs in this country are chronic disease. We don’t have a health care crisis in America, we have a health crisis.

And until we deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio — when I was a little kid, we eradicated it. You know how much money we spent on polio last year in America? We didn’t spend any. We’ve saved billions of dollars.

You want to fix Medicare? Focus on the diseases that are costing us the trillions of dollars. Alzheimers, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Eradicate those and you fix Medicare and you’ve fixed America, its economy and you’ve made people’s lives a heck of a lot better.

BUSH: Becky —

QUICK: Thank you, Governor. [applause]

BUSH: — the governor’s absolutely right. But we also need to reform Medicare and Social Security. We can’t just allow it to continue on its current path the way that Hillary Clinton wants to do because there’ll be major reductions in benefits in the next decade if we do nothing.

I have a concrete plan to do just that, which allows people to keep HSAs to encourage savings, it allows for people that are retiring with Social Security to be able to get a minimum of 125 percent of the poverty level so that there is a baseline that in this generous country of ours no one goes below.

HARWOOD: Governor Bush, Mr. Trump says that he is capable of growing the economy so much that Social Security and Medicare don’t have to be touched. Do you want to explain how that is going to happen, Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Yes, it’s very simple. We’re going to make a really dynamic economy from what we have right now, which is not at all dynamic. We’re going to bring jobs back from Japan, we’re going to bring jobs back from China, we’re going to bring, frankly, jobs back from Mexico where, as you probably saw, Nabisco is leaving Chicago with one of their biggest plants, and they’re moving it to Mexico.

We’re going to bring jobs and manufacturing back. We’re going to cut costs. We’re going to save Social Security, and we’re going to save Medicare.

[UNKNOWN:]: Governor, you just heard him.

BUSH: You have to reform Social Security, and the simple way to do it is to make sure that the wealthiest don’t receive the same benefits as people that are lower-income.

And make sure you enhance savings in the private market. The idea of 401(k)s. I have a small business that I set up. It took — it took an arm and a leg to be able to set up a 401(k). Because of all the federal mandates and federal laws, it was too expensive.

We need to incent private savings and make sure that Social Security is protected for those that have it.

KASICH: John.

BUSH: But the idea that you can’t — that you’re just gonna grow your way out of this — I have a plan to grow the economy at 4 percent, but you’re gonna have to make adjustments for both Medicare and Social Security.

[UNKNOWN:]: Governor Kasich, do you want 30 seconds?

KASICH: I wanna tell you, in my state, we took Medicaid, the hardest program to control, and we took it from a 10 percent growth rate to 2.5 percent without taking one person off the rolls or cutting one single benefit.

And so much of what we did — to force competition, to use technology, to stand down the special interest groups — can you imagine taking Medicaid from 10 to 2.5 percent?

We can take many of those same procedures, we can apply it to Medicare. We can make a stronger program. But I agree with Jeb, you can’t just do this by growing the economy. You can’t grow your way out of demographics.

But we can give people better health care. And finally, on health care, why don’t we start treating — keep giving…

QUICK: Governor.

KASICH: …incentives for people to keep people healthy, rather than giving the incentives to treat them when they’re sick?

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

Senator Paul, let’s go back to you. Do these solutions sound like they work?

PAUL: Say again?

QUICK: Do these solutions sound like they would work?

PAUL: You can’t do nothing. And that’s what I hear from some people, “we’ll do nothing and it will just be fixed.” That’s absurd, and I think people who don’t want to fix it, really, or unwilling to take the chance to say, “something has to change,” are missing the boat here.

The age will have to gradually rise, there is no question. It’s the only way you fix Medicare, the only way you fix Social Security. You will also have to means-test the benefits and declare there’s not enough money.

It isn’t “I put money in, I’m getting it back.” There is no money, it’s a stack of paper. There is no money in the Social Security account. There is no money in the Medicare account. There’s only a promise to pay by the next generation, and the next generation’s not big enough to pay it.

[crosstalk]

[UNKNOWN:]: …to deal with this. We did it 200 days ago.

HARWOOD: Hold on, Governor. I’ve got a question for — for Dr. Carson.

CARSON: About Medicare?

HARWOOD: Yes. You’ve said that you would like to replace Medicare with a system of individual family savings accounts, so that families could cover their own expenses.

Obviously, that would be a very controversial idea. Explain how that would work, exactly.

CARSON: Well, first of all the — the plan gives people the option of — of opting out. But I think they will see a very good option here. You know, the annual Medicare budget is over $600 billion. And there are 48 million people involved — 40 million, 65 and over, and 8 million other.

Divide that out. That comes out to $12,500 for each one. Now, I can tell you there are a lot of private-sector things that you could do with $12,500, which will get you a lot more than you get from this government program.

And that’s really a theme of a lot of the things that I’m talking about. How do we utilize our intellect rather than allowing the government to use its, quote, “intellect,” in order to help us to be able to live healthier and better lives?

It was never intended that the government should be in every aspect of our lives. This is a country that is of, for and by the people.

QUICK: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

Governor?

CHRISTIE: And — and — and I — you know, Ben is absolutely right in saying that what we don’t need to do is to send more money to Washington, D.C. to fix this problem.

And that’s what you’ll hear from Hillary Clinton — and I’ve already heard from her — is that, send more money in Social Security, send more money in Medicare taxes, send more money for Medicaid, and that’s gonna solve the problem.

What we know is we’re living longer. That’s a blessing. It’s a blessing that we’re living longer, so we have to increase the retirement age to reflect that blessing.

We need to make sure that people understand, as Jeb said before, that if you’ve done extraordinarily well in this country, do you want them to take more out of your taxes now and think they’re gonna give it back to you later? Or would you rather take less later on?

QUINTANILLA: Senator Rubio…

HARWOOD: Governor, do you also think that…

QUINTANILLA: …yeah, I just wanted [inaudible].

HARWOOD: …that Dr. Carson’s right, that we can replace Medicare with individual savings accounts?

RUBIO: No. No. What I said was that I think that Dr. Carson’s ideas are good ideas. They’re not my ideas, and I don’t necessarily agree with all of them.

But this is what you’re seeing in the Republican debate that you didn’t see in that Democrat debate.

You didn’t see it for a minute. You didn’t see these kind of ideas being batted around, and being batted around in a way that’s civil and smart and that’s trying to help to inform the voter out there.

What you saw was a parade of, “I’ll give you this for free; I’ll give you that for free.”

Let me tell you, everybody, when they say they want to give it to you for free, keep your hands on your wallets because they’re coming to you to pay for it. And that’s why I think these ideas up here are great, and that’s what we should have is have more discussions like this and less gotcha.

[crosstalk]

QUINTANILLA: I want to give you 30 seconds here.

RUBIO: I want to take off from that point and argue the same thing. And that is that one of the things you’re watching tonight are 11 quality candidates debating an important issue. The Republican Party is blessed to have 11 good candidates, [inaudible] 10 good candidates. The Democrats can’t even come up with one.

And on this issue of the Medicare in particular, it’s important because they’re going to demagogue what we’re saying here tonight. Everyone up here tonight that’s talking about reforms, I think and I know for myself I speak to this, we’re all talking about reforms for future generations. Nothing has to change for current beneficiaries. My mother is on Medicare and Social Security. I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother. [laughter]

So, we’re talking about — we’re talking about reform for people like me and people like Senator Cruz, as he talked about earlier, who are years away from retirement that have a way to plan for these changes, and way that’s very reasonable. And it’s not too much to ask of our generation after everything our parents and our grandparents did for us.

FIORINA: John, I — if I — a lot of people have jumped in here. I’d like to jump in. A lot of people have jumped in here.

HARWOOD: Mrs. Fiorina, we’re right at the end of our time.

FIORINA: I understand.

HARWOOD: You all wanted us to limit [inaudible].

All right. Go ahead.

FIORINA: I would just say that… [laughter] … I would just say this, we’ve heard a lot of great ideas up here, and I agree with what Senator Rubio said. Every election we talk about this. Every election we talk about Medicare and Social Security reform. It never happens.

I would like to start with a basic. Let us actually go to zero- based budgeting so we know where the money is being spent. It’s kind of basic. There is a bill sitting in the House that would actually pass and have us go to zero-based budgeting so we know where every dime of your money is being spent instead of only talking about how much more we’re going to spend year after year after year.

My point is this. While there are lots of good ideas for reform, we have never tackled the basics. And we finally need to tackle the basics to cut this government down to size and hold it accountable. So let’s start by knowing where your money is being spent by the federal government.

HARWOOD: We have now reached the point in the program where candidates are going to give their closing statements, 30 seconds apiece. We’re going to go right to left and start with you, Senator Paul.

PAUL: Liberty thrives when government is small. I want a government so small I can barely see it. I want a government so small that the individual has a chance to thrive and prosper. I think, though, government is too big now. And what you’re going to see in Washington this week is establishment Republicans have made an agreement with the president to raise the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion; no limit to the debt ceiling raise.

This is extraordinary. It’s extraordinarily wrong. You’ll see me on the floor of the Senate tomorrow filibustering this and saying enough is enough, no more debt.

HARWOOD: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: I want to talk to the folks at home. I want to ask you: Are you fed up with how Washington taxes you? Are you fed up with how Washington wastes your money? Are you concerned like I am that the debt and deficits of Washington, D.C. are endangering America’s future?

I’ve got one more question for you then. Are you serious about this election? Because if you are, you need to elect someone who’s deadly serious about changing this culture. I am deadly serious about changing this culture. I changed it in New Jersey. I’m deadly serious about doing this job the right way.

I’m prepared. I’m tested. I’m ready. And I want to make this our government. For the people who say we can’t do it, I say hell no, we can do it together.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know, everyone here talks about the need to take on Washington. The natural next question is who actually has done so. Who actually has stood up not just to Democrats, but to leaders in our own party? When millions of Americans rose up against Obamacare, I was proud to lead that fight. When millions of Americans rose up against amnesty, I was proud to lead that fight. When millions of Americans rose up against Planned Parenthood, I was proud to lead that fight.

If people are promising they’re going to take on Washington and cronyism, you need to look to who has been doing it. In my family, my dad fled oppression in Cuba to come to America. Freedom is personal for me, and I will always keep my word and fight for freedom.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator.

Mrs. Fiorina?

FIORINA: You know, every election we hear a lot of talk. We hear a lot of good plans. We hear actually a lot of good intentions. But somehow for decades, nothing really has changed. What we need now is a proven leader who has produced results. That’s how you go from secretary to CEO. You lead and you produce results. I will cut this government down to size and hold it accountable, simplify the tax code, roll back the regulations that have been spewing out of Washington, D.C. for 50 years.

I may not be your dream candidate just yet, but I can assure you I am Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare. And in your heart of hearts, you cannot wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. I will tell you this, I will beat Hillary Clinton. And with your vote and your support and your prayers, I will lead with the citizens of this great nation the resurgence of this great nation.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina.

Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I just want to thank all my colleagues here for being civil, and not falling for the traps. And, I also just want to thank the audience for being attentive, and noticing the questions, and the noticing the answers. And, this is what I am finding throughout America.

People are waking up because it is going to be us who will determine the direction of our country. And, it was made for we the people, we are the ones who decide who we are, and we should never give away the values and principles that made America into a great nation for the sake of political correctness. [applause]

HARWOOD: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Our country doesn’t win anymore. We used to win, we don’t win anymore. We lose on trade. We lose with ISIS. We lose with one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen negotiated of any kind, that’s our recent catastrophe with Iran. We don’t win.

Let me give you one quick example. These folks, CNBC, they had it down at three, three and a half hours. I just read today in the New York Times, $250,000 for a 30 second ad. I went out and said, it’s ridiculous. Nobody — I could stand up here all night. Nobody wants to watch three and a half, or three hours. It was a back sacrifice, and I have to hand it to Ben.

We called Ben, he was with me 100%. We called in, we said, that’s it. We’re not doing it. They lost a lot of money, everybody said it couldn’t be done. Everybody said it was going to be three hours, three and a half, including them, and in about two minutes I renegotiated it so we can get the hell out of here. Not bad. [applause]

TRUMP: And, I’ll do that with the country. We will make America great again. And, thank you everybody. Just for the record.

HARWOOD: Just for the record, the debate was always going to be two hours. Senator Rubio?

TRUMP: That’s not right. That is absolutely not right. You know that. That is not right.

[UNIDENTIFIED:] Thank you.

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: You know, America doesn’t owe me anything. I have a debt to America I’ll never repay. This isn’t just the country I was born in, this is the nation that literally changed the history of my family. My parents in this country were able to give me the chance to do all the things they never did. We call that the American Dream, although, it’s built on the universal dream of a better life.

The fact that it’s happened for so many people here throughout our history, that’s what makes us special. But, now for millions of Americans, it’s slipping away. And, we have a government and leaders in government that are completely out of touch, and that’s why I’m running for president. Because we can’t just save the American Dream, we can expand it to reach more people, and change more lives than ever before.

And, that’s why tonight I’m asking you for your vote.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator. Governor Bush?

BUSH: America’s at a crossroads. The D.C. politicians continue to make things worse. I have a proven record of success, 32 years in business, and 8 years as Governor of the state of Florida.

I will change the culture in Washington, just as I changed the culture in Tallahassee. I will do so in a way that will bring people together. We need a unifier, not a cynical divider in chief, and that’s exactly what I will do.

Imagine a country where people are lifted out of poverty again. Imagine a country where the middle class can get rising income again. I know we can do this because we’re still the most extraordinary country on the face of the Earth.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor. Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: You know, I know to a lot of people in the media, this is just a great big game, and we’re the players. And, we come out here, and we do our thing. And, sometimes we’re held up in contempt by people who write columns, but, I guarantee you to every person on this stage there’s something deep inside of us that would cause us to give up our livelihoods and step out on this stage and fight for the people of America.

I’ve got five grandkids. I do not want to walk my five grandkids through the charred remains of a once great country called America, and say, “Here you go, $20 trillion dollars of debt. Good luck making something out of this mess.”

And, for those of us who are serious enough to run for president, think long and hard why we’re here, and hopefully you’ll know we’re not here for ourselves. We honest to god are here to get this country back on track. I know this, I certainly am.

HARWOOD: Thank you…

HUCKABEE: …Thank you.

HARWOOD: Governor Kasich?

KASICH: I was on morning Joe at a town hall and a young student stood up and said, “Can I still be idealistic?”

I said, absolutely, you can still change the world. And, you know the old inscription, if you save one life, you’ve changed the world. Folks, we have a problem here with the leadership in Washington, but I’ll tell you another problem. We need to rebuild our families. We need to have stronger families. We need to know who our neighbors are. We need to come together as a country because we have to realize that America is great, not from the top-down. Oh yeah, we want to elect a good president, but America is great from the bottom-up, and the bottom-up is us in our families, in our communities, in our neighborhoods. We will renew America if we work together, and I am totally confident that we will. And God bless America. [applause]

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

QUINTANILLA: That concludes tonight’s debate. On behalf of my colleagues Becky Quick, John Harwood, Sharon Epperson, Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer, we’d like to our host, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Republican National Committee, the candidates and, of course, tonight’s audience.

 

 

Full Text Campaign 2016 April 13, 2015: Sen. Marco Rubio’s Speech Launching Presidential Campaign at Miami’s Freedom Tower — Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Transcript: Read Full Text of Sen. Marco Rubio’s Campaign Launch

Source: Time, 4-13-15

Thank you.

After months of deliberation and prayer about the future of our country, I have come here tonight to make an announcement on how I believe I can best serve her.

I chose to make this announcement at the Freedom Tower because it is a symbol of our nation’s identity as the land of opportunity. And I am more confident than ever that despite our troubles, we have it within our power to make our time another American Century.

In this very room five decades ago, tens of thousands of Cuban exiles began their new lives in America. Their story is part of the larger story of the American miracle. How, united by a common faith in their God given right to go as far as their talent and work would take them, a collection of immigrants and exiles, former slaves and refugees, became one people, and together built the freest and most prosperous nation ever.

For almost all of human history, power and wealth belonged only to a select few. Most people who have ever lived were trapped by the circumstances of their birth, destined to live the life their parents had. But America is different. Here, we are the children and grandchildren of people who refused to accept this.

Both of my parents were born to poor families in Cuba. After his mother died when he was nine, my father left school to go work. My mother was one of seven girls raised by a disabled father who struggled to provide for his family.

When they were young, my parents had big dreams for themselves. But because they were not born into wealth or power, their future was destined to be defined by their past. So in 1956 they came here, to the one place on earth where the aspirations of people like them could be more than just dreams.

My father became a bartender. My mother a cashier, a maid and a Kmart stock clerk. They never made it big. But they were successful. Two immigrants with little money or education found stable jobs, owned a home, retired with security and gave all four of their children a life far better than their own.

My parents achieved what came to be known as the American Dream. But now, too many Americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible:

Hard working families living paycheck to paycheck, one unexpected expense away from disaster…

Young Americans, unable to start a career, a business or a family, because they owe thousands in student loans for degrees that did not lead to jobs…

And small business owners, left to struggle under the weight of more taxes, more regulations and more government.

Why is this happening in a country that for over two centuries has been defined by equality of opportunity?

Because while our people and economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the twentieth century.

They are busy looking backward, so they do not see how jobs and prosperity today depend on our ability to compete in a global economy. So our leaders put us at a disadvantage by taxing, borrowing and regulating like it’s 1999.

They look for solutions in yesterday, so they don’t see that good-paying modern jobs require different skills and more education than the past. They blindly support an outdated higher education system that is too expensive and inaccessible to those who need it most.

And they have forgotten that when America fails to lead, global chaos inevitably follows, so they appease our enemies, betray our allies and weaken our military.

At the turn of the 19th century, a generation of Americans harnessed the power of the Industrial Age and transformed this country into the leading economy in the world. And the 20th century became the American Century.

Now, the time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American Century.

If we reform our tax code, reduce regulations, control spending, modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace ObamaCare, the American people will create millions of better-paying modern jobs.

If we create a 21st century system of higher education that provides working Americans the chance to acquire the skills they need, that no longer graduates students with mountains of debt and degrees that do not lead to jobs, and that graduates more students from high school ready to work, then our people will be prepared to seize their opportunities in the new economy.

If we remember that family – not government – is the most important institution in society, that all life deserves protection, and that all parents deserve to choose the education that’s right for their children, then we will have a strong people and a strong nation.

And if America accepts the mantle of global leadership, by abandoning this administration’s dangerous concessions to Iran, and its hostility to Israel; by reversing the hollowing out of our military; by giving our men and women in uniform the resources, care and gratitude they deserve; by no longer being passive in the face of Chinese and Russian aggression; and by ending the near total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world; then our nation will be safer, the world more stable, and our people more prosperous.

This election is not just about what laws we will pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.

Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for President by promising to take us back to yesterday.

But yesterday is over, and we are never going back. We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future. Before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America.

We can’t do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.

That is why today, grounded by the lessons of our history, and inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.

My candidacy might seem improbable to some watching from abroad. In many countries, the highest office in the land is reserved for the rich and powerful. But I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.

I recognize the challenges of this campaign, and the demands of the office I seek. But in this endeavor as in all things, I find comfort in the ancient command to, “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

I have heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn. But I cannot. Because I believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake, and I can make a difference as President.

I am humbled by the realization that America doesn’t owe me anything; but I have a debt to America I must try to repay. This isn’t just the country where I was born; America is the place that changed my family’s history.

I regret my father did not live to see this day in person. He used to tell me all the time: En este pais, ustedes van a poder lograr todas las cosas que nosotros no pudimos.

“In this country, you will achieve all the things we never could.”

On days when I am tired or discouraged, I remember the sound of his keys jingling at the front door of our home, often well past midnight, as he returned from another long day at work. When I was younger, I didn’t fully appreciate all he did for us, but now as my own children grow older, I fully understand.

My father was grateful for the work he had, but that was not the life he wanted for his children. He wanted all the dreams he once had for himself to come true for us. He wanted all the doors that closed for him to be open for me.

My father stood behind a small portable bar in the back of a room for all those years, so that tonight I could stand behind this podium in the front of this room.

That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, is the essence of the American Dream.

Whether or not we remain a special country will depend on whether that journey is still possible for those trying to make it now:

The single mother who works long hours for little pay so her children don’t have to struggle the way she has…

The student who takes two buses before dawn to attend a better school halfway across town…

The workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices … and the bartenders who tonight are standing in the back of a room somewhere…

If their American Dreams become impossible, we will have become just another country. But if they succeed, the 21st Century will be another American Century. This will be the message of my campaign and the purpose of my presidency.

To succeed on this journey, I will need your prayers, your support, and ultimately, your vote. Tonight I am asking you to take that first step with me, by joining us at marcorubio.com.

My wife Jeanette and my four children are here tonight. The next 19 months will take me far from home. I will miss watching Amanda run track, Daniella play volleyball, Anthony play football and Dominick play soccer.

But I have chosen this course because this election is about them. Theirs is the most important generation in American history. If we can capture the promise of this new century they will be the freest and most prosperous Americans ever. But if we fail, they will be the first generation of Americans to inherit a country worse off than the one left for their parents.

The final verdict on our generation will be written by Americans not yet born. Let us make sure they record that we made the right choice. That in the early years of this century, faced with a rapidly changing and uncertain world, our generation rose to face the great challenges of our time.

And because we did, there was still one place in the world where who you come from does not determine how far you can go.

Because we did, the American miracle lived on.

And because we did, our children and theirs lived in a new American Century.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.