The Fox News GOP Debate begins at 9 pm EST. I’m live blogging it right here. The debate will air on the Fox News Channel. You can livestream it here (sorry, so far the livestream is not working):
Moderators are Bret Baier, Juan Williams, Kelly Evans, Jerry (somebody)
Participating: Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Romney, Santorum
Understand that this is often paraphrased. I tried to get the spirit of the comment and use the candidates own words as often as I could.
UPDATE 10pm: STANDING OVATION FOR NEWT: Frank Luntz is on with Hannity right now, after the debate, and said tonight was the first time he has seen a standing ovation in the middle of a debate. That apparently happened when Juan Williams and Newt were sparring over Black children getting a job. All Americans getting a job, is Newt’s position. Gingrich was very strong. Said when he previously said that many children do not see a work ethic out of there homes, those children should take jobs as janitors at their schools, his own daughter was a janitor in her school – her very first job.
To Gingrich: Asked about his dustup (attacks) on Romney’s Bain Capital Record. Asked why he has attacked in this way?
GINGRICH: Says he was attacked with $3.5M in negative ads against him in Iowa, and he had to hit back. He wants to hightlight jobs. He passed less regs, lower taxes under Reagan. Newt has real numbers for job creation. Romney cites his business experience, but what he cites is not legitimate.
To Gingrich: Wall Street Journal says you have embarassed yourself with the questions about Bain.
GINGRICH: Questions with legitimacy are not embarassing. Not asking Barack Obama pertinent questions wasn’t good. Neither is it good to fail to ask our own candidates. (Maintains Romney must answer)
ROMNEY: My experience in private sector gave a chance to start a business of my own. There are today 120,000 jobs among some of the companies we invested in. My record as Mass. Gov. and the Olympics shows that I turned around problems and did it successfully. I came back and ran for Governor and left office with a 4.7% unemployment rate. Left Massachusetts with a $2B rainy day fund.
To Perry: you have said what Romney did was vulture capitalism. What regulations would you put in place to derail vulture capitalism?
PERRY: I’ve visited a steel mill where Bain lost jobs. I have a record. My income tax reports have been out every year. We need Mitt to release his taxes. As Republicans, we cannot fire our nominee in September. We need to know now. “We need to know if we have a flawed candidate.”
Dodd-Frank must be repealed. Regulations are strangling our country. We need captitalism without strangling regs.
ROMNEY: Georgetown, steel mill, my company invested there for 7-8 years. Foreign steel was dumped on this country, and the mill closed. We started another steel mill in Indiana and it is growing and thriving. I will put a halt to all of the Obama era regulations.
To Romney: Bain buys companies, builds them up with debt and clears out. Bain took $100M in profits and fees. Was that a flaw or just a rough and tumble business?
ROMNEY: They consolidated one plant and put all the business and the employees into the other plant they also owned. Income in this country is about 50% per capita than in other countries. Look at Staples, The Sports Authority and others added 100,000 jobs.
To Paul: Huntsman said today, the campaign has evolved into an ugly attack.
PAUL: If you are truthful in your ad, I think it’s okay.
SANTORUM: Paul has been quoting sources like George Soros and Crew. I wear it as a badge of honor when they are after me. Bush’s sig initiative was No Child Left Behind. I voted for it. I shouldn’t have.
Right to Work: I represented a state that did not have right to work. I support right to work, but Pennsylvania wanted it, had it and I supported it.
Should barbed attacks be abandoned by campaigns?
SANTORUM: I haven’t done any of that. Romney said I allowed prisoners to vote. I ask Romney, do you believe felons who have paid their debt to society and exhausted all of their sentencing should have the right to vote?
ROMENY: (he doesn’t answer. Baier asks him to answer the question. Romney says he’ll do so when he wants to?) Santorum says answer the question. That’s how you got the time. It’s my time you are using.
ROMNEY: I don’t think people who have committed violent crimes should have the right to vote.
SANTORUM: When you were Gov. of Mass felons could vote on parole. Far more liberal than my position. South Carolina has a large number of African Americans who are effected by losing all voting rights once they have paid their debt to society. Why didn’t you try to change it as Governor?
ROMNEY: I had a liberal legislature.
SANTORUM: His ad about me was inaccurate, and he DID NOT try to change the law in Massachusettes.
PERRY: These things should be decided at the state level. Get the federal government out of these decisions.
ROMNEY: (emphasizes his belief that felons should never again have the right to vote)
TWITTER QUESTION to Romney: Huntsman called you a perfectly lubricated (something) but today he announced his support to you. What can you do to convince us that you will not flip-flop.
ROMNEY: When people think of me changing my mind, they think of abortion. I thought I could go with Mass law and put my own views of Pro-Life aside, but I could not. I wrote and op-ed and made it clear that I was Pro-Life. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Everything I do wil be to strengthen this country, our values, our traditions and keep our military the best and strongest in the country.
To Perry: You sided with Governor Haley on requiring voter I.D. Are you suggesting the federal government should not have the write to write voter I.D. requirements?
PERRY: I believe South Carolina and all of us are fighting against this administration. I will fight everything I can to keep the feds out of our voting laws. This administration is out of control.
To Santorum: Do you support extending unemployment benefits that expire the end of this month?
SANTORUM: We’ve seen extending benefits up to 99 weeks. No doubt you lose a lot of your ability to get a job after 99 weeks. I want the state’s decide this question. If South Carolina wants a longer period, fine, but for the fed to make that decision is not the way to do it. We are not doing anyone a favor by keeping them on unemployment.
To Gingrich: What is the max length a person should be able to collect unemployment?
GINGRICH: All assistance should be tied to a program to acquire the skills. 99 weeks is an Associate Degree!!! The diff between Barack Obama and the five of us on the stage, we actually think work is good. We will help you if you are willing to help yourself – that’s good. Obama is the best food stamp dependent president in our history and it is terrible for our country.
TO Romney: Four more countries have been downgraded. How far will you go to keep our financial system working.
ROMNEY: I don’t want to give a president a slush fund to bail out his favorites. We need bankruptcy to bring them back and emerge stronger. We can see in all industries. We should not run to Europe to save their banks. The Free Enterprise system works. The best way to get our economy going, is to think of how we can get government out of our economy. Tax rates are high, regs are too burdensome. We have an energy policy that doesn’t take advantage of our natural resources, and we must open new markets for our good. Obama has opened none. No bailouts.
To Paul: What do you say to people like those in S.C.who have many military bases, about your military policy.
PAUL: I want to cut military spending overseas, not in the U.S. The military is behind me, not the others. I get more money from the military than all the candidates here added together. Military is sick of nation building. There is a diff between defense spending and military spending. I consider defense spending waste. Yes, I advocate for defense spending, but not military spending.
To all candidates: What is the highest federal income tax an American should ever pay?
PERRY: A flat tax
SANTORUM: 10 AND 20%
GINGRICH: Flat tax of 15%
PAUL: 0% – any time you spend money is a tax. Our worst tax today is deflation. I want to make the inflation tax 0 as well.
To Romney: Will you release your tax records.
ROMNEY: Looking at history, this happens at about April. I anticipate that will be asked to do that in April and I’ll keep my mind open. There is nothing in them to cause a problem.
To Romney: Your father was born in Mexico, you still have family there, yet you have taken the hardest line on the Dream Act. Are you alienating the Hispanic vote in America.
ROMNEY: Those who come here should not be given a special route to legalization, ahead of those who came legally. I believe Hispanics will hear and understand my message. We must follow the law. Return home, apply and come legally. I love legal immigration. Our nation is stronger because of it. We must protect our borders.
To Santorum: Obama has not dealt with the extraordinary poverty among Black Americas. What will you do.
My advice: Do three things: work, graduate from high school, get married before your have children (Brookings Institute study) Obama admin now has regs to tell young girls we can no longer promote marriage to have a better life. We must be neutral. Neutrality ends in poverty. This admin tells organizations there to help these young people that they must not advocate for marriage. Unconscienceable.
To Paul: Blacks are jailed 4 times more than whites, generally drug charges. Do your see this as a problem.
PAUL: Rich white people don’t get the death penalty often. Blacks are discriminated against. It is disproportionate. I want tight immigration problem, but we can’t ignore the drug war on the border. I am sure MLK would agree with me. The judicial system is one of the worst places for discrimination in this country.
From Juan William To Gingrich: you said Blacks should demand jobs not food stamps and Black kids should work as janitors in schools. Don’t you see this as hurtful to Blacks.
GINGRICH: No. My daughter’s first job (Jackie) was as a janitor in her school. She thought it was a good job. A young man started a doughnut business when he was 11. Today his dad he is grateful that he is 16 and can deliver his own doughnuts. NY City pays janitors an absurd amount of money because they are union members. You could hire 32 kids for the pay for one union member. Working kids are far less likely to drop out of school. Only elites despise earning money.
From Juan Williams To Gingrich: My email and twitter accounts are lighting up. Don’t you think that is disrespectful to Blacks? Why do you refer to Obama as the Food Stamp President?
More people have been put on food stamps by Obama than any other President. I know we are not supposed to hurt anyone’s feelings. Earlier tonight you said Obama has done nothing about Black poverty. I believe every American is endowed by their creator to pursue happiness. I will do everything I can to help all Americans get a job.
To Paul: In a recent interview you said you were against the operation that killed Osama bin Laden – it showed no respect for International Law. You believe International Law should have restrained us.
PAUL: No, I didn’t say that. I voted to go after him. It took us ten years. We should have had him at Tora Bora.
To Paul: The questions is about International Law.
PAUL: KSM (Kalid Sheik Mohammed) was in Pakistan and they handed him over. We have a nation we are bombing constantly, and yet handing them money. To not go over bin Laden, I think it was proper but after waiting 10 years, I don’t see why they couldn’t have done it like they did KSM. To say I didn’t want him killed is wrong. There are proper procedures without digging bigger holes for ourselves (Baier is saying, I was quoting you).
To Paul: In the bin Laden compound documents were found detailing future terrible attacks on the U.S. You would be running left of Obama is your quote is accurate.
PAUL: I think they should have captured him in a different way. We did it right with Saddam, (Baier – you voted against Iraq – Paul ignores him). There are different ways.
To Gingrich: if you received actionable intelligence on a key terrorist what would you do.
GINGRICH: bin Laden plotted bombing Am embassies, bombing the USS Cole. He wasn’t a Chinese dissident. The analogy Paul used is not legitimate. When you give a country $20M and you learn they have been hiding bin Laden, what are we to think.
PAUL: My point is, if another country does to us what we do to others, we should think of other solutions. We have endlessly bombed these countries and we wonder why they are upset with us? It’s warmongering. We are building up for another war with Iran. We need to save the money and bring our troops home.
To Romney: should we negotiate with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan?
ROMNEY: Of course not. We kill them. We go wherever they are we kill them. Obama announced our withdrawal, not the one the Commanders want. You don’t negotiate from weakness. We are underattack, and we are going to have to take action around the country. The right way to keep us from having to go to war is to have a military so strong, no one will tempt us.
To Romney: Biden has said he Taliban may be our partner to stop the fighting. Is he wrong.
ROMENY: Yes. The right way is to strengthen the Afghani military so that they can fight the Taliban themselves. Defeat them. Don’t negotiate.
To Santorum: During Libya you said Obama missed an opportunity. The country seems to be sliding into civil war. How would you deal with Syria?
SANTORUM: Sanctions are no longer an option. It has gone too far. We need to work with our allies to remove Assad. I do not support going into Syria but we must be stronger earlier.
To PERRY: Since Islamists took over Turkey, murders have increased. Given Turkey’s turn, do you believe Turkey still belongs in NATO.
PERRY: No. It time to send their foreign aid to zero. We have to look at every country like this and take action. They do not have the best interests of the US in their radar. Our prez has a foreign policy that emboldens our enemies and causes angst among our allies. No space between us and Israel. We must send a powerful message.
(about Paul’s answer on war, Perry said to stop it, the moderators needed a “gong.”
PERRY: Marines need to be punished for TinkleGate but it is not utterly despicable as Hillary said. Cutting Daniel Pearl’s head off – that’s despicable. Taking $1T out of our military coffers, that’s despicable.
PAUL: I too served in the AF 62-68. I want to point out that the Taliban used to be our allies when we were fighting the Russians. They don’t want foreigners. We have to understand that or we will never get out of the ME.
To Romney: Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing the indefinite detention of American citizens. Would you as President would you have signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)?
ROMNEY: Yes. I think Obama will not abuse this. People who join al-Qaeda are not privileged to the same justice reserved for you and me. I will fight to make sure American retains military authority.
SANTORUM: What the law should be and has been, if you are an American citizen you have the right to go to court with an attorney. That should not have been changed. If you are not an American citizen that’s one thing, but Americans should have the right to our court system.
PAUL: We are going in the wrong direction here at home. We have preemptive war, we don’t have to declare war. The NDAA is major. An American can be arrested only on suspicion and be held indefinitely.
To Perry: What measures would you immediately take to return our housing market to stability?
PERRY: Tax rates have to be changed. Get ride of subsidies. Have a flat tax. Let people keep their money, after EVERYONE pays a flat tax. I will walk into D.C., work toward a balanced budget amendement and make congress a part-time job. Cutting taxes and cutting regulations will give people the money to own their homes. The feds need to be out of the housing market.
To Romney: Would you do about SS and Medicare.
For people already retired, nothing changes. Obama cut Medicare by $500B. SS: I would lower the rate of inflation growth in the benefits for future recipients. I would add a year or two to SS. Medicare: for higher income recipients, a lower benefit. A premimun support plan – let competition take care of it. Repeal ObamaCare and our balance sheet will be right.
To Gingrich: You have said younger people should have the right to put their retirements into private accounts, but you also say, if those returns don’t match SS, the government should make up the difference.
GINGRICH: You have the choice. In Chile, the young person gets 2-3 times what their government fund provided. They have never written a check. A firm out of Iowa runs this group (I think he said Principle). They will get a bigger return on their investment. It gets the government out of picking winners and losers, and out of telling you when to retire. (In Chile, the employer’s portion goes into the government program)
To Santorum: you proposed eliminating the corporate income tax. Aren’t you choosing winners and losers?
SANTORUM: No, it is eliminated for everyone. We have a flat 17%, the little guy is paying the same as the big guys. The big guys pay now 35%. (sorry I missed most of this.) First we have to get our fiscal house in order. Gingrich’s plan won’t work now. Romney’s plan won’t work now. We have get our debt taken care of first.
GINGRICH: We pay for it be taking 185 fed bureaucries dealing with low-income Americans. We consolidate them into a federal block grant, and send it back to the states and it is a very sound plan.
SANTORUM: I support the idea, but we must take care of the deficit now, rather than ballooning it immediately
GINGRICH: I can find a way to help young people and fix the deficit at the same time.
ROMNEY: Santorum is right. We have a huge number of obligations. In the private sector, you balance your budget or you go out of business. We need a voluntary savings account tax free. No taxes on dividends or capital gains.
To Romney: You raised gun fees by 85% in Massachusetts.
ROMENY: The pro-gun folks in our state were for it because it allowed us to do things we could not do before. We should not add new legislation for gun ownership. There is a non-step effort to restrict gun ownership.
To Romny: You were teased for saying you hunted varmit.
ROMNEY: I went moose hunt, pheasant hunting. I’m not a great hunter. I enjoy the sport.
To Santorum: you voted in trigger locks on hand guns and background checks at gun shows.
SANTORUM: Both were supported by the NRA. I worked with them. I voted 100% with the NRS. They endorsed it and worked with me, to make sure something far worse was not passed. I have a lifetime A+ rating with the NRA. Contrast that with Paul. The gun manufacturers liability bill – trying to hold manufacturers liable if a gun misfired. Had that not been passed, there would have been no gun manufacturers in this country. Paul voted for it. Paul would have wiped out the Second Amendment.
PAUL: The jurisdiction is with the state. We should not have national tort law at the federal level. I offer legislation to repeal all the gun laws.
SANTORUM: If we did not have a national liability law, people would have been able to go to states where they would not pass legislation to keep manufacturers safe from liability, we have to have a federal law.
To Gingrich: You supported legislation that China’s one-child law was supported by the U.S.
GINGRICH: That bill was introduced by a Republican from RI when Reagan’s Mexico City Policy was in effect. It is a falsehood to say that we would have paid for abortion in China. Romney’s SuperPac ads are false.
ROMNEY: I’ve already told them to take the ads down. It’s against campaign laws. I’ll tell them again, if it is false, take it down. Your SuperPac ads are false and it out there from your SuperPac that supports you.
GINGRICH: I’ve said publicly it should be edited. The head of the group has submitted a questionnaire to your group to make sure it is edited correctly. I hope you will do the same thing about your false ads against me.
To Romney: If you are the nominee, you want SuperPacs to go away.
ROMNEY: Let people contribute what they want, and do away with people who support us, and want to help us, but do it in an incorrect way. We should have the right to manage the ads being run on our behalf.
To Perry: Border crossings are at a 40 year low. You want a fence. Wouldn’t we be better off spending our money on things other than the border, like our infrastructure.
PERRY: No. The idea that Americans do not want us to abandon the border. They want us to secure it in everyway necessary. That border will be locked down and secure within one year of my swearing in.
To Gingrich: Has no child left behind been a failure or a success?
GINGRICH: It’s a failure. I’ve found no teacher who likes it. Radically reduce the Dept. of Education and send the power to the states. And states should reduce their Dept. of Education and return the power to the schools and parents.
That’s it. It’s over.