Live blog from the New Hampshire 2012 presidential debate
June 13th, 2011
11:20 PM ET
4 years ago

Live blog from the New Hampshire 2012 presidential debate

Seven Republican candidates took part in the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate Monday night on CNN. Read the live blog below. Follow all the issues and campaign news about the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter. Watch the debate on CNN TV, CNN.com and mobile devices.
Read the full story here.


Read the results of the Political Insiders Poll taken during the debate here.


10:01 p.m. ET
- @PeterHambyCNN: aaaand Romney escapes unharmed. Win.

9:58 p.m. ET - Paul: I'd have ask more questions for them, said they haven't even told him how they feel about the Federal Reserve, a reference to his repeated calls to abolish the Reserve.

9:58 p.m. ET - Bachmann: Maybe have an American Idol-style contest.

9:57 p.m. ET – Q: Which person on this stage would you ask to join your administration?

9:57 p.m. ET - Romney: Everyone on this stage would be a better president than Obama.

9:56 p.m. ET
– Pawlenty: Palin is qualified to be president and would have made a better vice president that Joe Biden, who has been wrong on everything.

9:56 p.m. ET
- Q: Who made the better vice presidential choice in the 2008 campaign?

9:55 p.m. ET – Cain: People don't know us yet, don't see this as a weak field.

9:54 p.m. ET - Q: Should pay attention to polls that show low enthusiasm for the GOP primary?

9:52 p.m. ET @PeterHambyCNN: early takeaway from three separate Republicans who emailed me: Big opening for Rick Perry

9:51 p.m. ET – Santorum: Dealing with a failure of the Obama administration- have no strategy to confront our enemies. Need bases to be nimble and attack when we're attacked. Obama has embraced our enemies.

9:49 p.m. ET
- Q from voter: Shut down military bases that aren't vital to national security to pay off national debt?

9:48 p.m. ET - Cain: Need to understand the problem, which we did not in Libya and make sure it's in our national interests to be involved.

9:47 p.m. ET - Gingrich: U.S. intelligence is inadequate. Need to reassess strategy in the region, figure out how to get out as soon as possible. Need to find new and different strategies.

9:46 p.m. ET - Bachmann: Not in the interests of America to be involved in Libya. The president was wrong, he deferred leadership in Libya to France, "That's all we need to know."

9:46 p.m. ET - Q from voter: Opinion on involvement in Libya?

9:46 p.m. ET - @psteinhauserCNN: DNC Fact Checks: 2 target Romney, 2 target Pawlenty, 1 targets Santorum. for those of you keeping score at home #CNNDebate

9:43 p.m. ET - Paul: Wouldn't wait for the generals. "I tell the generals what to do [as president]." Would bring the troops home as soon as possible.

9:42 p.m. ET
- Romney: Time to bring them home as fast as we can in a plan supported by our military, based on the conditions on the ground. Only the Afghans can win independence from the Taliban.

9:41 p.m. ET - Q from voter: Time to bring our combat troops home from Afghanistan?

9:38 p.m. ET – Pawlenty: Coke.

9:38 p.m. ET - Q to Pawlenty: Coke or Pepsi?

9:37 p.m. ET – Santorum: Voted against ethanol subsidies while in the Senate. Said the industry has come a long way and is capable of doing well under the Senate plan.

9:37 p.m. ET – Q: Support Senate measure to abolish the ethanol tax subsidy?

9:36 p.m. ET - Romney: Don't believe government should take land from private companies. Need to develop our own energy independence.

9:34 p.m. ET – Q: Should governments be allowed to seize private land for major projects to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil?

9:33 p.m. ET
- Gingrich: Will never pass comprehensive bill. Need to control the border, take half of the Homeland Security Department and put them in border states to protect the U.S.

9:31 p.m. ET - Pawlenty: Let the states protect their borders if the federal government won't.

9:30 p.m. ET – Cain: Secure our borders and enforce laws that are already there. Promote path to citizenship by cleaning up the bureaucracy. For the illegals that are already in the U.S.- empower the states to do what federal government can't do.

9:29 p.m. ET
- Paul: Need to protect our borders instead of the borders between Iraq and Afghanistan.

9:28 p.m. ET – Santorum: We should not be offering government benefits to those who entered the U.S. illegally.

9:27 p.m. ET – Q from voter: What is your plan for preventing illegal immigrants from using U.S. services?

9:27 p.m. ET - Pawlenty: Appointed pro-life court in Minnesota. "I am solidly pro-life."

9:26 p.m. ET – Bachmann: I stand for the right to life. Those cases are the tiniest of cases. The real battle is on the genuine issue of taking an innocent. "I stand for life."

9:25 p.m. ET - See problem with Pawlenty's view opposing abortion rights except in cases of rape, incest and mother's health?

9:24 p.m. ET - Romney: People understand I'm firmly pro-life. Believe in the sanctity of life.

9:23 p.m. ET – Santorum: Those issues will be the top priority for me.

9:22 p.m. ET
– Q: Should Romney's changed position on abortion rights be an issue in this primary?

9:23 p.m. ET –Santorum: Military is not for social experimentation.

9:22 p.m. ET –Bachmann: Keep DADT but would confer with commanders.

9:22 p.m. ET –Gingrich: Would listen to the commanders.

9:22 p.m. ET - Romney: Should have been kept in place until conflicts are over.

9:21 p.m. ET –Paul: Would not work to overturn it.

9:21 p.m. ET –Pawlenty: Need to pay deference, take cues from the military.

9:21 p.m. ET - Cain: Never would have overturned DADT, wouldn't create a distraction trying to overturn it now.

9:21 p.m. ET - Q: Stance on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"

9:20 p.m. ET - Bachmann: The best environment for children is having a mother and father. Said the federal government shouldn't dictate what happens in states.

9:19 p.m. ET - Q: Overturn laws allowing same-sex couples to legally marry?

9:17 p.m. ET - Spicy. Adds the Boston Bruins are up.

9:16 p.m. ET – Q to Romney: Spicy or mild wings?

9:12 p.m. ET - Cain: Deep dish.

9:12 p.m. ET - Q to Cain: Deep dish or thin crust?

9:11 p.m. ET – Gingrich: Would need to be loyal to the U.S. to serve in his administration. "There are some genuinely bad people."

9:10 p.m. ET - Cain: The question I was asked was would you be comfortable with a Muslim in your administration. Said there is a difference between peaceful and militant Muslims. Would interview the person to get a sense of how committed they are to the constitution, said it's not a litmus test. People who work for the government should be committed to the constitution.

9:09 p.m. ET - Q to Cain: Are American Muslims less committed to the constitution than Christians or Jews?

9:07 p.m. ET – Paul: Congress should never prohibit the expression of your faith in a public place.

9:06 p.m. ET - Santorum: I approach issues with faith and reason.

9:06 p.m. ET - Q: Separation of church and state?

9:04 p.m. ET - Bachmann: Already voted "no" on raising the debt ceiling, will vote against it unless there are major cuts in spending. "Clearly President Obama has failed in leadership," cites increase in the national debt.

9:03 p.m. ET
- Romney: Cannot afford to raise the debt ceiling. "At some point you hit a wall," criticized the president for his leadership.

9:02 p.m. ET – Q: Will Congress raise the debt ceiling?

9:02 p.m. ET - Cain: "I don't have to raise the retirement age," said he will restructure the program.

9:01 p.m. ET – Q: Social Security?

8:59 p.m. ET
- Cain: Need to restructure Medicare, cannot just rearrange it. "The Ryan plan I totally support ... we have got to fix the problem."

8:59 p.m. ET – Santorum: Supports Ryan budget. "It is the right approach to Medicare."

8:58 p.m. ET – Gingrich: There are things that I would have done differently than Ryan.

8:57 p.m. ET - Q: Why did you back down on charge that Ryan budget plan is a step backward?

8:55 p.m. ET
- Pawlenty: If you're in the program we should keep our word. Said it is not financially solvent. His plan, he said will include more options for people.

8:54 p.m. ET – Paul: "It can't be be made solvent." We need competition and the opportunity to opt-out of the system to take care of ourselves.

8:54 p.m. ET – Q: How would you keep Medicare solvent?

8:53 p.m. ET - Paul: Blackberry

8:53 p.m. ET - Q to Paul: iPhone or Blackberry?

8:50 p.m. ET - Gingrich: American Idol.

8:49 p.m. ET - Q to Gingrich: "Dancing with the Stars" or "American Idol?"

8:48 p.m. ET - Paul: "We're doing what we did in the depression." Need to get the housing prices down ... "Need to clear the market and then we can all go back to work."

8: 46 p.m. ET - Pawlenty: Criticized the president's housing programs. "Have to get the private sector going."

8:45 p.m. ET - Q: How will you improve housing?

8:44 p.m. ET - Pawlenty: NASA should be "re-focused." America should not eliminate the space program.

8: 44 p.m. ET
- Gingrich: NASA case study in how "government can't innovate."

8:43 p.m. ET - Q: Role of government in future space exploration?

8:42 p.m. ET – Bachmann: Fought behind closed doors against my own party on TARP. "It was a wrong vote then ... sometimes you have to take principle over your party."

8:42 p.m. ET - Santorum: Should not have had TARP or the auto bailout. Should have gone through a bankruptcy process.

8:40 p.m. ET – Romney: Stood by comments that companies should go through a bankruptcy process to "use the process of American ingenuity."

8:39 p.m. ET – Q: Bailout a success?

8:38 p.m. ET
- Cain: Initially supported it but didn't once he saw how it was implemented. "I do not believe in this concept of too big to fail."

8:38 p.m. ET - Q: TARP?

8:38 p.m. ET - Paul: It's a fallacy that government can manage the economy.

8:37 p.m. ET - Q: Government assistance in private enterprise?

8:37 p.m. ET - Bachmann: Both, I have "Christmas with Elvis" on my iPod.

8:36 p.m. ET – Q to Bachmann: Elvis or Cash?

8:33 p.m. ET – Santorum chooses Leno over Conan but said he doesn't really watch either.

8:33 p.m. ET
- Q to Santorum: Leno or Conan?

8:31 p.m. ET - Pawlenty, Gingrich and Cain: All said they hope states accept right to work to create more jobs.

8:30 p.m. ET - Q: Where do you fall on right to work?

8:27 p.m. ET - Bachmann: We need to bring the tax rate down in the U.S. Then criticized Democrats for big spending plans and said Republicans need to pass a big repeal bill, including the de-funding of the EPA.

8:26 p.m. ET – Pawlenty: The U.S. needs fair trade. Said taxes are too high and permitting is too slow for businesses.

8:26 p.m. ET - Paul: "We should invite capital back." Said the country needs to "deregulate" and "de-tax" to prevent jobs from going overseas.

8:25 p.m. ET - Q: How will you keep manufacturing jobs in America?

8:23 p.m. ET - Cain: He will be a president that will "do what's right, not what's politically right." His experiences in the business world, he said, are the same skills that will make him an effective president.

8:22 p.m. ET - Bachmann: Defended the Tea Party as a "wide swath of America coming together. I think that's why the left fears it so much." Said all Republicans need to come together.

8:21 p.m. ET - Santorum: Touted his past in Senate, said he brought people together. "I led and got bipartisan support to do it." When asked about the Tea Party, he said the "Tea Party is a great backstop for America."

8:20 p.m. ET – Q from voter: Will you have a balanced approach to governing?

8:18 p.m. ET - Gingrich: The country should not have a health care mandate. Also said it's important the 2012 election includes wins in the House and Senate.

8:16 p.m. ET - Pawlenty: The plan he instituted in Minnesota is different than the plan in Massachusetts, including the absence of an individual mandate. Would not directly attack Romney calling the national plan "Obamneycare," like he did over the weekend.

"President Obama is - is the person who I quoted in saying he looked to Massachusetts for designing his program. He's the one who said it's a blueprint and that he merged the two programs. And so using the term 'Obamneycare' was a reflection of the president's comments that he designed Obamacare on the Massachusetts health care plan," Pawlenty said.

8:15 p.m. ET – Romney: Will de-fund "Obamacare," and outlined the differences between the president's plan and the plan he instituted as governor of Massachusetts.

8:14 p.m. ET - Bachmann: "Obamacare" is a job killer that she will end as president.

8:13 p.m. ET – Q: What would you do to de-fund "Obamacare" and repeal it as soon as possible?

8:12 p.m. ET
– Texas Rep. Ron Paul: Criticized job creation in the U.S., said it's because people don't understand growth.

8:12 p.m. ET - Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann: Announced she filed her papers to officially run for president of the United States.

8:08 p.m. ET - Former Minnesota Gov. Rick Santorum: This president is a "declinist." Defended his 5% growth target that includes a reduction in spending.

8:07 p.m. ET - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: We need a pro-growth agenda. Criticized the president over health care and his energy policy.

8:06 p.m. ET - Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain: Need to put the right fuel in the engine and that fuel is the private sector.

8:05 p.m. ET - Q from voter in Plymouth, NH: What are your plans to create jobs?

8:01 p.m. ET - The candidates introduced themselves in a few sentences at the beginning of the debate. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the Republican candidate needs to save the country from the "Obama depression." Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he hopes he "gets it right this time," a reference to his 2008 White House bid.

7:53 p.m. ET @THEHermanCain: I'm here at Saint Anselm College and excited to participate in the CNN Debate! #HCinNH (@ Saint Anselm College) http://4sq.com/ke9uTh

7:51 p.m. ET - @timpawlenty: Heading to the stage for NH Debate.  My staff will be live tweeting during the debate. Join the conversation. #CNNDebate

7:29 p.m. ET - @MittRomney: Waiting for the debate to start http://twitpic.com/5b7rma #Mitt2012 #CNNDebate

7:10 p.m. ET - @stevebruskCNN: Rep. Michele Bachmann enters Sullivan Arena...CNN debate less than an hour away http://yfrog.com/khnfbnqj

6:51 p.m. ET @stevebruskCNN: Ron Paul has arrived at CNN debate hall http://yfrog.com/h0iikndj

6:47 p.m. ET - @stevebruskCNN: Rick Santorum on his way into Sullivan Arena for CNN debate http://yfrog.com/h7zavzoj

6:41 p.m. ET
@stevebruskCNN: Herman Cain walks in to debate site. http://yfrog.com/kk43oolj

6:34 p.m. ET - When asked on CNN's "The Situation Room" about the potential of Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumping into the 2012 race, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said "Clearly there's a vacuum in the Republican Party." He then pointed to the "least impressive" records of Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.

6:32 p.m. ET
- @stevebruskCNN: Newt Gingrich talks to reporters as he arrives for CNN debate http://yfrog.com/kh2v9zj

6:22 p.m. ET
- @PeterHambyCNN: Man of the hour just arrived. Wearing jeans, of course. Mitt said he's feeling "terrific." http://yfrog.com/kkkmawj

What to watch for.

5 things that could shape the race.

Learn about the seven contenders.

Read about the Republican field.


Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire 2012 Debate
soundoff (991 Responses)
  1. Muddy

    So far Pawlenty is the winner, where's Bachman? Has she lost her voice? Never debated before? What?

    June 13, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  2. Sarge

    Wish they would ask them what they plan to do about Cops and Firemen getting laid off across the U.S......

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. Judy

    Why didn't all these Republicans use their own so-called solutions when Bush was in office? The hypocrisy and stupidity is too much to take!

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. john e. campbell

    97% of the people that enter our country are harding people that do the jobs AMERICAN want do. I can't remember the last time saw a AMERICAN picking fields N wiping rich people babies bottoms. But i can't count how many times i had seen foreign nationals shopping n WAL-MART, SAFEWAY, ETC. Immigrant contribute too the bottom line.Admit it!

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. Jusus

    Well I see all of the real Americans are represented tonight. Question, if Bauchman wants to take America Back, who has it.

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. Frank Stein

    Gee Tim – jumping on the Ron Paul bandwagon.

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. KimSimons

    I'd like to ask the candidates about public education. Just about every person in the country believes that our public are struggling to prepare our children for their futures. Federal funding for education has increased more than 200% since 2000, with much of that increase coming in the last two years.
    (1) Did you or your children attend public school?
    (2) What do you believe are the top 3 challenges facing public education and how would you address them?
    (3) Do you believe common national standards and assessments, like the Common Core National Standards and Assessments which have been developed by Achieve and adopted in 42 states, will fix the problems facing our public schools?
    (4) School districts in Virginia, one of the handful of states which has not adopted the Common Core State Standards, have reported that they have been denied federal grants because the state has not adopted the CCSS. President Obama has promised that his ESEA will mandate that states adopt the CCSS or something similar in order to receive federal funds for education. Do you agree with that approach?
    (5) What would you do to change the teach to the test mentality that dominates public schools today?

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. Imabeliever

    But Tim, the USA has become one of the most business hostile places in the world!

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. observer

    This "discussion" is embarrassing to watch, school boys and school girls trying to shine in front of the teacher. Hey, Newt. Since Obama is trying to "privatize" NASA projects, he IS doing exactly what you suggested. Not much room for you to criticize then, eh?

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. phineas j.

    All this talk of cutting spending...where were these people while Bush was starting wars and not putting the cost in the budget??where was the Tea Party?..and if they are all so anti-govt..then why do they want to run it so bad??..ask a question ! This is juat a Obama bashing gig....Republicans seem to think that this is all Obama's fault..really?...

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  11. Armando

    What's the solution for immigration ?

    June 13, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. Philip

    Tim, anybody can say what you just said " grow the economy" but how?

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. Elizabeh

    I am so tired of hearing about the candidates background of being from a poor background.....I know so many people from a very difficult upbringing that are successful and also know many that have been in trouble for their greed!......Don't waste your time by telling me about growing up poor...your background does not matter any more..give your specific ideas on what you are going to do to improve our economy/jobs..!!

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. BigJohn

    Are we saving any money from the drawdown in Iraq. Let's get all of the troops out of there

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. Muddy

    Someone should mention that Pawlety left Minnesota with a $5 Billion deficit. The great budget Houdini who dug a hole it will take us years to climb out of.

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  16. frustrated watcher

    What the stage is missing is what everyone's commenting here- we do not trust businesses to take the proposed tax breaks to do anything but line their ever growing deep pockets. The middle and lower classes didn't see their salaries increase like the bosses did. U are not winning my vote by helping your corporate buddies.

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. freedom4all

    Ask them if they would reduce defense spending vs cutting down NASA.

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  18. Nathan

    John, thank you for the follow up question on foreclosures. Push the panel for more comments on foreclosures. That's what we need addressed. We ned somewhere to live while we look for work.

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. Chris m

    "NASA case study in how "government can't innovate."

    Look at all those private companies that put astronauts on the moon! Were the Voyager probes launched by a private company?

    June 13, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. ajd041

    They just kept feeding around the bush no real solutions what do they plan to differently from obama we don't need to be reminded about the problems

    June 13, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. Steve Querin

    ?How do Corporations & Small businesses promote Wealth for the Masses?

    ?How does the EPA, and Federal Taxes, restrict Corporations & Small Businesses from creating new jobs in the USA?

    June 13, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    All candidates are eager to repeal obamacare, message received. But is there any aspect or feature they think is worth saving? For example, will all candidates be in favor of restoring a health insurance company's right to drop coverage once you become significantly ill?

    June 13, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. Gwenn Asher

    Mr. Cain what will you do to help secure the U.S. borders and send illegal aliens home with no exceptions?

    June 13, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. stive

    Let Romney say two words for crying out loud.

    June 13, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. Bob

    What frightens me the most is all of you on stage. The only thing I keep hearing from all of you is how do we defeat President Obama. You never talk about what is good for America just what we can do to defeat the president. It is clear to me that you all have the philosophy of defeating Obama no matter what. Programs our president has put forward are seemingly not working because you on that stage and your entire political party have ensured they would fail. The failure is not the programs but you. Instead of working with the President and supporting programs you defeat them period without considering whether or not they are good for America, just that there from Obama and must be torn down. No team can ever win if they do not work together and you refuse to work together as part of team America.

    June 13, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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