Live blog from the New Hampshire 2012 presidential debate
June 13th, 2011
11:20 PM ET
3 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. Imabeliever

    Medicare solvent? Is he kidding?

    June 13, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. Jon McAvoy

    I've served on our local City Council for over 20 years and have seen more and more government rules and regulations moved from the local level to the State and on to the Federal levels. What can be done to reverse this trend, including the many unfunded mandates that burden our local citizens?

    June 13, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. Ryan H

    they keep avoiding the questions asked honestly the only person in this debate that has a shot at the nomination is Mitt Romney but the one that is the best Republican avalible is jon huntsman but he wont win the nomination but even still im voting democrat because they actually care about everyone not just the rich, OBAMA 2012

    June 13, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. Nathan

    What are the positions on foreign policies? Can we get that question in? Some of us in our business need to compete with other companies from for example China when we seek contracts abroad. We just cannot compete under the current environment with China subsidizing their companies.

    June 13, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. Paul Passarelli

    How can we increase *legal* immigration while decreasing the *illegal*form?

    June 13, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Jonathan

    These Republican candidates are so full of it. They have no real solutions, just criticism...and when they say stuff like we shouldn't have bailed out auto companies like GM, it shows their lack of intelligence. Do they really believe letting a company like GM fail, would have been a good idea? A company that employees thousands of Americans, who would have all lost their jobs. Suppliers would have had to shut down. It would not have been a good thing, and these candidates can say they wouldn't have done anything to help but you have to make tough decisions when your president. It's easy to say I wouldn't have done anything, after the fact!

    June 13, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. wp nesbitt

    John King is putting on a clinic for 21st century debate moderating. Great energy, pointed questions,good audience involvement, and really keeping it moving. Glad to see it.

    June 13, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. Imabeliever

    I'm voting for Ron Paul or Herman Cain!

    June 13, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Wow – what a dissappointing debate. We are 45 minutes in and there hasn't been any discussion of the real issues... the national debt is a BIG problem and no one is asking about it....How would these candidates address the entitlement programs and military spending? The debate is obviously a bunch of softball questions by party faithfuls. CNN I'm dissappointed in your powder puff debate!! I turned it off!!

    June 13, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Dion

    How do the candidates stand on Civil Rights Acts/ Would they repeal the public accommodations act as Congressman Paul has favored or continue on the road established by Civil Rights movement of the begun in the 60's.

    June 13, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. Mike

    What guarantee does the American public have that the new jobs that these candidates want to create won't be outsourced as out previous jobs were?

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  12. Brian

    With the Republicans in control of the House very few job are being created. Being a Republican what would you do differently from current Republicans in the House.

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. phineas j.

    I've been paying into medicare for 27 years..if you kill itI expect a very nice check the following day from the republican govt...it's my money!

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. Gloria

    Why are you having this GOP Debate? These candidates agree in everything! How am I supposed to choose between them? I guess perhaps I can choose by whose outfit I like best.

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. Denis

    Q: many of you reject government efforts to increase government spending. What would your stance be on the expansion of government funding of non-military scientific endeavors? In addition what is your stance on stem-cell research, and it's potential as an extraordinary medical tool?

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Mary in AZ

    PATHETIC!!! No one is answering any of the questions. If I were in that audience and asking questions, I would be very frustrated!! At this point in time, I do not see one single person that would receive my vote!! Hopefully the Republicans will find someone or this whole campaign will be a total waste of time and money. Also, I wish that John King would be able to get the candidates "on track"...and demand that they respectfully honor the guidelines as presented at the beginning.

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. Tom

    What is realy meant by "Best Shore" and why are so many companies doing this practice and receiving both stypons and tax breaks at the same time. Is this a by product of the GS summits?

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  18. Jimmy

    Why do we keep going through this? I am over 60 years old and have heard this my entire life. No body that I can remember that said what they would do during the run-up to the election ever did what they said they would do. I have heard all the excuses about the Senate, the House and things were different when I got in. So why listen to someone that chances are will do less then 10% of what they claim they will do.

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. Terry

    Which Federal Department of Law Enforcement are you will to disband?

    June 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. steve beebe

    for ron paul, legalize marijuana(tax) or what? american people want it.

    June 13, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. Capt Marti

    They can stand there and agree that it was okay for a multibillion dolllar company to pay NO TAXES whatsoever?? ie GE??? They are all mad. They want to cut all corporate taxes? Sooooo that means the government services are upon the backs of the middle class and the poor. They have lost focus.

    Medical benefits for the elderly have cause dependence on the government? Oh right. After the elderly paid into the system they are now "dependent" for expecting their payback on their investment?? These people are not from this planet

    June 13, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  22. zuq

    What is the actual plan to bring long standing jobs? I keep hearing removing taxes? Really? What happened when Bush was in office? What happened to the deficit?

    June 13, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  23. mitch

    what would this group do about the wars? What would they do about the war on drugs? what would they do about medicare fruad?

    June 13, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  24. Rebecca Adcock

    Question for Ron Paul. You talk about getting rid of corporate welfare, but earlier said we need to lower corporate taxes. What is it exactly that you consider corporate welfare?

    June 13, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. dubeaux

    Many Americans believe the government has still failed to secure the border, allowing the flood of illegal immigration to continue. Many Americans also believe that in the current recession, when jobs are scarce and hard to find for citizens, it makes no sense to continue LEGAL immigration at such high levels. What will you do about illegal and legal immigration if you become president?

    June 13, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
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