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. Sylvia

    Some of us was wondering, if our employiers (House and Senate) were paid a fair wage as we are, and was to use this wage to pay for there on transportation, health insurance, pension as the rest of us do, if this would not sufy the Medicare and Social Security programs. We are total at their mercy to make good choices for us, how can they, if they are not on the same plan's... Thank you

    June 13, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Byron King

    GOP candidates what are you going to do when all fresh water on the planet is gone? What are your plans? We have ten years. Thing fast

    June 13, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. Maryann - Orlando, FL

    Would any of the candidates besides Ron Paul cut the Defense Budget to reduce the deficit?

    June 13, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Nitin

    We hear all candidates talking about getting the government out of the way of the the private sector. That's exactly how it was when certain unregulated instruments created by the financial sector wreaked havoc on our economy in 2008. What does Gov Romney think should be the role of the government in order to prevent such meltdowns?

    June 13, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. winston smith

    "Our total official Defense Budget is bigger than the combined defense budgets of every country in the world. If we based our Defense Budget on a scale of other countries relative to GDP... we'd probably cut it by 75%."

    Yes, the defense budget should be cut, maybe not to that level (again, unrealistic, that would never pass) but you could easily cut 25% which would be a TON of money. Why CONS want to cut everything completely aware but don't dare even touch a single dollar in the defense budget will always be a mystery to me. So teachers and education, police, firefighters, waste protection, roads, parks, science, healthcare, all of that is worthless. But oh the military let's put half of all our spending into that, hell, that should be ALL we spend money on.

    Yeaaaahhhh... makes sense.

    June 13, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  6. Johnny Five

    When will the government listen to the majority of its citizens and end the wars? The majority of any poll indicates no one approves of them nor wants them.

    June 13, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  7. Frank Stein

    Ron Paul does not participate in the health / pension plan for congress. Why aren't the others willing to remove themselves from this entitlement?

    June 13, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. Dalmo Accorsini

    As President what can you do to help small farmers to survive?

    June 13, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. ggibson

    Ron Paul has clear answers thought out carefully after decades of fighting for real American style values... and you ask him almost NOTHING.

    Sure, go for the sound bites from the same people over and over while America burns. CNN YOU betray your special place given to you by the Constitution as the press. SHAME.

    June 13, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  10. Austin Pace

    My question is – why do all the coandidates want to say things like limited government and praise the free market then not vote that way when they are in office?

    June 13, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  11. Randi Dunaieff

    Who will make sure that the average worker is protected from big busniess – making sure that we get fair wages, benefits? What makes you think that the money will be given to workers and not kept by the greedy executives. As Alan Greenspan said that he did not count on human greediness when he first agreed with the trickle down logic of Regan. Most people I know are now underemployed to avoid being unemployed, working 2 or 3 part time jobs because that is all that is available.
    Also, would the candidates being willing to have whatever medical plan is passed for the average American as their own plan while both working and retired. They should be getting the average pay of the district they represent – Live like us to be able to fairly represent us. You want a raise, then raise the salaries of the area you represent.
    Why should we trust any Republican when we are in this mess because of the 2 terms of the Bush administration. What makes them different?

    June 13, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  12. James

    Of all the candidates, I found Ron Paul to be the only one who provided a precise reason for our economic troubles and a succinct solution for it, something he mentioned in the debates in 2007 even before the housing bubble collapsed! Wow, I'm interested in researching more about him.

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  13. Byron King

    1% of the worlds water is drinkable. What are our plans for solving that and why are we continuing to put toxins into our water and our foods so corporations can become wealthy?

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  14. USMC Veteran

    What a Freak Show. I had to hit the details button on my remote to make sure this was CNN and not Comedy Central. I am more confident of President Obama's re-election than I have ever been. This debacle motivated me to donate $60 to our great president.

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  15. Marlon fearon

    What are your views in respect to President Obama place of birth

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. RonS Troy

    The right wing of the Republican Party and its social conservative agenda has nothing to do with, no relevance to, today's young adults. Unless the Party turns its back on the social conservative issues, there is no future for the Republican Party. How does the panel regard this?

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  17. Jamal Pettis

    All I've heard for the past hour was attack after attack on President Obama. Other than cutting taxes for the wealthy and eliminating capital gains tax; what NEW ideas would each of the candidates propose?

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  18. Barb

    So if we are to return more power to the states, but better yet, return more power to private business, then how come with business reporting record profits, aren't there more jobs?

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  19. zac

    What about all the money "wasted" on the failed war on drugs?

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  20. Mike/MASS

    None of these "candidates" has a chance of beating President Obama. This is the worst "debate" I have ever seen. John started off on the right foot with his comment about there being no real job creation as a result of the Bush Tax Cuts but he's let it get away from the real issues and possible solutions. John needs to take back control and ask these bozos why regurgitating proven non-starter solutions that Republicans keep espousing... will all of a sudden work. This debate is farce and these people are losers. Someone above mentioned Colin Powell... none of these morons could shine his shoes.

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. Emil Szegner - author - Destructive Politics

    Question for Mrs. Bachmann,

    If we were to close the Department of Energy and the EPA, do you think it would reduce the government budget just by bringing the price of energy down by atleast 2/3 rds? in other words the price of regular gasoline would drop to $1.50/gallon!

    How come no politician can figure out that Congress's destructive policies and politics with our energy supplies is what is causing our recession, not the banks! ( see Pelosi, January 2007)

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. Robert Zavala

    Robert Zavala from Las Vegas: the president is toying with the Latino community By making empty promises and giving them unrealistic dreams. What is your plan?

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  23. Barry

    This does appear to be more of a question and answer program than a debate. I stillwant to know what these people will do about foreign aid.

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  24. Coleman

    This question is for all the presidential contenders: How will you, if elected president of the United States, resolve the compensation due to Black Americans for the 400 years of brutal chattel slavery which is the primary reason for the economic condition facing Black America? What is your view on reparations?

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. KB Ha

    Will you change the workweek to 4 days/week? Thank you.

    June 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
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