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. Michael

    It was overall pretty boring..it did make me learn more of Santorum who I have more respect for now.
    But, I wanted to hear more from Ron Paul who in my opinion is still the best and only candidate to beat Obama.
    And the federal reserve should have been a question from the start.

    Oh, and it's good to know Cain likes deep dish.

    June 13, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  2. Liberty Bear

    Mitt Romney has a perception problem, he just looks like a guy that will lie to you

    June 13, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. Michael MacDonald

    Ahhh....the debate is over....and now all the Republican Candidates can do what they do best...sign autographs. Photo op's and bashing Obama is right up their ally.....Politics? Not so much...

    June 13, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  4. Nodack

    After watching this so far I have come to really dislike Romney the most out of all of them. His answer to every question was to attack Obama. I like people that tell me what they are going to do to turn things around. When their answer is to attack the other guy instead that means they don't have answers and they bare seeking to deflect instead.

    June 13, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  5. John

    First of all the Republican are the one who got us in the mess America Is In now. Fighting two wars that we couldn't pat for and cost Trillions of dollars and till counting. Second you Republican kept saying President Obama wasn't moving fast enough on Libya , now you are saying we shouldn't be there. You republican just can't make up your mind and all you do Is LIES. It doesn't matter what President Obama does , you Republican will find something wrong with It . Because you just don't like the color of his skin. I have a idea why don't you Republican try and help him for once. Quit trying to take everything from the Middle class, the poor ,the old and the Disable. And Rise taxes like you should ,If not on the Rich than have everyone go back to paying taxes be for the BUSH tax cuts that haven't work In the six year you Republican keep giving the RICH.

    June 13, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. The King

    They all embrace failed "trickle down" economic theory, they would all privatize or eliminate as many government agencies as possible (except for defense, which they would all increase), none of them have a plan to deal with skyrocketing health care costs, and they don't know a thing about how to end georges asinine wars. Bottom line, theres no daylight between any of them. President Obama will chew all these obtuse, angry, corporate lackeys up, and spit them out!!!

    June 13, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  7. Leigh Ann

    No, no, no. Wrong in every way. I still support Obama.

    June 13, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. Michael

    To Michele Bachmann – how many heterosexual couples in this country fail miserably as parents and at creating families? To Rick Santorum – your bigoted social experimentation comment could have been directed at adding men of color and women to the armed forces. To every candidate attacking abortion ... didn't all you people run in November 2010 on the promise that jobs would be your top priority? Republicans cater to social policies just as much as Dems do, spend as much money as Dems do (Reagan, Bush, Bush) and still have not bee able to answer the question: Just how do we create jobs without spending money? Here's another question for you guys: If you're so opposed to Obama's Health Care plan, perhaps you wouldn't mind if we took a lot at your heath care package and WHO pays for it?

    June 13, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  9. Carolyn

    Nobody asked the Republicans the question of the Ryan Plan on Social Security and Medicare? Why not, this is an important issue for seniors. I am 68 years old was layed off twice from a job of 7 years and because of my age I cannot find a job. They are talking about privitizing social security and a voucher system on medicare, this is important to me and I am concerned about the Republicans messing this system up. Try reducing some of the senators salaries. They can vote themselves an increase but the seniors have not had an increase in two years. It's not Obama's fault, he has inherited this mess from 8 years of the Republicans. Now I know why the Republicans color is RED, because they do things that are in the red.

    June 13, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. AmandaInTN

    I love how none of them can answer the questions without mentioning Obama. If you can't tell me what's right about you, without mentioning what's wrong with the other guy, I am left to conclude that you have nothing to offer.

    June 13, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

    June 13, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. AniK

    Again, I'm seeing candidates speak as if they (plan to) represent only a certain portion of the U.S. pie and coming across as hypocrites. For instance, if the Republican Party wants less government, and, as a Republican, I agree...we must have have less government meddling across-the-board (business and personal life). Why on earth can't these seven, fairly intelligent people understand the following: The US Government has NO business in people's bedrooms and the consenting relationships between adults, i.e., who can marry whom, and sexual choices G/L between consenting adults!!! Private discussions and decisions between a doctor and patient are also out-of-bounds for government meddling, And, if they really believe in 'right-to-life' from pre-cradle-to-grave, then where was the discussion about death penalties in our country? It is so obviously pandering to the Christian religious right for them to push their own religious beliefs on these platforms, when as president, the person is to be the best leader for all our people, all our religions, or no religion - simply to be the best leader period. I am Christian, but I keep thinking of how these presentations would sound if I were not...for example, if I were Jewish, Muslim, or agnostic how would these candidates sound to me? Keep it fair to all, guys, and apply the governmental 'hands-off' to personal freedoms, as well as business freedoms.

    June 13, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  13. Tammy Blosil

    The other day I read someone express his opinion that those that are paying their mortgage do not need help from the government, but those experiencing a foreclosurer or short sale are in need. If you take office what will you do to create a healthy housing market? Specifically, what aid will you render to those that ARE paying their complete mortgage on time even though they are underwater due to the thousands of subprime mortgages. At this rate, these thousands of homeowners who are holding the mainstream together may never recoup our losses.

    June 13, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  14. Liberty Bear

    Ron Paul 2012!!!

    June 13, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  15. BigJohn

    And this is the competition?!!!!

    June 13, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  16. BoneChalice

    So basically Ron Paul is the only Rep. Candidate that wants to bring our troops home? Everyone else wants to continue these wars, meaning increased military spending with money we do not have. I do not get it. We can not stay in these wars forever. No one has a plan but Paul is seems.

    June 13, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  17. Dan

    The 7 Dwarfs...were in real trouble if any of these losers get in.
    Obama will win! God Help Us!

    June 13, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  18. Liberty Bear

    I can't wait to make a large donation to Ron Paul's campaign!

    June 13, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. unfairTaxPayer1

    so basically this group is an elderly group who is so out of touch with the youth in this country it is pathetic, the only thing they relate to is, the elderly and baby boomers. so many questions dodged to ramble on about how obama has failed us, only to take us back to the same ol rep. trash, where are the new ideas. I have a job and a good one tell me how you are gonna get houses back appreciating and you have my vote.

    June 13, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. Aaron

    Great job John King!
    I think Gingerich did surprisingly well. I know he can tick off his own party but he's right about radical right and radical left plans: they don't fly!
    Pawlenty: Completely boring and failure. Not the alternative to Romney.

    June 13, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. alberto

    lol were this new found respect for the constitution comes from? were all this small government talk comes from? they trying to sound more like Ron Paul these are not the same republicans from 2008. Sad thing is that Ron is the only one with the voting record to prove that he can walk the talk. I can't believe Im going to register republican just to vote for him.

    June 13, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. Jason

    I think Dr Paul took the stage and got Newt's attention !

    June 13, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. GuitarGuyInMD

    Wow Ron Paul! I have been eyeing him up the last couple of years and have been very impressed with his humbleness and his knowledge. Is it me or did everyone else come off as used car salesmen trying to sell me a lemon wrapped up in a corvette box. And with our problems, thats ONE HUGE BOX! I think I can say Ron Paul 2012!

    June 13, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. Cathy Cuellar

    I liked Michelle Bachman best. She showed me she has real answers and her conviction comes across loud and clear. I have no doubt she could take on Obama and beat him soundly. I would feel safe and optimistic with her as President. I really liked Cain too, but he seemed a little less knowledgeable. Of all of them, I liked Romney the least. He seems like another one of those politicians who will say anything to get elected and his track record is not the best.

    June 13, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. kyle

    The kill medicare, don't dare touch big oil ,or tax cuts for the rich debate began

    June 13, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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