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. allen

    just like in 2008 Dr. Paul sound like he understands, and everyone else are jsut saying what they want people to hear to get elected. sound familiar???? OBAMA...change all we need is change!

    June 13, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. Mikayla

    Wow, that was a very sporadic debate. Watched it with a special education teacher and she replied, 'Yeah, this debate has what they call 'ADHD.' Maybe a little too much jumping and not enough continuation of thought, or progressive conversation... or availability and fertile ground for the percolation of interaction between those on stage. That's all I have to say about that one... RON PAUL 2012.

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

    Thank you CNN for putting Ron Paul on first after the debate! I'll watch CNN all day if they say positive things about Ron Paul!

    June 13, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Robert Goodyear

    wow very disappointing debate. Mr.Cane and Mr.Gingrich letting their Muslim voters down. All people should have the same rights as every other American. Using religion as a factor for employment is not a characteristic that a presidential candidate should hold. Not only Muslims but all religions should be able to live their lives freely without any discrimination.

    June 13, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Roger Gains

    Ron Paul is the only one that makes any sense up there. All of the others, including Paul, want the government out of the economy and want the free market to reign. But then everyone except Paul turned around and said that the governemnt should continue its global presence everywhere and continue to police the world. If government intervention doesn't work in the economy then it shouldn't work in foreign countries, especially in the Middle East.

    June 13, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  6. Zach

    How is it that Ron Paul used to deliver babies but they dont ask him his views on abortion???

    June 13, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. Lee

    Repubs except Paul will never actually touch MediCare. They are the ones who championed it in the first place, to buy the senior vote. They can't win without that.

    June 13, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  8. Imogene Gordon

    I cant believe any one of them could get up there and debate with a stright face knowing they are lying.they will say anything you want to here just to become president so they can play robin hood take from the poor and give to the rich,i'm sorry but that just the way it is.just ask them union people.please dont trust them.if you don't want to vote for OBAMA vote for any one but them repubs.oen your eys people.remember every time obama tried to pass a bill they would block it from begainng t end.dont do it.dont vote for them.

    June 13, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  9. Nigel Tufnel

    Well, I say grow the economy at 10%...if it is so easy to just say so.

    June 13, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  10. psi

    Actually, all losers except Ron. He was the only one with class and coherence.

    June 13, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  11. BigJohn

    I'm an independent. Welcome back to office Mr. President Obama!!!!

    June 13, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. Rebecca Adcock

    LOL.....Conservatives won't be happy with Newt, funny part is he makes some sense. You need to listen to the public. If the public isn't happy maybe you should slow down..........Amen!

    June 13, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  13. Anthony

    Ron Paul is the only one who served the military, who answered questions directly, stressed that RIghts belong to the Individual not to Groups! What a great statement! Nobody could touch him during the debate.

    June 13, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. Zazoo

    What a candidate says they're going to do isn't as important as looking back at what they've done in the past, what they've voted for and against. That's when the TRUTH comes out. Ron Paul has never flip-flopped, he has always meant what he says and does what he says. This man's not just telling you what you want to hear to get elected, he truly is FOR THE PEOPLE and not working for the 'Bilderbergs' like Romney and Gingrich.

    June 13, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. Rebecca Adcock

    Ron Paul makes a lot of sense on his stance on foreign policy. Sad thing is his party will want to cut him off at the knees.

    June 13, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. Ron from Minnesota

    What I was struck by, struck like a bolt of lightening, was that aside from Herman Cain I did not see any person of color or ethnicity in the audience or at the townhall meetings. This looked like a T-Party rally rather than a cross section of New Hampshire. DO NOT be fooled if you are of color or a ethnic ninority, the Republical party cares nothing about you or your concerns as citizens of this country.

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

    I don't think people realize how different Ron Paul is from all the other typical, kissing babies, saying 9/11 a few times, and thanking the person who asked a question politicians that were in the debate tonight. Many of them were fake, and it was clear, but Ron Paul truly cares about our country and the people who live in it. He's not even a mainstream Republican. He's a Libertarian who is running as a Republican because of bi-partisan-ism. If he ran Independent everyone would have ignored him because the news just feeds endless mainstream information into the people's minds and they accept it! Ron Paul is who we need right now. Then people go, "well he's too old", and "he looks like an elf", but does that even matter? He has a good heart, and is a moral, ethical leader who can restore this country and make it into America, the land of the free. Don't put Ron Paul in the same category as these other guys (and girl), and also don't let the news influence you and manipulate your opinion! Focus on the true issues. Ron Paul did that. He never, at any point, spent half of his talking time thanking the person who asked the question, or rambling on about things he did, or bringing up things that every other typical politician brings up. He was straight forward, honest, real and he wants to lead a successful "REVOLUTION".

    June 13, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  18. E_V

    I've never voted republican (I've only been voting since 2000 though...) but I could vote for Paul. At least he's got enough integrity to say what he thinks instead of parroting talking points and pandering to the fringe element.

    June 13, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  19. Brian

    Ron Paul reallyi won this debate. He answered the actual questions he was asked... and knew his stuff! New supporter here!

    June 13, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  20. Nodack

    As a person that has really grown to detest the Republican party over the past 12 years I must say that out of all of these guys Ron Paul is the only guy I have any respect for and would have any faith in as President. He is the only guy that doesn't come across as a Politician.

    June 13, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  21. GL

    Republicans continue to sing that same old tax cuts song.

    June 13, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  22. william fitzwater

    With what little that I did watch I finally realized something there is no hope in a polarized electorate like this both side blaming each other for the PROBLEMS both sides created. This country is going down and both sides are blame and neither has ability or desire to try and fix what is wrongdoing both want to have it their own way pin the blame on others and project problems onto other but themselves ; not good. Memory is selective both side misrepresented many fact .
    I wish there was a 3 rd party to throw all these bums out. I love our President but I feel his job is now that punching bag . In other words scapegoat in chief. If the president is a republican the democrats will go after him/her if a another side so on . Does any one want to work together to fix country rather saying its other sides fault. We need a 3 party. I saying this in a sense as a disillusioned democrat but I wouldn't cast my vote for those people.
    I watch to realize what I'm up against and as long as serious 3 party ; to keep my support for the President . May be they won't tar & feather me for liking Affordable care act .
    We saw the opening of selective memory & cherry picking the facts theatre. I don't what that group in the white house.

    June 13, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  23. Dave

    When applied directly to the brain, Ron Paul instantly cures socialism.

    June 13, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. Bob Marshall

    I was very disappointed with most answers. They seemed to be rehearsed although i know that couldn't be. I like Ron Paul but i am afraid those in power would make sure if elected he wouldn't be there for long. too many of these canidates are CFR members. Their cabinet and administration would be filled with CFR,TC and BB members. Just like Carter,Clinton, Bush and now Obama. If i thought a woman would be respected by the World leaders Michelle Bachmann has good values and seems patriotic. Obama promised change! What he really meant was going from capitalism to socialism form of government.

    June 13, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. Michel

    I bet more people watched the hockey game

    June 13, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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