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. Derek

    Ron Paul is the only one of the Republican candidates worth voting for, all the others are Neoconservatives who will keep the wars going forever – thereby bankrupting the country

    June 13, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. Michael

    Should be lights out for the republican party and the democrats too – they both gave Bush/Cheney everything to help get us here. Trillions spent – and we will still be in Irag in 25 years. The low hanging fruit is: actual health care reform, military colonialism throughout the world. The people have sheepled in the last decade and they are watching a runaway train with these 2 parties. We have built huge layers onto a federal bureaucracy and a larger military than at the height of the cold war yet second hand smoke is far more deadly than terrorists. We need a much smarter voter!

    June 13, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  3. jean

    8:48 Paul says that housing prices need to go down. How much more does he think they should drop? Has he been asleep? That would be just what we need right now...even more homeowners underwater.

    June 13, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. BigJohn

    I think Paul could be strong on the Republican nomination side but it would be very tough for him to win over Obama. Paul is a likeable guy however but I wouldn't vote for him over Obama.

    June 13, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. koga001

    Another great victory for Dr. Ron Paul. His message of strong economy, non-intervention in foreign nations and the idea of lead by example not by decree once more shows that he is the best man for the job of President.

    June 13, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  6. IowaHistory

    Results are very clear (whether on Medicare/Soc. Sec, or immigration, or women's privacy, or affordable care for the lowest 80% of Americans) -- Obama Cares - and many Democrats and legacy Republicans...but no one in this crew.

    One good thing...the scary negative future painted by the doom-gloom Republicans and tea party will increase personal savings and pull 20% of income out of the market. Republicans also will end the home ownership dream of a century of Americans as a majority of adults move to be life-long renters and leave home ownership to the top 1-2% of American citizens and foreign company executives, such as Exxon, Conoco, AIG, ING, etc.

    June 13, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  7. Name

    Why won't these candidates answer the questions?

    June 13, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  8. Paul

    The free market got us in to this mess.

    June 13, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  9. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

    If you want the US run on Ayn Rand's blueprint, then by all means vote for Ron Paul. As for the rest, they couldn't light a 100-watt bulb in a lightning storm!

    June 13, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  10. yenwen li

    Came here from Taiwan 5 years ago and finally now I am a citizen. I really like that very old guy Ron. He is very differnt from other peoploe. I can easily see others are all kissing up but that old guy is very sincere and feels like he relly care about usa and wants to fix the problem

    June 13, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. DB

    Really? In the middle of an economic disaster we get a bunch of judgmental social conservatives who want to legislate morality (Ron Paul excluded)? I have high hopes for Jon Huntsman.

    June 13, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. ReeferPower

    I like Romney for Pres. Pawlenty for VP.

    June 13, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  13. Justin

    As I analyzed the debate I came up with the following evaluations for each candidate:

    Herman Cain: Clearly a fake. The only candidate who is not able to answer ANY questions specifically. He simply repeats the usual Republican talking points than anybody listening can do.

    Tim Pawlenty/Mitt Romney: The most sensible out of the candidates however like the others, there social policies are too heavily weighed on religious beliefs. Rights for all Americans (gay or straight) should never be ignored/removed based on religion.

    Michelle Bachman/Santorum: Both have radical personalities and delivery. In addition Bachman proves that she does not have the right toughness to be a president of a world power. Santorum's facts are consistently wrong and therefore his policies are flawed. Santorum's religious beliefs will also be an issue.

    Ron Paul: The most honest candidate and answers specifically/detailed on every question asked. Does not double talk, does not deliver inaccurate facts, does not flip flop. Too bad almost every single one of his policy beliefs is troublesome/dangerous (Ron Paul = no government).

    Just my opinion as I saw it.

    June 13, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  14. libertylibertyliberty

    Ron Paul won debate hands down!!!

    June 13, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  15. Jason

    People need to remember that Reagan lowered taxes and (wait for it) INCREASED revenue. They also need to remember that debt increased anyway because he didn't know how to veto anything. Romney deserves a big 'no'.

    June 13, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  16. Sevres Blue

    Seriously? This is what they've got? Uhhhhh. I'll take door #8

    June 13, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  17. Ramrod

    Seven losers trying to out-do each other serving the rich and placating the US public with double talk. The simple fact is that too much wealth in the hands of a few creates depression. This happened in 1929, it happens in Mexico and it wil happen here. Reagan-Bush tax cuts lowered the taxes for the rich who took the money to Dubai and Malasia to buy up real-state. These seven lackeys don't understand that economic oppression creates a climate for revolution. It will come soon just like in the Arab countries.

    June 13, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  18. Paul

    Romney is a fake be careful Mass. was 47th is job creation when he was governor, and he takes two sides on every issue.

    June 13, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  19. John Cole

    I guess this is what to expect in a campaign. Hello guys! and ahh ... lady, We've done this stuff over and over and over again. What you did back during Clinton's time was to destroy the protections set up during the Great Depression era. The bases of monetary value is gone thanks to your efforts to turn everything into a gambling casino. All of their proposals point the same way, right down the drain to equal what an average American earns with the rest of the developing world. Now I know why Republicans are depressed. Whatever happened to the 5 percent saving accounts boys and girls. At least the middle class could earn that; not any longer.

    Over simplistic solutions where businesses are supposed to bring us out of this recession isn't going to do what these folks want us to believe. Sounds good as a sound bite. Short sighted solutions such as cutting taxes is more likely to bring chaos instead with more individuals tightening of belts further. Enough with trickle down! Too much power with too few is what brought on the Great Depression. It's happening again! We need to diversify our economic base.

    June 13, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. Sevlen Standefer

    i was brought up democratic and by a vietnam veteran, but ever since i was brought upon Ron Paul it really changed my perspective. RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012!

    June 13, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  21. aaron

    The only honest person up there is Ron Paul. Bring our troops home and fix our corrupt system Ron we believe in you.

    June 13, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  22. dee bradford

    I know all politicians lie, but the Republican candidates lie so much they insult my intelligence. From Newt to Romney to Pawlenty to Bachmann (Sarah Palin in queen of all lies) – none of thiem can speak the truth about anything. I could never vote for someone who constantly lies. That means they will lie about anything. They bash Obama, but have not brought anything worhtwhile to the table. They're all worthless! And with this economy – we cant afford to take such a hugh risk. Atleast Obamas trying something. What are they doing to help people struggling? What are their plans, other than get rid of Medicare? Useless!

    June 13, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  23. Paul

    They need more choices.

    June 13, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  24. Robert Meyers

    Ron Paul 2012!

    June 13, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  25. DB

    Soon Jon Hunstman will officially announce. He is the only hope for defeating Obama.

    June 13, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
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