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. Name

    Love Michelle. ...She is very smart and , think she did great tonight....i was very impressed ...!!

    June 13, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  2. Ben

    Normally I like Ron Paul, but I was disturbed about what he said about marriage. He said that the government should step out of the marriage business and leave it to the churches. So does this mean that someone like me, an atheist, shouldn't have the right to get married?

    June 13, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  3. Paul

    Romney doesn't creat jobs he ships them overseas.

    June 13, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  4. Barry from Wisconsin

    What a pathetic group. It really displays how the Republican Party has been captured by right-wing nut cases. All seven of them – together – are well below the President in intellect and ability.

    June 13, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  5. Barrett Blackard

    Ask them if they can explain to us why manufacturing jobs left our country, if you don't know what caused the problem you can't fixit?

    June 13, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Romney: "We need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and pass Afghanistan to the Taliban Military"

    June 13, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. Ryan

    Ron Paul. Period.

    June 13, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  8. SteveNYC

    It was great to finally see serious discussion about some of our problems as a country. Only one or two of these folks has a decent shot at the nomination, but they all share a real desire to bring fiscal sanity back, end these suicidal deficits and unprecedented expansion of entitlement spending. The only way to bring America back to full strenghth is to stop the class warfare and let the earners/producers keep a fair share. Our progressive tax rates punish success. "Rich" people pay more than their share The stimulus costs more than the wars do.

    June 13, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  9. TONY

    Ron Paul is the only one i would vote for the rest is like watching a cartoon until Paul spoke and snap me back in to reality RON PAUL 2012 or were done

    June 13, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  10. oldsoldierboy

    When you can't even say who you would pick as a running mate that tells you all you need to know. They are already indecisive. These people have known each other for years already. They should have had an answer to that question. I guess it's hard to separate from each other when everyone is saying the same thing.

    June 13, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  11. Jeff

    how can any person with brains vote for these idiots. they are devils in business suits.

    June 13, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  12. Lets talk about solutions

    Instead of ripping President Obama maybe they should tell what they are going to do for the US. I am so tired of the smoke and mirror scene. Pointing the finger is not the answer. We need solutions not insults.

    June 13, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  13. Kenneth

    Here's an idea. Let's tax the poor. Everyone seems agreeable to the idea of taxing the rich, but if we tax them too much they won't be rich anymore and then what do we do? So let's tax the poor and we can catch them on the way down. Am I making any sense? I didn't think so.

    June 13, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  14. always amazed

    michelle doesn't stand a chance.

    June 13, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  15. jean

    Bachmann suggested an American Idol type of contest to choose the administration. Did she not comprehend the question, or does she not understand what the administration does?

    June 13, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  16. Person

    Romney: "We need to bring back troops back to pass Afghanistan to the Taliban Military

    June 13, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  17. Paul

    The people on the right need to take a good look at Romney he was for gay marriage, then against was for the AUTO bailout then against, and then pro life and then against, need I say more.

    June 13, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. beckyd

    I would say that the winners were in this order: Pawlenty, Cain, Ginrich, Paul, Romney, Bachman, Santorum

    June 13, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  19. Dan S

    God help us if any of these 7 losers get in.
    The problems we have today are all about the greed of Republicans. Bush caused all the financial problems we have today.
    No one wants to here what Obama inherited. However its like 2.5 earthquake vs a 9.5 earthquake. Bush left us with a 10.0
    Think people...no President could fix these problems in 2 years, you could fix a mid size company in 2 years. Give this current President a chance...he is the best think that happen to us in 08. Unemployment would be 30% if we let our big companies fail...Most have paid it all back already! Think!!!!! PLEASE!

    June 13, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. Darren

    I watched the debate. I wanted to see what they were all going to say... Here's the full meal deal. Almost all of them acted and behaved the same way. Their answers, were in effect not real answers. They wasted most of their talking time, leading up to an answer... but, never giving an actual answer. Am I the only one that sees this? Basically, there were only 2 people up there that really said something; Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul was the only one that actually started giving real causes – effects – solutions to the questions asked!

    This has to stop being a political glad-handing bs contest. This has to become real at some point. The people have to make a choice between reality and reality tv. Which one is going to win here? And really think on this one hard, because this is for all the marbles and it seems like everyone is ready to lose their's... or already has.

    June 13, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. Human

    Gingrich is the next Mccarthy

    June 13, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  22. Felix

    I think Paul meant let the states decide on marriage.

    June 13, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  23. truthBtold

    I agree completely with derek, while Ron Paul is asking for answers...the rest of the republicans are dodging the questions like bush dodges a flying sandal..bottom line..although i dont see eye to eye with all of his issues..Paul is the only republican that isn't in bed with big bussiness..and can bring true positive change to the republican party...and a true political adversary to Obama.

    June 13, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  24. Mike

    Sad that if many people would agree that private jobs can contribute to tax revenue not gov't jobs. Gov't jobs do not turn a profit they only take from profit to operate. The true revenues come from the private sector. IF more PRIVATE jobs are create by bringing business back to the USA, then more companies with less opressives regulations can pay for more employee health care.
    Having a 90% private employer and 10% goverment employer would build up the revenue with actual tax collection.
    Right know having 60% private employers and a 35% goverment employeer with a mine set of that there is still 90% taxable companies out there is reckless. So the current solution is not to tax the remaining 60% private business with more taxes and higher income taxes to pay for all the unemployed and goverment workers.

    We really need a candiate that is focus on letting cutting restrictions on private enterprise and LET IT GROW and invite business back to the USA from overseas. IF they let them grow and higher people and pay for the health care that is less taxes that the goverment has to collect to care for the remaining people would truely need assitance.

    June 13, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  25. Jlx

    There better be a wild card in here somewhere. Obama is going to eat these guys alive.

    June 13, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
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