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. Ed Ward II

    Ben,
    He would absolutely not be against an athiest getting married. He's for freedom. He's saying it shouldn't be up to the government.

    June 13, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  2. Pat

    I listened to the entire debate and kept sayinbg to myself, IS THIS ALL THEY GOT? These are the same policies that Bush pushed and you see what happened to this country. OMG, all of these people are saying the same thing....tax cuts for the rich, cut regulations that Obama just eastablished, get rid of capital gains taxes, change Medicare and privitize social security. I am sticking with PRESIDENT OBAMA WHO SEEMS TO MOVING THE COUNTRY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

    June 13, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. James Glendale

    I love Ron Paul way of explaining things. He makes it easy to vote for him.

    June 13, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  4. bigeasyinneworleans

    None of these candidates could win in a presidential race against Daffy Duck.

    June 13, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. bigeasyinneworleans

    "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?"

    She can't be serious?????!!!!

    June 13, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  6. THill

    It is time for real change. Ron Paul will be the only one up there tonight ready to bring the troops home. He knows that is one of the few things that a president has the right to do. A vote for Ron Paul is a vote to end the wars bring the troops home protect and our boarders. Shrink the federal government to defending our freedom and liberty and let us control our own lives. We don't need big government in everything we do. Besides everything else we can no longer support big Government. Ron Paul is the best choice I have seen. Check his voting record and you will see it is true

    June 13, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. Brian

    If these are the GOP's candidates, I must admit Ron Paul is the only onewho can intellectually debate Obama. From what I read a few minutes ago, Hes also the only man in Congress that opts out of the government healthcare for our elected officials. Rest of these guys can't dance with Obama – very sorry to say.

    June 13, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. Wordwaryor

    Our nation is headed for total disaster, econimically, socially, and politically. We must make a drastic course change now.
    That course change must begin with serious Cutting of Obama's overspending. He must be forced to cut enough to bring our runaway national debt back under control. That means Obama MUST cut spending drastically. Since Medicare and Social Security make up more than 60 percent of the budget .... these programs must be fixed and set upon a sustainable trajectory.
    Ryan's plan would do this .... Other plans would also do this. But unfortunately we have NOT heard a comprehensive plan from the Democrats or from Obama. ONLY the republicans seem to care .... enough to put forth a plan that tries to correct the awful situation Obama has failed to bring our nation out of, and instead has actuallly PREVENTED the recovery process .

    June 13, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. yenwen li

    i w/ derek on ron paul too

    June 13, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  10. Dave

    You're a fool if you think creating "shovel ready jobs" is as beneficial as letting private business create jobs. And I agree, cutting taxes probably won't do that much in creating jobs either. That's why we don't cut the taxes, we abolish all income tax, audit the federal reserve, stop the spending and cut everything we don't need.

    Above all else... READ THE CONSTITUTION!

    June 13, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  11. Ben

    GO DR PAUL!!!!!! The only hope for America!

    June 13, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  12. Daniel

    JIx – In what way do you think that Obama will eat these guys alive? He had it easy with McCain, who was perhaps the worst debater I have seen, but when he is put up against anyone who actually knows what they are talking about he will look like the fool that he is. Obama is not doing anything to move this country in the right direction and if America wants to turn around, we better vote him out and put someone in that will know what they are doing.

    June 13, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  13. stolz321

    Cain has been around a long time and is fresh. We wanted change Obama wasn't able. If we vote for the same old Republicans and democrats we will only get more of the same. I liked Herman Cain. Seemed level headed.

    June 13, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. truthBtold

    I may be just a first year college student..but wouldn't an easy way to create job growth in this country be add a heavy tax on all big bussiness that outsource American jobs..we need to bring back industry to this nation..and were not doing that if an American icon like Levi's 501 jeans are made in bagladesh...Made in America used to be a declaration of superior quality..now it is only a echo of a dead industry...

    June 13, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. John/kc

    The gene pool is running very low in the republican party. No solutions are offered, just criticism. Republicans ran on jobs in 2010, and all we have gotten is attempted social engineering, stop abortion, eliminate grandma's medicare, raise defense spending, cut taxes for the rich and corporations and return to more deregulation, elimination of the EPA, and get rid of health care for everybody. I am so tired of the same old thing coming from a different mouths.

    June 13, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. jon

    Is an extremist figure head the best thing for this country? Sure polarization gets people off the sidelines around elections, but at what cost? Abolishing the EPA? We saw for decades what the "free market" did for public safety when held against the bottom line... not enough. I understand the spoiler effect and the need for diverse opinions, but sometimes I just wish I could see a party with ideas that are as practical as they are probable.

    Let's secure our physical borders, balance our budget, and care for our people.

    ***And if it isn't too much trouble, let's give our soldiers on the ground in IRAQ bullets for their guns!!!

    June 13, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. MEB

    No plans. No answering of questions. This was not a debate. I did enjoy watching Tim Pawlenty squirm when ask to address his Obamneycare comment. It was like back in the day when someone would bring up something you said about someone else and tell you to say it to their face. This was funny, but all in all lacked substance. If I had to pick someone out of this group who was serious, consistent and honest, it would be Ron Paul. But the repubs will not let him get too far.

    June 13, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  18. Nicholas

    In regards to the person saying that churches should decide but feeling disenfranchised since you're an atheist, what he means is the state should only be in the recognizing-contracts business and not imposing it's morals. If your Christian and your church says gays can marry then fine, the government should recognize the contract. If your atheist then you don't have to get married in a church.

    What Ron Paul meant was if we kept marriage to the Church and the contracts to the state we wouldn't have these fights. But he didn't mean it in moralistic way ie. go Christian or bust.

    In sum, Ron Paul believes in states' rights on this issue in the big picture, but within the states he believes in this "division of power."

    Ron Paul 2012

    June 13, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  19. Lisa Haimbaugh

    Whether you are Republican or Democrat, it is important that America wake up. We keep putting the same people in office – professional politicians who tell us what we want to hear and then do the opposite. Newt G and Mitt Romney are the typical good ole boys who are ingrained in the political system. They are part of the problem. I like Michelle Bachman and Ron Paul the most. They buck the system instead of joining it.

    June 13, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  20. Unknown Person

    Pawlenty is not going to win. EVERYONE in Minnesota hates what he did to us. If his own state hates him, he can't win the nation.

    June 13, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  21. Stacy

    No one actually answered any of the questions honestly except Ron Paul.
    He is not at all the typical neocon Republican! Please don't just lump him in with the rest of the fake plastic candidates! Look at his 24 year record in Congress and see how he has always been 100% honest and consistent.

    June 13, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  22. Unknown Person

    Pawlenty is not going to win. EVERYONE in Minnesota hates what he did to us. If his own state hates him, he can't win the nation. Pawlenty is not going to become the republican candidate, let alone be president.

    June 13, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  23. Dave

    @ John/kc – If the income tax for everyone who made a million dollars or more was 100% we still wouldn't cover our national debt. This is why making cuts and NOT adding to more bureaucracy is important. Now if you still don't understand I can explain the cause of the riots in Greece and why something that happened on the other side of the planet should be important to us.

    June 13, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. Rogelio Samorano

    what will the next president do to help felons that really want to work and have a better life? felons havea very hard time making a living for there familys. how can the next president fix that?

    June 13, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  25. Eye of Newt

    One of the candidates reminds me about the dangers of "Putting lipstick on a pig."

    June 13, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40