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. suga

    i cannot believe that they could not state one positive thing about obama

    June 13, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. Imabeliever

    How are we going to make the country work again, Michelle? Specifics please, something our President never discloses.

    June 13, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. John the roofer

    Come on-Bush couldn't do anything with the economy and unemployment from 2004-2008. What makes the 7 dwarts (good one Mary Jo) think they can solve this problem. Maybe the Democrats and the Republicans should sit down and figure out the problems in our country and stop acting like kindergarten kids. In short let's get it together and work as an American Team

    June 13, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. Kenia

    Why aren't all the speakers getting a chance to speak?

    June 13, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. Janus Daniels

    Do Republicans have any policy beyond cutting Obama and taxes?

    June 13, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Toe-D

    look at the main stream media tryin to herd the people away from Ron Paul...

    June 13, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Frank Restly

    Ask them this question:

    Real economic growth over the last 60 years tracks two things – positive trade balance and positive real interest rates. The last time this country had both was 1968. Our trade balance is being hamstrung by an over abundance of U. S. government debt. Real interest rates are purposely being held below zero by the federal reserve.

    The question is this: As the president how would you reduce the outstanding federal debt from 14.3 trillion dollars down to say 10 trillion dollars while at the same time reduce the tax burden in the private sector irrespective of what spending plans are put in place by Congress.

    If any of the respondents answer "cut spending", please tell them to run for Congress (power of the purse) instead of the Presidency. The Treasury Department as part of the executive branch is the financing arm of government to Congress's investment arm. The Treasury Department collects tax revenues through the Internal Revenue Service and issues government debt.

    June 13, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. Jan

    Never forget where these folks ran us in the ditch durin g 8 (!!!) years. Don't believe them and pay attention to Palenty as that is the biggest weasle (Ask anybody from MN!)

    June 13, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    My concern is that they do not know the problems so they cant know the solution.

    June 13, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. Mike Pearson

    This debate is already a farce – too many people on the stage and no serious time to get the answers that people are asking.All we are getting are soundbites and a lot of misleading and factually incorrect nonsense from some of these folks. Despite Kings efforts, too many of these people are not answering the questions being posed and are pursuing their own agendas. In other words, business as usual.

    June 13, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. haulash

    Go Ron Paul!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. Toe-D

    Herman Cain was a Federal Reserve of Kansas city chairman from 92-96 so why does he even trying... he isnt a politician only cause the federal reserve isnt considered part of the government

    June 13, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Kenia

    It's interesting that none of the candidates think the tea-party isn't divisive.

    June 13, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. Rick A Gardner

    Right Wingers from Corporate America have stashed a trillion dollars of Obama stimulus money in Wall Street. When will they begin spending it?

    June 13, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. Chris (NY)

    1 – Anyone that uses the terms "Obamacare" is not getting my vote.
    2 – The free market does not exist in the USA. It's a myth.
    3 – Re-electing Obama/Biden as well as relegating the Republican/Tea Party to the dust bin of history is the objective in 2012.

    So far, Newt Gingrich has made the most interesting point; continuing to watch. Sorry Bachmann, you aren't going to take the country back to the 1950's (or the 18 century for that matter).

    June 13, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. Imabeliever

    Paul just hit it, the weak dollar is getting weaker because the fed keeps printing money. Turn off the presses!

    June 13, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Though i am not a fan of Paul, he says the truth.

    June 13, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. shawn

    What is one positive thing about Obama?

    June 13, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. Chris Topf

    How will you balance the American deficit? How will you entice more companies to manufacture in the United States? How will you lower taxes and oil prices?

    June 13, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. freedom4all

    ron paul is the first to answer a question with a clear answer.

    June 13, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. srichey

    Is it too much to ask that we get a republican alternative, who is intelligent with a strong fiscal policy and won't pander to the social conservatives?

    June 13, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  22. Angie

    As one of their very own (ex-VP Spiro Agnew, R.) used to say, they are all a bunch of "nattering nabobs of negativism." All dissing Pres. Obama yet offering no specific solutions to anything Obama is working on correcting. None, nada, zilch, zip. They've put no jobs' bills out in Congress yet diss Obama for what he's done. All they need now if for quitter Sarah Palin to join them. Then the circus will be complete, a carnival of nabobs lacking in substance and specific and detailed plans. Kids at play in an adult political world.

    June 13, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. suga

    i want to hear solutions

    June 13, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Mike/MASS

    I'd like to see any one of these candidates defend tax relief for oil companies and any other companies that move jobs overseas. And I don't mean double-talk... I want to know why companies like these with decades of record profits (yes decades) needs the hurting American Middle Class worker to pay extra income taxes to subsidize these companies. Please ask someone to explain this?

    June 13, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. Franklin Jefferson

    My question to the Republican candidates is what will you do to make Health Care affordable and accessible to all Americans and how are you going to put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to a decent paying job? Please give a honest answer based upon promises that you are certain that you will keep.

    June 13, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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