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. Keith W. Burleson

    Of the candidates on stage, who is a veteran of the armed forces?

    June 13, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. rob923

    In this GOP debate, why are all of these wealthy candidates pushing tax cuts for corporations as a way to add jobs? I suspect it's because corporations bankroll their campaigns.

    June 13, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. Julia Sanders

    Yes.. What Republicasns will do with the illegals living in the country?

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. Dev

    Sad to see the candidates are just making rhetorical statements. No specifics to create jobs. If low taxes, low govt interference, and everything they wanted were in place during Bush administration why did the economy fall of the cliff in 2008/2009? Why are they blaming Obama for this mess?

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. Nathan

    I really will like CNN to ask the candidates this question. What will they do to address the mortgage crisis. We need homes to live in while looking for work and then hopefully finding a job that can help us maintain our homes. Why hasn't anyone in the republican team addressed the shameful foreclosures. We need jobs, but we also and more importantly ned a place to live and raise families. John, please ask that question.,

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. freedom4all

    3 Questions: How do you create jobs? How do you make sure there is a balance in growth and protection of our financial systems and the environment? How do you keep up the social security benefits that most people have paid into?

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. Steve

    Palin and Bachman can share a ticket as "Dumb and Dumber".

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  8. David

    Please people, look at the mess Pawlenty left in Minnesota. His polices do not work....

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. old easy

    I want to know why Herman Cain has only had two questions in 35 minutes-What's up with that?

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Imabeliever

    Cain and Paul are the two best candidates so far. I want to hear more from them. Cain is the exact opposite of our Prez, who wants to turn this country into a dictatorship, with him as the dictator!

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. BigJohn

    These guys are not debating. They are still using the same talking points that caused them to lose the last election

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  12. Jeepers

    Yay! I'm so excited to see what new made-up "history" Ms. Bachmann has in store for us all. This should be entertaining!

    June 13, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  13. Dev

    BTW – Bachmann looks crazy! Palin sounds intelligent in front of her!

    June 13, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. speakmymind

    I keep hearing the candidates say we need to cut taxes, our taxes are too high. My questions is President Obama extended the Bush Tax cuts and has passed several other tax cutting legislation. If the taxes are too high now, were they not too high during eight years of President Bush term? Why was not talk about cutting taxes, lowering corporate gains, then?

    June 13, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Nenad

    Question to the candidates: We know that all of you, and your cohorts in the Republican party, HATE President Obama and are doing anything you can to undercut his Presidency by destroying the country. Can you name 2-3 Obama policies in which you can agree with the President on or 2-3 areas in which you think he is doing a good job? P.S. stop dancing around the questions and bashing Obama without providing solutions. You are losing even more votes.

    June 13, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  16. Chick Beckley

    My question for each candidate – "Who provides your primary health care? Do you receive any government funded health care?"

    June 13, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Toe-D

    i thought a debate was suppose to be ask a question then give everyone a chance to answer. i mean thats how it is in schools on the debate team. hmmm people must be getting dumb if they believe this is a debate.

    June 13, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. Mark Just

    Obama and Congress did do nothing for immigration.... Deportation only is not the solution. 12 million live in the shadows... Republicans are demagogues too... Anyone with some substantial solution?

    June 13, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  19. T Marshall

    As I watch this "debate", I am shocked how much this party does not reflect the rainbow of America. As an independent, it is not enough to lay blame for everything at the feet of President Obama. As you well know and Ron Paul has stated, for the past decade, we have been living with your party's fiscal policy. In case any Republican has forgotten, it was your party's repeal taxes and lax regulatory principles that caused Wall Street to implode forcing President Obama to engage in the types of policies many people now rail against. I just wish at least one person on the panel would actually answer the questions put before them.

    June 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    None of them get my vote - I've heard enough me me me me me and Obama-bashing. No solutions, just complaints.

    June 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  21. Mike/MASS

    The problem is that no president, whether he's a Democrat or Republican or Independent... can actually create JOBS! Congress (with the president's signature) can only pass bills. Eliminating the EPA or its regulations will only poison our air, water, and forests... is that what we want? Eliminating regulations in Banking caused the financial meltdown and these bozos want to go back there. Crazy.

    June 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Tom Jones Jr

    When will those running for office simply put on the table what they would do and what the results of their ideas will do both in the short term and long term. I am not interested in hearing how they hate another individual and/or their ideas. I want to hear the ideas they have, without comparing to a negative – positive is a word they do not know how to use as a "stand-alone". As well, their dishonesty when it comes to the negatives, they seem to indicate the people in office did it all by themselves... country was great until they came into office – does not match the historical record. End of the day – with the exception of Mr. Cain, they are simply politicians whose self-interest seems to be their primary goal.

    June 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. BigJohn

    You can't run a country and only cater to one side. The only thing these guys have said is what they think would benefit the rich republican party.

    June 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. John

    So far I understand that they're all different from Obama and the Democrats but I find it hard to see any differences between the candidates. While they should emphasise what they think is going wrong they all need to actually say what they will do that the other candidates won't, since they all seem to be agreeing with everything each other says.

    June 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Mark

    we went from an agriculture based economy to manufacuturing based,
    then from manufacturing (because we moved our manufacturing out of the US) to services
    now we are moving services (IT, technology, finance) out of the US (called for any support or service lately?)

    It comes down to taxes and growth – until the Federal govt gets out of the 'spend everything' mode, business will continue to find a way to avoid the overburden of taxation – resulting in jobs going overseas.

    June 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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