Live Blog: CNN Southern Republican Debate
January 19th, 2012
09:30 PM ET
3 years ago

Live Blog: CNN Southern Republican Debate

(CNN) - The CNN Political Ticker is live blogging the CNN Southern Republican Debate in Charleston, South Carolina. Check here for live updates throughout the event and be sure to follow @PoliticalTicker, @CNNPolitics and use #CNNDebate.

10:10 p.m. ET - Santorum to Borger: Romney isn't consistent on important issues.

10:09 p.m. ET@cnnlive: CNN's @jimacostacnn gets a response from #NewtGingrich staff on the #CNNDebate during the #CNNPostgame. Live: on.cnn.com/cnndcl2

10:07 p.m. ET – Santorum to CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger: Gingrich was given leadership position in Congress, and conservatives tried to throw him out.

10:05 p.m. ET - @SamFeistCNN: @newtgingrich: I thought it was a great debate. I think @johnkingcnn did a great job. #CNNDebate

10:04 p.m. ET - Gingrich to Anderson Cooper: "I felt we owed it to the people of South Carolina" to release tax returns. "Doesn't [Romney] owe it to Republican voters?"


10:03 p.m. ET
- Newt Gingrich told CNN's Anderson Cooper he thought the debate went well. "I wanted to keep it on big themes," Gingrich said.

9:58 p.m. ET - John King closed the CNN Southern Republican Debate.

9:57 p.m. ET – Santorum said Republicans needed to elect a conservative that can beat Obama in the most important states.

9:56 p.m. ET - Romney said the stakes of this election had never been higher. Said America needed to return to being a "shining city on a hill."

9:53 p.m. ET – Gingrich said Republicans will need to win both the White House and the House and Senate.

9:51 p.m. ET – Paul said candidates needed to talk more about spending and debt. Said debt bubble was "great burden."

9:54 p.m. ET - Candidates are asked to make their case to South Carolina voters.

9:48 p.m. ET - @AriFleischer: My gut tells me undecided SC voters move mostly 2Newt 2nite, but Santo had his best debate. It's still a Rom-Ging race though

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @politicalticker

9:44 p.m. ET - Paul said as a doctor, he had strong views on when life begins. Said Republicans should be looking at funding of abortions.

9:44 p.m. ET @LisaDCNN: CROWD SCREAMS: For Ron Paul to get to talk about the abortion debate as John King about to move on. Someone near me: "let the doctor speak!"

9:43 p.m. ET - Audience booed when Paul wasn't asked about abortion. Paul was given a chance to answer.

9:41 p.m. ET - Romney defended record as pro-life governor. Said his record is solid. Gingrich said as speaker he passed bill ending partial birth abortions.

9:40 p.m. ET
- Santorum said Gingrich had pushed social issues to the back burner.

9:38 p.m. ET - Romney said health law did not pay for abortions. Said his integrity was being questioned.

9:37 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: Gotta love it Romney now calling mass h care Romneycare

9:37 p.m. ET - Gingrich questioned Romney's pro-life stance. Said the health care law Romney passed in Massachusetts paid for abortions.

9:35 p.m. ET - Question on abortion

9:35 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he would issue an executive order dropping lawsuits against states' immigration laws.

9:34 p.m. ET - Paul said we needed to look at the incentives for people to come to the United States illegally.

9:33 p.m. ET - @HowardKurtz: Surprised that Mitt, in hitting pathway for illegal immigrants, isn't reminding folks this is Newt's position. Wants to avoid counterattack?

9:32 p.m. ET - Romney said he had been consistent on immigration, and that he actually agreed with Santorum on the importance of enforcing immigration laws.

9:30 p.m. ET - @DLoesch: Someone give Santorum a picture book of Gingrich's immigration answer, because it flew over his head. Disingenuous.

9:29 p.m. ET - Santorum said Romney had changed his position on immigration. Said Gingrich's position on illegal immigration was the same as President Obama's. Said, "If you want to be an American, the first thing you should do is respect our laws and obey our laws."

9:27 p.m. ET - Romney said illegal immigration was not a tough issue. He said America should build a fence, and ensure employers verify workers' immigration status.

9:25 p.m. ET – Gingrich said he would establish English as the official language of the United States. Said he would modify visa system. Gingrich said he would make process of deportation faster and easier. Gingrich also lauded his "guest worker" plan.

9:24 p.m. ET - Question from the audience: How would you deal with illegal immigration?

9:23 p.m. ET - Paul said he would work on his delivery. Said he might speak a little slower. Said he would continue with his message.

9:21 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he would skip first 3 months of his campaign and begin with an internet-based operation.

Romney said he would "work to get 25 more votes in Iowa."

Santorum said he "wouldn't change a thing." Said being in the final four was an amazing achievement.

9:21 p.m. ET - Question: What is the one thing you would do differently in this campaign?

9:15 p.m. ET - @AriFleischer: I get the sense Romney and Newt pandered on SOPA. Santorum gave the most thoughtful answer.

9:14 p.m. ET - @EWErickson: Thank you candidates for opposing #SOPA #cnndebate

9:13 p.m. ET - Paul said he was glad the bill has stalled in Congress. Said Republicans had frequently been on the wrong side of the issue. Santorum said property rights should be respected, but that the legislation had gone too far.

9:13 p.m. ET - Gingrich: "I favor freedom." Said large companies shouldn't dictate what Americans can do on the internet. Romney said the bill was far too intrusive, and would have a negative impact on the tech industry.

9:11 p.m. ET – Question on SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act). CNN's parent company Time Warner supports SOPA.

9:10 p.m. ET - @ShepherdCNN: Newt Gingrich 2010 tax returns: he paid $994,708 on an adjusted gross income of $3.14 million. #cnndebate

9:09 p.m. ET – Paul said we needed to look at the reasons companies are sending jobs overseas. Said Apple was a good company that still employs thousands of Americans.

9:07 p.m. ET - Santorum said under his plan, Apple would get large tax incentives if they brought jobs back to the United States.

9:06 p.m. ET - Question: Apple has thousands of workers in China. What would you do about that?

9:04 p.m. ET - Romney said he would "maybe" release a few years of his income tax returns, as his father George Romney did when he ran for president. Audience booed. Said he wouldn't apologize for being successful.

9:02 p.m. ET –Gingrich said if Romney had something damaging in his tax returns, he should release them before the general election. Santorum said his tax forms were at his home, and he would release them when he was able to retrieve them.

8:59 p.m. ET – Question from audience: When will you release your tax returns? Gingrich said "an hour ago." Paul said he has no intention of releasing his tax returns, saying he has so conflicts of interest. Romney said he would release his in April when the most up-to-date forms are available.

8:58 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he went back to Ronald Reagan playbook when he was House speaker. Said Romney did very well under rules he put in place. Romney said when he was a businessman he pleaded for Washington to get out of the way.

8:57 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Mitt's dad wasn't exactly Mr. Reaganite

8:56 p.m. ET - Romney said we didn't need someone who had worked in Washington. Points to Gingrich and Santorum as Washington insiders.

8:55 p.m. ET – Gingrich cited more achievements in the House: lowering taxes, gaining Republican majority. Said facts may be "inconvenient" for Santorum's campaign.

8:53 p.m. ET - Santorum said he knew Gingrich's leadership style from his time in the House. Mentioned ethics charges against Gingrich, and said that Gingrich had "an idea a minute."

8:52 p.m. ET – Gingrich defended his record. Listed off achievements made during his time as House Speaker. Cites job creation, balanced budgets. Said "We need leadership prepared to take on big projects."

8:49 p.m. ET – Santorum reacted to Gingrich's claim that he wasn't ready for something on the scale of the presidency. Santorum said his success in Iowa and New Hampshire were evidence of his staying power. Said Gingrich's claims "were not cogent thoughts." Said Gingrich had "worrisome moments when something's going to pop."

8:45 p.m. ET - @JimAcostaCNN: Romney to Santorum: "If you want to be governor of Massachusetts fine." #CNNDebate

8:42 p.m. ET - Paul said Obamacare could be repealed completely. He said he was more concerned about the larger problem of government expanding into individuals' health care.

8:41 p.m. ET - @SamFeistCNN: We will ask @speakergingrich about his tax returns next on the #CNNDebate.

8:40 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he led the opposition to HillaryCare when he was in the House.

8:39 p.m. ET - Newt Gingrich's campaign released 2010 tax documents during the CNN debate, reporting $3,142,066 adjusted gross income and paying approximately 31 percent of that amount in federal taxes, or $994,708. Mitt Romney, much of whose income is understood to be from investments and taxed at a lower rate, said on Tuesday his effective tax rate is "closer to the 15 percent rate than anything," and suggested he would release his documents in April.

8:38 p.m. ET – Romney defended the Massachusetts health care law, said people in the state were better off.

8:38 p.m. ET@jimacostacnn: Santorum on Romney and Gingrich supporting an indiv mandate: These are two folks who don’t present the clear contrast that I do.

8:36 p.m. ET - Santorum said Gingrich was for an individual health care mandate. Said Romney and Gingrich were "playing footsies with the left."

8:35 p.m. ET – Santorum used the Obamacare question to go after Romney for his role in the Massachusetts health care law. Said the law was a model for Obamacare.

8:34 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he thought it would be possible to completely repeal Obamacare. Said he didn't trust Congressional staffs to pick through bill to repeal separate parts.

8:33 p.m. ET - Romney: we have to go after complete repeal. Said he would replace with new bill that offers health care through a market.

8:30 p.m. ET - Question from the audience: Do any of the candidates believe Obamacare can be repealed in its entirety?

8:28 p.m. ET – Romney said veterans benefits should be handled at the state level.

8:27 p.m. ET - Santorum said Obama had cut benefits for veterans, said veterans should be given preference for jobs by employers.

8:25 p.m. ET - Paul said veterans more medical help when they return from war.

8:24 p.m. ET – Question: Should the federal government take steps to lower unemployment among veterans?

8:21 p.m. ET - Santorum said we need to talk about how to get people back to work in the manufacturing sector. Said we need to give manufacturers a leg up.

8:20 p.m. ET - Romney responded to Bain criticism, said "capitalism works." Listed companies he said were successful when taken over by Bain Capital.

8:19 p.m. ET - Romney: President Obama is the biggest impediment to job creation.

8:17 p.m. ET - Q to Gingrich: What was wrong with Romney's tenure at Bain Capital? Gingrich: Underlying model of Bail Capital needs to be explained.

8:17 p.m. ET@david_gergen: Let's be very clear on one point: John King is one of the fairest journalists in the country. #CNNDebate


8:16 p.m. ET
- Gingrich said we need to repeal Dodd-Frank bill. Said need to overhaul the Corps of Engineers.

8:15 p.m. ET - Paul said government needed to get out of the way. Said needed to get rid of some regulations and reduce the income tax.

8:14 p.m. ET - Question from voter: list three more programs to put people back to work.

8:13 p.m. ET - Romney: Let's get on to the real issues.

8:12 p.m. ET - King asks other candidates if personal items from the past are legitimate issues in presidential campaigns.

8:12 p.m. ET@lisadcnn: GINGRICH has them on their feet: says "I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama." People near me roaring, enthralled.

8:11 p.m. ET@streitfeldCNN: And the overwhelming sign of frantic typing fills the media filing center...

8:11 p.m. ET - Gingrich: The story is false.

8:10 p.m. ET - Gingrich says he is "appalled" the first question in the debate was about his ex-wife's interview.

8:09 p.m. ET - Question to Gingrich on interview ex-wife gave to ABC News.

8:07 p.m. ET@AriFleischer: Where's Steven Colbert? I hope he didn't drop out too.

8:07 p.m. ET - Candidates introduced themselves to the audience.

8:06 p.m. ET - John King explained the rules of the debate.

8:04 p.m. ET - Military cadets from the Citadel sang the National Anthem.

8:03 p.m. ET - The candidates are introduced onto the debate stage.

8:00 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: @donnabrazile is sitting with her popcorn getting ready for the big #cnndebate

8:00 p.m. ET - CNN Chief National Correspondent John King opened the CNN Southern Republican Debate.

7:59 p.m. ET - @PaulBegala: #cnndebate about to begin. Any thoughts on what the crowd will boo? Other crowds booed gay soldier, Golden Rule and yelled 'Let him die!"

7:57 p.m. ET - @SamFeistCNN: Moments away from the #CNNdebate in Charleston. http://twitpic.com/89b8a5

7:55 p.m. ET@donnabrazile: Newt hurricane with cane sugar. Santorum Sangria and Paul's Punch loaded with home grown oranges from Florida. Sure miss Perry's bourbon.

7:52 p.m. ET@donnabrazile:What's on your evening menu?#CNNDebate here in Charleston, SC. Lively audience. Rep Tim Scott firing up the base with loads of red meat.

7:51 p.m. ET - @AriFleischer: Larry King moderated the 2000 CNN debate in 2000. Tonight's moderator is John King. Must be a @CNN thing.

7:51 p.m. ET - @TonyFratto: Wondering how @JohnKingCNN will ask the Eyes Wide Shut question tonight. #CNNelections

7:49 p.m. ET - @AriFleischer: Last time I was in SC for a debate was Bush-McCain 2000. (how quaint – only two candidates). Larry King was moderator.

7:48 p.m. ET - @David_Gergen: Talk among pros is if Romney can win debate, he can stop Newt momentum, take SC, put near lock on race.

7:46 p.m. ET @NewtGingrich: Almost debate time. You can follow live updates during the debate from Newt 2012 at http://www.newt.org/debate-central #withnewt

7:45 p.m. ET - @David_Gergen: Excitement building here at Charleston debate. Crucial nite for Romney & Gingrich. John King moderates, join us #CNNDebate.

7:44 p.m. ET - @JohnKingUSA: "Debate tips from a veteran"

7:43 p.m. ET - @EWErickson: I'm in the CNN staff room getting ready for the debate. Big night & the ability to have a more substantive discussion with only 4 on stage.

7:37 p.m. ET - Former candidate Herman Cain to CNN's Erin Burnett: "Voters are sick of digging up facts on someone's past. It's irrelevant!"

7:35 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: NOW: Everyone seated at debate in Charleston, must say CNN gave us radio folks a great spot just in back of audience.

7:31 p.m. ET - @JohnKingUSA: "Why Gingrich's ex is talking to the media:

7:29 p.m. ET - @ShanTravisCNN: just great: my fingers, toes are nearly frostbit in Iowa. my hotel member program emails: "Shannon – use points to Escape to Hawaii!"

7:26 p.m. ET - Sen. Graham: "The wind's at Newt's back."

7:23 p.m. ET - South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront": "I honest-to-God don't know who I'm going to vote for."

7:16 p.m. ET - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrived at the debate hall.

7:09 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: PERRY presence at debate: Empty sad-looking seats.

7:08 p.m. ET - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum arrived at the debate hall.

7:04 p.m. ET - @MittRomney: Tune in at 8:00 P.M. EST for the #CNNDebate (@ Southern Republican Leadership Conference-CNN Debate w/ 7 others)

7:04 p.m. ET - Texas Rep. Ron Paul arrived at the debate hall.

7:00 p.m. ET - @JohnKingCNN goes behind the scenes of tonight's debate.

6:53 p.m. ET - @AriFleischer: If you were a Perry supporter, who are you going for now?

6:44 p.m. ET - @RickSantorum: Please tune in tonight at 8pm ET for the CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Charleston, SC

soundoff (1,288 Responses)
  1. Paul Dreschnack, MD

    I am a surgeon in New Orleans. We have been asked to provide medical care for more and more people. Medicare is reducing our reimbursements. Malpractice insurance is over $100,000 a year. Doctors are going bankrupt. We have to hire more people to do the paperwork. If you repeal Obamacare, what can we expect?

    January 19, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. Jose Rivera

    I hope someone asks the candidates the following question: "We have so much poverty and homelessness in this country...would they support the passing of a law prohibiting the government from sending any money to other countries to help their sick and poor until first all of our poverty and homelessness is wiped out in the U.S.A.?"

    January 19, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Jerry V.

    Personally I applaud Pres. Obama for saying "no" (at least for now) to the Keystone pipeline. That pipeline would only benefit the oil companies who would sell it in the open market where the Chinese would most likely buy it (at least until they can access their own oil in Mongolia). The jobs such a pipeline might create are more than offset by the potential damage to the environment of our country.

    January 19, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. Thomas Klis

    Im a broke college student, yet I can still live within my means, how come the US government cannot?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Anne

    Trade deals killed American jobs. When corporations leave so do personal income taxes, local, state and federal taxes, retirement plans, health care, sick/vacation/holiday pay. Why won't any candidate discuss the loss of jobs that are tied to these deals. Our exports are usually raw materials to these cheap labor countries and cheap goods are brought back free of duty. Why hasn't anyone EVER talked about the $3.5 trillion lost in revenue in the last ten years?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. Geximus

    How is it not Pious Boloney (or Bologna if you want to be formal) for Gingrich to get all up in arms about a fair question that was raised by CNN about his wife's comments, but when Cains women's issues were brought up, that was fair game and did not seem to bother him at all? Why should I trust a candidate who believes I don't have a right to question his integrity?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Josh

    Question to Romney. besides attacking president Obama as you just did. What do you plan on doing About high cost of health care.
    josh,
    Ohio

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Crossword

    I think MItt is scared of Newt. I think Rick really wanted to say something more negative about the "open marriage" thing but he looked at the way Newt was starring at him and decided not to rufflle his feathers anymore. It would be very interesting to see Newt as president. Newt has a temper, when you run for public office your whole life is on stage, it should not be but it is.

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  9. Christopher Pacheco

    Queston to each candidate.

    Where do you stand on the consitutional and the civil rights for law abiding Americans to keep our firearm freedoms?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. Zachary Thurston

    Based on a study released recently by the World Health Organization, the proportion of global abortions performed in an unsafe dangerous environment has increased in the last 10 years. Furthermore, abortions in countries that have strict laws against abortions have not decreased, and actually increased in certain cases. Would you support stricter laws regarding abortion in the United States, or encourage increased access to safe abortions?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. Natalie

    If I was tortured into voting for Repub it would be ron paul for sure.

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. Tanya From Myrtle Beach SC

    I have a question for all of the candidates. If Kennedy had passed the NDAA would Martin Luther King Jr. have had the chance to lead the civil rights movement? Do you think he might have been held as part of a radical organization?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    So Newt BLAMES the president for HIS infidelity? Are these fools so insecure about Obama they think he's in their bedrooms also? I wouldn't vote for ANY of these clowns. When will they learn THEY ARE TO BLAME FOR THEIR OWN DOWNFALL.

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Arlene

    Only one thing: Media...meet Newt! He says exactly what most of us want to but have no voice
    .

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. R.D. Leffler

    To: all candidates
    IN RE: Funds

    Do you think your organization has enough money in this campaign to defeat Obama?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. Derrick

    What specifically will you do to reduce the almost double unemployment rate in our African-American cities? Will you at least visit one during your campaign?

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  17. Judith DeLorenzo

    Newt Gingrich claims he is the best candidate to debate President O'Bama.

    o How can Newt defend himself on family values, when President O'Bama clearly has Family Values?
    o How can Newt defend himself on Jobs, since the only jobs he help create was family jobs, whereas Gov. Romney has created jobs in the private sector.
    Newt has not defend capitalism and showed envy towards Gov. Romney for his his ability to create and profit from capitalism and clearly Newt is a Washington insider.

    o Newt doesn't want to talk about his apast and defers it to his daughter, that's a coward's way out and your can't pin him on anything he would have said. At the same time, he want to go back to Romney's Past at Bain Capital

    o In previous debates, Newt has discussed what his superpac is reviewing on the 28 min. Anti- Romney Ad, which he should be involved with at all.
    o

    January 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. John Board

    Candidates: What will you do about education reform in America? Our future is education. Education will produce Jobs. Jobs leads to a strong economy. BOTTOM-LINE QUESTION: Would you support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and
    Mathematics) based education?

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. ELN

    Question for Newt Gingrich: How did the media help President Barrack Obama or "protect" him when he was running for office in 2008? He (President Obama) received the same amount of questions about his background just like the republican presidential candidates are today. It seems to me the candidates do not have minorities or women on their "to help" list. I am so tired of hearing about the president being a food stamp president. There are just as many white people on government assistance as any other race. We need the facts, not lies. I hope John King will relay my concerns. Thank you.

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. t bo

    question for all...

    How can we improve the country's debt-to-gdp ratio?

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. Eileen Jones

    Sorry about the run on words in my previous E-Mail,keys are sticking.

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. Christian

    I would like to ask to the candidates.. Is it fair that millions of Americans are unemployed, lost their homes, and veterans are fogotten.....yet do we need to focus on illegal immigrants??? Or should we focus in our weakling economy??

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  23. Michael Plowman

    Please ask the candidates if they are available for government Pensions. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney neither one accept pay checks for government service

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  24. DERRICK REESE

    Question to Mr. Romney. When you say free enterprise, do you mean the freedom for companies to outsource more services to foreign countries?

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. Ben

    A disturbingly large portion of the arguments coming out of both of the two major political camps has been increasingly negative in recent elections, and there seems no reason to expect that to change between now and November. How can the winner of the presidential election, be it Barack or one of the gentlemen speaking tonight, hope to lead the half of the country they spend the next ten months insulting?

    January 19, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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