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. Amit

    If you become president will you support "quantitative easing" if economy starts to slow or will you let free market take it's course?

    January 19, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. Marge

    Please ask the question to these jokers about passing insurance medicare and medicaid to the states. WAKE UP ROMNEY the states do not have any money so individuals will be left to DIE!

    January 19, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  3. Natalie

    First blood drawn Santorum attacks his cronies. same story different page...."obama OBAMA OBAMMMAAAA ooOOOOooo bama

    Dang he may as well be the man on the cream of wheat box he's so popular with these slicksters

    January 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  4. Denise

    Several Candidates agree with Paul Ryan Plan: The main cuts in the Ryan Plan are Medicare and other Social Programs, Yet a Tax Cut for upper income and corporate interest. Explain that to Seniors: How the Ryan Plan helps them? Does the Tax Cut for Corporations need to be paid for?

    January 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. Dan Lehman

    When Romey talks about ethics then why doesn't he release his taxes, talk about his off shore accounts, his time with Bain, and if its so bad to look at a persons background, then why is it ok to attack the Presidents past and start all of the lies that they have in the last 4 years.
    They want small government except when it comes to fair pay, choice of what happens to their body, who they love, what people say. Make the rich richer and the middle poorer. Look at Romney's tax plan middle gets a 2.5% tax reduction and the rich get a 15.5 % reduction. ina two year period it will cost the federal government ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in new debt. ROMNEY is a joke.

    January 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  6. Michael McGarry

    I also find it strange that Dr. Paul hasn't or isn't being vetted like the other candidates. Why? Does he not have a record of flip flopping, Voting for debt ceiling increases, abortion or other liberal far left Ideologies.? What's up with that? Theway it looks to me is that Ron Paul's record would stand tall against Obama and he wouldn't be able to bring many accusations against him, I don't know?

    January 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Alex Hissong

    If you were president during the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act, would you have signed it with section 1021 intact?

    January 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. Robert Grill

    Several candidates have said in the past, that they want to get rid of the EPA. What is wrong with the idea of having clean air and clean water?

    January 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  9. Christopher Bentley

    What the hell? Let's talk about what the real problem in America is right now. The wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. WHy aren't you all letting Rep. Ron Paul talk? We don't need any more expensive wars!

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Winston

    Question for Romney:

    George W. Bush graduated with a Harvard MBA in the mid-1970s as you did. Based on this background,
    how would you be a different president and in what ways would you use similar policies?

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. Dee

    Ask Gingrich why he is so arrogant in all of his answers.

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  12. Jody Weaver

    As a gay man who has been in a long term relationship with my partner for 9 years, I would like the candidates to explain to me why they want to reduce government's power in our daily lives, yet support the government having power over my personal life, health and finances by not allowing me to be have the same marriage rights they enjoy...

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  13. shelba

    hi i was wondering how you can stand up there and dis obama care when there are millions of american out there who are struggling with medical bills and can hardly afford insurance or are denied because of pre existing conditions. How can you see this and affectivily deal with it because you have your insurance paid for by tax payers for life , How is this fair we pay for your insurance but you wont pay for ares

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  14. john

    IIT is sickening and obvious that you are using the old trick of allowing all mentioned candidates a response in order to reduce the time you give Ron Paul

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. John Burchardt

    Question for the candidates? Would you support a 1% financial transaction tax on the purchase and sale of all stocks and commodities in lieu of personal income taxes? With over a trillion shares passing through the market on a weekly, this could could easily replace all personal and corporate taxes, do you agree?

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. Terri

    For those of you who claim to be Christians, name one of your favorite Bible Scriptures. If you say that you are Christians what do you think that Paul meant when he said in Acts 20: 35- "I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
    Also, since you think that Capitalism is the "only" way, what happened 8 years ago? Who did we get into this situation?

    January 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. Larry A. Conn

    Would you seriously consider a Democrat (or non-Republican) for the Vice Presidential running mate if that person had the best foreign policy credentials over a Republican and do you think this situation would be good for uniting the country?

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. Jose Cooney

    Does the name " the left" equal the Democratic party in The Republican party's collective mind, and do they think the voting public is so shallow that we would swallow this divisive rhetoric while they tear our country apart? Let's work together to solve our nations problems .

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. The Elephant in the room

    Notice how the (greedy old people) don't ever mention the shrub aka GW..funny how eye of newt gets all defensive, I think he's going to have a stroke..I love how if it's al Rethug acting immoral god is forgiven but if it's a Dem. they can't be forgiven or serve office.such hypocrites..I refuse to go back to GWs failed policies.

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. DMAHJA

    Candidates: If you were forced to vote for a Democratic President from the past, who would it be and why?

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. tom thumb

    If you repeal obama care how are you going to make healthcare affordable to everyone?

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. David Wise

    Ask those on medicare (audience and candidates, 3 of whom have government health insurance) if they are so against government run health care if they would burn their medicare cards and pay for their own health insurance and/or health care costs.

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. Mary for Romney

    If you put Medicaid into state hands, how will you assure that proper criteria is used for distribution of funds to each state since some are poorer states than others–this is a real factor when congress repeatly speaks to the states handling certain issues presently being handled by federal govt==it is like schools, each district has different economic issues making it difficuot to just pass this off to the states as a responsibility

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. Marianne

    Tell the audience about corporate welfare and how much of public taxpayer dollars goes to them. Can we avoid becoming the United Corporations of America if we don't end corporate welfare?

    Sweden has a democratic socialist system. Utilities (railroads, banks, etc.) are owned by the government but people have private businesses, too. Why can't that work here?

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. mimi

    The audience seems to be totally lacking in diversity.

    January 19, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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