Live Blog: CNN Southern Republican Debate
January 19th, 2012
09:30 PM ET
2 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. Pat Wilver

    To all candidates:

    If elected president, do you have plans to work to repeal unconstitutional laws such as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, and if so, how do you propose to do so?

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. Paul

    I am so tired of morally bankrupt politicians especially Newt Gingrich who calls himself a christian. He has cheated multiple times and married 3 times. Me and my partner are fighting for the right to get married just once. Please...

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. DERRICK REESE

    Enough! Question for the candidates. What will be the new aims for the U.S. under your administration as President?

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Elke98

    To all the candidates: How long do you think it will take for your plans to take full affect. Also, please, stop the jabbing at each other, it is not pleasant.and you all need to focus on our country and not yourselves.

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. Victoria Christie

    Question for Gingrich: If his past congressional duties as Speaker were o successful, why didn't he run for President then? Santorum actually just stated the facts: gingrich was not successful and was "run out of town" for being a problem!

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Edward

    They want to cut services to the poor but not once have I heard any of the candidates talk about cutting the salaries of the House of Representatives, the Senate or the President and all their aids and staff...all should be cut by 50% immediately, in fact all government workers should get a cut in salary before any services like Medicare or Social Security are cut.

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. Tina Brown

    How about a debate without an audience. No clapping or pandering. Newt has been fined for his shenanaghins. Please stop acting like you are without crime. If all of the convicted, fined and immoral people were thrown out of the Congress we could probably get a lot more done. All of them owe their existence to the PACS. Not one of them seems to care about Americans, legal Americans.

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. Lila

    Politics in the United States seem to be increasingly polarized; the votes in the House of Representatives are often all of the Democrats to all of the Republicans (And they call it bi-partisan!). As president, would you address this?

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  9. Alec

    Let Ron Paul talk already not only are these debates clearly bias the idots talking are completely fighting like little kids over candy

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Terry

    Manufacturing in the US is up 30% in dollar value in the last 10 years through automation and productivity. Ask how the candidates propose to reskill our outdated workforce.

    January 19, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. DBisbee

    Hey CNN, I think it time for some fact checking!

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  12. rick

    This question is for Newt. I know a lot of families that want to work and get off government assistance but cannot make enough to make ends meet due to the fact that they will lose their health insurance and food assistance for a job that does not offer nor pay enough to make it worth going to work. They are better off financially to stay on the government benefits. What will you do to solve this problem if elected as President of the United States?

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. Evelyn Sanders

    To the Candidates: I am a single mom of 3 and am disabled on medicare and medicade,I recieve $445 a month and can't live so I work part time and miss work some days due to my disability.I get penelized for making $400 a month working. So, due I get thrown out to the dogs?

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. toby

    Debates are very useful. I have decided to vote for John King.

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. Tyler

    what more is there to say? there is no person on this stage who is saying....anything? Ron Paul is the only human being on that stage (moderators included) who has any integrity

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Greg

    The real disgrace regarding the first question to Newt was his inability to accept his own actions and explain to the audience what had occurred. Character DOES matter and Newt has demonstrated a great deal of arrogance and hypocrisy (his own affair during the time he was villafying Clinton). I have no doubt a non partial psychologist would have strong opinions regarding him in any leadership position.

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. Randall

    Regarding illegal immigrants, everyone talks about the southern boarder, but how can we feel safe knowing that the 9-11 attackers entered through Canada. Why are we not looking to shore up our northern boarder as well as the southern.

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  18. Jan in Wa. state

    Romney NEVER answers the question asked of him. What a joke.

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. Michael McGarry

    Wish the moderator would ask Mitt Romney, why he is such an advocate for War, when he himself dodged the Vietnam War using Mormonism as justification. If as commander in chief he wasn't willing to die for his country, how can he lead the troops to give their lives for their country. As a member of the military, I think we need an answer to this.

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Gingrich himself was among the 450 members of the House who had engaged in check kiting; WHICH IS FRAUD, he had overdrafts on twenty-two checks, including a $9,463 check to the Internal Revenue Service in 1990.

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  21. Norman Riebe

    Question for Congressman Paul. Isolationists before WWII said that what happened in Europe would not affecf the United States. Mr. Paul has said that we should not interfere in Iran and other parts of the Near East. We all know what happened in Europe and the world. Can Mr. Paul explalin how his Foreign Policy differs from those isolationists?

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. Montana Frank

    Again ignorance has been expressed at this debate , The USPS is not part of the Gov't, no subsidies, and the problem is that we hired a private sector capitalist who makes $800,000.00 per year ...twice than the President of the US makes plus a parachute at the rate payer expense. You just angered 700,000 employees.

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. Mike

    A question I would like someone or for that matter some Party to address is does the Canadate Have Enough Morals and Ethics or Moxxy (whatever) to Stand Up for the Middle Class against the Special Interest and Lobbyists that Are Pulling on BOTH ends ( left and right wings) and "Streaching" the Middle To Almost Break. If the Middle Class could be "Represented" I believe that "Representation" of the Middle Class would take into account of the needs of the Special Inertest and Lobbyist, but with the a Middle Class Approach. Do any of these Canadates ( either side ) Actually Represent the Middle Class?

    January 19, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. Stan Riley

    Question to all candidates: China has made it clear they will defend Iran from a US military attack. Knowing this, if Iran closed the Strait of Hormuz, would you still order a military attack to have it reopened?

    January 19, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. Murali

    What would candidates do to reduce cost of education?

    January 19, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
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