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. Rev. Marie

    Newt only speaker in history to be reprimanded” and “was fined $300,000 for ethics violations by a Republican Congress.”

    January 19, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Lydia Johnson

    Speaker Gingrich: With all due respect to you regarding your ex-wife. How can the children of your first wife, and anyone else, know what you said to you second wife in private, regarding your asking for open marriage, to include your current, third wife? Our country is already in moral decline, so we certainly need a President in office with integrity and high moral standards which makes this question valid !!!!!

    January 19, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. eshade

    Ron Paul 2012!!!!! He is seriously the only candidate that cares for the American people. He is real, he is not fake like the others. Romney is just another Obama. Gingrich may be cleaver and may have some good ideas but he steals ideas from whoever gets the biggest applause.

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. adog

    there is nothing wrong about having assets in the caymans, his $ is in a blind trust anyway.
    if he didnt he'd be stupid

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. Steve

    Need to invest in America and stop investing in other countries.....stop squabbling over the Keystone pipeline and off shore drilling and just do it so Americans can go back to work!!!!! Start getting the jobs back that were sent out of country!!!

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. Ron Carlson

    Newt keeps using Ronald Reagan as an example of job growth. But isn't it true that since 1979, the median income for that 99 percent of Americans is flat, while Reagan also started the outsourcing of jobs to China. Can Newt explain how China is creating so many jobs and growing at 10% for the last 20 years?

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  7. Tony Simmons

    How can you justify that a congressman can serve one term and receive full pay for life as retirement, but our service men serve for 20 years, putting their life on the line, to recieve a percentage as their retirement., and most american citizens work all of their life and recieve a recompense that is not enough to live on. This is a question for all candidates, and why should citizens let this continue.

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. Patrick

    All of the candidates have stressed that same-sex marriage or civil unions are a "state" issue and therefore do not address the following:

    1) Social Security Benefits can ONLY be give to a same-sex survivor if the Social Security Regs. are changed at a National level, i.e Congress must change this,
    2) The Federal IRS tax code does not allow for a same-sex couple to file Joint Tax Returns. Again, this would require the Congress at a Federal level to change this.

    ?Do the candidates still say this is a state issue? Assuming they do not call it "marriage" do the candidates support changing the IRS Code for same-sex couples and the way Social Security Benefits work?

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  9. Muzyck

    Ha, Ha. Once again Romney stops during an answer to a question because he does not even know what the question was because he went to his talking points. Oh yeah, he thinks that he should be elected because we need someone who is not a politician and is from the streets. Good job Romney, we all know that you are only worth a quarter of a billion and worked your little Mitt of earning it while Obama is playing golf. Oh boy, I hope this guy gets the nomination.

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  10. chris

    Question for Romney: What is the median income in South Carolina, and how do you think people earning those salaries feel about your referring to the $374,327.00 you made making speeches as "not very much"?

    January 19, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. Helena Beckstead

    Former Governor Romney, you are part of the 0.001%, the most wealthy of the wealthy. How can you relate to Main Street that you so often cite?

    January 19, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  12. Jan in Wa. state

    Why is Romney blaming Dems for asking for tax returns-Seems to me it was a republican just asked the question.

    January 19, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  13. Faith

    Gingrich cheated, cheated and cheated multiple times on his wife. If he did this to his a wife, the person he should hold most sacred, what would he do to the nation? What else would he keep secret and cheat on? What political corruption would he hide?

    January 19, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  14. Richard Crandall

    Question for Mr. Gingrich:

    You have spoken of your refusal to "compromise" with the Left, encouraging fellow members of the G.O.P. to bring Democrats toward the right of the political spectrum, rather than meeting them in the middle. If Republicans are able to do this, the distinctions between the Democratic Party and the G.O.P. would by definition be erased. How would you respond to the claim that you are attempting to transform America into a de facto one-party Republican state?

    January 19, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  15. Jaron Park

    Question to all candidates:

    America is a country founded upon the principles of liberty, freedom, and justice. Why are gay Americans not entitled to the same rights as straight Americans, despite these principles?

    January 19, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  16. Kitti

    Why does it matter whether we see the tax forms or not? An accountant does them. Who cares??? Who cares??? If tax forms will lose an election, then you don't have anything going for you in the first place.
    Santorum just made the most honest statement ever..."...there's no one home right now...."

    January 19, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. Ron Carlson

    Reagan created service oriented jobs that paid minimum-wage, while we lost good paying Manufacturing jobs overseas and to outsourcing. What can we do to bring back Manufacturing?

    January 19, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  18. DERRICK REESE

    Question for the candidates. Why should releasing tax statements be important when you should modify the powers of the IRS?

    January 19, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  19. Daniel Dralle

    The back-stabbing and "I I I I" comments need to cease. Ask Each why the individual to their immediate right and left should be the nominee for president.

    January 19, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  20. S. Mautz

    Obama might be playing 90 rounds of golf but Bush was always on vacation. He took more time off than any other President. Wasn't he a republican?

    January 19, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  21. Angie from Arizona

    To All Candidates: Amendment 14 of the Bill of Rights discusses equal protection for ALL citizens. Do you feel this extends to equal protection of personal property including income such that the government should not take the property in the form of income and give it to another select group thereby depriving the 1st group of equal protection of property?

    January 19, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  22. Tim

    oooo can romney spell tax release??? Why didn't he just say no like Ron Paul? How bout a simple answer?

    January 19, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  23. Fernando Blanco

    I am a graduate student in the field of cancer research. My work depends solely on funding from the National Institutes of health and other government agencies, such as DOD and EPA. Would you as president increase NIH funding, which helps researchers and professors keep their jobs and fight cancer and other diseases?

    January 19, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  24. Jill

    Question to all: Why is it that Medicare, a federally funded industry, is ok and universal healthcare is not. What makes our elderly community more important than the rest of us. Why cant we cut social security and have universal healthcare? ( aside from the fact that our elderly vote more than the rest of us so you all cater to them )

    January 19, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. SouthernOregonrealist

    I am so tired of the Elitist Republicans who only care about their Rich friends and could care less about the working people of this country. They don't have a clue what it is like to not be able to take your children to the doc because you have no money even after working several jobs to keep their head above water.

    OH yeah I am pretty sure that Oregon had a State Health Care program that helps keep pregnant women and children without insurance as well as those with health conditions as healthy as possible. Yeah its measured care, but its the ability to get care.

    These guys all make me sick, as long as they make their millions and have their swank houses and say they are Christians in one had and act completely Unchristian in their politics (forget the poor, forget the elderly, forget the children give us our profits!!!)

    Education in this country is low priority, Health care a low priority and caring for each other, forget it.

    They all need pink slips and have to live off minimum wage without their swank houses, and off shore investments for at least a year. Then they can run for office!

    January 19, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52