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. Eddie Cruz

    the Veteran Affairs is taking 125 days to process disability claims and over three years to deicide appeals. How would you decrease th time it would take for veterans who put in Veteran claims for service connected diabilities to have their claims solved? is it right for injured Veterans to have to waited over one thousand days to recieve help from the Veteran Affairs for their injuries?

    January 19, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  2. Jackson Whitaker

    How do the Republicans reconcile their stance on entitlement programs with Matthew 25 and still consider themselves the Christian party?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. Mike McNary

    Question to all candidates: If you had been president in 1964 how would you have handled the war in Vietnam?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  4. Brian

    Newt how can you say Palestinians are an invented people when the Israeli nationality didn't exist until 1948,when most Jews didn't live in historic Israel/Palestine for over a millennia and a half before 1900, when most nationalities around the world didn't exist until post-WWII decolonization? Does this mean there's not Syrian or Libyan or Rwandan people?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  5. dana

    Santorum is a sterile candidate as he really has nothing to saw, Paul is insane, Romney is a white with less standing than Obama, Newt has faults but he is the most experienced to maybe help this country. If he isn't nominated then I will vote for Obama and to hell with the holier that thou Christians.

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  6. Bob

    Romney would have "worked hard" to get 25 more votes in Iowa? Ha! Doesn't this guy have little bundles of cash that he hands out to people? A few coins for the peasants in exchange for their loyalty? Romney "gets it" about as much a Marie Antoinette did when she said "Let them eat cake".

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. Natalie

    Why can't Mitt-en just answer the question without all the nonsense?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. Chad Gleissl

    how would you help the teenaged entrepreneurs that would help the adult of the future.

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. Dave Peters

    What is your position on the U.N. Small Arms Treaty that both Hillary Clinton and President Obama have agreed to in principle?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. John

    You always criticize Obama, but what can you say about the republican controlled congress which has one of the lowest approval ratings in history?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. Migs

    I understand the Republican platform is that President Obama is a failure, what I would love to know is that, in a list as long as they have put forth, would the canditates include the killing of Osama Bin Ladin, the end of the Iraq war which consequently put an end to our troops' casualties and death and stop the money wound infection in that part of the world, the guarantee that no one can get denied for medical care and assistance based on pre-existing conditions through the Health Care Bill and the extension of coverage for young up to 26 years of age, the saving of the auto industry, the prevention of a second depression, as well as the prevention of thousands of job loss and the creation of many more?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Chris TX.

    Most American embassies see visa seekers as potential immigrants to the United States. So if people cannot have visas to come to the US why are we talking about tourism as a source of job creation?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  13. Nick

    Obamaisspying, you know that how? Anyone can throw any mud but it will not stick unless you have proof. LOL.

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. H. Carter

    Question for all candidates:

    What will you do to help the insured get health insurance? Why should I vote for a Republican?

    January 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  15. Jared Lofland

    Would the solution to correcting revenue deficiencies and preventing income tax increases be to do the following?
    Level line Federal Income Taxes – meaning that you can't get back more than you pay in; either through credits or deductions. Ex. You paid in $5000 in actual income taxes you can only get $5000 back and not your $5000 and another $3000 in credits.
    Currently the larger percentage of Americans pay little or no taxes and many get significantly more back than is paid in; shouldn't get paid to live in the United States.

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  16. mac gardner

    No one pays Social Security withholding on income above $106,800 income. How can we expect to keep SS solvent when the rich are given welfare by paying no tax on their income?

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  17. Russell Shelley

    i keep hearing social security is putting such a great drain on our national dept when if the goverment was to pay back to the social security fund the money its taken out an did not replace there would not be any issue of social security to the national dept??

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  18. Dave

    Newt needs to be asked the following: What was the reason for Newt to recommend reading The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler as required reading for all of his Congressional colleagues in 1995? Does Newt still blame blames the US Constitution for making America's role in leading the world more difficult! Or will he stand ny & uphold the Constitution? As shown by the speech Delivered to the Center for Strategic and International Affairs.

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    GO ROMNEY! Thank you for standing up for what is right

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  20. Penni

    Blah, Blah Blah, this is all I hear from three people, where's Ron Paul Cnn.

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. Patricia Koval

    Millions of dollars and years are spent campaigning. Would you support a system that favored a shorter campaign period of only six months? The millions that are currently spent on campaigns seem to only support advertising and TV.
    Would it not be better for this country to use those millions to put millions to work rather than support the media?

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  22. justwondering

    Candidates,

    As one can see, identity theft is becoming a major problem in this country ruining lives and self worth. What do any of you plan on doing to stop and/or curtail identity thieves from destroying livelihoods and confidence from hard working americans

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  23. Saul

    I am very offended by the use of MS-13 as the reason to be tough on illegal immigrants. Republicans are already pointing out what's wrong with blacks, latinos, what is wrong with the system? They keep moving the discussion away from their own privileges which is a low tax rate and yes, white privilege. So sad.

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  24. D Fox

    Do you agree with President James Madison, principal drafter of the Constitution, who said, "religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together" (Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822?

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  25. Vern Beavers

    I think that these last two debates have been a liitle waste of valuable not attacking each other from aquestion provided by the moderators, there are so many inportant questions that need to be answered.

    January 19, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
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