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. Red

    Do your research on Santorum. He partnered with a lobbyist to protect the Tan Family which in their manufacturing plants, had forced prostitution and abortions. Why is the media afraid of reporting this.

    January 19, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. Eddie Carroll

    I find it really sad that politicians have no clue as to how the Internet started, developed, let alone HOW IT WORKS!! I doubt they have the best interest of the INTERNET at heart. If these men are going to lead America into the future, shouldn't they know just a little tidbit of its history. Have they never heard of Cerf and Metcalfe?

    January 19, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  3. Sam Hoke

    ALL canadates: areyou in favor for congressional PAY reductions, term limints, congressional pension elimination, healthcare same as general public, elimination of federal employee unions?

    January 19, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  4. Darly314

    The Newt will stop lawsuits with an executive order. Is he running for President or King?

    January 19, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  5. Ed

    What would your response be, as President, if Israel launched airstrikes against Iran?

    Also, why can't the line of questioning begin more with Ron Paul? He seems to be considered as an after-thought.

    January 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. 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 adults 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 through his stimulus package and other measures taken all thoughout this short time in office?

    January 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  7. Teresa and Kiera K

    Question to CNN: When are you going to question Obama like you did the republicans?

    Obama can't even provide his "college" transcripts and you all are pushing Romney for his tax returns!

    January 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. Rath Anderson

    Ron Paul say that abortion is a medical issue? And then he says he is a doctor. So we are to believe he has the answer. For the love of C h r i s t. Get Ron off the stage.

    January 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  9. tmb

    Can Rick Santorum do anything at all besides attack other candidates? He is pathetic!!

    January 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  10. gulfster1

    for Sen Santorum is it not true that your wife as a prolife advocate, lived with (outside of marriage ) her obgyn who delivered her as a baby when she was in her 20's( her live in obgyn founded an abortion clinic) as recently reported in the press. Your comment.

    January 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. mac gardner

    Should justice Clarence Thomas face impeachment and /or prosecution for his admitted perjury on conflict of interest documents for lying about his wife's income as a lobbyist for firms who had cases heard before the Supreme Court?

    January 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. Don Belding III

    I saw an ad, during the commercial break, for a group trying to run around the Electoral College and make the Presidential election into a strictly popular contest. This would be a great invitation to minor party candidates and increase by orders of magnitude the possibility of elections being thrown into the Congress for final determination, unless there is a Constitutional amendment to change that part of the process regarding the requirement of a majority vote. Even with the Electoral College, a few elections have ended up in the Congress and became a messy process.
    This is one more attempt to undermined the sovereignty of the States, an important factor, if one carefully reads The Federalist Papers one finds that State sovereignty is a vital part of the federal system. An alarming result of many "Progressive" policies has been to make the States increasingly into mere administrative provinces; this would be just one more step in that process of increasing the power of the central government in Washington DC at the expense of the States' and .individuals' liberty

    January 19, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  13. larnold

    Irony: Santorum calling Gingrich grandiose.... WHO'S the only one who thinks his campaign has been perfect?? Who think HE is the ONLY one who can take on Obama? WORST kind of arrogance, grandiosity - a man who can't see his own ego. AT LEAST NEWT admits he has grandiose ideas.

    January 19, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Rajendra J Amin

    These guys rspect each other with prefix of Governor,Speaker,Senator Doctor etc. etc., BUT they thrash our President with names like, Barack, Obama...Shouldn't these idiots at least have some respect for the office of the Presidency !..Please address our President as President Obama !!!!! Where are your manners.

    January 19, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  15. JAMES COFFEY

    Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney

    What's is your view of the atheist or anti god groups & individuals that protest & demand that the word "GOD" be removed from money, pledge of allegiance, and now there be cases where churches have to take crosses down.

    January 19, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. Michael

    In light of the developing situation in Iran, can candidates who have served actively in the US military discuss how their experience would inspire trust in our fighting men and women overseas?

    January 19, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  17. Kim Meyer

    Hi, my name is Kim Meyer my question is why has subject of this election been so focused on beating Obama? I will agree with the with the fact that our country was in alot better shape when Reagan !!! Speaking for myself and alot of my friends that we're not concerned with who can beat Obama- we are worried about the future of our country, we're worried about the future of our kids. We have extended our hand, our troops, our support to many countries, but during that time what has become of our country? An average American works 40 plus hours a week, we pay taxes, we pay insurance, we pay social security and why- to lose our house our car, have our wages and taxes garnished because we can't pay our deductibles and not covered charges. In this country it's gotten to the point where it's better to quit our jobs, file bankrupcty, apply for welfare and when we need medical care flood our local hospitals- and get a lawyer in order to sue when we feel we waited too long. Why pay social security when we are paying it every week so people who have never contributed one cent, get their checks.
    It's time for Americans to be proud again, and not shop for a country that offers a better plan!

    January 19, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  18. Rath Anderson

    Choose life .... oh oh ... here come Ron again. OK, let explain to Ron Paul that abortion is a moral issue. Please step off the stage Dr Paul.

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    It is amazing to see how prideful people get when they look at others who make more money then they do. I say GOOD for them for being successful.

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. Rory

    Would the Candidates be willing to sign a declaration, and hold themselves liable for what they are promising to do as President?

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  21. Mike Winters

    would you support more oil refineries being built if it would drop energy prices and would you support a program of converting petroleum run cars to run on natural gas?

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  22. Mary

    I think Newtand Rick broke up tonight!

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. Peter

    Congressman Paul is finally getting some debate time. CNN should be ashamed of promoting this as a 3 way debate. He is on that stage for a reason. Give him his due!

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. ohsnap

    NICK: "Why is this GOP race so adamant about beating Obama instead of returning America back to the people, away from the banks and the big corporations, and the corruption that has filled our political system? Haven't these politicians learned from the mistakes of our past and the past of the democratic world?"

    @Nick: Don't you get it? It has been the goal since before (that's right, before) he took office. I read several articles quoting Republican insiders who said from the very beginning, they made plans (whatever that means) to stop Obama. And this was before he took office. How else to explain the ridiculous resistance to anything Obama does? Today I watched in astonishment as a Conservative gentleman (some famous guy, sorry I forgot his name but the interview is online on CNN with him and a Republican) defended Obama with facts that I have seen in the NYT and other places but that people continue to ignore. Why? Because they want him out, no matter what he does. BTW I did not vote for Obama which gives me a kind of unbiased perspective, I think. It's interesting watching from the sidelines.

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  25. jack watkins jr

    what are your core beliefs

    January 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
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