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. gratefulmouse

    dr Jay....times have changed...I was young during those times but saw it all and remember crying as a child..however, when the repubs talk about all of us making it on our own and liberty that means everyone......remember in the old days people were not living like the constitution said to....read it.....all men not some.....however there are problems with certain things.....abortion that is murder....that is my main issue....freedom of choice is neccessary but we need to have laws and those laws were and always should be based on the bible....

    January 19, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  2. Brenda Burr

    Please South Carolina do not vote for an immoral, unethical man because it happened in the past does not make it irrelevant. How could you stand in front of America and prosecute a president for lying and attack his immoral behavior when you yourself were being unfaithful to your own wife. And today you ask us not to believe your wife but instead a couple of your friends on what happened in your marriage. You blame the moderator in the very kind of violent attack you have been known for. Please, please South Carolina do not vote in this man!

    January 19, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Anyone ever watch International news. The view of America and Americans is at best bemused and frequently tongue in cheek. It is often 'there they go again and we have no idea where they are going'. Neither do we!

    January 19, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  4. mirrorlogic

    Willard Mitt ==== You said you earned very little money, mostly from speaker fees, but the majority from investment income. Then we learn it is over $300K in speaker fees...that is very little earned income? Wow, that is six-figure with the first figure not a 1 or a 2. I know this may sound ENVIOUS (as you like to say),,,but WoW, that's a lot of money!

    January 19, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. Gina

    I continue to be confused at the media's choice in ignoring candidate Ron Paul. I for one want to hear all that needs to be said by all the candidates. Perhaps though with the the foolish way(s) the Favored Three (by the media) reveal themselves a better strategy for the Paul campaign is to just let them slur one another. Geesh, is there one among the Favored Three who wouldn't sell out? Romney-flip flops everything, Newt-flip flops wives, Santorum-flip flops issues.

    January 19, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. Just Wondering

    Been watching CNN, MSNBC, and Fox since the debate and only heard Ron Paul come up once, from GVS of Fox about his comments on releasing his taxes.

    Guess instead of giving solid, consistent comments about the problems and solutions he should instead point fingers for every comment (Santorum).

    For the record I thought they all did well and each had their ups and downs on the night.

    January 19, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  7. jwh

    I think Romney continues to show the most intelligent, the best ideas, the best poised and I am ready to vote for Mitt!

    January 19, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  8. Eric

    Hint to CNN, less talking head and more american people responses to debate. Where are the live reports from around the country on citizen opinions?

    January 19, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. Kamal

    Shame on you CNN! Southerners dinged you on it, yet you continue with your propaganda and after over 45 minutes of assessing candidates' performances there is no word about Ron Paul!!! You are one of the biggest supper packs in history.

    January 19, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  10. L

    What is going with the media? All they are discussing is who attacked who, how they did it and who handled it better, and how people of SC will like them. Noone discusses or even talks about the real issues or the practicality of the plans of the candidates.... The after debate coverage has been so far only on the attacks...There hasn't been any discussion on Ron Paul because he talks about the real problems without attacking others.

    January 19, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  11. Cindy

    I am really feeling doomed. If Romney does not release his past tax forms, I feel he is hiding something and I could not trust him to be president, Santorum is too mean to be president, I could never accept Newt's wife as first lady and wall street and the military industrial complex will never let Paul become president. Doomed.

    January 19, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. hmmm

    I thought Paul had a very good debate tonight, very on point.

    So not one mention of him at all in 40+ min of post debate coverage. That is unbelievable.

    January 19, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. L

    I think US news media is becoming another version of hollywood, post debate discussions are so shallow and are designed for the purpose of entertainment. All they discussing is who went after who and how..... no actual discussions, Europeans would laugh at these....

    January 19, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  14. mirrorlogic

    Willard Mitt ==== you implied you grew up in the streets of America....huh? When did homes (multiple homes) all in rich neighborhoods become the "streets" of America? Talk to a Philly kid or a New Yorker from the Bronx...try the corn fields and streets of Indiana, or the dirt road farms of S.C....these are the real "streets" of America. Give us a break please!

    January 19, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  15. Charles

    It is quite obvious that the panel assembled to analyze the debate tonight was very biased–Cnn did not have the guts to ask Obama hard and tough questions at the appropriate time–now we have a very unqualified person in the White House–Shame on CNN!

    January 19, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  16. Tracy

    what happened to journalistic integrity, CNN? Someone FINALLY mentions Ron Paul and the rest of the group CUTS HER OFF and you go to commercial?! You guys are messed up, seriously. Give Dr. Paul his fair share of media coverage! Remember why you became journalists in the first place: to spread the truth to the masses (right?)

    January 19, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  17. Lucy

    CNN lied when they stated that Santorum was wrong on the 245,000 that Obama had removed from Medicare. When Santorum said that he had not taken anything out of the budget. They said Obama took 245,000 from medicare, well he did, but what CNN DIDN'T say, Is that Obama removed it from medicare and put the 245,000+ into OBAMA CARE! It just goes to show you how bias the media is to conservatives. They tell part of the story, but not the whole story, so in essence they are lying!!

    January 19, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  18. VP

    Ok, seriously. I do not support any republicans but I have to say it: CNN has been doing analysis of the debate for an hour now. No mention of Ron Paul whatsoever. And I repeat, I am not his supporter, but seriously!!!!!!!!

    January 19, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  19. mirrorlogic

    Willard Mitt at least can go spend is money on Cayman Islands after the election. I'm sure that is why he has an off-shore account. Can you image what would be said if Obama had an off-shore account? I mean really, can you imagine the response. Every Republican needs to understand that Willard Mitt (no matter the smooth talking) is a businessman first. That is how rich businessmen shelter their money, via off-shore accounts.

    January 19, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. Doctor Jay

    Ron Paul should have been given equal time. He isn't any more outrageous that the other three, but at lease he is sincere. In my opinion, sincerely wrong on a few important issues, so I won't vote for him either. Sticking with Obama-the healthcare bill helped my friend's 24 year old daughter – college grad and unemployed get insurance just in time for an unplanned necessary surgery. They didn't have to go bankrupt. Unemployment is heading in the right direction-down; Osama Bin-Laden was killed; and our troops from that mistake of a war in Iraq are coming home. Obama has spent the last 3 years cleaning up Bush's mess. I'm sticking with the "clean up" guy: Obama.

    January 19, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  21. Jim

    Newt is coming on strong – love that he gave back to John K. He is no-nonsense and will do what needs to be done. BO just doesn't get it.....

    January 19, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. VP

    CNN has been doing analysis of the debate for an hour now. No mention of Ron Paul whatsoever. I am absolutely not his or any republican supporter, but seriously!!!!!!!!

    January 19, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  23. LL

    I think US news media is becoming another version of hollywood, post debate discussions are so shallow and are designed for the purpose of entertainment. All they discussing is who went after who and how..... no actual discussions, Europeans would laugh at these....

    January 19, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  24. Eric

    If all you want to do is entertain us then maybe Anderson Cooper should walk over to John King and slug him in the mouth then Gloria Borger could leap onto his back like a mountain lion.......

    January 19, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  25. Nishat

    If CNN is so objective, why then, in the post debate coverage hosted by Anderson Cooper, has Ron Paul's name not been mentioned once? "Fair and Balanced" This is the biggest piece of hypocritical nonsense that Anderson Cooper has ever professed.

    January 19, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
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