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. gonaive

    Gingrich is a conservative who would govern. Romney would govern conservatively, if he got the chance.
    If Obama is black coffe, Romney is cafe au lait, heavy on the cream. Gingrich, however, is white milk all the way.

    January 19, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  2. CommonCents_Politiks

    CNN you have joined the ranks of FOX congratulations. It was as if the host was doing Ron Paul a favor by allowing him to speak! I mean how biased can the coverage get here folks. The most common sense libertarian of our lifetime can't even squeeze in a few minutes of airtime. While the other candidates(all of them) continue to sling mud Congressman Paul confidently tells America whats what and what he's gonna do about it. He never mixes his words because he's got nothing to hide and no character rehabilitation agenda. During the abortion part of the debate where Santorum tried to call out Ron Paul the Congressman quietly said he wasn't even thinking about Rick when he answered, much to the shagrin of Santorum. CNN proved that they are no different that any other shitty news outlet tonight with one simple closing act. As the debate was ending the camera did a slow left to right shot of the candidates and made sure to catch the three stooges while barely showing the shoulder of Ron Paul effectively stating he is irrelevant. Coupled with the amount of airtime he received I'd say that's a logical conclusion here. Keep supporting Ron Paul despite the media's blatant disrespect. PRESIDENT PAUL!

    January 19, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  3. Yovana

    CNN your just as bad as FOX news you guys totally sweep Ron Paul under the rug hoping his voice will never be heard. I hope everyone who thinks Ron Paul should be our next President will vote for him to go up against Obama and as our new president. CNN your credibility will be noted on the social networks that you guys are being bought by corporate giants, he deserved better! RON PAUL for President 2012

    January 19, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  4. M B Johnson

    The viewers of the debate were robbed of 15 minutes of air time for pressing presidental issues concerning the platforms of the candidates due to gossip of the day. 10 year old "he said – she said" should never have been the leading item of this 2 hour prime-time discussion. The 1st question of the debate proved to be a bomb. The audience showed their feelings for the lack of professionalism by the network and John King as well. Of utmost importance should have been focus on major issues facing the candidates who are marching onto another round of debates hoping to face the failing Obama.

    January 19, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. Steve

    II'm sorry, Newt may have outlived his professorship, along with his handling of illegal immigration.... a bit...but being umemployed and tired of watching my financial future getting tanked because of Washington's greed...the absolute last issue in a Presidential debate or televised discussion I want to see brought up is that of another Beltway Bimbo appearing out of another failed marriage umpeen decades ago. I don't give a damn about the LENGTH of John King's career as a journalist...what IS evident is that the bozo is too dense to have learned anything during his stint. Just bring back Judy Woodruff and her producer and push another "Showdown With Country-X" Another war, yeah, that's what we need...let's bomb someone....

    January 19, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  6. Kamal

    Like him or not CNN, you WILL respect and cover Ron Paul because he will WIN this nomination against all odds and media discrimination.

    January 19, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  7. YoungAmericanMind

    I would have liked to hear more discussion on Ron Paul's point of view. He seems like a prominent candidate to me.

    January 19, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  8. Lucy Lexington

    This one is for Newt, Rick, Mitt and Herman. Remember the song by Kym Mazelle Don't Scandalize My Name. I invision the final jokers/contestants will come out with a campaign whining about Dont Scandalize My Name!!!!!!!!!!!!! Newt, Rick, Mitt and Herman don't try this at home. Don't try this again!!!!!! Go to you tube.

    January 19, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  9. chaks

    CNN did a better job today giving all contenders an opportunity for their say, although the crowd had to force John King to let Ron Paul respond on the Abortion issue. Overall much better than the one sided media we have seen over the past few months, who have been trying to foist a candidate. There are very few pragmatic and many impractical solutions that candidates have come up with. Sad that we do not have a stand out candidate, though Ron Paul is close, as he is not convincing on all his policies.

    January 19, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  10. Nishat

    Jon King wouldn't even give Dr. Paul a chance to comment on the issue of abortion, until he was boo'd. Is it CNN or Jon King;s job to involve only those candidates it thinks will make the nomination? As they essentially attempt to sway public opinion about him, do they keep their Fair and Balanced moniker?

    January 19, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  11. Kyle788

    Dear CNN,
    Everyone knows what you are doing to Ron Paul.
    I ask only, what is your profession, is it journalism?

    January 19, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  12. 757voter

    CNN has changed its name and motto.

    ABP
    Anyone But Paul

    Speak up America

    January 19, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  13. uthink

    Winner of the debate – ALL THE CANDIDATES !
    Loser if the debate – CNN

    January 19, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  14. David

    Hmmm. CNN doesn't like Ron Paul. Well, that's good enough for me. Then I'm voting for Ron Paul.

    January 19, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  15. Jim

    Not all of the candidates were adequately covered. Ron Paul should be given just as much time as the others. It isn't your opinion that counts, it is ours.

    January 19, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  16. Kitti

    Point of order – isn't Gingrich guilty of vicious attack ads in the media and borderline slanderous comments and judgements against opponents over the years? What a hypocrite!

    January 19, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  17. Shawn C. Bugbee

    I am appalled by the absolute and intentional lack of reference to Ron Paul, his statements and his viability as a candidate. One hour for post-debate discussion and he was mentioned fleetingly, as in less than 2 seconds out of an HOUR.

    These sorts of actions, these slights to Ron Paul and his supporters, the blatant bias against a viable candidate underscores CNN's abject failure to fulfill its obligation as an objective journalism outlet.

    In other words, pretending that Ron Paul and his campaign do not exist does not make it so. Please provide more coverage and discussion of Representative Paul's positions on issues, if only to provide SOME amount of equity in your coverage of the GOP nomination process.

    January 19, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  18. Betty

    If you are going to quote scriptures, please don't just quote the part that pertains to what you believe. Read all of Leviticus. No I am not gay. But Leviticus also speaks of not having piercing, tatoos, or eating pork....along with quite a few other things that I am sure most Americans are guilty of.

    January 19, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  19. Marc

    Not only should John King be fired (or at least banned from injecting his preferences), but CNN owes Paul an apology and some air time. For myself, your behavior has convinced me to support Paul financially. As soon as I hit Post here, that's where I'm heading next.

    January 19, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  20. wants privacy

    I believe that Newt is wrong for this country. He is a blow hard and gets angry way too quick for me. I am a registered Republican and these guys are all wrong.. Now COLIN POWELL, I would get behind him.. He is a man of character, I think Newt and Mitt and lacking in good character.

    January 19, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  21. mirrorlogic

    Cayman Islands accounts in the millions === what? Willard Mitt really? So when you retired from Bain Capital and earned 15% tax rate those funds had to go off-shore? Seriously?

    January 19, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  22. mom4change4

    Romney said "let's get someone in office who has not been in Washington (for years)"....isn't that what we have in the white house now...NOT WORKING!!!

    January 19, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  23. Question

    Did I miss a step? Are there 3 republican canditates or 4? From the coverage and post game wrap up you would swear that Paul dropped out with Perry this morning.

    January 19, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  24. Liz

    I am absolutely disgusted with CNN and John King in particular. There were FOUR candidates on stage and yet you all but ignored congressman Paul. I for one think the other three are big windbags who are more interested in winning than our county's welfare. Paul may not be a great debater but I personally would like to hear more from him.

    January 19, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  25. Morgan Stuck

    A comment on the immigration issue: Please explain to me how an illegal immigrant can come to the U.S. and have a child, that tax payers for, and their child be a legal citizen. This is how America has "grandparnts who have been here for 25 years" It's not fair! Can someone PLEASE pass a bill on this! It would be one more way to discourage illegal immigration.

    January 19, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
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