(CNN) - The CNN Political Ticker is live blogging the CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate in Mesa. Check here for live updates throughout the event and be sure to follow @PoliticalTicker, @CNNPolitics and use #CNNDebate.
Participating in Wednesday's debate are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Read more here.
10:33 p.m. ET - Read a transcript from the fourth part of tonight's debate here. The full transcript is posted here.
10:18 p.m. ET - From @SarahPalinUSA: Newt's message on energy development was spot-on. Drill now and stop bowing to foreign regimes begging them to do it for us. Then we'll all be "cheerful."
10:13 p.m. ET - Read a transcript from part 3 of tonight's debate here.
10:11 p.m. ET - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tells Borger the debate made it harder for her to choose a candidate to endorse. She said Gingrich's answer on immigration was strong, particularly his pledge to work with governors of border states.
10:09 p.m. ET - Watch CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta in the post-debate spin room here.
10:06 p.m. ET - Ron Paul told King his foreign policy was "definitely a different policy" from his competitors. "I'd say the young people who come to see me, that's their biggest issue, war and spending."
10:04 p.m. ET - Ron Paul to John King: "When I'm polling against the Democrats and independents, I do better than the rest, and the Republican party claims they want somebody to win."
10:00 p.m. ET - Santorum to Borger: Questions from media on moral issues are distracting from issues voters care about. "We're just trying to stay on message."
9:58 p.m. ET - CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger asked Santorum about his attacks on Romney centering on earmarks: "I think the governor is just misinformed, and just making points that are falling flat."
9:57 p.m. ET – @PiersMorgan: So @MittRomney clearly doesn't think there are any misconceptions about him. Interesting! #CNNdebate
9:56 p.m. ET - John King closed the debate and said goodnight.
9:51 p.m. ET - Question to the candidates about the biggest misconception about them as candidates.
Paul said the biggest misconception was that he couldn't win a general election against President Obama.
Gingrich wanted people to know the work he put in on welfare reform and balanced budget as House speaker.
Romney said he had the background and skills to be president, but did not offer a misconception he thought voters held about him.
Santorum also did not offer a misconception but said he was the candidate best positioned to win against President Obama.
9:49 p.m. ET - Read a transcript from the first part of tonight's debate here.
9:44 p.m. ET - Romney cited the strong performance of schools in Massachusetts during his tenure as governor, and said teachers' unions had too much power over education policy. Said kids needed to be put ahead of unions.
Gingrich echoed Romney's criticism of teachers' unions, saying power needed to be invested back into local districts and parents. Said too much attention had been paid on teaching "self esteem."
9:42 p.m. – @PeterHambyCNN: Santorum on national TV just now: I voted for something I didn't believe in for nakedly political purposes
9:42 p.m. ET - Question from the audience about the education law No Child Left Behind
9:39 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he would create a new American energy policy that would reduce dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Romney said America needs to work with allies in the region to force Syrian President Assad to step down.
9:37 p.m. ET – Question about how candidates would deal with Syria.
Santorum said Syria was a puppet of Iran, and a destabilizing force in the region. Said Obama's dealing with Syria revealed a "timidness" that is also evident in his dealing on Iran.
9:34 p.m. ET - Paul took a markedly different stance on Iran, saying there was no proof yet they had nuclear weapons. Said he didn't want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but that American involvement needed to be taken with care and under Constitutional guidelines.
9:33 p.m. ET – Santorum said he agreed with Romney, and reiterated the stand that Iran must not develop nuclear weapons. Noted a bill he sponsored in the Senate that would have imposed sanctions on Iran.
9:31 p.m. ET – Romney said President Obama's dealing of Iran was his "most serious failure." Said military options should not just be on the table, but should be in the hand.
9:30 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he would be willing to use American military force to preempt a strike on Israel from Iran. He said, "You have an absolute moral obligation to defend the lives of your people by eliminating the capacity to get nuclear weapons."
9:26 p.m. ET – Question from the audience: How would you deal with the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon?
9:25 p.m. ET - Paul struck on his anti-war platform, saying the men didn't need to be serving in Afghanistan, much less women.
Santorum said we needed to reexamine the best roles for anyone serving in combat.
9:25 p.m. ET – @JimAcostaCNN: Shameless plug: After tonight's #CNNDebate go behind-the-scenes with @JimAcostaCNN in the spin room at http://on.cnn.com/cnndcl2 #CNNPostgame
9:24 p.m. ET - Gingrich said the question was misleading, since combat roles have become less defined in modern warfare. Said anyone serving in the military could be in danger at any time.
9:21 p.m. ET - Candidates asked about a new proposal that would allow women in the military to serve in more combat roles.
Romney heralded women's role in the military, and cited the daughter of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has served in Afghanistan. McDonnell has endorsed Romney.
9:20 p.m. ET - Candidates asked to describe themselves in one word:
9:19 p.m. ET - Read a transcript from the first part of tonight's debate here.
9:12 p.m. ET - Candidates were asked about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's statement that some conservative rhetoric on immigration is "harsh" and "intolerable."
Gingrich said he couldn't be sure what comments Rubio were talking about but slammed President Obama for a speech he made in El Paso that Gingrich called "totally demagogic."
9:11 p.m. ET – Romney said he advocated an e-verify system and said he would complete a border fence. Romney said he would drop federal lawsuits against states with tough immigration laws.
9:09 p.m. ET - Gingrich said he supported building a fence along America's southern border. Said he would move Department of Homeland Security personnel from Washington to border states like Arizona and Texas.
9:07 p.m. ET - Paul said more needed to be done to secure the border and enforce current immigration laws. Said President Obama had failed to enforce laws, leading to increased illegal immigration.
9:05 p.m. ET - Question from the audience on getting tougher on illegal immigration.
Latinos make up 29.6% of Arizona's population, and are an important - and growing - voting bloc in the state. In the 2008 general election, Latinos constituted 16% of the electorate, up from 12% in 2004.
In 2008, Latinos favored Barack Obama over John McCain by 15 points, 56% to 41%.
9:03 p.m. ET - Romney defended his tenure as governor, saying he balanced the budget even after his health care law went into effect. Santorum hit back, saying it was his job to balance the budget and it wasn't a legitimate achievement to campaign on.
9:01 p.m. ET – @vplus: Mitt Romney now calling his own health care reform RomneyCare #CNNdebate
9:01 p.m. ET – Santorum went after Romney for his Massachusetts health care plan, saying it was a model for Obamacare.
8:59 p.m. ET - Romney hit Santorum for voting for Title X, which included provisions for family planning. Santorum said he voted for it because it was a large appropriation bill but that he opposed the contraception measures.
8:57 p.m. ET - Gingrich said Romney refused to exempt religious institutions from a requirement to provide health insurance coverage for contraception during his time as Massachusetts governor, saying "When you have government as the central provider of services, you inevitably move towards tyranny because the government has the power of force."
8:56 p.m. ET – @jimacostacnn: Paul: The morning after pill is basically a birth control pill. Santorum scribbling response?
8:54 p.m. ET - Romney went over his record as governor of Massachusetts. He said he helped religious institutions promote adoption over abortion, and that he worked closely with the Catholic church.
8:52 p.m. ET – Paul said the government shouldn't get involved in Americans' health care. Cited his experience as a physician. Said pills don't create immorality.
8:50 p.m. ET - Santorum said he wasn't afraid to talk about "serious issues" like the increasing number of children born out of wedlock and sexually active teens.
8:49 p.m. ET - Romney said Obama overstepped by requiring religion institutions to provide health insurance coverage for contraception.
8:47 p.m. ET - Gingrich said Obama was the most extreme candidate in the race for his positions on abortion. Said as a state senator he voted to protect doctors who perform abortions.
8:46 p.m. ET – Question from CNNPolitics.com: Which candidates are for birth control and if not, why? Audience booed the question.
8:43 p.m. ET – @PaulBegala: Mitt actually wrote in 08: "If GM, Ford & Chrysler get the bailout...kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." http://t.co/pBIC4nob
8:38 p.m. ET - Santorum said the government effectively shut down the airline industry after 9/11, but that the auto industry wasn't shut down by the government. Said the comparison was apples to oranges.
8:37 p.m. ET - Romney said he thought companies needed to enter a managed bankruptcy process in order to best recover. Said he supported the airline bailout after September 11, just like Santorum.
8:35 p.m. ET – Santorum said he thought market forces should have been allowed to determine the fate of the auto industry. Slammed Romney for his position on government bailouts, saying "I beleive in markets, not just when they're convenient to me."
8:35 p.m. ET – @David_Gergen: That earmark conversation went round and round, leading nowhere. Crowd seems very sympathetic toward Romney. #cnndebate
8:34 p.m. ET - Question from CNNPolitics.com: Why was former President George W. Bush wrong in his efforts to save the auto industry and why was Barack Obama wrong to continue the effort?
8:32 p.m. ET – Paul said Congress has become irresponsible in spending money by attaching funding measures to unrelated bills. Said it was the responsibility of members of Congress to vote against spending bills they don't support.
8:30 p.m. ET – Santorum and Romney engaged in heated discussion on how Congress should appropriate money. Santorum said Romney's plan was how the system used to work in the Senate.
8:30 p.m. ET – @jimacostacnn: Romney turns to Gingrich but Santorum interjects dropping a Moynihan.
8:28 p.m. ET - Romney mocked Santorum, said he didn't follow his last answer. Said he would ban earmarks altogether and that Santorum voted for the 'bridge to nowhere.'
8:26 p.m. ET - Santorum asked if there were any earmarks he regrets making during his time in Congress. Said there were always votes former senators regret, but that some of the spending he secured was good for his state. Said the system was broken.
8:24 p.m. ET - Gingrich said Romney had taken the right step today in his tax reform plan.
8:23 p.m. ET – @AriFleischer: The fact that Romney hasn't repeated his line about being a "severe" conservative tells u he shouldn't have said it the 1st time.
8:22 p.m. ET - Asked about his statement he was a "severely conservative" governor of Massachusetts, Romney said he was severe and strict. He noted his balanced budgets and tough immigration laws.
8:20 p.m. ET - Santorum defended his votes in Congress, saying he was voted the most fiscally conservative member of Congress and that his voted to reign in entitlements were risky politically.
8:19 p.m. ET - Paul continued to hit Santorum: "I find it really fascinating that when people are running for office they're really fiscally conservative. When they're in office, they do something different."
8:17 p.m. ET – @EWErickson: Ron Paul sitting next to Santorum. A bit awkward. But Ron Paul does it with a humor Santorum has trouble mustering. #CNNDebate
8:17 p.m. ET – Asked about his criticism of Santorum as a "fake," Ron Paul says: "He is a fake!" Santorum, seated next to Paul, said "I'm real, I'm real!"
8:15 p.m. ET - Answering the question about the national debt, Gingrich pointed to his record of balanced budgets as House speaker. Said the debt would never go down if the unemployment rate doesn't improve.
8:13 p.m. ET – @jimacostacnn: Santorum points out Romney was asked about raising debt ceiling earlier this summer and he said he would.
8:13 p.m. ET - After criticism from Romney, Santorum defended his record on spending votes during his time in the Senate. Said he took on entitlements and never voted to raise taxes. Santorum hit back at Romney by saying he raised taxes as governor of Massachusetts.
8:12 p.m. ET - Romney said he would go through the federal budget and find programs that weren't worth borrowing money from China to fund.
8:09 p.m. ET – Santorum said we need to reduce spending on entitlements, and repeal Obamacare. He said, "If you think defense spending is the problem you need a remedial math class."
8:08 p.m. ET - Question from audience: What would you do to bring down the national debt?
8:08 p.m. ET – @PrestonCNN: First shot fired in the #cnndebate. Rick Santorum in his opening remarks makes a veiled reference at Mitt Romney's "poor" comment.
8:06 p.m. ET – @PaulBegala: No ashes on either Newt or Santorum's foreheads. Did Satan wash them off? #CNNdebate
8:06 p.m. ET - King explained the rules of the debate, and the candidates introduced themselves to the audience.
Paul: I am the defender of the Constitution, the defender of liberty.
Santorum: Here to talk about a positive solution to country's problems.
Romney: I want to restore America's promise.
Gingrich: I've developed a program for American energy.
8:05 p.m. ET - Camera panned across candidates during the National Anthem. Romney and Santorum were voicing the words.
8:04 p.m. ET - The Arizona State University Symphonic Chorale sang the National Anthem.
8:03 p.m. ET - John King introduced the candidates onto the debate stage.
8:01 p.m. ET - Watch the video open to tonight's debate here:
8:00 p.m. ET - John King opened the CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate.
7:58 p.m. ET - Past debate moderator @WolfBlitzerCNN tells Erin Burnett: "You get nervous before the debate begins."
7:55 p.m. ET – @MittRomney : For updates during the #CNNDebate follow @EricFehrn @AndreaMSaul @GGitcho @ZacMoffatt @LanheeChen @RyanGOP @TeamRomney #Mitt2012
7:51 p.m. ET - CNN Senior Correspondent Joe Johns looks at Mitt Romney's Michigan roots:
7:47 p.m. ET – @bobkovachcnn : CNN GOP AZ Debate only minutes away #CNNElections
7:46 p.m. ET – @PiersMorgan: My money's on @newtgingrich coming out of the traps like a ravenous hyena tonight. #CNNdebate
7:48 p.m. ET - Arizona fact: Arizona's primary is considered "semi-open," meaning registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote in their party's primary. Independents may vote in either.
7:45 p.m. ET – @DonnaBrazile: Will eventual Republican nominee expect President Obama to do this many debates? He doesn’t have the time—President Obama has a job.
7:44 p.m. ET – From @PrestonCNN: Five things to watch for in tonight's debate
7:41 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: ROMNEY – CAREFUL GUY: he just went on stage, checked that his chair was sturdy (shook it), asked about sight line with CNN's John King.
7:36 p.m. ET – @piersmorgan: if @RickSantorum beats @MittRomney in his own back yard of Michigan, does the "Surge" become a political "Tsunami"?
7:34 p.m. ET - Rick Santorum arrived at the debate hall with his wife Karen.
7:32 p.m. ET – Arizona fact: Arizona is a winner-take-all primary, meaning the candidate with the most votes on Tuesday will take all 29 of the state's delegates.
7:28 p.m. ET – CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger: Santorum walked over to debate tonight from the Marriott three blocks away
7:24 p.m. ET - CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, moderator of tonight's debate, explains what's at stake:
7:23 p.m. ET – @SteveBruskCNN: Day after debate, Romney holds Phoenix event, then heads to suburban Detroit. Gingrich to Washington State. Santorum, Paul: no public events
7:21 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: where to look for the Gingrich 30-minute energy ad: Washington state (Spokane), Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma
7:17 p.m. ET - @BryanMonroeCNN: An hour before the #CNNDebate, contribs @EWErickson, @DonnaBrazile & @JohnAvlon get ready to offer their wisdom. PHOTO
7:16 p.m. ET - Cindy McCain, wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain, told CNN's Erin Burnett: "Social issues aren't even on the radar here. People want jobs and the economy to get better."
7:12 p.m. ET – Arizona fact: In 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain handily won the GOP primary in his home state. He took 47.2% of the vote. Romney came in second at 34.5%.
7:07 p.m. ET – Ron Paul arrived at the debate hall with wife Carol.
7:06 p.m. ET - @PDicarloCNN: Main Street watch party, Mesa AZ PHOTO
7:03 p.m. ET - Gingrich arrived at the debate hall with wife Callista.
7:01 p.m. ET - @ShepherdCNN: Enthusiastic Ron Paul supporters lining the streets in Mesa PHOTO
6:45 p.m. ET – Want to see what it takes to host a U.S. Presidential debate? CNN Political Director Mark Preston (@PrestonCNN) shows you how, in Arizona.
6:30 p.m. ET – From @StreitfeldCNN: Mitt Romney relaxed by the pool at his Mesa hotel this afternoon, turning his face to the sun as he lay back on a pool chair. He was joined by his son Craig and his family, who went swimming. Romney wore a button-down shirt and slacks at the pool.
Last question that was posed, only one answered honestly, the rest was just political BS! Which one did America see answer the question honestly?
Question: If you pursue the elimination of the funds for feminine contraception, would you fight with the same energy to eliminate the coverage of Viagra and other passion counterpart pills for males?
Romney's biggest lies so far: he didn't require Catholic organizations to provide contraceptives in Mass. 2. Obama opposed sanctions on Iran ...
i find it funny how all thne candidates are real chipper with each other and seam to agree with each other with all the blame on the president. What they fail to relize is that the american people are not that stupid. The last president we had jumped into a war that had no proven evidents as to why we were in a war. i sit and listened to everyone except Ron Paul suggest we go to war with Iran with no known evidence that they have yet aquired necular weapons. That one of the reason that other countries hate us.Smile Gop because you are only talking to people that will only vote republican. The general election is a different story. You have to make your case to everybody and it wont be cool.
I'm Sick Rantorum and I approve this message.
We women better stand up against these Republicans or we will find ourselves with no right to vote, no right to healthcare, no control over our own bodies, no right to work in jobs of our choosing, and living to serve men like we did back in the 1800s. Republicans are traitors to the People and especially women. Get out and vote straight Democratic in 2012 before these arrogant ,lying, do-nothing hypocrites finish destroying America for the sake of corporate dictatorships, private health insurance control of healthcare coverage again, bank abuse and fraud again, worker destruction with no benefits and no liveable wage, and no Christian values of compassion or truth. Beating President Obama is not a platform or a set of policies to help America recover from Republican economic destruction. We need real answers, real solutions, no more lies, no more hate, no more religious extremism shoved down our throat, and a real leader – President Obama. I stand with my President who stands up for the People and does what is best and right for the nation.
All four candidates are vehemently opposed to "Obamacare". I think it is only fair to ask them each to divulge the exact terms of the health coverage they have for themselves and for their entire immediate family. Specifically: 1.) who provides it (past or present employers? do any of them take advantage of taxpayer-funded health coverage from their past or present government employment? do they purchase their own private insurance and pay for it themselves?); 2.) general description of the breadth of coverage (medical, dental, perscription drug, vision, disability)?; 3.) if their coverage is provided by a past or present employer (including the government), how much do they each contribute each year toward the premium? 4.) if any of the candidate purchases their own insurance for themselves and/or for their immediate family members, how much do they pay in annual premiums? 5.) General description of the deductibles?
All of the Republican candidates believe that the federal government should not take any steps to ensure basic health coverage for every human being. Therefore I am quite curious to see if any of them are benefiting from the very generous health coverage for which we taxpayers are footing the bill? If not, how do they get coverage and how much do they pay? Are they paying annual premiums that would be affordable for the average family? Are the deductibles reasonable for the average family?
These candidates are sounding extremely dangerous ,sounding like warhawks ,wanting to go to war against Iran,Syria and anyone else that said boo to us...Paul sounds like the only intelligent person who wasn't so radical,made some sense,even for a Repub hypocrite.The lies,the sickening lies,that come out of their mouths,don't they have a conscience.How can someone with a conscience like this ,sleep at night.I'm a Democrates and have listened to this sickening rightwing propaganda that can make anyone with knowledge about current events worldwide as well as domestic issues want to vomit.They will be no match for our great Pres.Obama.These Repubs who constantly spew lies,will get what comming to them ,a clear cut butt kicking,Democratic style.My money and my love for this country sits with Barack Obama 2012....
The only one who makes any sense is Ron Paul...he is against war and the military seems to support him...all the others are a bunch of looney tunes who are out of touch with our country and what it needs to get back on it's feet. I would vote for Ron Paul, but I know my vote would be wasted because he would never ever win....just my opinion
Well Mitt or Rick did not answer the last answer at all.
Ron Paul won the debate! He wins all the debates. He speaks truth and doesnt sugar coat anything for anyone!
So, Mitt wants to strangle all lawsuits concerning state immigration issues and Newt wants to build fences along the southern border? That just goes to show how insensitive both of these Republican candidates are to the issues at hand. The fence, if it should indeed even be built, should be on the Canadian-U.S. border not the U.S.- Mexican border! It has been shown that a lot more dangerous people cross over from Canada into the U.S. than from Mexico. If this isn't showing a strong bias here on the candidate's part then I don't see how it could get any closer!
All Candidates, You all have have opinion about illegal immigrants in USA. The number varies from 10-20 millions. Currently Immigration department is overloaded to deal with legal applicants. If you decide to offer some type of amnesty to illegals, it will even overload Immigration department. That would affect the people who are waiting to enter our country legally. What would you tell them? go ahead and break the law and we will reward you?
Reading about Mitt Romney's background, his wife and his mother both gave up careers or dropped out of school to marry very young. That, coupled with his strong religious beliefs, raises concerns about his views on women as equal intellectual and social contributors. Will he support positions for women in his cabinet? Will he support funding for women's programs?
the world might have shocked by the recent cases of self-immolations and military crackdown by the Chinese armed forces which has lead to the death of many Tibetans in Tibet. if they have, where is the “moral responsibility” to stand with the Tibetan people in their “fight for freedom.”?
I love how the media ignores Ron Paul. Wake up people.
NEWT OBVIOUSLY HAD THE MOST POWERFUL SOLUTIONS FOCUSED DEBATE! romney & mitt look like fighting children on the stage, although admittedly romney is guilty of playing dirty politics and Santorum's final statement is right that romney will NOT have the same money advantage against obama. The one who lost to Mccain in 2008, cannot win against obama when Mccain obviously lost to obama! NEWT GINGRICH is THE ONE I WANT TO TAKE ON OBAMA cause NEWT would win the hearts and minds of the voters in any debate against socialist barak obama!
And don't forget all the millions of people who come to our country from overseas with visa students and don't go back to their country of origin, and how easy they have it because they blend in with the american society since the majority of them come from Europe and don't look like the illegal immigrants coming from the south of the border.
Newt running the underground hustle
Paul speaking the truth snd soarking for the media
Romney makes the final balanced calm decision.
It is a solid punch knock-out.
this lunacy is going to get ripped to pieces during the 2012 election. Play to the right wing all you want for now, the fact is that the GOP candidates literally are making things up out of thin air....wow
These talking heads will have egg on their faces when they count up those delegates for Dr. Paul!
Ron Paul comes across as a rambling old man. He'd be better off on a contentious Sunday morning talk show, NOT in the White House.
This is a more accurate description for these guys in one word -–
santorum – delusional -romney -phony – gingrich – cheater – RON PAUL – HONEST!
To all presidential candidates,
First of all, thanks to CNN for arranging such a great debate.
What are your plans to keep the talented and legal immigrants in USA? There is a pool of talent in EB3 Green card category with US Masters degrees, but the wait time is 10+ years. Do you want to address this wait time or have the companies choose offshore route?