The debate was moderated by Fox News anchor Bret Baier of Special Report with Bret Baier and several other Fox News contributors, including Juan Williams, Shannon Bream, and Chris Wallace.
At the end of the debate, Fox News’s online votes showed Ron Paul standing out from the other candidates, but businessman Herman Cain was the overwhelming choice of the Fox News focus group moderated by Frank Luntz. The same day of the debate, Representative Ron Paul’s supporters organized a “debate day” moneybomb, a 24-hour effort aimed at dramatically increasing funds for a specific candidate. Paul managed to raise more than $1 million in the 24-hour period, on May 5, 2011.
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PARTICIPATE IN A DEBATE ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
FORMER GOV. GARY JOHNSON, R-N.M.
FORMER GOV. TIM PAWLENTY, R-MINN.
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.
[*] BAIER: Welcome to South Carolina and the first Republican presidential debate in the 2012 campaign. The defining issues facing our nation. From taking down the most wanted man in the world …
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaida’s terror, justice has been done.
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: It is immoral to rob our children and grandchildren’s future.
BAIER: … and spiking gas prices. Now the candidates on what they would do if they were in the White House.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, this is America’s Election Headquarters. The Republican Presidential Debate.
BAIER: Good evening, I’m Brett Baier and tonight’s first Republican presidential debate is being sponsored by Fox News and the Republican Party of South Carolina.
We’re being seen on Fox News Channel, being streamed on FoxNews.com and being heard as well on Fox News Radio. Joining me at the big desk tonight are my Fox News colleagues, Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, Shannon Bream, Fox News Anchor and Correspondent and Juan Williams, Fox News Political Analyst. Now lets meet the candidates; Congressman Ron Paul of Texas who is currently serving his 12th term in Congress, Herman Cain, former Chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and radio talk show host, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, who served two full terms as that state’s governor, Rick Santorum, former U.S. Representative and two-term Senator from Pennsylvania, and Gary Johnson, Businessman and former two-term Governor of New Mexico.
Here’s the format for our debate tonight. Each candidate will be asked a series of questions on foreign and domestic issues. Answers are limited to one minute each. If we decide rebuttal time is needed, that will be 30 seconds.
We have green, yellow and red lights to help the candidates keep track of their time and if an answer runs long, candidates and everyone else will hear this sound (BELL), there it is. We asked our large and enthusiastic audience to please limit applause during the question and answer portion of the debate, so we can devote as much time as possible to the candidates.
Now, lets get started. Governor Pawlenty, President Obama was at Ground Zero today. He received the praise of city leaders there, as well as 9/11 families for ordering the Special Ops mission that killed the world’s number one terrorist, Osama bin Laden.
One month ago, you said about President Obama, quote, “he doesn’t understand America’s place in the world. America’s place in history. He is weak.” Does he still look weak to you today?
FORMER GOV. TIM PAWLENTY: Well first of all Brett, let me thank Fox News and the Republican Party of South Carolina for hosting this debate. I think it’s an important discussion about the future of America and I want to thank the other contenders who are here with me on this stage for showing up tonight and being part of this important discussion.
And to the city of Greenville, the gracious hospitality they’ve extended to all of us, we appreciate that as well. I do congratulate President Obama for the fine job that he did in taking some tough decisions and being decisive as it related to finding and killing Osama bin Laden.
He did a good job and I tip my cap to him in that moment. But that moment is not the sum-total of America’s foreign policy. He’s made a number of other decisions relating to our security here and around the world, that I don’t agree with.
And in fact, if it turns out that many of the techniques that he criticized during the campaign, lead to Osama bin Laden’s being identified and killed, he should be asked to explain whether he does or doesn’t support those techniques.
But just to give you one example, in Libya, he made a decision to subordinate our decision-making to the United Nations. I don’t agree with that at all. If he says Gaddafi must go, he needs to maintain the options to make Gaddafi go and he didn’t do that.
BAIER: I know I just read the rules of the debate, but I want to get you all on the record quickly. If you could raise your hand if, as president, you would put out a photo of a dead Osama bin Laden?
Just to be sure, Mr. Cain you would not?
HERMAN CAIN: I would not.
BAIER: Senator Santorum, you said Monday, President Obama has made the country less safe and his policies have made America’s enemies, quote, “less fearful and less respectful of us.” But when it comes to going after terrorists, for example, drone attacks in Pakistan have more than tripled under President Obama.
He sent 30,000 more U.S. troops into Afghanistan last year and he just authorized, as we talked about, this mission to kill bin Laden. How much more aggressive could he be?
FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM: If you look at what President Obama has done right in foreign policy, it has always been a continuation of the Bush policies. He’s done right by keeping Gitmo open. He’s done right by finishing the job in Iraq.
He has done right by trying to win in Afghanistan. Those were existing policies that were in place. The decision he made with Osama bin Laden, was a tactical decision. It wasn’t a strategic decision. The strategic decision was made already by President Bush to go after him.
What President Obama has done on his watch, the issues that have come up while he’s been president, he’s gotten it wrong strategically every, single time. Whether it’s in Central America, Columbia and Honduras, whether it’s in the Middle East, with Egypt, with Syria and most importantly with Iran.
We had an opportunity, 18 months ago, to topple a regime that is a sworn enemy, is at war with this country, is funding terrorist attacks against our troops and in the Middle East. And the President of the United States sided with the mullahs instead of the demonstrators.
BAIER: Congressman Paul, you have wanted to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan for years. In fact, you said on the House floor about the U.S military’s efforts in Afghanistan, quote, “Whose interests do we serve by continuing this exercise in futility?”
So, if President Paul had been running things and troops were already out of Afghanistan, wouldn’t that mean that Osama bin Laden would be alive today?
REP. RON PAUL: Absolutely not. I mean he wasn’t caught in Afghanistan. Nation-building in Afghanistan and telling those people how to live and getting involved in running their country, hardly had anything to do with finding the information where he was being held, in a country that we give billions of dollars of foreign aid to.
At the same time, we’re bombing that country. So it’s the policy that’s at fault. No, not having the troops in, in Afghanistan wouldn’t have hurt. But we went to Afghanistan to get him and he hasn’t been there. Now that he’s killed, boy it is a wonderful time for this country now to reassess it and get the troops out of Afghanistan and end that war that hasn’t helped us and hasn’t helped anybody in the Middle East.
BAIER: Please hold the applause. Mr. Cain, about Afghanistan, you recently said this, quote, “If the experts, the generals of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, if they believe we can win, I’m not going to tear up the plan they give me. I’m going to execute the plan. If we can’t win, I want to know what we can do to exit with dignity out of that country.”
You’re running for president. After almost 10 years in Afghanistan, you, you don’t have your own plan yet about what you would do in Afghanistan?
HERMAN CAIN: No, because it’s not clear what the mission is. That’s the bigger problem. It’s not clear what the mission is. It’s not real clear to the American people, what our interests are and then thirdly, it’s not clear what the roadmap to victory is.
And what does that mean? This is why I would revisit the issue in defining those three crucial questions, answering those questions before I, as president, made a decision. Because before I make a decision to send men and women in uniform into battle, I want to make sure we know what the objective is, clearly.
That we clearly know how it serves our interest, either at home or abroad, and thirdly, what is our roadmap to victory?
BAIER: But, sir, how would you define winning in Afghanistan right now as you’re looking at it as a candidate?
CAIN: My point is, the experts and their advice and their input, would be the basis for me making that decision. I’m not privy to a lot of confidential information since I’m not in government and I’m not in the administration.
One of the things that I’ve always prided myself on, is making an informed decision based upon knowing all of the facts. And at this point, I don’t know all of the facts, but that’s the process that I would use. Make sure that we’re working on the right problem. Make sure that we set the right priorities relative to Afghanistan and every other country.
Thirdly, make sure we get the advice from the right people and then put those plans into place.
BAIER: OK. Well that was quick. You stopped quick. You got the bell thing.
CAIN: Good brakes.
BAIER: Governor Johnson, you have said you’re an advocate of getting out of Afghanistan tomorrow. You’ve also said that you’d support a Democratic plan to establish a timetable with an end-date for withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Are you worried at all about providing a specific end-date and that possibly would enable the Taliban to move in the day after the U.S. troops left?
FORMER GOV. GARY JOHNSON: Well first of all, I’m not in favor of a timetable. I’m in belief that, that timetable should be tomorrow. And I realize that tomorrow may involve several months. I was opposed to us going into Iraq from the beginning.
I really thought that there was no threat to our national security. I really thought that if we went into Iraq, we would find ourselves in a civil war, to which there would be no end. And I thought we had the military surveillance capability to see Iraq roll out any weapons of mass destruction and if they would have done that, we could have gone in and dealt with that.
Afghanistan originally, I was completely supportive of that. We were attacked. We attacked back. That’s what our military is for and after six months, I think we pretty effectively had taken care of Al Qaida. But that was 10 years ago.
We’re building roads, schools, bridges and highways in Iraq and Afghanistan and we’re borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar to do that. in my opinion, this is crazy. And then looking at Libya right now. I’m in a position right now where I’m issuing opinions on everything right away.
My opinion on Libya is; I’m opposed to it, A through Z.
BAIER: Thank you, Governor.
BAIER: Now to my colleague, Chris Wallace, with another round of questions.
CHRIS WALLACE: Thank you Brett. And gentleman, lets continue this conversation and lets talk about how to reach out to the Arab world in this new, post bin Laden era.
Senator Santorum, I want to start with you. You say that Muslims are pre-disposed to fundamentalism. In March, you said this to students at Baise College, “in the case of Islam, most people would say it’s somewhat stuck in the seventh-century because of the interpretation of the Koran. The problem is that people who have tried to modernize Islam, get killed.”
Question, in this Arab spring, when young people across the Middle-East are protesting, not bombing, can the American president afford to be seen as anti-Islam?
SANTORUM: Well I’m not anti-Islam, first. What I’m doing is just recognizing the reality. And the reality is, that the version of Islam that is practiced in the Middle-East that is growing and spreading, is one that is not going to be one that we can deal with very easily.
It’s one that requires, as a Catholic it’s a tough term to say, reformation. It, it requires some sort of, of introspection within the Islamic world. And I think we have an opportunity now that we have shown that we are going to be vigilant.
That we are not going to back down. That, thankfully, we’re not, we’re not putting timetables — definite timetables to leave. That we’re going to continue and finish this job. It’s time for us to engage those in the Muslim world. And there are many in the Muslim world who want to abandon these, these radical principles.
And want to fight those who are, who are advocating those. But, unfortunately, as I mentioned, they are not treated particularly well when they do. We need to be a, a government that talks about those problems. We cannot continue to put the ideology — ideological battle in the closet and not bring it out …
SANTORUM: … and talk about it. And deal with it.
WALLACE: Thank you. Congressman Paul, you say that we should cut off all foreign aid to the Middle East and, quote, “let them take care of themselves.” You say the prison at Guantanamo should be closed, but the detainees there have not been given due process.
Governor Pawlenty said a couple of months ago, that bullies respect strength, not weakness. Is Governor Pawlenty wrong?
PAUL: Well I think strength is good, but you have to have strength in doing the right things. I think secret military prisons, keeping people there for years and years without due process, is not characteristic of a republic that believes in freedom.
It is just not the process. It’s, it’s more typical of an authoritarian government to have secret prisons. So; therefore, I don’t think it serves our purpose. We have tried nearly 300 suspects in civilian courts and hundreds of them have been convicted and put away.
So why are we afraid of openness? Why do we have to move in the direction of giving up the right of habeas corpus, which someday if we’re not careful, will affect American citizens? We should treat people the way we think we might be treated under dire circumstances. And our dire circumstances are moving right along because we may have real trouble in this country and we may be subject to the same type of treatment. So we do not need secret prisons, nor do we need the torture that goes on in these secret military prisons.
WALLACE: I want to follow up on …
BAIER: Please hold your applause.
WALLACE: I’d like to follow up on this with you, Governor Pawlenty, because you mentioned it in your first answer. We heard it, a very different opinion from Congressman Paul. There is a renewed debate about enhanced interrogation in the aftermath of the taking out of Osama bin Laden.
Two years ago, you would not endorse water boarding of high-value detainees. You said this, “I think clearly, we have to weigh the benefits of the information, against the damage it causes, not only to the individual, but to our values more broadly.”
Since then, Governor, have you decided where you stand on water boarding?
PAWLENTY: Well I, I believe my position hasn’t changed, Chris, in this regard. I have been all over the Middle East. I have been to Iraq five times. I’ve been to Afghanistan three times. I’ve been to many other countries in the Middle East including Turkey and Kuwait and Jordan and Israel and others.
And as to your previous point, there is a group of individuals who are radical Jihadists and we need to call them by name. And they believe it’s OK to kill innocent people in the name of their religion. It is not all of Islam.
It is not all Muslims, but there is a sub-group who believe it’s OK. In fact it’s their plan and design to kill innocent people. The first order of business of the United States federal government is protect this country and the American people and …
PAWLENTY: … the people and the mindset that killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens on September 11, 2001, would have killed not 3,000, but 300,000 if they could have or three million or 30 million.
We need to do everything we can, within our value systems and legal structures, to make sure that doesn’t happen.
PAWLENTY: I support enhanced interrogation techniques, under limited circumstances.
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you all directly. (APPLAUSE)
WALLACE: This is going to be another raising of your hands and, and you didn’t answer this specifically, Congressman Paul. Raise your hand if you would support a resumption of water boarding under any circumstances?
PAWLENTY: Under certain circumstances or any circumstances?
WALLACE: Yes. Under certain circumstances.
PAWLENTY: Certain or any?
WALLACE: Under any circumstances that you could imagine, not all.
SANTORUM: Sure, I do.
WALLACE: So, so just to be clear, the three of you, under individual case-by-case basis, would support water boarding? Congressman Paul you would not?
PAUL: No, I would not.
WALLACE: And Governor Johnson …
PAUL: Because you don’t achieve anything.
JOHNSON: I would not.
SANTORUM: Well that’s just simply not true, Ron. I mean the fact is that, that what we’ve found is that some of these, some of this information that we would find out, that lead to Osama bin Laden, actually came from these enhanced interrogation techniques.
PAUL: Not true.
SANTORUM: And, by the way, we wouldn’t have been able to launch a raid into, into Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden, if we weren’t in Afghanistan.
CAIN: May I, may I say what prompted me to raise my hand on this issue, very briefly? I heard Prime Minister Netanyahu say it very clear, a few months after 9/11/2001 after the tragedy.
The terrorists have two — one objective. To kill all of us. And so, yes I believe that we should do whatever means possible in order to protect the people of this nation. That’s their ultimate goal.
BAIER: Juan Williams has the next round of questions on the economy and gas prices.
JUAN WILLIAMS: Governor Johnson, the nation’s unemployment rate is 8.8 percent and this week, jobless claims rose to their highest level in eight months. Among your proposals for getting the private sector to start hiring, are eliminating corporate income tax, doing away with the federal minimum wage law and to stop extending unemployment benefits. Isn’t that just a windfall for big business?
JOHNSON: Well, absolutely not. I think that repealing, or doing away with the corporate income tax is simply getting us back to where we were. And we need to understand that the corporate income tax is a double tax.
That we all own the corporations and when income gets distributed to us, we pay the tax on that. So, we have the highest corporate income tax in the world right now. Let’s abolish it. Lets make it the way that it was to begin with. And that will literally create tens of millions of jobs overnight, because this country will be the only place to establish, grow, build, nurture business.
Why won’t that happen? And then with regard to unemployment benefits, I’m in the camp, Juan, that believes that we as individuals, you know we need a help — we need a bit of help. So government helps out, but at the point at which it runs out, that’s when we really deal with the problems that we have.
And as individuals, that’s when we deal with this problems. So does government actually, perhaps, make the problem worse as opposed to better?
JOHNSON: By having a finite amount of time that you would receive unemployment benefits?
WILLIAMS: Governor Pawlenty, despite 10 years of the Bush tax cuts, the unemployment rate here in South Carolina, was 9.6 percent in March. Do you have any ideas for stimulating the job market, beyond continued tax cuts?
PAWLENTY: I sure do, Juan. And it’s an important question. As I travel the country, people are very worried about their jobs. I grew up in a working-class family, in a meat packing town. Not unlike Greenville here in South Carolina that used to have textile mills and at a very young age, when those meat packing plants shut down, I saw he face of job loss and economic worry in my home town.
And even in my own family. So I’ve seen this and I’ve lived it. And so we have a situation where the best thing that we can do for our fellow citizens is do those things that’s going to make it more likely that jobs are going to grow.
And in South Carolina, I’ll give you a great example; you have this administration through the National Labor Relations Board, telling a private company that they cannot relocate to South Carolina and provide jobs in this state.
And they’re good paying jobs and they’re needed jobs. It’s a preposterous decision and position of this administration.
WILLIAMS: Governor, we’re going to come back to that issue later in the debate.
PAWLENTY: Juan, I just want to make it clear, I mean the idea that the federal government can tell a private business where they can be and not be in the United States of America, is a whole new line that this administration has crossed. And it’s outrageous.
WILLIAMS: As I said, we’re going to come back to that issue. It’s a hot one here in the state of South Carolina.
CAIN: Mr. Cain, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is now close to $4.00. And it’s approaching $5.00 in some states. This affects prices, obviously, way beyond the pump. The cost of transportation drives up the cost of doing business and leads to higher food prices.
So, Mr. Cain, what will President Cain do to alleviate skyrocketing gas prices?
CAIN: Contrary to what President Obama said, when he stated there wasn’t anything that he could do in the short-term? That simply is not true. The one thing that the president can do is to establish a real energy independence plan.
CAIN: We have all of the resources we need, right here in this country, to establish energy independence, if we had the leadership. Now, the, the things — the dynamics that impact the price of oil and ultimately the price of gasoline; getting it out of the ground, refining and distribution and speculators.
If the world market believed that we were serious about energy independence and we were going to utilize all of our existing resources, the speculators would stop speculating up and they’d speculate down and we’d get our own oil out of the ground.
BAIER: We’ll have many more economic questions a little bit later. Lets go now to Shannon Bream for the next round of questions on healthcare.
SHANNON BREAM: Thanks, Brett. Governor Pawlenty, we’ll start with you. You, as every other participant here tonight will notice that former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, is not here. But you’ve had plenty to say about Romney-Care including this, quote, “looking at the Massachusetts experience, it would not be the one I would want for the country to follow any further.”
A poll just weeks ago showed that 84 percent of Massachusetts residents are satisfied with the plan. Why isn’t that good enough for you?
PAWLENTY: Well, Governor Romney is not here to defend himself and so I’m not going to pick on him, or the position that he took in Massachusetts. But I will tell you this, the answer to our healthcare problem is not to drag it into Washington, D.C. and create a top-down, government run, centralized, limited choice, limited option system.
PAWLENTY: We took a different direction in my state of Minnesota. I governed there. The direction for healthcare reform is to empower individuals and families to make choices that are best for them.
And if they need financial help, lets give it to them. But lets give it to them directly. And this is an issue, President Obama stood in Iowa in 2008 on the night of the Iowa caucuses and he promised the nation that he would do healthcare reform, focused on cost containment.
He opposed an individual mandate and he said he was going to do it with Republicans. He broke that promise. He went to Washington, D.C. and jammed down our throats one of the most partisan, most misguided pieces of legislation in the modern history of the country. It’s going to make healthcare costs worse, not better.
BREAM: Thank you, Governor. Senator Santorum, I turn to you. Governor Johnson has said that, in addition to repealing the president’s healthcare plan he thinks Republicans need to think about repealing the prescription drug plan tied to Medicare.
You voted for it. It’s cost hundreds of billions of dollars. You’ve said you regretted that vote now. As president, would you work to repeal that and leave the 25 million plus seniors, who now enjoy that benefit without it?
SANTORUM: No. What I would do, is work to reform the entire Medicare system, which is what’s being proposed by Paul Ryan and what I’ve been proposing for a very long time. One of the reasons I actually voted for the Medicare prescription drug plan was because it was a private sector operated plan.
It was not, as the current Medicare system is, and what Obama- Care is, a government run, top-down type of approach. And in fact, the way we designed that program, resulted in the program coming in 40 percent under budget. I don’t know of any other program that’s actually come in under budget in Washington, D.C. And the reason it was, is because the design was right. We need to take that design and apply it to the entire Medicare program, which is exactly what Paul Ryan has proposed.
So the answer is not to pull prescription drugs out. Prescription drugs is an important part of healthcare delivery in America. And to have a Medicare plan without a prescription drug component, really doesn’t make any sense.
We need to have a plan that is run efficiently, that is private sector and is not an unlimited entitlement. What we have right now is an uncapped entitlement. We need to cap the entitlement and put people in charge, instead of the government.
BREAM: Thank you, Senator. Congressman Paul, you have said that medical malpractice awards are creating a crisis in the medical industry, driving doctors out of the business.
We also know the CBO has projected that Tort reform could save the federal government $54 billion over 10 years. So why are you against federal Tort reform?
PAUL: Because the federal government shouldn’t be involved. It’s a state matter. Tort law is a state matter. And it’s a tough vote for me because as a physician, I know doctors are on the receiving end and it does push up, you know, the cost of medicine.
But if you look carefully at all my legislation, I have offered a free market alternative to this, to allow the doctors to negotiate, to make contracts, get them out from under the monopoly controlled laws.
Give tax deductions for insurance policy where there’s no-fault insurance. And there is a way, in the private market — today we can’t, we can’t contract with our patients for a third-party contract.
You know, third-party settlement. And that takes it out of the market, turns it over to the attorneys. If they accept my position on this, a free market approach and not a nationalized, Tort law control of this, believe me, we’d put all the trial lawyers out of business and they wouldn’t get most of the money that comes from all these lawsuits when they’re suing doctors.
PAUL: Thank you Congressman.
BAIER: Coming up later, we’ll ask these candidates about other potential candidates who are not here. And you can go to FoxNews.com during the break and vote in our online poll, tell us what you think about the folks who didn’t show.
But first, government spending and how to tackle the nation’s debt. (VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR: We continue to face a very serious, fiscal challenge in this country. This $14 trillion dollars of debt, we continue to borrow nearly 40 cents on every dollar we spend. The federal government is broke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: The first Republican Presidential Debate, live in Greenville, South Carolina. After the break.
BAIER: Welcome back to the first Republican Presidential Debate. We’re here in the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina where now my colleague, Chris Wallace, has the next round of questions for the candidates. The topic, spending and the national debt.
WALLACE: Thank you, Brett. Senator Santorum, you say that Republicans should refuse to raise the debt limit, unless they can — Democrats agree to take out all funding for Obama-Care.
Is ending, or at least blocking or defunding, Obama healthcare reform more important, more important than letting the country — from keeping the country from default? And also, how do you defend your plan on Medicare, to turn it into a voucher system? Not 10 years from now as Paul Ryan suggests, but right away for seniors who are already in the program?
SANTORUM: Well, what, what I would say is that, we are at a critical time in our country with debt and we have a program that is going to explode the debt even further. And even more important than debt, what Obama-Care does, is shift this fundamental belief of our, of our founders. That our country was created to make sure that people are free.
That’s what are — that’s what exactly America is about. It’s about keeping people free and giving them the ability to provide for themselves. What Obama-Care does for the first time, it creates a broad-based entitlement for every working American. Not people on the margins of life, but it takes control of people’s lives in a very, very important part, which is their health.
And to me it’s a game-changer and it has to be stopped. It’s the most important issue that faces this country right now and we have to, as conservatives and Republicans, we have to stand up and say “no”, we are not going to let this bill be implemented.
We are not going to let government take control of our lives, be in a position where we are addicted to a drug of government for every working man and woman in this country. It must be stopped. And we should do it now.
WALLACE: Congressman Paul, you routinely vote against raising the debt limit. Would you let the country go into default, which all the experts agree will only make continued borrowing even more expensive for the U.S. government? And you want to cut government spending, you say, by 50 percent. Eliminating everything from the Federal Reserve to the Department of Homeland Security.
WALLACE: Under your plan, what would you leave for the federal government to do?
PAUL: Yeah, I’d sort of like to follow the Constitution and then we wouldn’t have these kinds of problems.
PAUL: No, you have a government that provides national defense, but you don’t have militarism and you police the world. Maybe we could take care of some people back here at home if we weren’t spending $1.5 trillion a year on our militarism.
That money needs to be spent back at home and we, we would have more defense, not less defense. So I, I don’t see why we should raise the national debt. You say we’ll default. Probably not. They have come — money coming in. They can, they can patch it over and pay it.
But that’s the only way they’re going to get a message. But it’s nothing new. Our country has defaulted three different times. They promised at one time during the Civil War, to pay in gold. They refused to. In the ’30s, they promised to pay in gold. They refused to.
And then in 1971, they promised to pay foreigners in gold. We defaulted. We stuck it to ‘em. So once again, we’re going to default. We’re defaulting every single day. That’s what your prices are doing. Prices go up, they’re defaulting on your money.
PAUL: So we need to look at the Federal Reserve system.
WALLACE: Mr. Cain, we asked our viewers to send in questions and a number of them wanted us to ask about this subject. You say abolish the IRS and impose a fair tax, which is essentially a national sales tax of 23 percent.
But the experts say to generate enough revenue, Americans would have to start paying taxes on new home sales. They’d have to start paying taxes on rentals. They’d have to start paying taxes on healthcare. And according to the experts, the practical effect of a fair tax would be a tax cut for the wealthy and a tax increase for the middle-class.
CAIN: Well, Chris, with all due respect, your experts are dead wrong.
CAIN: Because I have studied the fair tax for a long time. First of all, it — the law has already been written. It is 23 percent. Lets not leave out the most important part. It replaces all federal income tax that’s being taken out of people’s checks. It replaces the payroll tax that’s being taken out of people’s checks.
That’s the part that people often forget to miss. Now, depending upon how you define a windfall for the rich, it’s also a bonanza for the not so rich because of the prebate. Every family deserves to get a prebate to offset taxes that would be paid on essential goods and services.
That levels the playing field, in my opinion. And especially gives the not so rich an advantage that they don’t have today under our current system. So, yes. I strongly support totally replacing the current code with the fair tax.
WALLACE: Governor Pawlenty …
JOHNSON: … like nine questions for all these guys and none for me. So the fair tax, the fair Johnson thing here.
WALLACE: Well, if you — Governor Johnson…
JOHNSON: Just — OK. All right. All right. It’s OK. It’s OK.
WALLACE: I got a question for you right here, sir.
JOHNSON: Oh, good. Good.
Governor Pawlenty, you like to say that in Minnesota that you balanced the budget without raising taxes, but the National Conference of State Legislatures said that you used a lot of one-time fixes, such as taking $2 billion from the Obama stimulus plan and borrowing billions from local school districts. The bottom line is that you left your state after your term as governor with a projected deficit of $6 billion, sir.
PAWLENTY: Chris, I was governor for the state of Minnesota for eight years, over four two-year budget cycles. Every budget during my time as governor was balanced. And the last one of those two-year budgets ends this coming summer, on June 30th, and it’s going to end up in the black.
Now, when they talk about this projected deficit coming up in the next two years after that, it assumes a 25 percent or so increase in state spending. That’s outrageous. If they live within their means, there would be no deficit at all.
And, by the way, the Democrats in Minnesota wanted more spending. So this idea that there’s a deficit and I left it in Minnesota is not accurate. This two-year budget cycle ends in the black this summer. And the two years after that is a projection, and it’s based on preposterous assumptions.
WALLACE: But if I may make a follow-up — and you have 30 seconds to answer this, sir — one of the reasons that people talk about a projected deficit of $6 billion is because of all the borrowing you took from local school districts and, as a result, the state has to pay back the local schools $4 billion.
PAWLENTY: Well, actually, the deferral of those payments to schools was something that I wanted to make permanent through an executive action called unallotments, and I asked the legislature to make them permanent. They refused. And this is a matter of public record. So they’re the ones who chose to do it one time.
By the way, in this session, now it looks like they’re going to make them permanent, and they should had done it when I asked them to do it the first time.
WALLACE: Governor Johnson, I’m glad to get to you, sir.
JOHNSON: Great, thanks.
WALLACE: There you go. You say that Medicare and Medicaid should be cut almost in half, turned into block grants, and turned — and that the state should, in effect, run health care. Won’t Democrats be able in the 2012 campaign to tell seniors if they follow your plan that the Republicans want to take away their Medicare?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, we — we have — we’re on the verge of a financial collapse. And I say that from the standpoint that we owe $14 trillion, and there’s no way we repay that, given the fact that we have $1.65 trillion in deficit spending this year, last year, the year before, and years to come.
So we need to balance the federal budget. And to do that, we need to start out by talking about Medicaid and Medicare. And I think by cutting Medicaid and Medicare by 43 percent, block granting the states, 50 laboratories of innovation, all out, in this notion of best practices, would, in fact, develop best practices for the delivery of health care to the poor and those over 65, and that if we don’t do this, we’re going to find ourselves bankrupt, which is where we’re finding ourselves.
In New Mexico, as governor of New Mexico, Medicaid was fee for service. I changed that to managed care. It was a 25 percent savings. If I would get Medicare, I could have implemented that same 25 percent savings, federal government, do away with the mandates and the strings, 43 percent doable.
WALLACE: Thank you, sir.
JOHNSON: Thank you, Chris.
BAIER: Governor, we promise, we’ll be fair and balanced with the questions tonight, we promise.
JOHNSON: Fair and balanced, that’s what I was thinking.
BAIER: Shannon Bream has the next round of questions on immigration. Shannon?
BREAM: Thanks, Bret.
Mr. Cain, you have said that sometimes states should be empowered to enforce laws the federal government will not. When it comes to Arizona’s controversial SB-1070 immigration bill, Congressman Paul has said laws like that can be harmful, even dangerous to innocent Americans. Did Arizona go too far?
CAIN: I don’t believe Arizona went too far. Let’s first make sure that we are talking about solving the right problem. The immigration issue in America is not one problem. It’s four problems. It’s securing the border, enforcing the laws that are there, promoting the path to citizenship that we already have — we don’t need a new path. We’ve got to clean up the bureaucracy in the process. And then, number four, this is where I believe you empower the states to do what the federal government cannot and is not doing.
So, no, Arizona did not go too far. They were simply trying to protect themselves. I believe in empowering the states to do what this federal government cannot micromanage out of Washington, D.C.
BREAM: Senator Santorum, you’ve worked against a path to citizenship and for making English the official national language of the United States. Right now at the White House — and Democrats are actively renewing their outreach to the Hispanic community. Do you run the risk — does the GOP run the risk of alienating Hispanic voters?
SANTORUM: My father came to this country when he was 8 years old. And when I used to go visit my grandparents, my grandmother didn’t speak English. And I always used to asked my dad, Dad, why don’t you teach me Italian? He said because you’re an American and you need to learn the English language. That’s the language of success in America.
We’re not doing anybody any favors by not teaching them a language that’s going to empower them not just here in this country, but, frankly, it’s the — it’s the most powerful language in the world.
So I don’t apologize for that. I think that’s an important thing. And I think most people who come to this country understand the importance of the English language and how it has to be the language of this country.
As far as the president outreach to the Latino community, the president of the United States had a year where he had complete control of the legislature, could have passed any bill he wanted, and they didn’t even take a vote in the United States Senate and he never proposed a bill.
This is a political issue for the president. He’s playing political games with a very important group of people in America. We need to stop the political games and get to solutions. And that’s not what they’re doing in Washington.
BREAM: Thank you, Senator.
Governor Johnson, another question for you. You said we should make it easier for immigrants to come here and work in the United States and that Republicans should stop using scare tactics and vilifying immigrants. You also referred to a, quote, “amnesty grace period.” What is that?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I start with the premise that immigration is ultimately responsible for tens of millions of jobs, so creating tens of millions of jobs as opposed to taking away of jobs.
I think that we should make it as easy as possible to get a work visa. A work visa would not be citizenship, it wouldn’t be a green card, but it would be a background check and a Social Security card so that applicable taxes would get paid.
Immigration needs to be about work, not welfare. With regard to the 11 million illegal immigrants that are here in this country right now, I think we need to recognize that the government’s the main reason they’re here illegally. They’ve made it impossible to get a work visa.
So set up a grace period whereby those 11 million can get a work visa, not citizenship, not a green card, but a work visa. Document those workers. And then — so when it comes to building a fence across 2,000 miles of border, when it comes to putting the National Guard arm and arm across 2,000 miles of border, in my opinion, that would be a whole lot of money spent with very little, if any, benefit whatsoever.
BREAM: Thank you, Governor.
BAIER: I want to change the topic back to foreign policy. I’ll share this round with Juan next to me.
First, Mr. Cain, President Obama justified his intervention into Libya, saying as president he, quote, “refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action,” yet in Syria, the administration has not acted, despite hundreds of protesters reportedly being killed at the hands of President Assad. Which action in your mind is the right one?
CAIN: Neither, for the following reason. We should start with, what’s the objective? That’s number one. Secondly, how does it relate to the interests of the United States of America? Thirdly, is there a plan for victory? How do you define that?
In both of those instances, those things are not clear. We need a real, clear national security strategy with every nation on the planet, friend or foe. We obviously didn’t have that, because you can see between those two examples inconsistencies in the president’s decisions and in his actions.
And even in Libya, when the — when the civil strife first started out, he was supporting the exposed leader (ph). Then he changed. So that meant that we didn’t have a very clear strategy or a very clear definition of what we were going to do if the situation escalated, which is exactly what it has done.
WILLIAMS: Governor Pawlenty, in a recent interview, you faulted President Obama for saying U.S. policy is to depose Libyan dictator Gadhafi, but then failing to send U.S. special forces to do the job. Wouldn’t your policy result in either chaos or prolonged U.S. involvement?
PAWLENTY: Well, Moammar Gadhafi is someone who has American blood on his hands, Juan. He killed Americans, as they flew — and others as they flew from Europe to the United States some years ago. He killed Americans in a disco in Europe. Ronald Reagan tried to kill Moammar Gadhafi in the ’80s. He missed him, not by much. I wish he would have gotten him. President Reagan was right in that regard.
I called for the establishment or at least the threat of the no- fly zone, I think one of the first national voices to do so, on March 7th. Had the president been decisive in that moment, the rebels had taken over most of the country geographically, they had the momentum, they had Gadhafi on the ropes. He was openly talking about leaving voluntarily, according to news reports. And we could have shoved him out at that moment.
Now what the president did is waited the better part of a month. He waited for the Arab League to give him permission. He waited for the United Nations to pass a resolution. And then he made the mistake of saying, “And, by the way, American policy is to make Gadhafi go,” but now he has his hands tied by the United Nations and has subordinated our decision-making and options to that pathetic organization, in many respects.
I would never put the United States in that untenable position. If the president says Gadhafi must go, he must go.
BAIER: Senator Santorum, U.S. and European intelligence officials are now saying there’s no doubt active or retired Pakistani military provided some aid and protection to Osama bin Laden when he was living in that compound for up to six years. Considering that, would you cut off the $3.2 billion annually the U.S. provides to Pakistan?
SANTORUM: I think we’re in a situation where we have to — to engage the Pakistanis at a level that we haven’t done before. We have — we have tolerated a lot of — a lot of bad behavior on the part of Pakistan, particularly in the area of Waziristan, and we have not done what President Bush did originally, which said you are either with us or you were against us.
We need to go to the Pakistanis and engage them and say, look, we are — we are fighting a critical battle for the security of our country in Afghanistan. You either are going to side with the United States or we’re going to deliver ultimatums, such as you’re not going to have the — the aid that we have provided.
We need strong leadership. We don’t need, as the president’s advisers said, leading from behind. We need in a dangerous time for our security a president out there in front saying to the Pakistanis, you either cooperate with us in Afghanistan or there will be consequences, and one of the consequences should be aid.
BAIER: Pakistan is a nuclear-armed country. The leaders there are concerned about terrorists taking them over. House Speaker John Boehner just this week said this is no time to back away from Pakistan, insisting aid should continue.
SANTORUM: I’m not — I’m not talking about backing away from Pakistan. I’m talking about engaging the Pakistanis in a serious discussion…
BAIER: But what about the aid?
SANTORUM: I’m asking them to participate in a joint effort. I want to engage Pakistan. I think Pakistan can be a vital ally. I’ve been a very strong supporter of Pakistan in the time that I was in the Congress and supported that aid package.
Pakistan is vital to our security interests in that region. But they have — they have to be a partner, not an antagonist. And what we saw, if that proves out to be the case, is clearly someone was not being a good partner to us in that region.
WILLIAMS: Congressman Paul, you’ve expressed concern that Israel will act unilaterally and start war with Iran. You’ve also said you fear that the United States will condone an Israeli attack on Iran. How does President Paul plan to stop Israel from acting?
PAUL: I think Israel has to do what they think is in their best interests, and they shouldn’t have to come and ask us permission. If they have border problems or if they have trouble with Iran — they didn’t ask us permission to bomb the nuclear site in Iraq in the early 1980s, and I think that was fine. But I think they’ve become too dependent on us, not only for money and they’ve economically become dependent. They’ve become dependent in that they can’t even work toward peace with a country that we might not like them to do it.
But I don’t want any of this foreign aid — Pakistan or anybody else — because the principle is wrong and because it doesn’t achieve anything. If we stopped all the foreign aid, you say, oh, you’re going to hurt Israel. But, you know, the Arab and the Muslim nations get twice as much money.
Israel — and there are people in Israel — it’s not like 100 percent of the people in Israel or every Jew in this country believes that we should have the foreign policy that we have. So I think Israel should be in charge of their sovereignty, and we should never intrude on what they do. And if they want to attack Iran, we shouldn’t tell them what to do or what not to do.
BAIER: Governor Johnson, prospective Republican candidate Donald Trump has proposed putting a 25 percent tax on Chinese imports if China does not stop manipulating its currency. Do you agree with that? What would you do?
JOHNSON: You know, I’m a free-market guy. I think you either believe in free markets or you don’t. You either believe that lower costs of goods and services benefits all of us or you don’t. So in that context, no, I don’t favor tariffs against China. I don’t favor tariffs of any kind whatsoever.
BAIER: In any instance?
BAIER: That was simple. OK. Governor, thank you very much.
When we come back, the debate over unions playing out in Wisconsin and, of course, right here in South Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: Too many politicians have failed to tell the truth about our financial crisis. They left Wisconsinites in the dark about the extent of our fiscal problems. The facts are clear: Wisconsin is broke, and it’s time to start paying our bills today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: But, first, the Republican debate continues, right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FLOYD: I’m Karen Floyd, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. Thank you for being with us tonight for the first- in-the-South 2012 Republican presidential debate. We’re here in the heart of the Upstate, a region which has played such a crucial role in selecting the Republican leaders of our nation.
Since our primary’s inception in 1980, no Republican has won the nomination without first winning South Carolina. Our conservative Upstate has always been a key battleground for the Republican nomination, and so it’s very appropriate that a larger debate about the future of our nation begins here. And we are very pleased to partner with FOX News in putting on this debate and give great credit to the team at FOX and our team in South Carolina. Take care, and God bless you all.
BAIER: Thank you, Karen. Now back to the debate.
Shannon Bream has the next round of questions on social issues.
BREAM: Thanks, Bret.
Congressman Paul, in 2007, in an interview you were asked, should gays be allowed to marry? You said, quote, “Sure, they can do whatever they want and call it whatever they want.” Are you advocating legalizing gay marriage in this country?
PAUL: Well, as a matter of fact, I spent a whole chapter in a new book I’ve written on marriage. And I think it’s very important, seeing that I’ve been married for 53, 54 years now.
But I think the government should just be out of it. I think it should be done by the church or private contract and we shouldn’t have this argument, who’s married and who isn’t married.
I have my standards, but I shouldn’t have to impose my standards on others. Others have standards, and they have no right to impose their marriage standards on me. And I just don’t like it.
But if we want to have something to say about marriage, it should be at the state level and not at the federal government. Just get the government out of it. It’s one area where it’s totally unnecessary and they’ve caused more trouble than necessary.
BREAM: All right. Given that answer, I have to ask you about your defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Even just weeks ago, you criticized this administration for its decision to no longer defend it against legal challenges.
PAUL: And — and the main reason there is, the Defense of Marriage Act — and I’ve been quoted as I voted for it. Of course, I supported it, but I wasn’t there. But because that bill actually protects the states — see, I do recognize that the federal government shouldn’t tell the states what to do. And the Defense of Marriage Act was really designed to make sure that the — that the states have the privilege of dealing with it and the federal government can’t impose their standards on them.
BREAM: Thank you, sir.
Mr. Cain, we’ll stay on the topic of DOMA. You have said the administration’s decision not to defend it is, quote, “a breach of presidential duty bordering on treason.” That’s some pretty tough language. Isn’t this country just moving toward accepting gay marriage?
CAIN: The Defense of Marriage Act is one of laws of the land, signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. But for the president to give direction to the Justice Department when in his oath of office he says he — he is supposed to protect and uphold the laws of the United States of America, to me, that is asking the Justice Department to not uphold a law.
BREAM: Thank you, sir.
Governor Johnson, most Republicans and everyone else on this stage but you identify themselves as pro-life. You have said that abortion should be legal until the fetus is viable. How do you hope to woo conservative GOP voters here in South Carolina and across the country with that position?
JOHNSON: Well, I support a woman’s right to choose up until viability of the fetus. As governor of New Mexico, I would have signed a bill banning late-term abortion. I’ve always favored parental notification. I’ve always favored counseling. And I’ve always favored the notion that public funds should not be used for abortion.
So running for governor of New Mexico, in a state that was 2-to-1 Democrat, I really didn’t get that vote in the primary. But I like to think that I got all of those votes in the general election. And that’s a reality here, also. For those individuals that hold that as their number-one issue, I’m not going to get that vote. I would hope to get that vote if I were to move on to the general election.
BREAM: All right.
Governor Pawlenty, just days ago, a federal court struck down the ban on using federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. You identify yourself as strongly pro-life, but you don’t oppose government funding for research on existing stem cell lines already derived from embryos. But isn’t that still spending taxpayer money on elements that were generated by at some point destroying an embryo?
PAWLENTY: Well, as to stem cell research, it holds great promise. And I support stem cell research, but I think it should be adult-derived stem cell research. And by the way…
… Shannon, most of the therapies and breakthroughs that we’re seeing in terms of treatments from stem cell research are coming from adult-derived stem cell research. So I strongly support that.
As to embryonic stem cell research, I don’t think we should pursue that, although President Bush, when he was office, said that he would allow and authorize the use of research on certain stem cell lines for which the embryo had already previously been destroyed before the issue came to his desk or came to his attention. I did support his approach for that limited window of stem cell research on those existing lines for which the embryo had already been destroyed.
BREAM: Thank you.
Senator Santorum, you’re often characterized as the most socially conservative in the GOP field. A man who may join you at some point in the GOP primary, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, says Republican candidates should, quote, “declare a truce” on social issues in the next election. Is he right? Are you willing to tone down your positions on abortion and homosexuality in an effort to reach more voters and to help the GOP coalesce behind a more fiscally focused platform?
SANTORUM: I think anybody that would suggest that we call a truce on the moral issues doesn’t understand what America is all about. America…
America is a country that is based on this concept, on the Declaration of Independence, that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. Rights come from God, and the first of which is life, the second of which is liberty. Those two concepts really transformed the world, because it said that government was going to be limited, allow people to be free and to pursue their own dreams, to serve their God, and to serve their family and community.
That is only possible if we have strong families. And strong marriage is at the root of strong families. And if we have a respect for human life — because, of course, we’re all created equal. And so those founding concepts, what transformed the world in this — in this United States was a belief in family, a belief in life, and the belief of dignity of every person. If we abandon that, we have given up on America.
BREAM: Thank you, Senator.
BAIER: Let’s go now to Juan Williams for another round of questions on the important topics of jobs, unions and education. Juan? WILLIAMS: I’m glad you put it that way, Bret, because I think we want to get this debate back to what’s the number-one issue for voters in this country, and that’s jobs. And I want to do it this time with an emphasis on union jobs.
So, Herman Cain, here in South Carolina, as you heard before, the GOP is up in arms over a decision by the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board challenging the Boeing company for moving jobs to a right-to-work state. In Wisconsin, Governor Walker has ended collective bargaining rights for some civil service workers.
Mr. Cain, does the GOP risk the perception it’s becoming the union-busting party?
CAIN: I don’t think so, because what the National Labor Relations Board did by citing Boeing about coming to South Carolina is simply outrageous. We have a free market system. And for the government to start picking winners and losers and then trying to decide where those winners should put their business, it’s outrageous, and it would upset the balance of how our free-market system is supposed to work.
One of the biggest problems we have with this country right now today is too much government intervention in trying to tell businesses how to do what they do best, which is create jobs. Government doesn’t create jobs. Businesses create jobs. We need to get government out of the way, including trying to tell a company where they should build a new plant.
WILLIAMS: Congressman Paul, I have the same question for you, sir, but let me add that Republicans have historically had success when appealing to union voters, blue-collar voters. Do you see danger in the GOP alienating union members?
PAUL: Well, I wouldn’t think so, because I think union members believe in the rule of law, as well, and you can approach them in other ways. You know, I represented a farm district, and they thought you couldn’t be elected if you didn’t vote for subsidies, but you reach them in a different — in a different manner.
But, you know, when it comes to jobs, you have to just look where all the jobs are being lost. In Texas, we have a right-to-work state, and we have no income tax and no corporate tax. Where are the jobs coming from? Union states, because the wages are higher. Sure, they made more money when the jobs were there, but now they don’t build automobiles and we don’t have steel mills anymore.
So, no, the union — the union wages and artificial wage mandated by the government under the National Labor Relations Board, the whole thing is unconstitutional. They shouldn’t be telling people where to go. The interstate commerce clause should be there to facilitate and allow people to move their businesses back and forth and not to inhibit business decisions.
WILLIAMS: Governor Pawlenty, when you served as governor of Minnesota, you named an education commissioner who equated the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution. Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught in our nation’s schools? And I ask that in this sense: Do you personally equate a faith-based theory with scientific inquiry?
PAWLENTY: Well, Juan, the approach we took in Minnesota is to say that there should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design, didn’t necessarily need to be in science class. It could be in a comparative theory class, but we didn’t decide that at the state level. We left that up to the local school districts and the communities and parents in that area. I think that’s a reasonable and appropriate approach.
But if I might just add something relating to your previous question, you know, I grew up in a meatpacking town, as I mentioned earlier. I was in a union for seven years. My family is a union family. My brothers and sisters, many of them work in unions to this day or have worked in unions. And so I understand this issue.
We’re not against hardworking men and women. They need jobs in this country. What we’re against is government intervening in the market and with businesses to the point where they say we’re not even growing jobs anymore because the government’s discouraging us so much, making it so expensive, delaying it so often that we’re just out of the job market. And that’s the absolute wrong direction.
And it’s not about bashing unions. It’s about being pro-job. And you can’t be pro-job and anti-business. That’s like being pro-egg and anti-chicken. It doesn’t work.
WILLIAMS: I understand, Governor, but you didn’t answer my question about what you believe about teaching creationism in the schools. What do you believe, Governor?
PAWLENTY: I believe that should be left up to parents and local districts and not to states or the federal government.
BAIER: Chris Wallace has the next round of questions.
WALLACE: My job in this round, gentlemen, is to ask you each about an issue that could be a problem for you down the road in this campaign.
Governor Pawlenty, I’m going to start with you.
In January, you told me that you signed a bill to promote renewable energy sources. But — and here’s the quote, “We never did sign a bill relating to cap-and-trade.” Let’s look at your record, sir.
In 2007, the bill you signed required a task force to recommend how the state could adopt cap-and-trade.
In 2008, you said, “I support a reasonable cap-and-trade system at the federal level,” and you made this half (ph) of the Environmental Defense Action Fund. Let’s watch, sir.
(UNKNOWN): Do we have to?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAWLENTY: If we act now, we can create thousands of new jobs in clean energy industries before our overseas competitors beat us to it. Cap greenhouse gas pollution now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Governor, I told you it was going to be a problem for you down the line.
BAIER: You now say that that was a dumb mistake. But weren’t you, in fact, far more committed to cap-and-trade over those years than you now let on?
PAWLENTY: Chris, what I said to you on that day and what I’ve said many other times is this: we did consider and sign into law legislation in Minnesota that would study cap-and-trade.
But we didn’t impose it. We signed up to look at it, to review it, to study it, to join with other states to look at it. And we did. And what I concluded subsequently is it’s really a bad idea.
And this is not in the last six months. I sent a letter to Congress, I think, about two years ago, and at other times have said I was wrong. It was a mistake and I’m sorry.
It’s ham-fisted. It’s going to be harmful to the economy.
We all — everybody here and anybody else who’s going to be running for president, if you’ve got a — or considering running for president — if you’ve got a executive position and you’ve been in the battle, you’re going to have some battle scars, or you’re going to have a few clunkers in your record. We all do. And that’s one of mine.
I just admit it. I don’t try to duck it, bob it, weave it, try to explain it away. I’m just telling you, I made a mistake. I look the American people in the eye and say I made a mistake.
And I’ve opposed that cap-and-trade approach since. But I think everybody — nobody’s perfect.
If anybody’s perfect, come on up here and stand by this podium because we’d like that person to be running for president.
BAIER: Senator Santorum, the — Senator Santorum, the last time you ran for office back in 2006, you were defeated by a Democrat by 18 points.
You say it was a tough year for Republicans, and, in fact, it was.
But some observers point to your criticism of working women in a book you had written at the time, called It Takes a Family, in which you said this: “Many women find it easier, more professionally gratifying and certainly more socially affirming to work outside the home.
“Here we can thank the influence of radical feminism.”
(UNKNOWN): Have you changed your opinion of why women work?
SANTORUM: I wasn’t professing as to why women work.
I said that what we — what we have is a society that was affirming women outside, and I was making the case they should be affirming women for whatever choice women make.
And that’s the point I was trying to make. I wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t be affirming women who are working outside the home.
But we should be affirming women’s choice as to whether they decide to stay at home and give up careers, as many do willingly, including my wife, Karen, because they believe a calling for them to be — to be a wife and a mother.
Others who feel, because of many cases, because of financial stress, not, but that they have to go out and work. And I understand that. I respect that.
All I’m saying is both decisions should be applauded and affirmed, based on the choice the woman wants to make. That’s the point I made in the book, and I — and I stand by that choice.
And I believe we — that, you know, as I said before, the foundational unit of this country is the family, and that we need to have a society that is encouraging and supporting of that basic family structure, and that means for — to also affirm women who stay at home.
BAIER: But, Senator, why would you link…
BAIER: … why would you link working women to radical feminism?
SANTORUM: I was — I wasn’t talking about working women to radical — I was talking about working — radical feminism has, in fact, created an atmosphere where working is affirmed in society and staying at home is not.
That’s the — that’s the point I was trying to make. And I was trying to say that both should be affirmed.
BAIER: Congressman Paul, you say that the federal government should stay out of people’s personal habits. You say marijuana, cocaine, even heroin should be legal if states want to permit it.
You feel the same about prostitution and gay marriage.
Question, sir: why should social conservatives in South Carolina vote for you for president?
PAUL: … they will if they understand my defense of liberty is the defense of their right to practice their religion and say their prayers where they want, and practice their life.
But if you do not protect liberty across the board — it’s the First Amendment type issue.
We don’t have a First Amendment to — so that we can talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things.
So for people to say that, yes, we have our religious beliefs protected, but people who want to follow something else or a controversial religion, you can’t do this.
If you have the inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty.
But there are strict rules on freedom of choice of this sort, because you can’t hurt other people, you can’t defame other people. But, yes, you have a right to do things that are very controversial.
If not, you’re going to end up with government that’s going to tell us what we can eat and drink and whatever.
You know, it’s amazing that we want freedom to pick the future, you know, our future in a spiritual way, but not when it comes to our personal habits.
BAIER: But, Senator, are you suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise of liberty?
PAUL: Well, you know, I probably never used those words. You put those words someplace. But, yes, in essence, if I leave it to the states, it’s going to be up to the states. Up until this past century, you know, for over 100 years they were legal. What you’re inferring (sic) is, you know what? If we legalize heroin tomorrow, everybody’s going to use heroin.
How many people here would use heroin if it was legal? I bet nobody would put their hand, oh, yeah, I need the government to take care of me. I don’t want to use heroin, so I made these laws.
BAIER: I never thought heroin would get applause here in South Carolina.
BAIER: Governor Johnson, you say we should not only legalize and tax marijuana, you admit that you smoked it when it was still illegal in the — you state of New Mexico…
BAIER: … after suffering several serious and very painful bone fractures.
Question: how far would you go in legalizing drugs, sir?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I would hope that people, when it comes to the drug issue, looking at me, would look at what I did as governor of New Mexico, which was everything was a cost-benefit analysis.
So using that as a criteria, half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts and the prisons, is drug-related. And to what end?
We’re arresting 1.8 million people a year in this country. We now have 2.3 million people behind bars in this country. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world.
I would ask people to look at this issue, see if they don’t come to the same conclusion that I did, and that is that 90 percent of the drug problems, prohibition related, not use related — that’s not to discount the problems with use and abuse, but that ought to be the focus.
So I advocate legalizing marijuana, control it, regulate it, tax it. It’ll never be legal for kids to smoke pot or buy pot. It’ll never be legal to smoke pot or do harm to others.
When it comes to all other drugs, I advocate harm reduction strategies, which is simply looking at the drug problem first as a health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue.
BAIER: Mr. Cain, you’ve never held office, but you did run for office once,
Back in 2004, you lost the Republican Senate primary in Georgia. You got just 26 percent of the vote in that campaign.
You said your opponent was prochoice because he would have allowed abortions, prochoice because he would have allowed abortions in the case of rape and incest.
You have an impressive personal history, sir, but why do you have any belief that you stand a chance to win this nomination, let alone the presidency?
CAIN: A couple of reasons, first of all, the people of the United States are going to elect the person that I believe projects the greatest amount of leadership strength, not the person that has had — that has the greatest amount of money, not the person that necessarily has held public office before.
And I’m proud of the fact, quite frankly, that I haven’t held public office before, because I ask people, most of the people that have elected office in Washington, D.C., they have held public office before.
How is that working for you?
CAIN: We have a mess.
CAIN: How about sending a problem-solver to the White House?
How about someone who has a career of defining the right problem, assigning the right priority, surrounding yourself with the right people?
If you look at this current administration, it is the worst in current history, and fourth (ph), putting together the plans. And then being able to engage the American public in these common-sense solutions.
BAIER: Thank you, sir.
Right now, we’ll do a bit of a lightning round, 30 seconds response from each candidate, down the row.
Depending on the poll, President Obama is getting a bump after the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
Some on the left are now President Obama is unbeatable in his reelection effort. Why are those pundits on the left wrong, and what is his biggest vulnerability?
Congressman Paul? PAUL: His biggest vulnerability will be the economy and high prices. He hasn’t dealt with that, because he doesn’t understand the business cycle, as so many others don’t.
So the economy will be the big issue. My theory is that people vote from their bellies, because it’s whether they’re hungry or not or have jobs and need things. That’s why people vote.
And we’re in big trouble. Prices are going up, unemployment is continuing to go up.
And we have not had the necessary correction for the financial bubble, created by our Federal Reserve system. And until you allow the correction and the liquidation of debt, you can’t have growth.
BAIER: Mr. Cain?
BAIER: Mr. Cain?
CAIN: President Obama is not unbeatable, because one right decision doth not a great president make. He will be…
CAIN: … if you look at the economy, he has no policies that are going to turn this economy around.
Gasoline prices are going to continue to go up, because his administration has done absolutely nothing to help bring down the cost of oil by utilizing our energy resources.
So I believe that he is vulnerable in many ways, not to mention all of the broken promises since he’s been President of the United States.
BAIER: Governor Pawlenty?
PAWLENTY: Bret, we have $4-a-gallon gas. This morning they announced they had $6-a-gallon gas in Hawaii.
We have crushing levels of unemployment. It’s almost unbearable for so many of our fellow Americans.
We’ve got a federal government that is out of control and spiraling towards financial insolvency.
And if you look at those facts and say President Obama is unbeatable, I just say, respectfully, those polls are wrong. He’s got a temporary bump.
We can’t restore America’s promise unless we have a president who keeps his promises to America. And he stood before the American people and said he’s going to cut the deficit in half in his first term. He didn’t keep that promise, either.
BAIER: Senator Santorum?
SANTORUM: I know a little bit about beating unbeatable Democratic incumbents.
When I ran for the House, I was up against a Democratic incumbent who had gotten 60 percent in the last three — last — every election since his first. I beat him.
Second election, I got redistricted into a district that was 72 percent Democrat against a 22-year incumbent.
And he left before he wanted to fight against me and I won that district. So that’s the second incumbent I took out of Congress.
The third, 1994, ran against an incumbent who had just beaten the sitting attorney general by 10 points a couple years before, in a state with over half a million more registered Democrats and Republicans.
I beat him. Three Democratic incumbents. You want someone who can beat Democratic incumbents in tough times?
BAIER: Governor Johnson?
JOHNSON: I believe that we’re on the verge of a financial collapse, unless we balance the federal budget. And I don’t see that happening with Obama.
Now I do see that happening with the Republican Party.
Why the American electorate is going to give Republicans back control of the presidency and Congress and the Senate, given that a few short years ago, they did that, and Republicans passed a prescription drug care benefit and ran up record deficits, I’m not so sure.
But I’m under the belief that only Republicans are capable of solving the problem that exists right now, which is the collapse of our economy.
BAIER: When we come back, another lightning round on the potential candidates who are not here.
And I’m going to head to (ph) foxnews.com, vote in our online poll on that topic. Plus we’ll rev up with the closing arguments from each of the candidates here. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BAIER: Welcome back to Greenville, South Carolina, a lot of people weighed in on foxnews.com about those candidates who are not here tonight.
So as we near the conclusion of tonight’s Republican presidential debate, we figured we’d try something a little different, a lightning round about those candidates.
Each of you will have 30 seconds to answer the questions. I will start.
Mr. Cain, you supported Governor Romney in 2008. What did you see in him back then that led you to support his campaign?
CAIN: Back then, I saw his business experience, which I — which I concluded that that meant that he understood how to create jobs.
And like then and now, creation — the creation of jobs is one of the most critical issues that we have in this country. That’s why I supported him.
I’m running now, rather than supporting Mr. Romney, because he did not win. So I’m going to try my time.
BAIER: Thank you, Mr. Cain.
WALLACE: Governor Pawlenty, you’ve been campaigning for months, especially in Iowa. Mike Huckabee is still considering whether to even run.
And he’s already beating you quite badly in the polls, even in Iowa.
Sir, if he gets in this race, are you out of business?
PAWLENTY: I love the Huck. I know him. He has been a colleague of mine and a friend and I know Janet, his spouse.
He’s a wonderful man and he’s got a big heart and he’s got a lot of talent. And he cares about this country. So I appreciate him very much.
But my views and his views may not always line up. I think they mostly do on many things. But, no, I’m planning to be in it.
If I decide to do this to win it in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and everywhere else, and I’m still not very well known outside of Minnesota.
And as I guess better known, I’m getting more and more support. So I think the momentum is on my side.
BAIER: Shannon Bream?
BREAM: Congressman Paul, a lot of folks consider you the founding father of the Tea Party movement.
Now Congresswoman Michelle Bachman has founded and heads up the Tea Party caucus in the House. Has she eclipsed you?
PAUL: Well, she’s not here tonight, so she (inaudible).
PAUL: So — and we attend Tea Party meetings together, and, of course, the Tea Party movement was starting during the last campaign, when there was a special day where they raised $6 million spontaneously…
PAUL: … and that was the…
PAUL: … that was the — that was the beginning of it. But, no, I don’t feel threatened.
BREAM: Thank you, Congressman.
BAIER: Juan Williams?
WILLIAMS: Senator Santorum, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, after pulling out of this South Carolina debate, appears ready to announce his presidential candidacy next week in Georgia.
As a social conservative, Senator, do you have a problem with Gingrich’s past personal behavior?
SANTORUM: I think that you should be very careful about how you deal with those issues, because all of us make mistakes.
And just because we make mistakes, we shouldn’t be at all inhibited from going out and saying what’s the truth.
Just because you fall short doesn’t mean that you can’t stand up and say, this is the right way to do it. I didn’t always live up to that, but this is the truth.
And there are some who like to cower people, like to bully people, so from standing up for things that are important in society that we personally fall short on.
And so I’d say to Newt Gingrich, stand up for the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
BAIER: Governor Johnson, if you had a reality TV show like Donald Trump does…
BAIER: … what would it be?
JOHNSON: Wow. I’m stumped. I’m really stumped. You know, I’m an — I’m an active guy.
So reality TV for me would be to spread this whole notion of physical activity and competition and the notion that we should all live in the present.
I don’t think it would be Donald Trump’s show. I don’t think it would be Sarah Palin’s show either, crawling on her hands and knees up the ice fall in Alaska. But…
BAIER: You mentioned…
JOHNSON: Well, I’m just totally stumped.
BAIER: I understand, and that’s fair.
You mentioned that you like to work out. We understand you’ve run 30 marathons?
JOHNSON: I’ve run 30 marathons (inaudible).
BAIER: What are you running away from?
JOHNSON: You know, I got to stand on top of the planet, also. I got to — had the good fortune to summit Mt. Everest, which I thought was — I have a goal to climb the highest mountain on each continent…
JOHNSON: … so now I get to finish my reality show. I have — I hope to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. I have three to go. So my reality show would be trying those last three.
BAIER: We knew we’d get there.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
BAIER: Thank you.
JOHNSON: Thanks for the break (inaudible). BAIER: Each candidate has 30 seconds for closing remarks right now. We will go down the row. We begin with Congressman Paul.
PAUL: The big issue today is the budget and the deficit. We approach it in Washington by looking at it as an accounting problem, and it isn’t. It’s a philosophic problem.
Until we decide what kind of government we want, what the role of government ought to be, we can’t solve it.
The role of government ought to be there to protect our liberties and to take care of our personal — and provide a free market economy and to provide for the national defense, which means that we bring our troops home and we restore sound money to this country.
BAIER: Mr. Cain, your closing remarks, sir?