1st Republican Presidential Debate 2012
Date: May 5, 2011
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas
Businessman Herman Cain
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
Bret Baier: Thanks Bill, welcome to South Carolina and the first Republican presidential Debate in the 2012 campaign.
Narrator: The defining issues facing our nation, from taking down the most wanted man in the world.
Barack Obama: To those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda’s terror, justice has been done.
Narrator: To our exploding debt.
Male 1: It is immoral to rob our children and grandchildren’s future.
Narrator: Jobs and spiking gas prices. Now, the candidates on what they would do if they were in the White House.
Live from the Peace Center in Greenville South Carolina, this is America’s election headquarters, the Republican presidential debate.
Bret Baier: Good evening, I’m Bret Baier, 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 let’s 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 US 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… there it is.
We ask 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 let’s 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 “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?
Tim Pawlenty: Well first of all Bret, 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 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 led to Osama Bin Laden 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.
Bret 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.
Bret Baier: Senator Santorum you said Monday president Obama has made the country less safe and his policies have made America’s enemies “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 US 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?”
Rick Santorum: If you look at what president Obama has done right in foreign policy, it is always been a continuation of the Bush policies. He’s gone right by keeping Gitmo open, he’s done right by finishing the job in Iraq, he has done right by trying to enter into 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 got it wrong strategically every single time, whether it’s in Central America, Colombia 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 has 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 [mullers] instead of the demonstrators.
Bret Baier: Congressman Paul you have wanted to pull US troops out of Afghanistan for years, in fact you said on the House floor about the US military’s efforts in Afghanistan “Whose interest 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?
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 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.
Bret Baier: Behold the applause. Mr. Cain about Afghanistan, you recently said this “If the experts, the generals, 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 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 the thirdly it’s not clear what the road map to victory is and what does that mean? This is why I would revisit the issue in defining those three critical questions, asking 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 road map to victory?
Bret Baier: But sir, how would you define winning in Afghanistan right now as you’re looking at it as a candidate?
Herman Cain: My point is, the experts and their advice and their input would be the basis for me making that decision. I’m not privileged 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 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.
Bret Baier: Okay, well that was quick, you stopped quick, you got the bell there.
Herman Cain: Good brakes.
Bret Baier: Governor Johnson, you have said, you are 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 US 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 US troops left?
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 rollout 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 taken care of Al Qaeda.
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 a position right now where I’m issuing opinions on everything right away, my opinion on Libya is I’m opposed to A through Z.
Bret Baier: Thank you governor, now to my colleague Chris Wallace with another round of questions, Chris.
Chris Wallace: Thank you Bret, and gentlemen let’s continue this conversation and let’s 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 predisposed to fundamentalism, in March you said this to students at Bates College, “In the case of Islam, most people would say it’s somewhat stuck in the 7th century because of the interpretation of a 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?
Rick 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, it 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 this tough term to say reaffirmation, it requires some sort of introspection within the Islamic world and I think we have an opportunity now that we have shows that we are going to be vigilant, that we’re not going to back down, that thankfully we’re putting 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 radical principles and want to fight those who are advocating those but unfortunately as I mentioned, they are not treated particularly well when they do.
We need to be a government that talks about those problems, we cannot continue to put the ideological battle in the closet and not bring it out and talk about it and deal with it.
Chris Wallace: Thank you, Congressman Paul, you say that we should cut off all foreign aid to the Middle East and “Let them take care of themselves.” You say the prison at Guantanamo should be closed that the detainees there have not been given due process. Governor Pawlenty said a couple months ago that bullies respect strength not weakness, is governor Pawlenty wrong?
Ron 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 a characteristic of a republic that believes in freedom, it is just not the process, 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 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.
Chris Wallace: I want to follow up on…
Bret Baier: Please hold the applause.
Chris Wallace: I’d like to follow up on this with you governor Pawlenty because you mentioned it in your first answer, we heard a very different opinion from Congressman Paul. There is a renewed debate about enhanced interrogation and 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?
Tim Pawlenty: Well I believe my position hasn’t changed Chris in this regard, I’ve been all over the Middle East, I’ve 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 Jihadist and we need to call them by name, and they believe it’s okay 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 okay. In fact it’s their plan and design to kill innocent people.
The first order of business of the United States Federal Government is to protect this country and the American people and 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 3 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. I support enhanced interrogation techniques under limited circumstances.
Chris Wallace: Well let me ask you all directly, this is going to be another raising of your hands and you didn’t have answer this specifically Congressman Paul, raise your hand if you would support a resumption of water boarding under any circumstances.
Rick Santorum: Under certain circumstances or any circumstances?
Chris Wallace: Under certain circumstances.
Rick Santorum: Certain or any?
Chris Wallace: Under any circumstances that you could imagine, not all.
Rick Santorum: Sure…
Chris Wallace: So just to declare the three of you under individual case by case basis would support water boarding, Congressman Paul you would not?
Ron Paul: No, I would not.
Chris Wallace: And Governor Johnson…
Ron Paul: Because you don’t achieve anything.
Gary Johnson: I would not.
Rick Santorum: Well it’s just simply not true Ron, I mean the fact is that what we found is that some of this information that we find out that led to Osama Bin Laden actually came from these enhanced interrogation techniques.
Ron Paul: Not true.
Rick Santorum: And by the way we wouldn’t have been able to launch a raid into Pakistan to get Osama Bin Laden if we weren’t in Afghanistan.
Person: It’s illegal.
Herman Cain: May I say what prompted me to raise my hand on this issue very briefly, I heard Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say it very clearly a few months after 9/11 2001 after the tragedy, the terrorist have one objective, to kill 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.
Bret Baier: Juan Williams has the next round of questions on the economy and gas prices, Juan.
Juan Williams: Governor Johnson, the nation’s unemployment rate is 8.8% 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?
Gary 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, let’s 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, 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 those problems. So does government actually perhaps make the problem worse as opposed to better by having a finite amount of time that you would receive unemployment benefits.
Juan Williams: Governor Pawlenty, despite 10 years of the Bush tax cuts, the unemployment rate here in South Carolina was 9.6% in March. Do you have any ideas for stimulating the job market beyond continued tax cuts?
Tim Pawlenty: I sure do Juan and that’s an important question is 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 the 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 and so we have a situation where the best thing that we can do for our fellow citizens is do those things that it’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 their good paying jobs and their…
Karen 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 battle ground 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.
Bret Baier: Thank you Karen, now back to the debate. Shannon Bream has the next round of questions on social issues, Shannon.
Shannon Bream: Thanks Bret, Congressman Paul, in 2007 in an interview, you were asked should gays be allowed to marry, you said “Sure they can do whatever they want and call it whatever they want.” Are you advocating legalizing gay marriage in this country?
Ron Paul: Well, matter of fact I spent a whole chapter in a new book I’ve written on marriage and I think it’s very important and 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 this one area where it’s totally unnecessary and they’ve caused more trouble than necessary.
Shannon Bream: Alright, given that answer I have to ask you about your 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.
Ron Paul: And the main reason there is the defense of marriage act, 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 state, 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 states have the privilege of dealing with it and Federal government can’t impose their standards on them.
Shannon 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 “A breach of presidential duty bordering on treason.” That’s some pretty tough language, isn’t this country just moving toward accepting gay marriage?
Herman Cain: The defense of marriage act is one of the 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 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.
Shannon Bream: Thank you sir, governor Johnson, most Republicans and everyone else on the stage but you identified 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?
Gary 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 2:1 Democrat, I really didn’t get that vote in the primary, but I’d 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.
Shannon Bream: Alright, 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 is that still spending tax payer money on elements that were generated by, at some point destroying an embryo.
Tim 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 in 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.
Shannon 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 Republicans should “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?
Rick Santorum: I think anybody that would suggest that we call truce on the moral issues doesn’t understand what America is all about, America is a country that is based on this concept and 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 transform the world because it’s 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 United States of America 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.
Shannon Bream: Thank you gentlemen.
Bret Baier: Let’s go now to Juan Williams for another round of questions on the important topics of jobs, unions and education, Juan.
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 Council 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?
Herman Cain: I don’t think so, because what the National Labor Relations Board did by sighting 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 is 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 and trying to tell businesses how to 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 the new plant.
Juan 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?
Ron 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. 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 manner. But 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, stay 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 over there, but now they don’t build automobiles and we don’t have steel mills anymore.
So no, the union wage is an 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.
Juan 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 for our nation’s schools? And I ask that in this sense, do you personally equate a faith based theory with scientific inquiry?
Tim Pawlenty: Well, one 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. If I might just add something relating to your previous question, I grew up in a meat packing 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, 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.
Juan 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?
Tim Pawlenty: I believe that should be left up to parents and local school districts and not to states or the Federal government.
Bret Baier: Chris Wallace has the next round of questions, Chris.
Chris 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 taskforce 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 ad for the environmental defense action fund, let’s watch sir.
Tim Pawlenty: Do we have to…. “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.”
Chris Wallace: Governor, I told you it was going to be a problem for you down the line, 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 led on?
Tim Pawlenty: Chris, what I said to you on that day and what I’ve said many other times is this, we did consider and signed 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 harm fisted, it’s going to be harmful to the economy. We all, everybody here and anybody else is going to be running for president, if you’ve got, 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’m looking American people in the eye and say “I made a mistake” and I’ve opposed that cap and trade approach since. But I think nobody is perfect, if anybody is perfect, come up here and stand by this podium because we’d like that person to be running for president.
Chris Wallace: 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.” Question, have you changed your opinion of why women work?
Rick Santorum: I wasn’t professing as to why women work, I said that what we have 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 choices 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 a wife and a mother. Other’s who feel because many cases because of financial stress not that they have to go out of work and I understand that, I respect that.
All I’m saying is both decisions should be applauded and affirmed based the choice the woman wants to make, that’s the point I made in the book and I stand by that choice and I believe that, 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 to also affirm women who stay at home.
Chris Wallace: But Senator, why would you link working women to radical feminism?
Rick Santorum: I wasn’t talking about working women to radical… I was talking about radical feminism has in fact created an atmosphere where working is affirmed in society and staying at home is not, that’s the point I was trying to make and I was trying to say that both should be affirmed.
Chris Wallace: 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?
Ron 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 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 is going to tell us what we can eat and drink and what ever.
It’s amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way but not when it comes to our personal habits.
Chris Wallace: But Senator, are you suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise of liberty.
Ron Paul: Well, I probably never used those words, you put those words some place 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 for over a hundred years they were legal, what you’re referring is “You know what? If we legalize Heroin tomorrow, everybody is going to use Heroin,” how many people here would use Heroin if it was legal, I bet nobody would put the hand “Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me,” I don’t want to use Heroin so I need these laws.
Chris Wallace: I never thought Heroin would get applause here in South Carolina, Governor Johnson you say we should not only legalize and tax marijuana, you admit that you smoked it when it was still illegal in your state of New Mexico after suffering several serious and very painful bone fractures. Question, how far would you go in legalizing drugs sir?
Gary 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 of law enforcement, the courts and the prisons is drug related, and to what end? Where 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 it is, is that 90% of the drug problem is 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.
Chris Wallace: 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% of the vote, in that campaign, you said your opponent was prochoice because he would 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?
Herman 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 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 asked people, most of the people that are in elective office in Washington DC, they have held public office before, how’s that working for you? We have a mess, 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 forth, put in together the plans and then being able to engage the American public in these common sense solutions.
Chris Wallace: Thank you sir.
Bret Baier: 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 saying President Obama is unbeatable in his reelection effort, why are those pundits on the left wrong and what is his biggest vulnerability? Congressman Paul…
Ron 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 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.
Bret Baier: Mr. Cain.
Herman Cain: President Obama is not unbeatable because one right decision does not a great president make, he will be, if you look at the economy, he has no polices 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 the broken promises since he’s been president of United States.
Bret Baier: Governor Pawlenty.
Tim Pawlenty: 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 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’ll 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.
Bret Baier: Senator Santorum.
Rick 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% in every election since his first, I beat him. Second election I got redistricted into a district that was 72% 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 of years before in a state with over a 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?
Bret Baier: Governor Johnson.
Gary 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.
Bret Baier: When we come back, another lightning round on the potential candidates who are not here, remember to head to foxnews.com vote on our online poll on that topic, plus we’ll wrap up with the closing arguments from each of the candidates here, stay with us.
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?
Herman Cain: Back then I saw his business experience which I concluded that that meant that he understood how to create jobs and like then and now, 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.
Bret Baier: Thank you Mr. Cain, Chris.
Chris Wallace: Governor Pawlenty, you’ve been campaigning for months especially in Iowa, Mike Huckabee is still considering whether to even run and he is already bidding it quite badly in the polls, even in Iowa, sir, if he gets in this race, are you out of business?
Tim Pawlenty: I love the Huck, I know him, he’s 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, he’s got a lot of talent, and he cares about this country and I appreciate him very much. But my views and his views may not always line up, I think they mostly do in 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 get better known, I’m getting more and more support. So I think the momentum is on my side.
Bret Baier: Shannon Bream.
Shannon Bream: Congressman Paul, a lot of folks consider you the founding father of the Tea Party Movement, now Congresswoman Michelle Blackman has founded and heads up the Tea Party Caucus in the House. Has she eclipsed you?
Ron Paul: She’s not here tonight so she hasn’t quite done that. We attend Tea Party meetings together and of course the Tea Party movement was started during the last campaign when there was a special day where they raised $6 million spontaneously, and that was the beginning of it but no, I don’t feel threatened.
Shannon Bream: Thank you Congressman.
Bret Baier: Juan Williams.
Juan Williams: Senator Santorum, a former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, after pulling out of his 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?
Rick 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 prohibited 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 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.
Bret Baier: Governor Johnson, if you had a reality TV show like Donald Trump does, what would it be?
Gary Johnson: Wow… I’m stumped, I’m really stumped. 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 Show, I don’t think it would be Sarah Palin Show either, crawling on her hands and knees up the ice fall in Alaska, but…
Bret Baier: You mentioned…
Gary Johnson: Well I’m just a little stumped.
Bret Baier: I understand and that’s fair, you mentioned that you like to work out, we understand you’ve run 30 marathons?
Gary Johnson: I’ve run 30 marathons in my lifetime
Bret Baier: What are you running away from?
Gary Johnson: You know I got to stand on top of the planet also, I had the good fortune to summit Mount Everest which I thought was, I have a goal to climb the highest mountain on each continent, so now I get to finish my reality show, 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.
Bret Baier: We knew we’d get there.
Gary Johnson: Thank you.
Bret Baier: Governor thank you.
Gary Johnson: Thanks for the break.
Bret Baier: Each candidate has 30 seconds for closing remarks right now we will go down the row, we begin with Congressman Paul, Congressman…
Ron Paul: The big issue today is the budget and the deficit, we approach it in Washington by looking at as an accounting problem and it isn’t, it is a philosophic problem. Until we decide what kind of government we want, and 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 out troops home and we restore sound money to this country.
Bret Baier: Mr. Cain your closing remarks sir.
Herman Cain: Fellow patriots, in this exceptional nation the United States of America, we need real economic growth, a real energy independence plan, real national security clarity, and we’re only going to get it with real leadership not more position-ship. God bless and yes God is blessing America.
Bret Baier: Governor Pawlenty.
Tim Pawlenty: As I travel America, it seems too many of our fellow Americans feels that America’s best days are behind us, let me tell you, they are not. I grew up in a working class family, I led my state in a conservative commonsense direction, we can restore American’s promise, I know that because I have lived it and I have lived the American dream. But we’re going to need to restore American commonsense to Washington DC. I hope you’ll join our cause and go to timpawlenty.com to find out more.
Bret Baier: Alright, Senator Santorum.
Rick Santorum: A lot of people up here can check the boxes and say they have conservative positions, but I’ve led on every one from social conservative issues, on life and marriage, and I’ve got the arrows in my back from the mainstream media to prove it. I’ve led on national security issues, in cases sometimes against president Bush on issues like the Syrian Accountability Act and the Iran Freedom Support Act, I’ve been out front on national security issues, I’ve been out front with your colleague and my former colleague Jim DeMint on social security on Medicare, on welfare reform, I led on welfare reform, ended the only federal entitlement we’ve ever ended that I’m aware of, I was the one that carried the water on that, it’s not just checking the boxes, it’s having the courage to lead.
Bret Baier: Governor Johnson.
Gary Johnson: I’m an entrepreneur that ran for governor of New Mexico promising to bring a common sense business approach to state government that everything was going to be a cost benefit analysis. I got reelected in a state that was 2:1 Democrat, I think we’re on the verge of a financial collapse unless we balance the budget and that means some really tough choices that all doable and they’re all doable under the context of a commonsense business approach to the way government does business and a cost benefit analysis that goes along with everything that government is doing, garyjohnson2012.com
Bret Baier: Gentlemen, on behalf of Chris, Shannon and Juan, thank you very much, it’s been a pleasure. That is it for tonight, our thanks to the candidates and their staff, to our debate partner, the Republican Party of South Carolina and also to all the great people here in the Peace Center in Greenville. They could not have been more hospitable to us. All the candidates please note, our next debate is in Ames Iowa on August 11th right before the famous Ames… we will see you there, thanks for watching and goodnight.