Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Part 2: (08:30pm - 09:00pm) CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate
Aired October 18, 2011 - 20:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR AND DEBATE MODERATOR: Governor Romney, I'm going to give you 30 seconds.
FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm -- I'm sorry, Rick, that you find so much to dislike in my plan, but I'll tell you, the people in Massachusetts like it by about a 3-1 margin.
And we dealt with a challenge that we had, a lot of people that were expecting government to pay their way. And we said, you know what? If people have the capacity to care for themselves and pay their own way, they should.
Now, I can tell you this, it's absolutely right that there's a lot that needs to be done. And I didn't get the job done in Massachusetts in getting the health care costs down in this country. It's something I think we have got to do at the national level. I intend to do that.
But one thing is for sure. What Obama has done is imposed on the nation a plan that will not work, that must be repealed. And when it comes to knowledge about health care and how to get our health care system working, I may not be a doctor like this one right over here, but I sure understand how to bring the cost of health care down and how to also make sure that we have a system that works for the American people.
FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It didn't do it. It didn't do it.
COOPER: Speaker Gingrich, you've also been very critical of Mitt Romney's plan not only on Obamacare, but his plan to lower the capital gains tax only on those earning under $200,000.
FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to say on health for a minute -- OK, let's just focus. "The Boston Herald" today reported that the state of Massachusetts is fining a local small business $3,000 because their $750-a-month insurance plan is inadequate, according to the bureaucrats in Boston.
Now, there's a fundamental difference between trying to solve the problems of this country from the top down and trying to create environments in which doctors and patients and families solve the problem from the bottom up. And candidly, Mitt, your plan ultimately, philosophically, it's not Obamacare, and that's not a fair charge. But your plan essentially is one more big government, bureaucratic, high-cost system, which candidly could not have been done by any other state because no other state had a Medicare program as lavish as yours, and no other state got as much money from the federal government under the Bush administration for this experiment. So there's a lot as big government behind Romneycare. Not as much as Obamacare, but a heck of a lot more than your campaign is admitting.
COOPER: Governor Romney, 30 seconds.
ROMNEY: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.
GINGRICH: That's not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.
ROMNEY: Yes, we got it from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you.
GINGRICH: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.
ROMNEY: And you never supported them?
GINGRICH: I agree with them, but I'm just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn't true.
ROMNEY: OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?
GINGRICH: I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.
ROMNEY: You did support an individual mandate?
ROMNEY: Oh, OK. That's what I'm saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation.
GINGRICH: OK. A little broader.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anderson?
COOPER: He still has time. Let him finish.
ROMNEY: I get a little time here.
Number two, we don't have a government insurance plan. What we do is rely on private insurers, and people -- 93 percent of our people who are already insured, nothing changed. For the people who didn't have insurance, they get private insurance, not government insurance.
And the best way to make markets work is for people to be able to buy their own products from private enterprises. What we did was right for our state, according to the people in our state. And the great thing about a state solution to a state issue is, if people don't like it, they could change it.
Now, there are a lot of things.
COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann.
BACHMANN: Anderson, I think it has to be stated that Obamacare is so flat-out unpopular, that even the Obama administration chose to reject part of Obamacare last Friday, when they tried to throw out the CLASS Act, which is the long-term care function.
Secretary Sebelius, who is the head of Health and Human Services, reported that the government can't even afford that part and has to throw it out. And now the administration is arguing with itself.
When even the Obama administration wants to repeal this bill, I think we're going to win this thing. We're going to repeal it! And I will!
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We will continue this discussion on the other side.
We have a long way to go. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back to the continuing debate. We got a Twitter question. We ended talking about medicine, Obamacare. We actually have a Twitter question about it. It was a question left at CNN debate.
If Obama's health plan is bad for the U.S., what is the alternative, and how will you implement it?
Congressman Paul, is there any aspect of Obamacare that you would like to keep, whether it's keeping kids to stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26 or no pre-existing conditions?
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Really not, because he's just adding on more government. There's been a lot of discussion about medicine, but it seems to be talking about which kind of government management is best. Our problem is we have too much. We've had it for 30, 40 years. We have Medicare. We have prescription drug programs. We have Medicaid.
And what we need -- I mean, there's a pretty good support up here for getting rid of Obamacare, because it's a Democratic proposal, and we want to opt out. I think we'd all agree on this.
But if you want better competition and better health care, you should allow the American people to opt out of government medicine. And...
And the way to do this is to not de-emphasize the medical savings account, but let people opt out, pay their bills, get back to the doctor-patient relationship. There is inflation worked into it. When a government gets involved in an industry, prices always go up. We have tort laws to deal with. And we need more competition in medicine.
But the most important thing is letting the people have control of their money and getting it out of the hands of the third party. As soon as you go to the government, the lobbyists line up, the drug companies line up, these insurance companies line up. And even with Obamacare, the industries, the corporations get behind it and affect the outcome, and already insurance premiums are going up.
COOPER: Herman Cain, same question. Is there any aspect of so- called Obamacare that -- that you would keep?
HERMAN CAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. I think we all agree that Obamacare must be repealed because it is a disaster. And the more we learn about it and the more time goes along, the more we see. We're all in agreement with that.
But here's where I would start in answering that question. It's called H.R. 3400. This was introduced back in 2009, but you didn't hear a lot of talk about it. Instead of government being imposed on -- on our system, it imposes -- it basically passes market-centered, market-driven, patient-centered sort of reforms to allow association health plans, to allow loser pay laws, to allow insurance products to be sold across state lines, and a whole list of other things. So that's a great place to start.
It allows the patient and the doctors to make the decisions, not a bureaucrat. I'd start with HR-3400.
COOPER: Governor Perry, in the last debate, Governor Romney pointed out that Texas has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, over one million kids. You did not get an opportunity to respond to that. What do you say? How do you explain that?
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we've got one of the finest health care systems in the world in Texas. As a matter of fact, the Houston, Texas, Medical Center, there's more doctors and nurses that go to work there every morning than any other place in America. But the idea that you can't have access to health care, some of the finest health care in the world -- but we have a 1,200-mile border with Mexico, and the fact is we have a huge number of illegals that are coming into this country.
And they're coming into this country because the federal government has failed to secure that border. But they're coming here because there is a magnet. And the magnet is called jobs. And those people that hire illegals ought to be penalized.
And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you're strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy.
COOPER: Governor Romney?
ROMNEY: Rick, I don't think I've ever hired an illegal in my life. And so I'm afraid -- I'm looking forward to finding your facts on that, because that just doesn't --
PERRY: Well, I'll tell you what the facts are.
ROMNEY: Rick, again -- Rick, I'm speaking.
PERRY: You had the -- your newspaper -- the newspaper --
ROMNEY: I'm speaking. I'm speaking. I'm speaking.
ROMNEY: You get 30 seconds. This is the way the rules work here, is that I get 60 seconds and then you get 30 second to respond. Right?
PERRY: And they want to hear you say that you knew you had illegals working at your --
ROMNEY: Would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking?
PERRY: Yes, sir.
ROMNEY: Would you let me finish with what I have to say?
ROMNEY: Look, Rick --
COOPER: I thought Republicans follow the rules.
ROMNEY: This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick, and I understand that. And so you're going to get testy.
ROMNEY: But let's let -- I'll tell you what, let me take my time, and then you can take your time. All right?
PERRY: Great. Have at it.
ROMNEY: All right.
My time is this, which is I have in my state -- when I was governor, I took the action of empowering our state police to enforce immigration laws. When you were governor, you said, I don't want to build a fence. You put in place a magnet.
You talked about magnets. You put in place a magnet to draw illegals into the state, which was giving $100,000 of tuition credit to illegals that come into this country, and then you have states -- the big states of illegal immigrants are California and Florida. Over the last 10 years, they've had no increase in illegal immigration.
Texas has had 60 percent increase in illegal immigrants in Texas. If there's someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration that doesn't stand up to muster, it's you, not me.
COOPER: Governor Perry, you have 30 seconds.
PERRY: You stood here in front of the American people and did not tell the truth that you had illegals working on your property. And the newspaper came to you and brought it to your attention, and you still, a year later, had those individuals working for you.
The idea that you can sit here and talk about any of us having an immigration issue is beyond me. I've got a strong policy. I've always been against amnesty. You, on the other hand, were for amnesty.
COOPER: I've got 30 seconds, then we've got move on to another immigration question.
You wrote an op-ed in the newspaper saying you were open to amnesty. That's number one.
Number two, we hired a lawn company to mow our lawn, and they had illegal immigrants that were working there. And when that was pointed out to us, we let them go. And we went to them and said --
PERRY: A year later?
ROMNEY: You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking. And I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you have got to let both people speak. So first, let me speak.
ROMNEY: So we went to the company and we said, look, you can't have any illegals working on our property. I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals. It turns out that once question, they hired someone who had falsified their documents, had documents, and therefore we fired them.
And let me tell you, it is hard in this country as an individual homeowner to know if people who are contractors working at your home, if they have hired people that are illegal. If I'm president, we'll put in an E-Verify system, which you have opposed --
COOPER: Out of time.
ROMNEY: -- to make sure that we can find out who's here illegally and not, and crack down on people who come here illegally.
COOPER: All right. We're going to stay on the topic of immigration.
COOPER: We're going to stay on the topic of immigration. Everyone is going to get a chance to weigh in.
This is a question that was left at CNNPolitics.com. "As president, will you order completion of the physical border fence along the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico?" That's from Marilyn L.
Herman Cain, let me start with you. Obviously, over the weekend, you got a lot of headlines by saying you would have an electrified fence. You then later said it was -- you then later said it was a joke. And then last night, you said, "It might be electrified. I'm not walking away from that. I just don't want to offend anyone."
So would you build an entire fence along the entire border, and would you have it be electrified?
CAIN: Allow me to give a serious answer. Yes, I believe we should secure the border for real, and it would be a combination of a fence, technology, as well as possibly boots on the ground for some of the more dangerous areas. I don't apologize at all for wanting to protect the American citizens and to protect our agents on the border, no.
(APPLAUSE) Secondly, the second thing that I would do -- see, I believe in let's solve the whole problem. We must shut the back door so people can come in the front door. Secondly, promote the existing path to citizenship by cleaning up the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.
Thirdly, enforce the laws -- the immigration laws that are already on the books.
And here's another one of these bold ideas by the non-politician up here. Empower the states to do what the federal government is not doing in terms of enforcing those laws.
COOPER: Governor Perry, you have -- you have the -- your state has the longest border with Mexico. Is it possible -- to the question -- is it possible to build a fence, an -- across the entire border?
PERRY: Sure. You can -- you can build a fence, but it takes anywhere between 10 and 15 years and $30 billion. There's a better way, and that's to build a virtual defense zone, if you will, along that border, which -- not unlike what Herman's talking about, and you can do it with strategic fencing in the obvious places where it matters.
But the way you really stop the activities along that border that are illegal, whether it's the drug cartels or whether it's bringing in illegal weapons or whether it's illegal immigrants that are coming in, is to put boots on the ground.
I will tell you, Herman, you put a lot of boots on the ground. You use Predator drones that are being trained right up here at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to use that real-time information to give those boots on the ground that information, and they can instantly move to those areas. And that is the way to shut that border down, to secure that border, and really make America safe from individuals, like those Iranians that are using the drug cartels to penetrate this country.
COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann, do you agree with Governor Perry?
BACHMANN: Well, I think the person who really has a problem with illegal immigration in the country is President Obama. It's his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens...
... who've been allowed to stay in this country, despite the fact that they're illegal.
This last Saturday, I was the very first candidate that signed a pledge that said that, by a date certain, I will build a double-walled fence with -- with an area of security neutrality in between. I will build that, because this is what we know. This is an economics issue and a jobs issue. Every year...
COOPER: You're saying you would build a fence along the entire border?
BACHMANN: I will build it on the entire border, and I'll tell you why. Every year, it costs this country $113 billion in the costs that we put out to pay for illegal aliens. It costs the state and local government of that amount $82 billion. For every household of an American citizen, it costs us $1,000 a year. We are robbing the household of Americans who can't afford that.
I will build the fence. I will enforce English as the official language of the United States government.
And every -- every person who comes into this country will have to agree that they will not receive taxpayer-subsidized benefits of any American citizen...
BACHMANN: Thank you.
COOPER: Governor Perry, does that -- can you actually -- does that make sense? She says she can build the -- the fence along the entire border.
PERRY: As I said, you can build that fence, but by the time that fence gets built...
COOPER: She's also talking about your taxpayer-subsidized benefits.
PERRY: But my -- my point is that, by the time that fence gets built, there is a lot better way than to stand here and to -- to play to some group of people somewhere and say, "We're going to build a fence," and then wipe our hands of it.
I've been dealing with this border for 10 years as the governor. And the reason that we have this issue is because the federal government has failed miserably to defend and secure that border.
BACHMANN: Which is why we build...
PERRY: You know, for someone that's been in the United States Congress to -- to lecture me on the issues that are going on, on that border is not right. Let me tell you, we've had to deal with that issue in the state of Texas. We've had to deal with the impact on our state. And I put $400 million on that border of Texas, taxpayers' money, Texas Ranger recon teams there. We know how to secure the border. I shared with you earlier how to do it. You put the boots on the ground, the aviation assets in the air, and you secure that border.
BACHMANN: Anderson, can I respond?
COOPER: He wasn't talking about you directly.
BACHMANN: No, he did respond.
ROMNEY: Let's step back. I think it's important for us as Republicans on this stage to say something which hasn't been said. And that is I think every single person here loves legal immigration. We respect people who come here legally.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: And the reason we're so animated about stopping illegal immigration is there are 4.5 million people who want to come here who are in line legally, we want that to happen in an orderly and legal process.
And in terms of how to secure the border, it's really not that hard. You have a fence, you have enough Border Patrol agents to oversee the fence, and you turn off the magnets. And that's employers that hire people who they know are here illegally.
That's why you have an E-Verify system so they can know that. And, number two, you turn off the magnets like tuition breaks or other breaks that draw people into this country illegally. It is not that hard. We have to have the political will to get the job done.
And, Governor Perry, you say you have got the experience. It's a bit like saying that, you know, the college coach that has lost 40 games in a row has the experience to go to the NFL.
But the truth is, California -- I'll say it again, California and Florida have both had no increase in illegal immigration and yours is up 60 percent...
ROMNEY: ... over the last 10 years.
COOPER: Governor Perry, 30 seconds to respond.
PERRY: Well, the bottom line is that we have a federal government that has failed. There is a clear problem here. And he hit the nail on the head a while ago. He said there was a magnet of people that will hire illegals. And you are number one on that list, sir.
And people need to understand that. You're one of the problems, Mitt. COOPER: I think we've been down that road.
ROMNEY: We've been down that road sufficiently. It sounds like the audience agrees with me.
COOPER: We are continuing on immigration. We have a question in the audience.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ROBERT ZAVALA, LAS VEGAS RESIDENT: Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to ask my question. We have 50 million Latinos and not all of us are illegal. What is the message from you guys to our Latino community?
COOPER: Speaker Gingrich? President Obama got I think 67 percent of the Latino vote last time around.
GINGRICH: Look, I think that there's a very clear message to Americans of all backgrounds. Latinos, Korean-Americans, Vietnamese- Americans, there are hundreds of different groups who come to America.
As Governor Romney said, I think anybody who understands America has to be proud of our record as the country which has been the most open in history to legal immigration.
But the truth is most Latinos in the United States aren't immigrants. Most Latinos in the United States now have been born in the United States. And the fact is they want virtually exactly what everyone else wants.
They want an economy that is growing. They want a job that has take home pay. They want access to health insurance that they can afford. They want a chance to get educated that is actually useful and worthwhile. They want to be able to know that their family is going to grow up in safety. And they want to have a chance that their country is going to work to give their children and their grandchildren a better future.
I think we have to have the same message for every American of every ethnic background that we want to make America work again. And you'll know it's working because you will have a job and you'll have a chance to take care of your family.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
COOPER: Congressman Paul, there's some Latino voters who believe that some of these strong anti-immigration laws -- anti-illegal immigration laws are actually anti-Latino laws. What do you say to them?
PAUL: Well, I think some people do believe that. I think a fence is symbolic of that. And I can understand why somebody might look at that. But when we approach this immigration problem, we should look at the incentives and that -- or the mandates from the federal government saying that you must educate, you must give them free education.
You have to remove these incentives. But I don't think the answer is a fence whatsoever. But in order to attract Latino votes, I think, you know, too long this country has always put people in groups. They penalize people because they're in groups, and then they reward people because they're in groups.
But following up on what Newt was saying, we need a healthy economy, we wouldn't be talking about this. We need to se everybody as an individual. And to me, seeing everybody as an individual means their liberties are protected as individuals and they're treated that way and they're never penalized that way.
So if you have a free and prosperous society, all of a sudden this group mentality melts away. As long as there's no abuse -- one place where there's still a lot of discrimination in this country is in our court systems. And I think the minorities come up with a short hand in our court system.
COOPER: Herman Cain, the 14th Amendment allows that anybody born in the United States is an American citizen. Should that change?
CAIN: I want to go back and answer this question first, OK? And that is, my message to Latinos, blacks, whites, and all Americans is that we must first start with significantly boosting this economy, which is on life support.
This is why I have put forth a very bold plan, and I'm not afraid to try and sell it to the American people. I'm not afraid to fight for it when I become president of the United States of America. So that's my message.
If we have this economy growing, people will be able to take care of their families and go after their American dream. And until we boost this economy, all of us are going to suffer for a long time.
COOPER: Then let me ask the question of Governor Perry.
Governor Perry, the 14th Amendment allows anybody. A child of illegal immigrants who is born here is automatically an American citizen. Should that change?
PERRY: Well, let me address Herman's issue that he just talked about.
COOPER: Actually, I'd rather you answer that question.
PERRY: I understand that. You get to ask the questions, I get to answer like I want to. And Herman talked about --
COOPER: That's actually a response, that's not an answer, but go ahead. PERRY: -- the issue of how we get this country back working. And truly, the plan that I laid out last week, where we talk about the energy industry and this treasure trove that we have under this country, and we need to recognize that the administration that we have today is blocking mining that could be going on in the state of Nevada.
I talked to Brian Sandoval before I came in here today. You have an administration that is killing jobs because they want to move us to a green energy. You have a secretary of energy who has basically said he wants to see gas prices up close to the European model. The president himself said electricity rates are necessarily going to skyrocket.
That's what we've got to stop. That's the reason we got to have a president of the United States that understands that if you get Americans working, and it addresses these issues that we have in this country, then the fastest way to do it is open up these federal --
PERRY: -- plants, to pull back those regulations, and get America working again.
COOPER: To the question on the 14th Amendment, do you support repealing the 14th Amendment?
COOPER: No, you do not?
PERRY: I do not.
COOPER: Congresswoman Bachmann, do you support it?
BACHMANN: I think there's a very real issue with magnets in this country. And I think the issue that you're referring to is the issue of anchor babies. And that's an issue that -- I was just in Arizona this last weekend, and the state is very concerned, because when someone comes illegally across the border, specifically for the purpose of utilizing American resources for having a baby here, then all of the welfare benefits then attach to that baby.
This is an issue that we don't have to deal with the Constitution. This is an issue that we can deal with legislatively. And there are a lot of Americans that would like us to deal with this issue of anchor babies legislatively.
COOPER: Senator Santorum? SANTORUM: I'd like to address the issue that the gentleman brought up, which is, what are we going to say to the Latino community? And not one person mentioned the issue of family, faith, marriage.
This is a community that is a faith-filled community, that family is at the center of that community. I disagree in some respects with Congressman Paul, who says the country is founded on the individual.
The basic building block of a society is not an individual. It's the family. That's the basic unit of society.
SANTORUM: And the Latino community understands that. They understand the importance of faith and marriage. They understand that bond that builds that solid foundation, and that inculcation of faith and religious freedom. And I think the Latino community knows that's at stake in this country.
There's a lot going on right now that's eroding our religious freedom, that's eroding the traditional values of marriage and family. And there's one candidate up here who consistently sounds that theme.
Look, I'm for jobs, too. I have got an economic plan, and I agree with everything that's been said. But we keep running roughshod over the fact that family in America and faith in America is being crushed by the courts and our government, and someone has stand up and fight for those institutions (ph).
Congressman Paul, you were referenced directly. Thirty seconds.
PAUL: Well, I would like to explain that rights don't come in bunches. Rights come as individuals, they come from a God, and they come as each individual has a right to life and liberty.
But I might add about the border control and the Latino vote, is we lack resources there. I think we should have more border guards on it, a more orderly transition, and run it much better. But where are our resources?