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CNN Live Event/Special
Part 2, 20:30-21:00, CNN ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
Aired February 22, 2012 - 20:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- misrepresent the facts, and you're misrepresenting the facts. You don't know what you're taking about.
What happened in the earmark process -- what happens in the earmark process was that members of Congress would ask, formally, publicly request these things, put them on paper, and have them allocated, and have them voted on a committee, have them voted on, on the floor of the Senate.
Congressman Paul -- Congressman...
FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Attached to a bill? Attached to a bill?
SANTORUM: As part of the bill. Congressman Paul...
ROMNEY: And the president can't veto it?
SANTORUM: He can veto the bill.
ROMNEY: The whole bill, but he can't veto the earmark?
SANTORUM: Well, we tried to do that, by the way. I supported a line-item veto.
ROMNEY: That's what I support. That's what I support.
SANTORUM: Hold on. Hold on.
Mitt, I agree with you. I support -- I support the line-item veto. I voted for a line-item veto so we could do just that. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court struck it down. I would like to go back, as president, again, and give the president the authority to line-item veto.
But that's not the issue. The issue is were they transparent? And the bottom line was, when I was in the United States Senate, there was transparency, and Congressman Paul, who is one of the most prolific earmarkers in the Congress today, is -- would tell you...
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE). SANTORUM: And I'm not -- I'm not criticizing; I'm just saying that's a fact, that...
... that he -- he...
ROMNEY: I think you need a chance to say a word.
JOHN KING, DEBATE MODERATOR, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Speaker, you were referenced by the governor, you first, then Congressman Paul.
Don't worry. We'll get to you, Congressman. I promise.
FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, look, let me just say flatly all of you need to think about this because this is one of those easy demagogic fights that gets you into a lot of trouble. If you have Barack Obama as president and you have a Republican House, you may want the House imposing certain things on the president.
Now, when I was speaker, for example...
... and we had a liberal Democrat in the White House -- I actually want to reinforce what the governor said. I helped the Atlanta Olympics get the support they needed from the U.S. government to be successful. I thought it was totally appropriate to help the Atlanta Olympics. And I actually went to -- to your former governor and sat down with the people originally planning the Winter Olympics and said, look, this is what we did; this is what you need to do.
I think it was totally appropriate for you to ask for what you got. I just think it's, kind of, silly for you to then turn around and run an ad attacking somebody else for getting what you got and then claiming what you got wasn't what they got because what you got was right and what they got was wrong.
KING: Congressman Paul, answer Senator Santorum, please, sir.
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I followed that and I...
You know, there's reason for the confusion, because...
... because it's all Congress's fault. They're all messed up and they don't know what they're doing in Congress is the real reason.
But this whole idea of earmarking -- earmarking is designating how the money's spent. What a lot of people don't understand is if -- if the Congress doesn't say the way the money should be spent, it goes to the executive branch, and that's the bad part. If you were actually cutting, it would make a difference. But you don't want to give more power to the executive branch.
Even if I'm president, I don't want more power over that -- over that funding. That should be with the people and -- and with the Congress. But earmarking -- the reason we get into trouble is -- is the irresponsibility of Congress.
Take your highway funds. We're supposed to pay a user fee. If we pay our gasoline tax, we should get our fair share back. But what do they do? They take the highway funds and other of these trust funds and they spend this money overseas in these wars that we shouldn't be fighting. And then when the highways need building, then you have to go and fight the political system and know who to deal with and maneuver and try to get some of your money back.
But if you say you're against -- against the earmarking and fuss and fume over, the answer is vote against the bill. That is what I do. I argue for the case of the responsibility being on the Congress, but it's the responsibility of us who believe in fiscal conservatism to vote against the bill. We need to vote against the spending is what we need to do.
KING: Let's take another important economic question. This one comes to us from CNNPolitics.com, and you can see it in the audience up on the board here.
"Why was George W. Bush wrong in his efforts to save the auto industry and why was Barack Obama wrong to continue the effort?"
Senator Santorum, I want to go to you first with this question. You, like your friends on the stage tonight, opposed the auto bailout. Michigan votes on Tuesday, along with Arizona. We assume folks are watching there tonight. Address your answer to an auto worker who may believe strongly that he or she has that job tonight because of the help -- the bailout?
SANTORUM: I would just say to them that I in principle oppose government coming in and bailing out a sector of the economy or an industry with government dollars and -- and with government manipulation of that market, which is exactly what happened twice, in 2008 and 2009.
The first time it happened was the Wall Street bailout. On principle, I opposed the Wall Street bailout, even though I understand people -- reasonable people could disagree. I felt that having the government come in in such a major way and have a huge influence over the direction of that industry, that that would be damaging to what I believe is the best way to resolve these types of problems, which lets the market work, constructive capitalism, as Governor Romney was talking about in his days at Bain Capital, and destructive capitalism.
And that means pain. I understand that. But it also means limited government and allowing markets to work because we believe they're more efficient over time. I held the same consistent position when it came to the auto bailouts. I can say that with respect to Governor Romney, that was not the case. He supported the folks on Wall Street and bailed out Wall Street, was all for it. And then when it came to the auto workers, the folks in Detroit, he said, no. That to me is not a consistent, principled position. I had one. I believe in markets, not just when they're convenient for me.
ROMNEY: Nice -- nice try, but now let's look at the facts. All right, first of all -- first of all let's go back to the auto industry and -- and go back to 2000, I think it was 2008, President Bush was still in office and the three chief executive officers of the three major auto companies got in their private planes and flew to Washington and said, please write us a check. I think they wanted $50 billion. And I wrote an Op-Ed in the paper and I said, absolutely not. Do not write a check for $50 billion.
These companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy, just like airlines have, just like other industries have. Go through a managed bankruptcy...
ROMNEY: ...and -- and if they go through that managed bankruptcy and shed the excessive cost that's been put on them by the UAW and by their own mismanagement, then if they need help coming out of bankruptcy, the government can provided guarantees and get them back on their feet. No way would we allow the auto industry in America to totally implode and disappear. That was my view. Go through bankruptcy. When that happens, then the market can help lift them out. With regards to -- to TARP it's very simple, or -- or the Wall Street. Look, I don't want to save any Wall Street Banks.
I just don't want (sic) make sure we lose all of our banks. And like -- like President Bush at the time, I was concerned that if we didn't do something, there were some pretty high risks that not just Wall Street banks, but all banks would collapse. And like many other people -- many other economists, they were concerned that our entire currency system would go down. My view is this, we have to have industries that get in trouble, go through bankruptcy. Now, Senator you voted in favor of the bail out of the airline industry after 9/11.
I think that was the right thing to do. It was an emergency. You also voted for the bail out of the steel industry. I don't think I agree with that one, but I do believe that the right course for the auto industry was to go through a managed bankruptcy process and then to get help getting out.
KING: Governor let me ask you...
KING: ...you -- you mentioned -- you mentioned President Bush's position on the Wall Street bail out. If you talk to people in the Bush administration at the time, they say they would have preferred the structured bankruptcy route that you talked about, but that there was no private capital available. That nobody would give the auto companies money and that their choice they say at the time, was to either give the government money or have them liquidate.
ROMNEY: Yeah, it was really interesting. Because, you know, I wrote my piece and I said look, these companies need to go through managed bankruptcy. And the head of the UAW said, we can't go through managed bankruptcy. The industry will disappear if that happens. And the politicians, Barack Obama's people, oh no, we can't go through managed bankruptcy. Six months they wrote, I think it was $17 billion in checks to the auto companies. Then they finally realized I was right. They finally put them through managed bankruptcy. That was the time they needed the help to get out of managed bankruptcy.
Those monies they put in beforehand were -- it was wasted money. And number two, because they put that money in, the president gave the companies to the UAW, they were part of the reason the companies were in trouble. Giving these companies to the UAW was wrong.
KING: Mr. Speaker -- one second.
SANTORUM: As -- as Governor Romney well knows, that the American government shut down the airline industry after 9/11. And the government by it's action stopped the airline industry from functioning and yes, as a result of government action, which I thought it was appropriate for government since we shut down the industry...
(CROSSTALK) ROMNEY: I agree with you.
SANTORUM: ...after the events of 9/11.
ROMNEY: I agree.
SANTORUM: But government didn't shut down the banks. They didn't shut down the financial service industry. So when you compare those, it's not apples to apples, Mitt and that's not a fair comparison.
KING: Mr. Speaker, come in on the conversation. It's a tough one. It's a tough one. It's a major American industry, in a time of trouble.
GINGRICH: That's not a tough...
KING: That's not tough, you say.
GINGRICH: It's not tough. First of all, there's a huge amount of the American auto industry that was just fine. BMW in South Carolina was terrific. Mercedes in Alabama was doing just fine. Honda in Ohio was just fine. So the -- Toyota was just fine. What we have is the United Auto Workers and a management system that had grown very, I think incapable of tough decisions because they were used to selling out to the United Auto Workers. And so they came in and said, oh we can't change. And this president on behalf of the United Auto Workers said, you're exactly right.
Now, the fact is, Chrysler is now Fiat. So when we talk about saving the American auto industry, let's be clear what they were doing. I think that they would have been much better off to have gone through a managed bankruptcy, I agree with Governor Romney. I think it would have happened. I think what would have happened is the UAW would have lost all of their advantages and the result was, what you had I thought was an unprecedented violation of 200 years of bankruptcy law by Barack Obama to pay off the UAW at the expense of every bondholder.
KING: Congressman Paul, as you join the conversation, the criticism of President Obama here, but I also want you to address the state's current Republican governor, Rick Snyder, who supports Mitt Romney, but that's irrelevant to this point. He says, "The bailout actually was something that really worked."
Is that Republican governor wrong?
PAUL: Well, you know, it's interesting when they argue that case.
First, I don't like the idea that you have good bailouts and bad bailouts. If bailouts are bad, they're bad, and we shouldn't be doing it.
But this argument about maybe one that works, you know, well, now that the bankruptcy or the bailing out of GM worked, I said that's sort of like if a criminal goes out and robs a bank, and he's successful, therefore you endorse what he did, because he's successful. But you have to rob people, you have to distort the law.
The government is supposed to protect contracts. They're not supposed to regulate contracts and they're not supposed to undermine contracts. And that's what we've been doing.
PAUL: In the housing bubble, we undermined contracts. And this is what we're doing here. So you want to respect the contracts.
A lot of people will accuse me of advocating a free market, that there's no regulations. Actually, the regulations are tougher, because you have to go through bankruptcy and you have to face up to this.
And it isn't like General Motors would be destroyed. Newt made that point there, that there were good parts of General Motors. But politicians can't figure this out. Then they serve the special interests, and then you have labor fighting big business.
I opt for the free market in defense of liberty. That's what we need in this country.
KING: All right.
We're off to a good start, Gentlemen. We're going to take our first break of the evening.
In a moment, our Republican presidential debate here in Arizona continues. A lot more ground to cover, including two issues that are dominating the discussion here in Arizona in recent days, immigration and faith.
KING: Welcome back to the Mesa Arts Center and the Arizona Republican Presidential debate. Let's get right back to questioning the four contenders for the Republican nomination. We take a question now from cnnpolitics.com. You can see it up on the screen here.
Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why? As you can see -- it's a -- it's a very popular question in the audience, as we can see. Look, we're not going to spend a ton of time on this but it is -- please.
GINGRICH: Can I just make a point?
KING: Sure. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys are giving you some feedback here, John.
KING: I see that. I see that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're making it very clear.
GINGRICH: No, I think -- look, I think there's -- I want to make two -- I want to make two quick point, John.
The first is there is a legitimate question about the power of the government to impose on religion activities which any religion opposes. That's legitimate.
KING: Sure is.
GINGRICH: But I just want to point out, you did not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. OK? So let's be clear here.
GINGRICH: If we're going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion. It is not the Republicans.
ROMNEY: John, what's happened -- and you recall back in the debate that we had George Stephanopoulos talking out about birth control, we wondered why in the world did contraception -- and it's like, why is he going there? Well, we found out when Barack Obama continued his attack on religious conscience.
I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama. Most recently, of course --
ROMNEY: -- most recently requiring the Catholic Church to provide for its employees and its various enterprises health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill. Unbelievable.
And he retried to retreat from that but he retreated in a way that was not appropriate, because these insurance companies now have to provide these same things and obviously the Catholic Church will end up paying for them.
But don't forget the decision just before this, where he said the government -- not a church, but the government should have the right to determine who a church's ministers are for the purposes of determining whether they're exempt from EEOC or from workforce laws or labor laws.
He said the government should make that choice. That went all the way to the Supreme Court. There are a few liberals on the Supreme Court. They voted 9-0 against President Obama. His position --
ROMNEY: -- his position -- his position on religious tolerance, on religious conscience is clear, and it's one of the reasons the people in this country are saying we want to have a president who will stand up and fight for the rights under our Constitution, our first right, which is for freedom of religion.
KING: So let's focus the time -- let's focus the time we spend on this on the role of the president and your personal views and question the role of government.
And Senator Santorum, this has come up -- yes, it has come up because of the president's decision in the campaign. It's also come up because of some of the things you have said on the campaign trail. When you were campaigning in Iowa, you told an evangelical blog, if elected, you will talk about what, quote, "no president has talked about before -- the dangers of contraception." Why?
SANTORUM: What I was talking about is we have a society -- Charles Murray just wrote a book about this and it's on the front page of "The New York Times" two days ago, which is the increasing number of children being born out of wedlock in America, teens who are sexually active.
What we're seeing is a problem in our culture with respect to children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically, the impact on society with respect to drug use and all -- a host of other things when children have children.
And so, yes, I was talking about these very serious issues. And, in fact, as I mentioned before, two days ago on the front page of "The New York Times", they're talking about the same thing. The bottom line is we have a problem in this country, and the family is fracturing.
Over 40 percent of children born in America are born out of wedlock. How can a country survive if children are being raised in homes where it's so much harder to succeed economically? It's five times the rate of poverty in single-parent households than it is in two-parent homes. We can have limited government, lower tax -- we hear this all the time, cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine. No, everything's not going to be fine.
There are bigger problems at stake in America. And someone has got to go out there -- I will -- and talk about the things.
And you know what? Here's the difference.
The left gets all upset. "Oh, look at him talking about these things." You know, here's the difference between me and the left, and they don't get this. Just because I'm talking about it doesn't mean I want a government program to fix it.
That's what they do. That's not what we do.
KING: Congressman Paul?
PAUL: As an OB doctor, I've dealt with birth control pills and contraception for a long time. This is a consequences of the fact the government has control of medical care and medical insurance, and then we fight over how we dictate how this should be distributed, sort of like in schools. Once the government takes over the schools, especially at the federal level, then there's no right position, and you have to argue which prayer, are you allowed to pray, and you get into all the details.
The problem is the government is getting involved in things they shouldn't be involved in, especially at the federal level.
But sort of along the line of the pills creating immorality, I don't see it that way. I think the immorality creates the problem of wanting to use the pills. So you don't blame the pills.
I think it's sort of like the argument -- conservatives use the argument all the time about guns. Guns don't kill, criminals kill.
So, in a way, it's the morality of society that we have to deal with. The pill is there and, you know, it contributes, maybe, but the pills can't be blamed for the immorality of our society.
KING: Governor, please.
ROMNEY: John, you know, I think as Rick has just said, this isn't an argument about contraceptives, this is a discussion about, are we going to have a nation which preserves the foundation of the nation, which is the family, or are we not? And Rick is absolutely right.
When you have 40 percent of kids being born out of wedlock, and among certain ethnic groups the vast majority being born out of wedlock, you ask yourself, how are we going to have a society in the future? Because these kids are raised in poverty in many cases, they're in abusive settings. The likelihood of them being able to finish high school or college drops dramatically in single-family homes. And we haven't been willing to talk about this. And when we have programs that say we're going to teach abstinence in schools, the liberals go crazy and try and stop us from doing that. We have to have a president who's willing to say that the best opportunity an individual can give to their unborn child is an opportunity to be born in a home with a mother and a father. And I think --
KING: It's an issue on which all of you have criticism on the Obama administration, it's an issue on which some of you have also criticized each other.
Governor Romney, both Senator Santorum and Speaker Gingrich have said during your tenure as governor, you required Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
And Mr. Speaker, you compared the president to President Obama, saying he infringed on Catholics' rights.
Governor, did you do that?
ROMNEY: No, absolutely not. Of course not.
There was no requirement in Massachusetts for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims. That was entirely voluntary on their report. There was no such requirement.
Likewise, in Massachusetts health care bill, there's a provision in Massachusetts general laws that says people don't have to have coverage for contraceptives or other type of medical devices which are contrary to their religious teachings. Churches also don't have to provide that to entities which are either the church themselves or entities they control. So we have provisions that make sure that something of that nature does not occur.
That's why when I worked closely with the leaders of the Catholic Church, I met with the cardinal a number of times, and with his emissaries. We talked about the issues we were concerned about.
We battled, for instance, to help the Catholic Church stay in the adoption business. The amazing thing was that while the Catholic Church was responsible for half the adoptions in my state -- half the adoptions -- they had to get out of that business because the legislature wouldn't support me and give them an exemption from having to place children in homes where there was a mom and a dad on a preferential basis.
Absolutely extraordinary. We have to have individuals that will stand up for religious conscience, and I did and I will again as president.
KING: Mr. Speaker? GINGRICH: Well, the reports we got were quite clear that the public health department was prepared to give a waiver to Catholic hospitals about a morning-after abortion pill, and that the governor's office issued explicit instructions saying that they believed it wasn't possible under Massachusetts law to give them that waiver. Now, that was the newspaper reports that came out. That's something that both Senator Santorum and I have raised before. But I want to go a step further, because this makes a point that Ron Paul has been making for a generation and that people need to take very seriously.
When you have government as the central provider of services, you inevitably move towards tyranny, because the government has the power of force.
You inevitably -- and I think this is true whether it's Romneycare or Obamacare or any other government centralized system -- you inevitably move towards the coercion of the state and the state saying, "If you don't do what we, the politicians, have defined, you will be punished either financially or you will be punished in some other way like going to jail."
And that's why we are, I think, at an enormous crossroads in this country. And I think the fact is, for almost all of us who have been at this for any length of time, we're now looking at an abyss that forces you to change what you may once have thought -- and I suspect all four of us are much more worried today about the power of the state than we would have been -- with the possible exception of Congressman Paul -- than we would have been at any point in the last 25 years.
KING: Congressman, please.
PAUL: ... have a quick follow-up?
You know, we talk about the morning-after pill. Actually, the morning-after pill is nothing more than a birth control pill, so if birth control pills are on the market, the morning-after pill -- so if you're going to legalize birth control pills, you really -- you can't separate the two. They're all basically the same, hormonally.
But once again, the question is, if you voted for Planned Parenthood like the senator has, you voted for birth control pills. And you literally, because funds are fungible, you literally vote for abortions because Planned Parenthood gets the money -- "Oh, I'll buy birth control pills," but then they have the money left over to do the abortion.
So that's why you have to have a pretty strong resistance of voting for these bunches of bills put together. Planned Parenthood should get nothing, let alone designate how they spend.
KING: Senator Santorum?
SANTORUM: As Congressman Paul knows, I opposed Title X funding. I've always opposed Title X funding, but it's included in a large appropriation bill that includes a whole host of other things, including...
... the funding for the National Institutes of Health, the funding for Health and Human Services and a whole bunch of other departments. It's a multi-billion-dollar bill.
What I did, because Title X was always pushed through, I did something that no one else did. Congressman Paul didn't. I said, well, if you're going to have Title X funding, then we're going to create something called Title XX, which is going to provide funding for abstinence-based programs, so at least we'll have an opportunity to provide programs that actually work in -- in keeping children from being sexually active instead of facilitating children from being sexually active. And I pushed Title XX to -- to accomplish that goal.
So while, yes, I -- I admit I voted for large appropriation bills and there were things in there I didn't like, things in there I did, but when it came to this issue, I proactively stepped forward and said that we need to do something at least to counterbalance it, A; B, I would say that I've always been very public that, as president of the United States, I will defund Planned Parenthood; I will not sign any appropriation bill that funds Planned Parenthood.
KING: Senator (sic), go ahead.
PAUL: John, this demonstrates the problem that I'm talking about. There's always an excuse to do this. Now...
... Title XX -- I don't know whether you inferred that I would support Title XX for abstinence. No, it would cost money as a program. It's not a program of the federal government to get involved in our lives this way. If you want laws like that, maybe the state, but...
... the federal government shouldn't even be having -- spending money on abstinence. That's way too much more. I don't see that in the Constitution any...
ROMNEY: Just a -- just a brief comment. Senator, I just saw a YouTube clip of you being interviewed where you said that you personally opposed contraceptives but that you -- you said that you voted for Title X. You...
ROMNEY: But you used that as an argument, saying this is something I did proactively. You didn't say this is something I was opposed to; it wasn't something I would have done. You said this -- you said this in a positive light, "I voted for Title X."
SANTORUM: I think it's -- I think I was making it clear that, while I have a personal more objection to it; even though I don't support it, that I voted for bills that included it. And I made it very clear in subsequent interviews that I don't -- I don't support that...
... I've never supported it, and -- and have -- and on an individual basis have voted against it. That's why I proposed Title XX to counterbalance it.
So I -- you know, Governor Romney, I can just say that -- that, you know, we were talking about this issue before of, you know, religious conscience and protections. But this is -- the whole reason this issue is alive is because of the bill that you drafted in Massachusetts, Romneycare, which was the model for Obamacare and the government takeover of health care.
ROMNEY: Wait a second. Wait a second. Wait a second.
SANTORUM: And there was a study...
ROMNEY: Wait a second.