Fusion is watching theGOP CNBC debate live, and transcribing it as quickly and accurately as humanly possible. Join us and follow along as we chronicle the conversation and annotate it using Genius.
CARL QUINTANILLA: This first is an open question. This series of debates is essentially a job interview with the American people and then any job interview you know this you get asked what's your biggest weakness. So in 30 seconds, without telling us that you try too hard or that you're a perfectionist, what is your biggest weakness and what are you doing to address it? Will go left to right governor Kasich 30 seconds case it:
GOV. JOHN KASICH: Good question, but I want to tell you my great concern is that we are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job. I've watched to see people say that we should dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and leave our senior citizens out in the cold. I've heard them talk about deporting 10 or 11 [million] people here from this country out of this country—splitting families. I've heard about tax schemes that don't add up that put our kids in a deeper hole than they are today. We need somebody who can lead we need somebody who can balance budgets, cut taxes and frankly I did it in Washington in Ohio and I will do it again in Washington if I'm president to get this country moving again.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Governor Huckabee?
FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Well John I don't really have any weaknesses that I can think of but my wife is down here in the front and I'm sure if you’d like to talk to her later she can give you more than you'll ever be able to take care of. If I had a weakness it's that I try to live by the rules. I try to live by the rules no matter what they are and I was brought up that way as a kid. Play by the rules, and I'll tell you what are the weaknesses of this country. There are a lot of people who are sick and tired because Washington does not play by the same rules that the American people have to play by.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Thank You governor. Governor Bush?
FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH: I am by my nature impatient and this is not an endeavor that rewards that. You got to be patient you got to be — stick with it at all that, but also I can't fake anger. I believe that this is still the most extraordinary country on the face of the earth and its troubles me that people are rewarded for tearing down our country. it's never been that way in American politics before. I can't do it. I just don't believe that this country's days are going to be deeply, you know, going down. I think we're on the verge of the greatest time and I want to fix the things to let people rise up.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Senator Rubio.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Thank you for that question. I would begin by saying that I'm not sure it’s a weakness, but I do believe that I share a sense of optimism for America's future that today is eroding from too many of our people. I think there's a sense in this country today that somehow our best days are behind us and that doesn't have to be true. Our greatest days lie ahead if we're willing to do what it takes now. If we are willing to do what it takes now, the 21st century is going to be the new American Century. Greater than any other era we’ve had in history of this great nation.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Mr. Trump.
DONALD TRUMP: I think maybe my greatest weakness is that I trust people too much. I'm too trusting. And when they let me down, if they let me down, I never forgive. I find it very, very hard to forgive people that deceived me. So I don't know if you would call that a weakness but my wife said ‘let up.’
CARL QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson?
BEN CARSON: Probably in terms of applying for a job of President the weakness would be not really seeing myself in that position until hundreds of thousands of people began to tell me that I needed to do it. I do, however, believe in Reagan's 11th Commandment and will not be engaging in awful things about my compatriots here and recognizing that it's so important this election because we're talking about America for the people versus America for the government.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Mrs. Fiorina
CARLY FIORINA: Well gee, after the last debate, I was told that I didn't smile enough—
DONALD TRUMP: Fixed it!
CARLY FIORINA: But I also think that these are very serious times. Seventy-five percent of the American people think the federal government is corrupt. I agree with them and this big, powerful corrupt bureaucracy works now only for the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well connected. Meantime, wages have stagnated for 40 years. We have more Americans out of work or just Americans who have quit looking for work for 40 years. Ours was intended to be a citizen government. This is about more than replacing a D with an R. We need a leader who will help us take our government back.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz.
TED CRUZ: I'm too agreeable—easygoing. You know I think my biggest weakness is exactly the opposite. I'm a fighter. I am passionate about what I believe. I've been passionate my whole life about the Constitution. And you know for six and a half years we’ve had a gigantic party. If you want somebody that grab a beer with, I may not be that guy. But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done and I will get you home.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Governor Christie.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I don't see a lot of weakness on this stage quite frankly. Where I see the weakness is in those three people who are left of the Democratic stage. I see a socialist, an isolationist, and a pessimist, and for the sake of me I can't figure out which one is which. But I will tell you this: the socialist says they're going to pay for everything and give you everything for free except they don't tell you they're going to raise your taxes 90% to do it. The isolationist is the one who wants to continue to follow a foreign policy that has fewer democracies today than when Barack Obama came into office around the world. But I know who the pessimist is. It's Hillary Clinton. And you put me on that stage against her next September she won't get within 10 miles of the White House. Take it to the bank.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Senator Paul.
RAND PAUL: You know I left my medical practice and ran for office because I was concerned about an 18 trillion-dollar debt. We borrow a million dollars a minute. Now on the floor of the Congress the Washington establishment from both parties puts forward a bill that will explode the deficit. It allows President Obama to borrow unlimited amounts of money. I will stand firm. I will spend every ounce of energy to stop it. I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it, and I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say enough is enough, no more debt.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Thanks to all the candidates. John—.
JOHN HARWOOD: Mr. Trump, you've done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it, send 11 million people out of the country, cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit, and make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.
DONALD TRUMP: That’s right.
JOHN HARWOOD: Let's be honest. Is this a comic version of a presidential campaign?
DONALD TRUMP: No it’s not a comic book and it’s not a very nicely asked question, the way you say that. Larry Kudlow is an example who I have a lot of respect for— loves my tax plan. We’re reducing taxes to 15% we’re bringing corporate taxes down, bringing money back in, corporate inversions. We have two and a half trillion dollars outside of the United States which we want to bring back in. As far as the wall is concerned we're going to build a wall, we're going to create a border. We’re going to let people in, but they're going to come in legally. They're going to come in legally. And it something that can be done and I get question about that. They built the Great Wall of China, that's 13000 miles. Here we actually need a thousand because we have natural barriers. So we need a thousand. We do a wall. We're going to have a big fat beautiful door right in the middle of the wall. We’re going to have people come in but they're coming in legally and Mexico's going to pay for the wall, because Mexico—I love the Mexican people, I respect the Mexican people—but the leaders are much sharper smarter and more cunning than our leaders. And just to finish people say, “oh how are you going to get to Mexico to pay?” A politician other than the people on the stage, a politician cannot get them to pay, I can. We lose—we have a trade imbalance
DONALD TRUMP: —of 50 billion dollars a year believe me the Wall is peanuts by comparison.
JOHN HARWOOD: We’re at 60 seconds but I’ve got to ask you. You talked about your tax plan you say it would not increase the deficit because you cut taxes 10 trillion dollars and the economy would take off like a rocket ship. I talked to economic advisors who have served presidents of both parties. They said that you have as much chance of cutting taxes without increasing the deficit as you would a flying away from that podium By flapping your arms around.
DONALD TRUMP: Then you have to get rid of Larry Kudlow, who sits on your panel, who's a great guy who came out the other day and said ‘I love Trump’s tax plan’.
FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH: The Tax Foundation says, it looked at all of our plans, and his creates, even with a dynamic, effect: eight trillion dollar deficit.
BECKY QUICK: Dr. Carson, let's talk about taxes you have a flat tax plan of 10% flat taxes and I've looked at it, and this is something that's very appealing to a lot of voters but I've had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this. If you were to take a 10% tax with the numbers right now on total personal income you're going to come in bringing in one and a half trillion dollars. That is less than half of what we bring in right now and by the way it's going to leave us in a 2 trillion dollar hole. So what analysis got you to the point where you think this would work?
BEN CARSON: Well first of all I didn't say the rate would be 10%. I used the tithing analogy.
BECKY QUICK: I understand that, but if you look at the numbers —
BEN CARSON: But the rate is going to be much closer to 15%.
BECKY QUICK: Fifteen percent still leaves you with a 1.1 trillion dollar hole.
BEN CARSON. Let me finish. You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to do some strategic cutting in several places. Remember we have 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny in every one of those is in a fantasy world. So also, we can stimulate the economy. That's going to be the real growth engine — stimulating the economy — because it’s tethered down right now with so many regulations.
BECKY QUICK: You’d have to cut government by 40% to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.
BEN CARSON It’s not true.
BECKY QUICK: It is true. I looked at the math..
BEN CARSON: When we put all of the facts down you’ll be able to see that it’s not true. It works out very well.
BECKY QUICK: Dr. Carson, thank you.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: Listen, I want to —
HARWOOD: Governor Kasich, hold it. I’m coming to you right now. The -
GOV. JOHN KASICH: Well, I want to comment on this. This is the fantasy that I talked about in the beginning.
HARWOOD: I’m about to ask you about this. That is, you had some very strong words to say yesterday about what's happening in your party and what you're hearing from the two gentlemen we just heard from. Would you repeat it.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: I'm the only person on the stage that actually was involved in—the chief architect of—balancing the federal budget. You can't do it with empty promises. You know, these plans would put us trillions and trillions of dollars in debt. I actually have a plan. I’m the the only one on the stage that has a plan that would create jobs, cut taxes balance the budget and can get it done because I'm realistic. You just don't make promises like this why don't we just give a chicken in every pot while we’re— you know, coming up with these fantasy tax games. We’ll just clean it up. Where are you going to clean it up? You have to deal with entitlements. You have to be in a position to control discretionary spending. You've got to be creative and imaginative. Now let me just be clear, John. I went into Ohio where we had an eight billion dollar hole and now we have 2 billion dollar surplus. We’re up 347,000 jobs. When I was in Washington I fought to get the budget balanced. I was the architect. It was the first time we did it since man walked on the moon. We cut taxes and we had a 5 trillion dollar projected surplus when I left. That's hard work. Fiscal discipline, know what you're doing, creativity, this stuff is fantasy just like getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid. Come on, that’s just not — you don't scare senior citizens with that. It’s not responsible.
JOHN HARWOOD: Well let’s just get more pointed about it. You said yesterday that you were hearing proposals that we're just crazy from your colleagues. Who are you talking about?
GOV. JOHN KASICH:Well I mean right here to talk about—we're just going to have a 10% tithe and that's how we're going to fund the government and we're just going to fix everything with waste, fraud and abuse, or that we're just going to be great, or that we're going to ship 10 million Americans or 10 million people out of this country—leaving their children here in this country and dividing families? Folks, we gotta wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn't know how to do the job. You gotta pick somebody that has experience somebody that has the know-how, the discipline, and I spent my entire lifetime balancing federal budgets, growing jobs the same in Ohio and I will go back to Washington with my plan and I will have done it within 100 days and it will pass and it will be strong again.
DONALD TRUMP: First of all John got lucky with a thing called fracking. Okay he hit oil. He got lucky with fracking. Believe me that's why Ohio is doing well and that's important for you to know. Number two: This is the man that was a manager general partner at Lehman Brothers when it went down the tubes and almost took every one of us with it including Ben and myself, because I was there and I watched what happened and Lehman Brothers started it all. He was on the board and he was a managing general partner. And just thirdly he was so nice. He was such a nice guy and he said, “Oh I'm never going to attack,” but then his poll numbers tanked—that's why he's on the end—and he got nasty and he got nasty. So you know what you can have him.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: Let me just—let me respond. First of all, Ohio does have an energy industry but it’s diversified. We’re one of the fastest-growing states in the country we came back from the dead and you know what? It works very very well. And secondly, when you talk about me being on the board of Lehman Brothers, I wasn’t on the board of Lehman Brothers I was a banker and I was proud of it and I travel the country and learn how people make jobs. We ought to have politicians who not only have government experience, but know how the CEOs and the job creators work. My state is doing great across the board. And guess what? In 2011 I got a deal — an agreement with the board that he tried to take credit for four years later. It's a joke.
BECKY QUICK: Let me get 30 seconds to Dr. Carson —
DR. BEN CARSON: Since I was attacked too, let me just say, if you're talking about an 18 trillion dollar economy you're talking about a 15% tax on your gross domestic product, you're talking about 2.7 trillion we have a budget closer to 3.5 trillion. But if you also apply that same 15% to several other things including corporate taxes and including the capital gains taxes you make that amount up pretty quickly. So that's not by any stretch pie in the sky.
SEN. TED CRUZ: If you want a 10% flat tax where the numbers add up, I rolled out my tax plan today you can find it out online at Ted Cruz dot org. It is a simple flat tax where for individuals, a family of 4 pays nothing on the first $36,000. After that you pay 10% as a flat tax going up, the billionaire and the working man. No hedge fund manager pays less than his secretary. On top of that there's a business flat tax of 16%. Now that applies universally to giant corporations with lobbyists right now who are not paying taxes and to small businesses. And you wanted to know the numbers, the tax Foundation, which has scored every one of our plans, shows that this plan will allow the economy to generate 4.9 million jobs, to raise wages over 12%, and to generate 14 percent growth, and it cost with dynamic scoring less than a trillion dollars. Those of the hard numbers and every single income decile sees a double-digit increase in after tax income. Growth is the answer and as Reagan can demonstrate it, if we cut taxes we can bring back growth.
Q: Gentlemen, I'm sorry —
Q: We're going to try to move on.
CARLY FIORINA: Let me just say on taxes, how long have we been talking about tax reform in Washington, D.C.? We have been talking about it for decades. We now have a 73,000-page tax code. There have been more than 4,000 changes to the tax plan since 2001 alone. There are rows of great ideas, great conservative ideas, from wonderful think tanks about how to reform the tax code. The problem is we never get it done. We have talked about tax reform in every single election for decades. It never happens. And the politicians always say it is so complex nobody but a politician can figure it out. The truth is the big problem is we need a leader in Washington who understands how to get something done. Not to talk about it. Not to propose it. To get it done.
Q: You want to push 70,000 pages to three?
CARLY FIORINA: That’s right 3 pages. You know why three? Because, only if it's about three pages are you leveling the playing field, the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected who can hire the armies of lawyers and accountants and yes lobbyists to help them navigate their way through 73,000 pages. Three pages is about the maximum, but a single business owner or farmer or just a couple can understand without hiring somebody, almost 60% of people now need to hire an expert to understand their taxes. So yes, you're going to hear a lot of talk about tax reform. The issue is, who is going to get it done?
Q: To move on —
Q: We'll come around to that. I promise, this one for Senator Rubio. You have been a young man in a hurry ever since you won your first election in your 20s. You have had a big accomplishment in the Senate, an immigration bill providing a path to citizenship that conservatives in your party hate and even you don't support anymore. Now you're skipping more votes than any senator to run for president. Why not slow down, get a few more things done first and at least finish what you start?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: That’s an interesting question. That is exactly what the Republican establishment says, too. Wait in line. Wait for what? This country is running out of time. We can’t afford to have another four years like the last eight years. Watching this broadcast tonight and millions of people that are living paycheck to paycheck. They're working as hard as they ever had, everything costs more. They have not had a raise in decades. You have small businesses in America that are struggling. For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses closing than starting. A world out of control and is growing dangerous, a president weakening our military and making the foreign policy unstable and unreliable on the eyes of our allies and our adversaries continue to grow stronger. They say there is no bipartisanship in Washington. We have a 19 trillion dollar bipartisan debt and it continues to grow as we borrow money from countries who do not like us, to pay for government we cannot afford, the time to act is now, the time to turn the page is now. If we don't act now, we'll be the first generation that leaves our children worse off than ourselves.
Q: When the Sun Sentinel says Rubio should resign, when they say Floridians sent you to Washington to do your job, when they say you act like you hate your job, do you?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO : I read the editorial with great amusement, it’s actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.
Q: Do you hate your job?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Let me answer your question, on the Sun Sentinel editorial today. Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the Senate by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat ran for president, missing over 30% of his votes. I don't recall them calling for his resignation. Later that year in 2004, John Kerry missed close to 60 to 70% of his votes. I don’t recall the—In fact the Sun Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70% of his votes and the same newspaper endorsed him again. This is another example of the double standard that exists in this country, between the mainstream media and the conservatives.
Q: Senator, thank you.
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: Can I bring something up here? I'm a constituent of the Senator, and I helped him, and I expected he would do constituent service, which means he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the Sun Sentinel, because he was the most talented guy in the field. He’s a gifted politician. But Marco, When you signed up for this, this is a six-year term. You should be showing up to work. Literally, the senate, what is it like a French work week? You get three days where you have to show up. You can campaign. Or just resign and let somebody else take the job. There are a lot of people who are living paycheck to paycheck in Florida they are looking for a Senator that will fight for them each and every day.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I get to respond right?
Q: 30 seconds.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Well, that is interesting over the last few weeks, I listened to Jeb, as you’ve walked around the country and said that you're modeling your campaign after John McCain. That you’re going to launch a furious comeback like he did by fighting hard in places like New Hampshire carrying your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out his comeback that you’re now modeling after? — Jeb, let me tell you, I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record. The only reason you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position. Someone convinced you attacking me is going to help you. Here’s the bottom line, my campaign is gonna be about the future of America, it’s not gonna be about attacking anyone else on this stage. I will continue to have tremendous admiration for Governor Bush, I'm not running against anyone on the stage. I'm running for president. because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies —
Q: Question for Governor Bush. Governor, the fact that you're at the fifth lectern tonight shows how far your stock has fallen, despite the amounts the donors have made. You noted recently after slashing your payroll that you had better things to do than sit around and be demonized by other people. I wanted to ask you —
FMR. GOV.JEB BUSH: What I said was, I don't believe I would be President of the United States and have the same dysfunction that exists in Washington D.C. now. Don't vote if you want the same gridlock in Washington D.C. But if you want somebody that has a proven effective leadership, that was governor of a state that transformed the culture there, elect me so I can fight for the American people and change the culture in Washington, D.C.
Q: It's a question about why you're having difficulty. I want to ask you in this context. Ben Bernanke, who was appointed fed chairman by your brother recently wrote a book in which he said he no longer considers himself a Republican because the Republican party has given into do-nothingism. Is that why you're having a difficult time in this race?
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: Look, the great majority of the Republicans and Americans believe in a hopeful future. They don't believe in building walls and a pessimistic view of the future. They’re concerned that Washington is so dysfunctional, it’s holding them back. There are lids on people’s aspirations. Think about it, 6.5 million people working part time, workforce participation rates lower than they were in 1977, six million more people living in poverty than the day that Barack Obama got elected President and the left just wants more of the same. We have to offer a compelling argument that is based on hope and optimism. And grounded in serious policy, which i’ve laid out and you can go get. Jeb2016.com
Q: We'll get to everyone. Mrs. Fiorina, I would like to ask you a question. You're running for President of the United States because of your record running Hewlett Packard. But the stock market is usually a fair indicator of the performance of a CEO and the market was not kind to you. Somebody who invested in your company the day you took office had lost half of the dollar by the day you left. Obviously, you’ve talked in the past about what a difficult time it was for technology companies but anybody following the market knows that your stock was a much worse performer if you looked at your competitors, if you looked at the overall market. I just wonder, in terms of all that, we look back, your board fired you. I just wonder why you think we should hire you now?
FIORINA: You know, the NASDAQ dropped 80%—80%—and it took 15 years for the NASDAQ to recover. I was recruited to HP to save a company. It was a company that had grown into a bloated inept bureaucracy that cost too much and delivered too little to customers and shareholders. It had missed, before I had arrived, expectations for nine quarters in a row. As an outsider, I tackled HP's problems head-on, I cut the bureaucracy down to size, reintroduced accountability, focused on service, on innovation, on leading in every product and every segment. And yes, it was a difficult time. However, we saved 80,000 jobs. We went on to grow to 160,000 jobs, and scores of technology companies literally went out of business like Gateway and took all their jobs with them. The truth is I had to make some tough calls in some tough times. I think people are looking for that in Washington now. And yes, I was fired over a disagreement in the boardroom. There are politics in the board room as well, yet the man who led my firing, Tom Perkins, an icon in the silicon valley, has come out publicly and said said “You know what? We were wrong. She was right, she’d be a great President of the United States because the leadership she brought to HP is exactly the leadership we need in Washington, D.C.”
Q: It is interesting you bring up Mr. Perkins because said a lot of very questionable things. Last year in an interview he said he thinks wealthy people should get more votes than poor people. I think his quote was that if you pay zero dollars in taxes you should get zero votes, if you pay million dollars you should get a million votes? Is this the type of person you want defending you?
FIORINA: Well, this is one of the reasons why Tom Perkins and I had disagreements in the board room, Becky. Nevertheless, one of the things that I think people don't always understand is how accountable a CEO actually is. So you know, I had to report results every 90 days in excruciating detail. I had to answer every single question about every single result and every single projection in public until there were no more questions. And if I misrepresented those results or those projections in any way, I was held criminally liable. Imagine, imagine, if a politician were held to that standard of account. I will run on my record all day long. And I believe people need a leader who is prepared to make tough calls in tough times and stand up and be held accountable.
Q: Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina, we're out of time.
Q: Senator Cruz, congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent the government shutdown, and calm financial markets’ that fear that another Washington-created crisis is on the way. Does your opposition to it show you're not the kind of problem-solver that American voters want?
CRUZ: Let me say something at the outset. The questions asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions, Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson can you do math? John Kasich will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don't you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?
Q: Does this count? Do we get credit for this one?
CRUZ: And Carl, I'm not finished yet. The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every thought and question from the media was, “which of you is more handsome and wise?”
Q: This is a question about the debt limit. You have 30 seconds left to answer should you choose to do so.
CRUZ: Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense, than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. And nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators has any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn't be trying to get people to tear into each other, it should be what are your substantive solutions —
Q: I just want the record to reflect, I asked you about the debt limit and got no answer.
CRUZ: So you want me to answer that question. I'm happy to answer — let me tell you — let me tell you —
Q: We're moving on.
Q: Senator Paul, I have a question for you on the same subject.
CRUZ: You don't actually want to hear the answer, John? You don’t want to hear the answer. You just want —
Q: You used your time on something else.
CRUZ : You're not interested in an answer.
Q: I am interested in an answer from Senator Paul, the budget deal crafted by speaker John Boehner and passed by the House today makes cuts in entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security Disability which are the very programs conservatives say need cutting to shrink government and solve our country's long-term budget deficit. Do you oppose that budget deal because it doesn't cut these programs enough?
SEN. RAND PAUL: No, I oppose it because you're taking money from the entitlements and then spending it immediately on other items. That is what they're doing. They're taking money from Social Security and they're going to spend it on the military. And they're going to spend it on domestic spending. Here is the thing, when you look at raising the debt limit it should be leverage to try to reform the government. In 2011, the sequester was passed as a reform to slow down government. Instead, the Washington establishment raised both. We raised the military spending, took from entitlements and raised domestic spending and the deficit will explode under this. This is the unholy alliance that people need to know about between right and left. Right and left are spending us into oblivion, we should use the debt ceiling as precisely the time to force upon them budgetary reform.
Q: Senator, if what you just said is true, why did Speaker John Boehner craft this deal, and why did Paul Ryan, who has a strong reputation for fiscal discipline, vote for it?
SEN. RAND PAUL : Well, that is the real question, is there going to be any change in the House with new leadership? I frankly don't think there will be much change, because I think what’s going to happen is, if you are going to get more of the same. People in Washington think they were sent there to be adults and govern and do all this. You know what I'm worried about? Not keeping the government open, I'm worried about bankrupting the American people. We're borrowing a million dollars a minute. That is important and what we have to contrast, keeping the government open, and continue to borrow a million—
Q: Governor Christie, I would like to come to you. Actually I have a question for you. In your "Tell it like it is" campaign you said a lot of tough things. You said that we need to raise the retirement age for Social Security, you think that we need to cut benefits for people who make over $80,000 and eliminate them entirely for seniors who are making over $200,000. Governor Mike Huckabee and others say they think you're trying to rob seniors of benefits that they have earned. It raises the question when is it acceptable to break a social compact?
Q: Governor Christie, I would like to come to you. Actually I have a question for you. In your "Tell it like it is" campaign you said a lot of tough things. You said that we need to raise the retirement age for Social Security, you think that we need to cut benefits for people who make over $80,000 and eliminate them entirely for seniors who are making over $200,000. Governor Mike Huckabee and others say they think you're trying to rob seniors of benefits that they have earned. It raises the question when is it acceptable to break a social compact?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: I wish you would have asked the question years ago when they broke it. Let me be honest with the people at home. The government has lied to you and stolen from you. They told you that your Social Security money is in a trust fund. All that is in a trust fund is a pile of IOUs for money they spent on something else a long time ago. And they’ve stolen from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits because Social Security is going to be insolvent in 7 to 8 years. We’re sitting up here talking about all these other things, 71% of federal spending today is on entitlements and debt service. That is with zero percent interest rates. I'm the only person who put out a detailed plan on how to deal with entitlements and we'll save a trillion dollars over the next ten years. And here’s the difference between me and Hillary Clinton. What Hillary Clinton is going to say and has said before she wants to raise Social Security taxes. Let me ask you a question, everybody. This is for the guy who owns a landscaping business somewhere. If somebody has already stolen money from you, are you going to give them more? Or are you going to deal with the problem by saying I'm going to give people who have done well in this country less benefits on the back end. We need to get realistic about this. The American people, forget about anybody else, they have already been lied to and stolen from and I’m gonna go to Washington and stop it.
Q: We promise we'll get to everybody. Governor Mike Huckabee, I'll give you 60 seconds on this.
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, I would really appreciate that. First of all, Yes we've stolen. Yes we’ve lied to the American people about Social Security and Medicare. But you know what we're not telling them? It's their money. This is not the government's money. This is not entitlement. It’s not welfare. This is money that people have confiscated out of their paychecks. Every time they got a paycheck the government went in and took something out of it before they ever saw it. Now, we’re going to blame the people. Today Congress decided to take another $150 billion away from Social Security so they can borrow more money. That makes no sense to anybody. They're always going to say we'll fix this one day, no they're not. It's like a 400-pound man saying I'm going to go on a diet but I'm going to stop Krispy Kremes before I do. People are sick of believing that the government is never going to really address this. But let me tell you who not to blame. Let's quit blaming the people on Social Security. Let's quit making it a problem for them. It's like they're getting mugged and then us saying well we’re gonna mug you some more you ought to be able to just get over it. Get used to it. No, sir. We need to honor —
This is the only time I've had a chance. Let me finish. This is a matter not of math, this is a matter of morality. If this country doesn't keep its promise to seniors, then what promise can this country hope to be trusted to keep? And the fact is, none of it.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: By the way, the only way — the only way we're going to be moral, the only way we're going to keep our promises to seniors, is start by following the first rule we should all follow which is to look at them, treat them like adults and tell them the truth. It is not their money anymore, Mike, they stole it. It got stolen from them. It’s not theirs any more. The government stole it and spent it a long time ago so let’s stop fooling around about this. Let’s stop fooling around about this. Let’s tell people the truth. For once let’s do that. And stop trying to give them some sort of fantasy that’s never going to come true.
Q: Senator Cruz, before we go to break We're currently not having a beer you mentioned but I’ll give you 30 more seconds —
SEN. TED CRUZ:But I'll buy you tequila,
SEN. TED CRUZ: or even some famous Colorado brownies —
Q: I’ll give you 30 seconds to respond—
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: John, since he brought me up, Do I get to respond?
Q: Respond on the debt limit or in answer to the Governor, whichever you choose.
SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, sure, look, this deal in Washington is an example of why Washington is broken. Republican leadership joined with every single Democrat to add $80 trillion to our debt, to do nothing to fix the problems. And let me note on Social Security because We're getting into a good substantive exchange. I want to say, I think both Chris and Mike are right. Governor Huckabee is exactly right. We need to honor the promises made to our seniors. For younger workers, look I'm 44 years old. It's hard to find somebody in my generation that thinks Social Security will be there for us. We can save and preserve and strengthen Social Security by making no changes for seniors but for younger workers gradually increasing the retirement age, changing the rate of growth so that it matches inflation and critically allowing younger workers to keep a portion of our tax payments in a personal account that we own, we control, and can pass onto our kids.
Q: 30 seconds, Mr. Huckabee.
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: John, let’s keep in mind that for ⅓ of the 60 million Americans on Social Security represents 90 percent of their income. And when I hear people talking about means testing , let’s just remember what that means. If we means test Social Security it means that means the government decides whether or not I deserve it. If a person lives in a seven-room house does the government get to say you don't need seven rooms, we're going to take two of them away. Folks, the government has no business stealing even more who paid this in. I just want to remind you, People paid their money, they expect to have it. And if the government doesn’t pay it then tell me what’s different between the government and Bernie Madoff who sits in prison today for doing less than what the government has done for people on Social Security and Medicare in this country.
Q: Governor, thank you. We'll take a break, the presidential debate live from Boulder Colorado comes back after the break on CNBC.
Q: Welcome back to the presidential debate for the Republicans. We are live in Boulder, Colorado, right here on CNBC. Folks, we'll get right back into this. Mr. Trump, let's talk a little bit about bankruptcies. Your Atlantic City casinos filed for bankruptcy four times, in fact, Fitch the rating agency even said that there were serial filers for all of this. You said you did great in Atlantic City, and you did, but some of the individuals, the bondholders, some of the contractors who worked for you didn't fare so well. Bankruptcy is a broken promise. Why should the voters believe the promises that you're telling them now?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, first of all, like many other very big businessmen, I could name them here, I'm not going to do this for a lot of obvious reasons, but the biggest and almost all of them, they’ve all used the chapter laws, the bankruptcy laws, to their own benefit. Before that, I was a very successful person as a developer and businessman. Atlantic City has gone bad, and Chris will know about that. I am not blaming Chris by the way, but he will know about that. Caesars', the Rolls Royce, as you know, is in bankruptcy. Almost every hotel In Atlantic City has either been in bankruptcy or will be in bankruptcy. The biggest, but also the biggest pe—Now, I’ve used that to my advantage as a businessman for my family, for myself, I never filed for bankruptcy. But many, many people did. What happened with Atlantic City is very, very disgraceful. Now hundreds of companies I have opened. I have used it three times, maybe four times. Came out great. But I guess I'm supposed to come out great. That is what I could do for the country. We owe $19 trillion — boy am I good at solving debt problems, nobody can solve it like me. But I will tell you this, Atlantic City, you’re using that, hundreds of companies that I have opened have down great. I built a net worth of over $10 billion, and I have done it four times out of hundreds and I am glad I did it. I used the laws of the country to my benefit, I'm sorry.
Q: Mr. Trump, thank you.
Q: Dr. Carson, in recent weeks, a number of pharmaceutical companies have been accused of profiteering, for dramatically raising the prices of life-saving drugs. You have spent a lifetime in medicine. Have these companies gone too far? Should the government be involved in controlling some of these price increases?
DR. BEN CARSON: Well, there is no question that some people go overboard when it comes to trying to make profits and they don't take into consideration the American people. What we have to start thinking about as leaders, particularly in government, is what can we do for the average American? And you think about the reasons that we're having such difficulty right now with our job market. Well, the average small manufacturer, whatever they're manufacturing, drugs or anything, if they have less than 50 employees the average cost in terms of regulations is $34,000 per employee. Makes it a whole lot easier for them to want to go somewhere else. So what we're going to have to start doing instead of, you know, picking on this group or this group, is we're going to have to have a major reduction in the regulatory influence that is going on. The government is not supposed to be in every part of our lives and that is what is causing the problem.
Q: Thank you, Dr. Carson. Governor Christie, there’s been a lot of political rhetoric that some of the bank executives should have gone to jail for the 2008 financial crisis. But, General Motors paid more than a billion dollars in fines and settlements for its ignition switch defect. One hundred twenty-four people died as a result of these faulty switches. No one went to jail. As a former prosecutor do you believe the people responsible for the switch and the cover-up belong behind bars?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: You bet they do. And if I were the prosecutor that is exactly where they’d be. The fact is that this Justice Department under this President has been a political Justice Department, has been a Justice Department that decided that they want to pick who the winners and losers are. They like General Motors, they give them a pass. They don't like somebody like General Petraeus, they prosecute them and send a decorated general into disgrace. It’s a political Justice Department and Jim, you know full well in the seven years I was U.S. Attorney we went after pharmaceutical companies. We went after companies that were ripping off shareholders. We went after companies that were doing things that were against the law. To expand on Mr. Carson—Dr. Carson's question, we have enough laws. We don't need more laws. We don’t need Hillary Clinton's price controls for — again, does anybody out there think that giving Washington D.C. the opportunity to run the pharmaceutical industry is a good idea? Given how well they’ve done running the government. So, what we do though, if there is somebody who is price gouging, we have laws for prosecutors to take that on. Let’s let a Justice Department — I will make an Attorney General who will enforce the law and make justice more than just a word. It will be a way of life.
Q: Thank you, Governor Christie. Governor Bush, in a debate like this four years ago, every Republican running for president pledged to oppose a budget deal containing any tax increase even if it had spending cuts ten times as large. A few months later you told Congress: Put me in, coach, you would take that deal, still feel that way?
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: Well, the deal was done, Barack Obama got his massive tax increases, and there was no spending cuts. You just see the recent deal announced today, or yesterday, more spending, more tax increasing, more regulation, and now we have to accept 2%, the new normal for economic growth. The net result is the middle class have $2,300 less in their pockets than the day that Barack Obama got elected President. And now they see Hillary Clinton proposing a third term of economic policy for our country. We need to reverse that. And my record was one of cutting taxes each and every year. You don't have to guess about it because I actually have a record. $19 billion of tax cuts. 1.3 million jobs created. We were one of two states to triple A bond rating and our government spending was far less than the spending in people’s income.
Q: But to the point that you made to Congress, if you were President and you were offered a bipartisan deal that had one dollar of tax increases per ten dollars — would you take it?
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: You find me a Democrat that will cut spending ten dollars? Heck, find me a Republican in congress that would cut spending in ten dollars, I’ll talk to them.
JOHN HARWOOD: So you don't want the coach to put you in anymore?
FMR. GOV.JEB BUSH: Look, the deal is already done, the biggest tax increase happened under the watch of Barack Obama and spending has gone up. You find a Democrat that is for cutting taxes— cutting spending ten dollars, I'll give them a warm kiss.
Q: Thank you, Governor.
CARL QUINTANILLA, CNBC: Mrs. Fiorina in 2010 while running for Senate in tech rich California you called an internet sales tax a bad idea. Traditional brick and mortar stores obviously disagree. Now that the internet shopping playing field has matured, what would be a fair plan to even that playing field?
CARLY FIORINA: You know, I want to go back for a moment to what we're just talking about. Crony capitalism is alive and well and has been so in Washington DC for decades. What's crony capitalism? Crony capitalism is what happens when government gets so big and so powerful that only the big and powerful can handle it. So why are the pharmaceutical companies consolidating? Why are there 5 even bigger Wall Street banks now instead of the 10 we used to have on Wall Street? Because when government gets big and powerful the big feel like they need to get even bigger to deal with all that power and meanwhile the small and the powerless in this case 1590 community banks go out of business. You see folks this how socialism starts. Government causes a problem and then government steps in to solve the problem. This is why fundamentally we have to take our government back. The student loan problem has been created by government. Government trying to level the playing field between internet and brick and mortar creates a problem. The FCC jumping in now and saying we're going to put 400 pages of regulation over the Internet is going to create massive problems but guess who pushed for that regulation? The big Internet companies. This is what's going on: big and powerful use big and powerful government to their advantage. It’s why you see Walgreens buying Rite Aid. It’s why you see the pharmaceuticals getting together. It's why you see the health insurance companies getting together. It’s why you see the banks consolidating. And meanwhile, small businesses are getting crushed, community based businesses and farms are getting crushed, community banks are going out of business. Big government favors the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well connected and crushes the small and the powerless. It is why we have to simplify. It is why we have to reduce the size and power of government. It's the only way to level the playing field between big and powerful and small and powerless.
CARL QUINTANILLA, CNBC: Thank you very much.
BECKY QUICK, CNBC: Senator Rubio, you yourself have said that you’ve had issues: you have a lack of bookkeeping skills. You accidentally intermingled campaign money with your personal money, you face foreclosure on a second home that you bought and just last year you liquidated a $68,000 retirement fund. That's something that cost you thousands of dollars in taxes and penalties. In terms of all of that, it raises the question whether you have the maturity and the wisdom to lead a 17 trillion dollar economy. What do you say?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Well you just listed a litany of discredited attacks from democrats and my political opponents and I’m not going to waste 60 seconds detailing them all, but I’m going to tell you the truth. Here’s the truth: I didn't inherit any money. My dad was a bartender, my mother was a maid. They worked hard to provide us the chance at a better life. They didn't save enough money for us to go to school — I had to work my way through school, I had to borrow money to go to school. Trying early in my marriage explaining to my wife why someone named Sallie Mae was taking $1,000 out of our bank account every month. I know what it's like to owe that money and we’ve worked hard. We’ve worked hard our whole life to provide a better life for our family. We owna home four blocks away from the place that I grew up in. My four children have been able to receive a good Christian education and I've been able to save for them to go to college so they never have to have the loans that I did. But I'm not worried about my finances, I'm worried about the finances of everyday Americans who today are struggling in an economy that is not producing good paying jobs while everything else cost more. And that's what this economy … that's what this debate needs to be about — this debate needs to be about the men and women across this country that are struggling on a daily basis to provide for their families the better future that we've always said this country is all about.
BECKY QUICK, CNBC: Senator, I understand all of that. I had a lot of student loans when I got out too but you’ve had a windfall that a lot of Americans haven't. You made over a million dollars on a book deal and some of these problems came after that.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: And I used it to pay off my loans and it's available on paperback if you're interested in buying it.
BECKY QUICK, CNBC: But you liquidated that retirement account after the fact and that cost you about $24,000 out of that in taxes and fees. That was after you had already come into that windfall. That's why I raised the question.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Again, as I said, we’re raising a family in the 21st century and it it's one of the reasons why my tax plan is a pro family tax plan. It increases the pro child [Family] Tax Credit because I didn't read about this in a book. I know for a fact how difficult it is to raise children, how expensive it’s become for working families, and I make a lot more than the average American — imagine how hard it is for these people out there that are making 40,50 $60,000 a year and I'm trying to provide for their families at a time when this economy is not growing. We can't afford another 4 years of that which is what we’re going to get if we elect a big government liberal like Hillary Clinton to the white house.
BECKY QUICK, CNBC: Thank you Senator.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Governor Kasich, you’ve called for abolishing the Export Import Bank which provides subsidies to help American companies compete with overseas competitors. You call that corporate welfare. One of the largest newspapers in your state wrote an editorial saying they found that strange writing that if that's corporate welfare what does Kasich call the millions of dollars in financial incentives doled out to attract or retain jobs by his development effort jobs of Ohio. If subsidies are good enough for Ohio companies why aren’t they good enough for companies trying to compete overseas?
GOV. JOHN KASICH: Well first of all, when we talk about the import export bank it's time to clean up corporate welfare. If we’re going to reform welfare for poor people, we oughta reform it for rich people as well. Secondly, in our state we went from a loss of 350,000 jobs to now a gain of 347000 jobs to the positive. Our wages are growing faster than the national average and I have cut taxes more than any sitting governor in this state. Five billion dollars including no taxes on small business and killing the death tax. Now I want to go back to what we were talking about earlier this budget deal in Washington. This is the same old stuff. Since I left. You spend the money today and then you hope you're going to save money tomorrow. I don't know if people understand, but I spent a lifetime with my colleagues getting us to a federal balanced budget. We actually did it. & I have a road map and a plan right now to get us to balance. Before reforming entitlements, cutting taxes, you see, because if you really want to get to a balanced budget you need to reduce your expenses and you need to grow your economy so what I will tell you about our incentives, our incentives are tight and at the end of the day we make sure that we gain more from the creation of jobs than what we lose and you know what Ohio one of the best growing places in the country I not only did it in Washington I did it in Ohio and I'll go back to Washington again and there will be no more of these silly deals if I become president because we will have a constitutional amendment to require a federally balanced budget so they will do their job.
Q: Senator Cruz, working women in this country still earn just 77% of what men earn. And I know that you’ve said you’ve been very sympathetic to our cause. But you’ve also said the Democrats’ moves to try and change this are political show votes. I just wonder what you would do as president to try to help in this cause?
SEN. TED CRUZ: Well we’ve got to turn the economy around for people who are struggling. The Democrats' answer to everything is more government control over wages and more empowering trial lawyers to file lawsuits. You look at working women … I’ll tell you, in my family there are a lot of single moms in my family. My sister was a single mom, both of my aunts who were single moms. My mom, who is here today, was a single mom when my father left us when I was 3 years old. Now, thank god, my father was invited to a bible study and became born again and he came back to my mom and me and we were raised together. But the struggle of single moms is extraordinary. And you know, when you see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and all the Democrats talking about wanting to address the plight of working women, not a one of them mentioned the fact that under Barack Obama 3.7 million women have entered poverty. Not a one of them mentioned the fact that under Barack Obama and the big government economy the median wage for women has dropped $733. The the truth of the matter is, big government benefits the wealthy, it benefits the lobbyists, it benefits the giant corporations and the people getting hammered are small businesses, it’s single moms, it’s hispanics. That is who I'm fighting for. The people that Washington leaves behind.
CARLY FIORINA: Becky, it is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman president when every single policy she espouses, and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women. 92%, 92% of the jobs lost during Barack Obama's first term belonged to women. Senator Cruz is precisely right. Three million women have fallen into poverty under this administration. The number of women living in extreme poverty is the highest level on record. I am a conservative. Because I know our values our principles and our policies will try to lift everyone up. Men and women.
BECKY QUICK: Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson, we know you as a physician, but we wanted to ask you about your involvement on corporate boards including Costco's.Last year, the market study called the brand the No. 1 gay-friendly brand in America, partly because of its domestic partner benefits. Why would you choose to run a company that seems to have a counter view on matters of homosexuality?
BEN CARSON: Obviously, you don’t understand my views on homosexuality. I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation, or any other aspect. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. There is no reason why you can't be perfectly fair to the gay community.They should not automatically assume because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe. That is one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society. This is how they frighten people and get people to shut up. This is what the PC culture is all about and it’s all destroying this nation. The fact of the matter is, we the American people are not each other's enemy. It is those people who are trying to divide us that are the enemy. We need to make that clear to everybody.
CARL QUINTANILLA: This is a company that is a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a ten-year relationship. They offered claims they could cure autism, cancer, and paid millions to settle a lawsuit in Texas. Yet your involvement continued. Why?
BEN CARSON: Well, that is easy to answer, I didn't have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda. This is what happens in our society. Total propaganda, I did a couple of speeches for them. I did speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes, I think it's a good product.
CARL QUINTANILLA: To be fair you were on the homepage of their website with the logo over your shoulder.
BEN CARSON: If somebody put me on their homepage they did it without my permission.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Does that not speak to your vetting process or process in any way —
BEN CARSON: No, it speaks to the fact —
BEN CARSON: They know.
JOHN HARWOOD: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate on CNBC, live from Boulder, Colorado, at the University of Colorado. Senator Mike Huckabee — I mean, excuse me, Senator Rubio. Wired magazine recently carried the headline, Marco Rubio wants to be the tech industry's savior. It talked about your support for dramatically increasing visas called H1B, designed for skills that Silicon Valley wants. Your Senate colleague Jeff Sessions of Alabama says in reality the tech industry uses this program to undercut hiring and rages for highly qualified americans. Why is he wrong?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Well first of all if a company gets caught doing that, they should never be able to use the program again. If you get caught abusing this program you should never be able to use it again. The second thing I’ve said is we need to add reforms, not just increase the numbers but add reforms. For example, before you hire anyone from abroad you should have to advertise that job for 180 days. You also have to prove that you’re going to pay these people more than you would pay someone else so that you’re not undercutting it by bringing in cheap labor, but here’s the best solution of all. We need to get back to training the people of this country to do the jobs of the 21st century, why? For the life of me, I do not understand why did we stop doing vocational education in America. People that can work with their hands. People that you can train to do this work while they’re still in high school so they can graduate ready to go work. So the best way to close this gap is to modernize modern education so Americans have the skills for those jobs, but in the interim, in the absence of that, what’s happening is some of these tech companies are taking those centers to canada because they can get people to go over there instead of here, but the ideal scenario is to train Americans to do the work so that we don’t have to rely on people from abroad.
JOHN HARWOOD: It sounds like you think Sen. Sessions is wrong to believe there’s enough abuse in that program that we shouldn’t inquire —
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I think those companies should be permanently barred from ever using the program again and we should put strict standards in place to make sure they aren’t being abused like the prevailing wage requirement. Like the advertisement requirement.
JOHN HARWOOD: Thank you, Senator Rubio. Becky?
BECKY QUICK: Mr. Trump let’s stay on this issue of immigration. You’ve been quite critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who has wanted to increase the number of these H1B’s —
DONALD TRUMP: First of all I was never critical of him. I was not at all. In fact, frankly, he’s complaining about the fact that we’re losing some of the most talented people. They go to Harvard, they go to Yale, they go to Princeton, they come from another country and they’re immediately sent out. I’m all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.
BECKY QUICK: So you’re in favor of increasing?
DONALD TRUMP: I wasn’t at all critical of him.
BECKY QUICK: Where did I read this and come up with this that you were —
DONALD TRUMP: Probably, I don’t know. You people write this stuff, I don’t know where you —
BECKY QUICK: Let’s be clear —
DONALD TRUMP: And if I could say just one thing. I am the only person in either campaign that’s self funding. I’m putting up 100 percent of my own money and right now I will be putting up a tremendous — so far I put up less than anybody and I have the best results. Wouldn’t that be nice if the country could do that? But I will be putting, I will be putting up tremendous amounts of money. Super PACs are a disaster. You better get rid of them. They are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people, and I'm not blaming these folks, but I guess I could. Very good people are making bad decisions right now. If anything comes out of these nasty and ridiculous questions, I will tell you you better get rid of the super PACs, because they're causing a big problem in this country, not only with the dishonesty and what’s going on, but also in a lot of bad decisions that are being made for the benefit of lobbyists and special interests.
BECKY QUICK: You know, Mr. Trump — just a follow up — you talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator because he was in favor of the H1B —
DONALD TRUMP: I never said that.
BECKY QUICK: This was an erroneous article, the whole way around?
DONALD TRUMP: He’s got another gentleman in Florida who happens to be a very nice guy.
BECKY QUICK: My apologies —
DONALD TRUMP: Somebody is doing some very bad fact-checking.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: If I have been mentioned, can I respond? The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC. It’s called mainstream media, every single day — and I tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee she admitted she sent emails to her family saying hey, this attack in Benghazi was caused by al Qaeda-like elements. She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet ther mainstream media is saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton's campaign. It was the week she got exposed as a liar. It was the week she got exposed as a liar on Benghazi. But she has her super pac helping her out. The American mainstream media.
BECKY QUICK: Senator Rubio, thank you very much. I would like to introduce my colleague, Rick Santelli. He has some comments as well. Sir?
RICK SANTELLI: Senator Cruz, let's focus on our central bank, the Federal Reserve. You have been a fierce critic of the Fed. Arguing for more transparency. Where do you want to take that? Get Congress involved in monetary policy or is it time to slap the Fed back and down size them completely? What are your thoughts? What do you believe?
SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, Rick, it’s a very important question. I have deep concerns about the Fed. The first thing I think we need to do is audit the Fed. I am an original co-sponsor of Ron Paul's Audit the Fed legislation. The second thing we need to do is to bring together a bipartisan commission to look at getting back to rules-based monetary policy and the star chamber that has been engaging in this incredible experiment of quantitative easing. QE1, QE2, QE3, QE-Infinity. And the people who are being impacted, you know a question that was asked earlier about working women — it's interesting, if you look at Wall Street, the Fed is doing great. It’s driving up stock prices. Wall Street is doing great. You know, today the top 1% earn a higher share of our income than any year since 1928. But if you look at working men and women. If you look at a single mom buying groceries, she sees hamburger prices going up nearly 40%. She sees her cost of electricity going up, she sees her health insurance going up, and loose money is one of the major problems. We need sound money. And I think the fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy and simply be focused on sound money and stability. Ideally tied to gold.
RICK SANTELLI: Senator Paul, same question to you.
SEN. RAND PAUL: Thank you very much. I would like to thank Ted for co-sponsoring my bill audit the fed. And I think it’s precisely because of the arrogance of someone like Ben Bernanke who now calls us all know-nothings, that is precisely why we need to audit the Fed. I think it is really very much a huge problem that an organization as powerful as the Fed comes and lobbies against them being audited on the hill. I would prevent them from lobbying congress. I don’t think the Fed should be involved in lobbying us. I think we should examine how the Fed has really been part of the problem. You want to study income inequality? Let's bring the fed forward and talk about Fed policy and how it causes income inequality. Let's also bring the Fed forward and have them explain how they caused the housing boom and the crisis and what they have done to make us better or worse. I think the Fed has been a great problem in our society. What you need to do is free up interest rates, interest rates are the price of money. We shouldn’t have price controls on the price of money.
Q: Thank you, senator.
Q: Dr. Carson. You told the Des Moines Register that you don’t like government subsidies, it interferes with the free market, but you’ve also said that you're in favor of taking oil subsidies and putting them towards ethanol processing. Isn't that just swapping one subsidy for another doctor?
BEN CARSON: First of all, I was wrong about taking the oil subsidy. I have studied that issue in great detail. And what I have concluded, that the best policy is to get rid of all government subsidies and get the government out of our lives and let people rise and fall based on how good they are. And all of this too big to fail stuff and picking and choosing winners and losers. This is a bunch of crap and is really causing a great deal of problems for our society right now. It goes back to the whole concept of regulations, which are in everything. The reason that I hate them so much is because every single regulation cost in terms of goods and services. That cost gets passed on to the people. Now, who are the people who are hurt by that? It’s poor people and middle class. It doesn’t hurt rich people if their bar of soap goes up 10 cents, but it hurts the poor and middle class. And Bernie Sanders will tell them that it's because of the rich. Well, I'll tell you something you can take everything from the top 1% and you apply it to our fiscal gap and you won't even make a dent in it.
BECKY QUICK: Governor Mike Huckabee, you have railed against income inequality, you’ve said that some Wall Street executives should have gone to jail over the roles that they played in the financial crisis. Apart from your tax plan, are there specific steps you would require from corporate America to reduce the income inequality?
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: I don't think it's so much about when the government orders a corporation to do something, in fact that is part of the problem. If you saw that blimp that got cut loose from Maryland today it’s a perfect example of government. I mean what we had was something the government made, basically a bag of gas that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people powerless but they couldn't get rid of it, because we had too much money invested in it so we had to keep it. That is our government today. We saw it in the blimp. That is exactly what we saw. So look, corporations ought to exercise some responsibility. When CEO income has risen 90% above the average worker, when the bottom 90% of this country's economy has had stagnant wages for the past 40 years, somebody is taking it in the teeth. And it's not the folks on wall Street. I'm not anti-wall street, but I don't believe the government ought to wear a team jersey, pick winners and losers. The government ought to wear a striped shirt and just make sure the game is played fairly. Now, everybody else has fudged their time and gone over, so please don't cut me off too quickly, Becky.
Q: Okay, how about 15 more seconds?
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: We need to be focusing on what fixes this country. And I’ll tell you one thing that we never talk about, we haven’t talked about it tonight. Why aren't we talking about instead of cutting benefits for old people, cutting benefits for sick people, why don't we say let's cure the four big cost-driving diseases, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's. If you do that, you don't just change the economy, you transform the lives of millions of hurting Americans.
Q: Governor, thank you.
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Gosh I would love for us to talk about something like that. Thank you.
Q: Appreciate it.
Q: Governor Bush, the tax reform bill that Ronald Reagan signed in 1986 cut the top personal income tax rate to 28% just like your plan does. But president Reagan taxed capital gains at the same rate while you would tax them at just 20%. Given the problems we have been discussing, growing gap between rich and poor, why would you tax labor at a higher rate than income from investments?
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: Look, the simple fact is that my plan actually gives the middle class the greatest break, $2,000 per family. If you make $40,000 a year, a family of four, you don't pay any income tax at all. Simplifying the code and lowering rates, both for corporations and personal rates is exactly what we need to do. You think about the regulatory cost and tax cost that is why small businesses are closing rather than been formed in our country right now. The big corporations have the scale to deal with all of this. And what I think all of us are saying is our monetary policy, our tax policy, regulatory policy needs to be radically changed so that we can create high sustained growth for income to rise. The government has tried it their way. Under Barack Obama and the proposals of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and others they’ve tried it their way and it has failed miserably. We need to take a new approach of taxing, reforming how we tax and reforming the regulations in our country before it's too late.
JOHN HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you. The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1% as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you're the champion of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, don't you have that backward?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: No, you’re wrong. In fact the largest after-tax gains is for the people at the lowest spectrum under my plan, and there’s a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them. No. 1, you have people in this country —
JOHN HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation, just to be clear — they said — after-tax income —
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: No, you had to correct your story. You wrote a story on it. You had to go back and correct it. You did.
JOHN HARWOOD: No, I didn't. Senator, the Tax Foundation said after-tax income for the top 1% under your plan would go up 27.9%.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Well, you’re talking about —
JOHN HARWOOD: People in the middle of the income spectrum, about 15% —
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Because the math is, 5% of a million is a lot more than 5% of a thousand. So if somebody makes more money, numerically it will be higher. But the greatest gains percentage-wise for people are going to be at the lower end of our plan. Here is why, in addition to a general personal exemption, we're increasing the per child tax credit for working families. We are lowering taxes on small business. You know a lot of business in America is conducted like the guy that does my dry cleaning. He’s an S corporation. A lot of tax businesses in America, this man pays on his personal rate, paying higher than the big dry cleaner down the street, he is paying under his personal rate. Under my plan, they will pay a flat rate, a dramatic decrease for people running their own business. One more point, it is the most pro-growth tax plan that I can imagine because it doesn't tax investments at all. You know why? The more you tax something the less of it you get. I want America to be the best place in the world for people to invest.
SEN. RAND PAUL: John, could I follow up on this?
CARL QUINTANILLA: We'll come back around. I want to get to Governor Kasich.
SEN. RAND PAUL: What are the rules on who gets to follow up? How do we decide who gets to follow up? I’ve seen plenty of other people follow up.
BECKY QUICK: It was at the moderator's discretion.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Governor John Kasich, let's talk about — let's talk about —
RAND PAUL: I would like to mention something about my tax plan and how it relates to my discussion.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Sure, 30 seconds.
SEN. RAND PAUL: All right, much of the discussion is centered offer whether or not the different tax plans help or affect the middle class. In fact, it's the chief argument by Democrats against many of the different flat-tax proposals. Mine is unique in the sense that my tax plan actually gets rid of the payroll tax as well. It shifts it to the business, and it would allow middle class people to get a tax cut. If you just cut their income tax there isn’t much income tax to cut. Mine actually cuts the payroll tax and I think it would spread the tax cut across all socioeconomic structures and would allow then it to be broadly supported by the public in an election.
SEN. TED CRUZ: Rand is exactly right. His plan is a good plan and I will note that my 10% plan also eliminates the payroll tax, eliminates the death tax, eliminates the business tax — and a 10% flat rate —
CARL QUINTANILLA: We're going to go to Governor Kasich now.
SEN. TED CRUZ: — personal rate of any candidate up here has. And what it would also enable us to do is for every citizen to fill out their taxes on a postcard so we can eliminate the IRS.
CARL QUINTANILLA: OK, thank you, senator. Governor Kasich, let's talk about marijuana. We're broadcasting from Colorado, which has seen $150 million in new revenue for the state since legalizing last year. Governor Hickenlooper was not a big fan of legalization, but he says the people who used to smoke it are still smoking it, just paying taxes now.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: We're running a $2 billion surplus. We’re not having a surplus right now. Drugs is one of the greatest scourges in this country. I spent time to try to rein in the problem of overdoses. It goes on and on, we can do a whole show on that. I want to go back to this issue of income inequality. My program would move the 104 programs of the federal Department of Education into four block grants and send them back to the states because income inequality is driven by a lack of skills when kids don't get what they need to be able to compete and win in this country. The fact is in order to get this economy moving again I call for freezing regulations for a year. Except for the problem of public safety. I believe that we need to cut these taxes down. We need to be on a road map to balancing the budget and we need to send power, money and influence. The Welfare Department, the Education Department. Job training, infrastructure, Medicaid, all of it out of Washington back to the states so we can run these programs from where we live to the top, not a one-size-fits-all mentality that they have in Washington. And that will get to the nub of opportunity for our children and an ability to see wages rise. Again, one more time in Ohio, our wages are growing faster than the national average. We've cut taxes, balanced budgets, changed the regulatory environment.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Thank you, governor.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: You want to fix America? This is the formula, it worked for Reagan and works for our team in Ohio.
CARL QUINTANILLA: Thank you, we'll be right back in just a moment.
Q: Welcome back to the University of Colorado and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC. Mr. Trump, I'm going back to an issue we talked about before the H1B visas. I found where I read that before it was from the Donald J. Trump website. And it says that again, Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator, Marco Rubio, has built the triple H1Bs, that would decimate women and minorities. Are you in favor of H1B or opposed to it?
DONALD TRUMP: I'm in favor of people coming into this country legally. You know what, you can have it any way you want. You can call it visas, work permits, you can call it anything you want. I created tens of thousands of jobs. Actually, with all due respect to some of these people, who I like a lot. But I am the only one who can say that. I created tens of thousands of jobs, and I will be creating many millions of jobs if I'm given the opportunity to be president. As far as Mark is concerned and as far as the visas are concerned, if we need people, that is fine. They have to come into this country legally. We have a country of borders, we have a country of laws, we have to obey the laws, It's fine if they come in, but they have to come in legally.
Q: Thank you, sir.
Q: You get 30 seconds.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I have learned the rules. Look, in addition to what Donald is saying, we also need to talk about the legal immigration system for permanent residents. Today we have a legal immigration system for permanent residency that is largely based on if you have family here. That’s the way that my parents came in legally in 1956. But in 2015 we have a very different economy. Our legal immigration system from now on has to be based on merit base. What skills you have, what you can contribute economically and most important of all whether or not you're coming here to become an American, to not just live in America, but be an American.
Q: Mr. Trump, you said you have a special permit to carry a gun in New York?
DONALD TRUMP: Yes.
Q: After the mass shooting in Oregon October 1st, you said by the way it was a gun-free zone. If you had a couple of teachers with guns, you would have been a lot better off.
DONALD TRUMP: Or somebody else.
Q: Would you feel comfortable if your employees brought guns to work?
DONALD TRUMP: Yes, I might feel more comfortable. I would say that I would. And I have a permit, which is very unusual in New York, a permit to carry. And I do carry on occasion. Sometimes a lot. But I like to be unpredictable. So people don’t know exactly —
Q: And are you carrying right now?
DONALD TRUMP: By the way, unlike our country where we're totally predictable and the enemy, whether it's ISIS or anybody else, they know exactly what we're doing because we have the wrong leadership. But I feel that the gun-free zones and you know when you say that, that is target practice for the sickos, and for the mentally ill. That is target — they look around for gun-free zones. And we could give you another example. The Marines, the Army, these wonderful six soldiers killed. Two of them were amongst the most highly decorated. They were not allowed on a military base to have guns and somebody walked in and shot them and killed them. If they had guns he wouldn’t be around very long. I can tell you there wouldn't have been much damage. I think gun-free zones are a catastrophe. They are feeding frenzy for sickos.
Q: We called a few Trump resorts, a few Trump properties that do not allow guns with or without a permit. Would you change policies?
DONALD TRUMP: I would change them.
Q: All right, thank you. John?Q: Governor Mike Huckabee, you wrote about the huge divide and values between Middle America and the big coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles. As a preacher as well as a politician, you know presidents need the moral authority to bring the entire country together. Leading Republican candidate, when you look at the average national polls, right now is Donald Trump. When you look at him do you see somebody like him with the moral authority to unite the country?
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: You know — there are a few questions I got, the last thing I need is to give him more time. I love Donald Trump, he is a good man. I'm wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one. Now — made in Mexico, I don't know —
Q: Made in China?
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: I have no idea.
DONALD TRUMP: Such a nasty question, but thank you, governor.
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: You're welcome. Let me tell you, Donald Trump would be a better president every day of the week and twice on Sunday rather than Hillary Clinton. I have spent a lifetime in politics fighting the Clinton machine. You want to talk about what we're going to be up against next year. I'm the only guy that’s, you know how they have the only guy, you know everybody has an “only guy” — I’m the only guy this, I’m the only guy that.” Let me tell you what I'm the only guy with, the only guy that has consistently fought the Clinton machine every election I was in over the past 26 years. And not only did I fight them but I beat them. Somebody says I'm a fighter. Well, I want to know did you win? Well, I did. Not only did I fight them and win I lived to tell about it and standing on this stage tonight as evidence of that and I think that ought to be worth something.
Q: Thank you, governor.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: I will tell you, you want to talk about moral authority. Let's talk about something that happened this week in the news. You know, the FBI director, the president's appointed FBI director, has said this week that because of a lack of support form politicians like the president of the United States that police officers are afraid to get out of their cars and afraid to enforce the law. He says, the president's appointee, that crime is going up because of this. And when the president of the United States gets up to speak about this, does he support police officers, does he stand up for law enforcement? No, he doesn't, I'll tell you what. The No. 1 job of the president is to protect the safety and security of the American people. This president has failed. When I'm in the Oval Office, police officers will know they have the support. That is the real moral authority we need in the office.
Q: Don't forget my colleague, Sharon Epperson.
Q: You were the CEO of a large corporation that offered 401(k) to their employees. More than half of Americans don't have access to retirement plans. That includes the growing ranks of part-time drivers and Uber drivers, and business people. Should the government help to set up retirement plans for these workers?
CARLY FIORINA: No, the federal government should not play a larger role. Look, every time the federal government gets engaged in something it gets worse. And then the government steps in to try to solve the problem and we get a little further down to that progression that Hillary Clinton is talking about. Companies should, if they want to attract the best workers, provide a good set of benefits. But honestly, if you're a small business owner today you are being crushed. We have 400,000 small businesses forming every year in the country. How great is that? They are employing themselves and potentially employing others. The bad news is, we have 470,000 going out of business every year. And why? They cite Obamacare.
Q: You wouldn't agree to start 401(k) … for employees?
CARLY FIORINA: I think it's a wonderful thing that businesses start a 401(k). The point I’m making is this: The federal government should not be in a lot of things. There is no constitutional role for the federal government in setting up retirement plans. There is no constitutional law for the federal government to be setting minimum wages. The more the government gets engaged in the economy, the slower the economy becomes. The more the government gets engaged in the economy, the more the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well-connected are advantaged.
Q: Thank you. Thank you, I want to turn my attention to you now, Governor Kasich. Most people can't get a college degree without going into debt. Over 40 million Americans have student loans and many of them cannot pay them back. This country has over $100 billion in student loan defaults. That is billion, with a B. What will you do to make sure that students, their families, taxpayers, won't feel the economic impact of this burden for generations?
GOV. JOHN KASICH: Well, first of all, in Ohio, we're changing the whole system. Universities will not get paid one dime unless the student graduates or completes a course. Secondly, you can be in high school and complete almost an entire first year before you go to college and get credit to do that. And of course, in addition to that we are working now to go after the cost drivers in our universities. And let me give you an example. Universities today have so many non-academic assets. At Ohio state they sold the parking garage and the parking lot and they got $500 million because they should not be in the parking lot business. They should not be in the dining business or the dorm business. And of course, we need to take advantage of online education to reduce these costs and begin to disintermediate the cost. For those who have these big high costs I think we can seriously look at an idea of where you can do public service. I mean legitimate public service and begin to pay off some of that debt through the public service that you do. And in the meantime, it may inspire us to care more about our country, more about ourselves. This is a big moral issue in America. Living a life bigger than yourself and being a center of healing and justice and people can learn it through public service.
Q: Thank you, thank you, higher education —
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: We don't need the federal government to be involved. Because when they do we create a $1.2 trillion debt. In Florida we have the lowest in-state tuition of any state. Because there is accountability, as John said. Let the states do this. You will create a much better graduation rate and wouldn't give the next generation the recourse on their back. It’s always the solution of the left to create more government from the federal government. It is broken and is not working.
Q: Governor Kasich, we have to move on.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: We can let them — eliminate some of their debt.
Q: Governor Bush, daily fantasy sports has become a phenomenon in this country. It will award billions in prize money this year. To play you have to assess your odds, wait for a situation that is out of your control. Isn't that the definition of gambling and should the federal government treat it as such?
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: First of all, I'm 7-0 in my fantasy league. Gronkowski is still going strong. I have Ryan Tannehill — is my quarterback, he was 18 for 19 last week. So I'm doing great, but we're not gambling. This has become something that needs to be looked at in terms of regulation. Effectively it is day trading without any regulation at all. When you have insider information which is apparently has been the case where people use that information and use big data to try to take advantage of it, there has to be some regulation. If they can't regulate themselves, then the NFL needs to look at moving away from them a little bit and there should be some regulation. I have no clue if the federal government is the proper place, my instinct is to say hell no, just anything about the federal government.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: Are we really talking about getting government involved in fantasy football? Wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt, people out of work, we have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us, and we're talking about fantasy football? Can we stop? How about this? How about we get the government to do what they’re supposed to be doing? Secure our borders protect our people and support American values and the American family. Enough on fantasy football. Let people play, who cares?
Q: Governor Christie, you said something that many in your party do not believe, which is that climate change is undeniable. What do we do to deal with it?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: What we don't do is do what Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Barack Obama want to do, which their solution for for everything. Put more taxes on, give more money to Washington D.C., and they will fix it. There is no evidence they can fix anything in Washington, D.C. What we should do is invest in all types of energy, John.
Q: You mean government?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: No, John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer? Because — I got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you're doing is called rude. So — we laid out a national energy plan that says we should invest in all types of energy — I tell you, you could win a bet at a bar tonight, since we're talking about fantasy football, if you ask who the top three states in America are who produce solar energy. California and Arizona are easy, but No. 3 is New Jersey. Why? we work with the private sector to make solar energy affordable to individuals in our state. We need to make sure we do everything we can for all kinds of energy. Natural gas, oil, absolutely, but also where it's affordable solar, wind in Iowa has become very affordable and it makes sense. That is where we deal with global warming, climate change, and any of those problems not through government intervention, and for god sakes, don't send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they’re already sending there.
Q: Senator Paul was Reagan right to oppose Medicare, considering the cost?
SEN. RAND PAUL: The question is always, what works better, the private marketplace or government? And what distributes goods better? It always seems to be that the private marketplace does a better job. Is there a better place for Social Security? You acknowledge that the federal government doesn't do a very good job of it. The main problem with Medicare, the average person pays into taxes over their whole lifetime, about $100,000. But the average person takes out about $350,000. We have an enormous mismatch because we have smaller and smaller families. When people ask whose fault is it that Medicare is broken, out of money, that Social Security is out of money? I say look, it's not Republicans' fault, it’s not Democrats’ fault. It’s your grandparents’ fault for having too many damn kids. After the war we had all of these kids, baby boomers. Now we’re having smaller families. We used to have 16 workers for one retiree, now you have three workers for one retiree. It is not working. I have a bill to fix Medicare, I have a bill to fix Social Security and Medicare. For both of them, you're going to have to raise the age. If you're not willing to that, nobody wants to do it, but if you’re not willing to raise the age you're not serious about either one of them.
Q: We'll take a break.
Q: Welcome back to Boulder, Colorado, and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC. Governor Huckabee, you wanted to respond to some of the points that senator Rand Paul was just making when it comes to Social Security.
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Well and specifically to Medicare, because 85% of the cost of Medicare is chronic disease. The fact is, if we don't address what is costing so much, we can't throw enough money at this. And it's why I continued to focus on the fact we need to declare war on the four big cost drivers. Because 80% of all medical cost in this country are chronic disease. We don’t have a healthcare crisis in America, we have a health crisis. And until we deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio when I was a kid, we eradicated it. You know how much money we spent on Polio last year in America? We didn’t spend any. We saved billions of dollars. You want to fix medicare? Focus on the diseases that are costing us the trillions of dollars, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Eradicate those and you fix medicare. And you fix America, its economy and you've made people's lives a heck of a lot better.
Q: Thank you, Governor.
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH: The Governor is right, we also need to reform Medicare and Social Security. We can't just allow it to continue in its current path the way Hillary Clinton wants us to do. Because there will be major reductions in benefits in the next decade if we do nothing. I have a concrete plan to do just that. Which allows people to keep HSAs to encourage savings. That allows for people retiring with Social Security to be able to get a minimum of 125% of the poverty level so that there is a baseline that in this generous country of ours no one goes below.
Q: Governor Bush, Mr. Trump says that he is capable of growing the economy so much that Social Security and Medicare don't have to be touched. Do you want to explain how that is going to happen, Mr. Trump?
DONALD TRUMP: Yes, it is very simple. We’re going to make a really dynamic economy from what we have right now which is not at all dynamic. We're going to bring jobs back from Japan, we’re going to bring jobs back from China, we’re going to bring frankly jobs back from Mexico, where, as you probably saw, Nabisco is leaving Chicago with one of their biggest plants and moving it to Mexico. We're going to bring jobs and manufacturing back. We're going to cut costs and we are going to save Social Security and we're going to save Medicare.
Q: Governor, you just heard him.
FMR. GOV. BUSH: You have to reform Social Security and the simple way to do it is to make sure that the wealthiest don't receive the same benefits as people that are lower income, and make sure you enhance savings in the private market. The idea of 401(k)s—I have a small business that I set up. It took an arm and a leg to be able to set up a 401(k). Because of all the federal mandates and federal laws, it was too expensive. We need to incent private savings and make sure that Social Security is protected for those who have it — but The idea that you can't — you’re just grow your way out of this—I have a plan to grow the economy 4%, but you’re going to have to make adjustments for both Medicare and Social Security.
Q: Governor Kasich, you want 30 seconds?
GOV. JOHN KASICH: I want to tell you, in my state, we took Medicaid, the hardest program to control, and we took it from a 10 percent growth rate it to 2 and a half percent, without taking one person off the rolls or cutting one single benefit. And so much of what we did, to force competition, to use technology, to stand down the special interest groups. Can you imagine taking Medicaid from 10 to 2 and a half percent? We can take many of those same procedures and apply it to Medicare. We can make a stronger program. But I agree with Jeb, you can't just do this by just growing the economy. You can't grow your way out of demographics. But we can give people better health care and finally on health care, why don't we start treating- keep giving incentives for people to keep people healthy, rather than giving the incentives to treat them when they're sick?
Q: Governor, thank you. Senator Paul, let's go back to you. Do these solutions sound like they work?
SEN. RAND PAUL: Say again?
Q: Do these solutions sound like they work?
SEN. RAND PAUL: You can't do nothing. That’s what I hear from people, well, “we'll do nothing and it will just be fixed.” And I think people who don’t want to fix it, are unwilling to take the chance to say something has to change, are missing the boat here when they don't want to change something. The age will have to gradually to rise. No question, it’s the only way you fix Medicare and Social Security. You will also have to means test the benefits and declare there is not enough money. It is not, ‘oh, I put money in, I'm getting it back.’ There is no money, it’s a stack of paper. There is no money in the Social Security account. There is no money in the Medicare account. There is only a promise to pay by the next generation and the next generation is not big enough to pay it.
Q: I have a question for Dr. Carson.
BEN CARSON: On medicare?
Q: Yes, you said you would like to replace medicare with a system of individual family savings accounts so that families could cover their own expenses. Obviously, that would be a very controversial idea. Explain how that would work, obviously.
BEN CARSON: Well, first of all, the plan gives the people the option of opting out. But I think they would see a very good option here. You know, the annual Medicare budget is over $600 billion. And there are 48 million people involved. 40 million, 65 and over, and 8 million and others. Divide that out. That comes out to $12,500 for each one. Now, I can tell you, there are a lot of private sector things that you can do with $12,500 which gets you a lot more than you get from this government program. That is really the theme of what I'm talking about. How do we utilize our intellectual abilities, rather than allow the government to use it’s “intellect,” to be able to live healthier and better lives. It was never intended that the government should be in every aspect of our lives. This is a country that was up for and by the people.
Q: Thank you, Dr. Carson.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: Ben is absolutely right in saying what we don't need to do is to send more money to Washington, D.C. to fix this problem. And that is what you will hear from Hillary Clinton. And I've already heard from her, send more money in Social Security and Medicare taxes, send more money for Medicaid, and that will solve the problem. We know we're living longer. It's a blessing that we're living longer, so we have to increase the retirement age to reflect that blessing. We need to make sure people understand that if you have done extraordinarily well in the country, do you want them to take more of your taxes now and think they will get it back to you later or would you rather take less later on?
Q: Do you think that Dr. Carson is right that we can replace Medicare with individual savings accounts?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: What I said, his ideas are good ideas. They’re not my ideas and I don't necessarily agree with them. This is what you see in the Republican debate that you didn’t see in that Democratic debate—you didn’t see it for a minute. You didn’t see these kind of ideas being batted around and being batted around in a way that’s civil and smart and is trying to inform the voter out there. What you saw was a parade of ‘I'll give you this for free, I'll give you that for free.’ Let me tell you everybody, when they say they want to give you something to free keep your hands on your wallet, because they're coming to you to pay for it. I think we need to have more discussions and less gotcha.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I want to argue one of the same things. One of the things you're watching are 11 quality candidates. The Republican party is blessed to have 11 good candidates—the democrats can't even come up with one. On this issue of Medicare, in particular, is important because they're going to demagogue what we're saying here tonight. Everyone up here tonight that’s talking about reform, I think and I know I speak for myself with this: We're all talking about reform for future generations. Nothing has to change for current beneficiaries. My mother is on Medicare and Social Security. I'm against anything that is bad for my mother. So we're talking about—we're talking about reform for people like me and people like Senator Cruz as he talked about earlier, who are years away from retirement, that have a way to plan for these changes. In a way that is very reasonable. It's not too much to ask of our generation after everything that our parents and grandparents did for us.
CARLY FIORINA: A lot of people jumped in here, I would like to jump in. A lot of people jumped in here.
Q: We're right at the end of our time. You only—all right, go ahead.
CARLY FIORINA: I would just say this: there are a lot of great ideas up here. And I agree with what Senator Rubio said. Every election we talk about this. Every election we talk about Medicare and Social Security reform. It never happens. I would like to start with a basic. Let us actually go to zero-base budgeting so we know where the money is being spent. It's kind of basic. There is a bill sitting in the house that would actually pass and have us go to zero base budgeting so we know where every dime of your money is being spent, instead of only talking about how much more we're going to spend, year after year after year. My point is this: while there are lots of good ideas for reform, we have never tackled the basics. And we finally need to tackle the basics to cut this government down to size and hold it accountable. So let's start by knowing where your money is being spent by the federal government.
Q: We have now reached the point of the program where the candidates get closing statements, 30 seconds a piece. To the left, senator Paul.
SENATOR RAND PAUL: Liberty thrives when government is small. I want a government so small I can barely see it. I want a government so small that the individual has a chance to thrive and prosper. I think government is too big now. What you will see in Washington this week is establishment Republicans have made an agreement with the president to raise the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion. No limit to the debt ceiling raise. This is extraordinary, it is extraordinarily wrong. You will see me on the floor of the senate tomorrow filibustering it and saying enough is enough, no more debt.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: I want to talk to the folks at home. I want to ask you: are you fed up with how Washington taxes you? Are you fed up with how Washington wastes your money? Are you concerned like I am that the debts and deficits of Washington, D.C. are endangering America's future? I got one more question for you. Are you serious about this election? Because if you are you need to elect someone who is deadly serious about changing this culture. I am deadly serious about changing this culture. I changed it in New Jersey, and I'm deadly serious about doing this job the right way. I'm prepared, tested and ready and I want to make this our government. To the people who say we can't do it. I say hell no, we can do it together.
Q: Senator Cruz.
SEN. TED CRUZ: You know, everyone talks about the need to take on Washington. The natural next question is who has actually done so, who actually has stood up, not just to Democrats but to leaders in our own party. When millions of Americans rose up against Obamacare, I was proud to lead that fight. When millions of Americans rose up against amnesty, I was proud to lead that fight. When millions of Americans rose up against Planned Parenthood I was proud to lead that fight. If people are promising they are going to take on Washington and cronyism, you need to look to who has been doing it. In my family my dad fled oppression in Cuba to come to America. Freedom is personal to me and I will always keep my word and fight for freedom.
CARLY FIORINA: You know, every election we hear a lot of talk, we hear a lot of good plans. We hear actually a lot of good intentions. But somehow for decades nothing really has changed. What we need now is a proven leader who has produced results. That is how you go from secretary to CEO. You lead and produce results. I will cut this government down to size and hold it accountable, simplify the tax code and roll back regulations that have been coming out of Washington, D.C. for 50 years. I may not be your dream candidate just yet. But I can assure you I'm Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare. And in your heart of hearts, you can't wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. I will tell you this, I will beat Hillary Clinton and with your votes and your support and your prayers I will lead with the citizens of this great nation, the resurgence of this great nation.
Q: Thank you, Dr. Ben Carson.
BEN CARSON: I just want to thank all of my colleagues for being civil and not falling for the traps. And just also want to thank the audience for being attentive and noticing the questions and noticing the answers. This is what I'm finding throughout America, people are waking up. Because it is going to be us who will determine the direction of our country. It was made for ‘we the people.’ We are the ones who decide who we are. And we should never give away the values and principles that made America into a great nation for the sake of political correctness.
Q: Mr. Trump?
DONALD TRUMP: Our country doesn't win anymore. We used to win, we don't win anymore. We lose on trade. We lose with ISIS. We lose with one of the worst deals I have ever seen negotiated of any kind. That is our recent catastrophe with Iran. We don't win. Let me give you one quick example: These folks at CNBC, they had it down to three and a half hours. I just read today in The New York Times, $250,000 for a thirty-second ad. I went out and said it’s ridiculous… I could stand up here all night. Nobody wants to watch three and a half or three hours. It was a big sacrifice. We have to hand it to Ben. We called Ben, he was with me 100%. We called in, we said ‘that’s it we're not doing it.’ They lost a lot of money, everybody said it couldn’t be done, everybody said it’s gonna be three hours three and a half hours, including them. And in about two minutes I re-negotiated it down to two hours so we can get the hell out of here. Not bad. And I'll do that with the country. We will make America great again, and thank you everybody.
Q: Just for the record, the debate was always going to be two hours. Senator Rubio.
DONALD TRUMP:…. that was not right. That is absolutely not right. You know that that is not right.
Q: Senator Rubio.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: America doesn't owe me anything. I have a debt to America I will never repay. This is not just the country I was born in, this is the nation that literally changed the history of my family. My parents in this country were able to give me the chance to do all the things they never did. We call it the American dream. Although it's built on a universal dream for every life. The fact that it’s happened for so many people here, that is what makes it special. Now, for millions of Americans it's slipping away. We have a government and leaders in government that are completely out of touch and that’s why I’m running for president. We can expand the government to reach more people and change lives and that is why tonight I'm asking for your vote.
Q: Thank you, senator, Governor Bush.
GOV. JEB BUSH: America is at a crossroads. The D.C. politicians continue to make things worse. I have a proven record, 32 years in business and eight years as the governor of the state of Florida. I will change the culture in Washington just as I changed the culture in Tallahassee and will do so in a way to bring people together. We need a unifier, not a cynical divider in chief. That’s exactly what I will do. Imagine a country where people were lifted out of poverty again. Imagine a country and a country where the middle class can get rising income again. I know we can do this because we're still the most extraordinary country on the face of the Earth. Thank you.
Q: Thank you, governor. Governor Mike Huckabee.
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: I know to a lot of people in the media, this is a great big game and we're the players. And we come out here and do our things and sometimes we're held up in contempt by people who write columns. But I guarantee you, to every person on this stage, there is something deep inside of us that would cause us to give up our livelihoods and step out on this stage and fight for the people in America. I have five grandkids. I do not want to walk my five grandkids through the charred remains of a once-great country called America and say, ‘here you go, $20 trillion in debt, good luck making something out of this mess.’ For those of us serious enough to run for president think long and hard why we're here, and hopefully you will know we're not here for ourselves. We honest to god are here to get this country back on track. I know this, I certainly am.
Q: Governor John Kasich.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: I was on Morning Joe at a town hall and a young student stood up and said can I still be idealistic? I said absolutely, you can still change the world. You know the old inscription, if you save one life you changed the world. Folks, we have a problem here in Washington, but I’ll tell you another problem, we need to build our families. We need to have stronger families and we need to know who our neighbors are. We need to come together as a country because we have to realize that America is great not from the top down—oh, yeah, we want to elect a good president. But America is great from the bottom up. And the bottom up is us in our families, in our communities, in our neighborhoods. We will renew America if we work together and I am totally confident that we will. And god bless America.
Q: Thank you, governor. That concludes tonight's debate.