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  Transcripts of the 2016 presidential debates  

Here you find the full texts of five 2016 presidential debates. This text is supplemented by the Highlights of the combined 2015 Republican and Democratic comments..

First Republican Debate in Cleveland, OH, aired by Fox News on Aug 6th, 2015.

First Democratic debate in Las Vegas, NV, aired by CNN on Oct 13th, 2015.

Fourth Democratic debate in Charleston, SC, aired by NBC on Jan 17th, 2016.

Eighth Republican debate in Gofftown, NH, aired by ABC on Feb 6th, 2016.

Eleventh Republican debate in Detroit, MI, aired by Fox News on March 3rd, 2016.

First Republican Party Presidential Debate in Cleveland, OH on Aug 6th, 2015.

KELLY: Welcome to the first debate night of the 2016 presidential campaign, live from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. I'm Megyn Kelly ... (APPLAUSE) ... along with my co-moderators, Brett Baier and Chris Wallace. Tonight ... (APPLAUSE) Nice. Tonight, thousands of people here in the Q, along with millions of voters at home will get their very first chance to see the candidates face off in a debate, answering the questions you want answered.

BAIER: Less than a year from now, in this very arena, one of these 10 candidates or one of the seven on the previous debate tonight will accept the Republican party's nomination. (APPLAUSE) Tonight's candidates were selected based on an average of five national polls. Just a few hours ago, you heard from the candidates ranked 11th through 17. And now, the prime-time event, the top 10.

WALLACE: Also of note, Fox News is partnering for tonight's debate with Facebook. For the past several weeks, we've been asking you for questions for the candidates on Facebook. Nearly 6 million of you, 6 million, viewed the debate videos on our site, and more than 40,000 of you submitted questions: some of which you will hear us asking the candidates tonight.

KELLY: As for the candidates who will be answering those questions? Here they are. Positioned on the stage by how they stand in the polls, in the center of the stage tonight, businessman Donald Trump. (APPLAUSE) Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. (APPLAUSE) Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. (APPLAUSE) Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. (Advertisement)(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. (APPLAUSE) Texas Senator Ted Cruz (APPLAUSE) Florida Senator Marco Rubio. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. (APPLAUSE) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. (APPLAUSE) And your very own governor of Ohio ... (APPLAUSE) ... John Kasich. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Brett -- Brett, I think you would call that a home field advantage.

BAIER: It might be. It might be. We'll see.

UNKNOWN: Is this in the rules? An objection's coming.

BAIER: It might be. The rules for tonight are simple. One minute for answers, 30 seconds for follow-ups. And if a candidate runs over, you'll hear this. Pleasant, no? We also have a big crowd here with us tonight in the home of the Cavaliers, as I mentioned. And while we expect them ... (APPLAUSE) ... we expect them to be enthusiastic, as you heard, we don't want to take anything away from the valuable time for the candidate. So, we're looking for somewhere between a reaction to a LeBron James dunk and the Cleveland Public Library across the street. (LAUGHTER) Somewhere there, we'll find a balance tonight. Without further ado, let's begin.

BAIER: Gentlemen, we know how much you love hand-raising questions. So we promise, this is the only one tonight, the only one. Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person. Again, we're looking for you to raise your hand now -- raise your hand now if you won't make that pledge tonight. Mr. Trump. (BOOING) Mr. Trump to be clear, you're standing on a Republican primary debate stage.

TRUMP: I fully understand.

BAIER: The place where the RNC will give the nominee the nod.

TRUMP: I fully understand.

BAIER: And that experts say an independent run would almost certainly hand the race over to Democrats and likely another Clinton. You can't say tonight that you can make that pledge?

TRUMP: I cannot say. I have to respect the person that, if it's not me, the person that wins, if I do win, and I'm leading by quite a bit, that's what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge. If I'm the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. But -- and I am discussing it with everybody, but I'm, you know, talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee. (Advertisement)

BAIER: So tonight, you can't say if another one of these...

PAUL: This is what's wrong!


PAUL: I mean, this is what's wrong. He buys and sells politicians of all stripes, he's already...

BAIER: Dr. Paul.

PAUL: Hey, look, look! He's already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn't run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent...


PAUL: ...but I'd say that he's already hedging his bets because he's used to buying politicians.

TRUMP: Well, I've given him plenty of money.

BAIER: Just to be clear, you can't make a -- we're gonna -- we're going to move on. You're not gonna make the pledge tonight?

TRUMP: I will not make the pledge at this time.


KELLY: Gentlemen, our first round of questions is on the subject of electability in the general election, and we start tonight with you, Dr. Carson. You are a successful neurosurgeon, but you admit that you have had to study up on foreign policy, saying there's a lot to learn. Your critics say that your inexperience shows. You've suggested that the Baltic States are not a part of NATO, just months ago you were unfamiliar with the major political parties and government in Israel, and domestically, you thought Alan Greenspan had been treasury secretary instead of federal reserve chair. Aren't these basic mistakes, and don't they raise legitimate questions about whether you are ready to be president?

CARSON: Well, I could take issue with -- with all of those things, but we don't have time. But I will say, we have a debate here tonight, and we will have an opportunity to explore those areas, and I'm looking very much forward to demonstrating that, in fact, the thing that is probably most important is having a brain, and to be able to figure things out and learn things very rapidly. So, you know, experience comes from a large number of different arenas, and America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, creativity, innovation, and that's what will get us on the right track now, as well. (Advertisement)

WALLACE: Senator Rubio, when Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for presidency, he said this: "There's no passing off responsibility when you're a governor, no blending into the legislative crowd." Could you please address Governor Bush across the stage here, and explain to him why you, someone who has never held executive office, are better prepared to be president than he is, a man who you say did a great job running your state of Florida for eight years.

RUBIO: Well, thank you for the question, Chris, and it's great to be here tonight. Let me begin by saying this: I'm not new to the political process; I was making a contribution as the speaker of the third largest and most diverse state in the country well before I even got into the Senate. I would add to that that this election cannot be a resume competition. It's important to be qualified, but if this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton's gonna be the next president, because she's been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight. Here's what this election better be about: This election better be about the future, not the past. It better be about the issues our nation and the world is facing today, not simply the issues we once faced. This country is facing an economy that has been radically transformed. You know, the largest retailer in the country and the world today, Amazon, doesn't even own a single store? And these changes have been disruptive. They have changed people's lives. The jobs that once sustained our middle class, they either don't pay enough or they are gone, and we need someone that understands that as our nominee. If I'm our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton gonna lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she -- how is she gonna lecture me -- how is she gonna lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago. If I'm our nominee, we will be the party of the future. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Bush, you have insisted that you're your own man. You say you have a life experience uniquely your own. Not your father's, not your brother's. (Advertisement). But there are several opponents on this stage who get big- applause lines in early voting states with this line: quote, "the last thing the country needs is another Bush in the Oval Office." So do you nderstand the real concern in this country about dynastic politics?

BUSH: Absolutely, I do, and I'm gonna run hard, run with heart, and run to win. I'm gonna have to earn this. Maybe the barrier -- the bar's even higher for me. That's fine. I've got a record in Florida. I'm proud of my dad, and I'm certainly proud of my brother. In Florida, they called me Jeb, because I earned it. I cut taxes every year, totaling $19 billion. We were -- we had -- we balanced every budget. We went from $1 billion of reserves to $9 billion of reserves. We were one of two states that went to AAA bond rating.

BUSH: They keep -- they called me Veto Corleone. Because I vetoed 2,500 separate line-items in the budget. (APPLAUSE) I am my own man. I governed as a conservative, and I govern effectively. And the net effect was, during my eight years, 1.3 million jobs were created. We left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state the right way, and people rose up. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals." (LAUGHTER) Your Twitter account ...

TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell. (LAUGHTER)

KELLY: No, it wasn't. (APPLAUSE) Your Twitter account ... (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you.

KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.

TRUMP: Yes, I'm sure it was.

KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?

TRUMP: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. (APPLAUSE) I've been challenged by so many people, and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody. And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it's fun, it's kidding. We have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I've been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn't do that. (APPLAUSE) But you know what, we -- we need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around. That, I can tell you right now.

WALLACE: Senator Cruz, your colleague, Senator Paul, right there next to you, said a few months ago he agrees with you on a number of issues, but he says you do nothing to grow the party. He says you feed red meat to the base, but you don't reach out to minorities. You have a toxic relationship with GOP leaders in Congress. You even called the Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell a liar recently. (APPLAUSE) How can you win in 2016 when you're such a divisive figure?

CRUZ: Chris, I believe the American people are looking for someone to speak the truth. (APPLAUSE) If you're looking for someone to go to Washington, to go along to get along, to get -- to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then I ain't your guy. There is a reason ... (APPLAUSE) .... that we have $18 trillion in debt. Because as conservatives, as Republicans, we keep winning elections. We got a Republican House, we've got a Republican Senate, and we don't have leaders who honor their commitments. I will always tell the truth and do what I said I would do. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Christie, you're not exactly the darling of conservatives. You tout your record as a Republican governor in a blue state. On Facebook, the most people talking about you, not surprisingly, come from your state of New Jersey, and one of the top issues they are talking about is the economy. This -- this may be why. Under your watch, New Jersey has undergone nine credit rating downgrades. The state's 44th in private sector growth. You face an employee pension crisis and the Garden State has the third highest foreclosure rate in the country. So why should voters believe that your management of the country's finances would be any different?

CHRISTIE: If you think it's bad now, you should've seen it when I got there. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) The fact is -- the fact is, in the eight years before I became governor, taxes and fees were raised at the state level 115 times. In the eight years before I became governor, spending was increased 56 percent. And in the eight years before I become governor, taxes and fees were raised at the state level 115 times. In the eight years before I became Governor, spending was increased 56 percent, and in the eight years before I became governor, there was zero net private sector job growth in New Jersey. Zero. For eight years. So, what did we do? We came in, we balanced an $11 billion deficit on a $29 billion budget by cutting over 800 programs in the state budget. We brought the budget into balance with no tax increases. In fact, we vetoed five income tax increases during my time as governor. We cut business taxes $2.3 billion, and we cut regulation by one-third of what my predecessor put in place. And, what's happened since? A hundred ninety-two thousand private sector jobs in the five and a half years I've been governor. We have a lot of work to do in New Jersey, but I am darn proud we've brought our state back. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Walker, you've consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. You recently signed an abortion law in Wisconsin that does have an exception for the mother's life, but you're on the record as having objected to it. Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion, and with 83 percent of the American public in favor of a life exception, are you too out of the mainstream on this issue to win the general election?

WALKER: Well, I'm pro-life, I've always been pro-life, and I've got a position that I think is consistent with many Americans out there in that ... (APPLAUSE)

WALKER: ... in that I believe that that is an unborn child that's in need of protection out there, and I've said many a time that that unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That's been consistently proven. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out ... (APPLAUSE)

WALKER: ...I've got a position that's in line with everyday America. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, like Governor Walker, you have staked out strong positions on social issues. You favor a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. You favor a constitutional amendment banning abortions, except for the life of the mother. Millions of people in this country agree with you, but according to the polls, and again this an electability question, according to the polls, more people don't, so how do you persuade enough Independents and Democrats to get elected in 2016?

HUCKABEE: Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That's a long and difficult process. I've actually taken the position that's bolder than that. A lot of people are talking about defunding planned parenthood, as if that's a huge game changer. I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception. The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law. It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Paul, you recently blamed the rise of ISIS on Republican hawks. You later said that that statement, you could have said it better. But, the statement went on, and you said, quote, "Everything they've talked about in foreign policy, they've been wrong for the last 20 years." Why are you so quick to blame your own party?

PAUL: First of all, only ISIS is responsible for the terrorism. Only ISIS is responsible for the depravity. But, we do have to examine, how are we going to defeat ISIS? I've got a proposal. I'm the leading voice in America for not arming the allies of ISIS. (APPLAUSE)

PAUL: I've been fighting amidst a lot of opposition from both Hillary Clinton, as well as some Republicans who wanted to send arms to the allies of ISIS. ISIS rides around in a billion dollars worth of U.S. Humvees. It's a disgrace. We've got to stop -- we shouldn't fund our enemies, for goodness sakes.

PAUL: So, we didn't create ISIS -- ISIS created themselves, but we will stop them, and one of the ways we stop them is by not funding them, and not arming them. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Kasich, you chose to expand Medicaid in your state, unlike several other governors on this stage tonight, and it is already over budget by some estimates costing taxpayers an additional $1.4 billion in just the first 18 months. You defended your Medicaid expansion by invoking God, saying to skeptics that when they arrive in heaven, Saint Peter isn't going to ask them how small they've kept government, but what they have done for the poor. Why should Republican voters, who generally want to shrink government, believe that you won't use your Saint Peter rationale to expand every government program?

KASICH: Well, first of all ... (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: -- first of all, Megyn, you should know that -- that President Reagan expanded Medicaid three or four times. Secondly, I had an opportunity to bring resources back to Ohio to do what? To treat the mentally ill. Ten thousand of them sit in our prisons. It costs $22,500 a year ... (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: -- to keep them in prison. I'd rather get them their medication so they could lead a decent life. Secondly, we are rehabbing the drug-addicted. Eighty percent of the people in our prisons have addictions or problems. We now treat them in the prisons, release them in the community and the recidivism rate is 10 percent and everybody across this country knows that the tsunami of drugs is -- is threatening their very families. So we're treating them and getting them on their feet. And, finally, the working poor, instead of them having come into the emergency rooms where it costs more, where they're sicker and we end up paying, we brought a program in here to make sure that people could get on their feet. And do you know what? Everybody has a right to their God-given purpose. And finally, our Medicaid is growing at one of the lowest rates in the country. And, finally, we went from $8 billion in the hole to $2 billion in the black. We've cut $5 billion in taxes ... (BUZZER NOISE)

KASICH: -- and we've grown 350,000 jobs. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Gentlemen, we're turning to a new subject that all of you have been talking about and some of you have been disagreeing about, and that is the issue of immigration. Governor Bush, you released a new plan this week on illegal immigration focusing on enforcement, which some suggest is your effort to show that you're not soft on that issue. I want to ask you about a statement that you made last year about illegal immigrants. And here's what you said. "They broke the law, but it's not a felony, it's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family." Do you stand by that statement and do you stand by your support for earned legal status?

BUSH: I do. I believe that the great majority of people coming here illegally have no other option. They want to provide for their family. But we need to control our border. It's not -- it's our responsibility to pick and choose who comes in. So I -- I've written a book about this and yet this week, I did come up with a comprehensive strategy that -- that really mirrored what we said in the book, which is that we need to deal with E-Verify, we need to deal with people that come with a legal visa and overstay. We need to be much more strategic on how we deal with border enforcement, border security. We need to eliminate the sanctuary cities in this country. It is ridiculous and tragic ... (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: -- that people are dying because of the fact that -- that local governments are not following the federal law. There's much to do. And I think rather than talking about this as a wedge issue, which Barack Obama has done now for six long years, the next president -- and I hope to be that president -- will fix this once and for all so that we can turn this into a driver for high sustained economic growth. And there should be a path to earned legal status ... (BUZZER NOISE)

BUSH: -- for those that are here. Not -- not amnesty, earned legal status, which means you pay a fine and do many things over an extended period of time.

WALLACE: Thank you, sir. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, it has not escaped anybody's notice that you say that the Mexican government, the Mexican government is sending criminals -- rapists, drug dealers, across the border. Governor Bush has called those remarks, quote, "extraordinarily ugly. "I'd like you -- you're right next to him -- tell us -- talk to him directly and say how you respond to that and -- and you have repeatedly said that you have evidence that the Mexican government is doing this, but you have evidence you have refused or declined to share. Why not use this first Republican presidential debate to share your proof with the American people?

TRUMP: So, if it weren't for me, you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn't even be talking about it. (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: This was not a subject that was on anybody's mind until I brought it up at my announcement. And I said, Mexico is sending. Except the reporters, because they're a very dishonest lot, generally speaking, in the world of politics, they didn't cover my statement the way I said it. The fact is, since then, many killings,murders, crime, drugs pouring across the border, are money going out and the drugs coming in. And I said we need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly. And I don't mind having a big beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally. But we need, Jeb, to build a wall, we need to keep illegals out. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I'll give you 30 seconds -- I'll give you 30 seconds to answer my question, which was, what evidence do you have, specific evidence that the Mexican government is sending criminals across the border? Thirty seconds.

TRUMP: Border Patrol, I was at the border last week. Border Patrol, people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is what's happening. Because our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. And they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them. They don't want to take care of them. Why should they when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them? And that's what is happening whether you like it or not. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: All right. Obviously there's a lot more to talk about this. We're going to have more questions for the candidates on illegal immigration, plus other key topics including your questions on Facebook. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: What will be your plan on making immigration easier for those that want to do it legally?

UNKNOWN: What specific steps would you take to contain the growth of ISIS?

UNKNOWN: I'd like to know what the candidates are going to do so that I feel safe in my own country again. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Welcome back to Fox News/Facebook Republican Debate Night. We're going to continue the questions now on illegal immigration. We kind of ended with a cliffhanger there. So let's continue the conversation.

WALLACE: Governor Kasich, I know you don't like to talk about Donald Trump. But I do want to ask you about the merit of what he just said. When you say that the American government is stupid, that the Mexican government is sending criminals, that we're being bamboozled, is that an adequate response to the question of illegal immigration?

KASICH: Chris, first of all, I was just saying to Chris Christie, they say we're outspoken, we need to take lessons from Donald Trump if we're really going to learn it. Here is the thing about Donald Trump: Donald Trump is hitting a nerve in this country. He is. He's hitting a nerve. People are frustrated. They're fed up. They don't think the government is working for them. And for people who want to just tune him out, they're making a mistake. Now, he's got his solutions. Some of us have other solutions. You know, look, I balanced the federal budget as one of the chief architects when I was in Washington. Hasn't been done since. I was a military reformer. I took the state of Ohio from an $8 billion hole and a 350,000 job loss to a $2 billion surplus and a gain of 350,000 jobs.

WALLACE: Respectfully, can we talk about illegal immigration?

KASICH: But the point is that we all have solutions. Mr. Trump is touching a nerve because people want the wall to be built. They want to see an end to illegal immigration. They want to see it, and we all do. But we all have different ways of getting there. And you're going to hear from all of us tonight about what our ideas are.

WALLACE: All right, well, Senator Rubio, let me see if I can do better with you. Is it as simple as our leaders are stupid, their leaders are smart, and all of these illegals coming over are criminals?

RUBIO: Let me set the record straight on a couple of things. The first is, the evidence is now clear that the majority of people coming across the border are not from Mexico. They're coming from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras. Those countries are the source of the people that are now coming in its majority. I also believe we need a fence. The problem is if El Chapo builds a tunnel under the fence, we have to be able to deal with that too. And that's why you need an E-verify system and you need an entry-exit tracking system and all sorts of other things to prevent illegal immigration. But I agree with what Governor Kasich just said. People are frustrated. This is the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration. There are a million people a year who legally immigrate to the United States, and people feel like we're being taken advantage of. We feel like despite our generosity, we're being taken advantage of. And let me tell you who never gets talked about in these debates. The people that call my office, who have been waiting for 15 years to come to the United States. And they've paid their fees, and they hired a lawyer, and they can't get in. And they're wondering, maybe they should come illegally. (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: And so these are important issues, and we should address it. It's a serious problem that needs to be addressed, and otherwise we're going to keep talking about this for the next 30 years, like we have for the last 30 years.

WALLACE: Governor Walker. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Walker, from 2002 until as recently as 2013, just two years ago, you supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. Now you say that was a quick reaction to something you hadn't really thought about, and that you've changed your mind. Other than politics, could you explain why in the last two years you've changed your position on a path to citizenship, and are there other past positions that we shouldn't hold you to?

WALKER: Chris, I actually said that on your show earlier this year. (CROSSTALK)

WALKER: I acknowledged that. I said I actually listened to the American people. And I think people across America want a leader who's actually going to listen to them. I talked to border state governors and other elected officials. I look at how this president, particularly through last November, messed up the immigration system in this country. Most importantly, I listened to the people of America. I believe we need to secure the border. I've been to the border with Governor Abbott in Texas and others, seeing the problems that they have there. There is international criminal organizations penetrating our southern based borders, and we need to do something about it. Secure the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with the legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Senator Cruz, some 1,400 people submitted questions on this very hot topic of illegal immigration on Facebook, and a number of them were about the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, allegedly shot down by an illegal. Doug Bettencourt sent this question, "will you support Kate Steinle's Law," which would impose a mandatory five-year prison term for an illegal who is deported and then returns to this country? "And will you defund sanctuary cities for violating federal law?"

CRUZ: Chris, absolutely yes. And not only will I support it -- (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: -- I have authored Kate's law in the United States Senate and filed that legislation. I tried to get the Senate to vote to pass Kate's law on the floor of the Senate just one week ago, and the leader of our own party blocked a vote on Kate's law. You know, there was reference made to our leaders being stupid. It's not a question of stupidity. It's that they don't want to enforce the immigration laws. That there are far too many in the Washington cartel that support amnesty.

CRUZ: President Obama has talked about fundamentally transforming this country. There's 7 billion people across the face of the globe, many of whom want to come to this country. If they come legally, great. But if they come illegally and they get amnesty, that is how we fundamentally change this country, and it really is striking. A majority of the candidates on this stage have supported amnesty. I have never supported amnesty, and I led the fight against Chuck Schumer's gang of eight amnesty legislation in the Senate.

KELLY: Alright, gentlemen, we're gonna switch topics now and talk a bit about terror and national security. Governor Christie. You've said that Senator Paul's opposition to the NSA's collection of phone records has made the United States weaker and more vulnerable, even going so far as to say that he should be called before Congress to answer for it if we should be hit by another terrorist attack. Do you really believe you can assign blame to Senator Paul just for opposing he bulk collection of people's phone records in the event of a terrorist attack?

CHRISTIE: Yes, I do. And I'll tell you why: because I'm the only person on this stage who's actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the federal -- the Foreign Intelligence Service court, who has prosecuted and investigated and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th. I was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001, and the world changed enormously the next day, and that happened in my state. This is not theoretical to me. I went to the funerals. We lost friends of ours in the Trade Center that day. My own wife was two blocks from the Trade Center that day, at her office, having gone through it that morning. When you actually have to be responsible for doing this, you can do it, and we did it, for seven years in my office, respecting civil liberties and protecting the homeland. And I will make no apologies, ever, for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people. We have to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way. As president, that is exactly what I'll do.

PAUL: Megyn, may I respond? (APPLAUSE)

PAUL: May I respond?

KELLY: Go ahead, sir.

PAUL: I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over! John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence, and I'm proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights. (APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: And -- and, Megyn? Megyn, that's a -- that, you know, that's a completely ridiculous answer. "I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from other people." How are you supposed to know, Megyn?

PAUL: Use the Fourth Amendment!

CHRISTIE: What are you supposed to...

PAUL: Use the Fourth Amendment!

CHRISTIE: ...how are you supposed to -- no, I'll tell you how you, look...

PAUL: Get a warrant!

CHRISTIE: Let me tell you something, you go...

PAUL: Get a judge to sign the warrant!

CHRISTIE: When you -- you know, senator... (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Governor Christie, make your point.

CHRISTIE: Listen, senator, you know, when you're sitting in a subcommittee, just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that. (APPLAUSE) When you're responsible for protecting the lives of the American people, then what you need to do is to make sure ...

PAUL: See, here's the problem.

CHRISTIE: ...is to make sure that you use the system (ph) the way it's supposed to work.

PAUL: Here's the problem, governor. Here's the problem, governor. You fundamentally misunderstand the Bill of Rights. Every time you did a case, you got a warrant from a judge. I'm talking about searches without warrants...

CHRISTIE: There is no...

PAUL: ...indiscriminately, of all Americans' records, and that's what I fought to end. I don't trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Go ahead, governor.

CHRISTIE: And you know -- you know, Senator Paul? Senator Paul, you know, the hugs that I remember are the hugs that I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11th. Those are the hugs I remember, and those had nothing to do -- and those had nothing to do with politics, unlike what you're doing by cutting speeches on the floor of the Senate, then putting them on the Internet within half an hour to raise money for your campaign...

KELLY: Alright.

CHRISTIE: ...and while still putting our country at risk. (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Alright, we've gotta cut it off there. We have plenty more we want to get to. That was an interesting exchange, thank you for that.

CHRISTIE: You know what, Megyn, can I...

KELLY: Well, I want to move on, because I have -- we're gonna get to you, governor, but I -- I really wanna get to a Facebook questioner. His name is Alex Chalgren, and he has the following question: (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Chalgren: My question is, how would the candidates stop the treacherous actions of ISIS -- ISIL and its growing influence in the U.S., if they were to become president? (END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Senator Cruz, I wanna talk to you about this, because many of the Facebook users and -- and -- the -- the folks on Facebook wanted the candidates to speak to ISIS tonight. You asked the chairman of the joint chiefs a question: "What would it take to destroy ISIS in 90 days?" He told you "IISIS will only be truly destroyed once they are rejected by the populations in which they hide." And then you accused him of pushing Medicaid for the Iraqis. How would you destroy ISIS in 90 days?

CRUZ: Megyn, we need a commander in chief that speaks the truth. We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a president unwilling to utter the words, "radical Islamic terrorism". (APPLAUSE) When I asked General Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs, what would be required militarily to destroy ISIS, he said there is no military solution. We need to change the conditions on the ground so that young men are not in poverty and susceptible to radicalization. That, with all due respect, is nonsense. It's the same answer the State Department gave that we need to give them jobs. What we need is a commander in chief that makes -- clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant.

KELLY: You don't see it as... (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: ...an ideological problem -- an ideological problem in addition to a military one? (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Megyn, of course it's an ideological problem, that's one of the reasons I introduce the Expatriate Terrorist Act in the Senate that said if any American travels to the Middle East and joining ISIS, that he or she forfeits their citizenship so they don't use a passport to come back and wage jihad on Americans. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Yes, it is ideological, and let me contrast President Obama, who at the prayer breakfast, essentially acted as an apologist. He said, "Well, gosh, the crusades, the inquisitions--" We need a president that shows the courage that Egypt's President al-Sisi, a Muslim, when he called out the radical Islamic terrorists who are threatening the world. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Bush, for days on end in this campaign, you struggled to answer a question about whether knowing what we know now...

BUSH: ...I remember...

KELLY: ...we would've invaded Iraq...

BUSH: ...I remember, Megyn. (LAUGHTER)

KELLY: I remember it too, and ISIS, of course, is now thriving there. You finally said, "No." To the families of those who died in that war who say they liberated and deposed a ruthless dictator, how do you look at them now and say that your brothers war was a mistake?

BUSH: Knowing what we know now, with faulty intelligence, and not having security be the first priority when -- when we invaded, it was a mistake. I wouldn't have gone in, however, for the people that did lose their lives, and the families that suffer because of it -- I know this full well because as governor of the state of Florida, I called every one of them. Every one of them that I could find to tell them that I was praying for them, that I cared about them, and it was really hard to do. And, every one of them said that their child did not die in vain, or their wife, of their husband did not die in vain. So, why it was difficult for me to do it was based on that. Here's the lesson that we should take from this, which relates to this whole subject, Barack Obama became president, and he abandoned Iraq. He left, and when he left Al Qaida was done for. ISIS was created because of the void that we left, and that void now exists as a caliphate the size of Indiana. To honor the people that died, we need to -- we need to --- stop the -- Iran agreement, for sure, because the Iranian mullahs have their blood on their hands, and we need to take out ISIS with every tool at our disposal. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Walker, in February you said that we needed to gain partners in the Arab world. Which Arab country not already in the U.S. led coalition has potential to be our greatest partner?

WALKER: What about then (ph), we need to focus on the ones we have. You look at Egypt, probably the best relationship we've had in Israel, at least in my lifetime, incredibly important. You look at the Saudis -- in fact, earlier this year, I met with Saudi leaders, and leaders from the United Arab Emirates, and I asked them what's the greatest challenge in the world today? Set aside the Iran deal. They said it's the disengagement of America. We are leading from behind under the Obama-Clinton doctrine -- America's a great country. We need to stand up and start leading again, and we need to have allies, not just in Israel, but throughout the Persian Gulf.

KELLY: Dr. Carson, in one of his first acts as commander in chief, President Obama signed an executive order banning enhanced interrogation techniques in fighting terror. As president, would you bring back water boarding?

CARSON: Well, thank you, Megyn, I wasn't sure I was going to get to talk again. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: We have a lot for you, don't worry. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Fear not, you may rue that request.

CARSON: Alright. You know, what we do in order to get the information that we need is our business, and I wouldn't necessarily be broadcasting what we're going to do. (APPLAUSE)

CARSON: We've gotten into this -- this mindset of fighting politically correct wars. There is no such thing as a politically correct war. (APPLAUSE)

CARSON: The left, of course, will say Carson doesn't believe in the Geneva Convention, Carson doesn't believe in fighting stupid wars. And -- and what we have to remember is we want to utilize the tremendous intellect that we have in the military to win wars. And I've talked to a lot of the generals, a lot of our advanced people. And believe me, if we gave them the mission, which is what the commander-in-chief does, they would be able to carry it out. And if we don't tie their hands behind their back, they will do it ... (BUZZER NOISE)

CARSON: -- extremely effectively. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Gentlemen, the next series of questions deals with ObamaCare and the role of the federal government. Mr. Trump, ObamaCare is one of the things you call a disaster.

TRUMP: A complete disaster, yes.

BAIER: Saying it needs to be repealed and replaced.

TRUMP: Correct.

BAIER: Now, 15 years ago, you called yourself a liberal on health care. You were for a single-payer system, a Canadian-style system. Why were you for that then and why aren't you for it now?

TRUMP: First of all, I'd like to just go back to one. In July of 2004, I came out strongly against the war with Iraq, because it was going to destabilize the Middle East. And I'm the only one on this stage that knew that and had the vision to say it. And that's exactly what happened.

BAIER: But on ObamaCare...

TRUMP: And the Middle East became totally destabilized. So I just want to say. As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you're talking about here. What I'd like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands and thousands of employees. And if I'm negotiating in New York or in New Jersey or in California, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid. You know why? Because the insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians, of course, with the exception of the politicians on this stage. But they have total control of the politicians. They're making a fortune. Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have ... (BUZZER NOISE)

TRUMP: -- yourself great plans. And then we have to take care of the people that can't take care of themselves. And I will do that through a different system. (CROSSTALK)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, hold up one second.(SU 9:15 PM 9/26/2015)

PAUL: I've got a news flash...

BAIER: All right, now, hold on, Senator Paul...

PAUL: News flash, the Republican Party's been fighting against a single-payer system...


PAUL: -- for a decade. So I think you're on the wrong side of this if you're still arguing for a single-payer system.

TRUMP: I'm not -- I'm not are -- I don't think you heard me. You're having a hard time tonight.

BAIER: All right, let me... (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, it's not just your past support for single- payer health care. You've also supported a host of other liberal policies. Use -- you've also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business-related favors. And you said recently, quote, "When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do."

TRUMP: You'd better believe it.

BAIER: So what specifically did...

UNKNOWN: That's true.

BAIER: -- they do?

TRUMP: If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I've given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.

UNKNOWN: Not me.


UNKNOWN: But you're welcome to give me (INAUDIBLE) Donald if you'd like.

TRUMP: Many of them.

UNKNOWN: Actually, to be clear... (CROSSTALK)

UNKNOWN: -- he supported Charlie Crist.

TRUMP: Not much.

UNKNOWN: Hey, Charlie... (CROSSTALK)


TRUMP: -- Donald, if you... (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I have good...

UNKNOWN: -- this campaign, I hope you will give to me.

TRUMP: Good.


TRUMP: Sounds good. Sounds good to me, Governor. I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me.

UNKNOWN: So what did you get?

TRUMP: And that's a broken system.

UNKNOWN: What did you get from Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi?

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why? She didn't have a choice because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn't know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was. But... (BUZZER NOISE) (CROSSTALK)

BAIER: Hold on. We're going to -- we're going to move on. (CROSSTALK)

BAIER: We'll come back to you, Governor Walker.

WALKER: Just one second on this, though. We -- we spent a lot of time talking about Hillary Clinton and ---and pitting us back and forth. Let's be clear, we should be talking about Hillary Clinton on that last subject, because everywhere in the world that Hillary Clinton touched is more messed up today than before she and the president (INAUDIBLE).

BAIER: We have many questions to come.

WALKER: It's true.

BAIER: Many questions to come. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Huckabee, on Facebook, John Pietricone asked this, "Will you abolish or take away the powers and cut the size of the EPA, the IRS, the Department of Education?" Now, broadly... (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: -- broadly, the size of government is a big concern for Facebook users, Facebook persons, as well as, obviously, conservatives. But year after year, decade after decade, there are promises from Republicans to shrink government. But year after year, decade after decade, it doesn't happen. In fact, it gets bigger, even under Republican politicians. So the question is, at this point, is the government simply too big for any one person, even a Republican, to shrink?

HUCKABEE: It's not too big to shrink. But the problem is we have a Wall Street-to-Washington access of power that has controlled the political climate. The donor class feeds the political class who does the dance that the donor class wants. And the result is federal government keeps getting bigger. Every person on this stage who has been a governor will tell that you the biggest fight they had was not the other party. Wasn't even the legislature. It was the federal government, who continually put mandates on the states that we had to suck up and pay for. And the fact is there are a lot of things happening at the federal level that are absolutely beyond the jurisdiction of the Constitution. This is power that should be shifted back to the states, whether it's the EPA, there is no role at the federal level for the Department of Education. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And I'm still one who says that we can get rid of the Internal Revenue Service if we would pass the fair tax, which is a tax on consumption rather than a tax on people's income, and move power back where the founders believed it should have been all along.

BAIER: Dr. Carson...

UNKNOWN: Bret, Bret, Bret...

BAIER: Dr. Carson, do you agree with that?

CARSON: What I agree with is that we need a significantly changed taxation system. And the one that I've advocated is based on tithing, because I think God is a pretty fair guy. And he said, you know, if you give me a tithe, it doesn't matter how much you make. If you've had a bumper crop, you don't owe me triple tithes. And if you've had no crops at all, you don't owe me no tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about that. And that's why I've advocated a proportional tax system. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. And everybody gets treated the same way. And you get rid of the deductions, you get rid of all the loopholes, and... (DOUBLE BELL RINGS)

BAIER: Governor Bush?

CARSON: And I have a lot more to say about it.

BAIER: We're going to come back to you, Dr. Carson. Governor Bush, you are one of the few people on the stage who advocates for Common Core education standards, reading and math. A lot of people on this stage vigorously oppose federal involvement in education. They say it should all be handled locally. President Obama's secretary of education, Arnie Duncan, has said that most of the criticism of Common Core is due to a, quote, "fringe group of critics." Do you think that's accurate?

BUSH: No, I don't. And I don't believe the federal government should be involved in the creation of standards directly or indirectly, the creation of curriculum or content. It is clearly a state responsibility. I'm for higher standards... (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: ... measured in an intellectually honest way, with abundant school choice, ending social promotion. And I know how to do this because as governor of the state of Florida I created the first statewide voucher program in the country, the second statewide voucher program, in the country and the third statewide voucher program in the country. And we had rising student achievement across the board, because high standards, robust accountability, ending social promotion in third grade, real school choice across the board, challenging the teachers union and beating them is the way to go. And Florida's low income kids had the greatest gains inside the country. Our graduation rate improved by 50 percent. That's what I'm for.

BAIER: Senator Rubio, why is Governor Bush wrong on Common Core?

RUBIO: Well, first off, I too believe in curriculum reform. It is critically important in the 21st Century. We do need curriculum reform. And it should happen at the state and local level. That is where educational policy belongs, because if a parent is unhappy with what their child is being taught in school, they can go to that local school board or their state legislature, or their governor and get it changed. Here's the problem with Common Core. The Department of Education, like every federal agency, will never be satisfied. They will not stop with it being a suggestion. They will turn it into a mandate. In fact, what they will begin to say to local communities is, you will not get federal money unless do you things the way we want you to do it. And they will use Common Core or any other requirements that exists nationally to force it down the throats of our people in our states. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: And do you agree with your old friend?

BUSH: He is definitely my friend. And I think the states ought to create these standards. And if states want to opt out of Common Core, fine. Just make sure your standards are high. Because today in America, a third of our kids, after we spend more per student than any country in the world other than a couple rounding errors, to be honest with you, 30 percent are college- and/or career-ready.

BUSH: If we are going to compete in this world we're in today, there is no possible way we can do it with lowering expectations and dumbing down everything. Children are going to suffer and families' hearts are going to be broken that their kids won't be able to get a job in the 21st Century. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: We have many more questions coming on a host of topics, here from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Stay with us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALE: What would make stand out as the best choice for the Republican nomination?

MALE: How do you intend to go about student loan reform?

UNKNOWN: What will be the first thing you will do to stimulate economic growth in our country and bring more jobs to the United States? (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: We have many more questions coming on a host of topics. Here from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Stay with us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALE: What would make you stand out as the best choice for the Republican nomination?

MALE: How do you intend to go about student loan reform?

FEMALE: What will be the first thing you will do to stimulate economic growth in our country and bring more jobs to the United States? (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: It's just before 10:00 p.m. on the East Coast. Welcome back to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, and the very first Republican primary debate of the 2016 presidential campaign. Ten candidates on the stage, selected based on their standing in five national polls. And tonight they are facing off, answering the questions you want asked. We hope. (LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: Gentlemen, we're obviously digging into some subjects in depth, but we're also going to change it up every once in a while throughout the next hour and have many rounds where we ask, you are not going to like it, only a couple of candidates questions on those subjects. This is the first of the many rounds, and it's about somebody whose name probably hasn't been mentioned enough so far tonight. Governor Kasich, let me start with you. Whoever the Republican nominee -- (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Whoever the Republican nominee is, it looks at least for now like whoever that nominee is, he or she, will be facing off against Hillary Clinton. You know how she will come after whoever the Republican nominee is. She will say that you, whoever it is, support the rich while she supports the middle class. That you want to suppress the rights of women and minorities. She wants to move the country forward while you, the Republicans, want to take the country back to the past. How will you, if you're the nominee, how will you answer that and take Hillary Clinton on?

KASICH: Let's start off with my father being a mailman. So I understand the concerns of all the folks across this country, some of whom having trouble, you know, making ends meet. But I think she will come in a narrow way. The nominee of this party, if they're going to win, has got to come at it in a big way, which is pro-growth. Which is balancing budgets. You know, we were talking about it. People were saying, could we do it? I was the chairman of the Budget Committee and the lead architect the last time it happened in Washington, and when we did it we had great economic growth, we cut taxes, and we had a big surplus. Economic growth is the key. Economic growth is the key to everything. But once you have economic growth, it is important that we reach out to people who live in the shadows, the people who don't seem to ever think that they get a fair deal. And that includes people in our minority community; that includes people who feel as though they don't have a chance to move up. You know, America is a miracle country. And we have to restore the sense that the Amiracle (ph) will apply to you. Each and every one of the people in this country who's watching tonight, lift everybody, unite everybody and build a stronger United States of America again. It will be and can be done.

WALLACE: I know that all of you would like to answer this question, but we're only going to ask one other candidate before we move on to a different subject, Dr. Carson. Basically, same question to you. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee and she comes at you with that kind of line of attack, how will you take Iraq?

CARSON: If Hillary is the candidate, which I doubt, that would be a dream come true. (LAUGHTER) But you know, the fact of the matter is, she is the epitome of the progressive -- the secular progressive movement. And she counts on the fact that people are uninformed, the Alinsky Model, taking advantage of useful idiots. Well, I just happen to believe that people are not stupid. (APPLAUSE) And the way I will come at it is to educate people, help people to actually understand that it is that progressive movement that is causing them the problems. You know, you look at the -- the national debt and how it's being driven up. If I was trying to destroy this country, what I would do is find a way to drive wedges between all the people, drive the debt to an unsustainable level, and then step off the stage as a world leader and let our enemies increase while we decreased our capacity as a military person. And that's what she's doing. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Gentlemen, we're going to turn now to the subject of the economy, jobs and money and the government. And Governor Bush, I'm going to start with you. You have made a bold promise in your announcement. You have promised four percent economic growth and 19 million new jobs if you are fortunate enough to serve two terms as president. That many jobs, 19 million, would be triple what your father and your brother accomplished together. And four percent growth, the last president to average that was Lyndon Johnson during the height of the Vietnam War. So question, how on Earth specifically would you pull that off?

BUSH: We've done it 27 times since World War II. I think we need to lift our spirits and have high, lofty expectations for this great country of ours. The new normal of two percent that the left is saying you can't do anything about is so dangerous for our country. There's 6 million people living in poverty today, more than when Barack Obama got elected. 6.5 million people are working part-time, most of whom want to work full-time. We've created rules and taxes on top of every aspiration of people, and the net result is we're not growing fast, income is not growing. A four percent growth strategy means you fix a convoluted tax code. You get in and you change every aspect of regulations that are job killers. You get rid of Obamacare and replace it with something that doesn't suppress wages and kill jobs. (APPLAUSE) You embrace the energy revolution in our country. This president and Hillary Clinton, who can't even say she's for the X.L. pipeline even after she's left? Give me a break. Of course we're for it. We should be for these things to create high sustained economic growth. And frankly, fixing our immigration system and turning it into an economic driver is part of this as well. We can do this. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Walker. (APPLAUSE) Governor Walker, when you ran for governor of Wisconsin back in 2010, you promised that you would create 250,000 jobs in your first term, first four years. In fact, Wisconsin added barely half that and ranked 35th in the country in job growth. Now you're running for president, and you're promising an economic plan in which everyone will earn a piece of the American dream. Given your record in Wisconsin, why should voters believe you?

WALKER: Well, the voters in Wisconsin elected me last year for the third time because they wanted someone who aimed high, not aimed low. Before I came in, the unemployment rate was over eight percent. It's now down to 4.6 percent. We've more than made up for the jobs that were lost during the recession. And the rate in which people are working is almost five points higher than it is nationally. You know, people like Hillary Clinton think you grow the economy by growing Washington. One report last year showed that six of the top 10 wealthiest counties in America were in or around Washington, D.C.. I think most of us in America understand that people, not the government creates jobs. And one of the best things we can do is get the government out of the way, repeal Obamacare, put in -- reign in all the out of control regulations, put in place and all of the above energy policy, give people the education, the skills that the need to succeed, and lower the tax rate and reform the tax code. That's what I'll do as president, just like I did in Wisconsin. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Christie, I want to engage you and Governor Huckabee in a subject that is a big issue in both of your campaigns, and that is entitlement reform. You say that you -- to save the system that you want to raise the retirement age -- have to raise the retirement age, and to cut benefits for Social Security and Medicare, and you say that some of the candidates here on the stage are lying. Governor Huckabee says he can save Social Security and Medicare without doing any of that. Is he lying?

CHRISTIE: No, he's not lying, he's just wrong. I mean, so, there's a difference -- I'm the only guy on this stage who's put out a detailed, 12 point plan on entitlement reform and here's why -- because 71% of federal spending right now is on entitlements, and debt service, 71%. And we have spent the last hour and five minutes talking about the other 29%, and no time on the 71%, and that makes no sense. Now, let me tell you exactly what we would do on Social Security. Yes, we'd raise the retirement age two years, and phase it in over 25 years, that means we'd raise it one month a year for 25 years when we're all living longer, and living better lives. Secondly, we would needs (ph) test Social Security for those who are making over $200,000 dollars a year in retirement income, and have $4 to $5 million dollars in liquid assets saved. They don't need that Social Security check. Social Security is meant to be -- to make sure that no one who's worked hard, and played by the rules, and paid into the system grows old in poverty in America. If we don't deal with this problem, it will bankrupt our country, or lead to massive tax increases, neither one that we want in this country. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Huckabee? You say that changing entitlements, the kind of thing that Governor Christie is talking about, would be breaking a promise to the American people, and you say that you can keep those programs, save Social Security, save Medicare, without those kinds of reforms through a Fair (ph) tax, which is a broad tax on consumption. Please explain to Governor Christie how that would work, and how you could save these programs without the kind of painful reforms he says we need?

HUCKABEE: Well, lets all be reminded, 60 million Americans are on Social Security, 60 million. A third of those people depend on 90% of their income from Social Security. Nobody in this country is on Social Security because they made the decision when they were starting work at 14 that they wanted to trust some of their money with the government. The government took it out of their check whether they wanted them to or not. And, if person goes to 65, they're going to spend 51 years with the government reaching into their pocket at every paycheck. Now, here's the point, whose fault is it that the system is screwed up? Is it the recipients, or is it the government? And, if Congress wants to mess with the retirement program, why don't we let them start by changing their retirement program, and not have one, instead of talking about getting rid of Social Security and Medicare that was robbed $700 billion dollars to pay for Obamacare. It's always that the government figures that they can do this off the backs of people, many of whom are poor, and depend on that money, and I just think it's fundamentally lying to people and stealing from them, and we shouldn't be doing it. (APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: Chris...

WALLACE: ...Thirty seconds.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, sure. And, I don't disagree with ending Congress' retirement program. I'm a governor, I don't have a retirement program in my state, and I don't disagree with that. But, here's the news to the American people, he's complaining about the lying and stealing. The lying and stealing has already occurred. The trust fund is filled with IOU's. We can't fix the problem just by ending (ph) Congress' retirement, that's worth about, "this" much. We need to go at the fundamental problem, and the fundamental problem is that this system is broken. It has been stolen from. We have been lied to, and we need a strong leader to tell the truth and fix...

WALLACE: ...Alright, this is it. Thirty Seconds, finally.

HUCKABEE: Well, you ask about how we fund it. One of the reasons that Social Security is in so much trouble is that the only funding stream comes from people who get a wage. The people who get wages is declining dramatically. Most of the income in this country is made by people at the top who get dividends and -- and capital gains.

HUCKABEE: The Fair (ph) transforms the process by which we fund Social Security and Medicare because the money paid in consumption is paid by everybody, including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people that are freeloading off the system now. (APPLAUSE) That's why it ought to be a transformed system. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: All right. Enough. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump.

KELLY: (OFF MIKE) Sounds like somebody's a little R-rated. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, you talk a lot about how you are the person on this stage to grow the economy, I want to ask you about your business records. From corporations, Trump corporations casinos and hotels, have declared bankruptcy four times over the last quarter-century. In 2011, you told Forbes Magazine this: "I've used the laws of the country to my advantage." But at the same time, financial experts involved in those bankruptcies say that lenders to your companies lost billions of dollars. Question sir, with that record, why should we trust you to run the nation's business?

TRUMP: Because I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetera. I have never gone bankrupt, by the way. I have never. But out of hundreds of deals...

WALLACE: No, but the concept sir...

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me.

WALLACE: ... that's your line, but your companies have gone bankrupt.

TRUMP: Excuse me, what am I saying? Out of hundreds of deals that I've done, hundreds, on four occasions I've taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people. I'm not going to name their names because I'm not going to embarrass, but virtually every person that you read about on the front page of the business sections, they've used the law. The difference is, when somebody else uses those laws, nobody writes about it. When I use it, they say, "Trump, Trump, Trump." The fact is, I built a net worth of more than $10 billion. I have a great, great company. I employ thousands of people. And I'm very proud of the job I did.Again Chris, hundreds and hundreds of deals. Four times, I've taken advantage of the laws. And frankly, so has everybody else in my position.

WALLACE: Well sir, let's just talk about the latest example... (APPLAUSE) ... which is Trump Entertainment Resorts, which went bankrupt in 2009. In that case alone, lenders to your company lost over $1 billion and more than 1,100 people were laid off.

TRUMP: Well, I...

WALLACE: Is that the way that you'd run the country?

TRUMP: Let me just tell you about the lenders. First of all, these lenders aren't babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, OK? (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) You know, I mean you're living in a world of the make-believe, Chris, you want to know the truth. (APPLAUSE) And I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City, which by the way, Caesars just went bankrupt. Every company, Chris can tell you, every company virtually in Atlantic City went bankrupt. (LAUGHTER) Every company. And let me just tell you. I had the good sense, and I've gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages, seven years ago I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered, and I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I'm very proud of it. I want to tell you that. Very, very proud of it.


TRUMP: And by the way, this country right now owes $19 trillion. And they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Senator Rubio. Senator Rubio, more than 3,000 people sent us questions about the economy and jobs on Facebook. And here is a video question from Tania Cioloko from Philadelphia. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Please describe one action you would do to make the economic environment more favorable for small businesses and entrepreneurs and anyone dreaming of opening their own business. (CLOSE VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: That's a great question.

WALLACE: Senator, how do you answer Tania?

RUBIO: That's a great question. First of all, it begins by having leaders that recognize that the economy we live in today is dramatically different from the one we had five years ago. It's an economy that now has placed us in global competition with dozens of other countries around the world. Now, the big companies that have connections with Washington, they can affect policies to help them, but the small companies like the one Tania is talking about, they're the ones that are struggling. The first thing we need to do is we need to even out the tax code for small businesses so that we lower their tax rate to 25 percent, just as we need to lower it for all businesses. We need to have a regulatory budget in America that limits the amount of regulations on our economy. We need to repeal and replace Obamacare and we need to improve higher education so that people can have access to the skills they need for 21st century jobs. And last but not least, we need to repeal Dodd-Frank. It is eviscerating small businesses and small banks. (APPLAUSE) 20 -- over 40 percent of small and mid-size banks that loan money to small businesses have been wiped out over the -- since Dodd-Frank has passed. We need to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank. We need to make America fair again for all businesses, but especially those being run by small business owners.

WALLACE: Senator Rubio, thank you. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Gentlemen, another question for a few of you. Yesterday, just yesterday, President Obama criticized Republican lawmakers trying to block the Iran deal, calling them knee-jerk partisans, adding that hardliners in Iran who chant "death to America" were, quote, "making common cause with the Republican caucus." Here's what two of your opponents on the 5 p.m. debate stage said about Iran. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: I will tell you one thing: I would whole lot rather had Carly Fiorina over there doing our negotiation than John Kerry. Maybe we would've gotten a deal where we didn't give everything away. But the issue for us is to have a Congress that stands up and says not only no, but hell no, to this money going to a regime that is going to use it for terror... (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: When America does not lead, the world is a dangerous and a tragic place. This is a bad deal. Obama broke every rule of negotiation. Yes, our allies are not perfect, but Iran is at the heart of most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East through their proxy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Now, I wanna ask a few of you this. First, Governor Walker. You've said that you would tear up the Iran deal on day one. If this deal is undone, what then?

WALKER: Well, first off, let's remember. I still remember, as a kid, tying a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of my house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage. Iran is not a place we should be doing business with. To me, you terminate the deal on day one, you reinstate the sanctions authorized by Congress, you go to Congress and put in place even more crippling sanctions in place, and then you convince our allies to do the same. This is not just bad with Iran, this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together, and, once and for all, we need a leader who's gonna stand up and do something about it. It's yet another example of the failed foreign policy of the Obama-Clinton doctrine. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Paul, would you tear up the deal on day one?

PAUL: I oppose the Iranian deal, and will vote against it. I don't think that the president negotiated from a position of strength, but I don't immediately discount negotiations. I'm a Reagan conservative. Reagan did negotiate with the Soviets. But you have to negotiate from a position of strength, and I think President Obama gave away too much, too early. If there's going to be a negotiation, you're going to have to believe somehow that the Iranians are going to comply. I asked this question to John Kerry, I said "do you believe they're trustworthy?" and he said "No." And I said, "well, how are we gonna get them to comply?" I would have never released the sanctions before there was consistent evidence of compliance.

BAIER: Governor Huckabee, what do you think about what Senator Paul just said?

HUCKABEE: Ronald Reagan said "trust, but verify." President Obama is "trust, but vilify." He trusts our enemies and vilifies everyone who disagrees with him. And the reason we disagree with him has nothing ot do with party. (APPLAUSE) (CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: It has to do with the incredibly dangerous place that this world is gonna be as a result of a deal in which we got nothing. We didn't even get four hostages out. We got nothing, and Iran gets everything they want. We said we would have anywhere, anytime negotiations and inspections, we gave that up. We said that we would make sure that they didn't have any nuclear capacity, we gave that up. The president can't tell you what we got. I'll tell you what the world got. The world has a burgeoning nuclear power that didn't, as the Soviets, say "we might defend ourselves in a war." What the Iranians have said is, "we will wipe Israel off the face of the map, and we will bring death to America." When someone points a gun at your head and loads it, by God, you ought to take them seriously, and we need to take that seriously.

BAIER: Thank you, gentlemen.

KELLY: Well, the first debate night of the 2016 presidential campaign continues from Cleveland after a short time-out. Stick around. Social issues, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Senator Rubio, you favor a rape and incest exception to abortion bans. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York just said yesterday those exceptions are preposterous. He said they discriminate against an entire class of human beings. If you believe that life begins at conception, as you say you do, how do you justify ending a life just because it begins violently, through no fault of the baby?

RUBIO: Well, Megyn, first of all, I'm not sure that that's a correct assessment of my record. I would go on to add that I believe all--

KELLY: You don't favor a rape and incest exception?

RUBIO: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States. (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Mr. Trump, in 1999, you said you were, quote, "very pro- choice." Even supporting partial-birth abortion. You favored an assault weapons ban as well. In 2004, you said in most cases you identified as a Democrat. Even in this campaign, your critics say you often sound more like a Democrat than a Republican, calling several of your opponents on the stage things like clowns and puppets. When did you actually become a Republican?

TRUMP: I don't think they like me very much. I'll tell you what. I've evolved on many issues over the years. And you know who else has? Is Ronald Reagan evolved on many issues. And I am pro-life. And if you look at the question, I was in business. They asked me a question as to pro-life or choice. And I said if you let it run, that I hate the concept of abortion. I hate the concept of abortion. And then since then, I've very much evolved. And what happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn't aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances. And I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life. As far as being a Republican is concerned, I come from a place, New York City, which is virtually, I mean, it is almost exclusively Democrat. And I have really started to see some of the negatives -- as an example, and I have a lot of liking for this man, but the last number of months of his brother's administration were a catastrophe. And unfortunately, those few months gave us President Obama. And you can't be happy about that. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Bush, I want to ask you, on the subject of name calling of your fellow candidates, a story appeared today quoting an anonymous GOP donor who said you called Mr. Trump a clown, a buffoon, something else that cannot be repeated on television.

BUSH: None of which is true.

KELLY: Is it true?

BUSH: No. It's not true. But I have said that Mr. Trump's language is divisive. I want to win. I want one of these people here or the ones at 5:00, to be the next president of the United States. We're not going on win by doing what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do each and every day. Dividing the country. Saying, creating a grievance kind of environment. We're going to win when we unite people with a hopeful, optimistic message. I have that message because I was a governor of a state that saw people lifted up, because we had high sustained economic growth. Our economy grew at double the rate of the nation. We created 1.3 million jobs. We led the nation seven out of those eight years. We were only one of two states that went to AAA bond rating. I cut taxes, $19 billion. If you do that and apply conservative principles the right way, you create an environment where everybody rises up. That's how we're going to win. Campaigning in places to give people hope that their life is better because too many people are suffering today in America.

KELLY: Mr. Trump, 30 seconds.

TRUMP: First of all, Jeb, I am very happy that you denied that, and I appreciate that very much. He is a true gentleman. He really is. One thing he did say, and I mean that. The one thing he did say about me, however, was my tone. And I also understand that. But when you have people that are cutting Christians' heads off, when you have a world that the border and at so many places, that it is medieval times, we've never -- it almost has to be as bad as it ever was in terms of the violence and the horror, we don't have time for tone. We have to go out and get the job done. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: The subject of gay marriage and religious liberty. Governor Kasich, if you had a son or daughter who was gay or lesbian, how would you explain to them your opposition to same-sex marriage?

KASICH: Well, look, I'm an old-fashioned person here, and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I've also said the court has ruled --

KELLY: How would you -- how would you explain it to a child?

KASICH: Wait, Megyn, the court has ruled, and I said we'll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn't think the way I do, doesn't mean that I can't care about them or can't love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: That's what we're taught when we have strong faith. (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: So the issues like that, issues like that are planted to divide us. I think the simple fact of the matter is, and this is where I would agree with Jeb, and I've been saying it all along, we need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect, and let them share in this great American dream that we have, Megan. So, look, I'm going to love my daughters, I'm going to love them no matter what they do. Because, you know what, God gives me unconditional love. I'm going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.

KELLY: Senator Paul, in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on same sex marriage, Carol Fox on Facebook want to know the following. Quote, what will you do to ensure Christians are not prosecuted for speaking out against gay marriage and will Christians be forced to conduct business that conflicts with their religious beliefs?

PAUL: Look, I don't want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington. And if people have an opinion, it's a religious opinion that is heartly felt, obviously they should be allowed to practice that and no government should interfere with them. One of the things, one of the things that really got to me was the thing in Houston where you had the government, the mayor actually, trying to get the sermons of ministers. When the government tries to invade the church to enforce its own opinion on marriage, that's when it's time to resist.

KELLY: Governor Walker, many in the Black Live Matter movement, and beyond, believe that overly-aggressive police officers targeting young African Americans is the civil rights issue of our time. Do you agree? And if so, how do you plan to address it? And if not, why not?

WALKER: Well, I think the most important thing we can do when it comes to policing -- it's something you've had a guest on who's a friend of mine Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark, who's talked to me about this many times in the past -- it's about training. It's about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement. And for the very few that don't, that there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same here in America.

KELLY: Thank you.

WALLACE: Coming up more of our debate, including questions about President Obama's foreign policy and these guys and their better ideas. Coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to Cleveland. Our next topic is foreign policy. Candidates, you may not have seen the late developing news today our Fox Pentagon team broke earlier this evening about a top Iranian general traveling to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. His name is General Qassem Soleimani, he's blamed for hundreds of U.S. troops death in Iraq, and Afghanistan. His trip to Russia appears to directly violate U.N. Security Council resolutions to confine him to Iran. So, Mr. Trump, if you were president, how would you respond to this?

TRUMP: I would be so different from what you have right now. Like, the polar opposite. We have a president who doesn't have a clue. I would say he's incompetent, but I don't want to do that because that's not nice. (LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: But if you look at the deals we make, whether it's the nuclear deal with 24 hour periods -- and by the way, before you get to the 24 hours, you have to go through a system. You look at Sgt. Bergdahl, we get Bergdahl, a traitor, and they get five of the big, great killers leaders that they want. We have people in Washington that don't know what they're doing. Now... (APPLAUSE)


TRUMP: Now, with Iran, we're making a deal, you would say, we want him. We want out our prisoners. We want all these things, and we don't get anything. We're giving them $150 billion dollars plus, they are going to be -- I'll tell you what, if Iran was a stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now because you'll quadruple -- this, what's happening in Iran, is a disgrace, and it's going to lead to destruction in large portions of the world. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Another new development today, Senior Defense officials tell Fox they strongly suspect Russia was behind the cyber attack on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs office...

MALE: ...Please.

BAIER: ...email. This comes in the wake of the Director of National Intelligence blaming the Chinese for the largest ever cyber attack, stealing personal data of tens of millions of Americans. Senator Cruz, in your view, have Russia and China committed of cyber war, and if you were president, what would you do about it?

CRUZ: Well, Bret, of course they have, and over the last six and a half years we've seen the consequences of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy. Leading from behind is a disaster. We have abandoned and alienated our friends and allies, and our enemies are stronger. Radical Islam is on the rise, Iran's on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon, China is waging cyber warfare against America, Russia -- General Soleimani, you just mentioned, the Iranian general is the head of the al Quds forces. He's directly responsible for the murder of over 500 American servicemen in Iraq, and part of this Iranian deal was lifting the international sanctions on General Soleimani. The day General Soleimani flew back from Moscow to Iran was the day we believed that Russia used cyber warfare against the Joint Chiefs. We need a new commander in chief that will stand up to our enemies, and that will have credibility... (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: It is worth emphasizing that Iran released our hostages in 1981 the day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Dr. Carson, in August of 2012 President Obama famously declared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, quote, "that's a redline for us," and that there would be enormous consequences.One year later, and with overwhelming evidence the Assad had, in fact, used chemical weapons and crossed that red line, President Obama declined to use military force against the Assad regime. As president, would you have used military force there?

CARSON: Well, what we have to stop and think about is that we have weakened ourselves militarily to such an extent that if affects all of our military policies. Our Navy is at its smallest size since 1917; our Air Force, since 1940. In recent testimony, the commandant of the Marine Corps said half of the non-deployed units were not ready and you know, the sequester is cutting the heart out of our personnel. Our generals are retiring because they don't want to be part of this, and at the same time, our enemies are increasing. Our -- our friends can't trust us anymore. You know, Ukraine was a nuclear-armed state. They gave away their nuclear arms with the understanding that we would protect them. We won't even give them offensive weapons. You know, we turned our back on Israel, our ally. You know, and a situation like that, of course Obama's not going to be able to do anything. I would shore up our military first, because if you don't get the military right, nothing else is going to work. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Walker, as president, what would you do if Russian President Vladimir Putin started a campaign to destabilize NATO allies Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, mirroring the actions Putin took at the early days of Ukraine?

WALKER: Well first off, for the cyber attack with Russia the other day, it's sad to think right now, but probably the Russian and Chinese government know more about Hillary Clinton's e-mail server than do the members of the United States Congress. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) And -- and that has put our national security at risk. If I am president, he won't think about that. You know, Putin believes in the old Lenin adage: you probe with bayonets. When you find mush, you push. When you find steel, you stop. Under Obama and Clinton, we found a lot of mush over the last two years. We need to have a national security that puts steel in front of our enemies. I would send weapons to Ukraine. I would work with NATO to put forces on the eastern border of Poland and the Baltic nations, and I would reinstate, put in place back in the missile defense system that we had in Poland and in the Czech Republic. (APPLAUSE) We define (ph) steel.

BAIER: Governor -- Governor Huckabee, the culture of the American military is definitely changing. Women are moving into combat roles. Don't Ask, Don't Tell has obviously been dropped. And now Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently directed the military to prepare for a moment when it is welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. As commander in chief, how would you handle that?

HUCKABEE: The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is kill people and break things. (APPLAUSE) It's not to transform the culture by trying out some ideas that some people think would make us a different country and more diverse. The purpose is to protect America. I'm not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines makes our country safer. We've reduced the military by 25 percent... (APPLAUSE) ... under President Obama. The disaster is that we've forgotten why we have a military. The purpose of it is to make sure that we protect every American, wherever that American is, and if an American is calling out for help, whether it's in Benghazi or at the border, then we ought to be able to answer it. We've not done that because we've decimated our military. We're flying B-52s. The most recent one that was put in service was November of 1962. A lot of the B-52s we're flying, we've only got 44 that are in service combat ready, and the fact is, most of them are older than me. And that's pretty scary. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Paul, the first budget your proposed as senator cut all financial aid to Israel. You have since changed your view on that issue. What made you change your mind.

PAUL: Well, let's be clear, I'm the only one on the stage who actually has a five-year budget that balances. I've put pencil to paper...


PAUL: ... and I've said -- and I've said I would cut spending, and I've said exactly where. Each one of my budgets has taken a meat axe to foreign aid, because I think we ought to quit sending it to countries that hate us. (APPLAUSE) I think we ought to quit sending it to countries that burn our flag. Israel is not one of those. But even Benjamin Netanyahu said that ultimately, they will be stronger when they're independent. My position is exactly the same. We shouldn't borrow money from China to send it anywhere, but why don't we start with eliminating aid to our enemies.

BAIER: OK. But you still say that Israel could be one of the countries that is cut from financial aid?

PAUL: I still say exactly what my original opinion is. Do you borrow money from China to send it to anyone? Out of your surplus, you can help your allies, and Israel is a great ally. And this is no particular animus of Israel, but what I will say, and I will say over and over again, we cannot give away money we don't have. We do not project power from bankruptcy court. We're borrowing a million dollars a minute. (APPLAUSE) It's got to stop somewhere.

BAIER: Governor Christie, what do you think of that answer?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen. You know, if we want to deal with these issues, we have to deal with them in a way that makes sense. I agree with what Dr. Carson said earlier. The first thing we need to do to make America stronger is to strengthen our military, and I put out a really specific plan: no less than 500,000 active duty soldiers in the Army. No less than 185,000 active duty marines in the Marine Corps. Bring us to a 350 ship Navy again, and modernize the Ohio class of submarines, and bring our Air Force back to 2,600 aircraft that are ready to go. Those are the kind of things that are going to send a clear message around the world. Those are the things that we need to start working on immediately to make our country stronger and make it better. Those are the things that we need to be able to be doing. And as we move towards dealing with foreign aid, I don't disagree with Senator Paul's position that we shouldn't be funding our enemies. But I absolutely believe that Israel is a priority to be able to fund and keep them strong and safe after eight years of this administration. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor, thank you.

CRUZ: Brett, can I -- Brett, can I jump in on this one?

BAIER: Senator, we're going to finish up with some more questions, thank you.

KELLY: We have to stand you by, because after the break, we're going to let the candidates make their closing statements, their final thoughts, and God. Stay tuned for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Welcome back. In our final moments here together, we're going to allow the candidates to offer their final thoughts. But first, we want to ask them an interesting closing question from Chase Norton on Facebook, who wants to know this of the candidates: "I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first." Senator Cruz, start from you. Any word from God?

CRUZ: Well, I am blessed to receive a word from God every day in receiving the scriptures and reading the scriptures. And God speaks through the Bible. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: I'm the son of a pastor and evangelist and I've described many times how my father, when I was a child, was an alcoholic. He was not a Christian. And my father left my mother and left me when I was just three years old. And someone invited him to Clay Road Baptist Church. And he gave his heart to Jesus and it turned him around. And he got on a plane and he flew back to my mother and me. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: I would also note that the scripture tells us, "you shall know them by their fruit." We see lots of "campaign conservatives." But if we're going to win in 2016, we need a consistent conservative, someone who has been a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, a national security conservative. There are real differences among the candidates on issues like amnesty, like Obamacare, like religious liberty, like life and marriage. And I have been proud to fight and stand for religious liberty, to stand against Planned Parenthood, to defend life for my entire career. And I will be proud to continue to do so as president of the United States. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Kasich, same question.

KASICH: Well, Megyn, my father was a mailman. His father was a coal miner. My mother's mother could barely speak English. And their son today stands on this podium in the great state of Ohio not only as the governor, but a candidate for president of the United States. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KASICH: I do believe in miracles. You know, I've had a lot of elections. But my elections are really not about campaigns. I tell my people that these are about a movement. And a movement to do what? To restore common sense. A movement to do things like provide economic growth. And a movement not to let anybody be behind. You know, today the country is divided. You asked a question about the police and the difficulty in communities. We've got to unite our country again, because we're stronger when we are united and we are weaker when we are divided. And we've got to listen to other people's voices, respect them, but keep in mind, and I believe in terms of the things that I've read in my lifetime, the lord is not picking us. But because of how we respect human rights, because that we are a good force in the world, he wants America to be strong. He wants America to succeed. And he wants America to lead. And nothing is more important to me than my family, my faith, and my friends. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Walker, same question.

WALKER: Well, thanks, Megyn. I'm certainly an imperfect man. And it's only by the blood of Jesus Christ that I've been redeemed from my sins. So I know that God doesn't call me to do a specific thing, God hasn't given me a list, a Ten Commandments, if you will, of things to act on the first day. What God calls us to do is follow his will. And ultimately that's what I'm going to try to do. And I hope people see it in my state, even in the big challenges I took on when I had over 100,000 protesters in and around our capital, trying to do what I thought was the right thing. It wasn't just how I took on those political battles. It was ultimately how I acted. Not responding in kind. Not lashing out. But just being decent going forward and living my life in a way that would be a testimony to him and our faith. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Senator Rubio, I want to ask you the same question. But I do want to mention, a woman just came here to the stage and asked, what about the veterans? I want to hear more about what these candidates are going to do for our nation's veterans. So I put the question to you about God and the veterans, which you may find to be related.

RUBIO: Well, first, let me say I think God has blessed us. He has blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can't even find one. (LAUGHTER) (CHEERING APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: And I believe God has blessed our country. This country has been extraordinarily blessed. And we have honored that blessing. And that's why God has continued to bless us. And he has blessed us with young men and women willing to risk their lives and sometimes die in uniform for the safety and security of our people. Unfortunately today we have a VA that does not do enough for them. I am proud that last year we helped change the law. We changed the law to give the power to the VA secretary the ability to fire any executive that isn't doing their job. And it is outrageous they've only fired one person to date. When I'm president of the United States, we're going to have a VA that cares more about our veterans than about the bureaucrats who work at the VA. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Dr. Carson, a question to you about God and his role, but also, one of the issues that the public was very interested in, and we touched on it earlier, is race relations in this country, and how divided we seem right now. And what, if anything, you can do -- you would do as the next president to help heal that divide.

CARSON: Well, I think the bully pulpit is a wonderful place to start healing that divide. You know, we have the purveyors of hatred who take every single incident between people of two races and try to make a race war out of it, and drive wedges into people. And this does not need to be done. What we need to think about instead -- you know, I was asked by an NPR reporter once, why don't I talk about race that often. I said it's because I'm a neurosurgeon. And she thought that was a strange response. And you say -- I said, you see, when I take someone to the operating room, I'm actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn't make them who they are. The hair doesn't make them who they are. And it's time for us to move beyond that. (APPLAUSE)


CARSON: -- our strength as a nation comes in our unity. We are the United States of America, not the divided states. And those who want to divide us are trying to divide us, and we shouldn't let them do it. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Now each candidate will make a closing statement. You'll all have 30 seconds to make a closing statement for this debate. We'll start with Ohio Governor John Kasich.

KASICH: You know, tonight we hear about what people want to do. I want to tell you what I've done. I was a member of the Armed Services Committee for 18 years. I spent a big chunk of my life studying national security issues and our role in the world. No. 2. I was the chairman of the House Budget Committee and one of the chief architects the last time we balanced a budget, and it was the first time we had done it since man walked on the moon. We had a $5 trillion surplus and we cut taxes. I spent ten years in the private sector, actually learning how business works. And now I'm the governor of Ohio, and I inherited a state that was on the brink of dying. And we turned it all around with jobs and balanced budgets and rising credit and tax cuts, and the state is unified, and people have hope again in Ohio. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: Well, thank you, Megyn. Listen, I was born into a middle class family in New Jersey. My dad came home from serving in the Army after having lost his father, worked in the Breyers ice cream plant in Newark, New Jersey. Was the first person to graduate from college. He put himself through college at night. My mom was a secretary. I was appointed United States attorney on September 10, 2001. And I spent the next seven years of my career fighting terrorism and putting terrorists in jail. I'm a conservative, pro-life governor in a state where it is really tough to be both. A state like New Jersey, with lots of Democrats, but still we cut taxes, we balanced budgets. We fought the teacher's union. This president has had weak leadership, which has led to bad choices. We have got to stop worrying about being loved and start worrying about being respected. And that's exactly how I'll lead our country. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Senator Paul, closing statement.

PAUL: I'm a different kind of Republican. I've introduced a five-year balanced budget. I've introduced the largest tax cut in our history. I stood for ten and a half hours on the Senate floor to defend your right to be left alone. (APPLAUSE)

PAUL: But I've also gone to Chicago. I've gone to Detroit. I've been to Ferguson, I've been to Baltimore, because I want our party to be bigger, better and bolder, and I'm the only one that leads Hillary Clinton in five states that were won by President Obama. I'm a different kind of Republican. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Marco Rubio.

RUBIO: Thank you. You know, both of my parents were born into poor families on the island of Cuba. They came to America because it was the only place where people like them could have a chance. Here in this country, they never made it big, but the very purpose of their life was to give us the chance to do all the things they never could. My father was a bartender. And the journey from the back of that bar to this stage tonight, to me, that is the essence of the American dream. It is what makes our nation different. And I'm running for president because I want that to still be possible for the people trying to do that now. I run for president because I believe that we can't just save the American dream; we can expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And that's why I'm asking for your vote. So we can make America greater than it has ever been. And make this century a new American century. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Thank you, Senator.

KELLY: Senator Ted Cruz.

CRUZ: If I'm elected president, let me tell you about my first day in office. The first thing I intend to do is to rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these videos and to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any criminal violations. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice and the IRS to start (sic) persecuting religious liberty, and then intend to cancel the Iran deal, and finally move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. (APPLAUSE) I will keep my word. My father fled Cuba, and I will fight to defend liberty because my family knows what it's like to lose it.

WALLACE: Dr. Carson, closing statement.

CARSON: Well, I haven't said anything about me being the only one to do anything, so let me try that. I'm the only one to separate Siamese twins... (LAUGHTER) The -- the only one to operate on babies while they were still in mother's womb, the only one to take out half of a brain, although you would think, if you go to Washington, that someone had beat me to it. (LAUGHTER) But I -- but I'm very hopeful that I'm not the only one who's willing to pick up the baton of freedom, because freedom is not free, and we must fight for it every day. Every one of us must fight for it, because we're fighting for our children and the next generation. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Mike Huckabee, closing statement.

HUCKABEE: It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who's very high in the polls, that doesn't have a clue about how to govern. A person who has been filled with scandals, and who could not lead, and, of course, I'm talking about Hillary Clinton. (LAUGHTER) I think America...

UNKNOWN: Thank you.

HUCKABEE: ...is in trouble, but it's not beyond repair. But it's going to take leadership who sees the greatness of this country, and who believes that once again we can be one nation, under God. I'll be my best to do that, and thank you for your support. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Scott Walker.

WALKER: Thanks. I'm guy with a wife and two kids, and Harley. One article called me "aggressively normal." I ran for governor because I was worried about my kids' future. Then, I took on the big government union bosses, and we won. They tried to recall me, and we won. They target us again, and we won. We balanced the budget, cut taxes, and turned our state around with big, bold reforms. It wasn't too late for Wisconsin, and it's not too late for America. That's why I ask for your vote.

WALLACE: Governor Bush, closing statement, sir.

BUSH: Here's what I believe. I believe we're at the verge of the greatest time to be alive in this world. But Washington is holding us back. How we tax, how we regulate. We're not embracing the energy revolution in our midst, a broken immigration system that has been politicized rather than turning it into an economic driver. We're not protecting and preserving our entitlement system or reforming for the next generation. All these things languish while we have politicians in Washington using these as wedge issues. Here's my commitment to you, because I did it as Florida. We can fix these things. We can grow economically and restore America's leadership in the world, so that everybody has a chance to rise up. I humbly ask for your vote, whenever you're gonna get to vote, whenever the primary is. Thank you all very much.

BAIER: Mr. Trump, closing statement, sir.

TRUMP: Our country is in serious trouble. We don't win anymore. We don't beat China in trade. We don't beat Japan, with their millions and millions of cars coming into this country, in trade. We can't beat Mexico, at the border or in trade. We can't do anything right. Our military has to be strengthened. Our vets have to be taken care of. We have to end Obamacare, and we have to make our country great again, and I will do that. Thank you.

BAIER: Gentlemen, thank you.

KELLY: It's over!

BAIER: That's it.

KELLY: Are you relieved? You were nervous before, they -- they don't look relieved. They look "get me outta here." Thank you all very much, and that will do it for the first Republican primary debate night of the 2016 presidential race. Our thanks to the candidates, who will now be joined by their families on stage.


First Democratic Party Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, NV, aired by CNN on Oct 13th, 2015.

Top   Concordance

COOPER: Welcome. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for joining us. We're just seconds away from introducing the candidates to viewers in the United States and watching right now around the world. This debate is airing on CNN, CNN en Espanol, and CNN International. It's also being broadcast on the Westwood One Radio Network. I'll be the moderator tonight. I'll also be joined in the questioning by my CNN colleagues, our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash; CNN en Espanol anchor Juan Carlos Lopez, and CNN anchor Don Lemon who will share questions from Democrats nationwide. We've teamed up with Facebook to send a campaign camper around the country for the past three weeks. Thousands of people stepped inside to record their questions for the candidates on video. Millions more have weighed in on Facebook. Now it's time to meet the candidates.

COOPER: Joining us on stage, please welcome former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.(APPLAUSE) Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. (APPLAUSE) Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (APPLAUSE) Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (APPLAUSE) And former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. (APPLAUSE) Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Democratic candidates for president of the United States. (APPLAUSE) Now, everybody, please rise for our national anthem, performed by nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Sheryl Crow. (SINGING) (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: I want to thank Sheryl Crow. The candidates are here. The crowd is certainly ready. The first Democratic debate will begin right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: There is certainly a lot of excitement in this room tonight, and no doubt around the country. We are back in the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas in the presidential battleground state of Nevada for the first Democratic debate of the 2016 campaign. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for joining us. We've already welcomed the candidates on stage. They are in place at their podiums. Before we dive into the issues, I want to quickly explain some of the groundrules tonight. As the moderator, I'll ask questions, followups and guide the discussion. I'll be joined in the questioning by CNN's Juan Carlos Lopez and Dana Bash, a well as Don Lemon who will share questions from Democrats around the country. Each candidate will get one minute to answer questions, and 30 seconds for followups and rebuttals. I'll give candidates time to respond if they have been singled out for criticism. Our viewers should know that we have lights that are visible to the candidates to warn them when their time is up. I want the candidates to be able to introduce themselves to our audience. Each candidate will have two minutes to introduce themselves. Let's begin with Governor Chafee. Governor?

CHAFEE: Thank you, Anderson. Thank you, CNN, and thank you Facebook for organizing this debate. Not only will Americans be electing a new president next year, we also will be electing a world leader. Voters should assess the candidate's experience, character and vision for the future as they make this important decision. I'm the only one running for president that has been a mayor, a United States senator, and a governor. As mayor, I brought labor peace to my city and kept taxes down. I was reelected three times. As a senator, I earned a reputation for courageous votes against the Bush-Cheney tax cuts that favored the wealthy, against the tragedy of the Iraq war, for environmental stewardship, for protection of our civil liberties. I served on the Foreign Relations Committee and I chaired the Middle East Subcommittee for four years. As governor, I came in at the depths of the recession and we turned my state around. Rhode Island had the biggest drop of the unemployment rate over my four budgets of all but one state. It happens to be Nevada, where we're having this debate. I'm very proud that over my almost 30 years of public service, I have had no scandals. I've always been honest. I have the courage to take the long-term view, and I've shown good judgment. I have high ethical standards. As we look to the future, I want to address the income inequality, close the gap between the haves and the have-nots. I want to address climate change, a real threat to our planet. And I believe in prosperity through peace. I want to end these wars. I look forward to the discussion ahead. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Thank you very much, Governor. (APPLAUSE) Senator Webb, you have two minutes.

WEBB: Thank you. You know, people are disgusted with the way that money has corrupted our political process, intimidating incumbents and empowering Wall Street every day, the turnstile government that we see, and also the power of the financial sector in both parties.

WEBB: They're looking for a leader who understands how the system works, who has not been coopted by it, and also has a proven record of accomplishing different things. I have a record of working across the political aisle. I've also spent more than half of my professional life away from politics in the independent world of being an author, a journalist, and a sole proprietor. In government service, I've fought and bled for our country in Vietnam as a Marine. I spent years as Assistant Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy -- in the Reagan administration. In the senate, I spoke about economic fairness and social justice from day one. I also wrote and passed the best piece of veterans education legislation in history, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I brought criminal justice reform out of the political shadows and into the national discussion. I led what later became called the Strategic Pivot to Asia two years before President Obama was elected. I know where my loyalties are. My mother grew up in the poverty of east Arkansas chopping cotton, picking strawberries. Three of her seven siblings died in childhood. My wife, Hong, came to this country as a refugee from war torn Vietnam -- learned English, a language that was not spoken at home, and earned her way into Cornell Law School. I have five daughters. Amy works with disabled veterans, Sarah is an emergency room nurse, Julia is a massage therapist, Emily and Georgia are still in school. My son Jim fought as an infantry Marine on the bloody streets of Ramadi. You may be sure that in a Webb administration, the highest priority will be the working people who every day go out and make this country stronger at home, and who give us the right reputation and security overseas under a common sense foreign policy. (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, you have two minutes.

O'MALLEY: My name is Martin O'Malley, former Mayor of Baltimore, former governor of Maryland, a life long democrat, and most importantly, a husband, and a father. My wife Katie and I have four great kids, Grace, and Tara, and William and Jack. And, like you, there is nothing we wouldn't do to give them healthier and better lives. There are some things that I have learned to do better in life than others. And, after 15 years of executive experience, I have learned how to be an effective leader. Whether it was raising the minimum wage, making our public schools the best in America, passing marriage equality, the DREAM Act, and comprehensive gun safety legislation, I have learned how to get things done because I am very clear about my principals. Thanks to President Obama, our country has come a long way since the Wall Street crash of 2008. Our country's doing better, we are creating jobs again. But we elected a president, not a magician, and there is urgent work that needs to be done right now. For there is a -- deep injustice, an economic injustice that threatens to tear our country apart, and it will not solve itself. Injustice does not solve itself. What I'm talking about is this, our middle class is shrinking. Our poor families are becoming poorer, and 70 percent of us are earning the same, or less than we were 12 years ago. We need new leadership, and we need action. The sort of action that will actually make wages go up again for all American families. Our economy isn't money, it's people. It's all of our people, and so we must invest in our country, and the potential of our kids to make college a debt free option for all of our families, instead of settling our kids with a lifetime of crushing debt. And, we must square our shoulders to the great challenge of climate change and make this threat our opportunity. The future is what we make of it. We are all in this together. And, the question in this election is whether you and I still have the ability to give our kids a better future. I believe we do, that is why I am running for president, and I need your help. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, thank you very much. Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Anderson, thank you very much. I think most Americans understand that our country today faces a series of unprecedented crises. The middle class of this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing. Millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and yet almost all of the new income and wealth being created is going to the top one percent. As a result of this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, our campaign finance system is corrupt and is undermining American democracy. Millionaires and billionaires are pouring unbelievable sums of money into the political process in order to fund super PACs and to elect candidates who represent their interests, not the interests of working people. Today, the scientific community is virtually unanimous: climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy and leave this planet a habitable planet for our children and our grandchildren. Today in America, we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth. African-American youth unemployment is 51 percent. Hispanic youth unemployment is 36 percent. It seems to me that instead of building more jails and providing more incarceration, maybe -- just maybe -- we should be putting money into education and jobs for our kids. (APPLAUSE) What this campaign is about is whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires and create the vibrant democracy we know we can and should have. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, thank you, and thanks to everyone for hosting this first of the Democratic debates. I'm Hillary Clinton. I have been proud and privileged to serve as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state. I'm the granddaughter of a factory worker and the grandmother of a wonderful one-year-old child. And every day, I think about what we need to do to make sure that opportunity is available not just for her, but for all of our children. I have spent a very long time -- my entire adult life -- looking for ways to even the odds to help people have a chance to get ahead, and, in particular, to find the ways for each child to live up to his or her God-given potential. I've traveled across our country over the last months listening and learning, and I've put forward specific plans about how we're going to create more good-paying jobs: by investing in infrastructure and clean energy, by making it possible once again to invest in science and research, and taking the opportunity posed by climate change to grow our economy. At the center of my campaign is how we're going to raise wages. Yes, of course, raise the minimum wage, but we have to do so much more, including finding ways so that companies share profits with the workers who helped to make them. And then we have to figure out how we're going to make the tax system a fairer one. Right now, the wealthy pay too little and the middle class pays too much. So I have specific recommendations about how we're going to close those loopholes, make it clear that the wealthy will have to pay their fair share, and have a series of tax cuts for middle-class families. And I want to do more to help us balance family and work. I believe in equal pay for equal work for women, but I also believe it's about time we had paid family leave for American families and join the rest of the world. (APPLAUSE) During the course of the evening tonight, I'll have a chance to lay out all of my plans and the work that I've done behind them. But for me, this is about bringing our country together again. And I will do everything I can to heal the divides -- the divides economically, because there's too much inequality; the racial divides; the continuing discrimination against the LGBT community -- so that we work together and, yes, finally, fathers will be able to say to their daughters, you, too, can grow up to be president.

COOPER: Thank you, all. It is time to start the debate.

COOPER: Are you all ready? (APPLAUSE) All right. Let's begin. We're going to be discussing a lot of the issues, many of the issues, important issues that you have brought up. But I want to begin with concerns that voters have about each of the candidates here on this stage that they have about each of you. Secretary Clinton, I want to start with you. Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency. You were against same-sex marriage. Now you're for it. You defended President Obama's immigration policies. Now you say they're too harsh. You supported his trade deal dozen of times. You even called it the "gold standard". Now, suddenly, last week, you're against it. Will you say anything to get elected?

CLINTON: Well, actually, I have been very consistent. Over the course of my entire life, I have always fought for the same values and principles, but, like most human beings -- including those of us who run for office -- I do absorb new information. I do look at what's happening in the world. You know, taker the trade deal. I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn't meet my standards. My standards for more new, good jobs for Americans, for raising wages for Americans. And I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say, "this will help raise your wages." And I concluded I could not.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, though, with all due respect, the question is really about political expediency. Just in July, New Hampshire, you told the crowd you'd, quote, "take a back seat to no one when it comes to progressive values." Last month in Ohio, you said you plead guilty to, quote, "being kind of moderate and center." Do you change your political identity based on who you're talking to?

CLINTON: No. I think that, like most people that I know, I have a range of views, but they are rooted in my Values and my experience. And I don't take a back seat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment. You know, when I left Law school, my first job was with the Children's Defense Fund, and for all the years since, I have been focused on how we're going to un-stack the deck, and how we're gonna make it possible for more people to have the experience I had. You know, to be able to come from a grandfather who was a factory worker, a father who was a small business person, and now asking the people of America to elect me president.

COOPER: Just for the record, are you a progressive, or are you a moderate?

CLINTON: I'm a progressive. But I'm a progressive who likes to get things done. And I know...(APPLAUSE) ...how to find common ground, and I know how to stand my ground, and I have proved that in every position that I've had, even dealing with Republicans who never had a good word to say about me, honestly. But we found ways to work together on everything from...

CLINTON: ...reforming foster care and adoption to the Children's Health Insurance Program, which insures...

COOPER: ...thank you...

CLINTON: ...8 million kids. So I have a long history of getting things done, rooted in the same values...

COOPER: ...Senator...

CLINTON: ...I've always had.

COOPER: Senator Sanders. A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?

SANDERS: Well, we're gonna win because first, we're gonna explain what democratic socialism is. And what democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1 percent in this country own almost 90 percent -- almost -- own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. That it is wrong, today, in a rigged economy, that 57 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent. That when you look around the world, you see every other major country providing health care to all people as a right, except the United States. You see every other major country saying to moms that, when you have a baby, we're not gonna separate you from your newborn baby, because we are going to have -- we are gonna have medical and family paid leave, like every other country on Earth. Those are some of the principles that I believe in, and I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Denmark is a country that has a population -- Denmark is a country that has a population of 5.6 million people. The question is really about electability here, and that's what I'm trying to get at. You -- the -- the Republican attack ad against you in a general election -- it writes itself. You supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. You honeymooned in the Soviet Union. And just this weekend, you said you're not a capitalist. Doesn't -- doesn't that ad write itself?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let's look at the facts. The facts that are very simple. Republicans win when there is a low voter turnout, and that is what happened last November. Sixty-three percent of the American people didn't vote, Anderson. Eighty percent of young people didn't vote. We are bringing out huge turnouts, and creating excitement all over this country. Democrats at the White House on down will win, when there is excitement and a large voter turnout, and that is what this campaign is doing.

COOPER: You don't consider yourself a capitalist, though?

SANDERS: Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little by which Wall Street's greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don't. I believe in a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Just let me just be clear. Is there anybody else on the stage who is not a capitalist?

CLINTON: Well, let me just follow-up on that, Anderson,because when I think about Capitalism, I think about all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living for themselves and their families. And I don't think we should confuse what we have to do every so often in America, which is save capitalism from itself. And I think what Senator Sanders is saying certainly makes sense in the terms of the inequality that we have. But we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America. And it's our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism so that it doesn't run amok and doesn't cause the kind of inequities we're seeing in our economic system. But we would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history...

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

CLINTON: ... of the world. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: I think everybody is in agreement that we are a great entrepreneurial nation. We have got to encourage that. Of course, we have to support small and medium-sized businesses. But you can have all of the growth that you want and it doesn't mean anything if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. So what we need to do is support small and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of our economy, but we have to make sure that every family in this country gets a fair shake...

COOPER: We're going to get...

SANDERS: ... not just for billionaires.

COOPER: We're going to have a lot more on these issues. But I do want to just quickly get everybody in on the question of electability. Governor Chafee, you've been everything but a socialist. When you were senator from Rhode Island, you were a Republican. When you were elected governor, you were an independent. You've only been a Democrat for little more than two years. Why should Democratic voters trust you won't change again?

CHAFEE: Anderson, you're looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues. Whether it's... (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: It seems like pretty soft granite. I mean, you've been a Republican, you've been an independent.

CHAFEE: Did you hear what I said? On the issues. I have not changed on the issues. I was a liberal Republican, then I was an independent, and now I'm a proud Democrat. But I have not changed on the issues. And I open my record to scrutiny. Whether it's on the environment, a woman's right to choose, gay marriage, fiscal responsibility, aversion to foreign entanglements, using the tools of government to help the less fortunate. Time and time again, I have never changed. You're looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues. So I have not changed.

COOPER: Then why change labels?

CHAFEE: The party left me. There's no doubt about that. There was no room for a liberal moderate Republican in that party. I even had a primary for my reelection in 2006. I won it. But the money poured in to defeat me in Rhode Island as a Republican. That's what we were up against.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, the concern of voters about you is that you tout our record as Baltimore's mayor. As we all know, we all saw it. That city exploded in riots and violence in April. The current top prosecutor in Baltimore, also a Democrat, blames your zero tolerance policies for sowing the seeds of unrest. Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what's going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?

O'MALLEY: Yes, actually, I believe what she said was that there's a lot of policies that have led to this unrest. But, Anderson, when I ran for mayor of Baltimore in 1999...

COOPER: She actually -- just for the record, when she was asked which policies, to name two, she said zero tolerance. I mean, there's a number of old policies that we're seeing the results of. That distress of communities, where communities don't want to step forward and say who killed a 3-year-old, it's a direct result of these failed policies.

O'MALLEY: Well, let's talk about this a little bit. One of the things that was not reported during that heartbreaking night of unrest in Baltimore was that arrests had actually fallen to a 38-year low in the year prior to the Freddie Gray's tragic death. Anderson, when I ran for mayor of Baltimore back in 1999, it was not because our city was doing well. It was because we allowed ourselves to become the most violent, addicted, and abandoned city in America. And I ran and promised people that together we could turn that around. And we put our city on a path to reduce violent crime, or part one (ph) crime by more than any other major city in America over the next 10 years. I did not make our city immune to setbacks. But I attended a lot of funerals, including one for a family of seven who were firebombed in their sleep for picking up the phone in a poor African-American neighborhood and calling the police because of drug dealers on their corner. We've saved over a thousand lives in Baltimore in the last 15 years of people working together. And the vast majority of them were young and poor and black. It wasn't easy on any day. But we saved lives and we gave our city a better future, improving police and community relations every single day that I was in office.

COOPER: In one year alone, though, 100,000 arrests were made in your city, a city of 640,000 people. The ACLU, the NAACP sued you, sued the city, and the city actually settled, saying a lot of those arrests were without probable cause.

O'MALLEY: Well, I think the key word in your followup there was the word "settle." That's true. It was settled. Arrests peaked in 2003, Anderson, but they declined every year after that as we restored peace in our poorer neighborhoods so that people could actually walk and not have to worry about their kids or their loved ones of being victims of violent crime. Look, none of this is easy. None of us has all the answers. But together as a city, we saved a lot of lives. It was about leadership. It was about principle. And it was about bringing people together.

COOPER: Thank you, Governor.

O'MALLEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Senator Webb, in 2006, you called affirmative action "state-sponsored racism." In 2010, you wrote an op/ed saying it discriminates against whites. Given that nearly half the Democratic Party is non-white, aren't you out of step with where the Democratic Party is now?

WEBB: No, actually I believe that I am where the Democratic Party traditionally has been. The Democratic Party, and the reason I've decided to run as a Democrat, has been the party that gives people who otherwise have no voice in the corridors of power a voice. And that is not determined by race. And as a clarification, I have always supported affirmative action for African Americans. That's the way the program was originally designed because of their unique history in this country, with slavery and the Jim Crow laws that followed. What I have discussed a number of times is the idea that when we create diversity programs that include everyone, quote, "of color," other than whites, struggling whites like the families in the Appalachian mountains, we're not being true to the Democratic Party principle of elevating the level of consciousness among our people about the hardships that a lot of people who happen to be have -- by culture, by the way.

COOPER: Senator Webb, thank you very much. Let's move on to some of the most pressing issues facing our country right now, some of the biggest issues right now in the headlines today. We're going to start with guns. The shooting in Oregon earlier this month, once again it brought the issue of guns into the national conversation. Over the last week, guns have been the most discussed political topic on Facebook by two to one. Senator Sanders, you voted against the Brady bill that mandated background checks and a waiting period. You also supported allowing riders to bring guns in checked bags on Amtrak trains. For a decade, you said that holding gun manufacturers legally responsible for mass shootings is a bad idea. Now, you say you're reconsidering that. Which is it: shield the gun companies from lawsuits or not?

SANDERS: Let's begin, Anderson, by understanding that Bernie Sanders has a D-minus voting rating (ph) from the NRA. Let's also understand that back in 1988 when I first ran for the United States Congress, way back then, I told the gun owners of the state of Vermont and I told the people of the state of Vermont, a state which has virtually no gun control, that I supported a ban on assault weapons. And over the years, I have strongly supported instant background checks, doing away with this terrible gun show loophole. And I think we've got to move aggressively at the federal level in dealing with the straw man purchasers. Also I believe, and I've fought for, to understand that there are thousands of people in this country today who are suicidal, who are homicidal, but can't get the healthcare that they need, the mental healthcare, because they don't have insurance or they're too poor. I believe that everybody in this country who has a mental crisis has got to get mental health counseling immediately.

COOPER: Do you want to shield gun companies from lawsuits?

SANDERS: Of course not. This was a large and complicated bill. There were provisions in it that I think made sense. For example, do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont that sells legally a gun to somebody, and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don't. On the other hand, where you have manufacturers and where you have gun shops knowingly giving guns to criminals or aiding and abetting that, of course we should take action.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns?

CLINTON: No, not at all. I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from Gun violence. This has gone on too long and it's time the entire country stood up against the NRA. The majority of our country...(APPLAUSE) ... supports background checks, and even the majority of gun owners do. Senator Sanders did vote five times against the Brady bill. Since it was passed, more than 2 million prohibited purchases have been prevented. He also did vote, as he said, for this immunity provision. I voted against it. I was in the Senate at the same time. It wasn't that complicated to me. It was pretty straightforward to me that he was going to give immunity to the only industry in America. Everybody else has to be accountable, but not the gun manufacturers. And we need to stand up and say: Enough of that. We're not going to let it continue. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We're going to bring you all in on this. But, Senator Sanders, you have to give a response.

SANDERS: As a senator from a rural state, what I can tell Secretary Clinton, that all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want, and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns and end this horrible violence that we are seeing. I believe that there is a consensus in this country. A consensus has said we need to strengthen and expand instant background checks, do away with this gun show loophole, that we have to address the issue of mental health, that we have to deal with the strawman purchasing issue, and that when we develop that consensus, we can finally, finally do something to address this issue.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, you passed gun legislation as governor of Maryland, but you had a Democratic-controlled legislature. President Obama couldn't convince Congress to pass gun legislation after the massacres in Aurora, in Newtown, and Charleston. How can you?

O'MALLEY: And, Anderson, I also had to overcome a lot of opposition in the leadership of my own party to get this done. Look, it's fine to talk about all of these things -- and I'm glad we're talking about these things -- but I've actually done them. We passed comprehensive gun safety legislation, not by looking at the pollings or looking at what the polls said. We actually did it. And, Anderson, here tonight in our audience are two people that make this issue very, very real. Sandy and Lonnie Phillips are here from Colorado. And their daughter, Jessie, was one of those who lost their lives in that awful mass shooting in Aurora. Now, to try to transform their grief, they went to court, where sometimes progress does happen when you file in court, but in this case, you want to talk about a -- a rigged game, Senator? The game was rigged. A man had sold 4,000 rounds of military ammunition to this -- this person that killed their daughter, riddled her body with five bullets, and he didn't even ask where it was going. And not only did their case get thrown out of court, they were slapped with $200,000 in court fees because of the way that the NRA gets its way in our Congress and we take a backseat. It's time to stand up and pass comprehensive gun safety legislation as a nation.(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Sanders, I want you to be able to respond, 30 seconds.

SANDERS: I think the governor gave a very good example about the weaknesses in that law and I think we have to take another look at it. But here is the point, Governor. We can raise our voices, but I come from a rural state, and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not. Our job is to bring people together around strong, commonsense gun legislation. I think there is a vast majority in this country who want to do the right thing, and I intend to lead the country in bringing our people together.

O'MALLEY: Senator -- Senator, excuse me. (CROSSTALK)

O'MALLEY: Senator, it is not about rural -- Senator, it was not about rural and urban.

SANDERS: It's exactly about rural.

O'MALLEY: Have you ever been to the Eastern Shore? Have you ever been to Western Maryland? We were able to pass this and still respect the hunting traditions of people who live in our rural areas.

SANDERS: Governor...

O'MALLEY: And we did it by leading with principle, not by pandering to the NRA and backing down to the NRA.

SANDERS: Well, as somebody who has a D-minus voting record... (CROSSTALK)

O'MALLEY: And I have an F from the NRA, Senator.

SANDERS: I don't think I am pandering. But you have not been in the United States Congress.

O'MALLEY: Well, maybe that's a healthy thing.(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: And when you want to, check it out. And if you think -- if you think that we can simply go forward and pass something tomorrow without bringing people together, you are sorely mistaken.

COOPER: Let me bring in somebody who has a different viewpoint. Senator Webb, your rating from the NRA, you once had an A rating from the NRA. You've said gun violence goes down when more people are allowed to carry guns. Would encouraging more people to be armed be part of your response to a mass shooting?

WEBB: Look, there are two fundamental issues that are involved in this discussion. We need to pay respect to both of them. The first is the issue of who should be kept from having guns and using firearms. And we have done not a good job on that. A lot of them are criminals. And a lot of the people are getting killed are members of gangs inside our urban areas. And a lot of them are mentally incapacitated. And the shooting in Virginia Tech in '07, this individual had received medical care for mental illness from three different professionals who were not allowed to share the information.

WEBB: So we do need background checks. We need to keep the people who should not have guns away from them. But we have to respect the tradition in this country of people who want to defend themselves and their family from violence.

COOPER: Senator...

WEBB: May I? People are going back and forth here for 10 minutes here. There are people at high levels in this government who have bodyguards 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The average American does not have that, and deserves the right to be able to protect their family.

COOPER: Senator -- Governor Chafee, you have an F rating from the NRA, what do you think about what Senator Webb just said?

CHAFEE: Yes, I have a good record of voting for gun commonsense safety legislation, but the reality is, despite these tragedies that happen time and time again, when legislators step up to pass commonsense gun safety legislation, the gun lobby moves in and tells the people they're coming to take away your guns. And, they're successful at it, in Colorado and others states, the legislators that vote for commonsense gun safety measures then get defeated. I even saw in Rhode Island. So, I would bring the gun lobby in and say we've got to change this. Where can we find common ground? Wayne Lapierre from the NRA, whoever it is, the leaders. Come one, we've go to change this. We're not coming to take away your guns, we believe in the Second Amendment, but let's find common ground here.

COOPER: I want to...

O'MALLEY: ...Anderson, when the NRA wrote to everyone in our state -- when the NRA wrote to members in our state and told people with hunting traditions lies about what our comprehensive gun safety legislation is, I wrote right back to them and laid out what it actually did. And that's why, not only did we pass it, but the NRA didn't...

SANDERS: ...Excuse me...

O'MALLEY: ...dare to petition a referendum...

SANDERS: ...I want to make...

O'MALLEY: ...Because we built a public consensus...

COOPER: ...I want to move on to another issue, which is in the headlines right now, another crisis making headlines. Secretary Clinton, Russia, they're challenging the U.S. in Syria. According to U.S. intelligence, they've lied about who they're bombing. You spearheaded the reset with Russia. Did you underestimate the Russians, and as president, what would your response to Vladimir Putin be right now in Syria?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, we got a lot of business done with the Russians when Medvedev was the president, and not Putin.We got a nuclear arms deal, we got the Iranian sanctions, we got an ability to bring important material and equipment to our soldiers in Afghanistan. There's no doubt that when Putin came back in and said he was going to be President, that did change the relationship. We have to stand up to his bullying, and specifically in Syria, it is important -- and I applaud the administration because they are engaged in talks right now with the Russians to make it clear that they've got to be part of the solution to try to end that bloody conflict. And, to -- provide safe zones so that people are not going to have to be flooding out of Syria at the rate they are. And, I think it's important too that the United States make it very clear to Putin that it's not acceptable for him to be in Syria creating more chaos, bombing people on behalf of Assad, and we can't do that if we don't take more of a leadership position, which is what I'm advocating.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, what would you do differently.

SANDERS: Well, let's understand that when we talk about Syria, you're talking about a quagmire in a quagmire. You're talking about groups of people trying to overthrow Assad, other groups of people fighting ISIS. You're talking about people who are fighting ISIS using their guns to overthrow Assad, and vice versa. I'm the former chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, and in that capacity I learned a very powerful lesson about the cost of war, and I will do everything that I can to make sure that the United States does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country. We should be putting together a coalition of Arab countries who should be leading the effort. We should be supportive, but I do not support American ground troops in Syria.

COOPER: On this issue of foreign policy, I want to go to...

CLINTON: ...Well, nobody does. Nobody does, Senator Sanders.

COOPER: I want to go to Dana Bash. Dana?

BASH: Governor Chafee, you were the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Iraq war. You say Secretary Clinton should be disqualified from the presidency because she voted in favor of using force in Iraq. She has since said that her vote was a mistake. Why isn't that good enough?

CHAFEE: Well, we just heard Senator Sanders say that it's the worst decision in American history. That's very significant, the worst decision in American history, I just heard from Senator Sanders. So, as we look ahead, if you're going to make those poor judgment calls, a critical time in our history, we just finished with the Vietnam era, getting back into another quagmire -- if you're looking ahead, and you're looking at someone who made that poor decision in 2002 to go into Iraq when there was no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- I know because I did my homework, and, so, that's an indication of how someone will perform in the future. And that's what's important. (APPLAUSE)

BASH: Secretary Clinton, he's questioning your judgment.

CLINTON: Well, I recall very well being on a debate stage, I think, about 25 times with then Senator Obama, debating this very issue. After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State. He valued my judgment, and I spent a lot of time with him... (APPLAUSE) ...in the Situation Room, going over some very difficult issues. You know, I -- I agree completely. We don't want American troops on the ground in Syria. I never said that. What I said was we had to put together a coalition -- in fact, something that I worked on before I left the State Department -- to do, and yes, that it should include Arabs, people in the region. Because what I worry about is what will happen with ISIS gaining more territory, having more reach, and, frankly, posing a threat to our friends and neighbors in the region and far beyond. So I think while you're talking about the tough decision that President Obama had to make about Osama bin Laden, where I was one of his few advisers, or putting together that coalition to impose sanctions on Iran -- I think I have a lot of evidence... (CROSSTALK)

BASH: Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, I want to bring you in here. My question for you is, as a congressman, you voted against the Iraq War. You voted against the Gulf War. You're just talking about Syria, but under what circumstances would a President Sanders actually use force?

SANDERS: Let me just respond to something the secretary said. First of all, she is talking about, as I understand it, a no-fly zone in Syria, which I think is a very dangerous situation. Could lead to real problems. Second of all, I heard the same evidence from President Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld about why we should overthrow Saddam Hussein and get involved in the -- I would urge people to go to berniesanders.com, hear what I said in 2002. And I say, without any joy in my heart, that much of what I thought would happen about the destabilization, in fact, did happen. So I think...

BASH: All right. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: I think the president is trying very hard to thread a tough needle here, and that is to support those people who are against Assad, against ISIS, without getting us on the ground there, and that's the direction I believe we should have (inaudible).

COOPER: But, Senator Sanders, you didn't answer the question. Under what -- under what circumstances would you actually use force?

SANDERS: Well, obviously, I voted, when President Clinton said, "let's stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo," I voted for that. I voted to make sure that Osama bin Laden was held accountable in Afghanistan. When our country is threatened, or when our allies are threatened, I believe that we need coalitions to come together to address the major crises of this country. I do not support the United States getting involved in unilateral action.

( update point 6:46 PM 11/4/2015 )

UNKNOWN: You're at work with our allies.(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I'm gonna bring you all in on this. Governor -- Governor O'Malley, Secretary Clinton...

SANDERS: I don't believe that any...(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton voted to authorize military force in Iraq, supported more troops in Afghanistan. As Secretary of State, she wanted to arm Syrian rebels and push for the bombing of Libya. Is she too quick to use military force?

O'MALLEY: Anderson, no president -- no commander in chief -- should take the military option off the table, even if most of us would agree that it should be the last option. What disturbed people so much about -- and I would agree with Senator Sanders on this -- leading us into Iraq under false pretenses and telling us, as a people, that there were weapons of mass destruction there was -- was one of the worst blunders in modern American history. But the reason why people remain angry about it is because people feel like a lot of our legislators got railroaded in a war fever and by polls. And I remember being at a dinner shortly before that invasion. People were talking at -- and saying, "it'll take us just a couple years to rebuild democracy," and I thought, "has this world gone mad?" Whenever we go -- and contrary to John Quincy Adams' advice -- "searching the world for monsters to destroy," and when we use political might to take a -- at the expense of democratic principle, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our (inaudible).

COOPER: Does she -- does she want to use military force too rapidly?

O'MALLEY: I believe that, as president, I would not be so quick to pull for a military tool. I believe that a no-fly zone in Syria, at this time, actually, Secretary, would be a mistake. You have to enforce no-fly zones, and I believe, especially with the Russian air force in the air, it could lead to an escalation because of an accident that we would deeply regret. I support President Obama. I think we have to play a long game, and I think, ultimately -- you want to talk about blunders? I think Assad's invasion of Syria will be seen as a blunder.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, just for the record, on the campaign trail, you've been saying that Secretary Clinton is always quick for the -- for the military intervention. Senator -- Secretary Clinton, you can respond.

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I...

WEBB: Anderson, can I come into this discussion at some point?

COOPER: Well -- yes, you'll be coming in next, but she was directly quoted, Senator.

WEBB: Thank you. I've been standing over here for about ten minutes, trying.


WEBB: It's just -- it's gone back and forth over there.

COOPER: Secretary?

CLINTON: Well, I am in the middle, here, and... (LAUGHTER) Lots of things coming from all directions.

WEBB: You got the lucky (inaudible).

CLINTON: You know, I have to say, I was very pleased when Governor O'Malley endorsed me for president in 2008, and I enjoyed his strong support in that campaign. And I consider him, obviously, a friend. Let me say -- because there's a lot of loose talk going on here -- we are already flying in Syria just as we are flying in Iraq. The president has made a very tough decision. What I believe and why I have advocated that the no-fly zone -- which of course would be in a coalition -- be put on the table is because I'm trying to figure out what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. You know, diplomacy is not about getting to the perfect solution. It's about how you balance the risks.

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: And I think we have an opportunity here -- and I know that inside the administration this is being hotly debated -- to get that leverage to try to get the Russians to have to deal with everybody in the region and begin to move toward a political, diplomatic solution in Syria.

COOPER: Thank you, Secretary.(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Senator Webb, you said as president you would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was, in your words, "inevitable." Should Secretary Clinton have seen that attack coming?

WEBB: Look, let's start -- I've been trying to get in this conversation for about 10 minutes -- let's start with why Russia is in Syria right now. There are three strategic failings that have allowed this to occur. The first was the invasion of Iraq, which destabilized ethnic elements in Iraq and empowered Iran. The second was the Arab Spring, which created huge vacuums in Libya and in Syria that allowed terrorist movements to move in there. And the third was the recent deal allowing Iran to move forward and eventually acquire a nuclear weapon, which sent bad signals, bad body language into the region about whether we are acquiescing in Iran becoming a stronger piece of the formula in that part of the world. Now, I say this as someone who spent five years in the Pentagon and who opposed the war in Iraq, whose son fought in Iraq, I've fought in Vietnam. But if you want a place where we need to be in terms of our national strategy, a focus, the greatest strategic threat that we have right now is resolving our relationship with China. And we need to do this because of their aggression in the region. We need to do it because of the way they treat their own people.

COOPER: Senator...

WEBB: And I would say this. I've been waiting for 10 minutes. I will say this.

COOPER: You're over your time as of now.

WEBB: I will -- well, you've let a lot of people go over their time. I would say this...

COOPER: You agreed to these debate rules.

WEBB: ... to the unelected, authoritarian government of China: You do not own the South China Sea. You do not have the right to conduct cyber warfare against tens of millions of American citizens. And in a Webb administration, we will do something about that.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, I want you to be able to respond.

SANDERS: Pardon me?

COOPER: I'd like you to be able to respond and get in on this.

SANDERS: Well, I think Mr. Putin is going to regret what he is doing. I think that when he gets into that...

COOPER: He doesn't seem to be the type of guy to regret a lot.

SANDERS: Well, I think he's already regretting what he did in Crimea and what he is doing in the Ukraine. I think he is really regretting the decline of his economy. And I think what he is trying to do now is save some face. But I think when Russians get killed in Syria and when he gets bogged down, I think the Russian people are going to give him a message that maybe they should come home, maybe they should start working with the United States to rectify the situation now.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, on the campaign trail, Governor Webb has said that he would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was inevitable. Should you have seen that attack coming?

CLINTON: Well, let's remember what was going on. We had a murderous dictator, Gadhafi, who had American blood on his hands, as I'm sure you remember, threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people. We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words. And we had the Arabs standing by our side saying, "We want you to help us deal with Gadhafi." Our response, which I think was smart power at its best, is that the United States will not lead this. We will provide essential, unique capabilities that we have, but the Europeans and the Arabs had to be first over the line. We did not put one single American soldier on the ground in Libya. And I'll say this for the Libyan people...

COOPER: But American citizens did lose their lives in Benghazi.

CLINTON: But let -- I'll get to that. But I think it's important, since I understand Senator Webb's very strong feelings about this, to explain where we were then and to point out that I think President Obama made the right decision at the time. And the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy. Because of the Arab Spring, because of a lot of other things, there was turmoil to be followed. But unless you believe the United States should not send diplomats to any place that is dangerous, which I do not, then when we send them forth, there is always the potential for danger and risk.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley?


O'MALLEY: Anderson, I think we are learning...(CROSSTALK)

O'MALLEY: Anderson, I think there's lessons to be learned from Benghazi. And those lessons are that we need to do a much better job as a nation of having human intelligence on the ground so that we know who the emerging next generation leaders are that are coming up to replace a dictator when his time on this planet ends. And I believe that's what Chris Stevens was trying to do. But he did not have the tools. We have failed as a country to invest in the human intelligence that would allow us to make not only better decisions in Libya, but better decisions in Syria today. And it's a huge national security failing.

COOPER: Senator Webb, I want you to be able to respond.

WEBB: Thank you. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: This is not about Benghazi per se. To me it is the inevitability of something like Benghazi occurring in the way that we intervened in Libya. We had no treaties at risk. We had no Americans at risk. There was no threat of attack or imminent attack. There is plenty of time for a president to come to the Congress and request authority to use military force in that situation. I called for it on the Senate floor again and again. I called for it in Senate hearings. It is not a wise thing to do. And if people think it was a wise thing to do, try to get to the Tripoli airport today. You can't do it.

COOPER: Secretary (sic) Webb, you served in Vietnam. You're a marine. Once a marine, always a marine. You served as a marine in Vietnam. You're a decorated war hero. You eventually became secretary of the navy. During the Vietnam War, the man standing next to you, Senator Sanders, applied for status as a conscientious objector. Given his history, can he serve as a credible commander-in-chief?

WEBB: Everybody makes their decisions when the time there is conscription. And as long as they go through the legal process that our country requires, I respect that. And it would be for the voters to decide whether Senator Sanders or anyone else should be president. I will say this, coming from the position that I've come from, from a military family, with my brother a marine, my son was a marine in Iraq, I served as a marine, spending five years in the Pentagon, I am comfortable that I am the most qualified person standing up here today to be your commander-in-chief.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, tell an American soldier who is watching right now tonight in Afghanistan why you can be commander-in- chief given that you applied for conscientious objector status.

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let me applaud my good friend Jim Webb for his service to this country in so many ways. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Jim and I, under Jim's leadership, as he indicated, passed the most significant veterans education bill in recent history. We followed suit with a few years later passing, under my leadership, the most significant veterans' health care legislation in the modern history of this country. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: When I was a young man -- I'm not a young man today. When I was a young man, I strongly opposed the war in Vietnam. Not the brave men like Jim who fought in that war, but the policy which got us involved in that war. That was my view then. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: I am not a pacifist, Anderson. I supported the war in Afghanistan. I supported President Clinton's effort to deal with ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. I support air strikes in Syria and what the president is trying to do. Yes, I happen to believe from the bottom of my heart that war should be the last resort that we have got to exercise diplomacy. But yes, I am prepared to take this country into war if that is necessary. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Very quickly, 30 seconds for each of you. Governor Chafee, who or what is the greatest national security threat to the United States? I want to go down the line.

CHAFEE: OK. I just have to answer one thing that Senator Webb said about the Iran deal, because I'm a strong proponent of what President Obama -- and he said that because of that the Iran deal that enabled Russia to come in. No, that's not true, Senator Webb. I respect your foreign policy chops. But Russia is aligned with Iran and with Assad and the Alawite Shias in Syria. So that Iran deal did not allow Russia to come in.

COOPER: OK. Senator, I can give you 30 seconds to respond.

WEBB: I believe that the signal that we sent to the region when the Iran nuclear deal was concluded was that we are accepting Iran's greater position on this very important balance of power, among our greatest ally Israel, and the Sunnis represented by the Saudi regime, and Iran. It was a position of weakness and I think it encouraged the acts that we've seen in the past several weeks.

COOPER: Thirty seconds for each of you. Governor Chafee, what is the greatest national security threat to the United States?

CHAFEE: It's certainly the chaos in the Middle East. There's no doubt about it.


CHAFEE: And it all started with the Iraq invasion.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley?

O'MALLEY: I believe that nuclear Iran remains the biggest threat, along with the threat of ISIL; climate change, of course, makes cascading threats even more (inaudible).

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, the greatest national security threat?

CLINTON: I -- I think it has to be continued threat from the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands. I know the terrorists are constantly seeking it, and that's why we have to stay vigilant, but also united around the world to prevent that.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, greatest national security threat?

SANDERS: The scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change,transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable. That is a major crisis.

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: Our greatest long-term strategic challenge is our relation with China. Our greatest day-to-day threat is cyber warfare against this country. Our greatest military-operational threat is resolving the situations in the Middle East.

COOPER: All right. We're going to take a short break. Do these candidates see eye to eye on an issue that is driving a big wedge between Republicans? That is next. We'll be right back.(APPLAUSE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in Nevada, in Las Vegas, at the Wynn Resort for the first Democratic presidential debate. The questions continue. We begin with Secretary Clinton. Secretary Clinton, you are going to be testifying before Congress next week about your e-mails. For the last eight months, you haven't been able to put this issue behind you. You dismissed it; you joked about it; you called it a mistake. What does that say about your ability to handle far more challenging crises as president?

CLINTON: Well, I've taken responsibility for it. I did say it was a mistake. What I did was allowed by the State Department, but it wasn't the best choice. And I have been as transparent as I know to be, turning over 55,000 pages of my e-mails, asking that they be made public. And you're right. I am going to be testifying. I've been asking to testify for some time and to do it in public, which was not originally agreed to. But let's just take a minute here and point out that this committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. (APPLAUSE) It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise. And that's what they have attempted to do. I am still standing. I am happy to be part of this debate. (APPLAUSE) And I intend to keep talking about the issues that matter to the American people. You know, I believe strongly that we need to be talking about what people talk to me about, like how are we going to make college affordable? How are we going to pay down student debt?

COOPER: Secretary...

CLINTON: How are we going to get health care for everybody...(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, with all due respect, it's a little hard -- I mean, isn't it a little bit hard to call this just a partisan issue? There's an FBI investigation, and President Obama himself just two days ago said this is a legitimate issue.

CLINTON: Well, I never said it wasn't legitimate. I said that I have answered all the questions and I will certainly be doing so again before this committee. But I think it would be really unfair not to look at the entire picture. This committee has spent $4.5 million of taxpayer money, and they said that they were trying to figure out what we could do better to protect our diplomats so that something like Benghazi wouldn't happen again. There were already seven committee reports about what to do. So I think it's pretty clear what their obvious goal is.

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: But I'll be there. I'll answer their questions. But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Let me say this. (APPLAUSE) Let me say -- let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails. (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Thank you. Me, too. Me, too.

SANDERS: You know? The middle class -- Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we're going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens Union. Enough of the e-mails. Let's talk about the real issues facing America. (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Thank you, Bernie. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: It's obviously very popular in this crowd, and it's -- hold on. (APPLAUSE) I know that plays well in this room. But I got to be honest, Governor Chafee, for the record, on the campaign trail, you've said a different thing. You said this is a huge issue. Standing here in front of Secretary Clinton, are you willing to say that to her face?

CHAFEE: Absolutely. We have to repair American credibility after we told the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which he didn't. So there's an issue of American credibility out there. So any time someone is running to be our leader, and a world leader, which the American president is, credibility is an issue out there with the world. And we have repair work to be done. I think we need someone that has the best in ethical standards as our next president. That's how I feel.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?


COOPER: Governor -- Governor...(APPLAUSE) Governor O'Malley... (APPLAUSE) Governor, it's popular in the room, but a lot of people do want to know these answers. Governor O'Malley, you expressed concern on the campaign trail that the Democratic Party is, and I quote, "being defined by Hillary Clinton's email scandal." You heard her answer, do you still feel that way tonight?

O'MALLEY: I believe that now that we're finally having debates, Anderson, that we don't have to be defined by the email scandal, and how long -- what the FBI's asking about. Instead, we can talk about affordable college, making college debt free, and all the issues. Which is why -- and I see the chair of the DNC here, look how glad we are actually to be talking about the issues that matter the most to people around the kitchen table. We need to get wages to go up, college more affordable...

COOPER: ...Thank you, governor.

O'MALLEY: ...we need to make American 100 percent clean electric by 2050.

COOPER: I want to talk about issues of race in America, for that I want to start of with Don Lemon.

LEMON: Alright, Anderson, thank you very much. I'm not sure how to follow that, but this question is about something that has tripped some of the candidates up out on the campaign trail. Can you hear me? Can't hear me in the room. OK, here we go again, as I said...

WILKINS: ...law school. My question for the candidates is, do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?

COOPER: The question from Arthur...

LEMON: ...There we go...

COOPER: ...Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter? Let's put that question to Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Black lives matter. (CHEERING)

SANDERS: And the reason -- the reason those words matter is the African American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and then three days later she's going to end up dead in jail, or their kids... (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: ...are going to get shot. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major, major reforms in a broken criminal justice system... (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: ...In which we have more people in jail than China. And, I intended to tackle that issue. To make sure that our people have education and jobs rather than jail cells. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, the question from Arthur was do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?

O'MALLEY: Anderson, the point that the Black Lives Matter movement is making is a very, very legitimate and serious point, and that is that as a nation we have undervalued the lives of black lives, people of color. When I ran for Mayor of Baltimore -- and we we burying over 350 young men every single year, mostly young, and poor, and black, and I said to our legislature, at the time when I appeared in front of them as a mayor, that if we were burying white, young, poor men in these number we would be marching in the streets and there would be a different reaction. Black lives matter, and we have a lot of work to do to reform our criminal justice system, and to address race relations in our country. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, what would you do for African Americans in this country that President Obama couldn't?

CLINTON: Well, I think that President Obama has been a great moral leader on these issues, and has laid out an agenda that has been obstructed by the Republicans at every turn, so... (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: ...So, what we need to be doing is not only reforming criminal justice -- I have talked about that at some length, including things like body cameras, but we also need to be following the recommendations of the commissioner that President Obama empanelled on policing. There is an agenda there that we need to be following up on. Similarly, we need to tackle mass incarceration, and this may be the only bi-partisan issue in the congress this year. We actually have people on both sides of the aisle who have reached the same conclusion, that we can not keep imprisoning more people than anybody else in the world. But, I believe that the debate, and the discussion has to go further, Anderson, because we've got to do more about the lives of these children. That's why I started off by saying we need to be committed to making it possible for every child to live up to his or her god given potential. That is...

COOPER: ...Thank you, Senator...

CLINTON: ...really hard to do if you don't have early childhood education...

COOPER: Senator...

CLINTON: ...if you don't have schools that are able to meet the needs of the people, or good housing, there's a long list... (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: ...We need a new New Deal for communities of color...

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: I hope I can get that kind of time here. As a President of the United States, every life in this country matters. At the same time, I believe I can say to you, I have had a long history of working with the situation of African Americans. We're talking about criminal justice reform, I risked my political life raising the issue of criminal justice reform when I ran for the Senate in Virginia in 2006. I had democratic party political consultants telling me I was committing political suicide. We led that issue in the congress. We started a national debate on it. And it wasn't until then that the Republican Party started joining in. I also represented a so-called war criminal, an African American Marine who was wounded -- who was convicted of murder in Vietnam, for six years. He took his life three years into this. I cleared his name after -- after three years.

COOPER: Thanks, sir.

WEBB: And I put the African American soldier on the Mall. I made that recommendation and fought for it. So, if you want someone who is -- can stand up in front of you right now and say I have done the hard job, I have taken the risks, I am your person.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, let's talk about income inequality. Wages and incomes are flat. You've argued that the gap between rich and poor is wider than at any time since the 1920s. We've had a Democratic president for seven years. What are you going to be able to do that President Obama didn't?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let's remember where we were when Bush left office. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. And I know my Republican friends seem to have some amnesia on this issue, but the world's financial crisis was on -- the world's financial markets system was on the verge of collapse. That's where we were. Are we better off today than we were then? Absolutely. But the truth is that for the 40 years, the great middle class of this country has been disappearing. And in my view what we need to do is create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; pay equity for women workers; and our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and university in this country tuition free. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton... (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I'll let you jump in a moment. Everybody will get in on this in a moment. Secretary Clinton, how would you address this issue? In all candor, you and your husband are part of the one percent. How can you credibly represent the views of the middle class?

CLINTON: Well, you know, both Bill and I have been very blessed. Neither of us came from wealthy families and we've worked really hard our entire lives. And I want to make sure every single person in this country has the same opportunities that he and I have had, to make the most of their God-given potential and to have the chances that they should have in America for a good education, good job training, and then good jobs. I have a five point economic plan, because this inequality challenge we face, we have faced it at other points. It's absolutely right. It hasn't been this bad since the 1920s. But if you look at the Republicans versus the Democrats when it comes to economic policy, there is no comparison. The economy does better when you have a Democrat in the White House and that's why we need to have a Democrat in the White House in January 2017.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, (inaudible).

O'MALLEY: Yes. Anderson, I want to associate myself with many of the items that the senator from Vermont mentioned, and I actually did them in our state. We raised the minimum wage, passed the living wage, invested more in infrastructure, went four years in a row without a penny's increase in college tuition. But there's another piece that Senator Sanders left out tonight, but he's been excellent about underscoring that. And that is that we need to separate the casino, speculative, mega-bank gambling that we have to insure with our money, from the commercial banking -- namely, reinstating Glass-Steagall. Secretary Clinton mentioned my support eight years ago. And Secretary, I was proud to support you eight years ago, but something happened in between, and that is, Anderson, a Wall Street crash that wiped out millions of jobs and millions of savings for families. And we are still just as vulnerable Paul Volcker says today. We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and that's a huge difference on this stage among us as candidates.

COOPER: Just for viewers at home who may not be reading up on this, Glass-Steagall is the Depression-era banking law repealed in 1999 that prevented commercial banks from engaging in investment banking and insurance activities. Secretary Clinton, he raises a fundamental difference on this stage. Senator Sanders wants to break up the big Wall Street banks. You don't. You say charge the banks more, continue to monitor them. Why is your plan better?

CLINTON: Well, my plan is more comprehensive. And frankly, it's tougher because of course we have to deal with the problem that the banks are still too big to fail. We can never let the American taxpayer and middle class families ever have to bail out the kind of speculative behavior that we saw. But we also have to worry about some of the other players -- AIG, a big insurance company; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank. There's this whole area called "shadow banking." That's where the experts tell me the next potential problem could come from.

CLINTON: So I'm with both Senator Sanders and Governor O'Malley in putting a lot of attention onto the banks.And the plan that I have put forward would actually empower regulators to break up big banks if we thought they posed a risk. But I want to make sure we're going to cover everybody, not what caused the problem last time, but what could cause it next time. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Senator Sanders, Secretary Clinton just said that her policy is tougher than yours.

SANDERS: Well, that's not true. (LAUGHTER)


SANDERS: Let us be clear that the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall Street, where fraud is a business model, helped to destroy this economy and the lives of millions of people. (APPLAUSE) Check the record. In the 1990s -- and all due respect -- in the 1990s, when I had the Republican leadership and Wall Street spending billions of dollars in lobbying, when the Clinton administration, when Alan Greenspan said, "what a great idea it would be to allow these huge banks to merge," Bernie Sanders fought them, and helped lead the opposition to deregulation. (APPLAUSE) Today, it is my view that when you have the three...

COOPER: Senator...

SANDERS: ...largest banks in America -- are much bigger than they were when we bailed them out for being too big to fail, we have got to break them up. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, you have to be able to respond. He brought you up.

CLINTON: Yeah. You know, I -- I respect the passion an intensity. I represented Wall Street, as a senator from New York, and I went to Wall Street in December of 2007 -- before the big crash that we had -- and I basically said, "cut it out! Quit foreclosing on homes! Quit engaging in these kinds of speculative behaviors." I took on the Bush administration for the same thing. So I have thought deeply and long about what we're gonna do to do exactly what I think both the senator and the governor want, which is to rein in and stop this risk. And my plan would have the potential of actually sending the executives to jail. Nobody went to jail after $100 billion in fines were paid...(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: (inaudible)

CLINTON: ...and would give regulators the authority to go after the big banks.

COOPER: Thank you. Thank you. Senator Sanders...

CLINTON: But I'm telling you -- I will say it tonight. If only you look at the big banks, you may be missing the forest for the trees. (CROSSTALK)

WEBB: Bernie, say my name so I can get into this.

SANDERS: I will, just a second.

WEBB: OK. Thank you.(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: I'll tell him. In my view, Secretary Clinton, you do not -- Congress does not regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress. (APPLAUSE) And we have gotta break off these banks. Going to them...


SANDERS: ...and saying, "please, do the right thing"...

CLINTON: ...no, that's not what...

SANDERS: ...is kind of naive.

CLINTON: ...that -- I think Dodd-Frank was a very...

WEBB: Anderson, I need to jump in (inaudible).

CLINTON: ...good start, and I think that we have to implement it. We have to prevent the Republicans from ripping it apart. We have to save the Consumer Financial Protection board, which is finally beginning to act to protect consumers. (APPLAUSE) We have work to do. You've got no argument from me. But I know, if we don't come in with a very tough and comprehensive approach, like the plan I'm recommending, we're gonna be behind instead of ahead...

COOPER: Governor O'Malley? Where do you stand?

CLINTON: ...on what the next crisis could be.

O'MALLEY: Anderson, look, this is -- the big banks -- I mean, once we repealed Glass-Steagall back in the late 1999s (ph), the big banks, the six of them, went from controlling, what, the equivalent of 15 percent of our GDP to now 65 percent of our GDP. And -- (inaudible) right before this debate, Secretary Clinton's campaign put out a lot of reversals on positions on Keystone and many other things. But one of them that we still have a great difference on, Madam Secretary, is that you are not for Glass-Steagall. You are not for putting a firewall between this speculative, risky shadow banking behavior. I am, and the people of our country need a president who's on their side, willing to protect the Main Street economy from recklessness on Wall Street. We have to fulfill...

COOPER: Secretary Clinton...

O'MALLEY: ...our promise.

COOPER: I have to let you respond. (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Well, you know, everybody on this stage has changed a position or two. We've been around a cumulative quite some period of time. (LAUGHTER) You know, we know that if you are learning, you're gonna change your position. I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone. But I have been on the forefront of dealing with climate change, starting in 2009, when President Obama and I crashed (ph) a meeting with the Chinese and got them to sign up to the first international agreement to combat climate change that they'd ever joined. So I'm...

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: ...not taking a back seat to anybody on my values...

COOPER: Thank...

CLINTON: ...my principles and the results that I get.

COOPER: Senator Sanders... (APPLAUSE) Senator Sanders, in 2008, congressional leaders were told, without the 2008 bailout, the U.S. was possibly days away from a complete meltdown. Despite that, you still voted against it. As president, would you stand by your principles if it risked the country's financial stability?

SANDERS: Well, I remember that meeting very well. I remember it like it was yesterday. Hank Paulson, Bernanke came in, and they say, "guys, the economy is going to collapse because Wall Street is going under. It's gonna take the economy with them." And you know what I said to Hank Paulson? I said, "Hank, your guys -- you come from Goldman Sachs. Your millionaire and billionaire friends caused this problem. How about your millionaire and billionaire friends paying for the bailout, not working families in this country?" So to answer your question, no, I would not have let the economy collapse. But it was wrong to ask the middle class to bail out Wall Street. And by the way, I want Wall Street now to help kids in this country go to college, public colleges and universities, free with a Wall Street speculation tax. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We're going to talk about that in a minute. But, Senator Webb, I want to get you in. You have said neither party has the guts to take on Wall Street. Is the system rigged?

WEBB: There is a reality that I think we all need to recognize with respect to the power of the financial sector. And let me just go back a minute and say that on this TARP program, I introduced a piece of legislation calling for a windfall profits tax on the executives of any of these companies that got more than $5 billion, that it was time for them, once they got their compensation and their bonus, to split the rest of the money they made with the nurses and the truck drivers and the soldiers who bailed them out. With respect to the financial sector, I mean, I know that my time has run out but in speaking of changing positions and the position on how this debate has occurred is kind of frustrating because unless somebody mentions my name I can't get into the discussion.

COOPER: You agreed to these rules and you're wasting time. So if you would finish your answer, we'll move on.

WEBB: All right. Well, I'm trying to set a mark here so maybe we can get into a little more later on. This hasn't been equal time. But if you want to look at what has happened, if we look at the facts in terms of how we're going to deal with this, since that crash, in the last 10 years, the amount of the world's capital economy that Wall Street manages has gone from 44 percent to 55 percent. That means the Wall Street money managers are not risking themselves as the same way the American people are when they're going to get their compensation. They're managing money from all over the world. We have to take that into consideration when we're looking at ways to regulate it.

COOPER: Governor Chafee, you have attacked Secretary Clinton for being too close to Wall Street banks. In 1999 you voted for the very bill that made banks bigger.

CHAFEE: The Glass-Steagall was my very first vote, I'd just arrived, my dad had died in office, I was appointed to the office, it was my very first vote.

COOPER: Are you saying you didn't know what you were voting for?

CHAFEE: I'd just arrived at the Senate. I think we'd get some takeovers, and that was one. It was my very first vote, and it was 92-5. It was the...

COOPER: Well, with all due respect, Governor...

CHAFEE: But let me just say...

COOPER: ... what does that say about you that you're casting a vote for something you weren't really sure about?

CHAFEE: I think you're being a little rough. I'd just arrived at the United States Senate. I'd been mayor of my city. My dad had died. I'd been appointed by the governor. It was the first vote and it was 90-5, because it was a conference report. But let me just say about income inequality. We've had a lot of talk over the last few minutes, hours, or tens of minutes, but no one is saying how we're going to fix it. And it all started with the Bush tax cuts that favored the wealthy. So let's go back to the tax code. And 0.6 percent of Americans are at the top echelon, over 464,000, 0.6 Americans. That's less than 1 percent. But they generate 30 percent of the revenue. And they're doing fine.

COOPER: Thank you, Governor.

CHAFEE: So there's still a lot more money to be had from this top echelon. I'm saying let's have another tier and put that back into the tax bracket. And that will generate $42 billion.

COOPER: I want to bring in Dana Bash.

CHAFEE: And then we can help the middle class and hard-earning Americans -- hard-working Americans.


BASH: Thank you. CNN visited college campuses, along with Facebook. And not surprisingly college affordability was among the most pressing issue. Senator Sanders, you've mentioned a couple of times you do have a plan to make public colleges free for everyone. Secretary Clinton has criticized that in saying she's not in favor of making a college free for Donald Trump's kids. Do you think taxpayers should pick up the tab for wealthy children?

SANDERS: Well, let me tell you, Donald Trump and his billionaire friends under my policies are going to pay a hell of a lot more in taxes today -- taxes in the future than they're paying today. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: But in terms of education, this is what I think. This is the year 2015. A college degree today, Dana, is the equivalent of what a high school degree was 50 years ago. And what we said 50 years ago and a hundred years ago is that every kid in this country should be able to get a high school education regardless of the income of their family. I think we have to say that is true for everybody going to college. I think we don't need a complicated system, which the secretary is talking about, the income goes down, the income goes down, if you're poor you have to work, and so forth and so on. I pay for my program, by the way, through a tax on Wall Street speculation, which will not only make public colleges and universities tuition-free, it will substantially lower interest rates on college debt, a major crisis in this country. (APPLAUSE)

BASH: And, Secretary Clinton, it's not just college tuition that Senator Sanders is talking about, expanding Social Security and giving all Americans Medicare. What's wrong with that?

CLINTON: Well, let me address college affordability, because I have a plan that I think will really zero in on what the problems are. First, all the 40 million Americans who currently have student debt will be able to refinance their debt to a low interest rate. That will save thousands of dollars for people who are now struggling under this cumbersome, burdensome college debt. As a young student in Nevada said to me, the hardest thing about going to college should not be paying for it. So then we have to make it more affordable. How do we make it more affordable? My plan would enable anyone to go to a public college or university tuition free. You would not have to borrow money for tuition. But I do believe -- and maybe it's because I worked when I went through college; I worked when I went through law school -- I think it's important for everybody to have some part of getting this accomplished. That's why I call it a compact.

BASH: Secretary Clinton...

CLINTON: But, yes, I would like students to work 10 hours a week...

BASH: Can you answer the...

SANDERS: ... in order to make it possible for them to afford their education. And I want colleges to get their costs down. They are outrageously high in what they're charging.

BASH: Secretary Clinton, the question was not just about tuition, though. It was about Senator Sanders' plan to expand Social Security, to make Medicare available to all Americans. Is that something that you would support? And if not, why not?

CLINTON: Well, I fully support Social Security. And the most important fight we're going to have is defending it against continuing Republican efforts to privatize it.

BASH: Do you want to expand it?

CLINTON: I want to enhance the benefits for the poorest recipients of Social Security. We have a lot of women on Social Security, particularly widowed and single women who didn't make a lot of money during their careers, and they are impoverished, and they need more help from the Social Security system. And I will focus -- I will focus on helping those people who need it the most. And of course I'm going to defend Social Security. I'm going to look for ways to try to make sure it's solvent into the future. And we also need to talk about health care at some time, because we agree on the goals, we just disagree on the means.

SANDERS: When the Republicans -- when the Republicans in the Congress and some Democrats were talking about cutting Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans, for the so-called chained CPI, I founded a caucus called the Defending Social Security Caucus. My view is that when you have millions of seniors in this country trying to get by -- and I don't know how they do on $11,000, $12,000, $13,000 a year -- you don't cut Social Security, you expand it. And the way you expand it is by lifting the cap on taxable incomes so that you do away with the absurdity of a millionaire paying the same amount into the system as somebody making $118,000. You do that, Social Security is solvent until 2061 and you can expand benefits. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Senator Sanders, I want to bring it over to Juan Carlos Lopez from CNN en Espanol. We're obviously in Nevada. It's had the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants of any state in the country as of last year. Juan Carlos?

LOPEZ: Gracias, Anderson. Senator Sanders, in 2013, you voted for immigration reform. But in 2007, when Democrats controlled Congress and the Bush White House was onboard, you voted against it. Why should Latino voters trust you now when you left them at the altar at the moment when reform was very close?

SANDERS: I didn't leave anybody at the altar. I voted against that piece of legislation because it had guest-worker provisions in it which the Southern Poverty Law Center talked about being semi-slavery. Guest workers are coming in, they're working under terrible conditions, but if they stand up for their rights, they're thrown out of the country. I was not the only progressive to vote against that legislation for that reason. Tom Harkin, a very good friend of Hillary Clinton's and mine, one of the leading labor advocates, also voted against that.

LOPEZ: Tom Harkin isn't running for president. You are.

SANDERS: I know that. But point being is that progressives did vote against that for that reason. My view right now -- and always has been -- is that when you have 11 million undocumented people in this country, we need comprehensive immigration reform, we need a path toward citizenship, we need to take people out of the shadows.

O'MALLEY: And Juan Carlos -- Juan Carlos...

LOPEZ: Secretary Clinton -- Secretary Clinton, Governor O'Malley wants to open up Obamacare to millions of undocumented immigrants and their children, including almost 90,000 people right here in Nevada. Do you?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I want to make sure every child gets health care. That's why I helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program, and I want to support states that are expanding health care and including undocumented children and others. I want to open up the opportunity for immigrants to be able to buy in to the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. I think to go beyond that, as I understand what Governor O'Malley has recommended, so that they would get the same subsidies. I think that is -- it raises so many issues. It would be very difficult to administer, it needs to be part of a comprehensive immigration reform, when we finally do get to it.

LOPEZ: Governor O'Malley?

O'MALLEY: Juan Carlos, I think what you've heard up here is some of the old thinking on immigration reform, and that's why it's gridlocked. We need to understand that our country is stronger in every generation by the arrival of new American immigrants. That is why I have put out a policy for comprehensive immigration reform, that is why I would go further than President Obama has on DACA, and DAPA. I mean, we are a nation of immigrants, we are made stronger by immigrants. Do you think for a second that simply because somebody's standing in a broken que on naturalization they're not going to go to the hospital, and that care isn't going to fall on to our insurance rates? I am for a generous, compassionate America that says we're all in this together. We need comprehensive

COOPER: Senator Webb...

O'MALLEY: ...immigration reform. It'll make wages go up in America $250 for every year.

LOPEZ: Senator Webb, do you support the undocumented immigrants getting Obamacare?

WEBB: I wouldn't have a problem with that. Let me start by saying my wife is an immigrant. She was a refugee, her family escaped from Vietnam on a boat-- her entire extended family, after the communists took over, when hundreds of thousands of people were out there and thousands of them were dying. Went to two refugee camps, she never spoke English in her home, and she ended, as I said, graduating from Cornell Law School. That's not only American dream, that's a value that we have with a good immigration system in place. No country has -- is a country without defining its borders. We need to resolve this issue. I actually introduced an amendment in the 2007 immigration bill...

LOPEZ: ...Thank you, Senator.

WEBB: ...Giving a pathway to citizenship to those people who had come here, and put down their roots, and met as a series of standards...

COOPER: ...Thank you, Senator.

WEBB: ...lost (ph) -- I introduced that in 2007 -- We need a comprehensive reform, and we need to be able to define our borders.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: I want to follow up because I think underneath Juan Carlos' important questions, there is such a difference between everything you're hearing here on this stage, and what we hear from the Republicans. (APPLAUSE)


CLINTON: Demonize hard-working immigrants who have insulted them. You know, I came to Las Vegas in, I think, May. Early may. Met with a group of DREAMers, I wish everybody in America could meet with this young people, to hear their stories, to know their incredible talent, their determination, and that's why I would go further...

COOPER: ...Secretary...

CLINTON: ...than even the executive orders that President Obama has signed when I'm president. (CROSS TALK)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, let me ask you. Two of your rivals from your left, Governor O'Malley, and Senator Sanders, want to provide instate college tuition to undocumented immigrants. Where do you stand on that?

CLINTON: My plan would support any state that takes that position, and would work with those states and encourage more states to do the same thing.

COOPER: So, on the record, you believe that undocumented immigrants should get instate college tuition.

CLINTON: If their states agree, then we want more states to do the same thing.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley?

O'MALLEY: Anderson, we actually did this in my state of Maryland. We passed... (APPLAUSE)

O'MALLEY: We passed a state version of the DREAM Act... (CHEERING)

O'MALLEY: ...And a lot of the xenophobes, the immigrant haters like some that we've heard like, Donald Trump, that carnival barker in the Republican party... (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

O'MALLEY: Tried to mischaracterize it as free tuition for illegal immigrants. But, we took our case to the people when it was petitioned to referendum, and we won with 58 percent of the vote. The more our children learn, the more they will earn, and that's true of children who have yet to be naturalized...

COOPER: ...Senator...

O'MALLEY: ...but will become American citizens...

COOPER: Senator Sanders, you talked about your record on the Veteran affairs committee. You served on that committee for the last eight years, including two years as its chairman while veterans died waiting for health care. You and Senator McCain ultimately addressed the issue with bi-partisan legislation. Why did it take 18 Inspector General reports, and a CNN investigation, and others, before you and your colleagues took action?

SANDERS: Well, I was chairman for two years, and when I was chairman we did take action. What we did is pass a $15 billion dollar piece of legislation which brought in many, many new doctors, and nurses into the V.A. so that veterans in this country could get the health care when they needed it, and not be on long waiting lines. And, the other part of that legislation said that if a veteran is living more than 40 miles away from a V.A. facility, that veteran could get health care from the community health center, or the private sector. As a result of that legislation, we went further in than any time in recent history in improving health care for the men and women of this country who put their lives on the line to defend them.

COOPER: Governor Chafee, you and Hillary Clinton both voted for the Patriot Act which created the NSA surveillance program. You've emphasized civil liberties, privacy during your campaign. Aren't these two things in conflict?

CHAFEE: No, that was another 99 to one vote for the Patriot Act, and it was seen as at the time modernizing our ability to do what we've always done to tap phones which always required a warrant. And I voted for that.

COOPER: Do you regret that vote?

CHAFEE: No, no. As long as you're getting a warrant, I believe that under the Fourth Amendment, you should be able to do surveillance, but you need a warrant. That's what the Fourth Amendment says. And in the Patriot Act, section 215 started to get broadened too far. So I would be in favor of addressing and reforming section 215 of the Patriot Act.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, do you regret your vote on the Patriot Act?

CLINTON: No, I don't. I think that it was necessary to make sure that we were able after 9/11 to put in place the security that we needed. And it is true that it did require that there be a process. What happened, however, is that the Bush administration began to chip away at that process. And I began to speak out about their use of warrantless surveillance and the other behavior that they engaged in. We always have to keep the balance of civil liberties, privacy and security. It's not easy in a democracy, but we have to keep it in mind.

COOPER: Senator -- Senator Sanders, you're the only one on this stage who voted against the Patriot Act in 2001...(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: It was 99 to one and I was maybe the one. I don't know.

COOPER: ... and the reauthorization votes. Let me ask you, if elected, would you shut down the NSA surveillance program?

SANDERS: I'm sorry?

COOPER: Would you shut down the NSA surveillance program?

SANDERS: Absolutely. Of course.

COOPER: You would, point blank.

SANDERS: Well, I would shut down -- make -- I'd shut down what exists right now is that virtually every telephone call in this country ends up in a file at the NSA. That is unacceptable to me. But it's not just government surveillance. I think the government is involved in our e-mails; is involved in our websites. Corporate America is doing it as well. If we are a free country, we have the right to be free. Yes, we have to defend ourselves against terrorism, but there are ways to do that without impinging on our constitutional rights and our privacy rights.

O'MALLEY (?): Anderson, the NSA...

COOPER: Governor Chafee, Edward Snowden, is he a traitor or a hero?

CHAFEE: No, I would bring him home. The courts have ruled that what he did -- what he did was say the American...


COOPER: Bring him home, no jail time?

CHAFEE: ... the American government was acting illegally. That's what the federal courts have said; what Snowden did showed that the American government was acting illegally for the Fourth Amendment. So I would bring him home.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, hero or traitor?

CLINTON: He broke the laws of the United States. He could have been a whistleblower. He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower. He could have raised all the issues that he has raised. And I think there would have been a positive response to that.

COOPER: Should he do jail time?

ClINTON: In addition -- in addition, he stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands. So I don't think he should be brought home without facing the music.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, Snowden? (APPLAUSE)

O'MALLEY: Anderson, Snowden put a lot of Americans' lives at risk. Snowden broke the law. Whistleblowers do not run to Russia and try to get protection from Putin. If he really believes that, he should be back here.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, Edward Snowden?

SANDERS: I think Snowden played a very important role in educating the American people to the degree in which our civil liberties and our constitutional rights are being undermined.

COOPER: Is he a hero?

SANDERS: He did -- he did break the law, and I think there should be a penalty to that. But I think what he did in educating us should be taken into consideration before he is (inaudible)

COOPER: Senator Webb, Edward Snowden?

WEBB: I -- well, I -- I would leave his ultimate judgment to the legal system. Here's what I do believe. We have a serious problem in terms of the collection of personal information in this country. And one of the things that I did during the FISA bill in 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was introduce with Russ Feingold two amendments basically saying, "We understand the realities of how you have to collect this broad information in the Internet age, but after a certain period of time, you need to destroy the personal information that you have if people have not been brought -- if criminal justice proceedings have not been brought against them." We've got a vast data bank of information that is ripe for people with bad intentions to be able to use. And they need to be destroyed.

COOPER: Another -- another question for each of you, starting with Governor Chafee. Name the one thing -- the one way that your administration would not be a third term of President Obama.

CHAFEE: Certainly, ending the wars. We've got to stop these wars. You have to have a new dynamic, a new paradigm. We just spent a half-billion dollars arming and training soldiers, the rebel soldiers in Syria. They quickly join the other side. We bombed the... (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: President Obama's generals right now are suggesting keeping troops in Afghanistan after the time he wanted them pulled out. Would you keep them there?

CHAFEE: I'd like to finish my question -- my answer. And also we just bombed a hospital. We've had drone strikes that hit civilian weddings. So I would change how we -- our approach to the Middle East. We need a new paradigm in the Middle East.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, how would you be different than President Obama's administration?

O'MALLEY: I would follow through on the promise that the American people thought we made as Democratic Party, to protect the Main Street economy from recklessness on Wall Street. I would push to separate out these too-big-to-jail, too-big-to-fail banks, and put in place Glass-Steagall, a modern Glass-Steagall that creates a firewall so that this wreckage of our economy can never happen again.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, how would you not be a third term of President Obama?

CLINTON: Well, I think that's pretty obvious. I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we've had up until this point, including President Obama.

COOPER: Is there a policy difference?

CLINTON: Well, there's a lot that I would like to do to build on the successes of President Obama, but also, as I'm laying out, to go beyond. And that's in my economic plans, how I would deal with the prescription drug companies, how I would deal with college, how I would deal with a full range of issues that I've been talking about throughout this campaign to go further.

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: I have a lot of respect for president Obama. I have worked with him time and time again on many, many issues. But here's where I do disagree. I believe that the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of the drug companies, the power of the corporate media is so great that the only way we really transform America and do the things that the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution when millions of people begin to come together and stand up and say: Our government is going to work for all of us, not just a handful of billionaires. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Webb, how would you not be a third term for Obama?

WEBB: I got a great deal of admiration and affection for Senator Sanders, but I -- Bernie, I don't think the revolution's going to come. And I don't think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff. And if there would be a major difference between my administration and the Obama administration, it would be in the use of executive authority. I came up as a committee counsel in the Congress, used to put dozens of bills through the House floor every year as a committee counsel on the Veterans Committee. I have a very strong feeling about how our federal system works and how we need to lead and energize the congressional process instead of allowing these divisions to continue to paralyze what we're doing. So I would lead -- working with both parties in the Congress and working through them in the traditional way that our Constitution sets (ph).

COOPER: Senator Sanders, he cited you. You don't hear a lot of Democratic presidential candidates talking about revolution. What do you mean?

SANDERS: What I mean is that we need to have one of the larger voter turnouts in the world, not one of the lowest. We need to raise public consciousness. We need the American people to know what's going on in Washington in a way that today they do not know. (APPLAUSE) And when people come together in a way that does not exist now and are prepared to take on the big money interest, then we could bring the kind of change we need.

O'MALLEY: Anderson, I actually have talked about a revolution. What we need is a green energy revolution. We need to move America to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050 and create 5 million jobs along the way.

COOPER: And we want to -- and we're going to talk more about climate change and environmental issues coming up. Some of the candidates have tried marijuana, as have pretty much -- probably everybody in this room. (LAUGHTER) Others have not. Does that influence -- does it influence their views on legalization? Find out that and others ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to this CNN Democratic presidential debate. It has been quite a night so far. We are in the final block of this debate. All the candidates are back, which I'm very happy to see. (LAUGHTER)

COOPER: It's a long story. Let's continue, shall we? Secretary Clinton, welcome back.

CLINTON: Well, thank you. (LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: You know, it does take me a little longer. That's all I can say.

COOPER: That's right. Secretary Clinton, Governor O'Malley says the presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth between two royal families. This year has been the year of the outsider in politics, just ask Bernie Sanders. Why should Democrats embrace an insider like yourself?

CLINTON: Well, I can't think of anything more of an outsider than electing the first woman president, but I'm not just running because I would be the first woman president. (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: I'm running because I have a lifetime of experience in getting results and fighting for people, fighting for kids, for women, for families, fighting to even the odds. And I know what it takes to get things done. I know how to find common ground and I know how to stand my ground. And I think we're going to need both of those in Washington to get anything that we're talking about up here accomplished. So I'm very happy that I have both the commitment of a lifetime and the experience of a lifetime to bring together to offer the American people.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, do you want to tell Secretary Clinton why she shouldn't get the crown?

O'MALLEY: Well, actually, you know, we had this conversation. And I will share with you that I've traveled all around the country, Anderson, and there's two phrases I keep hearing again and again and again. And they're the phrases "new leadership" and "getting things done." We cannot be this dissatisfied with our gridlocked national politics and an economy where 70 percent of us are earning the same or less than we were 12 years ago, and think that a resort to old names is going to move us forward. I respect what Secretary Clinton and her husband have done for our country. But our country needs new leadership to move forward.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, you have to be able to respond, if you want.

CLINTON: Well, I would not ask anyone to vote for me based on my last name. I would ask them to listen to what I'm proposing, look at what I've accomplished in the Senate, as secretary of of state, and then draw your own conclusion. I certainly am not campaigning to become president because my last name is Clinton. I'm campaigning because I think I have the right combination of what the country needs, at this point, and I think I can take the fight to the Republicans, because we cannot afford a Republican to succeed Barack Obama as president of the United States.

COOPER: (inaudible). (APPLAUSE) Senator Sanders, does she have the right stuff?

SANDERS: I think -- I think that there is profound frustration all over this country with establishment politics. I am the only candidate running for president who is not a billionaire, who has raised substantial sums of money, and I do not have a super PAC. (APPLAUSE) I am not raising money from millionaires and billionaires, and in fact, tonight, in terms of what a political revolution is about, there are 4,000 house parties -- 100,000 people in this country -- watching this debate tonight who want real change in this country.

COOPER: we've got -- we -- a lot of questions we've got about climate change, and we're gonna go to Don Lemon. Don?

LEMON: All right. This one is for Martin O'Malley. Anderson, Governor O'Malley, this is from Anna Bettis from Tempe, Arizona. Here it is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: As a young person, I'm very concerned about climate change and how it will affect my future. As a presidential candidate, what will you do to address climate change? (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Governor O'Malley, please tell Anna how you would protect the environment better than all the other candidates up on that stage.

O'MALLEY: Yeah. Anna, I have put forward a plan -- and I'm the only candidate, I believe, in either party to do this -- to move America forward to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050. We did not land a man on the moon with an all-of-the-above strategy. It was an intentional engineering challenge, and we solved it as a nation. And our nation must solve this one. So I put forward the plan that would extend the investor tax credits for solar and for wind. If you go across Iowa, you see that 30 percent of their energy now comes from wind. We're here in Las Vegas, one of the most sustainable cities in America, doing important things in terms of green building, architecture and design. We can get there as a nation, but it's going to require presidential leadership. And as president, I intend to sign as my very first order in office the -- an order that moves us as a nation and dedicates our resources to solving this problem and moving us to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050.

COOPER: Governor...

O'MALLEY: We can do it.

COOPER: ...Governor O'Malley, thank you very much. (APPLAUSE) Senator Webb, you have a very different view than just about anybody else on this stage, and unlike a lot of Democrats. You're pro- coal, you're pro-offshore drilling, you're pro-Keystone pipeline. Are -- again, are you -- the question is, are you out of step with the Democratic party?

WEBB: Well, the -- the question really is how are we going to solve energy problems here and in the global environment if you really want to address climate change? And when I was in the Senate, I was an all-of-the-above energy voter. We introduced legislation to bring in alternate energy as well as nuclear power. I'm a strong proponent of nuclear power. It is safe, it is clean. And really, we are not going to solve climate change simply with the laws here. We've done a good job in this country since 1970. If you look at China and India, they're the greatest polluters in the world. Fifteen out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in one of those two countries. We need to solve this in a global way. It's a global problem and I have been very strong on -- on doing that. The -- the agreements -- the so-called agreements that we have had with China are illusory in terms of the immediate requirements of the -- of the Chinese government itself. So let's solve this problem in an international way, and then we really will have a -- a way to address climate change.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, are you tougher on -- on climate change than Secretary Clinton?

SANDERS: Well, I will tell you this. I believe -- and Pope Francis made this point. This is a moral issue. The scientists are telling us that we need to move extremely boldly. I am proud that, along with Senator Barbara Boxer, a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation which called for a tax on carbon. And let me also tell you that nothing is gonna happen unless we are prepared to deal with campaign finance reform, because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change... (APPLAUSE) ... and certainly is not prepared to go forward aggressively. This is a moral issue. We have got to be extremely aggressive in working with China, India, Russia.

COOPER: Senator -- thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: The planet -- the future of the planet is at stake.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, I want you to be able to respond, then I'm gonna go to (ph) (inaudible).

CLINTON: Well, that -- that's exactly what I've been doing. When we met in Copenhagen in 2009 and, literally, President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese, going throughout this huge convention center, because we knew we had to get them to agree to something. Because there will be no effective efforts against climate change unless China and India join with the rest of the world. They told us they'd left for the airport; we found out they were having a secret meeting. We marched up, we broke in, we said, "We've been looking all over for you. Let's sit down and talk about what we need to do." And we did come up with the first international agreement that China has signed. Thanks to President Obama's leadership, it's now gone much further.

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: And I do think that the bilateral agreement that President Obama made with the Chinese was significant. Now, it needs to go further, and there will be an international meeting at the end of this year, and we must get verifiable commitments to fight climate change from every country gathered there.

COOPER: Dana Bash?

BASH: Secretary Clinton, you now support mandated paid family leave.

CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

BASH: Carly Fiorina, the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company, argues, if the government requires paid leave, it will force small businesses to, quote, "hire fewer people and create fewer jobs." What do you say not only to Carly Fiorina, but also a small-business owner out there who says, you know, I like this idea, but I just can't afford it?

CLINTON: Well, I'm surprised she says that, because California has had a paid leave program for a number of years. And it's...

BASH: It's on the federal level.

CLINTON: Well, but all -- well, on a state level, a state as big as many countries in the world. And it has not had the ill effects that the Republicans are always saying it will have. And I think this is -- this is typical Republican scare tactics. We can design a system and pay for it that does not put the burden on small businesses. I remember as a young mother, you know, having a baby wake up who was sick and I'm supposed to be in court, because I was practicing law. I know what it's like. And I think we need to recognize the incredible challenges that so many parents face, particularly working moms. I see my good friend, Senator Gillibrand, in the front row. She's been a champion of this. We need to get a consensus through this campaign, which is why I'm talking about it everywhere I go, and we need to join the rest of the advanced world in having it.

BASH: But Secretary -- Secretary Clinton, even many people who agree with you might say, look, this is very hard to do, especially in today's day and age. There are so many people who say, "Really? Another government program? Is that what you're proposing? And at the expense of taxpayer money?"

CLINTON: Well, look, you know, when people say that -- it's always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say, "You can't have paid leave, you can't provide health care." They don't mind having big government to interfere with a woman's right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They're fine with big government when it comes to that. I'm sick of it. (APPLAUSE) You know, we can do these things. (APPLAUSE) We should not be paralyzed -- we should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain, "big government this, big government that," that except for what they want to impose on the American people. I know we can afford it, because we're going to make the wealthy pay for it. That is the way to get it done.

COOPER: Thank you. Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Yeah, Dana, here's the point: Every other major country on Earth, every one, including some small countries, say that when a mother has a baby, she should stay home with that baby. We are the only major country. That is an international embarrassment that we do not provide family -- paid family and medical leave. (APPLAUSE) Second of all, the secretary is right. Republicans tell us we can't do anything except give tax breaks to billionaires and cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That's not what the American people want.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley?

O'MALLEY: Anderson, in our state, we actually expanded family leave. And I have to agree with Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. Look, the genius of our nation is that we find ways in every generation to include more of our people more fully in the economic life of our country, and we need to do that for our families, and especially so that women aren't penalized in having to drop out of the workforce. My wife, Katie, is here with our four kids. And, man, that was a juggle when we had little kids and -- and keeping jobs and moving forwards. We would be a stronger nation economically if we had paid family leave.

COOPER: Governor, thank you. The issue now, particularly in this state, is recreational marijuana. I want to go to Juan Carlos Lopez.

LOPEZ: Thank you, Anderson. Senator Sanders, right here in Nevada, there will be a measure to legalize recreational marijuana on the 2016 ballot. You've said you smoked marijuana twice; it didn't quite work for you. If you were a Nevada resident, how would you vote?

SANDERS: I suspect I would vote yes. (APPLAUSE) And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses. We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away, and yet we are imprisoning or giving jail sentences to young people who are smoking marijuana. I think we have to think through this war on drugs... (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: ...which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need to rethink our criminal justice system, we we've got a lot of work to do in that area.


LOPEZ: Secretary Clinton, you told Christiane Amanpour you didn't smoke pot when you were young, and you're not going to start now. (LAUGHTER)

LOPEZ: When asked about legalizing recreational marijuana, you told her let's wait and see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington. It's been more than a year since you've said that. Are you ready to take a position tonight?

CLINTON: No. I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana, and I think even there we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we're going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief. So, I think we're just at the beginning, but I agree completely with the idea that we have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana. Therefore, we need more states, cities, and the federal government to begin to address this so that we don't have this terrible result that Senator Sanders was talking about where we have a huge population in our prisons for nonviolent, low-level offenses that are primarily due to marijuana.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, thank you. I want to go to Don Lemon with another Facebook question.

LEMON: Alright, Anderson. This is for Senator Sanders, OK? This is from Carrie (ph) Kang (ph) from Manassas, Virginia, would like would like to ask the Senator, "President Obama has had a difficult time getting Republicans to compromise on just about every agenda. How will you approach this going forward, and will it be any different?" Senator?

SANDERS: The Republican party, since I've been in the Senate, and since President Obama has been in office, has played a terrible, terrible role of being total obstructionists. Every effort that he has made, that some of us have made, they have said no, no, no. Now, in my view, the only way we can take on the right wing Republicans who are, by the way, I hope will not continue to control the Senate and the House when one of us elected President... (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: ...But the only way we can get things done is by having millions of people coming together. If we want free tuition at public colleges and universities, millions of young people are going to have to demand it, and give the Republicans an offer they can't refuse. If we want to raise the minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour, workers are going to have to come together and look the Republicans in the eye, and say, "We know what's going on. You vote against us, you are out of your job." (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We're going to hear from all the candidates coming up. We're going to take a short break. More from the candidates in a moment. (APPLAUSE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to the final round of the CNN Democratic presidential debate. This is a question to each of you. Each of you, by the way, are going to have closing statements to make. Each of you will have 90 seconds. But a final question to each of you. If you can, just try to -- 15 seconds if you can. Governor Chafee, Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, "I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made." You've all made a few people upset over your political careers. Which enemy are you most proud of? (LAUGHTER)

CHAFEE: I guess the coal lobby. I've worked hard for climate change and I want to work with the coal lobby. But in my time in the Senate, tried to bring them to the table so that we could address carbon dioxide. I'm proud to be at odds with the coal lobby.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley?

O'MALLEY: The National Rifle Association.(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, in addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians. (LAUGHTER) Probably the Republicans. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: As someone who has taken on probably every special interest that there is in Washington, I would lump Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry at the top of my life of people who do not like me. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Webb?

WEBB: I'd have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he's not around right now to talk to.

COOPER: All right. Time for closing statements. Each of you will have 90 seconds. Governor Chafee, let's begin with you.

CHAFEE: Thank you, Anderson. Thank you, CNN. And thank you, Facebook, for sponsoring this debate. America has many challenges confronting us -- ending the perpetual wars, addressing climate change, addressing income inequality, funding education, funding infrastructure, funding healthcare, helping black Americans, helping Native Americans. We have many challenges. Who is best able to confront these challenges? I've served in government at many levels. I know what it's like to solve problems at the local level because I did it as mayor. I know how to get legislation passed through Congress because I did it as a senator. I know how to turn around a state because I did as governor of Rhode Island. But what I'm most proud of is that in 30 years of public service, I have had no scandals. I have high ethical standards. And what I'm most proud of is my judgment, particularly in the Iraq war vote. There was a lot of pressure -- political pressure, public pressure. But I did my homework and I did not believe that the evidence was there that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And we live now with the consequences.

CHAFEE: So that kind of judgment is what we want in a president going forward. And I'm running for president to end the wars. I want to be the peacemaker. I am a proven peacemaker. Please go to Chafee 2016 to learn more about me. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Governor Chafee, thank you very much. Senator Webb, your final statement for 90 seconds.

WEBB: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, it's been a pleasure to be with you tonight. You've heard a lot of promises up here; you've heard a lot of rhetoric. They all seem to happen during campaigns, and then once the election's over, people start from scratch again and try to get things done. One of the things I can promise you, if you look at my record, in and out of government, is that I've always been willing to take on a complicated, something unpopular issues, and work them through, the complex issues, and work them through in order to have the solution. We did it with criminal justice reform. We've had a lot of discussion here about criminal justice reform. We did it in other ways. We need a national political strategy for our economy, for our social policy, for social justice, and, by the way, for how you run and manage the most complex bureaucracy in the world, which is the federal government. I know how to lead. I did it in Vietnam, I did it in the Pentagon, I did it in the Senate, and if you will help me overcome this cavalcade of -- of financial irregularities and money that is poisoning our political process, I am ready to do that for you in the White House.

COOPER: Senator Webb, thank you very much. Governor O'Malley, you have 90 seconds.

O'MALLEY: Anderson, thank you. I am very, very grateful to have been able to be on this stage with this distinguished group of candidates tonight. And what you heard tonight, Anderson, was a very, very -- and all of you watching at home -- was a very, very different debate than from the sort of debate you heard from the two presidential Republican debates. (APPLAUSE) On this stage -- on this stage, you didn't hear anyone denigrate women, you didn't hear anyone make racist comments about new American immigrants, you didn't hear anyone speak ill of another American because of their religious belief. What you heard instead on this stage tonight was an honest search for the answers that will move our country forward, to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050, to take the actions that we have always taken as Americans so that we can actually attack injustice in our country, employ more of our people, rebuild our cities and towns, educate our children at higher and better levels, and include more of our people in the economic, social, and political life of our country. I truly believe that we are standing on the threshold of a new era of American progress. Unless you've become discouraged about our gridlock in Congress, talk to our young people under 30, because you'll never find among them people that want to bash immigrants or people that want to deny rights to gay couples. (APPLAUSE) That tells me we are moving to a more connected, generous, and compassionate place, and we need to speak to the goodness within our country. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, thank you very much. Senator Sanders, final, closing thoughts, 90 seconds

SANDERS: This is a great country, but we have many, many serious problems. We should not be the country that has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country and more wealth and income inequality than any other country. We should not be the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all of our people as a right of citizenship and we should not be the only major country that does not provide medical and -- and parental leave -- family and parental leave to all of our families. Now, at the end of our day, here is the truth that very few candidates will say, is that nobody up here, certainly no Republican, can address the major crises facing our country unless millions of people begin to stand up to the billionaire class that has so much power over our economy and our political life. Jim Webb is right: Money is pouring in to this campaign through super PACs. We are doing it the old-fashioned way: 650,000 individual contributions. And if people want to help us out, BernieSanders.com.We are averaging $30 bucks apiece. We would appreciate your help. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Thank you very much, Anderson. And thanks to all the viewers who tuned in tonight. I think what you did see is that, in this debate, we tried to deal with some of the very tough issues facing our country. That's in stark contrast to the Republicans who are currently running for president.What you have to ask yourself is: Who amongst us has the vision for actually making the changes that are going to improve the lives of the American people? Who has the tenacity and the ability and the proven track record of getting that done? Now, I revere my late mother, and she gave me a lot of good advice. But one of the best pieces of advice she gave me was, you know, the issue is not whether or not you get knocked down. It's whether you get back up. America's been knocked down. That Great Recession, 9 million people lost their jobs, 5 million lost their homes, $13 trillion in wealth disappeared. And although we've made progress, we're standing but not running the way America needs to. My mission as president will be to raise incomes for hard-working middle-class families and to make sure that we get back to the basic bargain I was raised with: If you work hard and you do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead. Please join me in this campaign. Please come and make it clear that America's best days are still ahead. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Well, that does it for this Democratic presidential debate. On behalf of everyone at CNN, we want to thank the candidates, our debate partners at Facebook, the Wynn Resort, and the Democratic National Committee. Thanks also to Dana Bash, Juan Carlos Lopez, and Don Lemon. We'll be back in Las Vegas December 15th, when CNN hosts our next Republican presidential debate. That will be moderated by my colleague, Wolf Blitzer.


Fourth Democratic Party Presidential debate in Charleston, SC, aired by NBC on Jan 17th, 2016.

Top   Concordance

HOLT: Good evening and welcome to the NBC News Youtube Democratic candidate's debate. After all the campaigning, soon, Americans will have their say with the first votes of the 2016 campaign just 15 days away in Iowa.

HOLT: And New Hampshire not far behind.Tonight will be the final opportunity to see these candidates face to face before the voting begins. Our purpose here tonight is to highlight and examine the differences among the three Democratic candidates. So let's get started. Please welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Martin O'Malley. (APPLAUSE) Well, welcome to all of you. Hope you're excited, we're excited. We want to thank our hosts, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. I'm joined by my colleague Andrea Mitchell tonight. The rules are simple. Sixty seconds for answers, 30 seconds for follow-ups or rebuttals. I know you'll all keep exactly to time, so our job should be pretty easy here tonight. We'll have questions from the Youtube community throughout the debate. This is a critical point in the race. You've been defining your differences with each other especially vigorously in the last week on the campaign trail. We're here to facilitate this conversation on behalf of the voters so that they know exactly where you stand as you face off tonight. Let's have a great debate. We'll begin with 45 second opening statements from each candidate, starting with Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, good evening. And I want to thank the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and the people of Charleston for hosting us here on the eve of Martin Luther King Day tomorrow. You know, I remember well when my youth minister took me to hear Dr King. I was a teenager. And his moral clarity, the message that he conveyed that evening really stayed with me and helped to set me on a path to service. I also remember that he spent the last day of his life in Memphis, fighting for dignity and higher pay for working people. And that is our fight still. We have to get the economy working and incomes rising for everyone, including those who have been left out and left behind. We have to keep our communities and our country safe. We need a president who can do all aspects of the job. I understand that this is the hardest job in the world. I'm prepared and ready to take it on and I hope to earn your support to be the nominee of the Democratic Party and the next president of the United States.(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Thank you. Senator Sanders, your opening statement, sir.

SANDERS: Thank you. As we honor the extraordinary life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, it's important not only that we remember what he stood for, but that we pledge to continue his vision to transform our country. As we look out at our country today, what the American people understand is we have an economy that's rigged, that ordinary Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, 47 million people living in poverty, and almost all of the new income and wealth going to the top one percent.

SANDERS: And then, to make a bad situation worse, we have a corrupt campaign finance system where millionaires and billionaires are spending extraordinary amounts of money to buy elections. This campaign is about a political revolution to not only elect the president, but to transform this country.

HOLT: Senator, thank you. (APPLAUSE) And Governor O'Malley, your opening statement, sir.

O'MALLEY: Thank you. My name is Martin O'Malley, I was born the year Dr King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. And I want to thank the people of South Carolina, not only for hosting our debate here tonight, but also for what you taught all of us in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel Church. You taught us, in fact, in keeping with Dr King's teaching, that love would have the final word when you took down the Confederate flag from your state house; let go of the past and move forward. Eight years ago, you brought forward a new leader in Barack Obama to save our country from the second Great Depression. And that's what he's done. Our country's doing better, we're creating jobs again. But in order to make good on the promise of equal opportunity and equal justice under the law, and we have urgent work to do, and the voices of anger and fear and division that we've heard coming off of the Republican presidential podiums are pretty loud. We need new leadership. We need to come together as a people and build on the good things that President Obama has done. That's why I'm running for president. I need your help, I ask for your vote, and I look forward to moving our country forward once again. Thank you.

HOLT: All right. And Governor, thank you. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: All right, to our first question, now. The first question, I'll be addressing to all of the candidates. President Obama came to office determined to swing for the fences on health care reform. Voters want to know how you would define your presidency? How would you think big? So complete this sentence: in my first 100 days in office, my top three priorities will be -- fill in the blank. Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Well, that's what our campaign is about. It is thinking big. It is understanding that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we should have health care for every man, woman, and child as a right that we should raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour; that we have got to create millions of decent- paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. So, what my first days are about is bringing America together, to end the decline of the middle class, to tell the wealthiest people in this country that yes, they are going to start paying their fair share of taxes, and that we are going to have a government that works for all of us, and not just big campaign contributors.(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, same question, my first 100 days in office, my top three priorities will be.

CLINTON: I would work quickly to present to the Congress my plans for creating more good jobs in manufacturing, infrastructure, clean and renewable energy, raising the minimum wage, and guaranteeing, finally, equal pay for women's work. I would also... (APPLAUSE) I would also be presenting my plans to build on the Affordable Care Act and to improve it by decreasing the out-of-pocket costs by putting a cap on prescription drug costs; by looking for ways that we can put the prescription drug business and the health insurance company business on a more stable platform that doesn't take too much money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans. And third, I would be working, in every way that I knew, to bring our country together. We do have too much division, too much mean-spiritedness. There's a lot we have to do on immigration reform, on voting rights, on campaign finance reform, but we need to do it together. That's how we'll have the kind of country for the 21st century that we know will guarantee our children and grandchildren the kind of future they deserve.(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Governor O'Malley, same question.

O'MALLEY: Thank you. First of all, I would lay out an agenda to make wages go up again for all Americans, rather than down. Equal pay for equal work, making it easier rather than harder for people to join labor unions and bargain collectively for better wages; getting 11 million of our neighbors out of the underground shadow economy by passing comprehensive immigration reform, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, however we can, wherever we can. Secondly, I believe the greatest business opportunity to come to the United States of America in 100 years is climate change. And I put forward a plan to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050 and create 5 million jobs along the way. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Thank you. You've all...

O'MALLEY: Finally -- I'm sorry, that was second, Lester.

O'MALLEY: And third and finally, we need a new agenda for America's cities. We have not had a new agenda for America's cities since Jimmy Carter. We need a new agenda for America cities that will invest in the talents and skills in our people, that will invest in CBVG transportation, infrastructure and transit options, and make our cities the leading edge in this move to a redesigned built clean green energy future that will employ our people.

HOLT: All right governor thank you.

We've all laid out large visions and we're going to cover a lot of the ground you talked about as we continue in the evening. The last couple of weeks of this campaign have featured some of the sharpest exchanges in the race. Let's start with one of them, the issue of guns. Senator Sanders, last week Secretary Clinton called you quote, "a pretty reliable vote for the gun lobby." Right before the debate you changed your position on immunity from lawsuits for gun manufacturers, can you tell us why?

SANDERS: Well, I think Secretary Clinton knows that what she says is very disingenuous. I have a D-minus voting record from the NRA. I was in 1988, there were three candidates running for congress in the state of Vermont, I stood up to the gun lobby and came out and maintained the position that in this country we should not be selling military style assault weapons.I have supported from day one and instant background check to make certain that people who should have guns do not have guns. And that includes people of criminal backgrounds, people who are mentally unstable. I support what President Obama is doing in terms of trying to close the gun show loop holes and I think it should be a federal crime if people act as dormant (ph). We have seen in this city a horrendous tragedy of a crazed person praying with people in the coming up and shooting nine people. This should not be a political issue. What we should be doing is working together. And by the way, as a senator from a rural state that has virtually no gun control, I believe that I am in an excellent position to bring people together to fight the sensible...

HOLT: Senator, but you didn't answer the question that you did change your position on immunity from gun manufacturers. So can you...

SANDERS: What I have said, is that gun manufacturer's liability bill has some good provisions among other things, we've prohibited ammunition that would've killed cops who had protection on. We have child safety protection work on guns in that legislation. And what we also said, "is a small mom and pop gun shop who sells a gun legally to somebody should not be held liable if somebody does something terrible with that gun." So what I said is, " I would re-look at it." We are going to re- look at it and I will support stronger provisions.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, would you like to respond to Senator Sanders.

CLINTON: Yes look, I have made it clear based on Senator Sanders' own record that he has voted with the NRA, with the gun lobby numerous times. He voted against the Brady Bill five times. He voted for what we call, the Charleston Loophole. He voted for immunity from gunmakers and sellers which the NRA said, "was the most important piece of gun legislation in 20 years." He voted to let guns go onto the Amtrak, guns go into National Parks. He voted against doing research to figure out how we can save lives. Let's not forget what this is about, 90 people a day die from gun violence in our country. That's 33,000 people a year. One of the most horrific examples not a block from here where we had nine people murdered. Now, I am pleased to hear that Senator Sanders has reversed his position on immunity and I look forward to him joining with those members of congress who have already introduced legislation. There is no other industry in America that was given the total pass that the gun makers and dealers were and that needs to be reversed.

HOLT: All right, Governor O'Malley, you signed tough gun control measures as governor of Maryland and there are a lot Democrats in the audience here in South Carolina who own guns. This conversation might be worrying many of them. They may be hearing, "you want to take my guns. What would you say to them?

O'MALLEY: This is what I would say Lester, look see, I've listened to Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders go back and forth on which of them has the most inconsistent record on gun safety legislation and I would have to agree with both of them. They've both been inconsistent when it comes to this issue.

O'MALLEY: I'm the one candidate on this stage that actually brought people together to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation. This is very personal to me being from Baltimore. I will never forget one occasion visiting a little boy in Johns' Hopkins Hospital, he was getting a birthday haircut, the age of three when drug dealers turned that barbershop into a shooting gallery and that boy's head was pierced with a bullet. And I remember visiting him, it did not kill him - I remember visiting him and his mother in Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was getting a birthday haircut, the age of three when drug dealers turned that barbershop into a shooting gallery, and that boys head was pierced with a bullet. And, I remember visiting him, it did not kill him. I remember visiting him and his mother in Johns Hopkins Hospital. In his diapers (ph) with tubes running in and out of his head, same age as my little boy. So, after the slaughter of the kids in Connecticut last year, we brought people together. We did pass in our state comprehensive gun safety legislation. It did have a ban on combat assault weapons, universal background checks, and you know what? We did not interrupt a single person's hunting season. I've never met a self respecting deer hunter that needed an AR-15 to down a deer. And, so...(APPLAUSE)... we're able to actually do these things.

HOLT: Alright, Governor, thank you.

Secretary Clinton, this is a community that has suffered a lot of heartache in the last year. Of course, as you mentioned, the church shootings. We won't forget the video of Walter Scott being shot in the back while running from police. We understand that a jury will decide whether that police officer was justified, but it plays straight to the fears of many African American men that their lives are cheap. Is that perception, or in your view, is it reality?

CLINTON: Well, sadly it's reality, and it has been heartbreaking, and incredibly outraging to see the constant stories of young men like Walter Scott, as you said, who have been killed by police officers. Their needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. And, that requires a very clear, agenda for retraining police fficers, looking at ways to end racial profiling, finding more ways to really bring the disparities that stalk our country into high relief. One out of three African American men may well end up going to prison. That's the statistic. I want people hear to think what we would be doing if it was one out of three white men, and very often, the black men are arrested, convicted and incarcerated ...(APPLAUSE)...for offensive that do not lead to the same results for white men. So, we have a very serious problem that we can no longer ignore.

HOLT: You time is up. Senator Sanders, my next question is...

SANDERS: ...Well, I -- look...

HOLT: .. It's actually -- actually my next question is to you...

SANDERS: ... Let me respond to what the secretary said. We have a criminal justice system which is broken. Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth, including China? Disproportionately African American, and Latino. Who is satisfied that 51% of African American young people are either unemployed, or underemployed? Who is satisfied that millions of people have police records for possessing marijuana when the CEO's of Wall Street companies who destroyed our economy have no police records.(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Senator Sanders...

SANDERS: ... We need to take a very hard look at our....

HOLT: Senator. Senator Sanders...

SANDERS: ... criminal justice system, investing in jobs, and education not in jails and incarceration .

HOLT: ... Just over a week ago the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Secretary Clinton, not you. He said that choosing her over you was not a hard decision. In fact, our polling shows she's beating you more than two to one among minority voters. How can you be the nominee if you don't have that support?

SANDERS: Well, let me talk about polling.(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: As Secretary Clinton well knows, when this campaign began she was 50 points ahead of me. We were all of three percentage points. Guess what? In Iowa, New Hampshire, the race is very, very close. Maybe we're ahead New Hampshire. (CHEERING)

SANDERS: In terms of polling, guess what? We are running ahead of Secretary Clinton. In terms of taking on my taking on my good friend, Donald Trump, beating him by 19 points in New Hampshire, 13 points in the last national poll that we saw. To answer your question. When the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice -- just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we're on a path to a victory. (APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

O'MALLEY: Lester, I (inaudible)

HOLT: Governor, I'm going to come to you in a second. Google searches for the words, "Black Lives Matter" surpassed, "civil rights movement". And, here in South Carolina, "black lives matter" was the number one trending political issue.

HOLT: Governor O'Malley, you've campaigned on your record as governor of Maryland, and before that, the mayor of Baltimore. Last year, of course, Baltimore was rocked by violent unrest in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray. And right from the start of your campaign, you've been dogged by those who blame your tough-on-crime, so-called zero tolerance policies as mayor for contributing to that unrest. What responsibility do you bear?

O'MALLEY: Yes, let's talk about this. When I ran for mayor in 1999, Lester, it was not because our city was doing well. It was because we were burying over 300 young, poor black men every single year. And that's why I ran, because, yes, black lives matter. And we did a number of things. We weren't able to make our city immune from setbacks as the Freddie Gray unrest and tragic death showed.But we were able to save a lot of lives doing things that actually worked to improve police and community relations. The truth of the matter is, we created a civilian review board. And many of these things are in the new agenda for criminal justice reform that I've put forward. We created a civilian review board, gave them their own detectives. We required the reporting of discourtesy, use of excessive force, lethal force. I repealed the possession of marijuana as a crime in our state.I drove our incarceration rate down to 20-year lows, and drove violent crime down to 30-year lows, and became the first governor south of the Mason-Dixon line to repeal the death penalty. I feel a responsibility every day to find things that work... (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: All right. Let's talk...

O'MALLEY: ... and to do more of them to reform our criminal justice system.

HOLT: Let's talk more about policing and the criminal justice system. Senator Sanders, a few times tonight we're going to hear from some of the most prominent voices on YouTube, starting with Franchesca Ramsey, who tackles racial stereotypes through her videos. Let's watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANCHESCA RAMSEY: Hey, I'm Franchesca Ramsey. I believe there's a huge conflict of interest when local prosecutors investigate cases of police violence within their own communities. For example, last month, the officers involved in the case of 12- year-old Tamir Rice weren't indicted. How would your presidency ensure that incidents of police violence are investigated and prosecuted fairly? (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLT: Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: I apologize for not hearing all of that question.

HOLT: Would you like me to read it back to you?


HOLT: Prosecutors -- "I believe there's a huge conflict of interest when local prosecutors investigate cases of police violence within their communities. Most recently, we saw this with a non- indictment of the officers involved in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. How would you presidency ensure incidents of police violence are investigated and prosecuted fairly?"

SANDERS: Absolutely. This is a responsibility for the U.S. Justice Department to get involved. Whenever anybody in this country is killed while in police custody, it should automatically trigger a U.S. attorney general's investigation.(APPLAUSE) Second of all, and I speak as a mayor who worked very closely and well with police officers, the vast majority of whom are honest, hard- working people trying to do a difficult job, but let us be clear. If a police officer breaks the law, like any public official, that officer must be held accountable.(APPLAUSE)And thirdly, we have got to de-militarize our police departments so they don't look like occupying armies. We've got to move toward community policing. And fourthly, we have got to make our police departments look like the communities they serve in their diversity.(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, this question is for you. Tonight parts of America are in the grip of a deadly heroin epidemic, spanning race and class, hitting small towns and cities alike. It has become a major issue in this race. In a lot of places where you've been campaigning, despite an estimated trillion dollars spent, many say the war on drugs has failed. So what would you do?

CLINTON: Well, Lester, you're right. Everywhere I go to campaign, I'm meeting families who are affected by the drug problem that mostly is opioids and heroin now, and lives are being lost and children are being orphaned. And I've met a lot of grandparents who are now taking care of grandchildren. So I have tried to come out with a comprehensive approach that, number one, does tell the states that we will work with you from the federal government putting more money, about a billion dollars a year, to help states have a different approach to dealing with this epidemic. The policing needs to change. Police officers must be equipped with the antidote to a heroin overdose or an opioid overdose, known as Narcan. They should be able to administer it. So should firefighters and others. We have to move away from treating the use of drugs as a crime and instead, move it to where it belongs, as a health issue. And we need to divert more people from the criminal justice system into drug courts, into treatment, and recovery.

HOLT: And that's time.

CLINTON: So this is the kind of approach that we should take in dealing with what is now...

HOLT: Senator...

CLINTON: ... a growing epidemic.

HOLT: Senator Sanders, would you like to respond?

SANDERS: Sure. I agree... (APPLAUSE) I agree with everything the Secretary said, but let me just add this, there is a responsibility on the part of the pharmaceutical industry and the drug companies who are producing all of these drugs and not looking at the consequence of it. And second of all, when we talk about addiction being a disease, the Secretary is right, what that means is we need a revolution in this country in terms of mental health treatment. People should be able to get the treatment that they need when they need it, not two months from now, which is why I believe in universal...

HOLT: That's...

SANDERS: ... healthcare with mental health...

HOLT: ... time.

SANDERS: ... a part of that.

HOLT: We're going to get into all that coming up.

O'MALLEY (?): Lester, just ten seconds.

HOLT: But we're going to take a break and we need to take a break...

O'MALLEY (?): Just 10 seconds. All of the things...

HOLT: ... and when we come back, the anger brewing in America.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLT: Welcome back to Charleston. Let's turn to another area where there has been fierce disagreement -- that would be health care. Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton, you both mentioned it in your 100-day priorities. Let's turn to my colleague, Andrea Mitchell now to lead that questioning.

MITCHELL: Thank you, Lester. Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders favors what he calls "Medicare for all." Now, you said that what he is proposing would tear up Obamacare and replace it. Secretary Clinton, is it fair to say to say that Bernie Sanders wants to kill Obamacare?

CLINTON: Well, Andrea, I am absolutely committed to universal health care. I have worked on this for a long time, people may remember that I took on the health insurance industry back in the '90s, and I didn't quit until we got the children's health insurance program that ensures eight million kids. And I certainly respect Senator Sanders' intentions, but when you're talking about health care, the details really matter. And therefore, we have been raising questions about the nine bills that he introduced over 20 years, as to how they would work and what would be the impact on people's health care? He didn't like that, his campaign didn't like it either. And tonight, he's come out with a new health care plan. And again, we need to get into the details. But here's what I believe, the Democratic Party and the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed. We finally have a path to universal health care. We have accomplished so much already. I do not to want see the Republicans repeal it, and I don't to want see us start over again with a contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it. (APPLAUSE)


MITCHELL: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Secretary -- Secretary Clinton didn't answer your question.(LAUGHTER) Because what her campaign was saying -- Bernie Sanders, who has fought for universal health care for my entire life, he wants to end Medicare, end Medicaid, end the children's health insurance program. That is nonsense. What a Medicare-for-all program does is finally provide in this country health care for every man, woman and child as a right. Now, the truth is, that Frank Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, do you know what they believed in? They believed that health care should be available to all of our people. I'm on the committee that wrote the Affordable Care Act. I made the Affordable Care Act along with Jim Clyburn a better piece of legislation. I voted for it, but right now, what we have to deal with is the fact that 29 million people still have no health insurance. We are paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, getting ripped off. And here's the important point, we are spending far more per person on health care than the people of any other country. My proposal, provide health care to all people, get private insurance out of health insurance, lower the cost of health care for middle class families by 5,000 bucks. That's the vision we need to take. (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: But -- Senator Sanders, if I can... (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: You know, I have to say I'm not sure whether we're talking about the plan you just introduced tonight, or we're talking about the plan you introduced nine times in the Congress. But the fact is, we have the Affordable Care Act. That is one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party, and of our country. (APPLAUSE) And we have already seen 19 million Americans get insurance. We have seen the end of pre-existing conditions keeping people from getting insurance. (APPLAUSE) We have seen women no longer paying more for our insurance than men. And we have seen young people, up to the age of 26, being able to stay on their parent's policy.

SANDERS: But -- what if we have...

CLINTON: Now, there are things we can do to improve it, but to tear it up and start over again, pushing our country back into that kind of a contentious debate, I think is the wrong direction.

SANDERS: It is -- it is absolutely inaccurate.

O'MALLEY: I have to talk about something that's actually working in our state.

MITCHELL: Governor -- Governor Sanders...

SANDERS: No one is tearing this up, we're going to go forward. But with the secretary neglected to mention, not just the 29 million still have no health insurance, that even more are underinsured with huge copayments and deductibles. Tell me why we are spending almost three times more than the British, who guarantee health care to all of their people? Fifty percent more than the French, more than the Canadians. The vision from FDR and Harry Truman was health care for all people as a right in a cost-effective way. We're not going to tear up the Affordable Care Act. I helped write it. But we are going to move on top of that to a Medicaid-for- all system.

O'MALLEY: Andrea -- Andrea -- Andrea. (CROSSTALK) (APPLAUSE)

O'MALLEY: Instead of -- Andrea, I think, instead of attacking one another on health care, we should be talking about the things that are actually working. In our state, we have moved to an all-payer system. With the Affordable Care Act, we now have moved all of our acute care hospitals, that driver of cost at the center, away from fee-for- service. And actually to pay, we pay them based on how well they keep patients out of the hospital. How well they keep their patients. That's the future. We need to build on the Affordable Care Act, do the things that work, and reduce costs and increase access.(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: And that's exactly what we are able to do based on the foundation of the Affordable Care Act -- what Governor O'Malley just said is one of the models that we will be looking at to make sure we do get costs down, we do limit a lot of the unnecessary costs that we still have in the system.But, with all due respect, to start over again with a whole new debate is something that I think would set us back. The Republicans just voted last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and thank goodness, President Obama vetoed it and saved Obamacare for the American people. (APPLAUSE)

MITCHELL: Senator Sanders, let me ask you this, though...


MITCHELL: ... you've talked about Medicare for all...


MITCHELL: .. and tonight you've released a very detailed plan, just two...

SANDERS: Not all that detailed.

MITCHELL: ... well, two hours before the debate, you did.


MITCHELL: But let me ask you about Vermont. Because in Vermont -- you tried in the state of Vermont, and Vermont walked away from this kind of idea, of -- of Medicare for all, single-payer, because they concluded it would require major tax increases...

SANDERS: Well, that's -- you might want to ask...

MITCHELL: ... and by some estimates, it would double the budget. If you couldn't sell it in Vermont, Senator...

SANDERS: Andrea, let me just say this.

MITCHELL: ... how can you sell it to the country?

SANDERS: Let me just say that you might want to ask the governor of the state of Vermont why he could not do it. I'm not the governor. I'm the senator from the state of Vermont. (LAUGHTER) But second of all -- second of all... (APPLAUSE)... here is what the real point is, in terms of all of the issues you've raised -- the good questions you've raised. You know what it all comes down to? Do you know why we can't do what every other country -- major country on Earth is doing? It's because we have a campaign finance system that is corrupt, we have super PACs, we have the armaceutical industry pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign contributions and lobbying, and the private insurance companies as well. What this is really about is not the rational way to go forward -- it's Medicare for all -- it is whether we have the guts to stand up to the private insurance companies and all of their money, and the pharmaceutical industry. That's what this debate should be about. (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Well, as someone who -- as someone who has a little bit of experience standing up to the health insurance industry, that spent, you know... (APPLAUSE)... many, many millions of dollars attacking me, and probably will so again, because of what I believe we can do building on the Affordable Care Act, I think it's important to point out that there are a lot of reasons we have the health care system we have today. I know how much money influences the political decision-making. That's why I'm for huge campaign finance reform. However, we started a system that had private health insurance. And even during the Affordable Care Act debate, there was an opportunity to vote for what was called the public option. In other words, people could buy in to Medicare, and even when the Democrats were in charge of the Congress, we couldn't get the votes for that. So, what I'm saying is really simple. This has been the fight of the Democratic Party for decades. We have the Affordable Care Act. Let's make it work. Let's take the models that states are doing. We now have driven costs down to the lowest they've been in 50 years. Now we've got to get individual costs down. That's what I'm planning to do.

HOLT: And that's time (ph). We're gonna take a turn now. Secretary Clinton, in his final State of the Union address, President Obama said his biggest regret was his inability to bring the country together. If President Obama couldn't do it, how will you?

O'MALLEY: Great question.

CLINTON: Well, I think it's an important point the president made in his State of the Union. And here's what I would say. I will go anywhere, to meet with anyone, at any time to find common ground. That's what I did as a first lady, when I worked with both Democrats and Republicans to get the Children's Health Insurance Program, when I worked with Tom DeLay, one of the most partisan of Republicans, to reform the adoption and foster care system. What I did, working in the Senate, where I crossed the aisle often, working even with the senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, to get Tricare for national guardsmen and women. And it's what I did as Secretary of State, on numerous occasions, and most particularly, rounding up two-thirds votes in order to pass a treaty that lowered the nuclear weapons in both Russia and the United States.

CLINTON: So I know it's hard, but I also know you've got to work at it every single day. I look out here, I see a lot of my friends from the Congress. And I know that they work at it every single day. Because maybe you can't only find a little sliver of common ground to cooperate with somebody from the other party, but who knows. If you're successful there, maybe you can build even more. That's what I would do.

HOLT: That's time. Senator Sanders, response. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: A couple of years ago, when we understood that veterans were not getting the quality care they needed in the timely manner, I worked with folks like John McCain and others to pass the most comprehensive veteran's health care legislation in modern history. But let me rephrase your question because I think, in all do respect, you're expression. In all do respect, you're missing the main point. And the main point in the Congress, it's not the Republicans and Democrats hate each other. That's a mythology from the media. The real issue is that Congress is owned by big money and refuses to do what the American people want them to do. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: The real issue is that in area after area, raising the minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour. The American people want it. Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, creating 13 million jobs, the American people want it. The pay equity for women, the American people want it. Demanding that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes. The American people want it.

HOLT: That's time. But let me continue with the...

SANDERS: The point is, we have to make Congress respond to the needs of the people, not big money.

HOLT: Senator Sanders, let me continue, you call yourself a Democratic socialist...


HOLT: And throughout your career in politics, you've been critical of the Democratic party, you've been saying in a book you wrote, quote, "There wasn't a hell of a big difference between the the two major parties." How would you will a general election...

SANDERS: Did I say that?

HOLT: How will you win a general election labeling yourself a democratic socialist?

SANDERS: Because of what I believe in what I was just saying. The Democratic party needs major reform. To those of you in South Carolina, you know what, in Mississippi, we need a 50-state strategy so that people in South Carolina and Mississippi can get the resources that they need. Instead of being dependent on super PACs, what we need is to be dependent on small, individual campaign contributors. We need an agenda that speaks to the needs of working families and low-income people. Not wealthy campaign contributors.

HOLT: Yes, but senator, you can...

SANDERS: We need to expand what the input into the Democratic party. I am very proud that in this campaign, we have seen an enormous amount of excitement from young people, from working people. We have received more individual contributions than any candidate in the history of this country up to this point. (APPLAUSE)

O'MALLEY: Yes, but senator you never came to campaign for Vincent Sheheen when he was running for governor. In fact, neither of you came to campaign for Vincent Sheheen when he was running for governor. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: We can talk all we want about wanting to build a stronger Democratic party, but Lester, the question you answered, it's no laughing matter. The most recurring question I get when I stand on the chair all across Iowa and talk with my neighbors is, how are you going to heal the divisions and the wounds in our country? This is the biggest challenge we face as a people. All my life, I brought people together over deep divides and very old wounds, and that's what we need now in a new leader. We cannot keep talking past each other, declaring all Republicans are our enemies or the war is all about being against millionaires or billionaires, or it's all against American Muslims, all against immigrants. Look, as Frederick Douglas said, we are one, our cause is one, and we must help each other if we are going to succeed.

HOLT: And that is right.

SANDERS: And I respectfully disagree.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, our next question is for you. Here's another quantitative problem.

SANDERS: And I respectfully disagree with my friend over here. And that is, you are right. All of us have denounced Trump's attempts to divide this country: the anti-Latino rhetoric, the racist rhetoric, he anti-Muslim rhetoric. But where I disagree with you, Governor O'Malley, is I do believe we have to deal with the fundamental issues of a handful of billionaires...

O'MALLEY: I agree with that.

SANDERS: ... who control economic and political life of this country.

O'MALLEY: I agree.

SANDERS: Nothing real will get happened. Unless we have a political revolution. Where millions of people finally stand up.

HOLT: And we're going to get into that coming up. But Secretary Clinton, here's a question from YouTube. It's from a young video blogger who has over 5 million subscribers. He has a question about the importance of younger voters.

FRANTA: Hi, I'm Connor Franta, I'm 23 and my audience is around the same age. Getting my generation to vote should be a priority for any presidential candidate. Now I know Senator Sanders is pretty popular among my peers, but what I want to know is, how are all of you planning on engaging us further in this election?

HOLT: Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well thanks for the question and congratulations on five million viewers on YouTube, that's quite an accomplishment. Look, this election is mostly about the future and therefore it is of greatest urgency for young people. I've laid out my ideas about what we can do to make college affordable; how we can help people pay off their student debts and save thousands of dollars, how we can create more good jobs because a lot of the young people that I talk with are pretty disappointed the economic prospects they feel their facing. So making community college free, making it possible to attend a public college or university with debt free tuition, looking for ways to protect our rights especially from the concerted Republican assault; on voting rights, on women's rights, on gay rights, on civil rights, on workers rights. And I know how much young people value their independence, their autonomy, and their rights. So I think this is an election where we have to pull young people and older people together to have a strategy about how we're going to encourage even more American's to vote because it absolutely clear to me...

HOLT: That's time...

CLINTON: That turning over our White House to the Republicans would be bad for everybody especially young people.

HOLT: A quick follow up -- a thirty second follow up. Why is Senator Sanders beating you to 2 to 1 among younger votes?

CLINTON: Look, I have the greatest respect for Senator Sanders and for his supports and I'm going to keep working as hard as I can to reach as many people of all ages about what I will do, what the experience and the ideas that I have that I will bring to the White House and I hope to have their support when I'm the Democratic nominee.

HOLT: We're going to take...

SANDERS: Is that your strategy...

HOLT: We're going to take a break. When we come back; big banks, big business and big differences among the three candidates on the American Economy. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLT: Welcome back from Charleston. Let's turn now to the economy. Senator Sanders, you released a tough new ad last week in which without mentioning Secretary Clinton by name, you talk about two Democratic visions for regulating Wall Street. "One says it's OK to take millions from big banks and tell them what to do. My plan, break up the big banks, close the tax loopholes and make them pay their fair share." What do you see as the difference between what you would do about the banks and what Secretary Clinton would do?

SANDERS: Well, the first difference is I don't take money from big banks. I don't get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. What I would do... (APPLAUSE) What I would do is understand that when you have three out of the four largest banks today, bigger than they were when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, when you have the six largest financial institutions having assets of 60 percent of the GDP of America, it is very clear to me what you have to do. You've got to bring back the 21st century Glass-Steagall legislation and you've got to break up these huge financial institutions. They have too much economic power and they have too much financial power over our entire economy. If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, the old Republican trust buster, what he would say is these guys are too powerful. Break them up. I believe that's what the American people to want see. That's my view.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, help the voter understand the daylight between the two of you here.

CLINTON: Well, there's no daylight on the basic premise that there should be no bank too big to fail and no individual too powerful to jail. We agree on that. But where we disagree is the comments that Senator Sanders has made that don't just affect me, I can take that, but he's criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street, and President Obama has led our country out of the great recession. Senator Sanders called him weak, disappointing. He even, in 2011, publicly sought someone to run in a primary against President Obama. Now, I personally believe that President Obama's work to push through the Dodd-Frank... (LAUGHTER) The Dodd-Frank bill and then to sign it was one of the most important regulatory schemes we've had since the 1930s. So I'm going to defend Dodd-Frank and I'm going to defend President Obama for taking on Wall Street, taking on the financial industry and getting results. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: OK. First of all...

HOLT: Senator Sanders, your response.

SANDERS: Set the record right. In 2006 when I ran for the Senate, Senator Barack Obama was kind enough to campaign for me; 2008, I did my best to see that he was elected; and in 2012, I worked as hard as I could to see that he was reelected. He and I are friends. We've worked together on many issues. We have some differences of opinion.But here is the issue, Secretary touched on it, can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions and millions of dollars on campaign contributions and when they are providing speaking fees to individuals? So it's easy to say, well, I'm going to do this and do that, but I have doubts when people receive huge amounts of money from Wall Street.

SANDERS:I am very proud, I do not have a super PAC. I do not want Wall Street's money. I'll rely on the middle class and working families...

HOLT: That's time. Governor O'Malley... (CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: ... campaign contributions.

HOLT: I have a question for you... (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: You know, I think since -- since Senator Standers followed up on this...

HOLT: Thirty-second response.

CLINTON: Your profusion of comments about your feelings towards President Obama are a little strange given what you said about him in 2011. But look, I have a plan that most commentators have said is tougher, more effective, and more comprehensive.

O'MALLEY: That's not true.

CLINTON: It builds on the Dodd-Frank -- yes, it is. It builds on the Dodd-Frank, regulatory scheme...

O'MALLEY: It's just not true.

CLINTON: ... but it goes much further, because...

O'MALLEY: Oh, come on.

CLINTON: ... both the governor and the senator have focused only on the big banks. Lehman Brothers, AIG, the shadow banking sector were as big a problem in what caused the Great Recession, I go after them. And I can tell you that the hedge fund billionaires who are running ads against me right now, and Karl Rove, who started running an ad against me right now, funded by money from the financial services sector, sure thing, I'm the one they don't want to be up against.(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Governor O'Malley.

O'MALLEY: Yes, thank you. Yes, Lester, what Secretary Clinton just said is actually not true. What -- I have put forward a plan that would actually put cops back on the beat of Wall Street. I have put forward a plan that was heralded as very comprehensive and realistic. Look, if a bank robber robs a bank and all you do is slap him on the wrist, he's just going to keep robbing banks again. The same thing is true with people in suits. Secretary Clinton, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you, but for you to say there's no daylight on this between the three of us is also not true. I support reinstituting a modern version of Glass-Steagall that would include going after the shadow banks, requiring capital requirements that would force them to no longer put us on the hook for these sorts of things. In prior debates I've heard you even bring up -- I mean, now you bring up President Obama here in South Carolina in defense of the fact of your cozy relationship with Wall Street. In an earlier debate, I heard you bring up even the 9/11 victims to defend it. The truth of the matter is, Secretary Clinton, you do not go as far as reining in Wall Street as I would. And the fact of the matter is, the people of America deserve to have a president that's on their side, protecting the main street economy from excesses on Wall Street. And we're just as vulnerable today.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, 30-second response. (APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Yes, well, first of all -- first of all, Paul Krugman, Barney Frank, others have all endorsed my plan. Secondly, we have Dodd-Frank. It gives us the authority already to break up big banks that pose...

O'MALLEY: And we have never used it.

CLINTON: That pose a risk to the financial sector. I want to go further and add to that. And, you know, Governor, you have raised money on Wall Street. You raised a lot of money on Wall Street when you were the head of the Democratic Governor's Association...

O'MALLEY: Yes, but I haven't gotten a penny this year...

CLINTON: And you were...

O'MALLEY: ... so somebody please, go on to martinomalley.com... (LAUGHTER)

O'MALLEY: Go on to martinomalley.com, send me your checks. They're not giving me -- zero.

CLINTON: Yes, well, the point is that if we're going to be serious about this and not just try to score political points, we should know what's in Dodd-Frank, and what's in Dodd-Frank already gives the president the authority... (CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: ... with his regulators to make those decisions.

SANDERS: Let me give you an example of how corrupt -- how corrupt this system is. Goldman Sachs recently fined $5 billion. Goldman Sachs has given this country two secretaries of treasury, one on the Republicans, one under Democrats.

O'MALLEY: Say it.

SANDERS: The leader of Goldman Sachs is a billionaire who comes to Congress and tells us we should cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Secretary Clinton -- and you're not the only one, so I don't mean to just point the finger at you, you've received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the law, not one of their executives is prosecuted, while kids who smoke marijuana get a jail sentence. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: That's time. Andrea.

CLINTON: Well, the last point on this is, Senator Sanders, you're the only one on this stage that voted to deregulate the financial market in 2000, to take the cops off the street, to use Governor O'Malley's phrase, to make the SEC and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission no longer able to regulate swaps and derivatives, which were one of the main cause of the collapse in '08. So there's plenty...

SANDERS: If you want to...

CLINTON: There's plenty of problems that we all have to face together. And the final thing I would say, we're at least having a vigorous debate about reining in Wall Street...

HOLT: ... Senator...

CLINTON: ... The Republicans want to give them more power, and repeal Dodd-Frank. That's what we need to stop...(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Anyone who wants to check my record in taking on Wall Street, in fighting against the deregulation of Wall Street when Wall Street put billions of dollars in lobbying, in campaign contributions to get the government off their backs. They got the government off their backs. Turns out that they were crooks, and they destroyed our economy. I think it's time to put the government back on their backs. (APPLAUSE)

MITCHELL: Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, you've talked a lot about things you want to do. You want free education for everyone, you want the Federal Minimum Wage raised to $15 an hour. You want to expand Social Security...

SANDERS: ... Yeah...

MITCHELL: ... benefits. You've been specific about what you want, but let's talk about how to pay for all this. You now said that you would raise taxes today, two hours or so ago, you said you would raise taxes to pay for your health care plan. You haven't been specific about how to pay for the other things...

SANDERS: ... That's true.

MITCHELL: ... Will you tell us tonight?

SANDERS: Good. You're right. I want to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, create 13 million jobs. We do that by doing away with the absurd loophole that now allows major profitable corporations to stash their money in the Cayman (ph) Islands, and not in some years, pay a nickel in taxes. Yes, I do. I plead guilty. I want every kid in this country who has the ability to be able to go to a public college, or university, tuition free. And, by the way, I want to substantially lower student debt interest rates in this country as well. How do I pay for it? (APPLAUSE) I pay for it through a tax on Wall Street speculation. This country, and the middle class, bailed out Wall Street. Now, it is Wall Street's time to help the middle class. In fact...

O'MALLEY: (inaudible)

SANDERS: ... we have documented, unlike Secretary Clinton, I have documented exactly how I would pay for our ambitious agenda.

O'MALLEY: Andrea...


O'MALLEY: ... The only person on this stage who has...

MITCHELL: ... Secretary Clinton, you mentioned earlier -- Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?

CLINTON: Well, I have actually documented every way that I'm going to pay for what I'm doing because I think the American public deserves to know. And, you can go to my website and actually see that. But, there are serious questions about how we're going to pay for what we want to see our country do. And, I'm the only candidate standing here tonight who has said I will not raise taxes on the middle class. I want to raise incomes, not taxes, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that the wealthy pay for debt free tuition, for child care, for paid family leave. To help us bring down student debt we're going to refinance that student debt, saving kids thousands of dollars. Yeah, and that will also come out of the -- some of the pockets of people in the financial services industry...

MITCHELL: OK, we're out of time. Senator Sanders.

CLINTON: But I will tell you exactly how I pay for everything I've proposed... (CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: Senator Sanders...

SANDERS: ... Here is the main two points...

MITCHELL: ... Senator Sanders, let me ask you a question about taxes.


MITCHELL: The most googled political issue...

SANDERS: ... I got it.

MITCHELL: In the last month was taxes. Now, in your healthcare plan, the plan you released tonight, you would not only raise taxes on the wealthy, but the details you released indicate you would raise taxes on the middle class also. Is that correct?

SANDERS: What is correct, and I'm disappointed that Secretary Clinton's campaign has made this criticism. It's a Republican criticism. Secretary Clinton does know a lot about healthcare, and she understands, I believe, that a medicare for all, single payer program will substantially lower the cost of healthcare for middle class families. So, what we have got to acknowledge, and I hope the Secretary does, is we are doing away with private health insurance premiums. So, instead of paying $10,000 dollars to Blue Cross, or Blue Shield, yes, some middle class families would be paying slightly more in taxes, but the result would be that that middle class family would be saving some $5,000 dollars in healthcare costs. A little bit more in taxes, do away with private health insurance premiums. It's a pretty good deal. (APPLAUSE)

MITCHELL: Senator -- Senator, let me just follow up on that.


MITCHELL: On Meet the Press on December 20th, you said that you would only raise taxes on the middle class to pay for family leave. And, having said that, now you say you're going to raise middle class taxes to pay for healthcare as well. Is that breaking your word?

SANDERS: No, it is not breaking my word. When you are -- it's one thing to say I'm raising taxes, it's another thing to say that we are doing away with private health insurance premiums.

SANDERS: So, if I save you $10,000 in private health insurance, and you pay a little bit more in taxes in total, there are huge savings in what your family is spending.

O'MALLEY: Senator, I'm the only person on this stage that's actually balanced a budget every year for 15 years.

SANDERS: I was mayor for eight years, I did that as well. (LAUGHTER)

O'MALLEY: OK. So, that was eight years. Yes. And Senator, but I actually did it during a budget down time -- I mean, during a recession. And Andrea, the -- I had to make more cuts than any governor in the history of Maryland, but we invested more in infrastructure, more in transportation. We made our public schools more in America more than five years in a row, and went four years in a row without a penny's increase to college tuition. The things that we need to do in our country, like debt-free college in the next five years, like making universal -- like making national service a universal option in order to cut youth unemployment in half in the next three years, all these things can be done if we eliminate one entitlement we can no longer afford as a nation. And that is the wealthy among us, those making more than a million dollars, feel that they are entitled to paying a much lower marginal tax rate than was usual for the better part of these 80 years. And if we tax earnings from investments on money -- namely capital gains -- at the same rate as we tax sweat and hard work and toil, we can make the investments we need to make to make our country better.

HOLT: We have got a lot to ground to cover here. Many Democratic voters are passionate about the need to do something to combat the threat of climate change, including the team of scientists from Youtube's MinuteEarth channel. Here's their take. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Hello from MinuteEarth. Fossil fuels have long kept our cars moving and our light bulbs lit. But we know that burning these fuels releases heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet, causing seas to rise and contributing to extreme weather events, like South Carolina's devastating flooding last year. Fighting human-caused climate change means giving up our global addiction to fossil fuels and shifting the bulk of the world's energy supply to alternative sources. Some countries have acted decisively to make this transition. But here at home, we still get a whooping 82 percent of our energy from coal, oil, and natural gas. In the U.S., political gridlock, pressure from industry lobbyists and insufficient R&D have made an already tough battle against climate change even tougher. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLT: Senator Sanders, Americans love their SUVs, which spiked in sales last year as gas prices plummeted. How do you convince Americans that the problem of climate change is so urgent that they need to change their behavior?

SANDERS: I think we already are. Younger generation understands it instinctively. I was home in Burlington, Vermont, on Christmas Eve, the temperature was 65 degrees. People in Vermont know what's going on. People who did ice fishing, where their ice is no longer there on the lake understand what's going on. I'm on both the Environmental and Energy Committees. The debate is over. Climate change is real. It is already causing major problems. And if we do not act boldly and decisively, a bad situation will become worse. It is amazing to me, and I think we'll have agreement on this up here, that we have a major party, called the Republican Party that is so owned by the fossil fuel industry and their campaign contributions that they don't even have the courage, the decency to listen to the scientists. (APPLAUSE) It is beyond my comprehension how we can elect a president of the United States, somebody like Trump, who believes that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. (LAUGHTER) Bottom line is, we need to be bold and decisive, we can create millions of jobs. We must, for the sake of our kids and grandchildren, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. I've got the most comprehensive legislation in the Senate to do that. And as president, I will fight to make that happen. Who's winning the Presidential Campaign? History suggests that each party's eventual nominee will emerge from 2015 in one of the top two or three positions, as measured by endorsements, fund-raising and polling. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Governor O'Malley, 30 seconds.

O'MALLEY: Thank you. Lester, on this stage tonight, this Democratic stage, where we actually believe in science. (LAUGHTER) I would like to challenge and invite my colleagues here on this stage to join me in putting forward a plan to move us to a 100 percent clean, electric energy grid by 2050. It can be done. (APPLAUSE) With solar, with wind, with new technologies, with green buildings, this can happen, but in all -- President Obama made us more energy independent, but in all of the above strategy didn't land us on the moon, we need American ingenuity and we need to reach by 2050 for the sake of our kids.

HOLT: That's time. We're going to take a break.

CLINTON: And let me...

HOLT: When we return, the late-breaking developments regarding Iran. The threat of ISIS now more real than ever on U.S. soil. Americans in fear and hearing few good answers. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: And we are back. I'm Chuck Todd. We are just past the halfway mark in our NBC News YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate. Boy, this is one that has actually lived up to the billing. We've seen some sharp exchanges on guns, health care and Wall Street -- the debate, you could argue, that has been largely focused on all things Bernie Sanders. He was on the defensive early, Hillary Clinton getting, I think, some control on the gun issue. But on health care and on Wall Street reform, it was Hillary Clinton on the defensive, and was a very aggressive Bernie Sanders. One thing of note here: Bernie Sanders very much being the sort of revolutionary candidate, major change, and you've heard a lot of Hillary Clinton saying things like she wants to build on the things that President Obama did, wrapping herself in President Obama. Let's go back downstairs and check in with our moderators, Lester and Andrea. So what's coming up next, guys?

HOLT: Well, we've covered a lot of ground already, but we're gonna be talking about ISIS. A threat to America, it's -- always polls as one of the top concerns of Americans. And also some more late-breaking news.

MITCHELL: We have all the news that has happened from Iran and the president's comments today, as well as what this means going forward for the War on Terror. What do we expect from Iran, and also what's happening in Syria? So a lot of foreign policy coming up. HOLT: A lot of debate to come. We'll be back in Charleston after this.

TODD: You've got it. Well, it's the commander-in-chief test -- that's what's next. Stay with us -- the debate resumes right after this.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLT: Charleston, Andrea Mitchell has questions now starting with Iran.

MITCHELL: Thank you Lester. Senator Sanders, the nuclear deal is now enforced. Iran is getting it's billions of dollars, several Americans who have been held are now going to be heading home. The president said today, "it's a good day. It's a good day for diplomacy. It's a time now to restore diplomatic relations for the first time since 1979 and actually re- opened a U.S. Embassy in Tehran."

SANDERS: I think what we've got to do is move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran. Understanding that Iran's behavior in so many ways is something that we disagree with; their support terrorism, the anti-American rhetoric that we're hearing from of their leadership is something that is not acceptable. On the other hand, the fact that we've managed to reach an agreement, something that I've very strongly supported that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and we did that without going to war. And that I believe we're seeing a fall in our relationships with Iran is a very positive step. So if your question is, do I want to see that relationship become more positive in the future? Yes. Can I tell that we should open an embassy in Tehran tomorrow? No, I don't think we should. But I think the goal has go to be as we've done with Cuba, to move in warm relations with a very powerful and important country in this world.

MITCHELL: Your response Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I'm very proud of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. I was very pleased to be part of what the president put into action when he took office. I was responsible for getting those sanctions imposed which put the pressure on Iran. It brought them to the negotiating table which resulted in this agreement. And so, they have been so far, following their requirements under the agreement. But I think we still have to carefully watch them. We've had one good day over 36 year and I think we need more good days before we move more rapidly toward any kind of normalization. And we have to be sure that they are truly going to implement the agreement. And then, we have to go after them on a lot of their other bad behavior in the region which is causing enormous problems in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere.

MITCHELL: You mentioned Syria. Let me ask you about Syria, all of you. Let's turn to Syria and the civil war that has been raging there. Are there any circumstances in which you could see deploying significant numbers of ground forces in Syria, not just specials forces but significant ground forces to combat ISIS in a direct combat role? Let me start with you Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Absolutely not. I have a three point plan that does not include American Ground forces. It includes the United States leading an air coalition which is what we're doing, supporting fighters on the ground; the Iraqi Army which is beginning to show more ability, the Sunni fighters that we are now helping to reconstitute and Kurdish on both sides of the border. I think we also have try to disrupt their supply chain of foreign fighters and foreign money and we do have to contest them in online space. So I'm very committed to both going after ISIS but also supporting what Secretary Kerry is doing to try to move on a political diplomatic to try to begin to slow down and hopefully end the carnage in Syria which is the root of so many of the problems that we seen in the region and beyond.

MITCHELL: Senator Sanders, ground forces yes or no?

SANDERS: As everybody you know, this is incredibly complicated and difficult issue and I applaud. I know President Obama's been getting a lot of criticism on this. I think he is doing the right thing. What the nightmare is, which many of my Republican colleagues appear to want is to not have learned the lesson of Iraq. To get American young men and women involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of Syria and the Middle East would be an unmitigated disaster that as president, I will do everything in my power to avoid.

O'MALLEY: Andrea...

MITCHELL: Governor O'Malley?

SANDERS: We should -- we should learn -- we should learn from King Abdullah of Jordan, one of the few heroes in a very unheroic place. And what Abdullah said is this is a war with a soul of Islam and that Muslim troops should be on the ground with our support and the support of other major countries. That is how we destroy ISIS, not with American troops in perpetual warfare.

MITCHELL: Governor O'Malley.

O'MALLEY: Thank you. (APPLAUSE) Andrea, governors have led us to victory in two world wars by doing what America does best, and that is by joining forces with others by acting in coalition. And I believe that President Obama is doing the right thing in this case. We need to learn the lessons from the past. We do need to provide the special -- special ops advisers, we need -- do need to provide the technical support, but over the long-term, we need to develop new alliances. We need a much more proactive national security strategy that reduces these threats before they rise to a level where it feels like we need to pull for a division of marines. And I also want to add one other thing here. I appreciate the fact that in our debate, we don't use the term you hear Republicans throwing around trying to look all vibrato (ph) and macho sending other kids -- kids into combat, they keep using the term boots on the ground. A woman in Burlington, Iowa said to me, "Governor, when you're with your colleagues, please don't refer to my son who has served two tours of duty in Iraq as a pair of boots on the ground." Now, we need to be mindful of learning the lessons of the past. (APPLAUSE)

MITCHELL: I have a question. I have a question for Senator Sanders. Did the policies of the Obama administration, in which Secretary Clinton of course was a part, create a vacuum in Iraq and Syria that helped ISIS grow?

SANDERS: No. I think the vacuum was created by the disastrous war in Iraq, which I vigorously opposed. Not only did I vote against it, I helped lead the opposition. And what happened there is yes, it's easy to get rid of a two-bit dictator like Saddam Hussein, but there wasn't the kind of thought as to what happens the day after you get him and what kind of political vacuum occurs. And who rises up? Groups like ISIS. So I think that President Obama made a promise to the American people when he ran, and he said you know what, I'm going to do my best to bring American troops home. And I supported what he did. Our job is to train and provide military support for Muslim countries in the area who are prepared to take on ISIS. And one point I want to make here that is not made very often, you have incredibly wealthy countries in that region, countries like Saudi Arabia, countries like Qatar. Qatar happens to be the largest -- wealthiest country per capita in the world. They have got to start putting in some skin in the game and not just ask the United States to do it. (APPLAUSE)

MITCHELL: Secretary Clinton, I want to talk to you about red lines, because former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a recent interview that President Obama's decision to stand down on planned missile strikes against Damascus after Assad had used chemical weapons hurt the president's credibility. Should the president have stuck to his red line once he drew it?

CLINTON: Look, I think that the president's decision to go after the chemical weapons once there was a potential opportunity to build on when the Russians opened that door resulted in a very positive outcome. We were able to get the chemical weapons out. I know from my own experience as secretary of State that we were deeply worried about Assad's forces using chemical weapons because it would have had not only a horrific affect on people in Syria, but it could very well have affected the surrounding states, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey. So getting those chemical weapons out was a big deal, but...

MITCHELL: But should he -- should he have stuck to his...

CLINTON: Well -- but -- but...

MITCHELL: ... line? Did it hurt U.S. credibility?

CLINTON: I think, as commander in chief, you've got to constantly be evaluating the decisions you have to make. I know a little bit about this, having spent many hours in the situation room, advising President Obama.And I want to just add to something that Senator Sanders said, the United States had a very big interest in trying to help stabilize the region. If there is any blame to be spread around, it starts with the prime minister of Iraq, who sectarianized his military, setting Shia against Sunni. It is amplified by Assad, who has waged one of the bloodiest, most terrible attacks on his own people: 250,000-plus dead, millions fleeing. Causing this vacuum that has been filled unfortunately, by terrorist groups, including ISIS. So, I think we are in the midst of great turmoil in this region. We have a proxy conflict going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran. You know, one of the criticisms I've had of Senator Sanders is his suggestion that, you know, Iranian troops be used to try to end the war in Syria...

MITCHELL: Your time is up.

CLINTON: ... and go after ISIS, which I don't think would be a good idea.

SANDERS: Let me just...

MITCHELL: Senator....

CLINTON: But overall, a lot of the forces at work in the region are ones that we cannot directly influence, but we can...

MITCHELL: You're out of time.

SANDERS: OK. Let me suggest... (CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Where Secretary Clinton and I think, I agree with most of what she said. But where I think we do have an honest disagreement, is that in the incredible quagmire of Syria, where it's hard to know who's fighting who and if you give arms to this guy, it may end up in ISIS' hand the next day. We all know that. And we all know, no argument, the secretary is absolutely right, Assad is a butcher of his own people, man using chemical weapons against his own people. This is beyond disgusting. But I think in terms of our priorities in the region, our first priority must be the destruction of ISIS. Our second priority must be getting rid of Assad, through some political settlement, working with Iran, working with Russia. But the immediate task is to bring all interests together who want to destroy ISIS, including Russia, including Iran, including our Muslim allies to make that the major priority.

O'MALLEY: But in all of that senator and secretary, I think we're leaving out something very important here. And that is that we still don't have the human intelligence: overt, in terms of diplomatic intelligence or covert, to understand even what the heck happens as the secondary and tertiary effects of some of these things. We are walking through this region, Andrea, without the human intelligence that we need. And we need to make a renewed investment as a country in bringing up a new generation of foreign service officers, and bringing up a new generation of business people and actually understanding and having relationships in these places. So we have a better sense of what the heck happens after a dictator topples and can take action to prevent another safe haven and another iteration of terror.

MITCHELL: Your time is us. Lester.

HOLT: Senator Sanders mentioned Russia a moment ago. Secretary Clinton, you famously handed Russia's foreign minister a reset button in 2009. Since then, Russia has annexed Crimea, fomented a war in Ukraine, provided weapons that downed an airliner and launched operations, as we just did discuss, to support Assad in Syria. As president, would you hand Vladimir Putin a reset button?

CLINTON: Well, it would depend on what I got for it and I can tell you what we got in the first term, we got a new start treaty to reduce nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia. We got permission to resupply our troops in Afghanistan by traveling across Russia. We got Russia to sign on to our sanctions against Iran and other very important commitments. So look, in diplomacy, you are always trying to see how you can figure out the interest of the other to see if there isn't some way you can advance your security and your values. When Putin came back in the fall of 2011, it was very clear he came back with a mission. And I began speaking out as soon as that happened because there were some fraudulent elections held, and Russians poured out into the streets to demand their freedom, and he cracked down. And in fact, accused me of fomenting it. So we now know that he has a mixed record to say the least and we have to figure out how to deal with him.

HOLT: What's your relationship with him?

CLINTON: Well, my relationship with him, it's -- it's interesting. (LAUGHTER) It's one, I think, of respect. We've had some very tough dealings with one another. And I know that he's someone that you have to continuingly stand up to because, like many bullies, he is somebody who will take as much as he possibly can unless you do. And we need to get the Europeans to be more willing to stand up, I was pleased they put sanctions on after Crimea and eastern Ukraine and the downing of the airliner, but we've got to be more united in preventing Putin from taking a more aggressive stance in Europe and the Middle East. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: We to want turn right now to the issue of balancing national security concerns with the privacy rights of Americans. That brings us to YouTube and this question. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWNLEE: Hi, my name Marques Brownlee, and I've been making YouTube videos about electronics and gadgets for the past seven years. I think America's future success is tied to getting all kinds of tech right. Tech companies are responsible for the encryption technology to protect personal data, but the government wants a back door into that information. So do you think it's possible to find common ground? And where do you stand on privacy versus security? (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLT: So, Governor O'Malley.

O'MALLEY: Thank you. I believe whether it's a back door or a front door that the American principle of law should still hold that our federal government should have to get a warrant, whether they want to come through the back door or your front door. (APPLAUSE) And I also agree, Lester, with Benjamin Franklin, who said, no people should ever give up their privacy or their freedoms in a promise for security. So we're a collaborative people. We need collaborative leadership here with Silicon Valley and other bright people in my own state of Maryland and around the NSA that can actually figure this out. But there are certain immutable principles that will not become antique things in our country so long as we defend our country and its values and its freedoms. And one of those things is our right to be secure in our homes, and our right to expect that our federal government should have to get a warrant. I also want to the say that while we've made some progress on the Patriot Act, I do believe that we need an adversarial court system there. We need a public advocate. We need to develop jurisprudence so that we can develop a body of law that protects the privacy of Americans in the information and digital age.

HOLT: That's time. You have all talked about what you would do fighting ISIS over there, but we've been hit in this country by home-grown terrorists, from Chattanooga to San Bernardino, the recent shooting of a police officer in Philadelphia. How are you going to fight the lone wolves here, Senator Sanders?

O'MALLEY: Yes, Lester, year in and year out I was the leader of the U.S....

HOLT: That's a question to Senator Sanders. I wasn't clear, I apologize.

SANDERS: OK. I just wanted to add, in the previous question, I voted against the USA Patriot Act for many of the reasons that Governor O'Malley mentioned. But it is not only the government that we have to worry about, it is private corporations. You would all be amazed, or maybe not, about the amount of information private companies and the government has in terms of the Web sites that you access, the products that you buy, where you are this very moment. And it is very clear to me that public policy has not caught up with the explosion of technology. So yes, we have to work with Silicon Valley to make sure that we do not allow ISIS to transmit information...

HOLT: But in terms of lone wolves, the threat, how would you do it?

SANDERS: Right. What we have got to do there is, among other things, as I was just saying, have Silicon Valley help us to make sure that information being transmitted through the Internet or in other ways by ISIS is, in fact, discovered. But I do believe we can do that without violating the constitutional and privacy rights of the American people. (CROSSTALK)

HOLT: We have to go to a -- we have to go to a break, and when we come back, we're going to get to some of the burning questions these candidates have yet to answer and are totally eager to talk about.

CLINTON: Oh, we're breaking? OK.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLT: And welcome back to Charleston. As we were going to a break, Secretary Clinton, I cut you off. I'll give you 30 seconds to respond on the issue of lone wolves.

O'MALLEY: Can I get 30 seconds, too? (LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Can I get 50 seconds?

HOLT: Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, I wanted to say, and I'll do it quickly, I was very pleased that leaders of President Obama's administration went out to Silicon Valley last week and began exactly this conversation about what we can do, consistent with privacy and security. We need better intelligence cooperation, we need to be sure that we are getting the best intelligence that we can from friends and allies around the world. And then, we've got to recognize our first line of defense against lone wolf attacks is among Muslim Americans. And it is not only shameful, it is dangerous for the kinds of comments you're hearing from the Republican side. We need to be reaching out and unifying our country against terrorist attacks and lone wolves, and working with Muslim Americans. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: And Andrea has a follow-up.

O'MALLEY: And Andrea -- Andrea -- Andrea...

MITCHELL: Just a -- just a quick follow-up, though, Secretary Clinton. Just a moment, Governor.

O'MALLEY: Andrea, when can I get my 30 seconds?

MITCHELL: But -- but -- Secretary Clinton, you said that the leaders from the intelligence community went to Silicon Valley, they were flatly turned down. They got nowhere.

CLINTON: That is not what I've heard. Let me leave it at that.

O'MALLEY: Andrea, I need to talk about homeland security and preparedness. Ever since the attacks of September 11th -- 30 seconds.(LAUGHTER) Ever since the attacks of September 11th, my colleagues, Democratic and Republican mayors, Democratic and Republican governors, made me their leader on homeland security and preparedness.

O'MALLEY: Here in the homeland, unlike combating ISIL abroad, we're almost like it's -- your body's immune system. It's able to protect your body against bad bugs, not necessarily because it outnumbers them, but it's better connected -- the fusion centers, the biosurveillance systems, better prepared first responders. But there's another front in this battle, and it is this. That's the political front, and if Donald Trump wants to start a registry in our country of people by faith, he can start with me, and I will sign up as one who is totally opposed to his fascist appeals that wants to vilify American Muslims. That can do more damage to our democracy than any... (CROSSTALK)

HOLT: All right, that's time, and -- and we do...(APPLAUSE) ... we do have to move on. Secretary Clinton, this is the first time...

SANDERS: Can I get a -- can I just get a very brief response? Very brief.

HOLT: Thirty -- 30 -- 30 seconds, Senator.

SANDERS: OK. One -- and I agree with what the secretary said, and what Governor O'Malley said. But here's an issue that we also should talk about. We have a $600 billion military budget. It is a budget larger than the next eight countries'. Unfortunately, much of that budget continues to fight the old Cold War with the Soviet Union. Very little of that budget -- less than 10 percent -- actually goes into fighting ISIS and international terrorism. We need to be thinking hard about making fundamental changes in the priorities of the Defense Department.

HOLT: All right. Secretary Clinton... (APPLAUSE) ... this is the first time that a spouse of a former president could be elected president. You have said that President Clinton would advise you on economic issues, but be specific, if you can. Are you talking about a kitchen-table role on economics, or will he have a real policy role?

CLINTON: Well, it'll start at the kitchen table, we'll see how it goes from there. And I...(APPLAUSE) ... I'm going to have the very best advisers that I can possibly have, and when it comes to the economy and what was accomplished under my husband's leadership and the '90s -- especially when it came to raising incomes for everybody and lifting more people out of poverty than at any time in recent history -- you bet. I'm going to ask for his ideas, I'm going ask for his advice, and I'm going use him as a goodwill emissary to go around the country to find the best ideas we've got, because I do believe, as he said, everything that's wrong with America has been solved somewhere in America. We just have to do more of it, and we have to reach out, especially into poor communities and communities of color, to give more people their own chance to get ahead.

HOLT: Senator sanders, a 30 second response, sir. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Great ideas, Governor O'Malley, Secretary Clinton, but here's the truth. If you have an administration stacked with Wall Street appointees, it ain't going to accomplish very much. So here's a promise that I make -- and I mentioned a moment ago how corrupt the system is -- Goldman Sachs, paying a $5 billion fine, gives this country, in recent history, a Republican secretary of treasury, a Democratic secretary of treasury. Here's a promise. If elected president, Goldman Sachs is not going to have -- bring forth a secretary of treasury for a Sanders administration. (APPLAUSE)

MILLER: Senator Sanders, let me ask you a question. You called Bill Clinton's past transgressions, quote, "totally, totally, totally disgraceful and unacceptable." Senator, do you regret saying that?

SANDERS: I was asked a question. You know, one of the things, Andrea, and I -- that question annoys me. I cannot walk down the street -- Secretary Clinton knows this -- without being told how much I have to attack secretary Clinton, want to get me on the front pages of the paper, I'd make some vicious attack. I have avoided doing that. Trying to run an issue-oriented campaign. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: I was asked a question.

MILLER: You didn't have to answer it that way, though. Why did you?

SANDERS: Well -- then if I don't answer it, then there's another front page, so it's yes (ph). (LAUGHTER) And I mean this seriously. You know that. We've been through this. Yes, his behavior was deplorable. Have I ever once said a word about that issue? No, I have not. I'm going to debate Secretary Clinton, Governor O'Malley, on the issues facing the American people, not Bill Clinton's personal behavior. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: We will take a break. We'll continue from Charleston right after this.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLT: Welcome back everybody. Finally, before we go tonight, we set out here to understand points of differences between you. We believe we've learned a lot here, but before we leave, is there anything that you really wanted to say tonight that you haven't gotten a chance to say. And, we'll start with Governor O'Malley. (LAUGHTER)

HOLT: Didn't see that coming, did you?

O'MALLEY: Yes, but we're going to have to get 20 minutes to do it, so. (LAUGHTER)

MITCHELL: ...too long (ph).

O'MALLEY: I believe there are many issues. I have 60 seconds for this?

HOLT: Sixty seconds, we'd appreciate it.

O'MALLEY: There are so many issues that we haven't been able to discuss here. We have not fully discussed immigration reform, and the deplorable number of immigrant detention camps that our nation's now maintaining. We haven't discussed the shameful treatment that the people of Puerto Rico, our fellow Americans, are getting treated with by these hedge funds that are working them over.(APPLAUSE)

O'MALLEY: We haven't discussed the fact that in our hemisphere we have the danger of nation-state failures because of drug rtaffickers; and Honduras, and Guatemala and El Salvador. I guess the bottom line is this, look we are a great people the way we act at home and abroad based on the beliefs that unite us. Our belief in the dignity of every person, our belief in our own common good. There is now challenge that is too great for us to overcome provided we bring forward in these divided times, new leadership that can heal our divides here at home and bring our principles into alignment abroad. We're on the threshold of a new era of American progress and I believe we have only need to join forces together and cross that threshold into a new era of American prosperity.

HOLT: And that's time.

O'MALLEY: Thanks a lot.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well Lester, I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what's happening in Flint, Michigan and I think every single American should be outraged. We've had a city in the United States of America where the population which is poor in many ways and majority African American has been drinking and bathing in lead contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn't really care. He had request for help and he had basically stone walled. I'll tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would've been action. So I sent my top campaign aide down there to talk to the mayor of Flint to see what I could to help. I issued a statement about what we needed to do and then I went on a T.V. show and I said, "it was outrageous that the governor hadn't acted and within two hours he had."

HOLT: And that's time.

CLINTON: I want to be a president who takes care of the big problems and the problems that are affecting the people of our country everyday. (APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Thank you. Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Well, Secretary Clinton was right and what I did which I think is also right, is demanded the resignation of governor. A man who acts that irresponsibly should not stay in power. Now, we are a great nation -- and we've heard a lot of great ideas here tonight. Let's be honest and let's be truthful. Very little is going to be done to transform our economy and to create the kind of middle class we need unless we end a corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining American democracy. We've got to get rid of Super PACs, we've got to get rid of Citizens' United and what we've got to do is create a political revolution which revitalizes American democracy; which brings millions of young people and working people into the political process. To say loudly and clearly," that the government of the United States of America belongs to all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors."

HOLT: All right. Well thank you and thanks to all of you for being here tonight shedding light on some of the differences as Americans get ready to vote. I also want to thank the congressional Black Caucus Institute and certainly my friend and colleague, Andrea Mitchell. This has been eat. It's been a great spirited conversation and American people appreciate it. Let me turn it over to my friend Chuck Todd now. Chuck?

TODD: Lester thank you and a terrific job moderating this debate tonight, Andrea as well. What a lively substantive debate. We thought there were going to be fireworks, there certainly were. You heard sort of the sharp disagreements when it comes to guns, when it comes to Wall Street Reform, when it comes to health care and even a few things on foreign policy. We're going to break all of it down here in a few minutes but we're going to try to sneak in a short break. And when we come back, instant analysis. We'll see if we can find out what the campaigns are doing. We're live right here in the spin room in Charleston, South Carolina.


Eighth Republican Party Presidential Debate in Gofftown, NH, aired by ABC on Feb 6th, 2016.

Top   Concordance

MUIR: So let's get started. We welcome you all to the debate stage here tonight. We're going to tackle the issues Americans are most concerned about, the economy, ISIS, Homeland Security. And here in New Hampshire, some of the most heated rhetoric yet over who is best suited to step in on day one, who has the experience, who has the temperament to be commander-in-chief. Mr. Trump, Senator Cruz has said about you right here in New Hampshire this week, quote, "I don't know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way, having his finger on the button. We're liable to wake up one morning, and if he were president, he would nuke Denmark." Saying, quote, "That's temperament of a leader to keep this country safe." I wanted to give you the opportunity to respond to this and to tell the American people tonight why you do have the temperament to be commander-in-chief.

TRUMP: I actually think I have the best temperament. I built a massive corporation. I employ thousands and thousands of people. I've gotten along with people for years and years, have tremendous relationships with many people, including politicians on both sides. And no matter how you cut it, when I -- when I came out, I hit immigration, I hit it very hard. Everybody said, "Oh, the temperament," because I talked about illegal immigration.

TRUMP: Now, everybody's coming to me, they're all trying to say, well, he's right, we have to come to him. I hit other things. I talked about Muslims. We have a problem. Nobody else wanted to mention the problem, I brought it up. I took a lot of heat. We have to have a temporary something, because there's something going on that's not good. And remember this, I'm the only one up here, when the war of Iraq -- in Iraq, I was the one that said, "Don't go, don't do it, you're going to destabilize the Middle East." So, I'm not one with a trigger. I'm not one with a trigger. Other people up here, believe me, would be a lot faster. But I'll build the mill arbitrary stronger, bigger, better than anybody up here, and nobody is going to mess with us. That, I can tell you. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mr. Trump, thank you. I want to bring this to Senator Cruz, then. Because Senator, you did said of Trump's behavior this week, that's not the temperament of a leader to keep this country safe. Why not?

CRUZ: Well, you know, David, the assessment the voters are making here in New Hampshire and across the country is they are evaluating each and every one of us. They are looking to our experience. They are looking to our knowledge. They are looking to our temperament and judgment. They are looking to our clarity of vision and our strength of resolve. The world is getting much more dangerous. We've had seven years with Barack Obama in the oval office, a commander-in-chief that is unwilling even to acknowledge the enemy we're facing. This is a president who, in the wake of Paris, in the wake of San Bernardino, will not even use the words radical Islamic terrorism, much less focus on defeating the enemy. I am convinced every individual standing on this stage, would make a much better commander-in-chief than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. (APPLAUSE) And the primary voters are making the assessment for each of us, who is best prepared to keep this country safe, to rebuild the military, to rebuild our Navy, our Air Force, our Army, our Marines, and to ensure that we keep America safe.

MUIR: Senator Cruz, I did ask about Mr. Trump. You said he doesn't have the temperament to be commander-in-chief. Do you stand by those words?

CRUZ: I think that is an assessment the voters are going to make. And they are going to make it of each and everyone of us. They are going to assess who is level-headed, who has clear vision, who has judgment, who can confront our enemies, who can confront the threats we face in this country, and who can have the judgment when to engage and when not to engage -- both are incredibly important for a commander-in-chief, knowing how to go after our enemies. In the case of Iran, for example, who has the clarity of vision to understand that the Ayatollah Khamenei, when he chants, "Death to America," he means it. We need a president with the judgment and resolve to keep this country safe from radical Islamic terrorists.

MUIR: Senator Cruz, thank you. We're going to continue on this notion of readiness and experience. I'm going to come back.

TRUMP: Am I allowed to respond? I have to respond.

MUIR: If you would like to respond, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: First of all, I respect what Ted just said, but if you noticed, he didn't answer your question. And that's what's going to happen -- OK. (APPLAUSE) That's what's going to happen with our enemies and the people we compete against. We're going to win with Trump. We're going to win. We don't win anymore. Our country doesn't win anymore. We're going to win with Trump. And people back down with Trump. And that's what I like and that's what the country is going to like.(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mr. Trump, thank you. And we're going to continue on this notion of readiness and on experience, but I want to ask about a headline that was back in the papers again this morning. Dr. Carson, on the day of the Iowa caucuses, the Cruz campaign sent out messages and voicemails saying, quote, "Breaking news. Dr. Ben Carson will be planning to suspend his campaign following tonight's caucuses. Please inform any Carson caucus-goers of this news." But as we can all see, you are still standing here tonight. Late this week, your campaign sent this e-mail, quote, "This kind of deceitful behavior is why the American people don't trust politicians. If Senator Cruz does not act, then he clearly represents D.C. values." What kind of action do you think Senator Cruz should take

CARSON: Well, you know, when I wasn't introduced No. 2, as was the plan, I thought maybe he thought I already had dropped out. But... (APPLAUSE) But you know, today is the 105th anniversary, or -- 105th birthday of Ronald Reagan. His 11 Commandment was not to speak ill of another Republican. So, I'm not going to use this opportunity to savage the reputation of Senator Cruz. (APPLAUSE) But I will say -- I will say -- I will say that I was very disappointed that members of his team thought so little of me that they thought that after having hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers and college students who sacrificed their time and were dedicated to the cause -- one even died -- to think that I would just walk away ten minutes before the caucus and say, "Forget about you guys."

CARSON: I mean, who would do something like that? Now, I don't think anyone on this stage would do something like that. And to assume that someone would, what does that tell you? So, unfortunately, it did happen. It gives us a very good example of certain types of Washington ethics. Washington ethics. Washington ethics basically says, if it's legal, you do what you need to do in order to win. That's not my ethics. My ethics is, you do what's right.

MUIR: Senator Cruz. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Dr. Carson, thank you. Senator Cruz, you have said that Dr. Carson and his wife have become friends of yours. I'm curious as why you didn't call ahead of time to either the doctor or his wife or have your campaign check in with the other campaign before sending out those messages.

CRUZ: Ben is a good and honorable man and Ben and Candy have become friends. He has an amazing life story that has inspired millions, including me. When this transpired, I apologized to him then and I do so now. Ben, I'm sorry. Let me tell you the facts of what occurred for those who are interested in knowing. On Monday night, about 6:30 p.m., CNN reported that Ben was not going from Iowa to New Hampshire or South Carolina. Rather, he was, quote, "Taking a break from campaigning." They reported that on television, CNN's political anchors, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer, said it was highly unusual and highly significant. My political team saw CNN's report breaking news and they forwarded that news to our volunteers, it was being covered on live television. Now, at the time, I was at the caucuses, I was getting ready to speak at the caucuses just like Ben was, just like everyone else was. I knew nothing about this. A couple hours later, I found out about it. I was told that Ben was unhappy. I called him that evening because I respect him very, very highly. I didn't reach him that evening. (BELL RINGS) I reached him the next day and apologized. He asked me then, he said, Ted, would you make this apologize in public? I said, yes, I will. And I did so. I regret that subsequently, CNN reported on that -- they didn't correct that story until 9:15 that night. So from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15, that's what CNN was reporting. Subsequent to that initial report, Ben's campaign put out a statement saying that he was not suspending his campaign. I wish that our campaign staff had forwarded that statement. They were unaware of it, I wish that they had, that's why I apologized.

MUIR: Senator Cruz, thank you. We're going to move on here. Back to the issues...

CARSON: Since I was mentioned...

MUIR: Dr. Carson, please.

CARSON: This is great you guys. I want you all to mention me when you say something. (LAUGHTER) In fact, the time line indicates that initial tweet from CNN was followed by another one within one minute that clarified that I was not dropping out. So, what happened to that one, it is unclear. But the bottom line is, we can see what happened, everybody can see what happened and you can make your own judgment.

MUIR: Dr. Carson, thank you. Thank you, doctor. Senator Rubio. I want to stay on the issue of readiness to be president and experience and questions about you being a first-term senator. Governor Christie warning voters here in New Hampshire against voting for another first-term senator as America did with Barack Obama in 2008. Arguing that you are, quote, " not ready to be president of the United States." And Senator Santorum, who we all know, dropped out of the race and endorsed you, had a hard time when asked on national television, listing your accomplishments as senator. Tonight, what are your accomplishments in the Senate that demonstrate you are ready to be president of the United States?

RUBIO: Well, let me say, from protecting the people of Florida from imminent domain abuse, to bringing accountability to the V.A., to the Girls Count Act, to sanctioning groups, I'm proud of my service in the United States Senate and before that, in the Florida legislature. I will say, if politics becomes and the presidency becomes about electing people who have been Congress or in the Senate the longest, we should all rally around Joe Biden. He's been around 1,000 years. He's passed hundreds of bills and I don't think any of us believe Joe Biden should be president of the United States. And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world. That's why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I'm president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.

MUIR: Senator Rubio, thank you. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: I do want to ask Governor Christie, Governor Christie, you said fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me when it comes to electing a first-term senator. You heard Senator Rubio make the case that he does have the experience. Your response?

CHRISTIE: Sure. First, let's remember something. Every morning when a United States senator wakes up, they think about what kind of speech can I give or what kind of bill can I drop? Every morning, when I wake up, I think about what kind of problem do I need to solve for the people who actually elected me? It's a different experience, it's a much different experience. And the fact is, Marco, you shouldn't compare yourself to Joe Biden and you shouldn't say that that's what we're doing. Here is exactly what we're doing. You have not be involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable. You just simply haven't. (APPLAUSE) And the fact is -- the fact when you talk about the Hezbollah Sanctions Act that you list as one of your accomplishments you just did, you weren't even there to vote for it. That's not leadership, that's truancy. (APPLAUSE) And the fact is that what we need to do -- what we need to have in this country is not to make the same mistake we made eight years ago. The fact is it does matter when you have to make decisions and be held accountable for them. It does matter when the challenges don't come on a list of a piece of paper of what to vote yes or no every day, but when the problems come in from the people that you serve. I like Marco Rubio, and he's a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions. We've watched it happen, everybody. For the last seven years, the people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again.

RUBIO: If I may respond to that. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Governor, thank you. Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Well, I think the experience is not just what you did, but how it worked out. Under Chris Christie's governorship of New Jersey, they've been downgraded nine times in their credit rating. This country already has a debt problem, we don't need to add to it by electing someone who has experience at running up and destroying the credit rating of his state. But I would add this. Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don't want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America. And when I'm elected president, this will become once again, the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.

MUIR: Senator Rubio, thank you. I want to bring in governor Bush on this, because you...

CHRISTIE: Hold on one second.

MUIR: ... have made this...

CHRISTIE: Excuse me...

MUIR: If you'd like to respond to economic...

CHRISTIE: I think he mentioned me and my record in there, so I think I get a chance to respond. You see, everybody, I want the people at home to think about this. That's what Washington, D.C. Does. The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him. (APPLAUSE) See Marco -- Marco, the thing is this. When you're president of the United States, when you're a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person. They expect you to plow the snow. They expect you to get the schools open. And when the worst natural disaster in your state's history hits you, they expect you to rebuild their state, which is what I've done. None of that stuff happens on the floor of the United States Senate. It's a fine job, I'm glad you ran for it, but it does not prepare you for president of the United States. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Chris -- Chris, your state got hit by a massive snowstorm two weeks ago. You didn't even want to go back. They had to shame you into going back. And then you stayed there for 36 hours and then he left and came back to campaign. Those are the facts. Here's the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he's doing.

CHRISTIE: There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.

RUBIO: Well, that's the -- that's the reason why this campaign is so important. Because I think this notion -- I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we're going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn't know what he's doing. He knows what he is doing. That's why he's done the things he's done. That's why we have a president that passed Obamacare and the stimulus. All this damage that he's done to America is deliberate. This is a president that's trying to redefine this country. That's why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people. Our future is at stake. This election is not about the past. It is about what kind of country this is going to be in the 21st century, and if we elect someone like Barack Obama, a Hillary Clinton, a Bernie Sanders or anyone like that, our children are going to be the first Americans to inherit a diminishes country. That will not happen if I'm elected.

MUIR: Governor Christie, we will -- we will...

BUSH: Chris, why don't you mention my name so I can get into this.

CHRISTIE: You know what the shame is -- you know what the shame is, Marco? The shame is that you would actually criticize somebody for showing up to work, plowing the streets, getting the trains running back on time when you've never been responsible for that in your entire life.

RUBIO: Chris, you didn't want to go back. You didn't want to go back. (APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: And the fact is, I went back, it got done and here's...

RUBIO: You didn't want to go back, Chris.

CHRISTIE: Oh, so -- wait a second. Is that one of the skills you get as a United States senator ESP also? Because I don't think it is.

RUBIO: Chris, everybody -- you said you weren't going to go back. He told everyone he wasn't going to go back. They had to shame him into going back. And when he decided to go back, he criticized the young lady, saying, what am I supposed to do, go back with a mop and clean up the flooding?

CHRISTIE: It gets very unruly when he gets off his talking points.

MUIR: Governor Christie -- thank you, Governor. I will mention -- listen...

RUBIO: ... It's your record, it's not a talking point...

MUIR: ... Listen, people... (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Governor Bush, I'll mention your name so that you can come in on this...

BUSH: ... I appreciate that, I really do, thank you.

MUIR: I want to bring you in on this because you've made this central to your campaign right here in New Hampshire in the last couple of days. Four Years ago you said of Senator Rubio, he was ready to be Vice President. You spoke of his experience as well. You said he has the fortitude to be a good President, but just this week you said Senator Rubio accomplished, quote, "nothing" in the Senate. How do you square the two?

BUSH: Well, first of all he said the exact same thing about me, that I would make a great Vice Presidential nominee when Mitt Romney was considering. I said the same thing about Marco. I think we were both right at the time, and Mitt picked somebody else. So, let's move on to the 2016 race. Who has the leadership skills... (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: ... Who has the leadership skills to lead? And, I'm proud of the fact that I have 12 Medal of Honor recipients, over 30 admirals and generals that believe that I would be a steady hand as Commander in Chief. That I serve as Governor of the state of Florida where we cut taxes and reduced government. I took on very powerful interests, forged consensus, fought for my beliefs, implemented them and the state was better off. We had eight hurricanes and four tropical storms in 16 months. The whole state was turned upside down. It required a steady hand. Leadership. You learn this, you learn it by doing it. It's not something that you just go up, and on the job do it. (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: It's not the same. Look, let's be clear. Marco Rubio is a gifted, gifted politician, and he may have the skills to be a President of the United States, but we've tried it the old way with Barack Obama, with soaring eloquence and we got -- we didn't get a leader we got someone who wants to divide the country up. The next President... (BELL RINGING)

BUSH: ... going to have to forge consensus to bring about a set of common purposes so that we can move forward again in this country...

MUIR: ... We're going to continue with leadership now. Martha?

RADDATZ: Senator Cruz, you are a first term Senator as well. Your opponents say you, like Senator Rubio, are not prepared to be Commander in Chief. You have talked tough about threats we face in the Mid-East. It was reported just moments ago that the North Koreans test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has nuclear weapons, and conducted another nuclear test just last month. The missile that was launched is the kind the North Koreans hope could someday carry a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States. How would you respond if Commander in Chief to that launch?

CRUZ: Well, I would note, initially the fact that we're seeing the launch, and we're seeing the launch from a nuclear North Korea is the direct result of the failures of the first Clinton administration. The Clinton administration led the world in relaxing sanctions against North Korea. Billions of dollars flowed into North Korea in exchange for promises not to build nuclear weapons. They took those billions and built nuclear weapons. And, I would note also the lead negotiator in that failed North Korea sanctions deal was a woman named Wendy Sherman who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton promptly recruited to come back to be the lead negotiator with Iran. So, what we are seeing with North Korea is foreshadowing of where we will be with Iran. With respect to North Korea and what we should do now, one of the first things we should do is expand our missile defense capacity. We ought to put missile defense interceptors in South Korea. South Korea wants them. One of the real risks of this launch, North Korea wants to launch a satellite, and one of the greatest risks of the satellite is they would place a nuclear device in the satellite. As it would orbit around the Earth, and as it got over the United States they would detonate that nuclear weapon and set of what's called an EMP, and electromagnetic pulse which could take down the entire electrical grid on the Eastern seaboard, potentially killing millions. We need to harden the grid to defend ourselves, and we need missile defense to protect ourselves against North Korea.

RADDATZ: Well, let me ask you this, if you were Commander in Chief tonight would you have order the U.S.military to destroy that missile preemptively on the launchpad to prevent North Korea from becoming an even graver threat?

CRUZ: You know, at this point I'm not going to speculate on that without the intelligence briefing that any Commander in Chief would have, knowing what exactly is there. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: One of the real problems...

RADDATZ: ... Senator Cruz, let me tell you this, you have talked tough about the Mid-East, you haven't gotten those intelligence briefings about that. Why not tell us whether you would preemptively strike a missile on a launchpad that threatens the U.S...

CRUZ: ... Actually, with respect, I have gotten the intelligence briefings on the Mid-East. Those have been going on for many years. I haven't gotten the intelligence briefing tonight on what North Korea's doing because I'm here in new Hampshire. When you're responding to an immediate incident, you need to know the intelligence of what's occurring.

CRUZ: But what I was saying -- look, it is qualitatively different dealing with a country once they have nuclear weapons. It's why you prevent them from getting nuclear weapons in the first place -- because your hands are somewhat tied once they have nukes. It's why this Iranian nuclear deal is so catastrophic, and it's why I've pledged, on the very first day in office, to rip to shreds this Iranian nuclear deal so we're not sitting here in five years, wondering what to do about an Iranian missile launch when they have nuclear weapons. The stakes are too high for that.

RADDATZ: Okay. Senator Cruz, I will say that missile has been sitting there for quite some time, and they have had eyes on it.

RUBIO: But Martha, just -- Martha, just to clarify on that point, because he's right, and one more thing to point -- it is standard procedure of the United States to shoot down those missiles once launched if they pose a threat to civilians, land and ships (ph).

RADDATZ: Senator Rubio, I'm talking about a preemptive strike on the launch pad.

RUBIO: Well -- no, I understand. And not -- but -- but I think it's important to note that it is -- and Senator Cruz, I think, was alluding to this, as well -- it is the standard procedure of the United States, if those missiles pose a threat to land, civilians, our allies or any of our assets, to shoot down that missile in mid-flight. I understand your question was about a preemptive strike, but my point is that there is in place now contingencies to avoid any sort of that strike (ph) from going errant and destroying any -- any assets of the United States, or implicating or hurting any of our allies or any of our assets in the region.

RADDATZ: OK. Thank you, Senator Rubio. Governor Kasich, how would you respond to tonight's launch?

KASICH: Well, we've got to to step up the pressure. And by the way, I've gotta say, after being here, every one of my 100 town hall meetings in New Hampshire were a lot more fun than what I saw here today, were so much more positive. Look, in terms of North Korea, Martha, we have to make sure that we intercept both the ships and their aircraft, because what they're trying to do is to proliferate this very dangerous material, along with the -- with the technology, the instruments that can be used for mass destruction. That's what I worry about the most, frankly, is non-state actors, people who don't have a uniform, people don't have a country, who can spread this, who are not subject to the -- to the mutual assured defense. In other words, you strike us, we strike you. Some of these radicals, they don't care about that. That's what I worry about, for my children, and for their children, going forward. So, we have to be very tough. And we should tell the Chinese, look, if you're not going to do this ballistic missile defense to the Koreans, ballistic missile defense to Japan -- and by the way, we should impose the same kind of sanctions on North Korea that we imposed on Iran, because they're able to shift money. They're able to send money and receive money. (BELL RINGS)

KASICH: We've gotta to be very tough on this. And frankly, I think we could have -- I think we could have let the Japanese know that if you want to take action on that -- on that missile that's rising, you want to take action -- you will have our support, if that's what you think is the best thing to do. We cannot continue to be weak in the face of the North Koreans, or, frankly, in the entire rest of the world. Martha, this is -- this is the -- relates...

RADDATZ: Thank you, Governor Kasich. Thank you -- thank you...

BUSH: ... this relates to strategic patience. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: ... Governor Bush, I'll get to you in a moment.

BUSH: This relates to the strategic patience of the Obama administration. They come up with these great marketing terms, and what they do is they pull back, and voids are filled, and they're now filled by asymmetric threats of terror, as well as nation-states on the run. The next president of the United States is gonna have to get the United States back in the game, and if a preemptive strike is necessary to keep us safe, then we should do it. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Thank you, Governor Bush. Mr. Trump, do you have a red line with North Korea? Would you consider military action? And how far would you let them go?

TRUMP: Well, let me say a couple of things. First of all, Marco said earlier on that President Obama knows exactly what he's doing, like we have this president that really knows. I disagree, respectfully, with Marco. I think we have a president who, as a president, is totally incompetent, and he doesn't know what he's doing. (APPLAUSE) I think he has no idea what he's doing. And our country is going to hell. So, I just want to say, we disagree on that. Is that okay?

RUBIO: Yeah. I have a -- I got mentioned, can I respond?

TRUMP: Good.

RADDATZ: And I'd like him to finish the question, please.

TRUMP: As to North Korea?

RADDATZ: Specific -- as to North Korea.

TRUMP: We have -- tremendous -- has been just sucked out of our country by China. China says they don't have that good of control over North Korea. They have tremendous control. I deal with the Chinese all of the time. I do tremendous -- the largest bank in the world is in one of my buildings in Manhattan. I deal with them. They tell me. They have total, absolute control, practically, of North Korea. They are sucking trillions of dollars out of our country -- they're rebuilding China with the money they take out of our country. I would get on with China, let China solve that problem. (BELL RINGS) They can do it quickly and surgically. That's what we should do with North Korea.

RADDATZ: Senator Rubio, you were mentioned. (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: Here's the broader point, as well, and then I think it touches on what Donald just mentioned. Barack Obama views America as this arrogant global power that needed to be cut down to size. OK?

RUBIO: This is a president that views this country as a country that's been too powerful in the world and we create problems around the world. For example, it's one of the reasons why he had betrayed Israel, because he believes that if we create separation from Israel, it will help our relations in the Islamic world. The same is happening in the Asia-Pacific region with accommodations to North Korea. North Korean should be back on that list of terrorist nations, as an example. And Donald's absolutely right. China does have a lot of influence over North Korea and he should be leveraging our relationship with the Chinese to ensure that North Korea no longer has access to the resources that have allowed them -- a country that has no economy to develop long range missiles already capable of reaching the west coast of the United States potentially. RADDATZ: Thank you very much, Senator Rubio. Governor Bush, another problem facing the commander-in-chief right now is that North Korea is currently detaining an American college student. What would you do to get that college student back home?

BUSH: Well, first of all, it's interesting that that happened literally days when this hostage release took place in Iran. A day or two days afterwards, North Korea took a -- held an American student hostage. I think it's when we send a signal of weakness, when we are negotiating to release people that committed crimes in our country for people that didn't commit crimes that are held hostage in Iran. We saw the shameful treatment of our sailors, that this creates weakness -- sends a signal of weakness around the world. The next president of the United States is going to have to get back in the game. Where the United States' word matters. Where we back up our allies, where we don't send signals of weakness. We need to use every -- every influence possible to get this student back. And I think John is right about this, there are crippling sanctions that are available, as it relates to the two or three banks that North Korea uses to -- to -- use it -- illicit trade. We ought to re-establish sanctions, not just because of the student, but because of their actions that they're taking right now, as it relates to building this missile capability.

RADDATZ: Governor Christie, I want to go to you on the same question. (APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: Let's get something...

RADDATZ: Would you negotiate with North Korea to... CHRISTIE: No. Let's make something very clear. I learned seven years as a federal prosecutor in dealing with types of situations like we're talking about in North Korea, where criminals take people hostage. You never pay ransom to the criminals. Ever. You never pay ransom to the criminals. Everyone out at home watching tonight understands that principle. And so, what you need to do is to engage in a much different way with these folks. They do not understand anything but toughness and strength, and we need to engage the Chinese to deal with the North Koreans, but we also need to make sure that they understand there's a commander-in-chief who will not pay ransom for any hostage. This president and his former secretary of State are for paying ransom for hostages. When do that, you endanger even more Americans around the world to be the subject of this type of hostage taking and illegal detention. You need a strong commander-in-chief who will look these folks in the eye and say, we will not put up with this and we will take whatever actions we need to take, not only to get our people home safely, but to swiftly and surely punish those who believe they can violate the law and violate American's sovereign rights to travel the world freely and safely. This is unacceptable. And this is why this president is so weak and why the secretary of State, who is embracing a third Barack Obama term, would be even weaker.

RADDATZ: Thank you very much, Governor Christie. (APPLAUSE) David?

MUIR: Martha, we're going to turn to immigration now. And I want to bring in Governor Kasich because you told us in an ABC interview, Governor, quote, "It is completely ridiculous to think we are going to go into neighborhoods, grab people out of their homes and ship people back to Mexico." Adding, quote, "That's not where the party is. The party is not for departing 11.5 million people." But Mr. Trump and Senator Cruz, who have made deportation central to their campaigns, top the national polls. So, my question for you, are you not where the voters are?

KASICH: Well, you know, David, I -- I've just spent a lot of time here in this state, as I mentioned earlier, and we have to have practical solutions, just like we were just talking about a few minutes ago on North Korea. Look, the situation is, we need to finish the border. It has to be completed. Just like we lock our doors at night, the country has to be able to lock its doors. And we can have a guest worker program, where people can come in and out in an orderly way. And then for the 11.5 million that are here, if they have not committed a crime since they've been here, I believe they ought to pay some back taxes, pay a fine, never get on the path to citizenship, but get legalization. It is not -- I couldn't even imagine how we would even begin to think about taking a mom or a dad out of a house when they have not committed a crime since they've been here, leaving their children in the house. I mean, that is not, in my opinion, the kind of values that we believe in.

KASICH: And secondly, I think at the end of the day, that Americans would support a plan like this. I think Congress would pass a plan to finish the border, guest worker, pay a fine, a path to legalization, and not citizenship. And we've got to get this done. And I will tell you this, within the first 100 days that I am president, I will put that proposal to the Congress. And I will tell you, as a former Congressman, and an executive, in Ohio, I can promise you that I believe you'll get the votes to pass that, and we can move on with that issue and protect our border. That's what I think.

MUIR: Governor Kasich, thank you. (APPLAUSE) I want to bring this next to Senator Cruz. You heard what the governor said. He said, "We need practical solutions." And you've said, "I don't intend to send jack boots to knock on doors. That's not how we enforce the law for any crime." So, what is your plan? How will you deport 11.5 million undocumented people? And be specific. How would you do it?

CRUZ: So, in terms of a practical solution, I've laid out the most detailed plan for solving illegal immigration. It's 11 pages, single-spaced, chapter and verse. It's on our website, tedcruz.org. In short, we're going to do, we're going to build a wall. We're going to triple the border patrol. We're going to increase -- and actually, since Donald enjoyed that, will simply say, I've got somebody in mind to build it. We're going to increase four-fold, the fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, so that you have technology monitoring an attempted incursion to direct the boots on the ground where they're occurring. We're going to put in place a strong e-verify system in the workplace, so you can't get a job without proving you are here legally. We'll put in place a biometric exit-entry system on visas, because 40 percent of illegal immigration comes not over the border illegally, but people coming on visas and overstaying. We will end sanctuary cities by cutting off taxpayer dollars to any jurisdiction that defies federal immigration law. (APPLAUSE) And we will end welfare benefits for those here illegally. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Let me just ask you this, though, because Governor Kasich was talking about the families and what you do with the families that you would have to send home. Can you tell the American people tonight how you would do that?

CRUZ: What you do is, you enforce the law. You know, under the Constitution, the president has an obligation to, quote, "Take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Federal immigration law provides, if someone is here illegally and is apprehended, they are to be deported. We saw just this past week the head of the border patrol union testify before Congress that President Obama had given the order to the border patrol to stand down, not to enforce the law. That is wrong. I will enforce the law, and for everyone who says, you can't possibly do that, I would note that in eight years, Bill Clinton deported 12 million people. In eight years, George W. Bush deported 10 million people. Enforcing the law -- we can do it. What is missing is the political will. And when they were deporting the people, the border wasn't secure, so they'd come right back. Once you secure the border, enforcing the law will solve this problem and that will benefit American workers.

MUIR: Senator Cruz, thank you. I want to bring in Senator Rubio. This question is about immigration, it is also about leadership. You're aware of the criticism from many candidates on this stage tonight that you co-authored the so-called Gang of Eight bill that would have created a path to citizenship for people here illegally. Governor Christie has said of you, as soon as you felt the heat, you turned tail and run. Governor Bush has said, "I don't think we need people cutting and running anymore." Did you fight for your own legislation, Senator, or did you run from it?

RUBIO: Here's the bottom line. We can't get that legislation passed. The American people will not support doing anything about people that are in this country illegally until the law is enforced first, and you prove it to them. This has been abundantly clear. Every effort over the last ten years to do those comprehensively has failed. And it has failed because the American people have zero trust that the federal government will enforce our laws. And that's why since then, I have said repeatedly, if you are serious about immigration reform, then the key that unlocks the door to being able to do that is not just to pass a law that says it is going to enforce the law, but to actually do it. To hire the 20,000 new border agents, to finish the fencing and walls, to put in place mandatory e-verify, to put in place an entry-exit tracking system to prevent visa overstays. And once that is in place and that's working, I believe the American people will support a very reasonable, but responsible approach to people that have been here a long time, who are not dangerous criminals, who pay taxes and pay fines for what they did. But until then, none of that is going to be possible.

MUIR: But I'm asking, did you fight for the legislation at the time or did you run from it as you're...

RUBIO: Well, the legislation passed, but it has no support. In essence, it couldn't pass in the House, it will never pass in the United States until we secure the border, and it is not the way we're going to do when I'm president. When I'm president, we are going to enforce the law first, prove to people that illegal immigration is under control. And then we'll see what the American people are willing to support when it comes to people that are not criminals, who have been in the this country for a long time and who otherwise would like to stay.

MUIR: Governor Christie?

CHRISTIE: Yeah, David, I would just like you to listen, again, everybody. This is the difference between being a governor who actually has to be responsible for problems and not answering a question. The question was, "Did he fight for his legislation?" (APPLAUSE) It's abundantly clear that he didn't. It's abundantly clear that he didn't fight for the legislation.

CHRISTIE: When the teachers unions attacked me with $20 million of ads because I wanted to reform teacher tenure, I fought them and fought them and fought them and I won. When they didn't want -- when people wanted to raise taxes in my state at Democratic legislature and threatened to close down the government, I told them, fine. Close down the government. I'll get in my cars, head to the governor's mansion, order a pizza, open a beer and watch the Mets. You can call me when the government reopens. And guess what they didn't do? They didn't pass a tax increase, because I vetoed it and they never closed the government because they knew I would fight for what I believed in. The fact of the matter is, a leader must fight for what they believe in. Not handicap it and say, well maybe since I can't win this one, I'll run. That's not what leadership is. (BELL RINGS) That's what Congress is. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Governor thank you. Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Leadership is ultimately about solving the problem. And the approach that was tried and has been tried now repeatedly over ten years to do this comprehensively, all at once in a massive piece of legislation has no chance of passage. It is not leadership to continue to try something that has no chance of happening. I want to make progress on this issue. It has been discussed now for 30 years and nothing ever happens. And I am telling you that the only way forward on this issue that has any chance of happening, meaning gaining the support of the American people, you cannot do this without the support of the American people, is an approach that begins by proving that once and for all, illegal immigration is under control.

MUIR: Senator Rubio, thank you. We want to turn to health care in this country, and for that, author and commentator, Mary Katherine Ham tonight.

HAM: Thanks, David. Good evening, guys.

TRUMP: Good evening.

RUBIO: Good evening.

CHRISTIE: Good evening.

KASICH: Good evening.

CARSON: Good evening.

CRUZ: Good evening.

BUSH: Good evening.

HAM: Mr. Trump.


HAM: In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton has criticized Bernie Sanders' plan for single payer government health care, noting it would require big, across the board tax increases for Americans. In doing so, she's doubling down on Obamacare, despite its persistent unpopularity. Mr. Trump, you have said you want to appeal Obamacare. You have also said, quote, "Everybody's got to be covered," adding, quote, "The government's going to pay for it." Are you closer to Bernie Sanders' vision for health care than Hillary Clinton's?

TRUMP: I don't think I am. I think I'm closer to common sense. We are going to repeal Obamacare. (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We're going to repeal Obamacare. We are going to replace Obamacare with something so much better. And there are so many examples of it. And I will tell you, part of the reason we have some people laughing, because you have insurance people that take care of everybody up here. I am self-funded. The only one they're not taking care of is me. We have our lines around each state. The insurance companies are getting rich on Obamacare. The insurance companies are getting rich on health care and health services and everything having to do with health. We are going to end that. We're going to take out the artificial boundaries, the artificial lines. We're going to get a plan where people compete, free enterprise. They compete. So much better.(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: In addition to that, you have the health care savings plans, which are excellent. What I do say is, there will be a certain number of people that will be on the street dying and as a Republican, I don't want that to happen. We're going to take care of people that are dying on the street because there will be a group of people that are not going to be able to even think in terms of private or anything else and we're going to take care of those people. And I think everybody on this stage would have to agree... (BELL RINGS) ... you're not going to let people die, sitting in the middle of a street in any city in this country. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Senator Cruz, to that point, Mr. Trump has said that your position on health care means that maybe you've got, quote, "no heart". There is a question here, though, about uncovered folks. You suggested repealing and replacing Obamacare. As we learned with President Obama's broken promise that everyone could keep their plan, any major plan -- change in health care policy carries with it the risk that some people will lose their insurance coverage or have to change it. How do you reassure that those people that repealing and replacing Obamacare is still in their best interest?

CRUZ: Well, let me take two different parts of that. Let me start with socialized medicine. Socialized medicine is a disaster. It does not work. If you look at the countries that have imposed socialized medicine, that have put the government in charge of providing medicine, what inevitably happens is rationing. You have a scarcity of doctors. You have rationing. And that means the elderly are told, we're going to ration a hip replacement, we're going to ration a knee replacement. We're going to ration end- of-life care. We're right now heading into a medical system with about a 90,000-doctor shortage in America and socialized medicine; whether proposed by the Democrats or proposed by a Republican would hurt the people of this country. What should we do on health care? If I'm elected president, we will repeal every word of Obamacare. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And once we do that, we will adopt common sense reforms, number one, we'll allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines that will drive down prices and expand the availability of low cost catastrophic insurance.

CRUZ: We'll expand health savings accounts; and we will de-link health insurance from employment so that you don't lose your health insurance when you lose your job, and that way health insurance can be personal, portable and affordable and we keep government from getting in between us and our doctors. (APPLAUSE)

HAM: Dr. Carson, you have some experience with this matter. In the past, you have said that Obamacare should be replaced before it's repealed. How and why?

CARSON: Well, thank you. You know, I was hoping to get a chance to talk about North Korea. I was the only one who didn't get to do that, and I've got stuff to say about it, let me tell you. But at any rate, you have to replace it with something that makes sense. It doesn't make sense. And the reason that I dislike Obamacare is because the government comes in and tells the people -- which the nation is supposed to be centered on -- that we don't care what you think, this is what we're doing. And if you don't like it, too bad. That's a problem. And we can't afford to do that because that will fundamentally change America. I have proposed a health empowerment account system. Everybody gets a health empowerment account the day they are born, they keep it until they die. They can pass it on. We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for traditional health care with, recognizing that we spend twice as much as many countries per capita and health care and don't have as such access. We give people the ability to shift money within their health empowerment account so that each family basically becomes its own insurance company without a middleman; that saves you a awful lot of money. And that will lower the cost of your catastrophic insurance tremendously, because the only thing coming out of that is catastrophic health care. And then in terms of taking care of the indigent, we have another whole system, and I can go ahead and explain it, but I don't have the time, but I'd be happy to if you give me some more time. But go to my website bencarson.com, read about it. You can read about everything that's been discussed here in great detail. (APPLAUSE)

HAM: Thank you, Dr. Carson. David, Martha, back to you.

MUIR: Mary Katherine, thank you. We want to turn now to the issue of eminent domain, which is being debated right here in New Hampshire. And Josh McElveen is the political director and the anchor of WMUR TV. Josh?

MCELVEEN: Thank you, David. And good evening, candidates. Mr. Trump, you have said, quote, "I love eminent domain" which is the seizure of private property for the sake of the greater good theoretically. You tried to use the measure in business endeavors, you've said you'd support its use for the Keystone Pipeline project. Here in New Hampshire, a project, though, known as the Northern pass would bring hydro-electric power from Canada into the Northeastern grid. Do you see eminent domain as an appropriate tool to get that done?

TRUMP: Well, let me just tell you about eminent domain because almost all of these people actually criticize it, but so many people have hit me with commercials and other things about eminent domain. Eminent domain is an absolute necessity for a country, for our country. Without it, you wouldn't have roads, you wouldn't have hospitals, you wouldn't have anything. You wouldn't have schools, you wouldn't have bridges. You need eminent domain. And a lot of the big conservatives that tell me how conservative they are -- I think I'm more than they are -- they tell me, oh -- well, they all want the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline, without eminent domain, it wouldn't go 10 feet, OK? You need eminent domain. And eminent domain is a good thing, not a bad thing. And what a lot of people don't know because they were all saying, oh, you're going to take their property. When somebody -- when eminent domain is used on somebody's property, that person gets a fortune. They get at least fair market value, and if they are smart, they'll get two or three times the value of their property. But without eminent domain, you don't have roads, highways, schools, bridges or anything. So eminent domain -- it's not that I love it, but eminent domain is absolutely -- it's a necessity for a country. And certainly it's a necessity for our country.

MCELVEEN: So would that be yes on the Northern Pass project? (APPLAUSE)


BUSH: The difference -- the difference between eminent domain for public purpose -- as Donald said, roads and infrastructure, pipelines and all that -- that's for public purpose. But what Donald Trump did was use eminent domain to try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City. That is not public purpose, that is down right wrong. (APPLAUSE) And here's the problem with that. The problem was, it was to tear down -- it was to tear down -- it was to tear down the house...

TRUMP: Jeb wants to be -- he wants to be a tough guy tonight. I didn't take the property.

BUSH: And the net result was -- you tried.

TRUMP: I didn't take the property.

BUSH: And you lost in the court.

TRUMP: The woman ultimately didn't want to do that. I walked away.

BUSH: That is not true. And the simple fact is to turn this into a limousine parking lot for his casinos is a not public use. (APPLAUSE) And in Florida, based on what we did, we made that impossible. It is part of our Constitution. That's the better approach. That is the conservative approach.

MCELVEEN: Mr. Trump, take 30 seconds.

TRUMP: Well, let me just -- you know, he wants to be a tough guy. A lot of times, you'll have -- you'll have -- and it didn't work very well.

BUSH: How tough it is to take away property from an elderly woman?

TRUMP: A lot of time -- let me talk. Quiet. A lot of times -- a lot of times...

BUSH: How tough it is to take away a property from an elderly woman?

TRUMP: ... you -- let me talk. Let me talk. Quiet. A lot of times... (BOOING) ... that's all of his donors and special interests out there. (BOOING) So -- it's what it is. That's what -- and by the way, let me just tell you, we needed tickets. You can't get them. You know who has the tickets for the -- I'm talking about, to the television audience? Donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money. (BOOING) That's who it is. The RNC told us. We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they're not loving me... (BOOING) ... the reason they're not -- excuse me. The reason they're not loving me is, I don't want their money. I'm going to do the right thing for the American public. I don't want their money. I don't need their money. And I'm the only one up here that can say that. Eminent domain, the Keystone pipeline -- do you consider that a private job? Do you -- do you consider that...

BUSH: I consider it a public use.

TRUMP: No -- no, let me ask you, Jeb. (BELL RINGS) Do you consider the Keystone pipeline private?

BUSH: It's a public use. It's a public use.

TRUMP: Is it public or private?

BUSH: It's a public use.

TRUMP: Real -- a public use?

BUSH: Yeah.

TRUMP: No, it's a private job.

BUSH: It's a public use.

TRUMP: It's a private job.

BUSH: Established by the courts -- federal, state courts.

TRUMP: You wouldn't have the Keystone pipeline that you want so badly without eminent domain.

MCELVEEN: All right, gentlemen...

TRUMP: You wouldn't have massive -- excuse me, Josh -- you wouldn't have massive factories without eminent domain. (BOOING)

MCELVEEN: Gentlemen, we do have to move forward. Dave, Martha, back to you.

MUIR: Josh, thank you. When we come back here tonight, jobs, ISIS, and what it means to be a conservative. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: The Republican debate continues right here from New Hampshire on ABC. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Candidates taking a quick break. I'm here with Jon Karl right now, and boy, Jon. Marco Rubio came into this debate with a head of steam, ran right into Chris Christie.

KARL: I have never seen Christie tougher in this race. I have never seen Marco Rubio more rattled. He repeated himself three times, precisely when Chris Christie's criticism was you always repeat yourself with the same canned speech. This was a tough moment for Marco Rubio.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump started out more subdued than in the past for most of the debate, right up until the end of that first section when the issue of eminent domain came up, and Jeb Bush was ready.

KARL: It almost makes you wonder where would we be in this race right now if Jeb Bush had been that energetic, and that forceful in going after Donald Trump from the start in the previous debates.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He has been hitting Donald Trump, but this...

KARL: ... But not effectively...

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... He did seem to draw some blood, and he seemed to have the crowd on his side, at least for part of that answer tonight. OK, we'll be right back. The candidates on the stage in just a minute. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNKNOWN: Live from Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, here again are David Muir, and Martha Raddatz.

MUIR: And, we welcome you back to the Republican debate from New Hampshire tonight here on ABC. We're going to turn now to what it means to be a conservative, and I want to turn to Governor Kasich. Governor, while campaigning here in New Hampshire, you were already asked about groans from some conservatives after your endorsements from the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. You said, quote, "What conservatives have to know is they have to say, look isn't it nice to have a conservative like me liked? And, maybe the ought to think about it because if I get elected president, the Republican party and the definition of conservatism is going to change." How would you change conservatism?

KASICH: Well, first of all, look. As the New York Times said, he's certainly not a moderate, but he can bring people together to solve problems. The fact of the matter is I've cut taxes more than anybody in the country this year. I have balanced budgets, the federal budget, the state of Ohio budget, we're running a $2 billion dollar surplus, we're up 400,000 jobs, and in Washington we were able to have significant job growth whenever we balanced the budget of which I was the architect. But, here's the beauty of it, it's not just balancing a budget, it's about jobs. You know, when I was kid growing up in a neighborhood where Dad went home at night and said, "I lost my job today", it just killed the family. It just was a devastating effect. We have to have economic growth, but once we have economic growth I believe we have to reach out to people who live in the shadows. I believe we need to help the mentally ill, the drug addicted, the working poor. We need to help the developmentally disabled to rise, and we need to help our friends in the minority community develop entrepreneurship. In other words, in American, conservatism should mean not only that some rise with conservative principles, but everybody has a chance to rise regardless of who they are so they can live their God given purpose. That's what conservatism should be. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Governor Kasich, thank you. Mr. Trump, you've heard the argument from many of the candidates on this stage that you're not a true conservative. Tell the voters watching tonight why you are.

TRUMP: Well, I think I am, and to me, I view the word conservative as a derivative I -- of -- of the word conserve. We want to converse our money. We want to conserve our wealth. We want to conserve. We want to be smart. We want to be smart where we go, where we spend, how we spend. We want to conserve our country. We want to save our country. And we have people that have no idea how to do that and they are not doing it, and it's a very important word and it's something I believe in very, very strongly.

MUIR: Mr. Trump, thank you. (APPLAUSE) Senator Rubio, you have said yourself that you don't think Donald Trump is running as a conservative. Did he convince you?

RUBIO: Well, I think conservatism is about three things and Donald touched on one of them, but it's about three things. The first is conservatism is about limited government, especially at the federal level. The federal government is a limited government, limited by the Constitution, which delineates its powers. If it's not in the Constitution, it does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to states, local communities and the private sector. It's about free enterprise, which is an economic model that allows everyone to rise without pulling anyone down. The reason why free enterprise is the greatest economic model in the history of the world is because it's the only economic model where you can make poor people richer without making rich people poor. And it's about a strong national defense. It's about believing, unlike Barack Obama, that the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest military and the strongest nation on this planet. That's conservatism. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Rubio, thank you. I want to turn this discussion to the economy now. And Mr. Trump, Governor Christie has said, "I tell everybody who goes to a Donald Trump event, if you get to ask a question, just ask him how." Christie said, "I don't care which of the things he talks about, just ask him how." You have said that you'd be the greatest jobs president God ever created. Tell Americans watching tonight how many jobs you would create in the first term and how.

TRUMP: Well, before I go there, I will tell you, I will bring jobs back from China. I will bring jobs back from Japan. I will bring jobs back from Mexico, where New Hampshire, by the way, has been virtually wiped out. They've lost so many businesses going to Mexico because of horrible trade deals. And now we're about to sign another trade deal, TPP, which is going to be a disaster for this country because they don't talk about monetary manipulation. It is going to be a disaster. I'm going to bring jobs back and I'll start bringing them back very fast. Under my tax plan -- right now, we're the highest taxed country in the world. Under my plan, we cut not only taxes for the middle class, but we cut taxes for corporations. We will bring back trillions of dollars that's offshore. Right now, they have $2.5 trillion, and in my opinion, it's much more than that. That's what the government says. All of that money is going to come back. And we're not going to lose Pfizer, which is now leaving, and other great companies, which is now leaving. And they're all leaving. We have many, many companies that are leaving this country. We're not going to lose them anymore because we're going to have a tax structure that is going to keep them in our country.

MUIR: Mr. Trump, thank you. There are a lot of governors on this stage tonight and Governor Christie, Governor Kasich said of you, quote, "In Ohio, we balanced a budget. They don't have one over in New Jersey. Our credit has been strengthened. Their credit has been downgraded. We've got more jobs." How important are those metrics in choosing the next president? And is his job -- is his record on jobs, I should say, actually stronger than yours?

CHRISTIE: Well, he deserves credit for his record on jobs. He's done a very good job as governor of Ohio. Never said that John hasn't. He's done a very good job. (APPLAUSE) But -- but unfortunately, John's been so busy doing over stuff, he's using old statistics. That's OK. New Jersey had its best year of job growth in the last 15 years under five different governors this year in New Jersey. New Jersey cut spending over $2.3 billion and we have 10,000 fewer employees than we had when I walked in the door. John has a bigger government now and more employees than he had when he walked in the door. But all that doesn't matter. What really matters is this, that executive experience really matters. You heard this on the stage tonight. We've heard it said on the stage that President Obama knows exactly what he's doing. I'd like to ask all the veterans listening out there tonight, who are waiting in line for healthcare, who are literally dying because the Veterans Administration doesn't work, do you think Barack Obama knows what he's doing? I don't. And I'll tell you something. Anybody who evaluates him is knowing what he's doing and managing the government doesn't know how to manage a government themselves. And one last thing, David, which I think is really important. I listened to Senator Rubio's answer on his bill. He said his bill couldn't pass on the gang of eight. He acted as if he was somehow disembodied from the bill. It was his bill. He said this idea doesn't work. It was his idea. See, when you're a governor, you have to take responsibility for these things. You can't just act as if it happened out of nowhere. We have to take responsibility as executives. I take responsibility for my record in New Jersey. We've rebuilt the economy and rebuilt after the second-worst natural disaster in American history. I'm proud of my record. And by the way, I like Kasich's record, too. He's a good governor. (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: David?

MUIR: Thank you, Governor. Governor Kasich?

KASICH: Look, I'm -- I'm not here -- I like Chris.

MUIR: He didn't say your record was better than his.

KASICH: Let -- but let me -- let me just tell you. First of all, we have the lowest number of state employees in 30 years. Secondly, we have grown government at the rate of inflation. And I went from an $8 billion hole to a $2 billion surplus. And we've grown jobs by 400,000 -- that's one of the fastest growing states in the country. Our pensions are secure and our credit is rock solid. Now, I've learned that, what makes things work, what gets the economy going, not just in Ohio, but in Washington -- and it's three things. Common sense regulations, which we have, lower taxes, which we have, the lowest taxes, tax cuts in the country. And thirdly, a fiscal plan to balance the budget. When you go from $8 billion in the hole to $2 billion in the black, when you cut taxes by $5 billion and you grow over 400,000 jobs, that is a record that I can take to Washington, using the same formula that I used in Washington when I was part of the effort to balance the budget to give us a surplus and to create jobs.

MUIR: Governor Kasich, thank you.

KASICH: That's what I did and I'll do it again in the first 100 days.

KASICH: Governor Kasich, thank you. I do want to turn from jobs to taxes.

RUBIO: Now, see, I was mentioned by Governor...

MUIR: If you would like to respond to the governor, you can.

RUBIO: Yeah.

MUIR: I'm coming to you next with a question, anyway. You can respond to that question.

RUBIO: OK, good, then I'll get to it (inaudible). Here's the...

MUIR: We're going from jobs to taxes, and here's the...

RUBIO: Well, no, sorry. Let me respond to that question.

MUIR: To the Gang of Eight bill first?

RUBIO: Well, here's the response. I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn't doing what he's doing on purpose doesn't understand what we're dealing with here, OK? This is a president -- this is a president who is trying to change this country. When he talked about change, he wasn't talking about dealing with our problems. Obamacare was not an accident. The undermining of the Second Amendment is not an accident. The gutting of our military is not an accident. The undermining of America on the global stage is not an accident. Barack Obama is, indeed, trying to redefine this country. We better understand what we're dealing with here, because that's what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to double down on if they are elected.

MUIR: The governor wasn't talking about the president, he was talking about the Gang of Eight bill. (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: No. He talked about Barack Obama.

MUIR: So, let me ask you about taxes, Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Yeah.

MUIR: A recent poll, 68 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on people making more than $1 million a year. Are they wrong?

RUBIO: I don't know of any problem in America that's going to be fixed with a tax increase. We have an economy today, an economy today that is not creating jobs that pay enough. And one of the reasons why is because we have one of the most expensive business tax rates on the planet. Our combined business rate puts us among the highest in the industrialized world. And then on top of that, we are the only one that has a worldwide system of taxation, where an American company who makes money abroad has to pay taxes where they made the money and then taxes a second time when they bring it back. The combination of these two things has stranded over $2 trillion, the equivalent of the size of the Russian economy, $2 trillion of American corporate money stranded overseas, combined with all of these inversions of companies leaving us. The solution to the problems we have today are not a tax increase. It is to lower our taxes on both people and on companies, so we can make America globally competitive again. (APPLAUSE) MUIR: Senator Rubio, thank you. I want to bring in Governor Bush. And Governor, I just want to repeat that number for you -- 68 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on people making more than a million. What do you say to the people who believe that tonight?

BUSH: I would like to see more millionaires. I think we need to grow more millionaires, we need create a prosperity society where people can rise up. (APPLAUSE) This notion that somehow we're undertaxed as a nation is just fool hearty, when we have entitlements growing far faster than our ability to pay for it. A conservative, because that's the point of this, believes in limited government, believes in a entrepreneurial capitalism and a strong national defense. But it also has to be, we need to reform things. In my town hall meetings, I went to a place where a woman described her neighbor, who has a better economic deal by not working than her struggling to make ends meet. We need to be on the side of working people. And you know, the problem with the left is, another tax, another regulation, another mandate makes it harder for them to rise up. Everything that we should do should be focused on high, sustained economic growth, where the middle class gets a raise for the first time, and where people are rewarded for work, rather than non-work. And I know how to do this. And if people are interested in the specifics of this, they ought to go to jeb2016.com. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Knew that was coming. Governor, thank you.

CHRISTIE: David? Hey, David? David? Hey, David? I actually have experience with raising taxes on millionaires in my state. It was done. It was done by my predecessor. And I want everybody in the public who is in that 68 percent, I want to tell you the truth. You're wrong. And here is why you're wrong. After New Jersey raised taxes on millionaires, we lost, in the next four years, $70 billion in wealth left our state. It left our state to go where it would be treated more kindly. If the United States raised taxes any further, that money will leave the United States, as well. We won't have better jobs. Let New Jersey be the canary in the coal mine. It is a failed idea and a failed policy, it's class warfare. It happened in my state. I've stopped it from happening again. But we cannot do it. The 68 percent of the people are wrong about that, it will hurt the American economy. We tried it in New Jersey. Come take a look -- it did not work. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Governor Christie, thank you. (APPLAUSE) Martha?

RADDATZ: Senator Cruz, you advocate what you call carpet bombing, or saturation bombing, to defeat ISIS, citing the more than 1,100 air attacks that the U.S. carried out during the first Gulf War in 1991. Explain how a strategy to defeat a standing army would work against an unconventional terrorist group that is now hiding amongst the population.

CRUZ: Well, sure. It starts with a commander-in-chief that sets the objective. And the objective has to be utterly and completely destroying ISIS. Obama hasn't started with that objective and everything else flows from there. Once you set that objective, we have the tools to carry that out. The first tool is overwhelming air power. It is one of the blessings of the United States of America, having the greatest military on the face of the earth, is we have the ability to use that air power. As you know, in the first Persian Gulf War, it was 1,100 air attacks a day. Obama is launching between 15 and 30. Now, when I say saturation carpet bombing, that is not indiscriminate. That is targeted at oil facilities. It's targeted at the oil tankers. It's targeted at command and control locations. It's targeted at infrastructure. It's targeted at communications. It's targeted at bombing all of the roads and bridges going in and out of Raqqa. It's using overwhelming air power. You know, couple of weeks ago, it was reported that a facility is open called Jihadist University. Now, the question I wonder, why is that building still standing? It should be rubble. And if you had a president... (BELL RINGS) (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: ... all though I will say this. I would be willing to wait until freshman orientation before launching those bombs.

RADDATZ: Senator Cruz, would you like to expand or loosen the rules of engagement? I was just over in a command center in Erbil and they said they thought the rules of engagement worked. Because you have so many civilians in those populated areas, they don't want to hit civilians.

CRUZ: Martha, I will tell you, I have visited with active duty military, with veterans over and over and over again in town halls all over the state of New Hampshire. What we are doing to our sons and daughters, it is immoral. We are sending them into fight with their arms tied behind their back. They cannot defend themselves. And it is wrong. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And I will tell you this. Look. America has always been reluctant to use military force. It's the last step we take. But if and when we use it when it comes to defeating ISIS, we should use it. We should use overwhelming force, kill the enemy and then get the heck out. Don't engage in nation-building but instead, allow our soldiers to do their jobs instead of risking their lives with politicians making it impossible to accomplish the objective. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: So, loosen the rules of engagement?

CRUZ: Absolutely, yes.

RADDATZ: Senator Rubio, you said in the last debate that ISIS is the most dangerous, jihadist group in the history of mankind And that will it take overwhelming U.S. force to defeat them. Can you specifically tell us what you mean by overwhelming force?

RUBIO: Well, first, we need to understand who they are. ISIS is not just a jihadist group, they're an apocalyptic group. They want to trigger a showdown in a city named Tibet between the west and themselves which they believe will trigger the arrival of their messianic figure. And I'm not saying that's what's going to happen. The reason why it's important to understand that is because these are not groups that are just going to go away on their own. They are going to have to be defeated. And I believe they need to be defeated on the ground, by a ground force, made up primarily of Sunni Arabs. It will take Sunni Arabs to reject them ideologically and defeat them militarily. That will require a coalition of Iraqis and Syrians, that are also Sunnis, but it will also require the cooperation of Jordanians, Egyptians. We should ask more of the Saudis. That will need to be backed up with more U.S. special operation forces alongside them. And it will have to be backed up with increased air strikes. And we are going to have to strike them, not just in Iraq and in Syria, but in every other part of the world where they have now created hubs of operation. They have affiliates in over a dozen countries across this planet. They have a sophisticated network of radicalizing people here in the homeland and around the world. (BELL RINGS) But it all begins by taking away their their safe operating spaces with a ground force that a U.S.-led coalition takes on. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Again, Senator Rubio, you've already said ISIS is the most dangerous jihadist group in the history of mankind. So, that would make it more dangerous than Al Qaida, the insurgents we fought in Iraq. We committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to fight those groups. So if ISIS is the most dangerous group in history, why not commit a large U.S. ground force?

RUBIO: Because they currently occupy Sunni cities and villages. Sunni cities and villages can only truly be liberated and held by Sunnis themselves. If they are held by Shias it will trigger sectarian violence. The Kurds are incredible fighters and they will liberate the Kurdish areas, but Kurds can not and do not want to liberate and hold Sunni villages and towns.

RUBIO: It will take Sunni fighters themselves in that region to take those villages and cities, and then to hold them and avoid the sort of sectarian violence that follows in the past. And why that is important is because if Sunnis are not able to govern themselves in these areas, you are going to have a successor group to ISIS. ISIS is a successor group of Al Qaida. In fact, they broke away... (BELL RINGS) ... from Al Qaida, because as horrible as Al Qaida is, ISIS thought Al Qaida was not radical enough. This is who we're dealing with, and they have more money than Al Qaida ever had.

BUSH (?): Martha -- Martha, if I...

RADDATZ: Well, what would you do -- what would you do differently to try to get those Sunni forces? They have not been coming forward.

RUBIO: Well, the problem with the Sunni forces in the region is they don't trust this administration. This administration cut a deal with their mortal enemies, the Shia, in Iran. It poisoned the well with these countries. It makes it very difficult to cooperate with them as a result. They also, by the way, understand what real U.S. air power looks like. They saw the Iraq war. They saw, up close, also Afghanistan. They know what air power looks like when the United States is committed to the cause. And they see the airstrikes that are being conducted now, and they say to themselves, that's not real (ph) commitment. We know what real commitment looks like. The -- the Jordanian king was in Washington three weeks ago. He told everyone who would listen that they have begged for permission from the coalition to target caravans. And the coalition -- meaning U.S. leadership on the ground... (BELL RINGS) ... would not allow them to proceed with those airstrikes.

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump -- thank you very much, Senator Rubio. Mr. Trump. (APPLAUSE) You have said you will vigorously bomb ISIS. You've said, "we've got to get rid of ISIS, quickly, quickly." How would you get rid of them so quickly? And please give us specifics.

TRUMP: Well, four years ago, I said, bomb the oil and take the oil. And if we did that, they wouldn't have the wealth they have right now. Now, I still say the same thing, because we're doing little pinpricks. We're not even bombing -- if somebody's driving a truck, they give notice to the person driving the truck, "we're going to bomb." If they don't get out of the truck, the truck sails away with the oil. We actually have a case where we don't want to bomb the oil, because we don't want to hurt -- pollute the atmosphere. Can you imagine General Douglas MacArthur or General Patton saying we can't bomb because we're gonna hurt the atmosphere? You have to knock the hell out of the oil. You have to take the oil. And you have also back channels of banking. You have people that you think are our great allies, our friends, in the Middle East, that are paying tremendous numbers of -- tremendous amounts of money to ISIS. So we have to stop those circuits. Nobody knows banking better than I do. They have back circuits, back channels. Tremendous amounts of money is coming in through the banking system. So between the oil and the banking, you will dry them up. But it should have been done four years ago, not now.

ADDATZ: And -- and what would you do in those cities, where there are people who we are trying to help, who ISIS is essentially holding hostage?

TRUMP: You have to go in -- first of all, when you take away their money, when you take away their wealth, that'll very much weaken -- and it will happen fairly fast. They'll last for about a year, based on all of the wealth they've accumulated. But when you stop the banking channels and when you stop the oil and take the oil -- not just bomb it, take it -- when you do that, it's going to dry up very quickly. They're going to become a very weakened power, quickly. Thank you.

RADDATZ: Thank you very much, Mr. Trump. (APPLAUSE) Let's turn to Libya. Governor Bush, it is a country in chaos. There is no government. This week, defense officials said there are now 5,000 ISIS fighters there, roughly doubling previous estimates. We know you and others have been critical of the administration's handling of Libya after the initial air strikes that you supported. But this is a problem you would stand to inherit if you're the next president. Reports this week said the administration is considering new air strikes, possible special operations raids. Would you support renewed air strikes or any U.S. involvement on the ground?

BUSH: I would. And I would do it in concert, again, with our Arab allies and with Europe, most particularly in this case. This is the lesson learned: in history, if you bomb something and not do anything as it relates to deal with the aftermath of this, if you don't have a stable government, you get what we have in Libya. And this is not -- leading from behind is not an effective policy. We have to lead. Without the United States, nothing seems to work. Europe doesn't have the ability to -- to -- to lead -- forward lean (ph) in this regard. And so dealing with the caliphate is important, because it now has spawned other areas. There have been 70-plus attacks in 17 countries, either inspired by ISIS or organized by ISIS, Libya being the most important one now. We have to deal with the caliphate, with building a Sunni army there, but we also have to deal with it in Libya. And I think the United States, ultimately, is going to play -- play a significant role in this. The problem with the Obama administration is that they see this incrementally. They're reluctant. They don't lead. No one knows whether we're serious, and when we do it, we do it in increments you can barely see. (BELL RINGS) The United States has to lead in a much more aggressive way than we're doing right now. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Thank you very much, Governor Bush. Dr. Carson?

CARSON: I want to say something about this, because I'm not here just to add beauty to the stage. (LAUGHTER) You know, I've been talking about Libya for quite a long time. I think I was the first one to start talking about it because I say we have to have a proactive foreign policy strategy. And of course, the next place that ISIS is going to attack to is Libya. If you want to expand your caliphate and increase your influence, then you're going to go to a place that's strategically located. You go north, across the Mediterranean. You're into southern Europe. You go south, you're into Chad and Sudan and Niger. Not to mention the fact that you have much more oil than you do in Iraq. That's the kind of place that they're going to go to, therefore, we need to be thinking about how do we prevent them from tacking over there. They're already sending their fighters there, we need to be consulting with our military experts and asking them what do they need in order to prevent ISIS from being able to take over Libya. That's going to have enormous concede for us.

RADDATZ: And would you support renewed airstrikes?

CARSON: I would support the possibility of renewed airstrikes if in conjunction with our Joint Chiefs and our military people they felt that was an appropriate strategy. The fact of the matter is none of us up here is a military expert, and we sometimes act like we are, but we're not. And if we actually sit down and talk with them and get them to understand our plan and their impression of what needs to be done, I think we're going to make a lot more progress.

BUSH: Martha and David, I just...

RADDATZ: We're going to move on.

BUSH: Martha and David...

MUIR: Martha, thank you. We're just going to -- we're going to stay on ISIS here and the war on terror, because as you know, there's been a debate in this country about how to deal with the enemy and about enhanced interrogation techniques ever since 9/11. So Senator Cruz, you have said, quote, "torture is wrong, unambiguously, period. Civilized nations do not engage in torture." Some of the other candidates say they don't think waterboarding is torture. Mr. Trump has said, I would bring it back. Senator Cruz, is waterboarding torture?

CRUZ: Well, under the definition of torture, no, it's not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems, so under the definition of torture, it is not. It is enhanced interrogation, it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.

MUIR: If elected president, would you bring it back?

CRUZ: I would not bring it back in any sort of widespread use. And indeed, I joined with Senator McCain in legislation that would prohibit line officers from employing it because I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels. But when it comes to keeping this country safe, the commander in chief has inherent constitutional authority to keep this country safe. And so, if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that as commander in chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.

MUIR: Senator Cruz, thank you. Mr. Trump, you said not only does it work, but that you'd bring it back.

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you what. In the Middle East, we have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people. We have things that we have never seen before -- as a group, we have never seen before, what's happening right now. The medieval times -- I mean, we studied medieval times -- not since medieval times have people seen what's going on. I would bring back waterboarding and I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mr. Trump, thank you. Governor Bush, you have said that you won't rule waterboarding out. Congress has passed laws banning the use of waterboarding by the military and the CIA, as you know. Would you want Congress to change that if you're elected president?

BUSH: No, no, I wouldn't. No, I wouldn't. And it was used sparingly, Congress has changed the laws and I -- and I think where we stand is the appropriate place. But what we need to do is to make sure that we expand our intelligence capabilities. The idea that we're going to solve this fight with predator drones, killing people somehow is a -- is more acceptable than capturing them, securing the information. This is why closing Guantanamo is a complete disaster. What we need to do is make sure that we are kept safe... (APPLAUSE) ... by having intelligence capabilities, both human and technological intelligence capabilities far superior than what we have today. That's how you get a more safe place is by making sure that we're fully engaged. And right now, this administration doesn't do that.

BUSH: Governor Bush, thank you. (APPLAUSE) Senator Rubio, I do want to ask you, you have said that you do not want to telegraph to the enemy what you would do as commander in chief. But for the American people watching tonight who want to know where the next president will stand, do you believe waterboarding is torture?

RUBIO: Well, when people talk about interrogating terrorists, they're acting like this is some sort of law enforcement function. Law enforcement is about gathering evidence to take someone to trial, and convict them. Anti-terrorism is about finding out information to prevent a future attack so the same tactics do not apply. And, it is true, we should not be discussing in a wide spread way the exact tactics that we're going to use because that allows terrorist to know to practice how to evade us. But, here's the bigger problem with all this, we're not interrogating anybody right now. Guantanamo's being emptied by this president. We should be putting people into Guantanamo, not emptying it out, and we shouldn't be releasing these killers who are rejoining the battlefield against the United States. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Rubio, thank you. We want to turn now to the topic of executive orders, and for that, we're going to turn back to Mary Katharine Ham. Mary Katharine?

HAM: Thanks, David. Senator Cruz, on the campaign trail you've promised voters a lot, in fact if you're elected president you'd say you end Common Core immediately, abolish the IRS, and do away with sanctuary cities. You've also been a persistent critic of President Obama's executive overreach, going it alone, not working with Congress. How do you intend to implement this aggressive agenda within your Constitutional authority, especially given that it would require working with Congress and Washington players with whom you're happy to say you have a strained relationship?

CRUZ: Well, thank you for that question. You know, there are three avenues of presidential authority to change the direction of this country. The first is executive power, the second is foreign policy, and the third is legislation. Executive power, as we all know, has been the preferred vehicle of President Obama, abusing his authority, abusing his constitutional authority. Now, the silver lining of that is everything done with executive power can be undone with executive power, so I have pledged on day one I will rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action Barack Obama has done. That means on day one his efforts to restrict the Second Amendment go away with the strike of a pen. That means on day one his illegal executive amnesty goes away with the strike of a pen. The reason I can end Common Core at the federal level is because Obama is abusing executive power using Race to the Top funds in the Department of Education to force it on the states. That's one avenue. The second avenue of change is foreign policy, and foreign policy can change the fastest. It's worth remembering that Iran released our hostages the day Reagan... (BELL RINGING)

CRUZ: ... Was sworn in. And, the third is legislation, and that can only be done with the people behind you, which is why the two big legislative initiatives I'm campaigning on are repealing Obamacare, and adopting a simple flat tax to abolish the IRS. (APPLAUSE)

HAM: Mr. Trump, Senator Cruz is known for opposing deals, you literally wrote the book on making them. Senator Cruz has mentioned that on the trail. What would you say to those conservatives that are concerned that a deal maker will just perpetuate the same deals in Washington and the way that things run now (INAUDIBLE)...

TRUMP: ... No, a good deal maker will make great deals, but we'll do it the way our founders thought it should be done. People get together, they make deals. Ronald Reagan did it with Tip O'Neil very successfully, you didn't hear so much about executive orders, if you heard about it at all. You have to be able to get a consensus. Now, the real person like it was mentioned about the deal with Iran, how bad a deal is that? It doesn't get any more amateurish than that. A good deal maker would never make a deal like that. With Congress, you have to get everybody in a room, and you have to get them to agree. But, you have to get them to agree what you want, and that's part of being a deal maker. You can't leave the White House, go to Hawaii and play golf for three weeks and be a real deal maker. It doesn't work that way. You have to get people in, grab them, hug them, kiss them, and get the deal done. But, it's got to be the deal that you want. (APPLAUSE)

HAM: Governor Kasich, is the problem with Washington that there are too many deals, or too few?

KASICH: Well, right now the deals -- there's no leadership. I mean, a lot of the things that we're talking about here tonight, on the border, and so many of the things. What we should be doing on foreign policy, you know what the problem is, Mary Katharine? There's not a leader that gets somebody to rise. You have to have a leader that can inspire, and actually some of what Donald was saying is true. Look, do you know how hard it was...

TRUMP: Some?

KASICH: ... to get the balance the federal budget balanced? You have to plead with people. To do what we've done in Ohio, you have to plead with people, then you go back down to Washington and do the same thing. See, we have to remind people we're Americans before we're Republicans and Democrats, and when we wait, and when we delay what we end up doing, Mary Katharine, is we make the United States weaker. In fact, it's a foreign policy issue because people look at America not solving problems and they say what are they doing over there? The point is you have to work with people.

TRUMP: The problem with executive authority for the president, it's really bad news for this reason. Since he's given up on working with Congress, he thinks he can impose anything he wants. He's not a king. He's a president. An executive order should be used frankly in consolidation and with consulting with the leadership in the -- in the Congress. I've done it in Ohio. I consult. I could use executive orders, but I don't trump the legislature, because if you do, you aggravate them, you anger them and then the long-term prospects get bleak. We have to solve problems in America by coming together, Republicans and Democrats, Americans first, party and ideology second -- in the second back seat of this country. That's what we need to do. (APPLAUSE) And we can do it. And we can do it.

BUSH: This is a -- this is an important subject. I agree with everything that's been said here about repealing unconstitutional rules and rules that are creating real burdens for investing that creating jobs. But we also ought to get back to being a Tenth Amendment country, as well, a country that respects the states to be able to make more decisions. And in the Bush administration, we would shift transportation dollars back to the states. I trust Kasich and Christie to build the roads and the infrastructure of their states than Washington, D.C. EPA delegated authority, back to the states. Education dollars, back to the states. I would like to see reform take place all across the country, where there's more vouchers, more freedom. (APPLAUSE) If we did that, we would shrink government's power in Washington, D.C. and we would have a much more effective government, where people would begin to trust our government again, because now, no one believes it works.

KASICH: Mary Katherine, let me just say this to you. (APPLAUSE) You must have an agenda that you are ready to move on in the first 100 days. Jeb is right. If you delay and you wait, the Washington operators will take you down. I can tell you this, in the first 100 days, I will have legislation to freeze federal regulations, have them reviewed by the vice president, reduce state taxes on individuals, reduce taxes on corporations, have a fiscal plan to balance the budget, get the border protected and begin to fix Social Security in the first 100 days. So, anybody who is here tonight, if I get elected president, head out tomorrow and buy a seat belt, because there's going to be so much happening in the first 100 days, it's going to make your head spin. We're going to move America forward. I promise you. We're going to move us forward. (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: You mentioned me. He mentioned me. One other thing that I think we ought to do, along with repealing Obamacare, we need to shift all of this power of healthcare, which is the most egregious form of federal power that is suppressing wages and incomes, and allow governors to have the Medicaid plans so that they can create 21st century Medicaid insurance for people that are stuck in poverty. There's so much that can be done, but I don't trust Washington to do it. I trust the state capitals to be the place -- to be the source of innovation and reform in this country. (APPLAUSE)

HAM: Thank you, governors. Martha and David, back to you.

MUIR: Mary Katherine, thank you. We want to turn to something the governor of New Hampshire said... (LAUGHTER)

KASICH: Jeb mentioned me. Time for me to go again.

BUSH: I didn't mention him the second time.

KASICH: He says he didn't mention me the second time. I thought I heard it, Jeb. No. I'm just kidding. Thank you all very much for listening and being patient with all of us tonight. Thank you.

MUIR: A connection here on the stage. We're going to move on to what the governor of New Hampshire said just this week, and that is that heroin overdose is not the second-leading cause of death in this state. You don't need me to tell you that. But there's another number, 48 percent of the people here in this state knows someone who has abused heroin. Josh, who covers this for WMUR, has the next question.

MCELVEEN: You're all aware, candidates, this is a major problem here in New Hampshire. It's a very deadly problem as well. Last month, New Hampshire senators Kelly Ayotte, Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat, they went down to Washington, along with the police chief of the state's largest city to testify before the Judiciary Committee in D.C. Senator Cruz, you're a member of that committee. Your campaign schedule didn't allow you to attend this. Even so, the police chief called your absence outrageous, given the severity of the problem. Last week, though, you told a personal story of a close family member's struggle with addiction. What can you say to law enforcement right now to convince them that you understand the severity of this problem and you're not just saying what people want to hear days before the primary?

CRUZ: Well, Josh, as you noted, this is a problem that, for me, I understand first-hand. My older sister, Myriam, who was my half- sister, struggled her whole life with drug and alcohol addiction. My father and her mom divorced when she was a little girl and she was angry her whole life, and she ended up marrying a man who had been in and out of jail. She then became a single mom and she herself went to jail several times and she ended up spending some time in a crack house.

CRUZ: I still remember my father and me driving up to get Myriam out of that crack house to try to convince her she needed to be a mom to -- to my nephew Joey. She wasn't willing to listen. She was not willing to change the path she was on. She was angry. I was -- had just gotten my first job coming out of law school. I took a $20,000 loan on a credit card to put my nephew, Joey, in Valley Forge Military Academy -- he was in sixth grade at the time, to pay his way through that. And about five, six years ago, Miriam died of an overdose. It was -- the coroner ruled it accidental. We don't know. She went to one night, had taken too many pills, and Joey walked in and found her dead. This is an absolute epidemic. We need leadership to solve it. Solving it has to occur at the state and local level with programs like A.A., and counseling, and churches and charities. But it also has to be securing the borders, because you have got Mexican cartels that are smuggling vast amounts of heroin into this country. We know how to secure the borders. What is missing is the political will to do it. And as president, I will secure the border, we will end this deluge of drugs that is flowing over our southern border and that is killing Americans across this country.

MCELVEEN: And Governor Christie, you have talked a lot about this issue here in New Hampshire. (APPLAUSE)

MCELVEEN: State reforms, criminal justice reforms, access to treatment. To Senator Cruz's point, let's take it a step further. Would you be willing to engage in cross-border enforcement into Mexico, a place where law enforcement in New Hampshire has traced at lot of this supply back to. Would you engage in cross-border enforcement without the cooperation without the Mexican government?

CHRISTIE: Of course I would. As a former United States attorney who spent seven years of my life fighting this on the streets of my state, I would do that. But we need to do more. And let me tell you what we've done in New Jersey, Josh. We are working with the folks in New Hampshire in their legislature right now to show them how we're helping to solve this problem in New Jersey. Not just for this campaign -- three years ago, I proposed a law that we signed into effect, which said that anyone who was a non- violent, non-dealing, first-time drug offender no longer goes to prison in New Jersey. They go to mandatory, in-patient drug treatment. What has happened is, crime has gone down 20 percent in those years. The prison population has gone down 10 percent. We've now closed the state prison -- closed a state prison, and we're turning it into a drug rehabilitation facility, so people can get the tools they need. Listen, everyone out there knows this in New Hampshire. This is a disease. It's not a moral failing, it's a disease. And we need to get people the treatment they need. And let me tell you why. Because I'm pro-life. And I'm pro life not just for the nine months in the womb, I'm pro-life for when they get out and it's a lot more complicated. (APPLAUSE) Sixteen-year-old, heroin-addicted drug girl on the floor of the county lockup, I'm pro-life for her life. The 42-year-old lawyer who is taking Oxycontin and can't get out of bed and support his family -- I'm pro-life for his life. Everyone of those lives is an individual gift from God. And the last thing is this. These efforts we've taken over the last three years, 2015 in New Jersey, for the first time in four years, drug overdose deaths have gone down, not up. I'll bring the same solutions to the country. (APPLAUSE)

MCELVEEN: Governor Christie, thank you very much. David, Martha, back to you.

RADDATZ: Thank you, Governor Christie. Thank you, Josh. Our partner in this debate, the Independent Journal Review, has collected questions from some prominent conservatives around the country. Here's a videotaped question from radio host Larry O'Connor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'CONNOR: In 2008, we saw how motivated an electorate can be when they think their vote is making history. Let's face it: if Hillary Clinton is the nominee for the Democrats, you'll be running against the prospect of the first woman president. How will you change that narrative and motivate the electorate behind your candidacy? (END VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well...

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, I'm going to give that question to you. You took it -- you took it away anyway.

TRUMP: Yes. OK, good. It looked like he was looking right at me, right there. I think that -- I look at what's going on, I look at all of the polls, I do very, very well against Hillary Clinton. I can tell you, I'm the last person that she wants to run against. And I think you can see what we've done in terms of galvanizing. I've been all over the country. We're -- last night, I was in South Carolina, we had 12,000 people. It set up in about four days. We have galvanized and we've created a movement. A lot of it has to do with -- as an example, Josh's question on drugs. I'm the first person that said, "Build a wall." But I mean, a real wall, not a toy wall like they have right now. A real wall. And you'll solve lots of problems. But we will galvanize the people of this country, and we will beat Hillary Clinton. Because -- assuming that she runs, by the way, how she gets away with the e-mail stuff is hard to believe. So, I don't know that she's going to be running. But on the assumption she runs... (APPLAUSE) I mean, look. And speaking of that, if she runs, she's running for one reason. She's going to be able to run for one reason, and that's because the Democrats are protecting her. Because so many people have done so much less than her, and they were absolutely -- their lives have been destroyed.

TRUMP: But on the assumption they do protect her, I will win the election and we will win it by a lot. We will win it handily. We cannot have another four years of essentially Barack Obama. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Thank you, Mr. Trump. I'm going to go to Senator Rubio on this. How would you change that narrative?

RUBIO: I think it's already happening. Look at the turnout in Iowa. A historic number of people came out and voted in those caucuses. There are saying the same thing is going to happen here in New Hampshire. Look at the rallies that every single person on this stage is having. Much higher numbers than you used to see in the past and here is why. Because people are starting to understand, very clearly, that this election is going to be a turning point. That 2016 is not just a choice between Republican or Democrat. It is a referendum on our identity as a nation and as a people. So here is what Hillary Clinton needs to understand. We're going to have our primary, we're going to have our debates -- which by the way, are twice as many as the Democrats have been willing to have themselves. But we're going to bring this party together and we are going to defeat Hillary Clinton, because she is unqualified to be the president of the United States of America. She put classified information on her computer because she thinks she's above the law and anyone who lies to the families of people who have lost their loved ones in the service of our country like she did in Benghazi, can never be the commander-in-chief of the United States of America. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Thank you, Senator Rubio. Dr. Carson, I want to go to you on Larry O'Connor's question. Would you change the narrative?

CARSON: It's the same question?


CARSON: Yes. Well, first of all, I think it would be a pretty easy contrast, quite frankly, between myself and Hillary Clinton. In one case, you have someone who is known as a deceitful individual. An individual who at Benghazi, which I will never let go, quite frankly, because I think of those two men who went up there on the top of that compound with machine guns, firing away, allowing their colleagues to escape. And I'm sure, in the back of their mind, they were just saying, if we can just hold on, help is on the way. But help was not on the way. When did we in the United States not send people to help our own people? You know, this is not who we are. (APPLAUSE)

CARSON: And -- I would simply make it a referendum on honesty and integrity versus deceit and the Washington way.

MUIR: Martha?

RADDATZ: Thank you very much Dr. Carson. I'm going to go back to David.

MUIR: Governor, well come to you in the next segment. When we come back, questions about race, about our veterans and social issues what younger conservative voters are now saying as we continue with New Hampshire with the Republican debate, right here on ABC. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, here again are David Muir and Martha Raddatz.

MUIR: Welcome back to New Hampshire, ABC News coverage of the Republican debate, and it's great to have you back at the podiums, and we want to turn to race in America. And Mr. Trump, there are many who argue cell phones and smartphones are just now exposing what's been happening in this country for years. Cases of excessive force against minorities. As you know, Mr. Trump, on the other side, the FBI director recently said there's a chill wind blowing through law enforcement because of increased scrutiny. You have said police are the most mistreated people in America. As president, how do you bridge the divide?

TRUMP: Well, there is a divide, but I have to say that the police are absolutely mistreated and misunderstood, and if there is an incident, whether it's an incident done purposely -- which is a horror, and you should really take very strong action -- or if it is a mistake, it's on your news casts all night, all week, all month, and it never ends. The police in this country have done an unbelievable job of keeping law and order, and they're afraid for their jobs, they're afraid of the mistreatment they get, and I'm telling you that not only, me speaking, minorities all over the country, they respect the police of this country and we have to give them more respect. They can't act. They can't act. They're afraid for losing their pension, their job. They don't know what to do. And I deal with them all the time. We have to give great respect, far greater than we are right now, to our really fantastic police. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Great. Mr. Trump, I did ask about bridging the divide though as president. So what would you say to the American families who say we have lived through this, we have seen excessive force? What would you say to those people?

TRUMP: Well, they do. And, you know, they sue. Everybody sues, right? They see excessive -- I mean, they go out, they sue. We have so much litigation -- I see the courts, I see what they're doing. They sue, and you know what? We don't want excessive force. But at what point -- you know, either you're going to have a police force that can do its job... I was just up in Manchester, I met with the police officers yesterday. Tremendous people. They love the area, they love the people, they love all the people. They want to do their job. And you're going to have abuse and you're going to have problems, and you've got to solve the problems and you have to weed out the problems. But the police in this country are absolutely amazing people.

KASICH: David, David...

MUIR: I do want to ask -- Governor Kasich?

KASICH: I wanted -- I wanted to say, look, this -- there can be a win-win here. I have formed a collaborative between police and community leaders because people have to respect law enforcement. A family doesn't want dad or mom going home in a box. And for our community leaders, many of them think the system not only works -- not only doesn't work for them, but it works against them. And I created a big collaborative in Ohio made up of law enforcement, community leaders, the head of my public safety and a former Democrat, liberal Senate senator Nina Turner, run it. They got together, they made recommendations on recruiting, on hiring, on the use of deadly force and what we're about to do is to bring community and police together so we can have a win-win. We need more win-wins in America and we don't have to pick one over another divide. We love the police, but we've got to be responsible to the people in the community. We have to do all of that. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Governor, thank you. Senator Rubio, I want to ask you next, President Obama visited a mosque this week in America for the first time in his presidency. President George W. Bush visited a mosque after September 11th. You said of President Obama, quote, "he's always pitting people against each other." So I'm curious, how are the two visits different, and would you visit a mosque as president?

RUBIO: I would. But that's not -- the issue -- my problem with what he did is he continues to put out this fiction that there's widespread systematic discrimination against Muslim Americans. First of all, let's recognize this. If you go to a national cemetery in this country, you will see stars of Davids and crosses, but you see crescent moons. There are brave men and women who happen to be Muslim Americans who are serving this country in uniform and who have died in the service of this country. And we recognize that and we honor that. But by the same token, we face a very significant threat of home grown violent extremism. We need to have strong, positive relationships in the Islamic communities in this country so they will identify and report this activity, especially mosques, for example, that are participating not just in hate speech, but inciting violence and taking acts against us. And I do believe it is important also to recognize, you want to talk about religious discrimination in America. Well, I don't think Barack Obama is being sued by any Islamic groups, but he is being sued by the Little Sisters of the Poor. We are facing in this country Christian groups and groups that hold traditional values who feel and in fact are being discriminated against by the laws of this country that try to force them to vie to violate their conscience. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Rubio, thank you. Martha?

RADDATZ: Governor Christie, earlier this week, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global emergency. The same kind of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus in Latin America are found here in the United States, and the virus has been linked to severe birth defects. Governor Christie, at the peak of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, you ordered an American nurse who landed at Newark Airport be detained and quarantined. As fear spreads now of the Zika virus and with the Rio Olympics just months away, is there a scenario where you would quarantine people traveling back from Brazil to prevent the spread in the United States?

CHRISTIE: You bet I would. And the fact is that because I took strong action to make sure that anyone who was showing symptoms -- remember what happened with that nurse. She was showing symptoms and coming back from a place that had the ebola virus active and she had been treating patients. This was not just some -- like, we picked up her just for the heck of it, alright? We did it because she was showing symptoms, and the fact is that's the way we should make these decision. You make these decisions based upon the symptoms, the medicine, and the law. We quarantined her, she turned out to test negative ultimately after 48 hours, and we released her back to the State of Maine. But, I want to add something on the issue of mosques. Now, I'm the only one up here who's had a law enforcement background as a U.S. Attorney after September 11th. I went to mosques throughout my state to build bridges. To build bridges between our community in law enforcement so we can get intelligence and information from these folks. I've had the experience of working with them as Governor of New Jersey as well. We cannot nix (ph) the radical Islamic jihadist with everyday Muslim-Americans. New Jersey is the second largest Muslim- American population in America, of any state. These are good, law abiding, hard working people. What they need is our cooperation, and our understanding. They do not just need broadsides against them because of the religious faith they practice.

RADDATZ: Governor Christie, thank you. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: I'm going to move to Dr Carson, and go back to the Zika virus, is that going too far, quarantining? You're a doctor, what would you do?

CARSON: Well, you know, it's not a simple issue, and now, you know, we've gotten evidence that there can been active viruses in other bodily fluids like saliva and urine. So, this is going to be, obviously, a big deal. Do we quarantine people? If we have evidence that they are infected, and that there is evidence that that infection can spread by something that they're doing, yes. But, just willy-nilly going out and quarantining a bunch of people because they've been to Brazil, I don't believe that that's going to work. What we really need to be thinking about is how do we get this disease under control? And this is where we need rapid response. We need a rapid response for ebola, we need rapid response for Zika, there will be other things that will come up. These are the kinds of things that the NIH, the CDC, can be very effective in. We need to give the the appropriate support for those kind of things.

RADDATZ: Thanks very much, Dr Carson. I want to move on to the military. Senator Rubio, all restrictions on women in combat as long as they qualify. Positions including special operations forces, like Navy Seals. Just this week military leaders of the Army and Marine Corps said that they believed young women, just as young men are required to do, should sign up for Selective Service in case the Draft is reinstated. Many of you have young daughters. Senator Rubio, should young women be required to sign up for Selective Service in case of a national emergency?

RUBIO: First, let me say there are already women today serving in roles that are like combat. That, in fact, whose lives are in very serious danger, and so I have no problem whatsoever with people of either gender serving in combat so long as the minimum requirements necessary to do the job are not compromised. But, I support that, and obviously now that that is the case I do believe that Selective Service should be opened up for both men and women in case a Draft is ever instituted. I think the more fundamental challenge we're now facing is what's happening to the U.S. military -- I've said this many times, and I think it's important to start paying attention to this. Our Air Force is about to be the smallest it's been in 100 years. I'm sorry, in our history. Our Army is set to be smaller than it's been since the second World War, and our Navy is about to be the smallest than it's been in 100 years. I think we need to begin to refocus on rebuilding our military because every time we have cut our military in the history of this country we have had to come back later and rebuild it, and it costs more, and it's a lot more chaotic and dangerous. When I'm president, we are rebuilding the U.S. military. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Thank you, Senator Rubio. Governor Bush, do you believe that young women...

BUSH: ... Say it again?

RADDATZ: Do you believe young women should sign up for Selective Service, be required to sign up...

BUSH: ... I do, and I do think that we should not impose any kind of political agenda on the military. There should be -- if women can meet the requirements, the minimum requirements for combat service they ought to have the right to do it. For sure. It ought to be focused on the morale as well. We got to make sure that we have readiness much higher than we do today. We need to eliminate the sequester which is devastating our military. We can't be focusing on the political side of this, we need to realize that our military force is how we project our word in the world. When we're weak militarily it doesn't matter what we say. We can talk about red lines, and ISIS being the J.V. team, and reset buttons and all this. If we don't have a strong military than no one fears us, and they take actions that are against our national interest.

RADDATZ: Tell me what you'd say to American people out there... (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: ... Who are sitting at home, who have daughters, who might worry about those answers, and might worry...

BUSH: ... Why would they worry about it...

RADDATZ: ... if the Draft is reinstituted?

BUSH: ... Well, the Draft's not going to be reinstituted, but why -- if women are accessing...

RADDATZ: ... Are you saying you'd do away with it?

BUSH: No. I didn't say that. You -- you asked a question not about the draft, you asked about registering. And if women are going to be...

RADDATZ: You register for the draft.

BUSH: If -- but...

RADDATZ: If it's reinstituted.

BUSH: ... we don't have a draft. I'm not uggesting we have a draft. What I'm suggesting is that we ought to have readiness being the first priority of our military, and secondly, that we make sure that the morale is high. And right now, neither one of those are acceptable because we've been gutting the military budget. We also need to reform our procurement process. We need to make sure there are more men and women in uniform than people -- than civilians in our Defense Department. There's a lot of things that we need to reform to bring our defense capabilities into the 21st century and I'm the guy that could do that. That's why I have the support of generals, of admirals, of 12 Medal of Honor recipients and many other people that know that I would be a steady commander-in-chief and rebuild our military. (APPLAUSE)


RADDATZ: Thank you very much.

CHRISTIE: Can I -- can I be really -- can I be really clear on this, because I am the father of two daughters. One of them is here tonight. What my wife and I have taught our daughters right from the beginning, that their sense of self-worth, their sense of value, their sense of what they want to do with their life comes not from the outside, but comes from within. And if a young woman in this country wants to go and fight to defend their country, she should be permitted to do so. Part of that also needs to be part of a greater effort in this country, and so there's no reason why one -- young women should be discriminated against from registering for the selective service. The fact is, we need to be a party and a people that makes sure that our women in this country understand anything they can dream, anything that they want to aspire to, they can do. That's the way we raised our daughters and that's what we should aspire to as president for all of the women in our country. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Thank you very much, Governor Christie.

CARSON: Can I say something...

RADDATZ: We just covered -- wait one second, Dr Carson.

CARSON: Something about the draft. Very quickly.

RADDATZ: Very quickly.

CARSON: You know, 14 percent decrease in the number of people applying for voluntary military service, and I think part of it is because of the way that we treat our veterans. You know, we wouldn't be a free country if it wasn't for them, and we have 22 veterans per day committing suicide. So, I think what we should do is have an external support system for people once they volunteer and it should follow them throughout their career, should follow them for three years, five years afterwards, a year before they get out, should be working on integrating them back into society, so that they quit on Friday and they start their new job. They should have health empowerment accounts that are subsidized so they can go to any medical facility and be taken care of. They can go to a V.A. if they want to. But if we start taking care of our veterans the right way, we won't have to ever worry about a draft again. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Thank you very much for bringing up that subject, Dr Carson, of our veterans. And for another question about our veterans, we go back to Josh McElveen from WMUR. Josh?

MCELVEEN: Thank you, Martha. None of you on stage tonight have ever worn a uniform as a member of the armed services. That's the reality of it. ut as commander-in-chief, you'll also be charged with the care of 23 million active duty service members and veterans in this country. Some have suggested privatizing the V.A. as a way to enhance care and increase the quality of the care and access. Others say that veterans should carry I.D. cards that allow them access to any hospital or health care provider. Governor Bush, what specifically would you do to ensure that those who have sacrificed for us are cared for?

BUSH: I totally agree that we need to give veterans more choices. A veterans card to be able to go to a private provider will enhance the quality of the service inside the Department of Veterans Affairs. We need career civil service reform. Only three people were fired after waiting lists were dropped where veterans didn't get care and people died. It is outrageous. And Hillary Clinton says that that's acceptable? Because she is captive of the public service uniforms. Career civil service reform would allow the next president to fire people that are -- that are showing sheer incompetence. At a town hall meeting today, someone came -- told a story of their father who looked like he was 85. He had -- he got a bill eight years later from an operation he had, eight years it took. They couldn't resolve the dispute and then he was told that he died. Literally, the Veterans Administration sent a death certificate to this guy and it took nine months to clarify the guy -- I met him. He's voting for me. And he is -- likely to be alive. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) This is -- this is outrageous. It is completely outrageous. So, giving veterans more choices, creating centers of excellence, focusing on the true problems that exist. Dr Carson is completely right. We need to start focusing on this earlier, before they become veterans so that there's a customized plan so people don't fall through the cracks. We can do this, but it's going to require someone who has proven leadership skills to make it happen. (APPLAUSE)


MCELVEEN: Governor Kasich, do you have a favored approach?

KASICH: Josh, I mean, clearly, when a veteran comes home, they should get health care anywhere they want to go. In our state, which is what we should do in the country, you know, if they drive a truck from Kabul to Kandahar in Afghanistan, we say, you can drive a truck from Columbus to Cleveland, and you don't have to go get a license. We're going to hand you one. And if you've got expertise in the military, we're going to give you college credit or community college credit for the things that you did for our country. And in addition to that, I'll tell you, one of the biggest things I think has to be done -- and I would do it as president -- the Pentagon has got to work with the returning soldier, sailor, along with the family, and we -- they're the most valuable employees in the country. I call them golden employees. Everybody wants to hire a veteran. But there is a disconnect between the job openings and the veteran when the veteran comes back. The veteran is a leader. The veteran is strong. The veteran is drug free. There should be no unemployment among veterans. And if the Pentagon will work with the veterans' services agencies all across this country, Josh, we can get people jobs and we can get them jobs quickly, get them their health care... (BELL RINGS) ... get them their college education. Let's lift them. They're the greatest people defending the United States of America and we need to take care of them, and we will. We will. (APPLAUSE)

MCELVEEN: Senator Rubio, go ahead?

RUBIO: Well, my brother's a veteran. We're very proud of him in our family. He served as a green beret in the 7th Special Forces from 1968 through 1971. And as part of his training, he jumped out of an airplane and he lost his two front teeth. And for years, he's had to go to get these dental claims. And every times he goes to get one of these dental claims filled, the V.A. asks him, "well, how do we know you lost your teeth in the Army?" And he says, "well, it's the only time I ever jumped out of a plane." (LAUGHTER) But he's had to fight through this process, and I've watched it firsthand. That's why I'm proud that I worked in a bipartisan way. We passed the V.A. Accountability bill that, for the first time, allows us to fire -- allows the V.A. secretary to fire someone who's not doing a good job, who's a senior executive. And the governor's right. They've only fired three people up to now. More people will be fired if I'm president. But the portability part of it is incredibly important. Veterans should be able to take their V.A. benefits to any hospital or any doctor they want to go to. When I am president of the United States, veterans will be able to take their benefits to any hospital or doctor that they choose. (APPLAUSE)

MCELVEEN: Senator Rubio, thanks very much. Going to move forward now. David, Martha, back to you.

MUIR: Josh, thank you. I want to turn to a family that New Hampshire voters know quite well, and Senator Cruz, the issue of hostages has been a very real and painful one here in this state. As we all know, James Foley was killed. His mother, Diane, said our government should be willing to negotiate, arguing that families should also be allowed to raise money for ransom. What would you say to Diane Foley tonight? Should families be allowed to raise money for ransom for their loved ones?

CRUZ: Well, look, I recognize it is an agonizing experience when anyone is facing a loved -- loved member who's been kidnapped. But at the same time, putting in place legal regimes that encourage the payment of ransom has the effect of putting a bounty on other Americans. There is a reason it has been longstanding U.S. policy that we don't negotiate with terrorists, we don't pay ransoms. If you look at what President Obama has done over and over again, whether it was the James Bergdahl deal, which was absolutely shameful, releasing five senior Taliban terrorists to bring Bergdahl back, or whether it was this recent deal with Iran, where, again, up to 21 terrorists or potential terrorists were -- were released or not prosecuted in order to bring back four Americans, what that does -- does is it effectively puts a bounty on American servicemen and women serving abroad, on American tourists traveling abroad. And the proper approach... (BELL RINGS) ... is a president and commander in chief that defends this country and that goes after -- goes after the terrorists, rather than showing them weakness and encouraging them to target more Americans.

MUIR: Senator Cruz, thank you. Mr. Trump, what would you say to Diane Foley? Should families be allowed to raise money for ransom?

TRUMP: Well, I -- I know Diane Foley very well. Her husband and -- these are tremendous people. I spoke for them, I raised a lot of money for the foundation. I fully understand, James, one of -- that was really the first that we saw, really visually saw -- it was so horrible. And I will tell you, though, with all of that being said, you can not negotiate this way with terrorists. If you do, you are going to have many, many more James Foleys. James Foley was a great young man. His parents are incredible people. They've done such a good job, since his -- since his death. But you just cannot negotiate that way with terrorists, or you're gonna have so many other James Foleys. And one thing on the vets -- during the last debate, I raised $6 million for the vets, and I will tell you something... (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ... I will tell you that I think nobody here, nobody on this stage, gets along with the veterans groups in New Hampshire better than I do without ball (ph) to sarel (ph) and all of the people that I deal with and these are great people. The one thing that we're not mentioning, there's tremendous fraud, waste and abuse in the Veterans Administration and if I'm running things, that's going to disappear... (BELL RINGS) ... and it's going to disappear quickly. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mr. Trump, thank you. We want to turn now to social issues and young voters and for the question, from Mary Katherine.

HAM: Thank you David. Senator Rubio. One of the lazier pieces of political conventional wisdom is that so-called social issues are hurting Republicans with young people. But on the two most prominent social issues, polling with millennials actually moves in different directions. On one hand, it is clear, young people across the political spectrum increasingly favor same sex marriage. However young voters have not moved to the left on abortion. In fact, large numbers of them favor at least some modest restrictions that conservatives have supported. How do you speak to millennials on both these issues, while Democrats will inevitable charge intolerance and extremism?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I don't believe that believing in traditional marriage the way I do makes you a bigot or a hater. It means that you believe that this institution that's been around for millenial is an important cornerstone of society. I respect people that believe differently. But I believe deeply, that marriage should be between one man and one woman. (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: On the issue of life, to me, the issue of life is not a political issue. It's a human rights issue and it's a difficult issue, because it puts in conflict two competing rights. On the one hand is the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body which is a real right. And on the other hand is the right of an unborn human child to live. And they're in conflict. And as a policy maker, I must choose which one of these two sides takes precedence. And I have chosen to err on the side of life. Here's what I find outrageous. There has been five Democratic debates. The media has not asked them a single question on abortion and on abortion, the Democrats are extremists. Why doesn't the media ask Hillary Clinton why she believes that all abortion should be legal, even on the due date of that unborn child. Why don't they ask Hillary Clinton why she believe that partial- birth abortion, which is a gruesome procedure that has been outlawed in this country, she thinks that's a fundamental right. They are the extremists... (BELL RINGS) ... when it comes to the issue of abortion and I can't wait to expose them in a general election. (APPLAUSE)

HAM: Governor Bush? I want to come to you. Your allies have recently attacked Senator Rubio for being too pro-life to be elected in November. You made a similar charge stating it in an interview. This is a pro-life party. Do you stand behind that criticism?

BUSH: Look, I'm pro-life. In fact, on this stage, I'm the most pro-life person because I've acted on it for eight years as governor of the state of Florida. (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Where we abolished partial-birth abortion, where parents have the right to be notified when their teenage child is having an abortion. We were the first state to do a choose life license plate to raise money for adoption. We were the first state to have state monies go to crisis pregnancy centers, which recently was just increased to $4 million a year. We created greater regulation on abortion clinics, where there were horrific procedures. So I'm pro life, but I believe there should be exceptions: rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger. And so, that belief, and my consistency on this, makes me, I think, poised to be in the right place, the sweet spot for a Republican nominee. And others may have a different view and I respect it. (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: But I think we have to be cognizant of the fact there's a lot of people that are concerned about having a pro-life position without any exceptions. (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: I do support protection for the life of the mother because I'm pro-life. I just believe deeply that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws. If I'm president and there's a bill that's passed that saves lives but it has exceptions, I'll sign it. But I do believe deeply that all human life is worthy of the protection of laws. I've already said, for me, the issue of life is not a political issue and I want to be frank. I would rather lose an election than be wrong on the issue of life. (APPLAUSE)

HAM: Governor Christie. You too, have talked about Senator Rubio's position on the life issue. Some conservative activists have called this line of attack harmful to the pro-life cause.

CHRISTIE: Well, I've been pretty helpful to the pro-life cause in one of the most pro-choice states in the union. I've stood up for the first time and now for the last six years we've de-funded Planned Parenthood, not talked about it like they do in Washington D.C. But for six years as governor, Planned Parenthood does not receive that funding from the state budget anymore; over $50 million worth of money that's been saved now, that is not going to do exactly what Hillary Clinton wants to have done and has advocated for. She believes that organization, which engages in the systematic murder of children in the womb, in order to maximize the value of their body parts for sale on the open market, is an acceptable position. Let me tell you something, I don't care if you are a millennial or whether you are in your 90s, no one is for that type of activity, unless you are the most radical type of extremist on this issue, like Senator Clinton and her party is on this issue.

CHRISTIE: I'll say one other thing. The fact is, that I believe that if a woman has been raped, that is a birth and a pregnancy that she should be able to terminate. If she is the victim of incest -- this is not a woman's choice. This is a woman being violated. And the fact is that we have always has believed, as has Ronald Reagan, that we have self-defense for women who have been raped and impregnated because of it, or the subject of incest and been impregnated for it. That woman should not have to deliver that child if they believe that violation is now an act of self-defense by terminating that pregnancy.

HAM: Thank you, all. Back to you, David and Martha. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mary Katherine, thank you. We're going to have closing statements here in just a moment, but before we go, quick lightning round. Come November, two battle- ground states, but they face off tomorrow in the Super Bowl. Governor Kasich, who wins? (LAUGHTER)

KASICH: Carolina's going to win that one. I hate to say it. But they're going to win that one.

MUIR: Governor Bush?

BUSH: Peyton Manning is supporting me. And I'm for Denver. (LAUGHTER)

MUIR: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Well, I was going for Peyton Manning, but now I'm rooting for Carolina. (LAUGHTER)

MUIR: (inaudible) Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Carolina.

CRUZ: With an eye to February 20th, Carolina.

MUIR: All right, Dr Carson?

CARSON: With 100 percent certainly, I will predict the winner -- it will either be Denver or Carolina.

MUIR: Yeah. Governor Christie, the last word?


MUIR: Denver. Thank you so much, gentlemen. Closing statements in just a moment, right here, as the ABC News Republican debate continues from New Hampshire, right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MUIR: We welcome you back. The New Hampshire primary, of course, is Tuesday, but time now for closing statements. And we begin tonight with Governor Kasich.

KASICH: Well, folks, I've done now over 100 town hall meetings and I've loved every second of it. It has been the greatest thing in the world. And I want you to know that you've changed me, because I've listened to your stories and I've had your hugs and I've seen your tears, and I've seen you walk away and say, I now have hope. You know, I've had a conservative message, but a positive message -- not just a conservative message, but a positive message about how we can bring people together, how we can restore America's strength, lift everyone. New Hampshire, please give me a chance to carry this message forward to the United States of America. And then, I will come back. Thank you, loved it. And God bless you. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: Thank you. I've spent the last 13 years of my life focused on one thing:serving the people who have given me the opportunity to serve them. Not about politics, not about partisanship, but putting the people of my state and our country first.

CHRISTIE: I'm proud to have rebuild my state after Hurricane Sandy, and I'm incredibly proud to be on this stage tonight with these men asking for your vote. New Hampshire, I spent 70 days here with you. You've gotten to know my heart. My heart is to help you solve the problems of your state... (BELL RINGING)

CHRISTIE: ... and the problems of our nation. If you give me your vote on Tuesday I will do just that. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Governor Bush.

BUSH: I want to thank the people of New Hampshire, and I want to celebrate the birthday of a great president, Ronald Reagan would have been 105 today. (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: President Reagan believed in the future of our country, believed in its greatness, had a hopeful, optimistic message. Drew people towards our cause. We need someone who has a proven record to take our case to the American people because our philosophy is by far the best one. Limited government, entrepreneurial capitalism, of peace through strength. I believe I have the skills to take our party to victory in November. I ask for your support on Tuesday to keep America, and make America a safer, stronger, and freer. Thank you all very much. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Dr Carson.

CARSON: For many months, the political class, pundits, the media, have tried to ignore or bury me. They say that politics is too complex, and too sleazy. You can't survive. Well, guess what? I'm still here, and I'm not going any place either. And, I believe there is still a place in our country for faith, integrity, and common sense. Hundreds of thousands of you drafted me to run for president... (BELL RINGING)

CARSON: ... And, I am going to with the help of God, and you, once again place the American people at the pinnacle with the government there to serve it. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Thank you, Dr Carson.Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Thank you. You know, this week I had the great pleasure of having my kids join me on the campaign trail. I hadn't' seen them in a while, and it was great to have them alongside me, but the most important part of it is that it once again reminded me of what's at stake. Here in New Hampshire in less than 72 hours, we are literally deciding what kind of country we will be like when they are my age. What kind of country they will be able to raise their families in. And, that's why I'm asking you for your vote. You vote for me, and we will unite this party, we will grow the conservative movement, we will defeat Hillary Clinton, and we will leave our children what our parents left us. The single greatest nation in the history of all mankind. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: You know, every candidate running for president says they will stand up to Washington. The natural follow up question is when have you ever stood up to Washington. Last week we saw a powerful illustration of that. I campaigned in the state of Iowa four-square (ph) against the ethanol mandate, something everyone said was political suicide. My two leading competitors both attacked me for it. The governor of the state said vote for anyone but Cruz, and lobbyists spent millions of dollars in attack ads, but I stood and said we should have no mandates, a level playing field, and the people of Iowa put country and our children above the cronyism and corporate welfare... (BELL RINGING)

CRUZ: ... We can turn this country around if we get back to the Constitution. And, I will always stand with the American people against the bipartisan corruption of Washington. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Thank you. Mr Trump.

TRUMP: That's because he got Ben Carson's votes, by the way, but we won't (inaudible). Our country that we love so much doesn't win anymore. We don't win with the military, we don't' win on the border. You look at New Hampshire with the tremendous problem we have with heroin. Number one thing I hear from the people of New Hampshire, who I love, and developed such relationships, we don't win with healthcare. We don't win with trade. You look at what other countries are doing to us. China. Everyone, they're killing us on trade. If I'm elected president, we will win, and we will win, and we will win. Thank you, thank you very much. (APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mr Trump, thank you. Thanks to all the candidates on the stage here tonight. We thank the people of Manchester, New Hampshire for having this debate, and to everyone at home. The New Hampshire Primary is Tuesday.


Eleventh Republican Party Presidential Debate in Detroit, MI, aired by Fox News on March 3rd, 2016.

Top   Concordance

KELLY: Good evening, and welcome to the fabulous FOX Theatre in downtown Detroit, the site of the 11th Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign.

KELLY: I'm Megyn Kelly, along with my co-moderators, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace.

BAIER: 59 Republican delegates are at stake here in the state of Michigan during next Tuesday's Republican primary, the biggest prize out of four states holding contests that day. For tonight's debate we're partnering with Facebook. The conversation about this election has been intense, as the crowd is here. Since January 1st, 53 million people in the U.S. have been talking about the election on Facebook.

WALLACE: Tonight there are just four candidates on this stage. Their position has been determined by their standing in an average of the five most recent national polls as recognized by FOX News, and conducted and released by March 1st. Here they are. Businessman, Donald Trump. (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE) Texas Senator, Ted Cruz. (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE) Florida Senator, Marco Rubio. (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE) And, Ohio Governor, John Kasich. (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Tonight's rules are simple. Up to 60 seconds for each answer, 30 seconds for each follow-up response, and if a candidate goes over the allotted time, you will hear this. (BELL RINGING)

BAIER: So pleasant.

KELLY: Really.

BAIER: We have a big crowd here, and while we expect the audience to be enthusiastic and responsive at times... (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: ... they may have already been -- we also expect them to be respectful, and we want the candidates to get their full time. So, somewhere between a library and a Red Wings game. (LAUGHTER) (CHEERING)

BAIER: Am I right? Is that OK? Let's get started.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, as you may have heard, the 2012 Republican nominee for President, Mitt Romney, had some things to say about you today. He said your domestic policy will lead to recession, he's said your foreign policy will make us less safe, and then he listed what he said are your personal qualities. Quoting now Romney on Trump, quote, "the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd, third-grade theatrics". (CHEERING) He challenged you to answer with substance, not insults. How do you answer Mitt Romney, sir?

TRUMP: Well look, he was a failed candidate, he should have beaten president Obama very easy. He failed miserably, and it was an embarrassment to everybody, including the Republican party. It looked like he went away on a vacation the last month. So, I don't take that, and I guess, obviously, he wants to be relevant. He wants to be back in the game. As far as domestic policy and trade which is killing our country, he said free trade and I believe in free trade also. But, if you look at China, and you look Japan, and if you look at Mexico, both at the border, by the way, where they're killing us. Both at the border, and with trade -- and every other country we do business with we are getting absolutely crushed on trade. And, he said free trade, I say free trade great. But, not when they're beating us so badly. With China we're going to lose $505 billion dollars in terms of trades. You just can't do it. Mexico, $58 billion dollars. Japan, probably about, they don't know it yet, but about $109 billion dollars. Every country we lose money with. As far as I'm concerned, we've got to reduce -- we have to redo our trade deals 100 percent. I have the greatest business people in the world lined up to do it. We will make... (BELL RINGING)

TRUMP: ... great trade deals. (CHEERING)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, Romney also talked about your position on race, and the controversy over your failure to denounce David Duke on Sunday. You have repeatedly disavowed him since then, but I'd like to go deeper than that. What are your views on the Klu Klux Klan, and white supremacists?

TRUMP: I totally disavow the Klu Klux Klan. I totally disavow David Duke. I've been doing it now for two weeks, this is your -- you're probably about the 18th person that's asked me the question. It was very clear, that question was also talked about in the form of groups. Groups, I want to know which groups are you talking about? You have to tell me which groups? Ultimately, he got to the Klu Klux Klan, which obviously I'm going to disavow. And, by the way, if you look on my Twitter account, almost immediately after the program they were disavowed again. You know, it's amazing. When I do something on Twitter, everybody picks it up, goes all over the place. But, when I did this one nobody ever picks it up. Take a look at my Twitter account.

WALLACE: Thank you, sir.

TRUMP: Thank you. Thanks. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Rubio, three weeks ago you said, quote: "I don't do the personal attacks, primarily because it's not who I am, because I think it's beneath the office that I'm seeking but also because I don't want to embarrass my kids." But in the past week you've mocked Mr. Trump's tan. You've made fun of his spelling. You called him a con artist. You suggested he wet himself backstage at the last debate, along with other vulgar jokes and jabs. So what happened?

RUBIO: Yes, you know, Bret, let me say something. This campaign for the last year Donald Trump has basically mocked everybody with personal attacks. He has done so to people that are sitting on the stage today. He has done so about people that are disabled. He has done it about every candidate in this race. So if there is anyone who has ever deserved to be attacked that way, it has been Donald Trump, for the way he has treated people in the campaign. Now that said, I would much prefer to have a policy debate. I hope that's what we will have here tonight. Let's have a policy debate...

TRUMP: And we will.

RUBIO: ... let's talk about Donald Trump's strategy and my strategy and Ted's strategy and John Kasich's strategy when it comes to ISIS. And on health care and on the important issues facing this country. But let's be honest too about all this. The media has given these personal attacks that Donald Trump has made an incredible amount of coverage. Let's start talking again about the issues that matter to this country. I'm ready to do that starting right here right now tonight.

BAIER: Mr. Trump, your response?

TRUMP: Well, I also happened to call him a lightweight, OK? And I have said that. So I would like to take that back. He is really not that much of a lightweight. And as far as -- and I have to say this, I have to say this. He hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands. I have never heard of this. Look at those hands. Are they small hands? (LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: And he referred to my hands, if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee.

BAIER: OK. Moving on.

KELLY: OK, Senator Cruz, you say that you are the true conservative in this race. But 15 states have voted now, and you have won only four of them. You have lost repeatedly with what is supposed to be your core voter groups, including evangelicals and conservatives. Hasn't your brand of conservatism been rejected by an electorate that appears to be more taken with Mr. Trump's populist message?

CRUZ: Well, Megyn, you know, at the end of the day for the folks at home, this is not about the insults back and forth between the candidates. This is not about what attacks we can throw at each other. This is the people at home who are struggling through seven years of Barack Obama. This is the single moms who are working two and three jobs, 28, 29 hours a week because their hours have been forcibly reduced because of Obamacare. This is the truck drivers and the steel workers and the mechanics with calluses on their hands who have seen their wages not grow year after year after year while the cost of living goes up. This is all the young people coming out of school with student loans up to their eyeballs that aren't able to find a job. And I don't think the people of America are interested in a bunch of bickering school children. They are interested in solutions, not slogans. It's easy to say, make things better, make things great. You can even print it and put it on a baseball cap. But the question is, do you understand the principles that made America great in the first place? As president, I will repeal every word of Obamacare. I will pull back the regulators that are killing small businesses. And we will pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. And what that's going to do, Megyn, is small businesses are going to explode. We are going to see millions of high-paying jobs. We are going to see wages going up. We are going to see opportunity. That's where our focus needs to be. That's where my focus is. And that is why our campaign is the only campaign that over and over again has beaten Donald Trump to date, and it's why we are the one campaign that going forward can and will beat Donald Trump in this election.

KELLY: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I have heard Ted say that over and over again on television, that he is the only one that can beat me. Just, for the record, I have won 10. He has won three or four. Last week, in fact, on Tuesday, I was a half a million votes higher than him. I was a million votes higher than Marco, 1 million votes. That's a lot of votes. And was by far in first place. So I keep hearing that he is the only one that can beat me but he is getting beaten very, very badly. So where does this come from? Where does it come from?

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Yes, I would just say a couple of things. There is no doubt that Donald has done well in these elections. There is no doubt about that. The numbers are there. Here is what the numbers also say. Two-thirds of the people who have cast a vote in a Republican primary or caucus have voted against you. They do not want you to be our nominee.

RUBIO: And, the reason why is because we are not going to turn over the conservative movement, or the party of Lincoln or Reagan, for example, to someone whose positions are not conservative. To someone who last week defended Planned Parenthood for 30 seconds a debate stage. To someone, for example, that has no ideas on foreign -- someone who thinks the nuclear triad is a rock band from the 1980's.

TRUMP: Oh yeah, you're...

RUBIO: ... To someone who time and again on issue after issue has not proven that he has the principals... (BELL RINGING)

RUBIO: ... That outline what the conservative movement has been about. And, as Ted said, the things that made America great. America is great because of the conservative principles of limited government and free enterprise, and a strong national defense...

KELLY: ... OK...

RUBIO: ... And, our nominee needs to be someone that stands by those things...

KELLY: ... Alright...

RUBIO: ... Donald has not demonstrated that.

KELLY: ... Go ahead, Mr. Trump, and then we're going to have to go to Governor Kasich. (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Very nice words, but happens to be wrong. CNN just came out with a poll two days ago that...


TRUMP: ... That national poll -- excuse me...


TRUMP: ... The national poll -- a national poll where he's at 15, he's at 14...


TRUMP: ... And, I'm at 49, so when he says 75 percent, that would mean that 80 percent of the people don't dig you, and I'm back down to 50...

RUBIO: ... Of all the people on this stage, he performs the worst against Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: Wrong...

RUBIO: ... If you're our nominee, we will lose...

TRUMP: ... I beat Hillary Clinton. I beat Hillary Clinton in many polls...

RUBIO: ... You lose by (INAUDIBLE) points (ph). She will wipe you out.

TRUMP: I beat Hillary Clinton in many polls...

RUBIO: If you're our nominee (INAUDIBLE)...

KELLY: ... Hold on, Senator, hold on...

TRUMP: ... I think I'm talking...

RUBIO: ... Oh, excuse me (INAUDIBLE)...

TRUMP: ... I beat Hillary Clinton...

KELLY: ... Hold on, hold on, hold on...

TRUMP: ... I hope you think (INAUDIBLE)...

KELLY: ... The audience cannot understand when you're talking over each other. Finish your point, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: ... I beat Hillary Clinton in many polls. The Cue (ph) poll just came out. I beat Hillary Clinton in a recent Fox poll, I beat Hillary Clinton in USA Today, I beat her today in a poll in Ohio. I beat -- I'm the only one that beats Hillary Clinton. I beat -- and I have not started on Hillary yet. Believe me, I will... (CHEERING)

TRUMP: ... start soon. I haven't even started.


BAIER: Governor Kasich, today you admitted that you have a narrow path to the nomination through a contested convention. Today also Mitt Romney proposed that Republicans should vote for Senator Rubio in Florida. They should vote for you in Ohio. They should vote for Senator Cruz in states that he can beat Mr. Trump to prevent Mr. Trump from getting the nomination. So, do you buy Romney's blueprint, and can you say tonight to your Florida supporters that they should vote for Senator Rubio to get a contested convention?

KASICH: You know, this so much about process. It frankly is boring to me. I would like it clear though, since we're talking about polls, I beat Hillary Clinton by more than 11 points, and the reason it happens... (CHEERING)

TRUMP: ... In one poll...

KASICH: ... The reason it happens...

TRUMP: ... In one poll...

KASICH: ... You know, the reason is because, as the Democrats tell me all the time, I can get the crossover votes. You see, because throughout this campaign I've talked about issues, I have never tried to go and get into these scrums that we're seeing here on the stage. And, people say everywhere I go, "you seem to be the adult on the stage." (APPLAUSE) In terms of -- you know, Mitt Romney's a great guy, but he doesn't determine my strategy. The fact of the matter is I'm running for president because I worked hard to fix this country when I was in Washington as the Chairman of the Budget Committee where we had some of the most significant job growth after we balanced the budget. We had wages going up, it was very successful in Ohio. Our wages grow faster than the national average. We're up over 400,000 jobs. We paid down, back in the old days, they paid down half a trillion dollars of the national debt. It's a formula that works. And, I believe that formula will work when I return to Washington as the president. And, by the way, I won't need on the job training because I know how to do all of this, and within the first 100 days I will have a plan that will pass the Congress because... (BELL RINGING)

KASICH: ... It is reasonable, and I can bring both sides together... (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: ... But Governor, this is all about process. For voters, they need to see a path to get to the nomination if they're going to support you. On Super Tuesday you finished in single digits in nine out of 11 states. So, you can see that your path is through a contested convention. How do you...

KASICH: ... Well, Bret, I think we're all really there. I mean, the simple fact is that, you know, you all wrote me off. You wrote me off before I even got to New Hampshire, then when I finished in New Hampshire you wrote me off in the South, then you wrote me off in Super Tuesday. I split delegates in Vermont with Donald Trump, I finished second in Massachusetts, and we won delegates in Virginia. But, guess what? It's now March Madness and we're heading up North to the place -- to my turf, OK? (CHEERING)

KASICH: And, let me just tell you this, I will win Ohio, and I am going to move all across this country, and over time as people begin to finally hear my message -- you know what people say, Bret, to me all the time? Why don't they give you any time on the debate stage? Why is that? (CHEERING)

KASICH: So now all of a sudden, I'm starting to get it, and what I want the people to know is, I know how to bring people together, Republicans and Democrats. I have successfully, both at the federal level and the state level brought economic growth, wage growth, and economic security to this country. And I want to go back and do it again, and I'm going to keep talking about my message of bringing people together and motivating people in the neighborhoods that realize they don't need somebody from Washington galloping in. There are many things they can do where they live, because the strength of our country is in our neighborhoods and our families. And I'm going to keep doing this. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Thank you.

WALLACE: Well, then, we want to focus now on the economy, which is one of the top issues on Facebook, with 6.6 million people discussing it online. A lot of that conversation is happening here in Detroit, where the unemployment rate is 10.9 percent. That's more than double the national average. Senator Rubio, you have taken to calling Mr. Trump a con artist who portrays himself as a hero to working people while he's really been, in your words, "sticking it" to the American workers for 40 years. But he has built a big company that employs thousands of people. Question. How many jobs have you created?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, government doesn't... (AUDIENCE BOOS) First of all, Chris, my point is exactly right. He has spent a career of convincing Americans that he's something that he's not in exchange for their money. Now he's trying to do the same in exchange for their country. This is a fact. He talks about these great businesses that he's built. He inherited over $100 million.

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

RUBIO: And with that money, he lost more money than he made.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, it's not your turn. You'll get your turn, sir. (CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: He can start tonight by announcing that all the Donald Trump clothing will no longer be made in China and in Mexico, but will be made here in the United States. (APPLAUSE) And on the issue of job creation, I find this interesting. The private sector creates jobs. The jobs of those of us in public service are to put in place policies that allow the economy to grow. That's the problem with the Democratic Party. They think government is what creates jobs. Government does not create jobs. Now, the way you create jobs is you make America the easiest and the best place in the world to start a business or to expand an existing business. If you go on my website, marcorubio.com, you will see a real plan to fix our taxes, to roll back regulations, to repeal and replace Obamacare, not just lines around the states. Serious policies and proposals.

WALLACE: Sir? Mr. Trump, I'd like you to respond. You have 30 seconds to respond. But as part of that, could you respond to his specific assertion about Trump Collection clothes, which you say some of it is made in Mexico?

TRUMP: This little guy has lied so much...

RUBIO: Here we go.

TRUMP: ... about my record.

RUBIO: Here we go. It's personal. (AUDIENCE BOOS) (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: He has lied so much about my record.

WALLACE: Mr. Rubio -- Senator Rubio, why don't you let him finish?

TRUMP: And I will tell you this. First of all, I got a call from my sister and brother tonight, and they said we had no idea Dad gave you $200 million. Believe me, I started off with $1 million. I built a company that's worth more than $10 billion. And I say it not in a bragging way, but that's the kind of thinking we need. Very low debt, tremendous cash flow. My financials are all -- they're all in there with the federal elections. You've seen them. Everybody has seen them. I say it only because that's the kind of thinking this country needs with $19 trillion in debit. Believe me. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: But wait one second. Specifically and quickly on the question, will you promise that you will -- and how soon will you move your clothing collection, the clothes that are made in China and Mexico?

TRUMP: They devalue their currencies. I will do that. And by the way, I have been doing it more and more. But they devalue their currencies, in particular China. Mexico is doing a big number now, also. Japan is unbelievable what they're doing. They devalue their currencies, and they make it impossible for clothing-makers in this country to do clothing in this country. And if you look at what's happened on Seventh Avenue, and you look at what's happened in New York with the garment industry, so much of the clothing now comes out from Vietnam, China, and other places. And it's all because of devaluation. By the way, the Trans-Pacific, if you look at the TPP, a total disaster, which, by the way, Marco is in favor of, they need -- it is a disaster for our country. It's trying to be approved by various people, including President Obama. And I'll tell you something. The biggest problem with that is: They don't take into concurrence the devaluation. They're devaluing their currency.

WALLACE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Trump. Senator Rubio?

TRUMP: And they're killing -- they're going to... (CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Wait, wait, Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: The answer is, he's not going to do it. And you know why? Because there are plenty of clothing makers in America. (APPLAUSE) (CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: If you go on my website, marcorubio.com, everything we have on there is made in America. The reason why he makes it in China or Mexico is because he can make more money on it. That's why he's doing it. And the second point, you see what happens, again, when you challenge him on a policy issue. You asked him about the economy, and the first thing he does is launch an attack about some little guy thing. Because he doesn't have answers.

TRUMP: No, no. I have very good answers.

RUBIO: And he's asking us to make him the president of the United States of America. (CROSSTALK) (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: This is not a game.

TRUMP: I know what's happening with the economy. You don't know a thing.

RUBIO: Well, then answer the economy question.

TRUMP: You haven't employed in your life one person.

RUBIO: But he doesn't answer the employment question.

TRUMP: I have employed tens of thousands of people. (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You haven't employed one person.

RUBIO: You ever heard of Trump Steaks? You ever heard of Trump Vodka?

TRUMP: Oh, you know what? You know what? Take a look at Trump Steaks.

RUBIO: All of these companies he has ruined.

TRUMP: By the way, that's the other thing...

RUBIO: Trump Steaks is gone. You have ruined these companies.

TRUMP: Mitt Romney... (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: ... false, totally false. And now the funny thing is he didn't talk about the hundreds of really successful jobs, the buildings all over the world that have made a fortune.(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: I have a policy question for you, sir.

RUBIO: Let's see if he answers it.

TRUMP: I will. Don't worry about it, Marco. Don't worry about it. Don't worry about it little Marco, I will.

RUBIO: All right, well, let's hear it big Donald.

TRUMP: Don't worry about it, little Marco. (CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Gentlemen. Gentlemen. (CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: You have got to do better than this.

TRUMP: This guy has a number one -- the number one absentee record in the United States...

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I would like to ask you a policy question.

TRUMP: He doesn't show up to vote.

WALLACE: Your proposed tax cut...

TRUMP: That's why the people in Florida do not like him.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your proposed tax cut would add $10 trillion to the nation's debt over 10 years, even if the economy grows the way that you say it will. You insist that you could make up for a good deal of that, you say, by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse.

TRUMP: Correct.

WALLACE: Like what? And please be specific.

TRUMP: Department of Education. We're cutting Common Core. We're getting rid of Common Core. We're bringing education locally. Department of Environmental Protection. We are going to get rid are of it in almost every form. We're going to have little tidbits left but we're going to take a tremendous amount out. We have various other things. If you look at the IRS, if you look at every single agency, we can cut it down, and I mean really cut it down and save. The waste, fraud, and abuse is massive. Larry Kudlow, great guy, everybody respects him, said my plan for taxes and tax cutting is the best by far of everybody.

WALLACE: But, Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, your numbers don't add up. Please put up full screen number four. The Education Department, you talk about cutting, the total budget for the education department is $78 billion. And that includes Pell grants for low-income students and aid to states for special education. I assume you wouldn't cut those things. The entire budget for the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, $8 billion.


WALLACE: The deficit this year is $544 billion. That's more than a half trillion dollars. Your numbers don't add up, sir.

TRUMP: Let me explain something. Because of the fact that the pharmaceutical companies -- because of the fact that the pharmaceutical companies are not mandated to bid properly, they have hundreds of billions of dollars in waste. We don't bid properly. We don't have proper bidding procedures. The reason we don't is because they take care of all of the senators, all of the congressman, and they don't bid. They don't go out to bid.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: Take a look -- excuse me. You are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars...

WALLACE: No, you are not.

TRUMP: ... if we went out to the proper bid. Of course you are.

WALLACE: No, you're not, sir. Let's put up full screen number 2. You say that Medicare could save $300 billion a year negotiating lower drug prices. But Medicare total only spends $78 billion a year on drugs. Sir, that's the facts. You are talking about saving more money on Medicare prescription drugs...

TRUMP: I'm saying saving through negotiation throughout the economy, you will save $300 billion a year.

WALLACE: But that doesn't really cut the federal deficit.

TRUMP: And that's a huge -- of course it is. We are going to buy things for less money. Of course it is. That works out...

WALLACE: That's the only money that we buy -- the only drugs that we pay for is through Medicare.

TRUMP: I'm not only talking about drugs, I'm talking about other things. We will save $300 billion a year if we properly negotiate. We don't do that. We don't negotiate. We don't negotiate anything.

KASICH: Can I...

WALLACE: No. I promise I will get to you in a moment, sir. Senator Cruz, one of centerpieces of your campaign, in fact, you mentioned it again tonight, is that you will abolish the IRS. Question though, who will collect the taxes that you are still calling for? Who will oversee to make sure that people pay the taxes that they rightfully owe? And who will check on the various tax deductions and tax credits that you still want?

CRUZ: So my simple flat tax I have rolled out in precise detail how it will operate where every American can fill out our taxes on a postcard. And if you want to actually see the postcard, see all the details, you can find them on our Web site. It's tedcruz.org. When he we get rid of all the corporate welfare, all the subsidies, all the carve-outs in the IRS code, it dramatically simplifies it. And under Obama, the IRS has become so corrupt and so politicized we need to abolish it all together. Now, at the end of that there will still be an office in the Treasury Department to receive the postcards but it will be dramatically simpler.

CRUZ: And let me take a moment, Chris, to go back to go back to this exchange that was going on. In between all of the insults, let me point out the specificity that was lacking. It's very easy to say, "Let's cut waste, fraud, and abuse." I've rolled out a detailed plan to cut $500 billion in federal spending, specifying exactly what I would cut. (APPLAUSE) It's easy to say it, but one of the great disconnects to all the people, all of the voters, I understand the folks who are supporting Donald right now. You're angry. You're angry at Washington, and he uses angry rhetoric. But for 40 years, Donald has been part of the corruption in Washington that you're angry about. (APPLAUSE) And you're not going to stop the corruption in Washington by supporting someone who has supported liberal Democrats for four decades, from Jimmy Carter to John Kerry to Hillary Clinton. You're not going to stop the corruption and the cronyism by supporting someone who has used government power for private gain. Instead, we need a president who stands with the American people. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Kasich, I promise I will get to you. But you do get 30 seconds to respond, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Well, all of a sudden, I hear for 40 years I've been involved in Washington. I have been supporting people for many years. And these people have been politicians, and they've been on both sides, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives. I've supported everybody, because, until recently, I wasn't a politician, and I hope maybe you don't all consider me a politician right now. I hate the term politician. But I've been supporting politicians. A recent article somewhere said Donald Trump is a world-class businessman who goes out and he does get along with everybody. I've supported Democrats, and I've supported Republicans. And as a businessman, I owed that to my company, to my family, to my workers, to everybody to get along. Part of the problem we have in Washington, Chris...

WALLACE: Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: ... is it's total gridlock. Nobody gets along. We need people to get along. We need to be able to get things done. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Kasich, Democrats, as you know, will make income inequality a big issue in the general election. You support raising the minimum wage, although you say not to the $15 an hour that Democrats are talking about. Mr. Trump opposes any increase because he says it will price American workers out of the world market. Is he wrong about that? No increase in the minimum wage?

KASICH: Well, well, wait a minute, first of all, I didn't say I was for an increase in the federal minimum wage. I said in Ohio we increased it modestly every single year. So I'm not for a federal minimum wage increase.

WALLACE: But you did talk about states doing it.

KASICH: Well, states -- if states want to do it, they ought to sit down with businesspeople and the lawmakers and figure out what will work. But hold on a second here with everything else. I'm the only person on this stage who actually was the chief architect of balancing the federal budget. It's not a theory for me. It's not -- it's not some -- you have to know how to put everything together. And you know, I spent 10 years of my life to get there, and I did not do that because I'm worshiping at some balanced budget shrine. The reason I did it is when you have commonsense regulations, lower taxes on individuals and businesses, and you have a fiscal plan that makes sense, the job creators will expand employment. And what happened? When I was there, the jobs were exploding. Bill Clinton's tried to take credit for it. When I went to Ohio, we're up 400,000 jobs. It's the same formula. But it isn't easy. I fought the entire Washington establishment and won, because when you balance a budget, you must affect every single thing. Everything in the federal government specifically. You cannot get there with theories or broad statements, and you have to be willing to take the heat. In fact, I fought a Republican president, who I thought was not offering constructive proposals to fix this economy. So when we talk about all this, there's one person on this stage and one person who's been a candidate for president in either party that restored economic strength, growth, a balanced budget, paid down debt, cut taxes, the things that people in this country want. No theories. Reality. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Thank you, Governor. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: All right. Let's talk immigration for a little bit. Senator Cruz, let's start with you. You have repeatedly touted how you have stood shoulder to shoulder with Senator Jeff Sessions to fight illegal immigration and amnesty. But Senator Sessions just endorsed Donald Trump. If voters want Jeff Sessions-style immigration policies, isn't their choice rather clear?

CRUZ: Yes, their choice is very clear. If you look to the actual record -- you know, Donald mentioned a moment ago that he was just doing business when he was writing checks to liberal Democrats. But that's not, in fact, the checks he was writing. Listen, we could all understand if you write a check to a city commission because you're looking for a zoning waiver on building a building. That may be corrupt, but you could understand real estate developers doing that.

CRUZ: That's not what Donald Trump did. Donald Trump supported Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan. Donald supported John Kerry over George W. Bush. If you don't like Obamacare, Donald Trump funded Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi taking over Congress to pass Obamacare. On immigration, if you don't like amnesty, if you don't like the Gang of Eight, Donald Trump funded five of the eight members of the Gang of Eight $50,000. And let's talk about this election. The choice Republican primary voters are making is who is best prepared to stand up to Hillary Clinton and beat Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has written checks to Hillary Clinton not once, not twice, not three times. Ten times. And four of those checks were not to her Senate campaign. It wasn't that she was the New York senator and it was a cost of doing business. It was to her presidential campaign. Donald Trump in 2008 wrote four checks to elect Hillary Clinton as president.


CRUZ: So I'd like to ask Donald, why did you write checks to Hillary Clinton to be president in 2008? It wasn't for business. And how can you stand on a debate stage now with her and say you don't think she should be president? (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Actually, it was for business. It was. It was. It was for business. I pride myself, including outside of the United States. I'm doing almost 120 deals outside of the -- which I hope to be able to stop very soon and let my children handle it -- but we're doing many, many deals outside of the United States. I support politicians. In 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton. I supported many other people, by the way. And that was because of the fact that I'm in business. I did support very heavily Ronald Reagan. I also supported George Bush, by the way.

KELLY: All right. Mr. Trump...

CRUZ: But what would you say...

KELLY: Well, stand by -- stand by, Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: ... to Hillary Clinton on the debate stage when you wrote her a check in 2008, wrote her four checks to be president?

TRUMP: Let me tell you, something, Ted. The last person that Hillary Clinton wants to face is Donald Trump. That I can... (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Let's move on. And with all due respect, we have -- we have questions. We have questions.

TRUMP: That I can tell you. (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: No, no, no. Hold on. Hold on. We can do more of this later. Mr. Trump, hi.

TRUMP: Hello.

KELLY: How are you doing?

TRUMP: Nice to be with you, Megyn.

KELLY: Great to have you here.

TRUMP: You're looking well. You're looking well.

KELLY: As are you. (APPLAUSE) Back in January, you gave an off-the-record interview to the New York Times. It was apparently audiotaped. Now, a recent report in Buzzfeed citing sources at the Times reports that in that interview you expressed flexibility when it comes to your immigration policy, specifically with respect to your promise to deport the 11 million people who are now living here illegally. You have suggested that you may have expressed some flexibility when it comes to the size of the wall that you want to build. But did you tell them, specifically, that you are flexible when it comes to your deportation plan?

TRUMP: I don't know exactly what -- when you talk about off the record. First of all, Buzzfeed? They were the ones that said under no circumstances will I run for president. And were they wrong. But a lot of people said that. Then, I did have a meeting with the editorial board of the New York Times, a very nice meeting. Many of those things were off the record, I think at their suggestion and my suggestion. And I think being off the record is a very important thing. I think it's a very, very powerful thing. And I will say this. These three gentlemen have gone off the record many times with reporters. And I think they want to honor it, and I would always honor that. I will say, though, in terms of immigration -- and almost anything else -- there always has to be some, you know, tug and pull and deal. And, you know, when I watch Ted stand on the Senate floor, I had great respect for what he did. He stood there for a day-and-a- half or something. In the meantime, what came of it? Nothing. You have to be able to have some flexibility, some negotiation. Now, sometimes you ask for more than you want and you negotiate down to the point. I may have discussed something like that with the New York Times, but I would never release off-the-record conversations. I don't think it's fair, frankly, to do that to anybody.

KELLY: How flexible are you on this issue? (AUDIENCE BOOS)

TRUMP: Not very flexible. No, not very flexible. I give the example -- I'm going to build a wall. I'm the one that wants the wall. I'm the one that can build the wall. (APPLAUSE) It's going to get built. And by the way, Mexico is going to pay for the wall. I can tell you that. Mexico is going to pay for the wall.(APPLAUSE) But -- and I used an example. And this isn't necessarily what was said, but whatever was said, the wall's 50 feet high. Is it going to be 45 feet or 40 feet? That could very well be. That could very well -- he wants it to be higher. (LAUGHTER) That could very well be. But there's always give and take. There's always negotiation. And the best negotiator that knows what he's doing will make a great deal. But we need give and take in government. If you don't have give and take, you're never going to agree on anything. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Senator Rubio, you not only supported the failed immigration reform effort through the Gang of Eight, but you're still on record as favoring an eventual path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. And in addition... (AUDIENCE BOOS) ... you favored in-state tuition for Florida illegal immigrants. You've been hitting Mr. Trump hard on this flexibility discussion with the New York Times, but his supporters might say at least his opening stance was tough.

RUBIO: Well, first of all, let me say that on the issue of the off-the-record, that's not up to the New York Times. That's up to you, Donald. If tonight you tell the New York Times to release the audio, they will do it, and we can exactly see what your true views are on immigration...

TRUMP: Fine (ph).

RUBIO: ... because it is a major issue, in your campaign that you've made a center issue. Now, as far as my record on it is concerned, I absolutely want to solve this issue. And I did the best we could in a Senate that was controlled by liberal Democrats and Harry Reid in the hopes that the House, made up of conservatives, would take it up and make it even stronger. And I said that repeatedly at the time. I'm not just saying that now; I said it throughout that process. We do need to do with this issue. (AUDIENCE BOOS)

RUBIO: When I'm president it will not be dealt with the way it was done in the Senate. It will be done first and foremost by bringing illegal immigration under control and proving it to the American people. And only after that is done can anything else happen. And it will be something the American people support. We'll see what they are willing to support. It's not going to be an executive order and we're not going to ram it down their throats.

KELLY: Mr. Trump, we will let respond, but will you release the tapes? Will you authorize of The Times to release the tapes?

TRUMP: I will say one thing, what Marco said is -- I understand it. He is talking about a little give and take and a little negotiation. And you know what? That's OK. That's not the worst thing in the world. There is nothing wrong with that. I happen to be much stronger on illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed me. And if he endorses you, believe me, you are the strongest, from Arizona. But give and take is OK. And I thought what he said is OK. We may differ on the degree. But what he said to me is OK.

KELLY: Will you release the tapes?

TRUMP: No. I never do that. I would not do that. I don't think -- I have too much respect -- if I deal with you off the record, if I deal with Bret or Chris off the record, I have too much respect for that process to say, just release everything. I would not do that.

KELLY: OK. Stand by. We're going to continue this right after the break. We have more.

BAIER: Coming up, more with Megyn on immigration, plus questions on other top issues, including the war on terror. The "FOX News Republican Presidential Debate Live from Detroit" continues after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Welcome back everybody to the FOX News Republican presidential debate, live from the FOX theater here in Detroit. Let's get back now to the questions. Mr. Trump, your campaign website to this day argues that more visas for highly skilled workers would, quote, "decimate American workers". However, at the CNBC debate, you spoke enthusiastically in favor of these visas. So, which is it?

TRUMP: I'm changing. I'm changing. We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can't do it, we'll get them in. But, and we do need in Silicon Valley, we absolutely have to have. So, we do need highly skilled, and one of the biggest problems we have is people go to the best colleges. They'll go to Harvard they'll go to Stanford, they'll go to Wharton, as soon as they're finished they'll get shoved out. They want to stay in this country. They want to stay here desperately, they're not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brain power in this country. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: So you abandoning the position on your website...

TRUMP: ... I'm changing it, and I'm softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.

KELLY: And you're not releasing the discussion with the New York Times behind closed doors...

TRUMP: ... That is correct.

KELLY: Which will have some asking whether, on your immigration policies, you're really just playing to people's fantasies, which is a tactic...

TRUMP: ... No, I'm not playing.

KELLY: ... you praised in your book, The Art of the Deal.

TRUMP: I'm not playing to anybody's fantasies, I'm playing to the fact that our country is in trouble, that we have a tremendous problem with crime. The border is a disaster, it's like a piece of Swiss cheese. We're going to stop it, we're going to stop people from coming into our country illegally. We're going to stop it. (APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

KELLY: Senator Cruz, not long ago you propose quintupling the number of these foreign worker visas. After you announced for president, you reversed yourself, citing reports that the program was being abused. But, that abuse had been around long before your 180. In fact, it was so bad that just a few months earlier that a bipartisan group of senators called for an investigation and you declined to join them. Isn't it a good thing that the American public didn't trust Ted on that one?

CRUZ: Well, the abuse of the H1-B program has been rampant. On the face of that H1-B abuse, I have proposed, and promised as president that I will impose a 180 day moratorium on the H1B program to implement a comprehensive investigation and audit because you got U.S. companies that are firing American workers, bringing in foreign workers, and forcing them to train their replacements. And, I would note that is not dissimilar to what we discovered at the last debate concerning the hotel that Donald owns down in Florida. Down in Florida that hotel has brought in hundreds of foreign workers, and afterwards it was really striking. I watched the CNN interview Donald did where he explained, he said, well the problem is you can't find Americans who are qualified, or who want to work as waiters and waitresses. Now, let me ask the people here, how many people have worked as a waiter or waitress?(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Millions across this country. That is an astonishing statement. You know, Marco's Dad started as a bartender. My Dad started washing dishes, and yet, you know how many Americans wanted those jobs? (BELL RINGING)

CRUZ: Roughly 300 applied, Donald hired 17. And, that's why this New York Times tape is so troubling because what's been reported is that Donald told the Editorial Board of the New York Times what I'm saying on immigration, I don't believe. I'm not going to build a wall, I'm not going to deport people, this is all just rhetoric for the voters. Now, if he didn't say that, he has an easy solution. Simply release the tape. But, for everyone at home who's mad at politicians that lied to us, Donald's record right now as he standing here...

KELLY: ... OK.

CRUZ: ... His record right now is one of repeatedly hiring illegal aliens...

KELLY: ... Times up, sir...

CRUZ: ... abusing (ph) American workers...

KELLY: ... Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: First of all I've had tens of thousands of people working for me, most of which are -- 98, 97, 98 percent of the people in this country, from this country. I'm very proud of it. You have a club in Palm Beach, Florida called the Mar-a-Lago Club, it's a very, very successful club. It has a very short season, it's called, the Season, and it goes from November until March. It's a few months, five months at the most. People don't want a short-term job. They don't want -- so, we will bring people in, and we will send the people out. All done legally, all done with the process that's... (BELL RINGING)

TRUMP: ... Approved by government in Palm Beach, or West Palm Beach. We bring people in, we bring them out. We want to hire as many Americans as we can, but they don't want part-time, very short part-time jobs.

KELLY: Understood. Thank you.

RUBIO: That's not accurate. I'm sorry, Megyn, that's not accurate. That's my -- there were at least 300 Americans that applied last year, none of them were hired. Some of them...

TRUMP: ... Wrong...

RUBIO: ... have been interviewed...

TRUMP: ... That's wrong.

RUBIO: ... They were not hired...

TRUMP: ... Wrong...

RUBIO: ... And, here's why he does it this way, let me explain why he (INAUDIBLE) H2-B...

TRUMP: ... Wrong...

RUBIO: ... Because when you bring them in this way, when you bring someone in on one of these visas they can't go work for anybody else. They either work for you or they have to go back home. You basically have them captive, so you don't have to worry about competing for higher wages with another hotel down the street. And, that's why you bring workers from abroad. You argue that you're here to fight on behalf of the American worker, but when you have chances to help the American worker... (BELL RINGING)...

RUBIO: ... but when you have chances to help the American workers, you're making your clothes overseas and you're hiring your workers from overseas. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Go ahead, sir.

TRUMP: The -- the -- the other hotels during the season, they do the same thing. They take in a lot of people, because you can't get them. They take in a lot of people. Long-term employees, we don't do that, but short-term employees, we have no choice but to do it, and other hotels in that very, very hot area. It is a very hot area.

RUBIO: There were Americans in that hot area.

TRUMP: It's very, very hard to get people. But other hotels do the exact same thing. And just so you understand, just again, this is a legal process. This is a procedure. It's part of the law. I take advantage of that. There's nothing wrong with it. We have no choice.

KELLY: All right.

CRUZ: Donald, you could resolve this issue very quickly by simply... (AUDIENCE BOOS) ... releasing the New York Times tape. Because, listen, maybe it's right.

TRUMP: This wasn't on the subject.

CRUZ: ... that you didn't tell them you're misleading the American people. If that's the case...

TRUMP: Tapes were not on the subject, but that's...

CRUZ: If you didn't tell them that, the tapes will prove you're innocent.


CRUZ: But if, in fact, you went to Manhattan and said I'm lying to the American people, then the voters have a right to know.

TRUMP: No, no. You're the liar. You're the lying guy up here.(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: Because we've been lied to too many times.

TRUMP: You're the -- you're the one. You're the one.

CRUZ: Why don't you release the tapes? Release the tapes.

TRUMP: You're the one. Now, let me just tell you. Let me just tell you. (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. I've given my answer, Lyin' Ted. I've given my answer.

KELLY: All right. Let's leave it at that. (AUDIENCE BOOS) Let's leave it at that. We have more to get to. (AUDIENCE BOOS)

BAIER: Gentlemen, the next topic to discuss is terrorism. Senator Rubio, ISIS is a big topic of conversation on Facebook. We have a map that shows the conservation about ISIS around the country. You proposed sending a larger number of American ground troops to help defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq...

RUBIO: That's correct, and Libya.

BAIER: ... but military commanders say the biggest ISIS threat to Europe in particular now is coming from Libya, not Syria.

RUBIO: Correct.

BAIER: So just to be clear, if you're for putting more U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Syria, are you also ready to send U.S. ground troops on the ground in Libya?

RUBIO: Well, Bret, what I've argued from the very beginning is ISIS -- in order to defeat ISIS, you must deny them operating spaces. This is how ISIS or any radical group, for that matter, can grow. It's how Al Qaida was able to carry out 9/11, is that the Taliban gave them an operating space in Afghanistan.

Today that operating space has largely been based in Iraq and Syria, but I've been warning about the Libyan presence for the better part of two years. So they need to be targeted wherever they have an operating space. They do need to be defeated on the ground by a ground force made up primarily of Sunni Arabs themselves. This is a radical Sunni movement. They can only be defeated if they are driven out and the territory is held by Sunni Arabs. But it will require a specific number of American special operators, in combination with an increase in air strikes. And that will include, if necessary, operating spaces in Libya, which, in fact, they are using to project into the Sinai against Egypt and ultimately into Europe, as well.

BAIER: Governor Kasich, would you put ground troops in Libya?

KASICH: Well, first of all, just to be clear, not only did I serve for 18 years on the Defense Committee, more than anybody on this stage, but, secondly, I was called into the Pentagon after 9/11 to help Secretary Rumsfeld with some of his difficulties. I will say, look, let me tell you what happened with Libya. And I pointed out in the last debate -- Hillary Clinton worked aggressively to depose Moammar Gadhafi. We had no business doing it. He was working with us. He was cooperating with us. He denuclearized. And now they pushed him out, and now we have a fertile ground for ISIS. Fortunately in Libya, there's only a few cities on the coast, because most of Libya is a desert. The fact of the matter is, we absolutely have to be -- and not just with special forces. I mean, that's not going to work. Come on. You've got to go back to the invasion when we pushed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We have to be there on the ground in significant numbers. We do have to include our Muslim Arab friends to work with us on that. And we have to be in the air. And we -- it should be a broad coalition, made up of the kinds of people that were involved when we defeated Saddam. Now, you've got to be on the ground and in the air both in Syria and Iraq. And at some point, we will have to deal with Libya. I am very concerned about ISIS getting their hands on the oilfields in Libya and being able to fund their operations. The fact is cool, calm, deliberate, effective, take care of the job, and then come home. That's what we need to do with our military foreign policy. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable. General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, NSA director, and other experts have said that when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists' families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse because they've been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders. So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?

TRUMP: They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me.

BAIER: But they're illegal.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you look at the Middle East. They're chopping off heads. They're chopping off the heads of Christians and anybody else that happens to be in the way. They're drowning people in steel cages. And he -- now we're talking about waterboarding. This really started with Ted, a question was asked of Ted last -- two debates ago about waterboarding. And Ted was, you know, having a hard time with that question, to be totally honest with you. They then came to me, what do you think of waterboarding? I said it's fine. And if we want to go stronger, I'd go stronger, too, because, frankly... (APPLAUSE) ... that's the way I feel. Can you imagine -- can you imagine these people, these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we're having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That's my opinion.

BAIER: But targeting terrorists' families? (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And -- and -- and -- I'm a leader. I'm a leader. I've always been a leader. I've never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they're going to do it. That's what leadership is all about.

BAIER: Even targeting terrorists' families?

TRUMP: Well, look, you know, when a family flies into the World Trade Center, a man flies into the World Trade Center, and his family gets sent back to where they were going -- and I think most of you know where they went -- and, by the way, it wasn't Iraq -- but they went back to a certain territory, they knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening. They left two days early, with respect to the World Trade Center, and they went back to where they went, and they watched their husband on television flying into the World Trade Center, flying into the Pentagon, and probably trying to fly into the White House, except we had some very, very brave souls on that third plane. All right? (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Cruz, you were mentioned.

TRUMP: I have no problem with it.

BAIER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Bret, you know, I think the American people understand that yelling and cursing at people doesn't make you a tough guy. We need a commander-in-chief that, number one, will rebuild the military, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1981 coming out of the weak Jimmy Carter administration. He passed tax reform and regulatory reform. The economy took off. It generated millions in high-paying jobs, trillions in new revenue. He rebuilt the military, bankrupted the Soviet Union, and won the Cold War. As president, I will do the exact same thing with radical Islamic terrorism. We will rebuild this military so that it remains the mightiest fighting force on the face of the planet. And then, when I am commander-in-chief, every militant on the face of the Earth will understand that if they go and join ISIS, if they wage jihad against the United States of America, they are signing their death warrant. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: But, Senator Cruz, in 2013, you said you were open -- you were open to the possibility that Edward Snowden had performed a considerable public service, you said back then, in revealing certain aspects of the NSA procedures. Many of your colleagues in the Senate, including Senator Rubio, called him a traitor. It took you until January of this year to call him a traitor and say he should be tried for treason. Why the change of heart? And why did it take you so long?

CRUZ: Well, Bret, as someone who spent much of his life in law enforcement, I believe you should start with the facts and evidence first before ending up with the verdict. When the news first broke of the United States government engaging in massive surveillance on American citizens, that was a very troubling development, and it's why the United States Congress acted to correct it. Now, at the same time, I said in that initial statement that if the evidence indicated that Edward Snowden violated the law, he should be prosecuted for violating the law. And, indeed, since then, the evidence is clear that not only does Snowden violate the law, but it appears he committed treason. Treason is defined under the Constitution as giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America, and what Snowden did made it easier for terrorists to avoid detection. And Snowden's comments afterwards, and his behavior afterwards, he fled to Russia, he fled to China. His conducts afterwards indicates that he was not a whistleblower, but instead he was undermining the ability to defend this country. But we need a president who isn't rash, who doesn't just pop off at the -- at the hip, but waits to see what the facts are and then acts to defend this country. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, you've repeatedly deflected calls for specific national security or defense policy plans with the claim that you'll ask the best people when you become president, and take their advice. So who are the best people? Can you reveal two or three names that you trust for national security?

TRUMP: I think Richard Haass is excellent. I have a lot of respect for him. I think General Keane is excellent. I think that there are -- I like Colonel Jacobs very much. I see him. I know him. I have many people that I think are really excellent but in the end it's going to be my decision. When you just asked the question about Snowden, I will tell you right from the beginning, I said he was a spy and we should get him back. And if Russia respected our country, they would have sent him back immediately, but he was a spy. It didn't take me a long time to figure that one out. Believe me. But I would get the best people, people that I'd be comfortable with. And we will do the right thing.

KASICH: Bret, it's very interesting to note, I think it's for the good of the record here that they took a survey of foreign policy magazines, 700 foreign policy experts, who would be the best person to conduct foreign policy of all the candidates in the race? I received 55 percent of the vote. Jeb Bush received 30 percent of the vote. And everybody else, none of them made double digits. And that's because you have to have the experience. And you know, we hear about Ronald Reagan rebuilding the military. I was there when Ronald Reagan rebuilt the military. I worked with him. I was there when Ronald Reagan rebuilt the economy. I was there, and I worked with him. I knew Ronald Reagan. And I'll leave it right there with what comes after that. You can figure that one out.

BAIER: Governor Kasich, thank you.

KELLY: We're going to have more questions for the candidates right after this break. And during the commercial break, join us for a -- Facebook live on the FOX News Facebook page and tell us what you think about tonight's debate in the comment section. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to the historic Fox Theater in downtown Detroit and the Republican presidential debate. Let's get right back to the questions.

KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is they believe you tell it like it is. But time and time again in this campaign, you have actually told the voters one thing only to reverse yourself within weeks or even sometimes days. We've teed up just three examples in a videotape, similar to those we used with Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz in the last debate. The first is on whether the war in Afghanistan was a mistake. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: What about in Afghanistan? Do you believe that American boots should stay on the ground in Afghanistan to stabilize the situation?

TRUMP: We've made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. That thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave. Just as I said that Iraq was going to collapse after we leave.

UNKNOWN: About Afghanistan, you said we made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place.

TRUMP: We made a mistake going into Iraq. I've never said we made a mistake...

UNKNOWN: Our question was about Afghanistan. That day on October...

TRUMP: Well, OK, I never said that.

UNKNOWN: ... was on Afghanistan.

TRUMP: OK. Wouldn't matter. I never said it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Next, on whether we should accept...

TRUMP: Should I respond to that first?

KELLY: Two more, and then you'll have the floor. Next on whether we should accept the Syrian refugees...

TRUMP: You'll be here a long time.

KELLY: On whether we should accept the Syrian refugees.


O'REILLY: Do you object to migrants who are getting out of the Middle East and North Africa? Do you object to them coming to the USA?

TRUMP: I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, with what's happening, you have to. It's living in Hell in Syria; there's no question about it. They're living in Hell.

HANNITY: Are you saying absolutely people from Syria, the Middle East, should we allow any of them into this country?

TRUMP: Look, from a humanitarian standpoint, I'd love to help, but we have our own problems. We have so many problems that we have to solve. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Most recently, on whether President George W. Bush lied to get us into the Iraq war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none. I don't know if he lied or not. He could have lied. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't. I guess you'd have to ask him. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: And there are many other examples. So how is any of this "telling it like it is"?

TRUMP: Well, on Afghanistan, I did mean Iraq. I think you have to stay in Afghanistan for a while, because of the fact that you're right next to Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons, and we have to protect that. Nuclear weapons change the game. And I was always against going into Iraq. In fact, I -- believe me, I was always against it. There was some cases where I sort of -- in one interview with a great friend of mine, and yours, Howard Stern -- said that -- said that...(LAUGHTER) I said very meekly, long before we went in, I said very meekly, well, maybe, maybe, I don't know. By the time it got to that point, I was always against Iraq. But Afghanistan, I felt -- and in that one, if you notice, I corrected it the second day. OK? Second question? KELLY: There are several examples, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: No, no. But...

KELLY: We went through the Afghanistan being a mistake. Within one day, you reversed yourself on Syrian refugees.

TRUMP: Now on -- let me explain that. You're right. Let me explain. First time the question had been put to me, it was very early on. The migration had just started. And I had heard that the number was a very, very small number. By the second day, two or three days later, I heard the number was going to be thousands and thousands of people. You know, when they originally heard about it, they were talking about bringing very, very small numbers in. And I said, begrudgingly, well, I guess maybe that's OK. It was not like, "Let's bring them in," because I think we should build a safe zone in -- we should really -- what we should be doing is building safe zones so they can stay in their own country and not go all over, and at least this way we're not going to have the problem. That's what we have to do. (APPLAUSE) But just -- just to set -- because I fully understand what you're asking. When I first heard the question, first time the question was ever asked to me, first time I really had known about the question, the migration had just started. I was very much like, OK, by the time I went back and studied it, and they were talking about bringing thousands and thousands, I changed my tune. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

KELLY: But the point I'm going for is you change your tune on so many things, and that has some people saying, what is his core?

TRUMP: Megyn, I have a very strong core. (APPLAUSE) I have a very strong core. But I've never seen a successful person who wasn't flexible, who didn't have a certain degree of flexibility. You have to have a certain degree of flexibility. (APPLAUSE) You can't -- for instance, let's say, on -- on the second question, you can't say it's OK, and then you find out it's not OK, and you don't want to do anything. You have to be flexible, because you learn. I mean, before I knew the question was asked by Bill, and the next day, or the couple of days later, the question was asked by, by -- you know -- I was asked by a number of people, actually. I was asked by Sean, but I was asked by a number of people. But by that time, the number had increased significantly.

KELLY: Sean was the next day after Bill.

TRUMP: The next day. But I had learned. I mean, nobody had ever asked me the question. This was brand new. But -- and I really mean it. You have to show a degree of flexibility. If you're going to be one way and you think it's wrong, does that mean the rest of your life you have to go in the wrong direction because you don't want to change? (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Megyn.


KELLY: Go ahead, Governor.

KASICH: I did 200 meetings in New Hampshire, I don't know how many in Michigan now. In these townhalls people come in and they're very emotional meetings. And, you know what they really want to know? If somebody tells them something, can they believe it? And, the reason why people are so upset in this country is because politicians all the time tell them what they want to hear. And, they go to Washington, or they go to the state capital, wherever, and they don't deliver on those promises. You know, when I ran for Governor of Ohio, I said not only would we balance the budget, but we would cut taxes. People said that can't be done. I wouldn't have said it if I didn't believe it. We cut taxes in Ohio more than any governor in the country, and $5 billion dollars worth of tax cuts -- we're not running a surplus in Ohio. But, you see, what's getting in the hearts and souls of the people is they want change, and they keep putting outsiders in to bring about the change, then the change doesn't come. Then they put more outsiders in because we're putting people in that don't understand compromise. They don't understand policy... (BELL RINGING) (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: ... They're getting more and more frustrated with the system which is why we must pick somebody that has a record of achievement, not just talk.


KASICH: Not just talk, but a record of achievement. That's how we'll restore credibility..

RUBIO: ... This isn't just about flexibility.

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator.

RUBIO: There's a difference between flexibility and telling people whatever you think you need to say to get them to do what you want them to do. (CHEERING)

RUBIO: And, that's what Donald has done throughout his career.


RUBIO: Well, he did, and that's why Trump University...

TRUMP: ... That's not right...

RUBIO: ... Is so relevant here. I saw this video last week where he's sitting in front of a camera saying we're going to hire the best people, and I'm going to hand pick them. There are going to be hand picked and instructors, the best instructors in the world. One of them, but the way, was the manager at a Buffalo Wild Wing. And, that's who they hired to do this, and people borrowed money, and they signed up for this fake university. And, these people owe all this money now, and they got nothing in return for it, but you are willing to say whatever you had to say... (BELL RINGING)

RUBIO: ... To get them to give you their money...

KELLY: ... Go ahead, Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: ... We'll find out when we have the (INAUDIBLE)...

RUBIO: ... And, we're not going to do that to our country...

TRUMP: ... And, by the way, just so you understand... (APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ... This is a case I could have settled very easily, but I don't settle cases very easily when I'm right. Ninety-eight percent approval rating, we have an "A" from the Better Business Bureau...

RUBIO: ... That's false...

TRUMP: ... We have a 98 percent approval rating from the people who took the course. We have an "A" from the Better Business Bureau. And, people like it. Now, he's saying they didn't learn. We have many, many people that will be witnesses. Again, I don't settle cases. I don't do it because that's why I don't get sued very often, because I don't settle, unlike a lot of other people. We have a situation where we will win in court... (BELL RINGING)

TRUMP: But, many of the people that are witnesses did tremendously well, and made a lot of money...

RUBIO: ... That's false...

TRUMP: ... By taking the course.

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator.

TRUMP: You're going to see, you don't know...

RUBIO: ... The Better Business Bureau gave it a "D" minus.

TRUMP: You're going to see, you're going to see.

KELLY: ... It's Senator Rubio's turn...

TRUMP: ... No, no. Before they had the information...

RUBIO: ... Go on my website, Marco Rubio.com...

TRUMP: ... Before they had the information...

KELLY: ... Senator Rubio, standby, let him finish his point, and then I'll give you the floor...

TRUMP: ... Before they had the information it got -- it is right now an "A", once they had the information...

RUBIO: ... (INAUDIBLE) this anymore.

TRUMP: ... The only reason that is was a "D" was because we didn't care -- we didn't give them the information...

RUBIO: ... A third of the people (INAUDIBLE)...

TRUMP: ... When they got the information it became an "A"...

KELLY: ... With respect -- wait. With respect...

TRUMP: ... Marco you don't know (INAUDIBLE)...

KELLY: ... With respect, we went back and looked at this...

TRUMP: ... Yes.

KELLY: The rating from the Better Business Bureau was a "D" minus... (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)


KELLY: ... that's the last publicly available rating in 2010, and it was the result of a number of complaints they had...

TRUMP: ... But it was elevated to an "A"...


KELLY: ... That's never been publicly available.

TRUMP: ... I can give it to you. I can give it to you tomorrow..

KELLY: ... Let's just bring the viewers up to speed, let's just bring the viewers up to speed.

TRUMP: ... It was elevated to an "A".

KELLY: Let me just set the record, and then you guys can have at it. There was Trump University, which was a business that you started, and it was marketed...

TRUMP: ... Small business...

KELLY: ... to many people, and now there is a class-action of over 5,000 plaintiffs against you, Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: ... Right...

KELLY: ... And, it involves veterans, and it involves teachers, and it involves so-called little guys, working class, and lower- working class and middle class who say that they were fleeced, who say that it was as scam. The class has been certified, and in that case you counter-sued the lead plaintiff alleging that you were being defamed. That case was thrown out against her...

TRUMP: ... The lead plaintiff is now getting out of the case because it's so bad for her...

KELLY: ... But, what happened was...

TRUMP: ... Excuse me, the lead plaintiff signed a letter saying how great it was, and it on tape saying how great it was.

KELLY: OK, no, but -- standby. But, what happened in that case was you counter-sued her. The court threw out your counter-suit, and made you pay almost $800,000 dollars in legal fees of hers, and you made the same argument about 98 percent of the people being happy with Trump University. And, that woman in particular signing a survey saying she liked it while someone was standing over her shoulder...

TRUMP: ... She's trying to get out of the case. She's trying to get out of the case...

KELLY: ... And this is what -- standby, this is what the Court of Appeals found. They said that the plaintiffs against you are like the Madoff victims...

TRUMP: Oh, give me a break...

KELLy: ... This is what the Court of Appeals said.

TRUMP: Give me a break.

KELLY: This is what the court of appeals said.

TRUMP: Give me a break.

KELLY: They found that victims of con artists often sing the praises of their victimizers until they realize they have been fleeced.

TRUMP: You know what, let's see what happens in court. This is a civil case. Very easy to have settled. Could settle it now. Very easy to have settled. Let's see what happens at the end of a couple years when this case is over, OK?

KELLY: It has been going for five years.

TRUMP: Yes, it has been going for a long time.

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator.

RUBIO: I spoke to one of the victims yesterday.

TRUMP: We'll win the case.

RUBIO: I spoke to one of the victims yesterday.

TRUMP: One, one of the victims.

RUBIO: No, there are several. Obviously there are so many, I can't talk to them every day. I spoke to one of them, he told me exactly what happened. They signed up for this course because they believed Mr. Trump was this fantastic businessman, that Donald is going to teach them the tricks of the trade. They signed up. They paid $15,000 for this course. They were asked for additional money for this course. If they really wanted the real secrets of success, they had to pay even more money, and so they did. And you know what they got in these courses? Stuff you can pull off of Zillow. When they finally realized what a scam it was, they asked for their money back. And you refused to give them their money back. Why don't you tonight...

TRUMP: I gave many people their money back.

RUBIO: Then why don't you tonight say you're going to give the money back to everybody who wants...

TRUMP: Let me just... (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: OK. Senator Rubio, let him answer. (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Let him answer. Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: We will see who's right at the end of a few years. But all of the -- almost all of the people, many, many people signed what's called the report card at the end, did you like the course, how did you like it. Almost all of them said it was terrific, OK? With letters, with this. Some of them are on tape saying it was terrific. Let's see what happens at the end of three years.

KELLY: With respect, Mr. Trump, one-third of the plaintiffs in that case demanded refunds. So it's not the case that 98 percent were...

TRUMP: I gave some refunds to people because if they asked for the refunds in a certain period of time, and we gave refunds to people.


TRUMP: But let's see what happens at the end of three years. Let's see who's right.

KELLY: Still a pending litigation. (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: It's called pending litigation.

RUBIO: Megyn, this is why this is relevant to this election.

KELLY: All right. Senator Rubio then Senator Cruz. Go ahead.

RUBIO: This is why, because he's trying to do to the American voter what he did to the people that signed up for this course. He's making promises he has no intention of keeping. And it won't just be $36,000 that they lose, it's our country that's at stake here. The future of the United States and the most important election in a generation, and he's trying to con people into giving them their vote just like he conned these people into giving him their money.

TRUMP: Let me tell you the real con artist. Excuse me. Excuse me. The real con artist is Senator Marco Rubio who was elected in Florida and who has the worst voting record in the United States Senate. He doesn't go to vote. He's absent. He doesn't go. Now, the people of Florida can't stand him. He couldn't get elected dogcatcher. The people of Florida -- the people of Florida -- and by the way, I know he's going to spend $25 million on ads. Without that he wouldn't have a chance. He's 20 points south. The people in Florida wouldn't elect him dogcatcher. He couldn't get any -- he's right now 21 points down to me. And, you know...

TRUMP: ... again, there will be a lot of advertising. It's the only thing that might save him. But I doubt it.

RUBIO: Notice that's not an answer.

KELLY: I'm coming to you next. But go ahead. (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: He scammed the people of Florida. He scammed people. He doesn't vote. He doesn't show up for the U.S. Senate. He doesn't vote. He scammed the people. He defrauded the people of Florida.

KELLY: With respect, you've made that point. Go ahead.

RUBIO: There's no -- as you can see in his answer, it's always the same thing.

TRUMP: You defrauded the people of Florida, little Marco.

RUBIO: He has defrauding people out of things, and not just -- and not just, by the way, on the issue of Trump University. He had another development in Mexico that he had nothing to do with except his name on the building. People put money into that building.

TRUMP: That was licensing.

RUBIO: They lost their money. Yes, licensing, but you told them you owned the building. So they gave him his money. They lost their money. Time and again...

KELLY: All right. Stand by. I will come back to you. Senator Cruz wants to weigh in. You're coming back. Go ahead.

CRUZ: Megyn, let me ask the voters at home, is this the debate you want playing out in the general election? The stakes in this election are too high. For seven years, millions of Americans, we've been struggling, wages have been stagnating, people are hurting, our constitutional rights are under assault. And if we nominate Donald, we're going to spend the spring, the fall, and the summer with the Republican nominee facing a fraud trial...

TRUMP: Oh, stop it.

CRUZ: ... with Hillary Clinton saying...

TRUMP: It's just a minor case. It's a minor case.

CRUZ: ... why did you give my campaign and my foundation $100,000?

TRUMP: It's a minor civil case.

CRUZ: And with Hillary Clinton...

TRUMP: Give me a break.

CRUZ: ... pointing out that he supported her four times in her presidential race.

TRUMP: It's a minor civil case.

CRUZ: Donald, learn not to interrupt. It's not complicated.

TRUMP: There are many, many civil cases.

CRUZ: Count to 10, Donald. Count to 10.

TRUMP: Give me a break.

CRUZ: Count to 10. The stakes are too high and if you are one of the 65 to 70 percent of Republicans who recognize that nominating Donald would be a disaster, then I ask you to come join us. If you're supporting other candidates, come join us. We welcome you to our team because we've demonstrated not once, not twice, not three times, but five separate times we have beat Donald. And if you don't want him to be the nominee, then I ask you to stand with us as a broad coalition of people who believe in the Constitution, believe in freedom, and want to turn this country around.

KELLY: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I don't believe these politicians. All talk, no action. I'm standing here listening to -- I'm hearing him say about a percentage. CNN, he gets 15. That means 85 percent, based on what you're saying, of the people don't dig you, number one, number one. Is that a correct statement? How do you get -- are you at 15 in the new CNN poll? Do you believe in CNN? I mean, I know we're with FOX. But CNN spent -- CNN...

CRUZ: All right, I'll respond... (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: CNN spent a lot of money on a poll, just came out. I'm at 49. He's at 15. He tells me about 65 percent of the people. It's not 65 percent of the people. If you go by that, 85 percent of the people. Then he goes, we have five. And -- well, excuse me, I won 10. I won 10 states. If you listen to him, it's like -- I won 10 states. Everybody knows that on Super Tuesday Trump was the winner. There wasn't one person that didn't say that. Even the two people on your left and right said we did a great job. So how does he take -- how does he take five and say it's better than 10?

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator.

TRUMP: I am by far the leader. But if you listen to a politician, he'll try and convince you otherwise.

KELLY: Senator Cruz, go.

CRUZ: All right, well, Donald lives by the polls every day. He tweets about the polls.

TRUMP: No, I don't. No, I don't.

CRUZ: He's told us to look to the CNN poll. Well, that's a very good poll to look to, because that CNN poll showed that head to head Donald Trump loses to Hillary Clinton by 8 points. He doesn't just lose close; he loses by 8 points. That same poll he told you to look at shows me beating Hillary Clinton. (APPLAUSE) We cannot mess this up. And, by the way, the last four polls in a row, when you nominate a candidate who literally has been on every side of every issue, and in the course of this debate may be on two other sides before we're done, that's not how you win. And the stakes are too high. (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: All right. I'm going to let Mr. Trump -- I'm going to let -- let me just...

TRUMP: According to your poll... (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: I'm going to let you respond to that, Mr. Trump. I'm going to then go to you, Governor. You're up next.

TRUMP: ... I know, but your recent polls have me beating Hillary Clinton, and very, very easily.

KELLY: OK. Do you want to weigh in?

KASICH: All right, look, honestly, when I see people at these meetings, these town halls, where we take massive questions, and I get to spend time with them. Last night, there was a woman that came to tell me about the loss of her 15-year-old son, who took his own life. See, there's people in this country -- and Ted's right -- their wages haven't gone up for so long, they see the rich get richer, they believe, and they're not moving. And they put their money in the bank, and they got no interest on their money. They receive none. And their sons or daughters are living in the basement because they can't get a good job after they rang up so much college debt. What people are hungry for is, who can fix this? People want to know who -- what can you do to solve the problems in Washington, to make sure that we have stronger job growth and better wages? But you know what else they're yearning for? They want to believe that they have the power to fix things where they live, and they want the power back, so they can begin to do things in their community. Now, listen, this has been going on for a long time here. And I appreciate the discussion back and forth. But there are a lot of people out there yearning for somebody who's going to bring America back, both at the leadership level and in the neighborhood, where we can begin to reignite the spirit of the United States of America. And let's stop fighting. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor, thank you. Gentlemen, thank you.

WALLACE: Much more to come live from the Fox Theater, including where the candidates stand on the social issues facing the country. The Republican presidential debate continues in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Welcome back, everybody, to the Fox News Republican presidential debate. We want to get right back to the questions. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: We are here in Detroit. The top issues in Michigan, according to Facebook, are displayed in a word cloud you're taking a look at. The second biggest issue is clean water. That, of course, is directly tied with the situation in Flint. Senator Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both been to Flint. They are both running ads in this state focusing on that, focusing on supporting Flint and fixing the problems, showing images of people in Flint thankful that they're there. Without getting into the political blame game here, where are the national Republicans' plans on infrastructure and solving problems like this? If you talk to people in this state, they are really concerned about Flint on both sides of the aisle. So why haven't GOP candidates done more or talked more about this?

RUBIO: Well, I know I've talked about it, and others in our campaign have talked about it, and other candidates have talked about it, as well. What happened in Flint was a terrible thing. It was systemic breakdown at every level of government, at both the federal and partially the -- both the state and partially at the federal level, as well. And by the way, the politicizing of it I think is unfair, because I don't think that someone woke up one morning and said, "Let's figure out how to poison the water system to hurt someone." (APPLAUSE) But accountability is important. I will say, I give the governor credit. He took responsibility for what happened. And he's talked about people being held accountable... (APPLAUSE) ... and the need for change, with Governor Snyder. But here's the point. This should not be a partisan issue. The way the Democrats have tried to turn this into a partisan issue, that somehow Republicans woke up in the morning and decided, "Oh, it's a good idea to poison some kids with lead." It's absurd. It's outrageous. It isn't true. (APPLAUSE) All of us are outraged by what happened. And we should work together to solve it. And there is a proper role for the government to play at the federal level, in helping local communities to respond to a catastrophe of this kind, not just to deal with the people that have been impacted by it, but to ensure that something like this never happens again.

BAIER: Thank you, Senator. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Kasich, the city of Detroit has long suffered with urban blight, broken street lights, dilapidated and vacant houses, and so on. In 2013, Detroit actually declared bankruptcy, which helped, but the schools here remain a big problem. They're $3.5 billion in debt and are some of the most troubled and poorly testing in the country. The kids too often go to classrooms that are unsafe, falling apart, infested with rodents and insects. Experts say the schools could go bankrupt by next month. Question to you. If the federal government bailed out the auto industry here in Detroit, should it also bail out the Detroit schools?

KASICH: Well, look, first of all, I think the mayor now is controlling the schools. This is not much different than what happened in Cleveland, Ohio, where the African-American Democrat mayor, the union, and business leaders came to see me and said, "Would you help us to pass legislation to really create a CEO environment so that we can take control of the schools?" We even invested in a buyout plan, where we bought out the teachers who had been there a long time, because there were so many young teachers who had been laid off who were so enthusiastic to get back in the schools. It worked beautifully. Cleveland's coming back. The Cleveland schools are coming back because of a major overhaul. It's the same thing that has to happen in all of our urban schools. And, frankly, look, if I were president, I'd take 104 federal programs, bundle them into four buckets, and send it to the states, because fixing schools rests at the state and the local level, and particularly at the school board level. (APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Now, I also believe -- I also believe that you need to introduce vocational education in those schools. You need mentoring in those schools. And you need to have a situation where people can have an alternative forum to get a degree. And you need school choice, both vouchers and charter schools. All of those things can come together to help, Megyn. But here's the bottom line. And I'll go quickly. We as adults have to fight in our neighborhoods, in our communities, for our children's education. Put the politics aside, and everyone in this room can play a role in lifting their schools and lifting the students who are in those schools, because too much politics gets in the middle of it, and where we focus as adults, and put children first, we see tremendous results. And the people of this town are going to rise. And they need to be involved. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: For -- for half a century, as you all know, Detroit was the symbol of America's industrial might: 300,000 manufacturing jobs in this city. At last count, there are now fewer than 30,000 manufacturing jobs here, and the unemployment rate in this city is 11 percent, twice the national average. Senator Cruz, I know that you have general plans for tax reform, but what specifically would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and train residents of cities like Detroit to do those jobs?

CRUZ: Well, Chris, thank you for that question. Let me start by observing that Detroit is a great city with a magnificent legacy that has been utterly decimated by 60 years of failed left-wing policy. (APPLAUSE) You know, Henry Ford revolutionized automobile manufacturing and brought automobiles to the middle class. During World War II, Detroit provided -- funded the arsenals of democracy to help us win World War II. In -- in the 1960s, Detroit was the Silicon Valley of America. It had a population of 2 million people, had the highest per capita income in the country. And then, for 50 years, left-wing Democrats have pursued destructive tax policies, weak crime policies, and have driven the citizens out. (APPLAUSE) This city now has just 700,000 citizens. There are vacant homes, one after the other after the other. Crime has been rampant, and it is an outrage. And let me say to folks in the media:That is a story that the media ought to be telling over and over again, the destruction of left-wing policies and the millions who have hurt because of it. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Well, I was going to say, I'll give you 30 seconds to try to answer my question. What specifically would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit and to train the residents here to do those jobs?

CRUZ: The way you bring manufacturing back to America is, number one, you lift the regulations. As president, I will repeal Obamacare, the biggest job-killer in America. I will pull back the federal regulators, the EPA and all the regulators that are killing small businesses and manufacturing. And my tax plan, which is a very, very detailed plan on the website, tedcruz.org, is what's called border adjustable. We get rid of all the taxes. We get rid of the corporate income tax and the death tax and the Obamacare taxes and the payroll tax. And we replace it with a 16 percent business flat tax that is border adjustable, which means all exports are entirely tax-free and all imports pay the 16 percent business flat tax. That's a 32 percent differential. What that will do, Chris, is bring millions of manufacturing jobs back to this country, bring the steel industry back to this country, create an environment where when we compete on a fair and level playing field, American ingenuity can beat anyone. But right now, the federal government isn't giving us a level playing field.

WALLACE: Thank you, Senator. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Gentlemen, the next series of questions will be on social issues. Governor Kasich, the last debate, you were asked a question about religious liberty, in a hypothetical situation where a same-sex couple approaches a cupcake maker to do their wedding. Here's what you said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KASICH: If you're in the business of selling things, if you're not going to sell to somebody you don't agree with, today I'm not going to sell to somebody who's gay, then tomorrow maybe I won't sell to somebody who's divorced. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Governor, some faith leaders got nervous about that answer. Do gay marriage dissenters have rights?

KASICH: Well, look, first of all, I try to be a man of faith every day as best as I can, and I try to focus in my faith on the dos and I think the don'ts will take care of themselves once I get the dos right, which is humility, and loving my enemy, and caring for my neighbor. But secondly, look, you're in the commerce business, you want to sell somebody a cupcake, great. OK? But now if they ask you to participate in something you really don't like, that's a whole 'nother issue, OK? Another issue. Here's what I'd like to see happen. The Supreme Court ruled, I don't agree with the ruling. I'm of favor of marriage between -- you know, traditional marriage, a man and a woman. What I hope was going to happen after the Supreme Court ruling is things would settle down. If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding, and he says, I'd rather not do it, find another photographer, don't sue them in court. You know what, the problem is in our country -- in our country, we need to learn to respect each other and be a little bit more tolerant for one another. And at the end of the day, don't go to court. Can't we have common sense in America? That's the way it used to be. And there was a book written called "The Death of Common Sense." We need to bring it back. But at the end of the day, if somebody is being pressured to participate in something that is against their deeply-held religious beliefs, then we're going to have to think about dealing with the law. But you know what, I'd rather people figure this out without having to put another law on the books and have more arguments in this country. Why don't we come together as a country, respect one another, love one another and lift this country? I think that's what people want. So thanks for asking.

BAIER: Senator Cruz, the U.S. Supreme Court obviously declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, a decision you have criticized. Given the current status of the law, do you believe a gay couple should be able to adopt?

CRUZ: Well, listen, adoption is decided at the state level and I am a believer in the 10th Amendment in the Constitution, I would leave the question of marriage to the states, I would leave the question of adoption to the states. That's the way it has been for two centuries of our nation's history until five unelected judges in an illegitimate and wrong decision decided to seize the authority over marriage and wrongfully tear down the marriage laws of all 50 states. Now, interconnected to this is the question of religious liberty. And at the last debate, one of my colleagues on this stage said on the question of religious liberty and Supreme Court nominees that he'd be willing to compromise and negotiate. I can tell you, for me, there are areas that we should compromise on. Marginal tax rates, we can reach a middle ground on. But when it comes to core principles and convictions, when it comes to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, I can tell the men and women at home I will never compromise away your religious liberty. nd for me, Bret, religious liberty has been a lifelong passion. I've spent two decades defending religious liberty, including defending the Ten Commandments before the U.S. Supreme Court and winning. Defending the Pledge of Allegiance before the Supreme Court and winning. And defending the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, a lone white Latin cross that was erected to honor the men and women who gave their lives in World War I. I represented 3 million veterans for free defending that memorial and we won 5-4 before the Supreme Court.

BAIER: Senator, thank you. Senator Cruz definitely avoided saying your name, Mr. Trump, but I think he was referring to you and your religious liberty answer. Would you like to respond?

TRUMP: I have nothing to say. I mean, generally speaking, agree with what he said. I would have certainly have rather left it to the states. I was always in favor -- I was very surprised when they came up with that decision. I would have certainly -- I would have preferred had it been left to the states and I think most people would have preferred that.

BAIER: Senator Rubio, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon, obviously, pointed out, in the United States versus Heller, that like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. Just like the First Amendment doesn't allow you to go into a theater and yell fire, he said the Second Amendment leaves room to regulate guns. So do you agree with Justice Scalia? And if so, what limits would you draw around the Second Amendment?

RUBIO: As few as possible. The Second Amendment, as I've said before, is not a suggestion. It is the constitutional right of every American to protect themselves and their families. It is a right that -- it is the Second Amendment for a reason. It is right after the defense of the freedom of speech for a reason, for clearly the founders of our nation understood and the framers of the Constitution understood that you cannot have life and you cannot have liberty and cannot pursue happiness if you are not safe.

RUBIO: And the Second Amendment -- when people talk about gun laws, what they need to realize is, criminals don't follow gun laws. They're criminals. By definition, they ignore the law. (APPLAUSE) But the gun rights of Americans, if you are talking to a law- abiding citizen and a gun-owner like myself, if you pass a law, I will follow whatever the law is. A criminal will not do it. They will continue to pursue these guns on the black market, where they then go out and commit crimes and they steal guns from each other. Gun laws are not effective. They simply do not provide for safety. But they do, however, ensure that law-abiding people don't have access to weapons to protect themselves and guns to protect themselves, but criminals always will be well armed. They don't care about the law; they don't follow the law. We will protect the Second Amendment when I'm president of the United States. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, you were once a supporter of an assault weapons ban. So do you think there should be any restrictions on the Second Amendment?

TRUMP: No, I'm a big defender of the Second Amendment. And if you look at what's happened, whether it's in California, where you had the 14 people killed, whether it's in Paris -- which, by the way, has the toughest gun laws in the world and 130 people killed. Many, many people in the hospital gravely injured. They will be dying. Many people will be dying in addition. If we had guns, or if they had guns on the other side of the room, with the bullets going in the opposite direction, you would not have had 130 people killed. That I can tell you right now. (APPLAUSE) So I'm a very, very big supporter of the Second Amendment.

BAIER: But in 2000, you wrote in your book, "I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons."

TRUMP: I don't support it anymore. I do not support the ban on assault. (AUDIENCE BOOS)

BAIER: Senator Cruz? Any limits to the Second Amendment?

CRUZ: Well, listen, unlike Donald, I would not support banning firearms. In that instance, Bill Clinton banned many of the most popular firearms in America. And by the way, the study showed that ban did nothing to reduce violent crime. It just took away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.(APPLAUSE) And let me point out, you know, it is easy for political candidates to have rhetoric and say, "I support the Second Amendment." But you cannot say that and at the same time say what Donald just said, which is that on the question of Supreme Court nominees he wants to compromise and reach a middle ground with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. That's what he said in the last debate.

TRUMP: I -- I did not say that. I did not say that.

CRUZ: And any justice that Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer sign off on...

TRUMP: I did not say that.

CRUZ: And I would point out, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are both Democrats that Mr. Trump has written checks to repeatedly. Any justice that those two sign off on is going to be a left-wing judicial activist who will undermine religious liberty, and we are one vote away from the Heller decision being overturned, which would effectively erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights. If you care about the Second Amendment, then you need to ask who on this stage do you know will appoint principled constitutionalists to the court and not cut a deal with your Second Amendment rights?

BAIER: Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: So we're listening to the all-talk, no-action politician, and he was the primary supporter of John Roberts, who gave us Obamacare.

CRUZ: That's flat-out wrong.

TRUMP: No, it's not. You take a look. He was the primary supporter. He pushed John Roberts, and pushed him, and pushed him, and Bush ultimately appointed him. He got appointed. And when it came his time to raise his hand and kill Obamacare, not once, but twice, he let us down, and he did the wrong thing. This is the man that was the primary supporter. And you can read law journal, you can read whatever you want to read -- I've read plenty of it. There was no stronger supporter of John Roberts than him. And it was a very, very big mistake.

BAIER: Quickly, Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: You know, Donald has a tenuous relationship with the truth.(LAUGHTER) I wrote one op-ed supporting President Bush's nomination after he made it. I would not have made that nomination. But let me point out...

TRUMP: Not what you say in the op-ed.

CRUZ: ... if Donald actually cared about...

TRUMP: That is not what you said in the op-ed.

CRUZ: But, Donald, please, I know it's hard not to interrupt. But try.

TRUMP: Yeah, I know it is. But it's not what you said in the op-ed.

CRUZ: Breathe, breathe, breathe.

TRUMP: Lyin' Ted.

CRUZ: You can do it. You can breathe. I know it's hard. I know it's hard. But just...

RUBIO: When they're done with the yoga, can I answer a question?

CRUZ: You cannot. (LAUGHTER)

RUBIO: Unbelievable.

CRUZ: I really hope that we don't -- we don't see yoga on this stage.

RUBIO: Well, he's very flexible, so you never know. (APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: But you cannot, in fact, care about conservative Supreme Court justices and support Jimmy Carter for president. You cannot care about conservative Supreme Court justices and support John Kerry for president, as Donald did. You cannot care about conservative Supreme Court justices and support Harry Reid for Senate majority leader. And you cannot care about conservative Supreme Court justices and write four checks to Hillary Clinton for her to be president if you care at all about the Second Amendment or religious liberty or anything else.

BAIER: Gentlemen, gentlemen, we're going to move on. Thank you very much. We want to talk about some more policy questions coming up.

WALLACE: And coming up, the candidates tackle foreign policy. But first, during the commercial break, join us for a Facebook live on the Fox News Facebook page and tell us what you think about tonight's debate in the comments section. Stay with us. More to come. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Welcome back, everybody. We're going it get right back to the questions.

WALLACE: And gentlemen, we're going to focus for a bit now on foreign policy. Senator Rubio, you like to take a shot at Mr. Trump on the campaign trail saying that negotiating a hotel deal in a foreign country is not foreign policy. The other day you even compared him to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, as lunatics trying to get a hold of nuclear weapons. Please tell Mr. Trump why he's unprepared to be commander-in- chief.

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I think, as we've seen throughout this campaign, Donald has not shown a seriousness about the issues of foreign policy. He just simply hasn't. Whether it was the structure of our military, even today he was asked a question about the issue of commanders not following his lead on killing the family of terrorists. And his answer basically was, if I tell them to do it, they're going to do it. Now that's just not true. Foreign policy is not only consequential, I think much of our future now depends on it. You know, I see a lot of young people at my events around the country. I feel great when they come. And I always them that despite the hardships of the moment, I honestly believe that today's Millennials have a chance to be the greatest generation we've had in 100 years. I really do. Because the world today has hundreds of millions of people that can afford to be their clients, their customers, their partners, people they collaborate with. But that won't happen if the world is dangerous and it's unstable. And that will require strong American leadership. The next president of the United States is going to have eight years of a mess of a foreign policy to clean up. That's why it can't be Hillary Clinton. And quite frankly, that's why it can't be someone who simply has not shown the intellectual curiosity or the interest in learning about these very complicated issues. And Donald simply hasn't.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your response.

TRUMP: Well, let me just say this. I've gotten to know Marco over a period of time, believe me, he is not a leader. Believe me.

RUBIO: But that doesn't answer the question. (CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: He didn't interrupt you. Let him talk.

TRUMP: He didn't answer -- he's not a leader. And, frankly, when I say they'll do as I tell them, they'll do as I tell them. And that's very -- it's very simple. It's very simple. We are in a very dangerous place. We have a depleted military. Totally depleted. We have -- by the way, our vets are treated horribly. We're going to take care of our vets. We're going to start taking care of our vets, properly, like we should. (APPLAUSE) But we're going to build up our military, and we're going to get the equipment we want, not the equipment that's sold to us by somebody that gave him and him and not the governor campaign contributions. OK? We're going to get the equipment that the generals and the soldiers want. I will prove to be a great leader. And, you know, it's very interesting, we talk about the polls. Every single poll when it comes to ISIS and the military and the border say, by far, Trump is the best.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your time is up.

RUBIO: Yeah, I just want to -- a couple points. Once again, he was pressed on a policy issue to show his understanding of the foreign policy, and his reaction was just to attack somebody else with a name. Here's the bottom line. And I'm going to repeat it again. The world today is as complicated and as complex as it has been certainly in a very -- certainly in the lifetime of anybody here today. You indeed do have a lunatic in North Korea with nuclear weapons. You indeed do have the Chinese government taking over the most important shipping lane in the world. And Vladimir Putin, who you've expressed admiration for, Donald...

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

RUBIO: You've expressed admiration for him.


RUBIO: Donald, you said he's a strong leader.

TRUMP: Wrong.

RUBIO: He is now dividing Europe up...

TRUMP: He said very good things about me, and I said... (CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: All right, I'm going to finish my statement here.

TRUMP: Yeah, finish.

RUBIO: And he's also sowing instability in the Middle East. You have Iran who's going to get $100 billion of sanctions relief. You have radical jihadists spreading all over the world. This is a time for seriousness on these issues. You have yet to answer a single serious question about any of this. Will you give us a detailed answer about foreign policy any time you're asked on it?

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, first of all, I've been hearing this man so long talking about Putin. Putin said about me -- I didn't say about Putin -- Putin said very nice things about me. And I say very nicely, wouldn't it be nice if actually we could get along with Russia, we could get along with foreign countries, instead of spending trillions and trillions of dollars? You're talking about Flint, Michigan. You're talking about places -- we need to rebuild the infrastructure of our country. Wouldn't it be nice if we got along with the world, and maybe Russia could help us in our quest to get rid of ISIS, et cetera, et cetera? (CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Gentlemen, you both have had a chance to talk. You both have had a chance to talk a couple of times. I'd like to move on to Senator Cruz. Senator, we have some breaking news tonight. North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-un, has ordered that country's nuclear weapons to be made ready at a moment's notice.

CRUZ: Yes. Yes.

WALLACE: And this comes just hours after the U.N. Security Council announced that -- approved the toughest sanctions in two decades against that country. Assume you're President Cruz tonight. What do you do?

CRUZ: Well, you're right, the news is very disturbing that Kim Jong-un has put their nuclear weapons on ready state. I'm glad that we're sending another carrier group to the South China Sea. I'm glad that Congress passed sanctions on North Korea.But this is all the result of the failures of the Clinton administration two decades ago that negotiated a deal with North Korea lifting the sanctions, allowing billions of dollars to flow in, and they used that money to develop nuclear weapons in the first place. What we -- now we're in a much harder position. When you have a lunatic with nuclear weapons, to some extent, it constrains your options. We need to be moving the carrier -- carrier group to the South China Seas. We -- we need to be putting in place missile defense, such as the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. We need to be pursuing space-based missile defense. One of the advantages of space-based missile defense is that if you have a missile launch in North Korea or you have a missile launch in Iran, a space-based missile defense can take out one or two or three missiles before it can cross over and do damage. And we also need to be putting pressure on China, because North Korea is effectively a -- a client state of China. All of that will happen with a strong commander-in-chief that is devoted to keeping this country safe.

WALLACE: Thank you, Senator. Governor Kasich, I want to move back to the debate that we heard earlier about Vladimir Putin. In December, after Vladimir Putin had some nice thing to say about Donald Trump, calling him bright and talented, your campaign ran a video suggesting that Trump might name the Russian president as his running mate. Here's a clip.

KASICH: I'll have to see this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: If elected, Trump promised that the dictatorial duo would, quote, "make tyranny great again."

TRUMP: I think I'd get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so. (END VIDEO CLIP) (LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: That was your campaign video, sir.

KASICH: That was a pretty good one.



WALLACE: If I may -- sir, if I may ask my question...

KASICH: Of course.

WALLACE: I think you were kidding...

WALLACE: But it was your video and the serious question is, because the suggestion is, do you think that Donald Trump is naive about the threat that Vladimir Putin represents?

KASICH: I'm not biting. Let me take you around the world, OK? Let me -- look, I'm going to take you very quickly. In Russia, we need to tell them we're going to arm the Ukrainians with defensive lethal weapons. And we're going to tell Putin if you attack anybody in Eastern Europe in NATO, you attack Finland and Sweden, which is not in NATO, consider it an attack on us. And he will understand that. Secondly, I would tell the Chinese you don't own the South China Sea. Stop hacking us. And we're going to beef up our cyber command. And we're going to be in a position to be able to take out your systems if you continue to do this. Now let's move over into the Middle East. The Egyptians, they know they're on their last legs there because of the attack from ISIS. The Jordanians are -- really have been our friends. They know that they are at risk. So do the Saudis. So do the Gulf states. They are our allies, really, or have similar aims, we need to bring them closer to us. Turkey a critical avenue to the Middle East. We have to bring them towards the West, and not towards the East.

WALLACE: Governor...

KASICH: And we have a joint, good human intelligence. That is called a semi-trip around the world. And if you gave me more time, I'd finish the trip.

WALLACE: Governor, thank you.

KASICH: Thank you.

BAIER: Coming up, a final question and closing statements. And take a look at this. The volume of conversation on Facebook surrounding the remaining candidates over the last month. Whether that conversation is good or bad, Donald Trump clearly dominates the field. We'll be back with more of the Republican presidential debate live from Detroit. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate. Let's get back at it. Gentlemen, this is the last question of the night. It has been a long time since our first debate, seven months ago in Cleveland. A lot has transpired since then, obviously, including an RNC pledge that all of you signed agreeing to support the party's nominee and not to launch an independent run. Tonight, in 30 seconds, can you definitively say you will support the Republican nominee, even if that nominee is Donald J. Trump? Senator Rubio, yes or no?

RUBIO: I'll support the Republican nominee.

BAIER: Mr. Trump? Yes or no?

RUBIO: I'll support Donald if he's the Republican nominee, and let me tell you why. Because the Democrats have two people left in the race. One of them is a socialist. America doesn't want to be a socialist country. If you want to be a socialist country, then move to a socialist country. The other one is under FBI investigation. And not only is she under FBI investigation, she lied to the families of the victims of Benghazi, and anyone who lies to the families of victims who lost their lives in the service of our country can never be the commander- in-chief of the United States.

BAIER: Senator...

RUBIO: We must defeat Hillary Clinton.

BAIER: Senator Cruz, yes or no, you will support Donald Trump is he's the nominee?

CRUZ: Yes, because I gave my word that I would. And what I have endeavored to do every day in the Senate is do what I said I would do. You know, just on Tuesday, we saw an overwhelming victory in the state of Texas where I won Texas by 17 percent. And I will say it was a powerful affirmation that the people who know me best, the people who I campaigned, who made promises that if you elect me, I'll lead the fight against Obamacare, I'll lead the fight against amnesty, I'll lead the fight against our debt, and I will fight for the Bill of Rights and your rights every day, that the people of Texas said you have kept your word, and that's what I'll do as president.

BAIER: Governor Kasich, yes or no, would you support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee?

KASICH: Yeah. But -- and I kind of think that, before it's all said and done, I'll be the nominee. But let me also say... (APPLAUSE) But let me also say, remember...

BAIER: But your answer is yes?

KASICH: But I'm the little engine that can. And, yeah, look, when you're in the arena, and we're in the arena. And the people out here watching -- we're in the arena, we're traveling, we're working, we spend time away from our family, when you're in the arena, you enter a special circle. And you want to respect the people that you're in the arena with. So if he ends up as the nominee -- sometimes, he makes it a little bit hard -- but, you know, I will support whoever is the Republican nominee for president. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I'm going to ask you a version of the same question. As we saw today with Mitt Romney, the #NeverTrump movement is gaining steam. Some people are talking about contributing millions of dollars to try to stop you. Again today, you raised the possibility that you might run as an independent if you feel you're treated unfairly by the Republican Party. So I'm going to phrase the question that the other three people on this stage just got. Can you definitively say tonight that you will definitely support the Republican nominee for president, even if it's not you?

TRUMP: Even if it's not me? (LAUGHTER) Let me just start off by saying...

WALLACE: Thirty seconds, sir.

TRUMP: ... OK -- that I'm very, very proud of -- millions and millions of people have come to the Republican Party over the last little while. They've come to the Republican Party. And by the way, the Democrats are losing people. This is a trend that's taking place. It's the biggest thing happening in politics, and I'm very proud to be a part of it. And I'm going to give them some credit, too, even though they don't deserve it. But the answer is: Yes, I will.

WALLACE: Yes, you will support the nominee of the party?

TRUMP: Yes, I will. Yes. I will.

KELLY: Candidates, it's now time for your closing statements. Governor Kasich, we'll start with you.

KASICH: Well, ladies and gentlemen, I love being here in Michigan, and I want to say to all of you here that I have a record of being able to solve some of the biggest problems. It's not just talk, and it's not theory. I did it in Washington by helping people get into a healthier economic situation. I've done it in Ohio. And as we've made progress in Ohio, we've left no one behind. We've not left behind the mentally ill, the drug addicted, the working poor, the developmental disabled, and we have raised our minority community. And as president of the United States, I will go back to Washington, I will take the formulas that I used, and I will -- I will fix the problems in Washington, and you'll work with me as I send you power to fix your -- your communities, your neighborhoods, your state, and together, we'll restore the spirit of America. And I know you want that. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds, closing statement.

RUBIO: Well, I know this has been an unusual election cycle, as it continues, and there's a lot of problems in America, and people are truly hurting. But this election is not just about confronting our problems; it's also about embracing our opportunities. I believe the 21st century holds the potential to be the greatest era in the history of the United States, if we get this election right and if we act now. If we do, if we do what needs to be done, we can leave our children as the freest and most prosperous Americans that have ever lived, and the 21st century can be the greatest era in the amazing story of America. So I ask everyone to vote for me and join our effort at marcorubio.com. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Cruz, your closing statement?

CRUZ: I want to talk to every soldier and sailor and airman and Marine. I want to talk to every mom and dad and sister and brother and son and daughter of someone fighting for this country. For seven years, you've had a commander-in-chief that doesn't believe in you, that sends you into combat with rules of engagement that tie your arms behind your back. That is wrong. It is immoral. And in January 2017, it will end. I want to also talk to all the police officers and firefighters and first responders who have been left behind with this president. Starting in January 2017, I will have your back. (APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Mr. Trump, your closing statement.

TRUMP: Thank you. I am going to bring jobs back to the United States like nobody else can. We're going to fix our very depleted military. We're going to take care of our vets. We're going to strengthen our borders. And you're going to be very, very proud of this country in just a few years if I'm elected president. Thank you.

KELLY: Thank you, sir. And that will do it for the 11th Republican primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. But the night is not over yet.

WALLACE: Not by a long shot. A special edition of "The O'Reilly Factor" is next. And remember, Fox News has the race for the White House covered, all the way to the conventions and onto the general election.

BAIER: Our thanks to Detroit and the crowd here. Thank you again for joining us. Have a great evening.