Republican Candidates Debate in Des Moines, Iowa
Former Governor Jeb Bush (FL);
Governor Chris Christie (NJ);
Senator Ted Cruz (TX);
Governor John Kasich (OH);
Senator Rand Paul (KY); and
Senator Marco Rubio (FL);
Bret Baier (Fox News);
Megyn Kelly (Fox News); and
Chris Wallace (Fox News)
BAIER: Nine p.m. on the East Coast. Eight o'clock here in Des Moines, Iowa. Welcome to the seventh Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign. I'm Bret Baier, along with my comoderators Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.
KELLY: Tonight, we are coming to you live from the Iowa Event Center in downtown Des Moines, in the shadow of the Iowa state capitol. In just four days, people here in the Hawkeye State will caucus and cast the first votes of the 2016 election.
WALLACE: Tonight, we're partnering with Google for an exclusive second-screen experience. Search Fox News debate on Google any time in the next two hours to access exclusive content.
You can see the campaigns respond to the debate in real time, and you can weigh in by voting on the topics being discussed. Just go to google.com or open your Google search app and type in Fox News debate.
BAIER: Google sees political searches spike during televised presidential debates — no surprise there. But they spike by more than 440 percent on average, as voters across America seek to learn more about what's happening on the live debate stage.
KELLY: Seven candidates are on that stage tonight, their position on the stage determined by their standing in the latest national polls, as well as polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. And here they are.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [applause]
Florida Senator Marco Rubio. [applause]
WALLACE: Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. [applause]
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. [applause]
BAIER: Ohio Governor John Kasich. [applause] And Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. [applause]
WALLACE: Apparently Iowa's near Kentucky.
BAIER: 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 rings]
BAIER: I think the double is the one we want. Very pleasing. [laughter]
We have a crowd of about 1,600 here, and while they have agreed to respect the candidates and listen intently, we can tell you they are very excited to be here. Am I right? [applause]
KELLY: So let's get started.
Senator Cruz, before we get to the issues, let's address the elephant not in the room tonight. [laughter]
Donald Trump has chosen not to attend this evening's presidential debate. What message do you think that sends to the voters of Iowa?
CRUZ: Well, Megyn, let me say at the outset to the men and women of Iowa, thank you for the incredible hospitality over this past year.
By Monday, you will have welcomed me into all 99 counties in Iowa. You will have welcomed my dad to preach at your churches. You will have welcomed Heidi and our girls, Caroline and Catherine, into your homes. And I'm so grateful for the diligence, for the seriousness with which the men and women of Iowa approach this process.
If I am elected president, keep an eye on the tarmac, because I'll be back, because Iowa in 2017 will not be fly-over country. It will be fly-to country. [applause]
Now, secondly, let me say I'm a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly. And Ben, you're a terrible surgeon. [laughter] Now that we've gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way... [laughter and applause]
I want to thank everyone here for showing the men and women of Iowa the respect to show up and make the case to the people of this state and the people of the country why each of us believe we would make the best commander in chief. [applause]
KELLY: The divide between you and Mr. Trump has turned into one of the biggest stories in the country. And for six months that — your campaign, during this campaign, you praised Mr. Trump as somebody who you thought was an effective voice against the Washington cartel. You said you were glad that he was running as a Republican.
But when he started to criticize you, your message changed, and you suddenly started to portray him as the voice of the Washington cartel, and suggested he would do the Democrats' bidding. Which is it?
CRUZ: Well, let me be clear, if Donald engages in insults or anybody else, I don't intend to reciprocate. I have not insulted Donald personally and I don't intend to.
I am glad Donald is running. I'm glad he has produced enormous enthusiasm, and, every Donald Trump voter or potential voter, I hope to earn your support. I know everyone else on this stage hopes to earn your support.
Now, there is a difference between personal insults and attacks — between going into the mud with ad hominems and focusing on issues and substance. CRUZ: I think issues and substance, policy and vision and record should be the meat of politics. That's fair game but that's where I'm going to focus. That's how I focused from the beginning of the campaign and it is how I intend to continue going forward. [applause]
WALLACE: Senator Rubio, I want to explore this sort of larger issue. The campaign has in a sense turned into a battle for the soul of the Republican party: establishment versus grassroots, pragmatic versus principle. You say that you can unite all of the factions inside the GOP. How?
RUBIO: Chris, let's begin by being clear what this campaign is about. It's not about Donald Trump. He's an entertaining guy. He's the greatest show on earth. This campaign is about the greatest country in the world and a president who has systematically destroyed many of the things that made America special.
You see, we usually elect presidents in America that want to change the things that are wrong in America. Barack Obama wants to change America. Barack Obama wants America to be 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. [applause]
That is why Hillary Clinton cannot win this election. Hillary Clinton this week said Barack Obama would make a great Supreme Court justice. The guy who systematically and habitually violates the constitution on the Supreme Court? I don't think so. If I'm our nominee, I will unite this party and we'll defeat Hillary Clinton and we will turn this country around once and for all, after seven years of the disaster that is Barack Obama. [applause]
BAIER: Governor Bush, it's hard for anyone of your pedigree to avoid being called establishment. But isn't that part of the problem in this race, that three others on this stage are splitting the main stream Republican vote and there by possibly handing this nomination over to an anti-establishment candidate?
BUSH: Bret, we're just starting. The first vote hasn't been counted. Why don't we let the process work. I trust Iowans, Granite staters, people in South Carolina, people in Nevada, to start this process out. I kind of miss Donald Trump. He was a little teddy bear to me. [laughter]
We always had such a loving relationship in these debates and in between and the tweets. I kind of miss him. I wish he was here. Everybody else was in the witness protection program when I went after him on behalf of what the Republican cause should be: conservative principles, believing in limited government, believing in accountability. Leading by fixing the things that are broken.
Look, I am in the establishment because my dad, the greatest man alive was president of the United States and my brother, who I adore as well as fantastic brother was president. Fine, I'll take it. I guess I'm part of the establishment Barbara Bush is my mom. I'll take that, too. [applause]
But this election is not about our pedigree, this is an election about people that are really hurting. We need a leader that will fix things and have a proven record to do it. And we need someone who will take on Hillary Clinton in November. Someone who has a proven record, who has been tested, who is totally transparent. I released 34 years of tax returns... [bell rings] ... and 300,000 e-mails in my government record. To get the information from Hillary Clinton, you need to get a subpoena from the FBI. [applause]
BAIER: Thank you governor.
KELLY: Senator Christie, you began this campaign touting your record as a Republican from a blue state who knows how to get things done and reach across the aisle. However, many Republicans feel that reaching across the aisle and getting things done isn't great if you get the wrong things done. And they prefer to stand on principle rather than compromise. Why are they wrong and you're right?
CHRISTIE: They're not wrong. But what's wrong is your premise in the question. You can do both. There is no reason why you can't stand for principles, go and fight for them and be able also, to have to get things done in government.
You know, what people are frustrated about in Washington, D.C.., and I know the folks out there tonight are incredibly frustrated because what they see is a government that doesn't work for them. You know, for the 45-year-old construction worker out there, who is having a hard time making things meet.
He's lost $4,000 in the last seven years in his income because of this administration. He doesn't want to hear the talk about politics Megyn and who is establishment and who is grassroots. And who's compromised and who is principled. What he wants is something to get done.
And that's the difference between being a governor and having done that for the last six years in New Jersey and being someone who has never had to be responsible for any of those decisions. Barack Obama was never responsible for those decisions.
Hillary Clinton has never been responsible for those kind of decisions where they were held accountable. I've been held accountable for six years as the governor of New Jersey and with a Democratic legislature, I've gotten conservative things done. That's exactly what I'll do as president of the United States. [applause]
BAIER: Senator Paul, you are definitely not in the establishment category. But at the beginning of this campaign, you said you were your own man when asked about your father, former Texas Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Senator Cruz's campaign is out with a video saying that Cruz is the intellectual and political heir to your father's 2012 campaign and the liberty movement. And your father now says it's realistic that Donald Trump will be your party's nominee.
So did you make a mistake by not fully — more fully embracing your father politically at the beginning of this campaign?
PAUL: You know, I've always had a great deal of respect. There's probably no person I respect more in the country or in recent history than my father. I think he was probably the most honest man in politics that we've ever seen in a generation.
And so in no way have I ever said that I don't embrace my father or love my father or appreciate everything that he has done for the country. I think what's interesting about where that liberty vote goes that my father brought to the Republican Party is, I don't think they're necessarily going to go for Ted.
You know, Ted didn't show up. We had an audit-the-Fed vote, which was the biggest thing my dad had been advocating for, for 30 years, Ted didn't have time to show up. He was the only Republican that didn't show up for it.
And so I think really that vote is going to stay in the Paul household. I think more of it is coming and it's going to grow.
The NSA is another big issue. Ted said he was for NSA reform, but then he told Marco Rubio, no, no, no, I voted for the bill because I'm for the government collecting 100 percent of your cell phone records.
I don't think Ted can have it both ways. They want to say they're getting some of the liberty vote. But we don't see it happening at all. We think we're going to do very well in Iowa with the liberty vote. [applause]
BAIER: Senator Cruz, your response to that?
CRUZ: Well, I agree with Rand that I very much respect Ron Paul and that I think anyone who is able to win in the Republican Party has to be able to bring together the disparate elements of the Reagan coalition. You've got to be able to bring together conservatives and evangelicals and libertarians, and stitch together a winning majority.
When it comes to the audit the Fed bill, as Rand knows well, I was an original sponsor of the bill, I'm strongly supportive of it. It didn't have the votes to pass. And I had commitments to be at a town hall in New Hampshire.
But I look forward to signing that bill into law as president and auditing the Fed and providing needed accountability at the Federal Reserve. [applause]
BAIER: Senator Rubio?
RUBIO: I think, you know, Rand and I have some significant issues on policy, but I respect Rand. He believes everything he stands for. [applause]
I do respect Rand.
But I want to be frank about what I stand for. I believe the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest power in the world. And I believe only with a strong America will we defeat this radical group, this apocalyptic group called ISIS.
That's why when I'm president we are going to rebuild our intelligence capabilities. And they're going to tell us where the terrorists are. And a rebuilt U.S. military is going to destroy these terrorists.
And if we capture any of these ISIS killers alive, they are going to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we're going to find out everything they know, because when I'm president, unlike Barack Obama, we will keep this country safe. [applause]
BAIER: Thank you, Senator.
PAUL: May I respond?
BAIER: We'll come back to...
PAUL: Well, I mean, I was talked about in the question.
BAIER: OK. Go ahead, go ahead.
PAUL: Just very quickly, I would like to respond.
The bulk collection of your phone data, the invasion of your privacy did not stop one terrorist attack. I don't think you have to give up your liberty for a false sense of security.
When we look at this bulk collection, the court has looked at this. Even the court declared it to be illegal. If we want to collect the records of terrorists, let's do it the old fashioned way. Let's use the Fourth Amendment. Let's put a name on a warrant, let's ask a judge for it. Let's respect the history of our country.
John Adams said that we fought a War for Independence because we wanted to fight against generalized warrants. Let's don't forget that. [applause]
WALLACE: Governor Kasich, I want to get back to this question of where conservatives are this year. You call yourself a, quote, "inside-outside guy, a reformer who knows how to get things done," but you reject the establishment label.
First question is why do you reject it? And secondly, what do you say to Republican voters this year who view practical government experience as a liability and not an asset?
KASICH: Well, first of all, I had a national reporter say, you know, there's three lanes. There's the establishment lane, the anti-establishment lane, and then there's the Kasich lane.
And the reason is, is that I've been a reformer all of my career, fighting to reform welfare, fighting to reform the Pentagon, also being in a position to balance the budget, because that is very, very hard to do.
And then in Ohio, of course, I had to bring about big reform, again, because we were so far in the hole and now we just found out we are up over 400,000 jobs since I took over as governor.
You know, the situation is this. We cannot fix things in this country — the Social Security, the border, balancing the budget, getting wages to grow faster — unless we lead as conservatives, but we also invite people in from the other party. We have to come together as a country. And we have to stop all the divisions.
And, you know, that's been my message in New Hampshire. And having been in New Hampshire and here in Iowa, but in New Hampshire, I just received the support of seven out of eight of the newspapers in that state because they see positive, they see unity, they see coming together, and they see a record of change and a record of accomplishment.
And it isn't because I'm all that great. It's because I've been assembling a team of people who want to be involved in something that's a little bigger than themselves. I'll keep — I'll keep heading in that direction, believe me. [applause]
WALLACE: Dr. Carson, I want to pick up on that with you. Governor Kasich likes to say he knows how to land the plane. You've landed a lot of planes in the O.R. But what about the idea of running for president with no experience in government at all?
CARSON: Well, I will gladly confess that I'm the only one on this stage with no political title. You're not going to hear a lot of polished political speech from me, but you will hear the truth. And I don't think you have to be a politician to tell the truth. In fact, sometimes it's not that way... [applause] ... and I've had more two a.m. phone calls than everybody here put together, making life and death decisions, put together very complex teams to accomplish things that have never been done before. And we are in a situation right now in our country that we have never been in before. We need people who think out of the box and can solve problems; can utilize the resources around them; very smart people, to focus on the problem and solve the problem.
The American people are terrified. That's why we have this abnormal situation going on right now. We don't need more of the same solutions. We need different solutions to solve the problems and to save our nation. [applause]
WALLACE: Gentlemen, we're now going to start to drill down into specific issues that are on voters' minds. I'm going to start with one of the biggest ones, which is foreign terror.
According to Google, ISIS was by far the most searched foreign policy topic over the last year. Senator Cruz, you talk tough about fighting terrorism. You talk about carpet bombing into oblivion. You talk about seeing if the sand will glow at night. But critics say that your record does not match up to that. You opposed giving President Obama authority to enforce his red line in Syria. Three years in a row now, you have voted against the Defense Authorization Act.
How do you square your rhetoric with your record, sir?
CRUZ: Well, Chris, I will apologize to nobody for the vigorousness with which I will fight terrorism, go after ISIS, hunt them down wherever they are, and utterly and completely destroy ISIS. [applause]
You know, you claim it is tough talk to discuss carpet bombing. It is not tough talk. It is a different, fundamental military strategy than what we've seen from Barack Obama. Barack Obama right now, number one, over seven years, has dramatically degraded our military. You know, just two weeks ago was the 25th anniversary of the first Persian Gulf war. When that war began, we had 8,000 planes. Today, we have about 4,000. When that war began, we had 529 ships. Today, we have 272.
You want to know what carpet bombing is? It's what we did in the first Persian Gulf war; 1,100 air attacks a day, saturation bombing that utterly destroyed the enemy. Right now, Barack Obama is launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day. He's not arming the Kurds. We need to define the enemy. We need to rebuild the military to defeat the enemy. And we need to be focused and lift the rules of engagement so we're not sending our fighting men and women into combat with their arms tied behind their backs. [applause]
WALLACE: Senator Rubio, does Senator Cruz's record match his rhetoric?
RUBIO: Well, again, I mean, obviously, as already has been pointed out, the only budget that Ted has ever voted for is a budget that Rand Paul sponsored that brags about cutting defense spending. And I think that's a bad idea for the following reason.
ISIS is the most dangerous jihadist group in the history of mankind. ISIS is now found in affiliates in over a dozen countries. ISIS is a group that burns people alive in cages; that sells off little girls as brides. ISIS is a group that wants to trigger an apocalyptic showdown in the city of Dabiq — not the city of Dubuque; I mis-said — mis-said that wrong once [inaudible] time — the city of Dabiq in Syria. They want to trigger an apocalyptic Armageddon showdown.
This group needs to be confronted and defeated. They are not going to go away on their own. They're not going to turn into stockbrokers overnight or open up a chain of car washes. They need to be defeated militarily, and that will take overwhelming U.S. force.
Today, we are on pace to have the smallest Army since the end of World War II, the smallest Navy in 100 years, the smallest Air Force in our history. You cannot destroy ISIS with a military that's being diminished. When I'm president, we are rebuilding the U.S. military because the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest military in the world.
WALLACE: Senator Cruz, you've got 30 seconds. You were mentioned. [applause]
CRUZ: Chris, in 1981, when Ronald Reagan came to the Oval Office, he encountered a military that had been debilitated just as the current military has, just like Jimmy Carter weakened our readiness, undermined our ability to defend this country, so too has Barack Obama. Just as morale in the military has plummeted in the last seven, so it had then.
What Reagan did is he began with tax reform and regulatory reform, unleashing the engine of the American free enterprise system. It brought booming economic growth and that growth fueled rebuilding the military. I intend to do the exact same thing to defeat radical Islamic terrorism —
CRUZ: ... and to devote the resources from the booming economy to rebuilding our Navy, rebuilding our Air Force, rebuilding our Army and ensuring we have the capacity to keep this country safe.
PAUL: My budget was mentioned. My budget was mentioned.
WALLACE: May I — may I just say, we are going to continue the questions about foreign terror, gentlemen, right after this break.
KELLY: But first, you can join tonight's conversation right from home. Go to google.com or open your Google search app and search Fox News debate to vote on which candidate you think has the best plan to defeat ISIS. We'll be right back.
BAIER: Welcome back. Let's get right back to the questions. Chris.
WALLACE: Thank you. Governor Christie, you have compared both Senators Cruz and Rubio to Barack Obama, saying that we cannot afford another inexperienced President. You've also said that Senator Cruz's vote to curtail the NSA surveillance program made America less safe. Is either of them ready to be Commander in Chief?
CHRISTIE: Well, let me say that I do believe that the vote on NSA made the country less safe. Well, let me tell you what the country should really be worried about. I watched that town hall meeting with the Democrats the other night, and I heard Hillary Clinton asked a direct question by an Iowan, and that's what Iowans like to do. They like to ask direct questions.
And, they asked about her email situation. And, here's what she said to the American people. She did it for convenience. For her convenience. She put America's secrets at risk for her convenience. She put American intelligence officers at risk for her convenience. She put American strategy at risk for her convenience.
Let me tell you who's not qualified to be President of the United States, Chris. Hillary Rodham Clinton did that to our country. She is not qualified to be President of the United States. [cheering]
The fact is what we need is someone on that stage who has been tested, who has been through it, who has made decisions, who has sit in the chair of consequence and can prosecute the case against Hillary Clinton on... [bell rings] ... that stage, and that is exactly what I am ready to do. [applause]
WALLACE: Governor Bush...
CRUZ: Chris? Chris I was mentioned in that question.
BUSH: No, you weren't. Your name wasn't mentioned, Ted.
CRUZ: ... Actually, I was...
BUSH: ... Chris, keep it coming...
WALLACE: ... I don't think that your name was mentioned...
CRUZ: ... Chris, your questions that you...
WALLACE: ... Sir, I think — I think the question was...
CRUZ: ... What was your question...
WALLACE: ... It's not my question that you get a chance to respond to, it's his answer. [laughter]
You don't get 30 seconds to respond to me...
CRUZ: ... Your question was you have disagreed... [audience reaction]
WALLACE: ... You don't get 30 seconds to respond to me...
CRUZ: ... [inaudible] opening statement.
WALLACE: ... If I could go on. Sir, I know you like to argue about the rules, but we're going to conduct a debate...
BUSH: ... Thank you Chris...
WALLACE: ... Governor Bush...
CRUZ: ... This entire question was an attack, but that's [inaudible]
WALLACE: Governor Bush, here's the question — I'm going to ask Governor Bush the question.
You criticized several candidates in this field on this stage for what you call unrealistic ideas about how to fight terrorists, including Rubio, and Cruz on the issue of their refusing to give the President authority to enforce the redline in Syria.
But, given the fact that your brother got us into two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have still not ended.
That have still not ended, what lessons have you learned from his mistakes, sir?
BUSH: Well, first, I was critical of the Senators not giving the authorization for the use of military force. They should have made it more open ended for the next president. We shouldn't have the war fighters have their arms tied behind their back as President Obama wanted to do, but they had a chance to show support and it wasn't popular at the time. It became popular after the attack in Paris, and San Bernardino. Now we hear the tough talk.
Prior to that, in the Reagan Library, I gave a detailed plan. Exactly what to do as it relates to ISIS. And it is from the lessons from history that we do this because if we allow this to fester, we're going to have Islamic terrorism, multi-generations of it all across this country. The caliphate of ISIS has to be destroyed, which means we need to arm directly to Kurds, imbed our troops with the Iraqi military, re engage with the Sunni tribal leaders. Get the lawyers off the damn backs of the military once and for all. [cheering]
Have a no fly zone in Syria and create safe zones to deal with the refugees. But, more importantly, to train a Sunni-led force in Syria to take out ISIS with our support... [bell rings] ... ground and air. That's what we need to to, and I laid that out prior to the crisis with the advice of a lot of people, including 12 Medal of Honor recipients that I'm proud that they're supporting my campaign. [applause]
WALLACE: Senator Cruz, now you get a chance to respond.
CRUZ: Chris, I would note that that the last four questions have been, "Rand, please attack Ted. Marco, please attack Ted. Chris, please attack Ted. Jeb, please attack Ted..." [audience reaction]
Let me just say this...
WALLACE: ... It is a debate, sir.
CRUZ: ... Well, no, no. A debate actually is a policy issue, but I will say this. Gosh, if you guys ask one more mean question I may have to leave the stage. [applause]
Chris, the most important determination any voter is going to make in this election is who's best prepared to be Commander in Chief. Who has the experience, who has the knowledge, who has the judgement, who has the clarity, and vision and strength of resolve to keep this country safe. That is what this debate is all about, and I would suggest let's stay focused on those issues — rather than just attacks directed at each other.
WALLACE: I think the questions were about issues. Senator Rubio, what would you like to respond sir... [applause]
PAUL: ... Senator Cruz, I'd like to respond...
RUBIO: ... First of all — Let me go first, and then you can please recognize Rand after. [laughter]
First of all...
PAUL: ... and I'd like to respond.
RUBIO: ... do I go — let me go first, and then you can please recognize Rand after. But... [laughter] ... first of all...
WALLACE: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, Marco.
RUBIO: ... first of all, I'm — don't worry, I'm not leaving the stage no matter what you ask me.
RUBIO: And second of all... [applause] ... and I think — you know, Governor — Jeb, you — the attack that — the authorization that Barack Obama asked for was not against ISIS. It was against Assad. And John Kerry described it as attacks that would be unbelievably small.
I don't think the United States should be engaged in symbolic military activity. So it was not against ISIS, it was against — it was against Assad.
I think the United States military is operating under rules of engagement that are too strict... [bell rings] ...and that do not allow us to pursue victory. When I'm president, that will change.
WALLACE: Senator Paul, go ahead.
PAUL: Thank you.
The issue in Syria's a very important one, and it's one we need to get right. The question is, should we be bombing both sides of the war? Some want to topple Assad. In fact, they want to bomb ISIS and Assad simultaneously.
I think that's a really, really bad idea. In fact, I've said for several years that arming the allies of ISIS will make the situation worse, That what we really need to do is defeat ISIS.
But if you defeat Assad, what you will wind up with is a larger and more powerful ISIS that occupies that space. You might — you may well see an ISIS that takes over all of Syria. [bell rings]
KASICH: Chris... [applause] ... there was a question about foreign policy, by the way, and experience. And I — I thought, if I didn't jump in, I might not be able to tell everybody this. I think they'd want to hear it.
Look, I served on...
WALLACE: Well... [crosstalk] ... we'll be talking about foreign policy a little bit later. We're going to talk...
KELLY: We have a lot — we have a lot to cover. But we want to — we want to turn the page to domestic...
KASICH: ... but wait a minute...
KELLY: No, no. No.
KASICH: ...the only reason is — look...
KELLY: No no no, because we want to turn the page to domestic terror, and let me tell you why: we're partnering with Google on this debate, and they're telling us...
KELLY: ... that their search results have gone through the roof on — on people...
KASICH: I've always listened to you, Megyn. Go ahead.
KELLY: ... you're a good man, Governor Kasich.
KASICH: Yes — thank you.
KELLY: People — the search results — the searches for terror issues, for safety issues in America have gone through the roof, increased over 400 percent since 2008.
People are worried. They're worried about what's happening in the country and about a domestic terror attack, as all of you know. Now, when combating this threat, Senator Rubio, you've advocated closing down mosques — we'll get back to you.
Well, you have advocated closing down — closing down mosques, diners, any place where radicalization is occurring. You told me that. But the Supreme Court has made clear that hateful speech is generally protected by the First Amendment.
In other words, radical Muslims have the right to be radical Muslims, unless they turn to terror. Doesn't your position run afoul of the First Amendment?
RUBIO: Megyn, that's the problem. Radical Muslims and radical Islam is not just hate talk. It's hate action. They blow people up. Look what they did in San Bernardino.
Look at the attack they inspired in Philadelphia, that the White House still refuses to link to terror, where a guy basically shot a police officer three times.
He told the police, "I did it because I was inspired by ISIS," and to this day, the White House still refuses to acknowledge it had anything to do with terror.
Look, the threat we face from ISIS is unprecedented. There has never been a jihadist group like this. They have affiliates in over a dozen countries now.
They are the best funded radical jihadist group in the history of the world, and they have shown a sophisticated understanding of the laws of other countries on how to insert fighters into places, and they are actively plotting to attack us here at home and around the world.
We must keep America safe from this threat. And yes, when I am president of the United States, if there is some place in this country where radical jihadists are planning to attack the United States, we will go after them wherever they are, and if we capture them alive, they are going to Guantanamo. [applause]
KELLY: Senator Paul, do you agree with that? We're gonna close down mosques, we're gonna close down diners where we think radical thinking's occurring? [crosstalk]
PAUL: Yeah, no, I think that's a — that's a huge mistake, to be closing down mosques. But I would say that if you want to defend the country, it begins with border security. And this is where I've had my disagreement with Senator Rubio.
When he brought forward the "Gang of Eight" bill to give citizenship to those who came here illegally, I put forward an amendment that says we should have more scrutiny on those who are coming as students, those who are coming as immigrants, those who are coming as refugees, because we had two refugees come to my town in Bowling Green and try to attack us.
Marco opposed this because they made a deal. He made a deal with Chuck Schumer that he would oppose any conservative amendments. And I think that's a mistake, and I just don't think Marco can have it both ways. You can't be in favor of defend us... [bell rings] ... against Islam — radical Islam — if you're not for border security.
RUBIO: Might I respond? [applause]
The first thing — I don't know of anyone who's not in favor of fully vetting people that are trying to come into this country, other than perhaps Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I think we all support that. Rand's amendment was not the right way to do it.
I do believe that people who are trying to come to the United States — this country has a right to know who they are and why they are coming. And that's why I've been clear, when I am the president of the United States of America, we don't know who you are, and we don't know why you're trying to come to the United States, you are not going to get in, because the radical threat that we now face from ISIS is extraordinary and unprecedented... [bell rings] ... and when I'm president, we are keeping ISIS out of America.
KELLY: Governor Christie, let's talk about profiling. [applause]
CHRISTIE: Talk about what? I...
KELLY: ... profiling. Profiling. In December, two radical Muslims killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California. Neighbors of the terrorists said that they did not report the couple to law enforcement prior to the crime, because they were afraid that they would be accused of profiling.
Now, you have said that we should not profile. How do you square that with the San Bernardino case?
CHRISTIE: Well, because you can do it without profiling, Megyn, when you do it on the facts. What those facts knew was that these folks had weapons. They knew that they were talking about trying to take our country and attack it.
That's not profiling, that's law enforcement. And that's the difference between somebody who knows how to do this and somebody who's never done it before.
KELLY: They didn't know they were going to attack the country.
CHRISTIE: They knew they were talking about the issues of attacking people, Megyn. They knew that.
KELLY: That's not true. The neighbors said they saw men going in and out of the garage. They saw packages being delivered. They saw Muslims, and they did not think that was enough to call the cops. Do you?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I think that what people should do is use their common sense. And the fact is, let law enforcement make those decisions. I've told people that from the time I was U.S. attorney 13 years ago.
It's not for them to make those decisions about whether or not something is legal or illegal, or profiling or not. You see something that's suspicious, you call law enforcement and let law enforcement make those decisions.
That's what should be done. That can be done. That can be done without profiling people. What that is, is just common sense. They thought something was wrong.
And here's the problem in this country right now. The problem is that Barack Obama has made law enforcement the enemy, Hillary Clinton has made law enforcement the enemy.
They're not supporting our law enforcement officers, it's making everybody nervous to get out of their cars, if you're a law enforcement officer. It's making... [bell rings]... everybody nervous to get out of their cars if you're a law enforcement officer. [bell rings]
It's making people in neighborhoods nervous to go to law enforcement. As president, I will support law enforcement and we'll stop radical terrorist attacks in this country by supporting our intelligence community and law enforcement community. [applause]
KELLY: Dr. Carson, this week a female Muslim who served in the U.S. Air Force asked Hillary Clinton the question, she asked whether the United States is still the best place in which to raise her three Muslim children. Given what she perceives as a rise in Islamaphobia in this country. Do you think the GOP messaging on Muslims has stoked the flames of bias on this as the Democrats suggest, and how would you answer this veteran?
CARSON: Well, I don't know about the GOP messaging, but I can tell you about my messaging. You know, need to stop allowing political correctness to dictate our policies, because it's going to kill us if we don't. [applause]
And in the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2006 in Texas, they had a memorandum, an explanatory memorandum that talked about the fact that Americans would be easy to overcome and to commit civilization jihad because they were going to be trying to protect the rights of the very people who were trying to subvert them.
But I believe in the Teddy Roosevelt philosophy. Teddy Roosevelt said, we are a nation of immigrants. As such, everybody is welcome from any race, any country, any religion, if they want to be Americans. If they want to accept our values and our laws. If not, they can stay where they are. [applause]
KELLY: Governor Kasich, stand back. You appear to back in another debate, a so-called back door to encrypted cell phone technology, which protects most smartphones that we all have from hacking. And it includes our phones and it also protects the cell phones of the terrorist.
Now the tech companies and a group of MIT scientists, smart guys, right, warn that if they create a way for the FBI to have a back door into our encrypted communications, then the bad guys will exploit it too. And they say that this is going to cause more security problems than it would solve for everyday Americans. Are they wrong?
KASICH: Well, look the Joint Terrorism Task Force needs resources and tools. And those are made up of the FBI, state and local law enforcement. And Megyn, it's best not to talk anymore about back doors and encryption, it will get solved, but it needs to be solved in the situation of the White House with the technology folks.
KELLY: But this is public testimony.
KASICH: But I just have to tell you that it's best with some of these things not be said. Now I want to go back something. See, I was there when Reagan rebuilt the military. I was there in '89 when the wall came tumbling down because we were strong.
And I was there when we went into the Gulf War. We didn't win that war just from the air, we won that war by assembling a group of Arab leaders who stood in the Rose Garden and stood with America. We want to destroy ISIS, it has to be in the air and on the ground. It has to be with our friends in the Arab world and our friends in Europe, the coalition that we had when we went to the first Gulf War.
And then when we win that, and we will win that against ISIS as it settles down, and we should leave. Because we shouldn't be policemen of the world. But what we need to do is turn it over to the regional powers to be able to handle that.
KASICH: But we have a unique time in America to connect with people all around the world that understand that there's an existential threat against all of them, the Arabs, the Jordanians, the Saudis, the Egyptians, our friends in Europe, including the Turks. So we have a unique opportunity to bring everybody together.
I saw Reagan do it, I've seen other presidents do it. And frankly, if you want to be commander in chief, you have to have the experience. At the same time we're doing all that, the Pentagon must be reformed so we get what we need for our men and women in uniform. All of that together, we're going to be just fine and America is going to continue to lead the world.
KELLY: Governor, thank you. [applause]
BAIER: Governor Bush, just today, a wounded warrior organization designed to help wounded veterans and their families is coming under fire for raising tens of millions of dollars, but spending almost half of that on travel and hotels and dinners and luxury, lavish conferences. So taking care of veterans is obviously a huge issue in the country that has asked so many to serve and sacrifice so much.
If you were president. would you police these charity organizations that say they're helping vets?
BUSH: Of course. And there's all sorts of ways that can be done at the state, local and federal level to do that. But the first duty of the next president of the United States is to fix the mess at the Department of Veterans Affairs. That's his first responsibility. [applause]
Look, we have waiting lists for veterans that are — that are leaving because of the sequester where we're gutting the military. More and more military personnel are leaving becoming veterans, and the waiting list grows. They've given out $140 million of bonuses to Veterans Department employees, including reducing the waiting lists, without giving veterans care. People died, and only three people have been fired.
I will make sure that we fire the sheer incompetence inside the Department of Veterans Affairs and then we'll give veterans a choice card so that they don't have to travel hours and hours to get care if they want to go to their private provider. You want to make the Veterans Administration do a better job, give them — give veterans choices and you'll get a much better result. And as it relates to all the other organizations, let me give you a good example.
In Houston, Texas, there's an organization in place because someone acted on their heart, wanted to make sure that there's no homeless veterans in Houston. And they've come pretty close to that without federal government assistance. We need to mobilize the entire country to treat our veterans and treat them with much more respect than they get today.
BAIER: Governor Bush, thank you. [applause]
Speaking of veterans, we have a question from a veteran who is one of the top Youtube creators. Over the course of the evening, gentlemen, we will hear from some of Youtube's most followed stars. And here's one of them.
QUESTION: I'm Mark Watson. I'm known for my [inaudible] views on Youtube, but I'm also a veteran who served in the Army for eight years.
As an African-American living near Ferguson, I've seen the strain between police officers and the communities they serve firsthand. Now, there are great tools like body cameras that — to protect both officers and citizens, but we all currently have better cameras in our pockets than in our precincts. Why aren't we using the technology available to better protect our communities?
BAIER: Senator Paul, that question to you.
PAUL: You know, I've supported legislation to allow body cameras. I've been to Ferguson, I've been trying to look for solutions to our criminal justice problem.
One thing I discovered in Ferguson was that a third of the budget for the city of Ferguson was being reaped by civil fines. People were just being fined to death. Now you and I and many of the people in this audience, if we get a $100 fine, we can survive it. If you're living on the edge of poverty and you get a $100 fine or your car towed, a lot of times you lose your job.
I also think the war on drugs has disproportionately affected our African-American community, and what we need to do is make sure that the war on drugs is equal protection under the law and that we don't unfairly incarcerate another generation of young African-American males.
In Ferguson, for every 100 African-American women, there are only 60 African-American men. Drug use is about equal between white and black, but our prisons — three out of four people in prison are black or brown. I think something has to change. I think it's a big thing that our party needs to be part of, and I've been a leader in Congress on trying to bring about criminal justice reform. [applause]
BAIER: Senator Paul, thank you.
WALLACE: This debate is just getting started. Coming up, the role of the federal government. But first, join tonight's conversation right from your home. Go to google.com or open your Google search app and search Fox News Debate to vote on which issue is most important to you in this election. More from the Iowa Events Center and the Republican presidential debate in a moment. [applause]
KELLY: Welcome back, everybody. We are live in Des Moines, Iowa. And let's get right back to the questions — Bret.
BAIER: Thank you, Megyn.
Gentlemen, I'll ask you some questions about federal spending and the role of the federal government. Everybody always said they want to cut federal spending and usually they start by saying they'll cut waste, fraud, and abuse, but that really doesn't ever materialize. We all know that.
Governor Christie, you talk a lot about entitlement reform and you say that that's where the federal government can get savings needed to balance the budget. But can you name even one thing that the federal government does now that it should not do at all?
CHRISTIE: Yes. You want one? [laughter]
BAIER: I want one. Yes. [laughter]
CHRISTIE: How about one that I've done in New Jersey for the last six years. That's get rid of Planned Parenthood funding from the United States of America. [applause]
BAIER: Anything bigger than that?
CHRISTIE: Bigger than that? Let me tell you something, when you see thousands upon thousands upon thousands of children being murdered in the womb, I can't think of anything better than that. [applause]
BAIER: And, Governor, I realize everyone on this stage opposes Obamacare and you're not alone. Google Data shows that in the last month when people searched "policy repeals," that there were a lot of them. Obamacare took the top two spots. But today there are millions of people who gained health insurance from Obamacare and they now rely on it.
So the question, Senator Cruz, if you repeal Obamacare, as you say you will, will you be fine if millions of those people don't have health insurance? And what is your specific plan for covering the uninsured?
CRUZ: Sure. Well, let's take it one at a time. First of all, we have seen now in six years of Obamacare that it has been a disaster. It is the biggest job-killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, have seen their premiums skyrocket.
If I'm elected president, we will repeal every word of Obamacare. [applause]
Now, once that is done, everyone agrees we need healthcare reform. It should follow the principles of expanding competition, empowering patients, and keeping government from getting in between us and our doctors.
Three specific reforms that reflect those principles. Number one, we should allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines. That will create a true 50-state national marketplace which will drive down the cost of low-cost, catastrophic health insurance.
Number two, we should expand health savings accounts so people can save in a tax-advantaged way for more routine healthcare needs. And number three, we should work to de-link health insurance from employment so if you lose your job, your health insurance goes with you and it is personal, portable and affordable.
And I'll tell you, Bret, I think that's a much more attractive vision for healthcare than the Washington-drive, top-down Obamacare that is causing so many millions of people to hurt. [applause]
BAIER: Senator Cruz, thank you.
Governor Bush, you've advocated for statehood for Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican economy is collapsing under unsustainable debt burden. Only about 1 million of its 4 million residents are currently employed. So should American citizens who you say are already overtaxed, bail out Puerto Rico as well?
BUSH: No, they shouldn't. And I believe that Puerto Rico ought to have the right of self-determination. If I was a Puerto Rican, I'd vote for statehood so that they have full citizenship. They serve in the military. They would have to pay federal taxes. They would — they would accept the responsibilities of full U.S. citizenship. But they should have the right of determine — self-determination.
Before you get to that, though, Puerto Rico is going to have to deal with the structural problems they face. You know, it's — it's a fact that if you can pay for a $79 one-way ticket to Orlando, and you can escape the challenges of a declining economy and high crime rates, you move to Orlando.
And a lot of people are doing that. And the spiraling out-of- control requires Puerto Rico to make structural reforms. The federal government can play a role in allowing them to do that, but they should not — the process of statehood or the status of Puerto Rico won't be solved until we get to the bigger issue of how you deal with the structural economic problems they're facing right now.
BAIER: Governor Kasich, you're one of two remaining sitting governors still in the race. Your colleague, Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan is under fire — he and his administration — for the Flint, Michigan water crisis and the botched response to it. How would you have handled that?
KASICH: Well, you've got to be on top of it right away. And, you know, I don't know all the details of what Rick Snyder has done. I know there have been people who have been fired; people who are being held accountable. But the fact is, every single engine of government has to move when you see a crisis like that.
And I've had many situations in the state of Ohio where we've had to move, whether it's storms, whether it was a horrible school shooting. There are many crises that come — a water crisis in Toledo. You've got to be on top of it. You've got to go the extra mile. You've got to work with local communities and you've got to work with the federal government.
Because you realize that people depending on you. And so, you go the extra mile. But people have to be alert. They have to be alert to problems. And when you see a problem, you must act quickly to get on top of it. And people at home are saying they've got a problem, listen to them. Because most of the time, they're absolutely correct.
So the fact is that we work for the people. The people don't work for us. And we have to have an attitude when we're in government of serving-hood. That's what really matters. We serve you. You don't serve us. We listen to you and — and then we act. [applause]
BAIER: Senator Rubio, on the issue of climate change, in 2008, you wanted Florida to get ahead of other states and establish a cap- and-trade system, a program for carbon emissions, which many Republicans thought at the time would hurt the Florida economy. Now, you're a skeptic of climate change science. And in fact, you warn that federal efforts to fight climate change will cost U.S. jobs and hurt the U.S. economy.
So why the change?
RUBIO: Well, Bret, first that's not entirely the story. At the time, the liberal governor of Florida, who claimed he was a Republican — his name was Charlie Crist — he wanted to impose cap-and-trade on Florida. And I opposed it. I was the first person out of the box that opposed him on it.
And then we saw that the leading candidates for president at the time, both the Republican and the Democrats, all supported it. And what we said is, if they're going to impose this on us, we better prepare to protect the state from it. But I have never supported cap- and-trade and I never thought it was a good idea. And I was clear about that at the time.
And I do not believe it's a good idea now. I do not believe that we have to destroy our economy in order to protect our environment. And especially what these programs are asking us to pass that will do nothing to help the environment, but will be devastating for our economy.
When I am president of the United States of America, there will never be any cap-and-trade in the United States. [applause]
BAIER: Thanks, Senator.
KELLY: All right. We're going to move on. Because coming up, immigration, and something you've never seen before.
Stay tuned, right after this break.
KELLY: Welcome back everyone. Live, in Des Moines, Iowa. Now, we move onto the topic of immigration. Senator Rubio, we'll start with you. When you ran for Senate in 2010, you made clear that you opposed legalization and citizenship for illegal immigrants. You promised repeatedly that you would oppose it as a U.S. Senator as well. Here are just a few examples. Watch.
[begin video clip]
RUBIO: Never support. Never have and never will support any effort to grant blanket legalization amnesty to folks who have entered, or stayed in this country illegally.
[end video clip]
[begin video clip]
RUBIO: First of all, earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty. It's what they call it. And, the reality of it is this, it is unfair to the people that have legally entered this country to create an alternative for individuals who entered illegally, and knowingly did so.
[end video clip]
[begin video clip]
RUBIO: You cannot grant amnesty. If the American people see us granting amnesty they will never again believe in legal immigration. They will never again support it, and that's wrong for our country, bad for our future.
[end video clip]
KELLY: Within two years of getting elected you were co-sponsoring legislation to create a path to citizenship, in your words, amnesty. Haven't you already proven that you cannot be trusted on this issue?
RUBIO: No, because if you look at the quote, and it's very specific. And, it says blanket amnesty, I do not support blanket amnesty...
KELLY: ... But, you went on from there...
RUBIO: ... I do not support amnesty...
KELLY: ... You said more than that, Senator...
RUBIO: ... No, I said I do not support blanket amnesty...
KELLY: ... You said earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty. You...
RUBIO: ... It was...
KELLY: ... supported earned path to citizenship...
RUBIO: ... It absolutely has been, and at the time in the context of that was in 2009, and 2010, where the last effort for legalization was an effort done in the Senate. It was an effort led by several people that provided almost an instant path with very little obstacles moving forward.
What I've always said is that this issue does need to be solved. They've been talking about this issue for 30 years, and nothing ever happens. And, I'm going to tell you exactly how we're going to deal with it when I am president.
Number one, we're going to keep ISIS out of America. If we don't know who you are, or why you're coming, you will not get into the United States.
Number two, we're going to enforce our immigration laws. I am the son and grandson of immigrants. And I know that securing our borders is not anti-immigrant and we will do it.
We'll hire 20,000 new border agents instead of 20,000 new IRS agents. We will finish the 700 miles of fencing and walls our nation needs. We'll have mandatory E-verify, a mandatory entry/exit tracking system and until all of that is in place and all of that is working and we can prove to the people of this country that illegal immigration is under control, nothing else is going to happen.
We are not going to round up and deport 12 million people, but we're not going to hand out citizenship cards, either. There will be a process. We will see what the American people are willing to support. But it will not be unconstitutional executive orders like the ones Barack Obama has forced on us.
KELLY: Governor Bush, do you agree Senator Rubio has not reversed himself on his immigration promise?
BUSH: Well, I'm kind of confused because he was the sponsor of the Gang of Eight bill that did require a bunch of thresholds but ultimately allowed for citizenship over an extended period of time. I mean, that's a fact. And he asked me to support that. And I — I supported him because I think people, when you're elected, you need to do things.
And he led the charge to finally fix this immigration problem that has existed now for, as Marco says, for 30 years. And then he cut and run because it wasn't popular amongst conservatives, I guess.
Here's what I believe. And I wrote a book about this called Immigration Wars. You can get it at $2.99 on Amazon. It's not a bestseller. I can promise you. [laughter]
There won't be any — you can get it. It's affordable for everybody. We should have a path to legal status for the 12 million people that are here illegally. It means, come out from the shadows, pay a fine, earn legal status by working, by paying taxes, learning English. Not committing crimes and earn legal status where you're not cutting in front of the line for people that are patiently waiting outside. [applause] I think that is the — I think that's the conservative consensus pragmatic approach to how to solve this problem.
RUBIO: May I respond?
KELLY: Go ahead, senator.
RUBIO: It's interesting that Jeb mentions the book. That's the book where you changed your position on immigration because you used to support a path to citizenship.
BUSH: So did you. [laughter]
RUBIO: Well, but you changed the — in the book...
BUSH: Yeah. So did you, Marco. [applause]
RUBIO: You wrote a book where you changed your position from a path of citizenship to a path of legalization. And the bottom line is this, we are not going to be able to do anything on this issue until we first bring illegal immigration under control. The American people have been told for 30 years they're going to enforce the border, they're going to build a wall and it never gets built and it never happens.
It is very clear there will be no progress on this issue in any way, shape or form, until you prove to the people of this country that illegal immigration is under control. And when I'm president, we are going to bring it under control once and for all after 30 years of talking about it.
BUSH: Marco, Marco — he brought up my name. I have supported a consensus approach to solving this problem wherever it came up. and in 2007 it almost passed when my brother was president of the United States. A bipartisan approach got close. Barack Obama actually had the poison pill to stop it then.
And when you led the charge with the Gang of Eight, I supported it because you asked me to. I think it's important for people in elected office to try to forge consensus to solve problems. There's never going do be perfect bill. [applause]
KELLY: All right.
BUSH: But when you didn't do that and you ask people to support, you shouldn't cut and run.
RUBIO: But Megyn...
BUSH: You should stick with it and that's exactly what happened. He cut and run. And that's a tragedy because now... [bell rings] ... it's harder and harder to actually solve this problem.
KELLY: All right. This will be the last one.
RUBIO: There's not going to be consensus on this issue until we enforce our immigration laws. That is abundantly clear. You're not going to be able to ram down the throat of the American people your approach. The only way we're are going to be able to move forward after two migratory crises with minor, after two unconstitutional executive orders, the only way forward on this issue is to first bring illegal immigration under control. And until that happens there's not going to be consensus on this issue.
KELLY: OK. Let's move on. Senator Cruz, when Senator Rubio proposed that bill creating a path to citizenship, you proposed an amendment. It would have allowed for legalization but not citizenship. Yes, it would.
Pressed last month on why you supported legalization, you claimed that you didn't. Right? Like you just did. Saw that. [laughter]
You argued that this was just a poison pill amendment, basically it's something designed to kill the bill and not actually get it through. But that is not, however, how it sounded at the time. Watch.
[begin video clip]
CRUZ: I want this bill to be voted down. I don't want immigration reform to fail. I want immigration reform to pass. I believe if this amendment were to pass, the chances of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically.
I believe if the amendments I introduced were adopted, that the bill would pass. And my effort in introducing them was to find a solution that reflected common ground and that fixed the problem.
If the proponents of this bill actually demonstrate a commitment not to politics, not to campaigning all the time, but to actually fixing this problem, to finding a middle ground. That would fix the problem, and also allow, for those 11 million people who are here illegally, a legal status, with citizenship off the table.
KELLY: Was that all an act? It was pretty convincing.
CRUZ: You know, the amendment you're talking about is one sentence — it's 38 words. Anyone can go online at tedcruz.org and read exactly what it said. In those 38 words, it said anyone here illegally is permanently ineligible for citizenship. It didn't say a word about legalization. I introduced...
KELLY: But the bill allowed both. The bill you were amending allowed citizenship and legalization.
CRUZ: But — but Megyn, the bill was 1,000 pages. I introduced a series of amendments, each designed to fix problems in the bill. The fact that each amendment didn't fix every problem didn't mean that I supported the rest of the bill.
And I'll tell you who supported my amendment — Jeff Sessions, the strongest opponent of amnesty in the United States Congress. And he did so because taking citizenship off the table was important, and it revealed the hypocrisy of the proponents of this bill, who were looking for votes.
Listen, we can solve immigration. We just heard an argument back and forth that we can't solve immigration. I have a detailed immigration plan that is on my website, tedcruz.org. It was designed with Iowa's own Congressman Steve King and Jeff Sessions, and... [applause] ... we have the tools in federal law to do this now. We can build the fence. We can triple the border patrol. We can end sanctuary cities by cutting off... [bell rings] ... funding to them. We can end welfare for those here illegally. And what is missing is the political will, because too many Democrats and, sadly, too many Republicans don't want to solve this problem. If I am elected president... [bell rings] ... we will secure the border...
KELLY: OK, sir.
CRUZ: ... and we will end the illegal immigration.
KELLY: Senator Paul. [applause]
You know how Washington works. Do you buy that?
PAUL: I was there and I saw the debate. I saw Ted Cruz say, "we'll take citizenship off the table, and then the bill will pass, and I'm for the bill."
The bill would involve legalization. He can't have it both ways. But what is particularly insulting, though, is that he is the king of saying, "you're for amnesty." Everybody's for amnesty except for Ted Cruz.
But it's a falseness, and that's an authenticity problem — that everybody he knows is not as perfect as him because we're all for amnesty. I was for legalization. I think, frankly, if you have border security, you can have legalization. So was Ted, but now he says it wasn't so. That's not true.
KELLY: Go ahead, sir. [applause]
CRUZ: You know, John Adams famously said, "facts are are stubborn things." The facts are are very, very simple. When that battle was waged, my friend Senator Rubio chose to stand with Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and support amnesty.
And I stood alongside Jeff Sessions and Steve King, and we led the fight against amnesty. And if you want to know who's telling the truth, you should look and ask people like Jeff Sessions and Steve King and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, all of whom say, as Jeff Sessions said, responding to these false attacks just recently in Alabama — he said, "if it wasn't for Ted Cruz, the Gang of Eight Rubio/Schumer bill would have passed. But because Ted stood up and helped lead the effort, millions rose up to kill it. [bell rings] [applause]
KELLY: Senator Rubio, even Chuck Schumer, your co-sponsor of that bill...
RUBIO: Yeah, but let me respond...
KELLY: ... agrees with Ted Cruz on this.
RUBIO: ... no, I understand, but let me respond. I was mentioned on this — in this answer, and so I'm going to respond this way.
This is the lie that Ted's campaign is built on, and Rand touched upon it — that he's the most conservative guy, and everyone else is a — you know, everyone else is a rhino.
The truth is, Ted, throughout this campaign, you've been willing to say or do anything in order to get votes. Ted, you worked for George W. Bush's campaign... [booing]
You — you — you helped design George W. Bush's — you helped design George W. Bush's immigration policy. And then, when you got to the Senate, you did an interview with CBS News — I wasn't even part of the video — where you said, on the issue of people that are here illegally, "we can reach a compromise."
And then in the committee, you said, "I want to bring people out of the shadows." [bell rings]
Now you want to trump Trump on immigration. But you can't — we're not gonna beat Hillary Clinton with someone who's willing to say or do anything to win an election.
KELLY: Go ahead, Senator Cruz. [applause]
CRUZ: You know, I like Marco. He's very charming. He's very smooth. But the facts are simple. When he ran for election in the state of Florida, he told the people of Florida, "if you elect me, I will lead the fight against amnesty."
When I ran in Texas, I told the people of Texas, "if you elect me, I will lead the fight against amnesty." We both made the identical promises. But when we came to Washington, we made a different choice.
Marco made the choice to go the direction of the major donors — to support amnesty because he thought it was politically advantageous. [bell rings]
I honored my commitments, and as president, I will honor every commitment that I make to the men and women of this country. [applause]
KELLY: All right.
KELLY: Go ahead, Governor Christie.
CHRISTIE: I want to ask the people of the audience. Like, I'm standing here, I — I watched the video of Senator Cruz. I watched the video of Senator Rubio. I heard what they said. And this is why you need to send someone from outside of Washington to Washington. [applause]
I feel like... [applause] ... I feel like I need — I feel like I need a Washington to English dictionary converter, right? [laughter]
I mean, I heard what they both said, I saw it on the video. And the fact is this is what makes a difference when you're a governor. You can change your mind. Ted can change his mind. Marco can change his mind. It's perfectly legal in this country to change your mind. But when you're a governor, you have to admit it. You can't hide behind parliamentary tricks. That's the difference, and that's the kind of leader we need in the White House. Stop the Washington bull and let's get things done. [applause]
KELLY: Let's go to a Youtube question. Let's get to a Youtube question. This is a question from a Youtube creator with over 2 million subscribers. Watch.
QUESTION: I'm Dulce Candy, a Youtube creator who immigrated to the United States from Mexico when I was a little girl. Since then, I am proud to say I served in the armed forces in Iraq, became a citizen and I am now an entrepreneur.
There are many immigrants who contribute positively to the American economy, but some of the comments in the campaign make us question our place in this country. If America does not seem like a welcoming place for immigrant entrepreneurs, will the American economy suffer?
KELLY: Dr. Carson, that's one — that one's for you.
CARSON: Oh, great. [laughter]
As I said before, we are a land of immigrants, but we have to be intelligent about the way that we form our immigration policies, and that's one of the reasons that I have called on us to declare war on the Islamic State because we need to reorient our immigration policies and our visa policies for people who are coming into this country because there are many people out there who want to destroy us.
Now, I recognize that the vast majority of people coming in here probably are not those kinds of people, but that's not good enough. If you've got 10 people coming to your house and you know one of them is a terrorist, you're probably going to keep them all out.
You know, we probably have to figure out a way to make sure that we keep America safe. [applause]
BUSH: Can I — can I — I just...
KELLY: Go ahead.
BUSH: That beautiful young woman who's an entrepreneur who served in the military, first of all, is deserving of our respect for service in the military and the fact that she's an entrepreneur. [applause]
And we should be a welcoming nation. Our identity is not based on race or ethnicity, it's based on a set of shared values. That's American citizenship. And Dulce Candy — a pretty cool name, actually — that is now an entrepreneur over Youtube is part of that American spirit, and we should celebrate it as conservatives. That's what we believe in.
You can — you can deal with the threat of terror and also recognize that this country should be aspirational across the board.
RUBIO: And I think that's the false choice... [applause] ... that's the — that's the false choice in this whole debate about immigration. Of course, we're going to be a nation of immigrants. By the way, no nation on earth is more generous than America is. Every single year close to a million people emigrate to the United States legally. There's no nation on earth that comes close to that number.
I think the only argument is are we a sovereign country, are we not allowed to choose who comes in, when they come in and how they come in? And that's not what's happening now. [applause]
KELLY: All right.
RUBIO: I think the other problem is we have a legal immigration system that's outdated, it's primarily based on whether you have family members living here. In the 21st century, it has to be more of a merit-based system, and that is why our legal immigration system is in need of modernization. And we will always celebrate legal immigration like Dulce's great story.
KELLY: All right. We're moving on. [applause]
WALLACE: Gentlemen, we're going to turn now to what we call electability, issues that you're either facing in the primaries or issues that you're certainly going to face in a general election. So you may not be altogether unhappy if you're not included in this round. [laughter]
Senator Cruz, you pride yourself on standing up to the D.C. cartel, but as we've seen to a certain degree tonight, there's a price for standing up to the D.C. cartel. Thirteen Republican senators have endorsed other candidates, none have endorsed you.
You — twice last year, you asked for a colleague to second a motion, a routine courtesy on the Senate floor, and no senator would do it. Top GOP officials worry that if you're at the top of the ticket — some officials — that not only will you lose the White House, but it will tank the ticket all the way down the line.
The question is does your style sometimes get in the way of your ability to get things done, sir?
CRUZ: Well, Chris, you are exactly right that I am not the candidate of career politicians in Washington. [applause]
And I'll tell you the endorsements that I am proud of are the over 200,000 volunteers across this country who have signed up to volunteer for our campaign. The endorsements that I am proud of are leading conservatives like Iowa's own Congressman Steve King, who is a national co-chairman of my campaign. The endorsements that I'm proud of are conservative leaders like Dr. James Dobson, and over 700,000 contributions nationwide, people going to our Web site, tedcruz.org.
This is a grassroots campaign and, you know, when I ran for senate in Texas, I told the people of Texas that I'm not going there to go along to get along. Washington is broken.
And the people I have been accountable to every single day in the Senate are the 27 million Texans who I represent and I made a promise to them that I make to you today, which is, if I am elected, every single day I will do two things: tell the truth, and do what I said I would do. [applause]
BAIER: Thank you.
KELLY: Governor bush, poll after poll shows you running among the worst in your party against Hillary Clinton. Even Mitt Romney said that a Bush v. Clinton head-to-head would be too easy for the Democrats.
Yet still you and the super PACs supporting you continue to blanket the airwaves with cutting ads, not against Mrs. Clinton, but against your fellow Republicans, especially Senator Rubio.
Do these attacks do more harm than good by targeting those candidates who appear to have the best chance of defeating Mrs. Clinton?
BUSH: Well, first of all, I've seen polls where I'm beating Hillary Clinton pretty regularly.
And I believe I can, because I have a proven record, a record of accomplishment, a record of cutting taxes, of shrinking the government, of reforming education, of challenging the status quo, eliminating career civil service protections, shrinking the government workforce by 11 percent, but leading the nation in job growth. That's the record of accomplishment that should be taken to Hillary Clinton, who has no record of accomplishment. So I'm confident if I win this nomination, I will aggressively go against her and beat her.
As it relates to the super PACs, I have no control over that. And this is beanbag compared to what the Clinton hit machine is going to do to the Republican nominee. The simple fact is, we all have a record. It all will be scrutinized. There's give and take. It's called the politics. And that's the way it is.
I'm running hard and I believe I'll be the Republican nominee and I'll be the one best suited to beat Hillary Clinton, who should not be president of the United States. [applause]
BAIER: Senator Rubio, first before I ask you a question, any response to Governor Bush?
RUBIO: Well, I believe, and I know that if Iowa helps make me the Republican nominee, I will defeat Hillary Clinton. Hillary doesn't want to run against me, but I cannot wait to run against her. And I cannot wait to earn the opportunity to do it because she cannot be the president of the United States.
She wants to put Barack Obama on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. She said that here in Iowa just two days ago. That would be a disaster for this country.
So I hope and pray and cannot wait until this state and others give me an opportunity to serve this party as its nominee because I will defeat Hillary Clinton. [cheering and applause]
BAIER: Now let's talk about electability, Senator. TIME magazine once called you "the Republican savior." Rush Limbaugh and others said you likely will be president some day.
But if you look at the recent average of polls in your home state of Florida, you're in third trailing Donald trump by 24 points. If the people who know you best have you there, why should the rest of the country elect you?
RUBIO: Well, let me be clear about one thing, there's only one savior and it's not me. It's Jesus Christ who came down to earth and died for our sins. [applause]
And so — and I've always made that clear about that cover story.
As far as the polls are concerned, Iowa, on Monday night you're going to go to a caucus site and you'll be the first Americans that vote in this election. You will be the first Americans that get to answer the fundamental question, what comes next for this country after seven disastrous years of Barack Obama?
And let me tell you what the answer better not be. It better not be Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is a socialist. I think Bernie Sanders is good candidate for president of Sweden. [laughter]
We don't want to be Sweden. We want to be the United States of America. [applause]
And Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being the commander-in-chief of the United States. In fact, one of her first acts as president may very well be to pardon herself because Hillary Clinton... [laughter]
Hillary Clinton stored classified information on her private server. And Hillary Clinton lied to the families of those four brave Americans who lost their life in Benghazi. And anyone who lies to the families of Americans who have died in the service of this country can never be commander-in-chief of the United States. [applause]
BAIER: Thank you, Senator.
WALLACE: Governor Christie, two of your former top aides go on trial in May for fraud and conspiracy in the "Bridge-gate" case, the politically motivated closure of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
Another former aide who has already pleaded guilty and will likely testify for the government, as you know, says that you knew about this whole deal. Can the GOP take the chance of nominating you with this scandal still out there, sir?
CHRISTIE: Sure, because there has been three different investigations and proven that I knew nothing. And the fact is that what I did do, what I did do from the beginning, Chris, as soon as I found out about it, I fired the people who were responsible. And that's what you expect from a leader.
And, I'll tell you something else. I inherited a state in New Jersey that was downtrodden, and beaten by liberal democratic policies, high taxation, high regulation. And, this year, in 2015, New Jersey's had the best year of job growth that our state has ever had in the last 15 years. That's because we've put conservative policies in place.
And, I'll tell you one other thing, you know why the Republican party will want to take a chance on me? Because they know that Hillary Clinton will never be prosecuted by this justice department, and they're going to want to put a former federal prosecutor on the stage to prosecute her next September. And, there is no one on this stage better prepared to prosecute the case against Hillary Clinton than I am.
I will be ready. I will take her on, and when I take her on I guarantee you one thing, she will never get within 10 miles of the White House. The days for the Clintons in public housing are over. [applause]
BAIER: Much more to come, including where the candidates stand on foreign policy. And, once again, you can go to Google.com, or open your Google search app and search, "Fox News Debate" to vote on which candidate you think is winning the debate tonight. We'll be right back.
KELLY: Welcome back, everybody. Let's get back to the questions. Chris?
WALLACE: Gentlemen, almost 60% of Republican caucus-goers identify themselves as Evangelicals, so I'd like to spend a few minutes exploring social issues.
Governor Kasich, you talk a good deal about your faith. In fact, you say it played a role in your decision to expand Medicaid, and you say that when you meet Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates, he's going to ask what you did for the poor, not what you did to keep government small.
Senator Cruz is on the opposite side of this issue from you, so does that mean that you're getting in and he isn't? [laughter]
KASICH: No. You know, Chris, here's what happened with Medicaid in my state. We took the growth of Medicaid from over 10 percent in my second budget to 2.5 percent, without cutting off one person or cutting one benefit, because we — we innovated the government.
And now mom and dad can stay in their own home, rather than being forced into a nursing home. And then we decided we could bring $14 billion of our money — I mean, Washington doesn't have any money. It was our money, and we brought them back to tend to the mentally ill. Because I don't think they ought to live in prison or live under a bridge; to treat the drug-addicted so they're not in an in-and-out-of-the-door policy out of the prisons; and to help the working poor so they don't live in emergency rooms.
How has it worked? Well, we have treated the drug-addicted in our prisons and we released them in to the community, and our recidivism rate is less than 20 percent. That's basically bordering on a miracle because of our great prison director. The mentally ill? They've been stepped on for too long in this society, and we are beginning to treat them.
In terms of my faith, look, all I say is that when I study scripture, I know that people who live in the shadows need to have a chance. But I'm not deciding that anybody's got to make these decisions the way that I do, on the basis of what I do. But what — I will tell you this. The time has come to stop ignoring the mentally ill in this country and begin to treat them and get them on their feet, along with, of course, with treating the drug-addicted. [applause]
Because we don't want them in and out — we don't want them in and out of the prisons. Give people a chance. We talked about criminal justice reform. We've enacted it in our state. Look, the conservative message is economic growth and along with economic growth goes opportunity for everybody in America. Everybody ought to have a chance to be able to rise to their God-given purpose.
And that is what we have done in Ohio. We're running surpluses. We're up 400,000 jobs. And guess what? The formula is working. I'd suggest people take a look at it.
Thank you. [applause]
WALLACE: Gentlemen, we had a case study on religious liberty just this last summer. A county clerk in Kentucky named Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court ruling, saying that it violated her religious beliefs.
Governor Christie, you said that she must follow the law or be moved to another job that would be in keeping with her conscience. But some conservatives say that that violates her religious liberty.
CHRISTIE: No, what I said, Chris, was that the law needs to be followed. And that someone in that office has to do their job. So if Ms. Davis wanted to step aside and get rid of her ability to be able to do that, there should be someone else in that office who it didn't violate their conscience so they could follow the law of the state of Kentucky.
I never said that Ms. Davis should either lose her job or that she had to do it. But what I did say was that the person who came in for the license needed to get it. And so if there's someone in that organization, and it turns out there was, who was willing to be able to do that, that's what we should do.
But just as importantly, and I agree with what John said. You know, we all have our own individual interpretations of our faith. And here's the problem with what's going on around the world. The radical Islamic jihadists, what they want to do is impose their faith upon each and every one of us — every one of us. And the reason why this war against them is so important is that very basis of religious liberty.
They want everyone in this country to follow their religious beliefs the way they do. They do not want us to exercise religious liberty. That's why as commander in chief, I will take on ISIS, not only because it keeps us safe, but because it allows us to absolutely conduct our religious affairs the way we find in our heart and in our souls. As a Catholic, that's what I want to do. And no matter what your faith is, that's what I want you to be able to do. [applause]
WALLACE: Thank you, sir.
Senator Rubio, during the last debate, you said Governor Christie had changed his position and his mind on gun control, on common core, and backing President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. He said you're wrong on the facts and you can't, quote, "slime your way to the White House." I assume in the last two weeks, you've done some fact-checking. Do you want to take anything back?
RUBIO: Yeah, I would encourage people to go on my website, marcorubio.com, and we'll put all the facts up there so people can see it for themselves. But you've just asked a very fundamental question about the role of faith in our country. And I think this is an important question. I think if you do not understand that our Judeo-Christian values are one of the reasons why America is such a special country, you don't understand our history. You see, why are we one of the most generous people in the world — no, the most generous people in the world? Why do Americans contribute millions of dollars to charity?
It is not because of the tax writeoff. It is because in this nation, we are influenced by Judeo-Christian values that teach us to care for the less fortunate, to reach out to the needy, to love our neighbor. This is what's made our nation so special.
And you should hope that our next president is someone that is influence by their faith. Because if your faith causes you to care for the less fortunate, it is something you want to see in your public figures. And when I'm president, I can tell you this, my faith will not just influence the way I'll govern as president, it will influence the way I live my life.
Because in the end, my goal is not simply to live on this earth for 80 years, but to live an eternity with my creator. And I will always allow my faith to influence everything I do. [applause]
WALLACE: Thank you, senator.
Senator Paul, in May on the campaign trail you, said you didn't get into politics to fight about abortion. You said you were more concerned about the national debt. Your answer is to turn abortion back to the states the way it was before Roe v. Wade.
Does that mean that if a liberal state, let's say, wants to make abortion legal, that you're okay with that and what do you say to conservative voters who believe deeply that abortion is murder?
PAUL: You know, I think abortion is always wrong. I've supported a variety of solutions, both state as well as federal. In fact, just last week, I introduced the Life at Conception act, which would say that the 14th amendment would defend an individual even in the womb.
But I think on the broader question of religion and politics, you know, I think liberty, itself requires a virtue — requires a virtuous people. In fact, Washington said that democracy requires a virtuous people.
Oz Guinness, the theologian, said that liberty requires restraint but the only restraint consistent with liberty is self-restraint. There's a lot packed into that statement. But the bottom line is we must have virtue, we must have a religious bearing as a nation. The government is not always going to save us and it's not always going to come from government.
But if we don't know right and wrong, I think we have lost our way. I think we become unmoored and I think without the religious foundation that guides us all, I think we have a great risk of going horribly in the wrong direction.
WALLACE: Sir, just 30 seconds to answer my specific... [applause]
Just 30 seconds to answer my specific question. Do you favor the idea that abortion should be a states' rights issue and if a liberal state wants to make it legal, that that's their choice? Yes or no?
PAUL: Both. No, both the federal and a state approach. I have said that we could leave it to the states but I've also introduced a federal solution as well. So the federal solution would be the Life at Conception act which is an act that would federalize the issue.
But I've also said for the most part, these issues would be left back to the states. So there might be an occasion if we did overturn Roe v. Wade — Roe v. Wade nationalized the issue. If you had the court reverse Roe v. Wade, it would become a state issue once again.
I think it would be better the more — the less abortions we have, so the more states that we have that made abortion illegal, the better, as far as trying to save and preserve lives.
WALLACE: Thank you, sir. [applause]
BAIER: Gentlemen. [applause]
I'd like to ask you a few questions about foreign policy broadly.
Dr. Carson, many experts believe Russian leader Vladimir Putin has greater ideas, bigger designs for the region beyond Russia's actions inside Ukraine. Fast forward to February 2017 and it is President Carson, and Russian uniformed commandos cross the Estonian border and they occupy a city in Estonia. Estonia, a member of NATO, essentially invokes Article IV, an attack on one is an attack on all. What do you do?
CARSON: Look, first of all, I recognize that Vladimir Putin is an opportunist and he's a bully, and we have to face him down. And I would — first of all, face him down in that whole region, the whole Baltic region. I think we need to put in some armored brigades there. We only have one or two. We need much more than that. We need to be doing military exercises if not only Estonia but Latvia and Lithuania. They're terrified by the saber rattling. I think we ought to put in our missile defense system.
I think we ought to give Ukraine offensive weapons and I think we ought to fight them on the economic basis because Putin is a one- horse country: oil and energy. And we ought to fight them on that level.
We ought to be helping in terms of the technology for fracking, keeping the price low, quite frankly, because that's what's keeping him contained. So, yes, I'd absolutely would go in if he attacked. I think on Article IV of NATO, we would definitely protect all of our allies. [applause]
BAIER: Gentlemen, you've all said that the Iran nuclear deal is a bad one.
Senator Rubio, you were among the candidates who've said you would tear it up on day one. But as you know, Iran has already received tens of millions of dollars — tens of billions of dollars in this deal and has quickly reestablished ties economically with Europe.
The major concessions, in other words, are up front in this deal. So should you win by the time you take office, the remaining parts of the deal would be the constraints on Iran. So why blow up those constraints on day one, letting Iran off the hook?
RUBIO: Well, let me first describe Iran because they're not just a normal nation state. And we have no quarrel with the Iranian people. But the Iranian leader, their supreme leader is a radical Shia cleric who has an apocalyptic vision of the future. He views himself not simply as the leader of Iran, but as the leader of all Muslims — all Shia Muslims on the planet. And they have a desire not simply to conquer the Middle East and to become the dominant power in that region, but ultimately to be able to hold America hostage.
That is why they're building an — right now, developing long- range missiles capable of reaching the United States, and that is why there's going — they're going to use those $100 billion to expand their conventional capabilities and to one day buy or build a nuclear weapon.
We will — when I am president of the United States, on my first day in office, we are canceling the deal with Iran, and nations will have to make a choice. They can do business with Iran, or they can do business with America, and I am very confident they're going to choose America before they choose the Iranian economy.
BAIER: Governor Kasich, you've said that Marco Rubio is wrong... [applause] ... that Senator Rubio is wrong with tearing it up on day one.
KASICH: Look, we don't know what's going to happen in ten months. And if I were president of the United States right now, I'd be lining up our allies to say that, if one crossed T or one dotted I does not occur, they are — violate the agreement, we slap back on sanctions.
We can slap on sanctions alone, on day one, but it's not gonna be anywhere near as effective. But the president needs to be laying the groundwork right now for the ability to slap those sanctions back on worldwide.
And I'll tell you what I'm worried about — I'm worried about money. You read about all the companies now that are doing business — about to do business in Iran, and if we don't get this settled now, with other countries in the world, about sanctions, then Iran could violate that agreement, and we're the only ones putting the sanctions on.
We need to move aggressively now. But I would say this to you, Bret. Number one, if they violate it, we need to move against them. And number two, if we find out they're developing a nuclear weapon and we know how to get to it, we're gonna go take it out. That is what we have to do. We cannot let things get farther down the road, like we did with North Korea.
BAIER: But Governor Kasich, you know that the most powerful sanctions are the multilateral ones.
KASICH: That's right. Yes.
BAIER: And these European countries are already reestablishing these ties.
KASICH: I know, Bret.
BAIER: They don't want...
KASICH: But Bret, here's the problem. You take a look at the — at Belgium. I talked to a diplomat from Belgium. I said, "how's it going?" He said, "we have the military in the streets right now. We never dreamt we'd ever see it."
See, I think there is an opportunity to bring the world together. The Turks are being threatened. We know about the French. We know about the Belgians. We know about the Brits. Everybody is under fire and under attack, and we have to stand together as an alliance.
So actually, the opportunity is there, because of the threat to all of these countries, to bring all of us together... [bell rings] ... and say there is something more important than money. It is the future of the world and the future of our children and grandchildren. That's the kind of leadership this country needs. It has not been in effect during the administration of Barack Obama.
And that's only the beginning of the failures that they have committed, not only in the Middle East, but all over the world, including Russia and China.
BAIER: Governor, thank you. Governor Christie... [applause] ... Libya is the newest base for ISIS. Just today, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said ISIS is consolidating their footprint there and also setting up training facilities.
So if you were president, would you deploy U.S. troops to Libya to take out ISIS there?
CHRISTIE: Bret, let me tell you, this is another one of those places where Hillary Clinton has so much to answer for, and why she is completely unqualified to be commander in chief.
In a previous Democratic debate, Martha Raddatz, three times, asked Hillary Clinton about the failure in Libya, a policy that she took credit for, and said, "what is your measure of responsibility, Madam Secretary, for the failure in Libya?" Three times, she refused to answer the question, because she refuses to be held accountable for anything that goes wrong. If it had gone right, believe me, she would have been running around to be able to take credit for it.
Here's what I'd do. This is about the bigger, broader war against ISIS. We need to bring together our European and our Sunni Arab allies, and we need to develop a strategy together to take on ISIS every place that it is around the world, so that together, all of us can take ISIS out, destroy it, and then move on to come back to our country, protect our homeland security and make sure that the American people are safe.
As president of the United States, that is exactly what I will do.
BAIER: Thank you, Governor. [applause]
WALLACE: We're not finished yet. More to come from the presidential debate, live from Des Moines, Iowa, next. And remember, to see how the campaigns are responding to the debate in real time, go togoogle.com or open your Google search app and search Fox News debate, and please stay with us. [commercial break] [applause]
BAIER: Welcome back to Des Moines. Let's resume the debate. Megyn?
KELLY: Senator Paul, you have suggested that former President Bill Clinton's history with women is fair game in this campaign. How do you answer those who say you don't hold the sins of the husband against the wife?
PAUL: You know, I've never really brought this up unless asked the question, but I have responded to the question. I don't blame Hillary Clinton at all for this. I don't think she's responsible for his behavior. But I do think that her position as promoting women's rights and fairness to women in the workplace, that if what Bill Clinton did any CEO in our country did with an intern, with a 22-year- old, 21-year-old intern in their office, they would be fired. They would never be hired again. [applause]
Fired, never hired again and probably shunned in their community. And the thing is, she can't be a champion of women's rights at the same time she's got this that is always lurking out there, this type of behavior. So it is difficult.
KELLY: Of her husband's?
PAUL: Yeah. But I combine this also with the millions upon millions of dollars they've taken from regimes in the Middle East who treat women like cattle. [applause]
WALLACE: We have another question from one of Youtube's top creators. Here it is.
QUESTION: I'm Nabela Noor. I'm a Muslim American born and raised in the U.S. who creates beauty and lifestyle videos on Youtube.
In 2015, the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. has tripled, and on social media, where I spend a lot of time, I've seen many attacks directed towards fellow Muslims. This culture of hatred is only driving ISIS to radicalize, recruit and incite violence.
As president, what would you do to address this toxic climate and promote increased tolerance in the United States?
WALLACE: Governor Bush, how do you answer Nabela?
BUSH: Well first of all, I think it's important that when we're running for the highest office in the land that we recognize that we're living in dangerous times and we have to be serious about it, that our words have consequences.
Donald Trump, for example — I'm glad — I mentioned his name again just if anybody was missing him... [laughter] ... Mr. Trump believed that in reaction to people's fears that we should ban all Muslims. Well, that creates an environment that's toxic in our own country. Nobela is a rising entrepreneur. She wants to pursue the American dream. She's an American citizen. She should not feel uncomfortable about her citizenship. She's not the threat. The threat is Islamic terrorism.
We need to focus our energies there, not these broad, blanket, kind of statements that will make it harder for us to deal with ISIS. We need to deal with ISIS in the caliphate. We need a strategy to destroy ISIS there. You can't do that without the cooperation of the Muslim world because they're as threatened as we are.
So, I think it's important for us to be careful about the language we use, which is why I've been critical of Donald Trump. Disparaging women, disparaging hispanics, that's not a sign of strength. Making fun of disabled people... [bell rings] ... We're never going to win elections if we don't have a more broader unifying message. [applause]
WALLACE: Governor, thank you. Senator Cruz, change of subject. You called for an end to the renewable fuel standards which mandate that refineries blend biofuels, including ethanol into gasoline. As you well know, ethanol's a big industry in this state, $10 billion dollars a year.
Last week, Terry Branstad, the popular Governor of Iowa... [applause] ... Who is in the hall tonight, said that you're bankrolled by big oil, and that Iowa voters would be making a mistake supporting you. Why should those voters side with you over the six- term governor of the state, sir?
CRUZ: Well, Chris, I'm glad to discuss my views on ethanol and energy. I think God has blessed this country with enormous natural resources, and we should pursue all of the above. We should be developing oil, and gas, and coal, and nuclear, and wind, and solar, and ethanol, and biofuels. But, I don't believe that Washington should be picking winners and losers. And, I think there should be no mandates, and no subsidies whatsoever. [applause]
And, indeed, my tax plan that I've introduced, it's available on our website. It's a simple flat tax for everyone. It'll produce enormous economic growth, and it eliminates every mandate, every subsidy, so there's no subsidies for oil and gas, no subsidies for anyone.
Now, it is true that there are a bunch of lobbyists, and a bunch of Democrats in this state spending millions of dollars trying to convince the people of Iowa that I somehow oppose ethanol. It's not true. I have introduced legislation that would phase out the ethanol mandate over five years, but that is in the context of having no mandates whatsoever for anyone.
And, I would not that there's a much more important government regulation to ethanol, and that's the EPA's blend wall that makes it illegal to sell mid-level blends of ethanol in gasoline. I will... [bell rings] ... Tear down the EPA's blend wall which will enable ethanol to expand its market share by up to 60%, all without mandates. All without any government mandates whatsoever through the marketplace. And, I'll note finally, Chris, there is a reason that Iowa's Congressman Steve King, perhaps the fiercest defender of farmers in this state, is sharing my campaign. Because he understands that I'm committed to a fair, and level playing field for every energy source without lobbyists, and without Washington picking winners and losers. [applause]
WALLACE: Dr. Carson, I'd like to ask you about exactly that issue. Where are you on the mandatory ethanol standard, and precisely this question. Should government be in the business of picking winners and losers, or should it be left to the market place?
CARSON: Well, as anyone knows who's been listening to me, you know? I'm very much against the government being involved in every aspect of our lives, you know? We last year there was an additional 81,000 pages of government regulations. If you stack that up it would be a three-story building. This is absolutely absurd. And, they've insinuated themselves into everything.
Now, as far as the renewable fuel standard is concerned, certain promises were made, certain government contracts were issued which extend all the way into the year 2022, and I believe that it's probably unfair to withdraw the rug because people have invested money. People have invested a lot of energy into that.
But, you know, we are blessed with tremendous energy in this nation, and we need to be talking for new sources of energy. Seventy percent of our population lives by costly. What about hydroelectric power? We can develop that, you know? We have so much natural gas now, and we can liquify it, and we can transfer it across the sea so we can make Europe dependent on us instead of Putin — put him back in his little box where he belongs.
Those are the kinds of things that we ought to be doing. And, you know, take advantage of the tremendous opportunities in energy that God has given us, not get involved in these little petty arguments.
And we can get a lot of them out if we get the government out of our lives. [applause]
WALLACE: Doctor, thank you.
BAIER: Coming up, closing statements from the candidates as our debate continues, live, from Des Moines, Iowa.
KELLY: Welcome back, everybody. And now, it is time for closing statements. The candidates each get 30 seconds.
And we begin with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
PAUL: Well, thanks for having me. It's great to be back. [applause]
I'm an eye surgeon from Bowling Green, Kentucky, I miss doing eye surgery, still get to do a little bit. Did a couple of cataract surgeries over Christmas holidays. Got to go to Haiti last year. I've gotten to do some incredible things. Got to be on the floor of the Senate. And it has been amazing to me.
But the thing that is most important to me and caused me to run for office is I'm worried about the country and how much debt we're adding. And I am the one true fiscal conservative who will look at all spending. And that's the only way we'll ever balance our budget.
Thank you. [applause]
KELLY: Ohio Governor Kasich.
KASICH: You know, one of our biggest national security issues is the world looks at us some time, and we look at each other and say, why can't we solve problems? Well, I've got news for you, we can. We can in fact create jobs and provide job security. We can create a situation where wages begin to rise. We can create a situation for our children to be able to get a decent job to pay down their college debt. We can re-assume our role in the world.
But all of this has to come together when we have a positive attitude, an optimistic approach, an ability for us to set the tune as conservatives, to invite other people in to be part of that orchestra.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, at the end of the day, I'm an optimist [bell rings]
Because I've seen so many things get accomplished in my lifetime. And we can do it again together, all of us, to strengthen this country, work together. Thank you. [applause]
BAIER: New Jersey governor, Chris Christie.
CHRISTIE: On September 11, my wife was two blocks from the World Trade Center. When those buildings came down, she was trapped in her building and I didn't hear from her over six hours.
We have three children, eight, five and one. And I had to confront the possibility of being a single parent. Terrorism in this country scares everyone. And the fact is that we need a commander-in- chief who not only understands how to protect us, but feels in here what it means to face the possibility of loss.
I've faced it. I've prosecuted terrorists. I have made the decisions that need to be made as a governor to protect us and as president of the United States, no one will keep this country safer than I will.
BAIER: Thank you governor. [applause]
KELLY: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Governor.
BUSH: We desperately need a conservative leader as president of the United States. I have a proven record as governor of the state of Florida, as a conservative leader. And I also have detailed plans to fix the mess in Washington, D.C.
As president I will restore and rebuild our military, restore the alliances and keep us safe. And as our party's nominee, I will defeat Hillary Clinton in November. I ask for your support on the caucuses come Monday night and I will make you proud as our party's nominee. Thank you very much. [applause]
WALLACE: Dr. Ben Carson.
CARSON: I want to thank the people of Iowa for being so welcoming to me. Please think of our founding fathers as you listen. We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the benefits of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity, do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America. Folks, it's not too late. Enough said. [applause]
BAIER: Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
RUBIO: The bible commands us to let our light shine on the world. For over 200 years, America's light has been shining on the world and the world has never been the same again. But now, that light is dimming a little, after seven years of Barack Obama. And that's why Monday night, what will happen here in Iowa is so important.
I'm asking you for your vote. Caucus for me on Monday night because if I am your nominee, I will unite this party and I will defeat Hillary Clinton and when I'm president, America's light will shine again and the 21 century will be a new American century. [applause]
BAIER: Thank you senator.
KELLY: Texas Senator, Ted Cruz. Senator.
CRUZ: Ninety-three hours. The media noise will soon be over and it's now for the men and women of Iowa to decide. Our country is in crisis. We're worried the future of our children and we've have been burned over and over again.
The central question in this race is trust. Who do you know will kill the terrorists, defend the constitution and repeal Obamacare? Who do you know will stop amnesty and secure the borders? Who do you know will defend life, marriage and religious liberty? Examine our records, pray on it and I will be honored if you and your family will come caucus for us on Monday night. [applause]
KELLY: Gentlemen, thank you all so much for being here tonight. We appreciate it greatly. And that does it for the seventh Republican primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. But we're not done. The Kelly file starts in a moment and guess who is going to be there? Senator Ted Cruz.
WALLACE: And don't forget, after all the talk, the first voting of the 2016 campaign happens in just four days. The first Americans to vote, the Iowa caucuses are Monday and Fox News will have complete coverage.
BAIER: And we have you covered from Iowa, all the way to the conventions and on to the general election. Thanks again for joining us. For all of us here in Des Moines, have a great evening.
NOTE: The criteria for appearing in the main debate is explained as, "Candidates must place in the top six spots nationally in an average of the five most recent national polls, or place within the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire in an average of the five most recent Iowa or New Hampshire polls recognized by FOX News."
Donald Trump qualified but chose not to participate.
Presidential Candidate Debates, Republican Candidates Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/312753