tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 28, 2012 2:00pm-2:38pm PST
governor clinton, now president bill clinton. >> too close call. >> governor george bush re-elected. >> president-elect of the united states. >> this is cnn. tonight, the final face-off before florida voters choose. a presidential race that's breaking all the rules. comes to a state that wrote the book on election cliffhangers. >> you're are in florida. >> that's how important florida is. >> only one thing is certain in this contest. expect the unexpected. >> you have three candidates who have won three primaries. >> you're going to have to make a decision. which of the three should become your nominee? i think you know. >> tonight, the candidates together in jacksonville,
florida. newt gingrich, the south carolina winner, hoping to capitalize on his recent victory, and his strong record in debates. >> it's not that i am a good debater. it is that i articulate the deepest felt values of the american people. >> mitt romney, the new hampshire winner, trying to run his appeal and reclaim the title of front-runner. >> we're not choosing a talk show host. we're choosing the person who should be the leader of the free world. >> rick santorum. the iowa winner. looking for a new burst of momentum after his upset in the heartland. >> there was one race that was in nobody's backyard and we won that race. >> ron paul, still in search of a win. a fierce competitor with a diehard following. >> we have the determination and we will win this battle for peace and prosperity. >> now, the 2012 republicans in
florida. it's the biggest battleground so far, and this could be the most important debate yet. from the university of north florida in jacksonville, this is the florida republican presidential debate. tonight, the four republican candidates are here to tell us why they're the most qualified to take on president barack obama. i'm wolf blitzer. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world and also want to thank our co-sponsors. the republican party of florida, and the hispanic leadership network. members of the florida republican party are here in the audience with us, and some of them will have a chance to question the candidates.
in addition, our sister network, cnn in espanol is stand big in miami with members of the hispanic leadership network who will also have a chance to question the candidates. it's now time to welcome the 2012 republican presidential contenders. joining us onstage, texas congressman ron paul. former massachusetts governor, mitt romney. the former speaker of the house, newt gingrich. and the former u.s. senator from
pennsylvania, rick santorum. ladies and gentlemen, the republican candidates for president of the united states. candidate, please, take your podiums while i tell you more about how this debate will work tonight. i'll be the moderator and as i mentioned our partners from the republican party of florida and the hispanic leadership network will also ask questions. i'll follow-up and try to guide the discussion. candidates, i'll try to make sure each of you gets your fair share of questions. you'll have one minute to answer. 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals and i'll certainly make sure you get time to respond if you're singled out for criticism. now the candidates, introduce yourselves to florida voters. please, keep it short. here's an sample. i'm wolf blitzer and i'm thrilled to here on on the
campus ever the university of north florida in jacksonville. senator santorum, let's begin with you. >> i'm rick santorum and i'm thrilled toer here on the campus of north florida. [ applause ] and i'm especially thrilled because i'm here way north florida resident who lives right down the beach from jacksonville. my mom, who's 93 years old is with me here tonight, and -- [ applause ] i better just stop right there. >> i'm newt gingrich from the neighboring state of georgia, i'm delighted to be in jacksonville which will be the site of the next nuclear aircraft carrier battle group.
>> i'm mitt romney, and i'm pleased to be here with my wife and my oldest son tag romney, we're the parents of five sons. five daughter-in-laws, 16 grandkids and it's great to be back in jacksonville. thank you. >> i am ron paul. i'm a congressman from texas, 12 terms. i am the champion of a sound monetary system a gold standard, as it is under the constitution, and a foreign policy based on strength which rejects the notion that we should be the policemen of the world and that we should be a nation builder. we need -- [ applause ] >> all right. let's start with a question from the audience. >> hello. can you tell me what specific
actions you'll take to address the costly consequences of illegal immigration, while preserving it's rights of those who seek to immigrate legally? >> senator santorum, let's take that question. but i also, in the course of that question, express your opinion on what we heard from governor romney, that self-deportation or illegal immigrants leaving the country v voluntarily is a possible solution? >> the possible solution i actually agree with governor romney. bottom line, we freed to enforce the laws of this country. we are a country of laws. people come to this country. my grandfather came to this country because he wanted to come to a country that respected him, and a country that respects you is a country that lives by the laws that they have. and the first act when they come to this country is to disobey a law is no a particularly welcome way to enter this country. i've said from the very beginning, we have to have a
country that not only do you respect the law when you come here, but respect the law when you stay here and people have come to this country illegally, have broken the law repeatedly. ful unless you're here on trust fund, working ill locally, probably stolen someone social security number illegally. it's not just one thing you've done wrong, a lot of things. as a result of that, i believe people should not be able to stay here, and so i think we need to enforce the law at the border, secure the border. secondly, we need to have employer enforce finance, everify and we need to have not only employer sanction gut people found working here illegally, they need to be deported nap is again, the principle of having a rule of law and living by it. i am very much in favor of immigration. my dad came to this country and i'm someone who believes that we need immigration. we are not replacing ourselves. we have, we need not only immigration for, to keep our population going but we need immigration, because immigrants bring a vitality and love of
this country that infuses this country with great energy and so i support legal immigration, but we freed to enforce the law and in fact, if you don't create an opportunity for people to work, they will leave, because they can't afford to stay here. >> speaker gingrich, you've suggested that self-deportation add advocated by governor romney is in your words, an abonable fantasy. why? >> you should control the border. i would do january 1 of 2014. fix legal immigration in terms of visas so people can come and go more easily than doing it illegally. also make deportation easier so when you deport people who shouldn't be here, 13 gang member, for example, very quick and very clear. we should have a guest worker program. probably american express, visa, mastercard, minimize fraud, which the federal government won't do, and i actually agree
the self-deportation will occur if you're single. only here a short time. there are millions of people who are faced with that would go back home, file for a guest worker program and might or might not come back. the one group i singled out, people that have been here a very long time, married, my well have children and grandchildren and i would suggest that grandmothers or grandfathers aren't likely to self-deport. then you've got a question. i offered a proposal. a citizen panel to review whether or not somebody who had been here a very long time who had family and who had an american family willing to sponsor them, should be allowed to get residency but not citizenship so that they would be able to stay within the law but would not have any chance of becoming a citizen, unless they went back home. i don't think grandmothers and grandfatherless self-deport. >> governor romney, the few time, i think only once they experimented with self-deportation. only a handful of individuals voluntarily left.
what makes you think that program could work? >> you just heard the last two speakers indicate they support the concept. simply, for those who come into the country legally, they would be given an identification card points out they're able to work here and have an everify system effective and efficient so em mothers dorm who is legally here and employers hire someone without a card or checking to see whether it's counterfeited, those employers severely sanctioned. if do you that, people who have come here illegally won't be able to find work and would tend to leave the country or self-deport. i don't think anyone is interested in rounding up people around the kubts and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants into america. now, let's look at, people say, isn't that unfair to those 11 million here? and lived their lives here? perhapsed raised children here? it's important to remember, there you three groups of people are concern to us. one of those that have come here legally. 11 million.
the second is a group of people brought over by co-yotte, many cases oh bused by she chew of coming in ill leelee and the third, 4 million to 50 million waiting am home's in their own mations trying to get here illegally. have family member here's asking them to come here. grandparents, uncle, aunts. those are the people we have a responsibility for. the second group, abuzed, we're concerned about them. focus our attention how to make legal immigration work and stop illegal immigration. >> all right. governor -- congressman paul, you're from texas. the state with the longest border with mexico. is this a viable option? what we just heard? >> well, talk about it, but i don't see it as being very practical. i think it's -- a much bigger problem. you can't deal with immigration without dealing with the economy. the weaker the economy and more resentment when illegals come in. if you have a healthy, vibrant economy, it's not a problem. we're usuallily looking for
workers. today's circumstances, a lot of business, looking for work aernsd don't have them. they're not at well trained here. also, the way we're handling our boreds is hurting our economy because the business people, you know, visitors have a hard time coming in. we don't have a well managed border. so i think we need more resources and most of the other candidates would agree we need more resources but where are the resources coming from? i have a suggestion. i think we spend way too much time worrying about the border between afghanistan and pakistan. use some of those resources on our own border. >> speaker gingrich, you had an ad, but pupped it this week, you described governor romney as the most anti-immigrant candidate. why did you do that? >> why did i describe him that way? because in the original conversations about deportation, the position i took which he attacked ferociously was that grandmothers and grandfathers aren't going to be successfully
deported. we as nation are not going to walk into some family, and by the way, end up in a church, which will declare them a sanctuary. we're not walking in there and grab a grandmother out and kick them out. you have to be realistic in your indignation. i want to control the border. i want english to be the official language of government. i want us to have a lot -- [ applause ] i am prepared to are very tough and bold but also prepared to be realistic you because i've actually will to pass ledge sflags washington and i don't believe, and on realistic promise is going to get through, but i do believe if there's some level of humanity for people who have been here a long time, we can pass legislation that will de reduce illegal tishgs decisively control the border and will once again mean the people who are in america are here legally. >> i just want to make sure i understood. he is still the most anti-immigrant candidate? >> of the four of us, yes. >> gd, governor. >> simply inexcusable.
and actually, senator marco rubio came to my defense and said that ad was inexcusable, infamiliarer to and inappropriate. my father was born in motion coe. my wife's father born in wales. they came to this country. the idea i'm anti-imsgrant repulsive. don't use a temple like that. you can sigh we disagree on certain policy fops say enforcing the u.s. law to protect our borders, to welcome people here legally, to expand legal immigration as i approved that that's somehow anti-immigrant? it's simply the kind of over the top rhetoric that has characterized american politics too long, and i'm glad that marco rubio called you out on it, glad you withdrew it. i think you should apologize for it and recognize having differences of opinions on issues does not justify labeling people with highly charged epithets. >> tell you what -- [ applause ]
>> i'll give you an opportunity positive self-describe. tell me what language you would use to describe somebody who thinks that deporting a grandmother or a grandfather from their family, just tell me the language. i'm perfectly happy to explain what language it is. >> mr. speaker i think i described following the law as it exists in this country, which it to say i'm not going around rounding peel up and deporting them. come here legally, get a work permit do not come here legally, do not get a work permit, those who don't get work will tend over time to self-deport. i'm not going to find grandmothers take them out of homes and deport them. those are your words, not mine words. to use that rhetoric suggests to people somehow if you're not willing to keep people here who violate the law you're anti-ip grant. nothing is further from the truth. i am pro-imgant and want people to come to america with skill, vitality and vibe bans. i want them to come legally.
grandmothers live on the other side of the border waiting to come here legally. i want them to come here too, not just those that are already here. >> so we have gone, we've gone from your washington attack when i first proposed this, and you said it was outrageous and a magnet to you're accepting the fact that a family's going to take care of their grandmother and grandfather. the idea that you're going to push them out in some form by simply say they go can't get a job. i think the grandmother will still be here. all i want to do, allow the grandmother to be here legally with some rights to have residency, not citizenship, so he or she can finish their life with dignity within the law. >> they're not 11 million -- there are not 11 -- or sprob not 11 million grandmothers. our problem is -- all right?
our problem is 11 million people getting jobs that many americans, legal immigrants, would like to have. it's schoolkids in schools districts are having a hard time paying for. people getting free health care because we're required under the law to provide that health care and the real concern, with he l people who want to gill legally. let's stop illegal immigration. >> the rhetoric on immigration, governor, has been intense, you well know. all for of you know. anyone who watches television knows. you've had an ad running saying that speaker gingrich calmed spanish "the clang of the ghetto." what do you mean by that? >> i haven't seen the ad. i'm sorry i don't get to see all the tv ads. did we say that? did you say that? >> i said we want everybody to learn english because -- i didn't use the word spanish. we do not want anyone trapped in a situation where they cannot get a commercial job, they cannot rise and virtually every parent of every ethnic group, there are 94 languages spoken,
by the way, in the miami-dade college. 94 languages. that's why i think english should be the official lack of governme language of government, and every american learning english and no one trapped in a linguistic situation where they can't get a job and ge out and work. as much as governor romney doesn't like my use ever language, i found his use of language and deliberate distortion equally offensive. >> i'd like -- i doubt that's my ad, but we'll take a look and find out. there are a bunch of ads organized by the people, but i think our position on english at our schools, in our nation is the same. which i believe english should be the official language of the united states, as it is. i also believe in our schools we should teach kids in english. when i was governor, i fought for, actually before i gas governor i fought for during by election a program top have english emergent in our schools so our kids could learn in
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let's take this question from miami, cnn espanol carlos lopez has a guest. >> at the viewing party for the hispanic leadership party and it really is party holding a yearly conference, and i'm joined by an attorney in miami, practices business and international law and has a question for the candidates. >> yes. good evening. the u.s. has been largely away in its foreign and trade policy with latin america. in the meantime, iran and china have been increasing their influence over an involvement in latin america through the leftist and left-leaning governments. what would each of you do as president to more deeply engage in latin america and importantly to support the governments and
the political parties that support democracy and free markets? >> congressman paul? >> i think free trade is the answer, free trade is an answer to a lot of conflicts around the world so i'm always promoting pretrade. y might add cuba. we'd be a lot better trading with cuba. i think the more can you do to promote free trade, the better off we'll be, but as far as us having an obligation, a military or financial obligation to go down and dictate to them what government they should have, i don't like that idea. i would work with the people, encourage free trade, and try to set a standard here where countries in central america or south america or any place in the world would want to emulate us and set the standards that we have. unfortunately, sometime wes slip up on our standards, and we go around the world and we try to force ourselves on others. i don't think the nations in
south america, central america, necessarily want us to come down there and dictate which government they should have, and yet i believe with friendship and trade, can you have a lot of influence, and i strongly believe that it's time we have friendship and trade with cuba. >> senator santorum, are you with congressman paul? >> no, i'm not with congressman paul and not with barack obama on this issue. our policy in central and south america under this add min installation been abysmal. the way we have treated in particular countries like honduras. honduras stood up for the rule ever law, threw out a would-be dictator using the chavez playbook from venezuela to try to run for re-election in honduras. the united states government instead of standing behind the pro-democracy, in the court, trying to enforce the constitution of honduras, instead of siding with them, the democrat, president obama sided with two other people in south america. excuse me.
central america and south america. chavez and castro and obama. sided against the people of honduras. this is a consistent policy of siding with the leftist, siding with the marxists, siding with those who don't support democracy. not standing up for our friends in colombia, for our friends who count to engage and support america. who want to be great trading partners and great allies for our country, to be able to form that kind of bond that is so essential in our own hemisphere. the european union understood how important it was for diverse people to be able to come together in an economic unit. we not only have to come together as an economic unit, but the threat of terrorism, the threat of iran now in venezuela and in other places and cuba and in nicaragua, the threat of radical islam growing in that region is as importance, absolutely important for to us have a person who understands that threats and understands the solution is closer ties. i will visit that area of the
world, repeatedly, to solidify those ties when i become president. >> let me let congressman paul quickly respond. >> the senator mentioned standing up for some of these nations but he doesn't define it but standing up for nations like this usually means that we impose ourselves, go and pick the dictators, undermine certain governments. also sending them a lot of money. it doesn't work. most of the time this backfires. they resent us. we can achieve what he wants in a much different way than us using the bully attitude you will do it our way. this is the -- this is not a benefit to us, and besides, where are you going get the troops and the money? because you're talking about force. and i know a much better way than using force get along with people. >> i don't know where -- i don't know what answer congressman paul was listening to. he obviously wasn't listening to my answer.
what i talked about is bidding strong economic relationships, strong national security relationships. no one's talking about force. nobody's talking about going into cubao venezuela. 9 other countries in the region, which are influenced greatly by those countries, tending and moving towards the militant socialists instead of the united states. why? because we've ignored them. the president of the united states held a colombian free trade agreement. clon colombia, working against the narco terrorists standing up against chavez. what did we do? for political purposes the president of the united states sided with organized labor and the environmental groups answer hung colombia out to dry three years. we cannot do that to our friends in south america. >> we're going to come back to this and cuba as well. stand by for are that. we did double check just now, governor nap ad we talked about where i quoted you as saying
that speaker gingrich calmed spanish the language of the ghetto. just double checked. it was weren't of your ads running near florida, and i'm on the radio, and at theened you say, i'm mitt romney and i approved this ad. it is -- it is here. >> let me ask you a question -- let me ask the speaker a question. did you say what the ad says or not? i don't know. >> taken totally out of context. >> he said t. i did not say it about spanish. i said in general. about all languages. we are better for children to learn english in general. period. >> let's take a look at what he said. >> all right. we have a very important subject. housing. not only here in florida, foreclosures really, really bad, but all over the country and a lot of people are wondering if the federal government contributed to the housing collapse in recent years. we got a question that came in to us, and let me put it up there and i'll read it to you. how would you phase out fanny
mae and freddie mac? does the private mortgage industry he's in additional regulation? from william schmidt, governor romney? >> i think you know fannie mae and freddie mac were a big part of why we have the housing crisis in the nation that we have,ened we've had this discussion before. speaker gingrich was hired by freddie mac to promote them. to influence other people throughout washington, encouraging them to not to dismantle these two entities. "normous mistake. i think instead we should have had as withing blower, not a horn tooter. saying they were causing a housing collapse we've seen in florida and around the country. are that he problem today? absolute absolutely. offering mortgages again to people who weren't possibly repay them, creating another housing bubble which will hurt the american people. the right course for our housing industry is to get people back to work so they can buy homes
again. we have 9.9% unemployment in florida. it's unthinkable. 18% real unemployment here. get people back to work, we'll get people into home, get foreclosures out of the system. let people get into home, rent properties if necessary and get america's housing industry growing again. >> speaker gingrich? >> let me start by saying florida is one of the two or three most hard-hit states on foreclosures. how many of you know somebody who's had a house foreclosed? just raise your hand. raise your hand. okay. the governor are has cheerfully -- the governor cheerfully has been attacking me inaccurately he knows it. the contractses released from freddie mac, said i would do no consulting, no lobbying, none. there's a moral to the story. we began digging in after monday night. i've had enough of this. discovered to our shock, governor romney owns shares of both fannie mae and freddie mac. governor romney made $1 million
often of selling some of them. governor romney has an investment in goldman sachs which is today foreclosing on floridians. maybe governor romney in the spirit of openness should tell us how much money he's made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments? let's be clear about that. >> this is fine. first of all. my investment, not made by me. my investments for the last ten years have been in a blind trust manageed by a trustee. secondly, the investments that they've made, we learned about this making our financial disclosure, in mutual funds and bonds. i don't own stock in either fannie mae or freddie mac. there are bonds that the investors has held through mutual funds. and mr. speaker i know that sounds like an enormous revelation. you have checked your own investments? you also have investments through mutual funds that also invest in fannie mae and freddie mac. >> right.
>> let me -- let me finish. i've got more time. let me just continue. there's a big difference between buying u.s. savings bonds and getting a return. that's not taking money out of the united states. that's loaning money to the united states. and what my trustee did is he loaned money to fannie mae and freddie mac. and they got paid interest, of course, just like if you buy u.s. savings bonds. but what the speaker did was to work as a spokesman to promote fannie mae and freddie mac. to protect them from those people that wanted to take them down. he got paid $1.6 pll to do that. said his first contract indicated there would be no lobbying, but his second contract didn't have that prescription taken out of it and so you have to ask yourself, why is that? what he was doing was clearly promoting fannie mae and freddie mac in this case, freddie mac, to the tune of $1.6 million. that is one of the reasons we're in the trouble we're in. >> first of all, notice that the
governor wasn't aware of the ad he was running. he's not aware of the investments made in his name. >> of course i -- a blind trust. >> and my investments with his, comparing a tuinei mouse with a giant elephant. the fact is -- that there is a very substantial question. you didn't give instructions to say, gee, let's not do this or let's not do that. you're very quick to draw the widest possible exaggeration. the fact is the only time i ever spoke to the congress about this issue was in july of 2008, the "new york times" reported it. i told the republicans in the house, vote no. do not give them any money. they need to be reformed and answering it's question earlier i would break each of them up into five or six separate units and over a five-year period wean from them all federal sponsorship because we need to get away from those gigantic systems. >> a follow-up question to you, but specifically, it seems they both acknowledge, both made
money from fannie and freddie. should they return that money? >> that subject really doesn't interest me a whole lot. but the question does. the question is what are we going to do about fannie mae and freddie mac? should have been auctioned off right after the crash came. it would have been trashed by now, sold. but maybe it's my physician background, but i think, an ounce ever prevention is what we ought to talk about so we quit doing this, but we know how the bubble came about. it was excessive credit, interest rates held too low too lon. the federal reserve responsible for that. community reinvestment act, affirmative action telling banks they have to make risky loans at the same time there was a line of credit which allows fannie mae and freddie mac to you know, make more money. and it was -- it was assumed they would always be protected. now, you can't argue.
i've talk add long time about cutting off that credit from the fed. i was trying to prevent this stuff. also, i apposed community reinvestment act as well as i had legislation in ten years before the bus came to remove that line of credit to the -- to the treasury. >> senator santorum? >> i would say in answer to the question that as i mentioned last debate, in 2006 i went out and authored a letter with 24 our senators asking for major reform of freddie and fannie. warning of a meltdown and a bubble in the housing market. stood out. i stood tall and tried to get a reform and we couldn't do it. the reform we need, gradually decrease the amounts of more gooch that can be financed by freddie, underwrit bein freddie and fannie overtime. reduce that until we get rid of fannie and freddie. the bigger issue here is, these two gentlemen who are out distractsing from the most important issue wes have playing meti personal politics. can we sets a aside that newt
was a member of congress and used the skills that he developed as member of congress to go out and advise companies and that's not the worst thing in the world and that mitt romney is a wealthy guy because he worked hard and is going out working hard. leave that alone and focus on the issues. >> we're going to take a quick break but have a lot more to discuss. coming up, the debate questions. the final frontier. going to space. stay with us.