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by
Bryan Preston

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September 7, 2011 - 7:07 pm

PERRY: As I said, that is — that was a philosophical statement that Americans don’t want to see their young men and women going into foreign countries without a clear reason that American interests are at stake. And they want to see not only a clear entrance; they want to see a clear exit strategy, as well.

We should never put our young men and women’s lives at risk when American interests are not clearly defined by the president of the United States, and that’s one of the problems this president is doing today.

HARRIS: Congresswoman Bachmann, on the same theme, you opposed the U.S. intervention in Libya. If President Obama had taken the same view, Gadhafi would, in all likelihood, still be in power today.

To be clear, are you advocating a shift away from the George W. Bush freedom agenda with its emphasis on removing dictators from power and promoting human rights?

BACHMANN: Well, I want to say, as devastating as our economy is with the policies of Barack Obama, I think that he has actually weakened us militarily and with the United States presence globally. We have, for many years, maintained global order in the world with our United States military. We have the finest military. But in this last debt ceiling debate, one of the alternatives that came forward that we’re going to be looking at with this new super committee of 12 different members of Congress is to see that our military could be hit with a huge reduction in resources.

The president has not done what he needs to do to keep the United States safe. If you look at the biggest issue in the Middle East, it’s a nuclear Iran, and the president has taken his eyes off that prize.

As a matter of fact, what he’s done is he’s said, in fact, to Israel that, they need to shrink back to their indefensible 1967 borders. I sit on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. We deal with the nation’s classified secrets. And I firmly believe that the president of the United States has weakened us militarily and put us more at risk than at any time.

HARRIS: Congresswoman, time. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

HARRIS: I just want to follow up on that. The Arab Spring is a big, big issues in the world. And the question is, what role does the U.S. have, including militarily, to promote democracy and topple dictators? I didn’t hear your answer with respect to Libya.

BACHMANN: Well, I believe that it was wrong for the president to go into Libya. Number one, his own secretary of defense, Gates, said that there was no American vital interest in Libya. If there is no vital interest, that doesn’t even meet the threshold of the first test for military involvement.

The other thing is, we didn’t know who the rebel forces were in Libya. Take a look at where we’re at in Libya today.

Take a look at the oil revenues. We don’t know if they will get in the hands of people who will have designs on radical Islam and the implication of a global caliphate. These are very serious issues, and I think it was wrong for the president of the United States to go into Libya.

(APPLAUSE)

WILLIAMS: Senator Santorum, your reaction to Congresswoman Bachmann’s stand on what we’re watching take place in Libya right up until tonight.

SANTORUM: Well, we’re in the Reagan Library, and I’m hearing from at least a couple of people on this panel a very isolationist view of where the Republican Party should be headed about pulling troops out with Governor Huntsman and with Ron Paul.

The bottom line is, Ronald Reagan was committed to America being a force for good around the world. We were a society that believed in ourselves and believed that we can spread our vision to the rest of the world and make this country a safer country as a result of it.

We didn’t have missions where we put exit strategies saying this date is when we’re going to leave. We didn’t say that we are the problem and the cause of the problems that confront us around the world.

We were — we are a source for good. We could have been a source for good from the very get-go in Libya, but this president was indecisive and confused from the very beginning. He only went along with the Libyan mission because the United Nations told him to, which is something that Ronald Reagan would have melted like the old Wicked Witch of the West before he would have allowed that to happen.

WILLIAMS: Senator, time.

SANTORUM: This is a very important issue for our party. Are we going to stand in the Reagan tradition, or are we going to go the isolationist view that some in this party are advocating?

WILLIAMS: Time.

HARRIS: Governor Huntsman, I’d like to get to you. I’ve got a question. Your chief political adviser has been quoted very prominently as describing the Republican Party as “a bunch of cranks,” and said your opponents on the stage “make a buffet of crazy and inane comments.” I’m sure that’s insulting to some of these people up here.

We’re now here face to face. Tell us which one of these people are saying crazy or inane things.

XXX  keeping us in.

 

HARRIS:  Thank you.

 

WILLIAMS:  To my colleague, Jose Diaz-Balart.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

 

HARRIS:  Thank you.

 

WILLIAMS:  This is — we’re going to take our final break now.

 

When we come back, the final portion of our debate from the Reagan Presidential Library, right after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

WILLIAMS:  We are back.  And as we said, this is the final portion of our debate.  The campaigns have told us they wish not to have anything called anything close to a lightning round, but let’s just say we’d like the frequency and velocity of the questions to quicken in this segment.  We’ll try to move it along and fit a lot in.

 

Starting with you, Governor Romney, are you a member of the Tea Party?

 

ROMNEY:  I don’t think you carry cards in the Tea Party.  I believe in a lot of what the Tea Party believes in.  The Tea Party believes that government’s too big, taxing too much, and that we ought to get — get to the work of getting Americans to work.

 

So I put together a plan with a whole series of points of how we can get America’s economy going again.  Tea Party people like that. So if the Tea Party is for keeping government small and spending down, and helping us create jobs, then, hey, I’m for the Tea Party.

 

WILLIAMS:  Governor Perry, you missed this at the last debate. At the previous debate, everyone on stage raised their hand to say they would — I want to get this exactly right — not have accepted a debt deal that included $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.

We’ve been anxious to get you on the record now that you have jumped into this.  Would you take that deal?

 

PERRY:  I join my fellow participants here.  What we should have been looking at is a way to get the spending under control and capping it, cutting it, and getting a balanced budget amendment.  When you get a balanced budget amendment in Washington, D.C., you will finally start

getting the snake’s head cut off.        I mean, the fact of the matter

is, until you get a balanced budget amendment — I don’t care whether Democrats or Republicans are going to be in control in Washington, D.C.

– balanced budget amendment, and then the American people can go to sleep at night with a little more comfort that they’re going to wake up and not be broke in the morning.

 

WILLIAMS:  Did anyone else who had their hand up at that last debate want to amend your comment or vote since then?  Congresswoman Bachmann?

 

BACHMANN:  Well, I wanted to say is, there’s someone else who would join us in that agreement, and that would be Ronald Reagan, because Ronald Reagan made a deal where he took $3 in — in spending cuts for $1 in tax increases.  And, in fact, what happened is that there ended up being $3 in tax increases and $1 in tax cuts.

 

That’s the problem with Washington, D.C.  I’ve seen it all the time.  That’s why I’ve been leading on this issue for the last five years and why we can’t trust the status quo in Washington, D.C.

 

We have to have a president with a core sense of conviction that’s going to fight on these issues and recognize.  And so we would — we would welcome the former president to this club.

 

WILLIAMS:  Governor Huntsman, you’ve said some interesting things about pledges.  Everyone up here has taken a pledge not to raise taxes.

Dangerous business to you?

 

HUNTSMAN:  I’d love to get everybody to sign a pledge to take no pledges.  I — I have a pledge to my wife, and I pledge allegiance to my country, but beyond that, no pledges.  I think it diminishes the political discussion.  I think it jeopardizes your ability to lead once you get there.

 

And I started when I approached, when I first ran for governor in 2004, as someone who wanted to pin me down on taxes, I said, no thanks, I’m not going to sign it.  I didn’t raise taxes.  We had historic tax cuts in our state.  So look at somebody’s record.  That’s always a pretty good indicator and barometer of where they’re likely to go.

 

WILLIAMS:  I want to go back to your comments on 9/11 to ask kind of an obvious follow-up.  Do you think we’re safer today?

 

HUNTSMAN:  I think we’ve lost our confidence as a country.  I think we have had our innocence shattered.  I think, 10 years later, we look at the situation and we say, we have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.

This is not about nation-building in Afghanistan.  This is about nation-building at home.

 

Our core is broken.  We are weak.  We have got to strengthen ourselves.  I say we’ve got to bring those troops home.

 

(APPLAUSE)      In Afghanistan — in Afghanistan, the reality is it

is an asymmetrical counterterror effort.  We need intelligence.  We need special forces.  And we need some training on the ground.

 

But I think one way to commemorate our 10-year anniversary of 9/11, remembering the 3,000-plus people who died in New York and in Pennsylvania and in Washington, is to say it’s time for this country to set a goal for ourselves:  We’re going to get our core fixed. We’re going to do some nation-building right here at home.

 

WILLIAMS:  Time, Governor.

 

Governor Romney, would you agree that there’s a crisis of confidence in the United States right now?

 

ROMNEY:  Oh, absolutely.  People are convinced that we’re going to go into another recession.  I sure hope we don’t.  People are worried about whether they can make their bills at the end of the month.  A lot of folks have stopped looking for work.  People who have jobs are worried they might lose their jobs.

 

Look, we have — we have a crisis in confidence in part because we have an absence of leadership.  We selected as a president a guy who had never worked in the private sector, a person who’d never been a leader, who’d never been able to get anything moving, and — and we said, let’s let this guy run the country, and he’s — he’s just over his head, and right now, he’s flailing about.  We’ll see his plan tomorrow; it will be more like the plans in the past.

 

We need to have an individual lead this country who not only loves America, but has the experience to get us back on track of being competitive globally.  That’s — I put together — I want to make it very clear — I put together an outline of what it takes to get America back on the right track.  It’s a whole series of changes that have to occur, from energy policy, to tax policy, regulatory policy, changes in our trade policies.

 

We’ve got to change the way we’re — we’re structured economically if we want to get people back to work in this country and keep America as we’ve always been, this extraordinary job machine.  We can be the best place in the world to be in the middle class again, with jobs plentiful for our kids and for each one of us that are looking for those jobs today.  I know how to do that.  And that’s why I’m in this race.

 

WILLIAMS:  Time, Governor.

 

To John Harris.

 

HARRIS:  Governor Perry, as we approach the 9/11 anniversary, I’d like to stick with national security for a moment.  You recently said, quote, “I do not believe that America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism.”  Looking back, do you think President George W. Bush was too quick to launch military intervention without thinking through the risks?

 

PERRY:  I was making a comment about a philosophy; I don’t think America needs to be in the business of adventurism.

 

But let me just say something about the president of the United States.  And I know he’s — he’s taken lots of slings and arrows here today.  But one thing that I want to say that he did do that I agree with is that he maintained the — the chase and — and we took out a very bad man in the form of bin Laden, and I — and I tip my hat to him.

 

I give more props to those Navy SEALs that did the job, but — and the other thing this president’s done, he has proven for once and for all that government spending will not create one job.  Keynesian policy and Keynesian theory is now done.  We’ll never have to have that experiment on America again.

 

And I might add that he kept Gitmo open against the will of his base, and I’m glad he did that.  America’s safer for it.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

HARRIS:  Sir, just if I could quickly follow on that, you said you were making a philosophical comment, but it’s hard to understand philosophy without understanding specifics.  Where are some of the places where you think we’ve seen military adventurism?

XXX  seen military adventurism?

 

PERRY:  As I said, that is — that was a philosophical statement that Americans don’t want to see their young men and women going into foreign countries without a clear reason that American interests are at stake.  And they want to see not only a clear entrance; they want to see a clear exit strategy, as well.

 

We should never put our young men and women’s lives at risk when American interests are not clearly defined by the president of the United States, and that’s one of the problems this president is doing today.

 

HARRIS:  Congresswoman Bachmann, on the same theme, you opposed the U.S. intervention in Libya.  If President Obama had taken the same view, Gadhafi would, in all likelihood, still be in power today.

 

To be clear, are you advocating a shift away from the George W. Bush freedom agenda with its emphasis on removing dictators from power and promoting human rights?

 

BACHMANN:  Well, I want to say, as devastating as our economy is with the policies of Barack Obama, I think that he has actually weakened us militarily and with the United States presence globally. We have, for many years, maintained global order in the world with our United States military.  We have the finest military.  But in this last debt ceiling debate, one of the alternatives that came forward that we’re going to be looking at with this new super committee of 12 different members of Congress is to see that our military could be hit with a huge reduction in resources.

 

The president has not done what he needs to do to keep the United States safe.  If you look at the biggest issue in the Middle East, it’s a nuclear Iran, and the president has taken his eyes off that prize.

 

As a matter of fact, what he’s done is he’s said, in fact, to Israel that, they need to shrink back to their indefensible 1967 borders.  I sit on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  We deal with the nation’s classified secrets.  And I firmly believe that the president of the United States has weakened us militarily and put us more at risk than at any time.

 

HARRIS:  Congresswoman, time.  Thank you.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

HARRIS:  I just want to follow up on that.  The Arab Spring is a big, big issues in the world.  And the question is, what role does the U.S. have, including militarily, to promote democracy and topple dictators?  I didn’t hear your answer with respect to Libya.

 

BACHMANN:  Well, I believe that it was wrong for the president to go into Libya.  Number one, his own secretary of defense, Gates, said that

there was no American vital interest in Libya.   If there is no vital

interest, that doesn’t even meet the threshold of the first test for military involvement.

 

The other thing is, we didn’t know who the rebel forces were in Libya.  Take a look at where we’re at in Libya today.

 

Take a look at the oil revenues.  We don’t know if they will get in the hands of people who will have designs on radical Islam and the implication of a global caliphate.  These are very serious issues, and I think it was wrong for the president of the United States to go into Libya.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

WILLIAMS:  Senator Santorum, your reaction to Congresswoman Bachmann’s stand on what we’re watching take place in Libya right up until tonight.

 

SANTORUM:  Well, we’re in the Reagan Library, and I’m hearing from at least a couple of people on this panel a very isolationist view of where the Republican Party should be headed about pulling troops out with Governor Huntsman and with Ron Paul.

 

The bottom line is, Ronald Reagan was committed to America being a force for good around the world.  We were a society that believed in ourselves and believed that we can spread our vision to the rest of the world and make this country a safer country as a result of it.

 

We didn’t have missions where we put exit strategies saying this date is when we’re going to leave.  We didn’t say that we are the problem and the cause of the problems that confront us around the world.

 

We were — we are a source for good.  We could have been a source for good from the very get-go in Libya, but this president was indecisive and confused from the very beginning.  He only went along with the Libyan mission because the United Nations told him to, which is something that Ronald Reagan would have melted like the old Wicked Witch of the West before he would have allowed that to happen.

 

WILLIAMS:  Senator, time.

 

SANTORUM:  This is a very important issue for our party.  Are we going to stand in the Reagan tradition, or are we going to go the isolationist view that some in this party are advocating?

 

WILLIAMS:  Time.

 

HARRIS:  Governor Huntsman, I’d like to get to you.  I’ve got a

question.      Your chief political adviser has been quoted very

prominently as describing the Republican Party as “a bunch of cranks,”

and said your opponents on the stage “make a buffet of crazy and inane comments.” I’m sure that’s insulting to some of these people up here.

 

We’re now here face to face.  Tell us which one of these people are saying crazy or inane things.

HUNTSMAN: Well, I’m sure you have John Weaver’s telephone number. You can go ahead and give him a call.

 

HARRIS: OK.

 

HUNTSMAN: But let me just say –

 

HARRIS: Well — hand on. Let’s follow up on that, because you speak for yourself.

 

You yourself have said the party is in danger of becoming anti- science. Who on this stage is anti-science?

 

HUNTSMAN: Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I’m saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science. We can’t run from mainstream conservative philosophy. We’ve got to win voters.

 

We’ve got to do what I did as governor, when I was re-elected. We reached out and we brought in independents. I got independents. I got conservative Democrats. If we’re going to win in 2012, we’ve got to make sure that we have somebody who can win based upon numbers of the math that will get us there. And by making comments that basically don’t reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.

 

Number two, we’ve got to have somebody who can lead. This president was successful in getting elected. He can’t lead this country. He can’t even lead his own party.

 

I’m here to tell you: I can get elected. I can bring the numbers together to make this successful in 2012. And I can lead based upon where I’ve been as governor.

 

HARRIS: Governor Perry — Governor Perry, Governor Huntsman were not specific about names, but the two of you do have a difference of opinion about climate change. Just recently in New Hampshire, you said that weekly and even daily scientists are coming forward to question the idea that human activity is behind climate change. Which scientists have you found most credible on this subject?

 

PERRY: Well, I do agree that there is — the science is — is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at — at — at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just — is nonsense. I mean, it — I mean — and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

 

But the fact is, to put America’s economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country is not good economics and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.

 

HARRIS: Just to follow up quickly. Tell us how you’ve done that.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

Are there specific — specific scientists or specific theories that you’ve found especially compelling, as you…

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

PERRY: Let me tell you what I find compelling, is what we’ve done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade. Nitrous oxide levels, down by 57 percent. Ozone levels down by 27 percent.

 

That’s the way you need to do it, not by some scientist somewhere saying, “Here is what we think is happening out there.” The fact of the matter is, the science is not settled on whether or not the climate change is being impacted by man to the point where we’re going to put America’s economics in jeopardy.

 

WILLIAMS: Governor, time.

 

Congresswoman Bachmann, a question about energy, back to that subject for a moment. Were you quoted correctly — and do you stand by it — as wanting to drill in the Everglades in Florida?

 

BACHMANN: The question was asked of me about that. And what I said is we have American energy resources all across this nation. And, of course, we would do it responsibly. That was my response at the time.

 

And on this issue on human — human activity as being the cause of climate change, I think it’s important to note that the president recognized how devastating the EPA has been in their rulemaking, so much so that the president had to suspend current EPA rules that would have led to the shutting down of potentially 20 percent of all of America’s coal plants.

 

Coal is the source that brings 45 percent of America’s electricity. What we’re seeing is that a political agenda is being advanced instead of a scientific agenda. And this is leading to the — to massive numbers of jobs being lost.

 

The president told us he wanted to be like Spain when it came to green job creation, and yet Spain has one of the highest levels of unemployment. The president is bringing that here in the United States. And I think tomorrow night, when the nation tunes in to the president, I’m afraid that we won’t be seeing permanent solution. I’m afraid what we’ll be seeing are temporary gimmicks and more of the same that he’s given before.

 

WILLIAMS: Congresswoman, time.

 

Speaker Gingrich, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, will come to the end of his term in 2014. Would you reappoint Ben Bernanke?

 

GINGRICH: I would fire him tomorrow.

 

WILLIAMS: Why?

 

GINGRICH: I think he’s been the most inflationary, dangerous, and power-centered chairman of the Fed in the history of the Fed. I think the Fed should be audited. I think the amount of money that he has shifted around in secret, with no responsibility, no — no — no accountability, no transparency, is absolutely antithetical to a free society. And I think his policies have deepened the depression, lengthened the problems, increased the cost of gasoline, and been a disaster.

 

I want to take the rest of my time, Brian, to go back to a question you asked that was very important. We were asked the wrong question at the last debate. The question isn’t, would we favor a tax increase? The question is, how would we generate revenue?

 

There are three good ways. The Ronald Reagan technique put 3,700,000 more people back to work as of last Friday. You reduce government spending. You raise government revenues enormously. The committee of 12 ought to be looking at, how do you create more revenue, not how do you raise taxes.

 

Second, you go to energy, exactly as Michele Bachmann has said. You open up American energy, $500 billion a year here at home, enormous increase in federal revenue.

 

Third, we own — with all due respect, Governor — we own 69 percent of Alaska. That’s one-and-a-half Texases. Now, let’s set half of Texas — let’s set a half Texas aside for national parks. We could liberate an area the size of Texas for minerals and other development. That would raise even more revenue, not the normal Washington viewpoint.

 

WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, time. Governor Romney…

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

… you — you often here this figure, 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, and — and the promised effort underway soon, at least, in Washington to correct that. Isn’t some of this argument semantics? And won’t the effort to correct that be a de facto tax increase? ROMNEY: You know, I must admit, I have a bit of a hard time with the idea that there are people who don’t feel like they’re supporting our troops by contributing tax revenue through — through the income tax or through other tax vehicles.

 

I don’t want to raise taxes on the American people, but I think everybody ought to feel that they’re part of this effort and that they’re providing for our military, providing for our roads, providing for our schools. That ought to be part of what — what every American experiences.

 

But right now, the question is not the people at the — that are not paying taxes at the low end. The question is not the people who are very, very rich. The question is, how about middle-income Americans?

 

Who are the people most hurt by the Obama economy? And the answer is the middle class. The great majority of Americans are having a very, very difficult time. And our effort has to be to find ways to reduce to burden on those people.

 

And that’s why I’ve proposed that anybody who’s earning $200,000 a year and less ought to be able to save their money tax-free, no tax on interest, dividends, or capital gains. Let people save their money, invest in America, and not have to give more money to the government. The middle class needs our help.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

WILLIAMS: Would Ben Bernanke have a job in your administration?

 

ROMNEY: No, I’d be looking for somebody new. I’m — I think Ben Bernanke has — has over-inflated the amount of currency that he’s created. QE2 did not work. It did not get Americans back to work. It did not get the economy going again. We’re still seeing declining numbers in prior quarter estimates as to what the — the growth would be. We’re growing now at 1 percent to 1.5 percent.

 

The plan I put forward just two days ago in Nevada will grow our economy at 4 percent per year for four years and add — add — 11.5 million jobs. That’s a very different approach than Ben Bernanke’s taken, and it’s a demonstrably different approach than Barack Obama has taken, and that’s in part because we have very different life experiences.

 

WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you…

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

 

PERRY: No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which — when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that’s required.

 

But in the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed.

 

WILLIAMS: What do you make of…

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?

 

PERRY: I think Americans understand justice. I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of — of cases, supportive of capital punishment. When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens — and it’s a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don’t want you to commit those crimes against our citizens. And if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.

 

HARRIS: Mr. Cain, Mr. Cain, I’d like to get you into this tax discussion we’ve had recently.

 

CAIN: Yes.

 

HARRIS: The General Electric Corporation last year — this is a prominent case — made $14.2 billion in profits worldwide, but paid no U.S. taxes. Perfectly legal, but does it strike you as fair?

 

CAIN: This is why I proposed my 9-9-9 plan. The government needs to get out of the business of picking winners and losers. The government needs to get out of the business of trying to figure out who gets a tax break here, who gets a tax break there.

 

When you go to 9-9-9, it levels the playing field for all businesses. What a novel idea. And the government won’t be in the business of trying to determine who’s going to be able to make more money and pay no taxes and vice versa.

 

Secondly, this recession is the worst recession since the Great Depression. If the recovery that this administration claims would just tie for last place, we would have another 6 million jobs. If it would tie for the recovery that took place in the ’80s under President Reagan, we’d have 12 million more jobs out there, which would be music to the ears of the 14 million people looking for jobs. The president simply does not understand that the business sector is the engine for economic growth.

 

WILLIAMS: Congressman Paul, a long time ago…

 

(APPLAUSE) A long time ago, a fellow Texan of yours, a young student teacher in Cotulla, Texas, was horrified to see young kids coming into the classroom hungry, some of them with distended bellies because of hunger. He made a vow that if he ever had anything to do about it, the government would provide meals, hot meals at best, in schools. The young student teacher, of course, was — later went on to be President Lyndon Johnson. Do you think that is any more — providing nutrition at schools for children — a role of the federal government?

 

PAUL: Well, I’m sure, when he did that, he did it with local government, and there’s no rules against that. That’d be fine. So that doesn’t imply that you want to endorse the entire welfare state. You imply (ph) I’d endorse all welfare (ph). Any time I challenge it, you’re going to challenge the whole welfare system.

 

No. It isn’t authorized in the Constitution for us to run a welfare state. And it doesn’t work. All it’s filled up with is mandates. And the mandates are what we’re objecting to. I want to repeal all the mandates.

 

But, yes, if there are poor people in Texas, we have a responsibility — I’d like to see it voluntary as possible — but under our Constitution, our states have that right — if they feel the obligation, they have a perfect right to.

 

So don’t always try to turn around and say that we who believe in liberty, we lack compassion, because we who believe in liberty and understand the market, we’re the only ones that really understand how people are taken care of, how they are fed, and how people have jobs. It’s the market. It’s never the government that does it.

 

So this whole idea that there’s something wrong with people who don’t lavish out free stuff from the federal government somehow aren’t compassionate enough. I resist those accusations.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

WILLIAMS: Congressman, thank you.

 

Somewhat — somewhat hard to believe. The campaigns have notified us we’re actually a few minutes over the time we were allotted for tonight, and so our questioning will have to come to an end, with hearty thanks to so many people, most notably the candidates here on stage, but to the good folks here at the Reagan Library, the Reagan Foundation, notably, Mrs. Reagan.

 

To our partners in all of this, Politico, my partner in the questioning, John here, thank you very much. Terrific.

 

And thank you all for watching. Our coverage will continue. One of the few things you can count on, we’ll be back at this. There will be many more of these discussions. That wraps up our live coverage of this portion of the debate from Southern California.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

END

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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