The PJ Tatler

GOP Debate Transcript Part 2

NBC is sending the transcript out in chunks (and thank you NBC for sending them out). Here are the second and third chunks. Again the formatting is probably glitchy — speed over beauty. -bp

 

XXX talked about, HPV.

 

BACHMANN: Well, what I’m very concerned about is the issue of parental rights. I think when it comes to dealing with children, it’s the parents who need to make that decision. It is wrong for government, whether it’s state or federal government, to impose on parents what they must do to inoculate their children. This is very serious, and I think that it’s very important, again, that parents have the right.

 

Educational reform is another area. That’s where I cut my teeth in politics, was being involved in educational reform, because the problem you see is one of framing.

 

It’s the idea, should the federal government control these areas, or should parents and localities control these areas? We have the best results when we have the private sector and when we have the family involved. We have the worst results when the federal government gets involved, and especially by dictate to impose something like an inoculation on an innocent 12-year-old girl.

 

I would certainly oppose that.

 

HARRIS: Thank you.

 

Governor Perry, we’ve had candidates talking about you. Let’s hear from you.

 

PERRY: I kind of feel like the pinata here at the party, so…

 

HARRIS: Welcome.

 

PERRY: But here’s the facts of that issue. There was an opt-out in that piece of — it wasn’t legislation. It was an executive order.

 

I hate cancer. We passed a $3 billion cancer initiative that same legislative session of which we’re trying to find over the next 10 years cures to cancers. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV. We wanted to bring that to the attention of these thousands of — of — of — tens of thousands of young people in our state. We allowed for an opt-out.

 

I don’t know what’s more strong for parental rights than having that opt-out. There’s a long list of diseases that cost our state and cost our country. It was on that list.

 

Now, did we handle it right? Should we have talked to the legislature first before we did it? Probably so. But at the end of the day, I will always err on the side of saving lives.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

HARRIS: Senator Santorum, one final note on this book, “Fed Up.” Governor Perry says in his book that it was, quote, “unprincipled” for Republicans to vote in favor of creating the Department of Homeland Security. You were one of those Republicans who voted yes. Respond.

 

SANTORUM: We created the Department of Homeland Security because there was a complete mess in the internal — in protecting our country. We had all sorts of agencies that had conflicting authority. We had no information sharing that was going on. This was right after 9/11. We saw the problems created as a result of 9/11. And we put together a plan to try to make sure that there was better coordination.

 

I want to get back to this Gardasil issue. You know, we have — Governor Perry’s out there and — and claiming about state’s rights and state’s rights. How about parental rights being more important than state’s rights? How about having, instead of an opt-out, an opt- in?

 

If you really cared, you could make the case, instead of forcing me, as a parent — and I have seven children, too, the wide receivers here have — have — on the ends here have — have — have seven children each — but I am offended that — that the government would tell me — and by an executive order, without even going through the process of letting the people have any kind of input. I would expect this from President Obama; I would not expect this from someone who’s calling himself a conservative governor.

 

HARRIS: Time.

 

Governor Romney, you’ve been listening to this exchange. Who’s got the better end of it?

 

ROMNEY: You know, I believe in parental rights and parental responsibility for our kids. My guess is that Governor Perry would like to do it a different way second time through. We’ve each get — we’ve each taken a mulligan or two. And — and my guess is that that’s something you’d probably do a little differently the second time. He just said he’d rather do it through legislation second time through.

 

And I recognize he wanted very badly to provide better health care to his kids and to prevent the spread of cancer. I agree with — with those who said he went about it in the wrong way, but I think his heart was in the right place.

 

Right now, we have people who on this stage care very deeply about this country. We love America. America is in crisis. We have some differences between us, but we agree that this president’s got to go. This president is a nice guy. He doesn’t have a clue how to get this country working again. And — and…

 

(APPLAUSE) GINGRICH: Brian?

 

WILLIAMS: Speaker Gingrich, 30 seconds. I have another line of questioning. Go ahead.

 

GINGRICH: Yeah, I just want to go back, frankly, to the homeland security question, because it’s important for us to confront this. I helped develop the model for homeland security. It hasn’t been executed well.

 

The fact is, we have enemies who want to use weapons against us that will lead to disasters on an enormous scale. And the original goal was to have a Homeland Security Department that could help us withstand up to three nuclear events in one morning.

 

And we need to understand, there are people out there who want to kill us. And if they have an ability to sneak in weapons of mass destruction, they’re going to use them. We need to overhaul and reform the department, but we need some capacity to respond to massive events that could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans in one morning.

 

WILLIAMS: Congressman Paul, this same line. You want to demolish the TSA. What would exist in its place?

 

PAUL: With the airlines that are responsible for carrying their cargo and their passengers. I mean, why — why should we assume that a bureaucracy can do better? And look at the monstrosity we have at the airports. These TSA agents are abusive. Sometimes they’re accused of all kinds of sexual activities on the way they maul people at the airport. So the airlines could do that.

 

WILLIAMS: I’ll give them your best at LAX tonight.

 

PAUL: The — you know, I would — I would think the airlines should treat passengers as well as a company that hauls money around, and they — they protect their money. They have private guards. And — and they could do it.

 

Just remember, 9/11 came about because there was too much government. Government was more or less in charge. They told the pilots they couldn’t have guns, and they were told never to resist. They set up the stage for all this. So, no, private — private markets do a good job in protecting — much better than this bureaucracy called the TSA, let me tell you.

 

WILLIAMS: Well, let me ask you about something else. It’s related in a way, has to do with Mother Nature. Before the broadcast, Senator Santorum’s got flooding today in Pennsylvania, Governor Perry is just back from the wildfires, out east, a Category 1 laid waste to entire areas. There’s standing water tonight in Paterson, New Jersey, many of the towns around where I live, eight days without power. We had people eating in outdoor and public parks because the supermarkets were closed down.

 

The question is, federal aid, something like FEMA, if you object to what its become, how it’s run, your position is to — is to remove it, take it away, abolish it. What happens in its absence?

 

PAUL: Well, what happened before 1979? We didn’t have FEMA. And that — FEMA just conditioned people to build where they shouldn’t be building. We lose the market effect of that.

 

But, yeah, my position is, we should have never had it. There’s a much better way of doing it. I mean, this whole idea that the federal government can deal with weather and anything in the world, just got to throw a government there — FEMA’s broke. They’re $20 billion in debt.

 

But I’m not for saying tomorrow close it down. A lot of people pay the insurance. I work real hard to make it work, and I did that in my district, too.

 

But I’ll tell you how we should do it. We’re spending — believe it or not, this blew my mind when I read this — $20 billion a year for air conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq in the tents over there and all the air conditioning. Cut that $20 billion out, bring in — take $10 off the debt, and put $10 into FEMA or whoever else needs it, child health care or whatever. But I’ll tell you what, if we did that and took the air conditioning out of the Green Zone, our troops would come home, and that would make me happy.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

WILLIAMS: Mr. Cain, along these same lines, Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said that federal disaster aid — this has been a big discussion of late — shouldn’t be given out unless there are kind of concurrent spending cuts to offset the cost. Do you join in on that?

 

CAIN: I believe that there’s enough money to go around. And I believe that, yes, you can find the concurrent spending cuts in order to be able to do that. No, don’t eliminate FEMA. Let’s fix FEMA. Let’s fix Homeland Security.

 

There’s a responsible way for the federal government to do the things that it should do. Running organizations like the TSA, I would agree with Representative Paul, no. Having the federal government responsible for trying to micromanage Medicare, no, trying to micromanage education, no. The federal government is not good at micromanaging anything. This is why I believe in empowering the states to do more and limit what the federal government does with regard to those kinds of program.

 

WILLIAMS: Governor Huntsman, you know, the upside to this is, I guess, you could fly with your shoes on. The downside is, who does the job the next day?

 

HUNTSMAN: Let me just say, while this is an important discussion that we’re having, we’ve spent about 15 minutes now on homeland security. The greatest gift we could give this country on the 10th year anniversary, Rick, is a Homeland Security Department that really works, that doesn’t give people a sense when they walk through they’re going to get shaken down, a department that doesn’t make us all feel like there’s a fortress security mentality that is not American. And I’ve got to say there’s something wrong with that.

 

But I’m guessing there are a whole lot of people tuned in around this country who are saying, why are we spending all this time talking about the smaller issues? We’ve got 14 million people unemployed. We’ve got millions more in this country who are so dispirited they’ve quit looking. This is a human tragedy that we’re talking about, moms and dads and families that completely go without.

 

And all I would ask the people here and the people tuning in around this country, look at where we stand in terms of how we are going to get this country back on its feet.

 

And I just want to point out that we have offered — based on where I’ve been and what I have done — as governor of a state where we became number one in job creation, where we fixed the economy, made it the best economy for business in this entire country. We’ve got to get back on our feet.

 

This is a crisis situation. While all these other issues are important, let’s not lose sight, folks, of the bottom line here. We’ve got to get back in the game as a country. We’ve got to make this economy work.

XXX this economy work.

 

WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, you can’t have much of a workforce without a basis of education. As you know, your state ranks among the worst in the country in high school graduation rates, as we established, yet you recently signed a budget cut for millions in education funding. You pushed for greater cuts than were in the budget that the legislature passed. You’ve said that education is a top priority, but explain cutting it the way you did, please.

 

PERRY: Well, I think the reductions that we made were thoughtful reductions, and the fact of the matter is, Texas has made great progress in the 10 years that I’ve been governor, from the standpoint of our graduation rates now are up to 84 percent, higher than they’ve been during any period of time before that.

 

We’re seeing the type of commitment. Our 4th and 8th grader African-American and Hispanics on the NACH (ph) test, they were some of the highest in the country. We’re making progress. When you share the border with Mexico, and when you have as many individuals that we have coming into the state of Texas, we have a unique situation in our state.

 

But the fact is, I stand by a record from what we’ve done with the resources that we’ve had, and I think that the reductions that we put in place were absorbed by our schools, and we will continue to have one of the finest workforces made available. When Caterpillar and Toyota and eBay and Facebook move to your state, it’s not because you’ve got a workforce that’s not capable.

 

WILLIAMS: Time, Governor.

 

Speaker Gingrich, this reminds of “Race to the Top,” the Obama administration education program. You supported it, Governor Perry opted out, some people don’t like it. What did you like about it?

 

GINGRICH: I liked very much the fact that it talked about charter schools. It’s the one place I found to agree with President Obama. If every parent in America had a choice of the school their child went to, if that school had to report its scores, if there was a real opportunity, you’d have a dramatic improvement.

 

I visited schools where, three years earlier, there were fights, there were dropouts, there was no hope. They were taken over by a charter school in downtown Philadelphia, and all of a sudden the kids didn’t fight anymore, because they were disciplined. They were all asked every day, what college are you going to? Not are you going to go to college, what college are you going. And so I would — I am very much in favor of school choice.

 

My personal preference would be to have a Pell Grant for K-12 so that every parent could pick, with their child, any school they wanted to send them to, public or private, and enable them to have the choice.

 

I don’t think you’re ever going to reform the current bureaucracies. And the president, I thought, was showing some courage in taking on the teacher’s union to some extent and offering charter schools, and I wanted, frankly, to encourage more development towards choice.

 

WILLIAMS: I want to introduce another line of questioning by introducing yet another colleague of ours, Jose Diaz-Balart, from our sister network Telemundo.

 

Hey, my friend, how are you?

 

DIAZ-BALART: Good evening. Nice to see you all. Nice to see you all.

 

I want to talk about a subject that was very dear to the heart of President Reagan, which is immigration reform.

 

As you know, he was the last U.S. President to sign immigration reform in 1986. All of you, I think, have said that you don’t think immigration reform should be discussed until the border is secure.

 

And, Governor, I’d like to ask you, border state governor, what specifically, in your mind, would make the border secure?

 

PERRY: Well, the first thing you need to do is have boots on the ground. We’ve had a request in to this administration since June — or January of 2009 for 1,000 border patrol agents or National Guard troops, and working towards 3,000 border patrol. That’s just on the Texas border.

 

There’s another 50 percent more for the entire Mexican border. So you can secure the border, but it requires a commitment of the federal government of putting those boots on the ground, the aviation assets in the air.

 

We think predator drones could be flown, that real-time information coming down to the local and the state and the federal law enforcement. And you can secure the border. And at that particular point in time, then you can have an intellectually appropriate discussion about immigration reform.

 

For the President of the United States to go to El Paso, Texas, and say that the border is safer than it’s ever been, either he has some of the poorest intel of a president in the history of this country, or he was an abject liar to the American people. It is not safe on that border.

 

DIAZ-BALART: Governor, specifically, do you agree or disagree with some of the issues that the governor of Texas says, as far as what you would consider enough to be able to declare the border safe?

 

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