11.23.11 12:19 AM ET
GOP CNN Foreign Policy Debate Live Updates
8:11: The candidates introduce themselves. Rick Perry thanks his wife. Mitt Romney makes a joke that "Mitt" is his real name. It falls flat.
8:14: On the subject of the Patriot Act, Gingrich leads with the grim reminder that "all of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives" and that the U.S.needs to improve its National Security. But as President, he wouldn't change the Patriot Act. When Ron Paul says that the act itself is unpatriotic, Gingrich responds with the example of Timothy McVeigh. Gingrich's message is clear, to everyone: "You try to take out an American city, we're going to stop you."
8:17: Santorum suggests "profiling" as better security screening method than TSA patdowns, and that those who are "most likely to be committing crimes" should be screened. Yes, he says, that means Muslims. Ron Paul has a solid rebuttal: What about Timothy McVeigh? Herman Cain agrees that TSA patdowns are insufficient and outlines a plan for "targeted identification." Moderator Wolf Blitzer pushes Cain to elaborate and say whether Muslims and other "likely suspects" should be screened more often than, say, white christians. Cain gets a little hot under the collar, calling Wolf "Blitz" and accusing him of "oversimplifying" his statement.
8:30: Should Pakistan receive aid from the U.S.? The situation, for Michele achmann "is complicated." The problem, she said, is that while Pakistan lies, the intelligence helps the U.S. She then blasted Obama for his policy of 'keeping his fingers crossed." Pakistan, in her opinion, is "too nuclear to fail." Rick Perry's views on teh nation, Bachmann said, are naive.
8:40: Huntsman and Romney butt heads about foreign policy in Afghanistan, and funnily enough, Huntsman even sides with Obama, specifically on the subject of withdrawing U.S. troops. Romney's policies are old-school: "This is not the time for America to cut and run." Gingrich pipes in to address a question from the audience about U.S. relations with Pakistan ends up accidentally siding with Obama as well. But he also appeals to the GOP in making a strong case for keeping troops in Afghanistan and telling Pakistan to "help us or get out of the way."
9:05: Ron Paul thinks the idea of foreign aid is worthless. “You take money from poor people in this country and end up giving it to rich people,” he said. “It seems like nobody cares about the budget and nobody wants to cut anything. If you’re going to keep sending foreign aid, the biggest threat to the national security is our financial condition.” Romney says the best way to save money is to go after Obamacare, and not the military. But Paul is adamant: "It's a road to disaster. We better wake up!"
9:14: What does Perry think of Obama? Just that the president is an "absolute failure" when it comes to the budget. Perry said that Obama is not a leader, and just told the doomed supercommittee that "y'all could figure this out." Perry wasn't done, addign that the Secretary of Defense even said that Obama's actions were irresponsible and that Leon Panetta should resign in protest.
9:25: Even when discussing the drug wars taking place on the border of his own state, Rick Perry still can't come up with anything intelligent to say. When it comes to combatting drug wars in the region, his only solution is to "keep the boots on the ground" and "put sanctions on Mexican banks." Ron Paul gets right at the heart of the matter: the drug war is another one that needs to end. He even makes an argument for legalizing marijuana ("you can at least let the sick people have it") and says the "kids are still going to get their hands on drugs" whether or not we crack down on borders.
9:45: Gingrich takes a relatively leftist view on the subject of immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for decades, arguing that they shouldn't be forced out because it tears families apart. In principle, he's suggesting suggesting they deserve citizenship, an idea that most conservatives frown upon.