CNN Two-Tier 2015 GOP primary debate
First Tier: Eleven candidates by polls
Second Tier: Four other Republicans
Click on a participant to pop-up their full list of quotations
from CNN 2015 GOP primary debate (number of quotes indicated):
- Ben Carson (11) Republican 2016 Primary Challenger
- Bobby Jindal (16) Louisiana Republican Presidential candidate
- Carly Fiorina (14) Republican Presidential Challenger
- Chris Christie (9) New Jersey N.J. Governor; Republican Presidential candidate
- Donald Trump (14) Republican Presidential candidate
- George Pataki (10) New York Republican presidential candidate
- Jeb Bush (14) Florida Former FL Governor; Republican Presidential candidate
- John Kasich (5) Ohio Republican presidential candidate
- Lindsey Graham (19) South Carolina S.C. Senator; Republican Presidential candidate
- Marco Rubio (12) FL Senator; Republican Presidential candidate
- Mike Huckabee (8) Arkansas Republican Presidential candidate
- Rand Paul (11) Republican 2016 Primary Challenger
- Rick Santorum (15) Republican Presidential candidate
- Scott Walker (4) Wisconsin WI Governor; Republican Presidential candidate
- Ted Cruz (6) Republican 2016 Primary Challenger
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
The CNN Republican presidential primary debate on Sept. 16, 2015 at the Ronald Reagan Library was "two-tiered":
- 11 GOP candidates in the prime-time slot (8-11 PM EST)
- The remaining 4 GOP candidates in an earlier slot (6-8 PM EST)
- The top tier was determined by summer polling averages.
The rules for inclusion were amended late last month so that any candidate who made the top 10 in an average of polls conducted after the Fox News/Facebook debate held on August 6 would also be included in the later debate, which added Carly Fiorina to the top tier.
The poll results were:
- Donald Trump: 23.929%
- Jeb Bush: 11.500%
- Scott Walker: 9.429%
- Ben Carson: 8.929%
- Ted Cruz: 6.286%
- Marco Rubio: 5.643%
- Mike Huckabee: 5.571%
- Rand Paul: 4.714%
- John Kasich: 3.214%
- Chris Christie: 3.143%
- Carly Fiorina: 2.229%
- Rick Perry: 1.814% (withdrew prior to debate)
- Rick Santorum: 1.214%
- Bobby Jindal: 1.057%
- George Pataki: 0.529%
- Lindsey Graham: 0.471%
- Gov. Jim Gilmore did not make the cutoff criteria
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Bobby Jindal: Planned Parenthood sells babies' body parts.
Carly Fiorina: Planned Parenthood harvested organs from living babies.
Chris Christie: I defunded Planned Parenthood in N.J. for 6 years running.
Jeb Bush: I defunded Planned Parenthood in Florida; do same federally.
John Kasich: Defund Planned Parenthood, like we are trying in Ohio.
Mike Huckabee: Litmus test for Supreme Court justices on rights of unborn.
Mike Huckabee: Under my presidency, life would be really deemed precious.
Scott Walker: I defunded Planned Parenthood in a blue state.
Ted Cruz: Planned Parenthood sells body parts of unborn human beings.
Budget & Economy|
Donald Trump: We owe $19T and we need a businessman to bring us back.
Bobby Jindal: Discrimination in America today is against Christians.
Carly Fiorina: U.S. will be better off when women have equal opportunity.
George Pataki: Uphold rule of law;fire those who won't perform gay marriage.
Jeb Bush: Accommodate conscience on gay marriage at local level.
Mike Huckabee: Stop criminalization of Christianity, like on gay marriage.
Rick Santorum: Freedom of conscience includes right to deny service to gays.
Carly Fiorina: I got fired because I challenged the status quo.
George Pataki: 12% manufacturing tax rate, so we'll make things in America.
Carly Fiorina: Marijuana laws should be left to the states.
Carly Fiorina: Drug addiction is an epidemic that takes our young people.
Carly Fiorina: Stepdaughter died of addiction; invest in treatment of drugs.
Chris Christie: I support medical not recreational marijuana.
Chris Christie: Mandatory drug treatment, not jail, for first time dealers.
Jeb Bush: Opposed medical marijuana on Florida ballot question.
Rand Paul: More rehabilitation and less incarceration.
Rand Paul: Apply 10th Amendment to let states keep pot legal.
Rand Paul: Pot laws result in poor kids going to jail & not rich kids.
Energy & Oil|
Ben Carson: Smart way in Mideast is to declare energy independence.
Chris Christie: Get nuclear power plants back on the table.
Marco Rubio: Addressing global warming would destroy our economy.
Scott Walker: Climate change action reduces manufacturing jobs.
Families & Children|
Ben Carson: I'm a pediatrician and concerned about children's future.
Bobby Jindal: The idea of America is slipping away, but we can rescue it.
Carly Fiorina: Rebuild 6th fleet instead of talking to Putin.
Carly Fiorina: No Iran nuke deal unless we can inspect.
Chris Christie: I won't deal with or even meet with countries that hate us.
Donald Trump: Putin has no respect for America; I will get along with him.
Donald Trump: We must deal with the maniac in North Korea with nukes.
Jeb Bush: Give Israel sophisticated weapons to send message to Iran.
Marco Rubio: North Korea is run by a maniac with nuclear weapons.
Marco Rubio: Putin trying to position Russia as a geopolitical force.
Rand Paul: Let those in the Middle East fight the battles there.
Scott Walker: China launched a cyber-attack; send a message now.
Ted Cruz: Don't let world courts bind American sovereignty.
Ted Cruz: Move American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Bobby Jindal: It's time for term limits; fire them all.
Bobby Jindal: I will have lots of litmus tests for Supreme Court justices.
Carly Fiorina: 75% of people think current government is corrupt.
Chris Christie: I've vetoed 400 bills with no overrides.
Donald Trump: I'm not accepting any money from anybody.
George Pataki: Lifetime ban on elected officials becoming lobbyists.
Jeb Bush: Fight for Supreme Court nominees who uphold our Constitution.
Lindsey Graham: Supreme Court decided gay marriage; it's the law of the land.
Lindsey Graham: 2016 election will determine judiciary for decades to come.
Rick Santorum: Oppose Supreme Court when exceeding constitutional authority.
Rick Santorum: I fought for conservative judges & filibustered liberal ones.
Jeb Bush: 99.999% of people should be able to keep their guns.
Marco Rubio: Criminals will ignore gun laws because they're criminals.
Mike Huckabee: Litmus test for Supreme Court justices on Second Amendment.
Ben Carson: Vaccines never caused autism; vaccination is important.
Bobby Jindal: No to Supreme Court justices who support ObamaCare.
Donald Trump: I'm for vaccines, but in smaller quantities to avoid autism.
Jeb Bush: Fund good care providers for women, not Planned Parenthood.
Lindsey Graham: Oppose ObamaCare but don't shut down government for that.
Mike Huckabee: Focus on curing Alzheimers, cancer, heart disease & diabetes.
Rand Paul: I'm for vaccines, but don't require bunching them altogether.
Rick Santorum: I introduced Health Savings Accounts in Congress.
Ted Cruz: I regret voting for John Roberts because of ObamaCare vote.
Ben Carson: Use intellect instead of aggression in some circumstances.
Bobby Jindal: Terrorists aren't martyrs; they're going straight to hell.
Carly Fiorina: We need strongest military & that whole world knows it.
Chris Christie: On 9/11, I wondered whether I'd be a single parent.
Jeb Bush: My brother kept us safe after 9/11.
Jeb Bush: Stop the craziness of the sequester & rebuild the military.
John Kasich: Iran nuke deal makes us stronger; we could restart sanctions.
Lindsey Graham: We need to monitor Islamic websites.
Lindsey Graham: Hillary Clinton let Benghazi become a death trap.
Lindsey Graham: Give military leaders anything they need.
Lindsey Graham: Stop closing military bases; I'll open MORE bases.
Marco Rubio: Radical terrorism cannot be solved by intellect.
Marco Rubio: Don't use military for pinpricks; only engage to win.
Marco Rubio: We're eviscerating our military in dangerous times.
Rand Paul: Talk with Iran like we talked to Russians during Cold War.
Rick Santorum: If you're a scientist & work on Iran nukes, you're not safe.
Ted Cruz: On day one, rip to shreds the Iranian nuclear deal.
Ben Carson: Turn off the spigots, then allow agricultural guest workers.
Ben Carson: We have the ability to build a border wall, but not the will.
Bobby Jindal: Criminalize sanctuary cities & jail their mayors.
Bobby Jindal: I've never been for amnesty.
Carly Fiorina: People tired of just talking about immigration for 25 years.
Carly Fiorina: 14th Amendment allows birthright citizenship; do something.
Chris Christie: Secure border with wall & electronics; but no mass deporting.
Donald Trump: We're only country dumb enough for birthright citizenship.
Donald Trump: Illegal immigrants populate many criminal gangs.
Donald Trump: This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.
George Pataki: Deport only criminal aliens; but end sanctuary cities.
George Pataki: Birthright citizenship is ok; don't deport those kids.
Jeb Bush: When students ask questions in Spanish, I answer in Spanish.
Jeb Bush: My wife is Mexican and she wants a wall on Mexican border.
Lindsey Graham: We can't deport 11M illegals, but we can start.
Lindsey Graham: We need more legal immigration.
Marco Rubio: My family are all immigrants; but no comprehensive solution.
Marco Rubio: Replace family-based system with economic contribution.
Rand Paul: We need a Supreme Court case on birthright citizenship.
Rick Santorum: 35M immigrants over past 20 years hold down American wages.
Rick Santorum: All new American job growth has gone to immigrants.
Rick Santorum: I had a comprehensive plan in 2006.
Donald Trump: FactCheck: Yes, Trump wanted a casino, and Jeb opposed it.
Donald Trump: 2013: Failed to persuade Florida legislators on large casino.
Ben Carson: Minimum wage should probably be raised; then index it.
Lindsey Graham: Increasing the minimum wage makes it harder to hire people.
Rick Santorum: Focus on improving life for average American workers.
Rick Santorum: Fewer than 1% of Americans earn minimum wage; let it go up.
Scott Walker: Don't raise minimum wage; raise whole economy.
Ted Cruz: Pass a flat tax and abolish the IRS, and jobs will follow.
Principles & Values|
Ben Carson: I was a radical Democrat but then I listened to Reagan.
Ben Carson: I will not lick the boots of billionaires.
Bobby Jindal: Reagan's 11th commandment only applies to real conservatives.
Bobby Jindal: Don't turn the American dream into the European nightmare.
Bobby Jindal: Get rid of Republican Party and create a party with backbone.
Carly Fiorina: Look to Lady Liberty and Lady Justice.
George Pataki: Need judges and courts that support the rule of law.
John Kasich: Battle radicals by showing greatness of west.
John Kasich: America is great because it's run from the bottom up.
Lindsey Graham: Experienced leader for libertarians,vegetarians, you name it.
Lindsey Graham: Reagan drank with opponents; let's drink more like that.
Lindsey Graham: My dad ran a pool room; I'm not elite.
Marco Rubio: America is based on freedom of choice.
Rand Paul: I spend my days defending the Bill of Rights.
Rick Santorum: Pass a 1st Amendment Defense Act.
Chris Christie: Save Social Security for those who need it.
Donald Trump: I'll give up my Social Security; leave it to each person.
Lindsey Graham: I don't want a lecture about Soc.Sec,; I want to save it.
Rand Paul: Get rid of payroll tax to give working class a tax cut.
Ben Carson: Progressive taxation on the rich--that's socialism.
Bobby Jindal: Implement lower, flatter tax code.
Donald Trump: Raise graduated taxes on hedge fund managers.
George Pataki: Raise taxes on fat-cat hedge fund managers.
George Pataki: Keep home mortgage deduction & charitable deductions.
Jeb Bush: I am a real conservative.
Mike Huckabee: Get rid of all taxes on people who produce.
Rick Santorum: 20/20 tax plan: all income treated the same.
War & Peace|
Ben Carson: I opposed war in Iraq in 2003; then I opposed withdrawal.
Bobby Jindal: Replace Assad; hunt down & destroy ISIS.
Bobby Jindal: ISIS are barbarians; hunt them down and kill them.
Bobby Jindal: Use nuclear option in Senate to overturn Iran nuclear deal.
Carly Fiorina: Arm the Kurds and other allies in the Mideast.
Donald Trump: I'm pro-military but I opposed invading Iraq in 2003.
Donald Trump: If Obama had attacked Syria, we wouldn't have refugees now.
George Pataki: Give the Israelis massive MOPS bombs to use against Iran.
George Pataki: Radical Islam poses threat here in America, like on 9/11.
Jeb Bush: When we pulled back in Iraq, ISIS filled the void.
John Kasich: We operate better in the world when our allies work with us.
Lindsey Graham: If we don't destroy ISIL soon, they're coming here.
Lindsey Graham: Destroy radical Islam like Reagan destroyed the Evil Empire.
Lindsey Graham: I have a plan to fight ISIL: ground forces in Syria & Iraq.
Lindsey Graham: Help the Free Syrian Army; but Obama said no.
Lindsey Graham: There's nobody left in Syria to train; need regional army.
Marco Rubio: Theocratic ayatollahs should never possess nuclear weapons.
Marco Rubio: We should have supported Syrian uprising from its start.
Mike Huckabee: Conflict with Iran is about survival of Western civilization.
Mike Huckabee: People won't bully us if we have best military in history.
Rand Paul: I opposed Iraq war in 2003 & I oppose Syria war now.
Rand Paul: If we had bombed Syria, ISIS would control Damascus today.
Rick Santorum: Iranians believe in bringing about the end of the world.
Rick Santorum: ISIL's caliphate changes the game: send US troops.
Welfare & Poverty|
Jeb Bush: 4% growth strategy to lift people out of poverty.
Rick Santorum: I led the fight to end welfare as we know it.
Click for quotations from other sources by:
- Ben Carson Republican 2016 Primary Challenger
- Bobby Jindal Louisiana Republican Presidential candidate
- Carly Fiorina Republican Presidential Challenger
- Chris Christie New Jersey N.J. Governor; Republican Presidential candidate
- Donald Trump Republican Presidential candidate
- George Pataki New York Republican presidential candidate
- Jeb Bush Florida Former FL Governor; Republican Presidential candidate
- John Kasich Ohio Republican presidential candidate
- Lindsey Graham South Carolina S.C. Senator; Republican Presidential candidate
- Marco Rubio FL Senator; Republican Presidential candidate
- Mike Huckabee Arkansas Republican Presidential candidate
- Rand Paul Republican 2016 Primary Challenger
- Rick Santorum Republican Presidential candidate
- Scott Walker Wisconsin WI Governor; Republican Presidential candidate
- Ted Cruz Republican 2016 Primary Challenger
The above quotations are from CNN Two-Tier 2015 GOP primary debate
First Tier: Eleven candidates by polls
Second Tier: Four other Republicans.
Miami Republican debate, March 10, 2016
Miami Democratic debate, March 9, 2016
Republican primary debate in Detroit, Michigan, March 3, 2016
CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary., Feb. 25, 2016
2016 CNN GOP Town Hall in South Carolina, Feb. 17-18, 2016
2016 CBS News Republican Debate in S.C., Feb. 13, 2016
PBS Democratic Primary Debate in Wisconsin, Feb. 11, 2016
2016 ABC News/IJReview Republican Debate in N.H., Feb. 6, 2016
MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire, Feb. 4, 2016
2016 CNN Democratic Town Hall in N.H., Feb. 3, 2016
2016 Fox News GOP primary debate in Iowa, Jan. 28, 2016
2016 NBC Democratic primary debate, Jan. 17, 2016
2016 Fox Business two-tiered GOP primary debate, Jan. 14, 2016
2015 ABC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire, Dec. 19, 2015
2015 CNN Republican primary debate in Nevada, Dec. 15, 2015
2015 CBS Democratic primary debate, Nov. 14, 2015
2015 Fox Business/WSJ two-tiered GOP primary debate, Nov. 10, 2015
2015 CNBC two-tiered GOP primary debate, Oct. 28, 2015
2015 CNN Democratic primary debate, Oct. 13, 2015
2015 CNN two-tiered GOP primary debate, Sept. 16, 2015
Red State Gathering, Aug 6-9, 2015
2015 Fox News/Facebook two-tiered GOP primary debate, August 6, 2015
Faith and Freedom Coalition "Road to Majority" Policy Conferences, April 25, 2015
2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 26-27, 2015
Forbes Magazine "Candidates Want You to Know" series, March-June 2015
Sunday Political Talk Show interviews, throughout 2015
Pre-Iowa caucus political summits, throughout 2015
Brennan Center for Justice essays
National Journal 2016 series
Interviews on 2016 races with OnTheIssues
PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series
PolitiFact fact-checking on 2016 campaigns
Survey of 2016 Presidential campaign websites
Page last edited: Feb 21, 2016