CARSON: Well, I could take issue with all of those things, but we don't have time. But I will say, the thing that is probably most important is having a brain, and to be able to figure things out and learn things very rapidly. Experience comes from a large number of different arenas, and America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, creativity & innovation.
CARSON: If Hillary is the candidate, which I doubt, that would be a dream come true. She is the epitome of the secular progressive movement. And she counts on the fact that people are uninformed, the Alinsky Model, taking advantage of useful idiots. Well, I just happen to believe that people are not stupid. And the way I will come at it is to educate people, help people to actually understand that it is that progressive movement that is causing them the problems. You know, you look at the national debt and how it's being driven up. If I was trying to destroy this country, what I would do is find a way to drive wedges between all the people, drive the debt to an unsustainable level, and then step off the stage as a world leader and let our enemies increase while we decreased our military capacity. And that's what she's doing.
CARSON: Well, I think the bully pulpit is a wonderful place to start healing that divide. You know, we have the purveyors of hatred who take every single incident between people of two races and try to make a race war out of it, and drive wedges into people. And this does not need to be done. You know, I was asked by an NPR reporter once, why don't I talk about race that often. I said it's because I'm a neurosurgeon. And she thought that was a strange response. I said, "you see, when I take someone to the operating room, I'm actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn't make them who they are. The hair doesn't make them who they are." And it's time for us to move beyond that. Because our strength as a nation comes in our unity. We are the United States of America, not the divided states. And those who want to divide us are trying to divide us, and we shouldn't let them do it.
CARSON: Well, I haven't said anything about me being the only one to do anything, so let me try that. I'm the only one to separate Siamese twins. The only one to operate on babies while they were still in mother's womb, the only one to take out half of a brain, although you would think, if you go to Washington, that someone had beat me to it. But I'm very hopeful that I'm not the only one who's willing to pick up the baton of freedom, because freedom is not free, and we must fight for it every day. Every one of us must fight for it, because we're fighting for our children and the next generation.
JINDAL: Last time I was elected governor, I won a record margin in my state. We've got a lot of politicians that will kiss babies, cut ribbons, do whatever it takes to be popular. That's not why I ran for office. I ran for office to make the generational changes in Louisiana. We've cut 26 percent of our budget. We have 30,000 fewer state bureaucrats than the day I took office. I don't think anybody has cut that much government anywhere, at any time. As a result, eight credit upgrades; as a result, a top ten state for private sector job creation. My point is this: I won two landslide elections, I made big changes. I think our country is tired of the politicians who simply read the polls and fail to lead. I think the American people are looking for real leadership. That's what I've done in Louisiana, that's what I'll do in America.
FIORINA: Well, I would begin by reminding people that at this point in previous presidential elections, Jimmy Carter couldn't win, Ronald Reagan couldn't win, Bill Clinton couldn't win, and neither could've Barack Obama. I started as a secretary and became ultimately the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world, almost $90 billion in over 150 countries. I know personally how extraordinary and unique this nation is.
Most importantly, I think I understand leadership, which sometimes requires a tough call in a tough time. But mostly, the highest calling of leadership is to challenge the status-quo and unlock the potential of others. We need a leader who will lead the resurgence of this great nation and unlock its potential once again.
Progressives don't believe that. They believe some are smarter than others, some are better than others, so some are going to need to take care of others.
That is the fight we have to have, and we have to undo a whole set of things that President Obama has done that get at the heart of his disrespect and disregard for too many Americans.
TRUMP: I fully understand.
Q: And that experts say an independent run would almost certainly hand the race over to Democrats & likely another Clinton. You can't say tonight that you can make that pledge?
TRUMP: I cannot say. I have to respect the person that [is nominated], if it's not me, I can totally make that pledge. If I'm the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. We want to win; I want to win as the Republican; I want to run as the Republican nominee.
RAND PAUL: He's already hedging his bet. Maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent.
Q: You're not gonna make the pledge tonight?
TRUMP: I will not make the pledge at this time.
TRUMP: I come from a place, New York City, which is virtually, I mean, it is almost exclusively Democrat. And I have really started to see some of the negatives--as an example, and I have a lot of liking for [Jeb Bush], but the last number of months of his brother's administration were a catastrophe. And unfortunately, those few months gave us President Obama. And you can't be happy about that.
PATAKI: I think he means somebody who hasn't been a career politician, and who's been out of office for awhile. I think the last eight years in the private sector have allowed me to see government from the outside, and I think that is a positive thing. Yes, I thought about running four years ago. I was ready to lead, but I wasn't ready to run. But I look at this country today, and I look at how divided we are. What I did in New York was bring people together. But I was able to get Democrats to support the most conservative sweeping policy changes in any state in America. And when I look at Washington today, we need to bring us together. I can do that. And I can do it regardless of what the makeup of Congress is because I did it in New York state. So we need new leadership--yes. I will be that new leader.
PATAKI: Divisive and with no vision at all.
FIORINA: Not trustworthy. No accomplishment.
SANTORUM: Secretive and untrustworthy.
PERRY: Well, let's go with three. Good at email.
JINDAL: Socialist and government dependent.
GRAHAM: Not the change we need at a time we need it.
GILMORE: Professional politician that can't be trusted.
KASICH: I believe in terms of the things that I've read in my lifetime, the Lord is not picking us. But because of how we respect human rights, because that we are a good force in the world, he wants America to be strong. He wants America to succeed. And he wants America to lead. And nothing is more important to me than my family, my faith, and my friends.
RUBIO: I'm not new to the political process; I was making a contribution as the Speaker of the third largest and most diverse state in the country well before I even got into the Senate. This election cannot be a resume competition. It's important to be qualified, but if this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton's gonna be the next president, because she's been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight. Here's what this election better be about: This election better be about the future, not the past. It better be about the issues our nation and the world is facing today, not simply the issues we once faced.
My father was a bartender. And the journey from the back of that bar to this stage tonight, to me, that is the essence of the American dream. It is what makes our nation different. And I'm running for president because I want that to still be possible for the people trying to do that now. I run for president because I believe that we can't just save the American dream; we can expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And that's why I'm asking for your vote. So we can make America greater than it has ever been. And make this century a new American century.
RUBIO: Well, first, let me say I think God has blessed us. He has blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can't even find one. (LAUGHTER) And I believe God has blessed our country. This country has been extraordinarily blessed. And we have honored that blessing. And that's why God has continued to bless us.
I think America is in trouble, but it's not beyond repair. But it's going to take leadership who sees the greatness of this country, and who believes that once again we can be one nation, under God. I'll be my best to do that.
I ran for governor because I was worried about my kids' future. Then, I took on the big government union bosses, and we won. They tried to recall me, and we won. They targeted us again, and we won.
We balanced the budget, cut taxes, and turned our state around with big, bold reforms.
It wasn't too late for Wisconsin, and it's not too late for America.
Scripture tells us, "you shall know them by their fruit." We see lots of "campaign conservatives." But if we're going to win in 2016, we need a consistent conservative, someone who has been a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, a national security conservative.
There are real differences among the candidates on issues like amnesty, like ObamaCare, like religious liberty, like life and marriage. And I have been proud to fight and stand for religious liberty, to stand against Planned Parenthood, to defend life for my entire career. And I will be proud to continue to do so as president.
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