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CNBC Full Transcript: CNBC's "Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate" (Part 2)


CNBC's "Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate" Live from the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, CO

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CARL QUINTANILLA: Good evening, I'm Carl Quintanilla, with my colleagues Becky Quick and John Harwood. We'll be joined tonight by some of CNBC's top experts on the markets and personal finance. Let's get through the rules of the road. Candidates get 30 seconds to answer the opening question, 60 seconds to answer a formal question, 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals, all at the discretion of the moderators.

We want you to weigh in from home. You'll see your tweet in the bottom of the screen. Use the #CNBCGOPdebate. You can also go to to tell us where you stand throughout the night.

So let's introduce the candidates for tonight's Republican Presidential debate. On the stage from left to right, Governor John Kasich.


Governor Mike Huckabee.


Governor Jeb Bush.


Senator Marco Rubio.


Mr. Donald Trump.


Dr. Ben Carson.


Ms. Carly Fiorina.


Senator Ted Cruz.


Governor Chris Christie.


And Senator Rand Paul.


CARL: A lot to get to tonight, so let's get started.

This first is an open question. This series of debates is essentially a job interview with the American people. And in any job interview, you know this, you get asked, What is your biggest weakness? So in 30 seconds, without telling us that you try too hard or that you're a perfectionist, what is your biggest weakness, and what are you doing to address it?

We'll go left to right. Governor Kasich, 30 seconds.

KASICH: Great question, but I want to tell you, my great concern is that we are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job. I've watched to see people say that we should dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and leave our senior citizens out in the cold. I've heard them talk about deporting 10 or 11 people here from this country, out of this country, splitting families. I've heard about tax schemes that don't add up, to put our kids in a deeper hole than they are today. We need somebody who can lead; we need somebody who can balance budgets, cut taxes.

Frankly, I did it in Washington, in Ohio, and I will do it again in Washington, if I am President, to get this country moving again.

CARL: Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: John, I don't really have any weaknesses that I can think of. But my wife is down here in the front, and I'm sure if you'd like to talk to her later, she can give you more than you'll ever be able to take care of.

If I have a weakness, it's that I try to live by the rules. I try to live by the rules, no matter what they are, and I was brought up that way as a kid. Play by the rules. And I tell you what a weakness is of this country. There are a lot of people who are sick and tired because Washington does not play by the same rules that the American people have to play by.

CARL: Thank you, Governor.

Governor Bush.

BUSH: You know, I am, by my nature, impatient. And this is not a endeavor that rewards that. You've got to be patient; you have to stick with it and all that. But also, I can't fake anger. I believe this is still the most extraordinary country on the face of the earth, and it troubles me that people are rewarded for tearing down our country. It's never been that way in American politics before. I can't do it. I just don't believe that this country's days are going to be deeply, you know, going down. I think we're on the verge of the greatest time, and I want to fix the things to let people rise up.

CARL: Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Thank you for that question. I would begin by saying that I'm not sure it's a weakness, but I do believe that I share a sense of optimism for America's future that today is eroding from too many of our people.

I think there is a sense in this country today that somehow our best days are behind us, and that doesn't have to be true. Our greatest days lie ahead. If we are willing to do what it takes now -- if we are willing to do what it takes now, the 21st century is going to be the new American century, greater than any other era we have had in the history of this great nation.

CARL: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: I think maybe my greatest weakness is that I trust people too much. I'm too trusting. And when they let me down, if they let me down, I never forgive. I find it very, very hard to forgive people that deceived me. So I don't know if you would call that a weakness, but my wife said let up.


CARL: Dr. Carson.

CARSON: Probably in terms of applying for a job of President, the weakness would be not really seeing myself in that position until hundreds of thousands of people begin to tell me that I needed to do it.

I do, however, believe in Reagan's 11th commandment and will not be engaging in awful things about my compatriots here. And recognizing that it's so important, this election, because we're talking about America for the people versus America for the government.

CARL: Mrs. Fiorina.

FIORINA: Gee, after the last debate, I was told that I didn't smile enough.


But I also think that these are very serious times. 75 percent of the American people think the federal government is corrupt. I agree with them. And this big, powerful corrupt bureaucracy works now only for the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well connected.

Meantime, wages have stagnated for 40 years. We have more Americans out of work, or just Americans who have quit looking for work for 40 years. Ours was intended to be a citizen government. This is about more than replacing a D with an R. We need a leader who will help us take our government back.

CARL: Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: I'm too agreeable, easygoing.


I think my biggest weakness is exactly the opposite. I'm a fighter. I am passionate about what I believe. I've been passionate my whole life about the Constitution.

And, you know, for six and a half years, we've had a gigantic party. If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be that guy. But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done. And I will get you home.

CARL: Governor Christie.

CHRISTIE: I don't see a lot of weakness on the stage, quite frankly. Where I see the weakness in those three people that are left on the Democratic stage, you know, I see a socialist, an isolationist, and a pessimist. And for the sake of me, I can't figure out which one is which.


But I will tell you this, the socialist says they're going to pay for everything and give you everything for free, but they don't tell you they're going to raise your taxes to 90 percent to do it.

The isolationist is the one who wants to continue to follow foreign policy that has fewer democracies today than when Barack Obama came into office around the world.

But I know who the pessimist is. It's Hillary Clinton. And you put me on that stage against her next September, she won't get within 10 miles of the White House. Take it to the bank.

CARL: Senator Paul.

PAUL: You know, I left my medical practice and ran for office because I was concerned about an $18 trillion debt. We borrow a million dollars a minute. Now on the floor of the Congress, the Washington establishment from both parties puts forward a bill that will explode the deficit. It allows President Obama to borrow unlimited amounts of money.

I will stand firm. I will spend every ounce of energy to stop it. I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it, and I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say: Enough is enough. No more debt.

CARL: Thanks to all the candidates.


JOHN HARWOOD: Mr. Trump, you've done very well on this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it.

TRUMP: Right.

JOHN: Send 11 million people out of the country, cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit.

TRUMP: Right.

JOHN: And make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.

TRUMP: That's right.

JOHN: Let's be honest. Is this a comic book version of a Presidential campaign?

TRUMP: It's not a comic book, and it's not a very nicely asked question, the way you say that.

Larry Kudlow, as an example, who I have a lot of respect for, loves my tax plan. We are reducing taxes to 15 percent. We're bringing corporate taxes down, bringing money back in, corporate inversions. We have $2-1/2 trillion outside of the United States, which we want to bring back in.

As far as the wall is concerned, we're going to build the wall, we're going to create a border. We're going to let people in, but they're going to come in legally. They are going to come in legally. And it's something that can be done, and I get questioned about that.

They built The Great Wall of China. That's 13,000 miles. Here, we actually need a thousand, because we have natural barriers. So we need a thousand. We can do a wall. We're going to have a big, fat, beautiful door right in the middle of the wall. We are going to have people come in, but they are coming in legally.

And Mexico is going to pay for the wall, because Mexico -- I love the Mexican people, I respect the Mexican leaders, but the leaders are much sharper, smarter and more cunning than our leaders.

And just to finish, people say, Oh, how are you going to get Mexico to pay? A politician -- other than the people on this stage. I don't want to insult -- a politician cannot get them to pay. I can.

We lose. We have a trade imbalance --

JOHN: You --

TRUMP: -- of $50 billion.

JOHN: We're at 60 seconds.

TRUMP: Believe me, the world is peanuts by comparison.

JOHN: We're at 60 seconds. But I gotta ask you, you talked about your tax plan. You say that it would not increase the deficit because you'd cut taxes $10 trillion, and the economy --

TRUMP: Take off that --

JOHN: -- would take off like -- hold on. Hold on. The economy would take off like a rocket ship.

TRUMP: Right. Dynamic.

JOHN: I talked to economic advisors who have served presidents of both parties. They said that you have as much chance of cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit as you would of flying away from that podium by flapping your arms around.

TRUMP: Then you have to get rid of Larry Kudlow, who sits on your panel, who is a great guy, who came out the other day and said, "I love Trump's tax plan."

BUSH: John, the Tax Foundation said --

BECKY QUICK: Just a minute.

BUSH: -- they looked at all of our plans, and his creates, even with the dynamic effect, $8 trillion --

BECKY: Just a minute. We're going to continue.


BECKY: I want to talk taxes.

>> Hold on. Becky is moving on.

BECKY: Dr. Carson, let's talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes. And I've looked at it, and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I've had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this.

If you were to take a 10 percent tax with the numbers right now on total personal income, you're going to come in with bringing in $1-1/2 trillion. That is less than half of what we billed bringing in right now.

And, by the way, it's going to leave us in a $2 trillion hole. So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?

CARSON: Well, first of all, I didn't say that the rate would be 10 percent. I used the tithing analogy.

BECKY: I understand, but if you look at the numbers, you probably have to get to 28 --

CARSON: The rate is going to be much closer to 15 percent.

BECKY: 15 percent still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: Let me finish. You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to do some strategic cutting in several places.

Remember, we have 645 federal agencies and subagencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny in every one of those is in a fantasy world.

So, also, we can stimulate the economy. That's going to be the real growth engine, stimulating the economy, because it's tethered down right now with so many regulations.

BECKY: You would have to cut government by about 40 percent to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: It's not true.

BECKY: It is true. I looked at the numbers.

CARSON: When we put all the facts down, you will be able to see that it's not true. It works out very well.

BECKY: Dr. Carson, thank you.

JOHN: Hold it, I am coming to you right now. I want to comment on this. This is a fantasy that I talked about in the beginning. I'm about to ask you about this.

That is, you had some very strong words to say yesterday about what is happening in your party and what you're hearing from the two gentlemen we've just heard from.

KASICH: I'm the only --

JOHN: Would you repeat it?

KASICH: I'm the only person on this stage that actually was involved in the chief architect of balancing the federal budget. You can't do it with empty promises. You know, these plans would put us trillions and trillions of dollars in debt. I actually have a plan. I'm the only one on this stage that has a plan that would create jobs, cut taxes, balance the budget, and can get it done because I'm realistic. You just don't make promises like this.

Why don't we just give a chicken in every pot while we're coming up with these fantasy tax gains. We'll just clean it up.

Where are you going to clean it up? You have to deal with entitlements. You have to be in a position to control discretionary spending. You gotta be creative and imaginative.

Now, let me just be clear, John. I went into Ohio where we had an $8 billion hole, and now we have a $2 billion surplus. We are up 347,000 jobs. When I was in Washington, I fought to get the budget balanced. I was the architect. It was the first time we did it since man walked on the moon. We cut taxes, and we have a $5 trillion projected surplus when I left. That's hard work. Fiscal discipline. Know what you're doing. Creativity.

This stuff is fantasy, just like getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid.

JOHN: You said yesterday --

KASICH: Come on. That's just not -- don't scare senior citizens with that. It's not responsible.

JOHN: Well, let's just get more pointed about it. You said yesterday that you were hearing proposals that were just crazy from your colleagues. Who were you talking about?

KASICH: Yeah. Well, I mean right here, to talk about we're just going to have a 10 percent pie, and that's how we're going to fund the government? And we're going to just fix everything with waste, fraud, and abuse? Or that we're just going to be great. Or we're going to ship 10 million Americans -- or 10 million people out of this country, leaving their children here in this country and dividing families?

Folks, we've got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn't know how to do the job. You've got to pick somebody who has experience, somebody that has the know-how, the discipline.

And I spent my entire lifetime balancing federal budgets, growing jobs, the same in Ohio. And I will go back to Washington with my plan and I will present it within 100 days, and it will pass, and it will be strong again.

JOHN: Thank you.

Trump, 30 seconds.

TRUMP: First of all, John got lucky with a thing called fracking. Okay. He hit oil. He got lucky with fracking, believe me. That's why Ohio is doing well. And that's important for you to know.

Number two. This was the man that was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers when it went down the tubes and almost took every one of us with us, including Ben and myself, because I was there and I watched what happened. And Lehman Brothers started it all. He was on the board, and he was a managing general partner.

And just, thirdly, he was so nice. He was such a nice guy. And he said, Oh, I'm never going to attack. But then his poll numbers tanked. He's got -- that's why he's on the end --


-- and he got nasty. And he got nasty. So you know what? You can have him.

KASICH: Okay. Let me just -- let me -- let me respond. First of all, Ohio does have an energy industry, but we're diversified. We are one of the fastest-growing states in the country. We came back from the dead. And you know what? It works very, very well.

And, secondly, when you talk about me being on the board of Lehman Brothers, I wasn't on the board of Lehman Brothers. I was a banker, and I was proud of it. And I traveled the country and learned how people make jobs.

We ought to have politicians who not only have government experience, but know how the CEOs and the job creators work. My state is doing great across the board. And guess what, in 2011, I have --

BECKY: Governor, we're out of time on this --


KASICH: Four years later, it's a joke.


BECKY: Dr. Carson, let me -- let me take 30 seconds of Dr. Carson on the (). Thank you.

CARSON: Let me just say, if you talk about an $18 trillion economy, you are talking about a 15 percent tax on your gross domestic product, you are talking about 2.7 trillion. We have a budget closer to 3.5 trillion.

But if you also apply that same 15 percent to several other things, including corporate taxes and including the capital gains taxes, you make that amount up pretty quickly. So that's not, by any stretch, pie in the sky.

BECKY: Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: If you want a 10 percent flat tax where the numbers add up, I rolled () out my tax plan today. You can find it online at It is a simple flat tax where, for individuals, a family of four pays nothing on the first 36,000. After that, you pay 10 percent of the flat tax going up. The billionaire and the working man. No hedge fund manager pays less than his secretary. On top of that, there is a business flat tax of 16 percent.

Now, that applies universally to giant corporations that, with lobbyists, right now are not paying taxes and to small businesses.

And you wanted to know the numbers. The Tax Foundation, which has scored every one of our plans, shows that this plan will allow the economy to generate 4.9 million jobs, to raise wages over 12 percent, and to generate 14 percent growth, and it costs with dynamic scoring less than a trillion dollars. Those are the hard numbers. And every single income decile -- see, they double-digit increase and after taxing comes growth --

BECKY: Senator --

CRUZ: -- is the answer. And if Reagan can demonstrate it --

BECKY: Thank you. Senator, we're out of time. Thank you.

CRUZ: -- if we cut taxes, we can bring back growth.

BECKY: Gentlemen, I'm sorry. We need to --


JOHN: We're going to try and move on.

FIORINA: Let me just say on taxes, how long have we been talking about tax reform in Washington, D.C.? We have been talking about it for decades. We now have a 73,000-page tax code. There have been more than 4,000 changes to the tax plan since 2001 alone. There are loads of great ideas, great conservative ideas from wonderful think tanks about how to reform the tax code.

The problem is, we never get it done. We have talked about tax reform in every single election for decades. It never happens. And the politicians always say it's so complicated. If you want a politician that can figure it out, the truth is this, the big problem, we need a leader in Washington who understands how to get something done. Not to talk about it, not to propose it, to get it done.

CARL: You want to bring the 70,000 pages to 3?

FIORINA: That's right. Three pages. You know why three?


FIORINA: No. You know why three? Because only if it's about three pages are you leveling the playing field between the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well-connected who can hire the armies of lawyers and accountants and, yes, lobbyists, to help them navigate their way through 73,000 pages.

Three pages is about the maximum that a single business owner or a farmer or just a couple can understand without hiring somebody. Almost 60 percent of American people now need to hire an expert to understand their taxes.

So, yes, you're going to hear a lot of talk about tax reform.


CARL: We will come around the bend, I promise.

This one's for Senator Rubio. You've been a young man in a hurry ever since you won your first election in your 20s. You've had a big accomplishment in the Senate, an immigration bill providing a path to citizenship the conservatives in your party hate and even you don't support anymore.

Now you're skipping more votes than any senator to run for President. Why not slow down, get a few more things done first, or at least finish what you start?

RUBIO: That's an interesting question. That's exactly what the Republican establishment said, too, Why don't you wait in line?

Wait for what? This country is running out of time. We can't afford to have another four years like the last eight years. Watching this broadcast tonight are millions of people that are living paycheck to paycheck. They are working as hard as they ever have. Everything costs more, and they haven't had a raise in decades.

You have small businesses in America that are struggling for the first time in 35 years. We have more businesses closing than starting. We have a world that's out of control and has grown dangerous and a President that is weakening our military and making our foreign policy unstable and unreliable in the eyes of our allies, and our adversaries continue to grow stronger.

They say there is no bipartisanship in Washington. We have a $19 trillion bipartisan debt, and it continues to grow as we borrow money from countries that do not like us, to pay for government we cannot afford.

The time to act is now. The time to turn the page is now. If we don't act now, we are going to be the first generation in American history that leaves our children worse off than ourselves.

CARL: So when the Sun-Sentinel says Rubio should resign, not rip us off, when they say Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job, when they say you act like you hate your job, do you?

RUBIO: Let me say, I read that editorial today with a great amusement. It's actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.

CARL: Do you hate your job?

RUBIO: Let me answer your question on the Sun-Sentinel editorial today. Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the senate by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat, ran for President, missing over 30 percent of his votes. I don't recall them calling for his resignation.

Later that year, in 2004, John Kerry ran for President, missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes. I don't recall the Sun -- in fact, the Sun-Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again.

So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative --


BUSH: John, can I say something up here, because I'm a constituent of the Senator, and I helped him, and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the Sun-Sentinel, because he was the most talented guy in the field. He's a gifted politician.

But, Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally the Senate, what is it, like a French workweek? You get like three days where you have to show up?

You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job. There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck in Florida as well. They are looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day.

RUBIO: I get to respond, right?

BECKY: 30 seconds.

RUBIO: Well, it's interesting. Over the last few weeks, I have listened to Jeb as he's walked around the country and said that you're modeling your campaign after John McCain; that you're going to launch a furious comeback the way he did, by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying your own bag at the airport.

Do you know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you're now modeling after?

BUSH: He wasn't --

RUBIO: Jeb, I don't remember -- well, let me tell you, I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record. The only reason why you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.


Here's the bottom line. I'm not -- my campaign is going to be about the future of America. It's not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage. I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush. I'm not running against Governor Bush. I'm not running against anyone on this stage. I am running for President, because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies --




JOHN: We're moving to Governor Bush.

Governor, the fact that you're at the fifth lectern tonight shows how far your stock has fallen in this race, despite the big investment your donors have made. You noted recently after slashing your payroll that you had better things to do than sit around and be demonized by other people.

BUSH: No, no, no. What I said was, I don't believe that I would be President of the United States and have the same dysfunction that exists in Washington, D.C., now. Don't vote for me if you want to keep the gridlock in Washington, D.C., but if you want someone who has a proven, effective leadership that was a governor of a state that transformed the culture there, elect me so I can fight for the American people and change the culture in Washington, D.C.

JOHN: Okay. It's a question about why you're having difficulty. I want to ask you in this context. Ben Bernanke, who was appointed Fed chairman by your brother, recently wrote a book in which he said he no longer considers himself a Republican because the Republican party has given in to know-nothingism.

Is that why you're having a difficult time in this race?

BUSH: The great majority of Republicans and Americans believe in a hopeful future. They don't believe in building walls and a pessimistic view of the future. They are concerned that Washington is so dysfunctional that it's holding them back. There are lids on people's aspirations.

Think about it, 6-1/2 million people working part-time, workforce participation rates lower than they were in 1977. Six million more people living in poverty than the day Barack Obama got elected President. And the Left just wants more of the same. We have to offer a compelling alternative that is based on hope and optimism and grounded in serious policy, which I've laid out. And you can go get it at

>> Thank you, Governor.

BUSH: I --


BECKY: We'll get to everyone.

Ms. Fiorina, I would like to ask you a question. You are running for President of the United States because of your record running Hewlett-Packard. But the stock market is usually a fair indicator of the performance of the CEO, and the market was not kind to you. Someone who invested a dollar in your company the day you took office had lost half of that dollar by the day you left.

Obviously, you've talked in the past about what a difficult time it was for technology companies, but anybody who was following the market knows that your stock was a much worse performer if you looked at your competitors, if you looked at the overall market.

I just wonder, in terms of all of that, you know, we look back, your board fired you. I just wonder why you think we should hire you now.

FIORINA: You know, the NASDAQ dropped 80 percent. 80 percent. And it took 15 years from the NASDAQ to recover.

I was recruited to HP to save a company. It was a company that had grown into a bloated, inept bureaucracy that cost too much and delivered too little to customers and shareholders. It had missed, before I arrived, expectations for nine quarters in a row.

As an outsider, I tackled HP's entrenched problems head-on, I cut the bureaucracy down to size, reintroduced accountability, focused on service, on innovation, on leading in every market and every product segment.

And, yes, it was a very difficult time. However, we saved 80,000 jobs. We went on to grow to 160,000 jobs, and scores of technology companies literally went out of business, like Gateway, taking all their jobs with them.

The truth is, I had to make some tough calls in some tough times. I think actually people are looking for that in Washington now. And, yes, I was fired over a disagreement in the boardroom. There are politics in the boardroom as well, and yet the man who led my firing, Tom Perkins, an icon of Silicon Valley, has come out publicly and said, you know what, we were wrong; she was right. She was a great CEO. She would be a great President of the United States, because the leadership she brought to HP is exactly the leadership we need in Washington, D.C.

BECKY: Mrs. Fiorina, it's interesting that you bring up Mr. Perkins because he said a lot of very questionable things. Last year in an interview, he said that he thinks wealthy people should get more votes than poor people. I think his quote was that if you pay zero dollars in taxes, you should get zero votes. If you pay a million dollars, you should get a million votes. Is this the type of person you want to --

FIORINA: Well, this is one of the reasons why Tom Perkins and I had disagreements in the boardroom, Becky.


Nevertheless, one of the things that I think people don't always understand is how accountable a CEO actually is. So you know, I had to report results every 90 days in excruciating detail. I had to answer every single question about every single result and every single projection in public until there were no more questions.

And if I misrepresented those results or those projections in any way, I was held criminally liable. Imagine, imagine if a politician were held to that standard of account.

I will run on my record all day long, and I believe people need a leader who is prepared to make tough calls in tough times and stand up and be held accountable.

BECKY: Thank you. We're out of time. Thank you, Mrs. Fiorina.


CARL: Senator Cruz, Congressional Republicans, Democrats, and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown, and calm financial markets that fear another Washington-created crisis is on the way.

Does your opposition to it show that you're not the kind of problem-solver American voters want?

CRUZ: You know, let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media.


This is not a cage match. And if you look at the questions: Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don't you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?

How about talking about the substantive issues --


... and, Carl, I'm not finished yet. The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, Which of you is more handsome and why? And let me be clear --

CARL: You have 30 seconds left to answer, should you choose to do so.

CRUZ: Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.

And nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn't be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be what are your substantive --


CARL: I want the record to reflect, I asked you about the debt limit and got no answer.


JOHN: We're moving on.

CRUZ: Let me tell you --


CRUZ: Let me tell you -- you don't actually want to hear the answer, John? You don't want to hear the answer?

JOHN: You used your time on something else.

CRUZ: You're not interested in an answer.


JOHN: Senator Paul, the budget deal crafted by Speaker Boehner and passed by the House today makes cuts in entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security disability, which are the very programs conservatives say need cutting to shrink government and solve our country's long-term budget deficit.

Do you oppose that budget deal because it doesn't cut those programs enough?

PAUL: No, I oppose it because you're taking money from the entitlement and then spending it immediately on other items.

That's what they're doing. They're taking money from Social Security, and they're going to spend it on the military and they're going to spend it on domestic spending.

Here's the thing. When you look at raising the debt limit, it should be leveraged to try to reform government.

In 2011, the sequester was passed as a reform to slow down the rate of government.

Instead, the Washington establishment raised both. We raised military spending, took from entitlements and raised domestic spending, and the deficit will explode under this.

This is the unholy alliance that people need to know about, between Right and Left. Right and Left are spending us into oblivion. We should use the debt ceiling, as precisely designed, to force upon them budgetary reform.

JOHN: Senator, if what you just said is true, why did Speaker Boehner craft this deal, and why did Paul Ryan, who has a strong reputation for fiscal discipline, vote for it?

PAUL: Well, that's the real question, is there going to be any change in the House with new leadership?

I frankly don't think there will be much change, because I think what's going to happen is you're going to get more of the same.

People in Washington think they were sent there to be adults and govern and do all this. Well, you know what I'm worried about? Not keeping the government open; I'm worried about bankrupting the American people.

We are borrowing a million dollars a minute. That is important, and that's what we have to contrast. Keeping the government open and continuing to borrow a million dollars a minute --


BECKY: Actually, I have a question for you. And maybe we're going to ()end.

In your "tell it like it is" campaign, you said a lot of tough things. You said that we need to raise the retirement age for Social Security, you think that we need to cut benefits for people who make over $80,000 and eliminate them entirely for seniors who are making over $200,000.

Governor Huckabee, who is here on the stage, said that you and others who think this way are trying to rob seniors of the benefits that they've earned. It raises the question, when is it acceptable to break a social compact?

CHRISTIE: Well, I wish you would have asked that question years ago when they broke it. I mean, let me be honest with the people who are watching at home. The government has lied to you, and they have stolen from you. They told you that your Social Security money is in a trust fund. All that's in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs from money they spent on something else a long time ago. And they stole it from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits, and Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years.

We are sitting up here talking about all these other things. 71 percent of federal spending today is on entitlements and debt service. And that's with zero percent interest rates.

Now, I'm the only person who has put out a detailed plan on how to deal with entitlements, and it will save a trillion dollars over the next ten years.

And here's the difference between me and Hillary Clinton. What Hillary Clinton is going to say, and has said before, is she wants to raise Social Security taxes.

Now, let me ask you a question, everybody. And this is for, you know, the guy who owns a landscaping business out there. If somebody's already stolen money from you, are you going to give them more or are you going to deal with the problem by saying I am going to give people who have done well in this country less benefits on the back end. We need to get realistic about this, and we're not. The American people -- forget about anything else -- they have already been lied to and stolen from, and I'm going to go to Washington and stop it.

CARL: We promised we would get to everyone this block.

Governor Huckabee, I'm going to give you 60 seconds on this.

HUCKABEE: Well, I would really appreciate that. First of all, yes, we've stolen. Yes, we've lied to the American people about Social Security and Medicare. But you know what we're not telling them? It's their money. This isn't the government's money. This is not entitlement; it's not welfare. This is money that people have confiscated out of their paychecks. Every time they got a paycheck, the government reached in and took something out of it before they ever saw it.

Now we're going to blame the people. Today Congress decided to take another $150 billion away from Social Security so they can borrow more money. That makes no sense to anybody. And they're always going to say, well, we're going to fix this one day. No, they're not. It's like a 400-pound man saying, I'm going to go on a diet, but I'm eating a sack of Krispy Kremes before I do.

And people are sick of believing that the government is never really going to address this. But let me tell you who not to blame. Let's quit blaming the people on Social Security. Let's quit making it a problem for them. It's like them getting mugged and then us saying, well, we're going to mug you some more. You ought to just be able to get over it. Get used to it. No, sir.

>> Governor --


HUCKABEE: This is the only time I've had a chance. Let me finish.

CARL: All right.

HUCKABEE: This is a matter not of math; this is a matter of morality. If this country does not keep its promise to seniors, then what promise can this country hope to be trusted to keep? And the fact is none of them --

>> By the way --

HUCKABEE: No. The only --

CHRISTIE: No, the only way we're going to be moral, the only way we're going to keep our promise to seniors is start by following the first rule we should all follow, which is to look at them, treat them like adults, and tell them the truth. It isn't their money anymore, Mike, they stole it. It got stolen from them. It's not theirs anymore. The government stole it and spent it a long time ago.

So let's stop fooling around about this. Let's tell people the truth. For once, let's do that, and stop trying to give them some kind of fantasy that's never going to come true.

CARL: Senator Cruz, before we go to break, we're clearly not having that beer you mentioned. But I'll give you 30 more seconds --

CRUZ: I'll buy a tequila.

CARL: Okay. All right.

CRUZ: Or even some famous Colorado Browns .

CARL: I'll give you 30 seconds to respond.

CRUZ: John, since he brought me up, do I not get to respond?

CARL: Respond on the debt limit or in answer to the Governor, whichever you choose.

CRUZ: Well, sure. Look, this deal in Washington is an example of why Washington is broken. Republican leadership joined with every single Democrat to add 80 trillion to our debt to do nothing to fix the problems.

And let me note on Social Security, because we were getting into a good substantive exchange. And I want to say I think both Chris and Mike are right. Governor Huckabee is exactly right, we need to honor the promises made to our seniors.

But for younger workers -- look, I'm 44 years old. It is hard to find someone my generation that thinks Social Security will be there for us. We can save and preserve and strengthen Social Security by making no changes for seniors; but for younger workers, gradually increasing the retirement age, changing the rate of growth so that it matches inflation and critically allowing younger workers to keep a portion of our tax payments in a personal account that we own, we control, and we can pass on to our kids, we can do both.

CARL: 30 seconds, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: John, let's keep in mind that for one-third of the 60 million Americans on Social Security represents 90 percent of their income.

When I hear people talking about means testing, let's just remember what that means. If we means-test Social Security, it means that the government decides whether or not I deserve it. If a person lives in a seven-room house, does the government get to say you don't need seven rooms, we're going to take two of them away?

Folks, the government has no business stealing even more from the people who have paid this in. I just want to remind you: People paid their money; they expect to have it. And if this government doesn't pay it, then tell me what's different between the government and Bernie Madoff, who sits in prison today, for doing less than what the government has done to the people on Social Security and Medicare in this country.

CARL: Governor, thank you.

We will take a break. The Republican Presidential debate, live from Boulder, Colorado, comes back after a break on CNBC.



BECKY: Welcome back to the Presidential debate for the Republicans. We are live in Boulder, Colorado, right here on CNBC.

Folks, we will get right back into this.

Mr. Trump, let's talk a little bit about bankruptcy. Your Atlantic City casinos filed for bankruptcies four times. In fact, Fitch, the ratings agency, even said that they were serial filers for all of this.

You said that you did great with Atlantic City, and you did. But some of the individuals, the bondholders, some of the contractors who worked for you, didn't fare so well.

Bankruptcy is a broken promise. Why should the voters believe the promises that you are telling them right now?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, like many other very big businessmen -- I could name them here, but I'm not going to do that for a lot of obvious reasons -- but the biggest, and almost all of them, they've all used the Chapter laws, the bankruptcy laws, to their own benefit.

Before this, I was a very successful person as a developer and as a businessman. Atlantic City has gone bad. And Chris will know about that. I'm not blaming Chris, by the way, but he will know about that.

Caesars -- excuse me, Caesars, the Rolls Royce, as you know, is in bankruptcy. Almost every hotel in Atlantic City has either been in bankruptcy or will be in bankruptcy, the biggest. But also the biggest people.

Now, I've used that to my advantage as a businessman. For my family, for myself, I never filed for bankruptcy, but many, many people did. What happened with Atlantic City is very, very disgraceful.

Now, hundreds of companies, I've opened. I've used it three times, maybe four times. Came out great. But I guess I'm supposed to come out great. That's what I could do for the country. We owe $19 trillion. Boy, am I good at solving debt problems. Nobody can solve them like me.

But I will tell you this, Atlantic City, you're using that, hundreds of companies that I've opened have thrived. I've built a net worth of way over $10 billion, and I've done it four times out of hundreds, and I'm glad I did it. I used the laws of the country to my benefit. I'm sorry.

BECKY: Mr. Trump, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

JIM CRAMER: Dr. Carson, in recent weeks, a number of pharmaceutical companies have been accused of profiteering for dramatically raising the prices of life-saving drugs. You have spent a lifetime in medicine.

Have these companies gone too far? Should the government be involved in controlling some of these price increases?

CARSON: Well, there's no question that some people go overboard when it comes to trying to make profits and they don't take into consideration the American people. What we have to start thinking about as leaders, particularly in government, is what can we do for the average American, and you think about the reasons that we're having such difficulty right now with our job market. Well, the average small manufacturer, whatever they're manufacturing, drugs or anything, if they have less than 50 employees, the average cost in terms of regulations is $34,000 per employee.

Makes it a whole lot easier for them to want to go somewhere else. So what we're going to have to start doing, instead of, you know, picking on this group or this group, is we're going to have to have a major reduction in the regulatory influence that's going on. The government is not supposed to be in every part of our lives, and that's what is causing the problem.

JIM: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

Governor Christie. There's been a lot of political rhetoric that some bank executives should have gone to jail for the 2008 financial crisis. But General Motors paid more than $1 billion in fines and settlements for its ignition switch defect. 124 people died as a result of these faulty switches. No one went to jail.

As a former prosecutor, do you believe the people responsible for the switch and the coverup belong behind bars?

CHRISTIE: You bet they do. And if I were the prosecutor, that's exactly where they would be.

The fact is that this Justice Department under this President has been a political Justice Department. It's been a Justice Department that's decided that they want to pick who the winners and losers are. They like General Motors, so they give them a pass. If they don't like somebody else, like David Petraeus, they prosecute them and send a decorated general on to disgrace. It's a political Justice Department.

And, Jim, you know full well that in the seven years I was U.S. Attorney, we went after pharmaceutical companies. We went after companies that were ripping off shareholders. We went after companies that were doing things that were against the law.

And to expand on Dr. Carson's question, let's face it, we have laws already. We don't need more laws. We don't need Hillary Clinton's price controls. Again, does anybody out there think that giving Washington, D.C., the opportunity to run the pharmaceutical industry is a good idea, given how well they've done running the government?

So what we do, though, if there's somebody that is price gouging, we have laws for prosecutors to take that on. Let's let a justice -- I will make an attorney general who will enforce the law and make justice more than just a word; it will be a way of life.

JIM: Thank you, Governor Christie.

JOHN: Jim, thanks.

Governor Bush, in a debate like this four years ago, every Republican running for President pledged to oppose a budget deal containing any tax increase, even if it had spending cuts ten times as large. A few months later, you told Congress, Put me in, coach. You'd take that deal. Still feel that way?

BUSH: Well, the deal was done. Barack Obama got his massive tax increase, and there was no spending cuts. You just see the recent deal announced today or yesterday. More spending, more tax increasing, more regulation. And now we have to accept 2 percent, the new normal for economic growth.

And the net result is, the middle class has $2,300 less in their pockets than the day that Barack Obama got elected President. And now they see Hillary Clinton proposing a third term of economic policy for our country. We need to reverse that.

And my record was one of cutting taxes each and every year. You don't have to guess about it, because I actually have a record. $19 billion of tax cuts, 1.3 million jobs created. We were one of two states to go to AAA bond rating, and our government spending was far less than the spending in people's income.

JOHN: But to the point that you made to Congress, if you were President and you were offered a bipartisan deal that had $1 of tax increases for $10 of --


-- would you take it?

BUSH: You find me a Democrat -- you find me a Democrat that will cut spending $10. Heck, I'm a Republican in Congress that would cut spending $10.

JOHN: So you don't want the coach to put you in anymore?

BUSH: Look, the deal is already done. The biggest tax increase happened under the watch of Barack Obama and spending has gone up. You find a Democrat that's for cutting taxes -- cutting spending $10, I'll give them a warm kiss.

JOHN: Thank you, Governor.


CARL: Mrs. Fiorina, in 2010, while running for Senate in Tech Ridge, California, you called an internet sales tax a bad idea. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores obviously disagree.

Now that the internet shopping playing field has matured, what would be a fair plan to even that playing field?

FIORINA: You know, I want to go back for a moment to what we were just talking about. Crony capitalism is alive and well, and has been so in Washington, D.C., for decades.