SPEAKERS: REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS
FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.
FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA.
FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.
FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN JR., R-UTAH
CHARLIE ROSE, PBS ANCHOR
KAREN TUMULTY, WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
JULIANA GOLDMAN, BLOOMBERG TV WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT
[*] ANNOUNCER: Live from Spaulding Auditorium on the campus of Dartmouth College, the Bloomberg-Washington Post Republican Presidential Debate.
ROSE: I'm Charlie Rose. Welcome to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, this great college established in 1769 in a state that often plays a crucial role in picking presidents. Tonight, it is the site of an important Republican presidential debate brought to you by Bloomberg, the Washington Post, and WBIN Television.
This is a time of anxiety about our country and our children's future in a continuing economic crisis. Many are in despair, not only about policy, but politics. And so we ask who has the character, who has the ideas, and who has the experience to lead.
This debate is different and distinctive. It is only about the economy. So we debate this evening about spending and taxes, deficit and debt, about the present and the future, about rich and poor, and about the role of government. And because we're at a table -- this is the kind of table I like -- the kind of kitchen table where families for generations have come together to talk and solve their problems.
The rules are one minute for an answer, 30 seconds for follow-up and rebuttal. If a candidate is singled out by name for criticism, they have 30 seconds to respond. Later in the debate, they will question each other.
I'm the moderator. Joining me are Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post and Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News.
Joining us at the table, the eight Republican candidates. They are: former Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman; Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Texas Governor Rick Perry; former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain; former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum; former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich; Texas Congressman Ron Paul; former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
I am pleased to be here at this table to have an opportunity to talk to them about the issues that all of us are thinking about.
And I begin this evening first with Herman Cain. As you know, when Standard & Poor's downgraded American credit, they noted not only the economic difficulties, but the political dysfunction. So we begin this evening with the question: What would you do specifically to end the paralysis in Washington?
CAIN: Two things. Present a bold plan to grow this economy, which I have put my 9-9-9 plan on the table, and it starts with throwing out the current tax code and putting in the 9-9-9 plan.
Secondly, get serious about bringing down the national debt. The only way we're going to do that is, the first year that I'm president and I oversee a fiscal year budget, make sure that revenues equals spending. If we stop adding to the national debt, we can bring it down.
So the answer is, we must grow this economy with a bold solution, which is why I have proposed 9-9-9, and at the same time get serious about not creating annual deficits so we can bring down the national debt. That would re-establish confidence in our system, and I believe we could get our credit rating back.
ROSE: Governor Perry, are you prepared -- even though you've said that you want to make Washington inconsequential -- to go to Washington and, as Ronald Reagan did, compromise on spending cuts and taxes in order to produce results?
PERRY: Well, certainly as the governor of the second largest state, I've had to deal with folks on both sides of the aisle. I've signed six balanced budgets as the governor of -- of Texas. So working with folks on both sides of the aisle and -- and bringing ideas, whether it's ways to redo your tax structure or what have you.
One of the things that I laid out today I think is a pretty bold plan, to put 1.2 million Americans working in the energy industry. And you don't need Congress to do that. You need a president with a plan, which I'm laying out over the next three days, and, clearly, the intent to open up this treasure trove that America's sitting on and getting America independent on the domestic energy side. It's time for another American Declaration of Independence. It's time for energy independence.
ROSE: We'll come back to energy, also your economic plan this evening, but I go now to Governor Romney. The paralysis there, and everybody's concerned about it. What specifically would you be prepared to do to make the country moving again on addressing its problems?
DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES