tv Anderson Cooper360 GOP Town Hall CNN February 18, 2016 9:00pm-11:31pm PST
good evening. welcome from the university of south carolina in columbia. i'm anderson cooper. we're moments away from another cnn republican town hall. jeb bush, john kasich, donald trump answering voters' questions here making up their minds before the first in the south primary here in south carolina. it's been quite a day, to say the least. for jeb bush campaigning hard, looking for a badly needed boost from a state that's been good to the family. for john kasich, hoping to capitalize on his second place finish in new hampshire. an emotional campaign moment. we'll talk more about that. and donald trump riding high in the polls and never shying from a fight. he's now taking on pope francis. the pope, returning from mexico
said thus when asked about trump. quote, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be and not building bridges is not christian. that is not the gospel, he went on to say. we must see if he says things in that way and in this, i give the benefit of the doubt the pope went on to say. however trump who has made much of his christian faith was not about to turn the other cheek. >> the pope said something to the effect that maybe donald trump isn't christian, okay? and he's questioning my faith. i was very surprised to see it. but i am a christian. for a christian leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. i'm proud to be a christian and as president i will not allow christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened unlike what is happening now with our current president. >> more now on the controversy and potential political plowback starting with sara murray at the site of donald trump's final
campaign event before the town hall. we just played a little bit of how donald trump responded to the pope's comments. talk more about how this all started and how the day proceeded for trump. >> reporter: well, anderson, donald trump never takes criticism lightly. especially on the issue of immigration. this is a cornerstone of trump's campaign. as soon as he got wind of the pope's criticism, you heard him there. he was almost speechless. just for a moment, saying it was unbelievable. but he really went on to double down, essentially saying he doesn't think the pope really understands the dangers of an open border. in fact he even went so far to say the vatican would need someone strong like a president trump to defend it from isis. so it is very clear that trump has no problem being in a fight with the pope just days before a primary in this state. no sign of backing down. >> is there any sense of how this affects donald trump, if at
all in the race? >> you know, it's really difficult to see if it upsets him personally. he said it was unbelievable. but talking to voters here, a lot of them just think this is all part of the political fight. i actually talked to one woman who said i'm a good southern baptist and i don't give a hoot if donald trump is in a fight with the pope. so this is another one of those things where we look at it with shock and awe and say could this finally be the thing that breaks through the donald trump teflon? i just don't think that will be the case this time. >> sara murray, thank you. we look forward to seeing you after the town hall. we'll talk to donald trump about this. how the other campaigns are reacting to trump's comments about pope francis and what could be any political aftershocks, if there are any. cnn's senior vatican analyst john allen points out catholics make up 20% of the voting age population and a significant chunk of the south carolina electorate.
more from dana bash who joins us from outside the hall. other candidates are also weighing in on the pope's comments about trump. you asked jeb bush about it today. what did he say? >> that's right. he has been one of the most critical, of course, of donald trump on pretty much everything. but on this, surprisingly perhaps, he came to his defense. listen to our conversation. let's just talk about mr. trump -- how about mr. trump going at it with the pope as a devout catholic. what do you make of that? >> i think the pope said apparently he may not be christian. i think his christianity is between him and his creator. i don't think we need to discuss that. >> so there you heard jeb bush there not once but even a couple of times saying, it's not up to me or frankly even the pope who is his own spiritual leader to say who is and who is not christian. ted cruz who has been really
getting into it with donald trump politically, also took a step back and said that's between the pope and donald trump. the one person who you are going to talk to tonight who was a little bit more forward leaning was john kasich who said, i like the pope. i don't know what he said, but i still like the pope. >> in terms of jeb bush, some of the things he's been saying today on the campaign trail, he ended a town hall on sort of a -- when i read it, i read it as a somber message almost saying essentially, you know, i hope you aren't counting me out. the stakes could not be higher for him right now. >> they couldn't be higher. i was just looking down to get the exact quote of what you were referring to. he ended the town hall by saying, i hope you don't think the end is near and then he also said, if you aren't going to vote for me, i hope you at least pray for my family. and he said i love you all. so that is certainly not the kind of rhetoric you hear from a
candidate who thinks that he or she is on the precipice of a victory or even beating expectations. i talked to jeb bush a couple of days ago and said what do you have to do here? he said beat expectations. there was a really big blow inside team bush not getting the popular governor, nikki haley's endorsement. that went to marco rubio. and it is pretty clear that they are kind of treading water. and that kind of statement from jeb bush is kind of shows where his mental state is, where his emotional state is never mind his political state that you'll be greeted with tonight. >> yeah. and we'll talk to him about all of that. he'll be here. donald trump and john kasich. joining us chief political analyst gloria borger, katon dawson, trump supporter and political commentator, david lord and david brody. katon, we've got to start with the pope.
does it have an impact here in south carolina? >> as we says yesterday, if donald trump is not talking about illegal immigration, he's having a bad day. the pope got him back on message. and donald had a pretty good day. a couple hundred thousand catholics in south carolina out of 4.8 million people. i talked to two elected officials today, both roman catholic, and they weren't offended. they wouldn't challenge the pope but they were sort of in donald's corner. donald is back on message. >> because he's talking about illegal immigration. >> his opponents haven't taken him on on this because they're all within a hair of where he is on building a wall, on immigration. and jeb bush who has lost no opportunity to challenge donald trump in recent months today when asked about it sort of backed off, right? and so they are not taking him on on this. and the interesting thing about
trump is you never see him read a statement as you pointed out. he was reading it word for word because he knew how careful he had to be with his words today responding to the pope. >> jeffrey lord is a trump backer. what do you make of -- your candidate now being in confrontation with the pope of all people. >> well, there's two aspects to this, i think, anderson. number one, bill donahue of the catholic league. i received a statement from him. and he basically says that's he believes that's the pope was set up by the reporter, that's his answer was misreported or misunderstood and then transferred to donald trump who misunderstood it. so essentially he is defending both the pope and donald trump. that aside, i think there's a political aspect to this, and i think katon is right. i think that anyone who is not an american, a foreign leader in this case, certainly the pope is perceived as interfering in an
american election that there's an instinctive reflex in the american electorate not on like it. in this case, it's the pope, and i don't think it was particularly good idea. i mean, i suppose this congregational boy should be opining but it's not a good idea to jump into an american election like this. >> you focused on trump's bid to win over evangelical voters. do the comments have any sway here in south carolina? >> let me add it up for a moment. zero. zero percent. can i go negative on that? no, absolutely not. this is a good day for donald trump. jeb bush and ted cruz coming to donald trump's defense. in essence. when has that ever happened? this is a good day. if you're going to pick a fight about donald trump being unchristian or not a christian, immigration is not the topic to do it on. i'm sure ted cruz could suggest
a few topics to the pope on that story line but not immigration. so the only thing that could have gotten donald trump in trouble today is if he went to twitter and blasted the pope and called him a loser, but he didn't do that. that's why he was reading that statement. >> dana, as far as jeb bush is concerned, his mom will be in the audience tonight here. does the bush campaign see south carolina as make or break? can they move forward from here in he doesn't beat expectations? >> well, they won't go there on answering that question. they, obviously, it's hard to say anything other than south carolina is incredibly important. that's just a fact. and he hasn't done well at all in the first two contests. and this is, obviously, a place where, first of all, bush's win historically. and they understand the stakes are incredibly high. having said that, i've talked to
several bush advisers who have spent the day beating back rumors that's he is going to stop paying staff soon, he's going to drop out if he finishes behind marco rubio. they insist that's not true. they insist he is in it. he was asked about it earlier today and said no, no, no. but having said that, it's going to be very hard for him to continue with even the moral authority, never mind anything else, to keep going after they have spent so much money and he's spent so much time and so much energy everywhere. but especially here in south carolina. >> katon, do you see this race quickly winnowing down after south carolina? >> absolutely. getting ready to vote 700,000 people. we've had wall to wall coverage. last night's venue was remarkable. i can't tell you the people that helped make up their minds and change the venue from the cage fight we have to what we're
doing in this. and i think the candidates have had everything they need to sell their program. a cheap state for advertising. so i think that it's going to win a couple. my guess is two, maybe three, and then a little tighter race into super tuesday. hopefully we have more venues like you're doing. it's a lot of work and expensive for the network, but this was an important time. to think about trump, there's some candidates that's need someday news today and the pope, courtesy of him, trump got two-thirds of the day today. >> that's a good point. trump has dominated the conversation. this time it wasn't of his making. it was comments the pope made. >> right. anderson, the problem with jeb bush is the illustration that's a fairly old one in american politics. you can have all the money in the world but if you don't have a good message and can't communicate the message to the audience, to the voters, you'll not get anywhere.
jeb bush is left with lots of money. he spent lots of money and he's not getting anywhere. in one brief instant here, the pope has illustrated exactly what donald trump's message is and why so many are responding to him. >> gloria, it reminds me of how little we know about the world of politics. we learn this lesson every presidential cycle. the presumptive nominees, the people early on get knocked out or end up faltering and somebody we don't expect rises to the fore. >> the person with the most money doesn't necessarily always win, and, you know, i think jeb bush, case in point, hillary clinton learned that in 2008. and the thing about bush right now is when you talk to his people, they are talking about the margin he loses by. and when a campaign starts talking about the margin of loss, you know, there's a problem. >> the way this all plays out saturday for a long time people thought cruz had evangelical voters locked up.
>> donald trump clearly has the edge as it relates to evangelicals. the polling has shown that. it's interesting. ted cruz, it has got to be so frustrating for ted cruz. as a former solicitor general, he's litigating a case against donald trump in essence being a fake conservative, and yet it's not really sticking all that much. and why is that? well, you know, we've always talked about ted cruz being an outsider and donald trump being an outsider. senator ted cruz is senator ted cruz, and he also speaks very much in measured tones and like a politician, so to speak. and because of all of that, donald trump has a much different feel to him. a vibe to him. it's the guy next door. even though he's a billionaire. but he is the guy next door. it's a fascinating political skill that a billionaire can relate to the cab driver. someone has to write a book about it. i'm going to write a book about it.
>> the guy next door but just living in a much bigger house than you're living in, than all of us. jeffrey lord, david brody. everyone stick around. just ahead, the uproar over a photo on a ted cruz funded website that the rubio campaign is calling another sign of how deceitful the cruz campaign is become. the town hall just minutes away. if legalzoom has your back.s, over the last 10 years we've helped one million business owners get started. visit legalzoom today for the legal help you need to start and run your business. legalzoom. legal help is here.
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welcome back with john kasich and jeb bush and donald trump getting ready to take the stage in columbia. two participants last night in greenville fought it out over a misleading photo on the campaign trail. this photo posted on a ted cruz funded website. it appears to show marco rubio and president obama shaking hands over the rubio/obama trade pact. it was spotted as a fake. it was a stock photo. identical down to the wrinkles on the suit.
new heads on the body. decide for yourself what to make for it. as for what the rubio campaigns are making of it. what did the rubio campaign have to say about this? >> in the voluminous history of dirty tricks, this probably doesn't rank in the top 500 but that wasn't the rubio campaign's point. the reason they worked hard to get this out there and held a conference call and why trey gowdy released a video attacking ted cruz is this fits a narrative they're trying to push ap a narrative that ted cruz is deceptive, running a campaign based on lies. every time they're talking about that, that means ted cruz has to answer questions about that and that means ted cruz is on defense. that's their key point. not that this photo shop was that bad but they can put ted cruz on defense. for ted cruz's campaign, they brushed this off. they called it a pathetic attempt. rick perry just released a lengthy statement attacking
marco rubio for this. the key point is this. both of these campaigns recognize that in this state there are a subset of voters that could break either way. they are undecided. these attacks are only going to keep coming, anderson. >> still a lot of undecided voters in this room which is why tonight is so critical in this state. rubio, by all the latest polls, he is not certainly in first place. doesn't have a good shot of actually winning but does seem to be gaining momentum. how does his campaign define success here? will they say? >> up until last night this was largely get back on the horse. and then came the endorsement of governor haley. an 80% approval rating, top tier uprising star in the establishment. that was a big moment for them. rubio advisers are not trying to lay expectations low. they recognize there's a real possibility they could pass ted cruz for second place and they
need something like that to push through into a super tuesday where they aren't really favored in any of the states on the map. ted cruz's campaign having fun with that as well. they are trying to push expectations very high. it will be very interesting to see what happens on saturday. >> phil mattingly, appreciate the reporting. we want to see how the cruz campaign is reacting to this. sunlen serfaty joins me from greenville, south carolina. how did the cruz campaign react. they didn't knock down the accusation this photo was photoshopped. >> they are preferring to use the word illustration and to characterize this in a less egregious sounding way. it was to be used as symbolism. rubio and obama hand in hand to drive that home. they say it was never intended to be presented as an actual photo.
the cruz campaign pushing back in a tongue in cheek way saying if the rubio campaign wants to supply another photo of rubio and president obama, they are happy to swap this out. also really celebrating and thanking them for directing people to their anti-rubio website saying traffic has been through the roof today. >> and the death of justice scalia continues to play out on the campaign trail. >> it absolutely does. and it's interesting today ted cruz really went right after president obama about this saying that president obama's eager to visit a place like cuba but not eager to attend the funeral for a supreme court justice. that, of course, being saturday in washington, d.c. cruz knew justice scalia very well. he said he was very influential in his life. he was a former supreme court law clerk. but interesting this morning the cruz campaign said he was not going to attend the funeral himself saturday even after criticizing president obama for
not attending. it was too difficult with his campaign schedule, saturday being the primary here. and the republicans here in south carolina. late today we got word from the cruz campaign that it is still a big unknown. they are looking at the schedule potentially seeing if it will work but no final decision is made whether cruz will attend that funeral on saturday. >> sunlen, thank you. back with gloria borger, katon dawson and the former communications director for senator cruz. katon, we've seen a lot of stuff in south carolina. where does this photoshopped image rank? >> out of 500 like the 426th worst one. >> at least you can be -- >> clever? >> better at it. what it did do is at least they had a conversation. the cruz team waltzed on this one. he wasn't talking about the justice. he wasn't talking about what his expertise in his lane was. so everybody got distracted
today but donald trump. the visual that came out with nikki haley, tim scott, trey gowdy. the only african-american conservative republican, young senator, in his 40s. nikki haley, indian american governor. that's a visual the democrats to have face. this is the face of the party in south carolina. >> i was at that rally when the four of them stood up, and it was the sort of new rainbow coalition of the republican party. and it had youth and diversity and it had energy. and they knew exactly what they were doing when they were all up there together. and it was really quite striking. >> amanda, i want to give you a chance to weigh in. surely the cruz campaign knew that this flyer, people would realize it was a photoshopped image and they'd get pushback.
>> i don't think they were trying to pass it as real. it obviously looked photoshopped. it's a representation of obama teaming up with rubio. it's an echo of the gang of eight kind of stuff. rubio just looks really silly. the rubio campaign has really been trying to make this narrative that ted cruz is a liar come true. they've used this. they've gone after fake facebook postings that's ted cruz is not responsible for and has disavowed as evidence of this. they're trying to make this happen. i think it looks desperate. looks more desperate when echoing talking points from being a liar from donald trump. this is a make or break state for marco rubio. he needs to have a good showing. it's disappointing he's acting like donald trump in order to do it. >> dana, i want to play a clip from governor kasich today from a moment with one of his supporters at an earlier town hall.
>> like over a year ago, a man who was like my second dad, he killed himself, and then a few months later, my parents got a divorce, and then a few months later, my dad lost his job. but -- and i was in a really dark place for a long time. i was pretty depressed. but i found hope, and i found it in the lord and in my founds, and now i've found it in my presidential candidate that i support. and i'd really appreciate one of those hugs you've been talking about. [ applause ] >> dana, it is one of those moments, and it happens from time to time, particularly at town hall meetings, where it really breaks through all the rhetoric and breaks through all the back and forth, and it's just a very human moment. >> absolutely. and it's one that john kasich has said time and time again kind of keeps him going.
and the kind of moment he says changed him as a politician and just as a human being. this whole process has done that. it also is a reminder of how special these early contest states are and the people who get to live here in south carolina, in iowa, in new hampshire. they have these moments where they can have effectively a therapy session with somebody who they admire, a politician, and have that one on one interaction. it is really quite remarkable, and it is a chance for us to step back and say, wow. for all of the rhetoric, for all of the politicking, these are human beings, both the politicians and the voters. >> katon, do you think there's still a lot of minds that have yet to be made up here? >> i do. the history is 55% said the last three days out of the exit poll in 2012. they are starting to make their minds up. today is thursday. it's a busy day. it's pretty close. but it's enough to move the
numbers, especially the expectations set by the candidate. cruz set an expectation of second place. rubio, an expectation of where he's going to be. he could exceed expectations. that's what's getting ready to happen. it's what's going to happen to ted cruz if he doesn't come in second place. where is he going down the road? what is he going to do? they've got money but only a couple of tickets have enough money. jeb bush is running out of money. carson is out. three campaigns that have money. donald trump, ted cruz, marco rubio to fund himself and the outlier, john kasich. and kasich is low on cash on hand, too. the financial advantage is going to be there, and we go into super tuesday. nobody can afford to buy all the media in those states. this is the last state you can have a hub, that people are going to go around from cafeteria to cafeteria. >> did nikki haley help marco
rubio get up into second place? >> she does. what i found with voters, if you haven't taken a good look or the chris christie exchange had you second -- this got him a really good second look in a place with a lot of undecided voters. >> that's what i found at the rubio rally today. that people, like nikki haley, she has over 80% popularity in the state and they were giving rubio another look because they like her. it's not that they're definitely going to vote for him as a result. but i do think she creates a sense of, well, maybe we ought to take another look at this guy because we like her so much. >> i should point out, if you are joining us, we are awaiting the start of our town hall. governor john kasich, we're really awaiting his arrival and the town hall will begin as soon as he does arrive. then it's going to be governor jeb bush and finally donald trump. it's going to be a fascinating night ahead.
the audience is ready. they are waiting and we'll get that going momentarily. what is ted cruz's explanation come sunday morning if marco rubio does surpass him in south carolina. particularly if marco rubio is strong with evangelicals? >> the margins are going to matter a lot. does trump have big double-digit leads? how close are they clumped together or not? that's going to dictate a lot of the outcomes here. it will be really interesting. let's say marco rubio does win south carolina. you'll have ted cruz winning iowa, trump winning new hampshire and rubio winning south carolina. all three would have a strong argument to continue going. i don't know where the other support goes from there if the others see the writing on the wall. the march continues with at least those three. that would be a fascinating race. the question would be, you know, are the votes divided between a cruz and rubio that allows trump to march forward? or do cruz and rubio take votes away from trump and make him
weaker in a three-man race? it could go a lot of different ways. we'll have much more insight once we see those margins of victory or defeat on saturday. >> dana, we talked about some comments jeb bush made at the end of a town hall. he had a town hall yesterday where his supporters, it was kind of remarkable. they were essentially giving him advice about what he should be doing better. which is something you don't really see a lot at a town hall. >> you don't. and there has been this remarkable and probably unfortunate dynamic for the jeb bush campaign that we've seen going to his events for the past several months now, which is, people really like jeb bush. and the feeling coming out of his events from a lot of voters is not what he wants, which is, oh, wow, i'm really fired up about this guy but, oh, wow,
he's such a nice guy. and it's like feeling bad for him, which is the worst thing you want as a candidate. but it's a reminder and crystallizes how much people genuinely like him, even if they don't necessarily think he's their guy. for example, i was at that event where gloria was, marco rubio's this morning. i talked to several people who said they like jeb bush but they want a new generation and somebody that can beat hillary clinton. they don't think jeb bush can do that. >> i think his remarks tonight will be the most interesting to watch out for because it could go either way. in recent days he's almost sound like a terminal patient. pray for me. the end may not be near. is he going to go out swinging really hard making that closing argument or quietly? >> dana bash, amanda carpenter, gloria borger. the republican town hall from here in south carolina, in columbia, is just moments away.
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[ applause ] good evening, everyone. just two days until a make or break primary, south carolina republicans still have questions. tonight live across the country online and around the world our second town hall from the first primary state of the south. the final chance for voters to get answers face-to-face straight from the candidates. >> tonight, three candidates, three remarkable life stories. three cases for why south carolina republicans should help make them president. >> i'm proud of my dad, george h.w. bush. i am proud to be george w. bush's brother as well. >> jeb bush. once the favorite, fighting his way back. >> we will make america great again. >> donald trump. rising high. trying to close the biggest deal in american politics. >> you've got a plan to go the whole distance. >> john kasich, son of a mail
man, promising voters after finishing second in new hampshire that he can deliver down south and stand apart in a sometimes bitter campaign. tonight, a chance to put aside the put downs and face the real concerns voters here have with the south the first primary just two days away. >> we need a president with a steady hand. >> we're going to do it ourselves. we're going to make america great again. >> i'm not going to spend my time trashing a bunch of other people and living in the negative lane. >> this is an anderson cooper 360 republican town hall. voters seeking answers. a chance to drive the debate before making a choice that could make history. [ applause ] good evening, everyone, from
the university of south carolina school of law auditorium here in the state capital columbia. just two days until primary day and plenty of voters have yet to decide in this state. same as last night in greenville. tonight will be conversational, not confrontational. tonight we'll talk with governors kasich and bush and mr. trump one at a time, and they'll talk one on one with the voters in this room, in the state and around the country. we're simulcasting live on cnn, cnn in espanol, cnn international, cnn go and american cnn go. also live on american forces network, the westwood one radio network and sirius xm channel 116. welcome to everyone watching and listening tonight. in the audience in columbia, people who tell us they will be participating in saturday's republican primary. some have made their decisions. some are undecided. they came up with their own questions. we've reviewed the questions to make sure they don't overlap. i'll ask some questions as well. but tonight, like last night, is about the voters getting to know the candidates. let's get started.
you all ready? all right. joining us, ohio governor from mckees rocks, pennsylvania, governor john kasich. [ applause ] hey, governor. welcome. how are you? have a seat. thanks for being here. >> did i have a choice? no, it's great to be here. so much better than a debate. >> yeah, there's a real intimacy to the room. i know you like town halls. >> i've done about 120 of them at this point but i'm getting good at them. i hope tonight i do okay. that's a joke. you can laugh. >> i want to start with something that happened earlier today. you had a really remarkable moment at a town hall earlier. i want to play that for the folks at home and the folks in this room. it shows the things that happen
in a town hall. and i want you to talk about your experience. let's just play that. >> like over a year ago, a man who was like my second dad, he killed himself. and then a few months later, my parents got a divorce, and then a few months later, my dad lost his job. and i was in a really dark place for a long time. i was pretty depressed. but i found hope, and i found it in the lord and in my friends. and now i found it in my presidential candidate that i support. and i'd really appreciate one of those hugs you've been talking about. [ applause ]
>> it's an extraordinary moment. >> it's been happening to me all over. i had a lady maybe last night, epileptic. told me about seizures. please help us. you know, people talk about these diseases. please help us with this. a man drove from new york to see me in new hampshire, and he was crying at the end of the town hall hugging me and said i should have warned my son about testicular cancer because it's now in his lungs. he said and i have a tape where you talked about hope. i said, sir, let it go. you aren't responsible for this. and he left and he called somebody, and he said, i felt like there was something lifted off of my shoulder. a lady at that same town hall was sitting way in the back, and we were talking about the problem of drugs. and she finally -- it was like mechanical stuff. the things we've done.
and she raised her hand. she said my daughter has been sober for 11 months. and i looked. i said to the people, do you know what it's like to be a mom and to have a daughter, 11 months sober? you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. you walk on egg shells and you just pray that my kid is going to be okay. anderson, i've seen it everywhere. it's one of the reasons why i love to talk about the conservative economic policies, but one of the things that i felt and i've said in the campaign is we all need to slow down a little bit. there are a lot of people out there who are lonely and looking for a place to tell people about their issues. could you believe that that young man? >> as a person and as a politician -- >> it has slowed me down, and i have, and many of you, or some of you have been at my town halls where i've talked about this. the strength of america is not some guy or woman coming in on a white charger here to solve our problems.
anderson, america, the glue of america is right here in this room. it's in our communities, our families. we need to slow down. and we've got to carry out our god-given destinies and potentials and gifts. and yet it's definitely changed me because it's slowing me down. but i've learned so much from -- listen. everybody here. you have to celebrate other people's wins, and sometimes you have to sit with them and cry because that's what we need in this country. let's get the economy going. let's rebuild it. let's get it going. we can deal with wages and fix social security and balance the budget and fix the regulations. but i also believe that the country works best when it is strong from the bottom up, not from the top down. you mention my little hometown where i was born, mckees rocks. we didn't wait for somebody to come in and help us. so if i can send the welfare programs and the job training
and health care for the poor and i can send, you know, the education programs, then it's up to us. it's up to us to rebuild this country and renew our spirit. the spirit i don't think is going to be renewed by, look, you can be helped by a president. reagan said it was morning in america. he inspired us. but what really inspires us are the stories of people who are just like us who change the world. and i don't mean to go on, but this is a big, big part of what we need to think about. >> we've got a lot of questions on specific issues from the voters. we're going to get to those. i want to ask you a couple of topics in the news today and a political question overall. just in terms of where you are in the race. you've been running hard, campaigning hard. you certainly have south carolina, nevada. looking forward to ohio, michigan. you are -- >> south. >> charging toward the south. >> virginia, mississippi. >> do you worry about losing momentum if you don't place in the top here? >> you know, i don't really
worry about much. >> really? >> no, i don't. because it's been such a privilege to get even this far. to be able to get out and see the crowds, that's worth the price of admission being able to hear that young man, and we're going to go to georgia. we're going to try to get to spend some -- >> no matters what, you're going to go on from here? >> yeah. i'm going to be here campaigning all day tomorrow and then we're going to head up to vermont, massachusetts, virginia on monday. i'll be in mississippi, louisiana. we're going the distance, anderson. when i -- first of all, they didn't think i'd do well in new hampshire, as you know. and we did well. we finished second, and in dixville notch, i beat donald trump by 60%. >> there's nine voters there. >> but, you know, we had at one point, six months ago, six people at a town hall. i come down here the day after new hampshire. we've got 500 people. 50 rsvps and everything changed.
you take it in stride. keep your feet on the ground. people thought i'd do 1% or 2% here. i think we're going to do better. if we don't do better, i'm blaming you. i'm telling you now. >> you were an altar boy as a kid. when you heard the pope talk about donald trump and for those who don't know, donald trump says a person who thinks only about building walls whether they may be and not of building bridges is not christian. that is what the pope said. it's not the gospel. were you surprised at the pope weighing in on this? >> i'm pro-pope, okay? put me down in the pro-pope column. i have seen the whole -- [ applause ] really. come on. i don't know exactly -- i read the whole quote. it's a lot longer than that. look, this is a guy who said when somebody asked him about somebody's behavior that wasn't consistent with what they thought the scripture was, he said, who am i to judge? this man has brought more sense of hope and more about the dos
in life than the don'ts. when you think about religion, before we get to the don'ts. you mention religion, people get thought bubbles. he's coming in to tell me what i can't do. what about what we can do which is about humility and loving your neighbor. this guy has been so humble. if you want to understand this pope, a friend of mine told me if you want to understand him, read a book about st. francis. he is the essence of humility and has opened the walls and doors of the church to lots of people who didn't understand it. now here's what i will say. we have a right to build a wall but there are too many walls between us. we need bridges between us if we're going to fix the problems in washington because all they do is have walls. we need to get these problems solved. >> i want you to meet a voter. this is clara smith from columbia. she's undecided. she's leaning toward you, though. >> oh, good. make the question easy, would you? >> hi, governor. republicans receive a bad rap
for being uninterested in the working poor. i'm a republican and i certainly have a heart for them. what would you as president do to help these people out that are working two or three jobs and can barely feed their children at home? they certainly adhere to the republican principles of pulling themselves up by the boot straps but are barely getting by. >> we want to make sure they have health care. and that's a critical part for the working poor. but, look, it all gets down to training and skills. and one of the things we have to recognize in this country today is we have to have life-long learning and we have to keep training ourselves for the jobs that exist today and the jobs that exist tomorrow. but i've got to tell you, when you think about these working poor, especially if it's a woman and her husband walked out on her and she's got a couple of kids, we have to look at the child care and think about the child care tax credit. and we have to get employers to begin to realize that give this person a chance. give them a chance to be able to move up. if you get stuck, then it
doesn't work. one other thing we all need to realize, look, i was involved in balancing the federal budget. i spent ten years of my life to get there in washington fighting everybody, including republicans, democrats. i've always been a guy shaking up the system. and when we got there, we began to see significant job growth and opportunity for people. as governor, i went in. we were -- we lost 350,000 jobs. now we're up over 400,000 jobs and our wages are growing faster than the national average in ohio. so we need robust economic growth because that helps everybody to rise. how do you get it? common sense regulations where you aren't snuffing out small businesses because they are the engine of job creation for some of these young people. they're going to create more jobs than the big companies. secondly, we need tax cuts for businesses and very individuals because that's spurs economic growth. and we have $19 trillion in debt. we need to move to get this budget under control. those three things coupled with
one other thing, and that is to get people trained for the jobs that exist today and tomorrow. and that's called workforce. you get those three things done, though, at the top. regulatory reform, common sense, lower taxes, business and people and balancing the budget, you'll see an explosion. when i was in washington, we saw the country's job picture explode. the same in ohio. what i want to do is take that formula that works and take it back. we know it works. you have to have discipline to carry it out. okay? but we have to be sensitive to the folks that are really in a tough spot. working two jobs. think about that mother gets up early in the morning. gets the kids off to school. goes to work, comes home, makes dinner. they are the heroes. these single women with children are the real heroes, in my opinion. thank you for your question. >> governor, if you could stay in the blue just for better lighting and cameras.
this gentleman is undecided. he's thinking about senator cruz, rubio and yourself. >> governor kasich, my older brother san officer in the marine corps and is preparing for his first deployment overseas. as his younger brother i've always looked up to him and he's been a constant inspiration. if you were elected president, how will you make sure that our military men and women are only deployed into situations where our national security is at risk. >> that's a really good question. first of all, you are right about that. we should employ or deploy our military whenever the national security risk is to the united states. that when we think that we're being threatened. and when we go, we ought to go, take care of the job and be able to come home once we finish it. getting in the middle of civil wars is not something i've ever favored. i was on the defense committee for 18 years in congress. i saw the president reagan rebuild the military. i saw the wall come down. i saw the first gulf war and i
was called in the pentagon by secretary rumsfeld after 9/11. you learn a lot through that process of what this all means. so, look, what i will tell you is sometimes we can support people that have the same aims as we do. for example, i had called senator mccain and boehner well over a year ago and said we need to support the rebels in syria. but i'd not want to get in the middle of a civil war in syria any more than i wanted to get in the middle of a civil war in lebanon. i do think we have to go and defeat isis. i have to tell you the coalition to do that should look amazingly like what we had when we pushed saddam hussein out of kuwait in the first gulf war. those are muslim arabs and friends in the west who can all come and take care of business. and once the business is taken care of and things settle a little bit, come home and let them sort it out. nation building, getting in the middle of civil wars is not a place for the united states military, in my opinion. we do have to rebuild the
military because it has run down. and i have a plan to put $100 billion more in the military but i've got to tell you. we can't be paying -- i was one of the people that found the hammers and screw drivers and wrenches that's cost tens of thousands of dollars. you remember that scandal? we have to clean up waste wherever it exists so the resource goes to people like your brother in the front lines. so we go when it really matters to our direct national interest. we can support people who support our similar aims. no nation building. get the job done. come home and be a leader in the world. and have people's backs. okay? >> thank you very much for your question. governor, over here is mary lefebvre, a lawyer in lexington, south carolina. she's undecided and has a question that should resonate with many in this state. >> governor kasich, i have a question involving a woman's issue that will be important to the voters in this state. the state of south carolina
leads the nation in incidents of deadly violence against women. as president, what will you do, what steps will you take to address the high rates of violence against women in this country? >> we have to have a war against that. i know they won a pulitzer in one of the major newspapers in this state. and down in charleston. in fact, they endorsed me today which was a wonderful thing to have. one of the reporters took me to the wall and showed me the pulitzer they won from saying that there was a time in this state where it was easier to hurt a woman than to hurt an animal. they've begun to clean that up. we put a lot of time into those issues in our state. i'll tell you another thing we worry about. sexual violence on a campus. i've noticed that time ago. i said there's got to be a place for young students, young women to be able to go where they can do things in confidentiality, where there can be a rape kit
that can last because sometimes women don't want to move right away but after a month or two may want to move forward with a prosecution. they should tell their story. but think about a woman -- i got these two 16-year-old daughters. could you imagine having somebody beat up your daughter or beat up your mother? we have to have an all-out war against this. and that's a very severe criminal act. and as president, you know, look. these laws are going to fundamentally be at the state level. it doesn't mean a president can't use a bully pulpit. it doesn't mean a president can't speak out on some of these significant moral issues. and i will do it. i don't always have to make a law to get somebody in the legislature to begin to pay attention to these issues. let me also tell you, we took on the issue of human trafficking. i don't know what you know about that, but there were in my state like 1,000 people who -- i was told by a democrat who walked out on my first state of the state address.
why did she get so mad? she stormed out. she came back a couple months later to have a meet with me. i said what can i do for you? she said there's a problem with this human trafficking with the number of children that are trafficked. she said -- i said how is it going? she said i haven't been able to pass anything. i said what if we pass it? she looked at me and stared at me. i went, hello? are you still with me? of course we're going to pass it. we've changed the laws around human trafficking. we're actually the woman who has been called a criminal has now been determined to be a victim and now we're putting the pimps in jail and making sure the women can be rehabilitated in our state. it's a wonderful thing. [ applause ] i want to say my wife karen, who may even be watching tonight. she may be watching. she has been in the catch court in our city of columbus, and we
take women who before would have been discarded, we raise them up. she goes to the graduation ceremonies. they have their ceremonies in the governor's residence. this is a great, great progress. a lot of these issues get ignored. the issues affecting the mentally ill, drug addicted, the working poor. the issue of domestic violence, drug trafficking. when we get that economy moving and growing, we have an obligation, a moral obligation to turn to those who live in the shadows and give them a chance to live out their god-given purpose. thanks for the question. and you work with me. you want to come to washington and work? we can put you there. >> i'd love to. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> governor, this is william hodge, an attorney in south carolina. he's leaning toward rubio but remains undecided. >> being a southern baptist and an attorney here in south carolina --
>> is that consistent? >> well, that's what my question is getting to. it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between my moral convictions and the letter of the law and what i'm required to do. if you were given the opportunity as president to nominate someone for the supreme court which i believe the next president will have the opportunity to do so, would you nominate someone who will rule and vote based on their moral convictions or would you be willing to put someone who takes legal reasoning and makes decisions even if it doesn't coincide with their personal beliefs? >> i have appointed well over 100 judges in ohio. even appointed a judge to the ohio supreme court who happens to be a woman and has done a fantastic job. what we try to look for is you want a conservative. we don't want you to make law. we want you to interpret the law. that's what it means to be a conservative judge. and you have to be beyond reproach, good character. everybody in their life at some point did something dumb, right? we know that. but overall, we want to look at
how your temperament, we want to look at your attitude of fairness, and at the end of the day, it's your approach to whether you make law or whether you interpret the law as it relates to the constitution. in terms of the moral, how do you -- like people say, well, how do you decide things? if i have to decide something, i'm not turning to the scripture to figure it out but your faith can influence some of the ways you look at things. for example with the women who have been human trafficked or mental illness. of course it influences your ability to think about what can we do to lift them. but at the end when you are in public office, you aren't really there will be a preacher. you are there to be a public official and that's the way it should be if you are on the u.s. supreme court. >> thanks for your question. >> governor, i want you to meet tim brad ox. a republican who is undecided. tim, welcome. >> nice to be here.
governor kasich, welcome to south carolina. just like to give a little subnote here. my wife and i are both michigan state fans. >> listen, i told the people in michigan that, look, up and through the primary up there in michigan, let's just put everything aside and just get along. after all, i came down here after clemson beat the buckeyes a few years ago. that's still rubbing us raw in columbus. >> my question is -- has to do with obamacare. the health care system where the candidates have in their debates and their interviews have said that they're going to repeal obamacare if they are elected to office. honestly, to tell you the truth, for me, obamacare ended up being a godsend because of my
conditions and that. >> yes, sir. go ahead. i'm listening. >> i worked for a company in michigan for 34 years before my wife and i decided to move down here to south carolina. moving down here, i continued working for that same company. but in the process, we found out that we could not transfer our medical insurance to south carolina. in reviewing the options here in south carolina and the south carolina health pool, we found where the rates were in excess of $2,000 and that. so as we were forced to do, we ended up going with obamacare because that was the best option for us at that time. what i would like to know is what are your specific inputs to what you are going to substitute for obamacare if you are elected.
>> it's, obviously, a critical question, and there's a complicated answer that i do want to give you. we have got very good health care experts in our state. we took our medicaid program that was growing at 10.5% and reduced it to 2.5% in the second year i was governor without cutting one benefit or throwing one person off the rolls. so we've spent a lot of time on health care. the problem with obamacare is it does not control the cost of health care. they continue to escalate. if they continue to, the people that are going to be hurt are the ones that are going to be rationed which are going to be all of us because we've probably not going to have the money to be able to evade that. secondly, health insurance costs in my state have gone up by an average of 80%. to make health care more affordable, how do you make it affordable when the costs are going up for the insurance? and finally it's trapped small businesses who don't want to get caught in the web of obamacare. what would i do? i'd take some federal resources
and combine it with the freed up medicaid plan to continue to cover the working poor. we can't eliminate this and have tens of millions of americans without health insurance. if i'm president, a pre-existing condition will never be acceptable to denying you health insurance. that is un-american to take people off because they got sick. that's just a rip-off. here's the larger plan. we're doing this in our state and i'd like to take it nationally. we don't know how our hospitals really do and what their costs are. and we don't know how our doctors do or what their costs purpose it's easier to interpret the dead sea scrolls than it is a hospital bill. you ever figure that out? we want total transparency. how does a hospital do? what's its readmission rate and infection rate. physicians, you say you're good. what's the quality? what's the cost? we're releasing all this information. we know some charge a lot. we know some charge less and right here is the midpoint.
what we're saying is if you can provide quality to a patient whether you are a hospital or health care provider, below the midpoint we'll give you a financial reward if you are providing quality at a lower price. we want to get the market in to driving first of all your understanding of the system. your ability to make a choice. and a constant effort to deliver high quality at a low price by giving people financial rewards. if your primary care doctor keeps you healthy for the year, why not a little bit of a reward? and that's the way we're designing the system. we're doing it in medicaid and the health care insurance companies are beginning to say in an effort to control costs, because think of your deductibles. they are almost as high now as having a catastrophic plan. so we have to get in the business of high quality at lower prices driven by the marketplace. this isn't a theory. this is not some political theory. we are about to actually make the payments next year based on
quality and low prices. and most of our health care systems have participated in this, including the cleveland clinic. >> let me follow up on that. the only republican left in this race who, except in medicaid financing for your state. do you regret that? >> regret it? >> you've been criticized by fellow republicans for it. >> we drove the cost of this medicaid program to like 2.5%. the whole country would like to have a rate like that. how do we do it? if mom and dad want to stay in their own home rather than being forced into a nursing home they ought to be able to do it. once we stabilized the program, i had the opportunity to bring these dollars back. here's the deal. if i treat the mentally ill, i keep them from living in a prison at a $22,500 a year or sleeping under a bridge. we owe our mentally ill better treatment than that. if i treat the drug addicted, i keep them from being in a revolving door of in and out of prison and maybe even breaking
into our cars to support their habit which they can't control. so we have the rehab people in the prisons release them into the community where there's more resources and our recidivism rate is 20% which is miraculous. for the working poor, what we know is they don't go to the emergency room until they are sicker and more expensive. and we think that one-third of those working poor were people who had very severe illnesses, including cancer who put off treatment. so this has worked out great for us. we're saving money and giving people an opportunity to be able to get their lives back. and i think it's been terrific. and i said if the federal government monkeys around with the form la, we'll withdraw from the program. what's beginning to happen, everyone is saying, wait a minute. if you can treat the mentally ill, help the drug addicted and help the working poor, why wouldn't we be doing this? they don't have to do it my way. but if you aren't going to do what i'm doing, then tell me
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[ applause ] welcome back. we're talking with ohio governor john kasich on the campus of the university of south carolina in columbia for the final cnn town hall before saturday's republican primary. governor, i want you to meet laura colton. she is still undecided between a few candidates, as a lot of people are in this state. >> good evening, governor kasich. congratulations on getting the endorsement from our state paper. >> yeah, really happy about it. >> would you consider selecting one of the other candidates for your cabinet? and if so, who would it be? >> well, look, i'm not going to be measuring like the drapes. i've got a long way to go. we're really, really early. but i'll tell you who i have been friends with for a while. i like him very much. i like chris christie a whole lot.
chris and i are kind of buddies. his wife and i, my wife, have been out to dinner. i've always liked chris. we kid and joke and he's a terrific guy. and so he's somebody that was a candidate who would be considered. i'm open to -- these are all fine people. when you run for -- somebody says you ought to run for president. do you know how hard it is to run for president? it is not easy. so they all deserve an awful lot of respect. and i like them all. i just don't want to fight with them. i'd rather be up here than down here, that kind of stuff. i was in a demolition derby on saturday. but my car kept going around the track. thank you. are you available for anything? >> yes, sir. >> can i get your resume? >> this is jacob godwin, a law student. he's leaning toward governor bush. >> my grandfather was a world
war ii veteran, went to college on the gi bill and opened a small business in hartsville, south carolina. it's a small town about an hour away from here. my mom runs that business now. we've been open for 65 years. i want to know if you were elected what you'll do to bring industry to small towns so that's small businesses like my mom's will stay in business and so that small towns like hartsville will continue to not only survive but to thrive and to grow. >> well, i would say, first of all, we've got to get the overall economy growing. i want to go back one more time. if you have too many regulations, you will choke small business. they are the engine of job creation in america. that's why it's important to bring the rates down for individual taxes because most of those small businesses pay the individual rate, give them the incentive on taxes, go through -- the vice presidents
usually spend their time going to funerals. i'd like my vice president to spend his or her time trying to bring some rationality to all the rules and regulations and force the congress to vote on anything $100 million or above. and just stop all this flurry of regulation. if we can get a fiscal plan that gets us close to a balanced budget, which i've done before, you'll see the economy take off. now so the small businesses or the small towns, look. what we've done in ohio, and i knew this before being in business for ten years. you've got to look at the assets that you have. what makes you unique in hartsville? what are the things you can do there that maybe you can't do anywhere else. that's what you have to focus on. i privatized economic development in ohio, and i created a not for profit that has enough money to hire people who are actually skilled and we look at the segments of our state, like we should as a country, and figure out what works.
some things work in big towns. some work in midsize towns and some things work in small towns. if i were economic development director of hartsville, i'd be looking around at what the assets are we have there that makes us special where we can draw industry in. that's the way you want to do it and also you want to diversify your industries. if you depend on one thing and you all know the story of the textile mills that went down. if you depend on just one thing, it won't work. we need to have a president who understands how business works and also pro job. if you don't have a job, you don't have much. so there's -- and we can get some of these businesses to come back from overseas. we've seen it in our state. but we have to lower the corporate tax rates so businesses will come in. but small town investing is really cool. you know why? wages are more manageable for businesses. take advantage of the resources you have and you better get ready to run that business, young man, okay?
thank you. >> governor, i want you to meet eddie rogers. he manages a gun store here in columbia. he says he's still undecided. >> hello, governor. like i said, i work at a local firearm shop here in columbia. and as you know, firearms have skyrocketed in sales over the past 7 1/2 years. talking with customers, they fear that their second amendment is being infringed upon. how do you interpret the second amendment as far as individual right or as some scholars argue, a collective right. >> i'm for the second amendment. people have a right to defend themselves. they have a right to own these guns for a variety of reasons, including hunting and collection.
we don't want to be messing around with the second amendment, plain and simple. in our state as governor, i've signed many of these gun bills. i think the president on one area he has hit on that -- and he shouldn't do it by executive order, but we ought to look at it, and that's the issue of mental illness. we want to make sure states can upload the data so when we do an instant check we aren't selling a gun to somebody unstable. when we look at the problems of the mass shooters in this country, virtually every time that somebody is involved when we check their record, there's an element of mental illness involved. we have to make sure we do that. other than that, enforce the gun laws we have now and allow people to celebrate the fact that the second amendment is a very important part of the constitution. >> let me follow occupy that. the president put in some new executive actions. would you keep those in place? >> probably not, no. i don't know all of them. here's the problem with the president and the issue of executive orders.
i do executive orders as governor of ohio. but i check with the legislative leaders and i say, what do you think? i'm thinking about doing this, and sometimes they'll say go ahead and do it but don't tell anybody i told you to do it because they don't want to have to vote on some of these issues. if you just jam stuff through, what you are doing is you are just going to push them off. and when you have bigger fish to fry than any individual issue. so my view is you have to work with that legislature. you have to get along with them as an executive. i'm unique. i never thought about this in this way. i was a congressman for 18 years. i went in at 30, believe it or not. and so i understood how they feel about executives. now i'm an executive, and i know how they feel about legislators. and that is really key in getting things done. if we're going to balance the budget, fix the border, fix social security, deal with student loans, any of these other things that are out there you have to do it together.
reagan had the conservative democrats, kasich had the blue dogs, when i was fighting to balance the budget, the conservative democrats. we have to have some area of bipartisanship but overall the executive cannot -- he or she cannot thumb their nose at the legislature because it is a relationship that has to work mutually. and i think the president doing executive orders has way exceeded his authority and created more polarization down there, which is all going to have to be fixed. >> we'd like to wrap up these town halls with lighter personal questions so voters have a chance -- >> you know how you fix congress? one of the things i'm going to do in the first 100 days is get the numbers of all the moms and dads who have kids in congress. i'm going to know when their birthdays are and call mom on her birthday and she's going to call her kid in the congress and say, i like the president. he called me on my birthday. don't mess with him. >> i mentioned you were an altar boy.
you at one point thought about becoming a priest. what made you decide to go into politics? >> i went into politics because, well, my mother was -- i'd like to say a talk show pioneer. the person on the radio would say something and she'd yell at the radio. and so i learned about opinions, and i really wanted at one point to be a lawyer. i'd go into the courthouse as a young guy and listen to them debate. when i went to ohio state in my -- i don't know if you know this story. 48,000 students and something upset me. i decided i needed to see the president of the university. i couldn't get in. i finally did. i went in to see the president, and i lodged my complaint and looked at him. sir, i've been in school about a month and i'm undecided. and looking at the furniture, the lighting, the carpeting. maybe this is the job for me. what exactly do you do. he tells me his academic and fund-raising responsibility and says tomorrow i'm flying to washington to have a meet with
president nixon. i have a number of things i'd like to tell him also. can i go with you. he says no. i said if i write a letter would you give it to the president? he did. i went to my mailbox a couple weeks later and there's a letter from the white house. i opened it up, go upstairs and call my mom. i'm going to need a plane ticket. the president of the united states would like to have a meeting with me. pick up the phone, there's something wrong with johnny. i fly down. get through the security. the guy walks up and says young man, you'll get five minutes alone with the president of the united states. what do you think? pretty cool? i'll tell you what i'm thinking, new jacket, new shirt, new tie. new pants. i didn't come here for five lousy minutes. the good news is i spent 20 minutes alone as an 18-year-old first quarter fresh mb with the president of the united states. i spent 18 years in congress. and all the time i spent in the
oval office, i peaked out at the age of 18. >> we have a picture -- we actually have a picture of you meeting nixon. i had a question about it. i want to quickly show our views are at home. >> thank god they don't have it because the haircut. >> just a couple of other questions. what kind of music do you listen to? >> i was just talking backstage. we have this fall out boy is one of them. yeah, yeah, i like linkin park and 21 pilots. stressed out. we play that on our bus but we're not stressed out. and they actually went to my kids' school. i'm a pretty much alternative and modern. my favorite concert was the wall. i'm the one that says i'm going to get pink floyd back together. with roger waters and david gilmore. somebody said the others are dead.
it's gilmore and waters. come on. and if you have ever seen the wall -- >> it's the best concert ever. >> roger waters and "the wall." if it comes back go see it. it's worth it. >> one final question. it's a serious question as well. i lost my dad when i was young. your parents were killed by a drunk driver in a car accident. how did that change the person -- >> it changed my life. the only thing i'd say about this, for those that are watching, anderson, when i was a little boy, i was afraid my mom and dad wouldn't come home one night. my dad would pick my mother up late one night on a very bad road. then at the age of 35, i got a phone call that they wouldn't be able to get home. and they were at the burger king because they got the second cup of coffee for free. that's the way the mailman and mrs. kasich lived. and i went in to a black hole with just a little pin prick of light and others who are here tonight have had that experience. but i had people come to me.
i don't care -- you don't have to agree with me or like it or whatever but it's really where i found the lord. i've spent 29 years of my life working on that. i'm here to tell people that's, look, life is -- it's so rocky. it's so fragile. we have to build our homes, our lives, our homes on solid granite, not on sand. and i have found that even though the pain still comes, there is where i have to go. and as a result of my parents' accident, it's allowed me to hug that boy, and i whispered some things to him. or to go places with military families that lose a loved one. i'm not that great a guy, okay? i'm just doing the best i can. and sometimes i fail. but i believe there's a life yet to come, and i just happen to
believe that i'm going to look up here and i'm going to do my best to be the best person i can do, and the campaign actually got me to slow down a little bit, which has been great. i got a great family, great daughters, emma and reese. i'm -- look, it's just all been a miracle to me. and i would really appreciate your consideration on saturday, and give me a chance to get to the rest of the country, okay? i need your help. thank you, anderson. >> thank you. governor kasich. when we come back, former florida governor jeb bush on stage. we'll be right back. [ salesman ] congrats on the new car. [ woman ] thanks. the dealership reviews on cars.com made it easy, but... [ man ] we thought it might be a little more tense. you miss the drama? yeah. [ technician ] ask him whatever you want. okay. ♪ do you think my sister's prettier than me?
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[ applause ] and welcome back. we are coming to you tonight from the university of south carolina school of law auditorium for the final cnn republican town hall before gop voters go to the polls this weekend. you've already met ohio governor john kasich. just ahead we'll talk to donald trump. right now please welcome former florida governor jeb bush. [ applause ]
>> how are you all doing? >> hey, governor. welcome. how are you? have a seat. i like your boots. >> i do, too. they're comfortable. >> so you've had a busy week here. your brother, former president george w. bush on the campaign trail. your mother is here with us tonight. what is it like campaigning with your family? >> it's a blast being with george because i love him dearly. this is the first time out he'd been campaigning for a candidate. i would have been disappointed had he not done it for me. and my mother is a superstar. she is -- people just love her dearly, and i do, too. [ applause ] a couple of weeks ago she was
out campaigning in new hampshire, and it was the first time she'd seen snow in a while. we brought her to the warmer climates of south carolina and our bus tour. >> i want to ask you about a couple of things in the news. as you know the pope waded into america's immigration debate suggesting donald trump is not christian when he talked about building a wall. are you and the pope on the same page here? >> i always get in trouble when the pope says things because i'm a catholic. i'm informed by my faith and he's an inspirational leader of my church. but i don't question people's christianity. that's a relationship they have with their lord and savior and themselves. i don't think it's appropriate to question donald trump's faith. he knows what his faith is. if he has a relationship with the lord, fantastic. if he doesn't, none of my business. >> earlier in the week, your twitter account, you tweeted a photo of a gun and the word america.
>> i was at a gun manufacturer in columbia, south carolina. i received that gun as a gift. first of all, i had a phenomenal town hall meet with workers concerned about economic security and national security. they sell a lot of what they make to the military. and they have seen the gutting of the military in terms of the sequester. they are concerned about that. they are concerned about their jobs. they are concerned about obamacare. we had a lively discussion. i wanted to pay tribute to them by showing off the gun they gave me. and i believe the second amendment is as important a part of the bill of rights as any other part of the bill of rights. and a lot is riding with antonin scalia's passing. we'll have a lot of discussion about a lot of important things, including the second amendment. as governor of florida, i was a-plus rated for eight years in a row. i believe that we should protect the rights of law-abiding
citizens and focus on putting bad people away that use guns illegally for a long while. that's what we did in florida. we have 1.5 million concealed permit holders in florida. if you commit a crime with a gun in florida, you're going to prison. there's a mandatory minimum sentence. >> would you change the president's recent executive actions? >> yes, i would. he doesn't have the authority to do that. he's given up working with congress. i think he's trampling on the constitution each and every time he does this. the intention -- i don't necessarily agree with what he did. and it's a response to the san bernardino killings. that was an act of terror. that was not random gun violence. but the better way to do that, for example on the mental health element, which there's a convergence of interest between left and right on that. why not go to congress and see if you can work tithe conservatives in the congress to
see if people mentally deranged don't have access to guns. there's ways to do this. trampling over the constitution, using authority you don't have. we're at the law school here. i'd hope the law school students would appreciate when the president doesn't have authority, he should not go beyond what the constitution allows him to do. >> the governor of this state endorsed rubio. >> i'm marking her down as neutral. >> one way to look at it. >> how do you convince voters. you have momentum, a path forward. >> i do have momentum if you look at the polls and crowd sizes of our town hall meetings and enthusiasm that exists. i'm proud that lindsey gram is supporting me. he could have supported two of his colleagues, ted cruz and marco rubio. he's worked with them in the
united states senate. he chose me because he believes i would be ready to serve on day one as commander in chief and leader of the free world. and that's a ringing endorsement for a guy probably the leading national security expert in the united states senate. >> you speak about your dad, former president bush, often on the campaign trail or when asked about him on the campaign trail. how has he impacted the way you run, the way you live your life? >> now i'm going to get emotional. he's the greatest man alive. my wife and i have been married 42 years next week. and -- [ applause ] i wasn't pausing for that. i was pausing because i was trying to not get emotional here about my dad. about when i was 25, i think, i decided normally when you are with -- at least i'm a hard charging, striving person. i always want to -- people like to strive to be like your parents.
it's kind of a natural thing to do. i realized pretty quickly, if i could be half the man my dad was that would be a pretty good goal. if i strived to be as good as him it would be impossible. i'd be on a couch getting therapy all the time. my dad is just, put aside the fact he was the first -- the youngest navy pilot in world war ii. served this country in so many difference ways, including being president. he's just a fine man, a person of integrity, honesty, courage. all the virtues you'd want to have to be inspired by. this guy is the real deal. and so half the man of george bush means you can live a life of purpose and meaning as far as i'm concerned. >> i want you to meet some of the voters in the room. this is steve hogg, a republican. he's leaning towards you. he's got a question. >> yeah, don't mess this up. >> no pressure on me. >> no. governor, i did not grow up in a religious home.
when i was a teenager, i became a follower of jesus christ and that decision changed me and continues to shape who i am and how i see the world. my question is, what is the single most important driving force in your life? what is that one thing above everything that shapes who you really are at your core, and if it isn't faith, what is it. if it is faith, how has your faith changed you? not as a politician but as a human being, as a man. >> phenomenal question. and my life journey as it relates to my faith journey was transformed in 1988. not in any particular way. i wasn't down. i was just overwhelmed. i was living in tyranny of the present. when you are just overwhelmed. i had work, family. just all sorts of activities. my dad was running for president and i was working and trying to help him. and i was just overwhelmed.
and it forced me to pause and to reflect about the important things of life. i started reading the bible, and i accepted jesus as my savior at that time. that was an important element of my life. the second part of my faith journey that was important was when after the 1994 election, and i lost, i decided i wanted to join the faith of my wife. we had gone to -- we go to mass. we were going to mass, except i wasn't a catholic. that's kind of cheating. so i went to the rca class. about halfway through, and it was a wonderful experience. i was with real people. this was after an election defeat which was not fun. i learned a lot from the defeat. made me a much better person. but my catholic journey started then. on easter sabbath of 1997, i became a catholic. it informs a lot of how i think about life. i believe life is a gift from god, it's divinely inspired and we're all here for a purpose.
if you believe luke that, then a lot of the policy and thinking that goes with that in the public arena falls quite naturally. it means that you protect life from beginning to end. it means that you respect people that may have disabilities as important as anybody else. if means that you respect everybody. you treat them with dignity and respect. my faith is an important part of my life. and public life, i don't think you put your faith in a lock box and say i'll do this at home, and i'll do it when i go to the church but i can't do it openly in the public square. we're now confronted with a real challenge in our country which is, can we find accommodation in this great country with great diversity? can we respect people that may not agree with us on this particular issue, but also allow religious conscience to be front and center in our lives. the minute we start closing off people acting on their faith in the public square, we're not being american.
this is the first freedom in our country. now this is under conversation and maybe under attack depending on -- we're back to the question of replacement of antonin scalia. these are big issues. and they should be discussed in the context of the campaign. >> thank you for your question. a question along those lines, forever. this is heather smith. a republican who is undecided but she is leaning towards you. >> wow, two in a row. >> good evening, governor. i'm a catholic as well. you have a few of us here. thank you for being here tonight. with justice scalia's passing, my question to you has to do with the supreme court. many years ago our beloved former senator strom thurmond said a president that only has five months left in office should not pick a supreme court justice because it's 120 days to truly vet a nominee. with that being said, our current administration has 11 months in.
if you were the current president with 11 months left would you nominate a supreme court justice. and if you did, who would it be? >> i don't know who i would pick. i'll tell you the kind of person i would pick. it would be someone who did not aspire to legislate from the bench. someone with a deep intellectual acumen because this is a collaborative body. you have to persuade people toward your view and opinion to get to a majority opinion. and it would be someone who has a consistent judicial record. i think given the context in which we're operating today, the old notion, the conventional wisdom of picking someone who doesn't have a record because it's easier to get that persons passed, that needs to be thrown out the door we're living in such a divided society. there's going to be a fight no matter who you pick. and having someone with a consistent judicial record is
important so as to avoid the case like david souter. my dad picked him. i'm sure he had the first two. he probably had persuasive skills. he had high intellectual acumen. but he wandered away from what people thought he was going to be, how he viewed the law, pretty quickly. he did not have a federal court record from which to operate. so i would pick someone that was in all likelihood to be in the judiciary already with a proven record. and i would fight. this is hugely important. and i think, frankly, this is an important subject for this election. would i nominate someone? i probably would. as i said in the debate, i'm an article ii guy. i think the presidency -- we should be respectful of the constitution but whatever powers are afforded the presidency, the president ought to use them. they are there for a purpose. [ applause ] but in this current environment
where you have such a divisive kind of environment in washington, it is unlikely that the senate would provide the necessary consent for that nomination. and i think it probably is better to have a -- make this part of the election. i'm willing to defend my views about the constitution and how judges should be appointed. the democratic nominee should probably want to do the same thing. and then you'd have the people deciding in essence which president would be the ones that would be nominating, not just the replacement for justice scalia, this incredible giant, legal giant, this person who i think was the greatest lover of liberty and believed in the limitations of government. but whoever the next people are as well. this should be an important conversation we have. why not allow it to be part of the election? so i'm excited about the prospects of this being an um -- important election issue.
i hope we can heighten the awareness of the importance of who we select for the next three or four justices. >> heather, thanks for your question. governor, this is brian bell, a police officer here in columbia. he's undecided. >> good evening, governor. how are you doing? >> i'm doing well. appreciate your service. >> you're welcome. i'm a combat veteran of the first gulf war, somalia and iraq. >> appreciate your service again. >> you're welcome. and i am darn mad. the reason i'm mad is because i believe this administration, current administration, has dropped the ball in fighting isis in iraq and defeating isis in iraq. we saw things that happened here in san bernardino. i don't want ever happening again in this country. president bush sent ground troops to defeat them? >> we have ground troops there. this is a tragedy of our own doing.
when we pulled back instead of keeping a small force which was the initial objective to create stability, a fragile and stable iraq existed when obama came into office. when he did not renew the agreement with the iraqi government to allow for troops to stay there, that void was filled by sectarianism that once again unraveled iraq. and it created isis. al qaeda in iraq was devastated. was gone. but the creation of a caliphate is because we pulled back and the iraqis did not have a sustainable kind of national government. so what should we do? i think we should embed our existing troops, 3,500 or more now. i don't know the exact number. seems like it's going up without a lot of fanfare. we ought to embed those troops inside the iraqi military to give them the training and backbone necessary for that fighting force to be re-established.
we need to re-establish the partnership with the sunni tribal leaders that led to the heroic efforts of the u.s. armed forces and sunni forces to create the surge that brought about this fragile but stable iraq. and the blood of american soldiers was lost because of this. and was squandered by this administration's lack of continuation of the efforts. we're going to arm the kurds with more sophisticated weapons. we need to get the lawyers off the back of the war fighters. we have approvals required for the sorties that go out. and half of the sorties don't drop their ordnances because they can't get approval. we need air controllers forward leaning to make sure that we can identify and target the terrorists in a very targeted way. all of this together will bring about the defeat of isis. but it can't just be done in iraq.
it has to be done in syria as well. and this is where it gets more dicey, if you will, because in the case of syria, we've allowed russia to establish a military presence back in the middle east for the first time in 40 years. we've done this in a way that is devastating. we've negotiated with the iranians, legitimized the regime. what do they do, instead of quietly allowing for dissent inside their country, they execute two or three people a day and are using this money to double down on their efforts to support the iraqi -- the shia militia and hezbollah in syria. so this problem has been made worse but that does not mean that we don't have a duty to be able to protect ourselves by being on the offensive there. which means we need to create safe zones. you want to solve the refugee problem? create safe zones inside syria instead of allowing millions to be uprooted and creating a breeding ground for islamic terrorism if we don't watch it by not dealing with the problem in syria. we need a no-fly zone. that will be in conflict with
the russians. but the russians should be more worried about the united states air force capabilities than us being worried about them. and then finally -- [ applause ] >> finally, it will take more than 50 special operators to embed those troops inside of a sunni-led force that is organized to destroy isis and be ultimately the political force that will bring about regime change. this won't happen overnight. this will be a complicated challenge. in fact, when we pull back and lead from behind and we talk about red line, we create chaos. that's what we see. we see a president that is not exerting the united states' leadership. he calls us an occupying force or calls us the world policeman or argues anyone against his nuance view is in cahoots with the death to america crowd. i don't think that's the proper way to lead.
american leadership is necessary to be clear, overt, strong. that's how you draw the arab world and you're to create fighting force what can win. >> you put the responsibility on president obama. your brother's administration negotiated an agreement and wasn't able to reach an agreement. >> they negotiated an agreement that expired in 2012. and the intent, the clear intent was to renegotiate that and extend it. president obama now says, well, it was impossible because there were liable issues with the -- couldn't get it past the legislature. >> but the iraqi government would not grant -- >> he could have gotten it if he had gotten the assurance from the president. he couldn't get the assurance from the legislature. it was an easy out for him.
>> recreational drug use has become relatively common place on college campuses. as we look and as a student here, i observe that one of the most frequently used drugs is marijuana and advocates for it would say that it's harmless, that it's not physically addictive, yet i've watched several friends, close relatives, people who were like brothers to me become frequent users of the drug, become unable to do just basic functions like sleeping and eating without smoking beforehand. what is your stance on legalization of recreational drug use? and also if elected president, what are you going to do to combat drug abuse and addiction in this country? >> two separate distinct questions, both of which are really important, will. the idea that recreational drug -- the terminology is probably a little misleading if you think about it because of
the potency of this generation of marijuana. it has major impacts, neurological impacts. there are scores of studies that suggest this. and yet it's laughed off because culturally that's an obsolete notion. well, it isn't. my wife was on the board of casa, the leading advocate of research and development dealing with addiction and dealing with drug use and alcohol use in this country. just go on their web site and see the devastating nature, to your point, of the abuse of marijuana. and the devastating impacts that has on productivity, the impacts it has on brain damage. this is not some idle kind of conversation, it's a serious problem. addiction in general is a huge problem for our country. you believe as informed by my faith we're all here for a purpose, everyone reaching their potential, we'd have a much less
government, much more loving and compassionate society, a much more prosperous society. that i can see looking over the horizon. with addiction, that makes it harder. alcohol and drug abuse is a serious problem that crosses all ethnic lines, income lines. we have struggled with parents of a daughter who is now ten years drug free but she got into the criminal justice system because of her addictions. >> there are a lot of people that have mental health challenges combined with addiction. so here's when i think we should do -- my first impulse is a bottom-up approach, not a top-down approach, where washington should be the partner who help solve the problem. we ought to have a focus on the brain. i'm talking about moon shots. here's moon shot for you. why don't we discover the brain, its complexities.
you think about the neurological challenges that play out in our society, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, alzheimer's, autism, all of these things that relate to the brain and this extraordinary capability we have to discover drugs to cure disease, we have not been as advanced when it comes to the brain. that's one place the federal government can play an important role. secondly we need to look at our criminal justice system. 50% of all prisoners if our federal system are there because of drug use in a variety of ways. that's much high are than states generally. i think we ought to review this. maybe we should focus a little more on treatment and little less on punishment. you go talk to the sheriffs where you live, you'll find a lot of people who are addicted to drugs are being housed in our jails rather than getting treatment. it costs a lot more to keep someone in jail than give them treatment. in florida we created drug
courts all across the state, the adjudication was withheld for the crime that might have gone along with their addiction, but in return had you to get straight. had you to become drug free and had you to be in recovery. that is a far better approach in our society, i think, than just putting people away without giving them the kind of treatment that they need. my wife was the madrena of the prevention movement in new hampshire. -- in florida. we focused on prevention, greater awareness was there particularly for young people. and we did one thing which government ought to did a lot more of. we benchmarked it. we actually measured where we were. when things were going well, we continued on the strategy that we had. when it wasn't work, we adjusted our strategy. we made this a serious effort and we were successful.
i think the president can play a significant role in making sure the communities and states did the exact same thing. i appreciate the question. >> thank you, governor bush. >> this is daniel morales, he's a republican, undecided. >> your name is daniel? >> yes. >> how you doing? >> terrific. >> local business owner in the marriage. i have a question about your marriage. a lot of the memorable leaders, they all had these marriages that were significant impact in their leadership. >> yeah. >> so my question is how is your wife and your marriage influenced your leadership? >> sweetie, this is going to be your anniversary present. we'll have 42 years of marriage next week on february 23rd, and it's been a joyous ride as far as i'm concerned.
i met my wife in mexico when i was 17 years old on a sunday afternoon about 5:00. i can remember exactly where i was on the town square and i remember exactly what she looked like to this day 45 years ago and i fell madly in love, head over heels, lightning bolt in love. i was skinnier back then. i lost like 20 pounds i think i probably weighed like 175 after two weeks of hanging out with her and she was the most beautiful girl i ever met in my life. i decided i was going to marry her right then and now. she said i was too tall. who would have thought that? but finally i convinced her this was the right thing to do, we got married. she was 20, i was 21, we've been on our life journey ever since. she's my inspiration. i tell people my life can be divided in a lot of way, a.c. and b.c., before calumba and after calumba. i'm a lot better person because
it have as well. love you, dear. [ applause ] >> thank you. actually, i read something from your son jeb jr. who said you guys speak spanish in the home. is that true? >> yeah, yeah. >> pretty much exclusively? >> well -- >> you must be pretty fluent? >> i'm bilingual. [ speaking spanish ] >> no. >> it an advantage in life to able to have a -- we have a bicultural relationship and it brings a diversity and a joy to -- it adds lot of vitality to my life. so, yeah, i speak spanish. >> i wish i did. i want to you meet -- sorry. john whitaker, what's your question? >> governor bush, as local financial adviser, i worry a lot about debt. i dislike debt.
we have seen our country go from $9 trillion in national debt to 19 trillion. it elected, what could you do to accept slow entitlement spending to protect future generations? >> first of all, we need to create a culture of savings rather than a culture of debt. not just for the government but all of us. if you think about it, and you know this because you're in business. 63% of americans can't make a $500 car payment. they don't have the cash to do it. 60% of americans don't have more than $1,000 of cash available to deal with whatever comes their way. a lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck, and they're struggling. they're struggling in any kind of hardship, there's no security, no safety net for them. it creates real hardship. whatever we do, we also need to be promoting and providing incentives for savings. my little business, my son jeb is here, we had a business of
four people. i decided we were going to have a 401(k), it cost $1,000 to open up the 401(k), a four person business, that's a cost that is really -- i shouldn't have done it if if was based on a sound business decision. we should allow businesses to pool their money, to pool their employees to create 401(k) opportunities over a broader scale like large businesses have the opportunity to do. we should allow businesses to instead of having a 401(k) if they don't want to do that to get a tax-free deduction to invest in their employees' ira. which is another way of doing this. i think social security beneficiaries once they reach retirement age and they're continuing to work should not have to pay the employee portion of the payroll tax. it's their money. they have already made the contributions into the social security system. why not allow them to keep the 6 plus percent going directly to
their pockets? it's a form of retirement savings. it stays in their pocket instead of going through the government process. there's a lot of ways we should promote private savings. is my point. as it relates to fixing the debt from government, there are three things that we have to do. i'd say four. one, grow the economy, at 4%, not 2%. that 2% incremental growth, if you do the compounding out, but given the scale of our economy, you would create a germany of additional economic activity in the 10th year if we created a high growth strategy. a germany of an economic activity is a lot of revenue that would be coming into federal government. growing at a faster rate, which means tax reform, regulatory reform. embracing the energy revolution, dealing with the things that are now impeding our ability to invest in our own country. i have specific plans, if you are interested, jeb2016.com. if you want to have a wonk-a-thon, a policy
wonk-a-thon, all of the details we laid out are there. second, there shouldn't be lifetime guarantees for government workers. government workers in washington, get paid 40% more than their equivalent workers in the private sector. why? they're supposed to be the service, not the masters but yet we've allowed this to happen because they have these protections that make it harder to adjust to reform, to challenge. people, we're stuck. we're stuck in a 20th century world with a 20th century bureaucracy in a 21st century world. i did that as the governor of the state of florida. we have to do it in washington. third, we need entitlement reform, and we need to reform our social security system. i would repeal obama care and replace it with a consumer directed model that would -- in lieu of all the subsidies and taxes and all the mandates, we would shift all this away from washington, create state exchanges that are not coercive, and have catastrophic coverage be the norm.
low premium, catastrophic coverage with preexisting conditions being the one standard that would be kept from obamacare in allowing your young adults, children to stay on your plan should you so desire, and give people that aren't receiving insurance through their company a $3100 tax credit. a refundable tax credit to allow them to purchase on exchanges, allow them to cross lines, allow them to pick the best plan for themselves and their families. this would be a far less costly way and would deal with these outyear costs of obamacare that are going to be devastating. similarly, medicare needs to have reforms and social security. and i would create -- i would push medicaid back to the states. i know if i was governor today of florida, i could take the medicaid dollars that the state right now has and i could create a medicaid 21st century medicaid program for people of low income, that would cost less and have significantly better outcomes. as long as washington didn't impose the rules on it, you could too.
that's the beauty of this, common sense applied without all the rules around it, we could recast a lot of these programs. shifting power away from washington is the other way to deal with the deficit. you do those four things, high growth, career civil service reform, entitlement reform, and shifting how we educate, transportation, every possible thing back to the states, i want to be the tenth amendment president. the government in washington was not designed to do all the things that it's doing now. that's how you get back to moving toward a balanced budget. we can do this. i believe in my heart that we can. >> thank you, governor. >> a couple -- we usually like to end these on a couple personal questions. >> we're finished? i was just warming up. what kind of music do you listen to? >> i listen to country music mostly, zach brown. tim miller is my communications director thinks it's crazy, the song i come out to for all the
town hall meetings, i actually like. so i listen to the same songs that we play in our meetings because i actually like the song. florida georgia band i like. >> how do you relax? >> how do i relax? >> your brother paints now? >> yeah, that's really weird. >> has he painted yet? >> no, no, i'm waiting for the primitive era to be finished before we -- no, he's actually pretty good at it. he told some poor -- some art teacher he called her up out of the blue and said, this is george bush, i want to learn how to paint. there's a rembrandt inside of me and your job is to bring rembrandt out. talk about pressure. but he's gotten pretty good at it. i don't warrant a picture yet. >> what do you like to do? >> what do i like to do? >> to relax. >> to relax, i like to do sunday fun day with my two precious
granddaughters that live in miami with jeb jr. and sandra. i make guacamole and jeb cooks out on the grill. i like hanging out with my granddaughters and grandsons when i get a chance. i like playing speed golf. and i like reading. i love reading. i learned that from my mama. >> are you reading anything now? >> i just finished the jon meacham book on my dad. it was interesting. i learned more about my dad than i thought i would. i thought i actually knew everything, and it wasn't even close. he wrote a diary over a long period of his life, and meacham had approval to read the diary and mom was the editor. he had to get approval to put stuff in the book. and it was pretty extraordinary. he is a great writer and it's a really good book. >> is there something in particular you learned that you -- >> i learned of how tough it was to lose in 1992. he didn't share that. he's part of the generation that, you know, you don't show your emotions. you grind through. you -- you know, stiff upper lip or whatever it is. we're now -- people of my generation are all like, kind of more like bill clinton, you have
to emote, and it's a little more about the person rather than -- my dad's generation was much more selfless i think, and less about them and more about helping others. so he didn't ever express any kind of deep disappointment. but it was there, it was real. and i shouldn't have been surprised by that, i mean, he lost an election, he felt like he let people down. he wanted to serve, he was a great president. i think the country would have been better off had he won, he also eventually accepted and moved on and had a great post presidency. >> i've heard you say you're an introvert? >> yeah. >> i'm a complete introvert. it's weird that i'm on television. >> that's even stranger than me. >> is it hard to campaign as an introvert? >> you'll know this, you'll appreciate this, introverts set goals. >> right. >> and grind and they just go at it. >> right. >> which is a pretty good thing to be when you're running for president when you've been
written off over and over and over again. you're not deterred by that. that just makes me more motivated, more energized. so i've overcome my introversion which i think makes me better, better than an extrovert. >> how do you do that? propel yourself forward? >> yeah, i think i connect better with people, because i learned how to do it. it wasn't something that came naturally. it's not about me, the greatest joys i have are town hall meetings where i'm learning. introverts like to learn too. they don't like to talk about everything, they like to listen. in my experience, listening allows you to learn and then you have a chance to lead. rather than being a big blow hard and just talking all the time. what are you going to learn when you're talking? nothing. >> governor bush, thank you very much. >> thank you, guys. thank you. [ applause ] >> when we come back, donald trump. we'll be right back. [ salesman ] congrats on the new car.
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trump. [ applause ] >> hello, everybody. hello. thank you. >> welcome. how is it going? nice to see you. have a seat. so you've had quite a day. >> oh, the pope is a wonderful guy. >> let's start right there. >> i'm not surprised. >> how surprised were you by what the pope said? for those who don't know, part of what he said is a person who thinks only about building walls wherever they may be and not building bridges is not christian. this is not the gospel. >> well, i didn't think it was a good thing for him to say, frankly. he was talking about the border. as you know, i'm very strong on border security. we have to have a boarder in
this country. we certainly don't have one right now. use know, we're talking about building a wall. we're going to build a wall and mexico's going to pay for the wall. that's the way it. is. we have a trade balance and if you look at it, imbalance of about $58 billion with mexico. it's really more than that, we subsidize, et cetera, et cetera. we're going to pay for the wall. somehow the government of mexico spoke with the pope, they spent a lot of time with the pope. by the team he left, he made a. the. >> wait. you think the government of mexico somehow got the pope to say this? >> well, i don't think they said it that way. but i think they probably talked about isn't it terrible that mr. trump wants that border security, et cetera, et cetera. the pope made the statement, i think it was probably a nicer statement than reported by you folks in the media. after i read it, it was a little softer, the bottom line is, we have to have a border, we have to have security. we have tremendous illegal immigration in the country. >> well, i'll just say the pope went on the say this is not the
gospel as far as what you said. i'm not going to get involved in that. just said that this man is not christian. if he said things like that, we must see if she said things in that way and i'll give him the benefit of the doubt. >> he also talked about, having a wall is not christian, he has an awfully big wall at the vatican, i will tell you. >> people do come and go through the vatican. open door. >> and they're going to come and go through the wall, but they're going to come and go legally. they're going to do it legally, that's what i want and what a lot of people want, obviously, they agree with me. >> you've been in fights with a lot of people. with the pope, does it give you pause? >> i don't like fighting with the pope, actually. i don't think this is a fight, i think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media. i think he heard one side of the story, which is probably by the mexican government. he didn't see the tremendous strain that the border is causing us with respect to illegal immigration, with the drugs pouring across the border. i mean, i just won the new hampshire primary, and i will tell you, these are amazing people. the biggest single problem i have, no matter where i went to
new hampshire, is heroin, and it's pouring in, it's just pouring into the area. you know, it's funny, because you look at new hampshire as id dill lick -- idyllic place. magnificent. i loved it. i love the people there, i love the whole place. it's the last place you think they really have a big drug problem, they have a massive drug problem as you know. it's always the first subject they want to talk about. and we have to stop, and it's pouring in through the southern border and we're going to stop it. >> one more question on the pope. then we'll move on because there are a lot of other items in the news before we get to our voters, many of whom are undecided, as they are in the state. >> you're undecided? >> you are doing well in the polls, you could pick up a couple votes tonight. >> maybe. we'll see. early on you talked about forgiveness and you were asked in terms of your faith, whether you asked for forgiveness, at one point i remember you said to me, you try not to do things wrong, so you don't have to ask for forgiveness. was there a moment when you first heard the pope said
something about you that you thought, maybe i'm going do have to ask for forgiveness? >> no, no. look, i -- very a lot of respect for the pope, i think he has a lot of personality, he's very different. he's a very different kind of a guy. i think he's doing a very good job. he has a lot of energy, i would say that i think he was misinterpreted. and i also think he was given false information. if he would have heard our side, the side from people who live in the united states. >> would you like to meet with him and talk to him about it? >> i'd do it any time he wants. i think it would be interesting. i like him as a personality, and i like what he represents. i certainly have great respect for the position. >> as you know, we did a town hall last night. i talked to marco rubio. i talked to senator cruz. you sent senator cruz a cease and desist letter about an ad they're running that feature answer old interview with tim russert back in the late '90s. >> a long time ago, many, many years. >> when you were pro-choice. you now say your position has
completely changed. you're pro-life, and you'red a manhattan about that. >> but that's not the only thing. look, he has a problem with the truth. and even marco rubio, i guess today there was something about -- a picture was manufactured and it was not -- >> photo shopped? >> well, it was totally photo shopped, i could see by looking at it. in fact, they even made marco a lot shorter than he is, if you look at it really. i'm sure that's the thing that bothered him the most. he was very small, he's not that small. he's not that small. not too you big, but he's not so small. i will tell you, i looked at that photo. i said immediately it was photo shopped. if you look at what he did, i'm talking cruz to carson, he said, listen, he's out of the race. everybody come vote for us. that was dishonest. he did something else you people never picked on. i think it was the worst of all. he did a voter violation notice, it looks like it's right out of the irs. >> we talked about it. >> the official paper. it was so disgusting. it's basically you have a voter violation. now, they don't have lawyers, these were people that were frightened when they got it.
and it graded them. you have an f, f, f, f. it essentially says, if you vote for ted cruz, this violation is going to go away. let me tell you something, people voted for him because of that. that was a fraudulent document. and he said things about me, for instance, i'm very strong on the second amendment. he said, donald trump will leave the second amendment, he's going to destroy the second amendment. you're not going to have a second amendment. there's one going up now in nevada, he has something about land that i'm for taking back the land. i have nothing to do with it, he will make up stories. and you know, he holds up the bible and then he lies. i think it's very inappropriate. >> a cease and desist letter, you're not going to sue him? >> well, you don't know that. but i like to send letters. i have a lot of lawyers. i have wonderful lawyers. i like to send letters. you know what? it's good that people know. it's probably affected him, i know the cbs poll came out a little while ago. new york times/cbs, and i mean, my numbers are fantastic. but i think it had an impact -- >> in that particular commercial, he's using an
interview you did give in the late '90s, but didn't represent your current position. >> he's not saying that, he's saying i am -- and you take a look at the words, he says, when he goes around talking to people, he uses that. that was what, 17 or 19 years ago, that was a long time ago. it was with tim russert, who by the way was a great guy. we miss tim russert. i really liked him a lot. it was with tim russert, and you got to explain my views now too. you can't say by him, because he was saying i am. that's what he was doing when he was going out to audiences, it's not true. as far as the second amendment, i'm the strongest person running on the second amendment. he would make up stories. it was inappropriate, anderson. we'll see what happens, who knows, i think he has other cases. i think the wonderful case is going to be whether or not -- i understand he got sued today, actually. he is going to be sued by a lot of people. he's going to be sued by the democrats if he ever gets the nomination, which i don't think he will, honestly. i don't think he will.
i don't think he's got a very good chance of getting it. but he was sued today on the fact that he was born in canada. it's a big problem. >> do -- >> it's a problem for the party you can the republican party. >> you sent out cease and desist letters, as you say, you have a lot of lawyers, you like to send out letters. > i don't like to, but it's something i will do on occasion. >> your krit take critics say y bully. >> i'm not a bully at all. i built a great company, i filed as, you know, when i did my file -- everyone said i wasn't going to run, i ran. then i signed certain documents. everyone said you won't sign certain documents, you sign your life away, form a or whatever it's called. i signed form a. they said wow, he signed that. then say said well, he'll never put in his financials. maybe they're not as good. it turns out they're better than anyone ever envisioned. i built a great company. you have to have a certain personality to build -- i have some of the greatest assets in the world, very low debt. it's truly a great company. >> as president would you be sending cease and desist letters? >> yeah, maybe to china, to stop
ripping us off. i would be sending them to other countries to stop ripping us off. i'd send them to mexico. and when i say cease and desist, maybe it's equivalent, okay? maybe i'd do it with my mouth. >> it's something you agree with. >> our country is going to hell. we have a china, we have a problem with japan. we have a problem with mexico, both at the border and in trade. carrier air conditioner, i buy them all the time. i'm not going to buy them anymore, by the way, but thousands. they're moving to mexico. i saw the clip. i saw the boss say, we're closing up, moving to mexico. what do we get out of it. they're moving to mexico, they're going to make air conditioners, sell tem to us. no tax, no nothing. we get nothing out of it. by the way, if we said guess what? you're going to have to pay a 35% tax to get them through the border, they wouldn't even move. >> i want you to meet some of the voters. sherry is a republican, she says she is currently undecided. >> oh, that's too bad. >> sheri? >> no pressure. hi, nice to meet you. >> thank you.
>> first i wanted to start off saying i'm impressed with your business sense, especially because i'm a commercial real estate broker. >> good. then you know. >> yes, i do. >> you know how -- >> maybe you could teach me some things. i also have a masters -- >> where are you from? >> columbia, south carolina. i have a masters in public administration, and i worked for 16 years in state government, all the way from working with the legislature to state and local government, trying to actually implement private sector policies. as you probably have already figured out, politics and government in general is a totally different animal. >> totally different. >> yes. here's my concern, in private sector if you don't like the deal, can you walk away. the president is not a person, it's not a business, it's an office that is powered to protect and serve the people of the united states. my biggest concern is, how are
you going to govern and get by with people you totally disagree with, without getting angry and without refusing to look for common ground? i like your principles, i want a strong president. i want someone who is strong, tenacious, but i'm having some trouble getting past your self-control. >> okay. >> can you help me with that? >> i appreciate the question, it's a great question. first of all, when it comes to, you know, some people say trump is tough. i thought i did a great debate the other night, "time" magazine and everyone thought i won, drudge thought i one. you know, they do the polls after the debate. i thought i did a great debate. but some people thought i was too tough. wait a minute, i have jeb bush and all these guys coming at me from 15 different angles, you have to be tough. we have to be tough to protect our country. i have a great temperament, you build a great company, and especially a company with very little debt and all of the kinds of things that i have.
i have employees that have been with me for many, many years. i mean, long-term employees that are really great people. and they've been with me for a long time. we need a certain toughness. look, we have isis chopping off people's heads, christians' heads, everybody else's heads, drowning people in cages. you've never seen. this is like medieval times. we need a certain toughness. i know hillary said i don't like donald trump's tone. tone? they're shopping off the heads of people. this hasn't happened since med mid medieval times. if we don't have a certain toughness, we're not going to have a country. people are going to come into this country and be isis or isis related. you had a problem where you had two radicalized -- probably she came in radicalized and she radicalized him. the married couple, the young couple that killed 14 people. they killed 14 people, they killed people and you understand what i'm talking about in california. they killed people, they gave them wedding parties. people they worked with, people they got along with, they killed them. there's something going on.
we need a certain toughness. we have weak people leading our country. >> so as president, though, you talked about this before, would your tone be different? >> is there a presidential trump? >> yeah, you and have i had this conversation before. i went to the best school. i'm a smart person. my uncle was a great professor, one of the top people at m.i.t. it's a smart family. i can be more politically correct than anyone you've ever interviewed. you would probably say boy, that's a boring interview. i can be very -- i can do whatever i want. i have palm beach, mira lago, i deal with society. society loves me. i can act differently for different people. we don't have time to be totally politically correct in this country. our country is in serious, serious trouble. let me give you one example about toughness. we have the democrats and republicans, corporate inversions, there's trillions of dollars that cannot get back into this country.
2 the democrats agree should it come back in. the republicans agree. this isn't something like a health care or whatever, that they don't agree. this is something trillions, it's 2 1/2 trillion i say it's more than $5 trillion. carl icahn endorsed me, he is a great guy. we'll get him involved in things. we have this 2.5 to $5 trillion outside of the country. the republicans want it in. the democrats want it in. they can't make a deal. they can't make a deal because there's no leader. i would but these people in a room, and within 10 minutes i'd have a deal. they all want it, this is something where -- not where there's a dispute, they all want it. there's no leadership. maybe they don't work hard enough -- i don't know what it is. >> there's so candidates saying, compromise is a dirty word, have you to stand on principles. do you believe in compromise? >> i believe in compromise where i win. >> can you always win in a compromise? >> yeah, you can win. look, tip o'neill and ronald reagan, they ran a pretty good ship, and they did well and everybody was happy. the country wasn't based on executive orders. right now, obama goes around signing executive orders, he can't even get along with the
democrats. and he guess around signing all these executive orders. it's a basic disaster. you can't do it. here is the thing. corporate inversion. we have company, great companies leaving the united states. you know, it used to be they would leave new york for florida, or they would leave some place for texas or some other place. we have great companies leaving this -- the great drug companies are leaving, many of them. they're going to ireland. i mean, we're having announcements with thousands and thousands of jobs and great companies are leaving, we can't let that happen. they're leaving for two reasons, lower taxes. and my plan, under my tax plan, the taxes are much, much lower for the middle classes and also for corporations. very importantly they're leaving to get back money. they're leaving to get the money that they can't bring back into this country. >> i want you to meet another voter, todd hicks, he has a question about health care. he says he's voting for you on saturday. >> i like him right from the beginning. >> thank you. you're doing the right thing. >> good evening, mr. trump. my question is about health care, i'm a local health
insurance agent over in camden, south carolina. and i'm not a big fan of obamacare. >> you're right. >> yes, you've gone on record stating that many times you're -- one of your first acts of duty when you're elected president would be to abolish obamacare. >> right. 100%. >> 100%. i've sat and watched the sticker shock from customers as they come in and they've seen the rising cost. what is your exact plan and please be specific as to what you would do to replace obama care. >> okay, great question. first of all, as you know, obamacare is a disaster. your rates are going up 25, 35, 45, 55%. it's going to fail in '17 anyway, unless the republicans bail him out. we know where the democrats are coming from, the republicans are so weak. the budget they passed four weeks ago is a catastrophe. they called it the omnibus budget. it gives obama everything he wanted, itiv