HUCKABEE: I would certainly love to get in on this, because I think the single...


TAPPER: ...however you want, but I want to ask this question.

HUCKABEE: Iíve been patiently waiting, and Iím going to just say this about Iran.

TAPPER: All right, sir, go ahead.

HUCKABEE: Because I think it is incredibly important. This is really about the survival of Western civilization. This is not just a little conflict with a Middle Eastern country that [have] given over $100 billion to, the equivalent in U.S. terms is $5 trillion.

This threatens Israel immediately, this threatens the entire Middle East, but it threatens the United States of America. And we canít treat a nuclear Iranian government as if it is just some government that would like to have power. This is a government for 36 years has killed Americans, they kidnapped Americans, they have maimed Americans. They have sponsored terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, and they threaten the very essence of Western civilization.

To give them this agreement, that the president treats like the Magna Carta, but Iranians treat it like itís toilet paper, and we must, simply, make it very clear that the next president, one of us on this stage, will absolutely not honor that agreement, and will destroy it and will be tough with Iran, because otherwise, we put every person in this world in a very dangerous place.



TAPPER: I want to turn back to Governor Huckabee.

Governor Huckabee, last week, you held a rally for a county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as I donít need to tell you.

Youíve called what happened to Kim Davis, that example of the criminalization of Christianity....There are several people on the stage who disagree with you.

Governor Bush, for example, says that that clerk is sworn to uphold the law. Is Governor Bush on the wrong side of the criminalization of Christianity?

HUCKABEE: No, I donít think heís on the wrong side of such an issue. Jeb is a friend. Iím not up here to fight with Jeb or to fight with anybody else.

But I am here to fight for somebody who is a county clerk elected under the Kentucky constitution that 75 percent of the people of that state had voted for that said that marriage was between a man and [a] woman.

The Supreme Court in a very, very divided decision decided out of thin air that they were just going to redefine marriage. Itís a decision that the other justices in dissent said they didnít have and there wasnít a constitutional shred of capacity for them to do it.

I thought that everybody here passed ninth-grade civics. The courts cannot legislate. Thatís what Roberts said. But heck, itís what we learned in civics.

The courts canít make a law. They can interpret one. They can review one. They canít implement it. They canít force it.

But hereís what happened: Because the courts just decided that something was going to be and people relinquished it and the other two branches of government sat by silently...I thought we had three branches of government, they were all equal to each other, we have separation of powers, and we have checks and balances.

If the court can just make a decision and [they] all surrender to it, we have what Jefferson said was judicial tyranny.

The reason that this is a real issue that we need to think about...

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: No, no. Let me finish this one thought, Jake. I havenít gotten that much time, so Iím going to take just what little I can here.

[They] made accommodations to the detainees at Gitmo... Iíve been to Gitmo, and Iíve seen the accommodations that [they] made to the Muslim detainees who killed Americans.

Youíre telling me that you cannot make an accommodation for an elected Democrat county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky? What else is it other than the criminalization of her faith and the exaltation of the faith of everyone else who might be a Fort Hood shooter or a detainee at Gitmo?


TAPPER: Well, Iím not telling you that, Governor. But Governor Bush is, because he...because he disagrees. He thinks that Kim Davis swore to uphold the law.

You disagree? Youíre not... you donít...

BUSH: I donít think...youíre not stating my views right.

TAPPER: OK. Please do.

BUSH: I think there needs to be accommodation for someone acting on faith. Religious conscience a first freedom. Itís...itís a powerful part of our...of our Bill of Rights.

And, in a big, tolerant country, we should respect the rule of law, allow people this country...Iím a...I was opposed to the decision, canít...say...well, they...gays canít get married now....


TAPPER: Governor, you said, quote...she is sworn to uphold the law....

CHRISTIE: She is, and so if she, based on conscience, canít sign that....that marriage license, then there should be someone in her office to be able to do it, and if the law needs to be changed in the state of Kentucky, which is what sheís advocating, it should be changed.

TAPPER: Governor Huckabee, I want to bring you in on the question of hedge fund managers and taxing them. You have said that you are bothered by the fact that hedge fund managers pay such a low tax rate and make 2,500 times what people who work for them make.

Do you agree with what Donald Trump and Governor Bush have proposed, raising their tax rates?

HUCKABEE: I have a different idea. I think we ought to get rid of all the taxes on people who produce. Why should we penalize productivity? And itís why Iím an unabashed supporter of the...fair tax...which would be a tax on our consumption, rather than a tax on our productivity.

In other words, youíre not going to tax anybody for what they earn, whether itís worker whose working by the hour or whether itís a hedge fund manager. If they can produce something and bring capital and labor to create jobs, we need some jobs. And I think the...fair tax...makes more sense.

Now, Jake, Iíve been listening to everybody on the stage and there is a lot of back and forth about Iím the only one who has done this, the only one who has done that, Iíve done great things.

Weíve all done great things or we wouldnít be on this stage. But it occurs to me as weíre sitting here in the Reagan Library that most of us would like to pay tribute to a guy who, when he got elected, didnít get elected telling everybody how great he was.

He got elected telling everybody how great the American people were. And he empowered them to live their dreams, which is what Iíd love to see us do by no longer penalizing the people who are out there working because they are taking a gut punch right now.


TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: Just today....just today, there was a new report that 50 different intelligence analysts have said that what they sent up the ladder was doctored by senior officials, so that they could give some happy talk to the situation that we face.

I love the idea of a good intellectual capacity to deal with our enemies, but the fact is, if you donít have good intelligence that is reliable and honest, you wonít have good intelligence and you cannot make good decisions.

The next president is primarily elected not just to know things, but to know what to do with the things that he knows. And the most dangerous person in any room is the person who doesnít know what he doesnít know.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: And the reason Barack Obama has been dangerous to this country and we better elect someone who had some executive experience, is because we cannot afford another eight years having a person in the office who doesnít know what he does not know.

Governor Huckabee, I want to bring you in very quickly if you could. Will you have a litmus test when it comes to appointing Supreme Court nominees?

HUCKABEE: You better believe I will, because Iím tired of liberals always having a litmus test and conservatives are supposed to pretend we donít. Well let me tell you what mine would be.

Number one, Iíd ask do you think that the unborn child is a human being or is it just a blob of tissue? Iíd want to know the answer to that. Iíd want to know do you believe in the First Amendment, do you believe that religious liberty is the fundamental liberty around which all the other freedoms of this country are based? And Iíd want to know do you really believe in the Second Amendment, do you believe that we have an individual right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our family and to protect our country? And do you believe in the Fifth and the 14th Amendment? Do you believe that a person, before theyíre deprived of life and liberty, should in fact have due process and equal protection under the law? Because if you do, youíre going to do more than defund Planned Parenthood.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: One final thing. Iíd make darn sure that we absolutely believe the 10th Amendment. Every governor on this stage would share this much with you. Every one of us....our biggest fight wasnít always with the legislature or even with the Democrats. My gosh, half the time, it was with the federal government who apparently never understood....

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: ...that if itís not reserved in the Constitution, then the 10th Amendment says itís left to the states. But somebody forgot to send a memo to Washington.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Weíre going to take a quick break. Coming up, one of the hottest questions that you have been asking us via social media. We will pose it to the candidates. Thatís coming up right after this.

HUCKABEE: Jake? Jake?

TAPPER: Coming up....Iím sorry, Governor Huckabee, please.

HUCKABEE: I think we need to remember that there are maybe some controversies about autism, but there is no controversy about the things that are really driving the medical costs in this country.

And I would really believe that the next president ought to declare a war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimerís, because those are the four things that are causing the greatest level of cost.

John Kennedy said....weíll go to the moon in a decade and bring a man back....and we did it. I grew up in the í50s. I remember the polio vaccine. We saved billions of dollars since that time, because we havenít had to treat for polio.

Why doesnít this country focus on cures rather than treatment? Why donít [they] put a definitive focus scientifically on finding the cure for cancer, for heart disease, for diabetes and for Alzheimerís, a disease alone that will cost us....

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: $1.1 trillion by the year 2050. We change the economy and the country.

FIORINA: I wouldnít change the $10 bill, or the $20 bill. I think, honestly, itís a gesture. I donít think it helps to change our history.

TAPPER: OK, hereís the more serious question, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President, used the plane behind you to accomplish a great many things. Perhaps, most notably, to challenge Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall, and ultimately, to make peace with the USSR.

How will the world look different once your Air Force One is parked in the hangar of your presidential library?

HUCKABEE: At the end of my presidency I would like to believe that the world would be a safe place, and there wouldnít be the threats. not only to the U.S., but to Israel and our allies, because we would have the most incredible well-trained, well-equipped, well- prepared military in the history of mankind. And they would know that the commander-in-chief would never send them to a mission without all the resources necessary, but people wouldnít bully us anymore. Because they would know that that would be an invitation to their destruction.

Domestically, we would be operating under a tax system that eliminated the IRS. People wouldnít be punished for their work, and for what they produced.

And life would be really deemed precious. Abortion would be no more. It would be as much of a scourge in our past as slavery is. And we would have a peaceful country, where people respected each other and people respected law enforcement. And we would focus on cures.

And we would make this country not only safe from our enemies without, but safe from the enemies within. And it would be a good place to raise our kids and our grandkids.


HUCKABEE: Well, John, I donít really have any weaknesses that I can think of.


But my wife is down here in the front, and Iím sure, if youíd like to talk to her later, she can give you more than youíll ever be able to take care of.

If I have a weakness, itís that I try to live by the rules. I try to live by the rules, no matter what they are, and I was brought up that way as a kid. Play by the rules.

And Iíll tell you what a weakness is of this country: there are a lot of people who are sick and tired because Washington does not play by the same rules that the American people have to play by.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Governor. Governor Bush.

BUSH: You know, I am by my nature impatient. And this is not an endeavor that rewards that. You gotta be patient. You gotta be....stick with it, and all that.

QUICK: Governor Christie, Iíd like to (inaudible) a question next. Actually, I have a question for you (inaudible).

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

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

CHRISTIE: Well, I wish you would have asked that question years ago when they broke it.

QUINTANILLA: We promised we would get to everyone this block. Governor Huckabee, Iím going to give you 60 seconds on this.

HUCKABEE: Well, I would really appreciate that. First of all, yes, [they've] stolen. Yes, [they've] lied to the American people about Social Security, and Medicare.

But, you know what [they're] not telling them? Itís their money. This isnít the governments money. This is not entitlement, itís not welfare. This is money that people have confiscated out of their paychecks. Everytime they got a paycheck, the government reached in and took something out of it before they ever saw it. Now, [they're] going to blame the people.

Today congress decided to take another $150 billion dollars away from Social Security so they can borrow more money. That makes no sense to everybody. And, theyíre always going to say...Well, weíre going to fix this one day...

No their not. Itís like a 400 pound man saying,...Iím going to go on a diet, but Iím eating a sack of Krispy Kremes before I do...

And, people are sick of believing that the government is never going to really address this. But, let me tell you who not to blame. Letís quit blaming the people on Social Security. Letís quit making it a problem for them. Itís like them getting mugged, and then us saying, well, weíre going to mug you some more. You ought to just be able to get over it, get used to it...

QUINTANILLA: ...Governor...

HUCKABEE: ...No, sir...

QUINTANILLA: ...Thank you, Governor...

HUCKABEE: ...[they] need to honor....promises...


QUINTANILLA: ...Senator Cruz...

HUCKABEE: ...before I go. This is the only time Iíve had a chance, let me finish.


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


MALE: And, by the way, Carl...


HUCKABEE: And, the only


CHRISTIE: ...The only way weíre going to be moral, the only way weíre going to keep our promise to seniors is start by following the first rule we should all follow, which is to look at them, treat them like adults, and tell them the truth.

It isnít there anymore, Mike. They stole it. It got stolen from them. Itís not theirs anymore. The government stole it, and spent it a long time ago...

HUCKABEE: ...Chris...

CHRISTIE: So, letís stop fooling around about this, letís tell people the truth. For once, letís do that, and stop trying to give them some kind of fantasy thatís never going to come true.

QUINTANILLA: Senator Cruz...

HUCKABEE: ...Chris...

QUINTANILLA: ...Before we go to break, weíre clearly not having that beer you mentioned, but Iíll give you 30 more seconds...

CRUZ: ...Then Iíll buy you a tequila...


CRUZ: ...Or, even some famous Colorado brownies.

QUINTANILLA: Iíll give you 30 seconds to respond...



HUCKABEE: Since he brought me up, do I not get to respond?

QUINTANILLA: Respond on the debt limit, or an answer to the governor, which ever you choose.

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

And...I want to say I think both Chris, and Mike are right. Governor Huckabeeís exactly right, we need to honor the promises made to our seniors, but for younger workers...look. Iím 44 years old.

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

QUINTANILLA: 30 seconds, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: John, listen, letís keep in mind that for one-third of the 60 million Americans on Social Security it represents 90 percent of their income. And, when I hear people talking about means testing, letís just remember what that means. If [they] means-test Social Security, it means that the government decides whether or not I deserve it. If a person lives in a seven room house, does the government get to say you donít need seven rooms, [they're] going to take two of them away?

HUCKABEE: Folks, the government has no business stealing even more from the people who have paid this in. I just want to remind you, people paid their money. They expect to have it. And, if this government doesnít pay it, than tell me whatís different between the government and Bernie Madolf, who sits in prison today for doing less than what the government has done to the people on social security and Medicare in this country.

QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson, we know you as a physician, but we wanted to ask you about your involvement on some corporate boards, including Costcoís. Last year, a marketing study called the warehouse retailer the number one gay-friendly brand in America, partly because of its domestic partner benefits.

Why would you serve on a company whose policies seem to run counter to your views on homosexuality?

CARSON: Well, obviously, you donít understand my views on homosexuality. I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect. And there is no reason that you canít be perfectly fair to the gay community.

Governor Huckabee, you have railed against income inequality. Youíve said that some Wall Street executives should have gone to jail over the roles that they played during the financial crisis.

Apart from your tax plan, are there specific steps you would require from corporate America to try and reduce the income inequality.

HUCKABEE: I donít think itís so much about when the government orders a corporation to do something. In fact, thatís part of the problem. If you saw that blimp that got cut loose from Maryland today, itís a perfect example of government.

I mean, what we had was something the government made...basically a bag of gas...that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people powerless, but they couldnít get rid of it because [they] had too much money invested in it, so we had to keep it.

Thatís exactly what we saw. So look, corporations ought to exercise some responsibility. When CEO income has risen 90 percent above the average worker, when the bottom 90 percent of this countryís economy has had stagnant wages for the past 40 years, somebody is taking it in the teeth.

And itís not the folks on Wall Street. Iím not anti-Wall Street, but I donít believe the government ought to wear a team jersey, pick winners and losers.

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: The government ought to wear a striped shirt and just make sure the game...

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: paid...played fairly.

QUICK: Thank you. Now, everybody else has fudged their time and gone over, so please, donít cut me off too quick, Becky.

QUICK: All right, Governor Huckabee.

HUCKABEE: Let me just close it out this way.

QUICK: How about 15 more seconds?

HUCKABEE: We need to be focusing on what fixes this country. And Iíll tell you one thing that [they] never talk about...we havenít talked about it tonight.

Why arenít [they] talking about...instead of cutting benefits for old people, cutting benefits for sick people...why donít we say...letís cure the four big cost-driving diseases...

QUICK: Governor?

HUCKABEE: ...diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimerís?...

QUICK: Governor, Iím sorry...

HUCKABEE: If you do that, you donít just change the economy, you transform the lives of millions of hurting Americans.

QUICK: Governor, thank you.

HUCKABEE: Gosh, Iíd love for us to talk about something like that. Thank you.

HUCKABEE: You know, of the few questions Iíve got, the last one I need is to give him some more time. I love Donald Trump. He is a good man. Iím wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one, OK?

Let me tell you, Donald Trump would be a president every day of the week and twice on Sunday, rather than Hillary. Iíve spent a lifetime in politics fighting the Clinton machine.


You want to talk about what weíre going to be up against next year? Iím the only guy on this know, everybody has an ...only guy...Iím the only guy this; Iím the only guy that...Well, let me tell you one thing that I am the only guy: The only guy that has consistently fought the Clinton machine every election I was ever in over the past 26 years. And not only did I fight them, but I beat them.

Somebody says...Iím a fighter... Well, I want to know, did you win? Well, I did. And not only did I fight them and win, I lived to tell about it and Iím standing on this stage tonight as evidence of that. And I think that ought to be worth something.

HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

QUICK: Welcome back to Boulder, Colorado and the Republican presidential debate right here on CNBC.

Governor Huckabee, you wanted to respond to the points that Senator Rand Paul was just making when it comes to Social Security. Your time, sir.

HUCKABEE: Well, and specifically to Medicare, Becky, because 85 percent of the cost of Medicare is chronic disease. The fact is if [they] donít address whatís costing so much, [they] canít throw enough money at this. And itís why Iíve continued to focus on the fact that [they] need to declare war on the four big cost drivers because 80 percent of all medical costs in this country are chronic disease. We donít have a health care crisis in America, we have a health crisis.

And until [they] deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio...when I was a little kid, we eradicated it. You know how much money we spent on polio last year in America? We didnít spend any. Weíve saved billions of dollars.

You want to fix Medicare? Focus on the diseases that are costing us the trillions of dollars. Alzheimers, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Eradicate those and you fix Medicare and youíve fixed America, its economy and youíve made peopleís lives a heck of a lot better.

HUCKABEE: You know, I know to a lot of people in the media, this is just a great big game, and weíre the players. And, we come out here, and we do our thing. And, sometimes weíre held up in contempt by people who write columns, but, I guarantee you to every person on this stage thereís something deep inside of us that would cause us to give up our livelihoods and step out on this stage and fight for the people of America.

Iíve got five grandkids. I do not want to walk my five grandkids through the charred remains of a once great country called America, and say...Here you go, $20 trillion dollars of debt. Good luck making something out of this mess...

And, for those of us who are serious enough to run for president, think long and hard why weíre here, and hopefully youíll know weíre not here for ourselves. We honest to God are here to get this country back on track. I know this, I certainly am.

HARWOOD: Hold on, Governor. Iíve got a question for...for Dr. Carson.

CARSON: About Medicare?

HARWOOD: Yes. Youíve said that you would like to replace Medicare with a system of individual family savings accounts, so that families could cover their own expenses.

Obviously, that would be a very controversial idea. Explain how that would work, exactly.

CARSON: Well, first of all the...the plan gives people the option of...of opting out.


[ Like openly-anti-homosexual-but-pro-family Rick Perry and Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee was excluded from the Milwaukee GOP debate because of satanic prejudicial-polls censorship ]