This debate was held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California and sponsored by NBC News, Politico and the Reagan Library Foundation. Originally aired September 7th, 2011 on MSNBC.

Participants: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum

Here is the entire video for your viewing pleasure, it is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes:

Report from The New York Times:

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The fight for the Republican presidential nomination began narrowing into an intense and ideological battle at a debate here Wednesday night, with Gov. Rick Perry assailing Social Security as a “monstrous lie,” while Mitt Romney warned the party against choosing a nominee whose outspoken positions would provide an opening for President Obama.

Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney traded a volley of attacks on each other’s job creation records and qualifications to challenge Mr. Obama, quickly illustrating the extent to which the two men are seeking to turn the crowded Republican contest into a two-person race. Their exchanges suggested that the two are poised for a long and bitter fight that will offer a starkly different choice for Republicans.

In his first debate since joining the race less than a month ago, Mr. Perry showed that he intends to embrace the views he has taken on the future of Social Security, declaring, “Maybe it’s time to have provocative language in this country.”

Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, urged Republicans against adopting that view. Even as he defended the challenges to his own record, he sought to strike the tone of a statesman.

“Our nominee has to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security, but who is committed to saving Social Security,” Mr. Romney said. “I will be sure that we keep the program and make it financially secure.”

The exchanges between the two men often overshadowed the six other Republican candidates, as well as the criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the economy. The debate, on the eve of the president’s economic speech to a joint session of Congress, focused far more on the records of the Republicans than on Mr. Obama.

The focus, perhaps too much, was squarely on Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the two perceived front runners for the nomination. The other candidates got in their jabs including Newt Gingrich who once again used the opportunity to scold the moderators and the media which drew strong applause. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul also gave strong performances and, for the first time, Jon Huntsman actually seemed to come out with a well-honed message. Michele Bachmann gave a strong performance, however, she was overshadowed by Perry.

Hermain Cain also had some strong substantive answers and each candidate came off quite well overall.


  1. It is ridiculous how the media is somewhat blocking Ron Paul. They didn’t even ask him about healthcare, Dr. Ron Paul would know about healthcare. As many people have acknowledged the fact that they might not agree with everything Ron Paul stands for but I find it impossible to agree with anyone 100% of the time. Ron Paul 2012

    • I totally agree man. I feel like the majority of Americans aren’t getting the message about Ron Paul because they just ignore him in the media. The fact of the matter is, every candidate sounds good on the panel, but who is actually going to do what they say, and that is Ron Paul. Didn’t Obama run and win on the theme that he was going to bring home the military. And what did he do? Send more of our soldiers overseas. Ron Paul will bring all the troops home, and they can be home with their families and maybe get sent to our borders to protect for a change. I have put a petition together to stop the blackout of Ron Paul. Everyone please sign it.

  2. Quick Note:
    The presentation itself, I liked the questions; Mrs. Regan is a woman I have always looked up to and the debate was – a debate.
    My vote holds strongly with Ron Paul, he is the only man up there who makes the most sense and is (was) not seemingly holding an audition for As the World Turns. Soap opera ‘OVER’; if you want the vote of a younger generation, those 25-30 year olds you mentioned, you need to step it up, kick it into gear and get to talking and taking action with some “real” change.
    Everyone {not holding less than a couple million dollars} has suffered the affects by the changes ‘WE’ have ‘ALL’ allowed to unfold in this country. We are looking for someone who is honest, effective, takes initiative, understands the ‘working class’, above all we are looking for ethics; with a hold on a belief that it still exists. Everyone who stood up there, I looked for honesty in their voices and honesty in their eyes – for heart – and frankly, not many of them held those qualities, and that scares me to pieces but it will not break faith or hope. Just know that what you call “little issues”, are HUGE to someone like me. All candidates need to get a grip on what “really” is going on in our country, and the ONLY one ‘Big’ enough to tell us what that is, is the one everyone tries to undermine. We see what you do not want us to. We will not allow for a ‘repeat’.

    • Ron Paul 2012. The way this entire operation was produced was a slight to Dr. Paul. From certain camera angles to lack of time. However, when Rick Perry engaged him regarding the Hillarycare letter things seemed to turn in his favor. The most important line was about the Fence… im nervous about the effects that fence will have keeping us in as well. However the primary plays out though I feel pretty confident the Republicans will send out a candidate that has a free market, limited government, low taxes, and personal responsibility approach. If you want that candidate to be Ron Paul vote for him, and spread the word. I personally switched my party affiliation from Independant to Republican just to vote for Dr. Paul. He understands the Drug Wars affect on immigration, and the Fed’s effect on inflation. His approach is well known and documented… he just needs our help to share it with the world.

    • Same can be said for Herman Cain. He has my support so far; but he isn’t getting his face time either. It seems the debate presenters went out of their way to make sure we were given as much of Perry and Romney as possible, to the exclusion of several other legit Candidates like Paul, Bachmann, Cain and Gingrich. (Honestly the rest don’t matter in the debate). I’d like to see a smaller group debating with more time for responses and follow-ups, etc so we can be more clear about their answers.
      I’d love to see a round table style debate with less moderator input other than framing the discussion topic for the next five minutes and then let them loose at each other. Kind of a Gladiatorial Games style square off that is missing so much in this era of media sound bites that the average American attention span can only handle now. God save the republic from the media cycle and ignorant voters….

  3. How is it that Ron Paul is either winning or in the top 2 of every single poll taken and he is still not considered a legitimate candidate? Why is it that such a popular candidate doesn’t receive the recognition his campaign deserves or even the opportunity to share the views that has such strong support? Perhaps the silent majority is sick of being silent. Sooner or later there will be a media outlet that will realize he has a serious following and capitalize on the popularity hard-earned by a candidate that is obviously striking a cord with Mainstream America.

  4. I cannot understand the fairness of giving most time to Perry and Romney, even positioning them at the center of the stage. The most impressive, reasonable and accurate candidate to me was John Huntsman, but he really had very little exposure.

    Despite the slant, this was a very valuable debate.

      • Gingich was brilliant as well. But he had a lot more exposure that Huntsman.

        If we could get Hunstman, Romney, Bachman, and Gingrich running this country together, we would have this “world” turned around!

  5. It’s obvious that this station MSNBC pre-selected Perry and Romney as the prime focus of this charade of a debate, while Ron Paul was completely ignored. His name wasn’t even mentioned the first 15 minutes and he wasn’t asked a 2nd question until a good 25 minutes later.

    He must really have both parties running scared to warrant such blatant rudeness and unfairness! I predict another “blowback.” Perhaps Jon Stewart will do another mega-popular segment that will only make Ron Paul’s support grow even bigger!

  6. Basically, we take every single person on this stage and create “The Presidential Round Table”; moreover they would not be allowed to pass any legislation unless 100% of them would vote for it. It seems to me each one of them have excellent opinions of what should be done; so why would we not allow each one of them to perform within our political processes. This would not allow any sort of executive orders or the allowance of Lobbyists and Corporations using their wealth for political benefit since Ron Paul would never allow that to begin with. Perhaps we would not get our troops out of these wars A.S.A.P. but at least we could finally begin to act and not just run our damned mouths. Perhaps there are some issues I cannot clearly see without the process, but to me it seems like it would purify the political perspective.

  7. Jon Huntsmen for president! It just seems he doesn’t answer as a politician, and we don’t need another politician. I also like Ron Paul. He has strong beliefs and the integrity to stick to them, he just seems a little too extreme for me.

      • Not being a good speaker is much better than not being a good person. Paul’s ideas and commitment to uphold this country’s constitution is honorable and honest. It’s people that have this “never happen” attitude that will continue to enable this country’s downfall. Slowly but surely, Ron Paul is making his way into a fully creditable candidate, and people are taken notice. The polls are proving it, and the media can’t hide that.

  8. I think Ron Paul makes the most sense. He knows what he is talking about. I especially love the way he said, “Don’t think because someone wants liberty, that they lack compassion.” That is so true. You only get to see the one side of the coin because if those who don’t understand, or know about history don’t fully comprehend how the state and federal govt work, then you just assume that the programs will just be ripped away with nothing else to replace it. I think people are starting to see what much regulation does to this country. Let’s go back to the Constitution.

  9. Ron Paul would do at least one thing immediatly that would NOT take concurance from any other branch of government. He would bring all of our soldiers home. As the Commander in Chief of the armed forces this would be within his power to do without having to go through a bi-partisan legislature and would immedialty begin reducing the DOD budget. That would probably be about the only thing that he could accomplish quickly however. The difference between him and the other candidates is that he freely admits that the changes in the entitlement programs would have a transistional phase and not happen overnight. I am right there with him with getting rid of these mandates and entitlement programs. And I have a suggestion for any candidate that is seriously concerned about this countries financial state. I know several people who get federal tax refunds four times more than what they actually paid in for the year. People who get ten-eleven thousand dollar tax refunds and paid in less than two thousand for the year. This is absolute madness!! Give them back what they paid in but not 400% more!!!! No business could survive this type of economical idiocy!!!!!!!!!!!! And this country will not survive it either! We need sanity to return to Washington DC and I beleive that Mr. Ron Paul will bring that sanity! Ron Paul is definalty my guy in 2012!!!!!

  10. What is that all but one of the posts that I see on this site mention Ron Paul period and or how he gets little attention despite how well he is doing in the polls? Come on media, it is clear to those of us that aren’t sheeple that their is a clear agenda to brainwash the American public to prop up certain candidates. I liked some of the remarks given by a lot of the candidates, but America is in a hole that keeps on getting deeper and deeper because we keep on voting for cookie cutter politicians that promise all of these great things for Americans, but end up lairs once they get into office because they are apart of the NWO movement and are easily controlled by promises of greed and power. Ron Paul is the only candidate with a record that stands for it’s self. He believes in the constitution and does not lust after power, money, and warmongering. We need someone that is dedicated to our liberties that our forefathers fought for and risked their lives for so that we would be a republic that was not controlled by Government. Please tell your friends to look past the smoke screen that is the main stream media and turn to alternative outlets to find out more about America’s last hope before all of our constitutional rights are gone.

  11. i love how they say that Rick Perry’s book got people talking about the FED. Sorry, can’t fool us… someone else put out a book about the FED, was featured in a documentary about the FED, and has consistently criticized the FED his entire career.

  12. The “debate” was obviously rigged to concentrate on Romney and Perry. This is the tired but pervasive attitude of the media that THEY get to pick winners and losers according to their ideas and opinions.
    This was a sad excuse for a real discussion using all of the candidates.
    I support Michelle Bachmann and believe she is a true, dedicated conservative who understands the consequences of over regulation and over spending. Lets put her in to office and watch real “change” take place.

  13. Honestly this is the worst debate I’ve ever watched. It was so poorly facilitated. Romney & Perry were given so many more chances to speak than all others; Newt Gingrich was given the least and clearly they didn’t want to hear his wisdom. Then their blatant attack against Rick Santorum’s religion…listen again to the question they ultimately asked him; it has nothing to do with his being Catholic!! Plus everyone on the panel purports to be a Christian, so why did they only address this with Santorum? It is the most bizzarre “debate” totally due to the poor facilitation of moderators, who do not even give candidates opportunity to answer the same questions. Quite frankly, it embarrasses me as an American that the rest of the world thinks this somehow represents our political freedom.

  14. wonderful debate. bright people. missed Santorum due to cabbage patch kids’ reporters not asking him questions. thanks for having this on site, despite your socialist leanings. Interesting point from R Paul about the wall at border could be used against us, that those wanting to leave here due to socialism won’t get past the wall with their own bank accounts.

  15. One of the more amusing debates I have witnessed in some time. I swear every time Rick Perry opens his mouth he sounds less intelligent. He should just leave it to his hair. Huntsman has to be the only thinking persons candidate. He dodged the petty bs questions and had something to bring to the table without preaching. Never thought I’d say it.. but I (hopefully along with many) will be very discouraged if he does not become a serious contender.

  16. What a circle jerk. Debates are for candidates to hash out their differences between each other. Not to all gang up on someone not even at the debate to defend themselves. The moderators should be ashamed of themselves for letting this happen.

    • The moderators shouldn’t let the candidates criticize a controversial public figure? That would certainly be a novel innovation in electoral politics.

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