Transcript & Captioned Video Of Final GOP CD2 Debate Before Endorsing Convention

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Candidates seeking the Republican endorsement for Minnesota’s only open congressional seat all agree that they would support Donald Trump for President if he were the nominee. On other topics there wasn’t such unanimity as they faced off on March 31 in their final debate before the GOP second congressional district endorsing convention.

Candidates David Gerson, Jason Lewis and Gene Rechtzigel said they would all abide by the endorsement and not run in an August primary. John Howe hasn’t ruled out such a run and Darlene Miller says she plans on running in the primary if she doesn’t get the endorsement.

Captioned video and transcript

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Opening statements | Abiding by GOP endorsement |Supporting Trump | Greatest threat to U.S. | Cuba | Gun control | Abortion | Refugees and immigration | Middle East | United Nations | Veterans|Education |Rechtzigel name recognition |Tax Plan |Jobs |Democrats’ narrative |Did Miller’s Co, get federal funding |EPA |Equality |Black Lives Matter |Trade deals |Your experience |Closing Statements|BONUS QUESTIONS|Are taxes theft? |Constitution |Lewis’ comments on women |Religion |Defense |U.S. world leadership |

Transcript by Susan Maricle

Moderator: Good evening candidates and welcome. We’ll begin with your opening statements. Let’s start with Gene.

Gene Rechtzigel: Praise to the power that hath preserved and made us a nation. “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just. And this be our motto: in God is our trust. And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, over the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Thirty-six United States code, 301 and 302.

You know I want to congratulate Eugene McCartney (sic) for reaching a hundred years old 2 days ago. But he mentioned something about the anteaters are going east and he’s going west, all alone. To me those anteaters are some politicians and some elitists who are going out east to feed on the people’s finances, to feed on their constitutional rights, to feed on their property rights, and also to feed on their privacy.

And I looked to the east and it was darkness. And the Bolshevik said there is, where there is darkness, you can control the people. And I looked close and there was a dragon. With three heads on it. One head of and on the dragon it said, “I will never die.” One of the heads on the dragon said the Federal Reserve system. The second head (timer sounds) on the dragon –

Moderator: Thank you Gene. We will now hear an opening statement from David.

David Gerson: Good evening, and thank you for coming and being part of this vetting process. We are at a critical juncture in this nation, and it’s so important that we engage and try to restore our republic. My name is David Gerson. I live in the proud blue-collar community of South St. Paul. I’m a Jewish engineer, I have a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering and a masters degree in industrial engineering. I’ve worked for corporate, global corporate corp – institutions like IBM, Corning, and a FTSE 100 company based out of the UK doing transformation integration and change management work. And I am running for Congress because we know that Washington is a well-oiled machine that benefits the political elite, big business, big banks, big media, and big unions. And we the people will no longer accept the collusion between special interests and government.

In 2014 I challenged a representative, a six-term chairman who was not representing us and our values, for the Republican party endorsement, and he won that endorsement by less than three percent. And because of the success of our grassroots movement, I’ve been honored to receive the prestigious Madison Project endorsement. I’m one of only nine candidates for U.S. Congress, including conservative champion Mike Lee, to receive this. It was the first endorsement Ted Cruz received when he made his U.S. Senate run. And I received this endorsement because Madison Project understands that Washington is only gonna change with pressure from the outside. When the people stand up and hold their representatives accountable.

I am running for Congress to restore people’s faith in representative government. I’ve put my career on hold and invested my life savings because this is a cause for me. We the people no longer accept the status quo. We are standing up to the Goliaths in Washington and we are going to take our country back.

Moderator: Thank you David. We will now hear an opening statement from Senator Howe.

John Howe: Thank you, thank you all for being here tonight. You know you’re gonna hear from each candidate here, and we’re all Republicans and we’re all conservatives. And you’re probably gonna hear about the same thing. The difference between myself and the others on the stage here is I’ve actually governed. You know I was mayor of Red Wing, and I vetoed the budget there to hold the line on taxes. You’re gonna hear people say they’re gonna reduce taxes or hold the line. I’ve actually done it. I also have a proven track record in the, in the Minnesota Senate. I was fortunate enough to get elected there. I won a senate seat that was held by a Democrat for 18 years. So I’ve won tough elections. But I’ve gotta tell ya, when you go to the U.S Congress, it’s a two-year term. And you better know what you’re doing when you show up on the scene.

I’ve learned a lot, being mayor helped me be a better senator, and being senator is gonna help me be a better congressman. Now, a lot of people do things for political posturing. You’re gonna hear about the Second Amendment. I sued the city of St. Cloud in 1985 for a permit to carry a handgun. And I won. So I have a record of doing things, not just talking about it.

You know I’ve spent 25 years with Sears, 10 on the corporate side, and 15 years runnin my own individual Sears store. I still own a business, a Sears store, in this district. My proudest accomplishment is my family. I’ve got a, my wife Lisa and I have been together since 1989, we’ve got three wonderful children, one in college, two in public schools. And so I understand what the pressures are, of trying to take care of your family and also legislate. And it’s not easy, legislating. You know when you take your decision. But I’ll tell you this much. I don’t flip-flop on the issues. I’m consistent. And you and I may not agree on all the objects, or all the issues, but we’ll agree on most of ‘em. On probably 80% of em. And my door is always open. And if you call me, I’ll return the phone call. And I’ll make that commitment even when I’m in Washington D.C. And that’s what, it’s important. It’s important to listen to your constituents. So I , I would appreciate you looking at my web site, it’s howeforcongress, H-O-W-E-F-O-R, (timer sounds) Congress dot com. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you Senator Howe. Now we will hear an opening statement from Jason.

Jason Lewis: Thank you very much, thanks to everybody for coming, Jewel thank you and the Second District Committee and especially thanks to all the delegates who are here from the Second District, as we get ready for the convention on May 7. We’ve been going to BPOUs and telling people that this is the moment of truth. This is the time we’ve all wanted, we’ve all talked about change for years and years. I’ve been pushing change for 25 years. Twenty-five years I’ve been talking about conservatism, 25 years I’ve been pushing more freedom and less government. We always say, “We want change.” now is our chance. We can send somebody to Washington, my idea is Mr. Lewis, we can send them to Washington and get change. But we’ve gotta understand one thing here. In this election. You have to have a candidate who is both conservative and a change agent, but you also have to have someone who can get elected. You can’t have one or the other. You can’t have someone who’s a big government Republican, and establishment, being funded by the establishment, being pushed by the establishment, that’s how we got backroom budget deals last December, which blew open the fiscal 2016 budget another 112 billion dollars, and guess what in Washington right now, today, they’re pushing for more increases in fiscal year 2017.

That’s what the establishment gets you. But you also need someone who is truly a grassroots candidate, evidenced by the number of endorsements they have from legislators in the district, from nonlegislators like Dr. John Lott, a Second Amendment constitutionalist, you’ve gotta elect someone or put someone in for the endorsement who can win the primary and the general and then go to Washington and actually change things. Now that’s a unique combination. You can’t just say “We’re gonna take the troops over the cliff,” get slaughtered and then say, “Well, we didn’t surrender, anyway,” you need both. This is the moment of truth. I need the delegates because I’m gonna abide by the endorsement. I think it’s important. It respects you. So please endorse me on May 7.

Moderator: Thank you Jason. We will now hear an opening statement from Darlene.

Darlene Miller: Good evening, and thank you all for coming. And as you know, I’m Darlene Miller, and I was born in the district in New Prague on a farm, ah with five brothers and two sisters. And I’m proud to say today I’m the owner of a manufacturing company called Permac Industries, located in Burnsville. And I took a company with some very old technology in the nineties, and transformed it through action, into a 21st Century precision machining company. And I’m really proud of my employees. They really help me obtain my success. And it’s because of them that I can be up here on this stage today.

And I know today we’re gonna talk a lot about the issues, but I just wanted to bring forth some of the things I believe in. I’m definitely prolife, I support the Second Amendment, I’m going to protect Social Security, we cannot have any tax increases, and we need to reform and replace Obamacare. We need to have a strong military, and we need to protect our borders. And those are some of the strong issues that I believe every one of you in the Second District also believe in.

You know but I’m not a politician. I’ve never run before, I’ve never held an office, but I am about solutions, and I do know how to work – and to work hard. And it will take a lot of hard work to change the policies and make a difference in Congress, but it’s time we do that. And I will work really hard to make that happen., for every one of you in our district, and for people in Minnesota and I believe strongly that I am the candidate who can win in November, please visit my Web site Darleneforcongress dot com.

Moderator: Thank you Darlene. And now candidates we will begin the thirty-second questions that will be asked of all of you. I will be rotating these questions. The first question will be asked in the same speaking order as your opening statements, and then we will follow the rotation process for the rest. The first question. Will you abide by the endorsement? Gene.

Rechtzigel: How long do I have to answer this?

Moderator: Thirty seconds.

Rechtzigel: Okay. Um yes I will abide by it if ah everything is handled in a fair and proper way. And I believe ah the endorsing process needs to be fair. Ah and of course I wish they went by proportional selection of delegates, that would make it really fair instead of winner take all at the conventions.

Moderator: Thank you. David, will you abide by the endorsement?

Gerson: We must preserve and respect the voice of the people. We have an amazing process here in Minnesota where the people have a strong and powerful voice, and I will absolutely abide the endorsement.

Moderator: Thank you, Senator Howe. Will you abide by the endorsement?

Howe: You know, I’ve been consistent on this issue from day one. And I think that’s what the voters want, is consistency. I’ve said if no one else enters the race, and everybody abides by the endorsement, so will I. Since I’ve made that statement, three other people have entered the race, two of which have said they’re not gonna abide by the endorsement. And so, you know I don’t think anybody on the stage here is pure on that issue ah I think that ah my commitment is very strong, I’m very passionate about our national debt, it needs to be addressed, and so I’m gonna see how things play out. I think (timer sounds) the endorsement process is very important, and I’m gonna work very hard to win the endorsement.

Moderator: Thank you. Jason, will you abide by the endorsement.

Lewis: Yes I will. The easiest thing for Jason Lewis to do would be go straight to a primary. I’ve got the highest name I.D., we’ve raised the most money, I’ve got the most endorsements. But it’s important people abide by what the delegates want. And I’m doing that. And you don’t have to say, “Well, what are other people gonna do?” Just do the right thing. abide by the endorsement. And one of the reasons I’m being attacked so often is they’re trying to get me out of the race before the primary, ‘cause they don’t want to face me in a primary. But I’m abiding by the endorsement.

Moderator: Thank you. (applause) Darlene, will you abide by the endorsement?

Miller: Well I’d love to have the endorsement, and I’d like to reach out to every one of the grassroots people, cause I think it’s really important. And also to reach out to all the people in the Second District. Unfortunately, I did not get into this race until January 7, and so and have never run before, so I am going to go to the primary.

Moderator: Thank you. David, this question comes from an online source. Would you support Donald Trump if he were the Republican nominee?

Gerson: I will support the people’s choice for our nomination for president, and we absolutely have to come together and ensure that Hillary Clinton is not elected, and we have another four years or eight years of President Obama’s legacy. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe, would you support Donald Trump if he were the Republican nominee?

Howe: Again, I’ve been very consistent. I am ABH. Anybody but Hillary. So if Donald Trump is facing Hillary Clinton, it’ll be Donald Trump.

Moderator: Jason, would you support Donald Trump if he were the Republican nominee?

Lewis: I have only endorsed one candidate in this election cycle. His name is Jason Lewis. I of course will support the Republican nominee.

Moderator: Darlene. Would you support Donald Trump if he were the Republican nominee?

Miller: Yes, I too will support whoever is the Republican nominee ah for president. And I I will do everything to help to make sure that Hillary Clinton is not an option.

Moderator: Gene. Would you support Donald Trump if he were the Republican nominee?

Rechtzigel: I would be honored to support Donald Trump because he represents the antiestablishment. And the people are fed up with this country, going downhill, and I definitely would.

Moderator: Senator Howe, what is the greatest threat to the U.S.?

Howe: I believe the greatest threat to the U.S. is our national debt. Ah I know people want to talk about ISIS and national security. Listen folks, if we don’t have a strong fiscal foundation, we can’t afford a strong military. You know it affects, our national debt affects everything that we do. It affects our trade deficit with China, and it affects everything down down the line. And so if we don’t get our national debt under control, and I’m gonna tell ya, I’m gonna go to Washington and work every day, I’m gonna raise the flag on the national debt, we need (timer sounds) to solve that.

Moderator: Jason, what is the greatest threat to the U.S.?

Lewis: Well, obviously there’s two of em right now. And one is our fiscal imbalance, a trade imbalance as well, but also ISIS. And we’ve got we’ve been winking past our Sunni allies, who under their nose are supporting these Wahhabi schools training these Sunni extremists. And and it’s Saudi Arabia, it’s UAE, it’s Qatar, so we’ve gotta get a handle on ISIS by controlling our borders and finally once and for all controlling who gets in this country and who doesn’t. Then, the debt is a manifestation of spending. We’ve got to tackle spending, and that’s why I was in favor of budget sequestration, spending cuts across the board that was undone in December. (timer sounds)

Moderator: Darlene, what is the greatest threat to the U.S.

Miller: Well, I agree, there are two. It’s ISIS and the economy. And the lack of jobs, and the fear of losing our jobs. Ah the overregulation coming down is just killing our our new business startups and our current companies from growing, and so we have to be able to focus on the economy, and then also on our national debt.

Moderator: Gene, what is the greatest threat to the U.S.

Rechtzigel: It is three. One, the Federal Reserve. Two, United Nations. And three, the two political parties that are supporting not the people, but the elite. (applause)

Moderator: David, what is the greatest threat to the U.S.

Gerson: The greatest threat to the U.S. is the federal government not operating within its constitutional bounds. It should be focused on defense, and yet we have this threat from ISIS, and a southern border that isn’t secure, and we have a largesse of this spending and debt and expansion of the size and scope of the federal government that is shackling our economy. (applause)

Moderator: Jason, should we normalize relations with Cuba?

Lewis: Well, after 50 years I think we probably should have an outreach to Cuba. Now, there’s there’s a, people disagree on this, and whether by trading with Cuba, you actually bolster Raul Castro and the regime down there. The opposite view of course is, once they see iPhones in America, they might start to put pressure on their own government. So I would be in favor of some sort of outreach to Cuba, yes.

Moderator: Darlene, should we normalize relations with Cuba?

Miller: Well, the embargo has definitely not worked for the last 50 years, and I do think it would bring ah benefits to companies here in Minnesota, and I also think it would bring the Western culture to them.

Moderator: Gene, should we normalize relations with Cuba.

Rechtzigel: Of course not! That’s completely ridiculous. We did with China, and where is it getting us. China is helping North Korea, you know we’d be a major threat now. And also the free, free China too. And we cannot be making the same mistakes over and over again.

Moderator: David, should we normalize relations with Cuba.

Gerson: I am such an advocate of free markets, free trade and fair trade, and what it has done to improve the lives of people throughout history, but it is dangerous precedent to start normalizing relations with an oppressive and communist regime.

Moderator: Senator Howe, should we normalize relations with Cuba.

Howe: Certainly I think we should reach out to Cuba, but I certainly was against President Obama going down to Cuba. And when we have the bombings in Brussel (sic), he’s enjoying a baseball game when Americans were killed in a terrorist bombing? I I just think it sends the wrong message. And you don’t want to have your, the president of the United States, ah in a country that has just a horrible human rights ah record. So I I think that was too far.

Moderator: Darlene, would gun control prevent gun violence?

Miller: You know if we followed the rules that are currently out there, ah they are sufficient. Anything that has happened, the horrific acts that have been done, ah in many of our areas in the United States and otherwise, would not would not have made a difference if we had tighter gun controls. Because criminals are going to get their guns illegally. They are not going to go through the proper channels. So the gun controls we have in place are sufficient.

Moderator: Gene, would gun control prevent gun violence.

Rechtzigel: All gun control does is expand government into controlling our lives and taking any measure of security away from us to protect ourselves, and in a free society it’s one of the first things that disappears, is your rights to have a gun. (applause)

Moderator: David, would gun control prevent gun violence.

Gerson: Study after study demonstrates that is absolutely not the case.

Moderator: Senator Howe, would gun control prevent gun violence.

Howe: Ah gun more gun laws is just gonna make more criminals, obviously. And here’s an interesting fact for you out there. I I remember when we lightened up the regulations, you remember how they said there was gonna be gun fights in the city, city streets, when we, there was gonna be blood in the streets when we had opened up our gun permits? Here’s a fact for ya. The light rail in Minnesota has killed more people than gun permit holders in the state of Minnesota. (applause)

Moderator: Jason, would gun control prevent gun violence.

Lewis: Well, of course not. Dr. John Lott, he’s a good friend of mine, wrote a book called More Guns, Less Crime. When you liberalize conceal carry, we did see crime go down, that’s absolutely true. Prohibition doesn’t work. The bad guys are gonna get the guns anyway. And they’re already breaking the law.

This goes, though, to the president’s Supreme Court pick. He’s very very weak on the Heller decision, which found that we have an individual right to bear arms in this country called the Second Amendment, and he was gonna be pushed by the president to undo that. The United States Senate should not confirm that man or anybody until next year. (applause)

Moderator: This is the final thirty-second question that will be asked of each of you. Gene. What is your stance on abortion?

Rechtzigel: Well, I like what uh what China does. They add 10 months to everyone that’s born. I think the United States should add nine months to everybody that’s born. And I think that Congress should finally take the initiative to pass a law stating when life begins. It seems like none of em have the intestinal fortitude to do that.

Moderator: David (applause for Rechtzigel) what is your stance on abortion?

Gerson: Well, I’m absolutely prolife, and I think it’s shameful that a Republican-controlled Congress didn’t defund Planned Parenthood when we had the chance. We absolutely should put a fully funded CR on the president’s desk and forced him to justify shutting down the government to provide taxpayer funds to a private entity that was illegally and immorally harvesting baby parts. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe, what is your stance on abortion?

Howe: I am prolife. My wife and I know the value of life. I believe the Fourteenth Amendment actually actually gives protection to the unborn. And I will ah advocate that in Congress. But I’m also the only person on this stage that has actually voted to prevent the taxpayer money being used on abortions.

Moderator: Jason, what is your stance on abortion?

Lewis: I am prolife, and glad to work with Michele Bachmann over the last couple of decades on trying to promote prolife issues. Ah and I also think we oughta defund Planned Parenthood. The idea that Planned Parenthood is the only women’s health outfit that could get Medicaid funding is just silly. There are many other ones out there, and everybody knows it. However, I once we have some state limits on abortion and put in limits, I don’t think women should be punished. (applause)

Moderator: Darlene, what is your stance on abortion?

Miller: I am prolife, from birth to death, and the federal government, or any government should never pay for any abortions.

Moderator: Candidates, we now move into our one-minute questions that will be asked of each of you. Again, in the rotation beginning this time with David. David, what is your stance on immigration and refugees?

Gerson: On refugees, we cannot allow refugees into this country that we can’t properly vet, it’s that simple. On immigration, we need a policy that works for our current citizens in a sense that we need a healthy immigration policy that promotes upward mobility and patriotic assimilation. Not welfare dependency and balkanization. We need to secure our southern borders and follow our current laws. (applause)

Howe: I’d like to refute that.

Moderator: Senate Howe has a rebut.

Howe: Well, one thing I think to add on that and I’ll tell ya, when I get elected to Congress, we are not gonna fund any sanctuary city. If a city wants to be a sanctuary city, they are not gonna get federal dollars. That’s one of the things we must do to address our immigration problem. (applause)

Moderator: I have another rebuttal. From Jason.

Lewis: Yeah, the big problem with immigration of course is we’ve become a magnet. These aren’t the Ellis Island immigrants of old days. I mean we’ve got if you’re a nonprofit hospital, you have to serve illegal immigrants. We have a law or Supreme Court decision going back to 1982 that says children who are illegal immigrants must be educated at taxpayer expense. And and of course the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment desperately needs to be revisited. So you’ve gotta reduce the magnet to stop some of this. In the meantime, you gotta control the borders. And by the way, one thing on the Syrian refugees, it’s not who we can’t vet. It’s no, no (timer sounds) Syrian refugees. Period. (applause)

Moderator: Darlene shows her blue card for the rebuttal.

Miller: We have to protect our borders first of all. And we can’t determine who we’re gonna let in to this country until we follow our current laws, and make sure that the people we DO let in we know exactly, and that they have been vetted properly. The system is not being handled. We as businesses have to do I-9s. We have to verify our people, our our U.S. citizens. Why can’t our government do the same as what they demand of us? (applause)

Moderator: And Gene, you have the rebut card.

Rechtzigel: Ah yes, what I wanna say is that ah yes, we need to secure the borders. But that’s like securing your back yard. But you need to secure your front door. And Obama has took the lock off our front door 2015 in July, stating that the oath of citizenship you no longer have to state it for the Constitution of the United States of America anymore. (audience member booes).

Moderator: Candidates, rather than glossing over with the rebuts, I will be fair and continue to ask the same question in the rotation. As we suggested we would follow in this process. Next in line to answer the same question is Senator Howe. What is your stance on immigration and refugees?

Howe: Is that the same question I just rebutted to?

Moderator: You rebutted –

Lewis: So the one-minute questions are gonna be asked to everybody.

Moderator: Yes.

Lewis: You don’t need a rebuttal.

Moderator: These are the one-minute questions of everybody, yes. To follow the same process fairly has to be asked of each of you.

Howe: Sure. Well like I said before, you know obviously we shouldn’t we should eliminate federal funding or sanctuary cities, we know we know what happens with that, and I believe we need to make sure that our cities and our law enforcement are following the laws of our land. You know if you stop somebody, the first thing we do is if someone’s stopped, ah for criminal activity, and they’re found guilty, well if they’re stopped for criminal activity, they need to be deported. And then I don’t think we reward people for breaking the law. We have to have civil penalties for people that are here illegally. And we need to start that process. And we also need to make sure that we have our, whether it’s a wall or or more people on the on the borders, we must make sure we identify who’s coming in to our country. Absolutely.

Moderator: David, you have the rebut card.

Gerson: I just wanted to add that one of the most consistent things I’ve heard, talking to the constituents across our Congressional district, is we’re a country of rule of law. No amnesty, no path to citizenship, Consistently across our Congressional district, everyone agrees, we cannot allow that.

Moderator: Jason, you’re next in line for the same question. What is your stance on immigration and refugees?

Lewis: Yeah obviously we need to control the the borders, and we need to do that with a wall or whatever it takes. I’m in favor of that. The real acute problem is at the state level, however. Of the 113 billion dollars in public expenditures we pay, for illegal immigration – corrections, education, hospital – states bear 84 billion of that. That’s why the states want it, but President Obama then rewrites immigration law from the Oval Office, violating the separation of powers. That’s why I’m running for Congress, to try and get some control over that.

Finally, with regard to the refugees, we have our own problems in Minnesota with Cedar Riverside. Ah we’ve got a problem with taking in refugees who are now terrorist recruitment centers, we’re the number one state in the country for terrorist recruitment. The the Obama administration, James Clapper, head of the Intelligence Services, said that ISIL has infiltrated the Syrian refugee movement. Seriously! We’re gonna compound this and take these people in? The answer is no. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe, you have the rebut.

Howe: Well, I’m just gonna add to that. It’s more than just that. It’s our tax system. You know what happens with illegal immigrants and people who don’t have Social Security numbers they get an individual taxpayer identification number. And they use that ah to get child credits. And you’ve got many people that ah are getting child credit refunds in the thousands of dollars and are not contributing. And so it’s a it’s a real mess when it comes to our tax system, and and we have a 77,000-page tax code that just absolutely needs to be addressed.

Moderator: Darlene, what is your stance on immigration and refugees?

Miller: You know, it’s really frustrating to me. I have a nephew whose fiancée’s been going through the proper process for the last three years, and she still isn’t here. And yet we don’t depart (sic) the violent criminals, we don’t deport people who are here illegally, it is not a fair process. We need to do it and get it right and protect our borders – and then make a decision on the people who are here who are currently at work.

Moderator: Gene, what is your stance on immigration and refugees?

Rechtzigel: Well the immigration and the refugees is a really large problem, and it’s growing, and I believe part of that is the presidency. And I don’t think Congress is doing its job. I mean we, we talk about specifics, but the speaker of the House ah is actually the most powerful person in America. It’s not the president. It’s the Speaker of the House. And we need to get Congress to wake up, to stand up, and to take a stand on immigration. We need Congress to stand up and say hey, President Obama, you cannot and will not remove the oath of citizenship where people have to pledge their allegiance to the Constitution.

Moderator: We will now move on to the second question, and again let me remind you that each of you will have the opportunity to answer the question. Beginning with Senator Howe. How would you deal with the Middle East crisis?

Howe: Well certainly, we need to make sure that we have allies and and our allies in the area fight with us over there. But. We need to make sure that the people that want to be coming over here as refugees fight for their own country. I mean – there is no doubt that we have to take care of, we have to stamp out ISIL. ISIS. And and all the terrorist organizations. It’s I think Europe is finally starting to wake up to the problem. You know they’ve let, they’ve just ah ah turned a blind eye to it. And it is gonna take a lot of ah money to address that issue, it’s gonna take a strong military to address that issue, and ah but we can’t do it alone. We cannot be the police, the world’s policeman. We need to involve our partners.

Moderator: Jason. How would you deal with the Middle East crisis?

Lewis: Yeah, the principal enemy right now, as I said earlier, is Sunni extremism. Whether al-Qaeda of Iraq, whether al-Nusfra Front in Syria, or of course ISIS. And I think it’s high time that we tell our so-called allies, and I mentioned a few of them, you might recall, the 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, we’re busy selling them F-15s and F-18s and then look the other way, while these Sunni extremist groups operate within their country. And I think it’s high time we go to our so-called allies over there and say “Here’s the deal. You will either clamp down on these Sunni extremists or guess what? No foreign aid. We give them billions of dollars in assistance. It’s time to end that unless they join the fight in a real way.

One of the things I absolutely don’t think we should do, however, is start putting troops in Syria on behalf of the so-called moderate rebel forces there. Ah a number of, including General Petraeus said, “We can’t find any moderate rebel forces in Syria. They’re ISIS. And the last time we gave them arms it ended up in their hands.” So we’ve gotta make certain we have the proper counterweights in place to eliminate ISIS, do that and then come home. (applause)

Moderator: John, you have the blue card.

Howe: Yeah, I was just gonna mention that if you put boots on the ground in Syria, you’re gonna be fighting the Russians. You know they’re proppin up Assad and I don’t think that Putin actually thinks Assad is a good guy, but I think he doesn’t want to leave a vacuum there. And ah so there’s a lot of ah very involved issues.

Moderator: Darlene, how would you deal with the Middle East crisis?

Miller: Well, I think we need a commander in chief who actually listens to our military leaders, and maybe follows their suggestions, ah we absolutely have to have a strong military and we cannot pretend there isn’t a problem there. We can’t say “ISIS is a JV team.” We need to recognize the problem and address it. But listen to the military experts on the issues.

Moderator: Gene, how would you deal with the Middle East crisis?

Rechtzigel: We need a Speaker of the House that is gonna stand up and address the Middle East crisis by saying that we are going to support from now on Israel to over, to secure the area, over in the Middle East. And just as we, America, the U.S., secures America.

And right now, since 2001, we’ve spent 1.6 trillion dollars in that war over in the Middle East. And Israel, we’ve only given them ah 39 mil – ah billion. And basically I think what’s really responsible for this is the United Nations. And the United Nations is digging the grave of America and it’s digging the grave of Israel and it’s got one sword in America and one sword in Israel and Israel has a right to be more than a nation, it has a right to worship in a temple. (applause)

Moderator: David, how would you deal with the Middle East crisis?

Gerson: What I’ll add is we need to work with our allies to have the best intelligence that can be obtained in this world. And we need to identify any threat to our national interest or to our nation, and surgically and tactically remove it with direct and surgical strikes against any kind of terrorist cell or training cell or leadership that we know to exist.

Moderator: Next question. Jason, what is your take on U.S. involvement in the U.N?

Lewis: (laughs) Well, since we fund most of it, I suppose we ought to have a say at the table. Ah you know I I (laughs) the old notion that you can consolidate power in a world body terrifies me. Um because I’m a big believer in local government. Dual sovereignty. Federalism. The Tenth Amendment. States rights. All of that. This of course goes in the absolutely opposite direction. We worry about consolidating education in St. Paul and Washington, now we’re consolidating everything on the banks of the East River. And the problem with ah these these multilaterial organizations, whether it’s the WTO or whether it’s the U.N., is if they get it wrong, which they often do, where’s the escape clause? Where do you go? You know if one state has bad policy, you can vote with your feet and move to another state. That’s the beauty of federalism and the police powers of the state, and why we believe in local government. But if Washington gets it wrong, you have to leave the country. If the U.N. gets it wrong, well, you gotta leave the world, and unless you’re Shirley Maclaine, you can’t go to Mars. So ah I have very much skepticism toward these world bodies. (applause)

Moderator: Darlene, what is your take on U.S. involvement in the U.N.?

Miller: You know I think the United Nations is is something we should be involved in and be proud to be part of. Ah you know we’ve always been looked upon as leader. And it’s imperative that we continue to be part, and also lead.

Moderator: Gene, what is your take on U.S. involvement in the U.N.?

Rechtzigel: The U.S. needs to get out of the U.N. and also get the U.N. out of the U.S. (applause)

Moderator: David, what is your take on U.S. involvement in the U.N.?

Gerson: We can never give up our sovereignty and be a sovereign nation, and I think we’re on a dangerous path with the U.N. and other national bodies. We can never let that happen.

Moderator: Senator Howe, (delayed applause for Gerson)

Moderator: what is your take on U.S. involvement in the U.N.?

Howe: I kind of like Gene’s idea. We should move the U.N. over to Syria. (audience laughs) Maybe Yemen. I I ah I can tell ya that you know there’s concerns when the U.N. is pushing, you have people in countries in the U.N. that have veto power, just have despicable terrible human rights records. And yet they can veto things. And ah and then you’ve got ah things that are being proposed to limit and register our guns as free-lovin’ Americans here in the United States. Why would we make such an agreement? I mean what works maybe overseas or doesn’t work overseas isn’t certainly gonna work in America. And so ah I think there’s a danger with that ah certainly we want to be part of, and I think it’s important to be a part of NATO and things of that nature, but the U.N. is troubling. (applause)

Moderator: Darlene, which issues do you see as most important for our nation’s veterans?

Miller: Veterans, did you say? Obviously, we’ve promised them healthcare, and we’re not living up to our promises. And we need to make sure that we operate the veterans ah facilities and hospitals in a manner that’s appropriate. Ah you know in a business, if people were doing some of the things that are happening, in our veterans’ hospitals, they would be fired. We need accountability and we need better healthcare for every one of ‘em.

Moderator: Gene, which issues do you see as most important for our nation’s veterans?

Rechtzigel: Well ah I think we need to take care of em. Not only in healthcare but ah to the ones that are injured and um have problems ah getting back into society. I think we need to be more sensitive. And I think we need to continue with Social Security and Medicare. And even with Social Security I would be for ah making payments through a certificate form, where people could get real gold and silver. So the golden age would really be golden for them and all of us.

Moderator: David, which issues do you see as most important for our nation’s veterans?

Gerson: We need to honor our promises to those who sacrifice to fight for our freedom. There is nothing more important than what our veterans have done to give us America and fight for what we have. And it’s shameful that our healthcare system that we provided for them has had no accountability and has not had the funding and provided the quality of care in a country where we have the best healthcare in the world.

Moderator: Senator Howe, which issues do you see as the most important for our nation’s veterans?

Howe: Well obviously, it’s our medical benefits and and the other retirement benefits. You know as a state senator, serving on the tax committee, I offered up legislation to exempt retirement pay in Minnesota from state income tax. And we had a 34 billion dollar discretionary budget, that was a 20 million dollar ah tax expenditure that was cut onto the committee floor because it didn’t get approved.

But I also think on the medical side of it, we need to upgrade our medical facilities for VA and I’m not I I think giving private vouchers as an option, if a military veteran wants to go somewhere else, if they wanna go to the Mayo Clinic instead of to the VA, I think that’s a good option. Because I think competition will make the system better. It’ll make the VA system better, just like it will make our schools better. (applause)

Moderator: Jason, which issues do you see as most important for our nation’s veterans?

Lewis: Well I think the best thing we could do for our veterans is promise not to send them overseas to fight in other wars that our allies should be fighting. (applause) Ah you know you talk about Syria, and of course the Syrians need to fight for their own country, and the Sunni governments who are afraid of Bashra al-Assad Syria, Shia government, if they’re concerned they need to get in there and do it. America can’t you know we always call 911 America and we’ve spent too much blood and treasure for these brave young men and women already.

Obviously healthcare, and the VA. You know it’s it’s similar to what happens in socialized systems. What the government does, when they want to save money, in the VA or your healthcare plan now, or Medicare, or even Medicaid, is they cut payment providers. Ah they cut payments to providers, I should say. So what happens is you get fewer doctors, fewer nurses, fewer clinics, and we end up rationing by queuing people up. And that’s very dangerous.

And finally, I would reform the military systems so that troops, the people that have served four-five years, two tours of duty, get some sort of severance. (timer sounds) Eighty-three percent of the troops get no severance when they leave the service! That’s wrong. (applause)

Moderator: This is the final same question that will be asked of each of you. Gene, what will you change, if anything, in the educational system?

Rechtzigel: I I would think we should make it more free market, obviously. Ah there’s been talk for many decades of homeschooling, private schooling and whatnot. And I think there’s a danger to children’s health right now. In the public school. With all these diseases going on. Ah it’s actually dangerous to send your child to the public school. I think we need to be friendly to homeschooling, to private schools, and to have a free voucher system. (applause)

Moderator: David, what will you change, if anything, in the educational system?

Gerson: We need to return control of our children’s education to Minnesota’s parents and teachers. (applause) There is the federal, we need to get the federal government out of education, and this is becoming a bipartisan issue, where the Democrats are understanding that they can’t control these bureaucrats in Washington D.C. that are creating mandates that are increasing the cost and reducing the quality of our education. In the meantime, I would expand 529 accounts for K through 12, I would allow for Title One portability, but I would end all mandates from the federal government. And end the requirement to implement Common Core. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe, what will you change, if anything, in the educational system?

Howe: Well, I’m hopin you’re asking that on a federal level, since we’re U.S. Congressional candidates here, and I think that ah you know we don’t have a place in the Constitution for our federal Department of Education, so we should work to eliminate that. Ah to start with. (applause) Ah you know that’s a states rights issue, and ah certainly in the state I think a voucher system is good, I think competition is good, you’ve heard me talk about that. Ah but there’s so much pressure put on these these testing dates and and I you know as senator here in Minnesota, I heard from many of the superintendents you know about starting school, or preventing the school starting from after Labor Day. And one of the issues was is because they needed those extra days for testing. And ah we we just that federal government is just an overreach in the educational department, so we should eliminate it.

Moderator: Jason, what will you change, if anything, in the educational system?

Lewis: Well, let’s be honest here. The government top-to-bottom educational system, whether it’s you know St. Paul or the 100 billion we spend on the Department of Education, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the government unions. Let’s be blunt about this. It works for them, (applause) it doesn’t work for parents and the students. We need collective bargaining reform and if the Department of Education isn’t willing to push that, then the Department of Education oughta be abolished.

Reagan ran on tuition tax credits. If you homeschool, or if you send your child to a Catholic school or a parochial school, well you can deduct that on your tax return. We might want to look at that. But what happens when you allow this consolidation of power in St. Paul or Washington, even worse, is you start to get these experimental schemes with our children. Now the latest is allowing transgendered students to use the rest room or locker facility of their choice. That is an abomination that no school district should adopt. (applause)

Moderator: Darlene, what will you change, if anything, in the educational system?

Miller: Well, I think the Common Core was originally designed to as as a federal program to help the states with their program their educational programs. But once the federal government got their tentacles into it, they decided that it was a one-size-fits-all and everything would be the same for everybody and I don’t know about the rest of you, but one-size-fits-all doesn’t work for me, ah and I don’t think it worked for any of us in any of the states, we need to bring education back to the states. (applause)

Moderator: Candidates, we will now move into the one-minute specific questions for each of you, again on a rotating basis. As we began those opening statements and we will continue to rotate from there. Gene, what are you doing to increase your name recognition?

Rechtzigel: Ah what I’m doing is ah getting out to all of the conventions ah and ah trying to ah get into the newspapers ah I did after the death of Justice Scalia, I did send out on February 18th a letter to ah Congressman John Kline and all of the powerful different Republicans throughout ah the U.S. and to the media, to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minneapolis, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, nobody wants to touch the issue. Of having Congressional hearings on Justice Scalia. Why did he die, and how did he die. And if we can have Watergate hearings, then we should also have hearings on Justice Scalia.

Moderator: David, what is your tax plan?

Gerson: Right now we have 73,000 pages of special interest carveouts that benefit the lobbyists and their cronies. We need to eliminate all these special interest carveouts, we need a flat tax with some a few family-friendly deductions like a mortgage interest tax credit and a child tax credit, and lower the rate. As far as businesses go, we have the highest rate of all industrialized countries. We need to lower that rate, again eliminate these special interest carveouts, that benefit the big businesses and are hurting small businesses, we need to allow for immediate expensing in the current year of all capital expenditures, and go to a territorial system.

Moderator: Jason, you have the blue card.

Lewis: Yeah, I’ve been advocating the flat tax for awhile – a long time. Ah and one of the virtues of the flat tax is everybody has skin in the game. Right now when hedge fund managers pay their ordinary income at capital gains rates, or the carveout for wind or solar, or General Electric, whose CEO sits on the Obama Jobs Council, has no income tax liability, your taxes as a pass-through entity, are getting hit at 39.6% or higher. If we eliminate all the carveouts and special interest giveaways and have a lower flatter tax for EVERYBODY, then everybody has skin in the game. And that’s necessary. (applause)

Howe: Looks like we’re all gonna be answering this question. (laughter)

Moderator: I saw Senator Howe’s card first, and then Gene’s, and then Darlene’s. Audience, is that correct? (scattered applause) Senator Howe, you have the blue card.

Howe: You know I think the fair tax would be a good a good option. We have such a high sticker rate, even in the state of Minnesota here, but you know our highest corporate tax rate is 39.1%. We have an effective rate of 12.6. What we need to do is we need to flatten out the rate and prevent these ah corporate tax inversions and the tax inversions that happen when people buy to get a lower rate overseas. You know one of the loopholes in our system is foreign profits aren’t taxed until they’re brought home. Well we have 2 trillion dollars sitting on the sidelines. Corporate profits that are sitting overseas. (timer sounds) They’re gonna be invested overseas. not brought home. So there’s a lot that we can do (timer sounds) on our tax system.

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: Ah well the fair tax will not work. Ah because we have a Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution that we need to repeal first. Because you don’t want to be paying you know double taxes. So obviously before we go to a fair tax we need to repeal the income tax, which is the Sixteenth Amendment. That would have to be done. Ah which would be may, it may be difficult. So I would be for going to a flat a flat tax of 12% and when Hong Kong did that (timer sounds)

Moderator: Darlene.

Miller: Well I’m definitely for simpler, fairer tax. I mean right now, I know in my small business, and I bet every one of you have to pay lots and lots of dollars to figure out the tax forms. And to figure out what what you can report and not. And we need to bring this down to a one-page, simple form. For everybody. For individuals, and business.

Moderator: Candidates, let me have you place your blue card down again. We’re going to the next question. Senator Howe, what would be the best path for creating jobs and for jump-starting the economy?

Howe: Well, I think you just heard it right now. It’s taxes. You know the second week of January I was down in Florida – Minnesota South, I guess we call that. I met with 300 ah business owners and people who moved from Minnesota to Florida ah because of our tax situation. And you’re not gonna see it right away. But you can see what the Democrats and Governor Dayton has done, is chased everybody out, because of our tax situation. When I was on the Tax Committee I put up a proposal that we should eliminate the state personal income tax and go just to you know lower our our consumption tax to 4.9%. But it is about taxes. It is about driving the economy. I’m a business owner. People make decisions on where they build businesses based on taxes. You know we were gonna have a, until they had the warehouse tax, which the Democrats say never took place, we were gonna have a new distribution center in Red Wing. Well guess what folks? It’s not gonna happen because businesses want certainty. We need to lower our tax rate. We will spur the economy.

Moderator: David.

Gerson: Under the Obama administration, 3500 new rules of regulations are written every year. These are additional rules that are shackling our economy. It’s estimated that 11% of our GDP goes to regulatory compliance. The way to unshackle our economy is get these unelected bureaucrats who are writing law which is absolutely an abdication of congressional authority, under control and I am an absolute advocate of the REINS Act, which would start to put some congressional oversight over these unelected bureaucrats. (applause)

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: You know the twin engines of economic insecurity are spending and regulation. And of course the tax code is a byproduct of spending. When you’re spending four trillion dollars a year, they’re gonna find a way to raise three and a half trillion dollars. That’s why I’m supportive of something called the Tax Code Termination Act. Which would eliminate the entire tax code, sunset it in 2019, they would have to start from scratch and build a whole new code so the special interests wouldn’t be chipping away as we go. And on regulation, we’ve got a new federal regulation coming out every two and a half hours. From a federal agency. And many times, beyond the statutory authority (timer sounds) that Congress has given them. That’s a huge problem. (applause)

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: Well, ah I believe the problem is the Federal Reserve believe it or not. (applause) Back in 1913, the Federal Reserve got established when Congress went home for Christmas. Two days before Christmas they started the Federal Reserve. In 1913 there was the income tax. Yes there was. And in 1913 there was the Seventeenth Amendment, that used to always reject the income tax. Meaning the U.S. Senate used the re (timer sounds)

Moderator: Darlene.

Miller: Well we create jobs by having more small businesses which are the engine of America, and unfortunately as we’ve heard, due to the overregulation and the access to capital, we’re not starting up those jobs – those new businesses. And I believe we need to do things to encourage anyone who has a dream to start a business in their garage, to be able to do so. And not be in fear of all the controls that are in place.

Moderator: Blue cards down. Jason, how would you reverse the false narrative that Democrats have advanced regarding Republicans, conservatives?

Lewis: Beat them. (laughter, applause) Ah you know you have to stand up to it. One of the reasons that the Democrats and Angie Craig are already attacking me through their allies in the press and elsewhere is because they know I’m gonna stand up for something I believe in. You gotta stand on principle, you can’t run away from it. When Mitt Romney actually said the truth, that 47%, the bottom 47% pay no taxes, he’s actually it was the bottom 50% pay about 2.8%. But, that’s close enough for ranch work or government work. “Ah, oh it’s terrible, you can’t say that!” And he ran away from it.

You know what? I won’t run away from it. I’m gonna tell the truth (applause) and I’m gonna take it to the Democrats and Angie Craig, and that’s the way you beat ‘em. ‘Cause you know what, people have had it. They want a candidate that’s gonna stand on principle and not back down. And that’s why I got into this race. (applause)

Moderator: David.

Gerson: There’s nothing wrong with the Republican Party platform. If we actually maintained our principles, the Democrats wouldn’t be able to attack us. Our platform is about constitutionally limited government, free markets and individual liberty. And we now have congressmen that are part of the House Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives that are demonstrating that you can maintain your principles and get re-elected. That’s what I plan to do. That’s how you beat the Democrats. That’s how we take our country back. (applause)

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: The only way we can take our country back is by giving the people a Republican Party that is very broad-based, and the people feel it represents them, it cares about them, it loves them, it’s gonna look out for them. And we’re not, the Republican Party simply is not doing that at the moment ah with this winner take all. Ah and the Democrats are not either with the superdelegates. Okay.

Moderator: Cards down. Darlene, what are your thoughts on

Howe: I thought you were askin that question of everybody.

Moderator: No, we’re into the specific questions of everyone.

Howe: Oh right, right.

Moderator: Yes? Darlene. It has been reported that your company, Permac, has previously taken some of the federal stimulus money. Please explain.

Miller: Well, I wish I could take about a half hour and explain some accounting practices. I have never received any money from the federal government in the form of a check. This is strictly a tax – it I won’t even call it an incentive – it’s just a tax ah the way we actually depreciate our equipment, instead of the government deciding that we can depreciate it over five years, so they can get their money sooner, we’re allowed to depreciate it at as we purchase it. So when I pay for it, I can depreciate it. In that same year. And you know, when you do that, and you buy equipment, you hire more people. And you create jobs. So that is what I’ve done. And the Democrats are just strictly afraid and not telling the whole truth because they don’t understand business. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: Well I think some of the criticism is directed at when we’re paying, the taxpayers are paying for interns. I think I would think the initial reaction was that that we’re paying for employees there, and then I think you came out and said it was actually interns. And I think – I’m a small business owner, I’m troubled if my tax dollars are going for internships at private businesses.

Moderator: Darlene.

Miller: Let me explain that program also. It was through the Dakota County Workforce and we have worked with them closely for many years. And they had a program, I think it was back in 2010, where they asked if we would take unskilled people who were on government subsidies and train them for beginner jobs. Most of them had never worked, but they were on some kind of government program. I took people and trained them from to be shipping clerk and to be a receptionist, and I’m proud of what I was able to do. They paid half their salary (timer sounds) for 8 to 10 weeks. (applause)

Moderator: David. What do you think are the issues facing the federal EPA?

Gerson: I think it’s it’s overreached what is a healthy size, and we need to return control back to the states. We understand that local control is best control, and who’s gonna be best guardians of their own environment than local communities and the states. It’s that simple. (applause)

Moderator: Darlene, was that a blue card, or did you

Miller: Yes.

Moderator: Okay. Darlene, you have the floor.

Miller: You know I actually had the good fortune or misfortune of meeting with the EPA, and what I’ve found out is that they’ve never had a real job. They have never been in any business for the most part they’re very ah educated and read books and read studies, but they don’t know what the real world is about. So they just take their job to regulate as much as possible.

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: The fundamental problem with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is they’re legislating out of a federal agency. They’re supplanting Congress’s role in creating law. There’s a family out west called the Pierce family of Minnesota. And they engage in something called peat mining. Ah they they you know dredge the muddy bogs and then they sell the peat to golf courses or agricultural farms. The Army Corps of Engineer wants to basically put em in jail because they’re not complying with it because they’re a navigable waterway. Well, where was the waterway? It was the Red River. Where was the peat farm (timer sounds) from the Red River? A hundred and twenty miles away! This is what they’re doing (timer sounds) and it’s gotta stop.

Moderator: Senator Howe. (delayed applause)

Howe: Another department we may work to eliminate. Ah you know the problem is rule making. They are legislating without being elected officials. And ah they’re actually interfering with intrastate commerce. And ah it’s very troubling to see what’s happening.

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: Well first of all (sighs) the trouble with the EPA is it’s, it just wants to control and control and control, and that’s what government wants to do. It wants to control everyone’s lives – and the businesses. And I think we need to keep our conservative Supreme Court justices alive, for one thing. (laughter) And the second thing, we need to (applause) and the second thing we need to once and for all get rid of the Seventeenth Amendment (timer sounds) and get rid of the political parties (applause)

Moderator: Blue cards down. Gene, blue card down. Thank you. Senator Howe. Liberals are always talking about equality. Is equality simply a convenient narrative? Or is it realistic? Why or why not?

Howe: It depends on the equality you’re talking about. Certainly our you know Abraham Lincoln ah promoted ah equality, and we have that in our Bill of Rights and our Constitution that we should be, that we should be equal. We should strive for that. It’s not easy. Ah and I think when you look at equality and look at justice, ah you can see that our society isn’t color blind. And it never will be. I mean, we can strive to work towards that. But everybody holds their own prejudice the way ah the way they’re brought up or the way they haven’t been exposed to other people or exposed to things. And so we need to work every day at that. I mean it’s it’s it’s something that I don’t think ah I don’t think the liberals should own that issue. I think as conservatives, I think that we should talk about equality and we should talk about rights for everyone. And ah certainly in my business I I try to ah hire whoever, it doesn’t matter what their what their background is, as long as they can do the job. (applause)

Moderator: David.

Gerson: We can talk about equal outcomes. What we need is to foster opportunity. And right now we have a cronyism in the government where there isn’t equal opportunity. We want opportunity for all. That’s what we’re looking for. (applause)

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: The single charge of a just government, via the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment, is equality UNDER THE LAW. So the law, in fact the Fourteenth Amendment talks about equal protection under the law. So the law treats everyone equally. It’s not that everyone comes out equal. That is the antithesis of equality. Because in order to make everybody equal, you need to have inequality of the law. Which is exactly what liberals want. (applause)

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: And of course the only way ah Supreme Court and and you know can ah stand up for equality is if Congress writes legislation that provides equality. And I have to say, that with the Federal Reserve system um at 4 million, 450,000 million millions in debt, which is three times what the currency is amongst all the people, is outrageous. and growing. (applause)

Moderator: Blue cards down. Jason. How would threats or intimidation by a group such as Black Lives Matter or the Occupy movement affect your decisionmaking ability?

Lewis: Well, I would certainly point to them in a very respectful manner, just how wrong they really are. And then we move on. But you know, you can’t allow yourself to be intimidated by special interest groups. You can’t allow yourself to be intimidated by people who distort the facts or people who have a different agenda. What we’ve got to do is move forward in the face of these types of intimidation.

And let me tell you something, there’s a very very unhealthy thing going on in the political world right now. And it’s called self censorship. What many of these left-wing groups wanna do is intimidate the way we talk, the way we speak and the positions we hold. So that we think twice about saying what we believe, and standing for what we believe. I’m not gonna self censor. I’m gonna say what I believe, and I don’t care who it traumatizes. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: Yeah ah absolutely I think the thing that you need to do is be consistent in your positions. And ah I would just ask that people look at what people have done in the past. What they’ve said and done in the past, and where they’re goin. Because your past history is a good indication of where you’re going down the road.

Moderator: Darlene, what are your thoughts on the Transpacific Trade deal?

Miller: You know, I am definitely for free trade. Ah I think it benefits all of us. I ah work with companies as a small business who do business in many different countries. And it brings jobs to my business and many other businesses. So I definitely support ah free trade as long as its fair trade. It has to be fair.

Moderator: The two blue cards came up at once. Let’s start with

Lewis: Go ahead.

Gerson: I’ll defer to Senator Howe.

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: I’ll take that. Ah when we talk about the TPP, you know that can be helpful to the state of Minnesota, and you you have people that are against it. But what we really need to talk about is transparency in government. And what you have with the TPP is you have 500 lobbyists running that. Well, I guess they’re called approved advisors. All right? That’s a backroom deal, there’s no transparency, you and I can’t see what’s in that.

That’s not good government. Government needs to be transparent. (timer sounds) You’ve seen what the Hennepin County attorney did for transparency. Can you imagine (timer sounds) what was going on if we had – if we didn’t have that kind of transparency? Thank you. (applause)

Moderator: David.

Gerson: This is 6,000 pages that was negotiated by Obama over seven years, and there’s environmental and work regulations that we should be gravely concerned about. This is a treaty that would need to be ratified by the Senate, there is no doubt about it. And it puts in danger our sovereignty and it’s we absolutely cannot accept the TPP as the way it is written. (applause)

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: Part of the problem, and why people are so upset over this, is is the multilateral trade deals. The multilateral institutions since China joined the WTO and their tariffs have been removed, we’ve lost three million manufacturing jobs. Because these trade deals start to look like our tax code. Swiss cheese. With so many loopholes in them. In the TPP there’s a loophole for Toyota and how many cars they can import. If we want free trade, it’s a sheet of paper with one other country, a bilateral agreement that says “We will remove all of our tariffs. You wlll remove all of your tariffs. Let’s move on.” None of these multilateral, supernational institutions. (applause)

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: Ah yes, the important thing is the Senate does need to approve these ah treaties. And ah basically our Senate needs to get return back, so the U.S. senators are not elected by the political parties, but by the legislators, of the states. (applause) And if and if that has been the case, since 1913, we would not be having all the problems we’re having today. (applause)

Moderator: Gene, what past experience qualifies you to serve Minnesota in Congress?

Rechtzigel: I’m glad you asked that! Um – first of all I’ve been involved in politics for a long time. So I have a depth, ah a history, as far as going back to 78, in 1978 I was at the national convention and we had the Minnesota Massacre. I was a state delegate. We ah we brought David Durenberger, Rudy Boschwitz, Al Quie, and then in 1980 we returned once again and brought Ronald Reagan. So I’ve been involved in politics ah more than I think and longer than almost anyone else up here.

Secondly, I’m a farmer, and I have experience in ah a farmer has to know everything, basically. And I believe Truman as a president was a farmer also. And I have a broad range of knowledge of all the aspects of interest rates ah commodities, ah I’m in government, property rights, I think that (timer sounds)

Moderator: David.

Gerson: I’m an engineer by education, and I’ve worked in transformation and change management. I’m uniquely qualified for representing the people, because I have been fighting for and with the people for the last three years. And there is no greater predictor of future performance than past performance. You have seen me stand up and fight the fight that no one else would fight, and say the things that needed to be said.

I have earned the trust of this community through the work that I have done and understand that people feel like they are not represented. And they can no longer trust the people (timer sounds) they send to Washington. (applause, cheers)

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: Yeah, I think it’s the breadth of experience. For the last 25 years I’ve been knee deep in these issues. I’ve written widely on them, I’ve talked to the American people and talked to Minnesotans about them, this is what we’ve been focused on. For 25 years I’ve been building trust. Not just the last couple of cycles. So I think that’s important. I grew up in a family business, in fact Darlene was talking about depreciation a moment ago, maybe she and I can talk about straight line or some of the digits after the debate. But it’s a method of depreciation. I understand business.

So when you add it all up, and I’ve got a masters degree in political science, I think I am prepared. I think I’m the best prepared up here. But the most important thing is to be (timer sounds) willing, willing to take on the powers that be. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: You know, I have a record of actually voting on things. I’ve voted to limit government. I actually voted to cut government spending. I’ve actually won elections. I’m the only one up here who has won elections in tough districts. And being mayor has helped me be a better senator. And being senator will help me be a better congressman. I will be able to hit the ground running, I won’t have to learn the process, and let me tell ya, you will get pulled and turned in different directions. The special interests, the powers that be up there, I have that experience, and I’ve stood up to leadership. There’s a time and a place to do it, and I’ve done it. (timer sounds) (applause)

Moderator: Darlene.

Miller: I think I’m qualified because I have created jobs. I’ve helped our economy, I understand how regulatory is killing our businesses, and I served on the U.S Chamber of Commerce board for five years, I led the Small Business Council, for the U.S. Chamber, I listened to everybody’s issues, and I also was proud to serve on the President’s Council for Jobs and Competitiveness, and from there was able to create a jobs program that’s been replicated in eight states. So I know what it takes (timer sounds) to get the economy back.

Moderator: Candidates, our timer has informed me that we need to move into the closing statements. You each have three minutes for your closing statements. We will have those presented to us in the reverse order of the opening statements. So we shall begin with Darlene.

Miller: Well this race is about our future. And it’s about our hopes and our dreams and our fears. And we definitely have a fear today. We have a fear of ISIS. And we have to control that. So Americans can feel safe again and not worry for our own lives and the lives of our children.

We cannot have another eight years that we’ve just had with Obama. We cannot have Hillary doing the same things. And we cannot have the Democrat who’s opposing all of us who runs again again the same gamut as Obama. Higher govern higher government control, more spending, more regulatory, all the things that are gonna destroy this country even more.

I really will work hard to create jobs, to get this economy going again, I will work hard to reduce the regulations that are out there, give more businesses the ability to start up and to grow, and get this economy going. I’ll work on the budget. Redlining. Going through the items that are unnecessary. And we need to go through that and and just like we do in a business, when times are tough, we need to make sure that we can create solutions to our problems.

And that’s what I’m about. I’ve listened, I’ve implemented, and I know how to solve problems. And that’s what I’ll do when I get to Congress. You know, we need to bring the American dream back. And that’s not just a slogan. That means feeling secure. That means knowing you have a job, knowing you’re going to get an increase in your salary, knowing your kids are going to be able to get a job, we don’t have that today. And we need to bring back good-paying jobs, good middle-paying jobs, we need to bring the technical schools back and the trades back. And I will work hard to bring that American dream back. And to beat Angie Craig in November.

Moderator: Thank you Darlene. Jason.

Lewis: Well thank you ah and thanks to everybody who attended here, and everybody watching, and certainly all the delegates going to their BPOUs on the seventh. Or in the Second District on May 7th.

Ah look we’ve got a tipping point here. We need to move forward on this with a conservative who can win. That’s the key here. Now I’ve agreed to abide by the endorsement. I didn’t have to do that. As I said earlier, the easiest thing for me to do would be to run in the primary. I’m not going to do that because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, no matter what anybody else is doing. So you’ve got a challenge. You’ve got a test here. And that is, do you wanna go forward with Jason Lewis? Or not?

I think I’m the best candidate to unite all the factions of the Republican Party. To actually take it to Angie Craig in the fall. And win both the general election but more importantly, win for you in Washington to change things the way they are now. To rein in the regulatory apparatus. To rein in the spending. To adopt the Tax Code Termination Act. To do all the things. So you need a candidate who’s both a change agent and one who has the electability, the name I.D., and raise the money to win. That’s really why we’re here. It doesn’t do us any good to have one or the other. It doesn’t do us any good to have a big government Republican win, or someone who’s backed by the big special interests, or have someone who can’t possibly win. You’ve got to have both.

So that’s the message I wanna, I wanna leave you with. This really is a moment of truth for the Second. I firmly believe, and that’s why I got in this race, folks, that if I didn’t win this this seat, that change in the Second District and Minnesota and the country is lost. I don’t think we want to go forward with that. But I’m just telling you, I’m going to abide by the endorsement; I think everybody should. I think that honors all the hard work the people on the ground have done. So we’ve got we’ve got our moment of truth here. And I think it’s time to change this country, change Minnesota, one district at a time. And I’m not gonna be a congressman who goes to Washington to promise to bring home the pork. I’m gonna be a congressman who bipartisanly CUTS the pork. I’m gonna be a congressman that takes it to Angie Craig in the fall, then takes it to Democrats when I’m in Washington. Cause let me tell ya something. The best way to serve your country or the congressman or congresswoman who serves their district best is by serving their country first. And we have a constitutional crisis, we have a fiscal crisis, we have a regulatory crisis, and if we don’t get a handle on those things, the time is slipping away.

This is it. Everybody talks about change. Everybody says “we gotta have change.” This is our chance. We can send Mr. Lewis to Washington. Or we can just stick with the status quo. And that’s it, folks. So join me in this campaign to change Minnesota, change the country, and trust me trust me, I will not let you down. (applause)

Moderator: Thank you Jason. Senator Howe.

Howe: Well, I think that’s absolutely right. This this election is very important, and I don’t believe we can put it at risk. Certainly, I live in the district, I think that’s important. (audience laughs) I pay taxes here. Yeah, you you get that, right. You know it’s that typical Washington now thinking. “I don’t live with you, but I want to tell you where your taxes go, and I want to represent you.”

You know it’s so important that we put forth a common sense conservative. My dad, my wife’s in the audience, she’s gonna hate me saying this, my dad had a saying, “If that guy had any common sense at all, he’d take it out and play with it.” Now (audience laughs) think about that. That’s our government. That’s what’s happening with our government. I’m a common-sense guy. You know one of the things I missed to put the rebut card on, “How are you gonna remember me?” Well I have a little saying: “It’s not who, it’s Howe.” All right, H-O-W-E.

And another thing: I’m the yellow flashing arrow guy. I passed a law, when you come to a stop light, and there’s a yellow flashing arrow there, next time you’re sittin at one? Remember, I’m the guy who passed that law. So you don’t have to wait for the whole thing to traffic cycle. It save you fuel, it saves you time. It’s common sense.

Now I have a record of doing things. I have a record of addressing the Second Amendment. I have a record of addressing state spending. I’m the one who’s authored legislation and actually got it done. Now let’s be serious, when you elect the next congressman, from the Second District, they’re gonna be a freshman. They’re not gonna have a lot of power. They’re gonna have to beg to get on good committees. They’re gonna have to try and build relationships to get things done. But I’m gonna tell ya, the reason I got in this race, and the reason I’m passionate about this, is we’re ready to hand over a bankrupt nation to our kids and our grandkids. It’s immoral what we’re doing. And I’m gonna tell you a promise. That every day, in Washington, I’m gonna raise the flag on the debt issue. We need to address it. You need to have John Howe there to address the debt issue. We can do it. We need to dedicate funds to take care of it. It’s not gonna be easy. But it affects everything in our life. And if you don’t believe that, just look at what will happen to our economic situation: we’ll be worse off than Greece if we don’t address our debt issue. We’re at 19 trillion dollars, we have 120 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities. We must get it under control.

I pledge to you I’m gonna work every day to that. I need your support, I want to earn your endorsement, thank you so much for being here. I look forward to visiting with you each on one on one. Thank you again. (applause)

Moderator: And Gene.

Rechtzigel: Yes I’m Gene Rechtzigel for Congress, I’m a born-again Christian. Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the spirit. And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” And I believe that. And I believe the problem with America right now is on our money it’s starting to change, even though if it hasn’t, to government, we trust in government. And we need to get back to trusting in God. In God we trust. Not in government we trust.

And I believe that in Daniel 12:4 it talked about in the last days, he told what last days would be. Two thousand years before Christ walked the earth. And in the last days he said there would be transportation, and knowledge would increase, and for the first time in the last hundred years, there’s transportation and knowledge increasing like never before. Now you look at Revelations 3, verses 15 through 18, and it says that in the last days, not only will knowledge increase, wealth will increase. And people will say, “I have need of nothing.”

And I tell you, I think God is sending a plague at this country. And I think only candidates who are spirit-filled can have the power to slay the dragon. To cut off the head of the U.N. To cut off the head of the Federal Reserve. And to cut off the aristocracy of the two political parties. So that once again, the people will be served, once again and for all. This is not about getting an endorsement. This is not about winning just the congressional seat. What we need to do here is to start a movement to take the Speaker of the House. How about if the presidency doesn’t work out? We’re finished as a country! We’re finished. This is for real now. This is not a video game. We have to be able to override the presidency. And we need to get to the Speaker of the House and straighten this country out.

And I believe I can best do that. Because Israel, I think right now, by us building up and allowing Israel to lose the Gaza Strip, to lose the Golan Heights, to lose the West Bank, we’re gonna lose ourselves too.

Moderator: Thank you. (delayed applause)

Moderator: Have we heard all of them? Darlene? We’ve heard from everyone?

Miller: Pardon?

Moderator: We’ve heard it from everyone, yes?

Gerson: I haven’t gone yet.

Miller: Oh, David.

Moderator: David, thank you.

Gerson: My name is David Gerson. And you know me because I’ve been fighting in the trenches with you for over three years. You know me because you’ve come to one of my dozens of town hall meetings and you’ve looked me in the eye and asked the difficult questions. You know me because if you’re a delegate in our people-centered caucus process, you’ve received multiple phone calls from me. You know me because you heard me on At Issue with Tom Hauser define our true opponent, the Washington cartel. And what I am most proud of over this long journey that I have earned your trust. And I am going to Congress to represent US. And restore people’s faith in representative government.

We have garnered the attention of the national conservative movement for what we have accomplished. The Sons of Liberty made up less than 3% of our population, yet they took on tyranny and put their lives on the line to give us the greatest country in the history of the world. And our Founding Father, Sam Adams, got it so right. “It does not take a majority to prevail. But rather a tireless, irate minority keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men.” And that is what we are doing in the Second Congressional District. We are setting brush fires of freedom and we have the opportunity to inspire a nation with what we have accomplished.

My name is David Gerson, and together we the people will no longer accept the status quo. We have stood up to the Goliaths in Washington, and we are going to take our country back. Thank you. (applause, cheers)

Moderator: Candidates, that concludes the questions, the closing statements, it has been a real pleasure getting to know all of you, and to serve as your moderator. And I will now turn it over to our debate coordinator, Jewel Pickart.

Jewel Pickart: Thank you Vitalya, but I have to say that the show isn’t over until it’s really over. Right? Because we can have a few more minutes up here if we would like. I think we had closing statements a little prematurely but if nothing else, Republicans can surprise you. And they can be a little flexible on the right things. So I haven’t heard enough, how about you? You want to hear about 20 more minutes? (applause) Until 8:45?

Lewis: Not everyone at once –

Howe: Jewel, Jewel, before you do that,

Pickart: How about the candidates?

Howe: let’s give our moderator and timekeeper a round of applause. (applause) Excellent job, excellent job.

Pickart: And I’m assuming it’s all right with the candidates. If we go a little bit longer. Til 8:45, like we originally planned? More questions?

Howe: It’s not who, it’s Howe.

Pickart: A few more questions. Okay. Very good.

Howe: Bill’s got a question, get ready.

Pickart: Okay.

AUD: Is taxation theft?

Lewis: Oh, I can answer that.

AUD: Tell me, Jason.

Lewis: Is taxation theft? Well, it depends on what it funds. If it funds genuine public goods that benefit everyone equally, then taxation is a de facto user fee. However, if taxation is used to redistribute income, and as Frederic Bastiat said, take something from someone to whom it belongs, and give it to somebody else to whom it doesn’t belong, then that is theft. (applause)

Howe: And I’d, I’d just add that when you have taxes, I’m a big fan of dedicated taxes. What the problem is ah in government is anytime a pot of money hits too much funds in it, they just grab it and use it for something else. Rather than adjust the rate of which it’s being collected for. And so you know dedicated taxes are a good thing, ah certainly we need to make sure that we have good roads and bridges in our state and and ah and so – you know it’s like any kind of a tax pledge. You wanna make sure that you’re getting the benefit that everybody has when you collect taxes.

The unfair part, and I I would think business owners would understand that, if you own a business in the state of Minnesota – I’m one that believes if you can make it in Minnesota, you can make it anywhere. We we have such draconian taxes, especially property taxes on businesses. Ah it’s it’s unbelievable. And I don’t think most people – how many people here own businesses? Raise your hand. All right. You you folks know what I’m talking about when you look at your property taxes. It’s outrageous what you pay for a brick and mortar business in Minnesota. And part of that goes to the school district, part of that goes to the county, and part of that goes to the city. And then you also pay special taxes for port authorities and things of that nature. So we have 48 rate classifications in the state of Minnesota. We have to collapse that. It’s outrageous.

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: That was a very ah good question. Ah we need to re ah repeal the Sixteenth Amendment and then we could go to a fair tax system, where we could do excise taxes, and that’s the way it used to be. And where where the government would raise its income from producers. But what I wanna say is is that inflation is an invisible tax. And that’s what’s going on right now. We in the last year, the currency has increased 83 million millions – yes, the currency now! 83 million millions in just the past year.

Moderator: Darlene.

Miller: You know, the problem is the federal government collects taxes and we need to pay taxes for like our infrastructure. But then they decide what each of the states should do for those, for the infrastructure. And they tell us we need Zip Rails or subways instead of leaving the things up to the states. The taxes need to go to benefit the state and the individuals in that state.

Moderator: If you’re open to those additional questions that our debate coordinator suggested, I’ll just continue in the round of questions. And so we’ll continue with the specific one-minute questions. Beginning with Senator Howe. Some consider the Constitution a living document that needs to be updated. Others say it’s fine the way that it is. Your take?

Howe: Well (laughs) that’s a great question. I would say that certainly there’s technological advances that we need to address. And and so I think we need to be very careful when we tinker with our Constitution, and it has to rise to a very very high ah standard.

Ah you know I think part of the problem with our federal government is, our government is doing things it’s not constitutionally approved to do. And that’s the overreach of our government. So I you know my my motto is reducing government’s footprint. And ah and when I go to Washington, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. So I think our Constitution is a great document, ah there are some issues when it comes to technology issues that we could address, but we need to be very very careful.

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: The Constitution is the oath of which we take. That is the most important oath you take as a member of Congress. Without the Constitution, we don’t have a republic. We’ve either got a monarchy or a pure democracy, both of which trample on minority rights. The genius of the Founding Fathers was we’re gonna have a filtered majority that is going to limit government through this document. It’s not living and breathing. There are clear words there. It means what it says. It means enumerated powers. If it’s not in the Constitution, guess what? The federal government can’t do it. It means legislative deference. We make the lawmaking to the Legislature (timer sounds) and it means federalism and dual sovereignty. That’s what I’m gonna take my oath to. (applause)

Moderator: David.

Gerson: Our Founding Fathers studied societies and governments, and they understood human nature. And they put in this document what they believed would control this large and centralized power that would be taken advantage of by those that could gain access. And it’s so simple. We’re either a country of rule of law, and follow the original intent of the Constitution, or a country of rule of man, and whoever’s in power gets to make up the rules. (applause)

Moderator: Gene

Rechtzigel: We need to repeal the ah Sixteenth Amendment, we need to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, we need a new amendment, the Twenty-Eighth Amendment, on privacy, we maybe need a Twenty-Ninth Amendment on establishing a common-law jury. That would challenge and stop ah basically government from becoming too controlling. Such as the Metropolitan Council. Regional government, there’s 700 metropolitan councils throughout the United States, ah the states are gonna be merged into a regional government in Chicago, (timer sounds) (applause)

Moderator: Are we continuing rebuts?

Gerson: Oh, I’m sorry.

Moderator: Blue cards down. Yes, Darlene?

Miller: The Constitution definitely needs to be followed. They the three bodies should work together for the American people. And that’s what it was designed to do. And protect our country, but leave the controls back to the states.

Moderator: Jason, you’ve been quoted as basically saying single women are ignorant about the important things in life. (Lewis laughs) Please explain.

Lewis: Well, people that listen to that show, and this is one of the dynamics of this race, there’s a reason I’m being attacked – by bloggers, by the media, by some of my opponents even, ah because they don’t want me to get the endorsement. The easiest way to get rid of me is not to get the endorsement because I’ve agreed to abide by it. And so folks that don’t want me to be in the primary, to win that and be in the general, are naturally taking my words out of context and attacking me. We knew that was going to happen.

But what that comment was about: was taxpayer-funded abortions and the Hobby Lobby decision, whether the federal government should mandate that business fund contraception. I’m not backin’ off, folks. I’m vehemently opposed to that, I think people ought to have free will, and if that traumatizes somebody, it traumatizes them. But I’m stickin to my guns. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: Well, I don’t think things are taken out of context. There’s you can there’s absolutely recordings of that. But I do think that ah that certain candidates put our seats at risk. And you know it it it’s like trying to relate same-sex marriage to slavery. It just, it it doesn’t work. And and you can’t just laugh off those comments. And I think that’s the real ah issue here. You have to look at someone’s complete history. Ah listen if you think opponents or anybody is being tough on somebody (timer sounds), wait until the Democrats. This is going to be one of the top five races in the nation. Everything’s gonna be (timer sounds) looked at. Everything you’ve done and said.

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: With single women, it matters very much. Black lives matter very much. (audience murmurs). Minorities matter very much. When God was here on earth, he spent his time healing and helping the minorities, the people who were poor, hungry, and injured. Not attacking each other. And the one thing that he did attack was, was the elite. The ones that are above that are taking the advantage. (timer sounds)

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: Yeah, I think where my critics have it wrong is ah look. I am gonna get attacked by Emily’s List. But the dirty little secret is: so is anybody on this panel! I don’t care whether you’ve set foot in a radio studio for 25 years or not, they will find something you will say. That is the playbook of the liberal left. They will use these things, they will twist them and they will destroy – you could run Gloria Steinem in this seat, and she’d be accused of being anti-woman. So it doesn’t do us any good to say “Oh, we’re gonna play it safe, we’re not gonna say anything, and whatever you do, don’t stick to your guns” – they’re gonna attack you anyway! So I’m gonna stick to my guns. Period! (applause)

Moderator: Darlene. Should the U.S. accept any belief as a religion if someone says it is, or should the U.S. be able to stipulate criteria for being able to call a belief a religion?

Miller: That’s a good question. You know, we have to have religious freedom, ah throughout our country. And I was born and raised Catholic, and certainly have strong convictions of my growing up and my Catholic. I just feel that we have to be able to support and honor all religion.

Moderator: Gene. How should we defend our country?

Rechtzigel: Well, we need to defend our country by going on the offense. And ah as I’ve stated, ah basically I think the most important thing is a two–political party system right now. We need to go to proportional selection of delegates, so that we endorse (clears throat) candidates that the American people will come out and vote for! I mean, obviously that’s the problem with Republicans. Moderates are candidates ah who talk conservative and vote to the left. And Ronald Reagan would basically say, “Instead of left and right, it’s up or down.” And and basically the Democratic Party is leading us down, and the Republican Party, by endorsing moderates all the time, is leading us down.

Moderator: David. (delayed applause for Rechtzigel)

Gerson: There’s only one thing defending the people. And that is the Constitution. We have to return to constitutionally limited government, and we have to understand that right now the true battle in Washington is between the establishment that wants to maintain the status quo which benefits their cronies, and the true conservatives that understand that the only thing that’s gonna protect the people and keep us from getting to tyranny is defending the Constitution. (applause)

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: Well I agree with David, that we have to get back to having a constitutional government. But more importantly we need to get back to personal accountability and personal responsibility. We’re always blaming somebody else. We blame the police when things don’t go our way. We blame the government. We’ve become a nation of whiners. And moaners. I ask you to accept personal accountability and personal responsibility. Teach that to your kids. And we can move our country forward. (timer sounds)

Moderator: David, what is your view of U.S. leadership in the world?

Gerson: Well, Obama has absolutely been leading from behind. And he has been degrading our relations with our allies, especially with Israel. We have to maintain our status as the world’s superpower and the beacon of liberty for the free world. We have to restore American leadership and the exceptionalism that our Founding Fathers created. (applause)

Moderator: Jason.

Lewis: I often hear this line, “leading from behind.” But nobody ever explains it. Y’ever notice that? I have no idea what that phrase means. I do know the United States can’t do everything. That we cannot police the world, we can’t rearrange the deck chairs on the Middle East Titanic, like we tried to do after World War I with the French and the British, and expect things and other countries to respect us. We can’t say, “Oh we’ve gotta we’ve gotta you know do this here in Asia then we’ve gotta do this and – North Korea’s being propped up by China, China’s biggest enemy is Japan, but what do we tell Japan? “Well don’t worry, we’ll defend you.” United States leadership (timer sounds) is making sure Americans are free and protected first and foremost. (applause)

Moderator: Gene.

Rechtzigel: Ah to add to that, I believe we need to get rid of the U.N., the League of Nations came before the U.N., and the story is told that General Macarthur had to show his battle plans to the League of Nations before ah he was allowed to enter North Korea. The trouble is, Stalin had somebody on those battle plans. And Stalin went and shared ah those plans with North Korea and China. So ah as we found out, as our men went forward – (timer sounds)

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: I’ll defer 10 seconds. Let him finish.

Rechtzigel: As our men went forward, the Chinese and North Korea retreated. Because they knew we were coming, because of the League of Nations the U.N. And he was disgraced but it wasn’t his fault. General Macarthur was a great man.

Moderator: Senator Howe.

Howe: I think “leading from behind,” the way I take it, is we have a president who’s become an apologist for our great country. And I think that’s a real tragic part for America. You know we we need to have a strong military defense. My son, who’s finishing his first year at Arizona State in engineering, he scored high enough in the Navy to get accepted in the Navy nuclear program, so he signed in the Navy for six years active and two years inactive. And I think when people stand up for our country, and just like the people on this stage, we wanna go and represent you in Washington. We wanna do the right thing. And I think (timer sounds) we’re passionate about it. But we can – it’s not “make America great again,” we are a great nation. We just need to stand up for it.

Moderator: Darlene.

Miller: Well you know, United States used to be recognized as a leader, and I don’t believe it is anymore. From many of the other countries. We need to defend our allies, like Israel, and identify our threats and the people who are against us. We have to have a strong military and we have to come back to being a leader again. We and that means a leader in the White House, that means a Senate and Congress, they have to be good, ethical strong leaders.

Moderator: Candidates, I have been informed that we have now reached that additional 15 minutes of questions. (candidates laugh)

Lewis: I just got one closing statement, no, I’m just kidding. (Moderator and candidates laugh)

Moderator: We thank you so much for all of your time this evening. Thank you. (audience and candidates applaud)

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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