The Latest: Up-to-the-minute news on GOP presidential debate

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Posted: Oct 28, 2015 11:01 PM
The Latest: Up-to-the-minute news on GOP presidential debate

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — The Republican presidential candidates are debating for the third time in the 2016 nomination contest, this time in battleground Colorado, as they compete to narrow down the wide-open contest.

Here are the latest developments (all times local):

8:37 p.m.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee says CNBC "should be ashamed" of how its moderators handled the third GOP presidential debate.

Reince Priebus (ryns PREE'-bus) says that the moderators did a disservice to their network, the candidates and the viewers. The two hours were dominated by candidates complaining that the moderators' questions were hostile and based on inaccurate premises.

Priebus is calling the questioning "unfortunate" and says he will "fight to ensure future debates allow a more robust exchange."

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8:25 p.m.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says none of Republican candidates on the debate stage is running for president because of ego. Instead, he says they're making the sacrifice to run so they can get America back on track.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is promising to be a "unifier." Bush says he will "change the culture in Washington, just as I changed the culture in Tallahassee." Bush describes himself as an outsider and says politicians from Washington "continue to make things worse."

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8:21 p.m.

Donald Trump says America has him to thank for keeping the third Republican presidential debate to two hours, rather than three hours or more. Trump says in his closing statement that he could stand on stage all night, but no one wants to watch a three-hour debate.

The original plan had been two hours of debate, not counting commercials. Both Trump and Ben Carson sent CNBC a letter demanding that the debate be kept to two hours total.

John Kasich is ending the debate the way he began, with an animated appeal to communities to take on a bigger role in solving their problems, rather than the federal government.

The Ohio governor says: "America is not great from the top down. America is great from the bottom up."

And Marco Rubio is closing his debate performance by promising to "expand" the American dream. The Florida senator says he can never repay his "debt to America" and says he is running because wants to make sure that the same opportunities are there for others.

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8:19 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is using his closing statement to look into the camera and ask voters two questions: "Are you fed up?" and "Are you serious about this election?"

He says he's the one who can change the culture in Washington.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is using his closing statement to give a preview of his filibuster against a debt ceiling deal in Congress. Paul says he objects to raising the federal debt ceiling, because he wants "a government so small I can barely see it."

Former CEO Carly Fiorina says the election is about more than "a lot of plans" and a lot of "good intentions."

She promises, if elected, to "cut this government to size and hold it accountable."

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Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson says his candidacy is proof that Americans are "waking up" and recognizing the value in a citizen government. He is telling voters not to throw away the values that have made America a great nation "for the sake of political correctness."

Ted Cruz says he is a proven fighter in Washington. In his closing remarks, Cruz notes his stances against the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood and says he will always "fight for freedom."

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7:58 p.m.

Forget attacking the other candidates, Chris Christie is taking a whack at the moderators.

The New Jersey governor has fighting words for CNBC correspondent John Harwood after several persistent questions about climate change during the Wednesday night debate.

"Even in New Jersey what you're doing is called rude," Christie says.

On climate change, Christie says investment in "all types of energy" is important. He notes that New Jersey has worked with the private sector to boost solar energy.

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7:52 p.m.

Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are big football fans, and are among the millions of Americans who manage fantasy football teams. But they line up on the other side of the ball when it comes to regulating fantasy football.

Asked whether it amounts to gambling, and whether the government should regulate, Bush says, "My instinct is to say, hell no."

But he is acknowledging that regulating fantasy football probably needs to be looked into.

He says his team is undefeated.

But Christie, with a look of exasperation, says to the moderators: "We have $19 trillion in debt ... and you're talking about fantasy football"

The comment ignited a burst of applause in the auditorium, including from Sen. Ted Cruz, standing to Christie's right.

Christie snorts: "Let people play. Who cares?"

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7:50 p.m.

Chris Christie is using a dispute between the White House and the FBI to accuse President Obama of being weak on crime.

The New Jersey governor says Obama hasn't given police officers the support they need.

He noted FBI Director James Comey's recent claim that police officers have become afraid to enforce the law thanks to ever-present cellphones and the threat of viral videos. In a speech last week, Comey claimed the anxiety is contributing to a rise in violent crime.

The White House says it disagrees with Comey's analysis. But Christie says Obama should have backed up his FBI chief. He says the president's top job is "to protect the safety and security of the American people" and "the president has failed."

Christie says as president he'd support law enforcement, adding, "That's real moral authority."

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7:40 p.m.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is upset about being asked whether he thinks Donald Trump has the moral authority to unite the country.

The question during the third Republican presidential debate drew groans and boos from the audience.

Huckabee says: "The few questions I've got, the last one I need is to give him more time. I love Donald Trump. He is a good man."

Then Huckabee jokes: "I'm wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that."

Trump calls the question "nasty."

Huckabee says "Donald Trump would be a better president every day of the week and twice on Sunday rather than Hillary."

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7:38 p.m.

Donald Trump has a permit to carry a gun in New York. And he says more people should follow his lead.

In the third Republican debate, Trump calls gun-free zones a "catastrophe," describing them as "target practice for sickos and the mentally ill."

Trump says he carries a gun on occasion, but adds, "I like to be unpredictable."

Told that some Trump resorts and properties don't allow guns, Trump says he'd consider a new policy. "I would change it," he said.

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7:42 p.m.

John Kasich says the state of Ohio doesn't need to legalize marijuana as a source of revenue. Even if it did, he says it's a bad practice to send "mixed signals" to kids about drugs by legalizing marijuana.

But that's about all Kasich has to say on the subject. Instead, he's the discussion to income inequality. He says he'd move to give more power back to the states, particularly in education, to give children better access to skills they can use to get ahead.

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7:42 p.m.

Rivals Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio agree on the importance of lower taxes.

Both Republican presidential candidates have proposed tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthy and drive up the deficit. But at the third Republican presidential debate they defended their ideas as best for the economy.

Bush says higher taxes on wealthier Americans are hurting the economy. Bush says: "The government has tried it their way. Under their proposals it has failed miserably."

Rubio says that because the rich pay so much more in taxes than the poor, any tax cut will inevitably favor them. Rubio says, "The more you tax something the less you get."

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul jumped in to tout his flat tax proposal. He argues that it's fairer because it ditches the payroll tax, which bites more heavily into the middle class.

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7:40 p.m.

Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have found a common enemy: the Federal Reserve.

Both Cruz and Paul say they'd like to audit the Fed and expose how its monetary policy is damaging the economy.

Cruz is blasting the central bank's policies of keeping interest rates low, calling it an "incredible experiment." He says "the Fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy."

Paul says he wants to bar the Fed from lobbying Congress. He says he want to "bring the Fed forward" and expose its role in the housing crisis and the rise of income inequality. He says "we should not have price control on the price of money."

For Paul, complaining about the Fed is a family tradition. Paul's father, former Rep. Ron Paul, campaigned for president with the slogan "End the Fed."

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7:35 p.m.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says Hillary Rodham Clinton and Democrats have the biggest super PAC in the presidential race: "It's called the mainstream media."

Rubio says he believes Clinton "got exposed as a liar" last week during her testimony before a House select committee examining the Benghazi attacks.

But he says the media cast her appearance as a triumph.

Other Republicans are also criticizing the press during the debate. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says questions being asked by the CNBC moderators are unfair and not focused on substantive issues.

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7:33 p.m.

Marco Rubio says programs that bring in more immigrants as high-tech workers are valuable.

The Florida senator argues that companies who abuse the visa program should be penalized.

Donald Trump's campaign website has called Rubio "Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator" for supporting the tech visas.

Trump has contended the program short-changes American workers. But at the debate he claims he never made the statement and says he wants to keep skilled immigrant tech employees in the United States.

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7:28 p.m

Ben Carson is pushing back on questions about his involvement with a medical supplement company that has come under legal scrutiny.

Carson says he made a few paid speeches for Texas-based Mannatech Inc. and uses its products, but calls it "absurd" to say he has a relationship with them.

Asked why his picture was on the home page for the company, Carson says they must have used it without his permission. When he was pushed over whether that betrayed any issues with his "vetting process," the crowd began to boo.

Carson smiled. "They know," he said.

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7:25 p.m.

Former technology executive Carly Fiorina says it is the "height of hypocrisy" for Hillary Rodham Clinton to talk about being the first woman president when "every single policy" she endorses is "demonstrably bad for women."

Fiorinia is joining Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in going after Clinton in the third Republican presidential debate.

Fiorina says 92 percent of the jobs lost during President Barack Obama's first term belonged to women. And Cruz says 3.7 million women went into poverty during Obama's presidency.

Cruz says big government benefits the wealthy, lobbyists and giant corporations. He says he is fighting for Hispanics, women and single mothers.

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7:23 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich isn't going to let voters forget he helped lead efforts to balance the federal budget while serving in Congress in the 1990s.

He calls the budget deal passed by the House on Wednesday a "silly deal" that is more of "the same old stuff." If elected president, he says he'd push for a balanced budget amendment to make sure the government doesn't spend more than what is has.

Kasich says his time in Congress and two terms as Ohio's governor serve as proof of his ability to manage a growing economy and write responsible budgets. He brings up his time working on the balanced budget in Congress often on the debate stage and on the campaign trail.

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7:15 p.m.

Marco Rubio is dismissing questions about whether his history of personal financial woes disqualifies him from being in charge of the federal government.

A bank once moved to foreclose one of Rubio's homes. He couldn't account for thousands of expenses from political committees he ran. Last year he sold retirement funds to pay bills despite earning millions over the past decade.

Rubio dismisses those problems as discredited attacks from Democrats.

He says his struggles to provide for his four children are the reason he is pushing a tax plan that would help families. He also recounts his humble upbringing as the son of immigrant parents who worked as a bartender and a housekeeper.

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7:12 p.m.

Jeb Bush is dodging a question he had no problem answering four years ago: Would you sign a budget deal that cut $10 for every $1 in taxes raised?

Before, he said it was a deal he'd take. This time, he's not giving a definitive answer.

Instead, Bush is talking about the recently agreed-to budget deal between the White House and GOP leaders in Congress.

He adds: "Now we see Hillary Clinton proposing a third term of economic policy for our country. We need to reverse that. And my record was one of cutting taxes each and every year."

Sticking with his attack on Congress, he says: "You find me a Democrat that will cut spending $10 — heck, find me a Republican in Congress that would cut spending $1 — I'll talk to him."

Zeroing in on Democrats, Bush says: "You find a Democrat that's for cutting spending $10? I'll give him a warm kiss."

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7:08 p.m.

Chris Christie says the Justice Department under President Obama has been a "political Justice Department."

Christie says the department has let politics drive prosecutions and given some favored companies "a pass" while coming down unnecessarily hard on others.

The New Jersey governor and former prosecutor made the assertion when asked whether he thought some General Motors executives should go jail for their role in a deadly ignition-switch defect scandal.

Christie says they should and adds, "If I were a prosecutor that's exactly where'd they be."

Christie is also criticizingthe department's decision to prosecute CIA chief David Petraeus for sharing classified information.

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7:05 p.m.

Ben Carson says regulation is choking small businesses in America.

Asked about drug prices, Carson focused his answer on business oversight. He says job creation is limited because businesses are dealing with excessive regulations.

Carson says that instead of focusing on one specific group, the country needs a "major reduction" in "regulatory influence."

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7:03 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is returning to his debate style of talking directly to viewers, suggesting to Americans they'd be fleeced on Social Security under a Democratic president.

On raising Social Security taxes to close the looming gap, Christie asks, "If someone has already stolen money from you, are you going to give them more?"

Christie says, "Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years."

Ignoring his fellow candidates and the CNBC panelists, Christie says he's speaking to "the guy that has a landscaping business."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee compares the federal government to convicted investor Bernie Madoff. He says: "Yes, we've been stolen from. Yes, we've been lied to."

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7:00 p.m.

Donald Trump says his firms' record of declaring bankruptcy shows he's good at dealing with debt problems.

Four of Trump's Atlantic City companies have filed for bankruptcy. Trump is defending that at the third Republican presidential debate. He says the problem is the economic collapse of Atlantic City.

Trump adds that he had the legal right to file bankruptcy.

Trump concludes by noting the nation's financial woes and saying, "Boy, am I good at solving debt problems."

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6:55 p.m.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he's more worried about Congress bankrupting the American people than he is about a government shutdown.

Paul says he opposes the budget deal passed Wednesday evening in the House of Representatives, which raises the county's borrowing limit as well as spending caps.

He says Democrats and Republicans backing the deal are part of an "unholy alliance" to spend the country "into oblivion."

Paul says the deal gives him little hope that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, likely to be the next House speaker, will bring meaningful change.

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6:51 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has a beef with the media.

Cruz says the questions being asked him and other Republican candidates in the third debate are unfair.

He says they "illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. This is not a cage match."

He says the CBNC moderators are more interested in pitting the candidates against one another rather than "talking about the substantive issues people care about."

Cruz says the Republican debate is a stark contrast with the Democratic contest, "where every fawning question" was about "which one of you is more handsome and wise?"

His response came to a question about whether his opposition to a budget deal in Congress shows that he's not a problem-solver.

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6:50 p.m.

Carly Fiorina says her record as former CEO of Hewlett-Packard isn't a liability, but proof of her leadership skills.

During the third Republican debate, Fiorina was asked about her time at the helm of HP, where she laid off 30,000 workers and was fired by the board.

Fiorina says she was brought in to be a change agent and had to make some "tough calls." She also touts the fact that former HP board member Tom Perkins has recently spoken up on her behalf.

Fiorina says she is prepared to "run on my record all day long."

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6:49 p.m.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is defending his job performance against criticism from one of his constituents — Jeb Bush.

Bush is joining critics who say Rubio has skipped too many votes in the Senate as he campaigns for president.

Bush says Rubio should do his job. He says "this was a 6-year term and you should be showing up to work."

Bush adds that if Rubio didn't want to show up for votes, he should "just resign and let someone else take the job."

The attack was the harshest of the debate so far and was Bush's first chance to stand out on the crowded stage.

Rubio is pushing back hard. He says media criticism of his voting record is an example of bias against conservatives. And Bush is only piling on because "we're running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me will help you."

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6:44 p.m.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is attacking Marco Rubio for missing Senate votes.

Critics have gone after Rubio for missing a lot of votes during his first term in Congress. Bush took it a step further in the Republican Party's debate Wednesday night.

Bush told Rubio he signed up for a six-year term and "should be showing up for work."

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Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson says he would get rid of all income tax deductions and loopholes if he were president.

Carson says during the third Republican presidential debate that there also needs to be strategic cutting. He says anyone who believes savings couldn't be found in federal agencies is living in a "fantasy world."

Carson says his tax plan would result in a flat tax around 15 percent.

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Ohio Governor John Kasich says economic proposals from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination are "just fantasy."

He slammed proposals from neurosurgeon Ben Carson and developer Donald Trump as unrealistic and deficit-busting. Kasich has proposed a large tax cut as well and promised to balance the budget through unspecified cuts.

Trump quips that Kasich's poll numbers are so bad he barely qualified for the debate.

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Donald Trump sounds like he'd like to fire CNBC debate moderator John Harwood.

Harwood's first question to the real estate mogul suggested Trump's promises were so huge they were cartoonish. Harwood asked Trump if he was running a "comic book version of a presidential campaign."

Trump rejected the phrase and added, "it's not a very nicely asked question."

Trump says his proposals are realistic. He says if China can build a 13,000-mile Great Wall, he can build a wall along 1,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border.

Trump also says he can force Mexico to pay for the wall. He says "a politician cannot get them to pay, I can."

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6:37 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says his biggest weakness is that he's "too agreeable." He's kidding.

The notably fiery Cruz, who often stands against his own party in Congress, says his biggest weakness is actually that he's a fighter who is passionate about the Constitution.

He says he doesn't care if he's not the guy voters want to have a beer with, because he's the one who will make sure they get home.

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Chris Christie is wasting no time in lashing out at Democrats.

The New Jersey governor is using an opening question about his greatest weakness to clobber the three Democratic candidates for president.

Christie lists the GOP's possible opponents as "the socialist," ''the isolationist" and "the pessimist."

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is a self-declared socialist. It's not clear who is the isolationist but Christie says Hillary Clinton is the pessimist.

Christie promises "you put me on the stage with her next September and she won't get within 10 miles of the White House."

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Dr. Ben Carson is subtly belittling his Republican rivals at the GOP debate in Boulder, by promising not to engage in negative campaigning.

Yet he says in discussing his greatest weakness that he doesn't really see himself "in that position" of president of the United States.

Carson, leading in Iowa and national polls, says he didn't see himself as president until the "hundreds of thousands of people" who are supporting him persuaded him to run.

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Donald Trump says his greatest weakness is that he is too trusting.

In his first answer of the third Republican debate, Trump is responding to a question about his biggest weakness by saying that he trusts "people too much."

But on the flip side, Trump says if people let him down, "I never forgive."

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Jeb Bush says he's impatient and he can't fake anger.

The former Florida governor says those are his biggest weaknesses. Bush and the other Republican presidential candidates were asked to name their biggest weakness during the first question of their third debate in Colorado.

Bush says he believes "this is still the most extraordinary country on the face of the earth and it troubles me that people are rewarded for tearing down this country."

He says, "It's never been that way in American politics before and I can't do it."

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Ohio Governor John Kasich says proposals from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination are "just fantasy."

He slammed proposals from neurosurgeon Ben Carson and developer Donald Trump as unrealistic and deficit-busting. Kasich has proposed a large tax cut as well and promised to balance the budget through unspecified cuts.

Trump quips that Kasich's poll numbers are so bad he barely qualified for the debate.

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6:17 p.m.

The third debate of the GOP nomination fight is underway, 17 minutes after it was set to start.