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Fourth Republican debate winds up in Milwaukee

Carly Fiorina speaks during the Republican presidential debate

Carly Fiorina speaks during the Republican presidential debate at Milwaukee Theatre, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee. Photo Credit: AP / Morry Gash

The fourth debate among Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee has ended.

The debate was sponsored by Fox Business Network and The Wall Street Journal. Participants included businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Hewlitt Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

9:07 p.m.

Donald Trump took the first question, which was on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The moderator noted that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has called for paying a $15 wage to state workers.

Trump argued, "We don't win anymore. We are not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we are going to have leave it the way it is . . . if we are to compete with the rest of the world."

Carson said: "Every time we raise the minimum, the number of jobless people rises." He said lower wages provide more jobs so young people can get experience. "I would not raise it, specifically because I am interested in making sure that people are able to enter the job market."

9:20 p.m.

"In the 21st century, it's a disaster," Rubio said of the $15 minimum wage proposal. Instead, he called for tax reform and regulatory reform, rather than making American labor unaffordable.

"We need more welders and less philosophers," he said, pushing for more emphasis on trade schools.

Kasich again noted his father was a mail carrier.

"Economic theory is fine, but you know what? People need help," he said of his tax plan.

He said he would lower taxes for businesses to create jobs, and that he had "the only plan" to get a balanced budget by the end of a second term.

"Hillary [Clinton] and the Democrats promise everything on the spending side," Kasich said. "When you balance the budget and cut taxes, people get work . . . so people can live their dreams and their God-given potential."

9:30 p.m.

"When I was budget committee chairman in Washington, I stepped on every toe in that town," Kasich said, adding he isn't afraid of special interests.

Cruz said "the Obama economy is a disaster," and this is the "new normal."

"It doesn't have to" be, Cruz said, calling for his flat tax. "We've done it before."

Bush interjected, noting he received little time to make his case in the last debate.

He proposes to provide 4 percent growth for the U.S., about double the current rate.

He called for repealing Obama's regulation of the Internet and environmental restrictions on business.

"Small businesses right now -- more of them are closing than are opening up," Bush said.

Fiornia, a former CEO, talked about a 40-year-old mother she met the other day who said she "goes to bed every night afraid for my children's future."

"The truth is, this government has been growing bigger and bigger, more corrupt and crushing the engine of growth," Fiorina said. "Big government has created a big business called politics."

She called for "zero-based budgeting" to know where "every dollar is spent" and revise the tax code to three pages, from thousands that include carve outs and exemptions.

"We have to hold government officials accountable for their actions," she said. "We must take our government back."

9:40 p.m.

Paul struck a different chord on the economy, after other candidates argued that helping businesses grow larger would boost the economy.

A moderator noted stagnant workers' pay while executive pay is escalating.

"There is income disparity and income inequality," Paul said.

Paul said he would try to make Tuesday night's debate in part about the growing national debt. Paul said the country is borrowing $1 million a minute, and neither Republicans nor Democrats are addressing the problem. He accused both parties of bankrupting the country.

Carson was asked about media reports that showed "inconsistencies" in his biography in his campaign based on trust.

"First of all, I thank you for not asking what I said in the 10th grade," Carson said, getting laughs.

"I don't have a problem being vetted. What I do have a problem with is being lied about," Carson said.

He said Democrat Hillary Clinton misled the public on terrorist attacks.

"Where I come from, they call that a lie," Carson said. "People who know me know that I am an honest person."

"We have to stop illegal immigration," Trump said. He praised this week's Supreme Court decision striking down President Obama's order to accept immigrants without documents.

Noting his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S., Trump said, "If you don't think walls work, just ask Israel."

9:50 p.m.

Kasich struck back at Trump, saying many undocumented immigrants are law abiding and employed: "Think about the families, think about the children!" he said.

He said a more compassionate immigration process is needed.

Trump said former President Dwight Eisenhower moved undocumented immigrants out and he was a revered figure.

Kasich said Trump's immigration policy is filled with "false little things."

Bush said "They are doing high-fives in the Clinton camp when they hear this." He called for a process to provide legal status to immigrants with proper documentation.

Trump said allowing undocumented immigrants into the country is "very, very unfair" to other workers.

"The world is changing faster than ever and it's disruptive," Rubio said. He blamed the tax system, an "outdated higher education system" and poor health care for the failure of the U.S. to keep up with other countries.

Cruz called for "gradually raising the retirement age" to make Social Security work for all.

Then he turned to Democrats and said they are hoping immigration will be the issue that sinks Repbulicans.

He said immigration would be seen differently if bankers and journalists were crossing the borders.

"We're tired of being called anti-immigrant. It is offensive," said Cruz, pointing out that he is the son of a Cuban immigrant.

"Every sovereign nation secures its borders and it is not compassionate to say we are not going to enforce the laws and drive down wages," Cruz said.

10:05 p.m.

"Obamacare is failing the very people it was supposed to help," Fiorina said. "It is crony capitalism at its worst."

She said that's the first step in helping employers increase the number of jobs.

"We need to try the free market," she said.

She said insurance companies should also be compelled to explain their policies better.

"The secret sauce of America is innovation and entrepreneurship," she said.

"I'm a cancer survivor," she said, not a "pre-existing condition."

Carson called for devoting more federal funds to creating jobs.

"This is America, this is the land of dreams and our policies should be aimed at helping people realize those dreams," Carson said.

He said his plan would balance the budget and eliminate the payroll tax, so that "everybody is going to get a tax cut."

Cruz was asked how he can cut taxes as much as he proposes.

He said that a family of four under his plan won't pay any tax on the first $36,000 in income, and that a flat tax will be fair for all taxpayers.

"This plan eliminates the payroll tax, it eliminates the death tax, the corporate income tax and it abolishes the IRS," Cruz said.

Giving people more money at home has "a powerful, powerful effect" on the economy by increasing per capita spending and "allow jobs to boom."

"I am going to fight as hard as I can to direct power away from Washington," Bush said.

"Growing the economy is the first job if we are going to be serious about dealing with the deficit and the debt," he said.

"Jobs are being created, but they are lower income jobs than were lost," Bush said.

10:15 p.m.

Rubio said the "job of being a parent" is more important than being a president.

"Because if the family breaks down, the nation breaks down," Rubio said, in defending his "pro-family tax code" that includes tax breaks for college aid.

He said his proposal to make college more affordable will help parents now and create the nation's next generation of taxpayers.

Rubio said Paul's policy call for reduced military spending "is not very conservative."

"This is their money, it is not our money," Rubio said.

He called it an investment in families. He called Paul "a committed isolationist" in foreign policy.

"Can you be a conservative and be liberal on military spending?" Paul asked. "I want a strong national defense, but I don't want us to be bankrupt."

"Defending this nation is expensive -- try not defending it," Cruz said in the most spirited exchange of the night.

Fiorina said you need zero-based budgeting to reduce taxes and spending.

"All the money is always already spoken for, so we need to go to zero-based budgeting. . . . Any dollar can be cut, any dollar can be moved," Fiorina said.

"You have to strip the corruption out of the tax code . . . and invest where you need to," Fiorina said.

"We have to have a strong military so people don't mess with us," Trump said. He said he disagrees with his competitors' tax plans, but added they are all better than the current system under the Obama administration.

Trump also railed against trade policies under Obama that Trump said favor foreign countries.

"I'd rather make individual deals with individual countries," Trump said.

He said the U.S. has too severe a trade imbalance with China and Japan.

"I am a free trader, but we need smart people making the deals," Trump said.

Trump said China, India "and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States" through "currency manipulation."

China's government can set the value of its currency, he said.

"We are losing jobs like nobody has lost jobs before," Trump said.

"So much power has gravitated to the executive branch, leaving Congress as sort of a bystander," Paul said.

He called for more power in the hands of Congress to craft trade deals with other countries.

10:30 p.m.

The moderator said that last year terrorism attacks rose by 61 percent, with most deaths occurring in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.

Carson said Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to expand his influence in Syria, making it a more difficult situation.

"What we have done has been very ineffective . . . but we cannot give up ground," Carson said.

"You have to continue to face them because our goal is not to contain them, but to destroy them before they destroy us," Carson said.

Bush said "Islamic terrorism" is the biggest threat to the U.S.

"We should have a no-fly zone in Syria" and help the 4 million refugees, Bush said.

"It is tragic you see countries like Syria talking to Russia," he said. Bush said Russia is seizing an opportunity for influence and must be stopped.

Trump said countries surrounding Ukraine aren't doing anything to stabilize the region.

"We can't be the policeman of the world. . . . We have to start investing in our country," Trump said.

"We don't have to be the world policeman, but we need to be world leader," Bush said. "We have to lead, we have to be involved."

10:40 p.m.

Trump said we have "wounded warriors all over," without benefit to the United States.

Fiorina took a jab at Trump, who said he had met Russian President Vladimir Putin in a green room before CBS's "60 Minutes."

"I met him in a private meeting," Fiorina said of Putin.

She said she would rebuild the U.S. Navy fleet in Europe, "under his [Putin's] nose."

Paul criticized the call for a no-fly zone in Syria, noting that Russian planes are flying there at the Syrians' request.

"If you do, be prepared to send your sons and daughters to war," Paul said.

"Do you want a commander in chief to say something that we never did during the Cold War, to stop talking to the Russians?" Paul asked.

Rubio called Russian President Putin "a gangster" to build his military while his economy fails.

He also said President Obama disrespects Israel.

"Vladimir Putin is exploiting that weakness," Rubio said.

He said Middle East extremists hate us for our values. "Either they win or we win. . . . It is not going away on its own," Rubio said.

Kasich noted he served on the Defense Committee in Congress and called for a no-fly zone in Syria.

He said the key to strategic alliances are economic alliances.

10:55 p.m.

"My worry is the real economy has been hurt by the vast overreach of the Obama administration and Hillary wants to double down on that," Bush said.

He said the biggest banks must be stripped of power to empower community banks. Bush said that will help avoid another fiscal crisis.

Carson stopped short of calling for breaking up the big banks, but said more regulation of Wall Street is needed.

Carson said the key to American success has been entrepreneurship. That must be encouraged, he said.

Rubio blamed government for making the banks big and powerful and influential with politicians.

Kasich said the problem with Wall Street is "there is too much greed. . . . Yes, free enterprise is great . . . but they need a good ethics lesson on Wall Street on a regular basis."

Cruz said "the cronyism and corruption" in Washington has made big banks too powerful, too protected. He said he wouldn't bail out banks in another fiscal crisis.

Kasich said when depositors are about to lose their savings, "you don't stand on a philosophical position that you don't want to bail out banks."

"I would not let the people who put their money in go down," Kasich said.

11:10 p.m.

"Socialism starts when government creates a problem, then steps in to solve the problem," Fiorina said.

She blamed Washington for providing ill-advised mortgages to all, creating a housing bubble that led to financial speculation and ultimately the crash and the Great Recession.

"This is how socialism starts, ladies, and gentlemen -- we must take our government back," Fiorina said to cheers.

The candidates were asked why Americans should trust them over Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

"This choice is a generational choice," said Rubio, the youngest of the Republican candidates.

"All their ideas are the ideas of the past. . . . This election is going to turn the page," Rubio said. "This will be the party of the 21st century."

Cruz said Clinton has had lots of experience -- and produced terrible results.

"Hillary Clinton embodies the cronyism of Washington," Cruz said.

Trump said companies are leaving the United States and have trillions of dollars in other countries. He wants to bring the money back in a short time to rebuild the U.S.

"My expression is let's make America great again," Trump said.

Paul said man does have a role in climate change, but nature does, too.

"We've had times when the temperature has been higher," he said. He said energy "in all forms" is needed, including coal and natural gas.

"Let people drill, let people explore," Paul said.

11:25 p.m.

Closing statements began shortly before 11:15 p.m.

"We are the richest country . . . but we also borrow $1 million a day," Paul said.

He said we have to be "conservative with all spending."

"I am the only conservative on this stage," Paul said.

Kasich said conservatism is about opportunity.

"Wealth, connection, family -- America's greatest days are ahead," he said.

Fiorina said that under Clinton, veterans won't be cared for, and "the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer."

"A Clinton presidency will erode this country," she said. "As citizens, we will take our government back."

Bush said America must get strong economically, but also militarily.

Cruz recalled his father escaping from Cuba. "We are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom. . . . We the people can turn this nation around."

Rubio said Washington "is out of touch, through the fault of both political parties."

"This election is about making a different choice," Rubio said.

Carson said that during the two-hour debate five Americans had died from drug abuse, 200 babies died in abortions and many veterans took their lives.

"We must embrace this nation and never give it away for the sake of political correctness," Carson said.

Trump took a shot at his competitors, each of whom provided their website addresses in their summations. Trump noted he is self-funded and doesn't need contributors.

"We will fight, we will win, and . . . I tell you, the United States can actually be better than ever before," Trump said.

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