Family Leadership Summit: Issues and Quotes


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at the Family Leadeship Summit in Stephens Auditorium on Saturday, July 18. Jindal was a crowd favorite, receiving two standing ovations.

Matthew Rezab

Donald Trump may have stolen the headlines at the Family Leadership Summit last Saturday, but nine other candidates took questions from moderator Frank Luntz and the audience. 

Here are their most memorable lines.

*In order of appearance

Marco Rubio – U.S. Senator (Florida)

On Immigration:

Forty percent of people in this country illegally come legally. They overstay a visa. We have no idea who they are because we only log you in, we don’t log you out. Imagine having a hotel that you only check in, but never check out. You wouldn’t know who’s there.”

On Iran Nuclear Agreement

“We basically have to help Iran — in the deal signed — become more powerful. It requires us to help Iran fight against sabotage that might exist against their nuclear program. The only people that are trying to sabotage it are our allies.”

On the Envirorment

“I think it’s important for us to protect our natural environment. I know of no one who wants water to be poisoned. I know of no one that wants air to be unbreathable, but I also no of no one who wants to go back to a third world economy.”

On the Debt

“What drives our long term national debt is the way Social Security and Medicare are currently structured for future generations… We’re going to have to retire a little later than our parents. Our benefits won’t grow as fast as our parents’ and our Medicare might not be a plan from the government.” 

Donald Trump – Businessman

On John McCain

“I supported him for president. I raised a million dollars for him, that’s a lot of money. I supported him; he lost. He let us down; he lost. So I never liked him as much after that cause I don’t like losers. He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

On asking God for forgiveness

“I’m not sure I have. I just go and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. If I do something wrong, I think I just go and try to make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.”

On Iran Nuclear Agreement

“Iran, in addition to making an unbelievable deal that’s going to make them one of the great powers, perhaps more powerful than the United States. We’re giving them billions and billions of dollars that we shouldn’t be giving them.”

Dr. Ben Carson – Retired Neurosurgeon 


“We have two choices, we can sit here and ignore them, bomb the desert and think that we’re doing something; or we can destroy them first. And I choose the latter.”

On the War on Poverty

“I don’t want to demonize the people who started those programs, but we do have brains. And brains tell you that when something isn’t working you look at a different way to get it done.”

On Washington

“It is a very corrupt place. I’ve lifted the hood of the engine that runs Washington to take a look, and your immediate response is to shut it back down.

On the Deficit

“I’m a surgeon, so I know how to cut”

Ted Cruz – U.S. Senator (Texas)

On Planned Parenthood Tape

“On tape it appears a senior Planned Parenthood official is admitting to multiple federal felonies and multiple felonies at the state and local level. The U.S. Department of Justice, if it were not simply a partisan arm of the DNC, should open an investigation and prosecute Planned Parenthood.”

On Same-Sex Marriage

“The Supreme Court’s decision on marriage was naked judicial activism. It was lawless, and it was fundamentally illegitimate.”

On Health Care

“We aught to be reforming health care generally so that we make health insurance personal, portable and affordable. We expand patient choice and we keep government from getting in between us and our doctors.”

Mike Huckabee – Former Governor of Arkansas

On Racial Tension

“We don’t have a skin problem in America, we have a sin problem in America. That is the root and the heart and the cause of racial strife and it cannot be reconciled by the government stepping in and making pronouncements.”

On Immigration

“I have committed that I will secure the boarder within the first year of my presidency.”

On the Role of the President

“Presidents are not elected for what they expect. Presidents are elected for what happens that no one expected. For the seminal moments in history that no one saw coming.”

Rick Perry – Former Governor of Texas

On Donald Trump’s Remarks

“It’s OK to question your government, but don’t question the men and women of the military who sacrifice and sometimes pay a huge price for our safety, our freedom and our economics. As an individual who has worn the uniform of this country, I was highly offended what Donald Trump said about John McCain.”

“Donald Trump owes every American veteran, and in particular John McCain, an apology.”

On Immigration

“I understand how to deal with the border. I’ve been dealing with it for 14 years. 

Lindsey Graham – U.S. Senator (South Carolina)

On Terrorism

“I’m not going to compromise when it comes to defeating radical Islam because you get nothing for second place. We’re in a religious war, don’t you think? They would kill everybody in this room if they could.”

On Social Security

“I’m 60, I’m married and I don’t have any kids. What would I do to save Social Security for people who need it more than I do? Almost anything. I’ll work with a Democrat to save Medicare and Social Security, because if we don’t, we’re all going down together.”

On Problems with the VA

“Monopolies are bad. When you’re in a monopoly you get whatever they decide to give to you. There are a lot of people in the VA that work hard, let’s not slam everyone in the VA. But let’s admit to ourselves that the VA system is a monopoly. This is what America is going to look like if you implement Obamacare.”

Bobby Jindal – Gov. of Louisiana

On the Supreme Court

“In terms of the proper role of the courts, the greatest violation we’ve seen was two weeks ago when in one week they couldn’t be bothered to read a dictionary or the Constitution. I said we might as well get rid of the court to save some money.”

On the Culture War

“Right now the left is trying to take God out of the public square. They’re trying to secularize our country… America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created America.”

On the Media

“I am critical of the main-stream media when they don’t apply the same standards to this president that they apply to the rest of us.”

Rick Santorum – Former U.S. Senator (Pennsylvania) 

On the Minimum Wage

“What I propose on the minimum wage is a 50-cent increase for three years.”

On Why Workers Support Democrats

“During the convention in 2012 I was privileged to speak… We sent small business person after small business person out there for an hour talking about how they built their business. We didn’t send a single worker on stage. Why would they think we’re for them? Why would they think we care about what they’re going through?”

On Executive Orders

“I’ll take every single regulation that’s been passed by President Obama… Everything he’s done with a pen and a phone, we can repeal with a pen and a phone the first day I’m in office.”

Scott Walker – Governor of Wisconsin

On Planned Parenthood

“I de-funded Planned Parenthood in a blue state four and a half years ago in my very first budget when none of these videos came out. I didn’t have the cover of a video to make a case for why Planned Parenthood needed to be de-funded.”

On Israel

“It was really important to let the people of Israel know that if I were elected President of the United States there would be no gap, there would be no daylight between the United States and Israel.”

On Nominating Judges

“I’ve got simple criteria for it. I want men and women of integrity. I want someone who’s got solid credentials when it comes to the law. But most importantly, I want individuals who understand that the sole role of the judiciary is to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and those laws duly enacted under it.”