September 6th, 2007
09:19 AM ET
3 years ago

Huckabee and Paul tussle on Iraq

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took on Rep. Ron Paul over the Iraq war during Wednesday's debate.

(CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made a dramatic statement regarding Iraq at Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate, declaring, "We bought it because we broke it."

The comment came in perhaps the most compelling moment of the Republican debate when the Arkansas Republican directly confronted Texas Rep. Ron Paul on his position for an immediate withdrawal from the country.

"Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion for historians, but we're there. We bought it because we broke it," he said. "We've got a responsibility to the honor of this country and the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor they deserve."

Amid loud cheers, Paul responded, "The American people didn't go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservatives, hijacked our foreign policy. They are responsible, not the American people."

Huckabee quickly fired back: "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country."

As the crowd roared louder, Paul answered, "When we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people - through their representatives - to correct the mistake, not continue the mistake. We have dug a hole for ourselves and we have dug a hole for our party. We are losing elections, and we are going down next year if we don't change it."

Huckabee replied loudly, "Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor."

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Iraq • Mike Huckabee • New Hampshire • Ron Paul
soundoff (476 Responses)
  1. S. Bendelow New York, NY

    Ron Paul is anything but psycho - he's a long-awaited voice of reason when it comes to foreign and economic policy. He's way, way ahead of all other Republican candidates, most of whom are only "disagreeing" with the Bush administration because it's an election year.

    September 6, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. gilliganscorner

    "We've got a responsibility to the honor of this country and the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor they deserve."

    The honour they deserve? The folks that serve our country deserve a full scale investigation (akin to the Nuremberg trials) that will haul all those responsible for putting them in harms way to fight a war with trumped up "evidence" to fight a country that never posed a threat to our nation.

    "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country."

    What? This statement is utterly ludicrous! Does that mean we continue the mistake? Wow. Does that mean America's secret wars to depose of leaders of other countries in the last 50 years were committed by all Americans, who of course had no knowledge of these events? Does that mean we are responsible for the Iraq War started by the Bush Administration without the consent of Congress – our elected representatives? Does that mean every German was responsible for what the Nazis did to the Jews? Oh my God. Huckabee horrifies me.

    "Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor."

    We already have around the world and internally. Let's restore honour to the military mothers and fathers who saw their children die in a war that was started illegally and unconstitutionally by prosecuting those who had an active hand in creating this monster. Let them know that their children did not die in vain by implementing justice against those who perpetrated this unethical, immoral war.

    September 6, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. R Schier Norwalk, CT

    If we must keep enduring the likes of
    all the "Huckabees" in the works, then
    the nation may be better off divided. The Iraq fiasco was indeed the result of of the neo-cons, with an agenda that was kept secret, and shoved down the throats of the American public. Huckabee's religous reference ("we must be one nation under god")is equally disturbing, as I'm an athiest.
    The neo-cons have succeeded in ruining
    my life of travel, as travelling as an
    "American" has become completely embarassing. Yes, Iraq is a mess – and it is the neo-cons fault – but the only
    way it can be fixed at this point, is from within. I'm for financial aid, but it is up to Iraq to use it wisely and rebuild. Our continued presence is
    only perpetuating, and influencing further enlistment of otherwise non-politically involved citizens, into extremism, and counter-productive activities.

    September 6, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Jeff, Cary, NC

    Mr. Huckabee, we lost our "honor" a long time ago thanks to decades of terrible foreign policy, and more recently seven years of this incompetent and arrogant administration. What don't we stop with the cheap plays toward emotion and come up with some rational solutions in our best interest rather than just making us feel good about ourselves.

    September 6, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Paul, Iowa City, IA

    What is the deal with the FOX (Faux) media? Why is it that they have to boost Giuliani's giggling over the supporting applause whenever Ron Paul speaks?

    Why don't they ask Ron Paul REAL questions like why does he think the Fed's central banking should be abolished? Why does he think the unconstitutional IRS should be abolished? And why should we reduce our 8.9 trillion dollar national debt?!!!

    September 6, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. A. LeSage baton rouge, la.

    In response to "We have dug a hole for ourselves and we have dug a hole for our party. We are losing elections, and we are going down next year if we don't change it." I for one could care less about how the party is affected but it is time we quit killing people for the sake of the party. When you make a mistake don't continue throwing bodies as the solution but admit you have made a mistake. It is time for the people of Iraq to decide if they want freedom or not and start fighting for it. They have had long enough to decide so it is time for Iraq to get off the pot.

    September 6, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. RC NYC

    Ron Paul won the debate.

    Rudy & Mitt lost.

    September 6, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Jeff, Dallas TX

    Hmmm...
    "We have to leave with honor"

    Interesting comment Mr. Nixon...oops...I mean Huckabee...

    September 6, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. Andres, Boca Raton,Fl

    Ron Paul made a better argument and clearly was the more educated about foreing policy.

    September 6, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Mike, Philadelphia, PA

    Thank God for Ron Paul to bring reality to the rest of the Republicans and call them on their ignorance. Imagine if he wasn't there. You would just have a bunch of guys drinking the Bush coolaid.

    September 6, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Bryan, Columbia SC

    From 1892 to 1954 we were not "one nation under God, indivisible" we were just "one nation indivisible." So stop treating this phrase like the founding fathers wrote it.

    Ron Paul is right this country should not pay for the lies of a few. (P.S. Vietnam got itself on track without our meddling)

    If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. – James Madison

    September 6, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. Chris Rasster

    That wasn't the whole confrontation.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvTvt1UO_QI&w=640&h=390]

    Ron Paul won in this confrontation hands down. I wish this article could be more accurate.

    September 6, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Patrick, Buffalo, New York

    "We've got a responsibility to the honor of this country and the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor they deserve."

    The honour they deserve? The folks that serve our country deserve a full scale investigation (akin to the Nuremberg trials) that will haul all those responsible for putting them in harms way to fight a war with trumped up "evidence" to fight a country that never posed a threat to our nation.

    "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country."

    What? This statement is utterly ludicrous! Does that mean we continue the mistake? Wow. Does that mean America's secret wars to depose of leaders of other countries in the last 50 years were committed by all Americans, who of course had no knowledge of these events? Does that mean we are responsible for the Iraq War started by the Bush Administration without the consent of Congress – our elected representatives? Does that mean every German was responsible for what the Nazis did to the Jews? Oh my God. Huckabee horrifies me.

    "Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor."

    We already have around the world and internally. Let's restore honour to the military mothers and fathers who saw their children die in a war that was started illegally and unconstitutionally by prosecuting those who had an active hand in creating this monster. Let them know that their children did not die in vain by implementing justice against those who perpetrated this unethical, immoral war.

    September 6, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. Manuel, Woodbridge VA

    First, I'd like to thank CNN for deleting my message.

    And second, I would like to ask Gov. Huckabee what exactly is "leaving with honor"? Is that when we've lost 10,000 of our men and women? Or is that after we've emboldened the enemy even further? Or perhaps it is after we have bankrupted the nation?

    If was a mistake to go, then it is a mistake to stay. We have to realize this and come to our senses. Our job in Iraq is done, we did what we had to do. What is left now is for us to allow the Iraqis to form their government and get on with their lives.

    Why are we still there? To get a government we like? I guarantee that if it a government we like and does what we say, it will be a government the Iraqis hate and will want to ovethrow. And we will be back at square one. We've "won" there, it is done. Let us not lose more men and women for nothing.

    September 6, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Bill George, Rockville, MD

    That's it. Its honor. Thats all that matters. There is great honor in death. Don't admit defeat, it would be honorable to just turn around and declare "We won". Even if we lose lives, resources, respect, support and money, we shouldn't lose honor.

    And indeed we are one nation under God – The God of war.

    September 6, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Ringo, Earth

    Go Ron Paul. One nation under God, one nation with 36 million people living in poverty, including 13 million children (the highest child poverty rate of the 18 industrialized nations) one nation including 33 million households without an adequate supply of food, one nation with 47 million people without health insurance...Nothing broke here in the good ole US of A, let's keep focusing on the war of lies.

    September 6, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Richard, Roswell Geogia

    This administration has been arrogant and ignorant; two traits you will find in a fool, will you look to a fool for answers? So how can we fix this? We CAN'T! We don't know how and we have no right.

    Our presence will only make things worse not better, it's true that Iraq will go thru severe turmoil if we leave but it is nothing they haven't gone thru before with or without us, this is a land that makes our nation look like pups, it was here before the Roman Empire rose and it be here long after the American empire has fallen.

    In the end Iraq will be Iraq, no better no worse.

    September 6, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. marc , St.John's, NL

    "You break it, you fix it" is the reason America's allies were disinclined to get involved in the Iraq war. See the thread schadenfreude in strategytalk.org

    Ron Paul's thinking clearly: the others ain't. Pure and simple.

    September 6, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Jim Jensen, Oak Creek, WI

    Ron Paul pretty much tells it like it is. He may be a little eclectic at times, but he isn't afraid to tell the stark truth and not pander to the audience [and, nationally, to the people] like the other candidates do. I know he hasn't a ghost of a chance of being elected, and maybe that's a good thing, but it doesn't mean he isn’t making an honest and true point about Iraq and Neo-Con concepts and actions in general. Further, Bret Hume, a stanuch Neo-Con supporter, was openly smirking and mocking Ron Paul at one point in the questioning, which shows how "fair and balanced" a certain news network really is.

    September 6, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    Yes, Tanya Brand, let's unite in honor as thousands of more US troops die, as our country becomes entrenched in debt by the trillions, as we try and force our beliefs on other people. Let's stand by as one nation, under God as our country is disintegrating before our very eyes; let's unite and let this endless disaster continue.

    You ought be ashamed of yourself with your simpleton thinking. Your trite and ignorant thinking will be the end of this country. But you continue, you know, united and under God.

    September 6, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. Bruce, Franklin, TN

    Ron Paul is a loony.

    Abolish our intelligence agencies? Find one other responsible leader of either party who agrees with that.

    September 6, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. RJ, AZ

    Yes, with illegals flooding our southern border, segregation and racism still going strong, and governmental bickering abound...oh yea Mike...we're more united than ever. And if you believe that I have some beautiful ocean-front property in Arizona to sell you...

    September 6, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. Eric - Aiken, SC

    For Mr. Huckabee to cloak himself in honor shows either his shallow, reflexive mind or the minds of Americans that would do the same.
    Dr. Paul is correct. Bad policy is to blame and it is our duty to vote the neocons OUT of office. Furthermore, I find it interesting how CONCERNED everyone has become about the well-being of Iraq. We absolutely destroyed the Iraqis going in and no one seemed to mind. In fact, the overall feeling was "The more bombs the better." The feebleminded, loathsome neocons will say anything to get the masses to follow marching orders and, sadly, those same masses respond to utter nonsense words like "honor". It's scary to think that Americans are so brainwashed. God Bless Ron Paul for shining some truthful light in on the subject.

    September 6, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Patrick, Buffalo, New York

    Why don't they ask Ron Paul REAL questions like why does he think the Fed's central banking should be abolished? Why does he think the unconstitutional IRS should be abolished? And why should we reduce our 8.9 trillion dollar national debt?!!!

    --

    This is precisely why Ron Paul is being censored by mainstream media.

    Don't you think that every working American would be interested in Ron Paul's message of abolishing the IRS and the Fed? OK. Maybe not.

    However, Ron Paul also would eliminate income tax! Wow! Do you not think that would be of interest AND FANATICAL INTEREST by every single American? So why do they keep publishing content on Britney, Paris, Lindsay, and give more freaking air time to Fred Thompson, who, until today, wasn't even RUNNING!?!?! Or from the latest CNN news headlines today (as of 10:20am EST):

    "5 mistakes parents make with newborns"
    "Mom attacked by pit bull puts baby in trash"
    "Killer counted to 3, then shot dad, girl says"
    "J. Lo gets $545K in suit against ex-hubby"
    "Peeping Tom wants $10k porn stash back"

    No wonder we know nothing. Don't you think a headline like this would be appealing?:

    "Ron Paul would eliminate income tax"

    Why are they not reporting this? Because they have been instructed not to.

    September 6, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. David M. Christhilf, Poquoson, VA

    In my view, Mike Huckabee gained stature among the presidential hopefuls, and Ron Paul put himself out of contention.

    September 6, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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