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. Bryan, Houston TX

    New reports say Iraq needs another 12-18 months for their security force to be ready, will we be broke by then?

    Regardless, we need to support freedom- if you want to fix Iraq send your money there, if you don't, then don't.

    Don't buy into the mindless "one nation" non-sense, that means we all are forced to do what the “leaders” say- that’s not freedom which this country claims to be about. Will we stand for freedom or tyranny? We must end taxation slavery (the real issue).

    September 5, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  2. Luis,Katy,TEXAS

    Im sorry but this is cut short, it did int even get to RP's response on the "honor" statement. If this is going to be put up at least include the whole tussle

    September 5, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. Ryan, Bowling Green, OH

    I believe Ron Paul won the exchange. I would prefer to have our soldiers lives protected rather than worry about the honor of the few who decided to launch this war in the first place.

    September 5, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  4. Charles, Collierville TN

    Ron Paul got the closing comment. How much do we have to spend to save face? Huckabee has nothing to say.

    September 5, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  5. ron,parsippany,nj

    Ron Paul owned this debate. He looked very good.

    September 5, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Ron Paul clearly had the high ground. Hmm, should the honor of the neocons be more important than what the people want?

    September 5, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  7. Brandon,Carolina Beach,NC

    Ron Paul was amazing tonight and spoke so much TRUTH that none of the other candidates understood or wanted the people to know about!!!

    September 5, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  8. Youno Hu, Princeton, NJ

    Huckabee is definitely from another planet. He does not deserve being elected in any way because he will be Dubbya II

    Ron Paul is probably the best Republican candidate this election will ever see, his integrity is intact. A true STATESMAN not just another POLITICIAN.

    September 5, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  9. Jeff,york,Pa.

    Paul was dead on when he said "we're staying there to "save face"...That's not a good reason to get our brave men and women killed !!

    September 5, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  10. Frank, Miami, Florida

    Iraq is not a discussion for historians, it's a serious subject for the American people to consider right now. And the consideration is a simple one: are the small number of people in the Bush administration who supported, promoted and prosecuted the reckless adventure of invading Iraq subject to prosecution for negligence, for lying to Congress and the American people? And is the Commander-in-Chief liable for dereliction of duty for failing to discharge his duties satisfactorily managing this war?

    September 5, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  11. Mike G, Oceanside, CA

    To hold our entire nation responsible for the mistake of this irresponsible and arrogant administration and to support continuance of the mistake is absolutely ludicrous.

    September 5, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  12. Andy, Jacksonville Florida

    Ron Paul clearly had the high ground. Should the honor of the neocons be more important than what the American people want?

    September 5, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  13. B. Chen

    Huckabee's analogy is plain lame. I hope he keeps that broken object in a safe place.

    Welcome to the 51st state of the United States. May Mr. Huckabee become its inaugural governor.

    Rock on, President Paul!

    September 5, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  14. Manuel, woodbridge, VA

    Ron Paul exhibits the most common sense consistently.

    I have a question for Huckabee and all the other, how many more people have to die in order to us to leave with "honor"? I don't even know what leaving Iraq with "honor" means. We don't have any more business there. It is time to end it.

    I hope and pray that people awaken and Ron Paul gets the Republican nomination. I don't see myself voting for anyone else.

    September 5, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. Mitch, Dunwoody GA

    Ron Paul destroyed Huckabee in the exchange!

    September 5, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  16. Spud, Atlanta GA

    It's good to see a real debate break out. I respect Huckabee a lot, but my heart's been with Ron for a long time. We have to change our policy in the middle east, and listen to those who were right – not those who have been wrong.

    September 5, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. Dave

    Ron Paul, WOW, the more I hear the Good Doctor speak, the more I want to help him win. Our meetups is growing phenomenally.

    September 5, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  18. Bob, Charlotte, NC

    Though Huckabee's comments had their own validity, your story does not mention that Ron Paul received as much if not more applause for his comments during this exchange. He was the clear crowd favorite.

    September 5, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  19. Jason, San Francisco, CA

    While you're protecting your honor, Mr. Huckabee, U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians are being killed.

    Ron Paul is dead on! You don't continue making the same mistake just to save face.

    September 5, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  20. Ben, SF, CA

    Huckabee is real psycho!

    Paul has common sense and logic.

    September 5, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  21. Dale, San Francisco

    Huckabee is not a bad person, but the logic of "honor over elections" is flawed. You'd lose the election because you want to stay over there. Reagan pulled out of Beirut when he realized how crazy the situation was over there, after saying he wouldn't. Too bad Paul doesn't point that out. Mainstream GOP thinks everything Reagan did was right.

    September 5, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. Victor, CA

    For you people who mistakenly think Ron Paul meant we should value Party over Honor is wrong. Huckabee is the one who implied that. Ron Paul said that we should value the lives of American People over saving face.

    September 5, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  23. alexjordanharris

    If you go off the applause, Huckabee won the exchange. Paul's supporters might be loud but the roar grew louder each time Huckabee spoke.

    September 5, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  24. Dayne, Pittsburgh, PA

    That isn't how the 'tussle' ended. Can you please edit your post so that people can see the whole conversation and see what Paul's response was? Also, making it seem that Paul didn't receive any applause is amusing, at best.

    September 5, 2007 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. Nate C, Knoxville, TN

    Ron Paul had the loudest cheers, I was so happy to see a constitutionalist Republican on stage that I'm going to donate to this guy right now. Looking at this guy's record now, I don't know how he isn't going to get the GOP nomination.

    September 5, 2007 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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