(CNN) - Most of the Republican presidential candidates said in a debate Tuesday that they support a Middle Eastern oil firm's bid for a large stake in a major U.S. stock exchange.
The majority of candidates agreed that the deal sealed earlier this year by oil-rich Borse Dubai for 20 percent of the NASDAQ stock exchange did not impact national security.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani fielded the question first saying the foreign company should be able to own 20 percent of the stock exchange and that Americans should support foreign-domestic deals "if they are considered to be safe. If they pass safety and security clearances," he said.
The deal was highly scrutinized by the financial and political community opposed to foreign ownership of U.S. businesses.
"But you just can't rule out foreign companies. There's a whole procedure you go through as to whether or not are they safe. Are they secure? We cannot stop doing business with the rest of the world," Giuliani added.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, once a businessman and venture capitalist, responded enthusiastically.
"Of course, you let a country invest in the United States,” he said. “Because we're going to have to stop thinking always in terms of defense and trying to keep other people out.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Tennesssee Sen. Fred Thompson, and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback agreed, but California Rep. Duncan Hunter and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo did not.
Hunter said he does not believe the company should have been allowed the large stake in the exchange.
"Because I don't trust them," he said.
"If Dubai wanted to buy Wal-Mart, I might think about it," Tancredo joked.
–CNN Assignment Editor Katy Byron