January 5th, 2008
10:02 PM ET
6 years ago

White House hopefuls face off in the aftermath of Iowa

Sen. John McCain, left, and Fred Thompson, center, shake hands with debate moderator Charles Giblson.

Sen. John McCain, left, and Fred Thompson, center, shake hands with debate moderator Charles Giblson

(CNN) – A narrowed field of White House hopefuls sparred about nuclear terrorism, immigration and one another as they faced off in a double-feature debate in New Hampshire on Saturday, just three days before the state holds the first-in-the-nation primaries.

The six Republicans and four Democrats mingled briefly on stage at Saint Anselm College in Manchester - some shaking hands, others hugging and chatting - in between their respective debates as the audience applauded.

Republicans went first in the invitation-only event, with world affairs dominating the first portion of the debate.

Mike Huckabee, fresh from his big win in the Iowa caucuses, defended his statements criticizing President Bush's foreign policy for reflecting an "arrogant bunker mentality."

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soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Garrett, Provo, UT

    John McCain may be a war hero, but he is a jerk and a hypocrite. First, he gets on Romney for airing ads that contrast their positions. Isn't that what a primary is about; contrasting the positions between candidates to see what the voters want? Then he runs his own attack ads, but instead of criticizing Romney's record and contrasting it with his own, which would be fine, he attacks Romney personally. Talk about a hypocrite. And just because McCain is a war hero doesn't mean that he is ethical, honest, or smart. What McCain has demonstrated is that he is a hypocritical jerk. I hope that the good people of New Hampshire see through John McCain and vote for Rudy, Mitt, Fred or even Paul. Anyone but McCain and HuckaBigot.

    January 5, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. Richard, Ewing NJ

    For all Romney supporters,

    Your candidate has take on multiple stances on everything and launched negative ads over and over. Today, the debate shows the truth. No one has respect for Romney. Guiliani, McCain, Huckabee and Thompson all got snipes at him? Why? Because of his character, rather lack of it.

    January 5, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  3. winwin1234

    I have been watching the ABC NH debate, Charlie Gibson the moderator. "Hillary Clinton just had a Howard Dean moment in the debate", she got to the point where she almost started screaming, on a question of healthcare, where she claims she was the reason for creating the childrens health insurance program (CHIP), read the following excerpt from Dick Morris, President Bill Clintons political advisor, " Bill says: "Hillary didn't succeed at getting health care for all Americans in 1994 but she kept working at it and helped to
    create the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides five million children with health insurance."

    The facts are: Hillary had nothing to do with creating CHIP. It
    was included in the budget deal between Clinton and Republican Majority Leader Senator Trent Lott. I know; I helped to negotiate the deal. The money came half from the budget deal and half from the Attorney Generals' tobacco settlement. Hillary had nothing to do with either source of funds. " by Dick Morris.... A bynote Hillary said in the debate "they"
    shot a couple of missiles to try and get Osama bin Laden, Why didnt anybody call her on the news report of when Sudans' government offered them" the Bill Clinton and Hillarys administration" Osama bin Laden when the Sudanese government had him in custody back in 1997 and they didnot take Sudan up on there offer? Amazing, WOW the 2 faces of hillary. Do we really want her as President? P.S.- Barack Hussein Obama, John Mccain and John Edwards kicked a_s in there debates.

    January 5, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. EntertainMeDontBoreMe

    Romney says Bush has kept us safe! Well – never mind. But, for now, let's just have a show of hands: How many readers would like to entrust their safety to a man who can't figure out whether waterboarding is torture?

    January 5, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. Leo

    I wasn't sure who I'd vote for in the Rep primaries until tonight, but now I've made up my mind. Romney was the most presidential candidate on the stage.

    I was considering Huckabee until he and McCain began the personal barbs aimed at Romney. I guess they figured that landing "zingers" is more important to Americans than substantive debate (which may be true, based on the polls). The hypocrite Huckster said just this week that his campaign would stay positive and not delve into personal attacks. (BTW, Huck...Romney's TV ads in Iowa included no personal attacks, just contrasts between your political records.) I lost all respect for Mike after tonight's showing.

    Well, I guess since our party put in a Southern candidate who's low on substance and had little understanding of foreign policy 8 years ago, they'll probably do it again by chosing Huck this year. If Kerry gets the nomination for the Dems, I'll switch over and vote for him.

    January 5, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. Leo

    Correction to my last entry, if EDWARDS gets the Dem nomination...

    January 5, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  7. Benita

    Kucinich would be a bit surprised to see himself characterized as a "Republican hopeful."

    January 5, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. Mrjimbo

    Wow,
    The Huckabee/McCain Trash talk sure came out tonight! Attack Ads? Geez, I thought they were pretty Factual Ads.....
    They sure are jealous of all the money Mitt has raised......
    They do the attacking, and the ignorant listener believes them.......
    and the "FlipFlop" accusations against Romney by his own Party, WOW....I may turn in my GOP Card after this election.
    Romney IS the Man that we need to Lead our Country out of the fiscal mess it is in, set our economy and trade back in line, and get our Legislative Branches working together again......
    Nothing of the McCain of late is Conservative....Why the vote for him?
    Nothing of Rev. Huckabee, ESPECIALLY his DISPLAYED HYPOCRACY is worth a vote for him...........I feel for our country when this election is over............

    January 5, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  9. mike

    Look, O'bama and Edwards clearly embraced the change idea and Clinton tried but still sounded like she was struggling and angry. Nobody made any mistakes, and that was key because Clinton came after O'bama on the onset and she did not lay a glove on him, or Edwards for that matter. Funny, although they were all tired, they were all on there game. Republicans looked like a bunch of old men wanting to impose our will and military mite overseas for what ever purpose...

    January 5, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  10. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Republicans focus consistently on foreign policy because their domestic policy is completely unacceptable to most Americans. A bigger dose of globalism, more immigration to provide cheap labor and lower wages, crappier jobs with fewer benefits, and a bankrupt federal government that is so far in debt that federal taxes will mostly be used to service the enormous national debt, not to solve national problems.

    To keep all of us from thinking about this, the Republicans are waving the flag and talking about the global war on terrorism. I am concerned about terrorism and the damage that Islamic theocracies can do too. After all, they did kill 3500 or so Americans on 9-11and we've lost another 3500 or so in Iraq, but 40,000 Americans die every year from aspirin overdose and 450,000 a year die from tobacco addiction. The plain facts are that tobacco company executives kill many times more Americans every year than terrorists have killed in this century. We have bigger problems to solve and much bigger fish to fry than Islamic terrorism. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted by this wheezy old act. We have fallen for it too many times, and what do we have to show for it? Nada.

    January 5, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  11. Gane

    I am Canadian who passionately watches your politics. You are our Big brother.
    Wake up Americans!!!
    Why don't you choose your president based on substance and proven abilities, not based on "likability" for example.
    Are you planning to marry Mrs.Clinton, or you want an iron lady to fix the big domestic and international bubo that the "likable " guy has done. (By the way chosen by you)
    Did you really forget what was America during Clintons? 5 trillions surplus??!!
    Everybody works, international respect...Everybody was envying you.
    As an Canadian I was trying very hard to get a green cart those days.
    Please do not be silly, give you country and yourself a brake. At list 4 years, then B. Hussein Obama is still here. Do not experiment again, because the suite talkers cost you ... how many billion up to know??...5-6..

    The next President can not afford to have even a "Haney Day"!

    January 6, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  12. Marti San Diego, CA

    What a bunch of childish remarks!!! Goodness sakes! McCain and Huckabee, who have no record they're proud to talk about, were left to take immature personal swipes at Romney.

    Honestly, I am completely baffled that anyone can watch that debate tonight and not be (1) disgusted by the childish behavior of McCain and Huck (2) impressed by the composure of Romney under personal assault all night and (3) highly impressed by the clear, comprehensive, understandable, practical responses that Romney articulated on issue after issue.

    Can it be any clearer on health care? As Romney said, everyone else can talk and speculate about this plan or that plan, BUT HE HAS ALREADY DONE IT. He's *already* proven that he has the practical experience and the leadership ability to tackle and solve a large and complex problem.

    Just as he did with health care, he applied the same cadre of business experience and leadership ability to close the budget deficit in MA without raising taxes (something Huck wouldn't even dream of). He applied the same experience and leadership to turn around the financially distressed SLC Olympics.

    Wake up people! Please, please be honest with yourself and get past this issue of his religion. Get past these false charges of flip-flopping. Get past these false charges of his "attack ads". Contrast pieces are not attacks. If anything, they're free advertising for the other candidate if that person is proud of their record. Get past all that junk and recognize the incredible talent that Mitt will bring to Washington.

    VOTE ROMNEY – A *PROVEN* LEADER

    January 6, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  13. Marti San Diego, CA

    That was the silliest, fakest thing I have seen in a long time. Just after every Republican had finished bagging on Obama, they all turn around and hug the guy. After Giuliani spends half his campaign bagging on Clinton, there he is practically kissing the woman.

    Excuse me while I vomit.

    January 6, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  14. Joe

    It was actually nice to see the candidates speak with each other tonight. It really showed that although we may disagree on many issues, we are all Americans andin the end. It was nice to see.

    January 6, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  15. Chris

    Interesting observations from the New Hampshire debates. Republicans-their seems to be only to viable candidates for the Republican Party. Gov. Romney and Mayor Guiliani. Why let me explain: After caucuses, their seems to be a full out attack by Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee towards Romney. What I saw this evening was deplorable and he with stood the attacks very well. Signals that the frontrunner is Gov. Romney no matter what anyone says. If he wins New Hampshire, Gov. Huckabee campaign will be over. McCain's will be over on Feb 5.
    Mayor Guiliani, is probably the smartest by allowing all the mudslinging to go on and not really be involved. Thus, by default putting him as one of the two finalist for the nomination.

    Newsweek.com(Jan. 3rd) Huckabee runs attack ads after telling press he pulled it from the air. It was aired the night before by 4 TV stations.(Check it out)

    That information tells me that Gov. Huckabee can't be trusted. Sen. McCain he is to liberal on the issues especially immigration, and amnesty, and health care.

    This party is on the downward trend to a collapse, the American people want change not the same old Washington politics.

    Chris
    Michigan

    Moderate Republican 12yr Army Veteran

    January 6, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  16. JW

    From the obvious double and triple teaming of Romney by Huckabee, McCain and Guliani tonight it was obvious who the real frontrunner in the election is here. Those three lost my respect big time with thier irrelevant personal comments. Gov. Romney was much more professional than anyone else on that debate tonight and the only one who (on several occasions) at least made attempts to build common Republican ground.

    January 6, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  17. kerry petzoldt

    In regards to HILARY CLINTON!! She showed how she would STAND UP TO A SITUATION OF IMPORTANCE!! With ADVERCE OPPOSITION!! SHE GOT PISSED OFF AND WENT ON A TEAR ON OBAMA & EDWARDS, BECAUCE THEY CALLED HER OUT ON HER RECORD THAT IS SHORT!! AS WELL AS, SHE VOTED FOR THE VERY SAME WAR THAT, MY SON IN THE ARMY IS FIGHTING FOR IN THAT GOD FORSAKING COUNTRY!! THAT CANNOT STAND FOR THEMSELFS!. SHE TOOK THE STAND OF HER HUSBANDS TERM IN OFFICE, BUTT, LOOKS THE OTHER WAY ON THE OTHER DISCRETIONS OF HIS PRESIDENTS TERM!!!.
    IS SHE TAKING THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HIS TERM IN OFFICE?? SHE WAS, AFTER ALL SAYING THAT HE BALANCED THE BUDGED?? THAT WOULD BE ABOUT THE ONLY THING THE DRAFT DODGER DID,WHILE HE SERVED IN THE OFFICE!!!
    MY TWO GRANDFATHERS, TWO UNCLES AND TWO COUSINS, TWO NEPHEWS, & MY ONLY SON!!!!!!! HAVE SERVED & DEFENDED THIS VERY COUNTRY,THEONE THAT IS BEING CONSUMED BY ILLEAGEL AILIENS, FROM MEXICO!! THAT ARE SUCKING OUR STATE BUDGETS DRY!! AS WELL AS OUR SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM FOR THEIR BABIE'S THAT ARE BORN IN THIS COUNTRY AS LEGAL CITIZENS?? & WHO CAME UP WITH THAT GREAT LAW? WITH THIS INFESTATION!! OF MEXICANS TO THE UNITED STATES, IN THE MAGNITUDE THAT HAS GROWN BEYOND BELIEF!! HOW IS IT WE CONTINUE AS AMERICANS??? MAYBE HILARY COULD ANSWER THAT QUESTION, WITHOUT GOING TO HER HUSBANDS RECORDS!!
    I AM TRUELY CONCERNED FOR OUR GREAT COUNTRY OF THE HOME OF THE BRAVE! NOT ILLEGALS!!!!!!!!!

    January 6, 2008 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  18. Harold Bishop, NH

    Please excuse me while I vomit.

    January 6, 2008 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  19. Lillian

    The Media Really sucks, They fail to mention Duncan Hunter , or Fred Thompson hardly at all , But they are always trying to shove Hillary and Obamason down our throats , They hardly ever mention Ron Paul as well. and they never Reported on Joe Biden, or Dodd, Why is that,? Seems to me the Press is trying to push the races in the direction they want, Even Fox news has become very Bias on there reporting. Really ticks me off.

    January 6, 2008 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  20. mark wilkes barre pa

    Look at that picture ,,, the bubble caption should read,, " Rudy you know if you run as my Vice we can go all the way,,, would that be nice ? "

    January 6, 2008 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  21. mark wilkes barre pa

    oops wrong picture sorry folks LMAO

    January 6, 2008 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  22. Kevin Topeka, KS

    I admit, I am not an Obama supporter. However, has anyone else ever noticed how uncomfortable Obama is on the debate stage? He seems to sturter and stammer a lot and never really answers charges directed at him. During this last debate, Hillary made a comment about Obama having a lobbyist acting as his campaign chairman. Barack shook his head and made a note. I, for one was hoping that note was reminding himself to answer the charge, but not a word about it. The man is an excellent speech maker, or rather deliverer, as I'm sure his speeches are written for him, as all politician's speeches are. But, on a one to one, in his face conversation, he seems completely uninspiring. Is it just me that sees him this way?

    January 6, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. JohnT

    ABC came up with a brilliant format for these debates. Unfortunately, it only pointed out that, taken away from their handlers and canned position speeches, none of these candidates shows very well. Giuliani and Clinton exhibited poise at times, and Edwards had his trial lawyer talents on full display, but where was any indication of real leadership? I didn't see it. I was left thinking, isn't there someone else willing to go after this most important job?

    January 6, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. Dan, Saint Louis, MO

    Wow. McCain came across as a petty, tempermental old man and Huckabee showed his true colors as a dimb-witted hypocrite. Romney really cleaned house in the debate. He stood head-and-shoulders above his rivals as the candidate who can articulate a strong vision about the issues facing America. His rivals' attacks on him looked pathetic, in my opinion.

    Thompson had a good night too, but it's too little too late for him.

    January 6, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    What do the many broadband telecasting new agencies get from sponsoring the party system; the promise of a few interviews?

    A definitive word exists for this party method: hegemony.

    I would like to hear an independent voice argue with those of the parties in a broadcasted debate as to the merits and legality of the party system.

    January 6, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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