June 5th, 2007
10:55 PM ET
11 years ago

Most powerful moment of the debate

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The most powerful moment of the Tuesday's presidential debate, according to CNN's Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, was Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, responding to a question by a New Hampshire audience member named Erin, whose brother died in Iraq. The question focused on how the candidates would bring the conflict in the Middle East to a point where U.S. troops can safely return home.

Hunter thanked the audience member for her brother's service and spoke about his own son's service. "My son, Duncan, the day after 9/11, joined the Marine Corps, quit his job and did two tours in Iraq. He's in Afghanistan right now. First of all, I want you to know it's worth it. What he did was worth it," Hunter said.

The audience member's brother, First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Clearly, was killed in Iraq eight days before he was to return home in December, 2005.

Sen. John McCain also thanked the audience member for her brother's service and spoke to her directly about the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. "I'm going to give you a little straight talk. This war was very badly mismanaged for a long time. And Americans have made great sacrifices. Some of which were unnecessary because of this mismanagement."

McCain also said he believes the U.S. has a strategy for Iraq will succeed so that "the sacrifice of your brother would not be in vain."

Fmr. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the third candidate of the night to thank the audience member for her brother's service and said that her brother's sacrifice is "is one of the reasons we're safe now in the United States."

–CNN Associate Producer Natalie Apsell

Filed under: Duncan Hunter • Iraq • John McCain • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. bret, atl, ga

    absurd drivel! it's hilarious how these guys claim that the answer to a monumentally bad move is, well, we should have made the monumentally bad move BETTER! Uh, what? How do politicians get so divorced from reality? If real people screw up, we pay the price. And we also pay the price for their screwups. cf NATIONAL DEBT, WAR CASUALITIES, TERRORISM, RISING PRICES.

    June 5, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. Matt, Chicago IL

    Who won the debate? All the Republicans won; since even the weakest Republican was better than any of the Democrats.

    June 5, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  3. Michael, Chicago, Illinois

    Giuliani needs to shut his mouth. His continued focus on fear politics is not only annoying, it does a great disservice to the troops in the field. The woman's brother died in a country which – at the time – posed no threat outside of its own borders. He died in a place where Americans are not safe. He died because we are led by people who prefer slogans to progress.

    I served. Most of the people who will rail against this article did not and would not. Armchair warriors full of false bravado who should be ashamed of themselves. Giuliani is one of those people. I grant he was a better face of leadership on 9/11 than President Bush, because he was calm, cool and collected. But he wasn't any smarter. Get off the offense/defense speech, get an international education, and stop soiling the memories of our valiant troops.

    June 5, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  4. Cheryl Milton, Florida

    The most powerful moment of the debate was anything that Ron Paul had to say. He spoke what MOST Americans feel.

    June 5, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  5. Kimberly, Raleigh, NC

    One of the comments people pounced on Clinton about in Sunday's debates was the one where she stated that 'we're safer now, but we're not safe enough.' Guiliani made the same exact mistake – we're NOT safe in the US right now – hence the incredible interest on both sides of the political fence about Iraq and about the immigration bill and related issues.

    June 5, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  6. Diana, New Brunswick, NJ


    CNN...just because I mentioned Ron Paul you removed my comment and you took down the page that had people commenting on who they thought won the debate.

    June 5, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  7. Tex, Atlanta GA

    The most powerful moment is when Ron Paul actually used the word "Constitution" in one of his responses. Good to know at least one person still cares about it.

    June 6, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  8. B. Chen Monrovia, CA

    The most powerful moment was when Ron Paul lambast Preemptive War posturing.

    June 6, 2007 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  9. Texas

    I think cnn has a filter that removes any comment that mentions Ron Paul. Of course, they leave enough up so it looks like some people actually commented despite the fact nobody watches their left biased coverage.

    June 6, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. Annette, Tillatoba, MS

    Duncan came home, though. The other guy didn't. I guess he can say it was "worth it".

    June 6, 2007 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  11. Jason, Cocoa Beach, Fla

    After suffering through this debate, it is now clear to me why Newt and the Law and Order dude need to run. What a bunch of losers.

    June 6, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Jerel Poor, St Louis Missouri

    The Elite doesn't want Ron Paul to become president because he'd actually help Middle America... The "Big 3" had no big moments, they just parroted Bush's failed plans. We need someone who will change things, the "Big 3" on both sides only offer more of the same.

    June 6, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Garrett Indianapolis, IN

    Gosh, I got shivers up and down my spine when Ron Paul addressed the lack of moral highground in pre-emptive strikes. It was the most emotional, honest comment all night and... we ignore it?!? I saw how everyone afterwards couldn't even mention his name, and how he was polite enough to stop speaking when Wolf had to practically wrestle Mitt and John to the ground to get them to shut up. You people have to see that there is a deliberate attempt to silence Ron Paul. But why? Because he is for the little guy, the everyman, and that scares the hell out of the media. Make your own decisions but don't call yourself an American if you refuse to see the shining light that is Ron Paul.

    June 6, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. Russ Hackensack NJ

    "Most powerful moment of the night"
    The American people realized that Ron Paul was ignored most of the night.
    "Most powerful moment of the night"
    "IM Congressman Ron Paul Champion Of The Constitution"

    June 6, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  15. Mary F. Columbus, Ohio

    The most powerful moment of the debate came when lightning buzzed Giuliani's microphone during his answer on abortion. After that, Ron Paul's taking the others to class on the moral issue and bringing back the Christian idea of a just and unjust war. Ron Paul is the one who has consistently shined in these debates.

    June 7, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  16. Cheryl, Milton, FL

    The most powerful point of the night was when Ron Paul talked about pre-emptive strikes, and to stop policing the world and the constitution. The most disgraceful acts of the night was when the media ignored him and tried to shove their three favorites down our "stupid" throats. So blatant and bias. Until this last debate I had never heard of Ron Paul but as soon as I heard him speak, I knew I had to know more about him. I have been searching everything I can for the last two days. He has my vote.

    June 7, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. KG, Erie PA

    So News-maker Candy Crowley has decreed the "most powerful moment" was Hunters use of his son's military service to pander. Wrong. It was Ron Paul's pointing out the biggest moral crisis facing us: the recent acceptance of the policy of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against countries that have done nothing to the US and are not a threat.Hey Candy, try REPORTING the news, not framing it.

    June 8, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |