August 5th, 2007
10:47 AM ET
16 years ago

GOP candidates say they're no Bush clone

(CNN) – Several Republican presidential candidates distanced themselves from President Bush’s foreign policy doctrine, and questioned the role of Vice President Cheney, during Sunday morning’s nationally-televised debate.

The foreign policy comments came in response to a question during on President Bush’s second term goal of spreading democracy and ending tyranny, during the debate from Des Moines, Iowa, broadcast on ABC’s “This Week.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said. “I’m not a carbon copy of President Bush. And there are things I would do that would be done differently.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said he would not follow the policy, saying “sometimes when you get what you want, you don’t get want what you get.” He said, “this is a great case of that happening. I don’t think it’s the job of the United States to export our form of government…I don’t think we can force people to accept our way of life, our way of government.”

Texas Congressman Ron Paul told the audience, “There’s nothing wrong with spreading our values around the world, but it is wrong to spread him by force.”

Moderator George Stephanopoulos noted in the question the victory of Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and President Ahmadinejad in Iran during free elections. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, “in some cases, maybe going to elections so quickly is a mistake. Maybe the thing to do is to first make sure that you’ve developed the bedrock for democracy.”

On the role of the Vice President, Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, said “Dick Cheney came in with a lot of experience, He came in with a lot of experience on defense, foreign policy issues, And I think the president over-relied on that. I think Dick Cheney has done an admirable job. I think the president’s over-relied on that.”

Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, said “I would be very careful that everybody understood that there’s only one president.”

But there were defenders of President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s role. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said, “I believe that Vice President Cheney is criticized for a lot of things he doesn’t do.”

And Romney added, “it’s been very popular lately for people to be critical of the president and vice president. And I know they make mistakes. But they have kept us safe these last six years. Let’s not forget that.”

–CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Duncan Hunter • Iowa • John McCain • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Race to '08 • Ron Paul • Rudy Giuliani • Sam Brownback • Tom Tancredo
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Will, Atlanta GA

    You have a typo in Ron Paul's quote: 'spread him by force' should be 'spread them by force'

    August 5, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    I'm sorry, but you are Republicans. As such, I cannot support you until you totally reject the Christian fanatics that have taken control of the party. I used to vote Republican, but when those people took over, well, lets put it this way, history shows us again and again what happens when religion gets involved with the state.

    Defend someone's right to choose their religion and follow its precepts?


    Force a state religion down the people's throat?


    That is not what this country is about.

    Reject the religous fanatics, and this Republican will return to the fold.

    August 5, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    All of the Republican Candidates are Bush clones...everybody can see that as fact.

    August 5, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  4. Mike, HI

    "Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul"? I wonder how someone could be authoring legislation and speaking on the House floor if they're a "former Congressman."

    What the hell, CNN.

    August 6, 2007 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  5. Loma Linda, Ca.

    Well said Mr. Paul! As a Staunch Conservative Christian Republican, you are the only truly American, because, you speak like ever American should as spoken so long ago: "It should be the highest ambition of every American to extent his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himelf, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp happiness or misery on agess yet unborn". By George Washington. He also said this: "Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty". George W., stop your stupidity, your guns will only continue to douse the world with gasoline as it were. If ever more inhumane guns had solved truly anything, why is planet earth ever more in turmoil especially now created by America, contrary to the hopes and dreams of the Founding Fathers.

    August 6, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. RightyTighty

    Republicans don't want state sponsored religion! That's absurd. We're the ones that keep telling saying that the government can't do anything right and it wastes 1 out of every 3 dollars we give it. Just look at today's public education system. Its a complete failure!! No, I don't want the government teaching my kids about God. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't accept dumb downed confessions...

    August 6, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Flip Floppin' Romney strikes again!

    August 6, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Jim, Woodstock, IL

    "Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul"? When did he lose his seat? Last I checked he was still employed by his constituents. Maybe it's just wishful thinking of the part of the neo-cons that hijacked the party.

    August 6, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. John Thomas, Edina, MN


    It's sad to see that you focus on the parties rather than the individuals. Yes, most of the current Republican candidates ARE another Bush. There is an exception, however, and that is Ron Paul. You don't want religion forced down your throat? Ron Paul is your man. And, he won't stop there, he will get government completely out of your throat.

    August 6, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. MCD, San Francisco, CA

    I won't respect any candidate as long as they continue to say we went to Iraq for "values" or "democracy". It was for the oil! Somebody needs to come right out and say it!

    Also, as to keeping the US safe - the Clinton admin handed the Bush admin a report titled "Bin Laden determined to strike within the U.S. using planes" seven months before 9/11. My God! It was all in the title – they didn't even have to read the report!!

    August 7, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  11. Colonel Gene McVay, Fort Smith, AR

    When it comes to spending, Huckabee is a Bush clone. I ran against Mike Huckabee for governor of Arkansas in 1998. He spent over a million dollars to defeat me in the Republican primary where fewer than 60,000 votes were cast. As governor he increased state spending by over 65% and campaigned to raise taxes. He granted clemency 669 times which is more than the 507 clemencies given by the three previous governors combined. Many of the clemencies were granted to convicted murderers. The CATO Institute gave him an "F" grade for spending and tax policy in 2006, and an overall grade of "D" for his governorship.
    In 2002 he narrowly defeated State Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher, garnering 53% of the vote to her 47%. He was lucky that a more formidable candidate did not emerge in that election.
    What does a former governor do with that kind of record? Why, run for president of The United States, that's what.

    August 8, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Ron Paul is not a libertarian regarding religion. In his 2003 writings in "War on Religion", he writes, The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers."

    Read his "War on Religion" here.

    Thomas Jefferson as president in 1802 wrote, ".......BUILDING A WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE." in his letter to the Danbury Baptists regarding the 1st amendment.

    Ron Paul advocates public means for supporting some version of Christianity.

    December 15, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |