September 6th, 2007
09:19 AM ET
10 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. Trent Hill, Denham Springs, Louisiana

    Yea. Honor is 100x more important than Human Life in Iraq.

    I will be sure to alert Huckabee's pro-life followers that he thinks Honor is more important than life.

    September 5, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  2. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    Of course he is right and we certainly "bought it" for a generation (or more) to come because we really broke it in the worst way imaginable.
    However do we let those that broke it, the evangelical right-wingers, "fix" it any more?

    September 5, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  3. Ryan A., Gardner, Massachusetts

    Ron Paul is the man! Finally Fox is giving him some air time and some freedom to have some back and forth.

    America needs to take a step back and analyze its Foreign policy. It is out of control and is making more people hate us then anything else.

    Ron Paul is the best choice to reverse course and sounds very clear and intelligent tonight.

    September 5, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  4. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    Good for you, Governor Huckabee! Paul may be a rambling, confused man, but it was still a big victory for you to stand up for what is right.

    September 5, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  5. Cary - Lowell, IN

    Ron Paul is kind of psycho – I love it!

    September 5, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  6. Ben, PHX,AZ

    As a country do we go over the cliff since we can't be divided.

    Huckabee is a lemming. Paul makes some sobering statements. I think our soldiers lives are worth more than our honor. Their honor is without question and how many of them have to die before this party understands that our soldiers are dying for nothing.

    September 5, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  7. MikeknaJ, Orange County, CA

    Huckabee's honor-over-party closing comment won the moment and, it being off-the-cuff, showed the kind of integrity that he has.

    September 5, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  8. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Mr. Huckbee,

    It's the IRAQIS that have a responsibility to: put aside their tribal mentality, start fighting and dying for their OWN country, reach benchmarks, and pressure their govt to achieve a political solution rather than contemplate vacations cuz it's "too hot".

    We've done enough – their incredibly long grace period is OVER!

    September 5, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Ron Paul clearly won that exchange. The 9/11 comission report backs up his position...common sense.

    September 5, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  10. Phil, Minneapolis, MN

    The bias of this post is disturbing. You didn't even include Ron Paul's last line in the exchange.

    September 5, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  11. Garrett Babb, Indianapolis, IN

    Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are great people. Ron Paul would be a great president. We all need to make our vote count and vote Ron Paul. He's right, and even the top brass in the military says we can't win. Let's support the troops and bring em home. Only Ron Paul will bow to the American people.

    September 5, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. Allen Sircy, Nashville TN

    Ron Paul is right. Huckabee was looking for an opportunity to get his name in the paper. He was successful but was made to look stupid by the Congressman from Texas.

    September 5, 2007 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. Mark G, boothbay ME

    So saving face is more important than american lives for an illegal war, one which wa gone into under false pretense, now it is against radical Islam, what power do they have?

    How do you fight an enemy with no powerbase, spec ops does it. Dr. Ron Paul is the only one on stage speaking truth, and it is self evident.

    September 5, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  14. Christian, Tampa FL

    I was infuriated to hear Huckabee dare to say "we are one nation." If any of the Republicans besides Paul realized that we are a nation that is tired of the Iraq war, with upwards of 70% of the people against it, perhaps they'd be inclined to listen to us! The audacity, in a completely negative sense, of that statement was completely offensive.

    The American people have bought the Iraq War, Mr. Huckabee, and we did so against our will. We have bought it with $600 billion of hard-earned money, and with the blood of 3,700 of the truly best people this country has to offer. I for one am tired of "buying it" and I fear for the classmates and people I know who are entering military service.

    Yes, Mr. Huckabee, we have been forced to buy it, and are still paying for it, and will pay in blood and money for a long time to come.

    God bless Ron Paul for standing with the American people.

    September 5, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  15. Mike, NY

    Of course, my Internet feed of the debate crapped out right before this exchange. Come on youtube!

    I don't understand anything that Huckabee said. We need to honor those who have died... we honor them by letting more Americans die? At the end of the day, we're going to have a boat load of honor.

    Personally, I think lives, of both Americans and Iraqis, are more important than our 'honor.'

    September 5, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  16. Frustrated American in Austin TX

    Huckabee replied loudly, "Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor."

    You can't be serious!? Huckabee would rather have our troops die and go to needless and unconstitutional wars so that we won't lose our honor? You've got to be kidding me!

    September 5, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. Doug, Acworth, GA

    Quite a biased assessment. If the crowd "roared" for anyone, Paul got the best of it.

    September 5, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  18. Smith

    Rudy Giuliani is a rude idiot. He laughed at Ron Paul, every time Paul had a question. We want a president like Adolph Giuliani, or do we want a president who respects others?

    September 5, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  19. Aaron, Mesa, AZ

    Ron Paul's exchange in this debate should go down in American History as memorable. How history portrays it is yet to be seen. It is refreshing to see a politician for president who is so close to achieving the office speak the God honest truth.

    September 5, 2007 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  20. Troy, Seattle WA

    The difference between Huckabee and Paul is that Paul actually knows what he's talking about. Huckabee just wants to continue what Bush started, and never end it. We CAN NOT WIN in Iraq, the best way to keep our nation secure and to save more American lives is to just get out.

    September 5, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  21. Damon Tucson, AZ

    Why did the reporter paraphrase Huckabee's full response? In response to Paul's comment that Iraq is causing the GOP to lose elections, Huckabee's initial response was that this was more important than the Republican party. I won't vote for Huckabee but I found it refreshing for a Presidential candidate to come out in a debate and say that an issue was more important than the party itself. That is how it should be but too many politicians put their party over the greater good.

    September 5, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. Fred, Sioux City IA

    Both made some good points. I'm personally against the war so I like what Ron Paul had to say. Paul has often said that a true patriot is one who disents when they see bad policy continuing to happen. Huckabee seemed passionate and while I'd like to see Ron Paul win, I'd rather see Huckabee representing the Republicans than Giuliani, Romney, or McCain.

    September 5, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  23. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    Ron Paul destroyed everyone in that debate–with logic and facts!

    Don't forget to vote for Ron in the poll! Text R6 to 36288 !!!

    September 5, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  24. Jim, Honolulu, Hawaii

    This refers to Colin Powell's Pottery Barn rule, "If you break it, you own it."

    September 5, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  25. David, Toronto, Canada

    What an exchange. Ron Paul was the only honest person on the stage, as is usual at these debates, which are just political theatre.

    Why doesn't Ron Paul get more respect? Hopefully he will after the next Quarter campaign finance numbers come out. But I won't hold my breath.

    September 5, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
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