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. Rachel, texas

    huckkabee didn't say that last quote but said that honor is more important than the republican party. big difference..

    September 6, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. "K" Motor City

    What honor do we have other that to the oil wells that brought us there in the first place war on terror, came after the fact because now we have invited them into Iraq, so I ask Mr. Huckabee this war is not about a symbolic honor statement. The only honor I can think of is taking care of the young lives destroyed by a huge mistake this goverment has purposely made in under estimating the factions in Iraq. In reviewing the start of the war and aircraft carrier statement made by Bush how easy it was to enter Iraq these groups had a plan let the US troop enter the country so we can have target practice. Wake up Mr. Huckabee their was no honor in entering Iraq and none in leaving. How much longer should we be in this pandora's box.

    September 6, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Andy, Pearland, TX

    There was an equal or more amount of applause for Ron Paul.

    Guilani's laughing is yet another example of his elitist attitude.

    Rudy's been married three times. Ron Paul's been married once for 50 years.

    Ron Pauls serviced in the military, where was Rudy?

    Ron Paul is man of principle, no one can argue that. If you don't like his positions that's one thing. But to call him names like crazy, idiot or whatever just shows how little some people know.

    You will not find a member of Congress who can truthfully say they do not respect or admire him.

    Which man carries more honor? Rudy or Ron?

    September 6, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Lyons Steve

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

    If Huckabee believed in honor over party, he wouldn't be defending the Worst President Ever.

    This is today's Republican party for you: the ONLY candidate, Paul, that speaks soberly and honestly about Iraq, is far behind vacillating idiots like Guiliani.

    Huckabee, with his brainless "one nation under God" crap, is a jingoistic embarrassment, and is EXACTLY what this country doesn't need: a religiously-deluded nutcase that thinks we're "honoring" American soldiers by staying in an illegal, immoral war that's killing them by the thousands.

    Tell me, Huckabee, how many of YOUR relatives are over in Iraq?


    September 6, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Adolph

    Ron Paul speaks the truth. I mean, saying we should stay because of "honor", where is the honor in occupying a country? Where is the honor in killing innocent men and women? where is the honor in have Dick Cheney and the Bush Family and their friends make billions on the blood of American Soliders.

    September 6, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. ReadBtwthlins

    Now this is a presidential debate between qualified candidates. Very much unlike the media circus put on by the otherside..

    September 6, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. roger, conway, sc

    Way to go Paul if you are not careful you will be thrown out of the GOP for not speaking their message...keep in mind you belong to a party that ALLOWS you to only speak what you are told to speak or you are unamerican...I have to hand it to you I think it is great that you have the courage to speak your mind aginst the neo-conservatives..

    September 6, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Korie, PA

    Well, well. Surprise, surprise, the 100 people in the US supporting Ron Paul have shown up to comment. I find it hilarious that this guy can't get much more than 1% support, but when it comes to the internet or text message voting, all of a sudden he is the greatest. I do have to congratulate the man on having dedicated staffers, but the truth is Ron Paul is not the answer for this country (not that I think Huckabee is either!).

    September 6, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. BCNU purple state, usa

    Cable King wrote:

    Ron Paul [...] That still doesn't mean that he doesn't have his "psycho" moments – like when he wants to allow airline passengers to be pack'in loaded weapons.

    I actually agree with him and think this would be a good idea. Face it, if a terrorist or someone intent on doing harm makes it aboard the aircraft with a weapon, he can rest assured he;s the only guy packin' heat. If he has to look around and decide which of the other passengers may or may not be packin' his task becomes far more difficult.

    The argument that a stray bullet may hurt an innocent bystander loses traction, lose one or two, or lose the whole plane plus whatever it is flown into. Had passengers been armed during 9/11, there's a good chance we wouldn't be at war now or even having this discussion.

    Instead, we have to strip before getting on an airplane and can't even take our toothpaste with us (unless it's in a Ziploc bag, what's the point there?). Of course, guns wouldn't have helped the Lockerbie incident, but it wouldn't have hurt either.

    Think about it for a while.

    September 6, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    Mike Huckabee is the continuance of ignorance in this country. Yes, we must "stand as one". But remember, we did not want this war "as one". Republicans have lost their minds!! It's as though they are saying the same thing over and over again in order to brainwash the general public. Didn't they realize it didn't work in Vietnam?

    September 6, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Tom, Tucson AZ

    Huckabee was great as usual. He is only one that I trust.

    September 6, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. ben huntsville, mo.

    hey where is the rest of the play by play i remember Paul having the last words not Mike Hucubee. i suggest people watch the debate again and see what Paul said @ the end of this heated discussion between the 2 GOP hopefuls-

    September 6, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. EEKman

    Yea I think it would be more appropriate to show a picture of Paul, not Huckabee. Call the article "Paul and Huckabee tussle on Iraq. Paul wins post debate text poll by a landslide."

    September 6, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Tom Joshua Tree, CA.

    Ron Paul. the only honest candidate! 2/3 rds of the people in this country want us out of the middle east and all the other candidates wnat to stay and keep our honer, How many body bags need to be filled to do this! Everything I hear is the SOS I heard in the 60's They died than for nothing and they are dying now for nothing. I have a suggestion for the new memorial for the ones killed there. shape it in a oil barrel, and place there names on it. It can be sized according to how many more will die to keep out Honor. Ron Paul the only one that makes since, and doesn't read from a prepared speach written by speach writers.

    September 6, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. Llepard


    Yeah sure, his honor.

    Our blood and treasure.

    September 6, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Zane Merva, Hillsborough, NH

    Ron Paul is the only candidate to speak the truth. Why sacrifice our fathers, friends, cousins, brothers, and neighbors lives because we're too proud to admit our government made a mistake? I can't let my family and friend's lives hang over my conscious using the absurd logic that Huckabee tried to spin. The people did not go to war- the government did.

    Huckabee wants the people to support a government that refuses to support the people. It's a two way street and only Ron Paul understands this.

    September 6, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Dave, Littleton

    Seems convenient to say in the article that the only applause was for Huckabee. Paul also received loud applauses for his responses.

    September 6, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. tom Baltimore Maryland

    Ron Paul wants to legalize the U.S. Constitution.

    September 6, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. tanya

    The following statement by Huckabee "Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor" is terribly misguided. We have already lost our honor and the respect of the international community by invading Iraq under false pretenses. It's really about salvaging an almost unsalvagable war, and hoping in the many years to come, to regain respect of the world community.

    September 6, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Charles, Houston Texas

    If Huckabee stopped worshipping how honorable he thinks he is maybe he would could get some wisdom in his mind as see lives are just being wasted and Muslim fanatics are just multiplying daily by our presence in Awreck. As a life long conservative I'll give the Republicans no more of my votes unless this Ron Paul is nominated!

    September 6, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Dennis, Norman oklahoma

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that makes any sense at this point.
    They tried to make him look silly, but judging by the sound audience, the people are on his side.
    Go Ron!

    September 6, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Joe- Cleveland, Ohio

    Say what you will about who was right and who 'destroyed' who, but this was the first genuine, worthwhile moment I have seen in any debate so far, and it it was probably the most compelling thing to come out of this entire political season.

    September 6, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. Andrew Merriweather

    It is truly sad that kind of "patriotic" rhetoric Huckabee is using to avoid having to explain the truth is provoking cheers from the audience. This article is just another small hit-piece against Ron Paul. Unlike Huckabee and other talking heads, Ron Paul actually backs up everything he says with facts. He has a consistent voting record and is an honorable man. Taking him out of context like this and making him appear like some radical or defeatist is just more propaganda to avoid the truth that Ron Paul is the only person who can truly drag America out of this deep, dark hole. The saddest thing is that he might not be because the mainstream media wont acknowledge him because his hands aren't in their pockets.

    September 6, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Brett Ypsilanti, MI

    Ron Paul- The only candidate that is concerned with preserving America's sovereignty, restoring our greatness, and protecting our homeland. The others have bought into a globalist agenda and have sold out to line their own pockets. Vote Paul 2008!!!

    September 6, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Rachel, Westville, IN

    Does anyone think gas prices are out of control now? It will only get worse if we pull out of Iraq now. Wake up people! In this story alone we have elected officials admitting that they do not listen to their constituants (those who voted them into office)at all. Our political system is so fouled by greed over the all mighty dollar that it reeks to the heavens! This country needs to tend to it's own problems (i.e. illegal immigration; govt. spending; cleaner, cheaper energy, poverty, etc.).

    Bottom line – Iraq is not the be-all-end-all topic that the Amercian Voter is concerned about. I mean why not grill them over allowing Mexican trucking companies on to our highways after that bill was defeated in the Senate? Why was the only coverage on this issue limited to (as far as I saw) a one time ticker on the bottom of the screen? Why aren't more people asking about that?

    Pull the blinders off your eyes people!

    September 6, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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