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. Bradley, Ogden, UT

    Huckabee says it best. "Honor is more important than the Republican Party." If only all republicans (I am one, by the way) would think that way.

    September 6, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Douglas, Columbus OH

    What I detect here is that Ron Paul has a healthy number of cyber fans ready to respond in concert to overwhelm any challenge to Rep. Paul and his opinion. Outside of the Oprah/Obama ticker item, no other recent ticker snipet has as many comments as this one (with the majority favoring Paul). This happened when CNN had an informal poll on who won the Iowa debate, with the Paul supporters voting him into second place. Unfortunately he didn't do as well in the REAL straw poll vote and he won't beat Huckabee in New Hampshire either. But hey this comment is near the 300th, so Paul supporters have done there duty and no one will read it anyway. Truth is Rep. Paul supporters are closet Democrats and will likely vote for Hillary.

    September 6, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. Alex, Chicago IL

    CNN – what a hack job!
    But even without Ron Paul's final response it is clear he won the exchange.
    Slogans like "we are united", and "we broke it – we buy it" are all dandy while our kids are dying in the sands of Messopotamia so that neocons can delay the inevitable.

    Ron Paul should be commended for his record, his honesty, and his bravery.

    September 6, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Joon Choi, Eatontown NJ

    I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of Huckabee’s mouth. We broke it so we buy it? Since when did an entire country full of people become a piece of property? What if they DON’T want us to “buy” them?

    To me a better analogy would go like this:

    I think you’re about to hurt me so I attack you and now in serious medical trouble.

    I feel bad so I try to get you better. After years of trying to “fix” you, you’re not getting any better – actually it’s possible the treatment I’m giving you is making you worse.

    You get tired of me trying to help while making things worse, and say: JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!

    No, I won’t leave you alone, I’ll keep “fixing” you to save my “honor.” I’m so honorable that I’m going to ignore your pleas, ignore the fact that my “fixing” is making things worse, and continue dictating your life.

    Some honor.

    September 6, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Bhayl, Houston, Texas

    We have already lost our 'honor' by engaging in an undeclared, unConstitutional war.

    If the prognosis is wrong, you change the treatment – you don't 'stay the course' out of stubbornnes at the expense of the patient.

    Further, if you want one country, indivisible, and 70% of our country believes we should LEAVE Iraq why are you arguing against them?

    There's a good reason campaign donations for Ron Paul from active military personnel total more than all other candidates combined – our own military agrees with his message.

    Ron Paul won that exchange, and the text message after-debate poll proves it.

    September 6, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Tom Wojciaczyk, Sachse, TX

    I ask each of you who feel we should be there longer, to "make it right", would you cut a personal check to fund this effort?

    It's easy when it it's hidden as national debt, which our most dangerous foe, China, purchases to gain a stronghold on our economy...
    but if you had to make the effort to cut a check and pay for this war, would you?

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that understands that the government needs to follow its own laws such as the Constitution before it goes looking for others' shortcomings.

    September 6, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. A Citizen without a vote. Washington, DC

    Why is everyone here calling Ron Paul a Republican, are you all that desperate for some good news? He himself doesn't consider himself to be a Republican! Look it up. He's Libertarian.

    I do appreciate his candor, but we must ask ourselves, if he were to be elected and won, would he maintain that truth and integrity, or would the trappings of power and the office swallow him whole?

    September 6, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Robert, KC, KS

    Not admitting we can't win is more important then the election. I got the message, Huck!

    September 6, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. John - Tulsa, OK

    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.

    It seems that most of the issues for which Ron Paul gets mocked are ones in which he is misinterpreted. Once you know the facts – and it seems like Ron Paul ALWAYS knows the facts – most of what he says makes perfect sense.

    As an example, he has never advocated having airplane passengers packing guns. What he suggests is letting the airlines make their own decisions about how they can best protect their passengers. That would almost certainly mean that pilots would have guns, but it's laughable to think that they would allow passengers on their planes with guns.

    We don't have to look to far for supporting evidence. What was one of the very first things the government did after 9/11? They reinstituted the air marshall program, and it was almost unanimously approved by the public. I personally feel safer knowing that there might be an armed undercover law enforcement officer on my flight, and I'm quite sure the hijackers would have reconsidered if armed pilots and air marshalls were the norm.

    I would encourage everyone who thinks this 20 year veteran of Congress is crazy to research his positions on the web, understand why he feels the way he does, and why his message resonates with the American public. Then make an informed decision, whether or not it is to support the Paul campaign.

    September 6, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Mark N. Coventry, RI

    God Bless liberty, God Bless life, God Bless the pursuit of happiness...God Bless Ron Paul!!!! God bless the USA!!!!

    September 6, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Paul Tempe, AZ

    CNN didn't include Ron Paul's last statement that shut Huckabee down. Huckabee sucked up and went at it, but lost in the end. I'll give him credit for jumping in the water, but no one, not even the good Minister, can win against the Doctor's common sense. Ron Paul owned Huckabee, the other war mongers, and the FOX goons.

    September 6, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. David Houston , Texas

    Funny how the mainstream Republicans can get away with saying absolutely nothing. Ron Paul is a man of honor and the pretector of the US Constitution. How can any of these men take the oath to pretect the constitution and support the Patriot Act?

    September 6, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. RM, Austin, TX

    For anybody who missed it, here are the results of the Fox News poll (via text messaging) for the winner of the debate on September 5:
    Paul 33%
    Huckabee 18%
    Giuliani 15%
    McCain 14%
    Romney 12%
    Hunter 2%
    Tancredo 2%
    Brownback 1%

    I find it interesting that Fox News briefly flashed the results on the TV screen, but I don't see any mention of this on their website. I don't think the people at Fox are happy about the poll results, especially Sean Hannity.

    Congratulations Ron Paul on another great performance! Those other 7 (now 8) Republican candidates can't match Ron Paul's wisdom and honesty.

    September 6, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    "For anybody who missed it, here are the results of the Fox News poll (via text messaging) for the winner of the debate on September 5"

    – – – – – – –

    Yep – shows you what 1,000 Ron Paul supporters could do by repeatedly texting in his name 20-30 times each.

    Ron Paul has as much chance of winning the Republican nomination as does Bill Clinton.

    September 6, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. Van Ny, Ny

    Ron Paul – the psycho candidate that wants to make America safer by shutting down FBI and CIA!!

    September 6, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. Tom, Alma Georgia

    Huckelberry is not a bad guy-just very much behind Ron Paul in understanding the U.S. Constitution. All those other clowns on stage are light-years behind Ron Paul in understanding the fundamental law of the land: the Constitution.


    September 6, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. Marc, Kettleman City, CA

    Jon from Sacramento: You would be considered a genius except if you had actually tried voting last night you would have realized that fox news is smarter than you and only allowed one vote per person. Not 2 not 1000, but ONE.

    September 6, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. Darryl Calima, Las Vegas NV

    More spin by the Main Stream Media to cut down Ron Paul. For those of you who watched the entire debate, we all know that the exchange did not end on Huckabee's one liner. This article is skewed to make it seem like Huckabee won the exchange.

    If you are going to write an article, please do not leave out the parts that don't fit your spin on the story. It shows a lack of integrity on the part of journalists that many people in our nation are starting to despise.

    September 6, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Mark, Rio de Janeiro

    So we invade Iraq, thousands of innocents die, billions of dollars are wasted, most of the world turns against us, and Hucklebee compares this to a kid breaking a toy in a toy shop? What an IDIOT!

    September 6, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. Mike, NY

    To clarify a few things:

    Paul does not advocate passengers carrying guns on planes. He wants airlines to decide their own policies. So if an airline wants passengers to carry weapons, that's the airline's choice (and your choice to fly or not to fly with them). However, his point about preventing 9/11 is that, ideally, the airline staff would be armed to defend themselves, which would keep al Qaida from even thinking they could get away with taking over the planes.

    Also, let's remember that our federal government has gathered intelligence and sent out spies long before the CIA was created. The State Department can continue intelligence investigations without the CIA. So don't think dismanteling the CIA means we'll suddenly be blind and dumb.

    September 6, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Mike, NY

    And Jon from Sacremento: You cannot vote twice in that poll. Trust me, some people have tried just to test FOX's claims that people were spamming the poll. If you send a vote from the same phone, you get a message saying your vote was rejected.

    I can understand disagreeing with Paul's arguments, but why are people so afraid to admit that he actually has a lot of (grassroots) support? He also does not have much in the way of staff; when Paul supporters write on message boards or vote in online polls, you can be pretty confident that they are not associated with the campaign. Those signs you see on the freeway, for instance, were not placed there by the campaign, but by this guy named Bob working out of his garage who really believes in Paul.

    September 6, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  22. Paul San Antonio, Tx

    A very interesting exchange between two Republican contenders. I'm shocked at the level of quick thinking redress which has been woefully lacking in the prior Republican debates. There might be hope for the party just yet.

    September 6, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. Bradley, Ogden, UT

    I hope all you Ron Paul supporters realize that you are damaging his campaign by being so stupid. Oh yeah, let's leave Iraq and the rest of the region and have world war three! That's what would happen with ron paul as pres.

    September 6, 2007 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. Ryan, Seattle, WA

    Ron Paul is the only candidate who speaks the truth. He is an honest man, and this shows with every word he speaks. He has my vote.

    September 6, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
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