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. Brian NY

    hey Jon in Sacramento, you couldnt vote more than once, this was mentioned last night.

    September 7, 2007 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  2. hawnstyle

    I'm tired of all you Ron Paul cry babies whining about the way he is treated. He has no chance no matter how many times his supporters vote for him. I like the man, but he cannot win... Although, contrary to what the so called expert analysts said, Ron Paul spanked Gov. Huckabee in the butt. GO ROMNEY!!!

    September 7, 2007 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  3. atomicjo

    This article is a shammmmmmmm! Report what actually happened. Not what you wish happened.

    I DEMAND that you, – CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney, print Ron Paul's reply. "You don't continue making the same mistake just to save face."

    You call yourself a CNN Producer. Did you go to journalism school? Crackerjack box? This is the type of reporting that gives journalism a black eye. Be a professional and do it right. Attach a correction.

    September 7, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  4. Mike, Orlando, FL

    Bradley from Ogden, UT. You are an idiot. Can you show me proof that there will be more violence if we leave. Have you learned nothing from Vietnam? How on Earth have you become so ignorant to not understand the facts that Ron Paul speaks about? I served in the Military from 2000-2004 and was deployed in 2003 , and your comment is irritating and offensive to me.

    September 7, 2007 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  5. James, Atlanta, GA

    Jon from Sacramento, people could only vote one time for the text message poll. Stop being ignorant.

    September 7, 2007 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  6. Morgan, Norfolk VA

    That's the entire POINT of elections, is that "we" ARE divided, and the MINORITY is telling the rest of "US" "bankruptcy before defeat" when "WE" have to pay the bill!

    The division is rich chickenhawks vs. tax-paying americans! There's no "we" between you and me Huckabee! I'll put it in writing the day I get my ballot!

    There's no honor in sending other people's children to die for your screw ups!

    You want honor? Go throw yourself before the mercy of the Iraqi people.
    ^Fall on your sword on the retreat in apology for failing your country.

    There's no greater dishonor than sending other's to pay for your mistakes.

    September 7, 2007 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  7. Patrick, Buffalo, New York.

    "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.



    Are you saying that there aren't other candidates supporters out there texting their candidates in 20-30 times each?

    Or are you saying Ron Paul supporters are the only ones who know how to use texting?

    Or are you saying Ron Paul's supporters are the only one fanatical enough to text in his name over and over? If that IS the case, why do you think that is? Maybe other candidates aren't worthy of that type of support? Maybe what the other candidate's messages don't galvanize and electrify their following like Ron Paul?

    Your observation is invalid. Next!

    Go Ron Paul!

    September 7, 2007 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  8. Bill Thompson, Redmond Washington

    So, just because the United States wantonly invaded a country and destroyed a society, it should have some responsibility to rebuild that country and society? I guess some people actually take the ridiculous view that Iraqi lives are as valuable as the lives of members of the Amerikan master race.

    September 7, 2007 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  9. Patrick, Buffalo, New York.

    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.


    Found it on Fox News:,2933,295969,00.html

    Yes. You are correct. Ron Paul with 33%.

    Look at the the Hannity/Colmes exchange. Here is a snapshot:

    SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: All right, it is time now for the final results from our text messaging poll.

    And in first tonight, Ron Paul. He is having all those 3 percent of people call in, I'm sure. (That's right, Dr. Paul got all those folks to text in...Don't other candidates supporters know how to text in and text in often?) He got 33...

    ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Maybe he just did very well. (Ya think?)

    HANNITY: He got 33 percent. Well, it happens.


    Wow. Bet you if it was Guliani, or even Thompson supporters, Hannity wouldn't make those comments.

    Now as long as we can ensure that paper ballots are being used instead of election machines being rigged (this has happened and it is FACT), Ron Paul just might win.

    September 7, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  10. Kimberly Grand Rapids, Michigan

    What honor is there in continuing to be an occupying force in a country we needlessly invaded and destroyed? The honorable thing to do is send Mr. Bush before an Iraqi court to be charged with Crimes against humanity, offer humanitarian and reconstruction assistance and decrease our military presense so Iraq can rebuild as sees fit.

    September 7, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  11. Ken S., Charlotte, NC

    Mike Honorbee. Now that is an epithet earned. It was the false notion of honor that gets thousands of soldiers unnecessarily killed in nearly every war throughout history. Honor doesn't patch maiming wounds or restore limbs lost or restore damaged brains. My God, we need someone who does understand wars and history. This person is not Mike Honorbee. Under this illusion, we would still be in Vietnam fighting for someone's (government officials) sense of honor. The only honor that counts is someone's personal sense of honor. Ron Paul's is intact.

    September 7, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Bradley, Ogden, UT

    To Mike from Orlando: no Offense was intended. I greatly support the military, and thank you for the service to our country. I just have to wonder how can you say that there will be no violence if we do leave? Iraq is not Vietnam, it's iraq. I think that we should leave Iraq when the generals think it is safe to do so. I think Ron Paul's foreign policy would create problems for our country. However, I respect your right to your opinion, and once again, no offense was intended on my part.

    September 7, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Bob, Dallas, TX

    shame on CNN for biaised reporting

    shame on foxnews for trying to make Ron Paul look bad

    congratulation to Ron Paul for squishing the opposition

    (oh, and no, i'm not part of his campaing, nobody told me to write this, I didn't participate in polls, I'm just another adult person able to think by myself, and I'm sick and disgusted at what this country is becoming)

    September 7, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Wes, South Bend, IN

    If anybody can actually explain Huckabee's position I've got a couple of wooden nickels for them. When Ron Paul pointed out that the neoconservatives have hijacked our foreign policy, Huckabee responds with, "We have to be one nation under God"?!? Mindless or spineless, either way it makes no sense. Should we have been "One nation under Nixon", too?

    Ron Paul won that exchange hands down. (No matter how much the writer for this story wanted to have it seem otherwise.)

    September 8, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. dlkfjsadklfjdsklajfklsd

    What is "deemed appropriate for posting"?

    September 8, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. dawn marie clark maine

    Anyone with a brain could see plainly that dr. paul spoke more wisdom and common sense – as usual!
    Huckabee is a neo-con- pure and simple – his arugment about honor was ludicrous and most of the world knows it.
    dr. paul is a statesman of the finest caliber and the only candidate – of both parties – fit for the oval office.
    the rumor is he is broke and whining for a cfr position.
    i personally pity him!
    he's been bought!

    September 8, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Barry Harvey, Kentville, Nova Scotia

    Ron Paul will never be president of the US. He's right about Iraq, so that's why he will never be president. Huckabee wants the honor of America to be protected, so he will live in a bankrupt but honorable country. Mikey is fighting for a not so distant future, a time when America will speak, but no one will care enough to listen. Something worth fighting for?

    September 9, 2007 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  18. john k. riggs Eagle Pass Texas

    The globalist media goons mocking and snickering at Mr. Paul just shows how desperate they are to discredit him.The fascist globalists are shaking in their jack-boots at the thought of an honest president. If the elections are not stolen again by diebold republican trickery we may finally have a real president and not another globalist puppet.Sean Hannity get used to the phrase "President Paul".

    September 9, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. Robert, Dallas, TX

    "CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion"

    (yes, but they will delete your comment if you criticize CNN's biaised coverage)

    September 9, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. jumpy, hollywood, california

    3 million Iraqi refugees.

    Less than 300 allowed into the U.S.

    Where is the honor in that Huckabee?

    September 11, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. Ryan, Jonesboro, AR

    Huckabee clearly won the debate.

    And I'm sure Ron Paul is a good guy, but what kind of person really cares about the soldiers then debates with the line "We are losing elections, and we are going down next year if we don't change it" ? He sound more like a politician than John Kerry.

    October 11, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Matt Prater, Saltville, VA

    This is honest debate. Both men made solid arguments, and genuinely disagreed. They were passionately riled up, but for once it was over real issues. This article makes it seem like Huckabee won, and he does make a valid point about our responsibilities. However, this isn't an issue that can be decided over reading a thirty second snippet. I'll have to read more about Huckabee. However, I do know some things about Paul. He is ultra-conservative, but I believe that he is a genuine patriot, and although I doubt he has a chance to win, I believe I'll vote for him both in the Virginia Republican Primaries, and the Presidential Election-as a write-in ballot if I have too. I love his stance on the Constitution, and even if he doesn't win, he says things the entire country needs to consider. He's a great man, and I do hope he gets a fair shake at winning this thing.

    October 15, 2007 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  23. Nicole, San Antonio Texas

    For those of you siding with Mr Huckabee, I suggest you get educated on the root of the problem, instead of believing every word out of a news reporter or politicians mouth. WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE THERE! WHO ARE WE TO IMPOSE OUR WAY OF LIFE ON ANYONE? We have plenty enough problems of our own at home to continue this "crusade." I'm sure those of you that support staying in Iraq forever do not have a family member in the service...all I want is my daughter to know her father, and if this war continues she wont.

    October 20, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. Brady


    It's obvious that Mike Huckabee is pandering. Ron Paul is the ONLY REPUBLICAN THAT MAKES ANY SENSE! The war is over. Bring our troops home. We don't need our men and women dieing for honor any more. This is a war we've won and it's time to stop nation building.

    Congrats to Ron Paul, from the responce on CNN, he's already won!

    October 24, 2007 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  25. Matt Baker, Chanute Ks

    Greeting one and all, FINALLY two CANDIDATES debating on what we the AMERICAN PUBLIC need to hear. ITS GOOD TO SEE! While the MAINSTREAM MEDIA still tries to dictate what we think and how we react, its nice to see most of you on here read the article and MAKE UP YOUR MIND YOURSELF on what the TITLE of it should be! THE TITLE IN ITSELF shows the GREAT PUPPET MASTER ( mainstream media ) at work! IT SHOWS exactly what I KNEW IT WOULD, a SENSE OF URGENCY, a SENSE OF NEED to DOWNGRADE the RON PAUL MOVEMENT, HOW BETTER TO DO THAT than to THROW another LOWER TIER CANDIDATE under the BUS! ITS PRETTY PITTIFULL NOWADAYS, and no matter what, WE ALL NEED CHANGE! Just make sure that the PERSON YOU VOTE FOR, is one of MORAL CHARACTER, TRUTHFULL, and has a GOLDEN BACKBONE OF INTEGRITY! CHECK OUT YA CANDIDATE, READ ABOUT THEM, THEN DECIDE! AS FOR MYSELF~ IM RONALD PAUL ALL THE WAY~ it is a REVOLUTION and NO OTHER CANDIDATE has a SERVICE RECORD like RON PAUL! A UNIQUE MAN for a UNIQUE TIME!


    November 12, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
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