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. james s, claremont, ca

    Ron Paul served as a surgeon in the Air Force during Vietnam. I think he knows the horrors of war and that having Americans continuing home in body bags to continue some sort of honor is disgusting

    September 6, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  2. Mary, TX

    The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
    H. L. Mencken, 'Prejudices: Fourth Series,' 1924
    US editor (1880 – 1956)

    September 6, 2007 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  3. Vickie Allison, Mesa, Arizona

    They BROKE the Republican Party and the County, too. The Elephant is Dead. The only thing left to represent the Republican Party now is the big, fat pig of GREED!

    September 6, 2007 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  4. Shawn Miller, Austin

    Ron Paul is a psycho who wants America to surrender after the war is won. The only people crazier than him are his supporters (i.e. conspiracy theorists). Good for Huckabee to tell him off for it.

    September 6, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  5. jonahtrainer, Jacksonville, FL

    A person gets honor by fulfilling their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

    Huckabee used the term 'honor' to describe a person who disregards their oath and tramples the Constitution to be 'divided.' Iraq is an undeclared and UnConstitutional War. Thus, Huckabee is promoting illegal and UnConstitutional action. Therefore, Huckabee has NO HONOR! Well, I don't want to be united with such a dishonorable lying person.

    I will stand united with other good, honorable Americans who uphold and defend the Constitution. If I stand alone, like Ron Paul has all these years, then so be it!

    September 6, 2007 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  6. Mat J,Garden City,NY

    This is an answer to the post below by one Rick."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!

    Posted By Rick, Chicago Illinois : September 5, 2007 10:43 pm

    Rick Chic, Aha, Now it has become the IRAQIS problem!! We went to a place which was being managed by some one in his own way! We broke up the place, killed thousands of them and us,made almost everyone a beggar, generated a ton of terrorists,and now people like YOU telling IRAQIS to attain bench marks! What are you smoking? Any clue as to what is happening in Afganistan afetr we left it to Team Karzai ? Well the TALIBAN has become a lot smarter and now they are screwing what is left of Afganistan and is a safe haven for terror, again!

    September 6, 2007 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  7. John - Vonore, TN

    Ron Paul was the only true Republican in the debate.

    September 6, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  8. Captain America, Warren, MI

    Ron Paul for President! Of course, Mike Huckabee will stay safely at home. Paul is 100-percent correct. "WE" did not buy this war, the neocons did because they have profited financially from it. People like Huckabee are no better than Hitler. They use words like "honor" to justify insanity and murder. War is a euphamism for justified mass murder. There is no reason to have gone there and no reason to be there. Bush, Cheney and the entire administration should be dragged from the White House and strung up by their ankles in public for their traitorous murderous actions.

    September 6, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Huckabee will propagate the Bush/Cheney neocon agenda ! Ron Paul will get us out of Iraq , he is the only republican willing to take a stand on this issue.

    September 6, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |

    As a disabled police officer injured in the line of duty, what will become of our non-taxable pensions when you plan to install the "fair tax"?

    We will pay more in our purchasing power than you would or could obtain from illegals.

    From my personal and public experience will illegals, they take their pay check and send most home. The remainder allows them "beverage", fast foods, and tioletries

    So I predict that this tax program proposed by politicians is only to punish the fixed income and disabled tax exempt legal population: ESPECIALLY THOSE FROM MILITARY, POLICE, AND FIRE EMPLOYEES INJURED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.

    September 6, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  11. Lorenz, Queens, New York

    Ron Paul Clearly won the debate. Once "Honor" is mentioned or "God" – Liberty is being attacked. WE SHOULD NOT LISTEN TO THESE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR THE WAR. Ron Paul has my vote, he understands that all nations have different cultures, and the best thing to do is being in talks with them. It's disgusting that most americans don't understand the middle east conflict, Ron Paul is exposing the truth, and Liberty will prevail.

    September 6, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  12. Timothy west warwick ri

    Ron Paul was the only man up there with any common sense and the applause that huckabees comment got was short sighted. huckabee played the tune of bush and if your not with me your against me, well Mr. (fundamental)huckabee short term you won with your ignorance but when people wake up in the morning it will be a short lived victory. I am not a republican but Ron paul is probably going to get my vote.

    September 6, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. Curt Hart, Memphis, TN

    Ron Paul needs to get his head out of the sand and think as a "team member" of this nation. Are we certain he's Republican?

    September 6, 2007 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  14. Rocky, New York, NY

    Mr. Huckabee,
    Please go to Iraq or send your children to fight for your 'Honor'. It seems American people and army is paying a high price for mistakes of this administration and it seems you will continue to make us pay for your 'honor'. No thanks!!

    September 6, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  15. Adam, SF CA

    Honor over sanity, is more like it. I actually believe we do have a duty to Iraq, but I'm not willing to march lockstep with those who got us to where we are just because... we have the same passport?

    Hitler made that argument to great effect as he rallied his people from his bunker. Hirohito, too. He had women sharpening bamboo sticks to fight the US Marines. I guess you could call that honor. I call it pretty stupid.

    September 6, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  16. roger,michigan

    they were both basically right,we cant stay for ever,but we also cant just pack up and leave..thanx goerge

    September 6, 2007 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  17. Connie, Greenbrier, AR

    Of all the gall!! As the mother of a young person serving in Iraq I find it sickening how someone like Mike Huckabee can say,"We broke it, we bought it," meaning we have to stay. Not one of his sons or his daughter are in harms way so those are easy words to slide out of his mouth. If you got the guts to run for President you need to have a son or daughter of military age serving in the armed forces who will go into the thick of it. Lead by example or stay at home. You want to start a war, send your child first. If idiot George and crazy Dick had the guts to send one of their daughters over there this war would be over or never have occurred. As far as I know Joe Biden is the only one with a child who has been in Iraq. I salute him.

    September 6, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  18. Taylor, Corpus Christi, TX

    Hey CNN blogger, you left out the last comment from Ron Paul during this exchange.

    September 6, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  19. Adam Weinberg, Winston-Salem, NC

    The Fox News Crowd may fall for the rhetoric, but the American people know Ron Paul is right that our foreign policy must change.

    This is merely a repeat of the Ron Paul vs. Rudy Giuliani encounter of the last FNC debate...and thank goodness for that! Consistently, Congressman Paul has courageously spoken the truth in the face of the collective arrogance and ignornace of the Republican field.

    The truth wins in the end.

    September 6, 2007 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  20. Kyle Stamper, Charlottesville, Virginia

    Huckabee's argument that we are "one nation, we can't be divided" is ludicrous. Is the United States a democracy? In Huckabee's world, it's a dictatorship, apparently, and dissent simply has no place.

    September 6, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  21. Brandon, Bluffton, Indiana

    "We should not lose our honor." – Huckabee

    Exactly as Ron Paul said – we are in this war to save face. Huckabee didn't realize it, but he completely gave Ron Paul that little game of chess. He checkmated himself.

    September 6, 2007 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  22. Ray Alexander, Holts Summit, MO

    Alexander Mooney, you have no journalism integrity. Why do you not finish off the article by quoting Ron Paul's rebuttal comments to this Huckabee reply?

    Quote: "How long — what do we have to pay to save face? That's all we're doing, is saving face. It's time we came home," Paul said.

    September 6, 2007 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  23. Mike, Corpus Christi TX

    It seems as though the audience had it all backwards. They should have been roaring for Ron Paul instead of Huckabee! But as usual the majority of the people don't like sobering assessments of reality. They just can't handle the truth that Iraq, like Vietnam, is nothing more than a quagmire! The Iraqi's could care less whether we are there or not. It's Bush's war, not the war of the American people!!!! It is a War of Choice! Daddy Bush got a Sadamm death threat, and the Son said let's bring it on! Let the son swim in the mess he made, not the brave young troops who are ordered to go over there and become cannon fodder for a failed policy! It's more than Pathetic!

    September 6, 2007 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  24. Scott W., Austin, TX

    So Huckabee thinks that it's the government's job to have us all fall on the sword as a united country rather than acknowlege that we made a mistake by going into Iraq and re-evaluating our position. Our objectives were achieved when Saddam died. WE WON! Now bring the troops home. Stop the Dying. Stop the Spending. Restore the Republic! RON PAUL!

    September 6, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  25. Jack E. Jett

    How freaking dare this Hukkahillbilly says that we are all to blame. Many of us were yelling and screaming no, but the press called us extremist.

    He should take responsibility that then move on.

    I wouldn't vote for anyone that had anything to do with this war.
    They should all be fired.

    jack jett

    September 6, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
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