TRANSCRIPT: The Republican Debate

You know, if you're living -- I learned this in New York City when I became the mayor. Of course the situation was nowhere near as serious, but people were afraid to go out at night because crime was so rampant. I mean, we had all kinds of civil rights, but nobody could exercise them, because they were too darn afraid to go out, too darn afraid to go to the movies or go buy groceries at the grocery store.

First, you have to have a certain quality of life that allows you to be comfortable (inaudible) going to exist, your children are going to go to school, you're going to be able to have a job, and your rights are going to be respected.

Then elections start to mean something in the full picture of what a democracy is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator McCain, would you follow what Mayor Giuliani is saying -- maybe go a little bit slower on elections, not put the spread of elections quite at the core of your foreign policy?

MCCAIN: We fail to appreciate that elections do not mean democracy, that it is rule of law.

And rule of law, by the way, is beginning to take hold in Iraq, just as peaceful and more secure -- more secure, not totally secure -- neighborhoods in Baghdad and in Anbar and in other parts, in the Kurdish areas, is beginning to take place, which will then allow true democracy to take place.

It's naive to say that we will never use nuclear weapons. It's naive to say we're going to attack Pakistan without thinking it through. What if Musharraf were removed from power? What if a radical Islamic government were to take place because we triggered it with an attack?

But the fundamental -- by the way, you quoted President Bush. President Kennedy also said at his inauguration that would go anywhere and bear any burden. I believe the reason why we won the Cold War and the reason why we are still a shining city on a hill is because of our advocacy and our dedication to the principles that all of us are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.

MCCAIN: That's all of us, no matter where we live in the world, no matter what our faith or our beliefs are.

And I will continue to advocate for freedom and democracy and rights for all human beings.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, will the Bush policy be your policy?

ROMNEY: Just as these other two gentlemen have said, democracy is not defined by a vote. There have to be the underpinnings of democracy: education, health care, people recognizing they live in a place that has the rule of law.

And that's why our effort to spread democracy should continue, not to just spread votes, but instead to encourage other people in the world to have the benefits that we enjoy and to welcome democracy.

As Tony Blair said, ours should be a campaign of values, encouraging other nations to see what we have and want those things for themselves.

And there's no question in this country, we need to reach out, not just with our military might -- although that we have, and should keep it strong -- but also reach out with our other great capabilities.

There...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But did President Bush fail to appreciate the nuance you're talking about now? That's what I'm asking.

ROMNEY: I don't know what President -- all the things President Bush has done, but I can tell you, I'm not a carbon copy of President Bush. And there are things I would do that would be done differently.

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