TRANSCRIPT: The Republican Debate

I think when there's a country like Lebanon, for instance, that becomes a democracy, that instead of standing by and seeing how they do, we should have been working with the government there to assure that they have the rule of law, that they have agricultural and economic policies that work for them, that they have schools that are not Wahhabi schools, that we try and make sure they have good health care. We bring together not just America, but all the nations of the civilized world. We help draw these folks toward modernity, as opposed to having them turn toward the violence and the extreme, which Hezbollah and Hamas brought forward.

And that kind of a campaign of values, combined with our strong arms, speaking softly but carrying a strong stick, as Teddy Roosevelt said, that will help move the world to a safer place.

ROMNEY: We'd love it if we could all just come home and not worry about the rest of the world, as Ron Paul says. But the problem is, they attacked us on 9/11. We were here; they attacked us.

We want to help move the world of Islam toward modernity so they can reject the extreme...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Tancredo, your answer on this this week was...

(APPLAUSE)

You said that, in order to deter an attack by Islamic terrorists using nuclear weapons, you would threaten to bomb Mecca and Medina.

The State Department called that "reprehensible" and "absolutely crazy."

TANCREDO: Yes, the State Department -- boy, when they start complaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things I say, I'll tell you right now.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

My task as president of the United States is primarily to do one thing -- by the way, not to make sure everybody has health care or everybody's child is educated -- my task is to do one thing: to protect and defend this country.

And that means to deter -- and I want to underline "deter" -- any kind of aggression, especially the type we are threatened with by Al Qaida, which is nuclear attack.

I read the national intelligence estimate. I see what they are planning. And I'm telling you right now that anybody that would suggest that we should take anything like this off the table in order to deter that kind of event in the United States isn't fit to be president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Thompson, you get the last word on this round.

PAUL (?): No, I need -- I haven't spoken on...

THOMPSON: I would like to...

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL (?): ... to speak on this.

THOMPSON: Thank you very much, George.

I sincerely believe that bombing religious artifacts and religious holy sites would do nothing but unify 1 billion Muslims against us. It makes no sense.

(APPLAUSE)

TANCREDO (?): After we take a hit?

THOMPSON: I would like to say you have to strengthen your military.

What we (inaudible) as Americans, we have to be so politically correct in this country. When we have democracies in South America that are supporting us, we sort of ignore them, until somebody elects a guy like Chavez who hates us. Then we wake up and say something about it.

THOMPSON: I think we've got to strengthen our military and we've got to recognize in this world right now we are fighting a holy war. It's a jihad. And until we recognize that and stand up to be Americans and for America, we're going to continue to lose...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brownback, then we're out of this.

(APPLAUSE)

BROWNBACK: Thank you.

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