TRANSCRIPT: The Republican Debate

George, I think you're seeing clearly from the discussion here and this week that words of a president matter. When Ronald Reagan says, "Mr. Gorbachev, bring down this wall," that mattered. When he called the Soviet Union an evil empire, that mattered.

Words of our leader matter, and you have to matter within the context of where we are.

We are in a generational conflict with militant Islamists. That's where we are. We are at war. We're a nation at war.

I think we have to be very realistic about this war. We have a number of allies in the Islamic world. We have a number of allies around the world. It is something important what we say and the direction we go.

I think we push democracy, but I think we have to be realistic in the places that we push and at the time we push it. You push democracy in Pakistan or Egypt right now, you're going to get a radicalized government in Pakistan, a radicalized government in Egypt and you're going to have a nuclear-weaponed, radical government in Pakistan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, that wraps up discussion.

BROWNBACK: That's why we have to be realistic...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you very much, but I do want to move on to another issue that was in...

(APPLAUSE)

... that was in the news this week. Of course, the collapse of that bridge up in Minneapolis on 35 West, brought a lot of attention to our nation's infrastructure. And with that, let me turn back to David Yepsen.

YEPSEN: Governor Huckabee, is it time we raise the federal gas tax to start fixing up our nation's bridges and roads?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think the obvious answer is, it's not necessarily that we raise a tax to fix what we ought to fix of this country. We're spending billions of dollars all over our country and around the world, but it may be time that we start spending some of those billions of dollars to deal with our own infrastructure.

And the bridge isn't the only problem. Anybody who's flown lately -- as I do pretty regularly in the commercial system -- know that we have a complete gridlock.

HUCKABEE: And part of that problem is we've got a system of air traffic control that was designed in 1950, five years before I was born. We've got better navigation systems in our rental cars than we have running the airline industry today.

And so, yes, we need to address it. It's not being talked about. And it's our bridges, our interstates, our sewer and water treatment systems. They're crumbling. They're old. We saw an 85-year-old steam pipe explode in the middle of Manhattan recently. And we have to start addressing building this country, not everybody else's.

(APPLAUSE)

YEPSEN: Mayor Giuliani, how do you answer -- in Minnesota, Governor Pawlenty, who vetoed an increase in his state gas tax said now he may consider one. Is this Republican dogma against taxes now precluding the ability of you and your party to come up with the revenues that the country needs to fix its bridges?

GIULIANI: David, there's an assumption in your question that is not necessarily correct, sort of the Democratic, liberal assumption: "I need money; I raise taxes."

YEPSEN: Then what are you going to cut, sir?

GIULIANI: But wait, wait, wait. Let me explain it.

YEPSEN: What do you cut?

GIULIANI: The way to do it sometimes is to reduce taxes and raise more money. For example...

(APPLAUSE)

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