TRANSCRIPT: The Republican Debate

... I ran the city -- I ran a city with 759 bridges; probably the most used bridges in the nation, some of the most used in the world. I was able to acquire more money to fund capital programs. I reduced the number of poor bridges from 5 percent to 1.7 percent.

I was able to raise more money to fix those bridges by lowering taxes. I lowered income taxes by 25 percent. I was collecting 40 percent more from the lower income tax than from the higher income tax.

Or, I'll give you another example. Senator Edwards last week recommended increasing the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 28 percent because he wants more money.

GIULIANI: Now, Senator Edwards hasn't had much executive experience because the reality is the last time -- the last time we raised the capital gains tax, and you can go back and check it, from 20 to 28 percent, we lost $45 billion.

There is a liberal Democratic assumption that if you raise taxes, you raise money.

We should put more money into infrastructure. We should have a good program for doing it. But the kneejerk liberal Democratic reaction -- raise taxes to get money -- very often is a very big mistake.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, do you want to cut taxes to fix more bridges?

ROMNEY: There's no question but that the biggest source of revenue for this country -- if you really want to make some money in this country, really get some money so we can repair our infrastructure and build for the future, the biggest source of that is a growing American economy.

If the economy is growing slowly, when tax revenues hardly move at all, and, boy, you better raise taxes to get more money for all the things you want to do. But if the economy is growing quickly, then we generate all sorts of new revenue.

And the best way to keep the economy rolling is to keep our taxes down. That is why I proposed that middle-income Americans ought to pay no taxes on their savings. Invest in the future of the economy. Growth helps us provide the revenue that we need.

Our bridges -- let me tell you what we did in our state. We found that we had 500 bridges, roughly, that were deemed structurally deficient. And so we changed how we focused our money. Instead of spending it to build new projects -- the bridge to nowhere, new trophies for congressmen -- we instead said, "Fix it first."

We have to reorient how we spend our money.

YEPSEN: Senator McCain, you have about 30 seconds.

MCCAIN: We passed a $50 billion transportation bill that had $2 billion in pork barrel earmarked projects: $233 million for a bridge to nowhere in Alaska, to an island with 50 people on it. Not one dime in those pork barrel projects was for inspection or repair of bridges.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator McCain, you got 10 seconds.

MCCAIN: They were for pork barrel projects.

I'll veto every single bill that comes across my desk and make the authors of those pork barrel projects...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the last word.

We're going to go to commercial. We'll be back in just a couple of minutes.



STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are back now for the final half hour of the Republican debate here in Iowa.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we want to start out this half hour with a question that came in over the Internet. His name is Sean Kennedy (ph). He's from Leesburg, Virginia. And he had a question about Vice President Cheney.


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