TRANSCRIPT: The Republican Debate

GIULIANI: I thought -- I mean, worked in the Reagan administration. I thought the division of responsibilities between President Reagan and Vice President was a good one. I thought it was a really comfortable one.

I mean, I'm real clear on the fact that George W. Bush is the president of the United States.

GIULIANI: He's the only one...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney?

GIULIANI: ... who makes the decisions. He can use Vice President Cheney the way he sees fit.

And I'm comfortable that you select somebody who can step in on a moment's notice with experience, background, knowing what's going on. We can't have a kind of situation like we had in, you know, the 1940s with Harry Truman, where Harry Truman, thank God, turned out to be the kind of president he was, but apparently he didn't even know about the Manhattan Project. You can't have that any longer.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: You let the president decide what the responsibilities of the vice president would be in his administration...

STEPHANOPOULOS: What would you decide?

ROMNEY: Depends on the person, depends on the needs, depends on their capabilities. But I like a person that gives wide viewpoints on a wide array of issues.

But let me tell you, it's been very popular lately for people across the country to be critical of the president and the vice president. And I know they make mistakes. But they have kept us safe these last six years. Let's not forget that.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brownback?

BROWNBACK: George, I wouldn't delegate things to the vice president. But I would involve the vice president in a lot of things.

But I think there's a key point here to look at. One is that Dick Cheney came in with a lot of experience. He came in with a lot of experience on defense, foreign policy issues. And I think the president over-relied on that. I think Dick Cheney has done an admirable job. I think the president's over-relied upon that.

I think you need somebody coming into the presidency that's had foreign policy experience, that's worked on these national and global issues, so that they don't have to depend on the vice president as much.

I think you should have a highly competent person as vice president that can step in at any time and can provide you high- quality information, reflection, wisdom that's needed in that job, but not somebody that takes over the job.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: I certainly wouldn't support an amendment to change the role of the vice president.

But there's no way to know exactly what goes on, but if you take perceptions from Washington, most people there behind the scenes think the vice president is more powerful than the president.

Philosophically, I think this is the case. It's obvious that he represents a neoconservative viewpoint.

And my objection is that that has been the rejection of the Republican Party platform and traditional conservatism. And I think this is where we have gone astray. We have drifted from our fundamental premises and the conservative values that this party used to get.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Hunter, you get the last word on this.

HUNTER: George, it depends on the credentials of the president.

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