TRANSCRIPT: The Republican Debate

HUCKABEE: Look, we've made them rich. Every time somebody in this room goes to the gas pump, you've helped make the Saudi royal family a little wealthier. And the money that has been used against us in terrorism has largely come from the Middle East.

There's two things we've got to do.

Number one, we've got to insist that the people in that neighborhood take a far greater role militarily and financially in solving the problem. It's their neighborhood.

But the second thing we'd do, for our own national security, is end our dependence on foreign oil. And let's not play around and say "30 years," let's get it done. Let's get it done now. And let's make sure that we don't have to depend upon their oil for our future energy needs.

BROWNBACK (?): George? George?

HUCKABEE: If we can feed ourselves, if we can fuel ourselves, if we can manufacture the weapons to fight for ourselves, we're a free people. If we can't do those three things, we're not free.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm going to bring everyone in on this.

Senator Brownback, go ahead.

BROWNBACK: There's another piece to this as well. And that is, is that you've got the military performing, I think, very well, doing an outstanding job, but the political situation continues to deteriorate on the ground in Iraq. You've got the Iraqi politicians not even meeting now. You've got a weak leadership that's taking place there.

I think the key missing element here is political resolve on the ground. We need a political surge, like Thomas Friedman has written about. We need to put a three-state solution in place, like was in Iraq prior to World War I, where you have a north that's Kurdish, which is right now; a west that's Sunni, which is right now; and a Shia south, with Baghdad as the federal city.

A weak, soft partition: that's the piece missing...

(CROSSTALK) STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is -- that is your plan.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring Senator McCain in on this.

Senator Brownback -- Senator McCain, Senator Brownback talked about the lack of political progress.

It's actually written into the law right now benchmarks that the Iraqi government has to meet. It is also very, very clear that they are not going to meet those benchmarks by the time General Petraeus reports in September.

If they fail to meet these benchmarks which are written into the law, will you still continue to support the surge?

MCCAIN: Of course. They are making progress, and we are winning on the ground. And there are political solutions being arrived at all over Iraq today, not at the national level.

I'm disappointed, of course, that the Maliki government has not done what they need to do. But I'll tell you, it's not only in the national interest of the Iraqis, it's an American national interest. We are winning.

We must win. If we lose, there'll be catastrophic consequences and genocide, and we will be back. This is a seminal moment in American history. We must succeed.

There will be a big debate coming up in September on the floor of the Senate. We will win that debate because the American people understand the consequences of failure.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Giuliani...

MCCAIN: Morale is good. Morale is good amongst our military. I can tell you that.

A three-state solution -- we just saw it when the Iraqi people joined together with Iraqi flags celebrating a victory in a soccer match.

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