TRANSCRIPT: The Republican Debate

They've already got that country divided into 18 states that have been there since 1921. And if, in fact, you're going to elect people, why don't you a elect state leader, like you do in Iowa, like we do in Wisconsin, all over America?

And those individual governments will be Shiite, Sunnis and Kurds. And it will stop the civil war. And split the oil revenue between the federal government, the state governments, and every man and woman and child, like we do in Alaska, and give those individuals the opportunity to build their country.

That will make a stable Iraq. (inaudible)


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

PAUL: I, of course, opposed the war a long time before it started. The neoconservatives promoted this war many, many years before it was started. It had nothing to do with Al Qaida. There was no Al Qaida in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

Just think of the weapons the Soviets had in the '60s and the '70s. And we did not have to go to nuclear war with them. There's no reason to go to war against these men in these Third World nations.

At the same time, those individuals who have predicted these disastrous things to happen if we leave Iraq are the same ones who said, "As soon as we go in, it will just be duck soup, it'll be over in three months and it won't cost us anything because the oil will pay for it."


MCCAIN (?): Have you forgotten about 9/11?

PAUL: And at the same time...

MCCAIN (?): Have you forgotten about...

PAUL: Just a moment -- at the same time, the individuals who predicted the disaster, of course, the domino theory, in Vietnam -- I was called to duty. I accepted that duty in the '60s. I served five years in the military.

When we left there, it was tough, yes. But now we trade with Vietnam. We talk to them. The president's come to this country. We go back and forth. We invest in that country.

We can achieve much more in peace than we can ever achieve in these needless, unconstitutional, undeclared wars.



MCCAIN: Let me just say, George, all of us feel frustration, sometimes anger and sorrow over what's happened in this war.

MCCAIN: It was very badly mismanaged for nearly the first four years. I was one of the greatest critics.

We do now have a strategy that is succeeding. We do have a military whose morale is up because they see this success.

This has consequences far beyond Iraq, throughout the entire region. Look at the behavior of the Iranians, the Syria, the uneasiness of our so-called allies of the region.

This is an historic moment in history. And I'm going to be judged by history, not by public opinion polls.

And I believe that we can and must prevail, and we've got the strategy and the general that can do it. Give us some time for it to succeed.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to move on now to domestic issues. Health care, one of the number-one domestic issues we heard about in our poll. You hear about it every day out on the campaign trail.

This week, the Senate debating whether or not to expand health insurance to children in the United States.

And for this, I'm want to turn to the question from David Yepsen.

YEPSEN: Governor Huckabee, Senator Grassley helped fashion a compromise plan to cover 3.2 million more children by raising the cigarette tax -- poor children. President Bush has threatened to veto.

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