TRANSCRIPT: ABC News/Facebook/WMUR Republicans Debate

I want to start with foreign policy. Just to set some context, we've got a little background here from ABC's Jonathan Karl.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC CORRESPONDENT: When he was on the debate stage eight years ago...

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH, R-TX: If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation...

KARL: ... candidate George Bush promised a humble foreign policy.

After September 11, a new Bush doctrine: the United States would hit its enemies before they hit us.

KARL: Hence, the Iraq war.

On terrorism, President Bush told the world you're either with us or you're against us. With the second term, an even bolder vision.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: With the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.


KARL: Sounding like Woodrow Wilson, the president vowed to push for democracy everywhere.

There are exceptions. Support for Musharraf in Pakistan, for example, and the nuclear deal offered to North Korea.

From the axis of evil to nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush policy has been bold but not exactly humble.


GIBSON: So, let me start with a general question: If you are the nominee, will you run on the Bush foreign policy record, or will you run away from it?

And, Governor Huckabee, let me start with you, because it was you who wrote that the Bush foreign policy reflects an arrogant bunker mentality.

HUCKABEE: And when I made those statements, I was speaking to the fact that there were times when we gave the world the impression that we were going to ignore what they thought or what they felt, and we were going to do whatever it is we wanted to do.

And the fact is, we're going to do what is best for the American people. And as president, I will always act in the best interest of our country.

But I'll always try to make sure that we're the strongest nation on Earth, the most powerful, the most prepared, but also the one that uses that strength in a very, very understanding way of making sure that when we use the strength we use it with full understanding of the implications of it.

Let me just finish the thought, Charlie, if I may.

There were times when the arrogance was reflected, for example, in the former defense secretary who, despite getting advice from the Defense Department that we would need 400,000 troops to be able to successfully bring stability to Iraq, insisted that we would only use 180,000 troops and we would go in with a light footprint.

HUCKABEE: And there was one particular statement that he made that I found especially troubling. He said, "We don't go to war with the army that we want; we go to war with the army that we have."

I felt that the proper way for us to approach this is we don't go to war with the army we have, we go to war with the army that we need, and we make sure that we have what we need before we go to war, including a clear definition of what we're going to do, irresistible force when we do it, and once we do it, we don't let the politicians interfere or interrupt the battlefield decisions of the commanders with blood on their boots and medals on their chest.

GIBSON: Senator Thompson?

THOMPSON: Well, I think that maybe the governor has rethought his comments that he made about an arrogant foreign policy, because it seems now what he's saying is that we were arrogant because we didn't go in with enough troops.

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