TRANSCRIPT: ABC News/Facebook/WMUR Republicans Debate

Right after 9/11, every expert in the world said there would be another attack on the United States of America. There hasn't been.

Now, maybe that's all by accident. But if there had been, I think it's very clear where the responsibility would have been placed. So I think we ought to give him credit for that.

We went through the greatest reorganization of government since the creation of the Defense Department and the creation of the Defense -- Department of Homeland Security.

And America is safer. America is not safe; America is safer.

MCCAIN: I'd like to give the president some credit for that.

Now, I strongly disagreed with the strategy employed by Secretary Rumsfeld.

And by the way, I'm the only one here that disagreed at the time, and I'm the only one at the time that said we've got to employ a new strategy and outlined what it was, which is the Petraeus strategy.

I said at the time I had no confidence in the then-secretary of defense.

But we are succeeding now in Iraq. And the fact is as we blame the president for the failed strategy, we should give him credit for changing the strategy and changing the leadership so that we now have I think one of the finest military leaders in American history in David Petraeus.

So, look, I think we've got enormous challenges ahead of us. I think the transcendent challenge of the 21st century is radical Islamic extremists.

And the way, I'd like to give my friend the mayor for the great job that he did after 9/11 and the way that he and the president rallied this nation.

MCCAIN: But I know how to lead, I've been involved in these issues, and I know how to solve them.

GIBSON: Congressman Paul, let me ask you, do you agree with the Bush doctrine, or would you change it?

PAUL: Well, I certainly agreed with his foreign policy that he ran on and that we, as Republicans, won in year 2000. You know, the humble foreign policy, no nation building, don't be the policeman of the world.

And we were strongly critical of the policy of the Clinton administration that did the opposite and we fell short. Of course, the excuse is that 9/11 changed everything.

But the Bush doctrine of preemptive war is not a minor change; this is huge. This is the first time we, as a nation, accept as our policy that we start the wars. I don't understand this.

And that all options are on the table to go after Iran?

This is not necessary. These are Third World nations. They're not capable.

But I think it's the misunderstanding or the disagreements that we've had in this debate along the campaign trail is the nature of the threat.

PAUL: I'm as concerned about the nature of the threat of terrorism as anybody, if not more so. But they don't attack us because we're free and prosperous.

And there all radicals in all elements, in all religions that will resort to violence. But if we don't understand that the reaction is, is because we invade their countries and occupy their countries, we have bases in their country -- and we haven't done it just since 9/11, but we have done that a long time.

I mean, it was the Air Force base in Saudi Arabia before 9/11 that was given as the excuse.

If we don't understand that, we can't win this war against terrorism.

GIBSON: You can break in here, Governor Romney.

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