Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate


RICK PERRY: Well, you know, I-- I think the voters are wise enough to figure that one out. I've always kind of been of the opinion that-- if you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner. So-- I think that-- issue of fidelity is-- important. I mean, it's-- it-- it's a characteristic of which people look at-- individuals, whether it's in their business lives or whether it's in their personal lives, or whether it's pickin' someone that-- served-- in public office for them.

Individuals who have been-- fidelit-- in-- in fidelity with-- with their spouse-- I think that sends a very powerful message. If you will cheat on your wife, if you will cheat on your spouse, then why wouldn't you cheat on your business partner or why wouldn't you cheat on anybody for that matter?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Santorum, you ran this week, last Sunday, and you-- summed up your position of character counts. You said this is relevant as well.

RICK SANTORUM: I-- I think character issues do count. And I think-- all-- all of-- all of your record-- personal as well as political record is there-- for the public to look at. I would not say it's a disqualifier. I wouldn't go that far. I think people make mistakes and-- you are held accountable to those mistakes and-- the public can listen to-- the circumstances and-- and make their decision.

But certainly, it's a factor. And it-- and it should be a factor. You're electing a leader. You're electing someone that trust is everything, and particularly in this election. This election, the people of this-- of Iowa-- I hear this all the time. Who can we trust? And I-- I go out and talk about my record. I talk about the fact that I've been married 21 years and have seven children.

I talk about the fact that I'm-- I have a record of consistent-- and-- and conservative politics. I talk about-- you know, my past. I think that's important, and for the people to go and determine whether they're trustworthy enough to earn their support.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul, what's your view on this?

RON PAUL: You know, I think character is, obviously-- very important. I-- I don't think it should be necessary to have to talk about it. I think it should show through in the way we live. And I think it should show through in-- in a marriage. And I happen to have been married for 54 years and family person. But, I don't think we should have to talk about it. But, you know what? (UNINTEL) is-- every bit as important. It-- if your marriage vows are important, what about our oath of office? That's what really gets to me.

That's where you're really on the line as a public figure. And that's where I think a lot of people come up real short. Because there's many times that I have been forced to Congress because I take my oath very seriously. I am up sometimes, believe it or not, voting all by myself (CHUCKLE) thinking that, "Why aren't there people paying att-- why don't they read Article One, Section Eight?" You know, if-- if we took that oath of office seriously in Washington, we'd get rid of 80% of the government.

The budget would be balanced. We'd have sound money. And we would have prosperity. And we wouldn't be the policemen of the world. We wouldn't have a Federal Reserve System, and we wouldn't be invading the privacy of every single individual in this country with bills like the Patriot Act. We'd have a free society and a prosperous society. (APPLAUSE)

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