Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate


SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: The Israelis are getting rocketed every day. The-- we're not making life more difficult. The Obama administration's making life more difficult. The fact is, the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story. Somebody oughta have the courage to go all the way back to the 1921 League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland, point out the context in which Israel came into existence, and "Palestinian" did not become a common term until after 1977. This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage. And we refuse to tell the truth when the other side lies. And you're not gonna win the long run if you're afraid to stand firm and stand for the truth.

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: Of course you s-- of course you stand firm, and stand for the truth. But you don't speak for Israel.


GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: If-- if-- if-- if Bibi Netanyahu wants to say what you said, let him say it. But our ally, b-- the-- the people of Israel, should be able to take their own positions and not have us negotiate for them.

DIANE SAWYER: I want to turn, if I can, to--

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: But can-- can I just say one last thing? Because I didn't speak for the people of Israel. I spoke as a historian who's looked at the world stage for a very long time. I've known Bibi since 1984. I feel quite confident an amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth about the war they are in the middle of and the casualties they're taking and the people who surround them who say, "You do not have the right to exist, and we want to destroy you."

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: I-- I've known-- I've-- (APPLAUSE) I've also known Bibi Netanyahu for a long time. We worked together at-- at Boston Consulting Group. And the last thing Bibi Netanyahu needs to have is not just a person who's an historian, but somebody who is also running for president of the United States, stand up and say things that create extraordinary tumult in-- in his neighborhood.

DIANE SAWYER: Congresswoman--

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: And I'm president of the United States, I will exercise sobriety, care, stability. And make sure that in a setting like this, anything I say that can affect a place with-- with rockets going in, with people dying, I don't do anything that would harm that-- that process.

And therefore, before I made a statement of that nature, I'd get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, "Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do? Let's work together, because we're partners." I'm not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally.

DIANE SAWYER: Under the rules, we need-- your response. (APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: I think sometimes it is helpful to have a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, just as was Ronald Reagan who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and reframed the world. I am a Reaganite, I'm proud to be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth, even if it's at the risk of causing some confusion sometimes with the timid.

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: I think it's important (APPLAUSE)--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Who's got the better of this argument, Congresswoman Bachmann? Who's got the better of this argument?

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