Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate


RICK SANTORUM: Well, I'll-- I'll go back to-- you know, the comment I made earlier. I mean, I-- when I was first running for office-- you know, Newt Gingrich was the guy that-- who's-- who's tapes I've listened to as a young man-- and tryin' to-- at 30 years old, deciding to run for Congress. He laid out-- a vision for conservative governance that-- that I-- adopted and-- and ran with in a very, very tough Congressional district outside of suburban Pittsburgh, so tough that no one gave me a chance of winnin' it.

Fact, election night the Wall Street Journal called the Republican National Committee to find out the name of the guy that won. And they didn't even know my name at the RNC. (LAUGHTER) That's a true story. And-- and you don't get a lotta true stories. But that's a true story. And-- and so, you know-- I-- I came out of the blue as a conservative.

Think that's, again, the-- the thing that distinguishes me. I-- I've run as a conservative in a 60% Democratic district and won in a 70% Democratic district and won in the State of Pennsylvania with almost a million more Republicans than Democrats and won. I defeated an incumbent and-- and won again. And-- in a year that George Bush lost the election by five, I won by six. And-- and I stuck by the conservative principles that Newt outlined in the-- in the late '80s. And-- and it's always served me well. I've been a consistent conservative.


RICK PERRY: I'd say-- Congressman Paul got me really intrigued with the whole-- the federal reserve. And I've spent a substantial amount of time reading about and Currency Wars, the book by James Rickards that-- but Congressman Paul is-- is-- is the individual in the stage that got me most interested in-- in a subject that I found to be quite interesting and at the root of a lotta the problems that we have. And I thank you for that. But the one thing that I found-- outside of-- of these fine-- individuals on this stage is that the people of this country, the people of this country really want to get America back on track.

And Ri-- Congressman Keane, whether it's somebody like you and-- and your Idea Act that-- that we talked about the other day-- there are really good men and women in this country that wanna get this country back headed down a track. And they understand, Michele, just as you've said, that this election is about the future of this country. One of the most important elections, if not the most important election, and we gotta get it right.

DIANE SAWYER: Over to you, Governor Romney. (APPLAUSE)

MITT ROMNEY: I-- I always find-- the principle of leadership to be most interesting. And-- and as I look at the people on this stage, each exhibits different qualities of leadership. And they've each exercised leadership in different ways. Wha-- one of the about Ron Paul that always-- amazes me is when I come to a debate like this, the only signs I see are the Ron Paul people out there-- (LAUGHTER) in freezing. (APPLAUSE)

In freezing temperatures, they're always there. He ignites an enthusiasm with a number of people. That's very exciting to watch. In choosing a president, it-- it's the qualities of leadership that are gonna make the difference. Because our positions on issues are-- are-- are important, of course.

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