Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate


And I happen to think I've got the right positions on issues, of course. Or I wouldn't have 'em. But-- but fundamentally-- we know that down the road what's gonna de-- determine who is a great president or not is-- is their qualities of leadership in getting America back on track. And-- and-- and I believe-- right now-- and just as-- as Governor Perry just said, this is the time for real leadership because this country is going in a very dangerous direction. This is a time where America has got to return to principles that will keep us the hope of the earth and-- and the shining city on the hill. That light from that shining city has dimmed over the last three years. And I will help restore it. (APPLAUSE)


NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I-- I wanna say two people, one on the stage and one not. Governor Terry Branstad is my role model. Get outta politics for a while doin' something else, be involved in health care, (LAUGHTER) come back when you're clearly too old, too experienced, too tied to the past, win the governorship decisively, do a great job. (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE)

And the-- the other-- I just wanna say two other people very briefly. Rick Perry got me engaged about three years ago on this whole tenth amendment in a big, serious way. And I think that he is-- he h-- he has helped ignite a fire that is gonna change America. And Rick Santorum's consistency and courage on Iran has been a hallmark of why, if we do survive, it will be in part because of people like Rick who've had the courage to te-- tell the truth about the Iranians for a long time. (APPLAUSE)

RON PAUL: Well, I have learned that you should never give up on your opposition. Because if you're persistent, (LAUGH) and you present your case, they will come your way. So Rick, I appreciate it. (LAUGHTER) Rick, I appreciate it. (UNINTEL) appreciate it. You're open to the federal reserve. That's wonderful. But I-- I work from the assumption that freedom brings people together.

And if you understand freedom, it's based on tolerance and nonviolence. So if it's tolerance, it should be bringing all kinds of people together and that's following our Constitution. And we shouldn't be fighting among ourselves. Because we shouldn't be fighting in Washington if we all take the same oath of office. Where does the fight come from? Somebody is messin' up somewhere. (LAUGHTER) So-- so I say that with persistence, I think that we can all prevail and come up with the right answers. (APPLAUSE)


MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, I would agree with everything that's been said here tonight. But I would also add again, someone that I mentioned a little bit earlier and that was Herman Cain. Herman Cain, I think when he brought up the 999 plan, and that you can't have a debate without saying "999" in the debate, I think one thing that he showed us is the power of being very plain spoken.

And also reducing something to a very simple level so people get it. And people were very excited about that plan. Because they could understand what that meant. And I think that's a challenge for every one of us; 'cause a lotta times, you can end up sounding and talking like a big bureaucrat in Washington. People don't want that. They don't want Washington. They want outside of Washington. And rightfully so. That's why I think in this race, I'm-- I'm the proven consistent conservative and I'm gonna go with win-win-win rather than 999.

DIANE SAWYER: Well again, we are at the end of the (APPLAUSE) time agreed upon by all of you, the candidates. And we thank you so much and we thank the people of Iowa, 24 days the voting begins.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the time for us. We're gonna be back with our political team for their independent analysis. We're hearing lots of opinions on Yahoo and Twitter and Facebook. We'll get to that in just a minute. (MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: Much more to come as ABC's live coverage of the Iowa Republican Party Debate continues. (APPLAUSE)

(Editor's note: Due to a transcription error, the initial version of this debate transcript misstated Texas Gov. Rick Perry's response to Mitt Romney's question about betting $10,000 over Romney's Massachusetts health care plan. Gov. Perry's actual quote was: "I'm not in the bettin' business, but...")

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