Aug. 5, 2007 -- STEPHANOPOULOS: Our goal today is to get a real debate goingamong all of you, to find out where you stand on the issues, but alsoto figure out the real differences that separate you.
And in that spirit, here in Iowa you've already been going ateach other, somewhat beneath the radar screen, on the issue ofabortion.
Senator Brownback, your campaign has been making phone calls toIowa voters about Mitt Romney, and I want to show it for our viewers.It's called an urgent action alert.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Mitt Romney is telling Iowans that he is firmly pro-life. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As late as 2005, Mitt Romney pledged to support and uphold pro-abortion policies and pass taxpayer funding of abortions inMassachusetts.
His wife, Ann, has contributed money to Planned Parenthood.
Mitt told the National Abortion Rights Action League that, "Youneed someone like me in Washington."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brownback, do you stand by that attack?
BROWNBACK: I certainly do. There's one word that describes thatad, and it's "truthful." That's a truthful ad.
And that's what campaigns are about, too, George, is for as faras getting the truth out, expressing the differences betweencandidates.
These are good people that are up on this stage.
That's a truthful ad. I am pro-life. I think this is a core issue for our party. I think it's a bigissue for our country. I'm pro-life and I'm whole life. I think thatall life at all stages is sacred and it's beautiful. I think it'ssomething we ought to fight for, it's what this party has stood for,it's what we should stand for.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, everything in that ad true?
ROMNEY: Virtually nothing in that ad is true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What's wrong with it?
ROMNEY: The single word I'd use would be "desperate" or perhaps"negative."
STEPHANOPOULOS: But before we move on, you said it's not true.We have it up on the screen. What is untrue?
ROMNEY: I am pro-life. That's the truth. And several yearsago, when we faced the issue of cloning of embryos in our state, Iwrote an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe and said I'm pro-life.
ROMNEY: And every action I've taken as governor of Massachusettshas been pro-life.
This is a very difficult decision. We're involved in the livesof two people: a mom and an unborn child. And yet I've come down onthe side of saying I'm in favor of life.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But are any of the specific -- any of thespecific charges there untrue?
ROMNEY: The Massachusetts Citizens for Life just several monthsago brought me in and gave me an award for my public leadership on thebasis of being pro-life.
So the best way you can learn about someone is not by askingtheir opponent, but ask them, "What do you believe, and what's yourview?"
And I am pro-life. And virtually every part of that ad isinaccurate. I'm pro-life. My positions are pro-life. The idea that,for instance, I've been in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion;that's wrong. I oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
In our state we passed a medical plan that reduces the number ofpeople who received state funding for abortion.
So the ad is just completely wrong.
BROWNBACK: George, if I could, there's -- you can go up onYouTube and see the governor himself and speaking himself...
ROMNEY: Ah, that's the -- consider the source.
BROWNBACK: ... about where he is on this position, and in 1994say, "I'm governor..."
ROMNEY: Look, look. I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. And I'mtired of a...
BROWNBACK: And it is a truthful position. Every piece of thatis truthful. You can got to YouTube and look for the governor, whathe says himself.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney -- Governor Romney... ROMNEY: You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectivelypro-choice. I've said that time and time again.
I changed my position. When I was governor and when I faced anissue of a life or death, when the first time a bill came to my deskthat related to the life of an unborn child, I came down on the sideof life.
ROMNEY: And I put that in The Boston Globe and explained why.And I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they'vebeen pro-life longer than I have.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, you've also been drawing...
ROMNEY: But I'm proud of the fact.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have also been drawing contrasts with MayorGiuliani during this campaign. I want to show our viewers somethingyou said about Mayor Giuliani on the Christian Broadcasting Networkthis spring.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage and anti-gun, andthat's a tough combination in a Republican primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you stand by that? And what is it that youfear a President Giuliani would do on those issues?
ROMNEY: I think Rudy Giuliani is a terrific American and awonderful mayor. That was very early in the process. I think I'vegot a better view...
STEPHANOPOULOS: In March.
ROMNEY: Yes, it was in March. He wasn't a candidate yet.
I think I have a better perspective on his views now -- notentirely, but a pretty good view on his positions. And I'd rather lethim speak for him, his own positions, than me speak for them. AndI've done by best to let other candidates speak about their ownpositions.
So I'm not going to try and elaborate on his positions.
I can tell you that I am pro-life and that I'm opposed to same-sex marriage, and I support the Second Amendment. Those are my views.
Why don't we let each of us describe our own views, as opposed totaking time to describe those of our colleagues? STEPHANOPOULOS: Was that accurate what Governor Romney said?
GIULIANI: Somehow, I knew you were going to ask me the questionabout this.
The reality is that I support the Second Amendment, as GovernorRomney says.
I clearly believe that marriage should be between a man and awoman, although I did support domestic partnerships and still do, acontractual relationship.
And I believe the best way we can have common ground in thisdebate that you're hearing is if we put our emphasis on reducingabortions and increasing the number of adoptions, which is somethingthat I did as mayor of New York City.
GIULIANI: But I think ultimately that decision that has to bemade is one that government shouldn't make. Ultimately, a womanshould make that with her conscience and ultimately with her doctor.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Thompson, let me bring you in here,because Michael Gerson, President Bush's former speechwriter, now acolumnist for The Washington Post, wrote a column about Mayor Giuliania few weeks ago, where he said one of the consequences -- because ofthe mayor's pro-life position -- of a Giuliani victory would be toplace the Republican nominee in direct conflict with the RomanCatholic Church.
How big a problem is that?
THOMPSON: I think it's a problem. I think it's a problem notonly for the Roman Catholic Church, but it's a problem with theConstitution and the platform of the Republican Party.
Every year the Republican Party, both at the state level in Iowa,nationally, are parties that come out very avidly and passionately onbeing pro-life. And I think any candidate that's pro-choice is goingto have a difficulty with the party faithful and those individualsthat have come to this district and the state and national meetingsand have avowed time and time again that this party, the RepublicanParty, is a party of pro-life.
So anybody that's not pro-life is going to have difficulties.That's the question.
Beyond that, however, I think you've got to look beyond just oneissue. And the issue that really concerns me, of course, is thehealth issues of America.
And we get tied up in one particular issue and we really don't goto some of the major issues that are affecting America -- not thatpro-life isn't -- but we have to get down -- and this debate should beabout the major issues affecting the voters of Iowa and nationally,instead of trying to choose one person against another on thiscampaign.
THOMPSON: Every single one of us up here have got issues,positions, and every single one of us believe very strongly of those.And I think that speaks highly of the Republican Party.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You bring up an important point, and let mebring this to Senator McCain. Because some people have made theargument...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... some people have made the argument that inthis election especially, that Mayor Giuliani would be absolutely thestrongest candidate, in part because of his pro-choice positions, buteven more than that, in the general election, the most important issueis going to be national security, and an issue like abortion should bede-emphasized.
Do you agree with that?
MCCAIN: I think the respect and commitment to the rights of theunborn is something I've fought for, and it has a lot to do withnational security. Because it depends on -- it says very much whatkind of a country we are and our respect for human life, whether it behere in the United States or whether it be in China or Bangladesh orthe Congo or anyplace else in the world. So I think it is connected.
But I also firmly believe that the challenge of the 21st centuryis the struggle against radical Islamic extremism. It is atranscendent issue. It is hydra-headed. It will be with us for therest of the century.
I have served my nation and my country and the people of thiscountry for all of my adult life. I am the most prepared. I havebeen involved in these issues. I have served this nation in themilitary and in the Congress, and I'm the best prepared and equippedand need no on-the-job training to meet that challenge.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have also addressed the issue of Iraq,probably more -- as much as, if not more than any other candidate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I want to turn to that as well. Because wedid a poll of Iowa voters, as you saw. And we asked the voters therefor questions.
We got more questions on Iraq and the war than any other singlesubject. Here was one of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Hi. I'm Jill Husker (ph) from Grinnell, Iowa. Myquestion is, if you were president, what would be your strategy forending the war in Iraq?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul, what would it be?
PAUL: Just come home. We just marched in. We can just comeback.
We went in there illegally. We did not declare war. It'slasting way too long. We didn't declare war in Korea or Vietnam. Thewars were never really ended. We lose those wars. We're losing thisone. We shouldn't be there. We ought to just come home.
The number one reason it's in our national self-interest and forour national security, think of our defenses now, how rundown theyare. What is the morale of our military today when they're sent overthere for 12 months and then they're kept for another three months?
They come home and, with less than a year's rest, they're sentback again. Congress is currently trying to change the rules so wegive these men an adequate rest.
This war is not going well because the foreign policy isdefective.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Hunter?
HUNTER: Yes, George, I've been here before. I was here when westood up to the Russians in Central Europe when they were ringing ourallies with SS-20 missiles. We stood up them and we finally broughtthat wall down.
I was here when we did Central America, when the liberals wereraging that we had to get out of Salvador. Today, Salvadoran troopsare standing side-by-side with Americans in Iraq.
And let me tell you something I'm tired of. I watched theDemocrat debate. I watched them say, as my colleague has said, "Justbring them home. Come home." And it was a race to see who couldstampede for the exit the quickest.
And you know something? The Marines in Anbar province, which isalmost half of Iraq, have turned that situation around. They broughtthe communities there on our side, fighting back against Al Qaida.Not a single Democrat...
Not a single Democrat candidate paused in their rush for the exitto say to our Marines, "Good job. You guys are fighting andachieving, with blood, sweat and tears, what this country needs."
We've got our best military leadership in Iraq right now. We arestanding up the Iraq military, the 129 battalions. When they arestood up, when they're reliable, battle-ready, they rotate onto thebattlefield, they displace American heavy combat forces. That's theright way to leave, not a stampede for the exit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Hunter, thank you.
So we've got the poles of this debate Governor Huckabee...
I'll come back to you in a second.
We've got the poles of this debate. Congressman Paul says, "Comehome." Congressman Hunter says, "We've got to stay." Is there amiddle ground in this debate? HUCKABEE: Certainly there's a middle ground, George. And themiddle ground is that we win this war and we do it with honor. Wedon't just stay indefinitely. We put some pressure -- just like wehave been the last week, with Secretary Rice and Secretary Gates -- onthe Saudis.
HUCKABEE: Look, we've made them rich. Every time somebody inthis room goes to the gas pump, you've helped make the Saudi royalfamily a little wealthier. And the money that has been used againstus in terrorism has largely come from the Middle East.
There's two things we've got to do.
Number one, we've got to insist that the people in thatneighborhood take a far greater role militarily and financially insolving the problem. It's their neighborhood.
But the second thing we'd do, for our own national security, isend our dependence on foreign oil. And let's not play around and say"30 years," let's get it done. Let's get it done now. And let's makesure that we don't have to depend upon their oil for our future energyneeds.
BROWNBACK (?): George? George?
HUCKABEE: If we can feed ourselves, if we can fuel ourselves, ifwe can manufacture the weapons to fight for ourselves, we're a freepeople. If we can't do those three things, we're not free.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm going to bring everyone in on this.
Senator Brownback, go ahead.
BROWNBACK: There's another piece to this as well. And that is,is that you've got the military performing, I think, very well, doingan outstanding job, but the political situation continues todeteriorate on the ground in Iraq. You've got the Iraqi politiciansnot even meeting now. You've got a weak leadership that's takingplace there.
I think the key missing element here is political resolve on theground. We need a political surge, like Thomas Friedman has writtenabout. We need to put a three-state solution in place, like was inIraq prior to World War I, where you have a north that's Kurdish,which is right now; a west that's Sunni, which is right now; and aShia south, with Baghdad as the federal city.
A weak, soft partition: that's the piece missing...
(CROSSTALK) STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is -- that is your plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring Senator McCain in on this.
Senator Brownback -- Senator McCain, Senator Brownback talkedabout the lack of political progress.
It's actually written into the law right now benchmarks that theIraqi government has to meet. It is also very, very clear that theyare not going to meet those benchmarks by the time General Petraeusreports in September.
If they fail to meet these benchmarks which are written into thelaw, will you still continue to support the surge?
MCCAIN: Of course. They are making progress, and we are winningon the ground. And there are political solutions being arrived at allover Iraq today, not at the national level.
I'm disappointed, of course, that the Maliki government has notdone what they need to do. But I'll tell you, it's not only in thenational interest of the Iraqis, it's an American national interest.We are winning.
We must win. If we lose, there'll be catastrophic consequencesand genocide, and we will be back. This is a seminal moment inAmerican history. We must succeed.
There will be a big debate coming up in September on the floor ofthe Senate. We will win that debate because the American peopleunderstand the consequences of failure.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Giuliani...
MCCAIN: Morale is good. Morale is good amongst our military. Ican tell you that.
A three-state solution -- we just saw it when the Iraqi peoplejoined together with Iraqi flags celebrating a victory in a soccermatch.
We are winning. We must win. And we will not set a date forsurrender, as the Democrats want us to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Giuliani, is there any difference...
Is there any difference between you and Senator McCain on thisissue? Would you also continue to...
GIULIANI: I just noticed the question before, Senator McCainsaid something -- in four Democratic debates, not a single Democraticcandidate said the word "Islamic terrorism." Now, that is takingpolitical correctness to extremes.
GIULIANI: It really is.
The reality is that you do not achieve peace through weakness andappeasement. Weakness and appeasement should not be a policy of theAmerican government. We should seek a victory in Iraq and in Baghdad,and we should define the victory.
And I thought the piece by O'Hanlon and Pollack last week in theNew York Times, which, I have to frankly tell you, when I read it inthe morning, I read it twice, and I checked -- New York Times? But itwas the New York Times. It was.
And it said, "We just might win in Iraq."
Now, why we would want to retreat in the face of at least someempirical evidence that General Petraeus and...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's military -- that's military progress.No political progress.
You'd continue to support the surge even if there's no politicalprogress.
GIULIANI: The reality is that if we can bring stability to Iraq,and we can give them a chance to develop stability, that's what weshould be trying to accomplish.
This is part of an overall terrorist war against the UnitedStates. And that's why I noted Senator McCain's statement aboutIslamic extreme terrorism. This is part of an overall war against usby the terrorists. It's a battle in that war.
America should win that battle. And winning that battle is tohave an Iraq that helps us against the Islamic terrorists.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, are you, Mayor Giuliani andSenator McCain all in the same place right now on Iraq?
ROMNEY: I think we're pretty much in the same place. It iscritical for us to win this conflict. It is essential, and that's whywe're going to continue to pursue this effort. And we're going to geta report from General Petraeus on the success. And I agree the Brookings Institution report over the weekend wasa very encouraging indication that we're making progress. That'sgreat news.
At the same time, you look at that Democratic debate, I had tolaugh at what I saw Barack Obama do. I mean, in one week he went fromsaying he's going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies,but then he's going to bomb our allies.
I mean, he's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to get to that. We're going to getto that in a little bit.
ROMNEY: Let me continue. Hold on. I had more time, let mecontinue.
I want to make one other point.
ROMNEY: And that is, while we are waking up here in the UnitedStates and thinking about our barbecue in the afternoon and what's onTV, what baseball game is on, there are lot of families in thiscountry, hundreds of thousands of people, who are waking up wonderingwhether their loved one is still alive.
We have families who made a huge surge of sacrifice to supportthis surge. And it's time, in my view, for the people of America toshow a surge of support, including our leaders in Washington, forthese families and for the troops. Let's get behind them and givethem everything we have: our prayers, our encouragement, our funds,anything to make sure this surge is successful because it counts forAmerica.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm looking at you right now. Do you differ atall from Mayor Giuliani, Governor Romney or Senator McCain? ThenSenator Thompson and Ron Paul get the last word on this round.
Go ahead, Congressman Tancredo.
TANCREDO: There are a number of things, of course, with regardto Iraq that I think we have found some common ground on, but thereality is this: that it is absolutely true I think that we are in awar with radical Islam. That is the war. A battle is being fought inIraq.
Now, can we win the military battle on the ground? Yes, we can.Our guys are the best in the world, and the people that are servingthere cannot be faulted in any way.
One of the things, however, that I must say I am concerned aboutare the rules of engagement, that apparently are restricting theability of our people to do their job and to protect themselves. Noone should ever go into harm's way, no president should ever sendanyone in this military into harm's way and keep one arm tied behindthem. These rules of engagement have got to be reviewed, and nopresident should ever pursue them in this wan, or let people go intobattle and be actually at risk.
TANCREDO: I unveiled a statue for a guy by the name of DannyDietz in my district, a Navy SEAL. Danny Dietz is dead because therules of engagement did not allow them to do what they needed to doover there. That is unacceptable.
In the broader picture, of course, you are absolutely right. Wehave to do something about the fact that there is no political oreconomic solution being developed by the Iraqis. And you have to pushthem into it.
America cannot be the police force in Iraq. It cannot removeitself entirely from Iraq, but Iraq has got to take control of Iraq.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Thompson, and then Congressman Paul,you get the last word.
THOMPSON: Thank you very much.
I've laid out a whole plan to really win the peace in Iraq. I'velaid out a plan that we have to defend and give all our resources andevery single tool possible to our fighting men and women.
I have been with them, like a lot of the people up here have, andthey're the finest young men and women we'll ever have in ourmilitary.
But beyond that, it is not fair to America and to Americans toshoulder all of the burden. To pay for a war that's costing us $10billion a month -- and we're not funding, we're just passing on to ourchildren and grandchildren -- not requiring the Iraqi government tostand up and vote, that's a failure of Congress and the president ofthe United States. Because they do need to demand that thatgovernment makes a political statement, and help pay for that war, andhelp fight to win that war.
Secondly, I differ with Senator Brownback. They can't evendecide in parliament in Iraq whether or not they're going to be ableto take a month or six weeks off for summer.
THOMPSON: How will they ever decide three particular divisions?
They've already got that country divided into 18 states that havebeen there since 1921. And if, in fact, you're going to elect people,why don't you a elect state leader, like you do in Iowa, like we do inWisconsin, all over America?
And those individual governments will be Shiite, Sunnis andKurds. And it will stop the civil war. And split the oil revenuebetween the federal government, the state governments, and every manand woman and child, like we do in Alaska, and give those individualsthe opportunity to build their country.
That will make a stable Iraq. (inaudible)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul, you get the last word on thisround.
PAUL: I, of course, opposed the war a long time before itstarted. The neoconservatives promoted this war many, many yearsbefore it was started. It had nothing to do with Al Qaida. There wasno Al Qaida in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
Just think of the weapons the Soviets had in the '60s and the'70s. And we did not have to go to nuclear war with them. There's noreason to go to war against these men in these Third World nations.
At the same time, those individuals who have predicted thesedisastrous things to happen if we leave Iraq are the same ones whosaid, "As soon as we go in, it will just be duck soup, it'll be overin three months and it won't cost us anything because the oil will payfor it."
MCCAIN (?): Have you forgotten about 9/11?
PAUL: And at the same time...
MCCAIN (?): Have you forgotten about...
PAUL: Just a moment -- at the same time, the individuals whopredicted the disaster, of course, the domino theory, in Vietnam -- Iwas called to duty. I accepted that duty in the '60s. I served fiveyears in the military.
When we left there, it was tough, yes. But now we trade withVietnam. We talk to them. The president's come to this country. Wego back and forth. We invest in that country.
We can achieve much more in peace than we can ever achieve inthese needless, unconstitutional, undeclared wars.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: Let me just say, George, all of us feel frustration,sometimes anger and sorrow over what's happened in this war.
MCCAIN: It was very badly mismanaged for nearly the first fouryears. I was one of the greatest critics.
We do now have a strategy that is succeeding. We do have amilitary whose morale is up because they see this success.
This has consequences far beyond Iraq, throughout the entireregion. Look at the behavior of the Iranians, the Syria, theuneasiness of our so-called allies of the region.
This is an historic moment in history. And I'm going to bejudged by history, not by public opinion polls.
And I believe that we can and must prevail, and we've got thestrategy and the general that can do it. Give us some time for it tosucceed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to move on now to domestic issues.Health care, one of the number-one domestic issues we heard about inour poll. You hear about it every day out on the campaign trail.
This week, the Senate debating whether or not to expand healthinsurance to children in the United States.
And for this, I'm want to turn to the question from David Yepsen.
YEPSEN: Governor Huckabee, Senator Grassley helped fashion acompromise plan to cover 3.2 million more children by raising thecigarette tax -- poor children. President Bush has threatened toveto.
Who do you side with, President Bush or Senator Grassley?
HUCKABEE: I think I'd like to side with the people of Americawho really are looking for a lot better action than they're gettingout of their president or Congress.
You know, if you want to know how to fix it, I've got a solution.Either give every American the same kind of health care that Congresshas, or make Congress have the same kind of health care that everyAmerican has.
They'll get it fixed.
And the issue in this country is that we really have anincredible problem because our system is upside-down. It focuses onintervention at the catastrophic level of disease rather than reallyfocusing on prevention.
So we've got a system that, no matter how much money we pour intoit, we're not going to fix it.
HUCKABEE: We're not going to fix it until we begin to addressthe fact that this country has put its focus not on wellness, not onprevention, not on health, but on sickness.
And that's the single most important and urgent thing that has tobe done.
And if we don't do that, then we're going to continue justpouring money -- and it's almost like having a boat that's taking onwater, and rather than plugging the hole, we want to get a biggerbucket to take the water out of the boat.
YEPSEN: Governor Thompson, same question to you. Who do youside with in that dispute, the president or Iowa's senior senator?
THOMPSON: David, I want you to know that health care is one ofmy major dominant fields. I was secretary of health.
Neither one of them are right.
The problem is, is Governor Huckabee is absolutely correct.We've got a sickness, illness and disease society. We spend 90percent of $2 trillion, ladies and gentlemen -- that's 16 percent ofthe gross national product -- on getting people well after they getsick.
Less than 10 percent of the money keeping you out of thehospital, out of the nursing home. Does anybody in America thinkthat's a smart idea? I think it's dumb. Let's go to wellness andprevention.
Number two, let's start managing diseases in America. Let's makesure that individuals that are chronically ill and physically disabledare able to get the quality of health and therefore get the quality oflife.
They take up 66 percent of the cost. You could reduce that downto 50 percent.
YEPSEN: Congressman Tancredo...
THOMPSON: Number three -- I just would like to say -- on theuninsured, you could get one form, like we do on the 1040 for taxes,one form for the employment system, and you could save $137 billion.
That would cover all of the uninsured in America without raisingtaxes, ladies and gentlemen.
YEPSEN: Congressman Tancredo, how do you cover this (ph)?
TANCREDO: Let me suggest -- let me suggest we think aboutsomething in the area of health care that perhaps is unique, differentand scary to some people, but that is this: The government -- it'snot the responsibility of the federal government to provide womb-to-tomb health care for America.
And so, we constantly debate on exactly what way we want to pushgovernment control of this issue, but in every way we're doing it,it's unhealthy. It is unhealthy to have a government health-care planin America.
There are some things we can do, absolutely. The expansion ofhealth savings accounts that increases individual responsibly. Theallowing for people to actually take -- the reimportation ofprescription drugs.
And not only that, but let's do something about the 12 million to20 million illegal aliens in this country that are taking a large partof our health-care dollars.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Gentlemen, I want to give this back to DavidYepsen in a second, but I just want to clear something up first.
Congressman Tancredo, I know you voted against the expansion ofthe children's health insurance this week.
TANCREDO: You bet I did.
STEPHANOPOULOS: This is just yes or no, Governor Thompson: Areyou for the expansion or with President Bush on the veto?
THOMPSON: I am for expanding SCHIP, but not the way Congress hasdone it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, so that's a no.
And the same thing for you, Governor Huckabee. HUCKABEE: The problem with it, it actually would bring cuts tothe Medicare alternative, which is the worst thing we could do,because it then takes money away from seniors.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, I also...
HUCKABEE: So, again, it's just not a good solution...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, again, I also know that, Congressman Pauland Congressman Hunter and Senator Brownback and Senator McCain, youall voted against expansion, as well. So the only two gentlemen lefthere are Governor Romney and Mayor Giuliani.
Are either one of you for the expansion of children's healthinsurance, as outlined by Senator Grassley?
ROMNEY: Look, it's critical to insure more people in thiscountry. It doesn't make sense to have 45 million people withoutinsurance. It's not good for them because they don't get goodpreventative care and disease management, just as these folks havespoken about.
But it's not good for the rest of the citizens either, because ifpeople aren't insured, they go to the emergency room for their carewhen they get very sick. That's expensive. They don't have anyinsurance to cover it.
ROMNEY: So guess who pays? Everybody else.
So it's not good for the people that aren't insured. It's notgood for everybody else.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're against...
ROMNEY: We have to -- no, no, let me finish. Green light's on.
ROMNEY: We have to get -- no, they just turned it off. Leave iton.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I control it.
ROMNEY: We have to have our citizens insured, and we're notgoing to do that by tax exemptions, because the people that don't haveinsurance aren't paying taxes. What you have to do is what we did inMassachusetts.
Is it perfect? No. But we say, let's rely on personalresponsibility, help people buy their own private insurance, get ourcitizens insured, not with a government takeover, not with new taxesneeded, but instead with a free-market based system that gets all ofour citizens in the system. No more free rides.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But a no on the Grassley bill.
Mayor Giuliani, go ahead.
GIULIANI: The bill had two very unfortunate parts to it.
One, it would reduce Medicaid Advantage, which is a very, verysuccessful program that actually does bring about some form of a free-market solution.
And second, it would have the really odd effect of movingchildren who presently have private insurance to becoming wards of thestate, basically having them move in the direction of -- and I knowthe Democrats get all upset when you say this, but they're taking ustoward socialized medicine.
If we want the kind of results they have in England or France orCanada or Cuba, like Michael Moore wants us to do, then we should goin that direction. But that would be a terrible thing to do.
What we should do is increase the number of people who haveprivate insurance. In order to do that, we should give them a majortax deduction, $15,000, let them have a health savings account as partof that. They'll have an incentive to own their own health insurance.That's the thing that's wrong with the market here. It is not reallygood to move this thing in terms of more government control of healthcare.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But just for the record, everyone is against theexpansion as Grassley outlined.
YEPSEN: Congressman Hunter?
HUNTER: Yeah. Let's get back to freedom.
One thing you can't do right now, if you're an American who has ahealth insurance plan is you can't buy health insurance across statelines.
Now, we've seen studies that have shown that the same coveragethat costs 750 bucks a month in Massachusetts, you can buy in Missourifor 170 bucks a month.
HUNTER: But you can't buy your health insurance across statelines like Americans buy lots of stuff across state lines.
George, you know, I had a senior citizen come into my office oneday. She had a $10 wrist brace on. And she said, "I was told not tocomplain about this, because government is paying for it."
She gave me the bill. It was $525.
That -- you're going to see a lot of $525 wrist braces if we pass-- if we continue to pass this SCHIP which really is the firstextension of socialized medicine. This is socialized medicine. It'sgoing to go to families that make $60,000 a year. Those aren't poorchildren.
YEPSEN: Senator Brownback, the bill would raise tobacco tax, asyou know. How do we pay for health care in this country withoutraising some additional revenues?
BROWNBACK: Well, that's why I voted against the bill.
But it wasn't just that. The piece of it that I think you haveto recognize is that you've got a fundamental decision to make here onhealth care, which is 16 percent of the economy, going north fast,probably headed to 20 percent of our total economy. Do you think thesolution to providing more and better health care is, one, that weshould have more government solutions involved, or should there bemore market-based solutions involved?
And I think clearly the answer here is you need more marketforces in health care. That's what we need to do.
Instead, you've got the Democrats doing a step-by-step marchtoward a socialized one government-pay system. And they're very happyto do it that way.
But we can get better health care going this way. And we canhold the price of it down and not bust the federal treasury at thesame time. We can get (inaudible).
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we didn't get a debate among all of you,but maybe we'll get one with Senator Grassley later, after the debate. (UNKNOWN): Maybe he won't endorse anybody after this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: After this, that's right.
I want to move on to something...
THOMPSON: But, George...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Excuse me, Governor Thompson, I want to move onnow to something that Governor Romney brought up just a little whileago, and that was the comments earlier this week of Senator Obama,where he talked about going into Pakistan even if President Musharrafdidn't agree.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL.: It was a terrible mistake to fail toact when we had a chance to take out an Al Qaida leadership meeting in2005.
If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terroristtargets, and President Musharraf will not act, we will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, you said you didn't agree withObama's plan and you called it "ill-timed and ill-considered."
Mayor Giuliani, on "Charlie Rose" the other night, you said, "Iwould take that option." Why don't you guys take two minutes anddebate this issue out?
GIULIANI: Well, I believe that is an option that should remainopen. I believe the senator didn't express it the right way. I thinkthe senator, if he could just say it over again, might want to saythat we would encourage Musharraf to allow us to do it if we thoughthe couldn't accomplish it.
But the reality is, America cannot take...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if he said no, you'd go in.
GIULIANI: I didn't say I would go in. I said I wouldn't takethe option off the table.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No, well, you actually said, "I would take thatoption."
GIULIANI: I said I would keep that option open. In any event...
STEPHANOPOULOS: No, you said, "If we have a chance to catch binLaden and we've got to do it ourselves because we're not sure ifsomebody is going to do it correctly, yeah, I think I would take thatoption."
GIULIANI: Well, I would take that action if I thought there wasno other way to crush Al Qaida, no other way to crush the Taliban, andno other way to be able to capture bin Laden.
I think Pakistan has, unfortunately, not been making the effortsthat they should be making. I think we should encourage them to doit, we should put the pressure on them to do it, and we should seektheir permission of we ever had to take action there as we were ableto get their permission -- Undersecretary or Deputy Secretary Armitagewas very effective in getting Musharraf's permission for us to act inAfghanistan and Pakistan in 2001 and 2002.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney?
ROMNEY: Yes, I think Barack Obama is confused as to who are ourfriends and who are our enemies.
In his first year, he wants to meet with Castro and Chavez andAssad, Ahmadinejad. Those are our enemies. Those are the world'sworst tyrants.
And then he says he wants to unilaterally go in and potentiallybomb a nation which is our friend. We've trying to strengthenMusharraf. We're trying to strengthen the foundations of democracyand freedom in that country so that they will be able to reject theextremists.
We're working with them -- we're working with them...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if your CIA director called them and said,"We had Osama bin Laden in our sights, Musharraf says no," what do youdo?
ROMNEY: It's wrong for a person running for the president of theUnited States to get on TV and say, "We're going to go into yourcountry unilaterally."
Of course, America always maintains our option to do whatever wethink is in the best interests of America.
But we don't go out and say, "Ladies and gentlemen of Germany, ifever there was a problem in your country, we didn't think you weredoing the right thing, we reserve the right to come in and get themout."
ROMNEY: We don't say those things. We keep our options quiet.We do not go out and say to a nation which is working with us, wherewe have collaborated and they are our friend and we're trying tosupport Musharraf and strengthen him and his nation, that instead thatwe intend to go in there and potentially bring out a unilateralattack.
Recognize to win the war on jihad, we have to not only have astrong military of our own -- and we need a stronger military -- wealso need to have strong friends around the world and help moderateMuslims reject the extreme. Because ultimately the only people whocan finally defeat these radical Islamic jihadists are the Muslimsthemselves.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what I am hearing is from both you is...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... what I'm hearing is you keep this option onthe table, but it is foolish to talk about it in public.
Does anybody disagree with that?
HUNTER: Yes, I disagree with it.
HUNTER: George, let me tell you, Barack Obama didn't understand,there are now 100,000 Pakistani troops who have been moved to theborder. They have moved two divisions to the border, in fact, one ofthem out of the high country on the Indian border. You right now haveoperations that are being taken in cooperation with American forces inAfghanistan.
The last thing you do when you are trying to convince your alliesall over the world to work with you is when you have one country whichhas taken 100,000 military personnel and moved them into that place --and we all know what the problem is. The problem is that you have thetribal chiefs in that strip in Pakistan accommodating the Taliban andAl Qaida.
When you have a country which is cooperating, you don't tell themyou are going to unilaterally move against them, or you are somehowgoing to undertake this by yourself.
HUNTER: Those mountain ranges in Pakistan are 16,000 feet high.We need the Pakistani army to work that with American support. That'sthe right way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to stay on this subject.
I want to stay on this subject but broaden out the conversation alittle bit.
And the way I want to get into it is with a bit from PresidentBush's second inaugural address, where he made the spreading ofdemocracy the core of his foreign policy. Here's what he said:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: So it is the policy of the UnitedStates to seek and support the growth of democratic movements andinstitutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal ofending tyranny in our world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Huckabee, since then, since thatspeech, there have been free elections in Gaza; they elected Hamas.There have been free elections in Lebanon; they empowered Hezbollah.There have been free elections in Iran; they elected PresidentAhmadinejad.
Has President Bush's policy been a success? And would the spreadof democracy be the core of your foreign policy?
HUCKABEE: Well, the problem is, George, sometimes when you getwhat you want, you don't want what you get. And this is a great caseof that happening.
I don't think it's the job of the United States to export ourform of government. It's the job of the United States to protect ourcitizens, to secure our own borders, which we have failed to do forover 20 years.
It's the job of our government to make us free and us safe, andto create an enviable kind of government and system that everybodyelse will want, much in the same way I think we ended up seeing thefall of the Soviet Union. And as far as how do we get there...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it wouldn't be the core of your foreignpolicy?
HUCKABEE: Absolutely not, because I don't think we can forcepeople to accept our way of life, our way of government.
What we can to is to create the strongest America: change ourtax system, make it so that people are healthier, create the enviableeducation system on this planet, make sure that jobs come back to thiscountry rather than disappear from this country.
HUCKABEE: And if we do that kind of approach, we'll have thesort of freedom internally, secure borders, a safer nation.
That makes a whole lot more sense to me than spending billionsand billions and billion of dollars to try to prop up some governmentwe don't even like when we get it.
And people in this country are losing their jobs, losing theirhealth insurance, and their kids are sitting with their heads on theirdesks, sound asleep in school.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul?
PAUL: Our responsibility is to spread democracy here, make surethat we have it.
This is a philosophic and foreign policy problem, because whatthe president was saying was just a continuation of Woodrow Wilson's"making the world safe for democracy."
There's nothing wrong with spreading our values around the world,but it is wrong to spread it by force. We should spread it by settingan example and going and doing a good job here.
Threatening Pakistan and threatening Iran makes no sensewhatsoever.
We went in -- and I supported going after the Al Qaida intoAfghanistan -- but, lo and behold, the neocons took over. They forgotabout Osama bin Laden. And what they did, they went into nation-building, not only in Afghanistan, they went unjustifiably over intoIraq. And that's why we're in this mess today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Giuliani, both Governor Huckabee...
... both Governor Huckabee and Congressman Paul said they wouldnot continue President Bush's policy. Would you?
GIULIANI: George, I think the way you're defining it isincorrect. Democracy is not necessarily immediately going toelections. Democracy is...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that was the way President Bush definedit...
GIULIANI: Well, OK...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... not me, but go ahead.
GIULIANI: The way I look at it, democracy also requires the ruleof law. It requires stability. It requires people not being afraidthey're going to be killed every day when they go out on the street.
Democracy's only a theory if you're living in an unstablesituation.
So sometimes, democracy is the long-term goal, but in order toget there, you have to first build a rule of law, you have to firstbuild respect for human rights, you have to first build...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So did we push for elections too quickly inGaza?
GIULIANI: In some cases, maybe going to elections so quickly isa mistake. Maybe the thing to do is to first make sure that you'vedeveloped the bedrock -- bedrock for democracy.
You know, if you're living -- I learned this in New York Citywhen I became the mayor. Of course the situation was nowhere near asserious, but people were afraid to go out at night because crime wasso rampant. I mean, we had all kinds of civil rights, but nobodycould exercise them, because they were too darn afraid to go out, toodarn afraid to go to the movies or go buy groceries at the grocerystore.
First, you have to have a certain quality of life that allows youto be comfortable (inaudible) going to exist, your children are goingto go to school, you're going to be able to have a job, and yourrights are going to be respected.
Then elections start to mean something in the full picture ofwhat a democracy is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator McCain, would you follow what MayorGiuliani is saying -- maybe go a little bit slower on elections, notput the spread of elections quite at the core of your foreign policy?
MCCAIN: We fail to appreciate that elections do not meandemocracy, that it is rule of law.
And rule of law, by the way, is beginning to take hold in Iraq,just as peaceful and more secure -- more secure, not totally secure --neighborhoods in Baghdad and in Anbar and in other parts, in theKurdish areas, is beginning to take place, which will then allow truedemocracy to take place.
It's naive to say that we will never use nuclear weapons. It'snaive to say we're going to attack Pakistan without thinking itthrough. What if Musharraf were removed from power? What if aradical Islamic government were to take place because we triggered itwith an attack?
But the fundamental -- by the way, you quoted President Bush.President Kennedy also said at his inauguration that would go anywhereand bear any burden. I believe the reason why we won the Cold War and the reason whywe are still a shining city on a hill is because of our advocacy andour dedication to the principles that all of us are created equal andendowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.
MCCAIN: That's all of us, no matter where we live in the world,no matter what our faith or our beliefs are.
And I will continue to advocate for freedom and democracy andrights for all human beings.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, will the Bush policy be yourpolicy?
ROMNEY: Just as these other two gentlemen have said, democracyis not defined by a vote. There have to be the underpinnings ofdemocracy: education, health care, people recognizing they live in aplace that has the rule of law.
And that's why our effort to spread democracy should continue,not to just spread votes, but instead to encourage other people in theworld to have the benefits that we enjoy and to welcome democracy.
As Tony Blair said, ours should be a campaign of values,encouraging other nations to see what we have and want those thingsfor themselves.
And there's no question in this country, we need to reach out,not just with our military might -- although that we have, and shouldkeep it strong -- but also reach out with our other greatcapabilities.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But did President Bush fail to appreciate thenuance you're talking about now? That's what I'm asking.
ROMNEY: I don't know what President -- all the things PresidentBush has done, but I can tell you, I'm not a carbon copy of PresidentBush. And there are things I would do that would be done differently.
I think when there's a country like Lebanon, for instance, thatbecomes a democracy, that instead of standing by and seeing how theydo, we should have been working with the government there to assurethat they have the rule of law, that they have agricultural andeconomic policies that work for them, that they have schools that arenot Wahhabi schools, that we try and make sure they have good healthcare. We bring together not just America, but all the nations of thecivilized world. We help draw these folks toward modernity, asopposed to having them turn toward the violence and the extreme, whichHezbollah and Hamas brought forward.
And that kind of a campaign of values, combined with our strongarms, speaking softly but carrying a strong stick, as Teddy Rooseveltsaid, that will help move the world to a safer place.
ROMNEY: We'd love it if we could all just come home and notworry about the rest of the world, as Ron Paul says. But the problemis, they attacked us on 9/11. We were here; they attacked us.
We want to help move the world of Islam toward modernity so theycan reject the extreme...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Tancredo, your answer on this thisweek was...
You said that, in order to deter an attack by Islamic terroristsusing nuclear weapons, you would threaten to bomb Mecca and Medina.
The State Department called that "reprehensible" and "absolutelycrazy."
TANCREDO: Yes, the State Department -- boy, when they startcomplaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things Isay, I'll tell you right now.
My task as president of the United States is primarily to do onething -- by the way, not to make sure everybody has health care oreverybody's child is educated -- my task is to do one thing: toprotect and defend this country.
And that means to deter -- and I want to underline "deter" -- anykind of aggression, especially the type we are threatened with by AlQaida, which is nuclear attack.
I read the national intelligence estimate. I see what they areplanning. And I'm telling you right now that anybody that wouldsuggest that we should take anything like this off the table in orderto deter that kind of event in the United States isn't fit to bepresident of the United States.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Thompson, you get the last word on thisround.
PAUL (?): No, I need -- I haven't spoken on...
THOMPSON: I would like to...
PAUL (?): ... to speak on this.
THOMPSON: Thank you very much, George.
I sincerely believe that bombing religious artifacts andreligious holy sites would do nothing but unify 1 billion Muslimsagainst us. It makes no sense.
TANCREDO (?): After we take a hit?
THOMPSON: I would like to say you have to strengthen yourmilitary.
What we (inaudible) as Americans, we have to be so politicallycorrect in this country. When we have democracies in South Americathat are supporting us, we sort of ignore them, until somebody electsa guy like Chavez who hates us. Then we wake up and say somethingabout it.
THOMPSON: I think we've got to strengthen our military and we'vegot to recognize in this world right now we are fighting a holy war.It's a jihad. And until we recognize that and stand up to beAmericans and for America, we're going to continue to lose...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brownback, then we're out of this.
BROWNBACK: Thank you.
George, I think you're seeing clearly from the discussion hereand this week that words of a president matter. When Ronald Reagansays, "Mr. Gorbachev, bring down this wall," that mattered. When hecalled the Soviet Union an evil empire, that mattered.
Words of our leader matter, and you have to matter within thecontext of where we are.
We are in a generational conflict with militant Islamists.That's where we are. We are at war. We're a nation at war.
I think we have to be very realistic about this war. We have anumber of allies in the Islamic world. We have a number of alliesaround the world. It is something important what we say and thedirection we go.
I think we push democracy, but I think we have to be realistic inthe places that we push and at the time we push it. You pushdemocracy in Pakistan or Egypt right now, you're going to get aradicalized government in Pakistan, a radicalized government in Egyptand you're going to have a nuclear-weaponed, radical government inPakistan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, that wraps up discussion.
BROWNBACK: That's why we have to be realistic...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you very much, but I do want to move on toanother issue that was in...
... that was in the news this week. Of course, the collapse ofthat bridge up in Minneapolis on 35 West, brought a lot of attentionto our nation's infrastructure. And with that, let me turn back to David Yepsen.
YEPSEN: Governor Huckabee, is it time we raise the federal gastax to start fixing up our nation's bridges and roads?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think the obvious answer is, it's notnecessarily that we raise a tax to fix what we ought to fix of thiscountry. We're spending billions of dollars all over our country andaround the world, but it may be time that we start spending some ofthose billions of dollars to deal with our own infrastructure.
And the bridge isn't the only problem. Anybody who's flownlately -- as I do pretty regularly in the commercial system -- knowthat we have a complete gridlock.
HUCKABEE: And part of that problem is we've got a system of airtraffic control that was designed in 1950, five years before I wasborn. We've got better navigation systems in our rental cars than wehave running the airline industry today.
And so, yes, we need to address it. It's not being talked about.And it's our bridges, our interstates, our sewer and water treatmentsystems. They're crumbling. They're old. We saw an 85-year-oldsteam pipe explode in the middle of Manhattan recently. And we haveto start addressing building this country, not everybody else's.
YEPSEN: Mayor Giuliani, how do you answer -- in Minnesota,Governor Pawlenty, who vetoed an increase in his state gas tax saidnow he may consider one. Is this Republican dogma against taxes nowprecluding the ability of you and your party to come up with therevenues that the country needs to fix its bridges?
GIULIANI: David, there's an assumption in your question that isnot necessarily correct, sort of the Democratic, liberal assumption:"I need money; I raise taxes."
YEPSEN: Then what are you going to cut, sir?
GIULIANI: But wait, wait, wait. Let me explain it.
YEPSEN: What do you cut?
GIULIANI: The way to do it sometimes is to reduce taxes andraise more money. For example...
... I ran the city -- I ran a city with 759 bridges; probably themost used bridges in the nation, some of the most used in the world.I was able to acquire more money to fund capital programs. I reducedthe number of poor bridges from 5 percent to 1.7 percent.
I was able to raise more money to fix those bridges by loweringtaxes. I lowered income taxes by 25 percent. I was collecting 40percent more from the lower income tax than from the higher incometax.
Or, I'll give you another example. Senator Edwards last weekrecommended increasing the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 28percent because he wants more money.
GIULIANI: Now, Senator Edwards hasn't had much executiveexperience because the reality is the last time -- the last time weraised the capital gains tax, and you can go back and check it, from20 to 28 percent, we lost $45 billion.
There is a liberal Democratic assumption that if you raise taxes,you raise money.
We should put more money into infrastructure. We should have agood program for doing it. But the kneejerk liberal Democraticreaction -- raise taxes to get money -- very often is a very bigmistake.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, do you want to cut taxes to fixmore bridges?
ROMNEY: There's no question but that the biggest source ofrevenue for this country -- if you really want to make some money inthis country, really get some money so we can repair ourinfrastructure and build for the future, the biggest source of that isa growing American economy.
If the economy is growing slowly, when tax revenues hardly moveat all, and, boy, you better raise taxes to get more money for all thethings you want to do. But if the economy is growing quickly, then wegenerate all sorts of new revenue.
And the best way to keep the economy rolling is to keep our taxesdown. That is why I proposed that middle-income Americans ought topay no taxes on their savings. Invest in the future of the economy.Growth helps us provide the revenue that we need.
Our bridges -- let me tell you what we did in our state. Wefound that we had 500 bridges, roughly, that were deemed structurallydeficient. And so we changed how we focused our money. Instead ofspending it to build new projects -- the bridge to nowhere, newtrophies for congressmen -- we instead said, "Fix it first."
We have to reorient how we spend our money.
YEPSEN: Senator McCain, you have about 30 seconds.
MCCAIN: We passed a $50 billion transportation bill that had $2billion in pork barrel earmarked projects: $233 million for a bridgeto nowhere in Alaska, to an island with 50 people on it. Not one dimein those pork barrel projects was for inspection or repair of bridges.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator McCain, you got 10 seconds.
MCCAIN: They were for pork barrel projects.
I'll veto every single bill that comes across my desk and makethe authors of those pork barrel projects...
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the last word.
We're going to go to commercial. We'll be back in just a coupleof minutes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are back now for the final half hour ofthe Republican debate here in Iowa.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we want to start out this half hour with aquestion that came in over the Internet. His name is Sean Kennedy(ph). He's from Leesburg, Virginia. And he had a question about VicePresident Cheney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN KENNEDY (ph): During the Bush administration, there's beena growing controversy over the role of the office of the vicepresident.
As a candidate for president, what authority would you delegateto the office of vice president? And should those authorities be moreclearly defined through a constitutional amendment?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: Having been considered for that post several times, I'vethought a lot about that.
The vice president really only has two duties. One is to cast atie-breaking vote in the case of a tied vote in the Senate. And theother is to inquire daily as to the health of the president.
I really would do what some presidents have done in the past. Avice president brings a certain area of expertise and talent. I wouldprobably assign some of those areas, like telecommunications or someother important issues.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So not as wide-ranging as Vice President Cheneyhad?
MCCAIN: Look, I would be very careful that everybody understoodthat there's only one president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Thompson, you served in the Cabinetwith Vice President Cheney. Do you -- and I heard in the implicationin Senator McCain's answer there -- do you think that Vice PresidentCheney has too much power?
THOMPSON: I believe that Vice President Cheney is criticized fora lot of things that he doesn't do.
And I believe that Dick Cheney is an honorable individual. And Ithink the president of the United States depends a great deal uponhim.
But I would like to also quickly point out, since I'm not goingto get a chance, is that I don't want to leave this audience -- youknow, when you said that nobody supports Senator Grassley's SCHIPprogram, to have the press -- because I know how the press acts --that the press will come back, "All Republicans are against poorchildren and health care for them."
That is not what we said.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not what I said either, but go ahead.
THOMPSON: We said that what we want to do is we want to changeSCHIP on a competitive model, against the Democrats...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're not with Senator Grassley. And Iwant to move on and stay on this subject.
THOMPSON: No, but I really want to make that...
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. I just want to stay on this subject.
GIULIANI: I think the vice president of the United States --that office has to be worked out with the president. And the thing that's clearest about it, now that we're at war andwe have this Islamic terrorist war against us and we have thisaggressive enemy that's already attacked us here in the United Statestwice, is that a vice president has to be just as capable, just asready to take over that office, literally on a moment's notice.
And that should be the major qualification. And then it shouldbe in the discretion of the president and the vice president to decideon what kind of responsibilities they should have.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But would you like to have...
GIULIANI: I worked in the Reagan administration...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... a vice president like Vice President Cheney,with that wide range of responsibility (ph)?
GIULIANI: I thought -- I mean, worked in the Reaganadministration. I thought the division of responsibilities betweenPresident Reagan and Vice President was a good one. I thought it wasa really comfortable one.
I mean, I'm real clear on the fact that George W. Bush is thepresident of the United States.
GIULIANI: He's the only one...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney?
GIULIANI: ... who makes the decisions. He can use VicePresident Cheney the way he sees fit.
And I'm comfortable that you select somebody who can step in on amoment's notice with experience, background, knowing what's going on.We can't have a kind of situation like we had in, you know, the 1940swith Harry Truman, where Harry Truman, thank God, turned out to be thekind of president he was, but apparently he didn't even know about theManhattan Project. You can't have that any longer.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney?
ROMNEY: You let the president decide what the responsibilitiesof the vice president would be in his administration...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What would you decide?
ROMNEY: Depends on the person, depends on the needs, depends ontheir capabilities. But I like a person that gives wide viewpoints ona wide array of issues.
But let me tell you, it's been very popular lately for peopleacross the country to be critical of the president and the vicepresident. And I know they make mistakes. But they have kept us safethese last six years. Let's not forget that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brownback?
BROWNBACK: George, I wouldn't delegate things to the vicepresident. But I would involve the vice president in a lot of things.
But I think there's a key point here to look at. One is thatDick Cheney came in with a lot of experience. He came in with a lotof experience on defense, foreign policy issues. And I think thepresident over-relied on that. I think Dick Cheney has done anadmirable job. I think the president's over-relied upon that.
I think you need somebody coming into the presidency that's hadforeign policy experience, that's worked on these national and globalissues, so that they don't have to depend on the vice president asmuch.
I think you should have a highly competent person as vicepresident that can step in at any time and can provide you high-quality information, reflection, wisdom that's needed in that job, butnot somebody that takes over the job.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul?
PAUL: I certainly wouldn't support an amendment to change therole of the vice president.
But there's no way to know exactly what goes on, but if you takeperceptions from Washington, most people there behind the scenes thinkthe vice president is more powerful than the president.
Philosophically, I think this is the case. It's obvious that herepresents a neoconservative viewpoint.
And my objection is that that has been the rejection of theRepublican Party platform and traditional conservatism. And I thinkthis is where we have gone astray. We have drifted from ourfundamental premises and the conservative values that this party usedto get.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Hunter, you get the last word onthis.
HUNTER: George, it depends on the credentials of the president.
I served in Vietnam -- didn't do anything special, but I wore theuniform. I've been the chairman of the Armed Services Committee forthe last four years. And my son has now done two tours in Iraq andone in Afghanistan. I can look the American people in the eye andsay, "We're all in this together."
So I would not share the role of commander in chief with a vicepresident. If you've got other folks that have less background innational security, they're going to need to have a vice president thatthey rely on much more.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I need to move on now, and the issue is taxes,always important in these caucuses and primaries.
And the Iowa Republican Party has said the most importanteconomic reform Congress can enact to win the fight against poverty isthe fair tax.
For our viewers, I want to explain what the fair tax is. Itwould eliminate the income tax, estate tax, payroll tax and capitalgains tax. It would eliminate all those and replace it with a 23percent sales tax. That's the fair tax.
Mr. Yepsen has a question.
YEPSEN: Governor Huckabee, this issue of tax policy, I see it asa real fault line inside your party -- fair tax, national sales tax, aflat tax, or make adjustments to the existing tax system.
YEPSEN: Where do you come down on this question?
HUCKABEE: I absolutely support the fair tax. And part of thereason is, the current system is one that penalizes productivity.
A recent poll showed that more Americans fear an audit of the IRSthan they do getting mugged. And the reason is, getting mugged isn'tas painless as an audit from the IRS.
And the reality is, if we could have the fair tax, you take $10trillion parked offshore, bring it home, you rebuild the "made inAmerica" brand, you free up people to earn money, to work, you don'tpenalize them for taking a second job, you don't penalize them forinvesting, you don't penalize them for savings.
Today, our tax system doesn't need a tap of the hammer, a twistof the screwdriver, it needs a complete overhaul. And what the fairtax does, it ends the underground economy. No more illegals...
YEPSEN: Governor Romney?
HUCKABEE: Let me, if I may.
No more illegals, no more gamblers, prostitutes, pimps and dopedealers will be able to escape the tax code.
YEPSEN: Governor Romney?
HUCKABEE: It's the single great thing that will help thiscountry (inaudible) revitalized economy.
YEPSEN: Governor Romney, how do you come down on this question?
ROMNEY: It's good, but it's not that good.
HUCKABEE: No, it's actually better than that, Mitt, it's evenbetter than that.
ROMNEY: There are a lot of features that are very attractiveabout a fair tax. Getting rid of the IRS is something we'd all love.But the truth is, we're going to have to pay taxes.
We are the largest economy in the world. We've added -- duringthe time Europe added 3 million jobs, we've added about 50 millionjobs in this country.
And so completely throwing out our tax system and coming up withan entirely new one is something we have to do very, very carefully.
The president's commission on taxation -- tax reform -- looked atthis and said: Not a good idea.
Some of the reasons...
HUCKABEE: They didn't look at that...
ROMNEY: Let me -- hold on, let me complete.
Some of the reasons are the fair tax, for instance, charges a 23percent tax, plus state sales tax, on a new home, when you purchase anew home. But if you buy an old home, there's no tax. Think whatthat might do to the construction industry.
We need to thoroughly take it apart before we make a change ofthat nature.
That's why my view is, get rid of the tax on savings and letmiddle-income people save their money tax-free.
YEPSEN: Mayor Giuliani, which one of the three options wouldyou...
A national sales tax...
GIULIANI: Eliminate the death tax.
ROMNEY (?): Of course. Of course.
GIULIANI: And that should be eliminated immediately. It makesno sense at all.
In 2010, the death tax is going to go to zero percent. And thenit's going to go to 55 percent in 2011. You do not want to be on arespirator in 2010.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Huckabee and then...
GIULIANI: And then I would say the most -- the most sensiblething to do is to simplify the tax code, reduce taxes, keep taxes low.
I don't think -- I think the flat tax and the fair tax are bothvery intriguing. And if we were starting off at the very beginningwith taxation, the first argument I would make is let's not have anytaxes.
The second argument I would make is the fair tax or the flat taxwould probably be a better way to go.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're not for the fair tax now, correct?
GIULIANI: It would be too complex to get there. And somebodywould have to show me how we're going to make that transition.
And, also, the thought that there wouldn't be an IRS with thefair tax -- well, who is going to administer the sales tax? And who'sgoing to administer the people that are exempt from the sales tax?And who is going to administer what items might be exempt from thesales -- maybe food would be exempt from the sales tax.
YEPSEN: Senator McCain, how do you come down on this question?
MCCAIN: I believe that we've got to simplify the tax code. Butone of the first areas we've got to go after is the alternate minimumtax, which is going to eat in to 20 million American families if wedon't eliminate it, and very quickly.
Look, when we found out that Congress could not close a singlemilitary base when we had a huge number of them, we appointed -- wepassed a law where we appointed a commission and they said we wouldclose so many based and Congress votes up or no -- up or down.
I would find Alan Greenspan. I'd say, "Give us yourrecommendations." We'll pass a law. And we will vote on AlanGreenspan and his commission's recommendations, yes or no, up or down.
That's the way you're going to simplify the tax code, which nowrequires $140 billion of American families' income to prepare theirtax returns.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Tancredo?
TANCREDO: The reason why we absolutely need to go to somethinglike a fair tax -- and I am a co-sponsor.
And by the way, if you don't understand how it would work, Iwould suggest to you that you read Neil Boortz's book and JohnLinder's. It's a perfect explanation of how it works.
GIULIANI (?): (inaudible) read it -- underlined it.
TANCREDO: Here's -- well, then you should know how it works.
GIULIANI (?): We just disagree about it.
TANCREDO: The fact is that -- but the most important reason, themost important reason to move from an income tax to something like afair tax -- to specifically a fair tax, is because an income tax isdesigned to manipulate behavior.
BROWNBACK (?): George?
TANCREDO: It gives the government the power to manipulate yourbehavior. "I reward you for the things I want you to do by giving youa tax cut. I penalize you for the things I don't want you to do byraising your taxes."
That is too much power for the federal government. It is alwaysgoing to be an overreach of power.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I've got to move on.
Senator Brownback, you get 30 seconds on this, and then we moveon.
BROWNBACK: I think we need to move toward an optional flat tax.I think we need to go to flat taxes.
And let me just say why here.
We've got a problem with the current tax code and we've tried totake it out. And every time you try to take it out, everybody comesto defend it that has something in it.
You can put an optional flat tax in the tax code and let peoplechoose. And it will create economic growth. That's why 16 countrieshave already gone to a flat tax: It creates growth. Growth is thekey for us in this economy for us to get things moving forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, but you're against the fair tax.
I want to -- I've got to move on now. Sorry, Governor, I've gotto move on right now.
We've got an e-mail question coming in. I'm going to ask everyone of you to come in on this for 30 seconds. It comes from AdamWaldren (ph) from Pocatello, Idaho, and it starts like this: "I havemade several mistakes that have been defining moments in my lifebecause of what I learned or was forced to realize. What is thedefining mistake of your life and why?"
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Hunter?
HUNTER: Because of what I learned and was forced to realize.Think of a major mistake. Contemplating running as a Democrat in myvery first...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul?
PAUL: The only mistake I made and continue to make is I don'tspeak forcefully enough for the cause of liberty and the cause of theConstitution. I'm working on it all the time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Huckabee?
HUCKABEE: I think probably the greatest mistake I made was nottaking good care of my own personal health for the first half of mylife. And that's been one of the most transformational things I'vedone, and I just wish I'd started much earlier.
ROMNEY: Probably from a political standpoint and a personalstandpoint, the greatest mistake was when I first ran for office,being deeply opposed to abortion but saying, "I support the currentlaw," which was pro-choice and effectively a pro-choice position.That was just wrong.
And when I became a governor and faced a life-and-death decisionas a governor, I came down on the side of life. That was a mistakebefore that.
GIULIANI: To have a description of my mistakes in 30 seconds?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Defining mistake, Mayor. Just one definingmistake.
GIULIANI: Your father is a priest. I'm going to explain it toyour father, not to you, OK?
(LAUGHTER) STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. I guess that's a pass.
MCCAIN: You want my list? It's right here.
I would imagine that in 1967, in the USS Forrestal, where we'djust had a horrendous fire and the ship was headed back to the UnitedStates, and a guy came onboard and said, "We need people to go over toanother aircraft carrier and stay in combat," that was a very definingmoment.
MCCAIN: I thought about that a lot in the intervening five and ahalf years in prison.
The other mistake was when I went to a meeting among someregulators concerning a guy who was a supporter of mine. It was amistake and one I never should have made.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brownback?
BROWNBACK: Probably not telling my wife and kids and parents Ilove them enough and just being more focused, too many times, on meinstead of on them and on others is probably the biggest mistake I'vemade.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Thompson?
THOMPSON: My mother-in-law died of breast cancer, my mother. Mywife has breast cancer. My young daughter has breast cancer. I don'tthink I was supportive enough, and that's why I'm vowing right now toend breast cancer by the year 2015 for all the women in America.
TANCREDO: I have no doubt of what the greatest mistake in mylife has been. And that is that it took me probably 30 years before Irealized that Jesus Christ is my personal savior.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Tancredo, thank you all very much.
We have one more...
We have one more round. I also want to bring all of you in onthis for about 30 seconds each.
And I'm going to introduce it by showing everyone something thatPresident Bush said at the Iowa straw poll eight years ago. It washis fundamental promise as president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I know this: Should I be fortunate enough to become thepresident of the United States, that when I put my hand on the Bible,I will swear to not only uphold the laws of the land, I will swear touphold the honor and the dignity of the office to which I have beenelected, so help me God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Tancredo, that was the core promiseof President Bush's campaign, to restore honor and dignity to the OvalOffice.
What will you restore to the Oval Office?
TANCREDO: Hope -- hope in America itself, remembering that wehave made a number of mistakes that have turned our friends againstus, have encouraged our enemies.
I believe that -- with all my heart, that it is going to take aleader committed to the ideas of Western civilization, to therhetorical -- to speaking out about the values of Westerncivilization.
We can no longer afford political correctness. We have to tellpeople that there is something good -- not just good, but great --about who we are.
That will restore America's faith in itself and the world's faithin America.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Thompson?
THOMPSON: I would open up the East Wing. I would open it up tobring in the best minds -- Democrats, Republicans, independents acrossAmerica -- that want to get something done with this great country.
Instead of tearing it down, start building, pro-America, and makesure that we're not so politically correct that we are sacrificing ourvalues in America in this jihadist war.
And by bringing in the best minds, the best people, we can changethe direction and really start building America a stronger andhealthier and better tomorrow than ever before.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brownback, what would you restore to theOval Office?
BROWNBACK: Rebuilding the family.
You know, in Washington, D.C., right now, 63 percent of thechildren are born out of wedlock. Nationwide, the number is 36percent. You can raise a good child in that setting, but it gets moredifficult. The best place is between a mom and a dad bonded togetherfor life.
I would stand for life. And I would appoint the next justice Ihope would be the voting decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: I love my country. I've had the great honor for morethan 50 years of serving it in the military, in Congress, the UnitedStates Senate.
And I am fully prepared -- fully prepared, more than anyone elserunning on either side -- to fight the transcendent challenge of thisnation, which will be for all of the 21st century. And that is thestruggle against radical Islamic extremism.
MCCAIN: We must win. We will win. And we will never surrender;they will.
GIULIANI: I would do the same thing that I did as mayor of NewYork City, and that is, I would restore hope, but for the people ofthe entire country: hope that this country can do great things, grandthings, that we can build our future on optimism, not this kind ofdefeatism that I hear from the Democratic candidates.
And in deference to the senator, I think the senator is a greatman and very well-qualified. But the fact is, I look at the threeleading Democratic candidates. They haven't held an executive officein their lives. They haven't run a city, a state, a business. Ithink maybe they've run a club somewhere.
But the reality is, you've got to have some kind of experiencefor this job. You have to be able to show that you can accomplishthings and you can get things done. And I've done that, and I woulddo that for this country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney?
ROMNEY: I've thought a lot about this question. And I take myinspiration from my dad, from Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, theDeclaration of Independence.
My view is that America is going to be strengthened by virtue ofthe presidency, if I'm able to have that opportunity.
I would strengthen America's military, make sure that we could besafe here at home. We know that we can be safe around the world. Iwant to have more troops in our military. I want to have them havethe equipment they need on the battlefield and the care they deservewhen they come home.
I want to strengthen our economy, keep our taxes down, becomefree of oil from foreign places, strengthen our economy so we havegreat jobs and a great future for our people.
And finally, I want to strengthen the American family. In myview, families, a strong economy and a strong military -- thatcombination of features is what makes this party so strong andaccounts for our great success in the elections over the prior severaldecades and also is so critical to our future as a nation -- a strongeconomy, a strong military, and strong families. And I'll fight forthose things.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Huckabee?
HUCKABEE: I would put the very same frame on my wall in the WhiteHouse I did as governor for 10 and a half years. It's a frame thathas a photo, and underneath the photo it says, "Our boss."
My picture was never in that frame in 10 and a half years. Everyweek or so, we'd put the picture of some ordinary Arkansas citizen.And I told our staff, let's never forget who the real boss is.
I hope every day I'd never forget I work for those people; theydon't work for me. I'd like to be the kind of president that's moreconcerned about the people on Main Street, not just the folks on WallStreet. And we need that kind of Republican running, that kind ofRepublican winning.
I'd never forget who the boss really, really is.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: Congressman Paul?
PAUL: I would restore openness to government. I do not think inthis country we should have secrecy of government. The purpose ofgovernment is to provide privacy for the people.
I would never use executive privilege to deny information to theCongress, with the full realization that you protect securityinformation, but in the very general sense, we should be very, veryopen.
We want a transparent government. And currently I believe wecould improve on that matter.
STEPHANAPOULOS: Congressman Hunter, last word.
HUNTER: I think restoring what I call economic patriotism.
You know, in World War I, World War II and the Cold War, we rodeto victory on the arsenal of democracy. That's our great industrialbase, our ability to make things in this country, this magnificentmanufacturing capability, which right now we're pushing offshore,pushing to China, pushing to India, pushing to Japan.
I would stop China from cheating on trade. I would level theplaying field. I would bring back that arsenal of democracy that weneed, not only for high-paying jobs in this country but also to defendthe country.
And lastly, when my kid came back from Iraq, he wrote a greatletter. And the last part of that letter said, "Families lift thiscountry up. They provide us with fidelity, morality, faith in God,and raising the next generation of Americans."
Our work: to make sure that we elevate the American family andmake a life of opportunity for that next generation of Americans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you.
Thank you all. It was a great debate.
Thanks everyone who was watching back at home.