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Quotes from Republican debate

Quotes from the first Republican debate:


--He said his approach in Iraq would differ from President Bush's. "I'd push more a political solution along with a military solution in Iraq, and here I would push a three-state, one-country solution in Iraq, with a Kurdish state, a Sunni state, a Shiite state, with Baghdad as the federal city. I think we've got to push a political solution, along with the military, to get to a stable situation in Iraq, which is our key political issue of the day."

--He said Congress was right to intervene in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case. "Yes, it should have. And it gave her the right, and the family the right to take that appeal to the court. That's what the Congress did. And her life is sacred. Even if it's in that difficult moment that she's in at that point in time, that life is sacred, and we should stand for life in all its circumstances."



--"I see this Iraq problem as part of an entire Middle East issue, and it's sort of a fundamental problem that we're going to have an honest conversation with the American people about. We're going to have to engage in the Middle East, and we're going to have to do it for an extended and a long period of time."



--He said it would be acceptable if the Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade. He also said, "It would be OK to repeal. It would be OK also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent, and I think a judge has to make that decision. ... I think the court has to make that decision and then the country can deal with it. We're a federalist system of government and states can make their own decisions."

--"The use of military force against Iran would be very dangerous. It would be very provocative. The only thing worse would be Iran being a nuclear power. It's the worst nightmare of the Cold War, isn't it? The nuclear weapons in the hands of an irrational person, an irrational force. (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad is clearly irrational. He has to understand it's not an option; he cannot have nuclear weapons. "



--He said he would have asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign earlier than Bush did. "I think I would've done that before the election. I certainly wouldn't have said that we are not going to do it and then, right after the election, done so. But that's the president's call. Clearly there was a real error in judgment, and that primarily had to do with listening to a lot of folks who were civilians in suits and silk ties and not listening enough to the generals with mud and blood on their boots and medals on their chest."

--"The most important thing a president needs to do is to make it clear that we're not going to continue to see jobs shipped overseas, jobs that are lost by American workers, many in their 50s who, for 20 and 30 years, have worked to make a company rich, and then watch as a CEO takes a $100 million bonus to jettison those American jobs somewhere else. And the worker not only loses his job, but he loses his pension. That's criminal. It's wrong. And if Republicans don't stop it, we don't deserve to win in 2008."



--"You know, right now, right now, Iran is moving equipment into Iraq that is being used to kill Americans. Iran has crossed the line, and the United States has absolute license at this point to take whatever actions are necessary to stop those deadly instruments from being moved across the line, being used in explosives, roadside bombs, inside Iraq."

--"Right now, the border is 2,000 miles of a very porous area where hundreds of thousands of people come across on an annual basis and where last year we had 155,000 folks who came across from Mexico who were from other countries in the world. Some from communist China, some from Iran, some from Korea. We have to secure the border. That's the biggest failure of the federal government."



--"When the majority leader of the United States Senate says we've lost the war, the men and women that are serving in Iraq reject that notion. And, if we lost, then who wins? Did al-Qaida win? When on the floor of the House of Representatives they cheer -- they cheer -- when they pass a withdrawal motion that is a certain date for surrender, what were they cheering? Surrender? Defeat? We must win in Iraq. If we withdraw, there will be chaos; there will be genocide; and they will follow us home."

--He said he supports a guest worker program to help deal with illegal immigration. "The status quo is not acceptable. We have to secure our borders. But we also need a temporary worker program, and we have to dispose of the issue of 12 million people who are in this country illegally. This issue is an important and compelling one, and it begins with national security. But we also need to address it comprehensively."



--"The purpose of government is to protect the secrecy and the privacy of all individuals, not the secrecy of government. We don't need a national ID card."



--"This is a nation, after all, that wants a leader that's a person of faith, but we don't choose our leader based on which church they go to. This is a nation which also comes together -- we unite over faith and over the right of people to worship as they choose. The people we're fighting, they're the ones who divide over faith and decide matters of this nature in the public forum. This is a place where we celebrate different religions and different faiths."

--"You can fight, for instance, to make sure that partial-birth abortion is made illegal. You can fight to have information given to women who are thinking about having an abortion. You can fight to make sure that there's opportunities for people to express their views on this topic openly and near abortion clinics. You can fight for the opportunity to go out and campaign for the rights of those who care about this issue to be heard before Election Day, and the McCain-Feingold law prevents that from happening."



--"There are issues that I believe have not been addressed tonight, not in full, and I believe that they do separate us. And I certainly believe the issue of immigration and immigration reform and what's going to happen to this country unless we deal with this forthrightly -- no more platitudes, no more obfuscating with using words like, 'Well, I am not for amnesty, but I am for letting them stay.' That kind of stuff has got to be taken away from the political debate, as far as I'm concerned, so people can understand exactly who is where on this incredibly important issue."



--"I think the biggest problem we've got in America is the alternative minimum tax that's bringing more middle-income people in. Let's put it in -- let's have the people have a flat tax and have the option of paying whichever is least."