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Quotes from Republican debate

Quotes from the third Republican debate:



On whether President Bush was right to open a dialogue with Iran, Brownback said: "But I think we have to at times talk with them in different situations. Like, before we went into Afghanistan, we talked with Iran. It wasn't we were negotiating. We didn't open up formal diplomatic relations and we shouldn't. Iran is the lead sponsor of terrorism. On Iraq, I think we need to talk with them."

On whether he would pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Brownback said: "Yes. The basic crime here didn't happen. What they were saying was that the identity of an agent ... was revealed, but that agent has to be in the field for that to be a crime. That didn't occur."



"With respect to Iran, the policy I would follow would be dual. Number one, we need to work with our European allies in order to put in appropriate sanctions. We need to communicate directly with the Iranians that we are going to offer them an opportunity to work with us. But we are also going to say that having a nuclear weapon is unacceptable; they need to understand it. And all options are on the table by the United States in that instance."

In response to a question about whether former Sen. Fred Thompson is conservative enough, Gilmore said: "Well, we've gotten a little mileage out of Rudy McRomney. I know the mayor one time said that it would make a good ticket, and it would. But it isn't a conservative ticket. And we don't know what Fred Thompson is either."



"The problem the Democrats make is they're in denial. That's why you hear things like you heard in the debate the other night, that, you know, Iran really isn't dangerous; it's 10 years away from nuclear weapons. Iran is not 10 years away from nuclear weapons. And the danger to us is not just missiles. The danger to us is a state like Iran handing nuclear weapons over to terrorists."

"It's frustrating and really dangerous for us to see money going to our enemies because we have to buy oil from certain countries. We should be supporting all the alternatives. We need a project similar to putting a man on the moon. That project started with Eisenhower. It was carried out by Kennedy and then Johnson and then Nixon."



Responding to a question about his earlier statement that he does not believe in evolution, he said: "It's interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president. I'm not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. ... I believe there's a God who was active in the creation process. Now, how did he do it and when did he do it and how long did he take, I don't honestly know. And I don't think knowing that would make me a better or a worse president."

"Many of us who are pro-life, quite frankly, I think, have made the mistake of giving people the impression that pro-life means we care intensely about people as long as that child is in the womb. But beyond the gestation period, we've not demonstrated as demonstrably as we should that we respect life at all levels, not just during pregnancy. We shouldn't allow a child to live under a bridge or in the back seat of a car. We shouldn't be satisfied that elderly people are being abused and neglected in nursing homes."



"But 854 miles of double border fence was mandated to be constructed. Homeland Security has a billion bucks, cash on hand. It's been six months, and they've done 11 miles. So this administration has a case of the slows."

"And if we can achieve a country in Iraq that will not be a state sponsor of terrorism for the next five to 10 to 20 years, that will be a friend, not an enemy, of the United States, and will have a modicum of freedom, that is in the national interest of the United States, just like establishing a free Japan on the other side of the Pacific was in our interest after World War II, just like providing freedom and a protective shield for Salvador in Central America was in our interest."



Responding to a question about the immigration legislation, he said: "Look, this is a national security issue, first and foremost. Ever since 9/11, it's a national security issue. People came to Fort Dix, New Jersey, from across our southern border and tried to kill our soldiers. For us to do nothing is silent and de facto amnesty."

Responding to how his position differs from the Bush administration's, he said: "We've got to stop the earmarking. The bridge to nowhere, with 233 miles -- a $233 million bridge to an island in Alaska with 50 people on it was the tipping point. I want to promise you, as president of the United States, I'll veto every bill that has a pork-barrel project on it. And I'll make the authors of it famous, and we'll get spending under control, and we'll stop the corruption in Washington."



Responding to a question about the government in Iraq, he said: "We're not fighting a military battle. We're in a different type of warfare right now. So the sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can make sure that no more Americans will die. We have a lot of goodness in this country. And we should promote it, but never through the barrel of a gun. We should do it by setting good standards, motivating people and have them want to emulate us."



Responding to a question about the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military: "I wouldn't change it at this point. We can look at it down the road. But it does seem to me that we have much bigger issues as a nation that we ought to be talking about than that policy right now."

Responding to a question about his Mormon faith, he said: "I'm happy to be a proud member of my faith. You know, I think it's a fair question for people to ask, what do you believe? And I think if you want to understand what I believe, you could recognize that the values that I have are the same values you'll find in faiths across this country. ... And I also believe that there are some pundits out there that are hoping that I'll distance myself from my church so that that'll help me politically. And that's not going to happen."



"Believe me when I tell you this: The preservation of the English language is important for us for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is because it is what holds us together. It is the glue that keeps a country together -- any country. Bilingual countries don't work, and we should not encourage it."



Asked what was President Bush's biggest mistake over the past several years, Thompson said: "Because we went to Washington to change Washington, Washington changed us. We didn't come up with new ideas. We got to transform health care. We got to wind down the war in Iraq. We got to make sure that we really are conservatives. If we're going to spend money like as foolishly and as stupidly as the Democrats, the voters are going to vote for the professional spender, the Democrat, not the amateur spender, the Republican."