From the transcript of the New Hampshire GOP Debate:
MR. WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, the latest National Intelligence Estimate, which is out recently, says that even if we continue the troop surge -- and we’re going to put it up on the screen -- Iraq’s security will continue to improve modestly during the next six to 12 months, but levels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high, and the Iraqi government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level political reconciliation and improved governance.Watch the exchange and read media reaction here.
Governor, if that’s the best we can hope for, should we continue the surge?
MR. HUCKABEE: We have to continue the surge. And let me explain why, Chris. When I was a little kid, if I went into a store with my mother, she had a simple rule for me. If I picked something off the shelf of the store and I broke it, I bought it.
I learned don’t pick something off the shelf I can’t afford to buy.
Well, what we did in Iraq, we essentially broke it. It’s our responsibility to do the best we can to try to fix it before we just turn away because something is at stake. Senator McCain made a great point, and let me make this clear. If there’s anybody on this stage that understands the word honor, I’ve got to say Senator McCain understands that word -- (applause, cheers) -- because he has given his country a sacrifice the rest of us don’t even comprehend. (Continued applause.)
And on this issue, when he says we can’t leave until we’ve left with honor, I 100 percent agree with him because, Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion that historians can have, but we’re there. We bought it because we broke it. We’ve got a responsibility to the honor of this country and to the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and ever served in our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor that they deserve. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. HUME: Go ahead. You wanted to respond? He just addressed you; you go ahead and respond. (Continued applause.)
REP. PAUL: The American people didn’t go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservative hijacked our foreign policy. They’re responsible, not the American people. They’re not responsible. We shouldn’t punish them. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. HUCKABEE: Congressman, we are one nation. We can’t be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America. (Cheers.)
REP. PAUL: No. When we make a mistake -- (interrupted by applause) -- when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people through their representatives to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake! (Cheers, applause.)
MR. HUCKABEE: And that’s what we do on the floor of the --
REP. PAUL: No! We’ve dug a hole for ourselves and we dug a hole for our party!
We’re losing elections and we’re going down next year if we don’t change it, and it has all to do with foreign policy, and we have to wake up to this fact.
MR. HUCKABEE: Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor, and that is more important than the Republican Party.