War, abortion dominate GOP debate

050307romney.jpgAlone among 10 Republican presidential contenders, Rudy Giuliani said in campaign debate Thursday night “it would be OK” if the Supreme Court upholds a 1973 abortion rights ruling. “It would be OK to repeal it. It would be OK also if a strict constructionist viewed it as precedent,” said the former New York city mayor, who has a record of supporting abortion rights.

His nine rivals agreed that it would be a great day if the court overturns the landmark ruling.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney acknowledged he had changed his mind on the subject when he began to delve into the issue of cloning. He said his position had once effectively been “pro-choice.”

But Giuliani hedged when asked about his present position.

“I think the Court has to make that decision and then the country can deal with it,” he said.

The issue of abortion looms large in the 2008 Republican presidential campaign as a wide swath of the party’s activists support the overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Both Romney and Giuliani must persuade conservative voters they are ready to embrace that view — or else persuade them to overlook the issue in picking a candidate for the White House.

Alone among the top three contenders, Arizona Sen. John McCain has a career-long record of opposition to abortion.

Giuliani, McCain and Romney were the first among 10 equals on the debate stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library — the men with the most money and the best approval ratings in the polls more than eight months before the first 2008 national convention delegates are picked.

Other participants included Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas; former Govs. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, Jim Gilmore of Virginia, and Reps. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Duncan Hunter of California and Ron Paul of Texas.

There was no dissent about the importance of the U.S. military mission in Iraq.

McCain said the war effort is now on the right track, although he said that until recently, the war had been “terribly mismanaged” by the Bush administration. “Terribly mismanaged,” he repeated for emphasis.

“We should never retreat in the face of terrorism,” said Giuliani, adding, “terrible mistake.”

Romney also said the United States must support the government of Nouri al-Maliki in its efforts to combat terrorism.

“I want to get our troops home as soon as we possibly can, but at the same time we don’t want to get them out in such a precipitous way that we have to go back,” he said, warning that too hasty a departure could lead to chaos in the region.

The opening moments of the debate dealt with Iraq, and the calls for continuing the U.S. military operation contrasted sharply with last week’s debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Then, eight presidential hopefuls called for an end to the military involvement that so far has claimed the lives of more than 3,300 U.S. troops.

Reagan’s widow, Nancy, attended the debate, listening as the men vying to become the nation’s 44th president said they were the rightful successors to her husband, the 40th.

Speaking of Iran, Giuliani said “they looked in Ronald Reagan’s eyes and in two minutes they released the hostages.” That was a reference to the U.S. hostages released from captivity on the day of Reagan’s inauguration in 1981.

He didn’t mention other hostages taken on Reagan’s watch — those seized in Lebanon and kept for years.

Romney invoked Reagan in discussing abortion rights. “I changed my mind. I took the same course that Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush” did, he said.

Romney and McCain squared off over terrorist leader Osama bin Laden without directly addressing each other. Last week, the ex-governor said, “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person” and advocated a broader strategy to defeat Islamic jihadists. McCain had called the comment “naive.”

Under questioning, Romney defended his comment, saying: “It’s more than Osama bin Laden. But he is going to pay and he will die.”

McCain shot back, saying bin Laden’s responsible for the deaths of thousands of innnocent Americans. “We will do whatever is necessary. We will track him down. We will catch him. We will bring him to justice and I’ll follow him to the gates of hell,” he said.

MSNBC and The Politico co-sponsored the debate, moderated by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

Missing were three Republicans still weighing whether to run — Fred Thompson, the actor and former Tennessee senator; Newt Gingrich, the ex-House speaker from Georgia, and Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. They also weren’t slated to participate in two more debates — in South Carolina and New Hampshire — in the next month.


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Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press


  1. Bill Jonke

    Of yahoos. We thought the Democratic debate was a yawner, the Republicans know how to bring out the best in yawning.

    Abortion, Same sex marriages and the Iraq War; that’s all their narrow minds know.

    Oh, and yes, I forgot, they’re intent on bringing Terri Schiavo back from the dead!

    This is just too f**king funny!

    Bill Jonke

  2. KayInMaine

    …the republicans can show a lot of energy when they’re telling others how to live their lives! They practically burst at the seams!

    Good thing the Hate Crimes bill was passed today in the House, because after watching these morons debating tonight, I’m convinced the bill will crack down on the GOP….hard. This could be why they were all whining and crying today on the floor of the House talking about it. They were feeling guilty. *rolling eyes*

    Also, the suckling of Ronald Reagan has got to stop, though, knowing Reagan was the beginning of the end of our country it was a pretty good backdrop for the candidates tonight. They are finishing off where Reagan left off…


  3. Ardie

    Yep, violence and sex. So, is this all the Republican Party is about? But how does a hollow victory in Iraq, and making laws that tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body, really help America?

  4. Carl Nemo

    When I listened to these ten speak, waves of surreal nausea swept over my beingness as I thought I was listening to the utterances from the 10 mouths of Baal himself…!

    Reagan their Republican hero was asleep at the helm state while his very busy V.P. H.W. Bush was using his CIA contacts and expertise to pull the strings of the Iran-Contra scam with Ollie North as their main field co-ordinator, among many other shadowy endeavors as V.P.


    On Reagans watch, trillions were spent on useless defense gadgets and toys to supposedly outspend the already bankrupt Soviets. Reports profferred to Reagan via our intelligence services outlining the fact that Soviets were due to topple because of their own inefficiences were either ignored or sidetracked while the great “wobble-head” communicator popped jelly-beans and talked in endless euphemisms to the everso gullible electorate. He may have already been suffering from onset dementia with only those close to him realizing their advantage concerning this debility. The following link will demonstrate how intelligence can be steered for the benefit of the MIC. Interestingly the same names, faces and players are entrenched in the present Bush administration or are on the sidelines. The intelligence product can be massaged and creatively maneuvered by those with an agenda.


    We then suffered through a single term of H.W. Bush who brought his Gulf War I production by suckering Saddam into attacking Kuwait. James Baker green-lighted Saddam to attack Kuwait through our Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie…?!


    Then we were given respite with two terms of the Clinton who was nothing but a holding presidency until they could jam another Bush in office, courtesy of Republican controlled Diebold, the voting machine subsidiary and the final override via the Supremes. “We the People” have now suffered 1.5 terms of his two-term presidency. Dubya’s mission was to dust-off the “duty strawman of war” Saddam and attack Iraq for a second time, again lining the pockets of the MIC and with derivative benefit to the “oil patch” and to the chagrin of those at the pumps. They also had hopes of getting their fingers on Iraqi oil and establishing permanent military bases in Iraq.


    Republicans spell death and destruction to America. They are beholding to large, faceless global corporations and the M.I. Complex. “We the People” are nothing but groundlings to these elitists; we be their prey. H.W. Bush once referred to us as “groundlings” in a Rose Garden interview during his term in office. It is my hope that the Republican party virtually disappears from the American political scene forever. The Dems aren’t much better, but they have a little bit more affinity with the needs of the people. We are long overdue for new parties that cater to “we the people” ‘s needs. The republicans no doubt consider us to be nothing but useless eaters at this point a term used by Kissinger to describe the starving masses on the African continent. America is nothing but one of the minor plantations in their great global plantation as they along with their NWO controllers carve the world up into enterprise zones. Anyone who continues to get suckered in by their lying screed will end up getting the government they deserve paraphrasing Jefferson. America is in “harms way” with these mattoids either in control or aspiring to continue to control this once great nation.

  5. JoshuasGrandma

    That was the scariest bunch of pompous self-righteous corporate red-tied white guys I’ve ever seen. Ready to impose their faith-based beliefs on everyone and raring to get into another war to support the culture of ‘life’ Guilani was the only one that suggested that a woman might have a right to a conscience. Who in their right mind would put any of these guys in charge of anything?

  6. SEAL

    How could anyone, in their wildest imagination, consider any of these people as a president of the United States? Never has such a sorry lot been offered. But then I suppose that any republican of value would never consider running this time. Anyone with a brain knows the next president will be a democrat, any democrat. I’ll be amazed if the eventual republican candidate for president gets as much as 35% of the popular vote in 2008. And they are going to lose a lot of seats in congress.

    At last we will be rid of them. But their legacy will take 20 years to udo even if we are lucky enough to install some decent people in our nations government. That’s asuming we have 20 years left to do it. And good luck finding that many good guys.

  7. Sandy Price

    I was shocked at the number of people I recognized sitting around Nancy Reagan. These were the same people who voted for Reagan who stated outright that he was pro-choice and pro-individual freedoms. I wonder if those old gals are as shocked and disappointed as I am to the point I would never again vote for a Republican. Romney stated several times that his focus would be on strengthening family values. “Too many children born out of wedlock and too many divorces.”

    He wants to play God to America and one of those pompous asses is enough! None of those men understand that the voters do not want their social lives to be directed by the Oval Office.

    In 90 minutes the Republican Party has shown the American people why we dislike Bush and his intrusive Theocons. It was so bad that I believe they were all set up to show all of us what the GOP represents. Conservative is a dirty word to many of us and using Reagan’s name over and over made even him look pitiful.

  8. Steve Horn

    How can you pro-death in one breath (war, death penalty) and claim to be pro-life in the next? (abortion, stem cell research). Unless you can somehow rationalize that being “pro-life” only applies until the individual has been born, which seems rather absurd to me.