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Iraq Kicks It Off

The debate starts on the one major topic that almost every one of the Republicans agree on -- the war in Iraq.


The Republican candidates for president pose for a photo ahead of Tuesday night's debate in New Hampshire. (Reuters)

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) faced the question first and rebutted its very premise, calling it a "non sequitur" because it is impossible to know then what we know now about Iraq. Romney did acknowledge that the Bush administration was "underprepared" after toppling Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was more forceful on the question. "It was absolutely the right thing to do," said Giuliani. He pivoted to assert that the "Democrats were in denial" by trying to separate Iraq from the broader global war on terror.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) walked through his support for the war but, like Romney, said that the problems were primarily centered on "the management of the conflict." McCain admitted he had not read the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (and neither did Sen. Sam Brownback). McCain also invoked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) name for the first time in the debate, saying she was making a fundamental misjudgment by calling Iraq "George Bush's war." Applause followed.

VIDEO | (Courtesy CNN)

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 5, 2007; 7:16 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Republican Party  
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Comments

They are barking up the wrong tree on Iraq. The poll's are really low on support, and yes, it is totally Bush's war - a war of choice - don't believe me? Then ask the Bush mouthpiece, Fox News to do reruns up to the war. I never supported it and didn't believe it for a minute because GW was way to into prancing around in borrowed military outfits to be rational and Fox was far too hysterical.

Posted by: Roger | June 5, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Is there any way to view the debate after it is aired live? Are there re-runs? Youtube perhaps? I am at work and would like to catch up later

Posted by: Stephen | June 5, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Is there any way to view the debate after it is aired live? Are there re-runs? Youtube perhaps? I am at work and would like to catch up later?

Posted by: Stephen | June 5, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

"Kicking it off" would be analogous to a debate that was a 'bang'. This debate is little more than a whimper.

Posted by: ErrinF | June 5, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Iraq isn't Bush's war... we did it to get revenge for Saddam trying to kill all our fathers.
Face facts: A war with Iraq followed 9/11 because a Bush was in the White House. No other politician would have focused so squarely on Iraq as Bush did.

Posted by: ErrinF | June 5, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

McCain also invoked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) name for the first time in the debate, saying she was making a fundamental misjudgment by calling Iraq "George Bush's war."

I believe McCain is an honorable man. But very few people would have made Iraq a priority after 9/11 instead of going after Osama bin Laden. He had many enablers, but this is DEFINITELY George Bush's war. His advisors and intel folks told him what he (and Cheney) wanted to hear. Those who didn't, like Colin Powell, are gone.

Posted by: Alan | June 5, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

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