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Iraq, Personalized

The second hour starts as the first did -- with the war in Iraq.

Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee participate in the GOP presidential debate. (Getty Images)

The sister of a soldier killed in Iraq got the first question. (The soldier, Lt. Micheal Cleary, is featured in "Faces of the Fallen".)

In response to the question about Lt. Cleary and his sacrifice, the candidates honored the troops, told their own stories about family members serving, and, for the most part, defended the war.

Giuliani scored major points with the crowd -- receiving the loudest (and longest) applause we have heard all night by, what else, attacking the media. After again casting Iraq as a critical front in the war on terror and tracing that conflict all the way back in the 1970s, Giuliani posed the question of whether the media would report the story as vigorously if the surge in Iraq worked.

McCain gave his stock answer. The war has been "long, hard and tough" but can be won. He was near tears while speaking to the woman about her dead brother. He said the war had been mismanaged, and that some soldiers might not have lost their lives if the conflict had been run better. But, he said, the country has an obligation to make sure the sacrifices of those who died would not be in vain.

Brownback, for the second time in the debate, made note that he will be introducing a plan to split Iraq into three separate countries -- Sunni, Shia and Kurd. He said the bill would draw bipartisan support; "We have got to pull together here to win over there," Brownback insisted. McCain said that sort of splitting of the country would not work. He did not expand on why not.

VIDEO | (Courtesy CNN)

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 5, 2007; 8:30 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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