A debate with variety

Published August 6, 2007

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Republican presidential candidates walked a delicate line in their latest campaign debate Sunday, seeking some distance from President Bush and an unpopular war in Iraq while offering assurances of change in a new Republican administration. The Republican rivals met at Drake University for an ABC News-sponsored debate. Here are excerpts:

Tom Tancredo

On the job: "My task as president of the United States is primarily to do one thing - by the way, not to make sure everybody has health care or everybody's child is educated - my task is to do one thing: to protect and defend this country."

Tommy Thompson

On breast cancer: "My mother-in-law died of breast cancer. My mother. My wife has breast cancer. My young daughter has breast cancer. ... I'm vowing right now to end breast cancer by the year 2015 for all the women in America."

Sam Brownback

On abortion: "I think it's a big issue for our country. I'm pro-life and I'm whole life. I think that all life at all stages is sacred and it's beautiful. I think it's something we ought to fight for, it's what this party has stood for, it's what we should stand for."

John McCain

On Iraq: "We fail to appreciate that elections do not mean democracy, that it is rule of law. And rule of law, by the way, is beginning to take hold in Iraq ... which will then allow true democracy to take place."

Rudy Giuliani

On sending troops unilaterally into Pakistan to hunt terrorists: "I would take that action if I thought there was no other way to crush al-Qaida, no other way to crush the Taliban, and no other way to be able to capture bin Laden. I think Pakistan has ... not been making the efforts that they should be making."

Mitt Romney

On health care: "Let's rely on personal responsibility, help people buy their own private insurance, get our citizens insured, not with a government takeover, not with new taxes needed, but instead with a free market-based system that gets all of our citizens in the system."

Mike Huckabee

On foreign policy: "I don't think it's the job of the United States to export our form of government. ... It's the job of our government to make us free and us safe, and to create an enviable kind of government and system that everybody else will want."

Ron Paul

On how to end the Iraq war: "Just come home. We just marched in. We can just come back. We went in there illegally. We did not declare war. It's lasting way too long. ... We're losing this one. We shouldn't be there. We ought to just come home."

Duncan Hunter

On health care: "One thing you can't do right now ... is you can't buy health insurance across state lines. Now, we've seen studies that have shown that the same coverage that costs 750 bucks a month in Massachusetts, you can buy in Missouri for 170 bucks a month."