Posted: November 29, 2007 7:45 PM
Paul, McCain Joust on Iraq War Policy in GOP Debate
While he didn’t command the attention or air time like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Wednesday night’s Republican CNN-YouTube Debate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, stood out again as a voice for a strictly limited federal government and for withdrawal from Iraq.
The New York Times provides a fully-interactive multimedia tool that allows users to search and view transcript and video from the debate.
The debate format allowed people to submit video questions through YouTube.com to CNN, which then chose the questions asked of candidates.
The debate in St. Petersburg, Fla., allowed Paul to advance some of his signature issues. It also provided him with a new sparring partner: Sen. John McCain. On the war in Iraq, McCain twice rebuked Paul’s call to bring American troops home by comparing the conflict to World War II and the Vietnam War.
Thirty minutes into the debate, McCain used half of his time allotted to answer a question about a proposed “fair tax” to criticize Paul for anti-war statements.
“I want to tell you, that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II. We allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of attitude of isolationism and appeasement,” McCain said to cheers and boos from the audience.
Paul responded, after shaking his head while McCain spoke, by saying that the Arizona senator doesn’t understand the difference between a non-interventionist foreign policy, which Paul supports, and an isolationist foreign policy.
Approximately an hour later, McCain again used war history and Paul as a foil. After a YouTube questioner asked which candidates would commit to a long-term presence in Iraq, Paul said the best thing America could do was give the country back to the Iraqi people. “Vietnam is now a friend of ours. We trade with them. What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the French and the Americans being in Vietnam,” he said.