The 2008 presidential candidates took the stage at St. Anselm’s College in New Hampshire last week for the second Democratic and the third Republican presidential debates hosted by CNN, WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader.
For many viewers the debates were very frustrating. With so many candidates, voters are unable to hear enough from each to properly assess where they stand on the critical issues.
Below are some of the more memorable quotes from the candidates of both parties. The things that made you laugh, shake your head, cheer or throw something at your TV.
Memorable Lines From the Latest Debates
FORMER SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (N.C.): I reject this bumper sticker, Wolf. And that’s exactly what it [the War on Terror] is — it’s a bumper sticker.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (ILL.): [To Sen. Edwards] Well look, I think it is important to lead. And I think, John, the fact is, is that I opposed the [Iraq] war from the start. So you are about four and a half years late on leadership on this issue.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (N.Y.): Well, and I think it’s important particularly to point out this is George Bush’s war. He is responsible for this war. He started the war. He mismanaged the war. He escalated the war. And he refuses to end the war.
FORMER SEN. MIKE GRAVEL (ALASKA): It’s just that simple. Four of these people here will say that it’s George Bush’s war. It was facilitated by the Democrats. They brought the resolution up, one of them authored, co-authored it here, standing here, and so it’s—sure, it’s George Bush’s war, but it’s the Democrats’ war also.
SEN. GRAVEL: How would I use [former President Clinton]? I like Clinton as a roving ambassador around the world. He’d be good. He could take his wife with him, who will still be in the Senate.
SEN. EDWARDS: But the single greatest responsibility of the next President is to travel the world, speak to the world about what real American values are — equality, diversity.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (OHIO): Let’s end the war and let’s make this a productive evening.
SEN. EDWARDS: Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama did not say anything about how they were going to vote [on funding the war] until they appeared on the floor of the Senate and voted. They were among the last people to vote. And I think that the importance of this is — they cast the right vote, and I applaud them for that — but the importance of this is, they’re asking to be President of the United States, and there is a difference between speaking to your followers and speaking to the American people about what you believe needs to be done. And I think all of us have a responsibility to lead on these issues.
McCain: presidents don’t lose wars, political parties don’t lose wars; nations lose wars…
MR. GIULIANI: These are real problems. This war is not a bumper sticker. This war is a real war.
Huckabee: I what I want to just mention is that it is not the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog. And we underestimate; grossly underestimate how fierce this dog is
Tancredo: It is exactly that time and it is exactly that thing that we have to say to the Iraqi government. We have given you this. We bought it with our blood and sweat. It is now up to you to keep it.
Romney: And we have to make sure they understand that we’re not arrogant. We have resolve. And we have the strength to protect our interests and to protect people who love liberty.
Tancredo: We’re talking about something that goes to the very heart of this nation — whether or not we will actually survive as a nation…And yes, I am willing to do what is ever (sic) necessary to try to stop this piece of legislation, and that includes go after any Republican that votes for it
McCain: And it is a serious national security problem. We need to act, my friends, and if someone else has a better idea, I’d love to have them give it to us…But it’s our job to do the hard things, not the easy things
REP. HUNTER: the Hunter bill, which was signed by the president on the 26th of October, mandating 854 miles of double fence — not that scraggly little fence you show on CNN all the time, Wolf, that people get across so easily — if they get across my fence, we sign them up for the Olympics immediately.
Paul: But if we had a truly free market economy, the illegal immigrants would not be the scapegoat. We would probably need them and they would be acceptable, but because of economic conditions, they have become the scapegoat.
Thompson: I think that anybody with the Thompson name should get involved if they want to get involved. It’s a great name, he’s a great candidate, and I think it will help the Republican Party to have him in.
Giuliani: Look, for someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that’s happening right now…
Huckabee: I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States… And as the words of Martin Luther, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” And I will not take that back.
Huckabee: It’s about conduct, it’s not about attitude. (don’t ask don’t’ tell policy)
Tancredo: I’m afraid I would have to tell the president of the United States — I mean as president, I would have to tell George Bush exactly the same thing Karl Rove told me.
Giuliani: But suppose General Petraeus comes back in September and reports that things are going pretty well. Are we going to report that with the same amount of attention that we report the negative news?
Huckabee: Well, it looks like I’m getting all the moral questions tonight, and I guess that’s a good thing. That’s better than getting the immoral questions.
Giuliani: Remember this is the country that was at war with Vietnam just a short while ago; we’re friends now. This was a country that was at war with Japan, Italy and Germany a generation ago. They’re some of our best friends today.
McCain: Well, first of all, Governor, muchas gracias…My friends, I want you the next time you’re down in Washington, D.C. to go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You’ll find a whole lot of Hispanic names.