Best of the debate: Ron Paul v. Michele Bachmann



By Jason McLure

Posted: Dec. 16th, 2011

Presidential debates allow voters to hear how candidates differ, and there are few policy differences as great as that between Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Michele Bachmann on Iran. Take this exchange from last night:


“Without a shadow of a doubt, Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face of the map and they’ve stated they will use it against the United States of America.”

For what it’s worth, Politifact has looked into Bachmann’s claim and rated it “false.”

Paul responded:

“I think this wild goal to have another war in the name of defense is the dangerous thing, the danger is really us overreacting.”

Bachmann shot back:

The problem would be the greatest under-reaction in world history if we have an avowed mad man who uses that nuclear weapon to wipe nations off the face of the earth.

Paul, 76, who got some boos from the audience during the exchange, decided to play the age card.

If she thinks we live in a dangerous world she ought to think back to when I was drafted in 1962 with the nuclear missiles in Cuba. And Kennedy calls Khrushchev and talks him out of this so we don’t have a nuclear exchange, and you’re trying to dramatize this, like we have to treat Iran like we’ve treated Iraq and kill a million Iraqis and eight thousand some Americans have died since we’ve gone to war, you cannot solve these problems with war.



  1. Except Ron Paul, all the other candidates, including Obama, are offering is the prospect of war with Iran. For the last 30 years, all Iran has heard from the U.S. and other nuclear powers is threats of war. Why wouldn’t Iran want a nuclear weapon to protect itself or level the playing field? Maybe talking might get us farther than saber rattling; it helped us avoid war with nuclear powers like the Soviet Union and China.

    If Iran must be opposed militarily, let a nuclear power like Israel or a coalition of the Gulf states oppose Iran. Iran is oceans and continents away from the United States. Why is American blood and treasure required? We cannot afford it, and we have already lost thousands of young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    A nation like Iran, that "cannot even provide gasoline" for its people is hardly poised to become an expansionist empire. Our war in Iraq gave Iran more influence in Iraq, and near sovereignty in southern Iraq. We continue to fight in Afghanistan and bomb Pakistan. By destabilizing Iran's neighbors, U.S. policy is enabling Iranian expansionism. The U.S. policy makers are facilitating the very ends they claim to oppose.

    A re-evaluation of our policies in the Middle East, and toward Iran, is long overdue.