Best of the debate: Ron Paul v. Michele Bachmann

December 16, 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.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Paul decided to play the Honest Card.

I’m pretty sure it succeeded.

Warmongers will not win back the White House, and Paul is the only one who is not pro-war up there.

Anyone who is serious/honest about settling our financial issues will not promote war interests, or as Paul calls it (and I agree), war propaganda [in the name of those war interests].

Ron Paul or the White House stays in Democratic hands next year, because Paul, with over 50% of the polls (and Cain the other 40% before dropping out) has the overwhelming majority of support across our nation.

There is simply no way any other Republican will win the White House.

Paul 2012
Nathaniel Hamrick & Friends/Family

Posted by NathanielH | Report as abusive

Michele Bachmann has come across as a real nutbar on this issue. To suggest that Iran would commit suicide by firing off the first nuclear weapon they make at a country (Israel) that has over 200 sophisticated nuclear weapons is sheer fantasy. Iran couldn’t even conquer Iraq in an 8 year war (initiated by the U.S. incidentally) and hasn’t attacked a single country in over 350 years! Let us not forget that the U.S. is at least partly responsible for the current theocracy in Iran after the CIA overthrew the democratically elected moderate back in 1953 and forcibly installed the ruthless Shah of Iran. Unfortunately Michelle Bachmann has once again proven that she is nothing more than a corporate sycophant hell bent on facilitating a corporate agenda (defence contractors, Big Oil, etc.) while underming the public interest at every turn.
Ron Paul on the other hand is no champion of the 99% but at least he is a staunch opponent of American Imperialism.

Posted by TheAcademic | Report as abusive

“…if we have an avowed mad man who uses that nuclear weapon to wipe nations off the face of the earth”. Is this what they call reactionary? Because, to me, I think their campaign ads have gone to their heads.

Posted by nieldevi | Report as abusive

really,ron paul played the ‘age card’? he actually is old enough to remember those days.he was a mature adult unlike bachmann who was in her diapers then.

paul won the point,convincingly.america has 4% of the world’s population and 43% of its military spending.which is greater than the next 13 countries put together.
it might not be wild to think that being a bully is not going to bring your goodwill.

Posted by pravinvarma | Report as abusive

Michele Bachmann is the potential ‘mad man’ in my opinion. She does not believe in Freedom of Choice, on any topic from freedom to choose who you marry to having a baby. She is a brain washed bible thumping tyrant who believes HER morals and values should be chained to everyone in the world without regard for Freedom to Choose. Her and her husbands ‘pray away the gay’ non-profit is an absolute kick in the face to the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Ron shoved the prima ballerina off the stage. WAY TO GO RON PAUL!

Posted by TerriCalhoun | Report as abusive

The repub. Party is party of hate and they can only make statements that appease Jewish votes. I think Americans are slowly seeing through this nonsense and voicing their disapproval about it. Only a matter of time when this hatred boils over then what? Time to reconcile now I know for fact that the Iranian regime is a fanatical theocratic one that needs to go but not at US taxpayers expense and lives. Ron Paul is a decent man and running for the wrong party, we’ve seen him gain ground in a phenomenal ratings now Good luck RP.

Posted by politicaljunkie | Report as abusive

I don`t think that we should have a war with iran because the U.S. does not have that kind of money just to spend on having a war with iran. What we need to do is that, we need to allow Israel to handle it for them selves more than we should help them. We need jobs and protect kids from going into bad schools where there`s drug smugglin into class. And america needs to shut off all the beer factorys and stop selling beer in stores too as well. And america needs to stop going against Same-sex marriage too as well. And america needs to aband straight marriage and only allow same-sex marriage. Nobody is really following the Bible anymore, so please keep on allowing gay marriage more please

Posted by Vermontboy | Report as abusive