Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said that re-electing President Obama would mean accepting a nuclear Iran.
Romney warned that if President Barack Obama is re-elected, “Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.”
Newt Gingrich and Romney, two of the top contenders for the Republican nomination for president next year, said in a debate Saturday that they would prefer to go to war with Iran rather than allow the Islamic Republic to be able to build a nuclear weapon.
Both men said they preferred alternative ways to stop Iran, but that war was a better option than surrendering to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program. He has denied that Iran wants to use nuclear power except for “civilian” purposes.
Romney said “crippling sanctions” should be applied against Iran, but the international community, particularly China and Russia, so far have balked at American-led moves to isolate Iran economically.
Gingrich said that before an all-out war is necessary, he prefers “maximum covert operations, [such as} “taking out their scientists [and] breaking up their systems”.
Ron Paul, who has fallen in the polls, balked at military action unless Congress were to take a strong stand in favor of it. "I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq," he said.
Rick Perry risked losing support by pro-Israel voters by insisting that foreign aid should “start at zero,” without making a specific exception for Israel.
Michelle Bachmann, popular in the conservative Tea Party but at the bottom of the polls, warned that Iran is working with Hamas and Syria and that “the table is being set for worldwide nuclear war against Israel.”
Herman Cain, whose soaring popularity has been punctured by allegations of misbehavior towards several women, was judged by analysts as having escaped the debate without damaging or improving his image. He has an advantage by having a handle on economic issues, which so far is the main issue on the minds of American voters.