Rep. Ron Paul of Texas speaks during Thursday's Republican presidential… (Eric Gay / Associated Press )
Ron Paul did it again. The libertarian-minded Republican separated himself from the pack of candidates at tonight's debate by urging restraint in response to a possible Iranian nuclear threat, saying the U.S. can ill afford a repeat of its now-concluded war in Iraq.
Paul said there was "no U.N. evidence" that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program, calling claims to the contrary "war propaganda."
"To me the greatest danger is that we will have a president that will overreact, and we will soon bomb Iran," he said. "We ought to really sit back and think, not jump the gun and believe that we are going to be attacked. That's how we got into that useless war in Iraq and lost so much."
Paul said it "makes more sense" to directly engage with Iran diplomatically. And he even praised President Obama for "wisely backing off on sanctions" against Iran, which he called overreaching.
"We have 12,000 diplomats in our services. We ought to use a little bit of diplomacy once in a while."
Rick Santorum and then Michele Bachmann rebutted Paul. Santorum equated the leadership of Iran to Al Qaeda and said that the U.S. should be ready to strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
"We know without a shadow of a doubt that Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally, Israel, off the face fo the map," Bachmann said. "And they've stated they will use it against the United States of America. We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan."
On a question about a U.S. drone now in the hands of the Iranians, Mitt Romney had a chance to again focus on a potential general election fight. He said Obama was showing timidity by simply asking Iran to return the drone.
"A foreign policy based on 'pretty please'? You've got to be kidding me," he said.