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\f0\fs36 \cf0 \cb2 BOB SCHIEFFER: Good evening from the campus of Lynn University here in
Boca Raton, Florida. This is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign, brought
to you by the Commission on Presidential Debates. This one's on foreign policy. I'm Bob
Schieffer of CBS News. The questions are mine, and I have not shared them with the candidates
or their aides. The audience has taken a vow of silence -
no applause, no reaction of any kind except right now when we welcome President Barack
Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Gentlemen, your campaigns
have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. They have asked me to divide the evening
into segments. I'll pose a question at the beginning of each segment. You will each
have two minutes to respond, and then we will have a general discussion until we move to
the next segment. Tonight's debate, as both of your know,
comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that President Kennedy told the world that
the Soviet Union had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba - perhaps the closest we've
ever come to nuclear war. And it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some
point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad. So let's begin.
The first segment is the challenge of a changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism.
I'm going to put this into two segments, so you'll have two topic questions within
this one segment on that subject. The first question, and it concerns Libya, the controversy
over what happened there continues. Four Americans are dead, including an American ambassador.
Questions remain. What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous?
Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people
about what really happened? Governor Romney, you said this was an example
of an American policy in the Middle East that is unraveling before our very eyes. I'd
like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that.
Governor Romney, you won the toss. You go first.
MITT ROMNEY: Thank you, Bob, and thank you for agreeing to moderate this debate this
evening. Thank you to Lynn University for welcoming us here, and Mr. President, it's
good to be with you again. We were together at a humorous event a little earlier, and
it's nice to maybe be funny this time not on purpose. We'll see what happens. (Laughter.)
This is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world and to America in particular,
which is to see a - a complete change in the - the - the structure and the -
the environment in the Middle East. With the Arab Spring came a great deal of hope that
there would be a change towards more moderation and opportunity for greater participation
on the part of women and - and public life and in economic life in the Middle East. But
instead we've seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events. Of course,
we see in Syria 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. We see in -
in - in Libya an attack apparently by - well, I think we know now by terrorists of
some kind against - against our people there, four people dead. Our hearts and minds
go to them. Mali has been taken over, the northern part of Mali, by al-Qaida-type individuals.
We have in - in Egypt a Muslim Brotherhood president.
And so what we're seeing is a - a - a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of
hopes we had for that region. Of course, the greatest threat of all is Iran, four years
closer to a nuclear weapon. And - and we're going to have to recognize that we have to
do as the president has done. I congratulate him on - on taking out Osama bin Laden
and going after the leadership in al-Qaida. But we can't kill our way out of this mess.
We're - we're going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy
to help the - the world of Islam and - and other parts of the world reject this radical
violent extremism which is - it's really not on the run. It's certainly not hiding.
This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries, and it presents an enormous
threat to our friends, to the world, to America long term, and we must have a comprehensive
strategy to help reject this kind of extremism. MR. SCHIEFFER: Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, my first job as commander in chief, Bob, is to keep the American people
safe, and that's what we've done over the last four years. We ended the war in Iraq,
refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence, al-Qaida's
core leadership has been decimated. In addition, we're now able to transition
out of Afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that Afghans take responsibility for
their own security, and that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around
the world to combat future threats. Now, with respect to Libya, as I indicated in the last
debate, when we received that phone call, I immediately made sure that, number one,
we did everything we could to secure those Americans who were still in harm's way;
number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened; and number three, most importantly,
that we would go after those who killed Americans, and we would bring them to justice, and that's
exactly what we're going to do. But I think it's important to step back
and think about what happened in Libya. Now, keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership
in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to - without
putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in
Iraq - liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years,
got rid of a despot who had killed Americans. And as a consequence, despite this tragedy,
you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying,
America's our friend. We stand with them. Now that represents the opportunity we have
to take advantage of. And you know, Governor Romney, I'm glad that you agree that we
have been successful in going after al-Qaida, but I have to tell you that, you know, your
strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed
to keep Americans safe or to build on the opportunities that exist in the Middle East.
MR. ROMNEY: Well, my strategy's pretty straightforward, which is to go after the
bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to - to kill them, to
take them out of the picture. But my strategy is broader than - than that. That's
- that's important, of course, but the key that we're going to have to pursue
is a - is a pathway to - to get the Muslim world to be able to reject extremism
on its own. We don't want another Iraq. We don't want another Afghanistan. That's
not the right course for us. The right course for us is to make sure that we go after the
- the people who are leaders of these various anti-American groups and these - these
jihadists, but also help the Muslim world. And how we do that? A group of Arab scholars
came together, organized by the U.N., to look at how we can help the - the world reject
these - these terrorists. And the answer they came up was this.
One, more economic development. We should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment
and that of our friends - we should coordinate it to make sure that we - we push back
and give them more economic development. Number two, better education.
Number three, gender equality. Number four, the rule of law. We have to help
these nations create civil societies. But what's been happening over the last
couple years as we watched this tumult in the Middle East, this rising tide of chaos
occur, you see al-Qaida rushing in, you see other jihadist groups rushing in.
And - and they're throughout many nations of the Middle East.
It's wonderful that Libya seems to be making some progress, despite this terrible tragedy,
but next door, of course, we have Egypt. Libya's 6 million population, Egypt 80 million population.
We want - we want to make sure that we're seeing progress throughout the Middle East.
With Mali now having North Mali taken over by al-Qaida, with Syria having Assad continuing
to - or to kill - to murder his own people, this is a region in tumult. And of
course Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon. We've got real gaps in the region.
MR. SCHIEFFER: We'll get to that, but let's give the president a chance.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor Romney, I'm glad that you recognize that al-Qaida's a threat
because a few months ago when you were asked, what's the biggest geopolitical threat
facing America, you said Russia - not al-Qaida, you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling
to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for
20 years. But, Governor, when it comes to our foreign
policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social
policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s. You say that you're not interested
in duplicating what happened in Iraq, but just a few weeks ago you said you think we
should have more troops in Iraq right now. And the - the challenge we have - I
know you haven't been in a position to actually execute foreign policy, but every
time you've offered an opinion, you've been wrong. You said we should have gone into
Iraq despite the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction. You said that we should
still have troops in Iraq to this day. You indicated that we shouldn't be passing
nuclear treaties with Russia, despite the fact that 71 senators, Democrats and Republicans,
voted for it. You've said that first we should not have
a timeline in Afghanistan then you said we should. Now you say maybe or it depends, which
means not only were you wrong but you were also confusing and sending mixed messages
both to our troops and our allies. So what - what we need to do with respect
to the Middle East is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is
all over the map. And unfortunately, that's the kind of opinions that you've offered
throughout this campaign, and it is not a recipe for American strength or keeping America
safe over the long term. MR. SCHIEFFER: I'm going to add a couple
of minutes here to give you a chance to respond. MR. ROMNEY: Well, of course I don't concur
with what the president said about my own record and the things that I've said. They
don't happen to be accurate. But - but I can say this: that we're talking about
the Middle East and how to help the Middle East reject the kind of terrorism we're
seeing and the rising tide of tumult and - and confusion. And - and attacking me is
not an agenda. Attacking me is not talking about how we're going to deal with the
challenges that exist in the Middle East and take advantage of the opportunity there and
stem the tide of this violence. But I'll respond to a couple of the things you mentioned.
First of all, Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe, not -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Number one - MR. ROMNEY: Excuse me. It's a geopolitical
foe. And I said in the same - in the same paragraph, I said, and Iran is the greatest
national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and
time again. I have clear eyes on this. I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when
it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin, and I'm certainly not going to say to him, I'll
give you more flexibility after the election. After the election he'll get more backbone.
Number two, with regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should have
been a status of forces agreement. Did you - PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's not true.
MR. ROMNEY: Oh, you didn't - you didn't want a status of forces agreement?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, but what I - what I would not have done is left 10,000 troops
in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East.
MR. ROMNEY: I'm sorry, you actually - there was a -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Here - here is - here is -
MR. ROMNEY: There was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces
agreement. And I concurred in that and said we should have some number of troops that
stayed on. That was something I concurred with.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor - MR. ROMNEY: That was your posture. That was
my posture as well. I thought it should have been 5,000 troops.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor - MR. ROMNEY: I thought it should have been
more troops. But you - (inaudible). PRESIDENT OBAMA: This is just a few weeks
ago. MR. ROMNEY: The answer was, we got no troop
(through ?) whatsoever. PRESIDENT OBAMA: This is just a few weeks
ago that you indicated that we should still have troops in Iraq.
MR. ROMNEY: No, I didn't. I'm sorry, that's -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You made a major speech. MR. ROMNEY: I indicated - I indicated that
you failed to put in place a status of forces agreement at the end of the conflict that
- MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, here's - here's one thing - here's one thing
- here's one thing I've learned as commander in chief.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let him have - (inaudible). PRESIDENT OBAMA: You've got to be clear,
both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean. Now, you
just gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should still have troops in Iraq.
That is not a recipe for making sure that we are taking advantage of the opportunities
and meeting the challenges of the Middle East. Now, it is absolutely true that we cannot
just beat these challenges militarily, and so what I've done throughout my presidency
and will continue to do, is, number one, make sure that these countries are supporting our
counterterrorism efforts; number two, make sure that they are standing by our interests
in Israel's security, because it is a true friend and our greatest ally in the region.
Number three, we do have to make sure that we're protecting religious minorities and
women because these countries can't develop unless all the population - not just half
of it - is developing. Number four, we do have to develop their economic - their
economic capabilities. But number five, the other thing that we have to do is recognize
that we can't continue to do nation building in these regions. Part of American leadership
is making sure that we're doing nation building here at home. That will help us maintain
the kind of American leadership that we need. MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me interject the second
topic question in this segment about the Middle East and so on, and that is, you both mentioned
- alluded to this, and that is Syria. The war in Syria has now spilled over into Lebanon.
We have, what, more than a hundred people that were killed there in a bomb. There were
demonstrations there, eight people dead. Mr. President, it's been more than a year
since you saw - you told Assad he had to go. Since then 30,000 Syrians have died. We've
had 300,000 refugees. The war goes on. He's still there. Should we reassess our policy
and see if we can find a better way to influence events there, or is that even possible? And
it's you - you go first, sir. PRESIDENT OBAMA: What we've done is organize
the international community, saying Assad has to go. We've mobilized sanctions against
that government. We have made sure that they are isolated. We have provided humanitarian
assistance, and we are helping the opposition organize, and we're particularly interested
in making sure that we're mobilizing the moderate forces inside of Syria. But ultimately,
Syrians are going to have to determine their own future. And so everything we're doing,
we're doing in consultation with our partners in the region, including Israel, which obviously
has a huge interest in seeing what happens in Syria, coordinating with Turkey and other
countries in the region that have a great interest in this.
Now, this - what we're seeing taking place in Syria is heartbreaking, and that's
why we are going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition.
But we also have to recognize that, you know, for us to get more entangled militarily in
Syria is a serious step. And we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know
who we are helping, that we're not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually
could turn them against us or our allies in the region.
And I am confident that Assad's days are numbered. But what we can't do is to simply
suggest that, as Governor Romney at times has suggested, that giving heavy weapons,
for example, to the Syrian opposition is a simple proposition that would lead us to be
safer over the long term. MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: Well, let's step back and talk about what's happening in Syria and how
important it is. First of all, 30,000 people being killed by their government is a humanitarian
disaster. Secondly, Syria's an opportunity for us
because Syria plays an important role in the Middle East, particularly right now. Syria
is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea. It's the
route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally Israel.
And so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us. Number two, seeing a
- a replacement government being responsible people is critical for us. And finally, we
don't want to have military involvement there. We don't want to get drawn into
a military conflict. And so the right course for us is working
through our partners and with our own resources to identify responsible parties within Syria,
organize them, bring them together in a - in a form of - of - if not government,
a form of - of council that can take the lead in Syria, and then make sure they have
the arms necessary to defend themselves. We do need to make sure that they don't have
arms that get into the - the wrong hands. Those arms could be used to hurt us down the
road. We need to make sure as well that we coordinate this effort with our allies and
particularly with - with - with Israel. But the Saudis and the Qatari and - and
- and the Turks are all very concerned about this. They're willing to work with
us. We need to have a very effective leadership effort in Syria, making sure that the -
the - the insurgents there are armed and that the insurgents that become armed are
people who will be the responsible parties. Recognize I believe that Assad must go. I
believe he will go. But I believe we want to make sure that we have the relationships
of friendship with the people that take his place such that in the years to come we see
Syria as a - as a friend and Syria as a responsible party in the Middle East. This
- this is a critical opportunity for America. And what I'm afraid of is that we've
watched over the past year or so first the president saying, well, we'll let the U.N.
deal with it, and Assad - excuse me, Kofi Annan came in and - and said, we're
going to try - have a cease-fire. That didn't work. Then it looked to the
Russians and said, see if you can do something. we should. We should be playing the leadership
role there, not on the ground with military -
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. MR. ROMNEY: - by the leadership role.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are - we playing the leadership role. We organized the "Friends
of Syria. We are mobilizing humanitarian support and support for the opposition. And
we are making sure that that those we help are those who will be friends of ours in the
long term and friends of our allies in the region over the long term.
But you know, going back to Libya, because this is an example of - of how we make
choices, you know, when we went into Libya and we were able to immediately stop the massacre
there because of the unique circumstances and the coalition that we had helped to organize,
we also had to make sure that Moammar Gadhafi didn't stay there. And to the governor's
credit, you supported us going into Libya and the coalition that we organized. But when
it came time to making sure that Gadhafi did not stay in power, that he was captured, Governor,
your suggestion was that this was mission creep, that this was mission muddle.
Imagine if we had pulled out at that point. That - Moammar Gadhafi had more American
blood on his hands than any individual other than Osama bin Laden. And so we were going
to make sure that we finished the job. That's part of the reason why the Libyans stand with
us. But we did so in a careful, thoughtful way, making certain that we knew who we were
dealing with, that those forces of moderation on the ground were ones that we could work
with. And we have to take the same kind of steady, thoughtful leadership when it comes
to Syria. That's exactly what we're doing.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor, can I just ask you, would you go beyond what the administration
would do? Like, for example, would you put in no-fly zones over Syria?
MR. ROMNEY: I don't - I don't want to have our military involved in - in Syria.
I don't think there's a necessity to put our military in Syria at - at this
stage. I don't anticipate that in the future.
As I indicated, our objectives are to replace Assad and to have in place a new government
which is friendly to us - a responsible government, if possible. And I want to make
sure the get armed and they have the arms necessary to defend themselves but also to
remove - to remove Assad. But I do not want to see a military involvement on the
part of - of our - of our troops. And this isn't - this isn't going
to be necessary. We have - with our partners in the region, we have sufficient resources
to support those groups. But look, this has been going on for a year. This is a time -
this should have been a time for American leadership. We should have taken a leading
role - not militarily, but a leading role organizationally, governmentally, to bring
together the parties there to find responsible parties.
As you hear from intelligence sources even today, the insurgents are highly disparate.
They haven't come together. They haven't formed a unity group, a council of some kind.
That needs to happen. America can help that happen. And we need to make sure they have
the arms they need to carry out the very important role, which is getting rid of Assad.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Could we get a quick response, Mr. President, because I want to ask -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I'll - I'll - I'll be - I'll be very quick.
What you just heard Governor Romney said is he doesn't have different ideas, and that's
because we're doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate, Syrian
leadership and a - an effective transition so that we get Assad out. That's the kind
of leadership we've shown. That's the kind of leadership we'll continue to show.
MR. SCHIEFFER: May I ask you, you know, during the Egyptian turmoil, there came a point when
you said it was time for President Mubarak to go.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. SCHIEFFER: Some in your administration
thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. Do you have any regrets about that?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, I don't because I think that America has to stand with democracy.
The notion that we would have tanks run over those young people who were in Tahrir Square,
that is not the kind of American leadership that John F. Kennedy talked about 50 years
ago. But what I've also said is that now that
you have a democratically elected government in Egypt, that they have to make sure that
they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities - and we have put significant
pressure on them to make sure they're doing that - to recognize the rights of women,
which is critical throughout the region. These countries can't develop if young women
are not given the kind of education that they need.
They have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us, because not only
is Israel's security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels.
They have to make sure that they're cooperating with us when it comes to counterterrorism.
And we will help them with respect to developing their own economy, because ultimately, what's
going to make the Egyptian revolution successful for the people of Egypt but also for the world
is if those young people who gathered there are seeing opportunities. Their aspirations
are similar to young people's here. They want jobs. They want to be able to make sure
their kids are going to a good school. They want to make sure that they have a roof over
their heads and that they have a - the prospects of a better life in the future.
And so one of the things that we've been doing is - is, for example, organizing
entrepreneurship conferences with these Egyptians to - to give them a sense of how they can
start rebuilding their economy in a way that's noncorrupt, that's transparent.
But what is also important for us to understand is - is that for America to be successful
in this region, there are some things that we're going to have to do here at home
as well. You know, one of the challenges over the last decade is we've done experiments
in nation building in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And we've neglected, for example,
developing our own economy, our own energy sectors, our own education system. And it's
very hard for us to project leadership around the world when we're not doing what we
need to do here. MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor Romney, I want to
hear your response to that, but I would just ask you, would you have stuck with Mubarak?
MR. ROMNEY: No, I believe, as the president indicated and said at the time, that I supported
his - his action there. I felt that - I wish we'd have had a better vision of
the future. I wish that, looking back at the beginning of the president's term and even
further back than that, that we'd have recognized that there was a growing energy
and passion for freedom in that part of the world and that we would have worked more aggressively
with our - our friend and with other friends in the region to have them make the transition
towards a more representative form of government such that it didn't explode in the way
it did. But once it exploded, I felt the same as the president did, which is these -
these freedom voices in the - the streets of Egypt where the people who were speaking
of our principles and the - the - President Mubarak had done things which were unimaginable,
and the idea of him crushing his people was not something that we could possibly support.
Let me - let me step back and talk about what I think our mission has to be in the
Middle East, and even more broadly, because our purpose is to make sure the world is more
- is peaceful. We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives
and know they're going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war. That's
our purpose. And the mantle of - of leadership for promoting the principles of peace has
fallen to America. We didn't ask for it, but it's an honor that we have it.
But for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong, and that
begins with a strong economy here at home, and unfortunately, the economy is not stronger.
When the - when the - the president of Iraq - excuse me - of Iran, Ahmadinejad,
says that our debt makes us not a great country, that's a frightening thing. The former
chief of - chief of the Joints Chief of Staff said that - Admiral Mullen - said
that our debt is the biggest national security threat we face. This - we have weakened
our economy. We need a strong economy. We need to have
as well a strong military. Our military is second to none in the world. We're blessed
with terrific soldiers and extraordinary technology and intelligence. But the idea of a trillion
dollars in cuts through sequestration and budget cuts to the military would change that.
We need to have strong allies. Our association and - and connection with our allies is
essential to America's strength. We're the - the great nation that has allies,
42 allies and friends around the world. And finally, we have to stand by our principles.
And if we're strong in each of those things, American influence will grow. But unfortunately,
in nowhere in the world is America's influence greater today than it was four years ago.
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. MR. ROMNEY: And that's because we've
become weaker on each of those four dimensions. MR. SCHIEFFER: All right - perfect. You're
going to get a chance to respond to that because that's a perfect segue into our next segment,
and that is what is America's role in the world. And that is the question. What do each
of you see as our role in the world? And I believe, Governor Romney, it's your
turn to go first. MR. ROMNEY: Well, I - I absolutely believe
that America has a - a responsibility and the privilege of helping defend freedom and
promote the principles that - that make the world more peaceful. And those principles
include human rights, human dignity, free enterprise, freedom of expression, elections,
because when there are elections, people tend to vote for peace. They don't vote for
war. So we want to - to promote those principles around the world. We recognize that there
are places of conflict in the world. We want to end those conflicts to the extent humanly
possible. But in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, America must be strong.
America must lead. And for that to happen, we have to strengthen
our economy here at home. You can't have 23 million people struggling to get a job.
You - you can't have an economy that over the last three years keeps slowing down
its growth rate. You can't have kids coming out of college, half of whom can't find
a job today, or a job that's commensurate with their college degree. We have to get
our economy going. And our military - we've got to strengthen
our military long- term. We don't know what the world is going to throw at us down
the road. We - we make decisions today in a military that - that will confront
challenges we can't imagine. In the 2000 debates there was no mention of
terrorism, for instance. And a year later, 9/11 happened. So we have to make decisions
based upon uncertainty. And that means a strong military. I will not cut our military budget.
We have to also stand by our allies. I think the tension that existed between Israel and
the United States was very unfortunate. I think also that pulling our missile defense
program out of Poland in the way we was also unfortunate in terms of, if you will, disrupting
the relationship in some ways that existed between us.
And then of course, with regards to standing for our principles, when - when the students
took to the streets in Tehran and the people there protested, the Green Revolution occurred.
For the president to be silent I thought was an enormous mistake. We have to stand for
our principles, stand for our allies, stand for a strong military and stand for a stronger
economy. MR. SCHIEFFER: Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America.
And it is stronger now then when I came into office. Because we ended the war in Iraq,
we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat but also beginning
a transition process in Afghanistan. It also allowed us to refocus on alliances and relationships
that had been neglected for a decade. And, Governor Romney, our alliances have never
been stronger. In Asia, in Europe, in Africa, with Israel where we have unprecedented military
and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with the Iranian threat. But what we also
have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding America.
And that's what my plan does: Making sure that we're bringing manufacturing back
to our shores so that we're creating jobs here, as we've done with the auto industry,
not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas; making sure that we've got
the best education system in the world, including retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow;
doing everything we can to control our energy. We've cut our oil imports to the lowest
level in two decades because we've developed oil and natural gas, but we also have to develop
clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020. That's
the kind of leadership that we need to show. And we've got to make sure that we reduce
our deficit. Unfortunately, Governor Romney's plan doesn't do it. We've got to do
it in a responsible way, by cutting out spending we don't need but also asking the wealthiest
to pay a little bit more. That way we can invest in the research and technology that's
always kept us at the cutting edge. Now Governor Romney has taken a different
approach throughout this campaign. You know, both at home and abroad, he has proposed wrong
and reckless policies. He's praised George Bush as good economic steward and Dick Cheney
as somebody who shows great wisdom and judgment. And taking us back to those kinds of strategies
that got us into this mess are not the way that we are going to maintain leadership in
the 21st century. MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor Romney, wrong and
reckless policies? MR. ROMNEY: (Chuckles.) I've got a policy
for the future and agenda for the future. And when it comes to our economy here at home,
I know what it takes to create 12 million new jobs and rising take- home pay. And what
we've seen over the last four years is something I don't want to see over the
next four years. The - the president said by now we'd be at 5.4 percent unemployment.
We're 9 million jobs short of that. I will get America working again and see rising take-
home pay again. And I'll do it with five simple steps.
Number one, were going to have North American energy independence. We're going to do
it by taking full advantage of oil, coal, gas, nuclear and our renewables.
Number two, we're going to increase our trade. Trade grows about 12 percent per year.
It doubles about every - every five or - or so years. We can do better than that,
particularly in Latin America. The opportunities for us in Latin America we have just not taken
advantage of fully. As a matter of fact, Latin America's economy
is almost as big as the economy of China. We're all focused on China. Latin America
is a huge opportunity for us: time zone, language opportunities.
Number three, we're going to have to have training programs that work for our workers
and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first, and the teachers
union's going to have to go behind. And then we're going to have to get to
a balanced budget. We can't expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their
life savings or their companies' money and invest in America if they think we're
headed to the road to Greece. And that's where we're going right now unless we finally
get off this spending and borrowing binge. And I'll get us on track to a balanced
budget. And finally, number five, we've got to
champion small business. Small business is where - where jobs come from. Two-thirds
of our jobs come from small businesses. New business formation is down to the lowest level
in 30 years under this administration. I want to bring it back and get back good jobs and
rising take-home pay. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let's talk about
what we need to compete. First of all, Governor Romney talks about small businesses, but Governor,
when you were in Massachusetts, small businesses' development ranked about 48, I think, out
of 50 states, in Massachusetts, because the policies that you're promoting actually
don't help small businesses. And the way you define small businesses include folks
at the very top. They include you and me. That's not the kind of small business promotion
we need. But - but let's take an example that
we know is going to make a difference 21st century, and that's our education policy.
We didn't have a lot of chance to talk about this in the last debate. You know, under
my leadership, what we've done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states.
We've seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time, and they're
starting to finally make progress. And what I now want to do is to hire more teachers,
especially in math and science, because we know that we've fallen behind when it comes
to math and science. And those teachers can make a difference.
Now, Governor Romney, when you were asked by teachers whether or not this would help
the economy grow, you said, this isn't going to help the economy grow. When you were
asked about reduced class sizes, you said class sizes don't make a difference. But
I tell you, if you talk to teachers, they will tell you it does make a difference.
And if we've got math teachers who are able to provide the kind of support that they
need for our kids, that's what's going to determine whether or not the new businesses
are created here. Companies are going to locate here depending on whether we've got the
most highly skilled workforce. And the kinds of budget proposals that you've put forward
- when we don't ask either you or me to pay a dime more in terms of reducing the
deficit, but instead we slash support for education, that's undermining our long-term
competitiveness. That is not good for America's position in the world. And the world notices.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me get back to foreign policy.
MR. ROMNEY: Well - MR. SCHIEFFER: Can I just get back -
MR. ROMNEY: Well, I need to speak a moment if you'll let me, Bob -
MR. SCHIEFFER: OK. MR. ROMNEY: - just about education, because
I'm - I'm so proud of the state that I had the chance to be governor of. We have,
every two years, tests that look at how well our kids are doing. Fourth graders and eighth
graders are tested in English and math. While I was governor, I was proud that our fourth
graders came out number one of all 50 states in English and then also in math, and our
eighth graders number one in English and also in math - first time one state had been
number one in all four measures. How did we do that?
Well, Republicans and Democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put in place education
that focused on having great teachers in the classroom. And that was -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Ten years earlier - MR. ROMNEY: That was - that was what allowed
us to become the number one state in the nation. And this is - and we were -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: But that was 10 years before you took office.
MR. ROMNEY: And we - absolutely. MR. SCHIEFFER: Gentlemen -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And then you cut education spending when you came into office.
MR. ROMNEY: The first - the first - and we kept our schools number one in the
nation. They're still number one today. And the principles that we've put in place
- we also gave kids not just a graduation exam that - that determined whether they
were up to the skills needed to - to be able to compete, but also, if they graduated
in the top quarter of their class, they got a four-year tuition-free ride at any Massachusetts
public institution of higher learning. PRESIDENT OBAMA: That happened - that happened
before you came into office. MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor -
MR. ROMNEY: That was actually mine, actually, Mr. President. You got that fact wrong.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me - I want to try to shift it, because we have heard some of this
in the other debates. Governor, you say you want a bigger military. You want a bigger
Navy. You don't want to cut defense spending. What I want to ask you, we're talking about
financial problems in this country. Where are you going to get the money?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, let's - let's come back and talk about the military, but all
the way - all the way through. First of all, I'm going through, from the very beginning,
we're going to cut about 5 percent of the discretionary budget excluding military. That's
number one. All right? MR. SCHIEFFER: But can you do this without
driving us deeper into debt? MR. ROMNEY: The good news is, I'll be happy
to have you take a look. Come on our website, you'll look at how we get to a balanced
budget within eight to 10 years. We do it by getting - by reducing spending in a
whole series of programs. By the way, number one I get rid of is "Obamacare." There
are a number of things that sound good but, frankly, we just can't afford them. And
that one doesn't sound good, and it's not affordable, so I get rid of that one from
day one; to the extent humanly possible, we get that out. We take program after program
that we don't absolutely have to have and we get rid of them.
Number two, we take some programs that we are going to keep, like Medicaid, which is
a program for the poor. We're - take that health care program for the poor, and
we give it to the states to run because states run these programs more efficiently. As a
governor, I thought, please, give me this program.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Can he do that? PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Inaudible.)
MR. ROMNEY: I can run this more efficiently than the federal government. And states, by
the way, are proving it. States like Arizona, Rhode Island have taken these Medicaid dollars,
have shown they can run these programs more cost effectively.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bob - MR. ROMNEY: So I want to do those two things
that gets us - it gets us to a balanced budget with eight in - eight to 10 years.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bob - MR. ROMNEY: But the military -
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let - MR. ROMNEY: Let's go back to the military,
though. MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, that's what I'm
trying to find out about. MR. ROMNEY: Let's talk about the military.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You should have answered the first question.
Look, Governor Romney's called for $5 trillion of tax cuts that he says he's going to
pay for by closing deductions. Now, the math doesn't work but he continues
to claim that he's going to do it. He then wants to spend another $2 trillion on military
spending that our military's not asking for.
Now, keep in mind that our military spending has gone up every single year that I've
been in office. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined - China,
Russia, France, the United - United Kingdom, you name it, next 10. And what I did was work
with our Joint Chiefs of Staff to think about what are we going to need in the future to
make sure that we are safe? And that's the budget that we've put forward.
But what you can't do is spend $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military
is not asking for, $5 trillion on tax cuts, you say that you're going to pay for it
by closing loopholes and deductions without naming what those loopholes and deductions
are, and then somehow you're also going to deal with the deficit that we've already
got. The math simply doesn't work. But when it comes to our military, what we
have to think about is not, you know, just budgets, we got to think about capabilities.
We need to be thinking about cybersecurity. We need to be thinking about space. That's
exactly what our budget does, but it's driven by strategy. It's not driven by
politics. It's not driven by members of Congress and what they would like to see.
It's driven by what are we going to need to keep the American people safe?
That's exactly what our budget does. And it also then allows us to reduce our deficit,
which is a significant national security concern because we've got to make sure that our
economy is strong at home so that we can project military power overseas.
MR. ROMNEY: Bob, I'm pleased that I've balanced budgets. I was in the world of business
for 25 years. If you didn't balance your budget, you
went out of business. I went to the Olympics that was out of balance, and we got it on
balance and made a success there. I had the chance to be governor of a state. Four years
in a row, Democrats and Republicans came together to balance the budget. We cut taxes 19 times,
balanced our budget. The president hasn't balanced a budget yet. I expect to have the
opportunity to do so myself. MR. SCHIEFFER: All right.
MR. ROMNEY: I - I'm going to be able to balance the budget. Let's talk about
military spending, and that's this. Our Navy -
MR. SCHIEFFER: About 30 seconds. MR. ROMNEY: Our Navy is older - excuse
me - our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313
ships to carry out their mission. We're now down to 285. We're headed down to the
- to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration. That's unacceptable to me.
I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy.
Our Air Force is older and smaller than any time since it was founded in 1947. We've
changed for the first time since FDR. We - since FDR we had the - we've always
had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we're changing
to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility
of the president of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American
people. And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is the combination
of the budget cuts that the president has as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in
my view, is - is - is making our future less certain and less secure. I won't do
it. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bob, I just need to comment
on this. First of all, the sequester is not something that I proposed. It's something
that Congress has proposed. It will not happen. The budget that we're talking about is
not reducing our military spending. It's maintaining it.
But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military
works. You - you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than
we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets - (laughter)
- because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft
carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's -
it's what are our capabilities. And so when I sit down with the secretary
of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we determine how are we going to be best able
to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that
also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come
home. And that is not reflected in the kind of budget that you're putting forward,
because it just don't work. MR. SCHIEFFER: All right.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And you know, we've visited the website quite a bit. And it still doesn't
work. MR. SCHIEFFER: A lot to cover. I'd like
- (murmurs) - I'd like to move to the next segment: red lines, Israel and Iran.
Would either of you - and you'll have two minutes, and President Obama, you have
the first go at this one. Would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on
Israel is an attack on the United States, which of course is the same promise that we
give to our close allies like Japan? And if you made such a declaration, would not that
deter Iran? It's certainly deterred the Soviet Union for a long, long time when we
made that - when we made that promise to our allies.
Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, Israel
is a true friend. It is our greatest ally in the region. And if Israel is attacked,
America will stand with Israel. I've made that clear throughout my presidency. And -
MR. SCHIEFFER: So you're saying we've already made that declaration?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I will stand with Israel if they are attacked. And this is the reason
why, working with Israel, we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation
between our two countries in history. In fact, this week we'll be carrying out the largest
military exercise with Israel in history, this very week.
But to the issue of Iran, as long as I'm president of the United States, Iran will
not get a nuclear weapon. I've made that clear when I came into office.
We then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in
history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has dropped 80 percent. Their
oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with Iraq 20
years ago. So their economy is in a shambles. And the reason we did this is because a nuclear
Iran is a threat to our national security and it's threat to Israel's national
security. We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the
world. Iran's a state sponsor of terrorism, and for them to be able to provide nuclear
technology to nonstate actors - that's unacceptable. And they have said that they
want to see Israel wiped off the map. So the work that we've done with respect
to sanctions now offers Iran a choice. They can take the diplomatic route and end their
nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States president,
me, who said we're not going to take any options off the table.
The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that during the course of this campaign
he's often talked as if we should take premature military action. I think that would
be a mistake because when I've sent young men and women into harm's way, I always
understand that that is the last rest, not the first resort.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Two minutes. MR. ROMNEY: Well, first of all, I - I want
to underscore the - the same point the president made, which is that if I'm president
of the United States, when I'm president of the United States, we will stand with Israel.
And - and if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just
culturally, but militarily. That's number one.
Number two, with regards to - to Iran and the threat of Iran, there's no question
but that a nuclear Iran, a nuclear-capable Iran, is unacceptable to America.
It presents a threat not only to our friends, but ultimately a threat to us to have Iran
have nuclear material, nuclear weapons that could be used against us or used to be threatening
to us. It's also essential for us to understand
what our mission is in Iran, and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon
through peaceful and diplomatic means. And crippling sanctions are something I'd called
for five years ago when I was in Israel speaking at the Herzliya Conference. I laid out seven
steps. Crippling sanctions were number one. And they
do work. You're seeing it right now in the economy. It's absolutely the right
thing to do to have crippling sanctions. I'd have put them in place earlier, but it's
good that we have them. Number two, something I would add today is
I would tighten those sanctions. I would say that ships that carry Iranian oil can't
come into our ports. I imagine the EU would agree with us as well. Not only ships couldn't,
I'd say companies that are moving their oil can't, people who are trading in their
oil can't. I would tighten those sanctions further.
Secondly, I'd take on diplomatic isolation efforts. I'd make sure that Ahmadinejad
is indicted under the Genocide Convention. His words amount to genocide incitation. I
would indict him for it. I would also make sure that their diplomats are treated like
the pariah they are around the world, the same way we treated the apartheid diplomats
of South Africa. We need to increase pressure time and time
again on Iran because anything other than a - a - a solution to this which says
- which stops this nuclear folly of theirs is unacceptable to America. And of course,
a military action is the last resort. It is something one would only, only consider if
all of the other avenues had been - had been tried to their full extent.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me ask both of you, there - as you know, there are reports that Iran
and the United States, as part of an international group, have agreed in principle to talks about
Iran's nuclear program. What is the deal if there are such talks? What is the deal
that you would accept? Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, those
were reports in the newspaper. They are not true. But our goal is to get Iran to recognize
it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been
in place, because they have the opportunity to re-enter the community of nations, and
we would welcome that. There are - there are people in Iran who have the same aspirations
as people all around the world, for a better life. And we hope that their leadership takes
the right decision. But the deal we'll accept is, they end their nuclear program.
It's very straightforward. And you know, I'm glad that Governor Romney
agrees with the steps that we're taking. You know, there have been times, Governor,
frankly, during the course of this campaign, where it sounded like you thought that you'd
do the some things we did, but you'd say them louder and somehow that that would make
a difference, and it turns out that the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions
is painstaking; it's meticulous. We started from the day we got into office.
And the reason it was so important - and this is a testament to how we've restored
American credibility and strength around the world - is we had to make sure that all
the countries participated, even countries like Russia and China, because if it's
just us that are imposing sanctions, we've had sanctions in place for a long time. It's
because we got everybody to agree that Iran is seeing so much pressure. And we've got
to maintain that pressure. There is a deal to be had, and that is that
they abide by the rules that have already been established; they convince the international
community they are not pursuing a nuclear program; there are inspections that are very
intrusive. But over time, what they can do is regain credibility. In the meantime, though,
we're not going to let up the pressure until we have clear evidence that that takes
place. And one last thing. I'm - just to make
this point: The clock is ticking. We're not going to allow Iran to perpetually
engage in negotiations that lead nowhere. And I've been very clear to them, you know,
because of the intelligence coordination that we do with a range of countries, including
Israel, we have a sense of when they would get breakout capacity, which means that we
would not be able to intervene in time to stop their nuclear program, and that clock
is ticking. MR. SCHIEFFER: All right.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And we're going to make sure that if they do not meet the demands
of the international community, then we are going to take all options necessary to make
sure they don't have a nuclear weapon. MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: I think from the very beginning, one of the challenges we've had with Iran
is that they have looked at this administration and - and felt that the administration
was not as strong as it needed to be. I think they saw weakness where they had expected
to find American strength. And I say that because from the very beginning,
the president, in his campaign some four years ago, said he'd meet with all the world's
worst actors in his first year. He'd - he'd sit down with Chavez and - and
Kim Jong-Il, with Castro and with - with President Ahmadinejad of - of Iran. And
- and I think they looked and thought, well, that's an unusual honor to receive
from the president of the United States. And then the president began what I've
called an apology tour of going to - to various nations in the Middle East and -
and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness. Then when there
were dissidents in the streets of Tehran, the Green Revolution, holding signs saying,
is America with us, the president was silent. I think they noticed that as well. And I think
that when the president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and Israel
that - that they noticed that as well. All of these things suggested, I think, to
the Iranian mullahs that, hey, you know, we can keep on pushing along here; we can keep
talks going on, but we're just going to keep on spinning centrifuges. Now there are
some 10,000 centrifuges spinning uranium, preparing to - to create a - a -
a - - a nuclear threat to the United States and to the world.
That's unacceptable for us, and - and - and it's essential for a president
to show strength from the very beginning to make it very clear what is acceptable and
not acceptable. And an Iranian nuclear program is not acceptable to us. They must not develop
nuclear capability. And the way to make sure they understand that is by having from the
very beginning the tightest sanctions possible. They need to be tightened. Our diplomatic
isolation needs to be tougher. We need to indict Ahmadinejad. We need to put the pressure
on them as hard as we possibly can, because if we do that, we won't have to take the
military action. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bob, let me just respond.
Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing.
This has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this
campaign, and every fact-checker and every reporter's looked at it. The governor has
said this is not true. And when it comes to tightening sanctions,
look, as I said before, we've put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever. And
the fact is while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these
sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing
business with the Iranian oil sector. So I'll let the American people decide, judge who's
going to be more effective and more credible when it comes to imposing crippling sanctions.
And with respect to our attitude about the Iranian revolution, I was very clear about
the murderous activities that had taken place, and that was contrary to international law
and everything that civilized people stand for. And - and so the strength that we
have shown in Iran is shown by the fact that we've been able to mobilize the world.
When I came into office, the world was divided. Iran was resurgent. Iran is at its weakest
point economically, strategically, militarily than since - than in many years.
MR. ROMNEY: We're four years closer to a nuclear Iran. We're four years closer
to a nuclear Iran. And - and we should not have wasted these four years to the extent
they've - they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer.
That's number one. Number two, Mr. President, the reason I call
it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to - to Egypt
and to Saudi Arabia and to - to Turkey and Iraq. And - and by way, you skipped
Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by
the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations and on Arabic TV
you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America
had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations.
We have freed other nations from dictators. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bob, let me - let me respond.
You know, if we're going to talk about trips that we've taken, you know, when
I was a candidate for office, first trip I took was to visit our troops.
And when I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn't take donors, I didn't attend
fundraisers, I went to Yad Vashem, the - the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself
the - the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.
And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining
down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down
near their children's bedrooms, and I was reminded of - of what that would mean if
those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those
missiles. So that's how I've used my travels when
I travel to Israel and when I travel to the region.
And the central question at this point is going to be, who's going to be credible
to all parties involved? And they can look at my track record -
whether it's Iran sanctions, whether it's dealing with counterterrorism, whether it's
supporting democracy, whether it's supporting women's rights, whether it's supporting
religious minorities - and they can say that the president of the United States and
the United States of America has stood on the right side of history. And - and that
kind of credibility is precisely why we've been able to show leadership on a wide range
of issues facing the world right now. MR. SCHIEFFER: What if - what if the prime
minister of Israel called you on the phone and said: Our bombers are on the way. We're
going to bomb Iran. What do you say? MR. ROMNEY: Bob, let's not go into hypotheticals
of that nature. Our relationship with Israel, my relationship with the prime minister of
Israel is such that we would not get a call saying our bombers are on the way or their
fighters are on the way. This is the kind of thing that would have been discussed and
thoroughly evaluated well before that kind of action.
MR. SCHIEFFER: So you're saying just what -
MR. ROMNEY: I'm - that's - that's -
MR. SCHIEFFER: OK. But let's see what - (inaudible) -
MR. ROMNEY: Yes, but let me - let me - let me come back - let's come back -
let's come back and go back to what the president was speaking about, which is what's
happening in the world and - and - and the president's statement that things are
going so well. Look, I - I look at what's happening
around the world and I see Iran four years closer to a bomb. I see the Middle East with
a rising tide of violence, chaos, tumult. I see jihadists continuing to spread. Whether
they're rising or just about the same level hard to - hard to precisely measure, but
it's clear they're there. They're very, very strong.
I see Syria with 30,000 civilians dead, Assad still in power. I see our trade deficit with
China larger than it's - growing larger every year as a matter of fact. I look around
the world and I don't feel that - you see North Korea continuing to export their
nuclear technology. Russia's said they're not going to follow
Nunn-Lugar anymore; they're (back ?) away from their nuclear proliferation treaty that
we had with them. I look around the world, I don't see our influence growing around
the world. I see our influence receding, in part because of the failure of the president
to deal with our economic challenges at home, in part because of our withdrawal from our
commitment to our military and the way I think it ought to be, in part because of the -
the - the turmoil with Israel. I mean, the president received a letter from 38 Democrat
senators saying the tensions with Israel were a real problem.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No. MR. ROMNEY: They asked him, please repair
the tension - Democrat senators - please repair the damage in his - in his own party.
MR. SCHIEFFER (?): All right. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, the problem is,
is that on a whole range of issues, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's Afghanistan,
whether it's Iraq, whether it's now Iran, you've been all over the map. I mean,
I'm pleased that you now are endorsing our policy of applying diplomatic pressure
and potentially having bilateral discussions with the Iranians to end their nuclear program.
But just a few years ago you said that's something you'd never do, in the same way
that you initially opposed a time table in Afghanistan, now you're for it, although
it depends; in the same way that you say you would have ended the war in Iraq, but recently
gave a speech saying that we should have 20,000 more folks in there; the same way that you
said that it was mission creep to go after Gadhafi.
When it comes to going after Osama bin Laden, you said, well, any president would make that
call. But when you were a candidate in 2008 - as I was - and I said, if I got bin
Laden in our sights, I would take that shot, you said we shouldn't move heaven and earth
to get one man, and you said we should ask Pakistan for permission.
And if we had asked Pakistan for permission, we would not have gotten him. And it was worth
moving heaven and earth to get him. You know, after we killed bin Laden, I was
at Ground Zero for a memorial and talked to a - a - a young woman who was 4 years
old when 9/11 happened. And the last conversation she had with her
father was him calling from the twin towers, saying, Peyton (sp), I love you, and I will
always watch over you. And for the next decade she was haunted by that conversation. And
she said to me, you know, by finally getting bin Laden, that brought some closure to me.
And when we do things like that, when we bring those who have harmed us to justice, that
sends a message to the world, and it tells Peyton (sp) that we did not forget her father.
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. PRESIDENT OBAMA: And - and I make that
point because that's the kind of clarity of leadership - and those decisions are
not always popular. Those decisions generally are not poll-tested. And even some in my own
party, including my current vice president, had the same critique as you did. But what
the American people understand is, is that I look at what we need to get done to keep
the American people safe and to move our interests forward, and I make those decisions.
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Let's go - and that leads us - this takes us right
to the next segment, Governor, America's longest war, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
MR. ROMNEY: Bob - MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor, you get to go first.
MR. ROMNEY: You can't - you can't - well, OK, but you can't have the president
just lay out a whole series of items without giving me a chance to respond.
MR. SCHIEFFER: With respect, sir, you had laid out quite a program there.
MR. ROMNEY: Well, that's probably true. (Chuckles.)
MR. SCHIEFFER: And we'll - we'll give you -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We'll agree (with that ?).
MR. SCHIEFFER: We'll catch you up. The United States is scheduled to turn over
responsibility for security in Afghanistan to the Afghans.
At that point we will withdraw our combat troops, leave a smaller force of Americans,
if I understand our policy, in Afghanistan for training purposes. It seems to me the
key question here is what do you do if the deadline arrives and it is obvious the Afghans
are unable to handle their security? Do we still leave? And I believe Governor Romney,
it - you go first. MR. ROMNEY: Well, we're going to be finished
by 2014. And when I'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end
of 2014. The commanders and the generals there are on track to do so. We've seen progress
over the past several years. The surge has been successful, and the training program
is proceeding at pace. There are now a large number of Afghan security forces, 350,000,
that are - are ready to step in to provide security. And - and we're going to be
able to make that transition by the end of - of 2014. So our troops'll come home
at that point. I - I can tell you, at the same time, that
- that we will make sure that we - we look at what's happening in Pakistan and
recognize that what's happening in Pakistan is going to have a major impact on the success
in Afghanistan. And - and I say that because I know a lot of people just feel like we should
just brush our hands and walk away. And I don't mean you, Mr. President, but some
people in the - in our nation feel that Pakistan (doesn't ?) - being nice to
us and that we should just walk away from them.
But Pakistan is important to the region, to the world and to us, because Pakistan has
100 nuclear warheads, and they're rushing to build a lot more. They'll have more
than Great Britain sometime in the - in the relatively near future. They also have
the Haqqani network and - and the Taliban existent within their country. And so a -
a Pakistan that falls apart, becomes a failed state would be of extraordinary danger to
Afghanistan and us. And so we're going to have to remain helpful in encouraging Pakistan
to move towards a - a more stable government and - and rebuild a relationship with us.
And that means that - that - that our aid that we provide to Pakistan is going to
have to be conditioned upon certain benchmarks being met.
So for me, I look at this as both a - a - a need to help move Pakistan in the right
direction and also to get Afghanistan to be ready. And they will be ready by the end of
2014. MR. SCHIEFFER: Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, when I came into office, we were still bogged down in Iraq,
and Afghanistan had been drifting for a decade. We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention
on Afghanistan. And we did deliver a surge of troops. That was facilitated in part because
we had ended the war in Iraq. And we are now in a position where we have
met many of the objectives that got us there in the first place. Part of what had happened
is we'd forgotten why we'd gone. We went because there were people who were responsible
for 3,000 American deaths. And so we decimated al-Qaida's core leadership in the border
regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We then started to build up Afghan forces.
And we're now in a position where we can transition out, because there's no reason
why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country.
Now, that transition's - has to take place in a responsible fashion. We've been
there a long time, and we've got to make sure that we and our coalition partners are
pulling out responsibly and giving Afghans the capabilities that they need.
But what I think the American people recognize is after a decade of war, it's time to
do some nation-building here at home. And what we can now do is free up some resources
to, for example, put Americans back to work, especially our veterans, rebuilding our roads,
our bridges, our schools, making sure that, you know, our veterans are getting the care
that they need when it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury,
making sure that the certifications that they need for good jobs of the future are in place.
You know, I was having lunch with some -
a veteran in Minnesota who had been a medic dealing with the most extreme circumstances.
When he came home and he wanted to become a nurse, he had to start from scratch. And
what we've said is, let's change those certifications.
The first lady has done great work with an organization called Joining Forces putting
our veterans back to work. And as a consequence, veterans' unemployment is actually now
lower than general population, it was higher when I came into office. So those are the
kinds of things that we can now do because we're making that transition in Afghanistan.
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me go to Governor Romney because you talked about Pakistan and
what needs to be done there. General Allen, our commander in Afghanistan, says that Americans
continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by Pakistan. We know that Pakistan
has arrested the doctor who helped us catch Obama's - bin Laden. It still provides
safe haven for terrorists, yet we continue to give Pakistan billions of dollars. Is it
time for us to divorce Pakistan? MR. ROMNEY: No, it's not time to divorce
a nation on earth that has a hundred nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at
some point, a nation that has serious threats from terrorist groups within its nation -
as I indicated before, the Taliban, Haqqani network. It's a nation that's not like
- like others and that does not have a civilian leadership that is calling the shots
there. You've got the ISI, their intelligence
organization is probably the most powerful of the - of the three branches there. Then
you have the military and then you have the - the civilian government. This is a nation
which if it falls apart - if it becomes a failed state, there are nuclear weapons
there and you've got - you've got terrorists there who could grab their -
their hands onto those nuclear weapons. This is - this is an important part of
the world for us. Pakistan is - is technically an ally, and they're not acting very much
like an ally right now, but we have some work to do.
And I - I don't blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with Pakistan
is strained. We had to go into Pakistan; we had to go in there to get Osama bin Laden.
That was the right thing to do. And that upset them, but there was obviously a great deal
of anger even before that. But we're going to have to work with the - with the people
in Pakistan to try and help them move to a more responsible course than the one that
they're on. And it's important for them, it's important for the nuclear weapons,
it's important for the success of Afghanistan, because inside Pakistan you have a large group
of Pashtuns that are - that are Taliban, that they're going to come rushing back
into Afghanistan when we go. And that's one of the reasons the Afghan security forces
have so much work to do to be able to fight against that. But it's important for us
to recognize that we can't just walk away from Pakistan. But we do need to make sure
that as we - as we send support for them, that this is tied to them making progress
on - on matters that would lead them to becoming a civil society.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you, Governor, because we know President Obama's position on this,
what is - what is your position on the use of drones?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out
people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it's widely reported
that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that entirely and feel the president
was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use
it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our
friends. Let me also note that, as I said earlier,
we're going to have to do more than just going after leaders and - and killing bad
guys, important as that is. We're also going to have to have a far more effective
and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and Islamic extremism.
We haven't done that yet. We talk a lot about these things, but you look at the -
the record. You look at the record of the last four years and say, is Iran closer to
a bomb? Yes. Is the Middle East in tumult? Yes. Is - is al-Qaida on the run, on its
heels? No. Is - are Israel and the Palestinians closer to - to reaching a peace agreement?
No, they haven't had talks in two years. We have not seen the progress we need to have,
and I'm convinced that with strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy based upon
helping these nations reject extremism, we can see the kind of peace and prosperity the
world demands. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, keep in mind our strategy
wasn't just going after bin Laden. We've created partnerships throughout the region
to deal with extremism - in Somalia, in Yemen, in Pakistan. And what we've also
done is engage these governments in the kind of reforms that are actually going to make
a difference in people's lives day to day, to make sure that their government aren't
corrupt, to make sure that they are treating women with the kind of respect and dignity
that every nation that succeeds has shown, and to make sure that they've got a free
market system that works. So across the board, we are engaging them
in building capacity in these countries and we have stood on the side of democracy. One
thing I think Americans should be proud of - when Tunisians began to protest, this
nation, me, my administration stood with them earlier than just about any other country.
In Egypt we stood on the side of democracy. In Libya we stood on the side of the people.
And as a consequence there is no doubt that attitudes about Americans have changed.
But there are always going to be elements in these countries that potentially threaten
the United States. And we want to shrink those groups and those
networks, and we can do that, but we're always also going to have to maintain vigilance
when it comes to terrorist activities. The truth, though, is that al-Qaida is much weaker
than it was when I came into office, and they don't have the same capacities to attack
the U.S. homeland and our allies as they did four years ago.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let's go to the next segment because it's a very important one. It is
the rise of China and future challenges for America. I want to just begin this by asking
both of you - and Mr. President, you go first this time - what do you believe is
the greatest future threat to the national security of this country?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think it will continue to be terrorist networks. We have to remain
vigilant, as I just said. But with respect to China, China's both
an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community if it's
following the rules. So my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist
that China plays by the same rules as everybody else.
And I know Americans had - had seen jobs being shipped overseas, businesses and workers
not getting a level playing field when it came to trade. And that's the reason why
I set up a trade task force to go after cheaters when it came to international trade. That's
the reason why we have brought more cases against China for violating trade rules than
the other - the previous administration had done in two terms. And we've won just
about every case that we've filed, that - that has been decided. In fact, just
recently, steelworkers in Ohio and throughout the Midwest, Pennsylvania, are in a position
now to sell steel to China because we won that case.
We had a tire case in which they were flooding us with cheap domestic tires - or -
or - or cheap Chinese tires. And we put a stop to it and, as a consequence, saved
jobs throughout America. I have to say that Governor Romney criticized me for being too
tough in that tire case, said this wouldn't be good for American workers and that it would
be protectionist. But I tell you, those workers don't feel that way. They feel as if they
had finally an administration who was going to take this issue seriously.
Over the long term, in order for us to compete with China, we've also got to make sure,
though, that we're taking - taking care of business here at home. If we don't have
the best education system in the world, if we don't continue to put money into research
and technology that will allow us to - to create great businesses here in the United
States, that's how we lose the competition. And unfortunately, Governor Romney's budget
and his proposals would not allow us to make those investments.
MR. SCHIEFFER: All right. Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: Well, first of all, it's not government that makes business successful.
It's not government investments that make businesses grow and hire people.
Let me also note that the greatest threat that the world faces, the greatest national
security threat, is a nuclear Iran. Let's talk about China. China has an interest
that's very much like ours in one respect, and that is they want a stable world. They
don't want war. They don't want to see protectionism. They don't want to see the
- the world break out into - into various forms of chaos, because they have to -
they have to manufacture goods and put people to work. And they have about 20,000 - 20
million, rather, people coming out of the farms every year, coming into the cities,
needing jobs. So they want the economy to work and the world to be free and open.
And so we can be a partner with China. We don't have to be an adversary in any way,
shape or form. We can work with them. We can collaborate with them if they're willing
to be responsible. Now, they look at us and say, is it a good
idea to be with America? How strong are we going to be? How strong
is our economy? They look at the fact that we owe them a trillion
dollars and owe other people 16 trillion (dollars) in total, including them. They - they look
at our - our decision to - to cut back on our military capabilities - a trillion
dollars. The secretary of defense called these trillion dollars of cuts to our military devastating.
It's not my term. It's the president's own secretary of defense called them devastating.
They look at America's commitments around the world and they see what's happening
and they say, well, OK, is America going to be strong? And the answer is yes. If I'm
president, America will be very strong. We'll also make sure that we have trade
relations with China that work for us. I've watched year in and year out as companies
have shut down and people have lost their jobs because China has not played by the same
rules, in part by holding down artificially the value of their currency. It holds down
the prices of their goods. It means our goods aren't as competitive and we lose jobs.
That's got to end. They're making some progress; they need
to make more. That's why on day one I will label them a currency manipulator which allows
us to apply tariffs where they're taking jobs. They're stealing our intellectual
property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting
our goods. They have to understand, we want to trade with them, we want a world that's
stable, we like free enterprise, but you got to play by the rules.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, Governor, let me just ask you, if you declare them a currency manipulator
on day one, some people are saying you're just going to start a trade war with China
on day one. Is that - isn't there a risk that that could happen?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, they sell us about this much stuff every year. And we sell them about
this much stuff every year. So it's pretty clear who doesn't want a trade war. And
there's one going on right now that we don't know about. It's a silent one
and they're winning. We have an enormous trade imbalance with China. And it's worse
this year than last year. And it was worse last year than the year before.
And - and so we have to understand that we can't just surrender and - and lose
jobs year in and year out. We have to say to our friends in China, look, you guys are
playing aggressively, we understand it, but - but this can't keep on going. You
can't keep on holding down the value of your currency, stealing our intellectual property,
counterfeiting our products, selling them around the world, even into the United States.
I was with one company that makes valves in - in process industries. And they said,
look, we were - we were having some valves coming in that - that were broken, and
we had to repair them under warranty. And we looked them up, and - and they had our
serial number on them. And then we noticed that - that there was more than one with
that same serial number. They were counterfeit products being made overseas with the same
serial number as a U.S. company, the same packaging. These were being sold into our
market and around the world as if they were made by the U.S. competitor.
This can't go on. I want a great relationship with China. China can be our partner. But
- but that doesn't mean they can just roll all over us and steal our jobs on an
unfair basis. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Governor Romney's
right. You are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas, because you invested in companies
that were shipping jobs overseas. And, you know, that's your right. I mean, that's
how our free market works. But I've made a different bet on American
workers. You know, if we had taken your advice, Governor Romney, about our auto industry,
we'd be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China. If we take your
advice with respect to how we change our tax codes so that companies that are in profits
overseas don't pay U.S. taxes compared to companies here that are paying taxes, now,
that's estimated to create 800,000 jobs. The problem is they won't be here; they'll
be in places like China. And if we're not making investments in education and basic
research, which is not something that the private sector is doing at a sufficient pace
right now and has never done, then we will lose the lead in things like clean energy
technology. Now, with respect to what we've done with
China already, U.S. exports have doubled, since I came into office, to China. And actually,
currencies are at their most advantageous point for U.S. exporters since 1993. We absolutely
have to make more progress, and that's why we're going to keep on pressing.
And when it comes to our military and Chinese security, part of the reason that we were
able to pivot to the Asia-Pacific region after having ended the war in Iraq and transitioning
out of Afghanistan, is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the
future. And we believe China can be a partner, but we're also sending a very clear signal
that America is a Pacific power, that we are going to have a presence there. We are working
with countries in the region to make sure, for example, that ships can pass through,
that commerce continues. And we're organizing trade relations with countries other than
China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards.
That's the kind of leadership we've shown in the region. That's the kind of
leadership that we'll continue to show. MR. ROMNEY: I just want to take one of those
points. Again, attacking me is not talking about an agenda for getting more trade and
opening up more jobs in this country. But the president mentioned the auto industry
and that somehow I would be in favor of jobs being elsewhere. Nothing could be further
from the truth. I'm a son of Detroit. I was born in Detroit. My dad was head of a
car company. I like American cars. And I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry.
My plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing
checks. It was President Bush that wrote the first checks. I disagree with that. I said
they need - these companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy, and in that
process they can get government help and government guarantees, but they need to go through bankruptcy
to get rid of excess cost and the debt burden that they'd - they'd built up.
And fortunately the president picked - PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor Romney, that's
not what you said. MR. ROMNEY: Fortunately, the president -
you can take - you can take a look at the op-ed.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, you did not - MR. ROMNEY: You can take a look at the op-ed.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You did not say that you would provide, Governor, help.
MR. ROMNEY: You know, I'm - I'm still speaking. I said that we would provide guarantees
and - and that was what was able to allow these companies to go through bankruptcy,
to come out of bankruptcy. Under no circumstances would I do anything other than to help this
industry get on its feet. And the idea that has been suggested that I would liquidate
the industry - of course not. Of course not.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let's check the record. MR. ROMNEY: That's the height of silliness.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let's - let's check the record.
MR. ROMNEY: I have never said I would - I would liquidate the industry. I want to
keep the industry growing and thriving. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, the people in Detroit
don't forget. MR. ROMNEY: And - and that's I have
the kind of commitment to make sure that our industries in this country can compete and
be successful. We in this country can compete successfully with anyone in the world. And
we're going to. We're going to have to have a president, however, that doesn't
think that somehow the government investing in - in car companies like Tesla and -
and Fisker, making electric battery cars - this is not research, Mr. President. These
are the government investing in companies, investing in Solyndra. This is a company.
This isn't basic research. I - I want to invest in research. Research is great.
Providing funding to universities and think tanks - great. But investing in companies?
Absolutely not. That's the wrong way to go.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, the fact of the matter is -
MR. ROMNEY: I'm still speaking. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well - (chuckles) -
MR. ROMNEY: So I want to make sure that we make - we make America more competitive
MR. ROMNEY: - and that we do those things that make America the most attractive place
in the world for entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses to grow. But your investing in
companies doesn't do that. In fact it makes it less likely for them to come here -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right, Governor - MR. ROMNEY: - because the private sector's
not going to invest in a - in a - in a solar company if -
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm happy - I'm - I'm - I'm happy to respond -
MR. ROMNEY: - if you're investing government money and someone else's.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You've held the floor for a while. The - look, I think anybody
out there can check the record. Governor Romney, you keep on trying to, you know, airbrush
history here. You were very clear that you would not provide
government assistance to the U.S. auto companies even if they went through bankruptcy. You
said that they could get it in the private marketplace. That wasn't true. They would
have gone through a - MR. ROMNEY: You're wrong. You're wrong,
Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I - no, I am not wrong.
MR. ROMNEY: You're wrong. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I am not wrong. And -
MR. ROMNEY: People can look it up. You're right.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: People will look it up. MR. ROMNEY: Good.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: But more importantly, it is true that in order for us to be competitive,
we're going to have to make some smart choices right now. Cutting our education budget
- that's not a smart choice. That will not help us compete with China. Cutting our
investments in research and technology - that's not a smart choice. That will not
help us compete with China. Bringing down (sic) our deficit by adding $7 trillion of
tax cuts and military spending that our military's not asking for before we even get to the debt
that we currently have - that is not going to make us more competitive. Those are the
kinds of choices that the American people face right now. Having a tax code that rewards
companies that are shipping jobs overseas instead of companies that are investing here
in the United States - that will not make us more competitive.
And - and the one thing that I'm absolutely clear about is that after a decade in which
we saw drift, jobs being shipped overseas, nobody championing American workers and American
businesses, we've now begun to make some real progress. What we can't do is go back
to the same policies that got us into such difficulty in the first place. And that's
why we have to move forward and not go back. MR. ROMNEY: I couldn't agree more about
going forward, but I certainly don't want to go back to the policies of the last four
years. The policies of the last four years have seen incomes in America decline every
year for middle-income families, now down $4,300 during your term, 23 million Americans
still struggling to find a good job. When you came into office, 32 million people on
food stamps - today 47 million people on food stamps.
When you came to office, just over $10 trillion in debt - now $16 trillion in debt. It
hasn't worked. You said by now we'd be at 5.4 percent unemployment. We're 9
million jobs short of that. I've met some of those people. I've met them in Appleton,
Wisconsin. I - I met a young woman in - in - in Philadelphia who's coming out
of - out of college, can't find work. I've been - Ann was with someone just
the other day that was just weeping about not being able to get work. It's just a
tragedy in a nation so prosperous as ours that these last four years have been so hard.
And that - and that's why it's so critical that we make America once again the
most attractive place in the world to start businesses, to build jobs, to grow the economy.
And that's not going to happen by - by just hiring teachers. Look, I - I love
to - I love teachers, and I'm happy to have states and communities that want to
hire teachers, do that. I - by the way, I don't like to have the federal government
start pushing its way deeper and deeper into - into our schools. Let the states and
localities do that. I was a governor. The federal government didn't hire our teachers.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor - MR. ROMNEY: But I love teachers. But I want
to get our private sector growing, and I know how to do it.
MR. SCHIEFFER: I think we all love teachers. (Laughter.) Gentlemen, thank you so much for
a very vigorous debate. We have come to the end. It is time for closing statements. I
believe you're first, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you very much
Bob, Governor Romney, and to Lynn University. You know, you've now heard three debates,
months of campaigning and way too many TV commercials. (Laughter.) And now you've
got a choice. You know, over the last four years, we've made real progress digging
our way out of policies that gave us two prolonged wars, record deficits and the worst economic
crisis since the Great Depression. And Governor Romney wants to take us back
to those policies: a foreign policy that's wrong and reckless; economic policies that
won't create jobs, won't reduce our deficit, but will make sure that folks at
the very top don't have to play by the same rules that you do.
And I've got a different vision for America. I want to build on our strengths. And I put
forward a plan to make sure that we're bringing manufacturing jobs back to our shores
by rewarding companies and small businesses that are investing here not overseas. I want
to make sure we've got the best education system in the world and we're retraining
our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. I want to control our own energy by developing
oil and natural gas, but also the energy sources of the future. Yes, I want to reduce our deficit
by cutting spending that we don't need, but also by asking the wealthy to do a little
bit more so that we can invest in things like research and technology that are the key to
a 21st century economy. As commander in chief, I will maintain the
strongest military in the world, keep faith with our troops and go after those who would
do us harm. But after a decade of war, I think we all recognize we got to do some nation
building here at home, rebuilding our roads, our bridges and especially caring for our
veterans who've sacrificed so much for our freedom.
You know, we've been through tough times, but we always bounce back because of our character,
because we pull together. And if I have the privilege of being your president for another
four years, I promise you I will always listen to your voices, I will fight for your families
and I will work every single day to make sure that America continues to be the greatest
nation on earth. Thank you. MR. SCHIEFFER: Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: Thank you, Bob, Mr. President, folks at Lynn University - good to be with
you. I'm optimistic about the future. I'm excited about our prospects as a nation. I
want to see peace. I want to see growing peace in this country, it's our objective. We
have an opportunity to have real leadership. America's going to have that kind of leadership
and continue to promote principles of peace that'll make a world the safer place and
make people in this country more confident that their future is secure.
I also want to make sure that we get this economy going. And there are two very different
paths the country can take. One is a path represented by the president, which, at the
end of four years, would mean we'd have $20 trillion in debt, heading towards Greece.
I'll get us on track to a balanced budget. The president's path will mean continuing
declining in take-home pay. I want to make sure our take-home pay turns around and starts
to grow. The president's path means 20 million people out of work struggling for
a good job. I'll get people back to work with 12 million new jobs. I'm going to
make sure that we get people off of food stamps not by cutting the program but by getting
them good jobs. America's going to come back. And for that
to happen, we're going to have to have a president who can work across the aisle.
I was in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. I learned how to get
along on the other side of the aisle. We've got to do that in Washington. Washington is
broken. I know what it takes to get this country back. And we'll work with good Democrats
and good Republicans to do that. This nation is the hope of the earth. We've
been blessed by having a nation that's free and prosperous thanks to the contributions
of the Greatest Generation. They've held a torch for the world to see, the torch of
freedom and hope and opportunity. Now it's our turn to take that torch. I'm convinced
we'll do it. We need strong leadership. I'd like to be that leader, with your support.
I'll work with you. I'll lead you in an open and honest way. And I ask for your
vote. I'd like to be the next president of the United States to support and help this
great nation, and to make sure that we all together maintain America as the hope of the
earth. Thank you so much. MR. SCHIEFFER: Gentlemen, thank you both so
much. That brings an end to this year's debates. And we want to thank Lynn University
and its students for having us. As I always do at the end of these debates, I leave you
with the words of my mom who said, go vote. It makes you feel big and strong.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's great. MR. SCHIEFFER: Good night.
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The Complete Final Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

12545 Folder Collection
marmot published on February 10, 2015
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  1. UrbanDictionary 俚語字典整合查詢。一般字典查詢不到你滿意的解譯,不妨使用「俚語字典」,或許會讓你有滿意的答案喔