tv CNN Newsroom CNN October 8, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
talk back question for you today. how enthusiastic are you about voting? this from paul, i support obama. i know where he stands. romney smiled real pretty but still said nothing to clue us in on his specifics on tax plan or foreign policy. this from david. darn right, conservatives are itching to get to the polls, we can't take four more years of an ineffective presidency. not enthusiastic at all. i really don't care for either candidate what we need is a strong third or maybe fourth political party so we have a real choice. i will vote for obama because in spite of his failings, i think obama cares more about the middle class. facebook.com/carolcnn. thanks for your comments and thanks for watching my show today. i am karen costello. "cnn newsroom" continues with ashley banfield. hello, everybody. here is how we begin. the story of the house is the romney doctrine, the world according to the republican nominee for the president of the united states. mitt romney is laying out his
foreign policy platform in just about 20 minutes from now and we have the live cameras trained at the virginia military institute. will you hear him as he takes to the mic and possibly a global audience. you will hear it here on cnn and from our unmatched team of correspondents and analysts from d.c. to beijing to beirut. we have you completely covered and we'll begin with wolf blitz inner washington. when it comes to foreign policy credibility, the obama camp is comparing mitt romney to chevy chase and our most recent poll shows voters give the president a 7-point edge on world affairs. is a challenger, any challenger, be it mitt romney or anyone else, obliged to do this, obliged to become the commander in chief like more a moment and give a foreign policy speech right before the election? >> yes. mitt romney has been aggressively pursuing the foreign policy area because he
thinks the president is vulnerable. yes, the president did manage to kill osama bin laden on his watch, but in certain other areas the romney folks if you listen to all of the national security advisers, the foreign policy advisers, they think the president is very vulnerable, especially the notion of leading from behind. they say a romney administration would not lead from behind but rather lead from out front, and they're going to go after the president aggressively. you will see this in the course of romney's address which has been very carefully prepared and carefully written and you certain saw to a certain degree when romney did his overseas trip over the summer when he went to britain and then to england and then israel and then he went to poland and the series of speeches he delivered were pretty tough on the president even though he was reluctant to overly criticize the president overseas. the message certainly came through and certainly came through in the interview i did with mitt romney in jerusalem when he was there while we were
talking about the middle east. i think you will see a lot more of this and he thinks he has advantages in going after the president's record on on a lot of these issues. >> i recall specifically since you said he will be so careful as he words the speech today, i recall the series of gaffes on the overseas trip as well and to that point, wolf, this speech today, and we do have some of the excerpts, so i want to take a few and get your take on the differences between mitt romney's positions and president obama's positions on these very specific issues, and they are the hottest issues right now in foreign policy. start with iran. the excerpt according to the text we have been given, mitt romney is going to say, and i quote, the united states and our friends and allies will prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. i will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on iran and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. if you could break down how that differs from the president's and specifically that word capability, acquiring capability, as opposed to acquiring weapons.
>> it is much closer, romney's position to the position that we heard articulated by the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu when he drew the red line literally. the word capability is significant. if you're capable of building a bomb, that doesn't mean you necessarily have a bomb but you're capable of doing so. >> it could be years away, the capability could be years from actually acquiring a weapon. >> years or months or it could be weeks. it is a different tlesh hold than what the obama administration has laid out when you look carefully at what the president said at the general assembly, the most recent remarks on iran's nuclear program, he said the united states will not allow iran to have a nuclear bomb. i am paraphrasing to a certain degree. the word capability was not there. you did hear it from the israeli prime minister and today you're hearing it once again from mitt romney. mitt romney has been vague. he has gone back and forth on the issue of capability and sometimes he says it and
sometimes he doesn't. today he is very cat goral in saying in a romney administration iran would not be able to have that capability of building a nuclear bomb which is significantly different than the threshold laid out by the president. >> and let's talk about syria which has been somewhat of a thorn in the side of this current sitting american president, and mr. romney, governor romney's view of syria, there was something in these prepared remarks that we excerpted that stood out to me and i want to get your take on it. he said or he will say according to his prepared remarks released, i will work with our partners to identify and organize the rebels who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need. we all know that currently the american administration is not providing arms or suggesting they're facilitating providing arms. i am not sure whether 2k3w078 is suggesting the united states should arm the rebels, whom ever the friendly rebels end up
being, or whether we should ally with those who would arm rebels. do you get a feel for this? >> there is a whole category of rebels, the prchz to a ba shall al-assad's regime and there are some more democrat cli inclined shall we say to presumably would want to have a better relationship with the united states with the west and other friendly countries in the middle east, whether saudi arabia or qatar or some of the other countries actively involved in what's going on in syria a. the great concern the obama administration has had and the reason why the u.s. has not sought to arm the rebels is because some of those rebels may be totally opposed to the united states, maybe closer to al qaeda, for example, than to the united states, so once you start arming rebels in a major way, you're not sure where those weapons are going to wind up, and that's been the big concern of the obama administration right now. how do you make sure that the weapons you provide rebels are
really going to the good guys as it were as opposed to the potential bad guys and that's not an easy question to answer. >> never. in fact, we have countless examples where this has gone awry. hold the thought for a moment. if you could stand by, i have a lot more questions i need to ask you. in the meantime as the news continues to break, i want to check in now on mitt romney who spent the weekend campaigning in florida before heading to virginia. that's where today's live event is about to take place and our national political correspondent jim acosta is live on the campaign trail. he is live in lexington, virginia, where the foreign policy speech will take place. i understand you have seen a few parts of the speech and the excerpts. we've had some as well. tell me what your feel is when are you on the ground. are you getting a good feel for the mood of this campaign? has it taken an about turn? are we going to see an attack on the president or a different tack stick and a statesman that
wants to layout his vision for the future. >> ashley, i think you will see a couple of those things. you ma i see both of those things when mitt romney gets out here in just a few moment from now. the romney campaign is pretty pleased with what the american people saw at that presidential debate last week. they saw mitt romney going toe to toe with president obama and so now is another chance they think for the american people to say mitt romney filling out the role as commander in chief and laying out his foreign policy principles and then after the speech is over he will be meeting in a round table with a group of retired generals. again, another one of those images that the campaign would like to put out there of mitt romney as commander in chief. just to talk a little about what you and wolf were talking about a few moments ago, you go into the excerpts and you can take away a few different things. i was listening to a call yesterday and you just mentioned the situation in syria and they were talking about this idea of providing arms to the rebels in syria as an idea that would
appeal to the left as to people who look at this from a humanitarian standpoint, and so it was interesting to hear the romney campaign talk about that issue from this standpoint. the other thing they raised on this conference call and that you also see in the excerpts is this idea of a two-state solution between the israelis and the palestinians. we saw on the mother jones hidden camera video romney throw cold water on the idea of a two-state solution. if you look at the excerpts, he talks about a free and democratic and prosperous palestinian state that would stand side by side with an israeli state and that's very different at least in tone, especially during the foreign policy trip overseas when he went to israel and talked about jerusalem as the capital of israel, and one other thing we should note from the campaign conference call we listened to yesterday, ashley, romney's senior foreign policy advisers
were looking to jfk, harry truman, even bill clinton in his second term as presidents that they are looking at in terms of shaping a potential doctrine in the future. last week a lot of people you heard a lot of pundits on the right and left saying maybe mitt romney is moving to the middle on domestic policy issues, perhaps we'll see a little bit of that today in the foreign policy realm. >> stand by if you will. thank you for that as the crowd begins to build hint you and all eyes on romney's speech this morning and the president for his part couldn't be farther aw away. he is out west. he might be speaking to some. he is drumming up money from a-listers and wig money doen ars. brie on akeilar is live with us and looking to at $10 million to the $181 million he raised last month.
what is the plan of attack? >> he needs the money. i will tell you, ashley, tomorrow he is going to ohio which is a key battleground state where he is doing better in the optimpolls than mitt rom. the other thing he is doing is dedicating a memorial to caesar chavez, aid latino icon and founder of the american farm workers and he is doing this in california that is a blue state that you assume he shored up, but when you do something like this, there is a political calculation in this obviously. he needs the latino vote. it does tend to go for the democrat over a republican candidate by more than 2:1. it is a growing voter block and key in states like nevada, virginia, florida, and even north carolina. there is also that goes on. >> before i get to the foreign policy issue which i want to get to considering that's the theme of the day, first i want to get to the debate.
he finally has come out publicly or at least in front of the audience that has become public and made fun of his debate performance and did it in front of 6,000 people. how did that go over? it did go over well obviously. he was in front of a ton of supporters. this is the first time and why it is interesting he was talking about his lackluster debate performance. here is what he said, this was last night in l.a. at a fundraiser, a concert before thousands of his supporters. >> these guys, and everybody here, incredible professionaling and great friends and they just performed flawlessly night after night. i can't always say the same. >> funny there, ashley. as you know, this is very serious stuff. mitt romney has enjoyed a bump in the polls following his debate performance and president obama there is a lot of prosecute you are for him to
deliver next week when he is in new york and of course pressure as well on vice president joe biden who will have his debate against paul ryan in kentucky this week. >> all right. we'll talk about his foreign policy plans a little later on in the program. in the meantime, thank you for that. you can stay tuned as well. world is watching closely who will be the next american president. make no mistake, it is not just you and me watching these speeches. we'll go to south africa where some people are offering a bit of advice for the next president of our union. >> a message for the presidential candidates. if you take an interest in africa and take an interest in green issues in africa and have a look at what's happening with our water supplies and education and things like that. >> if you want to be the president of the united states of america, be sure. it is not an easy job. when you get that position, make it count. diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues
with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? that's a good thing, but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses.
the rest is up to you. so consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement plans, they pick up some of what medicare doesn't pay. and save you up to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. call today to request a free decision guide to help you better understand what medicare is all about. and which aarp medicare supplement plan works best for you. with these types of plans, you'll be able to visit any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare patients... plus, there are no networks, and you'll never need a referral to see a specialist. there's a range of plans to choose from, too. and they all travel with you. anywhere in the country. join the millions who have already enrolled in the only medicare supplement insurance plans endorsed by aarp, an organization serving the needs of people 50 and over
for generations... and provided by unitedhealthcare insurance company, which has over 30 years of experience behind it. call today. remember, medicare supplement insurance helps cover some of what medicare doesn't pay -- expenses that could really add up. these kinds of plans could save you up to thousands in out-of-pocket costs... you'll be able choose any doctor who accepts medicare patients. and you never need referrals. so don't wait. with all the good years ahead, look for the experience and commitment to go the distance with you. call now to request your free decision guide. this easy-to-understand guide will answer some of your questions, and help you find the aarp medicare supplement plan that's right for you.
i would prefer barack obama, but it is not my right to vote. it is the american citizens right to vote, and i respect their choice. >> i have no doubt that romney is better for israel. he doesn't have the preconceived notions that if he is not friendly to israel he will win over the arab world. >> some reaction from jerusalem, two men sharing their thoughts on the upcoming u.s. election. why would we listen? today it is all about foreign policy. mitt romney's foreign policy trip was this summer. do you remember it? romn romney's campaign is hoping you will forget about a lot of widely criticized missteps and instead focus on the criticism that he is getting ready just in the next few moments to level at president obama. over these countries on your
screen, and the escalating violence and the tensions right across the arab world, these images, essentially layout romney's foreign policy speech at a glance. that includes the terrorist attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. you can expect that romney will jab at that potential foreign policy achilles heel for president obama. you're about to hear it directly from romney himself. we go to live picture once again. we're waiting on the governor at the virginia military institute. he likely back stage getting ready to take the stage at any moment which is why we also have all of our producers and our reporters around the world at cnn waiting and watching this alongside of you to bring you the context and the perspective. that's wolf blitzer, too. this is what's so fascinating, wolf. now that there is cable news 24/7 and a call phoney of talks, we have had the excerpt from governor romney's camp and we already had a prebuttal
delivered to us from the president's camp, so it is the foreign policy offensive at a glance and before we even get the original speech. i just want to quote something the president's camp has set out fascinating. to date all mitt romney has offered is blustered platitudes. he shifted positions on every major foreign policy including intervening in libya which he was against before he was for. what i find fascinating about that, almost sounds like the attack on john kerry, the flip-flopping attack. is this something the president will be able to seize upon and try to use the same attack republicans did to democrats when john kerry was trying to become president that they can spin right back around? >> they would love to do that and the question is in the third and final presidential debate between the president and mitt romney, will the president really go on the offensive unlike the first debate? will he really go after mitt romney on some of these foreign
policy issues and the third and final presidential debate is close to the entirely quoted to national security and foreign policy and the next debate, the town hall meeting, that candy crowley will be moderating on domestic issues, other issues presumably somebody once asked a foreign policy question and the third debate strictly foreign policy and as a result romney is preparing for the second, especially the third debate right now and i think the speech that he is delivering today is part of that. in delivering a major foreign policy address like he is today, laying out his vision for the united states around the world during the romney administration, he really has to beef up on a lot of these issues. while he has a lot of experience on domestic economic issues and the social issues and the political issues, his experience in national security and foreign policy is not vast. he has to bone up on this and this is an area where the obama administration and the president will have a lot of advantage
going into the third and final debate. let's get through this speech that he is going to be delivering today. i have gone through the excerpts and i am more interested to see what they didn't give us and what else will he say and obviously be able to dissect that in the aftermath of the speech. >> okay. stand by if you would, mr. blitzer. i want to bring in halla who covered the international scene for a very long time and when it comes to how the rest of the world will be viewing this speech and i suppose my first question should be will they, but i want to get from your perspective whether this speech essentially needs to be a speech only for america or without question needs to be a speech for the rest of the world because he could be locked into it. >> he could be either and some contradictions in what he said, for instance, in that leaked video versus what he is expected to say about the israeli palestinian peace process and whether or not he enthusiastically supports the
two-state solution. i think what they're most concerned about syria and we have heard and i heard you discuss with wolf blitzer earlier some of the things he said that the rebels that share the values of the united states need to be identified and we're going to facilitate, impair phrasing, facilitate arming them, and as you mentioned there, it is unclear whether he supports directly arming the rebels or working with partners such as gulf states to arm the reblgs through borders such as the turkish border. i think people will be listen to that and what they won't hear necessarily in the speech. one of the foreign policy components that is very unpopular in certain parts of the world has been intensified under the obama administration and those are drone strikes against the suspected terrorist targets and both campaigns seem to agree the use of drones against the targets is something that serves american policy
interests. however, as far as our american audience is concerned in parts of the world like pakistan, yemen, you can imagine, other parts of the arab world, this is not seen as something that is good coming out of america or that helps its image. i think people will be listening for what they will expect but also for what might be absent as well, ashley. >> i want you to listen with me if you would, a sound bite from mitt romney with respect to spain and may have been considered an innocuous comment to those here in america. it went over like led zeppelin in spain. let me play it. >> spain spends 42% of their total economy on government. we're now spending 42% of our economy on government. i don't want to go down the path to spain. i want to go down the path of growth that puts americans to work with more money coming in because they're working. >> all right. i don't want -- >> no, no. >> i can imagine it would seem offensive. here is the question had it
comes to his words versus the president's words. the president, everyone hangs on every syllable or consonant. mitt romney, does he have more latitude or is he under the same microscope over seize? >> he is not under the same microscope. some of the things he's said in the past before that comment about spain, for instance, about the palestinians and how israelis are somehow implying culturally business minded where as the palestinians are not and some of the things he said regarding russia, for instance, that it is america's number one geopolitical foe, and those have been framed in the foreign press and other countries outside of the united states as gaffes by someone who is not experienced in foreign policy. that is absolutely how he has viewed in some parts of the world at this stage. now he is making the political calculation that it helps to come out and attack barack obama on foreign policy and over the weeks and months that he's had
the opportunity to frame rhetorically how he is going to approach this, will go down a little bit better. with that spain comment, it is something that didn't go down very well and as well with other things he said about other european countries and so we're going to have to see. i think what wolf said is very true. we have to listen to this speech and dissect it and see what tone and what words he uses in the next few minutes. >> i know i feel like we're jumping the gun. they sent us the excerpts in advance. we get this opportunity. if you would stand by for a second, thank you. our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is standing by at the state department. clearly where you are all ears and eyes on this speech. this is so critical to the state department's work. it is one thing as i mentioned to be a candidate and be able to give a speech. it is quite another to be the president because your words are critical at that very moment and can set off any kind of array of problems. let me ask you about mitt romney and his comments when it comes
to the duty of america. these are some of the things he is expected to say in the excerpts that he has sent to the press. this stands out to me. i believe the leader of the free world has a duty to use america's great influence to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prosecute event conflict, and make the world a better place. that sounds great here in america. my thought is the state department would cringe and say we'll mitigate that somewhat overseas when it comes to our interests and our interests alone. >> i think you have to look at that word shape events. if you look at the world, the united states can to a certain extent shape some events. there is a lot going on that the united states realistically cannot shape. there are forces at work in the
world that are simply motivated by the people in various countries, and so this idea that even that phrase the free world to me has kind of a cold war feeling to it, and, yes, when the world was divided in half between the soviet union and the u.s., maybe there was more that the u.s. could do. right now it is a complicated and complex mix, and especially economically, i think it is going to be very interesting to listen to what he says economically. right now that's the name of the game, energy policy, economics, et cetera. so talking about the united states leading, we have to hear the specifics. what specifically should the united states do that isn't being done right now? >> stand by if you will. we're watching the clock and watching the live cameras at the virginia military institute because that's where governor romney is expected any moment to take the microphone and deliver this extraordinarily important foreign policy speech. it is certainly long awaited and
there are a lot of eyes and ears ready to hear what he has to say more than the erpt examines we have been able to play. stand by. we'll take a quick break and be back after this. there are a lot of warning lights and sounds vying for your attention. so we invented a warning you can feel. introducing the all-new cadillac xts. available with a patented safety alert seat. when there's danger you might not see, you're warned by a pulse in the seat. it's technology you won't find in a mercedes e-class. the all-new cadillac xts has arrived, and it's bringing the future forward. dad vo: ok, time for bed, kiddo.
a live picture for you now at the virginia military institute where any moment now the republican presidential candidate mitt romney is going to deliver his remarks, what's being billed as a major foreign policy speech, the governor of virginia doing some of the preamble and working with the crowd until the governor shows up and in fact he is about 10 minutes late by our clock which during the campaign means absolutely nothing. let me tell you that. wolf blitzer has been with me
throughout with commentary on the advanced comments and excerpts that we have been given by the romney campaign, and, wolf, i want to ask you specifically about another element of the speech that stood out to me. i want to get your take on it. this has to do with governor romney's foreign policy position when it comes to israel and a palestinian state and whether there could be a side by side state. he says i will recommit america to the goal of a democratic prosperous palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the jewish state of israel. that sounds pretty concrete like there is a committed effort to making progress on mideast peace. however, at that very controversial fundraising event where the famous 47% comments came out, may 17th, the hidden camera remarks during the same fundraising event, this ent km was made about his foreign policy thoughts when it comes to israel and the palestinian
state. let me play that for you. >> the palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. so what you do is you move things along the best way you can and you hope for some degree of stability and what you recognize is that it is going to remain and we i can can the bowel down the field and hopefully something will happen to resolve it. >> tape comes back to haunt you at all time and kicking the can or the ball down the road doesn't sound like today's comments of recommitting america to this goal. i don't want to say etch-a-sketch. i don't think that's what he's going to do how committee accommodate for the comments a few months ago? >> if you listen to what the advisers working closely with them on this particular aspect of the foreign policy say, they say that for all practical
purposes the obama administration has given up on the israeli-palestinian peace process and came in with huge expectations, george mitchell, the former u.s. senator, who negotiated the peace agreement in northern ireland, he was brought in to negotiate an israeli-palestinian peace agreement and that didn't work out well as all of us know for a variety of reasons and since then the obama administration has done very little if anything to revive and there hasn't been much effort to get the peace talks back on track. what romney is trying to do is say if he comes in, he will work on that area and knowing that it is not easy and knowing there is problems and knowing that there are palestinians and he will refer to the palestinians, for example, hamas and gaza and others who are unwilling to accept israel under any conditions and having said that, there will be other palestinians who presumably will be ready to start the peace process and see if anything can happen down the road. as you know, ashley, all of us that covered this area and you and i were in israel covering
the story ten years ago, you know, this is a problem for a long time, presumably a problem for a long time down the road, and the point i think that romney is trying to make is he will try to do something about it as the obama administration for all practical purposes at least now seems to have given up on it. >> yeah. and videotape becomes problematic for democrats and republicans alike. anybody on the campaign trail will tell you they have to be very careful. you can't just etch-a-sketch constantly no matter what party you belong to. stand by. i want to bring in chris lawrence also standing by and watching what we're about to hear very carefully. obviously afghanistan is a massive issue. the president's policy is to withdraw soldiers by 2014. mitt romney has made comments about how he would view the withdrawal of soldiers and it is somewhat more nuanced, suggesting that he would work more with the generals and the boots on the ground now to assess the situation before making a final decision but we
just had a report in the "new york times" within the last week that looked really dire about the situation there, almost as though it is just a failure. it is done. we can't get peace with the taliban and may end up having to lead just like the soviets did in '89. that cannot bode well for the folks that work in your building and listen to what we're hearing from mitt romney today. >> you're talking about the negotiations with the taliban seeming to collapse at least in the short-term, ashley. that depends, the reaction depends on who you talked to in the pentagon and some people were never all that bullish on the talks to begin with and didn't see a lot of hope there. the obama administration was out front saying that they were in direct consultations and had put a lot in there and i guess we see mitt romney arriving now. >> i will jump in now if you wouldn't mind as he comes to the podium and thanks the governor of virginia. he will begin his address to a packed house, and obviously as i said before, all eyes, all ears, because this is a pivot in the campaign, foreign policy on the
agenda and first and foremost for the first time. >> thanks for the warm welcome and i particularly appreciate the introduction by my good friend and tireless campaign companion, governor bob mcdonnell. we traveled the state time and time again and he goes all over the country helping me and also showing in virginia what conservative leadership can do to build a stronger economy. thank you also to congressman good lot for joining us today. i appreciate his service and leadership and particular thanks to general p. i appreciate his invitation to be with you at the virginia military institute. it is a privilege to be at an institution like this that has done so much for our nation both in times of war and times of peace. for more than 170 years vmi has done more than educate students. it has guided their transformation into scitizens, warriors and leaders.
since september 11th attacks many of the vmi sons and daughters have defended america and i mourn with you the 15 brave souls who have been lost. i join you in praying for the many vmi graduate who is are right now serving in harm's way. may god bless all who serve and all who have served. of all the vmi graduates none is more distinguished perhaps than general george marshall, the chief of staff of the army that became the secretary of state and secretary of defense, who helped plan europe's rescuer from despair. his commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of war. general marshall once said, quote, the only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it. those words were true in his time, and they are true in our time.
last month our nation was attacked again. a u.s. ambassador and three of our fellow americans are dead. murdered in benghazi, libya. among the dead were three veterans. all of them were fine men on a mission of peace and friendship to a nation that clearly longs for both. president obama has said that ambassador chris stevens and his colleagues represented the best of america, and he is right. we all mourn their loss. the attacks against us in libya were not an isolated incident. they were accompanied by anti-american riots and nearly two dozen other countries, most in the middle east and also in africa and asia. our embassies have been attacked and our flag burned and many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs shouting death to america. these mobs hoisted the black banner of islamic extremism over american embassies on the anniversary of 9/11.
as the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown worse and what this calls in america to do. these are the right questions. i have come here today to offer a larger perspective on these tragic recent events and to share with you and to share with all americans my vision for a fr freer, more pros pous and pieceful world. the attacking should not be seen as random acts. they are expressions of a larger struggle playing out across the broader middle east in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in benghazi itself. the attack on our consulate there on september 11th, 2012, was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on september 11th, 2001.
this latest assault can't be blamed on a republic hence i believe video insulting islam despite the administration's attempts to ins request us of that for so long. as the administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially on women and girls who are fighting to control much of the middle east today and who seek to wage perpetual war on the west. we saw all of this in benghazi last month and we also saw something else. something hopeful. after the attack on our consulate, tens of thousands of libyans, most of them young people, held a massive protest in benghazi against the very extremists who murdered our people. they waved signs that read the ambassador was libya's friend and libya is sorry. they chanted no to militias, no
to militias. they marched, unarmed, to the terrorist compound, and then they burned it to the ground. as one libyan woman said, we are not going to go from darkness to darkness. this is a struggle that's now shaken the entire middle east. it is a struggle of millions and millions of people, men and women, young and old, muslims, christians, and non-believers all of whom have had enough of the darkness. it is a struggle for the dig knit that i comes with freedom and opportunity and the right to live under laws of our own making. it is a struggle that's been unfolded under green banners in the streets of iran and the public squares of tunisia and egypt and yemen and in the fights for liberty in iran and afghanistan and now in syria. in short it is a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and
despair. we have seen this struggle before and it would be familiar to general george marshall and in his time the actions of world war, another critical part of the world was torn between democracy and spotitm. fortunately we had leaders of courage and vision that knew that america had to support friends who shared our values and prevent today's crisis from becoming tomorrow's conflicts. statesmen like marshall rally the our nation to raise to the responsibilities as the leader of the free world. we helped our friends to build and sustain free society and free rkt mas. we defended our friends and ourselves from our common enemies. we led. we led, and though the path was long and uncertain, the thought of war in europe is as inconceivable today as it seemed inevitable in the last century. this is what makes america exceptional. it is not only the character of
our country, it is also the record of our accomplishments. america has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership, a history that's been written by patriots of both parties. this is america at its best. it is the standard by which we measure every president. as well as anyone who wishes to be president. unfortunately, this president's policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership. nowhere is this more evident than in the middle east. i want to be very clear. the blame for the murder of our people in libya and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries lies solely with those who carried them out, no one else. but it is our responsibility and the responsibility of the president to use america's greatest power to shape history, not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. unfortunately, that's exactly
where we find ourselves in the middle east under president obama. the relationship between the president of the united states and the prime minister of israel, for example, our closest ally in the region, has suffered great strains. the president explicitly stated his goal was to put daylight between the united states and israel and he succeeded. this is a dangerous situation is that has set back the hope of peace in the middle east. iran has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability and never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies, and us, and has never acted less deterred by america as was made clear last year when iranian agents plotted to assassinate the saudi ambassador in our nation's capital. yet when millions of iranians took to the streets in june 2009, when they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that
threatens the world, when they cried out are you with us or are you with them, the american president was silent. across the greater middle east as the joy borne from the downfall of dictate orz given way the pain staking work of building capable security forces and growing economies and developing effective democratic institutions, the president has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need. in iraq the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a reinsurgent al qaeda, the weakening of democracy in baghdad, and the rising influence of iran, and yet america's ability to influence events for the better in iraq has been under mined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. the president has tried. he tried. he also failed. to secure a responsible and
gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains. the president has also failed to lead in syria where more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the assad regime over the past 20 months. violent extremists are flowing into the fight. our ally turkey has been attacked, and the conflict threatens stability in the region. america can take pride in the blow that is our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on al qaeda, in pakistan, and afghanistan, including the killing of osama bin laden. these are real achievements won at a high cost. al qaeda remains a strong force in yemen and somalia, libya and other parts of north africa, in iraq and now syria and other extremists gained ground across the region. drones are important tools in our fight but no substitute for
a national security strategy for the middle east. the president is fond of saying that the tide of war is receding, and i want to believe him as much as anyone else. when we look at the middle east today, with iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in syria threatening to destabilize the region, and with violent extremists on the march, and with an american ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of al qaeda affiliates, it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office. i know the president hoped for a safer, freer, and more prosperous middle east allied with us. i shared this hope. hope is not a strategy. we can't support our friends and defeat our enemies in the middle east when our words are not backed up by deeds. when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the
perception of our strategy is not one of partnership but of passiveity. the greater tragedy of it all is we're missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the middle east, friends who are fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists and evil tyrants and angry mobs that seek to harm us. unfortunately so many of these people that could be our friends feel that our president is indifferent to their quest for freedom and dignity. as one syrian woman put it, we will not forget that you forgot about us. it is time to change course in the middle east. that course should be organized around these bedrock principles. america must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose, and resolve in our might. no friend of america will question our commitment to support them. no enemy that attacks america will question our resolve to defeat them. no one anywhere, friend or foe,
will doubt america's capability to back up our words. i will put the leaders of iran on notice that the united states and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. i will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on iran and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. i will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier attack forces in both the eastern mediterranean and the gulf, and i will work with israel to increase our military assistance and coordination for the sake of peace we must make clear to iran through actions, not just words, that there are nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated. i will reaffirm our historic ties to israel and our abiding commitment to its security. the world must never see any daylight between our two nations. i will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the gulf, and i will roll back president obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to our national
defense that would devastate our military. i will make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure, the decisions we make today will determine our ability to protect america tomorrow. the first purpose of a strong military is to prevent war. the size of our navy is at >> the size of our navy is at levels not seen since 1916. i'll restore our navy to the size needed fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines. i'll implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats, and on this will will be no flexibility with vladimir putin, and i'll keep the greatest alliance in military history strong by honoring their commitment to each devote 2% of their gdp to security spending. today only three of the 28 nato nation says meet this bench
mash. i'll make further reforms for our foreign assistance to create snent is for good governorance, for free enterprise and greater trade to the middle east and beyond. i'll organize all assistance efforts in the greater middle east under one official with responsibility and accountability to prioritize efforts and on to produce results. i'll rally our friends and allies to match our generosity with theirs, and i'll make it clear to the recipients of our aid in return for material support, they must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government. the rights of all their citizens, including women and minorities to insure space for civil society, free media, political parties, and an independent judiciary and to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats and our property. i'll champion free trade and restore it as a critical element
of our strategy. both in the middle east and across the world. the president has not signed one free trade agreement. i'll work with nations around the world that are committed to the principles of free enterprise, expanding existing relationships, and establishing new ones. i'll support friends around the middle east that support our values and need help defending them. in libya i'll support the libyan people's efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them. i'll vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in benghazi and killed our fellow americans. in egypt i'll use our influence, including clear conditions on our aid to urge the new government to represent all egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with israel,
and we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulation on their aid. in syria i'll work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition that share our values and then insure they obtain the arms they need to defeat assad's tanks and helicopters and fighter jets. iran is sending arms to assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. we should be working no less vigorously through our international partners to support the many syrians who would deliver that defeat to iran. >> it's important to develop influence for the heart of the country that sits at the middle east. in afghanistan you'll pursue a real and successful transeggs through afghan security forces by the end of 2014. president obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with this decision in
afghanistan is arguing for endless war, but the route to war and to potential attacks here at home is a politically timed retreat that abandons the afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. i'll evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders, and i will affirm that my duty is not to protect my political prospects, but to protect the security of the nation. finally, i'll recommit america to the goal of a democratic prosperous palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with the jewish state of israel. on this vital issue the president has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the u.n. only a new president will bring the chance to begin anew.
there's a longing for american leadership in the middle east, and it's not unique to that region. in asia and across the pacific where china's recent assertiveness is sending chills throughout that region and here where our neighbors in latin america want to reduce the failed ideology of hugo chavez and the castro brothers and deepened ties with the united states on trade and energy and security. in all these places the question is asked where does america stand? i know many americans are asking a different question. why us? i know many americans are asking whether our country today with our ailing economy, and our
massive debt, and after 11 years of war is still capable of leading. i believe that if america doesn't lead, others will. others who don't share our interests and our values, and the world would grow darker. for our friends and for us. america's security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. i'm running for president because i believe the leader of the free world has a duty to our citizens and to our friends everywhere to use america's great influence wisely, with selenity and without false pride, but also firmly and tyly to shape events in ways that secure our interests. further our values. prevent conflict. make the world better. not perfect. but better. our friends and allies across the globe don't want less american leadership.
they want more. more of our moral support. more of our security cooperation. more of our trade. more of our assistance and building free societies and thriving economies. so many people across the world still look to america as the best hope of human kind. so many people still have faith in america. we must show them that we still have faith in ourselves. that we have the will and the wisdom to revive our estating nant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense, to renew the sources of our great power and to lead the course of human events. winston churchill once said of george marshall, he always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement, and disillusion. that's the role our friends want america to play again, and it's
the role we must play. the 21st century can and must be a -- it began with terror and war and economic calamity. it's our duty to steer it out of the path of freedom and peace and prosperity. the torch america carries is one of designsancy and hope. it's not america's torch alone, but it is america's duty and honor to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light. thank you so much for your participation in this great charge. god bless you, and god bless the united states of america. >> his seventh foreign policy speech would build as a major. fareed zakaria, the host of "gps." clearly with so much territory covered, you really have to dig through it to find out what's different, what's new, what stands out.
>> it's a strong peach. tough on rhetoric in terms of the attacks on the obama administration, but this really just one policy disagreement, which is that romney says the syrian rebels should be armed, and i put it in a passive voice because he doesn't say the united states should arm them. they should be armed. that's it. you often refer to the foreign policy crisis we're seeing now as their problem. not something that we can mitigate necessarily with our edicts or speechdz, but it's really something that is born of an issue there. it's long, long in coming, and it is something that is their angst, not necessarily because of us. >> i think you see this most with regard to the arab spring. romney says we should be much more aggressive on the arab spring in shaping it. well, you know, that's going to be very difficult. it really is about them, not about us. what's going on in egypt and tunisia and