tv 1988 Presidential Candidates Second Debate CSPAN October 16, 2016 4:00am-5:30am EDT
again, we have a big difference on childcare. i want families to have the choice. i don't want to see the federal government licensing grandmothers. i don't want to see the guttural government saying to communities, you can't do this anymore. i want flexibility. about thele laugh 1000 points -- you want to go out and see what is happening in the volunteer sector. americans helping americans. i want to keep it alive in childcare and in other entitlements. [applause] i will has on the question i originally planned to ask you to follow up on a rebuttal involved in social security. it is true that originally you sought an exemption in the news -- and the governors association vote. but when you lost that vote you
endorsed the overall freeze proposal. what is more, you had great it is a some from your photo governors that were not go -- had great criticism of your fellow governors that would not go along as fellow cowards. gov. dukakis: that is not true. it had to do with the discussion we had the previous day. my question is, aren't you dem gogging the social security issue? duncan: no. i have to correct the record. that is not true. you vote on resolutions. if you don't get a 2/3 then the resolution doesn't pass. everybody knew those of us who voted against the freezing of colas did so emphatically and i never made that statement and never would. as we look at this nation's future and we have two very different visions of this future, i want to move ahead. the vice president talks about
a thousand points of light. i'm interested in 240 million points of light. i'm interested in 240 million citizens in this country who share in the american dream. all of them in every part of this country. as we look at the decisions that the next president of the united states is going to have to make, i just don't believe the place to go first is those programs, those so-called entitlements which provide a basic floor of income and a modest amount of medical care for the elderly, for the disabled. for people who can't make their way on their own and in many cases have given a great deal of this country. vice president did call social security basically a welfare program a few years ago and it isn't. it's a contract between generations. it's something we pay into now so we will have a secure retirement and our parents and grandparents will have a secure retirement. it's a very sacred contract.
i believe in it. so that's not where we ought to go. there are plenty of places to cut. there is lots we can do in the pentagon where the contractors have been lining their pockets at the expense of the american taxpayer. [applause] governor dukakis: we certainly ought to be able to give our farm families a decent income without spending 20 to $20 billion a year in farm subsidies. i'm sure we can do that. that's where we have to go and the programs we ought to review first. mr. schieffer: one minute to go. vice president bush: we have a fundamental difference on agriculture. he favors supply maintenance or production controls. he said that. he has been out in the midwestern states saying that. i don't. i think the farm bill he criticizes was good legislation, outstanding legislation. i believe the answer to the agricultural community is not to get the government further
involved but do what i'm suggesting. first place never go back to the democratic grain embargo, that liberal, democrat grain embargo that knocked the markets right out from under us and made mr. gorbachev say to me when he was here, how do i know you're reliable suppliers? we never should go back to that. we ought to expand our markets abroad, have rural enterprise zones, move forward swiftly on my ideas of ethanol which would use more corn and make a bigger market for our agricultural products but let's not go back and keep assailing a farm bill that passed with overwhelming democrat and republican support. the farm payments are going down because the agricultural economy is coming back. mr. schieffer: margaret warner has a question, mr. vice president. margaret: i'd like to cover a subject that wasn't covered in the first debate. you have said in this campaign i am an environmentalist and described yourself as having zero tolerance for polluters yet your record does seem to
suggest otherwise. when you were head of the president's task force on regulatory relief, you did urge e.p.a. to relax regulations involving the elimination of ead from gasoline. i believe your suspension of rules requiring industries to treat toxic waste before discharging them in sewers and your group also urged osha to weaken regulations requiring workers be informed of dangerous chemicals at the work site. finally i do believe you supported the clean water act. my question is, aren't you -- how do you square your campaign rhetoric with this record? vice president bush: 90% reductions in lead since i chaired that regulatory task force, 90%. you remember that expression, get the lead out? it's almost out. almost gone. clean water, i'm for clean water. what i am not for is measuring it the way that the democratic
congress does. we set up a good bill on clean water, a sound bill on clean water. the only way you can express your love for clean water is to double the appropriations for clean water and then rant against the deficit. i am for clean water. i've been an outdoorsman and sportsman all my life. i've been to these national parks. formerly he dingle/johnson bill. i headed the task force when i was a member of congress in the late 1960's on these kinds of things on the republican side. i led for that. and so i refuse to measure one's commitment as to whether you're going to double the spending. that is the same old argument that has gotten us into trouble on the deficit side. i'll just keep saying i am one. i'm not going to go down there and try to dump the sludge from off the beaches into new jersey. ot going to do that.
that boo was excessively loud and long. can you add five seconds, bernie? give me five. this is too much. but i'm not going to do that. i am an environmentalist. i believe in our parks. i believe in the president's commission on outdoors and i'll do a good job because i am committed. mr. shaw: governor dukakis, you have one minute to respond. governor dukakis: i'm not sure i can get all of this in in one minute. george, we have supply management today under the 1985 bill. secondly, if you are so oppose today grain embargo why did you ask him to be one of your top policy advisers? it was a mistake. i'm also against the pipeline embargo you folks attempted to impose. that was a mistake as well and cost thousands of jobs for american workers in the midwest and all over the united states of america. margaret, once again i don't know which george bush i'm
talking about here or looking at. the george bush who was a charter member of the environmental wrecking crew in washington in the early 1980's and did a job on the e.p.a. or the one we've been seeing and listening to the past three months. let me say this. he spent millions and millions of dollars on advertising on the subject of boston harbor. george, boston harbor was polluted for a couple years. i am the first governor to clean it up. [applause] governor dukakis: no thanks to you. we've been cleaning it up four years. we passed landmark legislation in 1984. you did everything you could to kill the clean water act and those grants to make it possible for states and local communities to clean up rivers and harbors. [applause] mr. shaw: andrea mitchell has a question for you, mr. vice president. andrea: jimmy carter has called this the worst campaign ever. richard nixon has called it trivial, superficial, and inan. whoever started down this road
first of negative campaigning, the american people from all reports coming to us are completely fed up. now, do you have any solutions to suggest, is there time left to fix it? there are 26 days left. for instance, would you agree to another debate before it's all over so the american people would have another chance before election day to compare you two? vice president bush: no i will not agree to another debate. the american people are up to here with debate. they had 30 of them. we had seven of them. now we got three of them. i am going to carry this election debate all across this country in the last whatever remains of the last three and a half weeks or whatever we have, and the answer is no. i am not going to have any more debate. we don't need any more debate. i've thought out my position. in terms of negative campaigning, i don't want to
sound like a kid in the school yard, he started it, but take a look at the democratic convention. take a look at it. you remember the senator from boston chanting out there and the ridicule factor from that lady from texas that was on there? i mean, come on. this was just outrageous. it 'll try harder to keep on a high plane. if you accept a little criticism i went all across illinois and spoke about agricultural issues in about seven stops. we had some fun. crystal gale, loretta lynn with us, they got up and sang, went to little towns and talked agriculture. not one thing did i see with respect to your network about my views on agriculture and not one did i read in any newspaper. why? because you're so interested in a poll that might have been coming out or because somebody said something nasty about somebody else. and so i don't know what the answer is.
-- n't -- somebody hit me barry goldwater asked if i was going to talk on the issues more. we put out position paper after position paper. he puts out position paper after position paper and we see this much about it because everyone else is fascinated with polls and who is up or down today and who's going to be up or down tomorrow. i think we can all share with respect in the fact maybe the message is not getting out. it's not getting out because there are too few debates. there will be no more debates. mr. shaw: governor dukakis, you have one minute to respond, sir. governor dukakis: i can understand after the vice presidential debate why mr. bush would want no more debates. that's my five seconds. andrea, i think we both have a responsibility to try to address the issues. yes we have fundamental differences. i think a great many have come
out today. i think if we get rid of the labels and i'm not keeping count but i think mr. bush has used the label "liberal" at least 10 times. if i had a dollar, george, for every time you use that label i'd qualify for one of those tax breaks for the rich you want to give away. isn't that the point? most americans believe in basic values. we have differences about how to achieve them. i want to move forward. i want this nation to move forward. i'm concerned about the fact that 10% of our manufacturing and 20% of our banking, nearly half of the real estate in the city of los angeles are in the hands of foreign investors. i'm concerned about what that does to our future. i'm concerned about the fact that so many of our securities are in the hands of foreign banks because of the massive deficits. those are the issues on which we ought to be debating. and just put away the flag factories and the balloons and those things and get on to a real discussion these issues. mr. shaw: andrea mitchell has a question for you, governor dukakis.
andrea: we're talking about issues. let's return to something you said earlier about the modernization of land-based missiles. you said you didn't move us out but there are limits to what we can spend. then you went on to talk about a much more expensive part of our defense strategy namely conventional sources. do you somehow see conventional sources as a substitute for our strategic forces and in not talking about the land-based missiles and not committing to modernizing do you somehow believe that we can have a surviveable nuclear force based on the air and sea legs of our triad? governor dukakis: i think we ought to be looking at modernization. we ought to be exploring less expensive ways to get it on land and we ought to make sure we have an effective and strong and credible nuclear deterrent, but we also need well-equipped, well trained, and well supported conventional forces. every defense expert i know including people in the pentagon, itself, will tell you that given the level of defense
spending and the devil of defense appropriations which the congress has now approved and the president has signed there is no way you can do all of these things and do them well. that's why tough choices will be required. choices i am prepared to make. mr. bush is not prepared to make. andrea, i think we can go well beyond this. we have opportunities. step by step to bring down the level of strategic weapons, get a test ban treaty. negotiate those. i would challenge mr. gorbachev to join with us in limiting and eliminating regional conflict in the middle east and central america. let's get him working on syria, their client state, see if we can't get them to join israel and other arab nations if at all possible and in finally bringing peace to that troubled region. i think that is one reason why we need fresh leadership in the white house to make progress now bringing peace to the middle east. let's go to work and end this
fiasco in central america. failed policy which has actually increased cuban and soviet influence. democratic leaders of central and latin america want to work with us. i've met them, i know them. i spent time in south america. speak the language. we want to work with them and build a new relationship and they with us but not a one of those key democratic leaders support our policy in central america. we've got to work with them if we're going to create an environment in human rights and democracy for people this hemisphere and go to work on our single most important problem and that is the avalanche of drugs pouring into our country and virtually destroying those countries. those are the kinds of priorities for national security and for foreign policy that i want to pursue. m bush and i have major differences on these issues. i hope very much to be president and pursue them. mr. shaw: mr. vice president, you have one minute. vice president bush: in terms of regional tensions we have now gotten the attention of the soviet union and the reason we've gotten it is because they
see us now as unwilling to make the very kinds of unilateral cuts that have been called for and to go for the discreditted freeze. my opponent had trouble, criticized us on our policy in angola. it now looks because it's steady negotiation, that we may have an agreement that will remove the cubans from angola. we seek the russians coming out of afghanistan. that wouldn't have stopped if we hadn't been -- wouldn't even have started if the soviets coming out if we hadn't been lling to support the freedom fighters there. the policy in central america has regrettabley failed because congress is unwilling to support those who have been fighting for freedom. those sandinistas came in and betrayed the trust of the revolution. they said it was about democracy. they have not done -- done nothing other than solidify their marxist domination over that country. mr. shaw: ann compton for
governor dukakis. ann: governor, nuclear weapons need nuclear materials replenished on a regular basis and just this week yet another nuclear manufacturing plant was closed because of safety concerns. the pentagon feared too much priority has been put on the weapons program, not enough on current programs, and worry that the resulting shortage would be amounting to nothing less than unilateral nuclear disarmament. is that a priority that you feel has been ignored by this administration? are the pentagon officials making too much of it? governor dukakis: it is a great concern of mine and i think all americans. perhaps the vice president can tell us what's been going on. this is another example of misplaced priorities. the administration, which wants to spend billions on weapons systems we don't need and can't afford and now confronts us with a very serious problem in plants that were supposed to be producing plutonium and providing necessary materials for existing weapons. yes, if we don't do something about it we may find ourselves unilaterally if i may use that
term dismantling some of these weapons. what's been going on? who's been in charge? who's been managing this system? why have there been these safety violations? why are these plants being closed down? i don't know the latest cost estimates but in the range of 25, 50, 75, a hundred billion dollars. now, somebody has to have the responsibility for this. maybe the vice president has an answer. but i'm somebody who believes very strongly in taking care of the fundamentals first before you start new stuff. and that is something which will be a priority of ours in the new administration because without it we cannot have the effective and strong and credible nuclear deterrent we must have. mr. shaw: mr. vice president, you have one minute. vice president bush: that is the closest i've of heard the governor of massachusetts come to support anything having to do with nuclear. that's about as close as i've ever heard him. yes the savannah river plant needs to be made more safe. will he join me in suggesting
we may need another plant maybe in idaho to take care of the requirements, nuclear material requirements for our defense department? i hope he will. this sounds like real progress here because we've had a big difference on the safe use of nuclear power for our energy base. i believe that we must use clean, safe, nuclear power. i believe that we, the more dependent we become on foreign oil, the less our national security is enhanced and, therefore, i've made efforts to strengthen the domestic oil energy by more incentive going in to look for and find and produce oil. made some incentives in terms of secondary and toishy production but we're going to have to use more gas, more coal, and more safe nuclear power for our energy base. so i am one who believes we can and must do what he's talking about now. mr. shaw: ann compton has a question for you. ann: mr. vice president, as many as a hundred official ness this administration have left the government under an ethical
cloud. some have been indicted, some convicted. many of the cases have involved undue influence once they are outside of government. if you become president, will you lock that revolving door that has allowed some men and women in the government to come back and lobby the very departments they once managed? vice president bush: i'll apply it to congress, too. i'll do both. because i think -- you see, i am one who i get kidded by being a little old fashioned on these things but i do believe in public service. i believe that public service is honorable and i don't think anybody has a call on people in their administrations going astray. his chief education adviser is in jail. he's in jail because he betrayed the public trust. the head of education. , the governor equated the governor to a rotting fish. he said the fish rots from the head down. we need the highest, possible
ethical standards. i will have an ethical office in the white house under the president's personal concern. i will see that these standards apply to the united states congress. i hope i will do a good job as one who has had a relatively clean record with no conflicts of interest in his private life as has the governor to exhort young people to get into public service. t there is no corner on this sleaze factor. believe me. i will do my level best to clean it up, recognizing that you cannot legislate morality. i do believe with my record in congress, having led the new congressman to a code of ethics through main emphasis on it in full disclosure that i've got a good record. there are more if you want to talk about percentage appointments, more members of congress who have been under investigation percentage wise than people in the executive branch.
state presidents have had a hard time. some of his college presidents aren't exactly holier than thou. let's not be throwing stones about it. let's say this isn't democrat or republican and it isn't liberal or conservative. let's vow to work together to do something about it. [applause] mr. shaw: governor, you have one minute to respond. governor dukakis: i agree integrity is not a government issue. it's an american issue. here again i don't know which george bush i'm listening to. wasn't this the mr. bush that supported mr. niese, called james watt an excellent secretary of the interior? provided support for some of these people, robert bork, for the supreme court of the united states? we've had dozens and dozens of officials in this administration who left under a cloud, with a special prosecutor on their arm, indicted, convicted. this isn't the kind of administration we need.
one of the reasons our selection of a running mate is so important and is such a test of the kinds of standards we'll set it is because it tells the american people it advances the election. just what kind of people we're looking for. mr. bush picked dan quayle. i think that says a great deal about the standards we will set and the quality of people we will pick to serve in our administration. [applause] mr. shaw: to each of you candidates regrettabley i have to inform you we've come to the end of our questions. that's a pity. before i ask the candidates to make their closing remarks, on behalf of the commission on presidential debates, i would like to thank all of you for joining us this evening. governor dukakis, yours is the first closing statement. governor dukakis: 28 years ago as a young man just graduated
from law school i came to this city and clear across the country to watch john kennedy be nominated for the presidency of the united states right here in los angeles. i never dreamed that some day i would win that nomination and be my party's nominee for president. that's america. that's why i'm proud and grateful to be a citizen of this country. 6 days from today, you and millions of americans will choose two people to lead us into the future as president and vice president of the united states. our opponents say things okay. don't rock the boat. ot to worry. they tell us we should be satisfied but we can't be satisfied when we're spending a hundred billion dollars a year on foreign debt much of it going to foreign bankers or when our high school students are dropping out of school or we have 2.5 million of our fellow citizens, one-third of them veterans, homeless and living on streets or in
doorways in this country. mr. bush's prescription for our economic future is another tax iveaway to the rich. we can do better than this. not with all of us working alone with government but all of us working together. we ask you for your hands and your hearts and your votes for the 8th of november so we can move forward into the future. we are very grateful to all of you for the warmth and the hospitality you've given to us in your homes and communities all across this country. we love you and we're grateful to you for everything that ou've given to us. we hope we'll be serving you in the white house in january of 1989. thank you and god bless you. [applause]
mr. shaw: vice president bush, your closing statement, sir. vice president bush: sometimes it does seem a campaign generates more heat than light. let me repeat i do have respect for my opponent, for his family ks for the justifiable pride he takes in his heritage. but we have enormous differences. i want to hold the line on taxes and keep this the longest expansion in modern history going until everybody in america benefits. i want to invest in our children because i mean it when i say i want a kinder and gentler nation. by that i want to have child care for the families, the parents have control. i want to keep our neighborhoods much, much better in terms of anticrime. that's why i would appoint judges that have a little more sympathy for the victims of crime and a little less for the criminals. that is why i do feel if some
police officer is gunned down that the death penalty is equired. i want those with disabilities to be able to fit into the main stream. there is much to be done. this election is about big things and perhaps the biggest is world peace. i ask you to consider the experience i have had in working with the president who has revolutionized the situation around the world, america stands tall again and and result we are credible have now achieved an historic arms agreement. i'd love to build on that. i'd love to say to my grandchildren four years after my first term ks your grandfather working with the leaders of soviet union, with the leaders of europe, was able to ban chemical and biological weapons from the face of the earth. lincoln called this country the last
journal,'s washington live every day with policies that are important to you. , we will talk about key house and senate races and the impact of campaign 2016 on the congressional races. then jerry o'neill, president of the national organization for , will discuss donald trump's comments and alleged behavior towards women. and former speaker of the house 2012 republican presidential candidate newt gingrich on the latest of elements in 2016, the growing divide in the republican party over donald trump, and the potential impact on other races. he sure to wash c-span's "washington journal," coming up this morning at 7:00. join the discussion. the 2008 presidential race was between democratic illinois
senator barack obama and republican senator john mccain of arizona. their final debate focused on domestic issues. it was held at hofstra university in hempstead, new york. this is just over an hour and a half. university. this is just over an hour and a half. mr. schieffer: good evening and welcome to the third and last presidential debate of 2008 sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. i'm bob schieffer of cbs news. the rules tonight are simple. the subject is domestic policy. i will divide the next hour and a half into nine-minute at nts and ask a question the beginning of each segment. each candidate will have two minutes to respond and we'll have a discussion. i will encourage them to ask followup questions of each other. f they do not, i will. the audience behind me has promised to be quiet except at this moment when we welcome
barack obama and john mccain. [applause] gentlemen, welcome. by now we've heard all the talking points. let's try to tell the people tonight some things they haven't heard and let's get to it. another very bad day on wall treet as both of you know. both of you proposed new plans this week to address the economic crisis. senator mccain you propose ad $52 billion plan that includes new tax cuts on capital gains, tax breaks for seniors. write offs for stock losses among other things. senator obama, you proposed $60 billion in tax cuts for middle income and lower income people, more tax breaks to create jobs, new spending for public works
projects to create jobs. i will ask both of you why is your plan better than his? enator mccain, you go first. senator mccain: let me say thank you, bob, and thanks to hofstra and our beloved nancy reagan is in the hospital tonight so our thoughts and prayers are going with you. good to see you again, senator obama. americans are hurting right now and they're angry. they're hurting and they're angry. they're innocent victims of greed and excess on wall street. nd as well as washington, d.c. they're angry and they have every reason to be angry. they want this country to go in a new direction. there are elements of my proposal which you just outlined which i won't repeat but we also have to have a short-term fix in my view and long-term fixes. let me just talk to you about one of the short-term fixes.
the catalyst for this housing criess was the fannie and freddie mae which caused sub prime lending situations which caused the housing market in america to collapse. until we ced that reverse this decline in home ownership and paut floor under it so people have not only the hope and belief they can stay in their homes and realize the american dream but that value will come up. we have allocated $750 billion. let's take 300 of that and go in and buy those home loan mortgages and negotiate with those people in their homes, 11 million homes for more so they can afford to pay the mortgage, stay in their home. i know the criticism. what about the citizen that stayed in their homes? that paid their mortgage payments? it doesn't help that person in their home if the next door
neighbor's house is abandoned. we've got to reverse this. we ought to put the home owners first and i am disappointed secretary paulson and others have not made that their first priority. bob: all right. senator obama. senator obama: i want to thank hofstra university for hosting us and senator mccain and thank you, bob. we are experiencing the worst financial crisis since the great depression. the financial rescue plan senator mccain and i supported s an important first step. i pushed for some core principles, making sure the taxpayers can get their money back if they're putting money up. making sure c.e.o.'s are not enriching themselves through this process. i think it is going to take some time to work itself out. what we haven't yet seen is a rescue package for the middle
class because the fundamentals of the economy were weak even before this latest crisis. i propose four specific things that i think can help. number one let's focus on jobs. i want to end the tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas. and provide a tax credit for every company creating a job right here in america. number two, let's help families right away by providing them a tax cut, a middle class tax cut for people making less than $200,000 and let's allow them to access their i.r.a. accounts without penalty if they're experiencing a crisis. now, senator mccain and i agree with your idea that we have to help home owners. that's why we included in the financial package a proposal to get home owners in a position where they can renegotiate their mortgages. i disagree with senator mccain on how to do it because the way snowstorm -- senator mccain has designed his plan it could be a giveaway for banks and we don't want to waste taxpayer money. we've got to get the financial
package working much quicker than it's been working. the last point i want to make, we have long-term challenges in this economy that have to be dealt with. we have to fix our energy policy that's giving our wealth away. we've got to fix our health care system and we've got to invest in our education system for every young person to be ble to work. bob: would you thrike ask a question? senator: a couple days ago senator obama was in ohio and had an encounter with a plumber. his name is joe and joe wants to buy the business he's been in all these years. worked 10, 12 hours a day and he wanted to buy the business but he looked at your tax plan and he saw that he was going to pay much higher taxes. you were going to put him in a higher tax bracket. which was going to increase his taxes and cause him not to be , e to employ people which
joe was trying to realize the american dream. senator obama talks about the very, very rich. joe, i'll tell you, not only help you buy that business you worked your whole life for and be able -- and i'll keep your taxes low and i'll provide available and affordable health care for you and your employees and i will not have-daybreak i will not stand for a tax increase on small business income. 50% of small business income -- taxes are paid by small businesses. that's 60 million jobs in america. what you want to do to joe the plumber and millions more like him is have their taxes increased and not be able to realize the american dream of owning their own business. that's what joe believes. senator obama: he has been watching some ads of senator mccain's. let me tell you what i'm actually going to do. i think tax policy is a major difference between senator mccain and myself. we both want to cut taxes.
the difference is who we want to cut taxes for. senator mccain's, the center piece of his economic proposal is to provide $200 billion in some onal tax breaks to of the wealthiest companies in america. exxon mobile and other companies would get an additional billions of dollars in tax breaks. what i've said is i want to provide a tax cut for 95% of working americans. 95%. if you make less than $250,000 a year, then you will not see your income tax go up, your capital gains tax go up, your payroll tax. not one dime. and 95% of working families, 9 % of you will get a tax cut. 9 #% of you will get a tax cut. independent studies have looked at our plan and concluded i provide three times the amount of tax relief to middle class families than senator mccain does. the conversation i had with joe the plumber, what i essentially said to him was five years ago
when you weren't in a position to buy your business you need'd tax cut then. what i want to do is make sure the plumber, the nurse, the firefighter, the teacher, the young entrepreneur who doesn't yet have money, i want to give them a tax break now. and that requires us to make some important choices. last point i'll make about small businesses not only do 98% of small businesses make less than $250,000 but i also want to give them additional tax breaks because they are the drivers of the economy and produce the most jobs. senator mccain: senator obama wound up his conversation with joe the plumber, we need to spread the wealth around. in other words take joe's money, give it to president obama and let him spread the wealth around. i want joe to be able to spread that wealth around. the whole premise behind senator obama's plans are class warfare, let's spread the
wealth around. i want small businesses and by the way the small businesses we're talking about would receive an increase in their taxes right now. why would you want to increase anybody's taxes right now? why would you want to do that to anyone, anyone in america? when we have such a tough time, when these small business people like joe the plumber are going to create jobs unless you ke that money from him and spread the wealth around. i'm not going to do that in my administration. senator obama: if i can answer the question number one i want to cut taxes for 95% of americans. it is true my friends, warren buffet for example, could aford o pay a little more in taxes in order to give additional tax cuts to joe the plumber before he was at the point where he could make $250,000. i think exxon mobile, which profits billion record
over the last several quarters, they can afford to pay a little more so ordinary families who are hurting out there, trying to figure out how they're going to afford food, how they're going to save for their kids' college education, they need a place. so look. nobody likes taxes. i would prefer that none of us have to pay taxes including myself but ultimately we've got to pay for the core investments that make this economy strong. senator mccain: nobody likes taxes. let's not raise taxes. okay? the fact is businesses in america today are paying second highest tax rate of anywhere in the world. our tax rates for business in america is 35%. ireland it's 11%. where are companies going to go where they can create jobs and they can do best in
business? we need to cut tax rates on businesses and encourage it. of all times. we need to encourage business and create jobs not spread the wealth around. bob: let's go to another topic that's related so if you have other things you want to say you can get back to that. this question goes to you first, senator obama. we found out yesterday this year's deficit will reach an astounding record high $455 million. some experts say it could go to a trillion dollars next year. both of you have said you want to reduce the deficit but the committee for a responsible federal budget ran the numbers on both of your proposals and they say the cost of your proposals even with the savings you claim can be made each will add more than $200 million to the deficit. aren't you both ignoring reality? won't some of the programs you're proposing have to be trimmed, postponed, even
eliminated? give us some specifics on what you're going to cut back. senator obama? senator obama: first of all i think it is important for the american public to understand the $750 billion rescue package if it is structured properly, and as president i will make sure it is structured properly, means that ultimately taxpayers get their money back. that is important to understand. but there is no doubt we've been living beyond our means. we'll have to make some adjustments. now what i've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut. i haven't made a promise about to emphasize is i have been a strong po opponent of pay as you go. every dollar i proposed i proposed an additional cut so it matches. and some of the cuts just to give an example, we spent $15 billion a year on subsidies to insurance companies. it doesn't help seniors get any
better. it is not improving our health care system. it's just a giveaway. we need to eliminate a whole host of pro-fwrams that don't work. i want to go through the federal budget line by line, page by page. programs that don't work we should cut. programs we need we should make them work better. what is true is that senator mccain and i have a difference in terms of the need to invest in america. in the american people. i mentioned health care earlier. if we make an investment now so people have coverage and prevent disease it will save on medicare and medicaid in the future. if we invest in a serious energy policy that will save on the amount of money we're borrowing from china to send to saudi arabia. if we invest in our young people and their ability to go to college that will allow them to drive this economy into the 21st century. but what is absolutely true is that once we get through this economic crisis, and some of the specific proposals to get
us out of this slump, we won't be able to go back to our provely gait ways and we have to embrace the responsibility, all of us, the federal government and individuals who may be living beyond their means. bob: senator? senator mccain: thanks. i want to get back to home ownership. during the depression years we had something called the home ownership loan corporation. they went out and bought up these mortgages and people were able to stay in their homes and eventually the value of the homes went up and they actually made money. this was a proposal made by senator clinton not too long ago. so obviously if we can start increasing home values then there will be creation of wealth. bob: the question is what are you going to try? senator mccain: first of all, we have to have nuclear power and stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us much. wind, solar, offshore drilling
which senator obama has opposed. and the point is we've become energy independent and we will create millions of jobs, millions of jobs in america. what would i cut? first of all, across-the-board spending freeze. some people say that is a hatchet. then i would get out a scapel. okay? because we've got -- we have presided over the largest increase. we have to have a new direction for this country. we've presided over the largest increase in government since the great society. government spending has gone completely out of control. $10 trillion in debt we're giving to our kids. lf a trillion dollars we owe china. i know how to save billions in defense spending. i know how to eliminate programs. bob bob: which one? senator mccain: the marketing assistance program, a number of subsidies for ethanol. i opposed it because i thought distorted the market and created inflation.
senator obama supported those subsidies. i would eliminate the tariff on imported sugar cane based ethanol from brazil. i know how to save billions and i saved the taxpayer $6.8 billion by fighting deals for a couple years as you might recall a. sweetheart deal between an aircraft manufacturer and d.o.d. people ended up in jail. i would fight for a line item veto and certainly veto every earmark pork barrel. senator obama has asked for nearly $1 billion in pork barrel earmark projects including for an overhead projector in a planetarium in his hometown. that's not the way we cut. we'll cut out all the pork. senator obama: well, look. i think we do have a disagreement about across-the-board spending freezes. it sounds good. it is proposed periodically and doesn't happen. an across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet and we do need a scapel because there are some programs that don't work
at all. there are some that are under funded. and i want to make sure we are focused on those programs that work. now, senator mccain talks a lot about earmarks. that is one of the center pieces of his campaign. earmarks account for one-half of 1% of the total federal budget. there's no doubt the system needs reform and there are a lot of screwy things we end up spending money on. they need to be eliminated. it is not going to solve the problem. now, the last thing i think we have to focus on is a little bit of history just so we understand what we're doing going forward. when president bush came into office, we had a budget surplus. and the national debt was a little over $5 trillion. it has doubled over the last eight years. and we are now looking at a deficit of well over half a trillion dollars, so one of the things i think we have to recognize is pursuing the same kinds of policies we pursued
over the last eight years is not going to bring down the deficit and, frankly, senator mccain voted for four out of five of president bush's budgets. we've got to take this in a new direction. that's what i propose. bob: do either of you think you can balance the budget in four years? you have said previously you thought you could, senator mccain. senator mccain: sure i do. senator obama, i am not president bush. he wanted to run against president bush you should have run four years ago. i'm going to give a new direction to this economy and this country. senator obama talks about voting for budgets. he voted twice for a budget resolution that increases the taxes on individuals making $42,000 a year. of course we can take a hatchet and a scapel to this budget. it's completely out of control. the mayor of new york, mayor bloomberg, just proposed an across-the-board spending freeze on new york city. they're doing it all over america because they have to because they have to balance their budgets.
i will balance our budget and i will get them and reduce this -- we can do it. this kind of job creation of energy independence. americans are hurting tonight and they're angry. i understand that. they want a new direction. i can bring them in that direction by eliminating spending. senator obama talks about the budgets i voted for. he voted for the last two budgets that had $24 billion more in spending than the budget that the bush administration proposed. he voted for the energy bill. that was full of goodies for the oil companies that i opposed. so the fact is let's look at our record, senator obama. let's look at the national taxpayers union and the citizens against government waste and the other watch dog organizations. i have fought against spending. i have fought against special interests. i have fought for reform. you have to tell me one time when you have stood up to the leaders of your party on one single major issue.
senator obama: well, let me try to address it. first of all in terms of standing up to the leaders of my party the first major bill that i voted on in the senate was in support of tort reform, which wasn't very popular with trial lawyers. major constituents in the democratic party. i support charter schools and pay for performance with the eachers. doesn't make me popular with the teachers union. i support clean coal. doesn't make me popular with environmentalists. i have a history of reaching across the aisle. with respect to doesn't make me popular a coupl senator mccain said the notion that i voted for a tax increase for people making $42,000 a year has been disputed by everybody who looked at this claim senator mccain keeps on making. even fox news disputes it. that doesn't happen very often when it comes to kew gardenss about me. so the fact of the matter is
that if i occasionally mistaken your policies for george bush's policies, it's because on the core economic issues that matter to the american people on tax policy, energy policy, you have riorities, been a vigorous supporter of president bush. you've shown commendable independence on key issues like torture for example. i give you enormous credit for that. when it comes to economic policies essentially what you're proposing is eight more years of the same thing. it hasn't worked. i think the american people understand it hasn't worked. we need to move in a new direction. senator mccain: it is very clear i have disagreed with the bush administration. i've disagreed with leaders of my own party. i got the scars to prove it whether it be bringing climate change to the floor of the senate for the first time, whether it be opposition to spending and earmarks, whether
it be the issue of torture, whether it be the conduct of the war in iraq which i vigorously opposed. whether it be on fighting the pharmaceutical companies, on medicare prescription drugs, importation. whether it be fighting for an h.m.o. patients bill of rights. whether it be the establishment of the 9/11 -- i have a long record of reform and fighting through on the floor of the united states senate. senator obama, your argument for standing up to your party isn't very convincing. bob: all right. we're going to move to another question. and the topic is leadership in this campaign. both of you pledged to take the high road in this campaign. yet it has turned very nasty. senator obama, your campaign has used words like erratic, out of touch, lie, angry, losing his bearings to describe senator mccain. senator mccain, your commercials have included words like disrespectful, dangerous, dishonorable, he lied.
your running mate said he paled around with terrorists. are each of you tonight willing to sit at this table and say to each other's face what your campaigns and the people in your campaigns have said about each other? and, senator mccain, you're first. senator mccain: this has been a tough campaign, a very tough campaign. and i know from my experience in many campaigns that if senator obama had asked -- responded to my urgent request to sit down and do town hall meetings and come before the american people we could have done at least 10 of them by now. when senator obama was first asked he said any place any time. the way barry goldwater and jack kennedy agreed to do before the intervention of the tragedy at dallas. so i think the tone of this campaign could have been very different. the fact is it's gotten pretty tough. and i regret some of the negative aspects of both campaigns. but the fact is, that it has
taken many turns, which i think are unacceptable. one of them happened just the other day when a man i admire and respect, have written about, congressman john lewis, an american hero, made allegations that senator palin and i were somehow associated with the worst chapter in american history. segregation. deaths of children in church bombings. george wallace. that, to me, was so hurtful. and senator obama, you didn't repudiate those remarks. every time there's been an out of bounds remark made by a republican, no matter where they are, i have repudiated them. i hope that senator obama will repudiate those remarks that were made by congressman john lewis. it is very unfair and totally inappropriate. so i want to tell you we will run a truthful campaign. tough campaign and a
matter of fact senator obama has spent more money on political ads than any campaign in history and i can prove it. senator obama when he said and signed a piece of paper and said he would take public financing for his campaign if i did -- that was back when he was a long shot candidate. you didn't keep your word. when you looked into the camera in debate with senator clinton and said i will sit down and negotiate with john mccain about public financing before i make a decision, you didn't tell the american people the truth because you didn't, and that's an unfortunate part. now we have the highest spending by senator obama's campaign than any time since watergate. senator obama: well, look. inc. we expect presidential campaigns to be tough. i think if you look at the record and the impressions of the american people, bob, your network just did a poll showing hat two-thirds of american people thinking senator mccain
is running a negative campaign versus one-third of mine. and a hundred percent, john ks of your ads, a hundred percent have been negative. it absolutely is true. and, now, i think the american people are less interested in our hurt feelings during the course of the campaign than addressing the issues that deeply. them so there is nothing wrong with them having a vigorous debate like tonight about health care, about energy policy, a tax policy. that's the stuff campaigns should be made of. the notion, though, that because we're not doing town hall meetings, that justifies some of the ads that have been going up not just from your own campaign directly, john, but 527's and other organizations that make some pretty tough accusations. i don't mind being attacked for the next three weeks. what the american people can't
afford, though, is four more years of failed economic policies and what they deserve over the next four weeks is we talk about what's most pressing to them. the economic crisis. senator mccain's own campaign said publicly last week if we keep on talking about the economic crisis we lose. so we need to change the subject. i would love to see the next three weeks devoted to talking about the economy, health care, energy, and figuring out how the american people can send their kids to college. that is something that i would welcome. but it requires a recognition that politics as usual as has been practiced over the last several years is not solving the big problems here in america. bob senator mccain: if you'll turn on the television as i watched the arizona cardinals defeat the dallas cowboys on sunday. senator obama: congratulations. senator mccain: every other ad
was an attack ad on my health care. any objective observer has said it's not true. you're running ads right now that say that i oppose federal funding for stem cell research. i don't. you're running ads that misportray completely my position on immigration. o the fact is that snoshes spending unprecedented in the history of american politics going back to the beginning amounts of money in negative attack ads on me. and of course i've been talking about the economy. of course i've talked to people like joe the plumber to tell him i'm not going to spread his wealth around but let him keep his wealth. and of course we're talking about the positive plan of action to restore this economy and jobs in america. that's what my campaign is all about and what it'll continue to be all about. again, i did not hear repudiation of congressman --
senator obama: if we want to talk about congressman lewis, who is an american hero, he, unprompted by my campaign, without my campaign's awareness, made a statement that he was troubled with what the s hearing at some of rallies your running mate was holding in which alt public reports indicated were shouting when my name came up things like terrorist and kill him. and that your running mate didn't mention, didn't stop, didn't say hold on a second, that's kind of out of line. and i think congressman lewis's point was that we have to be careful about how we deal with our supporters. senator mccain: you've got to read what he said. senator obama: let me complete my response. senator mccain: go ahead. senator obama: i do think that he inappropriately drew a comparison between what was happening there and what happened during the civil
rights movement and we immediately put out a statement saying that we don't think that comparison is appropriate. and, in fact, afterwards congressman lewis put out a similar statement saying that he had probably gone over the line. the important point here is, hough, the american people have become so cynical about our politics because all they see is a tit for tat and back and forth. what they want is the ability to just focus on some really big challenges we face right now. that's what i have been trying to focus on this entire campaign. we can have serious differences about our health care policy for example. john, because we do have a difference on health care policy. senator mccain: we do. senator obama: and we're talking about it this evening. senator mccain: sure. senator obama: but when people suggest that i pal around with terrorists, then we're not talking about issues. we're talking about -- senator mccain: let me just say categorically, i'm proud of the
people that come to our rallies. whenever you get a large rally you're going to have some fringe people. unthat. and we've always said that's not appropriate. to somehow say that group of young women who said military wives for mccain are somehow saying anything derogatory about you and those veterans that wear those hats that say world war ii, vietnam, korea, iraq, i'm not going to stand for people saying that the people that come to my rallies are anything but the most dedicated, patriotic men and women that are in this nation and they're great citizens. i'm not going to stand for somebody saying that because someone yelled something at a rally -- there are a lot of things that have been yelled at your rallies, senator obama, that i'm not happy about either. in fact, some t-shirts that are very unacceptable. he point is, that i have
repudiated every time someone has been out of line whether they've been part of my campaign or not and i will continue to do that. but the fact is, that we need to absolutely not stand for the kind of things that have been going on. i haven't. senator obama: well, look, bob, as i said -- bob: do you take issue with that? senator obama: here's what i would say. i mean, we can have a debate ack and forth about the merits of each other's campaigns. i suspect we won't agree here tonight. what i think is most important is that we recognize that to solve the key problems that we're facing, if we're going to solve two wars, the worst financial crisis since the great depression, if we're going to focus on lifting wages that declined over the last eight years and create jobs here in america then democrats, independents, and republicans, we're going to have to be able o work together.
what is important is making sure we can disagree without being disagreeable and we can have tough, vigorous debates around issues. what we can't do i think is try to characterize each other as bad people. and that has been a culture in washington. that's taken place for too long. senator mccain: you asked me a direct question. mr. harris, i don't care about an old washed up terrorist but as senator clinton said in her debates with you we need to know the full extent of that relationship. we need to know the full extent of senator obama's relationship with acorn who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country and maybe destroying the fabric of democracy. me outfit your campaign gave $832,000 for for lighting and site selection. so all of these things need to be examined.
senator obama: of course. it is going to be important -- i'll respond to these two particular allegations senator clinton has made and have gotten a lot -- senator mccain has made and have gotten a loft attention. mr. ayres has become the center piece of senator mccain's campaign over the past two or three weeks. this has been their primary focus so let's get the record straight. bill ayres is a professor of education in chicago. 40 years ago when i was 8 years old he engaged in despicable acts with a radical domestic group. i have roundly condemned those facts. 10 years ago he served and i served on a school reform board that was funded by one of ronald reagan's former ambassadors and close friends. other members on that board were the presidents of of the university of illinois, the president of northwestern university who happens to be a
republican, the president of the chicago tribune, a republican leaning newspaper. mr. ayres is not involved in my campaign. he has never been involved in this campaign. he will not advise me in the white house. that's mr. ayres. with respect to acorn, it is a community organization. apparently what they've done is they were paying people to go out and register votes and apparently some of the people who were out there didn't really register people. they just filled out a bunch of names. had nothing to do with us. we were not involved. the only involvement i've had with acorn was i represented them along side the u.s. justice department in making illinois implement a motor voter law that helped people get registered at d.m.v.'s. now, the reason i think that it's important to just get the facts out, is because
allegation senator mccain has continually made is somehow my associations are troubling. let me tell you who i associate with. on economic policy warren buffet and former fed chairman paul volker. if i'm interested in figuring out foreign policy i associate with my running mate joe biden or with dick luger the republican ranking member on the senate foreign relations committee or general jim jones the supreme commander of nato. those are the people, democrats and republicans, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the white house. and i think the fact this has become such an important part of your campaign, senator mccain, says more about your campaign than it says about me. senator mccain: again, while you were on the board of woods foundation you and mr. ayres together sent $237,000 to acorn and launched your political campaign in mr. ayres' living room. senator obama: that is
absolutely not true. senator mccain: it's not the fact that senator mccain chose to -- senator obama chose to associate with a guy who in 2001 wished he had bombed more and had a long association with him. it is the fact that all of the details need to be known about senator obama's relationship with them and with acorn and the american people will make a judgment. my campaign is about getting this economy back on track, about creating jobs, a brighter future for america. that's what my campaign is about. i'm not going to raise taxes the way senator obama wants to raise taxes in a tough economy. that's really what this campaign is going to be about. bob: all right. let's go to the next topic. we may want to get back into some of this during this next discussion. i want to ask both of you about the people you're going to bring into the government. and our best insight yet is who you picked as your running mate. so i'll begin by asking both of you this question.
i'll ask you to answer first, senator obama. why would the country be better off if your running mate became president rather than his running mate? senator obama: well, joe biden i think is one of the finest public servants that has served in this country. it's not just that he has some of the best foreign policy credentials of anybody, and democrats and republicans alike i think acknowledge his expertise there. but it's also that his entire life he has never forgotten where he came from. coming from scranton, fighting on behalf of working families, remembering what it's like to see his father lose his job and go through a down ward spiral economically, and as a consequence, his consistent pattern throughout his career is to fight for the little guy. that's what he's done when it comes to economic policies that will help working families get
a leg up. that's what he's done when it comes to for example passing the landmark 1994 crime bill. the violence against women's act. joe has always made sure that he is fighting on behalf of working families. i think he shares my core values and my sense of where the country needs to go because after eight years of failed policies, he and i both agree that what we're going to have to do is reprioritize, make sure that we're investing in the american people, give tax cuts not to the wealthiest corporations but give them to small businesses and give them to individuals who are truggling right now. make sure we finally get involved on energy independence, something
languishing in washington for years. make sure our kids get a great education and go to college. on the key issues joe biden has always been on the right side and i think will make an outstanding president if, heaven forbid, something happened to me. bob: senator? senator mccain: well, americans have gotten to know sarah palin. they know she is a role model to women and other -- and reformers all over america. she is a reformer. she is -- she took on a governor who was a member of her own party when she ran for governor. when she was the head of their energy and natural resources board, she saw corruption. she resigned. and said this can't go on. she's given money backs to the taxpayers. she's cut the size of government. she negotiated with the oil companies and faced them down, a $40 billion pipe line of natural gas that is going to relieve the energy needs of the united -- of what they call the lower 48. she's a reformer through and through.
it's time we had that breath of fresh air coming in to our nation's capital and sweep out the old boy net wok and the cronyism that's been so much a part of it that i fought against all these years. she'll be my partner. she understands reform. by the way, she also understands special needs families. she understands that autism is on the rise. we got to find out what's causing it. we've got to reach out to these families and help them and give them the help they need as they raise these very special needs children. she understands that better than almost any american that i know. i'm proud of her. and she has united our party and people all over america that have never been involved in the political process. i can't tell you how proud i am of her and her family. her husband is a pretty tough guy, by the way, too. bob: do you think she is qualified to be president? senator obama: i think that's going to be up to the american people. i think that obviously she's a capable politician who's --
has, i think, excited the base in the republican party. and i think it's very commendable the work she's done on behalf of special needs. i agree with that, john. i do want to just point out that autism for example or other special needs will require some additional funding if we're serious in terms of research. every something that family talks about. if we have an across-the-board spending freeze we won't be able to do it. that is an example of the yousuf the scapel we want to make sure we're funding some of those programs. bob: do you think senator biden is qualified? senator mccain: i think joe biden is qualified in many respects but i point out he has been wrong on many foreign policy and national security issues which is supposed to be his strength. he voted against the first gulf war and a obviously we had to
cut saddam hussein out of kuwait or it would have threatened the middle eastern supply. in iraq he had this idea about dividing iraq into three countries. we're seeing iraq united as iraqis -- tough, hard, we're seeing them, we're now about to have an agreement for status of forces in iraq coming up. there areself issues in which, frankly, joe biden and i openly on honestly disagreed national security policy. he has been wrong on a number of the major ones. notice every time senator obama says we need to spend more. we need to spend more. that's the answer. why do we always have to spend more? why can't we have transparency, accountability, reform of these agencies of government? maybe that's why he's asked for 860 billion dollars worth of new spending and wants to raise people's taxes in a time of incredible challenge and difficulty and heartache for
the american families. bob: let's go to a new topic here. we're running a little behind. let's talk about energy and climate control. every president since nixon -- senator mccain: climate change. bob: yes. has said what both of you have said and that is we must reduce dependens on foreign oil. when nixon said we imported from 17% to 34% of our foreign oil, now we're importing more than 60%, would each of you give us a number, a specific number of how much you believe we can reduce our foreign oil imports during your first term? and i believe the first question goes to you, senator mccain. senator mccain: i believe we can for all intents and purposes eliminate our dependence on middle eastern oil and venezuelan oil. canadian oil is fine. by the way, when senator obama said he would unilaterally
renegotiate the north american free trade agreement, the canadians said, yes, and we'll sell our oil to china. you don't tell countries you're going to unilaterally renegotiate agreements with them. we can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by building 45 new nuclear plant, power plants right away. we can store and we can reprocess. senator obama will tell you in the -- as the extreme environmentalists do, it has to be safe. but we've sailed navy ships around the world for 60 years with nuclear power plants on them. we can store and reprocess a nuclear fuel center, senator obama, no problem. so the point is with nuclear power, with wind, tides, solar, natural gas, with development of flex fuel, hydrant, clean coal technology, clean coal technology is a key in the heartland of america that's hurting rather badly. so i think we can easily, within seven, eight, 10 years,
if we put our minds to it, we can eliminate our depend ents on the places and the world that harm our national security if we don't achieve our independence. bob: can we reduce our dependence on foreign oil and by how much in the first term? four years. senator obama: i think that in 10 years we can reduce our dependens so we no longer have to import oil from the middle east or venezuela. i think that's a realistic time frame. this is the most important issue that our future economy is going to face. obviously we have an immediate crisis right now. but nothing is more important than us no longer borrowing $700 billion or more from china and sending it to saudi arabia. it's mortgaging our children's future. now, from the start of the campaign i've identified this as one of my top priorities and here is what i think we have to do. number one, we do need to expand domestic production. and that means for example
telling the oil companies the 68 million acres that they currently have leased that they're not drilling, use them or lose them. i think we should look at offshore drilling and implement it in a way that allows us to get some additional oil. but understand we only have three to four percent of the world's oil reserves and we use 25% of the world's oil. which means that we can't drill our way out of the problem. that's why i focused on putting resources into solar, wind, biodiesel, geo thermal. these have been priorities of mine since i got to the senate. and it is absolutely critical that we develop a high fuel efficient car that's built not in japan, not in south korea, but built here in the united states of america. we invented the auto industry. and the fact that we have fallen so far behind is something that we have to work on. now, i just want to make one last point because senator mccain mentioned nafta and the issue of trade.
that actually bears on this issue. i believe in free trade. but i also believe that for far too long certainly during the course of the bush administration with the support of senator mccain, the attitude has been any trade agreement is a good trade agreement. nafta does not have, did not have enforceable labor agreements, environmental agreements. what i said was we should include those and make them enforcible. in the same way we should enforce rules against china manipulating its currency to make our exports more expensive and their exports to us cheaper and when it comes to south korea, we've got a trade agreement up right now. they are sending hundreds of thousands of south korean cars into the united states. that's all good. we can only get 4,000 to 5,000 into south korea. that is not free trade. we've got to have a president who is going to be advocating on behalf of american businesses and american workers and i make no apology for this.
bob: senator? senator mccain: i admire so much senator obama's eloquence. you really have to pay attention to words. he said we will look at offshore drilling. you get that? look at it. we can offshore drill now. we've got to do it now. we'll reduce the cost of a barrel of oil because we show the world that we have a supply of our own. it's do-able. the technology is there. we have to drill now. on the subject of free trade agreements, i am a free trader. and i need -- we need to have education and training programs for displaced workers that work. going to our community colleges. let me give you another example of free trade agreement senator obama opposes. right now because of previous agreements some made by president clinton, the goods that, and products that we send to colombia, which is our largest agricultural importer of our products, is a hundred -- there's a billion dollars. our businesses have paid so far in order to get our goods in there. because of previous agreements, their goods and products come
into our country for free. so senator obama, who has never traveled south of our border, opposes the colombia free trade agreement. the same country that's helping us try to stop the flow of drugs into our country that's killing young americans. and, also, the country that just freed three americans, that will help us create jobs in america because they will be a market for our goods and products without having to pay, without us having to pay the billions of dollars, the billion dollars and more that we've already paid. free trade, with colombia, is something that's a no brainer. but maybe you ought to travel down there and visit them and maybe you could understand it a lot better. senator obama: let me respond. actually i understand it pretty well. the history in colombia is is that labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis and there have not been
prosecutions. and what i have said because the free trade -- the trade agreement, itself, does have labor and environmental protections. but we have to stand for human rights and we have to make sure that violence isn't being perpetrated against workers who are just trying to organize for their rights. which is why for example i supported the peruvian free trade agreement which was a well structured agreement. but i think that the important point is we've got to have a president who understands the benefits of free trade but also is going to enforce unfair trade agreements and is going o stand up to other countries. last point i'll make because we started on energy, when i talked about the auto makers they are obviously getting hammered right now. they were already having a tough time because of high gas prices and now with the financial crisis car dealerships are closing and people can't get car loans.
that's why i think it is important for us to get loan guarantees to the auto makers but we do have to hold them responsible as well to start producing the highly fuel efficient cars of the future. dragged its feet too long in terms of getting that done. it is going to be one of my highest priorities. if we can get that right, then we can move in a direction not only of energy independence but create 5 million new jobs all across america including in the heartland where we can retool some of these plans to make these highly efficient cars and make wind turbines and solar panels, the kinds of clean energy approaches that should be the driver of our economy or the next century.
let me just say senator obama doesn't want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region but twoonts sit down across the table without precondition with hugo chavez the guy who has been helping farc, the terrorist organization. free trade between ourselves just recited the benefits of concluding that agreement. the dollars that could have gone to creating jobs and businesses in the united states, opening up those markets. so i don't think there is any doubt that senator obama twoonts restrict trade and raise taxes. and the last president of the united states that tried that is herbert hoover. and we went from a deep recession into a depression. we're not going to follow that path when i'm president of the united states. bob: let's go to a new topic, health care. given the current economic situation, would either of you
now favor controlling health care costs over expanding health care coverage? the question first to senator obama. senator obama: we've got to do both. that is exactly what my plan does. as i travel around the country, this is the issue that will break your heart over and over again. just yesterday i was in toledo shaking some hands in the line. two women, both of them probably in their mid to late 50's had just been laid off from their plant. neither had health insurance. and they were desperate for some way of getting coverage. because, understandably, they're worried that if they get sick they could go bankrupt. so here is what may plan does. f you have health insurance, then you don't have to do anything. if you have health insurance through your employer, you can keep your health insurance, keep your choice of doctor, keep your plan. the only thing we're going to
try to do is lower costs so the cost savings are passed on to you. we estimate we can cut average family premium by about $2500 per year. if you don't have health insurance then what we're going to do is provide you the option of buying into the same kind of federal pool both senator mccain and i enjoy as federal employees which will give you high quality care, choice of doctors, at lower costs because so many people are part of this insured group. we're going to make sure insurance companies can't discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions. we'll negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price on drugs. we are going to invest in information technology to eliminate bureaucracy and make the system more efficient and make sure that we manage chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease that cost a huge amount but could be prevented. we've got to put more money into preventative care.
this will cost some money on the front end but over the long term this is the only way that not only are we going to make families healthy but also how we'll save the federal budget because we can't afford the escalating costs. bob: senator mccain? senator mccain: it is a terribly painful situation for americans. they're seeing their premiums, copays go up. 47 million americans are without health insurance in america today. and it really is the cost, the escalating costs of health care that are inflicting such pain on working families and people across this country. and i am convinced we need to do a lot of things. we knead to put health care records online. the v.a. does that. that'll reduce costs. we need to have more community health centers, walk-in clinics. the rise of obesity amongst young americans is one of the most alarming statistics that there is. we should have physical fitness programs and nutrition programs in schools. every parent should know what's
going on there. we need to have employers reward employees who join health clubs and practice wellness and fitness. but i want to give every american family a $5,000 refundable tax credit. take it and get anywhere in america the health care that you wish. now, my old buddy joe, joe the plumber is out there. joe, senator obama's plan if you're a small business and you are able to -- and the guy that sells to you will not have a capital gains tax increase, which senator obama wants, if you're out there, my friend, and you've got employees and you've got kids, if you don't get, adopt a health care plan that senator obama mandates, he is going to fine you. now, senator obama, i'd still like to know what that fine is going to be. and i don't think that joe right now wants to pay a fine when he is seeing such difficult times in america's economy. senator obama wants to set up health care bureaucracies, take over the health care of
america, through as he said his object is a single payor system. -- ou like that, you love senator obama: it is not. i just described what my plan is. and i'm happy to talk to you, joe, too, if you're out there. here is your fine. zero. you won't pay a fine -- senator mccain: zero? senator obama: zero because as i said in our last debate and i'll repeat, john, i exempt small businesses from the requirement or large businesses that can afford to provide health care to their employees but are not doing it. i exempt small businesses from having to pay into a kitty but large businesses that can afford it we've got a choice. either they provide health insurance to their employees or somebody has to. right now what happens is those employees get dumped into either the medicaid system, which taxpayers pick up, or they're going to the emergency
room for uncompensated care which everybody picks up in their premiums. the average family is paying an dditional $900 a year in higher premiums because of the uninsured. here is what so here's what we do. we exempt small businesses. in fact, what, joe, if you want to do the right thing with your employees and you want to provide them health insurance, we'll give you a 50 percent credit so that you will actually be able to afford it. if you don't have health insurance or you want to buy into a group plan, you will be able to buy into the plan that i just described. now, what we haven't talked about is senator mccain's plan. he says he's going to give you all a $5,000 tax credit. that sounds pretty good. and you can go out and buy your own insurance. here's the problem -- that for about 20 million people, you may find yourselves no longer having employer-based health insurance. this is because younger people might be able to get health insurance for $5,000, young and healthy folks.