tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 18, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT
russian leader. he also said that if elected he might meet with the russian leader before his inauguration. what do you think of his approach to vladimir putin and how would it affect america's interest on the international stage? it distress you that folks at the fbi and state department talked about the declassification of e-mails on secretary clinton's servers. would you acknowledge the appearance of impropriety and should state officials look into this rather? and for prime minister renzi, with the referendum happening soon in your country, what would passage mean for your ability to lead the country and what would fill your mean for your political future as well as to italy's role in the european union? president obama: i am going to be more subdued in my discussions of the republican nominee in this context that i
might be on the campaign trail. let me just speak broadly about russia. when i came into office, under the previous administration russia had invaded parts of georgia and created a frozen conflict. there was a new president and we tried to initiate a more constructive path with respect to u.s.-russia relations and i think we showed russia plenty of --pect, knowledge and acknowledging a norma's differences and values and also trying ways in which we could cooperate together. new started the russia withssisted ascension to the wto.
we worked on some common international challenges together and when the previous president was replaced with mr. putin i met with him and we discussed ways in which we could constructively work together. the challenge that we had with centered onry much russian aggression in some very particular areas around the world, in the ukraine where they have engaged in similar contact to what date -- conduct to what they did in georgia and even there we have tried to broker and work with the europeans to agreement that would peacefully resolve the issues. in syria, one of my earliest meetings with putin was to
suggest that if assad stayed in power, given the print that brutality with which he treated his own people, he would see a civil war that would not be good for the syrians, certainly, but would not be good for the world anywhere. rather than to work with us to try to solve the problem, he doubled down on his support and we know the situation that exists there. any characterization that have improperly orllenged russian aggression tried to encroach on their legitimate interests is just wrong and mr. trump's
putinued flattery of mr. and the degree to which he appears to model many of his policies and approaches to isitics on mr. putin unprecedented in american politics and is out of step with, not just what democrats think, but out of step with what up until the last few months almost every republican thought, including some of the ones who are now endorsing mr. trump. it's a will have to explain to me how it is that some of the same leaders of the republican were constantly haranguing us for even talking to the russians and who consistently took the most hawkish approaches to russia,
including mr. trump's selection for vice president now reconcile their endorsement of mr. trump with their previous views. the bottom line is that we think russia is a large, important isntry with a military that second only to ours and has to be a part of the solution on the world stage rather than part of behaviorem, but, their has undermined international norms and rules in ways that we have to call them out on and anybody who occupies this office should feel the same way because these are values that we have fought for and protected. we cannot go around talking about human rights or freedom of democracy or
freedom of religion or nondiscrimination or basic laws or the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, no matter how small thethen x told -- extoll virtues of someone who violates those principles and mr. trump rarely surprises me to these days. i am much more surprised and troubled by the fact that you have republican officials who --ed oracle he have been historically have been adamantly anti-russian and of attacked me for even engaging them diplomatically and sometimes -- and now supporting and sometimes echoing his positions. he will last a cash you will have to ask them how to explain it.
with respect to the state department and the fbi reports, i think you've heard directly from both the fbi and the state that notion or accounts that have been put out youe are just not true and can question them again, but based on what we have seen, , some of the more sensational implications or based ones are not actual events and based on what actually happened and i think derived from sort of overly broad characterizations of interactions between the state department and the fbi that happen a lot and happen between
agencies. . think that covers me know 2016 is not a very good year to organize a referendum, but i think the entire referendum is very simply in the message because it involved the fight against a greatacy and we need investment against bureaucracy in italy for a lot of reasons. inchange the government seven years, few times we joke about it with the president acause it is unbelievable in country that has a government , but it isy year normal of the political strong.on is very
my opinion is very easy, if, in the referendumn for italy it will be easy, more easy to continue the battle to because structural reforms are important for italy, but they are also written -- important for institutions in europe. of other consequence constitutional reform a part in the political debate in my view is if we win, italy will be stronglyand i worked to achieve the victory. sorry. [speaking italian] or i can do it in english.
let's talk about the referendum, because you hope to we havecourse, but found many investors in wall street who are worried about the fact that you might lose the referendum. these are investors that have faith in italy and that threaten, if there is a negative result in terms of the reforms to just leave. what can you tell these investors in order to reassure them if there is a negative will you stay on? will you continue with the reform? and one last thing, this evening will you bring wine to the diddle -- to the dinner with the president? this is an italian custom. i asked mr. president, i agree with the prime minister that your italian is beautiful.
you seem to be in agreement that there is a need to sort of go ahead with the policy you have on being more flexible on the fiscal side. that it is very rigid with italian efforts, therefore jeopardizing the efforts. what can you say, especially after brexit? how important it is to move forward in that direction and do you think that in case of the referendum does not go well for the prime minister he should stay on and continue in his reforms? thank you. italian]ing i have a feeling and i think that rightly so our american friends are a little bit more
interested in november 8 than in the italian vote on constitutional reform and so are we, might i add. in terms of what you were asking a timebriefly, this is in which many investors throughout the world are coming back to invest in italy and we are extremely happy about this. we are happy about the investments on innovation in terms of technology, apple is investing in naples, amazon is going to open an artificial intelligence center. for the entire economic and financial world they are starting to see italy as an area or in which to create -- area in which to create opportunities and business. therefore, open doors, i do not believe there will be any major "no" wins at the
the referendum. i would rather win the referendum and i will do everything i can. what is fundamental and true is that the message goes through. this referendum does not have to do with the great world events, the great world issues. very simply, do you want to simplify the system in italy giving greater stability and certain times in which to have greater stability. this is something to simplify things in our country and based on the question asked to the president on europe, we respect european rules and are totally inside the european rules, although sometimes we do this halfheartedly and we like to do things differently. so long as rules do not change, we will respect them because italy has made its reputation one of the keywords in its mandate, we work to change them,
but if they are there we are going to respect them. now what will happen within the next few months will be seen as a great -- as a great italian singer says we will discover this by living, so i am almost certain that the "yes" will win. president obama: during the course of my presidency i have had repeated conversations with fr -- angela, rancois, and others on how we could effectively recover from 2008.isis of 2007 and it is fair to say we have paid -- we have made more progress more quickly and what i tried to point out was the reason we were
able to make progress was we focused very early on in ofviding a large infusion demand through our fiscal policies, rebuilding roads and bridges and investing in ghouls, teachers come a clean energy -- teachers,in schools, clean energy. saving the auto energy -- industry. but also, what was a very important was quickly tried to and infusing capital and making sure they were more stable and transparent and would attract confluence so that the financial system was working again. i am proud of our economic track record. we have grown faster and created
and this past year we have seen income rise and poverty fall more quickly than a lot of our counterparts in europe. europe is athat more complicated collection of states and more difficult to move and some are in the eurozone and some are not. i do not expect that everything we have done can immediately translate to europe and there are some parts of what europe does that we could learn from in terms of the social safety net, for example. the i do know is that given very slow growth that has taken place in europe or contraction over almost what is a decade now , you have a generation of european youth who are not
attaching themselves to the labor market fast enough and if you do not reverse some of those trends then it becomes a generational loss and the income of wealth of economic i know most. -- now that countries like italy and others have made real on their finances and their deficits and that there is more market confidence in their now would be a good time, i believe, to refocus attention on growth and making investments because one of the reasons that we have been able to cut our deficits by two thirds is not simply because we cut spending by two thirds.
we disciplined spending, but we also grew fast enough that more revenue came in and that is one of the best ways for you to arrive at a sound fiscal position and monetary policy alone is not sufficient. and themario draghi european central bank has done good work trying to maintain a positive trajectory in europe, but ultimately, there is only so much monetary policy can do if it is not combined with fiscal policy. matteo isuld be that right, italy has been true to its word in europe and met its obligations, but my hope would as europeate broadens moves forward around how to grow more quickly and put more people rise,o work, see incomes
create a greater sense of momentum and optimism because i do believe there is a connection and some ofnation populaceconstructive impulses that have been rising those trend lines about europe do concern me because if you look at the european experiment over the last 40 years, i said this in hanover, there has probably been no group of people who have enjoyed more prosperity and more peace over the last several decades than a united europe. if it begins now splintering because their cents is the global capitals and elites are not attentive to the ordinary concerns of people, that would
be a tragedy and my hope is that that discussion led by matteo and others will continue. and by the way, yes, i think -- i will not weigh in on the reformsum, but the matteo is initiating us -- especially on the economic side are the right ones and in a ,lobal, internet driven world governments have to be able to move fast and quickly and so, i amntly and rooting for success, but i think he should hang around for a while the matter what. roscoe. >> thank you mr. president. i would like to ask you about the election. donald trump telling his supporters that the election is rigged and asking them to
monitor certain areas on election day. how concerned are you for the potential of the violence and what about after election day? are you worried the results of the election may be distrusted? and for prime minister renzi, the offensive in mosul has begun come are you concerned about what happens after liberation? and mr. president, if you want to weigh in on that as well. president obama: i do. thank you. one of the great things about america's democracy is we have a vigorous, sometimes bitter political contest and win it is , regardlessically losesty, the person who the election congratulates the winner who reaffirms our
democracy and we move forward. that is how democracy survives because we recognize that there is something more important than any individual campaign and that is making sure the integrity and trust in our institutions sustains itself because democracy, by definition, works .y consent, not by force i have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. it is unprecedented. it happens to be based on no
facts. every expert, regardless of political party, regardless of ideology, conservative or liberal, who has ever examined these issues in a serious way will tell you that instances of significant voter fraud are not , that, keep in mind, elections are run by state and local officials which means that florida, places like for example, or you have a republican governor who has republican appointees running and monitoring a whole bunch of election sites. the notion that somehow it mr. trump loses florida it is because of those people that you have to watch out for, that is both irresponsible and, by the
the doesn't really show kind of leadership and toughness you want out of a president. if you start whining before the game is even over. whenever things are going badly for you and you lose you start blaming somebody else, then you do not want -- know what it -- you do not have what it takes to be in this job. there are a lot of times when things do not go our way, or my way. that is ok, you fight through it and work through it, you try to accomplish your goals. but the look -- the larger point i want to and the size is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig america's elections, in part
because they are so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved. there is no evidence that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time. and so, i would invite mr. trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes and if he got the most votes then it would be -- my expectation of hillary clinton to offer a gracious concession speech and pledge to work with him in order that the american people benefit from an effective government and it would be my job to welcome mr. trump, regardless of what he said about me or my differences with him on my opinions and escort him over to the capital in which there would be a peaceful transfer of power. that is what americans do. that is why america is already
.reat one way of weakening america and making it less great is if you start the train -- start betraying the basic american traditions that have been helped to and have hold together this democracy now for well over two centuries. with respect to mosul, we are seeing iraqi forces with the support of the coalition that includes the united states and italy and other nations moving l.rward and encircling mosu the intention is to drive isil out of what was its first major urban stronghold and what continues to be one of the key
organizational and logistical sil.leadership hubs for i i am confident we see it -- we can succeed although it will be a tough fight and a difficult fight. it is iraqis who are doing the fighting and they are performing effectively and bravely and taking on significant casualties . there will be ups and downs in the process, but my expectation is that ultimately it will be successful and this will be, i think, a key milestone in what i am -- in what i committed to emerged,n isil first which was that we were going to roll them back and ultimately drive them out of population themrs and we will destroy and defeat them so that they are not in a position to carry out terrorist attacks against our people's or our friends and allies or against innocent
.eople inside of iraq and syria we have seen steady progress on this front. you asked an important question which is if in fact we are successful, how do we deal with what could be a human at terry humanitarian crisis because isil, win it occupies these territories it bleeds them dry and feeds off of them and the process local populations. it is not good at governance so basic functions like electricity or water start running down. people are fleeing from their homes and there will be significant displacement. this has all been part of the coalition planning process in conjunction with the united nations and major aid organizations and so, we have put together plans and infrastructure for dealing with a potential humanitarian crisis
that is as extensive as the military plans. that does not mean that we do not have to pay attention to it and executing will be difficult. it will still be a tough environment to operate under and no doubt, there will be instances where we see some heartbreaking situations if, in fact, large numbers of people fully. it is -- it is hard when you leave your home and yard he didn't have a lot because you were living under an oppressive barbarous regime. it is hard to leave your home in a war zone. it is not something that i expect will be easy, but i think it, perhaps, hasn't in publicized enough, at least in the american press, the degree of planning and assets and resources we are devoting to this very important problem we are not
successful helping ordinary people fleeing from isil, that makes us vulnerable to seeing isil return and feeding on the resentment and aftermath of mosul in's getting that right. matteo renzi: we support and that tell you -- we support an italian company to look at your .tore they can be affordable population and that we are engaging with the rest of the and let me be very army, to the italian
who provides in the country to learning the local police, so we are not worried for the future because we think sooner or andr, we will destroy daesh the reconstruction and building will be a priority for every member of the community. in the workaged with united states and other allies. question. president.u, mr. mediterranean, a geopolitical priority for italy, is there a strategist on this and libya and can italy act as a bridge between europe and africa
america have the air force of the time government because sometimes europe believes italy alone to face the challenge? to our. -- thank you. i willinister renzi: answer an italian first. to be moreeurope has convinced and looked toward africa with more conviction. from this stance, we cannot go every time to ask your help to the united states about doing our part. the united states are busy in all the international theaters and as the ones that are closer to us, we obviously need the support of our best friends because the united states are we cannotriend, but
always just sit and wait for this type of support. therefore, the issue of the mediterranean and africa has has been left aside during the last 10 years and the european union. we have to give it authority and it is not doing it with the necessary read and we the do whatever we can with five states that are our priority. we have to work for africa to priority -- to be a priority, including from the point of resources and local development. we will talk about this during the g-seven in sicily next year, and in terms of the political investment, which perhaps in the last years has been sorely for asking for help from the united states, some
very glad the two italy and europe have to do their part. italy will increase their efforts for international .ooperation we were the last in the classification, the seventh, not a good position, but we will do ach the fourth place in terms of gdp, which each of us proposes, so we have an increase interms of the money international cooperation, funds, and in terms of libya, you know we want to stabilize the government, make sure that there is a block of all these brothers and sisters that leave their country every time they go to sea, they risk dying. helpe happy and proud to save lives, but the ocean is one of the worst places to do that but we don't want the
mediterranean to become a cemetery so we have to have a long-term strategy. he spoke about this and we have to have short-term strategy. we are proud of what we are doing but we know this method cannot go on forever. think of being in charge by ourselves there all the problems in libya and africa. on thursday and friday at the european council, we will talk about this. president obama: let me make a few points. is a strategic interest of the united states to make sure that the migration at has been taking place in europe is solved. it is a strategic interest because the terrible loss of life that we seem as people attempt to reach europe, but also because the distorting
effects it can have on european politics is the sense is that the influx of migration is , andderly, chaotic overwhelms european continents. committed in resolvinguccess in this issue effectively. there are a lot of contributors to it, so we are very focused on strengthening the government of national accord, as i indicated, and secretary john kerry and others are working with his counterparts on a multinational lateral basis to strengthen the government national accord, resolve tensions that exist between the different portions of libya and then to be able to invest and filled in their
capacity to control their borders and their waterways do not have a partner on the other side of the ocean, it will continue to be a problem. that is point number one. point number two, we are deeply appreciative of the generosity and humanitarian impulses of the italian people and in rescuing 70 people who operation sophia. in the nato meeting, or indicated although that is .u. mission, nato and the united states and our naval assets are prepared to assist in the robust way, where appropriate. it is a matter of coordinating with europe to find out, and italy and other countries, what it is that you need and we will help. the same way we do with respect to helping to enforce the
agreement between turkey and the european union on that body of water. matteord points as pointed out, more long-term, that is trying to help these countries that are having difficulties, where people feel either unstable, insecure, or in search ofnd opportunity. how do we help them develop where people can feel they can succeed and raise their families freeingaying -- without to more developed countries? that is a longer-term proposition but we have to make investments now. weentioned to matteo that have different issues with respect to migration and net migration into this country has actually been flat, in some cases decreased or reverse flows
, particularly with respect to mexico, but one area where we have seen a big spike over the last several years is actually from the smaller countries of central america. where the economy is doing poorly, agriculture has done poorly, in part because of changing weather patterns, violence brought on by narcotraffickers, so vice president biden -- i gave him the charge of working with those countries to come up with the development plan, congress on a partisan basis supported and is putting more money into these countries for development, more effective policing, dealing with fighting the narcotraffickers in a more effective way, investing in young people, but that is not going to happen overnight. there will be a decade-long process potentially. in the meantime, we insist those
countries cooperate with us to send a message to populations that it is a dangerous trip to reach the united states, and if you get here, you're are likely to be turned back to try to discourage this dangerous passage, but also to undermine the human traffickers that are preying on the desperation of these people to make money. all of those strategies have to be employed, and the one thing that would encourage is -- and i have said this whenever i visited europe -- you cannot have a situation where italy, greece, germany are burying the entire burden. if you have the european union, then you are unified not just for the benefits but also the costs, and i do think it is ,mportant for europe collectively, to be invested in solving this problem and not just leave it to one country.
in the same way that here in the united states, obviously, we are in actual nationstate, as opposed to a union of separate we will not abandon one state and say, you deal with an entire problem and good luck with that. ande have solidarity benefit from that solidarity on a whole range of issues, then that means you also have joint responsibilities. >> [indiscernible] president obama: that is what i said, central america increased rate. >> i was wondering if you could comment? obama: david, they spiked in 2014, went down in 2015, and went back up in part
>> tonight, president obama hosts the state dinner for the italian leader and his wife. we take you there live at 6:30 p.m. eastern for arrivals on c-span. inside, for the staircase photo and ahead of the state dinner tonight, some thoughts from the italian abbasid to the united states. varricchio, how did the visits come about with the italian prime minister? ambassador armando varricchio: we have to say there is a special relationship between barack obama and prime minister renzi. >> how did it really gets elected though it could be the president's last state dinner? ambassador armando varricchio: there is a long-standing tradition between the united states, we are partners, allies, the have strong and important
community in the states. our two leaders share the same view of international topics. they do consider that democracy has to stand together and both the united states and italy have a special relationship and responsibility. >> what do you think now? why now? ambassador armando varricchio: a delete next year will be a member of the united nations security council, g-7, next year in march, we will celebrate 60 years, and it is important that italy is a prominent member of confirms the importance of european integration, so i think also this european framework will among the topics discussed between president obama and prime minister renzi. >> discussed the u.s.-italian
relationship. where are we working together? ambassador armando varricchio: in many fields. we work standing side-by-side in many theaters, we share in our common endeavor to fight terrorism. we want to tackle the global issues ranging from climate change to migration. these are issues where the country's of the great tradition like italy share the same interest and share the same [indiscernible] >> what is going on the sick at the embassy as you prepare for the state dinner? ambassador -- what is going on at the embassy as you prepare for the state dinner? ambassador armando varricchio: we are very excited for the event and we have many things to care about, but the things that myself and our staff are excited about is happening. >> what should the american
people know about him? ambassador armando varricchio: the talented leader, very dynamic, the youngest prime minister ever in italy, and he ,rings this sense of enthusiasm this sense of italian personality, which i'm sure the american public will come to know and love, a young guy who will be here with his spouse. >> americans will see him with his wife. the will have an arrival at white house and the south lawn. americans see the pageantry that comes into the visit like this. what is the correlation between the prime minister's office, the embassy here and our government? ambassador armando varricchio: it runs smoothly. we have our colleagues and , theds at the white house secret service, there are so many details to take care of,
but as i said, it is a happy events, a celebration, so we are happy to share with our friends and colleagues this moment. >> any special protocol for the italian prime minister? ambassador armando varricchio: the protocol is complex when it comes to state visits, but we will try to follow the different with a jolly spirit. i think what really matters is that we consider this as celebration of our friendship and a long-standing friendship, but also it is important for us to drop the common agenda for the future. >> what is that future agenda looking like? what is the common ground? q talk about the military but what else? what will the two leaders of talk about when they hold their joint news conference? ambassador armando varricchio: there will talk about the many challenges that face president obama and prime minister renzi and they share the same approach. it means we do consider that
globalization requires on the but we resters convinced that there are many opportunities. ministers the prime had concerns that he will talk to the president about when he has his meetings with them behind closed doors? capacitor -- ambassador armando varricchio: they know each other very well. they had different meetings, the recent nato summit, said they know each other very well. what the prime minister will a deepare is understanding that in order to tackle these challenges, our countries, are democracies has build bridges, have to stay connected because integration is the only way to harness this trust. >> what to think the italian
people are hoping to get out of this visit for the country, further leader to come here? will they be watching? armando varricchio: ambassador for sure -- ambassador armando varricchio: pressure. italians are excited. to see president obama and the first lady together with the prime minister and his spouse, they will be seen together at the white house, i think this will be a great image. the four of them will give a sign of a strong field and our fellow italians will love it. >> mr. ambassador, thank you for your time. ambassador armando varricchio: thank you. at 6:30 p.m. today eastern for the white house state dinner for italian prime minister matteo renzi. our live coverage includes the arrival of the prime minister and his wife, dinner guest arrivals to the east wing, the grand staircase official photo
and the dinner toast offered by president obama and prime minister renzi. socialobama white house secretary will join us to talk about food, decor, entertainment and protocol for the state visit. also visit previous state dinners under the obama administration and talk to the italian ambassador to the u.s., armando varricchio, and "washington post" fashion critic will review michelle obama's fashion over the years. the statehouse dinner for prime minister matteo renzi airs live today at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span and www.c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. the campaign trail, hillary is on her way to las vegas for the last residential debate tomorrow night. -- boarding tweets the plane to biggest, clinton gave a thumbs up to the shout the question "house debate prep
going?" unclear she actually heard it. live onreaming c-span.org, jennifer jacobs at bloomberg politics points on the quinnipiac poll, where clinton leads 45-37, an increase of seven points. the third and final presidential debate in the 2016 campaign is tomorrow. our live coverage begins at 7:30 eastern time with the preview of the event and your calls. then we get your reaction after the debate, scheduled at 9:00 eastern, all live on c-span. here's a look back at a 2012 debate between president obama running for his second term and his republican challenger mitt romney. it was one of three presidential debates that campaign year.
>> good evening evening from florida, this debate is on foreign>> policy. i am on schaeffer -- i am bob schaffer. the questions are mine and i have not share them with candidates. the audience will have no applause, reaction of any kind, except right now when we welcome president barack obama and governor mitt romney. [applause] [cheering] moderator: gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. their vast me to divide the
evening into segments. i will post a question at the beginning of each and you have two minutes to respond and then we will have a general discussion until he moved to the next segment. tonight's debate comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that president kennedy told the hadd that the soviet union dissolved nuclear missiles in cuba, perhaps the closest we have come to nuclear war, and it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad. let's begin. the first segment is the challenge of the changing middle east and then you face of terrorism. into two segments, so you will have to topic questions within this one segment. question, and it concerns libya, the controversy
over what happened there continues for americans, for americans are dead, including an forssador, questions remain what happened, what caused it, was it spontaneous, was it an intelligence area, policy failure, was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened? governor romney, you said this was an example of an american policy in the middle east that is unraveling before a very eyes. i would like to hear each of your give your thoughts on that. governor romney, you can go first. governor romney: thank you to agreeing to moderating the debate and thank you to lynn university for welcoming us year-end mr. president, good to be with you again. we were together at the humorous event earlier and it is nice to maybe be funny this time, not on purpose. we will see what happens. [laughter] this is an area of great concern to the world, america in particular, which is to see the complete change in the structure
and environment in the middle east with the arab spring came a great deal of hope that there would be changed for more moderation, an opportunity for greater percent -- greater participation on the part of women and the public life and economic life in the middle east, but instead, there are a number of disturbing events. we see 30,000 civilians in syria killed by the military. in libya, we see an attack apparently by, i think we know now, terrorist against our people, four people dead, our hearts and minds go to them. the northern part of molly has been taken over by al qaeda type individuals. we have a muslim brotherhood president in egypt -- muslim brotherhood presence in egypt, so the greatest threat of all this iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. be a going to have to recognize
the -- i congratulate president on taking out osama bin laden and going after the leadership of al qaeda, but we cannot kill her way out of this mess. we will have to put in place a very comprehensive, robust strategy to help the world of islam in other parts of the world project is radical violent extremism, which is not on the run. it is not hiding. this is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, the world , america, long-term, and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help project this kind of extremism. moderator: mr. president? president obama: my job is commander-in-chief is to keep the american people safe and that is what we have done the last four years. we ended the war in iraq, focused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11, and as a consequence, al qaeda's core leadership has been decimated.
in addition, we are not able to transition out of afghanistan in a responsible way, making to that afghans take responsibility for their own security, and that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to come back -- to combat future threats. with respect to libya, as indicated in the last debate, when we received the phone call, i made sure that, number one, we did everything we could to secure most americans who are still in harm's way. number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened, and number three, most important, we would go after those who killed americans and we would bring them to justice and that is what we will do. it is important to step back and think about what happened in libya. i andn mind that americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition and made sure that we were able -- without putting
troops on the ground, costing us less than what we spent in two weeks in iraq -- they have been under dictatorship or poor dears and got rid of [indiscernible] and as a consequence, despite the tragedy, you have tens and thousands of libyans after the events in benghazi marching in saying america is our friend. we stand with them. that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. governor romney, i am glad you agree that we have been successful in going after al qaeda, but i have to tie you i have tostrategy -- tell you that your strategy has been all over the map and is not designed to keep americans safe or both on the opportunities that exist in the middle east. governor romney: it is straightforward, go after the bad guys, make sure we do our best to interrupt them, kill
them, take them out of the picture, but my strategy is broader than that, that is important, but we will have to pursue a pathway to get the muslim world to be able to reject extremism on their own. we do not want another iraq or afghanistan. that is not the right course. the right courses to go after the people who are leaders of this various anti-american groups and these jihadists, but also helped the muslim world and how do we do that. -- how do we do that? group of arab scholars can together to see how we could help reject the terrorist in the world. the answer they came up with is one more economic development, we should keep our direct foreign investment, and that of our friends, we should coordinated to make sure we push back and give them what economic development. number two, better education. number three, gender equality. number four, the rule of law. we have to helping create civil societies, but what has happened
over the last couple of years since we are botched this to malt -- this tumult in the middle east, you see al qaeda rushing in, jihadist rushing in, and there throughout many nations in the middle east. it is wonderful that libya is making some progress despite terrible tragedy, but we also and 80 million population, we want to make sure we see progress throughout the middle east without having them taken over by al qaeda. sad syria, having a continue to murder his own people -- having assad continue to murder his own people. iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. governor obama: romney, i am glad you recognize al qaeda as a debt because when you were asked what is the greatest geopolitical threat, you said russia, not al qaeda. calling for the
foreign policy back because the cold war has been over for 20 years, but governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you moreto want to import policies from the 1980's, like the policies in the 1950's. you say you are not interested in to creating what happened in iraq, but just a few weeks ago, he said you think we should have more troops in iraq right now. i know you have not been in the position to actually execute foreign policy, but every time you have offered an opinion, you have been wrong. you said we should have gone into iraq, despite the fact that there were no weapons of mass distraction. do said we should still have troops in iraq to this day. you indicated that we should not be passing nuclear treaties, despite the fact that 71 senators, republicans and democrats voted for, you said
not gorst, we should into afghanistan, nice they may be, and it depends. not only were you wrong, but confusing in sending mixed messages to troops and allies. what we need to do with respect to the middle east is strong and steady leadership. that rongen reckless leadership that is all over the map. unfortunately, that is the kind of opinion to have offered throughout the campaign and it is not the rest before americans strength and keeping them safe. moderator: i will add a couple of minutes to have the response. governor romney: of course, the things the president has said i had said are not accurate. how the middle east projects the terrorism and the rising tide of attacking me is not
the agenda, attacking the is not how we deal with the challenges in the middle east and taken advantage of the opportunity there and stem the tide of violence, but our response are couple of things. first, russia indicated is a -- excuse me, a geopolitical foe and i said in the same paragraph, and iran is the greatest national security threat we face. russia does that a less time and time again. i have clear eyes on this. i will not wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to russia or mr. putin. at the election, he will get more backbone. number two, with regards to iraq, you and i agreed that there should have been status enforcement agreement. you did not? president obama: what i would not have done is left 10,000 troops in iraq that would tie us down. that would not help us in the middle east. governor romney: i'm sorry, there was an effort on the part of the president to have a
status of oars and i concurred in that and said we should have some number of troops that stayed on. that is something i concurred with, that was your posture and mine as well. you thought it should be 5000 and i thought more. this is just a: few weeks ago you indicated we should have troops in iraq. president obama: i ended -- governor romney: i indicated that you failed to put in place the status force agreement at the and -- president obama: he was one thing i have learned as commander-in-chief, you have got to be clear, both to allies and enemies, about where you stand and what you mean. you just gave a speech a few weeks ago and what you said, we should still have troops in iraq . that is not a recipe for making sure we are taking advantage of the opportunities and the challenges in the middle east. it is true that we cannot defeat these challenges militarily.
when i have done throughout my presidency and will continue to do is, number one, make sure these countries are supporting our counterterrorism efforts. number two, make sure they are standing by our interest in arael security because it is true friend and our greatest ally in the region. number three, we have to make sure we expect religious minorities and women because they cannot develop unless all the population is developing. number four, we have to develop their economic capabilities, but number five, the other thing we have to do is recognize that we cannot continually do nationbuilding in these regions. part of american leadership is making sure we are doing nationbuilding that home. that will help us maintain the kind of american leadership that we need. moderator: let me interject the second topic question in this segment, and that is you both syria.ed
the war in syria has now spoken over into lebanon. we have what more than 100 people that were killed there in a bomb, there were demonstrations, eight people dead, and mr. president, it has been more than one year since sad that we have had 30,000 syrians who have died, the war goes on, and they are still there. should be reassess our policy and see if he can find a better way to influence events there or is that possible? you go first, sir. president obama: what we have done this organize the international community, saying assad has to go. we have mobilized sanctions against that government, we have made should they are isolated, we have provided humanitarian assistance and we are helping the opposition organized under interested in making sure that we are mobilizing the moderate forces inside of syria, but ultimately, syrians will have to
determine their own future, so everything we are doing, we do with their partners in the region, including israel, who has a big interest in seeing what happens in syria, coordinating with turkey and other countries in the region with a great interest in this. what is taking place in syria is heartbreaking, and that is why we will do everything we can to make sure we're helping the opposition, but we also have to recognize that for us to get more entangled militarily in syria is a serious step, and we have to do so, making certain we know who we are helping, there are not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or allies in the region. 's daysnfident that assad are numbered, but we cannot suggest, as governor romney has suggested, that giving heavy weapons to the syrian opposition
is a simple proposition that would lead us to be safer over the long term. governor romney: let's talk about what is happening in syria first, important it is, 30,000 people being killed by the government is a humanitarian disaster. secondly, syria is an opportunity for us because it plays an important role in the middle east. syria is iran's only ally in the arab world, it is the route for them to arm hezbollah in threat -- lebanon, which is our threat, so seeing them move aside is a high-priority. responsible people is critical, and finally, we conflictt military involvement. the right course for us is working through partners and with their own resources to identify responsible parties within syria, organize them, bring them together in a form of -- if not government, a form of
counsel back and take the lead in syria, and then they should they have the arms necessary to defend themselves. we do need to make sure that iny don't have arms to get the wrong hands and that those arms can be used to hurt us down the road. we need to make sure that we coordinate this effort with their allies, in particular with , and theut the saudi's turks are all very concerned about this. they're willing to work with us. we need to have an effective leadership effort in syria, making sure that the insurgents there are armed and that the insurgents have become armed our people and will be the responsible parties. i believe assad must go, and he will go, but we want to make sure that we have the relationships and friendship with the people who take his place, such that in the years to come, we see syria as a friend and syria as a responsible andy and that middle east,
over the past year or so, first, the president says we will at the united nations deal with it came in and they try to cease-fire and that did not work, so that we look to the russians to see if they would do something. we should be playing the leadership role in the underground with military. 4 we are playing -- president obama: we are playing the leadership role. we are mobilizing humanitarian support and support for the competition and rear -- opposition and we are making sure those we help our those who are be friends of ours in the long term and friends of our allies in the region over the long term, but going back to libya because this is an example of how we make choices, when we went into libya and we were able to immediately stop the massacre there because of the unique circumstances and coalition we helped organize, we also had to make sure that they did not stay there, and so to the governor's credit, you supported us going
into libya and the coalition we organized, but when it came time to making sure that gaddafi did not stay in power and was governor, your suggestion, was that this was mission creek, that this is mission model. imagine if we had pulled out at that point. gadhafi had more american blood on his hands than any individual other than osama bin laden, so he made sure to finish the job, part of the reasons the libyans stand with us, but we did so in a careful and thoughtful way, making certain that we knew who we were dealing with, that those forces of moderation on the ground for ones that we could work with, and we had to take the same kind of steady, thoughtful leadership when it comes to syria and that is what we are doing. you goor: governor, when beyond what the administration would do? for example, would you put in no-fly zones over syria? wantnor romney: i don't
military involved in syria. i don't think there is a necessity to put them in syria at this stage. our objectives are to replace a newand to have government, which is friendly to us, a responsible government, and they want to make sure they get arms and they had the arms necessary to defend themselves, but also to remove assad but i don't want to see military involvement on the part of our troops, and this is not going to be necessary. with our partners in the region, we have sufficient resources to support those groups, but this has been going on for years. this should have been a time for american leadership. we should that taking a leading role, organizationally, governmentally, to bring together parties, find responsible parties. you hear from intelligence sources today that insurgents are highly disparate, they have not come together, they have not
formed the council of some kind, and that needs to happen. americans can help then happened and we need to mission they have the arms they need to carry out getting rid of assad. moderator: a quick response, mr. president. be veryt obama: i will quick read what you heard governor romney said his he does not have different ideas because we are doing exactly what we should be doing to try to syriae a moderate leadership and an effective transition. that is the kind of leadership we show and continued to show. moderator: during the edge of should turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for the president to go. some in your administration thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. to have any regrets about that? president obama: no because i think america is to stand with democracy. the notion that we would have
tanks run over those young people, that is not the kind of american leadership that john f. kennedy talked about 50 years ago, but what i have also said is that now that you have a democratically elected government in egypt, they have to make sure that they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities, and we have put significant pressure on them to make sure we are doing that, to recognize the rights of women, which is critical throughout the region. these countries cannot develop again women are not given the education they need. they have to abide by their treaty with israel, a redline for us because not only is israel's security at stake but i security is at stake is that unravels. we have commissioned the carpeting with us when it comes to counterterrorism and we will help them with respect to developing their own economy because ultimately, what is going to make the egyptian revolution successful for the
people of egypt but also the world as if those young people who gathered there are seeing opportunities. their aspirations are similar to young people here. they want jobs, they want to be able to make sure their kids are going to a good school, to make sure they have a roof over their heads and they have the andpects of a better life future, so one of the things we have been doing is organizing north shore conferences with egyptians to give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding our economy that is transparent, but it is also important for us to understand is that for america to be successful in this region, there are some things we will have to do at home, as well. challenges of the last decade is a have done experiments and nation building in places like iraq and afghanistan and we have neglected developing own economy, our own energy sectors, our own education system, and it
predict hard drives to leadership around the world we're not doing what we need to. moderator: governor romney, i went to hear your response, but we do have stuck with them? president obama: governor romney: -- no, as the president indicated, i supported his action. i wish it had a better vision of the future. looking back at the president term, we recognized that there was growing energy and passion for freedom in that part of the world and that we would have for more aggressively with our friend and other friends in the region to have them make the representedo a more form of government, so it did not explode in the way did, but once it exploded, i felt the same as the president, which is the freedom voices and the street of egypt who were speaking about principles and the president had been things that were unimaginable and idea crushing his people is not something we could support.
let me talk about what i think our mission has to do with the middle east and broadly because our purpose is to make sure the world is peaceful. we want to peaceful planet, people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they will have a prosperous future not be at war. that is our purpose. and the mantle of leadership for promoting the peace is falling to america. we did not ask for it but an honor we have it. to promote the principles of peace, it requires us to be strong and that begins with a strong economy at home and unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. and the president of iraq, excuse me, iran, said that it is not a great country, that is frightening. former joint chiefs of staff debt is ther biggest national security threat we face. we have weakened our economy. we need a strong economy and a strong military. we are blessed with terrific
soldiers and store very technology and intelligence, but the idea of $1 trillion in cuts and budget cuts to the military would change that. we need to have strong allies. association and connection with our allies are essential to american strength. that hase great nation 42 allies and friends around the world. finally, we have to stand by principles. if we are strong in each, american influence will grow, but no in the world is america's influence greater today than it was four years ago, and that is because -- moderator: you will get a chance to respond to that because that is a perfect segue into our next segment, and that is what is america's role in the world? that is the question. what to each of you see as our role in the world and i believe governor romney, it is your turn. believe romney: i america has responsibility and defendvilege of helping
freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful, and those principles include human rights, human dignity, freedom to prize, expression, the elections because when there are elections, people tend to vote for peace. they do not vote for war, so we went to promote those pencils around the world. we recognize that there are places of conflict in the world. we went to in those conflicts to the extent human the possible, but in order to fulfill a role in the world, america must be strong. america must lead, and for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy at home. you cannot have 23 million people struggling to get a job. you cannot have an economy that over the last three years slows down a growth rate. you cannot have kids out of college, half of whom cannot find a job today, or a job that is commensurate with the college degree. we have to get our economy going, and our military, we have
to strengthen our military long-term. we do not know what the world will deride us down the road. we make decisions today in the military that will confront challenges we cannot imagine in the 2000 debates. there was no mention of terrorism, for instance, and one year later, 9/11 happened. we have to make decisions waste on uncertainty, and i will not cut military budget. we have to stand by allies. i think the tension that existed between israel and the united states was fortunate. i think also pulling their missile-defense program out of poland in the way we did was also unfortunate. in terms of disrupting the relationships in some ways it existed between us, and that with regards to standing for principles, when the students took to the streets and toronto and the people there protested, the green revolution occurred with the president to be silence, i thought, was an enormous mistake. we have to stand for principles,
allies, a stronger economy. president obama: america remains the one indispensable nation, and the world needs strong america and it is stronger than when i came into office. because we ended the one iraq, we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat but also the beginning of the transition process in afghanistan and it allowed us to refocus on alliances relationships that had been neglected for a decade, and governor romney, we have never been stronger in asia, europe, africa. with israel, where we had unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with iranian threats, but what we also have been able to do is positioned ourselves so we can start rebuilding america, and that is what my plan does. making sure we are bringing manufacturing back to our
shores, so we are creating jobs here, as we have do with the automotive industry and not jobs overseas. making sure we have the best education system in the world, including returning workers for tomorrow. doing every thing we can to control our energy. we have cut oil imports to the lowest level in two decades because we have developed oil and natural gas, but we also clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut her exports in half by 2020. that is the kind of leadership we need to show. and we have to make sure that we reduce our deficit. unfortunately, governor romney's plan does not do it. we have to do it by cutting outspending we do not need and also asking the wealthiest up a little bit more, and that way we can invest in the research and technology that has kept us at the cutting edge. governor romney has taken a different approach throughout the campaign. both at home and abroad. he has proposed long and reckless policies.
he plays his -- he places george bush as the good economic steward and as dick cheney showing good judgment, and going back to the guys who got us into that mess is not how we maintain leadership in the 21st century. moderator: governor romney? governor romney: i have a policy for the future and agenda for the future, and when it comes to the economy at home, i know what it takes to include and create new jobs heard what we have seen over the last four years is not what i want to see in the next four years. the president said we would be are.4% unemployment and we 9 million jobs short of that. i will get america working again and see rising pay again and i was with five steps. number one, we'll have north american energy independence by taking full advantage of oil, coal, gas, renewables. number two, we will increase our trade. year andws 12% per
doubles every five or so years. we can do better than that, particularly in latin america. the opportunities for us in latin america we have not taken advantage of fully. latin america's economy is almost as big as the economy of china. we are all focused on china. latin america is a huge opportunity. time zone, language opportunities. number three, a training program that works for workers and school, finally put the parents and teachers on the kids first and the kids [indiscernible] and then we have to get to a balanced budget. we cannot expect entrepreneurs and businesses, large and small, to take their life savings and companies money and invest in america if they think we're headed [indiscernible] that is where we are going to free finally do not get off the borrowing bench and i'll give us on track to balance budget. number five, we have to champion small businesses. small businesses, where jobs
come from, two thirds of jobs come from small businesses. you business formation is at the lowest level in 30 years under this administration. i want to bring it back and get a big -- the good jobs and rising income pay. president obama: first of all, governor romney talks about small businesses, but when you were in massachusetts, small 4800 50es ranked about states in massachusetts because the policy to promote to not help small businesses and the way to define small businesses include folks at the very top, me and you, not the type of small business promotion we need. it's taken example we know is going to make a difference in the 21st century. we did not have a lot of chance to talk about this in the last debate. and in my leadership, what we had done this reform education, working with 46 states, we had seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time and we started to finally make progress.
now, i want to hire more teachers, especially math and science because we know we have fallen behind in math and science. those teachers could make a difference. governor romney, when you were asked whether or not this would help the economy grow, he said this would not help the economy grow. when you were asked about sizes, you said class sizes do not make a difference, but if you talk to teachers, they will take it makes a difference. if we have got math teachers who are able to provide the kind of support they need for our kids, that is what is going to determine whether or not the new businesses were created here. companies will locate here depending on if we have a highly skilled workforce and the kinds of budget proposals you have put forward, when we do not ask the you are made to pay a dime more in reducing adjustments, but we/support for education, that is undermining long-term competitiveness.
that is not good for america's position in the world and the world notices. moderator: let me get back to foreign policy. governor romney: just a moment about education because i am so proud of this date that i had a chance to the government of. every two years, we have test that look at how well our kids are doing. fourth graders and integrators are tested in english and math. while governor, our fourth graders cannot number one in english of all the states and eighth graders number one in english, also math. first time that the state has been number one in all four measures. how did we do that? democrats came together to put in place education principles that focused on having great teachers in the classroom. that was what allowed us to become the number one state in the nation. president obama: that was 10 years before you took office and then you cut education when you were in office. governor romney: and we kept our schools number one in the nation, still number one today,
and the principles we put in place, we give them not just a graduation exam that determined if they were up to the skills needed to compete, but also they graduated in the top quarter of their class, they got a four-year, tuition free ride at any acid to sit public institution. at any public institution. host: we have heard some of -- moderator: we have heard some of this in the other debates. you do not want to cut defense spending, but when i went to ask , where are you going to get the money? talknor romney: let's about the military. we will cut about 5% of the discretionary budget, excluding military at number one. is you will be happy to come on their website and you will look tally get to a
balanced budget within eight years to 10 years, by reducing stranding and a series of programs. number one i get rid of, obamacare. there are a number of things that sound good but we cannot afford them and that one does not sound good and it is not affordable, so i get rid of that from day one. we get that out and take program after program that we do not absolutely have to have and we get rid of them. number two, we take some programs that we are going to keep like medicaid, which is a program for the poor, we take that health care program for the poor and to give it to the states to run because states run these programs more efficiently. as a governor, i thought, please, give me this program. i can run this more efficiently than the federal government. states are proving it. states like arizona, rhode island, have taken medicaid dollars and have shown they can run the more cost-effectively. i want to do those two things and it gets us to a balanced budget within eight years to 10
years. but let's get back to the military. [indiscernible] president obama: you should have answered the first question. governor cuts that he says he's going to pay for by closing deductions. now, the math doesn't work, but he continues to claim that he's going to do it. he then wants to spend another $2 trillion on military spending that our military is not asking for. now, keep in mind that our military spending has gone up every single year that i've been in office. we spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined -- china, russia, france, the united kingdom, you name it. the next 10. and what i did was work with our joint chiefs of staff to think about, what are we going to need in the future to make sure that we are safe? and that's the budget that we've put forward. but what you can't do is spend $2 trillion in additional
military spending that the military is not asking for, $5 trillion on tax cuts. you say that you're going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions without naming what those loopholes and deductions are. and then somehow you're also going to deal with the deficit that we've already got. the math simply doesn't work. but when it comes to our military, what we have to think about is not, you know, just budgets, we've got to think about capabilities. we need to be thinking about cyber security. we need to be thinking about space. that's exactly what our budget does, but it's driven by strategy. it's not driven by politics. it's not driven by members of congress and what they would like to see. it's driven by what are we going to need to keep the american people safe. that's exactly what our budget does, and it also then allows us to reduce our deficit, which is a significant national security concern. because we've got to make sure that our economy is strong at home so that we can project
military power overseas. mr. romney: i'm pleased that i've balanced budgets. i was in the world of business for 25 years. if you didn't balance your budget, you went out of business. i went into the olympics that was out of balance, and we got it on balance and made a success there. i had the chance to be governor of a state. four years in a row, democrats and republicans came together to balance the budget. we cut taxes 19 times and balanced our budget. the president hasn't balanced a budget yet. i expect to have the opportunity to do so myself. mr. schieffer: all right. mr. romney: i'm going to be able to balance the budget. let's talk about military spending, and that's this. mr. schieffer: thirty seconds. mr. romney: our navy is old -- excuse me, our navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. the navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. we're now at under 285. we're headed down to the low 200's if we go through a sequestration. that's unacceptable to me. i want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our navy. our air force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947. we've changed for the first time
since fdr -- since fdr we had the -- we've always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. now we're changing to one conflict. look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the president of the united states, which is to maintain the safety of the american people. and i will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. that, in my view, is making -- is making our future less certain and less secure. president obama: bob, i just need to comment on this. first of all, the sequester is not something that i've proposed. it is something that congress has proposed. it will not happen. the budget that we are talking about is not reducing our military spending. it is maintaining it. but i think governor romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. you mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. we have these things called
aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. we have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. and so the question is not a game of battleship, where we're counting ships. it's what are our capabilities. and so when i sit down with the secretary of the navy and the joint chiefs of staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home. and that is not reflected in the kind of budget that you're putting forward because it just doesn't work. mr. schieffer: all right. president obama: and, you know, we visited the website quite a bit and it still doesn't work. bit, and it still doesn't work. mr. schieffer: a lot to cover. i'd like to move to the next segment -- red lines, israel, and iran. would either of you -- and you'll have two minutes -- and,
president obama, you have the first go at this one -- would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on israel is an attack on the united states, which, of course, is the same promise that we give to our close allies like japan? and if you made such a declaration, would not that deter iran? it's certainly deterred the soviet union for a long, long time when we made that -- we made that promise to our allies. mr. president? president obama: first of all, israel is a true friend. it is our greatest ally in the region. and if israel is attacked, america will stand with israel. i've made that clear throughout my presidency. and -- mr. schieffer: so you're -- you're saying we've already made that declaration. president obama: i will stand with israel if they are attacked. and this is the reason why, working with israel, we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in history. in fact, this week we'll be
carrying out the largest military exercise with israel in history, this very week. but to the issue of iran, as long as i'm president of the united states iran will not get a nuclear weapon. i made that clear when i came into office. president obama: we then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. their currency has dropped 80 percent. their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with iraq 20 years ago. so their economy is in a shambles. and the reason we did this is because a nuclear iran is a threat to our national security, and it is a threat to israel's national security. we cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world. iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. and for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to non-state actors, that's
unacceptable. and they have said that they want to see israel wiped off the map. so the work that we've done with respect to sanctions now offers iran a choice. they can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a united states president, me, who said we're not going to take any options off the table. the disagreement i have with governor romney is that, during the course of this campaign, he's often talked as if we should take premature military action. i think that would be a mistake, because when i've sent young men and women into harm's way, i always understand that that is the last resort, not the first resort. mr. schieffer: two minutes. mr. romney: well, first of all, i want to underscore the same point the president made, which is that if i'm president of the united states, when i'm president of the united states, we will stand with israel. and if israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily. that's number one. number two, with regards to iran
and the threat of iran, there's no question but that a nuclear iran, a nuclear-capable iran is unacceptable to america. it presents a threat not only to our friends, but ultimately a threat to us to have iran have nuclear material, nuclear weapons that could be used against us or used to be threatening to us. it is also essential for us to understand what our mission is in iran, and that is to dissuade iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means. and crippling sanctions are something i called for five years ago, when i was in israel, speaking at the herzliya conference. i laid out seven steps, crippling sanctions were number one. and they do work. you're seeing it right now in the economy. it's absolutely the right thing to do, to have crippling sanctions. i would have put them in place earlier. but it's good that we have them. number two, something i would add today is i would tighten those sanctions. i would say that ships that carry iranian oil can't come into our ports. i imagine the e.u. would agree with us as well. not only ships couldn't, but i'd say companies that are moving their oil can't, people who are trading in their oil can't. i would tighten those sanctions
further. secondly, i'd take on diplomatic isolation efforts. i'd make sure that ahmadinejad is indicted under the genocide convention. his words amount to genocide incitation. i would indict him for it. i would also make sure that their diplomats are treated like the pariah they are around the world. the same way we treated the apartheid diplomats of south africa. we need to increase pressure time, and time again on iran because anything other than a solution to this, which says -- which stops this -- this nuclear folly of theirs, is unacceptable to america. and, of course, a military action is the last resort. it is something one would only consider if all of the other avenues had been -- had been tried to their full extent. mr. schieffer: let me ask both of you, there -- as you know, there are reports that iran and the united states as part of an international group have agreed in principle to talks about iran's nuclear program.
what if the deal, if there are such talks -- what is the deal that you would accept, mr. president? president obama: well, first of all those are reports in the newspaper. they are not true. but our goal is to get iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the u.n. resolutions that have been in place, because they have the opportunity to reenter the community of nations, and we would welcome that. there are people in iran who have the same aspirations as people all around the world for a better life. and we hope that their leadership takes the right decision, but the deal we'll accept is they end their nuclear program. it's very straightforward. and i'm glad that governor romney agrees with the steps that we're taking. you know, there have been times, governor, frankly, during the course of this campaign, where it sounded like you thought that you'd do the same things we did,
but you'd say them louder and somehow that that would make a difference. and it turns out that the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions is painstaking. it's meticulous. we started from the day we got into office. and the reason it was so important -- and this is a testament to how we've restored american credibility and strength around the world -- is we had to make sure that all the countries participated, even countries like russia and china. because if it's just us that are imposing sanctions -- we've had sanctions in place a long time. it's because we got everybody to agree that iran is seeing so much pressure. and we've got to maintain that pressure. there is a deal to be had, and that is that they abide by the rules that have already been established. they convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program. there are inspections that are very intrusive. but over time, what they can do is regain credibility. in the meantime, though, we're
not going to let up the pressure until we have clear evidence that that takes place. and one last thing -- just -- just to make this point. the clock is ticking. we're not going to allow iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere. and i've been very clear to them. you know, because of the intelligence coordination that we do with a range of countries, including israel, we have a sense of when they would get breakout capacity, which means that we would not be able to intervene in time to stop their nuclear program. and that clock is ticking. and we're going to make sure that if they do not meet the demands of the international community, then we are going to take all options necessary to make sure they don't have a nuclear weapon. mr. schieffer: governor? mr. romney: i think from the very beginning, one of the challenges we've had with iran is that they have looked at this administration and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be. i think they saw weakness where they had expected to find american strength. and i say that because from the very beginning, the president in
his campaign four years ago, said he would meet with all the world's worst actors in his first year, he'd sit down with chavez and kim jong-il, with castro and president ahmadinejad of iran. and i think they looked and thought, well, that's an unusual honor to receive from the president of the united states. and then the president began what i have called an apology tour, of going to various nations in the middle east and criticizing america. i think they looked at that and saw weakness. then when there were dissidents in the streets of tehran, a green revolution, holding signs saying, "is america with us?" the president was silent. i think they noticed that as well. and i think that when the president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and israel, that they noticed that as well. all of these things suggested, i think, to the iranian mullahs that, hey, you know, we can keep on pushing along here, we can keep talks going on, we're just going to keep on spinning centrifuges. now there are some 10,000 centrifuges spinning uranium,
preparing to create a nuclear threat to the united states and to the world. that's unacceptable for us, and it's essential for a president to show strength from the very beginning, to make it very clear what is acceptable and not acceptable. and an iranian nuclear program is not acceptable to us. they must not develop nuclear capability. and the way to make sure they understand that is by having, from the very beginning, the tightest sanctions possible. they need to be tightened. our diplomatic isolation needs to be tougher. we need to indict ahmadinejad. we need to put the pressure on them as hard as we possibly can, because if we do that, we won't have to take the military action. president obama: bob, let me just respond. nothing governor romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. this has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign. and every fact checker and every reporter who's looked at it, governor, has said this is not true.
and when it comes to tightening sanctions, look, as i said before, we've put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever. and the fact is, while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a chinese state oil company that was doing business with the iranian oil sector. so i'll let the american people decide, judge, who's going to be more effective and more credible when it comes to imposing crippling sanctions. and with respect to our attitude about the iranian revolution, i was very clear about the murderous activities that had taken place and that was contrary to international law and everything that civilized people stand for. and so the strength that we have shown in iran is shown by the fact that we've been able to mobilize the world. when i came into office, the world was divided. iran was resurgent. iran is at its weakest point,
economically, strategically, militarily, than in many years. and we are going to continue to keep the pressure on to make sure that they do not get a nuclear weapon. that's in america's national interest, and that will be the case so long as i'm president. mr. romney: we're four years closer to a nuclear iran. we're four years closer to a nuclear iran. and -- and -- we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they -- they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer. that's number one. number two, mr. president, the reason i call it an apology tour is because you went to the middle east and you flew to egypt and to saudi arabia and to turkey and iraq. and by the way, you skipped israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. and by the way, they noticed that you skipped israel. and then in those nations, and on arabic tv, you said that america had been dismissive and derisive. you said that on occasion america had dictated to other nations.
mr. president, america has not dictated to other nations. we have freed other nations from dictators. president obama: bob, let me respond. if we're going to talk about trips that we've taken -- when i was a candidate for office, first trip i took was to visit our troops. and when i went to israel as a candidate, i didn't take donors. i didn't attend fundraisers. i went to yad beshef, the holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with israel will be unbreakable. and then i went down to the border towns of storok, which had experienced missiles raining dowm from hamas. and i saw families there who showed me there where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms. and i was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids. which is why as president, we
funded an iron dome program to stop those missiles. so that's how i've used my travels, when i travel to israel and when i travel to the region. and the central question at this point is going to be, who is going to be credible to all parties involved? and they can look at my track record, whether it's iran sanctions, whether it's dealing with counterterrorism, whether it's supporting democracy, whether it's supporting women's rights, whether it's supporting religious minorities. and they can say that the president of the united states and the united states of america has stood on the right side of history. and that kind of credibility is precisely why we've been able to show leadership on a wide range of issues facing the world right now. mr. schieffer: what if -- what if the prime minister of israel called you on the phone and said, "our bombers are on the
way. we're going to bomb iran." what do you -- mr. romney: bob, let's not go into hypotheticals of that nature. our relationship with israel, my relationship with the prime minister of israel is such that we would not get a call saying our bombers are on the way, or their fighters are on the way. this is the kind of thing that would have been discussed and thoroughly evaluated well before that kind of -- mr. schieffer: so you'd say it just wouldn't happen? ok. let's see what -- mr. romney: but let me -- let me come back -- we can come back. let's come back to what the president was speaking about, which is what's happening in the world and the president's statement that things are going so well. look, i look at what's happening around the world, and i see iran four years closer to a bomb. i see the middle east with a rising tide of violence, chaos, tumult. i see jihadists continuing to spread, whether they're rising or just about the same level, hard to precisely measure, but it's clear they're there. they're very strong. i see syria with 30,000 civilians dead, assad still in power. i see our trade deficit with
china, larger than it's -- growing larger every year, as a matter of fact. i look around the world and i don't feel that you see north korea, continuing to export their nuclear technology, russia said they're not going to follow nunn-lugar any more. they're back away from a nuclear proliferation treaty that we had with them. i look around the world, i don't see our influence growing around the world. i see our influence receding, in part because of the failure of the president to deal with our economic challenges at home, in part because of our withdrawal from our commitment to our military in the way i think it ought to be, in part because of the -- the -- the turmoil with israel. i mean, the president received a letter from 38 democrat senators saying the tensions with israel were a real problem. they asked him, please repair the tension -- democrat senators -- please repair the tension -- mr. schieffer: all right.
mr. romney: the damage in his own party. president obama: governor, the problem is, is that on a whole range of issues, whether it's the middle east, whether it's afghanistan, whether it's iraq, whether it's now iran, you've been all over the map. i mean, i'm pleased that you now are endorsing our policy of applying diplomatic pressure and potentially having bilateral discussions with the iranians to end their nuclear program. but just a few years ago you said that's something you'd never do. in the same way that you initially opposed a timetable in afghanistan, now you're for it, although it depends. in the same way that you say you would have ended the war in iraq, but recently gave a speech saying that we should have 20,000 more folks in there. the same way that you said that it was mission creep to go after gaddafi. when it comes to going after osama bin laden, you said, well, any president would make that
call. but when you were a candidate in 2008, as i was, and i said if i got bin laden in our sights i would take that shot, you said we shouldn't move heaven and earth to get one man. and you said we should ask pakistan for permission. and if we had asked pakistan permission, we would not have gotten him. and it was worth moving heaven and earth to get him. you know, after we killed bin laden, i was at ground zero for a memorial and talked to a young women who was 4 years old when 9/11 happened. and the last conversation she had with her father was him calling from the twin towers, saying "peyton, i love you and i will always watch over you." and for the next decade, she was haunted by that conversation. and she said to me, "you know, by finally getting bin laden, that brought some closure to me." and when we do things like that
-- when we bring those who have harmed us to justice, that sends a message to the world and it tells peyton that we did not forget her father. and i make that point because that's the kind of clarity of leadership, and those decisions are not always popular. those decisions generally -- generally are not poll-tested. and even some in my own party, including my current vice president, had the same critique as you did. but what the american people understand is that i look at what we need to get done to keep the american people safe and to move our interests forward, and i make those decisions. mr. schieffer: all right, let's go. and that leads us -- this takes us right to the next segment, governor, america's longest war, afghanistan and pakistan. mr. romney: bob -- mr. schieffer: governor, you get to go first. mr. romney: you can't -- but you can't have the president just lay out a whole series of items without giving me a chance to respond. mr. schieffer: with respect, sir, you had laid out quite a program -- mr. romney: well, that's probably true. mr. schieffer: we'll give you --
we'll catch up. the united states is scheduled to turn over responsibility for security in afghanistan to the afghan government in 2014. at that point, we will withdraw our combat troops, leave a smaller force of americans, if i understand our policy, in afghanistan for training purposes. it seems to me the key question here is, what do you do if the deadline arrives and it is obvious the afghans are unable to handle their security? do we still leave? and i believe, governor romney, you go first. mr. romney: well, we're going to be finished by 2014, and when i'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. the commanders and the generals there are on track to do so. we've seen progress over the past several years. the surge has been successful and the training program is proceeding apace. there are now a large number of afghan security forces, 350,000 that are ready to step in to
provide security, and we're going to be able to make that transition by the end of 2014. so our troops will come home at that point. i can tell you at the same time, that we will make sure that we look at what's happening in pakistan and recognize that what's happening in pakistan is going to have a major impact on the success in afghanistan. and i say that because i know a lot of people that feel like we should just brush our hands and walk away. and i don't mean you, mr. president, but some people in our nation feel that pakistan is being nice to us, and that we should walk away from them. but pakistan is important to the region, to the world and to us, because pakistan has 100 nuclear warheads and they're rushing to build a lot more. they'll have more than great britain sometime in the relatively near future. they also have the haqqani network and the taliban existent within their country. and so a pakistan that falls apart, becomes a failed state, would be of extraordinary danger to afghanistan and to us.
and so we're going to have to remain helpful in encouraging pakistan to move towards a more stable government and rebuild the relationship with us. and that means that our aid that we provide to pakistan is going to have to be conditioned upon certain benchmarks being met. so for me, i look at this as both a need to help move pakistan in the right direction, and also to get afghanistan to be ready, and they will be ready by the end of 2014. mr. schieffer: mr. president? president obama: when i came into office, we were still bogged down in iraq and afghanistan had been drifting for a decade. we ended the war in iraq, refocused our attention on afghanistan, and we did deliver a surge of troops. that was facilitated in part because we had ended the war in iraq. and we are now in a position where we have met many of the objectives that got us there in the first place. part of what had happened is we'd forgotten why we had gone.
we went because there were people who were responsible for 3,000 american deaths. and so we decimated al qaida's core leadership in the border regions between afghanistan and pakistan. we then started to build up afghan forces. and we're now in a position where we can transition out, because there's no reason why americans should die when afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country. now, that transition has to take place in a responsible fashion. we've been there a long time, and we've got to make sure that we and our coalition partners are pulling out responsibly and giving afghans the capabilities that they need. but what i think the american people recognize is after a decade of war it's time to do some nation building here at home. and what we can now do is free up some resources, to, for example, put americans back to work, especially our veterans, rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our schools, making
sure that, you know, our veterans are getting the care that they need when it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, making sure that the certifications that they need for good jobs of the future are in place. you know, i was having lunch with some -- a veteran in minnesota who had been a medic dealing with the most extreme circumstances. when he came home and he wanted to become a nurse, he had to start from scratch. and what we've said is let's change those certifications. the first lady has done great work with an organization called joining forces putting our veterans back to work. and as a consequence, veterans' unemployment is actually now lower than general population. it was higher when i came into office. so those are the kinds of things that we can now do because we're making that transition in afghanistan. mr. schieffer: all right. let me go to governor romney because you talked about pakistan and what needs to be done there. general allen, our commander in
afghanistan, says that americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by pakistan. we know that pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped us catch osama bin laden. it still provides safe haven for terrorists, yet we continue to give pakistan billions of dollars. is it time for us to divorce pakistan? mr. romney: no, it's not time to divorce a nation on earth that has 100 nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at some point, a nation that has serious threats from terrorist groups within its nation, as i indicated before, the taliban, haqqani network. it's a nation that's not like others and it does not have a civilian leadership that is calling the shots there. you have the isi, their intelligence organization, is probably the most powerful of
the three branches there. then you have the military and then you have the civilian government. this is a nation, which, if it falls apart, if it becomes a failed state, there are nuclear weapons there and you've got terrorists there who could grab their hands onto those nuclear weapons. this is an important part of the world for us. pakistan is technically an ally, and they're not acting very much like an ally right now. but we have some work to do. and i don't blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with pakistan is strained. we had to go into pakistan. we had to go in there to get osama bin laden. that was the right thing to do. and that upset them, but obviously there was a great deal of anger even before that. but we're going to have to work with the people in pakistan to try and help them move to a more responsible course than the one that they're on.