tv Greta Van Susteren FOX News October 22, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
so if you're one of them people who gets heartburn and then treats day afr day... block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] e pill eachmorning. 24 hours. zero heartbur ♪ >> brit: we are live at lynn university in boca raton, florida, the debate between president obama and governor romney is set to start in just seconds. i'm bret baier live insides the debate hall. >> megyn: i'm megyn kelly inside the spin room where the campaigns come after the debate to try to convince you that their side won. this is it, bret, we have been all over the country the past month following these debates and this is the last chance these candidates have to move the needle in at least in the debate forum. >> bret: it's interesting that on foreign policy the democrats believe that president obama has an advantage. today both campaigns were aggressive. they both put out web videos.
the obama campaign put out one with former secretary of state madeleine albright saying governor romney is not up to the task, is a cold war mentality. the romney campaign put one out with the video of president obama talking to russian prime minister dmitry medvedev in which he said i will have more flexibility after the election. it was all a set-up to this foreign policy debate and, yet, we could hear a lot about the u.s. economy in this debate as well. it is going to be interesting to see the 90 minutes, the final time that these candidates will reach an unfiltered audience and millions of them. >> megyn: the pressure not just on those two candidates but also on the moderator bob schieffer after the criticism in the last debate for the moderator to stay out of it. we will see how it goes tonight. bob: good evening from the campus of lynn university here in boca raton, florida. this is the fowrstd and last debate of the 2012 campaign brought to you by the commission on presidential debates. this one is on foreign policy.
i'm bob schieffer of cbs news. the questions are mine. and i have not shared them with the candidates or their aides. the audience has taken a vow of silence. no applause, no reaction of any kind, except right now when we welcome president barack obama and governor mitt romney. [cheers and applause] >> gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. they have asked me to divide the evening into segments. i will will pose a question at the beginning of each segment,
you will each have two minutes to respond and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment. tonight's debate as both of you know comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that president kennedy told the world that the soviet union had installed nuclear missiles in cuba. perhaps the closest we have ever come to nuclear war. and it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad. so, let's begin. the first segment is the challenge of a changing middle east and the new face of terrorism. i'm gonna put this into two segments so you will have two topic questions within this one segment on the subject. the first question and it concerns libya. the controversy over what happened there continues four americans are dead, including
an american ambassador. questions remain what happened, what caused it? was it spontaneous? was it an intelligence failure? was it a policy failure? was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened? governor romney, you said this was an example of an american policy in the middle east that is unraveling before our very eyes. i would like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that. governor romney, you won the toss. you go first. >> thank you, bob. and thank you for agreeing to moderate this debate this evening. thank you to lynn university for welcoming us here and mr. president, it's good to be with you again. we were together at a humorous event a little earlier and it's nice to maybe be funny this time not on purpose. we will see what happens. this is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world. and to america in particular, which is to see a complete change in the structure and
the environment in the middle east with the arab spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation, an opportunity for greater participation on the part of women and public life and in economic life in the middle east, but, instead, we have seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events. of course, we see in syria 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there, we see in libya an attack apparently by, i think we know now, by terrorists of some kind against our people there, four people dead, our hearts and minds go to them. maly has been taken over by al qaeda type individuals. we have in egypt a muslim brotherhood president, so what we are seeing is is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kinds of hopes we had for that region. of course, the greatest threat of all is iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. and we're going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done.
i congratulate him on taking out usama bin laden and going after the leadership of al qaeda, but we can't kill our way out of this mess. we're going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of islam and other parts of the world reject this radical violent extremism which is certainly not on the run. it's certainly not hiding. this is a group that is now involved in ten or 12 countries. and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, to the world, to america, long term. and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help reject this kind of extremism. >> mr. president? >> well, my first job as commander and chief, bob, is to keep the american people safe. and that's what we have done over the last four years. we ended the war in iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. and as a consequence, al al qaeda's core leadership has been disseminated.
in addition, we are now able to transition out of afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that afghans take responsibility for their own security. and that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats. now, with respect to libya, as i indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, i immediately made sure that, number one, that we did everything we could to secure those americans who were still in harm's way. number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened and, number three, most importantly, that we would go after those who killed americans and we would bring them to justice. and that's exactly what we're going to do. i think it's important to step back and think about what happened in libya. keep in mind that i and americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to, without
putting troops on the ground at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in iraq liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship in 40 years. got rid of a despot who had killed americans. as a consequence, despite this tragedy, you had tens of thousands of libyans after the events in benghazi marching and saying america is our friend. we stand with them. now, that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. and, you know, governor romney, i'm glad that you agree that we have been successful in going after al qaeda, but i have to tell you that, you know, your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed to keep americans safe or to build on the opportunities that exist in the middle east. >> well, my strategy is pretty straightforward which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them to kill them, to take them out of the
picture, but my strategy is broader than that. that's important, of course. but the key that we're going to have to pursue is a pathway to get the muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own. we don't want another iraq. we don't want another afghanistan. that's not the right course for us. the right course for us is to make sure that we go after the people who are leaders of these various anti-american groups and these jihadists but also help the muslim world. how do we do that? the group of arab scholars came together organized by the u.n. to look at how we can help the world reject these terrorists. and the answer they came up with was this: one more economic development, we should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment in that of our friends. we should coordinate it to make sure we push back and give them more economic development. number two education. number three gender quality. number four the rule of law. we have to help these nations create civil societies. but what's been happening over the last couple of years is as we have watched this at the
multi-in the middle east, this rising tide of chaos occur. you see al qaeda rushing in. you see other jihadist groups rushing in. and there through the many nations in the middle east. it's wonderful that libya seems to be making some progress despite this terrible tragedy but next door, of course, we have egypt, libya 6 million population. egypt 80 million population. we want to make sure we are seeing progress throughout the middle east with having north maly taken over by al qaeda with syria having assad continuing to kill, murder his own people this is a region in temult and iran on the path to a nuclear weapon. >> we will get to that but let's give the president a chance. >> governor romney, i am glad that you recognize al qaeda is a threat. because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threating america you said russia. not al qaeda you said russia. and the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the cold
war has been over for 20 years. but, governor, you know, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s. you say that you are not interested in duplicating what happened in iraq but just a few weeks ago you said you think we should have more troops in iraq right now. and the challenge we have -- i know you haven't been in a position to actually execute foreign policy, but every time you have offered an opinion, have you been wrong. you said we should have gone into iraq despite the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction. you said that we should still have troops in iraq to this day. you indicated that we shouldn't be passing nuclear treaties with russia, despite the fact that 71 senators, democrats and republics voted for it you said that first we
should not have a time line in afghanistan, then you said we should. now you say maybe or it depends. which means not only were you wrong but you are also confusing and sending mixed messages both to our troops and our allies. so, what we need to do with respect to the middle east is strong steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map. and, unfortunately, that's the kind of opinions that you have offered through the this campaign. and it is not a recipe for american strength or keeping america safe. >> i'm going to add a couple of minutes here to give you a chance to respond. >> well, of course, i don't concur with what the president said about my own record and the things that i have said. they don't happen to be accurate. but i can say this: that we're talking about the middle east, and how to help the middle east reject the kind of terrorism we are seeing and the rising tied of temult and confusion. and attacking me is not an agenda. attacking me is not talking
about how we are going it deal with the challenges that exist in the middle east and take advantage of the opportunity there and stem the tide of this violence but i will respond to a couple of things that you mentioned first of all, russia i indicate sad geopolitical foe. >> -- >> excuse me. geopolitical feo. -- foe. iran is the greatest national security threat. russia has battled us in the u.n. i'm not going to wear rose colored glasses when it comes to russia or mr. putin. i will not say to him i will give you more flexibility after the election. after the election he will get more backbone. number two, with regards to iraq, you and i agreed, i believe, that there should have been a status of forces agreement. >> that's not true. >> you didn't want a status of forces agreement? >> what i would not have done is left 10,000 troops in iraq that would tie us down. that certainly would not help us in the middle east. >> i'm sorry, you actually, there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces agreement and i concurred in that and
said that we should have some number of troops that stayed on. that was something that i concurred with. that was your posture, that was my posture as well. you thought it should be 5,000 troops. i thought it should have been more troops. the answer was we got no troops through whatsoever. >> just a few weeks ago you indicated that we should still have troops in iraq. >> i'm sorry, i indicated that you failed to put in place a status of forces agreement at the end of the conflict that existed. >> governor, here is one thing i have learned as comand chief. you have got to be clear both to our allies and our enemies about where you stand and what you mean. now, you just gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should still have troops in iraq. that is not a recipe for making sure that we are taking advantage of the opportunities and meeting the challenge of the middle east. now, it is absolutely true that we cannot just meet these challenges militarily. and so what i have done through
throughout my presidency and will continue to do is make sure our countries are supporting counter terrorism efforts. number two, make sure that they are standing by our interest in israel's security because it is a true friend, and our greatest ally in the region. number three: we do have to make sure that we are protecting religious minorities and women because these countries can't develop unless all the population, not just half of it, is developing. number four, we do have to develop their economic -- their economic capabilities. but number five, the other thing that we have to do is recognize that we can't continue to do nation building in these regions. part of american leadership is making sure that we are doing nation building here at home. that will help us maintain the kind of american leadership that we need. >> let me interject the second topic question in this segment about the middle east and so on. and that as you both mentioned, alluded to this and that is syria. a war in syria has now spilled
over into lebanon. we have, what, more than 100 people that were killed there in a bomb. there were demonstrations there. 8 people dead. mr. president, it's been more than a year since you told assad he had to go. since then 30,000 syrians have died. we have had 300,000 refugees, the war goes on. he is still there. should we reassess our policy and see if we can find a better way to influence events there or is that even possible? and you go first, sir. >> what we have done is organize the international community saying assad has to go. we have mobilized sanctions against that government. we have made sure that they are isolated. we have provided humanitarian assistance and we are helping the opposition organize and we're particularly interested in making sure that we are mobilizing the moderate forces inside of syria. but ultimately, syrians are going to have to determine their own future.
and so everything we're doing, we're doing in consultation with our partners in the region, including israel, which obviously has a huge interest in seeing what happens in syria, coordinating with turkey and other countries in the region that have a great interest in this. now, what we're seeing taking place in syria is heart-breaking. and that's why he are going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition. but, we also have to recognize that, you know, for us to get more entangled militarily in syria is a serious step. we have to do so, making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping, that we're not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or our allies in the region. and i am confident that assad's days are numbers. but what we can't do is to simply suggest that as governor romney at times has suggested that giving heavy weapons, for example, to the syrian opposition is a simple proposition that would lead us
to be safer over the long term. >> governor? >> well, let's step back and talk about what's happening in syria and how important it is, first of all, 30,000 people being killed by their government is a humanitarian disaster. secondly, syria is an opportunity for us, because syria plays an important role in the middle east, particularly right now. syria is iran's only ally in the arab world. it's their route to the sea. it's the route for them to arm hezbollah in lebanon which threatens, of course, our ally, israel. so seeing syria remove assad is a very high priority to us. number two seeing a replacement government syrian people is critical for us. finally we don't want to have military involvement there. we don't want to get drawn into a military conflict. the right course for us is working through our partners and with our own resources to identify responsible parties within syria, organize them, bring them together in a form of, if not government, a form
of council that can take the lead in syria and then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves. we do need to make sure that they don't have arms that get into the wrong hands. those arms could be used to hurt us down the road. we need to make sure as well that we coordinate this effort with our allies, and particularly with israel. but the saudis and the qatary and the turks are all very concerned about. this they are willing to work us with. we need to have a very effective leadership effort in syria, making sure that the insurgents there are armed and insurgents that become armed are people who will be the responsible parties. recognize, i believe that assad must go. i believe he will go. but i believe we want to make sure that we have the relationships, 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 party in the middle east. this is is a critical opportunity for america. and what i'm afraid is that as we have watched over the past year or so, first the
president saying well we will let the u.n. deal with it, and assad -- excuse me, kofi annan came in and said we have a seas fire that didn't work. look to the russians and see if you can do something. we should be playing the leadership role there. not on the ground with military. >> all right. >> play a leadership role. >> we are playing leadership role. we organize the friends of syria. we are mobilizing humanitarian support and support for the opposition. and we are making sure that those we help are those who will be friends of ours in the long term and friends of our allies in the region over the long term. but, you know, going back to libya because this is an example of how we make choices. you know, when we went into libya, and we were able to immediately stop the massacre there, because of the unique circumstances and the coalition that we had helped to organize, we also had to make sure that muammar qaddafi didn't stay there. and to the governor's credit you supported us going into libyaened at coalition that we
organized. but when it came time to making sure that qaddafi did not stay in power, that he was captured, governor, your suggestion was that this was mission creep. that this was mission model. imagine if we had pulled out at that point. now, muammar qaddafi had more american blood on his hands than any individual other than usama bin laden. and so we were going it make sure that we finished the job. that's part of the reason why the libyans stand with us. but we did so in a careful, thoughtful way, making certain that we knew who we were dealing with, that those forces of moderation on the ground were ones that we could work with. and we have to take the same kind of steady, thoughtful leadership when it comes to syria. that's exactly what we're doing. >> governor, can i just ask you: would you go beyond what the administration would do. for example, would you put in flow fly -- no fly zones over
syria. >> i don't want to have our military involved in syria. i don't think there is necessity to put our military in syria at this stage. i don't anticipate that in the future. as i indicated our objectives are to replace assad and to have in place a new government which is friendly to us, a responsible government, if possible, and i want to make sure they get armed and they have the arms necessary to defend themselves but also to remove assad. but i do not want to see a military involvement on the part of our troops. and this isn't going to be necessary. we have with our partners in the region, we have sufficient resources to support those groups. but, look, this has been going on for a year. there is a time -- this should have been a time for american leadership. we should have taken a lead role, not militarily, a leading role, organizationally, governmentally, to bring together the parties there, to find responsible parties. as you hear from intelligence sources even today, the insurgents are highly desperate. they haven't come together, they haven't formed a unity
group, a council of some kind. that needs to help. america can help that happen. we need to make sure they have the arms they need to carry out the very important role which getting rid of assad. >> can we get a quick response, mr. president? >> i will be very quick. what you just heard governor romney say -- he doesn't have different ideas. that's because we are doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate, syrian leadership and an effective transition so that we get assad out. that's the kind of leadership we have shown. that's the kind of leadership we will continue to show. >> may i ask you, you know, during the egyptian turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for president mubarak to go. some in your administration thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. do you have any regrets about that? >> no, i don't. because i think that america has to stand with democracy. the notion that we would have
tanks run over those young people who were in tahrir square, that is not the kind of american leadership that john f. kennedy talked about 50 years ago. but what i have also said is that now that you have a democratically elected government in egypt, that they have to make sure that they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities. and we have put significant pressure on them to make sure they are doing that. to recognize the rights of women, which is critical throughout the region. these countries can't develop if young women are not given the kind of education that they need. they have to abide by their treaty with israel. that is a red line with us. not only is israel's security at stake but our security is at stake if that unravels. we have make sure they are cooperating with us when it comes to counter terrorism. we will help them with respect to developing their own economy because, ultimately, what's going to make the egyptian revolution successful for the people of egypt but
also for the world is if those young people who gathered there are seeing opportunities. their aspirations are similar to young people here. they want jobs. they want to be able to make sure their kids are going to a good school. they want to make sure that they have a roof over their heads and that they have the prospects of a better life in the future. and so one of the things that we have been doing is, for example, organizing entrepreneurship conferences with these egyptians to give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding their economy in a way that's non-corrupt, that's transparent. but what is also important for us to understand is that for america to be successful in this region, there are some things that we are going to have to do here at home as well. you know, one of the challenges over the last decade is we have done experiments and nation building in places like iraq and afghanistan. and we have neglected, for example, developing our own economy, our own energy sectors, our own education system and it's very harvard
for us to project leadership around the world when we're not doing what we need to do. >> governor romney, i want to hear your response to that, but i would just ask you, would you have stuck with mubarak? >> no, i believe as the president indicated and said at the time that i supported his action there. i felt that -- i wish we would have had a better vision of the future. i wish that looking back at the beginning of the president's term and even further back than that that we would have recognized that there was a growing energy and passion for freedom in that part of the world and we would have worked more aggressively with our friend and with other friends in the region to have them make the transition towards a more representative form of government such that it didn't explode in the way it did. but once it exploded, i felt the same as the president did, which is these freedom voices in the streets of egypt for the people who were speaking of our principles and president mubarak had done things which were unimaginable and the idea of him crushing his people was not something
of peace is falling to america. we didn't ask for it, but it's an honor that we have it for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. and that begins with a strong economy here at home. unfortunately the economy is not stronger. when the president of iraq, excuse me of iran, ahmadinejad said that our debt makes us not a great country, that's a frightening thing. former chief of the -- joint chief of staff admirable mullen said our debt is the biggest national security threat we face. we have weakened our economy. we need a strong economy. we need to have as well a strong military. our military is second to none in the world. we're blessed with terrific
soldiers and extraordinary technology and intelligence. but the idea of a trillion dollars in cuts through sequestration and budget cuts to the military would change that we need to have strong allies. our association and connection with our allies is essential to america's strength. we're the great nation that has allies. 42 allies and friends around the world. and finally we have to stand by our principles. and if we're strong in each of those things, american influence will grow. but, unfortunately, in nowhere in the world is america's influence greater today than it was four years ago. and that's because we have been weaker -- >> you are going to have a chance to respond to that because that's a perfect segway into our next segment and that is what is america's role in the world? and that is the question. what do each of you sees a our role in the world? and i believe governor romney, it's your turn to go first. >> well, i absolutely believe that america has a responsibility and the privilege of helping defend
freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful. and those principles include human rights, human dignity, free enterprise, freedom of expression, elections. because when there are elections, people tend to vote for peace. they don't vote for war. so we want to promote those principles around the world. we recognize that there are places of conflict in the world. we want to end those conflicts to the extent humanly possible. but in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, america must be strong. america must lead. and for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. you can't have 23 million people struggling to get a job. you can't have an economy that over the last three years slowing down its growth rate. you can't have kids coming out of college half of whom can't find a job today or a job commensurate with their college degree. we have to get our economy going. and our military. we have got to strengthen our
military long term. we don't know what the world is going to throw at us down the road. we make decisions today in a military that will confront challenges we can't imagine. in the 2,000 debates there was no mention of terrorism, for instance and the year later 9/11 happened. so we have to make decisions based upon uncertainty. that means a strong military. i will not cut our military budget. we have to also stand by our allies. i think the tension that existed between israel and the united states was very unfortunate i think also pulling our missile defense program out of poland in the way we did was also unfortunate in terms of if you will, disrupting the relationship in some ways as it existed between us. and with regards to standing for our principles. when the students took to the streets to tehran and people there protested, the green revolution occurred for the president to be silent, i thought, was an enofer must -- enormous mistake. we have to strong for our
allies our military and strong economy. mr. president. >> america remains the one indispensable nation and the world needs a strong america and it is stronger now than when i came into office. because we ended the war in iraq, we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat but also beginning a transition process in afghanistan. it also allowed us to refocus on alliances, relationships that have been neglected for a decade. and governor romney, our alliances have never been stronger. in asia, in europe, in africa, with israel where we have unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with the iranian threat. but what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding america and that's what my plan does, making sure that we are bringing manufacturing back to our shores so we are creating jobs
here as we have done with the auto industry. not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas. making sure we have the best education system in the world, including retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. doing everything we can to control our own energy. we have cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades. because we have developed oil and natural gas but we also have to develop clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020. that's the kind of leadership that we need to show. and we have got to make sure that we reduce our deficit. unfortunately governor romney's plan doesn't do it. we have got to do it in a responsible way by cutting out spending that we don't need but also by asking the can invest inpay a little bit the research and technology that's always kept us at the cutting edge. now, governor romney has taken a different approach through the this campaign. both at home and abroad, he has proposed wrong and reckless policies.
he has praised george bush as a good economic steward and dick cheney as somebody who shows great wisdom and judgment and taking us back to those kinds of strategies that got us into this mess are not the way that we are going to maintain leadership in the 21st century. >> governor romney, wrong and reckless policies? >> i have got a policy for the future. and an agenda for the future. and when it comes to our economy here at home, i know what it takes to create 12 million new jobs and rising take-home pay. what we have seen over the last four years is not something i want to see over the next four years. the president said by now we would be at 5.4% unemployment. we are 9 million jobs short of that. i will get america working again and see rising take-home pay again and i will do it with five simple steps. number one, we are going to have north american energy independence. we're going to do it by taking full advantage of oil, coal, gas, nuclear, and our renewables. number two, we're going to increase our trade. trade grows about 12% per year. it doubles about every five or
so years. we can do better than that particularly in latin america. the opportunities for us in latin america we have just not taken advantage of fully. as a matter of fact, latin america's economy is almost as big as the economy of china. we're all focused on china. latin america is a huge opportunity for us. time zone, language opportunities. number three, we're going to have to have training programs that work for our workers and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first and the teacher union is going to have to go behind. then we have to get to a balanced budget. we can't expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their life savings or their company's money and invest in america if they think we are headed to the road to greece. and that's where we are going right now unless we finally get off this spending and borrowing bing. and i will get us on track to a balanced budget. and finally, number five, we have got to champion small business, small business is where jobs come from. two thirds of our jobs come from small businesses.
new business formation is down to the lowest level in 30 years under this administration. i want to bring it back and get back good jobs and rising take home pay. >> let's talk about where we need to compete. first of all governor romney talks about small businesses. governor, when you were in massachusetts, small businesses development ranked about 48th, i think out of 50 states in massachusetts because the policies that you are promoting actually don't help small businesses and the way you define small businesses include folks at the very top, they include you and me. that's not the kind of small business promotion we need. but let's take an example that we know is going to make a difference for the 21st century and that's our education policy. we didn't have a lot of chance to talk about this in the last debate. now, under my leadership, what we have done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states, we have seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time, and they're starting to finally make progress.
and what i now want to do is to hire more teachers, especially in math and science, because we know we have fallen behind when it comes to math and science. those teachers can make a difference. now, governor romney, when you were asked by teachers whether or not this would help the economy know, you say this isn't going to help the economy grow. when you were asked about reduced class sizes you said class sizes don't make a difference. i tell you when you talk to teachers, they will tell you it does make a difference. and if we have got math teachers who are able to provide the kind of support that they need for our kids, that's what's going to determine whether or not the new businesses are created here, companies are going to locate here depending on whether we have got the most highly skilled workforce and the kinds of budget proposals that you have put forward. when we don't ask either you or me to pay a dime more in terms of reducing the deficit but, instead, we slash support for education, that's undermining our long-term competitiveness. that is not good for america's position in the world.
and the world notices. >> let me get back to foreign policy. can i just get back -- >> -- well, i need to speak a moment. >> okay. >> bob, just about education. >> okay. >> i'm so proud of the state that i had the chance to be governor of. we have every two years tests that look at how well our kids are doing. fourth graders and eighth graders are tested in english and math. while i was governor, i was proud that our fourth graders came out number one of all 50 states in english and also in math and our eighth graders number one in english and also in math. first time one state had been number one in all four measures. how do we do that? well, republics and democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put in place education principles that focused on having great teachers in the classroom. >> 10 years earlier -- >> -- that was what allowed us to become the number one state in the nation. >> but that was 10 years before you took office. and then you cut education spending when you came into office. >> we kept our schools number one in the nation and they are still number one today. >> all right.
>> the principles we put in place we gave kids not just a graduation exam that determined whether they were up to the skills needed to be able to compete but also if they graduated the top quarter of their class, they got a four-year tuition-free ride at any massachusetts public institution of higher learning. >> that happened before you came into office. >> that was actually mine, mr. president. you got that fact wrong. >> i want to try to shift it because we have heard some of this in the other debates. governor, you say you wanted a biggser military, you want a bigger navy. you don't want to cut defense spending. what i want to ask you, we are talking about financial problems in this country. where are you going to get the money? >> well, let's come back and talk about the military but all the way through. first of all, i'm going through from the very beginning we are going to cut about 5% of the discretionary budget including military. >> you can get driving us deeper into debt. >> come on our web site and look how we get to a balanced budget within 8 to 10 years.
we do it by getting -- by reducing spending and a whole series of programs. by the way number one i get rid of is obama care. there are a number of things that sound good but frankly we just can't afford them. that one doesn't sound good and it's not affordable. i get rid of that day one. program after program that we don't absolutely have to have and we get rid of them. number two, we take some programs that we are going to keep like medicaid which is a program for the poor, we'll take that healthcare program for the poor and we give it to the states to run because the states run these programs more efficiently. as a governor i thought, please, give me this program. >> can he do that. >> i can run this more efficiently than the federal government and states, by the way, are proving it states like arizona, rhode island have taken these medicaid dollars, have shown they can run these programs more cost effectively. i want to do those two things and gets us to a balanced budget within 8 to 10 years but the military.
let's get to the military though. >> that's what i'm trying to get. >> he should have answered the first question. >> look, governor romney has called for $5 trillion of tax cuts that he says is he going to pay for by closing deductions. the math doesn't work he continues to claim that he is 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 have been in office. we spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined, china, russia, france, the united kingdom, you name it. 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 have 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 are going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions without naming what those loopholes and deductions are, and then somehow you are also going to deal with the deficit that we have 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 have 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 have got to make sure that our economy is strong at home, so that we can
project military power overseas. >> bob, i'm pleased that i have balanced budgets. i was in the world of business for 25 years. if you didn't balance your budget, you went out of business. i went to the olympics that was out of balance and we got it on balance and made a success there. i had the chance to be governor of state, four years in a row democrats and republicans came together to balance the budget. we cut taxes 19 times. balanced our budget. the president hasn't balanced a budget yet. i expect to have the opportunity to do so myself. i'm going to be able to balance the budget. let's talk about military spending. and that's this. >> 30 seconds. >> excuse me, our navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. the navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. we are now at 285. we are headed down to the low 200s 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 any time since it was founded in 1947.
we have changed for the first time since f.d.r. since f.d.r. we have always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. now we are changing to one conflict. look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the president of the united states which is to maintain the safety of the american people and i will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is the combination of the budget cuts that the president has as well as a sequestration cuts. that, in my view, is making our future less certain and less secure. i won't do it. >> bob, let me make comments on this. first of all he the is he is he success strer is not something i proposed something congress has proposed and that will not. not reducing our military spending it's maintaining it i think governor romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. you mentioned the navy, for example, and we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. governor, we also have fewer horses and bay owe nets because the nature of our military has changed.
we had these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. we had the ships that go under water. nuclear submarines and so the question is not a game of battle ship where we are counting ships. it's what are our capabilities. when i sit down with the secretary of the navy and 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 are putting forward because it just doesn't work. and, we visited the web site quite a bit. and it still doesn't work. >> a lot to cover. [ laughter ] >> i would like to move to the next segment. red lines, israel and iran. would either of you and you will 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 certainly has deterred the soviet union for a long, long time when we made that -- when we made that promise to our allies. mr. president? >> first of all, israel is a true friend. it our greatest ally in the region. and if israel is attacked, america will stand with israel. i have made that clear through the my presidency. >> so you are saying we have already made that declaration? >> 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 will 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 have made that clear when i came into office. we then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against iran in history. and it is crippling their economy. their currency has dropped 80%. their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with iraq 20 years ago. so their economy is in a shambles. and the reason we did this is because a nuclear iran is a threat to our national security and it's 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 have done
with respect to sanctions now offers iran a choice. they can take the diplomatic root and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a united states president, me, who said we are 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 has often talked as if we should take premature military action. i think that would be a mistake because when i have sent young men and women into harm's way, i always understand that that is the last resort not the first resort. >> two minutes. >> 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 culturally but militarily. that's number one. number two with regards to
iran and the threat of iran, there is no question but a nuclear iran, a nuclear capable iran is unacceptable to americans. it presents a threat not only to our friends but ultimately a threat to us to have iran to have nuclear material, nuclear weapons to be used against us or to be used to be threatening to us. it's also essential for us to understand what our mission is in iran. 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 conference. i laid out seven steps. crippling sanctions were number one. and they do work. you are seeing it right now in the economy. 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 eu would agree with us as well. not only ships couldn't, i would say companies that are moving their oil can't.
people trading in their oil can't. i would tighten those sanctions. i would take on diplomatic efforts. i would make sure ahmadinejad is indicted under the genocide convention. his words amount to genocide incitation. i would indict him for it it i would also make sure that their diplomats are treated like the pariah they are around the world. the same we treated the apartheid diplomats in 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 nuclear foley of theirs is unacceptable to america. and, of course, a military action is the last resort. it is something one would only, only consider if all of the other avenues had been tried to their full extent. >> let me ask both of you. reports united states part of an international group have agreed in principle to talk about iran's nuclear program.
what is the deal, if there are such talks, what is the deal that you would accept, mr. president? >> 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 sass pier -- aspirations as people around the world for a better life. we hope that their leadership takes the right decision. but, the deal we'll accept is they end their nuclear program. it's very straightforward. and, you know, i'm glad that governor romney agrees with the steps that we're taking. you know, there have been times, governor, frankly, during the course of this campaign where it sounded like you thought that you would do the same things we did but you
would say them louder and somehow that would make a difference. and it turns out that the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions is pain-staking. 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 have restored american credibility and strength around the world is that 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 have had sanctions in place for a long time. it's because we got everybody to agree that iran is seeing so much pressure. and we have 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 are not going to let up the pressure until we have clear evidence that takes place. one last thing, just to make this point. the clock is ticking. we are not going to allow iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere. and i have 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 break-out capacity which means that we would not be able to intervene in time to stop their nuclear program and that clock is ticking. 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. >> governor? >> i think from the very beginning one of the challenges we have 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 say that because from the
very beginning the president in his campaign some four years ago said he would meet with all the world's worst actors in the first year he would sit down with chavez and kim jong il, with castro and with 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, green revolution holding signs is america with us the president was silent. i think they noticed that as well. i think 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 on 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 iran ran nuclear program is not acceptable to us. they must not develop nuclear capability. the to make sure they understand that is from 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. >> 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 has looked at it, governor, has said this is not true.
and when it comes to tightening sanctions, look, as i said before, we have 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 will let the american people decide, judge who is 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 have been able to mobilize the world. when i came into office, the world was divided. iran was resurgent.
iran is at its weakest point economically, strategically, militarily than since in many years. 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. >> we're four years closer to a nuclear iran. we're four years closer to a nuclear iran. and we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they have continued to be able to spin thiessen tri fiewdges and get that much closer that's number one. number two, 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 america had been dismissive and derisive you said on occasion
america had dictated to other nations. mr. president, america has not dictated to other nations, we have freed other nations from dictators. >> bob, let me respond. if we're going to talk about trips that we have taken, you know, when i was a candidate for office, first trip i took was to visit our troops. and when i went to israel as a candidate, i didn't take donors, i didn't attend fundraisers, i went to 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 sterok which had experienced missiles raining down from hamas. and i saw families there who showed me where missiles have 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 iron dome program to stop those missiles. so that's how i have 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's sanctions, whether it's dealing with counter terrorism, 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 have been able to show leadership on a wide range of issues facing the world right now. >> what if -- what if the prime minister of israel called you on the phone and said our bombers are on the
way, we're going to bomb iran? what do you say? >> 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 -- >> you say -- let's see what the president would -- >> let's go back to what the president was speaking about which is what is 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, item temult. i see jihaddists ready to spread. whether they are rising or at the same level hard to measure. it's clear they are there. very strong. i see syria with 30,000