tv Presidential Debate MSNBC October 22, 2012 6:00pm-7:30pm PDT
that's not a bipartisan war and will not go down in the history books that way. it was a war supported by those around them. >> i mean what you just said right there, yes, it was pushed by republicans, but a lot of democrats went along. a lot of those are foreign policy. the parts where there isn't debate, where there is agreement. what i want to see is bob schieffer ask about it. >> when steve says that it was a mistake, the guys that led the mistake are the advisers to mr. romney. >> we haven't heard them say that. >> let's not talk past tense. the same guys that misled us are saying let me lead again. that's what he's going to have to deal with tonight. >> 17 out of 24 of his foreign affairs advisers are the ones that led us into the mistake that my friend steve just repented for tonight.
>> well, it's time for mitt romney to answer the sarah palin question. are you for the bush doctrine? it's about international intervention. that has been the format for the republican party. go in there, wipe it out, do what you got to do. president obama was handed a military that was debleeted with resources. surgical strikes and it's worked to this point about keeping us safe. >> the democrats have had a big fight about what the lessons were of the iraq war. the republicans have not had that. it's part of what makes tonight's debate a big deal. not just for the race, but for this nation. the debate is about to begin. here now from boca raton is bob schieffer. >> good evening from the campus of lynn university here in boek ra boca raton, florida. this is the last debate brought to you on the commission by
presidential debates. this is on foreign policy. i'm bob schieffer of cbs news and the questions are mine and i have not shared them with their candidates or aids. the audience has taken a vow of silence. no reaction of any kind right now when we welcome president obama and governor mitt romney. [ 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 pose a question and you will each have two minutes to respond and 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 nuclear missiles in cuba. the closest we have come to nuclear war. it's a sobering reminder that every president faces, at some point, an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad. so let's begin. the first segment is the challenge of a changing middle east and the new face of terrorism. i'm going to put this into two segments. you'll have two topic questions within this one segment on that subject. the first question and it concerns libya, the controversy over what happened there
continues. four americans are dead including an ambassador. questions remain what happened, what caused it, was it spontaneous, what it an intelligence failure, was it a policy failure, was there an attempt to mislead about what happened? governor romney, you said this was an example of an american policy in the middle east that is unraveling before our very eyes. i'd like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that. governor romney, you won the toss, you go first. >> 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. it's nice to be funny this time not on purpose. we'll 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 of the middle east. with the the arab spring came a great deal of hope of change towards moderation, an opportunity for greater participation on the part of women and public life, and in the economic life in the middle east, but instead we have seen in nation of after nation, a number of disturbing events. we see in syria, 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. we see in libya an attack apparently by terrorists of some kind against our people there. four people dead. our hearts and minds go to them. mali has been taken over by al qaeda-type individuals. we have in egypt a muslim brotherhood president. what we're seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the hopes we had for that region. 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 osama bin laden and going after the leadership in 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 extremism, which is certainly not on the run, it's not hiding. this is a group that's now involved in 10 or 12 countries and presents an enormous threat to our friends and the world and america long-term and we must have a comprehensive strategy to reject this kind of extremism. >> mr. president? >> my first job as commander in chief, bob, is to keep the american people safe. 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 qaeda's core leadership has been
decimated. in addition, we're now able to transition out of afghanistan in a responsible way making sure 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. with respect to libya, as i indicated in the last debate, when e we received that phone call, i immediately made sure that, number one, we did everything we could to secure those americans who were still in harm's way. number two, we would investigate what happened. and number three, we would go after those who killed americans and we would bring them to justice. that's exactly what we're going to do. it's important to step back and think about what happened in libya. keep in mind, 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, got rid of a december pat who had killed americans and as a consequence, despite this tragedy, you had tens of thousands of libyans marching and saying america is our friend. we stand with them. now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. and 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 your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map. and is not designed to keep americans safe or build on the opportunities that exist in the middle east. >> my strategy is pretty straight forward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our 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 e we're going to have to pursue is a pathway to get the muslim world to reject extremism on its own. we don't want another iraq or afghanistan. the right course for us is to make sure we go after the people who are leaders of these various anti-american groups and these jihadists, and how do we do that? a group came together to look at how we can help the world reject these terrorists. and the answer they came up with was this. we should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment and we should coordinate to make sure we push back and give them more economic development. number two, better education. number three, gender equality. number four, the rule of law. we have to help these nations create civil societies. but what's been happening over the last couple of years is as
we have watched this rising tide of chaos occur, you see al qaeda rushing in. you see other jihadist groups rushing in. and it's wonderful that libya seems to be making some progress. but next door, we have egypt, 80 million population. we want to make sure we're seeing progress throughout the middle east with mali now having north mali taken over by al qaeda. with syria having assad continue to murder his own people. this is a region in tu multion the path to a nuclear weapon. >> i'm glad that you recognize al qaeda is a threat. because a few months ago when you were asked the biggest threat facing america, you said russia. in the 1980s or now, calling to
ask for their foreign policy. the cold war has been over for 20 years. but governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 19 as and the economic policies of the 1920s. you say that you're not interested in duplicating what happened in iraq, but just a few weeks ago, you said you think we should have more troops in iraq right now. and the challenge we have -- i know you haven't been in a position to 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 there were no weapons of mass destruction. you said that we should still have troops in iraq, to this day. you indicated that we shouldn't be passing nuclear treaties with russia, despite the fact that 71 senators, democrats and republicans, voted for it.
you said that first we should not have a timeline in afghanistan, then you said we should. now you say maybe or it depends. which means not only were you wrong, but you were confused and sending mixed messages to our troops and allies. what we need to do with respect to the middle east is strong, steady leadership. not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map. and unfortunately, that's the kind of opinions that you've offered throughout this campaign and it is not a recipe for american strength or keeping america safe. >> i'm going to add a couple minutes to give you a chance to respond. >> of course, i don't concur with what the president said about my own record and the things i have said. they don't happen to be accurate. but i can say this. we're talking about the middle east and how to help the middle east have an agenda.
attacking is not talking about how to deal with the challenges that exist in the middle east and take advantage of the opportunity there and stem the tide of this violence. but i'll respond to a couple things you mentioned. first of all, russia, i indicated, is a geopolitical foe. and i said in the same paragraph, i said and iran is the greatest national security threat we face. russia does continue to battle us in the u.n. time and time again. i have clear rised on this. i'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to russia and i'm not going to say to him, i'll give you more flexibility after the election. after the election, he'll get more backbone. with regards to iraq, we agreed that there should have been a status of forces agreement. >> what i would not have done is left 10,000 troops in iraq to tie us down. that would not help us in the middle east.
>> i'm sorry. there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces agreement and i concurred in that and said we should have a number of troops that stayed on. that was my posture as well. you should have thought it would have been 5,000 troops. >> this is just a few weeks ago that you indicated we should still have troops in iraq. >> i indicated that you failed to put in place a status of forces agreement at the end of the conflict -- >> here's one thing i've learned as commander in chief. you have to be clear both to our allies and our enemies about where you stand. and what you mean. 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 the challenges of the middle east. now it is absolutely true we cannot just meet these challenges militarily.
so what i have done throughout my presidency and will continue to do is number one make sure the countries are supporting our counterterrorism efforts. number two, make sure that they are standing by our interests in israel's security because it's a true friend and our greatest ally in the region. we have to make sure we're protecting religious minorities because the countries can 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 can't continue to do nation building in these regions. part of american leadership is making sure we're 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 is, you both alluded to this and that is syria.
a war in syria has spilled over into lebanon. we have more than 100 people that were killed there in a bomb. there were demonstrations there. eight people dead. mr. president, it's been more than a year since you told assad had to go. since then 30,000 syrians have died. he's still there. should we reassess our policy and see if we can find a better way to influence events there or is that even possible? you go first, sir. >> what we have done is organized 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 particular pli interested in making sure we're mobilizing the moderate forces inside of syria. but ultimately, syrians are
going to have to determine their own future. so everything we are doing, we're doing in consultation with our partners in the region, including israel. coordinating with turkey and other countries in the region that have a great interest in this. what we're seeing taking place in syria is heartbreaking. that's why we're going to 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 e to 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 e eventually could turn them against us or allies in the region. i'm confident that assad's days are numbered. but what we can't do is simply suggest that as governor at times as 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. 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 the route for them to arm hez bo la which threatens israel. so seeing syria remove assad is a very high priority for us. number two, a replacement government being responsible people is critical for us. and finally, we don't want to have military involvement there. we don't want to get drawn into a conflict. so the right course is working through our partners and our resources to identify responsible parties in 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 need to make sure that think 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 we coordinate this effort with our allies, in particular with israel. the saudis and the tushes are all concerned about this. e we need to have a very effective leadership effort in syria making sure that the insurgents and that those that become armed are those responsible. i believe that assad must go. i believe he will go. but we want to make sure that we have the relationships of friendship with the people that take his place such that in in the years to come we see syria as a friend and syria as a responsible party in the middle east. this is a critical opportunity for america. what i'm afraid of is we've
watched over the past year or so first the president saying we'll let the u.n. deal with it. and kofi said we're going to try a cease fire. that led to the russians seeing if they could do something. we should be playing the leadership role there. >> we are playing the leadership role. we organized the friends of syria. we are mobilizing humanitarian support and support for the opposition. and we are making sure that those we help are those who will be friends of ours in the long-term and friends of our allies in the region in the long-term. but, you know, 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 the coalition that we had helped to organize, we also had to make sure that moammar gadhafi didn't stay there. and to the governor's credit, you supported us going into
libya and the coalition that e we organized. but when it came time to making sure that moammar gadhafi did not stay in power, that he was captured, governor, your suggestion was that this was mission muddle. imagine if we had pulled out at that point? moammar gadhafi had more american blood on his hands than any other individual other than osama bin laden. so we were going to make sure we finished the job. that's 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 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, would you go beyond what the administration would do, like for example, would you put in no-fly zone over syria?
>> i don't want to have our military involved in syria. i don't think there's a necessity to put our military in syria. 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. this isn't going to be necessary. with our partners in the region, we have sufficient resources to support those groups. but look, this has been going on for a year. this should have been a time for american leadership. we should have taken a leading role, not militarily, but a leading role, governmentally, to bring together the party there is 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 council of some kind. that needs to happen. and we need to make sure they have the arms they need to carry out the important role. >> can we get a quick response, mr. president? >> i'll be very quick. what you just heard governor romney said is he doesn't have different ideas. that's because we're doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate syrian leadership and an effective transition so we get assad out. that's the kind of leadership we have shown and will continue to show. >> 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 awhile on that. do you have any regrets about that? >> no, i don't. i think america has to stand with democracy.
the notion that we would have tanks run over those young people who were in tahrir square, that's not the 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 they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities. 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 education they need. they have to abide by their treaty with israel. that's a red line for us. because not only is israel's security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels. they have to cooperate in counterterrorism and we will help them with respect to developing their own economy, because ultimately what's going to make the egyptian revolution
successful for the people of egypt and also for the world is if those young people who gathered there are seeing opportunities. their aspirations are similar to those here. they want jobs, they want to make sure their kids are going to a good school. they want to make sure they have a roof over their heads and they have the prospects of a better life in the future. and so one of the things we have been doing is, for example, organizing entrepreneurship conferences with egyptians to give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding their economy in a way that's noncorrupt and transparent, but what's important for us to understand is that for america to be successful in this region, there's some things we're going to have to do here at home as well. one of the challenges over the last decade is we have done experiments in nation building in places like iraq and afghanistan and we have e neglected, for example, developing our own economy, our own energy sectors, our own
education system and it's hard to project leadership around the world when we're not doing that here at home. >> governor romney, i would ask you, would you have stuck with mubarak? >> no, i believe as the president indicated that i supported his action there. i felt that i wish we'd have had a better vision of the future. i wish that looking back at the beginning of the president's term and even further back than that, that we'd had recognized there's a growing energy for freedom and we would have worked with 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. the freedom voices and the streets of egypt where the people are speaking of our principles. the idea of mubarak crushing his people is not something we could
support. let me step back and talk about what our mission has to be in the middle east and even more broadly. our purpose is to make sure the world is peaceful. we want a peaceful planet. we want people to enjoy their lives and know they are going to have a prosperous life. the mantle of leadership for that has fall on to america. it's an honor we have it. but for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. that begins with a strong economy here at home and unfortunately the economy is not stronger. when the president of iran says that our debt makes us not a great country, that's a frightening thing. the former joint chiefs of staff said admiral mullen said our debt is the biggest national security we face. we need a strong economy. we need to have a strong military. our military is second to none
in the world. we're blessed with terrific soldiers and extraordinary intelligence. but the idea of a trillion dollars in cuts to the military would change that. e we need to have strong allies. our association and connection with our allies is essential. with the great nation ha has allies. and finally, we have to standby our principles. and if we're strong in each of those things, american influence will grow. but unfortunately, nowhere in the world is america's influence greater than four years ago. that's because we're weaker. >> you're going to get a chance to respond to that because that's a perfect segue and that is, what is america's role in the world? and that is the question, what do each of you see as the role in the world and, i believe governor romney, it's your turn to go first. >> i believe america has a
responsibility and the privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful. those 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. we want to promote those principles around the world. we recognize there are places of conflict around the world. we want to end those. 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 keeps slowing down its growth rate. you can't have kids coming out of college, half of whom can't find a job today or a job that's commensurate with their college degree. we have to get our economy
going. and our military. we have to strengthen our military long-term. we don't know what the world is going to throw at us. we make decisions today that will confront challenges we can't imagine. in the 2000 debates, there was no mention of terrorism, for instance. and a year later, 9/11 happened. we have to make decisions based on uncertainty. that means a strong military. i will not cut our military budget. we have to standby our allies. the tension between israel and the united states was very unfortunate. i think that pulling our missile defense program out of poland and the way we did was also unfortunate in terms of, if you will, disrupting the relationship in some ways that existed between us. then with regards for standing for our principle, when the students took to the streets in tehran and the people protested, the green revolution occurred for the president to be silent i thought was an enormous mistake. we have to stand for our principles and our allies and
for a strong military and a stronger economy. >> mr. president? >> america remains the one indispensable nation. it is stronger now than when i came into office. because we entered the war in iraq, we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat, but also beginning a transition process in afghanistan. it also allowed us to refocus on alliances and relationships that had been neglected for a decade. and governor romney, our alliances have never been stronger. in asia, in europe, in africa, with israel where we have unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation including dealing with the iranian threat. but what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding america. and that's what my plan does. making sure that we're bringing manufacturing back to our shores
so we're creating jobs here as we have done with the automobile industry. not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas. making sure we have the best education system in the world, including retraining workers for the jobs for tomorrow. doing everything we can to control our energy. we 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 exports in half by 2020. that's the kind of leadership we need to show. and we've got to make sure we reduce our deficit. unfortunately, governor romney's plan doesn't do it. we have to do it in a responsible way. by asking the wealthiest to pay a little more. that way we can invest in the research and technology that's always kept us at the cutting edge. now governor romney has taken a different approach throughout this campaign. both at home and abroad, he has
proposed wrong and reckless policies. he's praised george bush as a good economic stew wart and dick cheney as someone who shows great wisdom and judgment, and taking us back to those kind of strategies that got us in this mess, that's not how we're going to maintain leadership. >> wrong and reckless policies? >> i have a policy for the future and an agenda for the future. when it comes to our economy here at home, i know what it takes to create jobs. what we have seen over the last four years is something i don't want to see over the next four years. the president said by now we would be at 5.4% unemployment. we're 9 million jobs short of that. i will get america working again and see rising take home pay again and do it with five steps. number one, we're going to have north american energy independence. we're going to take full advantage of oil, coal, gas, nuclear and he re newables. we'll increase our trade. trade grows 12% per year.
it doubles every five or so years. we can do better than that. particularly in latin america. the opportunities for us in lat latin america we have just not taken advantage of. their economy is almost as big as china. latin america is a huge opportunity for us. number three, we'll have to have training programs that work for our workers and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first. the teachers union is going to have to go behind. and then we have to get to a balanced budget. we can't expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their live savings or company's money and invest in america if they think we're heeded to the road to greece. that's where we're going unless we get off this spending bing. and finally, we have to champion small business. small businesses 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 e it back and get back good jobs and rising take home pay. >> let's talk about what we need to compete. governor romney talks about small businesses, but in massachusetts, small businesses development ranked about 48th out of 50 states in massachusetts. because the policies that you're promoting 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. let's take an example we know is going to make a difference and that's our education policy. we didn't have a lot of chance to talk about this. under my leadership, we have reformed education in 46 states. we have seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time and they are starting to finally make
progress. and what i now want to do is hire more teachers, especially in math and science. we know that we have fallen behind when it comes to math and science. those teachers could make a difference. now governor romney, when you were asked by teachers whether or not this would help the economy grow, you said this isn't going to help the economy grow. when you were asked about reduced class sizes, you said class sizes don't make a difference. but if you talk to teachers, they will tell you it does make a difference. and if we've got math teachers who are able to provide the kind of support that they need for our kids, that's what's going to determine whether or not the new businesses are created here. companies are going to locate here depending on if we have the most skilled workforce. and the kind of budget proposals you put forward, when we don't ask either you or me to pay a dime more in reducing the deficit, but we slash support for education, that's undermining our long-term
competitiveness. that's not good for america's position in the world. and the world notices. >> let me get back to foreign policy. >> i need to speak a moment just about education. 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. they are tested in english and math. fourth graders came out number one in math. first time one state had been number one in all four measures. how do we do that? republicans and democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put in place education principles that focused on having great teachers in the classroom. >> ten years earlier. >> that's what allowed us to become the number one state. >> that was ten 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 the principles we e put in place, we also gave kids not just a graduation exam that determined whether they were up to the skills needed to compete but if they graduated a quarter of their class, they got four-year tuition free ride at any public institution of. >> that's happened before you came into office. >> that was actually mine. >> i want to try to shift it it because we have heard some of this in the other debates. governor, you say you want a bigger military. you want a bigger navy. you don't want to cut defense spending. what i want to ask you, we were talking about financial problems in this country. where are you going to get the money? >> let's come back and talk about the military. first of all, i'm going through from the very beginning. we're going to cut 5% of the discretionary budget excludeing military. >> but can you do this without driving us deeper -- >> i will be happy to have you take a look.
you can see how we get to a balanced budget. we do it by reducing spending in a whole series of programs. number one is obama care. there are a number of things that sound good, but frankly, we can't afford them. and that one doesn't sound good. and it's not affordable. i get rid of that one. we get that out. we take program after program that e we don't have to have and get rid of them. number two, we take some programs that we are going to keep like medicaid, which is a program for the poor, we're going to take that health care program for the poor and we give it to the states to run because states run these programs more efficiently. as a governor, i thought, please, give me this program. i could run this more efficiently and the states are proving it. states like arizona, rhode island, have taken these medicaid dollars have shown they can run these programs more cost effectively. >> bob? >> it gets us to a balanced
budget. >> that's what i'm trying to get to. >> he should have answered the first question. look. governor romney's called for $5 trillion of tax cuts that he says he's going to pay for by closing deductions. now the math doesn't work, but he continues to claim that he's going to do it. he then wants to spend $2 trillion on military spending that our military is not asking for. now keep in mind, our military spending has gone up every single year that i have been in office. we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined. china, russia, france, the uk, you name it. the next ten. 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. 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 you're going to pay for by closing loopholes and deductions without naming what those loopholes and deductions are, and somehow you're going to deal with the deficit 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 have to think about capabilities. we need to be thinking about cyber security. we need to be thinking about space. that's 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 and 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 we can project military power overseas. >> bob, i'm pleased that i balance budgets. i was in the world of business for 20 years. i went to the olympics. it was out of balance and we got it on balance and made a success there. i had a 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 balance -- balanced a budget yet. i'm going to be able to balance the budget. let's talk about military spending. >> 30 seconds. >> our navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. the navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. we're down to 285. we're headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. that's unacceptable to me. i want to make sure we have the ships required by our navy. our air force is older and
smaller than any time it was founded. we have changed for the first time since fdr, we have had the strategy to find in two conflicts at once. now we're changing to one conflict. 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. i will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is combination of the budget cuts as well as the sequestration cuts. that in my view is making our future less certain and less secure. >> i just need to comment on that. the sequester is not something i proposed. it will not happen. the budget we're talking about is not reducing our military spending. it's maintaining it. but i think governor romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. you mention the navy and we have fewer ships than 1916. we also have fewer horses and
bayon nets because the nature of our military has changed. we have aircraft carriers. we have 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. 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 makes sure 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. we visited the website quite a bit and it still doesn't work. >> 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 promise to our allies. mr. president? >> first of all, israel is a true friend. it is our greatest ally in the region. if israel is attacked, america will stand with israel. i made that clear throughout my presidency. >> so you're saying we have already made that declaration. >> i will stand with israel if they are attacked. 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 this week. this very week. but to the 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. 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 plummished to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with iraq 20 years ago. 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. for them to provide nuclear technology to people, that's unacceptable. 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 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 during the course of the campaign, he's often talked as if we should take premature military action. that would be a mistake. when i have sent young men and women into harm's way, i understand that's the last resort, not the first resort. >> two minutes. >> first of all, i want to underscore the same point that the president made which is if i'm president of the united states, when i'm president of the united states, we'll stand with israel. and if israel is attacked, we'll have their back. not just diplomatically, but militarily.
that's number one. number two with regards to iran, there's no question that a nuclear-capable iran is unacceptable to america. it presents a threat not only to our friends, but to us. to have iran with weapons to use against us or to be threatening to us. it's also essential for us to understand what our mission is in iran. that is to desuede iran 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. and they do work. you're seeing it right now in the economy. it's absolutely the right thing to do. i'd have put them in place earlier, but it's good we have them. number two, i would tighten the sanctions. i would say that ships that carry iranian oil can't come into our ports. i imagine the eu would agree with us.
companies moving oil can't. i would tighten the sanctions further. secondly, i would take on diplomatic isolation efforts. i would make sure that ahmadinejad is indicted for it. i would make sure their diplomats are treated like the to rye ya they are. we need to increase pressure time and time again on iran because anything other than a solution to this, which stops this nuclear folly of theirs is unacceptable to america. and of course, a military action is the last resort. it is something one would only consider if all of the other avenues had been tried to their full extent. >> let me ask both of you. as you know, there are reports that iran and the united states is part of an international
group have agreed in principle to talks about iran's nuclear program. what is the deal, if there are such talks, what is the deal that you would accept, mr. president? >> 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 had the opportunity to reenter the community of nations. and we would welcome them. 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 will accept is they end their nuclear program and it's very straightforward. i'm glad that governor romney agrees with the steps that we're taking. there have been times, governor, frankly during the course of this campaign, where it sounded
like you that you had you would do the same things we did and you would say them louder and somehow it would make a difference. and it turns out the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions is pain staking. it's meticulous. this is a testament to how we've restored american strength and credibility around the world. we had to make sure that all the countries around the world participated, even countries like russia and china. we've had sanctionness place for a long time. it's because we got everybody to agree that iran is seeing so much pressure. and we've got to maintain that pressure. there is a deal to be had. and that is that they abide by the rules that have already been established. they convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program. there are inspectionsintrusive,
they can regain credibility. in the meantime we're not going to let up the pressure until we have clear evidence that takes place. and one last thing just to make this point. the clock is ticking. we're not going to allow iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead no where. and i've been very clear to them. 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 the clock is ticking. and we've got 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 one of the challenges we have with iran, is they have felt this administration was not as strong as it needed to be of the i think they saw a weakness where they had expected to find
american strength and i say that because from the very beginning the president in his campaign some four years ago said he would meet with all the world's first actors in his first year. 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've 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. and when there were disdents in the streets of ter ran holding signs saying is america with us, the president was silent. i think they noticed that as well. i think that when the president said he was going to create delight between ourselves and israel, they noticed that as well. all these things suggested that we can keep on pushing along here.
we can keep talks going on but we're going to keep spinning centrifuges. now there are some 10,000 centrifuges spinning uranium. that's unacceptable for us and it's essential for a president to show strength from the very beginning. 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 pressure on them as hard as we can because if we do that, we won't have to take military action. >> let me respond. nothing governor romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. this has been probably the biggest whoper that's been told during the course of this campaign. every fact checker and reporter
has looked at it. the governor has said this is not true. and when it comes to tightening sanctions, look, as i said before, we've put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever. and the fact is while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a chinese state oil company that was doing business with the iranian oil sector. so i'll let the american people decide, judge, who's going to be more effective 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 c concontra contrary to international law and everything that civilized people stand for. 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 at its weakest point, economically, strategically, mill tearily since then in many years. and we are going to continue to keep the pressure on to make sure they do not get a nuclear weapon. that will be the case so long as i'm present. >> we're four years closer to a nuclear iran. we're four years closer to a nuclear iran. we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer. mr. president, the ran reason i call it an apology tour you went to the middle east and by the way, you skipped israel. our closest friend in the reason. but you went to the other nations. and they noticed that you skipped israel. and in those nations you said america had been dismissive and
dericive. you said on occasion america had dictated to other nations. mr. president, we have not dictated to other nations. we have freed other nations from deck tatetors. >> 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 holocaust museum there to remind myself of the nature of evil and why our bond with israel will be unbreakable. and then i went down to the border towns which had experienced missiles raining down from hamas. and i saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children's
bedrooms and i was reminded 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 traveled to the region. and the central question at this point is going to be who's going to be credible to all parties involved. and they can look at my track record, whether it's iran sanctions, whether it's dealing with counter terrorism, whether it's supporting democracy, whether it's supporting religious rights, women's rights, religious minorities, they can say that the president of the united states has stood on the right side of history and that kind every credibility is precisely why we've 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 we would not get a call saying that 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 last-minute -- >> let's come back and go 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. 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, i see jihadists continuing to spread, whether they're rising just about the same level, hard to precisely measure, but it's clear they're there.
i see syria with 30,000 civilian's dead, assad still in power. i see our trade deficit with china, growing larger every year. i look around the world and i don't feel that do you see north korea continue to go export their nuclear technology. back away from 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 to our commitment to the military the way i think it ought to be. in part because of the turmoil with israel. i mean, the president received a letter from 38 democratic senators saying the tensions with israel were a real problem. they asked him please repair the tension, democrat senators. in his own party. >> 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 would 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 af r
after. when you were a candidate in twoit, as i was, and i said if i got bin laden in our sights, you said we shouldn't move heaven and earth to get one man. if we would have asked pakistan for permission, we wouldn't have got him. after we killed bin laden, i was at ground zero for a memorial and talked to a young woman who was four years old when 9/11 happened and the last conversation she had with her father was him calling from the twin towers. saying i love you, i will always watch over you. and for the next decade, she was haunted by that conversation president and she said to me, by finally getting bin laden, that brought some closer ue ur to me.
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 leadership and those decisions are not always popular. those decisions generally are not poll tested. and even some in my own party, including my current vice president had the same critique as you did. but what the american people understand is 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. >> 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. >> but you can't have the president just layout a whole series without giving me a chance to -- >> with respect sir, you had laid out quite a program -- >> that's probably true.
>> 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. >> well, we're going to be finished by 2014. and when i'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. the commanders and the generals there are on track to do so. we've seen progress over the past several years. the surge has been successful. and the training program is proceeding at pace. there are now a large number of afghan security forces, 350,000
that are red toy 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 there is going to have a major impact on the success in afghanistan. and i say that because i know a lot of people feel like we should just brush our hands and walk away, i don't mean you mr. president, but some people in our nation feel that pakistan is being nice to us and we should walk away from them. but pakistan is important to the region, to the world and to us. because pakistan has 100 nuclear war heads and they're rushing to build a lot more. they'll have more than great britain some time in the near future. they also have the taliban existing in their kentory. a pakistan that falls apart
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 a relationship with us. and that means that our aid that we provide to pakistan is going to have to be conditioned upon certain bench marks 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. president? >> 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, we dpoek used 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 was we
had forgotten why we had gone. we went because people were responsible for 3,000 america's deaths. 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. the 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 that 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 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 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 have 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, variety rans, the unemployment is now lower than general population, it was higher when i came into office. those are the kinds of things we can now do because we're making that transition in afghanistan. >> let me go to governor romney. because you talked about
pakistan and what needs to be done there. general allen, our commander in afghanistan, says that americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by pakistan. we know that pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped us catch obama bin laden. it still provides safe haven for terrorists, yet we still continue to give pakistan dollars. is it time to divorce pakistan? >> no. it's not time to divorce a nation that has 100 nuclear weapons and on its way to double that. a nation that has serious threats from terrorists groups within its nation. it's a nation that's not like others and does not have a diflian leadership that is calling the shop there. you have. isi, the intelligence organization is probably the
most powerful of the three branchs there, you have the military and 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 those nuclear weapons. pakistan is technically an ally and they're not acting very much like an ally now, but we have 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 into there to get osama bin laden. that was the right thing to do. that upset them but there was anger 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 to the one that we're on. it's important for them, it's important for the nuclear weapons, it's important for the success of afghanistan. because inside pakistan, you
have a large taliban that are going to come rushing back in when we go. that's one of the reason that's afghan security forces have so much work to do to fight against that. it's important to recognize that we can't just walk away from pakistan of the but we do need to make sure that as we send support for them, that this is tied to them making progress on matters that would lead to becoming a civil society. >> let me ask you, governor, because we know president obama's position on this. what is your position on the use of drones? >> well, i believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. and it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes and i support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.
let me also note that as i said earlier, we're going to have to do more than just going after leaders and killing bad guys, as important that is. we're also going to have to have a far more effective and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and islamic extremism. we haven't done that yet. we talk a lot about these things, but you look at the record of the last four years and say, is iran closer to a bomb? yes. is the middle east in tumult? yes. is al qaeda on the run? no. are is wreel and the palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement? no. we have not seen the progress we need to have. i'm convinced with strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy based upon helping these nations help reject extremism we can see the kind of peace and prosperity the world demands. >> keep dm mind our strategy wasn't just going after osama
bin laden. we've created partnerships throughout the region. in somalia, in yemen, in pakistan. and what we've also done is engage these governments in the kind of reforms that are going to make a difference in people's lives day to day. to make sure that their governments aren't corrupt. to make sure that they are treating women with the kind of respect and dignity that every nation that succeeds has shown. and to make sure that they've got a premarket system that works. so across the board we are engaging them in building capacity in these countries and we have stood on the side of democracy. one thing i think americans should be proud of, when tunisians began to protest, this nation, me, my administration, stood with them earlier than just about any other country. in egypt, we stood on the side
of democracy, in libya we stood on the side of the people. and as a consequence, there's no doubt that attitudes about americans have changed. but there are always going to be elements in these countries that potentially threaten the united states. and we want to shrink those groups and those networks and we can do that, but we're always also going to have to maintain vigilance when it comes to terrorist activities. the truth is though that al qaeda is much weaker than it was when i came into office and they don't have the same capacities to attack the u.s. homeland and our allies as they did four years ago. >> let's go to the next segment. because it's a very important one. it is the rise of china and future challenges for america. i want to begin this by asking both of you and mr. president, you go first this time. what do you believe is the greatest future threat to the national security of this country? >> well, i think it will
continue to be terrorist networks. we have to remain vigilant as i just said. but with respect to china, china's both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community, if it's following the rules. so my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist that china plays by the same rules as everybody else. i know americans have seen jobs being shipped overseas, businesses and workers not getting a level playing field when it came to trade. and that's the reason why i set up a trade task force to go after cheaters when it came to international trade. that's the reason why we have brought more cases against china for violating trade rules than the previous administration had done in two terms. and we've won just about every case that we've filed. that has been decided.
in fact, just recently, steel workers in ohio and throughout the midwest, pennsylvania, are in a position now to sell steel to china because we won that case. we had a tire case in which they were flooding us with cheap domestic tires, or cheap chinese tires. and we put a stop to it and as a consequence saved jobs throughout america. i have to say that governor romney criticized me for being too tough in that tire case. said this wouldn't be good for american workers and that it would be protectionist. but i tell you, those workers don't feel that way. they feel as if they had finally an administration who is going to take this issue seriously. over the long term, in order for us to compete with china, we've also got to make sure though that we're taking care of business here at home. if we don't have the best education system in the world, if we don't continue to put money into research and technology, that will allow us to create great businesses here in the united states, that's how
we lose the competition. and unfortunately, governor romney's budget and his proposals would not allow us to make those investments. >> all right, governor? >> well, first of all it's not government that makes business successful. it's not government investments that makes businesses grow and hire people. let me also note that the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear iran. let's talk about china. china has an interest that's very much like ours. in one respect. and that is they want a stable world. they don't want war. they don't want to see protectionism. they don't want to see the world break out into various forms of chaos, because they have to manufacture goods and put people to work and they have about 20 million people coming out of the farms every year coming into the cities, needing jobs. so they want the economy to work and the world to be free and open. so we can be a partner with china. we don't have to be an adversary in any way, shape or form.
we can work with them, we can collaborate with them. if they're willing to be responsible. now, they look at us and say, is it a good idea to be with america? how strong are we going to be? how strong is our economy? they look at the fact that we owe them a trillion dollars and they look at our decision to cut back on our military capabilities. the secretary of defense called these cuts to our military devastating. it's the president's own secretary of defense called them devastating. they look at america's commitments around the world and they say is america going to be strong. the answer is yes, if i'm president, america will be very strong. we'll also make sure that we have trade relations with china that work for us. i've watched year in and year out as companies have shut down and people have lost their jobs. because china has not played by
the same rules. our goods aren't as competitive and we lose jobs. that's got to end. they're making some progress. they need to make more. that's why on day one i will label them a currency manipulator which allows them to apply terrorists where they're taking jobs. they're stealing our intellectual property, our designs, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods. they have to understand. they want to trade with them, we like free enterprise but you've got to play by the rules. >> governor, let me just ask you. if you declare them a currency manipulator on day one, some people say you're just going to start a trade war with china on day one. is that -- isn't there a risk that that could happen? >> well, they sell us about this much stuff every year. and we sell them about this much stuff every year. so it's pretty clear who doesn't want a trade war. and there's one going on right now which we don't know about.
it's a silent one and they're winning. we have enormous trade imbalance with china and it's worse this year than last year. and so we have to understand that we can't just surrender and lose jobs year in and year out, we have to say to our friends in china, look, you guys are playing aggressively, but this can't keep on going. you can't keep on holding down the value of your currency, stealing our intellectual property, counterfeiting our products, selling them around the world, even into the united states. i was with one company that makes valves in process industries and they said we were having some valves coming in that were broken and we had to repair them under warranty and we looked them up and they had their serial number on them and we noticed there was more than one with that same serial number. there were counterfeit products being made over seas with the same serial numbers as the a u.s. company. they were being sold as if they
were made by a u.s. competitor. this can't go on. i want a great relationship with china. china can be our partner. but that doesn't mean they can just roll all over us and steal our jobs on an unfair basis. >> governor romney is right, you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas because you invested in companies that shipped jobs over free. that's how free market works. but i've made a bet on different workers. if we had taken your advice about our auto industry, we'd be buying cars from china instead of selling cars to china. if we take your advice so companies don't pay u.s. taxes compared to companies here that are paying taxes, that's estimated to create 800,000 jobs. the problem is they won't be here, they'll be in places like china. and if we're not making investments in education and basic research, which is not
something that the private sector is doing at a sufficient pace right now and has never done, then we will lose the lead in things like clean energy technology. now, with respect to what we've done with china already, u.s. exports have doubled since i came into office to china. and actually, currencies are at their most advantageous points for u.s. exporters since 1993. we absolutely have to make more progress, and that's why we're going to keep on pressing. and when it comes to our military and chinese security, part of the reason that we were able to pivot to the asia-pacific region after having ended the war in iraq and transitioning out of afghanistan is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future. and we believe china can be a partner, but we're also sending a very clear signal that america is a pacific power. that we are going to have a
presence there. we are working with countries in the region to make sure, for example, that ships can pass through. that commerce continues. and we're organizing trade relations with countries other than china so that china starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards. that's's the kind of leadership we've shown in the region. that's the kind of leadership we'll continue to show. >> i want to take one of those points, again, attacking me is not talking about an agenda for getting more trade and opening up more jobs for this country. but the president mentioned the auto industry somehow i would be in favor of jobs being elsewhere. nothing could be further than the truth. i was born in detroit, my dad was head of a car company. i like american cars and i would do nothing to hurt the u.s. auto industry. my plan to get the industry on its feet, it was president bush
that wrote the first checks. i disagreed with that. they needed to go through a managed bankruptcy and in that process they could get government help and government guarantees but they need to go through bankruptcy to get rid of excess costs and the debt burden built up. >> governor romney, that's not what you said. >> you can take a look the athe op-ed -- >> i said we would provide guarantees and that was what was able to allow these companies to go through bankruptcy, to come out of bankruptcy. under no circumstances would i do anything other than its industry to get on its feet. and the idea has been suggested that i would liquidate the industry. of course not. >> let's check the record. >> the people in detroit don't forget. >> that's why i have the kind of commitment to make sure that our industries in this country can compete and be successful. we in this country can compete
successfully with anyone in the world. and we're going to. we're going to have to have a president, however, that doesn't think that somehow the government investing in if car companies like tesla and fisker making electric battery cars, this is not research mr. president, this is the government investing in companies, this isn't basic research. i want to invest in research. research is great. providing funding to universities and thank tanks, great. but investing in companies, that's the wrong way to go. i want to make sure we make america more competitive and we do those things that make america the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses to grow. but your investing in companies doesn't do that. in fact it makes it less likely for them to come in here -- >> i'm happy to -- >> someone else's.
>> look, i think anybody out there can check the record. governor romney, you keep on trying to, you know, air brush history here. you were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the u.s. auto companies, even if they went through bankruptcy. you said they could get it in the private marketplace. that wasn't true. they would have gone through -- >> you're wrong. >> no, i am not wrong. >> people will look it up. but more importantly it is true that in order for us to be competitive, we're going to have to make some smart choices right now. cutting our education budget, that's not a smart choice. that will not help us compete with china. cutting our investments in research and technology, that's not a smart choice. that will not help us compete with china. bringing down our deficit by adding $7 trillion of tax cuts and military spending that our military is not asking for, before we even get to the debt
that we currently have, that is not going to make us more competitive. those are the kinds of choices that the american people face right now. having a tax code that rewards companies that are shipping jobs overseas instead of companies that are investing here in the united states. that will not make us more competitive. and the one thing that i'm absolutely clear about is that after a decade in which we saw drift, jobs being shipped overseas, nobody championing american workers and businesses, we can make real progress. we can't go back to the same policies that got us into such difficulty in the first place. that's why we have to move forward and not go back. >> i couldn't agree more about going forward but i certainly don't want to go back to the palsies of the last four years. the policies of the last four years have seen incomes of america decline every year for middle income families, now down
$4,00034 $4,300 in your term. when you came to office just over $10 trillion in debt, now $16 trillion in debt. it hasn't worked. you said by now we'd be at 5.4% unemployment. we're 9 million jobs short of that. i've met some of those people. i've met them in appleton wisconsin, i met a young woman in philadelphia coming out of college can't find work. ann was with someone just the other day who was weeping about not being able to get work. it's a tragedy in a nation so prosperous as ours that these last four years have been so hard. that's why it's so critical that we make mark attractive to start businesses, build jobs, grow the economy. and that's not going to happen by just hiring teachers. look, i love teachers and i'm happy to have states and
communities that want to hire teachers do that. by the way, i don't like to have the federal government start pushing its way deeper into our schools, let the states and localities do it. i love teachers but i want to get our private sector and i know how to do it. >> i think we all love teachers. gentlemen, thank you so much for a very vigorous debate. we have come to the end. it is time for closing statements. i believe you're first, mr. president. >> thank you very much, bob, governor romney and to lynn university. you've now heard three debates, months of campaigning and way too many tv commercials. and now you've got a choice. over the last four years we've made real progress, digging our way out of policies that gave us two prolonged wars, record deficits and the worst economic crisis since the great depressi