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tv   State of the Union  CNN  October 24, 2010 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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newspaper reports from 1995 say stockman's office got a handwritten fax about the attack about 50 minutes after the bombing and passed it on to the fbi, but here's what i liked. maddow realized her mistake and owned up to it. >> it wasn't in advance, it was right afterhe bombing. i apologize for the misstatement. it was an editing error and it was mine alone. >> we all make mistakes. good for maddow for acknowledging hers. before we go, i want to apologize for the audioproblems we had at the top of last week's program. several people here worked hard to fix them, but it took longer than it should have. the perils of live television. that's it for this edition of "reliable sources." i'm howard kurtz. join us next sunday morning, 11:00 a.m. eastern, for another critical look at the media. "state of the union's" florida senatorial debate begins right now. from the university of south florida in tampa, this is a special edition of "state of the union." i'm candy crowley and this is
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the florida u.s. senate debate. the three men vying to win that seat are with me here today. democratic congressman, kendrick meek, was first elected to congress in 2002. republican marco rubio served in the florida house of representatives for eight years, rising to the position of speaker of the house. and governor charlie crist was elected in 2006. he quit his bid to become the republican nominee. now running as an independent. i am also joined by adam smith, political editor for the "st. petersburg times." now, the candidates have agreed to keep their answers short so we can cover a lot of ground, one-minute answers with 30-second rebuttals. but first, before we begin, a word about florida, a state in deep trouble. unemployment, 11.9%, fourth highest in the country. foreclosure rate, second highest in the country. health insurance, almost 21% of floridians don't have it. i want to begin, governor chris, with you, and ask you.
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you came to office in 2007. the unemployment rate was a little over 3%. it's now about 12%. you were tenth in the nation in home foreclosures. you're now second. what is the responsibility in your administration for these numbers? >> well, our responsibility is to do everything we possibly can to make the situation as better as possible. and it's difficult. i think we all understand and appreciate, this is a global economic situation that we're all challenged by and dealing with. and it's no different here in florida. >> but if i could, is there some responsibility for how we got here? how florida got here? because you're higher in almost all of these numbers. florida is higher. so do you think there's something that inour administration you should have done earlier? do you think there's any fault within your administration for these numbers getting higher? >> well, i think there's plenty of blame to go around, but i think the reality is that all of us need to pull together to try to do what's right, to make it as best as we possibly can going forward. it's one of the reasons i was with the president when it came to the recovery act.
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and when he came down to ft. myers, i had to be practical. i had to be pragmatic. i couldn't be extreme, i couldn't be ideological. i had to be prudent for the people of florida. we utilized those moneys in order to stem the tide in losing jobs in the sunshine state. 20,000 educators today would be out a job if we hadn't utilized the recovery act moneys. another 60 thousand of my fellow floridians would be out of work today without the opportunity to be able to utilize those moneys in a responsible way. >> but just to button this up, because we have to move on, but you are confident that you did as much as you could as governor to try to stem this tide? >> always. always tried to do everything as possible, as much as you can, to work hard for the people, lower their taxes, lower the burden of government on their back, try to promote free enterprise. >> and politifact.com will be fact checking this debate, so try not to lie to us.
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mr. meek, you supported the stimulus and unemployment has just continued to climb. if there was a second stimulus package, would you support that? >> the stimulus that will provide tax cuts for small businesses, one, the jobs bill that's stuck in the senate right now, because of the gridlock that's there could very well help florida's economy. i think it's very important to know that the stimulus was set to be a floor, not necessarily the silver bullet to job recovery. and i think it's done quite a bit in the state of florida. it started us off on this real initiative to have high-speed rail, not only here in tampa, but going all the way to orlando. that's going to be the beginning of creating new jobs. mr. rubio is against that rail expansion, and he feels that it can go away. it could go away if he becomes the next senator. >> -- the president's economic team? >> obviously, standing here in florida, it need to be better. but 700,000 jobs were lost when they came into office?
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now it's been a private sector plus-up since then in the last seven months. i think it's very, very important to think of looking at the challenges that the administration has faced. will john mccain, would he have done a better job? no one can say that. but we're dealing with the cards that were dealt right now. we think it's very, very important that he with fight our ways out of this economic slowdown. >> just to make clear before i move on, yes or no, do you think the president ought to change the members of his economic team? >> well, there's always people coming on and off of the economic team. i trust the president's judgment when it comes down to picking his own economic team. >> mr. rubio, you have talked a lot about limiting government spending. but these numbers in florida are horrific. among them, almost 20% of black males in this state are unemployed. can you wait for the economy to grow itself better in order to
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help some of these people that are really in dire circumstances? >> well, your question goes to the core of how we believe the economy grows. i don't believe the economy grows because of government spending. >> but does it grow fast enough? >> here's the point. the economy grows because people have the confidence to start a business or expand an existing business. that's what helps your economy grow. what you need is a government that pursues policies that encourage people to do that. that's not what we have today. we have an extreme amount of uncertainty in the economic marketplace, for a lot of different reasons. number one, there's a threat of tax increases, which is what allowing the current code to expire is, it's a current tax increase. you add to that the regulatory environment in america today that's becoming increasingly onerous on small businesses and entrepreneurs. you have the debt problem, they believe this debt will be paid back through higher taxes. and add on ton of all of that a health care bill that's added tremendous uncertainty on the backs of taxpayers. >> but the question here is when, in fact, you have such dire circumstances, growing the
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economy takes a while. don't you think -- >> sure. >> but if you have 20% of black males unemployed, if you have 12% of the state unemployed, don't they need immediate help? i understand that philosophically, you differ with democrats on how to do this. >> but candy, the point is, the immediate help they offered was $800 billion of borrowed money that was going to be -- >> and that's what they did. i'm sort of asking -- >> but it's failed. >> okay. >> the alternative to getting people employment is create an environment where the private sector will grow. and the private sectors and the businesses are growing. the natural state of the economy is to grow, it is not to shrink. and if it's not growing, it's because something is keeping it from growing. and in america, if you ask the job creators, which are the people i'm talking to, not professors at universities, the job creators. the people that start businesses or expand existing businesses, they'll tell you the reason they're not hiring people for next year is because they're afraid of what next year's going to mean in terms of taxes, regulation, and the health care bill. >> go ahead.
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>> i think both views are correct. and maybe i'm the only one on this stage that can say this today. we need to have tax cuts, we need to rein in government, we need to rein in government spending. by governor i've signed into law the largest tax cut in the history of our state. but i'm also practical enough to appreciate that we were in a global economic meltdown. people needed help. a lot were on unemployment compensation. we had to extend it so those families continue to have the opportunity to serve their families a meal. in addition to that, people don't talk about in the recovery act that almost $300 billion of it with were tax cuts. that gets forgotten somehow. and mr. rubio doesn't talk about that. but it's important to remember, that's what part of this plan was. among them, $8,000 for first-time home buyers, tax credit. $2,500 tax credit. we're at a university here today, university of south florida. it's so those students would be able to go to school and continue their education and gain gainful employment when they get out. >> you're a leader of the congressional black caucus, which publicly asked pr ed bara
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obama to do more in the economic plight of black men. has the president done enough? >> i can tell you what mr. rubio is talking about is not a solution, it's ideology. i think it's very important to understand that folks have to get to jobs, we have to create jobs. we have to also set an environment that people will be able to receive these blue-collar jobs. i'm talking about the middle class here. mr. rubio and mr. crist starts to stutter when we start talking about tax cuts for the superwealthy. it's okay to borrow that money for it to happen. we're talking about the present tax code. and so it's not a new idea, it's just saying, keep doing the same thing, expecting different results. i think it's important that we save money, we bring the deficit down, but we don't borrow $700 billion to bring tax cuts to the small business -- >> you mentioned before that you're going to oppose funding the high-speed rail. is that true? >> no. first of all, the high-speed
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rail is a train system. and if it has merit, it should be pursued. what i'm against is borrowing money to pay for it. i don't think we can continue to borrow money on top of our debt. let me clarify something the congressman has just said. he talks about this tax code as if somehow that's the reason why america's in economic trouble. it's not because people aren't paying enough in taxes, it's because the economy's not growing because of government policies. what creates jobs in america -- i wish politicians could create jobs, because it's easier to pass a bill than it is to start a business. what it takes to grow the economy are people willing to go out and start a new business or grow an existing business. and that's not going to happen when the people in charge believe behind every problem, there's some government spending problem. >> i need to take a quick break and we'll come back and have you respond to that. in fact, we had mentioned tax cuts. we'll talk about that, a little more about the economy, deficit and minimum wage.
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we'll be right back. sure i'd like to diversify my workforce, i just wish that all of the important information was gathered together in one place. [ printer whirs ] done. ♪ thanks. do you work here? not yet. from tax info to debunking myths, the field guide to evolving your workforce has everything you need. download it now at thinkbeyondthelabel.com.
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from tampa, this is a special "state of the union." the florida senate debate. mr. meek, we left promising you some time here. where, basically, the thought was that it seems that the unemployment here has really hit a crisis level and to 12% overall in the state. and you and mr. rubio were discussing how that would -- e the. >> well, it's important that we grow this economy. obviously, florida has to diversify, but it's the very reason why we should not federalize marco rubio. he is thinking of ideology that will put the middle class in the hole forever. what he's not telling you about, these tax cuts that he's talking about, only 3 to 4% are really the job producers within that tax cut that he's talking about.
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the rest of it is borrowed money. guess what. middle class families throughout america have to pay $6,000 per year to pay for the tax cut that he's talking about. that's before the finance charge from china, japan, or india. i think it's important that we look at leveling with the people of this state, not just the cake and ice cream, deregulation, everyone should get a tax cut kind of way. if we're going to govern, we must govern in a responsible way because we're putting our children in a position that no other nation's children will be in as it relates to paying back this debt. and i think it's very, very important. >> mr. crist, you've got competing interests, in a way. cutting the deficit and creating jobs. which is more important? >> creating jobs, no question about it. that's the immediate problem, the acute issue that's we're facing in our state. making sure we create jobs and get the economy going again. that's why i think you need to have a two-pronged approach, cut taxes. reduce the burden on small businesses. i think that's what marco and i agree on.
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you have to reduce the tax burden so small business owners and entrepreneurs can grow the economy and hire people, but i also agree with the congressman when he talks about the fact that the recovery act saved 60,000 jobs among law enforcement officials, firefighters in the state, and another 20,000 educators. it's common sense is what we need. and that's what is lacking with the situation in washington today. you have so much partisanship, that an ideological discussion, as the congressman referred to, and he's right, and the fact of the matter is you have to get away from ideology, get back to being practical, utilize common sense and have meaningful -- >> would florida be better off without those 60,000 jobs if we hadn't had the stimulus? >> i think that's a false choice, it presumes there were no other options in place. let me point out a couple of things the governor's followed up on. he talks about tax cuts, they're not tax cuts, it's the existing tax code. what i'm saying, and a growing number of republicans have said,
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is it is a bad time to raise taxes on anybody. there's a growing number of democrats that are saying that as well. it is a bad time to raise taxes on anybody. the question you asked the governor is a very good question about spending or tax cuts. actually, the only way we're going to get out of this predicament is a two-pronged approach of growing the economy and fiscal restraint and you have to do them both. where they've failed in the past, they've been good on the tax cut side, but bad on the fiscal restraint side. you've got to be able to do both. >> the real issue is he's saying he's a deficit hawk, but at the same time he's saying, let's give tax cuts -- it was a different economic time speaker when the tax cuts were temporarily given at the beginning. no one ran on hey, i'm going to give billionaires and millionaires a tax cut. it was temporary. there were surpluses. there are no longer surpluses. so we're digger a deeper hole. and what rubio and also crist representing, let's continue to dig and trickle-down economics will work for the middle class and creating jobs.
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>> let me ask you, though, and mr. rubio is right, that an increasing number of democrats are looking at this going, you know, we mai might need to raise or we might need to extend these tax cuts for people who do make more than $250,000 a year. and just to explain, at the moment, the administration had initially pushed everybody that's making 250,000 families, $250,000 and under, would be allow to keep the tax credit, tax breaks. anybody making over that, the tax cuts would disappear. now, mr. biden, the vice president, said recently the white house is open to a compromise. that programs they could raise that income threshold. maybe to $500,000. or perhaps you could extend things for those making over $250,000 for a year or two years. are you open to that kind of compromise? >> what i am open to is the 3% to 4% of those job producers that are there, obviously, in the legislative process, we have
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to look at how we can come to final rest. i want the middle class to be able to get that tax cut and be assured of it, if not more. >> everybody thinks that. the question is, where are you going to find -- where's the compromise? would you agree to something that would raise that threshold? would you agree to something that would temporarily extend those tax cuts for the wealthy? >> when you look at the threshold of raising the income level, that may be one idea. but i can tell you, there is a lot of representation for the upper income earners in this country. i'm here representing the middle class, even though you may say some people say they're for it, i think it's very, very important to know that the middle class has carried this recession on their back like no one else. and i think it's very, very important that we continue to give them extra attention. they deserve it, they're going to pay $6,000 per year for the very tax cut that folks are looking at saying we should do. i'm in the top percentage. but does it make it fair? does it make it fair?
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because i am leading on behalf of people that are expecting for me to stand up for them, not special interests, not the folks -- >> would you be willing to compromise on the tax cuts? what would be an appropriate threshold. >> i think the appropriate thing is to extend it for everybody. let me tell you why. >> here's the problem. if you're going to talk about bipartisanship, if you're -- as mr. crist does, if you're going to talk bipartisanship and the white house says to you, we're willing to compromise. maybe we could raise the threshold. maybe we could extend them for a couple of years, don't you have to say, okay, that's something we can think about. >> but candy, it is bipartisanship because a growing number of senate democrats, now five democrats in the senate who are saying to do this. there's now, i don't know how many democrats in the house, colleagues including two congressional democrats here in florida. the nominee of the democratic candidate for governor here in florida who are all saying my position is the correct one, the position i've adopted. but there's a fundamental question and i'm glad the congressman has brought it pup the fundamental question is, is
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our problem because we're not spending enough? the president's budget, which i presume the congressman supports, call for massive tax increases over the next decade, but the debt will double by the middle of this decade and triple by the end of this decade. you clearly have a spending problem, which is what's driving the national debt. >> governor crist, let me get you in on this, on the tax cuts. let's point out here that congress, this may go into january, when one of the other of you three will be in the senate. do you see compromise any place? >> i see the fundamental problem on full display at this table. and you ask a very smart question. you know, the speaker and i support extending the tax cuts for everybody. we agree on that. we're both fiscal conservatives. i always have been. i'm a social moderate, however. but when you ask the question, is there room for some compromise, this came up about
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three weeks ago. and the issue was presented to john boehner, potentially the next speaker, depending on the outcome of these elections. the question put to him was, would you go ahead and accept what the president has put on the table without extending it beyond $250,000 a year. he said, that might be worth looking at. well, you know, within moments, the wrath of the right wing of the republican party comes crashing down on the guy's head. he has to essentially reverse his view and say, no way. now, speaker rubio, with all due respect, he didn't really answer your question, you know, whether or not he would be willing to accept compromise. sometimes you have to compromise. i want all the tax cuts extended, but you've got to give relief to the people and they deserve it now. so if there's a way to go ahead and do that in the short-term, and then after january push for the other tax cuts, that's what i think the real solution is. it's utilizing common sense to do what's right for the people in a meaningful way that is bipartisan that makes progress for america. that's what they deserve and that's what florida wants.
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>> but there's a difference between compromise and cutting a deal. compromise is a good thing, but cutting deals in washington, there's too much of that. the bottom line is that any compromise that allows taxes -- any compromise that does not extend the current tax code to everybody is a tax increase. the congressman likes to point out, these are super wealthy individuals. let me tell you who it targets. it targets individuals that c p comprise about 50% of consumer spenders in america. raising taxes on the job creators that comprise 50% of job creators in america would be a disaster in the middle of this deep economic downturn. >> -- so at least middle class tax cuts do happen? >> i think the votes will be there to extend this. the only thing standing in the way of it is the stubbornness of the white house and the liberal leadership of nancy pelosi and harry reid. >> but isn't that's what's wrong with washington? the white house thinks you're
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stubborn and you think they're stubborn? >> i don't just think the white house is stubborn, so do other democrats. you have five democrats saying, we've got to vote on this thing so the taxes are extended for everybody. >> adam, let me just say this. let me just say this. >> -- six years of this kind of bickering back and forth, not being able to figure out what to do. to do what's right for the people. you're seeing it right here, right now. that's why i'm running as an independent, to give the people of florida a choice. >> let me just say this. let me say this. let me say this. we know why the governor's running as an independent, because he couldn't beat marco rubio. let's just put it that way. >> let me just ask the audience -- >> you're going to cut into our time and they want to talk so -- >> let me just finish. you just spoke, governor. >> can you let mr. meek -- go ahead and finish your time. i promise you -- >> the reason why i'm running as an dependent, it's what the
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people want and it's what's right with my own heart. the republican party and the right wing of that party went so far right, it's exactly why marco rubio stayed there, exactly the same reason that i left. he wants to overturn -- listen to me, women watching -- overturn roe versus wade. he does not support stem cell research. you know, these are extreme views that i'm not comfortable with. he took it to a point, so much so, that said that people who essentially don't agree with him ought to leave the country, like keith olbermann. that's unconscionable to me. >> -- in a primer you would have left the party? >> absolutely. because you have to be right with yourself, adam. and when the party has those kind of views and represents that kind of intolerance, that's not the way my parents, who are here today, raised me and my sisters. i couldn't live with that. so i left and here we are as an independent. >> let me ask you, because i'm going to wait in line and get to both of you, but we've got to take a quick break. when we come back, we'll let you continue with that. hey, lawrence, my parents want to talk to you.
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featuring our entire stressless line. welcome back to the florida senate debate. let's see, the question was about tax cuts and somehow we went from there to why mr. crist got out of the republican primary and whether or not mr. rubio would deny a woman a right to choose. so mr. meek, you can take tax cuts or anything else that was said in there. >> candy, you're pretty good. let me just say this. i just want to go back, you know, the governor cut me off and talked about bickering in washington, but that's another thing. let me just say this. the reason why the governor's argument doesn't really penetrate florida voters is that he's been all over the board. first a republican, then he became an independent, went down and nominated himself to sit
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here at this table, at this very point. now he wants to pick up democratic ideas and talk about roe v. wade and he doesn't really have an opportunity to say that when he is pro-life. i'm the only pro-choice candidate that's sitting here. i don't need to talk about a supreme court case. i have a 100% voting record when it comes down to a woman's right to choose. i think it's also important to know that we sit in this economy of 12% unemployment and, you know, speaker rubio sits here and talks about deal cutting. he was the speaker of the florida house of representatives. that's all he did. and he deal cut all the time and he compromised all the time. so he sits here and criticizes the administration. so i want to make sure everyone understands, there's no milk around our mouths here of being new to politics. it's important that we level with the people of the state of florida. i'm the only candidate here to qualify by petition here in this state. the reason why i did it, so i could carry the voices of floridians. i'm the only candidate that's
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really talked about military families in this campaign. i'm the only person that's been there. i'm the only person who understands what these families are going through, who have committed their loved ones to war in the last ten years. so when it comes down to unpopular what people think and five democrats or a certain amount of democrats say that the tax policies are wrong -- you know, i'm on the side of making sure that those that are climbing and biting and fighting and sitting at their dining room table, trying to figure out who to make ends meet, i'm their voice in this united states senate race. >> you'll be happy to know that we are going to get to afghanistan, but mr. rubio's name has come up several times, so -- >> there are a couple things. we don't need to go down the long and torturous road of the governor's change on positions. i think it's curious that he attacks me for positions he held like six monthsing a when he was running in the republican primary and we were debating together on fox news, but we were having a debate about tax policy.
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congressman, there's nothing wrong with compromise on ideas. i think if people have a common goal of growing the economy and there are different ideas of how to accomplish that, i think that's a good thing. what i don't think we can compromise is on principles. and on principle, i believe that tax increases, particularly in the middle of a deep economic downturn, is a bad idea. and i think the question that was posed is, are you open to a deal or to a compromise or whatever we're going to term it that would allow taxes to go up on somebody in america in the middle of this downturn. and clearly what came out of the exchange is i'm the only run who can say i am not in support of or cannot support any compromise or deal that would raise taxes on anybody in america in the middle of this deep economic recession. that's an important distinction. >> listen to what he just said. he wouldn't accept tax cuts on 98% of the people in america because of his ideology. that's exactly the problem. that's what's not right with washington today. marco rubio doesn't have to go to washington -- >> isn't ideology another name for what you believe in, though?
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>> no. >> and you really want somebody that is going to go to the u.s. senate -- >> that is so rigid they can't listen to arguments of other people. >> that's not a good argument. >> god gave us two ears, and it's more important to listen than chatter all day long. the people are sick of that. that's exactly what they do not want. >> let's switch gears for a second. >> they want leadership and somebody to go there to fight for them instead of fighting for the ideology of -- >> mr. rubio, is america safer and better off for having gone to war in iraq? >> i think ultimately, yes. first of all, the world is better off because saddam hussein is no longer in charge in iraq. we have to remind ourselves of that, the world is a better and safer place, because saddam hussein is no longer in charge of that country. right now we are worried about iran possessing a nuclear weapon. well, if saddam hussein was still there, and you know the relationship and the long history between iraq and iran, you'd have two nations in a full-blown arms war, the way
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you've seen between pakistan and india. so the world is a better and safer place. not to mention the iraqi people were better off than they were under saddam hussein. there's no doubt that iraq has a long way to go. but it is better off today than it was in saddam hussein -- >> mr. meek, same question. >> well, i would tell you there. there was a no-fly zone prior to going into iraq. it was a war that was brought about based on falsehoods and not on fact. and also, there are a number of american lives that have been lost. saying that, those sacrifices that have been made, i think it's very, very important to note that the international community must continue to stay involved in iraq. the biggest embassy in the world, the u.s. embassy, is in iraq right now because of the bush doctrine. i think it's important to note that -- i understand the situation as it relates to the world being safer because we went into iraq, i couldn't necessarily give you that overall blanket "yes" on that, because it was a lot of -- >> do you think we'd be better off if we hadn't gone in?
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>> i think we would have been better off if we would have looked at diplomatic solutions and wouldn't have been lied to by the bush administration. i think a number of american lives could have been saved and this could have been a different world if we would have give diplomacy an opportunity. >> i think the world is a safer place because of the action we took in iraq. and i also think it's right of the administration to do what we're doing right now in afghanistan. and one of the best things and the best parts of that policy is the appointment of general david petraeus to lead our troops on the ground in this conflict. the number one function of our government is to have safety and security for the people of our country. to make sure that we're safe on our shores. that we do what's right to maintain order in our society. and i think that the administration is on a path to try to do that, and general petraeus is exactly the right guy to lead us there. so i compliment the commander in chief for doing so. but we've got to keep our eye on iran. the speaker is right, i agree, that we have to be sure that we're monitoring what's happening there. i am very proud, as governor of florida, that we signed the first devestment act as it
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relates to iran, divesting any investments in companies that would invest in iran, because we support israel so strongly here in this state and this country. we have a unique, unbreakable bond with the state of israel between the state of florida and our country. it's why my first trade mission was to israel as governor of florida. and i went there with robert wexler, whose support i'm proud to have in this race for the u.s. senate, a great former congressman from south florida. >> let me then move you to afghanistan, where we're now learning that president hamid karzai is talking to high-level representatives of the taliban in afghanistan, for an overall peace settlement. now, these are the same people that the u.s. went in to drive out of afghanistan. now the person that we are protecting and backing up and a lot of people have real questions about hamid karzai. i mean, even his mental stability has been questioned. whether he's really up to the job of putting together at government in afghanistan, in question by u.s. officials. and now he's talking to people
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that the u.s. within the in to drive out. is that acceptable? if there were a peace agreement between the taliban and the government in afghanistan, is that an acceptable way for this war to end? >> first, let's define what the role of the united states needs to be in afghanistan and what i think victory lacks like and how we need to define that. victory for us is basically a stable nation state in afghanistan. the reason why that's so important is not just because of afghanistan, but because of its neighbor in pakistan. if afghanistan were to devolve into chaos, fall into the hands of extremists, it would be a base of operations to destabilize pakistan and ultimately to take over pakistan, a nuclear state. so that would be the worst possible scenario we can imagine. so our role, the united states' role is to provide a level of security, so that a civil society can take root, so that governmental entities can take root, and so that real leadership can be established. as far as the tactics that are going to be used to accomplish that, i have confidence in the people that are on the ground there. i have confidence in general petraeus. i have confidence in the folks that are involved over there. they will know tactically what needs to happen to accomplish that, but that is our goal there and it's an important goal we
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need to be committed to. >> if you two want to get in on this, i'll let you do that, but we've got to take another quick break. we'll be right back. hi. we're ready to switch our car insurance to progressive. today just seemed like a great day to save. oh, it's not just today. with our free loyalty program, you earn great stuff like accident forgiveness and bigger discounts just by staying with us. oh! ooh! so, what you're saying is, it gets even better with age. oh! tell me we're still talking about insurance. rewarding loyalty. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
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welcome back to the florida senate debate. mr. meek, i wanted to bring you in on the afghanistan question. the basic question is, if the government of afghanistan comes to some conclusion of this war in a deal with the taliban, is that acceptable to you given the price in both blood and treasure that the u.s. has put in there? >> not acceptable to me. i think pakistan should be also in this discussion when it comes down to monitoring the situation on the ground. the international community must be at the table, because there is a lot of foreign affairs dollars that are going into afghanistan. i think the pursestrings are going to dictate the deal. i think it's very, very important to understand that the taliban has been there for years and years. i mean, hundreds of thousands of
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year. and i don't think that any, you know, sitting down at the peace table is going to come about. we cannot allow the very dangerous individuals that have brought about the true 9/11 to have a place of safety in afghanistan on the pakistan side. but i think diplomatic diplomacy is important and also predator drone. >> mr. rubirubio, i want to turu to a different subject, immigration. you have said throughout all of these debates that you want a secure border, an electronic system to identify who is in the country illegally. okay. let's pretend how that all got done. you've still got 12 million people without papers in this country. what happens to them under your vision? >> first, i don't believe we can grant amnesty. because i think it's unfair to the people who have entered this country illegally -- >> you would send them out of the country? >> it's not that simple. i've never advocated that we round people up. i don't know anyone who's seriously talking about that. what i have said has to happen, we need to have a legal immigration system that's
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running. there's no one that's more pro-immigration than i am, my parents with were immigrants, my grandparents were immigrants. >> but you'll still have that difficulty of 12 million people here who don't have paper. call it anything you want, you have to have a plan. >> let's understand why people come here even illegally. they come here for jobs and one of the things that contributes to illegal immigration is we have a broken legal immigration system. it's difficult to comply with. in florida, a large portion of the people that are here illegally, they came here legally and overstayed their visas. >> so your plan is you're going to close the borders, get the electronic system, fix the legal system and then do what? >> and then you'll have a legal immigration system that works. and you'll have people in this country that are without documents that will be able to return -- will be able to leave this country, return to their homeland, and try to re-entry there our system that now functions. >> de facto amnesty if you're still not dealing with the illegals who are here?
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>> i think what's important is we have a common sense approach to this problem, like every other in washington, d.c., that they're unable to fix. i think what we need to do is what former president bush tried to do, and that is first secure the border. that's the right thing to do. we have to do that to enforce the law. after that, i think you have to have an earned path to citizenship, not amnesty, as the speaker has unfairly characterized in my view. i'm not for amnesty. people should have to get in the back of the line, pay a fine if necessary, pay back taxes, and be able to become productive members of the american economy. it's a compassionate way. i'm very sympathetic to immigration. my grandfather immigrated to this country from greece. he came here because he realized that america was a place that if you worked hard, lived by the rules and did what was right, you could do better for yourself and for your family. and he did just that. washington is broken. these guys go up there, if they go, and they get into their fox hole, they can't come to kroe
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compromise, can't work together. >> that compromise bill was put up there. let me bring mr. meek in on this. >> i'm glad you checked mr. rubio on this whole issue. the dream act was up, and he said, i'm for the dream act, but not for amnesty. well, what did the dream act call for? it called for individuals to serve in the military or attend an institution such as this to educate themselves so they don't become wards of the state, because of course you're not for that. and this whole thing of kicking the ball down the field to secure our borders. we've been talking about that for 15, 20 years. it's important for us to move towards comprehensive immigration reform, and i'm the only one at this table that has voted comprehensive immigration reform, because i understand the realities as a former state trooper in enforcing the law. you cannot piecemeal law making and say, we'll do this and do that -- that's 20 years down the road. there's a guy by name of rick scott who's running for
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governor, and a combination between marco rubio and rick scott will send florida's -- >> before we get into the governor's race, we have more than we can handle right here. let me bring you in, i'm going to start enforcing 30 seconds because we've got more questions and running out of time. 30 seconds to address what was just said. >> earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty. and the reality is this -- this has to do with the bottom line that america cannot be the only country in the world that does not enforce its immigration laws. it is unfair to the people that have legally entered this country to create an alternative pathway for individuals who entered illegally and knowingly did so. but if you do that -- >> if i may finish my statement on this, if you do that, you will never have a legal immigration system that works. no one's going to follow the law. >> i need to -- >> i know you need to, but i think it's very, very important -- >> let me do this. >> you change your positions on a number of issues from don't ask, don't tell to health care reform, yesterday you criticize marco rubio for campaigning with sarah palin, someone who you
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campaigned side by side with in 2008 -- >> in order to help my friend, john mccain, for the record. >> well, if you've changed your mind on so many things, why should people not change you're going to change your mind on key issues once you get to washington? >> adam, i'm glad you ask the question. because i think it's important the people of florida understand what the facts and circumstances are at the time. if things change, you need to change what you're looking at and understand that you have to have an independent thinker to be a good united states senator. you know, facts change all the time. if you want to elect somebody that's rigid, you know, i think people want an open-minded senator rather than the opposite, a closed-minded senator, and is honest enough to say, you know, things change. i'm an old quarterback. i remember calling a play in the huddle and literally as you're walking up to the line of scrimmage, you survey the defense, the facts and circumstances before you, see where the linebackers are and realize if there's going to be a blitz, you've got to call an audible. you have to change to adapt to the circumstances to do the best thing for your state. >> do you see mr. crist as a
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person who's able to change the play when he has to? and that you're an ideologue, or how do you -- >> two separate questions. this has been rell documented. he changes his positions on the issues because he wants to win the election. it's been documented -- zbls that is so untrue and so unfair for you to interpret what's in my heart. >> can i finish? there's an article. i didn't write it. the article was in the st. pete times. >> let's talk about another article -- >> he picked up the phone and called the pollster and the pollster told him, you have a better chance as an independent. >> t-- steering millions of dollars to $165,000 -- i don't and i'm the governor of florida. but he traded money to get it. >> that's a false accusation, candy. let me just say this -- >> that was in the "st. pete times" too.
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>> not only is that a false accusation, but it's been a trend in this campaign. anytime we get into the issues, the governor wants to turn it into something else, because he's wrong on it shall. the bottom line -- >> why won't you release your credit card and clear this up? >> on the ideologue issue today -- >> why is there a federal investigation into your reporting income? >> this is one litany of falsehoods after the other. the >> can you answer this question -- >> why not release the full irs records? >> my tax returns are public. i've gone well beyond the point of disclosure. people want to focus on these issues because they're wrong on the important issues. this country has a $13.5 trillion debt. >> that's not true. he doesn't want to release them because he doesn't believe in transparency. i created the office of open government in the governor's office for the first time in the history of our state. >> i've never had a heckler in the debate, i've always had them in the audience. >> that's the way it is. >> what i'd like to -- >> welcome to the nfl! >> go ahead.
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>> i apologize. i've had this heckler going on for two minutes now. here's what i would like to be able to tell you about ideology and all this talk about -- this is a national talking point now that the democrats have adopted across the country. here's the reality. i have now received the endorsement of six separate major newspapers in florida. not exactly the place conservatives go to hang out, at editorial boards. the reason why they are supporting me is because i'm the only candidate in this race that's proposing serious answers to the serious issues that face america. and that's what this election is about, at the end of the day, it's not about you, governor, not about your ability to deliver the lines you've been planning for the past two weeks, not about you and not about me. this is about the people watching whose country is going in the wrong direction. who understand if we keep doing what we are doing now, we will be the first americans in history to leave our children worse off than ourselves. that's what this election is about, i was hoping that's what this debate would be about, and i hope that's what the next eight days will be about. >> let me just say this. i just want to clarify, i'm the
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only defensive player here at this table. i used to be an outside linebacker and sack quarterbacks in full knees and things of that nature. i think it's important, and i think, marco, you got me at the end when we start talking about the people that are looking for a united states senator to stand up for them. i think it's very, very important, candy, to understand that in florida, the reality is the following. a, jobs have to be created. b, we have to diversify our economy. c, we've got to stop the politics of offshore oil drilling in this state, that both of these gentleman have been standing for in the past. >> i don't. >> well, now you don't. governor, if you allow me to give straight answers of positions that i've had for the last umpteen years, i would appreciate it. thank you so very much. i think it's important, candy, to understand that when a united states senator from florida hits the floor in washington, d.c., they must have the will and desire to stand up on behalf of the people and not the special
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interests. and i think both of these candidates have done so in the past. i think that's the reason why the personal nature of where people stand on issues, such as comprehensive immigration reform, it's not amnesty, it's an issue that's facing this state. don't you know that tourism a $63 billion industry in florida and if we allow an arizona-style law to prosper here, we will see individuals boycotting the state -- >> i've got to halt this -- >> here's the thing. listening to kendrick talking about being a linebacker and buckling knees, i'm just glad he's not going to hit me. >> good. let me hold you all right there. we'll be back after this. [ male announcer ] one look can turn the everyday into romantic.
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we'd like to thank the university of south florida, the "st. petersburg times," and of course, the three florida senate candidates to joining us here today. and please don't forget, tomorrow night

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