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tv   Presidential Debate  CSPAN  October 22, 2012 9:00pm-10:30pm EDT

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>> good evening, we're at lynn university in boca raton florida.
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>> good evening from the campus of lynn university here in boca
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raton, florida. this is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign brought to you by the commission on presidential debates. this one's on foreign policy. i'm bob schieffer of cbs news. the questions are mine. and i have not shared them with the candidates or their aides. the audience has taken a vow of silence, no applause, no reaction of any kind except right now when we welcome president barack obama and governor mitt romney. [cheers and applause] [cheers and applause]
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>> gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. they asked me to divide the evening into segments. i'll pose a question at the beginning of each segment. you will each have two minutes to respond, and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment. tonight's debate, as both of you know, comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that president kennedy told the world that the soviet union had installed nuclear missiles in cuba, perhaps the closest we've ever come to nuclear war. and it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad. so let's begin. the first segment is the challenge of a changing middle east and the new face of terrorism. i'm going to put this in two segments so you'll have two topic questions within this one segment on the subject.
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the first question, and it concerns libya, the controversy over what happened there continues for americans are dead, including an american ambassador. questions remain, what happened, what caused it, was it spontaneous, was it an intelligence failure, was it a policy failure? was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened? governor romney, you said this was an example of an american policy in the middle east that is unraveling before our very eyes. i'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. we were together at a humorous event a little earlier and it's nice to maybe be funny on this
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time not on purpose. this is a great concern to the entire world and america in particular which is to see a complete change in the structure and the environment in the middle east with the arab spring came a great deal of hope there would be a change towards more moderation, an opportunity for greater participation on the part of women in public life and in the economic life in the middle east but instead we've seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events. of course we see in syria 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. we see in libya an attack apparently by, i think we know now of terrorists of some kind against our people there, four people dead. our hearts and minds go to them. molly has been taken over, the northern part, by al qaeda type individuals. we have in egypt a muslim brotherhood president. what we're seeing is a dramatic
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reversal of the hopes we had for the region and the greatest threat of all is iran, four years close tore a nuclear weapon. and we're going to have to recognize that we have to -- i congratulate the president 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, violent extremism which is certainly not on the run. it's certainly not hiding. this is a group that involves 12 countries and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, to the world, to america, long term, and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help reject this kind of extremism. >> mr. president? >> well, my first job as commander in chief, bob, is to keep america safe and that's what we've done the last four years. we ended the war in iraq,
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refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. and as a consequence, al qaeda's core leadership has been decimate. in addition, we're now able to transition out of afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that afghans take responsibility for their own security. and that allows us to also rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats. now, with respect to libya, as i indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, i immediately made sure that, number one, we did everything we could to secure those americans who were still in harm's way. number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened. and number three, most importantly, that we would go after those who killed americans, and we would bring them to justice. that's exactly what we're going to do. it's important to step back and think what happened in libya. keep in mind that i and
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americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to, without putting troops on the ground at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in iraq, liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years, got rid of a despite who had killed americans and as a consequence, despite this tragedy, you had tens of thousands of libyans after the events in benghazi marching and saying america is our friend, we stand with them. now, that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. and governor romney, i'm glad you agree we've 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 to build on the opportunities that exist in the middle east. >> well, my strategy is pretty
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straightforward which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to kill them, to take them out of the picture, but my strategy is broader than that. that's important, of course. but the key that we're going to have to pursue is a pathway to get the muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own. we don't want another iraq, we don't want another afghanistan. that's not the right course for us. the right course for us is to make sure we go after the people who are leaders of these various anti-american groups and these jihaddists but also help the muslim world. and how do we do that? the group of arab scholars came together organized by the u.n. to look at how we can help the world reject these terrorists, and the answer they came up with is this, one more economic development. we should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment and that our friends, we should coordinate it to make sure we push back and give them more economic development. number two, better education. number three, gender equality.
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number four, the rule of law. we have to help these nations create civil societies. but what's been happening over the last couple years, as we watch this tumult in the middle east, this rising tide of chaos occur, you see al qaeda rushing in, you see other jihaddist groups rushing in, and there throughout -- they're throughout many nations in the middle east. it's wonderful libya is making some progress despite this terrible tragedy but next door we have egypt with 80 million population and we want to make sure we're seeing progress throughout the middle east with having north mali taken over and syria having assad to continue to kill, hurd his own people, this is a region in tumult and iran on the path to a nuclear weapon. we have real problems. >> let's give the president a chance. >> governor romney, i'm glad you recognize al qaeda is a threat because a few months ago
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when you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical group facing america, you said russia, not al qaeda. and now they're calling to ask for their foreign policy back. 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 1980's, just like the social policy of 1950 and the economic policies of the 1920's. 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 actually execute foreign policy, but every time you've offered an opinion, you've 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
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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 time line in afghanistan. then you said we should. now you say maybe. or it depends. which means not only were you wrong but you're also confusing in sending mixed messages to our troops and our allies. so what we need to do with respect to the middle east is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map. and unfortunately, that is 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 here to give you a chance to respond. >> well, of course i don't concur with what the president said about my own record and the things that i've said. they don't happen to be accurate. but i can say this, that we're talking about the middle east,
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and how to help the middle east reject the kind of terrorism we're seeing and the rising tide of tumult and confusion, and attacking me is not an agenda. attacking me is not talking about how we're going 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 of things you mentioned. first of all, russia, i indicated is a geopolitical foe, not a -- >> not number one -- >> excuse me. it's a geopolitical foe. and in the same paragraph, i said 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 eyes on this. i'm not wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to russia or mr. putin. and i certainly am not going to say to him, i'll give you more flexibility after the election. after the election he'll get more backbone. number two, with regards to iraq, you and i agreed, i believe, there should have been a status of forces agreement. >> that's not true. >> you didn't want a status of forces agreement? >> what i would not have done
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is left 10,000 troops in iraq that would tie us down. that certainly would not help us in the middle east. >> i'm sorry. you actually -- there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces against, and i concurred in that and said we should have a number of troops that stayed on. that was something i concurred with. that was your posture and mine as well. you thought it should have been 5,000 troops and i thought it should have been more troops. >> governor, this was done a few weeks ago -- a few weeks ago you indicated we should still have troops in iraq. >> no, i didn't. sorry. i indicated that you failed to put in place a status of forces agreement at the end of the conflict that existed. >> governor, here's one thing i -- here's one thing i've learned as commander in chief. you've got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand. and what you mean. now, you just gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should still have troops in iraq. that is not a recipe for making sure that we are taking advantage of the opportunities
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and leading the challenge of the middle east. now, it is absolutely true we cannot just meet these challenges militarily. so what i've done throughout my presidency and will continue to do is, number one, make sure that these countries are supporting our counterterrorism efforts. number two, make sure that they are standing by our interests in israel's security because it is a true friend and our greatest ally in the region. number three, we do have to make sure that we're protecting religious minorities and women because these countries can't develop unless all the population, not just half of it, is developing. number four, we do have to develop their economic capabilities. but number five, the other thing that we have to do is recognize that we can't continue to do nation-building in these regions. part of american leadership is making sure 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
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topic question in this segment about the middle east and so on, and that is you both mentioned -- alluded to this, and that is syria. the war in syria now spilled over into lebanon and we have more than a hundred people killed there in a bomb. there were demonstrations there, eight people dead. mr. president, it's been more than a year since you saw -- you told assad he had to go, since then 30,000 syrians have died. we've had 300,000 refugees, the war goes on. and he's still there. should we reassess our policy and see if we can find a better way to influence events there or is it even possible? you go first, sir. >> what we've done is organize the international community, saying assad has to go. we've mobilized sanctions against that government. we have made sure that they are isolated. we are helping the opposition
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organize and we're particularly 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. and so everything we're doing, we're doing in consultation with our partners in the region, including israel which obviously has a huge interest in seeing what happens in syria, coordinating with turkey and other countries in the region that have a great interest in this. now, what we're seeing taking place in syria is heartbreaking. and that's why we are going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition. but we also have to recognize that, you know, for us to get more entangled militarily in syria is a serious step. and we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping, that we're not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or allies in the region. and i am confident that assad's days are numbered. but what we can't do is to
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simply suggest that as governor romney at times has suggested, that giving heavy weapons, for example, to the syrian opposition is a simple proposition that will lead us to be safer over the long term. governor? >> well, let's step back and talk about what's happening in syria and how important it is, first of all, 30,000 people being killed by their government is a humanitarian disaster. secondly, syria is an opportunity for us because syria plays an important role in the middle east, particularly right now. syria is iran's only ally in the arab world. it's their route to the sea. it's the route for them to arm hezbollah in lebanon which threatens, of course, our ally israel. so seeing syria remove assad is a very high priority for us. number two, seeing a replacement government being responsible people is critical for us. finally, we don't want to have military involvement there. we don't want to get drawn into a military conflict. so the right course for us is working through our partners and with our own resources to
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identify responsible parties within syria, organize them, bring them together in a form of -- if not government, a form of council that can take the lead in syria, and then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves. we do need to make sure that they don't have arms that get into the wrong hands, those arms could be used to hurt us down the road. we need to make sure as well we coordinate this effort with our allies, and particularly with israel. but the saudis and the turks are all concerned about this and willing to work with us. we need to have a very effective leadership effort in syria, making sure that the insurgents there are armed and the insurgents that become armed are people who will be the responsible parties, recognize, i believe, that assad must go. i believe he will go. but i believe we want to make sure we have the relationships, the friendship with the people who take his place such in the years to do we see syria as a
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friend and syria as a responsible party in the middle east. this is a critical opportunity for america and what i'm afraid of, we watched over the past year or so, first the president saying we'll let the u.n. deal with it and kofi annan came in and said we'll have a cease-fire. that didn't work. then we looked to the russians to see if you can do something. we should be playing the leadership role there, not on the ground with military. >> all right. >> but a leadership role. >> we are playing a 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 over 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
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the coalition that we helped to organize, we also had to make sure that muammar gaddafi didn't stay there. and governor, you supported us going into libya and the coalition that we organized. but when it came time to making sure that gaddafi did not stay in power and was captured, governor, your suggestion was this was mission creep, that this was mission muddle. imagine if we'd pulled out at that point. muammar gaddafi 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 and part of the reason the libyans stand with us. but we did so in a careful, thoughtful way, making sure that we knew who we were dealing with, that those forces of moderation on the ground were ones that we could work with, and we had to take the same kind of steady, thoughtful leadership when it comes to syria. that's exactly what we're
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doing. >> governor, can i just ask you, would you go beyond what the administration would do? for example, would you put in no-fly zones 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 at this stage. i don't anticipate that in the future. as i indicated, our objectives are to replace assad and 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 have the arms necessary to defend themselves but also to remove assad but i do not want to see a military involvement on the part of our troops. and this isn't going to be necessary. we have, with our partners in the region, we have sufficient resources to support those groups. but look, this has been going on for a year. 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 parties
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there, find responsible parties. as you hear from intelligent sources even today, the insurgents are highly desperate, they haven't come together and formed a unity group, a council of some kind. that need to happen. america can help that happen and we need to make sure they have the arms they need to carry out the very important role which is getting rid of assad. >> could we get a quick response, mr. president? >> i'll be very quick. what you just heard governor romney say, he doesn't have different ideas. and 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've shown and will continue to show. >> may i ask you, you know, during the egyptian turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for president mubarak to go. >> right. >> some in your administration thought perhaps we should have
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waited a while on that. do you have any regrets about that? >> no, i don't because i think that america has to stand with democracy. the notion that we would have tanks run over those young people who were in tehrer square, that's not the kind of american leadership john f. kennedy talked about 50 years ago. but what i've also said is that now that you have a democratically elected government in egypt, that they have to make sure they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities, and we have put significant pressure on them to make sure that they're doing that, to recognize the rights of women which is critical throughout the region. these countries can't develop if young women are not given the kind of education that they need. they have to abide by their treaty with israel. that is a red line for us. because not only is israel's security at stake but our security is at stake if that unravels. they have to make sure that they're cooperating with us
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when it comes to counterterrorism and we'll help them with respect to developing their own economy because ultimately what's going to make the egyptian revolution successful for the people of egypt but also for the world is it those young people who gathered there are seeing opportunities. their aspirations are similar to young people's here, they want jobs, they want to be able to make sure their kids are going to a good school, they want to make sure they have a roof over their heads and that they have the prospects of a better life in the future. and so one of the things we've been doing is, for example, organizing entrepreneurship conferences with these egyptians to give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding their economy in a way that's noncorrupt, in a way that's transparent. but also what is important for us to understand is that for america to be successful in this region, there are some things that we're going to have to do here at home as well. one of the challenges over the last decade as we've done experiments and nation building
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in places like iraq and afghanistan, and we've neglected, for example, developing our own economy, our own energy sectors, our own education system, and it's very hard for us to project leadership around the world when we're not doing what we need to do at home. >> governor romney, i want to hear your response. but i want to ask you, would you have stuck with mubarak? >> no, i believe as the president indicated and said at the time i supported his action there. i felt that -- i wish we'd have a better vision of the future. i wished that looking back at the beginning of the president's' term and further back than that we had recognized there was a growing energy and passion for freedom in that part of the world and we had worked more aggressively with our friend and other friends in the region to have them make a transition to a more representative form of government, such that it didn't explode in the way it did. but once it exploded, i felt the same as the president did, which is these freedom voices and the streets of egypt where the people who were speaking of
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our principles and president mubarak had done things that were unimaginable and the idea of him crushing his people was not something we possibly could support. let me step back and talk about what i think our mission has to be in the middle east and even more broadly because our purpose is to make sure the world is peaceful. we want a peaceful planet. we want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they'll have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war. that's our purpose. and the mantle of leadership for promoting the principles of peace has fallen to america. we didn't ask for it but it's an honor that we have it. but for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong and that begins with a strong economy here at home and unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. when the president of iraq -- excuse me, of iran, jadjad -- jaudjaud -- ahmadjinadad,
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mcmullen said they are the force that threatens. we need a strong military. our military is second to none in the world. we're blessed with terrific soldiers and joordnear intelligence, but cuts and sequestration to budget cuts for the military would change that. wee need to have strong allies. our association and connection with our allies are essential to america's strength. we're the great nation who has allies, 42 allies and friends around the world. finally, we have to stand by our principles. if we're strong in each of those things, american influence will grow but unfortunately, nowhere in the world is america's influence greater today than it was four years ago. and that's because we have are weaker on each of those dimensions. >> you'll get a chance to respond to that because that's a perfect segue into our next segment and that is what is america's role in the world. and that is the question, what do each of you see as our role
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in the world, and i believe governor romney, it's your turn to go first. >> i absolutely believe that america has a responsibility, and the privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful. and those principles include human rights, human dignity, free enterprise, freedom of expression, elections, because when there are elections, people tend to vote for peace. they don't vote for war. so we want to promote those principles around the world. we recognize there are places of conflict in the world. we want to end those conflicts to the extent humanly possible, but in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, america must be strong. america must lead. and for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. you can't have 23 million people struggling to get a job. you can't have an economy that over the last three years keeps slowing down its growth rate. you can't have kids coming out
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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've gotten to strengthen our military long term. we don't know what the world will throw at us down the road. we make decisions today in the military that will confront challenges we can't imagine. in the 2000 debates, there wasis no mention of terrorism. a year later, 9/11. we need a strong military. we have to stand by our allies. the tensions that exist between israel and the united states is very unfortunate. the defense program, of poland that was very unfortunate. that disrupted the relationship in some ways that really was -- existed between us. when the students took to the
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streets in tehran and the people protested and the green revolution occurred, for the president to be a silent was a mistake. we have to stand for our allies and stand for a stronger economy. >> america remains the one indispensable nation. the world needs a strong america. it is stronger now than when i came into office. we were able to refocus our attention not only on the terrorist threat, but also be getting a transition process in a afghanistan. it allowed us to refocus on the relationships that have been neglected for a decade. our alliances have never been stronger with asia, europe, africa, israel, where we have had an unprecedented military cooperation in dealing with
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rats. what we have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding america. making sure we are pretty manufacturing back to our shores. not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas. retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. doing everything we can to control our own energy. we cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades. we also have clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our exports in half in 2012. that is the kind of leadership we need to show. we need to reduce our deficit. governor romney's plan does not do that. i want us to pay and little bit more so that we can invest in the research and technology that
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has always kept us on the cutting edge. governor romney has taken a different approach throughout this campaign. both at home and abroad he has promoted reckless policies. he has raised george bush as a good economic storage. taking us back to those kinds of policies that got us into this mess is not the way we are going to maintain leadership in the 21st century. >> i have got a policy for the future. when it comes to our economy here at home, i know what it creek -- takes too great 12 million new jobs. what i have seen over the last four years is something i do not want to see over the next four years. we are 9 million jobs short. i will get america working again. i will do it with five simple
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steps. we will have north american energy independence. we will take full advantage of oil, gas, nuclear. we will increase our trade. it doubles about every five or so years. we can do better than that, particularly in latin america. but in america's economy is almost as big as the economy of china. we are focused on china. latin america has a huge opportunity. we will have to have a training program for our workers and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first. then we will have to get through a balanced budget. we cannot expect entrepreneur workers and businesses big and small and invest in america if they think we are going like greece.
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that is where we are going unless we get off of the spending and borrowing binge. we have got to champion small business. small business is byrd jobs come from. two-thirds of our jobs come from small business. the new what businesses are at the lowest level in 30 years. >> we will talk about what we need to compete. governor romney talks about small businesses, but when you were in massachusetts, small business development ranked 46th out of 58 in small business development. the policies you are promoting do not help small business. that is not the kind of small business promotion that we need. let's take an example with the education policy. we did not have a lot of chance to talk about this in the last debate. under my leadership we have
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reformed education, working with governors of 46 states. we have seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time. they are finally making progress. i want to hire more teachers, especially in math and science. we know we have fallen behind. those teachers make a difference. when you were asked by teachers whether or not this would help the economy grow, you said this would not help the economy grow. when you were asked about reduce class sizes, you said that class sizes do not make a difference. when you talk to teachers, they will tell you that it does make a difference. math teachers that can provide the kind of support that we need for our kids, that will determine whether or not new businesses are created here. companies will determine whether or not we have the most highly skilled work force.
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you do not ask you or me to pay a dime more in terms of deficit. instead, we slash education. that is undermining our long- term competitiveness. >> let me get back to foreign policy. i do not want to just talk about education. i am so proud of the state i had a chance to be governor of. every two years, we had tests that look at how we were doing. well i was governor, i was proud that our fourth graders came out no. one of all 50 states in english and math. the first time when state had been no. 1 in all four measures. republicans and democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put forth education principles up focused on having great teachers in the classroom.
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that allowed us to become the no. 1 state in the nation. >> and then when you cut education. >> they are still number one today. we also gave kids, not just a graduation exam that determined whether they would have the skills needed, but also if bay graduated in the top quarter of their class, they got a four- year tuition-free ride. that was mine actually. >> we have heard some of this in the other debates. you say that you want a bigger military and a bigger navy. you do not want to cut defense spending. we are talking about financial problems in this country. where are you going to get the money? >> we will come back to talk about the military. we will cut about 5% of the
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discretionary budget excluding the military. the good news is i will be happy to have you take a look. look at how we get to a balanced budget within 8-10 years. we are reducing spending in a number programs. the first thing we want to get rid of is at obamacare. a lot of things sound good, but we cannot afford it. i would get rid of that on day one. all i would take out program after program that we do not absolutely need to have. i would take some programs that we need to keep like medicaid, which is a program for the poor, and we give it to the states to run. states run these programs more efficiently. as a governor i thought, give me this program. the states are proving it. states like arizona and rhode
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island have taken these and have shown that they can run these programs more cost effectively. it gets us to a balanced budget within 8-10 years. let's get to the military. >> that is what i try to find out about. >> he should have answered the first question. governor romney has called for $5 trillion of tax cuts that he says he will pay for by closing deductions. the math does not work, but he claims he will do it. he wants to spend $2 trillion on military spending that our military is not asking for. our military spending has gone up every single year since i have been in office. we spend more on their military and the next 10 countries combined. china, france, the night kingdom, you name it. we need to work with their joint
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chiefs of staff to think about, what are we going to need in the future to make sure we are safe? that is the budget we put forward. what you cannot do is spend $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military is not asking for, $5 trillion on tax cuts. you say you will pay for this by cutting loopholes and deductions without naming what those loopholes and deductions are. you are somehow going to do with the deficit that we have already got. the math simply does not work. what we have to think about is not just budgets, we have got to think about capabilities. we need to be think about cyber security, we need to be thinking about space. it is not driven by politics. it is not driven by members of congress and what they would like to see. what are we going to need to
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keep the american people saved? that is what our budget does. it also allows us to reduce our deficit. we have got to make sure that our economy is strong at home and we can project military power overseas. >> i am pleased with the balanced budget. i was in the world of business for 25 years. i went to the olympics and it was part of balance and we had a success there. i got to be governor of a state, four years in a row, republicans and democrats came together to balance the budget. as the president balanced the budget yet? i expect to have the opportunity myself. let's talk about military spending. our navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. the navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. we are at 285.
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weare going to the low 200's -- if we go through sequestration. the air force is smaller than anytime since we found it in 1947. we always have the strategy that we could fight in two conflicts at once. now we change it to one conflict. the highest priority of the united states is to maintain the safety of the united states. i will not cut the military by $1 trillion. in my view, that is making our future less certain at less secure. >> this is not something that i proposed. it is something that congress propose. the budget that we are talking about is not reducing our military spending, it is maintaining it. governor romney has not spent
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enough time looking at how our military works. you look at the navy for example. we also have fewer horses and bayonets. the nature of our military has changed. we have these things called aircraft carrier's warplanes plan of them. we have shipside go underwater and nuclear submarines. this is not a game of battleship where we are counting ships. it is, what are our capabilities? when i sit down with the secretary of the navy and the joint chiefs of staff, we determine how we will meet our defense needs that still keeps faith with our troops. making sure that the veterans have the kind of support they need when they come home. that is not reflected in the kind of budget you are putting forward. it just does not work. we visited the website and it still does not work. >> i would like to move to the
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next segment. red lines, is real and iran. you each have two minutes. would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on israel is an attack on the united states which is the same promise we give too close allies like japan. if you made such a declaration, would that not deter iran? it deterred the soviet union for a long time when we made that promise. >> israel is our true friend and greatest ally in the region. america will stand with israel. >> you are saying i have already made that declaration. >> i will stand with israel if
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they are attacked. working with israel, we have created the strongest intelligence cooperation in our history. this week, we will be carrying out the largest military exercise in history with israel, this week. theong as i'm president of united states, iran will not get a nuclear weapon. i made that clear when we came into office. we have organized the strongest coalition and the stronger sanctions against iran in their history. it is crippling their economy. their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with iraq 20 years ago. their economy is in shambles. a nuclear iran is a threat to our national security. we cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.
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iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. for them to provide nuclear technology, that does not acceptable. they would like to see israel wiped off the mpa. ap. they ooffer iran a choice. they can take the diplomatic route and and the nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a united states president that says that we will not take any options off the table. during the course of this campaign, governor romney has often talked as if we should take premature military action. when i send young men and women into harm's way, we see this as a last resort, not a first resort. >> i want to underscore the same point that the president made.
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if i am president of united states, when i am president of the united states, we will stand with israel. we have their back. but just diplomatically, culturally, and militarily. with regards to iran and iraq, there is no question that a nuclear capable iran is unacceptable to america. it presents a threat to our friends. they have nuclear material that they could use to be threatening to us. it is essential for us to understand what our mission is in iran. that is to dissuade iran from having a nuclear weapon in peaceful ways. they laid out seven steps, crippling sanctions. they do work. you are seeing it right now. it is the right thing to do to have crippling sanctions. it is good that we have them. something i would add to that idea, i would tighten those
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sanctions. ships carry iranian oil cannot come into our ports. i would imagine the e.u. would agree with us. i would tighten those sanctions further. i would take on diplomatic isolation efforts. i would make sure that ahmadinejad would be indicted for genocide. his words about to genocide. i would want them to be treated like the perahia they are across the world. the same way we treated apartheid in south africa. a solution to this which stops this nuclear folly of theirs is unacceptable to america. the military action is the last resort. it is something i would only consider if all of the other avenues had been tried to their
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full extent. >> let me ask you, as you know, there are reports that iran and united states have agreed in principle to talk about iran's nuclear program. what if the deal -- what is the deal that you would accept, mr. president? >> those are reports in the newspaper. they are not true. our goal is to get iran to see that it is to give up its nuclear program and abide by the united nations sanctions put in place. there are people in iran that have the same aspirations as all over the world. we hope that their leadership makes the right decision. theyeal we'll accept is
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'll end their nuclear program. i am glad that governor romney agrees with the steps that we are taking. there have been times during the campaign where you said that you would do the same thing as we did, but you would say it louder. it turns out that the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions is painstaking. we started from the day you got into the office. we had to make sure that all the countries participated. we have had sanctions in place for a long time. iran is seeing so much pressure. had. is a de3aal to be
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that is that they abide by the rules that were established. there are inspections that are very intrusive. over time, what they can do is regain credibility. one last thing, the clock is ticking. we will not allow iran to perpetually engaged in negotiations that lead nowhere. we have a sense of when they would get break out capacity, which means we cannot be able to intervene in time to stop a nuclear program. if they do not meet the demands of the international community, then we would make sure that did not have a nuclear weapon.
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>> from the beginning, when of the challenges of iran is that they looked at this administration and they did not see it as strong as it could be. the president in his campaign said that he would meet with all of the world's worst actors. he would sit down with chavez and kim jong il and castro. they looked and thought that is an unusual honor to receive from the president of the united states. the president began what i call an apology tour of going to various nations in the middle east and criticizing americans. they were in the streets of tehran. they were holding signs saying, is america with us? the president was silent. the president said he would create daylight between us and
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israel. all of these things suggest to the iranian mullahs that we can keep pushing along. there are now 10,000 centrifuges spinning uranium. that is unacceptable to us. it is essential for the president to show strength from the very beginning to make it clear what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. an iranian nuclear program is not acceptable. the way to make sure that they understand is to have from the very beginning be tighter sanctions possible. they need to be tightened. that we need to indict ahmadinejad. we need to put the pressure on them as hard as we can. if we do that, we will not have to take military action. >> nothing that governor brown
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me just said is true starting with the apologizing. this has been the biggest whopper that has been told over the course of the campaign. every fact checkers said that this was not true. we have put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever. well we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure that things were effective, you were still invested in a chinese state oil company that was doing business with the iranian sector. i will let the american people decide who will be more effective when it comes to imposing crippling sanctions. with respect to our attitude about the iranian revolution, i was very clear about the murderous activities that had taken place that was contrary to international law and everything that symbolizes what are people
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stand for. the strength we have shown a iran has been shown with the world. when i came into office, the world was divided. iran was at its weakest point economically, strategically, militarily has banned in many years. we will continue to keep pressure on and make sure they do not get a nuclear weapon. that is in america's national interest. >> we are four years closer to a nuclear iran. we should not have wasted these four years. they continue to spin the centrifuges and get that much closer. the reason i call it an apology tour. is that you went to the middle east and you flew to saudi arabia, turkey, israel, iraq, and you skipped israel, our
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closest friend in the region. they noticed that you skip israel. you said that america had been dismissive and derisive. you said that on occasion america had dictated to other nations. america has not dictated to other nations. we have freed other nations from dictators. >> if we are going to talk about trips that we take, when i was a candidate for office, the first trip i took was to visit our troops. what i went to israel as a candidate, i did not take donors, i did not attend fund- raisers. i went to the holocaust museum to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with israel will be unpredictable.
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then i went to a town that experience missiles raining down from hamas. i talk to families that showed me where missiles came down near their children's bedrooms. as president, i condoned a program to stop those missiles. when i travelled to israel and a travel to the region. the central question at this point will be, who is going to be credible to all parties involved? they can look at my track record whether it is dealing with counter-terrorism for supporting democracy or women's rights and they can say that the president of the united states and united states of america has stood on the right side of history. that kind of credibility is precisely why we have been able
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to show leadership on a wide range of issues facing the world right now. >> what if the prime minister of israel called you on the phone and set our bombers are on the way. we are going to bomb iran? >> our relationship with israel and the prime minister of israel is such that we will not get a call saying that our bombers are on the way or the fighters are on the way. this is the kind of thing that would have been discussed or thoroughly evaluated. back to what the president was speaking about, which is what is happening in the world. the president is saying that things are going so well. i look at what is happening around the world and i see iran four years closer to a bomb, i see a rising tide of chaos and
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tumble. i see jihadist. whether they are rising or at the same level, it is hard to measure. it is clear that they are very strong. i see syria with 33,000 civilians dead. ic assad still strong. the chinese trade deficit is growing larger every year. russia says that they will not follow luger anymore. they backed away from a nuclear proliferation treaty influence going around the world. i see our influence receding. in part because of the theater of the president to do with our economic challenges and our withdrawal from our commitment to the military in part because of the turmoil with israel. the president received a letter from 38 democrat senators, saying that tensions with israel were a real problem.
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they asked him to repair the tension. >> governor, the problem is that on a whole range of issues, whether it is the middle east, afghanistan, iraq, iran, you have been all over the map. i am pleased that you know are endorsing our policy applying diplomatic pressure. and potentially having bilateral discussions with the iranians to end their nuclear program. but a few years ago, you said that is something you would never do. in the same way you initially opposed a timetable in afghanistan. now you are 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 there.
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the same way that you said it was missing creep to go after gadhafi. when it comes to going after osama bin laden, d said any president would make that call but when you were a candidate in 2008 and i said if i got osama bin laden in our sights, i would take that shot. you should be should not move heaven and earth to get one man. you said we should ask pakistan for permission. and it was worth moving heaven and earth to get it. after we killed osama bin laden, i was at ground zero for a memorial and talked to a young woman who was four when 9/11 happened in the last conversation she had with her father was him calling from the twin towers saying i love you and i will always walked over you. -- awtch over you -- watch over
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you. the next decade, she was haunted by the conversation. finally getting osama bin laden bought some closure to me, she said. when we bring those to of harm to us to justice, that sends a message to the world and it tells her that we did not forget her father. i make that point because that is the kind of clarity of leadership and those decisions are not always popular. they are generally not pull tested. 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 for. i make those decisions. >> that takes us to the next segment. governor, america's long as war, afghanistan and pakistan.
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>> you cannot have the presently out a whole series and i give a chance to respond to request with respect, you lay out quite a problem there -- you laid out quite a program there. >> united states is set to turn over responsibility to the afghan government in 2014. we will withdraw our combat troops at that point, leaving smaller force of americans in afghanistan for training purposes. it seems to me the key question here is what do you do if the deadline arrives and is obvious in the afghans are unable to handle their security? do we still leave? >> we will be finished by 2014 and when i am president, we will make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. the commanders and generals there are on track to do so. we have seen progress over the past several years.
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the search has been successful. the training program is proceeding at pace. there are a large number of afghan security forces that are ready to step in to provide security. we are going to be able to make that transition by the end of 2014. our troops will come home at that point. i cannot tell you at the same time that we will make sure we look at what is happening with pakistan and recognize that what is happening there will have a major impact on the ups excess in afghanistan. i say that because i know a lot of people feel like we should just brushed our hands and walk away. i do not mean you, mr. president. but some people in our nation feel that pakistan is not being nice to us and we should walk away from them. pakistan is important to the region, the world and to us. they have 100 nuclear warheads and they are rushing to build a lot more. it will have more of the great britain sometime in the near future.
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the also have the haqqani network and the taliban. a pakistan that fall apart because they failed state would be of extraordinary danger to afghanistan and to us. we are going to have to remain helpful in encouraging pakistan to move towards a more stable government and to rebuild the relationship with us. that means that our aide that we provide will have to be conditioned upon certain benchmarks be met. for me, a 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 focused our attention on afghanistan we did deliver a surge of troops.
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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 happened is we forgot why we had gone. we went because there were people who were responsible for 3000 american deaths and so we decimated al qaeda's core leadership in the border regions between afghanistan and pakistan. we then started to build up afghan forces and we are now in a position where we can transition out. there is no reason why americans should die when afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country. that transition has to take place in an irresponsible fashion. we have been there a long time and we have to make -- in a responsible fashion. we have been there a long time and we have to make sure we and our partners are pulling out responsibility -- responsibly. after a decade of war, it is time to do some nation-building
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here at home. what we can now do is we have some resources to put americans back to work, especially our veterans, rebuilding our roads, bridges, schools. making sure our veterans are getting the care they need when it comes to posttraumatic stress disorder. enter matted brain injury. making sure that the certification -- and dramatic brain injury. making sure that the certification the need for good jobs in the future are in place. i spoke to someone who was an metic dealing with extreme circumstances. when he became home -- who wasa a medic dealing with extreme circumstances. when he came home, he cannot get a job. as a consequence, veterans unemployment is now lower than general population and was higher when i came into office. those are the things that we can
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now do because we are making that transition in afghanistan. >> let me go to governor romney. you talked about pakistan and what needs to be down there. general allan, commander in afghanistan, said americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by pakistan. we know that pakistan has arrested the doctor to help us catch osama bin laden. it still provides safe haven for terrorists yet we continue to get pakistan billions of dollars. is it time for us to divorce pakistan? >> no, it is not time to divorce a nation on earth that has 100 nuclear-weapons and is on the way to double that. a nation that has serious threats from terrorist groups within this -- within its nation.
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it is a nation not like others and does not have a civilian leadership calling the shots there. you have the isi, their intelligence organization. and you have the military and civilian government. this is a nation, which if it falls apart and becomes a failed state, there are nuclear weapons there. you have terrorists there who can grab their hands on those nuclear weapons. this is an important part of the world for us. pakistan is technically an ally. they are not acting very much like an alley by now but we have work to do. i cannot blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with pakistan is strained. we had to go into pakistan to get osama bin laden. that was the right thing to do. that upset them that there was a great deal of anger even before that. we will have to work with the people in pakistan to try to help them move to a more responsible course than the one
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they are on. it is important for them, the nuclear weapons, the success of afghanistan. inside pakistan, you have a large group of pashtuns that are caliban's -- that are taliban's. it is important for us to recognize that we cannot just walk away from pakistan theory we do need to make sure as we send support for them that this is tied to them making progress on matters that would lead them to becoming a civil society. correct -- >> we know president obama's position, but what is your position on the use of drones? >> i believe we should use all means necessary to take out those who opposed a threat to us -- those who pose a threat to us. i support entirely and bill the
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president was right to opt the uses of that technology -- and believe the president was right to up the use of that technology. as i said earlier, we will have to do more than just going after leaders in killing bad guys. important as that is, we will also have to have a far more effective and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and islamic extremism. we have not done that yet. we talked a lot about these things but look at the record. is iran closer to a bomb? yes. is the middle east in tumbled? yes. is al qaeda on the run? -- middle east in tumult? yes. is al qaeda on the line? yesterday have not seen the progress we need to have to rebut strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy, we the kind piece of
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the world demand. >> our strategy was not just going after osama bin laden. we created partnerships around the region to do with extremism in somalia, yemen, pakistan. what we have also done is a gauge the government's in the -- engage the government in the kind of reforms that will make a difference and the people's lives day-to-day. to make sure that they are treating women with the kind of respect and dignity that every nation has shown and to make sure they have a free market system that works. across the board, we are engaging them in building capacity in these countries and we have stood on the side of democracy. one thing americans should be proud of when two nations began to protest this nation, me, my
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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. as a consequence, there is no doubt that attitudes about americans have changed. but there will always be elements in these countries that potentially threatened the united states. we want to shrink those groups and as networks and we can do that but we will also have to make vigilance when it comes to terrorist activity. al qaeda is much weaker than it was when i came into office and they do not have the same capacity to attack the u.s. homeland and our allies as they did four years ago. >> let's go to the next segment. it is a very important one. the rise of china and future challenges for america. i want to begin by asking both of you, mr. president, you go
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first this time. what do you believe is the greatest feature threat to the national security of this country? >> i think it will continue to be terrorist networks. we have to remain vigilant, as i just said. with respect to china, china is both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules. 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 it. jobs being shipped overseas, businesses and workers not getting a level playing field when it came to trade. that is the reason why i set up a trade pass -- task force to go after cheaters when it came to international trade. that is why we have brought more cases against china for
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violating trade rules than the other -- the previous administration had done in two terms and we won just about every case the file that has been decided. recently, steel workers in ohio and throughout the midwest are in a position now to sell steel to china because we won that case. we had a tire case where they were flooding us with cheap chinese tires. we put a stop to it. as a consequence, saved jobs throughout america. i have to say that governor romney criticized me for being too tough in that case, said this would not be good for american workers. i tell you those workers do not feel that way. they feel as if they had -- finally the administration was going to take this issue seriously. over the long term for us to compete with china, we also have to make sure we are taking care business at home. if we do not have the best
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education system in the vault, if we do not continue to put money into research -- system in the world, if we cannot continue to put money into research, that is how we lose the competition. unfortunately, governor romney's budget and his proposals would not allow us to make those investments. >> governor pierre >> it is not a government that makes business successful. -- >> governor. >> it is not a government that makes business successful. the greatest national threat is a nuclear iran. let's talk about china. china has an interest very much like ours. that is they want to -- they want a stable world. they do not want to see the world break out into various forms of chaos because they have to manufacture goods and put people to work. they have 20 million people coming out of forms every year. coming into the cities, needing
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jobs. they want the economy to work and the world to be free. so we can be a partner with china. we do not have to be an adversary in any way shape or form. we can work with them and collaborate with them, if they are willing to be responsible. 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. a look at the fact that we owe them $1 trillion. they look at our decision to cut back on our military capabilities. $1 trillion. the secretary of defense call these cuts to the military devastating. it is the president's own secretary of defense who call them devastating to read a look at america's commitments around the world and they see what is happening and say is america going to be strong? the answer is yes. if i am president, america will be very strong. we will also make sure we have trade relations with china that work for us. i watched a year in and year out
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as companies have shut down and people have lost their jobs because china has not played by the same rules. in part by holding down the value of their currency that holds down the prices of their goods and means our goods are not as competitive and we lose jobs. that has to end. they are making some progress. they need to make more. on day one, i will legal limit currency manipulator which allows us to apply where they are taking does. distilling our patents -- they are stealing our patent, counterfeiting our good spirit we want to trade with them, we want a world that is stable. we live free enterprise but you have to play by the rules. >> governor, if you declare that a currency manipulator on day one, some people say you will just start a trade war with china. isn't there a risk?
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>> they sellas about this much stuff every year. and we seldom about this much stuff every year. it is pretty clear who does not want to trade. -- they sell us about this much stuff every year. we sell them about this much debt every year. it is pretty clear who does not want to trade. we cannot lose dodd year in and year out. we have to say to our friends in china, you're playing aggressively but this can i keep on going. you cannot hold down the value of their currency, steal our intellectual property, counterfeit our products, seldom around the world. even in the united states. there is one company that makes the valves and they said we are having some coming in the broken and we had to repair them under warranty. we looked them up and they had our serial number on them. devin noticed that there was more than one with that same
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serial number. they were counterfeit products being made overseas with the same serial number as the u.s. company. they're being sold around the world at the they were being made by the u.s. competitor. this cannot go on. i want a great relationship with china. china can be our partner. that does not mean they can run all over us and steer -- steal our jobs. >> governor brown is right. you are familiar with jobs being invested overseas because you were -- governor romney is right. you are familiar with does being shipped overseas because you invest in companies that ship jobs overseas. we would be buying cars from china instead of selling cars to china. if we take your advice with respect to how we change our tax codes so companies that are earning profits overseas do not pay u.s. taxes, compared to companies here that are paying taxes, that is estimated to
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create $800,000. but the problem is they will be in place like china. making investments in education and basic research which is not something the private sector is doing and is sufficient basis, then we will lose the lead in things like clean energy technology. with respect to what we have done with time already, u.s. exports -- we have done with china already, u.s. exports have doubled to china. currencies are at the most advantageous point for u.s. exporters since 1993. we have to make more progress and that is why we will keep on pressing. when it comes to our military and chinese security, part of the reason we are able to pivot to the asia-pacific region after having ended the war in iraq and transitioning out of afghanistan is because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future.
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we believe china can be a partner but we are also sending a very clear signal that america is a pacific power. we will have a presence there. we are working with countries in the region to make sure for example that ships can pass through. the commerce continues. in reorganizing trade relations with countries -- and we are organizing relations with countries. that is the kind of leadership we have shown and will continue to show. >> i want to take one of those points. attacking me as not talking about an agenda for getting more trade and opening up more jobs in this country. the president mentioned the auto industry and that i would somehow be added a favor of jobs being elsewhere. nothing could be further from the truth. i will msn of detroit. my father was head of a car company. -- i am a son of detroit.
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my father was the head of a car company. president bush wrote the first checks. i disagree with that. i said they need these companies to manage bankruptcy's predicting the government has --bankruptcies. they can get government help. >> governor romney, that is not what he said. ould id not say you wuol provide -- >> that allow these companies to come out of bankruptcy. under no circumstances would i do anything other than to help this industry get on its feet. the idea that i would quit the industry, of course not. >> let's check the records. >> i never said i will liquidate the industry. >> governor, the people of
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detroit to not forget your >> that's why i had a commitment to make sure our industries can compete and be successful. we can compete successfully with anyone in the world and we are going to. we will have to have a president, however, that does not think somehow government investing in car companies like tesla -- this is not research. the government is investing in companies. solyndra. this is not basic research. i want to invest in research. research is great. providing funding to universities and think tanks, great, but investing in companies, absolutely not. i am still speaking. i want to assure we make america more competitive and that we do those things to make america the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses to grow. but investing in companies makes
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it less likely for government -- countries to come here. >> i think anybody out there can check the records. governor, you keep trying to airbrush history. you were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the u.s. auto companies, even if they went through bankruptcy. he said they could get it in the private marketplace. that was not true. >> you are wrong. >> no, i am not wrong. it is true that in order for us to be competitive, we will have to make some smart tresses. cutting our education budget, that is not a smart choice. that will not help us compete with china. cutting our investment in research and technology, that is not a smart choice. bringing down our deficit by
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adding $7 trillion of tax cuts and military spending that our military is not asking for before we even get to the debt we currently have, that is not going to make us more competitive. those are the kinds of choices the american people face right now. having a tax code that will reward companies shipping jobs overseas instead of companies investing here in the united states. that will not make us more competitive. the one thing i am clear about is after a decade in which we saw ate it, jobs being shipped overseas, nobody championing american workers and businesses, we have now begun to make real progress. the chemical back to the same policies -- we cannot go back to the same policies that got us into such difficulty and in the first place. >> i could not agree more about going forward but i do not want to go back to the policies of the last four years.
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the policies have seen incomes in america declined every year for middle income families. now about $4,300 during your term. 23 million americans still struggling to find a good job when he came to office, 32 million people on food stamps. today, 47 million people. when you came to office, over $10 trillion in debt. now $16 trillion. it has not worked. you said by now we would be at 5.4% unemployment. we are 9 million jobs short of that i have met some of those people. i met them in wisconsin. i met a young woman in philadelphia coming out of college, cannot find work. ann was with someone the other day week -- beeping about not being able to get work. it is a tragedy it into a nation as prosperous as ours. -- in a nation as prosperous as ours. it is critical to build jobs,
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growth the economy. not one of how ben by hiring teachers. i left teachers-- that is not going to happen by hiring teachers. i love that teachers. -- teachers. i was a governor. the federal government did not hire our teachers. i want to get our private sector covering -- growing. >> i think we all left teachers. the gentleman, thank you so much for a vigorous the date. we have come to the end. it is time for closing statements. >> thank you very much. bob, governor romney. you have now heard three debate three months of campaigning in a way to many tv commercials. now you have a choice. over the last four years, we have made real progress digging our way out the policies that give us two


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