Romney/Obama Answers to Question About America's Role in the World Reveal a Lot
SCHIEFFER: ......... What do each of you see as our role in the world, and I believe, Governor Romney, it's your chance to go first.
ROMNEY: Well I - I absolutely believe that America has a - a responsibility, and the privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that - that make the world more peaceful. And those principles include human rights, human dignity, free enterprise, freedom of expression, elections. Because when there are elections, people tend to vote for peace. They don't vote for war. So we want to promote those principles around the world. We recognize that there are places of conflict in the world. We want to end those conflicts to the extent humanly possible. But in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, America must be strong. America must lead. And for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. You can't have 23 million people struggling to get a job. You can't have an economy that over the last three years keeps slowing down its growth rate. You can't have kids coming out of college, half of them 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 got to strengthen our military long-term. We don't know what the world is going to throw at us down the road. We - we make decisions today in the military that - that will confront challenges we can't imagine. In the 2000 debates, there was no mention of terrorism, for instance. And a year later, 9/11 happened. So, we have to make decisions based upon uncertainty, and that means a strong military. I will not cut our military budget. We have to also stand by our allies. I - I think the tension that existed between Israel and the United States was very unfortunate. I think also that pulling our missile defense program out of Poland in the way we did was also unfortunate in terms of, if you will, disrupting the relationship in some ways that existed between us. And then, of course, with regards to standing for our principles, when - when the students took to the streets in Tehran and the people there protested, the Green Revolution occurred, for the president to be silent I thought was an enormous mistake. We have to stand for our principles, stand for our allies, stand for a strong military and stand for a stronger economy.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?
OBAMA: America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America, and it is stronger now than when I came into office. Because we ended the war in Iraq, we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat, but also beginning a transition process in Afghanistan. It also allowed us to refocus on alliances and relationships that had been neglected for a decade. And Governor Romney, our alliances have never been stronger, in Asia, in Europe, in Africa, with Israel, where we have unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with the Iranian threat. But what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding America, and that's what my plan does. Making sure that we're bringing manufacturing back to our shores so that we're creating jobs here, as we've done with the auto industry, not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas. Making sure that we've got the best education system in the world, including retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. Doing everything we can to control our own energy. We've cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades because we've developed oil and natural gas. But we also have to develop clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020. That's the kind of leadership that we need to show.And we've got to make sure that we reduce our deficit. Unfortunately, Governor Romney's plan doesn't do it. We've got to do it in a responsible way by cutting out spending we don't need, but also asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more. That way we can invest in the research and technology that's always kept us at the cutting edge. Now, Governor Romney has taken a different approach throughout this campaign. Both at home and abroad, he has proposed wrong and reckless policies. He's praised George Bush as a good economic steward and Dick Cheney as somebody who's - who shows great wisdom and judgment. And taking us back to those kinds of strategies that got us into this mess are not the way that we are going to maintain leadership in the 21st century.
SCHIEFFER: Governor Romney, "wrong and reckless" policies?
ROMNEY: I've got a policy for the future and agenda for the future. And when it comes to our economy here at home, I know what it takes to create 12 million new jobs and rising take-home pay. And what we've seen over the last four years is something I don't want to see over the next four years. The president said by now we'd be a 5.4 percent unemployment. We're 9 million jobs short of that. I will get America working again and see rising take-home pay again, and I'll do it with five simple steps. Number one, we are going to have North American energy independence. We're going to do it by taking full advantage of oil, coal, gas, nuclear and our renewables. Number two, we're going to increase our trade. Trade grows about 12 percent year. It doubles about every - every five or so years. We can do better than that, particularly in Latin America. The opportunities for us in Latin America we have just not taken advantage of fully. As a matter of fact, Latin America's economy is almost as big as the economy of China. We're all focused on China. Latin America is a huge opportunity for us - time zone, language opportunities. Number three, we're going to have to have training programs that work for our workers and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first, and the teachers' unions going to have to go behind.And then we're going to have to get to a balanced budget. We can't expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their life savings or their company's money and invest in America if they think we're headed to the road to Greece. And that's where we're going right now unless we finally get off this spending and borrowing binge. And I'll get us on track to a balanced budget. And finally, number five, we've got to champion small business. Small business is where jobs come from. Two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. New business formation is down to the lowest level in 30 years under this administration. I want to bring it back and get back good jobs and rising take-home pay.
OBAMA: Well, let's talk about what we need to compete. First of all, Governor Romney talks about small businesses. But, Governor, when you were in Massachusetts, small businesses development ranked about 48th, I think out of 50 states in Massachusetts, because the policies that you are promoting actually don't help small businesses.And the way you define small businesses includes folks at the very top. And they include you and me. That's not the kind of small business promotion we need. But let's take an example that we know is going to make a difference in the 21st century and that's our education policy. We didn't have a lot of chance to talk about this in the last debate. You know, under my leadership, what we've done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states. We've seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time. And they're starting to finally make progress.And what I now want to do is to hire more teachers, especially in math and science, because we know that we've fallen behind when it comes to math and science. And those teachers can make a difference. Now, Governor Romney, when you were asked by teachers whether or not this would help the economy grow, you said this isn't going to help the economy grow.
OBAMA: When you were asked about reduced class sizes, you said class sizes don't make a difference. But I tell you, if you talk to teachers, they will tell you it does make a difference. And if we've got math teachers who are able to provide the kind of support that they need for our kids, that's what's going to determine whether or not the new businesses are created here. Companies are going to locate here depending on whether we've got the most highly skilled workforce. And the kinds of budget proposals that you've put forward, when we don't ask either you or me to pay a dime more in terms of reducing the deficit, but instead we slash support for education, that's undermining our long-term competitiveness. That is not good for America's position in the world, and the world notices.
SCHIEFFER: Let me get back to foreign policy.........