TRANSCRIPT: The Democratic Debate

It takes a lot of planning to move an agenda forward, particularly with our adversaries. I think the next president will face some of the most difficult international dangerous threats and challenges that any president has faced in a very long time.

CLINTON: We're going to have to mend fences with our allies. We're going to have to deal with global warming. We're going to have to get back on the track of trying to prevent nuclear proliferation -- and so much else.

So I think that, when you've got that big an agenda facing you, you should not telegraph to our adversaries that you're willing to meet with them without preconditions during the first year in office.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Dodd, you've called Senator Obama's views confusing and confused, dangerous and irresponsible. Do you think he's ready to be president?

DODD: Well, again, I'd certainly underscore the point that Senator Clinton has made here. The point I'd make on that, when I disagreed with my colleague from Illinois, was about the issue of whether or not a speech, a prepared speech, which suggested here a hypothetical situation and a hypothetical solution here -- that raised serious issues within Pakistan.

As I pointed out before, the only person that separates us from a jihadist government in Pakistan with nuclear weapons is President Musharraf. And, therefore, I thought it was irresponsible to engage in that kind of a suggestion here. That's dangerous. Words mean something in campaigns.

And so I think it's an important distinction to make here. We're asking Democrats across the country to choose amongst us here who is best able to lead.

The experience, the background, the demonstrated success in dealing with both domestic and foreign policy issues are critical questions. You're not going to have time in January of '09 to get ready for this job.

You've got to be ready immediately for it and bringing back the experience over the years to deal with these issues, as I have, both on the Foreign Relations Committee, dealing with every major foreign policy debate -- sitting there working with children and family issues over the last quarter of the century -- I think demonstrated a background and an experience and ability with proven success to deal with the issues...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Biden, it seems like your colleagues here don't want to reach the judgment that you've made. Why isn't Senator Obama ready?

BIDEN: Look, I think he's a wonderful guy, to start off, number one. It was about Pakistan we were talking about. The fact of the matter is, Pakistan is the most dangerous, potentially the most dangerous country in the world. A significant minority of jihadists with nuclear weapons. We have -- and I disagree with all three of my friends -- we have a Pakistan -- we have no Pakistan policy; we have a Musharraf policy. That's a bad policy. The policy should be based upon a long-term relationship with Pakistan and stability.

We should be encouraging free elections. There is an overwhelming majority of moderates in that country. They should have their day. Otherwise, they're going to go underground.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Senator Biden, you did go beyond talking about Pakistan. You were asked: Is he ready? You said, "I think he can be ready, but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training."

BIDEN: I think I stand by the statement.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...