What I would specifically do as president is I would ask Musharraf to step aside. There is a provision in the Pakistani constitution...
GIBSON: Ask him to step aside?
RICHARDSON: Yes. For a caretaker...
RICHARDSON: Because we have the leverage to do that.
RICHARDSON: We have the leverage to do that.
RICHARDSON: And I would send a high-level envoy to ask him to step aside.
There's a provision in the Pakistani constitution for a caretaker government of technocrats. This happened when a previous prime minister died. And I would make it unmistakably clear that he had to have elections.
Now, elections are scheduled tentatively for February. A broadly based government, it's what's best for the United States.
GIBSON: I understand your point about diplomacy, but Senator Obama's postulate was, we have actionable intelligence, the Musharraf government won't move. Do we, should we go into western Pakistan and, essentially, try to take him out?
RICHARDSON: If we have actionable intelligence that is real and if Musharraf is incapable, which he is -- because here's a man who has not stood up for his democracy, he is virtually in a situation where he's losing control -- then you do take that action.
RICHARDSON: However, Charlie, first you use diplomacy.
And diplomacy is to try to get what is best for the United States. And that is a democratic Pakistan with free and fair elections, and a concerted effort on the part of Musharraf or whoever is in the leadership in Pakistan to go after the terrorists in those safe havens which they have not done.
GIBSON: Senator Clinton?
CLINTON: Well, I think it's important to get back to your question, because obviously that's the most direct threat to the United States.
We did take action similar to what has been described about 10 years ago, based on what was thought to be actionable intelligence, sending in missiles to try to target bin Laden and his top leadership who were thought to be at a certain meeting place.
CLINTON: They were not taken out at the time.
So we have to be very conscious of all the consequences.
Now, as far as I know, there are, like, five things quickly that we should be looking at.
Bin Laden has in large measure regrouped because we did not put in the troops and make the commitment to aggressively going after him inside Afghanistan when we had a chance. Therefore, we need more NATO troops and a faster effort to train the Afghan army so that we do have the personnel and the technology, including the Predators, to be able to be on the spot at the time to try to move as quickly as possible.
Secondly, I think it's imperative that any actionable intelligence that would lead to a strike inside Pakistan's territory be given the most careful consideration.
CLINTON: And at some point -- probably when the missiles have been launched -- the Pakistani government has to know they're on the way. Because one of the problems is the inherent paranoia about India in the region in Pakistan, so that we've got to have a plan to try to make sure we don't ignite some kind of reaction before we even know whether the action we took with the missiles has worked.
Real quickly, thirdly, so far as we know right now, the nuclear technology is considered secure, but there isn't any guarantee, especially given the political turmoil going on inside Pakistan.