Transcript: Obama and Clinton Debate

And we will let the Iranians know, that, yes, an attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation. But so would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under the security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions. And finally, we cannot permit Iran to become a nuclear weapons power. And this administration has failed in our efforts to convince the rest of the world that that is a danger, not only to us, and not just to Israel but to the region and beyond.

Therefore, we have not to have this process that reaches out beyond even who we would put under the security umbrella, to get the rest of the world on our side to try to impose the kind of sanctions and diplomatic efforts that might prevent this from occurring.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me turn to the economy. That is the No. 1 issue on Americans' minds right now. Yesterday, Senator McCain signaled that the No. 1 one issue in the general election campaign on the economy is going to be taxes. And he says that both of you are going to raise taxes not just on the wealthy, but on everyone. Here's what he said in his speech yesterday.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: All these tax increases are under the fine print of the slogan hope. They're going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year and they have the audacity to hope you don't mind.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Clinton, two-part question. Two-part question. Can you make an absolute "read my lips" pledge, that there will be no tax increases of any kind, for anyone earning under $200,000 a year? And if the economy is as weak a year from now, as it is today, will you continue -- will you persist in your plans to roll back the President Bush's tax cuts for wealthier Americans?

CLINTON: Well, George, I have made a commitment that I will let the taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year go back to the rates that they were paying in the 1990s.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if the economy is weak?

CLINTON: Yes, and here's why. Number one, I do not believe that it will detrimentally affect the economy by doing that. As I recall, you know, we used that tool during the 1990s to very good effect. And I think we can do so again.

I am absolutely committed to not raising a single tax on middle- class Americans, people making less than $250,000 a year.

In fact, I have a very specific plan of $100 billion in tax cuts that would go to help people afford health care, security retirement plans, you know, make it possible for people to get long-term care insurance and care for their parents and grandparents who they are trying to support, making college affordable and so much else.

Well, if you look at how we'd have to sequence that, we might not be able to do all of that at once. But if you go to my Web site,, it is laid out there how I will pay for everything. Because everything I have proposed, I have put in how I would pay for it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: An absolute commitment, no middle-class tax increases of any kind?

CLINTON: No. That's right. That is my commitment.

GIBSON: Senator Obama?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Would you take the same pledge?

OBAMA: Well, I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I've been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes.

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