Transcript: Obama and Clinton Debate

GIBSON: Like John McCain.

CLINTON: Like John McCain and some Democrats, frankly. I think Senator Menendez and others have said that we may have to do something because when you get to $4 a gallon gas, people are not going to be able to afford to drive to work.

And what I would like to see us do is say, if we have that, then we should have a windfall profits tax on these outrageous profits of the oil companies, and put that money back into the highway trust funds so that we don't lose out on repair and construction and rebuilding.

But ultimately Charlie, we've got to have a long-term energy strategy. We are so much more dependent on foreign oil today than we were on 9/11. That is a real indictment of our leadership. I've laid out a comprehensive plan to move us toward energy independence that I hope I will have the opportunity to implement as president.

GIBSON: Very quickly, Senator Obama, same thing, but we've heard from politicians for a long time, we're going to end dependence on foreign oil. I just have a quote, "the generation-long growth and our dependence of foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now." That was Jimmy Carter in 1979. And it's gotten a whole lot worse since then.

OBAMA: You're right and that's why people are cynical because decade after decade, we talk about energy policy. We talk about health care policy. And through Democratic and Republican administrations, nothing gets done.

I think many of the steps that Senator Clinton outlined are similar to the plans that we've talked about. It is absolutely true that we've got to investigate potential price gouging or market manipulation. I have strongly called for a windfall profits tax that can provide both consumers relief and also invest in renewable energies.

I think that long-term, we are going to have to raise fuel efficiency standards on cars because the only way that we're going to be able to reduce gas prices if we reduce demand. You've still got a billion people in China and maybe 700 million in India who still want cars.

And so, the long-term trajectory is that we're going to have to get serious about increasing our fuel efficiency standards and investing in new technologies. That's something I'm committed to doing. I've talked about spending $150 billion over 10 years in a Manhattan project to create the alternative energy strategies that will work, not only for this generation, but for the next.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're running out of time for this segment. Quickly, for each of you, 30 seconds. Senator Clinton, you've said that you believe in using former presidents. How would you use George W. Bush if you were president?

CLINTON: I'm going to have to give some serious thought to that. I do believe that it's a way to unify our country. I thought that President Bush was right when he asked his father and Bill to represent us during the aftermath of the tsunami. I thought it sent a great message here at home and around the world. And I'm sure there will be opportunities to ask all the former presidents to work on behalf of our nation. You know, we've got to come together and the former presidents really exemplify that, whether one agrees with them politically or not. When they're all together representing our country, that sends a strong message. And I would look for a way to use all of our former presidents. But that will take some careful thought on my part.

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