Third Presidential Debate: Full Transcript

Presidential Debate 2012 Part 3: Full Recap
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PARTICIPATE IN A CANDIDATES DEBATE, LYNN UNIVERSITY, BOCA RATON, FLORIDA

OCTOBER 22, 2012

SPEAKERS: FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.,

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

BOB SCHIEFFER, MODERATOR

(Click HERE for ABC News' fact check of the debate)

[*] SCHIEFFER: Good evening from the campus of Lynn University here in Boca Raton, Florida. This is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign, brought to you by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

WHAT TO KNOW
  • The full transcript from the third presidential debate

This one's on foreign policy. I'm Bob Schieffer of CBS News. The questions are mine, and I have not shared them with the candidates or their aides.

SCHIEFFER: The audience has taken a vow of silence -- no applause, no reaction of any kind, except right now when we welcome President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

(APPLAUSE)

Gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. They've asked me to divide the evening into segments. I'll pose a question at the beginning of each segment. You will each have two minutes to respond and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment.

Tonight's debate, as both of you know, comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that President Kennedy told the world that the Soviet Union had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba, perhaps the closest we've ever come to nuclear war. And it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad.

So let's begin.

SCHIEFFER: The first segment is the challenge of a changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism. I'm going to put this into two segments so you'll have two topic questions within this one segment on the subject. The first question, and it concerns Libya. The controversy over what happened there continues. Four Americans are dead, including an American ambassador. Questions remain. What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened?

Governor Romney, you said this was an example of an American policy in the Middle East that is unraveling before our very eyes.

SCHIEFFER: I'd like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that.

Governor Romney, you won the toss. You go first.

ROMNEY: Thank you, Bob. And thank you for agreeing to moderate this debate this evening. Thank you to Lynn University for welcoming us here. And Mr. President, it's good to be with you again. We were together at a humorous event a little earlier, and it's nice to maybe funny this time, not on purpose. We'll see what happens.

This is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world, and to America in particular, which is to see a -- a complete change in the -- the structure and the -- the environment in the Middle East.

With the Arab Spring, came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation, and opportunity for greater participation on the part of women in public life, and in economic life in the Middle East. But instead, we've seen in nation after nation, a number of disturbing events. Of course we see in Syria, 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. We see in -- in Libya, an attack apparently by, I think we know now, by terrorists of some kind against -- against our people there, four people dead.

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