Third Presidential Debate: Full Transcript

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SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me go to Governor Romney because you talked about Pakistan and what needs to be done there.

General Allen, our commander in Afghanistan, says that Americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by Pakistan. We know that Pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped us catch Obama (sic) bin Laden. It still provides safe haven for terrorists, yet we continue to give Pakistan billions of dollars.

Is it time for us to divorce Pakistan?

ROMNEY: No, it's not time to divorce a nation on Earth that has 100 nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at some point, a nation that has serious threats from terrorist groups within its nation, as I indicated before, the Taliban, Haqqani Network.

It's a nation that's not like -- like others and it does not have a civilian leadership that is calling the shots there. You have the ISI, their intelligence organization, is probably the most powerful of the -- of three branches there. Then you have the military and then you have the civilian government.

This is a nation, which, if it falls apart, if it -- if it becomes a failed state, there are nuclear weapons there and you've got -- you've got terrorists there who could grab their -- their hands onto those nuclear weapons.

ROMNEY: This is -- this is an important part of the world for us. Pakistan is -- is technically an ally, and they're not acting very much like an ally right now. But we have some work to do. And I -- I don't blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with Pakistan is strained. We -- we had to go into Pakistan. We had to go in there to get Osama bin Laden. That was the right thing to do. And -- and that upset them, but obviously there was a great deal of anger even before that. But we're going to have to work with the -- with the people in Pakistan to try and help them move to a more responsible course than the one that they're on. And it's important for them. It's important for the nuclear weapons.

It's important for the success of Afghanistan. Because inside Pakistan, you have a -- a large group of Pashtun that are -- that are Taliban. They're going to come rushing back in to Afghanistan when we go. And that's one of the reasons the Afghan Security Forces have so much work to do to be able to fight against that. But it's important for us to recognize that we can't just walk away from Pakistan. But we do need to make sure that as we -- as we send support for them, that this is tied to them making progress on -- on matters that would lead them to becoming a civil society.

SCHIEFFER: Let -- let me ask you, Governor because we know President Obama's position on this, what is -- what is your position on the use of drones?

ROMNEY: Well I believe we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that and entirely, and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology, and believe that we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the people that represent a threat to this nation and to our friends. But let me also note that as I said earlier, we're going to have to do more than just going after leaders and -- and killing bad guys, important as that is.

ROMNEY: We're also going to have to have a farm more effective and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and Islamic extremism. We haven't done that yet. We talk a lot about these things, but you look at the -- the record, you look at the record. You look at the record of the last four years and say is Iran closer to a bomb? Yes. Is the Middle East in tumult? Yes. Is -- is al-Qaida on the run, on its heels? No. Is -- are Israel and the Palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement?

No, they haven't had talks in two years. We have not seen the progress we need to have, and I'm convinced that with strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy based upon helping these nations reject extremism, we can see the kind of peace and prosperity the world demands.

OBAMA: Well, keep in mind our strategy wasn't just going after bin Laden. We created partnerships throughout the region to deal with extremism in Somalia, in Yemen, in Pakistan.

And what we've also done is engaged these governments in the kind of reforms that are actually going to make a difference in people's lives day to day, to make sure that their governments aren't corrupt, to make sure that they're treating women with the kind of respect and dignity that every nation that succeeds has shown and to make sure that they've got a free market system that works.

So across the board, we are engaging them in building capacity in these countries. And we have stood on the side of democracy.

One thing I think Americans should be proud of, when Tunisians began to protest, this nation -- me, my administration -- stood with them earlier than just about any country.

In Egypt we stood on the side of democracy.

In Libya we stood on the side of the people.

And as a consequence, there's no doubt that attitudes about Americans have changed. But there are always going to be elements in these countries that potentially threaten the United States. And we want to shrink those groups and those networks and we can do that.

OBAMA: But we're always also going to have to maintain vigilance when it comes to terrorist activities. The truth, though, is that Al Qaeda is much weaker than it was when I came into office. And they don't have the same capacities to attack the U.S. homeland and our allies as they did four years ago.

SCHIEFFER: Let's -- let's go to the next segment, because it's a very important one. It is the rise of China and future challenges for America. I want to just begin this by asking both of you, and Mr. President, you -- you go first this time.

What do you believe is the greatest future threat to the national security of this country?

OBAMA: Well, I think it will continue to be terrorist networks. We have to remain vigilant, as I just said. But with respect to China, China is both an adversary, but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules. So my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist that China plays by the same rules as everybody else.

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