Third Presidential Debate: Full Transcript

Share
Copy

We -- we have, with our partners in the region, we have sufficient resources to support those groups. But look, this has been going on for a year. This is a time -- this should have been a time for American leadership. We should have taken a leading role, not militarily, but a leading role organizationally, governmentally to bring together the parties; to find responsible parties.

As you hear from intelligence sources even today, the -- the insurgents are highly disparate. They haven't come together. They haven't formed a unity group, a council of some kind. That needs to happen. America can help that happen. And we need to make sure they have the arms they need to carry out the very important role which is getting rid of Assad.

SCHIEFFER: Can we get a quick response, Mr. President, because I want to...

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: Well, I'll -- I'll be very quick. What you just heard Governor Romney said is he doesn't have different ideas. And that's because we're doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate Syrian leadership and a -- an effective transition so that we get Assad out. That's the kind of leadership we've shown. That's the kind of leadership we'll continue to show.

SCHIEFFER: May I ask you, you know, during the Egyptian turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for President Mubarak to go.

OBAMA: Right.

SCHIEFFER: Some in your administration thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. Do you have any regrets about that?

OBAMA: No, I don't, because I think that America has to stand with democracy. The notion that we would have tanks run over those young people who were in Tahrir Square, that is not the kind of American leadership that John F. Kennedy talked about 50 years ago.

But what I've also said is that now that you have a democratically elected government in Egypt, that they have to make sure that they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities. And we have put significant pressure on them to make sure they're doing that; to recognize the rights of women, which is critical throughout the region. These countries can't develop if young women are not given the kind of education that they need.

They have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us, because not only is Israel's security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels.

They have to make sure that they're cooperating with us when it comes to counterterrorism.

And we will help them with respect to developing their own economy, because ultimately what's going to make the Egyptian revolution successful for the people of Egypt, but also for the world, is if those young people who gathered there are seeing opportunities.

Their aspirations are similar to young people's here. They want jobs, they want to be able to make sure their kids are going to a good school. They want to make sure that they have a roof over their heads and that they have the prospects of a better life in the future.

And so one of the things that we've been doing is, is, for example, organizing entrepreneurship conferences with these Egyptians to give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding their economy in a way that's noncorrupt, that's transparent. But what is also important for us to understand is, is that for America to be successful in this region there's some things that we're going to have to do here at home as well.

You know, one of the challenges over the last decade is we've done experiments in nation building in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and we've neglected, for example, developing our own economy, our own energy sectors, our own education system. And it's very hard for us to project leadership around the world when we're not doing what we need to do...

SCHIEFFER: Governor Romney, I want to hear your response to that, but I would just ask you, would you have stuck with Mubarak?

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...