So we can talk about issues. But the biggest difference I think -- and it's going to be true for me and others who talk about it -- is that this is a time when America wants change. Washington is broken. That was the message coming out of Iowa. I've heard it across the country. Washington is broken, not just the White House, not just Congress. Washington can't get the job done on immigration, on lowering taxes, on fixing schools, on getting health care, on overcoming radical jihad. They want change.
Barack Obama looked at several senators steeped in long history in the Senate and completely blew them away in the Iowa caucus.
ROMNEY: It's a message of change.
And when we sit down and talk about change -- Barack Obama and myself at that final debate, as you are positing -- I can say, "Not only can I talk change with you, I've lived it. In the private sector for 25 years, I brought change to company after company. In the Olympics, it was in trouble. I brought change. In Massachusetts, I brought change. I have done it. I have changed things, and that experience is what America is looking for."
You look at that debate with Barack Obama. I'm looking forward to head-to-head.
GIBSON: I'm going to keep us on time. Go ahead.
SPRADLING: Senator Thompson, I'd like to get your take on that: you vs. Senator Barack Obama. Why not him?
THOMPSON: Well, Senator Obama has adopted the position of every liberal interest group in this country as best I can tell; all the major ones, the NEA and everyone who's stepped forth with a position paper on these issues. His positions are very liberal positions.
THOMPSON: His first alternative to all problems, as best I can see, is not only the government, but the federal government.
He's talking in generalities right now. As the time goes on, the process goes on, I think he'll have to be more definitive. But it's clear from what he's said so far that he's taking that position.
And as far as change is concerned, the change we need is to go to constitutional principles, the first principles this country was founded upon, respect for the rule of law, market economies, free people doing free things, and a country that doesn't tax and spend it's people to death, that's doesn't regulate the life blood out of them, doesn't spend money that it doesn't have.
And that's not the direction they want to go in. They want to take us down the road of the welfare state, essentially, and a road that I think would lead us to a weaker position in terms of national security.
SPRADLING: We'll move off-topic in a moment, but, Senator, you served with Mr. Obama.
MCCAIN: I just wanted to say to Governor Romney, we disagree on a lot of issues, but I agree you are the candidate of change.
But the difference I would have with Senator Obama has got to do with national security.
I know Senator Obama and I've worked with him many times and I respect him, as I respect Senator Clinton.
Senator Obama does not have the national security experience and background to lead this nation.
We are facing the transcendent challenge of the 21st century. And that is radical Islamic extremism.
In his recent statements on various foreign -- national security issues, I have strongly disagreed.
But I am -- can make it perfectly clear that it requires a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience and a lot of background to have the judgment to address the challenges that our nation faces in the 21st century.