STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, Mayor, the New York Times is reporting this morning that Iran has agreed in principle to direct talks over their nuclear program. The White House has said there's no deal, though. President Obama first expressed his willingness to have direct talks when you were chief of staff in the White House. Do you believe Iran is ready now for direct talks or is this a stalling policy?
EMANUEL: George, that's a good question. Let me take -- I want to take one step back.
When the president walked into the Oval Office, on the issue of Iran trying to acquire and develop nuclear weapons, the United States was isolated from the rest of the world on Iran. Three and a half years later, the tables have been turned. Iran is isolated from the rest of the world. Now, that was steady, determined, dogged leadership, setting out a course.
We now know for a fact even when some questioned the course, not only have we organized the rest of the world to isolate Iran, we have put in place and the president has put in place, withering, very tough sanctions that are not only having economic impact and crumbling the economic capacity of Iran-- and we have seen the data. The fact that the economy is shrinking and not growing. And it's having a political impact. It's been clear that there's no idea of one-off or one-on-one discussions--
STEPHANOPOULOS: So now is the time for direct talks?
EMANUEL: But -- that's not for me to say and they'll determine that. I don't have all the information. But I do know this, that three and a half years ago, we as a country, the world was criticizing us on Iran. Today, the world is criticizing Iran on its attempt to acquire nuclear weapons. That's a direct change. The tables have been turned. And the result of that is because of the steady leadership and the course the president has done in building a coalition and forcing now a set of sanctions that Europe would never have considered three and a half years ago, to a point that Iran's economy is on its knees.
And I will say this, while you say we're going to turn to foreign policy -- the most important part of that foreign policy debate tomorrow will be, because I think the most important thing we can do as a country on our foreign policy is strengthen our economy here at home. It is our leadership abroad that comes from a strong economy. And the economic argument of who's going to make sure that this country is investing in itself after a decade of fighting wars overseas, I think we'll be sure to bring that peace home, and make sure that America is actually (inaudible).
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Emanuel, thank you very much for your time this morning.
Let's go now to Florida Senator Marco Rubio. You just heard the mayor right there, Senator. What's your response to the idea that the No. 1 issue right now is bringing -- investing more in America?
RUBIO: Well, that sounds like a lot of spending. I mean, obviously, we all agree that we want to grow the economy. I think the most startling thing that has happened over the last month of this campaign is the president has completely given up on outlining any sort of agenda for the future. What is his plan for the next four years? What does the next four years look like?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Didn't you just hear that from Mayor Emanuel?