Mayor Rahm Emanuel on 'This Week'

The Chicago mayor on the upcoming third presidential debate.
3:00 | 10/21/12

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Transcript for Mayor Rahm Emanuel on 'This Week'
Good morning and welcome to "this week." Two weeks to go. Four more years! Four more years! When I become president -- after that ferocious second debate. Not true, governor romney. Not true. Governor, you're the last person to get tough on china. The race is close, combative and completely up for grabs. And now as the candidates make closing arguments, their biggest guns out in force. Our big questions. Did obama's comeback debate put him back in this race? Can romtney knock him back down in tomorrow's face-off? What will be the final twist that determines this race? Our headliners. Chicago mayor and former white house chief of staff, rahm emanuel. And top romney ally, senator marco rubio of florida. Plus, insight and analysis from our powerhouse roundtable. With matthew dowd, ralph reed, van jones, debbie wasserman schultz and greta van susteren of fox news. And we say farewell to governor McGovern. Hello again. Early this morning, we learned THAT george McGovern, the first senator to oppose the vietnam war, democratic nominee for president in 1972, has passed away at the age of 90. We'll remember him later in the show. But we begin with the race to the white house. Just 16 days to go and re signs this mornthat romney's first debate bounce has staying power. Let's get the headliners. Mayor rahm emanuel. You're down in florida this morning. Polls now show mitt romney ahead. Even the race in ohio has tightened dramatically. I want to show you this politics electoral map, mitt romney has gone ahead for the first time right now. Are you worried that this race is slipping away? No, I think that it's a very tight race, it's a competitive race, in the sense that it's coming down to a few states and a few votes and it's a clear choice between the candidates. One candidates who wants to take us back to the policies that led us to the near-collapse of the great recession and the president who believes by investing in the american people and the middle class that's the best way to grow the economy. George, everybody always knew that this was a tight race and that it was going to come down to a few states. Every vote counts in these key battleground states. You talked about the choice right there. Since the second debate, governor romney has been out on the stump saying that president obama has no agenda for a second term. Take a look. Don't you think that it's time for him to finally put together a vision of what he would do in the next four years if he were elected. I just think that the american people had expected that the president of the united states would be able to describe what he's going to do in the next four years, but he can't. He seems to be getting some traction with that argument, can you counter it? Lay out exactly what president obama would do in a second term? Sure. George, I think it's pretty clear, I make two points here, one, after a decade of war, both in afghanistan and iraq, the most important thing that we have to do now is bring american troops home and battle for america's future and strength at home. That's the most important point to be made and that battle means doing what has done from president clinton to president obama, investing in the education and training of our work force, investing in our roads and bridges to make we have the 21st century economy built on the 21st century foundation. And then third, insting in the reer as much and development so that we can stay competitive in the new technology and the fundamental research. Making sure we have tax fairness where the middle class aren't taking the brunt of the tax system. The most important thing right now for a second term is to do what has worked in the past. Investing in america. If you go to the policies -- here's the thing, there's a contrast here. We have the fact. Romney wants to do george bush's policies. And a little more of that. Barack obama has built policies on the same premise that president clinton had investing in america. It's people and economics. What you want is more of what we had the last four years. No, it's exactly -- first of all, george, when the president walked into the oval office, we were losing on average 800,000 jobs a month, the economy was shrinking about 8%. That was handed off from the bush economy policies. Since that time, steady progress. The banking system was near-collapse, people now get car loans, home loans, student loans. You now have on average 150,000 jobs created. We're also doing major research and development both in the medical area, science and technology. We have to keep that edge. We also have to invest in the basic infrastructure of this country to move our products, roads, airports and bridges, if it runs on rails, runways, roads, we have to upgrade that. That's how you move an economy guard. -- Forward. The truth is, mitt romney wants to follow a set of policies, george, that we have already seen the results where the middle class lose, and for the first time in the decade have lost their standard of living -- let's talk about foreign -- those are the policies and it's a clear choice of moving forward and or going back. Let's talk about foreign policy. Some republican members of congress have been pressing the administration to be more forthcoming about what was known of the security forces in benghazi. A chairman of the oversight committee, he asked -- whether based on political cat concerns or neglect, the actions of this administration. The american people deserve nothing less than a full explanation from this administration about these events, including why the repeated warnings about a worsening security situation apparently had been ignored. The president didn't directly answer that on tuesday. Who rejected the request for more security and why? George, first of all, I have been fortunate in my life to work on both sides of pennsylvania avenue and the president of the united states has ordered an investigation of what happened, who's responsibile and bring them to justice just like he did osama bin laden and the leadership of al qaeda. That's what you have to do in the oval office. Now, I have also worked in congress where you have an oversight responsibility. With that responsibility comes responsibility. What darrell issa did by releases names in that entire document put people at risk in libya and people around the world will now know that you're at risk if you cooperate with the united states. That office, that chairmanship of that committee comes with responsibility. You can't act reckless with it. We have a foreign policy issue. It will be handled. People who do this will be brought to justice. And how it happened will be investigated so we never see it again. But the idea from day one that people have been politicizing this event in my view is absolutely reckless. This is a time for the united states to come together, figure out what happened, found out who did it, which the commander in chief has done, and to demand and seek justice. And finally, mayor, the "new york times" is reporting this morning that iran has agreed in principal to direct talks. Over their nuclear program. The white house says that there's no deal. President obama first expressed willingness to have talks when you were with the white house. Do you believe that iran is ready now for direct talks or is this a stalling policy? George, that's a good question. 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. 3 1/2 years later, the tables have been turned. Iran is isolated from the rest of the world. That was steadied, determined, dogged leadership, setting out a course. We now know for a fact even when some questioned the course, not only 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 crumb nling the economic impact of iran -- we have seen the data. In fact, the economy is shrinking not growing. And it's having a political impact. There's no idea one-on-one discussions. Now is the time for direct talks? But -- that's not for me to say. I don't have all of the information. But I do know this, that 3 1/2 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 in building a coalition, forcing now a set of sanctions that europe would never have considered 3 1/2 years ago. I will say this, the most important part of that foreign policy debate tomorrow will be, I think because the most important thing that we can do as a country on our foreign policy is to strengthen our economy here at home, our leadership abroad comes from a strong economy. I'm sure you're right. Mayor emanuel, thank you very much for your time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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