Romney on Middle East: 'Strong Economy' Allows U.S. to Secure Peace

GOP presidential nominee ties President Obama's economic record to his foreign policy.
3:00 | 10/23/12

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Transcript for Romney on Middle East: 'Strong Economy' Allows U.S. to Secure Peace
May I ask you. You know injured during the Egyptian turmoil there there came a point when you said it was time for President Mubarak to go. Some in your administration thought perhaps we should have waited while -- that. You have any regrets about that. No I don't because I think that America has to stand -- democracy the notion that we would have. Tanks run over those young people who were -- -- square that is not the kind of American leadership that John F. Kennedy talked about fifteen years ago. But what I've also said is that. Now that you have a democratically elected government in Egypt. But they have to make sure that they take responsibility. For protecting religious minorities and we -- put significant pressure on them to make sure -- going. To recognize the rights of women which is critical throughout the region these countries can't develop. If young women are not even cut education that they need. They have to abide by their treaty -- -- that is a red line for us. Because not only -- Israel's security at stake but our security is at stake if that on -- They have to make sure that the cooperating with us when it comes to counterterrorism and we will help them. With -- respect to. Developing their own economy because ultimately. What's -- 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 say -- 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 this is for example -- -- torture conference's. Where these egyptians. To -- give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding their economy in a way that's not corrupt the transparent. But what is also important for us to understand this is that for America to be successful in this region. There are some things that we're gonna have to do here at home as well. -- what are the challenges over the last decade as 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 all education system and it's very hard for us to project leadership around the world -- we're not doing what we need got. Romney. -- want to hear your response to that but I would just ask you would you stop with Mubarak. I know I believe is the president. Indicated -- and said at the time that I supported his his action there I felt that. Which we have at a better vision of the future I wish that looking back at the beginning of the president's term even further back than that that we to recognize. That there was a growing energy and passion for freedom. In that part of the world -- that we -- worked more aggressively with our our friend and with other friends in the region to have them make the transition. Towards a more represented a form a government such that it didn't explode in the way it did but but once it exploded. I felt the same as the president did which is these these freedom voices and they that the streets. -- Egypt for the people who -- we're speaking of our principles in the the President Mubarak had done things which were unimaginable. And the and the idea of him crushing his people was not -- that we could possibly. Support let me let me step back and talk about. What what I think our mission has to be in the Middle East and even more probably. Because our purpose is to make sure the world is more -- -- peaceful. We want a peaceful planet we want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they're gonna have a bright it. Prosperous future not be a war that's our purpose in the mantle of leadership for the promoting the principal. Balls -- pieces onto America we to -- but it's an honor that we haven't but for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. And that begins with a strong economy here at home unfortunately. Economy is not stronger when that when that the president of of Iraq should be -- Ron -- -- -- job. Says that our debt makes -- not a great country. That's a frightening thing that former cheapest at -- cheaper than a Joint Chiefs of Staff said that admiral Mullen. Said that our -- -- the biggest national security threat we face this we have weakened our economy we need a strong economy we need to have as well a strong military. Our military second to none in the world. We're blessed with terrific soldiers and extraordinary technology and intelligence. But the idea of a trillion dollars in cuts -- sequestration and budget cuts to the military would change that we need to have strong allies. Our association and -- connection with our allies is essential. To America's strength whether the great nation that has allies 42 allies and friends around the world and finally we have to stand -- our principles. And if we're strong in each of those things American influence will grow but unfortunately. In no -- in the world is America's influence greater today that was four years ago are and that's because we've -- a weaker but -- this sort of perfect your.

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

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