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Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney

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Guest LAW

You are getting desperate blink.png

 

By KASIE HUNT | 4/12/11 8:33 PM EDT

 

Mitt Romney forcefully said Tuesday night that he believes President Barack Obama was born in America and that “the citizenship test has been passed.”

 

"I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States."

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Guest LAW

 

Remarks by the President at the Democratic National Convention

 

Time Warner Cable Arena

Charlotte, North Carolina

September 6, 2012

10:24 P.M. EDT

 

MRS. OBAMA: I am so thrilled and so honored and so proud to introduce the love of my life, the father of our two girls, and the President of the United States of America -- Barack Obama. (Applause.)

 

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much.

 

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

 

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

 

Michelle, I love you so much. A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am. (Applause.) Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you. And, yes, you do have to go to school in the morning. (Laughter.)

 

And, Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best Vice President I could have ever hoped for, and being a strong and loyal friend. (Applause.)

 

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States. (Applause.)

 

Now, the first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man, a Senate candidate from Illinois, who spoke about hope -- not blind optimism, not wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great, even when the road is long.

 

Eight years later, that hope has been tested by the cost of war, by one of the worst economic crises in history, and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still even possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

 

I know campaigns can seem small, even silly sometimes. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. The truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I. (Laughter and applause.)

 

But when all is said and done -- when you pick up that ballot to vote -- you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington on jobs, the economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace -- decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and on our children’s lives for decades to come.

 

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

 

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known -- (applause) -- the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

 

They knew they were part of something larger -- a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products. And everyone shared in that pride and success, from the corner office to the factory floor.

 

My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their own home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story -- the promise that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, that everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

 

And I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’the; folks racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition, put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings -- a tragedy from which we’re still fighting to recover.

 

Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican Convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America. But they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. (Applause.) They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last 30 years -- Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning. (Applause.)

 

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it -- middle-class families, small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. (Applause.)

After all we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.

We have been there. We’ve tried that and we’re not going back. We are moving forward, America. (Applause.)

 

Now, I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. (Applause.)

And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort and shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. (Applause.) And, by the way, those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

 

But know this, America -- our problems can be solved. (Applause.) Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. (Applause.)

 

I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country -- goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit -- real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next four years -- and that is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)

 

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

 

THE PRESIDENT: We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best: We are making things again. (Applause.)

 

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo -- (applause) -- who feared they’d never build another American car. And today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on the top of the world. (Applause.)

 

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America -- not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else. (Applause.)

 

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers -- goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: U.S.A! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

 

THE PRESIDENT: And after a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.

 

And now you have a choice: We can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. (Applause.) We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.

 

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. (Applause.) We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day -- more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades. (Applause.)

 

So now you have a choice -- between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We’re offering a better path. (Applause.)

 

We’re offering a better path, where we -- a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone. (Applause.)

 

And, yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet -- because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it. (Applause.)

 

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. It was the gateway for most of you. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

 

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders. (Applause.)

And now you have a choice -- we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. (Applause.) No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers overseas because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home. That’s not our future. That is not our future. (Applause.)

 

And government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning. And, students, you’ve got to do the work. (Applause.) And together, I promise you, we can out-educate and out-compete any nation on Earth. (Applause.)

So help me. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early-childhood education. Help give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. (Applause.) Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America. (Applause.) That’s our future.

 

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. (Applause.) I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. (Applause.) We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. (Applause.)

 

A new tower rises above the New York skyline; al Qaeda is on the path to defeat; and Osama bin Laden is dead. (Applause.)

 

AUDIENCE: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

 

THE PRESIDENT: Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us -- because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads, or the care that they need when they come home. (Applause.)

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings -- men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews. (Applause.)

 

But for all the progress that we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. (Applause.) The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab world must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate here today. (Applause.)

 

So now we have a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy -- (laughter and applause) -- but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

 

After all, you don’t call Russia our number-one enemy -- not al Qaeda -- Russia -- unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War mind warp. (Applause.) You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. (Applause.)

 

My opponent said that it was "tragic" to end the war in Iraq. And he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. Well, I have -- and I will. (Applause.)

 

And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways. Because after two wars that have cost us thousands of live and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home. (Applause.)

 

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class. Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion. And last summer I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a billion [trillion] dollars in spending -- because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so that it’s leaner and more efficient and more responsive to the American people. (Applause.)

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 -- the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President; the same rate when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history and a whole lot of millionaires to boot. (Applause.)

 

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done, and we can get it done. But when Governor Romney and his friends in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficits by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy, well, what did Bill Clinton call it -- you do the arithmetic. (Applause.) You do the math. (Applause.)

 

I refuse to go along with that and as long as I’m President, I never will. (Applause.) I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. (Applause.)

 

I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled -- all so those with the most can pay less. I’m not going along with that. (Applause.)

 

And I will never -- I will never -- turn Medicare into a voucher. (Applause.) No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care -- not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. (Applause.)

 

And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street. (Applause.)

 

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we’ve been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way -- that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and borrow money from your parents. (Laughter and applause.)

You know what, that’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain, inalienable rights -- rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success -- we have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world’s ever known.

 

But we also believe in something called citizenship. (Applause.) Citizenship: a word at the very heart of our founding; a word at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better. (Applause.) We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes and so is the entire economy. (Applause.) We believe the little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs or the scientist who cures cancer or the President of the United States, and it is in our power to give her that chance. (Applause.)

 

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. (Applause.) We don’t think that government can solve all of our problems, but we don’t think that government is the source of all of our problems -- any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles. (Applause.)

 

Because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only "what’s in it for me," a freedom without commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense. (Applause.)

 

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s what we believe. (Applause.)

 

So, you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. (Applause.) My fellow citizens, you were the change. (Applause.) You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who will get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that. (Applause.)

 

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible. (Applause.)

 

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home

-- (applause) -- why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home." "Welcome home.” You did that. You did that. You did that. (Applause.)

 

If you turn away now -- if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void -- the lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves. (Applause.)

 

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward. (Applause.)

 

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed, and so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. (Applause.)

 

And that means I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs.

 

If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. (Laughter.) And while I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, "I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go." (Applause.)

 

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges. I’m hopeful because of you.

 

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter -- she gives me hope. (Applause.)

 

The autoworker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town, and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife -- he gives me hope. (Applause.)

 

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota, that didn’t lay off a single one of their 4,000 employees when the recession hit, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owner gave up some perks and some pay because they understood that their biggest asset was the community and the workers who had helped build that business -- they give me hope. (Applause.)

 

I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, we would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and 20 pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face, sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled -- he gives me hope. He gives me hope. (Applause.)

 

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a "future filled with hope."

 

And if you share that faith with me -- if you share that hope with me -- I ask you tonight for your vote. (Applause.) If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election. If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election. (Applause.)

 

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape, that new energy can power our future, that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules -- then I need you to vote this November. (Applause.)

 

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

 

Thank you. God bless you. (Applause.) And God bless these United States. (Applause.)

END

 

11:04 P.M. EDT

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Guest Soldier of God

Jeremiah - Chapter 29

 

11 Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

 

jeremiah-29_11.jpg

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Guest Ron

They need to debate how our roads, power grid and water systems are crumbling. And no matter who wins the election, infrastructure spending will be the next big thing. I just do not want the materials and labor outsourced again. That just hurts everyone.

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Guest ALWAYSRED

With what money?

 

Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) released the following statement:

 

This President and this Congress have failed the American people by allowing our national debt to reach $16 trillion. Instead of keeping his promise to cut the national deficit, President Obama has given the American people four straight years of deficits exceeding $1 trillion and an increase in the national debt of $5 trillion, which is the largest amount accrued during one term of any president.”

 

“America is currently borrowing roughly 40 cents of every dollar it spends, much of it from the Chinese. That is clearly unsustainable. We must get serious about slashing federal spending, starting with the $10 billion a month we’re wasting in Afghanistan and the billions we continue to throw away on foreign aid and other useless overseas spending. It’s time to focus on America first.”

 

Congressman Jones is the only member of the House of Representatives to have voted against every increase in the debt ceiling over the past 8 years.

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Guest Angry Elephant

Why has not OBAMA or ROMNEY talked about what these 600 Foreign Lobbyist are doing? We are surrendering of our business liberty.

 

 

Laurel Sutherlin, Rainforest Action Network, joins Thom Hartmann. Earlier in the Summer - we told you about The Trans - Pacific Partnership - a new so-called free trade deal that the US has been negotiating over with 8 Pacific nations for the last two years. But rather than helping Americans or improving the American economy - the TPP would give foreign transnational corporations unprecedented power to abuse American workers - pollute our environment - and destabilize our markets. When information on the TPP was first leaked - very few Americans knew what it was - and as a result - there was very little opposition towards it. But fast forward a couple months - and that seems to have changed. This week in Leesburg, Virginia - US trade negotiators met with members of the other 8 TPP nations for the 14th round of negotiations. And - for the first time - the meeting was also met by protestors.

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Guest LAW

We, the Leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, noting the progress our countries have achieved in 13 rounds of TPP negotiations, reaffirm the commitments we made in Honolulu in November 2011 to concluding a comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes and promotes trade and investment, and addresses new and traditional trade issues and 21st-century challenges. Based on the significant advances our negotiators have made in the four negotiating rounds and other intersessional meetings since Honolulu, we are confident that this goal is within our reach. The conclusion of the TPP will provide a promising pathway for free trade across the Asia-Pacific, support the creation and retention of jobs in our markets, boost our competitiveness, promote economic growth throughout our region, and advance our development goals.

 

“We agree to renew our efforts to conclude the negotiations expeditiously so that our manufacturers, service providers, farmers, ranchers, workers, and consumers can begin reaping as soon as possible the considerable benefits we anticipate from this agreement. In doing so, our negotiators should carefully consider, synthesize, and reflect the wide-ranging views they have received from their stakeholders. We also recognize the challenges of negotiating this ambitious, next-generation trade agreement in a manner that appropriately balances our diversity. Toward this end and as they begin the 14th round of negotiations this week, we have instructed our negotiating teams to direct their energies at promptly finding pragmatic, creative, flexible, and mutually-acceptable solutions to the remaining issues under negotiation.

 

“We welcome Mexico and Canada as new TPP partners following months of detailed consultations that confirmed their commitment to the high level of ambition we are seeking to achieve in the TPP while not slowing progress toward conclusion. We view their entry into the negotiation as a reaffirmation of the potential of this initiative and a notable step in expanding our current partnership of nine countries to others across the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, we have directed our negotiating teams to continue discussions with other Asia-Pacific partners that have expressed interest in joining the TPP in order to facilitate their possible future participation.”

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Guest Gary Johnson 2012

There is an alternative to NOBAMA and ROMNEVER. Help Gov. Johnson's fight to be on the ballot in all 50 states -- and the Republicrats' efforts to keep him OFF the ballots in key states. We're winning the fight, but Republicrat lawyers are not giving up. If you haven't already, go to www.garyjohnson2012.com and help us keep fighting.

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Guest 21st Century Democrat

Mitt Romney told supporters that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government, and that they think they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing – you name it!

 

He actually said that!

 

He then added, "My job is not to worry about those people."

 

This from someone who wants to be president of the United States. I say hell no to that!

 

http://youtu.be/INtQR0zgUos

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Guest Derek

I'm actually curious to see how the "Bible Belt" votes in November when faced to choose between a Mormon Republican and a Christian Democrat.

 

I wonder what the Red State Bible Belt voters are going to think when they realize that they are a part of 47% he is bashing. HA!

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Guest Derek



Give Mother Jones the credit for breaking this story

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/09/romney-secret-video-marc-leder-sex-parties


There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax…[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

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As long as we continue to be obsessed with tax cuts for the rich and poor the policies unfair trade, government insurance of big banks, and allowing the Fed to print more money that devalues our currency will be the cause of our economic destruction. The crooks on both sides of the aisle should be held accountable and terms in public office should be limited and completely transparent. Our country needs to urgently increase revenue in all sectors and consumers need to keep purchasing goods made in U.S.A.

 

I want a president that has a solution that I can understand and will work. I want a president that will motivate me to believe that America is going to make it. I want a president that will motivate me to believe my family is going to make it. I want a president that will bring back my American Dream.

Unite us. Don't Divide Us. We are the greatest nation ever on this planet. Our ideals and respect for those that have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve them are revered by everyone.

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Guest Vernon Grey

Jobs are created when you ease regulations. Allow businesses to flourish. There's companies waiting to expand, but won't because they're afraid of the new regs coming down the tube from Obama. Start drilling for our own oil. Have you heard of North Dakota? Sell oil and coal to China. Stop listening to the liberal biased news channels.

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Guest Vote Mitt Romney

From Governor Romney: A Better Way

 

It doesn’t have to be this way: this tough spot reflects economic errors and policy choices. Economic policy must change course. And the American people have a choice. A policy agenda focused on job creation, rising incomes, and broadly shared prosperity is a choice we can make.That choice is Governor Romney’s economic plan for America.Governor Romney’s economic plan will completely change the direction of economic policy. Itwill emphasize the long-term changes that will increase GDP and job creation, both going forward and now. It will put growth and recovery first.The Romney plan has three overarching objectives: to restore confidence in America’s economic future, to make America once again a place to invest and grow, and to provide opportunities for Americans to compete and succeed. These objectives are all about unlocking the potential for innovation, investment, and initiative in America’s dynamic economy.The Romney plan will achieve these objectives with four main economic pillars:

 

Stop Runaway Federal Spending And Debt.

  • Reduce federal spending as a share of GDP to 20 percent – its pre-crisis average – by 2016. In so doing, reduce policy uncertainty over the need for future tax increases.

Reform The Nation’s Tax Code To Increase Growth And Job Creation.

  • Reduce individual marginal income tax rates across-the-board by 20 percent, while keeping current low tax rates on dividends and capital gains. Reduce the corporate income tax rate – the highest in the world – to 25 percent.
  • Broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral.

Reform Entitlement Programs To Ensure Their Viability.

  • Gradually reduce growth in Social Security and Medicare benefits for more affluent seniors. Give more choice in Medicare to improve value in health care spending.
  • Block grant the Medicaid program to states, enabling experimentation to better fit local situations.

Make Growth And Cost-Benefit Analysis Important Features Of Regulation.

  • Remove regulatory impediments to energy production and innovation that raise costs to consumers and limit job creation.
  • Repeal and replace the Dodd-Frank Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Romney alternatives will emphasize better financial regulation and market-oriented, patient-centered health care reform.History and economic theory suggest the benefits that can be achieved with the Romney economic plan. Better policy raises long-run growth returning to a trend line of more promising potential GDP growth, as opposed to the prospect of continuing sluggish growth forever.

 

Mitt Romney’s Plan For A Stronger Middle Class

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Guest Friend of Bill Bolling

I find it interesting that the poll shows that those with Money are voting for Mitt Romney and those that are doing it for Free are voting for Obama. This is reflective of the voter climate right now. I will be interested to see where the trend goes.

 

I am discouraged by both of the candidates stating that the other will most likely will win the debate. I want a candidate that states I am a better speaker.

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Guest ThinkSpeak

I admire Mitt Romney to state that President Obama loves America. He needs to focus more on social issues that are more left of his base. The world does not change in a day. We are not the Creator.

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Guest Fedup

The Banks and people like Rothchild will tank Europe and Obama will be blamed. Romney will take the lead in late October.

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Guest 18

Netanyahu's Speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York

 

September 27. 2012

 

Under the leadership of President Obama, the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date.

 

I want to thank the governments represented here that have joined in this effort. It's had an effect. Oil exports have been curbed and the Iranian economy has been hit hard.

It's had an effect on the economy, but we must face the truth. Sanctions have not stopped Iran's nuclear program either.

 

Two days ago, from this podium, President Obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be contained.

 

I very much appreciate the President's position as does everyone in my country. We share the goal of stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program. This goal unites the people of Israel. It unites Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike and it is shared by important leaders throughout the world.

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Guest Uncommon Wisdom

No matter who wins the presidential race, it now seems certain that Congress will remain miserably divided ... hopelessly deadlocked ... tragically paralyzed ... and utterly incapable of dealing with the train wreck that the U.S. economy has become.

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Guest Sasha

The Banks and people like Rothchild will tank Europe and Obama will be blamed. Romney will take the lead in late October.

 

Most people do not see that high in the food chain. The bankers will do whatever is necessary to not let Obama get reelected.

 

http://gulfbusiness....sly-overvalued/

 

The Square Mile, where the Warburg, Rothschild, Baring, Hambros and Fleming clans invented the alchemy of merchant banking, has been the jewel in Brittania’s financial crown in the two millennia since Roman Londonium. Yet the sterling’s role as a global reserve currency is under grave threat.

 

http://www.thedailyb...for-End-of-Euro

 

We believe the Rothschilds are perhaps the chief mainstream press, however, it must be noted that the Rothschilds are portrayed as family whose great wealth has been dissipated and that they have no more power than numerous mid-level banking dynasties. Yet in our view, based on an overall pattern of financial activities past and present, the Rothschilds have enormous power, far more than the mainstream press ordinarily acknowledges, probably for obvious reasons.

 

Such "central banking families" (though chiefly the Rothschilds) are likely behind the EU, not the Germans or "Anglosphere banking families and their enablers have spent a lot of time trying to combine nations into larger regions from what we can tell, and Europe was to be their biggest success. The idea was that these regions would serve as stepping-stones for global government.

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Guest LAW
[b]PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY,
R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, PARTICIPATE IN A
CANDIDATES DEBATE, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, COLORADO[/b]
[b]OCTOBER 3, 2012[/b]
[b]SPEAKERS: FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.[/b]
[b]PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA[/b]
[b]JIM LEHRER, MODERATOR[/b]

LEHRER: Good evening from the Magness Arena at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. I'm Jim Lehrer of the "PBS NewsHour," and I welcome you to the first of the 2012 presidential debates between President Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee.

LEHRER: This debate and the next three -- two presidential, one vice presidential -- are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Tonight's 90 minutes will be about domestic issues and will follow a format designed by the commission. There will be six roughly 15-minute segments with two-minute answers for the first question, then open discussion for the remainder of each segment.

Thousands of people offered suggestions on segment subjects or questions via the Internet and other means, but I made the final selections. And for the record, they were not submitted for approval to the commission or the candidates.

The segments as I announced in advance will be three on the economy and one each on health care, the role of government and governing, with an emphasis throughout on differences, specifics and choices. Both candidates will also have two-minute closing statements.
The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent -- no cheers, applause, boos, hisses, among other noisy distracting things, so we may all concentrate on what the candidates have to say. There is a noise exception right now, though, as we welcome President Obama and Governor Romney.

(APPLAUSE)
Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Let's start the economy, segment one, and let's begin with jobs. What are the major differences between the two of you about how you would go about creating new jobs?

LEHRER: You have two minutes. Each of you have two minutes to start. A coin toss has determined, Mr. President, you go first.

OBAMA: Well, thank you very much, Jim, for this opportunity. I want to thank Governor Romney and the University of Denver for your hospitality.

There are a lot of points I want to make tonight, but the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on Earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me.
And so I just want to wish, Sweetie, you happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people.
(LAUGHTER)

You know, four years ago we went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of jobs were lost, the auto industry was on the brink of collapse. The financial system had frozen up.

And because of the resilience and the determination of the American people, we've begun to fight our way back. Ov[b]er the last 30 months, we've seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created. The auto industry has come roaring back. And housing has begun to rise.[/b]

But we all know that we've still got a lot of work to do. And so the question here tonight is not where we've been, but where we're going.

[color=#ff0000][b]Governor Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy, and roll back regulations, that we'll be better off. I've got a different view.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]I think we've got to invest in education and training. I think it's important for us to develop new sources of energy here in America, that we change our tax code to make sure that we're helping small businesses and companies that are investing here in the United States, that we take some of the money that we're saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild America and that we reduce our deficit in a balanced way that allows us to make these critical investments.[/b][/color]

Now, it ultimately is going to be up to the voters -- to you -- which path we should take. Are we going to double on top-down economic policies that helped to get us into this mess or do we embrace a new economic patriotism that says America does best when the middle class does best? And I'm looking forward to having that debate.

LEHRER: Governor Romney, two minutes.

ROMNEY: Thank you, Jim. It's an honor to be here with you, and I appreciate the chance to be with the president. I'm pleased to be at the University of Denver, appreciate their welcome, and also the Presidential Commission on these debates.

And congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your anniversary. I'm sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine, here -- here with me. So I...
(LAUGHTER)
Congratulations.

This is obviously a very tender topic. I've had the occasion over the last couple of years of meeting people across the country. I was in Dayton, Ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm and she said, "I've been out of work since May. Can you help me?"

Ann yesterday was at a rally in Denver and a woman came up to her with a baby in her arms and said, "Ann, my husband has had four jobs in three years, part-time jobs. He's lost his most recent job and we've now just lost our home. Can you help us?"

[color=#ff0000][b]And the answer is, yes, we can help, but it's going to take a different path. Not the one we've been on, not the one the president describes as a top-down, cut taxes for the rich. That's not what I'm going to do.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]My plan has five basic parts. One, get us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs.[/b][/color]
[color=#0000ff][b]Number two, open up more trade, particularly in Latin America. Crack down on China, if and when they cheat.[/b][/color]
[color=#0000ff][b]Number three, make sure our people have the skills they need to succeed and the best schools in the world. We're far away from that now.[/b][/color]
[color=#0000ff][b]Number four, get to us a balanced budget.[/b][/color]
[color=#0000ff][b]Number five, champion small business. It's small business that creates the jobs in America, and over the last four years, small business people have decided that America may not be the place to open a new business because new business startups are down to a 30-year low.[/b][/color]

ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]Now, I'm concerned that the path that we're on has just been unsuccessful. The president has a view very similar to the view he had when he ran four years, that a bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more -- if you will, trickle-down government -- would work.[/b][/color]

That's not the right answer for America. I'll restore the vitality that gets America working again. Thank you.

LEHRER: Mr. President, please respond directly to what the governor just said about trickle-down -- his trick-down approach, as he said yours is.

OBAMA: [color=#0000ff][b]Well, let me talk specifically about what I think we need to do. First, we've got to improve our education system and we've made enormous progress drawing on ideas both from Democrats and Republicans that are already starting to show gains in some of the toughest to deal with schools. We've got a program called Race to the Top that has prompted reforms in 46 states around the country, raising standards, improving how we train teachers.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]So now I want to hire another 100,000 new math and science teachers, and create 2 million more slots in our community colleges so that people can get trained for the jobs that are out there right now. And I want to make sure that we keep tuition low for our young people.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]When it comes to our tax code, Governor Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high, so I want to lower it, particularly for manufacturing, taking it down to 25 percent. But I also want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to provide tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States.[/b][/color]

[color=#006400][b]On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we've got to boost American energy production, and oil and natural gas production are higher than they've been in years.[/b][/color][color=#0000ff][b] But I also believe that we've got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: So all of this is possible. Now, in order for us to do it, we do have to close our deficit, and one of the things I'm sure we'll be discussing tonight is, how do we deal with our tax code? And how do we make sure that we are reducing spending in a responsible way, but also, how do we have enough revenue to make those investments?

[color=#ff0000][b]And this is where there's a difference, because Governor Romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut -- on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts -- that's another trillion dollars -- and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for. That's $8 trillion. How we pay for that, reduce the deficit, and make the investments that we need to make, without dumping those costs onto middle-class Americans, I think is one of the central questions of this campaign.[/b][/color]

LEHRER: Both of you have spoken about a lot of different things, and we're going to try to get through them in as specific a way as we possibly can.

But, first, Governor Romney, do you have a question that you'd like to ask the president directly about something he just said?

ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]Well, sure. I'd like to clear up the record and go through it piece by piece.[/b][/color]
[color=#ff0000][b]First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don't have a tax cut of a scale that you're talking about.[/b][/color] [color=#0000ff][b]My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They'll do fine whether you're president or I am.[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]The people who are having the hard time right now are middle- income Americans. Under the president's policies, middle-income Americans have been buried. They're just being crushed. Middle- income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a -- this is a tax in and of itself. I'll call it the economy tax. It's been crushing.[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]At the same time, gasoline prices have doubled under the president. Electric rates are up. Food prices are up. Health care costs have gone up by $2,500 a family. Middle-income families are being crushed.[/b][/color]

ROMNEY: [color=#0000ff][b]And so the question is how to get them going again. And I've described it. It's energy and trade, the right kind of training programs, balancing our budget and helping small business. Those are the -- the cornerstones of my plan.[/b][/color]

[color=#006400][b]But the president mentioned a couple of other ideas I'll just note. First, education. I agree: Education is key, particularly the future of our economy.[/b][/color][color=#ff0000][b] But our training programs right now, we've got 47 of them, housed in the federal government, reporting to eight different agencies. Overhead is overwhelming. We've got to get those dollars back to the states and go to the workers so they can create their own pathways to get in the training they need for jobs that will really help them.[/b][/color]

[color=#006400][b]The second area, taxation, we agree, we ought to bring the tax rates down.[/b][/color] [color=#0000ff][b]And I do, both for corporations and for individuals. But in order for us not to lose revenue, have the government run out of money, I also lower deductions and credits and exemptions, so that we keep taking in the same money when you also account for growth.[/b][/color]

[color=#006400][b]The third area, energy. Energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up.[/b][/color] [color=#ff0000][b]But not due to his policies. In spite of his policies.[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.[/b][/color] [color=#0000ff][b]If I'm president, I'll double them, and also get the -- the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I'll bring that pipeline in from Canada.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]And, by the way, I like coal. I'm going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal.[/b][/color] [color=#ff0000][b]People in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent so we can create those jobs.[/b][/color]

And finally, with regards to that tax cut, look, [color=#ff0000][b]I'm not looking to cut massive taxes and to reduce the -- the revenues going to the government.[/b][/color] [b][color=#0000ff]My -- my number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit.[/color][/b]

But I do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle-income Americans. And I -- and to do that, that also means I cannot reduce the burden paid by high-income Americans. So any -- any language to the contrary is simply not accurate. LEHRER: Mr. President?

OBAMA: Well, I think -- let's talk about taxes, because I think it's instructive. [b]Now, four years ago, when I stood on this stage, I said that I would cut taxes for middle-class families. And that's exactly what I did. We cut taxes for middle-class families by about $3,600.[/b]

And the reason is, because I believe that we do best when the middle class is doing well. And by giving them those tax cuts, they had a little more money in their pocket, and so maybe they can buy a new car. They are certainly in a better position to weather the extraordinary recession that we went through. They can buy a computer for their kid who's going off to college, which means they're spending more money, businesses have more customers, businesses make more profits, and then hire more workers.

[color=#ff0000][b]Now, Governor Romney's proposal that he has been promoting for 18 months calls for a $5 trillion tax cut, on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. And he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions. The problem is that he's been asked over 100 times how you would close those deductions and loopholes, and he hasn't been able to identify them.[/b][/color]

But I'm going to make an important point here, Jim.
LEHRER: All right.

OBAMA: [color=#ff0000][b]When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper-income individuals can -- are currently taking advantage of, you take those all away, you don't come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: [color=#ff0000][b]And that's why independent studies looking at this said the only way to meet Governor Romney's pledge of not reducing the deficit or -- or -- or not adding to the deficit is by burdening middle-class families. The average middle-class family with children would pay about $2,000 more.[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]Now, that's not my analysis. That's the analysis of economists who have looked at this. And -- and that kind of top -- top-down economics, where folks at the top are doing well, so the average person making $3 million is getting a $250,000 tax break, while middle-class families are burdened further, that's not what I believe is a recipe for economic growth.[/b][/color]

LEHRER: All right. What is the difference? Let's just stay on taxes.
(CROSSTALK)
LEHRER: Just -- let's just stay on taxes for (inaudible).
(CROSSTALK)
LEHRER: What is the difference...

ROMNEY: Well, but -- but virtually -- virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate.

LEHRER: All right.
ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]So if the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I'd say absolutely not. I'm not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut.[/b][/color] [color=#0000ff][b]What I've said is I won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That's part one.[/b][/color] [color=#ff0000][b]So there's no economist that can say Mitt Romney's tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]Number two, I will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals.[/b][/color] I know that you and your running mate keep saying that and I know it's a popular thing to say with a lot of people, but it's just not the case. Look, I've got five boys. I'm used to people saying something that's not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it. But that -- that is not the case. All right? [color=#0000ff][b]I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.[/b][/color]

And number three, [color=#0000ff][b]I will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families.[/b][/color] Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it's completely wrong. [color=#ff0000][b]I saw a study that came out today that said you're going to raise taxes by $3,000 to $4,000 on middle-income families.[/b][/color]

There are all these studies out there.[color=#0000ff][b] But let's get at the bottom line. That is, I want to bring down rates. I want to bring the rates down, at the same time lower deductions and exemptions and credits and so forth, so we keep getting the revenue we need.[/b][/color] And you'd think, well, then why lower the rates?

ROMNEY: And the reason is because [b]small business pays that individual rate; 54 percent of America's workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate.[/b] A[color=#0000ff][b]nd if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people. For me, this is about jobs. This is about getting jobs for the American people.[/b][/color]
(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: That's where we started. Yeah.
Do you challenge what the governor just said about his own plan?

OBAMA: [color=#ff0000][b]Well, for 18 months he's been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he's saying that his big, bold idea is, "Never mind."[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you described, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class.[/b][/color] It's -- it's math. It's arithmetic.

[color=#006400][b]Now, Governor Romney and I do share a deep interest in encouraging small-business growth.[/b][/color] [b]So at the same time that my tax plan has already lowered taxes for 98 percent of families, I also lowered taxes for small businesses 18 times.[/b] [color=#0000ff][b]And what I want to do is continue the tax rates -- the tax cuts that we put into place for small businesses and families.[/b][/color]

But I have said that [b][color=#0000ff]for incomes over $250,000 a year, that we should go back to the rates that we had when Bill Clinton was president[/color], when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus[/b], and created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.

[color=#0000ff][b]And the reason this is important is because by doing that, we cannot only reduce the deficit, we cannot only encourage job growth through small businesses, but we're also able to make the investments that are necessary in education or in energy.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: [color=#ff0000][b]And we do have a difference, though, when it comes to definitions of small business. Under -- under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up. Governor Romney says, well, those top 3 percent, they're the job creators, they'd be burdened. But under Governor Romney's definition, there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small businesses. Donald Trump is a small business.[/b][/color] Now, I know Donald Trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything, but -- but that's how you define small businesses if you're getting business income.

[color=#ff0000][b]And that kind of approach, I believe, will not grow our economy, because the only way to pay for it without either burdening the middle class or blowing up our deficit is to make drastic cuts in things like education, making sure that we are continuing to invest in basic science and research, all the things that are helping America grow. And I think that would be a mistake.[/b][/color]
LEHRER: All right.
ROMNEY: Jim, let me just come back on that -- on that point, which is these...
LEHRER: Just for the -- just for record...
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: ... the small businesses we're talking about...
LEHRER: Excuse me. Excuse me. Just so everybody understands, we're way over our first 15 minutes.
ROMNEY: It's fun, isn't it?

LEHRER: It's OK, it's great. No problem. Well, you all don't have -- you don't have a problem, I don't have a problem, because we're still on the economy. We're going to come back to taxes. I want move on to the deficit and a lot of other things, too.
OK, but go ahead, sir.

ROMNEY: You bet. Well, President, you're -- [color=#006400][b]Mr. President, you're absolutely right, which is that, with regards to 97 percent of the businesses are not -- not taxed at the 35 percent tax rate, they're taxed at a lower rate.[/b][/color][color=#ff0000][b] But those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half -- half of all the people who work in small business. Those are the businesses that employ one-quarter of all the workers in America. And your plan is to take their tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent.[/b][/color]

Now, and -- and I've talked to a guy who has a very small business. He's in the electronics business in -- in St. Louis. He has four employees. He said he and his son calculated how much they pay in taxes, federal income tax, federal payroll tax, state income tax, state sales tax, state property tax, gasoline tax. It added up to well over 50 percent of what they earned. [color=#ff0000][b]And your plan is to take the tax rate on successful small businesses from 35 percent to 40 percent. The National Federation of Independent Businesses has said that will cost 700,000 jobs.[/b][/color]

I don't want to cost jobs. [color=#0000ff][b]My priority is jobs. And so what I do is I bring down the tax rates, lower deductions and exemptions, the same idea behind Bowles-Simpson, by the way, get the rates down, lower deductions and exemptions, to create more jobs, because there's nothing better for getting us to a balanced budget than having more people working, earning more money, paying more taxes. That's by far the most effective and efficient way to get this budget balanced.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: Jim, I -- you may want to move onto another topic, but I -- [color=#ff0000][b]I would just say this to the American people. If you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for, $7 trillion -- just to give you a sense, over 10 years, that's more than our entire defense budget -- and you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do, somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Governor Romney's plan may work for you.[/b][/color]

But I think math, common sense, and [color=#ff0000][b]our history shows us that's not a recipe for job growth. Look, we've tried this. We've tried both approaches. The approach that Governor Romney's talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003, and we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years, we ended up moving from surplus to deficits, and it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: [b]Bill Clinton tried the approach that I'm talking about. We created 23 million new jobs. We went from deficit to surplus. And businesses did very well. So, in some ways, we've got some data on which approach is more likely to create jobs and opportunity for Americans[/b] and I[color=#0000ff][b] believe that the economy works best when middle-class families are getting tax breaks so that they've got some money in their pockets, and those of us who have done extraordinarily well because of this magnificent country that we live in, that we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure we're not blowing up the deficit.[/b][/color]

ROMNEY: Jim, the president began this segment, so I think I get the last word.
(CROSSTALK)
LEHRER: Well, you're going to get the first word in the next segment.
ROMNEY: All right. Well, but he gets the first word of that segment. I get the last word (inaudible) I hope. Let me just make this comment.
(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: I think first of all, let me -- let me repeat -- let me repeat what I said. I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan. My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit. That's point one.

So you may keep referring to it as a $5 trillion tax cut, but that's not my plan.

Number two, let's look at history. [color=#0000ff][b]My plan is not like anything that's been tried before. My plan is to bring down rates, but also bring down deductions and exemptions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in, but that we bring down rates to get more people working.[/b][/color]

My priority is putting people back to work in America. They're suffering in this country. And we talk about evidence. Look at the evidence of the last four years. It's absolutely extraordinary. We've got 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country. It's just -- it's -- we've got -- [color=#ff0000][b]when the president took office, 32 million people on food stamps; 47 million on food stamps today; economic growth this year slower than last year, and last year slower than the year before.[/b][/color] Going forward with the status quo is not going to cut it for the American people who are struggling today.

LEHRER: All right. Let's talk -- we're still on the economy. This is, theoretically now, a second segment still on the economy, and specifically on what to do about the federal deficit, the federal debt.

And the question, you each have two minutes on this, and Governor Romney, you -- you go first because the president went first on segment one. And the question is this, what are the differences between the two of you as to how you would go about tackling the deficit problem in this country?

ROMNEY: Good. I'm glad you raised that, and it's a -- it's a critical issue. I think it's not just an economic issue, I think it's a moral issue. [b]I think it's, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation and they're going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives. And the amount of debt we're adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.[/b]

So how do we deal with it? [b]Well, mathematically, there are three ways that you can cut a deficit. One, of course, is to raise taxes. Number two is to cut spending. And number is to grow the economy, because if more people work in a growing economy, they're paying taxes, and you can get the job done that way.[/b]

The presidents would -- president would prefer raising taxes. I understand. The problem with raising taxes is that it slows down the rate of growth. And you could never quite get the job done. I want to lower spending and encourage economic growth at the same time.

What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don't pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I'll get rid of it. Obamacare's on my list.
I apologize, Mr. President. I use that term with all respect, by the way.
OBAMA: I like it.
ROMNEY: Good. OK, good. So I'll get rid of that.

I'm sorry, Jim, [color=#0000ff][b]I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That's number one.[/b][/color]
[color=#0000ff][b]Number two, I'll take programs that are currently good programs but I think could be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state.[/b][/color]

ROMNEY: [color=#0000ff][b]Number three, I'll make government more efficient and to cut back the number of employees, combine some agencies and departments. My cutbacks will be done through attrition, by the way.[/b][/color]

This is the approach we have to take to get America to a balanced budget.

[color=#ff0000][b]The president said he'd cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it. Trillion-dollar deficits for the last four years. The president's put it in place as much public debt -- almost as much debt held by the public as al prior presidents combined.[/b][/color]

LEHRER: Mr. President, two minutes.

OBAMA: [b]When I walked into the Oval Office, I had more than a trillion-dollar deficit greeting me. And we know where it came from: two wars that were paid for on a credit card; two tax cuts that were not paid for; and a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for; and then a massive economic crisis.[/b]

[b]And despite that, what we've said is, yes, we had to take some initial emergency measures to make sure we didn't slip into a Great Depression, but what we've also said is, let's make sure that we are cutting out those things that are not helping us grow.[/b]

[b]So 77 government programs, everything from aircrafts that the Air Force had ordered but weren't working very well, 18 government -- 18 government programs for education that were well-intentioned, not weren't helping kids learn, we went after medical fraud in Medicare and Medicaid very aggressively, more aggressively than ever before, and have saved tens of billions of dollars, $50 billion of waste taken out of the system.[/b]

[b]And I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars out of our discretionary domestic budget. That's the largest cut in the discretionary domestic budget since Dwight Eisenhower.[/b]

Now, we all know that we've got to do more. And so [color=#0000ff][b]I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan[/b][/color]. It's on a website. You can look at all the numbers, what cuts we make and what revenue we raise.

And the way we do it is [color=#0000ff][b]$2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 of additional revenue, paid for, as I indicated earlier, by asking those of us who have done very well in this country to contribute a little bit more to reduce the deficit.[/b][/color] [b][color=#006400]Governor Romney earlier mentioned the Bowles-Simpson commission. Well, that's how the commission -- bipartisan commission that talked about how we should move forward suggested we have to do it, in a balanced way with some revenue and some spending cuts. [/color][color=#ff0000]And this is a major difference that Governor Romney and I have.[/color][/b]

Let -- let me just finish their point, because you're looking for contrast. [color=#ff0000][b]You know, when Governor Romney stood on a stage with other Republican candidates for the nomination and he was asked, would you take $10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue? And he said no. Now, if you take such an unbalanced approach, then that means you are going to be gutting our investments in schools and education.[/b][/color] It means that [color=#ff0000][b]Governor Romney talked about Medicaid and how we could send it back to the states, but effectively this means a 30 percent cut in the primary program we help for seniors who are in nursing homes, for kids who are with disabilities.[/b][/color]
LEHRER: Mr. President, I'm sorry.
OBAMA: And -- and that is not a right strategy for us to move forward.
LEHRER: Way over the two minutes.
OBAMA: Sorry.
LEHRER: Governor, what about Simpson-Bowles? Do you support Simpson-Bowles?
ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]Simpson-Bowles, the president should have grabbed that.[/b][/color]
LEHRER: No, I mean, do you support Simpson-Bowles?
ROMNEY: [color=#0000ff][b]I have my own plan. It's not the same as Simpson- Bowles. But in my view, the president should have grabbed it. If you wanted to make some adjustments to it, take it, go to Congress, fight for it.[/b][/color]
OBAMA: That's what we've done, made some adjustments to it, and we're putting it forward before Congress right now, a $4 trillion plan...
ROMNEY: But you've been -- but you've been president four years...
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: Y[color=#ff0000][b]ou've been president four years. You said you'd cut the deficit in half. It's now four years later. We still have trillion-dollar deficits. The CBO says we'll have a trillion-dollar deficit each of the next four years. If you're re-elected, we'll get to a trillion-dollar debt.[/b][/color]
ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]I mean, you have said before you'd cut the deficit in half. And this -- I love this idea of $4 trillion in cuts. You found $4 trillion of ways to reduce or to get closer to a balanced budget, except we still show trillion-dollar deficits every year.[/b][/color] That doesn't get the job done.

Let me come back and say, why is it that I don't want to raise taxes? Why don't I want to raise taxes on people? And actually, [color=#ff0000][b]you said it back in 2010. You said, "Look, I'm going to extend the tax policies that we have now; I'm not going to raise taxes on anyone, because when the economy is growing slow like this, when we're in recession, you shouldn't raise taxes on anyone.[/b][/color]"

[color=#ff0000][b]Well, the economy is still growing slow. As a matter of fact, it's growing much more slowly now than when you made that statement. And so if you believe the same thing, you just don't want to raise taxes on people.[/b][/color] And the reality is it's not just wealthy people -- you mentioned Donald Trump. [color=#ff0000][b]It's not just Donald Trump you're taxing. It's all those businesses that employ one-quarter of the workers in America; these small businesses that are taxed as individuals. You raise taxes and you kill jobs. That's why the National Federation of Independent Businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs.[/b][/color] I don't want to kill jobs in this environment.
I'll make one more point.
(CROSSTALK)
LEHRER: (inaudible) answer the taxes thing for a moment.
ROMNEY: OK.
LEHRER: Mr. President?
OBAMA: Well, we've had this discussion before.
LEHRER: About the idea that in order to reduce the deficit, there has to be revenue in addition to cuts.
OBAMA: There has to be revenue in addition to cuts. Now, [color=#ff0000][b]Governor Romney has ruled out revenue. He's ruled out revenue.[/b][/color]
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: Absolutely. (CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: [color=#0000ff][b]Look, the revenue I get is by more people working, getting higher pay, paying more taxes. That's how we get growth and how we balance the budget.[/b][/color] But the idea of taxing people more, putting more people out of work, you'll never get there. You'll never balance the budget by raising taxes.

[color=#0000ff][b]Spain -- Spain spends 42 percent of their total economy on government. We're now spending 42 percent of our economy on government. I don't want to go down the path to Spain. I want to go down the path of growth that puts Americans to work with more money coming in because they're working.[/b][/color]

LEHRER: But -- but Mr. President, you're saying in order to -- to get the job done, it's got to be balanced. You've got to have...
(CROSSTALK)
OBAMA: If -- if we're serious, we've got to take a balanced, responsible approach. And by the way, this is not just when it comes to individual taxes. Let's talk about corporate taxes.
Now, I've identified areas where we can, right away, make a change that I believe would actually help the economy.

[color=#ff0000][b]The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don't get.[/b][/color]

Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money, when they're making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn't we want to eliminate that? Why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? [color=#0000ff][b]My attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.[/b][/color]

When it comes to corporate taxes, [color=#ff0000][b]Governor Romney has said he wants to, in a revenue neutral way, close loopholes, deductions -- he hasn't identified which ones they are -- but that thereby bring down the corporate rate.[/b][/color]

Well, I want to do the same thing, but I've actually identified how we can do that. And [color=#0000ff][b]part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.[/b][/color]

[b]Right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn't make sense.[/b] And all that raises revenue. And [color=#0000ff][b]so if we take a balanced approach, what that then allows us to do is also to help young people, the way we already have during my administration, make sure that they can afford to go to college.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: It means that the teacher that I met in Las Vegas, a wonderful young lady, who describes to me -- she's got 42 kids in her class. The first two weeks she's got them, some of them sitting on the floor until finally they get reassigned. They're using text books that are 10 years old.

That is not a recipe for growth. That's not how America was built. And so budgets reflect choices.

[b]Ultimately, we're going to have to make some decisions. And if we're asking for no revenue, then that means that we've got to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff.[/b]

[color=#ff0000][b]And the magnitude of the tax cuts that you're talking about, Governor, would end up resulting in severe hardship for people, but more importantly, would not help us grow.[/b][/color]

As I indicated before, [b]when you talk about shifting Medicaid to states, we're talking about potentially a 30 -- a 30 percent cut in Medicaid over time.[/b]

Now, you know, that may not seem like a big deal when it just is, you know, numbers on a sheet of paper, but if we're talking about a family who's got an autistic kid and is depending on that Medicaid, that's a big problem.

[b]And governors are creative. There's no doubt about it. But they're not creative enough to make up for 30 percent of revenue on something like Medicaid. What ends up happening is some people end up not getting help.[/b]

ROMNEY: Jim, let's -- we've gone on a lot of topics there, and so it's going to take a minute to go from Medicaid to schools...
LEHRER: Come back to...
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: ... to oil, to tax breaks, then companies going overseas. So let's go through them one by one.
First of all, [b]the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it's actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that's been in place for a hundred years.[/b] Now...
OBAMA: [color=#0000ff][b]It's time to end it.[/b][/color]
ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]And in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that's about 50 years' worth of what oil and gas receives. And you say Exxon and Mobil. Actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth.[/b][/color]

ROMNEY: But, you know, [color=#0000ff][b]if we get that tax rate from 35 percent down to 25 percent, why that $2.8 billion is on the table. Of course it's on the table. That's probably not going to survive you get that rate down to 25 percent.[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]But don't forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years' worth of breaks, into -- into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tester and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right?[/b][/color] So this -- [color=#ff0000][b]this is not -- this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure.[/b][/color]
The second topic, [color=#ff0000][b]which is you said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant.[/b][/color]
LEHRER: Let's...
ROMNEY: But -- but [color=#ff0000][b]the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case.[/b][/color]
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]What we do have right now is a setting where I'd like to bring money from overseas back to this country.[/b][/color]

And, finally, Medicaid to states? I'm not quite sure where that came in, except this, which is, [color=#0000ff][b]I would like to take the Medicaid dollars that go to states and say to a state, you're going to get what you got last year, plus inflation, plus 1 percent, and then you're going to manage your care for your poor in the way you think best.[/b][/color]

[b]And I remember, as a governor, when this idea was floated by Tommy Thompson, the governors -- Republican and Democrats -- said, please let us do that. We can care for our own poor in so much better and more effective a way than having the federal government tell us how to care for our poor.[/b]

[b]So -- so let's state -- one of the magnificent things about this country is the whole idea that states are the laboratories of democracy. Don't have the federal government tell everybody what kind of training programs they have to have and what kind of Medicaid they have to have. Let states do this.[/b]

[b]And, by the way, if a state gets in trouble, well, we can step in and see if we can find a way to help them.[/b]

LEHRER: Let's go.

ROMNEY: But -- but the right -- the right approach is one which relies on the brilliance of our people and states, not the federal government.
LEHRER: (inaudible) and we're going on -- still on the economy, on another -- but another part of it...
OBAMA: OK.
LEHRER: All right? All right. This is segment three, the economy. Entitlements. First -- first answer goes to you, two minutes, Mr. President. Do you see a major difference between the two of you on Social Security?

OBAMA: [color=#008000][b]You know, I suspect that, on Social Security, we've got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound. It's going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Speaker -- Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill. But it is -- the basic structure is sound.[/b][/color]

But -- but I want to talk about the values behind Social Security and Medicare, and then talk about Medicare, because that's the big driver of our deficits right now.

You know, my grandmother -- some of you know -- helped to raise me. My grandparents did. My grandfather died a while back. My grandmother died three days before I was elected president. And she was fiercely independent. She worked her way up, only had a high school education, started as a secretary, ended up being the vice president of a local bank. And she ended up living alone by choice.

And the reason she could be independent was because of Social Security and Medicare. She had worked all her life, put in this money, and understood that there was a basic guarantee, a floor under which she could not go.

And that's the perspective I bring when I think about what's called entitlements. Y[b]ou know, the name itself implies some sense of dependency on the part of these folks. These are folks who've worked hard, like my grandmother, and there are millions of people out there who are counting on this.[/b]

OBAMA: So my approach is to say, how do we strengthen the system over the long term? And in Medicare, what we did was we said, we are going to have to bring down the costs if we're going to deal with our long-term deficits, but to do that, let's look where some of the money's going.

[b]$716 billion we were able to save from the Medicare program by no longer overpaying insurance companies by making sure that we weren't overpaying providers. And using that money, we were actually able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600, and we were also able to make a -- make a significant dent in providing them the kind of preventive care that will ultimately save money through the -- throughout the system.[/b]

[color=#0000ff][b]So the way for us to deal with Medicare in particular is to lower health care costs.[/b][/color] When it comes to Social Security, as [b]I said, you don't need a major structural change in order to make sure that Social Security is there for the future.[/b]
LEHRER: We'll follow up on this.

First, Governor Romney, you have two minutes on Social Security and entitlements.

ROMNEY: Well, Jim, our seniors depend on these programs, and I know [b]anytime we talk about entitlements, people become concerned that something's going to happen that's going to change their life for the worse.[/b]

And the answer is [color=#008000][b]neither the president nor I are proposing any changes for any current retirees or near retirees, either to Social Security or Medicare. So if you're 60 or around 60 or older, you don't need to listen any further.[/b][/color]

But for younger people, we need to talk about what changes are going to be occurring. Oh, I just thought about one. And that is, in fact, I was wrong when I said the president isn't proposing any changes for current retirees. In fact he is on Medicare. On Social Security he's not.

But [color=#ff0000][b]on Medicare, for current retirees, he's cutting $716 billion from the program. Now, he says by not overpaying hospitals and providers. Actually just going to them and saying, "We're going to reduce the rates you get paid across the board, everybody's going to get a lower rate." That's not just going after places where there's abuse. That's saying we're cutting the rates. Some 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes say they won't take anymore Medicare patients under that scenario.[/b][/color]

[b][color=#ff0000]We also have 50 percent of doctors who say they won't take more Medicare patients.
This -- [size=5]we have 4 million people on Medicare Advantage that will lose Medicare Advantage because of those $716 billion in cuts.[/size][/color]I can't understand how you can cut Medicare $716 billion for current recipients of Medicare.[/b]

[b]Now, you point out, well, we're putting some back. We're going to give a better prescription program. That's $1 -- that's $1 for every $15 you've cut. [color=#ff0000]They're smart enough to know that's not a good trade.[/color][/b]

[color=#0000ff][b]I want to take that $716 billion you've cut and put it back into Medicare. By the way, we can include a prescription program if we need to improve it.[/b][/color]

But the idea of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to be able to balance the additional cost of Obamacare is, in my opinion, a mistake.

And with regards to young people coming along, I've got proposals to make sure Medicare and Social Security are there for them without any question.
LEHRER: Mr. President?
OBAMA: First of all, [color=#ff0000][b]I think it's important for Governor Romney to present this plan that he says will only affect folks in the future. And [size=5]the essence of the plan is that you would turn Medicare into a voucher program. It's called premium support,[/size] but it's understood to be a voucher program. [/b][/color]His running mate...
LEHRER: And you don't support that?
OBAMA: I don't. And let me explain why.
ROMNEY: Again, that's for future...
OBAMA: I understand.
ROMNEY: ... people, right, not for current retirees.
OBAMA: For -- so if you're -- [b]if you're 54 or 55, you might want to listen 'cause this -- this will affect you.[/b]
[b]The idea, which was originally presented by Congressman Ryan, your running mate, is that we would give a voucher to seniors and they could go out in the private marketplace and buy their own health insurance.[/b]
[color=#ff0000][b]The problem is that because the voucher wouldn't necessarily keep up with health care inflation, it was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year.[/b][/color]
[color=#008000][b]Now, in fairness, what Governor Romney has now said is he'll maintain traditional Medicare alongside it.[/b][/color] [color=#ff0000][b]But there's still a problem, because what happens is, those [size=5]insurance companies are pretty clever at figuring out who are the younger and healthier seniors. They recruit them, leaving the older, sicker seniors in Medicare.[/size] And every health care economist that looks at it says, over time, what'll happen is the traditional Medicare system will collapse.[/b][/color]
OBAMA: [b]And then what you've got is folks like my grandmother at the mercy of the private insurance system precisely at the time when they are most in need of decent health care.[/b]
So, I don't think vouchers are the right way to go. And this is not my own -- only my opinion. [b]AARP thinks that the -- the savings that we obtained from Medicare bolster the system, lengthen the Medicare trust fund by eight years. Benefits were not affected at all. And ironically, if you repeal Obamacare, and I have become fond of this term, [size=5]"Obamacare," if you repeal it, what happens is those seniors right away are going to be paying $600 more in prescription care. They're now going to have to be paying copays for basic checkups that can keep them healthier[/size][/b][size=5].[/size]
[b]And the primary beneficiary of that repeal are insurance companies that are estimated to gain billions of dollars back when they aren't making seniors any healthier. And I don't think that's the right approach when it comes to making sure that Medicare is stronger over the long term.[/b]
LEHRER: We'll talk about -- specifically about health care in a moment. But what -- do you support the voucher system, Governor?
ROMNEY: What I support is no change for current retirees and near-retirees to Medicare. And the president supports taking $716 billion out of that program.
LEHRER: And what about the vouchers?
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: So that's -- that's number one.
Number two is for people coming along that are young, [color=#0000ff][b]what I do to make sure that we can keep Medicare in place for them is to allow them either to choose the current Medicare program or a private plan. Their choice.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]They get to choose -- and they'll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them. So they don't have to pay additional money, no additional $6,000. That's not going to happen. They'll have at least two plans.[/b][/color]

ROMNEY: And by the way, [color=#0000ff][b]if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer premiums that are as low as the private sector, people will be happy to get traditional Medicare or they'll be able to get a private plan.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]I know my own view is I'd rather have a private plan. I'd just assume not have the government telling me what kind of health care I get. I'd rather be able to have an insurance company. If I don't like them, I can get rid of them and find a different insurance company. But people make their own choice.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]The other thing we have to do to save Medicare? We have to have the benefits high for those that are low income, but for higher income people, [size=5]we're going to have to lower some of the benefits. We have to make sure this program is there for the long term. That's the plan that I've put forward.[/size][/b][/color]

And, by the way [b]the idea came not even from Paul Ryan or -- or Senator Wyden, who's the co-author of the bill with -- with Paul Ryan in the Senate, but also it came from Bill -- Bill Clinton's chief of staff. This is an idea that's been around a long time[/b], which is saying, hey, [b]let's see if we can't get competition into the Medicare world so that people can get the choice of different plans at lower cost, better quality. I believe in competition.[/b]
OBAMA: Jim, if I -- if I can just respond very quickly, first of all, [size=5][b]every study has shown that Medicare has lower administrative costs than private insurance does, which is why seniors are generally pretty happy with it.[/b][/size]

[b]And private insurers have to make a profit. Nothing wrong with that. That's what they do. And so you've got higher administrative costs, plus profit on top of that.[/b] And [color=#ff0000][b]if you are going to save any money through what Governor Romney's proposing, what has to happen is, is that the money has to come from somewhere.[/b][/color]

[color=#ff0000][b]And when you move to a voucher system, you are putting seniors at the mercy of those insurance companies. [size=5]And over time, if traditional Medicare has decayed or fallen apart, then they're stuck.[/size][/b][/color]

And this is the reason why [color=#ff0000][b][size=5]AARP has said that your plan would weaken Medicare substantially. [/size]And that's why they were supportive of the approach that we took.[/b][/color]

One last point I want to make. We do have to lower the cost of health care, not just in Medicare and Medicaid... LEHRER: Talk about that in a minute.
OBAMA: ... but -- but -- but overall.
LEHRER: OK.
OBAMA: And so...
ROMNEY: That's -- that's a big topic. Can we -- can we stay on Medicare?
OBAMA: Is that a -- is that a separate topic?
(CROSSTALK)
LEHRER: Yeah, we're going to -- yeah, I want to get to it.
OBAMA: I'm sorry.
LEHRER: But all I want to do is go very quickly...
ROMNEY: Let's get back to Medicare.
LEHRER: ... before we leave the economy...
ROMNEY: Let's get back to Medicare.
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: [b]The president said that the government can provide the service at lower cost and without a profit.[/b]
LEHRER: All right.
ROMNEY: [b]If that's the case, then it will always be the best product that people can purchase.
LEHRER: Wait a minute, Governor.[/b]
ROMNEY: [b]But my experience -- my experience the private sector typically is able to provide a better product at a lower cost.[/b]
LEHRER: All right. Can we -- can the two of you agree that the voters have a choice -- a clear choice between the two...
ROMNEY: Absolutely.
LEHRER: ... of you on Medicare?
ROMNEY: Absolutely.
OBAMA: Absolutely.
LEHRER: All right. So to finish quickly, briefly, on the economy, what is your view about the level of federal regulation of the economy right now? Is there too much? And in your case, Mr. President, is there -- should there be more?
Beginning with you. This is not a new two-minute segment to start. And we'll go for a few minutes, and then we're going to go to health care, OK?
ROMNEY: [b]Regulation is essential. You can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation. As a businessperson, I had to have -- I need to know the regulations. I needed them there. You couldn't have people opening up banks in their -- in their garage and making loans. I mean, you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has good regulation. At the same time, regulation can become excessive.[/b]
LEHRER: Is it excessive now, do you think?
ROMNEY: In some places, yes. Other places, no.
LEHRER: Like where?
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: No, it can become out of date. And what's happened with [color=#ff0000][b]some of the legislation that's been passed during the president's term, you've seen regulation become excessive, and it's hurt -- it's hurt the economy. Let me give you an example.[/b][/color]
[color=#ff0000][b]Dodd-Frank was passed. And it includes within it a number of provisions that I think has some unintended consequences that are harmful to the economy. [size=5]One is it designates a number of banks as too big to fail, and they're effectively guaranteed by the federal government.[/size] This is the biggest kiss that's been given to -- to New York banks I've ever seen. This is an enormous boon for them. There've been 122 community and small banks have closed since Dodd- Frank.
So there's one example. Here's another. In Dodd-Frank...[/b][/color]
LEHRER: Do you want to repeal Dodd-Frank?
ROMNEY: [color=#0000ff][b]Well, I would repeal and replace it. We're not going to get rid of all regulation.[/b][/color] [color=#0000ff][b]You have to have regulation.[/b][/color] [color=#006400][b]And there are some parts of Dodd-Frank that make all the sense in the world. You need transparency[/b][/color], you need to have leverage limits for...
LEHRER: Well, here's a specific...
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: But let's -- let's mention -- let me mention the other one. Let's talk...
(CROSSTALK)
LEHRER: No, let's not. Let's let him respond -- let's let him respond to this specific on Dodd-Frank and what the governor just said.
OBAMA: I think this is a great example. [b]The reason we have been in such a enormous economic crisis was prompted by reckless behavior across the board.[/b]
[b]Now, it wasn't just on Wall Street. You had loan officers were -- that were giving loans and mortgages that really shouldn't have been given, because the folks didn't qualify. You had people who were borrowing money to buy a house that they couldn't afford. You had credit agencies that were stamping these as A1 great investments when they weren't.[/b][b] But you also had banks making money hand over fist, churning out products that the bankers themselves didn't even understand, in order to make big profits, but knowing that it made the entire system vulnerable.[/b]

[b]So what did we do? We stepped in and had the toughest reforms on Wall Street since the 1930s. We said you've got -- banks, you've got to raise your capital requirements. You can't engage in some of this risky behavior that is putting Main Street at risk. We've going to make sure that you've got to have a living will so -- so we can know how you're going to wind things down if you make a bad bet so we don't have other taxpayer bailouts.[/b]

OBAMA: In the meantime, by the way, [b]we also made sure that all the help that we provided those banks was paid back every single dime, with interest.[/b]

Now, [color=#ff0000][b]Governor Romney has said he wants to repeal Dodd-Frank.[/b][/color]

And, you know, I appreciate and [color=#006400][b]it appears we've got some agreement that a marketplace to work has to have some regulation.[/b][/color] [color=#ff0000][b]But in the past, Governor Romney has said he just want to repeal Dodd- Frank, roll it back.[/b][/color]

And so the question is: [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]Does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight and regulation of Wall Street? Because if you do, then Governor Romney is your candidate. But that's not what I believe.[/b][/color][/size]

ROMNEY: Sorry, but that's just not -- that's just not the facts. Look, [size=5][color=#006400][b]we have to have regulation on Wall Street. That's why I'd have regulation.[/b][/color][/size] [color=#ff0000][size=5][b]But I wouldn't designate five banks as too big to fail and give them a blank check. That's one of the unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank. It wasn't thought through properly.[/b][/size][/color] [size=5][color=#0000FF][b]We need to get rid of that provision because it's killing regional and small banks. They're getting hurt.[/b][/color][/size]

Let me mention another regulation in Dodd-Frank. [color=#006400][size=5][b]You say we were giving mortgages to people who weren't qualified. That's exactly right. It's one of the reasons for the great financial calamity we had. And so Dodd-Frank correctly says we need to have qualified mortgages, and if you give a mortgage that's not qualified, there are big penalties[/b][/size][/color], [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]except they didn't ever go on and define what a qualified mortgage was.[/b][/color][/size]

[color=#ff0000][b][size=5]It's been two years. We don't know what a qualified mortgage is yet. So banks are reluctant to make loans, mortgages. [/size]Try and get a mortgage these days. It's hurt the housing market because Dodd-Frank didn't anticipate putting in place the kinds of regulations you have to have. It's not that Dodd-Frank always was wrong with too much regulation. Sometimes they didn't come out with a clear regulation.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]I will make sure we don't hurt the functioning of our -- of our marketplace and our business, because I want to bring back housing and get good jobs.[/b][/color]

LEHRER: All right. I think we have another clear difference between the two of you. Now, let's move to health care where I know there is a clear difference, and that has to do with the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. And it's a two-minute new -- new segment, and that means two minutes each. And you go first, Governor Romney.

LEHRER: You want it repealed. You want the Affordable Care Act repealed. Why?
ROMNEY: I sure do. Well, in part, it comes, again, from my experience. You know, I was in New Hampshire. A woman came to me and she said, look, I can't afford insurance for myself or my son. I met a couple in Appleton, Wisconsin, and they said, we're thinking of dropping our insurance, we can't afford it.
And [b]the number of small businesses[/b] [b]I've gone to that are saying they're dropping insurance because they can't afford it, the cost of health care is just prohibitive. And -- and we've got to deal with cost.[/b]

And, unfortunately, when -- when -- [color=#ff0000][b][size=5]when you look at Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has said it will cost $2,500 a year more than traditional insurance.[/size] So it's adding to cost. And as a matter of fact, [size=5]when the president ran for office, he said that, by this year, he would have brought down the cost of insurance for each family by $2,500 a family. Instead, it's gone up by that amount.[/size] So it's expensive. Expensive things hurt families. So that's one reason I don't want it.[/b][/color]

Second reason, [color=#ff0000][b]it cuts $716 billion from Medicare to pay for it. I want to put that money back in Medicare for our seniors.[/b][/color]

Number three, [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]it puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. I don't like that idea.[/b][/color][/size]

Fourth, [b]there was a survey done of small businesses across the country, said, what's been the effect of Obamacare on your hiring plans? And three-quarters of them said it makes us less likely to hire people.[/b] [color=#ff0000][b][size=5]I just don't know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the -- at the kitchen table, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for Obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people. [/size]It has killed jobs.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]And the best course for health care is to do what we did in my state: craft a plan at the state level that fits the needs of the state. And then let's focus on getting the costs down for people, rather than raising it with the $2,500 additional premium[/b][/color].

LEHRER: Mr. President, the argument against repeal?

OBAMA: Well, four years ago, when I was running for office, I was traveling around and having those same conversations that Governor Romney talks about. And it wasn't just that small businesses were seeing costs skyrocket and they couldn't get affordable coverage even if they wanted to provide it to their employees. It wasn't just that this was the biggest driver of our federal deficit, our overall health care costs, but it was families who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick, millions of families, all across the country.
[size=5][b]If they had a pre-existing condition, they might not be able to get coverage at all.[/b] [b]If they did have coverage, insurance companies might impose an arbitrary limit. And so as a consequence, they're paying their premiums, somebody gets really sick, lo and behold, they don't have enough money to pay the bills, because the insurance companies say that they've hit the limit.[/b][/size]

So we did work on this, alongside working on jobs, because this is part of making sure that middle-class families are secure in this country.

And let me tell you exactly what Obamacare did. Number one, [b]if you've got health insurance, it doesn't mean a government takeover. You keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor. But it does say insurance companies can't jerk you around. They can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits. They have to let you keep your kid on their insurance -- your insurance plan until you're 26 years old. And it also says that you're going to have to get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than they are on actual care.[/b]

Number two, [b]if you don't have health insurance, we're essentially setting up a group plan that allows you to benefit from group rates that are typically 18 percent lower than if you're out there trying to get insurance on the individual market.[/b]

Now, the last point I'd make before...
LEHRER: Two minutes -- two minutes is up, sir.
OBAMA: No, I think -- I had five seconds before you interrupted me, was ...
(LAUGHTER)
... [size=5][b]the irony is that we've seen this model work really well in Massachusetts, because Governor Romney did a good thing, working with Democrats in the state to set up what is essentially the identical model and as a consequence people are covered there. It hasn't destroyed jobs. And as a consequence, we now have a system in which we have the opportunity to start bringing down costs, as opposed to just leaving millions of people out in the cold.[/b][/size]
LEHRER: Your five seconds went away a long time ago.
All right, Governor. Governor, tell -- tell the president directly why you think what he just said is wrong about Obamacare?
ROMNEY: Well, I did with my first statement.
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: [b]First of all, I like the way we did it in Massachusetts. I like the fact that in my state, we had Republicans and Democrats come together and work together. [size=5][color=#FF0000]What you did instead was to push through a plan without a single Republican vote. As a matter of fact, when Massachusetts did something quite extraordinary -- elected a Republican senator to stop Obamacare, you pushed it through anyway.[/color][/size][/b]

[color=#ff0000][b]So entirely on a partisan basis, instead of bringing America together and having a discussion on this important topic, you pushed through something that you and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid thought was the best answer and drove it through.[/b][/color]

[b]What we did in a legislature 87 percent Democrat, we worked together; 200 legislators in my legislature, only two voted against the plan by the time we were finished. [size=5][color=#FF0000]What were some differences? We didn't raise taxes. You've raised them by $1 trillion under Obamacare. We didn't cut Medicare. Of course, we don't have Medicare, but we didn't cut Medicare by $716 billion.[/color][/size][/b]

ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b]We didn't put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they're going to receive. [size=5]We didn't also do something that I think a number of people across this country recognize, which is put -- put people in a position where they're going to lose the insurance they had and they wanted.[/size][/b][/color]

Right now, [size=5][b]the CBO says up to 20 million people will lose their insurance as Obamacare goes into effect next year. And likewise, a study by McKinsey and Company of American businesses said 30 percent of them are anticipating dropping people from coverage.[/b][/size]

[color=#ff0000][b][size=5]So for those reasons, for the tax, for Medicare, for this board, and for people losing their insurance, this is why the American people don't want Medicare[/size] -- don't want Obamacare. It's why Republicans said, do not do this, and the Republicans had -- had the plan. They put a plan out. They put out a plan, a bipartisan plan. It was swept aside.[/b][/color]

[color=#0000ff][b]I think something this big, this important has to be done on a bipartisan basis. And we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle and fashion important legislation with the input from both parties.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: [b]Governor Romney said this has to be done on a bipartisan basis. This was a bipartisan idea. In fact, it was a Republican idea. And Governor Romney at the beginning of this debate wrote and said what we did in Massachusetts could be a model for the nation.[/b]

[b][color=#006400]And I agree that the Democratic legislators in Massachusetts might have given some advice to Republicans in Congress about how to cooperate,[/color] [size=5][color=#FF0000]but the fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers, and they say it's the same plan.[/color][/size][/b]

It -- [b]when Governor Romney talks about this board, for example, [size=5]unelected board that we've created, what this is, is a group of health care experts, doctors, et cetera, to figure out, how can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall?[/size][/b]

Because there -- [size=5][b]there are two ways of dealing with our health care crisis. One is to simply leave a whole bunch of people uninsured and let them fend for themselves, to let businesses figure out how long they can continue to pay premiums until finally they just give up, and their workers are no longer getting insured, and that's been the trend line.[/b][/size]

[size=5][b]Or, alternatively, we can figure out, how do we make the cost of care more effective? And there are ways of doing it.[/b][/size]

So at Cleveland Clinic, one of the best health care systems in the world, they actually provide great care cheaper than average. And the reason they do is because they do some smart things. They -- they say, if a patient's coming in, let's get all the doctors together at once, do one test instead of having the patient run around with 10 tests. [color=#0000ff][size=5][b]Let's make sure that we're providing preventive care so we're catching the onset[/b][/size] [/color]of something like diabetes. Let's -- [color=#0000ff][b]l[/b][size=5][b]et's pay providers on the basis of performance as opposed to on the basis of how many procedures they've -- they've engaged in.[/b][/size][/color]

Now, so what this board does is basically identifies best practices and says, [color=#0000ff][b]let's use the purchasing power of Medicare and Medicaid to help to institutionalize all these good things that we do.[/b][/color]

And the fact of the matter is that, [b]when Obamacare is fully implemented, we're going to be in a position to show that costs are going down. [size=5][color=#006400]And over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up -- it's true --[/color] but they've gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years.[/size] So we're already beginning to see progress. In the meantime, folks out there with insurance, you're already getting a rebate.[/b]

Let me make one last point. [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]Governor Romney says, we should replace it, I'm just going to repeal it, but -- but we can replace it with something. But the problem is, he hasn't described what exactly we'd replace it with, other than saying we're going to leave it to the states.[/b][/color][/size]

OBAMA: But the fact of the matter is that some of the prescriptions that he's offered, like [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]letting you buy insurance across state lines, there's no indication that that somehow is going to help somebody who's got a pre-existing condition be able to finally buy insurance. In fact, it's estimated that by repealing Obamacare, you're looking at 50 million people losing health insurance...[/b][/color][/size]

LEHRER: Let's...
OBAMA: ... at a time when it's vitally important.
LEHRER: Let's let the governor explain what you would do...
ROMNEY: Well...
LEHRER: ... if Obamacare is repealed. How would you replace it?
(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: Well, actually it's -- it's -- it's a lengthy description. But, number one, [color=#0000ff][size=5][b]preexisting conditions are covered under my plan.[/b][/size][/color] Number two, [size=5][color=#0000FF][b]young people are able to stay on their family plan.[/b][/color][/size] [size=5][b]That's already offered in the private marketplace. [color=#ff0000]You don't have to have the government mandate that for that to occur.[/color][/b][/size]

[color=#006400][b]But let's come back to something the president and I agree on, which is the key task we have in health care is to get the cost down so it's more affordable for families.[/b][/color] And then he has as a model for doing that a board of people at the government, an unelected board, appointed board, who are going to decide what kind of treatment you ought to have.

(CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: [b]In my opinion, the government is not effective in -- in bringing down the cost of almost anything.[/b] [b]As a matter of fact, free people and free enterprises trying to find ways to do things better are able to be more effective in bringing down the cost than the government will ever be.[/b]
Your example of the Cleveland Clinic is my case in point, along with several others I could describe.
This is the private market. These are small -- these are enterprises competing with each other, learning how to do better and better jobs. I used to consult to businesses -- excuse me, to hospitals and to health care providers. I was astonished at the creativity and innovation that exists in the American people.
[b][color=#ff0000]In order to bring the cost of health care down, we don't need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have.[/color] [size=5][color=#006400]We instead need to put insurance plans, providers, hospitals, doctors on target such that they have an incentive, as you say, performance pay, for doing an excellent job, for keeping costs down, and that's happening.[/color][/size][/b] Innermountain Healthcare does it superbly well, Mayo Clinic is doing it superbly well, Cleveland Clinic, others.
ROMNEY: [color=#ff0000][b][size=5]But the right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across America, telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have. [/size]That's the wrong way to go. The private market and individual responsibility always work best.[/b][/color]

OBAMA: [size=5][b]Let me just point out first of all this board that we're talking about can't make decisions about what treatments are given. That's explicitly prohibited in the law.[/b][/size] But let's go back to what Governor Romney indicated, that under his plan, he would be able to cover people with preexisting conditions.

Well, actually Governor, that isn't what your plan does. [size=5][color=#006400][b]What your plan does is to duplicate what's already the law, which says if you are out of health insurance for three months, then you can end up getting continuous coverage and an insurance company can't deny you if you've -- if it's been under 90 days.[/b][/color][/size]

But that's already the law and that doesn't help the millions of people out there with preexisting conditions. [size=5][b]There's a reason why Governor Romney set up the plan that he did in Massachusetts. It wasn't a government takeover of health care. It was the largest expansion of private insurance. But what it does say is that "insurers, you've got to take everybody."Now, that also means that you've got more customers.[/b][/size] [color=#ff0000][size=5][b]But when -- when Governor Romney says that he'll replace it with something, but can't detail how it will be in fact replaced and the reason he set up the system he did in Massachusetts was because there isn't a better way of dealing with the preexisting conditions problem.[/b][/size][/color]

OBAMA: [color=#ff0000][size=5][b]It just reminds me of, you know, he says that he's going to close deductions and loopholes for his tax plan. That's how it's going to be paid for, but we don't know the details. [/b][/size][size=5][b]He says that he's going to replace Dodd-Frank, Wall Street reform, but we don't know exactly which ones. He won't tell us. He now says he's going to replace Obamacare and ensure that all the good things that are in it are going to be in there and you don't have to worry.[/b][/size][/color]

And at some point, [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they're too good? Is it -- is it because that somehow middle-class families are going to benefit too much from them?
No. The reason is, is because, when we reform Wall Street, when we tackle the problem of pre-existing conditions, then, you know, these are tough problems and we've got to make choices. And the choices we've made have been ones that ultimately are benefiting middle-class families all across the country.[/b][/color][/size]
LEHRER: We're going to move to...
ROMNEY: No. I -- I have to respond to that.
LEHRER: No, but...
ROMNEY: Which is -- [b][color=#ff0000][size=5]which is my experience as a governor is if I come in and -- and lay down a piece of legislation and say, "It's my way or the highway," I don't get a lot done.[/size][/color][size=5][color=#0000FF] What I do is the same way that Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan worked together some years ago. [/color]When Ronald Reagan ran for office, he laid out the principles that he was going to foster. He said he was going to lower tax rates. He said he was going to broaden the base.[color=#0000FF] [/color][color=#ff0000]You've said the same thing, you're going to simplify the tax code, broaden the base.[/color][/size][/b]

Those are my principles. [color=#0000ff][b]I want to bring down the tax burden on middle-income families. And I'm going to work together with Congress to say, OK, what -- what are the various ways we could bring down deductions[/b][/color], for instance? [color=#0000ff][b]One way, for instance, would be to have a single number. Make up a number, $25,000, $50,000. Anybody can have deductions up to that amount. And then that number disappears for high-income people. That's one way one could do it. One could follow Bowles-Simpson as a model and take deduction by deduction and make differences that way. [size=5]There are alternatives to accomplish the objective I have, which is to bring down rates, broaden the base, simplify the code, and create incentives for growth[/size].[/b][/color] [b]And with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. You obviously studied up on -- on my plan.[/b] [size=5][color=#0000FF][b]In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. That's part of my health care plan. And what we did in Massachusetts is a model for the nation state by state. And I said that at that time.[/b][/color][/size]
[size=5][color=#FF0000][b]The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the 10th Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy.[/b][/color][/size]
LEHRER: That is a terrific segue to our next segment, and is the role of government. And -- and let's see. Role of government. And it is -- you are first on this, Mr. President. And the question is this. Do you believe, both of you -- but you had the first two minutes on this, Mr. President -- do you believe there's a fundamental difference between the two of you as to how you view the mission of the federal government?
OBAMA: Well, I definitely think there are differences.
LEHRER: And do you -- yeah.
OBAMA: The first role of the federal government is to keep the American people safe. That's its most basic function. And as commander-in-chief, that is something that I've worked on and thought about every single day that I've been in the Oval Office.
But I also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and to create frameworks where the American people can succeed.
Look, [size=5][b]the genius of America is the free enterprise system and freedom and the fact that people can go out there and start a business, work on an idea, make their own decisions.[/b][/size]

[size=5]OBAMA: [b]But as Abraham Lincoln understood, there are also some things we do better together. So, in the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, let's help to finance the Transcontinental Railroad, let's start the National Academy of Sciences, let's start land grant colleges, because we want to give these gateways of opportunity for all Americans, because if all Americans are getting opportunity, we're all going to be better off. That doesn't restrict people's freedom. That enhances it.[/b][/size]

And so what I've tried to do as president is to apply those same principles.
And [b]when it comes to education what I've said is we've got to reform schools that are not working. We use something called Race to the Top.[/b] [color=#ff0000][b]Wasn't a top-down approach[/b], [/color][b][color=#ff0000]Governor.[/color] What we've said is to states, we'll give you more money if you initiate reforms. And as a consequence, you had 46 states around the country who have made a real difference.[/b]

But what I've also said is [color=#0000ff][b]let's hire another 100,000 math and science teachers to make sure we maintain our technological lead and our people are skilled and able to succeed.[/b][/color] And hard-pressed states right now can't all do that. In fact we've seen layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers over the last several years, and [color=#ff0000][b]Governor Romney doesn't think we need more teachers. I do, because I think that that is the kind of investment where the federal government can help.[/b][/color]

It can't do it all, but it can make a difference. And as a consequence we'll have a better trained workforce and that will create jobs because companies want to locate in places where we've got a skilled workforce.
LEHRER: Two minutes, Governor, on the role of government. Your view?
ROMNEY: Well, first, I love great schools. Massachusetts, our schools are ranked number one of all 50 states. And the key to great schools, great teachers.
[color=#ff0000][b]So I reject the idea that I don't believe in great teachers or more teachers.[/b][/color] [color=#0000ff][b]Every school district, every state should make that decision on their own.[/b][/color]
The role of government: Look behind us. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents.
ROMNEY: First, life and liberty. [size=5][color=#0000FF][b]We have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people, and that means a military second to none. I do not believe in cutting our military. I believe in maintaining the strength of America's military.[/b][/color][/size]
Second, in that line that says we are endowed by our creator with our rights, [size=5][color=#0000FF][b]I believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. That statement also says that we are endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. I interpret that as, one, making sure that those people who are less fortunate and can't care for themselves are cared by -- by one another.[/b][/color][/size]
[b]We're a nation that believes that we're all children of the same god and we care for those that have difficulties, those that are elderly and have problems and challenges, those that are disabled. We care for them. And we -- we look for discovery and innovation, all these things desired out of the American heart to provide the pursuit of happiness for our citizens.[/b]
[b]But we also believe in maintaining for individuals the right to pursue their dreams and not to have the government substitute itself for the rights of free individuals. [size=5]And what we're seeing right now is, in my view, a -- a trickle-down government approach, which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. And it's not working.[/size][/b]
And the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. The proof of that is 1 out of 6 people in poverty. The proof of that is we've gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. The proof of that is that 50 percent of college graduates this year can't find work.
LEHRER: All right.
ROMNEY: We know that the path we're taking is not working. It's time for a new path.
LEHRER: All right. Let's go through some specifics in terms of what -- how each of you views the role of government. How do -- education. Does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the quality of public education in America?
ROMNEY: Well, the primary responsibility for education is -- is, of course, at the state and local level. But the federal government also can play a very important role. And I -- and [color=#006400][b]I agree with Secretary Arne Duncan, he's -- some ideas he's put forward on Race to the Top, not all of them, but some of them I agree with and -- and congratulate him for pursuing that. The federal government can get local and -- and state schools to do a better job.[/b][/color]
My own view, by the way, is I've added to that. I happen to believe,[color=#0000ff][b] I want the kids that are getting federal dollars from IDEA or Title I -- these are disabled kids or -- or -- or poor kids or -- or lower-income kids, rather, I want them to be able to go to the school of their choice[/b][/color].
[color=#0000ff][b]So all federal funds, instead of going to the -- to the state or to the school district, I'd have go, if you will, follow the child and let the parent and the child decide where to send their -- their -- their student.[/b][/color]
LEHRER: How do you see the federal government's responsibility to, as I say, to improve the quality of public education in this country?
OBAMA: Well, as I've indicated, I think that it has a significant role to play. [b]Through our Race to the Top program, we've worked with Republican and Democratic governors to initiate major reforms, and they're having an impact right now.[/b]
LEHRER: Do you think you have a difference with your views and -- and those of Governor Romney on -- about education and the federal government?
OBAMA: You know, this is where budgets matter, because budgets reflect choices. So [color=#ff0000][b]when Governor Romney indicates that he wants to cut taxes and potentially benefit folks like me and him, and to pay for it we're having to initiate significant cuts in federal support for education, that makes a difference.[/b][/color]
You know, his -- his running mate, C[color=#ff0000][b]ongressman Ryan, put forward a budget that reflects many of the principles that Governor Romney's talked about. And it wasn't very detailed. This seems to be a trend. But -- but what it did do is to -- if you extrapolated how much money we're talking about, [size=5]you'd look at cutting the education budget by up to 20 percent.[/size][/b][/color]
OBAMA: When it comes to community colleges, we are seeing great work done out there all over the country because we have the opportunity to train people for jobs that exist right now. And one of the things [color=#006400][b]I suspect Governor Romney and I probably agree on is getting businesses to work with community colleges so that they're setting up their training programs[/b][/color]...
LEHRER: Do you -- do you agree, Governor?
OBAMA: Let me just finish the point.
(CROSSTALK)
OBAMA: The -- where they're partnering so that they're designing training programs. And people who are going through them know that there's a job waiting for them if they complete it. That makes a big difference, but that requires some federal support.
Let me just say one final example. When it comes to making college affordable, whether it's two-year or four-year, [b]one of the things that I did as president was we were sending $60 billion to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program, even though the loans were guaranteed. So [size=5]there was no risk for the banks or the lenders, but they were taking billions out of the system.[/size][/b]
And we said, "Why not cut out the middleman?" [b]And as a consequence, what we've been able to do is to provide millions more students assistance, lower or keep low interest rates on student loans.[/b] And this is an example of where our priorities make a difference.
[b][color=#006400]Governor Romney, I genuinely believe cares about education[/color], [color=#ff0000]but [size=5]when he tells a student that, you know, "you should borrow money from your parents to go to college,[/size]" you know, that indicates the degree to which, you know, there may not be as much of a focus on the fact that folks like myself, folks like Michelle, kids probably who attend University of Denver, just don't have that option.[/color][/b]
And for us to be able to make sure that they've got that opportunity and they can walk through that door, that is vitally important not just to those kids. It's how we're going to grow this economy over the long term.
LEHRER: We're running out of time, gentlemen.
(CROSSTALK) LEHRER: Governor?
ROMNEY: Mr. President, Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts. All right, [color=#0000ff][b]I'm not going to cut education funding. I don't have any plan to cut education funding and -- and grants that go to people going to college.[/b][/color] I'm planning on (inaudible) to grow. So I'm not planning on making changes there.
But you make a very good point, which is that the place you put your money just makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is. [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]You put $90 billion into -- into green jobs. And I -- look, I'm all in favor of green energy. $90 billion, that would have -- that would have hired 2 million teachers. $90 billion.[/b][/color][/size]
[color=#ff0000][b]And these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, I think about [size=5]half of them, of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business[/size]. [size=5]A number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.[/size][/b][/color]
Look, the right course for America's government, we were talking about [b]the role of government, is not to become the economic player, picking winners and losers, telling people what kind of health treatment they can receive, taking over the health care system that has existed in this country for a long, long time and has produced the best health records in the world. The right answer for government is say, How do we make the private sector become more efficient and more effective? How do we get schools to be more competitive? Let's grade them. I propose we grade our schools so parents know which schools are succeeding and failing, so they can take their child to a -- to a school that he's being more successful.[/b]
[color=#0000ff][b]I don't want to cut our commitment to education. I wanted to make it more effective and efficient. [/b][/color]And by the way, I've had that experience. I don't just talk about it. I've been there. Massachusetts schools are ranked number one in the nation. This is not because I didn't have commitment to education. It's because I care about education for all of our kids.
LEHRER: All right, gentlemen...
(CROSSTALK)
LEHRER: Excuse me (inaudible). Excuse me, sir. We've got -- we've got -- barely have three minutes left. I'm not going to grade the two of you and say your answers have been too long or I've done a poor job.
OBAMA: You've done a great job.
LEHRER: Oh, well, no. But the fact is government -- the role of government and governing, we've lost a pod in other words. So we only have three -- three minutes left in the -- in the debate before we go to your closing statements. And so I want to ask finally here, and remember, we've got three minutes total time here -- and the question is this. Many of the legislative functions of the federal government right now are in a state of paralysis as a result of partisan gridlock. If elected, in your case, if re-elected, in your case, what would you do about that?
Governor?
ROMNEY: Jim, I had the great experience -- it didn't seem like it at the time -- of being elected in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. And that meant I figured out from day one I had to get along and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done. We drove our schools to be number one in the nation. We cut taxes 19 times.
LEHRER: But what would you do as president?
ROMNEY: We -- [color=#0000ff][b]as president, I will sit on day one -- actually, the day after I get elected -- I'll sit down with leaders -- the Democratic leaders, as well as Republican leaders, and continue -- as we did in my state -- we met every Monday for a couple hours, talked about the issues and the challenges in the -- in the -- in our state in that case. We have to work on a collaborative basis, not because we're going to compromise our principle, but because there's common ground.[/b][/color]
And the challenges America faces right now -- look, the reason I'm in this race is there are people that are really hurting today in this country. And we face -- this deficit could crush the future generations. What's happening in the Middle East, there are developments around the world that are of real concern.
LEHRER: All right.
ROMNEY: And [color=#006400][b]Republicans and Democrats both love America. But we need to have leadership -- leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if -- if it's a Republican or a Democrat.[/b][/color] I've done it before. I'll do it again.
LEHRER: Mr. President?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]Governor Romney's going to have a busy first day, because he's also going to repeal Obamacare, which will not be very popular among Democrats as you're sitting down with them.[/b][/color][/size]
(LAUGHTER)
But, look, my philosophy has been, [color=#0000ff][b]I will take ideas from anybody, Democrat or Republican, as long as they're advancing the cause of making middle-class families stronger and giving ladders of opportunity to the middle class. [/b][/color][b][size=5]That's how we cut taxes for middle- class families and small businesses.[/size] [size=5]That's how we cut a trillion dollars of spending that wasn't advancing that cause. That's how we signed three trade deals into law that are helping us to double our exports and sell more American products around the world. That's how we repealed "don't ask/don't tell." That's how we ended the war in Iraq, as I promised, and that's how we're going to wind down the war in Afghanistan. That's how we went after Al Qaida and bin Laden.[/size][/b]
So we've -- [color=#008000][b]we've seen progress even under Republican control of the House of Representatives.[/b][/color] But, ultimately, part of being principled, part of being a leader is, A, being able to describe exactly what it is that you intend to do, not just saying, "I'll sit down," but you have to have a plan.
Number two, what's important is [color=#ff0000][b]occasionally you've got to say no, to -- to -- to folks both in your own party and in the other party. And, you know, yes, have we had some fights between me and the [size=5]Republicans when -- when they fought back against us reining in the excesses of Wall Street?[/size] Absolutely, because that was a fight that needed to be had.[/b][/color]
When -- when we were fighting about whether or not we were going to make sure that Americans had more security with their health insurance and they said no, yes, that was a fight that we needed to have.
LEHRER: All right
OBAMA: And so [b]part of leadership and governing is both saying what it is that you are for, but also being willing to say no to some things.[/b] And I've got to tell you, [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]Governor Romney, when it comes to his own party during the course of this campaign, has not displayed that willingness to say no to some of the more extreme parts of his party.[/b][/color][/size]
LEHRER: That brings us to closing statements. It was a coin toss. Governor Romney, you won the toss and you elected to go last, so you have a closing two minutes, Mr. President.
OBAMA: Well, Jim, I want to thank you, and I want to thank Governor Romney, because I think was a terrific debate, and I very much appreciate it. And I want to thank the University of Denver.
You know, four years ago, we were going through a major crisis. And yet [b]my faith and confidence in the American future is undiminished. And the reason is because of its people[/b], because of the woman I met in North Carolina who decided at 55 to go back to school because she wanted to inspire her daughter and now has a job from that new training that she's gotten; because a company in Minnesota who was willing to give up salaries and perks for their executives to make sure that they didn't lay off workers during a recession.
[b]The auto workers that you meet in Toledo or Detroit take such pride in building the best cars in the world, not just because of a paycheck, but because it gives them that sense of pride, that they're helping to build America. And so the question now is how do we build on those strengths.[/b] And everything that I've tried to do, and everything that [color=#0000ff][b]I'm now proposing for the next four years in terms of improving our education system or developing American energy or making sure that we're closing loopholes for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and focusing on small businesses and companies that are creating jobs here in the United States, or closing our deficit in a responsible, balanced way that allows us to invest in our future.[/b][/color]
All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is -- is channeled and -- and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody's getting a fair shot. And everybody's getting a fair share -- everybody's doing a fair share, and everybody's playing by the same rules.
[color=#006400][b]You know, four years ago, I said that I'm not a perfect man and I wouldn't be a perfect president. And that's probably a promise that Governor Romney thinks I've kept.[/b][/color] [size=5][b]But I also promised that I'd fight every single day on behalf of the American people, the middle class, and all those who were striving to get into the middle class. I've kept that promise and [color=#0000ff]if you'll vote for me, then I promise I'll fight just as hard in a second term.[/color][/b][/size]
LEHRER: Governor Romney, your two-minute closing.
ROMNEY: Thank you, Jim, and Mr. President. And thank you for tuning in this evening.
This is a -- this is an important election and I'm concerned about America. I'm concerned about the direction America has been taking over the last four years.
I -- I know this is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals. It's bigger than our respective parties. It's an election about the course of America. What kind of America do you want to have for yourself and for your children.
And there really are two very different paths that we began speaking about this evening, and over the course of this month we're going to have two more presidential debates and a vice presidential debate. We're talk about those two paths.
But they lead in very different directions. And it's not just looking to our words that you have to take in evidence of where they go. You can look at the record.
[size=5][color=#FF0000][b]There's no question in my mind that if the president were to be reelected you'll continue to see a middle-class squeeze with incomes going down and prices going up.[/b][/color][/size]
[color=#0000ff][b]I'll get incomes up again.[/b][/color]
[b]You'll see chronic unemployment. We've had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent.[/b]
[color=#0000ff][size=5][b]If I'm president I will create -- help create 12 million new jobs in this country with rising incomes.[/b][/size][/color]
[color=#ff0000][b]If the president's reelected, Obamacare will be fully installed. In my view that's going to mean a whole different way of life for people who counted on the insurance plan they had in the past. Many will lose it. [size=5]You're going to see health premiums go up by some $2,500 per family.[/size][/b][/color]
[color=#0000ff][b]If I'm elected we won't have Obama. We'll put in place the kind of principles that I put in place in my own state and [size=5]allow each state to craft their own programs to get people insured and we'll focus on getting the cost of health care down.[/size][/b][/color]
[size=5][color=#FF0000][b]If the president were to be reelected you're going to see a $716 billion cut to Medicare. You'll have 4 million people who will lose Medicare Advantage. You'll have hospital and providers that'll no longer accept Medicare patients.[/b][/color][/size]
[size=5][color=#0000FF][b]I'll restore that $716 billion to Medicare.[/b][/color][/size]
And finally, military. [size=5][color=#FF0000][b]The president's reelected you'll see dramatic cuts to our military. The secretary of defense has said these would be even devastating.[/b][/color][/size]
[color=#0000ff][b]I will not cut our commitment to our military. I will keep America strong and get America's middle class working again.[/b][/color]
Thank you, Jim.
LEHRER: Thank you, Governor.
Thank you, Mr. President.
The next debate will be the vice presidential event on Thursday, October 11th at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. For now, from the University of Denver, I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you, and good night.

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Guest LAW

REP. PAUL D. RYAN, R-WIS., VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE,

AND VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. PARTICIPATE IN A

CANDIDATES DEBATE, DANVILLE, KENTUCKY

OCTOBER 11, 2012

SPEAKERS: VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

REP. PAUL D. RYAN, R-WIS.

MARTHA RADDATZ, MODERATOR

 

RADDATZ: Good evening, and welcome to the first and only vice presidential debate of 2012, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. I'm Martha Raddatz of ABC News, and I am honored to moderate this debate between two men who have dedicated much of their lives to public service.

 

Tonight's debate is divided between domestic and foreign policy issues. And I'm going to move back and forth between foreign and domestic, since that is what a vice president or president would have to do. We will have nine different segments. At the beginning of each segment, I will ask both candidates a question, and they will each have two minutes to answer. Then I will encourage a discussion between the candidates with follow-up questions.

 

By coin toss, it has been determined that Vice President Biden will be first to answer the opening question. We have a wonderful audience here at Centre College tonight. You will no doubt hear their enthusiasm at the end of the debate -- and right now, as we welcome Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan.

(APPLAUSE)

OK, you got your little wave to the families in. It's great. Good evening, gentlemen. It really is an honor to be here with both of you.

I would like to begin with Libya. On a rather somber note, one month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The State Department has now made clear, there were no protesters there.

RADDATZ: it was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?

 

BIDEN: What is was, it was a tragedy, Martha. It -- Chris Stevens was one of our best. We lost three other brave Americans.

I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all the American people tonight. One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. And secondly, we will get to the bottom of it, and whatever -- wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the American public, because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.

When you're looking at a president, Martha, it seems to me that you should take a look at his most important responsibility. That's caring for the national security of the country. And the best way to do that is take a look at how he's handled the issues of the day.

 

On Iraq, the president said he would end the war. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 -- he ended it. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there.

With regard to Afghanistan, he said he will end the war in 2014. Governor Romney said we should not set a date, number one. And number two, with regard to 2014, it depends.

When it came to Osama bin Laden, the president the first day in office, I was sitting with him in the Oval Office, he called in the CIA and signed an order saying, "My highest priority is to get bin Laden."

 

Prior to the election, prior to the -- him being sworn in, Governor Romney was asked the question about how he would proceed. He said, "I wouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin Laden." He didn't understand it was more than about taking a murderer off the battlefield. It was about restoring America's heart and letting terrorists around the world know, if you do harm to America, we will track you to the gates of hell if need be.

 

And lastly, the president of the United States has -- has led with a steady hand and clear vision. Governor Romney, the opposite. The last thing we need now is another war.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

 

RYAN: We mourn the loss of these four Americans who were murdered.

 

RYAN: When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack.

He went to the U.N. and in his speech at the U.N. he said six times -- he talked about the YouTube video.

 

Look, if we're hit by terrorists we're going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn't we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an Al Qaida cell with arms? This is becoming more troubling by the day. They first blamed the YouTube video. Now they're trying to blame the Romney-Ryan ticket for making this an issue.

 

With respect to Iraq, we had the same position before the withdrawal, which was we agreed with the Obama administration. Let's have a status of forces agreement to make sure that we secure our gains. The vice president was put in charge of those negotiations by President Obama and they failed to get the agreement. We don't have a status of forces agreement because they failed to get one. That's what we are talking about.

 

Now, when it comes to our veterans, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for what they've done for us, including your son Beau. But we also want to make sure that we don't lose the things we fought so hard to get.

 

Now, with respect to Afghanistan, the 2014 deadline, we agree with a 2014 transition. But what we also want it do is make sure that we're not projecting weakness abroad, and that's what's happening here.

 

RYAN: This Benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately it's indicative of a broader problem. And that is what we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the (inaudible) more chaotic us less safe.

 

RADDATZ: I just want to you about right in the middle of the crisis. Governor Romney, and you're talking about this again tonight, talked about the weakness; talked about apologies from the Obama administration. Was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis?

 

RYAN: On that same day, the Obama administration had the exact same position. Let's recall that they disavowed their own statement that they had put out earlier in the day in Cairo. So we had the same position, but we will -- it's never too early to speak out for our values.

 

We should have spoken out right away when the green revolution was up and starting; when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their people. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people. We should always stand up for peace, for democracy, for individual rights.

 

And we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts, because what that does when we equivocate on our values, when we show that we're cutting down on defense, it makes us more weak. It projects weakness. And when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us. They're more brazen in their attacks, and are allies are less willing to...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey.

RADDATZ: And why is that so?

BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate. First of all...

RADDATZ: Be specific.

BIDEN: I will be very specific. Number one, the -- this lecture on embassy security -- the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for, number one. So much for the embassy security piece.

Number two, Governor Romney, before he knew the facts, before he even knew that our ambassador was killed, he was out making a political statement which was panned by the media around the world. And this talk about this -- this weakness. I -- I don't understand what my friend's talking about here.

We -- this is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. This is a guy who's repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. This is the guy who brought the entire world, including Russia and China, to bring about the most devastating -- most devastating -- the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop (inaudible).

Look, I -- I just -- I mean, these guys bet against America all the time.

RADDATZ: Can we talk -- let me go back to Libya.

BIDEN: Yeah, sure.

RADDATZ: What were you first told about the attack? Why -- why were people talking about protests? When people in the consulate first saw armed men attacking with guns, there were no protesters. Why did that go on (inaudible)?

 

BIDEN: Because that was exactly what we were told by the intelligence community. The intelligence community told us that. As they learned more facts about exactly what happened, they changed their assessment. That's why there's also an investigation headed by Tom Pickering, a leading diplomat from the Reagan years, who is doing an investigation as to whether or not there are any lapses, what the lapses were, so that they will never happen again.

RADDATZ: And they wanted more security there.

BIDEN: Well,we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly -- we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view.

 

That's why I said we will get to the bottom of this. You know, usually when there's a crisis, we pull together. We pull together as a nation. But as I said, even before we knew what happened to the ambassador, the governor was holding a press conference -- was holding a press conference. That's not presidential leadership.

 

RADDATZ: Mr. Ryan, I want to ask you about -- the Romney campaign talks a lot about no apologies. He has a book called called "No Apologies." Should the U.S. have apologized for Americans burning Korans in Afghanistan? Should the U.S. apologize for U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban corpses?

RYAN: Oh, gosh, yes. Urinating on Taliban corpses? What we should not apologize for...

RADDATZ: Burning Korans, immediately?

RYAN: What -- what we should not be apologizing for are standing up for our values. What we should not be doing is saying to the Egyptian people, while Mubarak is cracking down on them, that he's a good guy and, in the next week, say he ought to go.

 

What we should not be doing is rejecting claims for -- for calls for more security in our barracks, in our Marine -- we need Marines in Benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security. There were requests for extra security; those requests were not honored.

Look, this was the anniversary of 9/11. It was Libya, a country we knew we had Al Qaida cells there, as we know Al Qaida and its affiliates are on the rise in Northern Africa. And we did not give our ambassador in Benghazi a Marine detachment?

 

Of course there's an investigation, so we can make sure that this never happens again, but when it comes to speaking up for our values, we should not apologize for those. Here's the problem. Look at all the various issues out there, and it's unraveling before our eyes. The vice president talks about sanctions on Iran. They got -- we've had four...

 

RADDATZ: Let's move to Iran. I'd actually like to move to Iran, because there's really no bigger national security...

RYAN: Absolutely.

RADDATZ: ... this country is facing. Both President Obama and Governor Romney have said they will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, even if that means military action. Last week, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates said a strike on Iran's facilities would not work and, quote, "could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations." Can the two of you be absolutely clear and specific to the American people how effective would a military strike be? Congressman Ryan?

 

RYAN: We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability. Now, let's take a look at where we've gone -- come from. When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material -- nuclear material to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They're racing toward a nuclear weapon. They're four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.

 

We've had four different sanctions, the U.N. on Iran, three from the Bush administration, one here. And the only reason we got it is because Russia watered it down and prevented the -- the sanctions from hitting the central bank.

 

Mitt Romney proposed these sanctions in 2007. In Congress, I've been fighting for these sanctions since 2009. The administration was blocking us every step of the way. Only because we had strong bipartisan support for these tough sanctions were we able to overrule their objections and put them in spite of the administration.

 

Imagine what would have happened if we had these sanctions in place earlier. You think Iran's not brazen? Look at what they're doing. They're stepping up their terrorist attacks. They tried a terrorist attack in the United States last year when they tried to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a restaurant in Washington, D.C.

 

And talk about credibility? When this administration says that all options are on the table, they send out senior administration officials that send all these mixed signals.

 

And so, in order to solve this peacefully -- which is everybody's goal -- you have to have the ayatollahs change their minds. Look at where they are. They're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. It's because this administration has no credibility on this issue. It's because this administration watered down sanctions, delayed sanctions, tried to stop us for putting the tough sanctions in place.

 

Now we have them in place because of Congress. They say the military option's on the table, but it's not being viewed as credible. And the key is to do this peacefully, is to make sure that we have credibility. Under a Romney administration, we will have credibility on this issue.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden?

 

BIDEN: It's incredible. Look, imagine had we let the Republican Congress work out the sanctions. You think there's any possibility the entire world would have joined us, Russia and China, all of our allies? These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period. Period.

When Governor Romney's asked about it, he said, "We gotta keep these sanctions." When he said, "Well, you're talking about doing more," what are you -- you're going to go to war? Is that what you want to do?

RYAN: We want to prevent war.

BIDEN: And the interesting thing is, how are they going to prevent war? How are they going to prevent war if they say there's nothing more that we -- that they say we should do than what we've already done, number one.

 

And number two, with regard to the ability of the United States to take action militarily, it is -- it is not in my purview to talk about classified information. But we feel quite confident we could deal a serious blow to the Iranians.

 

But number two, the Iranians are -- the Israelis and the United States, our military and intelligence communities are absolutely the same exact place in terms of how close -- how close the Iranians are to getting a nuclear weapon. They are a good way away. There is no difference between our view and theirs.

 

When my friend talks about fissile material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in. There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point. Both the Israelis and we know -- we'll know if they start the process of building a weapon.

 

So all this bluster I keep hearing, all this loose talk, what are they talking about? Are you talking about, to be more credible -- what more can the president do, stand before the United Nations, tell the whole world, directly communicate to the ayatollah, we will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon, period, unless he's talking about going to war.

RYAN: Martha? Let's...

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

 

RYAN: Let's look at this from the view of the ayatollahs. What do they see? They see this administration trying to water down sanctions in Congress for over two years. They're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. They're spinning the centrifuges faster.

They see us saying when we come into the administration, when they're sworn in, we need more space with our ally, Israel. They see President Obama in New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is and he, instead of meeting with him, goes on a -- on a daily talk show.

They see, when we say that these options are on the table, the secretary of defense walked them back.

 

They are not changing their mind. That's what we have to do, is change their mind so they stop pursuing nuclear weapons, and they're going faster.

 

RADDATZ: How do you do it so quickly? Look, you --you both saw Benjamin Netanyahu hold up that picture of a bomb with a red line and talking about the red line being in spring. So can you solve this, if the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, can you solve this in two months before spring and avoid nuclear -- nuclear...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: We can debate a time line. We can debate the time line, whether there's -- it's that short a time or longer. I agree that it's probably longer.

Number two, it's all about...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: You don't agree with that bomb and whether the Israelis...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: I don't want to go into classified stuff. But we both agree that to do this peacefully you've got to get them to change their minds. They're not changing their minds. And look at what this administration...

RADDATZ: But what -- what do...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Let me tell you what the ayatollah sees.

RYAN: You have to have credibility.

BIDEN: The ayatollah sees his economy being crippled. The ayatollah sees that there are 50 percent fewer exports of oil. He sees the currency going into the tank. He sees the economy going into freefall. And he sees the world for the first time totally united in opposition to him getting a nuclear weapon.

Now, with regard to Bibi, who's been my friend 39 years, the president has met with Bibi a dozen times. He's spoken to Bibi Netanyahu as much as he's spoken to anybody. The idea that we're not -- I was in a, just before he went to the U.N., I was in a conference call with the -- with the president, with him talking to Bibi for well over an hour, in -- in -- in stark relief and detail of what was going on.

This is a bunch of stuff. Look, here's the deal.

RADDATZ: What does that mean, a bunch of stuff?

BIDEN: Well, it means it's simply inaccurate.

RYAN: It's Irish.

BIDEN: It -- it is.

(LAUGHTER)

We Irish call it malarkey.

RADDATZ: Thanks for the translation. OK.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: We Irish call it malarkey. But last thing. The secretary of defense has made it absolutely clear, we didn't walk anything back. We will not allow the Iranians to get a nuclear weapon. What Bibi held up there was when they get to the point where they can enrich uranium enough to put into a weapon. They don't have a weapon to put it into.

Let's all calm down a little bit here. Iran is more isolated today than when we took office. It was on the ascendancy when we took office. It is totally isolated.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

BIDEN: I don't know what world this guy's living in. RYAN: Thank heavens we had these sanctions in place. It's in spite of their opposition.

BIDEN: Oh, god.

RYAN: They've given 20 waivers to this sanction. And all I have to point to are the results. They're four years closer toward a nuclear weapon. I think that case speaks for itself.

RADDATZ: Can you tell the American people...

BIDEN: By the way, they...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: What's worse, another war in the Middle East...

BIDEN: ... they are not four years closer to a nuclear weapon.

RYAN: Of course they are.

BIDEN: They're -- they're closer to being able to get enough fissile material to put in a weapon if they had a weapon.

RADDATZ: You are acting a little bit like they don't want one.

 

BIDEN: Oh, I didn't say -- no, I'm not saying that. But facts matter, Martha. You're a foreign policy expert. Facts matter. All this loose talk about them, "All they have to do is get to enrich uranium in a certain amount and they have a weapon," not true. Not true.

They are more -- and if we ever have to take action, unlike when we took office, we will have the world behind us, and that matters. That matters.

RADDATZ: What about Bob Gates' statement? Let me read that again, "could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations."

BIDEN: He is right. It could prove catastrophic, if we didn't do it with precision.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: And what it does is it undermines our credibility by backing up the point when we make it that all options are on the table. That's the point. The ayatollahs see these kinds of statements and they think, "I'm going to get a nuclear weapon."

When -- when we see the kind of equivocation that took place because this administration wanted a precondition policy, so when the Green Revolution started up, they were silent for nine days. When they see us putting -- when they see us putting daylight between ourselves and our allies in Israel, that gives them encouragement. When they see Russia watering down any further sanctions, the only reason we got a U.N. sanction is because Russia watered it down and prevented these central bank sanctions in the first place. So when they see this kind of activity, they are encouraged to continue, and that's the problem.

BIDEN: Martha, let me tell you what Russia...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Well, let me ask you what's worse, war in the Middle East, another war in the Middle East, or a nuclear-armed Iran?

RYAN: I'll tell you what's worse. I'll tell you what's worse.

RADDATZ: Quickly.

RYAN: A nuclear-armed Iran which triggers a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This is the world's largest sponsor of -- of terrorism. They've dedicated themselves...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... to wiping an entire country off the map. They call us the Great Satan. And if they get nuclear weapons, other people in the neighborhood will pursue their nuclear weapons, as well.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden?

RYAN: We can't live with that.

BIDEN: War should always be the absolute last resort. That's why these crippling sanctions, which Bibi Netanyahu says we should continue, which -- if I'm not mistaken -- Governor Romney says we -- we should continue. I may be mistaken. He changes his mind so often, I could be wrong.

But the fact of the matter is, he says they're working. And the fact is that they are being crippled by them. And we've made it clear, big nations can't bluff. This president doesn't bluff.

RADDATZ: Gentlemen, I want to bring the conversation to a different kind of national security issue, the state of our economy. The number-one issue here at home is jobs. The percentage of unemployed just fell below 8 percent for the first time in 43 months. The Obama administration had projected that it would fall below 6 percent now after the addition of close to a trillion dollars in stimulus money.

So will both of you level with the American people: Can you get unemployment to under 6 percent and how long will it take?

 

BIDEN: I don't know how long it will take. We can and we will get it under 6 percent. Let's look at -- let's take a look at the facts. Let's look at where we were when we came to office. The economy was in free fall. We had -- the great recession hit; 9 million people lost their job; $1.7 -- $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes, in retirement accounts for the middle class.

 

We knew we had to act for the middle class. We immediately went out and rescued General Motors. We went ahead and made sure that we cut taxes for the middle class. And in addition to that, when that -- when that occurred, what did Romney do? Romney said, "No, let Detroit go bankrupt." We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Governor Romney said, "No, let foreclosures hit the bottom."

 

But it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. My friend recently in a speech in Washington said "30 percent of the American people are takers."

 

These people are my mom and dad -- the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, "not paying any tax."

 

I've had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent -- it's about time they take some responsibility here. And instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class we're going to level the playing field; we're going to give you a fair shot again; we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for Wall Street and Main Street, making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy.

 

BIDEN: They're pushing the continuation of a tax cut that will give an additional $500 billion in tax cuts to 120,000 families. And they're holding hostage the middle class tax cut because they say we won't pass -- we won't continue the middle class tax cut unless you give the tax cut for the super wealthy.

It's about time they take some responsibility.

RADDATZ: Mr. Ryan?

RYAN: Joe and I are from similar towns. He's from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I'm from Janesville, Wisconsin. You know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today?

BIDEN: I sure do.

RYAN: It's 10 percent.

BIDEN: Yeah.

RYAN: You know what it was the day you guys came in -- 8.5 percent.

BIDEN: Yeah.

RYAN: That's how it's going all around America.

Look...

BIDEN: You don't read the statistics. That's not how it's going. It's going down.

RADDATZ: (inaudible) two-minute answer (inaudible)

RYAN: Look, did they come in and inherit a tough situation? Absolutely. But we're going in the wrong direction. Look at where we are. The economy is barely limping along. It's growing a 1.3 percent. That's slower than it grew last year and last year was slower than the year before.

 

Job growth in September was slower than it was in August, and August was slower than it was in July. We're heading in the wrong direction; 23 million Americans are struggling for work today; 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty today. This is not what a real recovery looks like. We need real reforms for real recovery and that's exactly what Mitt Romney and I are proposing. It's a five-point plan. Get America energy independent in North America by the end of the decade. Help people who are hurting get the skills they need to get the jobs they want. Get this deficit and debt under control to prevent a debt crisis.

 

Make trade work for America so we can make more things in America and sell them overseas, and champion small businesses. Don't raise taxes on small businesses because they're our job creators.

 

RYAN: He talks about Detroit. Mitt Romney's a car guy. They keep misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed. The Romneys didn't know them. They went to the same church; they never met before.

Mitt asked if he could come over on Christmas. He brought his boys, his wife, and gifts. Later on, he said, "I know you're struggling, Mark. Don't worry about their college. I'll pay for it."

When Mark told me this story, because, you know what, Mitt Romney doesn't tell these stories. The Nixons told this story. When he told me this story, he said it wasn't the help, the cash help. It's that he gave his time, and he has consistently.

This is a man who gave 30 percent of his income to charity, more than the two of us combined. Mitt Romney's a good man. He cares about 100 percent of Americans in this country. And with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney.

RYAN: We want everybody to succeed. We want to get people out of poverty, in the middle class, onto a life of self-sufficiently. We believe in opportunity and upward mobility. That's what we're going to push for in a Romney administration.

RADDATZ: Vice president? I have a feeling you have a few things to say here.

BIDEN: The idea -- if you heard that -- that little soliloquy on 47 percent and you think he just made a mistake, then I think you're -- I -- I think -- I got a bridge to sell you.

Look, I don't doubt his personal generosity. And I understand what it's like. When I was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident, killed my daughter and my wife, and my two sons survived. I have sat in the homes of many people who've gone through what I get through, because the one thing you can give people solace is to know if they know you've been through it, that they can make it. So I don't doubt his personal commitment to individuals. But you know what? I know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. He just -- he said, let it go bankrupt, period. Let it drop out. All this talk -- we saved a million jobs. Two hundred thousand people are working today.

And I've never met two guys who're more down on America across the board. We're told everything's going bad. There are 5.2 million new jobs, private-sector jobs. We need more, but 5.2 million -- if they'd get out of the way, if they'd get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent, if they get out of the way and pass the -- pass the jobs bill, if they get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upside down, but they never missed a mortgage payment, just get out of the way.

 

Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility. And, by the way, they talk about this Great Recession if it fell out of the sky, like, "Oh, my goodness, where did it come from?" It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. I was there. I voted against them. I said, no, we can't afford that. And now, all of a sudden, these guys are so seized with the concern about the debt that they created.

 

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: Let's not forget that they came in with one-party control. When Barack Obama was elected, his party controlled everything. They had the ability to do everything of their choosing. And look at where we are right now.

 

They passed the stimulus. The idea that we could borrow $831 billion, spend it on all of these special interest groups, and that it would work out just fine, that unemployment would never get to 8 percent -- it went up above 8 percent for 43 months. They said that, right now, if we just passed this stimulus, the economy would grow at 4 percent. It's growing at 1.3.

RADDATZ: When could you get it below 6 percent?

 

RYAN: That's what our entire premise of our pro-growth plan for a stronger middle class is all about: getting the economy growing at 4 percent, creating 12 million jobs over the next four years.

 

Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus. The vice president was in charge of overseeing this. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups. There are just at the Department of Energy over 100 criminal investigations that have been launched into just how stimulus...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Martha...

RADDATZ: Go ahead. Go ahead.

BIDEN: Martha, look. His colleague...

RYAN: Crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

BIDEN: ... runs an investigative committee, spent months and months and months going into this.

RYAN: This is the -- this is the inspector general.

BIDEN: Months and months. They found no evidence of cronyism.

And I love my friend here. I -- I'm not allowed to show letters but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, "By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?" We sent millions of dollars. You know...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: You did ask for stimulus money, correct?

BIDEN: Sure he did. By the way...

RYAN: On two occasions we -- we -- we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. That's what we do. We do that for all constituents who are...

(CROSSTALK) BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This was such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying -- writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, "The reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs." His words. And now he's sitting here looking at me.

And by the way, that program, again, investigated. What the Congress said was it was a model. Less than four-tenths of 1 percent waste or fraud in the program.

And all this talk about cronyism. They investigated and investigated, did not find one single piece of evidence. I wish he would just tell -- be a little more candid.

RYAN: Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China?

BIDEN: Look...

RYAN: Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like China and spend it on all these various different interest groups?

BIDEN: Let me tell you what was a good idea. It was a good idea, Moody's and others said that this was exactly what we needed to stop this from going off the cliff. It set the conditions to be able to grow again. We have, in fact, 4 percent of those green jobs didn't go under -- went under, didn't work. It's a better batting average than investment bankers have. They have about a 40 percent...

RYAN: Where are the 5 million green jobs that were being...

RADDATZ: I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we've gone over this quite enough.

BIDEN: By the way, any letter you send me, I'll entertain.

RYAN: I appreciate that, Joe.

(LAUGHTER)

RADDATZ: Let's talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process.

Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?

Mr. Ryan?

RYAN: Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.

Look, when I look at these programs, we've all had tragedies in our lives. I think about what they've done for my own family. My mom and I had my grandmother move in with us who was facing Alzheimer's. Medicare was there for here, just like it's there for my mom right now who is a Florida senior.

After my dad died, my mom and I got Social Security survivors benefits, helped me pay for college, it helped her go back to college in her 50s where she started a small business because of the new skills she got. She paid all of her taxes on the promise that these programs would be there for her.

We will honor this promise. And the best way to do it is reform it for my generation.

You see, if you reform these programs for my generation, people 54 and below, you can guarantee they don't change for people in or near retirement, which is precisely what Mitt Romney and I are proposing.

Look what -- look what Obamacare does. Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. Even their own chief actuary at Medicare backs this up. He says you can't spend the same dollar twice. You can't claim that this money goes to Medicare and Obamacare.

RYAN: And then they put this new Obamacare board in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors.

This board, by the way, it's 15 people, the president's supposed to appoint them next year. And not one of them even has to have medical training.

And Social Security? If we don't shore up Social Security, when we run out of the IOUs, when the program goes bankrupt, a 25 percent across-the-board benefit cut kicks in on current seniors in the middle of their retirement. We're going to stop that from happening.

They haven't put a credible solution on the table. He'll tell you about vouchers. He'll say all these things to try and scare people. Here's what we're saying: give younger people, when they become Medicare eligible, guaranteed coverage options that you can't be denied, including traditional Medicare. Choose your plan, and then Medicare subsidizes your premiums, not as much for the wealthy people, more coverage for middle-income people, and total out-of-pocket coverage for the poor and the sick.

Choice and competition. We would rather have 50 million future seniors determine how their Medicare is delivered to them instead of 15 bureaucrats deciding what, if, when, where they get it.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden, two minutes.

BIDEN: You know, I heard that death panel argument from Sarah Palin. It seems every vice presidential debate I hear this kind of stuff about panels.

But let's talk about Medicare. What we did is, we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to Medicare. We cut the cost of Medicare. We stopped overpaying insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. The AMA supported what we did. AARP endorsed what we did. And it extends the life of Medicare to 2024. They want to wipe this all out.

It also gave more benefits. Any senior out there, ask yourself: Do you have more benefits today? You do. If you're near the donut hole, you have $800 -- $600 more to help your prescription drug costs. You get wellness visits without co-pays. They wipe all of this out, and Medicare goes -- becomes insolvent in 2016, number one.

Number two, "guaranteed benefit"? It's a voucher. When they first proposed -- when the congressman had his first voucher program, the CBO said it would cost $6,400 a year, Martha, more for every senior, 55 and below, when they got there. He knew that, yet he got all the guys in Congress and women in the Republican Party to vote for it. Governor Romney, knowing that, said, I would sign it, were I there.

Who you believe, the AMA, me, a guy who's fought his whole life for this, or somebody who would actually put in motion a plan that knowingly cut -- added $6,400 a year more to the cost of Medicare?

Now they got a new plan: "Trust me, it's not going to cost you any more." Folks, follow your instincts on this one.

And with regard to Social Security, we will not -- we will not privatize it. If we had listened to Romney, Governor Romney, and the congressman during the Bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money had been in the market.

Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad, and they eliminate the guarantee of Medicare.

RYAN: Here's the problem. They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this.

BIDEN: That's not what they said.

RYAN: 7.4 million seniors are projected to lose their current Medicare Advantage coverage they have. That's a $3,200 benefit cut.

BIDEN: That didn't happen.

RYAN: What we're saying...

BIDEN: More people signed up.

RYAN: These are from your own actuaries.

BIDEN: More -- more -- more people signed up for Medicare Advantage after the change.

RYAN: What -- there's...

BIDEN: Nobody is...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know...

BIDEN: No, this is...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other.

BIDEN: Well, don't take all the four minutes then.

RYAN: Let me just -- let me just say this. We are not -- we're saying don't change benefits for people 55 and above. They already organized their retirement around these promises.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... programs for those of us.

RADDATZ: But let -- let me ask you this. What -- what is your specific plan for seniors who really can't afford to make up the difference in the value of what you call a premium support plan and others call a voucher?

RYAN: Hundred percent coverage...

RADDATZ: And what...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: That's what we're saying. So we're saying...

RADDATZ: How do you make that up?

RYAN: ... income adjusts (inaudible) these premium support payments by taking down the subsidies for wealthy people.

Look, this is a plan -- by the way, that $6,400 number, it was misleading then, it's totally inaccurate now. This is a plan that's bipartisan. It's a plan I put together with a prominent Democrat senator from Oregon.

BIDEN: There's not one Democrat who endorses it.

RYAN: It's a plan...

BIDEN: Not one Democrat who (inaudible).

RYAN: Our partner is a Democrat from Oregon.

BIDEN: And he said he does no longer support (inaudible).

RYAN: We -- we -- we put it -- we put it together with the former Clinton budget director.

BIDEN: Who disavows it.

RYAN: This idea -- this idea came from the Clinton commission to save Medicare chaired by Senator John Breaux.

Here's the point, Martha.

BIDEN: Which was rejected.

RYAN: If we don't -- if we don't fix this problem pretty soon then current seniors get cut. Here's the problem: 10,000 people are retiring every single day in America today and they will for 20 years. That's not a political thing, that's a math thing.

BIDEN: Martha, if we just did one thing, if we just -- if they just allowed Medicare to bargain for the cost of drugs like Medicaid can, that would save $156 billion right off the bat.

RYAN: And it would deny seniors choices.

BIDEN: All -- all -- all...

RYAN: It has a restricted...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Seniors are not denied.

RYAN: Absolutely.

BIDEN: They are not denied.

Look, folks, all you seniors out there, have you been denied choices? Have you lost Medicare Advantage.

RYAN: Because it's working well right now.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Because we've changed the law.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden, let me ask you, if it could help solve the problem, why not very slowly raise the Medicare eligibility age by two years, as Congressman Ryan suggests?

BIDEN: Look, I was there when we did that with Social Security in 1983. I was one of eight people sitting in the room that included Tip O'Neill negotiating with President Reagan. We all got together and everybody said, as long as everybody's in the deal, everybody's in the deal, and everybody is making some sacrifice, we can find a way.

We made the system solvent to 2033. We will not, though, be part of any voucher plan eliminating -- the voucher says, "Mom, when you're -- when you're 65, go out there, shop for the best insurance you can get. You're out of Medicare." You can buy back in if you want with this voucher, which will not keep pace -- will not keep pace with health care costs. Because if it did keep pace with health care costs, there would be no savings. That's why they go the voucher. They -- we will be no part of a voucher program or the privatization of Social Security.

RYAN: A voucher is you go to your mailbox, get a check, and buy something. Nobody's proposing that. Barack Obama four years ago running for president said if you don't have any fresh ideas, use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a good record to run on, paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Make a big election about small ideas.

RADDATZ: You were one of the few lawmakers to stand with President Bush when he was seeking to partially privatize Social Security.

RYAN: For younger people. What we said then, and what I've always agreed is let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system.

BIDEN: You saw how well that worked.

RYAN: That's not what Mitt Romney's proposing. What we're saying is no changes for anybody 55 and above.

BIDEN: What Mitt Romney is proposing...

RYAN: And then the kinds of changes we're talking about for younger people like myself is don't increase the benefits for wealthy people as fast as everybody else. Slowly raise the retirement age over time.

BIDEN: Martha...

RYAN: It wouldn't get to the age of 70 until the year 2103 according to the actuaries.

Now, here's...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Quickly, Vice President?

BIDEN: Quickly. The bottom line here is that all the studies show that if we went with Social Security proposal made by Mitt Romney, if you're 40 -- in your 40s now you will pay $2,600 a year -- you get $2,600 a year less in Social Security. If you're in your 20s now, you get $4,700 (inaudible) less.

The idea of changing, and change being in this case to cut the benefits for people without taking other action you could do to make it work is absolutely the wrong way.

These -- look, these guys haven't been big on Medicare from the beginning. Their party's not been big on Medicare from the beginning. And they've always been about Social Security as little as you can do.

Look, folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this -- a man who introduced a bill that would raise it 40 -- $6,400 a year; knowing it and passing it, and Romney saying he'd sign it, or me and the president?

RYAN: That statistic was completely misleading. But more importantly...

BIDEN: That's -- there are the facts right...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: This is what politicians do when they don't have a record to run on: try to scare people from voting for you. If you don't get ahead of this problem, it's going to...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Medicare beneficiaries -- there are more beneficiaries...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: We're going to -- we're going to move...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: ... very simple question...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: We're not going to run away. Medicare and Social Security did so much for my own family. We are not going to jeopardize this program, but we have to save it...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: You are jeopardizing this program. You're changing the program from a guaranteed benefit to premium support. Whatever you call it, the bottom line is people are going to have to pay more money out of their pocket and the families I know and the families I come from, they don't have the money to pay more out...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: That's why we're saying more for lower income people and less for higher income people.

RADDATZ: Gentlemen, I would like to move on to a very simple question for both of you, and something tells me I won't get a very simple answer, but let me ask you this.

BIDEN: I gave you a simple answer. He's raising the cost of Medicare.

RADDATZ: OK, on to taxes. If your ticket is elected, who will pay more in taxes? Who will pay less? And we're starting with Vice President Biden for two minutes.

BIDEN: The middle class will pay less and people making $1 million or more will begin to contribute slightly more. Let me give you one concrete example. The continuation of the Bush tax cuts -- we are arguing that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be allowed to expire. Of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, $800 million -- billion of that goes to people making a minimum of $1 million.

We see no justification in these economic times for those, and they're patriotic Americans. They're not asking for this continued tax cut. They're not suggesting it, but my friends are insisting on it; 120,000 families by continuing that tax cut will get an additional $500 billion in tax relief in the next 10 years and their income is an average of $8 million.

We want to extend permanently the middle-class tax cut for -- permanently, from the Bush middle-class tax cut. These guys won't allow us to. You know what they're saying? We say "let's have a vote -- let's have a vote on the middle-class tax cut and let's have a vote on the upper (ph) tax cut; let's go ahead and vote on it." They're saying no. They're holding hostage the middle class tax cut to the super wealthy. And on top of that, they've got another tax cut coming that's $5 trillion that all of the studies point out will in fact give another $250 million -- yeah, $250,000 a year to those 120,000 families and raise taxes for people who are middle income with a child by $2,000 a year.

This is unconscionable. There is no need for this. The middle class got knocked on their heels. The great recession crushed them. They need some help now. The last people who need help are 120,000 families for another -- another $500 billion tax cut over the next 10 years.

RADDATZ: Congressman?

RYAN: Our entire premise of these tax reform plans is to grow the economy and create jobs. It's a plan that's estimated to create 7 million jobs. Now, we think that government taking 28 percent of a family and business's income is enough. President Obama thinks that the government ought to be able to take as much as 44.8 percent of a small business's income.

 

RYAN: Look, if you taxed every person and successful business making over $250,000 at 100 percent, it would only run the government for 98 days. If everybody who paid income taxes last year, including successful small businesses, doubled their income taxes this year, we'd still have a $300 billion deficit. You see? There aren't enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending.

 

And so the next time you hear them say, "Don't worry about it, we'll get a few wealthy people to pay their fair share," watch out, middle class, the tax bill's coming to you.

 

That's why we're saying we need fundamental tax reform. Let's take a look at it this way. Eight out of 10 businesses, they file their taxes as individuals, not as corporations. And where I come from, overseas, which is Lake Superior, the Canadians, they dropped their tax rates to 15 percent. The average tax rate on businesses in the industrialized world is 25 percent, and the president wants the top effective tax rate on successful small businesses to go above 40 percent.

Two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. This one tax would actually tax about 53 percent of small-business income. It's expected to cost us 710,000 jobs. And you know what? It doesn't even pay for 10 percent of their proposed deficit spending increases.

 

What we are saying is, lower tax rates across the board and close loopholes, primarily to the higher-income people. We have three bottom lines: Don't raise the deficit, don't raise taxes on the middle class, and don't lower the share of income that is borne by the high-income earners.

He'll keep saying this $5 trillion plan, I suppose. It's been discredited by six other studies. And even their own deputy campaign manager acknowledged that it wasn't correct.

 

RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this 20 percent. You have refused -- and, again -- to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics? Or are you still working on it, and that's why you won't tell voters?

RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the...

RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the...

(CROSSTALK) BIDEN: That would -- that would be a first for the Republican Congress.

RADDATZ: Do you know exactly what you're doing?

RYAN: Look -- look at what Mitt Romney -- look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did. They worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base, and they worked together to fix that.

What we're saying is, here's our framework. Lower tax rates 20 percent. We raised about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forego about $1.1 trillion in loopholes and deductions. And so what we're saying is, deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation...

BIDEN: Can I translate?

RYAN: ... so we can lower tax rates across the board. Now, here's why I'm saying this. What we're saying is, here's the framework...

BIDEN: I hope I'm going to get time to respond to this.

RADDATZ: You'll get time.

RYAN: We want to work with Congress -- we want to work with the Congress on how best to achieve this. That means successful. Look...

RADDATZ: No specifics, again.

RYAN: Mitt -- what we're saying is, lower tax rates 20 percent, start with the wealthy, work with Congress to do it...

RADDATZ: And you guarantee this math will add up?

RYAN: Absolutely. Six studies have guaranteed -- six studies have verified that this math adds up. But here's...

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Look...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: .. let me translate. Let me have a chance to translate.

RYAN: I'll come back in a second, then, right?

BIDEN: First of all, I was there when Ronald Reagan tax breaks -- he gave specifics of what he was going to cut, number one, in terms of tax expenditures. Number two, 97 percent of the small businesses in America pay less -- make less than $250,000. Let me tell you who some of those other small businesses are: hedge funds that make $600 million, $800 million a year. That's -- that's what they count as small businesses, because they're pass- through.

 

Let's look at how sincere they are. Ronald -- I mean, excuse me, Governor Romney on "60 Minutes" -- I guess it was about 10 days ago -- was asked, "Governor, you pay 14 percent on $20 million. Someone making $50,000 pays more than that. Do you think that's fair?" He said, "Oh, yes, that's fair. That's fair."

 

This is -- and they're going to talk -- you think these guys are going to go out there and cut those loopholes? The loophole -- the biggest loophole they take advantage of is the carried interest loophole and -- and capital gains loophole. They exempt that.

 

BIDEN: Now, there's not enough -- the reason why the AEI study, the American Enterprise Institute study, the Tax Policy Center study, the reason they all say it's going -- taxes go up on the middle class, the only way you can find $5 trillion in loopholes is cut the mortgage deduction for middle-class people, cut the health care deduction, middle-class people, take away their ability to get a tax break to send their kids to college. That's why they arrive at it.

RADDATZ: Is he wrong about that?

RYAN: He is wrong about that. They're...

BIDEN: How's that?

RYAN: You can -- you can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers...

BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.

RYAN: It is mathematically possible. It's been done before. It's precisely what we're proposing.

BIDEN: It has never been done before.

RYAN: It's been done a couple of times, actually.

BIDEN: It has never been done before.

RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth. Ronald Reagan...

BIDEN: Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy?

(LAUGHTER)

RYAN: Ronald Reagan -- Republicans and Democrats...

BIDEN: This is amazing.

RYAN: Republican and Democrats have worked together on this.

BIDEN: That's right.

RYAN: You know, I understand you guys aren't used to doing bipartisan deals...

BIDEN: But we told each other what we're going to do.

RYAN: Republicans and Democrats...

BIDEN: When we did it Reagan, we said, here -- here are the things we're going to cut.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: That's what we said.

RYAN: We said here's the framework, let's work together to fill in the details. That's exactly...

BIDEN: Fill in the detail.

RYAN: That's how you get things done. You work with Congress -- look, let me say it this way.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: That's coming from a Republican Congress working bipartisanly, 7 percent rating? Come on.

RYAN: Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, where 87 percent of the legislators he served, which were Democrats. He didn't demonize them. He didn't demagogue them. He met with those party leaders every week. He reached across the aisle. He didn't compromise principles.

BIDEN: And you saw what happened.

RYAN: He found common ground -- and he balanced the budget...

BIDEN: You saw -- if he did such a great job...

RADDATZ: Mr. Vice President...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... four times without raising taxes...

BIDEN: Why isn't he even contesting Massachusetts?

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Mr. Vice President, what would you suggest -- what would you suggest beyond raising taxes on the wealthy, that would substantially reduce the long-term deficit?

BIDEN: Just let the taxes expire like they're supposed to on those millionaires. We don't -- we can't afford $800 billion going to people making a minimum of $1 million. They do not need it, Martha. Those 120,000 families make $8 million a year. Middle-class people need the help. Why does my friend cut out the tuition tax credit for them? Why does he go after the childcare...

RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?

BIDEN: Why do they do that?

RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?

RYAN: Yeah, we're saying close loopholes...

RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?

RYAN: ... on high-interest people.

RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?

RYAN: For higher-income people. Here...

BIDEN: Can you guarantee that no one making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage -- their mortgage deduction impacted? Guarantee?

RYAN: This taxes a million small businesses. He keeps trying to make you think that it's just some movie star or hedge fund guy or an actor...

BIDEN: Ninety-seven percent of the small businesses make less than $250,000 a year, would not be affected.

RYAN: Joe, you know it hits a million -- this taxes a million people, a million small businesses.

BIDEN: Does it tax 97 percent of the American businesses?

RYAN: It taxes a million small businesses...

BIDEN: Small businesses?

RYAN: ... who are our greatest job creators.

BIDEN: I wish I'd get -- the "greatest job creators" are the hedge fund guys.

RADDATZ: And you're -- and you're going to increase the defense budget.

RYAN: Think about it this way.

RADDATZ: And you're going to increase the defense budget.

RYAN: No, we're not just going to cut the defense budget like they're -- they're proposing...

BIDEN: They're going to increase it $2 billion.

RYAN: That's not...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: We're talking about...

RADDATZ: So no massive defense increases?

RYAN: No, we're saying don't -- OK, you want to get into defense now?

RADDATZ: Yes, I do. I do, because that's another math question.

RYAN: So -- right, OK.

RADDATZ: How do you do that?

RYAN: So they proposed a $478 billion cut to defense to begin with. Now we have another $500 billion cut to defense that's lurking on the horizon. They insisted upon that cut being involved in the debt negotiations, and so we have a $1 trillion cut...

RADDATZ: Let's put the automatic defense cuts aside, OK?

RYAN: Right, OK.

RADDATZ: Let's put those aside. No one wants that.

BIDEN: I'd like to go back to that.

RADDATZ: But I want to know how you do the math and have this increase in defense spending?

BIDEN: Two trillion dollars.

RYAN: You don't cut defense by a trillion dollars. That's what we're talking about.

RADDATZ: And what -- what national security issues justify an increase?

BIDEN: Who's cutting it by $1 trillion?

RYAN: We're going to cut 80,000 soldiers, 20,000 Marines, 120 cargo planes. We're going to push the Joint Strike Fighter out...

RADDATZ: Drawing down in one war and one war...

RYAN: If these cuts go through, our Navy will be the smallest -- the smallest it has been since before World War I.

This invites weakness. Look, do we believe in peace through strength? You bet we do. And that means you don't impose these devastating cuts on our military.

So we're saying don't cut the military by a trillion dollars. Not increase it by a trillion, don't cut it by a trillion dollars.

RADDATZ: Quickly, Vice President Biden on this. I want to move on.

BIDEN: Look, we don't cut it. And I might add, this so-called -- I know we don't want to use the fancy word "sequester," this automatic cut -- that was part of a debt deal that they asked for.

And let me tell you what my friend said at a press conference announcing his support of the deal. He said, and I'm paraphrase, We've been looking for this moment for a long time.

RYAN: Can I tell you what that meant?

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: We've been looking for bipartisanship for a long time.

BIDEN: And so the bipartisanship is what he voted for, the automatic cuts in defense if they didn't act.

And beyond that, they asked for another -- look, the military says we need a smaller, leaner Army, we need more special forces, we need -- we don't need more M1 tanks, what we need is more UAVs.

RADDATZ: Some of the military.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Not some of the military. That was the decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended to us and agreed to by the president. That is a fact.

RADDATZ: Who answers to a civilian leader.

BIDEN: They made the recommendation first.

RADDATZ: OK. Let's move on to Afghanistan.

RYAN: Can I get into that for a second?

RADDATZ: I'd like to move on to Afghanistan please. And that's one of the biggest expenditures this country has made, in dollars, and more importantly in lives.

We just passed the sad milestone of losing 2,000 U.S. troops there in this war. More than 50 of them were killed this year by the very Afghan forces we are trying to help.

Now, we've reached the recruiting goal for Afghan forces, we've degraded Al Qaida. So tell me, why not leave now? What more can we really accomplish? Is it worth more American lives?

RYAN: We don't want to lose the gains we've gotten. We want to make sure that the Taliban does not come back in and give Al Qaida a safe haven.

We agree with the administration on their 2014 transition.

Look, when I think about Afghanistan, I think about the incredible job that our troops have done. You've been there more than the two of us combined. First time I was there in 2002, it was amazing to me what they were facing. When I went to the Ahgandah (ph) Valley in Kandahar before the surge, I sat down with a young private in the 82nd from the Monamanee (ph) Indian reservation who would tell me what he did every day, and I was in awe. And to see what they had in front of them.

And then to go back there in December, to go throughout Helmand with the Marines, to see what they had accomplished, it's nothing short of amazing.

What we don't want to do is lose the gains we've gotten. Now, we've disagreed from time to time on a few issues. We would have more likely taken into accounts the recommendations from our commanders, General Petraeus, Admiral Mullen, on troop levels throughout this year's fighting season. We've been skeptical about negotiations with the Taliban, especially while they're shooting at us.

But we want to see the 2014 transition be successful, and that means we want to make sure our commanders have what they need to make sure that it is successful so that this does not once again become a launching pad for terrorists.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: Martha, let's keep our eye on the ball. The reason -- I've been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq 20 times. I've been up in the Konar (ph) Valley. I've been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter, and sometimes in a vehicle.

 

The fact is, we went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans, Al Qaida. We've decimated Al Qaida central. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. That was our purpose. And, in fact, in the meantime, what we said we would do, we would help train the Afghan military. It's their responsibility to take over their own security. That's why with 49 of our allies in Afghanistan, we've agreed on a gradual drawdown so we're out of there by the year 20 -- in the year 2014.

 

My friend and the governor say it's based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. We have trained over 315,000, mostly without incident. There have been more than two dozen cases of green-on-blue where Americans have been killed. If we do not -- if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols. We will not train in the field. We'll only train in the -- in the Army bases that exist there.

 

But we are leaving. We are leaving in 2014. Period. And in the process, we're going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion. We've been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed. Now, all we're doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security.

It's their responsibility, not America's.

RADDATZ: What -- what conditions could justify staying, Congressman Ryan?

 

RYAN: We don't want to stay. We want -- look, one of my best friends in Janesville, a reservist, is at a forward-operating base in eastern Afghanistan right now. Our wives are best friends. Our daughters are best friends. I want -- I want him and all of our troops to come home as soon and safely as possible.

 

We want to make sure that 2014 is successful. That's why we want to make sure that we give our commanders what they say they need to make it successful. We don't want to extend beyond 2014. That's the point we're making. You know, if it was just this, I'd feel like we would -- we would be able to call this a success, but it's not. What we are witnessing as we turn on our television screens these days is the absolute unraveling of the Obama foreign policy. Problems are growing at home, but -- problems are growing abroad, but jobs aren't growing here at home.

RADDATZ: Let me go back to this. He says we're absolutely leaving in 2014. You're saying that's not an absolute, but you won't talk about what conditions would justify...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Do you know why we say that?

BIDEN: I'd like to know...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Because we don't want to broadcast to our enemies "put a date on your calendar, wait us out, and then come back." We want to make sure...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: But you agree with the timeline.

RYAN: We do agree -- we do agree with the timeline and the transition, but what we -- what any administration will do in 2013 is assess the situation to see how best to complete this timeline. What we do not want to do...

BIDEN: We will leave in 2014.

RYAN: ... what we don't want to do is give our allies reason to trust us less and our enemies more -- we don't want to embolden our enemies to hold and wait out for us and then take over...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Martha, that's a bizarre statement.

RYAN: That's why we want to make sure -- no, that's why we want to make sure that...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Forty-nine of our allies -- hear me -- 49 of our allies signed on to this position.

RYAN: And we're reading that they want to...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Forty-nine -- 49 of our allies said "out in 2014." It's the responsibility of the Afghans. We have other responsibilities... (CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Do you really think that this timeline...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Which is -- which is...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: We have -- we have soldiers and Marines. We have Afghan forces murdering our forces over there. The Taliban is, do you think, taking advantage of this timeline?

BIDEN: Look, the Taliban -- what we've found out, and we -- you saw it in Iraq, Martha, unless you set a timeline, Baghdad, in the case of Iraq, and -- and Kabul, in the case of Afghanistan will not step up. They're happy to let us continue to do the job; international security forces to do the job.

The only way they step up is to say, "Fellas, we're leaving; we've trained you; step up, step up."

RADDATZ: Let me go back.

BIDEN: That's the only way it works.

RADDATZ: Let me go back to the -- the surge troops that we put in there. And -- and you brought this up, Congressman Ryan. I have talked to a lot of troops. I've talked to senior offices who were concerned that the surge troops were pulled out during the fighting season, and some of them saw that as a political -- as a political move. So can you tell me, Vice President Biden, what was the military reason for bringing those surge troops home...

BIDEN: The military reason...

RADDATZ: ... before the fighting had ended?

BIDEN: ... was bringing -- by the way, when the president announced the surge, you'll remember, Martha, he said the surge will be out by the end of the summer. The military said the surge will be out. Nothing political about this.

Before the surge occurred -- so you be a little straight with me here, too -- before the surge occurred, we said they'll be out by the end of the summer. That's what the military said. The reason for that is...

RADDATZ: The military follows orders. I mean, there -- trust me. There are people who were concerned about pulling out on the fighting season.

BIDEN: Sure. There are people that are concerned, but not the Joint Chiefs. That was their recommendation in the Oval Office to the president of the United States of America. I sat there. I'm sure you'll find someone who disagrees with the Pentagon. I'm positive you'll find that within the military. But that's not the case here.

And, secondly, the reason why the military said that is, you cannot wait and have a cliff. It takes -- you know -- months and months and months to draw down forces.

RYAN: Let me...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Let me try and illustrate the issue here, because I think this -- it can get a little confusing. We've all met with General Allen and General Scaparrotti in Afghanistan to talk about fighting seasons.

Here's the way it works. The mountain passes fill in with snow. The Taliban and the terrorists and the Haqqani and the Quetta Shura come over from Pakistan to fight our men and women. When it fills in with snow, they can't do it. That's what we call fighting seasons. In the warm months, fighting gets really high. In the winter, it goes down.

And so when Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus came to Congress and said, if you pull these people out before the fighting season is end, it puts people more at risk. That's the problem.

Yes, we drew 22,000 troops down last month, but the remaining troops that are there, who still have the same mission to prosecute counterinsurgency, are doing it with fewer people. That makes them less safe.

BIDEN: Fighting season...

RYAN: We're sending fewer people out in all of these hotspots to do the same job that they were supposed to do a month ago.

BIDEN: Because we turned it over...

RYAN: But we took 22,000 people out...

BIDEN: ... we turned it over to the Afghan troops we trained. No one got pulled out that didn't get filled in by trained Afghan personnel. And he's -- he's conflating two issues. The fighting season that Petraeus was talking about and former -- and Admiral Mullen was the fighting season this spring. That's what he was talking about. We did not -- we did not pull them out.

RYAN: The calendar works the same every year.

BIDEN: It does work the same every year. But we're not staying there...

RYAN: Spring, summer, fall. It's warm, or it's not. They're still fighting us. They're still coming over the passes. They're still coming into Zabul, to Kunar, to all of these areas, but we are sending fewer people to the front to fight them. And that's...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: That's right, because that's the Afghan responsibility. We've trained them.

RYAN: Not in the east.

RADDATZ: Let's move -- let's move to another war.

BIDEN: Not in the east?

RYAN: R.C. East -- R.C. East...

BIDEN: R.C. East is the most dangerous place in the world.

RYAN: That's right. That's why we don't want to send fewer people to the...

BIDEN: That's -- that's why we should send Americans in to do the job, instead of the -- you'd rather Americans be going in doing the job instead of the trainees?

RYAN: No. We are already sending Americans to do the job, but fewer of them. That's the whole problem.

BIDEN: That's right. We're sending in more Afghans to do the job, Afghans to do the job.

RADDATZ: Let's move to another war, the civil war in Syria, where there are estimates that more -- estimates that more than 25,000, 30,000 people have now been killed. In March of last year, President Obama explained the military action taken in Libya by saying it was in the national interest to go in and prevent further massacres from occurring there. So why doesn't the same logic apply in Syria? Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: Different country. It's a different country. It is five times as large geographically, it has one-fifth the population, that is Libya, one-fifth the population, five times as large geographically. It's in a part of the world where they're not going to see whatever would come from that war. It seep into a regional war.

You're in a country that is heavily populated in the midst of the most dangerous area in the world. And, in fact, if in fact it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region causing potentially regional wars.

We are working hand and glove with the Turks, with the Jordanians, with the Saudis, and with all the people in the region attempting to identify the people who deserve the help so that when Assad goes -- and he will go -- there will be a legitimate government that follows on, not an Al Qaida-sponsored government that follows on.

And all this loose talk of my friend, Governor Romney, and the congressman, about how we're going to do, we could do so much more in there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground?

The last thing America needs is to get in another ground war in the Middle East, requiring tens of thousands, if not well over 100,000 American forces. That -- they are the facts. They are the facts.

Now, every time the governor is asked about this, he doesn't say anything. He -- he goes up with a whole lot of verbiage, but when he gets pressed he says, no, he would not do anything different than we are doing now.

Are they proposing putting American troops on the ground? Putting American aircraft in the airspace? Is that what they're proposing? If they do, they should speak up and say so, but that's not what they're saying.

We are doing it exactly like we need to do to identify those forces who, in fact, will provide for a stable government and not cause a regional Sunni-Shia war when Bassad (sic) -- when Bashar Assad falls.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to send troops to Syria. American troops.

Now, let me say it this way. How would we do things differently? We wouldn't refer to Bashar Assad as a reformer when he's killing his own civilians with his Russian-provided weapons. We wouldn't be outsourcing our foreign policy to the United Nations giving Vladimir Putin veto power over our efforts to try and deal with this issue. He's vetoed three of them.

Hillary Clinton went to Russia to try and convince them not to do so. They thwarted her efforts. She said they were on the wrong side of history. She was right about that. This is just one more example of how the Russia reset's not working.

And so where are we? After international pressure mounted, the President Obama said Bashar Assad should go. It's been over a year. The man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people. And more foreign fighters are spilling into this country.

So the longer this has gone on, the more people, groups like Al Qaida are going in. We could have more easily identified the free Syrian army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, had we had a better plan in place to begin with working through our allies. But, no, we waited for Kofi Annan to try and come up with an agreement through the U.N. That bought Bashar Assad time.

We gave Russia veto power over our efforts through the U.N. And meanwhile about 30,000 Syrians are dead.

BIDEN: What would my friend do differently? If you notice, he never answers the question.

RYAN: No, I would -- I -- we would not be going through the U.N. in all of these things.

BIDEN: Let me -- you don't go through the U.N. We are in the process now -- and have been for months -- in making sure that help, humanitarian aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the Turks believe, the Jordanians believe, the Saudis believe are the free forces inside of Syria. That is underway.

Our allies were all on the same page, NATO, as well as our Arab allies, in terms of trying to get a settlement. That was their idea. We're the ones that said, "Enough." With regard to the reset not working, the fact of the matter is that Russia has a different interest in Syria than we do, and that's not in our interest.

RADDATZ: What happens if Assad does not fall, Congressman Ryan? What happens to the region? What happens if he hangs on? What happens if he does?

RYAN: Then Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He's a sponsor of terrorism. He'll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this. Look, he mentioned the reset...

RADDATZ: So what would Romney-Ryan do about that credibility?

RYAN: Well, we agree with the same red line, actually, they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. They're right about that.

But what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in Syria. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer. And...

RADDATZ: What's your criteria...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... we should not have -- we should not have waited to Russia...

RADDATZ: What's your criteria...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... should not have waited for Russia to give us the green light at the U.N. to do something about it.

BIDEN: Russia...

RYAN: They're -- they're still arming the man. Iran is flying flights over Iraq...

BIDEN: And the opposition is being armed.

RYAN: ... to help Bashar Assad. And, by the way, if we had the status-of-forces agreement that the vice president said he would bet his vice presidency on in Iraq, we probably would have been able to prevent that. But he failed to achieve that, as well, again.

RADDATZ: Let me ask you a quick question.

BIDEN: I don't...

RADDATZ: What's your criteria for intervention?

BIDEN: Yeah. RYAN: In Syria?

RADDATZ: Worldwide.

RYAN: What is in the national interests of the American people.

RADDATZ: How about humanitarian interests?

RYAN: What is in the national security of the American people. It's got to be in the strategic national interests of our country.

RADDATZ: No humanitarian?

RYAN: Each situation will -- will come up with its own set of circumstances, but putting American troops on the ground? That's got to be within the national security interests of the American people.

RADDATZ: I want to -- we're -- we're almost out of time here.

RYAN: That means like embargoes and sanctions and overflights, those are things that don't put American troops on the ground. But if you're talking about putting American troops on the ground, only in our national security interests.

RADDATZ: I want to move on, and I want to return home for these last few questions. This debate is, indeed, historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time, on a stage such as this. And I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion.

Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And, please, this is such an emotional issue for so many people in this country...

RYAN: Sure.

RADDATZ: ... please talk personally about this, if you could.

Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.

RYAN: Now, you want to ask basically why I'm pro-life? It's not simply because of my Catholic faith. That's a factor, of course. But it's also because of reason and science.

You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, "Bean." Now I believe that life begins at conception.

That's why -- those are the reasons why I'm pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don't agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they're doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They're infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals.

Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties. And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they wanted it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding. Taxpayer funding in Obamacare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized and wouldn't second guess their one child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That to me is pretty extreme.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: My religion defines who I am, and I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who -- who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to -- with regard to abortion, I accept my church's position on abortion as a -- what we call a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the -- the congressman. I -- I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women they can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I'm not going to interfere with that. With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.

That is a fact. Now with regard to the way in which the -- we differ, my friend says that he -- well I guess he accepts Governor Romney's position now, because in the past he has argued that there was -- there's rape and forcible rape. He's argued that in the case of rape or incest, it was still -- it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

RYAN: All I'm saying is, if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn't change the definition of life. That's a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

Now, I've got to take issue with the Catholic church and religious liberty.

BIDEN: You have on the issue...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... why would they keep -- why would they keep suing you? It's a distinction without a difference.

RADDATZ: I want to go back to the abortion question here. If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?

RYAN: We don't think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination.

BIDEN: The court -- the next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees. That's how close Roe v. Wade is. Just ask yourself, with Robert Bork being the chief adviser on the court for -- for Mr. Romney, who do you think he's likely to appoint? Do you think he's likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court far right that would outlaw (inaudible) -- outlaw abortion? I suspect that would happen.

I guarantee you, that will not happen. We picked two people. We pick people who are open-minded. They've been good justices. So keep an eye on the Supreme Court...

RYAN: Was there a litmus test on them?

BIDEN: There was no litmus test. We picked people who had an open mind; did not come with an agenda.

RADDATZ: I'm -- I'm going to move on to this closing question because we are running out of time.

Certainly (inaudible) and you've said it here tonight, that the two of you respect our troops enormously. Your son has served and perhaps someday your children will serve as well.

I recently spoke to a highly decorated soldier who said that this presidential campaign has left him dismayed. He told me, quote, "the ads are so negative and they are all tearing down each other rather than building up the country."

What would you say to that American hero about this campaign? And at the end of the day, are you ever embarrassed by the tone?

Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: I would say to him the same thing I say to my son who did serve a year in Iraq, that we only have one truly sacred obligation as a government. That's to equip those we send into harm's way and care for those who come home. That's the only sacred obligation we have. Everything else falls behind that.

I would also tell him that the fact that he, this decorated soldier you talked about, fought for his country, that that should be honored. He should not be thrown into a category of a 47 percent who don't pay their taxes while he was out there fighting and not having to pay taxes, and somehow not taking responsibility.

I would also tell him that there are things that have occurred in this campaign and occur in every campaign that I'm sure both of us regret anyone having said, particularly in these -- these special new groups that can go out there, raise all the money they want, not have to identify themselves, who say the most scurrilous things about the other candidate. It's -- it's an abomination.

But the bottom line here is I'd ask that hero you referenced to take a look at whether or not Governor Romney or President Obama has the conviction to help lift up the middle class, restore them to where they were before this great recession hit and they got wiped out. Or whether or not he's going to continue to focus on taking care of only the very wealthy, not asking them to make -- pay any part of the deal to bring -- bring back the middle class and the economy of this country.

I'd ask him to take a look at whether the president of the United States has acted wisely in the use of force and whether or not the slipshod comments being made by my -- my -- or by Governor Romney serve -- serve our interests very well.

But there are things that have been said in campaigns that I -- I find not very appealing.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: First of all, I'd thank him to his service to our country.

Second of all, I'd say we are not going to impose these devastating cuts on our military which compromises their mission and their safety.

And then I would say, you have a president who ran for president four years ago promising hope and change, who has now turned his campaign into attack, blame and defame.

You see, if you don't have a good record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone to run from. That was what President Obama said in 2008. It's what he's doing right now.

Look at all the string of broken promises. If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Try telling that to the 20 million people who are projected to lose their health insurance if Obamacare goes through or the 7-point million -- 7.4 million seniors who are going to lose it. Or remember when he said this: I guarantee if you make less than $250,000, your taxes won't go up. Of the 21 tax increases in Obamacare, 12 of them hit the middle class.

Or remember when he said health insurance premiums will go down $2,500 per family, per year? They've gone up $3,000, and they're expected to go up another $2,400.

Or remember when he said, "I promise by the end of my first term I'll cut the deficit in half in four years"? We've had four budgets, four trillion-dollar deficits.

A debt crisis is coming. We can't keep spending and borrowing like this. We can't keep spending money we don't have.

Leaders run to problem to fix problems. President Obama has not even put a credible plan on the table in any of his four years to deal with this debt crisis. I passed two budgets to deal with this. Mitt Romney's put ideas on the table.

We've got to tackle this debt crisis before it tackles us. The president likes to say he has a plan. He gave a speech. We asked his budget office, "Can we see the plan?" They sent us to the press secretary. He gave us a copy of the speech. We asked the Congressional Budget Office, "Tell us what President Obama's plan is to prevent a debt crisis." They said, "It's a speech, we can't estimate speeches."

You see, that's what we get in this administration -- speeches -- but we're not getting leadership.

Mitt Romney is uniquely qualified to fix these problems. His lifetime of experience, his proven track record of bipartisanship.

And what do we have from the president? He broke his big promise to bring people together to solve the country's biggest problems.

And what I would tell him is we don't have to settle for this.

BIDEN: Martha?

RYAN: We can do better than this.

BIDEN: I hope I'll get equal time.

RADDATZ: You will get just a few minutes here. A few seconds, really.

BIDEN: The two budgets the congressman introduced have eviscerated all the things that the middle class cares about. It is (inaudible) he will knock 19 million people off of Medicare. It will kick 200,000 children off of early education. It will eliminate the tax credit people have to be able to send their children to college. It cuts education by $450 billion.

It does -- it does virtually nothing except continue to increase the tax cuts for the very wealthy. And, you know, we've had enough of this.

The idea that he's so concerned about these deficits, I've pointed out he voted to put two wars on a credit card. He did...

RADDATZ: We're going to -- we're going to the closing statements in a minute.

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: You're going to have your closing statement.

RYAN: Not raising taxes is not cutting taxes. And by the way, our budget...

BIDEN: We have not raised...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... by 3 percent a year instead of 4.5 percent like they propose. Not spending more money as much as they say is not a spending cut.

RADDATZ: Let me -- let me calm down things here just for a minute. And I want to talk to you very briefly before we go to closing statements about your own personal character. If you are elected, what could you both give to this country as a man, as a human being, that no one else could?

RYAN: Honesty, no one else could? There are plenty of fine people who could lead this country. But what you need are people who, when they say they're going to do something, they go do it. What you need are, when people see problems, they offer solutions to fix those problems. We're not getting that.

Look, we can grow this economy faster. That's what our five- point plan for a stronger middle class is all about. It's about getting 12 million jobs, higher take-home pay, getting people out of poverty into the middle class. That means going with proven, pro- growth policies that we know works to get people back to work. Putting ideas on the table, working with Democrats -- that actually works sometimes -- and then...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Vice President, can we get to that -- to that issue of what you could bring as a man, a human being? And I really -- I'm going to keep you to about 15 seconds here.

BIDEN: Well, he gets 40, I get 15, that's OK.

RADDATZ: He didn't have 40. He didn't have 40.

BIDEN: That's all right.

Let me tell you. I -- my -- my record stands for itself. I never say anything I don't mean. Everybody knows, whatever I say, I do. And my whole life has been devoted to leveling the playing field for middle-class people, giving them an even break, treating Main Street and Wall Street the same, hold them to the same responsibility.

Look at my record. It's been all about the middle class. They're the people who grow this country. We think you grow this country from the middle out, not from the top down.

RADDATZ: OK, we now turn to the candidates for their closing statements. Thank you, gentlemen. And that coin toss, again, has Vice President Biden starting with the closing statement.

BIDEN: Well, let -- let me say at the outset that I want to thank you, Martha, for doing this, and Centre College. The fact is that we're in a situation where we inherited a god-awful circumstance. People are in real trouble. We acted to move to bring relief to the people who need the most help now.

And -- and in the process, we -- in case you haven't noticed, we have strong disagreements, but I -- you probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the American people. My friend says that 30 percent of the American people are takers. Romney points out 47 percent of the people won't take responsibility.

He's talking about my mother and father. He's talking about the places I grew up in, my neighbors in Scranton and Claymont, and he's talking about -- he's talking about the people that have built this country. All they're looking for, Martha, all they're looking for is an even shot. Whenever you give them the shot, they've done it. They've done it. Whenever you've leveled the playing field, they've been able to move. And they want a little bit of peace of mind.

And the president and I are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled, they, in fact, have a clear shot, and they have peace of mind, until they can turn to their kid and say with a degree of confidence, "Honey, it's going to be OK. It's going to be OK." That's what this is all about. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: I want to thank you, as well, Martha, Danville, Kentucky, Centre College, and I want to thank you, Joe. It's been an honor to engage in this critical debate.

We face a very big choice. What kind of country are we going to be? What kind of country are we going to give our kids? President Obama, he had his chance. He made his choices. His economic agenda, more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care. It's not working. It's failed to create the jobs we need.

Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work today. Fifteen percent of Americans are in poverty. This is not what a real recovery looks like. You deserve better. Mitt Romney and I want to earn your support. We're offering real reforms for a real recovery for every American.

Mitt Romney -- his experience, his ideas, his solutions -- is uniquely qualified to get this job done. At a time when we have a jobs crisis in America, wouldn't it be nice to have a job-creator in the White House?

The choice is clear: a stagnant economy that promotes more government dependency or a dynamic, growing economy that promotes opportunity and jobs. Mitt Romney and I will not duck the tough issues, and we will not blame others for the next four years. We will take responsibility. And we will not try to replace our founding principles. We will reapply our founding principles.

The choice is clear, and the choice rests with you. And we ask you for your vote. Thank you.

RADDATZ: And thank you both again. Thank you very much.

BIDEN: Thank you.

RADDATZ: This concludes the vice presidential debate. Please tune in next Tuesday for the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York. I'm Martha Raddatz of ABC News. I do hope all of you go to the polls. Have a good evening.

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Guest Wesley

Its weird, but I see more things the two sides agree on that I thought. Why then is there so much polarization?

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