Full Text Political Transcripts March 10, 2016: President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Remarks at Arrival Ceremony

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada at Arrival Ceremony

Source: WH, 3-10-16

South Grounds

9:22 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good morning, everybody.

AUDIENCE:  Good morning!

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Bonjour.  On behalf of the American people, on behalf of Michelle and myself, it is my honor to welcome to the United States Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — (applause) — Mrs. Grégoire-Trudeau, their beautiful children, and the quite good-looking Canadian delegation.  (Applause.)

It’s long been said that you can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your neighbors.  (Laughter.)  Well, by virtue of geography, the United States and Canada are blessed to be neighbors.  And by choice, we are steadfast allies and the closest of friends.  (Applause.)  The truth is, though, we don’t express this enough, in part because of our national characters. Our Canadian friends can be more reserved, more easygoing.  We Americans can be a little louder, more boisterous.  And as a result, we haven’t always conveyed how much we treasure our alliance and our ties with our Canadian friends.   And that’s why, today, we are very proud to welcome the first official visit by a Canadian Prime Minister in nearly 20 years.  (Applause.)  It’s about time, eh?  (Laughter.)

And what a beautiful day it is.  Which is a little unfair.  As President, my very first foreign trip was to Canada — to Ottawa in February.  (Laughter.)  In the snow.  Still, our friends from the Great White North gave me a very warm welcome.  Mr. Prime Minister, we hope to reciprocate some of that warmth today, with your first official visit south of the border.

We’re joined today by proud Canadian-Americans.  (Applause.) We are family.  And this is also a special day for the many Canadians who live and work here in America and who enrich our lives every day.  We don’t always realize it, but so often, that neighbor, that coworker, that member of the White House staff, some of our favorite artists and performers — they’re Canadian! (Laughter.)  They sneak up on you.  (Laughter.)

Even as we remember what makes us unique, Americans and Canadians, we see ourselves in each other.  We’re guided by the same values, including our conviction that the blessings we cherish as free people are not gifts to be taken for granted but are precious freedoms that have to be defended anew by every generation.  Americans and Canadians — our brave men and women in uniform — have paid the price together across a century of sacrifice, from the poppy fields of Flanders to the rugged mountains of Afghanistan.  As NATO allies, we stand united against terrorism and for the rights of nations like Ukraine to determine their own destiny.  As leaders at the United Nations, we stand up for peace and security and the human rights of all people.

Our shared values also guide us at home.  I’m proud to be the first American President to stand with a Canadian Prime Minister and be able to say that — in both our nations — health care is not a privilege for a few but is now a right for all.  (Applause.)  And as two vast and vibrant societies, we reaffirm that our diversity is our strength — whether your family was among the first native peoples to live on these lands or refugees we welcomed just yesterday.  Whether you pray in a church or a synagogue, or a temple, or a mosque.  Where, no matter what province or state you live in, you have the freedom to marry the person that you love.  (Applause.)

Now, I don’t want to gloss over the very real differences between Americans and Canadians.  There are some things we will probably never agree on:  Whose beer is better.  (Laughter.)  Who’s better at hockey.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Royals!  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We are.  We are.  (Laughter.)

PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU:  Don’t get me started.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Where’s the Stanley Cup right now?

AUDIENCE:  Ooooh —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I’m sorry.  Is it in my hometown with the Chicago Blackhawks?  (Applause.)  In case you were wondering.  In case you Canadians were wondering, where is it?  (Laughter.)

And this visit is special for another reason.  Nearly 40 years ago, on another March morning, another American President welcomed another Canadian Prime Minister here to the White House. That day, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said that the United States is “Canada’s best friend and ally.”  And one of the reasons, he said, is that we have “a common outlook on the world.”  Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau carries on this work.

Mr. Prime Minister, your election and the first few months in office have brought a new energy and dynamism not only to Canada but to the relationship between our nations.  We have a common outlook on the world.  And I have to say, I have never seen so many Americans so excited about the visit of a Canadian Prime Minister.  (Applause.)

So with this visit, I believe that the United States and Canada can do even more together — even more to promote the trade and economic partnerships that provide good jobs and opportunities for our people.  Even more to ensure the security that so many Americans and Canadians count on so that they can live in safety and freedom.  Even more to protect our countries and our communities — especially in the Arctic — from climate change, just as we acted together at Paris to reach the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change.  (Applause.)  And guided by our values, we can do even more together to advance human development around the world — from saving a child from a preventable disease to giving a student in Africa electricity to study by — because, as Americans and Canadians, we believe in the inherent dignity of every human being.  (Applause.)

As always, our work as nations remains rooted in the friendship between our peoples.  And we see that every day in communities along our shared border.  Up in Hyder, Alaska, folks head across the border to celebrate Canada Day, and folks in Stewart, British Columbia come over for the Fourth of July.  At the baseball diamond in Coutts, Alberta, if you hit a home run, there’s a good chance the ball will land in Sweetgrass, Montana. (Laughter.)  And up where Derby Line, Vermont meets Stanstead, Quebec, Americans and Canadians come together at the local library where the border line literally runs right across the floor.  A resident of one of these border towns once said, we’re two different countries, but we’re like one big town and “people are always there for you.”

So, Prime Minister Trudeau — Justin, Sophie — to all our Canadian friends — we are two different countries, but days like this remind us that we’re like one big town.  And we reaffirm that Americans and Canadians will always be there for each other. Welcome to the United States.  Bienvenue, mes amis.  (Applause.)

PRIME MINSTER TRUDEAU:  Mr. President, First Lady, distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen — thank you for this extraordinary welcome.  Thank you so much for inviting Sophie and me and, through us, all of Canada to join with you on this spectacular morning.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)    Sophie and I, along with our entire delegation, are honored and touched by your magnificent hospitality, and by the reinforcement of just how powerful you are, Mr. President, to organize such a perfect day for us.  (Laughter.)

(Speaks in French, then continues in English.)

You may recall that our government was elected on a plan to strengthen the middle class.  We have an ambitious innovation agenda as we realize that revitalizing our economy will require investing in new ideas and new technologies.  Our plan will foster emerging industries, create good jobs, and increase our global competitiveness.  That was the Canadian plan, and of course, it very much resembles the challenges and the solutions that you’ve been putting forward here south of the border — a plan to invest in our country and invest in our people.  And it’s wonderful to see that our American friends and partners share and are working on the exact same objectives.

See, as our leading trading partner and closest ally, the relationship between our two countries has always been vital.  As an exporting nation, Canada is always eager to work closely to reduce trade barriers between our countries.  And speaking of exports, we know with certainty that there’s a high demand for Canadian goods down here.  A few that come to mind that President Obama just rightly recognized as being extraordinary contributors to the American success story is Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks.  (Applause.)

We’ve faced many challenges over the course of our shared history.  And while we have agreed on many things and disagreed on a few others, we remain united in a common purpose — allies, partners, and friends as we tackle the world’s great challenges. Whether we’re charting a course for environmental protection, making key investments to grow our middle class, or defending the rights of oppressed peoples abroad, Canada and the United States will always collaborate in partnership and good faith.  The history may be complex, but the bottom line is clear.  There is no relationship in the entire world like the Canada-U.S. relationship.  (Applause.)

Our great countries have been friends a long time.  We grew up together.  And like all great enduring friendships, at our best, we bring out the best in one another.  And through it all, our enormous shared accomplishments speak for themselves — prosperous, free, diverse societies that have shaped history together.

We could not be prouder of that past.  And on behalf of 36 million Canadians, I thank you all for your warm welcome.  Now let’s get to work on shaping our shared future.

Merci beaucoup.  (Applause.)

END
9:37 A.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts March 7, 2016: Nancy Reagan Funeral Schedule at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

NANCY REAGAN MEMORIAL INFORMATION AT THE REAGAN LIBRARY

MRS. RONALD REAGAN TO LAY IN REPOSE MARCH 9 & MARCH 10, 2016 WITH FUNERAL SERVICES ON MARCH 11, 2016
“What do you say about someone who gives your life meaning? What do you say about someone who’s always there with support and understanding, someone who makes sacrifices so that your life will be easier and more successful? Well, what you say is that you love that person and treasure her. I simply can’t imagine the last 8 years without Nancy.” – Ronald Reagan, August 1988
As First Lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan served the people of this great nation with grace and humility. She has been an inspiration to all of us who worked for her at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and she will be deeply missed. The Reagan family, our Foundation and this country have lost a treasured soul.
Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. To prepare for her funeral, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, located at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley, California is closed, and will re-open to the public on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
As part of the official events, Mrs. Reagan will lie in repose at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday, March 9th from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and also on Thursday, March 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. No parking will be allowed at the Reagan Library. If you wish to pay your respects to Mrs. Reagan, transportation will be provided for the public at the former Bank of America property located at 450 American Street, Simi Valley, California. Shuttles will run continuously to the Reagan Library throughout those hours. Because security will be heightened at the Library during this time, no large bags or cameras will be permitted and all bags will be inspected. Strollers will not be allowed inside the building. Gifts and flowers will only be accepted at the bottom of Presidential Drive and at the shuttle pick up location.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2016. Funeral services are closed to the public.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Reagan had asked that contributions be made to the Ronald Reagan Memorial Fund at www.reaganlibrary.com.
For continuous updated information on the week’s events, please visit the Reagan Library’s web site at www.reaganlibrary.com.
###

Full Text Political Transcripts March 6, 2016: Political reactions to former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s death (1921-2016)

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Political leaders react to former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s death (1921-2016)

The following are some of the condolences from American political leaders Democrat and Republican including former and current presidents and first ladies, Congressional leaders and representatives, senators, state governors, and presidential candidates past and present:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama:

“Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice. Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here. Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives. We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.”

Former First Lady Barbara Bush (Husband former President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993) served as President Reagan’s Vice President):

“Nancy Reagan was totally devoted to President Reagan, and we take comfort that they will be reunited once more. George and I send our prayers and condolences to her family.”

Former President George W. Bush:

“Laura and I are saddened by the loss of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. Mrs. Reagan was fiercely loyal to her beloved husband, and that devotion was matched only by her devotion to our country. Her influence on the White House was complete and lasting. During her time as First Lady and since, she raised awareness about drug abuse and breast cancer. When we moved into the White House, we benefitted from her work to make those historic rooms beautiful. Laura and I are grateful for the life of Nancy Reagan, and we send our condolences to the entire Reagan family.”

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

“Hillary and I were deeply saddened to learn of Nancy Reagan’s passing. Nancy was an extraordinary woman: a gracious First Lady, proud mother, and devoted wife to President Reagan-her Ronnie. Her strength of character was legendary, particularly when tested by the attempted assassination of the President, and throughout his battle with Alzheimer’s. She leaves a remarkable legacy of good that includes her tireless advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and the Foster Grandparent Program. We join all Americans in extending our prayers and condolences to her beloved children and her entire family during this difficult time.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI):

“Ronald Reagan could not have accomplished everything that he did without his wife Nancy. As first lady, she brought a sense of grace and dignity to the White House. She roused the country to redouble the fight against drugs. And she showed us all the meaning of devotion as she cared for President Reagan throughout his long goodbye. She loved her husband, and she loved her country. This was her service. It was her way of giving back. And all of us are very grateful. So on behalf of the entire House, I wish to extend our condolences to the Reagan family and offer our prayers on the passing of a great American, Nancy Reagan.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus:

“Nancy Reagan embodied what it means to represent America as First Lady and her dignified and warm demeanor inspired America.”

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.):

“As we celebrate her life and legacy as a partner, confidante and adviser to President Reagan, and as a leader and philanthropist in her own right, we should also honor her passing by reflecting on the progress we can make when our elected officials work together across the aisle, as the Reagan administration did on issues ranging from immigration to nuclear arms control, making our people more prosperous and our nation more secure.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y:

“You didn’t have to be a Reagan Republican to admire and respect Nancy Reagan. She was a tower of strength alongside her husband, had strong beliefs, and was not afraid to chart her own course politically. She persuaded her husband to support the [gun control] Brady Law, and their advocacy was instrumental in helping us pass it.”

Former 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:

“With the passing of Nancy Reagan, we say a final goodbye to the days of Ronald Reagan. With charm, grace, and a passion for America, this couple reminded us of the greatness and the endurance of the American experiment. Some underestimate the influence of a First Lady but from Martha and Abigail through Nancy and beyond, these women have shaped policy, strengthened resolve, and drawn on our better angels. God and Ronnie have finally welcomed a choice soul home.”

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“Nancy Reagan was one of my heroes. She served as first lady with unbelievable power, class and grace and left her mark on the world. She’s with her Ronnie now, but those of us she left behind will miss her dearly.”

Republican Presidential Candidate and Businessman Donald Trump:

“Nancy Reagan, the wife of a truly great president, was an amazing woman. She will be missed!”

Republican Presidential Candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz:

“Nancy Reagan will be remembered for her deep passion for this nation and love for her husband, Ronald. The Reagan family is in our prayers.”

Republican President Candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio:

“For conservatives, she has been a powerful living link to her husband’s legacy as one of the greatest modern presidents.”

Republican President Candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich:

“President Reagan has been reunited with his wife and partner but America and the Reagan family have lost a woman of grace and strength. I join people from around the country and the world in sending them our best thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. A woman of strength and wit, Nancy Reagan’s dedication to our country was matched only by that of her husband. Theirs was one of our nation’s great love stories and a model of shared devotion to our country. America is stronger and better for their service.”

Democratic Presidential Candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:

“No matter your party or political ideology, this is a sad day for America.”

Full Text Political Transcripts March 6, 2016: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Statement on Nancy Reagan’s death

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Statement by the President and the First Lady

Source: WH, 3-6-16

Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice.

Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here. Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.

We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.

###

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 March 3, 2016: Mitt Romney’s speech warning Republican Party against Donald Trump Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Transcript of Mitt Romney’s Speech on Donald Trump

Source: NYT, 3-3-16

The following is a transcript of Mitt Romney’s remarks addressing the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, as transcribed by the Federal News Service.

ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE) Thank you, Jason, and thank you to the Hinckley Institute, Governor Herbert, Lieutenant Governor, President, it’s good to be with you today.

Thank you. All right.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I’m — I’m not here to announce my candidacy for office. And I’m not going to endorse a candidate today. Instead, I would like to offer my perspective on the nominating process of my party.

Back in 1964, just days before the presidential election — which, incidentally, we lost — Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America, saying that it was a time for choosing. He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles, dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all.
And the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path. I’m no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment in time, but I believe with all my heart and soul, that we face another time for choosing, one that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party, and more importantly, for our country.

I say this, in part, because of my conviction that America is poised to lead the world for another century. Our technology engines, our innovation dynamic, the ambition and skill of our people are going to propel our economy and raise the standard of living of Americans.

America will remain, as it is today, the envy of the world. You may have seen Warren Buffett. He said, and I think he’s 100 percent right, that “The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t have real problems and serious challenges. We do. At home, poverty persists. And wages are stagnant. The horrific massacres of Paris and San Bernardino. The nuclear ambitions of the Iranian mullahs. The aggressions of Putin. The growing assertiveness of China and the nuclear tests of North Korea confirm that we live in troubled and dangerous times.

But if we make the right choices, America’s future will be even better than our past and better than our present.

On the other hand, if we make improvident choices, the bright horizon I’ve described will not materialize. And let me put it very plainly. If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.

Let me explain why I say that. First on the economy. If Donald Trump’s plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into prolonged recession. A few examples. His proposed 35 percent tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war and that would raise prices for consumers, kill our export jobs and lead entrepreneurs and businesses of all stripes to flee America.

His tax plan in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt. So even though Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.

 

But you say, wait, wait, wait, isn’t he a huge business success? Doesn’t he know what he’s talking about? No, he isn’t and no he doesn’t.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, his bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who work for them. He inherited his business, he didn’t create it. And whatever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage. A business genius he is not.

Now, not every policy that Donald Trump has floated is bad, of course. He wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. He wants to bring jobs home from China and Japan. But his prescriptions to do those things are flimsy at best. At the last debate, all he could remember about his health care plan was to remove insurance boundaries between states. Successfully bringing jobs home requires serious policy and reforms that make America the place businesses want to come, want to plant and want to grow. You can’t punish business into doing what you want.

Frankly, the only serious policy proposals that deal with a broad range of national challenges we confront today come from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich. One of these men should be our nominee.

(APPLAUSE) Now, I know that some people want this race to be over. They look at history and say a trend like Mr. Trump’s isn’t going to be stopped. Perhaps. But the rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign.

(LAUGHTER)

If the other candidates can find some common ground, I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism. Given the current delegate selection process, that means that I’d vote for Marco Rubio in Florida and for John Kasich in Ohio and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.

Now let me turn to national security and the safety of our homes and loved ones. Mr. Trump’s bombast is already alarming the allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS, and for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country.

And then what he said about on “60 Minutes”. Did you hear this? It was about Syria and ISIS, and it has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the entire campaign season. Let ISIS take out Assad, he said, and then we can pick up the remnants.

Now, think about that. Let the most dangerous terror organization the world has ever known take over an entire country? This recklessness is recklessness in the extreme. Now, Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart.

(LAUGHTER)

I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I’m far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

 

Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, at the same time he has called George W. Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good.

(APPLAUSE)

There is a dark irony in his boasts of his sexual exploits during the Vietnam War. While at the same time, John McCain, whom he has mocked, was imprisoned and tortured.

Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark. He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq.

Wrong. He spoke in favor of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11.

Wrong. He saw no such thing. He imagined it. He’s not of the temperament of the kind of stable, thoughtful person we need as a leader. His imagination must not be married to real power. The president of the United States has long been the leader of the free world.

The president and, yes, even the nominees of the country’s great parties helped define America to billions of people around the world. All of them bear the responsibility of being an example for our children and our grandchildren.

Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He’s the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired.

(LAUGHTER)

Now, imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Would you welcome that? Haven’t we seen before what happens when people in prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct? We have. And it always injures our families and our country.

Watch, by the way, how he responds to my speech today.

(APPLAUSE)

Will he talk about our policy differences? Or will he attack me with every imaginable low road insult? This may tell you what you need to know about his temperament, his stability and his suitability to be president.

Now, Mr. Trump relishes any poll that reflects what he thinks of himself. But polls are also saying that he will lose to Hillary Clinton. Think about that. On Hillary Clinton’s watch, the State Department, when she was guiding it and part of the Obama administration, that State Department watched as America’s interests were diminished at every corner of the world.

She compromised our national secrets. She dissembled to the families of the slain. And she jettisoned her most profound beliefs to gain presidential power. For the last three decades, the Clintons have lived at the intersection of money and politics, trading their political influence to enrich their personal finances.

They embody the term, “crony capitalism.” It disgusts the American people and causes them to lose faith in our political process. A person so untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton must not become president.

(APPLAUSE)

Of course, a Trump nomination enables her victory. And the audio and video of the infamous Tapper-Trump exchange on the Ku Klux Klan will play 100,000 times on cable and who knows how many million times on social media. There are a number of people who claim that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake — thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Let me say that again. There’s plenty of evidence that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake. Mr. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign. And on the Ku Klux Klan, daily for three days in a row.

We will only really know if he’s a real deal or a phony if he releases his tax returns and the tape of his interview with The New York Times. I predict that there are more bombshells in his tax returns. I predict that he doesn’t give much, if anything, to the disabled and to our veterans. I predict that he told The New York Times that his immigration talk is just that — talk.

And I predict that despite his promise to do so, first made over a year ago, that he will never ever release his tax returns. Never — not the returns under audit; not even the returns that are no longer being audited. He has too much to hide. Nor will he authorize the release of the tapes that he made with The New York Times.

If I’m right, you’ll have all the proof you need to know that Donald Trump is indeed a phony. Attacking me as he surely will won’t prove him any less of a phony. It’s entirely in his hands to prove me wrong. All he has to do is release his back taxes like he promised he would and let us hear what he said behind closed doors to The New York Times.

You know, Ronald Reagan used to quote a Scottish philosopher, who predicted that democracies and civilizations wouldn’t last much longer than a couple hundred years. And John Adams wrote this, “Remember, democracy never lasts long; it soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” That’s John Adams.

I believe that America has proven these dire predictions wrong for two reasons. First, we’ve been blessed with great presidents, with giants among us. Men of character, integrity and selflessness have led our nation from the very beginning. None were perfect. Each surely made mistakes. But in every case, they acted out of the desire to do what was right for America and for the cause of freedom.

The second reason is because we’re blessed with a great people — people who at every critical moment of choosing have put the interests of the country above their own. These two things are related. Our presidents time and again have called on us to rise to the occasion. John F. Kennedy asked us to consider what we could do for our country. Lincoln drew upon the better angels of our nature to save the union.

I understand the anger Americans feel today. In the past, our presidents have channeled that anger and forged it into resolve, into endurance and high purpose, and into the will to defeat the enemies of freedom. Our anger was transformed into energy directed for good.

Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press.

This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.

Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.

(APPLAUSE)

He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.

(LAUGHTER)

His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.

I’m convinced America has greatness ahead. And this is a time for choosing. God bless us to choose a nominee who will make that vision a reality.

Thank you and God bless you all.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 March 3, 2016: Mitt Romney’s speech warning Republican Party against Donald Trump Transcript Excerpt

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Mitt Romney’s speech warning Republican Party against Donald Trump

University of Utah in Salt Lake City

In 1964, days before the presidential election, Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America that it was a “Time for Choosing.” He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path. I’m no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment but I believe with my heart and soul that we face another time for choosing, one that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country. …

At home, poverty persists and wages are stagnant. The horrific massacres of Paris and San Bernardino, the aggressions of Putin, the growing assertiveness of China and the nuclear tests of North Korea confirm that we live in troubled and dangerous times. …

But if we make the right choices, America’s future will be even better than our past and better than our present. …

Of the remaining candidates, the only serious policy proposals that deal with the broad range of national challenges we confront have come from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich. …

Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, while has called George W Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good. …

The president of the United States has long been the leader of the free world. The president and yes the nominees of the country’s great parties help define America to billions of people. All of them bear the responsibility of being an example for our children and grandchildren. …

Trump relishes any poll that reflects what he thinks of himself. But polls are also saying that he will lose to Hillary Clinton. …

On Hillary Clinton’s watch at the State Department, America’s interests were diminished in every corner of the world. She compromised our national secrets, dissembled to the families of the slain, and jettisoned her most profound beliefs to gain presidential power. …

A person so untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton must not become president. But a Trump nomination enables her victory. …

I understand the anger Americans feel today. In the past, our presidents have channeled that anger, and forged it into resolve, into endurance and high purpose and into the will to defeat the enemies of freedom. Our anger was transformed into energy directed for good. …

Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat. …

His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.

Campaign Buzz 2016 March 1, 2016: Super Tuesday Republican & Democratic Delegate Count

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Super Tuesday Delegate Count

Republican Party

Trump is leading in the delegate count; he won 237 of the 595 available on Super Tuesday, giving him a total of 315 delegates. Cruz is in second place winning 209 delegates on Tuesday, and he now has a total of 226 delegates. Rubio is third; he won 94 delegates on Tuesday and only has 110 in total. To clinch the Republican nomination, a candidate needs to amass 1,237 delegates.

Democratic Party

Clinton leads in the delegate count she amassed 492 delegates on Super Tuesday while Sanders garnered 330. In total, Clinton has 1,055 delegates a number that includes most of the available superdelegates. In contrast, Sanders has only 418 delegates and a minimal amount of superdelegates.  Without superdelegates, Clinton has 595 delegates to Sanders 405 delegates. A Democrat needs 2,383 delegates to clinch the nomination.

Campaign Buzz 2016 March 1, 2016: Super Tuesday Results: Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton win 7 contests, Bernie Sanders 4, Ted Cruz 3, Marco Rubio 1

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Super Tuesday Results (Results from CNN)

Georgia

Republican
Trump    38.8%
Rubio    24.5%
Cruz    23.6%
est % in: 92%

Democrat

Clinton 71.3%
Sanders 28.2%
est % in: 100%

Vermont

Republican
Trump    32.7%
Kasich    30.4%
Rubio    19.3%
est % in: 95%

Democrat
Sanders 86.1%
Clinton 13.6%
est % in: 100%

Virginia

Republican
Trump    34.7%
Rubio    31.9%
Cruz    16.9%
est % in: 99%

Democrat
Clinton 64.3%
Sanders 35.2%
est % in: 97%

Polls that closed at 8 p.m. ET

Alabama

Republican
Trump     43.4%
Cruz    21.1%
Rubio    18.7%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton 77.8%
Sanders 19.2%
est % in: 100%

Oklahoma

Republican
Cruz    34.4%
Trump    28.3%
Rubio    26.0%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Sanders 51.9%
Clinton 41.5%
est % in: 100%

Massachusetts

Republican
Trump    49.3%
Kasich    18.0%
Rubio    17.9%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton    50.1%
Sanders    48.7%
no preference    0.7%
est % in: 100%

Tennessee

Republican
Trump    38.9%
Cruz    24.7%
Rubio    21.2%
est % in: 100%

Democrat

Clinton 66.1%
Sanders 32.4%
est % in: 100%

Later Contests

Alaska

Republican
Cruz    36.4%
Trump    33.5%
Rubio    15.1%
est % in: 97%

Arkansas

Republican
Trump    32.8%
Cruz    30.5%
Rubio    24.9%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton 66.3%
Sanders 29.7%
est % in: 86%
updated 8:34 am et, mar. 2, 2016

Colorado
Democrat
Sanders 58.9%
Clinton 40.4%
est % in: 93%
updated 8:34 am et, mar. 2, 2016

Texas
Republican
Cruz    43.8%
Trump    26.8%
Rubio    17.7%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Clinton 65.2%
Sanders 33.2%
est % in: 68%

Minnesota

Republican
Rubio    36.5%
Cruz    29.0%
Trump    21.3%
est % in: 100%

Democrat
Sanders 61.6%
Clinton 38.4%
est % in: 98%

Full Text Political Transcripts February 28, 2016: Vice President Joe Biden’s Remarks at the Academy Awards

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the Vice President at the Academy Awards

Source: WH, 2-28-16

Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center
Los Angeles, California

8:11 P.M. PST

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Hey, Matt, how are you?  (Laughter.)  (Applause.)  No, no, no, no, thank you.  I’m the least qualified man here tonight.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Good evening.  Good evening, and thank you very much.  Despite significant progress over the last few years, too many women and men — on and off college campuses — are still victims of sexual abuse.  And tonight I’m asking you to join millions of Americans, including me, President Obama, the thousands of students I’ve met on college campuses, and the artists here tonight to take the pledge — a pledge that says:  I will intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given.

Let’s change the culture.  (Applause.)  We must and we can change the culture so that no abused woman or man, like the survivors you will see tonight, ever feel they have to ask themselves, what did I do?  They did nothing wrong.  (Applause.)

So, folks, I really mean this.  I’m sincere.  Take the pledge.  Go look at, visit ItsOnUs.org.

Now, performing her Oscar-nominated song, “Til It happens to you,” written with Diane Warren, for the film “The Hunting Ground,” welcome my friend and a courageous lady herself, Lady Gaga.  (Applause.)

END
8:13 P.M. PST

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 February 25, 2016: 10th Republican debate CNN Telemundo Salem Radio in Houston, Texas transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

10th Republican debate CNN Telemundo Salem Radio in Houston, Texas

Source: Presidential Campaign & Elections

FEB. 25, 2016

Republican debate – CNN/Telemundo/Salem Radio

Time – 8:30 p.m. ET

Location – University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Moderators – Wolf Blitzer, Maria Celeste Arraras, Hugh Hewitt, Dana Bash

Candidates – Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Ben Carson

….READ MORE

Full Text Political Transcripts February 23, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on Plan to Close the Prison at Guantanamo Bay

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Plan to Close the Prison at Guantanamo Bay

Source: WH, 2-23-16

 

Roosevelt Room

10:30 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  In our fight against terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL, we are using every element of our national power — our military; intelligence; diplomacy; homeland security; law enforcement, federal, state and local; as well as the example of our ideals as a country that’s committed to universal values, including rule of law and human rights.  In this fight, we learn and we work to constantly improve.  When we find something that works, we keep on doing it.  When it becomes clear that something is not working as intended — when it does not advance our security — we have to change course.

For many years, it’s been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security — it undermines it.  This is not just my opinion.  This is the opinion of experts, this is the opinion of many in our military.  It’s counterproductive to our fight against terrorists, because they use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit.  It drains military resources, with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running, and more than $200 million in additional costs needed to keep it open going forward for less than 100 detainees.  Guantanamo harms our partnerships with allies and other countries whose cooperation we need against terrorism.  When I talk to other world leaders, they bring up the fact that Guantanamo is not resolved.

Moreover, keeping this facility open is contrary to our values.  It undermines our standing in the world.  It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law.  As Americans, we pride ourselves on being a beacon to other nations, a model of the rule of law.  But 15 years after 9/11 — 15 years after the worst terrorist attack in American history — we’re still having to defend the existence of a facility and a process where not a single verdict has been reached in those attacks — not a single one.

When I first ran for President, it was widely recognized that this facility needed to close.  This was not just my opinion.  This was not some radical, far-left view.  There was bipartisan support to close it.  My predecessor, President Bush, to his credit, said he wanted to close it.  It was one of the few things that I and my Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, agreed on.

And so, in one of my first acts as President, I took action to begin closing it.  And because we had bipartisan support, I wanted to make sure that we did it right.  I indicated that we would need to take our time to do it in a systematic way, and that we had examined all the options.

And unfortunately, during that period where we were putting the pieces in place to close it, what had previously been bipartisan support suddenly became a partisan issue.  Suddenly, many you previously had said it should be closed backed off because they were worried about the politics.  The public was scared into thinking that, well, if we close it, somehow we’ll be less safe.  And since that time, Congress has repeatedly imposed restrictions aimed at preventing us from closing this facility.

Now, despite the politics, we’ve made progress.  Of the nearly 800 detainees once held at Guantanamo, more than 85 percent have already been transferred to other countries.  More than 500 of these transfers, by the way, occurred under President Bush.  Since I took office, we’ve so far transferred 147 more, each under new, significant restrictions to keep them from returning to the battlefield.  And as a result of these actions, today, just 91 detainees remain — less than 100.

Today, the Defense Department, thanks to very hard work by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, as well as his team, working in concert with the Office of Management and Budget, today, the Department is submitting to Congress our plan for finally closing the facility at Guantanamo once and for all.  It’s a plan that reflects the hard work of my entire national security team, so I especially want to thank Ash and his team at DOD.  This plan has my full support.  It reflects our best thinking on how to best go after terrorists and deal with those who we may capture, and it is a strategy with four main elements.

First, we’ll continue to securely and responsibly transfer to other countries the 35 detainees — out of the 91 — that have already been approved for transfer.  Keep in mind, this process involves extensive and careful coordination across our federal government to ensure that our national security interests are met when an individual is transferred to another country.  So, for example, we insist that foreign countries institute strong security measures.  And as we move forward, that means that we will have around 60 — and potentially even fewer — detainees remaining.

Second, we’ll accelerate the periodic reviews of remaining detainees to determine whether their continued detention is necessary.  Our review board, which includes representatives from across government, will continue to look at all relevant information, including current intelligence.  And if certain detainees no longer pose a continuing significant threat, they may be eligible for transfer to another country as well.

Number three, we’ll continue to use all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees still held under law of war detention.  Currently, 10 detainees are in some stage of the military commissions process — a process that we worked hard to reform in my first year in office with bipartisan support from Congress.  But I have to say, with respect to these commissions, they are very costly, they have resulted in years of litigation without a resolution.  We’re therefore outlining additional changes to improve these commissions, which would require congressional action, and we will be consulting with them in the near future on that issue.

I also want to point out that, in contrast to the commission process, our Article 3 federal courts have proven to have an outstanding record of convicting some of the most hardened terrorists.  These prosecutions allow for the gathering of intelligence against terrorist groups.  It proves that we can both prosecute terrorists and protect the American people.  So think about it — terrorists like Richard Reid, the shoe bomber; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an airplane over Detroit; Faisal Shahzad, who put a car bomb in Times Square; and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who bombed the Boston Marathon — they were all convicted in our Article III courts and are now behind bars, here in the United States.

So we can capture terrorists, protect the American people, and when done right, we can try them and put them in our maximum security prisons, and it works just fine.  And in this sense, the plan we’re putting forward today isn’t just about closing the facility at Guantanamo.  It’s not just about dealing with the current group of detainees, which is a complex piece of business because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened.  This is about closing a chapter in our history.  It reflects the lessons that we’ve learned since 9/11 –lessons that need to guide our nation going forward.

So even as we use military commissions to close out the cases of some current detainees — which, given the unique circumstances of their cases make it difficult for them to be tried in Article 3 courts — this type of use of military commissions should not set a precedent for the future.  As they have been in past wars, military commissions will continue to be an option when individuals are detained during battle.  But our preferred option, the most effective option for dealing with individuals detained outside military theaters, must be our strong, proven federal courts.

Fourth, and finally, we’re going to work with Congress to find a secure location in the United States to hold remaining detainees.  These are detainees who are subject to military commissions, but it also includes those who cannot yet be transferred to other countries or who we’ve determined must continue to be detained because they pose a continuing significant threat to the United States.

We are not identifying a specific facility today in this plan.  We are outlining what options look like.  As Congress has imposed restrictions that currently prevent the transfer of detainees to the United States, we recognize that this is going to be a challenge.  And we’re going to keep making the case to Congress that we can do this is a responsible and secure way, taking into account the lessons and great record of our maximum-security prisons.

And let me point out, the plan we’re submitting today is not only the right thing to do for our security, it will also save money.  The Defense Department estimates that this plan, compared to keeping Guantanamo open, would lower costs by up to $85 million a year.  Over 10 years, it would generate savings of more than $300 million.  Over 20 years, the savings would be up to $1.7 billion.  In other words, we can ensure our security, uphold our highest values around the world, and save American taxpayers a lot of money in the process.

So in closing, I want to say I am very clear-eyed about the hurdles to finally closing Guantanamo.  The politics of this are tough.  I think a lot of the American public are worried about terrorism, and in their mind the notion of having terrorists held in the United States rather than in some distant place can be scary.  But part of my message to the American people here is we’re already holding a bunch of really dangerous terrorists here in the United States because we threw the book at them.  And there have been no incidents.  We’ve managed it just fine.

And in Congress, I recognize, in part because of some of the fears of the public that have been fanned oftentimes by misinformation, there continues to be a fair amount of opposition to doing closing Guantanamo.  If it were easy, it would have happened years ago — as I wanted, as I have been working to try to get done.  But there remains bipartisan support for closing it.  And given the stakes involved for our security, this plan deserves a fair hearing.  Even in an election year, we should be able to have an open, honest, good-faith dialogue about how to best ensure our national security.  And the fact that I’m no longer running, Joe is no longer running, we’re not on the ballot — it gives us the capacity to not have to worry about the politics.

Let us do what is right for America.  Let us go ahead and close this chapter, and do it right, do it carefully, do it in a way that makes sure we’re safe, but gives the next President and, more importantly, future generations, the ability to apply the lessons we’ve learned in the fight against terrorism and doing it in a way that doesn’t raise some of the problems that Guantanamo has raised.

I really think there’s an opportunity here for progress.  I believe we’ve got an obligation to try.  President Bush said he wanted to close Guantanamo despite everything that he had invested in it.  I give him credit for that.  There was an honest assessment on his part about what needed to happen.  But he didn’t get it done and it was passed to me.  I’ve been working for seven years now to get this thing closed.  As President, I have spent countless hours dealing with this — I do not exaggerate about that.  Our closest allies have raised it with me continually.  They often raise specific cases of detainees repeatedly.

I don’t want to pass this problem on to the next President, whoever it is.  And if, as a nation, we don’t deal with this now, when will we deal with it?  Are we going to let this linger on for another 15 years, another 20 years, another 30 years?  If we don’t do what’s required now, I think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history, and of justice, and our best American traditions was clear.

So, again, I want to thank Secretary Carter.  You and your team did an outstanding job, and you’ve shown great leadership on this issue.  With this plan, we have the opportunity, finally, to eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool, strengthen relationships with allies and partners, enhance our national security, and, most importantly, uphold the values that define us as Americans.  I’m absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo.  I’m going to continue to make the case for doing so for as long as I hold this office.  But this is a good moment for everybody to step back, take a look at the facts, take a look at the views of those who have been most committed to fighting terrorism and understand this stuff — our operatives, our intelligence officials, our military.  Let’s go ahead and get this thing done.

Thanks very much, everybody.

END
10:45 A.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts February 18, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at Black History Month Reception

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Black History Month Reception

Source: WH, 2-18-16

East Room

4:51 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Well, it is so good to see all of you.  Welcome to the White House.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And we know it is Black History Month when you hear somebody say “Hey, Michelle!”  (Laughter.)  “Girl!  You look so good!”  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  So do you!

MRS. OBAMA:  He’s all right.

You look good, too, baby.

THE PRESIDENT:  All right.  I want to thank everybody who’s here this evening, this afternoon.  I want to give a special thanks to the members of Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus who are here tonight.  Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

For the past seven years — now, come on, y’all.  (Laughter.)  I’m only going to be a second.

MRS. OBAMA:  It’s exciting.

THE PRESIDENT:  Except for that little guy.  He’s hungry.  (Laughter.)

For the past seven years, and in some cases before that, the people in this room have been incredible supporters of me and Michelle.  And we could not be more grateful for everything you’ve done for us, everything you’ve done for the country.  And so I just want to start off by saying thank you.  (Applause.)  Yes!  Yes!

Now, we gather to celebrate Black History Month, and from our earliest days, black history has been American history.  (Applause.)  We’re the slaves who quarried the stone to build this White House; the soldiers who fought for our nation’s independence, who fought to hold this union together, who fought for freedom of others around the world.  We’re the scientists and inventors who helped unleash American innovation.  We stand on the shoulders not only of the giants in this room, but also countless, nameless heroes who marched for equality and justice for all of us.

Down through the decades, African American culture has profoundly shaped American culture — in music and art, literature and sports.  I want to give a special acknowledgment to my lovely wife — (applause) — because just last week she hosted a performance of African American women and girls in dance.  And we had luminaries like Debbie Allen and Judith Jamison — (applause) — working with the next generation of outstanding young black dancers.  I understand it was a pretty special event.  It was, apparently, an incredible event.  I was not invited.  (Laughter.)  My dance moves did not make the cut.  (Laughter.)

So we are so proud to honor this rich heritage.  But Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history — (applause) — or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington, or from some of our sports heroes.   There are well-meaning attempts to do that all around us, from classrooms to corporate ad campaigns.  But we know that this should be more than just a commemoration of particular events.

It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America.  It’s about taking an unvarnished look at the past so we can create a better future.  It’s a reminder of where we as a country have been so that we know where we need to go.

That’s why earlier today, we hosted an intergenerational roundtable of civil rights leaders to talk about today’s efforts to reform our criminal justice system.  So we had icons of the Civil Rights Movement that helped get me here — folks like Reverend C.T. Vivian and John Lewis — (applause.)  But they were with up-and-coming change-makers like Stephen Green of the NAACP Youth and College Division, or Brittany Packnett of Campaign Zero —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Brittany!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah!  Who is a member of our 21st Century Police Task Force.  And to hear the incredible contributions these young people were making, and to see how their courage and tenacity was connected to those who had lived through Bloody Sunday — it made you optimistic about a future.  It was powerful to see the fathers and the mothers of the Movement in this constant interaction, understanding that each successive generation has to take the baton and move us forward.

And what’s so inspiring about these young people and their generation is that they don’t see black history as a relic; it’s not something to study in a book.  They don’t see themselves as distant from that history — they are participants, making history.  It’s alive, something that we have the power and the responsibility to shape and to wield.

The Civil Rights Movement grew out of church basements and word of mouth, and drew strength from freedom songs and the power of young people’s examples.  And thanks to technology and social media, today’s leaders are building a new, inclusive movement that’s mobilizing people of all backgrounds to stand up for change — from equal opportunity in education to a smarter criminal justice system, one that’s effective in keeping us safe but also makes sure that everybody is treated fairly under the law.

So I want to give a special shout-out to young people here today — (applause) — and tell them we want them to continue doing what they’re doing.

And that’s the thing about our democracy.  It takes all of us.  It’s important that we have responsive elected officials.   Supreme Court appointments are important.  (Applause.)  But ultimately, everything comes down to the constant perseverance, the courage, the tenacity, the vision of citizens like you, making sure not only you exercise your right to vote, but that in between elections you are part of a constant movement in your local communities, or at the national level, or at an international level, to bring about the kind of change from which all of us in this room have benefitted because of the labors of somebody who came before us.

America is a nation that is a constant work in progress.  That’s why we are exceptional.  We don’t stop.  There’s a gap — there always will be — between who we are and the “perfect union,” that ideal that we see.  But what makes us exceptional,  what makes us Americans is that we fight wars and pass laws, and we march, and we organize unions, and we stage protests, and that gap gets smaller over time.  And it’s that effort to form a “more perfect union” that marks us as a people.

As long as we keep at it, as long as we don’t get discouraged, as long as we are out there fighting the good fight not just on one day, or one month, but every single day, and every single month, I have no doubt that we’re going to live up to the promise of our founding ideals — and that all these young children who are standing in front, no matter who they are or where they come from, they’re going to have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Thanks, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
5:01 P.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts February 10, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Remarks in Address to the Illinois General Assembly

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President in Address to the Illinois General Assembly

Source: WH, 2-10-16

15

1:03 P.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hey!  (Applause.)  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much!  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Everybody, please have a seat.  Have a seat.  Thank you so much.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, members of the General Assembly, my fellow Illinoisans:  It’s actually kind of fun to start a speech like that twice in one month.  (Laughter.)

What an incredible privilege it is to address this chamber. And to Governor Rauner, Senator Durbin, members of Congress, Speaker Madigan, Former Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Langfelder and the people of Springfield — thank you for such a warm welcome as I come back home.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  It’s good to be home.  (Applause.)  Thank you, guys. Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  It is great to see so many old friends like John Cullerton and Emil Jones.  I miss you guys.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Miss you!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s great to be in the State Capitol.  Being here today calls to mind the first time I spoke on the Senate floor, almost 20 years ago.  And I was passionate, idealistic, ready to make a difference.  Just to stand in that magnificent chamber was enough to fill me up with a heightened sense of purpose.

And I probably needed a little dose of reality when I first arrived.  So one day, I rose to speak about a bill.  And I thought I’d made some compelling points, with irrefutable logic. (Laughter.)  And I was about to sit down, feeling pretty good about myself, when Pate Philip sauntered over to my desk.  Now, there are some young people here, so for those of you who don’t remember, Pate Philip was the Senate Majority Leader at the time. He was a Marine, and big shock of white hair, chomped on a cigar; was so politically incorrect that you don’t even know how to describe it.  (Laughter.)  But he always treated me well.  And he came by and he slapped me on the back, he said, “Kid, that was a pretty good speech.  In fact, I think you changed a lot of minds. But you didn’t change any votes.”  (Laughter.)  Then he singled, and they gaveled, and we got blown out.  (Laughter.)

So that was my first lesson in humility.  The next came when I presented my own first bill.  It was a simple piece of legislation that would make it a lot easier for Illinois manufacturers to hire graduating community college students.  I didn’t know any serious opposition, so I asked for a vote.  And what I got was a good hazing.  I assume that this custom still exists.  (Applause and laughter.)

So a senior colleague put the vote on hold to ask, “Could you correctly pronounce your name for me?  I’m having a little trouble with it.”  “Obama,” I said.  “Is that Irish?” he asked.  (Laughter.)  And being in my early 30s at the time, I was a little cocky — I said, “It will be when I run countywide.”  (Laughter.)  “That was a good joke,” he said, but he wasn’t amused.  “This bill is still going to die.”

And he went on to complain that my predecessor’s name was easier to pronounce than mine, that I didn’t have cookies at my desk like she did, how would I ever expect to get any votes without having cookies on my desk.  “I definitely urge a no vote,” he said, “whatever your name is.”  (Laughter.)

And for the next several minutes, the Senate debated on whether I should add an apostrophe to my name for the Irish, or whether the fact that “Obama” ends in a vowel meant I actually belonged to the Italians — (laughter) — and just how many trees had had to die to print this terrible, miserable bill, anyway.

And I was chastened.  And I said, “If I survive this event, I will be eternally grateful and consider this a highlight of my legal and legislative career.”  And I asked for a vote.  And initially the tote board showed that it was going down, but at the last minute it flipped and my bill passed.  But I was duly reminded that I was a freshman in the minority.  And I want to thank all my former colleagues in both chambers for not letting me forget it.

To be a rookie in the minority party, as I was, is not much fun in any legislature.  We were called “mushrooms” — because we were kept in the dark and fed a lot of manure.  (Laughter.)  But one benefit of being in such a position — not being invited into the meetings where the big deals were being made — is that I had a lot of time to get to know my colleagues.  And many of us were away from our families, and so we became friends.

We went to fish fries together.  We’d go to union halls.  We’d play in golf scrambles.  We had a great bipartisan poker game at the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association.  Boro Relijie would host, and folks like Dave Luechtefeld and Terry Link, others would join in.  We’d eat downstairs — and I can’t say I miss the horseshoes.  (Laughter.)  But away from the glare of TV, or the tweets, or the GIFs of today’s media, what we discovered was that despite our surface differences — Democrats and Republicans, downstate hog farmers, inner-city African Americans, suburban businesspeople, Latinos from Pilsen or Little Village — despite those differences, we actually had a lot in common.  We cared about our communities.  We cared about our families.  We cared about America.

We fought hard for our positions.  I don’t want to be nostalgic here — we voted against each other all the time.  And party lines held most of the time.  But those relationships, that trust we’d built meant that we came at each debate assuming the best in one another and not the worst.

I was reminiscing with Christine Radogno — we came in in the same class.  And we were on opposite sides of most issues, but I always trusted her and believed that she was a good person. And if we had a bill that we might be able to work together on, it was a pleasure to work with her on.  Or Dave Syverson, who — we worked together on the Public Health and Welfare Committee, and we got some important work done that made a difference in people’s lives.

And we didn’t call each other idiots or fascists who were trying to destroy America.  Because then we’d have to explain why we were playing poker or having a drink with an idiot or a fascist who was trying to destroy America.  (Laughter.)

And that respect gave us room for progress.  And after I’d served here for six years, my party finally gained the majority. Emil Jones became the President of the Senate.  And by then, I had made some friends across the aisle — like Kirk Dillard, who I believe is here today, and we were able to pass the first serious ethics reform in 25 years.  And working closely with law enforcement, who knew by then that we cared about cops and sheriffs and prosecutors.  And working with folks like John Cullerton, we passed Illinois’ first racial profiling law, which was good for police officers and minority communities.

And because someone like my friend, John Bouman, who worked at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, helped us build coalitions across the state, including with business, and was able to then reach out to Republicans, we were able to increase tax credits for the working poor and expand health insurance to children in need.

And we wouldn’t bend on our most deeply held principles, but we were willing to forge compromises in pursuit of a larger goal. We were practical when we needed to be.  We could fight like heck on one issue and then shake hands on the next.  Somebody like Jesse White was able to travel around the state and people didn’t even know what party he was necessarily from because he brought so much joy with the tumblers and the work that they were doing.

So I want you to know that this is why I’ve always believed so deeply in a better kind of politics, in part because of what I learned here in this legislature.  Because of what I learned traveling across the state, visiting some of your districts, before I was running statewide, before I was a U.S. senator; learning all the corners of this state — this most-representative of states.  A state of small towns and rich farmland, and the world’s greatest city.  A microcosm of America, where Democrats and Republicans and independents, and good people of every ethnicity and every faith shared certain bedrock values.

I just saw a story the other day showing that if you rank all 50 states across categories like education levels and household incomes, and race and religion, the one state that most closely mirrors America as a whole is Illinois, this state.

And I learned by talking to your constituents that if you were willing to listen, it was possible to bridge a lot of differences.  I learned that most Americans aren’t following the ins and outs of the legislature carefully, but they instinctively know that issues are more complicated than rehearsed sound bites; that they play differently in different parts of the state and in the country.  They understand the difference between realism and idealism; the difference between responsibility and recklessness. They had the maturity to know what can and cannot be compromised, and to admit the possibility that the other side just might have a point.

And it convinced me that if we just approached our national politics the same way the American people approach their daily lives –- at the workplace, at the Little League game; at church or the synagogue — with common sense, and a commitment to fair play and basic courtesy, that there is no problem that we couldn’t solve together.

And that was the vision that guided me when I first ran for the United States Senate.  That’s the vision I shared when I said we are more than just a collection of red states and blue states, but we are the United States of America.  And that vision is why, nine years ago today, on the steps of the Old State Capitol just a few blocks from here, I announced my candidacy for President.

Now, over these nine years, I want you to know my faith in the generosity and the fundamental goodness of the American people has been rewarded and affirmed over and over and over again.  I’ve seen it in the determination of autoworkers who had been laid off but were sure that they could once again be part of a great, iconic Americans industry.  I’ve seen it in the single mom who goes back to school even as she’s working and looking after her kids because she wants a better life for that next generation.  I’ve seen it the vision and risk-taking of small businessmen.  I’ve seen it time and time again in the courage of our troops.

But it’s been noted often by pundits that the tone of our politics hasn’t gotten better since I was inaugurated, in fact it’s gotten worse; that there’s still this yawning gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics.  Which is why, in my final State of the Union address, and in the one before that, I had to acknowledge that one of my few regrets is my inability to reduce the polarization and meanness in our politics.  I was able to be part of that here and yet couldn’t translate it the way I wanted to into our politics in Washington.

And people ask me why I’ve devoted so much time to this topic.  And I tell them it’s not just because I’m President, and the polarization and the gridlock are frustrating to me.  The fact is we’ve gotten a heck of a lot done these past seven years, despite the gridlock.  We saved the economy from a depression.  We brought back an auto industry from the brink of collapse.  We helped our businesses create 14 million new jobs over the past six years.  We cut the unemployment rate from 10 percent to 4.9 percent.  We covered nearly 18 million more Americans with health insurance.  We ignited a clean energy revolution.  We got bin Laden.  We brought the vast majority of our troops home to their families.  (Applause.)  We got a lot done.  We’re still getting a lot done.

And our political system helped make these things possible, and the list could go on.  There’s no doubt America is better off today than when I took office.  (Applause.)  I didn’t want this to be a State of Union speech where we have the standing up and the sitting down.  (Laughter.)  Come on, guys, you know better than that.  (Laughter and applause.)  No, no, no, I’ve got a serious point to make here.  I’ve got a serious point to make here because this is part of the issue, right?  We have an importation of our politics nationally, and on cable and talk radio, and it seeps into everything.

The point I’m trying to make is I care about fixing our politics not only because I’m the President today, or because some of my initiatives have been blocked by Congress — that happens to every President, happens to every governor, happens to everybody who participates — anybody who participates in a democracy.  You’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want all the time.

The reason this is important to me is, next year I’ll still hold the most important title of all, and that’s the title of citizen.  And as an American citizen, I understand that our progress is not inevitable — our progress has never been inevitable.  It must be fought for, and won by all of us, with the kind of patriotism that our fellow Illinoisan, Adlai Stevenson, once described not as a “short, frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”  It requires citizenship and a sense that we are one.

And today that kind of citizenship is threatened by a poisonous political climate that pushes people away from participating in our public life.  It turns folks off.  It discourages them, makes them cynical.  And when that happens, more powerful and extreme voices fill the void.  When that happens, progress stalls.  And that’s how we end up with only a handful of lobbyists setting the agenda.  That’s how we end up with policies that are detached from what working families face every day.  That’s how we end up with the well-connected who publicly demand that government stay out of their business but then whisper in its ear for special treatment.

That’s how our political system gets consumed by small things when we are a people that are called to do great things — to give everybody a shot in a changing economy; to keep America safe and strong in an uncertain world; to repair our climate before it threatens everything we leave for our kids.

So that’s what’s on my mind as I come back to Illinois today.  This is what will be a focus of mine over the course of this year and beyond:  What can we do, all of us, together, to try to make our politics better?  And I speak to both sides on this.  As all of you know, it could be better, and all of you would feel prouder of the work you do if it was better.

So, first, let’s put to rest a couple of myths about our politics.  One is the myth that the problems with our politics are new.  They are not.  American politics has never been particularly gentle or high-minded — especially not during times of great change.

As I mentioned when I visited a mosque in Maryland last week, Thomas Jefferson’s opponent tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a Muslim.  So I’m in good company.  (Laughter.) But that’s nothing compared to the newspaper which warned that if Jefferson were elected, “murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced.”  (Laughter.)  His Vice President, Aaron Burr, literally killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.  (Laughter.)  I don’t even want to tell you what Andrew Jackson’s opponents said about his mamma.  (Laughter.)  Lincoln, himself, was routinely called “weak, wishy-washy,” a “yahoo,” “an unshapely man,” “the obscene ape of Illinois,” and, my favorite — a “facetious pettifogger.”  I don’t know what that means — (laughter) –but it sounds insulting.

So, comparatively speaking, today is not that bad — as long as you’ve got a thick skin.  (Laughter.)  As Harold Washington once said:  “Politics ain’t beanbag.”  It’s tough.  And that’s okay.

There’s also the notion sometimes that our politics are broken because politicians are significantly more corrupt or beholden to big money than they used to be.  There’s no doubt that lobbyists still have easier access to the halls of power than the average American.  There’s a lot of work that we need to do to make sure that the system works for ordinary people and not just the well-connected.  That’s true at the federal level; that’s true at the state level.  Folks aren’t entirely wrong when they feel as if the system too often is rigged and does not address their interests.

But, relative to the past, listen, I’m confident we’ve got enough rules and checks to prevent anyone in my Cabinet from siphoning whiskey tax revenue into their own pockets like President Grant’s administration did.  Until FDR went after the ward bosses of Tammany Hall, they controlled judges and politicians as they pleased — patronage, bribery, and money laundering.  It’s not as easy as it was to whip up tens of thousands of phantom votes, whether in Chicago or South Texas.

From the Teapot Dome to Watergate, history tells us we should always be vigilant and demand that our public servants follow the highest ethical standards.  But the truth is that the kind of corruption that is blatant, of the sort that we saw in the past, is much less likely in today’s politics.  And the Justice Department and the media work hard to keep it that way.  And that’s a very good thing.  So we don’t want to romanticize the past and think somehow it’s a difference in the people being elected.

And it also isn’t true that today’s issues are inherently more polarizing than the past.  I remember, we endured four years of Civil War that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead Americans.  This country was divided on a fundamental question.

Before Pearl Harbor, entering into World War II was a highly charged debate.  The fault lines of Vietnam, the culture wars of the ‘60s — they still echo into our politics a half-century later.

We’ve been arguing since our founding over the proper size and role of government; the meaning of individual freedom and equality; over war and peace, and the best way to give all of our citizens opportunity.  And these are important debates that everybody should join, with all the rigor that a free people require.

My point is, the problem is not that politicians are worse, the problem is not that the issues are tougher.  And so it’s important for us to understand that the situation we find ourselves in today is not somehow unique or hopeless.  We’ve always gone through periods when our democracy seems stuck.  And when that happens, we have to find a new way of doing business.

We’re in one of those moments.  We’ve got to build a better politics — one that’s less of a spectacle and more of a battle of ideas; one that’s less of a business and more of a mission; one that understands the success of the American experiment rests on our willingness to engage all our citizens in this work.

And that starts by acknowledging that we do have a problem. And we all know it.  What’s different today is the nature and the extent of the polarization.  How ideologically divided the parties are is brought about by some of the same long-term trends in our politics and our culture.  The parties themselves have become more homogenous than ever.  A great sorting has taken place that drove Southern conservatives out of the Democratic Party, Northern moderates out of the Republican Party, so you don’t have within each party as much diversity of views.

And you’ve got a fractured media.  Some folks watch FOX News; some folks read the Huffington Post.  And very often, what’s profitable is the most sensational conflict and the most incendiary sound bites.  And we can choose our own facts.  We don’t have a common basis for what’s true and what’s not.  I mean, if I listened to some of these conservative pundits, I wouldn’t vote for me either.  I sound like a scary guy.  (Laughter.)

You’ve got advocacy groups that, frankly, sometimes benefit from keeping their members agitated as much as possible, assured of the righteousness of their cause.  Unlimited dark money — money that nobody knows where it’s coming from, who’s paying — drowns out ordinary voices.  And far too many of us surrender our voices entirely by choosing not to vote.  And this polarization is pervasive and it seeps into our society to the point where surveys even suggest that many Americans wouldn’t want their kids to date someone from another political party.  Now, some of us don’t want our kids dating, period.  But that’s a losing battle. (Laughter.)

But this isn’t just an abstract problem for political scientists.  This has real impact on whether or not we can get things done together.  This has a real impact on whether families are able to support themselves, or whether the homeless are getting shelter on a cold day.  It makes a difference as to the quality of the education that kids are getting.  This is not an abstraction.

But so often, these debates, particularly in Washington but increasingly in state legislatures, become abstractions.  It’s as if there are no people involved, it’s just cardboard cutouts and caricatures of positions.  It encourages the kind of ideological fealty that rejects any compromise as a form of weakness.  And in a big, complicated democracy like ours, if we can’t compromise, by definition, we can’t govern ourselves.

Look, I am a progressive Democrat.  I am proud of that.  I make no bones about it.  (Applause.)   I’m going to make another point here.  I believe that people should have access to health care.  I believe they should have access to a good public education.  I believe that workers deserve a higher minimum wage. I believe that collective bargaining is critical to the prospects of the middle class, and that pensions are vital to retirement, as long as they’re funded responsibly.  (Applause.)

Hold on a second.  Hold on a second.  (Applause.)  Sit down, Democrats.  Sit down.  Sit down — just for a second.  I appreciate that, but I want to make this larger point.  (Laughter.)

I believe we’re judged by how we care for the poor and the vulnerable.  I believe that in order to live up to our ideals, we have to continually fight discrimination in all its forms.   (Applause.)  I believe in science, and the science behind things like climate change, and that a transition to cleaner sources of energy will help preserve the planet for future generations.  (Applause.)

I believe in a tough, smart foreign policy that says America will never hesitate to protect our people and our allies, but that we should use every element of our power and never rush to war.

Those are the things I believe.  But here’s the point I want to make.  I believe that there are a lot of Republicans who share many of these same values, even though they may disagree with me on the means to achieve them.  I think sometimes my Republican colleagues make constructive points about outdated regulations that may need to be changed, or programs that even though well-intended, didn’t always work the way they were supposed to.

And where I’ve got an opportunity to find some common ground, that doesn’t make me a sellout to my own party.  (Applause.)  That applies — (laughter) — well, we’ll talk later, Duncan.  (Applause.)  This is what happens, everybody starts cherry-picking.  (Laughter.)  One thing I’ve learned is folks don’t change.  (Laughter.)

So trying to find common ground doesn’t make me less of a Democrat or less of a progressive.  It means I’m trying to get stuff done.

And the same applies to a Republican who, heaven forbid, might agree with me on a particular issue — or if I said America is great, decided to stand during a State of Union.  It’s not a controversial proposition.  (Laughter.)  You’re not going to get in trouble.  (Applause.)

But the fact that that’s hard to do is a testament to how difficult our politics has become.  Because folks are worried, well, I’m going to get yelled at by you, or this blogger is going to write that, or this talk show host is going to talk about me, and suddenly I’ve got to challenger, and calling me a RINO or a not a real progressive.

So when I hear voices in either party boast of their refusal to compromise as an accomplishment in and of itself, I’m not impressed.  All that does is prevent what most Americans would consider actual accomplishments — like fixing roads, educating kids, passing budgets, cleaning our environment, making our streets safe.  (Applause.)

It cuts both ways, guys.  See, suddenly everybody is standing.  This is fascinating to watch.  (Laughter.)  The point is, it cuts both ways.

Our Founders trusted us with the keys to this system of self-government.  Our politics is the place where we try to make this incredible machinery work; where we come together to settle our differences and solve big problems, do big things together that we could not possibly do alone.  And our Founders anchored all this in a visionary Constitution that separates power and demands compromise, precisely to prevent one party, or one wing of a party, or one faction, or some powerful interests from getting 100 percent of its way.

So when either side makes blanket promises to their base that it can’t possibly meet — tax cuts without cuts to services — “everything will be fine, but we won’t spend any money” — war without shared sacrifice — “we’re going to be tough, but don’t worry, it will be fine” — union bashing or corporate bashing without acknowledging that both workers and businesses make our economy run — that kind of politics means that the supporters will be perennially disappointed.  It only adds to folks’ sense that the system is rigged.  It’s one of the reasons why we see these big electoral swings every few years.  It’s why people are so cynical.

Now, I don’t pretend to have all the answers to this.  These trends will not change overnight.  If I did, I would have already done them through an executive action.  (Laughter and applause.) That was just a joke, guys.  Relax.  (Laughter.)   A sense of humor is also helpful.

But I do want to offer some steps that we can take that I believe would help reform our institutions and move our system in a way that helps reflect our better selves.  And these aren’t particularly original, but I just want to go ahead and mention them.

First is to take, or at least reduce, some of the corrosive influence of money in our politics.  (Applause.)

Now, this year, just over 150 families — 150 families — have spent as much on the presidential race as the rest of America combined.  Today, a couple of billionaires in one state can push their agenda, dump dark money into every state — nobody knows where it’s coming from — mostly used on these dark ads, everybody is kind of dark and the worst picture possible.  (Laughter.)  And there’s some ominous voice talking about how they’re destroying the country.

And they spend this money based on some ideological preference that really is disconnected to the realities of how people live.  They’re not that concerned about the particulars of what’s happening in a union hall in Galesburg, and what folks are going through trying to find a job.  They’re not particularly familiar with what’s happening at a VFW post.  (Phone rings.)  Somebody’s phone is on.  (Laughter.)  In Carbondale.  They haven’t heard personally from farmers outside of the Quads and what they’re going through.  Those are the voices that should be outweighing a handful of folks with a lot of money.  I’m not saying the folks with a lot of money should have no voice; I’m saying they shouldn’t be able to drown out everybody else’s.

And that’s why I disagree with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  (Applause.)  I don’t believe that money is speech, or that political spending should have no limits, or that it shouldn’t be disclosed.  I still support a constitutional amendment to set reasonable limits on financial influence in America’s elections.

But amending the Constitution is an extremely challenging and time-consuming process — as it should be.  So we’re going to have to come up with more immediate ways to reduce the influence of money in politics.  There are a lot of good proposals out there, and we have to work to find ones that can gain some bipartisan support — because a handful of families and hidden interests shouldn’t be able to bankroll elections in the greatest democracy on Earth.

The second step towards a better politics is rethinking the way that we draw our congressional districts.  (Applause.)  Now, let me point this out — I want to point this out, because this is another case of cherry-picking here.  (Laughter.)  This tends to be popular in states where Democrats have been drawing the lines among Republicans, and less popular among Republicans where they control drawing the lines.  (Applause.)  So let’s be very clear here — nobody has got clean hands on this thing.  Nobody has got clean hands on this thing.

The fact is, today technology allows parties in power to precision-draw constituencies so that the opposition’s supporters are packed into as few districts as possible.  That’s why our districts are shaped like earmuffs or spaghetti.  (Laughter.)  It’s also how one party can get more seats even when it gets fewer votes.

And while this gerrymandering may insulate some incumbents from a serious challenge from the other party, it also means that the main thing those incumbents are worried about are challengers from the most extreme voices in their own party.  That’s what’s happened in Congress.  You wonder why Congress doesn’t work?  The House of Representatives there, there may be a handful — less than 10 percent — of districts that are even competitive at this point.  So if you’re a Republican, all you’re worried about is what somebody to your right is saying about you, because you know you’re not going to lose a general election.  Same is true for a lot of Democrats.  So our debates move away from the middle, where most Americans are, towards the far ends of the spectrum.  And that polarizes us further.

Now, this is something we have the power to fix.  And once the next census rolls around and we have the most up-to-date picture of America’s population, we should change the way our districts are drawn.  In America, politicians should not pick their voters; voters should pick their politicians.  (Applause.) And this needs to be done across the nation, not just in a select few states.  It should be done everywhere.  (Applause.)

Now, the more Americans use their voice and participate, the less captive our politics will be to narrow constituencies.  No matter how much undisclosed money is spent, no matter how many negative ads are run, no matter how unrepresentative a district is drawn, if everybody voted, if a far larger number of people voted, that would overcome in many ways some of these other institutional barriers.  It would make our politics better.

And that’s why a third step towards a better politics is making voting easier, not harder; and modernizing it for the way that we live now.  (Applause.)

Now, this shouldn’t be controversial, guys.  You liked the redistricting thing, but not letting people vote.  I should get some applause on that, too.  (Applause.)

Listen, three years ago, I set up a bipartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America.  It had the election lawyers from my campaign and from Mitt Romney’s campaign.  They got together outside of the context of immediate politics.  And I actually want to thank this assembly for moving to adopt some of its recommendations.  Thanks to the good work of my dear friend, Senator Don Harmon, and many of you, there’s a new law going into effect this year that will allow Illinoisans to register and vote at the polls on Election Day.  (Applause.)  It expands early voting — something that makes it a lot easier for working folks and busy parents to go vote.

Think about it.  If you’re a single mom, and you’ve got to take public transportation to punch a clock, work round the clock, get home, cook dinner on a Tuesday in bad weather — that’s tough.  Why would we want to make it so that she couldn’t do it on a Saturday or a Sunday?  (Applause.)  How is that advancing our democracy?

So this law will make a difference.  I’m proud of my home state for helping to lead the way.

And we know this works.  In 2012 and 2014, the states with the highest voter turnout all had same-day registration.  So today, I ask every state in America to join us — reduce these barriers to voting.  Make it easier for your constituents to get out and vote.

And I’d encourage this assembly to take the next step.  Senator Manar and Representative Gabel have bills that would automatically register every eligible citizen to vote when they apply for a driver’s license.  That will protect the fundamental right of everybody.  Democrats, Republicans, independents, seniors, folks with disabilities, the men and women of our military — it would make sure that it was easier for them to vote and have their vote counted.

And as one of your constituents, I think you should pass that legislation right away.  (Applause.)  I think the Governor should sign it without delay.  (Applause.)  Let’s make the Land of Lincoln a leader in voter participation.  That’s something we should be proud to do.  (Applause.)  Let’s set the pace — encourage other states across the country to follow our lead, making automatic voter registration the new norm across America.

Now, just during the course of this talk, it’s been interesting to watch the dynamics, obviously.  (Laughter.)  In part because so much of our politics now is just designed for short-term, tactical gain.  If you think that having more voters will hurt you on Election Day, then suddenly you’re not interested in participation.  And if you think that the gerrymandering is helping you instead of hurting you, then you’re not for those proposals.

We get trapped in these things.  We know better.  If we were setting up a set of rules ahead of time, and you didn’t know where you stood, which party you were going to be in, if you didn’t have all the data and the poll numbers to tell you what’s going to give you an edge or not, you’d set up a system that was fair.  You’d encourage everybody to be part of it.  That’s what we learned in our civics books.  That’s how it should work.

The fact that we can’t do that, that brings me to my last point, which is, even as we change the way system works, we also have a responsibility to change the way that we, as elected officials and as citizens, work together.  Because this democracy only works when we get both right — when the system is fair, but also when we build a culture that is trying to make it work.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about something a friend of mine, Deval Patrick, once said to his constituents when he was governor of Massachusetts.  He said, “Insist from us and from each other a modicum of civility as the condition for serving you.”  This is what he told voters.  “Insist on us having a modicum of civility.”

I think that’s something that all of us, as Americans, have to insist from each other.  Our children are watching what we do. They don’t just learn it in school, they learn it by watching us — the way we conduct ourselves, the way we treat each other.  If we lie about each other, they learn it’s okay to lie.  If we make up facts and ignore science, then they just think it’s just their opinion that matters.  If they see us insulting each other like school kids, then they think, well, I guess that’s how people are supposed to behave.  The way we respect — or don’t — each other as citizens will determine whether or not the hard, frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government continues.

I’ve got daughters that are getting older now, and one of the most important things about being a parent I think is them just seeing what you do not when you’re out in public, not when you’re dealing with somebody important, but just how do you do — how do you treat people generally.  And it makes me much more mindful.  I want to live up to their expectations.

And in that same way, I want this democracy to live up to the people’s expectations.  We can’t move forward if all we do is tear each other down.  And the political incentives, as they are today, too often rewards that kind of behavior.  That’s what gets attention.  So it will require some courage just to act the way our parents taught us to act.  It shouldn’t, but in this political environment apparently it does.  We’ve got to insist to do better from each other, for each other.

Rather than reward those who’d disenfranchise any segment of America, we’ve got to insist that everybody arm themselves with information, and facts, and that they vote.  If 99 percent of us voted, it wouldn’t matter how much the 1 percent spends on our elections.  (Applause.)

Rather than reward the most extreme voices, or the most divisive language, or who is best at launching schoolyard taunts, we should insist on a higher form of discourse in our common life, one based on empathy and respect, — which does not mean you abandon principle.  It doesn’t mean you’re not tough.

Rather than paint those who disagree with us as motivated by malice, to suggest that any of us lack patriotism — we can insist, as Lincoln did, that we are not enemies, but friends; that our fellow Americans are not only entitled to a different point of view, but that they love this country as much as we do.

Rather than reward a 24/7 media that so often thrives on sensationalism and conflict, we have to stand up and insist, no, reason matters, facts matter; issues are complicated.  When folks just make stuff up, they can’t go unchallenged.  And that’s true for Democrats if you hear a Democratic make something up, and that’s true for a Republican if you see a Republican cross that line.

Rather than accept the notion that compromise is a sellout to one side, we’ve got to insist on the opposite — that it can be a genuine victory that means progress for all sides.  And rather than preventing our kids from dating people in other parties — well, I may have issues about dating, generally –(laughter) — but we can trust that we’ve raised our kids to do the right thing, and to look at the qualities of people’s character, not some label attached to them.

And maybe, most of all, whenever someone begins to grow cynical about our politics, or believes that their actions can’t make a difference or it’s not worth participating in, we’ve got to insist, even against all evidence to the contrary, that in fact they can make a difference.  And in this job of being a citizen of the United States of America, that’s a big deal.  It’s something we should revere and take seriously.

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t always the giant that we think of today.  He lacked formal schooling.  His businesses and his law practices often struggled.  After just one term in Congress, his opposition to the Mexican-American War damaged his reputation so badly he did not run for reelection.  He was denounced as a traitor, a demagogue, an enemy sympathizer.  He returned to his law practice and admitted he was losing interest in politics entirely.

And then something happened that shook his conscience.  Congress effectively overturned the Missouri Compromise, that flawed and fragile law that had prohibited slavery in the North and legalized it in the South, but left the question ultimately unsettled.  And stunned by this news, Lincoln said he’d been roused “as he had never been before” over what it meant for America’s future.

And so, here in Springfield, at the state fair, he got back in the game and he delivered the first of his great anti-slavery speeches to a crowd of thousands.  And over the next six years, even as he lost two more political races, his arguments with Douglas and others shaped the national debate.  That’s when he uttered those brilliant words on the steps of the Old State Capitol that “A house divided against itself cannot stand;” that “this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.”

He became the first Republican President, and I believe our greatest President.  And through his will and his words and, most of all, his character, he held a nation together and he helped free a people.

And those victories did not solve all of our problems.  He would be attacked at times for the compromises he was prepared to make by abolitionists and folks from his own side.  It would be 100 years more until the law guaranteed African Americans the equal rights that they had been promised.  Even 50 years after that, our march is not yet finished.  But because Lincoln made that decision not to give up, and not to let other voices speak for him, and because he held in his mind the strength of principle but the vision, the ability to understand those who disagreed with him, and showed them respect even as he fought them — because of what he set in motion, generations of free men and women of all races and walks of life have had the chance to choose this country’s course.  What a great gift.  What a great legacy he has bestowed up.

And that’s the thing about America.  We are a constant work of progress.  And our success has never been certain, none of our journey has been preordained.  And there’s always been a gap between our highest ideals and the reality that we witness every single day.  But what makes us exceptional — what makes us Americans — is that we have fought wars, and passed laws, and reformed systems, and organized unions, and staged protests, and launched mighty movements to close that gap, and to bring the promise and the practice of America into closer alignment.  We’ve made the effort to form that “more perfect union.”

Nine years to the day that I first announced for this office, I still believe in that politics of hope.  And for all the challenges of a rapidly changing world, and for all the imperfections of our democracy, the capacity to reach across our differences and choose that kind of politics — not a cynical politics, not a politics of fear, but that kind of politics — sustained over the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime, that’s something that remains entirely up to us.

Thank you, Illinois.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)  It’s good to see all you.  I miss you guys.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END           2:04 P.M. CST

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 January 17, 2016: NBC News/YouTube Fourth Democratic Debate in Charleston, SC Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Full Text of the Fourth Democratic Debate in Charleston

Source: Time, 1-17-16

Fourth Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Sunday night.

Participants: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley

Hosted by NBC News and YouTube

Moderated by anchor Lester Holt.

LESTER HOLT: Good evening and welcome to the NBC News/YouTube Democratic candidates debate. After all the campaigning soon Americans will have their say with the first votes of the 2016 campaign just 15 days away in Iowa. And New Hampshire, not far behind. Tonight will be the final opportunity to see these candidates face to face before the voting begins. Our purpose here tonight is to highlight and examine the differences among the three Democratic candidates. So let’s get started. Please welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Governor Martin O’Malley. Lester Holt: Well welcome to all of you, hope you’re excited, we’re excited. We want to thank our host, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. I’m joined by my colleague, Andrea Mitchell tonight. The rules are simple. 60 seconds for answers, 30 seconds for follow-ups or rebuttals. I know you’ll all keep exactly the time so our job should be pretty easy here tonight. We’ll also have questions from the YouTube community throughout the debate. This is a critical point in the race. You’ve been defining your differences with each other especially vigorously in the last week on the campaign trail. We’re here to facilitate this conversation on behalf of the voters so that they know exactly where you stand as you face off tonight. Let’s have a great debate. We’ll begin with 45 second opening statements from each candidate starting with Secretary Clinton.

 

HILLARY CLINTON: Well good evening. And I want to thank the Congressional Black Caucus institute and the people of Charleston for hosting us here on the eve of Martin Luther King Day tomorrow. You know, I remember well when my youth minister took me to hear Dr. King. I was a teenager and his moral clarity the message that he conveyed that evening really stayed with me and helped to set me on a path to service. I also remember that he spent the last day of his life in Memphis fighting for dignity and higher pay for working people, and that is our fight still. We have to get the economy working and incomes rising for everyone including those who have been left out and left behind. We have to keep our communities and our country safe. We need a president who can do all aspects of the job. I understand that this is the hardest job in the world. I’m prepared and ready to take it on, and I hope to earn your support to be the nominee of the Democratic Party, and the next president of the United States.

 

HOLT: Thank you. Senator Sanders, your opening statement sir.

 

BERNIE SANDERS: As we honor the extraordinary life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s important not only that we remember what he stood for, but that we pledge to continue his vision to transform our country. And as we look out at our country today, what the American people understand is we have an economy that’s rigged. That ordinary Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, 47 million people living in poverty, and almost all of the income and wealth going to the top one percent. And then, to make a bad situation worse, we have a corrupt campaign finance system where millionaires and billionaires are spending extraordinary amounts of money to buy elections. This campaign is about a political revolution to not only elect the president, but to transform this country.

 

HOLT: Senator, thank you. And Governor O’Malley, your opening statement tonight.

 

MARTIN O’MALLEY: Thank you. My name is Martin O’Malley and I was born the year Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. And I want to thank the people of South Carolina not only for hosting our debate here tonight, but also for what you taught all of us in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Mother Emmanuel Church. You taught us in fact, in keeping with Dr. King’s teaching, that love would have the final word when you took down the Confederate flag from your state house, let go of the past, and move forward. Eight years ago you brought forward a new leader in Barack Obama to save our country from the second Great Depression, and that’s what he’s done. Our country is doing better, we’re creating jobs again. But in order to make good on the promise of equal opportunity and equal justice under the law we have urgent work to do and the voices of anger and fear and division that we’ve heard coming off the Republican presidential podiums are pretty loud. We need new leadership. We need to come together as a people and build on the good things that President Obama has done. That’s why I’m running for president. I need your help, I ask for your vote, and I look forward to moving our country forward once again. Thank you.

 

HOLT: Governor, thank you. Alright to our first question now. The first question I’ll be addressing to all the candidates. President Obama came to office determined to swing for the fences on health care reform. Voters want to know how you would define your presidency, how you would think big. So complete this sentence: In my first 100 days in office, my top three priorities will be: fill in the blank. Senator Sanders.

 

SANDERS: Well, that’s what our campaign is about. It is thinking big. It is understanding that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we should have health care for every man, woman, and child as a right. That we should raise the minimum wage to at least 15 dollars an hour, that we have got to create millions of decent paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. So what my first days are about is bringing American together to end the decline of the middle class, to tell the wealthiest people in this country that yes they are gonna start paying their fair share of taxes, and that we are going to have a government that works for all of us and not just big campaign contributors.

 

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, same question. My first 100 days in office, my top 3 priorities will be:

 

CLINTON: I would work quickly to present to the congress my plans for creating more good jobs and manufacturing infrastructure, clean and renewable energy, raising the minimum wage, and guaranteeing finally equal pay for women’s work. I would also, I would also be presenting my plans to build on the Affordable Care Act and to improve it by decreasing the out of pocket costs by putting a cap on prescription drug costs, by looking for ways that we can put the prescription drug business and the health insurance company business on a more stable platform that doesn’t take too much money out of the pockets of hard working Americans. And third, I would be working in every way that I knew to bring our country together. We do have too much division, too much mean spiritedness. There’s a lot we have to do on immigration reform, on voting rights, on campaign finance reform, but we need to do it together. That’s how we’ll have the kind of country for the 21st century that we know will guarantee our children and grandchildren the kind of future they deserve.

 

LESTER HOLT:

09:08:55:00 Governor O’Malley, same question.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:08:58:00 Thank you. First of all, I would lay out an agenda to make wages go up again for all Americans rather than down. Equal pay for equal work. Making it easier rather than harder for people to join labor unions and bargain collectively for better wages. Getting 11 million of our neighbors out of the underground shadow economy by passing comprehensive immigration reform. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour however we can, wherever we can.

 

09:09:23:00 Secondly, I believe the greatest business opportunity to come to the United States of America in 100 years is climate change. And I put forward a plan to move us to a 100% clean electric energy grid by 2050 and create five million jobs along the way. (CHEERING) Thank you.

LESTER HOLT:

09:09:42:00 So you’ve all–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:09:43:00 I’m sorry, that was second, Lester. And third and finally, we need a new agenda for America’s cities. We have not had a new agenda for America’s cities since Jimmy Carter. (APPLAUSE) We need a new agenda for America’s cities that will invest in the talents and the skills of our people, that will invest in CBBG, transportation, infrastructure and transit options and make our cities the leading edge in this move to a redesigned built, clean, green energy future that will employ our people.

LESTER HOLT:

09:10:08:00 All right. Governor, thank you. (APPLAUSE) You’ve all laid out large visions and we’re gonna cover a lot of the ground you talked about as we continue in the evening. The last couple of weeks of this campaign have featured some of the sharpest exchanges in the race. Let’s start with one of ’em, the issue of guns. Senator Sanders, last week Secretary Clinton called you, quote, a pretty reliable vote for the gun lobby. Right before the debate you change your position on immunity from lawsuits for gun manufacturers. Can you tell us why?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:10:36:00 Well, I think Secretary Clinton knows that what she says is very disingenuous. I have a D minus voting record from the N.R.A. I was in 1988– there were three candidates running for Congress in the state of Vermont. I stood up to the gun lobby and came out and maintained the position that in this country we should not be selling military style assault weapons.

 

09:11:01:00 I have supported from day one an instant background check to make certain that people who should not have guns do not have guns. And that includes people with criminal backgrounds, people who are mentally unstable. I support what President Obama is doing in terms of trying to close the gun show loopholes.

 

09:11:23:00 And I think it should be a federal crime if people act (UNINTEL). We have seen in this city a horrendous tragedy of a crazed person praying with people and then coming out and shooting nine people. This should not be a political issue. What we should be doing is working together. And, by the way, as a senator from a rural state that has virtually no gun control I believe that I am in an excellent position to bring people together to–

LESTER HOLT:

09:11:53:00 Senator–

09:11:53:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:11:54:00 –provide a sensible–

09:11:56:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:11:57:00 –you didn’t answer the question that you did change your (CHEERING) position on immunity for gun manufacturers–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:12:00:00 What I–

LESTER HOLT:

09:12:01:00 –so can you– can you answer the–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:12:01:00 –what I have said–

09:12:03:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:12:04:00 –is that the m– gun manufacturers liability bill had some good provisions. Among other things we prohibited ammunition that would have killed cops who had protection on. We had child safety protection– on guns in that legislation. And what we also said is a small mom and pop gun shop who sells a gun legally to somebody should not be held libel if somebody does s– something terrible with that gun.

LESTER HOLT:

09:12:35:00 So.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:12:36:00 What I would say is that I would relook at it. We are gonna relook at it. And I will support stronger (?) provisions.

LESTER HOLT:

09:12:41:00 Secretary Clinton, would you like to respond to Senator Sanders?

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:12:43:00 Yes. Look, I– I have made it clear based on Senator Sanders’ own record that he– has voted with the N.R.A., with the gun lobby numerous times. He voted against the Brady bill five times. He voted for what we call the Charleston loophole.

 

09:13:02:00 He voted for immunity from gun makers and sellers which the N.R.A. said was the most important piece of gun legislation in 20 years. He voted to let guns go onto Amtrak, guns go into national parks. He voted against doing research to figure out how we can save lives.

 

09:13:22:00 Let’s not forget what this is about. Ninety people a day die from gun violence in our country. That’s 33,000 people a year. One of the most horrific examples, not a block from here, where we had nine people murdered. Now I am pleased to hear that Senator Sanders has reversed his position on immunity.

 

09:13:48:00 And I look forward to him joining with those members of Congress who have already introduced legislation. There is no other industry in America that was given the total pass that the gun makers and dealers–

LESTER HOLT:

09:14:02:00 And that– and that’s the–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:14:01:00 –were. And that needs to be reversed.

LESTER HOLT:

09:14:04:00 –all right. Governor O’Malley, (APPLAUSE) you signed tough gun control measures as governor or Maryland. And there are a lot of Democrats in the audience here in South Carolina who own guns. This conversation might be worrying many of them. They may be hearing, “You wanna take my guns.” What would you say to them?

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:14:20:00 This is what I would say, Lester, look, the– I’ve listened to Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders go back and forth on which of them has the most inconsistent record on gun safety legislation. And– (APPLAUSE) and I would have to agree with both of them.

 

09:14:34:00 They’ve both been inconsistent when it comes (LAUGHTER) to this issue. I’m the– I’m the one candidate on this stage that actually brought people together to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation. This is very personal to me being from Baltimore. I will never forget one occasion visiting– little boy in Johns Hopkins hospital. He was gettin’ a birthday haircut at the age of three when drug dealers turned that barber shop into a shooting gallery.

 

09:14:58:00 And that boy’s head was pierced with a bullet. And I remember visiting him. It did not kill him. I remember visiting him and his mother in Johns Hopkins Hospital. And his diapers with tubes running in and out of his head, same age as my little boy.

 

09:15:11:00 So after the slaughter of the kids in Connecticut, Lester, we brought people together. We did pass in our state comprehensive gun safety legislation. It did have a ban on combat assault weapons, (APPLAUSE) universal background checks. And you know what, we did not interrupt a single person’s hunting season. I’ve never met a self-respecting deer hunter that needed an AR15 to down a deer. And so (CHEERING) we’re able to actually do these (UNINTEL).

LESTER HOLT:

09:15:34:00 All right, governor, thank you. Secretary Clinton, this is a community that has suffered a lot of heartache in the last year. Of course as you mentioned, the– the church shootings. We won’t forget the video of Walter Scott being shot in the back while running from police. We understand that a jury will decide whether that police officer was justified. But it played straight to the fears of many African-American men that their lives are cheap. Is that perception or in your view is it reality?

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:16:04:00 Well, sadly it’s reality. And it has been heartbreaking and incredibly outraging to see the constant stories of young men like Walter Scott, as you said, who have been killed– by police officers. There needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system.

 

09:16:35:00 And that requires a very (CHEERING) clear agenda for retraining police officers, looking at ways to end racial profiling, finding more ways to really bring the disparities that stalk our country into high relief. One out of three African-American men may well end up going to prison.

 

09:17:02:00 That’s the statistic. I want people here to think what we would be doing if it was one out of three white men. And very often the black (CHEERING) men are arrested, convicted and incarcerated for offenses that do not lead to the same results for white men. So we have a very serious problem that we can no longer ignore.

LESTER HOLT:

09:17:23:00 And your time is up. I– Senator Sanders, my next question is–

09:17:27:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:17:27:00 –actually my next question–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:17:26:00 Let– let me–

LESTER HOLT:

09:17:28:00 –was for you.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:17:27:00 –respond to what the secretary said. We have a criminal justice system which is broken. Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth including China, disproportionately African-American and Latino?

 

09:17:45:00 Who is satisfied (APPLAUSE) that 51% of African-American young people are either unemployed or underemployed? Who is satisfied that millions of people have police records for possessing marijuana when the CEOs of Wall Street companies who destroyed our (CHEERING) country have no police records?

LESTER HOLT:

09:18:09:00 Senator– Senator Sanders–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:18:10:00 We need to take– we need to take a very hard look–

09:18:17:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:18:16:00 Sen– Senator Sanders–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:18:18:00 –at our criminal justice system, investing in jobs and education–

09:18:20:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:18:22:00 –not in jail and–

LESTER HOLT:

09:18:23:00 Just over a week–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:18:22:00 –incarceration.

LESTER HOLT:

09:18:25:00 –just over a week ago the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Secretary Clinton, not you. He said that choosing her over you was not a hard decision. In fact, our polling shows she’s beating you more than two to one among minority voters. How could you be the nominee if you don’t have that support?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:18:39:00 Well, let me talk about polling. The secretary– (LAUGHTER) as Sectary Clinton well knows when this campaign began she was 50 points ahead of me. We were all up 3% points. Guess what? In Iowa, New Hampshire the race is very, very close. Maybe we’re ahead (CHEERING) (UNINTEL). In terms of polling, guess what? We are running ahead of Secretary Clinton in terms of taking on my good friend, Donald Trump, beating her by 19 points in New Hampshire, 13 points in the last national poll that I saw.

 

09:19:18:00 To answer your question, when the African-American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda and with our views on the economy and criminal justice just as the general population has become more supportive so will the African-American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum. We’re on a path to a victory.

LESTER HOLT:

09:19:43:00 Let’s gonna–

09:19:43:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:19:44:00 –governor I’m gonna come to you (CHEERING) in a second. But Google searches for the words Black Lives Matter surpass Civil Rights Movement last year. And here in South Carolina Black Lives Matter was the number one trending political issue. Governor O’Malley, your campaign and your record is Governor of Maryland and before that the Mayor of Baltimore.

 

09:19:59:00 Last year of course Baltimore was rocked by violent unrest in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray. And right from the start of your campaign you’ve been dogged by those who blame your tough on crime, so-called zero tolerance policies as mayor for contributing to that unrest. What responsibility do you bear?

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:20:18:00 Well, let’s talk about this, when I ran for mayor in 1999, Lester, it was not because our city was doing well. It was because we were burying over 300 young, poor black men every single year. And that’s why I ran because, yes, black lives matter.

 

09:20:34:00 And we did a number of things. We weren’t able to make our city immune from setbacks as the Freddie Gray– unrest and– and tragic death showed. But we were able to save a lot of lives doing things that actually worked to improve police and community relations.

 

09:20:49:00 The truth of the matter is we create a civilian review board. And all– many of these things are in the new agenda for criminal justice reform that I’ve put forward. We created a– civilian review board, gave them their own detectives. We required the reporting of discourtesy– use of excessive for– force, lethal force. I repealed– the possession of marijuana as a– as a crime in our state. I drove our incarceration rate down to 20-year lows and drove violent crime down to 30-year lows and became the first governor south of the Mason Dixon line to repeal the death penalty. I feel a responsibility every day to find things (APPLAUSE) that work.

LESTER HOLT:

09:21:25:00 All right.

09:21:26:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:21:26:00 And do more (UNINTEL) criminal justice system.

LESTER HOLT:

09:21:26:00 Let’s talk more– let’s– let’s talk more about policing and the criminal justice system. Senator Sanders, a few times tonight we’re gonna hear from some of the most prominent voices on YouTube starting with Franchesca Ramsey who tackles racial stereotypes through her videos. Let’s watch.

FRANCHESCA RAMSEY (ON VIDEO):

09:21:40:00 Hey, I’m Franchesca Ramsey. I believe there’s a huge conflict of interest when local prosecutors investigate cases of police violence within their own communities. For example, last month the officers involved in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice weren’t indicted. How would your presidency ensure that incidents of police violence are investigated and prosecuted fairly?

LESTER HOLT:

09:22:01:00 Senator Sanders?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:22:02:00 Apologize for not hearing– all of that– question.

LESTER HOLT:

09:22:06:00 Would you like me to read it back to you?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:22:06:00 Yeah.

LESTER HOLT:

09:22:07:00 Prosecutors– I believe there’s a huge conflict of interest when local prosecutors investigate cases of police violence within their communities. Most recently we saw this with the non-indictment of the officers involved in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:22:23:00 Right.

LESTER HOLT:

09:22:24:00 How would your presidency–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:22:24:00 So.

LESTER HOLT:

09:22:25:00 –ensure incidents of police violence are investigated and prosecuted fairly?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:22:29:00 Absolutely. This is a responsibility for the U.S. justice department to get involved. Whenever anybody in this country is killed while in police customer they should automatically trigger a U.S. attorney general’s investigation. (CHEERING) Second of all, and I think as a mayor who worked very closely and well with police officers, the vast majority of ’em are honest, hardworking people trying to do a difficult job.

 

09:23:00:00 But let us be clear, if a police officer breaks the law, like any public official, that officer must be held accountable. (CHEERING) And thirdly, we have got to demilitarize our police departments so they don’t look like occupying armies. We’ve gotta move to a community police– police (UNINTEL). And fourthly we have got to make our police departments look like the communities they serve in their (CHEERING) diversity.

LESTER HOLT:

09:23:30:00 Secretary Clinton, this question is for you. Tonight parts of America are in the grip of a deadly heroin epidemic spanning race and class, hitting small towns and cities alike. It’s become a major issue in this race in a lotta places where you’ve been campaigning. Despite an estimated $1 trillion spent, many say the war on drugs has failed. So what would you do?

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:23:52:00 Well, Lester, you’re right. Everywhere I go to campaign I’m meeting families who are affected by– the drug problem that mostly is opioids and heroin now. And lives are being lost and children are being orphaned. And I’ve met a lot of grandparents who are now taking care of grandchildren.

 

09:24:12:00 So I have tried to come out with a comprehensive approach that number one does tell the states we will work with you from the federal government putting more money, about $1 billion a year, to help states have a different approach to dealing with this epidemic.

 

09:24:29:00 The policing needs to change. Police officers must be equipped with the antidote to a heroin overdose or an opioid overdose known as Narcan. They should be able to administer it, so should fire-fighters and others. We have to move away from treating the use of drugs as a crime and instead move it to where it belongs, as a health issue. And we need to divert more people from the criminal justice system into drug courts, into treatment and recovery.

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:01:00 And that’s time.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:25:03:00 So this is the kind of approach that we should take in dealing with what is now–

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:06:00 Senator– Senator–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:25:07:00 –a growing epidemic.

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:09:00 –Sanders, would you like to respond?

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:25:09:00 You know, (APPLAUSE) I agree– I agree with everything– the secretary– said. But let me just add this, there is a responsibility on the part of the pharmaceutical industry and the drug companies who are producing all of these drugs and not (APPLAUSE) looking at the consequence of it.

 

09:25:27:00 And second of all when we talk about addiction being the disease the secretary is right. What that means is we need a revolution in this country in terms of mental health treatment. People should be able to get the treatment that they need when they need it, not two months from now which is why I believe in universal health–

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:50:00 And that’s–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:25:50:00 –care with a special–

09:25:50:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:51:00 –and that’s– I will be getting to all that coming up but we’re gonna–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:25:53:00 –Lester, just ten seconds.

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:54:00 –take a break. We need to take–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:25:55:00 Just ten seconds.

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:55:00 –a break. And when we come back–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:25:56:00 All of the thing–

LESTER HOLT:

09:25:58:00 –anger brewing in America.

09:26:10:00 (MUSIC)

09:26:17:00 (BREAK IN TAPE)

09:30:04:00 (MUSIC)

LESTER HOLT:

09:30:08:00 Welcome back to (UNINTEL) turned into another area where there’s been fierce disagreement, that would be health care. Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton, you both mentioned it in your 100 day priorities. Let’s turn to my colleague, Andrea Mitchell, now to lead that questioning.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:30:22:00 Thank you, Lester. Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders favors what he calls Medicare for all. Now you’ve said that what he is proposing would tear up Obamacare and replace it. Secretary Clinton, is it really fair to say that Bernie Sanders wants to kill Obamacare?

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:30:39:00 Well, Andrea, I am absolutely committed to universal health care. I’ve worked on this for a long time. People may remember that– I took on the health insurance– industry back in the ’90s. And I didn’t quit until we got the children’s health insurance program that insures eight million kids.

 

09:30:57:00 And I certainly respect Senator Sanders’ intentions. But when you’re talking about health care the details really mattel– matter. And therefore we have been raising questions about the nine bills that he introduced over 20 years– as to how they would work and what would be the impact on people’s health care. He didn’t like that. His campaign– didn’t like it either. And tonight he’s come out with a new health care plan. And again we need to get into the details. But here’s what I believe. The Democratic party in the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed. We finally have a path to universal health care.

 

09:31:37:00 We’ve accomplished so much already. I do not want to see the Republicans repeal it. And I don’t wanna see us start over again with a contentious debate. I want us to defend (APPLAUSE) and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:31:54:00 Okay.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:31:55:00 Senator Sanders?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:31:57:00 Secretary– Secretary Clinton didn’t answer your question. (LAUGHTER) Because what her campaign was saying Bernie Sanders who has fought for universal health care for my entire life– he wants to end Medicare, end Medicaid, end the children’s health insurance program.

 

09:32:15:00 That is nonsense. What a Medicare for all program does is finally provide in this country health care for every man, woman and child as a right. Now the truth is that (APPLAUSE) Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, you know what they believed in? They believed that health care should be available to all of our people. I’m on the committee that wrote the Affordable Care Act. I made the Affordable Care Act along with Jim Clyburn a better pr– piece of legislation. I voted for it.

 

09:32:46:00 But right now what we have to deal with is the fact that 29 million people still have no health insurance. We are paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, getting ripped off. And here’s the important point, we are spending far more per person on health care than the people of any other country. My proposal, provide health care to all people, get private insurance out of health insurance, lower the cost of health care for middle class families by 5,000 bucks. That’s the vision we need to take.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:33:19:00 Well, Senator Sanders–

09:33:20:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:33:20:00 –if I can– (CHEERING) you know, I– I– I have to say I’m not sure whether we’re talking about the plan you just introduced tonight or we’re talking about the plan you introduced nine times in the Congress. But the fact is (APPLAUSE) we have the Affordable Care Act.

 

09:33:36:00 That is one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic party (CHEERING) and of our country. And we have already seen 19 million Americans get insurance. We have seen the end of pre-existing conditions keeping people from getting insurance. We have seen women no longer paying more for our insurance than men. And we have seen young people up to the age of 26 being able to stay on their parents’ policy.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:34:05:00 Well, that’s–

09:34:06:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:34:04:00 Now there are things we can do to improve it. But to tear it up and start over again, pushing our country back into that kind of a contentious debate I think is the wrong direction.

09:34:18:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:34:19:00 I have to talk about something that’s absolutely–

09:34:20:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:34:21:00 I have–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:34:20:00 No one’s tearing this up. We’re gonna go forward. But what the secretary neglected to mention, not just the 29 million still have no health insurance, that even more are under insured with huge copayments and deductibles. Tell me why we are spending over three times more than the British who guarantee health care to all of their people? 50% more than the French, more than the Canadians.

 

09:34:44:00 The vision from FDR and Harry Truman was health care for all people as a right in a cost-effective way. We’re not gonna tear up the Affordable Care Act. I helped write it. But we are going to move on top of that to a Medicare–

09:35:01:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:35:00:00 Andrea–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:35:00:00 –for all.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:35:01:00 –Andrea– Andrea–

09:35:02:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:35:02:00 –instead of– (CHEERING) Andrea, I think instead of attacking one another on health care we should be talking about the things that are actually working. In our state we have moved to an all-payer system. With the Affordable Care Act we now have moved all of our acute care hospitals that driver of cost at the center away from fee for service and actually to pay we pay them based on how well they keep patients out of the hospital. How well they keep their patients. That’s the future. We need to build on the Affordable Care Act, do the things that work and reduce costs and increase access.

09:35:36:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:35:36:00 And that’s exactly what we are able to do based on the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. What Governor O’Malley just said is one of the models that we will be looking at to make sure we do get costs down. We do limit a lot of the unnecessary cost that we still have in the system.

 

09:35:56:00 But with all due respect, to start over again with a whole new debate is something that I think would set us back. The Republicans just voted last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act and thank goodness President Obama vetoed it and saved Obamacare (CHEERING) for the American people.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:17:00 You know–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:36:18:00 Senator Sanders let me ask you this though–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:20:00 –yeah.

LESTER HOLT:

09:36:20:00 –you talked about Medicare for all. And tonight you’ve released a very detailed plan–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:24:00 Not all that detailed–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:36:25:00 –just two–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:25:00 –just–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:36:27:00 –hours before the debate. You did.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:28:00 –well–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:36:29:00 But let me ask you about Vermont because Vermont– you tried in the state of Vermont. And Vermont walked away from this kind of idea of– of Medicare for all, single payer, because they concluded it require major tax increases–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:40:00 –well, that– you– you might want–

09:36:41:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:36:42:00 –and by some estimates it would double the budget. If you couldn’t–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:44:00 –Andrea, let me just say this–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:36:44:00 –sell it in Vermont, Senator–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:46:00 –let me just say that you might–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

09:36:47:00 –how can you sell it to the country?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:36:48:00 –ask the governor of the state of Vermont why he could not do it. I’m not the governor. I’m the senator from the state of Vermont. But second of all– (APPLAUSE) second of all here is what the real point is. In terms of all of the issues you’ve raised, the good questions you’ve raised, you know what it all comes down to? Do you know why we can’t do what every other country– major country on earth is doing? It’s because we have a campaign finance system that is corrupt.

 

09:37:15:00 We have super packs. We have the pharmaceutical industry pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign contributions and lobbying and the private (NOISE) insurance companies as well. What this is really about is not the rational way to go forward. It’s Medicare for all. It is whether we have the guts to stand up to the private insurance companies and all of their money and the pharmaceutical industry. That’s what this debate should be about. (CHEERING)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:37:42:00 Well, a– as someone who– as someone who has a– a little bit of experience standing up to the health insurance industry that (CHEERING) spent, you know, many, many millions of dollars attacking me and probably will so again because of what I believe we can do, building on the Affordable Care Act, I think it’s important to point out that there are a lot of reasons we have the health care system we have today.

 

09:38:09:00 I know how much money influences the political decision making. That’s why I’m for huge campaign finance reform. However, we started a system that had private health insurance. And even during the Affordable Care Act debate there was an opportunity to vote for what was called the public option.

 

09:38:27:00 In other words, people could buy into Medicare. And even when the Democrats were in care of the Congress we couldn’t get the votes for that. So what I’m saying is really simple, this has been the fight of the Democratic party for decades. We have the Affordable Care Act. Let’s make it work. Let’s take the models that states are doing. We now have driven costs down to the lowest they’ve been in 50 years. Now we’ve gotta get individual costs down. That’s what I’m planning to do.

LESTER HOLT:

09:38:59:00 And that’s time. We’re gonna take a turn now. Secretary Clinton, in his final State of the Union address President Obama said his biggest– regret was his inability to bring the country together. If President Obama couldn’t do it, how will you?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:39:11:00 Great question.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:39:12:00 Well, I think it’s an important– point the president made in his State of the Union. And here’s what I would say. I will go anywhere to meet with anyone at any time to find common ground. That’s what I did as a first lady when I worked with both Democrats and Republicans to get the children’s health insurance program.

 

09:39:27:00 When I worked with (UNINTEL) one of the most– partisan of Republicans to reform the adoption and foster care system, what I did working in the Senate where I crossed the aisle often. Working even with the senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, to get tri-care for national guardsmen and women. And it’s what I did as secretary of state on numerous compassions. And most particularly rounding up 2/3 votes in order to pass a treaty that lowered the nuclear weapons in both Russia and the United States. So I know it’s hard. But I also know you’ve gotta work at it every single day.

 

09:40:07:00 I look out here I see a lot of my friends from the Congress. And I know that they work at it every single day because maybe you can only find a little sliver of common ground to cooperate with somebody from the other party. But who knows? If you’re successful there maybe you can build even more–

LESTER HOLT:

09:40:24:00 And that’s time.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:40:25:00 –that’s what I will do.

LESTER HOLT:

09:40:25:00 Senator Sanders response? (CHEERING)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:40:32:00 A couple of years ago when we understood that veterans were not getting the quality care they needed in a timely manner I worked with folks like John McCain and others to pass the most comprehensive veterans’ health care legislation in modern history.

 

09:40:47:00 But let me rephrase your question because I think if– in all due respect, your question, in all due respect, (LAUGHTER) you’re missing the main point. And the main point in the Congress, it’s not that Republicans and Democrats hate each other. That’s a mythology from the media. The real issue is that Congress is owned by big money and refuses to do what the American people want them to do. (CHEERING) The real issue is that on– the real issue is that in area after area, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, the American people want it. Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, creating le– 13 million jobs, the American people want it. Pay equity for women, the American people want it. Demanding that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes, the American people–

LESTER HOLT:

09:41:39:00 That’s–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:41:40:00 –want it.

LESTER HOLT:

09:41:41:00 –that’s time. But let me–

09:41:41:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:41:42:00 We have gotta make Congress respond to the needs of the people, not to–

09:41:47:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:41:45:00 Senator Sanders, let me continue. You call yourself a (CHEERING) Democratic socialist.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:41:51:00 I do.

LESTER HOLT:

09:41:51:00 And throughout your career in politics you’ve been (LAUGHTER) critical of the Democratic party. Even saying in a book you wrote, quote “There wasn’t a hell of a big difference between the two major parties.” How will you when a general–

09:42:00:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:42:01:00 –how will you win a general election labeling yourself a Democratic socialist?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:42:05:00 –because when I believe– what I was just saying. The Democratic party needs major reform. To those of you in South Carolina, you know what, in Mississippi, we need a 50 state strategy so that people (APPLAUSE) in South Carolina and Mississippi can get the resources that they need instead of being dependent on super packs. What we need is to be dependent on small, individual campaign contributors. We need an agenda that speaks to the needs of working families and low-income people, not wealthy campaign contributors.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:42:42:00 Yeah, but senator, you can–

09:42:43:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:42:44:00 –we need to expand– we need to expand what the input into the Democratic party. I am very proud that in this campaign we have seen an enormous amount of excitement from young people, from working people. We have received more individual contributions than any candidate in the history of this country up to this point. (CHEERING)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:43:02:00 Yeah, but senator, you never came–

09:43:05:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:43:06:00 –to campaign for Vincent Sheheen when he was running for governor. In fact, neither of you came to campaign for Vincent Sheheen when he was running for governor. We can talk all we want about wanting (CLAPPING) to build a stronger Democratic party.

 

09:43:14:00 But, Lester, the question you answered, there’s no laughing matter. The most recurring question I get when I stand on the chair all across (UNINTEL) and talk with my neighbors is, “How are you going to heal the divisions and the wounds in our country?”

 

09:43:29:00 This is the biggest challenge we face as a people. All my life I brought people together over– over deep divides and– and very old wounds. And that’s what we need now in a new leader. We cannot keep s– talking past each other, declaring all Republicans our enemies or the war is all about being against millionaires or billionaires or it’s all against American Muslims or all against immigrants. Look, it’s Frederick Douglas said, “We are one. Our cause is one. And we must help each other if we’re going to succeed–”

LESTER HOLT:

09:43:53:00 And that is– that is–

09:43:55:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:43:56:00 –and that– (CHEERING)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:43:56:00 And I respectfully disagree–

LESTER HOLT:

09:43:57:00 –Secretary Clinton, my next question is for you.

09:44:00:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:43:59:00 I respectfully disagree with– with my c– my friend over here. And that is you are right. All of us have denounced Trump, attempt to divide this country, the anti-Latino rhetoric, the racist rhetoric, the anti-Muslim rhetoric. But where I disagree with you, Governor O’Malley is I do believe we have to deal with the fundamental issues of a handful of billionaires–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:44:23:00 I agree with that.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:44:25:00 –who control the economic and political life of this country.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:44:27:00 I agree.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:44:28:00 Nothing real will– get– happen unless we have a political revolution–

LESTER HOLT:

09:44:31:00 And– and–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:44:32:00 –where millions of people–

LESTER HOLT:

09:44:33:00 –and we’re gonna–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:44:33:00 –finally stand up.

LESTER HOLT:

09:44:36:00 –we’re gonna get into that coming up. But Secretary Clinton, (APPLAUSE) here’s another question from YouTube. It’s from a young video blogger who has over five million subscribers. He has a question about the importance of younger voters.

CONNOR FRANTA:

09:44:45:00 Hi, I’m Connor Franta. I’m 23 and my audience is around the same age. Getting my generation’s vote should be a priority for any presidential candidate. Now I know Senator Sanders is pretty popular among my peers. But what I wanna know is how are all of you planning on engaging us further in this election?

LESTER HOLT:

09:45:03:00 Secretary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:45:03:00 Well, thanks for the question. And– congratulations on five million viewers on YouTube. That’s quite an accomplishment. Look, this election is mostly about the future. And therefore it is of greatest urgency for young people.

 

09:45:21:00 I’ve laid out my ideas about what we can do to make college affordable, how we can help people pay off their student debts and save thousands of dollars, how we can create more good jobs. Because a lot of the young people that I talk with are pretty disappointed about the economic prospects they feel they’re facing. So making community college free, making it possible to attend a public college or university with debt-free tuition.

 

09:45:49:00 Looking for ways to protect our rights, especially from the concerted Republican assault on voting rights, on women’s rights, on gay rights, on civil rights, on workers’ rights. And I know how much young people value their independence, their autonomy and their rights. So I think this is an election where we have to pull young people and older people together to have a strategy about how we’re going to encourage even more Americans to vote. Because it is absolutely clear–

LESTER HOLT:

09:46:22:00 That– that–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:46:24:00 –to me that turning–

LESTER HOLT:

09:46:24:00 –that’s time but–

09:46:26:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:46:25:00 –over our White House to the Republicans–

LESTER HOLT:

09:46:27:00 Secretary–

09:46:26:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:46:27:00 –would be bad for everybody, especially young people.

LESTER HOLT:

09:46:31:00 –a quick follow-up, a 30-second follow-up, (APPLAUSE) why is Senator Sanders beating you two to one among younger voters?

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:46:36:00 I– I– look, I have the greatest respect for Senator Sanders and– for his supporters. And I’m gonna keep working as hard as I can– to reach as many people of all ages– about what I will do, what the experience and the ideas that I have that I will bring to the White House. And I hope to have their support when I’m the Democratic nominee.

LESTER HOLT:

09:46:56:00 All right, we’re gonna–

09:46:55:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:46:56:00 –we’re gonna take a break. When we come back, (CHEERING) big bank, big business and big differences among the three candidates on the American economy. We’ll be right back.

09:47:08:00 (MUSIC)

LESTER HOLT:

09:51:18:00 Welcome back from Charleston. Let’s turn now to the economy. Senator Sanders, you released a tough new ad last week in which without mentioning Secretary Clinton by name, you talk about two Democratic vision for regulating Wall Street. Quote, “One says it’s okay to take millions from big banks and tell them what to do. My plan, break up the big banks, close the tax loopholes, and make them pay their fair share.” What do you see as the difference between what you would do about the banks and what Secretary Clinton would do?

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:51:47:00 Well, the first difference is, I don’t take money from big banks. I don’t get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. What I would do– (APPLAUSE) what I would do is understand that when you have three out of the four largest banks today bigger than they were when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, when you have the six largest financial institutions having assets of 60% of the G.D.P. of America, it is very clear to me what you have to do.

 

09:52:22:00 You gotta bring back the 21st century Glass-Steagall legislation and you gotta break up these huge financial institutions. They have too much economic power and they have too much financial power over our entire economy. If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, the old Republican trust buster, what he would say is, “These guys are too powerful. Break them up.” I believe that’s what the American people want to see. That’s my view. (APPLAUSE)

LESTER HOLT:

09:52:52:00 Secretary Clinton, help the voter understand the daylight between the two of you here.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:52:57:00 Well, there’s no daylight on the basic– premise that there should be no bank too big to fail and no individual too powerful to jail. We agree on that. But where we disagree is the comments that Senator Sanders has made that don’t just affect me. I can take that. But he’s criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street.

 

09:53:24:00 And President Obama has led our country out of the great recession. Senator Sanders called him weak, disappointing. He even, in 2011, publicly sought someone to run in a primary against President Obama. Now, I personally believe that President Obama’s work to push through the Dodd-Frank– (AUDIENCE REACTION) the Dodd-Frank bill and then to sign it was one of the most important regulatory schemes we’ve had since the 1930s. So I’m gonna defend (APPLAUSE) Dodd-Frank and I’m gonna defend President Obama for taking on Wall Street, (CHEERING) taking on the financial industry, and getting results.

LESTER HOLT:

09:54:09:00 Senator Sanders, your response–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:54:09:00 Okay, first of all, set the record right. In 2006 when I ran for the Senate, Senator Barack Obama was kids enough to campaign for me. 2008, I did my best to see that he was elected. And in 2012, I worked as hard as I could to see that he was reelected. You know, I– our friends, we work together on many issues, we have some differences of opinion.

 

09:54:32:00 But here is the issue. Secretary touched on it. Can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions and millions of dollars on campaign contributions and when they are providing speaker fees to individuals? So it’s easy to say, “Well, I’m gonna do this and do that.” But I have doubts when people receive huge amounts of money from Wall Street. I am very proud. I do not have a super PAC. I do not want Wall Street’s money. I’ll rely on the middle class and working families for my campaign contributions–

09:55:09:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:55:10:00 –that’s time. Governor O’Malley, I– I have a question for you– (APPLAUSE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:55:11:00 Well, you know, I think that– I think then, if Senator Sanders followed up on this–

LESTER HOLT:

09:55:15:00 First, 30-second response.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:55:17:00 Your– your profusion of comments about your feelings towards President Obama– are a little strange, given what you said about him in 2011. But look, I have a plan that most commentators have said is tougher more effective, and more comprehensive.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:55:35:00 That’s not true.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:55:36:00 It builds on the Dodd-Frank– (AUDIENCE REACTION) yes it is. It builds on the Dodd-Frank regulatory–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:55:41:00 It’s just not true.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:55:42:00 –schemes. But it goes much further.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:55:44:00 Oh come on.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:55:45:00 Because both the governor and the senator have focused only on the big banks. Lehman Brothers, AIG, the shadow banking sector, were as big a problem in what caused the Great Recession. I go after them, and I can tell you that the hedge fund billionaires who are running ads against me right now, and Karl Rove, who started running an ad against me right now, funded by money from the financial services sector, sure think I’m the one they don’t want to be up against–

LESTER HOLT:

09:56:14:00 Governor– Governor O’Malley.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:56:15:00 Yeah, thank you. (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE) Yeah, Le– Lester, what Secretary Clinton just said is actually not true. What– (APPLAUSE) I have put forward a plan that would actually put cops back on the beat of Wall Street. I have put forward a plan that was heralded as very comprehensive and realistic.

 

09:56:36:00 Look, if– if a bank robber robs a bank, and all you do is slap ’em on the wrist, he’s just gonna keep robbing banks again. The same thing is true with people in suits. Secretary Clinton, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you. But for you to say there’s no daylight on this between the three of us, is also not true. I support reinstituting a modern version of Glass-Steagall that would include going after the shadow banks, requiring capital requirements that would force them to– no longer put us on the hook for these sorts of things.

 

09:57:05:00 In prior debates, I’ve heard you even bring up– I mean, fir– now you p– bring up President Obama here in South Carolina, in defense of the fact of your cozy relationship with Wall Street. In an earlier debate, I heard you bring up even the 911, 9/11 victims to defend it. The truth of the matter is, Secretary Clinton, you did not go as far in reining in Wall Street as I would. And the fact of the matter is, the people of America deserve to have a president that’s on their side, protecting the main street economy from excesses on Wall Street and–

09:57:33:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

09:57:34:00 Secretary Clinton, your 30-second response.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:57:35:00 Yes, well– (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE) first of all– first of all, Paul Krugman, Barney Frank, others, have all endorsed my plan. Secondly, we have Dodd-Frank. It gives us the authority already to break up big banks that pose–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:57:52:00 And we’ve never used it.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:57:53:00 –that pose a risk to the financial sector. I wanna go further and add to that. And, you know, Governor, you have raised money on Wall Street. You raised a lotta money on Wall Street when you were the head of the Democrat Governor’s Association. And you were–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:58:09:00 Yeah, but I haven’t gotten a penny this year. Would somebody please go up–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:11:00 Well–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:58:12:00 –to MartinOMalley.com– (CHEERING) go into MartinOMalley.com, send me your checks. They’re not getting– zero.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:19:00 Well, the– yeah, well–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:58:20:00 So what do you–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:20:00 So– but the point is that if– if we’re going to be–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:58:22:00 The point being–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:22:00 –serious about this, and not just try to score political points–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:58:26:00 Right.

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:27:00 –we should know what’s in Dodd-Frank.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:58:28:00 Right, let’s ta–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:29:00 And what’s in Dodd-Frank already gives the president–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:58:30:00 Oh, let’s not score political points–

09:58:30:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:32:00 –the authority to give regulators–

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:58:32:00 Let me give you an example of how–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:58:34:00 –to make those decisions.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:58:35:00 –corrupt– (CHEERING) how corrupt the system is. (APPLAUSE) Goldman Sachs recently fined $5 billion. Goldman Sachs has given this country two secretaries of Treasury, one on the Republicans, one on the Democrats.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:58:53:00 Yeah.

BERNIE SANDERS:

09:58:54:00 The leader of Goldman Sachs is a billionaire who comes to congress and tells us we should cut social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Secretary Clinton, and you’re not the only one, so I don’t mean to just point the finger at you. You’ve received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the law, not one of their executives is prosecuted while kids who smoke marijuana (CHEERING) get a jail sentence.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

09:59:32:00 Andrea–

HILLARY CLINTON:

09:59:33:00 Well, it’s– l– the last point on this is Senator Sanders, you’re the only one on this stage that voted to deregulate the financial market in 2000, to take the cops off the street, to use Governor O’Malley’s phrase, to make the S.E.C. and the communities– the Commodities– Futures Trading Commission, no longer able to regulate swaps and derivatives, which were one of the main cause of the collapse in ’08. So there’s plenty–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:00:05:00 If you want to– (APPLAUSE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:00:06:00 –there’s plenty of problems that we all have to face together. And I– the final thing I would say, we’re at least having a feverish debate about reining in Wall Street–

LESTER HOLT:

10:00:15:00 Senator Sanders–

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:00:15:00 –the Republicans wanna give them–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:00:16:00 Okay.

10:00:17:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:00:17:00 –more power and repeal–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:00:18:00 Any–

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:00:19:00 –Dodd-Frank. That’s what we need to stop–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:00:21:00 Anyone who wants to check (APPLAUSE) my record– (CHEERING) anyone who wants to check my record in taking on Wall Street, in fighting against the deregulation of Wall Street, when Wall Street put billions of dollars in lobbying, in campaign contributions, to get the government off their backs, they got the government off their backs. Turns out that they were crooks, and they destroyed our economy. I think it’s time to put the government back on their backs.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:00:56:00 Senator Sanders– (APPLAUSE) Senator Sanders, we’ve talked a lot about things you want to do. You want free education for everyone, you want the federal minimum wage–

10:01:05:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:01:06:00 –raised to $15 an hour, (LAUGHTER) you want to expand social security benefits–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:01:09:00 Yeah, right.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:01:11:00 You’re very specific about what you want. But let’s talk about how to pay for all this–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:01:14:00 Good.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:01:15:00 You have now said that you would raise taxes today, two hours or so ago, you said you would raise taxes to pay for your healthcare plan. You haven’t been specific about how to pay for the other things.

10:01:25:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:01:25:00 Would you tell us tonight?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:01:26:00 Good. You’re right. I want to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, create 13 million jobs. We do that by doing away with the absurd loopholes that now allows major profitable corporations to stash their money in the Cayman Islands and not in some years pay a nickel in taxes. Yes, I do. I plead guilty. I want every kid in this c– country, who has the ability, to be able to go to a public college or university tuition-free.

 

10:01:55:00 And by the way, I want to substantially lower student debt interest rates in this country as well. How do I pay for it? (APPLAUSE) I pay for it through a (UNINTEL) tax on Wall Street speculation. This country and the middle class bailed out Wall Street. Now it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle class. In fact–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:02:15:00 Andrea–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:02:15:00 –we have documented, (APPLAUSE) unlike Secretary Clinton, I have documented exactly how I would pay for our ambitious agenda.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:02:24:00 Andrea, I’m the only person on this stage–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:02:24:00 Secretary– secretary Clinton, he mentioned–

10:02:26:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:02:26:00 –so Secretary Clinton, you want to respond?

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:02:28:00 Well, I have– actually documented– every way that I’m going to pay for what I’m doing– because I think the American public deserves to know. And you can go to my website and actually see that. But there are serious questions about how we’re going to pay for what we want to see our country do.

 

10:02:48:00 And I’m the only candidate standing here tonight who has said I will not raise taxes on the middle class. I want to raise incomes, not taxes. And I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure that the wealthy pay for debt-free tuition, for childcare, for paid family leave, to help us bring down student debt, we’re going to refinance that student debt, saving kids thousands of dollars. Yeah, and that will also come out of some of the pockets of–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:03:19:00 Okay–

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:03:19:00 –people in the financial services industry–

10:03:20:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:03:21:00 –but Senator Sanders, let me–

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:03:22:00 But I will tell you exactly how I pay for everything I propose–

10:03:24:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:03:27:00 Here is the major point–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:03:27:00 Senator Sanders, let me ask you a question about taxes–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:03:29:00 Yeah.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:03:29:00 –because the most (UNINTEL) political (LAUGHTER) issue in–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:03:32:00 I got you.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:03:33:00 –in the last month was taxes. Now, in your healthcare plan, the plan you released tonight, you would not only raise taxes on the wealthy, the details you released indicate you would raise taxes on the middle class also. Is that correct?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:03:45:00 What is correct, and I am disappointed that Secretary Clinton’s campaign has made this criticism. It’s a Republican criticism. Secretary Clinton does know a lot about healthcare. And she understands, I believe, that a Medicaid-for-all-single-payer program, will substantially lower the cost of healthcare for middle class families.

 

10:04:08:00 So what we have got to acknowledge, and I hope the secretary does, is we are doing away with private health insurance premiums. So instead of paying $10,000 to Blue Cross or Blue Shield, yes, some middle class families would be paying slightly more in taxes. But the result would be that that middle class family would be saving some $5,000 in healthcare costs. A little bit more in taxes, do away with private health insurance premiums. It’s a pretty good deal. (APPLAUSE)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:04:39:00 Senator–

10:04:39:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:04:40:00 –Senator, let me just follow up on that, because–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:04:41:00 Yeah.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:04:42:00 –on Meet the Press, on December 20th, you said that you would only raise taxes on the middle class to pay for family leave. And having said that, now you say you’re gonna raise middle class taxes to pay for healthcare as well. Is that breaking your word?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:04:55:00 No. It is not breaking my word. When you are– it’s one thing to say, “I’m raising taxes.” It’s another thing to say that we are doing away with private health insurance premiums. So if I save you $10,000 in private health insurance, and you pay a little bit more in taxes in total, there are huge savings in what your family is spending.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:05:17:00 Senator, I’m the only person on this stage that’s actually balanced a budget every year for 15 years.

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:05:22:00 I was mayor for eight years, I did that as well–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:05:24:00 Okay, so that was eight years. (LAUGHTER) Yeah. And Senator, but I actually did it during a budget downtime, during a recession. And– and Andrea– I had to make more cuts than any governor in the state of Maryland. But we invested more in infrastructure, more in transportation. We made our public schools number one in America five years in a w– row. And went four years in a row without a penny’s increase to college tuition.

 

10:05:46:00 The things that we need to do in our country, like debt-free college in the next five years, like making univer– like making national service a universal operation in order to cut youth employment in half in the next three years, all of these things can be done if we eliminate one entitlement we can no longer afford as a nation.

 

10:06:04:00 And that is the entitlement that the super wealthy among us, those making more than a million dollars, feel that they are entitled to paying a much, much lower marginal tax rate than what’s usual for the better part of these 80 years. And if we tax– earnings from investments on money, namely capital gains at the same rate that we tax earnings from sweat and hard work and toil, we can make the investments we need to make to make our country better. (CHEERING)

LESTER HOLT:

10:06:28:00 We’ve got a lot of ground to cover here. Many Democratic voters are passionate about the need to do something to combat the threat of climate change, including the theme of scientists from YouTube’s Minute Earth channel, here’s their take.

LESTER HOLT:

10:06:42:00 Hello from Minute Earth. Fossil fuels have long kept our cars moving and our light bulbs lit. But we now know that burning these fuels are really just heat-trapping gasses that are warming the planet, causing seas to rise and contributing to extreme weather events, like South Carolina’s devastating flooding last year.

10:06:57:00 Fighting human-caused climate change means giving up our global addiction to fossil fuels and (UNINTEL) the bulk of the world’s energy supply to alternative sources. Some countries have acted decisively to make this transition. But here at home, we still get a whopping 82% of our energy from coal, oil, and natural gas. In the U.S., political gridlock, pressure from industry lobbyists, and insufficient R&D have made an already tough battle against climate change even tougher.

LESTER HOLT:

10:07:21:00 Senator Sanders, Americans love their SUVs, which spiked in sales last year as gas prices plummeted. How do you convince Americans that the problem of climate change is so urgent that they need to change their behavior?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:07:33:00 I think we already are. Younger generation understands it instinctively. I was home in Burlington, Vermont on Christmas Eve. The temperature was 65°. People in Vermont know what’s goin’ on. People who did ice fishing, where their ice is no longer there on the lake understand what’s going on. I’m on both the Environmental and Energy Committees.

10:07:53:00 The debate is over. Climate change is real. It is already causing major problems. And if we do not act boldly and decisively, a bad situation will become worse. It is amazing to me, and I think we’ll have agreement on this up here, that we have a major party called the Republican Party that is so owned by the fossil fuel industry, and their campaign contributions, that they don’t even have the courage, the decency to listen to the scientists.

10:08:25:00 It is beyond my comprehension (APPLAUSE) how we can elect the president of the United States, somebody like Trump, who believes that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese. (LAUGHTER) Bottom line is, we need to be bold and decisive, we can create millions of jobs. We must, for the sake of our kids and grandchildren, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy–

10:08:53:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:08:54:00 I’ve got the most comprehensive legislation in the Senate to do that. And as president, I will fight to make that happen–

LESTER HOLT:

10:09:00:00 Governor O’Malley, 30 seconds–

10:09:01:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:09:02:00 Thank you. (APPLAUSE) Lester, on this stage tonight, this Democratic stage, where we actually believe in science, (LAUGHTER) I would like to challenge and invite my colleagues here on this stage to join me in putting forward a plan to move us to a 100% clean, electric energy grid by 2050. It can be done with solar, with wind, (APPLAUSE) with new technologies, with green buildings.

10:09:27:00 This can happen. But in all– President Obama made us more energy independent. But– but in all of the above strategy didn’t land us on the moon. We need American ingenuity and we need to reach this goal by 2050 for the sake of our kids–

LESTER HOLT:

10:09:40:00 That’s time. We’re gonna take a break–

10:09:42:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:09:42:00 When we return, (APPLAUSE) the late-breaking development regarding Iran. (MUSIC) The threat of ISIS now more real than ever on U.S. soil. Americans in fear, and hearing few good answers. We’ll be right back. (LONG PAUSE) (MUSIC) Charleston, Andrea Mitchell has questions now for the candidates, starting with Iran.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:16:12:00 Thank you, Lester. Senator Sanders, the nuclear deal is now in force. Iran is getting us billions of dollars. Several Americans who have been held are now gonna be heading home. The president said today is a good day. It’s a good day for diplomacy. Is it time now to restore diplomatic relations for the first time since 1979, and actually reopen a U.S. embassy in Tehran?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:16:36:00 I think what we have got to do is move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations– with Iran, understanding that Iran’s behavior in so many ways is something that we disagree with. Their support for terrorism– the anti-American rhetoric that we’re hearing from some of their leadership is something that is not acceptable.

10:17:00:00 On the other hand, the fact that we managed to reach an agreement, something that I very strongly supported, that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and that we did that without going to war, and that I believe we’re seeing a thaw in our relationships with Iran is a very positive step. So if your question is, do I want to see that relationship become more positive in the future? Yes.

10:17:27:00 Can I tell you that we should open an embassy in Tehran tomorrow? No, I don’t think we should. But I think the goal has got to be, as we have done with Cuba, to move in warm relations with a very powerful and important country in this world.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:17:41:00 Your response, Secretary Clinton? (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:17:44:00 Well, I’m very proud– of the– Iran nuclear agreement. I was– very pleased to be part of– what the president put into action when he took office. I was responsibility for getting those sanctions imposed, which put the pressure on Iran that brought them to the negotiating table, which resulted in this agreement.

10:18:06:00 And so they have been, so far, following their requirements under the agreement. But I think we still have to carefully watch them. We’ve had one good day over 36 years, and I think we need more good days before we move more rapidly– toward any know normalization. And we have to be sure that they are truly going to implement the agreements. And then we have to go after them on a lot of their other bad behavior in the region, which is causing enormous problems in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and elsewhere.

10:18:39:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:18:39:00 You– you mentioned Syria, let me ask you about Syria, all of you. Let’s turn to Syria, the civil war that has been raging there. Are there any circumstances in which you could see deploying significant numbers of ground forces in Syria? Not just special forces, special operators, but significant ground forces to combat ISIS in a direct combat role? Let me start with you, Secretary Clinton (UNINTEL).

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:19:00:00 Absolutely not. I have a three-point plan that does not include American ground forces. It includes the United States leading an air coalition, which is what we are doing. Supporting fighters on the ground, the Iraqi Army, which is beginning to show more ability, the Sunni fighters– that we are now helping to reconstitute, and Kurdish fighters on both sides of the border.

10:19:25:00 I think we also have to try to disrupt their supply chain of foreign fighters and foreign money. And we do have to contest them in online space. So I’m very committed to both going after ISIS, but also supporting what Secretary Kerry is doing to try to move on a political, diplomatic course to try to begin to slow down and hopefully end the carnage in Syria, which is the root of so many of the problems that we see in the region and beyond.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:19:57:00 Senator Sanders– (APPLAUSE)

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:19:58:00 This is–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:19:58:00 –ground forces? Yes or no?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:20:00:00 As everybody here knows, this is an incredibly complicated and difficult issue. And I applaud, I know President Obama’s been gettin’ a lotta criticism on this. I think he is doing the right thing. What the nightmare is, which many of my Republican colleagues appear to want, is to not have learned the lesson of Iraq. To get American young men and women involved in perpetual warfare, in the quagmire of Syria and the Middle East would be an unmitigated disaster that as president, I will do everything in my power to avoid.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:20:38:00 Andrea–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:20:39:00 We should– (APPLAUSE)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:20:39:00 Governor O’Malley?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:20:40:00 We should learn– we should learn from King Abdullah of Jordan, one of the few heroes in a very unheroic place. And what Abdullah said, is this is a war for the soul of Islam. And that Muslim troops should be on the ground with our support and the support of other major countries. That is how we destroy ISIS, not with American troops in perpetual warfare.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:21:09:00 Governor O’Malley?

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:21:09:00 Thank you. (APPLAUSE) Andrea, governors have led us to victory in two world wars by doing what America does best. And that is by joining forces with others, by acting in coalitions. And I believe that President Obama’s doing the right thing in this case. We need to learn the lessons from the past.

10:21:28:00 We do need to provide the special– special ops advisors. We n– do need to provide the technical support that over the long term, we need to develop new alliances. We need a much more proactive national security strategy that reduces these threats before they rise to the level where it feels like we need to pull for a division of marines.

10:21:45:00 And I also want to add– one other thing here. I appreciate the fact that in our debate, we don’t use the term you hear Republicans throwin’ around, tryin’ to look all bravado and macho, sending other kids tr– kids into– combat. They keep using the term “boots on the ground.” A woman in Burlington, Iowa said to me, “Governor, when you’re with your colleagues, please don’t refer to my son, who has served two du– du– tours of duty in Iraq as a pair of ‘boots on the ground.’” We need to be mindful (APPLAUSE) of the– (UNINTEL PHRASE).

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:22:15:00 I have a question– I have a question for Senator Sanders. Did the policies of the Obama administration, in which Secretary Clinton of course was a part, create a vacuum in Iraq and Syria that helped ISIS grow?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:22:29:00 No. I think the vacuum was created– by the disastrous war in Iraq. Which I vigorously opposed. Not only did I vote against it, I helped lead the opposition. And what happened there is yeah, it’s easy to get rid of a two-bit dictator like Saddam Hussein, but there wasn’t the kind of thought as to what happens the day after you get him, and what kind of political vacuum occurs, and who rises up?

10:22:59:00 Ca– groups like ISIS. So I think that President Obama made a promise to the American people when he ran. And he said, “You know what, I’m gonna do my best to bring American troops home.” And I supported what he did. Our job is to train and provide military support for Muslim countries in the area who are prepared to take on ISIS.

10:23:23:00 And one point that I wanna make here that is not made very often. You have incredibly wealthy countries in that region. Countries like Saudi Arabia, countries like Qatar. Qatar happens to be the largest– wealthiest country per capita in the world. They have got to start putting in some skin in the game and not just ask the United States (APPLAUSE) to do it.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:23:46:00 Senator– Secretary Clinton, I wanna talk to you about red lines. Because former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a recent interview that President Obama’s decisions to stand down on planned missile strikes against Damascus, after Assad had used chemical weapons, hurt the president’s credibility. Should the president have stuck to his red line once he drew it?

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:24:09:00 Look, I– I think that the president’s decision– to go after the chemical weapons, once there was a potential opportunity to build on when the Russians– opened that door, resulted in a very positive outcome. We were able to get the chemical weapons out. I know from my own experience– as secretary of State– that we were deeply worried about Assad’s forces using chemical weapons, because it would have had not only an horrific effect on people in Syria, but it could very well have affected the surrounding states– Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey. So getting those chemical weapons out was a big–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:24:54:00 But should he–

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:24:54:00 –big deal. But–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:24:54:00 Should he have stuck to his guns–

10:24:56:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:24:57:00 Well, but– but look–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:24:57:00 –or did it hurt U.S. credibility?

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:24:58:00 I– I think as commander in chief, you’ve got to constantly be evaluating the decisions you have to make. I know a little bit about this, having spent many hours in the situation room, advising President Obama. And I wanna just add to something that Senator Sanders said. The United States had a very big interest in trying to help stabilize the region.

10:25:23:00 If there is any blame to be spread around, it starts with the prime minister of Iraq, who sectarianized his military, se– setting Shia against Sunni. It is amplified by Assad, who has waged one of the bloodiest, most terrible attacks on his own people, 250,000 plus dead, millions fleeing, causing this vacuum that has been filled, unfortunately, by terrorist groups– including ISIS.

10:25:54:00 So I think we are in the midst of great turmoil in this region. We have a proxy conflict going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran. You know, one of the– criticisms I’ve had of– Senator Sanders is his suggestion that, you know, Iranian troops be used to try to end the war in Syria and go after ISIS–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:26:14:00 Your– your ti– your time is up, Secretary–

10:26:15:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:26:16:00 –let me just–

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:26:16:00 Which I don’t think would be a good idea–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:26:17:00 Okay, but let me–

10:26:18:00 (OVERTALK)

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:26:18:00 –but overall, a lot of the forces at work in the region–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:26:21:00 All right.

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:26:22:00 –are ones that we cannot–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:26:23:00 Okay.

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:26:24:00 –directly influence, but we can–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:26:27:00 All right, let me suggest–

10:26:27:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:26:31:00 Senator Sanders? (APPLAUSE)

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:26:33:00 Where– where Secretary Clinton and I think– I– I agree with most of– of– of what she said. But where I think we do have an honest– disagreement is that in the incredible quagmire of Syria, where it’s hard to know who’s fighting who, and if you give arms to this guy, it may end up in ISIS’s hands the next day. We all know that.

10:26:53:00 And we all know, no argument, the secretary is absolutely right. Assad is a butcher of his own people, a man using chemical weapons against his own people. This is beyond disgusting. But I think in terms of pr– our priorities in the region, our first priority– priority must be the destruction of ISIS.

10:27:14:00 Our second priority must be getting rid of Assad through some political settlement, working with Iran, working with Russia. But the immediate task is to bring all interests together, who want to destroy ISIS, including Russia, including Iran, including our Muslim allies, to make that the major priority.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:27:36:00 But in all of that, Senator and Secretary, I think we’re leaving out something very important here. And that is that we still don’t have the human intelligence, overt, in terms of diplomatic intelligence, or covert, to understand even what the heck happens as the secondary and tertiary effects of some of these things. (COUGH)

10:27:55:00 We are walking through this– this region, Andrea, without the human intelligence that we need. And we need to make a renewed investment as a country into bringing up a new generation of foreign service officers and bringing up a new generation of business people, and then actually understanding and having relationships in these places so we have a better sense of what the heck happens after a dictator topples and can take action to prevent another safe haven and another iteration of terror.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:28:23:00 Your time is up.

LESTER HOLT:

10:28:24:00 Yes–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:28:25:00 Lester?

LESTER HOLT:

10:28:25:00 –as (APPLAUSE) Senator Sanders mentioned– Russia a moment ago. Secretary Clinton, you famously handed Russia’s foreign minister a reset button in 2009. Since then, Russia has annexed Crimea– fomented a war in Ukraine, provided weapons that downed an airliner, and launched operations, as we just d– discussed, to support Assad in Syria. As president, would you hand Vladimir Putin a reset button?

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:28:48:00 Well, I’d depend for what I got for it. And I can tell you what we got– in the first term. We got a new start treaty to reduce nuclear weapons– between the United States and Russia. We got permission to resupply our troops in Afghanistan by traveling across– Russia. We got Russia to sign on– to our sanctions against Iran, and other– very important– commitments.

10:29:15:00 So look, in diplomacy, you are always trying to see how you can figure out the interests of the other, to see if there isn’t some way you can advance your security and your values. When Putin came back in the fall of 2011– it was very clear he came back with a mission. And I began speaking out as soon as that happened, because there were some fraudulent elections held, and Russians poured out into the streets to demand their freedom. And he cracked down, and in fact, accused me of fomenting it. So we now know that he has a mixed– record, to say the least, and we have to figure out how to deal with him. We–

LESTER HOLT:

10:29:59:00 What’s your relationship with him?

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:30:01:00 Well, my relationship with him– (LAUGH) it’s– it’s– it’s interesting. It’s– (LAUGHTER) it’s one I think of– respect. We’ve had some very tough dealings with one another. And– I know that he’s someone that you have to continually stand up to. Because like many bullies, he is somebody who will take as much as he possibly can, unless you do.

10:30:32:00 And we need to get the Europeans to be more willing to stand up. I was pleased they put sanctions on after Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, and the downing of the airliner. But we’ve got to be more united in preventing Putin from taking a more aggressive stance in Europe and the Middle East.

LESTER HOLT:

10:30:49:00 We wanna turn right now (APPLAUSE) to the issue of balancing national security concerns with the privacy rights of Americans. That bring us to YouTube and this question.

MARQUES BROWNLEE:

10:31:00:00 Hi, my name is Marques Brownlee, and I’ve been making YouTube videos about electronics and gadgets for the past seven years. I think America’s future success is tied to getting all kinds of tech right. Tech companies are responsible for the encryption technology to protect personal data. But the government wants a back door into that information. So do you think it’s possible to find common ground? And where do you stand on privacy versus security?

LESTER HOLT:

10:31:20:00 So Governor O’Malley?

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:31:21:00 Thank you. I believe whether it’s a back door or front door, that the– that the American principle of law should still hold. That our federal government should have to get a warrant whether they wanna come through your back door or your front door. (APPLAUSE) And I also agree, Lester, with– with Benjamin Franklin, who said, “No people should ever give up their privacy or their freedoms in a promise for security.”

10:31:42:00 So– well, we’re a collaborative people. We need collaborative leadership here, with Silicon Valley, and other bright people in my own state of– of Maryland, around M.S.A. that can actually figure this out. But there are certain immutable principles that– will not become– antique things in our country so long as we defend our country and its values and its freedoms.

10:32:02:00 And one of the things is our– our right to be secure in our homes and our right to expect that our federal government should have to get a warrant. I also wanna say that while we’ve made some progress on the– patriot act, I do believe that we need an adversarial port system there. We need a public advocate, we need to develop jurisprudence so that we can develop a body of law that protects the privacy of Americans in the information and digital age.

LESTER HOLT:

10:32:26:00 That’s time. You have all talked about– what you would do fighting ISIS over there. But we’ve been hit in this country by home-grown terrorists, from Chattanooga, to San Bernardino– the recent shooting of a police officer in Philadelphia. How are you gonna fight lone wolves here, Senator Sanders–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:32:42:00 Okay, Lester, year in and year out, I was the leader of the U.S.–

10:32:44:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:32:45:00 –Senator Sanders, I wasn’t clear. I apologize.

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:32:47:00 Okay. I just wanted to add– in the previous question– I voted against the USA Patriot Act for many of the reasons that Governor O’Malley mentioned. But it is not only the government that we have to worry about, it is private corporations. You would all be amazed, or maybe not, about the amount of information private companies and the government have in terms of the websites that you access, the products that you buy, where you are this very moment. And it is very clear to me that public policy has not caught up with the explosion of technology. So yes, we have to work with Silicon Valley to make sure that we do not allow ISIS to translate information–

LESTER HOLT:

10:33:32:00 But in terms of lone wolves– the threat, how do you deal with it–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:33:36:00 Right, what we have got to do there is, among other things, as I was just saying, have Silicon Valley help us to make sure that information being transmitted through the internet, or in other ways– by ISIS, is in fact, discovered. But I do believe we can do that without violating the constitutional and privacy rights of the American people.

LESTER HOLT:

10:34:00:00 We have to go to–

10:34:00:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:34:01:00 We have to go to a break, but when we come back, let me get to some of the burning questions these candidates have yet to answer–

10:34:06:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:34:07:00 –to talk about.

10:38:08:00 (MUSIC)

LESTER HOLT:

10:38:15:00 And welcome back to Charleston. As we were going to a break S– Secretary Clinton I– I cut you off. I– I’ll give you 30 seconds to respond on the issue of– lone wolves.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:38:22:00 Can I get 30 seconds too? (LAUGHTER) (CHEERING)

LESTER HOLT:

10:38:33:00 Secretary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:38:36:00 Well, I– I wanted to– say– and I’ll do it quickly, I was very pleased that– leaders of President Obama’s– administration went out to Silicon Valley last week and began exactly this conversation about what we can do consistent with privacy and security.

10:38:52:00 We need better intelligence cooperation. We need to be sure that we’re getting the best intelligence that we can from friends and allies around the world. And then we’ve gotta recognize our first line of defense against lone wolf attacks is among Muslim Americans. And it is not only shameful, it is dangerous for the kinds of comments you’re hearing from the Republican side. We need to be reaching out and unifying our country against (CHEERING) terrorist attacks and lone wolves and working with Muslim Americans.

10:39:23:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:39:23:00 Andrea has a follow-up.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:39:25:00 Just– just a quick follow-up–

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:39:26:00 Andrea– Andrea–

10:39:28:00 (OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:39:27:00 –for Secretary Clinton, just– just a moment, governor.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:39:29:00 –my 30 seconds?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:39:30:00 But– but– Secretary Clinton you said that the leaders from the intelligence community went to Silicon Valley. They were flatly turned down. They got nowhere.

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:39:38:00 That is not what I’ve heard. Let me leave it at that.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:39:40:00 Andrea, I need to talk about homeland security and preparedness. Ever since the attacks of September 11th, 30 seconds, ever since the attacks of September 11th my colleagues, Democratic and Republican mayors, Democratic and Republican governors made me their leader on homeland scrutiny and preparedness.

10:39:53:00 Here in the homeland unlike combating ISIL abroad we’re almost like it’s– your body’s immune system. It’s able to protect your body against bad bugs not necessarily ’cause it outnumbers ’em but it’s better connected. The fusion centers, the– bio-surveillance systems, better prepared first responders.

10:40:11:00 But there’s another front in this battle and it is this. That’s the political front. And if Donald Trump wants to start a registry in our country of people by faith he can start with me. And I will sign up as one who is totally opposed to his fascist appeals that wants to vilify American Muslims. That can do more damage to our democracy than any s– thing–

10:40:33:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:40:34:00 All right, that’s time. And we do– we (CHEERING) do have to move on. Secretary Clinton, this is the first time–

10:40:38:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:40:39:00 –that–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:40:40:00 Can I just get a very brief response. Very brief.

LESTER HOLT:

10:40:41:00 –thir– third seconds, Senator.

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:40:44:00 Okay. One– and– and I agree with what the secretary said and– and what Governor O’Malley said. But here’s an issue that we also should talk about. We have $600 billion military budget. It is a budget larger than the next eight countries.

10:40:59:00 Unfortunately much of that budget continues to fight the old Cold War with the Soviet Union. Very little of that budget– less than 10% actually goes into fighting ISIS and international terrorism. We need to be thinkin’ hard about making fundamental changes in the priorities of the defense department.

LESTER HOLT:

10:41:25:00 All right, Secretary Clinton, (APPLAUSE) this is the first time that a spouse of a former president could be elected president. You have said that President Clinton would advise you on economic issues. But be specific if you can. Are you talking about– a kitchen table role on economics or will he have a real policy role?

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:41:43:00 Well, I– it’ll start at the kitchen table. We’ll see how it goes from there. (LAUGHTER) And I– (CHEERING) I’m gonna have the very best advisors that I can possibly have. And when it comes to the economy– and what was accomplished under my husband’s leadership in the 90s, especially when it came to raising income for everybody and lifting more people out of poverty than any time in recent history you bet I’m gonna ask for his ideas, I’m gonna ask for his advice.

10:42:18:00 And I’m gonna use him as– a good will– emissary to go around the country to find the best ideas we’ve got. Because I do believe, as he said, everything that’s wrong with America has been solved somewhere in America. We just have to do more of it and we have to reach out, especially in the poor communities and communities of color to give more people their own chance to get ahead.

LESTER HOLT:

10:42:41:00 Senator Sanders, a 30 second response (CHEERING) here.

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:42:49:00 Great ideas. Governor O’Malley, Secretary Clinton. But here’s the truth, if you have an administration stacked with Wall Street appointees it ain’t gonna accomplish very much. So here’s a promise that I make, I mentioned a moment ago how corrupt the system is. Goldman Sachs paying a $5 billion fine gives this country in recent history a Republican secretary of treasury, a Democratic secretary of treasury. Here’s a promise, if elected president Goldman Sachs is not gonna have– bring forth a secretary of treasury for a Sanders’ administration.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:43:29:00 (CHEERING) Senator Sanders, let me ask you a question, you called Bill Clinton’s past transgressions, quote, totally, totally, totally disgraceful and unacceptable. Senator, do you regret saying that?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:43:43:00 I was asked a question, you know, one of the things, Andrea, and I– that– that question annoys me. I cannot (LAUGHTER) walk down the street– Secretary Clinton knows this– without being told how much I have to attack Secretary Clinton. Wanna get me on the front pages of the paper, I make some vicious attack. I have avoided doing that, trying to run an issue oriented campaign. (CHEERING) I was–

10:44:11:00 (OVERTALK)

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:44:12:00 –asked a question.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:44:14:00 You didn’t have to answer it that way though. Why–

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:44:13:00 Well–

ANDREA MITCHELL:

10:44:14:00 –did you?

BERNIE SANDERS:

10:44:15:00 –then if I don’t answer it then there’s another front page. So yes. (LAUGHTER) And I mean this seriously. You know that. We’ve been through this. Yes, his behavior was deplorable. Have I ever once said a word about that issue? No I have not. I’m gonna debate Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley on the issues facing the American people. Not Bill Clinton’s personal (CHEERING) views (?).

LESTER HOLT:

10:44:38:00 We will take a break. We’ll continue from Charleston right after this. (LAUGHTER)

10:44:43:00 (MUSIC)

10:44:52:00 (BREAK IN TAPE)

10:48:54:00 (MUSIC)

LESTER HOLT:

10:49:00:00 Welcome back, everybody. Finally before we go tonight we set up here to understand points of differences between you. We believe we– we’ve learned a lot here. But before we leave, is there anything that you really wanted to say tonight that you haven’t gotten a chance to say? And we’ll start with Governor O’Malley. (LAUGHTER) (CHEERING) Didn’t see that coming–

10:49:29:00 (OVERTALK)

LESTER HOLT:

10:49:30:00 –did you?

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:49:30:00 You know what, we’re gonna have to get 20 minutes to do it. So (LAUGHTER) look I believe there–

10:49:34:00 (OVERTALK)

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:49:35:00 –are many issues, so what– 60 seconds for this?

LESTER HOLT:

10:49:35:00 Sixty seconds. We’d appreciate it.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:49:38:00 There are so many issues that– that we haven’t been able to discuss here. We have not fully discussed immigration reform and the deplorable number of immigrant detention camps that our nation’s now maintaining. We haven’t discussed the shameful treatment that the people of Puerto Rico, our fellow Americans, are being treated with by these hedge funds that are working (UNINTEL). (APPLAUSE)

10:50:00:00 We haven’t discussed the fact that in our own hemisphere we have the danger of nation state failures because of drug traffickers in– in Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador. I guess the bottom line is this, look, we are– a great people when we act at home and abroad.

10:50:15:00 Based on the beliefs that unite us, our belief in the dignity of every person, our belief in our own common good. There is no challenge that is too great for us to overcome provided we bring forward in these divided times new leadership that can heal our divides here at home and bring our principles into alignment abroad. We’re on the threshold of a new era of American progress. And I believe we have only need to join forces together and cross that threshold into a new era of American prosperity.

LESTER HOLT:

10:50:40:00 And that’s time.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:50:42:00 Thanks a lot. (CHEERING)

LESTER HOLT:

10:50:44:00 Secretary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON:

10:50:50:00 Well, Lester, I– I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what’s happening in Flint, Michigan. And I think every (CHEERING) single American should be outraged. We’ve had a city in the United States of America where the population which is poor in many ways and majority African-American has been drinking and bathing in lead contaminated water.

10:51:15:00 And the governor of that state acted as though he didn’t really care. He had request for help but he basically stonewalled. I’ll tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it there would’ve been action. So I sent my top campaign aide down there to talk to the– mayor of Flint to see what I could do to help.

10:51:39:00 And I issued a statement about what we needed to do. And then I went on a TV show and said it was outrageous that the governor hadn’t acted. And within two hours he had. I wanna be a president takes care of the big (CHEERING) problems and the problems that are affecting the people of our country every day.

LESTER HOLT:

10:51:58:00 Thank you. Senator Sanders.

MARTIN O’MALLEY:

10:52:04:00 Well, Secretary Clinton was right. And what I did which I think is also right is demanded the resignation of the governor. A man who acts that irresponsibly (APPLAUSE) should not stay in power. Now we are a great nation. And we’ve heard a lotta great ideas here tonight.

10:52:22:00 But let’s be honest and let’s be truthful. Very little is going to be done to transform our economy and to create the kind of middle class we need unless we end a corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining American democracy. (CHEERING) We have gotta get rid of super pack. We have got to get rid of citizens united.

10:52:55:00 And what we have got to do is create a political revolution which revitalizes American democracy, which brings millions of young people and working people into the political process. To say loudly and clearly that the government of the United States of America belongs to all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.

LESTER HOLT:

10:53:20:00 All right, well, thank you. (CHEERING) And thanks to all of you for being here tonight, shedding light on some of the differences– as Americans get ready to vote. I also wanna thank the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and certainly my friend and colleague, Andrea Mitchell. This has been great. It’s been a great, spirited conversation a new– American people appreciate it. Let me turn it over to my friend, Chuck Todd, now.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 January 14, 2016: The Fox Business Network Sixth Republican Debate in Charleston Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Full Transcript of the Sixth Republican Debate in Charleston

Source: Time, 1-14-16

 

Hosted by Fox Business Network in Charleston, South Carolina

Participants: New York businessman Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former New York Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Moderators: Fox Business Network anchors Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo.

CAVUTO: It is 9:00 p.m. here at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in South Carolina. Welcome to the sixth Republican presidential <debate> of the 2016 campaign, here on the Fox Business Network.

CAVUTO: I’m Neil Cavuto, alongside my friend and co-moderator Maria Bartiromo.

BARTIROMO: Tonight we are working with Facebook to ask the candidates the questions voters want answered. And according to Facebook, the U.S. election has dominated the global conversation, with 131 million people talking about the 2016 race. That makes it the number one issue talked about on Facebook last year worldwide.

CAVUTO: Now, the seven candidates on the stage tonight were selected based on their standing in six national polls, as well as polls in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, those standings determining the position on the stage of the candidates tonight. And here they are.

Businessman Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

Texas senator Ted Cruz.

(APPLAUSE)

Florida senator Marco Rubio.

(APPLAUSE)

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

(APPLAUSE)

New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

(APPLAUSE)

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

And Ohio governor John Kasich.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Tonight’s rules are simple: up to 90 seconds for each answer, one minute for each follow-up response. And if a candidate goes over the allotted time, you’ll hear this.

(BELL RINGS) So let’s get started. Candidates, jobs and growth — two of the biggest issues facing the country right now. In his State of the Union address earlier this week, the president said, quote, “we have the strongest, most durable economy in the world.”

And according to our Facebook research, jobs is one of the biggest issues resonating across the country, including here in South Carolina. The president is touting 14 million new jobs and an unemployment rate cut in half.

The president said that anyone who claims America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction. Senator Cruz, what do you see that he doesn’t?

CRUZ: Well, Maria, thank you for that question, and let me say thank you to the state of South Carolina for welcoming us.

Let me start — I want to get to the substance of the question on jobs, but I want to start with something. Today, many of us picked up our newspapers, and we were horrified to see the sight of 10 American sailors on their knees, with their hands on their heads.

In that State of the Union, President Obama didn’t so much as mention the 10 sailors that had been captured by Iran. President Obama’s preparing to send $100 billion or more to the Ayatollah Khamenei. And I’ll tell you, it was heartbreaking.

But the good news is the next commander-in-chief is standing on this stage.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And I give you my word, if I am elected president, no service man or service woman will be forced to be on their knees, and any nation that captures our fighting men will feel the full force and fury of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, on to your substantive question. The president tried to paint a rosy picture of jobs. And you know, he’s right. If you’re a Washington lobbyist, if you make your money in and around Washington, things are doing great. The millionaires and billionaires are doing great under Obama. But we have the lowest percentage of Americans working today of any year since 1977. Median wages have stagnated. And the Obama-Clinton economy has left behind the working men and women of this country.

The reason all of us are here is we believe we should be fighting for the working men and women of this country, and not Washington, D.C.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Kasich, we are not even two weeks into this stock trading year, but (inaudible) investors already lost $1.6 trillion in market value. That makes it the worst start to a new year ever. Many worry that things will get even worse, and that banks and financial stocks are particularly vulnerable.

Now, if this escalates, like it did back when Barack Obama first assumed the presidency, what actions would you take if this same thing happens all over again just as, in this example, you are taking over the presidency?

KASICH: Look, it takes three things basically to grow jobs. And I’ve done it when I was in Washington when we had a balanced budget; had four years of balanced budgets; paid down a half-trillion of debt. And our economy was growing like crazy. It’s the same thing that I did in Ohio. It’s a simple formula: common sense regulations, which is why I think we should freeze all federal regulations for one year, except for health and safety. It requires tax cuts, because that sends a message to the job creators that things are headed the right way. And if you tax cuts — if you cut taxes for corporations, and you cut taxes for individuals, you’re going to make things move, particularly the corporate tax, which is the highest, of course, in the — in the world.

But in addition to that, we have to have fiscal discipline. We have to show that we can march to a balanced budget. And when you do that, when you’re in a position of managing regulations; when you reduce taxes; and when you have fiscal discipline, you see the job creators begin to get very comfortable with the fact that they can invest.

Right now, you don’t have the — you have taxes that are too high. You have regulations — I mean, come on, they’re affecting everybody here, particularly our small businesses. They are — they’re in a position where they’re smothering people. And I mean, are you kidding me? We’re nowhere close to a balanced budget or fiscal discipline.

Those three things put together are going to give confidence to job creators and you will begin to see wages rise. You will begin to see jobs created in a robust economy. And how do I know it? Because I’ve done it. I did it as the chairman of the Budget Committee, working with Senator Domenici. And I’ve done it in the state of Ohio as the chief executive.

Our wages are growing faster than the national average. We’re running surpluses. And we can take that message and that formula to Washington to lift every single American to a better life.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: We know that recent global events have many people worried — Iran detaining American sailors, forcing them to apologize; North Korea and its nuclear ambitions; an aggressive China; and a Middle East that continues to deteriorate, not to mention ISIS is getting stronger.

Governor Christie, sometimes it seems the world is on fire. Where and when should a president use military action to restore order?

CHRISTIE: Well, Maria, I’m glad to have heard from you in the summary of that question about what’s going on in the world. Because Tuesday night, I watched story time with Barack Obama. And I’ve got to tell you, it sounded like everything in the world was going amazing, you know?

(APPLAUSE)

The fact is, there’s a number of things that the next president is going to have to do to clean up this mess. The first thing is we have to strengthen our alliances around the world. And the best way to do that is to start talking to our allies again and having them be able to count on our word.

CHRISTIE: Lots of people will say lots of different things about me in this campaign and others, but the one thing they’ve never said about me is that I’m misunderstood. And so when we talk to our allies and we give them our word, in a Christie administration, they know we’re going to keep it.

Next, we have to talk to our adversaries, and we have to make sure they understand the limits of our patience. And this president, given what Ted said right at the beginning, he’s absolutely right. It’s a — it’s absolutely disgraceful that Secretary Kerry and others said in their response to what’s going on in Iran that this was a good thing; it showed how the relationship was getting better.

The president doesn’t understand — and by the way, neither does Secretary Clinton — and here’s my warning to everybody out in the audience tonight. If you’re worried about the world being on fire, you’re worried about how we’re going to use our military, you’re worried about strengthening our military and you’re worried most of all about keeping your homes and your families safe and secure, you cannot give Hillary Clinton a third term of Barack Obama’s leadership.

I will not do that. If I’m the nominee, she won’t get within 10 miles of the White House.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Just to be clear Governor, where and when would you use military action?

CHRISTIE: MIlitary action, Maria, would be used when it was absolutely necessary to protect American lives and protect American interests around the world. We are not the world’s policeman, but we need to stand up and be ready.

And the problem, Maria, is that the military is not ready, either. We need to rebuild our military, and this president has let it diminish to a point where tinpot dictators like the mullahs in Iran are taking our Navy ships. It is disgraceful, and in a Christie administration, they would know much, much better than to do that.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Bush, the president just told the nation two nights ago that America is back and that the idea that our enemies are getting stronger or that this country is getting weaker, well, it’s just rhetoric and hot air. Now other Democrats go even further, sir, saying Republicans even suggesting such comments actually embolden our enemies. I guess they would include you. What do you say?

BUSH: Well first of all, the idea that somehow we’re better off today than the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated president of the United States is totally an alternative universe. The simple fact is that the world has been torn asunder.

Think about it. With grandiose language, the president talks about red lines and nothing to follow it up; talks about ISIS being the JV team, they form a caliphate the size of Indiana with 35 (thousand) to 40,000 battle-tested terrorists. He’s missing the whole point, that America’s leadership in the world is required for peace and stability.

In the crowd today is Major General James Livingston, who’s the co-chairman of my campaign here in South Carolina, a Medal of Honor recipient.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ve learned from him that what we need to achieve is peace through strength, which means we need to rebuild the military. In this administration, every weapon system has been gutted, in this administration, the force levels are going down to a level where we can’t even project force. Our friends no longer think we have their back and our enemies no longer fear us, and we’re in a much difficult — we’re in a much different position than we should be.

And for the life of me, I have no understanding why the president thinks that everything is going well. Terrorism is on the run, China, Russia is advancing their agenda at warp speed, and we pull back.

As president of the United States, I will be a commander in chief that will have the back of the military. We will rebuild the military to make sure that it is a solid force, not to be the world’s policeman, but to make sure that in a peaceful world, people know that the United States is there to take care of our own national interests and take care of our allies.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: So I take it from that you do not agree with the president.

BUSH: No. And worse — worse yet, to be honest with you, Hillary Clinton would be a national security disaster.

Think about it. She wants to continue down the path of Iran, Benghazi, the Russian reset, Dodd-Frank, all the things that have — that have gone wrong in this country, she would be a national security mess. And that is wrong.

And you know what? Here’s the problem. If she gets elected, she’s under investigation with the FBI right now. If she gets elected, her first 100 days, instead of setting an agenda, she might be going back and forth between the White House and the courthouse. We need to stop that. (LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Senator Rubio, the president says that ISIS doesn’t threaten our national existence like a Germany or a Japan back in World War II, that the terror group is nothing more than twisted souls plotting attacks in their garages.

But House Homeland Security Committee recently said that over 1,000 ongoing investigations of homegrown extremism in 50 states. So how do you define the threat? Germany then or dangerous nut cases now?

RUBIO: Yeah, I would go, first of all, one step further in this description of Hillary Clinton. She wouldn’t just be a disaster, Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being commander in chief of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Someone who cannot handle intelligence information appropriately cannot be commander in chief and someone who lies to the families of those four victims in Benghazi can never be president of the United States. Ever.

(APPLAUSE)

On the issue of Barack Obama, Barack Obama does not believe that America is a great global power. Barack Obama believes that America is a arrogant global power that needs to be cut down to size. And that’s how you get a foreign policy where we cut deals with our enemies like Iran and we betray our allies like Israel and we gut our military and we go around the world like he has done on 10 separate occasions and apologized for America.

He doesn’t understand the threat in ISIS. He consistently underestimates it but I do not. There is a war against ISIS, not just against ISIS but against radical jihadists terrorists, and it is a war that they win or we win.

When I’m president of the United States, we are going to win this war on ISIS. The most powerful intelligence agency in the world is going to tell us where we are, the most powerful military in the world is going to destroy them. And if we capture any of them alive, they are getting a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we are going to find out everything they know.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator.

BARTIROMO: Dr. Carson, the president says he does not want to treat ISIS as a foreign army, but ISIS is neither a country nor a government. How do you attack a network that does not respect national borders?

CARSON: Well, I’m very happy to get a question this early on. I was going to ask you to wake me up when that time came.

(LAUGHTER)

You know, I find it really quite fascinating some of the president’s proclamations. The fact of the matter is he doesn’t realize that we now live in the 21st century, and that war is very different than it used to be before. Not armies massively marching on each other and air forces, but now we have dirty bombs and we have cyber attacks and we have people who will be attacking our electrical grid. And, you know, we have a whole variety of things that they can do and they can do these things simultaneously. And we have enemies who are obtaining nuclear weapons that they can explode in our exoatmosphere and destroy our electric grid.

I mean, just think about a scenario like that. They explode the bomb, we have an electromagnetic pulse. They hit us with a cyberattack simultaneously and dirty bombs. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue at that point? He needs to recognize that those kinds of things are in fact an existential threat to us.

But here’s the real key. We have the world’s best military, even though he’s done everything he can to diminish it. And the fact of the matter is if we give them a mission and we don’t tie their hands behind their back, they can get it accomplished.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Mr. Trump, at the State of the Union, the president pointed to a guest who was a Syrian refugee you might recall whose wife and daughter and other family members were killed in an air attack. Now he fled that country seeking asylum here, ultimately ended up in Detroit where he’s now trying to start a new life.

The president says that that doctor is the real face of these refugees and not the one that you and some of your colleagues on this stage are painting; that you prefer the face of fear and terror and that you would refuse to let in anyone into this country seeking legitimate asylum. How do you answer that?

TRUMP: It’s not fear and terror, it’s reality. You just have to look today at Indonesia, bombings all over.

(APPLAUSE)

You look at California, you look, frankly, at Paris where there’s a — the strictest no-gun policy of any city anywhere in the world, and you see what happens: 130 people dead with many to follow. They’re very, very badly wounded. They will — some will follow. And you look around, and you see what’s happening, and this is not the case when he introduced the doctor — very nice, everything perfect but that is not representative of what you have in that line of migration.

That could be the great Trojan Horse. It could be people that are going to do great, great destruction. When I look at the migration, I looked at the line, I said it actually on your show recently, where are the women? It looked like very few women. Very few children. Strong, powerful men, young and people are looking at that and they’re saying what’s going on?

TRUMP: You look at the kind of damage that two people that two people that got married, they were radicalized — they got married, they killed 15 people in actually 15 — going to be probably 16 but you look at that and you take a look — a good strong look and that’s what we have. We are nineteen trillion dollars — our country’s a mess and we can’t let all these people come into our country and break our borders. We can’t do it.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, the New York Times is reporting that you failed to properly disclose a million dollars in loans from Goldman Sachs and CitiBank. During your senate race, your campaign said, “it was inadvertent.” A million dollars is inadvertent?

CRUZ: Well Maria, thank you for passing on that hit piece in the front page of the New York Times. You know the nice thing about the mainstream media, they don’t hide their views. The New York Times a few weeks back had a columnist who wrote a column saying, “Anybody But Cruz.” Had that actually — that same columnist wrote a column comparing me to an evil demonic spirit from the move, “It Follows” that jumps apparently from body to body possessing people.

So you know the New York Times and I don’t have exactly have the warmest of relationships. Now in terms of their really stunning hit piece, what they mentioned is when I was running for senate — unlike Hillary Clinton, I don’t have masses of money in the bank, hundreds of millions of dollars. When I was running for senate just about every lobbyist, just about all of the establishment opposed me in the senate race in Texas and my opponent in that race was worth over 200 million dollars. He put a 25 million dollar check up from his own pocket to fund that campaign and my wife Heidi and I, we ended up investing everything we owned.

We took a loan against our assets to invest it in that campaign to defend ourselves against those attacks. And the entire New York times attack — is that I disclosed that loan on one filing with the United States Senate, that was a public filing. But it was not on a second filing with FDIC and yes, I made a paperwork error disclosing it on one piece of paper instead of the other. But if that’s the best the New York Times has got, they better go back to the well.

BARTIROMO: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right. Welcome back to the Republican presidential <debate>, right here in North Charleston, South Carolina. Let’s get right back to the questions. And I’ll start with you, Senator Cruz.

Now you are, of course, a strict constitutionalist — no one would doubt that. And as you know, the U.S. Constitution says only natural-born citizens are eligible for the office of president of the United States. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Now, you were born…

(LAUGHTER)

… you were born in Canada to an American mother. So you were and are considered an American citizen. But that fellow next to you, Donald Trump — and others — have said that being born in Canada means you are not natural-born, and that has raised questions about your eligibility.

Do you want to try to close this topic once and for all tonight?

CRUZ: Well, Neil, I’m glad we’re focusing on the important topics of the evening.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

You know, back in September, my friend Donald said that he had had his lawyers look at this from every which way, and there was no issue there. There was nothing to this birther issue.

(LAUGHTER)

Now, since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed.

(LAUGHTER)

But the poll numbers have.

(APPLAUSE)

And I recognize — I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa. But the facts and the law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding U.S. law, the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen.

If a soldier has a child abroad, that child is a natural-born citizen. That’s why John McCain, even though he was born in Panama, was eligible to run for president.

If an American missionary has a child abroad, that child is a natural-born citizen. That’s why George Romney, Mitt’s dad, was eligible to run for president, even though he was born in Mexico.

At the end of the day, the legal issue is quite straightforward, but I would note that the birther theories that Donald has been relying on — some of the more extreme ones insist that you must not only be born on U.S. soil, but have two parents born on U.S. soil.

Under that theory, not only would I be disqualified, Marco Rubio would be disqualified, Bobby Jindal would be disqualified and, interestingly enough, Donald J. Trump would be disqualified.

(APPLAUSE)

(UNKNOWN): Not me.

CRUZ: Because — because Donald’s mother was born in Scotland. She was naturalized. Now, Donald…

TRUMP: But I was born here.

CRUZ: … on the issue — on the issue of citizenship, Donald…

TRUMP: (inaudible). Big difference.

CRUZ: … on the issue of citizenship, Donald, I’m not going to use your mother’s birth against you.

TRUMP: OK, good. Because it wouldn’t work.

CRUZ: You’re an American, as is everybody else on this stage, and I would suggest we focus on who’s best prepared to be commander- in-chief, because that’s the most important question facing the country.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Mr. Trump…

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: … that you raised it because of his rising poll numbers.

TRUMP: … first of all, let me just tell you something — and you know, because you just saw the numbers yourself — NBC Wall Street Journal just came out with a poll — headline: Trump way up, Cruz going down. I mean, so don’t — so you can’t — you can’t…

(BOOING)

… they don’t like the Wall Street Journal. They don’t like NBC, but I like the poll.

(LAUGHTER)

And frankly, it just came out, and in Iowa now, as you know, Ted, in the last three polls, I’m beating you. So — you know, you shouldn’t misrepresent how well you’re doing with the polls.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t have to say that. In fact, I was all for you until you started doing that, because that’s a misrepresentation, number one.

TRUMP: Number two, this isn’t me saying it. I don’t care. I think I’m going to win fair and square (inaudible) to win this way. Thank you.

Lawrence Tribe and (inaudible) from Harvard — of Harvard, said that there is a serious question as to whether or not Ted can do this. OK? There are other attorneys that feel, and very, very fine constitutional attorneys, that feel that because he was not born on the land, he cannot run for office.

Here’s the problem. We’re running. We’re running. He does great. I win. I choose him as my vice presidential candidate, and the Democrats sue because we can’t take him along for the ride. I don’t like that. OK?

(LAUGHTER)

The fact is — and if for some reason he beats the rest of the field, he beats the rest of the field (inaudible). See, they don’t like that. They don’t like that.

(AUDIENCE BOOING)

No, they don’t like he beats the rest of the field, because they want me.

(LAUGHTER)

But — if for some reason, Neil, he beats the rest of the field, I already know the Democrats are going to be bringing a suit. You have a big lawsuit over your head while you’re running. And if you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in office? So you should go out, get a declaratory judgment, let the courts decide. And you shouldn’t have mentioned the polls because I would have been much…

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Why are you saying this now — right now? Why are you raising this issue now?

TRUMP: Because now he’s going a little bit better. No, I didn’t care (inaudible). It’s true. No, it’s true. Hey look, he never had a chance. Now, he’s doing better. He’s got probably a four or five percent chance.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: Neil…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: The fact is, there is a big overhang. There’s a big question mark on your head. And you can’t do that to the party. You really can’t. You can’t do that to the party. You have to have certainty. Even if it was a one percent chance, and it’s far greater than one percent because (inaudible).

I mean, you have great constitutional lawyers that say you can’t run. If there was a — and you know I’m not bringing a suit. I promise. But the Democrats are going to bring a lawsuit, and you have to have certainty. You can’t have a question. I can agree with you or not, but you can’t have a question over your head.

CAVUTO: Senator, do you want to respond?

CRUZ: Well, listen, I’ve spent my entire life defending the Constitution before the U.S. Supreme Court. And I’ll tell you, I’m not going to be taking legal advice from Donald Trump.

TRUMP: You don’t have to. Take it from Lawrence Tribe.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Take it from your professors…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: The chances of any litigation proceeding and succeeding on this are zero. And Mr. Trump is very focused…

TRUMP: He’s wrong. He’s wrong.

CRUZ: … on Larry Tribe. Let me tell you who Larry Tribe is. He’s a left-wing judicial activist, Harvard Law professor who was Al Gore’s lawyer in Bush versus Gore. He’s a major Hillary Clinton supporter. And there’s a reason why Hillary’s supporters are echoing Donald’s attacks on me, because Hillary…

TRUMP: He is not the only one.

CRUZ: … wants to face Donald Trump in the general election.

TRUMP: There are many lawyers.

CRUZ: And I’ll tell you what, Donald, you — you very kindly just a moment ago offered me the V.P. slot.

(LAUGHTER) I’ll tell you what. If this all works out, I’m happy to consider naming you as V.P. So if you happen to be right, you could get the top job at the end of the day.

TRUMP: No — no…

(LAUGHTER)

… I think if it doesn’t…

(APPLAUSE)

I like that. I like it. I’d consider it. But I think I’ll go back to building buildings if it doesn’t work out.

CRUZ: Actually, I’d love to get you to build a wall.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I have a feeling it’s going to work out, actually.

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: Let me (inaudible). I was invoked in that question, so let me just say — in that answer — let me say, the real question here, I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV.

(LAUGHTER)

But the real — but I think we have to get back to what this election has to be about. OK? Listen, we — this is the greatest country in the history of mankind. But in 2008, we elected a president that didn’t want to fix America. He wants to change America. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the Constitution. He undermines it. We elected a president that is weakening America on the global stage. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the free enterprise system.

This election has to be about reversing all of that damage. That’s why I’m running for office because when I become president of the United States, on my first day in office we are going to repeal every single one of his unconstitutional executive orders. When I’m president of the United States we are getting rid of Obamacare and we are rebuilding our military. And when I’m president, we’re not just going to have a president that gives a State of the Union and says America is the greatest country in the world. When I’m president, we’re going to have a president that acts like it.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, senator.

BARTIROMO: Mr. Trump, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in her response to the State of the Union address

(APPLAUSE)

BARITROMO: appeared to choose sides within the party, saying Republicans should resist, quote, “the siren call of the angriest voices”. She confirmed, she was referring to you among others. Was she out of line? And, how would a President Trump unite the party?

TRUMP: Okay. First of all, Nikki this afternoon said I’m a friend of hers. Actually a close friend. And wherever you are sitting Nikki, I’m a friend. We’re friends. That’s good.

(LAUGHTER)

But she did say there was anger. And I could say, oh, I’m not angry. I’m very angry because our country is being run horribly and I will gladly accept the mantle of anger. Our military is a disaster.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Our healthcare is a horror show. Obamacare, we’re going to repeal it and replace it. We have no borders. Our vets are being treated horribly. Illegal immigration is beyond belief. Our country is being run by incompetent people. And yes, I am angry.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And I won’t be angry when we fix it, but until we fix it, I’m very, very angry. And I say that to Nikki. So when Nikki said that, I wasn’t offended. She said the truth.

One of your colleagues interviewed me. And said, well, she said you were angry and I said to myself, huh, she’s right. I’m not fighting that. I didn’t find it offensive at all. I’m angry because our country is a mess.

(APPLAUSE)

BARITROMO: But what are you going to do about it?

CAVUTO: Marco Rubio. I’m sorry, it’s the time constraints. You and Governor Christie have been exchanging some fairly nasty words of late, and I will allow the governor to respond as well.

The governor went so far to say, you won’t be able to slime your way to the White House. He’s referring to a series of ads done by a PAC, speaking on your behalf, that say quote,”One high tax, Common Core, liberal, energy-loving, Obamacare, Medicaid-expanding president is enough. You think you went too far on that and do you want to apologize to the governor?

RUBIO: You know, as I said already twice in this <debate>, we have a very serious problem in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: We have a president of the United States that is undermining this country’s security and expanding the role of…

CAVUTO: That is not my question.

RUBIO: Well, I am going to answer your question, Neil. He is — this president is undermining the constitutional basis of this government. This president is undermining our military. He is undermining our standing in the world. I like Chris Christie, but we can not afford to have a president of the United States that supports Common Core.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: We can not afford to have a president of the United States that supports gun control. This president, this president is more interested in funding — less interested in funding the military, than he is in funding planned — he’s more interested in funding Planned Parenthood than he is in funding the military.

Chris Christie wrote a check to Planned Parenthood. All I’m saying is our next president has to be someone that undoes the damage Barack Obama has done to this country. It can not be someone that agrees with his agenda.

Because the damage he has done to America is extraordinary. Let me tell you, if we don’t get this election right, there may be no turning back for America. We’re on the verge of being the first generation of Americans that leave our children worse off than ourselves.

So I just truly, with all my heart belief, I like everybody on the stage. No one is a socialist. No one here is under FBI investigation. So we have a good group of people.

CAVUTO: Is he a liberal?

RUBIO: Our next president…

CAVUTO: Is he a liberal?

RUBIO: Unfortunately, Governor Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Barack Obama supports, whether it is Common Core or gun control or the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor or the donation he made to Planned Parenthood. Our next president, and our Republican nominee can not be someone who supports those positions.

CAVUTO: Governor?

(APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: I stood on the stage and watched Marco in rather indignantly, look at Governor Bush and say, someone told you that because we’re running for the same office, that criticizing me will get you to that office.

It appears that the same someone who has been whispering in old Marco’s ear too.

(LAUGHTER)

So the indignation that you carry on, some of the stuff, you have to also own then. So let’s set the facts straight. First of all, I didn’t support Sonia Sotomayor. Secondly, I never wrote a check to Planned Parenthood.

Third, if you look at my record as governor of New Jersey, I have vetoed a 50-caliber rifle ban. I have vetoed a reduction this clip size. I vetoed a statewide I.D. system for gun owners and I pardoned, six out-of-state folks who came through our state and were arrested for owning a gun legally in another state so they never have to face charges.

And on Common Core, Common Core has been eliminated in New Jersey. So listen, this is the difference between being a governor and a senator. See when you’re a senator, what you get to do is just talk and talk and talk. And you talk so much that nobody can ever keep up with what you’re saying is accurate or not.

When you’re a governor, you’re held accountable for everything you do. And the people of New Jersey, I’ve seen it.

(APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE: And the last piece is this. I like Marco too, and two years ago, he called me a conservative reformer that New Jersey needed. That was before he was running against me. Now that he is, he’s changed his tune.

I’m never going to change my tune. I like Marco Rubio. He’s a good guy, a smart guy, and he would be a heck of a lot better president than Hillary Rodham Clinton would ever be.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Neil, my name was mentioned here. Neil, my name was mentioned as well.

Here’s the deal, Chris is totally right. He’s been a good governor, and he’s a heck of a lot better than his predecessor that would have bankrupted New Jersey.

Everybody on this stage is better than Hillary Clinton. And I think the focus ought to be on making sure that we leave this nomination process, as wild and woolly as it’s going to be — this is not being bad.

These attack ads are going to be part of life. Everybody just needs to get used to it. Everybody’s record’s going to be scrutinized, and at the end of the day we need to unite behind the winner so we can defeat Hillary Clinton, because she is a disaster.

(APPLAUSE)

Our country rise up again, but we need to have a compelling conservative agenda that we present to the American people in a way that doesn’t disparage people, that unites us around our common purpose.

And so everybody needs to discount some of the things you’re going to hear in these ads, and discount the — the back-and-forth here, because every person here is better than Hillary Clinton.

CARSON: Neil, I was mentioned too.

CAVUTO: You were?

CARSON: Yeah, he said everybody. (LAUGHTER)

And — and I just want to take this opportunity to say, you know, in the 2012 election, you know, we — and when I say we, Republicans — tore themselves apart.

You know, we have to stop this because, you know, if we manage to damage ourselves, and we lose the next election, and a progressive gets in there and they get two or three Supreme Court picks, this nation is over as we know it. And we got to look at the big picture here.

BARTIROMO: Governor Kasich…

(APPLAUSE)

… Governor Kasich, Hillary Clinton is getting some serious competition from Senator Bernie Sanders. He’s now at 41 percent in the latest CBS/New York Times poll. Vice President Biden sang his praises, saying Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real, and he has credibility on it.

So what does it say about our country that a candidate who is a self-avowed socialist and who doesn’t think a 90 percent tax rate is too high could be the Democratic nominee?

KASICH: Well, if that’s the case, we’re going to win every state, if Bernie Sanders is the nominee. That’s not even an issue. But look…

(APPLAUSE)

… and I know Bernie, and I can promise you he’s not going to be president of the United States. So here’s this — the situation, I think, Maria.

And this is what we have to — I — I’ve got to tell you, when wages don’t rise — and they haven’t for a lot of families for a number of years — it’s very, very difficult for them.

Part of the reason why it hasn’t risen because sometimes we’re not giving people the skills they need. Sometimes it’s because the Federal Reserve kept interest rates so low that the wealthy were able to invest in — in strong assets like the stock market when everybody else was left behind.

People are upset about it. I’ll tell you what else they’re upset about: you’re 50 or 51 years old, and some kid walks in and tells you you’re out of work, and you don’t know where to go and where to turn. Do we have answer for that? We do. There are ways to retrain the 50 and 51-year-olds, because they’ve got great value.

I’ll tell you what else people are concerned about. Their kids come out of college, they have high debt and they can’t get a good job. We got to do a lot about the high cost of high — higher education, but we’ve got to make sure we’re training people for jobs that exist, that are good jobs that can pay.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me tell you that, in this country — in this country, people are concerned about their economic future. They’re very concerned about it. And they wonder whether somebody is getting something to — keeping them from getting it.

That’s not the America that I’ve ever known. My father used to say, “Johnny, we never — we don’t hate the rich. We just want to be the rich.” And we just got to make sure that every American has the tools, in K-through-12 and in vocational education, in higher education.

And we got to fight like crazy so people can think the American dream still exists, because it does, with rising wages, with full employment and with everybody in America — and I mean everybody in America — having an opportunity to realize the American dream of having a better life than their mother and their father.

I’m president — look, I’ve done it once. I’ve done it once in Washington, with great jobs and lower taxes. The economy was really booming.

And now in Ohio, with the same formula, wages higher than the — than the national average. A growth of 385,000 jobs.

(BELL RINGS)

It’s not that hard. Just know where you want to go, stick to your guts. Get it done, because our — our children and grandchildren are counting on us to get it done. And, folks, we will. You count on it.

BARTIROMO: Dr. Carson, one of the other candidates on this stage has brought Bill Clinton’s past indiscretions. Is that a legitimate topic in this election? And what do you think of the notion that Hillary Clinton is an enabler of sexual misconduct?

CARSON: Well, there’s not question that we should be able to look at past president whether they’re married to somebody who’s running for president or not in terms of their past behavior and what it means. But you know, here’s the real issue, is this America anymore? Do we still have standards? Do we still have values and principles?

You know, you look at what’s going on, you see all the divisiveness and the hatred that goes on in our society. You know, we have a war on virtual everything — race wars, gender wars, income wars, religious wars, age wars. Every war you can imaging, we have people at each other’s throat and our strength is actually in our unity.

You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article and you go to the comments section — you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names. Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that. And wherever it came from we need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong. And let’s not let the secular progressives drive that out of us.

The majority of people in American actually have values and principles and they believe in the very things that made America great. They’ve been beaten into submission. It’s time for us to stand up for what we believe in.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Well, we are not done. Coming up, one of the top things people are talking about on Facebook, guns. And you can join us live us on this stage in the conversation during this commercial break right from home. You can go to Facebook.com/(inaudible). We will be streaming live and talking about how we think the <debate> is going so far.

CAVUTO: We’re back in a moment in Charleston, South Carolina.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debates, right here in North Charleston. Let’s get right back to the questions.

Governor Bush, gun rights, one of the top issues seen on Facebook with close to 3 million people talking about it in the past month. Right here in Charleston, Dylann Roof, who has been accused of killing nine people in a nearby church, reportedly had not passed his background check when he got his gun. What is the harm in tightening standards for not only who buys guns, but those who sell them?

BUSH: First of all, I’d like to recognize Governor Haley for her incredible leadership in the aftermath of the —

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: The Emanuel AME church killings. And I also want to recognize the people in that church that showed the grace of God and the grace of forgiveness and the mercy that they showed.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: I don’t know if any of us could have done what they did, one after another, within 48 hours of that tragedy taking place. Look, here’s the deal, in this particular case, the FBI made a mistake. The law itself requires a background check, but that didn’t fulfill their part of the bargain within the time that they were supposed to do.

We don’t need to add new rules, we need to make sure the FBI does its job. Because that person should not have gotten a gun, should not — would not have passed a background check. The first impulse of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is to take rights away from law- abiding citizens.

That’s what they do, whether it’s the San Bernardino attack or if it’s these tragedies that take place, I think we need to focus on what the bigger issue is. It isn’t law-abiding gun owners.

Look, I have an A plus rating in the NRA and we also have a reduction in gun violence because in Florida, if you commit a crime with a gun, you’re going away. You’re going away for a long, long while.

And that’s what we should focus on is the violence in our communities. Target the efforts for people that are committing crimes with guns, and if you do that, and get it right, you’re going to be much better off than creating a political argument where there’s a big divide.

The other issue is mental health. That’s a serious issue that we could work on. Republicans and Democrats alike believe this.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: The president’s first impulse is do this by executive order, power he doesn’t have. Why not go to Congress and in a bipartisan way, begin to deal with the process of mental health issues so that people that are spiraling out of control because of mental health challenges don’t have access to guns.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Trump, are there any circumstances that you think we should be limiting gun sales of any kind in America?

TRUMP: No. I am a 2nd amendment person. If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn’t have 14 or 15 people dead right now.

If even in Paris, if they had guns on the other side, going in the opposite direction, you wouldn’t have 130 people plus dead. So the answer is no and what Jeb said is absolutely correct.

We have a huge mental health problem in this country. We’re closing hospitals, we’re closing wards, we’re closing so many because the states want to save money. We have to get back into looking at what’s causing it. The guns don’t pull the trigger. It’s the people that pull the trigger and we have to find out what is going on.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We have to protect our 2nd amendment and you cannot do this and certainly what Barack Obama was doing with the executive order. He doesn’t want to get people together, the old-fashioned way, where you get Congress. You get the Congress, you get the Senate, you get together, you do legislation. He just writes out an executive order. Not supposed to happen that way.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you sir.

XXX where you get Congress.

TRUMP: You get the Congress. You get the Senate. You get together. You do legislation. He just writes out an order, executive order. It’s not supposed to happen that way.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Senator Rubio, you said that President Obama wants to take people’s guns away. Yet under his presidency, gun sales have more than doubled. That doesn’t sound like a White House unfriendly to gun owners.

RUBIO: That sounds like people are afraid the president’s going to take their guns away.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, the Second Amendment is not an option. It is not a suggestion. It is a constitutional right of every American to be able to protect themselves and their families. I am convinced that if this president could confiscate every gun in America, he would. I am convinced that this president, if he could get rid of the Second Amendment, he would. I am convinced because I see how he works with his attorney general, not to defend the Second Amendment, but to figure out ways to undermine it.

I have seen him appoint people to our courts not to defend the Second Amendment, but to figure out ways to undermine it.

Here’s my second problem. None of these instances that the president points to as the reason why he’s doing these things would have been preventive. You know why? Because criminals don’t buy their guns from a gun show. They don’t buy their guns from a collector. And they don’t buy their guns from a gun store. They get — they steal them. They get them on the black market.

And let me tell you, ISIS and terrorists do not get their guns from a gun show. These…

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

… his answer — you name it. If there’s an act of violence in America, his immediate answer before he even knows the facts is gun control. Here’s a fact. We are in a war against ISIS. They are trying to attack us here in America. They attacked us in Philadelphia last week. They attacked us in San Bernardino two weeks ago. And the last line standing between them and our families might be us and a gun.

When I’m president of the United States, we are defending the Second Amendment, not undermining it the way Barack Obama does.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: But what fact can you point to, Senator — what fact can you point to that the president would take away everyone’s gun? You don’t think that’s (inaudible)?

RUBIO: About every two weeks, he holds a press conference talking about how he can’t wait to restrict people’s access to guns. He has never defended…

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: I’ll give you a fact. Well, let me tell you this. Do you remember when he ran for president of the United States, and he was a candidate, and he went and said, “These Americans with traditional values, they are bitter people, and they cling to their guns and to their religion.” That tells you right away where he was headed on all of this.

This president every chance he has ever gotten has tried to undermine the Second Amendment.

(APPLAUSE)

He doesn’t meet — here’s the difference. When he meets with the attorney general in the White House, it’s not “how can we protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans.” It’s “give me options on how I can make it harder for law-abiding people to buy guns.” That will never happen when I am president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Christie, you, too, have criticized the president’s recent executive action on gun control, saying it’s unconstitutional, another step to bypass Congress. But hasn’t your own position on guns evolved, sir? The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that you signed several laws to regulate the possession of firearms, and that you argued back in August 2013, and I quote, “These common sense measures will strengthen New Jersey’s already tough gun laws.”

So isn’t that kind of what the president wants to do now?

CHRISTIE: No, absolutely not. The president wants to do things without working with his Congress, without working with the legislature, and without getting the consent of the American people. And the fact is that that’s not a democracy. That’s a dictatorship. And we need to very, very concerned about that.

See, here’s the thing. I don’t think the founders put the Second Amendment as number two by accident. I don’t think they dropped all the amendments into a hat and picked them out of a hat. I think they made the Second Amendment the second amendment because they thought it was just that important.

The fact is in New Jersey, what we have done is to make it easier now to get a conceal and carry permit. We have made it easier to do that, not harder. And the way we’ve done it properly through regulatory action, not buy signing unconstitutional executive orders. This guy is a petulant child. That’s what he is. I mean, you know…

(APPLAUSE)

… the fact is, Neil, let’s think about — let’s think about — and I want to maybe — I hope the president is watching tonight, because here’s what I’d like to tell him.

Mr. President, we’re not against you. We’re against your policies. When you became president, you had a Democratic Congress and a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate. You had only 21 Republican governors in this country. And now after seven years of your policies, we have the biggest majority we’ve had since the 1920s in the House; a Republican majority in the Senate; and 31 out of 50 Republican governors.

The American people have rejected your agenda and now you’re trying to go around it. That’s not right. It’s not constitutional. And we are going to kick your rear end out of the White House come this fall.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: So what is the answer, Senator Cruz, to stop mass shootings and violent crime, up in 30 cities across the country?

CRUZ: The answer is simple. Your prosecute criminals. You target the bad guys. You know, a minute ago, Neil asked: What has President Obama do — done to illustrate that he wants to go after guns?

Well, he appointed Eric Holder as attorney general. Eric Holder said he viewed his mission as brainwashing the American people against guns. He appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, someone who has been a radical against the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

He launched Fast and Furious, illegally selling guns to Mexican drug lords that were then used to shoot law enforcement officials. And I’ll tell you what Hillary Clinton has said: Hillary Clinton says she agrees with the dissenters — the Supreme Court dissenters in the Heller case.

There were four dissenters, and they said that they believe the Second Amendment protects no individual right to keep and bear arms whatsoever, which means, if their view prevailed and the next president’s going to get one, two, three, maybe four Supreme Court justices, the court will rule that not a single person in this room has any right under the Second Amendment and the government could confiscate your guns.

And I’ll note that California senator — Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said, if she could say to Mr. America and Mrs. America, “give me your guns, I’m rounding them up,” she would.

And let me make a final point on this. Listen, in any Republican primary, everyone is going to say they support the Second Amendment. Unless you are clinically insane…

(LAUGHTER)

… that’s what you say in a primary. But the voters are savvier than that. They recognize that people’s actions don’t always match their words. I’ve got a proven record fighting to defend the Second Amendment.

There’s a reason Gun Owners of America has endorsed me in this race. There’s a reason the NRA gave me their Carter Knight Freedom Fund award…

(BELL RINGS) … and there’s a reason, when Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer came after our right to keep and bear arms, that I led the opposition, along with millions of Americans — we defeated that gun control legislation.

And I would note the other individuals on this stage were nowhere to be found in that fight.

BARTIROMO: Senator…

(APPLAUSE)

… let me follow up and switch gears.

Senator Cruz, you suggested Mr. Trump, quote, “embodies New York values.” Could you explain what you mean by that?

CRUZ: You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: I am from New York. I don’t.

CRUZ: What — what — you’re from New York? So you might not.

(LAUGHTER)

But I promise you, in the state of South Carolina, they do.

(APPLAUSE)

And listen, there are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men and women in the state of New York. But everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro- gay-marriage, focus around money and the media.

And — and I would note indeed, the reason I said that is I was asked — my friend Donald has taken to it as (ph) advance playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”, and I was asked what I thought of that.

And I said, “well, if he wanted to play a song, maybe he could play, ‘New York, New York’?” And — and — you know, the concept of New York values is not that complicated to figure out.

Not too many years ago, Donald did a long interview with Tim Russert. And in that interview, he explained his views on a whole host of issues that were very, very different from the views he’s describing now.

And his explanation — he said, “look, I’m from New York, that’s what we believe in New York. Those aren’t Iowa values, but this is what we believe in New York.” And so that was his explanation.

And — and I guess I can — can frame it another way. Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I’m just saying.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: Are you sure about that?

CAVUTO: Maria…

TRUMP: So conservatives actually do come out of Manhattan, including William F. Buckley and others, just so you understand.

(APPLAUSE)

And just so — if I could, because he insulted a lot of people. I’ve had more calls on that statement that Ted made — New York is a great place. It’s got great people, it’s got loving people, wonderful people.

When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York. You had two one hundred…

(APPLAUSE)

… you had two 110-story buildings come crashing down. I saw them come down. Thousands of people killed, and the cleanup started the next day, and it was the most horrific cleanup, probably in the history of doing this, and in construction. I was down there, and I’ve never seen anything like it.

And the people in New York fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death, and even the smell of death — nobody understood it. And it was with us for months, the smell, the air.

TRUMP: And we rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor bush, for the third time in as many months, the Iranians have provoked us, detaining us, as we’ve been discussing, with these 10 Navy sailors Tehran had said strayed into their waters. The sailors were released, but only after shown on video apologizing for the incident. This occurring only weeks after Iran fired multiple rockets within 1,500 yards of a U.S. aircraft carrier and then continued to test medium range missiles.

Now you’ve claimed that such actions indicate Tehran has little to fear from a President Obama. I wonder, sir, what would change if they continued doing this sort of thing under a President Jeb Bush?

BUSH: Well, first of all, under President Jeb Bush, we would restore the strength of the military. Last week, Secretary Carter announced that the Navy’s going to be cut again. It’s now half the size of what it was prior to Operation Desert Storm.

The deployments are too high for the military personnel. We don’t have procurement being done for refreshing the equipment. The B-52 is still operational as the long range bomber; it was inaugurated in the age of Harry Truman. The planes are older than the pilots. We’re gutting our military, and so the Iranians and the Chinese and the Russians and many other countries look at the United States not as serious as we once were.

We have to eliminate the sequester, rebuild our military in a way that makes it clear that we’re back in the game.

Secondly, as it relates to Iran, we need to confront their ambitions across the board. We should reimpose sanctions, they’ve already violated sanctions after this agreement was signed by testing medium-range missiles.

Thirdly, we need to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to send a serious signal that we’re back in the game with Israel —

(APPLAUSE)

… and sign an agreement that makes sure that the world knows that they will have technological superiority.

We need to get back in the game as it relates to our Arab nations. The rest of the world is moving away from us towards other alliances because we are weak. This president and John Kerry and Hillary Clinton all have made it harder for the next president to act, but he must act to confront the ambitions of Iran. We can get back in the game to restore order and security for our own country.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Thank you, Governor. Governor Kasich, while everyone has been focusing on Iran’s provocations, I’m wondering what you make of what Saudi Arabia has been doing and its recent moves in the region, including its execution of a well-known Shi’ite cleric and its move to dramatically increase oil production, some say in an effort to drive down oil prices and force a lot of U.S. oil producers out of business.

Sure enough, oil prices have tumbled. One brokerage house is predicting a third or more of American oil producers and those heavily invested in fracking will go bankrupt, and soon Saudi Arabia and OPEC will be back in the driver’s seat.

U.S. energy player Harold Hamrie similarly told me with friends like these, who needs enemies? Do you agree?

KASICH: Well, let me — let me first of all talk a little bit about my experience. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years, and by the way, one of the members of that committee was Senator Strom Thurmond from South Carolina. Let em also tell you…

(APPLAUSE)

… that after the 9/11 attacks, Secretary Rumsfeld invited me to the Pentagon with a meeting of the former secretaries of Defense. And in that meeting, I suggested we had a problem with technology, and that I wanted to take people from Silicon Valley into the Pentagon to solve our most significant problems. So I not only had the opportunity to go through the Cold War struggles in Central America, and even after 9/11 to be involved.

With Saudi Arabia and oil production, first of all, it’s so critical for us to be energy independent, and we’re getting there because of fracking and we ought to explore because, see, energy independence gives us leverage and flexibility, and secondly, if you want to bring jobs back to the United States of America in industry, low prices make the difference.

We’re seeing it in my state and we’ll see it in this country. And that’s why we must make sure we continue to frack.

In terms of Saudi Arabia, look, my biggest problem with them is they’re funding radical clerics through their madrasses. That is a bad deal and an evil situation, and presidents have looked the other way. And I was going to tell you, whether I’m president or not, we better make it clear to the Saudis that we’re going to support you, we’re in relation with you just like we were in the first Gulf War, but you’ve got to knock off the funding and teaching of radical clerics who are the very people who try to destroy us and will turn around and destroy them.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: So look, in foreign policy — in foreign policy, it’s strength, but you’ve got to be cool. You’ve got to have a clear vision of where you want to go. And I’m going to tell you, that it — I’m going to suggest to you here tonight, that you can’t do on the job training.

I’ve seen so much of it – a Soviet Union, the coming down of a wall, the issues that we saw around the world in Central America, the potential spread of communism, and 9/11 and Gulf War. You see what the Saudi’s — deliver them a strong message but at the end of the day we have to keep our cool because most of the time they’re going right with us. And they must be part of our coalition to destroy ISIS and I believe we can get that done.

Thank you.

CAVUTO: Thank you John.

BARTIROMO: There’s much more ahead including the fight against ISIS. More from Charleston, South Carolina when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: We welcome back to the Republican Presidential <Debate>, right back to the questions.

Candidates, the man who made fighting ISIS the cornerstone of his campaign, South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham is out the race but he joins us tonight in the audience.

(APPLAUSE)

He says, “the air-strike now in their 16th month have been ineffective.” Dr. Carson …

CARSON: Wait a minute, who in their 16th month?

BARTIROMO: The air-strikes.

CARSON: OK.

BARTIROMO: Now in their 16th month are ineffective. Dr. Carson, do you think Senator Graham is right in wanting to send 20,000 troops — ground troops to Iraq and Syria to take out ISIS?

CARSON: Well, there’s no question that ISIS is a very serious problem, and I don’t believe that this administration recognizes how serious it is.

I think we need to do a lot more than we’re doing. Recognize that the caliphate is what gives them the legitimacy to go out on a jihadist mission, so we need to take that away from them.

The way to take that away from them is to talk to our military officials and ask them, “what do you need in order to accomplish this goal?”

Our decision is, then, do we give them what we need. I say, yes, not only do we give them what they need, but we don’t tie their hands behind their backs so that they can go ahead and get the job done.

In addition to that…

(APPLAUSE)

… in addition to that, we go ahead and we take the oil from them, their source of revenue. You know, some of these — these engagement rules that the administration has — “we’re not going to bomb a tanker that’s coming out of there because there might be a person in it” — give me a break.

Just tell them that, you put people in there, we’re going to bomb them. So don’t put people in there if you don’t want them bombed. You know, that’s so simple.

(APPLAUSE)

And then we need to shut down — we need to shut down their mechanisms of funding and attack their command-and-control centers. Why should we let their people be sitting there smoking their cigars, sitting in their comfortable chairs in Raqqa?

We know (ph) to go ahead and shut off the supply routes, and send in our special ops at 2:00 a.m. and attack them everywhere they go. They should be running all the time, then they won’t have time to plan attacks against us.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir. Senator Graham has also said that the U.S. will find Arab support for its coalition if it removes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And I quote, “The now king of Saudi Arabia told us, ‘you can have our army, you just got to deal with Assad.’

“The emir of Qatar said, ‘I’ll pay for the operation, but they are not going to fight ISIS and let Damascus fall into the hands of the Iranians. Assad has to go.’”

Governor Christie, how important is it to remove Assad from power and how would you do it?

CHRISTIE: Maria, you look at what this president and his secretary of state, Secretary of State Clinton, has done to get us in this spot. You think about it — this is the president who said, along with his secretary of state — drew a red line in Syria, said, if Assad uses chemical weapons against his people, that we’re going to attack.

He used chemical weapons, he’s killed, now, over a quarter of a million of his own people, and this president has done nothing. In fact, he’s done worse than nothing.

This president — and, by the way, Secretary Clinton, who called Assad a reformer — she called Assad a reformer. Now, the fact is, what this president has done is invited Russia to play an even bigger role, bring in Vladimir Putin to negotiate getting those chemical weapons back from Assad, yet what do we have today?

We have the Russians and the Iranians working together, not to fight ISIS, but to prop up Assad. The fact of the matter is we’re not going to have peace — we are not going to have peace in Syria. We’re not going to be able to rebuild it unless we put a no-fly zone there, make it safe for those folks so we don’t have to be talking about Syrian refugees anymore.

The Syrians should stay in Syria. They shouldn’t be going to Europe. And here’s the last piece…

(APPLAUSE)

… you’re not going to have peace in Syria with Assad in charge. You’re simply not. And so Senator Graham is right about this.

And if we want to try to rebuild the coalition, as Governor Kasich was saying before, then what we better do is to get to the Arab countries that believe that ISIS is a threat, not only to them, but to us and to world peace, and bring them together.

And believe me, Assad is not worth it. And if you’re going to leave this to Hillary Clinton, the person who gave us this foreign policy, the architect of it, and you’re going to give her another four years, that’s why I’m speaking out as strongly as I am about that.

Hillary Clinton cannot be president. It will lead to even greater war in this world. And remember this, after Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have had nearly 8 years, we have fewer democracies in the world than we had when they started.

That makes the world less peaceful, less safe. In my administration, we will help to make sure we bring people together in the Middle East, and we will fight ISIS and defeat them.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump, your comments about banning Muslims from entering the country created a firestorm. According to Facebook, it was the most-talked-about moment online of your entire campaign, with more than 10 million people talking about the issue.

Is there anything you’ve heard that makes you want to rethink this position?

TRUMP: No.

(LAUGHTER)

No.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, we have to stop with political correctness. We have to get down to creating a country that’s not going to have the kind of problems that we’ve had with people flying planes into the World Trade Centers, with the — with the shootings in California, with all the problems all over the world.

TRUMP: I just left Indonesia — bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.

We have to find out what’s going on. I said temporarily. I didn’t say permanently. I said temporarily. And I have many great Muslim friends. And some of them, I will say, not all, have called me and said, “Donald, thank you very much; you’re exposing an unbelievable problem and we have to get to the bottom of it.”

And unlike President Obama, where he refuses even to use the term of what’s going on, he can’t use the term for whatever reason. And if you can’t use the term, you’re never going to solve the problem. My Muslim friends, some, said, “thank you very much; we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

But we have a serious problem. And we can’t be the stupid country any more. We’re laughed at all over the world.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Donald, Donald — can I — I hope you reconsider this, because this policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out ISIS. The Kurds are our strongest allies. They’re Muslim. You’re not going to even allow them to come to our country?

The other Arab countries have a role to play in this. We cannot be the world’s policeman. We can’t do this unilaterally. We have to do this in unison with the Arab world. And sending that signal makes it impossible for us to be serious about taking out ISIS and restoring democracy in Syria.

(APPLAUSE)

So I hope you’ll reconsider. I hope you’ll reconsider. The better way of dealing with this — the better way of dealing with this is recognizing that there are people in, you know, the — Islamic terrorists inside, embedded in refugee populations.

What we ought to do is tighten up our efforts to deal with the entry visa program so that a citizen from Europe, it’s harder if they’ve been traveling to Syria or traveling to these other places where there is Islamic terrorism, make it harder — make the screening take place.

We don’t have to have refugees come to our country, but all Muslims, seriously? What kind of signal does that send to the rest of the world that the United States is a serious player in creating peace and security?

CAVUTO: But you said — you said that he made those comments and they represented him being unhinged after he made them.

BUSH: Yeah, they are unhinged.

CAVUTO: Well — well, after he made them…

(APPLAUSE)

… his poll numbers went up eight points in South Carolina. Now — now, wait…

TRUMP: Eleven points, to be exact.

CAVUTO: Are you — are you saying — are you saying that all those people who agree with Mr. Trump are unhinged?

BUSH: No, not at all, absolutely not. I can see why people are angry and scared, because this president has created a condition where our national security has weakened dramatically. I totally get that. But we’re running for the presidency of the United States here. This isn’t — this isn’t, you know, a different kind of job. You have to lead. You cannot make rash statements and expect the rest of the world to respond as though, well, it’s just politics.

Every time we send signals like this, we send a signal of weakness, not strength. And so it was (inaudible) his statement, which is why I’m asking him to consider changing his views.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I want security for this country. OK?

(APPLAUSE)

I want security. I’m tired of seeing what’s going on, between the border where the people flow over; people come in; they live; they shoot. I want security for this country. We have a serious problem with, as you know, with radical Islam. We have a tremendous problem. It’s not only a problem here. It’s a problem all over the world.

I want to find out why those two young people — those two horrible young people in California when they shot the 14 people, killed them — people they knew, people that held the wedding reception for them. I want to find out — many people saw pipe bombs and all sorts of things all over their apartment. Why weren’t they vigilant? Why didn’t they call? Why didn’t they call the police?

And by the way, the police are the most mistreated people in this country. I will tell you that.

(APPLAUSE)

The most mistreated people. In fact, we need to — wait a minute — we need vigilance. We have to find out — many people knew about what was going on. Why didn’t they turn those two people in so that you wouldn’t have had all the death?

There’s something going on and it’s bad. And I’m saying we have to get to the bottom of it. That’s all I’m saying. We need security.

BARTIROMO: We — we want to hear from all of you on this. According to Pew Research, the U.S. admits more than 100,000 Muslim immigrants every single year on a permanent lifetime basis. I want to ask the rest of you to comment on this. Do you agree that we should pause Muslim immigration until we get a better handle on our homeland security situation, as Mr. Trump has said?

Beginning with you, Governor Kasich.

KASICH: I — I’ve been for pausing on admitting the Syrian refugees. And the reasons why I’ve done is I don’t believe we have a good process of being able to vet them. But you know, we don’t want to put everybody in the same category.

KASICH: And I’ll go back to something that had been mentioned just a few minutes ago. If we’re going to have a coalition, we’re going to have to have a coalition not just of people in the western part of the world, our European allies, but we need the Saudis, we need the Egyptians, we need the Jordanians, we need the Gulf states. We need Jordan.

We need all of them to be part of exactly what the first George Bush put together in the first Gulf War.

(BELL RINGS)

It was a coalition made up of Arabs and Americans and westerners and we’re going to need it again. And if we try to put everybody in the same — call everybody the same thing, we can’t do it. And that’s just not acceptable.

But I think a pause on Syrian refugees has been exactly right for all the governors that have called for it, and also, of course, for me as the governor of Ohio.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir, we want to hear from the rest of you,

Governor Christie, your take.

CHRISTIE: Now Maria, listen. I said right from the beginning that we should take no Syrian refugees of any kind. And the reason I said that is because the FBI director told the American people, told Congress, that he could not guarantee he could vet them and it would be safe. That’s the end of the conversation.

I can tell you, after spending seven years as a former federal prosecutor, right after 9/11, dealing with this issue. Here’s the way you need to deal with it. You can’t just ban all Muslims. You have to ban radical Islamic jihadists. You have to ban the people who are trying to hurt us.

The only way to figure that out is to go back to getting the intelligence community the funding and the tools that it needs to be able to keep America safe.

(BELL RINGS)

And this summer, we didn’t do that. We took it away from the NSA, it was a bad decision by the president. Bad by those in the Senate who voted for it and if I’m president, we’ll make our intelligence community strong, and won’t have to keep everybody out, we’re just going to keep the bad folk out and make sure they don’t harm us.

BARTIROMO: Senator Rubio, where do you stand?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, let’s understand why we are even having this <debate> and why Donald tapped in to some of that anger that’s out there about this whole issue. Because this president has consistently underestimated the threat of ISIS.

If you listen to the State of the Union the other night, he described them as a bunch of guys with long beards on the back of a pickup truck. They are much more than that. This is a group of people that enslaves women and sells them, sells them as brides.

This is a group of people that burns people in cages, that is conducting genocide against Christians and Yazidis and others in the region. This is not some small scale group.

They are radicalizing people in the United States, they are conducting attacks around the world. So you know what needs to happen, it’s a very simple equation, and it’s going to happen when I’m president. If we do not know who you are, and we do not know why you are coming when I am president, you are not getting into the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, where do you stand? Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: You know I understand why Donald made the comments he did and I understand why Americans are feeling frustrated and scared and angry when we have a president who refuses to acknowledge the threat we face and even worse, who acts as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism.

I think what we need is a commander in chief who is focused like a laser on keeping this country safe and on defeating radical Islamic terrorism. What should we do? First, we should pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act, legislation I’ve introduced that says if an American goes and joins ISIS and wages jihad against America, that you forfeit your citizenship and you can not come in on a passport.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And secondly, we should pass the legislation that I’ve introduced…

(BELL RINGS)

… that suspends all refugees from nations that ISIS or Al Qaida controls significant territory. Just last week, we see saw two Iraqi refugees vetted using the same process the president says will work, that were arrested for being alleged ISIS terrorists.

If I’m elected president, we will not let in refugees from countries controlled by ISIS or Al Qaida. When it comes to ISIS, we will not weaken them, we will not degrade them, we will utterly and completely destroy ISIS

(APPLAUSE).

BARTIROMO: Dr. Carson, where do you stand? Do you agree with Mr. Trump?

CARSON: Well, first of all, recognize it is a substantial problem. But like all of our problems, there isn’t a single one that can’t be solved with common sense if you remove the ego and the politics. And clearly, what we need to do is get a group of experts together, including people from other countries, some of our friends from Israel, who have had experience screening these people and come up with new guidelines for immigration, and for visas, for people who are coming into this country.

That is the thing that obviously makes sense, we can do that. And as far as the Syrians are concerned, Al-Hasakah province, perfect place. They have infrastructure. All we need to do is protect them, they will be in their own country.

And that is what they told me when I was in Jordan in November. Let’s listen to them and let’s not listen to our politicians.

BARTIROMO: So, to be clear, the both of you do not agree with Mr. Trump?

BUSH: So, are we going to ban Muslims from India, from Indonesia, from countries that are strong allies — that we need to build better relationships with? Of course not. What we need to do is destroy ISIS.

I laid out a plan at the Citadel to do just that and it starts with creating a “No Fly Zone” and “Safe Zones” to make sure refugees are there. We need to lead a force, a Sunni led force inside of Syria. We need to embed with — with the Iraqi military. We need to arm the Kurds the directly. We need to re-establish the relationships with the Sunnis.

We need the lawyers(ph) off the back of the war fighters. That’s how you solve the problem. You don’t solve it by big talk where you’re banning all Muslims and making it harder for us to build the kind of coalition for us to be successful.

BARTIROMO: Thank you governor.

CAVUTO: Mr. Trump, sometimes maybe in the heat of the campaign, you say things and you have to dial them back. Last week, the New York Times editorial board quoted as saying that you would oppose, “up to 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods.”

TRUMP: That’s wrong. They were wrong. It’s the New York Times, they are always wrong.

CAVUTO: Well…

TRUMP: They were wrong.

CAVUTO: You never said because they provided that…

TRUMP: No, I said, ” I would use — ” they were asking me what to do about North Korea. China, they don’t like to tell us but they have total control — just about, of North Korea. They can solve the problem of North Korea if they wanted to but they taunt us.

They say, ” well, we don’t really have control.” Without China, North Korea doesn’t even eat. China is ripping us on trade. They’re devaluing their currency and they’re killing our companies. Thousands of thousands — you look at the number of companies and the number in terms of manufacturing of plans that we’ve lost — 50,000 because of China.

(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: So they’ve never said to put a tariff on their…

TRUMP: We’ve lost anywhere between four and seven million jobs because of China. What I said then was, “we have very unfair trade with China. We’re going to have a trade deficit of 505 billion dollars this year with China.” A lot of that is because they devalue their currency.

What I said to the New York Times, is that, “we have great power, economic power over China and if we wanted to use that and the amount — where the 45 percent comes in, that would be the amount they saw their devaluations that we should get.” That we should get.

What I’m saying is this, I’m saying that we do it but if they don’t start treating us fairly and stop devaluing and let their currency rise so that our companies can compete and we don’t lose all of these millions of jobs that we’re losing, I would certainly start taxing goods that come in from China. Who the hell has to lose 505 billion dollars a year?

CAVUTO: I’m sorry, you lost me.

TRUMP: It’s not that complicated actually.

CAVUTO: Then I apologize. Then I want to understand, if you don’t want a 45 percent tariff, say that wasn’t the figure, would you be open — are you open to slapping a higher tariff on Chinese goods of any sort to go back at them?

TRUMP: OK, just so you understand — I know so much about trading about with China. Carl Icahn today as you know endorsed. Many businessmen want to endorse me.

CAVUTO: I know…

TRUMP: Carl said, “no, no — ” but he’s somebody — these are the kind of people that we should use to negotiate and not the China people that we have who are political hacks who don’t know what they’re doing and we have problems like this. If these are the kinds of people — we should use our best and our finest.

Now, on that tariff — here’s what I’m saying, China — they send their goods and we don’t tax it — they do whatever they want to do. They do whatever what they do, OK. When we do business with China, they tax us. You don’t know it, they tax us.

I have many friends that deal with China. They can’t — when they order the product and when they finally get the product it is taxed. If you looking at what happened with Boeing and if you look at what happened with so many companies that deal — so we don’t have an equal playing field. I’m saying, absolutely, we don’t have to continue to lose 505 billion dollars as a trade deficit for the privilege of dealing with China.

I’m a free trader. I believe in it but we have to be smart and we have to use smart people to negotiate. I have the largest bank in the world as a tenant of mine. I sell tens’ of millions of (inaudible).

I love China. I love the Chinese people but they laugh themselves, they can’t believe how stupid the American leadership is.

CAVUTO: So you’re open to a tariff?

TRUMP: I’m totally open to a tariff. If they don’t treat us fairly, hey, their whole trade is tariffed. You can’t deal in China without tariffs. They do it to us, we don’t it. It’s not fair trade.

KASICH: Neil, Neil — can I say one thing about this. I’m a free trader. I support NAFTA. I believe in the PTT because it’s important those countries in Asia are interfacing against China. And we do need China — Donald’s right about North Korea.

I mean the fact is, is that they need to put the pressure on and frankly we need to intercepts ships coming out of North Korea so they don’t proliferate all these dangerous materials. But what he’s touching — talking about, I think has got merit. And I’ll allow putting that tariff or whatever he’s saying here…

TRUMP: I’m happy to have him tonight…

(LAUGHTER)

KASICH: For too long — no, for too long, what happens is somebody dumps their product in our country and take our people’s jobs, and then we go to an international court and it takes them like a year or two to figure out whether they were cheating us. And guess what? The worker’s out of a job.

So when they — be found against that country that’s selling products in here lower than the cost of what it takes to produce them, then what do we tell the worker? Oh, well, you know, it just didn’t work out for you.

I think we should be for free trade but I think fair trade. And when countries violate trade agreements or dump product in this country, we need — we need to stand up against those countries that do that without making them into an enemy.

And I want to just suggest to you. How do I know this? Because so many people in my family worked in steel mills, and they didn’t work with a white collar, they worked in a blue collar. And the fact is those jobs are critical, they’re hard working members of the middle class and they need to be paid attention to because they’re Americans and they carry the load. So let’s demand open trade but fair trade in this country. That’s what I think we need to do.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: All right.

RUBIO: But on this point, if I may add something on this point. We are all frustrated with what China is doing. I think we need to be very careful with tariffs, and here’s why.

China doesn’t pay the tariff, the buyer pays the tariff. If you send a tie or a shirt made in China into the United States and an American goes to buy it at the store and there’s a tariff on it, it gets passed on in the price to price to the consumer.

So I think the better approach, the best thing we can do to protect ourselves against China economically is to make our economy stronger, which means reversing course from all the damage Barack Obama is doing to this economy.

It begins with tax reform. Let’s not have the most expensive business tax rate in the world. Let’s allow companies to immediately expense.

(APPLAUSE)

It continues with regulatory reform. Regulations in this country are out of control, especially the Employment Prevention Agency, the EPA, and all of the rules they continue to impose on our economy and hurting us.

How about Obamacare, a certified job killer? It needs to be repealed and replaced. And we need to bring our debt under control, make our economy stronger. That is the way to deal with China at the end of the day.

TRUMP: Neil, the problem…

BARTIROMO: We’re getting…

TRUMP: … with what Marco is saying is that it takes too long, they’re sucking us dry and it takes too long. It would just — you absolutely have to get involved with China, they are taking so much of what we have in terms of jobs in terms of money. We just can’t do it any longer.

CAVUTO: He is right. If you put a tariff on a good, it’s Americans who pay.

BUSH: Absolutely.

TRUMP: You looking at me?

BUSH: Yeah.

BARTIROMO: Prices go higher for…

TRUMP: Can I tell you what? It will never happen because they’ll let their currency go up. They’re never going to let it happen.

Japan, the same thing. They are devaluing — it’s so impossible for — you look at Caterpillar Tractor and what’s happening with Caterpillar and Kamatsu (ph). Kamatsu (ph) is a tractor company in Japan. Friends of mine are ordering Kamatsu (ph) tractors now because they’ve de-valued the yen to such an extent that you can’t buy a Caterpillar tractor. And we’re letting them get away with it and we can’t let them get away with it.

And that’s why we have to use Carl (ph) and we have to use our great businesspeople and not political hacks to negotiate with these guys.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Here’s — apart from the — apart from the higher prices on consumers and people are living paycheck to paycheck, apart from that, there will be retaliation.

BARTIROMO: Yeah.

BUSH: So they soybean sales from Iowa, entire soybean production goes — the equivalent of it goes to China. Or how about Boeing right here within a mile? Do you think that the Chinese, if they had a 45 percent tariff imposed on all their imports wouldn’t retaliate and start buying Airbus? Of course, they would. This would be devastating for the economy. We need someone with a steady hand being president of the United States.

BARTIROMO: Real quick, Senator — go ahead, Senator Cruz.

(APPLAUSE)

And then we have to get to tax reform.

TRUMP: And we don’t need a weak person being president of the United State, OK? Because that’s what we’d get if it were Jeb — I tell you what, we don’t need that.

AUDIENCE: Boo.

TRUMP: We don’t need that. That’s essentially what we have now, and we don’t need that. And that’s why we’re in the trouble that we’re in now. And by the way, Jeb you mentioned Boeing, take a look. They order planes, they make Boeing build their plant in China. They don’t want them made here. They want those planes made in China.

BUSH: They’re a mile away from here.

TRUMP: That’s not the way the game is supposed to be played.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor Bush. Thank you, Mr. Trump. Very briefly.

BUSH: My name was mentioned. My name was mentioned here. The simple fact is that the plane that’s being build here is being sold to China. You can — if you — you flew in with your 767, didn’t you? Right there, right next to the plant.

TRUMP: No, the new planes. I’m not talking about now, I’m talking about in the future they’re building massive plants in China because China does not want Boeing building their planes here, they want them built in China, because China happens to be smart the way they do it, not the way we do it.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

BUSH: When you head back to airport tonight, go check and see what the…

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Mr. Trmup. Thank you, Governor.

TRUMP: I’ll check for you.

BUSH: Check it out.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: Senator briefly.

CRUZ: Thanks for coming back to me, Maria. Both Donald and Jeb have good points, and there is a middle ground. Donald is right that China is running over President Obama like he is a child, President Obama is not protecting American workers and we are getting hammered.

CRUZ: You know, I sat down with the senior leadership of John Deere. They discussed how — how hard it is to sell tractors in China, because all the regulatory barriers. They’re protectionist.

But Jeb is also right that, if we just impose a tariff, they’ll put reciprocal tariffs, which will hurt Iowa farmers and South Carolina producers and 20 percent of the American jobs that depend on exports.

So the way you do it is you pass a tax plan like the tax plan I’ve introduced: a simple flat tax, 10 percent for individuals, and a 16 percent business flat tax, you abolish the IRS…

(APPLAUSE)

… and here’s the critical point, Maria — the business flat tax enables us to abolish the corporate income tax, the death tax, the Obamacare taxes, the payroll taxes, and they’re border-adjustable, so every export pays no taxes whatsoever.

It’s tax-free — a huge advantage for our farmers and ranchers and manufacturers — and every import pays the 16 percent business flat tax. It’s like a tariff, but here’s the difference: if we impose a tariff, China responds.

The business flat tax, they already impose their taxes on us, so there’s no reciprocal…

(BELL RINGS)

… tariffs that come against us. It puts us on a level, even playing field, which brings jobs here at home…

(UNKNOWN): Maria…

CRUZ: … and as president, I’m going to fight for the working men and women.

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO: We’ve got to get to tax reform, gentlemen. We’ve got to get to tax reform, and we’ve got to get to the…

(UNKNOWN): Yeah, but I want to talk about taxes.

BARTIROMO: … we’ve got to get to the national debt as well. Coming up next, the growing national debt, the war on crime, tax reform. More from North Charleston, South Carolina, when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the Republican presidential <debate> here in North Charleston. Right back to the questions.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Christie, we have spoken much about cutting spending, given the $19 trillion debt. But according to one report, America needs $3.6 trillion in infrastructure spending by 2020.

Here in South Carolina, 11 percent of bridges are considered structurally deficient, costing drivers a billion dollars a year in auto repairs. What is your plan to fix the ailing roads and bridges without breaking the bank?

CHRISTIE: Well, I’m glad you asked that, Maria. Here’s — here’s our plan. We’ve all been talking about tax reforms tonight, and paying for infrastructure is caught right up in tax reform.

If you reform the corporate tax system in this country, which, as was mentioned before, is the highest rate in the world — and we double tax, as you know.

And what that’s led to over $2 trillion of American companies’ monies that are being kept offshore, because they don’t want to pay the second tax. And who can blame them? They pay tax once overseas. They don’t want to pay 35 percent tax on the way back.

So beside reforming that tax code, bringing it down to 25 percent and eliminating those special-interest loopholes that the lobbyists and the lawyers and the accountants have given — bring that rate down to 25 percent, but also, a one-time repatriation of that money.

Bring the money — the $2 trillion — back to the United States. We’ll tax it, that one time, at 8.75 percent, because 35 percent of zero is zero, but 8.75 percent of $2 trillion is a lot of money. And I would then dedicate that money to rebuilding infrastructure here in this country.

It would not necessitate us raising any taxes. It would bring the money back into the United States to help build jobs by American companies and get our economy moving again, and growing as a higher rate, and it would rebuild those roads and bridges and tunnels that you were talking about. And — and — and the last piece of this, Maria, is this. You know, the fact is that this president has penalized corporations in America. He’s penalized — and doesn’t understand. In fact, what that hurts is hurt hardworking taxpayers.

You’ve seen middle-class wages go backwards $3,700 during the Obama administration. That’s wrong for hardworking taxpayers in this country. We’d rebuild infrastructure that would also create jobs in this country, and we’d work with the states to do it the right way, to do it more efficiently and more effectively.

And remember this — I’m credible on this for this reason: Americans for Tax Reform says that I’ve vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history. We don’t need to raise taxes to get this done.

We need to make the government run smarter and better, and reform this corporate tax system, bring that money back to the United States to build jobs and rebuild our infrastructure, and we need to use it also to protect our grid from terrorists.

All of those things are important, and all those things would happen in a Christie administration.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir. Dr. Carson…

(APPLAUSE)

… it is true U.S. companies have $2 trillion in cash sitting overseas right now. That could be used for investment and jobs in America.

Also, several companies right now are pursuing mergers to move their corporate headquarters abroad, and take advantage of much lower taxes. What will you do to stop the flow of companies building cash away from America, and those leaving America altogether?

CARSON: Well, I would suggest a fair tax system, and that’s what we have proposed. A flat tax for everybody — no exemptions, no deductions, no shelters, because some people have a better capability of taking advantage of those than others.

You know, and then the other thing we have to do is stop spending so much money. You know, I — my — my mother taught me this. You know, she only had a third-grade education, but — you know, she knew how to stretch a dollar.

I mean, she would drive a car until it wouldn’t make a sound, and then gather up all her coins and buy a new car. In fact, if my mother were secretary of treasury, we would not be in a deficit situation. But…

(LAUGHTER)

… you know, the — the — the fact of the matter is — you know, if we fix the taxation system, make it absolutely fair, and get rid of the incredible regulations — because every regulation is a tax, it’s a — on goods and services. And it’s the most regressive tax there is.

You know, when you go into the store and buy a box of laundry detergent, and the price has up — you know, 50 cents because of regulations, a poor person notices that. A rich person does not. Middle class may notice it when they get to the cash register.

And everything is costing more money, and we are killing our — our — our people like this. And Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will say it’s those evil rich people.

It’s not the evil rich people. It’s the evil government that is — that is putting all these regulations on us so that we can’t survive.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.

Senator Rubio…

TRUMP: Maria — Maria, what you were talking about just now is called corporate inversion. It’s one of the biggest problems our country has. Right now, corporations, by the thousands, are thinking of leaving our country with the jobs — leave them behind.

TRUMP: They’re leaving because of taxes, but they are also leaving because they can’t get their money back and everybody agrees, Democrats and Republicans, that is should come back in. But they can’t get along. They can’t even make a deal.

Here is the case, they both agree, they can’t make a deal. We have to do something. Corporate inversion is one of the biggest problems we have. So many companies are going to leave our country.

BARTIROMO: Which is why we raised it.

Senator Rubio?

Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: One of the biggest fiscal challenges is our entitlement programs, particularly Social Security and Medicare. What policies will you put forward to make sure these programs are more financially secure?

RUBIO: Well, first let me address the tax issue because it’s related to the entitlement issue and I want to thank you for holding a substantive debates where we can have debates about these key issues on taxes.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: Here is the one thing I’m not going to do. I’m not going to have something that Ted described in his tax plan. It’s called the value added tax. And it’s a tax you find in many companies in Europe.

Where basically, businesses now will have to pay a tax, both on the money they make, but they also have to pay taxes on the money that they pay their employees.

And that’s why they have it in Europe, because it is a way to blindfolded the people, that’s what Ronald Reagan said. Ronald Regan opposed the value tax because he said it was a way to blindfold the people, so the true cost of government was not there there for them.

Now, you can support one now that’s very low. But what is to prevent a future liberal president or a liberal Congress from coming back and not just raising the income tax, but also raising that VAT tax, and that vat tax is really bad for seniors. Because seniors, if they are retired, are no longer earning an income from a job. And therefore, they don’t get the income tax break, but their prices are going to be higher, because the vat tax is embedded in both the prices that business that are charging and in the wages they pay their employees.

When I am president of the United States, I’m going to side with Ronald Regan on this and not Nancy Pelosi and we are not having a vat tax.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you senator.

CRUZ: Maria, I assume that I can respond to that.

BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, yes. You were meant to. Yes, of course.

CRUZ: Well, Marco has been floating this attack for a few weeks now, but the problem is, the business flat tax in my proposal is not a vat. A vat is imposed as a sales tax when you buy a good.

This is a business flat tax. It is imposed on business and a critical piece that Marco seems to be missing is that this 16 percent business flat tax enables us to eliminate the corporate income tax. It goes away. It enables us to eliminate the death tax.

If you’re a farmer, if you’re a rancher, if you are small business owner, the death tax is gone. We eliminate the payroll tax, we eliminate the Obamacare taxes. And listen, there is a real difference between Marco’s tax plan and mine.

Mine gives every American a simple, flat tax of 10 percent. Marco’s top tax rate is 35 percent. My tax plan enables you to fill out your taxes on a postcard so we can abolish the IRS. Marco leaves the IRS code in with all of the complexity. We need to break the Washington cartel, and the only way to do it is to end all the subsidies and all…

(BELL RINGS)

… the mandates and have a simple flat tax. The final observation, invoked Ronald Reagan. I would note that Art Laffer, Ronald Reagan’s chief economic adviser, has written publicly, that my simple flat tax is the best tax plan of any of the individuals on this stage cause it produces economic growth, it raises wages and it helps everyone from the very poorest to the very richest.

BARTIROMO: Thank you senator.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: But that’s not an accurate description of the plan. Because, first of all, you may rename the IRS but you are not going to abolishes the IRS, because there has to be some agency that’s going to collect your vat tax. Someone’s going to be collecting this tax.

In fact, Ronald Reagan’s treasury, when Ronald Reagan’s treasury looked at the vat tax, you know what they found? That they were going to have to hire 20,000 new IRS agencies to collect it.

The second point, it does not eliminate the corporate tax or the payroll tax. Businesses will now have to pay 16 percent on the money they make. They will also have to pay 16 percent on the money they pay their employees.

So there are people watching tonight in business. If you are now hit on a 60 percent tax on both your income and on the wages you pay your employees, where are you going to get that money from? You’re going to get it by paying your employees less and charging your customers more, that is a tax, the difference is, you don’t see it on the bill.

And that’s why Ronald Reagan said that it was a blindfold. You blindfold the American people so that they cannot see the true cost of government. Now 16 percent is what the rate Ted wants it at. But what happens if, God forbid, the next Barack Obama takes over, and the next Nancy Pelosi, and the next Harry Reid…

(BELL RINGS)

and they decide, we’re going to raise it to 30 percent, plus we’re going to raise the income tax to 30 percent. Now, you’ve got Europe.

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO: Thank you senator. I have to get to a question for Mr. Trump.

CRUZ: Maria…

BARTIROMO: Yes.

CRUZ: Maria, I’d just like to say…

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: Maria, I’d like to interrupt this <debate> on the floor of the Senate to actually answer the question you asked, which was on entitlements. Do you remember that, everybody? This was a question on entitlements.

And the reason — and the reason…

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: … no, you already had your chance, Marco, and you blew it. Here’s the thing.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: The fact is, the reason why…

RUBIO: If you’ll answer the (inaudible) core question.

CHRISTIE: … the fact is — the fact is the reason why that no one wants to answer entitlements up here is because it’s hard. It’s a hard problem. And I’m the only one up on this stage who back in April put forward a detailed entitlement reform plan that will save over $1 trillion, save Social Security, save Medicare, and avoid this — avoid what Hillary Rodham Clinton will do to you.

Because what she will do is come in and she will raise Social Security taxes. Bernie Sanders has already said it. And she is just one or two more poll drops down from even moving further left than she’s moved already to get to the left of Bernie on this.

We have seniors out there who are scared to death because this Congress — this one that we have right now, just stole $150 billion from the Social Security retirement fund to give it to the Social Security disability fund. A Republican Congress did that.

And the fact is it was wrong. And they consorted with Barack Obama to steal from Social Security. We need to reform Social Security. Mine is the only plan that saves over $1 trillion and that’s why I’m answering your question.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Governor.

(APPLAUSE) CARSON: Can I just add one very quick thing? And I just want to say, you know, last week we released our tax plan. And multiple reputable journals, including The Wall Street Journal, said ours is the best. Just want to get that out there, just saying.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Dr. Carson.

Coming up, how would the candidates protect America, and another terror attack, if we were to see it. But first, you can join us live on stage during the commercial break right from home. Go to facebook.com/foxbusiness. We’ll be streaming live and answering your questions during this break next.

More from South Carolina coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Mr. Trump, your net worth is in the multi-billions of dollars and have an ongoing thriving hotel and real estate business. Are you planning on putting your assets in a blind trust should you become president? With such vast wealth, how difficult will it be for you to disentangle yourself from your business and your money and prioritize America’s interest first?

TRUMP: Well, it’s an interesting question because I’m very proud of my company. As you too know, I know I built a very great company. But if I become president, I couldn’t care less about my company. It’s peanuts.

I want to use that same up here, whatever it may be to make America rich again and to make America great again. I have Ivanka, and Eric and Don sitting there. Run the company kids, have a good time. I’m going to do it for America.

So I would — I would be willing to do that.

BARTIROMO: So you’ll put your assets in a blind trust?

TRUMP: I would put it in a blind trust. Well, I don’t know if it’s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. If that’s a blind trust, I don’t know. But I would probably have my children run it with my executives and I wouldn’t ever be involved because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country, anything.

BARTIROMO: Thank you sir.

TRUMP: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Governor Christie, going back to your U.S. Attorney days, you had been praised by both parties as certainly a tough law and order guy. So I wonder what you make of recent statistics that showed violent crimes that have been spiking sometimes by double digit ratings in 30 cities across the country. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said, “most local law enforcement officials feel abandoned by Washington.” Former NYC Police Chief Ray Kelly, says that, “police are being less proactive because they’re being overly scrutinized and second guessed and they’re afraid of being sued or thrown in jail.”

What would you do as president to address this?

CHRISTIE: Well, first off, let’s face it, the FBI director James Comey was a friend of mine who I worked with as U.S. Attorney of New Jersey. He was the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. He said, “there’s a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country.” Here’s why, the president of the United States and both his attorney’s general, they give the benefit of the doubt to the criminal, not to the police officers.

That’s the truth of the matter and you see it every time with this president. Every time he’s got a chance, going all the way back to — remember that Great Beer Summit he had after he messed up that time. This is a guy who just believes that law enforcement are the bad guys.

Now, I for seven years was the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey. I worked hard with not only federal agents but with police officers and here’s the problem, sanctuary cities is part of the problem in this country. That’s where crime is happening in these cities where they don’t enforce the immigration laws. And this president turns his back — this president doesn’t enforce the marijuana laws in this country because he doesn’t agree with them.

And he allows states to go ahead and do whatever they want on a substance that’s illegal. This president allows lawlessness throughout this country. Here’s what I would do Neil, I would appoint an Attorney General and I would have one very brief conversation with that Attorney General. I’d say, “General, enforce the law against everyone justly, fairly, and aggressively. Make our streets safe again. Make our police officers proud of what they do but more important than that, let them know how proud we are of them.”

We do that, this country would be safe and secure again not only from criminals but from the terrorist who threaten us as well. I’m the only person on this stage who’s done that and we will get it done as President of the United States.

CAVUTO: Thank you governor.

Governor Kasich, as someone has to deal with controversial police shootings in your own state, what do you make of Chicago’s move recently to sort of retrain police? Maybe make them not so quick to use their guns?

KASICH: Well, I created a task force well over a year ago and the purpose was to bring law enforcement, community people, clergy and the person that I named as one of the co-chair was a lady by the name of Nina Turner, a former State Senator, a liberal Democrat. She actually ran against one of my friends and our head of public safety.

KASICH: And they say down as a group trying to make sure that we can begin to heal some of these problems that we see between community and police.

KASICH: And they came back with 23 recommendations. One of them is a statewide use of deadly force. And it is now being put into place everyplace across the state of Ohio. Secondly, a policy on recruiting and hiring, and then more resources for — for training.

But let me also tell you, one of the issues has got to be the integration of both community and police. Community has to understand that that police officer wants to get home at night, and not — not to lose their life. Their family is waiting for them.

At the same time, law enforcement understands there are people in the community who not only think that the system doesn’t work for them, but works against them.

See, in Ohio, we’ve had some controversial decisions. But the leaders have come forward to realize that protest is fine, but violence is wrong. And it has been a remarkable situation in our state. And as president of the United States, it’s all about communication, folks. It’s all about getting people to listen to one another’s problems.

And when you do that, you will be amazed at how much progress you can make, and how much healing we can have. Because, folks, at the end of the day, the country needs healed. I’ve heard a lot of hot rhetoric here tonight, but I’ve got to tell you, as somebody that actually passed a budget; that paid down a half-a-trillion dollars of our national debt, you can’t do it alone. You’ve got to bring people together. You’ve got to give people hope.

And together, we can solve these problems that hurt us and heal America. And that is what’s so critical for our neighborhoods, our families, our children, and our grandchildren.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Thank you, Governor.

BARTIROMO: Senator Rubio?

(APPLAUSE)

Under current law, the U.S. is on track to issue more new permanent immigrants on green cards over the next five years than the entire population of South Carolina. The CBO says your 2013 immigration bill would have increased green cardholders by another 10 million over 10 years.

Why are you so interested in opening up borders to foreigners when American workers have a hard enough time finding work?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, this is an issue that’s been debated now for 30 years. And for 30 years, the issue of immigration has been about someone who’s in this country, maybe they’re here illegally, but they’re looking for a job. This issue is not about that anymore.

First and foremost, this issue has to be now more than anything else about keeping America safe. And here’s why. There is a radical jihadist group that is manipulating our immigration system. And not just green cards. They’re looking — they’re recruiting people that enter this country as doctors and engineers and even fiances. They understand the vulnerabilities we have on the southern border.

They’re looking — they’re looking to manipulate our — the visa waiver countries to get people into the United States. So our number one priority must now become ensuring that ISIS cannot get killers into the United States. So whether it’s green cards or any other form of entry into America, when I’m president if we do not know who you are or why you are coming, you are not going to get into the United States of America.

BARTIROMO: So your thinking has changed?

RUBIO: The issue is a dramatically different issue than it was 24 months ago. Twenty-four months ago, 36 months ago, you did not have a group of radical crazies named ISIS who were burning people in cages and recruiting people to enter our country legally. They have a sophisticated understanding of our legal immigration system and we now have an obligation to ensure that they are not able to use that system against us.

The entire system of legal immigration must now be reexamined for security first and foremost, with an eye on ISIS. Because they’re recruiting people to enter this country as engineers, posing as doctors, posing as refugees. We know this for a fact. They’ve contacted the trafficking networks in the Western Hemisphere to get people in through the southern border. And they got a killer in San Bernardino in posing as a fiance.

This issue now has to be about stopping ISIS entering the United States, and when I’m president we will.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: But Maria, radical Islamic terrorism was not invented 24 months ago; 24 months ago, we had Al Qaida. We had Boko Haram. We had Hamas. We had Hezbollah. We had Iran putting operatives in South America and Central America. It’s the reason why I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and led the fight to stop the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, because it was clear then, like it’s clear now, that border security is national security.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator.

CRUZ: It is also the case that that Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill, one of the things it did is it expanded Barack Obama’s power to let in Syrian refugees. It enabled him — the president to certify them en masse without mandating meaningful background checks.

I think that’s a mistake. That’s why I’ve been leading the fight to stop it. And I would note the Senate just a few weeks ago voted to suspend refugees from Middle Eastern countries. I voted yes to suspend that. Marco voted on the other side. So you don’t get to say we need to secure the borders, and at the same time try to give Barack Obama more authority to allow Middle Eastern refugees coming in, when the head of the FBI tells us they cannot vet them to determine if they are ISIS terrorists.

RUBIO: Maria, let me clear something up here. This is an interesting point when you talk about immigration.

RUBIO: Ted Cruz, you used to say you supported doubling the number of green cards, now you say that you’re against it. You used to support a 500 percent increase in the number of guest workers, now you say that you’re against it. You used to support legalizing people that were here illegally, now you say you’re against it. You used to say that you were in favor of birthright citizenship, now you say that you are against it.

And by the way, it’s not just on immigration, you used to support TPA, now you say you’re against it. I saw you on the Senate floor flip your vote on crop insurance because they told you it would help you in Iowa, and last week, we all saw you flip your vote on ethanol in Iowa for the same reason.

(APPLAUSE)

That is not consistent conservatism, that is political calculation. When I am president, I will work consistently every single day to keep this country safe, not call Edward Snowden, as you did, a great public servant. Edward Snowden is a traitor. And if I am president and we get our hands on him, he is standing trial for treason.

(APPLAUSE)

And one more point, one more point. Every single time that there has been a Defense bill in the Senate, three people team up to vote against it. Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. In fact, the only budget you have ever voted for, Ted, in your entire time in the Senate is a budget from Rand Paul that brags about how it cuts defense.

Here’s the bottom line, and I’ll close with this. If I’m president of the United States and Congress tries to cut the military, I will veto that in a millisecond.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: There’s — look, there’s —

CAVUTO: Gentlemen, gentlemen —

CRUZ: I’m going to get a response to that, Neil. There’s no way he launches 11 attack —

CAVUTO: Very quick, very quick. CRUZ: I’m going to — he had no fewer than 11 attacks there. I appreciate your dumping your (inaudible) research folder on the <debate> stage.

RUBIO: No, it’s your record.

CRUZL But I will say —

CAVUTO: Do you think they like each other?

CRUZ: — at least half of the things Marco said are flat-out false. They’re absolutely false.

AUDIENCE: Boo.

CRUZ: So let’s start — let’s start with immigration. Let’s start with immigration and have a little bit of clarity. Marco stood with Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama on amnesty. I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King. Marco stood today, standing on this stage Marco supports legalization and citizenship for 12 million illegals. I opposed and oppose legalization and citizenship.

And by the way, the attack he keeps throwing out on the military budget, Marco knows full well I voted for his amendment to increase military spending to $697 billion. What he said, and he said it in the last <debate>, it’s simply not true. And as president, I will rebuild the military and keep this country safe.

CAVUTO: All right, gentlemen, we’ve got to stop. I know you are very passionate about that.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bush, fears have gripped this country obviously, and you touched on it earlier since the San Bernardino attacks. Since our last <debate>, the national conversation has changed, according to Facebook data as well.

Now this first graphic shows the issues that were most talked about right before those attacks and now after: the issues of Islam, homeland security and ISIS now loom very large. The FBI says Islamic radicals are using social media to communicate and that it needs better access to communication. Now the CEO of Apple, Governor, Tim Cook said unless served with a warrant private communication is private, period. Do you agree, or would you try to convince him otherwise?

BUSH: I would try to convince him otherwise, but this last back and forth between two senators — back bench senators, you know, explains why we have the mess in Washington, D.C. We need a president that will fix our immigration laws and stick with it, not bend with the wind.

The simple fact is one of the ways, Maria, to solve the problem you described is narrow the number of people coming by family petitioning to what every other country has so that we have the best and the brightest that come to our country. We need to control the border, we need to do all of this in a comprehensive way, not just going back and forth and talking about stuff —

CAVUTO: Would you answer this question?

BUSH: Oh, I’ll talk about that, too. But you haven’t asked me a question in a while, Neil, so I thought I’d get that off my chest if you don’t mind.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Fair enough. So Tim Cook — so Tim Cook says he’s going to keep it private.

BUSH: I got that. And the problem today is there’s no confidence in Washington, D.C. There needs to be more than one meeting, there needs to complete dialogue with the large technology companies. They understand that there’s a national security risk. We ought to give them a little bit of a liability release so that they share data amongst themselves and share data with the federal government, they’re not fearful of a lawsuit.

We need to make sure that we keep the country safe. This is the first priority. The cybersecurity challenges that we face, this administration failed us completely, completely. Not just the hacking of OPM, but that is — that is just shameful. 23 million files in the hands of the Chinese? So it’s not just the government — the private sector companies, it’s also our own government that needs to raise the level of our game.

We should put the NSA in charge of the civilian side of this as well. That expertise needs to spread all across the government and there needs to be much more cooperation with our private sector.

CAVUTO: But if Tim cook is telling you no, Mr. President.

BUSH: You’ve got to keep asking. You’ve got to keep asking because this is a hugely important issue. If you can encrypt messages, ISIS can, over these platforms, and we have no ability to have a cooperative relationship —

CAVUTO: Do you ask or do you order?

BUSH: Well, if the law would change, yeah. But I think there has to be recognition that if we — if we are too punitive, then you’ll go to other — other technology companies outside the United States. And what we want to do is to control this.

We also want to dominate this from a commercial side. So there’s a lot of balanced interests. But the president leads in this regard. That’s what we need. We need leadership, someone who has a backbone and sticks with things, rather than just talks about them as though anything matters when you’re talking about amendments that don’t even actually are part of a bill that ever passed.

CAVUTO: Governor, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: When we come right back, closing statements. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Candidates, it is time for your closing statements. You get 60 seconds each.

Governor John Kasich, we begin with you.

KASICH: You know, in our country, there are a lot of people who feel as though they just don’t have the power. You know, they feel like if they don’t have a lobbyist, if they’re not wealthy, that somehow they don’t get to play.

But all of my career, you know, having been raised in — by a mailman father whose father was a coal miner, who died of black lung and was losing his eyesight; or a mother whose mother could barely speak English. You see, all of my career, I’ve fought about giving voice to the people that I grew up with and voice to the people that elected me.

Whether it’s welfare reform and getting something back for the hard-earned taxpayers; whether it’s engaging in Pentagon reform and taking on the big contractors that were charging thousands of dollars for hammers and screw drivers and ripping us off; or whether it’s taking on the special interests in the nursing home industry in Ohio, so that mom and dad can have the ability to stay in their own home, rather than being forced into a nursing home.

KASICH: Look, that’s who I stand up for. That’s who’s in my mind

(BELL RINGS)

And if you really want to believe that you can get your voice back, I will tell you, as I have all my career, I will continue to fight for you, because you’re the ones that built this country, and will carry it into the future. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Governor Bush?

BUSH: Who can you count on to keep us safer, stronger and freer? Results count, and as governor, I pushed Florida up to the top in terms of jobs, income and small business growth.

Detailed plans count, and I believe that the plan I’ve laid out to destroy ISIS before the tragedies of San Bernardino and Paris are the right ones.

Credibility counts. There’ll be people here that will talk about what they’re going to do. I’ve done it. I ask for your support to build, together, a safer and stronger America.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Governor Chris Christie?

CHRISTIE: Maria, Neil, thank you for a great <debate> tonight.

When I think about the folks who are out there at home tonight watching, and I think about what they had to watch this week — the spectacle they had to watch on the floor of the House of Representatives, with the president of the United States, who talked a fantasy land about the way they’re feeling.

They know that this country is not respected around the world anymore. They know that this country is pushing the middle class, the hardworking taxpayers, backwards, and they saw a president who doesn’t understand their pain, and doesn’t have any plan for getting away from it.

I love this country. It’s the most exceptional country the world has ever known. We need someone to fight for the people. We need a fighter for this country again.

I’ve lived my whole life fighting — fighting for things that I believe in, fighting for justice and to protect people from crime and terrorism, fighting to stand up for folks who have not had enough and need an opportunity to get more, and to stand up and fight against the special interests.

But here’s the best way that we’re going to make America much more exceptional: it is to make sure we put someone on that stage in September who will fight Hillary Clinton and make sure she never, ever gets in the White House again.

I am the man who can bring us together to do that, and I ask for your vote.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Dr. Ben Carson?

CARSON: You know, in recent travels around this country, I’ve encountered so many Americans who are discouraged and angry as they watch our freedom, our security and the American dream slipping away under an unresponsive government that is populated by bureaucrats and special interest groups.

We’re not going to solve this problem with traditional politics. The only way we’re going to solve this problem is with we, the people. And I ask you to join me in truth and honesty and integrity. Bencarson.com — we will heal, inspire and revive America for our children.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Senator Marco Rubio?

RUBIO: You know, 200 years ago, America was founded on this powerful principle that our rights don’t come from government. Our rights come from God.

That’s why we embraced free enterprise, and it made us the most prosperous people in the history of the world. That’s why we embraced individual liberty, and we became the freest people ever, and the result was the American miracle.

But now as I travel the country, people say what I feel. This country is changing. It feels different. We feel like we’re being left behind and left out.

And the reason is simple: because in 2008, we elected as president someone who wasn’t interested in fixing America. We elected someone as president who wants to change America, who wants to make it more like the rest of the world.

And so he undermines the Constitution, and he undermines free enterprise by expanding government, and he betrays our allies and cuts deals with our enemies and guts our military. And that’s why 2016 is a turning point in our history. If we elect Hillary Clinton, the next four years will be worse than the last eight, and our children will be the first Americans ever to inherit a diminished country.

But if we elect the right person — if you elect me — we will turn this country around, we will reclaim the American dream and this nation will be stronger and greater than it has ever been.

(APPLAUSE)

CAVUTO: Senator Ted Cruz?

CRUZ: “13 Hours” — tomorrow morning, a new movie will debut about the incredible bravery of the men fighting for their lives in Benghazi and the politicians that abandoned them. I want to speak to all our fighting men and women.

I want to speak to all the moms and dads whose sons and daughters are fighting for this country, and the incredible sense of betrayal when you have a commander-in-chief who will not even speak the name of our enemy, radical Islamic terrorism, when you have a commander-in- chief who sends $150 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, who’s responsible for murdering hundreds of our servicemen and women.

I want to speak to all of those maddened by political correctness, where Hillary Clinton apologizes for saying all lives matter. This will end. It will end on January 2017.

And if I am elected president, to every soldier and sailor and airman and marine, and to every police officer and firefighter and first responder who risk their lives to keep us safe, I will have your back.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Mr. Donald Trump?

TRUMP: I stood yesterday with 75 construction workers. They’re tough, they’re strong, they’re great people. Half of them had tears pouring down their face. They were watching the humiliation of our young ten sailors, sitting on the floor with their knees in a begging position, their hands up.

And Iranian wise guys having guns to their heads. It was a terrible sight. A terrible sight. And the only reason we got them back is because we owed them with a stupid deal, $150 billion. If I’m president, there won’t be stupid deals anymore.

We will make America great again. We will win on everything we do. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Candidates, thank you.

CAVUTO: Gentlemen, thank you all. All of you. That wraps up our <debate. We went a little bit over here. But we wanted to make sure everyone was able to say their due. He’s upset. All right. Thank you for joining us. Much more to come in the Spin Room ahead.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 January 14, 2016: Fox Business Network sixth undercard Republican debate transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

Fox Business undercard Republican debate transcript

Source: WaPo, 1-14-16

Hosted by Fox Business Network in North Charleston, South Carolina

Participants: CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Moderators: Trish Regan and Sandra Smith

TRISH REGAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: In Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, the president said that our economy is strong. He cited the significant decline we’ve seen in unemployment rate and the millions of jobs that have been created.

What is your assessment of the economy right now? And I would like to hear from all of you on this one, beginning with Ms. Fiorina.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you. Good evening. If I may begin by saying how honored I am to be standing here with two former Iowa Caucus winners.

Governor, Senator.

And how honored I am to be talking with all of you. You know, I’m not a political insider. I haven’t spent my lifetime running for office. The truth is I have had and been blessed by a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things in my life.

And unlike another woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: I’m standing here because I think we have to restore a citizen government in this country. I think we have to end crony capitalism. The crony capitalism that starts with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

You know, Hillary Clinton sits inside government and rakes in millions, handing out access and favors. And Donald Trump sits outside government and rakes in billions buying people like Hillary Clinton.

The state of our economy is not strong. We have record numbers of men out of work. We have record numbers of women living in poverty. We have young people who no longer believe that the American dream applies to them.

We have working families whose wages have stagnated for decades, all while the rich get richer, the powerful get more powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected get more connected.

Citizens, it’s time to take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

SANDRA SMITH, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: Governor Huckabee, same question to you. Where do you see the country right now?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wish I saw the country in the same place that the president presented it to be the other night in the State of the Union. He talked about how great the economy was doing. And I guess for the people he hangs out with, it’s probably doing great.

But the president should’ve stood in the line at the layaway counter at Walmart just before Christmas. He would have heard a very different story about the economy of America.

HUCKABEE: I wish I could introduce him the lady who cleans the building where our campaign headquarters is located in Little Rock. Her name is Kathleen (ph). She works all day at a local hospital cleaning, and then she goes to the building where a bank, and our headquarters, and other offices are she spends another seven hours. She works 15 hours a day.

I guarantee you she’s not working 15 hours a day because she loves scrubbing toilets, and sweeping floors. She’s working that many hours because that’s what it takes for her to make it work.

And, she’s not alone. There are people all over this country who are working like that. Many of them working two jobs — and they used to have one job, and that would take care of them. But, because of wage stagnation, which we’ve had for 40 years, because the fact that they’re punished for working harder if they work that many hours. The government gets more of their second shift than they do.

And, as a result there are a lot of people who are hurting today. I wish the President knew more of them. He might make a change in the economy and the way he’s managing it.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you Governor Huckabee. Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: Well, all he has to do is listen to the Democratic debate and find out how bad the economy is. All they do is complain about the hollowing out of the middle of America, and how America is struggling so badly, and have to make these radical changes in Washington.

But they’ve been in control for the last seven years, and what have we seen? The most important jobs, I believe, in this country are the ones that fill the middle. For the 74% of Americans who don’t have a college degree between the age of 25 and 65 are manufacturing jobs. Your governor, and your legislature, and your team here have done an amazing job of bringing manufacturing jobs back to South Carolina.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

SANTORUM: Right here. Right here in Charleston, right down in the street in Boeing (ph). You’ve done a great job, and what’s happened? You’ve grown this economy, you’ve strengthened the center of your state, the middle. That’s because you know that if you’re really going to create wealth and opportunity, you got to get jobs, and good paying jobs for everybody.

And, so what’s happened? Two million jobs, manufacturing jobs, have left this country because of Barack Obama. Regulations, EPA, workplace regulations, things driving people off-shore all because of his number one priority, global climate change.

Well, let me tell you this, Mr. President. For every dollar of GDP, China creates five times as much pollution as we do here. You want to — lower global climate change, bring those jobs back to America and let American workers do that job with less pollution.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Senator Santorum. Thank you, candidates.

Moving to the world stage. The middle east is on the brink of chaos. Iran continues to provoke the United States, North Korea claims it’s tested a hydrogen bomb, and Afghanistan is in danger of falling back into Taliban hands. Critics of the administration say it’s all due to lack of U.S. leadership.

To you, Mrs. Fiorina, how do you see America’s role in the world today?

FIORINA: America must lead because when we do not lead, when this exceptional nation does not lead, the world is more dangerous and a more tragic place.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, they all refuse to lead. Worse, they refuse to respond when this nation is provoked. Hillary Clinton famously asked what difference does it make how four Americans died in Benghazi?

Mrs. Clinton, here’s what difference it makes. When you do not stand up and say the truth, that this was a purposeful terrorist attack, when you do not say the United States of America will retaliate for that attack, terrorists assume it’s open season.

We have refused to respond to every provocation. The President wouldn’t even mention the fact that Iran had taken two Navy boats and our sailors — hostage. He didn’t mention the fact that they violated the Geneva convention. He didn’t respond to the fact that Iran launched two ballistic missile just a short time ago, in direct violation of a deal they had just signed. We didn’t respond to the fact that North Korea attacked Sony Pictures.

When we refuse to respond over, and over to provocation and bad behavior, we will get more provocation and bad behavior. I know most of our allies personally. I have met many of our adversaries. I know our military and our intelligence capability, and I know this. When we will not stand with our allies, when we will not respond to our adversaries, when we do not lead in the world the world is a dangerous and tragic place. I will be a Commander in Chief who will lead.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Well, since we’ve been talking about the Middle East, Senator Santorum, conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran have certainly escalated, amid accusations that Saudi Arabia bombed the Iranian Embassy in Yemen after the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was attacked.

As we confront an increasingly unstable Middle East, how will you, as president, navigate this administration’s promises to Iran while standing by our historic allies in the region?

RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FORMER SENATOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the historic promises that we have made to — to Iran in this agreement need to be torn up on the first day in office of the next president.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And let me tell you why, because Iran has already torn it up. Iran has not approved the agreement that President Obama has said that they have approved. They have approved a different agreement in their parliament.

The fact of the matter is they have violated this agreement. Carly just mentioned some of those violations.

They have launched ballistic missiles, tested them, in clear violation.

And here’s the pathetic part. The president announced that they were going to impose sanctions. And then President Rouhani went on Twitter and said there would be retaliation.

And what did we do?

We backed down.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are 50 some Citadel cadets in this audience tonight.

(APPLAUSE) SANTORUM: I would ask them to stand up if they will. And here’s what I want to tell each and every one of them, as you stand. Here’s what I want to tell them.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Whether it’s you’re watching that movie this weekend that just came out when we abandoned our men and women in Benghazi, or whether it’s we treat Iran, that gave courtesies to our sailors, as they made them record a hostage video, let me tell you this, if you choose to serve this country, I will have your back. I will not let America be trampled upon anymore by these radical jihadists.

REGAN: Thank you, Senator Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Governor Huckabee, in Afghanistan, the Taliban is strengthening. Attacks are on the rise and thousands more civilians have been wounded or killed. Much of the Taliban surge can be attributed to the withdrawal of U.S. forces there.

You have expressed skepticism with the war there, saying you see no end game in sight.

What, then, is your solution to the growing conflict there?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AK), FORMER GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me put that in context. When I went to Afghanistan, I saw a land that looked like the land of the Flintstones. It was desolate. It was barren. It was primitive.

And it’s been that way for thousands of years. They want to take the world back to be just like that.

We don’t.

We need to make a clear goal as to why we want to be anywhere in the Middle East, and I’ll tell you why we want to be and need to be, is to destroy radical Islam and everything that threatens civilization. It’s not just a threat…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: — to Israel or to America, it’s a threat to every civilized person on this Earth. And we need to be equipping not only the Kurds in Iraq, we need to be making sure that those who are willing to fight radical Muslims will do it, but we need to never ever spend a drop of American blood unless there is a clearly defined goal and we can’t make sure we win unless we have a military that’s the strongest in the history of mankind.

We’ve got to rebuild our navy. It’s the smallest navy we’ve had since 1915, when my grandfather got on a destroyer in World War I when he was in the U.S. Navy. We’ve got young men in Air Force B-52s, one in particular, he’s flying a B-52 that his father flew in the ’80s and his grandfather flew in the ’50s. Those planes are older than me.

We’ve got to have a military that the world is afraid of, use it sparingly, but when we do, the whole world will know that America is on their tail and they will be on their tail on the ground, never ever to rise up again.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, if I could just follow-up with that.

Do we need to be in Afghanistan?

HUCKABEE: Only if there is a concerted effort to destroy the advance of radical Islamists who are against us. As far as what are we going to make it look like. Frankly, I don’t know what we can make it look like. You can’t create for other people a desire for freedom and democracy.

And frankly, that is not the role of the United States. The role of the United States military is not to build schools, it is not to build bridges, it is not to go around and pass out food packets.

It is to kill and destroy our enemy and make America safe and that is the purpose we should be there if we’re going to be there.

REGAN: Thank you Governor Huckabee.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, nearly 600 women say they were attacked in a German city on New Year’s Eve by men of Arab or North African descent and 45 percent of those alleged attacks were sexual assaults. Twenty-two of those 32 men arrested so far are asylum-seekers. Are you worried about similar problems in the United States?

FIORINA: Of course I’m worried about similar problems in the United States. We can not allow refugees to enter this country unless we can adequately vet them and we know we can’t. Therefore we should stop allowing refugees into this country.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: And by the way, we do not need to be lectured about why we’re angry and frustrated and fearful because we’ve had an illegal immigration problem in this country for 25 years.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: And we have every right to be frustrated about the fact that politicians stand up in election after election after election and promise us to fix the problem and yet, it has never been fixed.

I offer leadership that understands that actions speak louder than words, that results count. We must secure our border. We must fix our broken immigration system. We must enforce a pro-American immigration system that serves our interests, not the rest of the world. I understand what it takes to translate goals into results and that is what I will do as president of the United States. Of course, we should be worried, for heavens sakes.

This administration has now told us they don’t know who has overstayed a visa. This administration has told us they don’t even bother to check Facebook or Twitter to find out who’s pledging allegiance to jihadis. We can do better than this, citizens. We need to take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: I want to stay with you on this. The world shares a common enemy right now in the way of ISIS. Russia, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, we all agree ISIS is a threat and it must be stopped.

During World War II, the world partnered with Joseph Stalin, who was arguably one of the most formidable — despicable figures of the 20th century. But they partnered with him to fight the Nazis.

Today, everyone seems to agree we need some kind of coalition to fight ISIS. Do you agree with that? And if so, would your coalition include possibly, Russia and Iran?

FIORINA: We need to be very clear-eyed now about who are our allies and who are our adversaries. In the fight against ISIS, Saudi Arabia is our ally. Iran is our adversary. And despite Donald trump’s bromance with Vladmir Putin, Vladmir Putin and Russia are our adversary. We can not…

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: We can not outsource leadership in the Middle East to Iran and Russia. We must stand and lead. The Kuwaitis, the Jordanians, the Saudis, Egyptians, Bahrainis (sic), the Emirates, the Kurds. I know virtually all of these nations and their leaders. And they have asked us for very specific kinds of support: bombs, material, arms, intelligence.

We are not providing any of it today. I will provide all of it. We have allies who will stand up and help us deny ISIS territory, which is what we must do to defeat them. We must deny them territory. They will help us do this. And yes, we need a coalition.

But only in the United States of America can lead such a coalition. I will lead it. But we must be clear-eyed through this fight. Iran is our adversary. Russia is our adversary. We can never outsource our leadership. Only the United States of America can lead to defeat ISIS. I will.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, thank you.

SMITH: All right, thank you, candidates. We’re just getting started. Jobs, Homeland Security, gun rights, all those issues are coming up straight ahead. We’re live from North Charleston and the Republican Presidential Debate. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Welcome back, everyone, to the Republican presidential debate. On to the next round of questions — Sandra.

SMITH: All right, let’s get started. Senator Santorum, to you first. President Obama has urged technology leaders to make it hard for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice. Hillary Clinton says social media companies can help by swiftly shutting down terrorist accounts.

The companies say that they’re already working with law enforcement and any proposed legislation would do more harm than good. Should companies like Facebook and Twitter be required by law to more actively — be more actively engaged in fighting terror?

SANTORUM: I would just say that if we were doing a better job within the government, we wouldn’t need the private sector to do the things that we’re asking them to do.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: I’ve had a little experience in this in the private sector myself. And what I found was a government with layers and layers of bureaucracy, of people who had some technical expertise but they had no authority, number one.

And one of the things I found out about in the bureaucracy is if a lot of people have authority, nobody has authority, number one. And number two, that if you don’t do anything, you don’t get fired.

It’s only when you do something and something goes wrong, you get fired. So they do nothing. And that’s what is happening in our Defense Department right now. We have a capability that they’re trying to develop to play defense.

We have a lot of technologists that are very skilled. And they’re trying to figure out how to play defense. But what we don’t have is we don’t have folks who are thinking about offense.

We don’t have war-fighters. We have technologists. Technologists are not war-fighters. Technologists are thinking, how do I protect cyber-security, how do I secure, how do I protect?

SANTORUM: And we need to have a much more dynamic, how do we — how do we go after them?

How do we respond?

And we need leadership that’s willing to make sure that when someone attacks us — and ladies and gentlemen, they’re attacking us as we speak. They’re attacking us all day every day, not just the government, but they’re attacking private sector companies all day every day.

They have to learn that we’re going to pay — they’re going to pay a price when they do so.

And then right now, just like in every other aspect of our national security, people who attack us are not paying a price. We need a leader who will make sure that they know when they mess with America, they’re going to pay a price.

SMITH: Senator, would you — would you require anything of those companies like Facebook and Twitter if you were president?

SANTORUM: Look, Facebook and Twitter can teach us things. We can cooperate with them. We can share ideas and information. But this is a — and this is a very dicey area for the government to go in and require the industry to do its job.

It needs to develop that capability. We need to be — have responsible dialogue, but I don’t think requirements are the order of the day.

SMITH: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, the president has just issued an executive order to expand the gun laws and background checks. And none of you on stage agree with this.

But recent polls show the majority of Americans are in favor of universal background checks.

(BOOS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in this room.

REGAN: It’s the poll data.

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: And we all believe the polling data all the time, don’t we?

REGAN: So tell me…

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: — why, in your view, is the president’s proposal a problem?

FIORINA: Oh, it’s a problem for so many reasons.

First of all, it is yet another lawless executive order. You see, he doesn’t like the fact that Congress has rejected his ideas twice on a bipartisan basis, so he’s decided he just gets to override them.

Sorry, Mr. President, not the way “The Constitution” works.

Secondly…

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: — secondly, he basically admitted in that speech that he hasn’t been paying much attention to enforcing the laws we have. He said, gee, we need a few more FBI agents. That would have helped, perhaps, stop a tragedy here in South Carolina with Dylann Roof, a guy who clearly never should have been sold a gun.

In other words, Mr. President, you’re right, we need to enforce the laws we have. Let’s enforce the laws we have. There are criminals running around with guns who shouldn’t have them. We don’t prosecute any of them. Less than 1 percent.

But I want to go back to the technology issue for a moment, if I may, as well, because in this regard, I disagree with Senator Santorum. Look, I come from the technology industry and I can tell you there is one thing that bureaucracies don’t know how to do. They do not know how to innovate.

We have come seven generations of technology since 2011. We have bureaucracies that are incapable of bringing in that innovation.

So, yes, there are some very specific things that we should ask the private sector to help us with, including making sure we have the latest and greatest in algorithms to search through all these databases so that we find terrorists before they attack us, not after it’s too late.

And, finally, when a president who understands technology in the Oval Office. Mrs. Clinton, actually, you cannot wipe a server with a towel.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, you’ve said that was when you were CEO of HP, you actually worked with the government.

FIORINA: Yes, and see…

REGAN: — to try and combat some of these terrorist threats.

FIORINA: As CEO of Hewlett Packard…

REGAN: What did you do?

FIORINA: As CEO of Hewlett Packard, I was asked very specifically for some very real help. The help I was asked to provide, this is now public information. So I am not revealing what — something that was — was classified.

We had a very large shipment of equipment, software and hardware, headed to a retail outlet. And I was called by the head of the NSA, who had an urgent need for that capability, to begin laying out a program to track terrorists.

We turned that truck around on a highway and it was escorted to the headquarters in San Jose.

In World War II, our government went to the private sector and said, help us do things that we cannot do.

The private sector has capabilities that the government does not have. There are some legal authorities that are required.

The Sony attack could have been detected and repelled, had legal authorities been passed in Congress allowing private networks and public networks to work together.

Those legal authorities have not yet been passed.

Yes, I was asked to help.

(RINGS BELL)

FIORINA: I know the technology industry. They will help again. But they must be asked by a president who understands what they have.

REGAN: Ms. Fiorina, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: All right, Governor Huckabee, you called President Obama’s executive orders on gun control unconstitutional and completely insane.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: (LAUGHING) Yes, I did.

SMITH: You even told gun store owners to ignore the President’s orders.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Yet, innocent people are dying from gun violence in cities like Detroit, Chicago, and Charleston everyday. Is there anything that can be done at the federal level to prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals?

HUCKABEE: Well, why don’t we start by making sure the Justice Department never does an idiotic program like Fast and Furious where the U.S. Government put guns…

(CHEERING)

HUCKABEE: …in the hands of Mexican drug lords…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …and end up killing one of our border agents. You know, they want to talk about law abiding citizens, I just find it amazing the President keeps saying the gun show loophole. There is no gun show loophole. I promise you I’ve been to more gun shows than President Obama.

SMITH: (LAUGHING)

HUCKABEE: And, I’ve bought more weapons at them, and you fill out forms. The President also says things that it’s easier to get a gun now than it is to grow trees. Again, I purchase guns, and I can assure you that it is much more difficult to purchase a firearm than it is to get the ingredients of a salad at the supermarket.

What the President keeps pushing are ideas that have never worked. Ideas that would not have stopped San Bernadino, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and at some point you wonder if you keep retrying things that don’t work, maybe we should just see if we could resell all those used lottery tickets that didn’t work real well because that’s the logic of just keep doing the same thing, but something that has failed. Of course, we want to stop gun violence, but the one common thing that has happened in most mass shootings is that they happened in gun- free zones where people who would have been law abiding citizens, who could have stood up and at least tried to stop it and we’re not allowed to under the law.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, an American in San Bernardino murdered 14 people while terrorists with Belgian and French passports murdered 130 people. Were facing a threat within our borders, and from outside the United States. Those European terrorists, they could have come here at any time given that we have a visa waiver program that enables people to travel back and forth. It exists within those countries, and 36 others.

In countries around the world, including many in Europe, cannot ensure that their citizens are not jihadists, why are we waiving the visa requirement at all?

HUCKABEE: Well, we shouldn’t be and that’s one of the reasons that I think there a lot of voices in our country who are saying it’s time to relook (ph) at the visa program. The European Union is a failure, it’s not allowed for even the economic goals that they were trying to achieve.

But, what we’re not seeing is that it’s making Europe less safe, and it’s proven not to be exactly what they all thought it was going to be.

Our first and foremost responsibility in this country, and the first responsibility of the President of the United States is protect America, and protect Americans. We have a President who seems to be more interested in protecting the reputation and image of Islam than he is protecting us. And, I want to be very clear…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …that this President.

(CHEERING)

HUCKABEE: Makes comments like he did the other night, that we have to be so careful because we don’t want to offend Muslims. He needs to read his own FBI crime stats from last year which would show him that of the hate crimes in the country, over 5,500, about 1,100 were religious hate crimes. And, of those, 58% were directed toward Jews. Only 16% directed toward Muslims.

Maybe what the President should have talked about the other night is how we ought to be more careful in the anti-semitic comments that are going toward American Jews than toward Muslims because by three times as many…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …they’re being targeted for religious hate crime.

REGAN: If you get the visa waiver program, does that shut down international commerce?

HUCKABEE: It does not shut down international commerce, but it may slow it down. And, you don’t want to slowdown commerce that is making us safer. It’s worth it. This lady who came and joined with the San Bernardino killer had passed three background checks, and that’s why a lot of Americans didn’t buy it when the President said we’ll bring in Syrian refugees, but don’t worry we’ll check them out.

We have a lot of confidence in a president who told us that we could keep our doctor, we could keep our health insurance, and cost us less, and now the latest is if you like your gun you can keep it too, and frankly, we don’t buy it. We don’t believe it. He’s lost his credibility, and his inept…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: …inability to work with Congress and pass legislation has led him to do what I never even imagined doing as a governor, and that’s just going and doing it my own way.

HUCKABEE: That’s why we elect a president, is to lead, is to be able to shepherd things through. And if I can do it with a 90 percent Democrat legislature in Arkansas, there is no excuse for any president not being able to lead in Washington if he knows what the heck he is doing when he gets there.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

SMITH: Senator Santorum, many of our military leaders believe America’s critical infrastructure is vulnerable to a terrorist attack. This is the power in our homes, the water we drink, the Internet and phone systems by which we stay connected.

If attacked, these essential services that underpin American society could come to a grinding halt. Do you have a specific plan to protect us from this type of attack?

SANTORUM: Well, the most devastating attack that could occur is an electromagnetic pulse attack, and that would be an attack that would be triggered by a nuclear explosion in the upper atmosphere of our country.

The best way to stop that from happening is to make sure that those who contemplating and actually war-gaming and talking about using it, Iran, doesn’t get a nuclear weapon so they can’t explode that device.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And the president of the United States has put Iran on a path to a nuclear weapon. And we have done nothing to do anything to harden our grid. There is actually a bill in Congress that would put money forward to try to put redundancy and harden our electric grid so it could actually survive an EMP.

An EMP is a devastating explosion that sends a pulse that knocks out all electric, everything, everything that is connected to any kind — that is wired, that has a circuit board gets fried out. Everything is gone. Cars stop. Planes fall out of the sky.

This is a devastating attack. And this president has done nothing, number one, to take the most probable person to — probable country to launch an attack and stop them, and has done nothing to try to defend us, particularly our electric grid. The bottom line is, I put the original sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program when I was in the United States Senate. I’ve been fighting for 12 years with one thing in mind, that we must stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And…

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Because they’re different than every other country. They do not want a nuclear weapon to defend themselves. They want a nuclear weapon to have theological ends to bring about their mahdi so they can control the world. And that is the most serious threat facing this country right now.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Senator Santorum, I want to stay with you on this, moving to jobs and the economy. In his State of the Union Address the other night, President Obama touted his record on jobs, citing more than 14 million new jobs and boasted of nearly 900,000 manufacturing jobs added in the past six years.

Do you dispute his track record of creating jobs?

SANTORUM: Well, the numbers just don’t add up. I mean, they have not added manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing jobs have been lost in this country, 2 million of them. The bottom line is that this president has done more to take jobs away from the hard-working people who are struggling the most.

And that’s folks who are, as I said, the 74 percent of Americans who don’t have a college degree. And they’re out there talking about, well, we’re going to provide free college for everybody. Well, who is going to pay for it? The 74 percent that don’t have a college degree.

They’re not — nobody is focused. Let’s just be honest, nobody is focused on the people who are struggling the most in America today. We talk about immigration. Talk about the president’s immigration plan. He wants to bring in more and more people into this country. Let people who are here illegally stay in this country.

Almost all of the people who are here illegally, and most of the people who came here legally over the last 20 years, they’re working in wage-earning jobs. That is why wages have flat-lined.

And we have unfortunately two political parties with most of the candidates in this field for some form of amnesty, some form of allowing people to stay here even though they’re here illegally and for increasing levels of legal immigration.

I’m someone who believes that we need to be the party that stands for the American worker. And when we say we need to send people back, I mean we send people back.

And let me just make one point. I was in Storm Lake, Iowa, the other day, near a Tyson’s plant, 91 percent of the kids that go to the elementary school there are minority kids. And they said, well, what are you going to do with all of these people, their families, they’ve lived here for a long time?

I said, I’m going to give them a gift. I’m going to give them a gift of being able to help the country they were born in.

SANTORUM: And I’m going to export America, the education they were able to see. They learned English language. They learned about capitalism. They learned about democracy. You want to stop flow of immigrants?

Let’s send six million Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, El Savadorians…

(BELL RINGS)

… back into their country, so they can start a renaissance in their country so they won’t be coming over here anymore.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Senator Santorum, thank you.

SMITH: Governor Huckabee, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, has said the greatest threat to our security is our national debt.

Our national debt is now on pace to top $19 trillion. Yet, you as well as Ms. Fiorina have laid forward no plan to reform entitlements. How can you say you’re going to pay down our country’s debt without cutting Social Security or Medicare?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, let’s just remember that Social Security is not the government’s money, it belongs to the people who had it taken out of their checks involuntarily their entire working lives.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: For the government to say, well it is fault of working people that we have a Social Security problem, no. It is the fault of a government that used those people’s money for something other than protecting those people’s accounts. So let’s not blame them and punish them.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: But here is a fact, and I sometimes hear Republicans say well, we’re going to have to cut this and extend the age. You know what I think a lot of times when I hear people say, well, let’s make people work to their 70. That sounds great for white-collar people who sat at a desk most of their lives. You ever talk to somebody that stood on concrete floor for the first 40 years of their working life? Do you think they can stand another five years or 10 years, many of them will retired virtually crippled because they worked hard. And we’re going to punish them some more? I don’t think so. Here’s the fact.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCAKBEE: Four percent economic growth, we fully fund Social Security and Medicare. Our problem is not that Social Security is just too generous to seniors. It isn’t. Our problem is that our politicians have not created the kind of policies that would bring economic growth.

And I still support strongly that we get rid of the 77,000 pages of the monstrous tax code…

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: … pass the fair tax, supercharge this economy with the rocket fuel that happens with the consumption tax and we don’t have to cut Social Security to any senior who has worked their lifetime for it.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you, Governor Huckabee.

SMITH: OK. We’re going to continue this conversation. We’re taking a quick break and then coming up, the candidates’ plans for strengthening the middle class. We’re live in North Charleston with the Republican Presidential Debate. We’ll be right back.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

REGAN: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate live from North Charleston.

We want to jump right back in.

Sandra is kicking it off.

SMITH: All right, thanks, Trish.

Well, let’s get started with Ms. Fiorina.

Today, the middle class represents about 50 percent of the U.S. population, down from about 61 percent back in 1971. That’s according to Pew Research. The same research revealed a widening income gap in America. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

What will you do to strengthen a middle class that is no longer the majority?

FIORINA: For decades, the professional political class in both parties has been talking about the middle class. For decades, Republicans in particular have been talking about reducing the size and scope of government, spending less money, reducing the complexity.

And yet, for 40 years, the government has gotten bigger and more expensive.

We now have a 75,000 plus page tax code, although politicians have run for office for decades promising reform. And all the while, middle class incomes have stagnated.

You see, when government gets bigger and bigger, more powerful, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class gets squeezed.

We need to understand who the job creators are in this country, because we need more jobs to grow the middle class and to grow the wages of the middle class.

Who creates jobs?

Small businesses, new businesses, family-owned businesses. (APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: They create two thirds of the new jobs in this country and they employ half the people.

I started out typing for a nine person real estate firm. My husband Frank started out driving a tow truck for a family-owned auto body shop. And we are crushing small businesses and destroying the middle class.

So here’s my blueprint to take back America. Let us first actually reform the tax code from 73,000 pages down to three. There’s a 20-year-old plan to do exactly that.

And then let us begin piece by piece to focus on every single dollar the government spends, so that we will spend less overall and still have enough for our priorities. And that requires the government to budget the way you do at home — examine every dollar, cut any dollar, move any dollar. The fancy term for that is zero- based budgeting, but I call it common sense.

Citizens, we’ve got to take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Ms. Fiorina.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Governor Huckabee, you know it used to be you could graduate from high school and get a pretty good job at the local factory, enough to take care of your family and yourself. Those days seem to be gone. It’s pretty hard to do that nowadays.

Businesses are increasingly turning to automation to increase their productivity levels. It’s happening right here, in fact, at the Boeing factory in North Charleston.

The president says automation threatens workers’ ability to get higher wages.

Do you agree with that?

And if so, do you have a solution?

HUCKABEE: Let me go back to the reason so many people are having a hard time getting ahead. The tax system punishes them.

Think about this. If you work really hard and you start moving up the economic ladder, you get bumped into a different tax bracket. So the government thinks it deserves more of your hard work than you do.

And it’s one of the reasons that no matter how many different reforms you have to a tax on people’s productivity, you’re still taxing their work, their savings. You’re taxing their capital gains, inheritance, dividends, you’re taxing everything that produces something.

And it’s way I really believe it’s time to do something bold, not something minute. This is no time for a tap of the hammer, a twist of the screwdriver. It’s time for something big. That’s why the fair tax transforms our economy.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And we don’t punish workers. It’s the only way we’re going to get middle class people moving ahead again, because the harder they work, the more they keep. No payroll tax deducted from their checks. They get their entire paycheck.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And, one of the most important parts, it’s built on the common sense with which we raised our kids, and trained dogs. You reward behavior you want more of. And, you punish behavior you want less of. That’s how I raise kids, it’s how I trained our dogs, and folks, it’s not that difficult.

We now punish the behavior we say we want more of by taxing it, and we reward the behavior that we say we want less of, so if you make a good investment, we punish you with a tax. If you make a bad investment you can write that off and the rest of the taxpayers will help subsidize you, and bail you out.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you very much, Governor Huckabee.

Senator Santorum, 40% of babies born today are born to single moms. That’s twice as high as reported back in 1980, and it’s 11 times as high as in 1940. Studies show that children are always better off economically, most often — and emotionally, with two parents in a household. From a policy perspective, should the government be doing anything to encourage family formation?

SANTORUM: You know, we’ve had this debate about the economy, and we haven’t talked the one issue now increasingly even the right, and even the are coming to agreement. I’ve run around doing 300 town hall meetings talking about a book written by a liberal Harvard sociologist, not a normal thing for me to be talking about, but I now name Robert Putnam who wrote a book called, “Our Kids”.

And, he wrote this book, I think, ostensibly to support the Democratic argument that the middle of America’s hollowing out, and income gap is widening, and rich are getting richer. When he studied all the information as to what was going on, he realized that the biggest reason that we’re seeing the hollowing out of the middle of America is the breakdown of the American family.

The reality is that if you’re a single parent — a child of a single parent, and you grew up in a single parent family neighborhood, you went to that single parent family school, the chance of you ever, ever reaching the top 20% of income earners is 3% in America. At least — I don’t know about you, but that’s not good enough. And, we have been too politically correct in this country because we don’t want to offend anybody to fight for the lives of our children. (APPLAUSE)

You want — You want to be shocked? You read the first few chapters of Mr. — Dr. Putnam’ book. He talks about Port Clinton, Ohio and growing up there in the 1950’s, and how poor kids actually survived and did well, even though they were poor and disadvantaged. But, then he goes to the towns today and these kids are failing, and failing miserably. They don’t even have a shot, and we won’t even have the courage to have leadership at the federal level — not with legislation, but the most powerful tool a president have, the bully pulpit to encourage each and everyone of you, churches and businesses, and educators, and community leaders to let’s have a national campaign to rebuild the American family, and give every child its birthright which is a Mom and a Dad who loves them.

That will change this economy.

(CHEERING & APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you.

SMITH: Thank you, Senator.

We’re not finished yet. More Republican Presidential Debate in North Charleston after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Welcome back, it’s time for the closing statements. Candidates will each get one minute, starting with Senator Santorum.

Thank you very much, I want to thank the people of Charleston, which has become a little bit of a second home to me, because I am very privileged to have two young men who go to the Citadel here and they’re here tonight, my son John and my son Daniel.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Ladies and gentlemen, America is frustrated and angry and looking for someone who’s a fighter, but I also think they’re looking for someone who’s a winner. Somebody who can go out there and take on the establishment and make a difference. And take on someone who’s going to be the person who’s going to be between a Republican holding the presidency and that’s Hillary Clinton.

And there’s one person on this stage, one person in the race who’s done it and done it repeatedly. I’ve taken on Hillary Clinton on the issues you care about. Partial-birth abortion.

Go and google Rick Santorum and Hillary Clinton and there you’ll see a five-minute debate. I’ll let you decide who won the debate. I’ll tell you who won, because we passed the bill and I know I’m out of time but I’m going to take some of Rand Paul’s time here for a second.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: If you’re looking for someone who fought Hillary Clinton on Iran’s sanctions, she was one of four who voted — who’s deciding vote who voted against Iran’s sanctions, so we didn’t get it in place as earlier as we should have.

I’ve fought battles against her. In 1994, I ran against the Clinton machine. James Carville and Paul Begala, ran the race against me when I took on the author of Hillary care.

And each one of those battles, I won. You want a fighter, you want a winner, I’d appreciate your vote. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Senator Santorum. Governor Mike Huckabee.

HUCAKBEE: Well, Rick, I’m pretty sure I did also fight the Clinton machine because every election I was ever in in Arkansas, I assure you, they were behind it, helping finance and campaign for every opponent.

And I share with you the understanding that it’s going to be a tough battle. But I spent the first half of my adult life in the private and nonprofit sector, raising a family, understanding how tough it is for people to make it.

And that first half of my life is what led me to believe that America needs a different kind of leadership, not people who spent their whole life running from one office to the next, and living off the government dime. And I got involved because I got sick of what I saw.

I also believe that there’s got to be some leadership that not only addresses the monetary and military issues of this country, but the moral issues of this country. At the end of every political speech, most of us say, God bless America.

But how can he do that when we continue to slaughter 4,000 babies a day?

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And I want to be the president that treats every person, including the unborn, as a person. And protect them under the 5th and 14th amendments of the constitution. I close with this word from a gentleman in East Texas named Butel Lucre (ph). He’s 100 years old and I met him down in East Texas.

HUCKABEE: And he said this to me. “I sure wish, Mike, we had the days when The Ten Commandments were in all of our capitals and in every school, and we prayed again.

You know, he may be 100 years old, but I believe some of those old ideas to get this country back where we unapologetically get on our knees before we get on our feet might be the best solutions we’ve ever sought as a country.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: And I ask for your support and your vote.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SMITH: Thank you, Governor.

REGAN: Carly Fiorina?

FIORINA: My husband Frank, that I mentioned, I love spending time with. He’s down there. He was real excited the other day because in New Hampshire, he was introduced as my eye candy.

(LAUGHTER)

FIORINA: You know, everybody out there watching knows this. You cannot wait to see the debate between me and Hillary Clinton. You would pay to see that fight.

(APPLAUSE)

FIORINA: And that’s because you know I will win. And that’s important. We’ve got to start by beating Hillary Clinton.

All of my life, I have been told to sit down and be quiet. Settle. Settle. Don’t challenge the system.

That’s what the American people are being told now and we have been told that for way too long — sit down and be quiet about our God, about our guns, about the abortion industry, settle for illegal immigration that’s been a problem for decades, as so many of our problems have festered for decades. Accept a system of government and politics that no longer works for us.

I will not sit down and be quiet. And neither will you.

So I ask you to stand with me, fight with me, vote for me, citizens. It is time to take our future back, time to take our politics back. It is time to take our government back. Citizens, it is time. We must take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

REGAN: Thank you to all the candidates.

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: That does it, everyone for the first debate right here in North Charleston.

 

 

Full Text Political Transcripts January 12, 2016: Nikki Haley’s Republican response to State of the Union address Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Republican response to State of the Union address Transcript

Source: CNN, 1-12-16

Transcript of Nikki Haley’s Republican response to the 2016 State of the Union address. As prepared for delivery.

“Good evening.

“I’m Nikki Haley, Governor of the great state of South Carolina.

“I’m speaking tonight from Columbia, our state’s capital city. Much like America as a whole, ours is a state with a rich and complicated history, one that proves the idea that each day can be better than the last.

“In just a minute, I’m going to talk about a vision of a brighter American future. But first I want to say a few words about President Obama, who just gave his final State of the Union address.

“Barack Obama’s election as president seven years ago broke historic barriers and inspired millions of Americans. As he did when he first ran for office, tonight President Obama spoke eloquently about grand things. He is at his best when he does that.

“Unfortunately, the President’s record has often fallen far short of his soaring words.

“As he enters his final year in office, many Americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels. We’re feeling a crushing national debt, a health care plan that has made insurance less affordable and doctors less available, and chaotic unrest in many of our cities.

“Even worse, we are facing the most dangerous terrorist threat our nation has seen since September 11th, and this president appears either unwilling or unable to deal with it.

“Soon, the Obama presidency will end, and America will have the chance to turn in a new direction. That direction is what I want to talk about tonight.

“At the outset, I’ll say this: you’ve paid attention to what has been happening in Washington, and you’re not naive.

“Neither am I. I see what you see. And many of your frustrations are my frustrations.

“A frustration with a government that has grown day after day, year after year, yet doesn’t serve us any better. A frustration with the same, endless conversations we hear over and over again. A frustration with promises made and never kept.

“We need to be honest with each other, and with ourselves: while Democrats in Washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing America today, they do not bear it alone. There is more than enough blame to go around.

“We as Republicans need to own that truth. We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership. We need to accept that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken.

“And then we need to fix it.

“The foundation that has made America that last, best hope on earth hasn’t gone anywhere. It still exists. It is up to us to return to it.

“For me, that starts right where it always has: I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country.

“Growing up in the rural south, my family didn’t look like our neighbors, and we didn’t have much. There were times that were tough, but we had each other, and we had the opportunity to do anything, to be anything, as long as we were willing to work for it.

“My story is really not much different from millions of other Americans. Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America. They wanted better for their children than for themselves. That remains the dream of all of us, and in this country we have seen time and again that that dream is achievable.

“Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.

“No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.

“At the same time, that does not mean we just flat out open our borders. We can’t do that. We cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. And in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined.

“We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.

“I have no doubt that if we act with proper focus, we can protect our borders, our sovereignty and our citizens, all while remaining true to America’s noblest legacies.

“This past summer, South Carolina was dealt a tragic blow. On an otherwise ordinary Wednesdayevening in June, at the historic Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, twelve faithful men and women, young and old, went to Bible study.

“That night, someone new joined them. He didn’t look like them, didn’t act like them, didn’t sound like them. They didn’t throw him out. They didn’t call the police. Instead, they pulled up a chair and prayed with him. For an hour.

“We lost nine incredible souls that night.

“What happened after the tragedy is worth pausing to think about.

“Our state was struck with shock, pain, and fear. But our people would not allow hate to win. We didn’t have violence, we had vigils. We didn’t have riots, we had hugs.

“We didn’t turn against each other’s race or religion. We turned toward God, and to the values that have long made our country the freest and greatest in the world.

“We removed a symbol that was being used to divide us, and we found a strength that united us against a domestic terrorist and the hate that filled him.

“There’s an important lesson in this. In many parts of society today, whether in popular culture, academia, the media, or politics, there’s a tendency to falsely equate noise with results.

“Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.

“Of course that doesn’t mean we won’t have strong disagreements. We will. And as we usher in this new era, Republicans will stand up for our beliefs.

“If we held the White House, taxes would be lower for working families, and we’d put the brakes on runaway spending and debt.

“We would encourage American innovation and success instead of demonizing them, so our economy would truly soar and good jobs would be available across our country.

“We would reform education so it worked best for students, parents, and teachers, not Washington bureaucrats and union bosses.

“We would end a disastrous health care program, and replace it with reforms that lowered costs and actually let you keep your doctor.

“We would respect differences in modern families, but we would also insist on respect for religious liberty as a cornerstone of our democracy.

“We would recognize the importance of the separation of powers and honor the Constitution in its entirety. And yes, that includes the Second and Tenth Amendments.

“We would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.

“And rather than just thanking our brave men and women in uniform, we would actually strengthen our military, so both our friends and our enemies would know that America seeks peace, but when we fight wars we win them.

“We have big decisions to make. Our country is being tested.

“But we’ve been tested in the past, and our people have always risen to the challenge. We have all the guidance we need to be safe and successful.

“Our forefathers paved the way for us.

“Let’s take their values, and their strengths, and rededicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes to keep America the greatest country in the history of man. And woman.

“Thank you, good night, and God bless.”

Full Text Political Transcripts January 12, 2016: President Barack Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery State of the Union Address

Source: WH, 1-12-16

The White House is once again making the full text of the State of the Union widely available online. The text, as prepared for delivery, is also available on Medium and Facebook notes, continuing efforts to meet people where they are and make the speech as accessible as possible. Through these digital platforms, people can follow along with the speech as they watch in real time, view charts and infographics on key areas, share their favorite lines, and provide feedback.

WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Tonight marks the eighth year I’ve come here to report on the State of the Union.  And for this final one, I’m going to try to make it shorter.  I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.

I also understand that because it’s an election season, expectations for what we’ll achieve this year are low.  Still, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the constructive approach you and the other leaders took at the end of last year to pass a budget and make tax cuts permanent for working families.  So I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform, and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse. We just might surprise the cynics again.

But tonight, I want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead.  Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty, from helping students learn to write computer code to personalizing medical treatments for patients.  And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing.  Fixing a broken immigration system.  Protecting our kids from gun violence.  Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage.  All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.

But for my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to talk just about the next year.  I want to focus on the next five years, ten years, and beyond.

I want to focus on our future.

We live in a time of extraordinary change – change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet and our place in the world.  It’s change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families.  It promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists plotting an ocean away.  It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality.  And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.

America has been through big changes before – wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights.  Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control.  And each time, we overcame those fears.  We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past.”  Instead we thought anew, and acted anew.  We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more and more people.  And because we did – because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril – we emerged stronger and better than before.

What was true then can be true now.  Our unique strengths as a nation – our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery and innovation, our diversity and commitment to the rule of law – these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.

In fact, it’s that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible.  It’s how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations.  It’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans, and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love.

But such progress is not inevitable.  It is the result of choices we make together.  And we face such choices right now.  Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people?  Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?

So let’s talk about the future, and four big questions that we as a country have to answer – regardless of who the next President is, or who controls the next Congress.

First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?

Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us – especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?

Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?

And finally, how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?

Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.  We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.  More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ‘90s; an unemployment rate cut in half.  Our auto industry just had its best year ever.  Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.  And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.

Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.  What is true – and the reason that a lot of Americans feel anxious – is that the economy has been changing in profound ways, changes that started long before the Great Recession hit and haven’t let up.  Today, technology doesn’t just replace jobs on the assembly line, but any job where work can be automated.  Companies in a global economy can locate anywhere, and face tougher competition.  As a result, workers have less leverage for a raise.  Companies have less loyalty to their communities.  And more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top.

All these trends have squeezed workers, even when they have jobs; even when the economy is growing.  It’s made it harder for a hardworking family to pull itself out of poverty, harder for young people to start on their careers, and tougher for workers to retire when they want to.  And although none of these trends are unique to America, they do offend our uniquely American belief that everybody who works hard should get a fair shot.

For the past seven years, our goal has been a growing economy that works better for everybody.  We’ve made progress.  But we need to make more.  And despite all the political arguments we’ve had these past few years, there are some areas where Americans broadly agree.

We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.  The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering.  In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by providing Pre-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one, and we should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids.

And we have to make college affordable for every American.  Because no hardworking student should be stuck in the red.  We’ve already reduced student loan payments to ten percent of a borrower’s income.  Now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college.  Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year.

Of course, a great education isn’t all we need in this new economy.  We also need benefits and protections that provide a basic measure of security.  After all, it’s not much of a stretch to say that some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package, for 30 years, are sitting in this chamber.  For everyone else, especially folks in their forties and fifties, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher.  Americans understand that at some point in their careers, they may have to retool and retrain.  But they shouldn’t lose what they’ve already worked so hard to build.

That’s why Social Security and Medicare are more important than ever; we shouldn’t weaken them, we should strengthen them.  And for Americans short of retirement, basic benefits should be just as mobile as everything else is today.  That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.  It’s about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we’ll still have coverage.  Nearly eighteen million have gained coverage so far.  Health care inflation has slowed.  And our businesses have created jobs every single month since it became law.

Now, I’m guessing we won’t agree on health care anytime soon.  But there should be other ways both parties can improve economic security.  Say a hardworking American loses his job – we shouldn’t just make sure he can get unemployment insurance; we should make sure that program encourages him to retrain for a business that’s ready to hire him.  If that new job doesn’t pay as much, there should be a system of wage insurance in place so that he can still pay his bills.  And even if he’s going from job to job, he should still be able to save for retirement and take his savings with him.  That’s the way we make the new economy work better for everyone.

I also know Speaker Ryan has talked about his interest in tackling poverty.  America is about giving everybody willing to work a hand up, and I’d welcome a serious discussion about strategies we can all support, like expanding tax cuts for low-income workers without kids.

But there are other areas where it’s been more difficult to find agreement over the last seven years – namely what role the government should play in making sure the system’s not rigged in favor of the wealthiest and biggest corporations.  And here, the American people have a choice to make.

I believe a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy.  I think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, and there’s red tape that needs to be cut.  But after years of record corporate profits, working families won’t get more opportunity or bigger paychecks by letting big banks or big oil or hedge funds make their own rules at the expense of everyone else; or by allowing attacks on collective bargaining to go unanswered.  Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.  Immigrants aren’t the reason wages haven’t gone up enough; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns.  It’s sure not the average family watching tonight that avoids paying taxes through offshore accounts.  In this new economy, workers and start-ups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less.  The rules should work for them.  And this year I plan to lift up the many businesses who’ve figured out that doing right by their workers ends up being good for their shareholders, their customers, and their communities, so that we can spread those best practices across America.

In fact, many of our best corporate citizens are also our most creative.  This brings me to the second big question we have to answer as a country:  how do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges?

Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there.  We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget.  We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon.

That spirit of discovery is in our DNA.  We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver.  We’re Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride.  We’re every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley racing to shape a better world.  And over the past seven years, we’ve nurtured that spirit.

We’ve protected an open internet, and taken bold new steps to get more students and low-income Americans online.  We’ve launched next-generation manufacturing hubs, and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day.

But we can do so much more.  Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer.  Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had in over a decade.  Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done.  And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control.  For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.

Medical research is critical.  We need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources.

Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it.  You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.

But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record – until 2015 turned out even hotter – why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?

Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.  Here are the results.  In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.  On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal – in jobs that pay better than average.  We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy – something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support.  Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.

Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.

Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy.  Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future – especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels.  That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.  That way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system.

None of this will happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo.  But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve – that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.

Climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world.  And that’s why the third big question we have to answer is how to keep America safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build everywhere there’s a problem.

I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air.  Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker.  The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth.  Period.  It’s not even close.  We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined.  Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world.  No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.  Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they call us.

As someone who begins every day with an intelligence briefing, I know this is a dangerous time. But that’s not because of diminished American strength or some looming superpower.  In today’s world, we’re threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states.  The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia.  Economic headwinds blow from a Chinese economy in transition.  Even as their economy contracts, Russia is pouring resources to prop up Ukraine and Syria – states they see slipping away from their orbit.  And the international system we built after World War II is now struggling to keep pace with this new reality.

It’s up to us to help remake that system.  And that means we have to set priorities.

Priority number one is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks.  Both al Qaeda and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage.  They use the Internet to poison the minds of individuals inside our country; they undermine our allies.

But as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands.  Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped.  But they do not threaten our national existence.  That’s the story ISIL wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit.  We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, nor do we need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions.  We just need to call them what they are – killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed.

That’s exactly what we are doing.  For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology.  With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons.  We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.

If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, you should finally authorize the use of military force against ISIL.  Take a vote.  But the American people should know that with or without Congressional action, ISIL will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them.  If you doubt America’s commitment – or mine – to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden.  Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell.  When you come after Americans, we go after you.  It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit.

Our foreign policy must be focused on the threat from ISIL and al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world – in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia.  Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks; others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees.  The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians.  That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.

We also can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis.  That’s not leadership; that’s a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately weakens us.  It’s the lesson of Vietnam, of Iraq – and we should have learned it by now.

Fortunately, there’s a smarter approach, a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power.  It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies; but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight.

That’s our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace.

That’s why we built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.  As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.

That’s how we stopped the spread of Ebola in West Africa.  Our military, our doctors, and our development workers set up the platform that allowed other countries to join us in stamping out that epidemic.

That’s how we forged a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open markets, protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership in Asia.  It cuts 18,000 taxes on products Made in America, and supports more good jobs.  With TPP, China doesn’t set the rules in that region, we do.  You want to show our strength in this century?  Approve this agreement.  Give us the tools to enforce it.

Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America.  That’s why we restored diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, and positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people.  You want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere?  Recognize that the Cold War is over.  Lift the embargo.

American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world – except when we kill terrorists; or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling.  Leadership means a wise application of military power, and rallying the world behind causes that are right.  It means seeing our foreign assistance as part of our national security, not charity.  When we lead nearly 200 nations to the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change – that helps vulnerable countries, but it also protects our children.  When we help Ukraine defend its democracy, or Colombia resolve a decades-long war, that strengthens the international order we depend upon.  When we help African countries feed their people and care for the sick, that prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores.  Right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, and we have the capacity to accomplish the same thing with malaria – something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year.

That’s strength.  That’s leadership.  And that kind of leadership depends on the power of our example.  That is why I will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo:  it’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.

That’s why we need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.  This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong.  The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.  His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that “to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.”  When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer.  That’s not telling it like it is.  It’s just wrong.  It diminishes us in the eyes of the world.  It makes it harder to achieve our goals.  And it betrays who we are as a country.

“We the People.”  Our Constitution begins with those three simple words, words we’ve come to recognize mean all the people, not just some; words that insist we rise and fall together.  That brings me to the fourth, and maybe the most important thing I want to say tonight.

The future we want – opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids – all that is within our reach.  But it will only happen if we work together.  It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates.

It will only happen if we fix our politics.

A better politics doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything.  This is a big country, with different regions and attitudes and interests.  That’s one of our strengths, too.  Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security.

But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens.  It doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic.  Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise; or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us.  Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention.  Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.

Too many Americans feel that way right now.  It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency – that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better.  There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.

But, my fellow Americans, this cannot be my task – or any President’s – alone.  There are a whole lot of folks in this chamber who would like to see more cooperation, a more elevated debate in Washington, but feel trapped by the demands of getting elected.  I know; you’ve told me.  And if we want a better politics, it’s not enough to just change a Congressman or a Senator or even a President; we have to change the system to reflect our better selves.

We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around.  We have to reduce the influence of money in our politics, so that a handful of families and hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections – and if our existing approach to campaign finance can’t pass muster in the courts, we need to work together to find a real solution.  We’ve got to make voting easier, not harder, and modernize it for the way we live now.  And over the course of this year, I intend to travel the country to push for reforms that do.

But I can’t do these things on my own.  Changes in our political process – in not just who gets elected but how they get elected – that will only happen when the American people demand it.  It will depend on you.  That’s what’s meant by a government of, by, and for the people.

What I’m asking for is hard.  It’s easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn’t possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don’t matter.  But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.  Those with money and power will gain greater control over the decisions that could send a young soldier to war, or allow another economic disaster, or roll back the equal rights and voting rights that generations of Americans have fought, even died, to secure.  As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background.

We can’t afford to go down that path.  It won’t deliver the economy we want, or the security we want, but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world.

So, my fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen.  To vote.  To speak out.  To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us.  To stay active in our public life so it reflects the goodness and decency and optimism that I see in the American people every single day.

It won’t be easy.  Our brand of democracy is hard.  But I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I’ll be right there with you as a citizen – inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far.  Voices that help us see ourselves not first and foremost as black or white or Asian or Latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born; not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans first, bound by a common creed.  Voices Dr. King believed would have the final word – voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love.

They’re out there, those voices.  They don’t get a lot of attention, nor do they seek it, but they are busy doing the work this country needs doing.

I see them everywhere I travel in this incredible country of ours.  I see you.  I know you’re there.  You’re the reason why I have such incredible confidence in our future.  Because I see your quiet, sturdy citizenship all the time.

I see it in the worker on the assembly line who clocked extra shifts to keep his company open, and the boss who pays him higher wages to keep him on board.

I see it in the Dreamer who stays up late to finish her science project, and the teacher who comes in early because he knows she might someday cure a disease.

I see it in the American who served his time, and dreams of starting over – and the business owner who gives him that second chance.  The protester determined to prove that justice matters, and the young cop walking the beat, treating everybody with respect, doing the brave, quiet work of keeping us safe.

I see it in the soldier who gives almost everything to save his brothers, the nurse who tends to him ‘til he can run a marathon, and the community that lines up to cheer him on.

It’s the son who finds the courage to come out as who he is, and the father whose love for that son overrides everything he’s been taught.

I see it in the elderly woman who will wait in line to cast her vote as long as she has to; the new citizen who casts his for the first time; the volunteers at the polls who believe every vote should count, because each of them in different ways know how much that precious right is worth.

That’s the America I know.  That’s the country we love.   Clear-eyed.  Big-hearted.  Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.  That’s what makes me so hopeful about our future.  Because of you.  I believe in you.  That’s why I stand here confident that the State of our Union is strong.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

###

Full Text Political Transcripts January 8, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Statement on Lifting Sanctions on Iran

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Statement by the President on Iran

Source: WH, 1-17-16

The Cabinet Room

10:48 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  This is a good day, because, once again, we’re seeing what’s possible with strong American diplomacy.

As I said in my State of the Union address, ensuring the security of the United States and the safety of our people demands a smart, patient and disciplined approach to the world.  That includes our diplomacy with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  For decades, our differences with Iran meant that our governments almost never spoke to each other.  Ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests.  Over the years, Iran moved closer and closer to having the ability to build a nuclear weapon.  But from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, the United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries.  And as President, I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government.

We’ve seen the results.  Under the nuclear deal that we, our allies and partners reached with Iran last year, Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb.  The region, the United States, and the world will be more secure.  As I’ve said many times, the nuclear deal was never intended to resolve all of our differences with Iran.  But still, engaging directly with the Iranian government on a sustained basis, for the first time in decades, has created a unique opportunity — a window — to try to resolve important issues.  And today, I can report progress on a number of fronts.

First, yesterday marked a milestone in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  Iran has now fulfilled key commitments under the nuclear deal.  And I want to take a moment to explain why this is so important.

Over more than a decade, Iran had moved ahead with its nuclear program, and, before the deal, it had installed nearly 20,000 centrifuges that can enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb.  Today, Iran has removed two-thirds of those machines.  Before the deal, Iran was steadily increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium — enough for up to 10 nuclear bombs.  Today, more than 98 percent of that stockpile has been shipped out of Iran — meaning Iran now doesn’t have enough material for even one bomb. Before, Iran was nearing completion of a new reactor capable of producing plutonium for a bomb.  Today, the core of that reactor has been pulled out and filled with concrete so it cannot be used again.

Before the deal, the world had relatively little visibility into Iran’s nuclear program.  Today, international inspectors are on the ground, and Iran is being subjected to the most comprehensive, intrusive inspection regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program.  Inspectors will monitor Iran’s key nuclear facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  For decades to come, inspectors will have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain.  In other words, if Iran tries to cheat — if they try to build a bomb covertly — we will catch them.

So the bottom line is this.  Whereas Iran was steadily expanding its nuclear program, we have now cut off every single path that Iran could have used to build a bomb.  Whereas it would have taken Iran two to three months to break out with enough material to rush to a bomb, we’ve now extended that breakout time to a year — and with the world’s unprecedented inspections and access to Iran’s program, we’ll know if Iran ever tries to break out.

Now that Iran’s actions have been verified, it can begin to receive relief from certain nuclear sanctions and gain access to its own money that had been frozen.  And perhaps most important of all, we’ve achieved this historic progress through diplomacy, without resorting to another war in the Middle East.

I want to also point out that by working with Iran on this nuclear deal, we were better able to address other issues.  When our sailors in the Persian Gulf accidentally strayed into Iranian waters that could have sparked a major international incident.  Some folks here in Washington rushed to declare that it was the start of another hostage crisis.  Instead, we worked directly with the Iranian government and secured the release of our sailors in less than 24 hours.

This brings me to a second major development — several Americans unjustly detained by Iran are finally coming home.  In some cases, these Americans faced years of continued detention.  And I’ve met with some of their families.  I’ve seen their anguish, how they ache for their sons and husbands.  I gave these families my word — I made a vow — that we would do everything in our power to win the release of their loved ones.  And we have been tireless.  On the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations, our diplomats at the highest level, including Secretary Kerry, used every meeting to push Iran to release our Americans.  I did so myself, in my conversation with President Rouhani.  After the nuclear deal was completed, the discussions between our governments accelerated.  Yesterday, these families finally got the news that they have been waiting for.

Jason Rezaian is coming home.  A courageous journalist for The Washington Post, who wrote about the daily lives and hopes of the Iranian people, he’s been held for a year and a half.  He embodies the brave spirit that gives life to the freedom of the press.  Jason has already been reunited with his wife and mom.

Pastor Saeed Abedini is coming home.  Held for three and half years, his unyielding faith has inspired people around the world in the global fight to uphold freedom of religion.  Now, Pastor Abedini will return to his church and community in Idaho.

Amir Hekmati is coming home.  A former sergeant in the Marine Corps, he’s been held for four and a half years.  Today, his parents and sisters are giving thanks in Michigan.

Two other Americans unjustly detained by Iran have also been released — Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari and Matthew Trevithick, an Iranian — who was in Iran as a student.  Their cases were largely unknown to the world.  But when Americans are freed and reunited with their families, that’s something that we can all celebrate.

So I want to thank my national security team — especially Secretary Kerry; Susan Rice, my National Security Advisor; Brett McGurk; Avril Haines; Ben Rhodes — our whole team worked tirelessly to bring our Americans home, to get this work done.  And I want to thank the Swiss government, which represents our interests in Iran, for their critical assistance.

And meanwhile, Iran has agreed to deepen our coordination as we work to locate Robert Levinson — missing from Iran for more than eight years.  Even as we rejoice in the safe return of others, we will never forget about Bob.  Each and every day, but especially today, our hearts are with the Levinson family, and we will not rest until their family is whole again.

In a reciprocal humanitarian gesture, six Iranian–Americans and one Iranian serving sentences or awaiting trial in the United States are being granted clemency.  These individuals were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses.  They’re civilians, and their release is a one-time gesture to Iran given the unique opportunity offered by this moment and the larger circumstances at play.  And it reflects our willingness to engage with Iran to advance our mutual interests, even as we ensure the national security of the United States.

So, nuclear deal implemented.  American families reunited.  The third piece of this work that we got done this weekend involved the United States and Iran resolving a financial dispute that dated back more than three decades.  Since 1981, after our nations severed diplomatic relations, we’ve worked through a international tribunal to resolve various claims between our countries.  The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government.  Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought.

For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran.  So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out.  With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.

Of course, even as we implement the nuclear deal and welcome our Americans home, we recognize that there remain profound differences between the United States and Iran.  We remain steadfast in opposing Iran’s destabilizing behavior elsewhere, including its threats against Israel and our Gulf partners, and its support for violent proxies in places like Syria and Yemen.  We still have sanctions on Iran for its violations of human rights, for its support of terrorism, and for its ballistic missile program.  And we will continue to enforce these sanctions, vigorously.  Iran’s recent missile test, for example, was a violation of its international obligations.  And as a result, the United States is imposing sanctions on individuals and companies working to advance Iran’s ballistic missile program.  And we are going to remain vigilant about it.  We’re not going to waver in the defense of our security or that of our allies and partners.

But I do want to once again speak directly to the Iranian people.  Yours is a great civilization, with a vibrant culture that has so much to contribute to the world — in commerce, and in science and the arts.  For decades, your government’s threats and actions to destabilize your region have isolated Iran from much of the world.  And now our governments are talking with one another.  Following the nuclear deal, you — especially young Iranians — have the opportunity to begin building new ties with the world.  We have a rare chance to pursue a new path — a different, better future that delivers progress for both our peoples and the wider world.  That’s the opportunity before the Iranian people.  We need to take advantage of that.

And to my fellow Americans, today, we’re united in welcoming home sons and husbands and brothers who, in lonely prison cells, have endured an absolute nightmare.  But they never gave in and they never gave up.  At long last, they can stand tall and breathe deep the fresh air of freedom.

As a nation, we face real challenges, around the world and here at home.  Many of them will not be resolved quickly or easily.  But today’s progress — Americans coming home, an Iran that has rolled back its nuclear program and accepted unprecedented monitoring of that program — these things are a reminder of what we can achieve when we lead with strength and with wisdom; with courage and resolve and patience.  America can do — and has done — big things when we work together.  We can leave this world and make it safer and more secure for our children and our grandchildren for generations to come.

I want to thank once again Secretary Kerry; our entire national security team, led by Susan Rice.  I’m grateful for all the assistance that we received from our allies and partners.  And I am hopeful that this signals the opportunity at least for Iran to work more cooperatively with nations around the world to advance their interests and the interests of people who are looking for peace and security for their families.

Thank you so much.  God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

                          END             11:03 A.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts January 8, 2016: President Barack Obama vetoes GOP Congress’ ObamaCare repeal the Reconciliation Act

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Veto Message from the President — H.R. 3762

Source: WH, 1-8-16

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 3762, which provides for reconciliation pursuant to section 2002 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2016, herein referred to as the Reconciliation Act.  This legislation would not only repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, but would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America.  The Affordable Care Act includes a set of fairer rules and stronger consumer protections that have made health care coverage more affordable, more attainable, and more patient centered.  And it is working.  About 17.6 million Americans have gained health care coverage as the law’s coverage provisions have taken effect.  The Nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever, and demand for Marketplace coverage during December 2015 was at an all-time high.  Health care costs are lower than expected when the law was passed, and health care quality is higher — with improvements in patient safety saving an estimated 87,000 lives.  Health care has changed for the better, setting this country on a smarter, stronger course.

The Reconciliation Act would reverse that course.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million after 2017.  The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that this reduction in health care coverage could mean, each year, more than 900,000 fewer people getting all their needed care, more than 1.2 million additional people having trouble paying other bills due to higher medical costs, and potentially more than 10,000 additional deaths.  This legislation would cost millions of hard-working middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage they deserve.  Reliable health care coverage  would no longer be a right for everyone:  it would return to being a privilege for a few.

The legislation’s implications extend far beyond those who would become uninsured.  For example, about 150 million Americans with employer-based insurance would be at risk of higher premiums and lower wages.  And it would cause the cost of health coverage for people buying it on their own to skyrocket.

The Reconciliation Act would also effectively defund Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood uses both Federal and non-federal funds to provide a range of important preventive care and health services, including health screenings, vaccinations, and check-ups to millions of men and women who visit their health centers annually.  Longstanding Federal policy already prohibits the use of Federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered.  By eliminating Federal Medicaid funding for a major provider of health care, H.R. 3762 would limit access to health care for men, women, and families across the Nation, and would disproportionately impact low-income individuals.

Republicans in the Congress have attempted to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act over 50 times.  Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, Members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs.  Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto.

Full Text Political Transcripts January 7, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at CNN “Guns In America” Town Hall

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at CNN “Guns In America” Town Hall

Source: WH, 1-7-16

George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia

8:00 P.M. EST

MR. COOPER: Good evening from George Mason University here in Fairfax, Virginia.  We are here tonight to talk about one of the most divisive issues in America today — guns.  Their protection is enshrined in the Constitution, in the Second Amendment, and gun ownership is an integral part of American history and culture.

There are some 30,000 gun deaths in America each year.  Two-thirds of them are suicides; one-third of them are homicides.  So the question we want to confront tonight is how you find a balance between protecting the rights of American citizens who want to own guns, but preventing guns from getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

We brought together people here tonight who represent really all sides of the issue — gun owners, gun sellers, people who have survived shootings or lost loved ones.  Some here believe that having more guns makes us all safer, and believe the right to bear arms defines us, preserves us from tyranny and cannot be compromised in any way.  Others here tonight believe just as passionately that more needs to be done to limit the sale of firearms.  And we respect all of their views, and we want to hear from as many as we can tonight in the hour ahead.

One voice you will not hear from tonight is the National Rifle Association.  They’re the nation’s largest, most influential and powerful gun rights group.  We invited them to be here — I think their office is just a couple miles away.  They declined to take part.  Some of their members are here tonight, though.  We’re very thankful for that.  And so are representatives from the National Firearms Retailers Association.

This town hall is not something the White House dreamed up or that the White House organized.  CNN approached the White House shortly after the San Bernardino terror attack with this idea.  And we’re pleased that they agreed to participate and pleased to welcome tonight the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.

MR. COOPER:  Hello, Mr. President.  Welcome.

THE PRESIDENT:  Great to see you.

MR. COOPER:  Good to see you.  Let me start.  Have you ever owned a gun?

THE PRESIDENT:  I have never owned a gun.  Now, up at Camp David, we’ve got some skeet shooting, so on a fairly regular basis, we get a 12-gauge and — I’m not making any claims about my marksmanship.

MR. COOPER:  Before you were President, did you ever feel a desire to get a gun, feel the need to get a gun?

THE PRESIDENT:  I grew up mostly in Hawaii, and other than hunting for wild pig — which they do once in a while — there’s not the popularity of hunting and sportsmanship with guns as much as there are in other parts of the country.

MR. COOPER:  I mean, I ask the question because there’s a lot of people out there who don’t trust you, obviously, on the issue of guns.  You keep saying you don’t want to take away everybody’s guns.  But there’s a lot of people out there tonight watching who don’t believe you.  There are a lot of people in this room who, frankly, don’t believe you.  And it’s not just that you don’t really have personal experience having owned a gun, but that things you’ve said:  Support for Australia’s tough anti-gun policies.  They banned semi-automatic assault rifles.  They banned even shotguns in Australia.  You’ve praised their policies over and over.

Back in 2008, you said — you talked about “bitter Americans clinging to their guns.”  Even now, these executive actions have caused a lot of concern among a lot of people.  What can you say to somebody tonight to convince them that you don’t want to take away everybody’s guns and you’re not coming for their guns?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, Anderson, I think it’s useful to keep in mind I’ve been now President for over seven years and gun sales don’t seem to have suffered during that time.

MR. COOPER:  If anything, actually —

THE PRESIDENT:  They’ve gone up.  I’ve been very good for gun manufacturers.  More importantly — I’ll tell you a story that I think indicates how I see the issue.

Back in 2007-2008, when I was campaigning, I’d leave Chicago, a city which is wonderful, I couldn’t be prouder of my city, but where every week there’s a story about a young person getting shot.  Some are gang members and it’s turf battles.  Sometimes it’s innocent victims.

MR. COOPER:  Fifty-five people have been shot in Chicago in the last seven days.

THE PRESIDENT:  Sometimes it’s happened just a few blocks from my house, and I live in a reasonably good neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

So that’s one image — talking to families who’ve gone through the pain of losing somebody because of violence in Chicago — gun violence.

Michelle and I are then campaigning out in Iowa, and we’re going to farms and we’re going to counties.  And at one point, Michelle turned to me and she said, you know, if I was living in a farmhouse, where the sheriff’s department is pretty far away, and somebody can just turn off the highway and come up to the farm, I’d want to have a shotgun or a rifle to make sure that I was protected and my family was protected.  And she was absolutely right.

And so part of the reason I think that this ends up being such a difficult issue is because people occupy different realities.  There are a whole bunch of law-abiding citizens who have grown up hunting with their dad, or going to the shooting range, and are responsible gun owners.  And then there’s the reality that there are neighborhoods around the country where it is easier for a 12 or 13-year-old to purchase a gun — and cheaper — than it is for them to get a book.

MR. COOPER:  But what you’re proposing, what you proposed this week, the executive actions, the other things, are they really going to be effective?  And I ask this because the vast majority of felons out there — I mean, we can all agree criminals should not get guns; we want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  The vast majority of criminals get their guns from — either illegally or from family or friends.  So background checks is not something that’s going to affect them, is it?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, but that’s not exactly accurate.  Look, first of all, it’s important for everybody to understand what I’ve proposed and what I haven’t proposed.  What I’ve said consistently throughout my presidency is I respect the Second Amendment; I respect the right to bear arms; I respect people who want a gun for self-protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship.  But all of us can agree that it makes sense to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of people who would try to do others harm, or to do themselves harm.

Because every year we’re losing 30,000 people to gun violence.  Two-thirds of those are actually suicides.  Hundreds of kids under the age of 18 are being shot or shooting themselves, often by accident — many of them under the age of five.  And so if we can combine gun safety with sensible background checks and some other steps, we’re not going to eliminate gun violence, but we will lessen it.  And if we take that number from 30,000 down to, let’s say, 28,000, that’s 2,000 families who don’t have to go through what the families at Newtown or San Bernardino or Charleston went through.

And so what we’ve proposed is that if you have a background check system that has a bunch of big loopholes, which is why a lot of criminals and people who shouldn’t have guns are able to get guns —

Q    But they’re not buying them at gun shows — only 1 percent of criminals are buying them at gun shows.

THE PRESIDENT:  No, but this is what happens.  Let’s go back to the city of Chicago that has strong gun control laws.  And oftentimes the NRA will point to that as an example and say, see, these things don’t work.  Well, the problem is, is that about 30, 40 percent of those guns are coming from Indiana, across the border, where there are much laxer laws.  And so folks will go to a gun show and purchase a whole bunch of firearms, put them in a van, drive up into Mike Pfleger’s neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where his parish is, open up the trunk, and those things are for sale.

Now, technically, you could say those folks bought them illegally, but it was facilitated by the fact that what used to be a small exception that said collectors and hobbyists don’t need to go through a background check has become this massive industry where people who are doing business are, in fact, saying that they’re not in the business of selling guns, but are.

And all we’re saying here is, is that we want to put everybody on notice that the definition of doing business — which means you have to register, and it means you have to run a background check — is if you are making a profit and repeatedly selling guns, then you should have to follow the same rules as every other gun dealer.  And what that means —

MR. COOPER:  There are a lot of people who believe that’s not specific enough because there’s a lot of fathers and sons who sell guns every now and then and at gun shows.  Are they going to have to now start doing background checks?  Are they going to start to have to register?

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, what the Justice Department has done is provided a whole range of very specific examples.  And what we ultimately need I believe is for Congress to set up a system that is efficient, that doesn’t inconvenience the lawful gun seller or purchaser, but that makes sure that we’re doing the best background check possible.

And the fact, Anderson, that the system may not catch every single person, or there may be a circumstance where somebody doesn’t think that they have to register and do, and that may cause some red tape and bureaucracy for them, which — or inconvenience — has to be weighed against the fact that we may be able to save a whole bunch of families from the grief that some of the people in this audience have had to go through.

And keep in mind, for the gun owners who are in attendance here, my suspicion is, is that you all had to go through a background check and it didn’t prevent you from getting a weapon. And the notion that you should have to do that but there are a whole bunch of folks who are less responsible than you who don’t have to do it doesn’t make much sense.

So why we should resist this — keep in mind that, historically, the NRA was in favor of background checks.  Historically, many in the Republican Party were in favor of background checks.  And what’s changed is not that my proposals are particularly radical.  What’s changed is we’ve suddenly created an atmosphere in which I put out a proposal like background checks or, after Sandy Hook, was calling on Congress, along with people like Gabby Giffords, who herself was a victim of gun violence — we put out a proposal that is common sense, modest, does not claim to solve every problem, is respectful of the Second Amendment, and the way it is described is that we’re trying to take away everybody’s guns.

And part of the reason I welcomed this opportunity by CNN to have a good discussion and debate about it is because our position is consistently mischaracterized.  And, by the way, there’s a reason why the NRA is not here.  They’re just down the street, and since this is the main reason they exist, you’d think that they’d be prepared to have a debate with the President.

MR. COOPER:  They haven’t been to the White House for years.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, no, no — we’ve invited them.  We’ve invited them.

MR. COOPER:  So, right now, tonight, you’re saying you would be —

THE PRESIDENT:  We have invited them repeatedly.  But if you listen to the rhetoric, it is so over the top and so over-heated, and, most importantly, is not acknowledging the fact that there’s no other consumer item that we purchase —

Q    So is that an open invitation that —

THE PRESIDENT:  Hold on a second.  Let me finish this point, Cooper.  There’s nothing else in our lives that we purchase where we don’t try to make it a little safer if we can.  Traffic fatalities have gone down drastically during my lifetime.  And part of it is technology, and part of it is the National Highway Safety Administration does research and they figure out, you know what, seatbelts really work.  And then we passed some laws to make sure seatbelts are fastened.  Airbags make a lot of sense; let’s try those out.  Toys — we say, you know what, we find out that kids are swallowing toys all the time, let’s make sure that the toys aren’t so small that they swallow them if they’re for toddlers or infants.  Medicine — kids can’t open aspirin caps.

Now, the notion that we would not apply the same basic principles to gun ownership as we do to everything else that we own just to try to make them safer, or the notion that anything we do to try to make them safer is somehow a plot to take away guns, that contradicts what we do to try to create a better life for Americans in every other area of our lives.

MR. COOPER:  And just so I’m clear, tonight you’re saying you would welcome to meet with the NRA?

THE PRESIDENT:  Anderson, I’ve said this repeatedly — I’m happy to meet with them.  I’m happy to talk to them.  But the conversation has to be based on facts and truth and what we’re actually proposing, not some imaginary fiction in which Obama is trying to take away your guns.

The reason, by the way, that gun sales spike not just before I propose something — every time there is a mass shooting, gun sales spike.  And part of the reason is, is that the NRA has convinced many of its members that somebody is going come grab your guns — which is, by the way, really profitable for the gun manufacturers.  It’s a great advertising mechanism, but it’s not necessary.  There’s enough of a market out there for people who want protection, who are sportsmen, who wants to go hunting with their kids.  And we can make it safer.

MR. COOPER:  I want to open this up to people in our audience.

THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.

MR. COOPER:  People have traveled far.  I want you to meet Taya Kyle.  She’s the widow of Chris Kyle, former Navy SEAL, author of “American Sniper.”  Taya wrote a book, “American Life: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal.”

Taya, we’re happy you’re here.  What do you want to ask the President?

Q    I appreciate you taking the time to come here.  And I think that your message of hope is something I agree with, and I think it’s great.  And I think that by creating new laws you do give people hope.  The thing is that the laws that we create don’t stop these horrific things from happening, right?  And that’s a very tough pill to swallow.

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

Q    We want to think that we can make a law and people will follow it.  But by the very nature of their crime, they’re not following it.  By the very nature of looking at the people who hurt our loved ones here, I don’t know that any of them would have been stopped by the background check.  And yet — I crave that desire for hope, too.  And so I think, part of it, we have to recognize that we cannot outlaw murder, because the people who are murdering are — they’re breaking the law, but they also don’t have a moral code that we have.  And so they could do the same amount of damage with a pipe bomb.  The problem is that they want to murder.

And I’m wondering why it wouldn’t be a better use of our time to give people hope in a different way, to say, you know what, we — well, first of all, actually, let me back up to that. Because with the laws, I know that at least the last I heard, the federal prosecution of gun crimes was like 40 percent.  And what I mean by that is that there are people lying on these forms already, and we’re not prosecuting them.  So there’s an issue there, right?  But instead, if we can give people hope and say that also during this time, while you’ve been President, we are at the lowest murder rate in our country — all-time low of murders.  We’re at an all-time high of gun ownership, right?  I’m not necessarily saying that the two are correlated, but what I’m saying is that we’re at an all-time low for a murder rate.  That’s a big deal.

And yet, I think most of us in this country feel like it could happen at any moment.  It could happen to any of us at any time, at a moment’s notice.  When you talk about the NRA, and after a mass shooting that gun sales go up, I would argue that it’s not necessarily that I think somebody is going to come take my gun from me, but I want the hope, and the hope that I have the right to protect myself, that I don’t end up to be one of these families; that I have the freedom to carry whatever weapon I feel I need, just like your wife said on that farm.  The sheriff is not going to get to my house, either.  And I understand that background checks aren’t necessarily going to stop me from getting a gun, but I also know that they wouldn’t have stopped any of the people here in this room from killing.  And so it seems like almost a false sense of hope.

So why not celebrate where we are?  I guess that’s my real question — is celebrate that we’re good people, and 99.9 percent of us are never going to kill anyone.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me make a couple of points.  First of all, thanks to your husband for his service, and thank you for your service, because of extraordinary heroism that he and your family have shown in protecting all of us.  And I’m very grateful for that.

Number two, what you said about murder rates and violent crime generally is something that we don’t celebrate enough.  The fact of the matter is, is that violent crime has been steadily declining across America for a pretty long time.  And you wouldn’t always know it by watching television, but overall, most cities are much safer than they were 10 years ago or 20 years ago.

Now, I’d challenge the notion that the reason for that is because there’s more gun ownership, because if you look at where are the areas with the highest gun ownership, those are the places, in some cases, where the crime rate hasn’t dropped down that much.  And the places where there’s pretty stiff restrictions on gun ownership, in some of those places the crime has dropped really quickly.  So I’m not sure that there’s a one-to-one correlation there.

But I think the most important point I want to make is that you will be able to purchase a firearm.  Some criminals will get their hands on firearms even if there’s a background check.  Somebody may lie on a form.  Somebody will intend to commit a crime but they don’t have a record that shows up on the background check system.

But in the same way that we don’t eliminate all traffic accidents, but over the course of 20 years, traffic accidents get lower — there’s still tragedies, there’s still drunk drivers, there’s still people who don’t wear their seatbelts — but over time, that violence was reduced, and so families are spared.  That’s the same thing that we can do with gun ownership.

There is a way for us to set up a system where you, a responsible gun owner, who I’m assuming, given your husband and your family, is a much better marksman than I am, can have a firearm to protect yourself, but where it is much harder for somebody to fill up a car with guns and sell them to 13-year-old kids on the streets.  And that is I think what we’re trying to do.

What we’re also trying to do is make the database more effective — so that’s part of the proposal — which, by the way, will convenience you when you go to the store, because if we can set up a 24/7 background check system, then that means that it’s less likely that things slip through the cracks or it’s more difficult for you to get your background check completed.

And we’re also trying to close a loophole that has been developing over the last decade where now people are using cut-out trusts and shell corporations to purchase the most dangerous weapons — sawed-off shotguns, automatic weapons, silencers — and don’t have to go through background checks at all.  And we don’t know whether — are these sales going to drug traffickers? We don’t know who’s purchasing them right now.  And so what we’re saying is, you know what, that is something that we’ve got to do something about.

The same thing is true with Internet sales, where one study has shown that one out of 30 persons who are purchasing weapons over the Internet turn out to have a felony record.  And that’s not something you want to see.

MR. COOPER:  I think one question a lot of people have about you is do you believe the fundamental notion that a good guy with a gun or a good woman with a gun is an important bulwark against a bad person with a gun?  And before you answer, I want you to meet Kimberly Corban.  Kimberly was a college student in Colorado in 2006 — Kimberly is right over there.  She was raped by a man who broke into her apartment.  She testified for three hours in the trial against him.  Her attacker was sentenced to 24-years-to-life in prison.  And I know that attack, Kimberly, changed your view of handguns.  What’s your question for the President?

Q    Absolutely.  As a survivor of rape and now a mother to two small children, it seems like being able to purchase a firearm of my choosing, and being able to carry that wherever me and my family are, it seems like my basic responsibility as a parent at this point.  I have been unspeakably victimized once already, and I refuse to let that happen again to myself or my kids.  So why can’t your administration see that these restrictions that you’re putting to make it harder for me to own a gun, or harder for me to take that where I need to be is actually just making my kids and I less safe?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, Kimberly, first of all, obviously, your story is horrific.  The strength you’ve shown in telling your story and being here tonight is remarkable.  And so I’m really proud of you for that.

I just want to repeat that there’s nothing that we’ve proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm. And now, you may be referring to issues like concealed carry, but those tend to be state-by-state decisions, and we’re not making any proposals with respect to what states are doing.  They can make their own decisions there.  So there really is no — nothing that we’re proposing that prevents you or makes it harder for you to purchase a firearm if you need one.

There are always questions as to whether or not having a firearm in the home protects you from that kind of violence.  And I’m not sure we can resolve that.  People argue it both sides.  What is true is, is that you have to be pretty well trained in order to fire a weapon against somebody who is assaulting you and catches you by surprise.  And what is also true is there’s always the possibility that that firearm in a home leads to a tragic accident.  We can debate that, round or flat.

But for now, what I just want to focus on is that you certainly would like to make it a little harder for that assailant to have also had a gun.  You certainly would want to make sure that if he gets released, that he now can’t do what he did to you to somebody else.  And it’s going to be easier for us to prevent him from getting a gun if there’s a strong background system in place — background check system in place.

And so if you look at the statistics, there’s no doubt that there are times where somebody who has a weapon has been able to protect themselves and scare off an intruder or an assailant.  But what is more often the case is that they may not have been able to protect themselves but they end up the victim of the weapon that they purchased themselves.  And that’s something that can be debated.  In the meantime, all I’m focused on is making sure that a terrible crime like yours that was committed is not made easier because somebody can go on the Internet and just buy whatever weapon they want without us finding out whether they’re a criminal or not.

MR. COOPER:  Kimberly, thank you for being here.  I appreciate it.

You talked about Chicago, and there’s a lot of folks from Chicago here tonight.  I want you to meet — or I want everybody to meet, because I know you’ve met her before, Cleo Pendleton.  She’s sitting over there.  And I should point out — I think I said it earlier — 55 shootings in Chicago in just the past seven days.  Cleo Pendleton, her daughter, Hadiya, performed at your second inauguration.  She was shot to death a little more than a week later.  She was 15 years old.  She was an honor student, a majorette.  And you being here tonight honors her, so thank you very much for being here.  What’s your question to the President?

Q    Well, I want to say thank you, first of all, for making it more difficult for guns to get in the hands of those that shouldn’t have them.  Thank you for the action you took on Tuesday.  But I want to ask a question — how can we stop the trafficking of guns from states with looser gun laws into states with tougher gun laws?  Because I believe that’s the case often in Chicago, and possibly the source of the gun that shot and murdered my daughter.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, it’s great to see you again.  And part of the reason that we do this is because when you meet parents of wonderful young people and they tell their stories, at least for me, I think of Malia and I think of Sasha and I think of my nieces and I think of my nephews.  And the pain that any of us go through with a loss like that is extraordinary. And I couldn’t be prouder of the families who are here representing both sides but who’ve been affected in those ways.

If we are able to set up a strong background check system — and my proposal, by the way, includes hiring — having the FBI hire a couple hundred more people to help process background checks, because they’re big numbers, you’re talking about 20 million checks that are getting done every year — hiring 200,000 — or 200 more ATF agents to be able to go after unscrupulous gun dealers, then that will apply across the country.

And so, some states may have laws that allow for conceal-and -carry; some states may not.  There’s still going to be differences.  But what will at least be consistent across the country is that it’s a little bit harder to get a gun.

Now, we can’t guarantee that criminals are not going to have ways of getting guns.  But, for example, it may be a little more difficult and a little more expensive, and the laws of supply and demand mean that if something is harder to get and it’s a little more expensive to get, then fewer people get them.  And that, in and of itself, could make a difference.

So if somebody is a straw purchaser — and what that means is they don’t intend the guns for themselves, they intend to resell them to somebody else — they go to a gun show in Indiana, where right now they don’t have to do a background check, load up a van, and open up that van and sell them to kids in gangs in Chicago — if now that person has to go through a background check, they’ve got to register, ATF has the capacity then to find out if and when a gun is used in a crime in Chicago where that gun had come from.  And now you know here’s somebody who seems to be willing to sell a gun to a 15-year-old who had a known record.

MR. COOPER:  But you’re only going to be asking people to get a license and do background checks if they give out business cards, if they’re selling weapons that are in the original packaging.  Somebody just walking around a gun show selling a weapon is not necessarily going to have to register.

THE PRESIDENT:  No — look, there’s going to be a case-by-case evaluation:  Are they on an ongoing basis making a profit and are they repeatedly selling firearms.

MR. COOPER:  I want you to meet Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona.  He’s a Republican running for Congress.  After the recent terror attacks, Sheriff, I know you’ve been telling citizens to arm themselves to protect their families.  What’s your question to the President?

Q    Well, first, deputies’ slow response time has been mentioned a couple times.  I want to be clear that my deputies have a very fast emergency response —

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m sure that’s true.

Q    Yes.  Mr. President, you’ve said you’ve been thwarted by — frustrated by Congress.  As a sheriff, I oftentimes get frustrated.  But I don’t make the laws and I’ve sworn an oath to enforce the law, to uphold the Constitution, the same oath you’ve taken.  And the talk and why we’re here is all these mass shootings, and yet you’ve said in your executive action it wouldn’t have solved even one of these or the terrorist attack —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I didn’t say that.  I didn’t say that it wouldn’t solve one.

Q    Well, looking at the information, what would it have solved?  Now, knowing —

MR. COOPER:  None of the recent mass shootings, I should point out, none of the guns were purchased from an unlicensed dealer.

Q    Correct.  And that’s what I’m speaking to — the executive action that you mentioned earlier.  Aspirin, toys, or cars, they’re not written about in the Constitution.  I want to know — and I think all of us really want to get to the solution, and you said don’t talk past each other — what would you have done to prevent these mass shootings and the terrorist attack?  And how do we get those with mental illness and criminals — that’s the real problem here — how are we going to get them to follow the laws?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, appreciate your service.  Good luck on your race.  You sure you want to go to Congress?

Q    I don’t want to talk about —

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  I’m sure that’s true.  That will hurt you.  And I’m sure it’s a Republican district.  (Laughter.)

Look, crime is always going to be with us.  So I think it’s really important for us not to suggest that if we can’t solve every crime, we shouldn’t try to solve any crimes.  (Applause.)

And the problem when we talk about that guns don’t kill people; people kill people, or it’s primarily a mental health problem, or it’s a criminal and evil problem and that’s what we have to get at — all of us are interested in fighting crime.  I’m very proud of the fact that violent crime rates have continued to go down during the course of my presidency.  I’ve got an Attorney General, an FBI that works very closely with local law enforcement in busting up crime rings all the time.  That’s a huge priority to us.  And we’re probably providing grants to your department to help go after criminals.

The challenge we have is that in many instances, you don’t know ahead of time who’s going to be the criminal.  It’s not as if criminals walk around with a label saying, “I’m a criminal.”  And, by the way, the young man who killed those kids in Newtown, he didn’t have a criminal record, and so we didn’t know ahead of time, necessarily, that he was going to do something like that. But he was able to have access to an arsenal that allowed him in very short order to kill an entire classroom of small children.  And so the question then becomes, are there ways for us — since we can’t identify that person all the time, are there ways for us to make it less lethal when something like that happens?

And I mentioned this during my speech at the White House a couple of days ago.  Right around the time of Newtown, in China, a guy who was obviously similarly deranged had a knife and started attacking a bunch of schoolchildren.  About the same number were cut or stabbed by this guy.  But most of them survived.  And the reason was because he wasn’t yielding a semi-automatic.

So the main point I think that I want to make here is that everybody here is in favor of going after criminals, locking them up, making sure that we’re creating an environment where kids don’t turn into criminals and providing the support that they need.  Those are all important things.  Nobody is saying we need to be going soft on criminals.

What we do have to make sure of is that we don’t make it so easy for them to have access to deadly weapons.  In neighborhoods like Chicago — I keep on using Chicago — this is all across the country.  You go into any neighborhood, it used to be that parents would see some kids messing around on the corner and they’d say, “Yo” — even if they weren’t the parent of those children — “go back inside, stop doing that.”  And over time, it was a lot harder to discipline somebody else’s kid and have the community maintain order, or talk to police officers if somebody is doing something wrong, because now somebody is worried about getting shot.

And if we can create an environment that’s just a little bit safer in those communities, that will help.  And if it doesn’t infringe on your Second Amendment rights, and it doesn’t infringe on your Second Amendment rights, and you’re still able to get a firearm for your protection, why wouldn’t we want to do that?

MR. COOPER:  We’ve got to take a break.  (Applause.)  We’re going to take a quick break.  Our live town hall conversation, “Guns in America,” with President Barack Obama continues right after this.

* * * *

MR. COOPER:  And welcome back.  We’re live at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, continuing our live town hall conversation with President Barack Obama, “Guns In America,” talking to voices from all sides of the issue, including the President.

You made your announcement just the other day in a very obviously emotional ceremony at the White House.  And I want to play just a moment from it for those who haven’t seen it.

(Video is shown.)

I think a lot of people were surprised by that moment.

THE PRESIDENT:  I was, too, actually.  I visited Newtown two days after what happened, so it was still very raw.  It’s the only time I’ve ever seen Secret Service cry on duty.  And it wasn’t just the parents.  You had siblings — 10-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 3-year-olds, who, in some cases, didn’t even understand that their brother or sister weren’t going to be coming home.  And I’ve said this before — it continues to haunt me.  It was one of the worst days of my presidency.

But, look, I want to emphasize that there are a lot of tragedies that happen out there as a consequence of the victims of crime.  There are police officers who are out there laying down their lives to protect us every single day.  And tears are appropriate for them, as well, and I visit with those families, as well — victims of terrorism, soldiers coming home.

There’s a lot of heartache out there.  And I don’t suggest that this is the only kind of heartache we should be working on. I spent a lot of time and a lot of hours — in fact, a lot more hours than I spend on this — trying to prevent terrorist attacks.  I spend a lot of time and a lot of hours trying to make sure that we’re continuing to reduce our crime rate.

There are a whole bunch of other answers that are just as important when it comes to making sure that the streets of places like Chicago and Baltimore are safer.  Making sure kids get a good early childhood education.  Making sure that we’re teaching conflict resolution that doesn’t involve violence.  Making sure that faith communities are able to reach out to young people and intervene in timely ways.

So this is not a recipe for solving every problem.  Again, I just want to emphasize that the goal here is just to make progress.  And it’s interesting, as I enter into my last year as President, I could not be prouder of the work that we’ve done. But it also makes you really humble, because you realize that change takes a long time and a lot of the work you do is just to incrementally make things better so that, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, the crime rate has gone down.

That’s not just because of my administration.  That’s the groundwork that was laid by a bunch of good work by law enforcement and others for years, across administrations, on a bipartisan basis.

The same is true with traffic safety.  The same is true with advances in medicine.  The same can be true with this if we stop exaggerating or mischaracterizing the positions of either side and we just come up with some sensible areas that people agree with.  Background checks are an example:  The majority of gun owners agree with this.

MR. COOPER:  You talk about faith communities.  Father Michael Pfleger is here.  I know you know him well.  He’s a Roman Catholic priest in Chicago.  For those who don’t know, his church is St. Sabina on the South Side of Chicago.  I was there about a month ago.  It was a great honor to be there.

Father, you’ve given a lot of eulogies for a lot of kids in your community.  Far too many over the 40 years that you have been there.  What your question for the President?

Q    Mr. President, first of all, thank you for your courage and your passion, and keep pushing.  I happen to be from one of those cities where violence is not going down.  Not only, as Anderson mentioned, the 55 shot, there’s been 11 killed in seven days in Chicago.  And one of the main reasons for that is the easy access to guns.  It’s easier to get a gun in my neighborhood than it is a computer.  And the reality is, is because many of those guns have been bought legally.  And I understand why people are pushing against you, because I understand it’s a business and it’s about a business, and so if we cut back the easy access to guns, less money for gun manufacturers, less money for the gun lobby.  I understand the business of it.  But that business is causing blood and the kids that are dying in Chicago.  And for many years, nobody even cared about Chicago because the violence is primarily black and brown.

The reality is that I don’t understand why we can’t title guns just like cars.  If I have a car and I give it to you, Mr. President, and I don’t transfer a title and you’re in an accident, it’s on me.  We don’t take cars away by putting titles on them.  Why can’t we do that with guns and every gun in America?  So if somebody who’s buying 200 guns, selling them on the streets, if they can’t transfer those titles, then they’re going to be held responsible for the guns that they sell.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, Father Mike, first of all, for those of you who don’t know him, has been working since before I moved to Chicago, and I was a 23-year-old when I first met him.  And somehow I aged and he didn’t.  (Laughter.)

MR. COOPER:  Your gray hair is not going back, I can tell you from experience.

THE PRESIDENT:  He was always the best-looking priest in Chicago.  (Laughter.)  But Father Pfleger has done heroic work at St. Sabina Parish.

Issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it.  And part of it is, is people’s concern that that becomes a prelude to taking people’s guns away.  I mean, part of the challenge in this is that the gun debate gets wrapped up in broader debates about whether the federal government is oppressive.  And there are conspiracy theories floating around the Internet these days all the time.  We did a military exercise in Texas, and a whole bunch of folks were sure that this was the start of martial law, and were suggesting maybe don’t cooperate with the United States Army in an effort to prepare so that if they get deployed overseas, they can handle it.  But that’s how difficult sometimes these debates are.

But I want to pick up on some things where I think there should be consensus.  One of those areas that I talked about at the speech, part of the proposal is developing smart gun technology.  Now, this is an interesting example.  I don’t exactly understand this, and maybe there will be somebody in the audience who explains it to me.  Back in 1997, the CEO of Colt said we can design, or are starting to develop guns where you can only use it if you’ve got a chip, where you wear a band or a bracelet, and that then protects your 2-year-old or 3-year-old from picking up the gun and using it.  And a boycott was called against him, and they had to back off of developing that technology.  The same with Smith & Wesson.  They were in the process of developing similar technology, and they were attacked by the NRA as “surrendering.”

Now, to me, this does not make sense.  If you are a gun owner, I would think that you would at least want a choice so that if you wanted to purchase a firearm that could only be used by you — in part to avoid accidents in your home, in part to make sure that if it’s stolen, it’s not used by a criminal, in part, if there’s an intruder, you pull the gun but somehow it gets wrested away from you, that gun can’t be turned on you and used on you — I would think there might be a market for that.  You could sell that gun.

Now, I’m not saying that necessarily would be the only gun that’s available, but it seems to me that that would be something that in any other area, in any other product, any other commercial venture, there would be some research and development on that because that’s a promising technology.

It has not been developed primarily because it’s been blocked by either the NRA, which is funded by gun manufacturers, or other reasons.  In part, what we proposed was, you know what, we’re going to do some of the research.  We’ll work with the private sector.  (Applause.)  We’ll figure out whether or not this technology can be developed — (applause) — and then give everybody a choice in terms of the kind of firearm that they want to purchase — because I think that there will, in fact, be a market for that.  And over time, that’s an example of how we could reduce some of the preventable gun deaths that are out there.

MR. COOPER:  I want to bring in somebody who actually knows a lot about selling guns.  I want you to meet Kris Jacob.  He’s vice president of the American Firearms Retailers Association.  He’s the owner of the Bullseye Indoor Shooting Range and gun store in San Rafael, California.  Kris, it’s great to have you here.  First of all, how is business under President Obama?  Because everything I read says gun sales have been going up.  Every time he talks about guns, gun sales go up.

Q    It’s been busy.  And certainly I think that shows, as Taya said earlier, that there’s a very serious concern in this country about personal security.  And the sheriff is right — they do everything they possibly can to make sure they get there as quickly as they possibly can.  And my question is actually focused around law enforcement, as well.  There’s 53,000 licensed gun dealers in the United States who stand behind the counter and say no to people all day.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    We feel it’s our responsibility to make sure that people who have a criminal past, people who are mentally ill or are having a bad day don’t get possession of firearms.  So we assist law enforcement all the time in the process of making sure that those things don’t change hands inside our commercial market if they shouldn’t.  It’s a very serious responsibility for us, and as a group, we take it very seriously.

My question is around the executive order related to the investigators, the inspectors, the adding of 200 inspectors who are more on the auditing and record-keeping side.  Why not add 200 ATF agents on the law enforcement side to keep the criminals and the bad guys out of the stores in the first place?  I mean, the problem seems to me to be — you mentioned dealers who are less responsible than others, and certainly it’s possible that those folks are out there, but if we can enforce the laws that already exist, the tens of thousands of gun laws that are on the books right now, it might create a very significant deterrent in just getting those people in the stores.

MR. COOPER:  Let me also point out the number of ATF agents during your administration has actually declined.  So even if you hired 200 more —

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, but not because of my budget.

MR. COOPER:  But even if you hired 200 more, it will get it to what it was right before you took office.

THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.  Well, look, first of all, there are a whole bunch of responsible gun dealers out there.  And my hope would be that those gun dealers would support making sure that everybody is following the same rules that they are.  That’s number one.

Number two is we’re not writing a new law.  Only Congress can do that.  This is about enforcing existing laws, and closing what has grown into a massive loophole where a huge percentage of guns — many of whom end up being traced to crime — are not going through the responsible gun dealers, but are going through irresponsible folks who are not registered as doing business.  And the whole goal here is to clarify and to put on notice that if you’re a business, even if you don’t have bricks and mortar, then you’re supposed to register, you’re supposed to conduct background checks.  So the issue is not where you do it, it’s what you’re doing.  And that should not be something that threatens responsible gun dealers across the country.

In terms of the ATF, it is absolutely true that the ATF budget has been shrank because — has been shrunk — it’s a little late — (laughter) — you knew what I meant — (laughter) — and part of it is because the politicizing of this issue.  So many in the Republican Congress feel as if the ATF is not their friend, but their enemy.  Part of the story I was telling —

MR. COOPER:  You said this issue should be politicized, though.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, but what I mean by that, Anderson, is, is that they have been portrayed as trying to take people’s guns away as opposed to trying to make sure that the laws are enforced.  And one of the most frustrating things that I hear is when people say — who are opposed to any further laws — why don’t you just enforce the laws that are on the books, and those very same members of Congress then cut ATF budgets to make it impossible to enforce the law.  (Applause.)

And by the way, the ATF is a law enforcement agency working under the FBI that is doing enormous work in going after criminals and drug cartels, and have a pretty dangerous job.  So it’s not as if doing background checks or auditing gun sales is all that they’re doing.

Part of my proposal is also developing better technologies so that we can do tracing of shells when a crime is committed in order to figure out who exactly are the perpetrators of the crime and where did they obtain the weapon.  So there’s a whole bunch of other elements to this that are going to be important.  But my hope is, is that responsible gun dealers like yourself and your organization are going to be supportive of this proposal, because it should actually help push away unscrupulous dealers and that means more customers for you guys.

MR. COOPER:  I want to bring in Mark Kelly.  As you know, a former astronaut, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who we’re proud to say is here tonight.  Five years ago this week in Tucson, Arizona, Congresswoman Giffords was shot.  Six others were killed.  Captain, your question?

Q    Well, thank you for being here, Mr. President.  As you know, Gabby and I are both gun owners.  We take gun ownership very seriously and really think about the voices of responsible gun owners in this debate.  But I want to follow up to something Father Pfleger said and your answer to his question, and it’s about expanded background checks.  Often, what you hear in the debate of expanding background checks to more gun sales — and, as you know, Gabby and I are 100 percent behind the concept of somebody getting a background check before buying a gun — but when we testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, we heard not only from the gun lobby but from United States senators that expanding background checks will — not may — will lead to a registry, which will lead to confiscation, which will lead to a tyrannical government.

So I would like you to explain, with 350 million guns in 65 million places, households, from Key West to Alaska — 350 million objects in 65 million places — if the federal government wanted to confiscate those objects, how would they do that?  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, first of all, every time I see Gabby, I’m just so thrilled because I visited her in the hospital, and, as I mentioned I think in the speech in the White House, as we left the hospital then to go to a memorial service, we got word that Gabby had opened her eyes for the first time.  And we did not think that she was going to be here, and she is.  And Mark has just been extraordinary.  And, by the way, Mark’s twin brother is up in space right now and is breaking the record for the longest continuous orbiting of the planet, which is pretty impressive stuff.

What I think Mark is alluding to is what I said earlier — this notion of a conspiracy out there, and it gets wrapped up in concerns about the federal government.  Now, there’s a long history of that.  That’s in our DNA.  The United States was born suspicious of some distant authority.

MR. COOPER:  But let me just jump in — is it fair to call it a conspiracy?  I mean, there’s a lot of people who really believe this deeply — that they just don’t trust you.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m sorry, Cooper, yes it is fair to call it a conspiracy.  What are you saying?  (Applause.)  Are you suggesting that the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody’s guns away so that we can impose martial law —

MR. COOPER:  Not everybody, but there is certainly a lot of people —

THE PRESIDENT:  — is a conspiracy?  Yes, that is a conspiracy.  I would hope that you would agree with that.  (Applause.)  Is that controversial except on some websites around the country?

MR. COOPER:  There are certainly a lot of people who just have a fundamental distrust that you do not want to get — go further and further and further down this road.

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, I mean, I’m only going to be here for another year.  I don’t know — when would I have started on this enterprise, right?  (Laughter.)

I come from the state of Illinois, which — we’ve been talking about Chicago, but downstate Illinois is closer to Kentucky than it is to Chicago.  And everybody hunts down there and a lot of folks own guns.  And so this is not, like, alien territory to me.  I’ve got a lot of friends like Mark who are hunters.  I just came back from Alaska, where I ate a moose that had just been shot — and it was pretty good.

So, yes, it is a false notion that I believe is circulated for either political reasons or commercial reasons in order to prevent a coming together among people of goodwill to develop common-sense rules that will make us safer while preserving the Second Amendment.

And the notion that we can’t agree on some things while not agreeing on others and the reason for that is because, well, the President secretly wants to X would mean that we’d be paralyzed about doing everything.  I mean, maybe when I proposed to make sure that unsafe drugs are taken off the market that, secretly, I’m trying to control the entire drug industry, or take people’s drugs away.  But probably not.  What’s more likely is I just want to make sure that people are not dying by taking bad drugs.

MR. COOPER:  You wrote an op-ed that just got published.  A lot of people probably have not read it yet.  One of the things you say in it is that you are not going to campaign for, vote for any candidate, regardless of what party they’re in, if they do not support common-sense gun reform.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  I meant what I said.  And the reason I said that is this.  The majority of people in this country are a lot more sensible than what you see in Washington, and the reason that Washington doesn’t work well in part is because the loudest, shrillest voices, the least compromising, the most powerful or those with the most money have the most influence.

And the way Washington changes is when people vote.  And the way we break the deadlock on this issue is when Congress does not have just a stranglehold on this debate — or, excuse me — the NRA does not have a stranglehold on Congress in this debate — (applause) — but it is balanced by a whole bunch of folks — gun owners, law enforcement, the majority of the American people — when their voices are heard, then things get done.

The proposals that we’ve put forward are a version — a lawful, more narrow version — of what was proposed by Joe Manchin and Senator Toomey of Pennsylvania, a Republican and a Democrat, both of whom get straight-A scores from the NRA.  And somehow, after Newtown, that did not pass the Senate.  The majority of senators wanted it, but 90 percent of Republicans voted against it.  And I’ll be honest with you, 90 percent of those senators didn’t disagree with the proposal, but they were fearful that it was going to affect them during the election.

So all I’m saying is, is that this debate will not change and get balanced out so that lawful gun owners and their Second Amendment rights are protected, but we’re also creating a pathway towards a safer set of communities — it’s not going to change until those who are concerned about violence are not as focused and disciplined during election time as those who are.  And I’m going to throw my shoulders behind folks who want to actually solve problems instead of just getting a high score from an interest group.  (Applause.)

MR. COOPER:  We have time for one more question.  And we talked about Chicago a little bit.  We haven’t really heard from young people tonight — no offense to those who have spoken.  (Laughter.)  I’m in the same category as you all.  Sorry, Father.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re a kid.

MR. COOPER:  There’s a lot of kids, as you know, growing up in Chicago, fearful of walking to school, fearful of coming home from school.  A lot of kids have been killed on buses.  There’s a lot of moms of kids who have been killed in the streets of Chicago.  And I want you to meet Trey Bosley.  He’s 18 years old. He’s a high school student.  And his brother Terrell was shot and killed nearly 10 years ago while he was helping a friend in a church parking lot.  Terrell would have turned 28 years old on this Tuesday.  What’s your question, Trey?

Q    As you said, I lost my brother a few years ago — well, 10 years ago.  And I’ve also lost a countless amount of family members and friends to gun violence, as well.  And just growing up as a young black teen in Chicago, where you’re surrounded by not only just gun violence but police brutality, as well, most of aren’t thinking of our life on a long-term scale.  Most of us are either thinking day to day, hour to hour — for some, even minute to minute.  I want to thank you for your stand against gun violence for not only the victims of gun violence, but those on the verge of being victims of gun violence.  And my question to you is, what is your advice to those youth growing up surrounded by poverty and gun violence?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, Trey, I couldn’t be prouder of you.  And I know — is that your momma next to you?  I know she’s proud of you right now.  So good job, Mom.

When I see you, Terrell, I think I about my own —

MR. COOPER:  Trey.

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me — Trey.  When I see you, I think about my own youth, because I wasn’t that different from you.  Probably not as articulate and maybe more of a goof-off.  But the main difference was I lived in a more forgiving environment.  If I screwed up, I wasn’t at risk of getting shot.  I’d get a second chance.  There were a bunch of folks who were looking out for me, and there weren’t a lot of guns on the streets.  And that’s how all kids should be growing up, wherever they live.

My advice to you is to continue to be an outstanding role model for the young ones who are coming up behind you.  Keep listening to your mom.  Work hard and get an education.  Understand that high school and whatever peer pressure or restrictions you’re under right now won’t matter by the time you’re a full adult, and what matters is your future.  But what I also want to say to you is, is that you’re really important to the future of this country.

And I think it is critical in this debate to understand that it’s not just inner-city kids who are at risk in these situations.  Out of the 30,000 deaths due to gun violence, about two-thirds of them are actually suicides.  That’s part of the reason why we are investing more heavily also in mental health under my proposal.

But while the majority of victims of gun homicide are black or Hispanic, the overwhelming majority of suicides by young people are white.  And those, too, are tragedies.  Those, too, are preventable.  I’m the father of two outstanding young women, but being a teenager is tough.  And we all remember the times where you get confused, you’re angry, and then the next thing you know, if you have access to a firearm what kind of bad decisions you might make.  So those are deaths we also want to prevent.

Accidental shootings are also deaths we want to prevent.  And we’re not going to prevent all of them.  But we can do better.  We’re not going to, through this initiative alone, solve all the problems of inner-city crime.  Some of that, as I said, has to do with investing in these communities and making sure there’s good education and jobs and opportunity — (applause) — and great parents, and moral responsibility, and ethical behavior, and instilling that in our kids — that’s going to be important.

So this is not a proposal to solve every problem.  It’s a modest way of us getting started on improving the prospects of young men and young women like you, the same way we try to improve every other aspect of our lives.  That’s all it is.

And if we get started — as I said before, it used to be people didn’t wear seatbelts, didn’t have airbags.  It takes 20, 30 years, but you look and then you realize all these amazing lives of young people like this who are contributing to our society because we came together in a practical way, looking at evidence, looking at data, and figured out how can we make that work better.

Right now, Congress prohibits us even studying through the Center for Disease Control ways in which we could reduce gun violence.  That’s how crazy this thing has become.  Let’s at least figure out what works.  And some of the proposals that I’m making may turn out are not as effective as others.  But at least let’s figure it out, let’s try some things.  Let’s not just assume that — every few weeks there’s a mass shooting that gets publicity, every few months there’s one that gets national publicity, every day there are a whole bunch of folks shot on streets around the country that we don’t even hear about.  That is not something that we can be satisfied with.

And part of my faith and hope in America is just that — not that we achieve a perfect union, but that we get better.  And we can do better than we’re doing right now if we come together.  (Applause.)

Thank you.

MR. COOPER:  Mr. President, thank you very much for your time.

THE PRESIDENT:  Appreciate it very much.

                             END           9:13 P.M. EST

History Buzz January 6, 2016: American Historical Association 2016 Annual Meeting Program

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

2016 Annual Meeting

Locations and Hours

 AHA Headquarters/Staff Office and Information Desk

Hilton Atlanta, Salon West

 January 7, 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
January 8, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 10, 8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Registration

Hilton Atlanta, Salon West

 January 7, 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
January 8, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall

Hilton Atlanta, Galleria Exhibit Hall

January 8, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 10, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Job Center

Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Marquis Ballroom

January 7, 12:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 8, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 10, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
 Internet Center

Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Marquis Ballroom

January 7, 12:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 8, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 10, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
 AHA Information Desk at the  Marriott

Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Imperial Foyer

January 7, 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 8, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 10, 8:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
 Quiet Room

Hilton Atlanta, Room 207
Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Room M 108

January 7, 12:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 8, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 10, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Nursing Mothers’ Room

Hilton Atlanta, Room 308

January 7, 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
January 8, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 9, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
January 10, 8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Full Text Political Transcripts January 5, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Statement Announcing Gun Control Executive Actions

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Common-Sense Gun Safety Reform

Source: WH, 1-5-16

East Room

11:43 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.

Mark, I want to thank you for your introduction.  I still remember the first time we met, the time we spent together, and the conversation we had about Daniel.  And that changed me that day.  And my hope, earnestly, has been that it would change the country.

Five years ago this week, a sitting member of Congress and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona.  It wasn’t the first time I had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last.  Fort Hood.  Binghamton.  Aurora.  Oak Creek.  Newtown.  The Navy Yard.  Santa Barbara.  Charleston.  San Bernardino.  Too many.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Too many.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Too many.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Too many.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thanks to a great medical team and the love of her husband, Mark, my dear friend and colleague, Gabby Giffords, survived.  She’s here with us today, with her wonderful mom.  (Applause.)  Thanks to a great medical team, her wonderful husband, Mark — who, by the way, the last time I met with Mark  — this is just a small aside — you may know Mark’s twin brother is in outer space.  (Laughter.)  He came to the office, and I said, how often are you talking to him?  And he says, well, I usually talk to him every day, but the call was coming in right before the meeting so I think I may have not answered his call — (laughter) — which made me feel kind of bad.  (Laughter.)    That’s a long-distance call.  (Laughter.)  So I told him if his brother, Scott, is calling today, that he should take it.  (Laughter.)  Turn the ringer on.  (Laughter.)

I was there with Gabby when she was still in the hospital, and we didn’t think necessarily at that point that she was going to survive.  And that visit right before a memorial — about an hour later Gabby first opened her eyes.  And I remember talking to mom about that.  But I know the pain that she and her family have endured these past five years, and the rehabilitation and the work and the effort to recover from shattering injuries.

And then I think of all the Americans who aren’t as fortunate.  Every single year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns — 30,000.  Suicides.  Domestic violence.  Gang shootouts.  Accidents.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children.  Many have had to learn to live with a disability, or learned to live without the love of their life.

A number of those people are here today.  They can tell you some stories.  In this room right here, there are a lot of stories.  There’s a lot of heartache.  There’s a lot of resilience, there’s a lot of strength, but there’s also a lot of pain.  And this is just a small sample.

The United States of America is not the only country on Earth with violent or dangerous people.  We are not inherently more prone to violence.  But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency.  It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries.  It’s not even close.  And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.

And instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates — despite the fact that there’s a general consensus in America about what needs to be done.  That’s part of the reason why, on Thursday, I’m going to hold a town hall meeting in Virginia on gun violence.  Because my goal here is to bring good people on both sides of this issue together for an open discussion.

I’m not on the ballot again.  I’m not looking to score some points.  I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives or without being disagreeable.  We don’t need to be talking past one another.  But we do have to feel a sense of urgency about it.  In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the “fierce urgency of now.”  Because people are dying.  And the constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice.

That’s why we’re here today.  Not to debate the last mass shooting, but to do something to try to prevent the next one.  (Applause.)  To prove that the vast majority of Americans, even if our voices aren’t always the loudest or most extreme, care enough about a little boy like Daniel to come together and take common-sense steps to save lives and protect more of our children.

Now, I want to be absolutely clear at the start — and I’ve said this over and over again, this also becomes routine, there is a ritual about this whole thing that I have to do — I believe in the Second Amendment.  It’s there written on the paper.  It guarantees a right to bear arms.  No matter how many times people try to twist my words around — I taught constitutional law, I know a little about this — (applause) — I get it.  But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.

I mean, think about it.  We all believe in the First Amendment, the guarantee of free speech, but we accept that you can’t yell “fire” in a theater.  We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people.  We cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through metal detectors before being allowed to board a plane. It’s not because people like doing that, but we understand that that’s part of the price of living in a civilized society.

And what’s often ignored in this debate is that a majority of gun owners actually agree.  A majority of gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking feud from inflicting harm on a massive scale.

Today, background checks are required at gun stores.  If a father wants to teach his daughter how to hunt, he can walk into a gun store, get a background check, purchase his weapon safely and responsibly.  This is not seen as an infringement on the Second Amendment.  Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation.  Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently, before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns.  You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm.

The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules.  A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked.  A recent study found that about one in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website had criminal records — one out of 30 had a criminal record.  We’re talking about individuals convicted of serious crimes — aggravated assault, domestic violence, robbery, illegal gun possession.  People with lengthy criminal histories buying deadly weapons all too easily.  And this was just one website within the span of a few months.

So we’ve created a system in which dangerous people are allowed to play by a different set of rules than a responsible gun owner who buys his or her gun the right way and subjects themselves to a background check.  That doesn’t make sense.  Everybody should have to abide by the same rules.  Most Americans and gun owners agree.  And that’s what we tried to change three years ago, after 26 Americans -– including 20 children -– were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Two United States Senators -– Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, both gun owners, both strong defenders of our Second Amendment rights, both with “A” grades from the NRA –- that’s hard to get  — worked together in good faith, consulting with folks like our Vice President, who has been a champion on this for a long time, to write a common-sense compromise bill that would have required virtually everyone who buys a gun to get a background check.  That was it.  Pretty common-sense stuff.  Ninety percent of Americans supported that idea.  Ninety percent of Democrats in the Senate voted for that idea.  But it failed because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against that idea.

How did this become such a partisan issue?  Republican President George W. Bush once said, “I believe in background checks at gun shows or anywhere to make sure that guns don’t get into the hands of people that shouldn’t have them.”  Senator John McCain introduced a bipartisan measure to address the gun show loophole, saying, “We need this amendment because criminals and terrorists have exploited and are exploiting this very obvious loophole in our gun safety laws.”  Even the NRA used to support expanded background checks.  And by the way, most of its members still do.  Most Republican voters still do.

How did we get here?  How did we get to the place where people think requiring a comprehensive background check means taking away people’s guns?

Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying.  I reject that thinking.  (Applause.)  We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world.  But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.

Some of you may recall, at the same time that Sandy Hook happened, a disturbed person in China took a knife and tried to kill — with a knife — a bunch of children in China.  But most of them survived because he didn’t have access to a powerful weapon.  We maybe can’t save everybody, but we could save some.  Just as we don’t prevent all traffic accidents but we take steps to try to reduce traffic accidents.

As Ronald Reagan once said, if mandatory background checks could save more lives, “it would be well worth making it the law of the land.”  The bill before Congress three years ago met that test.  Unfortunately, too many senators failed theirs.  (Applause.)

In fact, we know that background checks make a difference.  After Connecticut passed a law requiring background checks and gun safety courses, gun deaths decreased by 40 percent — 40 percent.  (Applause.)  Meanwhile, since Missouri repealed a law requiring comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, gun deaths have increased to almost 50 percent higher than the national average.  One study found, unsurprisingly, that criminals in Missouri now have easier access to guns.

And the evidence tells us that in states that require background checks, law-abiding Americans don’t find it any harder to purchase guns whatsoever.  Their guns have not been confiscated.  Their rights have not been infringed.

And that’s just the information we have access to.  With more research, we could further improve gun safety.  Just as with more research, we’ve reduced traffic fatalities enormously over the last 30 years.  We do research when cars, food, medicine, even toys harm people so that we make them safer.  And you know what — research, science — those are good things.  They work.  (Laughter and applause.)  They do.

But think about this.  When it comes to an inherently deadly weapon — nobody argues that guns are potentially deadly — weapons that kill tens of thousands of Americans every year, Congress actually voted to make it harder for public health experts to conduct research into gun violence; made it harder to collect data and facts and develop strategies to reduce gun violence.  Even after San Bernardino, they’ve refused to make it harder for terror suspects who can’t get on a plane to buy semi-automatic weapons.  That’s not right.  That can’t be right.

So the gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage.  (Applause.)  We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom.  (Applause.)

Now, I want to be clear.  Congress still needs to act.  The folks in this room will not rest until Congress does.  (Applause.)  Because once Congress gets on board with common-sense gun safety measures we can reduce gun violence a whole lot more.  But we also can’t wait.  Until we have a Congress that’s in line with the majority of Americans, there are actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence and save more lives -– actions that protect our rights and our kids.

After Sandy Hook, Joe and I worked together with our teams and we put forward a whole series of executive actions to try to tighten up the existing rules and systems that we had in place.  But today, we want to take it a step further.  So let me outline what we’re going to be doing.

Number one, anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks, or be subject to criminal prosecutions.  (Applause.)  It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it over the Internet or at a gun show.  It’s not where you do it, but what you do.

We’re also expanding background checks to cover violent criminals who try to buy some of the most dangerous firearms by hiding behind trusts and corporations and various cutouts.

We’re also taking steps to make the background check system more efficient.  Under the guidance of Jim Comey and the FBI, our Deputy Director Tom Brandon at ATF, we’re going to hire more folks to process applications faster, and we’re going to bring an outdated background check system into the 21st century.  (Applause.)

And these steps will actually lead to a smoother process for law-abiding gun owners, a smoother process for responsible gun dealers, a stronger process for protecting the people from — the public from dangerous people.  So that’s number one.

Number two, we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books, which means we’re going to add 200 more ATF agents and investigators.  We’re going to require firearms dealers to report more lost or stolen guns on a timely basis. We’re working with advocates to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence, where too often — (applause) — where too often, people are not getting the protection that they need.

Number three, we’re going to do more to help those suffering from mental illness get the help that they need.  (Applause.)  High-profile mass shootings tend to shine a light on those few mentally unstable people who inflict harm on others.  But the truth is, is that nearly two in three gun deaths are from suicides.  So a lot of our work is to prevent people from hurting themselves.

That’s why we made sure that the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — (laughter and applause) — that law made sure that treatment for mental health was covered the same as treatment for any other illness.  And that’s why we’re going to invest $500 million to expand access to treatment across the country.  (Applause.)

It’s also why we’re going to ensure that federal mental health records are submitted to the background check system, and remove barriers that prevent states from reporting relevant information.  If we can continue to de-stigmatize mental health issues, get folks proper care, and fill gaps in the background check system, then we can spare more families the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.

And for those in Congress who so often rush to blame mental illness for mass shootings as a way of avoiding action on guns, here’s your chance to support these efforts.  Put your money where your mouth is.  (Applause.)

Number four, we’re going to boost gun safety technology.  Today, many gun injuries and deaths are the result of legal guns that were stolen or misused or discharged accidentally.  In 2013 alone, more than 500 people lost their lives to gun accidents –- and that includes 30 children younger than five years old.  In the greatest, most technologically advanced nation on Earth, there is no reason for this.  We need to develop new technologies that make guns safer.  If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?  (Applause.)  If there’s an app that can help us find a missing tablet — which happens to me often the older I get — (laughter) — if we can do it for your iPad, there’s no reason we can’t do it with a stolen gun.  If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure that they can’t pull a trigger on a gun.  (Applause.)  Right?

So we’re going to advance research.  We’re going to work with the private sector to update firearms technology.

And some gun retailers are already stepping up by refusing to finalize a purchase without a complete background check, or by refraining from selling semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity magazines.  And I hope that more retailers and more manufacturers join them — because they should care as much as anybody about a product that now kills almost as many Americans as car accidents.

I make this point because none of us can do this alone.  I think Mark made that point earlier.  All of us should be able to work together to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important — Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them.  Because our right to worship freely and safely –- that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina.  (Applause.)  And that was denied Jews in Kansas City.  And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek.  (Applause.)  They had rights, too.  (Applause.)

Our right to peaceful assembly -– that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette.  Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -– those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown.  First-graders.  And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad.  And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.  (Applause.)

So all of us need to demand a Congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies.  All of us need to stand up and protect its citizens.  All of us need to demand governors and legislatures and businesses do their part to make our communities safer.  We need the wide majority of responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time this happens and feel like your views are not being properly represented to join with us to demand something better.  (Applause.)

And we need voters who want safer gun laws, and who are disappointed in leaders who stand in their way, to remember come election time.  (Applause.)

I mean, some of this is just simple math.  Yes, the gun lobby is loud and it is organized in defense of making it effortless for guns to be available for anybody, any time.  Well, you know what, the rest of us, we all have to be just as passionate.  We have to be just as organized in defense of our kids.  This is not that complicated.  The reason Congress blocks laws is because they want to win elections.  And if you make it hard for them to win an election if they block those laws, they’ll change course, I promise you.  (Applause.)

And, yes, it will be hard, and it won’t happen overnight.  It won’t happen during this Congress.  It won’t happen during my presidency.  But a lot of things don’t happen overnight.  A woman’s right to vote didn’t happen overnight.  The liberation of African Americans didn’t happen overnight.  LGBT rights — that was decades’ worth of work.  So just because it’s hard, that’s no excuse not to try.

And if you have any doubt as to why you should feel that “fierce urgency of now,” think about what happened three weeks ago.  Zaevion Dobson was a sophomore at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee.  He played football; beloved by his classmates and his teachers.  His own mayor called him one of their city’s success stories.  The week before Christmas, he headed to a friend’s house to play video games.  He wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He hadn’t made a bad decision.  He was exactly where any other kid would be.  Your kid.  My kids. And then gunmen started firing.  And Zaevion — who was in high school, hadn’t even gotten started in life — dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets.  And he was shot in the head.  And the girls were spared.  He gave his life to save theirs –- an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old.  “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

We are not asked to do what Zaevion Dobson did.  We’re not asked to have shoulders that big; a heart that strong; reactions that quick.  I’m not asking people to have that same level of courage, or sacrifice, or love.  But if we love our kids and care about their prospects, and if we love this country and care about its future, then we can find the courage to vote.  We can find the courage to get mobilized and organized.  We can find the courage to cut through all the noise and do what a sensible country would do.

That’s what we’re doing today.  And tomorrow, we should do more.  And we should do more the day after that.  And if we do, we’ll leave behind a nation that’s stronger than the one we inherited and worthy of the sacrifice of a young man like Zaevion.  (Applause.)

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  Thank you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END

12:20 P.M. EST

 

Full Text Political Transcripts January 4, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on Recommendations on Gun Safety

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Recommendations on Gun Safety

 

Source: WH, 1-4-16

Oval Office

2:42 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Happy New Year, everybody.  Before the New Year, I mentioned that I had given the charge to my Attorney General, FBI Director, Deputy Director at the ATF, and personnel at my White House to work together to see what more we could do to prevent a scourge of gun violence in this country.

I think everybody here is all too familiar with the statistics.  We have tens of thousands of people every single year who are killed by guns.  We have suicides that are committed by firearms at a rate that far exceeds other countries.  We have a frequency of mass shootings that far exceeds other countries in frequency.

And although it is my strong belief that for us to get our complete arm around the problem Congress needs to act, what I asked my team to do is to see what more we could do to strengthen our enforcement and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands to make sure that criminals, people who are mentally unstable, those who could pose a danger to themselves or others are less likely to get them.

And I’ve just received back a report from Attorney General Lynch, Director Comey, as well as Deputy Director Brandon about some of the ideas and initiatives that they think can make a difference.  And the good news is, is that these are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they’re also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support and believe.

So over the next several days, we’ll be rolling out these initiatives.  We’ll be making sure that people have a very clear understanding of what can make a difference and what we can do.  And although we have to be very clear that this is not going to solve every violent crime in this country, it’s not going to prevent every mass shooting, it’s not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal, it will potentially save lives and spare families the pain and the extraordinary loss that they’ve suffered as a consequence of a firearm getting in the hands of the wrong people.

I’m also confident that the recommendations that are being made by my team here are ones that are entirely consistent with the Second Amendment and people’s lawful right to bear arms.  And we’ve been very careful recognizing that, although we have a strong tradition of gun ownership in this country, that even though it’s who possess firearms for hunting, for self-protection, and for other legitimate reasons, I want to make sure that the wrong people don’t have them for the wrong reasons.

So I want to say how much I appreciate the outstanding work that the team has done.  Many of you worked over the holidays to get this set of recommendations to me.  And I’m looking forward to speaking to the American people over the next several days in more detail about it.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END

2:46 P.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts December 23, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Statement on Persecuted Christians at Christmas

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Statement by the President on Persecuted Christians at Christmas

Source: WH, 12-23-15

During this season of Advent, Christians in the United States and around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing.  Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.

In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.

We join with people around the world in praying for God’s protection for persecuted Christians and those of other faiths, as well as for those brave men and women engaged in our military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering and restore stability, security, and hope to their nations.  As the old Christmas carol reminds us:

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.

%d bloggers like this: