Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 19, 2016: The third Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

The third Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

Source: Vox, 10-19-16

Chris Wallace: I’m Chris Wallace of Fox News. And I welcome you to the third and final of the 2016 presidential debates between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

This debate is sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. The commission has designed the format, six roughly 15-minute segments with two-minute answers to the first question, then open discussion for the rest of each segment. Both campaigns have agreed to those rules. For the record, I decided the topics and the questions in each topic. None of those questions has been shared with the commission or the two candidates. The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent. No cheers, boos, or other interruptions, so we and you can focus on what the candidates have to say. No noise except right now as we welcome the Democratic nominee for president, Secretary Clinton, and the Republican nominee for president, Mr. Trump.

Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump, welcome. Let’s get right to it. The first topic is the Supreme Court. We — you both talked briefly about the court in the last debate, but I want to drill down on this because the next president will almost certainly have at least one appointment and likely or possibly two or three appointments, which means that you will in effect determine the balance of the court for what could be the next quarter century. First of all, where do you want to see the court take the country? And secondly, what’s your view on how the Constitution should be interpreted? Do the founders’ words mean what they say, or is it a living document to be applied flexibly according to changing circumstances? In this segment, Secretary Clinton, go first, you have two minutes.

Hillary Clinton: Thank you very much, Chris, and thanks to UNLV for hosting us. When we talk about the Supreme Court it really raises the central issue in this election, namely, what kind of country are we going to be? What kind of opportunities will we provide for our citizens?

What kind of rights will Americans have? And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy.

For me, that means that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in the country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system. I have major disagreements with my opponent about these issues and others that will be before the Supreme Court, but I feel that at this point in our country’s history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United, we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace, that we stand up and basically say the Supreme Court should represent all of us. That’s how I see the court, and the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on behalf of our rights as Americans, and I look forward to having that opportunity.

I would hope that the Senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent to them. That’s the way the Constitution fundamentally should operate. The president nominates and then the Senate advises and consents or not.

But they go forward with the process.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, thank you. Mr. Trump, same question. Where do you want to see the court take the country, and how do you believe the Constitution should be interpreted?

Donald Trump: Well, first of all, it’s great to be with you and thank you, everybody. The Supreme Court, it’s what it’s all about. Our country is so, so, just so imperative that we have the right justices. Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent, and she was forced to apologize, and apologize she did. But these were statements that should never, ever have been made.

We need a Supreme Court that, in my opinion, is going to uphold the Second Amendment and all amendments, but the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege. I believe if my opponent should win this race, which I truly don’t think will happen, we will have a Second Amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what it is right now. But I feel that it’s absolutely important that we recall because of the fact that it is under such trauma. I feel that the justices that I am going to appoint — and I’ve named 20 of them — the justices that I’m going to appoint will be pro-life, they will have a conservative bent, they will be protecting the Second Amendment, they are great scholars in all cases, and they’re people of tremendous respect. They will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.

And I believe that’s very, very important. I don’t think we should have justices appointed that decide what they want to hear.

It’s all about the Constitution of — and so important, the Constitution the way it was meant to be and those are the people that I will appoint.

Wallace: We now have 10 minutes for open discussion. I want to focus on two issues that in fact by the justices that you name could end up changing the existing law of the land. First is one that you mentioned, Mr. Trump, and that is guns. Secretary Clinton, you said last year, and let me quote, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment.

Now, in fact, in the 2008 Heller case, the court ruled that there is a constitutional right to bear arms but a right that is reasonably limited. Those were the words of Judge Antonin Scalia, who wrote the decision. What’s wrong with that?

Clinton: Well, first of all, I support the Second Amendment. I lived in Arkansas for 18 wonderful years. I represented upstate New York. I understand and respect the tradition of gun ownership. It goes back to the founding of our country. But I also believe that there can be and must be reasonable regulation. Because I support the Second Amendment doesn’t mean that I want people who shouldn’t have guns to be able to threaten you, kill you or members of your family.

And so when I think about what we need to do, we have 33,000 people a year who die from guns. I think we need comprehensive background checks. We need to close the online loophole, close the gun show loophole. There are other matters that I think are sensible that are the kind of reforms that would make a difference that are not in any way conflicting with the Second Amendment.

You mentioned the Heller decision, and what I was saying that you reference, Chris, was that I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case. Because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was protect toddlers from guns. They wanted people with guns to safely store them, and the court didn’t accept that reasonable regulation, but they’ve accepted many other.

I see no conflict between saving people’s lives and defending the Second Amendment.

Wallace: Let me bring Mr. Trump in here. The bipartisan open debate coalition got millions of votes on questions to ask here, and this was, in fact, one of the top questions that they got. How will you ensure the Second Amendment is protected? You just heard Secretary Clinton’s answer. Does she persuade you that, while you may differ on regulation, that she supports a Second Amendment right to bear arms?

Trump: The DC v. Heller decision was very strongly and she was extremely angry about it. I watched. She was very, very angry when upheld. And Justice Scalia was so involved, and it was a well-crafted decision, but Hillary was extremely upset, extremely angry, and people that believe in the Second Amendment and believe in it very strongly were very upset with what she had to say.

Wallace: Let me bring in Secretary Clinton. Were you extremely upset?

Clinton: Well, I was upset because, unfortunately, dozens of toddlers injure themselves, even kill people with guns because, unfortunately, not everyone who has loaded guns in their homes takes appropriate precautions.

But there’s no doubt that I respect the Second Amendment, that I also believe there’s an individual right to bear arms. That is not in conflict with sensible, commonsense regulation. And you know, look, I understand that Donald’s been strongly supported by the NRA, the gun lobby’s on his side, they’re running millions of dollars of ads against me. And I regret that, because what I would like to see is for people to come together and say of course we’re going to protect and defend the Second Amendment, but we’re going to do it in a way that tries to save some of these 33,000 lives that we lose every year.

Wallace: Let me bring Mr. Trump back into that. Because, in fact, you oppose any limits on assault weapons, any limits on magazines. You support a national right to carry law. Why, sir?

Trump: Let me just tell you before we go any further, in Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the United States, probably you could say by far they have more gun violence than any other city. So we have the toughest laws and you have tremendous gun violence.

I am a very strong supporter of the Second Amendment. And I don’t know if Hillary was saying it in a sarcastic manner, but I’m very proud to have the endorsement of the NRA. It’s the earliest endorsement they’ve ever given to anybody who ran for president. I’m very honored by all of that.

We are going to appoint justices. This is the best way to help the Second Amendment. We’re going to appoint justices that will feel very seriously about the Second Amendment. That will not do damage to the Second Amendment.

Wallace: Let’s pick up on another issue which divides you and the justices that whoever ends up winning this election appoints could have a dramatic effect there, and that’s the issue of abortion. Mr. Trump, you’re pro-life. But I want to ask you specifically, do you want the court, including the justices that you will name, to overturn Roe v. Wade, which includes, in fact states, a woman’s right to abortion?

Trump: Well, if that would happen, because I am pro-life and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that that would go back to the individual states.

Wallace: But I’m asking you specifically —

Trump: If they overturned it, it will go back to the states.

Wallace: What I’m asking you, sir, is do you want to see the court overturn? You just said you want to see the court protect the Second Amendment. Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?

Trump: If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen. And that will happen automatically in my opinion because I’m putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this, it will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult in many cases decisions about her health care that one can imagine. And in this case it’s not only about Roe v. Wade. It is about what’s happening right now in America. So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which, of course, provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country.

Donald has said he’s in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood. I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women’s rights to make their own health care decisions.

Wallace: Secretary —

Clinton: And we’ve come too far to have that turn back now. Indeed, he said women should be punished, that there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions. And I could just not be more opposed to that kind of thinking.

Wallace: I’m going to give you a chance to respond, but I want to ask you, Secretary Clinton, how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term partial-birth abortions. Why?

Clinton: Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, your reaction, and particularly on this issue of late-term partial birth abortion.

Trump: I think it’s terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Now, you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she’s saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, only the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

Clinton: Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I’ve met with. Women I’ve known over the course of my life.

This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. I do not believe the government should be making it. I’ve been to countries where governments forced women to have abortions like they did in China or force women to bear children like they used to do in Romania. I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice, and I will stand up for that right.

Wallace: All right. Just briefly, I want to move on.

Trump: And honestly, nobody has business doing what I just said, doing that as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth, nobody has that.

Wallace: All right. Let’s move on to the subject of immigration, and there is almost no issue that separates the two of you more than the issue of immigration.

Actually, there are a lot of issues. Mr. Trump, you want to build a wall. Secretary Clinton, you’ve offered no specific plan for how you want to secure our southern border.

Mr. Trump, you are calling for major deportations. Secretary Clinton, you say within your first 100 days as president you’ll offer a package that includes a pathway to citizenship. The question really is why are you right and your opponent wrong? Mr. Trump, you go first in this segment. You have two minutes.

Trump: First of all, she wants to give amnesty, which is a disaster and very unfair to all the people who are waiting in line for many years. We need strong borders. In the audience tonight we have four mothers of — I mean, these are unbelievable people that I’ve gotten to know over a period of years whose children have been killed, brutally killed by people who came into the country illegally. You have mothers, fathers, relatives all over the county. They’re coming in illegally.

Drugs are pouring in through the border. We have no country if we have no border. Hillary wants to give amnesty, she wants to have open borders.

As you know, the Border Patrol agency, 16,500-plus ICE last week endorsed me. First time they’ve ever endorsed a candidate. It means their job is tougher, but they know what’s going on. They know it better than anybody. They want strong borders. They feel we have to have strong borders. I was up in New Hampshire, the biggest complaint they have with all the problems going on in the world, many of the problems caused by Hillary Clinton and by Barack Obama, all of the problems, their single biggest problem is heroin that pours across our southern borders, just pouring and destroying their youth. It’s poisoning the blood of their youth and plenty of other people.

We have to have strong borders. We have to keep the drugs out of our country. Right now we’re getting the drugs, they’re getting the cash. We need strong borders. We absolute — we cannot give amnesty.

Now I want to build a wall. We need the wall. The border patrol, ICE, they all want the wall. We stop the drugs, shore up the border.

One of my first acts will be to get all of the drug lords, we have some bad, bad people in this country that have to go out. We’ll get them out, secure the border, and once the border is secured, at a later date we’ll make a determination as to the rest. But we have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, thank you. Same question to you, Secretary Clinton, basically why are you right and Mr. Trump is wrong?

Clinton: As he was talking, I was thinking about a young girl I met here in Las Vegas, Carla, who was very worried that her parents might be deported because she was born in this country but they were not. They work hard and do everything they can to give her a good life. And you’re right, I don’t want to rip families apart. I don’t want to be sending parents away from children. I don’t want to see the deportation force that Donald has talked about in action in our country. We have 11 million undocumented people. They have 4 million American citizen children — 15 million people. He said as recently as a few weeks ago in Phoenix that every undocumented person would be subject to deportation.

Now, here’s what that means. It means you would have to have a massive law enforcement presence where law enforcement officers would be going school to school, home to home, business to business, rounding up people who are undocumented, and we would then have to put them on trains, on buses, to get them out of our country. I think that is an idea that is not in keeping with who we are as a nation. I think it’s an idea that would rip our country apart. I have been for border security for years.

I voted for border security in the United States Senate. And my comprehensive immigration reform plan of course includes border security. But I want to put our resources where I think they’re most needed — getting rid of any violent person, anybody who should be deported, we should deport them. When it comes to the wall that Donald talks about building, he went to Mexico. He had a meeting with the Mexican president. Didn’t even raise it. He choked, then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said, “We’re not paying for that wall.”

So I think we are both a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws and that we can act accordingly. That’s why I’m introducing immigration reform within the first 100 days with a path to citizenship.

Trump: Chris, I think it’s an issue to respond to. First of all, I had a very good meeting with the president of Mexico. Very nice man. We will be doing very much better with Mexico on trade deals, believe me, than the NAFTA deal by her husband, one of the worst deals of any kind signed by anybody. It’s a disaster. Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006 or thereabouts.

Now, she never gets anything done, so naturally the wall wasn’t built. But Hillary Clinton want the wall. We’re a country of laws. And by the way —

Wallace: I’d like to hear from Secretary Clinton.

Clinton: I voted for border security, and there are —

Trump: And the wall.

Clinton: There are some limited places where that was appropriate. There’s also going to be new technology and how best to deploy that. But it is clear, when you look at what Donald has been proposing — he started his campaign bashing immigrants, calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals and drug dealers — that he has a very different view about what we should do to deal with immigrants. Now, what I am also arguing is that bringing undocumented immigrants out from the shadows, putting them in the formal economy, will be good because employers can’t exploit them and undercut their wages.

Donald knows a lot about this; he used undocumented labor to build Trump Tower. He underpaid undocumented workers, and when they complained he said what a lot of [people] do, you complain I’ll get you deported. I want to get the economy working and not let employers like Donald exploit undocumented workers that hurts them and undocumented workers.

Trump: President Obama has moved millions of people out. Nobody knows about it, nobody talks about it. But under Obama, millions of people have been moved out of this country, they’ve been deported. She doesn’t want to say that, but that’s what’s happened. And that’s what’s happened big league. As far as moving these people out and moving, we have a country or we don’t. We’re a country of laws. We either have a border or we don’t. You can come back in and you can become a citizen, but it’s very unfair — we have million of people that did it the right way.

They’re on line, they’re waiting. We’re going to speed up the process big league because it’s very inefficient. But they’re in line and they’re waiting to become citizens. Very unfair that somebody runs across the border, becomes a citizen. Under her plan you have open borders. You would have a disaster on trade. And you’ll have a disaster with your open borders. What she doesn’t say is that president Obama has deported millions and millions of people just the way it is. Wallace: Secretary Clinton — Clinton: We will not have open borders. That is a rank mischaracterization. Wallace: Secretary Clinton? Clinton: We’ll have secure borders but we’ll also have reform. This used to be a bipartisan issue. Ronald Reagan was the last president — Wallace: Excuse me. Secretary Clinton. Clinton: Designed immigration reform and George W. Bush supported it as well. Wallace: Secretary Clinton, I want to clear up your position on this issue because in a speech you gave to a Brazilian bank for which you were paid $225,000 we’ve learned from the Wikileaks that you said this and I want to quote, my dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders —Trump: Thank you.

Wallace: So that’s the question. Please, quiet, everybody. Is that your dream, open borders?

Clinton: Well, if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, I was talking about energy. You know, we trade more energy with our neighbors than we trade with the rest of the world combined. And I do want us to have an electric grid, energy system that crosses borders. I think that would be a great benefit to us. But you are very clearly quoting from wikileaks and what’s really important about wikileaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions, then they have given that information to Wikileaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet.

This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed to influence our election. So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is finally will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans which he actually encouraged in the past?

Those are the questions we need answered. We’ve never had anything like this happen in any of our elections before.

Trump: That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders, okay? How did we get off to Putin?

Wallace: Hold on.

Trump: No, no.

Wallace: Hold on, folks. Because this is going to end up getting out of control. Let’s try to keep it quiet for the candidates and for the American people.

Trump: Just to finish on the borders —

Wallace: Yes.

Trump: She wants open borders. People are going to pour into our country. People are going to come in from Syria. She wants 550% more people than Barack Obama, and he has thousands and thousands of people. They have no idea where they come from and you see, we are going to stop radical islamic terrorism in this country. She won’t even mention the words and neither will president Obama. So I just want to tell you, she wants open borders.

Now we can talk about Putin. I don’t know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good.

If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good. He has no respect for her. He has no respect for our president. And I’ll tell you what, we’re in very serious trouble because we have a country with tremendous numbers of nuclear warheads, 1,800, by the way, where they expanded and we didn’t — 1800 nuclear warheads, and she’s playing chicken. Look —

[Crosstalk]

Clinton: Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president.

Trump: No puppet, no puppet.

Clinton: And it’s pretty clear —

Trump: You’re the puppet.

Clinton: It’s pretty clear you won’t admit.

Trump: No, you’re the puppet.

Clinton: That the Russians have engaged in cyber attacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, rake up nato, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race so I think this is such an unprecedented situation, we’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election.

We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Trump: She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China or anybody else.

Clinton: I am not quoting myself.

Trump: She has no idea.

Clinton: There are 17 —

Trump: You have no idea.

Clinton: 17 intelligence. Do you doubt? 17 military —

Trump: Our country has no idea.

Clinton: And civilian agencies.

Trump: I doubt it.

Clinton: He’d rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. I find that just absolutely —

Trump: She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way.

Wallace: Mr. Trump —

Trump: Excuse me.

Wallace: Mr. Trump —

Trump: Putin has outsmarted her.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, I do get to ask some questions.

Trump: Yes.

Wallace: I would like to ask you this direct question. The top national security officials of this country do believe that Russia is behind these hacks. Even if you don’t know for sure whether they are, do you condemn any interference by Russia in the American election?

Trump: By Russia or anybody else.

Wallace: You condemn their interference?

Trump: Of course I condemn. Of course. I don’t know Putin. I have no idea —

Wallace: I’m not asking you that.

Trump: This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia, wouldn’t be so bad. Let me tell you, Putin has outsmarted her and Obama at every single step of the way. Whether it’s Syria. You name it. Missiles. Take a look at the start-up that they signed. The Russians have said, according to many, many reports, I can’t believe they allowed us to do this. They create warheads and we can’t. The Russians can’t believe it. She’s been outsmarted by Putin. All you have to do is look at the Middle East. They’ve taken over. We’ve spent $6 trillion. They’ve taken over the Middle East. She has been outsmarted and outplayed worse than anybody I’ve ever seen in any government whatsoever.

Wallace: We’re a long way away from immigration, but I’m going to let you finish this topic. You have about 45 seconds.

Trump: And she always will be.

Clinton: I find it ironic that he’s raising nuclear weapons. This is a person who has been very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons.

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: Japan, Korea, even Saudi Arabia. He said if we have them, why don’t we use them, which I think is terrifying. The bottom line on nuclear weapons is that when the president gives the order, it must be followed. There’s about four minutes between the order being given and the people responsible for launching nuclear weapons to do so. And that’s why 10 people who have had that awesome responsibility have come out and in an unprecedented way said they would not trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes or to have his finger on the nuclear button.

Trump: I have 200 generals and admirals, 21 endorsing me, 21 congressional medal of honor recipients. As far as Japan and other countries, we are being ripped off by everybody — we’re defending other country. We’re spending a fortune doing it. They have the bargain of the century. All I said is we have to renegotiate these agreements because our country cannot afford to defend Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany, South Korea and many other places. We cannot continue to afford. She took that as saying nuclear weapons.

Look, she’s been proven to be a liar on so many different ways. This is just another lie.

Clinton: Well, I’m just quoting you —

Trump: There’s no quote. You’re not going to find a quote from me.

Clinton: Nuclear competition in Asia, you said, you know, go ahead, enjoy yourselves, folks. That kind of —

Trump: And defend yourselves. And defend yourselves. I didn’t say nuclear. And defend yourselves.

Clinton: United States has kept the peace through our alliances. Donald wants to tear up our alliances. I think it makes the world safer and, frankly, it makes the United States safer. I would work with our allies in Asia, in Europe, in the middle East and elsewhere. That’s the only way we’re going to —

Wallace: We’re going to move on to the next topic, which is the economy. And I hope we handle that as well as we did immigration. You also have very different ideas about how to get the economy growing faster. Secretary Clinton, in your plan, government plays a big role. You see more government spending, more entitlements more tax credit, more penalties. Mr. Trump you want to get government out with less regulation. We’ll drill down into this a little more. But in this overview, please explain to me why you think your plan will create more jobs and growth for this country and your opponent’s plan will not. In this round, you go first, Secretary Clinton.

Clinton: I think when the middle class thrives, America thrives. And so my plan is based on growing the economy, giving middle class families many more opportunities.

I want us to have the biggest jobs program since World War II, jobs and infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. I think we can compete with high wage countries, and I believe we should. New jobs and clean energy not only to fight climate change, which is a serious problem, but to create new opportunities and new business I want us to do more to help small businesses.

I want to raise the minimum wage because people who live in poverty, who work full-time should not still be in poverty. I want to make sure that women get equal pay for the work we do. I feel strongly we have to have an education system that starts with preschool and goes through college. That’s why I want more technical education in high schools and community colleges, real apprenticeships to prepare people for the real jobs of the future. I want to make college debt free and for families making less than $125,000, you will not get a division bill from a public college or university if the plan that I worked on with Bernie Sanders is enacted.

And we’re going to work hard to make sure that it is. Because we are going to go where the money is. Most of the gains in the last years since the great recession have gone to the very top. So we’ll have the wealthy pay their fair share.

We’ll have corporations make a contribution greater than they are now to our country. [I have] a plan that has been analyzed by independent experts which said that it could produce 10 million new jobs. By contrast, Donald’s plan has been analyzed to conclude it might lose jobs. Why? Because his whole plan is to give the biggest tax breaks ever to the wealthy and to corporations adding $20 trillion to our debt and pausing the kind of dislocation that we have seen before because it truly will be trickle-down economics on steroids.

So the plan I have I think will actually produce greater opportunities. The plan he has will cost us jobs and possibly lead to another great recession.

Wallace: Secretary, thank you. Mr. Trump, why will your plan create more jobs and growth?

Trump: Her plan is going to raise taxes and even double your taxes. Her tax plan is a disaster. And she can say all she wants about college tuition and I’m a big proponent, we’re going to do a lot of things for college tuition, but the rest of the public’s going be paying for it. We’ll have a massive, massive tax increase under Hillary Clinton’s plan.

But I’d like to start off where we left because when I said Japan and Germany and I’m not to single them out, South Korea, these are very rich, powerful countries. Saudi Arabia, nothing but money. We protect Saudi Arabia. Why aren’t they paying?

She immediately, when she heard this, I questioned and I questioned NATO, why aren’t the NATO questions paying, because they weren’t paying. Since I did this, a year ago, all of a sudden they’re paying. I’ve been given a lot of credit for it. All of a sudden they’re starting to pay up.

They have to pay up. We’re protecting people. They have to pay up. I’m a big fan of NATO, but they have to pay up. She comes out and said, we love our allies, we think our allies are great. It’s awfully hard to get them to pay up when you have somebody saying we think how great they are. We have to tell Japan in a very nice way, we have to tell Germany, all of these countries, South Korea, we have to say, you have to help us out. We have during his regime, during President Obama’s regime, we’ve doubled our national debt. We’re up to $20 trillion.

So my plan, we’re going to re-negotiate trade deals. We’ll have more free trade than we have right now, but we have horrible deals. Our jobs are being taken out. NAFTA, one of the worst deals ever. Our jobs are being sucked out of our economy. You look at all of the places that I just left, you go the Pennsylvania, you go to Ohio, you go to Florida, you go to any of them, upstate New York, our jobs have fled to Mexico and other places. We’re bringing our jobs back. I’m going to renegotiate NAFTA.

And if I can’t make a great deal, then we’re going to terminate nafta and great new deals. We’ll have trade, but we’ll terminate it, we’ll make a great trade deal. And if we can’t, we’re going to go a separate way because it has been a disaster.

We’re going to cut taxes massively. We’ll cut business taxes massively. They’re going to start hiring people. We’re going to bring the $2.5 trillion that’s offshore back into the country. We’re going to start the engine rolling again because right now our country is dying at 1 percent GDP.

Clinton: Let me translate that if I can, Chris. Because —

Trump: You can’t.

Clinton: Fact is, he’s going to advocate for the largest tax cuts we’ve ever seen.

Three times more than the tax cuts under the Bush administration. I have said repeatedly throughout this campaign, I will not raise taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less. I also will not add a penny to the debt. I have costed out what I’m going to do. He will, through his massive tax cuts, add $20 trillion to the debt. He mentioned the debt. We know how to get control of the debt.

When my husband was president, we went from a $300 billion deficit to a $200 billion surplus and we’re actually on the path to eliminating the national debt. When President Obama came into office he inherited the worst economic disaster since the great depression. He has cut the deficit by two-thirds.

So yes, one of the ways you go after the debt. One of the ways you create jobs is by investing in people. I do have investments, investments in new jobs, investments in education, skill training and the opportunities for people who get ahead and stay ahead. That’s the kind of approach —

Wallace: Secretary.

Clinton: That will work. Cutting taxes on the wealthy. We tried that. It has not worked the way that it has been —

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, I want to pursue your plan. Because in many ways it is similar to the Obama stimulus plan in 2009, which has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949.

Trump: Correct.

Wallace: Thank you, secretary. You told me in July when we spoke that the problem is that president Obama didn’t get to do enough in what he was trying to do with this stimulus. So is your plan basically even more of the Obama stimulus?

Clinton: Well, it’s a combination, Chris. Let me say that when you inherit the level of economic catastrophe that president Obama inherited, it was a real touch and go situation.

I was in the senate before I became secretary of state. I’ve never seen people as physically distraught as the bush administration team was because of what was happening to the economy.

I personally believe that the steps that president Obama took saved the economy. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves for taking some very hard positions, but it was a terrible recession. So now we’ve dug ourselves out of it. We’re standing, but we’re not yet running. So what I am proposing is that we invest from the middle out and the ground up, not the top down.

That is not going to work. That’s why what I have put forward doesn’t add a penny to the debt, but it is the kind of approach that will enable more people to take those new jobs, higher paying jobs.

We’re beginning to see some increase in incomes and we certainly have had a long string of increasing jobs. We’ve got to do more to get the whole economy moving, and that’s what I believe I will be able to do.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, even conservative economists who have looked at your plan say that the numbers don’t add up, that your idea, and you’ve talked about 25 million jobs created, 4%.

Trump: Over a ten-year period.

Wallace: Growth is unrealistic. And they say you talk a lot about growing the energy industry. They say with oil prices as they are right now, that’s unrealistic as well. Your response?

Trump: So I just left some high representatives of India. They’re growing at 8 percent. China is growing at 7 percent. And that for them is a catastrophically low number. We are growing, our last report came out and it’s right around the 1 percent level and I think it’s going down. Last week, as you know, the end of last week, they came out with an anemic jobs report. A terrible jobs report. In fact, I said is that the last jobs report before the election? Because if it is, I should win easily. It was so bad. The report was so bad. Look, our country is stagnant. We’ve lost our jobs. We’ve lost our businesses.

We’re not making things anymore, relatively speaking, our product is pouring in from China, pouring in from Vietnam, pouring in from all over the world. I’ve visited so many communities, this has been such an incredible education for me, Chris. I’ve gotten to know so many — I’ve developed so many friends over the last year. And they cry when they see what’s happened. I pass factories that were thriving 20, 25 years ago and because of the bill that her husband signed and she blessed a hundred percent, it is just horrible what’s happened to these people in these communities. She can say that her husband did well, but boy, did they suffer as NAFTA kicked in because it didn’t really kick in very much but it kicked in after they left. Boy, did they suffer. That was one of the worst things that’s ever been signed by our country. Now she wants to sign transpacific partnership.

She lied when she said she didn’t call it the gold standard in one of the debates. She totally lied and they fact checked and said I was right.

Wallace: I want to give you a chance to briefly speak to that and I want to pivot to — Trump: And that was — Wallace: Obamacare. Clinton: Let me say, number one, when I saw the final agreement for TPP, I said I was against it. It didn’t meet my test. I’ve had the same test. Does it create jobs, raise incomes and further our national security? I’m against it now, I’ll be against it after the election, I’ll be against it when I’m President.

There’s only one of us on this stages that actually shipped jobs to Mexico because that’s Donald. He shipped jobs to 12 countries including Mexico, but he mentioned China. One of the biggest problems we have with China is the illegal dumping of steel and aluminum into our markets.

I’ve fought against that as a senator, I stood up against it as secretary of state, Donald has bought Chinese steel and aluminum. The Trump Hotel here in las Vegas was made with Chinese steel. He goes around with crocodile tears about how terrible it is, but he has given jobs to Chinese steel workers, not American teal workers —

Wallace: Mr. Trump?

Trump: That’s the kind of approach that’s going to work. We’ll pull the country together. We’ll have trade agreements that we enforce. I’ll have trade prosecutor for the first time in history. We’re going to enforce those agreements and look for businesses that help us by buying American products.

I ask a simple question. She’s been doing this for 30 years. Why didn’t you do it over the last 15, 20 years? You were very much involved — excuse me, my turn. You were very much involved in every aspect of this country, very much.

And you do have experience. I say the one thing you have over me is experience, but it’s bad experience because what you’ve done is turned out badly. For 30 years you’ve been in a position to help and if you say that I used theater or I use something else make it impossible for me to do that.

You talk, but you don’t get anything done, Hillary. You don’t, just like when you ran the state department, $6 billion is missing. How do you miss $6 billion? You ran the state department. It was either stolen, they don’t know, it’s gone — 6 billion. If you become president, this country is going to be in some mess, believe me.

Clinton: Well, first of all, what he just said about the state department is not only untrue, it’s been did you debunked numerous times. But I think it’s really an important issue he raised the 30 years of experience.

Let me just talk briefly about that. You know, back in the 1970s, I worked for Children’s Defense Fund, and I was taking on discrimination against African-American kids in schools. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings.

In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was bore rogue $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said women’s rights are human rights. He insulted a former miss universe, Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine.

Trump: Give me a break.

Clinton: And on the day when I was in the situation room, monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was host “The Celebrity Apprentice.” So I’m happy to compare my 30 years of experience, what I’ve done for this country, trying to help in every way I could, especially kids and families get ahead and stay ahead with your 30 years. And I’ll let the American people make that decision.

Trump: Well, I think I did a much better job. I built a massive company, a great company, some of the greatest assets anywhere in the world worth many, many billions of dollars. I started with a $1 million loan. I agree with that. It’s a $1 million loan. But I built a phenomenal company. And if we could run our country the way I’ve run my company, we would have a country that you would be so proud of, you would even be proud of it.

And frankly, when you look at her real record, take a look at Syria. Take a look at the migration. Take a look at Libya. Take a look at Iraq. She gave us ISIS because her and Obama created this small vacuum. A small group came out of that huge vacuum. We should have never been in Iraq. But once we were there, we never should have got out the way they wanted to get out. She gave us ISIS as sure as you are sitting there. And what happened is now ISIS is in 32 countries. And now I listen how she is going to get rid of ISIS. She is going to get rid of nobody.

Wallace: All right. We are going to get to foreign hot spots in a few moments. But the next segment is fitness to be president of the United States. Mr. Trump, at the last debate you said your talk about grabbing women was just that, talk, and that you had never actually done it. And since then, as we all know, nine women have come forward and said you either groped them or kissed them without their consent. Why would so many different women from so many different circumstances over so many different years, why would they all in this last couple of weeks make up — you deny this. Why would they all make up these stories. And since this is a question for both of you, secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump says what your husband did and that you defended was even worse. Mr. Trump, you go first.

Trump: Well, first of all, those stories have been largely debunked. Those people, I don’t know those people. I have a feeling how they came. I believe it was her campaign that did it. Just like if you look at what came out today on the clips where I was wondering what happened with my rally in Chicago and other rallies where we had such violence. She is the one — and Obama — that caused the violence. They hired people. They paid them $1500 and they’re on tape saying be violent, cause fights, do bad things. I would say the only way, because the stories are all totally false. I have to say that. And I didn’t even apologize to my wife who is sitting right here because I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know any of these women. I didn’t see these women. These women, the woman on the plane, I think they want either fame or her campaign did it. And I think it’s her campaign. When I saw what they did, which is a criminal act, by the way, where they’re telling people to go out and start fistfights and start violence, I tell you what, in particular in Chicago, people were hurt and people could have been killed in that riot.

And that was now all on tape started by her. I believe, Chris, that she got these people to step forward. If it wasn’t, they get their ten minutes of fame. But they were all totally — it was all fiction. It was lies and it was fiction.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, at the last debate we heard Donald talking about what he did to women. And after that a number of women have come forward saying that’s exactly what he did to them. Now what was his response? Well, he held a number of big rallies where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough for —

Trump: I did not say that. I did not say that.

Clinton: In fact, he went on to say —

Wallace: Sir, her two minutes.

Trump: I did not say that.

Wallace: Her two minutes.

Clinton: He went on to say look at her. I don’t think so. About another woman, he said that wouldn’t be my first choice. He attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her disgusting as he has called a number of women during this campaign. Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.

So we now know what Donald thinks and what he says and how he acts towards women. That’s who Donald is. I think it’s really up to all of us to demonstrate who we are and who our country is and to stand up and be very clear about what we expect from our next president, how we want to bring our country together where we don’t want to have the kind of pitting of people one against the other, where instead we celebrate our diversity, we lift people up.

And we make our country even greater. America is great because America is good. And it really is up to all of us to make that true, now and in the future in particular for our children and our grandchildren.

Wallace: Mr. Trump —

Trump: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody. Nobody has more respect.

[Audience Reaction]

Wallace: Please, everybody.

Trump: And frankly, those stories have been largely debunked. And I really want to talk about something slightly different. She mentions this. Which is all fiction, all a fictionalized. Probable or possibly started by her and her very sleazy campaign. But I will tell you what isn’t fictionalized are her e-mails where she destroyed 33,000 e-mails criminally, criminally, after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.

What happened to the FBI? I don’t know. We have a great general, four-star general today. You read it in all the papers, going to potentially serve five years in jail for lying to the FBI. One lie. She’s lied hundreds of times to the people, to congress, and to the FBI. He is going to probably go to jail. This is a four-star general. And she gets away with it, and she can run for presidency of the United States? That’s really what you should be talking about. Not fiction where somebody wants fame or where they come out of their crooked campaign.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, every time Donald has pushed on something which is obviously uncomfortable like what these women are saying, he immediately goes to denying responsibility. And it’s not just about women. He never apologizes or says he is sorry for anything. So we know what he has said and what he has done to women. But he also went after a disabled reporter —

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: He mocked and Mr and Mrs. Khan on national television. He went after Mr. And Mrs. Khan, the parents of Han who died serving our country, a gold star family because of their religion. He went after John McCain, a prisoner of war. Said he prefers people who aren’t captured. He went after a federal judge, born in Indiana but who Donald said couldn’t be trusted to try the fraud and racketeering case against Trump University because his parents were Mexican.

So it’s not one thing. This is a pattern, a pattern of divisiveness of a very dark and in many ways dangerous vision of our country where he incites violence, where he applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies. That is not who America is. And I hope that as we move in the last weeks of this campaign, more and more people will understand what’s at stake in this election. It really does come down to what kind of country we are going to have.

Trump: So sad when she talks about violence at my rallies and she caused the violence. It’s on tape. Now the other things are false, but honestly, I’d love to talk about getting rid of ISIS. And I’d love to talk about other things.

Wallace: Okay.

Trump: But the other charges as she knows are frauds.

Wallace: In this bucket about fitness to be president, there has been a lot of developments over the last ten days since the last debate. I’d like to ask you about them. These are questions that the American people have. Secretary Clinton, during your 2009 senate confirmation hearing, you promised to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest with your dealing with the Clinton Foundation while you were secretary of state. But e-mails show that donors got special access to you.

Those seeking grants for Haiti relief were considered simply from non-donors, and some of those donors got contract, government contracts, active money. Can you really say you kept your pledge to that senate committee, and what happened and what went on between you and the Clinton foundation. Why isn’t it what Mr. Trump calls pay to play.

Clinton: Well, everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values. The state department said that. I think that’s been proven. But I am happy. In fact, I am thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation.

Because it’s a world-renowned charity. I’m so proud of the work it does. I could talk for the rest of the debate. I know I don’t have the time to do that. But just briefly, the Clinton foundation made it possible for 11 million people around the world with HIV/AIDS to afford treatment. That’s about half of all the people in the world who are getting treatment.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Clinton: In partnership with the American Health Association, we have made environments in schools including healthier lunches.

Wallace: Secretary, respectfully, this is an open discussion.

Clinton: Well it is.

Wallace: I asked a specific question, pay or the play.

Clinton: But there is no evidence —

Wallace: Let’s ask Mr. Trump.

[ Overlapping dialog ]

Trump: It’s a criminal enterprise. Saudi Arabia giving $25 million. Qatar, all of these companies. You talk about women and women’s rights. So these are people that push gays off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now why don’t you give back the money that you have taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money?

I think it would be great gesture. Because she takes a tremendous amount of money. And you take a look at the people of Haiti. I was in little Haiti the other day in Florida. And I want to tell you, they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace. And you know it and they know it and everybody knows it.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, very quickly at the Clinton Foundation spend 90% of all the money that is donated on behalf of programs around the world and in our own country. I’m very proud of that. We are the highest rating from the watchdogs that follow foundations.

And I’d be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? It just was astonishing. But when it comes to Haiti, Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. The earthquake and the hurricane, it has devastated Haiti.

Bill and have I been involved in trying to help Haiti for many years. The Clinton Foundation raised $30 million to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems the people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture, and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it’s an important part of the American experience.

Trump: I’d like to mention one thing: Trump Foundation, small foundation. People contribute. I contribute. The money — 100% goes to different charity, including a lot of military. I don’t get anything. I don’t buy boats. I don’t buy planes. What happens, the money goes in —

Wallace: Wasn’t some of the money used to settle your lawsuit, sir?

Trump: No, we put up the American flag. And that’s it. They put up the American flag. We fought for the right in palm beach to put up the American flag.

Wallace: But there was a penalty imposed by Palm Beach County.

Trump: There was.

Wallace: The money came from your foundation.

Trump: There was.

Wallace: Instead of Mar-a-Lago.

Trump: Went to Fisher House, where they build houses, the money that you’re talking about went to Fisher House, where they build houses for veterans and disabled.

Clinton: But of course there is no way we can know whether any of that is true because he hasn’t released his tax returns. He is the first candidate ever to run for president in the last 40 plus years who has not released his tax returns. Serving what he says about charity or anything else we can’t prove it. You can look at our tax returns. We’ve got them all out there. But what is really troubling is that we learned in the last debate he has not paid a penny in federal income tax. And we were talking about immigrants a few minutes ago, Chris. Half of all immigrants, undocumented immigrants in our country actually pay federal income tax. We have undocumented immigrants in America who are paying more federal income tax than a billionaire. I find that just astonishing.

Trump: We’re entitled because of the laws that people like her passed to take massive amounts of depreciation and other charges, and we do it. And all of our donors, just about all of them, I know [Warren] Buffett took hundreds of millions of dollars, George Soros took hundreds of millions of dollars. Let me just explain.

Wallace: We heard this.

Trump: Most of her donors have done the same thing as I do.

Wallace: Folks we have heard this.

Trump: Hillary, what you should have done, you should have changed the law when you a United States senator.

Wallace: We heard this.

Trump: Because your donors and your special interests are doing the same thing as I do, except even more. So you should have changed the law, but you won’t change the law because you take in so much money. I mean, I sat in my apartment today on a very beautiful hotel down the street.

Clinton: Made with Chinese steel.

Trump: I will tell you, I sat there watching ad after false ad, all paid for by your friends on wall Street that gave so much money because they know you’re going to protect them. And frankly, you should have changed the laws. If you don’t like what I did, you should have changed the laws.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, I want to ask you about one last question in this topic. You have been warning at rallies recently that this election is rigged and that Hillary Clinton is in the process of trying to steal it from you. Your running mate Governor Pence pledged on Sunday that he and you, his words, will absolutely accept the result of this election. Today your daughter Ivanka said the same thing. I want to ask you here on this stage tonight do, you make the same commitment that you will absolutely, sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

Trump: I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I will look at it at the time. What I’ve seen, what I’ve seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt. And the pile-on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, that they don’t even care. It’s so dishonest. And they have poisoned the minds of the voters. But unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it. I think they’re going to see through it. We’ll find out on November 8.

Wallace: But sir —

Trump: Excuse me, Chris, if you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people registered to vote. This isn’t coming from me, from fury report and other places. Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.

So let me just give you one other thing as I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people. I tell you one other thing. She shouldn’t be allowed to run. She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect I say it’s rigged. Because she should never — Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things.

Wallace: Sir, there is a tradition in this country, in fact one of the primes of this country is the peaceful transition of power. And that no matter how hard fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner. But that the loser concedes to the winner, and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?

Trump: What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?

Clinton: Let me respond to that, because that’s horrifying.

Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him. The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case. He said the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary.

He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering. He claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged.

Trump: Should have gotten it.

Clinton: This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks. And it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling.

Trump: Okay.

Clinton: Now that is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair election. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. You know, president Obama said the other day when you’re whining —

Wallace: — Hold on, folks, hold on, folks.

Clinton: Before you’re even finished, it shows you’re not up to doing the job. And let’s, you know, let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating, he is talking down our democracy.

And I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.

Trump: I think what the FBI did and the Department of Justice did including meeting with her husband, the attorney general in the back of an airplane on the tarmac in Arizona, I think it’s disgraceful. I think it’s a disgrace.

Wallace: All right.

Trump: I think we’ve never had a situation so bad as. This.

Wallace: Hold on, folks. This doesn’t do any good for anyone. Let’s please continue the debate and move on to the subject of foreign hot spots. The Iraqi defensive to take back Mosul has begun. If they’re successful in pushing ISIS out of that city and out of all of Iraq, the question then becomes what happens the day after. And that’s something that whichever — whoever of you ends up as president is going to have to confront. Will you put U.S. troops into that vacuum to make sure ISIS doesn’t come back or isn’t replaced by something even worse? Secretary Clinton, you go first in this segment. You have two minutes.

Clinton: Well, I am encouraged that there is an effort led by the Iraqi army, supported by Kurdish

forces and also given the help and advice from the number of special forces and Americans on the ground. I will not support putting American forces into Iraq as a force. I don’t think that is in our interest and I don’t think it would be smart to do. Chris, I think that would be a big red flag waving for ISIS to reconstitute itself. The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqah, which is the ISIS headquarters.

I am hopeful that the hard work that American military advisers have done will pay off, and that we will see a really successful military operation. But we know we’ve got lots of work to do. Syria will remain a hotbed as terrorism as long as the civil war aided and abetted by the Iranians and the Russians continue.

So I have said look, we need to keep our eye on ISIS. That’s why I want to have an intelligence surge that protect us here at home while we have to go after them from the air, on the ground, online. Why we have to make sure here at home we don’t let terrorists buy weapons. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun. And I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria. Not only to help protect the iranians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to frankly gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians so that perhaps we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on a political track.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, same question. If we are able to push ISIS out of mosul and out of Iraq, would you be willing to put U.S. Troops in there to prevent their return or something else?

Trump: Let me tell you, Mosul is so sad. We had Mosul. But when she left, she took everybody out, we lost Mosul. Now we’re fight again to get Mosul. The problem with Mosul and what they wanted to do is they wanted to get the leaders of ISIS who they felt were in Mosul. About three months ago, I started reading that they want to get the leaders. And they’re going to attack Mosul. Whatever happened to the element of surprise? Okay? We announce we’re going after Mosul. I’ve been reading about going after mosul now for how long? Three months? These people have all left. They’ve all left. The element of surprise. Douglas MacArthur, George Patton spinning in their graves when they see the stupidity of our country. So we’re now fighting for mosul that we had. All she had to do is stay there. Now we’re going in to get it. But you know who is big winner in mosul is going to be after we eventually get it? And the only reason they did it is because she is running for the office of president, and they want to look tough. They want to look good.

He violated the red line in the sand. And he made so many mistakes. Made all mistakes. That’s why we have the great migration. But she wanted to look good for the election. So they’re going in. But who is going to Mosul, really? By the way, much tougher than they thought.

Much tougher, going to be more deaths than they thought. But the leaders we wanted to get are all gone because they’re smart. They said what do we need this for? So Mosul is going to be a wonderful thing, and Iran should write us a letter of thank you, just like really stupid, the stupidest deal of all time.

A deal that is going to give Iran absolutely nuclear weapons. Iran should write us yet another letter saying thank you very much. Because Iran, as I said many years ago, Iran is taking over Iraq. Something they’ve wanted to do forever. But we’ve made it so easy for them. So we’re now going to take Mosul. And you know who is going to be the beneficiary? Iran. Boy are they making — I mean, they are outsmarting. Look, you’re not there. You might be involved in that decision. But you were there when you took everybody out of Mosul and out of Iraq. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq. But you did vote for it. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq. But once you were in Iraq, you should have never left the way.

Wallace: Sir, your two minutes are up.

Trump: The point is the winner is going to be Iran.

Clinton: Well, once again, Donald is implying that he didn’t support the invasion of Iraq. I said it was a mistake. I said that years ago. He has consistently defined knight —

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: What is a very clear fact.

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: That before the invasion he supported it. I just want everybody to go Google it. Google Donald Trump Iraq and you will see the dozens of sources which verify that he was for the invasion of Iraq.

Trump: Wrong.

Clinton: And you can actually hear the audio of him saying that. Now why does that matter? Well, it matters because he has not told the truth about that position. I guess he believes it makes him look better now to contrast with me because I did vote for it. What’s really important here is to understand all the interplay. Mosul is a Sunni city. Mosul is on the border of Syria. And yes, we do need to go after Baghdadi, just like we went after bin laden while you were doingCelebrity Apprentice, and we brought him to justice. We need to go after the leadership, but we need to get rid of them, get rid of their fighters, their estimated several thousand fighters in Mosul.

They’ve been digging underground. They’ve been prepared to defend. It’s going to be tough fighting. I think we can take back mosul and move on into Syria and take bacharach ca. This is what we have to do. I’m just amazed that he seems to think that the Iraqi government and our allies and everybody else launched the attack on mosul to help me in this election. But that’s how Donald thinks, you know. Looking for some —

Trump: Chris, we don’t gain anything. Iran is taking over Iraq.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Trump: Iran is taking over Iraq.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton —

Trump: We would have gained if we had surprise.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, it’s an open discussion. Secretary, secretary, please let Mr. Trump speak. Go ahead.

Clinton: And he proves it every time he talks.

Trump: No, you are the one that is unfit. Wikileaks just came out. John Podesta said some horrible things about you. And boy was he right. He said some beauties. And you know, Bernie Sanders, he said you have bad judgment. You do. And if you think that going into mosul after we let the world know we’re going in and all of the people that we really wanted, the leaders, they’re all gone. If you think that was good, then you do. Now John Podesta said you have terrible instincts. Bernie Sanders said you have bad judgment. I agree with both.

Clinton: Well, you should ask Bernie Sanders who he is supporting for president. And he has said —

Trump: Which is a big mistake.

Clinton: And campaigned for me around the country. You the most dangerous person to run for president in the modern history of America. I think he is right.

Wallace: Let’s turn to Aleppo. Mr. Trump, in the last debate, you were both asked about the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo. And I want to follow up on that because you said several things in that debate which were not true, sir. You said that Aleppo has basically fallen. In fact, there are — it’s a catastrophe.

Trump: It is a catastrophe.

[Crosstalk]

Wallace: Are a quarter million people still living there and being slaughtered.

Trump: That’s right. And they’re being slaughtered because of bad decisions.

Wallace: If I may just finish here. And you also said that ISIS — that Syria and Russia are busy fighting ISIS. In fact, they have been the ones who have been bombing and shelling eastern Aleppo. And they just announced a humanitarian pause, in effect admit Thanksgiving have been bombing and shelling Aleppo. Would you like to clear that up, sir?

Trump: Well, Aleppo is a disaster. It’s a humanitarian nightmare. But it has fallen from any standpoint. Whether you need to sign a document, take a look at Aleppo. It is so sad when you see what’s happened. And a lot of this is because of Hillary Clinton. Because what has happened, by fighting Assad, who turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought, and now she is going to say oh, he loves Assad, he’s just much tougher and much smarter than her and Obama. And everyone thought he was gone two years ago, three years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran. Who we made very powerful. We gave them $150 billion back. We give them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean cash, bundles of cash as big as this stage. We gave them $1.7 billion.

Now they have aligned, he has aligned with Russia and with Iran. They don’t want ISIS. But they have other things because we’re backing, we’re backing rebels. We don’t know who the rebels are. We’re giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don’t know who the rebels are. And when and if, and it’s not going to happen because you have Russia and you have Iran now. But if they ever did overthrow Assad, you might end up as bad as Assad is, and he is a bad guy.

But you may very well end up with worse than Assad. If she did nothing, we’d be in much better shape. And this is what has caused the great migration where she has taken in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who probably in many case, not probably, who are definitely in many cases ISIS aligned. And we now have them in our country and wait until you see this is going to be the great Trojan horse.

And wait until you see what happens in the coming years. Lots of luck, Hillary. Thanks a lot for doing a great job.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, you have talked about in the last debate and again today that you would impose a no-fly zone to try to protect top the killing there. President Obama has refused to do that because he fears it’s going to draw us closer, deeper into the conflict. And general Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff there says you want to impose a no-fly zone, chances are you’re going to get into a war, his words, with Syria and Russia. So the question I have, if you impose a no-fly zone, first of all, how do you respond to their concerns? Secondly, if you impose a no-fly zone and a Russian plane violates that, does president Putin shoot that plane down?

Clinton: First of all, I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I’m well aware of the really legitimate concerns you have expressed from both the president and the general. This would not be done just on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation, and it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe Zones on the ground.

We’ve had millions of people leave Syria. And those millions of people inside Syria who have been dislocated. So I think we could strike a deal and make a it very clear to the Russians and the Syrians that this was something that we believe was in the best interests of the people on the ground in Syria. It would help was our fight against ISIS. But I want to respond to what Donald said about refugees. He has made these claims repeatedly. I am not going to let anyone into this country who is not vetted, who we do not have confidence in.

But I’m not going to slam the door on women and children. That picture of that little 4-year-old boy in Aleppo with the blood coming down his face while he sat in an ambulance is haunting. And so we are going to do very careful, thorough vetting that does not solve our internal challenges with ISIS and our

need to stop radicalization, to work with American Muslim communities who are on the front lines to identify and prevent attacks. In fact, the killer of the dozens of people at the nightclub in Orlando, the pulse nightclub was born in queens, the same place Donald was born. So let’s be clear about what the threat is and how we are best going to be able to meet it. And yes, some of that threat emanates from over in Syria and Iraq, and we’ve got to keep fighting. And I will defeat ISIS. And some of it is we have to up our game and be much smarter here at home.

Wallace: I want to get into our final segment.

Trump: But I just have to, it’s so ridiculous. She will defeat ISIS. We should have never let ISIS in the first place. And right now they’re in 32 countries. Wait, one second. They have, and a ceasefire three weeks ago. A ceasefire, United States, Russian, Syria. And during the ceasefire, Russia took over vast swatches of land and then said we don’t want the ceasefire anymore. We’re so outplayed on missiles, on ceasefires. She was not there so I assume she has nothing to do with it. But our country is so outplayed by Putin and Assad and by Iran. Nobody can believe how stupid our leadership is.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, Secretary Clinton, we need to move on to our final segment. And that is the national debt, which has not been discussed until tonight. Our national debt a share of gdp is now 70 percent. That’s the highest since just after World War II. But the nonpartisan Committee for Responsible Budget says Secretary Clinton, under your plan, debt would rise to 86 percent of GPD over the next 10 years. Mr. Trump, under your plan, they say it would rise to 105 percent of GDP over the next 10 years. Question is, why are both of you ignoring this problem? Mr. Trump, you go first.

Trump: I say they’re wrong because I’m going to create tremendous jobs. And we’re bringing gdp from really 1 percent, which is what it is now. And if she got in it would be less than zero. But we’re bringing it from 1 percent up to 4 percent. I think you can go higher, to 5 or 6 percent. We have a tremendous machine. We will have created a tremendous economic machine. To do that, we’re taking back jobs. We’re not going to let our countries be raided by other countries where we don’t make our product anymore. It’s very sad. I’m going to create a kind of country that we were from the standpoint of industry. We used to be there. We have given it up. We have become very, very sloppy. We’ve had people that are political ax making the biggest deal in the world. Bigger than companies. You take these big companies.

These trade deals are far bigger than companies. Yet we don’t use our great leaders. Many of whom back me and many of whom back Hillary, I must say. But we don’t use those people. These are the greatest negotiators in the world. We are the greatest business people in the world. We have to use them to negotiate our trade deals. We use political hacks. We use people that get the position because they made a campaign contribution. And they’re dealing with China and people who have very much smarter than they are. We have to use our great people. We will create an economic machine the likes of which we haven’t seen in many decades. And people, Chris, will again go back to work. And they’ll make a lot of money. And we’ll have companies that will grow and expand and start from new.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, first when I hear Donald talk about that and his slogan is “Make America Great Again.” I wonder when he thought America was great. And before he rushes and says “Before you and president Obama were there,” I think it’s important to recognize that he has been criticizing our government for decades. You know, back in 1987, he took out a $100,000 ad in the New York Times during the time when President Reagan was president and basically said exactly what he just said now, that we were the laughingstock of the world.

He was criticizing President Reagan. This is the way Donald thinks about himself, puts himself into, you know, the middle and says I alone can fix it, as he said on the convention stage. But if you look at the debt, which is the issue you asked about, Chris, I pay for everything I’m proposing.

I do not add a penny to the national debt. I take that very seriously because I do think it’s one of the issues we’ve got to come to grips with.

So when I talk about how we’re going to pay for education, how we’re going to invest in infrastructure, how we’re going to get the cost of prescription drugs down, and a lot of the other issues that people talk to me about all the time, I’ve made it very clear, we are going where the money is.

We are going to ask the wealthy corporations to pay their fair share. And there is no evidence whatsoever that that will slow down or diminish our growth. In fact, I think just the opposite. We’ll have what economists call middle outgrowth. We’ve got to get back to rebuilding the middle class. The families of America. That’s where growth will come from. That’s why I want to invest in you. I want to invest in your family. And I think that’s the smartest way to grow the economy, to make the economy fairer. And we just have a big disagreement about this. It may be because of our experience. He started off with his dad as a millionaire. I started off with my dad as a small businessman.

Trump: We’ve heard this before. We’ve heard this before.

Clinton: I think it’s a difference that affects how we see the world and what we want to do with the economy.

Wallace: Time.

Trump: Thank you, Hillary. Could I just respond?

Wallace: Well, no. Because we’re running out of time.

Trump: Reagan was very strongly on trade. I disagreed with him. We should have been much tougher on trade even then. I’ve been waiting for years. Nobody does it right. And frankly now we’re going to do it right.

Wallace: The one last area I want to get into in this debate is the fact that the biggest driver of our debt is entitlements, which is 60 percent of all federal spending. Now the committee for federal — responsible federal budget has looked at both of your plans and they say neither of you has a serious plan that is going to solve the fact that Medicare is going to run out of money in the 2020s. Social Security is going to run out of money in the 2030s. And at that time, recipients are going to take huge cuts in their benefits.

So in effect, the final question I want to ask you in this regard, and let me start with you, Mr. Trump, would President Trump make a deal to save Medicare and Social Security that included both tax increases and benefit cuts in effect a grand bargain on entitlements?

Trump: I’m cutting tax. We’re going to grow the economy. It’s going grow at a record rate.

Wallace: But that’s not going to help entitlements.

Trump: It’s going to totally help you. And one thing we have to do, repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare. It’s destroying our country. It’s destroying businesses. We have to repeal and replace Obamacare. You take a look at the kind of numbers that that will cost us in the year ’17.

It is a disaster. If we don’t repeal and replace it’s probably going to die of its own weight. But Obamacare has to go. It’s — the premiums are going up 60, 70, 80 percent.

Next year they’re going to go up over 100 percent. And I’m really glad that the premiums have started at least the people see what is happening because she wants to keep Obamacare. And she wants to make it’s even worse. And it can’t get any worse. Bad Hillary Clinton — at the most we have to repeal and replace.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, same question. At this point, social security and medicare are going to run out. Will you as president consider a grand bargain, a deal that includes both tax increases and benefit cuts to try to save both fronts?

Clinton: I want to enhance benefits for low income workers and for women who have been disadvantaged by the current social security system. But what Donald is proposing with the massive tax cuts will result in a $20 trillion national debt — that will have dire consequences for social security and medicare. And I’ll say something about the Affordable Care Act, which he wants to repeal: The Affordable Care Act extended the solvency of the Medicare trust fund. So if he repeals it, our Medicare problem gets worse.

Trump: Your husband disagrees with you.

Clinton: The long-term health care drivers. We’ve got to get costs down, increase value, emphasize wellness. I have a plan for doing that. And I think that we will be able to get entitle spending under control by with more resources and smarter decisions. Wallace: This is the final time probably to both of your delight that you’re going to be on stage together in this campaign. I would like to end it on a positive note, that you had not agreed to closing statements. But it seems to me in a funny way that might make it more interesting, because you haven’t prepared closing statements. So I would like you each to take — we’re going to put a clock up, a minute, as the final question and the final debate to tell the American people why they should elect you to be the next president. This is another new mini segment. Secretary Clinton, it’s your turn to go first.

Clinton: Well, I would like to say to everyone watching tonight, that I’m reaching out to all Americans — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be to grow the economy, to make it fairer, to make it work for everyone. We need your talents, your skills, your commitment, your energy, your ambition. I’ve been privileged to see the presidency up close.

And I know the awesome responsibility of protecting our country and the incredible opportunity of working to try to make life better for you. I have made the cause of children and families really my life’s work.

That’s what my mission will be in the presidency. I will stand up for families against powerful interests, against corporations. I will do everything that I can to make sure that you have good jobs with rising incomes, that your kids have good educations from preschool through college. I hope you will give me a chance to serve as your president.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, thank you. Mr. Trump?

Trump: She is raising the money from the people she wants to control. It doesn’t work that way. When I started this campaign, I started it very strongly. It’s called make America great again.

We’re going to make America great. We have a depleted military. It has to be helped. It has to be fixed. We have the greatest people on Earth in our military.

Well don’t take care off our veterans. We take care of illegal immigrants better than we take care of our military. That can’t happen. Our policemen and women are disrespected. We need law and order, but we need justice too. Our inner cities are a disaster. You get shot walking to the store. They have no education, they have no jobs. I will do more for African Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in ten lifetimes. All she has done is talk to the African Americans and to the Latinos.

But they get the vote and then they come back — they say we’ll see you in four years. We are going to make America strong again. And we are going to make America great again. And it has to start now. We cannot take four more years of Barack Obama. And that’s what you get when you get her.

Wallace: Thank you, both. Secretary Clinton — hold on just a moment, folks — Secretary Clinton, and Mr.Trump, I want to thank you both for participating in all three of these debates that brings to an end this year’s debate sponsored by the commission on presidential debates.

We want to thank the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and its students for having us. Now the decision is up to you.

Well, millions have already voted election day, November 8th is just 20 days away. One thing everyone here can agree on. We hope you will go vote. It’s one of the honors and obligations of living in this great country. Thank you and good night.

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Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 9, 2016: The second Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

The second Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

Source: Vox, 10-9-16

Anderson Cooper: Thank you very much.

We’re honored to be here. Also the Commission on Presidential Debates for sponsoring this. This is obviously a town hall format tonight — a chance for the Americans on this stage and thousands of people who have sent in questions online to ask questions directly to the candidates.

Martha Raddatz: After they’ve asked their questions, they’ve promised to remain silent and I know you’ve heard this before this evening, but no outbursts of any kind. We want to keep this focused on the candidates and the people who are asking the questions here. We appreciate your cooperation and we’ll start shortly. Great to see you all.

MR: Good evening. I’m Martha Raddatz from ABC news.

AC: I’m Anderson Cooper from CNN. We want to welcome you to Washington University for the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. Tonight’s debate is a town hall format, which gives voters the chance to directly ask questions. The night really belongs to the people in this room and to people across the country who have submitted questions online.

The people you see on this stage were chosen by the Gallup organizations. They are all from the St. Louis area and told Gallup they haven’t committed to candidate. Each of them came here with questions they want to ask. And we saw those questions for the first time this morning. And son and I and our team from ABC and CNN are the only ones who have seen them. Both candidates will have two minutes to answer each audience and online question, we hope to get to as many as we can, so we’ve asked the audience not to slow things down with applause. Except for now. Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump and democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Thank you very much for being here. We’re going to begin with a question from one of members in our town hall. Each of you will have two minutes to respond to this question. Secretary Clinton, you won the coin toss.

Voter: Thank you and good evening. The last debate could have been rated as MA: mature audiences, per TV parental guidelines. Do you feel you’re models appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth.

Clinton: Thank you. Are you a teacher? Yes, I think that that’s a very good question. Because I’ve heard from lots of teachers and parents about some of their concerns. About some of the things that are being said and done in this campaign. And I think it is very important for us to make clear to our children that our country really is great because we’re good.

And we are going to respect one another. Lift each other up. We are going to be looking for ways to celebrate our diversity.

And we are going to try to reach out to every boy and girl as well as every adult, to bring them into working on behalf of our country. I have a very positive and optimistic view about what we can do together.

That’s why the slogan of my campaign is stronger together, because when we work together, if we overcome the divisiveness that sometimes sets Americans against one another and instead make big goals, and I’ve set forth some big goals — getting the economy to work for everyone, not just those at the top. Making sure we have the best education system from preschool to college and making it affordable and so much else. If we set those goals and go together to try to achieve them, there’s nothing in my opinion that America can’t do.

So that’s why I hope that we will come together in this campaign. Obviously, I’m going to earn your vote, hoping to be elected in November, and I can promise you, I will work with every American.

I want to be the president for all Americans, regardless of your political beliefs, where you come from, what you look like, your religion. I want us to heal our country and bring it together. Our children and grandchildren deserve that.

AC: Thank you. You have two minutes.

DT: Well, I actually agree with that. I agree with everything she said. I began this campaign because I was so tired of seeing such foolish things happen to our country. This is a great country. A great land. I’ve gotten to know the people of the country over the last year and a half that I’ve been doing this as a politician. I cannot believe I’m saying that about myself, but I guess I have been a politician, and my whole concept was to make America great again.

When I watched the Iran deal being made, some horrible things like Obamacare, health insurance, and health care is going up with numbers that are astronomical, 68 percent, 71 percent, when I look at the Iran deal and how bad a deal it is for us. It’s a one-sided transaction. Where we’re giving back $150 billion to a terrorist state really the number one terror state, we’ve made them a strong country from really a very weak country from just three years ago.

When I look at all of the things that I see and all of the potential that our country has — we have such tremendous potential. Whether it’s in business and trade, where we’re doing so badly. Last year, we had almost $800 billion trade deficit. Other words, trading with other countries. We had an $800 billion deficit. It’s hard to believe.

Inconceivable. We’re going the make great deals. Haivng a strong border is going to bring back law and order. Just today policeman were shot — two, killed. And this is happening on a weekly basis. We have to bring back respect to law enforcement. At the the same time, we need the take care of people on both sides. We need justice. But I want to do things that haven’t been done, including fixing and making inner-cities better for African-Americans and for the Latinos, Hispanics, and I look forward to making America great again.

AC: Thank you, Mr. Trump. The question from Patrice was are you both modeling appropriate behaviors for today’s youth. We received a lot of questions about the tape released on Friday. You called what you said locker room banter — kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.

DT: I don’t think you understood.

This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. To the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk. When we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have frankly drowning people in steel cages, wars, and horrible, horrible fights all over — so many bad things happening. We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world. Can you imagine the people that are frankly doing so well against us with ISIS? And they look at our country and see what’s going on. Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS.

ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum left because of bad judgment, and I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS.

AC: So, Mr. Trump —

DT: Get on to much more important things and much bigger things.

AC: For the record, are you saying, what you said on the bus 11 years ago, that you did not kiss women without consent or grope women without consent.

DT: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.

AC: So, you’re saying you never did that.

DT: I said things that frankly, you hear these things. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.

AC: Have you ever done those things?

DT: No, I have not. I will tell you that I’m going the make our country safe. We’re going to have borders in our country, which we don’t know. People are pouring into our country and coming in from the Middle East and other places.

We’re going to make America safe again. Make America great again, but safe again. And we’re going to make America wealthy again because if you don’t do that, it just, it sounds harsh to say, but we have to — I would build up the wealth.

AC: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

DT: Other nations are taking our jobs and wealth.

AC: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?

HC: Well, like everyone else, I spent a lot of time thinking over the last 48 hours about what we heard and saw. You know, with prior Republican nominees, for president, I disagreed with them. Politics, policies, principles.

But I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different. I said starting back in June, that he was not fit to be president and commander in chief. And many Republicans and independents have said the same thing. What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women.

And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly what he is. Because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women. On their appearance. Ranking them from one to 10. We’ve seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms, so, yes, this is who Donald Trump is. But it’s not only women and it’s not only this video that raises questions about his fitness to be our president.

Because he has also targeted immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, Muslims, and others, so, this is who Donald Trump is, and the question for us, the question our country must answer is that this is not who we are. That’s why, to go back to your question, I want to send a message we all should. To every boy and girl and indeed to the entire world.

That America is great and we are great, because we are good and we will respect one another. And we will work with one another and we will celebrate our diversity.

These are very important values to me because this is the America that I know and love. And I can pledge to you tonight that this is the America that I will serve if I’m so fortunate enough to become your president.

MR: And we want to get to some questions —

DT: Am I allowed to respond to that?

MR: Yes.

DT: It’s just words, folks. Just words. Those words, I’ve been hearing them for many years. I heard them when they were running for the Senate. In New York.

Where Hillary was going to bring back jobs to upstate New York and she failed. I’ve heard them where Hillary is constantly talking about the inner cities of our country, which are a disaster. Education-wise. Job0-ise. Safety-wise. In every way possible, I’m going to help the African Americans, help the Latinos, Hispanics. I am going to help the inner cities.

She’s done a terrible job for the African Americans. She wants their votes and does nothing and then comes back four years later. We saw that firsthand when the United States senator she campaigned where the —

MR: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump — I want to get to audience questions and online questions.

DT: So, she’s allowed to do that, but I’m not allowed to respond. Sounds fair.

DT: This tape is generating intense interest. In just 48 hours, it’s become the single most talked about story of the entire 2016 [cycle] on Facebook with millions and millions of people discussing it on social network.

As we said, we want to bring in questions from voters around country via social media and our first on this topic. Jeff from Ohio asks on Facebook, Trump says the campaign has changed him. When did that happen? So, Mr. Trump, let me add to that. When you walked off that bus at age 59, were you a different man, or did that behavior continue until just recently? And you have two minutes for this.

DT: That was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I am a person who has great respect for people, for my family, for the people of this country. And certainly I’m not proud of it, but that was something that happened. If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse, mine are words, his was action. This is what he has done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women, so you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women.

Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them are here tonight. One of the women, who is a wonderful woman, at 12 years-old, was raped at 12. Her client she represented got him off and she’s seen laughing at the girl who was raped. She is here with us tonight, so, don’t tell me about words. And absolutely, I apologize for those words. But it is things that people say, but what President Clinton did, he was impeached, lost his license to practice law. He had to pay an $850,000 fine. To one of the women. Paula Jones, who’s also here tonight.

And I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that and talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth.

HC: First, let me say so much of what he just said is not right, but he gets to run his campaign any way he chooses. He gets to decide what he gets to talk about.

Instead of answering people’s questions, laying out the plans we have that make a better life and a better country. That’s his choice. When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all.

When they go low, you go high.

And look, if this were just about one video, maybe what he’s saying tonight would be understandable, but everyone can draw their own conclusions at this point about whether or not the man in video or on the stage respects women. But he never apologizes for anything to win.

He never apologized to Mr. And Mrs. Khan, the gold star family whose son died in the line of duty, and Donald insulted and attacked them for weeks over their religion. He never apologized to the distinguished federal judge who was born in Indiana, but Donald said he couldn’t be trusted to be a judge because his parents were, quote, Mexican. He never apologized to the reporter that he mimicked and mocked on national television.

And our children were watching. And he never apologized for the racist lie that President Obama was not born in the United States of America. He owes the president apology. He owes our country an apology and he needs to take responsibility for his actions and words.

DT: Well, you owe the president an apology because as you know very well, your campaign Sidney Blumenthal, another real winner that you have and he’s the one that got this started along with your campaign manager and they were on television just two weeks ago, she was, saying exactly that. So, you really owe him an apology. You’re the one that sent the pictures around your campaign. Sent the pictures around with president Obama, long before I was involved. Number two, Michelle Obama. I’ve gotten to see the commercials that they did on you.

And I’ve gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary. So, you talk about friend, go back and take a look at those commercials. A race where you lost fair and square.

Unlike the Bernie Sanders race, where you won, but not fair and square, in my opinion. All you have to do is take a look at Wikileaks and see what they say about Sanders and see what Wasserman-Schultz had in mind. Never had a chance. I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil, but when you talk about apology, I think the one you should really be apologizing for and this thing you should be apologizing for are the 33,000 e-mails that you deleted and that you acid washed and then the two boxes of e-mails and other things last week taken from an office and are now missing. I’ll tell you what I didn’t think I’d say this and I’m going to say it and hate to say it: If I win, I’m going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there’s never been so many lies, so much deception.

Never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor. When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails and you get a subpoena and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails and then acid watch them or bleach them. A very expensive process, so we’re going to get a special prosecutor because people have been, their lives have been destroyed for doing one fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace and honestly, you ought to be ashamed.

HC: Let me just talk about e-mails because everything he just said is absolutely false. But I’m not surprised. And the first debate, and —

AC: The audience needs to calm down here.

HC: I told people it would be impossible be fact checking all the the time — I’d never get to talk about anything I want to do or how we’re going to make lives better for people. So go to HillaryClinton.com. You can fact check him in realtime, last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so expect we’ll have millions more fact checking. It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.

DT: Because you’d be in jail.

AC: We want to remind the audience to please not — talk out loud. Please do not applaud. You’re just wasting time.

MR: You’ve said your handing of your e-mails was a mistake. You disagreed with James Comey, calling it quote extremely careless. The FBI said there were 110 e-mails, eight of which were Top Secret, and it was possible hostile actors did gain access. You don’t call that extremely careless?

HC: I’ll repeat it because I want everyone to hear it. That was a mistake and I take responsibility. For using a personal e-mail account. Obviously, if I were to do it over again, I would not. I’m not making any excuses. It was a mistake.

And I am very sorry about that. But I think it’s also important to point out where there are some misleading accusations from critics and others.

After a year long investigation, there is no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using and no evidence that anyone can point to at all anyone who says otherwise has no basis. That any classified material ended up in the wrong hands. I take classified materials very seriously and always have when I was on the senate armed services committee, I was privy to a lot of classified material.

Obviously, as secretary of state, I had some of the most important secrets that we possess such as going after bin laden so I am very committed to taking classified information seriously. There is no evidence that any classified information ended up in the wrong hands.

DT: And yet, she didn’t know the word the letter C on a document.

Right? She didn’t even know what that letter meant. You know, it’s amazing. I’m watching Hillary go over facts. And she’s going after fact after fact and lying again. Because she said she, you know, what she did — the e-mail — was fine. You think it was fine? I don’t think so. She said that 33,000 e-mails had to do with her daughter’s wedding, number one and a yoga class.

Right? She didn’t even know what that letter meant. You know, it’s amazing. I’m watching Hillary go over facts. And she’s going after fact after fact and lying again. Because she said she, you know, what she did — the e-mail — was fine. You think it was fine? I don’t think so. She said that 33,000 e-mails had to do with her daughter’s wedding, number one and a yoga class.

Maybe we’ll give three or four or five; 33,000 e-mails deleted and now, she’s saying there wasn’t anything wrong more importantly, that was after getting the subpoena. Got it from the United States Congress and I’ll be honest, I am so disappointed in congressmen, including Republicans, for allowing this to happen. Our justice department — where her husband goes on to the back of a plane for 39 minutes, talks to the attorney general, days before a ruling is going to be made on her case. But for you to say that there was nothing wrong with you deleting 39,000 e-mails, again, you should be ashamed of yourself. What you did and this is after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.

Moderator: We have to move on. Secretary Clinton, you can respond.

Moderator: We want to give the audience a chance here.

DT: Let alone after getting a subpoena from the United States government.

Moderator: Clinton, you can respond. We have to move on to an audience question.

HC: Look, it’s just not true, so please —

DT: You didn’t delete them?

AC: Allow her to respond, please.

DT: 33,000.

HR: Not, well, we turned over 35,000 so —

DT: What about the other 15,000?

AC: Please allow her to respond. She didn’t talk while you talked.

HC: Yes, that’s true, I didn’t. In the first debate and I’m going to try not to in this debate because I’d like to get to the questions.

DT: Get off this question.

HC: Okay, Donald, I know you’re into big diversion tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you.

Moderator: We have a question from Ken. About health care.

DT: I’d like to know why aren’t you bringing up the e-mails? It hasn’t been finished.

Moderator: Ken has a question.

DT: Nice, one on three.

Ken: Thank you. The Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up and the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down, and make coverage better?

AC: That first one goes to secretary Clinton because you started out the last one to the audience.

HC: He wants to start. He can start. Go ahead, Donald.

DT: No, I’m a gentlemen, go ahead.

HC: Well, I think he was about to say he’s going to solve it by repealing it and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act and I’m going to fix it. Because I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copay, deductibles, prescription drug costs — and I’ve laid out a series of options we can take to try to get those costs down. Here’s what I don’t want people to forget when we talk about ranging in the cost. When the Affordable Care Act passed, it wasn’t just 20 million [people who] got insurance who didn’t have it before. That was a good thing.

I meet these people all the time and they tell in what a difference it meant having that. But if [anything] else, the 170 million of of us who got insurance through our employees, got big benefits. Number one, insurance companies can’t deny you coverage because of a preexisting condition.

Number two, no lifetime limits, which is a big deal in you have serious health problems. Number three, women can’t be charged more than men for health insurance, which is the way it used to be. Number four, if you’re under 26, and your parents have a policy, you can be on that policy until age 26. So I want very much to save what works and is good about the affordable care act, but we’ve got to get costs down. We’ve got to provide additional help to small businesses. To know that they can afford to provide health insurance. But if we repeal it as Donald has proposed and start over again, all of those benefits are lost to everybody. Not just people who get their health insurance on the exchange. And then we would have to start all over again. Right now, we are at 90 percent health insurance coverage. That’s highest we’ve ever been in our country. I want us to get 100% and keep costs down and quality up.

AC: You have two minutes.

DT: It is such a great question and maybe the question I get almost more than anything else. Outside of defense. Obamacare is a disaster. You know it. We all know it. It’s going up at numbers that nobody’s seen worldwide. Nobody’s ever seen numbers like this for health care. Only gets worse. Their method of fixing it is to go back and ask congress for more and more money. We have almost $20 trillion in debt. Obamacare will never work. It’s very bad. Very bad health insurance. Far too expensive. And not only expensive for the person that has it, unbelievably expensive for our country. One of the biggest line items very shortly. We have to repeal it. And replace it. With something absolutely much less expensive.

And something that works. Where your plan can actually be tailored. We have to get rid of the lines around the state. Artificial lines, where we stop insurance companies from coming in and competing because they want and President Obama and whoever was working on it, they want to leave those lines because that gives the insurance companies essentially monopolies. We want competition.

You’ll have the finest health care plan there is. She wants to go to a single payer plan, which would be a disaster. Somewhat similar to Canada. If you’ve noticed the Canadians, when they need a big operation, they come into the United States in many cases, because their system is so slow. It’s catastrophic in certain ways. But she wants to go to single payer, which means the government basically rules everything. Hillary Clinton has been after this for years. Obamacare was the first step.

Obamacare is a total disaster, and not only are your rates going up by numbers nobody’s believed, but your deductibles are going up so unless you get hit by a truck, you’re never going to be able to use it. It is a disastrous plan and has to be repealed. And replaced.

MR: Your husband called Obamacare quote, the craziest thing in the world. Small business owners are getting killed, coverage is cut in half. Was he [exaggerating] or simply telling the truth.

HC: He clarified, and it’s clear. Look, we are in a situation in our country, where if we were to start all over again, we might come up with a different system. But we have an employer based system. That’s where the vast majority of people get their health care. And the Affordable Care Act was meant to try to fill the gap between people who were too poor and couldn’t put together any resources to afford health care, namely, people on medicaid. Obviously, medicare, which is a single payer system. Which takes care of our elderly, and does a great job doing it, by the way, and then all of the people who were employed.

But people who were working, but didn’t have the money to afford insurance and didn’t have anybody, an employer, anybody else to help them. That was the slot that the Obama care approach was to take. And like I say, 20 million people now have health insurance. So, if we just rip it up and throw it away, what Donald’s not telling you is we just turn it back to the insurance companies the way it used to be and that means the insurance companies get to do pretty much whatever they want, including saying “look, sorry, you’ve got diabetes, you had cancer, your child has asthma.” You may not be able to have insurance because you can’t afford it, so let’s fix what’s broken about it, but let’s not throw it away and give it back to the insurance companies. That’s not going to work.

MR: Mr. Trump —

DT: First of all, Hillary, everything’s broken about it. Everything. Number two, Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton has very bad judgment. This is a perfect example of it.

MR: Mr. Trump, you’ve said you want to end Obamacare and make coverage accessible for people with preexisting conditions. How do you force insurance companies to do that if you’re no longer mandating — what does that mean?

DT: I’ll tell you. You’re going to have plans that are so good because we’re going to have some competition. Once we break out the lines and allow the competition to come.

AC: Are you going to have a mandate that Americans have to have health insurance?

DT: President Obama by keeping those — and it was almost gone until just right toward the end of the passage of Obamacare, which was a fraud. You know that, because Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, said it was a great lie. It was big lie. President Obama said you keep your plan, the whole thing was a fraud and it doesn’t work.

When we get rid of those lines, you have competition and we’ll be able to keep preexisting and help people that can’t get, don’t have money because we are going to have people protected. And Republicans feel this way. Believe it or not and strongly this way. We’re going to block grant. Into the states. Block grant into medicaid. So we will be able to take care of people without the necessary funds to take care of themselves.

MR: Now a question for both candidates.

Voter: There are 3.3 Muslims in the United States and I’m one of them. You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being a threat to the country after the election is over.

MR: Mr. Trump.

DT: You’re right about Islamophobia and that’s a shame. One thing we have to do is we have to make sure that because there is a problem, whether we like it or not — and we could be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem and we have to be sure that muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.

In San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. Never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them. And you know, there’s always a reason for everything. If they don’t do that, it’s a very difficult situation for our country because you look at Orlando. And you look at San Bernardino and the World Trade Center. Look at Paris. The horrible, these are radical islamic terrorists. And she won’t even mention the word and nor will President Obama.

He won’t use the term, “radical Islamic terrorism.” Now, to solve the problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. She won’t say the name and President Obama won’t say the name. But the name is there. It’s “radical Islamic terror” and before you solve it, you have to say the name.

Moderator: Secretary Clinton.

HC: Thank you for asking your question, and I’ve heard this question from a lot of Muslim Americans across our country. Because unfortunately, there’s been a lot of very divisive, dark things said about Muslims.

And even someone like the young man who sacrificed himself defending our country from the United States army has been subject to attack by Donald. I want to say just a couple of things. First, we’ve had Muslims in America since George Washington. And we’ve had many successful Muslims.

We just lost a particular well-known one with Muhammad Ali. My vision of America is an America where everyone has a place. If you’re willing to work hard, you do your part, you contribute to the community. That’s what America is. That’s what we want America to be for, for our children and grandchildren. It’s also very short-sighted and even dangerous. To be engaging in the kind of rhetoric that Donald has about Muslims.

We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines. I’ve worked with a lot of different Muslim groups around America. I’ve met with a lot of them and heard how important it is for them to feel they are wanted and included and part of our country, part of our homeland security and that’s what I want to see. It’s also important I intend to defeat ISIS.

To do so, in a coalition with majority Muslim nations. Right now, a lot of those nations are hearing what Donald says and wondering, “why should we cooperate with the Americans?” and this is a gift to ISIS and the terrorists. Violent jihadist terrorist. We are not at war with Islam. And it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as though we are. So, I want a country where citizens like you and your family are just as welcome as anyone else.

MR: Thank you, Secretary Clinton.

Mr. Trump, in December, you said this. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the united States until we can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice. We have no choice.” Your running mate said this week that the Muslim ban [is not your] position. Is that correct? And if it is, was it a mistake to have a religious test?

DT: First of all, Captain Kahn is an American hero and if I were president at this time, he would be alive today because unlike her, who voted for the war without knowing what she was doing, I would not have had our people in Iraq. Iraq was disaster. So he would have been alive today. The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into a extreme vetting. From certain areas of the world. Hillary Clinton wants to allow —

MR: And why did it morph into that? Answer the question. Do you still believe —

DT: Why don’t you interrupt her?

MR: Would you please explain whether or not the ban still stands?

DT: It’s called extreme vetting. We are going to areas like Syria. Where they’re coming in by the tens of thousands because of Barack Obama. And Hillary Clinton wants to allow a 550 percent increase over Obama.

People are coming into our country like we have no idea who they are. Where they are from. What their feeling about our country is and she wants 550 percent more. This is going to be the great Trojan horse of all time. I believe in building safe zones, in having other people pay for them as an example, the gulf states who are not carrying their weight, but have nothing but money, and take care of people but I don’t want to have with all the problems this country has and all of the problems that you see going on, hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria when we know nothing about them. We know nothing about their values and we know nothing about their love for our country.

MR: And Secretary Clinton, let me ask you about that. Because you have asked for an increase from ten to 65,000 Syrian refugees. We know you want tougher vetting. That’s not a perfect system. So, why take the risk of having those refugees come into the country?

HC: First of all, I will not let anyone into our country that I think poses a risk to us. But there are a lot of refugees, women and children, think of that picture we all saw of that 4-year-old boy with the blood on his forehead because he had been bombed by the Russian and Syrian air forces. There are children suffering in this catastrophic war. Largely I believe because of Russian aggression. And we need to do our part.

We by no means are carrying anywhere near the load that Europe and others are. But we will have vetting that is as tough as it needs to be from our professionals, our intelligence experts and others. But it is important for us as a policy, you know, not to say as Donald has said, we’re going to ban people based on a religion. How do you do that? We are a country founded on religious freedom and liberty.

How do we do what he has advocated without causing great distress within our own country … are we going to have religious tests?

When people fly into our country? And how do we expect to be able to implement those? So, I thought that what he said was extremely unwise. And even dangerous. And indeed, you can look at the problem began da on a lot of the terrorists sites and what Donald Trump says about muslims is used to recruit fighters.

Because they want to create a war between us. And the final thing I would say, this is the tenth or 12th he’s denied being for the war in Iraq. We have it on tape. The entire press corps has looked at it. Never stops him from saying what he wants to say. You can see it.

DT: Has not been debunked.

MR: I’d like to move on.

DT: She just went about 25 second over her time. Could I just respond to this, please?

MR: Very quickly, please.

DT: Hillary Clinton in terms of having people come into our country, we have many criminal illegal aliens, when we want to send them back to their country, their country says we don’t want them. In some cases, they’re murders and they don’t want them. Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, said that’s okay, we can’t force it. Let me tell you, I’m going to force them right back into their country. Their murderers and some very bad people. When Bernie Sanders said she had bad judgment, she has really bad judgment because we are letting people into this country that are going to cause problems and crime like you’ve never seen.

We’re letting drugs pour through our southern border at a record clip and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. I.C.E. just endorsed me — 16,500 just endorsed me and they endorsed me because I understand the border. She doesn’t. She wants amnesty for everybody. Come right in. Come right over. It’s a horrible thing she’s doing. She’s got bad judgment. And honestly, so bad that she should never be president of the United States. That, I can tell you.

AC: I want to move op. This next question from the public through the bipartisan Open Debate, where Americans submitted questions that generated millions of votes. It was reported that excerpts of secretary Clinton’s paid speeches, in which she has refused to release, and one line, in which you say you need both a public and private position on certain issues. So, [Two], from Virginia asks, Is it okay for politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a private stance?

HC: Right, as I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln, and after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie calledLincoln. It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the congress to approve the 13th amendment. It was principled and strategic. I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the congress to do what you want to do. To keep working at it. And yes, President Lincoln was trying to convince some people to use some arguments. That was a great I thought a great display of presidential leadership.

But you know, let’s talk about what’s really going on because our intelligence community said the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, our directing the attacks, the hacking, on American accounts to influence our election. Other sites, where the Russians hack information. We don’t know if it’s accurate information and then they put it out. We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election. And believe me, they’re not doing it to get elected. They’re doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump. Now, maybe because he has praised Putin, maybe because he says he agrees with a lot of what Putin wants to do, maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons.

But we deserve answers. We should demand that will Donald release all of his tax returns so that people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships.

We should demand that will Donald release all of his tax returns so that people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships.

Moderator: We’re going to get to that later. Secretary, Clinton, you’re out of time.

DT: I think I should respond because so ridiculous. Now she’s blaming — she got caught in a total lie. Her papers went out to everybody at the banks, and she said things Wikileaks that just came out. She lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late great Abraham Lincoln. That’s one that I haven’t — okay, honest Abe never lied. That’s the good thing. That’s the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you. That’s a big, big difference — we’re talking about some difference.

But as far as other elements of what she was saying, I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together as an example. But I don’t know Putin. I notice anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia and the reason is because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know about Russia but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I have no businesses. I have no loans from Russia.

I have a very, very great balance sheet, so great when I did the old post office on Pennsylvania avenue, the united States government, because of my balance sheet which they actually know very well, chose me to do the old post office between the white house and congress, chose me to do the old post office. One of the primary area things, perhaps the primary thing was balance sheet. But I have no loans with Russia. You could go to the United States government and they would probably tell you that because they know my sheet very well in order to get that development. I had to have. Now the facts are very simple

First of all, I pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Many of her friends took bigger deductions, Warren Buffett took a massive deduction, Soros took a massive deduction. Many of the people giving her all this money that she can do many more commercials from me took massive deductions. I pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, about you, but as soon as my routine audit is finished I’ll release my returns.

AC: We have a question from Spencer Moss. Spencer?

Spencer: Good evening. My question is, what specific tax provisions will you change to insure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share intachs oo.

DT: One thing I would do is get rid of carried interest. One of the greatest provisions for people like me, I give up a lot when I run because I knock out the tax code. She could have done this be years ago. She’s a United States senator. She complains that Donald Trump took advantage of the tax code. Well, why didn’t she change it? Why didn’t you change it when you were a senator? The reason you didn’t is all your friends take the same advantage that I do. You have provisions in the tax code that frankly we could change. But you wouldn’t change it because all of these people give you the money so you can take negative ads on Donald Trump. But and I say that about a lot of things. I’ve heard Hillary complaining about so many different things over the years. I wish you would have done this. For 30 years, she’s been doing this stuff. She never changed and she never will change. We’re getting rid of carried interest provisions. I’m lowering taxes actually because I think it’s so important for corporations because we have corporations leaving massive corporations and little ones, little ones can’t form. We’re getting rid of regulations which goes hand in hand with the lowering of the taxes. We’re bringing the tax rate down from 35 percent to 15 percent. We’re cutting taxes for the middle class.

I will tell you we are cutting them big league for the middle class. I will tell you, Hillary Clinton is raising your taxes, folks. You can look at me. She’s raising your taxes really high. And what that’s going to do is a disaster for the country.

But she is raising your taxes and I’m lowering your taxes. That in itself is a big difference. We are going to be thriving again. We have no growth in this country. If China has a GDP of 7 percent, it’s like a national catastrophe. We’re down to 1 percent. And that’s like no growth. We’re going lower in my opinion. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that our taxes are so high. Just about the highest in the world. And I’m bringing them down to one of the lower in the world. And I think it’s so important, one of the most important things we can do. But she is raising everybody’s taxes massively.

Moderator: Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes. The question is, what specific tax provisions will you change to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes.

HC: Well, everything you’ve heard everywhere Donald just now is not true. I’m sorry I have to keep saying this, but he lives in an alternative reality. It is sort of amusing to hear somebody who hasn’t paid federal income taxes in maybe 20 years talking about what he’s going to do. I’ll tell you what he’s going to do. His plan will give the wealthy and corporations the biggest tax cuts they’ve ever had. More than the Bush tax cuts by at least a factor of two. Donald always takes care of Donald and people like Donald and this would be a massive gift. And indeed, the way that he talks about his tax cuts would end up raising taxes on middle class families, millions of middle class families. Here’s what I want to do. I have said nobody who makes less than $250,000 a year, and that’s the vast majority of Americans as you know, will have their taxes raised because we’ve got to go where the money is. The money is with people who have taken advantage of every single break in the tax code. Yes, when I was a senator, I did vote to close corporate loopholes.

I voted to close, I think one of the loopholes he took advantage of when he claimed a billion dollar loss that enabled him to avoid paying taxes. I want to have a tax on people who are making a million dollars called the Buffett rule. Yes, Warren Buffett has gone out and said somebody like him should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. I want a surcharge on income above $5 million. I want to invest in you. I want to invest in hard-working families. I think it’s been unfortunate but it’s happened since the great recession, the gains have all gone to the top. We need to reverse that. People like Donald who paid zero in taxes, zero for our vets, zero for our military, zero for health and education, that is wrong. And we’re going to make sure that nobody, no corporation, and no individual can get away without paying his fair share to support our country.

AC: Mr. Trump, I want to give you the chance to respond. I want to tell viewers. In the last month, taxes were the number one issue on Facebook for the first time in the campaign. The New York Times published three pages of your 1995 tax returns. You claimed a $916 million loss which means you could have avoided paying personal income taxes for years.

You said you pay property taxes, real estate taxes. You have not answered a simple question. Did you use the loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?

DC: Of course I do. So do all of her donors or most of her donors. I know many of her donors. They took massive tax write-offs.

AC: Have you paid personal federal tax?

DT: A lot of my write-off was depreciation and that Hillary as a senator allowed. The people that give her all this money want it. I understand it the tax code better than anybody that’s run for president. Hillary Clinton, it’s extremely complex. Hockey has friends that want the carried interest provision which is very important to Wall Street people. But they really want the carried interest provision. Which I believe Hillary’s leaving. Very interesting why she’s leaving carried interest. Number one, I pay tremendous numbers of taxes. I absolutely used it. So did Warren Buffett and so did George Soros and so did many of the other people that Hillary is getting money from. Now, I won’t mention their names because they’re rich but they’re not famous. We don’t make them famous.

AC: Can you say how many years you have avoided paying personal federal income taxes?

DC: Of course I do. So do all of her donors or most of her donors. I know many of her donors. They took massive tax write-offs.

AC: Have you paid personal federal tax?

DT: A lot of my write-off was depreciation and that Hillary as a senator allowed. The people that give her all this money want it. I understand it the tax code better than anybody that’s run for president. Hillary Clinton, it’s extremely complex. Hockey has friends that want the carried interest provision which is very important to Wall Street people. But they really want the carried interest provision. Which I believe Hillary’s leaving. Very interesting why she’s leaving carried interest. Number one, I pay tremendous numbers of taxes. I absolutely used it. So did Warren Buffett and so did George Soros and so did many of the other people that Hillary is getting money from. Now, I won’t mention their names because they’re rich but they’re not famous. We don’t make them famous.

AC: Can you say how many years you have avoided paying personal federal income taxes?

DT: No, but I pay tax and pay federal tax, too. I have a write-off, a lot of it is depreciation. It’s a wonderful charge. If she had a problem for 30 years, she’s been doing this, Anderson. I say it all the time. She talks about health care. Why didn’t she do something about it? She talks about taxes. She doesn’t do anything about anything other than talk. With her, it’s all talk and no action. In the past — and again, Bernie Sanders, it’s really bad judgment. She has made bad judgment not only on taxes, she’s made bad judgments on Libya, on Syria. On Iraq. I mean, her and Obama, whether you like it or not, the way they got out of Iraq, the vacuum they’ve left, that’s why ISIS formed in the first place. They started from that little area and now they’re in 32 different nations, Hillary. Congratulations. Great job.

Moderator: I want you to be able to respond, secretary Clinton.

HC: Well, here we go again. I’ve been in favor of getting rid of carried interest for years. Starting when I was a senator from New York. But that’s not the point here.

DT: Why didn’t you do it? Why didn’t you do it.

HC: Because I was a senator with a Republican president. I will be the president.

DT: You could have done it if you were an effective —

HC: That’s exactly right.

DT: If you were an effective senator, could you have done it. But you were not an effective senator.

AC: Please allow her to respond. She didn’t interrupt you.

HC: Under our constitution, presidents have something called veto power. Look, he has now said repeatedly 30 years this and 30 years that. So let me talk about my 30 years in public service. I’m very glad to do so. Eight million kids, every year, have health insurance because when I was first lady, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the children’s health insurance program. Hundreds of thousands of kids now have a chance to be adopted because I worked to change our adoption and foster care system.

After 9/11, I went to work with Republican mayor, governor and president to rebuild New York and to get health care for our first responders who were suffering because they had run toward danger and gotten sickened by it. Hundreds of thousands of National Guard and reserve members have healthcare because of work that I did. And children [receive] safer medicines because I was able to pass a law that required the dosing to be more carefully done.

When I was secretary of state, I went around the world advocating for our country but also advocating for women’s rights to make sure that women had a decent chance to have a better life. And negotiated a treaty with Russia to lower nuclear weapons. Four-hundred pieces of legislation have my name on it as a sponsor or cosponsor when I was a senator for eight years. I worked very hard and was very proud to be re-elected in new York by an even bigger margin than I had been elected the first time. And as president, I will take that work, that bipartisan work, that finding common ground because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington.

MR: Thank you, secretary.

HC: I’ve proven that I can and for 30 years, I’ve produced results for people.

MR: Thank you, secretary.

MR: We’re going to move on to Syria. Both of you have mentioned that.

DT: She said a lot of things that were false. I think we should be allowed —

MR: Mr. Trump, this is about the audience.

DT: She’s been a disaster as a senator.

MR: We’re going to move on. The heart breaking video of a 5-year-old Syrian boy sitting in an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble after an air striking in Aleppo focused the world’s attention on the horrors of the war in Syria with 136 million views of on Facebook alone.

But there are much worse … coming out of Aleppo every day now where in the past few weeks alone, 400 people have been killed, at least 100 of them children. Days ago, the state department called for a war crimes investigation of the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad and Russia for their bombardment of Aleppo. This next question comes through social media through Facebook.

Diane from Pennsylvania asks, if you were president what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? Isn’t it a lot like the holocaust when the US waited too long before we helped? Secretary Clinton, we’ll begin with your two minutes.

HC: Well, the situation in Syria is catastrophic. And every day that goes by, we see the results of the regime by Assad in partnership with the Iranians on the grounds, the Russians in the air bombarding places in particular Aleppo where there are hundreds of thousands of people probably about 250,000 still left. And there is a determined effort by the Russian air force to destroy Aleppo in order to eliminate the last of the Syrian rebels who are really holding out against the Assad regime. Russia hasn’t paid any attention to ISIS. They’re interested in keeping Assad in power.

So I when I was secretary of state, advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need to some leverage with the Russians because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground. But I want to emphasize that what is at stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia. Russia has decided that it’s all in in Syria. And they’ve also decided who they want to see become president of the United States too, and it’s not me. I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others and I would do that as president. I think wherever we can cooperate with Russia, that’s fine. And I did as secretary of state. That’s how we got a treaty reducing nuclear weapons. It’s how we got the sanctions on Iran that put a lid on the Iranian nuclear program without firing a single shot. So I would go to the negotiating table with more leverage than we have now but I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.

Moderator: Thank you, Secretary Clinton.

DT: First of all, she’s there with the so-called line in the sand.

HC: No, I wasn’t. I was gone. I hate to interrupt you but at some point we needed to do some fact checking.

DT: You were in contact with the White House and perhaps sadly, Obama probably still listened to you. I don’t think he would listen to you very much anymore. Obama draws the line in the sand. It was laughed at all over the world what happened. Now, with that being said, she talks tough against Russia. But our nuclear program has fallen way behind and they’ve gone wild with their nuclear program. Not good. Our government shouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

Russia is new in terms of nuclear. We are old. We’re tired. We’re exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing. She talks tough, she talks really tough against Putin. And against Assad. She talks in favor of the rebels. She doesn’t even know who they are. Every time we take rebels, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else, we’re arming people, and you know what happens? They end up being worse than the people. Look what she did in Libya with Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s out. It’s a mess. ISIS has a good chunk of their oil. I’m sure you probably have heard that. It was a disaster. The fact is almost everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake and it’s been a disaster. But if you look at Russia, just take a look at Russia, and look at what they did this week where I agree, she wasn’t there but possibly she’s consulted. We sign a peace treaty. Everyone’s excited.

What Russia did with Assad and with Iran who you made very powerful with the dumbest deal I’ve ever seen, the Iran deal with the $1.7 billion in cash which is enough to fill up this room. But look at — Iran now and Russia are now against us. So she wants to fight. She wants to fight for rebels. There’s only one problem. You don’t even know who the rebels are.

Moderator: Mr. Trump it, your two minutes is up.

DT: One thing I have to say. I don’t like Assad at all but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.

MR: Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and if Russia continues to be involved in air-strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.

DT: Okay. He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree.

MR: You disagree with your running mate.

DT: Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and Iran who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and very rich nation, very, very quickly. Very, very quickly.

I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. That was the line.

MR: What do you think will happen if Aleppo falls.

DT: It is a disaster.

MR: What do you think will happen if it falls?

DT: I think it basically has fallen.

Let me tell you something. You take a look at Mosul. The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul. We have … coming out of Washington and Iraq, we will be attacking mosul in three or four weeks. All of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul. Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success. People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking mosul within the next four to six weeks which is what they’re saying. How stupid is our country.

MR: There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.

DT: I can’t think of any. I’m pretty good at it. We have general Flynn. I have 200 generals and admiral who’s endorse me. I have 21 congressional medal of honor recipients who endorse me.

We talk about it all the time. They understand, why can’t they do something secretively where they go in and they knock out the leadership. How — why would these people stay there? I’ve been reading now.

MR: Tell me what your strategy is.

DT: — for weeks about Mosul. It’s the harbor between Raqqah and Mosul, this is where they think the ISIS leaders would be. They’re gone. Because everybody’s talking about how Iraq which is us with our leadership goes into fight mosul. Now, with these 200 admirals and generals, they can’t believe it. All I say is this.

General George Patton, general Douglas MacArthur are spinning in their grave as the stupidity of what we’re doing in the Middle East.

MR: Secretary Clinton, you want Assad to go. You advocated arming rebels. It looks like that may be too late for Aleppo. You talk about diplomatic efforts. Those have failed. Cease fires have failed. Would you introduce the threat of U.S. Military force beyond a no-fly zone against the Assad regime to back up diplomacy?

HC: I would not use American ground forces in Syria. I think that would be a very serious mistake. I don’t think American troops should be holding territory which is what they would have to do as an occupying force. I don’t think that is a smart strategy.

I do think the use of special forces which we’re using, the use of enablers and trainers in Iraq which has had some positive effects are very much in our interests and so I do support what is happening, but let me just.

MR: What would you do differently than president Obama is doing?

HC: Martha, I hope by the time —

DT: Everything.

HC: I hope by the time I am president, that we will have pushed ISIS out of Iraq. I do think that there is a good chance that we can take Mosul. And you know, Donald says he knows more about ISIS than the generals. No, he doesn’t. There are a lot of very important planning going on and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters that we all need to be in this.

That takes a lot of planning and preparation. I would go after Baghdadi. I would specifically target Baghdadi because I think our targeting of Al Qaeda leaders — and I was involved in a lot of the those operations, highly classified ones — made a difference. That could help. I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles but I think they should have the equipment they need so that kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqah after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.

MR: Thank you very much.

DT: It’s funny she went over a minute over and you don’t stop her. When I go one second over —

Moderators: You have had many answers.

DT: It’s very interesting.

Moderators: A question from James Carter. Mr. Carter?

James Carter: My question is, do you believe you can be a devoted president to all the people in the United States?

Moderator: That question begins for Mr. Trump.

DT: Absolutely. I mean, she calls our people deplorable. A large group and irredeemable. I will be a president for all of our people. And I’ll be a president that will turn our inner cities around and will give strength to people and will give economics to people and will bring jobs back because nafta signed by her husband is perhaps the greatest disaster trade deal in the history of the world. Not in this country. It stripped us of manufacturing jobs. We lost our jobs. We lost our money. We lost our plants. It is a disaster. Now she wants to sign tpp even though now she says she’s for it. She called it the gold standard. She lied. It turned out she did say the gold standard and she said she didn’t say it. They actually said that she lied and she lied. But she’s lied about a lot of things.

I would be a president for all of the people. African-Americans, the inner cities. Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities. She’s been talking about it for years. As usual, she talks about it, nothing happens. She doesn’t get it done. Same with the Latino Americans. The hispanic Americans. The same exact thing. They talk, they don’t get it done. You go into the inner cities and you see it’s 45 percent poverty. African-Americans now 45 percent poverty in the inner cities. The education is a disaster.

Jobs are essentially nonexistent. I mean, it’s — you know, and I’ve been saying big speeches where I have 20,000 and 30,000 people, what do you have to lose? It can’t get any worse. She’s been talking about the inner cities for 25 years. Nothing’s going to ever happen. Let me tell you, if she’s president of the United States, nothing’s going to happen. It’s going to be talk. All of her friends the taxes we were talking about, and I would just get it by osmosis. She’s not doing me any favors. By doing all the others favors, she’s doing me favors. She’s all talk. It doesn’t get done. Look at her senate run, take a look at upstate New York.

Moderator: Your two minutes is up. You have two minutes, Secretary Clinton.

HC: Well, 67 percent of the people voted to re-elect me when I ran for my second term. And I was very proud and very humbled by that. Mr. Carter, I have tried my entire life to do what I can to support children and families. You know, right out of law school, I went to work for the children’s defense fund. Donald talks a lot about you know, the 30 years I’ve been in public service. I’m proud of that.

You know, I started off as a young lawyer working against discrimination against African-American children in schools and in the criminal justice system. I worked to make sure that kids with disabilities could get a public education. Something that I care very much about. I have worked with Latinos, one of my first jobs in politics was down in south Texas registering Latino citizens to be able to vote. So I have a deep devotion to use your absolutely correct word.

To making sure that an every American feels like he or she has a place in our country. And I think when you look at the letters that I get, a lot of people are worried that maybe they wouldn’t have a place in Donald Trump’s America. They write me and one woman wrote me about her son Felix. She adopted him from Ethiopia. He’s 10 years old now. This is the only one country he’s known. He listens to Donald on TV and said to miss mother, will he send me back to Ethiopia if he gets elected. Children Liston what is being said, to go back to the very, very first question. And there’s a lot of fear in fact, teachers and parents are calling it the trump effect. Bullying is up. A lot of people are feeling uneasy, a lot of kids are expressing their concerns.

So first and foremost, I will do everything I can to reach out to everybody. Democrats, Republicans, independents, people across our country. If you don’t vote for me, I still want to be your president. I want to be the best president I can be for every American.

Moderator: Your two minutes is up.

I want to follow up on something Donald Trump actually said to you, a comment you made last month. You said that half his supporters are deplorables, racist, xenophobic, islamophobic. You later said you regretted saying half. You didn’t express regret for using the term deplorables. How can you unite a country if you’ve written off tens of millions of Americans.

HC: Within hours I said I was sorry about the way I talked about that. My argument is not with his supporters. It’s with him and with the hateful and divisive campaign he has run and the inciting of violence at his rallies and the very brutal kinds of comments about not just women, but all kinds of Americans. And what he has said about African-Americans and Latinos, about Muslims, about P.O.W.S, about immigrants, about people with disabilities, he’s never apologized for. And so, I do think that a lot of the tone and tenor that he has said, I’m proud of the campaign that Bernie Sanders and I ran. We ran a campaign based on issues, not insults. He is supporting me 100 percent.

Moderator: Thank you.

HC: Because we talked about what we wanted to do. We might have had some differences and we had a lot of debates but we believed that we could make the country better. I was proud of that.

Moderator: I give you a minute.

DT: We have a divided nation. We have a very divided nation. You look at Charlotte. You look at Baltimore. You look at the violence that’s taking place in the inner cities, Chicago, you take a look at Washington, D.C., we have an increase in murder within our cities. The biggest in 45 years. We have a divided nation because people like her, and believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart. And when she said deplorables, she meant it. And when she said irredeemable, they’re irredeemable, you didn’t mention that, but when she said they’re irredeemable, that might have even been worse.

AC: She said some of them.

DT: She’s got tremendous hatred. And this country cannot take another four years of Barack Obama and that’s what you’re getting with her.

AC: Mr. Trump, let me follow up with you. In 2008, wrote in one of your books the most important characteristic of a good leader is discipline. You said if a leader doesn’t have it “He or she won’t be one for very long.” In the days after the first debate, you sent out a series of tweets from 3 am to 5 am, Including one that told people to check out a sex tape. Is that discipline.

DT: It was just take a look at the person she built up to be this wonderful girl scout who was no girl scout. Just so you understand, when she said 3:00 in the morning, take a look at Benghazi. She said who is going to answer it the call at 3:00 in the morning. Guess what, she didn’t answer because when ambassador Stevens.

AC: The question is, is that the discipline of a good leader?

DT: Six-hundred times. She said she was awake at 3:00 in the morning and she also sent a tweet out at 3:00 in the morning. She said she’ll be awake. Guess what happened.

Ambassador Stevens sent 600 requests for help. And the only one she talked to was Sidney Blumenthal who is her friend and not a good guy by the way. So you know, she shouldn’t be talking about that. Now, tweeting happens to be a modern day form of communication. I mean, you can like it or not like it. I have, between Facebook and Twitter, I have almost 25 million people. It’s a very effective way of communication. So you can put it down, but it is a very effective form of communication. I’m not unproud of it to be honest with you.

AC: Secretary Clinton, does Mr. Trump have the discipline to be a good leader

HC: No.

DT: I’m shocked to hear that.

HC: Well, it’s not only my opinion. It’s the opinion of many others. National security experts, Republicans, former Republican members of congress.

But it’s in part because those of us who have had the great privilege of seeing this job up close and know how difficult it is and it’s not just because I watched my husband take a $300 billion deficit and turn it into a $200 billion surplus and 23 million new jobs were created and incomes went up for everybody. Everybody. African-American incomes went up 33 percent.

And it’s not just because I worked with George W. Bush after 9/11. And I was very proud that when I told him what the city needed, what we needed to recover, he said you’ve got it and he never wavered. He stuck with me. And I have worked and I admire President Obama. He inherited the worst financial crisis since the great depression. That was a terrible time for our country.

We have to move along. Nine million people lost their jobs. Five million homes were lost and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out. We are back on the right track. He would send us back into recession with his tax plans.

Moderator: Secretary Clinton, we are moving to an audience question. We’re almost out of time.

DT: We have the slowest growth since 1929.

Moderator: We’re moving on to another question.

DT: Our country has the slowest growth.

Moderator: We want to get to the audience. Thank you very much both of you. We have another audience question. Beth Miller has a question for both candidates.

Beth Miller: Good evening. Perhaps the most important aspect of this election is the supreme court justice. What would you prioritize as the most important aspect of selecting a Supreme Court justice?

Moderator: We begin with your two minutes, secretary Clinton.

HC: You’re right. This is one of the most important issues in this election. I want to appoint supreme court justices who understand the way the world really works. Who have real life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerks for a judge and then gotten on the bench. Maybe they tried some more cases. They actually understand what people are up against because I think the current court has gone in the wrong direction. And so I would want to see the supreme court reverse Citizens United, and get dark unaccountable money out of our politics. Donald doesn’t agree with that.

I would like the supreme court to understand that voting rights are still a big problem in many parts of our country. That we don’t always do everything we can to making it possible for people of color and older people and young people to be able to exercise their franchise. I want a supreme court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose and I want a supreme court that will stick with marriage equality.

Now, Donald has put forth the names of some people that he would consider. And among the ones that he has suggested are people who would reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality. I think that would be a terrible mistake and would take us backwards. I want a supreme court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests. I want a supreme court that understands because you’re wealthy and you can give more money to something doesn’t mean you have any more rights than anybody else. So I have very clear views about what I want to see to tend to change the balance on the supreme court, and I regret deeply that the senate has not done its job and they have not permitted a vote on the person that president Obama, a highly qualified person, they’ve not given him a vote to be able to be have the full complement of nine supreme court justices. I think that was a dereliction of duty.

I hope that they will see their way to doing it, but if I am an so fortunate enough as to be president, will immediately lid move to make sure that we fill that. We have nine justices on behalf of our people.

Moderator: You’re out of time. Mr. Trump?

DT: Justice Scalia, great judge. Died recently. And we have a vacancy.

I am looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia. I’m looking for judges, and I’ve actually picked 20 of them. So that people would see highly respected, highly thought of, and actually very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody. But people that will respect the constitution of the United States. And I think that this is so important. Also, the second amendment which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton. They’ll respect the second amendment. And what it stands for, what it represents.

So important to me. Hillary mentioned something about contributions just so you understand. I will have in my race more than $100 million put in of my money, meaning I’m not taking all of this big money from all of these different corporations like she’s doing. What I ask is this. I’m putting in more by the time it’s finished, I’ll have more than $100 million invested. Pretty much self-funding. We’re raising money for the Republican Party and we’re doing tremendously on the small donations — $61 average or so.

I ask Hillary, why doesn’t she make $250 million by being in office? She used the power of her office to make a lot of money. Why isn’t she funding not for $100 million but why don’t you put $10 million or $20 million or $25 million into your own campaign? It’s $30 million less for special interests that will tell you exactly what to do and it would be a nice sign to the American public. Why aren’t you putting some money in. You’ve made a lot of it because of the fact you’ve been in office. Made a lot of it while you were secretary of state. Why aren’t you putting money into your own campaign, I’m curious.

MR: We’re going to get on to one more question.

HC: The question was about the supreme court. I want to quickly say, I respect the second amendment. But I believe there should be comprehensive background checks and we should close the gun show loophole and close the online loophole.

Moderator: We have one more question, Mrs. Clinton. We have one more question from Ken Boone about energy policy. Ken?

Ken: What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs? While at the same time, reminding environmentally friendly and minimizing it job loss for fossil power plant workers?

DT: Such a great question. Energy is under siege by the Obama administration. Absolute siege of the E.P.A — is killing these energy companies and foreign companies are now coming in, buying so many of our different plants and then rejiggering the plants so that they can take care of their oil. We are killing, absolutely killing our energy business in this country.

Now, I’m all for alternative forms of energy, including wind, solar, etcetera. But we need much more than wind and solar and you look at our miners. Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business. There say thing called clean coal. Coal lasts for thousands of years in this country. We have so many things — because of technology, we have unbelievable — of the last seven years, we have found tremendous wealth right under our feet. So much wealth. Especially when you have $20 billion in debt.

I will bring our companies back. They will make money. They will pay off our tremendous budget deficits which are tremendous. But we are putting our energy companies out of business. We have to bring back our workers. You take a look at what is happening to steal and — happening to steel and China dumping steel, which is killing our workers. We have to guard our energy companies. We have to make it possible. The EPA is so restrict it, they are putting our energy companies out of business. All you have to do is go to a great place like West Virginia or Ohio, which is phenomenal, or places like Pennsylvania, and you see what they are doing to the people — miners and others, in the energy business and it’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace.

AC: Two minutes.

HC: That was very interesting.

First of all, China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Donald is buying it to build his buildings. That is something I fought against as a senator and I would have a trade prosecutor to make sure we don’t get taken advantage of by China, on steel or anything else. You know, because it sounds like you are in the business or are aware of people in the business. You know that we are now for the first time ever energy independent. We are not dependent on the Middle East. But the Middle East still controls a lot of the prices. The price of oil has been way down and that has had a damaging effect on a lot of the oil companies, right? We are, however, producing a lot of natural gas, which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels. I think that is an important transition. We have got to remain energy independent.

It gives us much more power and freedom than to be worried about what goes on in the Middle East. We have enough worries about what goes on over there than having to worry about that. So I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does include fighting climate change, because I think that is a serious problem. And I support moving toward more clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can, because I think we can be the 21st century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses. I also want to make sure we do not leave people behind. That is why I am the only candidate, from the very beginning of this campaign, who had a plan to help us revitalize coal country. Because those coal miners and their grandfathers , they dug that coal out. A lot of them died, were injured. I don’t want to walk away from them. The power — the price of coal is down worldwide. We have to walk away. I hope you will go to hillaryclinton.com and see the entire policy.

MR: We have think then one more question and it comes from Carl Becker.

Carl: Good evening. My question to both of you is — regardless of the current rhetoric — would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?

MR: Mr. Trump, would you like to go first?

HC: Well, I certainly will. Because I think that’s a very fair and important question. I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that, and I think that is something that as a mother and her grandmother, is very important to me.

So, I believe that this election has become in part so conflict oriented, so intense because there’s a lot at stake. This is not an ordinary time. This is not an ordinary election. We are going to be choosing a president who will set policy for — not just four or eight years, but because of some of the important decisions we have to make here at home and around the world, from the supreme court to energy and so much else — so there is a lot at stake. It’s one of the most consequential elections we have had. And that is why I have tried to put forth specific policies and plans, trying to get it off of the personal and put it on to what it is I want to do as president. And that is why I hope people will check on that for themselves so they can see, yes, I have spent 30 years — actually may little more, working to help kids and families and I want to take that experience to the white house and do that every single day.

MR: Mr. Trump?

DT: I consider her statement about my children a very nice compliment. I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment. I’m very proud of my children. They have been wonderful, wonderful kids. I consider that a compliment. I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She is a fighter. I disagree with much of what she is fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait.

MR: Thanks to both of you. Anderson: Want to thank both of the candidates. We want to thank the university here. This concludes the town hall commission. Thank you to everyone who watched.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 October 4, 2016: The Mike Pence – Tim Kaine vice-presidential debate transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

The Mike Pence vs. Tim Kaine vice-presidential debate transcript

Source: WaPo, 10-4-16

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence is considered the winner of the debate, although he is criticized for defending his running mate, Donald Trump enough.  

QUIJANO: Good evening. From Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, and welcome to the first, and only, vice presidential debate of 2016, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

QUIJANO: I’m Elaine Quijano, anchor at CBSN, and correspondent for CBS News. It’s an honor to moderate this debate between Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence. Both are longtime public servants who are also proud fathers of sons serving in the U.S. Marines.

The campaigns have agreed to the rules of this 90-minute debate. There will be nine different segments covering domestic and foreign policy issues. Each segment will begin with a question to both candidates who will each have two minutes to answer. Then I’ll ask follow-up questions to facilitate a discussion between the candidates. By coin toss, it’s been determined that Senator Kaine will be first to answer the opening question.

QUIJANO: We have an enthusiastic audience tonight. They’ve agreed to only express that enthusiasm once at the end of the debate and right now as we welcome Governor Mike Pence and Senator Tim Kaine.

(APPLAUSE)

Gentlemen, welcome. It truly is a privilege to be with both of you tonight.

QUIJANO: I’d like to start with the topic of presidential leadership. Twenty-eight years ago tomorrow night, Lloyd Bentsen said the vice presidential debate was not about the qualifications for the vice presidency, but about how if tragedy should occur, the vice president has to step in without any margin for error, without time for preparation, to take over the responsibility for the biggest job in the world.

What about your qualities, your skills, and your temperament equip you to step into that role at a moment’s notice? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Elaine, thank you for being here tonight, and, Governor Pence, welcome. It is so great to be back at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

This is a very special place. Sixty-five years ago, a young, courageous woman, Barbara Johns, led a walkout of her high school, Moton High School. She made history by protesting school segregation. She believed our nation was stronger together. And that walkout led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision that moved us down the path toward equality.

I am so proud to be running with another strong, history-making woman, Hillary Clinton, to be president of the United States. I’m proud because her vision of stronger together, building an economy that works for all, not just those at the top, being safe in the world not only with a strong military, but also strong alliances to battle terrorism and climate change, and also to build a community of respect, just like Barbara Johns tried to do 65 years ago. That’s why I’m so proud to be her running mate.

Hillary told me why she asked me to be her running mate. She said the test of a Clinton administration will not be the signing of a bill or the passage of a bill. It’ll be whether we can make somebody’s life better, whether we can make a classroom better learning environment for schoolkids or teachers, whether we can make a safer — it’s going to be about results.

And she said to me, you’ve been a missionary and a civil rights lawyer. You’ve been a city councilman and mayor. You’ve been a lieutenant governor and governor and now a U.S. senator. I think you will help me figure out how to govern this nation so that we always keep in mind that the success of the administration is the difference we make in people’s lives.

And that’s what I bring to the ticket, that experience having served at all levels of government. But my primary role is to be Hillary Clinton’s right-hand person and strong supporter as she puts together the most historic administration possible. And I relish that role. I’m so proud of her.

KAINE: I’ll just say this: We trust Hillary Clinton, my wife and I, and we trust her with the most important thing in our life. We have a son deployed overseas in the Marine Corps right now. We trust Hillary Clinton as president and commander-in-chief, but the thought of Donald Trump as commander-in-chief scares us to death.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: Well, first off, thank you, Elaine, and thank you to — thank you to Norwood University for their wonderful hospitality and the Commission on Presidential Debates. It’s deeply humbling for me to be here, to be surrounded by my — my wonderful family.

And, Senator Kaine, it’s an honor to be here with you, as well. And I just — I also want to say — I want to say thanks to everyone that’s looking in tonight, who understands what an enormously important time this is in the life of our nation.

For the last seven-and-a-half years, we’ve seen America’s place in the world weakened. We’ve seen an economy stifled by more taxes, more regulation, a war on coal, and a failing health care reform come to be known as Obamacare, and the American people know that we need to make a change. And so I want to thank all of you for being — being with us tonight.

PENCE: I also want to thank Donald Trump for making that call and inviting us to be a part of this ticket. I have to tell you, I’m a — I’m a small-town boy from a place not too different from Farmville. I grew up with a cornfield in my backyard. My grandfather had immigrated to this country when he was about my son’s age. My mom and dad built a — everything that matters in a small town in Southern Indiana. They built a family and — and a good name and a business. And they raised a family. And I dreamed some day of representing my home town in Washington, D.C., but I — honestly, Elaine, I never imagined — never imagined I’d have the opportunity to be governor of the state that I love, let alone be sitting at a table like this in this kind of a position.

So to answer your question, I would say I — I would hope that if — if the responsibility ever fell to me in this role, that I would meet it with the way that I’m going to meet the responsibility should I be elected vice president of the United States. And that’s to bring a lifetime of experience, a lifetime growing up in a small town, a lifetime where I’ve served in the Congress of the United States, where — where I’ve led a state that works in the great state of Indiana, and whatever other responsibilities might follow from this, I — I would hope and, frankly, I would pray to be able to meet that moment with that — that lifetime of experience.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, on the campaign trail, you praised Secretary Clinton’s character, including her commitment to public service, yet 60 percent of voters don’t think she’s trustworthy. Why do so many people distrust her? Is it because they have questions about her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation?

KAINE: Elaine, let me tell you why I trust Hillary Clinton. Here’s what people should look at as they look at a public servant. Do they have a passion in their life that showed up before they were in public life? And have they held onto that passion throughout their life, regardless of whether they were in office or not, succeeding or failing?

Hillary Clinton has that passion. From a time as a kid in a Methodist youth group in the suburbs of Chicago, she has been focused on serving others with a special focus on empowering families and kids. As a civil rights lawyer in the South, with the Children’s Defense Fund, first lady of Arkansas and this country, senator, secretary of state, it’s always been about putting others first. And that’s a sharp contrast with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump always puts himself first. He built a business career, in the words of one of his own campaign staffers, “off the backs of the little guy.” And as a candidate, he started his campaign with a speech where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals, and he has pursued the discredited and really outrageous lie that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

It is so painful to suggest that we go back to think about these days where an African-American could not be a citizen of the United States. And I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult- driven selfish “me first” style of Donald Trump.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, let me ask you, you have said Donald Trump is, quote, “thoughtful, compassionate, and steady.” Yet 67 percent of voters feel he is a risky choice, and 65 percent feel he does not have the right kind of temperament to be president. Why do so many Americans think Mr. Trump is simply too erratic?

PENCE: Well, let me — let me say first and foremost that, Senator, you and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult- driven campaign. It really is remarkable. At a time when literally, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, where she was the architect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, we see entire portions of the world, particularly the wider Middle East, literally spinning out of control. I mean, the situation we’re watching hour by hour in Syria today is the result of the failed foreign policy and the weak foreign policy that Hillary Clinton helped lead in this administration and create. The newly emboldened — the aggression of Russia, whether it was in Ukraine or now they’re heavy-handed approach…

KAINE: You guys love Russia. You both have said…

PENCE: … their heavy-handed approach.

KAINE: You both have said — you both have said Vladimir Putin is a better leader than the president.

PENCE: Well…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Well, we’re going to get to Russia in just a moment. But I do want to get back to the question at…

PENCE: But in the midst — Elaine, thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Senator, I’ll…

KAINE: These guys have praised Vladimir Putin as a great leader. How can that…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Yes, and we will get to that, Senator. We do have that coming up here. But in the meantime, the questions…

PENCE: Well, Senator, I must have hit a…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: I must have hit a nerve here.

QUIJANO: Why the disconnect?

PENCE: Because at a time of great challenge in the life of this nation, where we’ve weakened America’s place in the world, stifled America’s economy, the campaign of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine has been an avalanche of insults.

Look, to get to your question about trustworthiness, Donald Trump has built a business through hard times and through good times. He’s brought an extraordinary business acumen. He’s employed tens of thousands of people in this country.

KAINE: And paid few taxes and lost a billion a year.

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: And why the disconnect with your running mate?

PENCE: But there’s a — there’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton. And that’s because they’re paying attention. I mean, the reality is, when she was secretary of state, Senator, come on. She had a Clinton Foundation accepting contributions from foreign governments.

KAINE: You are Donald Trump’s apprentice. Let me talk about this…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Senator, I think I’m still on my time.

KAINE: Well, I think — isn’t this a discussion?

QUIJANO: This is our open discussion.

KAINE: Yeah, let’s talk about the state of…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Well, let me interrupt — let me interrupt you and finish my sentence, if I can.

KAINE: Finish your sentence.

PENCE: The Clinton Foundation accepted foreign contributions from foreign governments and foreign donors while she was secretary of state.

KAINE: OK, now I can weigh in. Now…

PENCE: She had a private server…

KAINE: Now, I get to weigh in. Now, let me just say this…

PENCE: … that was discovered…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: … Senator, you have an opportunity to respond.

PENCE: … keep that pay to play process out of the reach of the public.

KAINE: Governor Pence — Governor Pence doesn’t think the world’s going so well and he, you know, is going to say it’s everybody’s fault.

PENCE: Do you?

KAINE: Let me tell you this. When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, Governor Pence, did you know that Osama bin Laden was alive?

PENCE: Yes.

KAINE: Do you know that we had 175,000 troops deployed in the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you know that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon and Russia was expanding its stockpile?

Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, she was part of the national team, public safety team that went after and revived the dormant hunt against bin Laden and wiped him off the face of the Earth. She worked to deal with the Russians to reduce their chemical weapons stockpile. She worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.

PENCE: Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?

KAINE: Absolutely, without firing a shot. And instead of 175,000 American troops deployed overseas, we now have 15,000.

PENCE: Right and…

KAINE: These are very, very good things.

PENCE: And Iraq has been overrun by ISIS, because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate…

KAINE: Well, if you want to put more American troops in Iraq, you can propose that.

PENCE: Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement…

KAINE: No, that is incorrect. That’s incorrect.

PENCE: And so we removed — we removed all of our…

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, we’ll get to…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: … troops from Iraq, and ISIS was able to be conjured up in that vacuum.

KAINE: But I’d like to correct…

PENCE: … and overrun vast areas of Iraq.

KAINE: Governor, President Bush said we would leave Iraq at the end of 2011. And, Elaine, Iraq didn’t want our troops to stay, and they wouldn’t give us the protection for our troops. And guess what? If a nation where our troops are serving does not want us to stay, we’re not going to stay without their protection.

PENCE: It was a failure of the secretary of state…

QUIJANO: We need to move on to the next topic, gentlemen.

KAINE: If Governor Pence wants to put more troops back in Iraq, that’s…

QUIJANO: There are a lot of people wondering in this country about the economy. Let’s turn to the issue of the economy.

KAINE: OK.

QUIJANO: According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, neither of your economic plans will reduce the growing $19 trillion gross national debt. In fact, your plans would add even more to it.

Both of you were governors who balanced state budgets. Are you concerned that adding more to the debt could be disastrous for the country. Governor Pence?

PENCE: I think the fact that — that under this past administration was of which Hillary Clinton was a part, we’ve almost doubled the national debt is atrocious. I mean, I’m very proud of the fact that — I come from a state that works. The state of Indiana has balanced budgets. We cut taxes, we’ve made record investments in education and in infrastructure, and I still finish my term with $2 billion in the bank.

That’s a little bit different than when Senator Kaine was governor here in Virginia. He actually — he actually tried to raise taxes by about $4 billion. He left his state about $2 billion in the hole. In the state of Indiana, we’ve cut unemployment in half; unemployment doubled when he was governor.

PENCE: But I think he’s a very fitting running mate for Hillary Clinton, because in the wake of a season where American families are struggling in this economy under the weight of higher taxes and Obamacare and the war on coal and the stifling avalanche of regulation coming out of this administration, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want more of the same. It really is remarkable that they actually are advocating a trillion dollars in tax increases, which I get that. You tried to raise taxes here in Virginia and were unsuccessful.

But a trillion dollars in tax increases, more regulation, more of the same war on coal, and more of Obamacare that now even former President Bill Clinton calls Obamacare a crazy plan. But Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to build on Obamacare. They want to expand it into a single-payer program. And for all the world, Hillary Clinton just thinks Obamacare is a good start.

Look, Donald Trump and I have a plan to get this economy moving again just the way that it worked in the 1980s, just the way it worked in the 1960s, and that is by lowering taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms, ending the war on coal that is hurting jobs and hurting this economy even here in Virginia, repealing Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel, and repealing all of the executive orders that Barack Obama has signed that are stifling economic growth in this economy.

We can get America moving again. Put on top of that the kind of trade deals that’ll put the American worker first, and you’ve got a prescription for real growth. And when you get the economy growing, Elaine, that’s when you can deal with the national debt. When we get back to 3.5 percent to 4 percent growth with Donald Trump’s plan will do, then we’re going to have the resources to meet our nation’s needs at home and abroad, and we’re going to have the ability to bring down the national debt.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Elaine, on the economy, there’s a fundamental choice for the American electorate. Do you want a “you’re hired” president in Hillary Clinton or do you want a “you’re fired” president in Donald Trump? I think that’s not such a hard choice.

Hillary and I have a plan that’s on the table that’s a “you’re hired” plan. Five components. First thing we do is we invest in manufacturing, infrastructure, and research in the clean energy jobs of tomorrow. Second thing is we invest in our workforce, from pre-K education to great teachers to debt-free college and tuition-free college for families that make less than $125,000 a year.

Third, we promote fairness by raising the minimum wage, so you can’t work full-time and be under the poverty level, and by paying women equal pay for equal work.

Fourth, we promote small business growth, just as we’ve done in Virginia, to make it easier to start and grow small businesses. Hillary and I each grew up in small-business families. My dad, who ran an iron working and welding shop, is here tonight.

And, fifth, we have a tax plan that targets tax relief to middle- class individuals and small businesses and asks those at the very top who’ve benefited as we’ve come out of recession to pay more.

KAINE: The Trump plan is a different plan. It’s a “you’re fired” plan. And there’s two key elements to it. First, Donald Trump said wages are too high. And both Donald Trump and Mike Pence think we ought to eliminate the federal minimum wage.

Mike Pence, when he was in Congress, voted against raising the minimum wage above $5.15. And he has been a one-man bulwark against minimum wage increases in Indiana.

The second component of the plan is massive tax breaks for the very top, trillions of dollars of tax breaks for people just like Donald Trump. The problem with this, Elaine, is that’s exactly what we did 10 years ago and it put the economy into the deepest recession — the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Independent analysts say the Clinton plan would grow the economy by 10.5 million jobs. The Trump plan would cost 3.5 million jobs. And Donald Trump — why would he do this? Because his tax plan basically helps him. And if he ever met his promise and he gave his tax returns to the American public like he said he would, we would see just how much his economic plan is really a Trump-first plan.

QUIJANO: On that point, Governor Pence, recently the New York Times released part of Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax return and reported that he could have avoided paying federal income taxes for years. Yesterday, Mr. Trump said he brilliantly used the laws to pay as little tax as legally possible. Does that seem fair to you?

PENCE: Well, first, let me say, I appreciated the “you’re hired,” “you’re fired” thing, Senator. You use that a whole lot. And I think your running mate used a lot of pre-done lines.

Look, what — what you all just heard out there is more taxes, $2 trillion in more spending, more deficits, more debt, more government. And if you think that’s all working, then you look at the other side of the table. I mean, the truth of the matter is, the policies of this administration, which Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine want to continue, have run this economy into a ditch. We’re in the…

KAINE: Fifteen million new jobs?

PENCE: … slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.

KAINE: Fifteen million new jobs?

QUIJANO: Governor… (CROSSTALK)

PENCE: There are millions more people living in poverty today than the day that Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton at his side…

KAINE: And the poverty level and the median income…

PENCE: … stepped into the Oval Office.

KAINE: … improved dramatically between 2014 and 2015.

PENCE: You — honestly, Senator, you can roll out the numbers and the sunny side, but I got to tell you, people in Scranton know different. People in Fort Wayne, Indiana, know different. I mean, this economy is struggling. The answer to this economy is not more taxes.

KAINE: But it’s not the giveaway tax relief to the folks at the top.

PENCE: It’s not more spending…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: I am interested to hear whether he’ll defend his running mate’s not releasing taxes and not paying taxes.

PENCE: Absolutely I will.

QUIJANO: Governor, with all due respect, the question was about whether it seems fair to you that Mr. Trump said he brilliantly used the laws to pay as little tax as legally possible.

PENCE: Well, this is probably the difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine. And, I mean, Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine — God bless you for it, career public servants, that’s great — Donald Trump is a businessman, not a career politician. He actually built a business.

Those tax returns that were — that came out publicly this week show that he faced some pretty tough times 20 years ago. But like virtually every other business, including the New York Times not too long ago, he used what’s called net operating loss. We have a tax code, Senator, that actually is designed to encourage entrepreneurship in this country.

KAINE: But why won’t he release his tax returns?

PENCE: Well, we’re answering the question about — about a business thing, is he…

KAINE: I do want to come back to that, but…

PENCE: His tax returns — his tax returns showed he went through a very difficult time, but he used the tax code just the way it’s supposed to be used. And he did it brilliantly. KAINE: How do you know that? You haven’t seen his tax returns.

PENCE: He created a runway — because he’s created a business that’s worth billions of dollars today.

KAINE: How do you know that?

PENCE: And with regard to paying taxes, this whole riff about not paying taxes and people saying he didn’t pay taxes for years, Donald Trump has created tens of thousands of jobs. And he’s paid payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes…

KAINE: Elaine, let me talk about something.

QUIJANO: Senator, I’m going to give you about 30 seconds to respond, and I have question on Social Security for you.

KAINE: OK.

PENCE: The only issue on taxes — Hillary Clinton is going to raise taxes, and Donald Trump and I are going to cut them.

KAINE: Donald Trump started this campaign in 2014 and he said, “If I run for president, I will absolutely release my taxes.” He’s broken his first…

PENCE: And he will.

KAINE: He’s broken his first promise. Second, he stood on the stage…

PENCE: He hasn’t broken his promise. He said he’s…

KAINE: He stood on the stage last week and when Hillary said, you haven’t been paying taxes, he said, “That makes me smart.” So it’s smart not to pay for our military? It’s smart not to pay for veterans? It’s smart not to pay for teachers? And I guess all of us who do pay for those things, I guess we’re stupid. And the last thing I’ll say is this…

PENCE: Senator, do you take all the deductions that you’re entitled to?

KAINE: The last thing — the last thing I want to ask Governor Pence is…

PENCE: I do.

KAINE: Governor Pence had to give Donald Trump his tax returns to show he was qualified to be vice president. Donald Trump must give the American public his tax returns to show that he’s qualified to be president. And he’s breaking his promise.

PENCE: Elaine, I have to respond to this.

QUIJANO: You get very little time, 20 seconds.

PENCE: I’ll be — I’ll be very respectful.

QUIJANO: Governor?

PENCE: Look, Donald Trump has filed over 100 pages of financial disclosure, which is what the law requires.

KAINE: But he said he would release his tax returns.

QUIJANO: All right, Gentlemen…

PENCE: The American people can review that. And he’s going — Senator, he’s going to release his tax returns when the audit is over…

QUIJANO: … I need to ask you about Social Security…

KAINE: Richard Nixon released tax returns when he was under audit.

PENCE: They’re going to raise your taxes. We’re going to cut your taxes.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen…

KAINE: If you can’t meet Nixon’s standard…

QUIJANO: The people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other. I would please ask you to wait until it is that the other is finished.

KAINE: All right. We’re having fun up here.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, on the issue of Social Security, in 18 years, when the Social Security Trust Funds run out of money, you’ll be 76. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates your benefits could be cut by as much as $7,500 per year. What would your administration do to prevent this cut?

KAINE: First, we’re going to protect Social Security, which is one of the greatest programs that the American government has ever done. It happened at a time when you would work your whole life, your whole life, raising your kids, working, being a Little League coach or a Sunday school teacher, and then you would retire into poverty. And Social Security has enabled people to retire with dignity and overwhelmingly not be in poverty.

We have to keep it solvent. And we will keep it solvent. And we’ll look for strategies like adjusting the payroll tax cap upward in order to do that.

Here’s what Hillary and I will not do. And I want to make this very plain. We will never, ever engage in a risky scheme to privatize Social Security. Donald Trump wrote a book and he said Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and privatization would be good for all of us.

And when Congressman Pence was in Congress, he was the chief cheerleader for the privatization of Social Security. Even after President Bush stopped pushing for it, Congressman Pence kept pushing for it. We’re going to stand up against efforts to privatize Social Security. And we’ll look for ways to keep it solvent going forward, focusing primarily on the payroll tax cap.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, I’ll give you an opportunity to respond.

PENCE: Well, thanks, Elaine. There they go again. OK…

KAINE: Go read — go read the book.

PENCE: All Donald Trump — all Donald Trump and I have said about Social Security is we’re going to meet our obligations to our seniors. That’s it.

KAINE: Go read the book.

PENCE: We’ve said we’re going to meet the obligations of Medicare. That’s what this campaign is really about, Senator. And I get, this is — this is the old scare tactic that they roll out…

KAINE: But — but you have a voting record, Governor.

PENCE: And I get all of that. I just, look…

KAINE: I…

PENCE: There’s a question that you asked a little bit earlier that I want to go back to.

KAINE: I can’t believe that you won’t defend your own voting record.

PENCE: I have to go back to.

QUIJANO: We…

PENCE: Well, look, I — you’re running with Hillary Clinton, who wants to raise taxes by $1 trillion, increase spending by $2 trillion, and you say you’re going to keep the promises of Social Security. Donald Trump and I are going to cut taxes. We’re going to — we’re going to — we’re going to…

KAINE: You’re not going to cut taxes. You’re going to raise taxes on the middle class.

PENCE: … reform government programs so we can meet the obligations of Social Security and Medicare.

QUIJANO: All right. PENCE: Stay on the path that your party has us on, we’re going to be in a — in a mountain range of debt. And we’re going to face hard choices and…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Gentleman, I want to move on now.

KAINE: You did ask this question about debt, and the debt explosion on the Trump plan is much, much bigger than anything on the Clinton side.

QUIJANO: All right. Let me move on now…

PENCE: Three hundred and five (ph) economists said your plan is bad for the economy.

QUIJANO: … to the issue of law enforcement and race relations. Law enforcement and race relations. After the Dallas police shooting, Police Chief David Brown said, quote, “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. Every societal failure we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, not enough drug addiction funding, schools fail, let’s give it to the cops.”

Do we ask too much of police officers in this country? And how would you specifically address the chief’s concerns? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Elaine, I think that’s a very fair comment. I think we put a lot on police shoulders. And this is something I got a lot of scar tissue and experience on.

I was a city councilman and mayor in Richmond. And when I came in, we had one of the highest homicide rates in the United States. We fought very, very hard over the course of my time in local office with our police department, and we reduced our homicide rate nearly in half.

And then when I was governor of Virginia, we worked hard, too. And we did something we had really wanted to do. For the first time ever, we cracked the top 10, 10 safest states, because we worked together.

Here’s what I learned as a mayor and a governor. The way you make communities safer and the way you make police safer is through community policing. You build the bonds between the community and the police force, build bonds of understanding, and then when people feel comfortable in their communities, that gap between the police and the communities they serve narrows. And when that gap narrows, it’s safer for the communities and it’s safer for the police.

That model still works across our country, but there are some other models that don’t work, an overly aggressive, more militarized model. Donald Trump recently said we need to do more stop-and-frisk around the country. That would be a big mistake because it polarizes the relationship between the police and the community.

So here’s what we’ll do. We’ll focus on community policing. We will focus on — and Hillary Clinton has rolled out a really comprehensive mental health reform package that she worked on with law enforcement professionals, and we will also fight the scourge of gun violence in the United States.

I’m a gun-owner. I’m a strong Second Amendment supporter. But I’ve got a lot of scar tissue, because when I was governor of Virginia, there was a horrible shooting at Virginia Tech, and we learned that through that painful situation that gaps in the background record check system should have been closed and it could have prevented that crime, and so we’re going to work to do things like close background record checks. And if we do, we won’t have the tragedies that we did.

One of those killed at Virginia Tech was a guy named Liviu Librescu. He was a 70-plus-year-old Romanian Holocaust survivor. He had survived the Holocaust. Then he survived the Soviet Union takeover of his country. But then he was a visiting professor at Virginia Tech, and he couldn’t survive the scourge of gun violence.

We can support the Second Amendment and do things like background record checks and make us safer, and that will make police safer, too.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: You know, my uncle was a cop, a career cop, on the beat in downtown Chicago. He was my hero when I was growing up. And we’d go up to visit my dad’s family in Chicago. My three brothers and I would marvel at my uncle when he would come out in his uniform, sidearm at his side.

Police officers are the best of us. And the men and women, white, African-American, Asian, Latino, Hispanic, they put their lives on the line every single day. And let my say, at the risk of agreeing with you, community policing is a great idea. It’s worked in the Hoosier state. And we fully support that.

Donald Trump and I are going to make sure that law enforcement have the resources and the tools to be able to really restore law and order to the cities and communities in this nation. It’s probably — probably why the 330,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Donald Trump as the next president of the United States of America, because they see his commitment to them. They see his commitment to law and order.

But they also — they also hear the bad mouthing, the bad mouthing that comes from people that seize upon tragedy in the wake of police action shootings as — as a reason to — to use a broad brush to accuse law enforcement of — of implicit bias or institutional racism. And that really has got to stop.

I mean, when an African-American police officer in Charlotte named Brentley Vinson, an all-star football player who went to Liberty University here in the state, came home, followed his dad into law enforcement, joined the force in Charlotte, joined the force in Charlotte in 2014, was involved in a police action shooting that claimed the life of Keith — Keith Lamont Scott, it was a tragedy. I mean, I — we — we mourn with those who mourn. We — we grieve with those who grieve. And we’re saddened at the loss of life.

But Hillary Clinton actually referred to that moment as an example of implicit bias in the police force, where — where she used — when she was asked in the debate a week ago whether there was implicit bias in law enforcement, her only answer was that there’s implicit bias in everyone in the United States. I just think…

KAINE: Can I — can I explain…

PENCE: … I just think what we ought to do is we ought to stop seizing on these moments of tragedy. We ought to assure the public that we’ll have a full and complete and transparent investigation whenever there’s a loss of life because of police action. But, Senator, please, you know, enough of this seeking every opportunity to demean law enforcement broadly by making the accusation of implicit bias every time tragedy occurs.

KAINE: Elaine — Elaine, people shouldn’t be afraid to bring up issues of bias in law enforcement. And if you’re afraid to have…

PENCE: I’m not afraid to bring that up.

KAINE: And if — if you’re afraid to have the discussion, you’ll never solve it. And so here’s — here’s an example, heartbreaking. We would agree this was a heartbreaking example.

The guy, Philando Castile, who was killed in St. Paul, he was a worker, a valued worker in a local school. And he was killed for no apparent reason in an incident that will be discussed and will be investigated.

But when folks went and explored this situation, what they found is that Philando Castile, who was a — they called him Mr. Rogers with Dreadlocks in the school that he worked. The kids loved him. But he had been stopped by police 40 or 50 times before that fatal incident. And if you look at sentencing in this country, African-Americans and Latinos get sentenced for the same crimes at very different rates.

PENCE: We need criminal justice reform.

KAINE: Well, we do.

PENCE: Indiana has passed criminal justice reform.

KAINE: But I just want to say, those who say that we should not…

PENCE: But that’s not what you’re talking about.

KAINE: … we should not be able to bring up and talk about bias in the system, we’ll never solve the problem…

QUIJANO: Governor Pence…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor Pence…

PENCE: Senator, when African-American police officers involved in a police action shooting involving an African-American, why would Hillary Clinton accuse that African-American police officer of implicit bias?

KAINE: Well, I guess I can’t believe you are defending the position that there is no bias and it’s a topic we don’t even…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, I have a question on that point.

PENCE: I did not make that statement. I…

QUIJANO: Your fellow Republican, Governor Pence, Senator Tim Scott, who is African-American, recently spoke on the Senate floor. He said he was stopped seven times by law enforcement in one year.

KAINE: A U.S. senator.

QUIJANO: He said, “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.” What would you say to Senator Scott about his experiences?

PENCE: Well, I have the deepest respect for Senator Scott, and he’s a close friend. And what I would say is that we — we need to adopt criminal justice reform nationally. I — I signed criminal justice reform in the state of Indiana, Senator, and we’re very proud of it.

I worked when I was Congress on a second chance act. We have got to do a better job recognizing and correcting the errors in the system that do reflect on institutional bias in criminal justice. But what — what — what Donald Trump and I are saying is let’s not have the reflex of assuming the worst of men and women in law enforcement. We truly do believe that law enforcement is not a force for racism or division in our country…

KAINE: Elaine, can I…

QUIJANO: So what would you say to Senator Scott, Governor?

PENCE: Law enforcement in this country is a force for good. They are the — they truly are people that put their lives on the line every single day. But I would — I would suggest to you, what we need to do is assert a stronger leadership at the national level to support law enforcement. You just heard Senator Kaine reject stop-and-frisk. Well, I would suggest to you that the families that live in our inner cities that are besieged by crime…

KAINE: Elaine, let me — let me…

QUIJANO: Governor, the question is about Senator Scott. What would — what would you tell Senator Scott?

KAINE: Elaine, if I could — if I could jump in. I’ve heard Senator Scott make that eloquent plea. And look, criminal justice is about respecting the law and being respected by the law. So there is a fundamental respect issue here.

And I just want to talk about the tone that’s set from the top. Donald Trump during his campaign has called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He’s called women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting. I don’t like saying that in front of my wife and my mother. He attacked an Indiana-born federal judge and said he was unqualified to hear a federal lawsuit because his parents were Mexican. He went after John McCain, a POW, and said he wasn’t hero because he’d been captured. He said African-Americans are living in Hell. And he perpetrated this outrageous and bigoted lie that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

If you want to have a society where people are respected and respect laws, you can’t have somebody at the top who demeans every group that he talks about. And I just — again, I cannot believe that Governor Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run.

QUIJANO: All right. I want to turn to our next segment now, immigration. Your running mates have both said that undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes should be deported. What would you tell the millions of undocumented immigrants who have not committed violent crimes? Governor Pence?

PENCE: Donald Trump’s laid out a plan to end illegal immigration once and for all in this country. We’ve been talking it to death for 20 years. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to continue the policies of open borders, amnesty, catch and release, sanctuary cities, all the things that are driving — that are driving wages down in this country, Senator, and also too often with criminal aliens in the country, it’s bringing heartbreak.

But I — Donald Trump has a plan that he laid out in Arizona, that will deal systemically with illegal immigration, beginning with border security, internal enforcement. It’s probably why for the first time in the history of Immigration and Customs Enforcement their union actually endorsed Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, because they know they need help to enforce the laws of this country.

And Donald Trump has laid out a priority to remove criminal aliens, remove people that have overstayed their visas. And — and once we have accomplished all of that, which will — which will strengthen our economy, strengthen the rule of law in the country and make our communities safer once the criminal aliens are out, then we’ll deal with those that remain.

But I have to tell you, I just — I was listening to the avalanche of insults coming out of Senator Kaine a minute ago. KAINE: These were Donald’s — hold on a second, Governor.

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: It’s my time, Senator.

QUIJANO: It is, in fact, the governor’s time.

KAINE: I apologize. It’s your two minutes. I apologize.

PENCE: Thanks. I forgive you. He says ours is an insult-driven campaign. Did you all just hear that? Ours is an insult-driven campaign?

I mean, to be honest with you, if Donald Trump had said all of the things that you’ve said he said in the way you said he said them, he still wouldn’t have a fraction of the insults that Hillary Clinton leveled when she said that half of our supporters were a basket of deplorables. It’s — she said they were irredeemable, they were not American.

I mean, it’s extraordinary. And then she labeled one after another “ism” on millions of Americans who believe that we can have a stronger America at home and abroad, who believe we can get this economy moving again, who believe that we can end illegal immigration once and for all. So, Senator, this — this insult-driven campaign, I mean…

QUIJANO: Governor…

PENCE: That’s small potatoes compared to Hillary Clinton…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

PENCE: …. calling half of Donald Trump’s supporters a basket of deplorables.

KAINE: Hillary Clinton said something on the campaign trail, and the very next day, she said, you know what, I shouldn’t have said that.

PENCE: She said she shouldn’t have said half.

QUIJANO: Governor, this is Senator Kaine’s two minutes, please.

KAINE: Yeah, that’s right, so now we’re even.

PENCE: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

KAINE: Look for Donald trump apologizing to John McCain for saying he wasn’t a hero…

PENCE: Oh…

KAINE: … to Donald Trump apologizing for calling women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting.

PENCE: She apologized for saying “half.”

QUIJANO: Governor. It is his two minutes, please.

KAINE: Did Donald Trump apologize for taking after somebody in a Twitter war and making fun of her weight? Did he apologize for saying African-Americans are living in Hell? Did he apologize for saying President Obama was not even a citizen of the United States? You will look in vain to see Donald Trump ever taking responsibility for anybody and apologizing.

Immigration. There’s two plans on the table. Hillary and I believe in comprehensive immigration reform. Donald Trump believes in deportation nation. You’ve got to pick your choice. Hillary and I want a bipartisan reform that will put keeping families together as the top goal, second, that will help focus enforcement efforts on those who are violent, third, that will do more border control, and, fourth, that will provide a path to citizenship for those who work hard, pay taxes, play by the rules, and take criminal background record checks.

That’s our proposal. Donald Trump proposes to deport 16 million people, 11 million who are here without documents. And both Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to get rid of birthright citizenship. So if you’re born here, but your parents don’t have documents, they want to eliminate that. That’s another 4.5 million people.

These guys — and Donald Trump have said it — deportation force. They want to go house to house, school to school, business to business, and kick out 16 million people. And I cannot believe…

PENCE: That’s nonsense. That’s nonsense.

KAINE: I cannot believe that Governor Pence would sit here and defend his running mate’s claim that we should create a deportation force to — so that they’ll all be gone.

PENCE: Senator, we have a deportation force. It’s called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. And the union for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for the first time in their history endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States of America.

KAINE: So you like the 16 million deportations?

PENCE: Senator, that’s — that’s nonsense. Look, what you just heard is they have a plan for open borders, amnesty. That’s…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: Our plan is like Ronald Reagan’s plan from 1986.

PENCE: They call it comprehensive immigration reform — they call it comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill. We all know the routine. It’s amnesty. And you heard one of the last things he mentioned was border security.

PENCE: That’s how Washington always plays it.

KAINE: No, I…

PENCE: They always say we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, we’ll eventually get the border…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: … border security three years ago, and Governor Pence was against it.

QUIJANO: Governor, Mr. Trump has said…

PENCE: Ronald Reagan said a nation without borders is not a nation. Donald Trump is committed to restoring the borders of this nation and securing our nation, enforcing our laws.

QUIJANO: So, Governor, how would these millions of undocumented immigrants leave? Would they be forcibly removed?

PENCE: Well, I think Donald Trump laid out a series of priorities that doesn’t ends with border security. It begins with border security. And after we secure the border, not only build a wall, but beneath the ground and in the air, we do internal enforcement.

But he said the focus has to be on criminal aliens. We just — we just had a conversation about law enforcement. We just had a conversation about the — the violence that’s besetting our cities. The reality is that there’s heartbreak and tragedy that has struck American families because people that came into this country illegally are now involved in criminal enterprise and activity. And we don’t have the resources or the will to deport them systemically.

Donald Trump has said we’re going to move those people out, people who’ve overstayed their visas. We’re going to enforce the law of this country. We’re going to strengthen Immigrations and Customs Enforcements with more resources and more personnel to be able to do that. And then Donald Trump has made it clear, once we’ve done all of those things, that we’re going to reform the immigration system that we have…

KAINE: I just have to correct Governor Pence….

PENCE: … where people can come into this country.

KAINE: I have to…

PENCE: That’s the order that you should do it. Border security, removing criminal aliens, upholding with law, and then — but then, Senator, I’ll work you when you go back to the Senate, I promise you, we’ll work you to reform the immigration system.

KAINE: I look forward to working together in whatever capacities we serve in. But I just want to make it very, very clear that he’s trying to fuzz up what Donald Trump has said. When Donald Trump spoke in Phoenix, he looked the audience in the eye and he said, no, we’re building a wall, and we’re deporting everybody. He said, quote, “They will all be gone.” “They will all be gone.” And this is one of these ones where you can just go to the tape on it and see what Donald Trump has said. And to add…

PENCE: He’s talking about criminal aliens.

KAINE: And to add to it, and to add to it, and to add to it, we are a nation of immigrants. Mike Pence and I both are descended from immigrant families. Some things, you know, maybe weren’t said so great about the Irish when they came, but we’ve done well by absorbing immigrants, and it’s made our nation stronger.

When Donald Trump says Mexicans are rapists and criminals, Mexican immigrants, when Donald Trump says about your judge, a Hoosier judge, he said that Judge Curiel was unqualified to hear a case because his parents were Mexican, I can’t imagine how you could defend that.

QUIJANO: Gentleman, I’d like to shift now to the threat of terrorism. Do you think the world today is a safer or more dangerous place than it was eight years ago? Has the terrorist threat increased or decreased? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways, because bin Laden is dead. The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped. The terrorist threat to United States troops has been decreased in some ways because there’s not 175,000 in a dangerous part of the world. There’s only 15,000.

But there are other parts of the world that are challenging. Let me tell you this: To beat terrorism, there’s only one candidate who can do it, and it’s Hillary Clinton. Remember, Hillary Clinton was the senator from New York on 9/11. She was there at the World Trade Center when they were still searching for victims and survivors. That’s seared onto her, the need to beat terrorism.

And she’s got a plan to do it. She was part of the national security team that wiped out bin Laden. Here’s her plan to defeat ISIL. First, we’ve got to keep taking out their leaders on the battlefield. She was part of the team that got bin Laden, and she’ll lead the team that will get Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS.

Second, we’ve got to disrupt financing networks, third, disrupt their ability to recruit on the Internet, in their safe havens. But, fourth, we also have to work with allies to share and surge intelligence. That’s the Hillary Clinton plan; she’s got the experience to do it.

Donald Trump. Donald Trump can’t start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot. Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan. He said, “I have a secret plan,” and then he said, “Um, I know more than all the generals about ISIL.” And then he said, “I’m going to call the generals to help me figure out a plan.” And finally he said, “I’m going to fire all the generals.” He doesn’t have a plan.

But he does have dangerous ideas. Here’s four. He trash talks the military. The military is a disaster, John McCain’s no hero, the generals need all to be fired, and I know more than them. He wants to tear up alliances. NATO is obsolete, and we’ll only work together with Israel if they pay “big league.”

Third, he loves dictators. He’s got kind of a personal Mount Rushmore, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Moammar Gadhafi…

PENCE: Oh, please. Come on.

KAINE: … and Saddam Hussein. And last and most dangerously, Donald Trump believes — Donald Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons. He’s said Saudi Arabia should get them, Japan should get them, Korea should get them. And when he was confronted with this, and told, wait a minute, terrorists could get those, proliferation could lead to nuclear war, here’s what Donald Trump said, and I quote: “Go ahead, folks, enjoy yourselves.”

I’d love to hear Governor Pence tell me what’s so enjoyable or comical about nuclear war.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: Did you work on that one a long time? Because that had a lot of really creative lines in it.

KAINE: Well, I’m going to see if you can defend any of it.

PENCE: Well, look, I can defend — I — I — I can — I can make very clear to the American people, after traveling millions of miles as our secretary of state, after being the architect of the foreign policy of this administration, America is less safe today than it was the day that Barack Obama became president of the United States. It’s absolutely inarguable.

We’ve weakened America’s place in the world. It’s been a combination of factors, but mostly it’s been a lack of leadership. I mean, I will give you — and I was in Washington, D.C., on 9/11. I saw the clouds of smoke rise from the Pentagon.

KAINE: I was in Virginia where the Pentagon’s…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: I know you were. We all lived through that day as a nation. It was heartbreaking. And I want to give this president credit for bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.

But the truth is, Osama bin Laden led Al Qaida. Our primary threat today is ISIS. And because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement that would have allowed some American combat troops to remain in Iraq and secure the hard fought gains the American soldier had won by 2009, ISIS was able to be literally conjured up out of the desert, and it’s overrun vast areas that the American soldier had won in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

My heart breaks for the likes of Lance Cpl. Scott Zubowski. He fell in Fallujah in 2005. He fought hard through some of the most difficult days in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom and secure that nation. And that nation was secured in 2009.

But because Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama failed to provide a status of forces agreement and leave sufficient troops in there, we are back at war. The president just ordered more troops on the ground. We are back at war in Iraq. And Scott Zubowski, whose mom would always come to Memorial Day events in Newcastle, Indiana, to see me, and I’d give her a hug and tell her we’re never going to forget her son and we never will, Scott Zubowski and the sacrifices the American soldier made were squandered in Iraq because this administration created a vacuum in which ISIS was able to grow.

And a reference to the Iranian deal, the Iranian deal that Hillary Clinton initiated, $150 billion to the radical mullahs in Iran.

KAINE: Stopping a nuclear weapons program without firing a shot?

PENCE: You didn’t stop the nuclear weapons program.

KAINE: Yes, we did.

PENCE: You essentially…

KAINE: Even the Israeli military says it stopped.

PENCE: … guaranteed that Iran will someday become a nuclear power, because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, Mr. Trump has proposed extreme vetting of immigrants from parts of the world that export terrorism. But that does not address many of the recent terrorist attacks in the United States, such as the Orlando nightclub massacre and the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey. Those were homegrown, committed by U.S. citizens and legal residents. What specific tools would you use to prevent those kinds of attacks?

PENCE: Well, I think it’s — I think it’s a great question, Elaine, but it really does begin with us reforming our immigration system and putting the interests, particularly the safety and security of the American people, first.

I mean, Donald Trump has called for extreme vetting for people coming into this country so that we don’t bring people into the United States who are hostile to our Bill of Rights freedoms, who are hostile to the American way life.

But also, Donald Trump and I are committed to suspending the Syrian refugee program and programs and immigration from areas of the world that have been compromised by terrorism. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to increase the Syrian refugee program by 500…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: Elaine, I want to…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor, the question was about homegrown.

PENCE: Yeah, and so — but first, you know, let’s make sure we’re putting the safety and security of the American people first instead of Hillary Clinton expanding the Syrian refugee program…

KAINE: Or instead of you violating the Constitution by blocking people based on their national origin rather than whether they’re dangerous.

PENCE: That’s not — that’s absolutely false.

KAINE: That’s what the Seventh Circuit decided just — here’s the difference, Elaine.

PENCE: The Seventh Circuit…

KAINE: We have different views on — on refugee issues and on immigration. Hillary and I want to do enforcement based on, are people dangerous? These guys say all Mexicans are bad.

PENCE: That’s absolutely false.

KAINE: And with respect to refugees, we want to keep people out if they’re dangerous. Donald Trump said keep them out if they’re Muslim. Mike Pence…

PENCE: Absolutely…

KAINE: … put a program in place to keep them out if they’re from Syria. And yesterday an appellate court with three Republican judges struck down the Pence plan…

PENCE: Right. Right.

KAINE: … and said it was discriminatory…

PENCE: And those judges — those judges said…

KAINE: We should focus upon danger, not upon discrimination.

QUIJANO: Governor?

PENCE: Elaine, to your point, those judges said it was because there wasn’t any evidence yet that — that ISIS had infiltrated the United States. Well, Germany just arrested three Syrian refugees that were connected to ISIS.

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: But they told you there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

PENCE: But, look, if you’re going to be critical of me on that, that’s fair game. I will tell you, after two Syrian refugees were involved in the attack in Paris that is called Paris’ 9/11, as governor of the state of Indiana, I have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of my state.

KAINE: But, Governor Pence…

PENCE: So you bet I suspended that program.

KAINE: But, Governor Pence, I just…

PENCE: And I stand by that decision. And if I’m vice president of the United States or Donald Trump is president, we’re going to put the safety and security of the American people first.

KAINE: Sure. Can we just be clear — Hillary and I will do immigration enforcement and we’ll vet refugees based on whether they’re dangerous or not. We won’t do it based on discriminating against you from the country you come from or the religion that you practice.

PENCE: But the problem with that…

KAINE: That is completely antithetical to the Jeffersonian values of…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Elaine, the director of the FBI, our homeland security, said we can’t know for certain who these people are coming from Syria.

KAINE: Yes, we can, and when we don’t let them know, we don’t let them in.

PENCE: So — the FBI…

KAINE: When we don’t know who they are, we don’t let them in.

PENCE: The FBI and homeland security said we can’t know for certain. You’ve got to err on the side of the safety and security of the American people, Senator. I understand the…

KAINE: By trashing all Syrians or trashing all Muslims?

PENCE: … the U.N. wants us to expand the Syrian refugee program…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, let me ask you this. Secretary Clinton…

PENCE: We’re going to put the safety and security of the American people first.

QUIJANO: … has talked about an intelligence surge.

KAINE: Yes.

QUIJANO: What exactly would an intelligence surge look like? And how would that help identify terrorists with no operational connection to a foreign terrorist organization?

KAINE: Intelligence surge is two-thirds, Elaine. It’s two things. It’s, first, dramatically expanding our intelligence capacities by hiring great professionals, but also we’ve got some of the best intel and cyber employees in the world right here in the United States working for many of our private sector companies.

So it involves increasing our own workforce, but striking great partnerships with some of our cyber and intel experts in the private sector so that we can, consistent with constitutional principles, gather more intelligence.

But the second piece of this is really, really important. It also means creating stronger alliances, because you gather intelligence and then you share your intelligence back and forth with allies. And that’s how you find out who may be trying to recruit, who may be trying to come to one country or the next. Alliances are critical.

That’s why Donald Trump’s claim that he wants to — that NATO is obsolete and that we need to get rid of NATO is so dangerous.

PENCE: That’s not his plan. KAINE: Well, he said NATO is obsolete. And, look, if you put aside — push aside your alliances, who you’re going to share intelligence with? Hillary Clinton is the secretary of state who knows how to build alliances. She built the sanctions regime around the word that stopped the Iranian nuclear weapons program. And that’s what an intelligence surge means. Better skill and capacity, but also better alliances.

QUIJANO: All right. I’d like to turn now to the tragedy in Syria. Two hundred fifty thousand…

PENCE: Can I speak about the cybersecurity surge at all?

QUIJANO: You can — you can have 30 seconds, Governor, quickly, please.

PENCE: First, Donald Trump just spoke about this issue this week. We have got to bring together the best resources of this country to understand that cyber warfare is the new warfare of the asymmetrical enemies that we face in this country. And I look forward if I’m privileged to be in this role of working with you in the Senate to make sure that we resource that effort.

KAINE: We will work together in whatever roles we inhabit.

PENCE: We have an intelligence, sir (ph). But I will also tell you that it’s important in this moment to remember that Hillary Clinton had a private server in her home that had classified information on it…

QUIJANO: And I don’t — 30 seconds is on up.

PENCE: … about drone strikes, e-mails from the president of the United States of America were on there.

QUIJANO: Right.

PENCE: Her private server was subject to being hacked by foreign…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: I’d like to ask you about Syria, Governor.

PENCE: We could put cybersecurity first if we just make sure the next secretary of state doesn’t have a private server.

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: And all investigation concluded that not one reasonable prosecutor would take any additional step. You don’t get to decide the rights and wrongs of this. We have a justice system that does that. And a Republican FBI director did an investigation and concluded that…

(CROSSTALK) QUIJANO: All right, we are moving on now. Two hundred fifty thousand people…

PENCE: If your son or my son handled classified information the way Hillary Clinton did…

QUIJANO: … one hundred thousand of them children — Governor…

PENCE: … they’d be court martialed.

KAINE: That is absolutely false and you know that.

PENCE: Absolutely true.

KAINE: And you know that, Governor.

QUIJANO: Governor…

PENCE: It’s absolutely true.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, please.

KAINE: Because the FBI did an investigation.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen.

KAINE: And they concluded that there was no reasonable prosecutor who would take it further. Sorry.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, Governor Pence, please.

KAINE: Syria.

QUIJANO: I want to turn now to Syria. Two hundred fifty thousand people, 100,000 of them children, are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Bunker buster bombs, cluster munitions, and incendiary weapons are being dropped on them by Russian and Syrian militaries. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to protect civilians and prevent mass casualties on this scale, Governor Pence?

PENCE: The United States of America needs to begin to exercise strong leadership to protect the vulnerable citizens and over 100,000 children in Aleppo. Hillary Clinton’s top priority when she became secretary of state was the Russian reset, the Russians reset. After the Russian reset, the Russians invaded Ukraine and took over Crimea.

And the small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States to the point where all the United States of America — the greatest nation on Earth — just withdraws from talks about a cease-fire while Vladimir Putin puts a missile defense system in Syria while he marshals the forces and begins — look, we have got to begin to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.

It begins by rebuilding our military. And the Russians and the Chinese have been making enormous investments in the military. We have the smallest Navy since 1916. We have the lowest number of troops since the end of the Second World War. We’ve got to work with Congress, and Donald Trump will, to rebuild our military and project American strength in the world.

But about Aleppo and about Syria, I truly do believe that what America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen.

And secondly, I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.

There’s a broad range of other things that we ought to do, as well. We ought to deploy a missile defense shield to the Czech Republic and Poland which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama pulled back on out of not wanting to offend the Russians back in 2009.

QUIJANO: Governor, your two minutes are up.

PENCE: We’ve just got to have American strength on the world stage. When Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, the Russians and other countries in the world will know they’re dealing with a strong American president. QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Hillary and I also agree that the establishment of humanitarian zones in northern Syria with the provision of international human aid, consistent with the U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed in February 2014, would be a very, very good idea.

And Hillary also has the ability to stand up to Russia in a way that this ticket does not. Donald Trump, again and again, has praised Vladimir Putin. And it’s clear that he has business dealings with Russian oligarchs who are very connected to Putin.

The Trump campaign management team had to be fired a month or so ago because of those shadowy connections with pro-Putin forces. Governor Pence made the odd claim, he said inarguably Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama. Vladimir Putin has run his economy into the ground. He persecutes LGBT folks and journalists. If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, then you got to go back to a fifth-grade civics class.

I’ll tell you what offends me…

PENCE: Well, that offended me.

KAINE: Governor Pence just said — Governor Pence just said that Donald Trump will rebuild the military. No, he won’t. Donald Trump is avoiding paying taxes. The New York Times story — and we need to get this — but the New York Times suggested that he probably didn’t pay taxes for about 18 years starting in 1995. Those years included the years of 9/11.

So get this. On 9/11, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s hometown was attacked by the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States. Young men and women — young men and women signed up to serve in the military to fight terrorism. Hillary Clinton went to Washington to get funds to rebuild her city and protect first responders, but Donald Trump was fighting a very different fight. It was a fight to avoid paying taxes so that he wouldn’t support the fight against terror.

QUIJANO: The question was about Aleppo, Senator.

KAINE: He wouldn’t support troops. He wouldn’t — he wouldn’t support — this is important, Elaine. When a guy running for president will not support the troops, not support veterans, not support teachers, that’s really important.

QUIJANO: Right.

KAINE: And I said about Aleppo, we do agree the notion is we have to create a humanitarian zone in northern Syria. It’s very important.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence, you had mentioned no-fly zone. Where would you propose setting up a safe zone specifically? How would you keep it safe?

PENCE: Well, first and foremost, Donald Trump supports our troops. Donald Trump supports our veterans.

KAINE: He won’t pay taxes.

PENCE: Donald Trump has paid all the taxes that he’s — do you not take deductions? How does that work?

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, this is about Syria. I’d like to…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Honestly, Senator. Honestly, Senator.

KAINE: It is about our troops. It is about our troops.

PENCE: I understand why you want to change — I understand why you want to change the subject.

KAINE: How can you support the troops if you won’t pay taxes?

PENCE: I understand why you want to change the subject. And let me be very clear on this Russian thing. The larger question here…

KAINE: Do you think Donald Trump is smart to not pay taxes?

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, we’re going to have time to get to Russia here.

PENCE: What we’re dealing with is the — you know, there’s an old proverb that says the Russian bear never dies, it just hibernates. And the truth of the matter is, the weak and feckless foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has awakened an aggression in Russia that first appeared a few years ago with their move in Georgia, now their move into Crimea, now their move into the wider Middle East.

And all the while, all we do is fold our arms and say we’re not having talks anymore. To answer your question, we just need American strength. We need to — we need to marshal the resources of our allies in the region, and in the immediate, we need to act and act now to get people out of harm’s way.

QUIJANO: And exactly how would those safe zones work? How would they remain safe?

PENCE: The — the safe zones would have to be — as the senator said, there’s already a framework for this that’s been recognized by the international community. The United States of America needs to be prepared to work with our allies in the region to create a route for safe passage and then to protect people in those areas, including with a no-fly zone.

But, look, this is very tough stuff. I served on the Foreign Affairs Committee for a decade. I traveled in and out of that region for 10 years. I saw what the American soldier won in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And to see the weak and feckless leadership that Hillary Clinton was the architect of and the foreign policy of the Obama administration…

KAINE: Well, let me — let me come back…

PENCE: … is deeply troubling to me. That will all change the day Donald Trump becomes president of the United States.

KAINE: … and talk about — let me talk about the things that Governor Pence doesn’t want to acknowledge, Elaine. He doesn’t want to acknowledge that we stopped the Iranian nuclear weapons program. He doesn’t want to acknowledge…

PENCE: We didn’t.

KAINE: … that Hillary was part of a team that got bin Laden. He doesn’t want to acknowledge…

PENCE: I just did. KAINE: … that it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, that it’s a good thing — not a bad thing — that we’re down from 175,000 troops deployed overseas to 15,000.

But let me tell you what will really make the Middle East dangerous. Donald Trump’s idea that more nations should get nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea. Ronald Reagan said something really interesting about nuclear proliferation back in the 1980s. He said the problem with nuclear proliferation is that some fool or maniac could trigger a catastrophic event. And I think that’s who Governor Pence’s running mate is, exactly who Governor Reagan warned us about.

PENCE: And come on. Senator. Senator, that was even beneath you and Hillary Clinton. And that — that’s pretty low.

KAINE: But do you — do you think — do you think we should have — more nuclear weapons in the world will make us safer?

PENCE: Senator, the…

KAINE: That’s what Donald Trump thinks.

PENCE: Ronald Reagan also said nuclear war should never be fought because it can never be won. And the United States of America needs to make investments in modernizing our nuclear force for both deterrence…

KAINE: But can you defend Donald Trump’s claim that more nations should get nuclear weapons?

PENCE: … and assurance to our allies. But let me go back to this Iran thing. I mean, he keeps saying that they prevented — that Hillary Clinton started the deal with the Iranians prevented Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: That’s what the Israeli joint chiefs of staff is saying right now.

PENCE: Well, that’s not what — that’s not what Israel thinks.

KAINE: Gadi Eizenkot, you can go check it.

PENCE: You wouldn’t necessarily know that.

KAINE: Go to the tape.

PENCE: I know you boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech when he came before the Congress.

KAINE: No, I visited him in his office. I visited him in his office.

PENCE: You boycotted the speech. The point is, what this Iran — so-called Iran deal did was essentially guarantee — I mean, when I was in Congress, I fought hard on a bipartisan basis with Republican and Democrat members to move forward the toughest sanctions, it — literally in the history of the United States, against Iran.

KAINE: And then Hillary used them to get a deal.

PENCE: We were bringing them to heel, but the goal was always that we would only lift the sanctions if Iran permanently renounced their nuclear ambitions.

KAINE: Elaine, let me just mention one thing.

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: They have not — Elaine, let me finish a sentence. They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions. And when the deal’s period runs out, there’s no limitation on them obtaining weapons. That…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: And very quickly, Senator.

KAINE: Elaine…

PENCE: … and the fact that they got $1.7 billion in a ransom payment…

QUIJANO: We need to talk about Russia. Very quickly, though, Senator, please.

PENCE: … is astonishing to the American people.

KAINE: Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next. And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate.

PENCE: Well, let’s — no, no, don’t put words in my mouth.

QUIJANO: All right.

PENCE: He’s going…

(CROSSTALK)

KAINE: And yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend. And I just think that should be underlined.

PENCE: No, I’m — look…

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: All right, gentlemen, let’s talk about Russia. This is a topic that has come up.

PENCE: I’m very, very happy to defend Donald Trump. If he wants to take these one at a time, I’ll take them one at a time.

QUIJANO: I will give you an opportunity to do that.

KAINE: More nations should get nuclear weapons. Try to defend that.

PENCE: Don’t put words in my mouth. Well, he never said that, Senator.

KAINE: He absolutely said it. Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan.

PENCE: Most of the stuffy you’ve said, he’s never said.

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and has provided crucial military support to the Assad regime. What steps, if any, would your administration take to counter these actions? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: You’ve got to be tough on Russia. So let’s start with not praising Vladimir Putin as a great leader. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have said he’s a great leader. And Donald Trump has business…

PENCE: No, we haven’t.

KAINE: … has business dealings — has business dealings with Russia that he refuses to disclose. Hillary Clinton has gone toe-to- toe with Russia. She went toe-to-toe with Russia as secretary of state to do the New START Agreement to reduce Russia’s nuclear stockpile. She’s had the experience doing it.

She went toe-to-toe with Russia and lodged protests when they went into Georgia. And we’ve done the same thing about Ukraine, but more than launching protests, we’ve put punishing economic sanctions on Russia that we need to continue.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, didn’t know that Russia had invaded the Crimea.

PENCE: Oh, that’s nonsense.

KAINE: He was on a TV show a couple months back, and he said, “I’ll guarantee you this, Russia’s not going into the Ukraine.” And he had to be reminded that they had gone into the Crimea two years before.

PENCE: He knew that.

KAINE: Hillary Clinton has gone toe-to-toe with Russia to work out a deal on New START. She got them engaged on a meaningful way to cap Iran’s nuclear weapons program. And yet she stood up to them on issues such as Syria and their invasion of Georgia. You’ve got to have the ability to do that, and Hillary does.

On the other hand, in Donald Trump, you have somebody who praises Vladimir Putin all the time. America should really wonder about a President Trump, who had a campaign manager with ties to Putin, pro- Putin elements in the Ukraine, who had to be fired for that reason. They should wonder — when Donald Trump is sitting down with Vladimir Putin, is it going to be America’s bottom line or is it going to be Donald Trump’s bottom line that he’s going to be worried about with all of his business dealings?

Now, this could be solved if Donald Trump would be willing to release his tax returns, as he told the American public that he would do. And I know he’s laughing at this, but every president…

PENCE: But what’s it got to do with Russia?

KAINE: Every president since Richard Nixon has done it, and Donald Trump has said I’m doing business with Russia. The only way the American public will see whether he has a conflict of interest…

PENCE: No, he hasn’t said that.

KAINE: He has, actually.

QUIJANO: Senator, your time is up. Governor?

PENCE: Well, thanks. I’m just trying to keep up with the insult-driven campaign on the other side of the table.

KAINE: You know, I’m just saying facts about your running mate.

PENCE: Yeah.

KAINE: And I know you can’t defend.

QUIJANO: Senator, please. This is the governor’s two minutes.

PENCE: I’m happy to defend him, Senator. Don’t put words in my mouth that I’m not defending him.

KAINE: You’re not.

PENCE: I’m happy to defend him. Most of what you said is completely false, and the American people know that.

KAINE: I’ll run through the list of things where you won’t defend…

PENCE: This isn’t the old days where you can just say stuff and people believe it.

QUIJANO: Senator, please. This is Governor Pence’s two minutes.

PENCE: Look, this is the alternative universe of Washington, D.C., versus reality. Hillary Clinton said her number-one priority was a reset with Russia. That reset resulted in the invasion of Ukraine, after they’d infiltrated with what are called little green men, Russian soldiers that were dressing up like Ukrainian dissidents, and then they moved all the way into Crimea, took over the Crimean Peninsula. Donald Trump knew that happened. He basically was saying it’s not going to happen again. The truth of the matter is that what you have in the rise of aggressive Russia, which has had — increased its influence in Iran, that’s now — now because of this deal is on a pathway in the future to obtain a nuclear — the leading state sponsor of terror in the world in Iran now has a closer working relationship with Russia because of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s foreign policy and $150 billion and sanctions all being lifted.

And then, of course, Syria, I mean, it really is extraordinary that — Syria is imploding. You just asked a very thoughtful question about the disaster in Aleppo. ISIS is headquartered in Raqqa. It is — ISIS from Raqqa has overrun vast areas that at great sacrifice the American soldier won in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet Senator Kaine still sits here, loyal soldier — I get all that — in saying that the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama somehow made the world more secure. I mean, it really is astonishing that on the day…

KAINE: We even wiped out the leader of Al Qaida.

PENCE: … on the day that Iran released four American hostages…

KAINE: We stopped Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

QUIJANO: Governor…

PENCE: … we delivered $400 million in cash as a ransom payment for Americans held by the radical mullahs in Tehran.

(CROSSTALK)

QUIJANO: Governor, yesterday, Mr. Trump said…

KAINE: And we stopped a nuclear weapons program without a shot.

QUIJANO: … quote, “Putin has no respect for Hillary Clinton and no respect for Obama.” Why do you think he’ll respect a Trump- Pence administration?

PENCE: Strength. Plain and simple.

KAINE: Business dealings.

PENCE: Donald Trump — that’s nonsense. Donald Trump is a strong leader…

KAINE: Donald Trump’s son says that the Trump organization…

PENCE: … who is going to lead with American strength.

QUIJANO: Please, Senator, I’ll give you a chance to respond.

PENCE: We’re going to rebuild our military. And let me — let me — this whole Putin thing. Look, America is stronger than Russia. Our economy is 16 times larger than the Russian economy. America’s political system is superior to the crony, corrupt capitalist system in Russia in every way.

When Donald Trump and I observe that, as I’ve said in Syria, in Iran, in Ukraine, that the small and bullying leader of Russia has been stronger on the world stage than this administration, that’s stating painful facts. That’s not an endorsement of Vladimir Putin. That’s an indictment of the weak and feckless leadership…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

PENCE: … of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

KAINE: Well, this is one where we can just kind of go to the tape on it. But Governor Pence said, inarguably, Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama.

PENCE: That is absolutely inaccurate.

KAINE: And — and — and I just think a guy who praises…

PENCE: He said he’s stronger — he’s been stronger on the world stage.

KAINE: No, he said leader. And if — and I’ll just say this, Governor.

PENCE: You just said better.

KAINE: If you mistake leadership for dictatorship, and you can’t tell the difference, a country that’s running its economy into the ground…

PENCE: Yeah, here we go. This is the grade school thing again?

KAINE: … persecuting journalists…

PENCE: Right, this is grade school.

KAINE: … if you can’t tell the difference, you shouldn’t be commander-in-chief.

PENCE: Yeah. KAINE: And with Donald Trump — Donald Trump’s sons say that they have all these business dealings with Russia. Those could be disclosed with tax returns, but they refuse to do them. Americans need to worry about whether Donald Trump will be watching out for America’s bottom line or his own bottom line.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, what went wrong with the Russia reset?

KAINE: Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin is a dictator.

QUIJANO: And what would do you differently?

KAINE: Vladimir Putin is a dictator. He’s not a leader. Anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t know Russian history and they don’t know Vladimir Putin. Hillary Clinton knows exactly who this guy is. John McCain said, I look in his eyes and I see KGB. And Hillary kind of has that same feeling.

PENCE: Right.

KAINE: So how do deal with him? You’ve got to — we do have to deal with Russia in a lot of different ways. There are areas where we can cooperate. So it was Hillary Clinton who worked with Russia on the New START Treaty to reduce their nuclear weapons stockpile. It was Hillary Clinton that worked with Russia to get them engaged in a community of nations to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons without firing a shot.

She’s not going around praising Vladimir Putin as a great guy. But she knows how to sit down at a table and negotiate tough deals. This is a very challenging part of the world, and we ought to have a commander-in-chief who is prepared and done it, rather than somebody who goes around praising Vladimir Putin as a great leader.

QUIJANO: All right, I’d like to ask now about North Korea, Iran and the threat of nuclear weapons. North Korea recently conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test.

PENCE: Right.

QUIJANO: What specific steps would you take to prevent North Korea from developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States? Governor Pence?

PENCE: Well, first, we need to — we need to make a commitment to rebuild our military, including modernizing our nuclear forces. And we also need — we also need an effective American diplomacy that will marshal the resources of nations in the Asian Pacific Rim to put pressure on North Korea, on Kim Jong-un, to abandon his nuclear ambitions. It has to remain the policy of the United States of America the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, plain and simple.

And when Donald Trump is president of the United States, we’re — we’re not going to have the — the kind of posture in the world that has Russia invading Crimea and Ukraine, that has the Chinese building new islands in the South China Sea, that has literally the world, including North Korea, flouting American power. We’re going to — we’re going to go back to the days of peace through strength.

But I have to tell you that — that all this talk about tax returns — and I get it, you know, you want to keep bringing that up. It must have — must have…

KAINE: Until he…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: … done well in some focus group. But here — Hillary Clinton and her husband set up a private foundation called the Clinton Foundation. While she was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation accepted tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and foreign donors.

Now, you all need to know out there, this is basic stuff. Foreign donors, and certainly foreign governments, cannot participate in the American political process. They cannot make financial contributions. But the Clintons figured out a way to create a foundation where foreign governments and foreign donors could donate millions of dollars. And then we found, thanks to the good work of the Associated Press, that more than half her private meetings when she was secretary of state were given to major donors of the Clinton Foundation. When you talk about all these — all these baseless rumors about Russia and the rest, Hillary Clinton — you asked the trustworthy question at the very beginning — the reason…

QUIJANO: Governor, your two minutes are up.

PENCE: … the reason the American people don’t trust Hillary Clinton is because they are looking at the pay to play politics that she operated with the Clinton Foundation through a private server…

QUIJANO: Governor, please.

PENCE: … while she’s secretary of state.

QUIJANO: Your two minutes are up, Governor.

PENCE: And they’re saying enough is enough.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?

KAINE: I’m going to talk about the foundation, and then I’ll talk about North Korea. So, on the foundation. I am glad to talk about the foundation. The Clinton Foundation is one of the highest- rated charities in the world. It provides AIDS drugs to about 11.5 million people. It helps Americans deal with opioid overdoses. It gets higher rankings for its charity than the American Red Cross does. The Clinton foundation does an awful lot of good work.

Hillary Clinton as secretary of state took no action to benefit the foundation. The State Department did an investigation, and they concluded that everything Hillary Clinton did as secretary of state was completely in the interest of the United States. So the foundation does good work. And Hillary Clinton as secretary of state acted in the interests of the United States.

But let’s compare this now with the Trump organization and the Trump Foundation. The Trump organization is an octopus-like organization with tentacles all over the world whose conflict of interests could only be known if Donald Trump would release his tax returns. He’s refused to do it.

His sons have said that the organization has a lot of business dealings in Russia. And remember, the Trump organization is not a non-profit. It’s putting money into Donald Trump’s pockets and into the pockets of his children, whereas the Clinton Foundation is a non- profit and no Clinton family member draws any salary.

PENCE: The Trump Foundation is non-profit.

KAINE: In addition, Donald Trump has a foundation. The foundation was just fined for illegally contributing foundation dollars to a political campaign of a Florida attorney general. They made an illegal contribution, and then they tried to hide it by disguising it to somebody else. And the person they donated to was somebody whose office was charged with investigating Trump University.

This is the difference between a foundation that does good work and a secretary of state who acted in accordance with American interest and somebody who is conflicted and doing work around the world and won’t share with the American public what he’s doing and what those conflicts are.

QUIJANO: Governor, I will give you 30 seconds to respond, because I know you want to, but, again, I would remind you both this was about North Korea.

(LAUGHTER)

PENCE: Well, Thank you. Thank you. The Trump Foundation is a private family foundation. They give virtually every cent in the Trump Foundation to charitable causes.

KAINE: Political contributions?

PENCE: Less than ten cents on the dollar in the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes.

KAINE: A $20,000 portrait of Donald Trump? PENCE: Less than 10 cents on the dollar of the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes.

KAINE: Ninety percent.

PENCE: It has been a platform for the Clintons to travel the world, to have staff. But honestly, Senator, we would know a lot more about it if Hillary Clinton would just turn over the 33,000 e-mails…

QUIJANO: All right, let’s turn back to North Korea…

PENCE: … that she refused to turn over in her private server…

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine…

PENCE: … and we’d have a much better picture of what the Clinton Foundation was about.

QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, if you had intelligence that North Korea was about to launch a missile, a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States, would you take preemptive action?

KAINE: If we — look, a president should take action to defend the United States against imminent threat. You have to. A president has to do that. Now exactly what action, you would have to determine what your intelligence was, how certain you were of that intelligence, but you would have to take action.

You asked the question about how do we deal with a North Korea. I’m on the Foreign Relations Committee. We just did an extensive sanctions package against North Korea. And interestingly enough, Elaine, the U.N. followed and did this — virtually the same package. Often China will use their veto in the Security Council to veto a package like that. They’re starting to get worried about North Korea, too. So they actually supported the sanctions package, even though many of the sanctions are against Chinese firms, Chinese financial institutions.

So we’re working together with China, and we need to. China’s another one of those relationships where it’s competitive, it’s also challenging, and in times like North Korea, we have to be able to cooperate. Hillary understands that very well. She went once famously to China and stood up at a human rights meeting and looked them in the eye and said, “Women’s rights are human rights.” They didn’t want her to say that, but she did.

But she’s also worked on a lot of diplomatic and important diplomatic deals with China. And that’s what it’s going to take.

The thing I would worry a little bit about is that Donald Trump owes about $650 million to banks, including the Bank of China. I’m not sure he could stand up so tough to the people who have loaned him money.

QUIJANO: All right. I’d like to turn to our next segment now. And in this, I’d like to focus on social issues. You have both been open about the role that faith has played in your lives. Can you discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position? Senator Kaine?

KAINE: Yeah, that’s an easy one for me, Elaine. It’s an easy one. I’m really fortunate. I grew up in a wonderful household with great Irish Catholic parents. My mom and dad are sitting right here. I was educated by Jesuits at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. My 40th reunion is in 10 days.

And I worked with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, now nearly 35 years ago, and they were the heroes of my life. I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But I don’t believe in this nation, a First Amendment nation, where we don’t raise any religion over the other, and we allow people to worship as they please, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone.

For me, the hardest struggle in my faith life was the Catholic Church is against the death penalty and so am I. But I was governor of a state, and the state law said that there was a death penalty for crimes if the jury determined them to be heinous. And so I had to grapple with that.

When I was running for governor, I was attacked pretty strongly because of my position on the death penalty. But I looked the voters of Virginia in the eye and said, look, this is my religion. I’m not going to change my religious practice to get one vote, but I know how to take an oath and uphold the law. And if you elect me, I will uphold the law.

And I was elected, and I did. It was very, very difficult to allow executions to go forward, but in circumstances where I didn’t feel like there was a case for clemency, I told Virginia voters I would uphold the law, and I did.

That was a real struggle. But I think it is really, really important that those of us who have deep faith lives don’t feel that we could just substitute our own views for everybody else in society, regardless of their views.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: Well, it’s a wonderful question. And my Christian faith is at the very heart of who I am. I was also raised in a wonderful family of faith. It was a church on Sunday morning and grace before dinner.

PENCE: But my Christian faith became real for me when I made a personal decision for Christ when I was a freshman in college. And I’ve tried to live that out however imperfectly every day of my life since. And with my wife at my side, we’ve followed a calling into public service, where we’ve — we’ve tried to — we’ve tried to keep faith with the values that we cherish.

And with regard to when I struggle, I appreciate, and — and — and — I have a great deal of respect for Senator Kaine’s sincere faith. I truly do.

KAINE: That’s shared.

PENCE: But for me, I would tell you that for me the sanctity of life proceeds out of the belief that — that ancient principle that — where God says before you were formed in the womb, I knew you, and so for my first time in public life, I sought to stand with great compassion for the sanctity of life.

The state of Indiana has also sought to make sure that we expand alternatives in health care counseling for women, non-abortion alternatives. I’m also very pleased at the fact we’re well on our way in Indiana to becoming the most pro-adoption state in America. I think if you’re going to be pro-life, you should — you should be pro- adoption.

But what I can’t understand is with Hillary Clinton and now Senator Kaine at her side is to support a practice like partial-birth abortion. I mean, to hold to the view — and I know Senator Kaine, you hold pro-life views personally — but the very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me.

And I cannot — I can’t conscience about — about a party that supports that. Or that — I know you’ve historically opposed taxpayer funding of abortion. But Hillary Clinton wants to — wants to repeal the longstanding provision in the law where we said we wouldn’t use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.

So for me, my faith informs my life. I try and spend a little time on my knees every day. But it all for me begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of every human life.

KAINE: Elaine, this is a fundamental question, a fundamental question. Hillary and I are both people out of religious backgrounds, from Methodist church experience, which was really formative for her as a public servant.

But we really feel like you should live fully and with enthusiasm the commands of your faith. But it is not the role of the public servant to mandate that for everybody else.

So let’s talk about abortion and choice. Let’s talk about them. We support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That’s something we trust American women to do that.

And we don’t think that women should be punished, as Donald Trump said they should, for making the decision to have an abortion.

Governor Pence wants to repeal Roe v. Wade. He said he wants to put it on the ash heap of history. And we have some young people in the audience who weren’t even born when Roe was decided. This is pretty important. Before Roe v. Wade, states could pass criminal laws to do just that, to punish women if they made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.

I think you should live your moral values. But the last thing, the very last thing that government should do is have laws that would punish women who make reproductive choices. And that is the fundamental difference between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump- Pence ticket that wants to punish women who make that choice.

PENCE: No, it’s really not. Donald Trump and I would never support legislation that punished women who made the heartbreaking choice to end a pregnancy.

KAINE: Then why did Donald Trump say that?

PENCE: We just never would.

KAINE: Why did he say that?

PENCE: Well, look, it’s — look, he’s not a polished politician like you and Hillary Clinton. And so…

KAINE: Well, I would admit that’s not a polished…

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: You know, things don’t always come out exactly the way he means them.

KAINE: Well, can I say…

PENCE: But I’m telling you what the policy of our administration would be.

KAINE: Great line from the — great line from the gospel of Matthew. From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.

PENCE: Yeah. KAINE: When Donald Trump says women should be punished or Mexicans are rapists and criminals…

PENCE: I’m telling you…

KAINE: … or John McCain is not a hero, he is showing you who he is.

PENCE: Senator, you’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again. He — look…

KAINE: Can you defend it?

PENCE: There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally who are perpetrating violence and taking American lives.

KAINE: You want to — you want to use a big broad brush against Mexicans on that?

PENCE: He also said and many of them are good people. You keep leaving that out of your quote. And if you want me to go there, I’ll go there.

But here’s — there is a choice, and it is a choice on life. I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with Donald Trump, who’s standing for the right to life. It’s a principle that — Senator Kaine — and I’m very gentle about this, because I really do respect you — it’s a principle that you embrace.

And I have appreciated the fact that you’ve supported the Hyde amendment, which bans the use of taxpayer funding for abortion, in the past, but that’s not Hillary Clinton’s view. People need to understand, we can come together as a nation. We can create a culture of life. More and more young people today are embracing life because we know we are — we’re better for it. We can — like Mother Teresa said at that famous national prayer breakfast…

KAINE: This is important —

PENCE: … bring the — let’s welcome the children into our world. There are so many families around the country who can’t have children. We could improve adoption…

KAINE: But, Governor…

PENCE: … so that families that can’t have children can adopt more readily those children from crisis pregnancies.

KAINE: Governor, why don’t you trust women to make this choice for themselves? We can encourage people to support life. Of course we can. But why don’t you trust women? Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves?

That’s what we ought to be doing in public life. Living our lives of faith or motivation with enthusiasm and excitement, convincing other, dialoguing with each other about important moral issues of the day…

PENCE: Because there are…

KAINE: … but on fundamental issues of morality, we should let women make their own decisions.

PENCE: Because there is — a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled, and the unborn. I believe it with all my heart. And I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with a pro-life candidate in Donald Trump.

QUIJANO: I do have one final question for you both tonight. It has been a divisive campaign. Senator Kaine, if your ticket wins, what specifically are you going to do to unify the country and reassure the people who voted against you?

KAINE: That’s a really important one. That may be the $64,000 question, because it has been a divisive campaign. And again, Hillary is running a campaign about stronger together, and Donald Trump — and this is — this is not directed at this man, except to the extent that he can’t defend Donald Trump — Donald Trump has run a campaign that’s been about one insult after the next.

But we do have to bring the country together. So here’s what we’ll do. Hillary Clinton was first lady, then senator for eight years and secretary of state. And I served in the Senate. And I’m really amazed, Elaine, as I talk to Republican senators, how well they regard and respect Hillary Clinton.

She was on the Armed Services Committee. She was on other committees. She worked across the aisle when she was first lady to get the CHIP program passed so that 8 million low-income kids have health insurance in this country, including 150,000 in Indiana.

She worked across the aisle after 9/11 to get health benefits for the first responders who bravely went into the towers and into the Pentagon. She worked to get benefits for — TRICARE benefits for National Guard members, including Hoosiers and Virginians in the National Guard.

She has a track record of working across the aisle to make things happen. And, you know, Elaine, I have the same track record. I was a governor of Virginia with two Republican houses. And in the Senate, I have good working relationships across the aisle.

Because I think it’s fine to be a Democrat or Republican or independent, but after Election Day, the goal is work together. And Hillary Clinton has a track record of accomplishment across the aisle that will enable her to do just that when we work with the new Congress in January.

QUIJANO: Governor, how will you unify the country if you win?

PENCE: Well, thank you, Elaine, and thanks for a great discussion…

KAINE: Absolutely.

PENCE: … tonight. Thank you, Senator.

This is a very challenging time in the life of our nation. Weakened America’s place in the world after the leadership of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the world stage has been followed by an economy that is truly struggling, stifled by an avalanche of more taxes, more regulation, Obamacare, the war on coal, and the kind of trade deals that have put American workers in the back seat. I think the best way that we can bring people together is through change in Washington, D.C.

You know, I served in Washington, D.C., for 12 years in the Congress of the United States. And I served with many Republicans and Democrats, men and women of goodwill. The potential is there to really change the direction of this country, but it’s going to take leadership to do it.

The American people want to see our nation standing tall on the world stage again. They want to see us supporting our military, rebuilding our military, commanding the respect of the world, and they want to see the American economy off to the races again. They want to see an American comeback.

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And Donald Trump’s entire career has been about building. It’s been about — it’s going through hardship just like a businessperson does and finding a way through smarts and ingenuity and resilience to fight forward and — when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, we’re going to have a stronger America.

When you hear him say he wants to make America great again, when we do that, I truly do believe the American people are going to be standing taller. They’re going to see that real change can happen after decades of just talking about it. And when that happens, the American people are going to stand tall, stand together, and we’ll have the kind of unity that’s been missing for way too long.

QUIJANO: All right, gentlemen, thank you so much.

This concludes the vice presidential debate. My thanks to the candidates, the commission, and to you for watching. Please tune in this Sunday for the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis and the final debate on October 19th at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

From Farmville, Virginia, I’m Elaine Quijano of CBS News. Good night.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 September 26, 2016: The first Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

The first Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript

Source: WaPo, 9-26-16

According to most news outlets and post-debate polls Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the debate.

LESTER HOLT: Good evening from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. I’m Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News.” I want to welcome you to the first presidential debate.

The participants tonight are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This debate is sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. The commission drafted tonight’s format, and the rules have been agreed to by the campaigns.

The 90-minute debate is divided into six segments, each 15 minutes long. We’llexplore three topic areas tonight: Achieving prosperity; America’s direction; and securing America. At the start of each segment, I will ask the same lead-off question to both candidates, and they will each have up to two minutes to respond. From that point until the end of the segment, we’ll have an open discussion.

The questions are mine and have not been shared with the commission or the campaigns. The audience here in the room has agreed to remain silent so that we can focus on what the candidates are saying.

I will invite you to applaud, however, at this moment, as we welcome the candidates: Democratic nominee for president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee for president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: How are you, Donald?

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Good luck to you.

(APPLAUSE)

Well, I don’t expect us to cover all the issues of this campaign tonight, but I remind everyone, there are two more presidential debates scheduled. We are going to focus on many of the issues that voters tell us are most important, and we’re going to press for specifics. I am honored to have this role, but this evening belongs to the candidates and, just as important, to the American people.

Candidates, we look forward to hearing you articulate your policies and your positions, as well as your visions and your values. So, let’s begin.

We’re calling this opening segment “Achieving Prosperity.” And central to that is jobs. There are two economic realities in America today. There’s been a record six straight years of job growth, and new census numbers show incomes have increased at a record rate after years of stagnation. However, income inequality remains significant, and nearly half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Beginning with you, Secretary Clinton, why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American works?

CLINTON: Well, thank you, Lester, and thanks to Hofstra for hosting us.

The central question in this election is really what kind of country we want to be and what kind of future we’ll build together. Today is my granddaughter’s second birthday, so I think about this a lot. First, we have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That means we need new jobs, good jobs, with rising incomes.

I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women’s work.

CLINTON: I also want to see more companies do profit-sharing. If you help create the profits, you should be able to share in them, not just the executives at the top.

And I want us to do more to support people who are struggling to balance family and work. I’ve heard from so many of you about the difficult choices you face and the stresses that you’re under. So let’s have paid family leave, earned sick days.Let’s be sure we have affordable child care and debt-free college.

How are we going to do it? We’re going to do it by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes.

Finally, we tonight are on the stage together, Donald Trump and I. Donald, it’s good to be with you. We’re going to have a debate where we are talking about the important issues facing our country. You have to judge us, who can shoulder the immense, awesome responsibilities of the presidency, who can put into action the plans that will make your life better. I hope that I will be able to earn your vote on November 8th.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, thank you.

Mr. Trump, the same question to you. It’s about putting money — more money into the pockets of American workers. You have up to two minutes.

TRUMP: Thank you, Lester. Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They’re devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. And we have a winning fight. Because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing.

So we’re losing our good jobs, so many of them. When you look at what’s happening in Mexico, a friend of mine who builds plants said it’s the eighth wonder of the world. They’re building some of the biggest plants anywhere in the world, some of the most sophisticated, some of the best plants. With the United States, as he said, not so much.

So Ford is leaving. You see that, their small car division leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They’re all leaving. And we can’t allow it to happen anymore. As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that. We probably disagree a little bit as to numbers and amounts and what we’re going to do, but perhaps we’ll be talking about that later.

But we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people. All you have to do is take a look at Carrier air conditioning in Indianapolis. They left — fired 1,400 people. They’re going to Mexico. So many hundreds and hundreds of companies are doing this.

TRUMP: We cannot let it happen. Under my plan, I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch.

Companies will come. They will build. They will expand. New companies will start. And I look very, very much forward to doing it. We have to renegotiate our trade deals, and we have to stop these countries from stealing our companies and our jobs.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, would you like to respond?

CLINTON: Well, I think that trade is an important issue. Of course, we are 5 percent of the world’s population; we have to trade with the other 95 percent.And we need to have smart, fair trade deals.

We also, though, need to have a tax system that rewards work and not just financial transactions. And the kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. In fact, it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country than we’ve ever had.

I call it trumped-up trickle-down, because that’s exactly what it would be. That is not how we grow the economy.

We just have a different view about what’s best for growing the economy, how we make investments that will actually produce jobs and rising incomes.

I think we come at it from somewhat different perspectives. I understand that.You know, Donald was very fortunate in his life, and that’s all to his benefit. He started his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father, and he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we’ll be and that everything will work out from there.

I don’t buy that. I have a different experience. My father was a small-businessman. He worked really hard. He printed drapery fabrics on long tables, where he pulled out those fabrics and he went down with a silkscreen and dumped the paint in and took the squeegee and kept going.

And so what I believe is the more we can do for the middle class, the more we can invest in you, your education, your skills, your future, the better we will be off and the better we’ll grow. That’s the kind of economy I want us to see again.

HOLT: Let me follow up with Mr. Trump, if you can. You’ve talked about creating 25 million jobs, and you’ve promised to bring back millions of jobs for Americans. How are you going to bring back the industries that have left this country for cheaper labor overseas? How, specifically, are you going to tell American manufacturers that you have to come back?

TRUMP: Well, for one thing — and before we start on that — my father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars, with some of the greatest assets in the world, and I say that only because that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs.

Our country’s in deep trouble. We don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to devaluations and all of these countries all over the world, especially China.They’re the best, the best ever at it. What they’re doing to us is a very, very sad thing.

So we have to do that. We have to renegotiate our trade deals. And, Lester, they’re taking our jobs, they’re giving incentives, they’re doing things that, frankly, we don’t do.

Let me give you the example of Mexico. They have a VAT tax. We’re on a different system. When we sell into Mexico, there’s a tax. When they sell in — automatic, 16 percent, approximately. When they sell into us, there’s no tax. It’s a defective agreement. It’s been defective for a long time, many years, but the politicians haven’t done anything about it.

Now, in all fairness to Secretary Clinton — yes, is that OK? Good. I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me.

But in all fairness to Secretary Clinton, when she started talking about this, it was really very recently. She’s been doing this for 30 years. And why hasn’t she made the agreements better? The NAFTA agreement is defective. Just because of the tax and many other reasons, but just because of the fact…

HOLT: Let me interrupt just a moment, but…

TRUMP: Secretary Clinton and others, politicians, should have been doing this for years, not right now, because of the fact that we’ve created a movement. They should have been doing this for years. What’s happened to our jobs and our country and our economy generally is — look, we owe $20 trillion. We cannot do it any longer, Lester. HOLT: Back to the question, though. How do you bring back — specifically bring back jobs, American manufacturers? How do you make them bring the jobs back?

TRUMP: Well, the first thing you do is don’t let the jobs leave. The companies are leaving. I could name, I mean, there are thousands of them. They’re leaving, and they’re leaving in bigger numbers than ever.

And what you do is you say, fine, you want to go to Mexico or some other country, good luck. We wish you a lot of luck. But if you think you’re going to make your air conditioners or your cars or your cookies or whatever you make and bring them into our country without a tax, you’re wrong.

And once you say you’re going to have to tax them coming in, and our politicians never do this, because they have special interests and the special interests want those companies to leave, because in many cases, they own the companies. So what I’m saying is, we can stop them from leaving. We have to stop them from leaving. And that’s a big, big factor.

HOLT: Let me let Secretary Clinton get in here.

CLINTON: Well, let’s stop for a second and remember where we were eight years ago. We had the worst financial crisis, the Great Recession, the worst since the 1930s. That was in large part because of tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.

In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, “Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.” Well, it did collapse.

TRUMP: That’s called business, by the way.

CLINTON: Nine million people — nine million people lost their jobs. Five million people lost their homes. And $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out.

Now, we have come back from that abyss. And it has not been easy. So we’re now on the precipice of having a potentially much better economy, but the last thing we need to do is to go back to the policies that failed us in the first place.

Independent experts have looked at what I’ve proposed and looked at what Donald’s proposed, and basically they’ve said this, that if his tax plan, which would blow up the debt by over $5 trillion and would in some instances disadvantage middle-class families compared to the wealthy, were to go into effect, we would lose 3.5 million jobs and maybe have another recession.

They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said, OK, if we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy. Take clean energy. Some country is going to be the clean- energy superpower of the 21st century. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.

TRUMP: I did not. I did not. I do not say that.

CLINTON: I think science is real.

TRUMP: I do not say that.

CLINTON: And I think it’s important that we grip this and deal with it, both at home and abroad. And here’s what we can do. We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That’s a lot of jobs; that’s a lot of new economic activity.

So I’ve tried to be very specific about what we can and should do, and I am determined that we’re going to get the economy really moving again, building on the progress we’ve made over the last eight years, but never going back to what got us in trouble in the first place.

HOLT: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: She talks about solar panels. We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster. They lost plenty of money on that one.

Now, look, I’m a great believer in all forms of energy, but we’re putting a lot of people out of work. Our energy policies are a disaster. Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt. You can’t do what you’re looking to do with $20 trillion in debt.

The Obama administration, from the time they’ve come in, is over 230 years’ worth of debt, and he’s topped it. He’s doubled it in a course of almost eight years, seven-and-a-half years, to be semi- exact.

So I will tell you this. We have to do a much better job at keeping our jobs. And we have to do a much better job at giving companies incentives to build new companies or to expand, because they’re not doing it.

And all you have to do is look at Michigan and look at Ohio and look at all of these places where so many of their jobs and their companies are just leaving, they’re gone.

And, Hillary, I’d just ask you this. You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now? For 30 years, you’ve been doing it, and now you’re just starting to think of solutions.

CLINTON: Well, actually…

TRUMP: I will bring — excuse me. I will bring back jobs. You can’t bring back jobs.

CLINTON: Well, actually, I have thought about this quite a bit.

TRUMP: Yeah, for 30 years.

CLINTON: And I have — well, not quite that long. I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s. I think a lot about what worked and how we can make it work again…

TRUMP: Well, he approved NAFTA…

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: … million new jobs, a balanced budget…

TRUMP: He approved NAFTA, which is the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country.

CLINTON: Incomes went up for everybody. Manufacturing jobs went up also in the 1990s, if we’re actually going to look at the facts.

When I was in the Senate, I had a number of trade deals that came before me, and I held them all to the same test. Will they create jobs in America? Will they raise incomes in America? And are they good for our national security? Some of them I voted for. The biggest one, a multinational one known as CAFTA, I voted against. And because I hold the same standards as I look at all of these trade deals.

But let’s not assume that trade is the only challenge we have in the economy. I think it is a part of it, and I’ve said what I’m going to do. I’m going to have a special prosecutor. We’re going to enforce the trade deals we have, and we’re going to hold people accountable.

When I was secretary of state, we actually increased American exports globally 30 percent. We increased them to China 50 percent. So I know how to really work to get new jobs and to get exports that helped to create more new jobs.

HOLT: Very quickly…

TRUMP: But you haven’t done it in 30 years or 26 years or any number you want to…

CLINTON: Well, I’ve been a senator, Donald…

TRUMP: You haven’t done it. You haven’t done it.

CLINTON: And I have been a secretary of state…

TRUMP: Excuse me.

CLINTON: And I have done a lot…

TRUMP: Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry.

CLINTON: Well, that’s your opinion. That is your opinion.

TRUMP: You go to New England, you go to Ohio, Pennsylvania, you go anywhere you want, Secretary Clinton, and you will see devastation where manufacture is down 30, 40, sometimes 50 percent. NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.

And now you want to approve Trans-Pacific Partnership. You were totally in favor of it. Then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, I can’t win that debate. But you know that if you did win, you would approve that, and that will be almost as bad as NAFTA. Nothing will ever top NAFTA.

CLINTON: Well, that is just not accurate. I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out. I wrote about that in…

TRUMP: You called it the gold standard.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals. You said it’s the finest deal you’ve ever seen.

CLINTON: No.

TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it.

CLINTON: Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts. The facts are — I did say I hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated…

TRUMP: Not.

CLINTON: … which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn’t. I wrote about that in my book…

TRUMP: So is it President Obama’s fault?

CLINTON: … before you even announced.

TRUMP: Is it President Obama’s fault?

CLINTON: Look, there are differences…

TRUMP: Secretary, is it President Obama’s fault?

CLINTON: There are…

TRUMP: Because he’s pushing it.

CLINTON: There are different views about what’s good for our country, our economy, and our leadership in the world. And I think it’s important to look at what we need to do to get the economy going again. That’s why I said new jobs with rising incomes, investments, not in more tax cuts that would add $5 trillion to the debt.

TRUMP: But you have no plan.

CLINTON: But in — oh, but I do.

TRUMP: Secretary, you have no plan.

CLINTON: In fact, I have written a book about it. It’s called “Stronger Together.” You can pick it up tomorrow at a bookstore…

TRUMP: That’s about all you’ve…

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: Folks, we’re going to…

CLINTON: … or at an airport near you.

HOLT: We’re going to move to…

CLINTON: But it’s because I see this — we need to have strong growth, fair growth, sustained growth. We also have to look at how we help families balance the responsibilities at home and the responsibilities at business.

So we have a very robust set of plans. And people have looked at both of our plans, have concluded that mine would create 10 million jobs and yours would lose us 3.5 million jobs, and explode the debt which would have a recession.

TRUMP: You are going to approve one of the biggest tax cuts in history. You are going to approve one of the biggest tax increases in history. You are going to drive business out. Your regulations are a disaster, and you’re going to increase regulations all over the place.

And by the way, my tax cut is the biggest since Ronald Reagan. I’m very proud of it. It will create tremendous numbers of new jobs. But regulations, you are going to regulate these businesses out of existence.

When I go around — Lester, I tell you this, I’ve been all over. And when I go around, despite the tax cut, the thing — the things that business as in people like the most is the fact that I’m cutting regulation. You have regulations on top of regulations, and new companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. And you want to increase the regulations and make them even worse.

I’m going to cut regulations. I’m going to cut taxes big league, and you’re going to raise taxes big league, end of story.

HOLT: Let me get you to pause right there, because we’re going to move into — we’re going to move into the next segment. We’re going to talk taxes…

CLINTON: That can’t — that can’t be left to stand.

HOLT: Please just take 30 seconds and then we’re going to go on.

CLINTON: I kind of assumed that there would be a lot of these charges and claims, and so…

TRUMP: Facts.

CLINTON: So we have taken the home page of my website, HillaryClinton.com, and we’ve turned it into a fact-checker. So if you want to see in real-time what the facts are, please go and take a look. Because what I have proposed…

TRUMP: And take a look at mine, also, and you’ll see.

CLINTON: … would not add a penny to the debt, and your plans would add $5 trillion to the debt. What I have proposed would cut regulations and streamline them for small businesses. What I have proposed would be paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, because they have made all the gains in the economy. And I think it’s time that the wealthy and corporations paid their fair share to support this country.

HOLT: Well, you just opened the next segment.

TRUMP: Well, could I just finish — I think I…

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: I’m going to give you a chance right here…

TRUMP: I think I should — you go to her website, and you take a look at her website.

HOLT: … with a new 15-minute segment…

TRUMP: She’s going to raise taxes $1.3 trillion.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, I’m going to…

TRUMP: And look at her website. You know what? It’s no difference than this. She’s telling us how to fight ISIS. Just go to her website. She tells you how to fight ISIS on her website. I don’t think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.

HOLT: The next segment, we’re continuing…

CLINTON: Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS.

HOLT: … achieving prosperity…

TRUMP: No, no, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do.

CLINTON: No, we’re not. No, we’re not.

TRUMP: See, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you’ve been fighting — no wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.

CLINTON: That’s a — that’s — go to the — please, fact checkers, get to work.

HOLT: OK, you are unpacking a lot here. And we’re still on the issue of achieving prosperity. And I want to talk about taxes. The fundamental difference between the two of you concerns the wealthy.

Secretary Clinton, you’re calling for a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. I’d like you to further defend that. And, Mr. Trump, you’re calling for tax cuts for the wealthy. I’d like you to defend that. And this next two-minute answer goes to you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Well, I’m really calling for major jobs, because the wealthy are going create tremendous jobs. They’re going to expand their companies. They’re going to do a tremendous job.

I’m getting rid of the carried interest provision. And if you really look, it’s not a tax — it’s really not a great thing for the wealthy. It’s a great thing for the middle class. It’s a great thing for companies to expand.

And when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies, and when they’re going to bring $2.5 trillion back from overseas, where they can’t bring the money back, because politicians like Secretary Clinton won’t allow them to bring the money back, because the taxes are so onerous, and the bureaucratic red tape, so what — is so bad.

So what they’re doing is they’re leaving our country, and they’re, believe it or not, leaving because taxes are too high and because some of them have lots of money outside of our country. And instead of bringing it back and putting the money to work, because they can’t work out a deal to — and everybody agrees it should be brought back.

Instead of that, they’re leaving our country to get their money, because they can’t bring their money back into our country, because of bureaucratic red tape, because they can’t get together. Because we have — we have a president that can’t sit them around a table and get them to approve something.

And here’s the thing. Republicans and Democrats agree that this should be done, $2.5 trillion. I happen to think it’s double that. It’s probably $5 trillion that we can’t bring into our country, Lester. And with a little leadership, you’d get it in here very quickly, and it could be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things, and it would be beautiful.

But we have no leadership. And honestly, that starts with Secretary Clinton.

HOLT: All right. You have two minutes of the same question to defend tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: I have a feeling that by, the end of this evening, I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.

TRUMP: Why not?

CLINTON: Why not? Yeah, why not?

(LAUGHTER)

You know, just join the debate by saying more crazy things. Now, let me say this, it is absolutely the case…

TRUMP: There’s nothing crazy about not letting our companies bring their money back into their country.

HOLT: This is — this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes, please.

TRUMP: Yes.

CLINTON: Yeah, well, let’s start the clock again, Lester. We’ve looked at your tax proposals. I don’t see changes in the corporate tax rates or the kinds of proposals you’re referring to that would cause the repatriation, bringing back of money that’s stranded overseas. I happen to support that.

TRUMP: Then you didn’t read it.

CLINTON: I happen to — I happen to support that in a way that will actually work to our benefit. But when I look at what you have proposed, you have what is called now the Trump loophole, because it would so advantage you and the business you do. You’ve proposed an approach that has a…

TRUMP: Who gave it that name? The first I’ve — who gave it that name?

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: Mr. Trump, this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes.

CLINTON: … $4 billion tax benefit for your family. And when you look at what you are proposing…

TRUMP: How much? How much for my family? CLINTON: … it is…

TRUMP: Lester, how much?

CLINTON: … as I said, trumped-up trickle-down. Trickle-down did not work. It got us into the mess we were in, in 2008 and 2009. Slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn’t worked.

And a lot of really smart, wealthy people know that. And they are saying, hey, we need to do more to make the contributions we should be making to rebuild the middle class.

CLINTON: I don’t think top-down works in America. I think building the middle class, investing in the middle class, making college debt-free so more young people can get their education, helping people refinance their — their debt from college at a lower rate. Those are the kinds of things that will really boost the economy. Broad-based, inclusive growth is what we need in America, not more advantages for people at the very top.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re…

TRUMP: Typical politician. All talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work. Never going to happen. Our country is suffering because people like Secretary Clinton have made such bad decisions in terms of our jobs and in terms of what’s going on.

Now, look, we have the worst revival of an economy since the Great Depression. And believe me: We’re in a bubble right now. And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit, that’s going to come crashing down.

We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble. And we better be awfully careful. And we have a Fed that’s doing political things. This Janet Yellen of the Fed. The Fed is doing political — by keeping the interest rates at this level. And believe me: The day Obama goes off, and he leaves, and goes out to the golf course for the rest of his life to play golf, when they raise interest rates, you’re going to see some very bad things happen, because the Fed is not doing their job. The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re talking about the burden that Americans have to pay, yet you have not released your tax returns. And the reason nominees have released their returns for decades is so that voters will know if their potential president owes money to — who he owes it to and any business conflicts. Don’t Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?

TRUMP: I don’t mind releasing — I’m under a routine audit. And it’ll be released. And — as soon as the audit’s finished, it will be released.

But you will learn more about Donald Trump by going down to the federal elections, where I filed a 104-page essentially financial statement of sorts, the forms that they have. It shows income — in fact, the income — I just looked today — the income is filed at $694 million for this past year, $694 million. If you would have told me I was going to make that 15 or 20 years ago, I would have been very surprised.

But that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs. When we have a country that’s doing so badly, that’s being ripped off by every single country in the world, it’s the kind of thinking that our country needs, because everybody — Lester, we have a trade deficit with all of the countries that we do business with, of almost $800 billion a year. You know what that is? That means, who’s negotiating these trade deals?

We have people that are political hacks negotiating our trade deals.

HOLT: The IRS says an audit…

TRUMP: Excuse me.

HOLT: … of your taxes — you’re perfectly free to release your taxes during an audit. And so the question, does the public’s right to know outweigh your personal…

TRUMP: Well, I told you, I will release them as soon as the audit. Look, I’ve been under audit almost for 15 years. I know a lot of wealthy people that have never been audited. I said, do you get audited? I get audited almost every year.

And in a way, I should be complaining. I’m not even complaining. I don’t mind it. It’s almost become a way of life. I get audited by the IRS. But other people don’t.

I will say this. We have a situation in this country that has to be taken care of. I will release my tax returns — against my lawyer’s wishes — when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release.

(APPLAUSE)

I will release my tax returns. And that’s against — my lawyers, they say, “Don’t do it.” I will tell you this. No — in fact, watching shows, they’re reading the papers. Almost every lawyer says, you don’t release your returns until the audit’s complete. When the audit’s complete, I’ll do it. But I would go against them if she releases her e-mails.

HOLT: So it’s negotiable?

TRUMP: It’s not negotiable, no. Let her release the e-mails. Why did she delete 33,000…

HOLT: Well, I’ll let her answer that. But let me just admonish the audience one more time. There was an agreement. We did ask you to be silent, so it would be helpful for us. Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I think you’ve seen another example of bait-and- switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly, I think, 39, 40 years of our tax returns, but everyone has done it. We know the IRS has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you’re under audit.

So you’ve got to ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be.

CLINTON: Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

TRUMP: That makes me smart.

CLINTON: So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.

And the financial disclosure statements, they don’t give you the tax rate. They don’t give you all the details that tax returns would. And it just seems to me that this is something that the American people deserve to see. And I have no reason to believe that he’s ever going to release his tax returns, because there’s something he’s hiding.

And we’ll guess. We’ll keep guessing at what it might be that he’s hiding. But I think the question is, were he ever to get near the White House, what would be those conflicts? Who does he owe money to? Well, he owes you the answers to that, and he should provide them.

HOLT: He also — he also raised the issue of your e-mails. Do you want to respond to that?

CLINTON: I do. You know, I made a mistake using a private e- mail. TRUMP: That’s for sure.

CLINTON: And if I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that.

HOLT: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: That was more than a mistake. That was done purposely. OK? That was not a mistake. That was done purposely. When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they’re not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it’s disgraceful. And believe me, this country thinks it’s — really thinks it’s disgraceful, also.

As far as my tax returns, you don’t learn that much from tax returns. That I can tell you. You learn a lot from financial disclosure. And you should go down and take a look at that.

The other thing, I’m extremely underleveraged. The report that said $650 — which, by the way, a lot of friends of mine that know my business say, boy, that’s really not a lot of money. It’s not a lot of money relative to what I had.

The buildings that were in question, they said in the same report, which was — actually, it wasn’t even a bad story, to be honest with you, but the buildings are worth $3.9 billion. And the $650 isn’t even on that. But it’s not $650. It’s much less than that.

But I could give you a list of banks, I would — if that would help you, I would give you a list of banks. These are very fine institutions, very fine banks. I could do that very quickly.

I am very underleveraged. I have a great company. I have a tremendous income. And the reason I say that is not in a braggadocios way. It’s because it’s about time that this country had somebody running it that has an idea about money.

When we have $20 trillion in debt, and our country’s a mess, you know, it’s one thing to have $20 trillion in debt and our roads are good and our bridges are good and everything’s in great shape, our airports. Our airports are like from a third world country.

You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark, and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible — you come in from China, you see these incredible airports, and you land — we’ve become a third world country.

So the worst of all things has happened. We owe $20 trillion, and we’re a mess. We haven’t even started. And we’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, according to a report that I just saw. Whether it’s 6 or 5, but it looks like it’s 6, $6 trillion in the Middle East, we could have rebuilt our country twice.

And it’s really a shame. And it’s politicians like Secretary Clinton that have caused this problem. Our country has tremendous problems. We’re a debtor nation. We’re a serious debtor nation. And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals. And we don’t have the money, because it’s been squandered on so many of your ideas.

HOLT: We’ll let you respond and we’ll move on to the next segment.

CLINTON: And maybe because you haven’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years. (APPLAUSE)

And the other thing I think is important…

TRUMP: It would be squandered, too, believe me.

CLINTON: … is if your — if your main claim to be president of the United States is your business, then I think we should talk about that. You know, your campaign manager said that you built a lot of businesses on the backs of little guys.

And, indeed, I have met a lot of the people who were stiffed by you and your businesses, Donald. I’ve met dishwashers, painters, architects, glass installers, marble installers, drapery installers, like my dad was, who you refused to pay when they finished the work that you asked them to do.

We have an architect in the audience who designed one of your clubhouses at one of your golf courses. It’s a beautiful facility. It immediately was put to use. And you wouldn’t pay what the man needed to be paid, what he was charging you to do…

TRUMP: Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work…

CLINTON: Well, to…

TRUMP: Which our country should do, too.

CLINTON: Do the thousands of people that you have stiffed over the course of your business not deserve some kind of apology from someone who has taken their labor, taken the goods that they produced, and then refused to pay them?

I can only say that I’m certainly relieved that my late father never did business with you. He provided a good middle-class life for us, but the people he worked for, he expected the bargain to be kept on both sides.

And when we talk about your business, you’ve taken business bankruptcy six times. There are a lot of great businesspeople that have never taken bankruptcy once. You call yourself the King of Debt. You talk about leverage. You even at one time suggested that you would try to negotiate down the national debt of the United States.

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

CLINTON: Well, sometimes there’s not a direct transfer of skills from business to government, but sometimes what happened in business would be really bad for government.

HOLT: Let’s let Mr. Trump…

CLINTON: And we need to be very clear about that.

TRUMP: So, yeah, I think — I do think it’s time. Look, it’s all words, it’s all sound bites. I built an unbelievable company. Some of the greatest assets anywhere in the world, real estate assets anywhere in the world, beyond the United States, in Europe, lots of different places. It’s an unbelievable company.

But on occasion, four times, we used certain laws that are there. And when Secretary Clinton talks about people that didn’t get paid, first of all, they did get paid a lot, but taken advantage of the laws of the nation.

Now, if you want to change the laws, you’ve been there a long time, change the laws. But I take advantage of the laws of the nation because I’m running a company. My obligation right now is to do well for myself, my family, my employees, for my companies. And that’s what I do.

But what she doesn’t say is that tens of thousands of people that are unbelievably happy and that love me. I’ll give you an example. We’re just opening up on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the White House, so if I don’t get there one way, I’m going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue another.

But we’re opening the Old Post Office. Under budget, ahead of schedule, saved tremendous money. I’m a year ahead of schedule. And that’s what this country should be doing.

We build roads and they cost two and three and four times what they’re supposed to cost. We buy products for our military and they come in at costs that are so far above what they were supposed to be, because we don’t have people that know what they’re doing.

When we look at the budget, the budget is bad to a large extent because we have people that have no idea as to what to do and how to buy. The Trump International is way under budget and way ahead of schedule. And we should be able to do that for our country.

HOLT: Well, we’re well behind schedule, so I want to move to our next segment. We move into our next segment talking about America’s direction. And let’s start by talking about race.

The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country is the highest it’s been in decades, much of it amplified by shootings of African-Americans by police, as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap.

So how do you heal the divide? Secretary Clinton, you get two minutes on this.

CLINTON: Well, you’re right. Race remains a significant challenge in our country. Unfortunately, race still determines too much, often determines where people live, determines what kind of education in their public schools they can get, and, yes, it determines how they’re treated in the criminal justice system. We’ve just seen those two tragic examples in both Tulsa and Charlotte.

And we’ve got to do several things at the same time. We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.

CLINTON: Right now, that’s not the case in a lot of our neighborhoods. So I have, ever since the first day of my campaign, called for criminal justice reform. I’ve laid out a platform that I think would begin to remedy some of the problems we have in the criminal justice system.

But we also have to recognize, in addition to the challenges that we face with policing, there are so many good, brave police officers who equally want reform. So we have to bring communities together in order to begin working on that as a mutual goal. And we’ve got to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African- American men, more than the next nine causes put together. So we have to do two things, as I said. We have to restore trust. We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them. And we have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we’re seeing today.

HOLT: All right, Mr. Trump, you have two minutes. How do you heal the divide?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, Secretary Clinton doesn’t want to use a couple of words, and that’s law and order. And we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.

And when I look at what’s going on in Charlotte, a city I love, a city where I have investments, when I look at what’s going on throughout various parts of our country, whether it’s — I mean, I can just keep naming them all day long — we need law and order in our country.

I just got today the, as you know, the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, we just — just came in. We have endorsements from, I think, almost every police group, very — I mean, a large percentage of them in the United States.

We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African- Americans, Hispanics are living in he’ll because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.

In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1st. Thousands of shootings. And I’m saying, where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing? And we have to stop the violence. We have to bring back law and order. In a place like Chicago, where thousands of people have been killed, thousands over the last number of years, in fact, almost 4,000 have been killed since Barack Obama became president, over — almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed. We have to bring back law and order.

Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it.

We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they’re illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant.

We have to be — we have to know what we’re doing. Right now, our police, in many cases, are afraid to do anything. We have to protect our inner cities, because African-American communities are being decimated by crime, decimated.

HOLT: Your two — your two minutes expired, but I do want to follow up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, there are many places where it’s allowed.

HOLT: The argument is that it’s a form of racial profiling.

TRUMP: No, the argument is that we have to take the guns away from these people that have them and they are bad people that shouldn’t have them.

These are felons. These are people that are bad people that shouldn’t be — when you have 3,000 shootings in Chicago from January 1st, when you have 4,000 people killed in Chicago by guns, from the beginning of the presidency of Barack Obama, his hometown, you have to have stop-and-frisk.

You need more police. You need a better community, you know, relation. You don’t have good community relations in Chicago. It’s terrible. I have property there. It’s terrible what’s going on in Chicago.

But when you look — and Chicago’s not the only — you go to Ferguson, you go to so many different places. You need better relationships. I agree with Secretary Clinton on this.

TRUMP: You need better relationships between the communities and the police, because in some cases, it’s not good.

But you look at Dallas, where the relationships were really studied, the relationships were really a beautiful thing, and then five police officers were killed one night very violently. So there’s some bad things going on. Some really bad things.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton…

TRUMP: But we need — Lester, we need law and order. And we need law and order in the inner cities, because the people that are most affected by what’s happening are African-American and Hispanic people. And it’s very unfair to them what our politicians are allowing to happen.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I’ve heard — I’ve heard Donald say this at his rallies, and it’s really unfortunate that he paints such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country.

TRUMP: Ugh.

CLINTON: You know, the vibrancy of the black church, the black businesses that employ so many people, the opportunities that so many families are working to provide for their kids. There’s a lot that we should be proud of and we should be supporting and lifting up.

But we do always have to make sure we keep people safe. There are the right ways of doing it, and then there are ways that are ineffective. Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional and, in part, because it was ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.

Now, I believe in community policing. And, in fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.

But there were some problems, some unintended consequences. Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated. So we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

We need to have more second chance programs. I’m glad that we’re ending private prisons in the federal system; I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans. So there are some positive ways we can work on this.

And I believe strongly that commonsense gun safety measures would assist us. Right now — and this is something Donald has supported, along with the gun lobby — right now, we’ve got too many military- style weapons on the streets. In a lot of places, our police are outgunned. We need comprehensive background checks, and we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who will do harm.

And we finally need to pass a prohibition on anyone who’s on the terrorist watch list from being able to buy a gun in our country. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you are too dangerous to buy a gun. So there are things we can do, and we ought to do it in a bipartisan way.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, last week, you said we’ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias. Do you believe that police are implicitly biased against black people?

CLINTON: Lester, I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police.I think, unfortunately, too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other. And therefore, I think we need all of us to be asking hard questions about, you know, why am I feeling this way?

But when it comes to policing, since it can have literally fatal consequences, I have said, in my first budget, we would put money into that budget to help us deal with implicit bias by retraining a lot of our police officers.

I’ve met with a group of very distinguished, experienced police chiefs a few weeks ago. They admit it’s an issue. They’ve got a lot of concerns. Mental health is one of the biggest concerns, because now police are having to handle a lot of really difficult mental health problems on the street.

CLINTON: They want support, they want more training, they want more assistance. And I think the federal government could be in a position where we would offer and provide that.

HOLT: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: I’d like to respond to that.

HOLT: Please.

TRUMP: First of all, I agree, and a lot of people even within my own party want to give certain rights to people on watch lists and no- fly lists. I agree with you.When a person is on a watch list or a no-fly list, and I have the endorsement of the NRA, which I’m very proud of. These are very, very good people, and they’re protecting the Second Amendment.

But I think we have to look very strongly at no-fly lists and watch lists. And when people are on there, even if they shouldn’t be on there, we’ll help them, we’ll help them legally, we’ll help them get off. But I tend to agree with that quite strongly.

I do want to bring up the fact that you were the one that brought up the words super-predator about young black youth. And that’s a term that I think was a — it’s — it’s been horribly met, as you know. I think you’ve apologized for it. But I think it was a terrible thing to say.

And when it comes to stop-and-frisk, you know, you’re talking about takes guns away. Well, I’m talking about taking guns away from gangs and people that use them. And I don’t think — I really don’t think you disagree with me on this, if you want to know the truth.

I think maybe there’s a political reason why you can’t say it, but I really don’t believe — in New York City, stop-and-frisk, we had 2,200 murders, and stop-and-frisk brought it down to 500 murders. Five hundred murders is a lot of murders. It’s hard to believe, 500 is like supposed to be good?

But we went from 2,200 to 500. And it was continued on by Mayor Bloomberg. And it was terminated by current mayor. But stop-and- frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City. Tremendous beyond belief. So when you say it has no impact, it really did. It had a very, very big impact.

CLINTON: Well, it’s also fair to say, if we’re going to talk about mayors, that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is…

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. You’re wrong.

CLINTON: No, I’m not.

TRUMP: Murders are up. All right. You check it.

CLINTON: New York — New York has done an excellent job. And I give credit — I give credit across the board going back two mayors, two police chiefs, because it has worked. And other communities need to come together to do what will work, as well.

Look, one murder is too many. But it is important that we learn about what has been effective. And not go to things that sound good that really did not have the kind of impact that we would want. Who disagrees with keeping neighborhoods safe?

But let’s also add, no one should disagree about respecting the rights of young men who live in those neighborhoods. And so we need to do a better job of working, again, with the communities, faith communities, business communities, as well as the police to try to deal with this problem.

HOLT: This conversation is about race. And so, Mr. Trump, I have to ask you for five…

TRUMP: I’d like to just respond, if I might.

HOLT: Please — 20 seconds.

TRUMP: I’d just like to respond.

HOLT: Please respond, then I’ve got a quick follow-up for you.

TRUMP: I will. Look, the African-American community has been let down by our politicians. They talk good around election time, like right now, and after the election, they said, see ya later, I’ll see you in four years.

The African-American community — because — look, the community within the inner cities has been so badly treated. They’ve been abused and used in order to get votes by Democrat politicians, because that’s what it is. They’ve controlled these communities for up to 100 years.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, let me…

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: Well, I — I do think…

TRUMP: And I will tell you, you look at the inner cities — and I just left Detroit, and I just left Philadelphia, and I just — you know, you’ve seen me, I’ve been all over the place. You decided to stay home, and that’s OK. But I will tell you, I’ve been all over. And I’ve met some of the greatest people I’ll ever meet within these communities. And they are very, very upset with what their politicians have told them and what their politicians have done.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, I…

CLINTON: I think — I think — I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Mr. Trump, for five years, you perpetuated a false claim that the nation’s first black president was not a natural-born citizen. You questioned his legitimacy. In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years: The president was born in the United States. Can you tell us what took you so long?

TRUMP: I’ll tell you very — well, just very simple to say. Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and close — very close friend of Secretary Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle, went to — during the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard. And you can go look it up, and you can check it out.

TRUMP: And if you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened. Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard. She failed to get the birth certificate.

When I got involved, I didn’t fail. I got him to give the birth certificate. So I’m satisfied with it. And I’ll tell you why I’m satisfied with it.

HOLT: That was…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Because I want to get on to defeating ISIS, because I want to get on to creating jobs, because I want to get on to having a strong border, because I want to get on to things that are very important to me and that are very important to the country.

HOLT: I will let you respond. It’s important. But I just want to get the answer here. The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You’ve continued to tell the story and question the president’s legitimacy in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15…

TRUMP: Yeah.

HOLT: …. as recently as January. So the question is, what changed your mind?

TRUMP: Well, nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it. I figured you’d ask the question tonight, of course. But nobody was caring much about it. But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate. And I think I did a good job.

Secretary Clinton also fought it. I mean, you know — now, everybody in mainstream is going to say, oh, that’s not true. Look, it’s true. Sidney Blumenthal sent a reporter — you just have to take a look at CNN, the last week, the interview with your former campaign manager. And she was involved. But just like she can’t bring back jobs, she can’t produce.

HOLT: I’m sorry. I’m just going to follow up — and I will let you respond to that, because there’s a lot there. But we’re talking about racial healing in this segment. What do you say to Americans, people of color who…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, it was very — I say nothing. I say nothing, because I was able to get him to produce it. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.

But let me just tell you. When you talk about healing, I think that I’ve developed very, very good relationships over the last little while with the African-American community. I think you can see that.

And I feel that they really wanted me to come to that conclusion. And I think I did a great job and a great service not only for the country, but even for the president, in getting him to produce his birth certificate.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, just listen to what you heard.

(LAUGHTER)

And clearly, as Donald just admitted, he knew he was going to stand on this debate stage, and Lester Holt was going to be asking us questions, so he tried to put the whole racist birther lie to bed.

But it can’t be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted, he persisted year after year, because some of his supporters, people that he was trying to bring into his fold, apparently believed it or wanted to believe it.

But, remember, Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans, and he made sure that the people who worked for him understood that was the policy. He actually was sued twice by the Justice Department.

So he has a long record of engaging in racist behavior. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one. You know, Barack Obama is a man of great dignity. And I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.

But I like to remember what Michelle Obama said in her amazing speech at our Democratic National Convention: When they go low, we go high. And Barack Obama went high, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts to bring him down.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, you can respond and we’re going to move on to the next segment.

TRUMP: I would love to respond. First of all, I got to watch in preparing for this some of your debates against Barack Obama. You treated him with terrible disrespect. And I watched the way you talk now about how lovely everything is and how wonderful you are. It doesn’t work that way. You were after him, you were trying to — you even sent out or your campaign sent out pictures of him in a certain garb, very famous pictures. I don’t think you can deny that.

But just last week, your campaign manager said it was true. So when you tried to act holier than thou, it really doesn’t work. It really doesn’t.

Now, as far as the lawsuit, yes, when I was very young, I went into my father’s company, had a real estate company in Brooklyn and Queens, and we, along with many, many other companies throughout the country — it was a federal lawsuit — were sued. We settled the suit with zero — with no admission of guilt. It was very easy to do.

TRUMP: I notice you bring that up a lot. And, you know, I also notice the very nasty commercials that you do on me in so many different ways, which I don’t do on you. Maybe I’m trying to save the money.

But, frankly, I look — I look at that, and I say, isn’t that amazing? Because I settled that lawsuit with no admission of guilt, but that was a lawsuit brought against many real estate firms, and it’s just one of those things.

I’ll go one step further. In Palm Beach, Florida, tough community, a brilliant community, a wealthy community, probably the wealthiest community there is in the world, I opened a club, and really got great credit for it. No discrimination against African- Americans, against Muslims, against anybody. And it’s a tremendously successful club. And I’m so glad I did it. And I have been given great credit for what I did. And I’m very, very proud of it. And that’s the way I feel. That is the true way I feel.

HOLT: Our next segment is called “Securing America.” We want to start with a 21st century war happening every day in this country. Our institutions are under cyber attack, and our secrets are being stolen. So my question is, who’s behind it? And how do we fight it?

Secretary Clinton, this answer goes to you.

CLINTON: Well, I think cyber security, cyber warfare will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next president, because clearly we’re facing at this point two different kinds of adversaries. There are the independent hacking groups that do it mostly for commercial reasons to try to steal information that they can use to make money.

But increasingly, we are seeing cyber attacks coming from states, organs of states. The most recent and troubling of these has been Russia. There’s no doubt now that Russia has used cyber attacks against all kinds of organizations in our country, and I am deeply concerned about this. I know Donald’s very praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin, but Putin is playing a really…

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: … tough, long game here. And one of the things he’s done is to let loose cyber attackers to hack into government files, to hack into personal files, hack into the Democratic National Committee. And we recently have learned that, you know, that this is one of their preferred methods of trying to wreak havoc and collect information. We need to make it very clear — whether it’s Russia, China, Iran or anybody else — the United States has much greater capacity. And we are not going to sit idly by and permit state actors to go after our information, our private-sector information or our public-sector information.

And we’re going to have to make it clear that we don’t want to use the kinds of tools that we have. We don’t want to engage in a different kind of warfare. But we will defend the citizens of this country.

And the Russians need to understand that. I think they’ve been treating it as almost a probing, how far would we go, how much would we do. And that’s why I was so — I was so shocked when Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans. That is just unacceptable. It’s one of the reasons why 50 national security officials who served in Republican information — in administrations…

HOLT: Your two minutes have expired.

CLINTON: … have said that Donald is unfit to be the commander- in-chief. It’s comments like that that really worry people who understand the threats that we face.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, you have two minutes and the same question. Who’s behind it? And how do we fight it?

TRUMP: I do want to say that I was just endorsed — and more are coming next week — it will be over 200 admirals, many of them here — admirals and generals endorsed me to lead this country. That just happened, and many more are coming. And I’m very proud of it.

In addition, I was just endorsed by ICE. They’ve never endorsed anybody before on immigration. I was just endorsed by ICE. I was just recently endorsed — 16,500 Border Patrol agents.

So when Secretary Clinton talks about this, I mean, I’ll take the admirals and I’ll take the generals any day over the political hacks that I see that have led our country so brilliantly over the last 10 years with their knowledge. OK? Because look at the mess that we’re in. Look at the mess that we’re in.

As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. We should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?

TRUMP: You don’t know who broke in to DNC.

But what did we learn with DNC? We learned that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of by your people, by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Look what happened to her. But Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of. That’s what we learned.

Now, whether that was Russia, whether that was China, whether it was another country, we don’t know, because the truth is, under President Obama we’ve lost control of things that we used to have control over.

We came in with the Internet, we came up with the Internet, and I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what ISIS is doing with the Internet, they’re beating us at our own game. ISIS.

So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is — it is a huge problem. I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.

But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing. But that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester, and certainly cyber is one of them.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I think there are a number of issues that we should be addressing. I have put forth a plan to defeat ISIS. It does involve going after them online. I think we need to do much more with our tech companies to prevent ISIS and their operatives from being able to use the Internet to radicalize, even direct people in our country and Europe and elsewhere.

But we also have to intensify our air strikes against ISIS and eventually support our Arab and Kurdish partners to be able to actually take out ISIS in Raqqa, end their claim of being a Caliphate.

We’re making progress. Our military is assisting in Iraq. And we’re hoping that within the year we’ll be able to push ISIS out of Iraq and then, you know, really squeeze them in Syria.

But we have to be cognizant of the fact that they’ve had foreign fighters coming to volunteer for them, foreign money, foreign weapons, so we have to make this the top priority.

And I would also do everything possible to take out their leadership. I was involved in a number of efforts to take out Al Qaida leadership when I was secretary of state, including, of course, taking out bin Laden. And I think we need to go after Baghdadi, as well, make that one of our organizing principles. Because we’ve got to defeat ISIS, and we’ve got to do everything we can to disrupt their propaganda efforts online.

HOLT: You mention ISIS, and we think of ISIS certainly as over there, but there are American citizens who have been inspired to commit acts of terror on American soil, the latest incident, of course, the bombings we just saw in New York and New Jersey, the knife attack at a mall in Minnesota, in the last year, deadly attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando. I’ll ask this to both of you. Tell us specifically how you would prevent homegrown attacks by American citizens, Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, first I have to say one thing, very important. Secretary Clinton is talking about taking out ISIS. “We will take out ISIS.” Well, President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — what, they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.

So she talks about taking them out. She’s been doing it a long time. She’s been trying to take them out for a long time. But they wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.

Or, as I’ve been saying for a long time, and I think you’ll agree, because I said it to you once, had we taken the oil — and we should have taken the oil — ISIS would not have been able to form either, because the oil was their primary source of income. And now they have the oil all over the place, including the oil — a lot of the oil in Libya, which was another one of her disasters.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard. Donald supported the invasion of Iraq.

TRUMP: Wrong.

CLINTON: That is absolutely proved over and over again.

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

CLINTON: He actually advocated for the actions we took in Libya and urged that Gadhafi be taken out, after actually doing some business with him one time.

CLINTON: But the larger point — and he says this constantly — is George W. Bush made the agreement about when American troops would leave Iraq, not Barack Obama.

And the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.

But let’s talk about the question you asked, Lester. The question you asked is, what do we do here in the United States? That’s the most important part of this. How do we prevent attacks? How do we protect our people?

And I think we’ve got to have an intelligence surge, where we are looking for every scrap of information. I was so proud of law enforcement in New York, in Minnesota, in New Jersey. You know, they responded so quickly, so professionally to the attacks that occurred by Rahami. And they brought him down. And we may find out more information because he is still alive, which may prove to be an intelligence benefit.

So we’ve got to do everything we can to vacuum up intelligence from Europe, from the Middle East. That means we’ve got to work more closely with our allies, and that’s something that Donald has been very dismissive of.

We’re working with NATO, the longest military alliance in the history of the world, to really turn our attention to terrorism. We’re working with our friends in the Middle East, many of which, as you know, are Muslim majority nations. Donald has consistently insulted Muslims abroad, Muslims at home, when we need to be cooperating with Muslim nations and with the American Muslim community.

They’re on the front lines. They can provide information to us that we might not get anywhere else. They need to have close working cooperation with law enforcement in these communities, not be alienated and pushed away as some of Donald’s rhetoric, unfortunately, has led to.

HOLT: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: Well, I have to respond.

HOLT: Please respond.

TRUMP: The secretary said very strongly about working with — we’ve been working with them for many years, and we have the greatest mess anyone’s ever seen. You look at the Middle East, it’s a total mess. Under your direction, to a large extent.

But you look at the Middle East, you started the Iran deal, that’s another beauty where you have a country that was ready to fall, I mean, they were doing so badly. They were choking on the sanctions. And now they’re going to be actually probably a major power at some point pretty soon, the way they’re going.

But when you look at NATO, I was asked on a major show, what do you think of NATO? And you have to understand, I’m a businessperson. I did really well. But I have common sense. And I said, well, I’ll tell you. I haven’t given lots of thought to NATO. But two things.

Number one, the 28 countries of NATO, many of them aren’t paying their fair share. Number two — and that bothers me, because we should be asking — we’re defending them, and they should at least be paying us what they’re supposed to be paying by treaty and contract.

And, number two, I said, and very strongly, NATO could be obsolete, because — and I was very strong on this, and it was actually covered very accurately in the New York Times, which is unusual for the New York Times, to be honest — but I said, they do not focus on terror. And I was very strong. And I said it numerous times.

And about four months ago, I read on the front page of the Wall Street Journal that NATO is opening up a major terror division. And I think that’s great. And I think we should get — because we pay approximately 73 percent of the cost of NATO. It’s a lot of money to protect other people. But I’m all for NATO. But I said they have to focus on terror, also.

And they’re going to do that. And that was — believe me — I’m sure I’m not going to get credit for it — but that was largely because of what I was saying and my criticism of NATO.

I think we have to get NATO to go into the Middle East with us, in addition to surrounding nations, and we have to knock the hell out of ISIS, and we have to do it fast, when ISIS formed in this vacuum created by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton. And believe me, you were the ones that took out the troops. Not only that, you named the day. They couldn’t believe it. They sat back probably and said, I can’t believe it. They said…

CLINTON: Lester, we’ve covered…

TRUMP: No, wait a minute.

CLINTON: We’ve covered this ground.

TRUMP: When they formed, when they formed, this is something that never should have happened. It should have never happened. Now, you’re talking about taking out ISIS. But you were there, and you were secretary of state when it was a little infant. Now it’s in over 30 countries. And you’re going to stop them? I don’t think so.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your…

TRUMP: I did not support the war in Iraq.

HOLT: In 2002…

TRUMP: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she — frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.

HOLT: My question is, since you supported it…

TRUMP: Just — would you like to hear…

HOLT: … why is your — why is your judgment…

TRUMP: Wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out.

HOLT: The record shows otherwise, but why — why was…

TRUMP: The record does not show that.

HOLT: Why was — is your judgment any…

TRUMP: The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said — and he called me the other day — and I spoke to him about it — he said you were totally against the war, because he was for the war.

HOLT: Why is your judgment better than…

TRUMP: And when he — excuse me. And that was before the war started. Sean Hannity said very strongly to me and other people — he’s willing to say it, but nobody wants to call him. I was against the war. He said, you used to have fights with me, because Sean was in favor of the war.

And I understand that side, also, not very much, because we should have never been there. But nobody called Sean Hannity. And then they did an article in a major magazine, shortly after the war started. I think in ’04. But they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq.

And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definitely — because if you read this article, there’s no doubt. But if somebody — and I’ll ask the press — if somebody would call up Sean Hannity, this was before the war started. He and I used to have arguments about the war. I said, it’s a terrible and a stupid thing. It’s going to destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what it’s done. It’s been a disaster.

HOLT: My reference was to what you had said in 2002, and my question was…

TRUMP: No, no. You didn’t hear what I said.

HOLT: Why is your judgment — why is your judgment any different than Mrs. Clinton’s judgment?

TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There’s no question about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

I have a much better — she spent — let me tell you — she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising — you know, they get Madison Avenue into a room, they put names — oh, temperament, let’s go after — I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win. She does not have a…

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

TRUMP: Wait. The AFL-CIO the other day, behind the blue screen, I don’t know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you were totally out of control. I said, there’s a person with a temperament that’s got a problem.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Whew, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

Let’s talk about two important issues that were briefly mentioned by Donald, first, NATO. You know, NATO as a military alliance has something called Article 5, and basically it says this: An attack on one is an attack on all. And you know the only time it’s ever been invoked? After 9/11, when the 28 nations of NATO said that they would go to Afghanistan with us to fight terrorism, something that they still are doing by our side.

With respect to Iran, when I became secretary of state, Iran was weeks away from having enough nuclear material to form a bomb. They had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle under the Bush administration. They had built covert facilities. They had stocked them with centrifuges that were whirling away.

And we had sanctioned them. I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate, but it wasn’t enough. So I spent a year-and-a-half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran.

And we did drive them to the negotiating table. And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition-building. That’s working with other nations.

The other day, I saw Donald saying that there were some Iranian sailors on a ship in the waters off of Iran, and they were taunting American sailors who were on a nearby ship. He said, you know, if they taunted our sailors, I’d blow them out of the water and start another war. That’s not good judgment.

TRUMP: That would not start a war.

CLINTON: That is not the right temperament to be commander-in- chief, to be taunted. And the worst part…

TRUMP: No, they were taunting us.

CLINTON: … of what we heard Donald say has been about nuclear weapons. He has said repeatedly that he didn’t care if other nations got nuclear weapons, Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia. It has been the policy of the United States, Democrats and Republicans, to do everything we could to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He even said, well, you know, if there were nuclear war in East Asia, well, you know, that’s fine…

TRUMP: Wrong.

CLINTON: … have a good time, folks.

TRUMP: It’s lies.

CLINTON: And, in fact, his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling. That is the number-one threat we face in the world. And it becomes particularly threatening if terrorists ever get their hands on any nuclear material.So a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes, as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned.

TRUMP: That line’s getting a little bit old, I must say. I would like to…

CLINTON: It’s a good one, though. It well describes the problem.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: It’s not an accurate one at all. It’s not an accurate one. So I just want to give a lot of things — and just to respond. I agree with her on one thing. The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons, not global warming, like you think and your — your president thinks.

Nuclear is the single greatest threat. Just to go down the list, we defend Japan, we defend Germany, we defend South Korea, we defend Saudi Arabia, we defend countries. They do not pay us. But they should be paying us, because we are providing tremendous service and we’re losing a fortune. That’s why we’re losing — we’re losing — we lose on everything. I say, who makes these — we lose on everything. All I said, that it’s very possible that if they don’t pay a fair share, because this isn’t 40 years ago where we could do what we’re doing. We can’t defend Japan, a behemoth, selling us cars by the million…

HOLT: We need to move on.

TRUMP: Well, wait, but it’s very important. All I said was, they may have to defend themselves or they have to help us out. We’re a country that owes $20 trillion. They have to help us out.

HOLT: Our last…

TRUMP: As far as the nuclear is concerned, I agree. It is the single greatest threat that this country has.

HOLT: Which leads to my next question, as we enter our last segment here (inaudible) the subject of securing America. On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy? Mr. Trump, you have two minutes on that.

TRUMP: Well, I have to say that, you know, for what Secretary Clinton was saying about nuclear with Russia, she’s very cavalier in the way she talks about various countries. But Russia has been expanding their — they have a much newer capability than we do. We have not been updating from the new standpoint.

I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s, they’re old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not — we are not keeping up with other countries. I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.

I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table. Because you look at some of these countries, you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.

And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I’ve ever seen negotiated that you started is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea.

And when they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.

And when asked to Secretary Kerry, why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you add other things into the deal? One of the great giveaways of all time, of all time, including $400 million in cash. Nobody’s ever seen that before. That turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion in cash, obviously, I guess for the hostages. It certainly looks that way.

So you say to yourself, why didn’t they make the right deal? This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much.

HOLT: Your two minutes is expired.

TRUMP: And they’re going to end up getting nuclear. I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day. Believe me, he’s not a happy camper.

HOLT: All right. Mrs. Clinton, Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes.

CLINTON: Well, let me — let me start by saying, words matter. Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them.

It is essential that America’s word be good. And so I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to — on behalf of myself, and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people, say that, you know, our word is good.

It’s also important that we look at the entire global situation. There’s no doubt that we have other problems with Iran. But personally, I’d rather deal with the other problems having put that lid on their nuclear program than still to be facing that.

And Donald never tells you what he would do. Would he have started a war? Would he have bombed Iran? If he’s going to criticize a deal that has been very successful in giving us access to Iranian facilities that we never had before, then he should tell us what his alternative would be. But it’s like his plan to defeat ISIS. He says it’s a secret plan, but the only secret is that he has no plan.

So we need to be more precise in how we talk about these issues. People around the word follow our presidential campaigns so closely, trying to get hints about what we will do. Can they rely on us? Are we going to lead the world with strength and in accordance with our values? That’s what I intend to do. I intend to be a leader of our country that people can count on, both here at home and around the world, to make decisions that will further peace and prosperity, but also stand up to bullies, whether they’re abroad or at home.

We cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security…

HOLT: Your two minutes is…

CLINTON: … to be given any opportunities at all.

HOLT: … is expired.

TRUMP: Lester, one thing I’d like to say.

HOLT: Very quickly. Twenty seconds.

TRUMP: I will go very quickly. But I will tell you that Hillary will tell you to go to her website and read all about how to defeat ISIS, which she could have defeated by never having it, you know, get going in the first place. Right now, it’s getting tougher and tougher to defeat them, because they’re in more and more places, more and more states, more and more nations.

HOLT: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: And it’s a big problem. And as far as Japan is concerned, I want to help all of our allies, but we are losing billions and billions of dollars. We cannot be the policemen of the world. We cannot protect countries all over the world…

HOLT: We have just…

TRUMP: … where they’re not paying us what we need.

HOLT: We have just a few final questions…

TRUMP: And she doesn’t say that, because she’s got no business ability. We need heart. We need a lot of things. But you have to have some basic ability. And sadly, she doesn’t have that. All of the things that she’s talking about could have been taken care of during the last 10 years, let’s say, while she had great power. But they weren’t taken care of. And if she ever wins this race, they won’t be taken care of.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, this year Secretary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Earlier this month, you said she doesn’t have, quote, “a presidential look.” She’s standing here right now. What did you mean by that?

TRUMP: She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.

HOLT: The quote was, “I just don’t think she has the presidential look.”

TRUMP: You have — wait a minute. Wait a minute, Lester. You asked me a question. Did you ask me a question?

You have to be able to negotiate our trade deals. You have to be able to negotiate, that’s right, with Japan, with Saudi Arabia. I mean, can you imagine, we’re defending Saudi Arabia? And with all of the money they have, we’re defending them, and they’re not paying? All you have to do is speak to them. Wait. You have so many different things you have to be able to do, and I don’t believe that Hillary has the stamina.

HOLT: Let’s let her respond. CLINTON: Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The world — let me tell you. Let me tell you. Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience. We have made so many bad deals during the last — so she’s got experience, that I agree.

(APPLAUSE)

But it’s bad, bad experience. Whether it’s the Iran deal that you’re so in love with, where we gave them $150 billion back, whether it’s the Iran deal, whether it’s anything you can — name — you almost can’t name a good deal. I agree. She’s got experience, but it’s bad experience. And this country can’t afford to have another four years of that kind of experience.

HOLT: We are at — we are at the final question.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Well, one thing. One thing, Lester.

HOLT: Very quickly, because we’re at the final question now.

CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said…

TRUMP: I never said that.

CLINTON: …. women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.

TRUMP: I didn’t say that.

CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?

CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.

TRUMP: Where did you find this?

CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet…

TRUMP: Oh, really? CLINTON: … she’s going to vote this November.

TRUMP: OK, good. Let me just tell you…

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: Mr. Trump, could we just take 10 seconds and then we ask the final question…

TRUMP: You know, Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials. Some of it’s said in entertainment. Some of it’s said — somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.

But you want to know the truth? I was going to say something…

HOLT: Please very quickly.

TRUMP: … extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.” But she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue. They’re untrue. And they’re misrepresentations.

And I will tell you this, Lester: It’s not nice. And I don’t deserve that.

But it’s certainly not a nice thing that she’s done. It’s hundreds of millions of ads. And the only gratifying thing is, I saw the polls come in today, and with all of that money…

HOLT: We have to move on to the final question.

TRUMP: … $200 million is spent, and I’m either winning or tied, and I’ve spent practically nothing.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight, are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters? Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I certainly will support the outcome of this election.

And I know Donald’s trying very hard to plant doubts about it, but I hope the people out there understand: This election’s really up to you. It’s not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want. So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it, because I think it does.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters? TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country.

The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.

HOLT: Will you accept the outcome of the election?

TRUMP: Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLT: All right. Well, that is going to do it for us. That concludes our debate for this evening, a spirit one. We covered a lot of ground, not everything as I suspected we would.

The next presidential debates are scheduled for October 9th at Washington University in St. Louis and October 19th at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The conversation will continue.

A reminder. The vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 4th at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. My thanks to Hillary Clinton and to Donald Trump and to Hofstra University for hosting us tonight. Good night, everyone.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 September 26, 2016: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton: First Presidential Debate 2016 Hofstra University NY Live Stream

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton: First Presidential Debate 2016 Hofstra University in NY

 

First presidential debate: Sept. 26 at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York. Last 90-minutes without commercial breaks and begins at 9 p.m. ET.

Moderator: NBC’s Nightly News anchor Lester Holt

The main topics will be America’s direction, achieving prosperity and securing America.

Politics September 8, 2016: Clinton needs to review her history the 1960 debates show that personality matters

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

Clinton needs to review her history the 1960 debates show that personality matters

By Bonnie K. Goodman

kennedy-nixon-debate

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is crying sexism after Republicans criticized her appearance during the NBC News Commander-in-Chief forum on Wednesday evening, Sept. 7, 2016; the problem is Clinton does not know her history. If Clinton knew her presidential campaign history, she would realize that “style” matters even more than “substance” in campaigns ever since the first televised debates in 1960 where Democrat nominee John F. Kennedy went head to head with Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon. Clinton’s comment only show one thing, GOP nominee Donald Trump is right; Clinton is playing the woman card too often.

After the forum, both candidates received lackluster reviews for their performances. The Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus took issue with Clinton and tweeted: “@HillaryClinton was angry + defensive the entire time – no smile and uncomfortable – upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.”

Right away, Twitter erupted calling Priebus’ comment as sexist. Clinton’s campaign responded with a Tweet, “Actually, that’s just what taking the office of President seriously looks like.” The next morning, on Thursday, Sept. 8, Clinton gave a short press conference at the Westchester County Airport in New York where she elaborated working the victim angle. Clinton declared, “I’m going to let all of you ponder that last question. I think there will be a lot of Ph.D. theses and popular journalism writing on that subject for years to come.”

Clinton reporters her demeanor was because “we were talking about serious issues last night.” Continuing her argument about substance over style, saying, “I had a very short window of time in that event last night to convey the seriousness with which I would approach the issues of our country,” she said, before turning the table on her opponents.

Clinton chose to mock her opponent Republican nominee Donald Trump, whose comments drew criticism for substance, but he gave an animated performance that played more to television and the audience. Clinton criticized, “Trump chose to talk about his deep admiration and support for Vladimir Putin. Maybe he did it with a smile, and I guess the RNC would have liked that.”

Clinton might have thought she was taking the high road, emphasizing substance is claiming sexism when any mention of style or personality comes up, but all it shows it how much she does not know her history and the way the presidential campaign game is played. All she needed to do was go back to the first televised presidential debates in 1960 with Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy and then-Vice President Richard Nixon.

Both candidates were young and rising political stars, but Nixon had years more experience and accomplishments than his opponent. The first one-hour Sept. 26 debate, contrasted the two candidates in ways, where it cemented one’s frontrunner status and the other’s demise. Kennedy napped before the event at the Chicago TV station, and appeared rested, tanned, healthy, wore a dark suit, he smiled and spoke directly into the camera. Nixon, in contrast, had a recent knee injury was hospitalized and lost a lot a weight, it showed. Nixon’s gray suit looked too big for him, his makeup caked on, he perspired the makeup dripped; his beard was a shadow, he looked unwell and spoke towards his opponent as opposed the camera.

Seventy million Americans viewed the first debate; two-thirds of the population either watched or listened to the debates on the radio. Those that listened to the debates thought Nixon fared better; his responses were full of substance, facts, and statistics backing his arguments and policy proposals. In contrast, those viewing the debate on TV thought Kennedy won because he mixed style and substance and just appeared healthier and more presidential. The debate raised Kennedy’s profile and was the major turning point in what was a close election.

Nixon faced similar complaints about his demeanor that first debate as Clinton did in the forum. When it was a race between men, the issue was not one of sexism but perception and the new technology. Critics complained about the “cosmetic aspect” television brought to politics and the presidential campaign. Historians now routinely blame Nixon’s composure in comparison to Kennedy’s as the reason he eventually lost the election by such a slim margin. Even Nixon admitted in his memoir “Six Crises,” “I should have remembered that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.'”

The debates influenced politics so much that candidates refrained from them for 16 years, the next televised debates was in 1976 between Democrat Jimmy Carter and incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. Alan Schroeder, the author of “Presidential Debates: 40 Years of High-Risk TV,” indicated “The 1960 debates are the turning point from retail politics –glad handing and meeting everyone face to face — to the politics of mass media.” While, Presidential historian Robert Gilbert told CNN, “Since the age of television, presidents have become like movie stars.” Clinton cannot just cry sexism when she is not playing a game that is over 55 years old properly.

The problem with today’s world is the over politically correct notions that if an unflattering comment is made to a minority could it is discriminatory and derogatory when it is not necessarily. In Hillary’s case, it is not, and if she wants to play the game fairly she has to take the punches regardless of her sex. The Hill noted, “Presidential elections are often decided on personality instead of specific policies.” Personality and style often trump just substance is the consensus among historians and pundits something Clinton has repeatedly failed to learn.

Clinton has to realize her problem is not that she is a woman but her personality; she has never truly come across as warm and friendly throughout her time in the political limelight and always had a likeability problem. During her husband Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign in 1992 and in early in his presidency, she was not deemed traditional first lady material, looking to be a political force rather than the feminine role model the country long expected. It was Bill’s outgoing personality that shone and resonated with the voters and the public.

As Hillary became that type of first lady, the warm, children loving homemaker her star rose, when Bill’s numerous scandals let her be the wronged wife she thrived riding her newfound popularity to a Senate seat in New York and her place on the world political stage. Again, Clinton faced the likeability issue when she tried the first time for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and her place in the White House. Clinton was long deemed the frontrunner, but then bursting on the scene was the younger and enigmatic Junior Senator from Illinois Barack Obama.

Obama’s whose quest to become the first African-American president eclipsed her journey to break the glass ceiling and become the first woman president. Obama exposed their differences in the last debate before the New Hampshire primary, when Clinton was asked about her “personality deficit” responding Clinton said “Well, that hurts my feelings” but admitted Obama is “very likable,” Obama responded, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

Clinton was later caught crying; she parlayed her emotions to win the New Hampshire primary by 12 percent of the vote. The sentence deemed sexist was truthful and summed her ongoing problem with voters, her likeability and personality. Where Clinton stressed her experience, Obama passionately spoke of the future, “hope, and change.” In the end, however, personality and Obama won out.

In 2016, Clinton is again facing a larger than life personality in the form of GOP nominee Donald Trump, a business mogul and veteran reality star, who knows how to play the cameras and the press. Whether his comments are controversial or not Trump monopolizes the news cycle. Again Clinton is facing the substance versus style debate and her demeanor at the NBC forum is just an indication of the problems she will face during the debates.

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public policy at Princeton University, noted Clinton’s “challenge remains the same as it always has been – show voters who she is and reveal the person beneath the candidate. To win people’s trust and to generate enthusiasm, she has to let some of her character come out.” The likability factor has always been “what she needs to work on.”  When Clinton or her supporters cry sexism they are only taking the easy way out; it is time for them to realize the problem is Clinton, not anybody else.

Sources:

Sabato, Larry, and Howard R. Ernst. Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. New York: Facts On File, 2006.

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 18, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the 2012 Alfred E. Smith Dinner

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at the 2012 Alfred E. Smith Dinner

Source: WH, 10-19-12 

Waldorf Towers
New York, New York

9:23 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Everyone, please take your seats — otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them.  (Laughter.)

Thank you to Al and Ann.  To Your Eminence; Governor, Mrs. Romney; Governor Cuomo; Mayor Bloomberg; Senator Schumer; all the distinguished guests who are here.

In less than three weeks, voters in states like Ohio and Virginia and Florida will decide this incredibly important election — which begs the question, what are we doing here?  (Laughter.)

Of course, New Yorkers also have a big choice to make — you have to decide which one of us you want holding up traffic for the next four years.  (Laughter.)

Tonight I am here with a man whose father was a popular governor, and who knows what it’s like to run a major Northeastern state, and who could very well be president someday — and I’m hoping it is Andrew Cuomo.  (Laughter and applause.)

This is the third time that Governor Romney and I have met recently.  As some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy at our second debate.  (Laughter.)  I felt really well rested after the nice, long nap I had in the first debate.  (Laughter and applause.)  Although it turns out millions of Americans focused in on the second debate who didn’t focus in on the first debate — and I happen to be one of them.  (Laughter.)

I particularly want to apologize to Chris Matthews.  (Laughter.)  Four years ago, I gave him a thrill up his leg — (laughter) — this time around I gave him a stroke.  (Laughter.)

And of course, there’s a lot of things I learned from that experience.  For example, I learned that there are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift. (Laughter and applause.)  So, take note, gentlemen.

Now, win or lose, this is my last political campaign.  So I’m trying to drink it all in.  Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg will only let me have 16 ounces of it.  (Laughter.)  That’s okay, I’m still making the most of my time in the city.  Earlier today, I went shopping at some stores in Midtown.  I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.  (Laughter.)

And it brought back some great memories because, some of you know, I went to school here in New York, had a wonderful experience here.  (Applause.)  Used to love walking through Central Park, loved to go to old Yankee Stadium, the house that Ruth built — although he really did not build that.  (Laughter.) I hope everybody is aware of that.  (Applause.)

It’s been four years since I was last at the Al Smith Dinner.  And I have to admit some things have changed since then. I’ve heard some people say, “Barack, you’re not as young as you used to be.  Where’s that golden smile?  Where’s that pep in your step?”  And I say, “Settle down, Joe, I’m trying to run a Cabinet meeting.”  (Laughter.)  He does smile when he says it, though.  (Laughter.)

Tomorrow it’s back to campaigning.  I visit cities and towns across our great country, and I hear the same thing everywhere I go — honestly, we were hoping to see Michelle.  (Laughter.)  And I have to admit it can be a grind.  Sometimes it feels like this race has dragged on forever.  But Paul Ryan assured me that we’ve only been running for two hours and 50-something minutes.  (Laughter and applause.)

Of course, the economy is on everybody’s minds.  The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since I took office.  I don’t have a joke here.  I just thought it would be useful to remind everybody that the unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been since I took office.  (Laughter and applause.)

And we’re getting to that time when folks are making up their minds.  Just the other day, Honey Boo Boo endorsed me.  (Laughter.)  So that’s a big relief.

Ultimately, though, tonight is not about the disagreements Governor Romney and I may have.  It’s what we have in common — beginning with our unusual names.  Actually, Mitt is his middle name.  I wish I could use my middle name.  (Laughter and applause.)

And even though we’re enjoying ourselves tonight, we’re both thinking ahead to our final debate on Monday.  I’m hoping that Governor Romney and I will have a chance to answer the question that is on the minds of millions of Americans watching at home:  Is this happening again?  (Laughter.)  Why aren’t they putting on The Voice?  (Laughter.)

Monday’s debate is a little bit different because the topic is foreign policy.  Spoiler alert:  We got bin Laden.  (Laughter and applause.)  Of course, world affairs are a challenge for every candidate.  After — some of you guys remember, after my foreign trip in 2008, I was attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas.  And I have to say, I’m impressed with how well Governor Romney has avoided that problem. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, just so everyone knows, in our third debate we won’t spend a whole lot of time interrupting each other.  We will also interrupt the moderator, just to mix things up.  (Laughter.)

And finally, let me say that I’ve been doing some thinking, and I’ve decided that for our final debate I’m going to go back to the strategy I used to prepare for the first debate.  (Laughter.)  I’m just kidding — I’m trying to make Axelrod sweat a little bit.  (Laughter and applause.)  Get him a little nervous.  (Laughter.)

In all seriousness, I couldn’t be more honored to be here this evening.  I’m honored to be with leaders of both the private and public sectors, and particularly the extraordinary work that is done by the Catholic Church.  (Applause.)

It’s written in Scripture that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  This country has fought through some very tough years together, and while we still have a lot of work ahead, we’ve come as far as we have mainly because of the perseverance and character of ordinary Americans.  And it says something about who we are as a people that in the middle of a contentious election season, opposing candidates can share the same stage; people from both parties can come together — (applause) — come together to support a worthy cause.

And I particularly want to thank Governor Romney for joining me, because I admire him very much as a family man and a loving father, and those are two titles that will always matter more than any political ones.  (Applause.)

So we may have different political perspectives, but I think — in fact, I’m certain — that we share the hope that the next four years will reflect the same decency and the same willingness to come together for a higher purpose that are on display this evening.  May we all, in the words of Al Smith, do our full duty as citizens.

God bless you.  God bless your families.  And may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
9:33 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 17, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Mt. Vernon, Iowa — Uses Debate Zingers in Iowa

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Uses Debate Zingers in Iowa

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama Wednesday took his presidential debate “zingers” on the road to battleground Iowa, using the catchy sound bites in an effort to appeal to independent voters and women voters.
“Governor Romney has been running around talking about his five-point plan for the economy for quite some time, and as I pointed out last night and you guys heard yourselves, it’s really a one-point plan,” Obama told a packed gymnasium at Cornell College less than 24 hours after their face-to-face showdown….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event in Mt. Vernon, IA

Source: WH, 10-17-12 

Richard and Norma Small Multi-Sport Center
Mt. Vernon, Iowa

12:12 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Iowa!  (Applause.)  Thank you!  Are you fired up?  (Applause.)  Are you ready to go?  (Applause.)

Well, first of all, can everybody please give a big round of applause to Rachel for that great introduction?  (Applause.)  I want to thank the Rams for hosting us here today.  I appreciate you guys.  (Applause.)  Go, Rams!  (Applause.)

We’ve got your outstanding Senator, Tom Harkin.  (Applause.) Congressman Bruce Braley.  (Applause.)  Another Congressman who has — I guess it’s professor emeritus right here — Dave Loebsack.  (Applause.)  Two of my oldest friends in Iowa, my co-chairs back in 2008 — your Attorney General, Tom Miller — (applause) — and your Treasurer, Mike Fitzgerald.  (Applause.)

And I’m thrilled to see all of you.  And I hope you’re enjoying the warm weather.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)

I just want to know — look, I’m from Chicago.  (Applause.) And I campaigned in Iowa in January.  (Laughter.)  So this is basically the warmest you will be for the next six months.  (Laughter.)

Now, I’ve come back to Cornell College today — (applause)  — come back to ask each of you for one big thing.  I’m asking for your vote.  (Applause.)  I’m asking for your vote.  In Iowa, you can vote today.  Today.  As long as you’re registered before October 27th, you can vote right up to Election Day.  In fact, you can go vote right after this event at the Cole Library.  (Applause.)  And anyone can find out how to register and where to vote at Vote.BarackObama.com.

So, Iowa, are you going to vote for me today if you haven’t already voted?  (Applause.)  I need you.  I need you.

Now, as many of you know, we had our second debate last night.  (Applause.)  I’m still trying to figure out how to get the hang of this thing — debating.  (Laughter.)  But we’re working on it.  We’ll keep on improving as time goes on.  I’ve got one left.  (Applause.)

But the interesting thing is that Governor Romney has been running around talking about his five-point plan for the economy for quite some time.  And as I pointed out last night, and you guys heard yourselves, it’s really a one-point plan.  It’s really a one-point plan.  It says folks at the very top can play by their own set of rules.

That’s why they can pay lower taxes than you do, or they can use offshore accounts.  Or they can invest in a company, bankrupt it, fire the workers, take away their pensions, ship the jobs overseas, and still make money doing it.

It’s the one-point plan that says it’s okay for Wall Street to keep engaging in the reckless behavior that got us into the mess we’ve been fighting back from for the last four years.  It’s the same philosophy that’s been squeezing middle-class families for more than a decade.  It’s the same philosophy that we saw in the previous administration.  And I have seen too much pain and too much struggle to let this country go down that same road again.  (Applause.)

So, Iowa, we can’t — I want you to know, folks here in Iowa understand this — you cannot grow this economy from the top down.  You grow this economy from the middle class out.  We’re not going to go back to what we were doing before.  We’re moving forward.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, Governor Romney also took another stab at trying to sell us his $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy.  Once again, he refused to tell us how he’s going to pay for it.  He said he’d let you know after the election.  (Laughter.)  Now, here’s a tip:  Usually when a politician tells you he’s going to wait until after the election to explain a plan to you, they don’t have a pleasant surprise in store for you.  (Laughter.)  And in this case, it’s because just about everybody who’s looked at Governor Romney’s $5 trillion in tax cuts says he can’t pay for it without blowing a hole in the deficit or raising taxes on middle-class families.  It can’t be done.

Governor Romney says he has a plan to create 12 million new jobs in the next four years.  But when folks started crunching the numbers, it fell apart even faster than his tax plan. (Laughter.)  Turns out his jobs math isn’t any better than his tax math.  (Applause.)  The Washington Post called it a “bait and switch.”

So let’s recap what we learned last night.  His tax plan doesn’t add up; his jobs plan doesn’t create jobs; his deficit reduction plan adds to the deficit.  So, Iowa, everybody here has heard of the New Deal; you’ve heard of the fair deal; you’ve heard of the square deal.  Mitt Romney is trying to sell you a Sketchy Deal.  (Applause.)

We are not buying it.  We know better.  We’ve been there.  We’ve tried that.  We’re not going back.  We’re moving forward.  That’s why I need your vote.  We’ve got to finish what we started in 2008.  (Applause.)  You don’t want to invest in that sketchy deal.  Let me tell you —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Etch-a-Sketch.

THE PRESIDENT:  That, too.  (Laughter.)

Four years ago, I told you we’d end the war in Iraq — and I did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d end the war in Afghanistan — and we are.  (Applause.)  I said we’d focus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 — and we have, and bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families — and we have, by $3,600.  I promised to cut taxes for small business owners — and we have, 18 times.  We got back every dime used to rescue the banks, and we passed a law to make sure that taxpayer-funded bailouts are over for good.

We passed health care reform so your insurance company can’t jerk you around anymore.  (Applause.)  We made sure insurance companies have to let parents keep their children on their parents’ plan until they’re 26 years old if they don’t have health insurance.  (Applause.)  We said to insurance companies, you’ve got to charge women the same as men because being a woman is not a preexisting condition.  (Applause.)

We repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” so no one is ever kicked out of the military because of who they love.  (Applause.)

When Governor Romney said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt, we said thanks but no thanks, and we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s come roaring back to the top of the world.  (Applause.)

Last time I was here, I said to students, we’ve going to help you make sure you can afford a college education — and we took $60 billion that was going to banks and middlemen in the student loan program, we said let’s cut out the middleman, let’s give that money directly to students.  And as a consequence, millions of students have benefited from lower interest rates and Pell grants.  (Applause.)

Today, four years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, we’re moving forward again.  After losing 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, our businesses have now added more than 5 million new jobs over the past two and a half years.  (Applause.)

Unemployment has fallen from a peak of 10 percent to 7.8 percent.  The stock market has nearly doubled, which means your 401(k)s have started to recover.  Foreclosures are at their lowest point in five years.  Home values are back on the rise.  Manufacturing is coming home to America.  Our assembly lines are starting to hum again.  (Applause.)

Look, we’ve got a lot more work to do, but we’ve got to build on that progress.  And I’ve got a plan to grow the economy and create jobs and build more security for middle-class families.  I talked about it last night.  I want to export more products, outsource fewer jobs.  We can keep giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, or we can give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Iowa, right here in the United States of America rebuilding our manufacturing base.  (Applause.)

I want to control more of our own energy.  You heard last night oil production is up.  Natural gas production is up.  But what we’ve also said is we’ve got to develop new sources of energy, and we’ve got to be more efficient with our economy.  And so we raised fuel-efficiency standards on cars so by the middle of the next decade, your car will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)

We have doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from wind and solar and biofuels.  Today the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last two decades.  (Applause.)

And so the question — so the choice you have, you heard last night, it’s not a choice between oil versus solar, or natural gas versus wind.  Look, we all agree we got to increase oil production.  We all agree we got to increase natural gas production.  But the question is whether we build on the progress for the new energy sources of the future.  I’m not going to keep on giving corporate taxpayer-funded welfare to oil companies, $4 billion a year, when we could be using that money to continue to promote wind and solar and long-lasting batteries, and put Americans back to work right now — (applause) — seeing that technology develop here in the United States instead of China or Germany, or some other country.  (Applause.)

And I’ve got to tell you, Iowa, this is not a pipedream; there are nearly 7,000 jobs in Iowa right now depending on wind  energy.  Last night, Governor Romney claimed he didn’t have a plan to end wind jobs in Iowa, but he called these jobs “imaginary.”  His plan would end tax credits for wind energy producers.  That is a fact.  My plan will keep these investments, and we’ll keep reducing the carbon pollution that’s also heating the planet — (applause) — because climate change isn’t a hoax. The droughts we’ve seen, the floods, the wildfires — those aren’t a joke.  They’re a threat to our children’s future.  And we can do something about it.  That’s part of what’s at stake in this election.

I want to give more Americans the chance to get a great education and get the skills they need to compete in the 21st century.  (Applause.)  I tried to talk about education last night.  We kept on getting waylaid.  But if you’re talking about jobs and economic growth, what’s more important than making sure everybody has got the skills they need?

I’m only here because of a great education.  All the young people who are making an investment in their college education right now, you guys understand you’ve got to be equipped.  Michelle, her gateway into opportunity was her education system. Her dad was a blue-collar worker, her mom was a secretary.  And right now, as I said, because of the actions we already took, millions of young people are paying less for college because we finally took on that system that was wasting taxpayer dollars, gave it directly to students.

Rachel, by the way — I took a photo with her parents backstage, and she talked about how — the fact that we put in place a tax credit for middle-income families to send their kids to college is helping her attend school right now.  (Applause.)

But what you saw last night, even though we weren’t able to talk about it as much as I would have liked, is a fundamental difference.  Governor Romney says hiring more teachers won’t grow our economy over the next four years.  Well, you know what, yes, it will.  But more importantly, what about our kids over the next 40 years?  What about our economy for the next 40 years?

We could gut education, pay for Governor Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut — or we can recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers over the next decade — (applause) — helping our young people refocus on science and technology, engineering, math.  We should make sure all our young people — our daughters as well as our sons — are thriving in these fields.  (Applause.) This should be a national mission.

I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented — (applause) — driven young women ready to learn and teach in these fields right now.  (Applause.)

And when young women graduate, they should get equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  That should be a simple question to answer.  When Governor Romney was asked about it, his campaign said, “We’ll get back to you.”  That shouldn’t be a complicated question: equal pay for equal work.  I want my daughters paid just like somebody else’s sons are paid for the same job.  That’s straightforward.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve got to say, last night, Governor Romney’s top advisor finally admitted, no, the Governor didn’t really support that bill.  You don’t have to wait for an answer from me.  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill I signed into law as President — the first bill.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney didn’t want to talk much last night about how he wants to end funding for Planned Parenthood, how he supports legislation that would turn certain decisions about a woman’s health care over to their employers.  He didn’t want to talk about it because he knows he can’t sell it.  I don’t think your boss should control the health care you get.  (Applause.)  I don’t think insurers should control the health care you get.  (Applause.)  I certainly don’t think politicians should control the health care that you get.  (Applause.)

We passed Obamacare — yes, I like the term — we passed it — (laughter) — because I do care, and I want to put these choices in your hands where they belong.  (Applause.)

Fourth plan — fourth part of the plan to create jobs right here is use some of the money we’re saving from ending those wars in Iraq, winding down the war in Afghanistan, to pay down our deficit, put our people back to work, including our veterans, rebuilding roads and bridges and schools all across America.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney and I just have a different theory on this. He said it was “tragic” the way we ended the war in Iraq; doubled down on the belief in a speech just last week, said we should have kept troops on the ground in Iraq.  I disagree.  I know these troops.  I know their families.  I know how dedicated they are and the sacrifices they and their families make.  And it was time to bring those troops home to their families.  It was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

And every brave American who wears the uniform of this country, they need to know as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we’re going to maintain the strongest military in the world.  And when those troops take off the uniform, we’re going to serve them as well as they served us — because nobody should have to fight for a job after they fought for our country.  Nobody should have to fight for a roof over their heads or the health care they need after they fought for America.  (Applause.)

And finally, I want to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and I’ve worked with Republicans and Democrats already to cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending.  I’m ready to cut more spending that is not contributing to our growth.  But we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.

We’ve got to make investments in science and research and infrastructure.  And we can’t do all that and reduce our deficit unless we ask the wealthiest households to pay a little bit more — pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000.  So keep in mind, somebody making $500,000, they’re still keeping the tax break for the first $250,000, but after that, let’s go back to the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President — (applause) — our economy created 23 million new jobs, we went from deficit to surplus.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney was asked, is it fair that he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher who makes $50,000.  He said, yes, I think it’s fair; I think that’s how you grow an economy.  He’s wrong.  You look at our economic history — that’s not how we grew an economy, by just having a few folks at the top paying even less than folks in the middle.  I’m not going to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home, or raising their kids, or sending their kids to college just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  (Applause.)

I’m not going to ask the students here to pay more for college so I have a little more money in my pocket.  I don’t need it.  (Applause.)  I’m not going to kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, or elderly, or disabled.

And Governor Romney again last night, over and over again, he says, I can cut taxes for everybody; I can increase military spending by $2 trillion; I will lower taxes for middle-class families and I’m going to close the deficit.  He keeps on saying it.  And when people ask, well, what are you going to cut — because I don’t know about you guys, but if I’m looking at my budget and I’m trying to shrink my debt, I’ve got to cut something out.  So, so far, what he’s offered is eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood and getting rid of Big Bird —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  — and ending wind tax credits.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  It adds up to less than 1/100th of 1 percent of the federal budget.  So he claims his — now, that was an estimate, by the way.  I was doing that off the top of my head.  (Laughter.)

He claims his $5 trillion tax cut will create millions of new jobs and pay for themselves.  We have heard this pitch before.  You know where we heard it?  In the previous administration.  We know it doesn’t work.  We know what we’re talking about does create jobs.

And now the choice is up to you.  The election now is up to you.  It comes down to this.  Over and over again, our opponents tell us that because government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, borrow money from your parents.  If a company releases harmful pollution into the air, you know what, that’s the price of progress.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not what America is about.

We are in this thing together.  (Applause.)  That’s what this country is about.  Here in America, we believe that we’re all in this together — everybody.  We understand America is not just about what can be done for us, but what can be done by us, as one people, as one nation.

Iowa, you’re the reason that we’ve got shuttered factories in places like Newton that are now humming again with workers manufacturing components for amazing wind turbines.  You made that happen because you believed we could do this together.  You’re the reason a mother in Cedar Rapids — actually, a mother right here in this audience — doesn’t have to worry about surgery for her daughter because the insurance company can’t limit her coverage.

You’re the reason a student in Ames, or Iowa City, or Cornell College can get help paying for a college education, and we’ve got a New GI Bill for our returning veterans to get the education they need.  (Applause.)  That all happened because of you.  And we’ve got to do it again.

You’re the reason a young immigrant is not going to be sent away from the only country she’s ever called home.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason that we were able to bring our troops home, and those families are reunited with their loved ones.  You made that happen.

So if we don’t fight as hard as we can over the next three weeks, all that could be set aside.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  You cannot turn away.  And if your voices aren’t heard, then the lobbyists and the special interests, they’ll fill the void — the folks who are writing the $10 million checks to try to buy this election; the folks who are trying to make it harder for people to vote in this election.  And you can’t let that happen.  I’m not going to let that happen.  (Applause.)  We’ve worked too hard together over the last four years to let that happen.  (Applause.)

Back in 2008, it started here in Iowa.  (Applause.)  You’re the ones who first showed America that change was possible.  And everything we fought for is now at stake.  And we can choose to go back to the same top-down policies that got us into this mess, or you can choose to move us forward with the policies that have been getting us out of this mess.

You can choose to go back to a foreign policy that gets us into wars with no plan for getting out, or you can help move us forward and end the Afghan war responsibly and bring our troops home, and focus on the terrorists who were going to attack us.  (Applause.)

You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years for women and for immigrants and for gays and for lesbians — or you can stand up and say, we want to move forward.  We believe in the country where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or who you love, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

That’s what’s at stake in this election.  That’s what I still believe in.  And if that’s what you still believe in, then we’ve got to fight as hard as we can for the next three weeks.  And I promise you, if you are willing to stand with me, and knock on doors with me, and work as hard as you can, and talk to your friends and your neighbors and your classmates, and if you will vote for me, we will win Linn County again.  We will win Iowa again.  (Applause.)  We will win this election again.  We’ll finish what we started, and we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you and God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
12:40 P.M. CDT

Campaign Headlines October 4, 2012: Chris Ellis & David J. Lanoue: Debate influence may be overrated

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Debate influence may be overrated

Source: UPI, 10-4-12

President Barack Obama (L) and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney participate in the Denver Debate at the University of Denver’s Ritchie Center on October 3, 2012 in Denver. UPI/Michael Reynolds/Pool

Chris Ellis, assistant professor of political science at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.:

“The presidential debates always provide one or two memorable moments: The ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago,” or the “You’re no Jack Kennedy,'” Ellis said in a statement. “But by the time we get to the debates, unless one of the candidates really outperforms the other, most of the voters have more or less made up their minds.”

David J. Lanoue of Columbus State University in Georgia and co-author of “The Joint Press Conference: The History, Impact, and Prospects of American Presidential Debates”: 

“Debates can sometimes provide candidates with a measurable bump that can change the complexion of a close race, at least in the short term,” Lanoue said. “Debates likely played a meaningful role in the outcomes of the 1980 and 2000 elections, and may also have helped to shape the results in 1960, 1976 and 2004 — although the big debate winner in 2004 was Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat, who fell short in November against Republican George W. Bush.”

Campaign Headlines October 4, 2012: Obama Heads to Wisconsin, Romney Looks to Build on Momentum

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Heads to Wisconsin, Romney Looks to Build on Momentum

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-4-12

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Following last night’s first presidential debate of the 2012 voting season, President Obama headlines a rally Thursday in Madison, Wis., while Republican candidate Mitt Romney heads to Virginia.

This morning, the Republican National Committee seized on the president’s body language during the first showdown between the two candidates, releasing a web video called, “Smirk,” a compendium of the president’s facial contortions during the debate….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 4, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at Sloan’s Lake Park, Denver, Colorado — Fights Back Day After Debate Defeat

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Fights Back Day After Debate Defeat

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-4-12 

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages

Under fire from critics on the left and right for his performance at the first presidential debate, President Obama arrived in Denver for a chilly morning-after rally armed with rejoinders to arguments made by Republican rival Mitt Romney, which were not delivered in the heat of debate last night.

Obama told the crowd of 12,000 huddled along the shoreline at Sloan’s Lake Park that the man he faced was a “very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” but who espoused positions in conflict with what “the real Mitt Romney” has been touting on the campaign trail….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Denver, CO

Source: WH, 10-4-12

Sloan’s Lake Park
Denver, Colorado

10:30 A.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Colorado!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Denver!  (Applause.)  Can everybody please give Lily a big round of applause for the great introduction.  (Applause.)  We’ve got so many dignitaries I can’t name them all.  But we’ve got your outstanding senators in the house.  (Applause.)  Your terrific members of Congress are here.  (Applause.)  Got our campaign co-chairs.  Got Will.I.Am.  (Applause.)  Most importantly, we’ve got all of you.  (Applause.)  Even though you had to get the winter coats out a little quicker than you expected.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  I love you back.  (Applause.)

Now, the reason I was in Denver, obviously, is to see all of you, and it’s always pretty.  (Laughter.)  But we also had our first debate last night.  (Applause.)  And when I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney.  (Laughter.)  But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney — because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy.  The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.  (Laughter.)

The real Mitt Romney said we don’t need any more teachers in our classrooms.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo — vote.  (Laughter and applause.)

But the fellow on stage last night, he loves teachers — can’t get enough of them.  (Laughter.)  The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were called “pioneers” of outsourcing jobs to other countries.  But the guy on stage last night, he said that he doesn’t even know that there are such laws that encourage outsourcing — he’s never heard of them.  Never heard of them.  Never heard of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.  He said that if it’s true, he must need a new accountant.  (Laughter.)

Now, we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney, because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant.  (Laughter.)  So you see, the man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney’s decisions and what he’s been saying for the last year.  And that’s because he knows full well that we don’t want what he’s been selling for the last year.  (Applause.)  So Governor Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be President, you owe the American people the truth.  (Applause.)

So here’s the truth:  Governor Romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class.  That’s the math.  We can’t afford to go down that road again.  We can’t afford another round of budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy.  We can’t afford to gut our investments in education or clean energy or research and technology.  We can’t afford to roll back regulations on Wall Street, or on big oil companies or insurance companies.  We cannot afford to double down on the same top-down economic policies that got us into this mess.  That is not a plan to create jobs.  That is not a plan to grow the economy.  That is not change — that is a relapse.  (Applause.)  We don’t want to go back there.  We’ve tried it, it didn’t work.  And we are not going back, we are going forward.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve got a different view about how we create jobs and prosperity.  This country doesn’t succeed when we only see the rich getting richer.  We succeed when the middle class gets bigger.  We grow our economy not from the top down, but from the middle out.

We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country, but we do believe in something called opportunity.  We believe in a country where hard work pays off and where responsibility is rewarded, and everybody is getting a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules.  (Applause.)  That’s the country we believe in.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s why I’m running for a second term for President of the United States, and that’s why I want your vote.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  What I talked about last night was a new economic patriotism — a patriotism that’s rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class.

That means we export more jobs and we outsource — export more products and we outsource fewer jobs.  Over the last three years, we came together to reinvent a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  (Applause.)  We’ve created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs.

And so now you’ve got a choice.  We can keeping giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that are opening new plants and training new workers, and creating new jobs right here in the United States of America.  That’s what we’re looking for.  (Applause.)

We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and create a million new manufacturing jobs over the next four years.  You can make that happen.

I want to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will be going twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)

We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar.  And thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  (Applause.)  The United States of America today is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in nearly two decades.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice between a plan that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it.  Last night, my opponent says he refuses to close the loophole that gives big oil companies $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies every year.  Now, we’ve got a better plan — where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal, and the good jobs that come with them; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks; where construction workers are retrofitting homes and factories so they waste less energy; and we can develop a 100-year supply of natural gas that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs — and, by the way, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020.  That will be good for our economy.  That will be good for our environment.  That will be good for Colorado.  That will be good for America.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s why I am running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I want to give more Americans the chance to learn the skills they need to compete.  I talked last night about how education was the gateway of opportunity for me and Michelle, for so many of you.  It’s the gateway for a middle-class life.  And today, millions of students are paying less for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on bankers and lenders.  (Applause.)

And so now you’ve got a choice:  We can gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dream deferred because of an overcrowded classroom.  (Applause.)  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.  No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here in the United States.

So we’re going to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers, and we’re going to improve early childhood education, and we’re going to create 2 million more slots in community colleges so that workers can get trained for the jobs that are out there right now.  (Applause.)  And we are going to continue to do everything we need to do to cut the growth of tuition costs, because every young person in America should have the opportunity to go to college without being loaded up with hundreds — with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt.  That’s part of what it means for us to be able to build an economy that lasts.

And finally, I’ve got a balanced plan that independent experts say will cut the deficit by $4 trillion through a mix of spending cuts and higher taxes on wealthiest Americans.  Now, I’ve already worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple and it’s fair, but also so incomes over $250,000 — we go back to the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, we created 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, a lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

Now, last night, Governor Romney ruled out raising a dime of taxes on anybody ever, no matter how much money they make.  He ruled out closing the loophole that gives oil companies $4 billion in corporate welfare.  He refused to even acknowledge the loophole that gives tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas.  And when he was asked what he’d actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending, he said he’d eliminate funding for public television.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That was his answer.  I mean, thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s about time.  We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit.  (Laughter.)  But that’s what we heard last night.  How about that?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  And Elmo!

THE PRESIDENT:  Elmo, too?  (Laughter.)

Look, the fact is Governor Romney’s math just doesn’t add up.  And I had to spend a lot of time last night trying to pin it down.  The only one way to pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts and $2 trillion in new defense spending that the military says it doesn’t need is by asking the middle class to pay more. And I refuse to do that.  (Applause.)

I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, or elderly, or disabled — just to pay for more tax cuts that we cannot afford.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  Governor Romney doubled down on that proposal last night and he is wrong.  No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned.  (Applause.)

So, yes, we’ll reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care — not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.  And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it — not by turning it over to Wall Street.

Now, going forward we’re going to have a chance to talk a little bit about what’s going on overseas, because our prosperity at home is linked to what happens abroad.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq, and I did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan in a responsible way, and we are.  (Applause.)  While a new tower is rising above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

But we still face serious threats around the world.  We saw that just a few weeks ago.  And that’s why, so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  And when our troops take off their uniforms, we will serve them as well as they’ve served us — (applause) — because nobody should have to fight for a job when they come home, or a roof over their heads when they have fought for their country.  They have earned our respect and our honor.  (Applause.)  That’s a commitment I make.

Now, it will be interesting to see what the guy who was playing Mitt Romney yesterday — (laughter) — will say about foreign policy when we meet next, because he said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.  He won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan.  And I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and to put more people back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges, and our schools and our runways and broadband lines — because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building here at home and put some folks to work here at home.  (Applause.)

So this is the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we’ve been told by our opponents that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If a company is releasing toxic pollution into the air that your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress — can’t afford to regulate.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, just borrow money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

As I described last night, that’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  Here in America, we believe we’re all in this together.  (Applause.)  We understand America is not about what can be done for us — it’s about what can be done by us, together, as one nation, and as one people.  (Applause.)

You understand that.  You understand that, Denver.  You are the reason that there’s a teacher in Pueblo who, with her husband, can buy her first phone with — first home with the help of new tax credits that we helped pass.  We couldn’t have done it without you.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason that a woman outside Durango can get the treatment she needs to beat cancer, now that there are affordable plans to cover preexisting conditions.  You did that.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason that thousands of students at CU Boulder, and Colorado State, and University of Denver have more help paying for college this year.  That happened because of you.  (Applause.)

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

You’re the reason why an outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of the military because of who he loves.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why thousands of families have been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely:  “Welcome home.”  Welcome home.  Welcome home.  (Applause.)

If you turn away now — if you buy into the cynicism that somehow the change we fought for isn’t possible, then of course, change won’t happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other folks fill the void — lobbyists and special interests, and the people who are writing the $10 million checks.  And all the spin will end up dominating the airwaves, and that’s how things go, and ordinary folks get left out.  All the folks who are trying to make it harder for you to vote; the folks in Washington who think somehow that they should control the health care choices that women should be making for themselves.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Only you can make change happen.  Only you have the power to move us forward.  (Applause.)

From the day we began this campaign, I always said real change takes time.  It takes more than one term.  It takes more even than one President or one party.  You certainly can’t do it if you’ve got a President who writes off half the nation before he even takes office.  (Applause.)

In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me.  But on the night of the election, I said to all those Americans, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President, too.  (Applause.)

And so I want to say to Denver, I want to say to the entire great state of Colorado:  I don’t know how many of you will be with me this time around — (applause) — but I’ll be with you no matter what.  Because I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs — I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to improve schools in the red states or blue states — I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States.  (Applause.)

The values we care about don’t just belong to workers or businesses, or the rich or the poor, or the 1 percent or the 99 percent — they are American values; they belong to all of us.  And if we reclaim them now, if we rally around a new sense of economic patriotism, a sense of how we build an economy from the middle out and give ladders of opportunity for everybody who is willing to work hard — we will strengthen the middle class, we’ll keep moving forward.

I still believe that our politics is not as divided as it seems sometimes.  I still believe in you.  I’m asking you to keep on believing in me.  (Applause.)  I’m asking for your vote.  And if you’re willing to stand with me and work with me, we’re going to win Denver again.  (Applause.)  We’ll win Colorado again.  We’ll finish what we started.  We will remind the world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
10:52 A.M. MDT

Campaign Buzz October 3, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins First Presidential Debate Against President Barack Obama in Denver, Colorado — Romney Comes Out Swinging in First Presidential Debate

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

STATS

IN THE NEWS

Obama and Romney Clash in First Debate

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-3-12

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages

Mitt Romney came out swinging in the first presidential debate, challenging President Obama over his health care reforms, treatment of the economy, taxes and even funding for Sesame Street’s Big Bird.

Romney jabbed the president, calling his approach “trickle-down government” and accusing him of spending his time in office concentrating on passing his health care plan at the expense of creating jobs.

“Under the president’s policies, middle-income Americans have been buried. They’re just being crushed,” Romney said….READ MORE

Obama and Romney, in First Debate, Spar Over Fixing the Economy

Source: NYT, 10-3-12


Doug Mills/The New York Times
Mitt Romney and President Obama shook hands at the beginning of the first presidential debate in Denver. More Photos »

Mitt Romney on Wednesday accused President Obama of failing to lead the country out of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, using the first presidential debate to invigorate his candidacy by presenting himself as an equal who can solve problems Mr. Obama has been unable to.

The president implored Americans to be patient and argued that his policies needed more time to work, warning that changing course would wipe away the economic progress the country is steadily making. The two quarreled aggressively over tax policy, the budget deficit and the role of government, with each man accusing the other of being evasive and misleading voters.

But for all of the anticipation, and with less than five weeks remaining until Election Day, the 90-minute debate unfolded much like a seminar by a business consultant and a college professor. Both men argued that their policies would improve the lives of the middle class, but their discussion often dipped deep into the weeds, and they talked over each other without connecting their ideas to voters….READ MORE

QUOTES

[READ THE TRANSCRIPT from Wednesday night’s presidential debate]

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY

On Obama’s economic plan:

“I’m concerned that we’re on the path that’s just been unsuccessful. The president has a view very similar to the one he had when he ran for office four years ago, that spending more, taxing more, regulating more – if you will, trickle-down government – would work. That’s not the right answer for America.”

On the federal deficit:

“I think it’s frankly not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in knowing that the burden is going to be passed on to the next generation and they’re going to be paying the interest and principal all their lives.”

On regulation:

“Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work without regulation… You have to have regulation so that you can have the economy work. Every free economy has regulation. At the same time regulation can become excessive, it can become out of date. And what’s happened with some of the legislation that’s been passed under President Obama’s term is you’ve seen some of the regulation become excessive and it has hurt the economy.”

On education and role of government:

“The right course for America’s government, we’re talking about the role of government, is not to become the economic player, picking winners and losers… The right answer for the government is to say, how do we make the private sector become more efficient and more effective? How do we get schools to be more competitive? Let’s grade them. I propose we grade our schools.”

On taxes:

“I’m not looking to cut massive taxes and reduce the revenues going to the government. My number one principle is there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. But I do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle-income Americans. And to do that, that also means I cannot reduce the burden paid by high-income people.”

On healthcare:

“The answer is not to have the federal government take over healthcare and start mandating to the providers across America and telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have. That’s the wrong way to go. The private market and individual responsibility always work best.”

On the middle class, echoing controversial comments by Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden:

“The people who are having a hard time right now are middle- income Americans. Under the president’s politics middle-income Americans have been buried. Middle-income families are being crushed.”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

On the middle class, attacking Romney on lack of detailed plans:

“I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace (my policies) secret because they’re too good? Or is it because that somehow the middle-class families are going to benefit too much form them? No.”

In response to Romney’s tax plan:

“If you think by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Governor Romney’s plan may work for you. But I think math, common sense, and our history, shows us that’s not a recipe for job growth.”

“If you’re lowering the rates as you describe, governor, it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals or burdening the middle class. It’s math, it’s arithmetic.”

On small business:

“We do have a difference when it comes to definitions of small business… Under Governor Romney’s definition there are a bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small businesses. Donald Trump is a small business. And I know Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything but that’s how you define small business if you’re getting business income.”

On regulation:

“The reason we have been in such an enormous economic crisis was prompted by reckless behavior across the board… The question is does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight and regulation of Wall Street? Because if you do, then Governor Romney is your candidate. But that’s not what I believe.”

On education:

“Governor Romney, I genuinely believe, cares about education. But when he tells a student that you should borrow money from your parents to go to college, that indicates the degree to which there may not be as much of a focus that folks like myself, folks like Michele, kids probably who attend University of Denver, just don’t have that option.”

On similarities between his and Romney’s healthcare plans:

“We used the same advisers and they said it’s the same plan… The reason (Romney) set up the system in Massachusetts is there isn’t a better way of dealing with a pre-existing condition problem.”

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS COMMENTS

 Jerry Shuster, political communication, University of Pittsburgh

“He was comfortable, relaxed. It wasn’t a knockout punch, but Romney clearly held his own and showed that he could compete on an even field with the president…. I think people just assumed Obama would be a lot more skilled, a lot more dynamic than Romney, which wasn’t really the case.”

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics

“My guess is Obama’s advisers said, ‘Don’t attack. Not presidential.”

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, political communications professor, University of Pennsylvania

“This debate was substantive and informative. The differences between the candidates were clear. It focused a lot of attention on a limited number of areas; learning will be high from this debate.”

Romney had “benefited dramatically from the evening….. There weren’t nasty little asides to score points,” she said. “It was an extremely respectful and polite evening.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 3, 2012: First Presidential Debate Transcript — President Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney Debate in Denver, Colorado

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Presidential Debate Transcript

VIDEO: Mitt Romney congratulates the president and first lady on their 20th wedding anniversary.

The full transcript of the Presidential Debate from Denver, Colo. below, updated every 15 minutes throughout the debate.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, PARTICIPATE IN A CANDIDATES DEBATE, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, COLORADO

OCTOBER 3, 2012

SPEAKERS: FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

JIM LEHRER, MODERATOR

JANET BROWN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES,

FRANK FAHRENKOPF, CO-CHAIRMAN, COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

MIKE MCCURRY, CO-CHAIRMAN, COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

BROWN: We’d like to get started on the program that you will see unfold here before the debate actually starts in the next — slightly less than 30 minutes. My name is Janet Brown. I’m the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates. And I’d like to welcome you to the first debate of the 2012 general election season. We are very…

(APPLAUSE)

Go, Pioneers.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re very grateful to be here on this beautiful campus, very grateful to the leadership of the university, to the entire community, to the city of Denver, to the state of Colorado.

My happy duty is to introduce some people that will thank a lot of the organizations and individuals who have been working for two years to make tonight possible. There are many of them, and their contribution is critical to what you will see unfold here over the next hour-and-a-half.

BROWN: I am going to start by introducing the co-chairmen of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Frank Fahrenkopf and Mike McCurry.

(APPLAUSE)

FAHRENKOPF: Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. And welcome to this great city, this great hall, and this most important debate.

This is actually a very, very important time for the Commission on Presidential Debates because this is our 25th anniversary. It was in 1987 when then Democratic Chairman Paul Kirk, when I was chairman of the Republican National Committee, formed the Commission on Presidential Debates. Tonight is the 23rd debate in the general elections that we’ve conducted through seven terms, seven different cycles. So it’s a very, very important — important time for us.

But it’s also in one way a sad one for me, and that is that Paul Kirk is no longer the co-chairman of this commission. For most of you in this audience in Washington that you know, that when Ted Kennedy passed away, Paul was appointed and to serve in his seat until the special election was held in Massachusetts. And Paul at that time resigned.

But Paul was with us for 25 years. We know that he and Gail (ph) are sitting out on Cape Cod right now watching this on C-SPAN. And all of us on the commission, not only the members of the commission, but the people behind these cameras, the people backstage in lighting and the people with sound who have been doing this for 25 years, we miss Paul, we respect the great dedication he gave to this commission. And our best to him and Gail (ph).

(APPLAUSE)

It is also special because of the change in format that you’re going to see tonight from what you’ve seen in the past 22 debates. The commission for a long time has wrestled with the question of how can we get more depth in discussion on the issues that are so important to the American people in making a decision who they’re going to vote for.

And so the commission has proposed — and you will see it put in place tonight — 90 minutes divided into six pods, if you will, six sections of time, which will be covering six different subjects. And the moderator tonight, Jim Lehrer, focusing on domestic relations and domestic matters, will have the power to follow up and hopefully drill down and really give to the American people clear status from these two candidates of what they will do if they’re elected by the American people on November 6th.

The same format will be held in the final debate, which will be held in Florida later this month. Bob Schieffer of CBS News will moderate that. And that focus will be on foreign policy.

We’re also happy tonight to have with us in this audience four of the commissioners, members of the commission. I don’t think we’ve ever had six of us together at one debate (inaudible). So I’m going to ask them if they would please stand when I call their name. The first, a former United States senator from the great state of Missouri, John “Jack” Danforth.

(APPLAUSE)

From the great state of Wyoming, former United States Senator Al Simpson.

(APPLAUSE)

From the state of California — and I’ve always got to look at Antonia’s (ph) title, because she’s been with us so many years, she’s the president of the California Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Antonia Hernandez (ph). Been with us for many years. Welcome, Antonia (ph).

(APPLAUSE)

And the newest member of the commission, which means a lot to me, I have a daughter and a son-in-law who are Golden Domers, who graduated from Notre Dame, and we’re happy to add to our list tonight Father John Jenkins (ph), president of Notre Dome — Notre Dame University in South Bend.

(APPLAUSE)

Now I have to lecture — I have to lecture first about these things. Please not only but them on silent running, turn them off. This hall will be dark as we go forward. And, you know, even if you’re — you’ve got it on silent running and you turn it on, it flashes a light.

Hopefully we can live for 90 minutes without these things on. So please won’t you join us, turn them off, keep them off, so that we won’t interfere.

Secondly, this is not the primary debates, folks. And all the cheering that we just heard, we hope that we won’t hear that anymore until the end of the debate. There are many people in this audience who really are part of history tonight, because you’re here in person. But there’ll be somewhere between 50 million and 100 million people sitting at home watching this, listening very carefully to the president and to Governor Romney, trying to make determinations as to what they’re going to on November 6th.

FAHRENKOPF: It’s wrong for us to intrude on them. So please, don’t clap, don’t cheer, don’t make any noise. Jim Lehrer will talk to you again about this in a moment.

And we have a little surprise for those who don’t follow the rules. This is a hockey arena, and what you don’t know is we’ve built in secret trap doors under every seat. You can look down. You won’t see it. But if you break the rules, a button will be pushed and you will be swimming with the fishes.

(LAUGHTER)

So please, very, very seriously, it’s important that this be done in a way that we maintain the dignity of this event and we don’t interfere with those people at home.

And now, my last chore is not a chore at all, but a great, great delight, to welcome the new co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates. Most of you will recognize him as the first press secretary in the White House for William Jefferson Clinton.

Mike, it’s all yours, buddy.

MCCURRY: Thanks.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much, and it’s been great to be your partner in this. But I want to also send a special word to Paul Kirk, my former boss, someone who led this commission extraordinarily well. And it is a daunting challenge to follow in his incredible footsteps.

I also want to start by just saying we really have had a great time at the University of Denver, and I hope you have been, too. They are just incredible as partners and we could not have had a better facility, a better team to work with. So to the entire university community and all the folks at the University of Denver who have helped us, thank you very much on behalf of the commission.

(APPLAUSE)

There are a number of other organizations that have been absolutely key to us in helping put this on, make it a working space, and make it an enjoyable place for those who come here to participate in this debate. I want to start with Anheiser-Busch, who’s been our partner since 1992. Thank you.

Southwest Airlines, which has helped us transport things around the country so all four of these debates can go off in a timely way; the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Sheldon S. Cohen, Crowell and Moring, the International Bottled Water Association, the Kovler Fund and many, many others. Please give those sponsors and the folks who help us a big hand.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, a little bit of information about how we put this broadcast on. You’ll see so many cameras around you. They represent the major network organizations that together pool their resources so that we can bring this broadcast to the American people. And I want to spend a little bit of time tonight paying a special tribute to ABC News. It was their turn tonight to work with us, and all of the sound equipment and cameras that you see here are theirs.

ABC, thank you for doing a tremendous job for us.

(APPLAUSE)

And last and certainly not least, our friends at C-SPAN. This part of this debate program is being carried to the American people by C-SPAN so that my mother can see it. And so for our friends at C- SPAN, thank you very much for carrying this part of the debate to the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I want to — I also just want to add to what Frank said about the importance of turning your cell phones off now. Pretend you just got on the plane and they just said the door is closed and everything with an on and off button has to go off now. So just check and make sure that it’s off. And just contemplate the pleasure — the sheer bliss of having 90 minutes that you don’t have to text, tweet, or read an e-mail. Wouldn’t that be nice?

(APPLAUSE)

And also — and also, as Frank said, very important that we do respect the television audience watching this debate and make sure that we refrain from interrupting what the candidates need to do and what the American people need to do as they hear the candidates, by disturbing this important occasion with applause or any other outward demonstration.

That’s it for us, but lastly for me, the greatest pleasure of all — I’ve mentioned what a great partnership we’ve had with the University of Denver. And it’s a great pleasure for me to introduce now a great friend of the commission, someone who’s worked very closely and very well with us, the chancellor of the University of Denver, Robert Coombe.

(APPLAUSE)

COOMBE: On behalf of the entire University of Denver community — students, faculty and staff members, alumni throughout the world, welcome — welcome to the University of Denver.

It is a remarkable time, a critical time for our country and really for all the world. And it’s very pleasing for us at D.U. to play even a small role in such an event that is so important for so many people worldwide.

This is just one of the ways that we live up to our vision to be a great private university, dedicated to the public good. We’re very proud to be a resource for people worldwide who — who thirst for knowledge and who seek creative solutions to the great issues of our time. Some of those folks who thirst for knowledge are our students. And a number of them are present in this debate hall this evening. They’re the lucky few who got tickets to this event out of the lottery that we ran for the last few months. Many, many more — many, many more, though, participated in a series of events starting this past January and, really, running up to the first part of this week, in total 115 different debate-related events that were attended by more than 25,000 people in total.

Our students have been with us all the way on this. They have played an amazing part in staging the entire thing, from planning to logistics. And so I’d simply like to say thank you to you, Pioneers.

(APPLAUSE)

For those of us who — who make our lives here at the University of Denver, those of us who study and teach and do research, and, really, all of us in the Denver community, this is a particularly important event. It’s the first presidential debate to be held in our city, the first in the state, and, really, only one of a few in the West.

Over the last several months, the nation has paid particular attention to how we view things in this remarkably beautiful and diverse part of the country, because Colorado is a — is a pivotal state in this election. And while I certainly would not offer any — any opinions in that regard, I would simply say that, as a people, we are generally well-educated and engaged. We are fair-minded and open to new ideas. And like everybody in our country, we are eager to hear from our candidates.

Once again, thanks so much for being here. It’s a great pleasure to host this debate.

(APPLAUSE)

BROWN: Thank you, gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen, would you join me in welcoming Mrs. Romney and Mrs. Obama?

(APPLAUSE)

One of the great privileges of working for the Commission on Presidential Debates is to work with Jim Lehrer. This is the 12th time that he will moderate a debate. I would like to introduce him now.

(APPLAUSE)

LEHRER: Let me be the very last to welcome you to this very important event, this presidential debate. Show of hands, how many of you all have been in the hall for one of these fall presidential — vice presidential debates before?

OK, so you all know the rules: absolute silence. Those of you who have been in or watched on television the primary debates know that is not the case. The rules are different here for these events. In the early days, when I first started addressing the audience in the hall, I threatened people. I mean, I’d say, OK, you make noise, you hiss and boo or — or even applaud, cheer, I’ll turn around and I’ll stop and I’ll make you stand up and humiliate you in front of the whole world.

(LAUGHTER)

I don’t do that anymore, because I don’t need to, because everybody knows the drill. Certainly all of you do. You’ve come here for a very important reason. Most of you are here as committed supporters of President Obama or Governor Romney or others involved in this electoral process, and you know how important this event is.

And it’s important because it’s about those millions and millions of people who are going to watch this event tonight. They’re — they’re watching to make a decision, one of the most important decisions a citizen of this country makes, and so it’s — it behooves all of you and me, us, in other words, to help the dialogue. And you can help me by remaining quiet, as well.

I — this has — we’ve got a new kind of complicated format here tonight. And I’ve got to be — I’ve got to be really concentrating. I want to be concentrating on what the candidates are saying, along with you, rather than what’s going on behind me. And — and I know you’re going to do that. And I don’t have any fear that you all will.

And, I mean, if you hear something that’s really terrific, sit on it. If you hear something you don’t like, sit on it. And — and it’ll — it’ll work.

And as I say, I have no — no fear that anybody’s going to do anything, but as a precaution, I’m going to ask Mrs. Obama on this side and Mrs. Romney on this side to enforce the rules on your side…

(LAUGHTER)

… and your side. Take names. I’ll humiliate them. I’ll do anything, whatever. But, anyhow.

The drill here is what you see in a few moments, we’re going to start. I’m going to sit down. My back’s going to be to you, and we’ll introduce — I’m going to do an opening through this — TelePrompTer’s right there. And I’m going to do an opening, welcome, everybody, to the event. And then President Obama is going to come in from the right, Governor Romney from the left. They’ll shake hands. They’ll go behind the podium. And we’ll be on the way.

VIDEO: Mitt Romney congratulates the president and first lady on their 20th wedding anniversary.
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VIDEO: Mitt Romney congratulates the president and first lady on their 20th wedding anniversary.

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And between now and then, you can feel free to talk and do whatever — any noise you would like to make. But once I sit down and I’ll turn around and say, OK, shh, or words of that effect, please. And — and when they do come in — there is one exception — when they do come in, you can applaud. I’m going to applaud. I’m going to stay seated and applaud. You can applaud then and at the very end. At the very end, I’m going to look at that prompter again and I’m going to say good night to everybody, and then we can all applaud then, as well.

LEHRER: But in between, 90 minutes of wonderful, serious, delightful silence. OK, let’s have a good time.

(APPLAUSE)

LEHRER: Thirty seconds, folks. Let’s have a terrific evening, for all of you and for our country.

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

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

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

The segments as I announced in advance will be three on the economy and one each on health care, the role of government and governing, with an emphasis throughout on differences, specifics and choices. Both candidates will also have two-minute closing statements.

The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent — no cheers, applause, boos, hisses, among other noisy distracting things, so we may all concentrate on what the candidates have to say. There is a noise exception right now, though, as we welcome President Obama and Governor Romney.

(APPLAUSE)

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

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

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

There are a lot of points I want to make tonight, but the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on Earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me.

And so I just want to wish, Sweetie, you happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people.

(LAUGHTER)

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

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

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

Governor Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy, and roll back regulations, that we’ll be better off. I’ve got a different view.

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

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

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

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

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

ROMNEY: Well, sure. I’d like to clear up the record and go through it piece by piece.

First of all, I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They’ll do fine whether you’re president or I am.

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

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

ROMNEY: And so the question is how to get them going again. And I’ve described it. It’s energy and trade, the right kind of training programs, balancing our budget and helping small business. Those are the — the cornerstones of my plan.

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

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

The third area, energy. Energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up. But not due to his policies. In spite of his policies.

Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. If I’m president, I’ll double them, and also get the — the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I’ll bring that pipeline in from Canada.

And, by the way, I like coal. I’m going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it’s getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent so we can create those jobs.

And finally, with regards to that tax cut, look, I’m not looking to cut massive taxes and to reduce the — the revenues going to the government. My — my number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit.

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

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

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

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

But I’m going to make an important point here, Jim.

LEHRER: All right.

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

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

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

LEHRER: All right. What is the difference? Let’s just stay on taxes.

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: Just — let’s just stay on taxes for (inaudible).

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: What is the difference…

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

LEHRER: All right.

ROMNEY: So if the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say absolutely not. I’m not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That’s part one. So there’s no economist that can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.

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

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

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

ROMNEY: And the reason is because small business pays that individual rate; 54 percent of America’s workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate. And if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people. For me, this is about jobs. This is about getting jobs for the American people.

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: That’s where we started. Yeah.

Do you challenge what the governor just said about his own plan?

OBAMA: Well, for 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big, bold idea is, “Never mind.”

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

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

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

And the reason this is important is because by doing that, we cannot only reduce the deficit, we cannot only encourage job growth through small businesses, but we’re also able to make the investments that are necessary in education or in energy.

OBAMA: And we do have a difference, though, when it comes to definitions of small business. Under — under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up. Governor Romney says, well, those top 3 percent, they’re the job creators, they’d be burdened.

But under Governor Romney’s definition, there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small businesses. Donald Trump is a small business. Now, I know Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything, but — but that’s how you define small businesses if you’re getting business income.

And that kind of approach, I believe, will not grow our economy, because the only way to pay for it without either burdening the middle class or blowing up our deficit is to make drastic cuts in things like education, making sure that we are continuing to invest in basic science and research, all the things that are helping America grow. And I think that would be a mistake.

LEHRER: All right.

ROMNEY: Jim, let me just come back on that — on that point, which is these…

LEHRER: Just for the — just for record…

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: … the small businesses we’re talking about…

LEHRER: Excuse me. Excuse me. Just so everybody understands, we’re way over our first 15 minutes.

ROMNEY: It’s fun, isn’t it?

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

OK, but go ahead, sir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROMNEY: Jim, the president began this segment, so I think I get the last word.

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: Well, you’re going to get the first word in the next segment.

ROMNEY: All right. Well, but he gets the first word of that segment. I get the last word (inaudible) I hope. Let me just make this comment.

(CROSSTALK)

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

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

Number two, let’s look at history. My plan is not like anything that’s been tried before. My plan is to bring down rates, but also bring down deductions and exemptions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in, but that we bring down rates to get more people working.

My priority is putting people back to work in America. They’re suffering in this country. And we talk about evidence. Look at the evidence of the last four years. It’s absolutely extraordinary. We’ve got 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country. It’s just — it’s — we’ve got — when the president took office, 32 million people on food stamps; 47 million on food stamps today; economic growth this year slower than last year, and last year slower than the year before.

Going forward with the status quo is not going to cut it for the American people who are struggling today.

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

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

ROMNEY: Good. I’m glad you raised that, and it’s a — it’s a critical issue. I think it’s not just an economic issue, I think it’s a moral issue. I think it’s, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation and they’re going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives.

And the amount of debt we’re adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.

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

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

What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don’t pass it: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I’ll get rid of it. Obamacare’s on my list.

I apologize, Mr. President. I use that term with all respect, by the way.

OBAMA: I like it.

ROMNEY: Good. OK, good. So I’ll get rid of that.

I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.

Number two, I’ll take programs that are currently good programs but I think could be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state.

ROMNEY: Number three, I’ll make government more efficient and to cut back the number of employees, combine some agencies and departments. My cutbacks will be done through attrition, by the way.

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

The president said he’d cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it. Trillion-dollar deficits for the last four years. The president’s put it in place as much public debt — almost as much debt held by the public as al prior presidents combined.

LEHRER: Mr. President, two minutes.

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

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

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

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

Now, we all know that we’ve got to do more. And so I’ve put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan. It’s on a website. You can look at all the numbers, what cuts we make and what revenue we raise.

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

Let — let me just finish their point, because you’re looking for contrast. You know, when Governor Romney stood on a stage with other Republican candidates for the nomination and he was asked, would you take $10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue? And he said no.

Now, if you take such an unbalanced approach, then that means you are going to be gutting our investments in schools and education. It means that Governor Romney…

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: … talked about Medicaid and how we could send it back to the states, but effectively this means a 30 percent cut in the primary program we help for seniors who are in nursing homes, for kids who are with disabilities.

LEHRER: Mr. President, I’m sorry.

OBAMA: And — and that is not a right strategy for us to move forward.

LEHRER: Way over the two minutes.

OBAMA: Sorry.

LEHRER: Governor, what about Simpson-Bowles? Do you support Simpson-Bowles?

ROMNEY: Simpson-Bowles, the president should have grabbed that.

LEHRER: No, I mean, do you support Simpson-Bowles?

ROMNEY: I have my own plan. It’s not the same as Simpson- Bowles. But in my view, the president should have grabbed it. If you wanted to make some adjustments to it, take it, go to Congress, fight for it.

OBAMA: That’s what we’ve done, made some adjustments to it, and we’re putting it forward before Congress right now, a $4 trillion plan…

ROMNEY: But you’ve been — but you’ve been president four years…

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: You’ve been president four years. You said you’d cut the deficit in half. It’s now four years later. We still have trillion-dollar deficits. The CBO says we’ll have a trillion-dollar deficit each of the next four years. If you’re re-elected, we’ll get to a trillion-dollar debt.

ROMNEY: I mean, you have said before you’d cut the deficit in half. And this — I love this idea of $4 trillion in cuts. You found $4 trillion of ways to reduce or to get closer to a balanced budget, except we still show trillion-dollar deficits every year. That doesn’t get the job done.

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

Well, the economy is still growing slow. As a matter of fact, it’s growing much more slowly now than when you made that statement. And so if you believe the same thing, you just don’t want to raise taxes on people. And the reality is it’s not just wealthy people — you mentioned Donald Trump. It’s not just Donald Trump you’re taxing. It’s all those businesses that employ one-quarter of the workers in America; these small businesses that are taxed as individuals.

You raise taxes and you kill jobs. That’s why the National Federation of Independent Businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs. I don’t want to kill jobs in this environment.

I’ll make one more point.

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: (inaudible) answer the taxes thing for a moment.

ROMNEY: OK.

LEHRER: Mr. President?

OBAMA: Well, we’ve had this discussion before.

LEHRER: About the idea that in order to reduce the deficit, there has to be revenue in addition to cuts.

OBAMA: There has to be revenue in addition to cuts. Now, Governor Romney has ruled out revenue. He’s ruled out revenue.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Absolutely. (CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Look, the revenue I get is by more people working, getting higher pay, paying more taxes. That’s how we get growth and how we balance the budget. But the idea of taxing people more, putting more people out of work, you’ll never get there. You’ll never balance the budget by raising taxes.

Spain — Spain spends 42 percent of their total economy on government. We’re now spending 42 percent of our economy on government. I don’t want to go down the path to Spain. I want to go down the path of growth that puts Americans to work with more money coming in because they’re working.

LEHRER: But — but Mr. President, you’re saying in order to — to get the job done, it’s got to be balanced. You’ve got to have…

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: If — if we’re serious, we’ve got to take a balanced, responsible approach. And by the way, this is not just when it comes to individual taxes. Let’s talk about corporate taxes.

Now, I’ve identified areas where we can, right away, make a change that I believe would actually help the economy.

The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don’t get.

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

When it comes to corporate taxes, Governor Romney has said he wants to, in a revenue neutral way, close loopholes, deductions — he hasn’t identified which ones they are — but that thereby bring down the corporate rate.

Well, I want to do the same thing, but I’ve actually identified how we can do that. And part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.

Right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn’t make sense. And all that raises revenue.

And so if we take a balanced approach, what that then allows us to do is also to help young people, the way we already have during my administration, make sure that they can afford to go to college.

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

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

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

And the magnitude of the tax cuts that you’re talking about, Governor, would end up resulting in severe hardship for people, but more importantly, would not help us grow.

As I indicated before, when you talk about shifting Medicaid to states, we’re talking about potentially a 30 — a 30 percent cut in Medicaid over time.

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

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

ROMNEY: Jim, let’s — we’ve gone on a lot of topics there, and so it’s going to take a minute to go from Medicaid to schools…

LEHRER: Come back to…

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: … to oil, to tax breaks, then companies going overseas. So let’s go through them one by one.

First of all, the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it’s actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that’s been in place for a hundred years. Now…

OBAMA: It’s time to end it.

ROMNEY: And in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world.

Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives. And you say Exxon and Mobil. Actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth.

ROMNEY: But, you know, if we get that tax rate from 35 percent down to 25 percent, why that $2.8 billion is on the table. Of course it’s on the table. That’s probably not going to survive you get that rate down to 25 percent.

But don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years’ worth of breaks, into — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tester and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right? So this — this is not — this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure.

The second topic, which is you said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant.

LEHRER: Let’s…

ROMNEY: But — but the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: What we do have right now is a setting where I’d like to bring money from overseas back to this country.

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

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

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

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

LEHRER: Let’s go.

ROMNEY: But — but the right — the right approach is one which relies on the brilliance of our people and states, not the federal government.

LEHRER: (inaudible) and we’re going on — still on the economy, on another — but another part of it…

OBAMA: OK.

LEHRER: All right? All right. This is segment three, the economy. Entitlements. First — first answer goes to you, two minutes, Mr. President. Do you see a major difference between the two of you on Social Security?

OBAMA: You know, I suspect that, on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound. It’s going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Speaker — Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill. But it is — the basic structure is sound.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the way for us to deal…

(AUDIO GAP)

a better prescription program.

ROMNEY: That’s $1 — that’s $1 for every $15 you’ve cut. They’re smart enough to know that’s not a good trade.

I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare. By the way, we can include a prescription program if we need to improve it.

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

And with regards to young people coming along, I’ve got proposals to make sure Medicare and Social Security are there for them without any question.

LEHRER: Mr. President?

OBAMA: First of all, I think it’s important for Governor Romney to present this plan that he says will only affect folks in the future.

And the essence of the plan is that you would turn Medicare into a voucher program. It’s called premium support, but it’s understood to be a voucher program. His running mate…

LEHRER: And you don’t support that?

OBAMA: I don’t. And let me explain why.

ROMNEY: Again, that’s for future…

OBAMA: I understand.

ROMNEY: … people, right, not for current retirees.

OBAMA: For — so if you’re — if you’re 54 or 55, you might want to listen ’cause this — this will affect you.

The idea, which was originally presented by Congressman Ryan, your running mate, is that we would give a voucher to seniors and they could go out in the private marketplace and buy their own health insurance.

The problem is that because the voucher wouldn’t necessarily keep up with health care inflation, it was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year.

Now, in fairness, what Governor Romney has now said is he’ll maintain traditional Medicare alongside it. But there’s still a problem, because what happens is, those insurance companies are pretty clever at figuring out who are the younger and healthier seniors. They recruit them, leaving the older, sicker seniors in Medicare. And every health care economist that looks at it says, over time, what’ll happen is the traditional Medicare system will collapse.

OBAMA: And then what you’ve got is folks like my grandmother at the mercy of the private insurance system precisely at the time when they are most in need of decent health care.

So, I don’t think vouchers are the right way to go. And this is not my own — only my opinion. AARP thinks that the — the savings that we obtained from Medicare bolster the system, lengthen the Medicare trust fund by eight years. Benefits were not affected at all. And ironically, if you repeal Obamacare, and I have become fond of this term, “Obamacare,” if you repeal it, what happens is those seniors right away are going to be paying $600 more in prescription care. They’re now going to have to be paying copays for basic checkups that can keep them healthier.

And the primary beneficiary of that repeal are insurance companies that are estimated to gain billions of dollars back when they aren’t making seniors any healthier. And I don’t think that’s the right approach when it comes to making sure that Medicare is stronger over the long term.

LEHRER: We’ll talk about — specifically about health care in a moment. But what — do you support the voucher system, Governor?

ROMNEY: What I support is no change for current retirees and near-retirees to Medicare. And the president supports taking $716 billion out of that program.

LEHRER: And what about the vouchers?

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: So that’s — that’s number one.

Number two is for people coming along that are young, what I do to make sure that we can keep Medicare in place for them is to allow them either to choose the current Medicare program or a private plan. Their choice.

They get to choose — and they’ll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them. So they don’t have to pay additional money, no additional $6,000. That’s not going to happen. They’ll have at least two plans.

ROMNEY: And by the way, if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer premiums that are as low as the private sector, people will be happy to get traditional Medicare or they’ll be able to get a private plan.

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

The other thing we have to do to save Medicare? We have to have the benefits high for those that are low income, but for higher income people, we’re going to have to lower some of the benefits. We have to make sure this program is there for the long term. That’s the plan that I’ve put forward.

And, by the way the idea came not even from Paul Ryan or — or Senator Wyden, who’s the co-author of the bill with — with Paul Ryan in the Senate, but also it came from Bill — Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. This is an idea that’s been around a long time, which is saying, hey, let’s see if we can’t get competition into the Medicare world so that people can get the choice of different plans at lower cost, better quality. I believe in competition.

OBAMA: Jim, if I — if I can just respond very quickly, first of all, every study has shown that Medicare has lower administrative costs than private insurance does, which is why seniors are generally pretty happy with it.

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

And when you move to a voucher system, you are putting seniors at the mercy of those insurance companies. And over time, if traditional Medicare has decayed or fallen apart, then they’re stuck.

And this is the reason why AARP has said that your plan would weaken Medicare substantially. And that’s why they were supportive of the approach that we took.

One last point I want to make. We do have to lower the cost of health care, not just in Medicare and Medicaid… LEHRER: Talk about that in a minute.

OBAMA: … but — but — but overall.

LEHRER: OK.

OBAMA: And so…

ROMNEY: That’s — that’s a big topic. Can we — can we stay on Medicare?

OBAMA: Is that a — is that a separate topic?

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: Yeah, we’re going to — yeah, I want to get to it.

OBAMA: I’m sorry.

LEHRER: But all I want to do is go very quickly…

ROMNEY: Let’s get back to Medicare.

LEHRER: … before we leave the economy…

ROMNEY: Let’s get back to Medicare.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: The president said that the government can provide the service at lower cost and without a profit.

LEHRER: All right.

ROMNEY: If that’s the case, then it will always be the best product that people can purchase.

LEHRER: Wait a minute, Governor.

ROMNEY: But my experience — my experience the private sector typically is able to provide a better product at a lower cost.

LEHRER: All right. Can we — can the two of you agree that the voters have a choice — a clear choice between the two…

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

LEHRER: … of you on Medicare?

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

LEHRER: All right. So to finish quickly, briefly, on the economy, what is your view about the level of federal regulation of the economy right now? Is there too much? And in your case, Mr. President, is there — should there be more?

Beginning with you. This is not a new two-minute segment to start. And we’ll go for a few minutes, and then we’re going to go to health care, OK?

ROMNEY: Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation. As a businessperson, I had to have — I need to know the regulations. I needed them there. You couldn’t have people opening up banks in their — in their garage and making loans. I mean, you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has good regulation. At the same time, regulation can become excessive.

LEHRER: Is it excessive now, do you think?

ROMNEY: In some places, yes. Other places, no.

LEHRER: Like where?

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: No, it can become out of date. And what’s happened with some of the legislation that’s been passed during the president’s term, you’ve seen regulation become excessive, and it’s hurt — it’s hurt the economy. Let me give you an example.

Dodd-Frank was passed. And it includes within it a number of provisions that I think has some unintended consequences that are harmful to the economy. One is it designates a number of banks as too big to fail, and they’re effectively guaranteed by the federal government. This is the biggest kiss that’s been given to — to New York banks I’ve ever seen. This is an enormous boon for them. There’ve been 122 community and small banks have closed since Dodd- Frank.

So there’s one example. Here’s another. In Dodd-Frank…

LEHRER: Do you want to repeal Dodd-Frank?

ROMNEY: Well, I would repeal and replace it. We’re not going to get rid of all regulation. You have to have regulation. And there are some parts of Dodd-Frank that make all the sense in the world. You need transparency, you need to have leverage limits for…

LEHRER: Well, here’s a specific…

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: But let’s — let’s mention — let me mention the other one. Let’s talk…

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: No, let’s not. Let’s let him respond — let’s let him respond to this specific on Dodd-Frank and what the governor just said.

OBAMA: I think this is a great example. The reason we have been in such a enormous economic crisis was prompted by reckless behavior across the board.

Now, it wasn’t just on Wall Street. You had loan officers were — that were giving loans and mortgages that really shouldn’t have been given, because the folks didn’t qualify. You had people who were borrowing money to buy a house that they couldn’t afford. You had credit agencies that were stamping these as A1 great investments when they weren’t.

But you also had banks making money hand over fist, churning out products that the bankers themselves didn’t even understand, in order to make big profits, but knowing that it made the entire system vulnerable.

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

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

Now, Governor Romney has said he wants to repeal Dodd-Frank.

And, you know, I appreciate and it appears we’ve got some agreement that a marketplace to work has to have some regulation. But in the past, Governor Romney has said he just want to repeal Dodd- Frank, roll it back.

And so the question is: Does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight and regulation of Wall Street? Because if you do, then Governor Romney is your candidate. But that’s not what I believe.

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

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

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

I will make sure we don’t hurt the functioning of our — of our marketplace and our business, because I want to bring back housing and get good jobs.

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

LEHRER: You want it repealed. You want the Affordable Care Act repealed. Why?

ROMNEY: I sure do. Well, in part, it comes, again, from my experience. You know, I was in New Hampshire. A woman came to me and she said, look, I can’t afford insurance for myself or my son. I met a couple in Appleton, Wisconsin, and they said, we’re thinking of dropping our insurance, we can’t afford it.

And the number of small businesses I’ve gone to that are saying they’re dropping insurance because they can’t afford it, the cost of health care is just prohibitive. And — and we’ve got to deal with cost.

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

Second reason, it cuts $716 billion from Medicare to pay for it. I want to put that money back in Medicare for our seniors.

Number three, it puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. I don’t like that idea.

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

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

LEHRER: Mr. President, the argument against repeal? OBAMA: Well, four years ago, when I was running for office, I was traveling around and having those same conversations that Governor Romney talks about. And it wasn’t just that small businesses were seeing costs skyrocket and they couldn’t get affordable coverage even if they wanted to provide it to their employees. It wasn’t just that this was the biggest driver of our federal deficit, our overall health care costs, but it was families who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick, millions of families, all across the country.

If they had a pre-existing condition, they might not be able to get coverage at all. If they did have coverage, insurance companies might impose an arbitrary limit. And so as a consequence, they’re paying their premiums, somebody gets really sick, lo and behold, they don’t have enough money to pay the bills, because the insurance companies say that they’ve hit the limit.

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

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

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

Now, the last point I’d make before…

LEHRER: Two minutes — two minutes is up, sir.

OBAMA: No, I think — I had five seconds before you interrupted me, was …

(LAUGHTER)

… the irony is that we’ve seen this model work really well in Massachusetts, because Governor Romney did a good thing, working with Democrats in the state to set up what is essentially the identical model and as a consequence people are covered there. It hasn’t destroyed jobs. And as a consequence, we now have a system in which we have the opportunity to start bringing down costs, as opposed to just leaving millions of people out in the cold.

LEHRER: Your five seconds went away a long time ago.

All right, Governor. Governor, tell — tell the president directly why you think what he just said is wrong about Obamacare?

ROMNEY: Well, I did with my first statement.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: First of all, I like the way we did it in Massachusetts. I like the fact that in my state, we had Republicans and Democrats come together and work together. What you did instead was to push through a plan without a single Republican vote. As a matter of fact, when Massachusetts did something quite extraordinary — elected a Republican senator to stop Obamacare, you pushed it through anyway.

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

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

ROMNEY: We didn’t put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they’re going to receive. We didn’t also do something that I think a number of people across this country recognize, which is put — put people in a position where they’re going to lose the insurance they had and they wanted.

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

So for those reasons, for the tax, for Medicare, for this board, and for people losing their insurance, this is why the American people don’t want Medicare — don’t want Obamacare. It’s why Republicans said, do not do this, and the Republicans had — had the plan. They put a plan out. They put out a plan, a bipartisan plan. It was swept aside.

I think something this big, this important has to be done on a bipartisan basis. And we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle and fashion important legislation with the input from both parties.

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

And I agree that the Democratic legislators in Massachusetts might have given some advice to Republicans in Congress about how to cooperate, but the fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers, and they say it’s the same plan.

It — when Governor Romney talks about this board, for example, unelected board that we’ve created, what this is, is a group of health care experts, doctors, et cetera, to figure out, how can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall?

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

Or, alternatively, we can figure out, how do we make the cost of care more effective? And there are ways of doing it.

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

Now, so what this board does is basically identifies best practices and says, let’s use the purchasing power of Medicare and Medicaid to help to institutionalize all these good things that we do.

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

Let me make one last point. Governor Romney says, we should replace it, I’m just going to repeal it, but — but we can replace it with something. But the problem is, he hasn’t described what exactly we’d replace it with, other than saying we’re going to leave it to the states.

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

LEHRER: Let’s…

OBAMA: … at a time when it’s vitally important.

LEHRER: Let’s let the governor explain what you would do…

ROMNEY: Well…

LEHRER: … if Obamacare is repealed. How would you replace it?

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Well, actually it’s — it’s — it’s a lengthy description. But, number one, preexisting conditions are covered under my plan. Number two, young people are able to stay on their family plan. That’s already offered in the private marketplace. You don’t have to have the government mandate that for that to occur.

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

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: In my opinion, the government is not effective in — in bringing down the cost of almost anything. As a matter of fact, free people and free enterprises trying to find ways to do things better are able to be more effective in bringing down the cost than the government will ever be.

Your example of the Cleveland Clinic is my case in point, along with several others I could describe.

This is the private market. These are small — these are enterprises competing with each other, learning how to do better and better jobs. I used to consult to businesses — excuse me, to hospitals and to health care providers. I was astonished at the creativity and innovation that exists in the American people.

In order to bring the cost of health care down, we don’t need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have. We instead need to put insurance plans, providers, hospitals, doctors on target such that they have an incentive, as you say, performance pay, for doing an excellent job, for keeping costs down, and that’s happening. Innermountain Healthcare does it superbly well, Mayo Clinic is doing it superbly well, Cleveland Clinic, others.

ROMNEY: But the right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across America, telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have.

That’s the wrong way to go. The private market and individual responsibility always work best.

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

Well, actually Governor, that isn’t what your plan does. What your plan does is to duplicate what’s already the law, which says if you are out of health insurance for three months, then you can end up getting continuous coverage and an insurance company can’t deny you if you’ve — if it’s been under 90 days.

But that’s already the law and that doesn’t help the millions of people out there with preexisting conditions. There’s a reason why Governor Romney set up the plan that he did in Massachusetts. It wasn’t a government takeover of health care. It was the largest expansion of private insurance. But what it does say is that “insurers, you’ve got to take everybody.”

Now, that also means that you’ve got more customers. But when — when Governor Romney says that he’ll replace it with something, but can’t detail how it will be in fact replaced and the reason he set up the system he did in Massachusetts was because there isn’t a better way of dealing with the preexisting conditions problem.

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

And at some point, I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they’re too good? Is it — is it because that somehow middle-class families are going to benefit too much from them?

No. The reason is, is because, when we reform Wall Street, when we tackle the problem of pre-existing conditions, then, you know, these are tough problems and we’ve got to make choices. And the choices we’ve made have been ones that ultimately are benefiting middle-class families all across the country.

LEHRER: We’re going to move to…

ROMNEY: No. I — I have to respond to that.

LEHRER: No, but…

ROMNEY: Which is — which is my experience as a governor is if I come in and — and lay down a piece of legislation and say, “It’s my way or the highway,” I don’t get a lot done. What I do is the same way that Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan worked together some years ago. When Ronald Reagan ran for office, he laid out the principles that he was going to foster. He said he was going to lower tax rates. He said he was going to broaden the base. You’ve said the same thing, you’re going to simplify the tax code, broaden the base.

Those are my principles. I want to bring down the tax burden on middle-income families. And I’m going to work together with Congress to say, OK, what — what are the various ways we could bring down deductions, for instance? One way, for instance, would be to have a single number. Make up a number, $25,000, $50,000. Anybody can have deductions up to that amount. And then that number disappears for high-income people. That’s one way one could do it. One could follow Bowles-Simpson as a model and take deduction by deduction and make differences that way. There are alternatives to accomplish the objective I have, which is to bring down rates, broaden the base, simplify the code, and create incentives for growth. And with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. You obviously studied up on — on my plan. In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. That’s part of my health care plan. And what we did in Massachusetts is a model for the nation state by state. And I said that at that time.

The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the 10th Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy.

LEHRER: That is a terrific segue to our next segment, and is the role of government. And — and let’s see. Role of government. And it is — you are first on this, Mr. President. And the question is this. Do you believe, both of you — but you had the first two minutes on this, Mr. President — do you believe there’s a fundamental difference between the two of you as to how you view the mission of the federal government?

OBAMA: Well, I definitely think there are differences.

LEHRER: And do you — yeah.

OBAMA: The first role of the federal government is to keep the American people safe. That’s its most basic function. And as commander-in-chief, that is something that I’ve worked on and thought about every single day that I’ve been in the Oval Office.

But I also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and to create frameworks where the American people can succeed.

Look, the genius of America is the free enterprise system and freedom and the fact that people can go out there and start a business, work on an idea, make their own decisions.

OBAMA: But as Abraham Lincoln understood, there are also some things we do better together. So, in the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, let’s help to finance the Transcontinental Railroad, let’s start the National Academy of Sciences, let’s start land grant colleges, because we want to give these gateways of opportunity for all Americans, because if all Americans are getting opportunity, we’re all going to be better off.

ROMNEY: That doesn’t restrict people’s freedom. That enhances it.

And so what I’ve tried to do as president is to apply those same principles.

And when it comes to education what I’ve said is we’ve got to reform schools that are not working. We use something called Race to the Top. Wasn’t a top-down approach, Governor. What we’ve said is to states, we’ll give you more money if you initiate reforms. And as a consequence, you had 46 states around the country who have made a real difference.

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

It can’t do it all, but it can make a difference. And as a consequence we’ll have a better trained workforce and that will create jobs because companies want to locate in places where we’ve got a skilled workforce.

LEHRER: Two minutes, Governor, on the role of government. Your view?

ROMNEY: Well, first, I love great schools. Massachusetts, our schools are ranked number one of all 50 states. And the key to great schools, great teachers.

So I reject the idea that I don’t believe in great teachers or more teachers. Every school district, every state should make that decision on their own. The role of government: Look behind us. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents.

ROMNEY: First, life and liberty. We have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people, and that means a military second to none. I do not believe in cutting our military. I believe in maintaining the strength of America’s military.

Second, in that line that says we are endowed by our creator with our rights, I believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. That statement also says that we are endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. I interpret that as, one, making sure that those people who are less fortunate and can’t care for themselves are cared by — by one another.

We’re a nation that believes that we’re all children of the same god and we care for those that have difficulties, those that are elderly and have problems and challenges, those that are disabled. We care for them. And we — we look for discovery and innovation, all these things desired out of the American heart to provide the pursuit of happiness for our citizens.

But we also believe in maintaining for individuals the right to pursue their dreams and not to have the government substitute itself for the rights of free individuals. And what we’re seeing right now is, in my view, a — a trickle-down government approach, which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. And it’s not working.

And the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. The proof of that is 1 out of 6 people in poverty. The proof of that is we’ve gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. The proof of that is that 50 percent of college graduates this year can’t find work.

LEHRER: All right.

ROMNEY: We know that the path we’re taking is not working. It’s time for a new path.

LEHRER: All right. Let’s go through some specifics in terms of what — how each of you views the role of government. How do — education. Does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the quality of public education in America?

ROMNEY: Well, the primary responsibility for education is — is, of course, at the state and local level. But the federal government also can play a very important role. And I — and I agree with Secretary Arne Duncan, he’s — some ideas he’s put forward on Race to the Top, not all of them, but some of them I agree with and — and congratulate him for pursuing that. The federal government can get local and — and state schools to do a better job.

My own view, by the way, is I’ve added to that. I happen to believe, I want the kids that are getting federal dollars from IDEA or Title I — these are disabled kids or — or — or poor kids or — or lower-income kids, rather, I want them to be able to go to the school of their choice.

So all federal funds, instead of going to the — to the state or to the school district, I’d have go, if you will, follow the child and let the parent and the child decide where to send their — their — their student.

LEHRER: How do you see the federal government’s responsibility to, as I say, to improve the quality of public education in this country?

OBAMA: Well, as I’ve indicated, I think that it has a significant role to play. Through our Race to the Top program, we’ve worked with Republican and Democratic governors to initiate major reforms, and they’re having an impact right now.

LEHRER: Do you think you have a difference with your views and — and those of Governor Romney on — about education and the federal government?

OBAMA: You know, this is where budgets matter, because budgets reflect choices. So when Governor Romney indicates that he wants to cut taxes and potentially benefit folks like me and him, and to pay for it we’re having to initiate significant cuts in federal support for education, that makes a difference.

You know, his — his running mate, Congressman Ryan, put forward a budget that reflects many of the principles that Governor Romney’s talked about. And it wasn’t very detailed. This seems to be a trend. But — but what it did do is to — if you extrapolated how much money we’re talking about, you’d look at cutting the education budget by up to 20 percent.

OBAMA: When it comes to community colleges, we are seeing great work done out there all over the country because we have the opportunity to train people for jobs that exist right now. And one of the things I suspect Governor Romney and I probably agree on is getting businesses to work with community colleges so that they’re setting up their training programs…

LEHRER: Do you — do you agree, Governor?

OBAMA: Let me just finish the point.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: The — where they’re partnering so that they’re designing training programs. And people who are going through them know that there’s a job waiting for them if they complete it. That makes a big difference, but that requires some federal support.

Let me just say one final example. When it comes to making college affordable, whether it’s two-year or four-year, one of the things that I did as president was we were sending $60 billion to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program, even though the loans were guaranteed. So there was no risk for the banks or the lenders, but they were taking billions out of the system.

And we said, “Why not cut out the middleman?” And as a consequence, what we’ve been able to do is to provide millions more students assistance, lower or keep low interest rates on student loans. And this is an example of where our priorities make a difference.

Governor Romney, I genuinely believe cares about education, but when he tells a student that, you know, “you should borrow money from your parents to go to college,” you know, that indicates the degree to which, you know, there may not be as much of a focus on the fact that folks like myself, folks like Michelle, kids probably who attend University of Denver, just don’t have that option.

And for us to be able to make sure that they’ve got that opportunity and they can walk through that door, that is vitally important not just to those kids. It’s how we’re going to grow this economy over the long term.

LEHRER: We’re running out of time, gentlemen.

(CROSSTALK) LEHRER: Governor?

ROMNEY: Mr. President, Mr. President, you’re entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts. All right, I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and — and grants that go to people going to college. I’m planning on (inaudible) to grow. So I’m not planning on making changes there.

But you make a very good point, which is that the place you put your money just makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is. You put $90 billion into — into green jobs. And I — look, I’m all in favor of green energy. $90 billion, that would have — that would have hired 2 million teachers. $90 billion.

And these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, I think about half of them, of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business. A number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.

Look, the right course for America’s government, we were talking about the role of government, is not to become the economic player, picking winners and losers, telling people what kind of health treatment they can receive, taking over the health care system that has existed in this country for a long, long time and has produced the best health records in the world.

The right answer for government is say, How do we make the private sector become more efficient and more effective? How do we get schools to be more competitive? Let’s grade them. I propose we grade our schools so parents know which schools are succeeding and failing, so they can take their child to a — to a school that he’s being more successful.

I don’t want to cut our commitment to education. I wanted to make it more effective and efficient. And by the way, I’ve had that experience. I don’t just talk about it. I’ve been there. Massachusetts schools are ranked number one in the nation. This is not because I didn’t have commitment to education. It’s because I care about education for all of our kids.

LEHRER: All right, gentlemen…

(CROSSTALK)

LEHRER: Excuse me (inaudible). Excuse me, sir. We’ve got — we’ve got — barely have three minutes left. I’m not going to grade the two of you and say your answers have been too long or I’ve done a poor job.

OBAMA: You’ve done a great job.

LEHRER: Oh, well, no. But the fact is government — the role of government and governing, we’ve lost a pod in other words. So we only have three — three minutes left in the — in the debate before we go to your closing statements. And so I want to ask finally here, and remember, we’ve got three minutes total time here — and the question is this. Many of the legislative functions of the federal government right now are in a state of paralysis as a result of partisan gridlock. If elected, in your case, if re-elected, in your case, what would you do about that?

Governor?

ROMNEY: Jim, I had the great experience — it didn’t seem like it at the time — of being elected in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. And that meant I figured out from day one I had to get along and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done. We drove our schools to be number one in the nation. We cut taxes 19 times.

LEHRER: But what would you do as president?

ROMNEY: We — as president, I will sit on day one — actually, the day after I get elected — I’ll sit down with leaders — the Democratic leaders, as well as Republican leaders, and continue — as we did in my state — we met every Monday for a couple hours, talked about the issues and the challenges in the — in the — in our state in that case. We have to work on a collaborative basis, not because we’re going to compromise our principle, but because there’s common ground.

And the challenges America faces right now — look, the reason I’m in this race is there are people that are really hurting today in this country. And we face — this deficit could crush the future generations. What’s happening in the Middle East, there are developments around the world that are of real concern.

LEHRER: All right.

ROMNEY: And Republicans and Democrats both love America. But we need to have leadership — leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if — if it’s a Republican or a Democrat. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.

LEHRER: Mr. President?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think Governor Romney’s going to have a busy first day, because he’s also going to repeal Obamacare, which will not be very popular among Democrats as you’re sitting down with them.

(LAUGHTER)

But, look, my philosophy has been, I will take ideas from anybody, Democrat or Republican, as long as they’re advancing the cause of making middle-class families stronger and giving ladders of opportunity to the middle class. That’s how we cut taxes for middle- class families and small businesses. That’s how we cut a trillion dollars of spending that wasn’t advancing that cause. That’s how we signed three trade deals into law that are helping us to double our exports and sell more American products around the world. That’s how we repealed “don’t ask/don’t tell.” That’s how we ended the war in Iraq, as I promised, and that’s how we’re going to wind down the war in Afghanistan. That’s how we went after Al Qaida and bin Laden.

So we’ve — we’ve seen progress even under Republican control of the House of Representatives. But, ultimately, part of being principled, part of being a leader is, A, being able to describe exactly what it is that you intend to do, not just saying, “I’ll sit down,” but you have to have a plan.

Number two, what’s important is occasionally you’ve got to say no, to — to — to folks both in your own party and in the other party. And, you know, yes, have we had some fights between me and the Republicans when — when they fought back against us reining in the excesses of Wall Street? Absolutely, because that was a fight that needed to be had.

When — when we were fighting about whether or not we were going to make sure that Americans had more security with their health insurance and they said no, yes, that was a fight that we needed to have.

LEHRER: All right

OBAMA: And so part of leadership and governing is both saying what it is that you are for, but also being willing to say no to some things. And I’ve got to tell you, Governor Romney, when it comes to his own party during the course of this campaign, has not displayed that willingness to say no to some of the more extreme parts of his party.

LEHRER: That brings us to closing statements. It was a coin toss. Governor Romney, you won the toss and you elected to go last, so you have a closing two minutes, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Well, Jim, I want to thank you, and I want to thank Governor Romney, because I think was a terrific debate, and I very much appreciate it. And I want to thank the University of Denver.

You know, four years ago, we were going through a major crisis. And yet my faith and confidence in the American future is undiminished. And the reason is because of its people, because of the woman I met in North Carolina who decided at 55 to go back to school because she wanted to inspire her daughter and now has a job from that new training that she’s gotten; because a company in Minnesota who was willing to give up salaries and perks for their executives to make sure that they didn’t lay off workers during a recession.

The auto workers that you meet in Toledo or Detroit take such pride in building the best cars in the world, not just because of a paycheck, but because it gives them that sense of pride, that they’re helping to build America. And so the question now is how do we build on those strengths. And everything that I’ve tried to do, and everything that I’m now proposing for the next four years in terms of improving our education system or developing American energy or making sure that we’re closing loopholes for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and focusing on small businesses and companies that are creating jobs here in the United States, or closing our deficit in a responsible, balanced way that allows us to invest in our future.

All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is — is channeled and — and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody’s getting a fair shot. And everybody’s getting a fair share — everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the same rules.

You know, four years ago, I said that I’m not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect president. And that’s probably a promise that Governor Romney thinks I’ve kept. But I also promised that I’d fight every single day on behalf of the American people, the middle class, and all those who were striving to get into the middle class. I’ve kept that promise and if you’ll vote for me, then I promise I’ll fight just as hard in a second term.

LEHRER: Governor Romney, your two-minute closing.

ROMNEY: Thank you, Jim, and Mr. President. And thank you for tuning in this evening.

This is a — this is an important election and I’m concerned about America. I’m concerned about the direction America has been taking over the last four years.

I — I know this is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals. It’s bigger than our respective parties. It’s an election about the course of America. What kind of America do you want to have for yourself and for your children.

And there really are two very different paths that we began speaking about this evening, and over the course of this month we’re going to have two more presidential debates and a vice presidential debate. We’re talk about those two paths.

But they lead in very different directions. And it’s not just looking to our words that you have to take in evidence of where they go. You can look at the record.

There’s no question in my mind that if the president were to be reelected you’ll continue to see a middle-class squeeze with incomes going down and prices going up.

I’ll get incomes up again.

You’ll see chronic unemployment. We’ve had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent.

If I’m president I will create — help create 12 million new jobs in this country with rising incomes.

If the president’s reelected, Obamacare will be fully installed. In my view that’s going to mean a whole different way of life for people who counted on the insurance plan they had in the past. Many will lose it. You’re going to see health premiums go up by some $2,500 per family.

If I’m elected we won’t have Obama. We’ll put in place the kind of principles that I put in place in my own state and allow each state to craft their own programs to get people insured and we’ll focus on getting the cost of health care down.

If the president were to be reelected you’re going to see a $716 billion cut to Medicare. You’ll have 4 million people who will lose Medicare Advantage. You’ll have hospital and providers that’ll no longer accept Medicare patients.

I’ll restore that $716 billion to Medicare.

And finally, military. The president’s reelected you’ll see dramatic cuts to our military. The secretary of defense has said these would be even devastating.

I will not cut our commitment to our military. I will keep America strong and get America’s middle class working again.

Thank you, Jim.

LEHRER: Thank you, Governor.

Thank you, Mr. President.

The next debate will be the vice presidential event on Thursday, October 11th at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. For now, from the University of Denver, I’m Jim Lehrer. Thank you, and good night.

(APPLAUSE)

END

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 3, 2012: First Presidential Debate Transcript — President Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney Debate in Denver, Colorado

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Live! Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the first U.S. Presidential debate

Presidential Debate Transcript

Source: ABC News, 10-3-12

The full transcript of the Presidential Debate from Denver, Colo. below, updated every 15 minutes throughout the debate….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 3, 2012: First Presidential Debate Live Blog — President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Debate in Denver, Colorado

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Live! Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the first U.S. Presidential debate

First Presidential Debate Live Blog

Source: NYT, 10-3-12

President Obama and Mitt Romney square off on Wednesday night in Denver in the first of three presidential debates. Live coverage begins at 8 p.m. eastern….READ MORE

Live stream: Watch the first Obama-Romney presidential debate

Source: LAT, 10-3-12

After months of speeches, advertisements and long-distance pot shots, President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney square off face-to-face Wednesday night at 6 pm PDT for the first of three presidential debates….READ MORE

WATCH LIVE: President Obama and Mitt Romney Debate in Denver

Source: ABC News Radio 10-3-12

(DENVER)SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama and Mitt Romney face off Wednesday night for their first presidential debate in Denver, Colo.

Watch the debate LIVE

Campaign Headlines October 3, 2012: Richard Norton Smith & Michael Beschloss: In Denver, Stakes for First Debate Are a Mile High

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

In Denver, Stakes for First Debate Are a Mile High

Source: PBS Newshour, 10-3-12
DEBATING OUR DESTINY

Gwen Ifill talked about moderating:

Presidential historian and NewsHour regular Richard Norton Smith noted that the style and delivery of the candidates could be more important than any of the policy details that are discussed:

And presidential historian Michael Beschloss, also a NewsHour regular, pointed out that it should be worrisome that some voters rely heavily on the debates for information about the candidates and their ideas:

The comments from Gwen, Smith and Beschloss come from Banville’s newly released e-book, “Debating Our Destiny: Presidential Debate Moments That Shaped History.” The book is published by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, which also produces the NewsHour.

The NewsHour also looked at how the debates can be used in the classroom.

Here is your guide to our coverage.

Campaign Headlines October 3, 2012: What You Need to Know Before Wednesday Night’s Presidential Debate

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

What You Need to Know Before Wednesday Night’s Debate

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-3-12

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will face off Wednesday night in the first presidential debate of the 2012 election.

The forum will focus exclusively on domestic policy.  Half of the debate will be on the economy, the other half will ask the candidates to address health care, their view of the role of government and their vision for governing.

Here’s what you need to know about Wednesday night’s big campaign moment….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 2, 2012: Julian Zelizer: The mistakes candidates make in debates

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

The mistakes candidates make in debates

Source: Julian Zelizer, CNN, 10-2-12

Watch this video

Best moments from presidential debates

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Julian Zelizer: Top priority for candidates in debates is to avoid mistakes
    • He says gaffes have the potential to change how voters view a candidate
    • Candidates are viewed not only for what they say but for their body language, he says
    • Zelizer: Obama, Romney will be under a microscope Wednesday night when the debates begin

Editor’s note: Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of “Jimmy Carter” and of the new book “Governing America.”

(CNN) — Commentators usually make too much of presidential debates. Social science data consistently show that there are very few presidential debates that make a huge difference in the dynamics of a campaign — other than a few exceptions where the race was incredibly narrow, as in 1960 or 2000, and the performance of candidates had some impact.

Regardless of whether they are game-changers, the presidential debates are still an important part of the broader narrative about each candidate that voters evaluate when they step into the voting booth in November.

More important than doing well is avoiding mistakes. Particularly in the current age of YouTube and nightly political news comedy, any slip-up can become fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. The last thing that a candidate wants to do is provide material for the “Saturday Night Live” comedy writers who are eagerly preparing for the next show.

The mistakes the presidential candidates have made over the years are numerous. Poor body language has been a common blunder. As much as candidates focus on perfecting the substance of what they say before the cameras, a large number of Americans are really most interested to see how they say it….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines: 2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

TV Channels – Each debate will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as all cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC among others.

Live Stream – Each debate will be streamed live online.

October 3, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)
The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.
October 11, 2012
Vice Presidential
Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan
Topic: Foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan
Moderator: Martha Raddatz (ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent)
The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.
October 16, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent)
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
October 22, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Foreign policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of Face the Nation on CBS)
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.

Campaign Recap September 12, 2011: Rick Perry Joins GOP Candidates in Debate at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney listened as Rick Perry, right, spoke Wednesday in his first Republican presidential debate. More Photos »

STATS & POLLS

Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

Democratic Nominee 2012: President Barack Obama’s Official Reelection Campaign Website — BarackObama.com

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

    • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
    • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
    • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
    • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
    • Survey: Tea Party Isolated on Climate, But Wide Accord on Most Energy Policies: A new survey shows strong support for energy research across the political spectrum…. – NYT, 9-7-11

In a recent Fox News survey, Bachmann was the choice of a whopping 4 percent of Republican voters. That tied her for fifth place with two candidates who aren’t even running: Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. She’s only one percentage point ahead of, you guessed it, Newt Gingrich.

  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign in danger?: Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, and deputy campaign manager, David Polyansky, moved on to other duties over the weekend. Is presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann the new Newt Gingrich?…. – CS Monitor, 9-6-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts mittromney.com

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts rickperry.org

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ronpaul2012.com

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts hermancain.com

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts michelebachmann.com

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts newt.org

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts jon2012.com

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ricksantorum.com

  • The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library: The following is a transcript of the 2012 Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., as transcribed by Roll Call…. – NYT, 9-7-11

IN FOCUS: GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AT REAGAN LIBRARY

Campaign Buzz September 7, 2011: Full Text Transcript Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Library — Rick Perry & Mitt Romney Steal the Show — NYT, 9-7-11

Republican Debate Live Coverage ABC News, 9-7-11

Who won the Reagan debate? Politico Arena, 9-7-11

    • Republican Debate 2011: Reagan Library hosts GOP Presidential Candidates (Live Updates): The Republican Candidates Debate at the Reagan Library happens tonight at 8pm. Eight Presidential candidates will square off in a debate co-moderated by John F. Harris of POLITICO and Brian Williams of NBC News. We’ll be updating this page throughout the night with highlights from POLITICO’s coverage and around the web. Also check out our Burns and Haberman live blog and watch the debate livestream…. – Politico, 9-7-11
    • Live-Blogging the GOP Debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes his debate debut tonight at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif.
      The GOP presidential debate is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EDT, and will be carried live on MSNBC. It will also air later on CNBC and Telemundo.
      All eyes are on the Texas governor, who quickly sprinted to the front of the field in just a few short weeks, to see how he answers difficult questions about his past and fends off attacks from his rivals for the nomination. Will the outspoken Texan offer up another of his over-the-top remarks — like calling Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke‘s monetary policy “treasonous” or Social Security “a Ponzi scheme”? Or will he wade into the night with a front-runner’s reserve?
      Likewise, will former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney go on the attack after losing his perch atop most national polls? And how will tea-party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann react now that she is no longer the flavor-of-the-month? And will Rep. Ron Paul and former Sen. Rick Santorum renew their spirited feud from the last debate?
      Sparks flew when Republicans gathered in Ames, Iowa, last month, but the race has fundamentally altered since Tim Pawlenty quit the field after a lackluster finish in the Iowa straw poll and Mr. Perry commandeered the spotlight…. – WSJ, 9-7-11

“We created more jobs in the last three months in Texas, than he created in four years in Massachusetts…..
Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.” — Rick Perry

“Gov. Perry doesn’t believe he created those things, if he tried to say that, well it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet….
As a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.” — Mitt Romney

“I hate to rain on the parade of the Lone Star governor, but as governor of Utah we were the No. 1 job creator during my years of service.” — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

“It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.” — — Rick Perry

“Our nominee has to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security, but who’s committed to saving Social Security.” — Mitt Romney

“I kind of feel like the piñata here at the party.” — Rick Perry said midway through the debate

    • FACTBOX-Romney, Perry spar at Republican debate: Republican presidential hopeful Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney sparred over who did a better job at promoting employment in a testy exchange at a debate on Wednesday night.
      Since entering the race just weeks ago to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama, Perry has knocked Romney off his front-runner perch and is now leading in the polls…. – Reuters, 9-7-11
    • Governor Perry comes out swinging at debate: Texas Governor Rick Perry came out swinging in his national debut on Wednesday, all but calling President Barack Obama a liar, describing Social Security as a fraud and attacking his main Republican rival in the presidential race.
      Perry, a conservative Tea Party favorite and the Republican front-runner, traded barbs with closest competitor Mitt Romney over who has created more jobs.
      Their testy exchange in Perry’s first presidential debate was proof that the fight to determine the 2012 Republican challenger to Democrat Obama is becoming a two-man contest…. – Reuters, 9-7-11
    • Romney, Perry spar over jobs, Social Security: Eager to tangle, Republican presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney sparred vigorously over job creation and Social Security Wednesday night in a lively campaign debate that marked a new turn in the race to pick a 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama…. – AP, 9-7-11
    • Romney and Perry Clash, Drawing Lines in G.O.P. Sand: The fight for the Republican presidential nomination began narrowing into an intense and ideological battle at a debate here Wednesday night, with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Mitt Romney sharply clashing over Social Security, health care and each other’s long-term prospect against President Obama.
      A series of spirited exchanges between the two men, which revealed differences in substance and style, offered the first extensive look into the months-long contest ahead that will offer Republican voters a starkly different choice. They traded attacks on each other’s job creation records and qualifications to be president, overshadowing their opponents in the crowded Republican field…. – NYT, 9-7-11
    • Panelists, GOP rivals target Perry from outset of debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry got a rugged baptism to the Republican presidential race Wednesday as both his opponents and the panelists of a debate here pitched pointed questions to Perry about his 10-year record and views expressed in his 2010 book.
      Moderators and candidates gathered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library made up for lost time, delving into Perry’s “Texas Miracle,” record on the death penalty and skepticism about climate change. By the debate’s conclusion, the back and forth revealed what was turning into a two-candidate race between Perry and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney…. – USA Today, 9-7-11
    • Front-runner Rick Perry plays the ‘piñata’ at GOP presidential debate: In his first presidential debate since entering the GOP field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took most of the barbs from his fellow candidates on issues ranging from Social Security to jobs…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
    • Perry, Romney spar over job creation, Social Security: Debate newcomer Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clashed over their job creation records, health care and Social Security at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night. … – CNN, 9-7-11
    • Perry, Romney square off in Reagan Library debate: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the two front-runners, spar over their job creation records. Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and other GOP candidates seem almost relegated to the sidelines. GOP presidential candidates debate at the Reagan Presidential Library…. – LAT, 9-7-11
    • Rick Perry shows aggressive style in his first GOP debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a reputation for running aggressive campaigns designed to keep the focus on his opponents rather than himself. In his opening debate as a presidential candidate, he followed that script from start to finish.
      Midway through Wednesday’s forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Perry joked, “I kind of feel like a piñata here at the party.” It was an acknowledgement that as the new leader in the polls for the GOP nomination, Perry drew more attacks and more critical questions than any of the other candidates.
      But he did as much to stick his rivals as they did to him. He went after the other candidates with relish, whether in response to their criticisms or preemptively. He stood by some of his most controversial statements, including his view that Social Security is a “monstrosity.” At other times, he slipped past questions calling into question his record in Texas.
      Many of his exchanges were with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the erstwhile front-runner for the GOP nomination until Perry got into the race last month. That produced a Romney who was more animated than in the first three debates, creating the impression that, for now, the Perry vs. Romney dynamic is the dominant theme of the Republican nomination contest.
      Polls have shown that Perry and Romney are well ahead of any of the others in the race. But it took Wednesday’s debate — preceded by questions about Perry’s staying power and preparation for a national race, and about Romney’s ability to respond to a serious Republican rival — to demonstrate that both candidates are ready to battle it out for the foreseeable future…. – WaPo, 9-7-11
    • Perry clashes with Romney in debate: Gov. Rick Perry tangled often with his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday, clashing with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over Social Security and jobs in Perry’s first presidential debate.
      As the newest entrant to the race and the person sitting atop national polls, Perry was the central character in Wednesday’s nationally televised debate from Ronald Reagan’s presidential library, the first of three such contests this month. Questioners and opponents repeatedly zeroed in on his Texas record, his book and some of the most provocative statements from his young candidacy…. – Austin American-Statesman, 9-7-11
    • Perry swings, Romney sings, as GOP frontrunners face off in first debate: Rick Perry proved one thing in his first debate appearance since joining the Republican presidential nomination race: He takes no guff.
      Despite the “Southern gentleman” veneer in which he occasionally couched his barbs, the Texas Governor shot at nearly anything that moved on stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
      He called Social Security, which remains a financial lifeline for millions of seniors, a “Ponzi scheme” and “monstrous lie” visited on younger Americans who will be left holding the bag.
      He called Karl Rove, the former George W. Bush adviser who had criticized some of Mr. Perry’s earlier comments as unpresidential, “over the top for a long time.”
      “Maybe it’s time to have provocative language in this country,” Mr. Perry retorted after Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Mr. Perry’s chief rival for the nomination, challenged him on his characterization of Social Security…. – Globe & Mail, 9-7-11
    • Reagan debate reactions come quickly on Twitter: If you’d kept up with Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate only by Twitter, you could have easily thought Mitt Romney and Rick Perry were the only candidates on stage and their other six rivals for the Republican presidential nomination had decided to stay home.
      The clash between the two over jobs that kicked off the NBC News/POLITICO debate was an instant Twitter hit, making the phrase “Romney and Perry” a top Twitter trend.
      But it didn’t take long for users to grow weary of the back-and-forth between the two rivals standing next to each other on the debate stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif…. – Politico, 9-7-11
    • GOP debate: Biggest winner, loser and missed opportunity: Biggest Missed Opportunity: Rick Perry. He needed to explain what he means when he calls Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Does he want to repeal it? Change it? We still don’t know. Biggest winner: Mitt Romney. Looked and sounded presidential. … – LAT, 9-7-11

PERRY: Well, Governor Romney left the private sector, and he did a great job of creating jobs in the private sector all around the world. But the fact is, when he moved that experience to government, he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country. So the fact is, while he had a good private-sector record, his public-sector record did not match that. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas than he created in four years in Massachusetts.

WILLIAMS: Well, let’s widen this out and let’s bring in Mr. (Herman) Cain on one side.

ROMNEY: Wait a second. … Listen, wait a second.

WILLIAMS: We could do this all evening.

ROMNEY: States are different. Texas is a great state. Texas has zero income tax. Texas has a right-to-work state, a Republican legislature, a Republican Supreme Court. Texas has a lot of oil and gas in the ground.
Those are wonderful things, but Governor Perry doesn’t believe that he created those things. If he tried to say that, well, it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

ROMNEY: Look, the reality is, there are differences. There are differences between states. I came into a state that was in real trouble — a huge budget gap, losing jobs every month. We turned it around. Three out of four years, we had unemployment rate below the national average, we ended up with 4.7 percent unemployment rate. I’m proud of what we were able to do in a tough situation.

PERRY: (Former Massachusetts Governor) Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.

ROMNEY: Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.

PERRY: That’s not correct.

ROMNEY: Yes, that is correct.

THE HEADLINES: WEEKLY RECAP

  • Live Blog: Republicans Meet in Florida for Tea Party Debate: Just days after a debate in California, the eight Republican presidential candidates will square off again tonight at a forum in Tampa…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Perry Wears a Bull’s-Eye at G.O.P. Debate: The presidential candidates aggressively confronted Gov. Rick Perry and pressed him to expound upon his views on Social Security and a vaccination program for teenage girls…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • As Perry Rises, G.O.P. Elite Look Toward Romney: The rising presidential candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is stirring excitement for many Republican voters but is creating unease in some quarters of the party’s establishment…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Pawlenty Endorses Romney: Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race last month, endorses Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Jindal to Endorse Perry: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has decided to back Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Perry’s Tone on Social Security Takes a Turn: Rick Perry, once highly critical of Social Security, now suggests its long-term viability must be assured…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Florida set for big role in GOP presidential race: Florida is much larger, diverse and expensive than the other four early-voting states, he said, and so it rewards the type of campaigning a Republican must do around the country to oust President Barack Obama in November 2012. … – AP, 9-11-11
  • Democrats Fret Aloud Over Obama’s Chances: Elected officials and party leaders at all levels said that their concern about President Obama’s vulnerability in 2012 has intensified as the economy has displayed fresh signs of weakness…. – NYT, 9-10-11
  • Obama campaign sets $55M fundraising goal: President Barack Obama’s campaign team told top donors Friday they hope to raise a combined $55 million during a three-month period ending in late September, warning of an impending fundraising onslaught from Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney…. – AP, 9-9-11
  • Romney and Perry Assume Contrasting Republican Brands: The performances of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry at Wednesday’s Republican debate were a kind of lesson in the different paths that might lead to the White House…. – NYT, 9-9-11
  • Romney and Perry clash over Social Security: A growing divide over Social Security splits the two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, and the differences between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney foreshadow a tricky political dance with older voters.
    Romney has seized on what he perceives as Perry’s vulnerability on a program that seniors hold dear, Democrats venerate as sacrosanct and Perry has labeled a “Ponzi scheme.”… – AP, 9-9-11
  • Attacking the Democrats, but Not Always Getting It Right: The Republican presidential candidates’ arguments ran into factual hurdles during the debate on Wednesday night…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Electability a Primary Liability for Perry: Gov. Rick Perry’s remarks about Social Security may play into concerns about his appeal to general election voters…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Grist for Left and Right in Perry Immigration Record: As Gov. Rick Perry edges into front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination, his opponents are trying to plant seeds of doubt about how tough he has been on illegal immigration…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Fresh Off Debate Debut, Perry Turns Down the Heat: Gov. Rick Perry was less critical in his assessment of his Republican rivals the day after they met for a debate, focusing his attacks on President Obama instead…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Scenes From the Republican Candidates’ Debate: Readers respond to coverage of the Republican presidential candidates’ debate on Wednesday…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Bachmann: Even if Obama gets jobs plan, it’ll fail: Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann is criticizing President Barack Obama’s plan to create jobs. She says Obama’s approach amounts to more “failed gimmicks.” The Minnesota congresswoman says the plan Obama outlined … – AP, 9-8-11
  • It’s Romney-Perry now, with plenty of differences: As Rick Perry and Mitt Romney jockey over their ability to defeat President Barack Obama, there are deepening fault lines between the two on Social Security, immigration, jobs and more that could shape the contest…. – AP, 9-8-11
  • Analysis: GOP debate raises jobs pressure on Obama: President Barack Obama, already under pressure to present a compelling new job-expansion strategy in his nationwide address Thursday, will now feel even more urgency. The California forum Wednesday night covered several topics, but above all it helped … – AP, 9-8-11
  • GOP rivals gang up on Romney over health care law: The “individual mandate” component of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is one of its most controversial. At Wednesday night’s Republican debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Romney’s plan is a bad example for the rest of the nation…. – AP, 9-7-11
  • Romney and Perry jab at each other on job records: Romney says that as governor of Massachusetts, he oversaw more jobs created in his state than President Barack Obama has overseen nationwide. Perry sniped back that another former Massachusetts governor, Democrat Michael Dukakis, created jobs three … – AP, 9-7-11
  • GOP debate features first appearance for Perry: Republicans competing for the chance to challenge President Barack Obama next fall were taking the stage one day before the incumbent Democrat rolls out a jobs-creation plan. It’s the first of three Republican presidential debates scheduled over…. – AP, 9-7-11
  • Perry leaves Texas wildfires, heads to GOP debate: President Barack Obama rejected Texas’ request in April for federal aid due to wildfires, but then declared 45 fire-ravaged counties a major disaster in July, after Perry wrote to the White House to appeal the previous decision. … – AP, 9-7-11
  • Texas wildfires: Is Rick Perry being hypocritical asking for federal aid?: Texas wildfires are forcing Gov. Rick Perry to walk a philosophical tightrope. A strong advocate for a smaller federal government, he’s chiding the Obama administration for not helping more during the Texas wildfires…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
  • Ron Paul versus Rick Perry: Who is Ronald Reagan’s true heir?: Rep. Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have been trading barbs, with both talking about allegiance to Ronald Reagan. Their arguments take a few liberties…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
  • Republicans Debate in California as Race Intensifies: The debate was the first time the Republican contenders shared a stage since Gov. Rick Perry opened his campaign in August…. – NYT, 9-7-11
  • G.O.P. Hopefuls Vying for Tea Party’s Support: The leading Republican presidential candidates spent Labor Day declaring their fealty to limited government as they strongly criticized President Obama’s economic policies…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Romney unveils economic plan ahead of Obama speech: Romney also accused President Barack Obama of expanding federal regulations. Romney’s new plan calls on government agencies to make sure that new regulations don’t cost money — if a new set of rules raises costs for businesses, Romney would require … – AP, 9-6-11
  • Mitt Romney jobs plan: Can it create 11 million jobs in four years?: Romney’s plan includes tax cuts, reduced regulation, and an emphasis on expanded free trade. But creating 11 million new jobs would require many things to go just right, economists say…. – CS Monitor, 9-6-11
  • A Campaign Challenge: Defining Obama: While the president will not directly confront the Republican nominee until 2012, his advisers believe that the next three months are critical to reversing his downward trajectory…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Super PAC Plans Major Primary Campaign for Rick Perry: Make Us Great Again plans to spend as much as $55 million to help Rick Perry win the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign in danger?: Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, and deputy campaign manager, David Polyansky, moved on to other duties over the weekend. Is presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann the new Newt Gingrich?… – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Loss of Top Two Aides Raises Questions About Bachmann Campaign: The departure of Ed Rollins and his deputy was seen by some as evidence that Michele Bachmann’s campaign was at a critical juncture…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Bachmann’s Steep Path to the Nomination: Michele Bachmann faces many potential obstacles to the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Pataki Says He Is Content to Be a Noncandidate: The former governor said he had no regrets about deciding not to make a run for president, a notion that some people in the political world had mocked….- NYT, 9-6-11
  • G.O.P. Hopefuls Vying for Tea Party’s Support: The leading Republican presidential candidates spent Labor Day declaring their fealty to limited government as they strongly criticized President Obama’s economic policies…. – NYT, 9-5-11
  • GOP candidates in SC vow to carry tea-party banner: Mitt Romney says the Obama administration flaunted the constitution to push a political agenda. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota calls Obama’s policies “unconstitutional.” And Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he has a better record on jobs than Obama. … – AP, 9-5-11
  • Still undecided, Palin rails against Obama: Sarah Palin left open the possibility of a presidential bid Monday afternoon, while encouraging tea party activists to unite against President Obama. And the former Alaska governor praised Republican presidential candidates…. – AP, 9-5-11
  • Their Optimism Rising, G.O.P. Voters Look for a Winner: In interviews in New Hampshire and Iowa, Republicans expressed a sense of possibility and a longing for a strong conservative leader…. – NYT, 9-5-11
  • Republican Candidates Turn Attacks on One Another: The Republican field is entering a pivotal stage as candidates increasingly move beyond criticizing President Obama and start to run against each other…. – NYT, 9-4-11

HOUSE — SENATE — GOVERNORSHIPS CANMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS

  • Democratic US Rep. Baldwin joins Wis. Senate race: Republicans are sure to go after Baldwin’s liberal voting record, hoping to sway independent and moderate voters their way in a state that has swung between handing President Barack Obama a 14-point win in 2008 and kicking Democrats out of power…. – AP, 9-5-11

CAMPAIGN 2012: ANALYSTS &S HISTORIANS COMMENTS

    • Politico Arena: Daily Debate with Policymakers, Opinionshapers & Academics Politico
    • Julian Zelizer: If Obama Is a One-Term President: “I’D rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” President Obama confessed to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer last year. Other than the “really good” part, Republicans would be happy to see this wish fulfilled.
      With waning approval ratings and a stagnant economy, the possibility that Mr. Obama will not be re-elected has entered the political bloodstream. Suddenly, the opposition party envisions a scenario in which its presidential candidate could defeat Mr. Obama in a referendum on his job performance. Mr. Obama needs to think hard about his own statement and consider what it takes to be a successful one-term president, in the light of history…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Thomas F. Mayer: Historian Says Perry Misses Point on Galileo and Climate Change: “If Perry means to say that at some point some body of scientists said Galileo was wrong, that didn’t happen,” said the historian, Thomas F. Mayer, who teaches at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.
      Galileo and Copernicus were long ago proved right, but even in Galileo’s day there were scientists who supported him, Dr. Mayer said. “His notions about science were not that far out there,” he said. “There were a lot of other scientists, especially in Rome, who more or less agreed with his scientific observations.”… – NYT, 9-8-11
    • LARRY J. SABATO: The 2012 Election Will Come Down to Seven States National polls are nice, but Electoral College math is what matters: Straw polls, real polls, debates, caucuses, primaries—that’s the public side of presidential campaigns 14 months before Election Day. But behind the scenes, strategists for President Obama and his major Republican opponents are already focused like a laser on the Electoral College.
      The emerging general election contest gives every sign of being highly competitive, unlike 2008. Of course, things can change: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were both in trouble at this point in their first terms, and George H.W. Bush still looked safe. Unexpectedly strong economic growth could make Mr. Obama’s re-election path much easier than it currently looks, as could the nomination of a damaged Republican candidate. But a few more weeks like the past couple, and Mr. Obama’s re-election trajectory will resemble Jimmy Carter’s.
      Both parties are sensibly planning for a close election. For all the talk about how Hispanics or young people will vote, the private chatter is about a few vital swing states. It’s always the Electoral College math that matters most.
      Voting is predictable for well over half the states, so even 14 months out it’s easy to shade in most of the map for November 2012….
      Right now, though, a troubled President Obama—so far unopposed for re-nomination—has the luxury of keeping both eyes on the Electoral College, planning his trips and policies accordingly. By contrast, the leading Republican contenders are forced to focus their gaze on delegate votes in a handful of early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Still, quietly they’re already seeking admission to the only college that can give them the job they want. – WSJ, 9-6-11

It’s hard to remember the last time a time a presidential candidate joined a race relatively this late in the game and made this much of an impact. Part of it is based on Perry’s style, his affinity for Tea Party causes, and his record as governor, in which he boasts of unparalleled job creation and growth. But part of it has always been the fragile status of the previous leader in the polls, Mitt Romney. A former governor of Massachusetts, Romney was thought to have the upper hand because of his fundraising advantage, strong organization and the fact that he had run once before; he was an also-ran in 2008. — Kem Rudin, NPR

  • The GOP Race Begins Now: Ignore all that other stuff. Yes, we’ve had months and months of non-stop activity by the Republicans who would like to take on President Obama next year. We’ve had a few debates, a bunch of straw polls, campaign finance reports, visits to the early primary and caucus states, some almost candidacies and even a major dropout.
    But now the battle for the GOP nomination starts in earnest, beginning this Wednesday with the debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. (sponsored by Politico and NBC News; 8 pm ET)…. – NPR, 9-5-11

Campaign Recap August 15, 2011: Ames Iowa GOP Debate & Straw Poll — Texas Gov. Rick Perry Announces Presidential Bid While Tim Pawlenty Withdraws

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Richard Ellis/Getty Images
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas announced his candidacy for president at the RedState Gathering, a meeting of conservative activists, in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday.

STATS & POLLS

Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

Democratic Nominee 2012: President Barack Obama’s Official Reelection Campaign Website — BarackObama.com

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

  • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
  • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
  • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
  • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
  • Top tier emerges as GOP nomination race enters a defining phase: With Rick Perry declaring his candidacy and Michele Bachmann winning the Iowa straw poll, the two go head-to-head for the GOP’s social and religious conservatives and against establishment front-runner Mitt Romney…. – LAT, 8-15-11

QUOTES & SPEECHES

    • AP Interview: Perry calls jobs record a big plus: Texas Gov. Rick Perry contended Monday he has the best economic record and executive experience in government of any Republican presidential candidate, contrasting his credentials with those of his top two rivals, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann…. – AP, 8-15-11

“I respect all the other candidates in the field but there is no one that can stand toe-to-toe with us.”

“There’s plenty of time to look at his four years in Massachusetts and my 10 years in Texas.”

“Trying to compare the job creation and the numbers of jobs with any other state is just not an apples-to-apples comparison.”

“I was in the private sector for 13 years after I left the Air Force. I wasn’t on Wall Street. I wasn’t working at Bain Capital. But the principles of the free market, they work whether you’re in a farm field in Iowa or whether you’re on Wall Street.”

“It’s a fair comparison. Understanding how that process works, but more importantly making that process work, of which we have done in Texas, is inarguably better than … anyone who is aspiring to be the president.”

“I’m going to talk about the economy; don’t get any ideas that I’m going to run away from my faith or my beliefs.”

QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts mittromney.com

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts rickperry.org

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ronpaul2012.com

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts hermancain.com

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts michelebachmann.com

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts newt.org

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts jon2012.com

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ricksantorum.com

The Ames Republican debate transcript: Everything they said that you missed — LAT, 8-13-11

“In Iowa we have successfully maintained the chain of liberty for 150 years my family has lived in Iowa. I’m the seventh-generation Iowan. And every generation has successfully handed the torch of liberty to the next. It’s as though we have forged a chain-link of liberty, and every generation has successfully kept the chain going. And now it’s our chance, here in Iowa. We get to forge that next chain on the link of liberty.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“I want to say on television what I said to you personally, I sincerely apologize, I didn’t mean to do it.” — Chris Wallace, Host “Fox News Sunda.”
“All is forgiven, we move forward, so we’re good to go.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“It is time to get America working again, to get citizens – to get our citizens working in good jobs and getting the government to working for the people again.” — Gov. Rick Perry

“Page 1 of any economic plan to get America working is to give a pink slip to the current resident in the White House. The president of the United States has a pen. It’s called a veto pen. And I will use it until the ink runs out if that’s what it takes.” — Gov. Rick Perry in Waterloo, Iowa

“The American people now, by a large majority, are saying we have been overseas too long. We don’t need an American empire. We need to protect our borders and forget about the borders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s time to bring the troops home. All we have to do is restore the belief in freedom, restore the belief in what made America great, restore our conviction that the Constitution works.” — Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in his speech at the Iowa straw poll

“Obviously that message didn’t get the kind of traction or lift that we needed and hoped for coming into and out of the Ames Straw Poll. We needed to get some lift to continue on and to have a pathway forward. That didn’t happen. So I’m announcing this morning on your show that I’m going to be ending my campaign for president.
All of them are going to be tested, and somebody who can thrive in this process will have their mettle tested, and they’ll be improved. And so a lot of times you see candidates start out weaker, they get stronger over time, or start out strong and fall by the wayside. So we just don’t know.” — Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, dropped his presidential bid in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” program hosted by Jack Tapper

“Tim Pawlenty and his entire team ran an honorable campaign. I admire his accomplishments as a two-term governor with a record of results for his state. I consider him a friend and I know he has a bright future ahead of him as a leader in the Republican Party.” — Mitt Romney

“Tim Pawlenty is an accomplished governor, a proud conservative and someone of tremendous character. Our families became close while we were serving together as governors and we are honored to call the Pawlentys dear friends. I know this wasn’t an easy decision for Tim and Mary, and I wish them nothing but the best. Tim should be proud that he brought to this race ambitious solutions to turn around our nation’s economy and to tackle debt and spending. I hope that all of his supporters continue to stay engaged in this defining election and work with us to ensure that our party wins in November.” — Jon M. Huntsman Jr.

“Tim Pawlenty is a good friend and colleague who I have worked closely with over the years, including visiting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a governor, Tim stuck to conservative principles despite leading a blue state like Minnesota. He and Mary are true patriots who are committed to our country, and ran an honorable campaign that reflected their integrity. Governor Pawlenty’s common-sense conservative voice will remain prominent and influential as we work to beat President Obama in 2012 and get America working again.” — Gov. Rick Perry

“This morning I spoke with Governor Pawlenty to express my respect and admiration for him, and to wish him and his family well. Running for the presidency requires enormous self-sacrifice. Governor Pawlenty brought an important voice and ideas to the campaign, and he served the people of Minnesota and our country well. Our party and our country are better as a result of his service and commitment.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

    • GOP candidates slam Obama on US credit downgrade: The 2012 Republican presidential contenders have roundly criticized President Barack Obama for economic policies they contend helped drive the downgrade of U.S. credit by a major ratings agency…. – AP, 8-9-11

“Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America. No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a triple-A country.” — President Obama said at the White House.

“Stop attacking, take responsibility and lead.” — Mitt Romney

“These problems have been percolating for a lot of years — both parties have to take some blame — but it’s also true that President Obama has made them exponentially worse.” — Tim Pawlenty said at an event in Ames

“You look at where the marketplace is today, you look at our downgrade, you look at all the economic woes that every American family has seen play out over the past little while. We’ve done this to ourselves and it’s time to reverse this business-unfriendly attitude of the past 2½ years.” — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

IN FOCUS: THE AMES IOWA GOP/REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE

    • FACT CHECK: Republican debate strains some facts: Michele Bachmann cast her opinion as a settled fact when she told the Republican presidential debate Thursday that a key element of President Barack Obama’s health care law is unconstitutional. And Mitt Romney danced around an attempt to learn why he stayed largely mum on the epic debt limit standoff between Obama and Congress. The first big GOP debate of the primary season brought viewers a flurry of claims and counterclaims, not all built on solid ground…. – AP, 8-12-11

The Ames Republican debate transcript: Everything they said that you missed — LAT, 8-13-11

Ames presidential debate: Winners and losers: The Washinton Post names Romney, Bachmann and Paul were among the winners.

BACHMANN: Spoke of “the unconstitutional individual mandate” several times, a reference to a requirement for people to carry health insurance, a central element of the 2010 federal health care law.
THE FACTS: Nothing is unconstitutional until courts declare it to be so.

TIM PAWLENTY: “To correct you, I have not questioned Congresswoman Bachmann’s headaches.”
THE FACTS: Pawlenty was hardly dismissive when news came out about Bachmann’s history of severe headaches, even if he did not go after her directly on the matter.

ROMNEY: on the last-minute deal to avert a national debt default: “I’m not going to eat Barack Obama’s dog food, all right? What he served up was not what I would have done if I’d had been president of the United States.”
THE FACTS: Romney was defending himself against criticism that he took a pass when political leadership was most needed in the mighty struggle to negotiate an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.

RICK SANTORUM: “The problem is that we have spending that has exploded. The government’s averaged 18 percent of GDP as the percentage of the overall economy. … And we’re now at almost 25 percent. Revenues are down about 2 or 3 percent. So if you look at where the problem is, the problem is in spending, not taxes.”
THE FACTS: The former Pennsylvania senator might have been mixing statistics on federal spending with federal revenue.

BACHMANN to PAWLENTY: “You said the era of small government was over. That sounds an awful lot like Barack Obama if you ask me.”
THE FACTS: Pawlenty did not declare the era of small government over. (Neither has Obama.)

“If that’s your record of results, please stop, because you’re killing us. Leading and failing is not the objective.” — Gov. Tim Pawlenty

“I believe you can get money wrong, but you can’t get life wrong. It was a choice. The governor put us in that box and I chose to protect human life.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

    • Bachmann, Pawlenty challenge each other in debate: Fellow Minnesotans Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann directly challenged each other during Thursday’s GOP debate in Iowa, with Pawlenty calling her a failure and Bachmann likening her Republican competitor to President Barack Obama…. – AP, 8-11-11
    • GOP debate opens with economic questions: Republican front-runner Mitt Romney says he would have supported a plan by congressional Republicans to cut spending and force a vote on a federal balanced budget amendment to address the nation’s debt crisis…. – AP, 8-11-11
    • “I’m not going to eat Barack Obama’s dog food. What he served up is not what I would have done if I’d had been president of the United States.” — Mitt Romney

“She said she’s got a titanium spine. It’s not her spine we’re worried about. It’s her record of results. If that’s your view of effective leadership with results, please stop, because you’re killing us.” — Tim Pawlenty

“Iran is not Iceland, Ron. Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979. Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Iraqis and [Afghans] have.” — Rick Santorum

  • GOP Debate: Live Blog of Republican Face-off in Iowa — ABC News, 8-11-11
  • 7 Best Moments from the GOP Debate: Bachmann and Pawlenty drop the gloves, Herman Cain talks religion, and Rick Santorum decries the oppression of gays—in Iran. Watch the best moments from the GOP debate…. – The Daily Beast, 8-12-11
  • FACT CHECK: Republican debate strains some facts: Michele Bachmann cast her opinion as a settled fact when she told the Republican presidential debate Thursday that a key element of President Barack Obama’s health care law is unconstitutional. And Mitt Romney danced around an attempt to learn why he stayed largely mum on the epic debt limit standoff between Obama and Congress.
    The first big GOP debate of the primary season brought viewers a flurry of claims and counterclaims, not all built on solid ground.
    A look at some of those claims and how they compare with the facts…. – AP, 8-11-11
  • GOP debate: Hitting hard at each other and Obama: Minnesota rivals Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann sparred bitterly Thursday night during an eight-candidate Republican debate, trying to break out of the GOP presidential pack ahead of an Iowa test vote with huge consequences. Each seeks to become the main challenger to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.
    Their efforts were newly complicated by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who stole some of the spotlight from afar by making it known hours before the debate that he was running for the GOP nomination.
    Romney, a multimillionaire businessman who casts himself as a jobs creator, made his own stir earlier in the day when, at the Iowa State Fair, he declared that “corporations are people,” drawing ridicule from Democrats…. – AP, 8-11-11
  • GOP debate: Romney skates amid Pawlenty, Bachmann slugfest: The Republican presidential debate here Thursday night went about as well as Mitt Romney could have asked for. Despite being the frontrunner for the nomination, Romney largely avoided the slings and arrows of his rivals. … – CBS News, 8-11-11
  • Pawlenty, Bachmann Square Off Ahead of Iowa Straw Poll: “Minnesota nice” went out the window Thursday when former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann took each other on directly in a manner that clearly suggested each one sees the other as their main obstacle to a strong showing at the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday…. – PBS Newshour, 8-11-11
  • GOP candidates debate in Ames, Iowa: Presumptive front-runner Mitt Romney steers clear of the toughest exchanges as midtier Republican presidential hopefuls like Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty spar ahead of Saturday’s straw poll…. – LAT, 8-11-11
  • Republican Presidential Hopefuls Gather for Debate Before Iowa Straw Poll: Republican presidential rivals went on the attack in a nationally televised debate yesterday, shedding the politeness marking previous forums as they squared off in Iowa before a weekend … – Bloomberg, 8-11-11
  • GOP debate kicks campaign into new phase: For most of the year, the Republican presidential race has been a listless affair. That changed suddenly Thursday night during a raucous debate that produced the sharpest exchanges of the campaign and signaled a new and more intense phase … – WaPo, 8-11-11
  • Welcome to the race, Rick! Other candidates tweak absent Perry at Iowa debate: Rick Perry wasn’t on the stage in Ames, Iowa tonight, but he was on the minds — and tongues — of the other Republican … – Houston Chronicle, 8-11-11
  • Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann exchange blows at Republican debate: The simmering rivalry between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann erupted at Thursday night’s Republican primary debate here, transforming Iowa’s first 2012 forum into a full-blown slugfest.
    The Minnesota duo have been in a low-grade tug of war for months over the affections of Iowa conservatives. With a crucial test looming for both at the Ames straw poll this Saturday, the Pawlenty-Bachmann rivalry turned so intense that it threatened to crowd out the other candidates completely.
    The charges were familiar: Pawlenty once again called Bachmann’s accomplishments “nonexistent.” Bachmann wielded well-worn attacks on Pawlenty tenure as governor…. – Politico, 8-11-11
  • Bachmann asked whether wives should be submissive: The Bible tells wives to be submissive to their husbands. If she were president, would that apply to Michele Bachmann? In Thursday’s Republican debate in Iowa, the Minnesota congresswoman was asked if she would be submissive to her husband… – AP, 8-11-11
  • Waiting for Bachmann: The debate just came back from