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Archive for October, 2012

There appears to be no written transcript so far. Apologies to the dial up folks.

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From the White House Website:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
October 23, 2012

Remarks by the President and Governor Romney in the Third Presidential Debate

Lynn University
Boca Raton, Florida

9:01 P.M. EDT

MR. SCHIEFFER:  Good evening from the campus of Lynn University here in Boca Raton, Florida.  This is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign, brought to you by the Commission on Presidential Debates.  This one is on foreign policy.  I’m Bob Schieffer of CBS News. (more…)

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Clipped from Dipnote. The Annual World Food Day was on October 16th. Women are the key to  food security:

Photo of the Week: Observing World Food Day | U.S. Department of State Blog.

POSTED BY SARAH GOLDFARB / OCTOBER 19, 2012

A Kenyan man shows millet he has grown at his farm in Siranga in western Kenya, July 18, 2012. [USAID/Kenya photo/ Public Domain]

Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote’s Associate Editor.

Every year on October 16, the international community unites around World Food Dayto increase awareness about global hunger. Today, nearly one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, and more than 3.5 million children die from undernutrition each year. As President Barack Obama said in his message recognizing World Food Day, “The United States has a moral obligation to lead the fight against global hunger, and we have put food security at the forefront of global development efforts. Through initiatives like Feed the Future, we are helping partner countries transform their agriculture sectors by investing in smallholder farmers — particularly women — who are the key to spurring economic growth and sustainably cultivating enough food to feed their people.”

In remarks at a Feed the Future event in New York last month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “As a result of all the work of so many people over the last four years, food security is now at the top of our national and foreign policy agendas, as well as that of so many other nations in the world, because we understand it is a humanitarian and moral imperative, but it also directly relates to global security and stability. I’ve seen in my travels how increased investments in agriculture and nutrition are paying off in rising prosperity, healthier children, better markets, and stronger communities.”

In this week’s “Photo of the Week,” which comes to us from USAID/Kenya, a farmer, who benefits from the support of Feed the Future, shows millet grown on his farm in western Kenya on July 18, 2012. Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, supports agricultural cooperatives and producers organizations throughout the world, helping link smallholder farmers to markets.

You can learn more about U.S. efforts to to improve food security and nutrition worldwide by following @FeedtheFuture@USAID, and @StateDept on Twitter, or visiting the websites of Feed the Future, USAID, and the State Department’s Office of Global Food Security. In the comments section below, let us know how you observed World Food Day.

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From the Speier Website:

Rep Speier Commends District Court Ruling Allowing Fraud Lawsuit Against Lehman Brothers

10/16/2012

SAN MATEO, CA – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo/San Francisco) today commended the decision yesterday by U.S. District judge Lewis Kaplan, Southern District New York, that allows a lawsuit for fraud against the officers and directors of failed Lehman Brothers to move forward.

The suit is led by San Mateo County, joined by Monterey County, the Cities of Burbank, Ventura, Auburn, as well as the Contra Costa Water District, Vallejo Sanitation and Flood Control District, and Zenith Insurance Company in seeking to hold Lehman Brothers’ officers and directors, and accountant liable for false statements Lehman Brothers made prior to selling investments to the public. It is the first decision in the country addressing individual investors’ claims since Lehman’s bankruptcy.

“It is shocking that more than four years later no one at Lehman has been held accountable for the failed—and possibly criminal—actions of its leadership.  State and local governments across the country who invested taxpayer dollars in supposedly safe “investment grade” Lehman securities had to cancel important projects, layoff employees and make other drastic service cuts to make up for their losses.

“San Mateo County alone lost more than $100 million in those “safe” investments. They lost, but others, like former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld, profited handsomely from Lehman’s reckless actions.

“I was particularly gratified that the Court allowed the claim of fraudulent conveyance of millions of dollars of real estate to his wife to proceed, calling the motion to dismiss “frivolous.”

At a House Financial Services Committee hearing in April 2010, I questioned Mr. Fuld about the transfer of his $13 million Florida estate in November 2008 to his wife for $100. His claim that the transfer was not intended to shield his assets immediately following Lehman’s collapse was not just frivolous, it was ludicrous.

“It is about time that those whose greed, arrogance and fraud caused this crisis be held personally responsible.”

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“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Let’s be clear, women in the US are still not equal citizens.

Regarding health care, the very fact that women were mentioned by line item in the Affordable Care Act so often shows that without these inclusions women would continue to receive a standard of care unequal to that of men.  Because the Equal Rights Amendment is yet to be passed, there is no single standard of equality by which to judge and assure fair treatment.

Without the ERA, we chose instead to present the same face of discrimination to the world, as Iran, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Under Bush, even with Biden as Chair of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Obama, as a Committee member, CEDAW languished, as it has, since 1979.

Even under a Democratic presidency CEDAW still slumbers.

These two failures are that of Congress, because they have never made it to presidential signature. Nor have they ever come under judicial review.

Though it is hard to imagine any Democrat elected president would have vetoed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and many of us were upset that it was Obama, amid much fanfare, rather than Clinton, who was able to sign it, the fact is that the Bill was enacted.

The others, the Fair Pay Act, and Fairness Paycheck Act did not pass Congress. Again, since women are not equal citizens under a single standard, a multitude of bits of bills, each striving for a little slice of fairness, is currently the only way to achieve eventual parity.

As such, these are also failures of Congress. There is only one way to improve this condition. It entails an active defense and offence; but it first it requires an ownership of who we are.

Many of us are uneasy about the idea of defining ourselves. We may think it is too constricting or outdated. Some of us remember a time when using the term seemed a little too “whitebread” and did not correctly articulate the needs of women of color. I believe that Michelle Obama may have partly felt this way when asked if she was part of our group and she demurred. Some of us are still learning and believe that if we just try hard enough, wear the right clothes or behave, things will turn out all right.

Gaining equality is messy, sometimes dirty and smelly, often loud, frightening and even violent. Above all it is a process, rather than a one-time goal. It is a matter of choices.  In the politics of women it is usually a matter of choosing the better of two, not so good choices. Pulling historical context forward to the present helps the process.

In the debate conducted on Oct. 16th President Obama said this:

“In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured, because this is not just a — a health issue; it’s an economic issue for women. It makes a difference. This is money out of that family’s pocket.

Governor Romney not only opposed it; he suggested that, in fact, employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage. That’s not the kind of advocacy that women need. When Governor Romney says that we should eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, there are millions of women all across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood for not just contraceptive care. They rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings. That’s a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country.

And it makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work. When we talk about child care and the credits that we’re providing, that makes a difference in terms of whether they can go out there and earn a living for their family. These are not just women’s issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues. And one of the things that makes us grow as an economy is when everybody participates and women are getting the same fair deal as men are.”

Now I don’t like the Affordable Care Act because I think it should have been a single payer system, rather than one based on the profits of insurance companies. Additionally, it has vulnerabilities for women because they are incorporated by line items that can be modified by a conservative Congress.

However, that does not take away from President Obama’s comments. The apparent groking of his SOS Clinton, (Women’s rights are human rights!) indicates the theme of Obama’s presidency toward women’s issues.

This is feminism.

Where the presidency has made successful inroads, to date, is outside of Congressional gridlock and misogyny.  The Executive Branch has made a series of proclamations and Orders that advance the cause of women and girls, and therefore, humanity. For example, in 2009 he signed an Executive Order establishing the Council on Women and Girls.

A look the website for the Council shows that from that beginning has flowed a series of ideas, forums and actions that are enlarging the concept of women in government, including “The Equal Futures Partnership and United States Commitments to Expand Women’s Political and Economic Participation” (STEM) that was created this month.

This concerted Executive Branch effort has been seen elsewhere in our dealings internationally through the UN and the State Department.

These efforts unfortunately, are ephemeral. They could change with new players in the Executive Branch of a second Obama administration, or they could be actually snuffed by one of Romney’s construction.

What are WE  going to do?

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Well, this is interesting.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 18, 2012

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Holy See to Attend the Canonization Mass of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Marianne Cope

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Holy See to attend the Canonization Mass of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Marianne Cope on October 21, 2012.

The Honorable Miguel Humberto Diaz, United States Ambassador to the Holy See, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

Sister Agnelle Ching, Assistant General Minister, Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities; Chief Sponsorship Officer, Saint Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii

Sister Kateri Mitchell, Sister of Saint Ann (Mohawk Nation), Tekakwitha Conference National Officer, Executive Director, Great Falls, Montana

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Check this out! To be held on Oct 23 at 8:00 PM Central time. It will stream live on the Internet television network Ora.tv and YouTube

A 4th presidential debate? Larry King to moderate third-party candidate forum..

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The presidential candidate who was not allowed to debate:

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From LYNN SWEET‘s:

The scoop from Washington

Obama, Romney Hofstra debate: Transcript

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2012/10/obama_romney_hofstra_debate_tr.html

By Lynn Sweet on October 16, 2012 11:11 PM | No Comments

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service…

Presidential Candidates Debate in Town Hall Format
Participants: President Barack Obama and Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R)
Moderator: Candy Crowley, Chief Political Correspondent, CNN
Location: Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
Time: 9:01 p.m. EDT, Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CANDY CROWLEY: Good evening from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. I’m Candy Crowley from CNN’s State of the Union. We are here for the second presidential debate, a town hall sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The Gallup Organization chose 82 uncommitted voters from the New York area. Their questions will drive the night. My goal is to give the conversation direction and to ensure questions get answered.

The questions are known to me and my team only. Neither the commission nor the candidates have seen them. I hope to get to as many questions as possible. And because I am the optimistic sort, I’m sure the candidates will oblige by keeping their answers concise and on point. Each candidate has as much as two minutes to respond to a common question, and there will be a two-minute follow-up.

The audience here in the hall has agreed to be polite and attentive; no cheering or booing or outbursts of any sort. We will set aside that agreement just this once to welcome President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. (Cheers, sustained applause.)

Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us here tonight. We have a lot of folks who’ve been waiting all day to talk to you, so I want to get right to it. Governor Romney, as you know, you won the coin toss, so the first question will go to you. And I want to turn to a first- time voter, Jeremy Epstein, who has a question for you.

Q: Mr. President, Governor Romney, as a 20-year-old college student, all I hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. Can — what can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you, Jeremy. I appreciate your — your question, and — and thank you for being here this evening. And to all of those from Nassau County here that have come, thank you for your time. Thank you to Hofstra University and to Candy Crowley for organizing and leading this — this event. Thank you, Mr. President, also for being part of this — this debate.

Yours question — your question is one that’s being asked by college kids all over this country.

I was in Pennsylvania with someone who’d just graduated. This was in Philadelphia, and she said, I — I — I got my degree. I can’t find a job. I’ve got three part-time jobs. They’re just barely enough to pay for my food and pay for an apartment. I can’t begin to pay back my student loans.

So what we have to do is two things: we have to make sure that we make it easier for kids to afford college and also make sure that when they get out of college, there’s a job. When I was governor of Massachusetts, to get a high school degree, you had to pass an exam. If you graduated in the top quarter of your class, we gave you a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, four years tuition-free to the college of your choice in Massachusetts. It’s a public institution. I want to make sure we keep our Pell — Pell Grant program growing. We’re also going to have our loan program so that people are able to afford school.

But the key thing is to make sure you can get a job when you get out of school. And what’s happened over the last four years has been very, very hard for America’s young people. I want you to be able to get a job. I know what it takes to get this economy going. With half of college kids graduating this year without a college — or excuse me, without a job and without a college-level job, that’s just unacceptable. And likewise, you got more and more debt on your back. So more debt and less jobs.

I’m going to change that. I know what it takes to create good jobs again. I know what it takes to make sure that you have the kind of opportunity you deserve. And kids across this country are going to recognize we’re bringing back an economy. It’s not going to be like the last four years. The middle class has been crushed over the last four years, and jobs have been too scarce. I know what it takes to bring them back, and I’m going to do that and make sure when you graduate — when do you graduate?

Q: (Off mic.)

MR. ROMNEY: 2014. When you come out in 2014 — I presume I’m going to be president — I’m going to make sure you get a job. (Chuckles.) Thanks, Jeremy. Yeah, you bet.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Jeremy, first of all, your future is bright, and the fact that you’re making investment in higher education is critical, not just to you but to the entire nation.

Now, the most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are creating jobs in this country, but not just jobs, good-paying jobs, ones that can support a family. And what I want to do is build on the 5 million jobs that we’ve created over the last 30 months in the private sector alone. And there are a bunch of things that we can do to make sure your future is bright.

Number one, I want to build manufacturing jobs in this country again. You know, when Governor Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt, I said, we’re going to bet on American workers and the American auto industry, and it’s come surging back. I want to do that in industries, not just in Detroit but all across the country. And that means we change our tax code so we’re giving incentives to companies that are investing here in the United States and creating jobs here. It also means we’re helping them and small businesses to export all around the world in new markets.

Number two, we’ve got to make sure that we have the best education system in the world. And the fact that you’re going to college is great, but I want everybody to get a great education. And we worked hard to make sure that student loans are available for folks like you, but I also want to make sure that community colleges are offering slots for workers to get retrained for the jobs that are out there right now and the jobs of the future.

Number three, we’ve got to control our own energy, you know, not only oil and natural gas, which we’ve been investing in, but also we’ve got to make sure we’re building the energy sources of the future, not just thinking about next year, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now. That’s why we’ve invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars.

We’ve got to reduce our deficit, but we’ve got to do it in a balanced way — asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more, along with cuts, so that we can invest in education like yours. And let’s take the money that we’ve been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild America — roads, bridges, schools. If we do those things, not only is your future going to be bright, but America’s future’s going to be bright as well.

MS. CROWLEY: Let me ask you for a more immediate answer, beginning with Mr. Romley (sic).

Just quickly, what can you do — we’re looking at a situation where 40 percent of the unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more. They don’t have the two years that Jeremy has. What about those long- term unemployed who need a job right now?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, what you’re seeing in this country is 23 million people struggling to find a job, and a lot of them, as you say, Candy, have been out of work for a long, long, long, long time.

The president’s policies have been exercised over the last four years, and they haven’t put Americans back to work. We have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office. If the — the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when he took office. It’s 7.8 percent now. But if you calculated that unemployment rate taking back the people who dropped out of the workforce, it would be 10.7 percent. We have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work.

That’s why I put out a five-point plan that gets America 12 million new jobs in four years and rising take-home pay. It’s going to help Jeremy get a job when he comes a out of school. It’s going to help people across the country that are unemployed right now.

And one thing that the — the president said which I want to make sure that we understand — he — he said that I said we should take Detroit bankrupt, and — and that’s right. My plan was to have the company go through bankruptcy like 7-Eleven did and Macy’s and — and — and Continental Airlines and come out stronger. And — and I know he keeps saying, you wanted to take Detroit bankrupt. Well, the president took Detroit bankrupt. You took General Motors bankrupt. You took Chrysler bankrupt. So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did. And — and I think it’s important to know that that was a process that was necessary to get those companies back on their feet, so they could start hiring more people. That was precisely what I recommend and ultimately what happened.

MS. CROWLEY: Let me — let me give the president a chance. Go ahead.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy, what Governor Romney said just isn’t true. He wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open, and we would have lost a million jobs.

And that — don’t take my word for it; take the executives at GM and Chrysler, some of whom are Republicans, may even support Governor Romney. But they’ll tell you his prescription wasn’t going to work.

And Governor Romney says he’s got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That’s been his philosophy in the private sector; that’s been his philosophy as governor; that’s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate. You can make a lot of money and pay lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less. You can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it. You can invest in a company, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions, and you still make money.

That’s exactly the philosophy that we’ve seen in place for the last decade. That’s what’s been squeezing middle-class families. And we have fought back for four years to get out of that mess, and the last thing we need to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us there.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, the next question is going to be for you here.

And Mr. Romney — Governor Romney, there’ll be plenty of chances to go on, but I want to — we have all these folks —

MR. ROMNEY: That — that Detroit — that Detroit answer — that Detroit answer and the rest of the answer — way off the mark.

MS. CROWLEY: I — OK. We’ll — you certainly will have lots of time here coming up. I — because I want to move you on to something that — sort of connected to cars here, and go over — and we want to get a question from Philip Tricolla.

Q: Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it’s not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy.

So here’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.

But what I’ve also said is we can’t just produce traditional sources of energy; we’ve also got to look to the future. That’s why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you’re going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. That’s why we’ve doubled clean energy production like wind and solar and biofuels. And all these things have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years.

Now, I want to build on that. And that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas for drilling. We continue to make a — it a priority for us to go after natural gas. We’ve got potentially 600,000 jobs and a hundred years’ worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas. And we can do it in an environmentally sound way. But we’ve also got to continue to figure out how we have efficient energy, because ultimately that’s how we’re going to reduce demand, and that’s what’s going to keep gas prices lower.

Now, Governor Romney will say he’s got an all-of-the-above plan, but basically his plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policies. So he’s got the oil and gas part, but he doesn’t have the clean energy part. And if we are only thinking about tomorrow or the next day and not thinking about 10 years from now, we’re not going to control our own economic future, because China, Germany — they’re making these investments. And I’m not going to cede those jobs of the future to those countries. I expect those new energy sources to be built right here in the United States.

So that’s going to help Jeremy get a job, it’s also going to make sure that you’re not paying as much for gas.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor, on the subject of gas prices.

MR. ROMNEY: Well, let’s look at the president’s policies, all right, as opposed to the rhetoric, because we’ve had four years of policies being played out. And the president’s right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production is down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters. So where’d the increase come from? Well, a lot of it came from the Bakken Range in North Dakota. What was his participation there? The administration brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. And what was the cost? Twenty or 25 birds were killed, and they brought out a migratory bird act to go after them on a criminal basis.

Look, I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. I believe very much in our renewable capabilities — ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix. But what we don’t need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas. This has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal. Talk to the people that are working in those industries. I was in coal country. People grabbed my arms and say, please, save my job. The head of the EPA said, you can’t build a coal plant. You’ll virtually — it’s virtually impossible, given our regulations. When the president ran for office, he said, if you build a coal plant, you can go ahead, but you’ll go bankrupt. That’s not the right course for America. Let’s take advantage of the energy resources we have, as well as the energy sources for the future. And if we do that, if we do what I am planning on doing, which is getting us energy-independent, North American energy independence within eight years, you’re going to see manufacturing come back jobs because our energy is low-cost.

They’re already beginning to come back because of our abundant energy.

I’ll get America and North America energy-independent. I’ll do it by more drilling, more permits and licenses. We’re going to bring that pipeline in from Canada. How in the world the president said no to that pipeline, I will never know. This is about bringing good jobs back for the middle class of America, and that’s what I’m going to do.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me just see if I can move you to the gist of this question, which is are we looking at the new normal? I can tell you that tomorrow morning, a lot of people in Hempstead will wake up and fill up, and they will find that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon. Is it within the purview of the government to bring those prices down, or are we looking at the new normal?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy, there’s no doubt that world demand’s gone up. But our production is going up, and we’re using oil more efficiently.

And very little of what Governor Romney just said is true. We’ve opened up public lands. We’re actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration. And my — the previous president was an oilman. And natural gas isn’t just appearing magically; we’re encouraging it and working with the industry.

And when I hear Governor Romney say he’s a big coal guy — and keep in mind when — Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, this plant kills, and took great pride in shutting it down. And now suddenly you’re a big champion of coal.

So what I’ve tried to do is be consistent. With respect to something like coal, we made the largest investment in clean coal technology to make sure that even as we’re producing more coal, we’re producing it cleaner and smarter. Same thing with oil; same thing with natural gas.

And the proof is our oil imports are down to the lowest levels in 20 years, oil production is up, natural gas production is up, and most importantly, we’re also starting to build cars that are more efficient.

And that’s creating jobs. That means those cars can be exported, because that’s the demand around the world. And it also means that it’ll save money in your pocketbook. That’s the strategy you need, an all-of-the-above strategy, and that’s what we’re going to do in the next four years.

MR. ROMNEY: But that’s not what you done in the last four years. That’s the problem.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Sure it is.

MR. ROMNEY: In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Not true, Governor Romney.

MR. ROMNEY: So how much did you cut them by?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It’s not true.

MR. ROMNEY: By how much did you cut them by, then?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, we have actually produced more oil on —

MR. ROMNEY: No, no, how much did you cut licenses and permits on federal land and federal waters?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor Romney, here’s what we did. There were a whole bunch of oil companies —

MR. ROMNEY: No, I had a — I had a — I had a question —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, you — no, you — you — you want —

MR. ROMNEY: — and the question was how much did you cut them by?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — you want me to answer a question, I’m —

MR. ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — I’m happy to answer the question.

MR. ROMNEY: All right, and it is?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Here’s what happened. You had a whole bunch of oil companies who had leases on public lands that they weren’t using. So what we said was, you can’t just sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce, when it’s most profitable for you. These are public lands. So if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it.

MR. ROMNEY: OK — (inaudible) —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And so what we did was take away —

MR. ROMNEY: That’s —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — those leases, and we are now reletting them so that we can actually make a profit.

MR. ROMNEY: And — and — and production on private — on government lands is down.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And the production is up. No it isn’t.

MR. ROMNEY: Production on government land of oil is down 14 percent.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor —

MR. ROMNEY: And production of gas is down 9 percent.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: What you’re saying is just not true. It’s just not true.

MR. ROMNEY: I — it’s absolutely true. Look, there’s no question but that the people recognize that we have not produced more oil —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ll give you your time. Go ahead.

MR. ROMNEY: — and gas on federal lands and in federal waters. And coal — coal production is not up, coal jobs are not up. I was just at a coal facility where some 1,200 people lost their jobs. The right course for America is to have a true all-of-the-above policy. I don’t think anyone really believes that you’re a person who’s going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal.

You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.

(Chuckles.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Governor, if — if you’re asking me a question, I’m going to answer it.

MR. ROMNEY: My — and the answer is I don’t believe people think that’s the case, because I — I’m — that wasn’t a question.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. All right.

MR. ROMNEY: That was a statement. I don’t think — (chuckles) — the American people believe that. I will fight for oil, coal and natural gas. And the proof — the proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you’re paying at the pump. If you’re paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then the strategy is working. But you’re paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about a buck eighty-six a gallon. Now it’s four bucks a gallon. Price of electricity is up.

If the president’s energy policies are working, you’re going to see the cost of energy come down. I will fight to create more energy in this country to get America energy-secure. And part of that is bringing in a pipeline of oil from Canada, taking advantage of the oil and coal we have here, drilling offshore in Alaska, drilling offshore in Virginia where the people want it.

MS. CROWLEY: Let me —

MR. ROMNEY: Those things will get us the energy we need.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, could you address — because we did finally get to gas prices here — could you address what the governor said, which is: If your energy policy was working, the price of gasoline would not be $4 a gallon here. Is that true?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, think about what the governor — think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was 1.80 (dollars), 1.86 (dollars). Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse; because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney is now promoting. So it’s conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices, because with his policies we might be back in that same mess. (Audience murmurs.)

What I want to do is to create an economy that is strong and at the same time produce energy. And with respect to this pipeline that Governor Romney keeps on talking about, we’ve — we’ve built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire Earth once. So I’m all for pipelines; I’m all for oil production.

What I’m not for is us ignoring the other half of the quotation. So for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says these are imaginary jobs, when you’ve got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado who are working, creating wind power, with good- paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator in that — in Iowa is all for it, providing tax credits to help this work and Governor Romney says, I’m opposed, I’d get rid of it, that’s not an energy strategy for the future. And we need to win that future, and I intend to win it as president of the United States.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, I got to — I got to move you along. And the next a question is for you —

MR. ROMNEY: No, he — he gets the first — he actually got — he actually got the first question. So I get the last question — last answer on that one.

MS. CROWLEY: If — actually, in the follow-up. It doesn’t quite work like that.

MR. ROMNEY: Actually —

MS. CROWLEY: But I’m going to give you a chance here. (Laughter.) I promise you I’m going to.

And the next question is for you, so if you want to, you know, continue on, but I don’t want to leave all these guys sitting here and — because —

MR. ROMNEY: Candy, Candy, Candy, I don’t have a policy of — of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they’re not phantom jobs. They’re real jobs.

MS. CROWLEY: OK.

MR. ROMNEY: I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country. I appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas. I’m going to make sure —

MS. CROWLEY: So you’re — OK. Thank you, Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: — that taking advantage of our energy resources will bring back manufacturing to America. We’re going to get through a very aggressive energy policy, 3.5 million more jobs in this country. It’s critical to our future.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy, it’s OK.

MS. CROWLEY: We’re going to move you along to taxes —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m used — I’m used to being interrupted. You know, the —

MS. CROWLEY: (Chuckles.) We’re going to move you both along to taxes over here and all these folks that have been waiting.

Governor, this question is for you. It comes from Mary Pollano — Follano. Sorry.

MR. ROMNEY: Hi, Mary.

Q: Governor Romney, you have stated that if you’re elected president, you would plan to reduce the tax rates for all the tax brackets and that you would work with the Congress to eliminate some deductions in order to make up for the loss in revenue. Concerning the — these various deductions — the mortgage deduction, the charitable deductions, the child tax credit and also the — oh, what’s that other credit?

I forgot. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You’re doing great.

Q: Oh, I remember. The education credits, which are important to me because I have children in college. What would be your position on those things, which are important for the middle class?

MR. ROMNEY: Thank you very much. And — and let me tell you, you — you’re absolutely right about part of that, which is I want to bring the rates down, I want to simplify the tax code, and I want to get middle-income taxpayers to have lower taxes.

And — and the reason I want middle-income taxpayers to have lower taxes is because middle-income taxpayers have been buried over the past four years. You’ve seen, as middle-income people in this country, incomes go down $4,300 a family even as gasoline prices have gone up $2,000. Health insurance premiums — up $2,500. Food prices up, utility prices up. The middle-income families in America have been crushed over the last four years. So I want to get some relief to middle-income families. That’s part — that’s part one.

Now, how about deductions? Because I’m going to bring rates down across the board for everybody, but I’m going to limit deductions and exemptions and credits, particularly for people at the high end, because I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they’re paying now. The top 5 percent of taxpayers will continue to pay 60 percent of the income tax the nation collects. So that’ll stay the same. Middle-income people are going to get a tax break.

And so in terms of bringing down deductions, one way of doing that would be to say everybody gets — I’ll pick a number — $25,000 of deductions and credits. And you can decide which ones to use, your home mortgage interest deduction, charity, child tax credit and so forth. You can use those as part of filling that bucket, if you will, of deductions. But your rate comes down, and the burden also comes down on you for one more reason.

And that is every middle-income taxpayer no longer will pay any tax on interest, dividends or capital gains, no tax on your savings.

That makes life a lot easier. If you’re getting interest from a bank, if you’re getting a statement from a mutual fund or any other kind of investments you have, you don’t have to worry about filing taxes on that, because there will be no taxes for anybody making $200,000 a year and less on your interest, dividends and capital gains.

Why am I lowering taxes on the middle class? Because under the last four years, they’ve been buried, and I want to help people in the middle class. And I will not — I will not under any circumstances — reduce the share that’s being paid by the highest-income taxpayers, and I will not under any circumstances increase taxes on the middle class. The president’s spending, the president’s borrowing will cost this nation to have to raise taxes on the American people, not just at the high end.

A recent study has shown that people in the middle class will see $4,000 a year higher taxes as a result of the spending and borrowing of this administration. I will not let that happen. I’ll get us on track to a balanced budget, and I’m going to reduce the tax burden on middle-income families. And what’s that going to do? It’s going to help those families, and it’s going to create incentives to start growing jobs again in this country.

MS. CROWLEY: Thanks, Governor.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: My philosophy on taxes has been simple, and that is, I want to give middle-class families, and folks who are striving to get in the middle class, some relief, because they have been hit hard over the last decade, over the last 15, over the last 20 years. So four years ago I stood on a stage just like this one — actually, it was a town hall — and I said I would cut taxes for middle-class families, and that’s what I’ve done by $3,600. I said I would cut taxes for small businesses, who are the drivers and engines of growth, and we’ve cut them 18 times. And I want to continue those tax cuts for middle-class families and for small businesses.

But what I’ve also said is if we’re serious about reducing the deficit, if this is genuinely a moral obligation to the next generation, then in addition to some tough spending cuts, we’ve also got to make sure that the wealthy do a little bit more.

So what I’ve said is your first $250,000 worth of income, no change. And that means 98 percent of American families, 97 percent of small businesses, they will not see a tax increase. I’m ready to sign that bill right now. The only reason it’s not happening is because Governor Romney’s allies in Congress have held the 98 percent hostage because they want tax breaks for the top 2 percent.

But what I’ve also said is for above 250,000 (dollars), we can go back to the tax rates we had when Bill Clinton was president, we created 23 million new jobs. That’s part of what took us from deficits to surplus. It will be good for our economy, and it will be good for job creation.

Now, Governor Romney has a different philosophy. He was on “60 Minutes” just two weeks ago, and he was asked, is it fair for somebody like you, making $20 million a year, to pay a lower tax rate than a nurse or a bus driver, somebody making $50,000 a year? And he said, yes, I think that’s fair. Not only that, he said, I think that’s what grows the economy.

Well, I fundamentally disagree with that. I think what grows the economy is when you get that tax credit that we put in place for your kids going to college. I think that grows the economy. I think what grows the economy is when we make sure small businesses are getting a tax credit for hiring veterans who fought for our country. That grows our economy.

So we just have a different theory. And when Governor Romney stands here after a year of campaigning, when during a Republican primary, he stood onstage and said, I’m going to give tax cuts — he didn’t say tax rate cuts; he said tax cuts — to everybody, including the top 1 percent, you should believe him, because that’s been his history.

And that’s exactly the kind of top-down economics that is not going to work if we want a strong middle class and an economy that’s thriving for everybody.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor Romney, I’m sure you’ve got a reply there. (Laughter.)

MR. ROMNEY: (Chuckles.) You’re absolutely right. You heard what I said about my tax plan. The top 5 percent will continue to pay 60 percent, as they do today. I’m not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people. I am looking to cut taxes for middle-income people.

And why do I want to bring rates down and at the same time lower exemptions and deductions, particularly for people at the high end? Because if you bring rates down, it makes it easier for small business to keep more of their capital and hire people. And for me, this is about jobs. I want to get America’s economy going again.

Fifty-four percent of America’s workers work in businesses that are taxed as individuals. So when you bring those rates down, those small businesses are able to keep more money and hire more people.

For me, I look at what’s happened in the last four years and say, this has been a disappointment. We can do better than this. We don’t have to settle for how many months, 43 months with unemployment above 8 percent, 23 million Americans struggling to find a good job right now. There are 3 1/2 million more women living in poverty today than when the president took office. We don’t have to live like this. We can get this economy going again.

My five-point plan does it: energy independence for North America in five years; opening up more trade, particularly in Latin America, cracking down on China when they cheat; getting us to a balanced budget; fixing our training programs for our workers; and finally, championing small business. I want to help small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go.

And they’re going now because of the policies of this administration.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor, let me ask the president something about what you just said. The governor says that he is not going to allow the top 5 percent — I believe is what he said — to have a tax cut, that it will all even out, that what he wants to do is give that tax cut to the middle class. Settled?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, it’s not settled. (Chuckles.) Look, the cost of lowering rates for everybody across the board 20 percent, along with what he also wants to do in terms of eliminating the estate tax, along what he wants to do in terms of corporates changes in the tax code — it costs about $5 trillion. Governor Romney then also wants to spend $2 trillion on additional military programs, even though the military’s not asking for them. That’s $7 trillion. He also wants to continue the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That’s another trillion dollars. That’s $8 trillion.

Now, what he says is he’s going to make sure that this doesn’t add to the deficit, and he’s going to cut middle-class taxes. But when he’s asked, how are you going to do it, which deductions, which loopholes are you going to close, he can’t tell you. The — the fact that he only has to pay 14 percent on his taxes when a lot of you are paying much higher — you know, he’s already taken that off the board. Capital gains are going to continue to be at a low rate, so we — we’re not going to get money that way. We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics, beyond Big Bird and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, in terms of how he pays for that.

Now, Governor Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, here; I want to spend 7 (trillion dollars) or $8 trillion, and then we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it, you wouldn’t have taken such a sketchy deal. And neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn’t add up.

And — and what’s at stake here is one of two things. Either, Candy, this blows up the deficit — because keep in mind, this is just to pay for the additional spending that he’s talking about, 7 (trillion dollars), $8 trillion. That’s before we even get to the deficit we already have. Or alternatively, it’s got to be paid for not only by closing deductions for wealthy individuals. That will pay for about 4 percent reduction in tax rates. You’re going to be paying for it. You’ll lose some deductions. And you can’t buy this sales pitch. Nobody who’s looked at it that’s serious actually believes it adds up.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me get — let me get the governor in on this.

And Governor, let’s — before we get into a vast array of who said what — what study says what, if it shouldn’t add up, if somehow when you get in there, there isn’t enough tax revenue coming in, if somehow the numbers don’t add up, would you be willing to look again at a 20 percent —

MR. ROMNEY: Well, of course they add up. I was — I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget. I ran the — the state of Massachusetts as a governor, to the extent any governor does, and balanced the budget all four years.

When we’re talking about math that doesn’t add up, how about $4 trillion of deficits over the last four years, 5 trillion (dollars). That’s math that doesn’t add up. We have — we — we have a president talking about someone’s plan in a way that’s completely foreign to what my real plan is, and then we have his own record, which is we have four consecutive years where he said, when he was running for office, he could cut the deficit in half. Instead, he’s doubled it.

We’ve gone from $10 trillion of national debt to $16 trillion of national debt. If the president were re-elected, we’d go to almost $20 trillion of national debt. This puts us on a road to Greece.

I know what it takes to balance budgets. I’ve done it my entire life. So for instance, when he says, yours is a $5 trillion cut, well, no, it’s not, because I’m offsetting some of the reductions with holding down some of the deductions and — and this —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy —

MS. CROWLEY: Governor, I got to — I got to —

MR. ROMNEY: I’m — and I’ve told you — yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: I need you have you both — I understand the stakes here. I understand both of you. But I will get run out of town if I don’t allow — (inaudible) —

MR. ROMNEY: And I just — and I just described to you, Mr. President —

MS. CROWLEY: OK, great.

MR. ROMNEY: I just described to you precisely how I do it, which is with a single number that people can put — and they can put their deductions and credits — (inaudible) —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Inaudible.)

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, you’re — we’re keeping track, I promise you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK.

MS. CROWLEY: And Mr. President, the next question is for you, so stay standing.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Great. Looking forward to it.

MS. CROWLEY: And it’s Katherine Fenton, who has a question for you.

Q: In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Katherine, this is a great question. And you know, I was raised by a single mom who had to put herself through school while looking after two kids. And she worked hard every day and made a lot of sacrifices to make sure we got everything we need. And my grandmother, she started off as a secretary in a bank. She never got a college education, even though she was smart as a whip. And she worked her way up to become a vice president at a local bank.

But she hit the glass ceiling. She trained people who would end up becoming her bosses during the course of her career. She didn’t complain; that’s not what you did in that generation.

And this is one of the reasons why one of the first — the first bill I signed was something called the Lilly Ledbetter bill.

And it was named after this amazing woman who had been doing the same job as a man for years, found out that she was getting paid less, and the Supreme Court said that she couldn’t bring suit because she should have found out about it earlier, when she had no way of finding out about it.

So we fixed that. And that’s an example of the kind of advocacy that we need because women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family. This is not just a women’s issue. This is a family issue. This is a middle-class issue. And that’s why we’ve got to fight for it.

It also means that we’ve got to make sure that young people like yourself are able to afford a college education. Earlier Governor Romney talked about he wants to make Pell Grants and other education accessible for young people. Well, the truth of the matter is, is that that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve expanded Pell Grants for millions of people, including millions of young women, all across the country. We did it by taking $60 billion that was going to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program and we said, let’s just cut out the middleman. Let’s give the money directly to students. And as a consequence, we’ve seen millions of young people be able to afford college, and that’s going to make sure that young women are going to be able to compete in that marketplace.

But we’ve got to enforce the laws, which is what we are doing. And we’ve also got to make sure that in every walk of life, we do not tolerate discrimination. That’s been one of the hallmarks of my administration. I’m going to continue to push on this issue for the next four years.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor Romney, pay equity for women.

MR. ROMNEY: Thank you. And — important topic and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the — the chance to pull together a Cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men. And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, how come all the people for these jobs are — are all men?

They said, well, these are the people that have the qualifications. And I said, well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?

And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, can you help us find folks? And I brought us whole binders full of — of women. I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my cabinet and my senior staff that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America.

Now, one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort, but number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce, that sometimes they need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said, I can’t be here until 7:00 or 8:00 at night. I need to be able to get home at 5:00 so I can be there for — making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said, fine, let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.

We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring to play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they’re going to be anxious to hire women. In the — in the last four years, women have lost 580,000 jobs. That’s the net of what’s happened in the last four years. We’re still down 580,000 jobs. I mentioned 3 1/2 million women more now in poverty than four years ago.

What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a — a flexible work schedule that gives women the opportunities that — that they would otherwise not be able to — to afford.

This is what I’ve done, it’s what I look forward to doing, and I know what it takes to make an economy work.

And I know what a working economy looks like. And an economy with 7.8 percent unemployment is not a real strong economy. An economy that — that — that has 23 million people looking for work is not a strong economy. An economy with — with 50 percent of kids graduating from college that can’t find a job, or a college-level job — that’s not what we have to have.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor —

MR. ROMNEY: I’m going to help women in America get — get good work by getting a stronger economy and by supporting women in the workforce.

MR. CROWLEY: Mr. President, why don’t you get in on this quickly, please?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Katherine, I just want to point out that when Governor Romney’s campaign was asked about the Lilly Ledbetter bill, whether he supported it, he said, I’ll get back to you. And that’s not the kind of advocacy that women need in any economy.

Now, there are some other issues that have a bearing on how women succeed in the workplace: for example, their health care. (Inaudible) — a major difference in this campaign is that Governor Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington decide the health care choices that women are making. I think that’s a mistake. In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured, because this is not just a — a health issue; it’s an economic issue for women. It makes a difference. This is money out of that family’s pocket.

Governor Romney not only opposed it; he suggested that, in fact, employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage. That’s not the kind of advocacy that women need. When Governor Romney says that we should eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, there are millions of women all across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood for not just contraceptive care. They rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings. That’s a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country.

And it makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work. When we talk about child care and the credits that we’re providing, that makes a difference in terms of whether they can go out there and earn a living for their family. These are not just women’s issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues. And one of the things that makes us grow as an economy is when everybody participates and women are getting the same fair deal as men are.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And I’ve got two daughters, and I want to make sure that they have the same opportunities that anybody’s sons have. That’s part of what I’m fighting for as president of the United States.

MS. CROWLEY: I want to move us along here to Susan Katz, who has a question.

And Governor, it’s for you.

Q: Governor Romney, I am an undecided voter because I’m disappointed with the lack of progress I’ve seen in the last four years. However, I do attribute much of America’s economic and international problems to the failings and missteps of the Bush administration. Since both you and President Bush are Republicans, I fear a return to the policies of those years should you win this election. What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush, and how do you differentiate yourself from George W. Bush?

MR. ROMNEY: Great. Thank you. And I appreciate that question. I — I just want to make sure that — I think I was supposed to get that last answer, but I want to point out that I don’t believe —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don’t think so, Candy.

MR. ROMNEY: I don’t believe —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to make sure our timekeepers are working here.

MS. CROWLEY: OK. The timekeepers are all working.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right.

MS. CROWLEY: And let me tell you that the last part, there’s — it’s for the two of you to talk to one another, and it isn’t quite as — (inaudible). But go ahead and use this two minutes any way you’d like to. The question is on the floor.

MR. ROMNEY: I — I’d just note that I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives. And — and the — and the president’s statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor, that’s not true.

MR. ROMNEY: Let me come back and — and — and answer your question.

The — President Bush and I are different people, and these are different times. And that’s why my five-point plan is so different than what he would have done. I mean, for instance, we can now, by virtue of new technology, actually get all the energy we need in North America without having to go to the — the Arabs or the Venezuelans or anyone else. That wasn’t true in his time. That’s why my policy starts with a very robust policy to get all that energy in North America, become energy-secure.

Number two, trade. I’ll crack down on China. President Bush didn’t. I’m also going to dramatically expand trade in Latin America. It’s been growing about 12 percent per year over a long period of time. I want to add more free trade agreements so we have more trade.

Number three, I’m going to get us to a balanced budget. President Bush didn’t. President Obama was right. He said that that was outrageous to have deficits as high as half a trillion dollars under the Bush years. He was right. But then he put in place deficits twice that size for every one of his four years, and his forecast for the next four years is more deficits almost that large. So that’s the next area I’m different than President Bush.

And then let’s take the last one, championing small business. Our party has been focused on big business too long. I came through small business. I understand how hard it is to start a small business. That’s why everything I’ll do is designed to help small businesses grow and add jobs. I want to keep their taxes down on small business. I want regulators to see their job as encouraging small enterprise, not crushing it.

And the thing I find most troubling about “Obamacare” — well, it’s a long list, but one of the things I find most troubling is that when you go out and talk to small businesses and ask them what they think about it, they tell you it keeps them from hiring more people.

My priority is jobs. I know how to make that happen. And President Bush had a very different path for a very different time. My path is designed in getting small businesses to grow and hire people.

MS. CROWLEY: Thanks, Governor. Mr. President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think it’s important to tell you that we did come in during some tough times. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month when I started.

But we have been digging our way out of policies that were misplaced and focused on the top doing very well and middle-class folks not doing well. And we’ve seen 30 consecutive — 31 consecutive months of job growth, 5.2 million new jobs created. And the plans that I talked about will create even more.

But when Governor Romney says that he has very different economic plan, the centerpiece of his economic plan are tax cuts. That’s what took us from surplus to deficit. When he talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China and is currently investing in countries — in — in companies that are building surveillance equipment for China to spy on its own folks. That’s — Governor, you’re the last person who’s going to get tough on China.

And what we’ve done when it comes to trade is not only sign three trade deals to open up new markets, but we’ve also set up a task force for trade that goes after anybody who is taking advantage of American workers or businesses and not creating a level playing field. We’ve brought twice as many cases against unfair trading practices than the previous administration, and we’ve won every single one that’s been decided.

When I said that we had to make sure that China was not flooding our domestic market with cheap tires, Governor Romney said I was being protectionist, that it wouldn’t be helpful to American workers. Well, in fact we saved a thousand jobs, and that’s the kind of tough trade actions that are required.

But the last point I want to make is this. You know, there are some things where Governor Romney’s different from George Bush. George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher. George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform. He didn’t call for self-deportation. George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.

So there are differences between Governor Romney and George Bush, but they’re not on economic policy. In some ways, he’s gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy, and I think that’s a mistake. That’s not how we’re going to move our economy forward.

MS. CROWLEY: I want to move you both along to the next question because it’s in the same wheelhouse. So you will be able to respond. But the president does get this question. I want to call on Michael Jones.

Q: Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I’m not that optimistic as I was in 2012. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we’ve gone through a tough four years; there’s no doubt about it. But four years ago I told the American people and I told you I would cut taxes for middle-class families, and I did. I told you I’d cut taxes for small businesses, and I have. I said that I’d end the war in Iraq, and I did. I said we’d refocus attention on those who actually attacked us on 9/11, and we have gone after al-Qaida’s leadership like never before, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

I said that we would put in place health care reform to make sure that insurance companies can’t jerk you around, and if you don’t have health insurance, that you’d have a chance to get affordable insurance, and I have. I committed that I would rein in the excesses of Wall Street, and we passed the toughest Wall Street reforms since the 1930s. We’ve created 5 million jobs, gone from 800,000 jobs a month being lost. And we are making progress. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink of collapse.

Now, does that mean you’re not struggling? Absolutely not. A lot of us are. And that’s why the plan that I put forward for manufacturing and education and reducing our deficit in a sensible way, using the savings from ending wars to rebuild America and putting people back to work, making sure that we are controlling our own energy, but not just the energy of today but also the energy of the future — all those things will make a difference. So the point is, the commitments I’ve made, I’ve kept. And those that I haven’t been able to keep, it’s not for lack of trying, and we’re going to get it done in a second term.

But you should pay attention to this campaign, because Governor Romney’s made some commitments as well, and I suspect he’ll keep those, too. You know, when members of the Republican Congress say, we’re going to sign a no tax pledge so that we don’t ask a dime from millionaires and billionaires to reduce our deficit so we can still invest in education and helping kids go to college, he said, me too. When they said, we’re going to cut Planned Parenthood funding, he said, me too. When he said, we’re going to repeal “Obamacare,” first thing I’m going to do — despite the fact that it’s the same health care plan that he passed in Massachusetts and is working well — he said, me too. That is not the kind of leadership that you need, but you should expect that those are promises he’s going to keep.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me let —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And the choice in this election is going to be whose promises are going to be more likely to help you in your life, make sure your kids can go to college, make sure that you are getting a good-paying job, making sure that Medicare and Social Security will be there for you.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, thank you.

Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: I think you know better. I — I think you know that these last four years haven’t been so good as the president just described and that you don’t feel like you’re confident that the next four years are going to be much better either. I can tell you that if you were to elect President Obama, you know what you’re going to get. You’re going to get a repeat of the last four years. We just can’t afford four more years like the last four years.

He said that by now we’d have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work. I wasn’t the one that said 5.4 percent. This was the president’s plan — didn’t get there.

He said he would have by now put forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security because he pointed out they’re on the road to bankruptcy. He would reform them. He’d get that done. He hasn’t even made a proposal on either one.

He said in his first year he’d put out an immigration plan that would deal with our immigration challenges — didn’t even file it.

This is a president who has not been able to do what he said he’d do. He said that he’d cut in half the deficit. He hasn’t done that either. In fact, he doubled it.

He said that by now middle-income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It’s gone up by 2,500 (dollars) a year. And if “Obamacare” is passed — or implemented — it’s already been passed. If it’s implemented fully, it’ll be another 2,500 (dollars) on top.

The middle class is getting crushed under the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again. He keeps saying, look, I’ve created 5 million jobs.

That’s after losing 5 million jobs. The entire record is such that the unemployment has not been reduced in this country. The unemployment, the number of people who are still looking for work, is still 23 million Americans. There are more people in poverty — one out of six people in poverty. How about food stamps? When he took office, 32 million people were on food stamps; today 47 million people are on food stamps. How about the growth of the economy? It’s growing more slowly this year than last year and more slowly last year than the year before.

The — the president wants to do well; I understand. But the policies he’s put in place, from “Obamacare” to Dodd-Frank to his tax policies to his regulatory policies — these policies combined have not led this economy take off and grow like it could have. You might say, well, you got an example of when it worked better? Yeah, in the Reagan recession, where unemployment hit 10.8 percent. Between that period — the end of that recession and equivalent period of time to today, Ronald Reagan’s recovery created twice as many jobs as this president’s recovery. Five million jobs doesn’t even keep up with our population growth. And the only reason the unemployment rate seems a little lower today is because of all the people that have dropped out of the workforce.

The president has tried, but his policies haven’t worked. He’s great as a — as a — a — a — as a speaker and — and describing his plans and his vision. That’s wonderful, except we have a record to look at. And that record shows he just hasn’t been able to cut the deficit, to put in place reforms for Medicare and Social Security to preserve them, to get us the rising incomes we — median incomes are down $4,300 a family, and 23 million Americans out of work. That’s what this election is about. It’s about who can get the middle class in this country a bright and prosperous future and assure our kids the kind of hope and optimism they deserve.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor, I want to move you along.

Don’t go away, and we’ll have plenty of time to respond. We are quite aware of the clock for both of you.

But I want to bring in a different subject here. Mr. President, I’ll be right back with you. And Lorraine Osario has a question for you about a topic we have not heard —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: This is for Governor Romney?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, this is for Governor Romney, and we’ll be right with you, Mr. President. Thanks.

MR. ROMNEY: Is it Lorraina (ph)?

Q: Lorraine.

MR. ROMNEY: Lorraine?

Q: Yeah, Lorraine, yeah.

MR. ROMNEY: (Great ?).

Q: How you doing?

MR. ROMNEY: Good, thanks.

Q: President — Romney, what do you plan on doing with immigrants without their green cards that are currently living here as productive members of society?

MR. ROMNEY: Thank you, Lorraine. Did I get that right? Good. Thank you for your question. And let me step back and tell you what I’d like to do with our immigration policy broadly and include an answer to your — your question.

First of all, this is a nation of immigrants. We welcome people coming to this country as immigrants. My dad was born in Mexico of American parents. Ann’s dad was born in Wales and is a first- generation American. We welcome legal immigrants into this country.

I want our legal system to work better. I want it to be streamlined, I want it to be clearer. I don’t think you have to — shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer to figure out how to get into this country legally. I also think that we should give visas to people — green cards, rather, to people who graduate with skills that we need, people around the world with accredited degrees in — in science and math get a green card stapled to their diploma, come to the US of A. We should make sure that our legal system works.

Number two, we’re going to have to stop illegal immigration. There are 4 million people who are waiting in line to get here legally. Those who’ve come here illegally take their place. So I will not grant amnesty to those who’ve come here illegally.

What I will do is I’ll put in place an employment verification system and make sure that employers that hire people who have come here illegally are sanctioned for doing so. I won’t put in place magnets for people coming here illegally, so for instance, I would not give driver’s licenses to those that have come here illegally, as the — as the president would.

The kids of — of those that came here illegally, those kids I think should have a pathway to become a — a permanent resident of the United States.

And military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident.

Now, when the president ran for office, he said that he’d put in place, in his first year, a piece of legislation — he’d file a bill in his first year that would reform our — our immigration system, protect legal immigration, stop illegal immigration. He didn’t do it. He had a Democrat House and Democrat Senate, supermajority in both houses. Why did he fail to even promote legislation that would have provided an answer for those that want to come here legally and for those that are here illegally today? That’s a question I think the — the president will have a chance to answer right now.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good. I look forward to it. Was — Lorena? Lorraine.

We are a nation of immigrants. I mean, we’re just a few miles away form Ellis Island. We all understand what this country has become because talent from all around the world wants to come here, people who are willing to take risks, people who want to build on their dreams and make sure their kids have an — even bigger dreams than they have.

But we’re also a nation of laws. So what I’ve said is we need to fix a broken immigration system. And I’ve done everything that I can on my own and sought cooperation from Congress to make sure that we fix this system.

First thing we did was to streamline the legal immigration system to reduce the backlog, make it easier, simpler and cheaper for people who are waiting in line, obeying the law, to make sure that they can come here and contribute to our country. And that’s good for our economic growth. They’ll start new businesses. They’ll make things happen to create jobs here in the United States.

Number two, we do have to deal with our border. So we’ve put more Border Patrol on than anytime in history, and the flow of undocumented workers across the border is actually lower than it’s been in 40 years.

What I’ve also said is, if we’re going to go after folks who are here illegally, we should do it smartly and go after folks who are criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families, and that’s what we’ve done.

And what I’ve also said is, for young people who come here, brought here oftentimes by their parents, have gone to school here, pledged allegiances to the flag, think of this as their country, understand themselves as Americans in every way except having papers, then we should make sure that we give them a pathway to citizenship, and that’s what I’ve done administratively.

Now, Governor Romney just said that, you know, he wants to help those young people, too. But during the Republican primary, he said, I will veto the DREAM Act that would allow these young people to have access. His main strategy during the Republican primary was to say, we’re going to encourage self-deportation, making life so miserable on folks that they’ll leave. He called the Arizona law a model for the nation. Part of the Arizona law said that law enforcement officers could stop folks because they suspected maybe they looked like they might be undocumented workers and checked their papers. And you know what, if my daughter or yours looks to somebody like they’re not a citizen, I don’t want — I don’t want to empower somebody like that.

So we can fix this system in a comprehensive way. And when Governor Romney says the challenge is, well, Obama didn’t try, that’s not true. I sat down with Democrats and Republicans at the beginning of my term, and I said, let’s fix this system, including senators previously who have supported it on the Republican side.

But it’s very hard for Republicans in Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform if their standard bearer has said that this is not something I’m interested in supporting.

MS. CROWLEY: Let me get the governor in here, Mr. President. Let’s speak to, if you could, Governor —

MR. ROMNEY: Let’s —

MS. CROWLEY: — the idea of self-deportation.

MR. ROMNEY: Let — no, let — let me go back and speak to the points that the president made and — and let’s get them correct. I did not say that the Arizona law was a model for the nation in that aspect. I said that the e-Verify portion of the Arizona law, which is — which is the portion of the law which says that employers could be able to determine whether someone is here illegally or not illegally — that that was a model for the nation. That’s number one.

Number two, I asked the president a question I think Hispanics and immigrants all over the nation have asked. He was asked this on Univision the other day. Why, when you said you’d file legislation in your first year, didn’t you do it? And he didn’t answer. He don’t — he doesn’t answer that question. He said the standard bearer wasn’t for it. I — I’m glad you thought I was a standard bearer four years ago, but I wasn’t. Four years ago you said in your first year you would file legislation. In his first year — (chuckles) — I was just getting or — I was licking my wounds from having been beaten by John McCain. All right? I was not the standard bearer. My — my view is that this president should have honored his promise to — to do as he said.

Now let me mention one other thing, and that is, self-deportation says let it — let people make their own choice. What I was saying is, we’re not going to round up 12 million people, undocumented, illegals, and take them out of the nation. Instead, let — make — people make their own choice. And if they — if they find that — that they can’t get the benefits here that they want and they can’t find the job they want, then they’ll make a decision to go a place where — where they have better opportunities. But I’m not in favor of rounding up people and — and — and — and taking them out of this country. I am in favor, as the president has said, and I agree with him, which is that if people have committed crimes, we got to get them out of this country.

Let me mention something else the president said.

It was a moment ago, and I didn’t get a chance to — when he was describing Chinese investments and so forth. Let me —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy, hold on a second. The — (inaudible) — there’s some points we got to —

MR. ROMNEY: I — I — you know, I’m still — Mr. President, I’m still speaking.

MS. CROWLEY: I’m sorry.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor Romney, I — I’m — I’m — I’m — (inaudible) — make sure — (inaudible) —

MR. ROMNEY: Mr. President, why don’t you let me finish? I’m going to — I’m going to continue. I’m going to continue. The president made a —

MS. CROWLEY: Go ahead and finish, Governor Romney. Governor Romney, if you could make it short. See all these people? They’ve been waiting for you. Could you make it short, and then —

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah. Just going to make a point. Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And I understand they do include investments outside the United States, including in — in Chinese companies. Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Inaudible) — Candy —

MR. ROMNEY: Have you looked at your pension?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ve got to say — (inaudible) —

MR. ROMNEY: Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours, so it — it doesn’t take as long. The —

MR. ROMNEY: Well, let me — let me give you — (laughter) — let me — let me give you some advice.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don’t check it that often. (Chuckles.)

MR. ROMNEY: Let me give you some advice. Look at your pension.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Chuckles.) OK.

MR. ROMNEY: You also investments in Chinese companies.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah.

MR. ROMNEY: You also have investments outside the United States.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah.

MR. ROMNEY: You also have investments through a Caymans trust, all right?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right. (Inaudible) —

MS. CROWLEY: And we are way — we’re sort of way off topic here, Governor Romney. We are completely off immigration.

MR. ROMNEY: So — so Mr. President — so —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We’re — we’re — we’re a little off topic here, yeah. Come on. The — I thought we were talking about immigration. I — I — I — I — I — I — I do want to — I do want to — I do want to make sure that —

MR. ROMNEY: I came — I came back to what you spoke about before.

MS. CROWLEY: And we were. So quickly, Mr. President — if I could have you sit down, Governor Romney. Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I do want to make sure that we just understand something. Governor Romney says he wasn’t referring to Arizona as a model for the nation. His top adviser on immigration is the guy who designed the Arizona law, the entirety of it — not E-Verify, the whole thing. That’s his policy, and it’s a bad policy. And it won’t help us grow. Look, when we think about immigration, we have to understand there are folks all around the world who still see America as the land of promise. And they provide us energy, and they provide us innovation. And they start companies like Intel and Google, and we want to encourage that.

Now, we’ve got to make sure that we do it in a smart way and a comprehensive way and we make the legal system better. But when we make this into a divisive political issue, and when we don’t have bipartisan support — I can deliver, Governor, a whole bunch of Democrats to get comprehensive immigration reform done.

And we can’t — we can’t —

MR. ROMNEY: I’ll get it done. I’ll get it done, first year.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We have not seen Republicans —

MS. CROWLEY: OK, Mr. President let me move you on here, please.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — serious about this issue at all.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And it’s time for them to get serious on it. This used to be a bipartisan issue.

MS. CROWLEY: Don’t go away, though. Don’t go away, because —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m — I’m here.

MS. CROWLEY: — I want you to talk to Kerry Ladka, who has a — wants to switch a topic for us.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. Hi, Cara (ph).

Q: Good evening, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m sorry, what’s your name?

Q: It’s Kerry, Kerry Ladka.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Great to see you here.

Q: This question actually comes from a brain trust of my friends at Global Telecom Supply in Mineola yesterday. We were sitting around talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans. Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me, first of all, talk about our diplomats, because they serve all around the world and do an incredible job in a very dangerous situation. And these aren’t just representatives of the United States; they’re my representatives. I send them there, oftentimes into harm’s way. I know these folks, and I know their families. So nobody’s more concerned about their safety and security than I am.

So as soon as we found out that the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team, and I gave them three instructions. Number one, beef up our security and — and — and procedures not just in Libya but every embassy and consulate in the region. Number two, investigate exactly what happened, regardless of where the facts lead us, to make sure that folks are held accountable and it doesn’t happen again. And number three, we are going to find out who did this, and we are going to hunt them down, because one of the things that I’ve said throughout my presidency is when folks mess with Americans, we go after them.

Now, Governor Romney had a very different response. While we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened, Governor Romney put out a press release trying to make political points. And that’s not how a commander in chief operates. You don’t turn national security into a political issue, certainly not right when it’s happening.

And people — not everybody agrees with some of the decisions I’ve made. But when it comes to our national security, I mean what I say. I said I’d end the war in Libya — in Iraq, and I did. I said that we’d go after al-Qaida and bin Laden. We have. I said we’d transition out of Afghanistan and start making sure that Afghans are responsible for their own security. That’s what I’m doing.

And when it comes to this issue, when I say that we are going to find out exactly what happened, everybody will be held accountable, and I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there, because these are my folks, and I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home, you know that I mean what I say.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, I got to move us along. Governor?

MR. ROMNEY: Thank you, Kerry, for your question. It’s an important one. And — and I — I think the president just said correctly that — that the buck does stop at his desk, and — and he takes responsibility for — for that — for that — the failure in providing those security resources, and those terrible things may well happen from time to time.

I — I’m — I feel very deeply sympathetic for the families of those who lost loved ones. Today there’s a memorial service for one of those that was lost in this tragedy. We — we think of their families and care for them deeply.

There were other issues associated with this — with this tragedy.

There were many days that passed before we knew whether this was a spontaneous demonstration or actually whether it was a terrorist attack. And there was no demonstration involved. It was a terrorist attack, and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people. Whether there was some misleading or instead whether we just didn’t know what happened, I think you have to ask yourself why didn’t we know five days later when the ambassador to the United Nations went on TV to say that this was a demonstration. How could of we not known?

But I find more troubling than this that on — on the day following the assassination of the United States ambassador — the first time that’s happened since 1979 — when we have four Americans killed there, when apparently we didn’t know what happened, that the president the day after that happened flies to Las Vegas for a political fundraiser, then the next day to Colorado for another event, another political event, I think these — these actions taken by a president and a leader have symbolic significance, and perhaps even material significance, in that you’d hoped that during that time we could call in the people who were actually eyewitnesses. We’ve read their accounts now about what happened. It was very clear this was not a demonstration. This was an attack by terrorists.

And this calls into question the president’s whole policy in the Middle East. Look what’s happening in Syria, in Egypt, now in Libya. Consider the distance between ourselves and Israel, where the president said that — that he was going to put daylight between us and Israel. We have Iran four years closer to a nuclear bomb. Syria — Syria’s not just the tragedy of 30,000 civilians being killed by a military, but also a strategic — strategically significant player for America. The president’s policies throughout the Middle East began with an apology tour and pursue a strategy of leading from behind, and this strategy is unraveling before our very eyes.

MS. CROWLEY: Because we’re closing in, I want to still get a lot of people in. I want to ask you something, Mr. President, and then have the governor just quickly. Your secretary of state, as I’m sure you know, has said that she takes full responsibility for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Does the buck stop with your secretary of state as far as what went on here?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I’m the president. And I’m always responsible. And that’s why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I did (sic).

The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror. And I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime. And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.

And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, Governor, is offensive. That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president. That’s not what I do as commander in chief.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor, if you want to reply just quickly to this, please.

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, I — I certainly do. I certainly do. I — I think it’s interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror. You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed.

MR. ROMNEY: Is that what you’re saying?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed, Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: I — I — I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Get the transcript.

MS. CROWLEY: It — he did in fact, sir.

So let me — let me call it an act of terrorism — (inaudible) —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy? (Laughter, applause.)

MS. CROWLEY: He did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.

MR. ROMNEY: This — the administration — the administration — (applause) — indicated that this was a — a reaction to a — to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.

MS. CROWLEY: They did.

MR. ROMNEY: It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group and — and to suggest — am I incorrect in that regard? On Sunday the — your — your secretary or —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy —

MR. ROMNEY: Excuse me. The ambassador to the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and — and spoke about how this was a spontaneous reaction.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy, I’m — I’m happy to —

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me — I —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m happy to have a longer conversation about foreign policy.

MS. CROWLEY: I know you — absolutely. But I want — I want to move you on.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK, I’m happy to do that too.

MS. CROWLEY: And also, people can go to the transcripts and —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I just want to make sure that —

MS. CROWLEY: — figure out what was said and when.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — you know, all these wonderful folks are going to have a chance to get some — their questions answered.

MS. CROWLEY: Because what I want to do, Mr. President — stand there for a second, because I want to introduce you to Nina Gonzales, who brought up a question that we hear a lot, both over the Internet and from this crowd.

Q: President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or plan to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, we’re a nation that believes in the Second Amendment. And I believe in the Second Amendment. You know, we’ve got a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen and people who want to make sure they can protect themselves.

But there have been too many instances during the course of my presidency where I’ve had to comfort families who’ve lost somebody, most recently out in Aurora. You know, just a couple of weeks ago, actually probably about a month, I saw a mother who I had met at the beside of her son who had been shot in that theater.

And her son had been shot through the head. And we spent some time, and we said a prayer. And remarkably, about two months later, this young man and his mom showed up, and he looked unbelievable, good as new. But there were a lot of families who didn’t have that good fortune and whose sons or daughters or husbands didn’t survive.

So my belief is that A, we have to enforce the laws we’ve already got, make sure that we’re keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill. We’ve done a much better job in terms of background checks, but we’ve got more to do when it comes to enforcement.

But I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets. And so what I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced, but part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence, because frankly, in my hometown of Chicago, there’s an awful lot of violence, and they’re not using AK-47s, they’re using cheap handguns.

And so what can we do to intervene to make sure that young people have opportunity, that our schools are working, that if there’s violence on the streets, that working with faith groups and law enforcement, we can catch it before it gets out of control?

And so what I want is a — is a comprehensive strategy. Part of it is seeing if we can get automatic weapons that kill folks in amazing numbers out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. But part of it is also going deeper and seeing if we can get into these communities and making sure we catch violent impulses before they occur.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor Romney, the question is about assault weapons, AK-47s.

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, I — I’m not in favor of new pieces of legislation on — on guns and — and taking guns away or — or making certain guns illegal. We of course don’t want to have automatic weapons, and that’s already illegal in this country to have automatic weapons.

What I believe is we have to do as the president mentioned towards the end of his remarks there, which is to make enormous efforts to enforce the gun laws that we have and to change the culture of violence we have. And you ask, how are we going to do that? And there are a number of things.

He mentioned good schools. I totally agree. We were able to drive our schools to be number one in the nation in my state, and I believe if we do a better job in education, we’ll — we’ll give people the — the hope and opportunity they deserve, and perhaps less violence from that.

But let me mention another thing, and that is parents. We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Wherever possible, the — the benefit of having two parents in the home — and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically.

So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the American system.

The — the greatest failure we’ve had with regards to gun violence, in some respects, is what is known as Fast and Furious, which was a program under this administration — and how it worked exactly, I think we don’t know precisely — but where thousands of automatic and — and AK-47-type weapons were — were given to people that ultimately gave them to — to drug lords. They used those weapons against — against their own citizens and killed Americans with them.

And this was a — this was a program of the government. For what purpose it was put in place, I can’t imagine. But it’s one of the great tragedies related to violence in our society which has occurred during this administration which I think the American people would like to understand fully. It’s been investigated to a degree, but the administration has — has carried out executive privilege to prevent all the information from coming out. I’d like to understand who it was that did this, what the idea was behind it, why it led to the violence — thousands of guns going to Mexican drug lords.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor, Governor, if I could, the question was about these assault weapons that once were banned and are no longer banned. I know that you signed an assault weapons ban when you were in Massachusetts. Obviously with this question, you no longer do support that. Why is that? Given the kind of violence that we see sometimes with these mass killings, why is it that you’ve changed your mind?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, Candy, actually, in my state, the pro-gun folks and the anti-gun folks came together and put together a piece of legislation, and it’s referred to as a — as an assault weapon ban, but it had at the signing of the bill both the pro-gun and the anti- gun people came together, because it provided opportunities for both that both wanted. There were hunting opportunities, for instance, that hadn’t previously been available and so forth. So it was a mutually agreed upon piece of legislation.

That’s what we need more of, Candy. What we have right now in Washington is a place that’s — that’s gridlocked. We haven’t had — we haven’t — we haven’t — we haven’t had the leadership in Washington to work on a bipartisan basis.

MS. CROWLEY: So if I could, if you could get people to agree to it, you’d be for it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy —

MR. ROMNEY: I was able to do that in my state and bring these two together.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy.

MS. CROWLEY: Quickly, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The — first of all, I think Governor Romney was for an assault weapons ban before he was against it. And he said that the reason he changed his mind was in part because he was seeking the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

So that’s on the record. But I think that one area we agree on is the importance of parents and the importance of schools, because I do believe that if our young people have opportunity, then they’re less likely to engage in these kinds of violent acts. We’re not going to eliminate everybody who is mentally disturbed, and we’ve got to make sure that they don’t get weapons. But we can make a difference in terms of ensuring that every young person in America, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, have a chance to succeed.

And Candy, we haven’t had a chance to talk about education much. But I think it is very important to understand that the reforms we put in place, working with 46 governors around the country, are seeing schools that are some of the ones that are the toughest for kids starting to succeed. We’re starting to see gains in math and science. When it comes to community colleges, we are setting up programs, including with Nassau Community College, to retrain workers, including young people who may have dropped out of school but now are getting another chance — training them for the jobs that exist right now. And in fact, employers are looking for skilled workers, and so we’re matching them up. Giving them access to higher education — as I said, we have made sure that millions of young people are able to get an education that they weren’t able to get before.

Now — but —

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, I have to — I have to move you along here. You said you wanted to hear these questions, and we need to do it here.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — but — but it’ll — it’ll — it’ll — it’ll be just — just one second, because —

MS. CROWLEY: One —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — because this is important. This is part of the choice in this election. And when Governor Romney was asked whether teachers — hiring more teachers was important to growing our economy, Governor Romney said that doesn’t grow our economy. When — when he was asked — (inaudible) — class size —

MS. CROWLEY: The question, of course, Mr. President, was guns here. So I need to move us along.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I understand.

MS. CROWLEY: You know, the questions was guns. So let me — let me bring in another —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: But this will make a difference in terms of whether or not we can move this economy forward for these young people —

MS. CROWLEY: I understand.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: — and reduce our violence.

MS. CROWLEY: OK. Thank you so much. I want to ask Carol Goldberg to stand up, because she gets to a question that both these men have been passionate about. It’s for Governor Romney.

Q: The outsourcing of American jobs overseas has taken a toll on our economy. What plans do you have to put back and keep jobs here in the United States?

MR. ROMNEY: Boy, great question, an important question, because you’re absolutely right. The place where we’ve seen manufacturing go has been China. China is now the largest manufacturer in the world. Used to be the United States of America. Lot of good people have lost jobs. A half a million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last four years. That’s total over the last four years.

One of the reasons for that is that people think it’s more attractive, in some cases, to go offshore than to — than to stay here. We have made it less attractive for enterprises to stay here than to go offshore from time to time.

What I will do as president is make sure it’s more attractive to come to America again. This is the way we’re going to create jobs in this country. It’s not by trickle-down government saying, we’re going to take more money from people and hire more government workers, raise more taxes, put in place more regulations. Trickle-down government has never worked here, has never worked anywhere. I want to make America the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, for small business, for big business to invest and grow in America.

Now, we’re going to have to make sure that as we trade with other nations, that they play by the rules, and China hasn’t. One of the reasons — or one of the ways they don’t play by the rules is artificially holding down the value of their currency, because if they put their currency down low, that means their prices on their goods are low. And that makes them advantageous in the marketplace. We lose sales, and manufacturers here in the U.S. making the same products can’t compete.

China has been a currency manipulator for years and years and years. And the president has a regular opportunity to — to label them as a — as a currency manipulator but refuses to do so. On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator, which will allow me as president to be able to put in place, if necessary, tariffs where I believe that they are taking unfair advantage of our manufacturers.

So we’re going to make sure the people we trade with around the world play by the rules.

But let me — let me not just stop there. Don’t forget: What’s key to bringing back jobs here is not just finding someone else to punish — and — and I’m going to be strict with people who we trade with to make sure they — they follow the law and play by the rules — but it’s also to make America the most attractive place in the world for businesses of all kinds. That’s why I want to bring down the tax rates on small employers, big employers, so they want to be here. Canada’s tax rate on companies is now 15 percent. Ours is 35 percent. So if you’re starting a business, where would you rather start it? We have to be competitive if we’re going to create more jobs here.

Regulations have quadrupled. The rate of regulations quadrupled under this president. I’ve talked to small businesses across the country. They say we feel like we’re under attack from our own government. I want to make sure that regulators see their job as encouraging small business — not crushing it. And there’s no question but that “Obamacare” has been an extraordinary deterrent to enterprises of all kinds hiring people. My priority is making sure that we get more people hired. If we have more people hired, if we get back manufacturing jobs, if we get back all kinds of jobs into this country, then you’re going to see rising incomes again. The reason incomes are down is because unemployment is so high. I know what it takes to get this to happen, and my plan will do that, and one part of it is to make sure that we keep China playing by the rules. Thanks.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, two minutes here because we are then going to go to our last question.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. We need to create jobs here. And both Governor Romney and I agree, actually, that we should lower our corporate tax rate. It’s too high.

But there’s a difference in terms of how we would do it. I want to close loopholes that allow companies to deduct expenses when they move to China, that allow them to profit offshore and not have to get taxed, so they have tax advantages offshore. All those changes in our tax code would make a difference.

Now Governor Romney actually wants to expand those tax breaks. One of his big ideas when it comes to corporate tax reform would be to say, if you invest overseas, you make profits overseas, you don’t have to pay U.S. taxes. But of course if you’re a small business or a mom- and-pop business or a big business starting up here, you’ve got to pay even the reduced rate that Governor Romney’s talking about. And it’s estimated that that will create 800,000 new jobs. Problem is, they’ll be in China or India or Germany. That’s not the way we’re going to create jobs here.

The way we’re going to create jobs here is not just to change our tax code but also to double our exports. And we are on pace to double our exports, one of the commitments I made when I was president. That’s creating tens of thousands of jobs all across the country. That’s why we’ve kept on pushing trade deals but trade deals that make sure that American workers and American businesses are getting a good deal.

Now Governor Romney talked about China. As I already indicated, in the private sector, Governor Romney’s company invested in what were called pioneers of outsourcing. That’s not my phrase; that’s what reporters called it.

And as far as currency manipulation, the currency’s actually gone up 11 percent since I’ve been president because we have pushed them hard. And we’ve put unprecedented trade pressure on China. That’s why exports have significantly increased under my presidency. That’s going to help to create jobs here.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, we have a really short time for a quick discussion here.

IPad, the Macs, the iPhones, they are all manufactured in China. One of the major reasons is labor is so much cheaper here. How do you convince a great American company to bring that manufacturing back here?

MR. ROMNEY: The answer is very straightforward. We can compete with anyone in the world as long as the playing field is level. China’s been cheating over the years: one, by holding down the value of their currency; number two, by stealing our intellectual property, our designs, our patents, our technology. There’s even an Apple store in China that’s a counterfeit Apple store selling counterfeit goods. They hack into our computers. We will have to have people play on a fair basis. That’s number one.

Number two, we have to make America the most attractive place for entrepreneurs, for people who want to expand a business. That’s what brings jobs in. The president’s characterization of my tax plan —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: How much time have you got, Candy?

MR. ROMNEY: — is complete — is completely — is completely false.

MS. CROWLEY: You get — let me go to the —

MR. ROMNEY: Let me tell you —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right, all right. Wait, wait, wait —

MS. CROWLEY: Let me go to the president here, because we really are running out of time. And the question is can we ever get — we can’t get wages like that. It can’t be sustained here.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Candy, there are some jobs that are not going to come back, because they’re low-wage, low-skill jobs. I want high- wage, high-skill jobs. That’s why we have to emphasize manufacturing. That’s why we have to invest in advanced manufacturing. That’s why we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the best science and research in the world.

And when we talk about deficits, if we’re adding to our deficit for tax cuts for folks who don’t need them and we’re cutting investments in research and science that will create the next Apple, create the next new innovation that will sell products around the world, we will lose that race. If we’re not training engineers to make sure that they are equipped here in this country, then companies won’t come here. Those investments are what’s going to help to make sure that we continue to lead this world economy not just next year, but 10 years from now, 50 years from now, a hundred years from now.

MS. CROWLEY: Thanks, Mr. President.

Governor Romney —

MR. ROMNEY: Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs. (Chuckles.)

MS. CROWLEY: — but Governor Romney, I want to introduce you to Barry Green, because he’s going to have the last question to you first.

MR. ROMNEY: Barry? Where’s Barry? Hi, Barry.

Q: Hi, Governor. I think this is a tough question. Each of you: What do you believe is the biggest misperception that the American people have about you as a man and a candidate? Using specific examples, can you take this opportunity to debunk that misperception and set us straight?

MR. ROMNEY: Thank you. And that’s an opportunity for me, and I appreciate it. In the nature of a campaign, it seems that some campaigns are focused on attacking a person rather than prescribing their own future and the things they’d like to do. And in the course of that, I think the president’s campaign has tried to characterize me as — as someone who — who is very different than who I am.

I care about a hundred percent of the American people. I want a hundred percent of the American people to have a bright and prosperous future. I care about our kids. I understand what it takes to — to make a bright and prosperous future for America again. I — I spent my life in the private sector, not in government. I’m a guy who wants to help, with the experience I have, the American people.

My — my — my passion probably flows from the fact that I believe in God, and I believe we’re all children of the same God. I believe we have a responsibility to care for one another. I — I served as a missionary for my church. I served as a pastor in my congregation for about 10 years. I’ve sat across the table from people who were — were out of work and worked with them to try and find new work or to help them through tough times. I went to the Olympics when they were in trouble to try and get them on track. And as governor of my state, I was able to get a hundred percent of my people insured — all my kids; about 98 percent of the adults. Was able also to get our schools ranked number one in the nation so a hundred percent of our kids would have a bright opportunity for a future.

I understand that I can get this country on track again. We don’t have to settle for what we’re going through. We don’t have to settle for gasoline at four bucks. We don’t have to settle for unemployment at a — at a chronically high level. We don’t have to settle for 47 million people on food stamps. We don’t have to settle for 50 percent of kids coming out of college not able to get work. We don’t have to settle for 23 million people struggling to find a good job.

If I become president, I’ll get America working again. I will get us on track to a balanced budget. The president hasn’t. I will. I’ll make sure we can reform Medicare and Social Security to preserve them for coming — coming generations. The president said he would. He didn’t.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor —

MR. ROMNEY: I’ll get our incomes up. And by the way, I’ve done these things. I served as governor and showed I could get them done.

MS. CROWLEY: Mr. President, last two minutes belong to you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Barry, I think a lot of this campaign, maybe over the last four years, has been devoted to this notion that I think government creates jobs, that that somehow is the answer. That’s not what I believe.

I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known. I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk-takers being rewarded. But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same rules, because that’s how our economy’s grown. That’s how we built the world’s greatest middle class.

And — and that is part of what’s at stake in this election. There’s a fundamentally different vision about how we move our country forward. I believe Governor Romney is a good man. He loves his family, cares about his faith.

But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considers themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility — think about who he was talking about: folks on Social Security who’ve worked all their lives; veterans who’ve sacrificed for this country; students who are out there trying to, hopefully, advance their own dreams, but also this country’s dreams; soldiers who are overseas fighting for us right now; people who are working hard every day, paying payroll tax, gas taxes, but don’t make enough income.

And I want to fight for them. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last four years, because if they succeed, I believe the country succeeds.

And when my grandfather fought in World War II and he came back and he got a GI Bill and that allowed him to go to college, that wasn’t a handout. That was something that advanced the entire country, and I want to make sure that the next generation has those same opportunities. That’s why I’m asking for your vote and that’s why I’m asking for another four years.

MS. CROWLEY: President Obama, Governor Romney, thank you for being here tonight. On that note, we have come to an end of this town hall debate. (Applause.) Our thanks to the participants for their time and to the people of Hofstra University for their hospitality. The next and final debate takes place Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Don’t forget to watch. Election Day is three weeks from today. Don’t forget to vote. Good night.

END

 

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From Lynn Sweet’s:

The Scoop from Washington

Biden, Ryan vice presidential debate. Transcript.

By Lynn Sweet on October 12, 2012 8:48 AM | No Comments

transcript courtesy Federal News Service

Vice Presidential Candidates

Debate
Participants: Vice President Joseph Biden and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Republican Nominee for Vice President.

Moderator: Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, ABC News
 Location: Centre College, Danville, Kentucky

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

Tonight’s debate is divided between domestic and foreign policy issues.

And I’m going to move back and forth between foreign and domestic since that is what a vice president or president would have to do.

We will have nine different segments. At the beginning of each segment, I will ask both candidates a question, and they will each have two minutes to answer. Then I will encourage a discussion between the candidates with follow-up questions. By coin toss, it has been determined that Vice President Biden will be first to answer the opening question.

We have a wonderful audience here at Centre College tonight. You will no doubt hear their enthusiasm at the end of the debate and right now as we welcome Vice President Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan. (Applause.)

Very nice to see you. Very nice to see you.

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: How you doing?

MS. RADDATZ: Hey, you got your little wave to the families in. That’s great.

Good evening, gentlemen. It really is an honor to be here with both of you.

I would like to begin with Libya on a rather somber note. One month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The State Department has now made clear there were no protesters there. It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn’t this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?

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

And I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all of the American people tonight: One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this.

And secondly, we will get to the bottom of it, and whatever — wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, w will make clear to the American public, because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

REP. RYAN: (Sighs.) We mourn the loss of these four Americans who were murdered. When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. He went to the U.N., and in his speech at the U.N. he said six times — he talked about the YouTube video.

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

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

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

And with respect to Afghanistan and the 2014 deadline, we agree with a 2014 transition. But what we also want to do is make sure that we’re not projecting weakness abroad, and that’s what’s happening here. This Benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself. But unfortunately it’s indicative of a broader problem, and that is what we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the world more — more chaotic and us less safe.

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

REP. RYAN: On that same day, the Obama administration had the exact same position. Let’s recall that they disavowed their own statement that they had put out earlier in the day in Cairo.

So we had the same position, but we will — it’s never to early to speak out for our values. We should have spoken out right away when the Green Revolution was up and starting, when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their people. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people. We should always stand up for peace, for democracy, for individual rights, and we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts, because what that does when we equivocate on our values, when we show that we’re cutting our own defense —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Am I going to get to say anything here?

REP. RYAN: — it makes us more weak. It projects weakness, and when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us, they’re more brazen in their attacks, and our allies are less willing to —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey. In fact —

MS. RADDATZ: And why is that so?

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

MS. RADDATZ: Be specific.

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

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

We — this is a president who’s gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. This is the guy who’s repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. This is the guy who brought the entire world, including Russia and China, to bring about the most devastating, most devastating — the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop with their — look, I — I — I just — I mean, these guys bet against America all the time.

REP. RYAN: I —

MS. RADDATZ: Can we talk about — let me go back to Libya.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Yeah, sure.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Because that’s exactly what we were told —

MS. RADDATZ: By who?

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

MS. RADDATZ: And they wanted more security there.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security again. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly — we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view. That’s why I said, we will get to the bottom of this.

You know, usually when there’s a crisis, we pull together. We pull together as a nation. But as I said, even before we knew what happened to the ambassador, the governor was holding a press conference — was holding a press conference. That’s not presidential leadership.

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

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

MS. RADDATZ: Burning Qurans (immediately ?)?

REP. RYAN: What — what we should not be apologizing for are standing up for our values. What we should not be doing is saying to the Egyptian people, while Mubarak is cracking down on them, that he’s a good guy and then the next week say he ought to go. What we should not be doing is rejecting claims for — calls for more security in our barracks, in our Marine — we need Marines in Benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security.

There were requests for extra security. Those requests were not honored.

Look, this was the anniversary of 9/11. It was Libya, a country we knew we had al-Qaida cells there. As we know, al-Qaida and its affiliates are on the rise in northern Africa. And we did not give our ambassador in Benghazi a Marine detachment? Of course there is an investigation so we can make sure that this never happens again. But when it comes to speaking up for our values, we should not apologize for those.

Here is the problem. Look at all the various issues out there and that’s unraveling before our eyes. The vice president talks about sanctions on Iran. They got — we’ve had four —

MS. RADDATZ: Let’s move to Iran. I’d actually like to move to Iran because there is really no bigger national security —

REP. RYAN: Absolutely.

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

REP. RYAN: We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability.

Now, let’s take a look at where we’ve gone — come from. When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material, nuclear material, to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability. We’ve had four different sanctions at the U.N. on Iran, three from the Bush administration, one here. And the only reason we got it is because Russia watered it down and prevented the — the sanctions from hitting the central bank.

Mitt Romney proposed these sanctions in 2007. In Congress, I’ve been fighting for these sanctions since 2009. The administration was blocking us every step of the way.

Only because we had strong bipartisan support for these tough sanctions were we able to overrule their objections and put them in spite of the administration. Imagine what would have happened if we had these sanctions in place earlier. You think Iran’s not brazen? Look at what they’re doing. They’re stepping up their terrorist attacks. They tried a terrorist attack in the United States last year when they tried to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a restaurant in Washington, D.C.

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

And so in order solve this peacefully, which is everybody’s goal, you have to have the ayatollahs change their minds. Look at where they are. They’re moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. It’s because this administration has no credibility on this issue. It’s because this administration watered down sanctions, delayed sanctions, tried to stop us from putting the tough sanctions in place. Now we have them in place because of Congress. They say the military option’s on the table but it’s not being viewed as credible, and the key is to do this peacefully, is to make sure that we have credibility. Under a Romney administration, we will have credibility on this issue.

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Incredible. (Chuckles.)

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

When Governor Romney’s asked about it, he said, we got to keep these sanctions. When they said, well, you’re talking about doing more, what are you — are you — you’re going to go to war? Is that you want to do now?

REP. RYAN: We want to prevent war!

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Inaudible) — and I — the interesting thing is, how they’re going to prevent war. How are they going to prevent war if they say that there’s nothing more that we — that they say we should do than what we’ve already done, number one?

And number two, with regard to the ability of the United States to take action militarily, it is — it is not in my purview to talk about classified information.

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

When my friend talks about fissile material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up. Then they have to be able to have something to put it in. There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point. Both the Israelis and we know we’ll know if they start the process of building a weapon. So all this bluster I keep hearing, all this loose talk — what are they talking about? Are you talking about to be more credible? What — what more can the president do? Stand before the United Nations, tell the whole world, directly communicate to the ayatollah: We will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon, period, unless he’s talking about going to war.

REP. RYAN: Martha, let’s just —

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

REP. RYAN: — let’s look at this from the view of the ayatollahs. What do they see? They see this administration trying to water down sanctions in Congress for over two years. They’re moving faster toward a nuclear weapon; they’re spinning the centrifuges faster. They see us saying, when we come into the administration, when they’re sworn in, we need more space with our ally Israel. They see President Obama in New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is, and he’s — instead of meeting with him goes on a — on a daily talk show. They see — when we say that these options are on the table, the secretary of defense walked them back. They are not changing their mind. That’s what we have to do, is change their mind so they stop pursuing nuclear weapons, and they’re going faster.

MS. RADDATZ: How will you do it so quickly? Look, you both saw Benjamin Netanyahu hold up that picture of a bomb with the red line and talking about the red line being in spring.

So can you solve this — if the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, can you solve this in two months before spring and avoid nuclear —

REP. RYAN: We — we can debate a timeline.

MS. RADDATZ: (Inaudible.)

REP. RYAN: We can debate the timeline, whether there’s — it’s that short a time or longer. I — I agree that it’s probably longer. Number two, it’s all about credibility.

MS. RADDATZ: You don’t agree with that bomb and what the Israelis —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, look — (inaudible) —

REP. RYAN: (Inaudible) — look, we — we both — (inaudible) —

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

REP. RYAN: I don’t want to go into classified stuff, but we both agree that to do this peacefully, you’ve got to get them to change their minds. They’re not changing their minds, and look at what this administration does —

MS. RADDATZ: But what do you do — (inaudible) —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Let me tell you what the ayatollah sees.

REP. RYAN: You have to have credibility.

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

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

MS. RADDATZ: What does that mean, “a bunch of stuff”?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, it means it’s simply inaccurate.

REP. RYAN: It’s Irish. (Chuckles.)

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: It is. (Laughter.) We Irish call it malarkey.

MS. RADDATZ: Thanks for the translation. OK.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, we Irish call it malarkey. (Laughter.) But last thing: the secretary of defense has made it absolutely clear. He didn’t walk anything back. We will not allow the Iranians to get a nuclear weapon. What Bibi held up there was when they get to the point where they can enrich uranium enough to put into a weapon, they don’t have a weapon to put it into.

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

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I don’t know what world you guys are in.

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan —

REP. RYAN: Thank — thank heavens we have these sanctions in place. It’s in spite of their opposition.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.) Oh, God.

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

MS. RADDATZ: Can you tell the American people what’s worse —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: By the way, they’re — no, no, they are not four years closer to a nuclear weapon.

MS. RADDATZ: — another war in the Middle East or —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: They’re — they’re closer to being able to get enough fissile material to put in a weapon if they had a weapon. But —

MS. RADDATZ: You’re acting a little bit like they don’t want one, though.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Oh, I didn’t say — no, I’m not saying — (look ?), facts matter, Martha. You’re a foreign policy expert. Facts matter. All this loose talk about them — all they have to do is get to — enrich uranium in a certain amount and they have a weapon — not true. Not true. They are more — and if we ever have to take action, unlike where we took office, we will have the world behind us, and that matters. That matters.

MS. RADDATZ: What about Bob Gates’ statement? Let me read that again: “Could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations.”

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: He is right. It could prove catastrophic if we do — we do it with — (inaudible) —

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

REP. RYAN: And what it does is it — and it undermines our credibility by backing up the point when we make it that all options are on the table. That’s the point. The ayatollahs see these kinds of statements, and they think, I’m going to get a nuclear weapon. When — when we see the kind of equivocation that took place because this administration wanted a precondition policy — so when the Green Revolution started up, they were silent for nine days. When they see us putting — when they see us putting daylight between ourselves and our allies in Israel, that gives them encouragement. When they see Russia watering down any further sanctions — and the only reason we got a U.N. sanction is because Russia watered it down and prevented these — (there ?) from being sanctions in the first place.

So when they see this kind of activity, they are encouraged to continue, and that’s the problem.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha, let me tell you what Russia’s — (inaudible) —

MS. RADDATZ: What — let me ask you what’s worse: war in the Middle East, another war in the Middle East, or a nuclear-armed Iran?

REP. RYAN: I’ll tell you what’s worse. I’ll tell you what’s worse.

MS. RADDATZ: Quickly.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s the only thing my —

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

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

REP. RYAN: We can’t live with that.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: War should always be the absolute last resort. That’s why these crippling sanctions, what Bibi Netanyahu says we should continue — which, if I’m not mistaken, Governor Romney says we — we should continue. If I — I may be mistaken; he changes his mind so often, I could be wrong. But the fact of the matter is, he says they’re working. And the fact is that they are being crippled by them. And we’ve made it clear, big nations can’t bluff. This president doesn’t bluff.

MS. RADDATZ: Gentlemen, I want to bring the conversation to a different kind of national security issue, the state of our economy. The number one issue here at home is jobs. The percentage of unemployed just fell below 8 percent for the first time in 43 months. The Obama administration had projected that it would fall below 6 percent now after the addition of close to a trillion dollars in stimulus money. So will both of you level with the American people? Can you get unemployment to under 6 percent, and how long will it take?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I don’t know how long it will take.

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: We can and we will get it under 6 percent.

Let’s look at the — let’s take a look at the facts. Let’s look at where we were when we came to office. The economy was in free fall. We had — the Great Recession hit. Nine million people lost their job, 1.7 — $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes, in retirement accounts from the middle class.

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

But it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. My friend recently, in a speech in Washington, said 30% of the American people are takers. These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, not paying any taxes.

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

They’re pushing the continuation of a tax cut that will give an additional $500 billion in tax cuts to 120,000 families. And they’re holding hostage the middle-class tax cut because they say, we won’t pass — we won’t continue the middle-class tax cut unless you give the tax cut for the superwealthy. It’s about time they take some responsibility.

MS. RADDATZ: Mr. Ryan.

REP. RYAN: Joe and I are from similar towns.

He’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I’m from Janesville, Wisconsin. You know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I sure do.

REP. RYAN: It’s 10 percent.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Yeah.

REP. RYAN: You know what it was the day you guys came in?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No.

REP. RYAN: Eight-point-five percent.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Yeah.

REP. RYAN: That’s how it’s going all around America.

Look —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: You don’t read the statistics. That’s not “how it’s going.” It’s going down.

MS. RADDATZ: (Inaudible) — two-minute answer, please.

REP. RYAN: Look — (chuckles) — did they come in and inherit a tough situation? Absolutely.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.)

REP. RYAN: But we’re going in the wrong direction! Look at where we are. The economy is barely limping along. It’s growing at 1.3 percent. That’s slower than it grew last year, and last year was slower than the year before. Job growth in September was slower than it was in August, and August was slower than it was in July. We’re heading in the wrong direction.

Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work today. Fifteen percent of Americans are living in poverty today. This is not what a real recovery looks like. We need real reforms for a real recovery, and that’s exactly what Mitt Romney and I are proposing. It’s five-point plan. Get America energy-independent in North America by the end of the decade. Help people who are hurting get the skills they need to get the jobs they want. Get this deficit and debt under control to prevent a debt crisis. Make trade work for America so we can make more things in America and sell them overseas and champion small businesses. Don’t raise taxes on small businesses, because they’re our job creators.

He talks about Detroit. Mitt Romney’s a car guy. They keep misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This is a guy who — I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts the other day, Cheryl and Mark Nixon (sp). Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them — two of them, Rob (sp) and Reid (sp), were paralyzed. The Romneys didn’t know them. They went to the same church. They never met before.

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

When Mark (sp) told me this story — because you know what, Mitt Romney doesn’t tell these stories.

The Nixons told this story. When he told me this story, he said it wasn’t the help — the cash help; it’s that he gave his time, and he has consistently. This is a man who gave 30 percent of his income to charity, more than the two of us combined. Mitt Romney’s a good man. He cares about a hundred percent of Americans in this country.

And with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way. (Laughter.)

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: But I always say what I mean.

MS. RADDATZ: You —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And so does Romney.

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

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Look —

MS. RADDATZ: I have a feeling you have a few things to say here. (Laughter.)

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.) The idea, if you heard that — that little soliloquy on 47 percent, and you think he just made a mistake, then I think you’re — I — I — I — I — I got a bridge to sell you.

Look, I don’t doubt his personal generosity, and I understand what it’s like. When I was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident, killed my daughter and my wife, and my two sons survived. I have sat in the homes of many people who’ve gone through what I get through because the one thing you can give people solace is to know they know you’ve been through it, that they can make it. So I don’t doubt his personal commitment to individuals.

But you know what, I know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. He just let — he said, let it go bankrupt, period, let it drop out. All this talk — we saved a million jobs. Two hundred thousand people are working today. And I have never met two guys who are more down on America across the board. We’re told everything is going bad. We have 5.2 million new jobs, private sector jobs. We need more, but 5.2 million — if they’d get out of the way, if they get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent, if they get out of the way and pass the — pass the jobs bill, if they get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upside-down, but they never missed a mortgage payment — just get out of the way.

Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility.

And by the way, they talk about this Great Recession if it fell out of the sky, like, oh my goodness, where did it come from? It came from this man voting to put two wars in a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion- dollar tax cut for a — very wealthy. I was there. I voted against him. I said, no, we can’t afford that. And now all of a sudden these guys are so seized with a concern about the debt that they created —

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

REP. RYAN: Let’s not forget that they came in with one-party control. When Barack Obama was elected, his party controlled everything. They had the ability to do everything of their choosing, and look at where we are right now. They passed a stimulus, the idea that we could borrow $831 billion, spend it on all these special interest groups and that it would work out just fine, that unemployment would never get to 8 percent. It went up above 8 percent for 43 months. They said that right now, if we just pass this stimulus, the economy would grow at 4 percent. It’s growing at 1.3 (percent).

MS. RADDATZ: When could you get it below 6 percent?

REP. RYAN: That’s what our entire premise of our pro-growth plan for a stronger middle class is all about: getting the economy growing at 4 percent, creating 12 million jobs over the next four years. Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus, and — and the vice president was in charge of overseeing this, $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups. There are just at the Department of Energy over 100 criminal investigations that have been launched into just how —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha —

REP. RYAN: — stimulus — (inaudible) — are being spent —

MS. RADDATZ: Go ahead.

Go ahead, Vice —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha, look. His colleague runs an investigative committee —

REP. RYAN: Crony capitalism — (inaudible).

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — spent months and months and months going into this —

REP. RYAN: This is the — this is the inspector general.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — months and months. They found no evidence of cronyism. And I love my friend here. I — I’m not allowed to show letters, but go on our website: He sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin? We sent millions of dollars. You know why he said he needed —

MS. RADDATZ: You did ask for stimulus money, correct?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Sure he did. By the way — (inaudible) —

REP. RYAN: On two occasions, we — we — we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.)

REP. RYAN: That’s what we do. We do that for all constituents who are — (inaudible) — for grants.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This is such a bad program, and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, the reason we need this stimulus — it will create growth and jobs. He — his words. And now he’s sitting here looking at me — and by the way, that program — again, investigated — what the Congress said was, it was a model: less than four-tenths of 1 percent waste or fraud in the program. And all this talk about cronyism — they investigated, investigated; did not find one single piece of evidence. I wish he would just tell — be a little more candid.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Look —

REP. RYAN: Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like China —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.)

REP. RYAN: — and spend it on all these various different interest groups?

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

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

MS. RADDATZ: I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we’ve gone over this quite enough. And both —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And by the way, any letter you send me I’ll entertain.

REP. RYAN: I appreciate that, Joe. (Laughter.)

MS. RADDATZ: Let’s talk about Medicare and entitlements.

Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive, Mr. Ryan?

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

Look, when I look at these programs, we’ve all had tragedies in our lives. I think about what they’ve done for my own family. My mom and I had my grandmother move in with us who was facing Alzheimer’s. Medicare was there for her, just like it’s there for my mom right now who’s a Florida senior. After my dad died, my mom and I got Social Security survivors benefits. Helped me pay for college. It helped her go back to college in her 50s, where she started a small business because of the new skills she got. She paid all of her taxes on the promise that these programs would be there for her. We will honor this promise.

And the best way to do it is reform it for my generation. You see, if you reform these programs for my generation, people 54 and below, you can guarantee they don’t change for people in or near retirement, which is precisely what Mitt Romney and I are proposing.

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

And then they put this new “Obamacare” board in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors. This board, by the way, it’s 15 people. The president’s supposed to appoint them next year. And not one of them even has to have medical training.

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

They haven’t put a credible solution on the table. He’ll tell you about vouchers. He’ll say all these things to try and scare people.

Here’s what we’re saying: Give younger people, when they become Medicare-eligible, guaranteed coverage options that you can’t be denied, including traditional Medicare.

Choose your plan, and then Medicare subsidizes your premiums, not as much for the wealthy people, more coverage for middle-income people and total out-of-pocket coverage for the poor and the sick. Choice and competition — we would rather have 50 million future seniors determine how their Medicare is delivered to them instead of 15 bureaucrats deciding what — if, where, when they get it.

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden, two minutes.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: You know, I heard that death panel argument from Sarah Palin. It seems that every vice presidential debate, I hear this kind of stuff about panels. But let’s talk about Medicare.

What we did is we saved $716 billion and put it back — applied it to Medicare. We cut the cost of Medicare. We stopped overpaying insurance companies when doctors and hospitals — the AMA supported what we did. AARP endorsed what we did. And it extends the life of Medicare to 2024. They want to wipe this all out. It also gave more benefits. Any senior out there, ask yourself: Do you have more benefits today? You do. If you’re near the doughnut hole, you have $600 more to help your prescription drug costs. You get wellness visits without copays. They wipe all of this out, and Medicare goes — becomes insolvent in 2016, number one.

Number two, guaranteed benefit — it’s a voucher. When they first proposed — when the congressman had his first voucher program, the CBO said it would cost $6,400 a year, Martha, more for every senior 55 and below when they got there. He knew that, yet he got it — all the guys in Congress, and women in the Republican party to vote for it. Governor Romney, knowing that, said, I — I — I would sign it were I there. Who you believe, the AMA? Me? A guy who’s fought his whole life for this? Or somebody who had actually put in motion a plan that knowingly cut — added $6,400 a year more to the cost of Medicare?

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

And with regard to Social Security, we will not — we will not privatize it. If we had listened to Romney, to Governor Romney and the congressman during the Bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money had been in the market. Their ideas are old, and their ideas are bad, and they eliminate the guarantee of Medicare.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s not what they said.

REP. RYAN: Seven point four million seniors are projected to lose the current Medicare Advantage coverage they have. That’s a $3,200 benefit cut.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That didn’t happen.

REP. RYAN: What we’re saying —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: More people signed up.

REP. RYAN: These are from your own actuaries.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: More — more — more people signed up for Medicare Advantage after the change.

REP. RYAN: What — what they’re —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No — nobody is getting shut down.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No — no — (inaudible) —

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, don’t take all the four minutes, then.

REP. RYAN: Now let me just — let me say this. We are not — we are saying, don’t change benefits for people 55 and above. They already organized their retirement around these promises.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: They already are —

REP. RYAN: But you want to — (inaudible) — these programs for those of us —

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

REP. RYAN: A hundred percent coverage for them.

MS. RADDATZ: And what —

REP. RYAN: That’s what we’re saying.

MS. RADDATZ: — what cost —

REP. RYAN: So we’re saying income-adjust —

MS. RADDATZ: How do you make that up?

REP. RYAN: — these premium support payments by taking down the subsidies for wealthy people. Look, this is a plan — by the way, that $6,400 number, it was misleading then. It’s totally inaccurate now. This is a plan that’s bipartisan. It’s a plan I put together with a prominent Democrat senator from Oregon.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: There’s not one Democrat who endorsed his —

REP. RYAN: It’s a plan —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — not one Democrat who signed his plan.

REP. RYAN: Our partner is a Democrat from Oregon.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And he said he does no longer support (you for that ?).

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Who disavows it. (Chuckles.)

REP. RYAN: This idea — this idea came from the Clinton commission to save Medicare, chaired by Senator John Breaux. Here’s the point, Martha.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Which was rejected.

REP. RYAN: If we don’t — if we don’t fix this problem pretty soon, then current seniors get cut! Here’s the problem. Ten thousand people are retiring every single day in America today, and they will for 20 years. That’s not a political thing. That’s a math thing.

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

REP. RYAN: And it would deny seniors choices.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: All — all — all —

REP. RYAN: It — it has restricted (formula ?) —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Seniors are not denied.

REP. RYAN: Absolutely.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Sorry, they are not denied.

Look, folks, and all you seniors out there, have you been denied choices? Have you lost Medicare Advantage or, if you have signed up —

REP. RYAN: Because it’s working well right now.

VICE RESIDENT BIDEN: Because we changed the law!

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Look, I was there when we did that with Social Security, in 1983. I was one of eight people sitting in the room that included Tip O’Neill negotiating with President Reagan. We all got together, and everybody said, as long as everybody’s in the deal, everybody’s in the deal, and everybody is making some sacrifice, we can find a way. We made the system solvent to 2033.

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

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

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

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: You saw how well that worked.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: What Mitt Romney is proposing —

REP. RYAN: And then the kinds of the changes we’re talking about for younger people like myself is don’t increase the benefits for wealthy people as fast as everybody else —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha —

REP. RYAN: — slowly raise the retirement age over time.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha —

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

Now, here’s the issue.

MS. RADDATZ: Quickly, Vice President.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Quickly, the bottom line here is that all the studies show that if we went with Social Security proposal made by Mitt Romney, if you’re 40 — in your 40s now, you will pay $2,600 a year — you get $2,600 a year less in Social Security. If you’re in your 20s now, you get $4,700 a year less. The idea of changing — and change being, in this case, to cut the benefits for people without taking other action you could do to make it work — is absolutely the wrong way.

These — look, these guys haven’t been big on Medicare from the beginning. Their party’s not been big on Medicare from the beginning. And they’ve always been about Social Security as little as you can do. Look, folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this? A man who introduced a bill that would raise it $6,400 a year, knowing it and passing it, and Romney saying he’d sign it? Or me and the president?

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s — there are the facts, right?

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Medicare beneficiaries have more benefits now — (inaudible) —

REP. RYAN: We are not going to run away — we are not going to run away —

MS. RADDATZ: OK. We’re going to — we’re going to move on to a very simple question to you both.

REP. RYAN: Medicare and Social Security did so much for my own family. We are not going to jeopardize this program, but we have to save it for the next generation so it doesn’t go bankrupt.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: You are jeopardizing the program. You’re changing the program from a guaranteed benefit to a premium support. Whatever you call it, the bottom line is people are going to have to pay more money out of their pocket.

REP. RYAN: The wealthy would.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And the families I know and the families I come from — they don’t have the money to pay more out of — (inaudible).

MS. RADDATZ: Gentlemen, gentlemen —

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

MS. RADDATZ: I would like to move on to a very simple question for both of you. And something tells me —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.)

MS. RADDATZ: — I won’t get a very simple answer. But let me ask you this.

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

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: The middle class will pay less, and people making a million dollars or more will begin to contribute slightly more. Let me give you one concrete example: the continuation of the Bush tax cuts. We’re arguing that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be allowed to expire. Of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, 800 million — billion dollars of that goes to people making a minimum of a million dollars. We see no justification in these economic times for those — and they’re patriotic Americans. They’re — they’re not asking for this continued tax cut; they’re not suggesting it; but my friends are insisting on it. A hundred and twenty thousand families, by continuing that tax cut, will get an additional $500 billion in tax relief in the next 10 years, and their income is an average of $8 million.

We want to extend permanently the middle-class tax cut for — permanently from the Bush middle-class tax cut. These guys won’t allow us to.

You what we’re saying? We say let’s have a vote. Let’s have a vote on the middle-class tax cut, and let’s have a vote on the upper tax cut. Let’s go ahead and vote on it. They’re saying no. They’re holding hostage the middle-class tax cut to the super wealthy.

And on top of that, they got another tax cut coming that’s $5 trillion that all of the studies point out will, in fact, give another $250 million dollar — yeah, $250,000 a year to those 120,000 families and raise taxes for people who are middle-income with a child by $2,000 a year. This is unconscionable. There is no need for this. The middle class got knocked on their heels. The Great Recession crushed them. They need some help now. The last people who need help are 120,000 families for another — another $500 billion tax cut over the next 10 years.

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman.

REP. RYAN: Our entire premise of these tax reform plans is to grow the economy and create jobs. It’s a plan that’s estimated to create 7 million jobs.

Now, we think that government taking 28 percent of a family and business’ income is enough. President Obama thinks that the government ought to be able to take as much as 44.8 percent of a small business’ income.

Look, if you taxed every person in successful small business making over $250,000 at a hundred percent, it’d only run the government for 98 days. If everybody who paid income taxes last year, including successful small businesses, doubled their income taxes this year, we’d still have a $300 billion deficit.

You see, there aren’t enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending. And so the next time you hear them say, don’t worry about it, we’ll get a few wealthy people to pay their fair share, watch out, middle class. The tax bill is coming to you.

That’s why we’re saying we need fundamental tax reform.

Let’s take a look at it this way: 8-out-of-10 businesses, they file their taxes as individuals, not as corporations. And where I come from, overseas, which is Lake Superior — (chuckles) — the Canadians — they drop their tax rates to 15 percent. The average tax rate on businesses in the industrialized world is 25 percent, and the president wants the top effective tax rate on successful small businesses to go above 40 percent. Two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. This one tax would actually tax about 53 percent of small-business income. It’s expected that’d cost us 710,000 jobs. And you know what? It doesn’t even pay for 10 percent of their proposed deficit spending increases.

What we are saying is lower tax rates across the board and close loopholes, primarily to the higher-income people. We have three bottom lines: Don’t raise the deficit, don’t raise taxes on the middle class and don’t lower the share of income that is borne by the high-income earners. He — he’ll keep saying this $5 trillion plan, I suppose —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.)

REP. RYAN: — it’s been discredited by six other studies, and even their own deputy campaign manager acknowledged that it wasn’t correct.

MS. RADDATZ: Well, let’s talk about this 20 percent.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well — (chuckles) —

MS. RADDATZ: You have refused yet again to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it, and that’s why you won’t tell voters?

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

MS. RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the math? Do you know exactly what you’re doing?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’ll be — that’d be a first for the Republican Congress.

REP. RYAN: Look — look at what Mitt — look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did. They worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base, and they worked together to fix that. What we’re saying is here’s our framework: Lower tax rates 20 percent — we raise about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forgo about 1.1 trillion (dollars) in loopholes and deductions. And so what we’re saying is deny those loopholes and deductions to higher- income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Can I translate?

REP. RYAN: — so we can lower tax rates across the board.

Now, here’s why I’m saying this. What we’re saying is here’s a framework —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I hope I’m going to get time to respond to this.

REP. RYAN: We want to work with Congress —

MS. RADDATZ: I — you’ll get time.

REP. RYAN: We want to work with Congress on how best to achieve this. That means successful — look —

MS. RADDATZ: No specifics, yeah.

REP. RYAN: Mitt — what we’re saying is — (laughter) — lower tax rates 20 percent, start with the wealthy, work with Congress to do it —

MS. RADDATZ: And you guarantee this math will add up.

REP. RYAN: Absolutely. Six studies have guaranteed — six studies have verified that this math adds up, but here’s the other point —

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Look —

REP. RYAN: (Inaudible) — one point — (inaudible) —

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Let me translate. Let me have a chance to translate.

REP. RYAN: I’ll come back in a second then, right?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: First of all, I was there when Ronald Reagan tax breaks — I mean, he gave specifics of what he was going to cut, no — number one, in terms of tax expenditures.

Number two, 97 percent of the small businesses of America pay less — make less than $250,000. Let me tell you who some of those other small businesses are: hedge funds that make 6(00 million dollars), $800 million a year. That — that’s what they count as small business because they’re passthrough.

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

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

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

MS. RADDATZ: Is he wrong about that?

REP. RYAN: He is wrong about that. There are — you can —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: How’s that?

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.) It has never been done before.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: It has never been done before.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy.

REP. RYAN: Ronald Reagan — (laughter) — (chuckles) — Republicans and Democrats —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: This is amazing.

REP. RYAN: Republicans and Democrats have worked together on this.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s right.

REP. RYAN: I understand aren’t used to doing bipartisan deals.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: But we told each other what we were going to do. When we did with Reagan, he said —

REP. RYAN: Republicans and Democrats —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — here — here are the things we’re going to cut. This is what he said.

REP. RYAN: We can agree on a framework; let’s work together to fill in the details. That’s exactly —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Fill in the details.

REP. RYAN: That’s how you get things done. You work with Congress —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Seriously ?).

REP. RYAN: Look, let me say it this way. Mitt Romney was governor —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s coming from the Republican Congress working bipartisanly?

REP. RYAN: Mitt — Mitt Romney —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Seven percent rating? Come on.

REP. RYAN: Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, where 87 percent of the legislators he served with were Democrats. He didn’t demonize them. He didn’t demagogue them. He met with those party leaders every week.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.)

REP. RYAN: He reached across the aisle. He didn’t compromise principles.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And you (saw what happened ?).

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (You saw what ?) — if he did such a great job — if he did such a great job in Massachusetts —

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President, what —

REP. RYAN: He balanced the budget four times. He balanced the budget four times without raising taxes.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — why isn’t he even contesting Massachusetts?

REP. RYAN: (Inaudible.)

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Not — just let the taxes expire like they’re supposed to on those millionaires. We don’t — we can’t afford $800 billion going to people making a minimum a million dollars. They do not need it, Martha. Those 120,000 families make $8 million a year. Middle-class people need the help. Why does my friend cut out the tuition tax credit for them? Why does he go out after the child — (inaudible)?

MS. RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Why do they do that?

MS. RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off limits? Home mortgages deductions —

REP. RYAN: Yeah. We’re saying close loopholes on high-interest people–

MS. RADDATZ: Home mortgage deductions —

REP. RYAN: — for higher-income people. Here —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Can you guarantee that no one —

REP. RYAN: This taxes —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage —

REP. RYAN: This —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — their mortgage deduction impacted? Guarantee?

REP. RYAN: This taxes a million small businesses.

He keeps trying to make you think that it’s just some movie star or hedge fund guy or an actor–

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Ninety-seven percent of the small businesses make less than $250,000 a year —

REP. RYAN: Joe —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — would not be affected.

REP. RYAN: — you know, it hits a million — this taxes a million people, a million small businesses —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Doesn’t tax 97 percent of the American businesses — small businesses —

REP. RYAN: It — it taxes a million small businesses, who are our great job creators.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I wish I’d get it — the greatest job creators are the hedge fund guys.

REP. RYAN: (Let’s end ?) —

MS. RADDATZ: And you’re going — and you’re going to increase the defense budget.

REP. RYAN: Think about it this way.

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

REP. RYAN: No, we’re just not going to cut the defense budget like they’re — they’re proposing —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: They’re going to increase it $2 billion — $2 trillion.

REP. RYAN: That’s not accurate. We’re talking about preventing —

MS. RADDATZ: More than that. No — so no massive defense increase?

REP. RYAN: No, we’re saying is, don’t — OK, you want to get into defense now?

MS. RADDATZ: Let — yes, I do. I do —

REP. RYAN: All right. So —

MS. RADDATZ: — because that’s another math question.

REP. RYAN: Right. OK.

MS. RADDATZ: How do you do that?

REP. RYAN: So they proposed a $478 (sic) billion cut to defense to begin with. Now we have another $500 billion cut to defense that’s lurking on the horizon. They insisted upon that cut being involved in the debt negotiations —

MS. RADDATZ: Let —

REP. RYAN: — and now we have a $1 trillion cut —

MS. RADDATZ: Let’s put the automatic defense cuts aside. OK?

REP. RYAN: Right. OK.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I’d like to go back to that.

REP. RYAN: OK.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Two trillion dollars.

REP. RYAN: You don’t cut defense by a trillion dollars. That’s what we’re talking about. The additional trillion —

MS. RADDATZ: And what national security issues justify an increase?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Who’s cutting it by a trillion?

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

MS. RADDATZ: Drawing down in one war —

REP. RYAN: We’re cutting missile defense.

MS. RADDATZ: — and one war — (inaudible ) —

REP. RYAN: If these cuts go through, our Navy will be the small it is — it — the smallest it has been since before World War I. This invites weakness.

Look, do we believe in peace through strength? You bet we do. And that means you don’t impose these devastating cuts on our military. So we’re saying don’t cut the military by a trillion dollars, not increase it by a trillion, don’t cut it by a trillion dollars.

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

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

And let me tell you what my friend said at a press conference announcing his support of the deal. He said — and I’m — we’ve been looking for this moment for a long time. (Inaudible) —

REP. RYAN: Can I tell you what that meant?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Why —

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And so the bipartisanship is what he voted for: the automatic cuts in defense if they didn’t act. And beyond that, they asked for another — look, the military says, we need a smaller, leaner Army. We need more special forces. We need — we don’t need more M1 tanks. What we need is more UADs.

MS. RADDATZ: Some of the military — I know that’s — (inaudible) —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Not some of the military; that was the decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended to us and agreed to by the president. That’s a fact.

MS. RADDATZ: Who answers to the civilian leaders.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: They made the recommendation first.

MS. RADDATZ: OK. Let’s move on to Afghanistan.

REP. RYAN: Can I get into that for a second?

MS. RADDATZ: I’d like to move on to Afghanistan, please.

REP. RYAN: OK.

MS. RADDATZ: And that’s one of the biggest expenditures this country has made, in dollars and, more importantly, in lives. We just passed the sad milestone of losing 2,000 U.S. troops there in this war. More than 50 of them were killed this year by the very Afghan forces we are trying to help. Now, we’ve reached the recruiting goal for Afghan forces. We’ve degraded al-Qaida. So tell me, why not leave now? What more can we really accomplish? Is it worth more American lives?

REP. RYAN: We don’t want to lose the gains we’ve gotten. We want to make sure that the Taliban does not come back in and give al- Qaida a safe haven. We agree with the administration on their 2014 transition. Look, when I think about Afghanistan, I think about the incredible job that our troops have done. You’ve been there more than the two of us combined.

First time I was there in 2002, it was amazing to me what they were facing. When I went to the Arghandab Valley in Kandahar before the surge, I sat down with a young private in the 82nd from the Menominee Indian Reservation who would tell me what he did every day, and I was in awe. And to see what they had in front of them — and then to go back there in December, to go throughout Helmand with the Marines to see what they had accomplished — it’s nothing short of amazing.

What we don’t want to do is lose the gains we’ve gotten.

Now, we’ve disagreed from time to time on a few issues. We would have more likely taken into account the recommendations from our commanders, General Petraeus, Admiral Mullen, on troop levels throughout this year’s fighting season. We’ve been skeptical about negotiations with the Taliban, especially while they’re shooting at us. But we want to see the 2014 transition be successful. And that means we want to make sure our commanders have what they need to make sure that it is successful so that this does not once again become a launching pad for terrorists.

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha, let’s keep our eye on the ball. The reason I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq 20 times — I’ve been up in the Kunar — I’ve been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter and sometimes in a vehicle. The fact is we went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans, al-Qaida. We’ve decimated al-Qaida central. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. That was our purpose. And in fact, in the meantime, what we said we would do, we would help train the Afghan military. It’s their responsibility to take over their own security. That’s why, with 49 of our allies in Afghanistan, we’ve agreed on a gradual drawdown so we’re out of there by the year — in the year 2014.

My friend and the governor say it’s based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. We have trained over 315,000, mostly without incident. There have been more than two dozen cases of green on blue where Americans have been killed.

If we do — if the — if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols, we will not train in the field. We’ll only train in the — in the Army bases that exist there.

But we are leaving. We are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process, we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion. We’ve been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed. Now all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. It’s their responsibility, not America’s.

MS. RADDATZ: What conditions could justify staying, Congressman Ryan?

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

We want to make sure that 2014 is successful. That’s why we want to make sure that we give our commanders what they say they need to make it successful. We don’t want to extend beyond 2014. That’s the point we’re making.

You know, if it was just this, I feel like we would — we would be able to call this a success, but it’s not. What we are witnessing as we turn on our television screens these days, is the absolute unraveling of the Obama foreign policy. Problems are growing at home, but jobs — problems are growing abroad, but jobs aren’t growing here at home.

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

REP. RYAN: Do you know why we say that? Do you know why we say that?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I’d like to know why.

REP. RYAN: Because we don’t want to broadcast to our enemies, put a date on your calendar, wait us out and then come back.

We want to make sure —

MS. RADDATZ: But you agree with the timeline?

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: We will leave in 2014.

REP. RYAN: What we do not want to do is give our allies reason to trust us less and our enemies more — we don’t want to embolden our enemies to hold and wait out for us and then take over the —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha, that’s a bizarre statement.

REP. RYAN: That’s why we want to make sure — no, that’s why we want to make sure that this — that —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s a bizarre statement, since 49 of our allies — hear me, 49 of our allies signed onto this position, 49.

REP. RYAN: And we’re reading that they want to pull out early.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Forty-nine. Forty-nine of our allies said out in 2014. It’s the responsibility of the Afghans. We have other responsibilities —

REP. RYAN: Which is — which is — which is what we agree with.

MS. RADDATZ: Do you — do you think that this timeline — but we have — we have soldiers and Marines —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Theirs are sufficient. ?)

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, look, the Taliban — what we’ve found out — and we — you — you saw it in Iraq, Martha. Unless you set a timeline, Baghdad in the case of Iraq and — and Kabul in the case of Afghanistan will not step up. They’re happy to let us continue to do the job — international security forces to do the job. The only way they step up is say, fellas, we’re leaving; we’ve trained you; step up. Step up.

MS. RADDATZ: But let me — let me go back —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s the only way it works.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: The military reason was bringing — by the way, when the president announced the surge — you’ll remember, Martha — he said, the surge will be out by the end of the summer. The military said, the surge will be out. Nothing political about this. Before the surge occurred — so you be a little straight with me here, too — before the surge occurred, we said, they’ll be out by the end of the summer. That’s what the military said. The reason for that is —

MS. RADDATZ: Military follows orders. They — I mean, there — trust me, there are people —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Sure —

MS. RADDATZ: — who were concerned about pulling out on the fighting season.

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

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

REP. RYAN: Let me bring some — let me try and illustrate the issue here, because I think this — it can get a little confusing. We’ve all met with General Allen and General Scaparotti in Afghanistan to talk about fighting seasons. Here’s the way it works. The mountain passes fill in with snow. The Taliban and the terrorists and the Haqqani and the Quetta shura come over from Pakistan to fight our men and women. When it fills in with snow, they can’t do it. That’s what we call fighting seasons. In the warm months fighting gets really high; in the winter it goes down.

And so when Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus came to Congress and said, if you pull these people out before the fighting season is end, it puts people more at risk — that’s the problem. Yes, we drew 22,000 troops down last month. But the remaining troops that are there, who still have the same mission to prosecute, counterinsurgency, are doing it with fewer people.

That makes them less safe.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Inaudible.)

REP. RYAN: We’re sending fewer people out in all these hot spots to do the same job that they were supposed to do a month ago —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Because we turned it over —

REP. RYAN: — but we took 22,000 people out for them to do it.

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

REP. RYAN: The calendar works the same every year. (Chuckles.)

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: It does work the same every year. (Inaudible) — there —

REP. RYAN: (Chuckles.) Spring, summer, fall — (chuckles) — it’s warm or it’s not. They’re still fighting us, they’re still coming over the passes, they’ll — they’re still coming in to Zabul or to Kunar, to all of these areas, but we are sending fewer people to the front to fight them. And that is not safe.

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

REP. RYAN: Not in the East.

MS. RADDATZ: Let’s move — let’s move to another war.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Not in the East? (Inaudible) —

REP. RYAN: (Inaudible) — East, RC-East —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: RC-East, most dangerous place in the world.

REP. RYAN: That’s why — that’s why we don’t want to send fewer people to do the job.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s — that’s why we should send Americans in to do the job instead of the — you’d rather Americans be going in and doing the job instead of — (inaudible) —

REP. RYAN: No. We are already sending Americans to do the job —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No —

REP. RYAN: — but fewer of them. That’s the whole point.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That — that’s right. We’re sending in more Afghans to do the job, Afghans to do the job.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: It’s a different country. It’s a different country. It is five times as large geographically. It has one-fifth the population that is Libya, one-fifth the population, five times as large geographically.

It’s in a part of the world where you’re not going to see whatever would come from that war. It’s (seep ?) into a regional war. You’re in a country that is heavily populated in the midst of the most dangerous area in the world. And in fact, if, in fact, it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it’s going to have impact on the entire region, causing potentially regional wars.

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

And all this loose talk of my friend, Governor Romney, and the congressman about how we’re going to do, we could do so much more in there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground? The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East requiring tens of thousands if not well over a hundred thousand American forces. That — they are the facts. They are the facts.

Now, every time the governor is asked about this, he doesn’t say any — he say — he goes up with a whole lot of verbiage, but when he gets pressed, he says, no, he would not do anything different then we are doing now. Are they proposing putting American troops on the ground, putting American aircraft in their airspace? Is that what they’re proposing? If they do, they should speak up and say so. But that’s not what they’re saying.

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

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

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

Now let me say it this way. How would we do things differently? We wouldn’t refer Bashar Assad as a reformer when he’s killing his own civilians with his Russian-provided weapons. We wouldn’t be outsourcing our foreign policy to the United Nations, giving Vladimir Putin veto power over our efforts to try and deal with this issue. He’s vetoed three of them. Hillary Clinton went to Russia to try and convince him not to do so; they thwarted her efforts. She said they were on the wrong side of history. She was right about that. This is just one more example of how the Russia reset’s not working.

And so where are we? After international pressure mounted, then President Obama said Bashar Assad should go. It’s been over a year. The man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people and more foreign fighters are spilling into this country. So the longer this has gone on, the more people — groups like al-Qaida are going in. We could have more easily identified the Free Syrian Army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, had we had a better plan in place to begin with, working through our allies. But no, we waited for Kofi Annan to try and come up with an agreement through the U.N. That bought Bashar Assad time. We gave Russia veto power over our efforts through the U.N. and meanwhile about 30,000 Syrians are dead.

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

REP. RYAN: No, I would — I — we would not be going through the U.N. on all of these things —

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

That is under way. Our allies were all on the same page, NATO as well as our Arab allies, in terms of trying to get a settlement. That was their idea. We’re the ones that said, enough.

With regard to the reset not working, the fact of the matter is that Russia has a different interest in Syria than we do, and that’s not in our interest.

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

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

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

REP. RYAN: Well, we agree with the same red line, actually, they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. They’re right about that. But what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in Syria. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer, and we should not have — we should not have waited to Russia to give us the green light —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: We didn’t call Assad —

MS. RADDATZ: What’s your criteria for —

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Russia —

REP. RYAN: They’re — they’re still arming the man. Iran is flying flights over Iraq —

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And the opposition is being armed —

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

MS. RADDATZ: Let me ask you quickly, what’s your criteria for intervention?

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I don’t — yeah.

REP. RYAN: In Syria?

MS. RADDATZ: Worldwide.

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

MS. RADDATZ: How about humanitarian interests?

REP. RYAN: What is in the national security of the American people — it’s got to be in the strategic national interests of our country.

MS. RADDATZ: No humanitarian?

REP. RYAN: Each situation will — will come up with its own set of circumstances. But putting American troops on the ground, that’s got to be within the national security interests of the American people.

MS. RADDATZ: I want to — we’re almost out of time here.

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

MS. RADDATZ: I want to move on, and I want to return home for these last few questions. This debate is indeed historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this, and I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And please, this is such an emotional issue for so many —

REP. RYAN: Sure.

MS. RADDATZ: — people in this country. Please talk personally about this if you could. Congressman Ryan.

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

Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course, but it’s also because of reason and science. You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born for our seven-week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. Our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child, Liza, “Bean.” (Chuckles.)

Now, I believe that life begins at conception.

That’s why — those are the reasons why I’m pro-life.

Now, I understand this is a difficult issue. And I respect people who don’t agree with me on this. But the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through “Obamacare” with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals. Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious — religious liberties.

And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they want it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding, taxpayer funding in “Obamacare,” taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized or wouldn’t second- guess their one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That, to me, is pretty extreme.

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.

With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide (doctrine ?). Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.

I — I do not believe that — that we have a right to tell other people that women, they — they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court — I’m not going to interfere with that.

With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy — any hospital — none has to either refer contraception. None has to pay for contraception. None has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.

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

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

REP. RYAN: All I’m saying is if you believe that life begins at conception, that therefore doesn’t change the definition of life. That’s a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. Now, I’ve got to take issue with the Catholic Church and religious liberty.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: You have, on the issue of Catholic social doctrine, taken issue.

REP. RYAN: If they — if they agree with you, then why would they keep — why would they keep suing you? It’s a distinction without a difference.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Chuckles.)

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

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: The court — the next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees. That’s how close Roe v. Wade is.

Just ask yourself: With Robert Bork being the chief adviser on the court for — for Mr. Romney, who do you think he’s likely to appoint? Do you think he’s likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court, far right, that would outlaw Planned — excuse me — outlaw abortion? I suspect that would happen.

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

REP. RYAN: Was there a litmus test on them?

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

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

It’s certainly known — you’ve said it here tonight — that the two of you respect our troops enormously. Your son has served, and perhaps someday your children will serve as well.

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

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

Vice President Biden.

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

That’s the only sacred obligation we have. Everything else falls behind that.

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

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

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

I would ask him to take a look at whether the president of the United States has acted wisely in the use of force and whether or not the slipshod comments being made by my — my friend or by Governor Romney serve — serve our interests very well. But there are things that have been said in campaigns that I — I find not very appealing.

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

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

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

And then I would say, you have a president who ran for president four years ago promising hope and change who has now turned his campaign into attack, blame and defame. You see, if you don’t have a good record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone to run from. That was what President Obama said in 2008. It’s what he’s doing right now.

Look at all the string of broken promises. If you like your health care plan you can keep it — try telling that to the 20 million people who are projected to lose their health insurance if “Obamacare” goes through or the seven point million — 7.4 million seniors who are going to lose it.

Or remember when he said this: I guarantee if you make less than $250,000, your taxes won’t go up. Of the 21 tax increases in “Obamacare,” 12 of them hit the middle class.

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

Or remember when he said, I promise by the end of my first term, I’ll cut the deficit in half in four years? We’ve had four budgets, four trillion-dollar deficits. A debt crisis is coming. We can’t keep spending and borrowing like this. We can’t just keep spending money we don’t have.

Leaders run to problems to fix problems. President Obama has not even put a credible plan on the table in any — any of his four years to deal with this debt crisis. I passed two budgets to deal with this. Mitt Romney’s put ideas on the table. We’ve got to tackle this debt crisis before it tackles us.

The president likes to say he has a plan. He gave a speech. We asked his budget office, can we see the plan? They sent us to this press secretary. He gave us a copy of the speech. We asked the Congressional Budget Office, tell us what President Obama’s plan is to prevent a debt crisis. They said, it’s a speech; we can’t estimate speeches. You see? That’s what we get in this administration: speeches. But we’re not getting leadership.

Mitt Romney is uniquely qualified to fix these problems. His lifetime of experience, his proven track record of bipartisanship — and what do we have from the president? He broke his big promise to bring people together to solve the country’s biggest problems. And what I would tell him is we don’t have to settle for this.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (Inaudible.)

MS. RADDATZ: I — I —

REP. RYAN: We can do better than this.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I hope I’ll get equal time.

MS. RADDATZ: I — you will get just a few minutes here, a few seconds, really.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: The two budgets the congressman introduced have eviscerated all the things that the middle class cares about. It has knocked 19 — it will knock 19 million people off of Medicare. It will kick 200,000 children off of early education. It will eliminate the tax credit people have to be able to send their children to college. It cuts education by $450 billion. It — it — it does — it does virtually nothing, except continue to increase the tax cuts for the very wealthy.

And, you know, we’ve had enough of this. My — the idea that these — so concerned about these deficits, I pointed out, he voted to put two wars on a credit card. He did —

MS. RADDATZ: We’re — we’re going to —

REP. RYAN: He voted —

MS. RADDATZ: We’re going to the closing statements in a minute.

REP. RYAN: But let me — just a second —

MS. RADDATZ: I — you’re going to have your closing —

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: We have not raised —

REP. RYAN: — we increased spending by 3 percent a year instead of 4 1/2 percent like they proposed.

MS. RADDATZ: Let me — let me calm down things here —

REP. RYAN: So not spending more money as much as they say is not a spending cut.

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

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

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

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, he gets 40, I get 15, but that’s OK. That’s all right.

MS. RADDATZ: He didn’t have 40. He didn’t have 40.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Now, let me tell you, I — my — my record stands for itself. I never say anything I don’t mean. Everybody knows whatever I say, I do. And my whole life has been devoted to leveling the playing field for middle-class people, giving them an even break, treating Main Street and Wall Street the same, holding the same responsibility. Look at my record. It’s been all about the middle class. They’re the people who grow this country. We think you grow this country from the middle out, not from the top down.

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

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

And — and in the process, we — in case you haven’t noticed, we have strong disagreements. But I — you probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the — the American people. My friend says that 30 percent of the American people are takers. They — Romney points out, 47 percent of the people won’t take responsibility. He’s talking about my mother and father. And he’s talking about the places I grew up in, my neighbors in Scranton and Claymont.

He’s talking about — he’s talking about the people that have built this country. All they’re looking for, Martha — all they’re looking for is an even shot. When they’ve been given the shot, they’ve done it. They’ve done it. Whenever you level the playing field, they’ve been able to move.

And they want a little bit of peace of mind. And the president and I are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled, they in fact have a clear shot and they have peace of mind, until they can turn to their kid and say with a degree of confidence, honey, it’s going to be OK. It’s going to be OK. That’s what this is all about.

MS. RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

REP. RYAN: I want to thank you as well, Martha, Danville, Kentucky, Centre College.

And I want to thank you, Joe. It’s been an honor to engage in this critical debate.

We face a very big choice. What kind of country are we going to be? What kind of country are we going to give our kids? President Obama — he had his chance. He made his choices. His economic agenda, more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care — it’s not working. It’s failed to create the jobs we need. Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work today. Fifteen percent of Americans are in poverty.

This is not what a real recovery looks like. You deserve better. Mitt Romney and I want to earn your support. We’re offering real reforms for a real recovery for every American. Mitt Romney, his experience, his ideas, his solutions, is uniquely qualified to get this job done. At a time when we have a jobs crisis in America, wouldn’t it be nice to have a job creator in the White House?

The choice is clear: a stagnant economy that promotes more government dependency, or a dynamic, growing economy that promotes opportunity and jobs. Mitt Romney and I will not duck the tough issues.

We will take responsibility. And we will not try to replace our founding principles; we will reapply our founding principles. The choice is clear, and the choice rests with you, and we ask you for your vote. Thank you.

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

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you.

MS. RADDATZ: This concludes the vice presidential debate. Please tune in next Tuesday for the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York.

I’m Martha Raddatz of ABC News. I do hope all of you go to the polls. Have a good evening. (Applause.)

END

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