Transcript via New York Times. Here are the opening statements:
BOB 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’s on foreign policy. I’m Bob Schieffer of CBS News. The questions are mine, and I have not shared them with the candidates or their aides.
The audience has taken a vow of silence — no applause, no reaction of any kind except right now when we welcome President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. They have asked me to divide the evening into segments. I’ll pose a question at the beginning of each segment. You will each have two minutes to respond, and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment.
Tonight’s debate, as both of your know, comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that President Kennedy told the world that the Soviet Union had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba — perhaps the closest we’ve ever come to nuclear war. And it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad. So let’s begin.
The first segment is the challenge of a changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism. I’m going to put this into two segments, so you’ll have two topic questions within this one segment on that subject. The first question, and it concerns Libya, the controversy over what happened there continues. Four Americans are dead, including an American ambassador. Questions remain. What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous?
Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened?
Governor Romney, you said this was an example of an American policy in the Middle East that is unraveling before our very eyes. I’d like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that.
Governor Romney, you won the toss. You go first.
MITT ROMNEY: Thank you, Bob, and thank you for agreeing to moderate this debate this evening. Thank you to Lynn University for welcoming us here, and Mr. President, it’s good to be with you again. We were together at a humorous event a little earlier, and it’s nice to maybe be funny this time not on purpose. We’ll see what happens. (Laughter.)
This is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world and to America in particular, which is to see a — a complete change in the — the — the structure and the — the environment in the Middle East. With the Arab Spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation and opportunity for greater participation on the part of women and — and public life and in economic life in the Middle East. But instead we’ve seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events. Of course, we see in Syria 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. We see in — in — in Libya an attack apparently by — well, I think we know now by terrorists of some kind against — against our people there, four people dead. Our hearts and minds go to them. Mali has been taken over, the northern part of Mali, by al-Qaida-type individuals. We have in — in Egypt a Muslim Brotherhood president.
And so what we’re seeing is a — a — a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region. Of course, the greatest threat of all is Iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. And — and we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on — on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaida. But we can’t kill our way out of this mess. We’re — we’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the — the world of Islam and — and other parts of the world reject this radical violent extremism which is — it’s really not on the run. It’s certainly not hiding. This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries, and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, to the world, to America long term, and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help reject this kind of extremism.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, my first job as commander in chief, Bob, is to keep the American people safe, and that’s what we’ve done over the last four years. We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence, al-Qaida’s core leadership has been decimated.
In addition, we’re now able to transition out of Afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that Afghans take responsibility for their own security, and that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats. Now, with respect to Libya, as I indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, I immediately made sure that, number one, we did everything we could to secure those Americans who were still in harm’s way; number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened; and number three, most importantly, that we would go after those who killed Americans, and we would bring them to justice, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
But I think it’s important to step back and think about what happened in Libya. Now, keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to — without putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq — liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years, got rid of a despot who had killed Americans.
And as a consequence, despite this tragedy, you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying, America’s our friend. We stand with them. Now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. And you know, Governor Romney, I’m glad that you agree that we have been successful in going after al-Qaida, but I have to tell you that, you know, your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed to keep Americans safe or to build on the opportunities that exist in the Middle East.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Video via New York Times:
Washington Post has provided a full transcript. Here is a portion:
MODERATOR CANDY CROWLEY: … 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.
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.
QUESTION: 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. What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?
Click on the above links to watch and read the answers, as well as the rest of the debate.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Speaking to a crowd of 2,000 at a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, former President Bill Clinton used his folksy orator skills to recharge the Democratic base and poke fun at Romney’s habitual flip-flopping. He pointed out that the views Romney expressed at the debate were much more centered than the far-right campaign he’s been pushing over the last year.
“I had a different reaction to that first debate than a lot of people did,” Clinton told nearly 2,000 supporters at a campaign rally for Obama and other Democrats. “I thought, ‘Wow, here’s old moderate Mitt. Where ya been, boy?'”
“It was like one of these Bain Capital deals, you know, where he’s the closer. So he shows up, doesn’t really know much about the deal and says, ‘Tell me what I’m supposed to say to close.’ The problem with this deal is the deal was made by severe conservative Mitt,” alluding to Romney’s description of himself in February as having been a “severely conservative” governor in Massachusetts.
The crowd fed right into Clinton’s funny attacks. Clinton also impersonated Romney, saying:
“I don’t have that tax plan I had for the last two years. Are you going to believe me or your lyin’ eyes here?”
Take a look– this is an effective body punch that is going to further hurt Mitt Romney.
Sidenote: Nate Silver of 538 has an interesting read today in the NYT with great interactive polling chart graphics; the latest shows Obama with a solid 316 electoral college votes to Romney’s 222. Some snippets:
Accounting for all of the data, including the Rasmussen Reports poll, the FiveThirtyEight forecast showed Mr. Obama making gains. His probability of winning the Electoral College is now listed at 81.9 percent, his highest figure of the year and up from 79.7 percent on Tuesday.
Another Bad Day for Romney! Dems Ask Feds Look into Bain Ethics Filings, 1985 Romney Clip Emerges: “Bain to ‘Harvest’ Companies for Profit”
More from Mother Jones, who released the clip:
At Bain, Romney’s top priority wasn’t to boost employment. As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, creating jobs “wasn’t the aim of Bain or other private-equity firms, which measure success by returns produced for investors.” And, the newspaper reported, Romney’s 100,000-jobs claim is tough to evaluate.
Mother Jones has obtained a video from 1985 in which Romney, describing Bain’s formation, showed how he viewed the firm’s mission. He explained that its goal was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then “harvest them at a significant profit” within five to eight years.
The video was included in a CD-ROM created in 1998 to mark the 25th anniversary of Bain & Company, the consulting firm that gave birth to Bain Capital.
Here is the letter filed with the Justice Department:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
New 2 minute address/ ad this morning from the Obama campaign, laying out specific plans for the future. It is set to air in the swing states of New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado.
A link to the plans laid out by the President and comparisons to those of his opponent, Mitt Romney.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
No words. When the transcripts are made available, they will be shared as well. Full credit and grateful thanks to Mother Jones.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
New ad and it is devastating:
“We asked Americans what they thought about what he said to his donors,” reads text on screen at the top of the video.
Video of Romney saying that 47 percent of the electorate believes “that they are victims” and will vote for Obama “no matter what,” is played for several individuals. After reviewing the remarks, each offers a negative assessment.
“I actually felt sick to my stomach,” said one woman. Another said: “It shows that he is out of touch if he thinks that half of the country is feeling like victims.”
The original clip, released by Mother Jones, was actually slowly released over the course of months; here is the full Romney clip that the Obama camp utilized for context of Mitt’s statements last May:
After that was released, the Romney campaign quickly arranged nothing short of a train wreck of a late night press conference for damage control. It hasn’t worked, even slightly.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“Mitt Romney tough on China? Romney’s companies were called pioneers in shipping U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas.
He invested in firms that specialized in relocating jobs to low wadge countries like China.
Even today part of Romney’s fortune is invested in China.
Romney’s never stood up to China. All he’s done is send them our jobs.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Right-Wing USA Extremists Create Inflammatory Anti-Muslim Clip > Tensions Rise in Middle East> U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, Other Staff Killed in Benghazi Embassy Attack> GOP Politicizes Situation Immediately
UPDATED: It is now being reported that troops are on their way to Libya. Hearing numbers from 50 to now 200 troops, via MSNBC.
When 1 person sets dominoes into motion, they can ALL fall. And right now, we are seeing that play out with horrific results on the world stage.
It all started with Pastor Terry Jones in Florida, long known as being one of America’s most inflammatory figures, and a California film-maker. They got it into their heads to make a lil film viciously slamming Islam– and a YouTube clip of the project went wild via the Internet, on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, despite an earlier pledge of silence on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, on Tuesday night issued the following statement:
“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
Not to be left out, RNC Chair Reince Priebus weighed in on Twitter:
Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt.Sad and pathetic.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) September 12, 2012
Wow. That both the RNC and their presidential candidate are so willing to expose their own ignorance in both foreign policy issues as complicated as the nuanced layers of diplomacy, is staggering and clearly illustrate that neither is prepared to lead on an international level. Romney is being widely panned for his eagerness to speak out so quickly.
Watch this clip, for a solid overview of the resulting violence (via CNN):
Overnight it was learned that among those killed in the Benghazi U.S. Embassy attack was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens:
U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed when Libyan militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi Tuesday night. Stevens, 52, died as 20 gun-wielding attackers descended on the U.S. consulate, firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, Libya’s Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif told a news conference in Benghazi.
The militants burned down at least one building in the attack. It’s not clear whether Stevens was killed by smoke inhalation or was in a car, which may have been hit by a mortar, as he tried to escape. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith died from smoke inhalation during the attack. Two more Americans, possibly guards who were trying to get Stevens out of the area, were also killed.
It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the death of four American personnel in Benghazi, Libya, yesterday. Among them were United States Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals. Our hearts go out to all their families and colleagues.
A 21-year veteran of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Stevens died last night from injuries he sustained in the attack on our office in Benghazi.
I had the privilege of swearing in Chris for his post in Libya only a few months ago. He spoke eloquently about his passion for service, for diplomacy and for the Libyan people. This assignment was only the latest in his more than two decades of dedication to advancing closer ties with the people of the Middle East and North Africa, which began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As the conflict in Libya unfolded, Chris was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi. He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation. He spent every day since helping to finish the work that he started. Chris was committed to advancing America’s values and interests, even when that meant putting himself in danger.
Sean Smith was a husband and a father of two, who joined the Department ten years ago. Like Chris, Sean was one of our best. Prior to arriving in Benghazi, he served in Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal and most recently The Hague.
All the Americans we lost in yesterday’s attacks made the ultimate sacrifice. We condemn this vicious and violent attack that took their lives, which they had committed to helping the Libyan people reach for a better future.
America’s diplomats and development experts stand on the front lines every day for our country. We are honored by the service of each and every one of them.
It is now being reported on MSNBC that Mitt Romney has issued yet another statement this morning, standing by his earlier statement. He is speaking live at a campaign stop in Jacksonville and doubling down on his attacks upon both President Obama and reinforcing his previous stance. Some of his remarks:
It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values. The White House distanced itself last night from the statement saying it wasn’t cleared by Washington. That reflects the mixed signals they are sending to the world. The attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is still sorely needed.
The White House has issued the following statement from the President; he will be addressing the nation at 10:35 this morning:
Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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