Republican Candidates Debate in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Representative Michele Bachmann (MN);
Herman Cain (GA);
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (GA);
Former Governor Jon Huntsman (UT);
Representative Ron Paul (TX);
Governor Rick Perry (TX);
Former Governor Mitt Romney (MA); and
Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA)
Major Garrett (National Journal);
Scott Pelley (CBS News)
PELLEY: Good evening from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I'm Scott Pelley with CBS News along with my colleague Major Garrett of National Journal. In just under a year now, Americans will go to the polls to choose a president. Tonight, CBS News and National Journal are pleased to bring you a discussion of the issues by the Republican candidates for their party's nomination.
The focus will be foreign policy and national security, the president's role as commander in chief. Consider this, the 9/11 attacks came in the eighth month of a new presidency, the Bay of Pigs in the 13th week, and the Civil War on the 40th day of a new presidency. Reminders from history that a president must be prepared to deal with a crisis from day one.
The ground rules for tonight's debate are simple. A candidate who is asked a question will have one minute to respond and then at a discretion of the moderators, there can be a 30-second follow-up or a 30-second rebuttle from another candidate. The debate will run a total of 90 minutes. The first hour will be broadcast right here on the CBS television network, the entire 90 minutes will be streamed on CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com. And we invite you to submit questions during the debate to either w-- website. Joining me now in asking the questions, Major Garrett.
GARRETT: Scott, thank you very much. One more piece of housekeeping. Let's introduce the candidates. Former Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman. Representing the 6th District of Minnesota, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Representing the 14th District of Texas, Congressman Ron Paul.
From Atlanta, Georgia, businessman Herman Cain. Former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. Former House speaker, Newt Gingrich. Current Texas governor, Rick Perry. [cheering] And former Pennsylvania senator, Rick Santorum. Mr. Cain, I'd like to begin this evening with you, sir.
GARRETT: This week, a U.N. nuclear watchdog agency provided additional credible evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. If you were president right now, what would you do specifically that this administration is not doing to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?
CAIN: The first thing that I would do is to assist the opposition movement in Iran, that's tryin' to overthrow the regime. Our enemies are not the people of Iran, it's the regime. And a regime change is what they are trying to achieve. Secondly, we need to put economic pressure on Iran, by way of our own energy independence strategy. By having our own energy independence strategy, we will impact the price of oil in the world markets, because Iran uses oil not only as a-- means of currency, but they use it as a weapon.
One of the reasons that they are able to afford that nuclear weapons program, is because of oil. Secondly, we would then work to increase sanctions on Iran, along with our friends and our allies. So whereas we will not be-- so that's why I do believe that they have a nuclear weapons program and they are closer to having nuclear weapon, stopping them-- the only we can stop them is through economic means.
GARRETT: A quick follow up, Mr. Cain. You say assisting the opposition, would you entertain military assistance and opposition?
CAIN: I would not entertain-- military opposition. I'm talkin' about to help the opposition movement within the country. And then there's one other thing that we could do. We could deploy our ballistic missile defense capable warships strategically in that part of the world. We have the biggest fleet of those warships in the world. And we could use them strategically in the event that they were able to fire a ballistic missile.
PELLEY: Governor Romney, would it be worth goin' to war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?
ROMNEY: Well, let's-- let's start back from there and let's talk about where we are. This is, of course, President Obama's greatest failing, from a foreign policy standpoint, which is he recognized the gravest threat that America and the world faces-- and faced was a nuclear Iran and he did not do what was necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took the streets and say, "America is with you." And work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents.
Number two, he should have put-- put in place crippling sanctions against Iran. But instead of getting Russia, for instance, to-- what-- what he gave in our-- our missile defense system to agree to-- to stand with those crippling sanctions, he gave Russia what they wanted, their number one foreign policy objective, and got nothing in return.
PELLEY: Governor, on the question. We're gonna adherer to time, very quickly. But let me--
ROMNEY: I get 60 seconds.
PELLEY: Yes, sir, and that was--
ROMNEY: That was 30.
PELLEY: The-- the 60--
ROMNEY: Sorry, it started at yellow, so I-- I have much more time to go.
PELLEY: You-- you know what, Governor? I stand corrected. You are right. Please continue.
ROMNEY: Fin-- finally, the president should have built credible-- threat of military action, and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know-- and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you'd like me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon.
PELLEY: But sir, let me-- you just described where we are today, and that's what you're going to have to deal with if you become president. How do you prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon? Is it worth going to war to prevent that?
ROMNEY: Well, it's worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It's worth working with the insurgents in the company to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we've done, there's nothing else we can do beside mil-- take military action, then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. This term "unacceptable" has been applied by several presidents over history, and our current president has made it very clear that he's not willing to do those things necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. I will take a different course. I will make sure that the sanctions, diplomatic pressure, economic pressure, and support of insurgents within the country help them become dissuaded to get away from their nuclear ambition. And finally--
PELLEY: This time, it is time.
ROMNEY: Yeah, and finally, have to-- have to have military presence there.
PELLEY: --30 seconds, though, on the follow ups. We're gonna try to adhere to the time.
GARRETT: Mr. Speaker, is this the right way to look at this question, war or not war? Or do you see other options, diplomatically, or other non-war means that the United States has in its possession to deal with Iran that it has not employed?
GINGRICH: Well, let me start and say that both the answers you just got are superior to the current administration. And-- you know, there are a number of ways to be smart about-- Iran and relatively few ways to be dumb. And the administration skipped all the ways to be smart.
GARRETT: Could you tell us the smart ways, Mr. Speaker?
GINGRICH: Sure. First of all, as maximum covert operations-- to block and disrupt the Iranian program-- in-- including-- taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems. All of it covertly, all of it deniable. Second, [laughing] maximum-- maximum coordination with the Israelis-- in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in Iran. Third, absolute strategic program comparable to what President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher did in the Soviet Union, of every possible aspect short of war of breaking the regime and bringing it down. And I agree entirely with Governor Romney, if in the end, despite all of those things-- the dictatorship persists, you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon.
PELLEY: Congressman Paul, let me follow up with you for just 30 seconds. Is it worth going to war to prevent a nuclear weapon in Iran?
PAUL: No, it isn't worthwhile. The only way you would do that is-- you would have to go through Congress. We-- we as commander in chief aren't making the decision to go to war. You know, the old-fashioned way, the Constitution, you go to the Congress and find out if our national security is threatened. And-- I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq.
And, you know, they didn't have nuc-- weapons of mass destruction. And it was orchestrated and it was-- to me, a tragedy of what's happened these past-- last ten years, the death and destruction, $4 billion-- $4 trillion in debt. So no, it's not worthwhile goin' to war. If you do, you get a declaration of war and you fight it and you win it and get it over with.
PELLEY: Thank you, Congressman. Governor Perry, what's your appraisal of the combat situation on the ground in Afghanistan today and what would you change?
PERRY: Let me answer-- the previous question very quickly for-- if I-- if I may.
PELLEY: Governor, I'd like to move on, could you give us a sense of your --of your appraisal of the combat situation?
PERRY: --I have a minute. And I can do both in one minute, I'll promise you.
PELLEY: There-- there you go.
PERRY: And the issue that has not been raised is that this country can sanction the Iranian Central Bank right now and shut down that country's economy. And that's what this president needs to do and the American people need to stand up and force him to make that stand today. Now let me address this issue of Afghanistan and how we deal with it. The mission must be completed there. The idea that we will have wasted our treasure and the lives of young Americans to not secure Afghanistan is not appropriate.
But the idea that we would give a timetable to our enemy is irresponsible from a military standpoint, it's irresponsible from the lives of our young men and women. And it is irresponsible leadership of this president to give a timetable to pull out of any country that we're in conflict with.
PELLEY: But Governor, if I can just follow up for 30 seconds. The question was, "What's your appraisal of the combat situation on the ground there, and what would you change as commander in chief?"
PERRY: Well, obviously, we're discussing with our commanders on the field-- about what's going on in-- Afghanistan. I think we're makin' progress there. The issue is training up the Afghan security forces so that we're comfortable that they can-- protect that citizenry and continue to take the war to the terrorists that are using Afghanistan and Pakistan, I might add. It is a very complex part of the world. But I think that our military is doin' the best job that they can-- considering-- the lack of support that they're getting from this administration-- telegraphing to the enemy when we're gonna pull out.
GARRETT: Senator Santorum, I know you want to jump in on Iran. I'll give you that opportunity in just a second. So let me merge two things if I could, just one second. The Taliban said earlier this summer quote, "The Afghans have an endless stamina for a long war." If you were commander in chief, would you have endless stamina for victory in Afghanistan? And would you, this evening, define victory in Afghanistan for the American people? And please weigh in, I know you do want to, on Iran.
SANTORUM: Thank you very much, Major, I appreciate that. Victory against-- the Taliban in Afghanistan is the-- Taliban is a neutered force. They are no longer a security threat-- to the-- to the-- Afghan people or to-- to our country. That would be victory. It doesn't mean wipe them out, we can't wipe them out, but they're no longer a security threat.
The bigger issue-- and I know there's those of us at the end, who don't get a lot of questions. And so I-- I-- this was the-- this is the most important national security issue that we're gonna be dealin' with here in this-- in this year. And that's the issue of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. I think everyone should have the opportunity to answer that question. Particularly me. I've been working on Iran since back in 2004. And I proposed exactly the things that Herman and-- and Mitt Romney suggested, which was to give money to the-- to the-- to the rebel forces there to-- to help the pro-democracy movement and to put tough sanctions in place.
I was opposed by President Bush. And yet, we were able to overcome that and pass the Iran Freedom and Support Act. I was able to get that done. And then President Bush didn't provide money for the pro-democracy movement. And President Obama cut that money. What we-- we have a situation that's different. I disagree with Newt. [inaudible]...more sanctions and-- and-- and providing, you know, more support for the pro-democracy movement isn't gonna be enough, in time. Read the I.A.E.A. report.
PELLEY: Senator, I'm sorry.
SANTORUM: They are... [inaudible].
PELLEY: That's time. I'm sorry. We're gonna try to adhere to time and be fair to everyone in the-- application of that rule.
SANTORUM: I understand. Just let me finish my final comment. My final comment is we should be working with Israel right now to do what they did in Syria, what they did in Iraq, which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we hear in Iran is a nuclear one and then the world changes.
PELLEY: That is time. Thank you. Representative Bachmann, do you think the 30,000 surge troops in Afghanistan have made a difference, and if so, where?
BACHMANN: They absolutely have, but it's unfortunate, the request was made for 40,000 troops. President Obama dithered for approximately two months, when he should have given the full complement of 40,000 troops. When he gave 30,000 troops to the effort in Afghanistan, that meant that a decision had to be made. With 40,000 troops, they could have conducted the war going into the southern province in-- in Helmand and also going into the eastern province and dealing with the problem all at once and coming to victory that much sooner and bringing our troops home.
When 30,000 troops were given, then our troops did the very best that they could by going into the south and dealing in the Helmand Province. We actually have seen improvement down by Kandahar. That's a very good thing. And that's because of the brave actions by our men and women in that area. However, we have to recognize, now President Obama has made a very fatal decision in Afghanistan. He's made the decision that by next September, our troops will be withdrawn. If that is the case, how do we expect any of our allies to continue to work to-- with us? How can we even begin to seek the peace with the Hikani Network that are in the eastern regions. It's--
Various: Thank you. Thank you.
PELLEY: Thank you, Congress-- Congresswoman Bach-- Bachmann, thank you very much. Let me come over to you, Governor Huntsman. And-- and ask you, we are seeing spikes in casualties in Afghanistan, in new places. Can you explain to me what's happening there and how you would change that as commander in chief?
HUNTSMAN: Well, I think the-- spikes obviously are driven by-- lack of security, proper security, in certain parts of the country, which could plague us for a very, very long time to come. I take a different approach on Afghanistan. I say it's time to come home. I say this-- I say this nation has achieved its key objectives in Afghanistan. We've had free elections in 2004. We've uprooted the Taliban. We've dismantled Al Qaeda. We have killed Osama bin Laden. I say this nation's future is not Afghanistan. This nation's future is not Iraq. This nation's future is how prepared we are to meet the 21st Century competitive challenges. That's economic and that's education. And that's gonna play out over the Asia-Pacific region. And we're either prepared for that reality or we're not. I don't want to be nation building in Afghanistan when this nation so desperately needs to be built.
PELLEY: Make sure I understand. Bring all the troops home today?
HUNTSMAN: Here's what I would keep behind, because we still have work to do. We don't need 100,000 troops nation building, many of whom can't cross the wire. I think we need a component that gathers tactical intelligence. We need enhanced special forces, response capability for rapid response. And we need some ongoing commitment to train the local Afghan National Army. That's not 100,000 troops. That's well south of that. We are fighting an asymmetric threat, a counterterror threat. Not only there, but in Waziristan and every other corner of the world. And we need to prepare for that as a reality of our 21st Century foreign policy.
PELLEY: And that's time. Thank you, sir.
GARRETT: Governor Romney, a much smaller footprint in Afghanistan? Do you support that? And secondarily, sir, is it time or would it ever be time for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban?
ROMNEY: We don't negotiate with terrorists. I do not negotiate with the Taliban. That's something for the Afghans to decide how they're gonna-- pursue their course in the future. With regards to our footprint in Afghanistan, the right course is for us to do our very best to secure the victories that have been so hard won by the soldiers, the men and women of-- of our-- fighting forces who have been in Afghanistan.
The commanders on the field feel that we can take out 30,000 to 40,000 troops sometime by the end of next year. The commander in chief, perhaps looking at the calendar of the election, decided to bring them home in September, instead, in the middle of the fighting season. Our commanders said that puts our troops at risk, at danger, "Please don't pull 'em out there," they said.
But he said, "No, I'm gonna get 'em out early." I think that was a mistake. Our surge troops should have been withdrawn by December of next year, not by December. And the timetable, by the end of 2014, is the right timetable for us to be completely withdrawn from Afghanistan, other than a small footprint of support forces.
PELLEY: Mr. Speaker, how do you achieve peace in Afghanistan if you don't negotiate with the Taliban?
GINGRICH: I don't think you do.
PELLEY: Would you agree that the Taliban--
GINGRICH: Look, I-- I think this is so much bigger and deeper a problem than we've talked about as a country that we-- we don't have a clue how hard this is gonna be. First of all, the Taliban survives for the ex-- the very same reason that historically we said guerillas always survive, which is they have a sanctuary. The sanctuary's Pakistan. You're never gonna stop the Taliban as long as they can sort of hide. And you-- and you have proof every week in new bombings and new killings and new training. So I think this has to be a much larger strategic discussion that starts with, frankly, Pakistan on the one end and Iran on the other, because I-- Afghanistan is in between the two countries and is the least important of the three countries.
GARRETT: Related to that, Mr. Cain, I'd like to pick up on a point that Speaker Gingrich just made. You have said about foreign policy, "America needs to be clear about who its friends are and who its foes are." So this evening, sir, Pakistan, friend or foe?
CAIN: We don't know. Because Pakistan-- it's not clear, because Pakistan is where Osama bin Laden was found and eliminated. Secondly, Pakistanis have a conversation with President Karzai from Afghanistan and they-- and President Karzai has said that if the United States gets into a dispute with Pakistan, then Afghanistan's gonna side with Pakistan. There is a lot of clarity missing, like Speaker Gingrich says, in this whole region. And they are all interrelated. So there isn't a clear answer as to whether or not Pakistan is a friend or foe. That relationship must be reevaluated.
GARRETT: If you were president, sir, and your national security council asked you what questions you would want answered to find out a better answer to this very question, what would you tell 'em?
CAIN: I would ask them what commitment is Pakistan willing to make to assure the United States of America that they are a friend or of-- or a foe. And be specific about that. Will they make commitments relative to the commitment of their military, if we have to make commitments? Are they willing to come to some regional-- agreement about what we need to do? We need a regional strategy in that area of the world, such that all of our allies, wor-- we work together in order to come up with those things that would be mutually beneficial to everyone. Those are the questions that need to be asked.
PELLEY: Governor Perry, why is Pakistan playing a double game, saying that it supports the United States one moment and then supporting terrorists who are killing American troops the next? What's going on there?
PERRY: Listen, I-- I think we're havin'-- an interesting conversation here, but the deeper one-- that the speaker makes a reference to is the whole issue of-- of foreign aid. And we need a president of the United States working with a Congress that sends a clear message to every country. It doesn't make any difference whether it's Pakistan or whether it's Afghanistan or whether it's India.
The foreign aid budget in my administration for every country is gonna start at zero dollars. Zero dollars. And then we'll have a conversation. Then we'll have a conversation in this country about whether or not a penny of our taxpayer dollar needs to go into those countries. And Pakistan is clearly sending us messages, Mitt. It's clearly sending us messages that they-- they don't deserve our foreign aid that we're getting, because they're not bein' honest with us. American soldiers' lives are being put at jeopardy because of that country and the decisions that they're make--and it's time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don't support the United States of America.
PELLEY: That's time, Governor. Governor, let me give you 30 seconds in the follow up to go back to the question, "Why is Pakistan playing this double game?" Help us understand-
PERRY: Look, they've been doing this--
PELLEY: --what's going on there.
PERRY: They've been doing this for years. Their political people are not who are in charge of that country. It's the military. It's the secret service. That's who's running that country. And I don't trust 'em. And we need to send clear messages. We need to do foreign aid completely different. I'm tellin' you, no dollar's goin' into those countries. As a matter of fact, if they want any American aid, any country, unless we say differently, the American manufacturing, big companies, small companies, going in to help create economic--
PELLEY: And that's--
PERRY: --impacts in those countries--
PELLEY: --time, Governor. Thank you.
PERRY: --rather than just dollars flowin' into some administration.
PELLEY: Thank you very much.
GARRETT: Congresswoman Bachmann, you serve on the Intelligence Committee. I'd like to get your assessment of what you think is happening in Pakistan, especially with the Hikani Network. And you know from sitting on that committee that those in the diplomatic corps in this country and even the intelligence community believe that there is a tangible benefit, at times, to properly appri-- apply foreign aid from this country. So I want to know if you agree with the governor on that question, starting at zero. And also your assessment of the intelligence situation in Pakistan, and what we should do about it.
BACHMANN: Pakistan is a very difficult area, because they have been housing terrorists and terrorists have been training there. Al Qaeda, as well as Hikani, as well as other militias dealing with terrorist organizations. But I would not agree with that assessment to pull all foreign aid from Pakistan. I would reduce foreign aid to many, many countries. But there's a problem, because Pakistan has a nuclear weapon. We have more-- people affiliated with Al Qaeda closer to that nuclear bomb than in any nation. This is an extremely important issue.
And I think it underscores exactly why the next commander in chief has to understand from day one the intricacies that are happening in the Middle East. This is a very dangerous time. If you look at Iran and if you look at Pakistan and if you look at-- at the-- the links with Syria, because Iran is working through proxies like Syria, through Hezbollah, through Hamas. It seems that the table is being set for worldwide nuclear war against Israel. And if there's anything that we know, President Obama has been more than willing to stand with Occupy Wall Street, but he hasn't been willing to stand with Israel. Israel looks at President Obama and they do not see a friend.
GARRETT: Congresswoman, thank you. Speaker Gingrich, you presided-- as speaker over several foreign aid budgets for the United States. And I remember covering in 1995 the intervention on behalf of the Mexican peso. You have seen, at times, the proper role of the United States through foreign aid and other interventions. I want to know if you agree with-- Governor Perry about starting at zero?
GINGRICH: I'm absolute-- I mean, what he said made absolutely perfect sense. Why would you start every year-- and consider the alternative. You're giving some country $7 billion a year. So you start off-- or-- or in the case of Egypt, $3 billion a year. So you start off every year and say, "Here's your $3 billion, now I'll start thinking"? You ought to start off at zero and say, "Explain to me why I should give you a penny."
And let me tell you, the fact that the Pakistanis-- he didn't think about this. The Pakistanis hid Bin Laden for at least six years in a military city within a mile of their national defense university? And then they got mad at the people who turned him over to us? And we think those are the acts of allies? I think that's a pretty good idea to start at zero and sometimes stay there.
GARRETT: Just a quick follow up, Mr. Speaker. Since you've entered-- since you mentioned Egypt, Mr. Speaker, I just want to know, if you were president, if the aid that we currently provide on an annualized basis to Egypt would be completely rethought and possibly eliminated, if you were president?
GINGRICH: It would certain-- it would certainly be completely rethought. And candidly, the degree to which the Arab Spring may become an anti-Christian spring is something which bothers me a great deal. And I would certainly have the State Department intervening on behalf of the...[inaudible]...Christians, who are being persecuted under the new system, having their churches burned, having people killed. And I'd be pretty insistent that we are not gonna be supportive of a regime, which is explicitly hostile to-- to religions other than Islam.
PELLEY: Senator Santorum-- if a Pakistani nuclear weapon goes missing, what do you do?
SANTORUM: Well, let me just stop back and-- and-- and say I disagree with a lot of what was said up here. Pakistan must be a friend of the United States for the reason that Michele outlined. Pakistan is a nuclear power. And there are people in this-- in that country that if they gain control of that country will create a situation equal to the situation that is now percolating in Iran.
So we can't be indecisive about whether Pakistan is our friend. They must be our friend. And we much mut-- we must engaged them as friends, get over the difficulties we have, as we did with Saudi Arabia, with-- with respect to the events of 9/11. We-- they-- the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. And we said, "What-- you know what? It's important for us to maintain that relationship, in spite of those difficulties."
And it's important for us, with a nuclear power, with a very vast number of people in Pakistan, who are radicalizing, that we keep a solid and stable relationship and work through our difficulties. It is that important, and we must maintain that relationship.
PELLEY: But the Pakistanis back a terrorist network, the Hikani Network, that laid siege to the NATO headquarters and the U.S. embassy in Kabul for 20 hours, a few weeks ago.
SANTORUM: And the Pakistanis--
PELLEY: How do you make friends out of Pakistan?
SANTORUM: A lot of the Pakistanis and most of the government would say they don't back the Hikani Network and the Hikani Network causes as much trouble in Pakistan as it has caused us in-- in Afghanistan. We need to work with the elements of Pakistan, and there are elements in the government of Pakistan and the military.
We need to continue those joint exercises. We need to continue the-- the aid relationship. And of course, we all know the aid relationship, when it comes to military aid, is all spent in the United States. So it's not giving money away, it's-- it's-- it's sending military hardware, which creates jobs in this country, to those countries, creating nexus and relationships and dependency on our weapon systems that's important for those future relationships.
PELLEY: Senator, we'll have to leave it right there. We will have more of the Republican Commander in Chief Debate in just a moment.
PELLEY: Welcome back to Spartanburg, South Carolina and the Republican commander in chief debate. I'm Scott Pelley with CBS News along with Major Garrett of National Journal.
GARRETT: Thanks again, Scott. Mis-- Mr. Speaker, you said yesterday that Governor Romney is a competent manager. But you said you were unsure if he was really capable of changing Washington. You said you were the change agent. Based on the arc of this campaign and perhaps what you've heard tonight, would you care to evaluate Governor Romney's ability to think outside the box and change United States national security or foreign policy perspectives.
GARRETT: You said so last night. Then what was the point, sir? Then what was the point, sir, of bringing it up yesterday on a national radio show?
GINGRICH: I brought it up yesterday 'cause I was on a national radio show. I think he brings up things when he's on national radio shows. We're here tonight talking to the American people about why every single one of us is better than Barack Obama. And that's the topic [inaudible].
GARRETT: But, Mr. Speaker. If you-- if you would like to--
GINGRICH: By-- and by the way, compared-- let me just say, compared to this administration, talking about a friend who's a great business manager as a good manager is an enormous improvement over Barack Obama.
GARRETT: Then, Mr. Speaker, I well remember you talking as Speaker about the necessary-- or the necessity of leaders to think outside the box.
GARRETT: If you were president, how would you think outside the box about some of the issues we've discussed here tonight?
GINGRICH: Well, in a number of ways. As I said earlier, I would-- I would explicitly adopt the Reagan/John Paul II/ Thatcher strategy towards Iran. I would do the same thing towards North Korea. I would adopt a very strong policy towards the United Nations of-- dramatically taken on its-- its absurdities. I would explicitly repudiate what Obama's done on Agenda 21 as the kind of interference from the United Nations that's wrong.
There are a number of other areas. I would also, frankly, apply-- Lean Six Sigma to the Pentagon to liberate the money to rebuild the na-- we're-- we-- we-- we need a capital investment program. And this administration is shrinking the Navy to a point where it's going to be incapable of its doing its job worldwide. So there are a number of places I would be thinking outside the box.
PELLEY: And that's time, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much. Mr. Cain, you've often said that you'll listen to your generals for their advice before making decisions as commander in chief. How will you know when you should overrule your generals?
CAIN: The approach to makin' a critical decision, first make sure that you surround yourself with the right people. And I feel that I'll be able to make that assessment when we put together the cabinet and all of the people from the military, etcetera. You will know you're makin' the right decision when you consider all the facts and ask them for alternatives. It is up to the commander in chief to make that judgment call based upon all the facts.
And because I'll have mult-- a multiple group of people offering different recommendations, this gives me the best opportunity to select the one that makes the most amount of sense. But ultimately, it's up to the commander in chief to make that decision.
GARRETT: Senator Santorum, this is really a question about how you build a leadership model. How, sir, would you decide when it was necessary for you as commander in chief to overrule the advice you get from either your civilian advisors or your military advisors?
SANTORUM: Well, I'll come into-- to the office of the presidency with a very clear agenda. And we'll-- I'll get people together that will share my point of view. When I was in the United States Senate, I didn't hire people who didn't share how I approach the problem. That's what the people of this country are electing. They're electing someone who's gonna be very crystal clear. And as you heard from my first two answers, I don't mince words. I say exactly what I believe.
And then I follow through and do what I say. I did that when I was in public life before, even though I represented a state that wasn't particularly conservative state. I followed through and did that. And I will surround myself with people who will execute what I promise the American public to do. And then we will go about the process of doing it.
PELLEY: You mentioned your agenda. If you could prioritize one or two points, maybe more if you'd like, what your key agenda is on national security.
SANTORUM: Well, obviously, the-- the issue we were talking about before which is, number one, Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. And we will go about whatever it takes to make sure that happens. I hope, I hope that some of the things that I've talked about here and-- and Newt's-- thing that I-- I've been talking about for a while, which is covert activity.
You know, there have been scientists turning up dead in Russia and in-- in Iran. There have been computer viruses. There have been problems at their facility. I hope that the United States has been involved with that. I hope that we have been doing everything we can covertly to make sure that that program doesn't-- proceed forward. And if we're lucky enough, and I'm not sure we will be, that if-- un-- no action is taken and we still don't have a nuclear Iran, that would be my laser beam focus, to make sure that would not happen.
PELLEY: And that's time, Senator. Thank you very much. Governor Perry, you advocate the elimination of the Department of Energy. If you eliminate the Department of Energy--
PERRY: Glad you remembered it.
PELLEY: I've had some time to think about it, sir.
PERRY: Me too.
PELLEY: If you eliminate the Department of Energy, what do you do with the nuclear weapons?
PERRY: Well, there are plenty of places in our government that can have oversight on our-- our nuclear energy. But let me back over to-- the question that you've asked before this about what is the most important thing from a strategic standpoint, commander in chief. For ten years, I have been the commander in chief of over 20,000-plus individuals in the State of Texas as we've dealt with a host of either natural disasters or having deployments-- into the combat zone. So, if there's someone on this stage who has had that hands-on commander in chief experience, it is me, as the governor of the State of Texas.
I've ha-- dealt with generals. I have individuals at the Department of Defense who have been at the highest levels both on the civilian side and on the military side that will help me make decisions about those issues that we face as a country. So, I feel very comfortable from day one of surrounding myself with individuals who have extraordinary backgrounds in national defense and will be able to put this country on a track that Americans will feel we know that we're gonna be secure.
PELLEY: And that's time, sir.
PERRY: Including the southern border of this country with Mexico.
PELLEY: And that's time, thank you.
GARRETT: I don't need to tell the people on this stage that presidential politics is interactive business. And, of course, this debate is interactive as well. And we have an email question I'm happy to say, emailed into the National Journal. And it comes from Stephen Schafroth of Odell's, Oregon. And I'd like to address this question to Mr. Cain. Stephen writes, "I served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. I believe that torture is always wrong in all cases. What is your stance on torture?"
CAIN: I believe that following the procedures that have been established by our military, I do not agree with torture, period. However, I will trust the judgment of our military leaders to determine what is torture and what is not torture. That is the critical consideration.
GARRETT: Mr. Cain, of course you're familiar with the long-running debate we've had about whether waterboarding constitutes torture or is an enhanced interrogation tech-- technique. In the last campaign, Republican nominee John McCain and Barack Obama agreed that it was torture and should not be allowed legally and that the Army Field Manual should be the methodology used to interrogate enemy combatants. Do you agree with that or do you disagree, sir?
CAIN: I agree that it was an enhanced interrogation technique.
GARRETT: And then you would support it at present. You would return to that policy.
CAIN: Yes, I would return to that policy. I don't see it as torture. I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.
GARRETT: Congressman-- congresswoman Bachmann, your opinion on this question that our emailer asked.
BACHMANN: If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding. I think it was very effective. It gained information for our country. And I-- and I also would like to say that today, under Barack Obama, he is allowing the A.C.L.U. to run the C.I.A. You need to understand that today-- today we-- it-- when we-- when we interdict a terrorist on the battlefield, we have no jail for them.
We have nowhere to take them. We have no C.I.A. interrogations anymore. It is as though we have decided we want to lose in the War on Terror under President Obama. That's not my strategy. My strategy will be that the United States will be victorious in the War on Terror.
GARRETT: Congressman Paul, my spidey sense tells me we have a debate about to get launched here. I know you have an opinion you'd like to weigh in.
PAUL: Yes. Tor-- torture is illegal. And-- by our laws. It's illegal by international laws.
GARRETT: How do you-- how do you define torture, sir?
PAUL: Well, waterboarding is torture. And-- and many other-- it's ill-- it's illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. The-- and it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence. Why would you accept the position of torturing 100 people because you know one person might have information? And that's what you do when you accept the principal of a-- of-- of-- of torture. I think it's-- I think it's uncivilized and prac-- and has no practical advantages and is really un-American to accept on principal that we will torture people that we capture.
GARRETT: And that's time, thank--
BACHMANN: Major-- Major, I have to bring it up. I have to say--
PELLEY: Give-- you know, let's-- let's allow--
BACHMANN: I-- I-- I have-- I have to say something on this, Major.
PELLEY: --let's-- I'm sorry, Congresswoman, just a moment if you would, please.
BACHMANN: I-- I-- I--
PELLEY: Let's give-- let's give-- Governor Huntsman an opportunity to take 30 seconds on that question.
HUNTSMAN: Thank you. Gets a little lonely over here in Siberia.
SANTORUM: Tell me about it.
HUNTSMAN: First of all, let me thank the sailor on the ship. I have two boys in the United States Navy. And all they wanna do is go on to fight, protect, and defend the great freedoms that we share in this country. This country has values. We have a name brand in the world. I've lived overseas four times. I've been an ambassador for my country three times. I've lived overseas and done business.
We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project which include liberty, democracy, human rights, and open markets when we torture. We should not torture. Waterboarding is torture. We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries. And we lose that ability to project values that a lot of people in corners of this world are still relying on the United States to stand up for them.
PELLEY: And that is time. Thank you, sir. Governor Romney. Governor Romney, recently President Obama ordered the death of an American citizen who was suspected of terrorist activity overseas. Is it appropriate for the American president on the president's say-so alone to order the death of an American citizen suspected of terrorism?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. In this case, this is an individual who had aligned himself with a-- with a group that had declared war on the United States of America. And-- and if there's someone that's gonna-- join with a group like Al-Qaeda that declares war on America and we're in a-- in a-- a war with that entity, then of course anyone who was bearing arms for that entity is fair game for the United States of America. Let me go back-- let me go back and just-- and just talk for a moment about the issue that the issue that a number of people have spoken about which is their definition of how their foreign policy might be different than this president.
My foreign policy's pretty straightforward. I would be guided by an overwhelming conviction that this century must be an American century where America has the strongest values, the strongest economy, and the strongest military. An American century means the century where America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.
We have a president right now who thinks America's just another nation. America is an exceptional nation. We have a president who thinks that the way to conduct foreign policy is through his personal affects on other people. I'm-- I believe the way to conduct foreign policy is with American strength. Everything I do will make America stronger. And I will stand and use whatever means necessary within the law to make sure that we protect America's citizens and Americans' rights.
PELLEY: And-- and that's time, Governor. Lady-- ladies and gentlemen, -- ladies and gentlemen, the applause are lovely. But we will not have doing. Thank you very much. We'll have-- we'll have courtesy for all of the candidates on the stage. Speaker Gingrich, if I could just ask you the same question, as President of the United States, would you sign that death warrant for an American citizen overseas who you believe is a terrorist suspect?
GINGRICH: Well, he's not a terrorist suspect. He's a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking the death of Americans.
PELLEY: Not-- not found guilty by a court, sir.
GINGRICH: He was found guilty by a panel that looked at it and reported to the president.
PELLEY: Well, that's ex-judicial. That's-- it's not--
GINGRICH: Let me-- let me-- let me tell you a story-- let me just tell you this.
PELLEY: --the rule of law.
GINGRICH: It is the rule of law. That is explicitly false. It is the rule of law.
GINGRICH: If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States. You cannot go to court. Let me be-- let me be very clear about this. There are two levels. There's a huge gap here that-- that frankly far too many people get confused over. Civil defense, criminal defense, is a function of being within the American law. Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law. It is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war. And the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you.
Male Voice: Well said. Well said.
GARRETT: Governor Perry, if you'll indulge, then, sir, I'd like to change the subject a little bit to China. According to U.S. officials, China is using cyber-attacks to steal billions of dollars of intellectual property that is critical to this nation's economic success. Are we, sir, engaged in financial warfare with China?
PERRY: Listen, there are some people who have made the statement that-- the 21st century is gonna be the-- the century of China and that, you know, we've had our time in the sunshine. I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. As a matter of fact, you think back to the 1980s and we faced a similar type of-- of a situation with-- with Russia.
And Ronald Reagan said that Russia would end up on the ash heap of history. And he was right. Mitt, I happen to think that the communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history if they do not change their virtues. It is important for a country to have virtues, virtues of honest.
And this whole issue of allowing cyber security to go on, we need to use all of our resources-- the private sector working along with our government, to really b-- standing up the cyber command in 2010 was a good start on that. But fighting this cyber war, I would suggest, is one of the great issues that will face the next President of the United States. And we must went--
PELLEY: Governor, thank you, that's time. Governor Romney, I wonder, how would you manage China to avoid a 21st century Cold War?
ROMNEY: Well, China has an interest in trade. China wants to-- as they have 20 million people coming out of the farms and coming into the cities every year, they want to be able to put them to work. They wanna have access to global markets. And so we have right now sumthin' they need very badly, which is access to our market and our friends around the world, have that same-- power over China. We-- to make sure that we let them understand that in order for them to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules.
They can't hack into our computer systems and steal from our government. They can't steal from corporations. They can't take patents and designs, intellectual property, and-- and-- and-- and duplicate them-- and duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. And they also can't manipulate their currency in such a way as to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be.
We have to have China understand that like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules. And if they do, we'll have open trade with them and work with them. And they should in every way want to collaborate with us and not become a belligerent nation economically or militarily. But if you just continue to sit back and let them run over us-- the policies of Barack Obama in China have allowed China to continue to expand their-- their-- entry into our computer systems, their entry--
ROMNEY: --stealing our intellectual property.
PELLEY: That's time, Governor, but I'll--
ROMNEY: And of course, their mil-- their military capacity.
PELLEY: That's time, Governor. But I would like to ask you a follow-up on that point. You-- you talked about all the things that China should be doing. How do you affect that as commander in chief? How do you make China do these things?
ROMNEY: Well number one, on day one, it's acknowledging something which everyone knows, they're a currency manipulator. And on that basis, we also go before the W.T.-- the W.T.O. and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator. And that allows us to apply, selectively, tariffs where we believe they are stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our computers, or artificially lowering their prices and killing American jobs. We can't just sit back and let China run all over us. People say, "Well, you'll start a trade war." There's one goin' on right now, folks. They're stealing our jobs. And we're gonna stand up to China.
GARRETT: Governor Huntsman, Governor Romney just said we're in the middle of a war that's-- we're not even declared or we're not even aware of. And Governor Perry said China will end up on the ash heap of history. You've been in China. You were the ambassador for our nation there under President Obama. What's your reaction?
HUNTSMAN: Well, the re-- reality's a little different as it usually is when you're on the ground. And I've tried to figure this out for 30 years of my career. First of all, I don't think, Mitt, you can take-- China to the W.T.O. on currency-related issues. Second, I-- I don't know that this country needs a trade war with China. Who does it hurt? Our small businesses in South Carolina, our exporters-- our agriculture producers.
We don't need that at a time when China is about to embark on a generational position. So what should we be doing? We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They're called the young people. They're called the internet generation. There are 500 million internet users in China.
PELLEY: And Governor, we're going to have to--
HUNTSMAN: And 80 million bloggers. And they are bringing about change, the likes of which is gonna take China down.
PELLEY: We're gonna have to leave it there, Governor.
HUNTSMAN: While we have an opportunity to go up and win back our economic--
HUNTSMAN: --manufacturing muscles. That's all I wanna do as president.
PELLEY: That's time. I thank you very much. We will be back with the Republican commander in chief debate from Wofford College in just a moment.
PELLEY: Welcome back to South Carolina and the Republican commander in chief debate. Governor Perry, we just got a-- question via Twitter from Barbara McMann. And Barbara asked this question of you. "Does Governor Perry's Foreign Aid Starts at Zero include Israel?"
Rick Perry: Well, as Governor Perry-- would tweet back to her that-- absolutely. Every country would start at zero. Obviously, Israel is a special ally. And my bet is that we would be funding them-- at some substantial level. But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case. As a matter of fact, we oughta try that-- doin' that with some of those agencies that I was tryin' to think the name of the other night.
Starting at zero, zero-based budgeting, and Newt will share with you, is we've gotta go there. And everyone has to come in and make your case. It's what the American people are doin'. There's somebody at home sittin' watchin' T.V. tonight, lookin' for a job. And they're havin' to budget. Why in the world would our federal government get a pass on sending our tax dollars to any country--
PELLEY: And, Governor, I have to s--
PERRY: --without havin' an answer? Why?
PELLEY: We're gonna have to leave it right there. I thank you very much. That brings us to the end of the first hour of the debate. Some CBS stations will be leaving us. But you can continue to follow the debate online on CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com. And you can submit questions for the candidates at either of those sites. Most of our stations in South Carolina and on the west coast will continue to broadcast the debate. When we return, we will take questions from South Carolina's two senators, s-- United States Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Jim DeMint. With thanks to the candidates, thanks to Wofford College, thanks to the G.O.P. and South Carolina, I'm Scott Pelley with Major Garrett.
PELLEY: Good evening from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This is the Republican Commander in Chief debate. I'm Scott Pelley with CBS News, along with Major Garrett of National Journal. This is the final half hour of this 90 minute Republican debate. The focus tonight: National security and foreign affairs.
And in this half hour, we'll include your questions. You may submit them on-line at CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com. And we will have the questions of South Carolina senators Lindsey Graham and Jim Demint. So let's continue.
GARRETT: Indeed, Scott. We have a question from Josh Cooper from Woodsboro, Massachusetts. Congresswoman Bachmann, he writes in as this debate was going on. Quote: "Almost half of the federal budget goes to military-related expenditures. Should we increase spending, especially in a debt crisis?
BACHMANN: Well-- the military is also able to-- to have expenditures reduced, as well. And I think probably the best place is in the area of how we finance procurements. Today, we have a situation where we reward those who are designing and-- and-- and-- making our weaponry, based upon the length of time that they take it-- to produce it. We don't do that anywhere else.
So rather than having a cost plus fee, we need to have a fixed cost system. We'll save money. And also, tri-care could use reform, as well. Those are two areas where we'd yield significant savings. That-- but we cannot do is cut back on the efforts regarding our troops and making sure they're fully resourced.
GARRETT: A quick follow-up, Congresswoman. Can you name a weapon system that you think should be ended for fiscal reasons? And when you talk about tri-care, that's the military medical system. What do you mean when you say, "Reform," does that mean cuts in benefits?
BACHMANN: No. I think that we need to have modernization. That's what the biggest problem is right now with-- with Social Security, with Medicare, with Medicaid. We're continuing to abide by the models that we had when they were first originated. There's very few businesses that maintain their similar business practices 45 years after inception or 75 years after inception. We have to modernize.
But we also know what the future is in health care, don't we? It is Obama Care. And quite likely, Tri-care, Medicare, all of these will collapse under President Obama, and everyone will be put into Obama Care. No one want to be-- in Obama Care.
PELLEY: And that's time--
BACHMANN: That's why it's Commander in Chief.
BACHMANN: I'll repeal Obama Care.
PELLEY: Thank you very much. Mr. Cain -- Mr. Cain, would you describe what you think is happening in the Arab Spring? And how, as president, can you affect that to make it work for the United States and not against us?
CAIN: What's happening in the Arab-- Spring, you have to look at Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and all of the revolutions that are going on, and how this administration has mishandled them. As a result, they have gotten totally out of hand. Our relationship with Egypt may not survive.
Because when this president backed the opposition, it turned out that opposition was more of the Muslim Brotherhood, which could end up with a majority of control of this new government. This president has already said that the president of Yemen should go. He is our friend. He has been helping us to fight al-Qaeda. This president has been on the wrong side in nearly every situation in the Arab world, which has basically done nothing except to put that entire thing at risk.
PELLEY: And that's time, sir, thank you.
GARRETT: Mr. Speaker, at least 3,500 civilians have been slaughtered in Syria. Today, the Arab League voted to suspect Syria. If the opposition, and you were commander in chief, requested military assistance, covert smuggling, or a no-fly zone, would you authorize either or both?
GINGRICH: With first of all, I think that it's a good thing today that the Arab League suspended Syria. I think this administration should have been much more aggressive against Assad. It's ironic to me that Mubarrak, who had been our ally for years, who had done everything he could to help the United States, who had helped us in the Iraq campaigns, who had done literally we had requested of him, he was dumped overnight by this administration in a way that signaled everybody in the world, "Don't rely on the United States, because they'll abandon you in a heartbeat if they feel like it."
Assad, who is our enemy, and is an ally and-- of-- of-- of Iran, has had amazingly soft treatment by our State Department, as though they are afraid to make him feel bad. I would actively-- approve-- taking those steps would which-- defeat his regime, which would probably be mostly covert. I don't-- I don't think you need a no-fly zone. I think there are a number of steps you could take. And I think he would fall very rapidly.
If-- the-- if the United States and Europe communicated clearly that Assad was going to go, I think you would find Europe-- there's a very tiny faction. And I think you would find him likely to be replaced very rapidly.
GARRETT: Congressman Paul, covert operations in Syria?
PAUL: I think--
GARRETT: A green light for you?
PAUL: I think it would-- be a mistake. I think the Syrians oughta deal with their country. I think we should have dealt--
GARRETT: But what about the-- what about the 3,500 dead?
PAUL: Well, there-- there's been a lot of people killed throughout the world in the last century. You know, the Soviets and the Chinese killed hundreds of millions. But we didn't feel compelled morally to try to stop it. No. It's a tragedy. And it would be nice if they would accept different views.
But for us to get in the middle of that and prop up the different dictatorships, this is why we get into this trouble. It's overthrowin' dictatorships that we have supported that causes so much of this problem. So to get further involved, you-- want to have self determination. We don't need to lose anymore troops. You get in there with covert operations. And you have troops involved. And--
GARRETT: Thank you, Congressman.
PAUL: It's-- very costly.
PELLEY: Thank you, Congressman.
PAUL: It's not a good idea.
PELLEY: Governor Romney-- Governor Romney, if I may ask you a 30 second follow-up to that. Is it time for the Assad dictatorship to end? Would you use mili-- tel-- military force to do that?
ROMNEY: Of course it's time for the Assad dictatorship to end. And we should use covert activity, as Speaker Gingrich has just indicated. Look-- the-- the reason I disagree with Ron Paul on this is-- that you have, in Syria, a nation which is an ally, the only Arab ally, of Iran. It is arming Hezbollah. It represents a-- an access-- of-- of great significance to Iran. And as a result, because of our concern about Iran, and their effort to become the Hageman in the Middle East, it is important for-- for us as a nation to stand up and to help those efforts to-- to replace A-- Assad. And that means helping Turkey and-- and-- Saudi Arabia, who are putting pressure on him, as well as covert activity of our own.
PELLEY: Governor, thank you very much. Now, as a unusual feature of this particular debate, we have with us tonight the two United States senators from South Carolina, who have questions for the Republican candidates. And they will ask the question, but the moderators will direct the question to the appropriate candidates. And we're going to start with the senior senator, Lindsay Graham. Senator Graham, thank you for being with us here tonight.
Senator Lindsay Graham: Thank you. A comment first. Thank you all for running for president. I'm proud of each and every one of you. Thank you very much. Three-part question. I hope I can remember all three parts. Within days of taking office, President Obama, by executive order, stopped the CIA from using classified enhanced interrogation techniques that are not water-boarding. There's a presumption that every person at Gitmo, under the Obama administration, should go into civilian court, not military commission. And the Obama administration recently said that any future captors in the war on terror would not go to Gitmo. Would you continue these policies? If you would change them, why?
PELLEY: And Mr. Cain, that first question will go to you.
CAIN: I absolutely would reverse all three of those policies. I'd keep Gitmo-- Gitmo open. I would definitely allow the military to use enhanced interrogation techniques, because they're terrorists. They are terrorists. Pampering terrorists isn't something that we ought to do. So I anybody would reverse all three of those things that you indicated.
PELLEY: Senator Santorum, you have one minute on the same question.
SANTORUM: Oh, I would agree with-- with-- with-- with-- Herman Cain. The-- Gitmo is-- is essential to-- to leave open. We have to use enhanced interrogation techniques, all enhanced inger-- interrogation techniques. It has been proven to be successful in gathering information. It was critl-- critical for us-- in the-- in the war against terror. And we need to continue that-- that operation.
And using civilian courts-- is a-- is-- is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard. The-- civilian courts are given to people who have rights under our constitution. People who have attacked our country and are foreign combatants ha-- do not have those rights. Our country stands for freedom. Our country stands for all of those proper ideals.
But when-- and we-- and we stand with the Geneva Convention. But when people fight outside of those con-- there's a convention there for a reason. It's to get people to play by the rules. And when they don't play by the rules, they should not given-- be given the benefit of those that do. And that's why we have Gitmo and these techniques.
PELLEY: Congressman Paul, one minute to you, sir.
PAUL: I think that-- this is a mess. It's a mess because we have a bad foreign policy. We're pretending we're at war. We haven't declared the war, but we're at war against a tactic. And therefore-- there's no limits to it. So we create these monstrosities. And we do think outside the law. We come up with assassination, allowing the president to decide who's going to be assassinated?
And-- lo and behold, three Americans now have been on the list. They've been assassinated. But they don't talk about the second one, because the second one happened to be a 16 year old son of Awlaki. So what are we doing here to accept this idea that our president, and this lawlessness, to pursue? And that-- we some day will be subject to those same courts.
So no, you don't. You want to live within-- in the law and obey the law. Because-- otherwise, it's going to be very bad for all-- all of us. And-- this whole idea that-- now we can be assassinated by somebody that we don't even like to run our medical care, and giving this power to the president to be the prosecutor, the executor, the judge and the jury, we better look at that carefully before you automatically endorse something like that.
PELLEY: Congressman, thank you very much.
BACHMANN: Could I-- could interject something?
PELLEY: Governor, I'm-- I'm--
BACHMANN: Can I interject and say something?
PELLEY: I'm sorry, there-- there's a-- there's actually a system at work here with regard to the Senator's question. So if I may, Governor Perry, you have one minute for Senator Graham's question.
PERRY: Yeah. Let me just address Congressman Paul. And I-- Congressman, I-- I respect that you wore the uniform of our country. But-- in 1972, I volunteered to serve the United States Air Force. And the idea that we have our young men and women in combat today, Senator, where there are people who would kill them in a heartbeat, under any circumstance, use any technique that they can, for us not to have the ability to try to extract information from them, to save our young people's lives, is a travesty. This is war. That's what happens in war. And I am for using the techniques, not torture, but using those techniques that we know will extract the information to save young American lives. And I will be for it until I die.
PELLEY: Thank you, Governor. Representative Bach-- Bachmann, let me give you 30 seconds to pick up on that.
BACHMANN: Thank you. Yeah, I-- I'd like to respond to Ron Paul and his comments. Because the people that the president of the United States gave orders to kill include Osama bin Laden. Now I think all of us can agree this is a good idea for the president of United States to make this decision. Ron Paul doesn't think so.
But this is a very good idea for the president. After all, Osama bin Laden had no problem ordering the destruction of the wor-- of the-- of the Twin Towers or of the Pentagon. That resulted in over 3,000 lives. As well-- Awlaki, who we also killed, he has been the chief recruiter of terrorists, including Major Hassan at Fort Hood, including the underwear bomber over Detroit, and including the Times Square bomber. These were very good decisions that were made to take them out.
GARRETT: Congresswoman, thank you. I know, Ron Paul, you want to jump in.
PAUL: I voted for the authority to go after bin Laden. I was upset because it took ten years because we-- we were diverted from-- going after him and doing the job. But that's a lot different than assassinating American citizens. I mean he-- he wasn't a citizen.
But I do wanna remind you that over 300 individuals were tried in civilian courts here that were charged with terrorism here. Most of 'em are in jail. And I don't think we should give up so easily on our rule of law.
PELLEY: Congressman Paul, thank you very much.
GARRETT: It's time to call on Senator Jim Demint from South Carolina. Sir, you have a question, and I will direct it to the four who were not called on the first time. So Senator, please.
Jim Demint: Thank you. And thank you all for being in South Carolina tonight. Federal spending and debt are not only our greatest economic problems, they're our largest national security problem. Yet the president and the Congress continue to spend and borrow at record levels. Just adjusting the spending on existing federal programs will not solve the problem. What federal functions will you eliminate or return to the states in order to balance our budget?
GARRETT: Governor Romney, to you, sir.
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Right now, we're spending about 25 percent of the economy at the federal level. And that has to be brought down to a cap of 20 percent. I'll get that done within my first term, if I'm lucky enough to get elected. How do you do that?
One, it's eliminating programs. A lot of programs we like, but we simply can't afford. The first we will eliminate, however, we're happy to get rid of. That's Obama Care. And that'll save us $95 billion a year by my fourth year.
Other programs we like: the Endowment for the-- for Humanities, the National Endowment for-- for the Arts-- Public Broadcasting. These are wonderful-- features that we-- we have of the government. But we simply can't go out and borrow money from China to pay for them. They're not that essential.
In terms of returning programs to the states: Medicaid, a program for the poor, should be returned to the states. Let the states manage it. And if we grow it, at inflation plus one percent, we'll save $100 billion a year by returning that to the states. And finally, we have to make the federal government more productive. It is just way too over-- over-burdened with-- with excessive personnel. I'll reduce the personnel by at least ten percent, and link the pay of federal employees with the pay in the private sector. We should not pay government workers more than the people--
GARRETT: Governor Romney, that's time.
ROMNEY: --of America were paying for it.
GARRETT: Governor Romney, that's time. Governor Huntsman, please-- address Senator Demint's question, if you would, sir.
HUNTSMAN: Thank you, Senator Demint. It's an honor to be with you in your state-- as-- as it is-- many other great leaders of South Carolina. I think it's absolutely appropriate that-- Admiral Mullen would say that our most significant national security threat is right here at home. And it's our debt. I completely buy into that.
And if we're gonna get this nation moving in the right direction, we need to recognize that debt, as 70 percent of our GDP and moving up, becomes a national security problem. You look where Japan is, well over 100 percent debt to GDP. Greece, 170 percent-- to GDP. Italy, 120 percent.
So you get a sense of where our tomorrow is if we don't tackle the debt and spending. My speech was a very short one on debt and spending. It's three words: The Ryan Plan. I think The Ryan Plan sets out a template that puts-- everything on the table. Medicaid-- like-- Governor Romney, I'd send back to the states. Education, I wanna move closer to the states. You move education closer to the decision makers, the school boards, the families, you're a whole lot better off.
And I think there are some economic development functions, as well, legitimately that you can move closer to the state. But we've got to get our spending closer to 19 percent-- of our GDP as opposed to this unsustainable 24, 25 percent.
GARRETT: Governor Huntsman, thank you very much.
HUNTSMAN: But we shipwreck the next generation.
GARRETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please direct Senator Demint's question?
GINGRICH: Sure. I think actually, Senator, that there are four interlocking national security problems. Debt and the deficit's one. Energy is a second one. Manufacturing is a third one. And science and technology's a fourth. And you need to have solutions that fit all four.
I mean the thing that most worries me about this super committee is that they-- they-- they fail to understand that innovation and growth have to be at the heart of what we're doing. Example: we should have a training requirement for all unemployment compensation so nobody gets money for doing nothing. Now, that saves money, but it simultaneously enhances the human capital of the United States and makes us more competitive in dealing with China.
We should be opening up offshore so that folks are able to-- deal directly with, for example, $29 billion of natural gas here. In that process, you take some of the royalties and modernizes the Charleston Port, which you need for jobs here. I'm just trying to walk you through a way of thinking.
I helped balance the budget for four consecutive years. I'm not very concerned, if we're serious, what you wanna do is fundamentally reform and overhaul the federal government, fundamentally. While, at the same time, accelerating economic growth to bring unemployment down to four percent. That combination gets you back to a balanced budget.
GARRETT: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. Congresswoman Bachmann, please address Senator Demint's question, what programs would you cut, how would you bring it down, the debt?
BACHMANN: I wanna thank you for as-- asking that question, because that really is the number one issue that's facing the country. We are in a terrible debt spiral, so much so that, just in the month of October, we just added another $203 billion in debt. And when you consider the last time that Republicans controlled the budget, it was nin-- 2007, and the debt was $160 billion for the year. This was $203 billion just for the month of October.
For every man, woman and child in the United States, that means each one of us just took on another $650 in debt just for the month of October. That's the velocity that we're growing this debt. So what would I cut? I think, really, what I would wanna do is be able to go back and take a look at Lyndon Baines Johnson's The Great Society.
The Great Society has not worked, and it's put us into the modern welfare state. If you look at China, they don't have food stamps. If you look at China, they're in a very different situ-- they save for their own retirement security. They don't have pay FDC. They don't have the modern welfare state. And China's growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with The Great Society, and they'd be gone.
PELLEY: Thank you, Congresswoman. Thank you very much. Mr. Cain-- U.S. forces are coming under attack daily now from the enemy crossing over the border from Pakistan. As president, as commander in chief, would you order U.S. forces into Pakistan to clear out those safe havens of the enemy?
CAIN: That is a decision that I would make after consulting with the commanders on the ground, our intelligence sources, after having discussions with Pakistan, discussions with Afghanistan. And here's why. We pointed out earlier that it is unclear as to where we stand with Pakistan. It is unclear where we stand with Afghanistan.
We have our young men and women dying over there. And for that president to say that they would side with Pakistan, that is a problem. This is why we have to tread lightly and get all the information. Because Pakistan is one of the nine nations that has a nuclear weapon. So before I say we would do that, there's a lot of information that would need to be gathered.
PELLEY: Well, we've been at war in Afghanistan for ten years, of course. And-- what is it about it that's unclear to you at this point? 30 seconds.
CAIN: Well, what's unclear is, when the president approved the surge, and then prematurely start pullin' troops back, that wasn't a good strategy. Victory is not clearly defined. As president, I will make sure that the mission is clear, and the definition of victory's clear. And that simply does not exist right now.
PELLEY: Governor Romney, would you send American troops across the border into Pakistan to clear out those save havens? American men and women are coming under fire from those locations every single day.
ROMNEY: The right way to deal with-- Pakistan is to recognize that Pakistan is not a country like other countries, with a strong political center that you can go to and say, "Gee, can we come here? Will you take care of this problem?" This is, instead, a-- nation which is close to being a failed state. I hope it doesn't reach that point, but it's a very fragile nation.
It really has four centers of power: the ISI, which is their-- their intelligence services, the military, separate group. You have the political structure, and of course, the fundamentalists. And so we have to work with our friends in that country to get them to do some of the things we can't do ourselves.
Bringing our troops into Pakistan and announcing at a stage like this that, as president, we would throw American troops into Pakistan, could be highly incendiary in a setting like that. Right now, they're comfortable with our using drones to go after the people that are-- that are representing a gr-- the greatest threat.
PELLEY: We have time, governor. But are the Pakistanis--comfortable with our using drones?
ROMNEY: We have agreement with the people that we need to have agreement with to be able to use drones to strike at the people that represent a threat. And one of the things we have to do with our foreign aid commitments, the ongoing foreign aid commitments, I agree with Governor Perry. You start everything at zero.
But one of the things we have to do is have understanding with the various power bases within the country that they're gonna have to allow us, or they themselves go after the Taliban and Haqqani net-- network to make sure they do not destabilize Afghanistan, particularly as we're pulling our troops out.
GARRETT: Senator Santorum, this week, National Journal and The Atlantic magazine reported that, for various reasons, some related to paranoia in Pakistan about what United States might do, they are moving operational nuclear weapons in that country, unguarded, in trucks. If you were commander in chief, and intelligence came to you that one of those nuclear weapons was lost or possibly in the hands of terrorists, how would you respond?
SANTORUM: Well, you'd have to respond with working with the Pakistani government and those who would fee they're-- as much threatened by that as-- as we are. And-- Mitt is absolutely right-- there are v-- various elements within the country-- that are very hard to-- to-- to deal with. You have a radical element.
I would hope-- that we're talking about a situation where the military is-- is-- is-- is somehow in control of that, and that we would have an element of the military that would be a problem. I would work with the military, I'd work with ISI, and get to-- where we could secure that weapons. Obviously would not-- you have to take some action. But it would depend on the circumstances. It's sort of a hypothetical. Without having the knowledge of how it happened, it would hard to be answer the question.
GARRETT: That article also made clear that special operations forces are being trained for this very eventuality. Is that something you would consider as commander in chief, deploying special forces to isolated, find that nuclear weapon, and, if necessary, take it over?
SANTORUM: I would be working with the intelligence community within Pakistan. Again, it's a compromised community. I understand there-- there are relationship with ISI, with the Haqqani Network. Again, depending on the circumstances that we're dealing with here-- it-- you would hope you would be able to work with the-- with the intelligence community and work, if necessary, in support-- in a support nature, whether it's-- with-- human intelligence or-- or-- other types of surveillance, and potentially with the special forces-- on the ground.
But again, this is clear. This is not one-- you don't cowboy this one. You don't fly in to Afghanistan-- I mean excuse me, to Pakistan and try to interdict a nuclear weapon. You've gotta work with the people in the-- in power in the government to-- to make sure that that accomplish--
GARRETT: Speaker Gingrich, 30 seconds, your thoughts on this scenario?
GINGRICH: Well, look. This is a good example of the mess we've gotten ourselves into since the Church Committee so-called reforms in 1970s. We don't have a reliable intelligence service. We don't have independent intelligence in places like Pakistan. We rely on our supposed friends for intelligence. They may or may not be our friends. And the amount of information we might or might not have might or might not be reliable.
This is a very good example of scenarios people oughta look at seriously and say, "We had better overhaul everything from rules of engagement to how we run the intelligence community, because we-- are in a very dangerous world."
PELLEY: Governor Huntsman-- as we sit here, there is a crisis in Europe over debt, particularly in Italy and in Greece. And there is the threat of contagion onto Wall Street and U.S. banks. How do you prevent the Euro crisis from becoming a problem in the United States?
HUNTSMAN: The-- lemme just-- on Pakistan for one second. Because it's pretty clear. There's one man in charge in Pakistan. I've negotiated with the Pakistanis before, both in government and in business. They're a tough bunch. General Giani's in charge. He's head of the military, which is head of I-- ISI. It isn't President Zardari, make no mistake about that. And I'd say you don't have a choice.
Then I would pick up the phone and call Special Operations Command in Tampa and say, "I've got a job for SEAL-- SEAL team number six. Prepare to move." You don't have a choice. When you have a loose nuke, you have no choice. And we have to take charge. That's called leadership, and that's what I would do as president.
With-- with respect to Europe, we have two problems. One, Europe is our second largest export market. $240 billion we export to Europe every year, second only to Canada, $250 billion a year. As-- if Europe goes down, as a metastases spreads, they're gonna buy less. And we're gonna lose jobs unless we can find other markets-- as those exports begin to diminish. That's gonna be problem number one, and we need to prepare for that.
Number two, it's gonna spread throughout the banking system to the point where it's gonna hit us and the United States. And with banks that are too big to fail in this country, we're in deep trouble.
PELLEY: And-- and that--
HUNTSMAN: Deep trouble.
PELLEY: --is time. Thank you very much. We just have time for a quick follow-up on-- on that same question. Let me come to Governor Perry. How do you prevent the European crisis from become a problem on Wall Street?
PERRY: Well, the French and the Germans have the economic wherewithal to deal with this. They have the economy. You-- when you think about the Euro and when it was established, it was done to be a competitor to the American dollar. They knew what they were doing. And now they find themselves with their overspending and-- and-- the sovereign debt being built up. And--
PELLEY: Governor, I'm sorry, but it's the tyranny of the clock. We are all out of time. This is Scott Pelley with Major Garrett at the Republican--
UNKNOWN: We'll allow the French and the Germans--
PELLEY: --debates. Thank you for joining us. Great to be with you.
Presidential Candidate Debates, Republican Candidates Debate in Spartanburg, South Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/297510