Third presidential debate transcript: Gov. Mitt Romney’s remarks on Syria

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Excerpts from the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida on Oct. 22, 2012

Transcript of Gov. Mitt Romney’s remarks on Syria:

Well, let’s step back and talk about what’s happening in Syria and how important it is.

First of all, 30,000 people being killed by their government is a humanitarian disaster.

Secondly, Syria’s an opportunity for us because Syria plays an important role in the Middle East, particularly right now. It is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea. It’s their route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens of course our ally Israel.

And so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us.

Number two, seeing a replacement government being responsible people is critical for us.

And finally, we don’t want to have military involvement there. We don’t want to get drawn into a military conflict. And so the right course for us is working through our partners and our own resources to identify responsible parties within Syria, organize them, bring them together in a form of – if not government, then a form of council. They could take the lead in Syria. And then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves.

We do need to make sure that they don’t have arms that get into the wrong hands – that those arms could be used to hurt us down the road.

We need to make sure as well that we coordinate this effort with our allies and particularly with Israel. But the Saudis and the Qataris and the Turks are all very concerned about this and they’re willing to work with us.

We need to have a very effective leadership effort in Syria, making sure that the insurgents there are armed and that insurgents that become armed are people who will be the responsible parties.

Recognize I believe that Assad must go. I believe he will go. But I believe that we want to make sure that we have relationships of friendship with the people that take his place such that in the years to come we see Syria as a friend and Syria as a responsible party in the Middle East.

This is a critical opportunity for America. And what I’m afraid of is we watched over the past year or so first the President saying, “Well, we’ll let the U.N. deal with it.” And Kofi Annan came in and said we’re going to try to have a cease fire. That didn’t work. Then looked to the Russians and said, “Let’s see if you can do something.” We should be playing the leadership role there, not on the ground with military.

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2 Comments on “Third presidential debate transcript: Gov. Mitt Romney’s remarks on Syria

  1. Pingback: Third presidential debate transcript: Mitt Romney on increasing military spending | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Third presidential debate transcript: President Barack Obama on Israel & Iran | What The Folly?!

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