Third presidential debate transcript: President Barack Obama’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 President Barack Obama’s remarks on Syria:

Moderator Bob Schieffer:

War in Syria has now spilled over to Lebanon. We have what more than 100 people that were killed there in a bomb. There were demonstrations there. Eight people dead.

Mr. President, it’s been more than a year since you told Assad he had to go. Since then, 30,000 Syrians have died. We’ve had 300,000 refugees. The war goes on. He’s still there. Should we reassess our policy and see if we can find a better way to influence events there or is that even possible?


President Barack Obama:

What we’ve done is organized the international community saying Assad has to go. We’ve mobilized sanctions against that government. We have made sure that they are isolated. We have provided humanitarian assistance. And we’re helping the opposition organize, and we’re particularly interested in making sure we’re mobilizing the moderate forces inside Syria.

But ultimately, Syrians are going to have to determine their own future. And so everything we’re doing, we’re doing in consultation with our partners in the region, including Israel which obviously has a huge interest in seeing what happens in Syria; coordinating with Turkey; and other countries in the region that have a great interest in this.

Now, what we’re seeing taking place in Syria is heartbreaking, and that’s why we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition.

But we also have to recognize that, you know, for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step, and we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping, that we’re not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or allies in the region.

And I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered.

But what we can’t do is to simply suggest that, as Governor Romney at times suggested, that giving heavy weapons, for example, to the Syrian opposition is a simple proposition that would lead us to be safer in the long-term.



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2 Comments on “Third presidential debate transcript: President Barack Obama’s remarks on Syria

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

  2. Pingback: Third debate transcript: Obama & Romney's exchange on Iran, Israel & American leadership in the Middle East | What The Folly?!

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