Third presidential debate transcript: Gov. Mitt Romney on America’s role in the world

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 America’s role in the world: 

Moderator Bob Schieffer: 

What do each of you see as our role in the world?

Gov. Mitt Romney: 

Well, I absolutely believe that America has a responsibility and privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful. And those principles include human rights, human dignity, free enterprise, freedom of expression, elections – because when there are elections people tend to vote for peace; they don’t vote for war. We want to promote those principles around the world.

We recognize that there are places of conflict in the world. We want to end those conflicts to the extent humanly possible.

But in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, America must be strong. America must lead.

And for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. You can’t have 23 million people struggling to get a job. You can’t have an economy that over the last 3 years keeps slowing down its growth rate. You can’t have kids coming out of college half of whom can’t find a job today or a job that’s commensurate with their college degree. We have to get our economy going.

And our military – we’ve got to strengthen our military long-term. We don’t know what the world is going to throw at us down the road. When we make decisions today in the military that will confront challenges that we can’t imagine.

In the 2000 debates, there was no mention of terrorism for instance. And a year later, 9/11 happened. So we have to make decisions based upon uncertainty, and that means a strong military. I will not cut our military budget.

We also have to stand by our allies. I think the tension that existed between Israel and the United States was very unfortunate.

I think also that pulling our missile defense program out of Poland in the way we did was also unfortunate in terms of, if you will, disrupting the relationship in some ways that existed between us.

And that of course, with regards to standing for our principles, when the students took to the streets in Tehran and the people there protested, the Green Revolution occurred, for the President to be silent, I thought was an enormous mistake. We have to stand for our principles, stand for our allies, stand for a strong military, and stand for a stronger economy.