Third presidential debate transcript: President Barack Obama on Pakistan & violent extremism

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 Pakistan and dealing with violent extremism: 

Well, keep in mind our strategy wasn’t just going after bin Laden. We created partnerships throughout the region to deal with extremism in Somalia, in Yemen, in Pakistan.

And what we’ve also done is engaged these governments in the kind of reforms that are actually going to make a difference in people’s lives day to day, to make sure that their governments aren’t corrupt, to make sure that they’re treating women with the kind of respect and dignity that every nation that succeeds has shown and to make sure that they’ve got a free market system that works.

So across the board, we are engaging them in building capacity in these countries. And we have stood on the side of democracy.

One thing I think Americans should be proud of, when Tunisians began to protest, this nation — me, my administration — stood with them earlier than just about any country.

In Egypt we stood on the side of democracy.

In Libya we stood on the side of the people.

And as a consequence, there’s no doubt that attitudes about Americans have changed. But there are always going to be elements in these countries that potentially threaten the United States. And we want to shrink those groups and those networks and we can do that.

But we’re always also going to have to maintain vigilance when it comes to terrorist activities. The truth, though, is that Al Qaeda is much weaker than it was when I came into office. And they don’t have the same capacities to attack the U.S. homeland and our allies as they did four years ago.


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