Third presidential debate transcript: Mitt Romney on increasing military spending

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 Mitt Romney’s remarks on increasing military spendings: 

Moderator Bob Schieffer: Governor, you say you want a bigger military. You want a bigger Navy. You don’t want to cut defense spending. What I want to ask you — we were talking about financial problems in this country. Where are you going to get the money?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well, let’s come back and talk about the military, but all the way — all the way through. First of all, I’m going through from the very beginning — we’re going to cut about 5 percent of the discretionary budget, excluding military. That’s number one.

The good news is (inaudible). I’d be happy to have you take a look. Come on our website. You look at how we get to a balanced budget within eight to 10 years. We do it by getting — by reducing spending in a whole series of programs. By the way, number one I get rid of is Obamacare.

There are a number of things that sound good, but frankly, we just can’t afford them. And that one doesn’t sound good and it’s not affordable. So I’d get rid of that one from day one. To the extent humanly possible, we get that out. We take program after program that we don’t absolutely have to have, and we get rid of them.

Number two, we take some programs that we are doing to keep, like Medicaid, which is a program for the poor; we’ll take that healthcare program for the poor and we give it to the states to run because states run these programs more efficiently.

As a governor, I thought please, give me this program. I can run this more efficiently than the federal government and states, by the way, are proving it. States like Arizona, Rhode Island have taken these — these Medicaid dollars; have shown they can run these programs more cost-effectively. I want to do those two things and get this — get this to a balanced budget with eight — eight to 10 years.

But the military — let’s get back to the military, though.

Our Navy is old — excuse me, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at under 285. We’re headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me.

I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947.

We’ve changed for the first time since FDR — since FDR we had the — we’ve always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we’re changing to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the President of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American people.

And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making — is making our future less certain and less secure.

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2 Comments on “Third presidential debate transcript: Mitt Romney on increasing military spending

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