Mitt Romney calls for Obama to be more engaged in Afghan war
Romney discusses war in Afghanistan
- Duration 16:43
- Date Mar 18, 2012
Romney discusses war in Afghanistan
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
It's another busy campaign weekend Missouri continues the process of selecting delegates Puerto Rico votes today.
That on Tuesday all eyes will be on Illinois.
Joining us now from Moline to talk about where the race stands now is Mitt Romney governor welcome back to FOX News Sunday.
Thanks Brett did agree with you let's start with Afghanistan.
Tensions between the US and Afghanistan appear to be very high at this point Afghanistan president.
Hamid Karzai has accused the US of stonewalling.
The investigation into the killing sixteen Afghan civilians.
In fact even suggested there might be more than one shooter he angrily said Friday quote.
This has been going on for too long this is all by all means the end of the rope here.
Thursday he demanded all NATO troops get out of the villages and stay on the major bases there.
President Obama as you know has publicly said to stay the course until withdrawal at the end of 2014.
Would president Romney do anything different and if so now.
Well first of all I would exercise leadership.
And and by that I mean I -- would work with the President Karzai would speak with President Karzai -- day today we have troops in harm's way.
Almost 18100 men and women who have been killed in Afghanistan we have real interest in making sure that this ends well.
And -- a mission is successful there of having a and Afghanistan.
That is able to maintain its sovereignty against.
That the Taliban against ultimately al-Qaeda as well.
Look what what's happening right now is as an example of failed leadership.
The president put out a specific timetable for withdrawal of our troops a timetable for the end of combat operations.
This is leading that mr.
Karzai to take action that's a self preservation of nature.
The president needs to be more engaged.
And and interacting with not only our commanders there but also with leadership in Afghanistan but would you accelerate the withdrawal.
Well the timing of withdrawal is going to be dependent upon what you hear from the conditions on the ground that you understand by speaking with commanders there.
As well as of course the people in Afghanistan and their ability that maintain their sovereignty and to have the capacity.
To have a military that can stand up of the challenges they face.
Are the big that timetable the guidelines -- continue to be -- it into effect unless of course there are changes in conditions are suggesting faster.
Withdrawal but but recognize.
That that ultimately.
The the independents in the security.
Afghanistan is gonna have to be.
-- secured and maintained by the Afghans themselves we're not gonna stay there forever.
Your Republican opponents have a very different tone they've been sounding.
-- speaker Gingrich said -- were risking lives on a mission that -- frankly not be doable Rick Santorum said we either have to make a full commitment.
Which he said this president has not Donna we have to decide to get out sooner and Ron Paul of course has maintained his long held position to withdraw troops from Afghanistan immediately so.
Are you taking a stand here while much of your party is souring.
Well what I -- before I take a stand out about a particular course of action I wanna get the input from the people who are there.
General Allen is going to be coming to Washington testifying this week about what the conditions are.
I think it's very plain to see that that the conditions there are not going very well.
And and that the and I late part of the blame for that.
On the lack of leadership on the part of our president.
Both in terms of his interaction with Karzai -- with leaders there as well as his relative detachment from our military commanders there.
And the fact that he published a specific date for withdrawal.
Published a date for withdrawal of our count combat operations there.
Did not oversee elections in in Afghanistan that would have convince the people there that that that -- elected someone that they can have confidence that.
I did not put enough troops into the search as was requested by the military.
He certainly takes part of the blame for the failure there and we're gonna get our troops out as soon as we possibly can.
But but this does have the all of the indications.
Of a of a similarly.
Failed withdrawal -- -- failed completion.
Effort on the part of this president just like we saw in Iraq he likewise failed in the way we we we left Iraq and and that this is a president that.
Simply does not have experience in tough situations.
Not negotiating experts -- leadership experience and it's it's showing once again that the result of that one might -- have expected from lack of leadership.
Let's talk about -- what you're seeing and hearing.
Where do you put the chances that Israel will strike Iran in coming months.
Well I can't Begin to speak for what -- -- will do I think that they recognize that.
-- that Iran's nuclear weaponry present say existential threat to them.
Bachmann did the job has said that he would consider -- is really one bomb nation.
So it Israel's timetable may be different -- our timetable.
They're the clear about I think lessons from this are the one the president should have put in place crippling sanctions from day one instead of waiting for three and a half years.
Two he should have spoken out when the dissidents took to the streets in Tehran instead he was silent.
And three he should be less worried about Israel taking military action to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon.
And more worried about Iran actually having a nuclear weapon and having fissile material and he should make it very clear.
That the United States of America will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons and that we will take action including military action if necessary.
-- to prevent that from occurring.
The president said two weeks ago that you and speaker Gingrich and senator Santorum are speaking casually.
About war with Iran saying quote if some of these folks think that it's time to -- -- -- they should say so.
They should explain the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be everything else is just talk.
Well it's quite clear that the president wants to avoid -- anyway a discussion about a military option but of course we have to recognize.
That if all else fails and he's failed on somebody -- -- it's possible -- all else will fail.
But but I hope not I hope the crippling sanctions will now that they're finally beginning to be employed there will have an impact I hope that.
But if we aggressively support dissident voices in Iran that -- -- -- and it and I hope.
That that showing -- a military commitment on our part.
And -- a recognition that we have a military options that will that would change the minds of the Iranians towards a nuclear program but there's nothing casual.
About Iran having a nuclear weapon.
There's nothing casual about Iran having just -- -- to give to Hamas or Hezbollah.
And and Hezbollah is now in many parts throughout.
The South America look at it there in our hemisphere fissile material in our hemisphere with Hezbollah -- Able to potentially -- get into this country they're nothing casual about that.
The president needs to recognize this is a very serious threat to America and of the world.
And that of course we have to have military options.
Israel is obviously developing those options I hope our president -- listen to our military and developing those options as well.
Governor obviously volatility in the Middle East affects oil prices.
Do you believe President Obama is to blame for high gas prices.
Well that there's no question but that what he ran for office he said he wanted to see gasoline prices go up.
He said that energy prices would skyrocket under his views.
And -- selected three people to help them implement that that program.
The secretary of energy the secretary of the interior and the EPA administrator.
And -- had this gas hike trio has been doing the job over the last three and a half years and gas prices are up.
The right courses they ought to be.
Because the president has apparently.
The suffered a election year a conversion he's now decided that gasoline prices should come down.
Well the -- gas hike trio has been going in the other direction time for them to go public and their -- in the resignations.
If he's really serious about that and start drilling for energy here.
-- -- that's of course our oil our natural gas take advantage of our coal resources for power generation.
It's a very different policy.
That that he's -- talking about and I hope -- I hope it's a real but conversion -- tell.
You're obviously feel the presence vulnerable on this issue looking at the headlines over the past few days.
You've been hitting this hard a number of different headlines suggesting that you've been talking about that a lot this is obviously become a focus now -- your campaign.
But less than a month ago in your speech at the -- -- economic club.
You didn't have one word about energy policy and the same was true in your victory speeches and New Hampshire and Florida and your speech and C pac.
Why not a word about that in those speeches and it doesn't talk to a change in message and the power of this issue.
You know I've been speaking about energy policy I think kept pretty consistently throughout my stump speeches maybe not every -- speech idea.
But I've been talking about the need to develop our -- our oil resources are natural gas resources but that they -- -- -- reality is.
That is I've got across the country in the last several weeks in particular.
I'm seeing more more people particularly women -- that let's say to me you know it's hard getting kids to school under the soccer practice when you don't know if you can afford to -- -- that the car.
I spoke with the teacher and in Saint Louis who was out of work and and she's staying -- unemployment because she said in part the cost of getting to and from work at a temporary teaching assignment was just so expensive given gasoline.
She couldn't afford to come back to work.
But that this get these gasoline prices are hurting American families.
-- and -- that pain and the the result of the president's policies to turn down missile via that the pipeline the Keystone Pipeline.
From Canada at the same time put 500 million dollars of the Solyndra the these policies are not working.
His policies are hurting the American people at and they want to have some on the wolf finally take advantage of our energy resources and I will govern.
One of the standard lines in your stump speech is on spending in the test that you would apply in a Romney administration.
Is the program so critical that it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for at the fox Google debate in September you said without qualification quote.
We need to get the federal government out of education.
Does this mean eliminating the Department of Education.
Not necessarily may be combined with other agencies there will still be a role meaning that that -- since the federal government.
Provides funding to local school district for care of disabled children.
That will be maintained but that.
The the reach of the Department of Education into the states has to be pulled back you -- patient has to -- Has to be managed at the state level not at the federal level what will there be any flow through -- funds to the states yes but the role I see.
That that ought to remain in the president's agenda.
With regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers' unions.
Those federal teachers' unions have too much power in some cases they overwhelm the states that overwhelmed the local school districts.
We have got to put the kids first and put these teachers unions behind you still support No Child Left Behind.
I support the principle of having.
States test their kids and one of the things President Bush did that I supported and I did support No Child Left Behind and do support.
Continuing to test our kids -- I want to know which school districts are succeeding and which ones are failing.
And where they are feeling I wanted to be action taken to get the teachers' unions out and get the kids once again receive in the education they need.
So what I like the idea of testing our kids No Child Left Behind needs to be changed I think it's a pretty significant ways before -- -- authorized.
But I do support the testing that's been associated with that program and and I'm glad the president -- not pushed for that.
Governor on the stump you criticized.
Rick Santorum for his answer in a recent debate taking one for the team.
And that was casting his vote for No Child Left Behind.
You have been on that team.
Well like I have no problem supporting things I agree with -- -- So what I'm not I was in criticizing us senator Santorum.
For supporting No Child Left Behind I'm criticizing senator Santorum for -- That he opposes that that it's against his principles but he voted -- anyway.
That in my opinion does not the kind of leadership we need to have in this country but we have a couple of guys running against be in this contest who spent their life and and the legislature.
But it wrong -- that it's just not the kind of executive leadership we need to have in Washington today.
I actually think this campaign is gonna come down.
To whether we have someone who can go up against President Obama who has real experience as a leader who understands how the economy works because.
Not because he's he's debated in congress are in a subcommittee.
But because he's -- that and that it did in the private sector and I have I think that's going to be the fundamental difference between me and present Obama.
And I hope that's why people continue to vote for me and that in this process and give me the nod to become the nominee.
In this race you pointed out many times that you've received.
A lot more votes in fact you've received more than one million more votes than your nearest competitor Rick Santorum and there you see that the breakdown on the screen.
Your campaign has reportedly raised about 63 million dollars spent about 55 million dollars that means in -- cost per vote on campaign spending.
You've spent fifteen dollars 83 cents per vote Newt Gingrich 776.
Rick Santorum to 28.
If you also had the spending from the super pacs that support you.
You've spent roughly 26 dollars per vote Gingrich fifteen and a half -- -- five dollars fourteen cents per vote.
So you've recently criticized Rick Santorum for being an economic lightweight.
But purely from a business perspective governor is -- getting a lot of votes for his money.
That there's no question but that and a campaign one of the things you you have to recognize today one.
It's -- you need to organize a financial operation to make sure you can run a campaign by the way I've had also Herman -- to battle.
Rick Perry but to battle.
-- -- a letter to battle this -- long a long process and ultimately that if I become the nominee.
I gonna be going it up against pres Obama.
And he's -- he's put together an organization he says will raise about a billion dollars we have to have a nominee.
Who has the capacity to it -- and the organization necessary to raise money to be competitive.
I intend to be very competitive with President Obama.
To make sure that we that we get our message out and that we defeated this is this is not about a shoestring operation.
This is about an operation that can be can be competitive with the president of the United States and beat him because by the way.
We've got to get him out of office -- his page failed policies on energy on the in the economy.
Internationally what we gotta get him out and that's what the reasons -- we're we've organized -- a strong campaign.
Last thing governor your campaign has been aggressively pointing out that it's becoming mathematically very difficult for Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to get the 11144.
Delegates needed to get the nomination.
But -- you need to get 48% of the delegates left to get to 1144.
They are talking about preventing you from getting to that number what do you make of that strategy and what happens if they succeed.
Well I I think the people of our party want to make sure we have a nominee they can be Barack Obama.
And I know a lot of people talk about delegates and strategies in math and that's all very interesting to the insiders.
But I think the American people want to see someone who has the leadership skill and experience to defeat the president had a vision of conservatism.
That we'll get America on track again I want to restore the values that made this country great President Obama is transforming this -- something we wouldn't recognize.
So -- you know I can't -- exactly how the process is gonna work.
But I -- -- gonna become the nominee I sure hope I'm gonna become the nominee and if I -- I'm going to be -- -- -- a strong nominee and I believe defeat President Obama.
Get America back on the track of creating jobs seeing rising incomes again.
Gasoline prices that are more reasonable and an America that's respected around the world.
Last thing my NCAA bracket is toast almost as much as my voice from this allergy.
But do you have any favorite teams in the NCAA tournament.
I'm afraid I have not follow.
The the the contests as closely as I have in the past and that so -- I'm not gonna make it a and a guest of us here -- You know I root for my alma mater Brigham and university but we haven't made it as far as -- like in the last years.
OK governor governor Romney thanks for talking with a safe travels will be watching to see what happens is coming days.
Thanks Brett get a be with you.