CBS News/NJ debate transcript, part 1
Michele Bachmann: Pakistan is a very difficult area, because they have been housing terrorists and terrorists have been training there. Al Qaeda, as well as Hikani, as well as other militias dealing with terrorist organizations. But I would not agree with that assessment to pull all foreign aid from Pakistan. I would reduce foreign aid to many, many countries. But there's a problem, because Pakistan has a nuclear weapon. We have more-- people affiliated with Al Qaeda closer to that nuclear bomb than in any nation. This is an extremely important issue.
And I think it underscores exactly why the next commander in chief has to understand from day one the intricacies that are happening in the Middle East. This is a very dangerous time. If you look at Iran and if you look at Pakistan and if you look at-- at the-- the links with Syria, because Iran is working through proxies like Syria, through Hezbollah, through Hamas. It seems that the table is being set for worldwide nuclear war against Israel. And if there's anything that we know, President Obama has been more than willing to stand with Occupy Wall Street, but he hasn't been willing to stand with Israel. Israel looks at President Obama and they do not see a friend.
Major Garrett: Congresswoman, thank you. Speaker Gingrich, you presided-- as speaker over several foreign aid budgets for the United States. And I remember covering in 1995 the intervention on behalf of the Mexican peso. You have seen, at times, the proper role of the United States through foreign aid and other interventions. I want to know if you agree with-- Governor Perry about starting at zero?
Newt Gingrich: I'm absolute-- I mean, what he said made absolutely perfect sense. Why would you start every year-- and consider the alternative. You're giving some country $7 billion a year. So you start off-- or-- or in the case of Egypt, $3 billion a year. So you start off every year and say, "Here's your $3 billion, now I'll start thinking"? You ought to start off at zero and say, "Explain to me why I should give you a penny."
And let me tell you, the fact that the Pakistanis-- he didn't think about this. The Pakistanis hid Bin Laden for at least six years in a military city within a mile of their national defense university? And then they got mad at the people who turned him over to us? And we think those are the acts of allies? I think that's a pretty good idea to start at zero and sometimes stay there.
Major Garrett: Just a quick follow up, Mr. Speaker. Since you've entered-- since you mentioned Egypt, Mr. Speaker, I just want to know, if you were president, if the aid that we currently provide on an annualized basis to Egypt would be completely rethought and possibly eliminated, if you were president?
Newt Gingrich: It would certain-- it would certainly be completely rethought. And candidly, the degree to which the Arab Spring may become an anti-Christian spring is something which bothers me a great deal. And I would certainly have the State Department intervening on behalf of the (UNINTEL) Christians, who are being persecuted under the new system, having their churches burned, having people killed. And I'd be pretty insistent that we are not gonna be supportive of a regime, which is explicitly hostile to-- to religions other than Islam.
Scott Pelley: Senator Santorum-- if a Pakistani nuclear weapon goes missing, what do you do?
Rick Santorum: Well, let me just stop back and-- and-- and say I disagree with a lot of what was said up here. Pakistan must be a friend of the United States for the reason that Michele outlined. Pakistan is a nuclear power. And there are people in this-- in that country that if they gain control of that country will create a situation equal to the situation that is now percolating in Iran.
So we can't be indecisive about whether Pakistan is our friend. They must be our friend. And we much mut-- we must engaged them as friends, get over the difficulties we have, as we did with Saudi Arabia, with-- with respect to the events of 9/11. We-- they-- the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. And we said, "What-- you know what? It's important for us to maintain that relationship, in spite of those difficulties."
And it's important for us, with a nuclear power, with a very vast number of people in Pakistan, who are radicalizing, that we keep a solid and stable relationship and work through our difficulties. It is that important, and we must maintain that relationship.
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