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Campaign 2012: Obama vs. Romney

In separate interviews, President Barack Obama and his challenger, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, discuss the election year's hot-button issues

Romney: Well, I have to go across the country, particularly in the states that are closest, and describe how it is I'm going to get the economy going and how we're going to restore the economic freedom that built this economy in the first place.

Pelley: Can you win this thing?

Romney: I'm going to win this thing.

In Florida, a state with high foreclosure rates and unemployment over the national average, Romney hammered away with his economic message. That's where he believes the campaign will be won. He does not spend much time at his rallies talking about foreign policy -- a subject in which he has limited experience and no military background.

Pelley: Governor, the president has the United States on track to get most of our combat forces out of Afghanistan by 2014. Is there anything that you would do differently?

Romney: Well, I also agree that 2014 is the timeline we should aim for. I thought that the surge troops should have been brought back in November of this year, not September. I don't think you try and bring back troops during the fighting season. I think that was a mistake. I think it was also a mistake to announce the precise date of our withdrawal.

Pelley: How would you ease the anti-American sentiment that we see in the Middle East?

Romney: Communicate to nations like Egypt, and Egypt is-- if you will, the major player, 80 million people, the center of the Arab world. Egypt needs to understand what the rules are. That to remain an ally of the United States, to receive foreign aid from the United States, to receive foreign investment from ourselves and from our friends, I believe, around the world, that they must honor their peace agreement with Israel. That they must also show respect and provide civil rights for minorities in their country. And they also have to protect our embassies. I think we also have to communicate that Israel is our ally. Our close ally. The president's decision not to meet with Bibi Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, when the prime minister is here for the United Nations session, I think, is a mistake and it sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what's necessary.

Pelley: There are a lot of unknowns in being president. I wonder how you would make a decision on whether to send U.S. forces into combat.

Romney: Well, it would be a very high hurdle. Number one, a very substantial American interest at stake. Number two, a clear definition of our mission. Number three, a clear definition of how we'll know when our mission is complete. Number four, providing the resources to make sure that we can carry out that mission effectively, overwhelming resources. And finally, a clear understanding of what will be left after we leave. All of those would have to be in place before I were to decide to deploy American military might in any foreign place.

Governor Romney has been criticized lately for comments during a private fund raiser when he said that his "job is not to worry about" the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes and are dependent on government.

Pelley: You're the CEO of this campaign. A lot of Republicans would like to know, a lot of your donors would like to know, how do you turn this thing around?

Romney: Well, it doesn't need a turnaround. We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States.

Pelley: As you know, a lot of people were concerned about the video of the fundraiser in which you talked about the 47 percent of the American people who don't pay taxes. Peggy Noonan, a very well-known conservative columnist, said that it was an example of this campaign being incompetent. And I wonder if any of that criticism gets through to you and whether you're concerned about it at all, whether--

Romney: Well, that's not--