CBS News/NJ debate transcript, part 2

The following is a transcript of the last half-hour of the CBS News/National Journal debate held in Spartanburg, S.C., on national security and foreign policy.

CBS News/NJ debate transcript, part 1

Scott Pelley: Good evening from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This is the Republican Commander in Chief debate. I'm Scott Pelley with CBS News, along with Major Garrett of National Journal. This is the final half hour of this 90 minute Republican debate. The focus tonight: National security and foreign affairs.

And in this half hour, we'll include your questions. You may submit them on-line at CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com. And we will have the questions of South Carolina senators Lindsey Graham and Jim Demint. So let's continue.

Major Garrett: Indeed, Scott. We have a question from Josh Cooper from Woodsboro, Massachusetts. Congresswoman Bachmann, he writes in as this debate was going on. Quote: "Almost half of the federal budget goes to military-related expenditures. Should we increase spending, especially in a debt crisis?

Michelle Bachmann: Well-- the military is also able to-- to have expenditures reduced, as well. And I think probably the best place is in the area of how we finance procurements. Today, we have a situation where we reward those who are designing and-- and-- and-- making our weaponry, based upon the length of time that they take it-- to produce it. We don't do that anywhere else.

So rather than having a cost plus fee, we need to have a fixed cost system. We'll save money. And also, tri-care (PH) could use reform, as well. Those are two areas where we'd yield significant savings. That-- but we cannot do is cut back on the efforts regarding our troops and making sure they're fully resourced.

Major Garrett: A quick follow-up, Congresswoman. Can you name a weapon system that you think should be ended for fiscal reasons? And when you talk about tri-care, that's the military medical system. What do you mean when you say, "Reform," does that mean cuts in benefits?

Michelle Bachmann: No. I think that we need to have modernization. That's what the biggest problem is right now with-- with Social Security, with Medicare, with Medicaid. We're continuing to abide by the models that we had when they were first originated. There's very few businesses that maintain their similar business practices 45 years after inception or 75 years after inception. We have to modernize.

But we also know what the future is in health care, don't we? It is Obama Care. And quite likely, Tri-care, Medicare, all of these will collapse under President Obama, and everyone will be put into Obama Care. No one want to be-- in Obama Care.

Scott Pelley: And that's time--

Michelle Bachmann: That's why it's Commander in Chief.

Scott Pelley: --Congresswoman.

Michelle Bachmann: I'll repeal Obama Care.

Scott Pelley: Thank you very much. Mr. Cain -- Mr. Cain, would you describe what you think is happening in the Arab Spring? And how, as president, can you affect that to make it work for the United States and not against us?

Herman Cain: What's happening in the Arab-- Spring, you have to look at Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and all of the revolutions that are going on, and how this administration has mishandled them. As a result, they have gotten totally out of hand. Our relationship with Egypt may not survive.

Because when this president backed the opposition, it turned out that opposition was more of the Muslim Brotherhood, which could end up with a majority of control of this new government. This president has already said that the president of Yemen should go. He is our friend. He has been helping us to fight al-Qaeda. This president has been on the wrong side in nearly every situation in the Arab world, which has basically done nothing except to put that entire thing at risk.

Scott Pelley: And that's time, sir, thank you.

Major Garrett: Mr. Speaker, at least 3,500 civilians have been slaughtered in Syria. Today, the Arab League voted to suspect Syria. If the opposition, and you were commander in chief, requested military assistance, covert smuggling, or a no-fly zone, would you authorize either or both?

Newt Gingrich: With first of all, I think that it's a good thing today that the Arab League suspended Syria. I think this administration should have been much more aggressive against Assad. It's ironic to me that Mubarrak, who had been our ally for years, who had done everything he could to help the United States, who had helped us in the Iraq campaigns, who had done literally we had requested of him, he was dumped overnight by this administration in a way that signaled everybody in the world, "Don't rely on the United States, because they'll abandon you in a heartbeat if they feel like it."

Assad, who is our enemy, and is an ally and-- of-- of-- of Iran, has had amazingly soft treatment by our State Department, as though they are afraid to make him feel bad. I would actively-- approve-- taking those steps would which-- defeat his regime, which would probably be mostly covert. I don't-- I don't think you need a no-fly zone. I think there are a number of steps you could take. And I think he would fall very rapidly.

If-- the-- if the United States and Europe communicated clearly that Assad was going to go, I think you would find Europe-- there's a very tiny faction. And I think you would find him likely to be replaced very rapidly.

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