Scott Pelley: Good evening from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I'm Scott Pelley with CBS News along with my colleague Major Garrett of National Journal. In just under a year now, Americans will go to the polls to choose a president. Tonight, CBS News and National Journal are pleased to bring you a discussion of the issues by the Republican candidates for their party's nomination.
The focus will be foreign policy and national security, the president's role as commander in chief. Consider this, the 9/11 attacks came in the eighth month of a new presidency, the Bay of Pigs in the 13th week, and the Civil War on the 40th day of a new presidency. Reminders from history that a president must be prepared to deal with a crisis from day one.
The ground rules for tonight's debate are simple. A candidate who is asked a question will have one minute to respond and then at a discretion of the moderators, there can be a 30-second follow-up or a 30-second rebuttle from another candidate. The debate will run a total of 90 minutes. The first hour will be broadcast right here on the CBS television network, the entire 90 minutes will be streamed on CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com. And we invite you to submit questions during the debate to either w-- website. Joining me now in asking the questions, Major Garrett.
Major Garrett: Scott, thank you very much. One more piece of housekeeping. Let's introduce the candidates. Former Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman. Representing the 6th District of Minnesota, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Representing the 14th District of Texas, Congressman Ron Paul.
From Atlanta, Georgia, businessman Herman Cain. Former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. Former House speaker, Newt Gingrich. Current Texas governor, Rick Perry. And former Pennsylvania senator, Rick Santorum. Mr. Cain, I'd like to begin this evening with you, sir.
Herman Cain: Yes.
Major Garrett: This week, a U.N. nuclear watchdog agency provided additional credible evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. If you were president right now, what would you do specifically that this administration is not doing to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?
Herman Cain: The first thing that I would do is to assist the opposition movement in Iran, that's tryin' to overthrow the regime. Our enemies are not the people of Iran, it's the regime. And a regime change is what they are trying to achieve. Secondly, we need to put economic pressure on Iran, by way of our own energy independence strategy. By having our own energy independence strategy, we will impact the price of oil in the world markets, because Iran uses oil not only as a-- means of currency, but they use it as a weapon.
One of the reasons that they are able to afford that nuclear weapons program, is because of oil. Secondly, we would then work to increase sanctions on Iran, along with our friends and our allies. So whereas we will not be-- so that's why I do believe that they have a nuclear weapons program and they are closer to having nuclear weapon, stopping them-- the only we can stop them is through economic means.
Major Garrett: A quick follow up, Mr. Cain. You say assisting the opposition, would you entertain military assistance and opposition?
Herman Cain: I would not entertain-- military opposition. I'm talkin' about to help the opposition movement within the country. And then there's one other thing that we could do. We could deploy our ballistic missile defense capable (UNINTEL) war ships strategically in that part of the world. We have the biggest fleet of those warships in the world. And we could use them strategically in the event that they were able to fire a ballistic missile.
Scott Pelley: Governor Romney, would it be worth goin' to war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?
Mitt Romney: Well, let's-- let's start back from there and let's talk about where we are. This is, of course, President Obama's greatest failing, from a foreign policy standpoint, which is he recognized the gravest threat that America and the world faces-- and faced was a nuclear Iran and he did not do what was necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took the streets and say, "America is with you." And work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents.
Number two, he should have put-- put in place crippling sanctions against Iran. But instead of getting Russia, for instance, to-- what-- what he gave in our-- our missile defense system to agree to-- to stand with those crippling sanctions, he gave Russia what they wanted, their number one foreign policy objective, and got nothing in return.
Mitt Romney: I get 60 seconds.
Scott Pelley: Yes, sir, and that was--
Mitt Romney: That was 30.
Scott Pelley: The-- the 60--
Mitt Romney: Sorry, it started at yellow, so I-- I have much more time to go.
Scott Pelley: You-- you know what, Governor? I stand corrected. You are right. Please continue.
Mitt Romney: Fin-- finally, the president should have built credible-- threat of military action, and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know-- and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you'd like me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon.
Scott Pelley: But sir, let me-- you just described where we are today, and that's what you're going to have to deal with if you become president. How do you prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon? Is it worth going to war to prevent that?
Mitt Romney: Well, it's worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It's worth working with the insurgents in the company to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we've done, there's nothing else we can do beside mil-- take military action, then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. This term "unacceptable" has been applied by several presidents over history, and our current president has made it very clear that he's not willing to do those things necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. I will take a different course. I will make sure that the sanctions, diplomatic pressure, economic pressure, and support of insurgents within the country help them become dissuaded to get away from their nuclear ambition. And finally--
Scott Pelley: This time, it is time.
Mitt Romney: Yeah, and finally, have to-- have to have military presence there.
Scott Pelley: --30 seconds, though, on the follow ups. We're gonna try to adhere to the time.
Major Garrett: Mr. Speaker, is this the right way to look at this question, war or not war? Or do you see other options, diplomatically, or other non-war means that the United States has in its possession to deal with Iran that it has not employed?
Newt Gingrich: Well, let me start and say that both the answers you just got are superior to the current administration. And-- you know, there are a number of ways to be smart about-- Iran and relatively few ways to be dumb. And the administration skipped all the ways to be smart.
Major Garrett: Could you tell us the smart ways, Mr. Speaker?
Newt Gingrich: Sure. First of all, as maximum covert operations-- to block and disrupt the Iranian program-- in-- including-- taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems. All of it covertly, all of it deniable. Second, maximum-- maximum coordination with the Israelis-- in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in Iran. Third, absolute strategic program comparable to what President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher did in the Soviet Union, of every possible aspect short of war of breaking the regime and bringing it down. And I agree entirely with Governor Romney, if in the end, despite all of those things-- the dictatorship persists, you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon.
Scott Pelley: Congressman Paul, let me follow up with you for just 30 seconds. Is it worth going to war to prevent a nuclear weapon in Iran?
Ron Paul: No, it isn't worthwhile. The only way you would do that is-- you would have to go through Congress. We-- we as commander in chief aren't making the decision to go to war. You know, the old-fashioned way, the Constitution, you go to the Congress and find out if our national security is threatened. And-- I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq.
And, you know, they didn't have nuc-- weapons of mass destruction. And it was orchestrated and it was-- to me, a tragedy of what's happened these past-- last ten years, the death and destruction, $4 billion-- $4 trillion in debt. So no, it's not worthwhile goin' to war. If you do, you get a declaration of war and you fight it and you win it and get it over with.
Rick Perry: Let me answer-- the previous question very quickly for-- if I-- if I may.
Scott Pelley: Governor, I'd like to move on, could you give us a sense of your --of your appraisal of the combat situation?
Rick Perry: --I have a minute. And I can do both in one minute, I'll promise you.
Scott Pelley: There-- there you go.
Rick Perry: And the issue that has not been raised is that this country can sanction the Iranian Central Bank right now and shut down that country's economy. And that's what this president needs to do and the American people need to stand up and force him to make that stand today. Now let me address this issue of Afghanistan and how we deal with it. The mission must be completed there. The idea that we will have wasted our treasure and the lives of young Americans to not secure Afghanistan is not appropriate.
But the idea that we would give a timetable to our enemy is irresponsible from a military standpoint, it's irresponsible from the lives of our young men and women. And it is irresponsible leadership of this president to give a timetable to pull out of any country that we're in conflict with.
Scott Pelley: But Governor, if I can just follow up for 30 seconds. The question was, "What's your appraisal of the combat situation on the ground there, and what would you change as commander in chief?"
Rick Perry: Well, obviously, we're discussing with our commanders on the field-- about what's going on in-- Afghanistan. I think we're makin' progress there. The issue is training up the Afghan security forces so that we're comfortable that they can-- protect that citizenry and continue to take the war to the terrorists that are using Afghanistan and Pakistan, I might add. It is a very complex part of the world. But I think that our military is doin' the best job that they can-- considering-- the lack of support that they're getting from this administration-- telegraphing to the enemy when we're gonna pull out.
Major Garrett: Senator Santorum, I know you want to jump in on Iran. I'll give you that opportunity in just a second. So let me merge two things if I could, just one second. The Taliban said earlier this summer quote, "The Afghans have an endless stamina for a long war." If you were commander in chief, would you have endless stamina for victory in Afghanistan? And would you, this evening, define victory in Afghanistan for the American people? And please weigh in, I know you do want to, on Iran.
Rick Santorum: Thank you very much, Major, I appreciate that. Victory against-- the Taliban in Afghanistan is the-- Taliban is a neutered force. They are no longer a security threat-- to the-- to the-- Afghan people or to-- to our country. That would be victory. It doesn't mean wipe them out, we can't wipe them out, but they're no longer a security threat.
The bigger issue-- and I know there's those of us at the end, who don't get a lot of questions. And so I-- I-- this was the-- this is the most important national security issue that we're gonna be dealin' with here in this-- in this year. And that's the issue of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. I think everyone should have the opportunity to answer that question. Particularly me. I've been working on Iran since back in 2004. And I proposed exactly the things that Herman and-- and Mitt Romney suggested, which was to give money to the-- to the-- to the rebel forces there to-- to help the pro-democracy movement and to put tough sanctions in place.
I was opposed by President Bush. And yet, we were able to overcome that and pass the Iran Freedom and Support Act. I was able to get that done. And then President Bush didn't provide money for the pro-democracy movement. And President Obama cut that money. What we-- we have a situation that's different. I disagree with Newt. (UNINTEL) more sanctions and-- and-- and providing, you know, more support for the pro-democracy movement isn't gonna be enough, in time. Read the I.A.E.A. report.
Scott Pelley: Senator, I'm sorry.
Rick Santorum: They are (UNINTEL).
Scott Pelley: That's time. I'm sorry. We're gonna try to adhere to time and be fair to everyone in the-- application of that rule.
Rick Santorum: I understand. Just let me finish my final comment. My final comment is we should be working with Israel right now to do what they did in Syria, what they did in Iraq, which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we hear in Iran is a nuclear one and then the world changes.
Michele Bachmann: They absolutely have, but it's unfortunate, the request was made for 40,000 troops. President Obama dithered for approximately two months, when he should have given the full complement of 40,000 troops. When he gave 30,000 troops to the effort in Afghanistan, that meant that a decision had to be made. With 40,000 troops, they could have conducted the war going into the southern province in-- in Helmand and also going into the eastern province and dealing with the problem all at once and coming to victory that much sooner and bringing our troops home.
When 30,000 troops were given, then our troops did the very best that they could by going into the south and dealing in the Helmand Province. We actually have seen improvement down by Kandahar. That's a very good thing. And that's because of the brave actions by our men and women in that area. However, we have to recognize, now President Obama has made a very fatal decision in Afghanistan. He's made the decision that by next September, our troops will be withdrawn. If that is the case, how do we expect any of our allies to continue to work to-- with us? How can we even begin to seek the peace with the Hikani Network that are in the eastern regions. It's--
Various: Thank you. Thank you.
Scott Pelley: Thank you, Congress-- Congresswoman Bach-- Bachmann, thank you very much. Let me come over to you, Governor Huntsman. And-- and ask you, we are seeing spikes in casualties in Afghanistan, in new places. Can you explain to me what's happening there and how you would change that as commander in chief?
Jon Huntsman: Well, I think the-- spikes obviously are driven by-- lack of security, proper security, in certain parts of the country, which could plague us for a very, very long time to come. I take a different approach on Afghanistan. I say it's time to come home. I say this-- I say this nation has achieved its key objectives in Afghanistan. We've had free elections in 2004. We've uprooted the Taliban. We've dismantled Al Qaeda. We have killed Osama bin Laden. I say this nation's future is not Afghanistan. This nation's future is not Iraq. This nation's future is how prepared we are to meet the 21st Century competitive challenges. That's economic and that's education. And that's gonna play out over the Asia-Pacific region. And we're either prepared for that reality or we're not. I don't want to be nation building in Afghanistan when this nation so desperately needs to be built.
Scott Pelley: Make sure I understand. Bring all the troops home today?
Jon Huntsman: Here's what I would keep behind, because we still have work to do. We don't need 100,000 troops nation building, many of whom can't cross the wire. I think we need a component that gathers tactical intelligence. We need enhanced special forces, response capability for rapid response. And we need some ongoing commitment to train the local Afghan National Army. That's not 100,000 troops. That's well south of that. We are fighting an asymmetric threat, a counterterror threat. Not only there, but in Waziristan and every other corner of the world. And we need to prepare for that as a reality of our 21st Century foreign policy.
Scott Pelley: And that's time. Thank you, sir.
Major Garrett: Governor Romney, a much smaller footprint in Afghanistan? Do you support that? And secondarily, sir, is it time or would it ever be time for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban?
Mitt Romney: We don't negotiate with terrorists. I do not negotiate with the Taliban. That's something for the Afghans to decide how they're gonna-- pursue their course in the future. With regards to our footprint in Afghanistan, the right course is for us to do our very best to secure the victories that have been so hard won by the soldiers, the men and women of-- of our-- fighting forces who have been in Afghanistan.
The commanders on the field feel that we can take out 30,000 to 40,000 troops sometime by the end of next year. The commander in chief, perhaps looking at the calendar of the election, decided to bring them home in September, instead, in the middle of the fighting season. Our commanders said that puts our troops at risk, at danger, "Please don't pull 'em out there," they said.
But he said, "No, I'm gonna get 'em out early." I think that was a mistake. Our surge troops should have been withdrawn by December of next year, not by December. And the timetable, by the end of 2014, is the right timetable for us to be completely withdrawn from Afghanistan, other than a small footprint of support forces.
Newt Gingrich: I don't think you do.
Scott Pelley: Would you agree that the Taliban--
Newt Gingrich: Look, I-- I think this is so much bigger and deeper a problem than we've talked about as a country that we-- we don't have a clue how hard this is gonna be. First of all, the Taliban survives for the ex-- the very same reason that historically we said guerillas always survive, which is they have a sanctuary. The sanctuary's Pakistan. You're never gonna stop the Taliban as long as they can sort of hide. And you-- and you have proof every week in new bombings and new killings and new training. So I think this has to be a much larger strategic discussion that starts with, frankly, Pakistan on the one end and Iran on the other, because I-- Afghanistan is in between the two countries and is the least important of the three countries.
Major Garrett: Related to that, Mr. Cain, I'd like to pick up on a point that Speaker Gingrich just made. You have said about foreign policy, "America needs to be clear about who its friends are and who its foes are." So this evening, sir, Pakistan, friend or foe?
Herman Cain: We don't know. Because Pakistan-- it's not clear, because Pakistan is where Osama bin Laden was found and eliminated. Secondly, Pakistanis have a conversation with President Karzai from Afghanistan and they-- and President Karzai has said that if the United States gets into a dispute with Pakistan, then Afghanistan's gonna side with Pakistan. There is a lot of clarity missing, like Speaker Gingrich says, in this whole region. And they are all interrelated. So there isn't a clear answer as to whether or not Pakistan is a friend or foe. That relationship must be reevaluated.
Major Garrett: If you were president, sir, and your national security council asked you what questions you would want answered to find out a better answer to this very question, what would you tell 'em?
Herman Cain: I would ask them what commitment is Pakistan willing to make to assure the United States of America that they are a friend or of-- or a foe. And be specific about that. Will they make commitments relative to the commitment of their military, if we have to make commitments? Are they willing to come to some regional-- agreement about what we need to do? We need a regional strategy in that area of the world, such that all of our allies, wor-- we work together in order to come up with those things that would be mutually beneficial to everyone. Those are the questions that need to be asked.
Scott Pelley: Governor Perry, why is Pakistan playing a double game, saying that it supports the United States one moment and then supporting terrorists who are killing American troops the next? What's going on there?
Rick Perry: Listen, I-- I think we're havin'-- an interesting conversation here, but the deeper one-- that the speaker makes a reference to is the whole issue of-- of foreign aid. And we need a president of the United States working with a Congress that sends a clear message to every country. It doesn't make any difference whether it's Pakistan or whether it's Afghanistan or whether it's India.
The foreign aid budget in my administration for every country is gonna start at zero dollars. Zero dollars. And then we'll have a conversation. Then we'll have a conversation in this country about whether or not a penny of our taxpayer dollar needs to go into those countries. And Pakistan is clearly sending us messages, Mitt. It's clearly sending us messages that they-- they don't deserve our foreign aid that we're getting, because they're not bein' honest with us. American soldiers' lives are being put at jeopardy because of that country and the decisions that they're make--
--and it's time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don't support the United States of America.
Scott Pelley: That's time, Governor. Governor, let me give you 30 seconds in the follow up to go back to the question, "Why is Pakistan playing this double game?" Help us understand-
Rick Perry: Look, they've been doing this--
Scott Pelley: --what's going on there.
Rick Perry: They've been doing this for years. Their political people are not who are in charge of that country. It's the military. It's the secret service. That's who's running that country. And I don't trust 'em. And we need to send clear messages. We need to do foreign aid completely different. I'm tellin' you, no dollar's goin' into those countries. As a matter of fact, if they want any American aid, any country, unless we say differently, the American manufacturing, big companies, small companies, going in to help create economic--
Scott Pelley: And that's--
Rick Perry: --impacts in those countries--
Scott Pelley: --time, Governor. Thank you.
Rick Perry: --rather than just dollars flowin' into some administration.
Scott Pelley: Thank you very much.
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.
Rick Santorum: And the Pakistanis--
Scott Pelley: How do you make friends out of Pakistan?
Rick Santorum: A lot of the Pakistanis and most of the government would say they don't back the Hikani Network and the Hikani Network causes as much trouble in Pakistan as it has caused us in-- in Afghanistan. We need to work with the elements of Pakistan, and there are elements in the government of Pakistan and the military.
We need to continue those joint exercises. We need to continue the-- the aid relationship. And of course, we all know the aid relationship, when it comes to military aid, is all spent in the United States. So it's not giving money away, it's-- it's-- it's sending military hardware, which creates jobs in this country, to those countries, creating nexus and relationships and dependency on our weapon systems that's important for those future relationships.
Scott Pelley: Senator, we'll have to leave it right there. We will have more of the Republican Commander in Chief Debate in just a moment.
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Scott Pelley: Welcome back to Spartanburg, South Carolina and the Republican commander in chief debate. I'm Scott Pelley with CBS News along with Major Garrett of National Journal.
Major Garrett: Thanks again, Scott. Mis-- Mr. Speaker, you said yesterday that Governor Romney is a competent manager. But you said you were unsure if he was really capable of changing Washington. You said you were the change agent. Based on the arc of this campaign and perhaps what you've heard tonight, would you care to evaluate Governor Romney's ability to think outside the box and change United States national security or foreign policy perspectives.
Newt Gingrich: No.
Major Garrett: You said so last night. Then what was the point, sir? Then what was the point, sir, of bringing it up yesterday on a national radio show?
Newt Gingrich: I brought it up yesterday 'cause I was on a national radio show. I think he brings up things when he's on national radio shows. We're here tonight talking to the American people about why every single one of us is better than Barack Obama. And that's the topic (INAUDIBLE).
Major Garrett: But, Mr. Speaker. If you-- if you would like to--
Newt Gingrich: By-- and by the way, compared-- let me just say, compared to this administration, talking about a friend who's a great business manager as a good manager is an enormous improvement over Barack Obama.
Major Garrett: Then, Mr. Speaker, I well remember you talking as Speaker about the necessary-- or the necessity of leaders to think outside the box.
Newt Gingrich: Yes.
Major Garrett: If you were president, how would you think outside the box about some of the issues we've discussed here tonight?
Newt Gingrich: Well, in a number of ways. As I said earlier, I would-- I would explicitly adopt the Reagan/John Paul II/ Thatcher strategy towards Iran. I would do the same thing towards North Korea. I would adopt a very strong policy towards the United Nations of-- dramatically taken on its-- its absurdities. I would explicitly repudiate what Obama's done on Agenda 21 as the kind of interference from the United Nations that's wrong.
There are a number of other areas. I would also, frankly, apply-- Lean Six Sigma to the Pentagon to liberate the money to rebuild the na-- we're-- we-- we-- we need a capital investment program. And this administration is shrinking the Navy to a point where it's going to be incapable of its doing its job worldwide. So there are a number of places I would be thinking outside the box.
Scott Pelley: And that's time, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much. Mr. Cain, you've often said that you'll listen to your generals for their advice before making decisions as commander in chief. How will you know when you should overrule your generals?
Herman Cain: The approach to makin' a critical decision, first make sure that you surround yourself with the right people. And I feel that I'll be able to make that assessment when we put together the cabinet and all of the people from the military, etcetera. You will know you're makin' the right decision when you consider all the facts and ask them for alternatives. It is up to the commander in chief to make that judgment call based upon all the facts.
And because I'll have mult-- a multiple group of people offering different recommendations, this gives me the best opportunity to select the one that makes the most amount of sense. But ultimately, it's up to the commander in chief to make that decision.
Rick Santorum: Well, I'll come into-- to the office of the presidency with a very clear agenda. And we'll-- I'll get people together that will share my point of view. When I was in the United States Senate, I didn't hire people who didn't share how I approach the problem. That's what the people of this country are electing. They're electing someone who's gonna be very crystal clear. And as you heard from my first two answers, I don't mince words. I say exactly what I believe.
And then I follow through and do what I say. I did that when I was in public life before, even though I represented a state that wasn't particularly conservative state. I followed through and did that. And I will surround myself with people who will execute what I promise the American public to do. And then we will go about the process of doing it.
Scott Pelley: You mentioned your agenda. If you could prioritize one or two points, maybe more if you'd like, what your key agenda is on national security.
Rick Santorum: Well, obviously, the-- the issue we were talking about before which is, number one, Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. And we will go about whatever it takes to make sure that happens. I hope, I hope that some of the things that I've talked about here and-- and Newt's-- thing that I-- I've been talking about for a while, which is covert activity.
You know, there have been scientists turning up dead in Russia and in-- in Iran. There have been computer viruses. There have been problems at their facility. I hope that the United States has been involved with that. I hope that we have been doing everything we can covertly to make sure that that program doesn't-- proceed forward. And if we're lucky enough, and I'm not sure we will be, that if-- un-- no action is taken and we still don't have a nuclear Iran, that would be my laser beam focus, to make sure that would not happen.
Scott Pelley: And that's time, Senator. Thank you very much. Governor Perry, you advocate the elimination of the Department of Energy. If you eliminate the Department of Energy--
Rick Perry: Glad you remembered it.
Scott Pelley: I've had some time to think about it, sir.
Rick Perry: Me too.
Scott Pelley: If you eliminate the Department of Energy, what do you do with the nuclear weapons?
Rick Perry: Well, there are plenty of places in our government that can have oversight on our-- our nuclear energy. But let me back over to-- the question that you've asked before this about what is the most important thing from a strategic standpoint, commander in chief. For ten years, I have been the commander in chief of over 20,000-plus individuals in the State of Texas as we've dealt with a host of either natural disasters or having deployments-- into the combat zone. So, if there's someone on this stage who has had that hands-on commander in chief experience, it is me, as the governor of the State of Texas.
I've ha-- dealt with generals. I have individuals at the Department of Defense who have been at the highest levels both on the civilian side and on the military side that will help me make decisions about those issues that we face as a country. So, I feel very comfortable from day one of surrounding myself with individuals who have extraordinary backgrounds in national defense and will be able to put this country on a track that Americans will feel we know that we're gonna be secure.
Scott Pelley: And that's time, sir.
Rick Perry: Including the southern border of this country with Mexico.
Scott Pelley: And that's time, thank you.
Major Garrett: I don't need to tell the people on this stage that presidential politics is interactive business. And, of course, this debate is interactive as well. And we have an email question I'm happy to say, emailed into the National Journal. And it comes from Stephen Schafroth (PH) of Odell's (PH), Oregon. And I'd like to address this question to Mr. Cain. Stephen writes, "I served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. I believe that torture is always wrong in all cases. What is your stance on torture?"
Herman Cain: I believe that following the procedures that have been established by our military, I do not agree with torture, period. However, I will trust the judgment of our military leaders to determine what is torture and what is not torture. That is the critical consideration.
Herman Cain: I agree that it was an enhanced interrogation technique.
Major Garrett: And then you would support it at present. You would return to that policy.
Herman Cain: Yes, I would return to that policy. I don't see it as torture. I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.
Major Garrett: Congressman-- congresswoman Bachmann, your opinion on this question that our emailer asked.
Michele Bachmann: If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding. I think it was very effective. It gained information for our country. And I-- and I also would like to say that today, under Barack Obama, he is allowing the A.C.L.U. to run the C.I.A. You need to understand that today-- today we-- it-- when we-- when we interdict a terrorist on the battlefield, we have no jail for them.
We have nowhere to take them. We have no C.I.A. interrogations anymore. It is as though we have decided we want to lose in the War on Terror under President Obama. That's not my strategy. My strategy will be that the United States will be victorious in the War on Terror.
Major Garrett: Congressman Paul, my spidey sense tells me we have a debate about to get launched here. I know you have an opinion you'd like to weigh in.
Ron Paul: Yes. Tor-- torture is illegal. And-- by our laws. It's illegal by international laws.
Major Garrett: How do you-- how do you define torture, sir?
Ron Paul: Well, waterboarding is torture. And-- and many other-- it's ill-- it's illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. The-- and it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence. Why would you accept the position of torturing 100 people because you know one person might have information? And that's what you do when you accept the principal of a-- of-- of-- of torture. I think it's-- I think it's uncivilized and prac-- and has no practical advantages and is really un-American to accept on principal that we will torture people that we capture.
Major Garrett: And that's time, thank--
Michele Bachmann: Major-- Major, I have to bring it up. I have to say--
Scott Pelley: Give-- you know, let's-- let's allow--
Michele Bachmann: I-- I-- I have-- I have to say something on this, Major.
Scott Pelley: --let's-- I'm sorry, Congresswoman, just a moment if you would, please.
Michele Bachmann: I-- I-- I--
Scott Pelley: Let's give-- let's give-- Governor Huntsman an opportunity to take 30 seconds on that question.
Jon Huntsman: Thank you. Gets a little lonely over here in Siberia.
Rick Santorum: Tell me about it.
Jon Huntsman: First of all, let me thank the sailor on the ship. I have two boys in the United States Navy. And all they wanna do is go on to fight, protect, and defend the great freedoms that we share in this country. This country has values. We have a name brand in the world. I've lived overseas four times. I've been an ambassador for my country three times. I've lived overseas and done business.
We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project which include liberty, democracy, human rights, and open markets when we torture. We should not torture. Waterboarding is torture. We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries. And we lose that ability to project values that a lot of people in corners of this world are still relying on the United States to stand up for them.
Scott Pelley: And that is time. Thank you, sir. Governor Romney. Governor Romney, recently President Obama ordered the death of an American citizen who was suspected of terrorist activity overseas. Is it appropriate for the American president on the president's say-so alone to order the death of an American citizen suspected of terrorism?
Mitt Romney: Absolutely. In this case, this is an individual who had aligned himself with a-- with a group that had declared war on the United States of America. And-- and if there's someone that's gonna-- join with a group like Al-Qaeda that declares war on America and we're in a-- in a-- a war with that entity, then of course anyone who was bearing arms for that entity is fair game for the United States of America. Let me go back-- let me go back and just-- and just talk for a moment about the issue that the issue that a number of people have spoken about which is their definition of how their foreign policy might be different than this president.
My foreign policy's pretty straightforward. I would be guided by an overwhelming conviction that this century must be an American century where America has the strongest values, the strongest economy, and the strongest military. An American century means the century where America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.
We have a president right now who thinks America's just another nation. America is an exceptional nation. We have a president who thinks that the way to conduct foreign policy is through his personal affects on other people. I'm-- I believe the way to conduct foreign policy is with American strength. Everything I do will make America stronger. And I will stand and use whatever means necessary within the law to make sure that we protect America's citizens and Americans' rights.
Newt Gingrich: Well, he's not a terrorist suspect. He's a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking the death of Americans.
Scott Pelley: Not-- not found guilty by a court, sir.
Newt Gingrich: He was found guilty by a panel that looked at it and reported to the president.
Scott Pelley: Well, that's ex-judicial. That's-- it's not--
Newt Gingrich: Let me-- let me-- let me tell you a story-- let me just tell you this.
Scott Pelley: --the rule of law.
Newt Gingrich: It is the rule of law. That is explicitly false. It is the rule of law.
Scott Pelley: No.
Newt Gingrich: If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States. You cannot go to court. Let me be-- let me be very clear about this. There are two levels. There's a huge gap here that-- that frankly far too many people get confused over. Civil defense, criminal defense, is a function of being within the American law. Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law. It is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war. And the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you.
Male Voice: Well said. Well said.
Major Garrett: Governor Perry, if you'll indulge, then, sir, I'd like to change the subject a little bit to China. According to U.S. officials, China is using cyber-attacks to steal billions of dollars of intellectual property that is critical to this nation's economic success. Are we, sir, engaged in financial warfare with China?
Rick Perry: Listen, there are some people who have made the statement that-- the 21st century is gonna be the-- the century of China and that, you know, we've had our time in the sunshine. I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. As a matter of fact, you think back to the 1980s and we faced a similar type of-- of a situation with-- with Russia.
And Ronald Reagan said that Russia would end up on the ash heap of history. And he was right. Mitt, I happen to think that the communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history if they do not change their virtues. It is important for a country to have virtues, virtues of honest.
And this whole issue of allowing cyber security to go on, we need to use all of our resources-- the private sector working along with our government, to really b-- standing up the cyber command in 2010 was a good start on that. But fighting this cyber war, I would suggest, is one of the great issues that will face the next President of the United States. And we must went--
Scott Pelley: Governor, thank you, that's time. Governor Romney, I wonder, how would you manage China to avoid a 21st century Cold War?
Mitt Romney: Well, China has an interest in trade. China wants to-- as they have 20 million people coming out of the farms and coming into the cities every year, they want to be able to put them to work. They wanna have access to global markets. And so we have right now sumthin' they need very badly, which is access to our market and our friends around the world, have that same-- power over China. We-- to make sure that we let them understand that in order for them to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules.
They can't hack into our computer systems and steal from our government. They can't steal from corporations. They can't take patents and designs, intellectual property, and-- and-- and-- and duplicate them-- and duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. And they also can't manipulate their currency in such a way as to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be.
We have to have China understand that like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules. And if they do, we'll have open trade with them and work with them. And they should in every way want to collaborate with us and not become a belligerent nation economically or militarily. But if you just continue to sit back and let them run over us-- the policies of Barack Obama in China have allowed China to continue to expand their-- their-- entry into our computer systems, their entry--
Scott Pelley: And--
Mitt Romney: --stealing our intellectual property.
Scott Pelley: That's time, Governor, but I'll--
Mitt Romney: And of course, their mil-- their military capacity.
Mitt Romney: Well number one, on day one, it's acknowledging something which everyone knows, they're a currency manipulator. And on that basis, we also go before the W.T.-- the W.T.O. and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator. And that allows us to apply, selectively, tariffs where we believe they are stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our computers, or artificially lowering their prices and killing American jobs. We can't just sit back and let China run all over us. People say, "Well, you'll start a trade war." There's one goin' on right now, folks. They're stealing our jobs. And we're gonna stand up to China.
Major Garrett: Governor Huntsman, Governor Romney just said we're in the middle of a war that's-- we're not even declared or we're not even aware of. And Governor Perry said China will end up on the ash heap of history. You've been in China. You were the ambassador for our nation there under President Obama. What's your reaction?
Jon Huntsman: Well, the re-- reality's a little different as it usually is when you're on the ground. And I've tried to figure this out for 30 years of my career. First of all, I don't think, Mitt, you can take-- China to the W.T.O. on currency-related issues. Second, I-- I don't know that this country needs a trade war with China. Who does it hurt? Our small businesses in South Carolina, our exporters-- our agriculture producers.
We don't need that at a time when China is about to embark on a generational position. So what should we be doing? We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They're called the young people. They're called the internet generation. There are 500 million internet users in China.
Scott Pelley: And Governor, we're going to have to--
Jon Huntsman: And 80 million bloggers. And they are bringing about change, the likes of which is gonna take China down.
Scott Pelley: We're gonna have to leave it there, Governor.
Jon Huntsman: While we have an opportunity to go up and win back our economic--
Scott Pelley: Governor--
Jon Huntsman: --manufacturing muscles. That's all I wanna do as president.
Scott Pelley: That's time. I thank you very much. We will be back with the Republican commander in chief debate from Wofford College in just a moment.
Scott Pelley: Welcome back to South Carolina and the Republican commander in chief debate. Governor Perry, we just got a-- question via Twitter from Barbara McMann (PH). And Barbara asked this question of you. "Does Governor Perry's Foreign Aid Starts at Zero include Israel?"
Rick Perry: Well, as Governor Perry-- would tweet back to her that-- absolutely. Every country would start at zero. Obviously, Israel is a special ally. And my bet is that we would be funding them-- at some substantial level. But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case. As a matter of fact, we oughta try that-- doin' that with some of those agencies that I was tryin' to think the name of the other night.
Starting at zero, zero-based budgeting, and Newt will share with you, is we've gotta go there. And everyone has to come in and make your case. It's what the American people are doin'. There's somebody at home sittin' watchin' T.V. tonight, lookin' for a job. And they're havin' to budget. Why in the world would our federal government get a pass on sending our tax dollars to any country--
Scott Pelley: And, Governor, I have to s--
Rick Perry: --without havin' an answer? Why?
Scott Pelley: We're gonna have to leave it right there. I thank you very much. That brings us to the end of the first hour of the debate. Some CBS stations will be leaving us. But you can continue to follow the debate online on CBSNews.com and NationalJournal.com. And you can submit questions for the candidates at either of those sites. Most of our stations in South Carolina and on the west coast will continue to broadcast the debate. When we return, we will take questions from South Carolina's two senators, s-- United States Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Jim DeMint. With thanks to the candidates, thanks to Wofford College, thanks to the G.O.P. and South Carolina, I'm Scott Pelley with Major Garrett.