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10.23.2012

REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PAUL RYAN DISCUSSED LAST NIGHT’S FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CO-HOST NORAH O’DONNELL ON “CBS THIS MORNING”

 

RYAN ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S “HORSES AND BAYONETS” COMMENT: “TO COMPARE MODERN AMERICAN BATTLESHIPS AND NAVY WITH BAYONETS, I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT COMPARISON.” HE ADDED: “IF ALL THESE DEFENSE CUTS GO THROUGH, OUR NAVY WILL BE SMALLER THAN IT WAS BEFORE WORLD WAR I, AND THAT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE”

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan discussed last night’s final presidential debate in an interview with co-host Norah O’Donnell that aired today, Oct. 23, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM).

Below is the transcript from the interview:

RYAN: It's been a story of changing stories by the administration. We didn't want to go into all the litigation of it, because what Mitt Romney wanted to do is lay out his vision for the country, how they have a strong economy, which makes it for a strong national defense and a strong America.

O’DONNELL: But it seemed in the debate that Gov. Romney seemed to be bending over backwards to agree with the President on multiple occasions, sort of saying he concurred with President Obama. Why did he fail to draw some of the distinctions tonight?

RYAN: Well, there are some things where we do agree. We agree with the decision to go after Osama bin Laden. We agree with the continuation of the Bush drone policy. Those things we agree with. Where we disagree is in the President's poor handling of the Iranian situation. Iran is four years closer to a nuclear weapon. The administration fought us on sanctions in Congress on a bipartisan basis for years until we finally got bipartisan support to overwhelm the President's position. Now we have the sanctions in place. What we also disagree with was on the defense policy. This trillion-dollar cut in defense will devastate our defense. It will make us weak. It will project weakness abroad. And I think Mitt Romney did a great job of contrasting that. 

O’DONNELL: But, on military spending, that was one of the sharpest exchanges in the debate, and President Obama said, "This is not a game of Battleship—that yes, there aren't as many ships. But there aren't as many horses and bayonets."  That's a pretty tough attack. 

RYAN: To compare modern American battleships and Navy with bayonets, I just don't understand that comparison. Look, we have to have a strong Navy to keep peace and prosperity and sea lanes open. The President's—all these defense cuts, if all these defense cuts go through, our Navy will be smaller than it was before World War I, and that's not acceptable. And, yes, the ocean hasn't shrunk. You still have to have enough ships to have a footprint that you need to keep sea lanes open, to keep our strength abroad where it needs to be. 

O’DONNELL: Can I ask you to talk about your position on Syria? We have heard Gov. Romney in the past say that you had worked to ensure that the opposition obtains the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters and fighter jets.  Does that mean you'd be willing to supply the opposition with heavy weaponry?

RYAN: Well, so what we've always said is that we want to work with our allies in the region, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, in identifying the good allies in Syria, who are Syrians fighting against the Bashar Assad regime. So here's the problem, the President outsourced—

O’DONNELL: I have to comment, and forgive me—

RYAN: The President outsourced policy to the U.N. for too long.

O’DONNELL: I asked that because—

RYAN: No, but look, I'm trying to explain to you—

O’DONNELL: The type of arms when he said, "Obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets," I mean, you need some pretty heavy weaponry to defeat tanks, helicopters and fighter jets, correct?

RYAN: Through open source, we already know that they have what we call “man pads.”  We already know that the Free Syrian Army that people in Syria already have the kinds of weapons to do just that.  Here's the problem with delaying so long. Here's the problem with going over a year and a half and not having leadership: Bad actors are joining this fight. Al-Qaeda's coming into Syria.

O’DONNELL: What is your position on one-on-one negotiations with Iran? Do you see a scenario where that could ever happen?

RYAN: Sure. Look, we've always said that we're willing to talk, but we're not going to take off sanctions. We're not going to lessen anything. We're not going to give any kind of talk, whether they're multilateral or whether they're bilateral, as an excuse to delay sanctions. We got to keep pushing sanctions. We got to have harder sanctions. We have to do all the list of the things that Gov. Romney said. And if they want to talk, that's fine. But we're not going to seize or put any kind of temporary hold on any kinds of sanctions as a condition of talking. No pre-conditions. But if they want to talk, that is perfectly fine.

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Chris Licht is Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.

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Press Contact:   Whitney Kuhn      212-975-2856        KuhnW@cbsnews.com